Akane the Suicidal
Akane messed up, she knew it, and there was no denying it, especially as Ranma wouldn't let her forget it. His impassive treatment towards the raven-haired girl was more than just callous, she could almost feel waves of cold radiating from him.
For the first time since Happosai had begun training her, Akane had been on her best behavior. She feared what would happen if she allowed her... habit... to take over. She knew he would save her, he had gotten way too good at that, but it may just further drive the rift between them wider.
Three days since the incident with Happosai, but it didn't feel any as if her pigtailed bodyguard was warming up to her. It was just some silly pressure point, why was he so angry about it? If he refused to tell her of his own occord, she would just have to force him to comfront her about it.
Ranma sighed, as he walked into the bathing room, and removed his clothes. Akane's sisters were watching over her for the time being, as he didn't feel like dealing with her right now. Ranma almost collapsed onto the stool, allowing relief to wash over him from the anticipation of the oncoming relaxing bath. What made it more relaxing, was the fact that Akane wasn't currently with him, and he didn't have to cut it short to keep the usually blindfolded young woman waiting too long.
Ranma filled his pail up with warm water, not wanting to have to become a girl at the moment, and just as he was about to upend it over his head, the bathing room door opened, revealing a determined Akane. The pigtailed boy groaned, as the girl stripped down, and sat on the wash stool next to him, blushing and keeping her eyes from him, as Ranma kept his covered with his hand out of irritation more than respect for her privacy.
The raven-haired girl couldn't take the discomfort anymore, and filled her pail up with cold water, before turning it in Ranma's general direction, and dumping it over his head.
Ranma gave Akane a menacing glare, and recieved an apologetic shrug in responce, "I feel more comfortable in here with you as a girl..."
"Fine," Ranma said, giving her the only words she had spoken to Akane in several days, "I'll wait till you're done." As he got up, Akane quickly grabbed the girl's arm.
"No, Ranma, you're staying in here with me!" Ranma grimaced, but returned to her stool, and soaped up.
"I'm sorry, Ranma, I didn't know how much it would upset you," Akane started, turning to the other girl. Ranma gave no reply, as she continued to scrub herself with the soap. The youngest Tendou daughter pouted a bit, but did not let that daunt her, "What he said... made sense at the time." Akane looked directly at Ranma, "I mean, I... I like you, Ranma, would it be too much to ask if you saw things from my point of view?"
Ranma began strubbing harder, as her face hardened. Akane looked away, and continued, "Yes, I know I was trying to force it on you, I realized that the moment I started. I'm really... really sorry about it all. I just didn't realize-"
Ranma inerrupted her by rincing herself off, and tossing the bucket away onto the ground. "Are you finished?" Ranma asked in a terse voice. Akane timidly shook her head negative. "Then hurry up, so I can get you back to your sisters." Ranma walked to the furo, and sat down in it, waiting for Akane to finish scrubbing up with ill held patience.
Akane looked down at the soap in her hands, finding slight patters on it from liquid other than water.
"Here," Ranma shoved Akane towards her two sisters on the couch, "I'm going to go work out, you two think you can watch your sister for an hour without letting her get out of your sight?"
Both Nabiki and Kasumi looked at each other, figuring the talk they allowed Akane to escape for didn't go well. They hadn't been blind to the whole ordeal between their sister and her fiance. Ranma's cold shoulder was leaving Akane in a good fit of depression, much deeper than when Akane suffered when she found out that Happosai had 'died'. They recalled the anxiety they developed during that ordeal from the increase of Akane's self-destructing tendicies, and decided that it may be best if Akane and Ranma managed to put aside their differences.
Begrudingly, they both nodded in unison. Sensing their hesitation, Ranma snorted, and almost shoved Akane into their custody, before pivoting on his heel, and heading to the dojo.
Kasumi and Nabiki turned to their sister, sitting in the middle of them with her head bowed and eyes closed. "Well?" Both of them asked in unison.
Akane didn't answer them, and continued to keep her head bowed. "Akane," Nabiki began, "It can't go on like this." Akane raised her head towards her sister with a broken, red-eyed expression that almost caused Nabiki to back down from her current path of action. "Look, we know how you feel about the guy."
"What do you mean? He's just watching over me for you and daddy," Akane replied, sullenly, turning her head back to her lap.
