AN: Yes! I'm sorry! I didn't update "PreCode Romance" in the longest. Forgive me. I have no excuses. Instead I have this. A new story! Yay or boo, take your pick. It's a Ranma/Akane romance, like always. Light reading, nothing heavy or complicated… for now, at least.

And the title alludes to one of my favorites songs of all time, Possession by Sarah McLachlan. I melt every time I hear this song.

This chapter was brought to you by the song "Square One" by Coldplay.


Possession

By Sodalicious

Ranma crouched low behind the dumpster, grimacing at the stench permeating in the damp alleyway. Despite the barrage of gun shots ringing into the night, he was deaf to the sounds, having much experience and exposure to such noise ever since a young age. By now, they were music to his ears.

He snorted.

A bullet whizzed by his ear too close for comfort from behind him. Wait… from behind!

"Dammit, Ryouga! Fucking aim before you shoot!" He snapped to his comrade who was currently hiding around the corner of the building.

"Fuck you!" Was the reply.

Ranma let out a string of curses as the dumpster vibrated violently from a round of bullets denting and puncturing the metal surface. Taking a quick breath, he popped his head out for a millisecond, his eyes taking a brief survey of how many he and Ryouga were up against. Quickly ducking back, he watched a round of bullets passing by the space his head occupied moments ago.

Nine versus two.

He smirked. Almost insulted at how easy it was going to be, he considered taking a nap first.

"What the fuck are you waiting for!" Ryouga hissed, truly fed up being shot at. After all, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, right? The boy happened to be quiet fond of his green eyes, Ranma knew.

Ranma signaled a countdown with his fingers to his impatient partner and at one, they shot out of their hiding spots with inhuman speed. Cloaked in the thick black of the night, the two figures leaped from wall to wall in the alley, a trail of bullets following their wake missing them by mere seconds. In a blink of an eye, they landed amidst the group of nine men.

Landing a neck snapping kick to one of the men's head, Ranma twisted his lean body to bring his other leg around for a roundhouse blow connecting with another henchman. His body fell to a crouch avoiding the swipe of a knife. He threw his weight to his hands flipping his body backwards as a leg shot out to kick the knife-welder in the face. Flowing with the momentum of his body, he landed on his feet stand up again to come face to face with another man holding a gun. Without hesitating, Ranma's hands shot out grabbing the gun and shoving it away from him. He kneed the man, successfully seizing the gun completely and fired a bullet into the man's head. He whipped his head around spotting Ryouga who just finished off the last of the group with a swift twist to the neck.

"I can't believe I skipped dinner for this shit," the pigtailed boy grumbled with a pout, carefully wiping the gun before tossing it haphazardly over his shoulder.

"Beef teriyaki and miso…" Ryouga groaned painfully clutching his stomach.

Ranma threw a dirty look over his shoulder at the fanged boy and proceeded to walk away from the bloodbath. "That dirty fat-ass better not have finished everything," he growled. "Or else I'm gonna shove the family katana down this throat."

Ryouga winced at the imagery, though he agreed wholeheartedly. "What the hell is your problem?"

"Nothing…" Ranma trailed off with a mumble, kicking a pebble as they briskly strolled to their home, the Saotome estate. His companion made a show of dusting the sleeves of his black dress shirt. Dim street lamps flickered above them, sporadically enveloping them in darkness. Donned in black dress shirts with the first few buttons loose and black trousers emphasizing their long legs, the two men easily blended into the blackest shadows cast at night. Even distracted in their mundane conversation, they moved smoothly and soundlessly.

"I'm sorry, I completely missed that," Ryouga drawled, "I'm a little deaf in my right ear."

"I fucking flunked six of my classes, okay!"

Choked laughter earned a chilling glare.

"How about the other three?"

"Barely passed."

Silence.

"Shit, Ranma, are you trying to be stupid?"

