Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma or any of his friends/enemies. Nope, not me! I don't even own Yuki for that matter, so if… What? Paternity tests? She is mine? DAMN YOU MAURY POVICH!
Chapter 5: Broken Hearts, and Bath Times.
Lunch was excellent as usual, and Ranma told Kasumi as much. He sat back from the table a bit and let out a loud belch. Akane looked over at him in disgust but refrained from hitting her fiancé, since he was holding Yuki in his lap. She settled for a "That was gross, Ranma," instead.
"What was?" he asked innocently.
"Belching like BURP that," she finished sheepishly.
Ranma cracked up laughing. Nabiki and even Kasumi joined in. Akane blushed in embarrassment, but couldn't help laughing at the situation.
Ranma settled down a little and just watched everyone. The three girls were still giggling, well Nabiki was rolling on the floor clutching her sides, but Kasumi and Akane were still upright. They were all trying to calm down, but every time they did, one of them would start giggling again, and that would set the other two off. They started laughing harder when Kasumi let out a small burp herself, even though she tried to demurely hide it behind her hand.
The fathers had already left the table for a game of shogi as per their usual habits. It seemed as though this time they were playing a variant that required them to take a drink of sake after losing a piece. Needless to say, both were well on their way to getting uproariously drunk.
Ranma then looked down at the red head in his lap. Yuki was giggling along with the older girls since it seemed to be the thing to do at the moment. He sighed contentedly, reviling in the peacefulness of the moment. This was his family, even if it wasn't official yet. Even the young girl in his lap seemed to be a part of it. Every now and then there were times that he felt this way about the people around him, but for some reason, it just felt more complete now.
Akane stopped laughing long enough to look at Ranma. She noticed the smile on his face, and smiled a bit herself. "Yen for your thoughts?" she asked.
"Huh?" came Ranma's intelligent response.
Akane rolled her eyes. "You had a goofy smile on your face, Ranma. What's up?"
Ranma blushed and looked away. "Err… nothing Akane… just… nothing."
By that time, Kasumi had calmed herself down enough to begin clearing the table. Nabiki offered to help and started bringing dishes into the kitchen to be cleaned, giving Ranma and Akane a rare moment alone. Akane pounced on it. "You were going to say something before lunch, Ranma?"
Ranma snapped out of his stupor. "Huh? Oh right. Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately…" he started. He hesitated a bit, expecting Akane to make a crack about him thinking, but she just motioned for him to continue. "Anyway…"
Whatever he was going to say next was lost as he was interrupted by a scream of fury. Both martial artists instinctively leapt to their feet and assumed defensive positions (quite the feat for Ranma who was still holding Yuki). They turned to see Ukyo standing in the doorway, her face bunched up as she struggled not to cry. Ranma looked down and noticed that her left hand was slack from shock, a box of okonomiyaki sat cooling on the floor where she had dropped it. Her right hand, however, clenched tightly to her battle spatula. Ranma grimaced at the sight and held Yuki closer to himself, though he wasn't sure if it was to keep her safe, or to keep him safe. "Ucchan…" he started.
"DON'T RANMA!" shouted the distraught girl. "DON'T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT NAME ANYMORE!"
Akane winced. She had never seen Ukyo so angry. For that matter, she had never seen anyone that angry before. She tried to smile in an effort to calm the vengeful girl. "Ukyo, calm down please? Tell us what's wrong."
Akane decided that speaking up was a Bad Thing as Ukyo director her ire towards her. Ukyo was about to say something that was surely going to leave Akane feeling only two inches tall and gladly give Ranma up to her, but Yuki interrupted when she started to cry in Ranma's arms.
Ranma handed off the distraught child to Akane, if for no other reason than Ukyo wouldn't hit someone holding a baby. He shot Akane a meaningful look before turning to face Ukyo once more. Akane took the hint and took Yuki upstairs, though it was clear by the look on her face that she didn't like not being included in the discussion that was to follow.
Ukyo was still pissed. She was about to yell and scream and hit her fiancé upside the head with her spatula but was interrupted once again. "Ukyo, before you say anything, Yuki is not my child or Akane's. She was abandoned downtown in a dumpster and me and Akane rescued her. I know I didn't say so before when I mentioned her this morning, and for that I'm sorry, but that's hardly an excuse to come barging in here yelling and screaming like that."
