Solar Demise - Five Series

Part 5a - Mata Ne. [See You Later]

This is a supplemental side story to part five of my main story, Solar Demise.
It chronicles the events that took place with Ranma and Akane during part 5
of the main story. ^^

Ranma 1/2 is copyrighted by Takahashi Rumiko, along with a plethora of
companies. I don't make money from writing this, and I don't plan to.
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"So, you wanna help me with these bags?" Ranma repeated himself, speaking
deliberately.

*Ohhh man,* I thought, turning to look at Akane. Her blank stare was my cue
to break the preemptive silence. Akane, blushing profusely, became a bit clumsy
and disoriented in gesture as she rushed almost too quickly to grab the bags
that Ranma held.

"Wow!" It looks like she already broke the silence. She spoke loudly, as if
trying to waive what she had said seconds earlier. "Ranma-- you got ALL of this
stuff just from the fish that you traded?" Akane seemed a bit too enthused to be
looking into those bags... I decided to help her look less obvious.

"Hey, cool!" I screeched, almost out of character, "I haven't had-"
rummaging quickly in a split second, I retrieved a pack of imported- "beef jerky
in a long time! Do you mind if.."

"No, go for it." Ranma yawned, his words as fatigued as his gestures. "I'm
just going to go for a nap. Have fun with the stuff."

"Do you need me to get the blankets from our-"

"No Akane," Ranma answered shortly. "I can do it."

Damn it, Ranma. I was once more forced to shatter an akward moment. "Hey,
have a good one. Akane and I were planning to go for a walk and ask you to come,
but you're tired. It's okay."

Ranma smiled, nodding. "Thanks, man." I could barely catch the flicker of
his longing expression as he glanced at Akane, but I knew it was there. With
that, he ducked into a his tent.

Poor Akane looked terrified as she watched Ranma leave. I had to pull her
hard to get her attention, and pull further to get her to start walking.

**********************************************

Once we reached a safe distance from the camp site, Akane sunk into the
sand below and clapped her hands over her face. "What am I going to DO,
Ryouga-kun? How in the hell am I going to be able to look at him tomorrow,
nonetheless SLEEP in the same tent as he does?"

"Uh.. don't wake him up tonight, and wing it tomorrow?" I expected Akane to
smack me, but I didn't expect her to chuck the nearby rock (roughly one meter in
size) at me. Dodging by a hair, I stared dumbfounded as Akane was smiling.

"How'd you know?"

"If you knew, why'd you ask?"

"Smartass."

"Your language is getting just as rough as Ranma's. Tsk tsk tsk, I'm going
to think that it was YOU who spent ten years on the road." She giggled, and I
felt better about being able to get her into a less frantic state of mind. "He's
rubbing off on you, you'd better watch it."

"Tell me about it." Akane sighed, stood back up and started walking. "In
more ways than one."

"I know, I know. But why are you having such a negative outlook on things?
I thought that I was supposed to do that." I began to follow alongside Akane.
Her demeanor wasn't as charismatic as usual, and the fire that always blazed in
her eyes was unusualy subdued. I decided that she was gorgeous either way. The flame was
dulled, but no matter what emotion Akane felt at the time, the emotion was
passionate. Her worry and confusion reflected into her eyes, as did the
surrounding moonlight. *In this state of worry, Akane could be feeling a bit
hopeless,* I thought. As I watched her, she sighed and cast a glance at the
ocean. I looked out too, wondering what the future held for all of us. It was
just death, in the longrun. Why should we bother with anything?

I felt Akane wrap her arms around mine. Sighing, she leaned on my shoulder
as we walked. My heart began to beat faster. *Why does Akane have to do this
right now?* My thoughts ran on their own, being soothed by the soft crashing of
the waves. I sighed. A moonlight stroll with a beautiful girl is a picturesque
moment, but Akane was the wrong beautiful girl. I would have praised the heavens
for a moment like this in the past, but this time I felt guilty for being where
I was. Akane wasn't for me. More importantly, the girl for me was kilometers
away; I just wish I knew which direction those kilometers were in. Trying not to
depress myself, I breathed in, trying to enjoy the chilly night air and the
moon's company.

"Please, Ryouga." Akane uttered, in a hushed tone of voice. "I shouldn't
try to fool myself. Look at how Ranma instantly avoided us tonight! He didn't
seem all that thrilled, at any rate."

"He didn't seem angry, though. What if he was tired, and something like
that confused him in the same way you are now?" The look in Ranma's eyes were
unmistakable, but I was still confused. My words were only my own guess to the
situation, but the last thing that I wanted to do was make Akane feel any worse.
I chose not to speak of my confusion.

"Ryouga, you don't sound like you're sincere about that. And besides, you
fooled yourself about loving me, how can you possibly tell if--"

Akane fell silent.

I sighed. That hurt. Suddenly, my longing for Akari grew.

Akane and I walked back to our campsite in silence.

**********************************************

"Uhm, good night, Ryouga." Akane smiled pensively.

