From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 2

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications.

                              From a Different Viewpoint.
                                             Chapter 2.

     Johnathon went home, a bit sore, but cheerful.  The next couple weeks went by relatively uneventfully.  Mr. Tendo had Johnathon mostly conditioning himself, working on strength, speed, and balance.  Akane had showed up a couple of times to spar.  Each time she beat him in just a few minutes.  Johnathon didn't mind though, he was learning a lot from her, really improving his skill.

     Every morning he stopped to watch Akane fight her way into school.  There were now around 40 boys there every morning, but Akane kept winning.  Johnathon was still amazed at her, and certain she was holding back when they sparred.  She was holding back less then she had the first time.  He wondered to himself how he would do in a similar fight.  There was no way he could handle so many in a straight fight, maybe 8 or so, no more, he still had a long way to go.

     It was the beginning of the fourth week of school when Johnathon saw a change in Akane's morning routine. Johnathon watched Akane charge in as usual, barely noticing a boy wearing Chinese clothing crouched on the wall behind her.  He did notice him a bit more after Akane had finished with the horde and the young man had jumped down next to her.  Kuno had arrived and taken immediate offense at the young man's presence.

     Johnathon couldn't quite make out what they were saying, but Kuno suddenly attacked.  The boy made a series of incredible leaping dodges while Kuno demolished the landscape.  He even got inside Kuno's guard, moving like quicksilver, but not attacking.  The fight looked like it was going to end one way or another as Akane threw a backpack at the boy.  Kuno slashed at him at the same time hitting the pack when the boy dodged high into the air.  The boy went very high into the air and came down towards Kuno.

     It had started to rain and a Panda charged in, running on two legs. It grabbed the boy, flattening Kuno in the process, and rushing out of sight a second after that.  Kuno lay motionless and Johnathon rubbed his eyes unbelievingly.  < What did I just see?>

     By the next day the rumor was all around the school.  The new boy, Ranma, was engaged to Akane Tendo.  He had fought Kuno and lived, there was alot of excitement going around about him. Johnathon wondered what was going on at the Tendo dojo, and where that Panda had come from.

     When Johnathon had shown up at the Tendo dojo the next day to train, everything seemed normal.  Mr. Tendo was in the dojo when he arrived and the session went normally.  Johnathon left without seeing anyone else, he didn't feel right asking Mr. Tendo about his new guests. The next few days things at the school started to change.  The horde of boys gave up on fighting Akane after Ranma defeated Kuno soundly.  Kuno tended to space out in class more, occasionally muttering something about a pig tailed girl.

     Johnathon went to his next training session at the Tendo dojo, and again everything went quietly.  As he left he wondered if Akane would show up to spar with him the next time.  A few weeks passed and more rumors flew:

     Ranma had fought a strange incredibly strong guy.
     Ranma was dating a red haired girl who was also a martial artist.
     Ranma and Akane were breaking up, getting married, or whatever.

     Johnathon didn't believe all the rumors, but it seemed like Ranma was an incredible martial artist, even better than Akane. Johnathon found that hard to believe, he decided he would just have to see for himself.  He went through Nabiki again, getting her to invite both Akane and Ranma out for tea.  They arrived after he did this time. (Johnathon had arrived early, remembering the last time.)  As they arrived, so did the tea and cakes he had ordered for four.

     "So sensei, what's up?" Nabiki inquired politely.

     Akane moved into a chair and sat across from Johnathon.  "Yes John-san, why did you want to see us?"  Ranma was looking at this young man Nabiki had called "Sensei".  He was wondering who he was to the Tendo sisters.

     Johnathon looked about genially.  "Its been a while since you've showed up to spar with me Akane, I always learned alot from you."  Akane looked faintly guilty, she did enjoy sparring with "John-san" but since Ranma had arrived she hadn't been meeting with Johnathon to spar.  She wasn't sure why really, it just hadn't crossed her mind.

     She apologized, "I'm sorry John-san, it's been a busy few weeks, I will be glad to spar with you."

     Ranma looked confused and annoyed "Hey! Who are you anyways?"  Johnathon looked at Nabiki, who took her cue like a pro.  "Ranma, this is my English teacher, Johnathon Dwire, Sensei, this is Ranma Saotome, engaged to my sister to carry on the family dojo."

