The School bell rang, what immediately followed were various teenagers scrambling for the school exit at breakneck speeds, the reason for the hurry was the fact that it was Friday and the start of a four day weekend. The gates were opened and the school was emptied, all except one. A straggler back in the hallways bent down to pick up dropped books, ones that got away so that she wouldn't be trampled herself. Quietly collecting her things she left school grounds at a steady pace, but one that did not hold eagerness towards her destination, her home, where pitying sympathetic looks waited, ones of disappointment as well and the ones that hurt her most of all, acceptance. The wind picked up, carrying with it various fallen leaves and a chill not lost on the petite young woman. Clutching her books closer she quickened her pace, mentally commenting on her lack of body heat. Pigtail trailing behind her, Ranma Saotome disappeared into the crowded sidewalks of Nerima Ward.

The School bell Rang

Chapter 1

"I'm home." Ranma called quietly. When no answer came she was surprised; someone was always home, whether it be Kasumi or even Mr. Tendo or her own father. "Hello?" Still no answer. Out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of a piece of paper on the hallway table. It was a note, or rather, a couple of notes. The first was from her father and Mr. Tendo; they went on a 'Training Trip'. Meaning they'd be hitting the local bars and wouldn't be back until late. The second and third were from Akane and Kasumi. Akane would be over at her friend Yuka's house until late and Kasumi went shopping at the not so local market, so she also wouldn't be back until later. "What the heck? Is it ditch Ranma day or something?" She crumpled the papers and tossed them into the trash on her way upstairs.

Ranma made a face at her now hanging uniform, the light blue dress and white blouse 'stared' defiantly back at her, sticking her tongue out at it she grabbed her bath supplies and a robe and was off to the furo for a nice, long, and hopefully undisturbed soak. Exiting the rinse area, Ranma slipped into the steamy hot water of the furo. She made an approving sound, and then leaned her head back on the edge, closing her eyes…

"Why is it so quiet nowadays?" her question echoed lightly around her sparsely occupied room. The redhead in question was lying on her futon still in her robe. She snorted angrily, "Probably because I'm not that much of a 'prize' anymore." Getting up she went over to her closet, opening it revealed it to be full to bursting. Shaking her head. "I wish mom hadn't gone overboard with the clothes shopping, one can only have so many dresses and skirts." Sighing to herself Ranma began to dress wondering what she could do now that she was home alone.

Moments later found Ranma rummaging through the refrigerator; she hadn't taken her lunch that morning because she was in such a hurry. Not finding anything that would soothe her growling stomach she exited the kitchen coming to the sliding glass doors in the dining room. From there Ranma could see the outer walls surrounding the Tendo Compound and also the small pond that held Soun Tendo's prized koi. Noticing the pond reminded her that she hadn't trained in weeks maybe even a month. She hadn't thought it that important after everything that had happened. Although tempted to jump into a training gi and begin at once, one look at her reflection mirrored in the glass was enough to continue on without. Ranma shook her head at the unfairness of it all, unwillingly Nabiki's voice echoed throughout her mind: 'Life's not fair kiddo.' Ignoring her subconscious comment she was once again reminded of her hunger by her loudly complaining stomach, "Oh alright already, I'll go get something to eat." She relented. "I need to get out of the house anyway." Ranma went upstairs and retrieved a sweater along with some gloves.

'I don't have that much in the way of money, maybe I can find something cheap.' Ranma thought this as she idly made her way into the hustle and bustle of Nerima mall shoppers.

She began to rethink her decision of her little venture into the mall when boy after boy would hit on her, couldn't they see she wasn't interested?

'I'll kill him, I swear, I'm just gonna , quickly as possible, just..kill him. It'd be simple enough, I bet no one would even miss the jerk.'

A very persistent young man by the name of Ken Wazhuki for the love of Kami-sama wouldn't take no for an answer. Turn down after turn down he bounced right back, eager to try his hand again. Even if he was nice, Ranma just wasn't interested, and hopefully never would be. She even dressed as plainly as possible just to avoid these types of situations. Jeans , t-shirt , sweater, sneakers, that's it, no ribbon in her hair; make up on her face, none of it, and the only reason she had any kind of jewelery on was because Kasumi thought it would be fun to pierce her ears.

Just as she was about to snap, Ranma was rescued by a bandana clad angel by the name of Ryoga Hibiki.

As if the most natural thing in the world, he strode up and put an arm around her, giving Ranma a slight hug. "Sorry I'm late Hun, thought I'd never get here." Ranma just looked up at him in surprise and confusion, until it clicked of course. DUH. She smiled ; "That's quite alright Ryo-chan." She said sweetly. Ken deflated a bit and backed off into the crowd bidding his farewell.

Ranma gave a sigh of relief, finally he was gone. "Thanks Ryoga, you have great timing." She smiled up at him with gratitude. He laughed. "At least I'm good for something." Ryoga moved away from their small embrace with a guilty look, but trying to hide it with a joking grin. Ranma gave him a stern look. "Stop blaming yourself Ryoga, you tried, it's not your fault." Ryoga looked away. His voice low almost inaudible he said. "But it is my fault, I failed you, the one person who was willing to be my friend." Ranma looked at him for a moment, then suddenly grabbed his hand. "Come on, let's scope this place out." Ranma tugged lightly at the lost boy's arm. "Don't make me drag you." She said sternly but smiling just the same. Ryoga gave in with a light chuckle and a fang toothed grin that was all his own. "So what have you been up to?"