Disclaimer: I don’t own Ranma ˝. This is part two of three one-shots. This picks up where the first one leaves off. Of course, part three will follow this story. Enjoy.
Akane was in the dojo training room after the Saotomes had finished training. Actually, arguing was more accurate. What they argued about didn’t concern her one bit.
She threw two center punches, did a roundhouse kick, and repeated the cycle two more times. Then, she got out three cement blocks and laid a damp cloth on top of them.
Her hand hovered over the blocks as she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. Concentrate, she thought. With a battle cry, she brought her hand down and karate chopped all three blocks in half.
She opened her eyes and surveyed her handiwork. She wiped her forehead off with the back of her hand before saying, “Ah. That felt good.”
Satisfied with her practice, Akane cleaned up the mess. As she exited the room, several minutes later, she heard a terror-filled cry.
She looked at the front door to see Ranma dashing through them, his face horror-stricken. “What’s your problem?” she snapped, even though she was concerned. Ranma was rarely scared.
Ranma didn’t even give a smart-aleck response. “I should never have told Kuno the truth,” was all he said.
“What are you talking about?”
“I thought I show Kuno my curse to get him to stop chasing my girl side.”
“It didn’t work?”
“No. He’s going to try and ambush me with cold water. Kodachi found out too and will be waiting with hot water.”
“Oh, Ranma. That’s awful.”
The two of them stood there in silence as night closed in around them. Then, Kasumi’s voice broke the quiet. “Dinner’s ready, you two.”
“Come on, Akane. Let’s go in,” Ranma said. Akane just nodded.
The next morning, Akane woke up, had breakfast, practice afterwards until lunchtime, and then showered and dressed before going out shopping. Akane smiled and took a deep breath. It was a beautiful day and best of all, she didn’t have Ranma tagging along behind her.
It was late afternoon as Akane walked across the bridge on her route home. Movement on the wooden pegs standing above the water caught her and she turned to look.
She saw Ranma in girl form fighting Ryoga. She frowned and rolled her eyes. Those two were always fighting! The reason for it eluded her, but she doubted it had to do with some bread Ranma had always beat Ryoga to.
Akane leaped over the bridge rail and slid down the steep slope to land on the river’s sandy edge. She opened her mouth to call to them as both leaped into the air. Ranma the delivered a kick powerful enough to send Ryoga splashing into the river- right near where Akane was standing!
“Ryoga!” she exclaimed. She dropped to her stomach and plunged an arm into the water, hoping to find some sign of Ryoga. In the back of her mind, she noticed that Ranma had already left. The jerk. Her questing hand gripped something hard and very heavy. She stuck her other hand in and heaved the object out of the river.
It was Ryoga’s backpack with his umbrella attached to its top. She shoved it aside and put both arms back under the surface. After a few minutes, one hand came across something soft and a second later, so did the other hand. She pulled her hands out. In the left were Ryoga’s clothes and in the other was…
“P-chan!” she exclaimed. She dropped the clothes beside her and hugged her pet pig. “Oh, my baby! Where have you been? I’ve been so-,” Akane broke off when she noticed something she hadn’t before.
P-chan’s scarf bore the same pattern as Ryoga’s headband. She glanced at the wet clothes beside her. Where was Ryoga anyway? Surely, he wasn’t walking around naked. She stared at P-chan, then at the clothes, and back again. Was it possible?
There’s only one way to find out, she thought. She stuffed the clothes into the backpack, hefted it onto her shoulders, gathered up her bags and P-chan, and raced home. Once home, she headed straight for the bathroom. She closed the door, set P-chan down, and dropped the bags and backpack before drawing up a hot bath.
P-chan sensed what Akane was up to and started squealing and flailing about as Akane held him over the tub. He struggled so fiercely that Akane had trouble holding on to him.
“Whoa! Hey, take it easy! I just want to test something.” Akane waited until P-chan had calmed down before she lowered him into the tub and gently let go.
A couple of minutes passed before Ryoga’s upper body broke the surface, his head bowed and his eyes focused on the water.
“I thought so,” Akane said softly. “but I wasn’t sure.”
Silence filled the bathroom before Ryoga broke the silence. “I suppose you’re wondering how this happened?” He looked over to see Akane nod before looking down again. “I chased down Ranma after he skipped out on our duel. I eventually came to Jusenkyo. As I stood on a cliff overlooking the grounds, I heard a noise. I turned to see a panda charging at me. I jumped up to avoid it, but a red-haired girl came flying through the air. She kicked me and I fell into Spring of Drowned Pig.”
“Oh, Ryoga. That’s awful. No wonder you’re mad at Ranma. I’m guessing he’s the one who kicked you into that spring.”
“Yeah. He was. Akane, you’re not mad at me for deceiving you, are you?”
“No, of course not.”
“I’m relieved to hear you say that. I would hate for you to be mad at me.”
“I do have a question, though. Why did you calm down before I put you in the water?”
“I realized that I was going to land in this tub and I couldn’t do a thing about it. I figured it was time to tell the truth.”
He may not have a good sense of direction, Akane thought. But he’s a sweet guy who knows when it’s time to be honest.
“Ryoga, did you enjoy teasing Ranma when I was clueless?”
“Yeah,” he answered softly, relish evident in his voice.
“I wouldn’t mind if you continued that teasing.”
“You mean act as if you never found out?”
“Exactly. It would serve Ranma right.”
Ryoga was silent for a few moments. “Close your eyes,” he finally said.
Akane had a good idea why he made this request and shut her eyes. She heard him get out of the tub, the shower head turning on, and then a pig squeal.
Akane opened her eyes and glanced back to see Ryoga next to the running shower head as P-chan. Akane smiled as she turned the head off and drained the tub before leaving the bathroom with the bags and Ryoga. She stowed Ryoga’s bag under her bed, got dressed in her night clothes (Ryoga averted his eyes), and then climbed into bed and fell asleep with Ryoga curled up beside her.
Ryoga woke up to the feeling of sunlight on his face. He stood up and turned to look at Akane’s sleeping peaceful face. She’s really pretty when she’s asleep he decided. He felt happy and at peace with himself now that Akane knew his secret.
Movement pulled him out of his thoughts. He blinked to see Akane, awake and smiling at him. “Good morning, Ryoga.”
Ryoga wanted to respond in the same way, but an oink came out. Akane just smiled again, scooped up Ryoga, and headed downstairs for breakfast.