A Romp in the Park
Chapter 1: A Fight!
The breeze was moist and warm as it wafted through the Tokyo park on a quiet mid-week afternoon. Kagome was skipping school after a test that morning to study in the park, which was totally quiet, most people in this nutty city having a place to go and something to do. Not like us, thought the half demon who had removed his baseball cap in the privacy of an isolated glade. InuYasha enjoyed these spring afternoons in Kagomes era more than he would ever admit to her or anyone else. He liked this place, it was like the forests of his home, but ... safe. He could relax here. And he did. He was getting sleepy so he yawned and stretched. Looking over at Kagome, he realized that she was asleep. Her school book had fallen down to her side as she lay flat on her back on his red haori near a hedge. Shed been up late studying and apparently needed the sleep shed lost. She wasnt wearing her school clothes, and he noticed how this fitted skirt and high-necked blouse flattered her shape. One of her sleeveless arms was draped softly across her chest and his demon eyes lingered on her delicate fingers as they lay on row of small buttons running the length of her shirt.
Her bare foot was inches from his right hand and he took the chance to reach out and touch her soft skin, careful not to tickle. His hand felt warm on her cool skin. So often he held her, whisking her out of harms way or flying with her over the treetops on some adventure where they almost got themselves killed. So seldom did he get a chance to actually touch her though, just to feel her. His eyes moved up her legs to her face, so peaceful. So beautiful. Like he did almost every day now, he asked himself why he didnt just tell her ... but there were so many other things to do before he allowed himself to stay in that happy place for very long. He couldnt afford to let his guard down, become vulnerable to all the monsters after them. Except here. In this park. She snuffled quietly and he watched her face relax again into sleep. He shook his head, as he often did when he watched her sleep, trying not to get too pulled into her spell. Best not to look too hard. He pulled his hand away reluctantly and folded his arms over his chest where they belonged.
His amber eyes were starting to close again, lulled by the soft air and the decided lack of enemies out today, when his hyper-sensitive nose caught the scent of instant ramen. Hmm, sounded the grumble from his throat and his stomach simultaneously. Should he wake Kagome so they could go home and get some of that for themselves? He was just about do this, when he heard a voice on the other side of the hedge say peevishly, Ranma! InuYashas curiosity was peaked by the strident tone in the girls voice, and he crept over to peer through the bushes in case the girl needed help keeping away from this Ranma character.
As he approached the bush, the half demon realized that the greenery was pretty dense, and there werent too many places he would be able to see through unless he pulled the branches aside, thus alerting the others to his presence and probably waking Kagome. There was one section of the hedge that was naturally thinned out, but unfortunately, it was right above Kagomes sleeping form. He carefully maneuvered himself on all fours so that he could see through the gap in the green, which required him to straddle Kagomes hips with his knees and put one hand near each of her shoulders. He had to arch his back a little so his hair and Oswari! beads didnt fall in her face. He did this as quietly as possible and looked down with relief to see that she hadnt budged. She was out cold. He couldnt help but notice how strong her sweet scent was when he was this close.
Looking through the bush now, he was surprised to see a young couple taking up a fighting stance with each other. InuYashas muscles tensed, ready to run to the girls rescue. She was a short, attractive girl with a sweet face, and she was wearing a white gi with a black belt. He could tell that she was in full battle mode. Facing her was a tall, broad-shouldered young man about her age, wearing a loose red shirt with odd clasping buttons and similarly loose black pants, tied at the waist. The boy had a thick pig tail hanging down his back between his shoulder blades, the end of which flipped up a little. InuYasha noted this with approval; not enough men in this era let their hair grow. He presumed that this was the Ranma of her earlier cry and watched him carefully in case he made any unwelcome moves on the girl. But it didnt look to the hanyou like Ranma had any intention of moving on her. His hands were slouched comfortably in this pockets and he had an exasperated expression on his face.
Akane, he said like hed said this one hundred times before, Im hungry. Can we just eat first? Our ramen is getting cold.
InuYashas ears perked up at this, swiveling forward on top of his head and following his nose as it noticed again the tantalizing smell of processed soup, only a few feet away.
No! Akane seemed adamant, I have my tournament in two days and youve hardly practiced with me at all! You promised! She looked really upset, and this seemed to get through to Ranma, because he took his hands from his pockets and raised his arms half-heartedly.
Ok then, come at me, he said. Then well eat.
No, you come at me, Akane had a different tone in her voice, almost teasing, but menacing at the same time. InuYasha noticed this and watched her carefully, wondering what she was up to. Ranma didnt seem to notice, he just scowled.
Fine! Ranma expelled the word with the same breath he used to launch himself at her with a punch! InuYasha couldnt believe he tried to hit her! He tensed again, unconsciously bringing his knees closer together ready to spring and touching one of Kagomes thighs, which he didnt really notice through the thick Fire Rat fur of his hakama pants.
