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“We always regret things only when they are too late; we never appreciate a person except when they’re gone.  Treasure these moments, my pet, they will be with you for eternity.”

The parting words of his sire, Pandora, echoed over and over inside the young man’s head as he rode in the back seat of his rented limousine, adjusting the lapels of his jet-black Armani suit.  His driver, an old man trusted by the mistress, made the craft coast slowly over the streets of Tokyo.  A familiar landmark shook him from his musings.  “Come back for me around 9:00, Felix. I’ll stroll around for a while.” the passenger said, his French impeccable, were it not for the heavy accent.   The driver nodded, signifying his understanding, and stopped the car. He got out and opened the door to the young man’s side of the car.  “Maybe I’ll even have a snack while I’m here.” He added, smiling, showing canines that were not common among mortals.  A blink of an eye later and he seemingly vanished. The driver went back to his vehicle apparently unfazed, showing that he, unlike other mortals, was used to seeing things like this.

The young vampire, meanwhile, was ghosting all over the park, looking for the ruffians and hoodlums that he fancied having for dinner; not as dinner guests, but as the main course.  He effortlessly moved from tree to tree, dashing to and fro faster than the human eye could follow.  He stopped suddenly, and his face grew whiter— if it were possible for a vampire— and his eyes widened in shock at the sight he had just witnessed.  He hid behind a tree and blended with its shadow as he continued to monitor a couple.  The guy he hadn’t seen before, no doubt coming to Nerima after he “left”, but the girl, on the other hand, tugged at his heartstrings.  The sight of her sent memories crashing to him like a ten-wheeler zooming on a highway without any breaks.  Her smiles, her movements, her scent, too painful to remember— yet just as painful to forget.  He tugged at where his pigtail used to be in frustration, forgetting for an instant that his sire had it cut off before he was turned.  Seeing her smile at her companion like she used to smile for him, those rare moments that she did, was more than he could stand, and he left, rushing blindly away from the couple, tears tinted in red flying in his wake, his heart constricting in a pain worse than the hunger before feeding.  As he left the park he tenderly whispered her name to the winds. “Akane…”

Jiro Maeda presents
A Ranma ½  / Vampire Chronicles fanfic

Disclaimer, The characters and situations of Vampire Chronicles are owned by Anne O'Brien Rice and Random House..  The crazy bunch of martial artists living in Nerima, their quirks and circumstances and the events involving them are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. The other characters exist only in the mind of the author and are not intended to resemble any person living, deceased or undead. No amount of money was made in the production of this fanfic.

Act 1a: The Vampire Saotome

Tetsuya couldn’t believe his luck; after three years of pleading, cajoling and begging, he finally got Akane Tendo, the most sought-after girl in Tokyo University, to go out with him.  He turned to look at his date; her eyes, her lips, so perfect, sensual… yet in a way projecting immense sadness.  “I have to make her smile, anything would probably be worth doing only to see her smile.” He pondered on things to do to make Akane smile at him, or maybe even giggle a little.  His musings stopped when he felt cold, as if an icicle was placed in his back, he turned around and saw no one.

“Tetsuya, is something the matter?” Akane asked, noticing his bewildered expression.

“N-nothing, maybe I just got scared of the movie we’re gonna see…” he said, thinking that it would be better than telling her that he had a feeling someone wanted to kill him.  He heard a gentle giggling shortly afterwards, he looked towards Akane and he saw that she was trying to stifle her giggles and failing miserably at it.  “Sure, you’re laughing now. Just wait till we get to the movie, then we’ll see who ain’t scared. “ he said, feigning hurt, but secretly pleased that he finally made Akane laugh.  This pleasure didn’t decrease the feeling that someone wanted to tear him limb from limb. He quickened his steps, but not enough to let Akane and whomever it was that was watching them know how scared he really was.

“C’mon, you, let’s see how scary this movie of yours really is.” Akane said, giggling all the while.

Tetsuya felt her grab his arm, and the pleasant feeling this gesture caused in him made the danger feel remote, making him feel safe and content.  As far as he was concerned, whoever it was that was stalking them could kill him, because right then he was in heaven.

