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Changing Times

Summary

No matter how much changes, in the end nothing ever really does. A continuing story after the failed wedding. RanmaxAkane

Chapter 1: Longest Week

Disclaimer The Ranmaverse and all of it's characters are property of the brilliant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them. Only the story belongs to me.

AN: Edited for spacing. Edited on 02/23/08.


Akane turned as someone knocked on her bedroom door. "Come in." she heard herself saying and in a moment was standing face to face with Ranma. "Ranma it's late, can't what ever this is wait 'til morning?" Akane asked a bit embarrassed when she remembered she was in her nightgown.

"I finally got the truth out of your dad. Seems you tried to push up the wedding so I could have the Jusenkyo water." Ranma said after closing the door and turning back to her.

"Yeah I was trying to do you a favor." Akane said shaking her head as she thought about what had happened earlier that month.

"Do me a favor, and stop doing me favors." Ranma said in a tone that startled Akane.

"Ranma you're such a jerk!" Akane yelled at him as she raised her hand to hit him, but as it was coming down he grabbed a hold of it and pulled her to him. He leaned in and lightly kissed her on the lips as Akane stood there, still not sure what had happened.

"Thanks for trying." Ranma said with a smile and then walked out of the room, leaving Akane standing there speechless.


What in the world was that? Akane thought to herself still confused as she was climbing into bed. Ranma had kissed her, their first real kiss. No Ranma as a cat, no tape over his mouth, just a kiss. He kissed me. Akane thought to herself still not completely sure it had happened.

Her heart started to race as she pulled her covers up to her chin and smiled to herself. "What does this mean?" Akane asked out loud to the empty room around her.


"Why did I kiss her?" Ranma asked himself out loud as he sat on the roof above the dojo. The events of the night played through his mind once again as he began to smile to himself. He shook his head, hoping to clear the images out. "She probably thinks I've gone insane." Ranma said laughing.

That was our first kiss. The thought appeared in his head before he realized it was there. "That's right it was." Ranma said shocked that he hadn't realized before then. "This is going to be a long night." Ranma said shaking his head as he started off the roof.


(Shan Pu we need to talk.) Khu Lon said in Chinese as she pogoed over to her.

(What is it great-grandmother?) Shan Pu asked looking up from the bowl of ramen that she had been making.

(Let Mu Tsu deal with this and come with me.) Khu Lon said before heading toward upstairs. Shan Pu looked over at Mu Tsu confused but he just shrugged his shoulders.


"Good morning Akane." Kasumi said with a smile as Akane walked into the room and headed for the table.

"Good morning." Akane replied sleepily as she yawned.

"Not much sleep last night?" Kasumi asked as she finished placing breakfast on the table.

"No not much." Akane said shaking her head as Kasumi walked over to the open door.

"Mr. Saotome, Ranma! Time for breakfast." Kasumi called out to them and they looked up at her from the pond they had just landed in.

"Coming." Ranma-chan called to her as she hit her father once more and then rushed into the house. Akane looked up at Ranma-chan as she sat down and started scarfing down her food, not paying any attention to Akane who was next to her.

Akane just shook her head as Ranma-chan finished off her breakfast and was handed a tea pot by Kasumi. "Thanks." Ranma said after pouring the hot water over his head and turning back into a guy.

"We're gonna be late." Akane said as she headed toward the door to get her shoes. Once she had them on, she grabbed her bag and headed off down the street, not bothering to wait for Ranma.

"Hey 'Kane wait up!" Ranma called after her as he ran to catch up with her.


(What is it great-grandmother?) Shan Pu asked when she entered Khu Lon's room and closed the door behind her.

(You have begun to slip young one. It is disgraceful enough that you have not gotten Ranma to return with you to China yet, but to add to that you are allowing the Tendo girl to get far too close to him. She is the enemy or have you forgotten?)

(I have not forgotten Great-grandmother. But if I try to attack Akane, Ranma intervenes and ends up mad at me.) Shan Pu responded.

(We are the Amazons Shan Pu we do not ask for what we want, we take it. Do you understand?)

(Yes great-grandmother.) Shan Pu said bowing her head.

(Good now go back to work while I figure out a new plan to get your husband to go with us.) Khu Lon said as she turned back to what she had been doing.

Shan Pu closed the door and let her shoulders slump as she sighed. Great-grandmother just doesn't understand. Shan Pu thought to herself as she headed back downstairs.


"Do you know what day it is?" Ranma asked with a smile as he walked along the fence above her.

The day after you kissed me. Akane thought to herself and then quickly shook her head to rid herself of the thought. Ranma took the head shake as a no and continued talking.

"Last day we have to deal with Kuno." Ranma said with a smile.

"Yeah guess it is." Akane said after thinking for a moment and then realizing that the upper class was finished with school after today.

"No more Akane Tendo I would date with you!" Ranma yelled as he jumped off the fence and grabbed onto her shoulders, turning her to face him.

"Very true." Akane said turning and starting back the way they had been going.

"What's wrong?" Ranma asked as he shook his head and ran to catch up with her.

