Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Second Chances ❯ About Time ( Chapter 7 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
7 - About Time

"Akane, I hope you don't mind, but I borrowed a book from you." Akane's eyes widened in shock and fright as she heard Nabiki's words and saw what was in Nabiki's hands. "I found it a rather interesting read, don't you think, OLDER sister."
Akane closed her eyes. She tried to think of a way out of this.
Nabiki shut the door. "Don't try to deny it. The incident with Kuno this afternoon proved you're from the future. This journal had that event written in some detail, and the only real difference was you. As added proof, Ranma complained in here about me selling pictures of him, however, he did not say what was on those photos. So, I resisted the urge to take a few fast, candid shots and set Ranma up in order for me to take those rather nice and tasteful pictures you saw. I doubt those pictures could've shocked you like they had unless you knew what should've been on those photos." Nabiki observed at Akane carefully, wanting to see if her admittedly weak reasoning was true.
Akane looked at her sister nervously; she wasn't sure she could trust Nabiki. She could not forget that her sister had ruined her wedding, but in a way this wasn't really the same Nabiki. The Nabiki that had stopped her wedding had kind of resented Ranma for several reasons, but the Nabiki in front of her doesn't have any reason to resent him. Akane decided she could explain some things to her, but would be careful to not tell her too much. Nabiki might even be able to help her.
Akane collapsed into her desk chair. "I guess I've got some explaining to do."
Nabiki sat down on the bed. "I would certainly say so."
"Where do I start?" Akane asked aloud.
Nabiki thought, surprised that such an unlikely possibility was actually true. She hoped it didn't show when she asked, "How far into the future are you from?"
"Two years." Akane felt strange talking about that.
Nabiki had kind of hoped she was wrong, because the contents of the journal frightened her in many ways. If the events of the next two years were known, though, they should be able to control the outcome.
The journal entries for the time that had already passed were very similar to what had happened this time, except that the journal's version of Akane depicted how Nabiki had thought she would act. The journal also contained nearly two years of information written in Ranma's handwriting. Some of that information included things about the Tendo family's past which he could not possibly know yet.
There was no way the journal could have been written by the Ranma Nabiki knew. There was simply too much stuff in it. Akane could've collaborated with him and written it, but that wasn't likely considering they had no reason to and that they hadn't had enough time to write this. As odd as it sounded, the only explanation Nabiki could come up with was the journal was from the future... and by how Akane had acted, so was she.
Nabiki had to admit that a lot of the stuff in it seemed far fetched. But if Ranma could turn into a girl and Akane clearly acted as if she lived this all before, it gave a certain credibility to it all.
There was some information missing that Nabiki wanted to know. She decided to get it chronologically. "Okay, let's start with the day after the final entry."
Akane hugged herself. "I wish I could forget that day." She shivered. "That was the day Happosai summoned some monster because Ranma got him upset. The monster..." Akane's voice cracked, "...was very powerful. I tried to help Ranma fight it... but it was too strong... Maybe if I stayed out of the way like Ranma wanted... he wouldn't have..." Akane started crying, unable to say more.
Nabiki stared at Akane, asking dumbly, "He died?"
Akane looked at Nabiki with an unspeakable sadness and nodded. "In my arms... He died in my arms just after he finally admitted he loved me." She then started crying so hard her entire body shook.
Nabiki wasn't quite sure what to do to help comfort Akane. "Oh, Akane..." she said hesitantly, hugging her sister because it seemed the right thing to do. After a while, Akane's crying started to get to her. She wanted to stop her sister from crying, so she somewhat jokingly asked, "Did I really turn into such a bitch?"
"Huh?" Akane emitted through her tears.
"Did I really become so much of a cold-hearted bitch that I did some of the stuff in that journal?"
Akane nodded. "You did."
"I ruined your wedding?" Nabiki asked, not quite believing she would ever do that.
"Why would I do something like that?"
"Besides being able to make money off it, you mean?" Akane accused.
"Now Akane, I may... do some bad things for money... but that was way too far."
"It certainly was." Akane's eyes narrowed, her fist clenched slightly.
Nabiki noticed Akane was starting to get angry. She backed away form her 'younger' sister. "Well, I promise to stop your wedding only if you ask me to."
"I'll hold you to that."
Nabiki nodded. "Now Akane..." She stopped herself. Nabiki was about to suggest making a deal with Akane to get certain sports results in exchange for helping her. She knew this was not the time for that. Nabiki decided to hold off trying to get that information until a later time.
Akane looked at her sister, wondering what she was thinking. "Yes?"
Nabiki thought. "Um... perhaps I can help you rope in the love of your life."
"What do you want for your 'help?'" Akane narrowed her eyes, regarding her sister with suspicion.
Nabiki shook her head. "Nothing... Akane, you do realize I probably did some of that stuff to get money to pay for the damages you and Ranma caused. Our family may have money, but not enough to pay off all those repair costs." She had cringed when she read several references of damages caused to the house and dojo.
