Twin Hearts

Twin Hearts

Ranko's heartache, Ranma's hate

By: Shotorin

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 5: Falling all over again

Ranko smiled as she realized that she felt the familiar tingling of someone watching her. She knew it was Hyoushou and with that realization she thought of the words he had spoken to her just two days before.

I came to Nerima for you, Ranko Saotome.

He was a wolf hunting for a mate, and she was the bitch lucky enough to chosen by him. Hyoushou was everything but subtle, he had come to Nerima with only one goal in mind, and that was having Ranko. Little did he know that he wouldn't have to fight for her affections, there was no one in Nerima who had taken a true and genuine interest in her.

"You don't have to stick to the shadows you know, Hyoushou." Ranko said, fighting down the smirk that threaten to curl her lips. "I like having an audience."

Hyoushou dropped down from the rafters, landing without a sound upon the wooden floor. Ranko looked him over with a feigned intense and hungry interest. He was of course dressed in a black representation of her and Ranma's red, silk, Chinese tops. However his pants were white with stylized Celtic scrollwork weaving its way down his right leg. She could also see two sword handles above his right shoulder.

"Ohaiyo, Ranko." Hyoushou said as though he hadn't been watching her from the shadows.

"Ohaiyo," Ranko replied, with a smile as she met his eyes, his expression one she could not quite read. "I take it that you're an early riser."

Hyoushou nodded, then indicated her nodachi, "you know how to use that?"

Ranko nodded, "my mother taught me," she pointed at his swords, "Two swords?"

"My family dates back to Sengoku Jidai," Hyoushou answered he unstraped the blades and retied them so that they were around his waist. "Many of the men in my family were samurai; several women as well were trained in the art."

Before Ranko could answer Hyoushou went completely rigid and her brothers voice cut across her.

"Hyoushou what are you doing here?" The question was laden with loathing, all of Ranma's hatred seemed to resonate in that simple question so much so that Ranko found herself unable to confront her brother.

Hyoushou watched as Ranma covered the space between them with almost inhuman speed. It reminded him just how powerful a martial artist Ranma was, and just how dangerous he was when angered.

"Exactly what I said I'd be doing, Saotome," Hyoushou replied coolly.

Ranma reached out quickly so fast Ranko could barely see his movement, at the same moment she heard the sound of a sword being drawn.

"Stalemate." Hyoushou said his expression one of indifference. "you're faster than I thought." Hyoushou had one of his swords drawn the tip of it pressing into Ranma's neck lightly, while Ranma had his fist mere fractions from Hyoushou's throat.

"Since when do you use swords?" Ranma asked, images of going blow for blow seemed to swim almost tangibly between the two of them, in those images Hyoushou was unarmed.

"Since I could hold one," Ranma reached up with his other hand to touch the blade Hyoushou held against him only to have Hyoushou jerk back and quickly return his sword to its scabbard.

Fury etched every line of Hyoushou's face, "Do not touch these blades,"

Ranko looked at the expression on Hyoushou's face. Beneath the fury, beneath his anger and hatred of Ranma, there was something that looked very reminiscent of fear. Just slightly she could feel it as she faced Hyoushou.

Ranma looked indignant then started to leave, under his breath he muttered something of not wanting to touch the stupid swords anyway.

"Spar with me," Ranma turned around sharply at the words, and for a second thought he was hearing things.

Ranko stood facing Hyoushou with a glimmer of cockiness flitting around her face. She settled into a ready position her hand inching slowly upward for the handle of her nodachi.

"If that's what you want," Hyoushou replied settling into a similar stance, one hand gripping the sheath of his katana just below the hilt, his other hand hovering bare millimeters from it.

A few seconds of silence passed then Ranko rushed, her body becoming a blur of red and black as Ranma watched. At the last possible second Hyoushou moved his, dancing around the blade that Ranko had drawn at an impossible speed. He dodged her severely accurate attacks, waiting for an opening.

Ranma watched as Hyoushou danced around Ranko with an elegance that rivaled his own. However what he was more impressed by was Ranko; She moved with an elegance that was even he couldn't help but appreciate. Her sword flashed as a mere blur and a flash of light, half of the time Ranma could not even see it, yet Hyoushou did not seem to be wasting any unnecessary energy at having to change the direction of his dodge. No despite the deadly speed at which Ranko's sword flashed out Hyoushou seemed to be able to see and dodge.