"I just don't give a fuck!" He cried defensively. Azure eyes flashed in annoyance as Ranma tugged at his pigtail. "It's not like I'm going to be some quack doctor or a sleazy lawyer. I'm going to simply take over the family business: embezzlement, gambling, and killing shit-faced scum when they so much as look at me the wrong way!"

"Oh? What else does your family do, Mr. Saotome?" Ryouga wanted to know. "And speak a little louder, so the assholes at the police station down the block can hear you incase they overlooked something."

"As if it makes a difference," he snapped and rolled his eyes.

"Well, at least now they know the son of Saotome has shit for brains."

"Fuck you."

Ryouga merely smiled an all-knowing grin, irritating the hell out of the grumpy boy walking next to him. He let out a low chuckle, "Ah, I know what's got you bitchin' tonight." Getting no wordy reply except for a glare, he filled in the rest. "Mrs. Saotome doesn't know yet, right?"

Silence took over the conversation for a good solid seconds before Ranma uttered, "Not yet," he paused, "and she won't find out because I hid my grade report." He smugly smirked jutting his proud chin up in the air. I'm so clever.

"Where?"

"Where else?" He asked back, "In my underwear drawer."

The gates opened automatically for them, revealing a massive three story mansion with elements of Japanese architecture including a koi pond surrounded by sakura and morning glory trees in full bloom. And a walkway laid out in stones led up to the front of the mansion where a slim figure wrapped in silky gold-threaded kimono stood waiting.

"Ma!" Ranma's eyes brightened and they rushed up to the woman. They bowed respectfully to the female head of the Saotome clan.

"Ranma, Ryouga," she acknowledged warmly, "I hope none of you are a gravely injured?"

"Not a scratch."

"No, ma'am."

Out of thin air, she whipped out a crumpled sheet of paper. "Ranma," she started sweetly, "what is this?"

He fell to the ground, eyes wide in disbelief.

They watched silently as a maid served them tea around the dining table. Ranma shifted uncomfortably under his mother's unwavering stare. Trying not to think of the implication that in order to find the grade report she had to have gone through his unmentionables, he bit his tongue and kept his eyes on the cup of tea in front of him.

Nodoka Saotome cleared her throat and watched her son carefully as Ryouga tried to blend in with the background. "I called the school today," she began, "and after a long discussion with the Dean, we agreed to assign you with a tutor." She ignored his gaping mouth and continued, "You have one semester to make up for the classes you failed."

"What!" He cried incredulously. "I ain't gonna take those classes over again!"

"You don't have a choice!" Nodoka bit back at him, shutting him up effectively. "It's either get left back for one semester, or drop out of school," she raised her voice a notch when he opened his mouth to object, "and I refuse to have a son run the family business without a college education!"

She paused to take a sip of her tea.

"Now, I don't care what you concentrate in," his mother softened her tone, "it can be art history, music, or ballet." Muffled laughter from the corner had Ranma flipping Ryouga a rude hand gesture under the table. "But you must graduate with a college degree in order to take your father's place."

Taking his silence as submission, she smiled delightfully. "I took the trouble of finding you a tutor myself."

He cringed managing a sickly smile.

"I talked to Nabiki Tendo."

Ranma stared blankly at his mother and let out a low groan smacking his forehead against the table. Anyone but her. He moaned inwardly.

His mother was naturally surprised by his reaction. "Is there a problem?" She inquired.

"Yeah," he breathed out a dramatic sigh, "she hates my guts."

She laughed at his theatrics, "She doesn't hate your guts."

"Of course I hate his guts," Nabiki Tendo frowned reflexively at the thought of the arrogant pigtailed boy. She stood, arms crossed, in the middle of her younger sister's room. "I hate that pompous ass, but his sweet mother offered a hefty sum, too tempting for me to turn down."

"Well, that's fine," Akane said from her position on her bed, "teach the guy and earn your money. Why are you in my room telling me this?" She chewed on the eraser end of her pencil, an opened book resting on her lap, and papers strewn all around her.