Kasumi rolled her eyes, and put her arm around her sister, "Akane-chan, we're not blind, it's obvious that you care, a lot, for him."
"But he doesn't seem to care about me," Akane retorted, her voice becoming more terse with each word.
"Oh, that's just men for you," Nabiki replied, mock-sighing at her sister's naivity, "Men have this thing about appearing tough and macho for the sake of seeming 'manly', you know?"
"But, this is more than that, I think," Akane argued, twiddling her thumbs.
"Oh, Akane," Kasumi spoke up, attempting to console her sister, "I think it's time you were open with him. If he only knew how you felt about him, he would return those feelings!"
Ranma moved fast and roughtly through his warmup katas, feeling the imperfections in his form expanding. He nearly swore, finding his latest agitations were really getting to him, and worked harder to correct his technique. The harder he pushed, the worse it seemed to become.
"Sloppy, pathetic! And you call yourself a student of Anything Goes?"
Ranma paused in mid-motion, finding himself overbalanced, and toppled. "You." Ranma said simply, as he got back up, and glared at the troll that had entered through one of the windows.
"No, how dare *you* come between a master and his beloved student!" Happosai accused, standing with his arms folded
"Look, if you want her, you can have her back, I'm through with her," Ranma responded, going back into stance for practice.
"I would if I could, Ranma my boy," Happosai countered, "But she chose being a weak, boy crazy girl over a high calibur martial artist, and it's all your fault!"
"It's not like I wanted this in the first place," Ranma retorted, spinning on the Grand Master of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts.
"Well, it's stil your problem, isn't it?" Happosai returned.
"Yeah, it is," Ranma replied in a quiet voice, "Ever since I got here, she's been my problem. I've been a good sport about it, but quite frankly, there's only so much I think I can take from her."
"Hogwash, boy," Happosai interjected, "If anything, you're probably thriving on being the knight in shining armor for a pretty little girl like Akane!"
Akane chuckled mirthlessly, "You make it sound so easy."
"Because it is," Kasumi said simply, with a warm smile.
It was a smile that was contagious, and Akane found herself inflicted with it. "Thanks, I think you're right."
"We know we're right, we're your sisters," Nabiki responded, patting her youngest siter on the back. Akane nodded, finding herself filled with resolve that warred with her trepidation, but found the former slowly pushing forward. Just as the war within her shifted, so did her sitting to standing, and as the frontline moved forward within her, so did her feat, straight for the dojo.
After a few moments, Nabiki turned to Kasumi, "Not bad, sis, I didn't expect you to actually pick up on my lead so well!"
"Lead?" Kasumi asked with a puzzled tone.
"Ah, you actually believe they're meant for each other?" Nabiki enquired with a bit of a teasing tone.
Kasumi smiled, and nodded, "Akane and Happosai are great together, don't you think?"
Nabiki gave Kasumi a flat stare for several moments, before standing up, "That's it, I'm going to go hide your Valuum..." Before she could move, she found herself tackled from behind.
"YOU CAN'T DO THAT!" Kasumi shouted, keeping her sister face down against the floor.
"Oh SHUT UP, you old freak!" Ranma shouted, "She's been driving me crazy, practically the moment we met! Quite frankly, I wish I had NEVER met her!"
Akane walked back to her sisters to find them wrestling on the ground. They stopped to find their youngest sister with her head bowed so her bangs hiding her expression. "I'm going to bed," she replied, simply, before stumbling upstairs.
"Then why didn't you just give up a long time ago?" Happosai asked, calmly.
"Ah..." Ranma stumbled, "It was a matter of honor."
"Poppycock! Where's the honor in protecting someone who can easily protect themselves! Dear Akane-chan may take risks, but she's a pactitioner of the art, and a darn good one, if I do say so, myself!"
"But then WHO's gonna protect her from herself?"
"Why would you care? She's the source of your problems, after all! Besides, her own family has apparently been doing so for the past few years, they can continue doing so."
"Yeah, I guess," Ranma responded, quietly.
"You're still here."
The pigtailed martial artist looked back to the diminuative martial artist, before shifting his eyes away. "I'm gonna check up on Akane," he replied, before leaving the dojo.
