Revision for entire story:
10/21/10 : start of complete re-write of first few chapters (v.3)
04/02/06 : Still part of final polish, checked against a "common errors in the English language" article. (v.2.2)
10/17/05 : final polish of all chapters by iCe (some pre-readers might add more revisions later
especially after the FFML runs through with this) Most are grammar changes, but expect chapters 8-12 to be heavily edited. (v.2.1)
12/25/01 : Grammar (v.2.1)
12/25/99 : Changed the setting into Medieval Japan v.2
Revision History (prologue):
10/21/10 : complete re-write of prologue
Little note before you start anything:
This isn't a Ryoga-Akane story... read up to Chapter 1 before you pass judgment.
Some adult situations insinuated in later chapters. The story contains some mature concepts. Implied adultery and bastards type mature. Some allusions to sex are also present but nothing explicit.
Ranma, Ranko and Nabiki... Nabiki in her cursed form will be referred to as Nabiki-kun in scenes that show the perspective of people who know about the Jusenkyo curse. (Ranma-chan in Ranma's case). When this is shown in Akane's point-of view, Ranma will be called Ranko and Nabiki will be called Ranma.
I only do this in the FIRST paragraph. After the initial paragraph, they are referred to as Ranma and Nabiki (even though they are cursed) since it's narration and Ranma-chan and Nabiki-kun isn't really good for the flow. Ranma knows he is a guy regardless of the current Jusenkyo gender and Nabiki is a girl, regardless of Jusenkyo gender and would be referred as such.
I hope this doesn't cause confusion.
For links to FANART, COVER ART, HEIRARCHY of FEUDAL JAPAN, please see LINKS on my PROFILE in
All the day the darkness and the cold,
Upon my heart have lain,
Like the shadows on the wintry sky,
Like the frost upon the pane.
John Greenleaf Whittier
On Reviewing the Eagle's Quill
Rendezvous with Fate V.3
Akane tied her hair in front of the mirror, getting ready to leave the dojo. She touched her rounded stomach trying to settle the fretting baby, knowing instinctively that he was going to be powerful. She marvelled briefly at the fact that she was still in wonder of the new life.
"He's going to be a strong one," she informed her husband, Ryoga, who was already tying laces of his pants near the furo.
He grinned at her goofily before agreeing, "Yeah, that's my kid." He stood up and helped her dress with the clothes that she had already picked and set infront of her.
She smiled at him fondly, an unusual feat since she was known for her quick temper. Her sister, Kasumi had once told her that if she had known that getting pregnant had been the solution for her surliness and general anger, they'd have agreed to a wedding match sooner. But, Akane had largely been an independent girl, and an omiai was resisted very, very well.
She had married late, after a fulfilling martial arts career and settling her husband to become less 'lost'. Her doctors had advised her that the conception might be difficult, especially after a surgery during a martial arts fight went wrong in her younger years. It was because of this that she had been surprised, and quite happy when she learned that she had conceived.
Ever since then, much like her older sister Kasumi, she had been pleasant and had a ready smile. She rarely lost her temper and she was even dissuaded some times to stop cooking. Something which would have brought on an exchange of words before. If Ryoga hadn't been used to Kasumi, he would have wondered what spirit had taken Akane and replaced her. As it was, he had a sneaking suspicion all Tendos felt that way at one point or the other. Only Kasumi, who was with her third child now, did not question this drastic change and happiness.
This morning she put on her maternity shirt and shorts as she brushed her short blue-black hair rushing about for her monthly visit to her obstetrician.
"Too bad you can't come with me," she said. "You should go to your dad - I mean boss -and kick his ass out of that old dojo. Why don't I go there and shout at him a little?" The two of them joked of challenging his father often enough. But mostly it was said in good fun, and knowledge that though Ryoga's father had completely crazy training techniques, he loved Ryoga.
Ryoga's strong sense of responsibility only became more apparent with the news of the upcoming baby. "I'll try."
Akane gave him a horrified look. "And get you lost for three days in the middle of Metropolitan Tokyo? Are you nuts?" She kissed him on the cheek and smiled. He sighed. He was used to the banter. It was true after all, and he did hate getting lost in a straight corridor. It just baffled the mind. Her father had wanted Ryoga to keep the Tendo Dojo, but Ryoga himself was heir to his own style of martial arts. Her father and Ryoga had reached the compromise of caring for the dojo. It was the reason that Ryoga and Akane lived there instead of with the Hibikis, while Kasumi's husband, Dr. Tofu, who was himself a martial artist in his own right, became the Tendo Dojo's heir. "Don't get lost or anything stupid like that."