Beneath a cherry tree not far away, a little black pig was watching jealously as Akane took Tetsuya’s arm. In pig grunts Ryouga cursed the fates that made him the wishy-washy man that he was, unable to tell Akane how he really felt.  Years ago he’d thought that if only Ranma wasn’t around, letting his feelings be known would be a piece of cake. Now he knew how foolish that notion really was.  His martial arts instincts suddenly kicked in, making him aware of another presence watching the couple.  “If whoever that is thinks Akane would be harmed tonight, he’s got another think coming.” He thought as he roamed around to get a better fix on the other watcher.  This, of course, was a bad idea because Ryouga and roaming mix as well as oil and water… actually, the latter has a greater chance of coming together without incident.  Soon enough, and as expected, Ryouga, the pig known as P-chan, got lost yet again.  He got trampled a few seconds later by a stranger wearing an all-black tuxedo, rendering him dizzy.  As darkness claimed him, the last thought in Ryouga’s head was “Why the hell does that guy remind me of Ranma?”

Akane also felt the presence in the park, but merely disregarded it as guilt from trying to get over Ranma’s death.  She tried to steer her thoughts away from her dead fiancé, and more importantly from the events that caused his demise.  “Oh, Ranma…” she softly murmured, remembering the events that occurred three years ago…

“How dare you?!” Akane screamed, throwing a desk lamp towards Ranma, who “eeped” and leaped out of the way.

Standing up from his awkward crouch, Ranma began to speak.   “Akane, let me explain…” he said, holding her hands gently yet firmly.  His face merely inches from hers, his eyes begging her to listen to what he had to say.

But Akane failed to see that, as she had the other signs of affection Ranma unintentionally bestowed on her during times that like that one.  Her mind was filled with rage, rendering her incapable of rational thought, nothing registered to her except her anger, fueled by her brain’s unending repetition of Ranma leaving her that morning, without word, without reason.  Her enraged mind kept telling her how much of a jerk Ranma was for leaving without telling her where he was going, and worst of all for leaving her that morning— of all mornings, that morning, her birthday.  She had no idea she had voiced out her thoughts when he said something that fueled the already erupting volcano of emotions within her.

“Why should I tell you where I’m goin’?  You ain’t my mother, and you ain’t my wife neither,” he said, then stood dumbfounded as if wanting to take everything he said back, yet it was too late, far too late.

Her vision darkening, she failed to notice her arm turning, her palm hitting his face, her mouth uttering the words she never meant to say, “I hate you!”  When her vision cleared she saw her fiancé, holding his cheek as if in shock.  He then bent his head and murmured something before rushing out into the rain soaked streets.  She was to find out later that he left that morning to help her friends prepare her surprise party.  She wanted to take everything back, to tell him how sorry she was for doubting him.

They searched all over Nerima; her family, her friends even her rivals.  They all helped look for him, it was close to midnight when Genma, his father returned.  He held in his hand a torn red cloth and a braid…his braid.  “I found this near a bus explosion. They couldn’t locate any bodies. He was probably trying to save the people on board… my son…” he said, his voice fading until the very end it seemed as if he was whispering.

Three years ago, yet to her mind, it was as clear as if it were yesterday.

She was abruptly returned to the present when Tetsuya suddenly said, “We’re here, Akane.” He was seemingly cheerful until he saw her face, his countenance suddenly serious he asked “Hey, you okay?” She nodded as she wiped the tears from her face, tears she didn’t know were there, before smiling.  She took his arm and led him into the theater, deciding to try to enjoy the night.

Ranma ran, not seeing where he was going, not noticing the triggering of his curse, shifting his form from that of a dashing albeit bishonen young man to that of a mysterious nymph with ghostly white skin and hair of crimson blood. She didn’t know she made a turn into an alley until she had bumped into someone and fell down on her butt.

“Lookit what we got here boys, a snack!”

Ranma looked up and saw them: a gang of thugs whose goal in life was to terrorize people, the blood in their veins making them look like a kaleidoscope of colors in her eyes.  My favorite dish. Just the thing to keep my mind away from Akane, she thought as she strutted towards them, oozing sex appeal all the while.  “Actually, boys… you got it backwards. You’re my snack,” she said as she bared her fangs.

