Well, this is my first Ranma ff ever, so con-crit is very welcomed. This idea came up a long time ago, after I finished reading the manga, but only recently, after reading the manga a 2nd time, I decided to write it. Hope you like it.
This was written for the LJ comm one_blanket.
A/N: English is not my native language, so please excuse any mistake i might have done, and tell so I can fix it. Thanks. =)
"The End of the Blizzard"
"Come on, Akane."
Ranma sighed tiredly when the girl gave an indignant scoff and scooted away from him. Not that he she could get too far, the cabin was barely big enough to fit three people comfortably.
"Akane, please, you're gonna freeze, stop being stubborn," Ranma said, rolling his eyes.
"So, now I'm stubborn. What else, Ranma? Am I to blame for what happened, too?"
Ranma sighed again, not wanting to fight. "Akane, it wasn't your fault that we got caught up in this blizzard," he said and added mentally, not entirely…
"No," Akane growled, "it was that Pig's fault!"
"It wasn't Ryouga's fault either," he replied tiredly. Again, not entirely, he added mentally.
Ranma cursed their luck. He knew the peace during this trip to the mountains was far too good to be true.
The Tendou's and the Saotome's had decided that a trip to the mountains was just what they needed to escape for a while from all the madness that surrounded Nerima now. But, obviously, it didn't last long, for trouble seemed to follow —as always— both Ranma and Akane everywhere.
And this time, said trouble appeared in the form of Ryouga.
The Lost Boy showed up a week after the trip began —he had been lost, as usual— and, though he was now falling in love with Akari, he still seemed to be infatuated with Akane. So he didn't like much the idea of Akane and Ranma together —he conveniently ignored the rest of the family— in a hotel, all alone, in the middle of the mountains.
Fate had it that an accident was to happen, which involved Ryouga, cold water and the whole family.
Nobody —and by nobody we mean the Tendou sisters and Nodoka— seemed to register wholly what they were seeing, until Nabiki broke the silence, whispering the pig's name.
And Akane went into a rampage.
Ranma had let her hit him for a good ten minutes —he knew Ryouga could take it— before pulling her away. However, Akane, feeling betrayed and hurt, pushed him off and ran away. He followed her immediately, bringing his friend/foe along—just to prevent any harm that might befall him had he stayed in the hotel and, maybe, to explain things a little bit better to Akane.
He found Akane not too far from the hotel, but far enough to worry considering the weather and the upcoming snowstorm. Ranma had barely managed to say they needed to go back when the snowstorm started, but he didn't waste any time in taking Akane —and Ryouga— to the small cabin he had seen while searching for the girl and, (un)fortunately, they got inside just before the snowstorm turned into a blizzard.
So, now they were trapped there, with nothing but themselves and a blanket to stay warm.
Akane and Ryouga, who was still in his cursed form, began to shiver, obviously not used to be under extremely low temperatures.
Ranma shook his head at their antics —Akane's stubbornness and Ryouga's emo-side— and sighed for the umpteenth time that day. He picked up the black piglet and put it inside his own backpack, that way he would be warm. He then turned to the girl and threw her the blanket.
That finally provoked a reaction born not out of anger but concern.
"Ranma…" she whispered uncertainly, worry written all over her face.
"Go ahead, use it or you'll freeze."
"But, what about you?"
"I'll be fine, this is not the first time I've been caught in a blizzard," Ranma said, smiling smugly, but he only did it so not to worry her, because he was beginning to feel the cold.
There was an uncomfortable period of silence, until Akane decided to initiate a conversation for the first time since the little incident.
"Why didn't you tell me Ryouga is P-chan?"
Ranma stared at her, surprised, clearly not expecting that statement, he was going to ask how she knew that, but never got the chance.
"You didn't look shocked when he transformed, so I supposed you knew," she said, sounding disappointed.
"I wanted to tell you, but when I found out the truth Ryouga made me swore on my honor that I wouldn't tell anybody," Ranma said, remembering that night, "…then, you adopted him as your pet and… well, everything got more complicated from there."
He paused to look at the girl and showed a small smile when he saw she was, for once, listening to him.
"At first I thought he would drop the act, but he didn't; Ryouga enjoyed too much seeing me get jealous when you cuddled him… and it's not like I never tried to indirectly tell you, you just never listened to me," he said, somewhat upset.
"Anyway, I realized it wasn't so bad, I mean, he never really watched you while you undressed, that I know, he was respectful to a fault when it came to that."
Akane agreed with her fiancé mentally. P-chan always used to turn around whenever she was going to change. Still, she told him too many secrets, things she didn't even wrote on her journal, and while she thought she was speaking to her little pet, it had been Ryouga all along. No wonder why he always appeared out of nowhere whenever Ranma made her cry, ready to beat him.
