Hi everybody! I had another story here so I decided to post this one too. Again, forgive my grammar mistakes – or rather, make me aware of them in your reviews if you have the time – and don't sue me because I know I don't own these characters and I have no intention of claiming so. I also make no money with this – heck, how could I? ;) I'll be happy to receive reviews even if you say it sucks. Now, enjoy the story.
"Would you like me to help you?" Akane asked with a smile.
Ranma would have done anything to see that smile more often. But somehow he wasn't prepared to let her know that.
"Nah! You know I don't care about school and stuff. What good is it to Martial Arts anyway? I mean…" he repeated his usual response. "And besides I don't need the help of a clumsy tomboy like you!"
'He had to say that, didn't he?' Akane thought, her anger rising. He was Ranma Saotome, the great martial artist, the invincible one, the one that never needed any help. The one that wouldn't pass his classes if he didn't improve his grades quickly.
"Why do you always have to be such a jerk? Fine, I don't care," she yelled, "I'm sorry I've been worrying about you being held up all summer with extra classes! See if I care any more!" She turned, her face red with emotion, and stomped away. The jerk! Why did she even bother being nice to him? He never appreciated it anyway.
She was worried about him? Spend the summer studying? Her words kicked in a few seconds after she had uttered them. Now he was looking at her back. Images of the upcoming summer flashed in his mind: the Tendos and his father would go to a beach resort and he would be left behind, and perhaps Akane would have to stay at home too, knowing his father and Mr Tendo… Well, not that he really minded spending time with that tomboy of a fiancée he had, at least he could have a nice workout from time to time… But being alone with her would imply having to eat her cooking… His stomach protested at the thought.
"Uhmmm… Akane?" he said sheepishly. All those thoughts had gone through his head so quickly that she had barely made three or four steps.
"What?" she snapped.
"I… sorta… uhmmm… changed my mind…" She turned, still glaring at him, while he stammered on. "I guess it would be better… to study now … rather than in summer…"
"Oh, yeah? Well, I changed my mind too. Why would I want to waste my time on you? You never take studying seriously anyway. All you do is call me names and fool around." Akane was still too angry to accept his change of mind, and when she looked at him he became a little nervous, expecting her mallet to appear any time.
"Oh, come on, don't be mad!" he pleaded, his blue eyes saying what he could not word aloud, asking for forgiveness and for help. Two things he seldom could do aloud…
Akane read something in those deep blue-black eyes and calmed down a bit. She was ready to listen to him now.
"Why should I do it?" she asked, challenging him to convince her.
He never refused a challenge. And he always found a way to win it.
"Because you know I won't be able to do it by myself", he said, a little grin on his face, knowing she would give in, "We both know that you're better at this school stuff… I mean… I could be better that you if I cared but…"
"Exactly! You could be better if you cared enough, but you don't", she said. "Let's get something straight: I'm willing to do it if you promise you'll pay as much attention to studying as you do to your martial arts training."
"Take it as training, you mean?" He thought about it. "Ok, I can do that," he smiled, knowing he had won, and her heart skipped a beat. Damn him, she thought.
"When do we start?" he added.
"How about… now?"
"Now? Uhmmm… I thought I'd go practice…" he started, but hearing Akane sigh vehemently, he continued, "… but… I guess now is as good a time as any".
Akane smiled, a bit surprised, and Ranma felt warm inside. She really was cute when she smiled. He should learn to make her smile more often.
They headed for Akane's room.
"We're going to be studying this afternoon. Please don't distrub us!" Akane shouted to the rest of the Tendo household, guests included, in a tone no one dared to answer.
"So what is your problem exactly?" Akane asked when they were in her room.
"There's no problem! It's just that … those formulas are so… boring… useless…" Ranma looked frustrated. He sat on a chair near Akane's desk.
The girl noticed that he chose the seat furthest from the desk, as if trying to avoid what he had to do.
"Move over there, you can't write from here," she suggested, acting as nonchalantly as she could. She knew he hated being told what to do.
