Ranma 1/2 -- Out in the Open: Ranma and Akanes Retreat (Authors Cut)
Author: Aaron Kuzik
Set just a few short months after the series finale of the manga, Ranma and Akane have grown tired of the constant string of harrassment from family and friends. So they leave on a camping trip to clear their heads. But when Ranma is haunted by painful memories of his battle with Saffron, can he and Akane find comfort in each other? Or is the game of love finally over (Note: this special Authors Cut contains a hentai scene for adults only)
Out in the Open: Ranma and Akanes Retreat
Ranma ½ and all the related characters belong to the author Rumiko Takahashi, Shogankukan Kitty films, ???
Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.
-- David Grayson --
Is the coast clear?
I think so. I cant really tell.
Thats not very reassuring, Ranma.
Oh gee, wait Akane. Let me just don my blue tights and fire up my X-ray vision first.
You didnt have to be sarcastic. I was just saying
I know, I know.
Ranma Saotome pensively peered around the corner outside the gates of Furinkan High. Akane Tendo stood just a step behind. A casual onlooker might wonder what could possibly be lurking outside such a calm and quiet street that would raise such concern. But anyone close to the pair would know that their worries were quite warranted. And why.
Come on, Ranma said, Wed better move it. Ready?
GO!!! Akane shot back. And with that, the two tore around the corner and made a mad dash down the street. They were silent at first, concentrating solely on the task of getting home as fast as they could. But as they got further along, Akane began to gradually feel a little more confident.
Well, so far so good. We might just make it this time, she noted between breaths as she and Ranma continued their frantic pace. After all, each step away from the school was another step closer to home. Just then, a female figure dropped from the light of the midday sun.
You just had to go and say something, didncha? Ranma remarked a split second before emitting a loud yelp as he was tackled and sent rolling back along the street half a block.
Nihao Ranma, came the purple haired girls familiar squeal as she wrapped her arms tightly around Ranmas neck, You ready date with Shampoo now?
N-not exactly, Ranmas tone expressed his annoyance as he struggled to breathe.
Shampoo , Akanes anger was clear through her gritted teeth as she stormed over to the sprawled pair, dont you EVER know when to quit!?!?
Akane flashed a forward kick in the Shampoos direction. Unfortunately, the Chinese Amazon dodged her attack with ease as she leapt into the air and landed some ten feet away. Akane tried to stop in time, but unfortunately, was unable to avoid hitting Ranma in the face. Luckily, she was able to pull her kick just enough at the last second to avoid striking him too hard.
What for? Shampoo replied, Akane no marry Ranma when supposed to. Is fair game, yes?
I hate to agree with her, but I gotta say, she has a point, A slightly rough female voice came from behind Shampoo as both girls caught sight of Ukyo Kuonji stepping out from a nearby alley, her trademark giant spatula hoisted over her shoulder, Ranma-Honeys up for grabs, so long as hes not tied down yet.
And I suppose youre volunteering for the job? Akane spoke with an annoyed tone.
I am qualified, yes. After all, Im as good a candidate as any, Ukyo replied confidently, brushing her bangs aside. Unfortunately, no sooner did the words escape her lips than the entire street howled with the sound of shrieking laughter as a flurry of black rose petals blanketed the air.
Dont make me laugh. Oh wait, you did, The robed figure announced from atop a nearby lamppost, shedding her cloak to reveal the trademark leotard and ribbon that made the infamous Kodachi The Black Rose Kuno instantly recognizable, To think that gutter trash like you could EVER believe yourself to be worthy of MY Ranma-darling. You CANT be serious.
What did you say? Ukyo growled as her hands tensed around the handle of her spatula.
I wanna go home now. Ranma groaned, still slightly dazed as he picked himself up off the ground.
You and me both, Ranma, Akane shot back, But somehow, I dont think thats what Rockettes over there have in mind.
Akane immediately took a defensive stance in front of three sly gazes, instinctively anticipating a battle on the horizon. She knew enough not to expect a serious threat from Ukyo. After all, despite their official status as rivals for Ranmas hand, they were more friends than enemies for Ranmas sake. If anything, Ukyo was just there to throw her hat into the ring so everyone knew she was still around, especially Shampoo and Kodachi. And in the end, it was those two that Akane knew not to expect any courtesy from. Still, a free-for-all in the middle of the street was definitely NOT what she was in the mood for. Just then, as Akane was trying to figure out how to avoid a confrontation entirely, the familiar blade of a bokuto sword flashed past her eyes.
U-Upperclassman Kuno Akane remarked with surprise as she and Ranma couldnt possibly figure out where he couldve appeared from.
Fear not, Akane Tendo, Kuno proclaimed in his typical air of grandeur, I, Tatewaki Kuno, shall not allow a single hair of my future brides flowing locks to be harmed by these harridans.
Future Bride? The words flashed through the minds of both Ranma and Akane as the looks on their faces expressed their feelings all too well. Kuno had already overstayed his welcome.
And since when are YOU any help!?!? Ranma and Akane yelled together, silencing Kunos bold pronouncements with a unified uppercut threatening to send him flying into orbit.
Ah, is good, Shampoo noted, Stupid Kuno gone, now is just Akane.
Yes, my dear brother can be quite the irritant, cant he? Kodachi observed. Ukyo meanwhile, merely flashed a stern gaze in the direction of Kodachi and Shampoo. It was at that moment that Ranma and Akane realized they might have made a grave mistake as they soon found themselves right back where they started. Despite Kunos aggravating nature, if nothing else, he might have at least made for a good distraction. Something for their pursuers to pound on while they, themselves stealthily made their getaway. Fortunately, just as one potential diversion had been ejected, salvation immediately came in the form of another scapegoat.
SHAMPOOOOOOOOO!!!! Ranma and Akane could hear the desperate wail coming from behind them and whirled around to see a charging figure leaving a cloud of dust behind.
Aiyaa! Mousse! Shampoo exclaimed, recognizing him immediately, How hard Shampoo have to hit you before stay down?
Oh Shampoo, I cant believe you ran off on me again! Mousse wailed, holding tight to what he thought was his beloved. Unfortunately, the nearsighted Master of Hidden Weapons had once again neglected to put on his glasses and the girl he THOUGHT was Shampoo was actually Akane. Ranma could only look on in disbelief.
If you want Shampoo so much , Akane snarled, grabbing Mousse by the collar of his coat, you can HAVE HER!!!
Akane threw a confused Mousse in the direction of Shampoo, who easily sidestepped him. As a result, Mousse ended up sliding face first along 10 feet of hard asphalt. Unfortunately, Shampoo was not as lucky to avoid landing on Ukyos foot as she was dodging Mousses flying body.
Rrrg! Hey watch it, you bimbo! Ukyo winced in pain as she limped backwards.
Shampoo no is bimbo, Shampoo fired back, Spatula girl have too too big feet is all!
THAT TEARS IT!! Ukyo shouted, Thats just about all Im gonna take from you!!!
Ukyo unloaded with a barrage of her miniature throwing spatulas. However, with a confident smirk, Shampoo fired back with a series of rapid strikes, easily deflecting Ukyos attacks. Kodachi, meanwhile, was shrieking with laughter at the amusing sight, until one of the deflected spatulas flew up and struck her right between the eyes, sending her plummeting off the lamppost behind the wall bordering the street.
Shampoo! Dont worry, Ill rescue you, a dazed and bleeding Mousse proclaimed as he scurried over the wall, mistaking Kodachi for Shampoo as he had done moments ago with Akane. Meanwhile, the real Shampoo continued her tussle with Ukyo, dodging the swings of her spatula before leaping up to land on the top of the wall behind her.
Stupid! Stupid! Shampoo taunted, sticking her tongue out at Ukyo, Silly Spatula Girl fights is like babies to womans from Amazon Tribe.
Im not done with you yet! Ukyo shouted, You get your ass back here!
Akane could only stare at the scene dumbfounded. No matter how many times such similar events had occurred, she still never quite knew what to make of it, other than the obvious fact that she needed to find a new circle of acquaintances. It was only when she felt Ranma grab her wrist that she snapped back to reality.
Were going, Ranma remarked with an annoyed undertone, Now.
They proceeded slowly around the corner so as not to attract any unwanted attention. From there, it was a 10-minute mad dash all the way back to the Tendo Dojo, neither one of them pausing for an instant until the Dojo gates had been slammed closed and heavily latched.
Whew, safe, Akane panted as she held her knees to keep her self upright.
Yeah, at least for now, Ranma replied, slumped against the gate, You okay?
As well as could be expected with those maniacs out there, Akane answered, the exhaustion in her voice giving way to annoyance, Honestly, ever since the wedding bottomed out, theyve all just gone from bad to worse.
You know what, I really dont want to think about it right now, Ranma stated, I just want to go inside, lock all the doors and hopefully relax.
Now THAT sounds like a plan, Akane agreed. With that, the pair seemed to find a renewed energy and a sense of optimism as they headed for the front door.
Were ho ! Ranma was about to announce as he slid the front door open. That is, until a bucket of ice water swung down from the rafters and splashed him square in the face.
AAAAHHHH!!!COLD!!!! Ranma could already hear his voice change to her voice and her shock gave way to a groan as she knew such a pitfall could only be the work of one culprit, Oh no he didnt
Well, hello there Ranma, Happosais diminutive frame came into view as though he were nothing more than coincidental passerby, Oh my, you didnt have to go to the trouble of changing just for lil old me. Such pains you take to please your old master.
Look Freak, Ranma spoke acidly through her teeth, I REALLY dont feel like dealing with you right now. So just back yourself off before you start something Im gonna finish.
Why Ranma, Im surprised at you, Happosai objected, And here I thought we were starting to get along so well tonight. I even had a present for you and everything here. I thought you might like to try on this little
GAH! Akane screamed as she sent Happosai flying into the far wall with a soccer-style kick, never giving him a chance to finish rummaging the pink lace bra from his tunic.
Thank you, Ranma heaved in a lengthy sigh.
Oh my, Kasumi remarked as she walked past the front door to see Happosai nestled in a large indent in the far wall, was it a rough day at school, you two?
You could say that, Ranma remarked cynically, You know what, I think Im gonna just turn in right now.
Im with you, Akane followed.
But it isnt even 4:30 yet, Kasumi noted.
Were aware of the time, Ranma and Akane replied in unison. The expressions on their faces made it plain to see how completely drained they were.
Well, would you like me to bring some dinner up to your rooms later? Kasumi asked.
Sure, came another unified answer as the pair trudged up the stairs to their rooms.
The rest of the day passed by seemingly without incident as Ranma and Akane hid out. As afternoon gave way to evening and then to night, it was only a matter of time before Ranma had changed for bed. Even the thought of changing back to a boy mattered little to her at that moment when compared to the concerns of facing another marathon like she had with Akane earlier. And she couldnt help thinking about how right Akane was. Had things turned out differently a few weeks ago, it wouldnt have mattered. Okay, maybe it had been a shotgun wedding of sorts, with Akanes father basically bribing her into it with that Spring of Drowned Man water from Juusenkyo. But at least she was trying to help Ranma out by going through with it. And sure, Nabiki didnt help anything by inviting everyone to the wedding who had a reason to oppose it. Shampoo, Ukyo, Kuno, Kodachi, just to name a few. Small wonder the entire thing was ruined before it even started. And since then, all of the potential suitors from both camps had become much more persistent, to put it as politely as possible.
But Ranma couldnt help wondering what might have happened had the wedding actually proceeded. Would things have been better or worse? Were they really even ready for it? Just then her boy side flashed back to that day, running to Akanes room and seeing her turn to him wearing her wedding dress. Just the sight of her almost made his knees buckle.
Well, Ranma thought to herself, what if we had ?
*** Ranma, its so pretty.
Akane slowly twirled around, taking in the ambience of the enormous hotel room their fathers had obviously spared no expense to acquire for them. There was no denying that everything from the crystal chandelier to the lace fitted sheets was absolutely stunning. Ranma however, seemed to be distracted, looking out over the balcony at the glittering Tokyo skyline.
Uh huh yeah Ranma replied, his already faraway voice trailing off. Considering that he was still in his tuxedo and Akane was still in her wedding dress, he wasnt exactly sure where the night was going to go from there.
I mean, I know what they were thinking, but I honestly cant believe our dads got this room for us. This must have cost a fortune.
Yeah yeah, its uh, well its definitely yeah, Ranma found he could respond properly. He just continued to stutter.
Ranma, are you okay? Akanes voice snapped Ranma out of his trance, causing him to whip his head up and see her concerned expression. Realizing he wasnt being particularly focused, he tried to sound more enthusiastic.
Uh, yeah! Yeah, he answered quickly, although he couldnt help but notice his voice starting to drift off again, I dont know, I guess Im just a little, you know tired is all? I mean, it was a big day and all and
Oh well, Akane responded and Ranma couldnt help but noted a slight tone of disappointment in her voice, I guess if youre tired, we could just go to bed if you wanted.
No, no! Thats not what I meant! Ranma shot back nervously, I mean, what I was TRYING to say was
Ranma? once more, Akanes voice shook Ranma from his train of thought and he looked up at her once again to notice her deathly serious expression, Are you okay with me?
Okay? Ranma found himself taken aback by Akanes question as he rushed over to her and put his hands on her shoulders, Akane, dont say that How can I NOT be okay with you? I mean, youre so I mean, Akane, I
Ranma, Akane cut off his words once again as she put her hands on his chest, leaning her head up towards his, Please for tonight cant we just
Wow, Ranma thought to himself as Akanes face crept closer to his, so close that he could practically feel her breath on his lips. Almost instinctively, he found himself closing his eyes as he leaned his head closer to hers.
Shes just so beautiful.***
It was at that moment that Ranmas eyes snapped open, realizing what she was thinking about. The thing about it that was truly nerve wracking was how frequently such thoughts had been entering her head of late. Quickly realizing she was blushing as she felt her cheeks grow hot, she just fell back in bed and shut her eyes tight, wanting to try and forget what had just gone through her mind and get to sleep as soon as possible. Fortunately, it wasnt long before she was drifting off.
...nma Ranma? Ranma.
It was a only a couple hours later that Ranma found herself jolted awake by a gentle nudge and a soft whisper. Immediately, she sat up and looked around in a sleepy daze. After a few moments, her eyes adjusted to the pale moonlight seeping in through the window. And to her shock, she found Akane in her pajamas, kneeling right beside her on the floor. Enough of a shock to knock any lingering daze right out of her.
Akane ! Ranma immediately slapped her hands over her mouth at her cry, and looked over to thankfully find Genma not in the room. Her voice then crept down to a whisper, Akane, whats wrong? What is it?
No, nothings wrong. Well, not really. I , Akane looked away briefly as she tried to gather her thoughts, then looked back at Ranma with a concerned gaze, Ranma, can I talk to you for a minute?
Well, yeah I-I guess, Ranma scratched her head, wondering what Akane could possibly want to discuss at such an ungodly hour of the night, but also taking note of the concern in Akanes voice, Whats up?
N-no not here, Akane whispered, grabbing Ranmas hand and pulling her to her feet, Come on, this way.
Akane, what ? Ranma was cut off as Akane quietly dragged her down the hall. A few steps later, they found themselves on their way up to the attic and then finally outside on the roof of the Tendo house. And there they sat, side by side, just a few spaces apart.
This was the only place I could think of where I could get you alone, Akane spoke meekly, gently hugging her legs. Looking over at her, Ranma could only grow more and more concerned.
Akane, whats the matter? Is something ? Ranma slowly reached her hand out to place on Akanes shoulder, but was paused by Akanes words.
Ranma Akane looked over to her, do you want to get out of here?
Akane, w-what are you ? Ranma could only stare at her, confused.
I cant take it anymore! Akanes body tensed up as she clenched her fists, Its like ever since the wedding, all these problems have been piling up higher and higher and I cant even breathe. Its just so crazy. I mean, I feel like a prisoner in my own life. How can that happen?
Hey, trust me, Ranma replied as she lay back on the roof, placing her hands behind her head, Thats a question Ive been asking for almost 19 years now.
Ive just had it, Akane exclaimed, Ive had it with all the expectations, all the harassment. With just everything, you know? I I just need to get out for a while. Not just out of the house. Out of the city. Just disappear, you know?
Now wait a minute, Akane, Ranma immediately sat back up, Youre not thinking about something like running away or something, are you?
No, no, not like forever, Akane shook her head and flopped backwards on the roof, spreading her body out, Just for a couple days, you know? Im so confused right now. I need to get away. Just clear my head. Find some breathing room. You know what I mean, Ranma?
Yeah yeah, I do know what you mean, Ranma sighed as she lay back down, looking up at the stars with Akane, I gotta tell ya, it sounds like a great idea. I know I could sure go a couple days without all those monkeys on my back.
But ? Akane added on, anticipating a response.
But Ranma added on cue, exactly how are we supposed to have a getaway without getting stalked by the entire neighborhood? Even if we said we were taking separate trips, if we left at the same time
Youre right, Akane groaned as she flopped her left arm over her eyes, Theyll never buy it.
Mmmm, Ranma mused thoughtfully, but then her eyes suddenly lit up, Unless
Unless ? Akane uncovered her eyes to see Ranma flashing her traditional grin of confidence. At that moment, it was as if Akane could read her mind as they both sat up in unison and looked at each other.
Oh, youre not thinking
It really is the perfect way to get away from it all, Ranma put her hands behind her head and rolled her eyes, Although it might be kind of a long shot. I mean, they might think we were too mature to fight anymore. I mean, unless you had one of your trademark macho chick temper tantrums
Oh, really, Akane flashed a sly gaze in Ranmas direction as she once again picked up on her hint, Well, maybe I might have a few less tantrums, if you werent such a jerk all the time, Ranma. Not to mention all the perverted stuff you do.
Oh, is that so, huh? Ranma flashed a mock look of annoyance in Akanes direction before their gaze evolved in a sly grins. After all the years of fighting they had done, they had all the typical bickering and sniping language memorized to heart.
Oh man, Ranma stated as Akane giggled evilly, This is going to be so perfect.
RANMA, YOU JERK!!!
Akanes roar naturally followed a thunder of footsteps As Soun Tendo and Genma Saotome charged into the living room, with Nabiki and Kasumi following close behind. What met their eyes was hardly an unfamiliar sight, but one the fathers had hoped they could finally put behind them. Their two betrothed children facing off in a heated staredown.
Oh, Ranma, you jerk! Ranma, you jerk!, Ranma mocked, Why dont you grow up for crying out loud?! It aint like youre Little Miss Perfect, yknow!
What was that? Akane growled.
What? You stupid AND deaf?! Ranma shot back.
At LEAST Im not a pervert! Akane retaliated.
What did you say? Ranma gritted his teeth.
Ha! NOW whos stupid and deaf?
Now, now, you two, Souns body slightly trembled as he put his hands on their shoulders, attempting to make peace, Whatever started this, why cant we just bury the hatchet? After all, you two have been getting along so well lately. Id hate to think
WHY DONT YOU BUTT OUT?!! Ranma and Akane snapped, forcing a teary-eyed Soun to shrink back.
You know, if you two hadnt set me up to marry some hothead tomboy, maybe things would turn out differently, Ranma stated.
Oh, is that so? Akane growled, grabbing Ranma by his shirt, Well, if you feel that strongly about it THERES THE DOOR!!!
Akane followed up her words by tossing Ranma across the room to the front door hallway.
You dont gotta ask me twice!!! Ranma shouted back, storming over to the hall closet and pulling out his camping gear, shoving it into his backpack as Akane tromped up the stairs and slammed her bedroom door.