He smiled at her and said, "How could I get lost when my father sends his youngest apprentice here everyday? He doesn't trust me to go to the dojo."
She pinched his cheek. "Heck, I don't trust you to go to the Hibiki dojo alone. I don't trust you to get out of the house alone." then she looked at her watch and grimaced, "I've got to get going, call me when you're ready to leave that dreadful building, okay? So I can start supper."
Ryoga nodded at her then risked asking, "What are you cooking tonight?" The only edible dish that Akane could cook was curry. So it was a relief when she answered that she was going to cook just that.
"You needn't go and hide beg Kasumi for food," she told him sternly. She knew that she couldn't cook, but she had improved a bit in the years, and wasn't she supposed to at least cook a little for her husband? "Bye."
"Bye," he said then kissed her on the cheek.
The commute towards the women's health clinic that was checking up on her was crowded. It was Tokyo, the train was always busy and there were always high school children or businessmen on the commute. She noticed a businessman, who was obviously in a hurry, it was already that borderline time when the offices clocked in, push around for the slot to get first on the train.
"Okay, okay," Akane murmured, irritated by the impatience that everyone was showing. Some people actively shoved during these times, "We're all in a hurry to be somewhere."
When the train's headlights came, she stepped back carefully, when one of the businessmen in the sidelines jumpedon the tracks. Akane stared at the man dumbly before pushing around and going to the tracks to pull him up. He was muttering and kicking and screaming to be let go. With herculean effort, Akane threw the businessman on the platform just as the train's brakes screeched.
She had almost been freed of the accident, but made the mistake of not accounting for her new balance because of the pregnancy. With the hysterical people surrounding her, the whistling of the police, Akane fell onto the tracks just as she realized the screams and the brakes of the train. "My baby, My God, save my baby, don't let him get hurt.", That was her last thought before she was engulfed in the blackness that was unconsciousness.
There are moments in time when the world holds its breath in wait after momentous events. This was such a time. There was no sound on the tracks as they stopped and stared and just figured out what was happened before the police were backing people away, bringing the hysterical businessman towards the stationmaster's guards and the train crew decided what to do, how to identify the dead, it was all very organized. There was a loud speaker announcing the delay in the train scheduling, a usual announcement seeing that suicide by train was a popular endeavor.
Akane was feeling strangely detached as she watched her running shoes under the train's metallic rails remembering a play on the Wizard of Oz when she was younger. Her hands flew towards her abdomen with a sickening realization that she was a spirit, and that her body was still greatly disfigured under the train tracks.
Stricken she tried to go back to her body, without thinking of the mechanics of it just wanting to keep her baby safe. Had she looked towards the rail she would have seen a shinigami, a death god, with his black cloak and long scythe watching her, puzzled. Akane's determination to live was quite extraordinary. If she had been sick, the shinigami would have given her a second chance at life. But this was not a sickness, and Akane had an irreplaceable body.
Usually, if a person did not know that they were dead, the shinigami set on them would give them a day to visit the places she knew, continue doing the thigns they did before breaking the news to them. If the will wasn't strong enough but there was unfinished business, they became wraiths, forcing the shinigami to exorcise them if they evaded for too long. However, this woman knew that she was dead, and she still had a very strong will to survive, and there was no way to resolve her death. It was a rare case for them to handle.
Another shinigami came in the blink of an eye to talk over what to do, they argued until another one came and gave an easy solution.
She was perfect. She out of the thousands and thousands of candidates that was put before them was the one who could take the challenge and face the past that was ruined.
With a questioning look towards the most senior shinigami, who gave a pleased and satisfied nod, the decision was made. Akane Hibiki was the one who could fix the wrong a bumbling god did more than a hundred years before.
The funeral and cremation had been hell. It was as if his depression, which Akane had taken away from, him came back like huge mountain and was placed in his shoulders. He had walked about with as much bleakness as he had when he was roaming around Japan; he still couldn't believe that she was dead. That Akane was dead, that their baby would never live, that he would never have a child with her, and that he would never grow old with her... and so much more could have's and should have's.
Now, not only was he mourning for the loss of a wife, but also the loss of a son or daughter he never even had a chance to see. He sighed, not knowing where he had gone wrong, what he had done to deserve this.
He was in the living room, because he couldn't stand to be with the rest of the family, who were in the dojo, still weeping over the newest addition to the family shrine. They couldn't even put enough pieces together to bury. They had had to cremate.
But the house was worse, because Akane had been there last. She had left the slippers on the doormat. There was instant curry powder placed on the counter, ready for her to cook for that evening. It was still a moment, where he could suspend belief and hold on the the fact that she might laugh, punch him on the shoulder and scold him for spiralling down to depression again. He couldn't clean because he would put all memories of her away.
