Commitment part Three:
Acceptance

A fanfic by Suika Roberts, based on the Takahashi Rumiko Manga _Ranma 1/2_.
Of course, this is unauthorized and not-for-profit. Anyone who sells this for more than the cost of media should be flogged.

Note:
All gendered pronouns in the dialog are just to make this easier to write, as English has a paucity of genderless ones.
One should not assume that anyone is thinking of Ranma as being any particular gender because of the pronoun used; I just use the first one to pop up.

-0-

Her approach actually darkens the room, a spreading blue aura flowing ahead of the sound of her stomping feet.

`Where is that creep? Crying like that to make me feel sorry for him! How low can you get!?'

`She said to tell you she's sorry, and to remind you that she'll be back in a week.' Nabiki wisely refrains from reminding the angry person that Ranma's train does not leave for another twenty minutes.

`She fucking tells me off and then runs away?!' the angry person is screaming, tears running down her face.

`Wouldn't you?' Kasumi asks softly from the doorway, then ducks quickly back inside. The angry person flinches back like she was slapped.

`Am,' the angry person turns, the blue aura dying, and flees the room. She runs; down a street we almost recognize; over a fence; stopping at last, gasping, on a ditch-bank. `Am I really that out of control? _Kasumi_ told me off about my temper,' she sits down, or maybe collapses is a better word for it, in the short golden grass, continuing softly, `Kasumi thinks Ryouga and _he_ fight for the fun of it, and she told me off! Maybe she did provoke me this morning, but maybe she's right. I know that most of the time I can't stomach my own cooking.' tears start down her face again, `Why do I do this? I can see what my temper will do to me, and I can't stop it. Maybe I just won't; Obaba can tell me my cooking stinks and I don't fly into a rage at her.

`Kami, what am I going to do? She ran away in tears. In _Tears_, the great, unflinching Saotome Ranma, who can take punishment that would kill an ox and hide it, ran away in tears because I yelled at her again.

`Am I such an evil person that I enjoy that power? No one else can make her cry; She could get hit by a bloody truck and not complain about the pain; but I can, with just a few words, rip her into little pieces.' she flops forward, pressing her face to the ground between her knees, continues into the dirt, `Was that the last time she felt safe in my presence, before the Martial Rhythmic Gymnastics match? I know it was before she first insulted my cooking. But can the truth really be an insult? She's never lied to me, never promised me anything she didn't intend to deliver, and how do I repay her? By hitting her; by yelling at her; by deliberately trying to hurt her.

`Maybe I should just tell her to find someone who will treat her better.' she laughs, bitterly.

`And that would work. She's Shanpoo's great-aunt now; Ukyou and Kodachi are joined at the hip, and I'm an angry fucking nutcase. Why did she have to fall for me, hun? She's right, I'm uncute, unsexy, violent, and I can't stop hurting her. At first,' she sighs, wipes her face on her knees, flops back in the grass, `I think, I was just teasing. Now, whenever she's nice to me, whenever she tries to help me, I can't stand it, the rage boils up like a, a, a fucking pot of my inedible fucking cooking!'

`Don't say that, Akane-san.' Akane starts, leaps to her feet in a combat pose, her face red with crying and a pale blue aura filling the air.

`Ryouga,' she relaxes a little bit, `How long have you been here, evesdropping?'

Ryouga does the worst thing possible. He stammers, `Not long.'

`I've not been here very long.' The blue aura darkens, Akane takes three steps forward, and grabs Ryouga's sleeve, lobbing him into the water by main force.

*Splash*

When Ryouga doesn't appear on the surface again in a reasonable amount of time, Akane wades into the water to look for him. Moments later she tosses his backback and a sodden lump of clothing onto the shore.

`Might as well keep talking to myself. Why did he do that? I mean I can sorta see dumping the backpack if one is going to try and swim away, but why did he shed his clothes?' she shakes her head, `He's one of her friends, they always do weird things like this.' a look of shock suddenly covers her face.

`That fucking _Pervert_! No wonder Ranma was always picking on him! Sneaking into my bed like that. The schmuck must have extracted a promise not to tell from Ranma somehow. I'll kill him _dead_.' suddenly the aura gutters out and she sighs, drooping.

`That was worth getting angry about. This morning . . . ' she shakes her head and walks away, her shoulders slumped.