"Oh? Yeah, right." He reluctantly moved.
In the mean time, Akane thought that she would have better avoided mentioning help or problems or similar words in the future. He seemed to be allergic to those words, he always reacted defensively, stating his strength and the fact that he did not need any help at all. She smiled inwardly. She'd learn. He was much too important to her not to try and understand him as much as she could. Besides, this studying thing allowed her to be alone with him, without the usual gang interfering. She loved that. She just hoped he wouldn't have said something stupid or insulting, resulting in her malletting him into the orbit…
They settled to work. As he had promised, he did his best in focusing to the task at hand and thus managed eventually to solve some quite difficult physics problems.
"Well, I'm impressed", Akane praised him. "Those were tough ones and you did very well."
"I did? Great! Now what's next?" He was pleased with himself and wanted to go on (and over) with it as soon as possible.
"Wait a sec. I just need to change into some shorts, I'm kind of hot in here. Could you open the window, by the way?" Akane said, raising from her chair and moving to her closet.
Ranma went to open the window.
"Now, are you going out of the room or can I trust you being a gentleman and not looking at me while I change?" she asked after she found the shorts. She felt a bit self-conscious.
"I'll just… look this way, ok?" he said, looking through the open window, embarrassed at the idea of Akane changing in the same room.
"And don't peep!" she added cheerfully.
He heard the sound of her pants falling to the floor and he blushed imagining her naked legs. An early image of a bathroom came back to him, but he tried to focus on the koi pond outside the window. He heard her ruffle and then put on the garment she had chosen.
"Done. Oooooh… I feel much better", she chirped and he turned around. His blush returned. Her legs were almost as naked as in his vision, the shorts were really … short!
Akane didn't notice anything though. "Aren't you hot in that Chinese shirt of yours?" she asked.
He was dressed in his usual black pants and a green sleeved shirt.
"No, not really…", he said, but then felt the sweat on his forehead. He knew it had nothing to do with the outside temperature but he still felt like adding: "… or rather… I am a bit hot…"
So he pulled his shirt off and a white tank top appeared underneath. As well as his well-toned muscular figure, which was usually concealed by his loose fitting clothes.
Akane almost gasped. She hurried to her spot, not daring to look at him as she knew she had to be as red as a beetroot already.
"Uhmmm… where were we?" Ranma asked, sneaking a glance at his fiancée and noticing for the first time that her T-shirt was tighter that the ones she usually wore. A lot tighter. He looked away, blushing again.
Akane was trying to concentrate too.
"We had finished with physics, now we have geometry, I guess."
They both did their best to stay focused at what they were doing but every now and then Ranma would glance at Akane's legs or T-shirt-clad torso, while Akane would get distracted by the smoothness of his skin or the strength radiating through his muscles.
They came to a very complicated drawing exercise and Ranma could not figure out how to do it.
"Look, " Akane said finally, raising from her chair and moving behind him, "you have to check these points and…" She leaned forward and took his hand in hers to show him how to draw the line. Of course, in doing so, she pressed her chest against his shoulders. In order to see what she was doing, she also moved her head closer to his. "You have to draw a curve…"she continued, but stopped in mid sentence.
Suddenly Ranma was only aware of a body – her body – pressing against his shoulders, of her hand on his arm, of her voice near his ear, the smell of fruit shampoo in his nostrils. What little concentration he had was gone.
Akane felt him tense up and also became aware of her position. She shut up and looked at his face. He gazed at her lips, only inches from his. They froze. For the longest moment neither of them dared to move nor even breathe, both lost in each other's eyes. Then Akane let out a small breath and Ranma felt the moist warm air on his lips. He shivered. She noticed it and shivered herself. Were they going to…?
Suddenly she snapped out of her reverie and moved quickly a couple of steps away. Ranma didn't move. He positively didn't know what to do, and he was still quite caught in the moment.
After a few moments Akane said in what she hoped was a cheerful, nonchalant tone: "How about a little break? I'll go and get some juice, it's hot here, isn't it?"
