Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Second Chances ❯ School is a Battle Field ( Chapter 4 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
4 - School is a Battle Field

Ranma sat with Genma in the dining room. The younger Saotome was a little nervous.
"Well, today you'll start school again," Genma said.
"I know. Akane mentioned it when I talked with her last night," Ranma replied.
"It's good to see you two are getting along so well."
"That's sorta what bothers me. What happens when we leave."
"Leave? We're not leaving."
"Eventually we will. When you decide we had enough of this place, or when Mr. Tendo gets upset at you and throws us out."
"Ranma, my boy, this is my retirement. There isn't much more I can teach you. It is now your duty to fulfill your family obligations and marry Akane. Besides, there is nothing I could possibly do that would cause my old friend to throw me out. Even in the unlikely possibility it happens, then you would still remain here."
"Ranma, ready to go to school?" Akane stepped into the room.
Ranma blinked, and blinked again. "Akane?"
"Yes," Akane said. She fingered her hair, her short hair. "Like my new look?"
"Um, yeah." Ranma smiled nervously. "I guess I'm ready to go."
Akane smiled, "Come on then. I'll walk with you there."
Ranma and Akane walked to school. She was a little disappointed Ranma walked on the fence, as she had gotten use to him walking next to her in the months following the failed wedding.
"How come you're walking on the fence?" Akane asked.
"Training to maintain my balance," Ranma replied.
Akane shook her head. She believed he was trying to keep his distance from her. She thought for a while about how to convince him to walk next to her, and failed.
"Let me handle the boys at school. I could use the work out. You can deal with Kuno if you want," Akane said as they neared Furinkan High.
"The dan in kendo? How'll I know who's Kuno?"
"Trust me. You'll know who Kuno is." Akane smirked.
Ranma was surprised Akane wasn't exaggerating about her boy troubles. A quick count of three dozen would be suitors rushed out and attacked her. In just over a minute only Akane was standing.
"They're worse than I remember," Akane mumbled to herself.
Nabiki looked at Akane warily, noticing her new hair cut. Akane had been growing it long to outdo Kasumi, and she just had it cut short. Nabiki added this to her growing list of Akane's unusual behavior, along with the fact that she had just beaten her previous record of suitor stomping by almost a half a minute.
Ranma was impressed. Akane may not be fast, but she was skilled.
"Truly such a boorish lot. Evidently each of them intends to ask you out Akane on the dawn that he finally defeats you," Kuno related.
"Good morning, sempai," Akane greeted dryly.
"And now Tendo Akane, might you fight with me?"
Ranma jumped next to Akane. "You really are popular."
"Didn't believe me?"
"I thought you were exaggerating."
"You there! You are being quite familiar with Akane."
"So?" Ranma returned.
"Kuno-sempai," Akane began. "This is Saotome Ranma. By family honor, he is now my fiance. I respectfully ask that..."
"FIANCE!!!!!" Kuno screamed.
Kuno was immediately run over by a horde of students swarming around Ranma and Akane.
"Fiance?!" "You said you despised men!" "How could you get engaged first!?" "How dare you get engaged to Akane?!"
Ranma, uncomfortable with the attention he was suddenly receiving, tried to escape. He only succeeded to jump out of the crowd as it started to rain.
The various students failed to notice him change to a girl as they ran into the school from the rain.
Akane shook her head, seeing Ranma change form and direction of retreat. She knew Ranma would be late for class. She wasn't surprised to see Genma-panda appear and chase after Ranma with a teakettle.
Ranma and Akane stood in the hall, holding buckets filled with water. Their punishment for being late to class.
"Why do you have to fight them?" Ranma asked.
"Kuno's idea. He vowed to permit no one to date me unless the person has defeated me."
"Guess I got Kuno's permission to date you then," Ranma chuckled. "Um, why did ya come after me? You coulda just went to class."
"I don't know. It just seemed the right thing to do."
"Never, Saotome Ranma! I shall never accept you're engagement to Akane!" Kuno yelled.
Akane rolled her eyes.
"Our parents decided that!" Ranma retorted.
Kuno attacked, and with a mighty swing cut a bucket of water Ranma held into two. Ranma barely dodged the water.
"Stand your ground!" Kuno bellowed.
"This is no place to fight! Follow me!!!" Ranma yelled, running down the hall.
Kuno followed.
"Stop!" Akane yelled, but neither listened. She chased after them. She turned around and ran towards the stairs as she saw Ranma jump out a window. The one over the pool.
"You should look before you leap," Akane greeted evenly.
Ranma was squeezing water out of her pants while sitting in a tree. "Akane? What...?" she uttered.
"You should always find out what you're getting into before you act. If you just looked out the window for a second before jumping, you would have known about the pool."
"I didn't have time to check!"
"Excuses. Just try to remember to know what you're getting into before acting."
Ranma grumbled. "Do ya have some hot water?"
"You mean this?" Akane asked, showing the teakettle she was holding behind her back.
"Yeah, gimme."
Their attention was drawn to a sloshing kind of sound. Akane grinned, remembering what she read in Ranma's journal concerning this moment. Ranma had really liked it that she would defend him despite appearances that she didn't like him. She meant to continue replaying certain events he had liked. "Catch," Akane called, throwing the kettle at Ranma.
Ranma caught it, but was slightly off balance.
"Kuno-sempai! I challenge you!"
"Akane, oh, Akane..." Kuno began. "Never did I dream that you would challenge me! So be it! If you win..."
"Kuno-sempai!" Akane interrupted. "If I win, you will leave me and Ranma alone, and if you win, you'll get a date. Agreed?"
"Oh, how the tigress calls her challenge. I shall indeed accept, full well knowing you shall intentionally lose." Kuno attacked swinging down with his bokken.
Ranma now balanced, poured the hot water on himself.
