Ranma turned at the question to see a tall male wearing brown khakis, a light blue shirt, and the zoo's dark blue employee robe walking towards them carrying a broom, which he propped on the fence when he reached them.
"Hi, Shinnosuke," the blue-haired girl said in greeting.
The pig-tailed boy frowned at the way her face and voice went soft. It was a tone he usually only heard when she was feeling particularly affectionate in their more tender moments. His frowned deepened when the two hugged and the stranger pulled her in close, lingering a few beats longer than appropriate. And...
Did he fucking sniff her hair?
"Shinnosuke, this is Ranma, Ranma this is Shinnosuke."
The two of them gave each other short bows then the broom-wielding male turned to Akane.
"How are you?" he asked.
"I'm good. I just finished finals. How are you?"
"Good. I just started my internship here."
The blue-haired girl turned to Ranma and added, "Shinnosuke is studying to be a big animal vet." Turning back she said, "How is it going? Do you like it so far?"
"Pretty good so far, but I'm really only working on cleaning the pens for now," he said gesturing to his broom. "How's your dad? Is he still teaching at the dojo?"
"He's good, still teaching and working on the city council. How's grandfather doing since he moved back to Ryugenzawa?"
The pig-tailed man frowned at the way she asked the question. How is grandfather, not your grandfather.
"He's doing great. I talked to him yesterday. He asked about you actually. He kept going on about how much he misses your visits."
Akane smiled then, giving him the kind of smile that made Ranma's heart flutter and seemed to have to same effect on Shinnosuke, making the former grit his teeth.
"I miss him, too. I always had so much fun drinking tea with him and listening to his stories. Can you tell him I said hi the next time you talk to him?"
"Sure, it'll make him really happy to hear that you haven't forgotten about him."
"I could never forget about Grandfather. Besides, you're the one with the horrible memory," she said, poking him in the chest, causing both to laugh.
"That's true," he said and then blurted, "You cut your hair." He blushed a little at his outburst.
Shinnosuke reached up and twirled a few strands of the bottom of her hair with his fingers. The gesture was so casual and intimate that Ranma narrowed his eyes. He was about to smack Shinnosuke's hand away but the vet-in-training had already pulled it back and stuffed it in his pocket.
"Yeah, I cut it a year or so ago, after I started Tokyo U."
"It like it. Short hair really suits you. You look beautiful."
Akane glanced down shyly and tucked her hair behind her ear and blushed, making Ranma see red, his hands clenched into tight fists at his sides. He didn't like the way she was reacting to Shinnosuke's compliment, like his opinion was important to her. Like he was important to her.
"I better get back to work. It was really good seeing you," he said reluctantly. Wishing he could spend more time with her.
"It was good seeing you, too."
Shinnosuke turned to Ranma, giving him a nod goodbye and receiving a small one in return. He picked up his broom and left. He had gone a few yards before he turned back, giving Akane one last wistful glance before walking away.
Both Ranma and Akane had a lot on their minds after the encounter with Shinnosuke. Although they didn't talk to each other about their thoughts, it was obvious the other was preoccupied. Silence dominated their visit to the zoo and they left shortly after, heading back to his apartment.
When they walked in, Akane went to the living area and turned on the TV, flipping aimlessly through the channels, seemingly on autopilot. Ranma went to the kitchen, grabbed a beer and drank deeply. He stared at her from the counter, noticing how distracted she was, and he knew who was on her mind. He clenched his jaw, his teeth grinding together. Never one to step away from conflict, he decided to dive right in.
"So, who was he?"
"Shinnosuke?" she asked, never looking away from the TV.
"Just an old friend."
Ranma scoffed and couldn't help but slam the beer bottle on the table, causing Akane to look over at him finally with a furrowed brow.
"He was more than a friend."
"Okay, fine. He was. He's my ex."
"Why didn't you just say that in the first place?"
"Because I didn't think it really mattered."
