"Foolish Games" Revised.

A Ranma 1/2 Fan fiction by Pia-san.

OOOOO

Latest Revision: 17th August 2013

Author Notes:

This is the first story I ever wrote for the public eye. I think it could have been around 1996 or so. I was 16. I pulled it off the internet because, well, it made me cringe at places. And because it had been so long ago anyway. But lately I've felt its worth keeping around, exactly for the same reasons.

I wrote this when the Ranma ½ fandom was at its highest. Stories like "A Lesson in Love" and "Seasons" were being written, and it was so thrilling. There was so much of it going on everywhere. In this context, this small story was old news, written a thousand times, and completely unoriginal. But something about it must have been right anyway, because it managed to gather some attention. Even to this day I wonder why...

I miss the Ranma ½ fandom badly. I've continued to write, although I don't get the sense of community and sharing anymore. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Is all that's left of it, I wonder? I was told to AO3 instead. I'm slowly migrating :) I've never let go of Ranma ½, instead I've grown to love it and appreciate it even more.

Anyway, this was rewritten and reposted as my 30th birthday present, a few years back, as my present to me, because in the end, I still feel like a naive dreamer sometimes, no matter how real life can get. There's always that bit inside us, right?

This is a rewrite. By the way. The original version can be found at my personal website at piasan dot blogspot dot com.

OOOOO

Disclaimer:

As with every other fanfiction piece in the face of this universe, all the legal stuff that everybody knows goes here. None of the characters are mine; they belong to Rumiko Takahashi and to Viz Communications. The characters are being used without permission, but no profit is being made either.

OOOOO

It had been quite some time since Akane had started wandering aimlessly around the small seaside resort. She'd been crying; her face was red, her eyes were puffy, and her cheeks were stained with the tracks of her tears. She had tried her best to stop it, but it had been as if the tears had had a mind of their own.

It was nearing sunset now, and the soft summer breeze that was sure to pick up the moment the sun sunk behind the horizon, was playing with her hair and gently ruffling her dress around her knees. Her hands were clutched against her chest, as if by their force alone she could somehow hold her feelings and master them. Vanish them. She felt lost. Worst of all, she felt fragile and helpless. In all her life, she had never felt this kind of helplessness.

She was standing at the top of a small hill, with a nice view of the small village at her left and the endless billowing ocean in front of her. The setting sun cast long, dark shadows and streaked the sky with beautiful orange ribbons of light. Nature was outdoing herself in a gorgeous display of color, but Akane felt utterly depressed by the beauty around her. In spite of herself, she wished he was here, with her.

She was tired of crying, tired of running away, and tired of everything. She was especially tired of him. Yet despite the fact that he was the cause of her suffering, she wished... she wished he were here, with her.

She looked at the deserted beach below, except for the occasional jogger. All the other people who'd been on the beach that day had gone back home for dinner. Or to wear warmer clothes before coming back out again. The only sounds she heard was that of the wind on her ears, and the waves crashing on the rocks somewhere near by.

For a moment, the wind stopped blowing, and the waves stopped crashing. Her hair fell back on her face. Her cheeks felt unnaturally hot. Akane brought her right hand to her ear to place a strand behind it. It was a peaceful second. So quiet. But then she felt utterly alone, again, the sound of the ocean fading away to a small whisper. She felt her throat tightening again. Her face mirrored her anguish as her eyes fixed on the horizon.

Everything that mattered, everything that could possibly matter... The word escaped her lips, because it was the only thing in her mind and in her heart. There was no space for anything else.

"Ranma..."

As another tear slipped down her cheek, the silence was broken by another wave hitting the rocks below her. With an angry gesture she wiped off the lone tear. She wanted to be able to be mad at Ranma, but all she could summon was sadness. Once again, she wished he were here to share the moment, just to enjoy it, just to be with her. She wished he wanted to be with her.

