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A Ranma ½ story
by Lone Wolf

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.


Chapter 2: Goodbye


In the darkness, I hear voices. They're faint, muddled together… but they are definitely voices.

Someone calling out for something… important.

The voices begin to fade away, as something shimmers into existence.

Such a bright light… It's almost blinding…

There's someone there?

"Sorry, P-chan, it ain't your time yet."

"RANMA?!"

I can't seem to strike him… her? Ranma's body seems fuzzy, although his eyes seem to laugh at me.

Then, I fall away from the light. The voices are calmer now, and I think I hear before everything leaves me, "He'll be fine."


Ugh… where am I?

I feel trapped, like someone tried to entomb me. I try to look around, but my eyes are slow to respond. Only one begins to open, and I'm quickly blinded by a bright light. After a few seconds, I get used to it, and see a ceiling.

Okay, not buried alive, and I feel like I can't move…

Am I at a hospital?

I try to say something, anything, but all that comes out is a vague moan.

It's enough.

The nurse that comes over looks young, maybe 25? She smiles as she looks down at me, sort of like Kasumi. "Mr. Hibiki? Are you awake?" Evidently, she's about as oblivious, too. I grunt, ignoring the pain that traces my chest from the motion.

She quickly begins going on about what's happened and how I'm going to make a full recovery, and so on. Evidently, there were eight other survivors, all taken into custody for questioning. I'm expected to answer some questions once I can talk. She wanders off on some tangent, checking my clipboard.

Vaguely, I hear the hospital TV ramble on about some cult being tied with the Furinkan incident. So that's what they're calling it.

I let my mind wander back to what I saw. Ranma, at the end of the tunnel? Saotome as God… Well, that would explain a lot. Like how everything in the world seems to happen to me… How that damn Ranma gets all the breaks, and ruins my life without even trying…

It's the nurse's scream that brings me out of my musings. My right hand goes slack, and I can feel the powdered remains of that cast crumble. Stupid Saotome…

Someone runs up with a needle.

Everything starts to get fuzzy… and fades into darkness.


I feel… weird. Numb, that's the word. It must be some weird medicine they gave me after that knockout stuff.

Whatever it is, it's STRONG. I think I'm hallucinating. My cast seems see-through, like it isn't really there.

"'Bout time ya woke up, P-chan."

Great… Now Ranma's here. What else could go wrong?

He walks towards me, stepping through a bed, hovering over-

Waitaminute…

Through a bed?

THROUGH a bed!?

You'd be surprised how loud someone with a wired jaw and five broken ribs can scream. I know I was.

Ranma holds his ears for a moment, then yells at me. "Dammit, Ryoga! This is a HOSPITAL! Shaddup!" He slaps me, confirming my long held belief that Ranma is the scum of the earth. Beating up on a guy in a cast…

"Now then… Ryoga, get up for a minute." Great. First he wants to beat me up, after nearly getting me killed, and then he wants a guy in a full body cast to sit up for his sick little games.

Naturally, I do the sensible thing. I try my hardest to go back to sleep.

"Stupid pig… get up!" He grabs my arm, and tosses me off the bed. I get up, ready to kill the jerk, when I see a sight that makes me want to write my will. My own body, still in that bed, lying very still.

"YOU KILLED ME!" I leap at Ranma, intent on returning the favor.
He takes a few steps to his left, standing in the bed next to mine.
I slam my head into the wall, and slide back.

"I didn't kill ya, P-chan."

"Then what do you call THIS?!" I gesture frantically at my body.

"One of those outta body experiences, ya stupid pig."

It's at this point that I finally notice where he's standing. In my little suite-mate's bed. And, coincidently, in his LEG. Not that he's noticing. "Ranma?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you dead?"

Ranma chuckles, although not with that usual sense of pride. "Yeah… who'da guessed it? The Invincible Saotome, stopped by one measly little piece of steel."

It takes him a minute to notice my dance of joy.

"DAMMIT, RYOGA!" He slams a punch into my skull, glaring at me. "This is serious!"

