Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Family Secrets ❯ Chapter 2: Some Truth ( Chapter 2 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
- Ranma belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.
- This story is made for fun and is meant for the enjoyment of the fans.
- I have to thank JadeDragonHawk for revised this chapter & Louise McCrowe for reviewing it. Thank you very much.
- Please R&R.
- If anybody wants to be a pre reader and help me you only have to e-mail me. I would be happy to accept. Thanks.
- I would like to have illustrations of my histories. So if anyone is interested, please email me. Thanks.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Chapter 2: Some Truth.
Upon hearing his mother's response, Ranma's first reaction was disbelief. It wasn't that he didn't believe his mother; he couldn't believe her. What she had just told them was impossible. It was a joke; it had to be a joke. He was so convinced of it that he wouldn't have been surprised, in that moment, if his mother had acknowledged it with a big smile.
However, one glance at Nodoka's face was enough to bury that idea.
After giving them the astounding news, his mother hadn't moved from her place; she'd just stopped stirring the tea, and had turned toward them. Her relaxed attitude had disappeared completely, being replaced by a serious expression without a trace of humor. A sad look on her eyes that expected, and feared, their reaction.
Ranma couldn't register all these details but felt, without needing any further proof, that his mother wasn't joking; she had told them the truth.
Before he could fully assimilate the news, his companion exploded in indignation. Akane always had been quick-tempered, especially when she felt humiliated as in this case.
She, like Ranma, couldn't believe that they were brother and sister, but neither could she conceive that anyone could joke about something so serious. She could only think of one explanation for Ranma's mother's sabotage of their wedding. And that was, for some reason, she had found Akane unworthy of Ranma. Telling them that they were siblings, a lie, was a subtle way of rejecting Akane without humiliating her publicly. This way, her son was free to marry someone else more "adequate", while the relationship between the two families remained intact.
Apparently, their feelings didn't matter at all. But if their parents believed that she would submit to their authority without a fight, they were very wrong.
At that moment Akane decided to fight their parents' decision with all her strength, without realizing that this would prove, beyond any doubt, that she cared for Ranma.
She wiped her tears with the cuff of her blouse, looked at Nodoka with steely determination and snapped.
"Well! Don't count me in for this charade!"
Turning around, she stormed out of the room at a steady pace and slammed the door behind her.
The echoes were still resounding in the room, when her fiancé turned round to the door, ready to follow her. But he hadn't taken a single step, when his mother called him.
"Ranma! Wait! Don't go! It's better to leave her alone for now. Give her time to accept it."
Her words had an immediate effect on Ranma who stopped, wondering what to do.
On one hand, he wanted to follow and talk to Akane, ask her if she was ok… but he knew that his mother was right. It was better to give her time. He also had to recognize that words weren't his forte and, in such a delicate moment, it wasn't unlikely that he would say something inappropriate and make the situation worse. But he wanted to be with her, support and comfort her...
Before he could make a final decision, Akane's footsteps faded into the distance.
Believing that it was too late to follow her, Ranma turned towards his mother with a sigh of resignation. Again face to face, the boy looked into her eyes and asked with a pleading voice.
"Mom, please, tell me. What you said, is it true? That we're ... we are ..."
He was unable to pronounce the word, but his mother understood him perfectly.
"Yes, it's true," she replied without hesitation; only a slight sadness clouded her words.
"Is Soun my father?" the boy managed to ask with broken voice.
"Then, you and Genma are Akane's parents?"
The answers had been clear, but so concise, that Ranma was starting to become exasperated by the little information obtained.
"If you aren't Akane's parents, and Soun isn't my father, then how could we be siblings?" the young man asked slightly annoyed.
"It's true that both of you have the same parents; however, of those whom you consider to be your parents, none of us really are."
Ranma kept quiet with his head bowed, while he assimilated what his mother, or at least the woman that he had believed was his mother; had told him.
Most of his life he hadn't known who his mother was; when he finally met her, a stupid promise prevented him from appearing as her son. And now, when they could finally be a normal family, it was she who admitted to not being his mother.
This news had thrown his heart into indescribable chaos.
Surprise, anger, disbelief and fear fought each other to gain supremacy among his emotions. Meanwhile, confidence, weakened by the doubts about his origins, watched from a prudent distance.
Suddenly he remembered a detail, impossible to falsify, that belied his mother's allegations.
Slowly, he raised his head and with a strangely calm voice for the circumstances, he said,
"Everything's a lie! If you're not my mother, how do you explain that we look so alike?"
