A Ranma ½ story
by Jiro Maeda
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
I. Ranma’s dilemma
Running, always running. Am I my father? But if I don’t run I’ll have to face them, hurt them, and make a choice. Why must life be so difficult? I can’t choose or I’ll hurt them.
I know deep in my heart I've already picked someone, but I don’t want to hurt the others; they’re my friends… I don’t want to lose any more… I have to stall, stall for time, time that I don’t have… but how?
I have to disappear; must have time to think, gotta find a way to ditch them all. Must get away. I must end this pathetic excuse for a life, every day the same. Over and over, driving me crazy.
“Ranma, don’t…!” I hear her cry. She’s standing behind me; I can hear her tears falling to the ground, feel her tired breaths, her concern and love caressing me like a wildfire, enticing, tempting.
I must not give in, it's the only way to achieve happiness.
I feel the wind as it rushes towards me. I can hear her scream my name, to be happy I have to leave her: my happiness. I have to die, that way the insanity dies with me. It’s the only way.
II. Kasumi’s viewpoint
Two days later… Akane still hasn’t eaten anything. I’m worried, but I can’t show it, can I? I have to be strong, just like mother wanted me to. They’re relying on me for strength, and I must not disappoint them.
Father is still in shock over Ranma’s death; the Saotomes have left us, seeing that there is not much point for them to remain. Ukyo is still in shock; the Ucchan’s still isn’t open for business. The Nekohanten isn’t there anymore; the Amazons just upped and left. Nerima is a much sadder place without Ranma. Quieter, yes, but dismal nonetheless.
I have to focus on the chores here or else I’ll break down too. I’ll start by cleaning Ranma’s room. It’s best to move on and not live in the past, or we’ll never get anything done.
I proceed towards the guestroom, inwardly feeling that I’m violating the poor dear’s privacy; but then, the dead do not concern themselves with trivial things such as privacy, do they? I open the door to the guest room and try not to sigh as I recall showing him this room when he and his father first got here. Of course, he was a girl at the time, but that hardly matters. That dear sweet soul is gone, gone forever.
My heart is suddenly gripped with anguish, and for a few agonizing moments my control slips as I survey what once was his room. For a young man, he seemed to own so little in way of earthly possessions; such a waste of life…
What’s this? It seems a slip of paper is wedged between the windowsills. I read the barely legible note and almost drop it in shock.
“To Akane… From Ranma.”
I cover my mouth to keep from screaming. If I do I might frazzle father’s shot nerves even more. I carefully slip the note into my apron and proceed to Akane’s room.
III. The truth according to Akane
A soft knock on my door, it must be Oneesan bringing me more food. Why doesn’t she give up? Now that Ranma’s gone I don’t have any more reason to live, can’t she understand that?
I ask her to enter; I had to repeat myself because my voice is so weak.
I’m coming, Ranma. Wait for me.
Oneesan enters, bearing a tray of food as usual; I pretend to be asleep so that I don’t have to hear her telling me that life will go on. Who is she kidding? My life isn’t worth living without Ranma, but being the baka that I am, I admitted it to myself far too late and didn’t get a chance to tell the cross-dressing hentai how I really feel about him. Too late to do that now.
I hear oneesan sigh with finality as if she were a doctor looking at a terminal illness. I feel her grasping my hand, placing something inside it. A piece of paper, a note? She gently closes the door as I hurl the stupid note towards the door; it's probably just another love letter from that delusional jerk, Kuno.
I hear my sister’s muffled crying from outside the door. Sorry, Oneesan, I just can’t live; not without the person my heart cries out for. I despondently look at the note and a word catches my eye…
“Ranma?” I croak out, falling from the bed, crawling, anything to reach that letter.
I straighten out the crumpled surface trying to make out what the words are saying. Ranma did write it, and it’s addressed to me. I feel happier as I stare at each character written in his unique chicken scratch.
IV. The letter
You’re probably wonderin’ why I wrote ya this letter. To tell ya the truth, I don’t have much of a clue myself. I guess it’s to tell ya about what’s been goin’ inside this head of mine, you’re gonna prob’ly say I don’t have a brain to think with, so why bother, but the truth is I really have been thinkin’ this past year, thinkin’ a lot actually.
I always have known who I really loved. I was just too chicken to show it. That, and also the fact that I don’t wanna hurt anybody. I consider all my rivals and fiancées as my friends, so I can’t hurt anyone. So I tried stallin’ coz it was the only thing I could think of at the time. So much for that brilliant plan, huh? Instead of not causin’ any hurt I made you guys hurt more. I’m sorry, none of you guys ever deserved it, not even that nut Kodachi.
Here I go again, stallin’. I didn’t write this letter just to tell ya all the stuff I wrote above. I also wrote to tell ya that you’re the only one for me.
Baka that I am, I just didn’t get ta tell ya. I was scared you wouldn’t love me back. I didn’t exactly feel like this all at once. It was after our trip to Tofu-sensei’s clinic, after ya hit me with that softball. Ya cared enough TA carry me back when my legs gave way. No matter what I say or what I do, remember that you’re the one for me, from now until eternity. I care enough TA risk my manhood and life, just so that you be can okay. And if ya choose someone else like Ryouga or Shinnosuke, it’s okay with me too. As long as that person makes ya happy, I’m happy (although if ya chose Kuno, I’m gonna have TA get yer head checked.).