She felt betrayed. Ryouga knew most of her deepest secrets, secrets he wasn't supposed to know. She had considered him a great friend, an honorable boy, and he had lied to her shamelessly. She just couldn't forgive him.
"I was going to tell you, Akane, before going back to Nerima."
Akane waited for him to continue his speech, for it wasn't everyday they got time to talk and Ranma had never before been the one to initiate a serious conversation.
Maybe something will change this time, she thought.
"I just didn't know how and… well, I never really got the chance either," Ranma sighed, daring to look at his fiancée, and was surprised to see her eyes glittering with unshed tears. Great, I made her cry, he thought dejectedly.
"You should have told me anyway," Akane said, wiping her unshed tears away. "I would've been angry at you, but I would've got over it eventually."
"I know, but… I was too proud and childish back then, always looking for an excuse to prevent a sudden marriage. Before, I was foolish…"
Both Ranma and Akane couldn't help but notice how their life was referred to as before it and after it —it being the incident with Saffron— since the Failed Wedding. And how much they grew in those days, far too much and far too fast for them to completely handle it.
"Akane, I… I want you to know… what you heard me say —scream— back at… Jusendo… it's true that I didn't said it out loud, I can't remember me saying it, I can't remember most of that day for that matter, but… that doesn't mean that I didn't… perhaps… screamed it in my head? And you, somehow, managed to hear it?"
Ranma wasn't looking at her anymore, he just wanted to let go all that he had been feeling over the past few weeks and he didn't want to risk a look at the girl and have his resolve crumbling.
Fortunately —or maybe unfortunately— because he wasn't looking at her, Ranma couldn't see her tears falling freely down her face or the loving way she was looking at him.
"I guess, what I'm trying to say is… I do want to marry you, Akane, just not yet," he said, blushing a little, "We're too young and there are too many things that need to be fixed first."
"I do want to marry you too, Ranma."
He looked at her then, and saw tears streaming down her cheeks, her shaking shoulder, but she was smiling; a big, happy smile. And Ranma knew, right then, that he had never seen her so happy before, and it felt good to know it was because of him.
Still, he couldn't help but ask in disbelief.
"Yes, I do, very, very much," was her answer.
Ranma stood up suddenly to run to her side and hug her, but his legs gave in under him and he was on the floor again. Just then, he realized he could almost not feel his legs.
Akane scooted over him and helped him sit up again; looking more worried she'd ever admit.
"What… what happened?"
Ranma glared at his legs, having remembered why they were numb and almost frozen now. "I… When I went looking for you, a few hours ago, I fell into a hot spring, it was only waist-deep so I didn't get completely wet, but… I guess I didn't dry my pants very well, not that I had the time to do so, as I had to find you and all…"
Akane tugged at his pants in a hurried manner, before turning to Ryouga's backpack, "Take your pants off, before your legs begin to freeze," she murmured, while rummaging through the backpack, looking for a spare pair of pants for her fiancé to wear.
When she found a pair of black pants, Akane merely threw them to him, keeping her back to her fiancé, "Put that on."
Ranma watched the back of her head for a while, before doing what he was told. And only because he didn't want to start a discussion —that may end up with him deep into another source of water— he restrained himself from saying how it was going to be pretty much impossible, seeing as he couldn't move his legs at all. After spending several minutes fumbling with his pants, he gave up.
Well, damn it.
"Are you done?" Akane asked anxiously.
He scratched the back of his head nervously, not knowing what to do. "Well…"
Akane turned around quickly, her eyes widening at the sight of him. "Ranma! What are you doing just sitting there?! Your legs will freeze if you don't change!"
She said all of this while undoing his pants, tugging hurriedly at them to pull them off. She stopped suddenly when his pants were around his knees, her eyes narrowed and her cheeks flushed. "Is…"
"Are you okay, Akane?" he asked, feeling worried at her flushed face, hoping she hadn't caught a cold.
"Is your underwear…?"
She didn't need to finish her sentence, Ranma knew exactly what the problem was, and he, too, found himself flushing hotly.
"Eh, I'll… I'll take care of that, don't worry."
Once the pants were off, Akane turned around, facing the wall again, and waited. Ranma, with great effort, discarded his underwear, which were also damp, and pulled on Ryouga's pants, flopping to the ground tiredly afterwards.
"I hope these pants are clean…"
P-chan made an angry sound and glared at him, Ranma glared back.