Minutes of screaming, scuffling and muffled curses were heard, and then silence… Ranma emerged from the alley a few moments later, her jacket torn, her immaculately black pants smudged and her hair disheveled.  She looked at her watch, thankfully unscathed, and took to the roofs.

Felix gazed at his pocket watch worriedly. The young master was late, and that only meant one thing; he was in trouble.  He heard the passenger door open and then close after a hurried “Sorry I’m late, Felix. I had a late night snack.”

Felix raised an eyebrow upon hearing the young master’s tone; obviously the curse had been triggered yet again.  “The thermos is in the back seat, young master, beside the portable stove.  Do try not to wet the seats.”  Felix waited for the response that usually came after he issued this droll remark in his nasal monotone, something he relished each time the young master went out and worried him to death. Usually it began with the young master stating that the curse was not his fault, that Felix ought to be more considerate towards those who attract water as if they had angered the water deities, and then he would splash himself with the water from the thermos while inside the car just to spite him.

Usually… but not tonight, apparently. No splashing sounds came from inside the passenger seat, not a sound at all actually.  Felix decided to look at him using the rearview mirror; shadows obscured the beguiling female face, but not enough to hide the rivulet of tears that flowed from them moments ago, tears that were flowing still.  He was startled when he heard the young master command him to take him home, his voice a sad parody of his usual cheerful tone, as if trying to convince his old nursemaid cum chauffer that he was alright.  Felix decided that a call to the mistress was in order, but he’d have to do it the next morning, when the young master was resting.

Act 1b: The Price of a departure

Ah, my beloved wild horse, the child I never had.  I learned from loyal Felix of your pain, and I, your mother, have come to you to give you comfort in this time of pain.  Has it been three years since I gave you new life, three years since I gave you my dark gift?  Time flies so fast, my pet, especially to ones such as we, we who are destined to roam all creation for eternity.  Do you remember that night, when I asked you to call me mother?  How shocked you were of my boldness? You could not imagine someone asking this of you, you kept insisting that you already had a mother, that she is very much alive and that you would call no one else as such, your face crimped in a fashion I found endearing as you told this to my face as if daring me to force you otherwise.  Yet there was no need for force, was there?  Soon it penetrated to you, the cruelty of my gift.  For you, she called your mother still lives, but to her the child that she called her son is dead. How I mourn for your suffering, my little stallion.  I remember the nights I spent watching you, reading your dreams, basking in the light of your soul.  So much like my beloved Marius, yet so different… your difference only making me want you more.  Each hurdle you leapt made you stronger, each test made you shine brighter. But chaos was the brew that kept your life interesting, was it not?

I often reflect now— surely a sign of old age, as you say— that perhaps I had made a mistake in giving you the dark gift?  Yet, a part of me rebels from that thought. It screams from my very being that you are much too precious to let death take you, that depriving the world of you would be the unforgivable crime.  I could not help but be saddened by your grief, my child, my son and my daughter.  My beloved child, your pain wounds my heart.  That is the reason I come to you now, and I implore you to wait for me, so that we may overcome your sadness together.

The young vampire slept after the tumulus events that occurred mere hours ago.  His mind displayed his memories to him as if his life were a movie reel.  His memory went back to that day, not so long ago, when he ceased to be human. And he remembered…

…The pain of the slap as it landed on his cheek, the pain in his heart upon hearing those words, disbelief and then utmost grief that she, of all people wouldn’t trust him.  The feel of the streets as he ran directionless, his mind empty. The great rumble of the crash and the heat of the fire. People screaming, begging to be released from the metal coffin.  The exhilaration he felt upon using the Art to help those in need.  Shock upon discovering that he’d left a child inside the bus. The heat almost unbearable then, the pain as his pigtail got snagged by an overhanging part of what once was the bus floor, more pain as the explosion rocketed his body towards who knows where.  The feel of blood flowing from numerous wounds he couldn’t identify, the feeling of relief as he discovered the child alive and unharmed.  The darkness that nearly claimed him.  A shifting feeling, like being carried, surroundings blurry, cold clammy skin, like that of the dead, hard and smooth as if made of marble.

