Disclaimer: Don't sue me over Ranma ½. 'Sain't mine. But this fic is. Ya wanna use it, ya ask me first. The song "Ain't No Sunshine" belongs to Bill Withers & Interior Music corp. "The Real Folk Blues" belongs to whoever the hell owns Cowboy Bebop. All rights reserved, an all that crap.
This takes place after Happosai uses the strength sapping moxibustion on Ranma, but before Akane follows him to Yomogi Valley. This's a songfic/side story, so don't be surprised when Akane starts singin.
*Notes at the end.
A BloodRose Creation@}-;-
Ain't No Sunshine
Prologue: The Tendo Dojo
"Father! Come quick! Ranma & Mr. Saotome, they're-"
Together, Kasumi & Soun Tendo race upstairs, to the now vacant guestroom.
Soun slides to a stop in front of the open door.
Kasumi looks anxious.
"They must have packed up & slipped out last night."
Akane enters, looking slightly confused.
"It was probably too awkward for them to stay..." Says Nabiki with a pitying look. Akane's face turns disbelieving.
"Yes, with Ranma's being too weak to take over the Dojo & all..." Kasumi says, smiling slightly. Nabiki nods agreement, while Soun breaks down in sobs.
"All my DREAMS!"
Akane begins to tremble, & spins to face them.
"He wouldn't do that! He wouldn't run away after being beaten!"
She runs out of the Dojo, heading to school. As she's walking, cherry blossoms begin to fall from the trees.
'You jerk. Taking off without even saying a word. You think I'm worried about you? I'm not...' She stops in her thoughts & looks up to the sky, her sad eyes brimming with tears.
'Ranma, you dummy! Where did you go...?'
* @}-;- *
After school, Akane walked slowly, headed in the direction of Ucchan's Okonomiyaki, lost in thought. It was a beautifully sunny day, but Akane didn't even notice.
'Ranma, you jerk! How could you not even say goodbye to me, but take Ukyo with you?! How could you...?'
As she walked, her eyes were on her feet, so she didn't notice when she took a wrong turn. When she finally looked up, expecting to see Ucchan's, she found herself standing in front of a Karaoke bar, "Crossroads of Destiny". She was about to turn to leave, then stopped.
'What harm could it do?' She thought with a small smile as she opened the door. The interior of the bar was like any other; dim, smoky & with an eternal air of depression, loss. Somehow, this comforted Akane. She placed her bag on a table & sat down, looking around.
"What'll it be, honey?" A waitress not much older than she was appeared at Akane's side, pencil in hand, waiting to take her order. Akane raised her head with a start, peering up into the tired face of the waitress. She would have been pretty, if not for the heavy makeup around her yellow eyes.
"Oh! I, um, what do you, uh, recommend?" Akane stuttered out, smiling uneasily. The waitress only smiled warmly & wrote something on her pad as she turned away.
"I'll get ya a ginger ale, sweety. On me."
Akane smiled as she turned her attention to the stage, where a boy about her age, still wearing his school uniform, was singing a very bluesy song, a blue spotlight focused on him.
Amari ni mou toki wa sugi tehsimaata.
Mada kokoro no hokorobi o
Isuasenu mama kaze ga fuiteru.
Kawaita hitomi de dareka naitekure!
The Real Folk Blues!
Hontoo no kanashimi ga shiritaidake.
Doro kawari tsukata jinsei mo warukuwanai
Ichido kimi de......owarunara.*"
As the boy finished his song, applause broke out throughout the bar. He bowed politely & exited the stage. As he passed Akane's table, he caught her eye & stopped.
"You're new here, aren't you? I come here every day at this time, & I'm sure I haven't seen you here before."
Akane smiled slightly, glancing quickly around the room.
"Yes, this is my first time here. I took a wrong turn on my way home &..."
The boy smiled warmly & gestured to the chair opposite her, asking to sit. Akane hesitated only a second before nodding. As the boy sat, he gestured to the bartender, who muttered to one of the waitresses as she passed. A moment later, Akane's waitress appeared at her side with her ginger ale, a glass of water & a school bag. She placed the drink in front of Akane with a warm smile.
"Here ya go, honey. One ginger ale." She turned to the boy with a smile just as warm, if a bit more broad.
"And for you, Uu-kun, one water. And here's your bag."
