I WISH I COULD TELL YOU THAT I OWNED THE RIGHTS TO USE ALL OF THESE CHARACTERS AND WHATNOT, BUT I DON'T. THE LAWYERS AND THE WEASELS WOULD BOTH TRY TO GET ME AND TO BE HONEST I DON'T KNOW WHICH GROUP I'M MORE SCARED OF. PROBABLY THE LAWYERS. WEASELS TEND TO LEAVE A LITTLE OF YOU BEHIND WHEN THEY'RE FINISHED. OK. THAT WAS OFF TOPIC. UMM, ALL THIS STUFF BELONGS TO RUMIKO TAKAHASHI AND I'M JUST MAKING STUFF UP INVOLVING HER CHARACTERS. ANY MONEY YOU THINK THIS IS WORTH (AND YOU'D SURPRISE ME IF YOU THOUGHT THIS WAS THAT GOOD) SHOULD GO TO HER. BUY RANMA STUFF WITH THE MONEY! MAYBE IF WE ALL BOUGHT RANMA STUFF, SHE'D FINISH OFF THE SERIES OR SOMETHING...

Ukyo and Akane

chapter 4: the Truth

"Hard Dragon Rough Tiger elements, we have a situation. Ryoga's gone again, but he has Sayuki with him so make it good and believable when you find them and bring them back here!" Hiroshi shouted over a megaphone, addressing a crowd of people that Ukyo and Akane again recognized from school. There was a horrified simultaneous gasp from the audience as the Akane charged out the door with murder in her eyes. Even her anger couldn't stand up against the shock of seeing about sixty of her classmates staring at her. Oblivious, Hiroshi continued,

"What are you doing? Get going, find them! Wha-Oh." Daisuke had noticed Akane and Ukyo at the door and had tugged on Hiroshi's shirt, finally drawing his attention to what the crowd had already seen. In a flash, the crowd dispersed, leaving the four alone in front of the restaurant. The two girls could do nothing but stare and blink, so complete was their confusion. The boys looked back at them sheepishly. Daisuke was the first to speak.

"So, uh, we're pretty close to finding-" Akane cut him off, growling menacingly.

"You better tell us what's going on RIGHT NOW or I'm gonna get mad!"

Both boys blanched at her fury. They looked at each other and gulped. Daisuke contemplated what could happen if he didn't come clean and his mind raced through the stories that Ranma had told him. He decided that none of the likely scenarios were good for his health. As he and Hiroshi met eyes, he could tell that they had come to the same conclusion. They both sighed, and Hiroshi finally spoke.

"All right Akane, you win. We were so exited that we could take you two out for a fun time that we didn't want anything to go wrong. So we asked Na- some people for help. We ended up getting a lot of help from a lot of people, actually. Most everyone at school owed-was worried sick about you guys for the last couple months, so we all decided to do everything we could to help you guys out." He threw his best smile on his face and shut his eyes as tight as they could go in hopes that perhaps if he didn't see it coming it wouldn't hurt so much. Daisuke had shut his eyes in expectation of mayhem when Hiroshi had started to speak.

Looking at the two boys shutting their eyes as if their worlds were about to end, Ukyo and Akane could do nothing as they doubled over in laughter.

A scream from a nearby alleyway caught their attention, and before the boys could even straighten up, Akane and Ukyo were already moving.

The scene they met when they rounded the corner was one of chaos. Ukyo was the first to see what was happening, but her view wasn't very good since she had to dodge a teenaged boy wearing biker leathers as he was flying through the air. She ducked under him and he finished his impromptu attempt at airborne acrobatics by landing on his face in the street. As Akane came around the corner and Ukyo straightened up, they saw was was causing the commotion; Ryoga was fending off almost a dozen attackers while Sayuki cringed behind him!

Akane was shocked. Some of the moves Ryoga's using are- Ranma's!

Ukyo was about to throw herself into the fray when Daisuke yelled from behind them, "Abort! Abort!"

The battle before them immediately ground to a halt, all of the combatants stopping as several of the teenage delinquents winced and pressed their hands to their ears. Those that did shot very dirty looks at a flustered Daisuke standing behind Ukyo and Akane.

Ryoga didn't waste the opportunity to get Sayuki out of harm's way. He swept her up in his arms and with a great leap landed with the rest of the group. He tried to put Sayuki down between Ukyo and Akane, but she clung tightly to him. Now that the fight had stopped, Ryoga suddenly realized how close he was to a very attractive girl. He glanced down at her face buried in his chest and blinked in confusion.

Akane growled and prepared to make the group of would-be muggers into pancakes. Makes about a dozen... She thought with a wry grin. She was stopped by yet another outburst.

"Wait!" Daisuke cried. "That's the Kendo club!"

"What?" Akane wheeled around, fury once again igniting her features.

Daisuke flinched again and put up his hands in a feeble attempt at protecting himself. Hiroshi let out a sigh and glanced at Ukyo, then at the Kendo club. "Let's go in," he said, "I'll explain everything in detail over dinner."

Hiroshi made good on his promise over dinner. The boys had been so excited to get a date with the two girls that they'd done what nobody in their right mind would ever do – they went to Nabiki for help. She'd helped them to plan, she'd set up most of the date's events, and even provided a great deal of help (in the form of a number of people who owed her favors) to ensure that the evening went smoothly. The boys were now in debt up to their eyeballs, but they had felt that it would be worth it for the chance to impress two of the prettiest martial artists around. There were teams of helpers set up in both date locations, and the hand-held radios were a way to direct those teams to where they were needed. As for the 'mugging' attempt outside, the Kendo club was doing their best to make it seem like a random attack and chase Ryoga and Sayuki out to the front of the restaraunt. They hadn't counted on Ryoga's fighting skills.

After that, the meal went quite well, except for a few odd glances that Akane shot Ryoga's way. He noticed after a while and began to get nervous. After a few minutes, he tried to excuse himself to the restroom. Hiroshi motioned for one of the 'assistants' to escort him there and back.

"I'll go with him," Akane quickly voiced. "I want him to come back to the table, after all." Noting a slight glare from Sayuki, Akane added, "There's something I want to ask him about, too."

Ryoga just gulped and rose from his seat. "I uh, what can I do for you, Akane?" he was quite obviously nervous, and kept looking from Akane to Sayuki, almost as though he was seeking asylum.

Akane decided not to beat around the bush any longer. "You can tell me where you learned some of those moves. You didn't know them last time I saw you fight, and there's only one person I know that used them. Actually, forget explaining where you learned the techniques from – Where's Ranma?"