     "I should have you in my class the next quarter, Ranma."  Johnathon said brightly, "I hear you are quite the martial artist." Ranma shrugged indifferently, no longer annoyed.  Johnathon and Akane talked more about martial arts as they finished their tea and cakes.  Ranma interjecting occasional statement when he found something interesting.  Johnathon checked his watch after a bit and stood, waving for the bill.  "I have to get to the dojo for my training session with your father Akane.  Perhaps you might honor me by sparring with me afterwards?"

     "Sure."  Akane smiled "I'd like that."  After Johnathon paid the bill the four of them headed for the Tendo's, chatting about school and martial arts.  Ranma got into a heated discussion about the Rhythmic Gymnastic Wrestling match at St. Heberike earlier that month.  Ranma seemed to know a lot about the match and Johnathon was eager to hear all about it, having not been able to attend.  Ranma had seemed enthusiastic about the victory by the Furinkan high school champion, while Akane looked annoyed at him.  Johnathon figured she was a bit jealous of the girl Ranma was enthusing  about.  He did seem overly familiar in how he talked about the short red head that had won the match.  "So this girl, I haven't seen her around the school, what is her name?"

     Akane turned a bit red at this point and Ranma hesitated.  They had reached the Tendo dojo and were about to enter the gate.  Suddenly water splashed down from above on them.  Johnathon looked up to see a young man wearing a yellow and black bandana, carrying a now empty bucket, standing above the entrance.  "Shampoo is here, she was looking for you."  He said and Johnathon was startled to hear a feminine roar of rage from right next to him.

     "Ryoga!!" A pig tailed, red headed girl leaped from next to Johnathon to the top of the gate in a flash.

     "What the?"  Johnathon exclaimed as the girl and "Ryoga" leaped away fighting.  < Where did Ranma go?>  Suddenly he realized that the girl had been wearing the same clothing Ranma had been, and had leaped up from where he had been standing.  Akane had run inside after the girl and Ryoga, and Nabiki was looking interestedly at the confusion on Johnathon's face.  He turned to her "Nabiki, what just happened?"

     She grinned, a predatory look on her face as she said  "How badly do you want to know?"

     From inside came a shout.  "Ranma!  You I kill!"  and a crash of something smashing through a paper wall.

     Nabiki looked inside.  "I'll get back to you."  Then she jogged inside. Johnathon followed, looking around for the source of the noises.

     Nabiki went into the kitchen and picked a kettle off the stove.  She turned to Johnathon.  "Wait here OK, and heat up some water."  She turned to leave. "All will be explained in time."  He stared after her wondering at her cryptic statement.  Then he shrugged and started looking for a kettle, going over the facts in his head.  He got a flame going and started heating some water. Nabiki came in after a few minutes giggling and went to the kettle.  "Ah, sensei, thanks!"  She went out again.

     Johnathon hesitated then followed her quickly.  < What is she doing?>  She went outside and waited with the kettle.  Johnathon watched her from the door, just peeking around the corner.

     The red headed girl ran around the corner suddenly and slipped up to Nabiki.  "All right give it to me Nabiki!"  She whispered urgently.

     Nabiki answered calmly.  "Your total now comes to 5000 yen."

     The new girl yelled "That's not fair Nabiki!"

     "If you don't want it...."  Nabiki started to pour out the kettle.

     "No No!  All right I'll pay!"  Nabiki poured the hot water over the girl's head and the red headed girl changed.  She grew, her hair turned black, in an instant the red headed girl became Ranma. Ranma stood and immediately ran away.

     He was chased by an exotically beautiful young girl with purple hair, who was shouting "Ranma, you I love!"

     "That's worse!" Ranma shouted as he fled.  Nabiki turned to go inside and saw Johnathon standing there, his eyes huge in shock.

     Slowly he came out of it.  "That girl turned into Ranma when you poured hot water on her, and earlier Ranma turned into a girl when he was splashed with cold water... that's, magic!"

     Nabiki silently clapped.  "Very good sensei, if you want the whole story it will only cost you..."

     Johnathon shook his head.  "I don't think it's your story to tell Nabiki, it's Ranma's."

     She looked disappointed for a second.  "You sure?"

     "Yes."  He turned to go inside.  I'll be in the dojo."  She watched him go, bemused.

     Somehow Johnathon was not surprised when Mr. Tendo failed to show up on time to train him.  Instead, after he had worked out for a bit, limbering up, Akane walked in, wearing her gi. "Hello Akane."   He said quietly.

