"Heart Nibun no Naisho"
or "Two part secret heart"
A Ranma 1/2 fan fiction by Pia-san

First of all… I ask for your forgiveness, oh dear readers. I didn't mean to take so long to update. Explanations and responses at the bottom. Please forgive poor sessha…

Disclaimer: All the legal stuff that everybody knows goes here. None of the characters are mine; they belong to Rumiko Takahashi and to Viz Communications. The characters are being used without permission, and if anybody has a problem with that, so what. I don't, and anyway I'm not making a profit out of this and neither can you, so there! Okay, enough is enough.

Chapter Two

(By this time, you, the astute reader, would have expected Nabiki to show up, camera in hand. If not her, then Kuno spouting his creepy poetry, or Shampoo on her delivery bike. If not that, then perhaps someone would accidentally splash Ranma with cold water, or maybe Ryouga would come running up to them swearing that Ranma would be a dead man shortly… and you wouldn't be wrong.)

*Ring* *ring* *ring*…


Ranma was suddenly very wet and cold. He abruptly jumped to his feet, allowing Akane to fall on her backside on the now muddy ground. Shampoo was
sitting on her bicycle in front of them, an empty bucket in her hand.

"Whatcha do that for?" Ranma yelled.

Shampoo produced a kettle from her bicycle basket, and poured steaming hot water over the furious Ranma.

"Nihao, Ranma! Husband happy to see Shampoo? Wife come just in time to save Ranma from kiss tomboy! Ranma happy?" Shampoo hopped off the bike and gave Ranma one of her mega-hugs, while Ranma struggled for air.

"Lemme go! I'm not happy and I wasn't gonna kiss her! Let go!"

Ranma was too busy trying to get away from Shampoo to notice Akane's face turning white. She picked up her book bag, stood up, and walked a couple of feet away from the tree. She turned to look at Ranma and Shampoo again.

"Now Akane out of way, Ranma kiss Shampoo, yes?"

Ranma was still fighting for air. "I ain't kissing nobody!"

Shampoo gave Ranma a little frown. "Why? Ranma no want Shampoo?"

Ranma called up all his strength, and in a desperate bid for freedom actually managed to loosen Shampoo's grip slightly. It was just enough to so that Ranma could draw a breath again. "No! I don't wanna kiss you, much less marry you!"

Shampoo stood straight, her hands on her hips. "If Ranma no want marry Shampoo…" She reached into her basket, and pulled out her Bonbori. "…Then he must want marry Akane…"

"No way!"

"Shampoo no can allow that… Shampoo kill!"

She charged him, and Ranma began to desperately backpedal, automatically falling into the litany that had saved him so many times before. "…Who would wanna marry that kawaiikune tomboy anyway? She's uncute, unsexy, she has no figure, she has the grace of a gorilla, her cooking is toxic waste, she's stubborn as a mule, she…"

Shampoo stopped attacking to listen to him, and Ranma started using his fingers to count off Akane's bad points. All of a sudden Ranma heard a strangled sob coming from where Akane was standing at the same time that the thought of a beautiful, smiling Akane flashed through his mind. Oh, shit. I did it again… he thought a fraction of a second later. After a second, he looked at Akane.

She had tears in her eyes, and looked miserable. She just stared at Ranma for a second, long enough to see Shampoo hug him again. "I'll see you around, Ranma…" she said in a small, sad voice. Then she turned around and started running with no particular direction.

"Akane! Please, wait for me! I didn't mean that! Please, Akane! Wait!"

In less than half a minute, Akane was nowhere to be seen.

The next couple of minutes saw Ranma struggling to get out of Shampoo's death grip. (She was locked in ‘Shampoo-love-Ranma’ mode, and we all know what that means…)

Once again, it took all his strength to squirm free of Shampoo's loving clutches. Before she could charge him again, he held up his right hand in a sign for Shampoo to stop. "Listen, Shampoo…"

Her eyes were sparkling. "Ranma dump Akane and marry Shampoo, yes?"

Ranma started to get mad. "Shampoo, I'm not going to marry you, you got that? There's no way I'll ever marry you!"

Shampoo's eyes weren't sparkling as much any more. "Why? Ranma no love Shampoo?"

Ranma took a deep breath. This was going to be the last time he was going to explain it to her, and he wanted to make it perfectly clear. "That's right Shampoo. I don't love you. I never will. I'm really sorry about it, but I just don't love you."

Shampoo gazed at the ground and bit her lower lip. "But Shampoo love Ranma and…"

Ranma interrupted her. "But I don't love you back, Shampoo."

Shampoo's eyes started filling with tears. Tears of anger, most likely. Why would Ranma so easily discard her?

If there was something Ranma just couldn't stand, it was the sight of a crying girl. Never mind that… he thought with a pang of guilt. He wanted to fix his problem with Shampoo once and for all. And he might as well solve it now. He'd been delaying this too much already.

Shampoo looked up. "But Ranma must marry Shampoo! Amazon law say so!"

"But it's not my law, Shampoo!"

Shampoo lowered her gaze to the ground, her fists tight by her sides. She started crying silently. Ranma reached for her.

"I'm really sorry, Shampoo… but—"

"DON'T touch me," she hissed.

Ranma just sighed and let his arm drop. "I'm never going back to your village again. My life is here, now. And you better understand that. You should go back. I'd bet there are lots of guys who would like to marry you there…"

Shampoo looked up again. "Ranma no understand. Tribe need new blood. Strong blood… Shampoo cannot…" her voice trailed off.

"Why me?!" Ranma was suddenly exasperated, "There's a whole entire world of people out there! Why just me? You could have anybody! It's not even my fault if Pops just had to drag me to your village! I didn't choose any of it! Never wanted any of it! And say we get married, then what? You'll be trying to kill me half of the time in my girl form! Where's the sense in that, huh?" Ranma turned his head and took a deep breath. "Trying to kill your own husband…" he mumbled to himself.

Shampoo was angry. She could feel her blood boiling inside. How dare he mock the ancient laws? Despite it all, she remained still. "But Shampoo love Ranma," she stated plainly, almost void of emotion.

"Oh, no you don't, Shampoo… You just think you do."

"Why Ranma so certain? Maybe Ranma know what love is, and Shampoo not know. Right?!" Her anger was mixing with sadness now, "Leaving home for Ranma! Coming to land Shampoo hate for Ranma! Building life around Ranma! Always caring! That is love!!" Shampoo finished losing whatever calm she had left.

"But it's not love, Shampoo," Ranma said softly, "You came here because of your law, not because of me. You would have come after anyone who could defeat you."

Shampoo's tears would not stop, just as her face wouldn't let that ugly scowl drop.

"That's right, Shampoo… You would have come after anyone. I'm just a passing hobby to you."

The Chinese girl's features softened a bit, right before her knees decided to give way to her weight. She fell to the ground. "Just hobby…" Shampoo mumbled. "Then Ranma know what love it?"

"I guess I know… I'm not—"

"Ranma love Akane, right?" she interrupted him.

Ranma gazed at the ground and took a deep breath. "Yes, I love Akane."

There was a long silence before Ranma spoke again.

"Look, Shampoo. I know that you've tried to make me love you with a whole bunch of different Amazon tricks, but… wouldn't you be unhappy knowing that your husband wasn't really in love with you? That it's all a fake? Why not find somebody who loves you for what you are, and not because he's drugged? You are a very pretty girl, so I don't think you would have to look very far. God knows Mousse would give his right arm if you would just smile at him."

Shampoo stared at Ranma. "But Shampoo no love Mousse…"

Ranma just smiled at her. His smile didn't bring her comfort. Instead, she felt she was being laughed at. She felt her anger returning. She slowly stood up, then raised her head to meet his eyes. "This not over yet." With that, she turned to leave.

"But it is over, Shampoo. No matter what you do, my answer will always be the same, so you better get used to it. Don't stay here. You'll be wasting your life."

Shampoo jumped on her bike with one final look behind her. All she saw was Ranmas serious expression. "And if you ever dare to touch Akane…" He didn't feel like finishing the sentence.

"Shampoo understands… but not give up on Ranma yet. Maybe you get tired of violent girl after all." She turned her back on him, and looked up. "Ranma go home fast… look like rain coming. He no want get wet…"

He smiled. "Yeah… Thanks, Shampoo."

With that, Shampoo pedaled away.

Ranma just stood there feeling the wind blow, until Shampoo was out of sight. He really felt he had accomplished something, though he wasn't sure why. But then again, this was just a small part of the problem. He still had to deal with the other two girls.

He dropped to the ground, crossing his legs and supporting his head on the palm of his hand, feeling defeated all over again.

He thought of Akane then. He had to talk to her. They could surely solve this mess together.

Oh god, I really hope Shampoo got the message through that thick skull of hers. What a mess. I hope Akane went straight home after THAT.

