A Ranma ½ story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
Author's Notes: I know that I promised not to start any more fics, but I started reading the 'Song of Ice and Fire' trilogy, and the idea sorta got stuck in my head. I have another one that crosses over with the PC game Nox, but that one may be a few days in the making. Anyway, this is a crossover with the aforementioned trilogy, and unlike all my other fics is not anti-Akane; in fact, this one has her as a relatively nice, if willful, person. Go figure. Oh, well, no one knows where I live, so you people shouldn't be able to get ahold of me for starting another fic while I have so many others going. I hope you enjoy this; I know I enjoyed writing it.
Ranma didn't know where he was, or what had happened. Wherever he was, it sure as hell was cold. As he tramped through the snow, he could see splintered pines that had exploded from the extreme cold. Cold didn't bother Ranma, not with the soul of ice in effect. His muffled emotions only allowed him to dimly worry about Akane as he searched the frozen forest for her. She didn't possess the knowledge to survive in such a harsh climate as this, and he needn't bother with warm clothes as long as he himself was colder than the ice around him, but Akane was another story. She was soft, raised in the comfortable Tendo home for her entire life, and the sundress she had been wearing when they were sucked into the black hole generated by Ryoga's chi blast gone awry would be of no use in this climate.
"Akane!" Ranma called out into the great gray silence that surrounded him. His voice echoed from a number of directions. "Akane!"
For over an hour he searched, before he heard a pained shout in the distance. It wasn't Akane, but someone was in trouble, and it could very well have been Akane inflicting that pain. So he ran. Hard packed snow kicked up behind him, leaving a cloud of dusty white behind him. Before long, no more than a minute, Ranma came to the edge of a jagged cliff. Far, far below, figures moved. In her yellow sundress, Akane stood out against the stark bone-white snow as she was surrounded by a dozen sword- and spear-wielding men dressed in what appeared to be furs and leather; but the distance was to great for Ranma to accurately judge.
No matter; Akane was in trouble, whether she knew it or not. Those men didn't mean to whisk her away to be the bride of some trumped-up prince on a magical island somewhere. Hurriedly, Ranma ran a short distance from the edge of the cliff. He had to get a good enough start so as not to impale himself on the sharp jutting rocks of the cliff side. With a sharp "kiai", he focused his confidence, his utter assurance in his abilities, and ran with blinding speed over the edge. The soul of ice, far from being dimmed by the emergence of Ranma's emotions, expanded its reach, while he simultaneously formed a tight aura of hot chi around himself. He would have to time his move exactly, or the impact with the ever-nearing ground would be disastrous. Only a few more seconds.
Below, Akane was fairing better than he had expected. Three men were down, one with blood pooling in the snow around him. The others had obviously reassessed Akane's vulnerability. They had widened their circle considerably, and were slowly rotating around the girl, waiting for her to drop her guard or make a similarly costly mistake.
Now! Ranma's arms shot out to either side and he brought the alternating cold of his outer aura into contact with the inner heat of its more confined brother. Fifty feet from the rising ground, Ranma found his descent nearly halted by the howling winds that rose from his improvised technique. The sharp crack of displaced air that accompanied the winds also drew the attention of those on the ground. This served two purposes: first, it distracted and frightened Akane's assailants, some even going so far as to drop their weapons and fall to the ground praying, and secondly, it allowed Akane to move through her attackers unmolested.
By the time Ranma's slow descent brought him to the ground, the fur-clad men were all in varying states of injury, but none were moving. Through the snowy column that Ranma's artificial updraft had created, Akane saw him. Her eyes were wide and scared as she ran to him. Ranma caught her as she embraced him fiercely. His fiancée was pale and shivering, Ranma noticed. The cold was getting to her, he knew, and her blue lips told him just how much.
"Ranma, what's going on? Where are we?" Akane asked through chattering teeth.
"I don't know. The last thing I remember is Ryoga launching that giant chi blast at me, but you were in the way, and I didn't know what to do, so I just threw myself in its path to shield you. Damnedest thing I ever saw. When it hit me, the whole thing just turned black and started to suck me in. I saw it pull you in before I passed out." What was that thing Ryoga had made? It had to have been a new technique; there was no way something like that could happen by accident. Akane was still pressed against him, drinking in the warmth of the remnants of his battle aura. He would only be able to keep it up for a short while, a half-day at most, but he had to get Akane warm and safe, so Ranma once again began generating the hot chi aura. Akane sighed as the heat enveloped her.
Ranma looked around at the fallen bodies, at the fur clothing they were wearing, and briefly considered suggesting to Akane that she wear some of it, but from the filthy lice-infested appearance, he knew that at best he would be looking at an angry refusal, and at worst a painful malleting. "We have to find some shelter and get a fire going," Ranma declared.