     "Hello John-san."  She replied hesitantly.  "Did you see?...."

     "Did I see Ranma get splashed with cold water and become a girl?  Then get splashed with hot water and become a boy?... Nope, I didn't see that."  Johnathon's voice was serious but his eyes twinkled.

     Akane stared at him for a second, then giggled.  "Hee hee, you didn't see quite a lot!" She quipped her mood lifting.

     Johnathon nodded at her.  "Seriously Akane, I didn't see anything, that I would tell anyone about.  Ranma's secret is safe with me, whatever it is."

     Akane looked grateful and a bit embarrassed.  "I might as well tell you the whole story."

     Later, after Akane had told Johnathon the story of Ranma's fateful trip to  the cursed springs of Jusenkyo.

     He commented wryly.  "That reminds me of another ancient chinese curse."

     She looked at him, curious.  "Oh? What ancient chinese curse?"

     "May you live in interesting times."  He smiled.  "I think that may be one we all currently have."  Akane grimaced, then she looked wry, she smiled and started to laugh.  Johnathon joined her, laughter echoed in the dojo, then quiet conversation.  Johnathon slowly got Akane to talk about some of her experiences with Ranma.

     When Ranma snuck into the dojo half an hour later, having finally lost Shampoo, he heard their conversation.

     "And then he said, "And I'm better built to boot."  Akane was saying.

     "Oh my." answered Johnathon.

     He started to laugh and Akane fought back a chuckle herself.  "What's so funny about that?"

     He shook his head, still laughing a bit.  "So what did you do?"  Akane turned red and Johnathon waited for an answer.

     Ranma-chan walked in with a quip.  "She hit me with the kitchen table!"

     Johnathon looked over at Ranma.  "Ouch."

     Johnathon and Akane stood up.  Johnathon was looking intently at Ranma-chan, who suddenly realized that she was still female and was turning a bit pale.  "Don't worry Ranma,"  Johnathon said holding up his hand.  "Your secret is safe with me."  Ranma had been looking a bit shy and pensive, and Johnathon realized that he had been staring.  My god she's gorgeous!  He tore his eyes away.     < Its a guy, its a guy.>  They all stood there for a few long moments, no one knowing what to say.

     Johnathon broke the silence.  "So Akane, lets spar ok?"

     Akane, pleased at the tension being broken, nodded.  "All right John-san."  The two of them walked over to the center of the dojo, bowed, and entered their stances.  Ranma-chan sat down to watch, interested in evaluating Johnathon's level of skill.  They began to spar, Johnathon started out with a quick offensive series of kicks, but was quickly driven to defense by Akane.  It was quickly obvious to Ranma who had the upper hand.  Johnathon was slightly faster, and had better reach, but Akane was both stronger and better skilled.  She was much stronger in fact, although only a little better skilled.  Ranma studied Johnathon closely.  He was quite tall, a bit over six feet, but light, it was hard to tell because of the loose fitting black clothing he wore but he appeared to be under 160lbs.   That explained both his speed and lack of strength.

     He and Akane sparred for about ten minutes.  The third time Johnathon hit the floor they stopped for a break.  Akane really didn't need one but Johnathon was obviously exhausted, having had to go full out to match Akane.  As Johnathon sat panting on the floor they heard Kasumi's voice.  "Akane, Ranma, dinner!"  All three of them got to their feet.

     Akane turned to Johnathon to invite him to dinner, anticipating her he shook his head.  "I've got papers to grade tonight, so please excuse me, Akane, Ranma, I'll see you in a few days."  He bowed formally to Akane, nodded to Ranma, then walked outside.  He heard Ranma and Akane run into the house as he went out the front gate.

     "Wow." he said quietly to himself in English.  "If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes... who would have thought magic could be real?"  He walked back to his apartment, a bemused expression on his face the whole way.  The last few blocks he started to jog, a grin appearing on his face.  "That's so cool!"  He ran the last hundred feet and jumped up unto his porch in a bound. "I feel like a kid tonight."  He shook his head at his own foolishness, and went inside.