OOOOO

Ranma and Akane had been a married couple for a week now. Their parents had decided they should have two weeks alone as a honeymoon, and Nabiki had arranged their stay in a small cabin in this town. Nabiki was keeping the location secret from everyone, for the obvious reasons, for the couple's sake... and for a hefty sum of money extorted from their doting parents.

The wedding had been more or less forced on them the same way any other attempt ever had. Akane would have been lying to herself if she had said she hadn't wanted it. Deep down, she wanted to go through with it. She... loved Ranma too much to drag their engagement out much longer than it already had. When they had first met, she'd been furious that her father had prearranged her life without her knowledge, but slowly she had grown to care about Ranma. She had eventually realized that while he often acted like an insensitive jerk, he had a really good heart. He could even be... sweet. The problems came when she tried to get along with him, and it just didn't seem to work. Akane knew, it was that defensive stance, ingrained in her brain. She had to wonder if it was the same for him.

Still, there'd been enough times when he'd fought like crazy for her sake, and even more often he'd worried over her well being. There had even been times when the universe had granted them some time for just the two of them without all the crazy to drown them, times when he'd been tender and caring to her. She'd thought at those times that he might love her. But then he would insult her and crush any hope, until the next time it happened. It was like a really bad rollercoaster, and she wanted out. She didn't think she could bear the ups and downs any longer. They were slowly chipping at her soul.

When her father had told her about the new wedding arrangements and that Ranma had agreed to them, she'd grumbled a little as a matter of form. That was the thing, wasn't it? Somewhere along the way, the official party line had been written. They didn't want it, they had never wanted it. They had to complain, and fight about it. But she revelled in the childish victory. She'd been happy to know that she was the one who would become Ranma's bride, instead of any of the other girls who wanted to marry him.

But when she had tried talking to Ranma the day before the wedding, trying to make sure that they could make something out of the whole thing, trying to ascertain somehow that things could be sort of normal between them, Ranma had only seemed on standby, merely going along with whatever she said. It had been painful to watch his detachment, almost as if he was completely unconcerned about what was about to happen to them. She couldn't quite figure out if he had wanted to marry her, if he was doing it to uphold his family's honor, or if he had just finally given in out of pure pressure. She had never known Ranma to let anyone tell him what to do without him arguing about it. If for nothing else, then just for the sake of being contrary. This time, he had plainly explained himself to her.

"Hey, maybe it'll finally get our folks off our backs."

And that had been it.

They had both been going to college for two years by the time of the wedding, and were home during the last bit of summer break when they were married.

Thanks to Kasumi, no one interrupted the ceremony this time. The oldest Tendo girl had thoughtfully invited the entire neighborhood's martial arts crowd over to dinner on the night before the wedding, and fed them a delicious and irresistible meal that had been spiced with ground-up sleeping pills. Doctor Tofu had given Akane instructions for the proper dosages for each person as a wedding gift, and Kasumi had used the information to good effect. None of the normally suspicious martial artists had thought that Kasumi would ever pull a trick like that, and so they were all fast asleep the next day, all through the ceremony, and way past it.

Akane and Ranma had slipped away from Nerima right after the ceremony before anyone could guess that a wedding had taken place while they slept peacefully. No one but Nabiki knew where they were going, not even their parents. It had been a very tense trip for Akane. Ranma hadn't uttered a word the whole way there. She hadn't been much better. They could have been stranger riding the same train, for all they acknowledged each other's presence.

That night, when they had been getting ready to go to bed, Ranma had wordlessly grabbed a pillow and a blanket, and gone to sleep on the floor. After their trip Akane wasn't really expecting for things to get much better, but it had still smarted that he hadn't even had it in him to just... share their dinner or have a normal conversation.

