By this time, Ranma had finally limped his way back to school from halfway across town, muttering complaints the whole time. "Stupid tomboy… didn' even gimme a chance ta explain… Macho chick… how uncute… "
He made it back to Ms. Hinako's class and when he threw open the door, all heads turned to look at him. Grumpily he slumped into his seat as his classmates broke out in gossiping whispers. Ranma turned to see how his fiancé seemed to be acting now, but her desk was empty. He looked around, trying to find her when one of the boys sitting next to him asked in a not-so-quiet whisper, "Is it true?"
Ranma gave him a confused look.
Hiroshi leaned over next. "Are you okay?"
Ranma still had no idea what was going on, and it was apparent from the expression on his face.
Hiroshi groaned. "Did you not hear it all?"
Ranma blinked at him. "All what?!" He snapped in frustration. "In case ya didn' notice, I was kinda flyin' through the air after bein' smacked by a giant mallet."
Sayuri turned around to look at the boys. "Akane called off the engagement."
"She wha- "His look of confusion hardened to one of anger. "That isn't funny."
Hiroshi gave his friend a sympathetic grimace. "She's not joking."
Ranma's insides twisted painfully in an unfamiliar way. His chest felt tight and his ears began to ring as the words sank in. She called off the engagement…? Ranma stood so abruptly his chair toppled behind him.
Ms. Hinako had managed to ignore most of the disruption, lost in her own world as she so often was, but this blatant, and startling, outburst had to be dealt with. "Mr. Saotome!" She called, hands on her hips, trying to appear imposing but it was hard when she was in her child-like form. "Where do you think you're going?"
Ranma ignored her, filled with a burning need to talk to Akane right now. He started hopping across desks, aiming for the row of windows.
"Happo Fifty-Yen Satsu!" Ms. Hinako cried, hold a fifty-yen piece between her fingers, instantly draining Ranma's ki and Ranma fell to the floor before the windows in a twitching heap.
His energy was so drained, the only thing he could manage was a strangled, "A…ka…ne…."
The students continued their whispers until the fully grown Ms. Hinako turned her glare on the rest of her class. "Pay attention unless you want to end up like Mr. Saotome." The room instantly silenced as the students dutifully turned their attention back to the board up front. The rest of the day passed slowly as Ranma slowly regained his ki and control of his body, to finally be almost fully recovered by the time classes were done. When the bell rang, Ranma stiffly ran out the front doors and headed home as fast as his tired body would allow.
Ranma checked the dojo first, but all was quiet, so instead he burst through the front door, quickly taking off his shoes, ready to rush to Akane's room to talk, when an evil aura loomed over him threateningly. He spun around to see the demon head of Mr. Tendo towering over him, glaring down.
Ranma tried to wave him off. "I can explain!" He shouted meekly.
Nodoka poked her head around the corner. "Oh good, there you are Ranma." She took a step forward, revealing she was holding a large cardboard box. "I need your help with these boxes, and you'll have to start packing."
Ranma felt like his heart dropped into his stomach. This had to be a nightmare, right? There was no way this was actually happening. "Wha-what're you talkin' about?" He asked in a small voice, afraid of the answer.
"Son, we are moving back to our family home." Nodoka explained patiently, though she looked rather sad.
Ranma tried to swallow the lump in his throat, but his mouth had gone terribly dry. "Why?" His mother handed him the empty box she had been carrying when his father rushed in from around the corner and smashed his elbow into the top of his unsuspecting sons head, bowing him forward in half.
"Because my idiot son ruined his engagement to Tendo-sans daughter!"
Ranma ignored the pain from the swelling lump on the top of his head as he looked at his mom with wide, shocked eyes, wild with panic. "It's true?" He asked with an edge of desperation.
His mother hesitated, her hand fisted near her mouth, but nodded at her son. Ranma's legs couldn't hold him any longer and he slumped to his knees, bowing his head, letting his bangs hide his eyes as he felt them burn with the truth. The cardboard box was still clutched in his grip, and it began to tremble. Nodoka watched her son and felt sorry for the way things had turned out. After a moment, Ranma's head snapped up and he jumped to his feet.
"Where is she?"
"She's in her room," Kasumi answered, coming into the entryway. "But she doesn't want to be disturbed…"
She had barely finished speaking before Ranma had disappeared up the stairs. Ranma stood before her door, staring at the duck placard that bore her name before realizing he was still holding the box. He chucked in angrily in the direction of his room then turned his attention back to her door.
He knocked lightly and called softly, "Akane?" he waited and listened closely, but there was no reply. "Akane, can I talk to ya please? It's important." Again he waited, straining for any sound. He heard a muffled sound that might have been sob and his stomach knotted, knowing he was the reason for her suffering. He knocked a little harder and called a little louder, "Akane, please! I hafta talk to ya!"
Again, there was no response, so he reached for the doorknob, preparing himself to enter without permission, which could be hazardous to his health, but this was important damnit! He went to turn the knob, but the door was locked. He jiggled the knob harder, but it wouldn't budge. He contemplated breaking the door down, but that wouldn't do him any favors, especially now.
He sprinted to his room and threw open the window, quickly leaping onto the window sill and vaulting to the roof. He made a few jumps across the roof before he was above her room and he easily landed in a crouch on her windowsill. Here he knocked on the window once he realized the curtains were drawn.
"Akane?" He called out again. There was no response; not even the curtains fluttered. He tried the window, but that too was locked. "Damnit!" He muttered, gazing at the interior lock, and feeling lost. Once again, he had the option to easily break the window, but again he couldn't bring himself to do it. He was already in enough trouble.
Maybe she just needed some time to cool off? She had certainly done rash things before in the heat of the moment. He could talk to her later, and this wasn't the first time they had moved back home. Though Ranma was surprised to find that the home repairs were finished after all his suitors destroyed his home the last time. He peered at the window, then exhaled, leaving a foggy breath behind on the glass and he scribbled a small message and watched it fade before heaving a defeated sigh and climbed back through his window and gathered the empty boxes, preparing to pack his meager belongings.
He opened the top drawer to his dresser and stuffed his clothes haphazardly into the box. He did the same with the next drawer, but when he reached the bottom, his hands brushed something familiar. He pulled out a ponytail of black-blue hair, bound with a bow. He sifted his fingers through the silky strands, remembering when Ryoga had accidently cut her long hair. He brought it to his nose, smelling the faint strawberry scent of her shampoo. He set it on the top of his dresser, wanting to pack it somewhere safely.
He continued packing his things; taking piles of manga and dumping them in another box and other odds and ends soon joined them. He was flinging items from his closet when he stumbled across a mangled yellow scarf. He ran it through his fingers, thinking of the Christmas Akane had made that for him. It was ugly and full of holes, but she had worked so hard on it. He slowly walked to his dresser, still holding the scarf and he laid it out almost reverently, carefully smoothing it to the best of his ability. He carefully bundled the hair inside the scarf and folded it with great care. Looking around at the flimsy cardboard boxes, Ranma opted to tuck his precious package inside his red Chinese silk shirt where he knew it would be safe. Ranma silently finished packing his room and carried the boxes downstairs where his parent's belongings were gathered. A moving truck had been arranged and they were soon headed back to the Saotome family home.
Sarahplainntall here! Thank you readers, followers, favoriters and most of all, reviewers! Weird Beard, Naruto Hyoudou (you are exactly correct!), Nikichan, SonkaD (I'm glad you're enjoying this so far! I don't even completely know where this is going yet) and Jose (from Mexico! Thanks for reading!). Your reviews and continued support of this story keeps me motivated, so thank you and I hope you enjoyed our latest chapter.