Epilogue: Lamenting Lost DaysThe flames of the fire began to rise, crackling loudly sending burning embers up into the air. The flickering orange glow emphasized the dark brown eyes of the young girl. She sat up alone, her legs drawn up close to her chest. Her hair hung around her face recklessly her eyes fixed on the fire consumed in thought. She turned to find one of her companions stirring in his sleep.
He sprawled himself out from under the blanket. His handsome features accentuated by the glow of the fire. The two women slept close to him almost sensing the others presence protectively. She shook her head slightly annoyed, but more concerned with other matters.
The other two boys slept silently on the other side of the fire. She respected all their abilities to sleep. It had been a trying trip to Japan from her home in China, but tomorrow the journey would come to an end and they would reach their destination. Tomorrow.
Ranma rolled up his blanket and started to pack his supplies into his backpack. He noticed Akane walk over to her things and do the same. She was dressed in her formal amazon uniform, tight green shorts and a white sleeveless jacket covering her skintight green tank top. She looked over and smiled at him, acknowledging his thought, she looked down at her clothes and moved her hand to her waist.
"Well I thought I should look my best and I think the wedding dress would be a bit much."
"You brought that with you?"
"Well I didn't know what to bring." She shrugged nervously. He noticed her straining a bit to bend down.
"How are your wounds doing?"
"Well my leg is healed, but my side aches every once in awhile." He felt a twinge of guilt since he had broken her ribs in the first place. The power of her gem had done a great job of healing them but when it shattered her normal healing abilities took over.
"Do you want me to take a look? Did your battle with the Gold Dragon make it worse?" She sensed his guilt and thought she should let him off the hook.
"No the dragon's eye was protecting me, but if you really WANT to see some skin you can check my injuries." She started to unbutton the white jacket revealing a small amount of the cleavage she was about to display.
"Hey, I didn't mean it like that! Why would I want to get a look at a body as uninteresting as yours anyway." She stopped undoing her shirt and turned around in a huff. She found it very easy to disturb him, the same buttons pushed every time and he would go right over the edge. 'What an interesting relationship we must have.' The conversation between the three girls in the bathroom came flooding back to her. This was the same man they said couldn't get enough sex. She shrugged her shoulders and packed away the rest of her belongings into her bag and swung it over her shoulder.
Ryoga finally rose from his sleep of the dead to find Akane looking at him smiling cheerfully. 'What bliss. I could die happy in those eyes.' She had been looking at him with a happy expression the entire trip. 'Maybe she is beginning to have feeling for me, since she doesn't remember Ranma. No Ranma and Akane shared essences and now she's following him to wherever he tells her is home.' Ryoga's face took on a new low of depression. Akane, oblivious as usual, walked over and offered him some of the breakfast the other girls had prepared before she woke. He took the offering greatly before starting to pack up his own supplies.
Once on their way they made good time on their journey home. They arrived at the Tendo dojo mid-afternoon. Akane's anticipation started to build the last few miles of the trip. The entire group filled her in on the details of the Nerima populace, particularly her family. Things were all and all quite overwhelming. She felt safe in the fact that everything seemed to have a deja vu feeling to it. Not quite familiar more like something in a dream she couldn't yet remember.
They turned onto the street they lived on and Akane took Ranma's hand as she uncomfortably looked all around the yard of their home. He gave her hand a slight squeeze as he looked down at her giving her a slow smile. She clenched his hand hard in return and he started to loose the feeling in his fingers.
"Kasumi hurry, my little girl has returned!" Soun burst into tears and all the house's inhabitants poured out into the yard. Akane bowed in front of them.
"It is good to be home father."
They all stood staring at her for a moment and then the waterworks resumed. Soun smothered his daughter in a hug.
"Oh my baby is home!"
"Akane, I hope you had a nice trip."
"Well well, Ranma finally managed to find you."
"Good job my boy." Genma slapped his son on the back knocking him forward.
"Well it's time for a celebration, everyone is welcome to join us. Kasumi do we have enough sake for everyone." Soun motioned for the others to come into the house still crying, while Kasumi headed straight for the kitchen to prepare some refreshments for their guests.