Ryoga loosened the belt of the formal overcoat for the hakama he'd worn for the ceremonies. He hadn't worn anything close to it before being more of a nomad as a martial artist. He would probably never be able to wear it again. It was then that the doorbell rang and caught his attention. He couldn't bear to get up to see who it was. It probably was another friend to tell him that they were sorry and offer sympathy.
He couldn't bear that. He just wanted to loose himself in his depression for a while. He needed it, just for now. He knew they meant well, and that they too were grieving her loss, but he couldn't face them yet. He sighed in defeat as it rang again, and went towards the door. "At least I can't hear sobbing, so it means it isn't her father, he's probably still at the shrine." As he opened it, he was surprised to see a complete stranger at the door.
There was a young woman and a shriveled up crone standing there. The young woman was wearing a skimpy white Chinese dress that hugged her body closely and carried a briefcase, while the old woman stood there using a wooden cane for support, a cane that he suspected was just as old as she was.
"Ryoga Hibiki?" the younger woman asked. She appeared quite stunned at his bleak nod, but quickly collecting herself looked at the old woman, who prodded her to go on. "I Len Dy and Great-grandmamma Xian Pu. Len Dy and great-grandmother too, too sorry to disturb at too, too... awkward time. Great-grandmother read accident to Len Dy in plane in way heres. Is -"
"Forgive my great-granddaughter for her inaptness towards your language, Hibiki-san," said the crone, she smiled a little to reveal a perfect set of teeth. "But perhaps I should explain the reason why we're here inside?"
"I'm not - That is I'm really - It's not a good time for me..." Ryoga said, but he still stepped aside allowing her to enter. He led her to the living room, where Ryoga sat heavily in his chair, not even attempting to hide his weariness. The woman sat on the couch, snapped open her over-sized briefcase and brought out a thick paper packet, which she handed over to Ryoga. He looked at the thick package with a little interest then brought his attention back to the old woman.
"We are so sorry to come at such an awkward time...My name is Xian Pu and current matriarch of the Amazon Village, and this is my great-granddaughter Dy Len. I am honored to have reached this age where in I am able to deliver this to you personally. You see a friend entrusted this to me when I was quite young, with a request that it be delivered to a Ryoga Hibiki at this address on this date. Honestly, sonny boy, I didn't think she was right in the head for a few years, but my great-grandmother told me to deliver the request, so here I am."
"What is this?" Ryoga asked, holding the leather packet, his curiosity finally piqued.
"I havesome idea of what it may contain, the person who gave it to me left some clues, although it would be best if you yourself open it. I was given very specific instructions, and part of that was that no one was to open the packet except Ryoga Hibiki."
"Someone gave it to you when you were young? In China? I haven't been outside...oh...well I think I haven't been outside Japan." Ryoga creased his eyebrow to think. "I don't know any Chinese except the owner of the Chinese restaurant down the street."
"I never actually said she was Chinese, and I never actually said she gave it to me in China." The matriarch smiled. "I think you would find the contents rather surprising. She gave me that ohh... more or less three hundred years ago."
"Only way to find out is to open the packet," Len suggested, obviously hoping he would do so in her presence. That earned her a quick bop on the head by the matriarch.
Ryoga did so, unbuttoned the leather carrying case, and withdrew a thick packet of individual letters tied together in a brittle red ribbon. He fished around inside the packet and withdrew a single envelope with the words, "Open First" scrawled on it. Ryoga opened the letter, taking out two sheets of paper with an impossibly familiar handwriting on them. He read the first few sentences, growing very still. His eyes, against his will, filled with tears.
"I'm sorry," Ryoga rasped. "I've got to be alone right now. I know you're curious. I'll fill you in some other day. Just not today, Ms. Dy, Honored Matriarch."
Xian Pu nodded and signaled to her charge that the meeting was terminated, but smiled at Ryoga before she left. "I know you will be curious. I would just like to say I knew her. Here is the address of the lodgings where we will be staying. A visit from you would be welcome."
Len rose from her seat and smiled at him while placing a supposedly comforting hand against his shoulder. Clearly, she was disappointed. The mystery would continue, at least for a time. Her other friends back in the village would be disappointed as well.
"I'll show myself out..." Xian Pu he said when it became clear that Ryoga had been engrossed in reading that letter. She understood that the young man would need his time alone. She gave her great-granddaughter another bop in the head when they were in the streets. " Len, you are going to have to re-learn your manners, improve your Japanese and be a little bit more useful than what you did today."
Len cringed at that " Sorry great-grandmother..."
Ryoga couldn't believe what he held in his hand. Surely it was a gift from the gods. Why? Because the letter was from Akane.
