Days to Say I Love You
By: Angela Jewell
Revised: October 3, 2006
Summary: At Jusendou, Akane came back to life. But at what cost...?
The formatting is much better at my website, so I would encourage people to read it there, rather than here. I can never seem to get the formatting to turn out right after uploading... :(
Disclaimer: As most people know, I don't own these characters (unfortunately) and am merely borrowing them for this story.
Reviews motivation to write
Akane had no delusions about death. Her mother was dead, after all. So when she finally opened her eyes to find herself completely surrounded in darkness, she couldn't say she was exactly surprised. There was nothing warm, comforting, or glorious about passing away; the afterlife was cold, and dark, just like she had imagined it.
But what came next...?
She had seen things as a martial artist, things which defied explanation—ghosts, demons, spirits—she couldn't discount everything she'd experienced while she was alive. But how did those creatures come to be? And where were they now?
Or, she thought with a shudder, was this empty, silent, blackness, all there truly was?
Either way, Akane couldn't say she was particularly pleased with her situation. After all, an imminent death hadn't been her motivating factor when she'd grabbed a hold of that dragon-tap.
All she had cared about at the time was saving Ranma.
At the thought of her fiancée, Akane's heart fell. He must be furious at her right now—not that she could blame him. She'd be angry too, if he just up and died on her. But in her own defense, how could she have know what was going to happen? The water tap didn't exactly come with instructions.
The more Akane thought about Ranma, the more her mind began to wander toward his various other fiancés. How would Ukyo and Shampoo take her death, she wondered? Would they be relieved that their main obstacle to Ranma was finally out of the way? Or would they actually be sad to see her gone?
Akane almost laughed at the thought. Oh, who was she kidding? Shampoo was probably beyond ecstatic, and Ukyo—Ranma's dear, cute, childhood friend—was most likely picking out wedding invitations this very minute. Akane bristled at the thought.
Well, not if she could help it, she thought fiercely.
Just because she had no delusions about death, didn't mean she was going to just sit here idly and take it!
Gathering what courage she could muster, Akane opened her mouth and yelled as loud as she could: "Is anyone out there!"
At least, she tried to yell.
only, no sound came out...
Akane's eyes widened in fear; she could already feel the beginning stirs of panic welling up from deep within. If she couldn't even talk, then how could she—
She quickly cut off that train of thought, afraid to know the answer. Instead, she gathered her strength as she tried to sit up—only to find that that too, was impossible. Her entire body was frozen in place.
She felt weightless—as if she were floating.
Now she could feel the panic beginning to rise.
...Ranma, she thought. Where are you?
"Calm down, girl," a voice in the darkness suddenly ordered. Akane, somehow, found the strength to look up; and when she did, she drew in a deep breath.
There, walking towards her, was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.
Long, black hair floated around the woman and seemed to mingle with the surrounding darkness; a sharp contrast to her skin, which was pale and white like ivory. Her eyes were large, and gray, and although not particularly gentle, gave off an air of knowledge which seemed far beyond her years. The blackness itself parted before her as the woman approached, illuminating her in a blinding white glow.
At last, the woman stood proudly before Akane, her silken gown trailing along the floor at her feet. The only thing that marred her perfect complexion was the cold, calculating expression she wore on her face. Although the woman was beautiful, it was a cold beauty.
But even so, Akane stared, mesmerized. Who is she, she wondered?
"That's better," said the woman. She was staring at her with eyes of gray steel, and upon closer inspection, Akane noticed that she had two small horns on the top of her head.
Fascination quickly turned to suspicion as she observed the woman through narrowed, wary eyes. More importantly, she thought, what is she? A thousand possibilities ran through her mind: could she be a demon? A Yurei? An Ogre? A Hannya?
The woman smiled knowingly at that last thought.
Akane stared at her in surprise. She couldn't be... could she? After all, a Hannya was a jealous, ugly creature; not what was standing before her.
Again, she met the creature's eyes. And this time, the 'woman' winked.
That was all the proof Akane needed. "You—you're a—"
She stopped in surprise, realizing she had spoken aloud.
The Oni smiled.
"You're very perceptive," she replied with a laugh. "Of course, I'd expect nothing less from someone of your power."
Akane wasn't sure what power the demon was referring to, and at the moment she didn't necessarily care. "What could a Hannya possibly want with me?" she demanded, getting right to the point.
The Oni shook her head softly, its hair floating out around her. "Nothing," she said simply, still smiling. "I'm just here to help."
Akane looked at her suspiciously. No matter how innocent or good natured the Hannya may appear to be, she knew better than to blindly trust an Oni. And yet... there was another, more insistent part of her that was desperate enough to try just about anything to get out of here.
"Okay then," she said slowly, "send me back."
The Hannya laughed, placing a demure hand over her mouth. "I'm afraid it's not that simple, child," she said, smiling again. "You see, normally, you only have two options when you reach this place. One," she explained, motioning to the surrounding darkness. "You stay right here; forever. Or, you can choose to pass on."
Akane frowned, not liking either option.
"Of course," the Oni continued, shrugging indifferently. "I may be able to offer you some sort of alternative if those choices are both unappealing to you."
"An alternative...?" Akane held her breath, afraid to hope. "What kind of alternative?" she asked.
The Oni stepped closer to Akane, so close she could have reached out and touched her. "I can send you back to your world," she said, a strange light filling her eyes. "But," she added quietly, a hint of regret in her voice. "I must know one thing first."