"Nothing, just didn't sleep well." Akane said shrugging him off and hurrying toward the school.

At least Kuno paid attention to me. Akane thought shaking her head as she headed off toward her class.


"Akane Tendo!" Kuno yelled as he started running over to her at lunch.

"Go away!" Akane yelled kicking him, sending him flying across the school grounds. Sitting back down, Akane went back to eating the lunch that was in front of her, not really tasting it. Her mind was too busy going back to the night before.

I bet he doesn't even remember. Akane thought to herself as a scowl appeared on her face.

"Careful or it will stay like that." Ranma said walking over to her, and startling her.

"Why should you care?" Akane asked as she got up and headed away from him.

"Hey Akane what's wrong?" Ranma asked grabbing onto her hand and stopping her.

"Nothing just didn't get much sleep last night." Akane said shaking her head.

"Oh." Ranma said out loud to himself as he watched her walk away.


"What's wrong with my sister?" Nabiki asked walking over to Ranma as school ended for the last day of the year.

"Don't know. All she said was she didn't get much sleep." Ranma said shrugging as he looked up at Nabiki.

"Well she's giving poor Kuno baby a bigger beating than normal. Maybe you should try talking to her." Nabiki suggested as she started out of the class.

"Why should I?" Ranma asked confused as he hurried to catch up with her.

"Cause she's your fiancé Ranma." Nabiki said shaking her head as she started down the hall. "Gotta get ready for graduation. Later Ranma!" Nabiki called over her shoulder as Ranma started off the other way.


"I would date..." Kuno was starting, but Akane kicked him and he went flying toward the other side of the field.

"I wouldn't!" Akane yelled after him and then started off toward her house. Ranma just shook his head and then hurried to catch up with her.

"Wow he seems to be on full speed ahead today." Ranma said laughing as he jumped up on the fence and began walking along side of Akane.

"Last chance desperation" Akane mumbled under her breath.

"What's wrong Akane?" Ranma asked jumping off the fence so he was standing next to her.

"It meant nothing to you did it?" Akane asked as she stopped to look at him.

"Did what?" Ranma asked confused. "The fact that Kuno was all over you?" Ranma asked as he tried to figure out what he was supposed to have noticed.

"Ranma you're such an..." Akane started as she pulled her fist back and punched in square in the face. "IDIOT!" Akane screamed before taking off down the road toward the dojo.


"Stupid Ranma." Akane hissed out loud to herself as she slammed her hand into another set of bricks. "What a JERK!" Akane yelled as she went through yet another set of bricks.

Ranma watched confused from the open doorway. Now what did I do? Ranma thought to himself as he replayed the day in his head, unable to figure out when he could have made her mad.

"Look Akane, I'm sorry. I don't know what for since I can't figure out what I did to piss you off today. But still I'm sorry." Ranma said as he walked into the dojo and she looked up at him.

"Don't worry about it." Akane said as she stood up, dusting herself off. "I thought it meant something but I guess not." Akane said shaking her head as she moved past him and went into the house.


"I don't want to go!" Akane was yelling as Ranma walked into the house.

"It will be good for bridal training." Mr. Tendo said as Ranma leaned on the doorway.

"What's going on?" Ranma asked Kasumi as she walked into the room.

"Mr. Saotome and Dad want Akane to go with you on your trip." Kasumi said as she put a plate of snacks down on the table with the tea she had brought in.

"I don't want bridal training!" Akane yelled at her father as he continued to play his game with Genma.

"It's not just for you, they will need someone to cook for them while they are out there." Soun said not looking up from his game.

"Who would want to eat her cooking?" Ranma asked with a laugh as he grabbed one of the snacks off of the plate and quickly popped it into his mouth.

"Who asked you?!" Akane yelled as she turned to him.

"You're going Akane." Soun said calmly as he looked back up at her.

"AHHH!" Akane yelled as she stormed out of the room, heading upstairs.

"What happened to my piece?" Soun asked looking back down at the game. He looked up at Genma, but found a panda holding a sign that said 'I win'.


"Why do I have to be stuck with them for a whole week?" Akane asked out loud to herself as she began throwing things into her bag. "Ranma that jerk." Akane said with a sigh as she sat down on the edge of her bed. "He forgot all about last night." Akane said as she folded her arms with a pout.

"Why should I have to cook for him anyways? All he ever does is make fun of it. No matter how much I try to get it to turn out right." Akane said as a tear slowly made its way down her cheek. She quickly wiped it away as Kasumi walked into the room with a bag in her hand.

"Food supplies for your trip." Kasumi said with a smile as she put the bag into Akane's large traveling bag.

"Why do I have to go Kasumi?" Akane asked looking up at her sister as she finished closing up her bag.

"It will be a good time to practice your cooking." Kasumi said with a smile as she sat down on the bed.

"Not really, they won't eat it. They'll just say something about having to get back to practicing and will take off without eating it." Akane said with a sigh.

"Just remember to pay attention to what you are putting in and you will do just fine." Kasumi said with a smile as she headed out of the room.


(Shan Pu.) Khu Lon called out as she headed downstairs.

