Ranma ½

A Better Way

Disclaimer: I don't own this series or any other series. I am just floating an idea. I am making no money, nor plan to, off this venture. If you think of suing me over this, then grow up.

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She threw her uniform down on the floor, hoping that it would ease the smell of fast food that covered her body. But the smell still lingered. She almost went to take a shower, but knew that wouldn't help. No matter how hard she scrubbed her body, the smell would never leave her.

So she sat down near the window, the curtains still drawn, only allowing a little sunlit to seep into the small apartment. She took a quick look at the small apartment she had called home for so many years. It was barely big enough to live in; a small kitchen/front room/bedroom. The only comfort was that the bathroom was at least separate. But with her job, this was all she could afford; a far cry from what she had left behind when she divorced her husband, and worse than what her first home with her family had been like.

She sighed to herself, and looked at the small opening through the curtains, staring out onto the city. I guess this is what I deserve. I've been too uncaring to those near me, I married that jerk because I thought it was what I wanted, and now thanks to him, the best job I can get is an assistant manager at a damn fast food place. Boy, I finally made the big times.

But at least I am doing better than Ranma.

Ranma.

She tried to remember her good times with him, the laughs she often got at his expense. But her mind just kept wandering back to everything she did to him that she now felt so guilty for doing. Even though selling those pictures of him and Akane had kept the family afloat, she should have gotten his permission first. The wreckage of the wedding still left a scar between Ranma and herself, one that never really healed, even after him and Akane finally did get wed.

It wasn't that long after I got married. That thought made her shiver. Her husband had seemed like a great guy at the time, and his wealth; she did admit, wasn't exactly forgotten when she considered marrying him. For the first year, things were great, and eventually he became more and more distant. So she hired a private investigator to trail her husband, to make certain he wasn't cheating on her.

Of course, she never expected to find out that he was cheating on her with his personal assistant; a guy named Kenji.

Nor did she expect him to react the way he did when she confronted him about it. The asshole actually threatened her to keep his secret. Saying if she exposed it, he would make her life a living hell.

And then Ranma's and Akane's marriage went under.

The two had finally settled their differences. They were civil to each other, now that Ranma began training Akane as an equal, instead of a little girl who might get broken from the slightest touch. But for some reason, still unknown to even her to this day, her sister began to become distant, eventually leading to her snapping at Ranma for the slightest reason.

The fights became worse, and Ranma on more than one occasion ended up staying at Nabiki's house. Her husband never minded. He was too busy on trips with Kenji. She felt so sad watching him come over, seeing a slight bruise here and there where his wife had hit him, knowing that inside, he was hurt far worse than anything he had ever felt physically.

Then that night happened.

Ranma arrived, causing her to think another fight had happened. But when she got close to him he just hugged her and began to cry. When she finally got him settled down enough, he told her everything. How he had come home with Akane's favorite flowers, intending to sit down with her, make her tell him why she was so upset, why she was so mad at him, so that he could save his marriage. But when he went through the house to find her, he found Ryoga Hibiki with his wife, naked in their bed, asleep. With one sniff of the room, anyone could tell what had happened. He had merely dropped the flowers and left. They never saw him arrive or leave, and then he just went to Nabiki's.

He cried for hours on her shoulder, often asking why this happened, why Akane treated him like this, why his friend betrayed him like this. The truth was she didn't have the answers, neither did he, and the two people who did never would tell them, let alone ask them in the first place.

It was then that I really fell in love with him I guess. She and Ranma talked for hours, trying to make him feel better, telling him that he had tried his best, and that no matter how hard he could try, Akane was still her own worst enemy, one that not even the great Ranma Saotome could protect her from. He had fallen asleep, his head lying on her lap. She just stroked his hair, trying to make him feel safe and calm; amazed at him that he didn't just simply kill Ryoga for betraying him, or even hurt Akane for destroying his heart.

Then a new thought crossed her mind as she watched him sleep, apparently peacefully in a long time. I wish I hadn't been stupid and given you to Akane, I wish I wouldn't have let my own petty fears and greed stop me from seeing you the way you really are. I had two chances for you to be mine, to be the love we both want now. I wish it had been me that you fell for.

Those thoughts still bugged her now. But she meant them that night. She meant them when they had both gone out to get drunk. She meant it when they had returned. She still meant them when they slept together that night, each one forgetting that they were married, forgetting about the spouses who made their lives miserable, forgetting that for a moment, nothing else mattered.

But when she woke up, he was gone. A simple note saying he was sorry for taking advantage of her, for not resisting her charms. No one had seen or heard from Ranma again since that day. And none of her contacts, or even those of her husbands, could find him.