"So you don't remember anything huh? Interesting." Nabiki was already cooking up schemes to use this newfound advantage.
"No not much, aside from the amazon tribe." She smiled warily as her eyes surveyed each of her family members, her hands resting on her lap. Soun and Genma were already drunk singing together, Mousse and Ryoga sat against the wall their arms folded not drinking, while Shampoo and Ukyo were trying to no avail to make Ranma drink.
"Oh Akane, that's terrible." Kasumi said entering the room from the kitchen with a new tray of full sake glasses.
"Well I'm sure it's nothing Dr. Tofu and a couple of pressure points can't fix." Ranma said dislodging the two women from his side. Akane grimaced at the thought of some strange man poking and prodding her.
"That might be a problem." Nabiki said flatly.
"Whadya mean?" Ranma frowned.
"Dr. Tofu is away for the week at a seminar in Okinawa." Ranma's face faltered as Akane looked on indifferently.
"You mean my baby won't remember me for a week." The drunken sobs were coming full force now and Kasumi was consoling him.
"Well Akane, I guess you'll be wanting to cook a welcome home dinner for us then." The room temperature suddenly dropped to below freezing as all eyes turned to Nabiki. 'With Akane gone we hardly ever get to go out to dinner.' Nabiki thought to herself ignoring the icy stares coming at her from all directions. Everyone became completely silent, even Soun stopped his wailing, all minds race with excuses.
"I don't cook." Akane said flatly frowning at her new sister's face and began to look around the room at the shocked faces. "What?!"
"Maybe Dr Tofu being away won't be too bad, if it saves us from your toxic cooking." Ranma was still in shock but it didn't stop him from avoiding the plate Akane threw at him.
The celebration continued for most of the evening. Shampoo and Mousse returned to the Cat Cafe and Ukyo went back home to Ucchan's. Ryoga felt he needed a journey to clear his mind so he said his good-byes and proceeded to get lost in the Nerima shopping district.
Genma and Soun lay passed out on the floor in front of their shogi board while Kasumi busied herself cleaning up. Ranma was taking a bath after having been doused with cold water by Akane for an unflattering description of her battle with the Gold Dragon. So Nabiki took it upon herself to get her little sister aquatinted with the Tendo home.
"OK this is yours and Ranma's room and this-"
"Ranma and my room?" Akane blushed.
"Yes you are engaged. But there isn't much closet space with both Ranma's male and female clothes so you still keep your clothes in your old room." Nabiki brought Akane to her room; it did have an unused look about it. She was still stunned by the thought of sharing a room with Ranma, let alone a bed.
"Ok now lets get you some night clothes." Nabiki looked through the drawer filled with Akane' pajamas most of which covered in cutesy animal prints. 'Let's see what would Ranma like.' She found an old, light yellow, baby doll that Akane used to wear a year or two ago. 'Should still fit, and if not all the better.'
"Here you go, now off to bed you have a big day tomorrow." She ushered Akane down the hall. "First day back at school, lots of catching up to do."
She shoved the younger girl into Ranma's room and closed the door behind her. Akane looked around the room sheepishly hugging her things in her arms. 'No familiarity at all.' She thought to herself and started to undress.
Ranma bound up the stairs dressed only in his boxers and a towel draped around his neck his toothbrush still hanging out of his mouth. He looked very sleepy, yawning groggily as he reached the door to his bedroom.
Akane took down the covers of Ranma's futon and got in pulling a bit at her nightclothes. 'Are they always this tight or have I…'
Ranma stepped inside the room, his toothbrush dangled from his mouth gawking at the figure in his bed. Akane was sitting up in his bed stretching her arms in the air as she yawned making the unusually tight pajama top hug her form.
He swallowed loudly catching her attention and she quickly lowered her arms. She blushed looking over his muscular, barely dressed, body. In her mind this was the most she had ever seen of him, he wasn't going to mention the first day they met his cheek still stung from that slap.
