Nothing much to say about this chapter. I just hope you'll enjoy it. This is a revised version of the chapter. I got rid of some spelling mistakes and inconsistencies in the story and added some missing words. The biggest change is about Ranma showing off in the schoolyard. I toned it down quite a bit. I hope I got rid of all the spelling mistakes now. If there should still be some left please tell me.

CHAPTER 3: When he became an elementary student

What has gone before:

Ranma and Ryoga have been affected by some magic mushrooms who transformed them into kids. After Ryoga returns back to normal he destroys the remaining mushrooms before Ranma can eat one himself, condemning him to a second childhood. After being attacked by his rivals and realizing the danger he was in Ranma tries to locate Doctor Tofu who had left Nerima a few months earlier. On his way to see him he notices a little girl about to get run over by a truck. He saves her but is killed in her stead, only to be brought back from the dead by a perverted, female, mad scientist. Ranma decides to stay with her 'saviour' who promised her to help her find a cure to the magic mushrooms.

Ranma was sleeping the sleep of the just, unaware of the dangerous creature that was sneaking soft-footedly up on her, grabby hands opening and closing continuously. The woman, because that's what the creature was, had a demented, lecherous grin on her face, her glasses gleaming in the dim light. She slowly extended her hands towards the bed and grabbed the blanket, unfolding it very carefully as she didn't want to wake up the sleeping beauty it had hidden from her view.

Her breath caught when her eyes fell on the vision of loveliness lying there, wearing a skimpy, purple nightie. Of course, it had been hard to convince the redhead to wear it, but with no real alternatives available and not wanting to sleep in the nude she didn't have much of a choice as the outfit she had been wearing before the bath had mysteriously ended up in the washing machine and was too wet to wear.

The scientist slowly advanced her fingers towards the hem of the garment, trying to get a better view at the body it was covering, but before she could grab it Ranma rolled to her left, still in Morpheus' arms.

Yume tried again, but once again her efforts were thwarted as the redhead rolled to her right this time.

She frowned heavily but was too stubborn to give up. She tried a few more times, getting more and more frustrated until she finally lost her temper. It was time to use some more drastic measures as she refused to be denied access to her precious little treasure.

Throwing all caution to the wind she positioned one of her arms to the left side of Ranma, cutting off any retreat while using her right hand to do her dirty deed. A triumphant (although some would call it disturbing) grin spread over her face when she finally succeeded in grabbing the hem of the nightie, but before she could go through with the crime she received a punch in the face courtesy of the still asleep redhead and ended up embedded in the wall.

"Huh? Whaaa…" Ranma slowly opened her eyes and blinked a few times as she took in the unfamiliar room, wondering where she was. Her attention was drawn to a noise coming from across her bed just as the memories of the previous day gradually trickled into her mind and she was very surprised to see Yume slowly trying to extirpate herself from the wall before falling to the ground and cursing in pain when she succeeded.

"Damn! That smarts."

"Huh? What happened?" The young girl asked the scientist, unable to make head or tail of the strange fate that had befallen the scientist.

"Oh, nothing. I slipped. That's all," Yume put on her best smile and demurely lowered her head in embarrassment.

Nervous sweat formed on the scientist's brow at the sceptical look the redhead was giving her, until her rational mind took over once more. There was no need to be apprehensive. After all, there was no incriminating evidence that she'd attempted to do something society might consider objectionable. Damn prudes.

"Riiiight! And I bet it's normal to sneak into sleeping children's bedrooms early in the morning. Probably trying to do something perverted once again."

"What?" The bespectacled woman looked indignantly at the young girl. "Well, I would never… Do you really think that little of me?" She looked sadly at the child.

Ranma's deadpan look said it all and Yume quickly cleared her throat before changing the subject.

"Ahem! Anyway. It's time to get up or you'll be late."

"Huh? Late? For what?" The young girl asked. She didn't remember making any plans for the day.

"For school, of course. Today's your first day. Classes start at eight and you have to get ready."

"SCHOOL! What are you talking about? Why should I go to school? Look at me. I can't go to school looking like this," the redhead objected while demonstratively pointing at her own body.