Uh boy? Where are you going? Genma asked as he peered around the corner.
Where do you think? Ranma replied as he continued packing, Im going someplace where I dont have to worry about having HURRICANE AKANE ON MY BACK!!!
GET LOST!!! Akanes voice could be heard screaming from her bedroom.
Aww, come on now boy, Genma put on his polite demeanor as he gently rubbed Ranmas shoulders, I mean, its not all that bad, right? And her dads right, you two were getting along great for a while there. And think the dojo, boy, our future. After all, fiancées dont grow on trees you know.
You know something, Pop, youre absolutely right, Ranma replied. Although the only sounds afterward were a series of crashes and thuds until Genmas head was shoved through the sliding door to the living room.
In your case, THEY GO TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER! Ranma added, throwing his backpack onto his shoulders, Im outta here. Dont wait up.
Wait! Ranma, son! Please come back! a teary-eyed Soun pleaded as he crawled after Ranma, who merely slammed the dojo gate shut and disappeared. A couple hours later, Akane stormed downstairs with a backpack of her own.
And where are YOU off to? Nabiki inquired as she walked by.
Im going to the hot springs in the Eastern valley for a couple days, Akane replied, a touch of anger still lingering in her voice, If Ranma comes back, Im not home!
You know Akane, you really should wait until Ranma comes back, Kasumi noted, walking in from the hall, After all, Im sure hell be in a mood to talk, and if youre not here, hell be worried about you.
Oh, nonsense Kasumi, Soun replied, running in from the living room and cheerfully helping Akane put her backpack on, You just have yourself a nice time at the hot springs, okay Akane?
Tendo, are you nuts? Genma chimed in, What happens if Ranma comes back ?
Be quiet, Saotome, Soun whispered, Dont you see? If Akane goes to the hot springs and calms down, the better the chances will be that shell make up with Ranma when she gets home.
Ooooooohhhhh, Genma replied, picking up on Souns thinking, Uh, you know, youre dads right, Akane. You should go out and have a nice time at the hot springs, okay? Make sure you get good n relaxed, okay now?
Uh huh, Akane replied acidly, giving both fathers a cynical gaze. It wasnt hard to see what they were thinking.
You know, frankly, I keep wondering if one of these days, Ranma is going to finally wise up and not come home, Nabiki threw in her two cents as she put her hands behind her head and leaned against the wall.
Nabiki, Kasumi responded to her sarcasm.
Hey, Im not defending him, Nabiki replied, Ranmas got his problems, no doubt about it. But honestly, how many times have those two had a fight because she blew something out of proportion. Do you want me to read you the list? Ive got one up in my room.
Nabiki paused with a sigh as she walked down the hall, leaving Akane standing at the front door.
Akane, youre my little sister and I love you to pieces, but honestly, I have no earthly idea how that man has put up with you for so long.
Akane couldnt think of anything to say in response. She merely trotted out to the gate and headed out as Soun and Genma cheerfully made their good-byes in spite of Nabikis remarks. Closing the gate, she proceeded in the opposite direction Ranma had taken when he left. At least until she got one block from the house. From there, she turned off, ran a full block around and headed back in the direction Ranma had set out in. As she made her backtrack, she couldnt help but giggle as a smile of triumph crossed her lips.
Wow, she thought to herself as she trotted off. I cant believe how well that worked. But Nabikis comments still remained fresh in her mind and her attitude immediately became more serious.
Yo, Akane! Ranma called out, waving to her. With the promise of complete freedom just mere meters away, Akane smiled and broke into a mad dash to the corner where he was waiting.
Well , she panted, a few beads of sweat peppering her forehead, I got out of there.
I noticed, Ranma replied as they started walking off, Right on time too. You know, I gotta tell you, this whole thing is working perfectly. I mean, was that a great performance or what? There were a couple seconds there where I actually had to remind myself that we werent having a real fight. Although there werent any doubts after you grabbed me, because I know for a fact that you can throw a LOT harder than THAT.
Uh, yeah, Akane replied as her attitude suddenly changed from enthusiastic to faraway.
Something wrong? Ranma asked.
Huh? Oh, its nothing, Akane said, snapping out of her trance, Its just well Nabiki said some things before I left and I nothing. Forget it.
Are you sure? Ranma asked, showing a little concern.
Yeah, its its okay. Akane answered back, trying to sound more upbeat.
Okay, if you say so, Ranma put his hand on Akanes shoulder, trying to get her to cheer up, Hey, I picked up some food for the trip. Its not a lot, but it should last us a couple days. Maybe longer if we can catch some fish or something.
That reminds me, Akane mentioned thoughtfully, You never told me where we were going.
Just a little place I heard about, Ranma answered, Actually, Ryoga mentioned it one time. Its a nice little clearing out west in the forest. Theres supposed to be a stream for fish and a couple hot springs too. I never stayed there, but I checked it out once during another trip. Seemed nice.
Hmmm, Akane thought with interest, but soon another thought entered her mind, Wait a minute. I mean, if Ryoga told you where this place was, how on earth did you find it? I mean, Ryogas a nice guy and all, but we all know his directions arent exactly
Oh, that was actually pretty easy, Ranma chuckled, Wherever he told me to go, I just went in the opposite direction. Not exactly a perfect strategy, but it got me there. So ready to go?
ALRIGHT! Akane yelled out as she grabbed Ranmas hand and the two made a mad dash for the great outdoors.
It was another two hours of hiking as the pair gradually made their way through the woods surrounding the city. Eventually, they reached a small rock face that had to be scaled to make the last leg of their journey. After that, they had to endure another 15 minutes of hiking before the trees thinned out and a small clearing emerged. It stood up on a rise, as if a patch of natural beauty was being mounted on a pedestal for the whole wilderness to see. The whittling chirp of birds delighted Akanes ears as she placed her backpack on the ground and stretched tall, taking a deep breath of fresh air. She then took a quick look of the surrounding area while Ranma rummaged through his own equipment to unpack and break camp.
Upon closer inspection, Akane soon found the land to be everything Ranma had heard it was. Just down at the bottom of the rise, a small freshwater lake could be seen, sparkling a brilliant blue. Clearly, a perfect place to catch fish. And not to far off to the other side was a small rock face with three hot spring pools. It got Akane thinking that there must be some underground water source feeding them both. But such thoughts soon faded. After all, the trip they were on wasnt about thinking at all. It was about getting away. About escaping from their continuous string of harassment. From all thoughts and worries about their past or future. The present was all that mattered. And Akane was finding herself more at ease by the moment as she ran back up the rise, giggling.
Oh Ranma, you were right, She said, a hint of giddiness in her voice, This place is unbelievable.
Huh? Uh, yeah, yeah, great, Ranma seemed distracted as he rummaged through a canvas duffel hed strapped to his backpack.
Ranma? What is it? Whats wrong? Akanes feeling of ease began to fade.
Ranma didnt answer at first, still rummaging through the duffel. It was only a few seconds later that he flopped back and let out a heavy sigh.
Oh no they didnt he groaned.
What? What happened? Akane asked, her voice showing more concern.
There are SUPPOSED to be TWO tents in here, Ranma replied, But I can only find one. Our dads mustve taken one of them out and didnt put it back.
You didnt check the gear?! Akane exclaimed, What were you doing while you were waiting for me for two hours?!
Look, Im sorry, I never thought I HAD to check it, okay? Ranma retaliated, It was all there the last time! Besides, what was I going to do? Go back to the house? You know theres no way theyd have let me leave again. I still cant believe it was so easy for me to get out of there the first time.
The two of them paused as they looked at each other for a moment, then both breathed a sigh of resignation.
So , Akane asked uneasily, what are we going to do?
There we go, Ranma stated from inside the erected tent, Hey Akane, wanna come here and tell me what you think?
Be right there! Akane called back, walking up the rise with twigs and branches for the campfire. Placing them on the ground, she walked over to the tent and peered inside. The tent itself was fortunately, very spacious, with a high ceiling for hanging a small lantern. But Akane soon found that Ranma had put in an addition. By tying a length of rope from one side to the other, he draped a spare heavy blanket as a partition between the two sides.
So, Ranma inquired, Think thisll be okay?
Well, I guess so, Akane replied, But are you sure thats not going to come down or anything?
Relax, Akane, Ranma said assuredly, This ropes knotted tight. The only way this things gonna come down is if you pull the tent down first. I even put the lantern up top, right in the middle, so the lights all even, okay?
Well okay, Akane still seemed unsure.
Look, its either this, or one of us has to sleep outside, Ranma said, Now I can sleep outside if you want
No, no. Its okay, Akane said quickly.
Yeah, sure. Itll be fine.
Then were cool, Ranma said, So which side do you want?
It only took a few more minutes for the two of them to get unpacked and lay out their bedding for the next two days. Even with the division, there was more than enough space to accommodate them both, although Akane still wasnt sure what she thought about sharing a tent with Ranma, since it was something they hadnt actually done yet. Still, Ranma himself didnt seem to be too bothered. Or if he was, then he certainly wasnt showing it. Akane chose to take that as a positive sign. Not too long ago, the issue of them staying together in such close proximity would have been enough to start a ground war between them. It made Akane think about just how much things between them had matured. Granted, it was still a far from perfect arrangement. They both managed to keep that awkwardness around each other and still had their share of disagreements. But when Akane thought back to what things were like when they first met almost three years ago, it made their trip so far, not to mention the last couple months, seem downright peaceful by comparison. There was a time when the very mention of Ranmas name would make her blood boil with rage. And yet, to look at him now, Akane could actually feel a contented smile crossing her lips.
A quick dip in the hot spring after theyd set up camp did much to improve Akanes mood further. The sun was just beginning to set into the mountains as she made her way back up the rise and saw that Ranma had already got a fire built. Still, with only a towel to cover her body, she took care to make her way around to the far side of the tent so she could go inside and put some clothes on.
Looks like the fires going good, she mentioned as she peeked her head up over the tent to make sure Ranma knew she was back from bathing.
Hmmm? Ranma looked over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of Akane before she ducked back behind the tent, Oh, yeah. Its going okay. Personally, I had kind of hoped to have all this stuff up before it got too dark so I could go and catch some fish. But I guess that cant be helped. Yo, you up for some hot dogs tonight? I could throw on some rice too, if you want.
Yeah, sure, Akane called back from inside the tent, Sounds fine.
A few minutes later, Akane emerged from the tent to find that Ranma had already started making dinner. She could see the rice simmering in a hanging pot over the fire while the hot dogs were skewered on leaning sticks as makeshift spits that Ranma turned occasionally to make sure they cooked evenly. Sitting not far from the fire, a small folding table held the buns and fixings that were soon to be used.
Hey, sit down. Dont be a stranger, Ranma stated, gesturing to one of the logs surrounding the fire, Well be eating pretty soon.
Uh, yeah, Akane replied, a hint of surprise in her voice. Granted, she was well aware that Ranma spent most of his life outdoors. But in truth, shed never really been camping with Ranma all that much, so she never really got a chance to see the full extent of what he could do. And looking at him then, Akane couldnt help but feel a little impressed that he seemed to know his way around so well.
Well, help yourself. Lets dig in, Ranma announced. The two of them then dished up their meals and sat across from each other to eat. The meal seemed straightforward enough, but Akane received a surprise when she took her first bite of the rice.
Mmmm, she murmured with an impressed tone, Hey, what did you do to this rice? Its good.
Oh that? Its nothing special, Ranma replied, shrugging his shoulders, I just added a little garlic to it. I thought it might give it a bit of a kick.
Yeah, no kidding, Akane said, still impressed with the flavor, Im definitely telling Kasumi about this. This is a great idea.
Oh, cmon. Its not that big a deal, Ranma said.
But it IS a big deal, Ranma, Akane said after a pause, feeling more than slightly dejected. Ranma looked up couldnt help but see how down she started to feel.
I mean, I look at you and you can come up with something like this. And then I look at me and I cant even well, lets face it, Im no cook. I mean, how can I be expected to ?
Akane, Ranma cut her off as she looked up at him to see that hed put his bowl of rice down and was looking across at her with a serious gaze, Can I offer you a little constructive criticism? Will you allow me that much?
Mm mmm hmm, Akane nodded, but she couldnt help but gulp, expecting the worst. After all, she knew full well that Ranma had absolutely no respect for her cooking skill.
Akane, the problem with your cooking isnt talent, Ranma started and Akane looked at him surprised as he crossed his arms and closed his eyes, The problem is your attitude. The way I figure it, you more or less know what youre doing. The thing is that when youre cooking, you just get way too excitable and you get distracted. And THATs when you start making mistakes. You just have to pay attention, thats all.
Ranma, Akane found herself at a loss for words. After all, this was definitely not what she was expecting from him.
Look, the last thing you should be doing is comparing yourself to me, okay? Ranma continued, Hey, in my case, cooking was a skill born out of necessity. I mean, come on, you know my father. You think youre going to trust HIM with food? If I was that stupid, I wouldve starved to death years ago.
Ranma paused for a moment, sighing as his mind flashed back to all his fathers past stunts and scams.
Look, all Im saying is that you just need to calm down when youre cooking. I mean, its not like youre fighting with the food or anything. You just have to pay attention, stay calm and the food pretty much cooks itself, you know?
Ranma, Akane thought to herself as the look of surprise refused to disappear from her face. Is is he being nice to me?
Ranma, are you feeling alright? Akane found herself blurting out almost instinctively.
Whats that supposed to mean? Ranma asked back.
Well, nothing, Akane fidgeted as her voice trailed off, Its just that well, you know You dont usually
Look, I was just trying to help, okay? Ranma retaliated, If thats the thanks Im gonna get, next time, I wont even bother.
Ranma, thats not what I , Akane started to say, but she cut herself off before she could finish. Looking at the situation, there wasnt a single thing she could think of to say that wouldnt have just made things worse. With a heavy sigh, she picked up her plate and continued eating.
The pair finished the rest of their meal in silence and Akane turned in a few minutes later, leaving Ranma to tend to the fire. As she changed into her pajamas and covered herself up to sit in her bed, she couldnt help but think about what had almost happened. Deep down, she knew that the last thing she wanted to do after coming all the way on their trip was to pick a fight with Ranma. It was exactly those kinds of situations that they were trying to escape from for a while. And yet, things did not seem to be going as Akane had hoped. It always seemed that just as things were starting to go well, something would go wrong. After all, how many of their fights over the years had been caused by some stupid misunderstanding or a word taken the wrong way? And Akane knew better than to say it was all Ranmas fault. After the last three years, she was well aware of how much blame to place on herself. It was beginning to look as if their differences proved to be too insurmountable an obstacle to overcome even when they were actually TRYING to get along. And to Akane, that was a very depressing thought, especially as Nabikis words suddenly came back to haunt her.
Akane, youre my little sister and I love you to pieces, but honestly, I have no earthly idea how that man has put up with you for so long.
Oh, why did I have to say that before? Akane thought to herself as she sighed and buried her head in her knees. If I had just kept my mouth shut
Yo Akane? Ranmas voice and rustling at the tent flap snapped Akane back to reality, Im comin in. Youre not like naked or anything, are you?
No, Im not, Akane answered sternly, instantly forgetting about how guilty she felt, And what kind of question is that to be asking?
Jeez, get a grip, will ya? Ranma replied as he zipped open the tent and peered in, I just didnt want to come barging in if you were changing or somethin, alright?
Ranma crawled over to his side of the tent after closing the flap as Akane hugged her knees once again and sighed.
Oh no, she thought to herself, We just did it again, didnt we?
Behind the blanket separating the tent, the faint rustling of cloth could be heard, indicating that Ranma was getting ready for bed. Eventually, the rustling stopped and Akane lay back down to stare up at the tent ceiling, dimly lit by the lanterns glow. There was a deathly silence as the pair tried to sleep. But Akane was finding the task completely impossible. After all, the last thing she wanted to do was end the first day of their trip with the two of them fighting. Swallowing hard, she turned over to face Ranmas side of the tent.
Uh, look Ranma? she said softly, Im Im sorry about what I said okay? I didnt mean to
Nah, forget it. Its okay, Ranma replied, cutting off her words, Im sorry too. I dont even know why I flew off the handle like that. It was a stupid thing to get all riled up about.
It would normally be at that point in the exchange where one of them would try to needle the other for making a concession in their favor. It was a trap both of them had foolishly fallen into on several occasions over the years and was usually the best way to rekindle an argument they were trying to put behind them. Yet at that moment, Akane was determined to avoid that pitfall at all costs.
Dont be stupid! she scolded herself, almost having to bite her tongue, He just gave you an out! So shut up and take it!
You know, she added, hoping to smooth things over a bit further, You really are good at this outdoorsy kind of life. I know I couldnt do a lot of this stuff.
Its not really that big a deal, Ranma replied, shrugging his shoulders, Im just used to it, thats all. And its kind of nice to be able to do it again. I know I havent had a chance to just be outdoors like this in a good long time.
Mmmm, Akane acknowledged thoughtfully, You sound like you miss it.
Well, I guess I do, a little, Ranma said, rolling onto his back and putting his hands behind his head, I mean, I may only be able to count on one hand all the happy memories I had with my father, but there IS something to be said for being out here, relying on yourself. I mean, its not that I dont like living at the dojo, but there HAVE been a couple times where I look around and wonder if I havent been getting soft. I really dont think a lot of people living in the city realize how much is actually just HANDED to them. I mean, okay, its not like I dont have a few creature comforts when Im out here, but compared to how things work in the city, I just feel like when Im in the outdoors like this, I just get more accomplished.
Hmm, Akanes voice couldnt hide a mixture of wonder and amusement, You know, hearing you talk like that, you sound like some old hermit or something.
Old? Ranma replied, slightly taken aback, Thats a horrible thing to say to a man.
Oh, come on. You know I didnt mean it like that, Akane said, All Im saying is that well, Ive never seen this side of you shine through before. And when I hear you talk like this it almost sounds like you have a wisdom beyond your years.
Well, maybe Im not the sharpest knife in the drawer all the time Ranma answered, But it helps when you go with what you know.
Mmmm, was the only response he heard from Akane.
Oh gee, dont rush to defend my intelligence or nothin, Ranma stated sarcastically.
Uh Akane replied nervously, caught off-guard.
What? Ranma pressed the issue, Youre saying youre agreeing with what I said?
Why should I have to agree? You said it, Akane replied, Besides, I think I have a right against self-incrimination.
Thats not a denial, you know, Ranma retaliated.
Ranma , Akane shot back, rolling her eyes away, you do know youre starting to act like a jerk right now, right?
Im vaguely aware, Ranma replied, his response actually drawing a hollow giggle out of Akane.
Oh whats this? Ranma immediately pounced on Akanes response, Did you actually LAUGH at a joke I made?
Good night Ranma, Akane said, giving another hollow chuckle. She couldnt help but smile gently as she turned over and closed her eyes to sleep. But after a time, it became quite apparent getting to sleep was going to be easier said than done. She tried to act like she was okay with it, but the truth of the matter was she simply wasnt used to sleeping with Ranma in the same area with her. And definitely not so close to her. Feeling so uncertain couldnt help but make her wonder if maybe postponing the wedding was the right idea. After all, if she was this nervous with Ranma sleeping across a tent from her, how could she possibly be ready to sleep in the same bed with him as his wife?
***Are you okay?
Akane snapped out of her train of thought, looking up to see Ranma lying across the bed from her, looking on with a slightly concerned gaze. Curled up on a ball and clutching at the blankets, Akane could only nod shyly at first.
Mmm hmm, she replied, Its its just that this is going to you know take a little getting used to you know?
Yeah yeah thats true, Ranma replied with a twinge of uncertainty in his voice as well.
Ranma are you really you know, okay with this? Akane asked, almost trying to shrink under the blankets.
Huh? Oh uh, yeah. Yeah, Ill be okay. Yeah. Ranma replied, again sounding uncertain. But before Akane could respond, he came out with what had to have been the dumbest follow up question in the history of time.
Uh, listen you dont snore, do you?
What ? was the only reply Akane could make.
Well, I mean, I was just wondering if Id have to invest in some ear plugs or something like that, because you know Ranma tried to explain his question in a straightforward, logical manner, which only seemed to turn the heat up even more in Akanes brain. Ranma didnt even get to finish his sentence before her temper boiled over.
RANMA, YOU JERK!!! she roared as her fist shot forward at his head, landing a perfect blow. It was at that moment that she realized what she just did and even though Ranma brought it on himself, it still made her feel a little foolish. But before she could follow up in any way, she looked to she her fist still buried into Ranmas skull, but with a faint smile crossing his lips.
There. Did that help? he asked simply.
Ranma, Akane was almost in shock at his response, realizing at that moment that he was actually trying to anger her on purpose as a type of ice breaker. Ranma, meanwhile simply held out his arms and offered a warm smile.
Come here, he said softly.
Still uncertain, and on top of that, feeling a little guilty over hitting him, Akane fidgeted nervously as she slid across the bed. But as she felt his arms wrap around her and his body curl around hers, she felt a warm sensation well up inside her, drowning out all her other emotions. At that moment, the only thing she could feel was pure contentment as she smiled warmly and savored Ranmas touch. The sound of his breathing, the beating of his heart, and the way his hand softly ran through her hair. It made her wonder what in the world there ever was that she could have been nervous about. But it was then that Ranmas voice chimed in once again.
You smell really nice, Akane heard him say, causing her to pull back slightly and look up at his face. Staring into his eyes, she could somehow tell that he was feeling the exact same thing that she was at that moment.
So , he asked her softly, NOW are you okay with this?
Ranma, Akane could only smile as she leaned over. Only one thought echoed in her mind as her lips slowly made their way towards his
Ranma right now at this moment I dont want to be anywhere else but here ***
Akanes eyes snapped open like shutter blinds right then and there, realizing what she was just thinking. She could feel waves of heat radiating through her and it felt like her whole body was blushing. All she could do was curl up in a ball and hold her face in her hands. In retrospect, it wasnt so much that she had just had such a vivid thought, but what was really scary was the fact that she had been having them much more frequently in recent weeks. And she couldnt seem to shut them off.
As soon as shed regained a small amount of composure, she turned over to see if she had woken up Ranma at all, but all she could hear was a steady rhythm of breathing, indicating that he must have fallen asleep. Relieved at first, Akane found herself turning over towards their makeshift partition, listening to the steady sounds of Ranmas breathing. It seemed to have almost a calming effect and after a while, she began to feel herself smiling warmly as she slid over closer to the partition and placed her hand against it. She still didnt know what to make of what she had just been thinking about, but if nothing else, she wasnt as nervous as she once was. And it began to make her think that all things considered, maybe, just maybe, having such thoughts wasnt such a bad thing after all.
Good night, Ranma, she thought to herself as she closed her eyes, Pleasant dreams.
It didnt take long before Akane finally dozed off herself and soon they were both breathing softly, almost in unison. In fact, they both sleeping so contentedly that neither one of them heard a low throaty growl echoing through the wilderness.
Morning came to find the Tendo Dojo unusually quiet. Although without Ranma and Akane around, there really wasnt a whole lot to stir up trouble. In the kitchen, Kasumi was making breakfast alongside Ranmas mother Nodoka, whod been living with the family ever since the misunderstanding that caused Ukyo, Shampoo and Kodachi to destroy the Saotomes house.
Are you sure there isnt more I can help you with? Nodoka asked in her typical nurturing demeanor.
Oh please, youve already been more than helpful, Kasumi replied politely, But you dont have to concern yourself. Remember, youre our guest here.
On the contrary, Im only too happy to do it, Nodoka said cheerfully, After all, with Ranma and Akane getting married, I should do my part to help the family whenever I can, shouldnt I?
Mmmm, Kasumi responded thoughtfully, but Nodoka took note of a sigh escaping her lips, almost as if something was bothering her.
Is something wrong, Kasumi? she asked immediately. Granted, Nodoka was really only just beginning to get to know the Tendo family, but she knew enough at that point to know that Kasumi wasnt the type to upset easily.
Oh? No, not really, Kasumi answered, Its just that, with Ranma and Akane well, sometimes, I just worry about them a little. I mean, theyre both trying so hard, in their own way. But sometimes I wonder if things will ever really get better between them.
I wouldnt be too concerned, Nodoka replied, getting Kasumis attention, You have to expect a few bumps in the road every now and then, especially with arranged marriages. Theyre just not what they used to be these days. But Im sure theyll find their way. After all, they do have a lot in common.
Well, thats true, Kasumi agreed.
Maybe its just a mothers optimism, Nodoka said with a pause, looking out the kitchen window before a warm smile crossed her lips, I just have a feeling that one way or another, theyll work things out eventually.
Mmmm, Kasumi replied, looking over to Nodoka with a grin, You know, I think you and our mother would have gotten along very well.
Oh my, you think so? Nodoka replied, blushing slightly at the compliment. Just then, Nabiki entered the kitchen to interrupt the conversation.
Hey Sis, she called out, Akane said she was going to the eastern hot springs, right?
Why, yes she did, Kasumi answered, Is something wrong?
Well, not as long as shes not in the western valley, Nabiki answered, Theyre talking about it on the news. Something about a bear attack.
Kasumi and Nodoka walked into the main room to see what all the fuss was about. Genma and Soun had put their board game on hold to watch the news report already in progress.
This has been the third hiker seriously injured after a wild bear attack in the western valley, the news anchor went on to say, Wildlife officials have announced that all hiking trails and campsites be closed down until further notice and have begun a wide search to have the animal captured and moved.
Oh my, Nodoka responded, I hope thats not where Ranma is.
Well, I wouldnt worry too much about Ranma, Soun replied, Hes more than capable of taking care of himself. Im just glad Akane is nowhere near there.
Here I come, Ranma!
Take your best shot!
Morning gave way to afternoon and Akane was feeling the need to get in a little exercise. So she decided that a little sparring with Ranma was exactly what she needed. Although when it came to sparring matches between her and Ranma, she might as well have been shadow boxing. Not a single one of her attacks ever made it past Ranmas defenses. He either danced around her punches and kicks or blocked them like a solid wall. But considering that she was doing exactly what she wanted, which was getting away from it all, that fact didnt bother her in the least. In fact, Akane couldnt shake an intense feeling of enjoyment. Ranma even had to admire her determination. She might never have had the opportunities to improve like Ranma had. But she certainly had the will. At times, it was enough to make him wonder just how much she was truly capable of.
Before long, their tussle took them towards the base of a large tree right at the base of the lake. Immediately, Ranma took to the high ground as he leapt up towards a thick branch. But not to be outdone, Akane kept right after him, jumping towards him and maintaining a continuous assault. With no freedom to dodge, Ranma was restricted to blocking her attacks until he found an opening to get higher. But Akane seemed almost possessed as she pursued him higher and higher up the tree. Eventually, Ranma had reached as high as he could go. Like a shark smelling blood, Akane went in for the kill as she met him on the topmost branch.
So Ranma, now what are you going to do, she panted, her heavy breathing indicating that she was definitely getting a good workout. Unfortunately, she spoke far too soon, for as her left fist struck for a forward punch, it was caught by Ranmas left hand and held fast, as if in a vice. Akane knew she couldnt risk a kicking attack for fear of losing her footing, so all she could do was a punch with her free hand, which Ranma also caught. And before Akane knew what was happening, Ranma had cross her arms over her stomach and had her hands pinned to her sides.
So , Ranma replied with a smug grin, NOW what are you going to do?
Oh, youre just loving this, arent you? Akane scowled back.
Oh, come on. What are you complaining about? Youre the one who brought it up here, Ranma said, releasing Akanes hands, So need a hand getting down?
Huh? Akane thought curiously, until she happened to look down. But her next expression was one of shock as she actually noticed just how high up they had gone. Tilting precariously a good 20 or 30 feet above the lake, Akane could only scream as she lunged for Ranma, wrapping her arms around his chest and holding him tight.
No sooner did they feel their bodies pressed together, than a spark was ignited inside both of them, as if a light switch had been turned on. They had felt it before on certain occasions, but still, neither one of them could tell exactly what it was at first. Yet as they pulled away slightly and looked into each others eyes, it was obvious that they were both feeling it. They could feel themselves blushing slightly, both of them unsure of the best way to respond. But as they stood there, frozen in the moment, it was as if the whole world seemed to fade away. And the longer they remained, the harder it felt to leave. It was almost as if they were melting into each other. It was such an entrancing state that neither of them seemed to notice themselves moving closer to each other or even feel their hot breath on each others lips.
With that one sickening sound, the real world exploded back into view. The branch they had been standing on had just given way, sending the two of them plummeting toward the lake below. Fortunately, a sudden undertow spared them from a shallow water impact. But as Ranmas eyes adjusted to the water, he could see Akane flailing wildly a few feet away from him. It was at that moment that he had to remind himself that Akane still didnt know how to swim as he quickly made his way towards her, pulling her to the surface.
Ranma had Akane on the shoreline a moment later, cradling her in his arms as she coughed and sputtered, trying to get her breath back. But it was at that moment that an image suddenly flashed into his head. A moment in time that was only a few months old and one that hed hoped hed put behind him, but it was an image that was all too similar to what he was facing at that moment. One that made something twist inside of him as he felt a lump form in his throat.
A-Akane? he managed to get out, trying to keep his voice from cracking, Are you okay?
Ranma? Akane tried to speak through a few more lingering coughs, Yeah yeah, Im alright.
Im so glad! Ranma blurted out as he wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. It certainly wasnt the kind of response Akane was expecting.
Uh, Ranma ? she tapped him on the shoulder gently. It was then that reality beckoned and Ranma remembered exactly where he was. It was then that he felt a familiar pressure on his chest and remembered that they had just fallen into a lake of cold water. And as if turning from he Ranma to she Ranma wasnt enough, she also realized that she was holding Akane in such a way that their breasts were pressed firmly together.
Whoa! Ranma exclaimed as she immediately pulled herself away, chuckling nervously, Uh, sorry about that. Uh, didnt mean to do that. Really.
Ranma, are YOU okay? Akane asked softly. Ranmas previous action was not the kind of thing she was used to.
Huh? Oh yeah, fine sure. You know me, Ranma tried to sound reassuring in her reply, but then she noticed Akanes body dripping wet and shivering. Admittedly, the lake was far colder than Ranma had expected it to be.
Come on, she stated immediately, taking Akanes hand, Wed better get you dried off.
It was only a short walk back to the camp and Akane quickly changed inside the tent while Ranma built a fire. Hanging her wet clothes to dry, Akane clung to an extra blanket for warmth while Ranma heated some water for a quick gender change before changing his clothes as well. After hed hung his clothes though, hed noticed that Akane was still shivering.
Feeling any better? he noted with a hint of concern before reaching out to touch her hands, Oh man, your hands are like ice. Here
Acting instinctively, Ranma folded his hands over Akanes and began gently rubbing them. Every so often he would pocket open his hands to blow a gentle stream of warm air in. Akane, meanwhile, said nothing. It seemed as though all she could do was take in the scene and for some reason, she could feel her heart pounding harder.
There, Ranma said a few minutes later, feeling Akanes hands grow warmer, Is that better?
Akane could feel herself blushing and didnt answer. She simply looked away with a shy smile and nodded her head.
Here, Ranma added, sliding in beside her under the blanket, Maybe this will help a little too.
Ranma had his arm around Akane before she could offer up a response and Akane really didnt know what to think. Just like when Ranma came out of nowhere and just hugged her so blatantly, it just seemed very forward for him. After all, it wasnt like other times when they had just kind of ended up together in a close situation by accident. This was different, this was intentional. Immediately, her instincts kicked in, like they had so many times before and she just wanted to push him away. But as she looked up at him and saw him just staring at the fire, the expression on his face seemed so earnest. So she decided to fight her initial impulse and let the moment play out. Shed clobber him later if he ended up doing something he wasnt supposed to.
A few minutes later and neither one of them had moved an inch, when a new feeling began to creep its way into the moment. The soft crackle of the fire and the dancing light seemed almost hypnotic and both Ranma and Akane began feeling more relaxed. A warm, contented feeling had begun to wash over them. Akane hadnt even noticed her head lean over against Ranmas shoulder or her hand reach up and cling to his shirt. It was as if such a moment was so natural that it didnt even matter anymore as she just closed her eyes and sighed. Even Ranma, who was really only concerned with keeping Akane warm at first, found himself gently easing into the moment as he put his arm around her a little more firmly and slid in closer.
Mmmmm, Akane murmured, almost as if she were in a dream, Ranma, youre so warm. This is nice.
It was at that moment that her eyes snapped open and the real world came back. Had she just said that out loud? Immediately, she turned to Ranma to try and smooth over any misunderstanding that her words might have generated. But instead of words, all Akane got for a reply was Ranma looking into her eyes with a gentle smile. Again, that same warm, contended feeling from before began to seep into Akanes body as she returned his smile and reached up to gently run her hand down his cheek.
Ranma , Akane could feel herself getting lost in the moment, just as they had earlier up in the tree. But at the same time, she didnt seem to care. All that seemed to matter was the feeling inside her as she leaned upwards toward Ranma.
Akane , Ranma could feel his concerns almost completely melting away as he felt Akane touch his cheek. But as he moved his head closer to hers, out of nowhere, the same terrifying image from earlier flashed into his brain, shattering the moment and forcing him to pull away.
Ranma? Akane had snapped out of the moment as well, but his sudden reaction caused her some concern, Whats wrong?
Well, you know, I was just you know, thinking, Ranma stammered, trying to come up with an excuse, You know, maybe if you wanted to warm up, the uh, the hot spring might be a better idea. Im Im just gonna go and get some firewood.
Ranma then made a mad dash into the woods, leaving Akane completely perplexed. A few minutes later, she decided to take Ranmas advice and was soon bathing in the hot springs. As the water began to work its way into her body, she had to wonder what was going on with Ranma. Ever since they fell into the lake, he seemed different. As if something was gnawing at him. And it wasnt just a suspicion, she could see it. Before he went into the woods, she could see something in his eyes, something shed never seen in him before. She couldnt quite put her finger on what it was, but she knew it made her very uncomfortable. And for a moment, that uncomfortable feeling gave way to a little anger.
Ranma, you dummy, she thought to herself, Why cant you tell me whats wrong? Jerk.
It was at that moment that she started thinking about everything that had happened to them already and everything that had ALMOST happened. Looking back on it, Akane found herself blushing heavily. After all, that was twice in almost a half hour period that the two of them had almost part of her didnt even want to think about it.
But as she began to grow more relaxed in the spring, her insecurities quickly grew silent as she felt that same familiar feeling well up inside of her. It was that same warm feeling that seemed to fill her up and erase all her doubts and uncertainties, the same feeling she felt when she was with Ranma. Soon, she felt her mind drift in a current of questions. Would it really have been so wrong? They had been so close and it just felt so right. What if theyd really ?
Instinctively, Akane brought her hand up to her mouth and softly pressed her lips against the soft flesh at the base of her thumb, simulating a gentle kiss. As she closed her eyes, she found herself actually beginning to savor the soft pressure. She had to admit to herself, it felt very nice.
Mmmmm, she thought to herself as she pulled her hand away and gently opened her eyes, I wonder if it would feel like that. Would it feel better? What would happen if wed really ?
But her thoughts were immediately shattered as her opening eyes revealed the sight before her. Standing just outside the hot springs, well within striking distance, was an enormous brown bear, larger than any Akane had ever seen. It looked at her intently, emitting a low, throaty growl. And the look in its eyes clearly revealed it had bad intentions. Akanes first instinct was immediately to call for help, but it was as if her throat had closed up and she couldnt get a sound to come out. She could only sit in the spring, trembling as the great beast stared her down.
Come on, Akane, she thought to herself. You stay here and youre dead. Youve got to do something. Move. Move! MOVE!
Slowly, trying her best not to make any sudden movements, she gently eased her way across the spring until her hand reached out and found a loose rock. Of course, against such an enormous animal, there was no chance of it making any kind of effective weapon. But perhaps if she could use it as a diversion...
Swallowing hard, Akane eased her hand up out of the water and threw the rock in a high arc, landing in the bushes a good 30 feet away. Fortunately, her throw was far luckier than she could have hoped for, as her rock frightened a group of small animals and even a handful of birds that were resting in the nearby brush. Sufficiently intrigued, the bear turned away to the possibility of an easier catch and Akane saw her opening. Moving as smoothly and as quietly as she could, she gently climbed out of the hot spring with her towel and gradually eased off. She should have known better than to make any sudden movements, but not knowing how long her diversion would last, she chose to take a chance and made a mad dash for the treeline. If she could make it into the thick brush in time, the bear might decide not to follow her and leave.
But Akanes luck ran out as the bear heard her begin to run. With a loud bellow, it immediately turned and gave chase. And it was far faster than its massive size would have led anyone to believe. Akane ran for all she was worth, but no matter how fast she ran the bear seemed to run that much faster as it finally caught her up, nudging her with its head and sending her flying to the ground. Dazed, Akane turned around to see the monstrous animal towering over her on its hind legs, bellowing in rage. All she could think about was getting away as her throat still could only emit frightened murmurs. But the bear was already on her, there was no way she would be fast enough. In that moment, no matter what, she knew that she needed to call for help. She needed
Ranmas voice echoed in Akanes ears as he flew out of the brush like a missile, leaping at the bears head with a massive forward kick. But for all of Ranmas momentum, the animals massive size refused it to budge. Luckily though, it was enough to let Ranma ricochet his attack to land on the ground and scoop Akane up in his arms. Holding her close, Ranma leapt away as the bears massive paw swiped down, tearing away a massive clump of earth from where Akane had just been lying. Bounding to the other side of the clearing within seconds, Ranma was secretly thankful hed developed such speed. A split second later and he would never have survived.
Ranma, Akane blurted out, unable to say anymore.
Akane, go! Get back to camp! Ive got this! Ranma yelled to her.
But , Akane wasnt sure how to respond, almost paralyzed in the shock of the moment. It was as if she was frozen in time, while the whole world was moving around her at lightning speed. It was only when Ranma grabbed her shoulders and shook her hard that she seemed to snap out of it.
Akane! Get out of here! NOW!! Ranma yelled at her, and Akane could see a look of pleading on his face. She also saw that same look in his eyes that shed been noticing since they fell into the lake. But there was no time to ask questions. Nodding once, Akane took off down the path as Ranma charged forward to face the massive bear.
Come on big guy. But dont be surprised if Im a little too tough for you! Ranma called out as he issued his challenge. But when Akane heard his voice, it was enough to make her stop dead in her tracks after only a few steps down the path. After all, she couldnt just run off and leave Ranma to face that monster alone. She was a martial artist too. Whirling back around, she ran back to the treeline and saw Ranma tussling with the huge beast, swiftly dodging each of its attacks as it lunged at him.
Ranma meanwhile, was concentrating intently on the task at hand. Hed already realized from his first attack that this animal was too big and too strong to try and go toe-to-toe with it. Fortunately, he knew one technique that would be strong enough to defeat it, taught to him by Shampoos great grandmother, Cologne. He had to use the Hiryu Shoten-Ha, the Heavenly Dragon Ascension Wave. It was a technique that had become a staple in his arsenal over the years, the spiraling of hot and cold air currents to produce fierce tornados. But against an animal of this size, Ranma knew that he had to make sure that the technique was at its fullest power. So he started dodging the bears lunges in a wide spiral while keeping his own body relaxed, building up a massive generation of hot and cold air.
Akane should have known enough to recognize what Ranma was trying to do. After all, she had seen the technique in action before. But in the heat of the moment, all she could see was Ranma desperately trying to avoid the bears massive paws and huge maw, sometimes dodging them by only scant millimeters. And it was enough to cause her concern for Ranma to override her sense of reason.
Ranma, be careful! Akane blurted out instinctively, immediately catching Ranmas attention.
Oh no, he thought to himself as he continued dodging the bears lunges, Damn it, shes too close! I cant use the Heavenly Dragon Ascension Wave at this level until she gets further away!
What are you doing here, you idiot! I told you to get out of here! Ranma yelled at her, staying on the move. Unfortunately, a moments distraction and the bears massive frame were enough to undo his efforts as the animal clipped him with its shoulder on its next pass, sending Ranma sprawling to the ground. Akane could only gasp in horror as the bear was on its hind legs a moment later, towering over Ranma as it had been towering over her just minutes before.
Damn it, Ranma thought to himself. Instinctively, he already knew he was going to have to start all over again. But the thought of the bear standing over him left his mind as he looked over to see Akane still standing by the path. For him to use the technique the way he wanted to, he knew she couldnt be anywhere near them.
Akane, get out of here! I told you, Ive got this! he called out again as the bear prepared to strike.
RANMA, LOOK OUT! Akane screamed in shock as the bears massive paw came down again. Ranma managed to evade the deadly swipe with microseconds to spare. But the clump of dirt released from the bears claws also loosened a small rock underneath, which was sent flying, striking Ranma in the back of the head. Struggling to stay conscious, Ranma tried desperately to move as the bear lunged forward. But before it reached him, a pair of large rocks came flying from the trees, striking the bear in the head.
Get away from him! Akane cried out from the treeline, armed with a third large rock in her hand. She was scared for Ranma at first, but that fear soon gave way to instinct as she felt the urge to act. She had absolutely no idea what to do next as the bear turned to her and roared, angry and half crazed with pain. But there was one thing she did know. After everything they had been through, from curses to demons to dragons to animal men, the last thing she was about to do was lose her fiancé to Winnie the Pooh.
Aka ne , Ranma stammered as he tried to stay conscious. The last thing he could see was the bears enormous form charging towards Akane, who stubbornly stood her ground. He tried desperately to get up, but his body refused to listen to his brains commands. A moment later, his eyes began to fail him as his vision began to blur and soon, his body was enveloped in darkness.
Damn it Akane, whats wrong with you? I told you to run, Ranmas thoughts echoed as he could feel himself plummeting through the darkness. Just then, an image pierced in his brain. The same image he had been seeing since they fell into the lake. The same image that hed experienced only a few months earlier. He could see it so clearly, on the mountain overlooking the cursed springs of Jusenkyo in China. He could see Akane cradled in his arms, her eyes closed as if she were sleeping. But she wasnt sleeping she wasnt
Akane no, Ranma could hear himself as the image refused to fade, Please, no. Not again
NOT AGAAAAAIIIIN!!!!!!!!!! Ranma screamed to the heavens as a light pierced the darkness and his body surged to life. Without wasting a moment, his instincts took over as he leapt aside, throwing his arms forward.
The whole thing happened so fast that Akane had no time to react at all. All she could see was an enormous beam of light firing from Ranmas hands, striking the bear in the side. Stunned, the bear could only bellow in shock and pain as the beam sent it flying through the trees like a cannonball. A moment later, it landed in the lake below and instantly disappeared.
Akane was in such shock that all she could do was drop the rock she was holding. But a moment later, shed gathered her wits and looked over to see Ranma kneeling on the ground, looking exhausted. Instinctively she ran over to him, but one thought lingered in the back of her mind.
But why the Shishi Hokodan?, she thought to herself. Thats Ryogas technique. Why did he ?
Ranma ? Are you okay? she called to him softly as she knelt in front of him. Ranma however, didnt look up to acknowledge her. He only knelt there, his whole body trembling.
You idiot , he finally muttered under his breath.
What? Akane blurted out. She thought for sure that shed heard him wrong.
Just what the hell did you think you were doing?! Ranma screamed at her, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her, When I say I can handle something, listen to me, damn it! Do you have any idea what I wouldve gone through if youd been if Id
Ranma, Akane could only stare at him, as he looked away again. But before he did, she saw that look on his face again that shed seen earlier, only a thousand times more intense. It was at that moment that she realized why Ranma had used the Shishi Hokodan to attack the bear. It was an attack that increases in power only during moments of deep sadness.
WHY CANT YOU JUST DO WHAT SOMEONE TELLS YOU FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE?!?! Ranma blurted out, trying desperately to keep himself together. It was that moment that the impact of the last few minutes had finally struck home with Akane. Looking up at him, she could feel all the danger, all the fear, all the pain pouring into her as she felt tears welling up in her eyes.
Oh, Ranma! Akane cried out as she threw her arms around his neck and buried her head in his shoulder, trying to keep herself from sobbing. It was then that the towel that had somehow managed to stay wrapped around Akanes body through the entire fight had slid off of her and lightly draped around her waist.
Uh, Akane? Your towel Ranma tried to point out as the moment made him blush.
Ranma, please , Akane pleaded weakly, her voice beginning to crack, Just just hold me.
Ranma fidgeted at first, trying to find the best way to hug her so he wouldnt look like he was making a perverted gesture. But as he felt his arms fold around her, again, the image flashed in his brain. Again, he saw the same image of the mountain overlooking Jusenkyo in China. Again, he could see Akane cradled in his arms, her eyes closed as if she were sleeping. But she wasnt sleeping
Akane, Ranma thought to himself as he held her tightly. In that moment, all previous awkwardness had disappeared. All he knew was that at that moment, no matter what happened, he didnt want to let her go.
Ranma headed back to camp a few minutes later, giving Akane some privacy to get dressed. But Akane couldnt help but feel her mind continually drifting. All she could think about was that look on Ranmas face. It made her feel uncomfortable before, but after what had just happened, it only made her feel worse. No doubt about it, this was a side of Ranma she had never seen before. And she definitely didnt like it. Ranma was always so strong and confident, like a castle wall that nothing could breach. In a way, it was kind of inspirational. But ever since they fell into the lake, he had become so nervous and on edge. In fact, it was almost like he was
Akane took her time walking back to camp, trying to think of just the right thing she could say to try and make him feel better. After all, being understanding and encouraging wasnt exactly an ability that either of them excelled at. But just as she reached the site, she saw her backpack flying out of the tent. And at that moment, being encouraging became the absolute LAST thing on her mind.
Uh, excuse me! She called to Ranma inside the tent, clearly annoyed, And just what do you think youre doing with MY clothes?
Ranma didnt answer at first. In fact, it wasnt until he crawled out of the tent with Akanes rolled up sleeping bag that he actually spoke.
You have to go, he said simply, but his voice had a deathly serious tone to it.
What? Akane could only blurt out, in complete disbelief.
You have to go now, Ranma replied, his voice still serious, If you go now, you can get back to the city before it gets dark. Ill be back tomorrow.
At first, Akane didnt know what to say or even what to think. It was like a dark pit had just opened up inside her. After all, theyd made the plans to come out and get away. And in spite of a few minor setbacks, and even the melee with the bear, she thought theyd been having a good time together. Theyd even slept in the same tent together, which was practically an event in itself. But all of a sudden, there he was, just pushing her away. In the shock of the moment, Akane couldnt help feeling confused and emotional. And at that moment, she did exactly what Akane Tendo always did whenever she got confused and emotional
she got mad.
What brought this on?! she snapped at him, Did you forget what we came out here for?!
It was a mistake, Ranma replied simply, I never should have brought you out here. I should have known better.
Ranma didnt look up at her, still lashing her sleeping bag to her backpack. He didnt even notice that she had said anything yet, which actually made it easier to ignore her. Unfortunately for him, it would only last a few short moments.
You you really dont want me here? Akane asked weakly, making it impossible for Ranma to ignore her any longer. It was one thing when she was mad at him. THAT he could deal with. But hearing her sad and upset was something he had never been able to handle. And at that moment, no matter how bad he felt about sending her away, she had just made him feel a hundred times worse.
Its because of what happened with the bear, isnt it? Akane continued, her voice starting to tremble, I I guess I should have known better, huh? I mean, if you were with someone like like Shampoo she she wouldve been able to hold her own. Or maybe if Ukyo was here she might have listened to you. Not like me at all, being all stubborn just just holding you back and all.
Ranma could only grit his teeth and clench his fists as Akanes words stabbed at him. All he could feel was his guilt being turned to anger. After all, who was she to judge him like that? Just once, couldnt she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or at least get all the facts first? Why couldnt she just understand?
You know, sometimes I just dont know how you can be so unbelievably stupid! he shouted at her, snapping to his feet, Here I am, trying to protect YOU, and you think this is about THEM?! Just what the hell is wrong with you?!
Whats wrong with ME?! How dare you?! Akane growled, immediately forgetting how upset she was just seconds ago, You say youre protecting me, by doing what?! Sending me packing?! Who said I even WANTED your protection anyway?!
Oh, yeah right! You had that bear just begging for mercy, didnt you?! Ranma shot back.
Well, if you think Im so worthless, maybe I SHOULD take a hike! Akane snarled, I cant believe I actually thought the two of us would WANT to spend any time together anyway!
Hey, I never said I didnt want you to be here! Stop putting words in my mouth!
Oh yeah, Im supposed to believe that?! Well, what are you telling me to get lost for if you want me here so bad?!
Im NOT telling you to get lost!!
Then what ARE you telling me?! Youre the one pushing me away!!
I have to!! Because !
BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, YOU IDIOT!!! DONT YOU KNOW ANYTHING?!?!
WELL I LOVE YOU TOO, YOU JERK!!! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?!?!
The instant the words escaped their lips, it was as if the entire world has just disappeared in a flash of light. The two of them could only stand in shock, frozen in the moment. As they stared at each other in disbelief, only one thought echoed through their minds.
Did did he just say
she loves me?
Ranma was the first to shake himself out of his shock. He spoke not a word, but went straight back for Akanes backpack, making sure everything was tied down and zipped up. Akane snapped out of it a moment later, mostly out of her newfound shock at what Ranma was doing. She couldnt believe it. After what had just happened, what could he possibly be thinking?
Ranma, Akane called over to him sheepishly, Ranma, please. I heard you. Dont turn your back on me.
Ranma didnt offer a reply. He simply tended to Akanes backpack in silence.
Ranma, Akane called again, feeling a bit bolder, Come on, Ranma. Talk to me. Please?
Again, Ranma gave no answer. And Akanes initial uncertainty quickly gave way to her instinctive rage as she ran over to where he was kneeling.
WOULD YOU LEAVE THAT ALONE AND LISTEN TO ME?!?! she screamed as she kicked her backpack out of Ranmas hands, sending it flying into the bushes. Ranma didnt look up at her, which only made Akane angrier as she stood in front of him, clenching her fists as her whole body trembled with an explosive mix of emotion.
You you idiot, she blurted out, trying to keep her voice from shaking, Do you know how long Ive been waiting for you to ? And and now you just want me to leave and act like nothing ever ?!
Akane paused only briefly. She could feel the lump in her throat and tears welling up as she shut her eyes tight.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITH THAT?!?!
Ranma still refused to look up at her. In fact, his face seemed to have no emotion at all, while it seemed Akane was using every once of strength to keep herself from crying. It wasnt until a few moments later that Ranma finally offered up a reply.
And if something happened to you because of me and I lost you forever how am I supposed to live with THAT?
Akanes eyes snapped open at the response as Ranma slowly rose to his feet and walked over to slump down onto one of the log posts surrounding the fire pit. It wasnt for another few moments that he would raise his head to look at her. And when Akane looked into his eyes, there was no longer any doubt, although a part of her still couldnt believe it. Of all the time she knew Ranma Saotome, it was the first time she had ever seen a paralyzing fear in his eyes.
Akane, I have taken a lot in my life, Ranma started to say, Ive been banged up pretty good on a regular basis. And thats okay. Ive dealt with that, I can shake that off. But a couple months ago when we were at Jusenkyo that whole Saffron thing I I got hurt. I got hurt bad.
Akane didnt reply. She didnt even dare to move. She could only stand where she was, rooted to the spot, and listened to him.
It didnt feel like I thought it would, Ranma continued, To be honest, I hoped I wouldnt even HAVE to think about what it would feel like. But twice, up on that mountain when I thought you were dead
Ranma had to cut his words off and collect himself for a moment. But Akane could hear the genuine pain in his voice. Something she had never experienced from him before. And it was enough to force the lump in her throat to well up once again.
It it was like something had just grabbed me and twisted me up inside, Ranma tried to maintain some semblance of composure as he forced the words to come, It it just hurt so much I just went numb. Everything was just cold and dark and lonely...I I honestly thought I was going to die too. And and part of me wanted to
Akane could feel thick tears rolling down her cheeks, but her emotions had her too far gone to even think of doing anything about it. Ranma however, didnt notice, having lowered his head, his eyes shut tight and his hands braced against his knees.
I I cant go through that again, Akane. I just cant , Ranma tried desperately to keep his voice from cracking as he clenched his fists as tight as he could. But he couldnt stop a lone tear from dripping onto one of his hands.
IM NOT STRONG ENOUGH!!!
Ranma , Akanes soft voice caught Ranmas attention as he looked up to see her kneeling in front of him. She didnt even bother to wipe the tears streaming down her face. She only looked into his eyes, her bottom lip trembling, before she lunged forward and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.
Ranma, I Ive been such a coward! she sobbed over his shoulder as she held him as tight as she could, as if no force on earth would be able to pry her off, If I couldve just been honest with you maybe things would have been easier!
Akane, Ranma could only sit there, unsure of how to react.
I couldnt I couldnt explain it at first, Akane continued, slightly calmer than when shed started, Why Id get so so jealous when it came to you. Or even why Id blame you for it. And and then you started going away and I started going after you and I just didnt know why. It took me so long to figure it out. But after a while, I I realized that both times even if I didnt want to admit it I was saying the exact same thing
Akane paused for a moment, finally pulling herself away to look into Ranmas eyes. Ranma could still see the tears trailing down her cheeks, but at the same time, her lips had managed to curl up in a weak, but warm, smile.
that I needed you.
Ranma didnt respond right away. It seemed like he could only sit there and look at her. But Akane didnt know what to expect when he slowly folded his arms around her and pulled her close, taking slow, deep breaths.
Youre not a coward, Akane, he spoke softly after holding her for a few moments, You could never be a coward.
He paused a moment longer, pulling away just far enough to press his forehead to hers. As they both gently closed their eyes, savoring the moment, Ranma found himself chuckling weakly before he spoke again.
Youre youre too damn thick-headed.
Akane couldnt help but blurt out a laugh as she sniffled and finally began wiping tears from her eyes. The two of them chuckled and giggled a few moments more before savoring their closeness once again. In fact, they were so enthralled in the moment, that neither one of them noticed the other moving closer. That is until, for the briefest of moments, they felt their lips softly touching each other.
In that moment, both pairs of eyes snapped open, as if they had both been struck by a bolt of lightning. What they had just done was and neither one of them had planned it or even THOUGHT of planning it. Initially, Ranma found himself relenting as he lowered his head and shrunk back, until he felt Akane holding his face in her hands.
Ranma, please, he heard her whisper, I know what youre feeling. Dont push it away.
Pensively, Ranma raised his head and looked into her eyes, seeing them filled with such warmth and affection. She even smiled at him briefly.
Cant we just feel the way we fee? Even just for a moment? she spoke softly once more, moving her face closer to his, Please just for tonight cant we just stop being afraid ?
Ranma answered immediately as he leaned forward, quickly closing the remaining gap and pressing his lips against Akanes. Akane welcomed the contact gratefully, even if it was a little harder than she would have liked. They were both still obviously nervous at first as the two of them exchanged a series of kisses. After all, their timing was definitely off. Sometimes one of them pulled in to fast or one of them waited to long before pulling away. Sometimes a kiss was too firm, sometimes not firm enough. But at that moment, it was also obvious that none of those factors were far too insignificant to be of any consequence. Only the act itself had meaning. They could both feel it, that need. A need so intense that it was filling them up until it shattered all their insecurities and doubts. After a couple of minutes, their timing became more synchronized as a few softer, lengthier kisses passed between them, ending with the two of them holding each other in a warm embrace. Neither one of them knew exactly how long they stayed there, holding each other. Although they didnt really care either.
The sun had begun to set and a handful of the brighter stars had begun to make their presence known in the darkening sky. Ranma and Akane meanwhile, could only sit by each other in silence. Ranma had built a fire not too long ago while Akane had maintained the presence of mind to go and fetch her backpack from the bush. They hadnt spoken the entire time, considering they needed time to process what had just happened. When theyd originally planned their weekend, this was the last possible direction they had expected it to take. All they seemed able to do was stare into the fire, hoping to find that same contentment they were feeling before. Maybe then, they would be able to collect their thoughts.
But again, unconscious actions seemed to be the rule of the day as Akane found herself instinctively sliding herself closer to Ranma. After everything was said and done, she just felt the need to be close to him. It wasnt until she felt her head rest on his shoulder that she realized what she was doing. And Akane couldnt help but sigh as words finally escaped her lips.
We are SO pathetic.
Yeah, Ranma replied, staring into the fire.
I mean, I cant believe we almost had to get killed to , Akane continued, Theres something very wrong about that.
Yeah, Ranma replied again. Akane couldnt help but notice his voice growing more distant as she looked up at him. She could tell that something wasnt right.
Ranma, are you okay? she asked gently. Ranma didnt respond at first, staring into the fire for a few moments more.
I dont know, he finally replied, not turning to face her.
Ranma, Akane could only look at him, finally beginning to understand, Are you still thinking about Jusenkyo?
This time, Ranma offered no reply. He could only sit and stare into the fire.
You know, there are going to be more guys like Saffron out there, Akane said, trying to get him to open up, Its not going to get any easier.
I know, Ranma replied after another lengthy pause. Looking up to see the expression on his face, Akane could see the war being waged inside him. She could see his desire to act on his feelings struggling against the fear of the consequences. She could also see that his inner defenses, the iron walls that he had raised around his heart, had come back up again, trying to shield him from that very dilemma. That was when the words escaped her lips.
Ranma, I I know what its like, Akane could hear the nervousness in her voice, Being scared, I mean. Not knowing what will happen. I I wanted so much for this thing to be easy. I didnt realize it wasnt going to be.
Ranma still kept his gaze away from her for the most part, although his eyes occasionally darted in Akanes direction.
You know, when we first met, I I tried so hard to hate you, Akane continued, Becoming engaged to a total stranger, I actually thought it would be easy. But no matter what happened no matter how big a jerk you were or how many times we fought dont ask me why there was something about you that I just couldnt hate.
Akane paused for a moment, collecting herself before she continued. After all, it was something she wanted Ranma to understand, but getting the words to come out was much harder than she thought.
And then Shampoo came along, and then Ukyo and and I was so jealous of them. I mean, they both have WAY more to offer you than I do. Shampoos so sexy and shes just totally into you. And Ukyo, she would be like the perfect housewife. Like I could ever be either of those things, right? But part of me was actually glad when that happened. I thought it would make it easier for me to start hating you. But it didnt get easier. It just made it harder.
Ranma looked over at Akane, staring into the fire and he could see the emotion dancing in her eyes. But Akane didnt turn to face him. She knew if she did, shed never finish what she was trying to tell him. It was taking all her inner strength to do that as it was. She merely stared into the fire and kept letting the words pour out.
And then, whenever you went away and it took everything in my power to keep from following you. Sometimes I was able to stop myself, sometimes I wasnt. I just didnt realize at the time how happy it made me just to be close to you. Even if all we ended up doing was fighting it was still worth it. And it took me a while to figure how just how much strength those feelings actually gave me. I mean, if it had been anyone else, I never would have been able to go running after them the way I did with you.
Akane paused again, sliding slightly closer to Ranma as she spoke.
After a while I I began to see just what I was really feeling. Why I kept doing the things I did. But I couldnt say anything. I just couldnt. After trying so hard to hate you admitting that I it felt like being defeated somehow. Later, I began to realize what an idiot I was for thinking like that. That I was throwing away something that could have been so But somehow, I just couldnt stop.
Akane seemed to instinctively know where Ranma as she reached out and gently hugged his arm, pulling herself even closer and leaning her head back against him. She still couldnt work up the courage to look up at his face, but she managed to get out her last words.
I I dont want to be that way anymore, Ranma, Akane spoke as she felt herself snuggling against his arm, I dont want to be afraid or ashamed. I I dont want to stop being jealous over you. I dont even want to stop fighting with you. You mean too much to me. I I dont care how hard it gets anymore. I just want to be with you.
Ranma didnt reply right away. But he didnt pull away either, which gave Akane the courage to hold on. Still, she couldnt help feeling nervous. After all, she had just poured her heart and soul out to the one person she had been afraid to for so long. She had no idea what that would mean, but she had to hope that if she was willing to face those consequences, it would be enough to get to him. It would be another few moments before Ranma turned to look at her, but there was still a brief pause before he said anything as he swallowed hard.
I-I I dont want to lose you, Akane.
Akane found herself looking deeply into his eyes for a moment before she responded the only way she felt she could. Slowly wrapping her arms around his neck, she guided his head down over her shoulder and held him close as she whispered in his ear.
Then dont lose me.
Ranma didnt do anything at first, but a moment later, Akane felt his arms slide around her waist as he held her tight as buried his face into the crook of her neck. She still wasnt used to seeing Ranma so vulnerable, but in an odd way, she felt inwardly happy that she could be there for him. It seemed that from time to time, even Ranma Saotome needed someone to just hold him and comfort him and try to make him feel that everything would be alright. And in a way, she couldnt help but feel grateful that she was at least able to offer him that.
It was several minutes before Ranma broke the embrace and slowly turned back towards the fire. At least he seemed a little more content than he was before, but Akane could also see that there was something on his mind. Still, she wasnt about to rush him. Whatever happened, she was more than willing to give Ranma all the time he needed as she turned back towards the fire as well. But Ranmas first words came much sooner than shed expected.
I dont love them.
Shampoo and Ukyo. You were talking about them before. I I dont love them.
Somewhere in Akanes mind, there was a part of her that knew she should feel relieved or excited to Ranma say those words. A part that felt like doing cartwheels and jumping for joy. But she wasnt about to do something so monumentally selfish. It looked as if Ranma was actually starting to open up to her and at that moment, nothing meant more to Akane than that. So she remained silent and simply listened.
Look, I dont like to talk about it much, Ranma continued, I guess its because I dont know what I can do about it yet. But I dont want you think that look, Shampoo is well, I know a lot of times she doesnt deserve it, but I guess I kind of feel sorry for her you know? I mean, she could have any guy she wants in a heartbeat. But here she is, clinging to me because her stupid Chinese Amazon traditions have her totally brainwashed. I just dont think thats fair. She deserves better.
Akane didnt respond. She simply hugged Ranmas arm tighter and stared into the fire.
And Ukyo well, what can I say? Shes my friend, okay? I dont have a lot of those, so the ones I have mean a lot to me. I just want to stay her friend, thats all. I know, its asking for trouble and I know it looks like Im stringing them along. I dont want it to be like that. I just dont want anyone to get hurt because of me you know? I never wanted ANY of this to happen. I just keep hoping that theyll both find someone else and just get on with their lives, you know? Be happy.
Ranma paused briefly as he turned and looked down at Akane, who still clung tightly to his arm. Almost as if she could sense Ranma looking down at her, Akane raised her head and once their eyes met, they could each feel their heart skip a beat. But Ranma couldnt let it slow him down. He had to finish what hed started.
But Akane, youre youre the one that I dont EVER ever want to doubt how I I
Ranma could only freeze up as he hung his head and sighed. He could feel it, his emotions locked up again. The walls around his heart had been rebuilt almost as quickly as theyd been torn down. It seemed that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldnt get the words to come. It was only when he felt Akanes hand on his cheek that he was able to raise his head once again.
It its okay Ranma, she replied softly, gently caressing his cheek, Im not going to fight with you on this one. I dont want to. Just take your time.
Ranma couldnt help but smile in response as he pressed his forehead to hers and gently took her hand in his. Somehow, her words seemed to make him feel better. But that was always Akane for him. One way or another, she always seemed to be there to support him whenever his back was against the wall, right when he needed it most. Its what made Ranmas next words seem less forced and much more natural to say.
Akane youre my best friend, Ranma paused with a nervous chuckle, I mean until I got to know you, I never thought a chump like me could ever HAVE a best friend. Youve youve always stood by me and it took me a long time to realize how much that meant to me. I guess thats why I hate being so clumsy at this. I wish I could be the kind of guy for you whos comfortable talking about this kind of stuff.
Ranma stumbled briefly in his words, starting to feel flustered again. Akane noticed how uncomfortable he was, but was careful not to say anything. She didnt want to push him.
Its just , Ranma sighed as he pulled himself away, turning from Akane and hanging his head, no matter what I say or do youre the one person I NEED to understand how I feel.
Ranma paused again with a deep breath, gathering all the remaining courage he could muster for one last grab at the words.
Akane I need you to know that
that you love me? Ranmas head snapped up to see Akanes filled with warmth and affection. She wasnt there to taunt or goad him. It was at that moment that Ranma responded with only the slightest of nods, but a part of him was still ashamed that he couldnt get the words out. That is, until he felt the gentle touch of Akanes lips on his cheek. Looking over, all he could see was Akanes affectionate smile.
I know, she whispered, and Ranma could feel her softly fold her hands over his. He couldnt help but feel more at ease as he looked into Akanes eyes, but there was still one more thing he felt he had to get off his chest before he relaxed too much.
Akane I cant promise I can be the kind of man you want, he stated sheepishly as he turned away slightly. Only the feeling of Akanes hand sliding down his cheek caused him to look into her eyes once again as she whispered to him once more.
Just be the one I need.
Ranma had to return Akanes smile as the pair folded their arms around each other in another lengthy embrace. There was no doubt that this conversation was a long time in coming. It certainly took long enough too. They were both fully aware that their families would never have granted them the time to say everything they wanted to say. Be it their interfering fathers or even Akanes snoopy sisters, someone would have butted in long before this point. Of course, both Ranma and Akane knew that if any of them had been around at all, such a conversation would never have taken place. And if nothing else, that one fact alone would have made the whole weekend completely worth it. Even though they had never expected events to take such a drastic turn, something else had happened that they hadnt expected either. As they held each other tighter, a new feeling had found its way into their hearts and what it had done was extraordinary. Where there was once a wall of apprehension, now there was a bond of trust. Uncertainty had been transformed into relief. And as they both pulled away to look into each others eyes, a familiar warm feeling began to well up inside them, something they had been feeling more than once that day.
Ranma face became flushed with emotion as he felt his sense of reason being stripped away. Hed tried for so long to keep his emotions in check, afraid that they would cloud his judgment. But at that moment, he didnt feel clouded. In fact, he felt a clarity hed never felt before. All the doubts and the conflicting thoughts were silent. In that moment, he knew exactly what he wanted. And before he could give himself a chance to think about it, he took a deep breath and spoke.
I love you, Akane, Ranmas words echoed in Akanes mind for what seemed like an eternity. There wasnt the slightest indication that it was a mistake or a slip of the tongue. And on a deeper level that she couldnt explain, she just knew it. She could see it in his face, just by the way he smiled. He loved her. He really did love her. She could feel the tears of pure emotion welling up in her eyes, she was even sniffling a little. But she just couldnt stop smiling. In that moment, she was happy. Happier than shed ever been.
I love you too, she replied, as she leaned up to kiss him without a moments hesitation. And Ranma welcomed the soft touch as she pressed her lips to his. This time, neither side called for retreat. All doubts and insecurities had been washed away by the new emotions flooding over them. No longer the clumsy, ham-fisted exchange they had previously shared, now their kisses were soft and gentle, smoothly flowing in and out of one another. Soon, the kisses deepened as they pulled each other close, letting the rest of the world simply fade away.
The lamp in the tent was just dim enough that some faint light from the fire could flicker through as Ranma gently laid Akanes head down on his bed and slowly slid beside her. But he had only a brief pause before Akane put her arms around him and pulled herself close, gently wrapping her lips around his. Ranma responded by holding her tight, returning her kiss as they both began to savor their newfound closeness. Gently running their hands up and down each others backs, they slowly wrapped their legs around each other as their mouths softly wrestled. After several minutes, Ranma slowly rolled over on top of her. And as Akane put her arms around his neck, the two of them paused for only a few seconds, looking into each others eyes. Neither one of them was paying any attention to how much time had passed. Time no longer had any meaning. But then, neither did words. Enough words had already been said. They seemed to be communicating just fine by simply looking at each other. Akane closed her eyes for a moment and her lips curled in a tiny smile before she snuggled her forehead against Ranmas and started to kiss him again.
Gradually, the moment seemed to play out like the gentle waves of the ocean and it seemed like nothing could disturb its flow. But suddenly, out of nowhere, Akane felt a jolt of electricity, making her eyes snap open and forcing her to moan in Ranmas mouth through their kiss. Ranma immediately noticed the change and broke the kiss to find out what was wrong, but it didnt take him long to find out. He had been so caught up in the moment that he hadnt even noticed his left hand had reached up to Akanes chest and was softly rubbing and squeezing her breast.
Ranma Akane could only blurt out with a look of shock on her face, causing Ranma to tear his hand away and scurry backwards toward the tent entrance, clearly embarrassed.
Akane, Im sorry! I didnt even know that Id Ranma stammered nervously as Akane sat up, looking at him, I didnt mean to ! I mean, I would never ! I Im really sorry
Ranma turned away, unable to even look at her anymore. All the years of Akane calling him a pervert had taken a very real toll on him. He tried so hard to be some kind of gentleman around her and didnt want to do anything that would be considered lecherous in the even the smallest way. And there he was, throwing it all away by fondling her like she was some kind of toy. Normally, this would have been the part where Akane came at him fists first. But at the moment, she was just as stunned as Ranma was. She didnt say anything at first as she knelt in front of him, but she could see the guilt on his face. It was another few moments before she finally spoke, looking away sheepishly.
Ranma I just want to know do you think postponing the wedding was a good thing?
Huh? Ranma was surprised to hear Akane asking such a question. But he couldnt help being nervous. A part of him wasnt sure if he liked where this conversation was going.
Well, Im just saying maybe maybe it was, Akane continued, not making Ranma feel any better, I I dont think we were ready. At least I dont think I was.
Akane, Ranma had no idea what to say in response. He could only stay knelt where he was and look at her.
Look, dont get me wrong, Akane tried to smooth things over, Its not the wedding itself, it was just what the wedding meant. I mean, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wasnt ready to be a wife. I I wasnt ready for things like being a homemaker, or taking care of a family
Akane paused briefly, as a faint blush came to her cheeks and her voice lowered almost to a whisper.
or even you know, things like making love.
Ranmas eyes snapped open wide as he swallowed hard. Now it was plain to see where Akane was going.
Akane I really didnt mean to
No, Ranma. Im trying to say its okay, Akane said, still turned away, What I meant was I wasnt ready THEN.
Akane paused briefly to look into Ranmas eyes. Ranma could still see the blush on her cheeks, but at the same time, he could see another look in her eyes, one mixed with the nervousness she was still feeling. He had seen this look before. It was the same look she had the day they were supposed to be married. A look of conviction.
But but now I think I am
Akane Ranma couldnt help but be surprised as he looked at her, Are you saying
Well I mean, like not all the way, Akane turned shy again as she blushed harder and looked away, fidgeting her fingers, But you know maybe just a little bit? Just to try?
Ranma couldnt help but fidget himself as he blushed hard and put his head down. He wasnt sure just how to respond to what Akane had just said. But soon he heard a soft rustling and looked up to see that Akane had slid over closer to him. Another few moments passed as the two of them exchanged a series of shy glances. But it was Akane who broke the silence once again.
Ranma do do you think youre ready?
Akane 8221; Ranma wasnt sure the right thing to say. Was there even a right thing to say in a situation like this? After all, how could he express interest without sounding too eager? How could he express disinterest without making the thought sound disgusting?
Unsure of what to say, Ranma could only respond by putting his arms around Akane and holding her close. It wasnt exactly an answer to her question, but it was better than awkward silence. And Akane welcomed it as she clung to his shirt and snuggled against his chest. After a few moments, feeling Akane close to him made Ranma feel more at ease as he held her a little tighter.
You know, I could definitely get used to this, he said softly.
Mmmm, Akane replied simply. A few minutes later, they paused to look into each others eyes once more and the feeling of contentment immediately became apparent. Why was that? How could something as simple as just being in each others arms take away all those things they were so worried about mere minutes ago and just make them not matter? Maybe that question didnt matter either. Maybe all that mattered was what they were feeling right then, that feeling of closeness and the calm that began to wash over them.
Slowly, they found themselves moving closer to each other until their lips were just barely touching. Ranma gently took hold of Akanes shoulders and Akane ran her hands up his arms as their lips gingerly glided over each other for a few seconds before meeting in another soft kiss. It took them a moment to get into the kiss, but once they had, the whole world again seemed to just disappear. But a few moments later, Ranmas heart skipped as he felt his tongue slide into Akanes mouth. He hadnt planned to kiss her that way and he knew it could easily become big trouble. If Akane resisted, it could undo everything they had just done. But he was surprised one step further as he felt Akanes tongue slide over his, as though she was welcoming him inside her mouth. A few moments passed as their tongues flicked and prodded each other, getting used to the new sensations, the taste of each others mouth. But soon their tongues were wrestling and wrapping around each other, savoring each others touch like two lovers. It was then that Ranma and Akane broke the kiss and just stared at each other with a newfound fascination. They could both feel the emotions swelling up inside them, even stronger than before.
Lovers is that what they were becoming?
I really love you, Akane, Ranma whispered, carried off in the wave of emotion he was experiencing, And if you really want to we could maybe a little
Ssshhh, Akane cut him off by placing her fingers on his lips as she smiled up at him, I love you too.
There was no hesitation this time as Both Ranma and Akane inched closer and softly kissed. Each kiss after became gradually deeper until they were tenderly probing each others mouths with their tongues. There was no hesitation as Akane gently fumbled with the buttons on Ranmas shirt, unfastening each one and sliding it down off his shoulders, letting it fall behind him. No hesitation as Ranma unzipped Akanes hooded sweater and let it slide down her arms, his hands reaching up to caress her newly bared shoulders. Akane could feel Ranmas fingers trace along the satiny straps of her bra as she pulled on his tank top, lifting it up to his chest. Ranma followed the cue and their kiss broke to give Akane time to pull his tank top up and off.
At that moment, there was a brief pause as they looked into each others eyes. For the both of them, this was completely uncharted territory. If either one of them had any doubts about the path they were about to take, they still had time to back out. But again, there was no need for words as Akane pressed her hands firmly against Ranmas bare chest and Ranma folded his arms around her. They could feel it as they looked at each other. This wasnt just blind instinct taking over, acting on foolish impulse. There was confidence and willingness too. They couldnt quite explain it, but for some reason, they both knew. They knew they were in control and they knew what they wanted. Whatever else might happen afterwards right here right now this was the right thing to do. After an eternity of seeming like they would never be now they knew they were ready.
A series of tiny kisses passed between them as Ranma took the back of Akanes head and gently laid her back onto the bed. From there, it was another deep kiss as Akane fumbled with the strap on Ranmas pants, loosening them off. Ranma then kicked his pants away as he gently unfastened Akanes shorts. Following up, Akane lifted her hips slightly, allowing Ranma to pull her shorts down to her knees. She wiggled out of them the rest of the way and kicked them away much as Ranma had. Akane was primarily focusing on the kiss as the moment played out, but as she felt her shorts slide off, she broke away, looking deeply into Ranmas eyes. Ranma could already see what she was feeling. As much as she wanted things to go this way, things were starting to go just a little too fast.
Ranma, she asked softly, Can we just stay like this for a while?
Yeah. Yeah, its fine, Ranma answered with an assuring nod. Refusing to be the pervert, he was bound and determined to make Akane feel comfortable. And he seemed to be doing the right thing as Akane smiled, immediately feeling less nervous. Part of Ranma felt a little relieved as well, not wanting to go too fast either. He wanted to be in control of everything that happened from that point on and the only way to do that was by taking it slow. And looking into Akanes eyes, he could tell that she agreed. The two exchanged a pair of soft kisses and Ranma was beginning to feel comfortable again until he felt Akane gently push him off of her.
Are are you okay? he asked nervously, Am I doing something wrong?
No, no. Its just that Ranma, could you tell me something? Akane asked as she sat up, propped herself back on her right arm, and spread her legs, revealing herself to him. She knew it felt like such a silly thing at this point, the question she was about to ask. But after all the cracks Ranma had made about her appearance, she found herself feeling a touch superficial.
Are you okay with me?
Ranma only knelt in front of her, taking in the sight before him. The sight of Akane sitting in front of him with her legs spread, dressed only in her white bra and panties and her white ankle socks. He saw her bra, with its tiny patterns of lace, snugly wrapped around her breasts. In the back of his mind he noted that she might have to buy a larger size soon. She was definitely filling out in the chest area. But Ranmas eyes continued to gaze, scanning her soft curves and hips. He noticed her panties draped around her like a second skin and he swallowed hard as he took note of her plump womanhood straining against the thin layer of fabric between her legs. Scanning further down her thighs and calves, he noticed her little toes briefly wiggling inside her socks. And in between all that was every inch of her soft, creamy flesh. All in all, the total package was a sight to behold. And he had to remind himself of what a privilege it really was.
Thats when it all hit him. All the cracks he made about her body over the years. Every time he ever called her uncute, thick-waisted, flat-chested ugly. To see her now at that moment, it made him realize how misguided it was, even cruel. And yet why he could only see this side of her at certain times? He knew deep down that nothing was really different about her, that she was still the same Akane Tendo hed known for years. But still how was it that she seemed to transform somehow during moments like this? Change from the hotheaded macho tomboy he was used to into the soft, sensual woman now before him? The beautiful woman he only ever seemed to see all too briefly?
