Update: I'm not dead, and I feel like a big jerk for getting annoyed at other people not finishing their stories when I haven't finished this one. So, not really and update (but I am working on the next chapter!) but a slight alteration. I was all set to finish this, but kind of worked myself into a plot decision that I didn't really care for. So there are a couple of changes in the work that exists so far, and I think I'm back on track now. (finally)
"What Lies Behind Us,
And What Lies Before Us
Are Tiny Matters Compared To
What Lies Within Us."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Days like today really make me wonder why I even try. . . Akane Tendo turned restlessly in her bed, the sheets and coverlet entwining themselves together, her pillow already halfway too the floor. Glancing over at the small clock on her desk for what had to be the hundredth time, Akane gave a deep and frustrated sigh. Great, just great. . . At this rate I'll only get about four hours of sleep. . And that's only if I fall asleep at this very second. She tried lying very still, slowed her breathing. But the moonlight was just a tad too bright, the sound of the ticking clock too clear, and the small creeks and groans of the house itself wormed their way into her ear, poking at her brain.
"This is impossible." Akane grumbled softly as she turned onto her back. She reached an arm behind her and blindly settled her pillow back into it's original opinion. She studied the tiny cracks on the ceiling, helpless to the memories that continued to assault her mind.
\Earlier that day\
Akane studied the tiny cracks on the sidewalk, banging her schoolbag lightly up and down off her knees as she waited.
"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Yuka's voice held a slight twinge of pity. She and the others had invited Akane to join them in their excursion to the movie theatre for the current tear-jerker of the month. Granted, they knew full well what to expect when the film would end. They would gush to each other about how so-and-so was soooo romantic, and how nice it would be to have their own prince charming come and sweep them away to some marvelous castle. And Akane? Well, Akane had one of two reactions. Either she'd plod along rather quietly behind them looking rather depressed, or she wouldn't be letting her friends get a word in edgewise as she would rant and rave about how she didn't need any boy coming to her rescue, much less another prince. As annoying as Yuka found these reactions, she was disturbed much more by the fact that Akane had not bothered to even attend these girly trips anymore. Not since the failed wedding.
Akane plastered what she hoped was a serene smile on her face, "Yes, I'm sure Yuka. I have," her eyes tilted towards her hands, still swinging the schoolbag, "homework to do, still have lots to catch up on since Ch-. . Since, well, you know."
"Ok, Akane. But please," Yuka pressed a friendly hand to her shoulder, "let us know if you want to hang out." Her green eyes softened in concern, "We miss you, ya know? I mean, is everything ok? You can tell us," her voice dropped even lower, "I mean, you used to tell us everything."
Akane swallowed harshly, rather surprised at the choked up feeling in her chest. The schoolbag stopped bouncing. Blinking a few times, she forced herself to meet Yuka's gaze. What she saw reflected there was friendship. Her heart twisted painfully as she realized simply just how much she missed these friends. "Yuka, I-"
"Come on, Ranma honey! You don't need to go home just yet. . Why don't you come to my place. . "
Alane's head jerked back down as suddenly as it had come on. "Never mind, Yuka. Why don't you guys go on and have fun ok? I'll definitely be there next time." She barely noticed Yuka's farewell, her hearing helplessly zeroing in on the conversation between the okinomiyaki chef and her supposed fiance. Ukyo had a death grip on Ranma's hand as she dragged him in the direction of her shop.
"Come on, you big silly. There's a big okinomiyaki waiting for you!"
"Yeah, I'm comin' already-" That was when he noticed her. His feet came to a sudden halt, causing Ukyo to come to a clumsy stop. "'kane." His blue eyes met hers, filled with trepidation. "I-" He glanced down at the hand gripped by Ukyo's. Looking back at Akane, her eyes were no longer on him, but on the clasped hands. He quickly yanked his hand out of there, guilt slightly marring his handsome features. "You, um, you wanna come?" He put out a hand which, unnoticed due to Akane's ignorance, held a barely perceptible shake.
"And risk having bombs thrown at me again?" The achieved steel in her voice gave her the strength she needed to look him in the face again. "She may be your friend, Ranma, but she certainly isn't mine." The chef had the decency to look slightly ashamed. Without another word, she turned away and started the long walk home. Alone.
Contrary to popular belief, things had not been going well for the engaged couple since that fateful trip to China. Sure, there were plenty of moments where they would fall into their old pattern of insulting back and forth, but sooner or later someone would come around or one of them would say precisely the wrong thing and then it was as if a wall had suddenly slammed down between the two. Akane, for her part, was a mix of frustration and hurt. Her wedding had been ruined. Wanted or not, it was truly heart wrenching to look at the mirror and see your once beautiful wedding dress torn and burned beyond repair.
And to top it off, he still goes off with Ukyo to fill up that never ending garbage disposal he calls a stomach. With a growl, Akane tossed her pillow to the floor. "How could he forgive her?" she whispered to herself, tears coming to her eyes.
For the few days that followed the wedding, she had found herself filled with hope. Ranma seemed to have changed. The insults came out softer, he now ran next to her on the way to school rather than on top of the fence. He was even bitingly cold to Ukyo and Shampoo. Akane had been convinced that they were well on their way to at least some type of resolution. And then one night it all went right back down the drain.
They had been sitting on the porch, watching the stars and enjoying glasses of strawberry flavored shaved ice. The nights were still incredibly hot and humid even as summer drew to a close. There was light conversation, gentle laughter, and Akane had felt a comfortable warm glow infuse within her. One silly joke and one choked on ice chip, and suddenly she was in his arms, close enough to see herself reflected in those deep blue orbs. Their position was eerily similar to the one they had held on Phoenix Mountain. No words were spoken as their heads and more importantly their mouths, began to inch closer and closer together. He had been so close and then without warning, his eyes widened and a split second later he was out of sight and she had been left alone in the night that seemed to drop starkly in temperature as soon as his arms had disappeared.