Happosai watched him leave, and then immidiately threw a temper tantrum. He had hoped that Ranma would see the error of his ways, and finally just walk away from his obligation to the Tendous. Ah well, sometimes even the best laid plans...
Ranma didn't even enquire as to why the two older Tendou sisters were entangled together with their clothes shredded, just asking for Akane's whereabouts in irritation. "Jeez, I ask you to watch her for an hour, and you're not even capable of that!"
Both girls blushed, realizing they had become lax in their vigilence over their sister since Ranma took over. "Akane went to her room to sleep," Nabiki finally answered, earning a nod from Ranma.
The pigtailed boy made his way up the stairs, and down the hall to Akane's room. He opened the door to darkness, and heard Akane's easily audible snoring from beneath the covers. He didn't even notice the light smile that crossed his face, as he closed the door, and began to walk back to the dojo.
He thought about the times he had feigned sleep, just to make sure Akane wasn't trying anything suspicious. Unbidden, the image of Akane's peacful and cute expression, framed by short cropped hair, as her feminine chest rose and receded lightly. Ranma's smile dissappeared, when he realized something...
"Since when did Akane snore that loud?"
Akane walked down to the trainstation, not really thinking of any destination in particular, and bought a ticket to a district that just struck her fancy.
She needed to get some distance from home to think about things; get some distance from Ranma. She had heard his proclimation, just before she was about to enter the dojo, and felt like her very vitality had been drained from her like water from the bath.
She knew she put a strain on the pigtailed boy's... attitude, she wasn't completely blind to his plight. But hearing him sum up the culmination of his feelings towards her hit her harder than she had been in a long time.
Akane boarded the train heading for the Akebanebashi station, fighitng back the sniffles that threatened to come forth...
Irritated at being fooled by the old tape-recorder and pillows gag, Ranma didn't even bother to alert the rest of Akane's family, deciding they would blame him for this incident, anyhow. He knew it wasn't too late, yet. He wasn't sure how, he just 'knew', just like he knew when she was about to make an attempt on herself. "Heh, she's got me trained pretty well," He thought to himself, as he lept from rooftop to rooftop in his search of Akane's usual auto-termination sights...
Akane tried her best not to interfere with the people around her. The happy and cheerful couples with none of her problems, and someone to at least share them with. All other guys kept their distance for fear, with only two exeptions. One made a full 180 turn, and made every attempt he could to kill her. Not that she really minded, she had only dated him that one time to finally get him to leave her alone.
The other one, however, apparenly only stuck with her for honor, not out of any other personal intrest. Feeling dejection hang over her like a heavy cloud, Akane looked up, and spotted something, something that brought memories of her mother, back when she was alive, and when Akane found things simpler to contemplate.
Fustrated, Ranma finally returned back to the Tendou Household in order to enlist help in his search. Akane wasn't at any of her usual spots of interest, maybe her sisters or her father knew of something.
"HEY! MR. TENDOU, NABIKI, KASUMI!" Ranma landed in the backyard, and entered the back hall, after a quick search, he found the rest of the Tendou Family, including his father, watching TV. "Hey, guys, Akane's missing. I know she's not dead or anything, yet, but I was hoping you guys could clue me in on where she could be, and gimme some help tracking her down."
"Of course we can, Ranma," Kasumi replied in her drugged up cheerfulness, as she pointed to the television that had everyone's attention wrapped.
Ranma blinked, before turning to the TV. His eyes went wide, as he saw Akane...
Outside the Special observation balcony of Tokyo Tower...
It was weird, Akane thought to herself. This time, right before she faced the edge of death, she found herself with a lot to think about. She wasn't one to give into a lot of contemplation, being more a do-er type of gal, but this time, it was different. Maybe before she was just trying to get attention, she was the notorious 'Deadly Drama Queen', after all. Maybe it was the thought that she was now actively thinking about her own demise; it seemed so much less... enthuesing than before. of course, it could also be the fact that she now felt she no long had a reason to go on, but that would then sound like some corny made-for-TV movie that Kasumi always indulged in.
The raven-haired girl ignored the cries of the officials from inside the tower's observation deck, and looked towards the west. She wasn't surprised that she couldn't see Mt. Fuji, since it was usually only visible during the clearest, sunniest days, but she hoped she could at least one more time. It was something her mother had pointed out to her, the last time she had been up there... well, on the *inside* of the deck, anyways.