-0-

`Nabiki-neechan,' the other girl looks up in surprise at the honorific, `could you tell me something?'

`What?'

`How do you stay on top of your temper so well?'

`I don't. I just don't show it.'

`Control.' the single harsh command is whispered, barely audible.

`Are you OK, Akane-chan?'

There is a flare of blue light, `Do I look like I'm fucking _ALL RIGHT_?!' she pauses, her face set as the blue aura dies, continues in a tight voice, `I just realized, no, admitted that Ranma's right, I should be in control of my temper; I shouldn't blow up over such trifles. I just can't stop!' her voice rises on the last word.

`All I can say,' Nabiki suddenly pauses, `if you promise not to hurt me for it,'

Akane gives a bitter laugh, `I do that a lot, don't I.'

Nabiki doesn't comment on the interuption, `is that a shrink might be able to help. Mine helped quite a bit.'

Akane's jaw drops, then she sputters, `A shrink? A shrink? You?' Nabiki nods, `Thanks for telling me sooner.' Akane spins, running from the room.

`No, no breaking bricks to deal with this; it won't help, I'll just work myself up even more about this.

`Ranma always does forms after we fight. Worst thing that'll happen is I'll hurt myself.' She smiles as she finishes speaking.

Her forms are a little off, too fast here, too slow there, choppy, angry. The sun sinks down as the sounds of Akane working out drift up, then the sun drops past the wall. Akane's forms are a little smoother, a lot slower, her sweat has soaked through her gi and plastered her hair against her scalp, dripping from the ends.

`Akane, you should have some dinner.'

`Later, Kasumi.'

`At least stop and drink some water, or you will hurt yourself.'

`Maybe I want to.'

`How will Ranma feel if she comes back to find you've put yourself in the hospital?'

`Relieved.' Akane's face betrays her lack of belief in her statement, but she continues her form.

`No she wouldn't. The poor thing loves you, despite all you've done to drive her off, and she'd be quite upset.'

`Do you really want to make her cry again, you bitch?' Akane's voice is a vicious whisper, far too soft for Kasumi to catch anything but the tone. Taking a deep breath, she stops, collapses, forces herself up again.

Kasumi is there, holding her up, pressing a glass of water to her lips. Akane drinks quickly, ravenously.

`You will eat dinner now.' Akane nods acceptance of Kasumi's soft command.

-0-

`Urg,' a voice moans from behind the Panda, `Remind me not to do that again, OK?' a soft rustle accompanies Akane as she levers herself up, and slips out the door.

`What was I thinking? To work myself into such a stupor that I couldn't maintain any anger? Managed that, at least,' Akane mutters as she walks down the hall to the toilet, `Wish Nabiki had admitted that she'd seen a shrink earlier, maybe I wouldn't have done so many stupid things.' She shakes her head as she opens the door to the toilet, slips her feet into the slippers, then closes the door. Her low grumbling is quieter through the door, `No, just blaming things on others again. Scares me how easy that is, how hard it is to stop doing that.' The door opens and Akane exits, shedding the slippers.

`Kasumi?' she turns at her name, `May I watch you cook breakfast?'

Kasumi smiles, `Of course.' Akane watches quietly, her hands tightly clenched and pressed to her chin. Every few minutes she changes the way they are wrapped, but other than that does not move. As Kasumi finishes Akane gets up and walks out.

`She's so fucking _calm_ about it. How can she be so fucking calm about it?' She bangs her head lightly against the outer wall with each question.

`Ranma's right. The way I'm going I'll never learn to cook. Ranma can cook; Heck, Ranma's good at it. Ranma's said she loves me, said she trusts me. How did I reply?' she drops to her knees, pressing the top of her head to the wall, `I called her a fool and a pervert, and she walked away,' tears drip slowly down her nose, her fist rising up, ready to deliver a pulverizing blow to the wall, then relaxes, a shudder running through her body.

-0-

`Nabiki?' she looks up from her breakfast at Akane's question, `Could you find me a good shrink? Please?'

Everyone but Akane facefaults.

`Uh, sure,' Nabiki recovers suavely, `You might wanna read the bits on anger in Ranma's psych text as well.' Akane jerks, drops her chopsticks in preparation for a blow, then picks them up again.

`Thanks, Nabiki.'

-0-

`Akane?'

`Yeah?' she answers, looking up from the text.

