READ THIS FIRST!:
Thank you, TNTAkane fans, for sticking with me for so long. I'm glad to finally be getting around to rewriting this. I had felt that this story was not as good as it could be and it really bothered me. At this time, I have only the first four chapters redone and am posting them all at once. I plan to repeat this pattern with the remaining chapters until I have caught up with the newest chapter, which is more than halfway completed already. I hope the revisions I've made are to your liking.
The Name's Tendo Akane, And I Don't Lose
Summary: What if Akane's mother hadn't died? What if Soun took his youngest daughter's interest in the art seriously and trained her to become the best she could be? And what if canon Ranma's wish on the Nanban Mirror accidentally dropped him off in this backwards reality? Well, chaos would ensue, naturally.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma or anything else I may happen to reference. I do own the ideas in my head, though. Those are all mine.
"TENDO, PREPARE TO DIE!" was the cry that broke the monotonous peace of chirping birds surrounding the Tendo home in the early morning.
Akane's muscle memory, triggered by the familiar phrase, caused her to react on auto pilot and roll off of her bed just in time to dodge the shards of glass flying in her direction as her, so called, 'arch rival' exploded through her bedroom window. Her eyes were cracked open by the time she was on her feet. She rolled them in annoyance, while flipping her long ponytail behind her shoulder, as she visually confirmed the identity of said rival.
"Yoiko! I've told you a thousand times, already! I'm not interested in your brother!" Akane shouted in frustration at the younger fanged girl with ponytails tied in her older brother's signature bandanas. "Besides, it's not like he ever sticks around long enough for us to really get to know each other anyway ..."
"It doesn't matter whether you do or don't!" the younger girl replied. "You're the reason he never spends any time at home anymore. Even though he likes you, he's intimidated by your abilities. Ever since he met you, he's been purposely allowing himself to get lost because he thinks it'll help him in his training. He won't stop until he works up the nerve to ask you out, which he won't do unless he thinks he's stronger than you. Do you get what I'm saying? He thinks he needs to prove himself to you and he's totally abandoned me. For that, you must die!" she yelled, before lunging at Akane.
Akane side-stepped, leaving one foot extended. The younger girl stumbled over her foot and into her bedroom door, crashing into it with her head. Before she had a chance to pull her head out of the newly created porthole into the hallway, Akane yanked her out. She held the smaller girl in the air by the back of her collar and sighed as she flailed wildly.
"Listen, Yoiko," Akane started. "If you promise to stop pestering me, I'll gladly help you. I mean, I don't really enjoy humiliating you over and over, and over, again. So, tell me what I can do to get you off of my back. Aside from dying, of course," she added as an after thought.
"There's nothing you can do!" Yoiko shouted as she struggled. "Ryoga's off in his own world. He won't listen to reason! If he won't even listen to his own little sister, what makes you think you can do anything worth while?"
"Are you stupid?" Akane yelled, shaking the girl in her grasp. "Didn't you just say how hung up he is on me? If he's really got it as bad as you say he does, then he'll do whatever I say. I'll just make him stop what he's doing and go back to the way things were before he knew me."
Yoiko stopped her struggling as she considered her rival's words. "You're sure it'll work?" she asked.
"Why wouldn't it?" Akane replied.
"Okay, then," Yoiko said, with enthusiasm. "Let's do it right now!"
"We can't do anything if he's lost somewhere, idiot," Akane said, with a half-lidded glare. "We'll just have to wait until he comes around again. When he finally does, I promise I'll set him straight."
"You better," Yoiko said. "Or else ..."
"Oooh ... I'm so scared," Akane replied.
"Children, it's time to wash up! Breakfast is almost ready and you don't want it to get cold, okay!" her mother's voice called from downstairs.
"Yes, mother!," Akane called back, in sync with her other sisters. "Look, half-pint, I got things to do and places to be, so I'm gonna send you on your way now, got it?"
"Fine, whatever," Yoiko huffed, folding her arms as she hung limply in the air.