"You're right. We are so alike, that I don't understand how I didn't realize before that you were Ranma." Her words were nothing more than thinking aloud. "When you told me that you were Akane's cousin, I believed it and didn't think more about it. The truth is that I don't have a good memory for faces."
A faint smile appeared on her face as she remembered when she mistook Ranma for a stranger.
Nodoka shook those thoughts out of her head, looked her son in the eye, and said very seriously.
"Believe me when I tell you that I always have and will love you as if you were my own son. But what I told you is true. I am not your mother. The woman who gave birth to you is my older sister."
The young man couldn't hide his surprise and, with a look of utter amazement, he repeated the words that would change his life.
"That's right," Nodoka confirmed. Feeling that an explanation was needed, she added, "Although she was three years older than me, we looked so much alike that even our parents used to mistake us until she started wearing glasses."
Ranma wasn't listening.
Once his adoptive mother confirmed the shocking news, he started to walk slowly towards the door leading to the garden. Nodoka said nothing, but followed him with a sad look, looking for a gesture of understanding on his figure.
She didn't find it.
The young man, stunned by what he had learned, walked completely absorbed, without seeing the pleading eyes of the woman, that until that moment he had considered to be his mother.
When he was about to leave the room, she asked slightly worried.
"Where are you going, Ranma?"
This stopped him momentarily under the lintel of the door.
"I'm going to... train," he suddenly said without turning, as if he just had the idea.
Without saying a word, the boy went out into the garden, turned the corner of the house and disappeared from sight. Alone again, Nodoka stared at the garden with tears in her eyes, and the name of the boy whom she considered her son on her lips.
The door opened with such force that it bounced off the wall, and nearly hit Akane when she entered. Without stopping, she slammed the door with a resounding thud, and launched her school-bag at the table that was beneath the window. Its heavy landing displaced what was already on the table, knocking part of it over.
She didn't pay attention to the pattering of objects on the ground, and threw herself full-length on the bed, hugging the pillow.
Alone in her room, Akane's anger and indignation soon lost their intensity, like a fire left unfed; leaving behind a lingering feeling of despair, which crystallized into a simple question.
"Why do they do this?"
The forced betrothal, the other fiancées, preparing two weddings and sabotaging everything at the last minute; everything was expressed in that complaint, formulated as a question in a whisper.
Trying to find meaning in such nonsense, the girl searched among her memories for anything that could have made her inadequate in the eyes of Nodoka. Unfortunately, her mood and insecurities stained the memories, making them blacker than they really were; and as the tears returned to flow down her cheeks, she felt absolute certainty that Ranma's mother didn't want her as her child's wife. The events that had occurred since their return from China proved it.
Before Akane could sink further into despair, someone knocked on the door. The unexpected sound shocked the young woman who only managed to sit up on the bed and ask with a quivering voice.
"Who is it?"
"Akane! It's me, Nodoka! May I come in?"
The girl froze, not knowing what to do. She didn't want to see the woman who had rejected her; not so soon. Although she burned with desire to ask Nodoka the reasons why she couldn't marry her son. And this time she wanted the truth, not a stupid lie.
In view of the lack of response, Nodoka insisted.
"Akane, let me in, please."
Her voice was tinged with concern, but the young woman, immersed in her indecision, didn't notice it.
The minutes passed slowly, until the voice of Ranma's mother was heard again.
"Akane! I'm coming in!"
The door didn't take long to open and Nodoka walked into the room. A look helped her to realize the mess caused by the landing of the school-bag, the objects lying around and the small stains on the pillow; before her eyes landed on Akane, who had turned upon hearing the door opening.
Her reddened face, watery eyes and the trails of tears that flowed down her cheeks were sufficient confirmation of Nodoka's fears.
"Oh Akane! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" she cried. "Believe me, my intention wasn't to hurt you."
The young woman didn't react at first, but slowly the sadness left her features and, as its embers ignited, anger took its place.
"Why have you come?" she asked with furious tone.
"I want to talk with you," Nodoka replied slowly and gently, but with a hint of concern, trying to calm Akane. "And know how you are."
"And how did you think I was going to be?" the girl exploded. "Jumping for joy?"
Akane's voice oozed so much sarcasm, that it caused Nodoka to shudder visibly. She had to clasp her hands in front of her chest to try to control the tremor that ran through her body.
"I understand how you feel," she began soothingly.