"Of course it matters!" he yelled. Then took another swig of beer.
"Why?!" she yelled back.
The short leash she had on her temper snapped with his tone. She didn't understand why he was so upset. If anyone should be upset it should have been her! She still hadn't gotten over the incident with that waitress. She got up from the couch and threw the remote on the couch and stalked towards him until they were standing inches apart.
"Because he was…he was hitting on you!"
"He was not! Even if he was, I thought you don't get jealous so it shouldn't be a big deal!"
"Oh don't bring that up! You know it wasn't my fault she was flirting with me. I didn't flirt back, unlike you."
"Excuse me? I was not flirting with Shinnosuke."
"You let him touch your hair."
"I didn't let him, he just did it. For like a second. What was I supposed to do, slap his hand away? It's not fun when the shoe is on the other foot, is it?"
"Of course not! You think that was my first time being jealous? I get jealous all the time! It's ridiculous! I fucking hate it when guys hit on you, it makes me want to punch each and every one of them in their fucking faces!"
"Then why did you tell me that you didn't get jealous?"
Although part of her felt better at finding out he got jealous too, she was pissed he lied about it. She had been brooding over the fact since the incident. She didn't know if he just wasn't the jealous type, which made her feel petty and ridiculous for overreacting. Or if he wasn't jealous because he just didn't care enough about her. She had been wracking her brain over it and it was his fault for not telling her the truth!
"I didn't want to make a big fucking deal out of it, alright? I just wanted to enjoy our afternoon together without getting into it over some chick I barely noticed," he said waving his arms in the air.
From the way Akane and Shinnosuke reacted to each other, he knew they had dated. From the vibes coming off each other, he knew they were important to each other. And from the way he had looked at her with such longing, the pig-tailed boy knew the broom-wielding ex would have taken her back in a heartbeat. He had so many questions running through his head. How long were they together? Where did they met? When did they break up? He needed answers and he knew which one he wanted first.
"Why the hell did you guys break up, anyways?"
An oppressive silence fell over the kitchen as Akane tried to gather her thoughts and was totally thrown by his question, one she was hoping he wasn't going to ask. She couldn't help but cringe. It did not go unnoticed by Ranma. She crossed her arms under her chest and turned her head to the side, avoiding his gaze.
"He proposed to me," she murmured.
Ranma spit out some of the beer that he just took a sip off and goggled at her. This was way more than he expected.
"He asked you to marry him? What did you say?"
She rolled her eyes at him. "Since I'm currently unmarried, am not wearing an engagement ring," she wiggled her left hand in the air, "and I am here with you, I think it should be obvious that I said no."
"And you didn't think this was important enough to tell me."
"No, I didn't. We never talked about exes!"
It was an unexpected consequence of the date when Azusa had interrupted them. The subject of exes was been avoided at first because it was awkward and a minefield to navigate. Then it became a habit to ignore. Now Akane was at peace with the issue. He had his past and she had hers. It was simple to accept once she realized that their pasts helped them become the people they were and she liked him for who he was. Looking at it like that, his past relationships didn't seem so important.
"Maybe we haven't but I've never had a fiancée, that seems like the type of thing we should probably know about each other."
She rolled her eyes. "Then we don't have a problem, since I've never had one either. I really don't understand what the big deal is!"
"I think you having been engaged is a pretty fucking big deal, Akane!"
"I've never been engaged so you have nothing to be upset about!"
"I've got plenty to get mad about, since you were going to get married and never bothered to tell me about it!"
"For the last time, I was never engaged. I never had a fiancé. I was not getting married. I said 'NO'," she screamed back. His anger was putting her back up and his purposefully misconstruing the situation pissed her off. "Seriously, why are you so damn angry about this?"
"Because you're still in love with him!"
"That's ridiculous! I am not still in love with him."
"But you still love him."
Akane blinked a little, surprised at the comment. Her mouth opened in an automatic denial then closed. She opened and closed it again when she realized she had to think about it.