"Because," Nabiki answered flippantly, "you'll be the one teaching him." She observed her recently polished nails and ignored her sister's gaping imitation of a dead mackerel.

Akane stared wordlessly at her sister. The slim yet abundantly curvaceous young woman in a racy red tank top and tight boot cut jeans stood confidently in the room, regarding her glittering red nails with half-lidded eyes. Akane wanted to kick her.

However, quick thinking killed the desire before she gave in to the appeal. Her sister may have been family, but Nabiki was a ruthless vindictive bitch above all else, and Akane meant that from the bottom of her sincerest sister-loving heart. She was well aware the Yakuza boss that overruled the underground world of Nerima, Genma Saotome, fondly contacted Nabiki from time to time trying to lure her to his "business." And she had no doubts that her sister will accept the proposition once she graduated from college. The last thing Akane wanted was for her future-Yakuza-sister to hold a grudge against her for a misplaced kick.

Of course, the entire family trembled with fear at the thought of Nabiki joining the Yakuza, but, really, no one had any say in the matter. Akane may have been brave enough to confront her, but not dumb enough to actually do it.

Nabiki had … talent.

Talent in making a grown man piss in his pants at the mere smell of her.

Nerima University was a rather large institution, schooling ninety percent of all the students in the region. Though not the top in the country, it was a reputable university known mostly for its physical education program offering martial arts courses. The student body ranged from those fresh out of high school to adults returning to either finish college education or to gain another degree. These college students were the future of Nerima.

In other words, this university was the center of Nerima where everyone was connected and conducted business. And the person holding the ambrosia in the middle of it all was Nabiki with her, literally, underground gambling rings in the basements of the school, not to forget her list of blackmails and money pyramids with a yearly interest of ten percent. So logically, Nabiki had, unknowingly, a good hold of the future of Nerima.

Contrary to popular belief, Nabiki did not bring in loads of cash for the family, enough to keep them comfortable, but not to make them filthy stinkin' rich. That would only attract the feds and put them in loads of trouble. She effectively kept the cash flow running in a cycle among her many clients and victims in school so that there was a rather even balance at all times. It kept everybody relatively on safe grounds. As long as she kept her business within the university borders, the Saotome boss had no qualms and left her at peace – for the moment.

But that did not explain why Akane had to tutor their son, Ranma.

"Why do I have to teach that boy?" She asked.

"Because, I have no time to teach that spoiled bastard, and you obviously have the academic brains in the family," Nabiki shrugged making her way to the door.

"What do I gain from this?"

Nabiki let out an annoyed raspy sigh and rested her hands on her hips. "Well, I was planning on giving you some of the cash to buy yourself a new computer that you've been pining over."

She didn't know whether she wanted to hug Nabiki or strangle her.

After all, if Akane was going to do all the work tutoring the boy, shouldn't she get all the cash for herself?

"But I don't even know him," She cried after her sister who was already out the door.

"So?"

The door slammed shut.

"I'd rather gauge my eyes out and eat raw liver than sit with Nabiki Tendo."

Ryouga sighed for the hundredth time that day resisting the urge to smash his fist into Ranma's face. From the moment they entered the campus and during their morning classes, Ranma had done nothing but whine and gripe about the she-devil named Nabiki. Having nothing to do for two hours till their next class, the two boys lounged in the shade under a large tree in between campus buildings. Though they were isolated from the rest of the student body, couples sat nearby on the benches sharing lunches and small talk. A group of pretty girls walked by, eyeing the two flirtatiously and giggling coyly.

Any other day, Ranma would've playfully invited them to accompany him; however, today was not such a day. With a dark gloomy cloud storming over his head called Nabiki, he sulked in the shade with his back to the tree trunk…alone. It was a dreary day, indeed.

"Stop bitching," Ryouga tried to reason, "You only have to spend one hour with her a day and pretend to learn something."

"One hour with the devil," Ranma reflected, "well, I've had worse before I suppose." He scowled and absently tossed a pebble in the air. "Granted she's not hard on the eyes, but that holier-than-thou attitude, that … that grating smirk, and that pompous voice makes me want to wrap my fingers around her neck and squeeze." He mimed the action as his hands grabbed at air.