'And what do you know about how I feel?' the young woman thought irritated.
"When I found out, it was too late to stop the wedding in another way."
On saying that, Nodoka lowered her eyes to avoid looking at Akane, lest she be caught out in her lie. Although it was true that the sabotage was the only way of stopping the wedding that had occurred to her, none of this would have been necessary if she had told the fathers what she knew, or thought she knew. However, this meant she had to admit to Genma that Ranma wasn't their son and, for many reasons, Nodoka hadn't strength to tell her husband the truth.
"I know that I ruined your day," she continued, "but if you had married, it would have been much worse."
Her insistence on such an absurd lie only further infuriated Akane, who with great difficulty managed to control herself enough to refrain from yelling at her.
"At least tell me why you don't want us to get married. Is it because I don't know how to cook or because I'm not as a good fighter as him?"
Nodoka's mind took a few seconds to understand what the girl had just said and its connotations; but when she got it, her reaction was of complete and genuine surprise.
"Do you think that I have invented everything, because I don't want you to marry my son? Oh, Akane! Do you think that ...? "
The young woman couldn't take it anymore.
"Enough!" she shouted. "Stop lying! It's just the two of us. You don't need to lie to anybody! Come on! Dare to tell me the truth!"
The last words came out choked with emotion, while the tears ran down her face freely again.
Nodoka winced at seeing the girl's suffering. She regretted what she had to do, although she kept telling herself it would have been worse if she had done nothing. This thought had consoled her when she had sabotaged the wedding, but it was no longer enough.
Trying not to think about it anymore, Ranma's mother attempted to calm her son's fiancée, and with her most soothing and quiet voice, she said,
"Akane, there is no reason why I wouldn't want you to marry Ranma. Moreover, I'd be the first to be glad for your happiness. Unfortunately, I fear that Ranma is your brother."
The girl continued crying with her head bowed, without say anything.
After a little hesitation, Nodoka sat on the bed next to Akane and tried to hug her.
"No!" Akane said sobbing, while she raised her arm to move Nodoka away. "Leave me alone! I don't need you to console me!"
Undeterred, the woman dodged girl's raised arm, and wrapped her in a hug while whispering soothingly in her ear.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Akane didn't have the strength to move her away, or perhaps it was that, despite her initial rejection, she really needed the consolation; the fact was that both remained embraced for a long time in the silence of the room, broken only by the sobs of the girl and the reassuring whispers of her companion.
After a while Nodoka felt the girl's breath slowly calming, while her sobs died down. Happy to be able to help, Ranma's mother remained embracing Akane silently.
Finally, the silence was broken by the young woman.
"Why? Why, if we're siblings, didn't you tell us in the first place? Why did you let me fal..."
Akane's voice broke off from the emotion, unable to finish the sentence.
"I would have done if I had known, but I only discovered it after the bird-men kidnapped you."
Surprised, Akane broke the hug and stared at Nodoka with tearful eyes.
"Do you expect me to believe that, until now, you didn't know that Ranma was your son? What was the cause? A collective hallucination for nine months?"
The teenager felt herself getting worked up, just thinking about how she had been about to believe such a stupid lie. There was no way this entire story was true. This was the real world, not a manga in which the couple who are the two main characters, after being separated at birth, meet again in their teens.
Nevertheless, Nodoka kept Akane's gaze. When she spoke her voice was clearly annoyed.
"Of course I knew that Ranma wasn't my son! How couldn't I know it, when I wasn't the one who gave birth to him?" While she spoke her eyes started to fill with tears. "But I've always considered him my son, even if I wasn't a good mother. Not a day goes by that I don't regret having accepted that stupid contract and allowing Genma to take him away for ten years." Unable to hold back her tears any longer, her eyes welled up. "I would do anything to make him happy, and I won't allow you to ruin your lives by getting married. Not after what Soun told me."
Akane, surprised by this unexpected confession, didn't know what to say and sat listening in silence.
The day had been long and tough for the residents of the house. Not only having to deal with the abduction of Akane, but also continuing their daily tasks. Therefore Nodoka was a bit surprised when, after finishing tiding the kitchen, she saw that the living room light was still on.
She quickly assumed it would be Soun who was there. This wasn't very difficult, considering that Happosai had not been seen in the house for days, and Akane's sisters had long since retired to their rooms.
For a time Nodoka stood in the doorway of the kitchen, unsure of what to do. Finally, despite her exhaustion, she decided to see how Soun was, since Akane's kidnapping had been a hard blow for him.
