Ranma awoke with a start in the dark room. He groaned at the taste in his mouth and rubbed his hand through his hair, still uncoiled from its braid. Stretching his arms to the ceiling, he popped his neck and sighed contentedly. "What're you doin' up?" Akane mumbled next to him. Ranma smiled down at her and ruffled her short hair. The bruises on her face were an ugly greenish-purple color, and her lip looked terrible, but she was healing.

"Nothin'," he lay back down and tucked her against him, "let's go back to sleep." Akane smiled and snuggled against him, closing her eyes. They lay like that for a while, until a knock disrupted them.

"I'll get it," Akane said softly; he tried to go himself, but Akane pushed him back down, "you're just in those shorts, don't worry." He smiled and watched her leave, enjoying the way her gi pants hugged her firm bottom.

Ranma was glad that they hadn't done anything last night, no matter how much his crotch screamed that he was insane for saying no. Deep down, he knew that they had been right to stop – that was too much, too fast. They needed to cool their heels a bit, fall into the relationship naturally.

Ranma lay back down, putting his arms behind his head and smiling as he heard the front door unlock. Besides, just sleeping next to her, waking up in her bed, had been enough for now. There would be all the time in the world for other indulgences.

"Can I help you?" Akane asked. There was a quietly murmured response. "I'm sorry, what's your name?" she sounded a bit miffed. Ranma frowned and threw off the blanket, standing up in the dim room.

"Yamato Arai, and you've destroyed my family." The reply sent Ranma into action. He dashed out of the room and ran, full-bore, towards the front door. Akane was standing there, just starting to take a step back. Yamato, looking like he hadn't slept all night, was just raising his arm up, something black and metallic just glimpsed in his grip. Ranma saw the crazy look in the man's eyes even before he registered the sound of a hammer being cocked back.

Akane's body started to reflexively fall to the floor to avoid the gun's blast, it went off, and Yamato's eyes rolled up in his head. And then Ranma realized that Yamato's gun hadn't gone off, someone else's had. Reaching Akane, he gathered her up and stepped quickly away as the older yakuza fell to the ground in heap of expensive cloths and blood, the back part of his head caved in front impact. Akane was breathing fast and shaking, and both of them were staring at the figure behind Yamato, gun smoking.

Kentaro Miike seemed just as surprised as them. His mouth worked as he tried to form the words to explain whatever had just happened.

Ranma whooped and threw a fist into the air, making both Akane and Kentaro jump. "Fuck man, nice fuckin' timing!"

"Ranma!" a familiar smack.



FINAL TOUGHTS: HOLY CRAP IT'S DONE. I feel like my life has been nothing but this fanfiction for the last four days. Over time, I'm going to edit this fic so that it feels more "complete," but right now I need a break from Ranma and Akane and their damn antics.

The history of this fic starts a few years ago, when I started a story called Shadows on Bedrock. It was told entirely through first-person, Ranma narrating, and was very difficult to write. I gave up on it after a while, but the idea of Ranma as an adult never left my thoughts. Eventually, I just had to write it all out of my head. This story was not made up as I went along; the reason I was able to write it so fast is because it's been sitting at the back of my head for almost four years.

I'm really proud of myself for finishing it, and I feel pretty good about it.

For those of you who were hoping for a LEMON to crop up somewhere in there, I honestly had one all written out, and then I scrapped it. I think that sex scenes are a perfectly legitimate thing to have in a story, but somehow it just seemed sort of redundant. Of course they're going to end up together – they don't need to screw.

And anyone who feels that Ranma is overly-emotional in this fic, I agree with you. I'm trying to write someone, however, who is no longer a teenager, but an adult. I wanted Ranma to be more that a two-dimensional jock/shy-guy stereotype. I feel like, if he was separated from Akane for a few years and feeling depressed about it, he might get a little emotional. Then again, maybe he'd get angry and bitter – there's no telling, really, so I went with what I thought about a few years ago.

And now, for your edification, here are, in no particular order, some terms and references that you might have stumbled over when reading:

Shoji: sliding screens in traditional Japanese architecture made of wooden frames with [traditionally] rice paper pressed in between the frames

Fusuma: another sliding door, except solid; the fusuma is usually used to separate rooms, opened when people want to connect to rooms

Hashi: Chopsticks

Futon: flat bed on the floor; beloved of traditional Japanese homes and college students everywhere

Nerima: The birthplace of anime in Japan, and the setting for many manga and anime; it is one of the 23 "special wards" in Tokyo

Kita: Another "special ward;" slightly more metropolitan than Nerima

Osaka: A densely-populated city

Kyoto: A more traditional Japanese city; less densely-packed than other cities, and with a more conservative-leaning populace

Street Warrior/Raiyu/Wen Feng/Jun-Li/Dangerous Target: All thinly-veiled references to the game/1994 movie Street Fighter, and two of its characters, Ryu and Chun-Li. Wen Feng is the actual name of Byron Mann, the actor who played Ryu in the original film. Dangerous Target is a reference to Deadly Target, a movie Byron Mann was in, that I haven't seen.

