Ranko's heartache, Ranma's hate
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Rumiko Takahashi and VIZ Communications, and its characters have been borrowed without permission. This story was written for non-commercial purposes only.
Chapter 2: Words Aren't Enough
Three days after Ranma's emotional explosion in the dojo Akane had seen neither hide nor hair of him, save for the seconds he had been in the dojo training when she had walked in the other day. Ranma had spared her a single glimpse then looked down and departed the dojo quite quickly.
During meals, he never spoke and ate very little, allowing his father to steal food from his plate without protest. Ranko sat between them as Ranma had taken to taking her regular seat. Of course, no one other than Ranko seemed to think much of Ranma's behavior. Although to be fair, no one other than Ranko knew the reasons behind Ranma's behavior.
It's been three days, Akane thought to herself one night after dinner. Three days since then and he's still avoiding me. Why are you acting this way Ranma? She settled herself on her bed, her eyes closed, and her heart beating wildly as she forced herself to remember the wild and angry look in his eyes as he stared at her. He's hurting, has been hurting, Akane realized. He's been hurting himself all this time and I've been too stupid to realize it.
There was a knock at her door and with a half hopeful voice she called out "Come in," she hoped it was Ranma and for the barest moment of time she thought it was him that walked through the door however it was not to be. Ranko walked in, her male form remarkably similar in look to her brothers; just as Ranma's female form was almost the same as Ranko's regular form. The only way anyone could tell them apart was by looking at their eyes, Ranko in her male for had eyes the color of obsidian. If not for that single determination, there would be no hope of telling them apart at a single glance.
"You need to talk to Ranma," Ranko said her voice in male form rumbled through the room. "Because trust me he won't come after you."
"Who says that I want him?" Akane snapped, looking at her fiancés' sister with a mixture of emotions. "Who says that I care?"
"You," Ranko replied, "when you asked me if he hated you three days ago," Ranko took a step into the room and closed Akane's door. "You want him don't even bother trying to deny it. He wants you just as much but after what happened in the dojo he's afraid of losing his temper like that again." Ranko paused looking down. "Though I'm partly to blame."
"What?" Akane looked surprised
Ranko looked sheepish "While we were sparring, I told Ranma to tap into his emotions, to unleash the stress that he's but put under."
Akane sighed, "All you did was help him," her voice was quiet. Her thoughts were racing, she knew that she had to find a way to get Ranma to talk to her, but she just couldn't see how that would happen, not with Ranma doing everything that he could to avoid her.
Ranma lay out on the roof of the Tendo residence with a heavy heart. On the one hand he wanted nothing more than to talk to Akane; on the other however he wasn't sure if he could control himself. Whenever he saw Akane he felt mixed emotions.
On the one hand, he wanted Akane to know what he felt for her, wanted he to know what he had felt for her since the day he had first come to Nerima. Seeing her for the first time had sparked something he had felt an almost insatiable need to feel for just over two years. However, he held himself back from what he wanted. Mainly because Akane always seemed prone to insulting him and or hitting him, as opposed to hearing about his feelings.
Ranma sighed forcing his thoughts away from Akane; he had other things on his mind as well. Ranko had spoken to him earlier that day, advising him to speak to Akane rather than avoid her as he was. His heart had agreed with his twin, but his mind argued that there was almost no hope for the two of them. The decision to stay distant from her was made easier by Akane's actions towards him.
I mean she is always hitting me and insulting me, he thought to himself. Though to be fair I can't say that I've been a saint myself. I mean Ranko's right I've been nothing but a jerk to Akane. Ranma continued to mull over his attitude towards Akane, and steeled himself for a decision that could and would affect all those involved in his life, as complicated as it had become, over the past few years.
Akane quietly approached Ranma, the latter sensing her well before she was close. In some way her presence seemed to calm him, to break the almost overwhelming tides of the storms that surrounded him. Yet in a way Ranma still felt bitterness towards her. Though he felt justified in feeling that bitterness. He would not talk to her willingly, openly. He refused to open the door of simple conversation that he had tried to open many times before, only to be punched or beat over the head with something.