Akane carried the girl back to her shattered window before punting her into the cool morning air. She then dusted herself off and gathered her things before making her way down to the bathroom to wash up. Fifteen short minutes later, she and her sisters joined their parents in the dining room.
"It sure would be nice if your friends ever learned to call ahead and schedule a more appropriate time to visit you, Akane. After all, it is the morning of a school day. It's really an inconvenient time for them to disturb you, don't you think?"
"I know, mom, and you're right. But they're not my friends, so they don't care if they're disturbing me. I'm sure I've explained it to you before."
"Nonsense, dear. If they didn't care about you, they wouldn't come around so often. Some of them may be a little ... jealous of your skills, but perhaps if you were to give them a few pointers ..."
"I give up ..." Akane muttered under her breath, holding her head.
Nabiki smirked, enjoying her younger sister's frustration, before she took a long sip of the coffee in her yen themed mug. "So, sis, I couldn't help but notice the latest bit of remodeling you've done to your room. I mean, most people get a fan when they want to improve the air circulation in a room, but you like to think outside of the box."
"Oh, did you do something new, Akane?" their mother asked, genuinely interested.
"She absolutely did, mother," Nabiki answered, cutting her younger sister off before she could reply. "She made a window into the hallway through her door. It's quite ingenious, actually. Now she can see who's knocking without having to open the door, almost like a giant peephole, but without the privacy. I sure wish I had her keen eye and bold inspiration for interior design. Why, she even managed to capture the shape of Yoiko's head in relatively fine detail."
Akane glared at her sister.
"Oh, dear. Akane, you must learn to play more gently with your friends. Particularly the one's who are at a disadvantage. You should also take into consideration the impact that the repair bills have on our finances. I'm sure your father taught you to have the utmost control. Isn't that right, hon?"
Soun sipped his tea from behind the newspaper he held. He gulped the rest down and lowered the paper before replying. "Yes, of course, I did. Akane, consider it a training assignment to limit the amount of collateral damage to our home. I'll give you a scroll that contains a useful new technique if you succeed."
"Really?" she asked, momentarily forgetting everything else. "Wait, it's not entirely my fault though..."
"Yes, we all know what you're used to dealing with," Kasumi said. "However, I think it's good that we make a point of this, because we all know it's within your capabilities to control the amount of damage your fights cause. You are the best, aren't you, little sister?"
"Of course I am," Akane boasted. "But even I can't predict when and how every single loony martial artist, in Nerima and beyond, is going to strike. Still, I understand where you guys are coming from. I'll do my best," she said. "You'd better not be making up that scroll, old man," she added.
"Well, I should be getting a move one," Kasumi said. "After all, I have much further to commute than either of you," she said, indicating her two sisters. "I'll see you all later on," she said before giving each of her parents a quick hug.
"Bye," Akane said, in unison with the rest, as Kasumi grabbed her bag and exited. Afterward, she stared into her reflection in the half empty bowl of miso that sat on the place mat before her. 'Why is it always me? It's not like I like being the harbinger of chaos or anything. It just sort of happens for no apparent reason, even if I haven't done anything ...'
- - - xxxxxx - - -
Elsewhere, and consequently, elsewhen ...
The seasoned martial artist, Saotome Ranma, sat atop the roof of the Tendo dojo in contemplation unreadable to a casual observer. In his right hand, he held the taped together remains of the magical mirror that Happosai had stolen from the Old Ghoul so many years ago. He had seen it work before, even when it was cracked, so he hoped a few more blemishes wouldn't hinder it's performance. The power to take him anywhere he wanted to be was more enticing than ever before and he needed to at least try it one more time before resigning himself to his fate.
He had already accepted that trying to prevent his curse was most likely futile, as was proven with he and his father's previous attempt. Even if he couldn't prevent the curse, could he at least find a cure for it in another time or find a way to be rid of some of the chaos in his life? Those thoughts were among several other issues that he found had become increasingly difficult to ignore as he began to seriously consider his future in Nerima. However, it was also quite apparent that he was never going to have time to get his mind right if he was always being confronted by everyone there. He was so desperately tired of being the center of attention that the thought of traveling to a time before he was even born seemed quite appealing, if only to have complete confidence in his breathing space.