After a moment she finally said, "I guess…I do…I think that part of me will always love him."
Ranma stepped back as if she had slapped him with her words. He would have preferred a physical blow since it would have been less painful. She still loved Shinnosuke? Sure he had thrown the idea out there but with the hope that she would deny it. What did it mean for him? For them? She had been distracted ever since she saw Shinnosuke. Was she thinking about him the whole time? About how much she regretted her decision? Did she want him back? Was she only with him until she could go back to her ex? Was she thinking of a way to break things off? Or had he only been someone to fuck and keep her from being lonely?
Looking up she saw the hurt in his eyes and the angry look on his face. Realizing how her words could have been interpreted. She added quickly, "As a friend. Only as a friend. We have a past and part of me will always care for him. But I am not in love with him," she said again.
She needed to make that last point very clear. She saw that his jaw was now clenched tightly and the vein on his forehead seemed to be throbbing, a sure sign that he was very upset. Ranma could only glare back at her, too frustrated to properly explain. He could barely get his thoughts in order as the idea of her still loving Shinnosuke overwhelmed everything else. Agitated and needing to move, he began to pace, running his hands through the front of his hair. She didn't know why he was blowing this out of proportion.
"Seriously, why does this bother you so much?" she asked in confusion. "So we dated! What's the big deal? You've had plenty of girlfriends. I met two of them! And one even felt me up!"
"Oh come on! Don't bring that up! I didn't ask for her to come over here and you know it."
"I'm only bringing it up to make a point. We've both had relationships before we met each other. I don't know about all the girls you've dated or slept with!" She put her hand up. "And I don't want to." She still thought it was better not knowing.
"Why is it different? 'Cuz you're a guy and it's okay for you to date a lot and sleep around but it's not okay for me?!" she yelled, now pacing too. She was getting angry at the idea that he was being such a hypocrite.
"That's not it! I wouldn't care if you slept with the entire starting line-up of the Giants!"
"Then why are you so upset? You've dated other people and so have I."
"Because you love him!"
"Yes, but I'm not in love with him, so it shouldn't matter!" Her hands were fisted in her hair and she threw them in the air beyond frustrated. "You've had girlfriends before, you know what's it's like to still care about someone even though you've broken up with them."
"No, I don't! You're wrong."
"You've got to have some feelings, been friends with one of your exes."
"That's not why you're wrong."
"Because I've never loved anyone before you!"
They had never had an argument like this. They bickered, argued, even had some heated debate but nothing like this, where they were yelling and screaming at each other. His heart was thumping loudly in his chest. He was starting to see red as he just couldn't get his thoughts in order.
His pacing only increased. He didn't understand why she just didn't get it. It was a damn fucking big deal. Shinnosuke and Akane had spent enough time together, they cared enough about each other that he wanted to marry her. That he wanted to spend their lives together. They had a connection, one that was so deep and lasting that Ranma could see it in the short time he was around them. It was infuriating to think about! It was…
"Ranma, do you love me?" she asked, her voice oddly quiet.
"Of course I do! That should be obvious!" he answered automatically.
He continued to pace and stew. If she hadn't said no, she could have been married by now. Maybe with a baby. The possibility of her carrying another man's baby made him furious, even though it was totally in his head. He glanced up the sound of laughter and only began to glare when Akane started to laugh so hard she had to grab her sides. What the fuck? Did she think this was joke? The thought only made him angrier.
"Why the hell are you laughing?"
"Because you never told me that you loved me! How was it supposed to be obvious?"
Ranma stopped and stared at her, finally realizing what he had let slip in his anger. He had wanted to tell her for a while now but since he had never said it to anyone before, he was nervous and had chickened out each time he tried. He had almost let it slip so many times, especially in their more intimate moments but he didn't want her to think he had only said it in the heat of the moment. He wanted it to be special, not like this. Suddenly realizing how far off the rails things had gotten, he sighed as the wind left his sails.