Well, that’s all I gotta say. Suki da yo, Akane-chan.
I want ya to do somethin’ for me. I want ya to meet someone under the tree beside the pool on Tuesday. I asked her to give something to ya in case I lost the nerve to do it myself or if I didn’t get to do it myself.
V. Unforeseen occurrences
None of the others went with Akane to the meeting place stated in the letter, a fact which suited her just fine. She kept wondering who this person was, and how come Ranma knew her and trusted her enough to do something for him. She battered down the familiar pangs of jealousy that tried to make her see red. This was Ranma’s last wish, and she was going to go through with it.
When she had the tree in sight, she noticed a girl sitting nonchalantly at the roots. She was wearing a plain T-shirt over faded blue jeans that she constantly smoothed. Her green eyes, covered with round glasses, were filled with uncertainty and hesitation; she kept looking around her as if unsure of herself until she saw Akane approach.
She smiled a very simple smile, and asked in a quiet and demure voice, “Akane Tendo?”.
Akane nodded, and the girl sighed in relief. “I wasn’t sure if you’ll be here, he’d be upset with me if you didn’t receive it,” she said, her words in a jumble, hurried and unsure.
“What did Ranma want to give me?” Akane asked, looking at the strange girl in front of her.
The girl steadied herself, nodded and held Akane’s shoulders. “He told me to give you this…” she said, promptly kissing her afterwards.
Shock, then fury registered in Akane’s face as she pushed the strange girl away “What the hell are you doing?”
The girl smiled and slowly took off her glasses— apparently fake— and she removed the contacts, her eyes turned from green to blue-grey, and finally she removed her wig.
Akane was staring openmouthed as realization came to her. “R-Ranma?” she stammered.
The petite redhead merely nodded, looking her over. “You lost weight, you seem very pale and you have bags in your eyes. What have you been doing to yourself, Akane?” she asked worriedly.
Akane calmly walked over to Ranma and slapped her repeatedly. “What have I been doing to myself? You dare ask me that after putting me through so much grief? I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t do anything because I thought you were dead. How could you?” Akane asked, punctuating each question with a slap.
Ranma stoically accepted each slap, then she held Akane and began to hug her, murmuring her apology. “Shhh, I know, you’re right, I’m sorry. I had to do it, Akane. It was the only way for me to start all over. I couldn’t take the weirdness anymore. I couldn’t tell you what I had planned, or else the others would have been on to me. Try to understand, Akane, I needed a fresh start for both of us. That’s why I did it,” she whispered softly to Akane’s ears, caressing her back as if to make up for lost time.
Akane looked up at her and nodded showing she understood. It was at that moment that she noticed the absence of something very conspicuous in her fiancé’s features. “Ranma, what happened to your pigtail?” she asked, smoothing the smaller girl’s hair.
Ranma gently grabbed her hands and held it. “I cut it off, Akane. I’m gonna try and start all over. The thing is…” She sighed and looked down at her shoes. Her feet shuffled tracing patterns in the soil. “…I want you to come with me. I want you to get away from all this looneyness too,” she continued, her eyes boring into those of her fiancée.
Akane was speechless; her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water, although no words came out . Her mind, her concentration was in shambles. No coherent thought formed in her head; for a moment she was as stunned as if struck by lightning. Images coalesced together in her head, yet they did not make sense.
She did not notice until much later that Ranma was standing in front of her, waiting expectantly in boy form. When did he find time to change?
She didn’t realize she had voiced out her thoughts until he replied, “I changed while you were doin’ that great goldfish impression.” Afterwards he flashed that arrogant smile of his that usually made her knees wobble and turned her mind into mush. Now it merely galvanized her decision, that smile must not be allowed to disappear from her sight.
“I’ll go with you,” she replied with a smile. Ranma grinned at her in return. It would be tricky, and many people will get hurt, but for their peace, for their sanity, they had to go through with it.
The couple shared the umbrella as they watched the funeral taking place. The male was a tall blonde, built like an athlete; the girl a long-haired redhead with an intense gaze. They both were staring at the group of people gathered a few blocks ahead of them, who were there to witness the burial of Akane Tendo.
It seemed that Akane Tendo was too depressed by her fiancé’s death that she jumped from the same cliff he did, a week later. Family and friends gathered to bid her farewell. Her father was crying more tears than before, but eventually he would recover.
After the last people left the cemetery, the couple approached the gravestone. They bowed their heads with respect, and left.
“Do you think we did the right thing?” the girl asked, sweeping her long crimson mane over her shoulder.
The man next to her shrugged and held her closer. “Time will tell, Akane. Time will tell,” he said, kissing her forehead.
The redhead laughed and hugged her blonde companion and nodded. “Yes. Time will tell, love, but at least now we can finally be at peace,” she whispered, burying her face in his shoulder.
The blonde Ranma smiled, and together they walked away. The rain had stopped, giving them a clear view of a beautiful sunset.
A day had ended, yet another had begun.
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