The reccollection drew a small smile on Akane's face, before she turned around towards the pleading officials and film crews behind her, "COULD YOU GUYS SHUT UP FOR A BIT! I'M TRYING TO THINK ABOUT SOME THINGS!"
"Geez," Akane thought to herself, "I just want to die peacefully. Do they have to make such a fuss?"
"Geez, Akane," Ranma griped, as he took a flying leap from a rooftop, and deftly landed on a passing train, "If you were gonna kill yourself by plunging to your death, couldn't you have picked somewhere a bit more local?"
having a good while before the train arrived at its destination, and laid down on his back. He thought about something, he would probably miss this; having to be that one that bailed Akane out of her own self-imposed demise. It was a guilty pleasure he found himself enjoying as of late, and the warm and chagrinned smile Akane would reward him with was something he considered to priceless to just give up like that.
Dang, when did he become such a massochist?
Akane sipped on her tea, and nodded to whatever the man out on the brink of death said to her. "Ms. Tendou, Are you sure you wouldn't be more comfortable sitting inside, and discussing this?"
Akane looked up over her cup, "I'm okay, but I'm sure you would be more comfortable inside."
The suicide specialist chuckled nervously, as ne looked over the edge of where his legs were currently dangling, "Yes, I would admit that I would be more... relaxed."
Akane nodded her head to the deck below her, as she bounced her legs against the walls of the deck against the back of her legs, "You can go back in, if you like, I won't mind, though I am enjoying your company."
"Ah.. heh heh... I guess that's good to hear... Anyways, why *are* you doing this?"
Akane shrugged, before taking another sip of her tea, "This is good, what blend is it?"
The man sitting with her once again chuckled, as he tried to keep his eyes off of the special police force members that were quietly descending down ropes from above to capture and restrain the girl...
"Damn," Ranma thought, "I didn't eat dinner yet. I wonder where Akane would like to go after I keep her from plunging two hundred and fifty meters to her death?" Ranma shifted to his side, and noticed the sign announcing the arrival of his destination in two minutes. Ranma decided he was close enough, and leapt off, and made a bee-line for the Japan's most famous and infamous media tower...
"Jerks..." Akane glowered, as she looked down at the men who were dangling from the ropes they were currently entangled with after their attempt to subdue the suicidee, "Don't they realize that when a girl says 'no'. she means 'NO'?"
Akane turned back to the audience that had gathered inside, "Honestly, women, you don't have to take crap from guys like that!" Every woman in the audience nodded solumnly, understanding they had a right to protect themselves from accousting. One of the entangled and somewhat gagged officers whimpered, as he looked to where he was aimed headfirst to, and wished for the umpteenth time that the girl they were attempting to rescue hadn't been a martial artist.
His eyes shifted, as a pigeon landed on his outstretched arm, and began walking back and forth. Akane caught this, and leaned forward, "Shoo, shoo!"
The audience behind her, suddenly gasped, as the girl started to lose her balance. Her tenatious hold to the edge almost faltered, just as the bird found itself intimidated by the girl trying to spook it, and took flight. Quickly, Akane threw her arms back, bringing herself back against the edge of the tower securely. "Whew, that was close!" Akane said out loud, "I thought it was going to crap on him for sure!"
The girl in question, along with several others, looked up to find a pigtailed boy above them, looking down at Akane with an irritated expression, "Did you have to draw this much attention to yourself?"
"Ranma..." Akane almost whispered, feeling her previous despair gain a tighter hold on her.
"Come on," Ranma commanded, as he began to descend, "Let's go and get us something to eat. I don't think Kasumi really was up to preparing anything for some reason."
"Don't come any closer, Ranma," Akane counter-commanded, as she turned her eyes downward.
"I haveta if I'm going to save ya," Ranma said with an annoyed voice. "Now let's just get going before they decide to push you or something."
Ranma blinked, "Sure you can, just reach your hand up, and I'll pull you to this nice, sturdy ledge I found. I know it sounds pretty complicated, but the basic concepts should be easy to grasp."
"Stop it, Ranma."
That's when Ranma realized that something was very different. "Akane, what's this all about?"
