Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Second Chances ❯ Lost ( Chapter 8 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
8 - Lost

Onna-Ranma was cornered. There looked like no escape for her. All her training meant nothing against this. There was just no kind of training that would deal with what she was facing. "No WAY! I'm NOT wearing any girls' clothing!" Ranma was clad in only her boxers and a towel.
"But Ranma, ALL your clothes are in the wash right now," Kasumi pleaded.
"You just can't run around naked you know," Nabiki said flatly.
"Come on, Ranma," Akane said. "I've got some clothes that aren't TOO feminine."
Ranma sighed; she knew this was a lost cause and surrendered. "Fine," she grumbled.
Akane led Ranma to her room and pulled out a shirt and a pair of cover- alls. They had 'China' written on the chest and on one of the knees. "This should work."
Nabiki gave Akane a questioning look.
Ranma reluctantly grabbed the offered clothes, and slipped them on. Once on, she said, "It doesn't fit. The chest is too tight."
Akane gritted her teeth slightly, but then relaxed. "Maybe it is a little tight, but you haven't gotten used to something pressed against your chest, have you?"
"Um, not really. Anyway, the waist is too big."
"Sorry you had to fall in the Jusenkyo spring of drown young super- model," Akane said sarcastically. "Clothes aren't exactly designed for someone with your figure."
"Huh?" Ranma questioned.
"Akane just means Jusenkyo gave you a body that most girls would kill to have as their own," Nabiki said.
"Well, I'd kill to get rid of it," Ranma replied, sadly looking into the mirror.
Akane placed her hand on Ranma's shoulder. "I know you hate the curse, but it's part of you now. You're going to have to learn to accept it."
"But I don't want to accept it! It's NOT part of me!"
Akane sighed. "Ranma, you can accept the curse and still be a guy, a man amongst men."
"Yeah right, I have such a great body for a man amongst men," Ranma said sarcastically.
"The curse only changes how you look, it doesn't change who you are. You don't act any different when you're a girl," Nabiki said.
"Well, I FEEL different, and that scares me. I'm a guy damn it! I don't want this body! And I never want to wear women's clothes, EVER!" Ranma ran out of the room.
"That went well," Nabiki said sarcastically.
Akane glared at Nabiki before running after Ranma. She found her in the changing room, removing the last of her clothes.
"Leave me alone," Ranma snapped at Akane.
"Ranma... I'm sorry," Akane said as she hugged Ranma. "I-I didn't know you felt different as a girl. I'm sorry I'm pushing you to accept this before you're ready."
Ranma reluctantly hugged Akane back. "This isn't fair! Why did this happen to me?"
"I don't know, Ranma. Maybe it was just REALLY bad luck, or maybe you've got a role to play in fate that requires you being a girl. I wish I could help you. I really want to help you. If I can help you with anything, name it. I'm here for you."
Ranma let go of her hug. "Thanks for the offer. What I want right now is to be alone. Okay?"
Akane nodded. "You go take a bath. Your clothes should be ready when you get out." She turned and left the room.
Ranma went and filled the furo. She sighed as she looked in the mirror at herself. Ranma smiled weakly, remembering the hug.
Ranma was overjoyed when the bell rang, ending school. He was quite thankful Akane had said nothing about accepting the curse since the clothing incident a couple days ago. He wasn't sure he liked that she hadn't seemed as close to him since then, though.
Akane sighed in relief when the school bell rang. School was a bit boring normally, but sitting through the class a second time, hearing the same material over again, was EXTREMELY boring.
When Akane realized that she was forcing Ranma to accept his curse before he was ready, she also thought about the other things she might have been forcing without realizing it. In particular her acceptance of their engagement and her instant closeness to Ranma might be causing him to accept things before he was ready.
Ranma decided he had enough of school and said, "Come on, Akane. Race ya home!"
Akane snapped out of her thoughts as she saw Ranma running out the door, and realized something...
Akane ran after him, yelling, "Ranma, stop!"
"Come and get me," Ranma called back, exiting the school.
Akane saw the familiar form of someone whom she had thought was a friend, charging at Ranma and preparing to attack. "Ranma! Watch out!"
Ranma looked up at the figure of someone above him with a strange umbrella. The figure called out after committing to his attack, "Ranma, Prepare to DIE!!!"
Ranma dodged the blow with reflexes honed by years of practice. The ground under him exploded from the sheer force of the attack.
"You!" Ranma said, vaguely remembering his attacker.
"You haven't changed, Ranma. You're still good at running away," the attacker sneered.
Akane glared at him with a look that could freeze blood. "Who are you, and why did you attack my fiance?"
"Fiance?" the attacker questioned.
"Yes, my fiance. Now tell me who you are and why you attacked him?" Akane snarled angrily.
"You have poor choice in men." He chuckled. "I'm Hibiki Ryoga, and I shall have my revenge!"
A lightbulb turned on over Ranma's head as he remembered Ryoga, "Hey, long time no see, buddy! How've you been?"
"How've I been?!" Ryoga snapped. "Have you no idea of the suffering I've seen because of you? I will make you pay for running out on our man to man duel!"
