Ranma Saotome, Heir to the Saotome Style School of 'Anything Goes' Martial Arts, stood on the rooftop of the Tendo Dojo and was looking out over the horizon. It'd been two months now since he had gotten back from China after the fight with Saffron and now Ranma was restless. He had gone through the fight countless of times since he had gotten back, even at the last wedding attempt that the household had thrown at him an Akane.
"Ranma!" It was Akane's voice calling out for him, yet he didn't respond right away, waiting until she was in view, she was on the ladder behind him. "Ranma!" she shouted again just as she peered her head over the rooftop. "Oh, there you are. Supper's almost ready. You coming?"
"Yeah. Gimme a few." Ranma turned to look at Akane with a half smile.
His main fiancée tilted her head off to the side before giving her entire body a shake, as if trying to snap out of something. "Don't be to late."
"Me? Late for food? Hah." the half smile turned to a grin before he turned away, the forced grin slipping from his face almost instantly.
They were both silent for a moment before Akane nodded ever so slightly before she slipped back down the ladder, walking quietly back to the main part of the household. She stopped just at the enterance, looking back towards the roof where Ranma stood, words almost coming to her lips before falling away, turning around and walking to where everyone else was.
"Sorry, 'Kane." Ranma said to himself as he continued to look at the setting sun, the battle with Saffron raging through his mind once more. A shake of his head and he hopped off the roof, landing on the walkway and walking back towards the main building where supper was waiting, the aroma of Kasumi's cooking wafting about the area.
It took only minutes for everyone to be seated around the table, everyone was eating quietly like they had been for the past couple of weeks. Not long after the wedding attempt, Ranma had put his foot down about all the chaos in the household and he wasn't putting up with it anymore. Pops of course still tried to here and there steal Ranma's food but that was nothing really all that big, sometimes it even took his mind off of Saffron and the weird things he'd been feeling since a couple days after they had gotten back. Even Akane's cooking had gotten better with more time to spend on it and not delaying with random interruptions from Shampoo crashing in, followed by Mousse or even poor Ryoga trying to attack Ranma for something he had done.
Ranma suddenly looked over at Akane, setting down his chopsticks as he did, though before he could say something Nabiki spoke up.
"What's wrong Saotome, you always finish your food." Nabiki just glanced over at Ranma.
"Jus' got a lot on my mind is all, Nabs." Ranma shrugged absently.
"Right." Nabiki just shook her head and went back to her meal.
"Anyway." Ranma spoke with a sigh and looked at Akane, "Can I talk to you in the dojo?"
It was then that everyone stopped eatting and turned to look at the two of them.
"Uhh...sure?" Akane was confused herself but nodded and looked at Ranma as they both got up, leaving the rest to eat.
Both Soun and Genma looked at each other as their children left the room, tears coming to Soun's eyes and a grin coming to Genma's lips. "Things are working out after all, 'eh Tendo?"
"Exactly Saotome." Soun responded in kind. "Oh my Akane's growing up right in front of my eyes." Tears welled up further as he smiled.
Nodoka and Kasumi each exchanged glances and nodded. "How wonderful." was all the eldest Tendo girl said.
Nabiki just rolled her eyes.
Ranma stood at one end up the dojo while Akane watched from the center of the room. She knew there was something eating at him, there had been for weeks, almost the full two months even. Yet she didn't know what to do to make it better for Ranma, he was hurting over something and she just couldn't seem to do a damn thing. Suddenly Ranma twirled and looked at her, opening his mouth and then closing it a few times before hanging his head to look at his hands. She looked to his hands as well, watching him clench and unclench his hands into fists over and over again.
"Look. Akane. U-u-uhm..." Ranma's usual eloquence spoke volumes and Akane crossed her arms waiting for him to at least try and get to the point. "...yeah. Uhm. Akane? I'm sorry." Ranma looked up and continued before she could ask. "I've been a fool..." he trailed off suddenly as Akane giggled.