(Yes great-grandmother.) Shan Pu said coming out from the kitchen.

(Do you remember our plan?)

(Yes great-grandmother.) Shan Pu said bowing her head.

(Good, go put it into action.) Khu Lon demanded before heading back upstairs. Shaking her head, Shan Pu started out of the cat café and headed down the street.

What is going on? Mu Tsu thought to himself as he watched Shan Pu head out.


A week of her cooking? This will be the longest week of my life. Ranma thought to himself as he sat on the roof above the dojo.

"Ranma! Come on boy time to head out!" Ranma looked down off the roof to see his dad and Akane standing out front, bags ready to go.

"Coming Pop!" Ranma called down as he grabbed his bag and jumped off the roof. He landed next to Akane and tried to give her a smile, but she just turned and headed down the road. Longest week of my life. Ranma thought to himself again as he started off with his dad.


As Shan Pu made her way into the Tendo yard, she saw Nabiki walking out the door. "Greedy girl, where Ranma?" Shan Pu asked as Nabiki looked up at her.

"It'll cost you." Nabiki said with a smile as she held out her hand. Mumbling a few choice words in Chinese under her breath, Shan Pu handed over the yen that was asked for. "He's on a week long training trip." Nabiki said as she put the money in her pocket.

"Where violent girl?" Shan Pu asked after looking around and not seeing her. Nabiki just held her hand back up.

"Akane? She went with him." Nabiki said after she put the money in her pocket with the rest.

"Where they go?" Shan Pu asked as she started to get more money out.

"Keep that. I don't know where they went." Nabiki said before Shan Pu could give her the money.

"But you always know." Shan Pu said confused.

"I think they didn't tell me this time so I couldn't sell the info, sorry." Nabiki said shrugging as she headed off away from her.


"There." Akane said out loud to herself as she finished setting up the second tent and looked around the camp. "Guess it's time to start dinner." she said when she saw the sun was starting to set. "Dinner will be ready in a little bit." Akane said looking up to find Ranma-chan walking back into camp.

"What are you doing?" Ranma-chan asked as he sat down next to the fire and grabbed the tea kettle.

"Adding white wine what does it look like?" Akane asked as she stopped what she was doing to look up at her.

"That's vinegar" Ranma-chan said as she upturned the kettle over her head and turned back into a boy.

"Oh." Akane said as she looked down at the bottle and realized he was right. Shaking her head she put the bottle back down and picked up another one.

"Sugar." Ranma said as he took off his shirt and began ringing it out.

"What?" Akane asked startled as she looked up at him.

"That's sugar." Ranma said shaking his head as he got up and hung his shirt to dry.

"Oh." Akane said putting it back down and picking up the salt.


(Did it work?) Khu Lon asked as Shan Pu walked back in.

(No great-grandmother, Ranma's gone on a week long training trip. He was gone before I got there.) Shan Pu said looking up when she heard her great-grandmother.

(And the Tendo girl?)

(She went with him.) Shan Pu said quietly, hoping she wouldn't hear her.

(We'll see about that.) Khu Lon said to herself as she pogoed out of the room on her staff.

(This isn't good.) Mu Tsu said walking over to Shan Pu.

(No not good at all.) Shan Pu said shaking her head.


"Well that wasn't half bad." Ranma said after they had finished eating.

"Where's your dad anyways?" Akane asked looking around.

"Pop? Probably got himself lost." Ranma said with a laugh as he walked over and grabbed his shirt off the tree he had hung it on.

"Aren't you worried?" Akane asked as she was packing away the cooking stuff and putting it in her tent.

"Nah." Ranma said as he began to yawn.

"Thanks for dinner." Ranma said before heading into his tent and closing the flap behind him.

"You're welcome." Akane said more to herself then to him and headed into her tent.


After watching them head into their tents and fall asleep, Genma turned into a panda as the rain started coming down. Snickering to himself, he quietly took the spikes part way out of the ground and headed out of camp as the wind began to pull on the tent.

 


 

"AHHH!" Hearing Ranma-chan's yell brought Akane fully awake in a moment and she quickly headed out of her tent to find her standing there in the rain.

"Where's your tent?" Akane asked when she realized it wasn't there.

"You didn't set it up right and it flew off in the wind." Ranma-chan said bitterly as she pushed past Akane and went into her tent. Akane shook her head confused and went back into her tent shivering from the rain that had soaked her through.

"What are you doing?" Akane asked when she saw Ranma-chan had started a fire and was heating water over it.

"I'm not sleeping out in the rain cause you can't hang a tent right." Ranma said after he had poured the water over his head and became a guy again.

"You can't sleep in here with me." Akane insisted as a shiver ran through her body and she wrapped her arms around herself.

"You need to get out of those wet clothes." Ranma said turning his back to her so she could have some privacy.

"I'm not changing with you in here." Akane said shocked that he would even suggest it.

"Fine, but don't come crying to me when you catch a cold." Ranma said keeping his back to her.

"Fine but don't peek." Akane warned as she started pealing her wet clothes off.

"Like I would want to look at that tomboy body of yours." Ranma said but a moment before her wet nightgown was thrown at his head.

