Title: Never
A Ranma 1/2 Fanfiction
By: Azurite [sailor_andromida@yahoo.com]
http://www.geocities.com/sailor_andromida
http://www.geocities.com/azurite_moon
Genre: Romance/Songfic
Note: The song isn't mine... it's "Never Let You
Down" by The Verve Pipe . I'm also writing this for
Sailormoon and Inu Yasha... ^^
As typical for me, a Manga 38+ fic.
Don't like R+A? Go get sued!
------------------------------------------------
Nerima. Regardless of time of day or the weather, all you
needed to know was it was Nerima, and there would have been
an excuse for anything and everything.

Too bad you can't use it on your teachers. You know, "Why were
you late?" "I was in *Nerima*" Bummer. But for the hapless
people that live there...

=+=

Ranma Saotome, age 17, was just getting used to a sort of
normalcy. After all, now that Kuno and Nabiki were at college
in the greater Tokyo area, living in their own dorms, and
he, Ukyo, and Akane were all in their final year at Furinkan...
well, things were getting a bit easier.

Easier in the sense that fights with complete weirdos, kidnappings
for Akane's hand, and other assorted oddities were now rare. He
sort of missed them, but not to the point of wanting any excuse
to get out of school, as he had before.

Martial arts was still routine-- so were glomps and spells from
Cologne and Shampoo, death threats from Mousse and Ryoga, mallet
whackings from Akane, and free food from Ukyo. Weaved *between*
all that was classes, exams, college visits... among other things.

=====
I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground
I'm getting to like this feeling I've found
=====

It was strange. Time seemed to have passed so quickly, but it didn't
really feel as if anything had changed. Nabiki still showed up once
in a while. If you were desperate (or stupid, as the case may be)
enough, you could hear Kodachi's insane laughter from three miles
away, and of course, the hijinx of anyone that had gone to Furinkan
still existed.

=====
I'm getting to love the thought of having you around and
I will never let you down
=====

Thus, not much really changed overall. Well... maybe some things did.
For one, over the summer, it had just been the two of them.

Ranma scratched the backside of his neck, a strange heat crawling up
his spine. Over the summer, Ukyo had traveled south to sell
okinomiyaki. Mousse, Cologne, and Shampoo had paid a visit back to the
village in China, and had apparently messed with the laws in some way
to keep them going after Ranma within Japanese legislation. Ryoga
was lost, supposedly in the United States this time, while Nabiki and
Kuno were off at college, taking pre-season courses, and arranging
their housing. Kasumi, Soun, and Genma remained at the dojo, but they
had arranged for Akane and Ranma to work as student teachers at a
dojo in Osaka.

It was so far from home that it was unnerving-- Ranma had expected
Ryoga to rush at him, or Shampoo to glomp him every second. Of course,
voicing those thoughts aloud got him mallet-whacked-- for thinking of
teasing "poor Ryoga" and of wishing "that bimbo could rub herself all
over him." Ranma shuddered.

But despite the tension between him and Akane, things got better.
The past was, as Ranma liked to pun, passed. Behind. Gone. The
wedding that had failed almost a year ago was never mentioned, nor
tried again. But it wasn't, by any longshot, forgotten.

So Ranma still felt the need to protect Akane, even if he couldn't
tell her why, and Akane still believed that, even if Ranma was
a jerk 99% of the time, 1% of the time, he was a perfect
sweetheart.

They grew used to the presence of each other, the lack of presence
of the others, and the fact that they had more freedom around each
other.

Case in point: Team Fiancee.

=====
Your friends were all well-meaning
When they said no one is good enough for you
=====

Akane didn't really think that Ukyo was a slut or Shampoo was a bimbo.
Ukyo was talented, kind, and strong. She'd been through a lot in her
lifetime so far, and Akane admired her. But the youngest Tendo wished
Ukyo wasn't so possessive. Like Ranma, Akane and Ukyo both jumped
to conclusions about the littlest things. While Akane had worked on
her problems -with both Kasumi and Ranma- Ukyo was stubborn.

Shampoo, for her part, was relentless, as opposed to stubborn. But,
like Ukyo, she went after Ranma for a reason. Akane had opted to study
Chinese history and politics for one of her classes, and learned more
than she could have imagined about the tumlutous past of the Amazons in
China. If Shampoo didn't somehow kill Ranma's girl half, or marry
Ranma's boy half, she would be killed.

