Disclaimer: Ranma and all characters are owned by Rumiko Takahashi. I'm just borrowing them.
Second Disclaimer: This story is not related to "Easier Said Than Done" and stands on its own.
Learning to Change
It was quite possibly the stupidest thing Ryoga had ever done, certainly the most foolhardy. But he had done it, and now there was little else to do except sit in the little park down the road from the Tendo home and await the consequences. Fortunately, the consequences were quick to follow him.
"Ryoga Hibiki! What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Ryoga turned his head towards the furious voice, smiling bemusedly at the sight of Akane Tendo, hands on her hips, red-faced, and wearing her wedding gown, the same one she had worn two years earlier during the first botched wedding. "Akane," he said in mock astonishment, echoing dozens of previous conversations the two had shared over the last three years since he first met her, "what are you doing here in this park?"
"You know exactly what I'm doing here. I'm trying to find out why you felt the need to stand up in the middle of my wedding and announce that you loved me." If looks could kill...well, Ryoga would have died within milliseconds of turning his gaze on the youngest Tendo daughter.
He shrugged, trying to be as nonchalant as possible. "Well, the minister did say that if anyone objected to the union than to speak now or-"
"THAT'S JUST A SAYING, RYOGA! THEY DON'T ACTUALLY MEAN IT!" Akane was trying her very hardest not to take Ryoga's head off, or at the very least not use her subspace hammer to plant a rather large dent in his face.
Ryoga grew serious, "Akane, you're the one who told me that I had to take charge of my life. You're the one who said that I shouldn't blame others for my own failings and I had to start acting on my own accord."
"Well yes, but I didn't mean that you should sabotage my wedding as a result. My god, what were you thinking?"
"I wasn't thinking. I usually don't whenever I behave like this." This was fun, Ryoga decided, following your impulses rather than living in fear of rejection and humiliation.
Groaning in frustration, Akane collapsed onto the park bench, huffing as she sat next to the Lost Boy. "Did you mean it?"
"What? That I love you? Yes."
"Great, just great." She buried her head in her hands, not sure how to deal with any of this anymore. "As if my life wasn't complicated enough."
Ryoga rolled his eyes. "I'm so glad you feel the same way," he said sarcastically.
She turned to face him. "Give me a break, Ryoga. How were you expecting me to reply, like one of those love struck girls in a romance movie? Did you expect me to start crying and leap off the stage into your arms, confessing my own undying love for you?"
He smiled sadly at her. "I wasn't expecting anything, Akane. This was something I should have told you three years ago, and this was probably the last chance I had to tell you."
She scowled. "Well, you picked a hell of a time to do it." She looked away, staring into the distance. "I should be furious with you. I mean, I am furious with you, but I should be even more furious than I am."
"Did you want to marry Ranma?"
"I...I don't know," Akane admitted. "Part of me wanted to marry Ranma just to get our parents off our backs
"Do you love Ranma?"
"I don't know that either. He didn't exactly seem thrilled to be marrying me, either." That was the part that irritated her the most. That Ranma seemed to be acquiescing to his parents' wishes rather than marrying her out of genuine love.
"So now what?" Ryoga asked, sensing that her anger, or at least her irritation towards him was subsiding.
"I honestly don't know," Akane said. "I doubt Ranma and I will be getting married after this. The look of relief on his face after you interrupted everything caused my dad to flip out. Mrs. Saotome's already making noise about honoring the engagement with Ukyo, she said something about it being the 'legitimate one' seeing as how Mr. Tendo stole her dowry."
"That and she doesn't have a horde of guys saying they love her like you do."
"Thanks," Akane said dryly.
"Sorry. So, how about dinner?"
"RYOGA??!! You're unbelievable!" Akane couldn't believe him, first he ruined her wedding and now he was asking her out just an hour later.
"No, I'm hungry. And you probably haven't eaten since breakfast." Ryoga could never understand why so many weddings were held at mid-day and skipped over lunch. "It's the least I can do, seeing as how I ruined your wedding."
He stood up, offering her his hand.
Akane hesitated. If she was honest with herself, she would admit that she didn't really want to marry Ranma, least of all right now as she was about to start college. If she was honest with herself, she would admit that she was famished and the prospect of dinner with Ryoga wasn't the worst thing in the world, even if he had just sabotaged her second wedding attempt.
And, Akane decided, maybe that was the problem. She usually wasn't honest with herself. She was always refusing to acknowledge her own feelings. She had refused to acknowledge her attraction to Ranma for so long that eventually the attraction had died, and she had almost been forced into a loveless marriage. Here she was telling Ryoga to be honest with his own feelings, and she couldn't even be true to hers. Maybe it was time to change.
She took his hand. "I want to go to someplace expensive, really expensive. And you're paying."
"It's the least I can do," Ryoga said as he helped her stand. "Are you going to go in that?"
Akane looked down, realizing that she was still in her wedding dress. "I should probably go change. My family's still at the church so I should be able to run home and put on something more comfortable without getting caught."
She still wasn't sure how she had come to this park with the intention of murdering Ryoga Hibiki and was now leaving with the intention of letting him buy her dinner. "This doesn't mean we're dating or anything, Ryoga. This just means that I am considering letting you eventually take me out at a point in the future when I don't want to kill you for everything you've done today."
He smiled. "That's more than I could have hoped for."
"I'll be back in twenty minutes. Wait right here." She pointed towards the ground in front of her. "I don't want you getting lost on me before I can max out your credit cards tonight."
"I'll wait right here. I won't move an inch," he said dutifully.
Akane rolled her eyes one last time before turning and heading home. She was only heading home to change her clothes, but deep down part of Akane wondered if she wasn't changing herself as well, and if she wasn't changing her self for the better.