Yume had expected Ranma's reluctance, but she was prepared for any eventuality. After all, she had spent more than two hours coming up with plausible arguments. "For one, school is obligatory for kids, and we must avoid drawing any official attention or you can kiss your cure goodbye. Sadly, society doesn't understand nor encourage my efforts in bettering mankind. No, all those ingrate moralizers that are constantly going on about ethic and similar strange and outdated concepts will never acknowledge my work and probably even oppose it, although it's a historical fact that progress can only be made through some sacrifices.

She shook her head in disappointment before gazing intently at Ranma. "You DO want to get back to your normal age and get rid of your curse, don't you?"

"Well, yeah. But I doubt the local high school will accept me when I look like a kid."

The scientist gave the redhead a bright, if a bit mischievous smile. "Wellll… Who said I was talking about high school?"

"WHAT? You can't mean…"

"I'm afraid there's no other choice."

"No, thank you. I won't go back to elementary school. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I really don't want to go through that again."

"Unfortunately you have to since you've already been accepted. My sister took care of it and phoned the school yesterday. They are expecting you today."

"WHAT?" Ranma shook her fist at the scientist in anger before pointing an accusing finger. "How could you do that without asking first? You're not any better than the old man."

"I'm sorry," Yume tried to sound convincing, "but I really only have your best interests at heart."

"By sending me to school? How do you figure?"

"Well, you told me you've been learning martial arts all your life and never really had a childhood. I thought you could benefit from leading a more normal life for a while and to make up for all the typical joys of childhood you couldn't experience. Don't tell me you never wondered what it would be like to be like the other children when you were young?"

This explanation actually got Ranma to think and she had to admit that there were some truths in what the young adult had said.

"Well, I can take a look at least, I suppose," she agreed. "That doesn't mean I except, though. If I don't like it I'm out of there."

"Alright," the bespectacled woman quickly agreed. This was probably the most she could achieve at the moment.

The redhead let her head hang in defeat. At least she could attend school as a boy since no one knew her there. "Do you have some clothes for me?"

She pointed at a closet Ranma hadn't noticed before. "You'll find everything you need inside."

The martial artist opened the door and slammed it shut in disgust. "There are only girls' clothes," she spat out.

"Well, yeah. What's the problem?"

"They are girls' clothes. I can't go to school as a boy wearing girls' clothes."

There was no going back now. This was THE big moment. She had been expecting the redhead's reaction of course and if her acting skills weren't good enough all the efforts she had put into her little project would have been for naught.

"You won't be going to school as a boy," she explained softly and gave the redhead a very convincing, sad look.

Ranma just stood there mouth wide open, too shocked to protest. Yume had counted on this and grabbed the destabilised girl into a hug before she could recover her wits. She needed the redhead to remain unbalanced for a little longer as she was easiest to manipulate in that particular state.

"Before you blow your top, please hear me out," she let go of the martial artist crouched down, and looked her into the eyes. "You are probably very angry at the moment, and I know I'm partially to blame. You see, I really planned to register you as a boy, but my mistake was to mention it to Mikuru. She absolutely wanted to take care of it and she didn't listen to my objections. You must have noticed how forceful she can be. Once she's decided something it's impossible to changer her mind."

"Well, couldn't you have called the school again to correct the mistake?" Ranma growled at the bespectacled woman. "That shouldn't have been too difficult."

"Wouldn't work," she sadly shook her head. My sister has decided to take you to school herself. She was quite adamant about it. I think she enjoys having a 'younger sister' to take care of."

"DAMMIT! You REALLY have it in for me, don't you?" The martial shouted into the air and balled a fist at whatever God was meddling with her life all the time. She then let her head fall in defeat and muttered some unintelligible words while stomping over to the wash basin. She really needed a glass of water now to calm down.

Yume was grinning and inwardly celebrating her success, mentally giving herself a pat on the back. 'I love it when a plan comes together'. Hannibal Smith had nothing on her when it came to self-praise, or so she thought.

Ranma noticed the stupid look on the young woman's face and snipped her fingers a few times in front of her face to wake her out of her reverie. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?" She asked venomously.

"Huh?" The young woman snapped out of it and cringed when she saw the accusing look on the redhead's face. "Ack! No, of course not! Why would you think that?" She vehemently denied, angry with herself about the slipup.

"Then what are you so satisfied about?"