"They better be clean, or else—"
His sentence was cut short when a blanket —the only blanket— fell around his shoulders. He snapped his head around to face Akane, an argument already forming in his head, but the words got stuck in his throat as he watched her kneel in front of him, turn around so he was facing her back, and then settle in between his legs, leaning back into his chest. And just because she was facing away from him, he didn't see the red that spread across her face nor the nervous expression that settle over it.
"I—uh… er—I, eh… wha…?"
His incoherent mumbling did not seem to help Akane at all in their current situation, for it only made her more nervous and her blush expanded even more, going down her neck, this Ranma saw and came back from Lalaland a bit. But it was only when she spoke that he gathered his senses completely.
"What are you doing, Ranma? Wrap the blanket around us before we freeze to death, the temperature keeps dropping!"
To do that, Ranma realized, he'd have to wrap his arm around her too, hugging her in the process, and he wondered whether Akane knew this bit of information or if she hadn't realized at all. If it was the latter, then he'd end up flying through the sky and—well, it won't be pretty. Regardless of that, maybe he could explain before she landed the first hit, and then things could go smoothly for him. He raised his arm, but left them hanging at each side of his fiancée, not moving them any closer to her.
Things would go smoothly for me? What am I thinking? When have things ever gone smoothly for Saotome Ranma?
His train of thought halted when he felt Akane's cold hands grab his equally cold ones and wrap them, along with the blanket, around her. She had her legs flexed; her knees close to her chest, so no part of her body would be left out of the blanket. She didn't let go of his hands, he noted dimly, if anything, she seemed to hold them tighter to her body, as if… as if—
As if she were actually enjoying his awkward embrace.
Either she didn't heard the confusion in his voice or decided to ignore it, he didn't know, but she only snuggled closer to him in response.
A few minutes later, she spoke.
"Tuck your legs in, Ranma, unless you want frostbite."
"I…" he trailed off, not really comprehending what she said until a few seconds later, "I can't… move them."
Akane sighed and let go of his hands to grab his legs by the back of the knees. She pulled them up, bending them, shifting their position until both legs were safely tucked under the blanket. Her cheeks felt like they were burning, not being used to be this close to Ranma under situations other than those where her life was in mortal danger. But it felt nice—to be with him like this, that is, it felt really nice.
After a while she began to rub his legs, in an attempt to bring some feeling to it, noting dimly that Ranma hadn't removed his hands from where she left them, and if anything, his embrace seemed to have gotten tighter. He finally relaxed completely, letting out a heavy sigh.
"Did you really mean it? What you said about wanting to marry me?" she asked after minutes of silence, wanting to be reassured.
Ranma kissed her head, resting his chin on top of it afterwards. Both had their cheeks as red as Ranma's shirt, not believing the boy's boldness, since he had never before done something like that when he was in control of his actions.
The blizzard raged on, as they tried with some difficulty to get used to their sudden closeness, but it seemed to get less and less violent by the second.
A sudden weight on his shoulder told him his fiancée was losing the fight against sleep, and looking down, he couldn't help but smile. However his smile didn't last long as he acknowledged one last issue regarding the engagement.
A soft snore, a mumble, and then…
"Are you really…? Do you really want to… marry me? I'm… I'm not exactly…"
"I just… I—damn."
Ranma sighed and tilted his head back, hitting the wall a bit too hard. Akane shifted in his embrace, and turned to face him properly. She was still mostly asleep, but conscious enough to talk, and to understand what he wanted to say.
"I love you, Ranma."
But let's emphasize on her being mostly asleep, because had she been fully awake, those words would've never left her mind.
"I love all of you, Ranko included."
Ranma nearly choked on his own saliva, and stared at her, clearly not believing his ears. For a moment he expected to wake up and find himself back in Nerima, in his room, with Akane yelling at him to get ready because they were going to be late for school; but nothing happened, and the barely-there cold he still felt told him that this was real. Akane had really confessed.
She looked so sincere; this could be no joke, Akane wasn't the type to joke with this and she, and she—
"Yes, I do."
His chin trembled and he opened his mouth to reply, to tell her he loved her too, very, very much, and what she heard in Jusendo was true although he had only thought it, and, and—but Akane, surprising him once again, kissed him softly on the lips, shutting down his brain work quite efficiently.
She pulled back after a while, and snuggled up into him once more, sighing contently, "I'm glad we got lost… Good night, Ranma."
Ranma took a few seconds to react to everything, her confession, the kiss, her last admission; but by the time he snapped back to reality Akane was far too deep into dreamland to care about anything other than snuggling up to him.
He smiled, and hugging her closer to him, rested his chin on top of her head.
"I'm glad, too, Akane."