"Jerk." Akane mumbled under her breath as she quickly put on another nightgown before walking over to her sleeping bag.

"Just stay on your side." Akane warned as she brought the blanket up to her chin.

"Don't worry I will." Ranma said as he curled up on the ground.


Akane looked over at Ranma and found him shivering in the cold as he laid there sleeping. Shaking her head, she unzipped her sleeping bag and placed it over both of them. She watched him sleeping for a moment and when a strain of hair fell into his eyes, felt the urge to brush it away. But thought better of it and pulled her hand back. Rolling over on her side, she began to drift asleep.

 


 

As the sun began to come in through the door of the tent, Akane rubbed her eyes as she began awaking. Turning, she saw that Ranma had curled up with her some time during the night. She smiled, but as he started to stir, she quickly shut her eyes.

As Ranma opened his eyes, he smiled. Akane looked so peaceful while she was sleeping. "Guess she is kind of cute." Ranma said out loud to himself as he brushed a strain of hair out of her eyes. But as she moved, he jumped up and quickly headed out of the tent.

Shaking her head, Akane looked at the door of tent just as he was walking out. "He is a strange one." Akane said shaking her head as she got up and started getting dressed.


"Good morning." Ranma said as Akane walked out of the tent.

"Good morning." Akane said not looking up at him as she started making a fire on the still slightly damp ground. "Didn't your dad ever come back?" Akane asked as she began working on breakfast.

"Nah he probably got himself lost. I'll go look for him, just make sure you watch what you put in there." Ranma said nodding to the food as he headed out of camp.

Confused Akane looked down at her hand and realized she was about to add sugar instead of salt. Sighing, Akane put it down and picked up the salt.


"Any luck?" Akane asked as Ranma walked back into camp just as she was finishing up making breakfast.

"Nope." Ranma said as he sat down next to the fire and was handed a plate of food.

"Should we worry about him?" Akane asked as she waited for Ranma to take a bite.

"Nah it was probably the plan all along." Ranma said with a laugh as he started cautiously eating his food. When he realized it was safe to eat, he started wolfing it down.

"What do you mean?" Akane asked confused.

"Nothing." Ranma said as he finished off his plate. "Thanks." Ranma said as he handed her his dish and quickly headed out of camp.

"What is up with him?" Akane asked herself out loud as she began cleaning up after breakfast.

"First Mr. Saotome takes off and now Ranma is acting weird." Akane said shaking her head. "This is going to be a long week." Akane said as she grabbed her fishing equipment and headed down toward the stream not far from camp.


"What are you doing?" Ranma asked coming up behind her, startling Akane.

"Fishing what does it look like?" Akane said not turning to look at him.

"Catch anything yet?" Ranma asked as he sat down next to her.

"No, care to make fun of me?" Akane asked as she threw the rod onto the ground. Ranma just shook his head and started the 'roasting chestnuts on an open fire' technique in the water and started bringing up fish as he brought his hands back up.

"Thank you." Akane said as she finished putting the fish into her basket and stood up.

"What's wrong?" Ranma said grabbing her hand and turning her around.

"Nothing I just thought wrong." Akane said taking her hand out of his and picking up the basket before heading back into camp.

"What is with that girl?" Ranma asked scratching his head as he watched her walk off.


"What is up with your dad? He still isn't back." Akane said as Ranma walked into camp as she was making dinner.

"He's probably staying away from your cooking." Ranma said with a laugh before he realized what he said. Ranma blocked his head, expecting something to come flying at him, but when he looked over at Akane she just sat there.

"Look Akane it was just a joke." Ranma said walking over and sitting down next to the fire.

"That's all it ever is." Akane said softly as she finished cooking the fish and handed Ranma a plate.

"It's gotten much better." Ranma said with a smile as he ate his dinner, hoping to cheer Akane up. Akane just quietly ate her fish and then began cleaning up when she had finished.

"Come on Akane, don't be mad at me." Ranma said as he stopped her from going in the tent.

"I'm not." Akane said pulling away and walking into the tent.

"Sure." Ranma said rolling his eyes at her.


Ranma pulled back the door to the tent and went to walk in but the sight caught him off guard. Akane was getting undressed and he could see her naked back. He found it hard to breath and his heart started to pound as he watched her, unaware he was there.

As she started to slip out of her pants, he realized what he was doing, and knowing she would be furious, he quickly went back out before she could find him there. Ranma shook his head as he walked around the camp.

Why did I find it so hard to look away? It's only Akane. Ranma thought to himself as he kicked a rock that was on the ground in front of him. Maybe it's because it was Akane. He thought to himself but a moment before he dismissed the idea.


"Can I come in?" Ranma called in from outside of the tent.

"Yeah." Akane replied as she was getting under her covers. "Your blanket had a chance to dry." Akane said nodding toward the blanket that was on the floor where he laid the night before.

"Thank you." Ranma said as he walked over and got underneath his blanket. "Guess you'll be happy that you don't have to share yours with me again." Ranma said with a laugh as he rolled over to face Akane.