Ukyo geared herself up to scream at him once again, but by this time had expected to be interrupted, so she hesitated when Ranma didn't say anything. Deflating somewhat when what Ranma had said sunk in a little, she instead took a deep breath before continuing. "OK Ranma. I believe you. I was just to worried that Akane had stolen you from me by trapping you with a pregnancy."
Ranma bristled at Ukyo's words, but managed to stay relatively calm. He hated what he was going to say next, but he knew it was a long time coming. He sighed. "Ukyo, I was never yours for Akane to steal from you to begin with. I'm sorry, but I just don't feel that way about you."
Ukyo was stunned to silence. Had she heard correctly? Had Ranma really rejected her? It couldn't be possible! But it was true. She could see the resolution in his face, despite the fact that he could no longer look at her. Her anger vanished, and in it's place grew cold hard sorrow. She sniffed. "Why Ranma? I thought I was the cute fiancée…"
Ranma sighed again. "Ukyo, ever since that failed wedding where you bombed the heck out of everyone things have been tense between us. You betrayed me that day. Maybe I wasn't ready to be married, but that sure wasn't the way to keep it from happening. Besides, I've only ever thought of you as a friend. Maybe a sister."
Tears streamed down Ukyo's face as she took in his harsh words. He was right. Ever since that episode back when they were 16 where she teamed up with Shampoo to stop the wedding both Akane and Ranma had been less friendly with her. She just didn't want to believe that the two of them actually wanted to be married. "So this is it then," she sobbed. "You choose Akane."
Ranma winced and turned away. "Uhhh… I dunno… maybe… but…"
"Dammit Ranma! It's a simple yes or no!"
"Then yes," he said softly.
Ukyo turned her face downwards. "I thought so." She turned to go. "Damn you for stringing me out for so long Ranma. Don't you dare show your face around my restaurant again." And with that, Ukyo beat a hasty retreat out of the house.
Ranma wanted to follow her. He hated it when a girl cried. Especially when it was because of him. He was about to chase after her when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Kasumi keeping him from going, Nabiki standing behind her. "Ranma, the last thing Ukyo-chan needs right now is for you to go after her," the older girl said. "Why don't you see if Akane needs your help with Yuki?"
Ranma stared at the girls. "How much did you hear?"
"Enough," replied Nabiki. "Though our fathers are too far gone to remember if they heard it. And they won't find out either for 1000 Yen." She smirked and held out her hand to Ranma.
Kasumi looked disapprovingly at Nabiki as Ranma dug in his pocket and pulled out some coins and handed them to her. "You know Nabiki, sometimes I wonder why you're going to business school in the first place," he said. "You already seem to know the ropes."
Nabiki smirked in reply as he walked past her and climbed the stairs. She turned to Kasumi and noticed her sister's look. "What? I gave him a discount. I was going to charge him 5000."
"Even so, you shouldn't have charged him anything. He's going to be family soon after all."
"Why do you think I gave him the discount? Besides, he so skittish around Akane that they'll still be fiancés and fighting well into their eighties."
Kasumi's expression softened. "I'm not so sure about that imouto-chan. I think finding that child could be the force that brings them together."
Nabiki looked up the stairs at the door Ranma disappeared into. "You know oneesan, I wouldn't bet against you on that one."
Ranma walked through the door of his room only to hit a wall of noise. Yuki was still screaming, and Akane was trying to calm her by singing and dancing with Yuki in her arms. From the sound of it though, it wasn't working very well. Akane almost seemed on the verge of tears herself as she tried to calm the child down. "What's wrong with her?" Ranma yelled over the screaming child.
"I called Tofu a while ago when she wouldn't stop crying," Akane said. "He said he thinks it's colic from the way she's sometimes inconsolable and the fact that she doesn't sleep through the night yet. It's because her nervous system isn't fully developed yet and it hurts her."
"Well what can we do about it?" Ranma asked.
"I don't know, OK?" It was clear to Ranma that Akane was starting to panic. "Tofu wasn't sure what would work either, just that it would pass eventually and that we should try to make her as comfortable as possible." She suddenly brightened as an idea struck her. "Ranma! Go put a bathing suit on and meet me in the furo!" She then pushed past him and ran into her room to get her own suit on.
Ranma was perplexed. A bathing suit in the furo? What for?