"Endearing, really," Ryouga remarked.

"She's the most manipulative, deceptive, vain, heartless, lethal, shady, unpleasant person I've ever met!" As an afterthought, he added, "And I've met a lot of cold-blooded killers!"

A snort sounded from behind them, "Gosh, Saotome, you say that like it's a bad thing." They spun around to see the devil herself, standing on the other side of the tree leaning on the trunk. She turned her body to fully face him and give him a grating smirk.

"Tendo." Ranma grumbled.

"Saotome." Nabiki answered.

"Hibiki." Ryouga tossed in.

He was ignored.

"So, I guess this rules out the teacher-student love affair, eh?" She grinned baring her pearly whites. "Shame."

"What do you want, wench?" Ranma asked bluntly.

"Pet names, already?" She raised an eyebrow, "Just wanted to tell you that the first lesson will be today at six, lover. Wear something…" She eyed him slowly, "…nice."

He gave her the cold shoulder, turning his back to her. "Only if you promise not to show up."

"Tempting, Saotome," her voice grew faint as she walked away, "… tempting."

As soon as she disappeared behind a building, Ranma threw his hands in his hair, scratching his scalp vigorously. "She's such a … such a…. gggrrrrr!"

"Grrr?" Ryouga asked.

"Grraaarrrr!"

"Come on, Tarzan," Ryouga pulled him from under the tree, "we have class to attend."

"I'll see you all next week," the professor smiled ending the session for the day.

Students murmured and bustled out of their seats, gathering up their belongings and rushing out the auditorium doors.

Akane stood up from her chair and raised her arms in the air stretching languorously. Covering up a yawn with the back of her hand, she twisted around to wake up her friend still dozing in her seat.

"Let's go, Yuka," she sighed, "class is over." Getting a mumbled response, she rolled her eyes and patted her friend on the arm, shaking the huddled form for extra measure. "Wakey wakey! You can go sleep in your dorm room."

The girl moaned loudly, standing up with jerky motions like a puppet on strings. "It was such a nice dream, Akane," Yuka whined and peeped at the blue haired girl through hazy sleep-ridden eyes.

"All dreams come to an end," she shrugged and smiled harmlessly.

Yuka clucked her tongue, eyeing Akane skeptically. "Just because you don't dream doesn't mean you don't have any," she retorted and rushed to catch up.

Akane threw her bag over her shoulder and walked towards the door. She looked back at Yuka with a grin, "I never said I don't have dreams, only that they come to an – oof!"

Standing at the doorway, she looked up at the figure blocking the path and opened her mouth to apologize.

"Watch it, girlie!"

She snapped her mouth shut and glared at the boy before her. "I beg your pardon?" He brusquely stepped past her, leaving her to glare draggers at his back. She absently noted a small pigtail hanging from the back of his head.

"Whatever," he mumbled under his breath.

She ignored his fanged friend who seemed to be staring at her, and rhetorically asked, "Didn't your mother ever teach you manners?" The boy took the bait and froze mid-step. Slowly he turned around regarding her with cold blue eyes.

Ah-ha, Akane thought victoriously, a mama's boy.

He stepped closer to be face to face with her, and she vaguely felt her bangs flutter as he growled out, "Didn't your mother teach you that girls should be seen and not heard?"

"No," she seethed, "I wasn't raised on 18th century principles!"

A calloused hand shot in between them. Using one hand to push the pigtailed boy away and the other held in front of Akane as a peace-offering, the friend with tiny fangs and forest green eyes smiled at her with an unspoken apology.

"I'm Ryouga," he grinned charmingly.

Akane couldn't help but smile back, shaking his hand, "Akane."

"You're gonna have to excuse my asshole of a friend," Ryouga motioned to the other boy who had already taken a seat in the room. "He's had a pretty bad day."