"Akane?" His toothbrush fell into his waiting hand. He clenched the towel in his hand tightly and removed it from around his neck. She turned her gaze from his chest quickly and started to fumble with the buttons on her top. He realized he still stood in the hall and felt this would not look good to passersby. Therefore, rushed inside and closed the door behind him, making him closer to the bed. Akane took this as a sign he was excited.
"Look Ranma, I know this probably isn't such a big deal to you, but well to me this is…" She flushed a deep red and couldn't continue.
Ranma stood frozen 'What is she doing?' Ranma regained some of his composure and started toward the bed sitting at the end opposite her. They both sat there, neither making eye contact for several minutes.
"Are we…intimate? Well I guess we must be on some level if this is our room." She said her heart pounding in her chest.
"Our room?" Ranma was indeed slow at times, the word 'Intimate?' hit the gears in his mind like a wrench.
"Well um, why don't you just go ahead and start. I'm sure it is something you have been waiting for for awhile now." She said with no malice in her words, but seeming sad. She laid back on the bed and put her arms to her side.
Ranma's brain finally began to run at normal speed, he became quite disturbed. He leaned forward positioning himself over her looking down into her face. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be holding her breath. Ranma raised an eyebrow, looking her up and down a grin flashed across his face. He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her back up to a sitting position, her eyes opened startled.
"Ssh. Ok now I talk! First of all, this is not what all guys think about." He stood up and brought her with him, his voice stayed even, but showed he was a little hurt. He gathered up her clothes and shoved them into her arms.
"Second, don't flatter yourself! You ain't keeping me up at night." He pushed her down the hallway and into her room. She looked back at him wide eyed.
"Third, I wouldn't do that with someone if it didn't mean somethin'. Now this is your room and that is my room, that's the way it has always been. Good night." He closed the door between them and leaned up against it, turning his head to sigh. Akane looked around the room, cute little stuffed animals stared at her sappily from every direction.
"This place is a cutesy jungle."
She got into bed and lied down pulling the covers up to her chin. Suddenly she wiped the pillow out from under her and covered her face. She muffled out a yell, "Someone just shoot me!" Then she lay slack on the bed removing the pillow. She tossed and turned for about an hour before finally falling asleep.
Ranma walked as he usually did on the way to school on the fence Akane walking on the ground beside him. 'I wonder how today will be. She has been such a different person recently.' His thoughts were interrupted when he noticed that the young girl was no longer on the ground below him. He stopped dead in his tracks. "What the, where did she-OOF."
Just then something walked into Ranma from behind. He swirled around and caught the person by the shoulders preventing them from falling into the water below. Akane looked up at him shyly.
"What are you doing walking up here? A klutz like you will end up drowning!"
"You know, I don't remember ever being that klutzy. Normally I am just fine." 'Well mostly.' She removed his hands from her and did two flawless back flips on the fence, landing in a sitting position atop the fence.
"Tada!" She raised both arms in the air and held herself in place with her feet while straddling the fence. Ranma couldn't help but laugh and lowered himself to her level.
"Ok ok, but you should still walk on the ground. You can't swim you know and I don't wanna have to turn into a girl to save you." Akane looked up at him surprised.
"I can't swim? Hmm, I didn't know that." She jumped down and they quickened their pace to school.
"Yup you sink like a stone, well after all the flailing around stuff." Akane swung at him with her pack and he ducked.
"Why do I have to go to school anyway. We are martial artists, we should be out training."
"Look Akane going to school helps you to become a better martial artist." Ranma scolded and then thought to himself 'did I just say that.' She grumbled something from below him and kicked a rock.
"How do you stand so much boredom?"
"I dunno things just happen. Now come on or we're gonna be late." Ranma broke into a run and Akane followed. They quickly made it to school with a few minutes to spar. Akane stayed very close to Ranma, all eyes were on her.
"What the heck are they looking at?"
"Well you do look different."
"Oh what vision is brought to mine eyes? Finally my love has found you and returned you to my awaiting arms!" From nowhere a boy dressed as a samurai ran through the group of students staring at Ranma and Akane only to be intercepted by Ranma's foot in his face.
"Who is this?" Akane said looking him over. Ranma opened his mouth but was interrupted.