The next day, their relationship seemed to slide back into the old patterns. Ranma slipped into his usual 'jerk' mode, which had been some sort relief at first, even if there hadn't been any... spark, behind any of it. It had been just the mechanical motions. But then he had focused his insults on the one thing that could have made a bad situation even worse; that he couldn't believe he'd actually gotten married to such an uncute tomboy, etc, etc,etc. The worst part was the apathy. He seemed constantly bored or depressed. Akane couldn't tell which one. The only conclusion she could come up with, was that Ranma must be unhappy even though she was trying her best to please him. She hadn't once attempted to cook, and she had worn clothing she thought Ranma would think were feminine. She even decided to stop training while they were on their honeymoon, in case he thought it was too macho. She also tried to smile more often; after all, Ranma had once said she looked cute when she smiled. Gods, she had been trying so hard...

The following day, Ranma didn't insult her, he was just quiet. The he'd asked her why she didn't want to cook anymore. He had even awkwardly suggested that they take a walk on the beach, in one of those rare moments when he was trying to get along with her. He was trying, too, she guessed, in his own way. After the past few days, it had just been so out of character for him. She hadn't known what to think. He was trying, alright. Trying a bit too hard. It hurt her even more than his indifference, in a way. It was plain to her that he was forcing himself to be nice to her for the sake of the marriage.

Behind the act, it looked to her like he was miserable. She could only think that it was because he didn't really love her, and that he must have married her because he thought that he had no choice. She knew that Ranma would be too honorable to cheat on her, so that meant that since he was stuck with her, Ranma would never find love. Being the cause of his misery was something she didn't want, but she was at a loss about what she should do. Akane had thought it might turn out that way, but she'd been sure that she would have been able to handle it, and that it wouldn't be so hard to bear.

She had thought that after all those years together, he would eventually learn to care for her, if not love her. She could live with that. In her wildest dreams, she had fantasized about him falling in love with her, just the way she had fallen for him. It was always easier to wish.

While eating lunch, Ranma kept to himself, so Akane tried to start a conversation. She put on her best smile.

"Would you like to go for a swim after lunch?" she asked.

"I don't really feel like it" he said, and kept eating.

Akane lost whatever bit of energy she had managed to gather to ask her question. She sighed silently.

"Maybe we should just go back home," she said, the smile fading. Ranma's response had been just too cold.

"Whatever you want" Ranma replied flatly, and kept eating.

"I'm asking you. You don't seem to be enjoying this."

"Am I supposed to enjoy a honeymoon with you?"

She could understand that Ranma didn't love her. But did he... hate her, instead? Defence mechanism or not, there was only so much Akane's battered hopes could take. Her heart broke, then. She could literally feel it cracking to pieces, leaving a hollow, aching spot within her. She tried to hide it. She had done a fairly good job of keeping things to herself. But it was too much, too painful. Her eyes filled with tears.

"I'm sorry, Akane!" Ranma's expression changed abruptly, and for a second she was reminded of the person she'd known for many years, of that handsome boy that had caught her heart so early on, instead of the stranger he had become. But as quickly as it had come, it was gone. He looked down at his food. "I didn't mean to say that... er... I mean..." he mumbled.

"It's okay, Ranma... I... I understand, I think...", she said staring at her plate, thick tears falling from her eyes, her lower lip trembling as she struggled not go into hysterics. She took breath after shaky breath, and let it out slowly as Ranma started to eat again.

"So, would you like to do anything at all after lunch?" she tried again, fighting to force a weak smile to her face, but she just couldn't.

Ranma seemed to think about it for a little while, and then looked straight into Akane's eyes. There was no emotion in his voice that she could pick up. Instead, he looked serious.

"I think..." he started, then looked back down at his place, then up to her again. "I just want to be alone... I... I have to figure some things out." Then he dropped his gaze from her. "I thought it would be easier after we got married, but... you know."

"I see," Akane said softly.

They finished their meal in silence, Akane managing to stop her tears barely swallowing bits of food that felt like sanding paper against her throat. She let the numbness engulf her. She started to pick up the dishes, as Ranma just sat there, leaning on the low table, his head popped on his hand, his eyes unfocussed, as he stared out the opened panel doors. framing that amazing ocean view.

