I Wish By Mnemorath

Disclaimer: I do not own anything of any value, not the characters used herein, nothing. So if you sue you will not get much. I am in the military so you can imagine how little I have. For now.

Ranma hated shopping, he really hated shopping. There were times where he felt that being married to Kodachi would be preferable to spending the day shopping. Today however was an exception. Akane's birthday party was tonight and he had yet to find the perfect gift for her. Ranma had spent all week searching through the shopping district and was about to give up hope when a small shop hidden in a back ally caught his eye. More specifically a pendant in the shops window is what caught his attention. It was about 4 centimeters long, tear-dropped shaped, navy blue, and had the kanji for love etched on its face. It was attached to a sterling silver chain with tiny links, almost as supple as a rope. It was perfect. Looking at the shops sign Ranma felt the first twinge of trepidation.

"Hidden Treasures. Magical gifts for friends and family. Just what I need, more magic trouble."

"The word may be rhetorical you know..." Said a voice at his elbow.

"YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Yelled Ranma as he leaped into the air. At the height of his jump, Ranma looked down. Next to where he was standing, looking up with an amused expression was an old man. Obviously the shopkeeper. When Ranma landed the shopkeeper spoke again.

"See something in the window you like?"

Meanwhile Ranma was not paying attention to what was being said, he was looking over the old man using every sense he had. The man had snuck up on him, that took skill. However the scan only confused Ranma more, for as far as his senses were concerned, the old man was not there. He could be seen and heard and felt but not sensed, that took extraordinary control over ones ki.

"Well, come on boy, lets get that pendant you want for your fiancée."

"Wait, how did you know I wanted the pendant?" Ranma asked, his curiosity overriding the usual denials.

"That," The elderly gentleman leaned towards Ranma. "Is a secret." He finished with the same smirk that goes with that phrase.

When Ranma recovered from his face vault, he followed the old man within the shop. While the shopkeeper retrieved the pendant from the window, Ranma looked around at all the nick knacks that covered every available counter space. The walls of the shop were covered in bookcases filled with dusty tomes and scrolls. A glass front case with a counter top took up most of the back wall. Atop of which was the cash register. Within the case were several items. One of which was a frilly, black lace, 36DD, Victoria's Secret bra. The tag in front read: Brassiere of Ogre Strength, WARNING! CURSED DO NOT WEAR! Next to the bra a simple wand lay within a felt lined box. It's tag read: Wand of Wonder, Keep away from Kenders.

"What's a Kender?"

"Hyperactive, kleptomaniacal, midgets."

"Huh?"

"Never mind, just pray you never meet one."

Ranma continued to look around the shop but could not find anything else he wanted. The vast majority of the books were written in languages he couldn't read, and most of the items he would be interested in had warning tags on them preventing their use. Ranma was just about to finalize his purchase of the pendant when the shopkeeper spoke up.

"Is there anything else you want? I have a book that supposedly contains cures for every known curse, illness or affliction. I also have potions that can heal wounds of any severity, as well as potions that can counteract any poison. I believe around here somewhere are various knickknacks said to be items of legend." He then began to rummage through the various piles of stuff arranged about the shop.

Upon hearing about the prospect of a cure for Jusenkyo, Ranma's ears perked up. It wasn't as if he wanted it for himself, he grown accustomed to his curse, and it was a part of who he was. Besides, Akane liked him the way he was, she said so herself. No, he wanted the cure for the others. Especially Ryoga, if anything just to keep the pig out of Akane's bed. Those potions sounded worthwhile as well. So without hesitation Ranma requested the book and as many of the healing and antidote potions as he could afford. The elderly shopkeeper packaged up all of Ranma's purchases except for the pendant. Setting it aside for the moment, the shopkeeper pulled a card and pen out from behind the counter. These he handed to Ranma.

"Is there anything special you want to write on this before I wrap it all up nice and pretty?"

Ranma nodded and took the pen and began to write on the card. He wrote long and hard, putting his heart and soul behind each and every word. Oddly enough, no matter how much Ranma wrote, the card never seemed to fill up. Thus Ranma was able to write a long, heartfelt letter to Akane. Once he was done writing, Ranma handed the card back to the old shopkeeper. The card and pendant were promptly placed in a small purple box. The box was then wrapped up with a pretty bow and a card that read: Happy Birthday Akane. Once the box's decorations met with his approval, it was placed in the bag with the rest of Ranma's purchases. Taking Ranma's money, the old man handed the bag over to Ranma. As Ranma turned to leave, he was stopped with a hand.