Confusion, the feel of soft, grassy ground on his skin, getting colder… darkness growing… a voice: “Do you want to live, young one?  I can grant you life…” Final thoughts of Akane, thoughts of things he didn’t get to do, saying yes in a voice that was barely a whisper.  His head being lifted, something pressed to his mouth,  “Drink…” that voice again, anxious, frightened concerned?  The feeling of rejuvenation, then pain as he realized his body was dying.  “It is only natural, young one. Be steadfast and strong; this, too, will pass.”  The voice again, now warm and caring, dying and living again, opening his eyes to see a world that had changed yet stayed the same.  “Welcome, my son.  Welcome to eternal night.” His sire’s voice… Mater… Pandora…

Ranma awoke, his mind replaying the events of last night.  His head still swam from the thoughts he had spied from Akane’s mind.  His heart broke again as he recalled her pain when thinking of him. How badly he had wanted to take her in his arms and whisper sweet things to her, things he never said when he was living.

His temper flared as he jealously remembered the young man she had dated that cursed night.  How he longed to tear him asunder with his bare fists.  He was so confused, these feelings more intense because of what he was, increased a hundredfold from what a mortal usually felt.  It stirred in him; coalesced till he drowned in the varying emotions that were the core of his soul.

Ranma rose from his casket, a thing made of age-old redwood lovingly inlaid with ivory and gold, his “mother’s” gift; his movements graceful, seeming like a dance.

“Poor misguided fledgling. Your sire should be left burning in the morning sun for what she made you suffer,” spoke a voice nearby.

He turned and saw her; a woman seemingly made of marble, forever encased in eternal youth, her mouth quirked in a half smile; yet mirth never reached her eyes.  Her brown hair, that usually framed her face like a nun’s hood, swayed as the night wind entered through the open windows.

“Pray do not be harsh with my sire, milady.  For she only did what any mother would have done,” he replied, and was gratified upon seeing her features soften; she always loved being called ‘mother’.  He smiled at her then, glad that she had come, not realizing how much he had missed her until he saw her at that moment.  He sketched a bow, “Mother, I greet you this fine night. I beg you, allow me the privilege of brushing your hand with my unworthy lips,” he said as he rose from his bow, entirely in ancient Greek, perfect to the very idiom itself.

Pandora’s smile blossomed at that moment, her maternal pride nearly overpowering all other emotions save for her genuine love for her son.  She met him halfway and brought her hand forward, he stepped forward, his movements like that of a courtier in a palace ball, now bending down to kiss her cold, hard hand.  They embraced afterward, an embrace not of lovers but of a reunited mother and son, tears freely falling as they bathed in the essence of each other.

“I have missed you terribly, mother…” he sniffled, holding on to her as if drawing strength from her presence.

She, his mother who had lived this past millennia, stoically soaked up his agony as if a sponge soaking up water.  Her fingers gently brushed his hair, murmuring comfort in his ear.  “My son, my poor child.” She whispered, tears falling from her cheeks as if the pain in her fledgling was her own.  He opened up his mind and his pain began to spill out.  Pandora heard it all, his pain, his love for this ‘Akane’, and most of all his confusion, his emotions spilling out of the sea that was his heart, causing her tears to flow even more steadily, cursing herself for changing him.  “You are suffering, my beloved child.  This pain, it is worse for you because of who you are, you are in more pain because you are a vampire.”

They held each other thusly as the early evening turned late until the hour came when it was time to hunt yet again.  They talked as they hunted, now mother and daughter; for Ranma found it easier to hunt as a female, adopting the guise of helplessness that allowed her to beguile her victims, allowing her to play with them before sucking the blood out of their bodies and then their hearts at her leisure, the way her sire fed whenever she did.  When morning dawned, they returned to their paradise within the teeming city and slept in one coffin, a strange Madonna and Child, hiding from the rays of Amon Ra.  Gathering their strength for what was to come the following night.

