Living the Martial Way
I couldn't help but be…awed. The fact that someone was so accepting of me that they could feel my pain like this. It amazed me. The only other person I had told was Sensei Amano, simply because I couldn't bring myself to lie to him when he asked about the scarring. I've gotten sympathy and empathy from people when they heard about various pieces of what I've dealt with. But that Nabiki was willing to share my pain like this…no one had ever done that before.
She stirred in my arms. "Ranma?"
"…I…I want to tell you something…I'm afraid."
"Don't be, you can tell me anything."
"No. That's not it. I'm not afraid to tell you. I'm telling you that I'm afraid."
I wait, holding her close. I know that she'll say more when she's ready.
"…I'm afraid to leave the house, but I'm afraid of become a recluse. I'm afraid of being a burden to my family, but I'm afraid of being left behind. Ten years ago I was in a car accident with my mom. She lost her life, and I lost my eyes…And I've never really adjusted to it. And I'm afraid I never will." I hold her closer as she starts shaking.
"You don't have to be afraid Nabiki. It doesn't matter that you're blind. It doesn't change who you are. Nothing can change what makes you the person you are. I didn't fall in love with you because of how you look, or out of pity because you're blind. I fell in love with you because you're a wonderful, beautiful person. And I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to keep you from being hurt again."
She became as still as stone when I said 'love'. "You…You love me?"
"I just told you."
"But…I can't give you anything! I can't cook, I can't clean. And what about kids? I wouldn't be able to take care of them. I'm useless. I…I have nothing to offer you. I can't do anything that a normal person can…I'm useless."
Before she can start crying again I turn her face towards mine. "Are you done?"
"I told you. I. Love. You. And you do have something to offer. It's the same thing that I can give you in return."
"What can I give you? I'm usele-mmp!" I stop her with a kiss.
"Nabiki. I love you. And the only thing I could ever want from you is you. And if you'll have me I'll give you everything that I am, and everything that I could ever be."
I was stunned when Ranma kissed me. I think he washed away all my doubts right then, but I still…
"Ranma…I…I think I love you too. But still I…there are so many things that I can't do." I can feel the tears coming as wounds that I've had for ten years begin to open again. I'm more then a little surprised at what Ranma does next. Pulling me to my feet he leads me back into the dojo.
"Set your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees."
"Ranma, what are you doing?"
"Proving to you that you can do anything that anyone else can."
"But…But I can't learn martial arts. How would I be able to fight?"
"Who said you'd be fighting? Nabiki, you should know as well as I do that martial arts are hardly about combat. Now, set your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees."
I smile as I remember that day from…wow, over ten years ago now. He proved to me that I was far from useless. If for no other reason then that he believed it. Ranma and Mother Nodoka moved in with us permanently, and three months later Ranma proposed to me. Ranma made me feel like the most important person in the world, without ever once making me feel helpless or inadequate. My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of little feet charging towards me.
I turn and catch my little girl before she can knock me to the ground. My five year old daughter still hasn't grasped that a pregnant mommy is not a crash mat.
"Sakura, sweetie. You know not to do that. You could hurt mommy or the baby."
"I'm sorry mommy. Can I listen to her again?" She bounces in my arms and presses her ear to my stomach before I can answer. "I can hear her! I can hear my little sister!"
The voice of my husband comes in from the next room. "Now kiddo, you know it might not be a girl."
"Yes it will." Just as confident as her father.
"Oh? And how do you know?" I ask as I hold my wonderful daughter.
"Because I want a sister so she's gonna be a girl and-Ewwww! That's gross!" This is due to the kiss I receive from my wonderful husband. Ignoring my daughter's protests I ask Ranma.
"How was class dear?"
"Fine, fine. The beginners are coming along nicely. I have to keep Sakura from beating them too badly when they spar with her."
"I'm a good sparer right daddy!" The kiss completely forgotten now that the attention is on her again.
"Yes you are sweetie. Now go wash up for lunch."
"Ok daddy!" Our red-headed blessing gives us both a hug before running off to the bath.
"So how was your morning?"
"Oh fine, fine. Kasumi came by and we had tea. I had to stop her from helping Mariko with the housework." We share a laugh at that.
"I'm glad I was able to talk you into hiring a maid."
"Well as much as I enjoyed being treated like a princess while you did all the cleaning, there just wasn't enough time after Sakura was born. And even less once she started walking and leaving a trail of toys."
"And you were once worried that you wouldn't be able to help with the children. You're better with her then I am."
"That's because she gets all the physical activity she wants in the dojo. All I have to do is listen to her give a play-by-play."
Ranma doesn't bother with a comeback, he just takes me in his arms and holds me the way he has for years. Even with our emotional wounds healed by our love for each other, we both still find comfort and security just by sitting like this. The moment ends soon enough when the bundle of limitless energy disguised as our daughter comes hurtling back into the room. We share a laugh when she fails to fit in her usual spot in my lap, being seven months pregnant doesn't leave a lot of space for a five year old. So she settles for climbing onto her father's back and tugging at his ponytail until he agrees to go make lunch.
I smile as I return to my seat. 'I never would have dared hope for this much happiness before I met him. And I know he would do anything to make sure I'm never sad again…and I will always do the same for him.'
I hope you all enjoyed this story. If the reviews are any indication, then you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Writing this piece has been a constant pleasure, as have the reviews I have gotten. I am considering writing as sequel to this piece, as I have some scene ideas that I haven't used yet, as well as characters I wanted to bring in but never got the chance to. If I do write it, it will be after another piece or two that I have gotten ideas for. Again, thank you all. Every single one of you have made this piece more then worth the effort.