Sleep's sweet embrace

A Ranma ½ Fanfiction by R. Martin

Disclaimer: Aww c'mon. Do we really have to do this? Again? Okay, Ranma is not my property, thus I'm not the richest woman in Japan. There, happy now?


This is for Kirsten. She knows why.


It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep.

That's not such a big deal. I've got a bit of trouble with sleeping lately.

It's kinda strange, since I'm usually bound for dreamland the moment I hit the sack. And trust me, that's a useful skill to pick up when you're traveling with my old man, 'cause otherwise you're not likely to get much sleep at all.

One reason being all those angry folks that are prone to show up with a complete disregard for our sleeping habits. And probably our health too. Well, especially our health, considering the huge array of blunt and pointed objects they usually wave around.

The other reason is simply that pop's sawing more logs in one night than the entire Canadian lumber industry during a good year. Who knows, maybe that's his way to balance the laziness he's plagued with any other time?

Yeah, right.

So there I am , wide awake while pop single-handedly destroys a rainforest, and stare at the ceiling. What is visible of the ceiling in the scarce light that manages to shine through the blinds anyway.

I try counting sheep. Well, I start out counting sheep. I end up imagining ways to make pop shut up. Which is actually fun for a while, even if it doesn't help me with my original problem.

I guess the only reason I don't start counting the minutes on the clock right then is that there is none.

Yupp, ain't got no clock. Not even a wristwatch.

Neither me nor pop ever saw the use in buying something like that. Especially an alarm. What good would it be if it can't get you out of bed in the morning?

For be it beep or radio, if it can't harm the Saotome, he sleeps right through it.

Then again, since we came to live in this place, I never overslept once. Because I've got something far more effective than an alarm. And believe me, when its hands show the time even a Saotome feels it. Yep, my alarm's kinda a tomboy.

So if dad doesn't drag me to our morning spar, which he has miraculously avoided a lot lately, it's usually Akane who drags my sorry ass to the bathroom. And always right on time, I might add.

Can't say that I mind that development. I mean, come on, if you had the choice about whose face greets you first thing in the morning, who's it gonna be?

Genma Saotome or Akane Tendo?

Honestly, I pity anyone who'd chose my dad.

No, I take that back.

I'd institutionalize anyone who'd chose my dad.

Which reminds me. Mom does act kinda strange sometimes.

But hey, I guess that's simply what it takes for a woman to fall for a Saotome-guy.

Well, not exactly to fall 'for' him. That seems to happen all the time. Just take a look at all the girls chasing after me. Not that 'they' are prime examples of normalcy, but you catch my drift, don't you?

Huh, what's that? You don't?


Okay, then let me try putting it like this.

It's easy for a girl to fall for my good looks and my brilliant charm, right? Heck, you can hardly blame them for that. If I wasn't me and I really was a girl full-time instead I'd probably fall for me too.

But that's exactly the problem.

You see, if I'd get lucky with myself and I'd move into the same place together, then I'd give myself two months of 'happily ever after'. Three months at the top.

You know why?

Because by then I'd probably be ready to run out the door screaming thanks to all those dog-headed demons digging up the backyard for the bones of Hades while delegates from a Tibetan sect  ring at the front to talk about the key to world-peace that's supposedly to be found right under my toenails. Yep, they did bring their own tongs. Oh, and the bathroom just exploded. Probably thanks to some ancient curse on the plumbing. Again.

And that's where even the most kindhearted and loving person, such as me for example, says something along the lines of: 'Sorry, but I'm sure you've got sooo urgent business elsewhere! And if you don't then go find some!!'.

See, I'm not saying that all those girls chasing me ain't got no guts. That's something that they've got aplenty, the whole bunch. It's just that you need a special state of mind to deal with that kind of stuff on an everyday basis instead of just on a few special occasions during the year.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the most elegant way to get rid of my admirers would be to simply move in with them and just let things happen. I'd be surprised if it took me more than twelve months to go through all of them. And this includes both of the Kunos, provided I'd ever get desperate enough for a stunt like that.

Okay, so now you'll probably point out that I'm already living with the Tendos for a bit longer than that  and they still show no signs of getting tired of my presence.

That's true, and honestly, it's something that vexes me about them.

I mean, every sane person would have kicked me out by now, right? And as I pointed out, even your common madcaps would have kicked me out by now. Hey, I myself would have kicked me out by now!