It could never just be simple, Ranma thought bitterly. With all the others, Ukyo, Shampoo…Kodachi, it never was simple.
Of course Ranma hated that it could not be simple. Hated that though he was forcefully pushed towards an engagement he never wanted, part of him actually wanted a relationship with her. He had wanted it from the moment he had met her, though at the time she had mistaken their true identities though to be fair they had arrived in their cursed forms then. Of course having Akane walk in on him in the bath after having changed forms sent that idea spiraling down the toilet so to speak.
"Ranma…" Akane's voice brought Ranma sharply from his thoughts he stiffened slightly trying hard to hold back the flood that threatened to overtake him. "Ranma please…" Akane was closer now, so close, Ranma could feel her, barely a step behind him. "Lets talk…" The hesitation in her voice sent a chill through him. "We need to talk."
Ranma turned slowly, facing her with a neutral expression, though the tension that waged a seemingly unstoppable offense against his neutrality could still be felt in the air, the scant inches that lay between them. Ranma still said nothing, though he nodded giving Akane a chance to speak.
"I'm sorry for the other…"
"I'd rather not talk about that," Ranma said quickly cutting off his fiancé. "Though I do apologize for what I did, and how I acted."
Akane noted that he had not apologized for anything he had said, and before she could stop herself she blurted out, "but nothing that you said."
Ranma sighed, backing away and looking down, "No nothing that I said, every word of what I said was true."
"That you love me?" Akane asked the tones of her voice half hopeful, her eyes alive with the hope that she had not lost him.
"And that I hate you," Ranma said calmly, the tension in his body seemed to melt away as he looked up and met Akane's eyes as they swam with tears. "Because of the way that you act towards me," Ranma quickly began again. "I hate the way we fight; I hate hearing you call me a pervert, and you hitting me. I hate everything about the pattern of arguments that we've fallen into."
"Ranma I'm sor…" Ranma silenced her with a gentle wave of his hand, "Sometimes words aren't enough, Akane." Akane looked stricken. Here she was trying her best to be better to her fiancé and here he was denying her.
"Ranma what…" She began with a shaky voice.
Ranma moved swiftly, pulling her close and whispering in her ear as his arms slid tightly and firmly around her waist. "The walls have ears, meet me in the dojo tomorrow morning, early."
Akane's eyes went wide as she felt Ranma's arms around her, and she enjoyed the embrace, trembling slightly when he whispered in her ear, the tones sending tremors down her spine. Then he was drawing away and ushering her towards the door with a gentle hand.
The following morning, had Ranma up before dawn. He had awoken early to practice in the dojo before his scheduled conversation with Akane. He moved easily through an advanced kata his motions swift and sending sweat flying from him with each one. His movements lacked none of his amazing power, however, which greatly contrasted his speed.
He was going through the very last of the motions when Akane entered the dojo, dressed in her gi, mostly out of habit, Ranma thought, and rubbing her eyes. Taking a moment to settle his surging adrenaline Ranma passed the first few minutes after Akane's arrival to steel himself, to be certain that he would be doing the right thing.
"Words aren't enough," Ranma repeated the same phrase from the previous night, looking at Akane with a slightly nervous and worried expression on his face.
"So are you saying that you don't forgive me?" Akane asked looking down at the floor.
Ranma didn't answer instead he stepped close, almost completely closing the distance between them, save for the few centimeters. The distance between them might as well have been microns for all the difference it made to her at that time. It wasn't his nearness that surprised her as much as his touch did. One hand found her chin, gently lifting her head for her eyes to meet his; the other found her hand, gently lacing their fingers.
"Words aren't enough," Ranma said for the third time in less than a twelve hour span. "So for now I'll let my actions say what I can't." it was then that Akane's world seemed to turn upside down.
Just outside the dojo Ranko stood feeling noting but relief that the denial was all but over. However at the same time she also felt a sense of loneliness. Her brother had someone, and had made the least likely choice after all the adversity that had come his way since his arrival in Nerima. She knew that she should feel happy for her brother, but as she retreated back to the room she and her father shared with him she could feel nothing but sorrow for herself.