Akane walked quietly over to join her family after the match.

"Nice try sweetie!" Her oldest sister Kasumi said, smiling encouragingly.

"Nice try, But I still lost money betting on her," grumbled her other sister Nabiki.

Akane smiled a bit to herself. It was Nabiki's unique way of being supportive, letting her know she hadn't bet against her in the match.

"What happened out there?" Soun Tendo asked his daughter, concern showing on his face a small tear trickling down his cheek.

"I don't know dad," Akane answered, sheepishly. "She just charged like a mad boar or something and it caught me off guard. I really didn't expect it."

"Kagura can be like that." Haru said from behind them, making both jump out of their skin.

"Oh! You're one of the Sohmas right?" Akane asked once she recovered from the start, as Soun beat himself in the chest in the background; as if trying to restart a stopped heart.

"Name's Hatsuharu, and yes I am a Sohma. I would like it if you could apologize to Yuki for what you said about him Miss Tendo. He would never show it but it bothers him a lot to hear things like that."

"Oh no, he heard that? I am so embarrassed." she said, a deep red stain creeping up her cheeks. "I was just so mad at Ranma I guess I didn't think about what I was saying. I really didn't mean to sound as if I were putting Yuki down or anything. Of course I will apologize, right after the match." She finished with a decisive nod.

"It would mean a lot to him, thank you." Haru replied, bowing politely before turning to leave.

"Akane what's wrong what did this guy do to you? Are you blushing?" Ryouga said rushing in to rescue her from 'lack of personal space boy'.

"It's all right Ryouga, he just let me know I said some unkind things to Yuki earlier and I need to make up for it." She answered.

"I know!" Kasumi said suddenly. "Why don't we invite the Sohmas to the house later for dinner, I am sure after traveling here they had planned on eating at a restaurant, but they can eat for free at our place. Besides, I have a few recipes I wanted to try for banquet style dining anyway."

"That's a great idea, thanks sis." Akane said smiling brightly.

As Ranma and Yuki got ready to fight Akane yelled out: "Go Ranma! Kick his butt!" In answer to which Haru made a noncommittal lowing noise.

Back on the mats Yuki and Ranma bowed to each other then fell into fighting stances, sizing up the opposition.

From ringside a cheer "Y-U-K-I we love Yuki ll-ll-lllove ll-ll-lll-love Yuki Yuki yay…" could be heard.

Yuki rolled his eyes in frustration and embarrassment. Ranma saw it as his opportunity to attack. He came in with a high flying kick that fell short when his face met with Yuki's amazingly fast counter kick.

"Wow you are really quick." Ranma said rubbing his jaw as he planned his next move.

"Thank you but fast reflexes are innate; they are nothing I can really take credit for." Yuki said flatly.

"Well you should have let me finish," Ranma replied. "As I was saying you are fast, but not near fast enough." With that he launched an unbelievable flurry of punches using the Kachu Tenshin Amagurikentechnique and within moments the fight was over. "He's pretty good." Ranma said dusting his hands together after Yuki hit the mat; "he actually blocked some of those hits."

There is a strained silence as the speed at which Yuki lost the match sank into the crowd, followed by a loud "YES!!" from Kyou. Who immediately looked embarrassed and mumbled something about 'At least now I know he can be beaten'.

"That's pretty lame carrot top, even for you. Aren't you guys on the same team?"

Uo asked in her typical 'charming' manner.

"Shut up!" Kyou snapped.

"And besides you haven't had your match yet so maybe you should shut it until after that. You could still get your ass kicked too you know." Uo added, teasing.

"I Will Not!" Kyou yelled his face turning red in anger.

"You won't what?" Asked Tohru as she and Hana arrived within earshot after giving their condolences on the match to Yuki.

"Never mind" grumbled Kyou looking away, a slight smile tugging at the corner of his lips at the site before him.

"Oh Yuki allow me to assist you in your time of need, whatever it takes to cheer my dear brother after his first real defeat, did I say defeat I meant minor setback." Ayame was rattling on as he helped a still-reeling Yuki from the ring, expertly deflecting the few members of the fan club that tried to approach their prince. Kazuma stepped in when one especially persistent girl tried to force her way between the brothers, risking a transformation of one or both of them. "Now young lady I don't know who you think you are, but this area is for members of my dojo and you are not one of my students so I am asking you to please leave." He stated calmly the look on his face enough to stop any sane person in their tracks.

"I am the rising star of martial arts gymnastics. In my school people know me as the Black Rose, Kodachi Kuno and I have a challenge for Yuki Sohma." Kodachi stated drawing herself up to her full height, which was quite a bit shorter than Kazuma's. (I said any sane person)

"Black rose, a fine name. It doesn't suit you at all." An eerily quiet monotonous voice stated as a young girl dressed all in black seemed to mysteriously appear behind kodachi. "None of the male Sohmas will fight a woman, for they are true gentlemen. Your challenge is senseless; unless, of course you wish to reissue it to Kagura-san." She spoke quietly but somehow was heard perfectly in the noisy and crowded surroundings.

"And who are you?" kodachi asked whirling around to look at this new annoyance. She took in the long wavy black hair black lace gothic style clothes and deep almost pitch black eyes. "And I suppose you think Black Rose is a name more suited to you?" She asked with a sneer.

"No, my own name is good enough. I don't need pretentious trappings, nor to try to feel superior to others. My name is Saki Hanajima and I do not like the feel of your waves at all. Leave now." With the last words the air around the goth-dressed girl seemed to grow dense and a very uncomfortable feeling crawled both over and under the skin of the black rose. She decided it might just be a bad idea to hang around much longer.

//Exit kodachi stage left.//