Then everything seemed to change in a single moment; Hyoushou drew his katana with the same deadly speed as Ranko and parried her latest attack, his retaliation when it came an instant later was even faster. Ranko leapt into the air her to avoid being attacked as she recovered from the parry however Hyoushou following her. Even as she pulled her blade into a defensive position he was already reaching to draw his second sword. Shorter than his first she realized that it was a kodachi. Usually used by samurai for defense during the warring states era she knew it could also be used for offensive moves, and as she felt her sword flying from her hands she realized why.

The speed at which the sword came to her throat was completely staggering, had she not been aware of its presence, she knew she would have never seen it, let alone known to look for it. Hyoushou pulled the blade away as they descended, then returned both of his swords to their respective scabbards with a smile.

"I'm quite surprised," Hyoushou said pushing his hair from his eyes with a smile. "You've developed your skills well. In the past few years you've grown to be a force to rival your brother, Ranko."

"No Ranma to this day remains stronger." Ranko said, a glimmer of emotion barely caught by Hyoushou flashing across her eyes.

"Then I'd love to fight him," Hyoushou said a spark of interest lighting in his eyes. "However considering Ranma's initial reaction to me being here in Nerima, I'm afraid that I'd have to forget any notion of fighting him."

"Darn, and that promised to be a good fight," Ranma's sarcasm was not missed, just ignored.

"However Ranko I would like to train you to truly perfect your skill with that nodachi."

Ranko looked both insulted and flustered by his offer, Hyoushou noticed instantly. "Think on it, don't worry about finding me, I'll find you." And with that he was gone again.

Ranko's thoughts were fixated on Hyoushou, no matter what she did to change them they all settled back on him. She thought back to her short sparing match with him, and still she felt her cheeks flame at the thought of having been beaten by him so easily. She knew he was great but his skill ranked right up there with a true samurai.

She realized then that she hadn't actually seen either of his finishing moves, but had rather felt them. His movements had been so fast that half of the fight had passed with her using her senses to feel him out instead of actually seeing him. In a way the fight felt almost familiar.

Hyoushou felt the familiar wave of hatred that was always directed at him whenever Ranma was near. Truth be told Hyoushou was hardly in the mood to deal with Ranma, something he'd felt in his earlier sparring match with Ranko was bothering him and he wanted to know what it was that he'd felt during that fight.

Still even from the distance between them still Hyoushou could tell that Ranma was not in the mood to be ignored. So Hyoushou waited for him to catch up to him. Ranma alighted the roof of the school with no trouble his moves almost cat-like yet Hyoushou knew that stance, the attitude, the anger. Ranma was absolutely calm yet his posture demeanor said the exact opposite.

Hyoushou slid into a fighting stance, one hand on the sheath of his sword the other poised above the handle. His eyes were cold as he kept his expression neutral. There would be nothing gained by attacking Ranma now, however that wasn't to say that he wouldn't defend himself. He would without a doubt, and if he was right in his gage of Ranma's ability the heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts would be defeated.

"You should relax Hyoushou," Ranma said, his tone arrogant, even as he formed a ball of chi in his hand. "being all tense like that, someone might get the wrong idea."

"Shut up Saotome," Hyoushou snapped back, feigning anger. "Why don't you just tell Ranko the real reason why you don't want me around huh? Are you scared of what she could do? Are you scared that she might hate you for what you and your father did in an attempt to keep her from reaching her true potential?!"

Ranma canceled out his chi attack and launched himself at Hyoushou his athletic frame becoming nothing but a blur to the fierce power and grace that very few of the worlds younger martial artists could ever dream to have. His first attack landed solidly against Hyoushou's jaw sending the latter sprawling back a few feet.

Hyoushou recovered as Ranma forced himself to calm down, losing his temper was a sure way of losing this fight, and Ranma would not allow himself to lose. Not to Hyoushou.

"So I'm right, aren't I," Hyoushou paused to spit onto the concrete between them. "You do fear what she would do,"

Ranma straightened, and in the look he gave Hyoushou both anger and fear were present. Anger that Hyoushou would dare to challenge him like this, and fear that his twin would actually find out what he had helped his father do to her.

AUTHORS NOTE: Hey sorry its taken me so long to post I've been busy with trying to keep up with my finals and dealing with being stuck in Beckley for the summer and still getting over the death of a close friend. Anyway heres the newest chapter in Twin Hearts, I hope you've enjoyed. And I plan to be pretty regular with my updates from now on.