"Not in this lifetime." Akane caught the bokken in a ninja clap. She rolled onto her back, bringing Kuno with her. She then kicked Kuno into the tree, next to where Ranma was sitting.
"Ah, if it isn't the cowardly Saotome who runs from his fights," Kuno said. "No doubt you fear my prowess."
"Ya wanna fight, Kuno? You got one," Ranma said, angrily. He jumped out of the tree.
Kuno pried himself out of the tree trunk, and landed facing Ranma. "I would fight you, but first I must complete my challenge from Tendo Akane."
"Ranma will take up my challenge as my fiance and champion," Akane said.
"Sure," Ranma said.
"As is thy wish. It will be my honor to vanquish this foe for you!"
The battle lasted less than a minute. When over, Kuno laid on the ground sucking dirt.
"Okay, let's go home," Ranma said to Akane.
Akane shrugged. Ranma couldn't really go back soaked, and it wasn't like she would miss anything she didn't already know.
Kuno continued to lay there in shock. He had lost. He had lost to a challenge that demanded he leave the one he loves alone.
Kuno sloshed back towards class. Passing the pool, he wondered,
Soun sat, looking out the back of his home. He was thinking about everything and nothing.
Ranma sat down next to him. "So, you're an old friend of Pop's."
"Yes. We trained in martial arts together. Ah, what glorious adventure we had."
"How well do ya know Pop?"
"Like if he was a brother. Actually, I know him better than my brother."
"Do you really?"
"Of course."
"Do ya know of his... bad habits?"
"I know he is far from a perfect person. But we have been through much together. Not only do I respect him, but I also owe him my life."
"He saved your life?"
"In a manner of speaking. We both had a mutual problem, from which he came up with a novel solution to deal with." Soun looked at Ranma. "Why do you ask me about your father?"
"It's just that I've lived my life on the road. I've never lived at a place for longer than six months, but I'm being told now that I'll be here for two years if not for the rest of my life."
"Are you not weary of your long travels?"
"I am, but I wonder for how long? Can I really just settle down after living life the way I have?"
"Ranma, this is now your home. Undoubtedly, you will occasionally wonder on training trips as I have in the past. Unlike before, you will have a place to come back to when you're done. Besides, Akane would likely want to accompany you on those trips. This place is your home now, and you'll never have to leave it."
Genma walked into the room. "It is time for more training, boy."
Akane sat at her desk, wanting Nabiki to leave so she could read more from Ranma's journal. Nabiki was exercising, and wanted to use the opportunity to talk with her sister.
"So, which form do you prefer?" Nabiki asked.
"What?" Akane asked, confused.
"Do you prefer Ranma as a guy or as a girl."
Akane's head smacked her desk when she face-faulted. "As a guy, of course. Why do you ask?"
Nabiki looked closely at Akane, if this was her sister, she didn't lie. "I was just wondering. Last Saturday you arrived at school screaming your battle cry of 'I hate boys.' Yesterday, you get put into an arranged marriage with a guy you don't know and you're happy about it. It doesn't make since unless it's because you're a lesbian, and that you could hide it with him because of his curse."
"I am not!" Akane screamed. "Can I help it if I'm attracted to someone who just happens to turn into a girl? I'd like it better if he wasn't cursed, but it could be worse. Is it really that bad if he's a she at times?"
"Not really, but it just seems odd. You haven't been acting like yourself since yesterday."
Akane knew this question would likely come up, and had planned her reply. "Well, two days ago, I made a wish to meet my true love. The next day, surprise here's a fiance. I didn't think wishing on a shooting star would work, but it was too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. So, I've decided to give it a chance."
"You should remember to be careful what you wish for. It often becomes twisted to whatever joke Kami-sama wants to play with you."
"I hope not," Akane whispered.
Ranma stood outside Akane's door. He heard them talk about him. He was shocked at Nabiki's accusations Akane might prefer him to be a girl, but the incident in the bathing room dispelled that idea along with Akane's denial. He was a little unnerved that he seemed to fulfill Akane's wish. But, if she was willing to give it a chance, why can't he?
Ranma knocked on the door.
"Come in."
"Hi," Ranma said nervously as he entered. "I just wanna say thanks for helpin' me at school today, and I was wondering if you... wanna... go out Saturday?"
Akane blinked. She stammered, "S-sure. I'd love to." She didn't know what to make of it, she never had an official date with Ranma before. Here he was now, only knowing her for two days, asking her out.
"Great. Um, I guess I'll let you two go back to whatever you were doin'."
Akane looked down at her desk. She was worried.
Nabiki waved her hand in Akane's face. "Hey, what's wrong? I thought you'd be happy to have a date with him."
Akane looked at Nabiki nervously. "I-it's just that... well... I am happy... but I guess it just hit me... that I really might marry him." Akane sighed. "I'm only ei... er, sixteen... and I'm engaged. It's just a little scary, having a look into your future, unsure if you'll like the outcome. I hope things work out great. Possibly being able to marry not just for honor, but for love. I just got a little scared when I realized we might get married, and not be in love."
"That is a risk you're going to have to take in any marriage. Arranged or not."
Ranma smiled as he leaned against the Akane's door. He didn't really smile because she accepted to go on a date with him. He was smiling as he had listened in again, hearing that Akane now realized what being engaged really meant.
Ranma left, deciding to go outside and stare into the night's sky to sort out his thoughts.
Akane sat in bed, reading Ranma's journal. She had read a couple weeks of entries starting from when he arrived. She read one paragraph. Not believing it, she read it again. She dropped the journal in shock.
Ranma was laying on the roof, watching the night sky. He was shocked and his senses became alert as he heard Akane scream, "I'LL KILL HIM!!!" He didn't who 'him' was, or what brought on the outburst.