He didn't really see it as running away from his problems, since he planned on coming back. He just wanted a vacation, so to speak, to help him gain perspective on his life thus far. He hoped that that would also aid him in coming to a decision regarding his fiancee situation, since that was a major source of chaos in it's own right.
Some of the most troubling thoughts that had been floating around in his head, since Saffron and the failed wedding, were centered around Akane's inability to understand him even after all they had been through. If the status quo didn't change, he didn't think it was going to work out between them. Unless she had an epiphany concerning her default conclusion that 'Ranma is to blame', it was a dead end relationship. He didn't want to see it end that way, for fear of having to accept that he might have wasted his first two years in Nerima on a lost cause.
In his other hand he held a peeled onion, needed for the effect of inducing tears. It was now or never, since he rarely had a minute to himself before all hell broke loose around him.
"Here goes ..."
- - - xxxxxx - - -
"You is dead girl!" Shampoo shouted as she flung one of her bonbori at Akane's head.
Akane paused from her spot atop the fence that ran along the canal and caught the weapon, spun effortlessly while maintaining perfect balance, then hurled the blunt object back at it's owner. Her superb aim ensured a direct strike of the weapon's handle through the front spokes of Shampoo's bicycle.
The resulting stop of motion caused the ramen delivery girl's preferred method of transportation to fling her off of it's seat, over the fence, and into the water below. When the angry cat emerged from it's impromptu bath, it's target was nowhere to be found. Damn, was that girl fast.
As Akane neared the end of her short sprint towards school, she easily hurdled the last gap in the path of her fence route, idly wondering how those big diesel trucks made turns from the small side streets onto the large main street she had just cleared. She shrugged it off as she shifted her attention back toward the school grounds. More specifically, she anticipated the confrontation that some stubborn idiot would just not give up on ...
-o o-o o-o o-o o-
Ranma awoke as he became aware of sunlight warming his face. His eyes darted over to an unfamiliar window, with slightly cracked shades, before the rest of his senses kicked in and registered everything else around him. The room was rather plain and reminded him vaguely of the Tendo's guest room in it's size.
He was tucked under a layer of white covers as he lay on the firm mattress of a narrow hospital bed. To his right was a machine, with a monitor attached, that seemed to be displaying his vitals. The melodic beeping, that represented his heart beat, rapidly increased to higher levels as his mind began to construct a scenario bad enough to require the use of such things. He quickly flung the covers off and was pleased to notice that he was clothed in sweat pants and a wife-beater tank top. He removed the sensors that were stuck to his chest and pulled out an IV needle. The machine flatlined in response to the loss of signal.
He swung his legs over the side of the bed and dropped his feet to the floor, noting a slight soreness, before walking over to the window to peer through the blinds. Outside, he saw the familiar streets of residential Nerima and concluded that he wasn't in a hospital, but most likely a house. He wondered if his trip with the mirror had backfired and he had been injured somehow, but quickly ruled that idea out as he had no memory of being hurt or any physical signs of harm, aside from being a little stiff. He also didn't recognize the room or the yard he was looking down upon from the window. He was sure he'd never seen this house before.
His ears picked up the sound of approaching footsteps and he turned around in time to see a young girl walk through the door with a book in her hand. Ranma was taken aback at her striking resemblance to his cursed form and froze with his mouth hanging open momentarily. 'Impossible ...'
The girl shared a similar look of disbelief on her face before she dropped her book and yelled at the top of her lungs. "HE'S AWAKE!"
Ranma flinched, before quickly regaining his wits, and decided that he didn't want to be cornered in the small room with his second worst nightmare looking right at him. He spun around, smashing the window with the back of his hand and destroying the blinds, before diving out of the window. He barely registered the bleeding knuckles.
"Wait!" the curse look-a-like called as she stuck her head out of the window and looked down at him from the second floor of the residence.