"There's nothing wrong or new with that Ranma." Akane walked closer and looked up at him slightly. "Baka." she tapped his forehead a couple of times and smiled a little, a blush creeping to her face.
"I'm serious this time." Ranma half smiled himself, blushing a bit as well before taking a step around Akane and looking around the Dojo, still making and unmaking a fist with both his hands. "I should'a done this a long time back." He paused again and sighed. "Wish I had some water, this is easier as a girl..."
The youngest Tendo watched Ranma walk around and shook her head slightly. "Just get on with it Ranma, no need to take all night." she let loose a low sigh and tapped her foot impatiently.
"Right, yeah, anyway..." Ranma let loose a long breath and swallowed almost nervously. "It's, well..." again he trailed off, stopping his pacing and then looking square at Akane. "Saffron." he said simply after a moment.
"...Oh." Akane said, suddenly subdued as she herself thought about it. Kidnapped, nearly killed, some nights she still had nightmares about the whole ordeal. "I'd rather not talk about that, ever, Ranma." She turned to walk away and back to the main building, suddenly very tired.
"Wait, Akane." He dropped his hand down on her shoulder. "It's not like that." He spun her around to face him. "What I'm trying to say is...well, I should've done this a long time ago and what happened is proof of that." He placed his other hand on her shoulder and looked her square in the eye. "I think it's about time I start trainin' ya." He watched as Akane's eyes widened in shock. "Though, I ain't gonna be trainin' ya in hand-ta-hand."
That last comment made Akane narrow her eyes and glare up at Ranma. "What's that supposed to mean? I'm not good enough to train like that?" Her battle aura flaring as she jumped to a conclusion to quickly once again.
"Wait, wait, wait." The black haired teen backed up suddenly. "I mean it'll be better if ya train with weapons." He suddenly pointed to the mallet that had appeared in her hands as she was about to thrash him. Suitably, his financée stopped and stared a the weapon in her hands. "Look, don't take this the wrong way but let's go over a couple of things. Normally ya wouldn't be able to hit me even if I was the broad side of a barn." Ranma held up a hand to forestall being beaten around the Dojo with the mallet and went on. "Yet whenever ya have that mallet of yours I get beaten through walls even when I'm trying to dodge the same amount."
"That...actually makes sense you know." Akane thought about that for a moment and hefted the mallet in her hands a bit more, spinning it a couple of times.
"Of course it makes sense. I came up with the idea after all." A cocky grin plastered itself on Ranma's face only for a second before the mallet smashed him face first into the ground as if to prove his point. "S-s-see...?"
"Hmph." Akane looked down at him, watching Ranma's foot twitch before she stalked back to the enterance. "I've got some things I need to grab tomorrow then. Sunday is when we'll start."
Ranma nodded as he sat up. "Sure thing Akane. I need to go see the Old Ghoul about something too. I'll see you in the morning, gonna do a few things before I goto bed." He just watched as Akane left the room, closing his eyes as he felt that she was gone. "Never again." he finally muttered.
For the first time in a while Ranma decided to sit down and meditate, his mind still going over the fight with Saffron. Sure the Phoenix God could've been physically pummeled but the healing rate was astounding. Nothing worked. I couldn't do anything to save Akane and it wasnt until she fell through the fire and I thought that she was going to die that I could do something. How did I do that? The staff couldn't have been the only part I can still feel the energy. Dammit Saffron you stupid bastard...
Ranma's thoughts suddenly started to fade away, not thinking of anything as he suddenly started to relax. Letting his own Ki surface and wash over him as he finally started to meditate in earnest. The other power was surfacing and he could feel it intermigle with his Ki. There was something vaguely familiar about it, the feeling was stronger than the Chinese artifacts that Cologne had sometimes employed to get Ranma to marry Shampoo. What was this new sensation that somehow felt very old? So familiar and so right?
A single thought caressed it's way across Ranma's consiousness as he fell into a deeper meditation.