A/N: This takes place between Laundry Day and Say Yes to the Dress. It serves as counterpoint to Jeremy Harper's first chapter of Prince and Princess of Gotham.
Akane watched as Bruce, no Batman. Batman. She had to remember to think of him as Batman when he was in uniform. She suppressed a nervous giggle. She still couldn't believe she was training in the Batcave. She was living in Gotham in Wayne Manner, with billionaire Bruce Wayne and his Ward, Ranma Saotome. She was engaged to Ranma.
It was all still so surreal.
She'd had months to get used to the idea, what with Ranma living in Japan and going to Furinkan for a while but now she was actually here, she couldn't believe it. She looked around the cavernous room, filled with state of the art (well more advanced than anything civilians could get their hands on) technology and all the training equipment she could ever need. Some she had never seen before, like the salmon ladder that Ranma had shown her how to use the other day. At the memory, she automatically searched the cave for him. He had separated himself when they came down to do his own work out while Bruce was showing her how to use a Batarang.
Akane's mouth fell open slightly when she saw him. He was hanging from a bar, doing upside down sit-ups. Shirtless. It seemed that he was done as he flipped down a moment later. He stretched his neck from side to side and she couldn't help but stare. Ranma was only wearing loose work out pants, that had slipped very low on his hips showing off his six – no eight pack abs and the top of his Adonis belt. His body was covered in a light sheen of perspiration, which should have been unappealing but was oddly…arousing.
"Did you get all that, Akane?" Batman said in a tone louder than he would normally have used.
She jerked at the sound, and snapped her head back towards her mentor. "Wha-what?" she asked with a squeak.
Bruce suppressed a smile at the guilty look on her face and the sudden color in her cheeks that had nothing to do with their workout. He knew exactly where her mind had gone as he watched her gawking at Ranma. It amused him as he had caught Ranma doing the same a little bit earlier. Neither seemed to have a clue how the other felt about them, even though it was glaringly obvious to both Alfred and him (and probably everyone else who had seen them together). He sighed inwardly and thought, Teenagers.
"Did you get everything I said about batarangs?"
Akane stared at him with apprehensive eyes. She was not only embarrassed that she had completely that last part of what he said but she was sure he caught her gawking. Plus, she had really really wanted to make a good impression with Batman on this initial training and she blew it. He was going to think she wasn't taking this seriously! Unsure of what to do, she lied.
"Good." He handed her the batarang and pointed her to an open area. "Show me."
Akane nodded, took the weapon and walked forward with no idea what to do. She had caught the first part of what he said about the batarang, that it comes back like a boomerang. But he started talking about the weight and that's when she got…distracted. She weighed the weapon in her hand as she walked. When she reached the center of the practice ring, took a deep breath, and threw it. She waited while it curved into an arc and came back to her. She shot her hand up to catch it and…
"Oww!" Akane moaned after the batarang nicked her in the head. She rubbed the spot and glared at the offending weapon.
Out of the corner of his eye, Batman saw Ranma whip his head around at her exclamation before sprinting over. He watched on as Ranma pulled her close to check her head and even from his distance Bruce could see the blush forming furiously on her face. It was a sweet and innocent scene, something rare in his life, and he found himself smiling.
It wasn't so innocent for Akane but it was sweet. With the way Ranma held her head in his hands, she was getting an up close and personal view of those abs she was admiring earlier. Along with his pecs. And arms. She had to will her hands to stay still as she had an overwhelming desire to run her fingers along his stomach. His pecs. His arms. She was relieved and disappointed when he declared she was fine except for a knot on her head and released her.
Bruce's smile broke into a grin when Ranma apparently said something smart to Akane, because the next thing he knew, she pushed him away with a glare Ranma and smacked him on the shoulder. She quickly picked up the batarang before walking away.
Over her head the two males made eye contact. Through many years of fighting crime together it was easy for them to read each other without words. Ranma clearly understood Bruce's raised eyebrow to mean, You've sure got a way with women. Ranma only grinned unrepentantly at his mentor before antagonizing Akane further.
"Don't forget, Tomboy, you catch it with your hands not your head!"
Akane stiffened but didn't give him the satisfaction of acknowledging him. She was muttering darkly under her breath when she reached Bruce and he thought he heard the word, jerk.
"Can you explain it to me again?" she asked through gritted teeth, her eyes flaring.
As he did, he couldn't help but smile inwardly. Ranma had shown little interest in girls through adolescence and Bruce always wondered what type of girl he would end up with. He watched as once again she tried her hand with the weapon. She swung it out and on its return, it slipped through her fingers.
"Hey, at least you didn't get hit this time!" Ranma yelled at her from where he was watching her.
In temper, Akane whipped the weapon at Ranma, whose eyes widened in surprise before he ducked just in time to have the batarang missing the top of his head by inches. Her eyes still mostly on Ranma, she reached up and caught it as it came back around. It took her a moment to realize what she did and then she jumped up and down in excitement. She looked towards Bruce and waved it excitedly at him, a big smile on her face.
Impressive, Bruce thought and made a mental note to work on her temper.
Bruce couldn't help but be pleased and amused that Ranma picked such a firecracker, who was smart and determined. Most importantly, she was no pushover and wouldn't take crap from anyone. Especially Ranma. A wide grin crossed Bruce's face. Yes, he was liking her more and more every day.
A/N: Big shout out to Jeremy for his beta help, his inspiration for this one shot, and most importantly this fun little world he created.
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