Akane knew that Shampoo meant a lot to at least one person-- Mousse.
So even if Cologne could dismiss Shampoo's ultimate dishonor and
death as something that had to happen, Mousse would not. Certainly
not Shampoo's father, either. Akane wondered about Shampoo's own
family, and wondered what they thought of her "duty" and actions in
Japan. Did they really know the truth?

Either way, the two girls most after Ranma were like semi-friends
to Akane, and, during her stay in Osaka, she realized how much
she took everyone for granted-- not just Ukyo, but Shampoo, and
Ranma, especially. She vowed to change this coming 3rd year.

=====
But if they play with your emotions
Dismiss the notion
Do what you have to do
=====

Then, there was Ryoga. Not out of love with Akane, not totally in
love with Akari. Always lost, often in body and spirit. If not mind,
as well, Ranma liked to think to himself.

It wasn't as if he was worried that Ryoga would take Akane away--
he'd been working on saying to himself that Akane was no one's,
she was a person and had a right to choose whomever she wanted
to marry. But inside, she was his, and he felt he was hers. Just
one of those mutual bond things-- where he couldn't stand seeing
her be nice to other guys when she didn't know their whole story.

How Ryoga managed to squirrel -or oink- his way into her heart
as her beloved pet P-chan unnerved Ranma to no end-- but he had
promised. Until the day Ryoga showed up at the Osaka dojo,
and messed with the bliss they had worked so hard to attain,
he was fine.

=====
'Cause people don't take chances with their hearts
Since I've met you I am past the hardest part
=====

He had long since dismissed the notion that Akane *wasn't* worth
risking everything before. Besides everything material she offered,
she was a glorious challenge, greater than any foe he'd ever
faced before. And he loved her for that.

The times were rough at the beginning, and were no piece of
cake afterwards, but here, alone, in the Osaka dojo, things
were fine. The occassional fights had no real meaning anymore,
and they were like close friends. More than either of them had
hoped for.

=====
So remember one thing
I will never let you down
=====

"Shimatta!" Akane swore colorfully under her breath several
times, uttering words that would have shamed a sailor or a trucker.
Ranma peered up from the basic weight-and-bars set in the dojo.
He lowered himself to the ground, releasing the weights with a
loud bang. Akane jumped and stared at him, furious.
Expecting this reaction, Ranma immediately donned a concerned
smile and sincerely asked her what was wrong.

Baffled by his display of sincere worry, Akane fumbled for
the right words to say. Maybe she'd been expecting another fight,
but Ranma being nice nowadays was a bit hard to get used to.

"What's wrong?"
"I... uhm... well, it's..."

Suddenly aware of the hot feeling burning its way through her face,
Akane turned away, her face crimson. Ranma quirked a grin and lightly
danced around her to cup her face in his hand and look her in the
eye. Her blush didn't vanish any; rather, it brightened to a flaming
scarlet color as their faces were so close.

=====
I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground
I'm getting to like this feeling I've found
=====

They'd been here in Osaka for almost two weeks now. It was
so strange... not having Kasumi's good food, being blackmailed
or cajoiled by Nabiki, calming her sobbing father, or hitting
a perverted Ranma. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

Maybe Ranma wasn't really perverted. He sure hadn't been acting
weird since they'd gotten here, if weird meant being perverted.
But he was acting so nice. Was this what he was like, away
from the pressures of school, fiancees, his mother, and their
annoying fathers?

So kind, helpful and... dare she think it, sweet? It was hard
enough getting used to his declarations of her belonging to
him that he made more frequently when faced with other perverts
or enemies. Now, he was all... perfect.

=====
I'm getting to love the thought of having you around and
I will never let you down
=====

Ranma, for his part, was enjoying not just the peace and calm,
but the people who gave him this opportunity. An elderly
couple, still agile and friendly, by the name of Tsusagi and Chimoru
Kinousa. They seemed so in love, so understanding. The fights that
had once embarassed Ranma and Akane when they first arrived were
just little play-fights that seemed to enhance the couple's
relationship.

A part of Ranma wished he could be like that with Akane one day--
still in love, still enjoying the mystery, thrill, and challenge
of her. Owning and teaching at a prestigious dojo known
across the country, and passing their knowledge on to future
generations so the legacy could continue. It was one of those
idealized dreams, but Ranma believed whole-heartedly that one
day, it could happen.

