Ranko's heartache, Ranma's Hate
Chapter 1: Breaking point
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Rumiko Takahashi and VIZ Communications, and its characters have been borrowed without permission. This story was written for non-commercial purposes only.
The sound of yelling and insults woke Ranko up from a rather delightful dream within which she wasn't cursed, both to turn into a boy when hit with cold water or to have to wake up to the constant arguments her twin brother Ranma had with his fiancé Akane Tendo. It never changed either.
She had long since realized that it was the same old recycled, petty argument over and over again. Moreover, out of extreme habit soon Akane would practically say "the hell with arguing!" and nail Ranma over the head with something. From the table to whatever just happened to be in reach, Akane seemed to reach a point where it words just did not seem to get across how she felt towards Ranma.
"Of course if it was a lie then I would actually believe it." Ranko said aloud, as a shadow, Ranma of course, flew across her window going up, and then back down, landing as usual in the koi pond outside.
The usual screaming insult, Ranko sighed as the monotony of having to hear the same thing practically every morning brought about no change. She went to the bathroom to bathe and get dressed for the day.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her brother passed on her way up. "How long do you plan to keep up the charade?" Ranko asked stopping and throwing a hand out to stop her brother.
"As long as she keeps acting so aggressive towards me," was Ranma's swift reply as he gruffly pushed his way passed her and continued up the stairs. "Please don't interfere 'kay sis?"
Ranko frowned as Ranma continued up the stairs, she had always been able to read her twin, and always knew the reasons behind everything that he said or did. His statement she could find no reason for however. Why would he say something like that, better yet why would he say something like that with the note of sorrow his voice held then.
She knew that her brother had strong feelings for Akane, she also knew that as more time went by that Akane was coming to care for Ranma more and more. However, Akane seemed prone to fight with him on a constant basis, and over the most trivial things. Although, Ranko added as an afterthought, Shampoo was far from trivial, and rarely was seen as the least active of Ranma's fiancés.
Not to say that Ranma's reaction to Akane's attitude and accusations was any more mature than Akane's. Sexless tomboy, macho chick, flat-chested, Ranma seemed, at times, to have absolutely no feelings for Akane even though his attitude most of the time said otherwise. Although, he had taken to being more silent whenever Akane did start on him however, he regularly lost his temper and shot a quick and quixotic insult her way with a venom you had to be blind not to notice.
No matter how cruel Ranma seems to act towards Akane at least he has someone, Ranko thought bitterly; At least there was someone whom he could at least try to be open to. At least Ranma had someone beyond blood that he could trust. Why couldn't she be that lucky?
Ranko turned and returned to her room, retrieving the nodachi that lay beside her futon and tying it to her so that it lay snugly across her back. It was all she cherished in the world, her blade. Nodoka had drilled Ranko through the art of swordsmanship almost daily ever since she, Ranma, and their father Genma had returned from training nearly two years past. Now, having surpassed her mother, Ranko found herself carrying her own sword more and more often. It was more of a security blanket to her than anything else, and she carried it with such regularity that now even Ranma watched what he said around her these days. The last time she had demonstrated her aptitude with the blade Tatewaki Kuno was definitely given a very self-exclamatory reason for the self-proclaimed Blue Thunder of Furinkan High, to leave her well enough alone.
"Ranko…" Ranko jumped noticeably, distracted by her thoughts as she was she had not felt Akane enter her room. She turned to look at her, and immediately knew that something was wrong. Akane's eyes were full of sorrow but even if she had managed to hold a static expression there was no hiding it in her voice. There would be no hiding it in the aura she gave out. There was such a powerful sadness in Akane's aura that Ranko was surprised that no one else had felt it.
"What's the matter Akane," Ranko asked her voice full of concern.
"Does he hate me?" Akane asked, looking down at the floor.
There was no doubt in her mind that Akane meant Ranma, but she played dumb for Akane's sake.
"Who?" she asked, gesturing that Akane close the door, and sit beside her on her futon.
"You know who," Akane looked slightly embarrassed. "Ranma, does your brother hate me?"
Ranko sighed she had hoped that she would never face this decision. Ranma had asked her not to interfere but here she was being dragged into it. She was about to opt for denying that she had any knowledge when Akane spoke up again.
"Please Ranko, please tell me,"
Ranko sighed again, and then spoke, knowing that with every word she spoke she was betraying her brothers' trust.
"First off you heard none of this from me alright?" she paused, Akane nodded, sitting down on the futon so that she looked Ranko right in the eyes. "I promised Ranma that I would say nothing, but since you asked and because you seem to genuinely care I will say that my brother does not hate you. He cares for you more deeply than he may ever show."
"So why do he…" Ranko cut Akane off before she could finish her question.
"He insults you in anger and to protect himself from getting too close to you. He's so harsh towards you because he doesn't want to allow himself to get close, not while you two continue to fight the way that you do. He doesn't like to do it, no I think that all this time its been tearing him up inside."
"I'm such an idiot," Ranko said nothing waiting for Akane to continue. "I insult him and hit him and blame him for things I know are not his fault." Twin tears fell from her eyes and Akane brushed them away roughly. "It's just that, something happened to me…a few years ago that I want to forget but can't and every time that I see Ranma I want to just feel his arms around me, but...but I can't. I want to trust him, but I can't bring myself to."
"What happened Akane," Ranko had already began to interfere, so why should she stop halfway through, no she started it, now she was going to go all the way.
"I trusted someone, shortly before you and Ranma came to live with us, and I thought that we had a good relationship, I thought that I would always be happy with him, but it wasn't to be."
Ranko had already thought ahead and had a pretty good guess of what had happened. "He raped you didn't he?"