"Tatewaki Kuno, here to do with as you will my love." Kuno released from Ranma's foot, grabbed Akane's hand in his own. "Akane Tendo, the deepest ocean could not keep our love apart."
"Hey let go." She kicked him in the chest and sent him flying. "And the name is Jade. Well I guess today won't be a total bore." Akane turned to Ranma and then took her fighting stance.
"Never was there a stone that shined as brightly as your beauty." Kuno was on his feet and running toward her swinging his kendo sword. "Come, let us date!"
"I don't think so, I'm taken." She dodged his attack and flung him into a nearby tree next to Ranma.
"Come on Akane finish him off and let's get to class." Kuno was on his feet again and ran right into her spin kick.
"Jeez, I was just having a little fun." She looked disappointedly at a scolding Ranma. "Oh alright, I'll finish him off this time."
Kuno stood with his bokken ready, but this time it was Akane that charged at him. She jumped at him putting her legs unto his shoulders and sung her upper body down propelling him through the air and into a tree this time snapping the tree in half. Kuno had a silly grin on his face as the tree collapse on him. Ranma held his head in his hands as he heard the whispers around him. Akane walked over looking quite pleased with herself.
"Did you have to use that move?"
"Well it knocked him out didn't it." Akane looked at him puzzled.
"In more ways than one." Ranma led her inside to their classroom, he noticed she looked a little disturbed.
"What is it?"
"He was easy to beat…but my first hit should have been my last. I have fought better then him in less time."
"Well you're probably weaker without the gem." They reached the classroom and all the students were starring at Akane
"Ok then, let's go home and figure out what I've lost." She grabbed his arm and spun him around.
"Akane, if I gotta go to school so do you, now come on." He grabbed her shoulders and shoved her into her seat. The eyes of the students never left her. Ranma went over to his seat where the boys immediately surrounded him.
"So Saotome, you finally found her, took you long enough."
"I heard you found her in some kind of harem."
"Man, she sure does look different-Really Sexy!"
"I heard she didn't want to come back with you. That she found a new guy."
"Wow, she isn't wearing a bra is she!"
"Hey enough! She lost her memory, became an amazon warrior, fought this big battle and came back home with me!"
"Amnesia huh?" All the boys suddenly surrounded her. Ranma dropped his head to his desk rolling it from side to side.
The two figures in the darkened dojo rose to their feet and squared each other off. The young girl took her fighting stance while the boy remained still.
"The last time we sparred you were doing pretty good keeping up with my girl side. You even took both Shampoo and Ukyo, but I still don't think you could take me or even Ryoga."
"Really and how did I fair before?"
"Just barely above Kuno."
"You have got to be kidding! Me? Well then I guess we better see how good I really am." She spun around throwing kicks and backhanded punches all of which he avoided effortlessly.
"Well you certainly aren't as fast as you were with the Gold Dragon, or during our fights." She became annoyed and swept at his legs. He flipped out of the way.
"But you ARE better than usual."
"Are you just going to run away all the time?! How is that a good test of my abilities." She vaulted in the air swinging her legs into a flying kick.
"No, I guess that wouldn't give me the full scope of what you've lost." He side stepped her attack and lunged forward with a slower version of his chestnut fist. She twisted and flipped back and forth avoiding most of the punches.
"But don't think I have forgotten some of your trickier moves."
"I don't know what you are talking about." She leapt back winded from the hits she took, holding her side.
"I'm sorry I forgot about that, are you ok?" Akane's eyes gleamed with mischief and she lunged at him jumping into the air.
"No, don't-!" Ranma yelled just as her legs were reaching his upper body.
"Huh?" She said halting her attack, Ranma catching her in his arms.
"I-I'd rather you didn't use that move anymore." He looked into her eyes as he adjusted his arms around her.
"Um, ok." She said shrugging her shoulders her arms hanging loosely around his shoulders. They lingered for a moment looking into each other's eyes until the sound of someone clearing their throat from behind them caught their attention.
"You know, if you two want to make such a public display of it I can go get my camera." Nabiki said looking at the two thoughtfully.
