Chapter 1 "Smile For Me?"
Two years after the failed suicide attempt. Two years after leaving home. Two years since she had last seen Ranma. But she hadn't stopped thinking about him, not completely anyway.
The first few months had been awful. The only apartment building she found she could afford was old and run down. The heater didn't work properly and the previous owner had taken most of the kitchen appliances with him when he left. Not that it mattered much, she still couldn't cook. She managed to find work rather quickly, a waitressing job at a bar down town. Not the most respectful place but it paid, and Akane didn't mind as long as she didn't have to wear the skimpy uniform usually required. No one bothered her much, at least not the regulars, she demonstrated early on that she could take most of the guys in a fight.
At first she found herself with a lot of free time to work on her book. Working at night, sleeping in the morning, she had a whole afternoon to herself. A small, overgrown park a few miles away was perfect for practicing her martial arts. She rarely saw anyone there. In fact she rarely saw anyone at all outside of work. Her neighbors, from what she saw of them, were shady people. Akane had bought a new lock within weeks of moving in. But as time wore on she began to grow lonely, her lack of a social life finally beginning to bother her. So she joined a cooking class, populated mostly by way-too-young mothers and a few grannies. A woman a few years older then Akane quickly took the girl under her arm. Miyoko was a single parent with a young son named Akito, who Akane came to love dearly.
But despite meeting her new friends Akane fell into quite a depression. She missed her family but pride and fear of what wasn't anymore stopped her from visiting or even calling. After she had missed classes two weeks in a row Miyoko discovered her friend passed out on her kitchen floor with her wrists slit. She took Akane back to her own two bedroom apartment and nursed her back to a somewhat healthy state of mind.
With much persuasion and encouragement from Miyoko, Akane finally moved in with her. She quit her job at the bar and began the search for a new one.
Three weeks of hoping paid off and Akane landed a job as a receptionist at a wealthy business that was within walking distance. From then on things started getting better. In addition to working on her novel she had written several short stories, many of which she was able to sell to a magazine who had informed her they were interested in offering her a weekly section. She accepted of course.
Although she was making much more money Akane continued living with Miyoko and Akito, helping to pay the rent was the least she could do. Every Saturday evening Akane looked after Akito while Miyoko went out with her current boyfriend. Life was definitely starting to look better.
She even called home once, just to let them know she was fine and that she loved them. Though she didn't ask, she could tell from the happiness in Kasumi's voice that things were good back home. The fact that she wasn't missed all that much hurt but Akane decided it was for the best.
And then she had met him. Yasashiko Manimura. He was polite, kind, and obviously very in love with her. Though she doubted she felt the same way she let Miyoko persuade her into accepting his frequent but sweet offers to take her out. She soon found herself, if not in love, rather fond of the young man who went out of his way to please her. He didn't tease her, hated fighting and was honest and respectful. Actually, he was the complete opposite of Ranma.
"Excuse me miss?" A familiar male voice interrupted Akane's frantic scribbling. She looked up and met the comforting brown eyes of Yasashiko.
"Sashi!" She smiled and walked out from behind her desk to hug him. He handed her a handpicked daisy which she tucked behind her ear. "What are you doing here? I don't get off till three and I'm watching Akito tonight."
"I know, but I'll be out of town for a few days and I wanted to say goodbye." He caressed her cheek and she closed her eyes as their lips met.
The kiss was loving, but short. Akane had been reluctant to begin a physical relationship with Yasashiko and he had been annoyingly respectful of that. Sometimes she wished he wasn't so perfect. "Bye." She said softly. He kissed her again on the cheek.
"When I come back let me take you to dinner." She nodded and satisfied, he left. Akane returned to her work letting her mind wander. Irksomely her thoughts landed on Ranma. She had been thinking about him less and less lately and the sudden change in trend brought a scowl to her face.
Sometimes, while writing her story she found herself close to tears, longing to just see him again. The rose, the one originally meant for Nabiki, was still packed away in the bottom of her duffel bag and shoved underneath her couch/pull-out bed. It had been especially hard to write about the times when he had been kind to her. That she had actually believed he had felt something for her, if only a little, hurt more then anything else that had happened. It would have been easier to let him out of her life if she thought he hadn't cared.
But that was all in the past. Something she had to remind herself constantly. No longer was she just Ranma Saotome's uncute fiancé. She was Akane Tendou, published author and happy girlfriend of a very kind young man.
"Tendou-san? Shouldn't you be getting along home now?" Her thoughts were interrupted by the gravely voice of Hoshi, the custodian.
"Hoshi-san." She greeted pleasantly. "Yes I suppose it is. Well then," she gathered her things and started for the door, "have a good night."
After she was gone Hoshi chuckled and shook his head. "Sweet child."
The night was cold and the breathes of the few that walked the street looked like clouds of smoke. Leaning against a street light a tall muscular man dressed in a Chinese styled outfit studied a map. "Kasumi said she worked 'round here somewhere." He frowned, annoyed. Why hadn't she…
The door to the building swung open and a smartly dressed woman with short blue hair shuddered in the cold. A smile made it's way to his lips, his eyes softened, but something stopped him from calling out to her. He followed her, almost laughing when she darted into an alley to change from high heels into sneakers. It was so like her.
