THE CHARACTERS USED ARE COPYRIGHTED BY THEIR CREATOR, RUMIKO TAKAHASHI, AND ARE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION AND IN NO WAY REFLECT EITHER THE ORIGINATOR'S THOUGHTS OR IDEAS. IN FACT, SHE WOULD PROBABLY BE UPSET WITH ME IF SHE FOUND OUT WHERE I'M GOING WITH THIS. But you, dear reader… please- read on.

Words in italics are thoughts

Everything Goes Martial Arts

Chapter 2: One finds solutions

A fanfiction by FrictionX42

It was the morning Shampoo and Cologne were to leave. The sun shone brightly on the Nerima district, providing what Mousse took to be a good sign for his plans. Cologne and Shampoo walked to the cab that had come to take them to the Airport so they could return to China. Mousse waved goodbye to Shampoo and Cologne, telling them again that of course he would look after the restaurant, and that they had nothing to worry about. He was very careful not to let slip the fact that he was planning to get rid of the lecherous Saotome once and for all. It was tempting for him to gloat, but it was best if he kept his mouth shut. It seemed the old ghoul had almost caught on at one point, but then she just kept on packing. She seemed tired, as if she had been up the entire night before, working on something. It was lucky he had spent so much of his time convincing others he was nothing to be worried about. He was glad that he had made the old woman think of him as a moron. It meant that she would always underestimate him. He had a sneaking suspicion that Shampoo used the same tactics against people, but he wasn't entirely sure. Oh Shampoo, soon the two of us will be together, and then you'll see what true love really is. He would miss Shampoo, but he had his plan ready and would soon set it into motion. He wouldn't even let her stand in the way. He could focus his thoughts better without her around anyways. Everything rested on his plan…

Ranma woke up groggily the next morning, having had more nightmares the night before about his future with Akane. Awful nightmares. His head still pounded. He was still hungry. His fantasy-nightmares had given him one thought, however. Maybe getting out to do a little training in the wilderness would be a good idea. I need to work on my moves, and with everything that's been going on the last few days; I could use a little trip. Hmm… how to ditch pops, though?

He lurched to his feet and groggily made his way to the bathroom. His head pounded with every step. His vision blurred. Why'd she hit me so hard anyways? He wondered as he stripped. He opened the door to the bath and walked in… only to see a very nude, very angry Akane just getting out of the bath and standing right in front of him! Before he could explain, she exploded on him, as usual. "Ranma, you PERVERT! WHEN GET MY HANDS ON YOU, YOU WON'T LIVE TO REGRET IT!"

Ranma barely sidestepped one of her punches, still slow from the head blow the night before, but was quick as ever on his feet in getting out of the room and back to his room before she got really angry and killed him or something. She's so beautiful when she smiles; He thought to himself, I just wish she'd do it more often. Maybe if she'd give me a chance to explain things before trying to clobber me! Why do I have to feel that way for that stupid tomboy? Ranma knew better than to argue with his feelings, however. He had already tried and failed. It figures the only fight I would lose so badly would be against my own feelings. A training trip was definitely starting to look like a really good idea. It'll give me some time to think, Ranma thought to himself, And right now, I could use as much of that as I can get!

Breakfast that morning was relatively uneventful, mostly due to the fact that Ranma's head still throbbed from Akane's not-so-tender ministrations the day before - that and the fact that she glared at him throughout the whole meal. At least she doesn't seem to remember what I almost said to her last night before I passed out again. Why does she have to be so violent? Who can live like that? Do I want to live like that?

As he pondered these things, his father, noting the far-off look in Ranma's eyes, was busy helping himself to Ranma's breakfast. Ranma was too busy thinking to notice. Akane had also noticed, however, and was beginning to get more than a little worried.

What's going on? Why is Ranma like this? He was acting really strangely last night, but he seemed back to his own pervert self this morning… Maybe he was going to finally tell me- no, that can't be it. He's probably thinking about Shampoo or Ukyo or how he's going to steal more underwear with Happousai or trying to see me naked or something! Just thinking about the night before and the events that had happened this morning was making her angry. She let out a sigh. Will he ever stop being such a pervert? Why does he ridicule me so much?

Ranma's words, ghostlike, floated through her memory. One of the first things he had ever said to her: "And I'm better built, to boot!" The words continued to haunt her to this day. She hated to admit it, but she had secretly enjoyed all the attention she had received as being the prettiest girl at Furinken High School. Then he had shown up and somehow everything became all about Ranma. Her rage built up inside her as she thought about how peaceful her life had been before Ranma, and then subsided as she realized how empty it had also been. She both hated him and loved him for it. As she thought about it, she became more and more confused. She realized she needed to work off some steam, and decided to go to the dojo after breakfast.

"Ranma, do you want to go to the dojo and practice after - " She looked up just in time to see Genma happily finishing Ranma's breakfast, Kasumi giving him a second portion, and Ranma just getting up and walking away, silently and with a very depressed look on his face. What the…what's wrong with him? I didn't hit him that hard. Is he thinking of some new girl he got engaged to over the weekend? He must be! He's always doing this! Why can't he just be honest with himself and choose one and be done with it instead of jerking me-us- around like this? Then she felt guilty, realizing that Ranma wasn't the only one who wasn't being open with his feelings. Maybe I should just-but what if he- there's no way I could… her thoughts were going a million miles an hour, but she realized at last that maybe if he wasn't going to come to her with his feelings then maybe she would have to do so. How could I- where would I even start? I'm pretty sure he cares for me, but what if he just uses it to make fun of me or something? The thought of admitting her true feelings to Ranma terrified her to the very depths of her soul. She quickly finished her breakfast and left the table, looking a little more worried than usual.

Nabiki had returned from her vacation that morning and had missed none of this. She made a mental note to pick up extra film that afternoon: a lot seemed to have happened since she left, and things were going to get even more interesting, she was sure.

Ranma spent the entire day moping around, pondering things. He could be seen meandering about the dojo and the yard, thinking and sighing to himself. The others all wondered what he was doing, but he ceased speaking to anyone. He even kept from fighting with Akane, which came as a surprised to everyone. He avoided everyone, and even Kasumi was unable to pry him out of his mood by her cooking. Everyone was worried, especially Akane. Ranma continued to ignore everyone, seemingly in a world of his own.

-A few days later-

Ukyo awakened curled into a tight ball as she had found herself upon awaking each day since the wedding a week ago. She still hadn't found the courage or the energy to open up the restaurant for business. She had lost all concept of time as she tried to escape her grief. It could be morning or early evening, for all she knew. She had already broken all of the clocks she owned, as well as a good portion of the rest of her furniture, in her anger-stricken madness.

There had been knocks on the door several times, but she had not answered any of them. She didn't want to talk to anyone. She didn't want to bear the embarrassment of having to face what she had done. As she looked down at herself, she saw that she was a wreck. She had barely eaten anything in the last week, unable to think of herself as worthy of even enjoying the tiniest morsel. She hadn't bathed or kept up her appearance at all. She looked awful. Cute fiancée, my ass. She thought. Look at me now. I certainly don't look cute, I look half-dead.

She realized she was in really bad shape, but she didn't know what to do. Maybe I should at least apologize to him. Maybe he's not as angry with me as I think… Stupid Jackass! Of course he's angry with you! You've been in his way this whole time, keeping him from being able to marry Akane when he wanted to and now he hates you! How can he not hate me? "No, he doesn't hate me" she whispered, barely able to speak, her throat contracted and her voice was mostly gone.

"I need to go and… apologize." Her throat tightened and her eyes threatened to let loose another barrage of tears as she realized that she had almost said 'say goodbye.' She realized then that she had done what she never thought she would do: give up. She had been chasing Ranma and Genma for years, first for revenge, later for love. Now all of that was over. She would resign herself to life as 'Ranma's friend.' The title had a bitter feel to it, but it was easier to bear than 'Ranma's cute-but-unwanted fiancee.'

Well, I'd better go and tell him that I won't get in his way any longer…She swung herself up out of bed and steadied herself on the bedside table she had there. "Whoa girl. Don't fall over now. I guess I was in worse shape than I thought. She bathed and dressed very slowly because of her dizziness, but when she finished, she felt a little better. Her clothes were a little loose on her. It was the first time she had been out of bed for two days, and she found that she had lost some weight. "I guess that's what happens when you don't eat anything for a few days," She said "maybe I should make a little something before I go, so I can eat, and maybe a little extra, so I don't show up empty handed. Unlike he and his father always did when they came to my dad's cart all those years ago. The memories plagued her. They took my honor, and now they have reduced me to this, a pitiful excuse for a woman.

It was too much to bear. Tears began to trickle down her cheeks once more, but she stopped them this time, knowing that if she succumbed to her sorrow and cried on her bed, she probably would not get up again. Suddenly she heard a sound from outside her room. There was someone in her house.

Ukyo readied her oversized spatula, fear enveloping her as she realized she was too weak to fight effectively. There was a voice from the hallway just beyond her door. "And her room should be right here." As the door opened, Ukyo let fly with her spatula, hoping that she would at least injure the trespasser.

It hit Ryoga squarely on the head, and nearly drove him to the floor. "OW!" he yelled as he took the blow. "That's not Akane. When she hits me, it feels different. Where's Akane? Ukyo!? What are you doing in Akane's room?" Ukyo dropped her spatula, unable to hold it up any longer. "Ryoga, you idiot, why are you at my restaurant if you're looking for Akane?" "Your restaurant? I-well, you see- I must've… lost my way?" Ryoga looked sheepish. Ukyo found herself smiling at the poor boy's plight, in spite of herself.

"Well, Ryoga, you're in luck. I was just heading over there myself. Why don't you come with me?"

"Really? You really mean it? I mean, if it's not too much trouble." Ryoga is almost cute, in a really pitiful sort of way. Ukyo sighed. "Yeah, come with me and I'll take you right there. Let me cook up a little something before we go, okay?"

Ryoga hastily agreed, and the two began walking. It was early evening, and the sun was just starting to set over the buildings of Nerima. Ukyo quickly made a few okonomiyaki and both teens left the shop. They talked as they walked, some about Ryoga, some about Ukyo, not about Ranma or Akane. Whenever Ryoga tried to steer the conversation that way Ukyo quickly changed the subject.

Ryoga, in his haste to get to the Tendou house, didn't even notice that Ukyo was obviously not in good condition. He barely even noticed when Ukyo stopped mid-sentence and collapsed by the side of the road. He made a quick inspection of her. Oh, no. This is really bad! I gotta get her to a doctor or something, quickly! Or maybe if I can just make it to the Tendou's house… Ryoga picked her up and started running.

"Hmm?" Ranma questioned as he read the little pamphlet that had been placed by his pillow. "Hey Pops, did you leave this here for me?" The panda next to him merely rolled over and went to sleep. "Stupid old man, why don't you ever answer anything I ask you? All you do is just sleep and eat. Oh well, I guess I'll just read the thing."

With that, Ranma sat down and started to read. The flyer was very professional looking, but had no pictures on it, just the print. The Flyer caught Ranma's attention immediately. His eyes widened as he read it.

Are you a martial artist?

Are you looking for a chance to improve yourself? Come to the Martial Arts School Of Everything Goes Martial Arts! We teach hundreds of different styles of martial arts, every aspect of life can be turned into an art. From breathing to bathing, everything here is a martial art! Martial arts cooking, jump rope, figure skating, and even martial arts take-out! We have almost all styles, and we are willing to teach them to those that pass our entrance tests. We have scholarships available to those who score high enough and are willing to help train others. We look forward to seeing you at our school. Please help us keep this training ground secret, and only recommend us or pass this flyer on to extremely serious martial artists.

Sincerely, The Management.

The pamphlet was short and to the point, exactly what Ranma imagined a martial artist's advertising pamphlet would be. The rest of the pamphlet gave detailed instructions, and even provided a map. The training ground was near Lake Biwa.

Hmm… Lake Biwa isn't too far away. It's closer than China, at least. I've never been there, but I figure I could probably get there in a couple days or so. What's with this 'Everything goes martial arts'? Is someone trying to take our name? Or are they somehow related? There are only two families in the world today that practice Anything Goes Martial Arts, if you don't count Natsume and Kurumi, and somebody had better go look into this.

"Hey Pops, what do you think? Did you read this thing?" He was answered by a loud snort and growl as Genma-panda continued to snore. Well, Pop's not gonna be any help. Maybe I should just go alone. Hmm… That's not a bad idea. I was thinking about going on a training journey anyhow, and I might even pick up some good moves while I'm there. At the very least, I'd be prepared for just about anything after this. Maybe for just a few days. Just for a little while, until things get a little less violent around here…

With the image of Akane burning in his mind, Ranma quietly packed, taking only what he needed to get up to Lake Biwa. Late that night, He quietly left the house, not letting anyone know he was going, just leaving a note that said 'Goodbye, I'll be back. Don't follow me.' Silently, he stole into the night.