"Oh, that. It has nothing to do with you." The perverted scientist appeased the annoyed child. "I was just thinking about the nice breakfast waiting for us. Mikuru is one hell of a cook let me tell you. I'm sure she's outdone herself today; she loves to impress guests with her cooking talents. Just think about the mountains of food waiting for us downstairs."

Ranma did just that and immediately calmed down as a bit of drool formed at the corners of her mouth and her stomach roared in hunger.

"Yes, that's right," the genius continued to divert the redhead's attention, having detected her weakness to food the previous day already. "Lots of food; tons of food; however much you like. Have a quick bath and get dressed and you can stuff yourself with as much food as you can eat. Does that sound good or what?"

"I hope for your sake that you're not lying!" Having given her warning she turned around and left the room, leaving Yume alone and thus giving her the opportunity to implement the dastardly plan she'd come up with.

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"Damn that woman! I doubt there is anyone more irritating than her in the world," she cursed as she did her morning ablutions, not realizing that this was pretty much the pot calling the kettle black as there were quite a lot of people who thought the same thing about her. Funny, how the world works sometimes. 'I hope that the food is edible at least', she hoped as her imagination conjured up interesting images of a very large table covered from one end to the other in all sorts of delicacies. It was with these thoughts in mind and in a much better mood that the martial artist climbed out of the bathtub. Just as she had finished towelling herself off she realized that in her earlier anger she had completely forgotten to grab some fresh clothes. She cursed and looked around for her nightie… which seemed to have mysteriously disappeared. Muttering about annoying and perverted older women she wrapped herself in the towel and silently opened the bathroom door, poking her head through the crack, checking the surroundings for any roaming sexual predators. Having confirmed that the coast was clear she rushed back to her room and immediately locked the door. She let out a breath of relief, but back-pedalled when she turned around and saw the lolicon standing there, obviously waiting for her.

"What are you still doing here?" She asked, staring at the woman with suspicion.

"Well, I never had the time to tell you where I put the unmentionables."

"Where?" The redhead gruffly asked.

"In the dresser in the corner. There's a large collection of every type of lingerie you'll ever need."

Ranma opened the different drawers and was thoroughly disgusted by the large selection; this was just as bad if not worse than the stuff in the closet. Every item was either disgustingly cute or disturbingly racy. 'What sicko makes bras and panties like that for kids?' she wondered and made a grimace when she examined the leather thong and leather shelf bra she had grabbed.

"Don't you have anything more unisex or at least plain?" She asked.

"Nope. I didn't know you were a boy when I bought them. I thought you'd like them." 'I know I do', she added mentally.

Not having any other choice Ranma looked through the selection and decided on some of the less revolting choices consisting of blue and white striped panties (while tossing away the matching bra she thankfully didn't need yet). Out of the closet she took a pleated, yellow skirt similar to the one she had worn the day before, and a yellow blouse embroidered with flowers.

She went through the drawers once more, just to make sure there wasn't anything more appropriate, only to confirm that she'd already chosen the tamest outfit.

She was about to untie her towel when she noticed the scientist still standing there, glasses gleaming malevolently and drool flowing out of her mouth, a camcorder in her right hand.

This really made the redhead blow her top. "OUT!" She shouted loudly and violently kicked Yume out of the room after smashing the camera to bits.

The lolicon smiled victoriously, having anticipated Ranma's reaction. 'Operation 'distracting the victim with a false camera when the real one is well hidden and recording everything': SUCCESS!'. She could hardly wait to recuperate the camera later and peacefully watch the movie while everyone was out.

"The nerve of that woman!" The martial artist slammed the door shut. "She's almost as bad as Happosai."

She grumbled a bit more while getting dressed and after she was done she checked her appearance in the full size mirror hanging on the closet door. She made a face when she realized that the skirt was even shorter than the one she'd worn the day before. It would be quite a challenge not to flash her panties with every step she took and give every pervert in town a good look at her unmentionables. 'Well, at least it looks good on me', she admitted reluctantly as she examined her reflection more closely.

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Mikuru was busy in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on the large breakfast she had prepared at Yume's insistence. She doubted that anyone could eat that much, but even if there were leftovers she could always reheat them.

She was just putting the last of the dishes on the table when Ranma arrived. She squealed in delight when she saw the cute little girl uncomfortably shifting around in the entrance, hoping no one would comment on her appearance.