"Whatever," she smirked, chocolate eyes twinkling, "he's gotta learn to cope. Everybody has bad days."

He smiled ruefully, "Ain't that the truth."

Feeling heaps better, Akane began to nudge her way backwards to the door, "Well, I have to go, I'll see you around." She twirled around, strands of her cropped blue hair fanning out in waves. Ryouga was instantly hooked.

"Yeah, see ya," He trailed off watching Akane catch up with a girl and the two walked out of the building. Minutes later, he realized he was still grinning stupidly.

"What's with the stupid grin?"

He scowled at Ranma, sitting back in his chair in a more comfortable position. "I was picturing you getting run over by an ice cream truck," he said instead.

Ranma shrugged, closing his eyes for the rest of the class, "There are worse ways to die."

"I hope he gets run over by an ice cream truck ten times until his every limb falls off and gets eaten by…rabbits!" Akane finished lamely, sitting in the small café with her friends Yuka and Sayuri. The two girls glanced at each other with knowing looks before reaching out to comfort their obviously distressed friend.

"Darling, rabbits are herbivores," Sayuri commented as gently as possible in Akane's volatile state.

"Don't you think you're overreacting," Yuka was perturbed, "you only met him once for the first time."

"NO!" She snapped. "By God, this is the first and last time I hope to ever see him." Taking a sip of her strawberry daiquiri, Akane visibly relaxed from its cool, sweet taste. "Speaking of first times, I have to go tutor Saotome's son today," she groaned pitifully in the crook of her arms resting on the table.

Yuka perked up and looked on with interest. "You will let me know if he's cute, right?" She asked. Her eager question earned a light slap on the shoulder from Sayuri and a dirty glare from Akane.

Akane replied dryly, "Sometimes, I think you're hazardous to your own health, Yuka."

"Imagine," Sayuri paused for effect, "imagine if the son ended up being that guy you had a fight with…" She wiggled her eyebrows glancing from Akane to Yuka and back to Akane.

"Perish the thought."

The three girls giggled and resumed talking about everyday things in their everyday lives. Akane knew both Yuka and Sayuri since first grade. They had inadvertently teamed up against the class bully, who happened to be a boy, and after stuffing him in the trash bin in the school playground, they automatically became best friends.

Yuka Kono was a sweet, light-hearted girl who fell in love everyday with every boy that met her eyes. Her perky ponytail tied high up on her head, swinging to and fro as she walked lightly on her toes, bright hazel eyes drowning the world in their magic, and pink glistening lips spread into a lovely smile, she was as average as they come. Yuka swore to find an amazing love one day that would sweep her off her feet and take her somewhere far away. Akane promised to call the police to file a 'missing person' report if such a thing ever happened in this day and age.

Yuka was somewhat of a basket case. By all means, she wasn't clinically insane, but she wasn't normal either. It seemed as if normal life wasn't enough for all the excitement contained in her small frail body. She dreamed of knights, white horses, dragons, griffons, and fairies. She wanted reincarnated loves, magic spells, love triangles, evil warlords, sword-wielding samurais, and groundbreaking martial artists. All she got was a dog named Spike that she had to walk two times a day, and one younger sister, Yura, who she had to walk three times a day.

Although the Kono family still resided in Nerima, after much begging and threatening, her parents allowed her to stay at the college dorm as long as she promised to visit her home everyday. And visit she did. Akane wondered if the girl ever spent more than one hour in her dorm room. Though Yuka's parents weren't rich, they had enough to support themselves and the dorm room that Yuka rarely slept in. Thus, the three girls merely used that room as a private hang out area where they stayed to escape from anything that was bothering them at home.

Sayuri Tanaka had only two friends, Akane and Yuka. She had kept the same hair style since first grade, short brown hair cut below her jaw line and straight bangs running across her forehead. Her clear and moist green eyes were the only telltale signs of whatever emotions ran rampant in her mind, hidden behind her stoic disposition. To any stranger, she appeared to be a bore with her monotone voice and slow graceful gestures as if she moved in water. However, her two friends knew her to be a girl rather driven by passion and love for her family.