I returned a warmer version of her smile. "It'll be
okay."

With that, we crawled into our tents.

**********************************************

As I fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves, I awoke with them as well.
The air was a bit warmer, but the heat was not in full blast yet. I poked my
head out of my tent, noticing that nobody was out on the beach yet, and neither
Ranma nor Akane had awoken.

Sighing, I resolved to pack up my belongings. I had some reservations about
leaving, but Akane didn't need to be uncomfortable around two people right now.
*If I leave now, Akane and Ranma'll have to come to some sort of understanding.*
Though I might confuse her by leaving, I hoped that she would fix her emotions.
For as long as I knew her, Akane had always been a strong girl. I knew that I
was putting a lot of faith into Akane's strength by going now, but I hoped that
this would make Akane stronger. That was the excuse that I used for leaving,
anyway. The selfish side of me wanted to go and find Akari.

"She was crying last night. And now you're packing."

I nearly jumped at Ranma's voice. Turning around, I saw what I expected-- a
peeved Ranma, glaring at me with folded arms. *Damn,* I thought. *I didn't
expect her to cry!* "Ohayou, Ranma..."

"Ohayou. Now what the hell happened?"

"Nothing-" My answer was interrupted by a flying punch to the face. I
dropped my things and leaped back until we were far enough from the campsite not
to wake Akane.

Ranma followed, just as I had anticipated. If he was in a rage, the best I
could do was defend myself. Akane wouldn't be too happy with me if I were to
leave bruises and cuts all over Ranma's body. "You're lying through your teeth,
Ryouga. She had a rough night last night, and I wanna know what you said!" Ranma
dove at me punching me with his Amaguriken technique.

I blocked as best as I could. "Maybe she wouldn't have cried in the first
place, if you wouldn't have acted so distant last night!" Once Ranma pulled back
on his punches, I smacked him across the face. Ranma's eyes widened and he
stopped his attacks, though his body language made if obvious that I had to
continue to say the right thing. "Why are you dragging your ass, Saotome?"

"What are you talking abou-"

"Don't play stupid with me! You couldn't hide the way you looked at her
last night from me! I, of all people, know what it's like to carry on a platonic
relationship with a girl that I've fallen for! I finally noticed the same look
of longing that I've had in my eyes before, and YOU had it last night!"

"..." Ranma finally lowered his guard.

"And look how pissed off you are about her crying. You're being too obvious
about this Saotome, why don't you ease her mind a little?"

"You HAVE had to do this before, I'll give you that. But if you're looking
from the same point of view, you also know how hard it is to carry that out."
Ranma's reply was, comfortingly, not what I had expected. "Look, Ryouga. It
doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what you and Akane were talking
about last night. I'd love to help make life easier, but will it really be?"

I began to head back to the camp site to get my things. Ranma walked with
me, still talking. "This kind of a feeling isn't something that I can pull out
of nowhere to fix things, like my martial arts. Hell, I had to work to make THAT
perfect, and I'm still trying to improve. I've barely had the chance to just be
her friend, Ryouga."

"That's a good point." It really was, and hearing it from Ranma made me
feel a lot better about leaving.

"Let me do that first, and enjoy it, Hibiki. When I'm ready, things won't
feel so akward like they do now."

I picked up my backpack and slung it over my back. "Okay, Ranma. She's
really fragile now, though. Try not to be too friendly or she'll get confused
again... and take care of her or I'll have to kill you."

"You better take care of yourself. Now get out of here before she wakes up;
it'll be hard for you to leave if she protests."

"That was just what I was thinking. Name the baby after me, okay?" It made
my morning to see Ranma's jaw drop. I waved goodbye and took off, racing to the
north... I think.

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Author's notes: (1998)
*bows in a deep apology* Sorry I've been neglecting this 'fic! The truth is, I'm
deeply hooked on the Rurouni Kenshin anime, and have been spending my time
reading RK 'fics, buying RK stuff, and drawing Kenshin fanart. Oh yeah, I've
been working on some other projects, too (my new art page comes to mind, along
with my job, school, and requested artwork both from the internet and from my
family and friends...).
Since I'm not a phenomenal writer as many other Ranma fanfic writers, I figure
that my 'fics are read to feed the fanfic craving in between parts of the other,
bigger stories. ^_~ That's why my fanfic page is the least updated part of the
Ranma and Akane Shrine (besides, you guys probably like my image gallery much
better, neh? *grin*). Don't get me wrong; I still consider the e-mails that are
sent from the people that actually WANT to see the conclusion of this fic enough
to tell me. ^_^ You guys rock!

*ruffles hair* This is the third draft of this story; the last two just seemed
too plain, and uneventful, but one night, this last draft shot through my
carpal-tunnel-ridden hands (okay wrists, but..) into my notepad program! Ohhhhh,
I'm sooo tired!

This particular "author's notes" section seems just as long as the fic... ah
well. Stay tuned for part 5b (narrated by Ranma)!