The redhead flinched at the outburst and before she could mount a defence she'd already been engulfed in another one of the teenager's hugs, suffocating once again on the mountains of flesh her head had been pushed into.

"You're so cute!" the top-heavy girl exclaimed as she lifted the defenceless child into the air and kissed her on the forehead before letting her down again.

Once her feet touched the ground the young girl jumped away and pushed against the wall with both arms, breathing heavily as she was trying to recover her breath.

'Damn. Those fleshy things should be classified as lethal weapons. You coul kill someone with them', she thought.

"Have a seat! Breakfast is ready," Mikuru announced after her sister had joined them.

Ranma took her assigned seat at the table and loaded her platter with a reasonable amount of food… for an adult. Yume didn't blink an eye at this having witnessed the legendary Saotome appetite the day before, but her sister on the other hand stared at the comical spectacle with her mouth wide open; she recovered very quickly though as this didn't rate all that high on her weirdometer compared to some of her sister's past inventions.

"My, you sure can pack away a lot. Aren't you afraid to gain weight?" The younger of the two sisters asked.

Ranma just smirked and went for seconds, loading her platter with even more food this time before devouring it in a matter of seconds. "Heh! No problem. I'm a martial artist; I burn a lot of calories. Don't worry."

"Totally unlike my sister," the scientist teased, "although with her all that extra weight goes right into those ugly gigantic bags hanging on her chest.

"Yume!" A blushing Mikuru chided her sister. "Don't say things like that."

"What? It's true. Those disgusting blobs of flesh grow like crazy."

"Heh. You're just jealous," Ranma interjected, "because you're flat as a board."

"Hnn!" The scientist coffed. "I'll have you know that I fit the profile of the typical Japanese woman. Those… things are unnatural on a Japanese chest. There's nothing more beautiful than a small chest with proudly erect nipples… that just beg to be touched… and fondled…," she stopped speaking as her mind drifted into one of her usual creepy fantasies… again.

"Whatever," the redhead waved off. "I don't want to hear it," she continued before shovelling in the next load of food and burping loudly. "Sorry about that," she apologized and put a hand in front of her mouth.

Instead of getting angry Mikuru just smiled at the girl, although her twitching eyebrow was a very strong indicator of her real feelings. "My, that was… really impressive, but please slow down. There's more than enough and you'll get a better appreciation for the food if you take the time to taste it properly."

The redhead blushed and nodded. She had completely forgotten that without fat, lazy pandas around to steal her food she could relax. 'Hmm… maybe there ARE some upsides to my situation. I should make a list and, who knows, if I can come up with enough arguments I might even end up liking it,' she thought. 'Naaaa!' She shook her head and wondered where that stupid thought had come from.

Having finished her copious meal a content Ranma leaned back and patted her stomach. "Thank you for the meal. That was great. You're and excellent cook. Almost as good as Kasumi."

Mikuru didn't know who that other girl was but she appreciated the praise anyway. "I'm glad you liked it. Did Yume tell you about school?"

"Yes, just this morning, but I don't really see the point; I'll probably be gone soon anyway," she tried to get out of it. "There are more interesting things to do than go to school."

The temperature fell by several degrees as the high school student's body was emitting a chilly aura that made Ranma wonder if she had mastered the soul of ice. "Young lady! I will not tolerate such an attitude in this house. Getting an education is primordial for your future life, and even if you're not staying for long that's not a reason to neglect your studies."

The redhead didn't answer and looked away from those narrowed eyes that chilled her to the bone. She didn't even protest as she'd realized right away that this was a battle she wouldn't win. The older girl just had the kind of authority you couldn't defend against, just like her mother, another person she could never win an argument against. "Alright, I'll go."

Mikuru's attitude changed once again and she smiled at the young girl as she put her hands on her shoulder. "I know, it's probably frightening to you to be in a new environment far away from your parents, but I'm sure a big girl like you can manage. Think of all the new friends you will make. Just try and have fun and you'll come to like it; you'll see."