Akane had called her after she woke up, saying he had found a letter from Ranma saying he was leaving her, and that he would not return. His sister wanted to know if she knew what had happened to make him leave. So she told her younger sister everything (with the exception of the sex from last night between Nabiki and Ranma). Her sister spent an hour on the phone, crying. Saying she didn't know why she did it, or even why she had begun to get distant with Ranma. But somehow, Nabiki thought Akane knew the answers all to well, and did not want to share them with her older sister.

But it was too late. Ranma had taken control of his life, to try and make it better.

It was of little comfort to Akane.

But it was enough to make her to take control of her life. She went to her husband and demanded a divorce, which he was reluctant to give, considering the marriage was all that kept people from thinking he might be gay. But she was adamant, saying she deserved better than to be trapped in a loveless marriage. If he couldn't accept who he was, how could she be expected to suffer because of it? It wasn't until she threatened to have the photos from the private detective sent to his family that he finally agreed, even offering her more money to keep quiet. "I don't want you stinking money!" she told him. "I only want my freedom from you, from this lie."

And so they were divorced. She didn't get much in the way of alimony, a far cry from what her other rich snob friends thought she should have gotten, but she didn't care. Money was no longer that important to her. And with her college education, she was certain she could get a better job.

She did, and for a while, she lived well, and felt better about herself. She was even helping support the dojo, which was now being taught by Ryoga, and support her family. It was a life she felt better about, until the company was bought and dismantled by an unknown corporation.

When the same thing happened at her second job, she did some digging and found out who it was: her ex-husband. The fool had actually thought that if he made her life miserable, that he would get her to come crawling back to him, begging for forgiveness and to be once again in the sham marriage.

The fact he had destroyed countless lives for the sake of some stupid fear finally pushed her too far. She had sent the photos to his parents and copies to everyone he worked with. He was promptly removed from the company's board of directors. She was still unsure if it was because he was gay, or because he had used company funds to make Nabiki's life miserable. His own parents didn't even speak to him for a while. But he did get the final laugh, officially "blackballing" her, making any chances of another well paying job a pipe dream.

So she took a job at wherever she could get. Luckily, a friend from her days in high school was an owner of some local fast food stores, and at least gave her a managerial position. She told Nabiki she was sorry but for now that was the best she could do. For that, Nabiki was thankful.

But it didn't help that she kept coming back to this apartment, kept feeling the loneliness. And she would be lying to herself if she said that thoughts of ending it all hadn't happened into her mind on more than one occasion. But she would never do that. If Ranma could hold back his anger at Akane and Ryoga, if he could keep going, so could she.

But looking over at her uniform and shoes, lying discarded on the floor, she couldn't help but cry.

Ranma, I miss you. I love you. Be safe, wherever you are.

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The shower had invigorated her some, but she still felt a little depressed. Now I know how Ukyo and Shampoo felt when Ranma chose Akane. It feels so hard just to get yourself out of bed, to face a new day, knowing that the one you love will always be out of reach.

She discarded the towel, and stood before her mirror. At least my body still is in good shape, better than most the people I work with. Too bad the one I want to see it isn't around anymore.

So she sat on her bed, picking up the broken mirror she had swiped from Happosai. Not that the old letch would miss it. She had often stared at it, wondering if she could use it to change everything, and often made a wish on it. She knew that if she shed a tear on it, it was supposed to take you back. But she never let her tears touch it. This is my life now and I have to accept it.

But she bowed her head, tears beginning to flow. "I just wish I could go back, and make this all better, make everyone happy, make up for everything I did to them."

Is that your wish?

She looked around, thinking some pervert had snuck into her apartment; probably the manager again, she knew he had tried it, that was why she had spent so much on the new locks. But she was alone.

Is that your wish?

She turned towards the mirror in her hand, and noticed that her tears had fallen on it. "What have I done?"

I do not have much power since I was cracked, but I can grant your wish, but there will be a price.

She looked stunned at her own reflection, which appeared to be talking to her. She was being offered her dream, to make up everything that she had done to her family, her friends, to...to Ranma. "What is the price I have to pay for this wish?"

I cannot give you physical form in the past, but I can place you in your body of that time, but who you are now must learn to live with what you were then. If the two of you cannot come to an understanding, and become one being again, it may kill you. That is the price you must pay for this wish. I will not be able to separate you, even if you use the unbroken mirror in that time. Only by understanding and accepting yourself, can you hope to survive. That is the price, what is your answer?

"As long as I can help those I care about, your price doesn't matter. I'll do it."

Very well. I will tell you this; I wish you the best of luck.

With that, Nabiki was surrounded by a bright light.

You have a good soul child; I am honored that I can do this last thing for you. I hope you can make your dreams a reality.

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If I messed anything up, then let me know including typos.

Any suggestions on how I should continue the story or improve it would also be accepted.

Also, if you have any suggestions for how this should go, let me know. My own imagination, while vast, always enjoys a new thought. Also, catch me if you don't think I am making the characters true to form, or a way to make them better.