Akane nodded. "I knew that... but you had... will... er... whatever went to extremes in getting money. You had to have gotten more money than you needed to run this household despite... what I did."
"Don't you mean you and Ranma?"
Akane shook her head. "Let's face it, I did most of the damage. Shampoo and Ryoga combined didn't do as much as I did, and Shampoo has a strange tendency to make her own doors."
Akane sighed. "You know how easily I get angry. I caused so much damage because I would just react violently to things I don't like. I took everything out on Ranma because I was being forced to marry him. I never tried to look at things from his perspective. I wouldn't let myself see the truth of so many things despite having the evidence right in front of me."
Akane turned and looked out the window. "I should've known Ryoga was P-Chan. I should've realized Ranma was in love with me a long time ago. I just kept denying the evidence. Why would Ranma get that jealous over Mikado and shout to over a thousand people that I was his fiancee, if he didn't love me? That happens next month! We spent nearly two years hurting each other... and I could've stopped it if I would've just seen some of his signals."
"What about the signals he missed?" Nabiki asked.
"Oh, you mean me trying to cook for him? Trying to be a good wife when I don't have the first clue how?" Akane sighed. "He could've been more appreciative about what I did for him... at least less insulting. But looking back, besides being jealous, I didn't send all that many signals to him. When I did send a non-violent signal, they were somewhat acknowledged or I had botched up the attempt. Through it all, I was rather good at hiding my true feelings to everyone, including myself."
"Are you trying to tell me Ranma was blameless for all the bad things in your relationship?"
"Hardly... but the problems with our direct relationship were largely mine. Ranma should've done a better job of dealing with his excessive number of suitors. I know now he never really wanted them, but he should have done something about them. It's hard not to get jealous of someone like Shampoo. She's every man's fantasy girl, and so much better than me in so many things."
Akane clenched her fist. "I have to be careful in how I deal with her when she arrives. I might end up fighting her... which would be bad. I'll probably lose control of my anger and start unleashing some of my special techniques."
"That's one of the things in the journal that still gets me. Can people really do chi attacks?" Nabiki asked.
Akane nodded. She held her hands out and a mass of crimson red light formed between them. She smiled at the result, and then frowned. "A-another missed sign," she whispered, the chi dissipating. Tears started to flow down Akane's face again.
Nabiki blinked at the light. She wanted to know more about it, but Akane was crying again and she wanted to now why. "What do you mean?"
"Two months after the failed wedding attempt, Ranma's chi attacks turned red and were stronger. He wouldn't tell me what emotion he was using to fuel it, saying I had to figure it out." Akane started to cry even harder. "Now I know... it's love."
Nabiki shook her head. She knew her sister could stubbornly refuse to see things that could be uncomfortable. Akane's eyes had been ripped open in a terrifying way. The man she loved had died in her arms, and now she had to relive her life.
Nabiki wanted to ask more about the chi attacks, but she could ask that later. She knew it would be better if Akane finished talking about the future first. "Sis, what happened after Ranma died?"
"I can't tell you much about the following two weeks... I wasn't exactly... alive. The China gang went home, Ukyou continued on, and Ryoga proposed to Akari. Two weeks after the funeral, I went to a psychologist. He was able to help me return to school. But a couple days before the second anniversary of meeting Ranma, I found the journal and read the final couple passages. The next thing I can remember clearly was the night of the second anniversary of meeting him... when I talked myself out of committing suicide."
Nabiki eyes widen in shock. "You weren't going to..."
"I would have been on my honeymoon then if he hadn't died! Four weeks! I missed marrying him by four weeks!" Akane cried. "All I wanted to do was to be with him again. I'd have done anything for that... but he wouldn't have wanted me to kill myself. He died because he took some hits that were meant for me! I wasn't about to tarnish his memory by killing myself!"
"Good," Nabiki gave a relieved smile. "So how did you come back in time?"
"I-I was still in bad shape, so I wanted to talk to the psychologist. I went to call him, but I didn't get him but the... Goddess Relief Office... I think. Anyway, a moment later this woman came out of the television saying she was the goddess Urd and I had one wish. I ended up wishing for a second chance with Ranma. When I woke up the next morning, I was two years in the past."
A big sweat formed on Nabiki's head. "You didn't sell your soul or something?"
Akane blinked. "I... ah... don't think so. I didn't sign anything at least."
"I hope you didn't." Nabiki really wished she knew how to deal with this kind of stuff. She sighed. "Now what are your plans?"
Akane decided to see if she could trust Nabiki by testing her with Ryoga's appearance. "Well, Ryoga is going to show up in about a week..."
Akane entered the dining room with a teakettle filled with hot water. She saw that onna-Ranma had just taken off her soaked shirt. "Ranma!" she snapped.
Ranma looked at her quizzically. "What?"
"You have to learn feminine modesty. It's not acceptable to expose yourself like that." Akane poured hot water onto Ranma's head.
"Why should I have 'feminine modesty'?" Ranma asked, wringing out his shirt.
"Because you are part girl now."
"Not for long if I can help it."