"You will have to find someone who can read Tolkien elven as I don't have the Japanese translation for the book. Also one word of warning before you go, tell your fiancée to be careful what she wishes for."

With a nod Ranma turned and exited the shop. Just as he was about out of hearing range, Ranma heard the old man mutter something.

"As you might have guessed, the word was not rhetorical." Than he began to chuckle lightly.

Startled, Ranma turned around to confront the shopkeeper. As he caught sight of what was behind him however, Ranma just stood there with his mouth hanging open. For where the strange shop once stood, there was now the blank wall of the alley. There was nothing to indicate that a shop had ever been there at all. Reaching out to touch the wall, Ranma found it to be quite solid. Shaking his head, Ranma headed home, happy to have finally found the perfect gift for his fiancée.

At the Tendo Dojo preparations for tonight's party were in full swing. By the time Ranma returned from the market the decorations were hung and Kasumi was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Slipping into the house using his Silent Thief technique, Ranma stole into Kasumi's room and opened her closet. Inside on the floor were two traveling packs suitable for martial artists on a training journey. One was his, while the other was Akane's. Ranma had put the packs together shortly after he had decided to tell Akane his feelings. The day he decided he would tell her on was of course today. Ranma figured that if their parents ever found out how he felt there would be another disastrous wedding. He did not want that. Therefore Ranma decided that once school was over he would take Akane on a training journey for the summer. That way they could sort out their feelings and decide what to do about them. It would also give him a chance to prepare her for the challenges from the other fiancées upon their return. The only other person who knew about his plans was Kasumi, who, oddly enough, approved, thus the packs were in her room for safekeeping. She had even assisted in putting Akane's pack together. As no one ever entered Kasumi's private domain without her permission, Ranma felt safe that no one else would find out about his plans until he was ready to leave. Stashing his other purchases within his pack, Ranma cradled the pendant's box in his hands. This he would personally give to Akane. Using a bit of Mousse's hidden weapons technique, Ranma hid the box in subspace. He then restowed the packs and slipped out of the room. Downstairs he found Akane setting the table for the party guests, who would arrive shortly. Coming up behind her, Ranma dropped his cloak.

"Hey Akane, need any help?" As it was her birthday, Ranma had decided to be nice to Akane all day and to try to keep his foot out of his mouth.

"Yahhhhhh!" Akane yelled, startled. The plates she had been holding went flying into the air. Reaching out, Ranma deftly caught the plates, then with a flick of the wrist sent them to their proper place at the table. Whirling to face Ranma, Akane prepared to mallet him into orbit. She reared back and with a mighty swing connected with: absolutely nothing. Opening her eyes, Akane saw that Ranma had deftly caught the mallet and was looking apologetic.

"Geez Akane, I'm sorry, didn't mean to scare you like that. I asked if you needed any help. You didn't have to try and mallet me."

"Wha? How did? Ranma?" Akane was still in shock over him catching the mallet. She hadn't even heard what he said.

"How? I've always been able to do that. As to why, you'll find that out later. Its part of your birthday surprise."

"What surprise, Ranma? What did you get Akane?" Nabiki asked as she came into the room. Ranma's answer stopped her cold and further shocked Akane. Little did Akane know that the day would be full of shocks and stunning revelations for her.

"5,000 yen."

"Huh?"

Ranma waved off both girls discomfort and headed to the kitchen to help Kasumi. With his help it didn't take her long to finish the party meal.

The party went off without a hitch. None of Ranma's other fiancées showed up to cause problems, and all the guests behaved themselves, with a couple notable exceptions. The fathers had taken Ranma aside and pressed a small box into his hands. Ranma had known instantly what it was and in response had put both men into traction. If Akane got an engagement ring from him it would be on his terms, not theirs. Besides, he had already one picked out and on layaway at a local jeweler. He had managed to keep that fact a secret from everyone, including Nabiki. Ranma hoped that after tonight it would not be if Akane received the ring, but when.