For some strange reasons the Tendos haven't kicked me out. Yet.

And don't tell me that's just for the sake of the school. C'mon, the Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu is going to survive whether Akane and me join in holy matrimony or not. And if there's really any bother with the taxes concerning the grounds then I'm sure Nabiki would find a way around it. She may not look like it, but I think she's just as attached to this place as anyone else. I doubt she'd ever let it get taken away by the state.

So the way I see it, there's no real need for me being here. 'Cause while my company sure is enjoyable I don't think it's worth all the trouble that tags along. Not by a long shot.

So what am I doing here anyway?

How long 'till the Tendos finally had it and change their mind 'bout me and pop?

What's for breakfast?

With all those thoughts buzzing wildly through my head, is anyone surprised that I can't get no sleep?

Well I for one ain't.

So I'm thinking by myself, what's it gonna be?

Should I lie here all night and toss around or should I take a trip to the lavatory, or maybe the fridge for a light snack? There should still be some leftovers from tonight's dinner.

Hmm, midnight-chicken? Doesn't sound half bad.

So a few seconds later I find myself in the corridor, heading for the stairs. And since I'm passing by the door of my dear fiancée anyway, I'm sneaking up by habit and cautiously open it for a quick look inside. Now don't get the wrong impression. It's not like I'm worried about Akane, or anything like that. But it simply saves me a lot of trouble if I catch those pesky princes before they get a chance to sneak up on her. Know what I mean?

So I take a look inside her room and there she's lying peacefully in her bed. Rolled to the side and thus facing my way, I almost pull the door shut again because for a second I imagine her looking at me.

But then I hear her even breathing, and by what I can make out of her face in the pale moonlight I figure her eyes are closed, and so I relax. Gee, imagine that tomboy catching me as I stick my head through her door in the middle of the night. She'd probably bring the house down on us. At least it'd feel like the whole house to my poor head. And don't ask why that thought causes me to grin. I shouldn't have no reason for that.

So there I am, standing in the doorframe of a room housing a girl that I'd be more than willing to attest I don't even like that much, and I'm starting to relax.

I don't know why, or how, just as I didn't realize that I've been tense before. But knowing that Akane's save and sound at least gives me some sense of duty fulfilled. Like I did my share of the work in this family. Funny, ain't it? Considering that I ain't really a part of it. Yet.

That's when I catch myself staring at the tomboy for more than a minute now and I decide that I should better start staring at the contents of the fridge instead. But something stops me, nagging at my subconsciousness and giving my guts the feeling that something's out of place here. I would have ignored them, but a Saotome can't ignore his guts. It's something of a family motto:

'Ya feed them well. Ya listen to them well. They well never let ya down.'

No, I don't think the poets among my ancestors invented the wheel either.

Anyway, there I am, standing in the door and seeing nothing special and still my guts keep telling me something different. So what else can I do than take a closer look?

Carefully I let myself in, knowing exactly where and how to tread in this room after my numerous visits here. Yes I know exactly how that sounds but spare me, will ya? I always had one reason or another coming her and it had never ever involved anything even remotely romantic, okay?

So here I am, creeping a little closer and suddenly I see what had my intestines reeling.




AND WHEN I SAY EVERY LIMB THEN I MEAN EVERY… and that's about when my hand grabs the offending arm and finds it an empty sleeve.

Really, it could have fooled anyone, that with this being a dark material shirt and the middle of the night. It's even easier to get fooled of course if this anyone's got a red film before his eyes and a pulse of 250.

So there I stand, panting heavily and my face contorted like one of Soun's demon-heads, one hand yanking an empty sleeve and the other one positioned to strike a mighty blow.

Guess who chooses this moment to open her eyes?

Admittedly, since P-Chan isn't attending and my eyes are already wide open, if somewhat bloodshot, this question shouldn't pose too much of a challenge. Yet since there's always someone who needs it spelled out:

Akane chooses this worst of all possible moments to open her eyes.

Imagine my panic.

I bet you can't.

Sure, you can imagine the fact that I panic. Or maybe you remember fondly a couple of really embarrassing situations that had you wishing for the ground to open up and swallow you.

But even then you can't possibly imagine how much I, with this position I'm in and everything, just want to wet my pants.

But it's too late for any kind of relief because Akane's half-lidded eyes are looking up to me now and her mouth's opening and I know that I'm going to die any second now and here it comes now… any second now…


Run that by me again, will you.