"Ranma, Ranma," Nabiki began, shaking her head. "Something tells me you CAN'T help it. What's the point of a curse if it can easily undone? I believe you are stuck with it."
Akane smiled at her sister. "Nabiki's probably right. You really need to learn more of what's it like being a girl."
"I don't want to know what it's like to be a girl!" Ranma shouted.
"I know you hate your curse, that you value your manhood, but you are going to have to adjust to the curse. Fighting it will cause you more harm than good. You must accept what you cannot change."
Nabiki thought this argument had gone on long enough. Akane fighting with Ranma over him accepting his curse would only add more strain to their still fragile relationship. She decided to change topics. "So, Uncle Saotome, anything new with you?"
[Starting today, I have a part-time job,] read the sign held by the panda.
Ranma blinked when he read that. His father rarely worked if he didn't have to. "Part-time job? You working for a zoo, Pop?"
Ranma thought.
"Akane, on the way home from school could you stop by Dr. Tofu's?" Kasumi asked. "I borrowed this book from him, and I'd like you to return it."
"Um, Kasumi, could you do that?" Akane asked. "There is... some stuff going on today."
"Really? I guess I have to," she replied.
Ranma looked at Akane, confused. "What do you mean? Nothing's going on today."
Akane scowled at Ranma. "There is too something." She glanced at the time, noticing they should leave now. "Come on, Ranma. We have to go."
Ranma shrugged and inhaled the remaining part of his breakfast. He followed Akane out of house, racing her to school. "What do you have to do today?" he asked.
"Actually... there isn't anything. It's just that Dr. Tofu is in love with Kasumi, and I want to help them get together."
"Oh," Ranma emitted, feeling he shouldn't be part of that.
They arrived at the school to see the would-be suitors gathered at the gate. Ranma noticed this time they weren't preparing to attack, but were... crying?
One of the suitors stepped forward. "Tendo Akane, we shall no longer challenge you. Instead we shall swallow our sobs and give our approval to your engagement to Ranma!!"
"What in the name of..." Ranma said, confused.
"It's about time you stopped," Akane said flatly.
"You have heard this rumor, this falsehood... that Saotome Ranma has defeated me! Kuno-sempai does not admit defeat!" Kuno said, looking like an Egyptian mummy wrapped in bandages.
"Kuno was the greatest fighter at Furinkan High," one guy said.
"Yeah. And the greatest pervert," another guy added.
"Pervert?!" Kuno snarled.
Akane shuddered, hugging herself.
Ranma was confused by Akane's strange reaction.
"Kuno shall not give up. A hundred... two hundred kicks from a coward like Ranma do not make me even itch!"
"Who are you calling a coward?" Ranma snapped. "Can't admit you lost?!"
"You! I shall free Akane and the Water Sprite from your clutches!" Kuno produced a bucket of water, throwing its contents at Ranma.
Ranma dodged it. "Hey! Watch it you idiot!" He kicked Kuno in the face. The pain of the kick combined with the pain of the bruises from the kicks he received the day before caused the kendoist to take a nap.
"Well, we've said our peace," one guy said.
"Congratulations on the engagement you two!" another guy said.
"Err... whatever," Ranma grumbled.
Akane just smiled.
"I'm sorry. Does it still hurt?" Akane asked, very concerned. "What distracted you anyway?"
Ranma didn't answer. He didn't even look at Akane, he didn't want to look at her. He couldn't help but replay the incident in his head. He had been distracted because that Hiroshi guy said Akane was obviously in love with him and that she never looked at anyone the way she looked him.
Ranma shook his head. He glanced at Akane, seeing the worried expression written on her face, and quickly looked away again.
"Hello, Uncle Saotome," Akane greeted the panda sweeping the sidewalk in front of Dr. Tofu's clinic.
"Pop! What are you doing here?" Ranma asked, surprised.
"Well, well! Ranma and Akane," Dr. Tofu greeted them friendly. "This is Mr. Saotome. He started working for me today. Do you know each other?"
"Well, yeah. He's my Pop," Ranma answered.
"You don't say," Dr. Tofu said. "Not much resemblance is there?"
"Thank Kami-sama, no," Ranma smirked.
The panda growled.
Dr. Tofu chuckled. "He was cursed at Jusenkyo, right?"
Ranma and Akane nodded.
"Ranma, what happened to your face?" Dr. Tofu asked.
"Little baseball accident."
"I have a balm that works wonders! Come inside and I'll fix that up," Dr. Tofu offered.
Ranma and Genma followed Dr. Tofu inside the clinic. Akane was a little worried, knowing her sister would be arriving soon, but entered the clinic anyway.
Akane quickly tried to hide Ranma's journal when someone opened her door. She sighed in relief when she saw it was Nabiki.
"So Sis, what happened to Uncle Saotome?" Nabiki asked.
Akane smiled, forcing back a giggle. "Well... my guess is that Dr. Tofu thought Uncle Saotome was his patient when Kasumi showed up. I got Ranma and myself out of there just as she showed up."