On reaching the room, she found him sitting at the table, flipping through a photo album with teary eyes. Before him there were two empty bottles of sake, and a third one that was almost finished.
She quietly observed the scene from the door leading to the garden, and could not help but feel sorry for the state in which the patriarch of the Tendo family found himself.
The moment that he placed, with a trembling hand, the third empty bottle on the table, she walked toward the drunken, slouched figure with the reddened face, a shadow of what was supposed to be a master of martial arts.
"Soun, you should stop. You've drunk too much," she said with a firm but compassionate tone.
Upon hearing those words he turned and, for a moment, he didn't recognize the woman standing beside him.
Then his face lit up and his eyes were filled with tears again. Suddenly he leapt onto her, hugged her legs and said with a broken voice.
"Oh Kimiko! I'm sorry! I couldn't fulfill the promise. Please, forgive me!"
Nodoka, paralyzed by the shock, needed a few seconds to remember that Kimiko was the name of Soun's deceased wife. Apparently, the sake's fumes had made Soun mix them up.
Sorrow filled Nodoka's heart, but her head reminded her that she was in a very awkward position.
Without losing a moment she tried, in the least violent way possible, to escape his grasp; while she repeated over and over again, that she wasn't Kimiko. Her voice wasn't able to penetrate the haze of his drunkenness and, in his confusion, Soun told her a secret that he had never revealed to anyone.
"Forgive me! I hadn't strength to tell her that we aren't her real parents. Now the bird-men have kidnapped her and I don't know if we'll ever see…"
The rest, unintelligible, was drowned by his tears.
The surprise stopped Nodoka's attempts to free herself; and she kept watching in compassionate silence, the distraught man still hugging her legs.
However, after the first moment of stupor, Nodoka wasn't surprised to discover that Akane was adopted. Although it wasn't as common as in other countries, adoptions weren't totally unusual in Japan. She, for example, had to take care of his sister's son…
Without any warning, her mind was struck by a feeling leaving her confused and afraid. She tried with all her might to dismiss that thought, but doubt had already rooted deep in her heart.
With more force than necessary, she grabbed Soun by the shoulders and while shaking him to get his attention, she asked.
"Who are Akane's parents? Soun please, tell me."
Soun looked at her through veiled eyes without appearing to have understood her question. Then, slowly, he turned to the album, raised his arm and pointed to one of the photos. Nodoka had to bend to see whom he pointed at. When she managed to discern it, her eyes widened and her breath faltered.
It couldn't be. It was impossible, but she knew that man. Although she had seen him only once in her life, she had never forgotten his features. The man, to whom Soun pointed, was her sister's husband. The man from whose arms she had received Ranma.
Once it became clear that Nodoka had finished her story, Akane asked, clearly surprised.
"And is that all?"
Nodoka nodded without turning to look at her.
The girl, unable to sit still, began to wander around the room, pausing briefly, from time to time, in front of Nodoka.
"You're saying that you sabotaged our wedding... No! Worse! You told Ukyo to sabotage our wedding because you think that Ranma and I are siblings. And the only evidence you have is that you thought you recognized in a photo the man who gave Ranma to you?"
The tone of her voice rose as she spoke, so that her last words were screamed rather than spoken.
"That man is Ranma's father!" Nodoka tried to defend herself.
"I don't care!" Akane shouted angrily. "Even if he's Ranma's father, that doesn't make him my father!"
Nodoka remained seated shaking her head. Akane didn't notice, or didn't want to notice it, and continued arguing loudly; at times, at the top of her voice.
"What proof do you have? That my father had a picture of him doesn't mean anything! Besides, you could be mistaken!"
"Your father pointed him to me."
"And! You yourself have said that he was drunk as a skunk! For God's sake! If he confused you with my mother!"
Nodoka stood up and faced her.
"Do you think that I do not know? Do you think I am so stupid that I don't realize it's almost impossible? Do you believe that I couldn't think of these ideas and many more?"
Akane turned around and leaned on her messy desk, gripping its edges with such force that her knuckles turned white.
"Then why did you do it?" she demanded hoarsely. "Why did you sabotage the wedding?"
Nodoka sighed and said with a calm voice.
"Because, despite all the reasons against it, I couldn't help but think that there was a slim chance that everything was true." She paused briefly, hoping that her words were sinking into the stubborn girl. "Imagine if you marry him and you are really siblings!"
"I don't care!" Akane answered immediately, without thinking.