Akane, Ranma paused as he crawled over to her and offered her a soft, deep kiss before giving her an assuring smile, you dont ever need to ask me that.
Akane smiled warmly as they slowly brought their lips together once again, laying back down onto the bed. Taking things slower now, the two alternated their kissing, switching from long, deep kisses with their tongues to soft pecks on the lips to everything in between. Akane, meanwhile, was savoring every precious second of the experience. How many times had she played this exact moment out in her head? More times than she would admit to anyone, even herself. All the times she thought about Ranma thrilling her lips with gentle kisses. All the times she imagined his arms around her, holding her tight, her warm skin pressed against his. All the times she dreamed about running her hands up and down his back, sliding them over his hard, muscular chest and abs, savoring the touch of her hands on his flesh. Now, it was far more than a picture she could only visit in her mind. It was really happening. He was really kissing her, holding her close. She was really pressed against him, touching him the way she so often wanted to do. And as she measured every thought shed ever had in the back of her mind to what she was actually experiencing, she realized then that there was no comparison. No thought, no matter how intimate or detailed, could have possibly matched what she was really feeling at that moment. She could feel her heart pounding harder inside her chest as she ran her leg along Ranmas, wrapping it around his thigh.
Ranma, meanwhile, could feel Akanes body gently squirming underneath him and it made him feel a little bolder. Breaking away from Akanes lips, he tilted his head over and began placing soft kisses along her neck. Akane could feel the electricity snaking along her spine as Ranmas lips touched her flesh. And Ranma could hear her breathing quicken as she arched her back slightly. As Akane panted in his ear, Ranma found himself smiling inwardly. Hed heard about kissing a womans neck, but hed never actually done it, so he wasnt sure if he could do it right. But Akane seemed to be enjoying his efforts, which made him feel better as he kissed her neck a little harder. He even freed up one hand and reached down to softly caress her creamy thigh. Akane instantly felt the new sensations as her spine jolted, forcing a tiny moan out of her mouth.
Ranma Ranma Akane had a slight whine in her voice, indicating her growing arousal, Y-you if you want, you can
Akane glanced down at her chest and Ranma instantly picked up on the message she was sending. Part of him wanted to immediately take Akane up on her offer. But again, Akanes constant accusations of his perversions and their constant string of bad experiences had taught him that this moment required much caution. He said nothing, but looked into her eyes to see if she was absolutely sure. Seeing what Ranma was asking, Akanes lips curled into a tiny smile. And there wasnt the slightest hint of doubt or hesitation in her eyes. Not breaking eye contact, Ranma reached around and gently unclasped Akanes bra, sliding the straps off her shoulders and gradually exposing her soft breasts.
Ranma swallowed hard as he took in the sight of Akanes upper body laid bare before him. His eyes scanned every inch, taking in every detail, memorizing the size and shape of her breasts and her delicate pink areoles and nipples. It wasnt exactly the first time hed seen her chest, but there was no way that this was the same thing. She was allowing this to happen and Ranma knew the experience had to be handled delicately. He had to live up to the trust she was putting in him. After a moment, he looked back into Akanes eyes, indicating that he was ready. And Akane prepared herself as she gently took Ranmas face in her hands and softly kissed his lips. Ranma gently reached up and felt his hands press against the soft flesh of Akanes breasts. He noticed her take a deep breath as soon as his hands made contact and immediately, he knew he had to keep his eyes on her, gauge her reactions. If he did anything that she didnt like or that made her uncomfortable, he had to be ready to back off in a heartbeat.
Akanes breath began to quicken as Ranmas hands gently rubbed and squeezed her breasts. Still holding Ranmas face in her hands, Akane tried her best to avoid squirming around too much, even though she was already starting to feel the electricity building up inside her chest. Feeling a little bolder, Ranma squeezed her breasts a little harder and adjusted his hands, rolling Akanes nipples around on the tips of his index fingers. Already, he could feel the little buds had begun to swell and stiffen. Akane closed her eyes, savoring the sensations as Ranma began gently pinching and tugging on her nipples. Eventually, her breathing began to be replaced by tiny moans.
Akane am I doing it okay? Ranma asked softly. Opening her eyes, Akane offered up another gentle smile with a slight nod.
Mmm hmm, was her only response.
Just then, Ranma did something Akane didnt expect. Rolling off her, he crawled over to the head of the tent and sat down. As Akane sat up to see what he was doing, Ranma took her by the hips and gently pulled her back so she was seated between his legs, her back pressed against his chest. But before she could ask, Ranmas hands reached around and softly cupped Akanes breasts, lifting on them ever so slightly to feel their weight.
Once again, Akanes gasped slightly as she felt Ranmas hands touching her. Now she understood why he wanted to try it this way. It allowed him more freedom to do what he wanted without having to worry about shifting his weight off of her. Whether that was the whole reason or simply part of it, Ranma definitely appeared more comfortable with this position as he began squeezing and rubbing her soft mounds more firmly. He even seemed a little more playful as he gently bounced them in his hands. Again, Akane could feel the pleasure welling up inside her chest as her heavy breathing returned.
Ranma took note of Akanes heavy breathing and smiled to himself. It felt good to know that she was enjoying the way he was touching her. Almost as good as it felt to actually BE touching her. Past misunderstandings had allowed him a brief glimpse of what it felt like, but Akane always made sure he regretted it afterwards. But this was entirely different. His hands were fondling and squeezing her naked breasts because she wanted him to. She was allowing her body to be exposed to him and Ranma wasnt going to waste any part of it. He wanted to savor every moment of feeling his hands on her soft, warm breasts.
Feeling bolder, he went back to Akanes nipples, gently swirling the tips of his fingers around her areoles, which grew plump and swollen. Moments later, he was softly pinching and tugging at her nipples and he immediately noticed how hard and erect they were. Gently, he began plucking the swollen buds like grapes, occasionally twisting them between his thumb and forefinger while the rest of his hands were softly squeezing her delicate breast flesh. Instantly, Ranma heard Akanes breath coming in ragged gasps as he leaned in and inhaled deeply, taking in the clean scent of her hair. All he could think about was how something like this seemed so unthinkable mere hours ago. But now, for some strange reason, being able to touch her like this felt as natural as breathing.
Akane, you smell so good, he whispered, leaning his head to the side and gently kissing along her neck and shoulder. Akane, meanwhile, could feel herself being carried off by the waves of pleasure flowing through her chest. Part of her couldnt believe how incredible it felt. From the start, she had an alarm in the back of her mind, expecting Ranma to be much more aggressive and thinking shed have to keep telling him to take things more slowly. But there he was, caressing her so tenderly. She was enjoying every single way he was touching her. So much so that she threw her head back over Ranmas shoulder, panting hard as he kissed her neck. She could hear herself whimper as she bit her bottom lip, trying to keep from moaning too loud. But it was only a few moments longer before she was unable to control herself anymore.
Ranma ! She breathed, Dont dont stop! Please dont stop! It feels s-so good!
Do you really like it? Ranma pulled his lips away from her neck as he twisted her nipples just a little bit harder. He wanted to make sure he was doing everything right.
I I love it! Akane panted, moaning between breaths as her smile revealed the depths of her pleasure, It feels wonderful!
Ranma smiled back warmly as he leaned in and gently pressed his mouth against hers. As Akanes tongue licked at his feverishly, he could feel her moaning in his mouth and responded by pulling on her nipples, making her moan louder through their kiss. Akane, meanwhile, was flooded with arousal. Even as she felt her breasts beginning to ache, it seemed to flow with the wonderful sensations Ranma was giving her. And the delicious throbbing of pleasure and pain made Akane yearn for his touch even more. But suddenly, she felt another sensation in the back of her mind. Something was pressing against the small of her back. Something warm and hard.
Fighting the pleasure for a moment to keep rational mind functioning, Akane reached behind her back and her suspicions were confirmed. Straining against Ranmas boxer shorts, almost peeking out through the waistband, was the long, hard shape of his manhood. Akane still held onto her kiss with Ranma as she ran her hand along the shaft, but after a few moments, she began to realize how selfish she was being. There he was, treating her so well and she knew she didnt want it to end. But still, what was she doing for him?
Ranma, she gasped, breaking the kiss as she continued running her hand over his member, Do do you think maybe I could ?
Are are you sure? Ranma asked as he noticed Akanes hand stroking him. He was so caught up what he was doing for Akane that he hadnt even noticed how hard hed gotten. And now, he was unsure of exactly how to answer. Akane meanwhile, smiled warmly as she turned her body around to face him. Placing one hand to his cheek, she softly kissed his lips as her other hand stayed pressed against his member, rubbing it through his boxers.
Ranma, you made me feel so good already, she whispered in his ear, her voice sounding so seductive, Let me make you feel good too.
Looking into Akanes smiling face, Ranma simply nodded once and slid forward to lie back onto the bed. Laying her upper body on top of him, Akanes breasts pressed firmly against Ranmas chest as she added a few more soft kisses, still caressing his manhood through his shorts. Placing a delicate kiss on the tip of his chin, she moved downward, gently kissing and massaging his hard chest with her lips and her free hand. Slowly, softly, she covered his chest with kisses and caresses, moving from his hard chest to his firm abs, still keeping one hand on his member as she went. Oh, but those muscles. Akane knew she could spend hours just kissing and touching those beautiful, hard muscles. But she wanted to return to Ranma some of the pleasure he had just given her, so there was only one muscle she had her eye on at that moment. Raising her body up, her eyes took in the sight of Ranmas whole upper body and she couldnt help but smile as her hands reached around to the sides of his shorts, tugging slightly on the waistband. And as Ranma looked up at her, something in her smile made him smile too as she leaned back down towards him.
Youre so handsome, Akane sighed as she brought her mouth to Ranmas, kissing him deeply as she pulled on his shorts. As their tongues massaged each other through the kiss, Ranma instinctively arched his back slightly and Akane could feel his shorts sliding down off his hips and around his thighs. Ranma gently wiggled them down his legs the rest of the way, flipping them aside with his ankle. Still savoring the kiss, Akane hadnt turned to look yet as her hand reached for Ranmas now exposed manhood. She could feel the heat on her hand right before she touched it, but as she wrapped her hand around the shaft and heard Ranma moan slightly that she finally broke the kiss and looked down to see what shed uncovered.
Looking down, Akane swallowed hard as her eyes wandered over the sight now before her. She had seen Ranma naked before, but not like this. Before, it was just normal naked. Shed never seen him hard before. Shed never seen the long shaft, the tiny veins, the big, dark head, all puffy and swollen. In that moment, Akane felt an intense fascination and her heart raced as her fingers gently caressed her new treasure.
Wow, its really big. And its so hard too, she whispered in awe as her fingers wrapped around Ranmas member, gently stroking the long shaft, It looks really pretty too.
Mmmm, was Ranmas only response as he savored the touch of Akanes hand on his manhood. Akane, meanwhile, was taking things very cautiously. Shed seen enough guys get hit down there to know how easy it was to hurt. And she didnt want Ranma to get hurt when she touched him. She wanted him to feel good. Gingerly, she ran her fingers along the head, taking in how big it was. As she ran her thumb underneath, she heard Ranma groan slightly as his member twitched. Akane immediately took notice of the reaction. It seemed she had found herself a sweet spot. She would have to remember it. But for the time being, she was happy to just feel Ranmas stiff muscle in her hand as she continued stroking it. There was something about looking at it, all long and hard, about feeling its length in her hand that was so intoxicating.
Ranma, its so smooth. And warm, she whispered in his ear as her hand caressed his twitching, throbbing member, It feels really nice to touch it.
Ranma didnt offer a reply. He simply closed his eyes and let himself be carried away by Akanes touch. She wasnt giving him extreme sensations, but that was fine. Too much stimulation could actually be uncomfortable. At the moment, Ranma was perfectly happy to enjoy the mild waves of sensation and he found himself smiling warmly as Akane gently stroked him. But a few moments later, a new sensation came into play. Ranma was feeling something around the head of his member, making it twitch and throb even more. Something that didnt feel like Akanes hands anymore. This feeling was much warmer and wet?
Immediately, Ranmas head snapped up to see what Akane was doing, but what he saw next was beyond belief. Akane had switched positions and was lying by his waist. The shaft of his manhood was still being stroked by Akanes hand. But the head Akanes lips were wrapped around his member, gently sucking on the head. Akane was actually sucking on him!
A Akane !? Ranma blurted out, unable to hide his shock. Hearing the panic in his voice, Akanes eyes snapped open, looking over at his puzzled expression.
What whats wrong? Akane asked with concern as Ranmas dark head popped out of her mouth, Was I not doing it right?
Well, no. Its not that. I just didnt think that youd you know, ACTUALLY Ranmas voice trailed off as he found it more and more difficult to come up with an answer.
Oh Im sorry, Akanes voice shrank as she turned away embarrassed, I didnt mean to I I just thought that maybe youd want me to.
No, thats not it! Ranma panicked at first, but soon found himself growing shy, Akane, I do want you to. I I really do. But I didnt want you to think that I just you know, only if you wanted to.
Silence followed as they both blushed and looked away. This was the first moment the two of them felt unsure and they didnt know how to deal with it. Akane was feeling a little foolish, being so blatant before. But then she looked down and saw Ranmas manhood, standing as hard as ever. And it began to remind her why she started in the first place. Pensively at first, she reached out, taking Ranmas member in her hand and gently beginning to stroke it again. The sensitive organ responded almost immediately, as she began to feel the familiar throbbing and twitching of his smooth, warm shaft. And at that moment, they both finally looked up at each other. They were both still blushing, but Akanes lips had curled up into a shy smile.
Well, she spoke softly, I I guess I do want to maybe a little.
Akane, Ranma leaned forward, softly kissing Akanes lips in apology. He was feeling a little foolish himself, casting doubt on the situation. But any feelings of embarrassment either of them had quickly faded as both Ranma and Akane found themselves melting into the warmth of their kiss. Eventually, the kiss deepened and Akane reacted by stroking Ranmas member more firmly as it twitched in her hand. Ranma then responded in kind by reaching out and gently playing with one of Akanes breasts. A few moments of gentle fondling was all it took to get them both back into the experience.
It wasnt long before Akane was lying beside Ranma again, back to sucking on the head of his member. And Ranma could still only look on in amazement. Part of him felt like he was outside of his body, watching this play out. After all, Akane was usually so quiet and reserved. He never thought for a second that she would be doing something like this until they were more experienced. Hed even told himself that he would never ask her to but there she was, doing it right at that moment. Ranma had thought about this sort of thing before. In fact, hed often wondered about it more times that hed ever dare admit. But hed played it out in his head quite differently than Akane was doing at that moment. The way Akane was doing it was gentle more tender not as wildly as Ranma had pictured. And the way her lips were wrapped around his head so lovingly, she looked so incredible doing it that watching her suck on him was every bit as arousing as the electricity of feeling her tongue swirling around him. Even the wet slurping sounds starting to come from her mouth made him feel good. And as the pleasure in his manhood began to grow, he could feel it twitching and throbbing inside her mouth as he reached over and gently ran his fingers through her hair.
Akane, you look really sexy doing that, he said softly as Akanes mouth forced him to groan slightly.
You really think so? Akane paused a moment to look up at Ranmas face and she felt herself smile before going back to sucking him more. In reality, she was just as surprised as Ranma was by her actions. She hadnt planned to go this way. But his member it just felt so good to feel it in her hands, she just found herself wondering before she knew what she was doing, she had it in her mouth. When Ranma responded with such shock, she was so sure she had done something wrong. Getting it out in the open did make her feel better. It helped to know that it was something Ranma actually seemed to like. But the fact that Ranma had just called her sexy, hearing those words just made her heart skip. She had never heard him call her that before and to hear it for the first time was just so thrilling. The thought of being sexy for Ranma made her feel bolder and soon she began to suck him more excitedly. Meanwhile, her hand had moved away from his shaft and moved down towards his sac, gently massaging it. And Ranma sighed and groaned as Akane continued to excite his member.
Ranma am I doing it right? Do you like it? she found herself asking a few moments later.
Yeah. Oh yeah, it feels great, Ranma smiled at her and sighed, still softly running his fingers through her hair.
Im so glad, Akane whispered as she leaned up for a moment and started to massage his sac once again, I really want you to feel good.
Akane offered him a warm smile before turning back and sucking on Ranma once more. All Ranma could do was lay back and enjoy how incredible she looked with her lips wrapped around his swollen head. How nice it felt to feel his manhood inside her mouth, so warm and wet and good. But a moment later, he heard a rustling sound and noticed that Akane was shifting her body around. Still laying beside him and sucking on him, Akane had positioned herself so that her legs were opposite him.
Ranma? she asked softly as she slowly spread her legs, Would you like to touch me there?
Ranma swallowed hard at Akanes question. Again, he didnt want to look like a pervert. Just like when hed been playing with Akanes breasts earlier, he knew he had to handle this delicately. Nodding slightly in response, he slowly reached up. After what seemed like an eternity, his fingers gently pressed against Akanes warm mound, still snugly nestled within her panties.
Akane winced as Ranmas fingers gently pressed against her. Not from any shock or pain, but from not knowing what to expect from Ranma. But a few moments of feeling Ranmas fingers stroking the plump flesh through her panties soon made her feel more at ease as she returned to his member, gently stroking it. Ranma, meanwhile, seemed to grow entranced touching Akanes womanhood. For a moment, he wondered if this was how Akane felt when she was stroking him just moments ago. There was something so intoxicating about it as he savored every sensation the heat radiating through the thin layer of cloth, the moistness that lingered on his fingers as he noticed a small wet spot on her panties. Feeling bolder, Ranma slowly reached out and held the sides of Akanes panties, gently starting to peel them off. Akane immediately responded, closing her legs to make Ranmas task easier.
It took only mere seconds to slide Akanes panties down around her ankles, but as Akane instinctively spread her legs again, Ranmas heart jumped as he took in the sight before him. Akanes delicate sex lay exposed, pouting and plump. There was something about it that was just so mesmerizing. It looked so soft and pink and perfect. Part of Ranma knew he still had to be careful, but he couldnt deny the urge. He wanted to savor every sight and every touch, explore every fold and curve until he knew her by heart. Before he knew it, he was reaching with both hands.
Akane paused and winced once more as she felt Ranmas thumbs gently spread open her sex. She felt a slight chill as the outside air mingled with the juices that had seeped out of her. Meanwhile, Ranma was taking in the sight as he spread Akane open a little wider, exposing more of her soft, inner flesh. It was warm and wet and it looked just the right shade of pink inside. Using one hand to keep her spread open, he took his freed hand and began gently tracing along her slit, feeling her juices make his fingertips wet and slippery.
Akane it looks really pretty, Ranma said softly as he gently rubbed her pink inner surface. Akane only responded with a contented sigh as she gently went back to stroking Ranmas member. This was the second time Ranma had surprised her by treating her so delicately. In reality, part of her was expecting him to be all over her like a wild man. But to experience this side of him gave Akane a very warm, safe feeling. Knowing that she was giving herself to him like this and not having to hold him off the whole time, it made her feel very contented. Soon, the pleasure of Ranmas caresses began to build up inside her and Akane smiled as tiny sighs escaped her lips.