The next evening found Ranma ghosting the roofs of Nerima once again, a shifting shadow within the shadows of the night.  He slowed upon reaching the roof of the Tendo home.  He slowly crept down the house wall, only to stop in front of Akane’s window.  He looked at her, his heart doing flip-flops in his chest; how did he ever find her unattractive? His eyes traced every contour of her body outlined by her sheets.

Ever so slowly he opened her window, his mind doing what his body could not, and entered the sanctity of her bedroom.  He sat on her bed and feather-touched her hair, caressing the softness that he might never feel again.  “I didn’t mean to cause you pain, Akane.  You’re the last person I’d want to hurt.” He began as he felt the contours of her face, so delicate, so lovely.  “I only want to make you happy. I want to protect you and hold you close to me… I guess I really do love you.  It’s too late now, though. You’ve moved on, for one thing.” He said, grimacing as he remembered the asshole that dared to take out Akane. He decided he would have words with the little prick, particularly about taking care of her and treating her as she ought to be treated.   “For another, I don’t think I’m worthy of you any more. You deserve someone better, more normal, more human… definitely not someone like me.”  He held her hand and, acting upon impulse, kissed her on the lips, the first time he ever did so willingly.  “Goodbye, Akane. Be happy…” He got up and left the room through the window, promising himself never to botch up her life with his messes ever again.

He leapt off the balcony and up to the roof.  Once there, he stopped and admired the view that always greeted him whenever he went up there to meditate or to think. He touched the shingles of the roof, feeling them as if feeling the memories that each tile silently witnessed.

It was then that he heard a familiar whirring sound, and swayed just in time to avoid getting wounded by a razor-sharp, metal-hard bandanna.  Said bandanna ricocheted off the roof and back to its owner’s hand.  “I was right. It was you… How dare you show your face again, after the pain you’ve caused with your so-called death?” Ryouga snarled out every syllable, his face unseeable to mortal eyes.

Yet to Ranma, his face clearly bore a grimace, his fangs nearly as long as those of a vampire as they glistened in the moonlight.  “I don’t have time for this, P-chan, so if you don’t mind…” Ranma’s sentence went unfinished as the Lost Boy charged, screaming in blind rage. His battle umbrella was held in front of him like a lance, intending to turn his nemesis into shish kebob.  Ranma frowned as he blocked the umbrella; his brow creased showing his displeasure, his muscles not even tensing from the effort of holding the umbrella at bay.  He switched his hold and twisted, turning what once was a perfectly serviceable umbrella into scrap.  He then turned towards Ryouga and said. “Back off. You don’t know what you’re getting into.”

The lost Boy merely growled in response and charged him again. “Not going to take me serious are you?  Die, Ranma!!!” he screamed as he rushed towards his rival, intending to ram him straight into next week, only to fall into the koi pond a few moments later as the person he intended to hit seemingly vanished.  He fell hard, scattering the frightened and unfairly abused koi as he slammed into the water, triggering the transformation of the curse.  Not again… not the pig… Damn you, Ranma… he thought as he felt his limbs shortening, his hair growing all over, changing everything that was once human into porcine.  He rose from the koi pond and shook himself dry.  He then felt his body floating into the air, seeming of its own volition.  His eyes closed in fear as his ascent speeded up until a hand grabbing his bandanna halted it.  He opened his eyes only to stare at Ranma’s malevolent face.

“I told you to back off, but you just won’t listen, would you, P-chan? I was willing to just back off, if you’d only listen. I told you that you didn’t know what you were dealing with.” He said, bringing the pig closer to his mouth, each syllable sending shivers of fear into said piglet as he felt the sharpness of the vampire’s fangs.  “I didn’t have the time for a snack, but maybe pork teriyaki will do as an appetizer. What do you think?” he continued, gripping harder on the pig’s quivering form, who shook his head to show his disagreement.  Ranma smiled and simply tossed the frightened pig back into the pond.  “You’re probably right, you’re too puny to even put a dent on my hunger.”  He  laughed as he left the rooftop to join the shadows of the night.

Inside Akane’s room, she lay awake, a silent witness to what happened on the rooftop.  “No, oh Ranma, it’s not true…” Akane murmured, over and over as she cried herself to sleep.


To be continued.

Act 2
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