Ranma let her head fall in defeat and just nodded. She thought back to her childhood, but she could only remember bits and pieces of that time and couldn't remember elementary school at all. She hadn't spent much time there after all, what with the constant travelling and training. In fact, the only memories she had left of those days were about some very painful training sessions. She couldn't even remember if she had had any friends at all, except for Ukyo, who she'd probably only remembered because she was a fellow martial artist and had been a nice sparring partner.

Mikuru interrupted the redhead's introspection. "Well still have a few minutes, but you should get ready. We don't want you to be late on your first day, now do we?"

"Nah! Don't bother. Just tell me where it is and I'm sure I'll find it. I'm a big girl already after all. You said so yourself." This was a last-ditch effort to keep at least parts of her dignity intact as being led to school like a little kid was just too mortifying.

"Of course you are," the youngest sister smiled indulgently at the child. She found that tough-guy attitude of her charge just too endearing. "You are a big and courageous girl, but as long as you are in my care it's my duty to make sure you're alright. It would be careless to let you go alone on your first day, especially since you probably don't know where it is."

Ranma gave Yume a pleading look, but the young woman just shrugged. "Nothing I can do," she silently moved her lips.

She let her head fall in defeat and put on her shoes, very slowly, trying to delay her inevitable fate as long as possible.

When the redhead was ready her self-appointed guardian nodded and took her by the hand.

"I'm old enough to walk alone," the martial artist protested and tried to free her hand, gently, since she didn't want to hurt the other girl.

Mikuru let go and clasped her hands together before grabbing the younger girl's cheeks and pinching them slightly. "Aren't you just darling? You're so cute when you try to act all mature and grown-up. I'm sure you'll turn into a real heartbreaker when you're older. Tough girls seem to be the rage lately."

Ranma had never felt so humiliated in her life but didn't say anything. It was simply impossible to get angry with the older girl who only tried to be helpful. 'Just like Kasumi', she thought.

The two girls continued their way, the older one not taking the younger one's hand again. Mikuru led the way, while Ranma silently followed behind. The latter felt miserable as she was unable to come up with a plan to ditch her watchdog and maybe try enrolling as a boy. For once she hoped that someone would attack, just to get her out of this, no such luck. After about five minutes they had finally reached their destination; a rather large estate surrounded by an impressively solid brick wall.

"Excuse me, Miss. Could you direct us to the headmaster's office, please?" Mikuru asked the woman guarding the entrance.

"Headmistress, actually," the guard corrected the high school girl. "It's very easy to find. Just go inside, turn to your left, and follow the corridor until you reach the last door. You can't miss it; there's a large bronze plaque mounted next to it."

They thanked the young woman and left towards the main building. Ranma looked around and grimaced when she saw the official uniforms. She felt already better about her own clothes, if only slightly, and hoped that she wouldn't have to wear those ugly things, but as far as she knew uniforms were only mandatory in middle and high school. The strange thing was that she was sure she'd seen those uniforms before, but couldn't remember where. Oh well, it couldn't have been all that important if she didn't remember.

They knocked at the door and were welcomed by the headmistress' secretary. Mikuru filled out some forms and once these formalities had been taken care of the older girl took her leave after waving at Ranma who was following the secretary as she took the young girl to her new classroom.

The redhead was a little bit nervous as she had no idea what to expect. Her memories of Furinkan and all the craziness going on there had definitely left a mark on her psyche and she hoped that things would be bit more normal here. Well, keeping away from any liquid hot enough to trigger her curse should definitely help. If she had known beforehand how much trouble the curse would cause her in Furinkan she would have put a lot more work in keeping it a secret. She was different from the others, and she knew it. She also wasn't naive enough to think that she'd ever have a chance at a completely normal and uneventful life. However, if no one learnt about the curse she could at least avoid being labelled as a freak or a pervert, which would make her life at least a bit easier. She doubted that this peaceful neighbourhood could deal with all the craziness that tended to follow her wherever she went, and that she had hopefully left back in Nerima, although she wouldn't be surprised to meet Ryoga one of these days. Ryoga! The name alone was enough to sour her mood. That damn bastard would get what was coming to him one of these days; as soon as she was back to normal. And after him it would be Mousse's turn. She would make him rue the day he was ever born.

She was still thinking about her situation when they had arrived at the door to her new classroom. Classes obviously hadn't started yet as the children were still goofing around and playing games in total chaos under the watchful eye of the amused female teacher.