Ranma backflipped onto the top of the brick wall surrounding the yard and would have propelled himself to the next roof if not for his legs suddenly burning with exhaustion. His father leap out of the broken window and landed beside him. The last thing he expected was to be gathered in a hug by his old man.
"It's a miracle!" Genma wailed, as he suffocated the boy with the hug.
"Get offa me, pop! I can't breath!" Ranma said, before kneeing the old man in his gut with everything he could muster.
Genma took the powerful hit and stumbled a few feet backward before looking upon his son in bewilderment. "You're strong ..." he muttered, as if it weren't normal.
"That's what they tell me," Ranma replied with a smirk, trying to ignore his sudden fatigue. "You gonna explain what's gotten into you, or what? And what the hell is up with this house and that thing in there?" he said, pointing a finger at his cursed form's doppleganger.
"Ranko?" Genma replied. "She's your sister, not a thing."
"Say what?" Ranma blanched. He looked down at himself. Aside from the fatigue and being a little thinner than normal, he didn't notice anything out of place. "Oh, shit ... did I come to the future? No ..." He looked back up to his father. "We're not any older are we ...? Then, how ... Hey, where's the mirror? Tell me you have it!"
"Son, calm down. You've just woken up from a long coma. You're just a bit hysterical ..."
"Coma? Are you nuts? This is all wrong!" Ranma shouted. He was about to say something else before he was suddenly overcome by an excruciating headache.
He grabbed the sides of his head in pain and clenched his eyes shut as a stream of blood trickled from his nose. He saw a series of images flash through his mind's eye as the pain gradually lessened. He quickly realized the jumbled images were of memories he had never experienced himself.
As the memories fell into place, he was able to determine that he hadn't merely traveled through time. He was in a completely different reality. He had just absorbed the memories of an alternate version of himself. This other version had indeed been in a coma. This guy had been leading a life that was eerily similiar to his own before he fell into a coma at the age of nine and a half. Ranma growled as he learned the cause to be a worse case scenario of the cat-fist training. The trauma had shattered his counterpart's young mind seven years ago. He had been in a coma ever since, vaguely aware of those around him but unable to interact with them. His existence had been a living hell.
Ranma reopened his eyes as he used a hand to wipe away the blood that had dribbled from his nose. His angry eyes settled on his pop, who was looking upon him with genuine concern. His glare softened considerably before he rolled his eyes at the old man and spoke. "Why am I not surprised? Geez, pop, you sure are an idiot. I hope you actually learned a lesson from this one."
"So, you do remember?" Genma asked. Upon Ranma's nod, he continued. "I'm so terribly sorry, boy. You mustn't tell your mother or sister, though," he said with a hushed voice. "I couldn't bring myself to tell them the truth, but I've spent the last seven years trying to atone for my sins. Please, you must understand, I never intended for this to happen. It was all in pursuit of your training."
"Yeah, it ain't the first time I've heard that line," Ranma said, before sighing. "But, I know you're not a bad guy ... just stupid and misguided," he added. "Anyway, it's not me you need to apologize to. I ain't exactly from around here, y'see."
"I don't understand ..."
"You ever heard of the nanban mirror?" Ranma asked.
-o o-o o-o o-o o-
Around lunch time, Akane sat under a tree with her two newest made friends since returning from her trip to China with her father.
"So, what did she do next?" Sayuri asked, with a captive interest.
"Well," Akane continued, "She used some dumb attack called the five hundred BPM frozen raver strike."
"Really, what was it like?" Yuka asked, equally enthralled.
"Picture hundreds of glow sticks, filled with liquid nitrogen, being swung at you on wires from every conceivable direction. It was pretty annoying," she described. "The music from the boombox she carried around was totally outdated and predictable, too. Maybe if she had used the soundtrack to a newer version of DDR, one I hadn't beaten already, then she could have lasted longer."
"Wow ... you're great," Yuka and Sayuri swooned, in unison.