With a deep breath, Akane turned to Ranma, and answered, "Ranma, I'm sorry. Sorry for what my sisters and father forced upon you, and sorry for everything I've done for you."
"That's nice, apology accepted, can we go now?"
"DAMN IT, RANMA, CAN YOU TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY?!?"
"Geez, that guy's a jerk!" someone below commented.
"Akane, really, it's okay," Ranma replied, not noticing his voice becoming a bit tinged with emotion, "Let's just go home, and we'll forget about this whole incident."
"Ranma, I'm releasing you from your vow of honor."
"Thanks, can we go *now*?"
"You don't have to do this anymore," Akane answered, "It isn't fair to you, having to put up with this against your will, okay?" Akane blinked away the tears that were attempting to escape, "So you can go now, you don't have to concern yourself with me, anymore."
"That's not what your family's going to say."
"I don't care what they think right now," Akane replied, heatedly, "If they really cared, they wouldn't have shoveled me off to someone else, someone as nice as you."
"Don't, Ranma," Akane released a shuddering breath, "I know you wish you had never met me, I know you didn't really care for-"
"DAMN IT, AKANE!" Ranma shouted, interrupting her, and nearly startling her, "IF YOU THINK I DIDN'T CARE, DO YOU THINK I'D BE UP HERE RIGHT NOW? HELL, I WASN'T IN LOVE WITH YOU, I WOULDN'T-..." Ranma stopped, as an expression of shock and amazement crossed his face, realizing what he had just said.
Akane stared up into his stormy gray eyes in disbelief, "...what?"
"You deaf, girl! The Jerk said he loves you!" one of the men from the audience shouted up, before several surrounding women pounded the insensitive jerk into unconciousness.
"What did you say?" Akane demanded in a quiet voice.
Ranma's face firmed, as he if he was now facing the hardest battle of his life, for what was now his most valuable prize. "I love you," he said with unshaken, unwavering resolve.
Akane continued to stare up at him, as her tears began to flow freely, unrestrained by her broken resolve. He... he more than cared for her, he... he... could she...?"
Akane bowed her head for several moments, before raising it back to Ranma, giving him a smile that both broke his heart, and filled it with golden rays of sunshine that brightened the evening sky more than any sun could at that moment. So quiet was Akane's responce, and so awestruck he was, that he barely caught what Akane had said.
"I'm glad to have met you, Ranma..."
"...Huh?" Ranma asked for clarification. It was slight, ever so slight, that he didn't realize Akane was leaning back, several quiet seconds after she pushed away from the ledge. "AKANE!!!!"
Before he even finished the shout, he was diving after Akane. There had been no hesitation as he flew after the girl. Just a sense of complete, total, desperation.
The pigtailed boy arched his body to minimize wind resistance, and reached, strained his arms out towards the falling girl, as he gained precious inches towards her. He was surprised, as Akane reached a hand out, and grasped his. For several moments during freefall, they both stared at each other; Akane's expression one of dumbfoundment, as Ranma's seemed to be searching Akane's face for something.
Apparently he found it, as a small smile formed on his face. "I'm glad to have met you, too."
Suddenly, Ranma's face became stern with concentration, as he tightened his grasp on Akane's hand, torgued her above him, and then tucked in both of his legs, "KAIIIII!!!"
Akane felt the air rush from her lungs, as she was launched back up towards the Tower, and through the metal grating around the first observatory. Akane struggled to get back to her feet, but the pain of the broken ribs Ranma caused, intentionally, no doubt, kept her from regaining enough strength to pull herself fully to standing.
With a sigh, Ranma turned away from the hole Akane's body caused, and looked down to the ground. Funny, he thought to himself, he could now see the appeal of impending death. It was rather peaceful, like-
The tower shook all the way to the top observatory, causing the Tokyo Tower's earthquake alarm system to sound.
"Now that... had to hurt," one of the spectators commented, earning solumn nods from everyone around him.
"RANMAAAAAAA!!!!!" Akane collapsed to the floor, overcome with despair.
Just in the distance, he could see the glistening white light over the horizon, holding promise of a better existance beyond the one he just left. He could hear the voices from beyond, his ancestors, he realized, beckoning him to join them, to share in the afterlife. Finally, he was close enough to realize what they were saying...