The boy moved with speed and agility, though it wasnt clear he was trying too hard, and the girl blocked the punch easily. They proceeded to fight with the grace of oft-practiced movement. InuYasha had never seen anything like it. Both of them were uncommonly fast to his feudal-era eyes. The boy, in particular, seemed to be able to move out of the way of every punch and kick with little apparent effort. There were none of the unrefined punches and kicks InuYasha was used to from humans. This was not a fight for survival, but more of a choreographed dance. Well, sort of.
Oof! Ranma took a punch to the shoulder, which pushed him back into a defensive stance. There, are you happy? Can we eat now? They were both breathing hard.
No, you idiot! Akane seemed angry. Youre holding back on me. Fight me for real, like you really want to win! This girl yelled a lot.
Akane, Ranma seemed to be getting a little angry, he must have been as hungry as InuYasha was. You know this is how I fight girls. Just be glad Im doing this with you at all. No one else will even fight you any more.
Akane looked suspiciously at him. What do you mean? she asked.
I mean, youre really that good. Too good for your classmates, Akanes face blanked as he said this, and her posture relaxed just enough. Ranma took this moment to launch at her again, catching her off guard as hed clearly intended to do. She barely ducked his kick and managed to swing around with a kick to his side, but he deftly blocked it and curled her outstretched leg under his arm, forcing her to balance on the other, her legs spread wide.
Gotcha! He cried with glee.
That was really mean! She said, wavering a little so as not to fall down.
No it wasnt, he said with a touch of pride in his voice. Thats just regular Saotome School of Anything Goes psyche-out technique. I cant believe you fell for it.
Akane kicked her raised foot and he let it go. She was fuming and he was smiling. InuYasha guessed they fought verbally like this on a regular basis. The smell of their abandoned ramen was intoxicating, and he eyed it wondering if he could reach it from here without them noticing.
Ok, Akane said as she began to circle Ranma. If thats how you want to play, then I can play too! With that, she lowered her body and rushed Ranma with a speed she hadnt yet displayed. InuYasha momentarily forgot the soup as he saw Ranma try to adjust to her new momentum. He wasnt fast enough and before they knew it, Akane was under him, blocking both his arms, one from above and one from the side, and staring up at his chin, her foot planted firmly between his legs. Both Ranma and InuYasha realized how vulnerable he was to her at that moment. The girl had full access to every part of his body from well within the danger zone. A bead of sweat trickled down from the boys cheek as both the guys waited to see what she would do. Luckily, she didnt seem to want to hurt him. She moved the arm that was blocking his side punch and flicked open the top button on his shirt. Giggling, she pushed back from his chest and did a back flip, forcing Ranma to step back or get kicked in the nuts. As he leaned back away from the fight, his shirt opened up, a black undershirt showing beneath. She noticed this.
Hey, Ranma, she said tauntingly, youre falling apart!
Real anger seemed to spread on Ranmas face, and once again InuYasha tensed, crouching a little in case the boy lost control and really tried to hurt Akane. As he lowered himself closer to the ground, ready to spring, he became aware of Kagomes warmth under him. Looking down at her face, he saw she was still snoozing, and he breathed a sigh of relief, taking in her smell and letting it envelope him. He rarely gave himself the chance to do more than notice it. And he almost never let himself bask in it like this. A rare smile creased his mouth as he closed his eyes and inhaled. It was like laying down in a flower field. He really didnt want her to wake up right now and wonder what the hell he was doing here.
You wish. Ranma rushed her, for real this time it looked like, and she easily moved out of his way. As the intensity of the fight increased, Akane managed to move in and flick open each of the three button ties on his shirt until it was completely open and flapping with his increasingly aggressive movements. Ranma was clearly not used to this type of fight with Akane, and he said as much. Did Shampoo give you some stupid magic charm again? His eyes moved all over her and the surrounding clearing, looking for a new strategy.
Ha! Now you wish. Akane had disdain in her voice. Like Shampoo would ever do anything to help me.
Good point, Ramna said as he moved quickly into one of his earlier forms, but this time as she moved to block it, he slid onto his hip, tangled his feet in hers and tripped her so she came down hard on her back. Before they knew it, Ranma was on top of her, pinning her arms to the ground over her head. InuYasha was still tense, ready to jump to her rescue.
You cheated! Akane yelled in his face. No ones going to do that in my tournament!
Yeah, I know, Ranma sounded distracted, looking down at her chest. This is why I dont compete in tournaments. No respect for Anything Goes Technique, InuYasha could see Ranmas eyebrows scrunch together and he said, hey, whats this? Ranma put his leg across her thighs, to pin her from below and now he pulled her arms up to hold both her wrists with one hand. He reached to grab the gi with the other, opening it to look at her chest below his face. InuYasha hoped the boy didnt plan what he thought he had planned, because then he would have to jump over there and stop him. Just because Akane liked a good fight didnt mean this Ranma guy could take advantage of her while a half demon was around.
Not only would Ranma have to pay for frightening Akane, but hed have to pay for waking Kagome as well, InuYasha thought with dread.
To be continued ...