She dropped the dishes in the sink. The clattering was deafening. But the silence afterwards was worse. She couldn't stand the silence. She gripped the metallic edge of the sink with both hands until her knuckles were white as her throat closed, her knees threatening to give in under her. Not nearly numb enough, she thought miserably. She tried to hold in the wail she knew would come from her if she so much as breathed.

Before she could take any notice of what had happened, she was running down the street, crying her heart out. She didn't want it to be like this! They were both so miserable. If they were ever to have a chance together, they had to work it out, to sit down and talk about it. But Ranma just wanted to be left alone.

Oh Gods, she needed to cry and let it out. It wasn't doing much difference keeping it in anyways. Walking and running around this nice little town would probably do her good. If she could calm herself. If she would stop getting people's attention. She was making a bit of a spectacle.

She felt entitled to it. All the time she had been worried for him, for his feelings... But she too deserved better. Gods, how could he be so selfish?

She just couldn't stop thinking of their last conversation.

Akane lost track of time. She ran and walked and ran some more until she noticed the temperature dropping. She was tired. She was sleepy. She was also thirsty. Her head was pounding. But most of all, she felt empty.

She stopped her wandering in the late afternoon, when she noticed the sunset. Its beauty drew her, even though her mind was filled with confusing thoughts. She relaxed a little as the sight soothed her. Yes, they needed to talk; she was sure they could work it out, come to some sort of arrangement. She would make sure they could at least sit down and discuss this.

Akane had no illusions anymore, but that didn't mean they had to be miserable, for one. She would definitely stop pretending that things were okay. She'd stop forcing herself to smile, or to try and please him, for another. What was the use? It was... naive of her, anyway. They were adults after all, weren't they? They could discuss it, and get on with their lives.

But still...

Perhaps hope really was the last thing people lost. Crushing it despite bad circumstances was a difficult task.

"Ranma..."

OOOOO

Ranma had been searching all over town for Akane. She had been gone since lunch, and he was too worried to sit and wait for her. He'd been so distracted; he hadn't even felt her leave the house. Talk about being an inconsiderate jerk. He really couldn't get any worse than that, could he?

The worse thing was that he knew it was his fault to begin with. He'd been messing up her life ever since he and his father first set foot in the Tendo home. She had been so high spirited when he first met her, and he'd been insulting her and lying to her ever since. After the wedding, something had happened to her: she wasn't training and she didn't try to cook. She didn't even hit him anymore, for crying out loud! He knew that she was trying to act more feminine, but that wasn't the Akane he loved.

'Still' Ranma thought 'she's more beautiful than ever.'

A smile flitted across his face, but vanished in a moment. So many changes in such a short time couldn't be good. Something had to be very wrong with her. He was sure he was the cause of it all. He had been the first to agree to this wedding this time, right? Even though he knew Akane didn't, couldn't love him the way he loved her.

It was easy to admit it now, that he loved her. At first, he'd thought she was pretty and friendly. Then he'd started to know her, and seen what a caring person she could be, the endless size of her warm heart. And he'd started fallen in love with her, little by little, although he hadn't realized it at first. He had hoped she could come to love him too, but he was convinced now that it just hadn't happened. How could it? He'd made certain of it. He'd trampled all over her, until her spirits had finally been broken. Or so it seemed to him. Akane was... gone.

He kept looking, twisting the ring on his left hand with his thumb.

"Akane..."

He had finally decided to give in to his father's plans for him to marry her, because she was the only girl he really wanted to share the rest of his life with. He had hoped that Akane had agreed for the same reason. Perhaps that was the whole thing. He probably should have talked about it with her first, instead of just agreeing to it.

What a wrong thing to do. Probably his stupid ego kicking in again. He'd just assumed that she would want to marry him, too. After all, every other girl wants to get a hold of Ranma Saotome, don't they. He was appalled at his own callousness. How conceited could he be? He was sure it couldn't get any worse than this.