`I talked to Keiko, and she recomended Shimura-sensei. Here's her address.' Akane takes the paper, and Nabiki continues, `I took the liberty of asking if she could see you today, and she'd like it if you could come by about noon. Is that OK?' Only a faint tightness shows around Akane's eyes as she nods.

`Thank you.' Akane stares down at the text in her hands, then closes it.

-0-

`Tendou-kun, you were referred to me about your anger.' The therapist barely manages to hide her shock as the young woman visibly composes herself, forcing calm.

`Yeah, you could say that.' She smiles thinly, her eyes flashing, `I control my temper like the American government controls their budget. Not very well, recently.' The edge of the wooden desk creaks under her fingers.

The therapist gulps, concealing her fear reaction with great skill.

-0-

`Ick. Remember what Kasumi told you, baka. Read the bloody label!' she looks at the cast iron pot in exasperation, but manages to refrain from smashing the pot, throwing it, yelling out loud, or even getting all that upset. `Wow, maybe I am getting a handle on this.' She reaches out to grab the pot, getting it halfway to the garbage before she realizes her heat-tolerance isn't as good as she'd wish.

`Baka! baka! *BAKA*!' she shrieks, dropping to her knees before setting down the pot, careful of the old metal, leaving it in the middle of the floor. Outside she starts yet another kata.

Half an hour later she reenters the kitchen, picks up the pot from the floor, glad to note that the pot had cooled enough not to damage the floor before she set it down. The pot is scraped into the hazardous waste bucket and washed.

Taking a look around she notes the slight mess, much less than what had been considered normal, and sighs. `Clean up time.'

She finishes her cleaning, calming slowly, `Kasumi, I'm done with your kitchen!'

Kasumi steps into the room, pauses and blinks, then moves to start dinner.

Akane, exhausted, slumps to watch.

-0-

`So, has it helped?'

`Yes, it has. Whenever I start getting too angry to control myself I go and work out until I can barely stand up. By that time I have control over myself again, and can return to what I was doing.'

`Hmm. How frequently do you have to do this?'

`Not often at all. I only had to drive myself to exhaustion twice yesterday.'

`Twice? How bad was it when you started?'

`Oh, the first day I only did it once, but I was at it from about lunchtime until almost nine in the evening. The next couple days I drove myself into the dirt five or six times each. Yesterday was good, though.'

`Why?'

`Because things that I know would have set me off a week ago just don't seem worth the effort anymore. If I keep this up I may be able to keep from blowing up at Ranma when she gets back from looking for colleges.'

`You mention Ranma a lot. How do you feel about her?'

`She's the most important person in my life. I owe her everything, several times over, and it just,' Akane looks down, `annoys me. At the same time I love her completely, and can't imagine trying to live without her. She was crying when she left,' Akane looks up again, her face stricken, `You've got to understand, Ranma could have an argument with a truck, the truck would lose, and she'd walk into the house and ask calmly to be taken to Doctor Tofu's because she's feeling a little less than perfect. We'd get to Doctor Tofu's, where the doctor would treat her for multiple broken bones, contusions as bad as second degree burns, and a concussion, and she wouldn't even wince, let alone cry at the pain.

`But I hit her, and she left, crying,' Akane looks ready to cry, too.

`How did that make you feel?'

`Strong, powerful,' Akane does start crying.

`And now?'

`The only thing keeping me from putting myself out of her misery is the lurking fear that that would hurt her worse.'

-0-

The gate to the Tendou house opens, and a small dark-haired young woman walks through. her eyes are cast to the ground, and a worried expression is on her face.

`Ranma!' Akane bounds up from somewhere, throwing her arms around the small woman, and kisses her firmly on the lips.

Ranma stops, stock-still, and her eyes get very big, then her lids drop as she finally begins to respond to Akane's enthusiastic kiss. Her hands slowly drift up to rest on the tall young woman's shoulders, holding her tightly. Ranma's eyes water, tears dripping slowly down her face as she returns the kiss with marked enthusiasm.

~ fin ~

-
Log:
1998 May 11:put aside
1999 June 3:added log
1999 June 16: added a bit more.
1999 July 25:Finished, finally, I think.
1999 August 31:Tiny bit of editing
1999 Sept 6:Tiny bit more.
2009 June 1: prepped for posting to ff.n