She didn't wait for an answer – nor would she have got one for that matter – she just rushed out of her room and closed the door behind her, pausing finally leaning on the wall to regain her senses completely.
What had just happened? Nothing, actually, right? She just felt so strange, so self-conscious, so much a … woman… when she got that close to him. Like a couple of times before. She thought they would kiss. She panicked, of course. As much as she wanted it, she was afraid of it as well. And he just sat there, not moving, maybe not even noticing anything strange… What a fool she was! Imagining things, for sure… She had better got that fresh juice and put extra ice in it, just to cool her raging hormones…
She walked down the stairs, just in time to see Kasumi coming up with a tray full of goodies: cookies, juice… but no ice.
"Hi Akane, I thought you two might be a little thirsty or hungry studying so hard", Kasumi smiled sweetly.
"Oh, thank you. I was just going down to get something myself," Akane smiled back, but quickly added, eyeing the tray: "You know, I'm so hot I think I'll go down and check if there is any ice. Could you take these to my room, please?"
"Sure. There should be some ice left, just put it in a bowl and bring it up here. Is Ranma in your room?" the older sister asked.
"Yes. Please, prevent him from vacuuming all the cookies before I get back!" Akane winked and ran down. Kasumi just smiled as she knocked on the duck-tagged door.
"Ranma, can I come in?" she asked, politely.
"Sure." The boy got up and rushed to the door, recognising Kasumi's voice. He had regained his senses in the mean time and had been wondering what had really happened. Now he was a bit confused again. Where did Akane go? What was her sister doing here? he wondered.
When he opened the door, he saw the tray in Kasumi's hand and his expression lit up. Kasumi smiled and took the tray to Akane's desk.
"Uhmmm… where is Akane, by the way?" he remembered.
"She just went to get some ice. She sad she was feeling hot."
"She asked if you could wait for her before you start eating the cookies," Kasumi said lightly, and Ranma's hand stopped mid air on its way to the full plate. He looked at Kasumi and decided to do as she said. He could never say no to her.
A moment later, Akane entered the room with a small bowl fool of ice.
"Here I am. I see you haven't started with the cookies yet, thanks!" she smiled to him, placing the bowl on her desk and putting some ice in a glass with a spoon.
"Would you like some ice too?" she asked him.
"Yeah, thanks", he said. He needed to cool down a bit, that was certain.
"Well, I guess I'll live you too alone. I'll call you when dinner's ready, but it won't be for a couple of hours or so." Kasumi said, leaving the room and waving a hand to them. Did she really wink or was it just Akane's imagination? It had been so quick she wasn't sure. So she dismissed it – after all, that was Kasumi, right?
She poured the juice in both glasses and handed one to Ranma. Their fingers touched in the process and they both blushed slightly. No one said anything for a while, they just drank and ate the cookies. Akane had two, Ranma practically inhaled the rest.
Akane laughed. "How can you eat like that? I mean, we've had lunch an hour ago!"
"I'm still in the growing age, and besides, I don't have to watch my weight like a certain tomboy I know," he teased, his mouth faster than his brain, as usual. Why did he say that? He didn't want to start an argument right now…
But Akane didn't respond her usual way: she didn't mallet him to Mars right away. She looked down at herself, her long smooth legs, her flat stomach and her round breasts, and then she looked at him.
"Well, I guess not, boys don't mind their figure as much as …. girls …. do!" As she spoke she picked the bowl, now containing just some water from the melting ice and splashed Ranma with its contents.
"Hey, why did you do that for?" he protested, shaking his wet red hair. "It's really cold!"
"You deserved it. Now let's go back to geometry," she said defiantly and sat down. He – or rather she – growled but sat at the desk without a word.
'This is good', Akane thought. 'Now he's a girl and everything will be fine.'
'This is not bad', Ranma thought. 'Now I'm a girl and it'll be ok.'
They returned to the previous exercise.
* * *