He had hoped they would work it out after the wedding. They would be able to spend some time by themselves on the honeymoon and to talk about how they felt about each other... if they had the guts, that was. He hadn't been able to, so far. She'd tried, on the night before their wedding, when everybody had been drugged into sleep. He'd been afraid to see something in her face that would disappoint him. It scared him that maybe she might not want him. What would he do then? So he had chickened out. As usual.

He had honestly hoped to gather his courage and get things out in the open once they were by themselves, but things had found a way to get very far from what he'd had in mind. She had seemed so depressed after the wedding that he had decided to leave her alone that night, instead of trying any sort of closeness. Even holding her in their sleep would have been like a balm to his soul. But on this, he too was afraid. Surely Akane wouldn't want a freak like him touching her; wasn't her life ruined enough as it was?

Now, he was considering having the marriage annulled, in the hope that she would then be able to find some normal guy, instead of a weirdo like him. After all, what kind of man was he, spending half of his time as a girl? He unconsciously turned his hand into a hard fist. It was the only thing he could think of to make up for his selfishness.

Right now, Akane was stuck with a half-boy, half-girl asshole, and he had deliberately been a jerk to her at lunch, just to see if she would react like she used to do before they'd gotten married. Instead, his mouth had gotten away from him again, and he'd just hurt her even more. The violent, strong-willed girl he loved so much was gone, and it was his fault. Maybe she would leave him now, and look for... something else. Someone else who deserved her love. Gods knew it wouldn't be hard for her to find someone. She was so damn beautiful...

But now that they were married, would she leave him? She would have to agree for an annulment, and the Tendo family honor might prevent that. She wouldn't just find a lover; there was no way she would cheat on him. He knew her better than that. He didn't think either of them had it in them to carry on with that sort of... arrangements. It was just... not right.

'And even if she did find another guy,' Ranma thought 'I'll probably get jealous and screw that up for her too.'

He had always been jealous when anybody got close to Akane. It was a reaction he had the very devil of a time controlling. Because of it, Akane might never find the love she deserved, and that he wanted so much to give her. He hated himself for that.

What if he just told her how he felt? Could it be that simple? No way that would work. She'd probably just feel even more trapped. Maybe with time she might grow to care about him, but how long would that take? They would both be unhappy in the meantime.

Ranma stopped as a gust of wind blew his hair around. He looked up at the orange-streaked sky. He'd wandered out of town while he was lost in his thoughts, and now he was in the small beachside hills a short distance outside it, not far from their cabin, actually. He had looked all over the village and surrounding areas without finding any trace of Akane. Finding her had always been a simple task before. This time, there'd been no destruction to follow.

His gaze turned towards the setting sun. The wind felt cool against his skin. He closed his eyes, and pictured Akane in his mind. He had always thought of her as a beautiful girl, but he suddenly realized that she was really a woman now. He thought of her crying as she ran from him, and it broke his heart to think of how he made her suffer.

"Oh, Akane..." he whispered softly

Ranma took a deep breath and opened his eyes. It was then that he saw her. She was standing about thirty yards away from him, looking at the sunset with her back to him. She was so beautiful that his heart started to beat faster. He had found her at last.

And now what? He felt an urgent need to go to her and hold her, but he didn't want to spoil the vision he was seeing. He clenched his fist at his indecision. She was right. He was just plain stupid.

She looked so peaceful; he didn't want to ruin that for her, but before he knew it he'd started walking towards her. He stopped a few feet behind her. What should he do? He had to tell her how he felt. It could be as simple as that, fear of rejection be damned. Apologize first, tell her how he felt, tell her that he loved her, tell her why he loved her, tell her why he'd been behaving like such an asshole. Ask for her forgiveness. Go from there... For a moment he was tempted to just leave as quietly as he had arrived, but the worst thing he could do was to chicken out now. He knew he'd regret it his whole life if he did.

It was then that he heard her sigh.

"Ranma..."

His heart caught in his throat. He drew a deep breath.

"I'm here, Akane..."

