Disclaimer: Ranma ½ belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

Title: I Understand
Length: 1,123 words

Summary: Akane's revelations of her feelings towards a certain pig-tailed artist and what she does with them, after all – she understands what needs to be done.

I Understand
by pahlee

The tears swelled in her eyes as they cascaded down her cheeks. Behind the locked door, Akane Tendo sat on her unkempt bed, turning her hands over in her lap.

"Stupid," her lips carelessly mumbled.

She moved from her current position to bring her knees up to rest her chin. She stared blankly at the paper in front of her and the cup set beside, with bits and pieces of some powder-like substance forming at the rim.

"God, Akane!" Ranma spat as he resurfaced from the water as a girl, shooting a glare.

Akane puffed her chest in anger, the tears formed in the base of her eyes as she exclaimed, "Oh, whatever! Turning hastily away, she began to walk briskly back home. Water drenched footsteps followed her; she glanced over her shoulder and saw Ranma. She shook her head and continued on her way.

In the matter of ten minutes, Ranma had changed into dry clothes and changed back with hot water. He sat in the family room, cross-legged, grumbling. Akane sat on the opposite side, watching the television in silence. The colors of the television set danced before her eyes, and although she stared intently at the screen her mind was elsewhere.

"Why do ya gotta be so uncute?" Ranma sneered at her turned back. Akane did not respond.

"With that and your cooking skills combined," he spat, "You'll never find a husband."

He was still angry from the incident earlier that he and Akane had just escaped from, so he did what he did best – insult the poor girl.

"Ucchan and Shampoo," he began, as he tried to tick off the girl in front of him, "They ain't got no problem!"

"While with ya', you're built like a brick, mule-headed, possess brute-like strength and with your thick thighs, ya tomboy," he let out a sour laugh, "No one will look your way."

Akane held herself, she was crying again, but she did not turn around. Ranma kept on talking, insulting her in every aspect of the word.

Her art, her habits, her clothing…insulting her.

After years of living with him, all those words made her think that is all she ever was. She was not the Akane, the compassionate martial-artist who sought out to help everyone one, finding good in everybody but rather…she was the brute tomboy who would not amount to anything. Any positive self-image she had was diminished.

Ranma finally winded himself out, proud of himself, he smirked at the back still turned at him. He stared, waiting for her rebuttal – he knew the consequences: he was ready for it! If it is a fight she wants, she will get it!

Akane stood up abruptly, startling Ranma a bit, but he quickly regained composure as he watched her with narrow eyes.

"I understand," Akane said, in a voice barely above a whisper in a quivering tone.

She bit her lower lip and quickly left the room, avoiding any contact with him. Ranma stared after her with a confused face, until the guilt washed over him.

Akane picked up the cup and quickly swished the cup in a circular motion, watching the powder dissipate into the liquid, she felt the saliva build up in her throat as she swallowed down the contents. At first, she felt a rough texture slide down and it reached her stomach, at first it was a dry hot feeling soon turning into nothing at all.

She put the now-empty cup on her dresser beside her bed as she took up the paper in front of her. Running her hand over the text, the ink smudged a bit and dirtied the paper at the top where she wrote: "I'm Sorry…"

Her stomach started to feel like it was on fire, but she ignored it as she glanced over to her open window and looked at the blue sky, with her famous smile she was notoriously known for, she gave it one last debut as she sank back on her bed, her vision turning black and a tear falling from her eye as she muttered, "Ranma…"

Meanwhile, in the room across the hall, a certain pigtailed martial artist paced his room. His heart had broken into a million pieces as he replayed his messages he sent to Akane. Each time he remembered a line and remembered it was him who spoke it, his heart broke even more.

"Dammit," he muttered as he ran his fingers through his hair, "She won't forgive me…Hell, I wouldn't forgive me…but…" he looked down at his feet as he recalled all the times he insulted her and she would always forgive him.

She was his greatest friend, but also his worst enemy. She was more cruel than Cologne could ever be, or challenge Ryoga could present. Akane is his only true weakness, heh, if his father knew that he know he would have to go on another training trip and try to beat him senseless along the lines of "men don't have weaknesses!"

But…why had those words dare cross the threshold of his lips? He knew, each word he uttered were complete and an utter lies, if anything…Akane was the most perfect being, in every aspect of it.

He felt his heart throb erratically as he knew she had to be crying. She always cried, and it was always over him.

"You don't deserve her tears!" Ryoga cried out as he extended out his arm and beat Ranma with a fury of attacks, "You don't deserve her!"

Ryoga always spouted off things like that, even Kuno. Ranma knew, that deep in his heart…he did not deserve Akane – and he knew, that Akane deserved better. He kept his thoughts on the task at hand, he could not dare cross the line that bordered so close to his heart.

He knew he cared for her, more than anyone else. She was his friend, one of the very few true friends, hell – his best friend. Yet, she was more to him that just that…she was the one who comforted him when he was down, the one to never leave his side (no matter how much he wanted her out of the way), and the only one who could ever make his heart stop beating with just a smile.

Ranma stared at the ground, his feet shuffling on the floor as he thought about his apology. He heard the shuffling of life below his feet, he assumed that Kasumi would be starting dinner soon, the fathers playing a game and Nabiki doing what she does best.

He placed his arms behind his head and stared out the window and thought to himself, "I'll tell her at dinner…"

But dinner never came.

A/N: Well, here's one of the many one-shots that will be included in my Hatsukoi series, I hope you enjoy! No, not all of them will be like these (but some may be similar?), I hope you like it, and I really do hope it will not turn you off the rest of the stories.

I like to experiment with types of writing…so they'll be evident in this collection! Thanks for reading, keep your heads up for the next one shot! )