"I know I never said it, but you had to have known."
"I didn't. I mean…I hoped you did. I thought you did but then you never said anything and I wondered if I was…was just somehow misinterpreting things and making more out of this than there was," she said voicing the fear and confusion that had plagued her for weeks.
Hearing the pain in her voice, he walked over and took her into his arms, stroking her back comfortingly. "I'm sorry, I should have told you sooner. I was just really…nervous about it. I've never said that to anyone before because it would have been a lie, it would have cheapened it. I wanted it to matter when I did say it." He pulled back from her and waited until she looked at him. "I love you, Akane."
She would never forget the way he looked at her then, his eyes sparkling with so much love that she could see the truth of it. She smiled at him, her eyes welling with tears of happiness. He kissed her forehead and pulled her against him again. She closed her eyes, causing a small tear to trickle down her cheek and sighed. Her heart seemed to swell and all of the turmoil, the worry, the anxiety that she had been feeling shifted and settled into a warmth that filled her.
"So…" she heard whispered in her ear.
"Well…do you…do you…love me?" he asked.
The nervousness in his voiced caused her to smile and she just couldn't help herself. "Isn't it obvious?" She yelped when she felt her bottom being pinched.
"Akane," he said in a low warning voice.
Pulling back, she said, "Of course, I love you," echoing his earlier sentiment.
She got on her tip toes and kissed him on the lips softly, the warmth from before turning hot with the need to show him how much she loved him. She kissed him again, more firmly, putting her hands on the back of his head and pulling him closer, and was disappointed when he pulled back.
"What about Shinnosuke?"
She sighed and thumped her head on his chest before stepping away from him. It looked like making love to him would have to wait. She took his hand and led him to the couch, wanting to be comfortable while they talked.
"Shinnosuke and I dated while I was in high school. We bumped into each other, literally, on the first day of school. I dropped my book bag and he picked it up for me. We introduced ourselves and he walked me to class. When I got to school the next day, we met at the gate again. He blushed because he couldn't remember my name. Every day after that he was waiting at the front gate for me and would pretend he couldn't remember my name as an excuse to talk to me. He was sweet and shy and kind of awkward. I couldn't help be flattered at his attention and interested in him and we started dating soon after. We were together the entire time we were in high school. He was my first boyfriend...my first everything really."
Her cheeks reddened as she remembered her first time where they both fumbled their way through the encounter, their enthusiasm and eagerness making up for their lack of skill to still make it a good experience.
"Well, if he's so perfect why the hell did you break up with him?" Ranma couldn't help the bitter tone in his voice.
"Because he wasn't perfect and neither was I, even though he treated me like I was. Whenever I got angry at him he would just sit there and take it. He would never tell me I was out of line or I was over-reacting. He'd just be patient and understanding until I felt like a total bitch, which I kinda was. But I felt so bad that I stopped getting angry at him, or stopped showing him I was angry. He was constantly late because he kept forgetting where and when we were supposed to meet. He didn't do it on purpose, he just had the worst memory. I hated it but I just swallowed my anger and didn't voice my opinion because I knew I would only get a calm, sincere apology in response. What use was it to get angry when nothing would change?
"When he asked me to marry him, I was shocked. We were so young. We had just finished high school and were planning on going to different colleges. He was so sure of his feelings and so confident in us. I told him I had to think about it and I did. I realized that I wasn't ready for marriage and definitely not with him. I couldn't imagine living my life trying to live up to this ideal he had of me. The funny thing was, he never asked me to but I couldn't help but want to be perfect for him."
She stopped then, her throat a little thick from emotion and dry from all the talking. She went to the kitchen, giving them both some time to gather their thoughts.