OOOOO

Somehow, she wasn't surprised. Her heart pounded faster in her chest at the sound of his voice. She turned around slowly to see Ranma giving her a weak smile. The sun was doing all kinds of wonderful things to his beautiful eyes.

"Ranma!" She looked away, and then shyly looked back at him again. "How long have you been there?"

"Not too long." He looked at the ground. So did Akane.

In the background, the sound of the waves kept crashing over and over, as the silence between them lengthened. Ranma lifted his head to look at Akane, at the same moment she did. He took a deep breath.

"Akane, I..." "Ranma, I..." Both of them smiled weakly at the coincidence.

Then, silence again.

"You found me," she said.

"I had to" Ranma said, without any hesitation. It came out a bit strangled and a bit desperate. He paused for a moment in surprise at how easily the words had come. He then took a couple of steps closer to Akane. She started, but Ranma didn't notice.

His arms were against his sides, his hands clenched into fists. He could feel his heart pounding. Her eyes were so beautiful and clear that he could almost see himself reflected in them... She was smiling; that was everything to him. Ranma forced his hands to relax, and tried to compose himself for what he had to say.

She held her breath as she waited for his next words, hoping against all hope that they would be...

" I... I'm sorry, Akane."

Akane was puzzled. What was he sorry for? That his life had been messed up? That he was stuck with such a sorry excuse for a wife that couldn't cook without ruining perfectly good food?

"I'm sorry I've been such a jerk to you all this time. I'm sorry you were forced to marry me. It's my fault you're so unhappy, and I wish there was some way I could make it up to you." He gazed at his feet again. "Please..." he said, taking a deep breath. "Please, forgive me, Akane..."

Akane was shaking. She stood with one hand to her mouth. What was he was trying to say? She didn't know what to think anymore.

Ranma struggled to find the right words so she wouldn't misunderstand him.

"I know marriage is not supposed to be easy, and... I can understand that being married to—to someone like me might be a lot worse." Ranma felt panic rising in his chest. This was what he was most afraid of. This awful curse. Could he really-? How could anyone ever-? And Akane, she deserved so much more. He shook his head once to try and clear unnecessary thoughts. He sighed. This was not about him. He shouldn't make it about him. This was about her, what she wanted. Gods, he couldn't stop his selfishness for a second, could he?

Akane didn´t know what to think. Ranma looked away for a second, his pain easy to see on his face. He had meant his curse, ´someone like me´. Akane shook her head. Did he really believe she thought it made a difference? She shook her head again, a bit more desperately this time, but he didn't notice. He closed his eyes for a second. When he opened them again, Akane could see a quiet determination in his eyes that filled her with both wonder and dread. Her eyes filled with tears again, afraid of his next words.

He looked at her, and saw that her eyes were filling with tears once more.

"Akane, please..." he said, almost whispering. "Don't cry... It hurts to see you cry."

Akane caught her breath at this and looked away. It's not like she could help it. The tears started sliding down her cheeks again, as they had done almost the entire day...

Seeing her like this was too much for Ranma. He couldn't let this go on. He took another step towards her. Akane didn't notice. The tears wouldn't let her.

"I'll let you go if you want to leave me, or if you want to stay I'll do my best to be a good husband to you. We're going to work this out, Akane... I—I may not have been... in my right mind the past few days, but I really... I want us both to be happy..."

Suddenly, she felt Ranma's strong hand softly tilting her head to face him. He was smiling softly at her, some quiet determination on his handsome face.

"...Most of all, I want you to be happy, Akane... All I care about is that you're happy..."

Akane held her breath and stared. Ranma leaned in a little.

"... Akane... I— " he swallowed. Akane closed her eyes, and whimpered softly, turning her face into his warm palm.

How could he have hurt her so? Ranma felt his throat burning, the unusual sting of tears in his eyes. His voice broke, "...I adore you, Akane... Akane," and she inhaled sharply, her sobbing starting again, quietly, "my Akane..." he said, and her eyes squeezed shut. "I love you..." Ranma said finally, his voice barely a whisper, only for them to hear, almost taken away by the sound of the wind picking up around them. Akane opened her eyes and looked at him. "I love you, Akane... my heart..." he said again.

