Ranma 1/2 was created by Rumko Takahashi. In the United States, all publication rights to Ranma 1/2 belong to Viz. This is a work of fan fiction.

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Handed on a Silver Platter

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"I'm sorry, Akane. I cannot allow this production to turn into chaos, but I'm sure you understand the position that I'm in."

Those thoughts ran through Akane's head as she went home. Angry and confused, she refused to talk to anybody as she ran out the hall and towards the front gate, where she stood and cried.

"Akane?" A voice cut through her fog.

"Ranma!" Akane's mind swirled, trying to find a firm ground to root herself.

Sobbing, Akane croaked, "Leave me alone."

"I, um, brought you your book-bag." Ranma tried to hand her the bag, all the while looking at her, trying to see her face.

"I said, leave me ALONE!" Akane took an angry swipe at her bag and tearing it from Ranma's hand, breaking open the clasps that held it closed. The books and papers that were inside started to fly all over the place, some falling to the ground, others went flittering about.

Ranma tried to catch many of the papers as he could before a breeze carried them away. As Ranma gathered all the papers and books, he tried to put each into her bag. He held the last book he found as he handed the bag to Akane.

"Here you go, Akane. I'm sorry about the book, It fell in that puddle over there and it got all wet." He handed the book to her with two hands, title up.

Akane looked at the book Ranma held out.

"Ranma, you, you, you..." Akane began to shake as her mind shut down. Unable to express her emotions, she ran out the gate.

"Akane!" Ranma started to run after her when Nabiki stops him.

"Ranma, STOP! Let her go."

Nabiki jogged over to Ranma. "Ranma, let her go. She just heard some bad news and she's very upset." Nabiki didn't want Ranma bothering her little sister, certain that Ranma was at the heart of her sister's anger. Looking at Ranma's hands, she saw the title of the book in his hands.

"No wonder. What did you do this time?" Nabiki said, coldly staring at Ranma, wondering what pathetic excuse he would come up with this time.

Nabiki's stare was adding to the pressure that Ranma felt. First Akane was obviously upset, most likely about the book in his hands, and now Nabiki was about to give him the third degree. Fumbling with the book, he opened the cover and read the title for the first time, 'Romeo and Juliet' it read. Scrunching his forehead in thought, Ranma looked at Nabiki for a clue.

"I don't know. All I did was try to give her this book."

Nabiki almost hung her head. Ranma was not the best person at communicating, and this interrogation was going to take a while. "And why is the book wet?"

Ranma, turned and pointed at the puddle where he fished it from, "I found it in that puddle."

Nabiki continued to ask questions, and after what seemed like an hour, she understood what had transpired between Akane and Ranma. "For once, he tried to do the right thing, and now I'll have to live with it," Nabiki thought as she fretted about dinner. She was not looking forward to dinner with Ranma and Akane at the same table.


"Hey! Akane, pass me some of that green stuff." Ranma had been trying to get Akane to speak to him throughout dinner, but to no avail. Even Kasumi's cotton soft approach did not elicit a response from her youngest sister. When Akane had come home, she went to her room, not even announcing her arrival.

Not getting a response from Akane, Ranma started to reach for the platter when Genma quickly grabbed the platter and shoved into the hands of an unsuspecting Ranma. Surprised, Ranma nearly dropped the contents of platter onto Akane's lap, but at the last moment was able to catch the dropped morsels before they soiled Akane's dress.

With that last action, Akane looked at her father, nodded her head, and silently left the table.

"Ranma," Soun intoned, "go upstairs and talk to Akane."

"She doesn't talk to me. She won't even let me into her room. She isn't talking to anybody." Ranma was picking at the crumbs on his plate, trying to work out his frustration at not being able to get Akane to speak to him.

"Father, let me see if she'll talk to me after I do the dishes. I'm sure that whatever it is, it is nothing major." In the past, Kasumi had acted as both a mother figure and as an older sister to Akane. It fell to the eldest sister to help her younger sisters through life's problems. At times like this she worried about her emotional father, who had difficulty coping with his offspring's life trials.

As expected, Soun looked at his daughter with a worried look on his face.

"Papa, don't worry," Kasumi said, maintaining a calm smile. She tried to put her father at ease. A little voice in Kasumi's head was telling her, "He'll be fine. Go on up and help your little sister."