As she bid the last of her friends farewell, Akane was sad. She knew why but refused to admit it to anyone else. Ranma had avoided her all evening. He hadn't given her anything, no birthday present, no well wishes, not even an insult. It was almost as if he was afraid of something. However the only thing Ranma was supposed to be afraid of were cats. Everything else he met without fear, so why was he avoiding her? Slipping up to her room after helping Kasumi with the cleanup, Akane pondered that very question.

'Does he not like me anymore? I know he said he loved me at Jusendo, but afterwards he denied it. Has he chosen one of the others?' Fear and pain gripped Akane's heart. The very thought of loosing Ranma caused her to nearly panic. Then jealousy reared its ugly head. "RANMAAA, YOU PERVERT."

Just as she was getting ready to head out of her room in seek-and-destroy-with-mallet-of-death mode, Akane heard a rustling noise. Turning towards the sound she beheld a small box upon her desk. Attached to the top of the box was a small, folded piece of paper. The noise she had heard was the paper moving in the breeze caused by her open window. Picking up and unfolding the piece of paper, Akane found it to be a note from Ranma.

Akane-

Sorry I couldn't give you this downstairs. I was afraid of what the result would be. I know my avoiding you all night was not the best tactic, but I was afraid that if I talked to you I'd give it all away. I know how you must have felt by the end of the night. I'm sorry.

-Ranma

Akane sat down heavily upon the bed. Ranma's note had shocked her to the core with what it revealed. Akane's mind became a whirl of convoluted thoughts. It took her several minutes to collect herself.

'Ranma afraid? Apologizing? What is going on?'

Once she had collected herself, Akane reached over and picked up the box off the desk. When she opened it and beheld what was inside, Akane realized that it was a good thing she was sitting down as her legs would have surely given out beneath her had she been standing. Within the box lay the pendant and the note Ranma had written in the shop. Akane placed the pendant around her neck and picked up the note. She was so entranced by what the note said that she failed to notice the pendant glow momentarily, then return to its normal hue.

Dear Akane,

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to say this. I love you. I have since the day I meet you. I think what started it was you asking if we could be friends. I really needed a friend then, and in some respects, I still do. I hope you can forgive me for all my denials and the fights we had. I have wanted to tell you how I felt for the longest time. Even before our failed wedding. But I was afraid. Afraid of your reaction, our parents reaction, the others reaction. Afraid to love you. Afraid to admit, even to myself, how much I cared. There are times now that I wish I could have admitted it. It pained me a great deal to see you and the others hurt by my indecision. Well, I finally chose. Of course I chose you. You are the only one I could ever choose. Why do you think I went after you every time you were kidnapped? It was not because you were my fiancée. It was because the very thought of loosing you frightened me. It is even more frightening to me than cats. I wish we could have done things differently. There are so many things that I wish went differently. I wanted to kiss you without the tape. I wanted to remember the kiss I gave you as a cat. I wanted to marry you, the cure did not matter. Did you not once say that you liked me the way I was?

As the others reaction to this bit of news will probably not be pleasant, I have decided to truly train you. As soon as school ends you and I are going on a training trip in the mountains. I will then teach you everything I know. Don't worry about what to pack as I have already taken care of that. Kasumi helped, the packs are in her closet.

I will be downstairs awaiting your response. Come down whenever you are ready. Remember, only you hold that special place in my heart.

Love,

Ranma

Akane was ecstatic. Ranma had chosen her. She could barely contain the joy in her heart. Akane's revelry was cut short however when her thoughts turned to the past. She realized that she had really never given Ranma a chance to explain himself. The short fuse on her temper always resulted in her hitting him. Strangely enough, no matter what she said or assumed he did, Ranma always took the hit. Akane realized that like this morning when he had caught her mallet, Ranma could have easily defended himself. Akane was so deep in her thoughts and feelings that she was not paying attention to what she was saying. As Akane spoke the pendant glowed brightly.

"I wish..."

Authors notes: Well, I decided to make "I Wish" a stand-alone fic. So I am removing "Starting Over". I know a lot of you wanted me to continue it but RL and other projects have taken up my time. I have decided that if anyone wishes to continue it just let me know and I will have no problem with you doing it. Also if anyone wishes to write a separate sequel then please go ahead.

There are a few things that you should know however. The pendant will grant any wish made upon it with one slight problem. It grants them LITERALLY. Any wish will be granted to letter of the wish.