Ever since Weebee stopped writing this fic, I was somewhat sad for two reasons. One being there have never been another Haruka/Ranma fic that have been taking this seriously, and two this is just too good a fic to let it fall into the chasm of unfinished works. So with the permission of weebee, I will attempt to finish what he have started. I will be reposting his 49 chapters with stylistic changes, but the storyline will be intact.
This fic begins, as many others do, with Ranma Saotome sitting on the roof of the Tendo training hall. Unlike those many other fics, it was currently bright daylight rather than the star filled night sky that usually greeted his gaze. Looking over the side of the house, Ranma frowned sourly at the destroyed husk of the Tendo family Dojo, holes blasted in its walls and roof and battle damage marking the ground around it.
How he wanted to forget that day.
He had to do something. He had let things slide, since the chaos that accompanied him also provided him with great fights and kept around people to hang out with, but on the other hand it was hurting too many people. An image of Akane, almost getting hit by Ukyo's Okonomiyaki bombs and Shampoo's exploding pork buns unwillingly flashed into his head.
Ranma had to leave Nerim and take all of his baggage with him. As he contemplated ways to do this, one came to him. It had all of the subtlety of a mallet strike to the head, however, it would be quick and not very painful. If it worked, he would have no more fiancées and he could get on with his life, maybe with Akane, if she could accept him.
Sighing, Ranma jumped off of the roof of the Dojo, headed for the Nekohanten.
"Airen come see Shampoo?" the purple haired Amazon said, bouncing out into the center of the restaurant from the back room.
Sure, Ranma had seemed angry with her after the wedding incident yesterday, but she knew that her Airen never held a grudge. That was one of the things she loved about him. Besides, did he really expect her to stand by and let him marry the kitchen destroyer? If he had, he'd probably die of food poisoning within the week!
Shampoo recoiled from Ranma's icy glare as he brushed past her toward the kitchen. It was clear from the way his eyes looked, that he had the soul of ice on at full blast but Shampoo could still see a small flicker of… something in his eyes. It was almost like a flicker of… anger... and betrayal?
Dismissing it quickly with a shake of her purple mane, Shampoo followed Ranma as he headed into the back of the Café, looking for her great-grandmother.
She had been avoiding the old woman recently, as said old woman had been glaring at her ever since she had come back from her wedding wrecking expedition the day before. Shampoo hadn't quite gotten up the courage to ask why yet, but she figured that she wouldn't like the answer that she would get.
Cologne looked up from stirring a vat of noodles when she heard the door to the back room of the Café opened, seeing the form of Ranma in the opening. Sighing, she hopped off with her cane. She had feared that this would happen.
"Hello Son-in-law. What can I do for you?" she asked, noticing his hands clench as soon as she said "Son In law." 'Maybe that was a mistake…' she thought, waiting to hear what he would say.
"Elder Cologne," Ranma started, surprising both Cologne and her great granddaughter with his formality. "I hereby renounce all Amazon laws. If you try to push them on me, I shall declare personal war on the Joketsuzoku. I know that a fight between you and I would probably result in my loss normally, however, since I'm probably not going to have any honour left by the end of the day, I can use the Umisen Ken and Yamasen Ken as well."
Cologne blinked in mixed surprise and shock. She had expected problems from Shampoo's latest stunt, but nothing of this magnitude. It was clear that Ranma was serious; she knew that doing something like that would destroy him. She and her great-granddaughter had just found out how far Saotome Ranma could be pushed, and she really didn't want to push back. If the stories Shampoo and Mousse told were true, Ranma had beaten Saffron, the king of Phoenix Mountain, and she couldn't contest that kind of power. Actually, being compared favourably with a person of that kind was rather flattering.
Sighing, she said "I understand. Will you at least ally with us, in order to strengthen our tribe?"
Ranma shook his head. "I'm not going to be here. I'm leaving in a few hours. I'm sorry I have to do this, but it's gotta be done," he said, some of his old emotions and mannerisms slipping past the barrier of the Soul of Ice.
Turning around, he saw Shampoo, her face streaked with tears. "I'm sorry Shampoo.. but I'll never forgive you for what you almost did."
Turning away from the young Amazon, Ranma marched out of the Nekohanten, headed for the next stop on his rounds. He knew that he had to do what he was doing quickly, as if he didn't, someone would get the presence of mind to stop him. He couldn't afford that.
After a similar conversation with Ukyo, where Ranma's only words were "We used to be friends. If you want your damned Honour back, go kill Genma", he returned to the Tendo Dojo, ready to confront the hardest challenge of all. The girl he truly, even if he couldn't admit it, loved.
Akane Tendo sat in her bedroom, sniffling softly. P-chan was clutched in her arms, snoring contentedly. She couldn't believe what had happened yesterday. She had almost been married to Ranma… and then it was ruined. That damned Nannichuan Cask and all of the people who'd fought for it, the fiancées busting in and everything else. It was like her worst nightmare.