When did Dr. Tofu ascend to this higher plane of existance," Ranma thought to himself, he was sure he hadn't hurt the doctor all *that* bad.
"But it's for the art, doctor, the *ART*!"
And his father? Come to think of it, why was the after-life so... painful?
Ranma's eyes opened from the growing slits of his eyelids, and did a quick survey with his senses. The unbearable white about him, and the nearly overwhelming smell of anticeptic tipped him off. Damn, and he was looking forward to some quiet relaxation in the after-life, too.
Ranma's eyes shifted towards Dr. Tofu, who was rubbing his temples in agitation. "I don't care, Mr. Saotome," the doctor responded with barely controled irritation behind strained dicipline, "If I ever hear that you were throwing Ranma from Tokyo Tower... even once... I will make sure you had more to deal with than the authorities."
"But imagine!" Genma lamented, "Think of how much this would toughen up the boy! He survived it once, and what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?"
"No, and this is, quite frankly, *the* dumbest training idea I have ever heard!"
"How about if we just toss him from the first observation deck a few times, first?"
Ranma groaned at his old man's idiocy, drawing his and Tofu's attention.
"Welcome back to the living, Ranma," Tofu congradulated, pushing his glasses further up his nose.
"Boy, you understand, don't you?" Genma was quickly in his son's face, "You would be able to survive falls with little effort! Imagine how powerful a martial artist it would make you!"
"How about we throw you first, more than a few times, just to be on the safe side?" Ranma responded with a dry voice.
Genma baulked, before he schooled his expression, "I'll ask you later when you're not delirious." With that, Genma left the hospital room to tell the others the good news.
"How long had I been out?" Ranma asked.
"Three weeks," Tofu explained, "And you managed to break every bone in your body, a pretty impressive feat, I'll say!"
"Gee, thanks," Ranma replied, "Ah... sorry about that... last incident back at your office..."
Tofu chuckled, and reached the arm that wasn't in a sling to the back of his head, scratching nervously, "Ah, heh heh, that's okay. I realized later on that you were feeling rather... bold."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Ranma enquired.
"The Couragious Heart's Pressure point removes inhibitions, including the hesitation to attack an enemy. I doubt you would have done anything to me if that weren't the case."
"Wait..." Ranma almost exclaimed, "When..." Ranma then remembered Happosai descending upon him from a street lap, as he was carrying Akane, and the precise kick the elderly martial artist delivered... to the base of the skull... just to the left...
"The old letch..."
Tofu chuckled, "That's what Akane surmised... oh, you have visitors!"
Tofu stood up from the chair next to Ranma, just as a troll-like figure with long gray hair came into his view. "So, this is the infamous Ranma that had bested my Great-Granddaughter in the tournament."
"Who..." Ranma began, just as a familiar lavender-haired girl came into sight.
"Nihao, Ranma," Shampoo greeted, half-heartedly.
"Hi, Shampoo," Ranma greeted back, half-heartedly, before realizing something, "Hold on, I'm a guy, how did you know?"
"Well," Cologne began, "The hermaphrodite story was pretty fishy, so I had Shampoo bring me here to investigate. I give my thanks to everyone for clarifying the situation." Cologne then turned to her heir with a stern expression, "Now, Shampoo, you know what you need to do."
With a groan of exasperation, Shampoo leaned in, and quickly pecked Ranma on the lips. "Woainiairen. We go now, right Great-Grandmother?"
The Amazon matriarch shook her head, "No, not until we can bring your husband with us."
Shampoo growled, and threw Ranma a dirty look, before storming out of the room. After she left, Cologne turned back to Ranma, "See that, Son-in-law? That's what you're getting yourself in for!" With a cackle, the old woman pogoed out of the room on her staff.
After they left, a matronly woman quickly entered, along with his father, and found herself fretting over the young man in a full body cast.
"My poor child! My poor, poor manly child!"
"Who's she, Pop?" Ranma enquired, shifting his eyes from the woman to his father.
Genma was about to rap his son on the head for his insulence, before the hilt of a wrapped sword found its way in front of Genma's view in warning. "It's the shock of the fall, Genma, you *will* not aggrivate it any further," Nodoka warned, though slightly irritated and confused that her son would forget about her.
"This is your mother, boy," Genma attempted to sound stern, and was slightly failing, "show some respect!"