"It's you! You're my saviour!" Someone shouted from behind Ranma and when she turned around she saw a little girl with long black hair giving her a look of worship.

The startled martial artist broke out in a sweat when she recognized the little girl she had saved from being run over. THAT is the reason why the uniform seemed so unfamiliar. 'Dammit! It had to be that school. Just greaaaat. Time to do some damage control', she lamented.

"Huh? Do I know you?" She asked nonchalantly, feigning ignorance, hoping that she would buy it.

The child looked puzzled, not having expected that answer. She took a closer look and grabbed a strand of Ranma's hair.

"Hey! What are you doing?"

Not bothered by the new student's outburst the black haired girl examined the strand closely. "It's red," she stated sadly. "That's just too bad. You look just like the boy who saved me. But he has black hair, not red."

"Hmm... I know!" She jumped in the air with glee and came to an outlandish conclusion only a child could come to. "You coloured your hair."

Ranma facefaulted. "No! This is my natural hair colour. I have never seen you before in my life!"

The young girl didn't give up and had already another plausible explanation. "I know. You're his sister."

The redhead groaned. "I'm an only child!" She stated loudly getting the attention of everyone around, and especially the teacher's.

"Oh, hello Ami," she greeted the secretary. "Can I help you with anything?"

"Yes. This is Ranma Saotome, a transfer student who starts today. She'll be attending your class."

"What an adorable little thing," she squealed, making Ranma cringe at the strident tone. Her face reddened in shame at being once again treated like a little child. She saw a trend here and hated it. She was almost an adult after all, and no martial artist would ever treat her seriously if they found out about this. 'Dammit!'

If she hadn't been so absorbed by her thoughts she would have noticed that she was pouting, which made her look even cuter.

"Oh, how cute, she's pouting!" The teacher grabbed Ranma's hand and dragged the reluctant new student to the blackboard. The redhead tried to scowl at the enthusiastic teacher, but the absurdly large breasts were in the way. They were even bigger than Mikuru's and the martial artist, who had always been proud of her good looks, was feeling slightly inadequate, although she'd never admit it to anyone, not even to herself. She wondered if there was some kind of growth hormone in the water, but discarded that notion immediately seeing that Yume was flat as a board.

The redhead tilted her head to the side which let her see the teacher's profile. She had long, nicely styled black hair and was dressed very casually, wearing a plain sweater and long skirt. She looked surprisingly normal except for her large chest which probably drew a lot of attention.

She clapped her hands and once she got the attention of the class she introduced the new arrival. "Class, we got a new transfer student today. Her name is Ranma Saotome." She wrote the name on the blackboard before continuing the introduction. "Please give her a warm welcome."

"Hello, Ranma!" They shouted in unison making the redhead feel uncomfortable at all the attention she was receiving.

The teacher noticed the new student's reaction and took her into a motherly hug, giving the suffocating redhead a strong sense of déjà vu, although at that time another pair of scandalously oversized mammaries had been involved. Thankfully, after some effort, she managed to extirpate herself from the awful situation and immediately took her distances from the dangerous person who had almost killed her, a thing even Prince Herb had not been able to do.

"You're a shy one, aren't you?" The teacher asked good-naturedly. "Well, I'm sure your new classmates will help you with that. Why don't you take a seat and we can begin?"

Ranma nodded and, taking very slow steps, she joined the rest of the class. As she reached the first desks she was jumped by a spiky haired girl who kissed her on the cheek.

"Hi, Ranma, I'm Anna. Anna Mizuhara."

"Hey! What did you do that for?" The redhead complained as she cleaned her face with her sleeve.

"It's a greeting. Everyone does it." The attacker explained.

The redhead looked around and when she saw the other kids she felt like a gazelle about to be attacked by a pride of lions. She didn't even have the time to pray or write her will before she was jumped by a few other kids who kissed her on the cheek too. She tried desperately to get away but it was no use. After the assault was over she rubbed her face frantically trying to get rid of all the spit.

"Hey, Rin." Anna called out to the girl who hadn't participated. "Why don't you greet her too? It's because she's full of spit, right?"

"Gee! Whose fault is that?" The redhead asked sarcastically. "Keep your germs away from me."

"No, it's not because of that," the black-haired girl answered. "I'm saving my first kiss for my saviour."