Akane knelt beside one of the fallen men, his pockmarked face bloody and his jaw extending much too far to the side to be natural. She pried a short sword from his grasping fingers. It was in poor condition, full of notches and deeply pitted with rust. She took a few practice swings, then nodded, apparently pleased with its feel. "Well, we better get moving," she said.
"Stick close to me; my battle aura will keep you warm."
"I can manage by myself," Akane asserted, her pride rearing its head as it still sometimes did. The air directly around her turned a hazy blue, and the snow around her feet melted almost immediately.
Ranma tenderly cupped her chin with a callused hand and said, "Akane, I know that you can do it yourself, but you use too much energy, and at this rate you'll be exhausted in an hour. I can keep us both warm for half the day before I need to rest. Okay?" Ranma looked her in the eye, trying his best to convey the seriousness of their situation without words.
Akane silently regarded him for a few seconds, but finally she nodded her assent to Ranma and allowed her blue aura to fade away. "I trust you, Ranma," she told him. She took his hand in her own, the other holding the sorry excuse for a sword at her side.
Before they set out in search for civilization, Ranma searched through the packs of Akane's victims. He turned up several bundles of leathery dried meat and a bag of rock-hard biscuits. There were four bows and as many quivers between the group that Akane had confronted. Ranma destroyed two of the bows, and took the remaining two and the arrows and distributed them between himself and Akane.
Thankfully, the small amount of moisture that accumulated on Ranma's pant legs from melted snow was too little and too warm to activate his curse. That, combined with a wariness of the snow that occasionally fell from the trees, left Ranma in his male form as night fell around them. The air had turned bitterly cold outside of Ranma's protective field, and the wind roared around them ceaselessly when Ranma spotted a small crack in a nearby outcropping of rock. Hoping that they could find shelter within, he led Akane to it and discovered that there was indeed a small cave in the enormous rock.
It was small, cramped, and cold, but there was also a cache of blankets and tinder to start a fire stored in a hollowed-out niche. Ranma silently thanked whoever had planned ahead, and left Akane bundled in the blankets while he went in search of firewood. The cave was too small, and not properly ventilated for a fire, but one situated near the cave entrance would help to diffuse the night's chill and ward against any predatory animals that may have thought of the pair as their next meal.
Ranma didn't return to the cave until he had a roaring bonfire going outside. He found Akane inside, still bundled up to her neck in the blankets, but she had taken the effort to dole out a small portion of their meager rations, and had the dried meat and hard bread laid out on a strip of cloth.
She paused from chewing on a particularly tough piece of meat and said, "I know it's not much, but…" Akane shrugged leaving the explanation up to Ranma's common sense.
"It's not so bad. At least we have someplace halfway warm to stay the night," Ranma responded, sitting beside Akane and taking up one of the biscuits to eat. Akane opened the cocoon of blankets and offered him a place beside her, but Ranma just smiled slightly and drew a circle of condensed moisture in the air with his finger. The circle remained visible for a moment even after Ranma's finger had gone back to holding his biscuit. "The soul of ice comes in handy every so often, I guess."
Akane looked at him imploringly, her eyes pleading, and said, "Please, Ranma, I just want to feel you beside me. The blankets will keep us warm."
Ranma relented and allowed Akane to draw him in beside her. Outside, with clouds obscuring the stars, the sky had darkened until it was black so pure that it seemed to call out to them. Ranma was weary from using so much of his energy to them warm during the day, but a short while after their impromptu supper, he felt Akane's groping for the drawstring to his pants. "Akane…"
Akane silenced him by placing her finger over his lips. "For warmth," she lied.
Ranma was soon caught up in their lovemaking. It was frenzied, almost animalistic, and tinged with something akin to desperation, much different than the slow and gentle couplings that he and Akane normally shared.
They awoke the next day in each other's arms, and set out shortly after sunrise, heading in a general southerly direction.
It was well after midday, and Ranma was just beginning to feel the slight headache that was the first sign of having used one's chi for hours on end, when Akane poked her hand out of the blankets they had carried from the cave and pointed up ahead. "Look, Ranma, it's a glacier!" Akane cried out in despair.
Ranma hadn't been paying all that much attention to the horizon, but when he followed Akane's gaze, and looked between the thinned out trees, he too saw the wall of blue ice that stood far off in the distance. As the same despair that gripped Akane began to take hold in his heart, Ranma spotted something that most definitely should not have been in a glacier: a door. It had to be huge, more likely than not massive, to be so seen so large from this distance. "Akane, that's not a glacier. Look," he took her hand and shifted it to point towards the far off door, "there's a door in it. It must be some kind of wall."