For Akane, time and sound had ceased to exist. She kept repeating his words in her mind. A blinding feeling of hope filled the hollow void in her chest with warmth. Ranma loved her. A thousand million thoughts invaded her already confused mind in a matter of a second. She could only stare at him.

"Ranma... I..." she whispered. Too much, it was too much.

She burst out crying again, this time against his chest.

His arms went around her, and he rocked her tenderly as loud sobs shook her body. He let out a breath of relief he didn't realize he'd been holding and closed his eyes. It felt so good and so right to hold her like that. It didn´t matter that she hadn´t said anything. The important part was that she was still here, in his arms. And everything else... well. Everything else would come when it had to.

Akane cried for a couple of minutes, until she gradually calmed down. They held each other as the sun began to slide down behind the horizon, but neither of them noticed the beautiful scenery. Akane couldn't care less. All she cared about was the budding hope that things would be okay. She lost herself in his embrace. Then her hands went from his chest to wrap themselves around his neck, pulling them closer together. There seemed to be a spot made just for her head, right there between Ranma's chin and shoulder. She wanted to rest against it, against him, let him take her weight and be strong for her.

After a couple of minutes, Akane pulled back to look up at him.

'She looks so beautiful' Ranma thought, and didn't have time for anything else. Akane smiled, and was suddenly kissing him, her eyes closed. Ranma's eyes widened in surprise, and then he slowly started to relax against her. He closed his eyes as he returned her kiss tenderly. Maybe... maybe he'd been wrong. Maybe she did care about him. Maybe she... He stopped thinking, then. Ranma felt his heart soaring. Everything would be okay.

They slowly broke apart, their faces lingering close to each other.

"And I love you, Ranma..." Akane whispered, after a while. Ranma couldn't stop the short, soft laugh that bubbled from his throat, startling him. "I've loved you for so long..." she smiled up at him, as their embrace loosened. But then her smile dropped. Ranma swallowed. She continued "So don't you ever talk about leaving ever again, you hear? Or I'll get really, really mad at you..."

She was starting to get angry already! Ranma really felt like laughing.

"I promise, Akane..." He said, smiling.

She sighed, "Okay, then." And she smiled at him. Then she shivered.

"Come on, let's go..." Ranma said, wrapping his arms around her one last time, and dropping a kiss on her forehead. "You're too cold."

Akane nodded silently, feeling warm all over, despite the wind. Akane felt Ranma's hands sliding over her arms, towards her shoulders, and before she could react to it, she felt his strong hands gently lifting her face towards him, pulling her in. Ranma kissed her urgently, and Akane let go, wrapping her arms around his firm waist.

Very slowly, they broke apart once more.

Akane offered her hand, and Ranma it tightly in his, entwining their fingers together, and they started their slow walk back towards the village, as the last of the sun disappeared unnoticed behind the deep blue ocean.

OOOO FIN OOOO

Author Notes:

The title was initially taken from Jewel´s song "Foolish Games", which was then an unknown, obscure title of local music in Alaska, where I was an exchange student, before she became widely known (she was originally from Alaska), and I felt the song reflected a bit what Akane and Ranma´s relationship was like throughout out the series. Kind of.

Now though, as I worked on the re-write, there were two songs that inspired me greatly. One of them was "I Shall Believe", by Sheryl Crow. I was almost brought to tears as I went though Ranma´s confession, and Akane´s reaction, as I listened to Eddie Vedder heartfelt "Just Breathe". Oh my God. The complete trust and peace I got from that song is exactly what I wanted to express towards the end of this story. I didn´t want to mention this sooner, as everybody in entitled to their own interpretation, and people might not even like Pearl Jam at all! It's the song of my dreams. I thought it might make for good post-reading material, and you might just want to listen to them...

Thanks for reading! Comments always appreciated!