After completing the dishes, Kasumi knocked on Akane's door and called in, "Akane?"


Knocking again, and opening the door slightly, Kasumi peered in and asked, "Akane? Can we talk?"

Akane was sitting on the floor, looking at a pile of clothes. She looked up at Kasumi and took a deep breath. Exhaling, she nodded once and waved Kasumi in.

Kasumi sat on the floor next to her, picked up a blouse and started folding it. "Akane, what happened? Father is worried."

"Nothing." Akane spoke for the first time since leaving school.

"Then," Kasumi asked, "why don't you speak to anyone."


Starting on another blouse, Kasumi tries a different tactic. "Is it something Ranma did?"

This time Akane did not answer. She was sloppily folding a skirt.

"Is it something that Ranma didn't do?" Kasumi knew that sometimes her youngest sister bore the brunt of Ranma's social ineptitude, but Akane's behavior was so extreme that Kasumi knew that someone or something had injured Akane deeply.

Akane stopped and sat still, as if she was trying to make her mind up about what to do or say.

"I," Akane started, then faltered. "I, I'm not feminine."

Kasumi looked at her sister. Sure, Akane was a bit of a tomboy, but no one would mistake her for a man. "What makes you say that?" Kasumi tried to draw Akane out.

"I was offered the role of Juliet today. Then I was told I wasn't feminine enough for the role." Akane was near tears, but she continued.

"I thought I had the role. Everyone thought I had the role, everyone but that idiot director. He said I wasn't 'lady-like', and that he might offer me the role of some maid." Tears started to roll down Akane's face. Being insulted by Ranma was one thing, she'd come to expect it from him, and to her it meant that he cared for her. Being called unfeminine by the director was too much. When she was deciding whether or not to pound the man into the ground, she was told that she just would have detrimental effect on the production of the play, and that was the final straw.

Wiping her eyes, Akane went on. "I wanted to hit him for what he said. I sat there and watched the rest of the auditions. Kuno tried out for Romeo, and when he saw me, he tried to impress the director with his sword fighting skills. While improvising a scene where he was trying to save his Juliet from the evil Happosai, he destroyed the set."

Kasumi tried to hide her frown. Picturing Kuno swinging his wooden sword around while attacking Happosai must have been an interesting sight. Knowing that Kuno's 'Juliet' was Akane made it easy for Kasumi to understand why the director was afraid of what may happen if Akane was in the play. Still, the offense of calling her youngest sibling unfeminine was a problem that needed to be dealt with.

There was one thing that concerned Kasumi, and that how was Ranma involved. Ranma was always involved, and she suspected that he would be involved even if he were on the opposite side of the Earth.

"So Ranma wasn't involved in this?" Kasumi asked.

Akane blew her nose into a wet handkerchief and rubbed a tear from her eye before she croaked, "He was at first, when he thought that the prize for being Romeo was a trip to China. When he found that the prize was a visit by a man whose name was China, he fled the scene. I didn't see him again until school was out."

Listening to her sister, Kasumi understood that Akane was going to have to work this out by herself, and that pressuring her could do more harm than good. Deciding that this was a safe point to end the conversation, Kasumi asked, "Are you going to be okay?"

"I think so. I just want to be left alone."

Kasumi quietly left the room to go downstairs to talk to Father about what she just learned. As she passed Nabiki's room, she heard her name whispered, inviting her in. Entering Nabiki's room, she was asked by the middle sister how Akane was faring.

"Not good. She tried out for Juliet, and she didn't get the part. She was told she wasn't lady-like enough. Then Kuno and Cologne destroyed the set while trying to impress Akane and the director."

Nabiki thought for a moment while she sharpened a pencil. What Kasumi had said fit in with what she heard earlier in the day. "That's not good," Nabiki commented, "Ranma didn't even try out for the play, so she can't blame him for anything that went wrong."

She tested the point on her pencil and put it away. As she pulled another pencil from her draw, she continued by saying, "After school I found Ranma about to chase after Akane. I knew Akane didn't get the part, but not why. I stopped him before he could do anything."

Nabiki continued to sharpen pencils and organize her desk drawer as the recounted an accurate version of Akane, Ranma, the book bag, and demise of Akane's copy of "Romeo and Juliet."