What kind of righteous fury is that?

Apart from the fact that she's sounding pretty content for catching me in her room somewhere around midnight. Though admittedly, so she doesn't sound too awake either.

But that still doesn't make any sense because in my experience, Akane always wakes up at the slightest irritation. And she always grabs for the next blunt object to crush any possible or imagined intruder. She does not, like in no, nay, never, go simply back to sleep with a content smile on her lips. That's just not the way this world works.

So here I stand, part shaking from the adrenalin, part slack-jawed and dazed. I probably look every bit the jerk Akane always calls me. And I'm thinking by myself that I should cut my losses and simply sneak out again as long as my luck lasts.

A clever guy would be out of here in a flash. Not me though, I ain't feeling clever right now.

And I figure that, since I'm gonna act stupid anyway, I might as well stand there and keep staring at the girl right under my nose. You know, Akane is a riddle to me on her best of days, but tonight she really got me unbalanced.

That' not only because of this 'Sleeping Beauty' act. Remember the sleeve I'm still holding in my hand? I can feel the embroidery running twice 'round the wrist under my fingers in the form of an imperial dragon. And now that I've got an idea what to look for I also recognize the stitching around the chest and collar, right where Akane is pressing her cheek to. Ain't this funny? This looks exactly like the shirt I put into the hamper before hitting the sack.

Actually, as I put the sleeve closer to my nose I notice that it still smells a bit of the light workout I put in after dinner when Ryouga showed up for a little chase around the yard.

More clearly put, it reeks of sweat.

High class martial-artist cooling fluid deluxe maybe, but sweat nonetheless.

Frankly, I don't have the slightest idea what to make of this picture. And if I couldn't sleep before, I know that without some answers I'm not gonna get any sleep… ever.

And since there's only one person around who can provide them, and since she's for once in a really peaceful mood, why not go straight for the source?

The worst that should happen is a quick anesthesia and hey, at least I'm asleep then.

So suddenly I find myself kneeling down next to her bed, my head precariously close to hers, and I whisper: "Hey Akane..?"

At first she's not reacting. Talk about a heavy sleeper. But when I try it the second time she answers.

"Whazzup..?" she asks sleepily, cuddling up a little closer to the shirt. Actually it's more like she purrs. Honestly, that's not the kind of sound I want to hear coming from her. Or do I?

Well, I figure that this better be a quick conversation before I go completely bonkers and so I get directly to the interesting part.

"What you're doing with my shirt?"

Now nobody can say that I'm beating about the bush, right? And Akane? Well, Akane's taking a good sniff of my shirt and that content smile of hers broadens and she says something that really blows my head off.

"…'t smells like you…"

Okay, brain over.

No more heavy drugs before I go to sleep.

Wait a second, I didn't take any drugs.

But then how do I explain this?

Even I wouldn't dream up something as stupid as that.

And what kind of answer is 'smells like you' anyway?

Since when has that ever been a good thing?

Why's she smiling like this?

Who's she dreaming of, cuddling up to my shirt like that?

No, better don't go there.

"I smell like me too…"

Ten points out of ten for such a brilliant observation.

Of course I do, and for pretty obvious reasons.

But hold on, did I really just say this? Out loud?

And why do I sound like some moping kid?

Akane doesn't seem to notice though.

If anything her grin gets broader as she rolls onto her back and purrs her assent. And it sounds almost a bit like a challenge. As if she's daring me to stand up to my claim and come over.

It's funny how the mind sometimes works in situations like that.

As she's reclining into the pillows and that with her arm holding my shirt up to her face she kinda reminds me of Linus.

Remember Linus from the 'Peanuts'? The little boy who always ran around with his 'Security-blanket'? That's exactly what she looks like right now.

Except that her rendering of Linus is somehow a whole lot more exciting for me than anything that Sensei Schultz ever drew. Considering the way she's wriggling around in her bed like this. And I gotta admit, if I wasn't so busy fighting for control at the moment then I'd probably get jealous of my own shirt.

So there I am, biting the back of my hand to keep from screaming and edging backwards toward the door to keep myself from taking actions that would sure lead to a catastrophe. Like exchanging the shirt with my own person for example.

And then I'm out of the door and I sneak down the stairs and out the front door, still biting my hand. I honestly don't wanna know what I look like, hopping down the street on one foot while I put my other slipper on, only to break out into a sprint down the street towards the abandoned lot once I'm bipedaled again  Sure I'm still wearing my pyjamas of course, why ya asking?