Nodoka opened her mouth to reply, but no words came out. Her only reaction was a sad smile that covered her face.
"It might be true that it doesn't make any difference to you. At the end of the day, what matters is being with him, isn't it?"
She didn't answer, but Nodoka noticed her shudder.
"But, did you think about the consequences? Did you think what would happen when people find out about it? 'Cause I assure you that this isn't something that you can keep secret."
"I don't care..."
The girl's voice sounded like a squeal, before being cut off sharply.
"And your family? It wouldn't matter if it was just Ranma and you alone. But have you thought of the humiliation and dishonor that we would suffer?"
"Shut up!" the girl screamed, but Nodoka forced herself to continue.
"Have you thought about your children? Do you know the problems that they could have? And, if you were lucky and they were completely healthy, what future would they have when everybody knows that their parents were siblings?"
Nodoka could have continued, but stopped when Akane started to tremble visibly. Despite not being able to see her face, she had no doubt that Akane was crying.
She knew that she had been hard on her, but it was necessary. When you were in love, and, in spite of everything, Nodoka didn't doubt that Ranma and Akane were; you see things much more optimistically. Somebody had to explain to them clearly what might happen and, although she hated having to be the one to tell them, there wasn't any one else.
She didn't doubt that she had done the right thing. However, this certainly didn't stop her eyes from filling with tears.
After a few unending moments an order was heard; whispered between sobs because the throat that uttered it had no more strength.
The woman didn't argue. She simply turned and left the room, closing the door gently behind her.
That night, while they dined together, Nodoka couldn't help but keep an eye on the engaged couple.
Both had appeared on time for dinner, but, apart from the greeting on arrival and a few complimentary words on being served, they had kept quiet, focusing on their plates. In spite of this, neither had touched their dinner. The paradox of Ranma's almost empty plate simply showed that he wasn't even bothering to stop his father from stealing his food.
Nodoka sighed quietly.
It was normal for them to be confused; she herself was unsure of her own mood. She would have done anything to try to help, but didn't know what to say, and feared that any of her words would just make things worse. Therefore she kept quiet, praying that the situation would get better on its own.
Unfortunately it was impossible that Nabiki wouldn't notice the mood of both teenagers and, in her own way, try to ease the atmosphere.
"What a long faces! Don't tell me that you've been fighting again."
The lack of reaction from the persons in question didn't worry Nabiki because she had saved the best to last.
"Honestly! You quarrel so much you're more like siblings than an engaged couple."
Nabiki's words caused the fathers to roar with sonorous laughter, and even made the circumspect Kasumi laugh. However, those same words made Nodoka's heart leap in her chest and the engaged couple were paralyzed by the shock, as if they had been hit by a lightning bolt.
The echo of laughter hadn't died away when Akane, slowly recovering from the surprise, left her bowl of rice and chopsticks, thanked her sister for the dinner, stood up and left the room.
Her father and two sisters stared at the door, surprised and unable to understand what was happening. At the same time, Genma turned to his son.
"Ranma, what are you waiting for? Go ...!"
His last words were lost in an animal growl as his wife threw the already cold contents of her cup of tea over him. Neither was necessary however, because Ranma had already stood up and gone to the door.
He only turned for a moment to look into his mother's eyes, daring her to stop him this time. A slight nod from her was enough for the young man to walk quickly out of the room, leaving the majority of its occupants wondering what had just happened.
Ranma ran up the stairs two steps at a time, and arrived upstairs just as his fiance reached the end of the corridor.
His pleading voice stopped her.
Seeing that she showed no inclination to turn around, he realized that he would have to be the first to speak if he wanted to start a conversation.
He wanted to ask so many things that, for a moment, he was unsure of what to say. When he finally opened his mouth, what came of it was:
"Do you believe what my... mother told us?" His voice stalled slightly at the last words, because he wasn't sure how to refer to Nodoka. "Do you think we...?"
"I don't know!" Akane cut in hoarsely, unable to hear again the word that was destroying her life.
Ranma could feel the pain in her voice, and tried to say something to relieve it.
"Akane, I ..."
The girl's body trembled upon hearing the concern and affection with which he pronounced her name. Opposing emotions wracked her body, and she had to collect all of her self-control to force out a few words.
"Ranma no! Please! Not now…!"
She didn't wait for a reply.
Akane swiftly covered the remaining distance to her room, entered and closed the door leaving a disconsolate Ranma behind her.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Answer to the Reviews: