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Chocolate Oranges:
Atsuki Chishio Ni

a Ranma ½ fan fiction story
by Rylan Hilman (sabremau@yahoo.com)

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

It's been a peculiarly tangible day, Nabiki remarked silently to nobody in particular as she sat on the smoothly wooden porch of her house, gazing out at the pond in which untold aquatic adventures, unheeded by its human landlord, progressed silently day in and day out. It seemed, at first glance, to be a somewhat standard Thursday afternoon, with the cloud layer reminding one less of a celestial quilt of lumpiness and more of a threadbare white flannel sheet, slightly tossed aside on the west edge. It made Nabiki feel tired, yet oddly alert. One of the carp began to make a swimming sprint in preparation for a quick leap through the surface of the water, but then thought the better of it.

Nabiki turned her attentions away from the unnaturally serene panorama of the neighborhood to look back into the empty house. Akane had excused herself soon after breakfast, giving a nearly inaudible explanation of some sort before ducking into the back yard, climbing over the wall, and sprinting off. Upon reflection, Nabiki realized that this seemed a little strange, but at the time she just plain hadn't noticed. Ranma and Kasumi left to go to a disco, walking hand in hand, and this too, only at a later time, had raised an eyebrow or two, though not both at once. Nothing to worry about, she thought to herself, or at least she liked to imagine she had. The reluctant carp nibbled a few pieces of vegetation, trying to gather courage for his second attempt.

Her dad had taken a bath. This was one of the things he did at times, and most people, especially in Japan, would see this as a perfectly normal activity, except that most people, even in Japan, don't take their baths at three in the morning and stay in there well past four PM. Luckily, Ryoga had passed by three times, and each time had reported to Nabiki that he "wasn't quite done washing his hair", and "worried about lunch", which had calmed her down considerably, except at those times when she stopped in her tracks to think about it for a while, before continuing on with her routine.

The trouble of it all was, as she continued her internal debate, that her routine was less so today than other days. There was this occasional thought that she ought to go to school, and that many other people ought to as well, but somehow there didn't seem to be a need. Nor much of a want, for that matter. Moreover, for some bizarre reason, there didn't seem to be a school. Yet these occasional thoughts persisted, and this only served to make Nabiki even more tired, as well as even more alert.

To ease her troubled mind, Genma had remained. Unfortunately, he had quite forgotten his panda form, and, just as Nabiki had gathered enough resolve to go to the kitchen for something to drink, he leaped over the wall of the backyard and pranced about in his newly acquired elk form. It appeared as though he had designed it personally, as his neck was easily a meter long if it was a centimeter. This, apart from all else that had happened on this day, helped her relax to some small degree. The adventurous carp, seeing Genma's rasorial dance, began to formulate a plan.

Nabiki entered the kitchen, which had the splendid luck of becoming a great comfort to her, what with the rest of the family off and about doing who-knows-what all day. Now all that remained was a classic dilemma: whether to eat or to drink. There was plenty of breakfast left over, but she considered that highly suspect, not just for the fact that Akane had prepared it, but for the fact that Akane, Ranma, and Genma had, and with an inordinate amount of eagerness, as well. There was other food about, but it was mostly fit only for an elk.

Suddenly, she jumped back as if a bell the size of Okinawa had struck. There was something most definitely not right about today, she knew that now. Even her tired-yet-alert state hadn't caught on in time, and she felt as if that had been a major mistake. However, it took her a few seconds to think of some way to correct her oversight.

"I need a drink."

After having informed the kitchen at large, even with nobody present, Nabiki soon decided that she had been addressing the refrigerator, seeing as that was the most logical thing to do. She slowly edged towards it, keeping one eye on the breakfast sitting on the table, minding its own business quite well, and the other on the window, as she half-expected Genma to have shifted his form once again and stuck his head through the window, as if to nibble on some breakfast laying nearby. She finally got to the fridge, and with one hand calmly trembling, carefully opened the door and looked inside.

It was filled with Snapple and Jell-O.

Genma burst through the window, a carp silently biting onto his leg, and galloped over to the fridge, where he began to eat and drink.

Nabiki, deciding that Thursday wasn't a good day for this, calmly passed out with a fever.


To be continued.

Episode II
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