"If you hated it so much why did you do it?" Akane asked keeping her back to him.

"I was asleep I didn't know I was and..." Ranma started but Akane turned to him and stopped him.

"Not the blanket. Why did you kiss me?" Akane asked searching his eyes as if the answer might be there.

"Oh I don't know why I did it just kind of happened." Ranma said unable to look her in the eyes.

"Oh." Akane said with a sigh as she rolled back over.

"Akane." Ranma said as he crawled over to her and turned her so she was facing him. "Is that was this has all been about? You thought I hated the kiss?" Ranma asked, still unable to keep his eyes on hers for very long.

"What am I supposed to think? You didn't even seem to remember it the next day. I wish you never kissed me." Akane said looking away as a tear started to fall down her cheek.

"I don't." Ranma said taking her chin in his head and tilting her head back to him. "And I don't think you do either." Ranma said with a sweet smile as he was finally able to keep his eyes locked with hers.

Akane's heart began pounding in her ears as she looked up at him, just inches above her face. She could feel the heat from his breath on her face. As she closed her eyes, he brought his lips down to hers and for a long moment they were locked in a soft kiss.

When Akane opened her eyes again, he was smiling at her. "Look, it doesn't look like it's gonna rain tonight. I'll go sleep out under the stars." Ranma said after a moment as he was standing up to leave.

"Ranma." Akane said softly after a moment stopping him at the door. "Stay." Akane said with a slight smile when he turned back to look at her.

"You sure?" Ranma asked still standing by the door.

"Yeah." Akane replied with a smile and he began to walk back toward her.

"Alright." Ranma said as he laid down next to her, closer than he had been the night before. "Good night Akane." Ranma whispered sweetly in her ear as he curled up next to her and put his arm across her stomach.

"Good night Ranma." Akane managed to say as she was having problems breathing and unable to control her heart that was racing inside her chest.


Early the next morning, Ranma woke up to find Akane still in his arms. He smiled sweetly as he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. "Akane I..." Ranma started to whisper in her ear but a sound coming from outside the tent caught his attention and he jumped up, waking her.

As Akane rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and looked after him, he made his was out of the tent. Once outside he found a panda sitting in front of the fire heating a kettle of water. "Finally make your way back Pop?" Ranma asked with a laugh as he sat down next to him.

'Yeah' the sign said that he held up. "Where's your tent boy?" Genma asked after he had dumped the hot water over his head.

"Wind took it away." Ranma said rolling his eyes.

"You slept with Akane then?" Mr. Saotome asked as he looked up at Ranma with a grin.

"We shared a tent, I didn't 'sleep' with her Pop." Ranma said hitting his father in the head not a moment before Akane walked out of the tent and began making breakfast.

"Come on boy let's go train." Genma said watching Akane.

"After breakfast, I'm hungry." Ranma said taking his dad's hand off him as he was trying to pull him out of camp. Confused, Genma sat back down and watched Akane cooking.

"Sugar." Ranma said causing Akane to look down at her hand. She put the sugar back down and picked up the salt. "Vinegar." Ranma said as she was about to add some to the pan.

Akane shook her head and after putting it back down, she picked up the white wine. Mr. Saotome watched the two go back and forth like this until breakfast was ready. Once Ranma had been handed a plate he began to wolf it down and Mr. Saotome watched on confused and finally took a small bite off his plate. Realizing it had turned out okay, he quickly cleaned off his plate.

"Thanks." Ranma said looking over at Akane as he was standing up. "Let's go Pop." Ranma said as he started out of the camp, Genma not far behind.


"Small steps." Akane said quietly to herself as she was cleaning up after breakfast. "He didn't complain about the food. This is good." Akane said with a smile as she put away the cooking supplies and sat down to look at the fire.

Her thoughts began to drift back to the night before. Ranma kissing her again, cuddling up next to her, the heat of his body against hers. Everything came flooding back to her mind, causing her cheeks to turn red.


"So you slept next to Akane huh boy?" Mr. Saotome asked as he was chased by Ranma through the trees.

"It's not like that old man, we were just in the same tent. And if the girl knew how to hang a tent in the first place it wouldn't have happened." Ranma said as thoughts of the night before started to fill his head and he had to shake it to clear them.

"Well you two seemed cozy this morning." Genma said with a laugh as Ranma jumped off the branch he was on and knocked him out of the tree.

"I just wanted to be able to eat breakfast." Ranma said looking down from the tree as a panda surfaced in the stream below them.

'Sure' the sign he was holding said.


"We're leaving?" Akane asked looking up at Ranma after they had gotten back to camp as she was finishing making dinner.

"Yeah with the one tent, we won't have enough room for three. Pop and I will sleep out here tonight and we will leave first thing in the morning." Ranma said sitting down as Akane handed him a plate.

"Good, can't stand to have you in the tent for another day. You kick." Akane said sticking her tongue out at Ranma before handing Mr. Saotome a plate.

"Not as much as you do." Ranma said laughing then started scarfing down his food.


Akane quickly undressed and got ready for bed before getting under her blanket and pulling it up to her chin. She looked over at the spot next to her where Ranma had slept for the last two nights. The tent seemed colder with out his body heat next to her and she found herself wishing he was lying next to her.