The boy smiled back as he took his bag, slipping a generous tip into her slender hand.
She smiled again & walked away, her long blue hair swinging behind her.
The boy turned his attention back to Akane with a warm smile.
"Even if you didn't mean to get here, noone ever comes here by accident. If you came here just when you did, then it is simply because you were meant to. After all, there is no coincidence in this world. Only the inevitable."
Akane's eyes widened slightly at that. An air of mystery enveloped the boy, an air so thick it almost shimmered around him.
"Oh, forgive me! I've been rude, haven't I. I'm Shin. Shin Unmei*."
Akane smiled & offered her hand.
"I'm Akane. Akane Tendo. Yoroshhiku onegaishimasu*."
Shin smiled & took her hand.
Shin took a long drink from his glass as Akane looked toward the stage. There was noone there. It stood vacant, the blue spotlight centered, as if waiting for someone to come...
"So, why are you here?"
Shin's gentle voice snapped Akane out of her reverie. Smiling sheepishly, she turned back to face him.
"Why am I...what do you mean?"
Shin smiled mysteriously & shook his head slightly.
"You said you took a wrong turn on your way home, didn't you? I should think you would know how to get to your own house, by now. There must be a reason you took that wrong turn, or you would never have taken such an obviously wrong turn. Is there someone on your mind...?"
Akane jumped, surprised at his vigilance. She looked him over slowly, taking in every feature; his black hair, pulled gently into a short ponytail at the base of his neck, falling gently into his eyes at the front, so much like Ranma's. The way his purple eyes twinkled when he smiled, so much like Ranma's. The way his lips quirked at one edge in an almost mocking way when he smiled, so much like...
"...Ranma. His name is Ranma." She said softly, almost in a whisper. She frowned slightly.
'Why am I telling him this? I don't even know him!' But one look at Shin answered that question. He admitted a sense of trust, almost as if Akane had known him forever. Her frown was quickly drowned by a warm smile. Slowly, she told Shin the whole story, beginning with Soun's announcement that their fiancé was coming to stay, winding through the events leading up to Ranma's departure, ending with what had happened that morning. He listened silently, never interrupting, but his eyes never left hers. Finally Akane stopped, taking a deep breath. She felt lighter, somehow. Almost as if she had dropped a heavy burden. She smiled & looked into Shin's eyes.
"So, why were you singing such a sad song, Shin-kun? Do you have someone on your mind?"
He was mildly surprised at this question, but his smile was pleased, if a little sad.
"It was actually a lot happier than my usual, believe it or not. The one I was singing about, who I always sing about, is my ex-girlfriend. Her name was Amaterasu. We were together forever, but..." He shook his head softly, placing one finger on his forehead.
"Whenever we went to a party, she would always ruin it. No matter how much fun it might have been at the beginning, she would always spoil it. But when I stopped taking her to parties, she got mad at me. So I told her why I had stopped taking her, & she dumped me & pretty much went into seclusion." He laughed, a light, airy, pleasant sound.
"You have no idea how happy everyone else was!"
Akane laughed despite herself. She knew she shouldn't, it was sad how much people disliked this Amaterasu girl, but when Shin laughed, it was hard not to join him. Still, this story sounded so familiar...*
"Why don't you sing something?"
Akane stopped laughing, surprised at his sudden suggestion. She blushed slightly at the thought of singing in front of so many people. She glanced at the stage, which was still vacant, waiting. As visions of Ranma flashed before her eyes, Akane's eyes hardened with resolve. She smiled at Shin.
"I think I will."
He smiled encouragingly at her & nodded, no words being needed. She rose slowly & walked to the stage, stepping in front of the mike tentively. The blue spotlight matched her uniform perfectly. Shining on her blue-black hair it gave her a bluesy air, an air of loss. Akane looked through the offered songs carefully, finally stopping at an American song, which was offered in English.
'Alright,' she thought. 'Ain't No Sunshine. I know this song. Besides, it's perfect.'
She pressed the key to start the song. As the music started, she took a deep breath & closed her eyes, letting the music take her. As images of Ranma & their time together played through her mind, she began to sing.
"Ain't no sunshine when he's gone.
It's not warm when he's away.
Ain't no sunshine when he's gone,
& he's always gone too long,
anytime he goes away."
