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A Ranma ½ story
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: All hail Takahashi-sama, for creating the fine works she has. In that vein of thought, I am using her creations without permission from her, Viz, or anyone else who actually does own the rights to Ranma.


Ranma:

I glance around. The Ucchanís was deserted except for me and Ucchan… Ukyou-san. Konatsu was in the back, shuffling some boxes around. I know he doesnít much like to be around Ukyou-san when Iím here.

She smiles at me, the smile that tells me that sheíll love me no matter what. Nothing to do now but to test that love. "Ukyou-san…" I prompted, trying to get my question out. It fights me, like my mouth is a sacred ground, and the words I need to speak too unholy to tread on it.

She only looks at me for a second before she shakes her head. "Ranchan… Hold on a minute." She turns to the back room, and calls Konatsu out. After sending him on some errand or another, she closes the door, and flips the sign around to Ďclosedí.

Then she stares at me expectantly, a smile on her face. I guess she expects me to tell her I want to marry her… I would, but I canít. It just… it wouldnít ever happen. It wonít ever happen. And now I have to tell her why.

Meeting her eyes, I open my mouth, and the words spill out. "Ukyou-san, I canít marry you."

She stares at me in dismay, "Ranchan? Why not?"

I tell her. Her face contorts, as she struggles with her emotions. I see fear. Denial. Shock. Confusion. Horror. Finally, the expression I dreaded most wins. Rage. A cold, angry rage.


Konatsu saved me from death. I guess he was watching from the darkness outside, or maybe he was just very quick with his chores. Either way, I donít know if he failed or not. I feel dead inside, enough already. And thereís more pain to come, I know.

Dr. Tofu looks down on me consolingly. He doesnít know. I wonít tell him yet, either. If he knows, I might not survive long enough to tell the others. He seems disappointed with me. I suppose I would be too. I could have avoided almost every strike Ukyou made with that spatula, but I didnít. I waited for death to come, to take me.

I saw the look in her eyes, when Konatsu pulled her off of me; she wasnít sure who she was more afraid of, meÖ or herself.

It doesnít matter now. Akaneís next. I know she wonít take it any better, but I know that Shampoo doesnít care. Kodachi would care, but I donít care enough to tell her.


Akane:

Iím not sure what Ranma said, Ukyou refused to tell me. She called him Ranma-san, not Ranchan. I ask her if Ranma said that he couldnít marry her, and she just laughs at me bitterly, "Yes. He canít marry me."

After that, Konatsu escorts me outside. I have a suspicion that sheís going to leave soon, and not come back. I wonder why Ranma didnít tell me first. A warm glow in my heart tells me that maybe he wanted to surprise me. A more reasonable voice tells me that this is the only way he can express his feelings.

I admit, the second voice is probably right. But it doesnít make me feel any less happy. I will visit him today. Ukyou hurt him very badly after he told her. I donít know why, even I can avoid getting hurt badly against her, and Ranmaís much better than me… maybe he felt he owed it to her.


Tofu lets me into the room where Ranma is resting. He looks worn, and tired. His expression, as he stares at the ceiling is one of utter defeat. I briefly wonder what happened, then try my cutest smile on him.

He sees me, and chokes back an insult. I know he was going to say something mean… Iím not sure why heís like that, when everyone can see that he does care about me. I sit on a chair next to him, "Hey, Ranma. How are you feeling?"

He looks pained by my words, but he answers me. His breath is ragged; Ukyou must have hurt him pretty badly. He tells me, "Akane-san…" I blink at that. ĎAkane-saní?

I rub my eyes, I think I know what heís going to tell me, and I know I wonít like it… but it might be something else. I smile at him, hiding my worry. Swallowing, he tells me. Everything.

I stand up and back away, confused. It makes sense, though. Ever since I knew him, the more he seemed to like me, the more he tried to push me away, and now I know why. I shake my head, this canít be right. I know it canít be. I walk out of the room.

I think I hear Ranma crying as I leave, and whisper an apology. I almost turn back to him. Almost. But I canít. Itís not right. I have to find out the truth. Nabiki will help me with this.


She stares at me with an eyebrow raised, and shakes her head, "I… I donít want to know. Take as much money as you need, and never tell me what you find out. I donít want to know."

I thank her, feeling empty. Once I have the money, I approach Kasumi. She would know how to deal with this. I ask her a few questions, and she tells me. She even gives me a name. I suppose she was ready for this.

I go to the office she told me of, and speak with the man for an hour or two. I tell him what I want to know, and he shrugs, telling me that heíll have answers in a week. I thank him, and go back home. I need help to find the answers I want.

A clinic in town tells me they can give me some of the answers. I give them what they asked me for, though some of it was hard to gather.


Ranma:

Akane comes back to visit me a week later. She looks haunted, like sheís uncertain of what she should be doing, or if she should even be in the same room as me. What am I supposed to do? I canít be her friend, not now. Iím still in the clinic. Tofu says I should be out in another week, but Iím not certain I care.

She stares at me for a long moment, sadness welling up into her eyes. After a minute, she sits down next to me, and tells me what sheís learned.

After a long moment, I exhale, "Iím not burakumin?"

She shakes her head sadly. "Genma-san is… but heís not your father."

I blink at this in surprise for a moment, then ask, "Do you know who is?"

