Hello everybody! Welcome to my second story! This fic is heavily inspired by Rapancheese's "Walking a Thin Line" and as such there will be similarities, such as characters being OOC, as well as other aspects. While I suggest reading that fic, my reason for writing this one is due to my one disappointment with it. Its ending, or lack thereof, really bothers me, and as such, I am writing this!
Also, this time, I will attempt to write in a multiple first person perspective.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½, hell I don't own anything! Even the brain I'm using is on lease.
I often find myself sighing as I lay on the roof of the Tendo's home, thinking about all the things that have changed over the past months since Jusendo, thinking about all the things that haven't.
I've been growing stronger, far stronger. My ki reserves are becoming deeper and my ki itself has changed, though I'm not quite sure how to describe it.
So yeah, I've become more powerful, but it's not like it'll help me with any of my real problems.
None of the girls have changed. Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi aren't any less obsessive. Hell, they're probably more obsessive now than ever if the explosives at the failed wedding were any indication.
Akane's temper hasn't improved, it hasn't worsened, but then again I'm not sure it can get much worse that malleting me into LEO (low earth orbit) for stupid insults. I just don't understand, it's obvious that she likes me, her protectiveness is proof of that, but she has the absolute worst way of showing it. I've hoped against hope that she would come to trust me, but I know that she won't. What do I have to do for her? Kill a God? Oh wait, I did.
The other inhabitants of Nerima aren't much better, in fact, most of them are as single faceted as I make myself out to be.
My idiot father sees nothing but the Art and his retirement, which he attempts to secure at my expense. Mr. Tendo is too busy wallowing in his grief to do anything at all, which would be sad, if he if he wasn't costing two of his children their lives. My mother has been around more often, always with her delusions of "manliness", as if I know what it means. Cologne is more desperate than ever to get me to the amazon village since the failed wedding, but considering that I beat Saffron, I'm not sure that she could make me through force alone, though I do have to be wary of potions and magic. I could go on, but what's the damn point?
The only one of them who has shown some improvement is Ryoga. He's a little more friendly now and he treats our fights more like sparring matches rather than trying to kill me, though he still yells "prepare to die" every time we fight.
Outside of Ryoga though, everyone is pretty much set in their ways, making them easy to read.
There are really only two people here that I suspect are more than meets the eye. Nabiki and Kasumi Tendo, the ice queen and the angel.
I often wonder about them, if they're like me anyways. Kasumi wears a perfect face of serenity, but I'm almost certain that there has to be more to her than that. On occasion, I see wistfulness in her eyes. Maybe she's hoping to be able to leave her family or make a life for herself. I honestly hope that she gets to.
Nabiki is the one I'm honestly not sure about. There may be more to her than the cold mercenary that everyone sees, or perhaps whatever else there was died along with her mother. I usually find myself believing the first possibility, as I notice that the bills are always paid despite the fact that her father refuses to get a job, though whether this is truly for the wellbeing of her family I'm not sure. Regardless, being her cash cow hasn't been at all fun.
Whether she knows it or not, I allow her to take pictures of my girl form, I wouldn't like to be a freeloader like my father is, after all.
I suppose that I hold out hope that if they really are hiding behind masks like I am, that they would be willing to be my friends, but I doubt I could get them to show me more without laying all my cards on the table, which I'm in no way prepared to do.
I suppose that if I had to choose one word to describe myself right now it would be tired.
Tired of all the responsibilities, the honor, the girls, the nutcases, and the act, especially the act.
Since I'd arrived at the Tendo dojo, no, before that. Since the early years of travelling with my father I had put on a mask, and a damn convincing one at that. He never saw anything but the Art, and everything else I learned at any temple, any shrine or town that we visited was worthless. I had to hide my intelligence from him, from everyone, and I'm tired of that.
It just gets old, being the martial arts jock, the one trick pony, the idiot who has no real friends because he can't risk being himself. It's painful really, to have to act stupid and have everyone treat me like I am.
The thing is, I can't end the charade. If I show my intelligence the game changes. I've acted incompetent and incapable in everything but the art, and it's been extremely helpful in terms of keeping things the same. If he knew how smart I was, my father would probably have me drugged and at the altar by tomorrow. If I show that I can make my own decisions I'd be forced to choose one of my fiancés. What then? If I don't choose Shampoo her punishment for not bringing me back to her village could be death, Ukyo's only course of action to keep her honor intact is to kill me if I don't marry her, and not choosing Akane or one of her sisters means my honor would be tarnished. I've always been taught that martial arts were to protect the weak, and I've done my best to carry that idea into my daily life. I can't hurt anyone for the sake of my happiness, but at the same time I don't want to be unhappy, so until I can find a way to solve this mess, I have to keep up appearances.
There's really only one flaw with my act, and I'm honestly surprised that nobody has picked up on it. So far as I can tell, people have just become so accustomed to the fake me, the stupid me, that they ignore anything that suggests that I might not be.
I've been defeated, brutalized, obsessed over, and made helpless, yet fake me still hasn't changed his views of the world, and nobody cares enough to notice. I've made myself out to be the embodiment of strength, the constant that keeps everything else around me in balance, but they should've realized that no one could experience all those things and remain the same, and they honestly believe that my views of the world haven't changed in the slightest.
I suppose that's something that really gets to me. The loneliness. It doesn't even make me angry anymore it just makes me…sad.
There's nobody who really cares for me, nobody I can confide in.
Akane hasn't trusted me since day one, and all my so-called friends and family want something from me. I'm just a means to an end for most of them, which is a really depressing thought.