"Akane?" Ranma called from outside the tent bringing her attention up from the empty spot next to her.

"Come in." Akane said looking up as Ranma walked in with a smile.

"Just needed my blanket." Ranma said as he walked over to her and picked it up off the floor. "Good night Akane." Ranma said softly before hurried out of the tent.

"Good night Ranma." Akane said sweetly to the empty tent around her. She placed her hand in the spot where he had been laying, and realized she was already missing him.


Ranma curled up under the blanket as he looked up at the stars above him. Next to him his father was already snoring softly. He closed his eyes and thoughts of Akane seemed to fill his mind. He could smell her, and feel her skin under his fingers. Hear her voice saying his name. He walked back over to her tent and looked in to find her sleeping peacefully in her sleeping bag.

He smiled when he heard her say his name and went to go over to her, but soon realized she had said it in her sleep. "Good night Akane." Ranma said softly before heading back over to his blanket and covering up.


"Come in." Akane called after hearing a knock on her bedroom door and turned to find Ranma walking into her room.

"About the other night." Ranma said looking at the ground, unsure of what to say.

"We'll talk later. I'm heading for my bath now." Akane said with a smile as she started out of the room, but stopped when she reached him to kiss him on the cheek.


"Nihao, Ranma come back to Shan Pu yes?" Shan Pu said as she jumped into his arms and planted a kiss on his lips.

"No Shampoo I just came back to the dojo." Ranma said trying to get her out of his arms, but failing.

"Ranma miss Shan Pu yes?" Shan Pu said holding onto Ranma.

"Am I interrupting something?" Ryoga asked as he walked into the yard.

"No perfect timing, let's go spar." Ranma said dropping Shan Pu on the ground and grabbing Ryoga's hand before pulling him toward the dojo.

"What was that all about?" Ryoga asked as they began fighting each other in the dojo.

"Just Shampoo not listening." Ranma said rolling his eyes.


Akane smiled to herself as she headed toward the dojo. Kasumi said Ryoga was back which means him and Ranma would be in the dojo more than likely sparing.

"She just won't listen." Ranma could be heard through the door and Akane stopped herself from opening it and listened in on what he was saying.

"She's knows I don't consider her my fiancé, but she just won't listen to what I am telling her. She just ignores me whenever I try and tell her there is someone else. Then she goes and kisses me again. I don't want to be mean to her, but how many ways do you have to tell someone you're not interested?" Ranma asked as he continued to spar with Ryoga.

Akane bit down on her lower lip and ran from the dojo as the tears started to well up in her eyes. No I will not cry. Akane thought trying her best to hold them back.


"Shampoo's problem is she is only interested in what she wants, not what others want. To tell you the truth Ranma, I don't know what else you can do. Have you told Akane how you feel yet?" Ryoga asked as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

"I don't even know how I feel yet." Ranma said shaking his head as he sat down next to Ryoga. After what had happened in Jusenkyo and Akane trying to push forward with the wedding for Ranma, Ryoga had decided on giving up trying to have Akane. He could see that they were meant to be together, but that didn't mean he wouldn't try to protect her if Ranma hurt her.

"Well don't make her wait too long or I might change my mind of giving her up to you." Ryoga warned with a smile.


She wanted to hate him, wanted to be mad at him, but she couldn't. It wasn't his fault he didn't feel the same way about her. She thought he did, but once again she was just wrong. No instead she was mad at herself, hating herself for putting everything out like that. "I guess I just missed the signs." Akane said with a sigh as she thought about what Ranma had said in the dojo.

"Baka." Akane said slamming her fists down on her desk.

"What'd I do this time?" Ranma asked looking in through her open window.

"Nothing." Akane said turning away from him so he couldn't see that she had been crying.

"You're mad again?" Ranma asked confused as he put his hand on her shoulder and she pulled away from him. "Damn it Akane what did I do this time?" Ranma asked confused.

"Nothing I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at myself." Akane said quietly, trying to keep her voice calm and steady.

"Akane what's going on?" Ranma asked turning her around to face him.

"I pushed and for nothing. I made an ass out of myself thinking you felt the same. But now I know you don't. I won't hold you to an engagement when you want to be with someone else. Consider our engagement ended." Akane said keeping her head down so he wouldn't see her tear stained eyes.

"Akane what in the world is going on? And what are you talking about?" Ranma asked as she tried to pull away from him, but he held onto her and wrapped his arms around her waist so she couldn't take off. As she looked up at him, he could tell that she had been crying.

"I heard you." Akane said so softly that for a moment Ranma wondered if he had imagined it.

"Heard me what?" Ranma asked as he moved her over to the bed and sat her down.

"I heard you say that I wasn't listening to you and that you wanted to be with someone else. I get it, I won't bug you any more." Akane said quickly standing up and heading toward the door.

"Akane stop!" Ranma called in a voice that startled Akane and stopped her in her tracks. "Akane you dummy. This is why you shouldn't ease drop, you miss out on some important facts." Ranma said grabbing a hold of her and turning her back around.