Ranma could hear Akane beginning to voice her arousal and it made him smile warmly. This was how she started to sound when he had his hands on her breasts before and it told him that he was touching her the right way. He could also feel Akanes mouth on his member once more, gently sucking on the head, which immediately swelled in response. As he continued caressed Akanes pink inner folds with his fingers, Ranma became more content, but even more excited as well. Not just from how good it felt to have Akane sucking and stroking him, but just from being able to see her REALLY see her for the first time and touch her too. He had to admit it now. It was wonderful being able to touch her like this. True, there was always something about feeling Akane close to him that just set his mind on fire. But being able to kiss her and now being able to touch her and pleasure her in most sensitive spots, this was truly the ultimate experience. And as Akanes mouth on his member made him utter slight groans of pleasure, Ranma still smiled as he took in the sight of Akanes delicate inner treasure, savoring the wet slippery feeling as more of her juices seeped out onto his fingers.
Thats when he noticed Akanes hard clit, the pearl of her womanhood, beginning to stick out, hard and swollen. Gently, his finger reached over and pressed against it, feeling the heat and the rapid throbbing. But as he did, he felt Akane yelp around the head of his member and Ranma winced as her hand instinctively squeezed on his hard shaft.
Akane, are you okay? Ranma immediately responded, Was that too much?
A a little, Akane whimpered slightly, Im sorry. It just that gets really sensitive when Im
I I get it, Ranma replied, Ill just keep away from it, okay?
Thank you, Akane smiled at him warmly.
But do you think I could maybe ?Ranma asked pensively, gently pressing his index finger against Akanes warm opening so that it was just peeking inside. Akane immediately picked up on what he was asking to do.
Oh uh, okay. But just just one finger? Please? Akane replied nervously. This was another new thing she had never experienced before with him and again, she didnt know what to expect. But Ranma had treated her right so far, so she decided to give him a chance.
Ranma simply nodded and pressed his finger more firmly against her opening, gradually sliding it into her warm tunnel. He was surprised how Akane was so tight inside, the inner walls clamped around his finger, yet it was so easy to slide inside. Akane meanwhile, winced and her grip on Ranmas member tightened slightly as she felt Ranmas finger enter her. It was uncomfortable at first, this new sensation, but after a few moments, the feeling changed. And Akane was very surprised that what was first unpleasant gradually began to feel natural.
This this is what it feels like to have something inside me, she thought to herself, This full feeling this rush. I never thought it would be like this.
Akane, are you okay? Ranmas voice jolted Akane back to reality as she turned to look at him. Seeing a tiny bit of concern in his eyes, all she could do was smile at him.
Im Im fine, she replied affectionately, It feels really good.
Akane soon changed positions again as her head was rested on Ranmas hard stomach. One hand was gently stroking Ranmas member and she was close enough that she could still suck on it if she wanted to. Meanwhile, Ranma had reached over and his finger was deep inside her opening, gently sliding in and out. Soon, Akane was uttering tiny moans of pleasure as she felt Ranmas finger rubbing along the sides of her tiny virgin tunnel. She still couldnt believe how good it felt. She could even feel herself twitching and throbbing inside. And she had to admit, the feeling was incredibly addictive. No matter how good it felt, she just wanted more.
Ranma? she turned her head to face him, her cheeks blushing slightly, Could you put two fingers in me?
Okay if you want, Ranma replied softly as he pulled his finger out and positioned his index and middle finger together, gently sliding them inside her.
Again, Akane winced as she felt Ranmas fingers penetrate her opening. She even whimpered a little, completely unprepared for how much more intense the feeling would be. But just like before, the moment of discomfort quickly passed and became replaced with warm pleasure as Ranma slid the entire length of his fingers inside her. Looking over at Ranma once more, Akane merely gave him a loving smile and a slight nod, reassuring him that she was fine and that it was safe to continue.
Ranma gladly obliged her, gently pumping his fingers in and out of her tight little hole. Hed had his doubts at first when Akane asked him to use two fingers. After all, she was already so tight just with him using one. But for some reason, no matter how hard her inner walls bound his fingers, he still managed to slide them in without any trouble at all. And as he slid his fingers in and out, he had to admit how good it felt to have his fingers inside her. She was so tight, but soft too and warm and wet and slippery. He could even feel her pulsing and throbbing inside as he pumped her, gradually moving faster.
Akane meanwhile, was panting excitedly as her hand kept stroking Ranmas manhood. As good as it felt before, it felt even better now. Now she felt really full inside. And the rush she felt it felt so right, like she was always meant to feel this way. Moments later, she was gently moaning with pleasure, much as she had been when Ranma was massaging her breasts just minutes before.
Yes. I can feel it .I can feel it, she thought to herself, Ranmas fingers are rubbing together inside me. Its so so
Ranma, she whimpered as her free hand reached up and started squeezing her breast, Do it do it harder. Please. It feels really, really good.
Ranma simply nodded and began thrusting his fingers into her harder and faster, making Akane moan and pant as her free hand squeezed her soft breast and tugged on her hard nipple. Before she knew it, she had turned her head around and was sucking and licking the head of his member, feeling it swell in her mouth as her hand firmly stroked the hard shaft. Soon, she was alternating, occasionally popping it out of her mouth and stroking it, staring intently at the plump, dark head before taking it into her mouth again. And Ranma was definitely feeling the effects. Feeling his fingers slipping in and out of her warm, wet tunnel was arousing enough. But then he was feeling the electricity coursing through his hard muscle as it twitched and pulsed in Akanes mouth, forcing him to groan softly.
Mmmm. Akane, suck it just like that, he murmured as he kept thrusting his fingers inside her, Just like that. It feels really great in your mouth.
Akane moaned around his member in response as her lips stayed wrapped firmly around its big head. She continued to stroke the hard shaft as her free hand kept playing with her breast. Meanwhile, Ranma kept pumping his fingers into her, feeling the warm pulsing from her wet tunnel. Before long, they could both hear the wet slurping sounds coming from Akanes opening as Ranmas fingers slid in and out. All the feelings and sounds only heightened the experience even more and soon, the two of them were caught in waves of desire as they just moaned and savored the pleasure of each others bodies.
A few moments later, they had switched positions again and were sitting side by side, facing each other. Akanes hand furiously stroked Ranmas member while Ranmas fingers kept thrusting into her tunnel. Both of them were breathing hard and gently moaning, yet they never once took their eyes off each other. Whatever happened, they felt the need to be face to face. The only pause came when Akanes free hand gently took Ranmas wrist.
Ranma, she whispered as she pulled his fingers out of her and placed them against the hard, swollen nub that could only be her clit, There. Please, rub me right there and dont stop.
Ranma nodded as his fingers gently pressed against her clit and Akanes whole body trembled as she stroked his member. Her clit felt even bigger than before as he rubbed it and rolled it on the tips of his fingers. Soon, a thick, slippery fluid trickled out of the head of his manhood, covering Akanes hands as she stroked him and soon, both of them were emitting wet slurping sounds as they rubbed and stroked each other. Akane couldnt keep herself from shuddering as Ranmas fingers rolled over her swollen clit, which was pulsing with pleasure and seemingly getting bigger every moment. Meanwhile, Ranma was getting every bit as aroused, not just from Akane stroking him, but also from looking at her. His eyes scanned every inch of her and the sight was incredible. He could see her eyes welling up, pleading for him to touch her more her little mouth hanging open so seductively as her pants and moans echoed in his ears her cheeks blushing a deep red her creamy skin covered with tiny beads of sweat her soft breasts jiggling every time her body twitched.
Akane, he breathed, looking deeply into her eyes, Youre so beautiful.
The second the words escaped his lips, Ranma snapped his head forward, fusing his lips to Akanes in a deep kiss. As their tongues wrestled frantically, they moaned in each others mouths as they continued rubbing and stroking each other. They could feel themselves pulsing and twitching as the pleasure was building up farther and faster. It wouldnt be long now for either of them. It was only a few moments later that Akane broke the kiss and looked into Ranmas eyes.
Ranma, she moaned as she swallowed hard and panted, I Im really close. Its just so good. I I wanted so much for you to be the one to Please make me make me
Akane didnt need to finish what she was saying for Ranma to understand. He knew what she wanted him to do. With a smooth motion, his index and middle finger immediately stopped rubbing Akanes clit and immediately clamped onto it, pinching it like a vice.
RANMA! AHH! AAAHH! Akane squealed as her whole body tensed and shuddered. Even a tiny stream of her juices squirted out from her opening. As Akane climaxed, the sight of her twitching body drove Ranma over the edge as he felt his manhood pulsing hard.
NNNG! Ranma groaned as his stream of seed erupted from his member, shooting over Akanes shoulder to land on the floor of the tent behind her. A few smaller squirts of the white liquid followed, covering Akanes hand, but she was still too lost in her own pleasure to notice. It was a few more seconds before their bodies would stop twitching and calm down. Ranma had just enough strength to keep himself propped up with his free hand. But Akanes whole body went limp as she fell forward, resting her head on Ranmas shoulder. Hot, sweaty and exhausted, the two of them could only stay where they were, panting heavily. It would be a few moments more before Akane had the strength to pull her head away and look into Ranmas eyes, smiling warmly.
Ranma Im so happy, she sighed, trying to keep herself together as she felt tears welling up in her eyes. Having regained enough strength to hold himself up, Ranma took his free hand and softly placed it to Akanes cheek, smiling at her warmly. Within seconds, their lips slowly moved closer and met with a soft, loving kiss.
A few minutes later, Ranma and Akane found the strength to move again and they had enough presence of mind to clean themselves up. With the help of some paper towel theyd brought along for the trip, they cleaned off their hands and any spots on the floor of the tent where theyd left a mess. Their next immediate instinct was to go back to bed and without a word, they did just that. But as they turned around to reach for the blankets, they caught sight of each other and everything came rushing back. Their blissful moment of ignorance was over.
Pulling the blankets over their naked bodies, they both lied down on the bed and simply stared at each other. It was happening again. They were looking into each others eyes and instantly reading each other, having a whole conversation without speaking. They remembered every single thing they had just done. Although now, the whole thing just felt like a blur. But whether it had taken them hours or even seconds, one thing was undeniable. Ever since theyd met, it seemed that their lives were destined, or maybe even damned, to move in a continuous, unending pattern. But now, it just wasnt like that and they knew it. Not anymore. In the course of a single moment, Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo had just changed all the rules. When they had originally planned to take the weekend together, neither one of them had the slightest inkling that this is where they would end up. There were going to be consequences to what they had just done, both of them knew it. And no one was going to be able to tell them what those consequences were going to be.
But there was something else they saw as they continued to look at each other. They werent completely sure what it was, but they could tell they were both feeling it. A sense as if the two of them had just improved somehow that they were in some way better than they were before. Until that moment, it seemed as if neither one of them were able to make any of their own choices. It always became that someone elses wishes or expectations seemed to take precedence. But now, in the middle of the wilderness, completely alone, it seemed as if the two of them had finally made a decision. Not for family or friends or anyone else. This was for them and only them. For the first time since theyd met, it felt as though Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo were finally in control of their own lives. And as that revelation set in and the two of them looked at each other and suddenly smiled, a warm feeling of confidence began to wash over them. No matter what came their way, at that moment, somehow, they knew they would both be strong enough to handle it.
Ranma can I sleep here tonight? Akane asked softly. Ranma, at first, could only chuckle in response.
You have to ask?
Mmmmm, Akane smiled as she snuggled closer to him. But a moment later, her eyes snapped open and her face suddenly got a worried look.
Uh youre not going to ask me if I snore are you?
If you ? Where did that come from? Ranma couldnt help but be confused.
Well nothing. Its stupid I just thought well
DO you snore?
Ranmaaaaaa Akane flashed an evil gaze as she spoke through gritted teeth.
Oh, Im kidding and you know Im kidding, Ranma defended himself, being a little more assertive than usual, Take a joke for once.
A joke. Yeah, right. Like that time you dressed Akari Unryus pig up as me to attack Ryoga?
Hey, that was hilarious and you KNOW it.
Akane wasnt about to argue verbally. She merely gave Ranma a light slap in the arm.
Jerk, she murmured as she snuggled back next to him. Ranma could only look at her, completely perplexed.
What the hell was THAT? he blurted out.
Youve gotta be kidding. This? This is what you give me? Ranma continued, mimicking Akanes little slap, Give me a break. Kasumi hits harder than that ON A SICK DAY! Come on, if youre gonna go for it, at least put some of that macho chick OOOMPH! behind it, okay?
Oh, you want OOOMPH!, huh? Akane replied, giving Ranma another acid look, You mean, something like THIS?
KWHHHHHHH! was the only sound Ranma could make as Akane firmly planted her knee into his stomach. He coughed and sputtered for a few seconds before he got his breath back. He would flash an evil grin immediately afterward and before Akane knew what was happening, hed rolled on top of her, pinning her arms up over her head.
Mmmmm, he uttered with a sinister chuckle, pressing his forehead to hers, Now thats more like it.
Oooohh, I hate you, Akane cooed as she nuzzled her nose against his.
Oh yeah? Ranma smiled as he released Akanes hands, How much do you hate me?
I really REALLY hate you, Akane replied, softly wrapping her arms around Ranmas neck.
Oh, well then youre REALLY going to hate this, Ranma said as he leaned down and softly kissed her lips. Akane held him tighter and pulled him close as she welcomed Ranmas lips on her own.
Mmmmm, its revolting disgusting horrible she whispered each time their lips parted. But it wouldnt be long before there was again no need for words. And soon, the two of them were melting into a warm embrace and drifting into the waves of gentle kisses.
The chirping of birds and the soft rustling of the trees echoed in Akanes ears, welcoming her to a new day. As she gently opened her eyes, she already noticed the rising sun illuminating the tent. Hard to believe that it was already morning. After all, Akane didnt even remember falling asleep. The last thing she remembered doing was kissing Ranma.
Ranma again, Akanes mind became flooded with memories of the previous night. And as she ran through every vivid memory, she found herself smiling warmly. Immediately, her heart pounded at the thought of turning over to see him lying next to her. What a perfect way it would be to wake up. But a small part of her hesitated. What if he wasnt there? Could he have woken up already? Or would that mean she dreamed the whole thing? That it had all been in her mind? No, that would be far too cruel.
Just then, her heart skipped as the rustling of blankets and a sleepy groan passed by her ears. Unable to control her excitement, Akane rolled over and to her delight, there he was. In retrospect, it made Akane feel a little foolish for her doubts. After all, why else would she be in bed naked? The look on his face was so peaceful and content, Akane couldnt help but smile happily. How was just watching him sleep like this able to bring out all these emotions in her? But soon it didnt matter as Akane leaned down and began gracing soft, fluttery kisses along Ranmas cheek. That is, until Ranmas hand reached up and shooed her away.
Nnng damn bugs he murmered as he rolled over and continued to sleep. Akane could only stare in shock. Did he just compare her kisses to ? Suddenly, all reason left her, clenching her fist tightly as a volcano erupted inside her brain.
WAKE UP, YOU JERK!!! Akane roared as her fist flew at Ranmas cheek, sending him rolling along the tent to the far wall. Ranma could only snap himself up as a dazed and confused mess as he rubbed his battered cheek.
Akane?! What the hell is wrong with you?!
Idiot! Akane snapped back at him, I was trying to be romantic and thats the thanks I get?! Shooing me away like some bug?!
Roman Have you lost your mind?! Ranma could only shout back in disbelief, I was sleeping, for crying out loud!!
I should have known better than to expect you to understrand! Akane yelled in a huff, You are, WITHOUT a doubt, THE most callous, insensitive !
hotheaded, overreacting ! Ranma began spouting back.
rude, uncaring !
macho, UNCUTE !!
STUPID JERK IVE EVER MET IN MY LIFE!!
AND YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY DRIVES ME NUTS?!!!!
Suddenly, Ranma became silent. For a moment, all he could do was sigh as his hands fell to his sides. And the look on his face changed from anger to almost one of surrender.
I still love you.
For a moment, the look on Akanes face turned to shock. Instantly, all the anger she was feeling just drained away and for the life of her, she couldnt figure out why she had gotten so angry in the first place. She could only turn away embarrassed for a moment before she folded her arms across her stomach and looked back up at Ranma, her eyes welling with emotion.
I love you too.
Akane felt like she was going to suffocate from the awkward silence that followed until Ranma shuffled over to her. Looking deeply into each other, the next move seemed so natural as they warmly embraced. Feeling Ranma hold her made Akane feel a little better, but as she looked over his shoulder she saw her hand. Clenching tightly, she watched as her hand turned into the fist she had just used to whimpering slightly, she pulled away just enough to bury her face into Ranmas chest. Just then, she heard Nabikis words again. After last night, they were the same words she had hoped that she could have put behind her.
How many times have those two had a fight because she blew something out of proportion ?
Honestly, I have no earthly idea how that man has put up with you for so long.
Ranma, she asked with a sheepish tone, Why do you let me get away with that?
What do you mean? Ranma asked back.
You know what I mean, Akane replied, still feeling embarrassed, Come on, you and I both know that I couldnt beat you in a fight if my life depended on it. So why do you let me ?
go Psycho-Girl all over me?
Not the words I would have used, but okay.
Ranma only let out a little sigh before he spoke.
I dont know. A lot of the time, I just find it hard to fight back against you, Akane. Maybe, sometimes I keep hoping that this time youll just think before you hit. Or that maybe youll actually listen to me before you rush to make judgments.
Akane didnt reply as she held Ranma tighter. Everything he was saying just seemed to make her feel worse about the way she behaved.
And then, Ranma continued, there are the times when, you know I kinda, sorta deserve it.
Huh? Akane pulled away slightly as she looked up at him.
What? You think I never figured it out? Ranma stated, That behind the handsome face, rippling muscles, cunning brain and incredible skill, there beats the heart of a 100 percent, bona fide jerk? I know what kind of guy I am, Akane. To be honest, having lived with my father all this time, Im surprised Im not worse. So yeah, Ive let you get away with pounding on me when you had a right to. Hell, I wouldve done the same thing sometimes if I were you.
So what do we do now? Akane asked as she looked up at him. Again, Ranma could see what Akanes eyes were saying. Quite the pair they made, the insensitive jerk and the violent macho chick. What kind of married life could they possibly have? Propping her chin under his thumb, Ranma offered her a warm smile.
Well, he asked softly, You wanna stay engaged?
Akane looked up at him and her jaw dropped slightly. His question was so casual and nonchalant, just like she had always known Ranma to be. But his eyes there was a deadly seriousness in his eyes. Akane could tell that this was more than just a casual request.
Wait, Akane thought to herself, Is is he asking me to ?
Akane didnt even allow herself to complete he thought as her eyes filled with emotion. Maybe this wasnt something to be read into too deeply. She could only smile affectionately as she gave him her answer.
Ranma returned her smile while Akane wrapped her arms around his neck. As the two met in a soft kiss, they gently eased back onto the bed, holding each other before their lips finally parted.
So, Ranma said to her, You wanna get up?
Mm mm, Akane shook her head as she snuggled up to him, pulling the blankets over their bodies, I think its still a little cold out yet. Its nice and warm in here.
Hmmmm, Ranma savored the moment as he held Akane close, but before long, he felt the urge to say something, although he wasnt sure how, Akane about last night I I really want to tell you how much it meant to
Ranma you dont need to say anything, Akane smiled as she cut Ranma off, snuggling against him a little tighter, I know how you feel. I mean, last night was I just I want to say so much but it would never feel like enough.
Akane Ranma wasnt quite sure what to say as Akane pulled away to look up at him.
All I really need you to know is that last night made me very very happy, Akane smiled at him, And I hope it made you happy too.
Ranma only smiled back and nodded. That was the only answer Akane needed. But she still felt the need to add in something else.
