Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma 1/2. Rumiko Takahashi and whoever else does. I wrote this story just for fun.
Sorry for spelling or grammar (mainly grammar) mistakes, English is not my native language.
It was their nature to fight. Even with his poor education he could tell that much, and still, it sent shivers down his spine and made him shudder as he listened to the cries of battle and exchanges of blows. Has it ended and the remains of a previous fight were lingering in his mind, or was the fight still in session? It was their nature to fight, they were doing it all the time. It wasn't because he was nearby; they were doing it even when he was far, far away. Heck, they could be in another country and still be fighting.
It wasn't because of him, it wasn't because of him…
Yet he knew that even if one of the household members were to come and knock him upside the head, he wouldn't be able to actually believe his own words that were repeating over and over again in his mind. Oh yes, each and every one of them could come and talk to him, explain to him what he already knew: that he shouldn't be afraid of such simple antics, of mere sounds that he was so used to. But he was not a fool. Not at all. Life experience taught him that at any moment now they could burst in through his bedroom window and involve him in a fight that wasn't his to begin with. Wasn't that the method of all of his enemies (unwanted fiancés included)? He shuddered once again at the inner image and pulled the heavy blanket over him, so that it was covering his whole.
The cries subdued to low sounds of threatening. He knew those sounds very well. Each opponent knew that the first to move would be at a disadvantage, so they opted to leer at one another until the weaker one would surrender.
Three, two, one…
And they were at it again. He wanted to sigh in exasperation, to shake his head at their foolishness, but he couldn't. He was paralyzed, tensed, ready for their attack that he knew he could try all his might but couldn't win against.
The likes of him could not be allowed to get involved in a battle such as the one that was occurring under his bedroom window. It was for them to settle. How much time had passed since they started? Seconds? Minutes? Maybe even hours…?
Unpleasant memories of the past flooded his mind, like giant waves that crashed and drowned whatever was in their way. He could try and will those memories to return to the deepest recesses of his mind, but he knew they were stronger than him. Even with all of his physical strength and special Chinese and Japanese techniques alike, he was nothing against the inner battles of his mind.
…Or the battles such as the one that was making him feel this way at the moment. He couldn't even bring himself to move and run away. Even if he could, that would bring about some unavoidable questions he didn't want to deal with: "Honestly, you're so pathetic!" they would say. "They'll go away once the fight is over. Can't you realize that territory is something very important to them?"
Pfft, territory… he wasn't some piece of land!
"Yeah, and it's not like it never happened to you before," someone else would point out. "One would think you'd be able to deal with it already".
"Oh, I'm so ashamed!" one of the two fathers would exclaim, shedding fake tears that never got to him.
So staying in his room upstairs, lying on his futon on the floor in pitch blackness was a much better option.
Was it finally over? Even in his mind he couldn't hear those horrible, blood-curdling sounds anymore… he dared peek over his blanket at the ceiling, silent as he let his ears catch every sound, from Kasumi fixing dinner downstairs to the Koi swimming about in the pond.
Then, when he was almost positive he could leave, it started once again when one of them resumed the cries of battle. He was able to pick the sounds of the grass moving and parting under their feet, joining in the gruesome dance in the yard. He shut his eyes tight and the blanket, his only means of protection, returned to its rightful spot over his head.
It kept on and on… usually it ended quickly, but this time it felt like forever, even when he guessed it was probably only a minute or two. A hiss, again the sound of moving grass, and then silence fell. But he didn't fall for it this time. Oh no, they were just waiting for him to open the window and peek so they could jump in and attach themselves to him. Somehow he always ended up like that, shrunk against the corner of someplace with one of them in his lap or against his chest. He felt sick to the stomach at the thought but willed himself against the instinct vomit. He couldn't leave this room. He wouldn't.
The door to his room slid open slowly and shrieked like a girl, holding the blanket until his knuckles turned white, nearly digging holes in the old fabric with his nails. He knew they'd come eventually…
"Ranma?" he was surprised at the familiar voice, realizing he wasn't dealing with the enemy. He allowed himself to peek and a shaky smile spread over his lips. Akane smiled back at him, gently. "You okay?" she asked.
He gulped, looking fearfully around the room for any sign of… them. "A-are they gone yet?" she giggled at his question. "What?" he asked, scowling.
A half mischievous-half amused smile spread over her lips. "Yeah, I scared them away. See, I saw how you ran away from the living room the last time they came, so I figured I should ease your worries."
He said nothing in response. He got up slowly from his bed, crawled on the floor and looked outside. He sighed in relief and smiled lightly. There was no sign of the enemy outside… he could be at peace once again, at least until next time.
"They could have attacked you, though," he told her, turning away from the window and choosing to sit on the tatami mats. "You shouldn't risk yourself like that!"
She laughed. "Honestly, Ranma. All I had to do was step outside to the yard and hiss at them. If that wouldn't have worked, then I could have thrown a rock or something at their direction, just to scare them…"
"You don't know what they're capable of!" He argued, and the familiar shudder returned as bitter memories flooded his mind once again. "They could have hurt you…"
She sighed. "Don't worry. If they had dared touch me I would have kicked them so hard they'd leave Tokyo altogether."
"I mean, I can't beat them, what makes you think you can?" he said from his spot on the floor.
She frowned. He could sense the nearing fight. Why did she get mad? It's the truth! She knew very well that he was stronger than her…
Then she narrowed her eyes and smiled that half mischievous-half amused smile again, and he wondered if she would show him what she said she could do in her earlier comment. "Because I," she replied, "unlike you, am not deathly afraid of cats."
Author's note: Been years since I last wrote a Ranma fic… I got this idea after lying in bed at night and listening to cats fighting under my window. Then I thought: hmmm… Ranma would be pretty scared if he heard that, the poor thing…
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