Akane entered the furo wearing her suit and carrying a nude, and still crying, Yuki. She paused when she saw what was waiting for her, and cracked up laughing. Ranma was standing there waiting for her in one of her father's full-body bathing suits, looking rather ridiculous as her father always did. Especially since it didn't quite fit him properly and hung loose in places. Ranma just crossed his arms and scowled at her until she calmed down enough to stop laughing. "And what's so funny?" he asked.
"Why are you wearing one of Daddy's ridiculous suits?" she asked, mirth dancing in her eyes.
"Humph. Because I don't have a suit of my own for my guy form. Only for my girl form. And since you told me to meet you in here, I assumed that we would be getting into a hot bath."
Akane couldn't help herself. She cracked up laughing at the image of Ranma wearing one of his suits in his girl form, and then changing to guy form. "Aww, but wouldn't it be ok if you were wearing that one that said "BOY" on the front? After all, it would be true for once."
Ranma just shook his head and went over to take Yuki, who had calmed somewhat but seemed to be ready to gear up again. He then slid into the hot bath and held her in the water, making sure to keep her head above the water. Surprisingly, it seemed to have a soothing effect on the child, and she quickly calmed down. Ranma looked up at his fiancée in surprise. "How did you know this would work?" he asked.
Akane slid in next to him. "Well, sometimes you see mothers bring their babies into the bath with them over at the public baths. It always seems to have a calming effect on them. The mothers will say that they come to the public bath specifically so they can get some peace for a while."
Ranma looked at Akane in awe as she took Yuki from him and started to hum to the baby. 'Now's as good a time as any,' he thought. "Say, Akane…" he started.
"Mmm?" Akane asked without looking up from her charge.
"Umm… you know… I've been thinking… I think, maybe, that we could take care of Yuki ourselves rather than give her up to the orphanage if they ever decide they can take her."
Akane looked at him in surprise. "What? Where did that come from Ranma? We've only had her for two days and you want to keep her already?"
"Ha! You're one to talk." Akane blushed at that comment, but didn't say anything. "I know we're still young, and that we have to go back to school in a week, but Kasumi could take care of her during the day, and… well… I've already kinda been thinking that we're her parents…" If Akane's eyes had opened any wider in surprise at that last comment, they would have fallen out of her head. "I'm serious Akane," he continued. "I've been calling you her mommy, and me her daddy when I talk to her, and have even thought of ourselves as her parents. Besides, everyone else seems to think she's ours, so why not?"
Akane looked down at the babe lying in her arms. It was true that she cared for her. Even loved her. She'd even thought about what her own children would be like, and tried to compare them to Yuki. She then realized that in all those fantasies, Ranma was the father of her children. He was just so caring and gentle with Yuki, and it seemed like he would make a good father. She had once thought that she wasn't ready to take on the responsibility, but after what Ranma had said, she knew she wanted to try. She looked up at Ranma.
"Besides," he continued, turning his face from her to hide his blush. "I think you make a good mother."
Akane teared up at that comment. "Thank you Ranma. I think you make a good father." She giggled. "And a good mother too."
Ranma bristled at that last comment, but didn't strike back. "So we're gonna keep her then?"
Akane smiled at him. "Yes Ranma. We'll keep her." With that, she leaned over, and placed her head on his shoulder. Ranma tensed slightly at the contact, but eventually calmed down, and placed a hesitant arm around Akane's shoulder. The young family sat in the bath contentedly for an hour before heading off to bed.
OK, then, lets see… when was the last time I updated this story… OCTOBER? No wonder you people thought I'd abandoned this story. I profusely apologize to my readers for taking so damned long to get this out. I'd had half of it written since January, but got stuck for a long time.
I've started up a live journal. You can find a link to it through my profile page (it's the website link). I haven't kept it very much up to date (mostly because nobody read it), but I'll try to keep you guys up to date on my stories over there.
I've also started another story which I plan to post on I've decided to do something different though, and hold off on posting this new story until it is finished, thus keeping you from wondering if I'm ever going to finish the story. This new story is significantly darker than my others, and is centred around the rape of one of the characters (telling who would spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it isn't Ranma). I hope to get it out before the end of the summer.
Yuki isn't over yet! I still have to take care of a few things before the conclusion! And I think I finally know what I want to do before the epilogue! I'll do my best to get the next chapter out as soon as possible!