Ranma had listened to her story, his gut, so twisted at the beginning of the tale unwound as his mind tried to process everything she had said. He couldn't imagine Akane holding in her temper successfully for long. She was normally a sweet and kind person so when she snapped it was a sight to behold as it was such a contrast to her normally sunny disposition. Once she voiced her anger she was quick to get over it because she was not one to hold grudges, something he was personally very thankful for, because if she was he would never had a second chance with her. Very few girls would have forgiven him for that horrific blind date to give him a second chance. With all he knew about her he couldn't imagine her bottling up her feelings like that.
She sank back into the small couch, taking a long gulp of her water and tightening the top, keeping the bottle in her hands to give her something to fidget with.
"When I got to college, I dated a lot. It was a new experience for me, never having done it in high school. It was fun and exciting, flirting with guys and being hit on. I slept with some of them and those I did, I ended up dating for far too long. I realized it was hard for me to separate the physical from the emotional and became selective with whom I even dated. Before you, it had been months since I had been intimate with anyone."
Ranma nodded. He hadn't thought it important to learn about her past, having figured out some of it for himself but hearing it from her and the reason behind her behavior shed some light onto her actions.
"When I met you I thought you were the most egotistical, selfish, self-centered, aggravating man I'd ever met. Then I got to know you and realized you are egotistical, self-centered, and aggravating."
She ignored his frown and "chh" sound he made under his breath.
"But you're not selfish. Underneath that rough exterior, you're so compassionate. You're kind and honest, almost brutally so. I don't feel like I need to be perfect for you, I just need to be the best me I can because you see me for who I am, warts and all, and despite all that, you accept me for it.
"What I feel, felt for Shinnosuke doesn't compare to what I feel for you. I never thought…thought I could love someone as much as…as I love you," she said with a blush, a little embarrassed at the confession. She gave him a small tentative smile.
Whatever turmoil was left inside Ranma was gone with her admission. He smiled then, his blue eyes twinkling, causing her heart to flutter wildly in her chest. He had been so worried about how to tell her he loved her that he never realized how much he needed to hear her confession, too. How her words, her obvious affection and feelings would both soothe his soul and stir him up emotionally at the same time. He had been stupid to wait so long, never considering how it could cause so many misunderstandings. It's was something he intended to fix immediately.
"I love you not despite all your 'warts' but because of them."
Akane beamed at him then, giving him that bright smile that always made his heart thump loudly in his chest. Ranma didn't always say the right thing but once in a while his words struck the perfect cord and made her heart swell, she couldn't help the happy tears welling in her eyes.
"I love your temper, it's a good thing, it means you're passionate. You're stubborn and we butt heads about things but I don't want someone who is going to just agree with everything I say, that would be boring. It amazes me how determined you are. I mean you're seriously a disaster in the kitchen but you don't just give up like most people would, you keep trying no matter how many times your stomach needs to be pumped."
That earned him a slap on the arm as she laughed, her tears drying in her eyes like he intended. Having heard about her past, he thought it only fair to tell her about his.
"I dated a lot on high school, girls naturally gravitated to me because I'm good at sports and, come on, just look at me," he said, gesturing to himself, causing her to laugh again as she rolled her eyes at him.
"I had a few girlfriends in high school but nothing that lasted very long or that was very serious. They were with me more for who I was, not because they really liked me. None of them tried to get to know me. So I dated around. I won't lie, I made some stupid mistakes, ended up hurting some of them, but I was young and stupid. I learned from that and haven't ever purposely tried to hurt anyone since, I've always been honest about what my intentions were.
"From the first moment we met, you interested me. When I first saw you I thought you were cute but prim and proper, definitely not the type of girl for me. You surprised me when you threw that money on the table and walked away. When I went to that club, I was looking just to hook up but I couldn't focus on anyone else because you were there and you were so different from what I originally thought, and I couldn't stop from watching you. Even when I thought I should try to get you to hate me, I couldn't help but be riveted by you. Then we kept running into each other and every time I thought I had you figure out, I discovered something new. It go to the point that all I could think about was you.
