What You Wish For
By Edward Simons
Based on characters and situations created by Takahashi Rumiko and Fujishima Kosuke. Ranma 1/2 and characters copyright Shogakukan, Kitty Animation Circle, and Takahashi Rumiko. Oh My Goddess and characters copyright Fujishima Kosuke, Kodansha, and TBS. This fic written 2007 by Edward Simons.
Be careful what you wish for.
You might get it.
It hurts too much to dream.
Ukyou had been a cheerful child, but she'd never had any friends. Some of that was because she and her father were always on the move with their okonomiyaki cart. More of it was because she didn't fit in, she wasn't like people expected little girls to be.
She was an excellent cook, already better than many adults, and the other girls hated her for it, hated the tomboy for being better at being a girl than they were. And she was a tomboy. She not only roughhoused with the boys, she was better than them in anything athletic. She swam like a fish, she ran like the wind, and so the boys hated her, too.
A few were foolish enough express that with their fists. They were left crying in the dust as she demonstrated she was also better at martial arts. The girls were worse, as they wounded her with their hard cruel words, and the boys learned from the girls.
They said she wasn't a real girl. That real girls didn't act the way Ukyou did. She heard the cruel whispers, words just soft enough to deny and just loud enough to wound.
And then she met Ranchan, the first, the only person to accept her as she was. He liked the fact she was also a martial artist, he encouraged her to be better, and he didn't care that she was a girl. Both had traveled more than any of the other children, seen and done things the others never would.
And both had lost their mothers. Ranma claimed he could remember his, and the stories he told touched a chord inside Ukyou. He shared that feeling of emptiness, the sense that something precious was gone from their life, even if he never admitted it out loud.
And he stood up for her every time she needed him.
But that was before the arranged marriage, the betrayal and abandonment. Before the mocking words of her schoolmates changed from whispers to shouts. Before she renounced her femininity and began the path of vengeance. She was more alone than she had ever been before.
And then the dream came and it had to be a dream. An older girl with soft brown hair and strangely beautiful blue marking on her cheeks and forehead floated in the air outside Ukyou's window. Moonlight caressed the other girl's hair, making it silver.
"My name is Belldandy." The visitor smiled, her serenity in contrast to the dark emotions Ukyou felt inside.
"Is this some kind of joke?" This girl was perfect, too perfect to be real. Her hair, her clothes, her smile, her movements, everything about this Belldandy was soft and gentle and elegant.
She's the kind of girl any boy would want. She's nothing like me.
"It's not a joke, Ukyou. I'm real. And just because we are different doesn't mean that…"
"I don't want to hear it. I don't need some dumb dream telling me what to do."
"I'm only here to help, Ukyou. I'm here to grant you a wish."
The girl on the bed hesitated. Somehow, she knew Belldandy spoke the truth. A frown creased Ukyou's face as she considered her broken dream. She opened her mouth, and the words came out as a hoarse whisper.
"I want Ranch…Ranma to know how I feel."
Ukyou saw sorrow and disappointment in the other girl's eyes. There was guilt there, too, as Belldandy realized that she wasn't nearly as perfect as Ukyou thought she was. Belldandy had come too soon, before the anger and grief had faded from Ukyou's soul, and because of that, Ukyou and Ranma and many others would pay for her wish.
"Your wish is granted, Ukyou, and I'm sorry. I hope you'll forgive me for my mistake. I hope you'll forgive him, too. I know you have it in you."
And then Belldandy was gone and Ukyou drifted back to sleep, thinking it was all a dream.
"So why didn't you mention this before?" Keiichi asked. "This girl would be a teenager now."
Belldandy looked away, staring sadly at the tabletop. "I'm afraid I forgot. Perhaps it's because of how my memory was erased before, once after we met as children and again after the incident with Celestine."
Keiichi frowned, obviously not pleased with either incident.
"So what happened next?" Urd asked.
"I'm afraid I don't know," Belldandy replied, picking up her teacup and taking a sip.
Her younger sister Skuld just smirked. "Information is no problem when you've got a genius like me." The girl donned a pair of goggles and some odd looking gloves, then gestured. A glowing holographic screen appeared above the breakfast table, and Skuld began typing in midair.
"I don't think it's a good idea to hack the Yggdrasil system," Belldandy admonished quietly.
"You're gonna get in trouble," Urd added, grinning.
Skuld shook her head in reply. "I'm a lot smarter than you are and Mr. Datasnatcher Mark V is perfect."
"What happened to Marks I through IV?" Keiichi asked, then fell silent as images began to appear above the breakfast table. A boy with a pigtail, a girl with a spatula - a gymnast, a waitress, a samurai - a cat, a pig, a duck, a panda - a bell, a mask, a brooch, a fishing rod - a shattered mountain, a haunted cavern, a valley full of silent pools - an eight-headed dragon, a boy wreathed in flame, a girl with too many heads and arms dancing in the air.
Suddenly the light expanded, filling the room and then suddenly winking out. Everyone blinked, while Skuld coughed and removed her cracked and blackened goggles. "What a mess," she complained.
"Your inventions are always like that," Urd teased.
"Hey!" her younger sister protested. "I meant the way things are for this Ranma guy."
Belldandy put down her teacup and sighed. "Their fates have been twined together - friends that are enemies and enemies that are friends - in love with someone who doesn't understand them and far too often takes them for granted - loved by someone they only see as a friend. The wish ensures that both will be happy or neither and things are so complex I don't think everyone can be happy."
"Looks like this is going to need my touch to straighten things out." Urd said. "Obviously this Ranma needs the right girl - beautiful, exotic, sensual. Someone foreign instead of a boring little Japanese schoolgirl. Someone like me. With my help, Shampoo should win his heart in no time."
"Are you crazy!" Skuld yelled. "He'd never be happy living with the Amazons."
"Don't tell me you're going to back the okonomiyaki chef?"
"Of course not," Skuld insisted. "This whole mess is all her fault and besides everyone knows girls with hammers are the best."
The two glared at each other for a moment, then Urd bolted for the television, Skuld for the bath, each seeking the medium they could teleport through.
"So are you going to help Ukyou?" Keiichi asked hesitantly.
Belldandy shook her head. "I don't see how I could make things better and if I do help Ukyou, Peorth might decide to help Kodachi, the other girl who likes roses." The hint of a smile curved the corner of her mouth. "Besides, I've always wished I could spend more time alone with you, and my sisters should be busy enough that I finally get my wish."
Belldandy had known the wish would tie the Ukyou and Ranma together, and now she watched the records of what had happened because of that wish. Both were driven to become the best at martial arts. Both continued to travel and suffered hardship and loneliness on the way. Both still missed their mothers, though neither admitted it. Both fell in love with someone who couldn't express their own feelings, someone who had trouble understanding or even admitting them. Neither had any real friends, except each other and a rival who gradually became a friend. His curse mirrored her attempt to abandon her true nature, and because of it both had doubts about their very natures, and both were pursued by people they had no interest in.
"So what happens now, Belldandy?" Skuld had even forgotten the ice cream offered her as a bribe.
"I don't know, Skuld. She still hasn't realized how she hurt him and the others because of her wish, just like he hasn't truly realized how much his actions have hurt others. When they do, their futures depend on whether they have the strength to face that, and whether that knowledge draws them closer together or drives them apart."