Ranma was crying inwardly. 'No! Not another one! And a kid to boot! Dammit! Why can't I ever get a break? With her in the class I can't even attend as a boy. She must never find out, whatever the cost. I already have enough creepy stalkers after my virtue'.

"But even if I can't kiss you we can be friends, right?" Rin asked with shining, puppy-dog eyes and hands clasped together.

"Yes! Of course!" The martial artist answered quickly, unable to resist the cuteness and innocence this girl was radiating.

"Alright everyone," the teacher's clapping interrupted the sickeningly sweet scene, "that's enough. Now that you're acquainted let's have some fun with mathematics."

MikaMika-sensei as she was called by the children wrote a few numbers on the blackboard before turning around and looking at the class and at Ranma especially. "Alright then. Ranma, let's see what level you're at."

She took her pointer and tapped the first arithmetic problem on the blackboard. "How much is 2 + 2?"

The redhead sweatdropped and wondered once again why she had to suffer through this. She had solved problems like that years ago, and even then she couldn't care less. Why oh why did she have to do it again.

"I know it is hard," MikaMika-sensei comforted the martial artist, having incorrectly mistaken her silence for ignorance, "but I'm sure you can do it if you use your fingers."

Ranma reddened fiercely out of shame when the class started to laugh. "I know the answer!" She shouted as she got up and banged both hands on her desk in anger. "It's really not hard."

"What is the answer then," she smiled, finding Ranma's reaction just too endearing.

"It's 4," the redhead answered challengingly, arms crossed over her chest. "All too easy," she continued haughtily.

"Very good, Ranma," the teacher clapped enthusiastically. "How about we try something a bit harder?"

"Bring it on!" Ranma accepted the challenge.

"Let's see. How much is 27 - 3?"

The other students watched the drama with rapt attention and they held their breath, eyes drawn to their new classmate's lips, eagerly waiting for the answer.

Ranma, ever the showwoman, gave a triumphant smirk, oozing confidence as she waited a few moments longer to increase the tension that was tangible in the room and to see everyone's reactions before calmly answering, "24."

"Ooooooooh!" Was the collective reaction of the class at the confident and cool way in which the answer was delivered, but their attention was now drawn to their teacher, waiting for her to confirm or refute the answer.

"That-That is correct," she had a hard time believing her eyes. Her new student was a genius; she had to be.

"Yay!" The whole class clapped, whistled and cheered Ranma on, who was basking in all the attention. Then she made the victory sign with her fingers, feeling no shame in using the unfair advantage her former status as a high school student was giving her.

"Alright, that's enough!" The teacher tried to get the children to calm down and she managed to do so after one or two minutes.

Nothing else happened for the rest of the lesson as MikaMika-sensei focused her attention on some of the other students who were not as good as Ranma, for obvious reasons.

During recess Ranma tried to find a calm spot to eat the bento box Mikuru had prepared for her, but her newfound popularity made that impossible. She understood that as the new kid her classmates wanted to know more about her, but there wasn't much she was willing to tell. However, the few half-truths she told seemed to satisfy her fans and got them to leave her alone.

The only ones staying behind were Anna and Rin who both had quickly taken a liking to the interesting redheaded girl. She really didn't mind too much since they didn't bother her while she was shovelling down the food, but only looked at the disgusting scene with astonishment.

Barely a minute after she'd started the abnormally large bento box was already empty. The two spectators were clapping enthusiastically and Ranma scratched her head in embarrassment.

"How did you do that?" Anna asked with much enthusiasm. "How? Tell me! I want to know!"

"Heh! For a martial artist like me that's nothing. I have a very high metabolism and need to eat a lot of food. I've been training for many years after all."

They didn't know what 'metabolism' was of course, but the mention of martial arts and training was good enough for them.

"Whaaah! Really?" Rin clutched her hands together and looked at Ranma with stars in her eyes.

Anna on the other hand happily jumped up and down and clapped.

The redhead's overly huge ego raised its ugly head and she couldn't help it but just had to show off, not even thinking about the fact that she was flashing her panties to anyone watching, and one of her classmates in particular who would in the future prove to be as much of a pest as Kuno. She showed the two young girls some basic moves that would make anyone in Nerima yawn, but were good enough for some impressionable kids who didn't know much about martial arts. A few of the other kids around her were watching the performance, but since she had chosen a calm spot with few people around and didn't do anything more impressive than what you could see in a competition on TV she was mostly left alone. However, she had to admit that she liked the oohs and aahs the few spectators were giving her.