But nobody sees me and the lot ain't that far away and then I can finally stick my head into one of the deeper craters there and scream.

You know, a good scream can be awfully therapeutic. Maybe not for the poor neighbors, but me, I can feel myself calm down considerably after a couple of minutes. And then I roll onto my back on the packed ground with a relieved sigh and I look up at the night sky.

It's a nice sky. Nothing fancy like those you get up in the mountains, but for an urban area it's quite okay.

And as I watch the stars twinkle above me, and with the secure knowledge that Akane's well out of reach at the moment, I put my arms behind my head and can finally start thinking clearly.

About me.

About Akane.

About this whole 'Security-blanket'-idea that struck me while watching her sleep.

The thought that Akane seemingly feels so safe that she's not even bothering to wake up just doesn't fit into my head.

'Cause it smells like you' she says.

Is that the reason that she's been looking so happy?

I know I've made her smile before. And I made her angry as all hell too.

Crying? Did that to her more than once. Not that I'm proud of that or nothing, it's just a fact.

I swear though, for every time I did this, I cheered her up ten times as much when she's been sad or depressed or something.

Anyway, I know that I affect Akane's mood in a lot of ways. Gee, considering all that time we spend together that's no real surprise, is it?

But making her happy?

Feel secure?



I never really thought about this. Not just concerning Akane. Concerning about anyone, I guess.

I'm not the kind of guy that runs around thinking about how to bring joy to the world. I ain't walking over water either. Though it might save me a lot of trouble if I could.

Well, just as I said, I never really thought much about it. But knowing that Akane's sleeping blissfully in her bed and that somehow I'm the cause, even if it's in a twisted way like via my shirt, makes me feel kinda… good.

Better than good actually.

I stretch my arms to get more comfortable, and I try to imagine that Akane's here with me instead of back home with my shirt.

It's funny, but that thought makes me feel kinda good too.

I just wish I also had something with me to help with my imagination. Like her blouse for example. Would only be fair, wouldn't it? I guess I could go back home and raid the hamper too.

But for one thing it would be somewhat unimaginative to copy Akane like that and anyway, who would I be fooling? I don't wanna used garments. I just wanna know what it feels like to hold Akane for a moment without any blood, sweat and near-death-experiences first.

It's no big deal, is it?

With that thought in mind I stand up and head back home.

No big deal, honestly, I tell myself as I walk down the street.

I'll just sneak back into Akane's room, make her scoot over in her bed and lay myself down for a moment or two. And hope that my ears don't ignite the pillows, hehe

She'll probably never ever notice that I've even been there. Serves her right for abducting my shirt.

I guess it's better if she doesn't, considering how Akane might react if she noticed me in her bed. Man, no matter what she's really feeling for me deep, deep down in her little widdle heart of hearts. If Akane wakes up, I mean really wakes up as in 'armed and ready' and not this half lidded 'Hey there' state from before, and she catches me in her bed in the middle of the night, then I'm sooo gonna be dead.

Oh well, a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

And this guy's gonna go to bed.

By now I'm back in the house and manage to make it to Akane's room without complications. Probably sounds like common fare to you, but I for one am thankful for every time I manage to make it to the lavatory without having to fight a demon-lord on my way.

To be perfectly honest, now that I stand before Akane's bed again and see her sleeping all peaceful-like, and considering what I set myself up to do, the idea of fighting some demon-lord instead has actually a lot of appeal.

But I'm not gonna turn tail. Oh no, Ranma Saotome never runs, and even if he does then he always comes right back with a better plan. And since I'm already on the comeback I've simply got to go through with my plan.

So I sit myself down on the edge of Akane's bed , which is a relief for my slightly wobbly knees, and I take a deep breath and very carefully, very quietly I ask: "Hey Akane..?"

Of course, with the way she's sleeping like a log it takes a bit more to get her to scoot over and so I try again, maybe a bit louder.

"Hey Akane…?"

"Whazzup..?" she asks sleepily while I get this slight feeling of déjà-vu. I don't stop to think about that though. Once I've decided on a plan I hardly ever stop to think anyway, so why start now. Instead I make a shooing gesture, though she can't see that obviously, and I say:

"C'mon Akane, move over, will ya?"

I brace myself for about any possible reaction to my demand, shouts of bloody murder, the finger or a simple 'Huh?', but with this being Akane she does the one thing that I don't expect.