With new hope, they set out towards the door, and possible contact with people not out to kill them. It soon became clear, though, that they could not possibly reach the wall before the sun fell below the horizon. Even after traveling for another three hours, they seemed no closer, and had by then found themselves in an ancient and dark forest, the wall no longer even visible to them.
This time Ranma built them a shelter out of woven pine boughs. His building skills proved deft enough that his creation turned out to be more like a massive bubble raised out of the needles that lined the forest floor. The fire he created inside was small, but the woven walls held the heat and allowed the smoke to pass harmlessly into the night. Akane didn't seem to feel the intimate urge like the night before, and the couple simply fell asleep bundled up side by side.
It was the sound of iron-shod hooves crashing into the frozen ground that awoke Ranma and Akane. Both of them shot to their feet. Akane automatically reached for the short sword she had 'liberated' from one of her attackers, and with a negligent wave of his hand, Ranma blew their little dwelling to pieces with a widely dispersed wave of chi. The branches fell around them in a cascade of broken twigs and pine needles.
They were surrounded by nine mounted men. All wore black armor; some of it plated steel, and the rest chainmail. Every man had a drawn broadsword or a steel-tipped lance.
"Throw down the sword, girlie," demanded a leering man who held a strangely blue-tinted blade.
"We don't want to hurt you," Ranma announced, knowing what the men would think and detesting them for their easy dismissal of his and Akane's skill. They were all mounted and Akane had never had any experience fighting a horsed man, so every advantage counted, and if they all thought he was a fool, the easier the fight would be.
As Ranma expected, all the men laughed, some of the wheezing as they sucked in great breathes of the blade sharp air. Ranma gave them no warning as he sprang towards the man who had ordered Akane to drop the sword. The man made a feeble attempt to strike Ranma with the sword, but he turned the blade aside as without pause and slammed his palm into the man's solar plexus. Before anyone could react to his assault, Ranma flipped over the man and grabbed his shoulders, spun around in midair and as soon as he landed, hurled the violently coughing man into one of his companions. Ranma's makeshift projectile took the other man from his horse and knocked both target and projectile unconscious as their heads came together heavily.
Akane had disarmed and brained a fat little man with the flat of her blade by the time Ranma leapt for another man. The mounted men reeled in confusion, unable to decide whom to attack or what to do. Ranma knocked one man from his saddle with a large rock when he saw a man leading his horse up behind Akane, who was fighting two men at once.
In less than a minute, Ranma had taken down five men, and Akane three, leaving one man behind. This one was surprisingly young, but he held his sword in a self-assured manner that practically screamed prior training. Akane was breathing hard, exhilaration and adrenaline from the battle coursing through veins. She had taken the last man down by simply punching his horse out, and then him as he followed his horse to the ground, after her sword had broken.
The boy raised two fingers to his mouth and whistled shrilly. From the brush behind him the largest wolf Ranma had ever seen emerged. Its fur was as white as new snow, and it's eyes blood red. "Ghost, attack," the boy commanded.
Ranma was briefly amused that he thought of the young man before him as boy, when he himself could not be any more than three years his senior, but the thought was short-lived as the giant wolf sprang into action. Its approach was swift and graceful, and deadly, Ranma knew, but like all wolves, it would go for his throat or attempt to hamstring him. Most likely his throat, since he wasn't facing away from it. It was still ten feet from Ranma when it leapt towards him, its maw of razor-sharp teeth spread wide open as it prepared to clamp down on and tear out his throat. Ranma was having none of it, and stood stock still, pretending to be frozen with fear; but when its deadly canines were only inches away and Akane's scream was filling the forest with her terror, Ranma's fist shot upward with impossible speed, and caught the wolf squarely under the jaw.
Its mouth snapped shut with a click of interlocking teeth, and the wolf flew back a dozen feet. It lay there dazed, reeling from the blow, but slowly it regained its footing and glared at him with eyes entirely too intelligent for a wolf. Blood dripped from its muzzle as it slowly advanced on Ranma.
"Call him off, or the next one will kill him. I swear it," Ranma promised the boy.
"Ghost, heel," the wolf’s master ordered.
Akane rushed over to Ranma, staying well clear of the wolf’s fangs. "Are you hurt? Did it bite you? Ranma you idiot, don't you ever scare me like that again!" she meticulously patted Ranma down, looking for any bite marks while she ranted at him for being so careless.
To be continued.
Author's Notes: Well, what did ya think? Send all C&C to firstname.lastname@example.org
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