She didn't have the time to show many moves, though, as very soon the bell rang and she had to return to class. She finished her kata and bowed a few times to Anna and Rin who were both clapping and cheering her on.

It was a very chipper redhead who re-entered the school building in company of her new friends. She loved all the positive attention she was getting from her schoolmates. She just hoped that unlike at Furinkan it would stay that way at this school, not that she had any intention of staying very long of course. As soon as she got her cure she'd return to Nerima and settle some overdue scores with her rivals.

Classes continued much the same way as they had ended before recess and Ranma very quickly got bored as the lessons were much too easy. She doodled into her notebook and entertained her classmates with some impressive juggling with pens, books, and whatever else she had on her desk whenever the teacher's back was turned.

When the closing bell finally rang the martial artist got up and quickly stashed her stuff into her satchel and rushed to the door.

"Wait for us!" Anna shouted.

Ranma stopped and looked at the waving girl who joined her at the door, Rin in tow.

"How did you like your first day? The class is fun, right?" The constantly cheery girl asked and Rin nodded, quite curious herself. "MikaMika-sensei is really nice, don't you think so?"

"I guess it was okay," she answered.

Anna pouted at the lack of enthusiasm. "Only okay?"

"No, no! It was fun," the redhead quickly amended her statement as she didn't want to disappoint her new friends.

"I'm glad," Rin took the martial artist's hand in her own. "I was afraid you didn't like us."

"No! You guys are great. I really enjoyed having class with you," she told them with more conviction in her voice and she felt relieved when she saw them smile. She didn't know why but she'd always hated disappointing little children. "Let's get out of here," she offered and was quickly followed by the other two.

As they were leaving the school grounds Ranma took her leave from her friends and waved at them a last time.

"Did you have fun?" A teasing voice came from behind the startled redhead's back and was immediately rewarded with a swift punch to the face which sent the surprised Yume to the ground.

"Why did you do that?" She angrily asked as she rubbed her aching nose.

"It's your own damn fault," the redhead countered, not feeling sorry at all for the woman's plight. "You shouldn't have surprised me like that!"

"I'll... take that advice under consideration for the future," the genius meekly answered.

"So, did you have fun?" She asked once again.

"N-No! Of course not!" Ranma quickly denied the young woman's accusation. "There's no way I'd ever have fun in elementary school. I'm a man, not a little kid. And don't you forget that!"

"Oh really? So it wasn't you I saw having fun with those two little girls? Could have fooled me."

"Wha-Whatever!" The martial artist tried to stay cool and quickly changed subjects. "Let's go."

"Alright. Hop in!" Yume said as she was pointing at the small basket sitting atop the handlebar of her bike.

"W-WHAT? Forget it! I'm not a little kid. I can walk by myself and I'm faster than your bike anyway."

"Suit yourself," the scientist shrugged although she inwardly cursed at the missed occasion. It would have been so easy to look under the skirt if Ranma had accepted. 'Ah well, there'll be other occasions', she cheered herself up. "Okay then, let's go home."

"Could we look in on Dr. Tofu first?" Ranma asked. "I'd like to know if he has found anything."

"Why don't you just call him? He's probably busy with his patients at the moment. He has a medical practice to run after all."

"Yeah, you're probably right," the redhead agreed. "It's just that I really hope he has some good news for me. I want to go back to my real age as fast as possible."

"Are you really sure you don't want to stay like this? You really did seem to have fun at school."

"NO! Absolutely not!" She angrily refused. "And there's no need to ask again. My opinion won't change, EVER!"

Not much was said on their way back home, but Ranma replayed the whole school day in her mind and she couldn't hide the grin of pure joy forming on her face. When she thought back to what she had told her friends she realized that she had truly meant those words. She really had had fun, not that she'd ever admit it; especially to Yume, or she'd never hear the end of it. It was really nice not having to think about all the problems that were waiting for her back in Nerima, even if it would only be for a short while.

Posted: 2012/05/15

Revision 1: 2012/05/24