=====
Sometimes you feel defeated
But it's okay
You're not the only one
=====

"So you can't keep your leg up long enough to flip?" Ranma
asked. Akane nodded silently and blushed, looking down.
"Hey, it's alright. When I was first starting out, I fell on
my butt more times than either of us can count on our hands on feet."

Akane looked up and giggled a bit at that, but still frowned.
"You must have only been 10 or so though! I'm already 17!"
"People start at different ages... it doesn't make
a difference, especially when you're a girl and you have a much
more flexible body than I d-" Ranma stopped and stared for a
second, then blushed furiously.
"You really think so, Ranma?" Akane asked, now smiling
genuinely. Ranma's back was hunched to her face, and she laid
her hand on his shoulder, startling him.

"Well, uhm... yeah." Ranma mumbled out, only semi-facing
her.
"Great! Maybe I can work on that flip after all! Can you
help me?" Akane breezed, walking easily to the center of the
dojo.

=====
And all the complications
=====

Ranma stared agape at her. Did she have absolutely no idea
what kind of thoughts had been running through his head only
a second before? Maybe he really was a pervert like she always
said... Ranma sweatdropped and scratched the back of his head,
unconsciously moving after Akane.

=====
The bad situations, happen to everyone
It doesn't matter how it ended or began
=====

Akane knew all too well why she was having difficulty with
her practicing new techniques. She just didn't want to admit it
to herself, let alone Ranma.

That damned failed wedding was still in her mind, bothering her when she thought nothing could remind her of it. But that was
the catch, wasn't it? Thinking about NOT thinking about something?
It was hard.

Ranma had told her the day after, at school, that it didn't
matter-- about Saffron and all that, or the damned wedding. What they
had-- what he wanted to work on, and preserve, he'd said, was
important. Akane hadn't been sure at the time how to take that,
but after a long while, she decided it was Ranma's way of saying
"Give me some time to work things out."

While a whole year had passed, it was still calm and peaceful,
and no one could deny Ranma and Akane were getting close, even if
that was to someone else's disadvantage or envy.

=====
Sometimes the best that you can do is change your plans
I hope you understand that
I will never let you down
=====

This summer, Akane had planned on checking out nearby
colleges and universities. So her plans had gotten a bit
brushed along the roadside, but it wasn't really for the
worse. Actually, she enjoyed the practice, the privacy,
and the kindness of the people she and Ranma stayed with.

One day, she'd overheard them speaking, and was amazed to
learn just how much Tsusagi and Chimoru Kinousa were like
her and Ranma. They spoke of those "wild nights" on the
city, chasing each other down, getting into silly
fights, but really after the same thing. It was so
romantic and classic that Akane wanted to sniffle and
sigh.

She hoped she could be like that with Ranma one day.
She'd asked Tsusagi if she had any children, and Tsusagi
had beamed like a spotlight.

"Two, a son and a daughter."
"Really? Where are they now?"
"Oh, my daughter's away in Ely-- Erishon, with her fiancee,
and my son is busy in Tokyo, managing a series of arcades that
Chimoru and I used to go to when we were your age."

Akane was baffled at that; she didn't know arcades had been around
back then. But it didn't matter anyhow. She'd continued questioning
the woman about her children, and discovered that both were
adept in the martial arts, it being a sort of family thing.
"But I completely disavow using the Art to hurt people. It
should only be used to protect. People that abuse thew Art tend to
hurt more than themselves, but the people they love, as well."

'Too true,' Akane reminisced.
But she was glad she'd changed her plans to be with Ranma this
summer; glad that he was being so perfectly sweet and nice,
even if it was an unexpected change, to say the least. But she
had that feeling that she got around Chimoru and Tsusagi.
That he only wanted to protect her, help her, and be there for
her-- when she needed him, and vicer versa.

=====
I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground
I'm getting to like this feeling I've found
I'm getting to love the thought of having you around and
I will never let you down
=====

"I will never let you down." Ranma and Akane, separated by their
bedroom walls, murmured their last night at the Osaka dojo. They
closed their eyes and fell off into a blissful sleep.

~OWARI~
yeah, yeah, I know I could add more, talk about their experiences at
the dojo more, the results of their time there... but this is really
only meant to be a one-shot songfic. I need to work on my
one-shot-ed-ness anyway.
if you insist (^^) then I may do a sequel. Email me to tell me
what you think... -- sailor_andromida@yahoo.com
Arigatou for your time!