I get up, doing my best not to dance, although I can't keep out that hysterical laugh. I won! Ranma can't get in my way anymore! I can ask Akane out! I can find a cure! I CAN GET MY NOODLE BREAD!

His second punch is much less friendly than his first, dropping me flat. Where'd he learn to hit like that?

"Pay attention, P-chan!"

"What do you want, Saotome?" Must control urge to laugh, must control urge to laugh…

"I want ya to help them, Ryoga."

"What?" Well, that took care of my need to laugh.

"They're all gonna be shaken up by what's happened. The school bein' blown up, all those people killed…" Ranma clenches his hand, and for a moment, it looks like he could use the Shishihokodan.

Then he seems to give up. He slumps forward, his fist relaxing, "Ryoga, look. I know ya hate me. Lookin' back, I still don't know why. But they'll all need someone to help them."

I almost smile for a moment, as Ranma begins to continue.

"An' Tofu is off in America, mom still doesn't know I'm in Japan, the Old Crone is likely to poison 'em all…' He went on like this for nearly an hour. "…and then I tried Taro, but he's still lookin' for the Old Pervert…"

Before he can get to the Jusenkyo guide, I take a quick swing at him. "And you want my help, you moron?"

"Of course, P-chan. Haven't you been paying attention?" He leans away from the punch, frowning at me, "I don't wanna say this twice."

For some reason, I don't try to kill him again there. Maybe because I'm busy strangling down a scream of frustration. Then I glare at him. "What would I do, Ranma? Make everything in a skirt  my girlfriend and ruin some poor kid's life?"

"Hey! I never did that!"

I just stare at him for a few minutes. "Idiot."

He mumbles something about bacon-bits, and glares at me, "I'm not askin' ya to be me, P-chan. I just want ya to help them."

"How?"

"I dunno… talk to them. Just be there when they need it."

"Why should I?" No one ever helped me.

"Because ya know what its like not to have any help."

For a moment, I think Ranma just insulted me. But there was no sting, no bite behind his voice. He sounds— tired. It's behind his eternally happy-go-lucky exterior, but it's there.

I look back on my life. I grew up without my parents for most of it… just Checkers and me in that house. I didn't have too many friends, and the teachers were always telling me that I could never make it to anything on time, that I would always be late.

The truth hits me like a ton of bricks.

I was… alone?

But what about Akane? About… about… what was her name… Ukyo! They like me! We're friends…

Friends.

She thinks of me as a friend.

Love can bloom from friendship, can't it?

She can love me… can't she?

I look at Ranma while trying to sort out all the emotions flying about in my mind. He looks at me, a sort of painful expression on his face. Hope? He's looking at me hopefully? Almost as soon as I see it, the look flies from his face, a cocky smile back in place.

It doesn't hide his eyes, though. It's still there… the vulnerability. I never actually thought Ranma could feel helpless.

"Well, P-chan?"

That son of a… He actually needs me to do this.

"Why me?"

"'Cause yer the best they've got. You've felt alone before, Ryoga. Y' know what can help, an' what just make it worse." Is Saotome actually complementing me?

"'Sides, ya know everyone, and ya can almost be sane sometimes."

The ground hitting my face makes a nice "WHAM!" sound.

As I get up, I can hear Ranma chuckle. "Sorry, P-chan. Needed one for the road."

I take a quick swing at him, forgetting the fact he doesn't have a body anymore. "Let me give you a LIFT, THEN!" It's like I'm swinging at air. There's just nothing for me to hit.

Ranma suddenly looks up, and then back at me. "I've gotta go, Ryoga. Help them."

A second later, I'm looking up at the ceiling through the little eyeholes in my cast.

 

To be continued.


Authorís Notes: WHEE!! Iím DONE! Well, itís only this chapter, but ITíS STILL FINISHED!!

AhemÖ This chapter was by and large an excuse to get Ryoga and Ranmaís personalities down. While it does contribute to the story, it isnít really that necessary. Still, itís done, and I managed to write it, albeit with a lot of help, so I can be proud.

Chapter 3
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Old Gray Wolf