"You are the most fascinating woman I have ever met. It's no surprise that I fell in love with you. Before you I never really gave a thought about finding 'love', I was happy with the way I was living. I would have been happy to live the rest of my life single because I never felt lonely or like I was missing anything. Since you came into my life…it's…been…"
He paused then, not knowing how to voice how much she had changed his world and how much she had affected him without sounding like one of those guys from those chick-flicks. Saying 'she made his life brighter' seemed cheesy and saying 'she completed him' was mellow dramatic. They were each their own person and complete on their own. He just knew she made…
He took a deep breath. "My life is better because you're in it. I'm only sorry that I didn't tell you sooner and made you doubt my feelings."
"It's okay. I'm okay. How about you?" She grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly. "Are you still upset about the Shinnosuke thing?"
Ranma shook his head.
"So, I guess it's time to tell our parents, huh?"
Ranma sighed and shook his head. Then he pinched the bridge of his nose; he could already feel the headache forming.
"I guess we have no other option."
"Would you rather we keep sneaking around?"
Eyes closed he missed the way Akane stiffened but he couldn't miss the coolness in her voice. He looked up to see her frowning at him. Confused, he grabbed her hand.
"Of course not. I just don't want to deal with my parents. That's all."
"So…you're not…not embarrassed by…"
"No! Definitely not. I could never be embarrassed by you."
It finally hit him then, how much he had hurt her by not telling her his feelings. For her to even consider the possibility he would be embarrassed being with her meant she must have been more upset than she admitted to. Guilt overwhelmed him and he promised himself that he would never let her feel that way again. He would always be honest with her about his feelings.
Ranma gave him a smile and added, "My parents adore you, they're going to be so happy that we're together. That's the problem, pops is going to be so freaking smug. He loves being right. He's gonna totally rub it in my face and never let me forget it. And mom…when we tell them we're together, if she can go two hours without mentioning marriage or babies, it'll be a miracle."
Akane chuckled. "Daddy is going to be the same way. He's right once and it'll validate all his meddling and give him a reason to stick his nose into our lives. At least we have Ranko on our side. She's so supportive and will totally help us in her usual quiet, low-key way," she added dryly.
Ranma chuckled at the last part and he pulled her onto his lap.
"We'll deal with it."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned in for a kiss. It started out sweetly, lips moving together gently. It turned into more quickly as the tumultuous emotions from their argument mixed with the need to express themselves physically. Ranma hooked his arms under her legs and back, lifting her up and took her into his room. He wanted them to be comfortable when he showed her exactly how much he loved her. And with how much he felt for her it would be a very long night but he was up to the task.
The following Sunday Ranma and Akane arrived at dinner together. It had become such a common sight that there were no more questions on whether or not they were dating. It was a little disappointing since they were finally ready for the truth. But they both shrugged it off, neither of them wanting to make a big announcement of it.
It was during dinner when Nodoka started to get suspicious that there was more going on between the two of them. She had had the thought for a while, noticing something between them. They were obviously attracted to each other and obviously got along but they kept insisting that they were only friends. She of course hoped that that would change as she was really fond of the Akane and thought she was a really good influence on her son. But, this was the first time she sensed a change in the way they interacted. They had always seemed guarded with each other, friendly but distant. But now they seemed so comfortable and casual in the way they interacted with each other. The way she laughed at his jokes, the way he looked at her. So she decided to keep an eye on them. It was during dessert when her suspicions were finally confirmed.
Nodoka came out with a plate containing a variety of mochi, setting it in the middle of the table. Knowing her family's eating habits - and Soun's though he was much better at hiding it – she picked up a piece of red bean mochi before the others could descend on the dessert like locusts and put it on Akane's plate.
"Here, this is your favorite, red bean right?" Nodoka asked. She had remembered that bit of information from their first dinner together. She had a knack for those kinds of details, especially when it involved someone she considered family. And to her, Akane was family. She just wished his son would make a move to make it official.