Looking up as she heard a knock on the window, Akane blinked as she saw a head with a pigtail poking down from above it.
Grumbling about stupid bakas who couldn't use the door, Akane walked over and opened the window. Instead of flipping in, Ranma slowly climbed down from the roof, hunkering on the edge of the window ledge.
"What do you want, Ranma?" Akane asked, angrily.
Ranma was glad she was angry. If she had been crying or something to begin with, he probably wouldn't be able to do what he was about to. "I'm leaving, Akane," he said in a deadpan voice.
"Y… you're what?" Akane asked, her eyes widening.
"I'm leaving. I've caused your family enough trouble. I'm gunna go away from here, maybe hang out in another part of the city... I'm gunna try n' rebuild my life from the train wreck it's become."
Akane's eyes widened further. The way Ranma was talking, he was serious. She could see a look of regret in his eyes, but also the steely determination that came to him when he had to do something very hard.
"But… why Ranma?" she finally choked out, her eyes filling with tears that she refused to shed. "Why after that wedding… We almost got married. Why the heck did you go after that stupid cask in the first place?" Now she was getting angry, as she remembered what had happened the day before.
Ranma sighed. "Why did I go after the cask?" he muttered, looking straight at Akane. "'Cuz I didn't want ya to marry a freak. A few months ago, ya said somethin that I've never forgotten. Remember when Me 'n Ryoga were huntin that Japanese Nannichuan?"
Akane nodded, wondering where Ranma was going.
"Well, ya said that you were alright with my body bein sick and twisted if my mind wasn't… ya see me as some sorta sick perversion of nature or somethin… I didn't want ya to marry that… and now the last Jusenkyo water's gone, and I ain't gunna get cured."
Akane reeled back as if she had been struck. There was no way Ranma really thought she was serious, did he? He insulted her all the time, and she insulted back. Why was this one time so important…. Then she remembered the exact scene. She HADN'T been Joking. She had even almost been crying… as much as she didn't like to admit it, at least at that time, she really HAD thought of Ranma as some sort of freak.
"Ranma… I don't think you're a freak…" Akane said, quietly.
Ranma shook his head. "Oh yeah? You honestly say that if we got married, and I got locked as a girl, you'd stay with me?"
Akane's mind pondered that for a few minutes. If Ranma was locked as a girl forever, and they got married… then she'd end up in a perverted lesbian relationship with Ranma. Her face curled into disgust. That was all Ranma needed to see.
Hopping down from the window of Akane's room, he yelled back up to her when seeing P-chan in her arms: "Hey Akane. Since breaking all these engagements pretty much shoots my martial artist's honour to hell, I might as well tell ya this. RYOGA IS P-CHAN!"
Akane blinked for a moment, and then the words were processed. She looked down to see P-Chan in her arms, his face as white as a sheet. Slowly, understanding began to dawn on her face and she walked towards her door, headed to the Furo.
We will leave this bloody scene to the reader's imagination. Suffice to say, Ryoga now had something that really WAS Ranma's fault to yell about.
Meanwhile out in the yard, Ranma realized that he probably shouldn't have yelled that so loud. As he turned towards the house, Soun, his father and his mother poked their heads from the living room.
Mr. Tendo spoke first. "Son, I'd better not have heard that right…" he said, menacingly.
"Oh. Such an ungrateful son. To disappoint his father so. Now, you won't break the Tendo agreement if you know what's good for you, boy." Guess who said that.
"Son. It's not very manly to refuse all of those women," Nodoka said, fingering her Katana.
Ranma sighed. He was hoping that he would have been able to get away without confronting them all at once. Then again, that felt WAY too much like his father's method of doing things. In a way, he was glad that he had been caught. Ranma turned to Mr. Tendo first, starting to speak.
"First off, yes. You did hear me right." He then turned to his father. "Secondly, I don't got nothin to be grateful to you about." He then turned to his mother, a woman who he had hoped would have been his support when he finally found her. But no, all she did was dangle the damned contract over his head. "And you. If you really wanna carry out that contract, I'll make damned sure there ain't no Saotome Ranma by the end of the night!"
Genma and Soun quailed as Nodoka staggered back in shock. Her son was asking for death rather than being manly with three beautiful women? What was wrong with him? Sighing, she took off her katana sheath from her back and removed the blade. "I am sorry son…. You leave me no choice."
Ranma turned a pained, betrayed look to his mother. He had honestly expected her to back down, given how nice she had been to "Ranko" and all, but here she was holding a sword. "Fine," Ranma said, his voice choking. "I see that both of my parents are against me… I'm gunna go down to the town hall and get my name stricken from the Saotome clan roll. There won't be an "unmanly" Saotome male after that. Feh. As if you could call Genma manly." Saying this, Ranma turned around and stalked out of the Tendo Dojo.