I just wish there was somebody I could trust, but even if there is, unless I trust that person completely, I can't spill my secret.
I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I can't change that.
'That's enough thinking for tonight, wouldn't want to end up a depressed wreck like Ryoga.' I think to myself, finally dismissing any remaining thoughts from my mind, allowing it to go blank.
As I lay here on the roof, it begins to rain, activating my curse.
Naturally, I begin considering the curse.
'What is it to me?' I asked myself once.
Looking back on it, that answer has really changed over time.
Two years ago I would have sworn vehemently that it was the bane of my existence, that I was a guy despite outward appearance. I suppose that's one of the few things that I had in common with the fake me, but he couldn't move past that, not without making me suffer under even more pressure from my parents. What it means to me now is a very different story. Now the curse is merely an inconvenience, and a miniscule one at that. I asked myself what it meant to me some time ago, and I found that the answer, while simple, had changed to something that I wasn't expecting. Here's what it means: Sometimes I'm a guy. Sometimes I'm a girl. Sometimes I have different parts, but I mentally remain the same, end of story.
Once I finished that line of thought I resumed my relaxation, allowing my mind to once again go blank.
This was it, the reason that the roof of the Tendo home is my favorite spot. It's peaceful. It's the only place in my life where nothing bothers me, where I can just take in the world around me without the usual distractions of my downright insane existence.
Of course, there are some nights where even my safe haven of peace can't protect me.
'This is one of those nights.' I thought to myself as I heard a quiet sobbing from below me.
Money, the only thing I seem to care about.
Everybody believes that that's all there is to me, and that's good. That means that I'm serving my purpose.
My mother's death hit my family really hard. My father stopped working, and there was nobody to take care of the house, so Kasumi and I took up those roles. Akane was too young, and my father hasn't told her that she should help either of us. I'm actually glad; I wouldn't want her to get into my line of work. It wears you down and eats away at you until you cant even recognize yourself.
Anyways, keeping the household afloat financially has become my eternal struggle, making me forfeit almost everything in my life.
Sometimes I wonder if I will have to be her forever, the Ice Queen that is.
I really hope not. I hate her. I hate her more than anything in the world but, the truth is, I need her.
Locking everything else away is the only way I can support my family, and with some of my business dealings, keeping my clients afraid is the only thing protecting me from them.
I'm not completely alone though, Kasumi I understand each other. She knows that I do what I have to, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Friends are out of the question. Some of my more… desperate clients might try to use them to get to me.
'I should give up on these thoughts.' I tell myself, knowing that I have work to do.
I settle down on my bed and begin counting money for the mortgage, school tuition, and other needs.
There's something bothering me though, like a fly buzzing around, making me uncomfortable.
It's a familiar feeling, and I know the cause of it.
I put the money down, and get off my bed.
My suspicions are confirmed, the picture of my mother is on my desk, watching me.
'Kasumi must have put it there.' I muse as I lay it face down so that it can't stare at me.
The damage is done though, as I find myself crying softly.
I miss her; I wouldn't want her to see me like this, doing terrible things to people for the sake of my family, to see me alone.
I lay on my bed crying a quietly as I can manage.
How long has it been? A half-hour? An hour?
Suddenly I hear a tapping on my window.
Cursing I manage to silence myself and to dry my tears.
The only one who would tap on my second story window is Ranma.
'I swear to god I'm going to double his debt!' I tell myself as I open the window to find a soaking wet female Ranma waiting outside.
"Hey Nabiki, are you okay?" He asks.
My anger melts like a snowball in hell.
'Am I okay?' I ask myself in my head, knowing the answer already.
Nobody has asked me that for a long time.
I look at the boy turned girl waiting outside in the rain, concern written all over his face. Only Ranma could worry about the Ice Queen.
'Crying, there's another thing I have in common with the fake me. Neither of us can stand the sound of crying.' I muse as I listen for which room's occupant is crying.
As I look over the edge of the roof, I find that only Nabiki's light is on.
I stay still for a moment, unsure of what to do.
Finally I opt to tap on her window and check on her.
After a few moments all the noise stops and the window opens to reveal a very pissed-looking Nabiki Tendo.
"Hey Nabiki, are you okay?" I ask, slightly afraid that she might increase my debt. (Which I'm beginning to believe I might never finish paying off.)
Almost instantly, her anger sputters and dies.
She now has a confused look on her face, as if I've grown a second head.
Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm soaked outside as a girl and have yet to ask if I can enter, regardless, I'm very interested.
Confusion is something I rarely see on the so-called Ice Queen's face.
"Why do you care Saotome?" She asks, composing herself after a few moments.
She's a few seconds too late though, and I've seen what I've been hoping for, humanity in the Ice Queen.
Quickly I put on my usual mask of ineptitude.
"I heard you crying and thought that maybe you hurt yourself." I say, not wanting to blow my cover by revealing my suspicions about her.
"You're the klutz here, Saotome." She says, closing the window and leaving me outside in the rain.
There's the first chapter! You can already guess whom this story will be centered around. I will try to differentiate more between the real Ranma and Fake Ranma (yes that's what I'm calling him unless you can think of anything better) in future dialogue with Akane. There will be some Akane bashing in this story. My biggest worry here is that I'm writing Ranma and Nabiki too similarly, so tell how I 've done on that. Please review!
Update June 3, 2014
I have changed a few things to lessen the Akane bashing, and changed the short blurb regarding Ryoga