Disclaimer: The playground is by Rumiko Takahashi, I'm only swinging on
the monkey bars. Remember to leave the grounds cleaner than you found
them and please don't feed the Trolls.

This story is archived at http://www.kawaiikunee.com/slp/

Release 0.1 (January 15, 2001)

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Ninjoubanashi
(just a few old-fashioned love stories)

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Well, you knew I had to put her in.

And it might seem to be a little silly. I mean, everybody knows that
Ranma and Akane are gonna get married. Even if they don't like it, they
still know.

But _getting_ married is _not_ the same thing as _staying_ married.

So, what _does_ Ranma have that Akane needs to keep? For that matter,
what does _Akane_ have that _Ranma_ needs to keep?

It's not a rhetorical question.

If you map it out, Akane and Ranma have pretty much the same thing.
Personality wise, skill wise, prospect wise, whatever. Oh the relative
amounts each has may differ a little, but ...

They even share the same Martial Art.

So what is it that's so special about each of them to the other? And is
it really important enough to them to pull them through?

What is Akane, to Ranma? What is Ranma, to Akane?

I think it's the same thing, for each of them.

And yes, I think it _is_ that important.

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(16 years after the manga)
(Ranma + Akane)

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Someone To Fight For

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Her name is Saotome Aikazu, she is fourteen years old.

See her now as she sits seiza just outside the Dojo that take up half
her home. Flame red hair cascades in an untamed waterfall nearly down
to the small of her back, unusual for its curly nature, its length and
its color in a pure blood Japanese. Her trim, ultra athletic build is
almost more so, for a Japanese girl. Her martial skills aren't visible,
but they might well eclipse her storied father's at her age, which puts
her in the unusual position of being a better martial artist than
trained masters.

Even her name is unusual. Ai means 'love' and is a traditional name for
a girl, right enough, but -kazu is the suffix used for a First Son, and
while she _may_ be the eldest of three children, she is _not_ a boy.
Not even if she's dunked into cold water. (She's knows about the
Springs, thank you, and has _no_ desire to see for herself.)

In one respect, however, she _is_ like an ordinary teenager. Her
parents seem to let few opportunities pass to embarrass her to death.

(It's disgusting, really. Why, they're over _thirty_. (Aikazu
hasn't quite come to grips with the fact that her parents still
enjoy the physical parts of each other's company. But then, which
of us _had_, at fourteen?))

This is, in fact, the reason that she is sitting here outside the Dojo:
_inside_ the Dojo, her parents are sparring, after which, they'll
probably 'chat' for a while, and after _that_ ....

It doesn't help matters, either, that neither of her younger brothers
will be embarrassed at all. Six-year old Ukyou won't notice, and
thirteen-year old Tenma ...

... would react with the same innocent, indomitable, _infuriating_
_amusement_ that he showed to everything else. Especially her!

(Younger brothers! Ooooooh!)

'Whoops! They stopped. Better go break them up.'

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Indeed, they had stopped. Tumbled splayed out into the corner, the
taller brunette with her head on the stomach of the shorter red-head,
both staring pensively at the ceiling.

"Hey, Tomboy. Yen for your thoughts."

"Eh." A pause, then, "I just ... I don't know."

Another pause, followed by, "Ranma?"

"Hm?"

"Why do you still love me?"

"Huh??!"

"I mean, I'm still not much of a cook, and Ukyou's still cuter, and
Shampoo's still sexier. It's been fifteen years and we're still
fighting all the time. I know you do, but I don't know why."

Ranma snapped to her knees, holding a shocked Akane in her arms. "Now
you stop that right now! I don't know why either, an' I don't care. I
just do love ya, an' that's all there is to it. An' you _are so_ sexier
than Shampoo, so there!"

Akane grinned slightly at her husband, "But Ukyou's still cuter, huh?"

Ranma glared back. "No!" and stuck out her tongue.

Akane grabbed it in her lips, and chased it back inside her husbands
mouth.

And Aikazu walked in, thought 'Oh no! I gotta do something.' and
preformed the Saotome Secret Conversational Technique: Open Mouth,
Insert Shoe Store.

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"Gaaaah! I can't _believe_ you two. It's _so simple_!"

Two faces turned to Aikazu, standing in the entrance to the Dojo, and
two eyebrows lifted in query as she preformed the Saotome Secret
Conversational Technique, Phase Two: Disengage Governor and Ramble On.

"I mean, how hard is it, to see that a martial artist has to have
something to protect? And if you didn't have each other, who _would_
you be fighting for, huh? And if you didn't have anyone to fight for,
what would you do then? Feh."

Akane looked wryly at the shorter girl tangled up with her, "Someone to
fight for, hm?"

"Out of the mouths of Teenagers," the wry reply returned.

"More like someone to fight _with_," she murmured with a grin, and
pulled her down.

Behind them Aikazu looked on in horror, 'Oh no. I set 'em _off_! And
they're both still girls!'

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Saotome Aikazu, fourteen years old.

See her flee from the Dojo, her face as red as her hair. 'Now they're
gonna be _loud_. I gotta get Ukyou, gotta get toys, gotta get Tenma,
gotta get to the park, before ...'

See her screech to a halt, as a woman, a man and a panda come in the
gate. 'Grandma and Grandpas. Just great, they'll ...'

"Why hello, Aikazu, dear."

See her flush even redder, as the noises begin behind her.

"Oh, my manly son. Now don't worry about a thing Aikazu-chan, I'll
handle dinner! Oh, my many son!"

"Oh, happy day, Saotome, now our lines will be joined!"

"Growf!"

'Nnnnn! Ukyou's _playing in the yard_, and damn Mona Lisa Tenma is over
there _smiling_!'

"Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! Aaaaakaaanneeee!"

'Oh Kamisama, you can hear them down the street! I have to _live_
here!'

"Oh, my manly son-in-law. I'm so happy! Waaaahhhh!"

"Growf!"

'You can hear _them_ down the street, too! I have to look these people
in the face!'

"Aii! AiiAiiAii! Aiiiiiieeiiiiieee!"

'A paper bag! A convent! A monastery in Tibet until I'm Ninety!'

"Oh, my Manly Son!"

"More babies! More babies! Waaaahhhhh!"

"Growf!"

'I'll run away and join the Circus! No, the French Foreign Legion! The
SDF! The US Marines!'

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakaaaaaaaaaaaaneeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

See her grab her hair and curl into a little ball and whine. 'My life
is _HELL_!!!!'

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Aw come on! You _know_ she's a howler!

And they've _got_ to cause as much havoc with _their_ kids as Genma,
Nodoka and Soun did with _them_. Just ... different.

Evil grins and spider dreams,

Eric Hallstrom 1/18/2001