Her parents were both deceased from a tragic car accident years ago and her only older brother had disappeared from the car wreck never to be found and announced dead by default years later. She was seven. Until she was old enough, Sayuri and her siblings were under the custody of their grandmother, and during the end of high school, her grandmother passed away leaving her with the only other two living family members – her younger sister, Sera, and younger brother, Ryunsuke.

With the help of Akane during freshmen year of college, Sayuri successfully rented a small apartment off campus where she stayed with her two siblings, now attending high school. The sudden responsibility of maintaining and supporting a family in a rented apartment forced her to obtain two part time jobs to work during any free time she had from classes. Freshmen year with classes and two jobs proved to be so overwhelming that Akane and Yuka often took her place at Sayuri's work or provided all the classroom notes she had missed for oversleeping.

Just when she was about to give up and quit college altogether, a mysterious package was dropped off at her doorstep, and when it was opened, piles of cash fell on her lap, hundreds and close to a thousand. No one knew who it was from or why it was given to her, but not about to kick a gift horse in the mouth, she took the money no questions asked. Ever since, the package would be dropped off monthly, and Sayuri would silently take it in, grateful for her guardian angel. Yuka complained about her lack of a similar guardian angel, but tearfully hugged Sayuri's good fortune, genuinely happy for her friend.

The three stood at the corner waving and saying their good-byes.

"If I were you," Yuka began, "I'd take a kitchen knife with me."

"Yuka!"

"What?" She blinked. "We're talking about the son of a Yakuza boss, here. Who knows what evils he has in mind for you! He could rape you!"

"Egads, Yuka," Akane made a face, "you need to stop watching those J-drama shows."

Sayuri shook her head at her friends' antics and began walking in the direction of her apartment, "Ciao, I gotta go cook dinner!"

She sighed watching Yuka and Sayuri disappear around the corner. "Stupid Nabiki," she mumbled and started her trek to the Saotome estate. Hopefully I'll come back home alive and in one piece.

"Curses that Nabiki!" Ranma cried to the heavens as soon as he stepped out of the school building.

"Running out of expletives already?" Ryouga said under his breath while squinting towards the sun.

"Dammit, why can't I just get rid of her?"

"Because your father would be terribly upset at losing his future secretary." Translation: Genma Saotome would be stark raving mad enough to maul his own son.

"So? He can always find another one…" Translation: I'd like to see him try!

"Maybe." Translation: He'll wipe the floor with your ass.

"Feh." Translation: Feh.

They spent the rest of the walk home in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Actually, Ranma did run out of expletives for Nabiki, and Ryouga didn't want to ruin the first peaceful silence he's had the whole day. As they strolled on the sidewalk, a long black limousine stopped next to them drawing their attention. A black window slid down to reveal a familiar face.

"Ranma, my boy, heading home?"

With an emotionless nod, he answered, "Yes, father."

Genma smirked, "Your mother tells me you're getting a tutor today."

Silence.

"Make sure you treat the Tendo girl well," he said behind the rising window. Once the window was shut, the limo drove off leaving the two boys in the dust.

"Bastard."

"Yeah," Ryouga muttered, "he could have offered us a ride home."

"Let's go," Ranma spat with distaste.

They had taken one step forward when a petite girl with shoulder length black hair tripped and fell on her knees in front of them. Still on the ground, she brought her head up sheepishly, a small shy smile on her face. Her pretty blue eyes quivered nervously, glistening in the sun, and her long eyelashes fluttered as she gazed up at Ranma.

Ryouga scoffed, standing on the sideline.

Muttering a few apologies, she attempted to stand up without mooning the streets in her short pink skirt. Ranma threw on a roguish grin and bent down to help her. He bared his flawless teeth, giving her a scandalous wink, and tossed his head back to sweep the bangs from his eyes. She swooned.

"Are you okay, miss?" He stood up smoothly, holding her hand.