"I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about Shampoo. You were the girl I told Ryoga I wanted to be with. I meant what I said in Jusenkyo. Akane..." Ranma started and had to take a deep breath to keep himself calm and collected.

"Damn it Akane I love you. Don't you understand that? Every time something happens you're the first one I think of. Every time some one attacks I worry about you. Every time you get hurt I call out your name. Since the very beginning you have risked your life for me, either for my life or my chance to return to a full man. I may not have been able to tell you, but after everything that has happened to us I can't understand why you didn't know what you mean to me." Ranma said as he raised her chin so he could keep her eyes locked with his.

"I love you too Ranma." Akane said barely above a whisper as the tears started to fall once again. She buried her head in his chest as he began to run his fingers through her hair. "It's just every time we start to get close you pull away from me. Every time we share a sweet moment, it seems like you can't wait to get away. You always seem to be running away from me not to me." Akane said quietly as her tears began to soak his shirt.

"I'm sorry. You're right, but it wasn't because I didn't care, in fact it was because I did care. I didn't know how to handle what I was feeling. And I still don't. But I never wanted you to think that I didn't care about you." Ranma said softly as he brought her chin up and gently kissed her on the lips.

"What now?" Akane asked looking up at him when the kissed had ended.

"Let me take care of that." Ranma said with a smile as he headed back out the window. "I'll be back later, will you wait up for me?" Ranma asked as he turned back face her.

"Yeah." Akane said and watched him take off into the night.


"Ranma what are you doing here?" his mother asked with a smile as she opened the door and let him into the house.

"I need to ask you something." Ranma said with a grin as he was led into the front room for tea.

"I have just the thing." she said after he had told her what he was looking for. "It was your great grandmother's." she said as she pulled a box down from the shelf in her closest and started going through it.

"Here. This is for Akane right?" his mother asked as she handed him the small box.

"Of course." Ranma said with a smile and then headed back out side.


Ranma knocked on the door and waited for her to answer. It was after hours so the restaurant was already closed, but after a minute he could see Ukyo walking toward the door. "Hello Ranma-honey. What brings you here this late?" Ukyo asked as she moved out of the way so he could come in.

"We need to talk." Ranma said as he headed over and sat down at one of the benches.

"I don't like the sound of that." Ukyo said as she sat down on a bench a couple down from his. Ranma sat there for a few minutes trying to come up with the best way to say it, but every way ended with her in tears. "What is it Ranma-honey?" she asked after a while breaking the silence.

"Although I have never meant to, I know I have been leading you guys on for a long time and it isn't fair to you. I have known what I wanted for a long time, but I didn't have the guts to say it. I knew some of my friends would get hurt and I didn't want that. But you deserve the truth. I treasure your friendship, but I don't want to be with you romantically. I want to be with Akane." Ranma said searching Ukyo's face, hoping not to make her cry.

"Why her? She's never once acted like she liked you. In fact it's always been the opposite." Ukyo said shaking her head, not wanting to hear what she was hearing.

"I don't know. All I know is I love her. And I know you are mad at me and that's understandable. And I will give you what ever time or space you need. But I want you to know that I do want to be your friend. You are really important to me." Ranma said as he stood up and headed toward the door.

"Guess calling you Ranma-honey would be a bad idea now huh?" Ukyo said with a smile as he stopped at the door and turned back to her.

"Yeah it probably is." Ranma said with a laugh.


"Here goes nothing." Ranma said out loud to himself as he stood out side the cat café. Shaking his head he knocked on the door and a moment later it was opened by Mu Tsu.

"What do you want Ranma?" Mu Tsu asked blocking the doorway.

"I need to talk to Shampoo." Ranma was saying as Mu Tsu was pushed out of the way and Shan Pu was standing in the doorway.

"Nihao Ranma you come see Shan Pu?" Shan Pu asked with a smile.

"Yes Shampoo can we talk?" Ranma asked nodding away from the Cat café.

"Okay." Shan Pu said with a shrug and headed outside with Ranma.

"Alright Shampoo I need you to listen to me and understand what I am saying." Ranma started as they sat down.

"Shan Pu understand." Shan Pu said looking over at him.

"Shampoo I have decided that I want to be with Akane. I know you think we're engaged but we're not. I'm neither Chinese or an Amazon and this isn't China. Your rules don't apply here. I value you as a friend and you're very dear to me. But you must understand that we will never get married."

"Shan Pu understand Ranma no understand. You beat Shan Pu, you marry Shan Pu. Is law" Shan Pu said standing up.

"No Shampoo that is a Chinese Amazon law, it means nothing here in Japan and it means nothing to me. I will not marry you. You need to understand that. You need to accept that." Ranma said as he stood up as well.

"We see." Shan Pu said taking off back inside before he could stop her.


"Shan Pu not give up. Shan Pu have one more chance." Shan Pu said to herself as she walked back into the Cat Café and closed the door behind her.

Mu Tsu just shook his head as he watched her head down the hall to her room. "She will never learn." Mu Tsu said as he sat down on the stool.