Biting her lip, she tells me, "Soun is your father."

I could not have been more shocked. For a single, shining moment, it seemed as though I would be free, Iíd be able to… but no. I canít marry… my half-sister. I look at her, thinking I understand why sheís so sad. I smile for her, "Itís not so bad, then. We can… still be friends."

She shakes her head at me again, "Ranma-san… I spoke with your mother… after a very long argument…"

Crying, she hands me a piece of paper. I read it, not understanding. After a few more times, the reality of the situation begins to sink in. I set the paper down, and think.

Akane turns to leave, but I wonít let her, not yet. "Akane…" No. Akane, not Akane-san. Iím not afraid. "I need to hear it from you. I need you to say it."

Her weeping intensifies, and she admits it. I suspect this is the first time sheís admitting it to herself, too. "Genma-san is my father… Iím sorry. Iím sorry."

She tears free of my grip, and runs away.

Iím hurt, and havenít been healing well, but I know what sheís going to do. Damning my body, I drag myself from the bed. Dr. Tofu struggles with me briefly, but lets me go after he sees the look in my eyes. I try not to cry out with each step. Something had broken on my side. One of the nearly healed wounds must have torn open. I donít care. I need to find her, to stop her before itís too late.


Akane:

I stare into the darkness below me. A single step forward, and itís all over. A single step, and it ends… I found an answer. I was hoping that he would be clean, and we could marry, but… I canít. Not now. Because I am unclean. Nothing can ever change that. I donít want to see Ranma… Ranma… who called me Akane even after he knew.

I donít want to see him anymore. I canít. Itís not something I can live with. Trembling, I look down at the rushing water beneath me. I canít swim. Even if I survived to hit the water, it would be over. The sounds of a freighter in the distance alert me that Iím not alone. I watch a cargo ship approach. Headed away, to sea. Perhaps to another country.

Suddenly, I begin to hate. Hate the people on that ship, with their clean lives, and happy families, and their futures, shining paths ahead of them. I look at my own future, suddenly cut short, and the hate lessens. I brought this upon myself. I could have chosen not to investigate. It was my choice to gather the blood samples and have them tested.

It made sense, though. The way fath… Soun had always hugged Ranma, treating him like a son, and Genma had always chastised Ranma when he spoke poorly about me. I think I already knew, after what Ranma had told me. The way Soun always acted just a little nervous around Nodoka… because his sonís life was on the line.

Laughing bitterly, I realize. And I say it out loud, "I am Saotome Akane. And I can never marry Tendo Ranma." I stare down into the blackness again. What can I hope for? Why am I taking so long? That last step frightens me, itís release… what can I do, though? I cannot inflict myself upon Ranma. He canít marry me, now.

I turn, hearing a noise near me. Itís Ranma. He followed me here. I can see the slowly spreading spots of blood on his clothing. Heís hurt, and he came after me anyway. I balk, for a moment, wanting to run, but I canít. Heís almost killed himself to talk to me… maybe he wants to die with me.

I approach him, as he collapses, and manage to tear his clothing into crude bandages. He breathes weakly, obviously in pain. I speak first, "Ranma-san… why did you come after me?"

He grimaces, and stared into my eyes, "I cannot live without you, Akane-chan."

I smile sadly; he wishes to stay with me anyway? I almost agree, but… I canít. It cannot be this way. It wouldnít be right, and he deserves better. "Ranma… I canít marry you. It can never be… our friends… our lives… it would never be the same."

He reaches up to stroke the side of my face softly, displaying tenderness I never knew he possessed. "Youíre right. Akane-chan… Take me with you. Let us end our lives together."

I almost want to turn back, thinking we can hide this, and live… but no. Thatís gone. It wonít ever come back. I gather him into my arms, and he smiles at me. I kiss his forehead gently, "Iíll take you with me, Ranma… Ranma. I love you."

I leap, still clutching him to my chest. I can hear his voice as we descend, "I love you too, Akane-chan."


Epilogue:

The small groups that had gathered around the memorials began to drift away. The papers that Dr. Tofu had finally given to The Tendo family had torn them apart. Soun had moved in with Nodoka, and Genma had simply been sent… away. The two surviving Tendo sisters glared at their father and his new wife.

The newlyweds pointedly ignored the younger women, and left after paying their respects.

Nabiki and Kasumi held each other for a moment, until Nabiki felt a hand on her shoulder. She spun quickly, staring in shock, "R…Ra-"

The man held up a hand to forestall her, "My name is Ralph Macintyre." He gestured, tasting the unfamiliar syllables on his lips, "This is my wife, Anne Macintyre."

Anne smiled, and nodded her head at the sisters nervously. For a moment, the pair was unsure, and then they ran to her and embraced the smaller woman. Kasumi spoke first, her voice thick, "A…Anne. Itís good to meet you, and your husband. Would… you like to stay with us for a while?"

The woman nodded excitedly, tears in her eyes, "We… only have a few days before we have to go back to America, but… it would be nice to visit with you."

The man smiled to himself, and patted the memorials for a suspiciously similar looking couple. Whispering softly he said, "Farewell, Ranma… Farewell." His wife gave him a reassuring hug, and bid her own farewell to Akane. The last names were wrong, of course, but neither of them cared. They had found their happiness together.

 


Authorís notes: And why not? I liked it.

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