Cell Phones: I'm aware you know what these are, but for anyone who was confused as to why people had them in the nineties [like, if you were born in said nineties], these babies have been around since the 70's, but weren't super-popular until the mid-nineties.

Sakaume-gumi/Designated "gangs": The Sakaume-gumi is an actual yakuza gang based out of Osaka, and yes, they really are considered "designated." I'm not too clear on the political implications of this, but the basic idea is supposed to be that since the Sakaume-gumi and other designated gangs aren't killing and extorting people, the police leave them alone in favor of taking out the bigger fish. I like to imagine they'd be pretty pissed if someone was imitating them and besmirching their "good" name.

Kaibutsu: Aw, poor little puppy! His name means "monster," and he shares said name with my little Plecostomus [sucker-fish], though they are nothing alike. Kaibutsu is based off of Shiro-Kuro, Ryouga's family's dog.

Aú/Arrastao/Capoeira/Graduado: All real things. The aú is actually a cartwheel-like motion that is frequently used in Capoeira to keep your opponent off-guard. The arrastao is a leg sweep using both of the legs; you can probably find videos of it somewhere; it is also a move using the hands, to pull the opponent's legs out from under them. Capoeira is as it was described in the fic; an African-Brazilian martial art used by slaves, disguised as a dance; it is totally cool to watch. Graduado is the word for someone just above an aluno in Capoeira or student. A master is a "mestre."

Front ball kick/Hammer fist/Front scoop kick/Sword hand: All attacks from Kenpo, Ranma's preferred martial art [The School of Anything Goes or "Masubetsu Kakutou-Ryuu" is just the name for their particular school and style of Kenpo]. Front ball is kicking with the ball of the foot; hammer fist is striking with the outside of the little finger [almost like a direct punch]; front scoop kick is sort of like it sounds: you kick into your opponent's groin and up, grabbing their groin with the front of your foot and dragging them toward you; a sword hand is basically a "karate chop"

Boxing someone's ears: Is really painful, don't do it.

Kiai/Sai!: A kiai [pronounced like "key-eye-ee"] is a battle cry, meant to startle weaker opponents, or get you amped up for a fight; "SAI" is an obscure reference to Diablo 2 [no, I'm not kidding], and is the sound the Assassin makes when she attacks… I really, really like video games?

Tetrodotoxin: Hell yeah it's a real thing, just ask my microbiology major friend [actually, don't, he'd be weirded out if a stranger came up and asked him about it.] It's a poison found in quite a few animals, most notably the blue-ringed octopus and the fugu [puffer] fish. It's a neurotoxin, and it only takes about 25mg to kill someone Ranma's size. Yes, some doctors do use it to treat pain and things like heroin addiction. And yes, you could totally put it on a mochi and the poisoned person wouldn't even taste it – and if anyone did do that, they'd be a truly insidious bastard because tetrodotoxin poisoning is a horrendously painful way to die.

Asukayama Park: Totally a real park in Kita. It's big, full of over 1200 cherry trees of 20 different varieties. That little playground where the fight scene with Takahiro takes place is real; there are panoramic views of it on the internet.

Further Explanations:

The Ending: I'm aware there seems to be some loose ends, but I thought a whole bunch of scenes of Master Gyaru getting better, Souun letting Ranma back into the Tendou home, et cetera, would be tedious and boring. I wanted to end the story like a classic Ranma ½ episode, because, hey, they usually ended kinda surprising and goofily.

Where's Ukyou?: Pfft, I dunno. I don't like writing for her, and she always seemed like the most likely fiancée to stop being friends with Ranma when he "picked" Akane; I figured if his mom stepped in, she'd go away quietly and never come back out of fear of, you know, getting stabbed or something. I don't know! I just always thought she was a boring character to write for.

Why all from Ranma's POV?: Because Rumiko Takahashi has said so herself that Ranma ½ was going to be her first venture into writing for a male main character; I wanted to keep with the spirit of the Ranma ½ series, which is technically about Ranma, no matter what Tatewaki Kunou thinks.