"Oh, my!" Kasumi was surprised that Ranma had done something nice for Akane. It may have been a small act, and one that he probably would have done for anyone, but it was still a nice gesture. It was unfortunate that Ranma no idea of the significance of the book that he handed to her -- it was given to Akane by her mother shortly before she died, and as a result, cherished by Akane. Knowing how Akane misconstrued things under stress, she was able to put together the missing pieces of the puzzle that was her youngest sisters behavior. As she went downstairs, she wondered how to let her father know why Akane was upset without him turning into an emotional disaster area.


For the majority of students at Furinkan High, school the next day was uneventful, but for a few, it was stressful.

After being told by Mr. Tendo, his father, and Kasumi to leave Akane alone, Ranma sat, sulked, slept, and generally tried to avoid Akane throughout the day. At lunch, when Ranma tried to find Akane to see if she would talk to him, he found that she was eating alone in the corner of the classroom. Torn between seeing his fiancee upset and the admonishments from everyone else, he stood there for a few moments trying to figure out what to do. Finally, he took a deep breath, and turned around to leave.

"Ranma?" Akane called out.

Ranma turned around, and looked at her, about to say something when she continued.

"I'm okay. Just... Just leave me alone for a while, please?"

Ranma could see the tears build up in her eyes. He desperately wanted to do something make her feel better, but somehow he knew that he really should do what she asked.

"Okay." Ranma looked at her again, "When you wanna talk..."

Akane nodded, and tried to concentrate on her lunch.

Ranma silently left the room, only to sit outside the door to ensure that nobody bothered Akane while she ate.


When school was over, Ranma walked home alone.

"I'm home!" Ranma announced. As he stepped in the hallway, he expected to see his father tell him to get ready for practice, but was greeted by Kasumi instead.

"Ranma! How was your day today?"

Although Kasumi asked the same question every day, something was slightly different. Ranma looked around. The house looked like it was in shambles, and Kasumi looked as if she had been hard at work trying to bring everything back to normal.

"What happened?" Ranma asked.

Ranma saw a reproving stare from Kasumi. Obviously she was not going to allow him to not answer her question. Feeling the heat, he answered. "Fine, I guess. Considerin' that Akane ain't talking to me, or anyone else for all that matters." It would be obvious to any listener that he wasn't happy about her self-imposed isolation.

"Did you leave her alone?"

Ranma squirmed a little, mostly because Kasumi's gaze forced the truth out of him, "Yeah."

Ranma saw that Kasumi relaxed a little, and motioned him into the kitchen. "Our fathers and Happosai went on a training trip this morning." Kasumi reached for a plate from the cupboard.

"So, wha happened?" Ranma looked around, even the kitchen showed signs of having being hastily re-assembled.

"Father and Uncle Saotome just left to meet with your principal, to discuss Akane and the play when they met the Master. After some testing, Happosai decided that my father and your father needed to review the basics. So they all packed their bags and left.

I think it's wonderful that Daddy gets out to see the country side, it's so pretty this time of year."

"Better him than me," Ranma muttered.

"Happosai was rather insistent that your father and my father went on the training trip. I managed to clean up most of the mess, but as you can see, nothing is where it is supposed to be. Will you please help me?" Kasumi looked a little unsure of herself, for normally she never would have asked Ranma for help.

Looking around, Ranma had to agree. Most of the smaller items such as vases, pictures and scrolls were in the appropriate places, but the rest of the furniture was still thrown about. He really had no choice but to help; he nodded his agreement, and watched the worries leave Kasumi's face.

"Ranma, could you please go upstairs and change to some other clothes?"

"Huh? What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

"I need to have the mats lifted," Kasumi explained. "And you will most certainly soil what you are wearing." Kasumi's tone convinced Ranma that wearing the same dirty clothes to school the next day may be the cause of his own death.

Ranma trudged up the stairs. Rule one in the Tendo household, he knew, is never upset Kasumi. He never knew why, but upsetting her was something that was not ever to be done. Ever.

While Ranma was changing his clothes, he heard Akane announce her arrival home.

"Maybe," Ranma thought, "she'll talk to me now." When finished, Ranma bolted down the stairs, looking forward to seeing his fiancee.

"Ranma, in here!" The voice came from the tea room.

Peering into the room, Ranma saw Kasumi wrestling with a floor mat and went over to help her.

"Kasumi? Where's Akane? I thought I heard her come home."

"She did, but I guess she went straight to her room to study." Kasumi swept the floor under the mat while Ranma held it up.