They glanced over at the older girl from their precarious position. Ranma held Akane in his arms, her legs draped over his forearms awkwardly. He unceremoniously dropped her to the floor unto her bottom, both of them blushing furiously.
"Aren't martial artists supposed to recover quickly from things like that?" Nabiki asked. Akane held her herself up with her arms as she looked at her mischievous sister.
"I was distracted."
"I don't doubt it." She smiled innocently from Akane to Ranma. "Anyway Kasumi wanted me to tell you it is getting late and that you should be going to bed." She turned and left the two alone.
Akane turned her gaze to Ranma who was standing above her. "Um I guess that's enough for tonight. We should probably take a look at your tumbling next time. Let's get to bed." He leant her a hand in getting up and they both walked from the dojo to the house.
Akane sighed and rose from the bed walking the few steps to the window. She looked down at the pond, the starlit night reflecting up at her. She remembered the dojo and decided 'anything is better than this fluffy hell.' She gathered up her pillow and blanket and headed downstairs. She stopped only to look into the koi pond. Her reflection looked up at her questioningly; strands of her green hair tickled her cheek swaying in the cool night breeze. Everything about herself was changing right before her eyes. 'Who are you, brown eyes?'
She proceeded into the dojo adjusting the pillow under her arm. She walked through the doorway then quickly spun around and headed back out.
"Wait!" She stopped and the person behind her sat up. She hung her head thinking 'rotten luck.'
"I didn't realize you were here. I…" She turned her head but kept her back to the dojo.
"It's ok. Really." Ranma watched her carefully. Her shoulders relaxed and she turned around. "Come on in."
She walked in and plopped down next to him. "I just come out here sometimes when I have problems sleeping."
"I couldn't sleep either." She said looking down and then raised her head hopefully. "Do I normally come down here?"
Ranma thought about it for a moment. "No, can't say that you do." Her head hung low. "In fact I can't ever remember YOU having problems sleeping."
He lay back down and she put her pillow next to him. "Ranma?"
"Hm?" He turned his head to now find her lying next to him on her side.
"What if I don't like this person when I remember her." She said quietly her brow furrowing as she brought her hands to her chest. Ranma thought on this question for a moment.
"I think you will be a lot more comfortable once you remember the Akane that I know."
"I guess as long as I still have you around to be my friend I'll be alright." She smiled at him warmly. He straightened stunned by her comment.
"I-ah, I'm sorry about the other night." She looked away at the dojo wall blushing.
"No problem." He turned back and stared at the ceiling. Akane beamed with happiness.
"Thanks Ranma." She leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. She violently turned on her other side away from him. "Good night."
He lay there stunned until the sun rose the next morning with only a couple of bruises from Akane kicking him while she slept. He waited outside the bathroom for Nabiki to finish, so he could get ready for school. She came out, he went in. "Having trouble sleeping recently Ranma?"
He shot his head out into the hallway and glared at her retreating form. Akane gathered her backpack from her room and waited outside the bathroom. She stood in the hallway fidgeting with the handle of her pack looking down at her bare feet. She felt like a stranger in someone else's home. Ranma walked out of the bathroom fully dressed. She smiled at him warmly.
"Good morning." He returned her smile a little hesitantly. Suddenly the two were pressed together by Soun's arms crushing them in a hug.
"Oh I'm so happy to see the two of you like this and spending the night together." Tears streamed down his face.
"Finally the Anything-Goes School of Martial Arts is secure. Well done my boy." Genma slapped the part of Ranma's back that Soun wasn't holding. With a flash of incredible speed twenty to thirty punches hit Soun and Genma sending them flying. Ranma stood his fist in the air, breathing heavily from irritation.
"Even my family is a bunch of weirdoes." Akane stomped into the bathroom and prepared herself for the school day ahead. Ranma tried reading one of Dr. Tofu's books that Kasumi had borrowed, while Akane bathed and got ready for school. He continued to read on their walk to school.
"I don't know Akane, I'm not sure which one of these will help you. They all have similar names and descriptions."
"Are you experienced with pressure points?" She looked up at him, his eyes on the book, still keeping his balance while walking on the fence.