You know I don't usually write letters, it screams of confessions in high school, but since I have no other way of contacting you, here I am writing this thing. Smile, Ryoga, I know you must be depressed now because of what happened.
This is going to be hard to believe and I know that it is, well, kinda weird, but hey, life's supposed to be weird, I guess... but we've known each other for a long time, and we've known some pretty magical and mystical things happen for you to understand that I'm not being cruel, and I'm not joking.
I really, really fought with myself wondering if I should write or not. In the end, I think, because you're easily depressed, I thought it would be best if I did. Well, by now, I think you know who this is (especially with my handwriting). I am an old lady now, and think of you with love and our two years together (well probably more so if we start when we met, but since you get lost so much I guess it's about, ahhh four years).
The strangest thing happened to me on that accident, if Xian Pu will do as I tell her... about three days after that thing happened. Anyway... um, someone up there decided that I shouldn't die. But as you probably know (but don't like to think about) my body was unrecyclable, to be rather graphic. It was irreparably damaged. So, somebody in heaven decided I should live, but in another woman's body. Unfortunately they chose this woman from the 1600's (since you may think she's Chinese... well, she's not... Just because the messenger is...) well, anyway... I'm drifting.
I wrote dozens of letters to you, sometimes when I was really depressed too, because I didn't know what to do. I wrote because before, I didn't know how to talk to. I thought that maybe you should have them right? I decided air Mail VIA Shampoo would be great, neh? Assuming the old hag is still alive by our time...your time now. You know, you can ask her anything about my life now. She'd know most of it.
Having me in another century doesn't help a bit, and I couldn't possibly send it to your father's ancestors, how am I supposed to know if your relatives don't get lost? (Oops sorry, I couldn't help it) Besides, that would spoil the whole FUTURE for them... for us, and we don't want them to ruin the timeline and all that.
I've had a good life, I've been happy, for the most part, though it was hell well, in the beginning anyway. Let me tell you...
I've included some neat little trinkets that I've collected that would be priceless in our time. They should make you rich, rich, rich! Shampoo would give you those... I told her not to give you that until... later... It would help with the dojo, we all know how expensive prime lot in Tokyo is.
The other packet contains... a few remembrances...
Ahhh and it's okay if you remarry, a good person like you shouldn't dwell on me too much...
The most important thing, though, are my letters. My life.
Your loving wife,
Disclaimer:I do not own Ranma1/2 and the book I based it from Which is When there is Hope, and if you sue me you can't possibly get money from me.
Gaah I can't believe how much time investment I have on this... anyway enjoy:)
Before version 2 and version 3, this was largely set at the same place in the book. And the prologue was almost lifted from "When there is Hope" chapter 1-6 does have a bit of change, but it's still too close to the book for my taste and thus will also have a complete re-write. This version, which I've been meaning to do for a while now takes into account eastern mythos which I've failed to do before. But med school has gotten away with me and locked me up. Chapters 1-6 will also enjoy the same treatment, and please be patient. I will have to reupload in some of the other sites where this is hosted. Due to the fact that this is an old fic, there are NO BETAS that will be checking the rewrites unless someone volounteers.
Suicide in railroad tracks are often done in Japan. The occurence is so high that the railways SUE the families of those who commit suicide.
Shinigami, for those not aware, are the death dieties in Japanese lore.
Okay after that silly talk ummmmm...I'd like to thank the people who
gave their very helpful comments and criticsm (especially to Angel, who made me turn this into medieval Japan, and MJ!) to whose enormous
support I could never do without :) AND to the Mr. Phillip who has given me space in his website :) He's such a dear.
website: ice dotesmartdesign dot com (largely LATE in its updates since my harddrive crash)
e-mail: siuane atgmail dot com
livejournal: ice underscore of underscore dreams
FF.N formatting is starting to really get under my skin. I was ok when they started that automatic paragraphs I was fine when they had to make me upload everything with this editor... but... come on... strip off linking out? Strip off underscores and at signs... erg. I used them as DIVIDERS BEFORE
Special thanks to:
MJ, Maurice Phillip, Tony Loco , Tin and Angel, Jourdan Bickham, Jose Aragao, Byooki Desu, Anno Nimus, C. Jones Richard, Robinson, David Bateson, David Stanley, Jitou,King Chan, Lawrence Chu, Bert Miller, The Dragonbard, Darthcwader1, Erin, Outlawone1, David Calvarese, Larry F, khymchanur
And to the person reading this.
Disclaimer:Ranma and co. were borrowed from the brilliant mind of Rumiko Takahashi. The book I based it from is 'When there is Hope'. They have my sincerest apologies.