"What are you talking about? I waited three days at the appointed spot."
"Oh sure, but when I showed up on the fourth day you had already run away to China."
"Tell me," Ranma asked, "why did it take you four days to get to a vacant lot that was just 500 yards down the street from your house?"
"You think I was out on an evening stroll?! I suffered trying to meet up with you! You broke a vow between men when you ran off to China with your father!" Ryoga yelled. He swung his umbrella at Ranma.
"Now listen here!" Akane growled, blocking the swing by grabbing the end of the umbrella. She slid a couple inches before stopping it. "YOU broke the vow between men when YOU didn't show up at the appointed time for the duel. Don't blame him for something that's YOUR fault."
Ryoga stared dumbly at Akane, not just because of her words, but because she had stopped his swing.
"Hey, keep out of this. This is between me and Ryoga," Ranma said.
"Right, this is between men," Ryoga confirmed. He turned to Ranma and charged. "Ranma I will destroy your happiness!"
Ranma dodged the charge and Ryoga kept going.
"My happiness?" Ranma asked, watching Ryoga as he ran off into the distance. "Am I happy?"
Akane glared at Ranma. "I hope you're happier now than you were before coming to Nerima."
Ranma looked at Akane and shrugged. "I guess."
Akane was in the dojo, decimating the practice dummy with a flurry of movements born of frustration, fear, anger, and years of martial arts training. She ripped into the dummy with moves that could kill a man. To almost everyone else she would be a force to be reckon with, but to herself and Ranma she was way too slow. She continued her attack trying to forget what happened after Ryoga left, and failed.
Nabiki entered the dojo and saw the Akane she knew, her angry little sister. The only difference was that the Akane she remembered was raw unfocused power, but the Akane before her was highly focused and far more dangerous. Nabiki watched as Akane literally ripped her target to shreds.
Akane stopped once the practice dummy was unrecognizable. She looked down at the remains, and it brought back a memory, a memory of Happosai's corpse at her feet. Akane became sick, barely able to stop herself from vomiting. She ran outside the dojo to try to regain control.
Nabiki looked at Akane with a questioning look. "Akane, are you all right? You look like you were about to throw up back there."
Akane took a couple breaths and steadied herself. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"What just happened?"
Akane looked at Nabiki. "The dummy... brought back a rather bad memory, that I'd rather not think about."
Nabiki thought Akane was probably referring to Ranma's death, and decided to change the subject. "Now Akane, why did you, ah, practice like you did?"
Akane sighed sadly. "I was upset at Ranma's response to Ryoga saying he'd destroy his happiness. Ranma asked me if he was happy. And when I said I hope he was happier now, all he said was, 'I guess.' Shouldn't he be happy? He has a home and friends, and he still questioned if he was happy!"
"You know better than anyone else the hard life Ranma had. He's never had what he's got now. He doesn't know if he should be happy with this or if he would be happier living on the road. He needs time to understand his feelings. Try to remember what it was like for you when Ranma first arrived and consider what it'd be like if the roles were reversed and you were cursed and expected to follow him as he walked all over Japan and China."
Akane sighed. "I know... but I guess I want my Ranma back now and I'm getting a bit impatient. It's hard trying to keep my distance when I love him so much it hurts. There are times I want to act like Shampoo and throw myself at him. The only thing stopping me is that I know he doesn't like that. Instead of bringing him closer to me, I'd be chasing him away."
Nabiki smirked a little, remembering some of Shampoo's exploits that she had read. "Somehow I don't see you acting like that."
"Well, maybe not exactly the same way... but I am more than a little tempted to seduce him."
Nabiki shook her head. "Do try to keep your panties on. I'm not sure I want to be an aunt anytime soon."
"Here Ranma, this just came for you," Kasumi said, handing a letter to onna-Ranma and placing a teakettle next to her.
"A challenge letter from Ryoga," Ranma said reading over the letter.
"Will he make it in time for this one?" Akane joked.
"Nope, it's supposed to be yesterday."
"How bad of a direction sense could he have?" Nabiki asked.
"The worst. He can get lost in a room with one door," Ranma quipped.
Akane giggled. "Anyway, what started this feud?"
Ranma thought for a moment, coming up blank.
"Anything to deal with when you two went to the same school?" Nabiki asked.
Ranma snapped her fingers. "That's it! It was back at the start of a new semester, during lunch. The cafeteria lady threw out the last of the curry bread and I caught it before Ryoga could get it. He seemed upset about it. He was even crying tears of bitterness. Lunch was always a war there. After all it was a boys' school."
"Boys' school?" Kasumi questioned.
"I was a boy all the time back then," Ranma said bitterly.
"All that for taking some bread. You sure there wasn't more to it?" Akane asked.
As Kasumi poured hot water from the teakettle on Ranma, he remembered more and said, "Well, there was also chow mein bread, and then croquette bread, and melon bread, cutlet sandwich, meat bread, and there was seaweed bread..."
"My, sounds like the straws that broke the camel's back," Kasumi said.
Nabiki whispered to Akane, "You sure you want him?"
Akane nodded slightly.