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A Ranma ½ short story
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: All the characters depicted in this story are from Ranma ½, which was created by Rumiko Takahashi.


I can't remember where it began, really… I mean, I guess if I were to look back far enough, I could say, "Oh it all happened back on the day that," or, "It all started when Pops…"

But that doesn't really help, and it sure as hell don't make me feel better.

The important part was after Akane and I almost got married.

Almost. I've got to wonder, though… After the attempted wedding, I was mad at Ukyou and Shampoo… and Kodachi, and… Hell, I was just pissed in general, though I guess I might be madder about it now than I was then.

But none of them wanted me mad, I guess. Kodachi just stayed away, which suited me fine, at the time. She admitted that she knew I didn't like her, once, and I guess that stuck.

Shampoo… well, I never saw her again, just the old ghoul, and she said that she was sorry, and thought that her great-granddaughter should have been more responsible, and known better and a bunch of other stuff like that. I was glad at the time, but I felt a little sorry for her later… but then, things were getting confusing on their own without more help from anyone else.

I guess the big problem was when Ukyou showed up. She was polite, and sorry, but real tough, and insisted that she needed to talk to my mom, not me.

And she did.

I don't really know what they talked about, but in the end, Mom decided that Ukyou's agreement was more valid, 'cause we'd already taken her dowry. Pops said that it wasn't valid, 'cause she had gambled away the dowry before the agreement was made.

She said that it was valid, because her father made the agreement in good faith, and didn't know that it had been gambled off. Mom didn't care to argue it either way -- she just said that I was going to marry Ukyou, and that was that.

We didn't have a place to say, and old man Tendo wasn't too happy about what had happened, so Mom and Pops stayed in a small hotel while the house was being rebuilt -- thanks to a donation from Ukyou's dad, apparently -- and I stayed with her.

I was mad at first -- really mad… but what could I do? Mom made up her mind -- I had to marry Ukyou.

So I did.

I didn't see Akane much after moving in with Ukyou, and I didn't see her at all after we moved into the new place, but I wonder how she's doing, a lot.

Ryouga and me run into each other from time to time when I'm on training trips, and he says he's seen her once or twice, and she's doing okay. College, or something -- he wasn't too sure. Pig-boy married Akari, of course.

He's a pretty lousy martial artist -- those days of taking care of pigs must have taken a lot out of him. I keep telling him he should come with me on my next training trip, get him back into shape.

Eh. Anyway, I guess I'm getting sidetracked. So Ukyou and I got married after we moved into the new place with Mom and Pops, and stuff was okay for a while.

I mean, Mom seemed to get along just great with Ukyou, though I guess she didn't know about Ukyou dressing as a boy… Aside from that, Mom just loves her, though. And the kids.

The kids are great, and Mom was thrilled when she got them -- both of them. Makoto's the oldest, and she wants to grow up to be just like her mom. Then there's Kintaro, and I'm more than a little proud of him, but I try and keep Pops away from the kid -- I'll train him myself; don't need his help. But I just can't be around her and the kids for too long without needing to be on another training trip…

We got along okay, at first, and then better once we got used to the whole thing -- Ukyou threw herself into the marriage as much as she could. Problem was, far as I can tell, she cares more about the marriage than me. Or herself.

I guess I was okay with that at first, but it seems kinda funny, and the more I thought about it, the more I had to wonder if she wanted me because she wanted me, of if she just wanted me because she wanted the relationship.

I dunno, really… I mean, at first, it was okay… but she wasn't as into that, as much as just worrying about how other people saw things. Mom seems to think that's normal, though.

Pops just started talking about training trips whenever I mentioned it to him, and after a while I got the hint.

Training trips take up a lot of my time, now. I want to get better at the Art, though there ain't many people near as good as me anyway. At first, it was just a week to get my bearings -- me and Pop out near Ryugenzawa for some speed training.

Things were great when we got back, Ukyou missed me, we got together and things were happy… but it didn't last long. I couldn't sit around training idiots to use the Art when I kept wondering, if it were me or just the whole honor thing. And I can't talk to Mom about it, 'cause she'll just say that honor's the important thing, and that's the end of it.

Pops just says throw myself into the Art, or go on another training trip, so that's what I do. I found out a real easy way to make money when I wasn't teaching, since there's always tournaments around somewhere, and they make decent money if you win, and okay money if you just come close. 'Course, I mostly always win, the first time around.

And I always win the rematches.

Sometimes when I'm fighting, though, I get to thinking about the other guys, and the way they always sulk with their friends, or their girlfriends, or whatever, and gripe about things -- after I beat them -- and I wonder what it'd be like to have my own family with me.

I only ever got Pops to go with me to one tournament, and he wasn't so proud as I would have thought he'd be. He was unhappy, but he didn't yell at me, and we both know it's a damn sight better than thievery, but he doesn't approve of using the Art to make money that way.

What an idiot. He's doing the same thing when he's teaching the Art in the dojo.

Anyway. The trips. Yeah, I'm kind of rambling here… so I'd start taking longer trips, and more often, and so on. I ain't running away, just rethinking things… and I gotta refine the Art, of course. That's what it's all about.

Martial arts.

That's all that I am, and all that I was…

 


Author's notes: This was written as an example of how to write a story without character bashing. It was in reply to a fic by Brad Angell called "The Better End?", and the plot is from that story. It was written in about thirty minutes, and pre-read by Andrew Norris.

 
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