Ranma blinked, and looked towards the woman.
"Omai," Mrs. Saotome explained, simply, earning a nod from Ranma.
Genma choked, before regaining himself, "We'll talk later, boy." With that, they left.
After a few moments, a young man with a tiger-striped bandanna and a backpack walked in, with a stuffed piglet under his arm. "Hey, Ryoga, I didn't think you cared!" Ranma greeted wryly.
Ryoga snorted, "I didn't, I ended up here by accident," Ryoga looked at the stuffed pig under his arm, and tossed it onto Ranma, "Here, because you're such a pig-headed jerk, and to remind you of the Hell you put me through."
Ranma gave a light chuckle, "Thanks, Ryoga."
"Whatever," the fanged boy retorted, finally finding his way out the room.
As he was exiting, he nearly bumped into Soun and his daughters. Kasumi and Soun stood on one side, Nabiki at the foot of the bed, and Akane at the other side by her lonesome.
"Ranma, son," the Tendou Patriarch began, "We owe a debt of gratitude to you."
"Yeah," Nabiki continued, "None of sis's bodyguards went through this much effort to protect her. You're something else, Saotome."
"Thank you for keeping our sister safe," Kasumi started, "You are truly a man of honor."
"Yeah, even when that honor is being used against me, huh?" Ranma retorted accusingly. The three eldest Tendous all began to chuckle nervously, and look in different directions.
Akane kept her head down, before speaking up, "Could you guys... leave me and Ranma alone... for a little bit?"
Given an avenue of escape, Soun, Kasumi, and Nabiki quickly accepted it, and rushed out of the room.
"Figures," Ranma retorted, "I swear, your family's as spineless as my father..."
"I... I guess," Akane replied, sitting in the seat next to Ranma. After several moments of ackward silence, Akane had gotten her thoughts together, "Ranma, I want to thank you, for always being there for me, even if you didn't want to."
"Ah, it wasn't like I had anything better to do," Ranma joked, finding her seriousness unnerving.
Akane seemed to ignore it, "It was nice, you gave me a security that I didn't know was missing, until you were around. There aren't many people that I truely care for, and even less people who truly care for me, I mean out of more than just concern. You've done more for me than anyone had the right to ask you, and even when you were told you didn't need to do any more, you risked your life to continue," Akane pushed a strand of shiny black hair from her face that had dropped to the fore, "I don't know when it happened, but I do know I love... I love you too, Ranma Saotome. You are the one person in this world I want to always protect me, even from myself..."
Ranma listened attentively, as Akane seemed to gather her courage, and looked him directly in the eyes. "Ranma... will you marry me?"
Ranma blinked, and then blinked again, before he felt a quiet chuckle begin deep inside of him. Akane shifted nervously, a bit discerned from the growing laugh Ranma was building, but she faced it with determination, as Ranma calmed down, and with a very serious expression, gave his answer.
"Well," WFROSE asked, leaning back from the keyboard, "how's that?"
"Is good," a voice stated, "You finish now, yes?"
WFROSE blinked, "Huh?"
"You finish story, still need putting in Ranma say 'no', so he go with Shampoo back to China!"
The author blinked again, "Where the hell did you get that idea?"
"You mean he... you mean the insensitive jerk actually..." the girl speaking blushed, before turning to another member of the audience.
"I never said anything like that..." WFROSE replied, wondering where they were getting all these wild assumptions.
The member of the audience that the raven-haired girl was staring at sighed in relief, causing the girl to shift her hopeful look to a heated glare.
"It's all well and good, Sugar, but when are you finally gonna write me into all of this?"
"um, I'm done, finished, resolved..." the author points to the screen, "See that word 'fin'?"
"But you still have to make the boy say 'yes'!"
"Oh my, that would be so romantic!"
"And write them eloping, so we don't have to pay for a wedding..."
"Well, I'm hungry, who's up for Korean?" WFROSE enquired.
"NO! YOU FINISH STORY NOW!!!"
"I agree with my Great-Granddaughter, there is still much left unresolved."
WFROSE blinked, "Yeah, so?"
"He doesn't leave this room," the feminine, elderly voice stated solumnly. Several members of the audience blocked the door, causing WFROSE to sweat, and jump through the window...