"Sure, I've had enough used on me." He flipped to the next page then jumped down in front of Akane.
"Let's see, hmm…" He took a final look at the book and then examined Akane up and down. She looked back at him with trepidation.
"This is supposed to unlock the mind and body." He hit two points on either side of her hips. She became completely flushed, shivers ran up and down her body and she collapsed to her knees.
"I don't think…that had the effect…you wanted it to." She said out of breath. He raised an eyebrow and crouched down next to her.
"You ok." She nodded still flushed. "Well that was odd, hmm…" He flipped through the book. 'I have to remember that move.'
"I think I'll stay away from that area."
"I would suggest it." A voice from behind Akane said, both turned to see a man with glasses standing in the clinic doorway.
"Dr. Tofu!" Ranma stood up shocked. "I thought you were out of town."
"The convention ended early." Dr. Tofu looked down at the young woman in front of him. "Ranma you really shouldn't be playing with pressure points if you don't know what you are doing. Who is your friend?"
Akane got to her feet and bowed before her elder. "My name is Jade, a pleasure to meet you sir."
"Akane, is that you?"
"Yeah doc, but she's lost her memory, I was wondering if you could help her."
"Come on in and I'll see what I can do."
Akane sat on the cot fidgeting, looking nervously at Ranma. She didn't like letting a strange man look her body over.
"Well it looks like someone has put a memory-blocker pinch on her. Let me just get a cold compress and I'll be back to take care of it." Dr. Tofu noticed the worried expression on Akane's face. "Don't worry soon you'll have all your memories back and be back to the normal Akane."
The older man left the room to get the ice pack. Akane walked over to Ranma and held his hands out in front of him. He straightened at her seriousness and her close proximity. She looked down studying his hands in her own, turning something over in her mind.
"Yeah." Akane finally looked him in the eyes. He was beginning to get nervous and didn't know what to do so he just stood there.
"I don't know this person I am about to become and I don't know how you and I were before, but I want to thank you for everything you have done for me."
"Huh?!" Ranma was stunned and started to melt inside her eyes.
"And I want you to know…I care deeply for you." She raised herself onto her toes closing her eyes and kissed him gently on the lips, softly caressing his lips with her own. Ranma felt a vise grip tighten around his heart and the blood running through his veins turned to fire.
She backed away slowly, sighed and opened her eyes letting her hands slip away. Ranma reluctantly let go. He was frozen where he stood, but part of him wanted to move desperately. His right foot took a step forward and the doctor walked back into the room, making Ranma cling to some picture he urgently needed to examine. That is until he noticed it was displaying the beauty of childbirth.
"Alright Akane this is going to feel a little unusual and you may faint when everything floods back into you." She nodded looking up at Ranma for support, she held out her hand. He walked over and gave her hand light squeeze.
With two swift moves he struck her neck with his index finger. Her head swam with the visions of seventeen years flashing past her mind's eye. She swooned, but Ranma's touch kept her grip on reality. "Ranma?" She opened her eyes and looked down confused by her clothes. "What have I-?"
Then the last few months fell into their rightful place with the rest of her memories. "I remember walking to school, and then these men attacked me and took me to China. Oh my god, I almost got married."
She held her hand to her chest still amazed by her unmodest apparel. She turned her gaze to a grinning Ranma, her eyes suddenly turning cold.
"Ranma you jerk! This is all your fault!" She proceeded to punch him into the air, sending him flying into the wall and then crashing to the floor. "If it weren't for your taunting I wouldn't have been kidnapped!" She yelled down at his prone form lying limply on the floor of the clinic.
"Yup you remember. Ah, eeeeehhh!" Akane continued to beat Ranma senseless while he tried dragging himself from the ground shooting insults.
High above Nerima the clouds rumbled a warning of an impending storm. A dark figure waited in the shadows outside Furinkan High for an old nemesis to arrive. An ancient recipe churned and bubbled as ingredients were added with loving care. All was right with the world.
As always none of these ideas our mine, they are owned by other people that I can't remember the names of right now, excepting of course Rumiko Takahashi-who could forget. Any C&C, "you suck" email to JLee011@sprintmail.com