Akane began swaying with the music as memories flooded through her mind. Memories of Ranma's fight with Ryoga, how he had tried so hard to get her out of harm's way, how after her hair had been ruined, he had told her she looked cute, that he liked her short hair better, played out before her closed eyes as she began the next verse.
"Wonder this time where he's gone.
Wonder if he's gonna stay.
Ain't no sunshine when he's gone
& this house just ain't no home
anytime he goes away.
And I know, I know, I know..."
Akane picked up the mike, left the stage & began walking around the bar slowly, the spotlight following her, as memories of when Ranma had taken her place in her fight with Kodachi,& of the match with Mikado Sanzenin & Azuza Shiratori at the Charolette Cup, when Ranma had done so much to protect her, played across her closed lids.
'Akane is my fiancé! Lay one lip on her, & I'll kill you!'
"And I leave that young thing alone cuz
ain't no sunshine when he's gone.
Ain't no sunshine when he's gone,
Only darkness when he's away."
Finally, an image of Ranma smiling warmly at her came before her eyes, & stayed there as the final verse spilled melodiously from Akane's lips.
"Ain't no sunshine when he's gone,
& this house just ain't no home
anytime he goes away.
Anytime he goes away.
Anytime he goes...away."
As Akane opened her eyes, the bar broke out in extensive applause & cheers, some rising from their seats to give her a standing ovation. She looked around slowly, slightly confused.
'When did I leave the stage...?'
When she looked over to Shin, however, she smiled. He was standing on his chair, whistling loudly. When he saw Akane look over, Shin smiled broadly, giving her a thumbs up. Akane gave a deep bow & returned, laughing, to her table. As she plopped down in her chair, she beamed at Shin, who looked just about as happy as she did.
"That was great, Akane-san! You have a great voice. Are you sure you haven't been here before?"
Akane blushed with pleasure.
"I'm sure, Shin-kun. You have a nice voice, too. That helped me a lot, though." she glanced at her watch, & her eyes widened when she saw the time. Had she really been there for an hour? She grabbed her bag as she stood, stopping to look at Shin before she left.
"Thank you, Shin-kun. I really needed someone to talk to, today. It was great talking to you." She smiled warmly at him, her hazel eyes shining. Shin shook his head softly, smiling as well.
"I didn't do anything, Akane-san. You did. I just helped you along. Good luck with Ranma-kun. Maybe come visit us again some time."
Akane smiled & bowed, turning to leave.
"Thank you. Maybe I will."
As Akane walked away from the bar in the direction of Ucchan's, all memory of the afternoon slowly vanished from her mind.
Shin smiled & sipped his water as Setsuna removed the untouched glass of ginger ale from the table & wiped the precipitation from the wood.
"So, Uu-kun. D'ya think we'll ever see her again?" she asked quietly, her husky voice hopeful, her yellow eyes gazing at the door almost sadly. Shin smiled as he followed her gaze, & placed a friendly hand over hers as she wiped the table yet again.
"No, Setsuna-san, we won't. She's found her path again, & won't even remember ever meeting us. We've done our job there, & though I'll miss her, we must help these others who have strayed from their paths."
Setsuna smiled & nodded. As the next lost soul wandered into the bar, she moved to show him to one of the vacant tables (there was always at least one) & take his order.
* @}-;- *
Akane ripped the map from the door of Ucchan's Okonomiyaki & studied it closely.
'The moxa rocks in Yomogi Valley...? The moxibustion capitol...?'
Akane headed home, intent on following Ranma & Ukyo to Yomogi Valley...
And you know the story from there.
The Real Folk Blues ( translation)
Too much time had passed for me to regret
how I loved you.
For a wind still blows
that won't allow my heart to heal.
Someone, cry with dry tears...
The Real Folk Blues!
I only want to know what true sadness is.
Even a dirt trodden human life isn't so bad
if it could end, at least once......with you.
* @}-;- *
Shin Unmei: True Destiny/Fate
Yoroshiku onegaishimasu: I'm very pleased to meet you.
Amaterasu: the Goddess of the Sun (Japanese); there's a whole story, but I'm not gonna go into it.
Well, that's it. This was my second fic, first songfic. Ya didn't like it, too damn bad. Nobody told ya ta read it, did they? Whatever.
All questions, comments, whatever, can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
All flames will be used to roast the marshmallows.
See ya. Like I care.