Since that night, the old patterns had emerged but things had definitely changed. The fights would start our similar enough but eventually their voices would start to tinge with something other than the usual spite. Hers with hurt, his with. . Well, with what Akane didn't know. The jerk. . . When everyone else was around, he almost seemed to be himself, well, the Ranma he was before China. But he absolutely refused to go anywhere alone with her. He always managed to cook up some excuse about needing to train, or running some errands. His eyes would flit nervously from side to side, he'd spit out some lame excuse, and two seconds later she would be standing in an empty room. He even had the gall to say that he had homework to do! Homework! She snorted. Right. The few moments that she had managed to get him alone and those precious few moments before the inevitable fight would start, she could swear she could see something in his eyes, the something she secretly hoped and dreamed about. . . And every time he closed himself off to her and instead reached into his ready arsenal of insults to bombard her with until she either smacked him good or ran off in tears But the truly odd thing was what would happen later. He would always apologize. Not to her face of course, but somehow, she would know that he was sorry. Whether it was simply the silent acceptance of whatever punishment their fathers dealt out or by some small unseen gesture. On the days when the fights would get really bad, on the days she would run off and cry herself to sleep, she would wake to find a small flower or one of her favorite snacks resting next to her head on her pillow, and the covers she had originally dropped herself on top of would unexpectedly be tucked in snuggly around her. It was the unseen things that kept her hanging on, the kept her from just giving up completely.
Akane rolled to her side and slowly reached down for her pillow. I just don't understand him. I mean, he always saves me, whether I want him to or not. . And at Jusedo. . I was so sure that I heard him say he loved me. . . But now, now I don't know what to think. If he doesn't love me, then why is he still around? If I just knew how he felt, then maybe I could figure out what I'm supposed to do. Should I break the engagement? Her hand clenched the pillow hard as she brought it back up to the bed. But. . . I. . . Tears clouded her vision. I don't. . . I don't want to break it. The pillow was now clutched to her chest. I just, I just wish I knew how this all turned out. I wish I knew what's going to happen to us. . .
The clock on the small night table clicked softly as Akane lazily opened her eyes. Guess that quick afternoon nap wasn't the best idea in the world. She sat up slowly, stretching her arms high above. The moonlight glinted gently through the curtains enticing Akane to desert the warm covers and pad softly over to the window. She pulled one curtain aside, rubbing her cheek against the cotton fabric. The moon itself had cast it's glow upon the koi pond and the occasional ripple fluttered across it's surface, changing the glow to a million little sparkles. She sighed, her smile still infused with sleep. So peaceful. . Maybe three a.m. wake ups aren't so bad after all. It's not so often that it's quiet around- Her thought was cut off by the soft snore coming from the bed. Hah, so much for peaceful. She smirked and made her way back to her side of the bed.
Lying down, Akane shifted sideways to her hip, resting her chin in one hand as she studied her bed partner. When she had awoken, he had rolled from his usual position, curled around her, and onto his back. One hand rested behind his head while the other scratched absentmindedly at his stomach. The blankets barely covered him. He tended to either knock them completely off the bed or toss most of them over to her side. As for the rest of him, well, he didn't really lay in bed, more like he sprawled in bed. It seemed that without having her to anchor himself to when in the waves of sleep, he was unable to rest in any position over than something that looked completely and utterly ridiculous.
Akane smiled as she reached down to brush a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. "I love you," she whispered as she placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. He smiled faintly in response and her name sprang from his mouth in a sigh. She giggled quietly and scooted further under the covers to settle back into sleep. As soon as her back sunk into the mattress, her husband turned to his side, threw an arm over her and pulled her back into his embrace. Even after twelve years, the tingles still appeared low in her stomach every time he showed her such affection. Her eyes had a glow bright enough to rival the moon. I don't think it's possible to be happier. Akane rolled her eyes slightly. Yeah, it's cheesy, but after all we went through to get here? I think I'm allowed a little cheese. A deep yawn interrupted her thoughts and her eyes began to take a drowsy cast once more. I just wish I had known how you felt about me a little earlier. maybe I would have gone about things a little differently. . . I wish I could have known how much you loved me just a little. . . bit. . . sooner. . .
\\Two odd nights. . . Two odd wishes. . . And two Akanes are switched.\\
Author's note: So here it is, revised chapter one. I'm much more pleased with how this is going so far. You might have noticed that I added a couple more scenes (sheesh, 195 words turned into 2200) and hopefully kind of changed the tone of this fic slightly. When I had begun Past and Future I had yet to read the manga in it's entirety. I knew the general plot, but hadn't really thought of using the happenings in the later half of the manga to effect my story. For example, the Ranma in the revised version will be a tad more serious. . . I think. Eh, ok, to be honest, I'm not totally sure. The only thing I do know is that the events of Phoenix Mountain will be present in this story and how that will continue to change it? Who knows J The general plot line of this story will stay the same, but I'm planning to delve a little more into the side stories (I.e. Shampoo and Nabiki/Kuno) as well as some back story when the point of view stems from the future. Also: with compliments to Rui, I believe, I have changed Akane to 'kane when spoken by Ranma. It's how he always said it in my head, but I guess I didn't think anyone else would get the significance of that. Since I've seen otherwise, I decided to make the change. Anyways, as usual C&C is always welcome and appreciated!