Akane nodded, the tears flowing freely now.
"Talk to Ranma," Ranko said, "just talk to him, no insults, no fighting. Open up to him, you'll be surprised at how great a listener he is when he wants to be."
Akane stood, wiping her eyes again. "I'll try, just not today…" Ranko nodded, she knew what was on Akane's mind. She would not want to talk to Ranma until there would be no chance of interference from their fathers. She did not want to confess to Ranma her unspoken love for him with the chance that her fathers would take it as a sign to start arranging a wedding.
"Take your time, I think though that I will be able to give you a hand in that in three days time," Ranko gave Akane a warm smile, "at least I'll be able to get everyone away so the two of you can talk."
Ranma was in the dojo practicing when Ranko walked in. He said nothing to her as his twin gave him a look and as one they both settled into fighting stances. Together both charged for the other and in mild surprise both found themselves blocked and their knuckles smarting from the impact of their fists colliding.
"Quit playing Ranma," Ranko said looking her brother coldly in the eyes. "Just pretend that I'm not your sister for a minute. Pretend that I'm someone who brings the greatest amount of stress to your daily life."
"I wasn't playing," Ranma began his eyes just as cold as his twins own, "But if you insist…" Ranma charged in the speed of his chestnut fist leaving Ranko breathless as his fist slipped past her guard and landed square in her stomach. "I'll follow your advice; you always have brought out the best in me."
He stepped away from her to let Ranko catch her breath, a cold smile playing about his lips. Somewhere in the depths of his mind, emotions and statements he had locked away long ago were fighting for the surface. Thoughts of how he felt to all his fiancés were slowly coming to the surface of his mind, and as he and Ranko fell into a dance of punches, kicks, throws, and several streams of insults Ranma began to lose himself within them.
Akane was dressed in her gi and at the door to the dojo when she heard the sound of fighting from within. Easily she assessed that it was Ranma and Ranko. Quietly as to prevent disturbing the siblings, she slipped inside.
She watched at the elegant dance that Ranma and Ranko had with one another. As Akane watched, she noticed that Ranma did not fight his sister like he fought against her. No against his sister Ranma went head on, and far from being taken aback or thrown off by his speed and power like many of his opponents, she held her own against him. With every move and attack Ranma launched against her, Ranko countered with a move equally powerful or once that contrasted it completely.
In their own right Akane could see that neither would willingly give in to the other, no they would fight until one could truly be declared a winner. It was about then when she realized this, that she realized that Ranma was mouthing something. That in the entire time she had watched him, he had made no sound besides the occasional grunt or groan whenever Ranko managed to slip through his guard.
"Come on Ranma, this can't be all that you've got!" Ranko suddenly cried out, landing a powerful kick to Ranma's suddenly exposed stomach.
Ranma straightened quickly taking several deep breaths; his eyes were wild, blazing. It was as if, Akane thought to herself, he was seeing someone other than Ranko. Someone he had such a terrible mixture of emotions about that it was tearing at him with every breath he took.
"You always want me to go all out Akane," the ice in his voice sent chills down Akane's spine as his eyes blazed with utter contempt. He launched himself at Ranko drawing his hand back. "You want to see the depths of my ability but you can't see what I feel for you!"
Ranko's eyes went wide and she just barely managed to block the first punch Ranma threw.
"Kachu Tenshin…" Ranma's movements became a blur of red as he redoubled his attack on his sister, his eyes still blazing wildly. Impossibly Ranko's eyes went even wider as Ranma spoke.
"RANMA!" Akane shouted realizing what he was doing.
"AMAGURIKEN!" Ranma bellowed, then suddenly he disappeared. Akane had only a moment to blink before he reappeared before her, tears trailing down his cheeks, even as anger blazed within his eyes. Her eyes, full of fear, locked onto his and he looked back into hers. The first impact of his fist against the wall, frightened her, but nowhere near as much as his words did.
"I love you, and I hate you, Akane Tendo!" Akane could feel the shockwaves from Ranma's punches to the wall, even though he wasn't putting nearly as much power as he could into them. "I want to hold you close and whispers promises and I want to just walk away from all of this because I can't see it being worth anything!"
He continued his words cutting Akane to her core she could scarcely believe them. If not for the evidence she saw and felt, she would not have believed them. With every word he spoke, Ranma became increasingly teary, and increasingly angry. Akane could see that within his eyes. She heard every word that he uttered, or shouted to be more accurate. However, nothing stood to her more than the first three words he dared to utter.
"I love you," the words echoed through her mind striking to her heart. Ranko had told her so but hearing the words from Ranma's own mouth proved to be shock her more than anything.
"Ranma…" Akane whispered his name and the sound of her voice seemed to act like a trigger to Ranma who froze one fist pressed firmly against the wall of the dojo the other drawn back to land an equally powerfully, chilling blow on the other side of Akane's slight frame.
Ranma seemed to become aware of his actions and of his state; he quickly withdrew from Akane and the wall and slumped down crouching on the floor. His breath came in heavy pants and sweat almost poured from him.
"Ranma…" Akane took a few steps towards him.
"Stay away," Ranma looked up suddenly his voice eyes cold.
Akane continued to close the distance between them "Ranma I…"
Ranma's voice became even colder, his battle aura flared around him; Akane froze. "I said stay away Akane."
Without another word Ranma rose to his feet and left the dojo. Akane looked to Ranko, tears welling within her eyes.
"Ranma…" Akane's voice failed her as her hold over her emotions broke and she broke into tears. She slumped back against the dojo wall sobbing heavily.
I've lost him, Akane thought to herself, I've lost him…