That boy will never learn. Amazon law is not to be messed with. Khu Lon thought to herself as she watched Ranma walk away. So he wants the Tendo girl? We'll just have to get her out of the way.


As Ranma climbed up on the roof he started making his way over to Akane's window and softly knocked, hoping she had waited up for him. After a minute he heard Akane trip over something and mutter 'Baka' before coming to the window and opening it for him. Once he was inside, he softly kissed her on the forehead and then sat down on her bed, and motioned for her to join him.

"So what happened?" Akane asked after a moment when he had remained silent.

"I talk to Ukyo and Shampoo and I think Ukyo understands but who knows about Shampoo, I don't think that girl will ever listen to me." Ranma said shaking his head.

"I wouldn't be surprised" Akane said laughing, but stopped when she saw the look on Ranma's face. "What is it Ranma?" Akane asked concerned.

Ranma got up off the bed and knelt down in front of her. Akane could feel her heart pounding in her ears and found it getting harder to breath as she watched Ranma kneel in front of her. She watched as he pulled a small box out of his pocket and held it out to her. As she watched his face, she could see that he was searching for the words he wanted and she gave him a smile to help him relax.

"I know I never say the right thing, I'm not a man known by his words. I know that I am always messing things up with you. Making you mad, or making fun of your cooking. And I know that I am probably the last person that deserves you." Ranma said as he held his eyes with hers, never looking away.

"But I also know that I love you more than anything or anyone in this world and I know that I can not live without you." Ranma paused so he could take a breath to help steady his nerves. "Akane Tendo will you marry me?" Ranma asked with a smile as he opened the box and revealed a silver band with a single diamond on the top.

Akane looked from the ring and back to Ranma several times, trying to take it all in and still wondering if she was dreaming. He had a look on his face that told her he was worried she might say no and as she watched he started to fidget, unable to sit still while he waited for her answer. She shook her head at the thought that she might say no, but he took it as her answer and a sad look appeared in his eyes.

Just as he was about to speak, Akane leaped off the bed, landing on top of him, knocking him over. "Ranma no baka." Akane said with a huge grin as she playfully smacked him on top of his head. "Of course I will marry you." Akane said as she leaned down and kissed him on the lips.

"Then why did you wait so long to answer?" Ranma asked annoyed when the kiss had ended.

"Wanted to make you sweat, did it work?" Akane asked with a grin as she stared into his eyes. Ranma thought about that for a moment as he righted himself. He reached down and picked up the ring that he had dropped when she knocked him over.

"Well since you wanted to make me sweat, don't know if I should give you this now or not." Ranma said with a grin as he waved the ring in front of her face.

"Come on Ranma give it to me." Akane said as she tried to get it out of his hand, but he just waved his hand out of her reach.

"Nope see if you want this now you have to earn it." Ranma said with a huge grin as he jumped out of her way.

"Ranma you pervert." Akane said as she placed her hands on her hips and looked over at him.

"Not like that tomboy." Ranma said with a grin and moved to her before she could blink. It took her a second to realize he was standing just an inch away from her and his face was nearly touching hers

"Then what do you want?" Akane asked, still a bit worried.

"A kiss." Ranma said grinning from ear to ear.

"Oh is that all?" Akane asked smiling.

"Hai." Ranma said as he leaned in just a little closer so their lips were almost touching.

"Okay then." Akane said as their lips barely touched. But instead of moving in for the kiss, she grabbed the ring out of his hand and jumped out the window.

Ranma stood there for a moment unsure of what had happened and then shook his head. Smiling, he looked over at the window and then gave chase. "Akane get back here! You haven't earned that yet!" Ranma called after her as he ran on top of the roof after her.

"No!" she yelled as she turned back to stick her tongue out at him. As she reached the edge of the roof, she went to jump across to the next roof, but Ranma had caught up and scooped her up in his arms. When they landed on the ground safely, Ranma took the moment to kiss her lightly on the lips before she could move to get away from him.

"There now you can have this." Ranma said with a smile as he took the ring out of her hand and placed it on her finger. Akane just smiled up at him before reaching her arms around him and pulling him down for another kiss.


"Well it's about time." Nabiki said with a grin after they heard a series of clicks. Looking up they realized it was a camera and they're family was all watching them. Ranma and Akane looked at them then looked back at each other and started laughing.

"Hold it right there." Akane said as Ranma helped her stand up. Genma and Soun stopped heading toward the house to make arrangements and turned back toward her.

"We will pick out the date, we will make the plans, and we will have the last say. We are not going to jump in right at this moment and have a wedding first thing in the morning, understand?" Akane asked looking from her father to Mr. Saotome. They both just nodded. "Good, now I am going to bed." Akane said with a yawn as she turned back and kissed Ranma on the cheek before heading into the house.

Genma and Soun watched as the others walked into the house and then started dancing. "We did it Tendo." Genma said with a grin as he linked his arm with Soun's and they began dancing in a circle.

"That we did Saotome, that we did." Soun said with a smile as the water works started in.

"Oh my." Kasumi said shaking her head and she closed the door, knowing they wouldn't be in for a while.