While Genma and Soun walked over to the Shogi board to mourn over Ranma's sudden departure over Sake, Nodoka looked at the front entrance with wide, shocked eyes. Had she just made a horrible mistake?
Later that night, after sneaking back to the Tendo place for his pack, Ranma sat in the woods, in front of a camp fire. He had burnt all of his pictures of his family, tears running from his eyes. He had had to do it, he knew, and this was the best way.
Shampoo and Ukyo would get over it eventually, and they deserved a little pain for what they had done. Akane… He didn't want to think about Akane… and if he was Ronin, his greedy father couldn't do anything to him and his honour obsessed "mother" wouldn't come near him with a ten foot pole. To her, being Ronin was probably as bad as being Burakumin.
As he doused the fire and crawled into his tent, tears continued to come down his face, as if he was Mr. Tendo. He was sure that the pain of what he had done that day would probably never heal, for himself.
After Ranma had left the yard of the Tendo Dojo, Nabiki Tendo slid her window closed, a small expression of regret flitting across her face. She didn't know that what she had done the day before would have led to this. She just wanted to keep her father from forcing her little sister and Ranma into marriage as well as making a little cash on the side. She had gotten to like Ranma over the months that he had stayed at the Dojo. Not as one of his many romantic interests, of course, but as a friend or annoying little brother…. Or if she was feeling really impish, a little sister.
She wasn't stupid and knew that Ranma let her sneak in and take pictures of her at night. A martial artist of Ranma's caliber would DEFINITELY either notice the water she used or just dodge it in his sleep, but she got away with taking her photos anyways. This was probably out of some misguided belief that Nabiki used the money she made to help support the Dojo and she was glad that he cared so much about the family.
She balanced the books for the family and did the budgets. However, she never spent any money SHE made on the home unless she needed to. Of course, this thought led her back to the fact that the family would need her stash of money in the next few weeks, and it was all thanks to her own actions. She looked out the window at the destroyed Dojo and then got up off of her bed and walked down the stairs.
Walking into the living room, Nabiki saw Genma and her father playing Shogi, as well as a rather unfamiliar sight. Mrs. Saotome was sitting in the corner of the room, cradling her Katana and crying onto it. As Nabiki got closer to the older woman, she heard what she was whispering. "Why did my son do such a thing…"
Nabiki snorted in disgust. "I thought he would have snapped months ago, actually."
Nodoka's head snapped up and she looked at Nabiki. Her eyes looked clear, as if she hadn't been crying at all. That was a very impressive trick. Nabiki would have to learn it sometime… not that she cried a lot, of course. "What do you mean by that, Nabiki chan?"
Nabiki just barely resisted the urge to reach out a hand and ask for money. She grimaced as she realized that that was becoming a conditioned reflex. "Well, with the curse, all the girls fighting over him and his father's stupidity, not to mention that both he and the girl he was really in love with were in a case of serious denial… a weaker guy would have snapped long ago. I'm pretty impressed with Saotome's will power."
"It was really that bad for him?" Nodoka asked, curiously.
"Yeah. He was so stressed that he was pulling his hair out some times," Nabiki said, remembering one particularly funny incident where Ranma quite literally had pulled out her hair out after a date with Kuno. She thought that she shouldn't tell that one to the manliness obsessed Saotome woman.
"But wouldn't all of the lovely women around him make him relax a little?" Nodoka asked, showing her traditional obliviousness.
Nabiki laughed. "Saotome-san, no offense, but that just made it worse. I know that ancient samurai used to take two or three women as mistresses, but Ranma isn't a samurai, ancient or otherwise. He had to keep in constant control of himself, or he'd be called every kind of pervert in the book…"
As Nabiki was trying to Re-educate Mrs. Saotome, a task that many greater women had tried, and failed, to do, Kasumi was standing in the kitchen, the plate of food that she had been preparing before Ranma made his announcement still in her hands, a stunned look on her face.
She thought of Ranma as the one who never gave up. The one who would always keep fighting no matter what, and he had just Given up in a rather spectacular manner. After Ranma arrived at the Tendo home, Kasumi had started looking to his determination for strength in her own semi-house wife duties, and it had become like a crutch.
Without it, she didn't know if she could keep on in the way she had, especially if Mr. Saotome kept eating in their house.
Up in Akane's room, the youngest Tendo was laying on her bed, crying, and clutching a small stuffed animal. She remembered that Ranma had won it for her during that fair when she had been under the full body cat's tongue. Akane remembered that she had felt mortified that the shorter girl had given her a gift in public. She cried into the softness of the stuffed toy, wishing that she could take back her actions or that things could have been different.
Beta-Read by Tribun