"But she isn't talking to me. Is she still upset?" The confusion in Ranma's voice was obvious.

"I would think so. She probably needs time to heal, so it may be best that well leave her alone for a little while." Kasumi motioned to Ranma to put the mat back and move the next one.

"How long do you think this will last? She's not talking to anyone at school either, and only answers questions when she has to."

"I don't know. The last time this happened, it was about three or four days, I think."

"She's done this before? This doesn't seem like her. When she's mad, normally she wants to hit something." Ranma rubbed his head, a frequent target for Akane's angry blows.

Stopping work for a moment, Kasumi looked at Ranma. "Ranma, she's not mad, but she is very upset. A life long dream was destroyed by something that she could do nothing about. It was nothing you did; there was nothing you could have done to prevent her from getting upset. In fact, from what Nabiki told me last night, you probably did the only thing anyone could have done yesterday."

"Huh?" Ranma moved another mat for Kasumi.

"You gave her bag to her after school, didn't you?" Kasumi waited for Ranma's concurrence. "You picked up all of her papers and books afterwards, didn't you?" Kasumi didn't bother to wait for Ranma this time, and continued after she pointed to another mat that had to be moved. "And you gave her book back." Kasumi emphasized the word "book". Ranma knew what she was saying.

"Uh, uh. But why is she not talking to me?"

"Nabiki said that when you gave the book to her, it was wet. When Akane saw the book, she thought it was ruined, just like her chance to play Juliet."

Distraught, and feeling that he's to blame, Ranma countered Kasumi and said, "But I didn't get the book wet! She hit the bag and everything flew out!"

Kasumi became alarmed, she did not want to upset Ranma. "I know, Ranma. You did the right thing. I'm sure she knows what really happened."

Ranma still looked a little worried. Kasumi continued, "If she's not talking in a couple of days, I'll see what I can do."

Ranma and Kasumi completed the final two mats before separating and going different directions; Ranma to the dojo, Kasumi to the kitchen.

While preparing dinner, Kasumi heard her middle sister arrive.

"Nabiki! In here!" Kasumi wanted to talk to Nabiki.

Nabiki proceeded to walk to where the chips are kept, but was stopped by Kasumi.

"Don't! You'll spoil dinner." Kasumi made sure that Nabiki heard her, then continued, "Father and Uncle Saotome went on a training trip, and they will probably gone at least a week."

Kasumi started cut some cabbage.

"Hmm." Nabiki started thinking how she could profit from this development. Not coming up with any ideas that she thought that she could get past her sister, Nabiki changed the direction of her thoughts. "So, how's Akane? Did she say anything?"

"No. She didn't, and Ranma's worried about her." Kasumi kept slicing cabbage, each cut was precisely the exact same length, each stroke was made with the exact same speed. As she cut, she never looked at her knife in her hands, for years of practice in the kitchen honed her skills to a very sharp edge.

"I know. Ranma spent all of lunch sitting in the hallway, guarding the door while Akane ate. He wouldn't even let Yuka in."

"Oh, dear. He's worse than I thought." The calm that Kasumi had moments earlier left. She cleared the cutting board of the cabbage and held a large piece of ginger root in her hands. "Sister, we have to make sure they start talking before Father comes home."

"Why? It'll be quiet around here for once."

Picking up the knife again, Kasumi converted the root into tiny little pebbles of ginger. As the knife gained speed, Kasumi spoke to her sister, "If Akane doesn't talk to any of us, and especially not to Ranma, Ranma may resort to doing something to get her talking. You know him, he can't sit by and do nothing."

Watching her sister talk, think and chop food, Nabiki did not dare argue with her sister, lest something happen to the knife. "Just what is your idea?"

"If I told you, it might not work. Trust me, this is for the better for all of us." Kasumi smiled, and resumed cutting food for dinner.

"That knife makes a convincing argument," Nabiki noted as she left the kitchen.

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Authors Notes: I'm publishing this at the urging of my wife. ;-)

This originally started with me wondering while reading about the Moxibustion chart, "how did he get those pictures taken?" I wrote a small bit and decided I needed a beginning and an end. Then I wasn't happy with how it started, so the original beginning was tossed.

I still don't like the beginning. Oh, well.

Oh. I took some liberties with certain aspects of law and culture in Japan. Some of this is a deliberate plot device. You'll see it when it happens.