Four Shades of Gray

Part 1: Mist

A Ranma ½ Fanfiction by Azurite

sailor_andromida@yahoo.com

http://www.geocities.com/azurite_moon

11.15.01 - Total layout update coming soon!

Got updates? azurite_updates@yahoogroups.com

Please note: This fanfiction contains some realistic portrayals of sexual activity, but is in NO way a lemon. It is a highly dramatic, angst-scented fic. and a romance in the future. Just to warn you. It is rated PG-13. If you're not mature and/or under 13, please do not read this. Domo.

**************************************************************************** ********

"Today we are very lucky to have a speaker for our current health education lessons. When she was younger, she was the victim of rape, and she is here today to tell us her story." Miss Hinako, substituting for all of Ranma and Akane's classes that day, gestured broadly to the rear center of the room. The majority of the students turned in their chair, expecting to see some middle-aged woman in a business suit, a trembling smile on her face.

Rather, when their gazes met with open air, and they turned back to the front of the classroom, they were stunned -especially Ranma- to see Akane Tendo walking to the front of the classroom, placing her hands on the front desk, and staring out at them with a melancholy expression on her face.

"When I was 14 years old, I was raped."

For the first time in what seemed like forever, the class was silent. Eyes were riveted to the youngest Tendo girl. The aquamarine eyes of her semi-rival, semi-friend, Ukyo Kuonji, met Akane's dead on. But in everyone's eyes were signs of surprise, and a bit of fright. Their own friend, Akane. raped? When she was only 14? It was the kind of thing that just didn't happen-not here, not in Nerima. Tokyo was safe. And Akane. she was a martial artist. Born, bred, and raised that way. how could.?

"It's the kind of thing that jars you from a fairy-tale lifestyle, and brings you to reality. There are bad people out there. Some are bad by nature, others just don't know any better. You guys are probably thinking, 'How in the world could Akane let that happen to her? Isn't she supposed to be a martial artist?' Well, yes, I am. I wasn't very serious about the Arts back then. I was a bit foolish, and more than a little egotistical. It may be pessimistic of me to say this, but in everything you do, there is always someone out there, just a little better than you. The person who raped me was better than me-and I didn't have the willpower to fight back."

**************************************************************************** ********

It was nearly sunset when Akane and Ranma finally walked back home. They were at least a third of the way there when Ranma stopped his normal balancing trot on the fence-top, his hands shoved deep into his pockets, his face grim and serious. It was an expression that looked out of place on his face, normally boastful, full of confidence and pride, or righteous anger and indignity.

"Akane?" Ranma finally voiced. Akane stopped walking and looked up at her fiancée-in-name.

"Yeah, what is it Ranma?"

It took him a minute to find the words, but when they came, they sounded hurt.

"Why didn't you tell me?"



Dinner later that night was relatively quiet. Nabiki and Kasumi apparently knew that Akane had been due to discuss her tumultuous past in class that day, and made no comments. Soun, likewise, was eerily silent. Ranma ate his food slowly. Things tasted different when you had a different perspective on someone you thought you knew.

The pigtailed aqua-transsexual chanced a look at his fiancée. For the first time, he didn't see a horrible, black-thumbed cook, or a halfway- there martial artist. Or even the image of a shining princess in a bridal gown. Rather, he saw a girl, fourteen years of age, and crying. He shook his head to clear the image, and continued eating. Once finished, he dropped his chopsticks abruptly on the table and left without a word. Akane's eyes pierced his back as he went upstairs. She turned back to her own food, eating slower than before.

'Somehow,' she thought moodily, 'This is my fault.'

It was only a half hour later when Akane found her fiancée sitting on the roof. He was just sitting up there, staring at the stars. Things hadn't been very exciting lately, and Akane half-wondered if Ranma would wish them to be so. More than three months had passed since the incidents at Jusendo, since the failed wedding and near-broken hearts.

"Mind if I join you?" Akane asked. Her fiancée didn't even look her way, but made some semblance of an affirmative grunt. Akane flopped down beside him, closer than she normally sat, but comfortable nonetheless. She too, stared at the stars silently a while, waiting for Ranma to speak. What was on his mind?

"I guess we really don't know each other all that well, do we?" Ranma finally asked, a low whisper in his voice. He still didn't look in Akane's direction. He couldn't look at her-he was afraid he'd see a crying girl again, or worse, his 17-year old fiancée, the same tears in her eyes as the visionary girl he'd imagined earlier. Unable to fight, afraid and useless? Those words just didn't describe Akane. He couldn't imagine that they ever could.

"Heh. I met you just over two years ago, Ranma. I still don't know you as well as I'd like." Akane chuckled. Before, a new past enemy, fiancée, or some person or another came to pick a fight, wreak havoc, or cause property damage. All were related, one way or another, to Ranma's still-shady past. He'd spent 10 years on the road, and Akane barely knew how that experience had been, save a few major incidents.

Ranma finally dared to look at his fiancée, and was relieved when his eyes stayed sober, and saw Akane for who she really was. At least in his eyes, she was strong, iron-willed, wonderfully emotional, and. and very.

'Beautiful.' Ranma dared himself to think. Yes, she was. But that. that beauty had been defiled by some disgusting, desperate pervert, years ago. The arguments he didn't wish to remember came back in loud-speaker, echoing in Ranma's mind.

You're not exactly some pure and innocent saint you know!

. You don't know what you're talking about, you pervert! You don't even know me!

SLAP!



You have no right to tell me what I can and can't-

Just like YOU don't have any right to tell me! You're not my mother, and you're not my sister! You're nothing to me Ranma! NOTHING!



Ranma winced at the latter memory. She meant something to him. It had taken him long enough to figure out what that something was, let alone the time it would take him to voice those feelings. He had been so close, so many times. But did he mean anything to her? Anything at all?

"Akane.?" Ranma began tentatively, searching for the right words. He flustered when Akane looked at him, a genuine smile on her face.

"Yeah?"

"Uh. are. are we friends?" Ranma asked slowly, almost afraid of the answer.

"What a silly question, Ranma!" Akane laughed. "Of course we're friends!" Ranma heaved a silent sigh of relief, staring up and thanking whatever Kamis allowed him to stay in Akane's good favor.

Akane, for her part, was looking wistfully at the stars.

'For so long, I wondered if "friends" was all we were ever going to be. Maybe now I don't doubt that we're friends. but what about more.?'

"I. I know you probably don't want to talk about it. but.?" Ranma prompted. Akane looked at her fiancée, a sad smile on her face.

"You mean about what happened to me?" Akane clarified.

"We-well, uh. yeah, I guess so."

It was only natural for him to want to know, Akane surmised. Maybe he did care. Was this a sign?

"Well. it all started this one night in late winter. heh. I'll never forget the day. It was January 17th."

**************************************************************************** ********

End of Part 1: Mist

Onwards to Part 2:Fog

What's with the names, "Mist" and "Fog"? Well, I got the titles from this time when I was looking at my shadow, and it looked as though I had four different hands. Each hand was a shadow in a different shade of gray. Now I don't happen to have my Crayola Crayons ® or anything handy, so I'm just calling them by the levels of gray I associate them with.

MIST

FOG

You'll find out the others later! ^.~

All smiles and many mysteries,

Azurite