Akane missed the questionable glances the two girls were giving her in favor of laughing arrogantly. "Of course I am. I'm the best there is," she continued, "Of this generation or the last one. I'll never lose to anyone," she said confidently. Akane sweat dropped as she finally noticed her two 'friends' giving her googly eyes while drooling. "Uh ... guys?"
-o o-o o-o o-o o-
The Saotome family, consisting of Nodoka, Genma, and Ranko, sat with Ranma at the table in the nicely decorated dining room of their modest home. He sat with his arms folded over his chest as he waited for the trio to absorb his hefty explanation. There was only one thing that really bothered him about everything, though. He had felt really winded after jumping out of that window earlier and, upon closer inspection, found his body to be thinner and weaker than he initially thought. Either he was confined to the body of his counterpart, or the dimensional jump had just sucked the life out of him. He was smart enough to guess that it was probably the latter of the two and quite disappointed that he had to deal with such a disadvantage. However, he was pleased to learn that he still maintained complete control over his ki. Also, his new memories revealed that this version of him was without a curse.
"I will admit," Genma started, "it is strange for you to be able to manuever so skillfully after being out of it for that many years. But, where is this mirror you mentioned? How can we know that you didn't just dream all of this up if you don't have any proof?"
"I wish I knew," Ranma replied. "Everything about this situation seems wrong. The mirror doesn't usually work like this ... but, I swear to you, it's the truth."
"Does it really matter?" Nodoka asked. "We have our son back, after all of these years. I'm just happy to be sitting here having a conversation with him."
"Mom is right," Ranko added. "He's well again. We should just celebrate that fact and forget about the details," she said, before sliding out of her chair and giving Ranma a hug. "I finally have a brother I can talk to."
Ranma stiffened considerably inside this girl's embrace, elliciting a confused reaction from her. He pushed her gently away from him and avoided making eye contact with her.
"Ranma, what's wrong?" Nodoka asked.
Ranko's eyes shimmered with tears as she stepped back, bumping into her chair. "Do you hate me?" she asked.
"It's not like that," Ranma replied, still refusing to look directly at Ranko. "It's just weird ..."
"All I've wanted, for the longest time, is to be good friends with my brother," Ranko said.
"Oh, Ranko ..." Nodoka said.
"Son, I'm not really sure what to believe, but I do know that Ranko doesn't deserve to have her feelings hurt. Get to know her and, I promise, you'll see what a great person she is."
Ranma sighed. "No offense, but I don't plan on sticking around that long. I don't have time to sit and chit chat with someone who ain't even supposed to exist when I could be finding out what went wrong and how to get back."
Ranko promptly ran off before the tears could fall.
"Ranma, how could you?" Nodoka asked, before running after her daughter.
Genma glared hard at his son. "That was stupid of you, boy."
"It doesn't matter," he replied. "It's the truth. Where I come from, she's not a real person. She's just a curse, a thorn in my side, and I'm reminded of that constantly, even if it's not technically the same thing. It's better if I avoid her altogether ... at least until I can get my head straight," he said, getting up from his chair. "I can't easily fake being nice to something so unnatural."
Ranma's weak body was still tender from the over exertion and his legs collapsed from under him. He grabbed onto the table cloth, just before hitting the floor, and pulled it with him. A glass of water, that had been near the table's edge, followed the cloth and spilled onto him. The spill was followed up by a soprano voice cursing the bad luck.
Genma leaned in his chair and peered under the table to see a look-a-like of his daughter laying on the floor with an angry look on her face. Then he, too, fell to the floor. "What the hell? Ranma, is that you?" he asked, picking himself up.
Ranma sat up, muttering every bad word she knew under her breath while ignoring her old man. "It's not fair, damn it! How is this even possible? The curse can't be that powerful, can it?"
"Curse? What curse?" Genma asked, walking over to the girl and offering a hand to help her to her feet.
Ranma reluctantly accepted the hand and returned to her unsteady feet. "Do you believe me now?" she asked him. "This is why I can't stand to look at Ranko. I swear, sometimes I get the feeling that, somewhere, there's people laughing at my misfortune."