The blue-haired girl smiled at the Saotome matriarch's thoughtfulness. But before she could answer the mochi was swiped from her plate. Ranma took a big bite of it at the same time he replaced it with another piece.
"Sakura is her favorite," he said simply around a mouthful of the dessert.
Akane tilted her head to the side and smiled at him. "You remembered," she said softly. She reached up and wiped the bit of powder from the corner of his mouth before leaning over and kissing his cheek.
The table went completely silent as the pair continued eating as if nothing unusual had happened. Genma gaped at them, his mouth already half full of mochi. Soun stared at them wide-eyed, his teacup hovering just in front of his mouth. Ranko smiled at them while rolling her eyes, happy that they finally decided to tell their parents the truth after so long. Nodoka goggled at them before a grin spread across her face.
The silence was broken as Nodoka, Soun, and Genma asked at the same time, "Are you two together?" "Akane, do you have something you want to tell me?" "Boy, did you finally man up and ask her out?"
The pair in question only smiled at each other.
"Yeah, we're dating now," Ranma said.
"For how long?" Nodoka asked being the most excited of the three.
"Ummmm…I don't know actually." Confused he looked at Akane.
"I don't know either."
"Your first date?" Nodoka asked.
"No, definitely not," Ranma said, shaking in his head. That had been a disaster and he didn't like to think about how he treated her that night.
"The second date?"
"Definitely not then," Akane said. She would never forget that date and not for the right reasons.
"The third date?" Nodoka asked a little wary now.
"That was a fun one! I really enjoyed that movie!" Ranko said with a winning smile.
Akane laughed. "We'll figure that out later. Let's just say it's been a while now."
"Oh, wonderful." Nodoka clasped her hands together. "You two are going to have the most beautiful kids! Can you imagine a little girl with your beautiful face and Ranma's blue eyes," she squealed, her eyes glazing over with the idea of her future granddaughter. "Or a little boy with his face and your smile! He'd be such a heartbreaker!" A grandson! She clapped her hands together, excited at the idea.
"I knew you two would hit it off. You shoulda listened to me sooner, boy! I'm always right when it comes to these things! Next time I give you some advice you should remember this." He clapped his friend on the shoulder. "Soun, we can finally join the schools!" The two men cheered with some sake.
Ranma gave the blue-haired girl a look that clearly said, See? Told you.
Soun smiled, tears brimming his eyes. "Oh, I'm so happy! My daughter finally has a boyfriend! And someone from such a good family that can take care of her. Finally, someone to carry on the dojo!"
"Daddy…" Akane growled low in her throat.
"I mean…I mean to help you run the dojo, Sweetie," the Tendo patriarch said, chuckling nervously. "To help you."
She kept her eyes narrowed on him.
"It's about time you told everyone! Just remember to keep your lovey dovey stuff to yourselves. It's seriously disgusting watching them together," Ranko said with an eye roll.
"Ranko!" Nodoka hissed.
Ranma and Akane shared another look of amusement before fielding more questions from the family. Things went almost exactly as they predicted with their announcement and although they were sure to be a meddlesome bunch to handle, it was all done out of love. An emotion that they both now completely understood.
A/N: Tokyo has a professional baseball team called the Giants.
In my mind, Ranma and Akane, no matter the universe and maturity level, will always have problems with communicating when it comes to their feelings for each other. It will eventually lead to misunderstandings on how the other feels as they are insecure when it comes to each other and just need to get over that hurdle for their happy ever after.
I hope you guys enjoyed the story! It was fun to write and I hope it was fun to read. Thanks again to everyone who reviewed. Not to nag but the mom in me can't help myself: I would just like to say again that reviews really keep writers on this site going. We do it for free and reviews are the only form of reward we get for something we spend so much time and energy on. Even if you don't review this story, please consider reviewing others.
Thanks again to alwaysZutarian for all her help and encouragement, I couldn't do it without her!