     The next week went by quickly, Johnathon was busy with class work but always found time to get to the Tendo dojo to train.  Akane was there each time to spar.  She told Johnathon that without her regular daily fights with her fan-club each morning, she was glad for a sparring partner to keep her hand in.  Johnathon was slightly disappointed that Ranma didn't show up too, but Akane seemed a bit upset at Ranma, so Johnathon decided not to bring it up.  He had over-heard something at the school about Ranma kissing Akane and then her punting him out of sight. < Kids, getting so upset over a kiss, no sense getting Akane mad though...>

     Another week passed.  Johnathon kept an eye out for Ranma, intending to ask him to spar, but somehow he couldn't find him alone.  Akane had seemed distracted and tense during their sparring sessions recently, so he finally broke down and asked her.  "Akane, what's wrong?  You seem troubled."  They had just finished sparring, and Johnathon had gotten a couple of good hits in.  He had improved, but not that much.

     She answered him slowly.  "Yes John-san, I guess it's just Shampoo."

     He was confused.  "Shampoo? You're having trouble with your hair?"

     "What?  No, that's just her name, the Amazon bimbo that's been trying to kill Ranma, or marry him.  She's been wrecking the house, coming here at all hours, glomping onto Ranma... and Him!  He doesn't do a thing about it, that worthless, spineless, pervert!"

     Johnathon remembered that night two weeks ago.  "She's the girl with the purple hair and the weapons?"

     "Yes!"  Akane went on and on about the "Amazon hussy."  Johnathon let her rave until she started to repeat herself.

     "Sounds like she's pretty persistent."  He looked at Akane sympathetically, she didn't really hear him, going on and on about Shampoo.  Johnathon sighed wearily and let her talk.   <Better let her get it out of her system.>

    Above, a shadowy figure crept above the dojo.  Shampoo had already determined that Ranma and his father, and the violent girls father and two sisters were in the house, she could hear her rival Akane ranting about her in the dojo.

     Soon she would level the playing field.  Ranma was scared of cats, so Shampoo was handicapped in her quest to win his heart.  On a level playing field however, Akane wouldn't stand a chance.  She hefted the bucket and perched over the doors, waiting.  Inside Akane had finally wound down, she looked at Johnathon, grateful for a nonjudgmental ear.  They sat quietly for a bit, not wanting to break the mood.  Finally he got up to go.  He held one fist up over his heart and nodded to her.  < Be strong.>  Understanding, she smiled and watched him leave without saying a word.

     Johnathon walked out into the darkness in front of the dojo.  There was a splash and he felt himself suddenly enfolded in a mass of cloth.  He was scooped up and carried off before he could figure out what had happened to him.  < What's going on?>  Something huge was carrying him along.  He was engulfed in black cloth, it was slightly sweaty, smelled familiar, smelled? Johnathon sniffed curiously and again with astonishment.  He normally couldn't smell much of anything, his allergies kept him slightly congested most of the year.  < This is weird.>

     He started trying to get loose then, and realized that his arms and legs were not-quite-right... What's happening to me?!?  In a fit of clawing due to fear and claustrophobia he managed to get his head and shoulders free, and his paws... PAWS!  < I'm an animal of some kind!>  He felt the grip on him tighten.

     "Don't struggle so much violent girl."  A voice said in heavily accented Japanese.  "Be a good cat."  Johnathon stiffened in shock.  Shampoo smirked in satisfaction, < Now Akane knows how it feels.>  The horror of losing her humanity, the helplessness of being a little cat. She landed (having run on rooftops the whole way) in front of the Cat Cafe and went inside.  She popped "Akane" into a cage and shut the door.  Dropping the clothing on the table Shampoo noticed something odd.  "When Akane start wearing black?"  she asked, looking puzzled now.

     She went through the clothing slowly, holding up each piece to the light.  The arms of the shirt seemed too long, so did the black pair of jeans,  male underwear?  She looked at the black cat in the cage, the same color as Akane's (and Johnathon's) hair.  "Akane, is that you?"  The cat snarled violently at her in response, hissing and spitting.  "Oops."  She got up quickly and ran into the kitchen.  "Great-Grandmother?  I think I goofed!"  Minutes later Cologne was looking at the cat. She opened the door, reached in and grabbed Johnathon by the neck in a flash.

     She put him to sleep with a Shiastu point a second later.  "Yes grand daughter, you are correct, it is a male, and not the son-in-law.  I think it is time for you to practice the Xi-Fa-Xiang-Gao shiatsu technique some more.

                                       End Chapter 2


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