Thinking about it made him remember the reason why he was walking around Tokyo this late at night. He couldn't help to worry thinking maybe she didn't, and was still walking around Tokyo on this cold weather.

Damn rain, he thought bitterly, looking down at his curvaceous figure.

Akane had just started running. The direction wasn't important, as long as she got as far away from Ranma as she could, as soon as possible. He was so stupid! He had come so damn close to saying it this time, but then what did he do? He started insulting her the same way he always did! She had never been sure if it was just an act when he was being nice to her, but maybe that was it. He was only nice to her for his own sick reasons. She felt like she should have hit him, but she'd done that so many times it didn't mean anything anymore. Another thing she could do would be to call off the engagement again, but that would mean living without Ranma. She couldn't do it. It would just be a lie, and she was determined that she wouldn't lie to herself ever again.

But if he really was such a jerk, why didn't she just leave him behind and forget him? That's what you have to do girl, forget him.

But she couldn't. There was something she had finally understood about his yelling all those names at her. He had done it so often that it had become an automatic response. That knowledge had eventually come to Akane, but knowing it didn't make his mouth any easier to tolerate.

It was beginning to rain. She decided to head towards home, hoping to beat the worst of it. She didn't really want to get wet. Why was it raining now, when the sky had been so clear before? Probably Kami-sama's revenge on Ranma for being such a thoughtless ass, she figured.

She didn't really have a problem with the other girls anymore. Akane knew that Ranma would never consider Ukyo more than a friend, and that Shampoo was a crazy bimbo just like Kodachi. She also knew that Ranma wouldn't deliberately hurt a girl's feelings if he just took the time to think about what he was going to say. It was because of that damn engagement that Ranma treated her like he did. He had told her so just a half-hour ago.

What was it that made her so angry, then? The more she thought about it, the more it was obvious to her that it was his basic attitude that drove her completely mad. He always talked first and thought about it later, and said things he didn't mean.

Still, she wasn't being very smart. If a guy treated a girl like crap, why should she put up with it? As she ran towards the dojo, she knew why. She knew deep inside her heart. It was because… "Ranma… you jackass… I love you so much!" she shouted.

Her tears started running down her face again, mixing with the rain. She had run for so long that it was hard to breathe, and her side was hurting. Although her mind seemed to be working things out so neatly, her spirit just wasn't willing to cooperate. She ran through the rain, crying all the way home.

The rain always brought the same thought to her mind. She could just see Ranma cursing the rain. Cold water seemed to find him everywhere he went. She smiled a little at the thought. Ranma no baka…

She thought of Ranma yelling that she was his fiancée, that one time when Kirin wanted to marry her and Ranma had been in girl form. He could be so nice sometimes, she thought. Like the time soon after they had been engaged, and he'd told that ice skater, Sanzenin, that she was his fiancée, and threatened to kill him if Sanzenin tried to kiss her again. She remembered when both of them had been in the Ryugenzawa forest. Ranma had done everything he could to convince her to leave Shinnosuke, the forgetful boy Ranma thought she was in love with. He had acted like he really cared about her. He had even held her hand when they were walking back home, all on his own. That had made her feel so good. But those times never last…

Yeah. She was sure that he was right, that it was all the fault of the forced engagement. Whenever they had been alone, they had been able to get really close to each other… like this afternoon in the park, although never quite as close as this time. But then he had to act like the same old insensitive jerk…

She felt like she was caught up in total confusion, because Ranma could be so callous one moment, then be so sweet a minute later, and because the mood always seemed to get ruined.

Suddenly, she was in front of the dojo gate, and only then noticed that she was soaked to the skin.


To be continued…

Author's notes: Hello again! Thanks for reading this. I apologize once again for the late, late update. But I just had to rewrite the Shampoo scene. In the previous one, she just walked away, even promising Ranma to help him deal with Ukyo and Kodachi! Go figure. Only God know what I was thinking, 'cause I sure can't remember. ^^

I just wanted to give Shampoo a little more credit. Even if she's not my favorite character, I still think she's a tough one. I like her enough for that. Plus, she lives in a Chinese restaurant… and I love Chinese food… @_@

And here's to the wonderful reviewers, 'cause I seriously wasn't expecting anyone to actually like this:

Once again, please send me a review. I'd love to hear what you think, and criticism is always welcome. Oh! And thanks for reading. And I promise to be posting within a week, if not this weekend. Thanks again for the reviews! Love you guys!

Ja ne!