When they neared an apartment building a small boy ran out calling her name. "Kane! Kane!" She laughed and bent down to hug him. The boy had brown hair and striking green eyes. The name brought an angry frown to the man's face. That nickname, only he was allowed to call her that. And just who was that kid anyway? Surely Akane hadn't?
A woman stepped out into the night. Her black strapless dress hugging tightly to her curves. Green eyes glittered in the lamplight and the boy turned to his mother. Ranma breathed a silent sigh of relief. As if that macho dweeb would have a kid.
But those two would be a problem. Kasumi had mentioned roommates but, well he hadn't really taken that into consideration. The plan had been to catch her alone. So much for the plan.
As he watched her, eyes shining and obviously very happy, guilt began to creep into his head. According to her sister Akane had left almost immediately after he had. He had been the one to destroyed her life before, was he just being selfish by trying to be apart of it again?
Going over the plan again in his head it suddenly didn't seem like that good of an idea. What was he going to say anyways? 'Hey Akane! Sorry for just jumping out of your life like that without even saying goodbye. But what do you say we both go back home and make things like they were before?' She would never agree. People changed, he knew that, for he had changed too.
But…he missed her. It had surprised him strongly he felt her absence. Two years he had spent training and searching for a way to lift his curse. And now the ache in his heart was almost unbearable. He still couldn't admit he loved her. Not even to himself, so how would he convince her?
It didn't matter, he had to at least talk to her. Even if she just malleted him away he had to try. Life just didn't seem worth it without her. If only he knew how very similar Akane's thoughts had been two years earlier, maybe he never would have left.
Ranma looked up to see himself alone on the street. Akane and her friends gone back inside. He could see light filtering out from the windows above. Well he didn't have any other plans, might as well just wait around. The night was young, and the woman with Akane had been dressed to go out. He might yet get his chance.
"Akane, you have the night off tonight." Miyoko told her dear friend while nervously checking her reflection in the mirror. "I think it's serious this time. He wants to meet Akito, said I should bring him along."
"Oh that's nice." Akane smiled though she felt oddly disappointed. She enjoyed the company of Akito and looked forward to their nights of wrestling, movies, and ghost stories.
The said child laughed and wrapped his arms around her neck. "Don't worry Kane! We can play tomorrow k?"
She laughed with him and nodded. "Promise?" The boy nodded and she ruffled his hair. A knock on the door announced the arrival of Miyoko's date and she rushed to answer it.
"Bye! Have a good time!" Akane waved them away and turned to face the empty apartment. Changing quickly into pajamas she curled up onto the couch and turned on the television. After a few minutes of flipping through the channels her cell phone rang. Running into the kitchen she dug frantically through her bag before pulling it out. "Ah, moshi-moshi!"
"Akane." The voice on the other end said softly.
"Sashi? But I thought you were going away?"
"I am but I forgot to tell you before. When I come back, when I take you out, where something nice. I…there's something I want to give to you."
Akane blushed a delighted grin coming to her face. Ranma had never given her things. "Sashi…"
"I have to go now Akane. I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too…bye." She hung up the phone and sank back down on the couch a happy smile on her lips.
"Ya know." A voice from behind startled her and she whirled around. "You never smiled like that for me." Ranma frowned as he leaned against the frame of a window Akane didn't remember having opened.
She stood up slowly, her voice seemed to be caught in her throat. "R-Ranma?"
Hehe…well I'm not happy with this chapter at all. I rushed through it because I wanted to get to the interesting parts. But I got so many nice reviews that I didn't want to make this chappy boring and short so I hope it turned out ok!
To my readers:
Dorchester - Thank you for the compliment! I hope that my story does not disappoint you! I agree with you, there a lot of stories where Ranma leaves for no apparent reason but I wanted to do something that focused on Akane rebelling against the dependency she has developed on Ranma.
Miko Kagome Archer - Arigato! I'll try my best to update as often as I can but I can't promise much. I have been very busy lately.
Vaniah - Mm, yes so do I! She is such a wonderful character, especially because of her passionate personality. Ranma's disappearance will be explained in the next chapter but I can't tell you more then that!
panda-tiney - I did try to make it longer, I know how frustrating it is when writers only update with a short chapter at a time but…well we'll see how things go. Thankyou for reviewing!
MOI - Yes, she is writing a story about Ranma, well the part of his life that impacts her own anyways. As for the martial arts, well can you see her just giving them up like that?
f-Zelda - No, P-chan won't follow. Even if he had tried he would have gotten lost along the way.
Story Weaver1 - Thankyou so much! I love writing very much but I never really thought I was any good. I get great ideas but then I never know how to get them down onto paper. Don't worry, the rest of the story shouldn't be too depressing. But I can't promise a happy ending. Whoops that was supposed to be a surprise.
EmpressKona - Thankyou!!!
Cherrybloss9 - Of course it's gonna be Ranma/Akane. That is one of the few pairings that actually occurs in an anime/manga that I actually support. Actually, Akane is one of the few heroine's that I actually like.
Angela Jewell - Wow! I can't believe you reviewed for my story! I love your Ranma music videos! I stumbled across a few on and they were great! Thanks so much!