"Uh yes, thank you," she blushed becomingly. Dusting her skirt down, she bowed her head modestly and rushed past them down the street.

He watched her, and then looked down at his fisted hand. Upon opening it, Ryouga noticed a folded piece of paper resting on Ranma's palm.

"Is that what I think it is?"

Ranma nodded absently and unfolded the paper where, indeed, a name and phone number was scribbled hastily.

Ryouga coughed back a laugh. He knew exactly what was going to happen. Ranma would snort, rip it in half, and toss it in the wind. He waited.

Ranma snorted, ripped it in half, and tossed it in the wind.

"Now, where were we?"

When they arrived home, the entire property was being cleaned, dusted, and re-arranged. Nodoka stood on the veranda ordering maids and servants here and there, telling them where to place the furniture and where to scrub extra hard. Hanging lanterns of various colors decorated the edges of the roof all around the house and spread out through the gardens. Sakura petals drifted in the breeze tickling his face. Ranma scratched the back of his head.

"Spring cleaning?" He took a shot in the dark.

"No, dear," his mother said distracted from her work, "your tutor will be here any minute. Go upstairs and change into something more… appropriate." She turned away from him to address two waiting maids.

"All this for a stupid tutor?" He squawked spreading his arms wide. "And what's wrong with what I'm wearing now?" Ranma glanced down at his jeans and T-shirt. When he received no response from the Saotome matriarch, he gave a defeated sigh and dragged himself up the stairs to change. Ryouga wisely made himself invisible somewhere in the house doing whatever a personal bodyguard does…guard something.

Akane gawked at the large stone wall surrounding the Saotome property and up at the tall daunting black gates that were at the moment closed. Wow, she mouthed. She half expected the gates to open up with teeth and swallow her. The gates opened, and she was relieved to see no teeth.

A young woman wearing a plain grey kimono bowed in a ninety degree angle keeping her eyes on the ground. With a soft voice, she spoke, "Welcome, this way, please." Taking small brisk steps, she scurried to the side of the stone walkway, leaving Akane to stroll in the middle.

Akane wish for an extra pair of eyes to take in every picturesque landscape the Saotome estate had to offer. The large traditional Japanese mansion encircled by sakura and morning glory trees created a serene and exotic atmosphere, and she found herself wishing to live in a house exactly like this one.

Once they arrived at the front, the maid scuttled away to the side, leaving Akane to cry out after her. Uncomfortably, she fidgeted from foot to foot wondering what she was supposed to do. Duh, stupid, ring the doorbell. After smacking herself on the forehead, Akane pressed the small round button.

The door swung open moments later, and a sinking feeling of deja vu overwhelmed Akane's frozen form. A boy with that silly pigtail and icy eyes was yelling over his shoulder, his hands still holding the door.

"Twenty-something goddamn servants in this house, and I have to open the stupid door!"

An indignant feminine voice drifted from somewhere inside, "Watch your language, young man!"

He rolled his eyes towards the person standing in front of the door.

He blinked.

"YOU!"

Akane had the grace to blush. "Uh, is this the Saotome residence?"

He stared at her deadpanned, "No, it's the great Wizard of Oz."

She stared, unsure of how to react without getting her head chopped off.

After an impatient sigh, he moved to close the door, "Click your heels three times and head on home, girlie."

"I would love to, but I'm here to —"

"Why are you here?" He interrupted before narrowing his eyes. "Are you stalking me?"

She snorted unattractively, "Don't flatter yourself."

He opened his mouth to give her a piece of his mind, or whatever he could spare from it, before a middle-aged woman appeared from behind him. Akane found her to be extremely pretty with soft brown hair done in an elegant bun, wearing a white kimono decorated with Sakura petals.

"You must be Akane Tendo, Ranma's new tutor," Nodoka smiled and patted Ranma on the shoulder.

Akane's mouth spread into a sickeningly sweet dimpled grin, "Yes, ma'am."

Ranma fell to the floor.