Akane frowned, wondering what could be so important. "And that is...?" she asked at last.
"Your fiancée," the woman said, "do you love him?"
Akane could feel her entire face reddening as a blush spread throughout the length of her body. Whatever question she had been expecting, it definitely wasn't that!
"Ranma?" she asked in disbelief. "What does he have to do with anything?"
The Hannya exhaled deeply, and her eyes seemed to grow angry—but only for a moment. As quickly as the anger had appeared, it vanished. "He has everything to do with it," she said simply. Akane waited, expecting her to go on.
The Oni, however, remained silent.
Realizing that the Hannya had no intention of elaborating, Akane looked down at the floor, still blushing. She knew she should hurry up and deny it—after all, it was her standard response when faced with such a question—but for some reason, the words refused to come.
The truth was... she didn't hate Ranma.
True, her fiancée could be insensitive, thoughtless, and rude; but she knew she could always depend on him whenever she needed him (current situation excluded) and she hoped he felt the same way about her. But love? She shook her head, uncomfortable with the weight of such a term.
Nervously, she turned her troubled eyes on the Hannya's, unsure how to respond to her question.
And then she froze.
Although the Oni herself hadn't changed, there was something strange about her eyes—something she couldn't quite explain. There was calmness there, reassurance; and for a moment she could have sworn she saw something deep within those dark gray orbs beckoning her, calling.
And no matter how much she wanted to, she couldn't tear her eyes away.
"It's alright, child," the woman spoke soothingly, her voice soft, yet firm.
The Oni's eyes remained locked firmly on hers, and she could feel herself being sucked further into their depths. That's when she realized, with surprising clarity, that the Oni's words had not been spoken aloud.
She felt it seconds later; an unfamiliar presence weaving its way throughout her mind, scanning the private recesses of her thoughts.
Akane knew instinctively that it was the Oni.
This time she wasn't surprised when the voice came to her. "Remain calm, Akane, and don't try to fight me," the Hannya instructed, her voice hard and commanding. "It'll be over shortly."
And then, before she even realized what was happening, Akane felt her defensive walls crumbling one after another under the cold, destructive power of the Hannya. It didn't take long for the last wall to fall and for her defenses to be completely gone. Suddenly, she felt naked and vulnerable. And very, very angry.
How dare she! she thought, incensed!
Akane shook her head slightly, trying to clear her mind of its haziness. Yet, no matter how hard she tried, her eyes refused to leave those of the Hannya. She could feel the Oni even now, searching her mind, looking for any memory, any feeling, that contained her wayward fiancée.
Hundreds of images rose before her, unbidden: Ranma laughing, Ranma smiling, Ranma calling her cute.
Ranma saving her...
...He always had to save her...
Just as quickly, the Hannya was moving on, searching for memories of Ranma's other fiancées...
Akane felt the familiar pang of jealousy as she was forced to watch her fiancée interact with each of them in turn: Shampoo kissing and hugging him; Ranma sticking up for Ukyo; Ranma happily eating Kodachi's cookies.
Akane could feel herself growing angrier as each memory assailed her...
...She could feel the Oni smiling.
"Jealousy is nothing to fear, Akane," the Hannya explained conspiratorially. "It's only proof that you feel--that you care. It's simply another form of love."
Akane watched as more images of Ranma flashed through her mind: Ranma, jealous of Do-chan; Ranma, fighting against Shinnosuke; Ranma, yelling at her for being nice to Ryoga.
...Ranma telling her he just wants her to be happy.
If what the Hannya said was true, did that mean Ranma loved her after all?
Before she had time to dwell on the question, the Oni was moving on; but now she was focusing more on the emotions behind the memories. Akane began to grow warm as she remembered how happy and relieved she had been when Ranma returned home from fighting Herb; how content she felt while sitting on his lap after he defeated her battle dogi.
...And how happy she was when Ranma held her hand in Ryugenzawa.
Akane smiled softly at the memories.
It was like a blanket had been lifted; freeing all of the thoughts and feelings she had always needed to guard—against Ranma, against her family, against his fiancées. And now, this wonderful, warm, and powerful feeling was completely surrounding her.
I love Ranma, she thought with wonder, all of her previous doubts gone. I love my stupid, jerk of a fiancée.
At this realization, Akane felt her connection with the Hannya break. She looked at the Oni again, this time with clear, focused eyes, and was relieved to see she was smiling.
"Now I can help you," the Hannya replied.
End of Chapter 1
If you couldn't tell already, this story takes place during the Jusendou story arc—right around the moment when Ranma's trying to get the cold water for Akane, and her eyes have closed completely...
I tried to do some research on Hannya's, really I did. Unfortunately, my library only had a few books, and in both, they were mentioned very briefly; a paragraph at most. And the Internet was surprisingly low on information as well—and a lot of what I did find was contradictory. So basically, I decided to just keep what I liked and make up the rest. Not much is known about them anyway, so I doubt anyone will really care. But to sum it up: they are the female version of an Oni...
Also, this story is based completely off the manga. If I refer to any events or moments that you've never heard of, then feel free to go to my website and read the MANGA MOMENTS section. Most of those scenes are there, and hopefully they can clear up any confusion you may have had.
Anyway, I really hope you're enjoying this story so far. I promise, Ranma will make an appearance in the following chapter, so don't worry!
Website and Email:
Please check out my profile in order to find the links.