Sooooo last night were not going to tell anybody ?
Oh, NO way! Ranma shot back, knowing full well what would happen if any living soul discovered what they had done.
Good. Just checking, Akane said before they looked at each other and couldnt help but laugh. It would only last a moment before they moved in and met their lips in a soft kiss. Another kiss followed, deeper and longer than the first, then another and then another as they held each other tight and savored the moment.
It would be almost noon before Ranma and Akane finally managed to roll out of bed and got ready to face the day. They would have given almost anything to not have to get up, but they only had at least a couple of hours to make lunch, break camp and head home. Akane had fixed a small fire while Ranma had gone down to the lake to catch some fish for lunch. As soon as the fire was standing on its own, Akane went down to the lake to find Ranma knee deep in the freezing water. Remembering how cold it was from yesterday, Akane could only look on and wince.
How can you stand that? she asked in astonishment, Your feet must be covered in ice by now.
Ssshhh, Ranma silenced her, scanning the water intently. No doubt about it, they were there. Patience was the key, knowing the perfect time to strike. It wouldnt be much longer. Just a little closer and
Hyah! Ranmas arms flashed into the water, faster than Akanes eyes could follow. A second later, four stunned fish were lying on the shoreline at her feet. As Ranma waded to land, Akane couldnt help but be impressed with the display.
You know, I dont think Im ever going to get used to seeing that, she stated, I just cant figure out how ANYONE can move like that.
Hey what can I say? Ranma replied, After trying to catch piranhas and chestnuts from a fire, this is nothing.
Looking up to see Akanes smiling face made Ranma unable to keep from smiling as well. Going with the feeling, Ranma slowly leaned forward, feeling the urge to kiss her. But suddenly, Akane pressed her fingers to Ranmas lips. Ranma couldnt understand why at first, but then a new feeling came into play. A feeling in the chest.
Looking down, Ranma finally understood as Akanes hand was gently bobbing her big, soft breast. This was the second time in as many days that Ranma had forgotten about her girl form in cold water. Akane merely shrugged her shoulders as Ranma looked back up at her.
Maybe we should take this one step at a time, Akane suggested. It was clear that she still wasnt comfortable with the thought of being too intimate with Ranma the girl.
Right, Ranma nodded in agreement, but a part of her couldnt help but be a little disappointed. She never thought it would happen, but after last night, she had actually gotten used to kissing Akane. To not be able to do it whenever she wanted to Akane instantly picked up on what Ranma was feeling. Placing her hands on Ranmas cheeks, she leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead. She then pressed her forehead to Ranmas and offered a reassuring smile. And she kept on smiling at him as she gently took Ranmas hand and walked with her back to camp.
Two minutes and a gender change later, Ranma and Akane were in the middle of preparing lunch. Ranma was using the same makeshift spits hed used for hot dogs two nights ago to cook the fish while Akane was in the middle of preparing rice. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, until Ranma saw Akane reach for a knife.
Now thats an idea, Akane said as she reached over with her free hand.
Uh, what are you doing? Ranma asked, slightly nervous.
Oh I was just going to add some garlic to the rice, Akane answered, You know, like you did before?
Well, Im all for that, Ranma replied, But are you sure thats garlic youve got there?
Huh? Akane didnt understand what Ranma was saying at first, until she looked down at her hand. Instead of a bulb of garlic, what shed really picked up was a large, white onion.
Remember that nice little talk we had about paying attention? Ranma whispered in her ear.
Sorry, Akane sighed, clearly disappointed with herself. What kind of a cook could she be if she couldnt tell garlic from an onion?
Oh, its alright. It was one mistake. Its not the end of the world, Ranma said encouragingly before he reached up and started fondling Akanes breasts playfully to get her to buck up, Come oooooooon, its not so !
Suddenly, Ranmas words were cut off as he felt a sharp pressure in his stomach. He could only cough slightly as he took his hands off Akanes breasts. Apparently, the hard elbow she had thrust into his gut had the desired effect.
That was slightly uncalled for, dont you think? Ranma groaned as he rubbed his stomach.
You had it coming, Akane said in a huff as she sliced off a piece of garlic.
Excuse me? I didnt hear you complaining last night.
Last night, I gave you permission.
Oh, so its okay for you to go grabbin at me, but not the other way around? Ranma argued, Remembering Akane touching him as a girl by the lake only minutes ago.
I was making a point, Akane replied in a matter-of-factly tone.
Unh, is that what that was? Ranma muttered cynically.
Oh, stop it. I took it easy on you, Akane tried to joke, Youre forgetting whos holding the knife.
Pfff! Ranma turned away, clearly not sharing her humor. Akane could only sigh in response. Even if Ranma was being an idiot about it, she didnt want to end their trip by fighting with him. Sliding over, Akane leaned in and softly kissed his cheek, immediately regaining Ranmas attention.
There, she pouted as Ranma turned to face him, Baby feel better?
Ranma couldnt help but give an annoyed chuckle as he clenched his fist and shook it.
And you call me a jerk.
Because you ARE a jerk, Akane smirked at him. She then when back to cutting up the garlic for the rice as the two of them looked at each other and exchanged quiet laughter.
Lunch was finished and a before long, the campsite had been completely dismantled. Standing at the edge of the clearing, Ranma and Akane stood quietly, softly holding hands as they took one last look. Except for a wet pile of ash where their fire pit had been, there was no sign at all that either of them had been there. Everything was exactly as they had found it two days ago. It seemed kind of fitting in a way. After all, this was a place they always wanted to remember as it was. It was a place that would always have a special place in their hearts and memories the place where everything changed.
So, Akane spoke as she looked up at him, Once more into the breach?
I guess, Ranma replied with a sigh. The look on his face suddenly became somber.
Whats wrong? Akane asked curiously.
Oh I was just thinking, Ranma replied, You were right when you said there were going to be more guys like Saffron out there. That its going to get harder.
Are you still on about that? Akane exclaimed, I thought you were okay with this now.
Akane, Ranma gave her a deathly serious look as he placed his hand against her cheek, Im never going to be okay with that.
Ranma, Akane could feel how much the experience still hurt him as she put her hand over his and gently nestled her cheek against it.
Akane, I need you to do something for me, Ranmas voice became even more serious.
Hmmm? Akane looked at him inquisitively.
Please, Ranma said, promise me that whatever happens, youll stay close to me. No matter how bad it gets.
Akane didnt have to look into Ranmas eyes to see how much this request meant to him. This wasnt something that could just be blown off. He needed her to give him and answer and that was exactly what she intended to do. Putting her arms around his neck, Akane smiled as she leaned up, softly kissing him before she spoke.
I promise, she whispered onto his lips.
Ranma could only look at her and smile. Immediately, his entire mood had shifted. He was now so happy and light. It made Akane feel lighter too as she softly pressed her forehead to his.
Come on, she said, Lets go home.
Ranma couldnt seem to keep himself from smiling as they held each other tight for a few moments longer. Then, hand in hand, the turned and began the long walk back to the city.
The return trip was conducted mostly in silence as Ranma and Akane held hands and basked in the sights and sounds of nature. This was a moment where there was no real need for words. They had already said so much, it didnt seem like there was anything more to talk about. Eventually, the treeline thinned out and became replaced with roads, fields and small houses. Not long after, the outlying suburbs slowly began to appear. It would only be a matter of time before they were home.
Well, I guess this is where wed better split up, Ranma said, a little awkwardly, It would look best if I didnt show up for a while.
Yeah yeah, youre right, Akane swallowed hard as the words came. After everything they had just been through, it just felt so hard to be apart from him now.
So see you at home? She asked.
You bet. Trust me, Ill be right behind you. Ranma replied with a reassuring smile.
Right, well I guess Ill see you there.
Akane started walking backwards, not wanting to take her eyes off him. Eventually she turned around, but they were still holding hands as she slowly walked away, slipping apart with every step. Soon, their fingertips were just barely touching, one more step and their hands would part. But just as Akane was about to take that final step
Oh, who am I kidding? she softly whined as she threw her arms around Ranma and the pair kissed deeply. Harder and harder the kiss became as they clung to each other tightly. Slowly, but surely, their emotions drained from them as the kiss gradually softened. Finally their lips would gently part as they lovingly stared into each others eyes.
Ah, young love, a soft, crackly voice sounded, forcing them to look over a pair of elderly women who had witnessed the entire display, I tell you, thats what a perfect couple looks like, when two people cant get enough of each other like that.
Perfect ? Couple ? Us ? flashed through both Ranma and Akanes minds as they looked at each other, almost stunned for a moment. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Ranma started to snicker. Akane suddenly started giggling as well. Within moments, both of them were chuckling loudly before bursting into howls of laughter. They were both laughing so hard, they actually needed to hold each other upright for a few moments. It clearly wasnt the reaction the womans comment was meant to draw, but in a strange way, she did them a favor. They had made such a big deal out of being separated, a good laugh was just the tension breaker they needed.
Ill see you at home, okay? Ranma said, still laughing.
Yeah, you you got it..! Akane replied before she broke down into another giggle fit. Slightly stumbling as she walked, she continued on as Ranma walked off in the opposite direction, both of them still laughing hard.
Hmmm, now what do you suppose brought that on? the elderly womans friend wondered.
Perhaps one of them told a joke? the lady answered, Oh, by the way, did you hear? They finally caught that awful bear that was out in the woods.
Yes, they were talking on the news. Wildlife officials found the thing half dead in a river this morning. Really beaten up too, from what I hear. They were thinking it must have fallen off a cliff and drifted downstream.
Well, at least it wont be hurting anyone else. Thank goodness for that.
Ranma was still chuckling a little as he reached a small café. Deciding to rest for a moment while he thought of a way to pass the time, he slid off his backpack and sat on one of the patio chairs, gently drumming his hands on the arms.
Well, he thought to himself as he sighed, Ive got a couple hours to kill. What to do what to do
RANMA!!! A familiar voice instantly broke Ranmas train of thought. Looking up, he caught a glimpse of a figure dropping from the sky at top speed. Ranma was quick to react to the threat, spiraling out of his chair before a familiar red parasol hit a split second later, reducing it to splinters. A body landed right behind it on adjoining table, but Ranma didnt have to look at his attacker to see who it was.
Ryoga! Hey buddy! he called out happily as he held his arms out in welcome, Hows it goin?!
Dont you Hey buddy me! I heard all about what happened at Tendo dojo the other day! What did you do to Akane you ! Ryoga snarled as he charged forward. But Ranma instantly took the wind out of his attack as he shoved Ryoga backward into the café wall. Before Ryoga could react, Ranma had the hand with Ryogas parasol held to the wall while his other forearm was pinned across Ryogas neck.
I gotta tell ya, it really is great to see you, man Ranmas face beamed at him, but then, his smile and his voice suddenly turned acid.
but Im still gonna mop the floor with you.
Im home! Akane called as she opened the door.
Akane! Soun cried out as he tore out of the living room at top speed, How are you, sweetheart? Are you feeling better now?
Im fine, Dad, Akane replied cynically, Now if you dont mind, Im a little tired. Im going upstairs to take a nap.
My, something really good must have happened to her at the hot springs, Kasumi noted after Akane had gone up to her room, Ive never seen her like that before. She was practically glowing.
Yes! Thats one down, Soun gloated as he clenched his fist in determination and turned to Genma, Now, lets just hope that son of yours is in a better mood.
Oh, hell be in a better mood. Even if I have to beat him into it! Genmas sign read as the panda growled slightly. Kasumi and Nabiki meanwhile, merely exchanged glances. The fathers were too caught up in themselves to notice, but there was something so different about seeing Akane so happy.
Im home! Ranma called cheerfully outside the house. Immediately the family rushed to meet him, only to see Ryogas battered, swollen body draped over his shoulder.
Oh good, he found Ryoga, Kasumi stated happily, I was a little worried about him, he left in such a hurry the other day after hed heard about the fight.
Oh, he found him, alright, Nabiki replied, But Im betting Ryoga wishes he hadnt.
Ranma, are you alright? Nodoka called out as she rushed to the door.
Im fine, Mom, Ranma replied, flopping Ryoga hard to the floor as he turned to her, putting his hands on her shoulders, Everythings fine now.
Ranma, Nodoka could only look at him, with a look of amazement in her eyes. She couldnt quite put her finger on what it was, but she could see there was something different about her son. He seemed happier, content. As if he had found some kind of peace. It actually made her feel a little relieved, like she didnt have to worry about him as much anymore. But once again, Soun and Genma were too blind to see such things. All they saw was an opportunity they didnt want to pass up.
Good to have you back, son, Soun said warmly, putting his arm around Ranmas shoulder, Now, Akane got back just a couple hours ago. If you two are in such good spirits now, this might be a good time for you to bury this silly little tiff you had the other day, hmm?
Ranma could only look at the two fathers with annoyance as he rolled his eyes and sighed.
You know, you guys really know how to ruin a good homecoming, he said, What do you do at funerals, stand up comedy?
Trying to look as reluctant as possible, Ranma slowly trudged up the stairs. Gently, he knocked on Akanes door to announce that he was coming in. Of course, if hed known he was going to get rapped in the back of the head with Akanes fist as he walked in, he probably wouldve taken a little longer.
I heard that, you know, Akanes voice clearly showed her annoyance as Ranma closed the door and rubbed his head.
Oh, get over it. I was trying to keep in character, Ranma shot back, After all Im an ac-TOR.
Yeah well, theres such a thing as OVER-acting, Akane replied before her mood suddenly shifted as she turned to look at the closed door, So how much time do you think weve got?
Not including the time Ive already been in here? Ranma replied, Id say about 30 seconds. Give or take.
Hmmm Better not waste it, Akane thought out loud as she and Ranma exchanged glances.
They didnt need any encouragement as Akane rushed into Ranmas arms and the two of them started kissing frantically. From hard pecks to deep tongue kisses and everything in between, they savored their closeness for as long as they possibly could.
I I cant believed how much I missed this, Akane whispered between kisses.
Tell tell me about it, Ranma agreed. It would be another few seconds of absorbing everything they could get out of the moment before they finally tore their bodies away from each other and immediately began straightening their hair and clothes. After all, it couldnt look like they had been in Akanes room mauling each other, even if that was technically what they had been doing.
Alright be cool maintain Ranma chanted as he breathed deeply. Now was the time for control, discipline. But as they looked at each other, they couldnt resist sharing one more soft peck on the lips before Ranma walked to Akanes door. Akane nodded to him silently to indicate that she was ready as Ranma held his finger out and silently counted down.
Three two one
Immediately, Ranma threw open the door to send Genma, Soun and Nabiki spilling onto the floor, with Kasumi and Nodoka standing behind them. Ranma and Akane could only roll their eyes and shake their heads and the three struggled to get up.
So, Ranma asked cynically, spying the glass in Nabikis hand, Door need a drink of water?
Nabiki didnt get the chance to respond to Ranmas sarcasm however, because just then, the shrill shatter of glass echoed throughout the room. Immediately, everyone turned to see Shampoo, bicycle and all, on Akanes bed and a giant hole where Akanes window used to be.
Nihao, Ranma, she announced cheerfully, Shampoo hear about long journey. This ramen made special in case you hungry.
Yeah right, like Ranma-honeys gonna eat a bunch of soggy noodles, Ukyo announced, barging through the door, Not when hes got the best okonomiyaki menu in the city to choose from.
Suddenly, shrieks of laughter could be heard from outside as a snowfall of black rose petals blanketed the view. Shampoo and Ukyo immediately rushed to the window to see Kodachi standing outside with a huge serving cart.
Foo, the slop you two prepare isnt fit to feed stray dogs! she called up to Akanes room, Behold, no less for my Ranma-darling than a meal fit for a king!
Yeah, laced with enough knock-out powder to bring down a herd of elephants, no doubt! Ukyo shot back.
You big cheat! Shampoo added to the attack.
Ranma Saotome! The unmistakable voice immediately turned Ranma and Akane back to the door, How dare you defile the bedchamber of the fair Akane Tendo. I, Tatewaki Kuno, shall not allow this violation to stand one moment!
Oh, Shampoo, why did you run off on me again? Mousse wailed. Of course, without his glasses, he didnt realize that the person he was begging to spend time with was Nabiki.
You got any money? Nabiki replied with a shrug.
Ranma you rat, Ryoga stumbled into the room, still dazed from the beating hed taken earlier, Im not finished with you yet.
Whats up? Happosai asked as he peeked through the doorway, I didnt know you guys were having a party. You think we could organize a nice underwear pillow fight? Ive got just the ensembles right here.
Ranma and Akane didnt need to wait around to see any more than they had. Only one word escaped their lips as they turned and looked at each other.
WERE OUTTA HERE!!
A split second later, they had both leapt out the window, and made a mad dash out the front gates. Everyone else took off in hot pursuit, but fortunately, Ranma and Akane had managed to find a temporary shelter behind a large tree as the others began a frantic search.
They couldnt have gone far! Ryogas voice echoed.
Ranma! Akane! Soun called out as Genmas panda form howled behind him. Soon, everyone else had chimed into the chorus.
Ranma-darling, wherever did you run off to?!
Ranma Saotome, come out of hiding, you swine! Fear not Akane Tendo, the great Kuno will soon free you from that scoundrels loathsome grip!
Ranma, come out so Shampoo find you!
What about the underwear?
Well, that was faster than usual, Akane sighed.
You know, Im really not so much surprised as I am disappointed, Ranma added, immediately trying to formulate a strategy, Okay, this is going to take a while. I think you should take off that way. Ill draw them off down the street.
Mm mm, Akane shook her head, No good.
What do you mean no good? Ranma shot back, Look Akane, please, just once, cant you listen to me?
I am listening to you, she said, wrapping her arms around his neck, Because I have a promise to keep.
Akane paused briefly, kissing Ranma softly before she continued.
Im staying close to you. No matter how bad it gets.
Ranma could only smile in response, realizing hed just been tied up by his own words. In one smooth motion, he picked Akane up and cradled her in his arms. He knew this was going to be one of those chases. And when it came right down to it, he knew there was no way Akane was as fast as he was.
You better hold on tight, he warned, This rides probably gonna get pretty rough.
Akane only let out a short giggle and put her hand to Ranmas cheek.
Hasnt it always?
Ranma had to chuckle himself before to two leaned in and shared one more soft kiss.
Ready? Ranma whispered as they pressed their foreheads together.
GO! Akane shouted as Ranma took off from their hiding place. Naturally, the sudden movement was enough to get them spotted.
Found em! Ryoga cried out. From there, it was a mad dash down the street with the entire crew following behind.
Ranma! Wait Shampoo!
Ranma, youve got to try this on! I guarantee itll grow on you! Ten seconds for your old master, thats all I ask!
Ranma Saotome, unhand Akane Tendo this instant you fiend!
Youll have to catch us first! Ranma called back as he kept on running. As Akane held him tight, he could actually hear her laughing and turned to see her smiling at him. It was enough to make Ranma smile himself as he felt his confidence begin to rise. After all, if they could handle this, they were ready to take on the world.
Alright, bring it on with whatever youve got! he thought to himself as he kept on running with the others in hot pursuit, Nothings gonna stop us now!
Note: Hello. I hope you all enjoyed this story. Yes, it was a little long-winded, but hopefully, it was worth it when you got to the end. And hopefully, this is a story that all Ranma fans can appreciate.
Like it? Dont like it? Write me and let me know. My e-mail is I look forward to anything you have to say about my work, or even some suggestions for the future. Hope to hear from you.