Like moving over just like I asked her. Sure she mumbles something about the late hour, but she clears about half of the bed for me. I can't say that I really understand why she's acting like that. Heck, I don't really understand why I'm acting like I do either. But that doesn't stop me from crawling under the covers with Akane.

And as I do so I very carefully stretch out my arm and like it's the most natural thing in the world I move it towards Akane's head. There's only one problem now. How do I get that head onto my arm? I could ask her of course, that worked once already, didn't it? Though as I lie there and rack my brain about a suitable tactic I suddenly feel a weight settling down on me. And I look down and I see the top of Akane's head mere inches from my face and I feel that she just draped an arm and a leg over me and her hand's moving across my chest and… I'm ready to bolt.

Really, whatever Oni possessed me to get myself into a position like that has suddenly left and all I wanna do is get out of here before Akane wakes up and catches me. Sure, even in my panicked state I realize that's hardly possible as long as she's draped all over me like the way she is, but survival instincts are a hard thing to overcome.

Say, how do I always get myself into the thick like this, huh? Is that some kind of mental defect or am I simply skilled?

Well, seems like I'm stuck here for the moment, panicked or not, and it's my own fault, really. So I take a couple of deep breaths to calm down and the smell of Akane's hair starts registering in my brain, and I'm listening to her breathing and the warmth of the bed and especially Akane's body seep into me, that's when I slowly, very slowly, start to relax again.

Could this actually be kinda nice? Akane seems to think so. She's been making those purring noises again. Man, this feels strange when she does it with her head on my chest. Strange and good at the same time.

That's when I raise my hand, the one that's not 'round Akane, and I stroke away some of her hair that tickles my chin, and since I'm already at it I stroke her hair some more, though just lightly, and I whisper: "Sleep well." I don't know where that came from. I never wished anyone 'sleep well' for as far as I can remember. It just came to me like that. Funny, isn't it?

And then I hear Akane whisper back to me. Well, actually it's more of an articulate yawn.

"Hmm Ranma…?"

I almost wet myself. But then I think that she's probably just dreaming so I might as well play along. So I ask:

"Whazzup ..?"

Real witty comeback, ain't it? But then she does it once again, flooring me with an off remark just like that.

"…glad you came back…"

You know, by now I ought to die of a heart-attack or jump around the room stammering gibberish about how everything's completely different from what it looks like and stuff like that.

But I'm really comfortable right now, and since I'm starting to get sleepy and since Akane's sounding sincere about being glad, I don't really see the point for stunts like that.

Instead I give Akane a light hug and I put my chin on the top of her head and I say:

"Yeah, me too."

And it's true. I am glad.

And as I'm drifting off to sleep an idea occurs to me.

Remember what I said about the other girls? About how they probably wouldn't last long if they had me around twenty-four seven? I guess the same goes for Akane and her admirers. I bet they'd give up after two months of running after princes only to get whacked over the head for thanks. Okay, maybe Kuno wouldn't mind the whacking. I've got the sneaking suspicion that that idiot actually likes this part. But you get the general idea, right?

I guess what I'm trying to say is this.

Since no girl can keep up with me for long, and no guy can keep up with Akane for long, and we've both proven often enough that we can keep up with one another, I guess it's just natural selection. You know, like we wouldn't ever find anyone else stupid enough to stay with us anyway so we might as well accept things as they are.

Well, it does feel like a pretty natural thing to me anyway.

Me and Akane, we fit together like the odd pieces in the puzzle.

That's simply pragmatism.

It ain't got anything to do with love or fluffy stuff like that.

Well, maybe a little fluff. I feel kinda fluffy right now.

Warm and fluffy and with Akane being here...

Hah, pragmatism my ass.

With Akane here…

in my arm…

I can…



Author's notes:

Hey, what do you say. I've still got it.

Anyway, I wrote this more or less to get back into shape for continuing with my story 'Soul Heir'. Seems like it worked, for as I post this, I also post SH Chapter 17.

I just hope that nobody will bother with complaining about Ranma or/and Akane being 'Out of Character'.

One reason being that this story happens after Volume 38 of the manga, and that's uncharted waters anyway.

The main reason though is that most people I know act pretty OOC too if they don't get enough sleep, and I tend to base character-reactions on my own experiences.

To tell the truth, parts of this story are based on my personal experiences.

That's why it's dedicated to my girlfriend. :-)