Author's Note: I wrote this little story back in 2006. I could expand on it, or try and improve upon it, but after a lot of consideration, I chose to leave it as it is. It may be kind of a small Old Shame, but it's still part of my mini-history as a writer, for the better or worse.

OOC Train coming up, ahoy!

Now, let's flash back to '06…

Ranma 1/2 and all related characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Viz. This is a non-profit story.

If you see any similarities between these characters and events and real life… you're wrong.

I wanted to write something about how Shoujo Ai relationships affect other people, so...

And, oh, I'm sorry for any grammatical or orthographic mistakes. English isn't my mother or native tongue.

THE MESSENGER.

I approach the Cafe with extreme caution. It's another dark and cold Friday night in Nerima, and I'm here again, as every Friday, alone, doing something I really don't want to do. But I must do it anyway.

I enter through the back door, the service door, filled with prudence and yes, fear. Mousse doesn't really worry me; he's even seen me enter a couple of times, but without his glasses, he mistakes me for Tendo Nabiki or someone else and ignores me. And besides, I could easily come with an excuse to dupe that fool if he ever suspected me. It's the danger of being discovered by the small old lady with the evil stare that frightens me.

Luckily, I've avoided somehow her yet again. Miss Shampoo is waiting for me in the kitchen, anxiously, a nervous smile in her face.

"You bring message today?" she asks. I nod, and I hand her the letter. She immediately begins to read it, as I sigh in defeat. Her smile grows and grows as she reads, meaning they must have been arranged a date again. When she finishes the letter, she soon writes a quick answer in a small piece of paper and hands it to me.

"You give note her. Tell her I happy accept date."

Once again I nod, with a sour face. As I begin to go back to the door, she smiles at me and waves a hand.

"Thank you much, pale boy!" she says. I groan. She at least could remember my name. It's not so difficult to learn.

I leave the Cat Cafe as quick and silent as I can. Then, I go straight to the Tendo Dojo, feeling terribly bad and pathetic. I SHOULD do something about this. I DON'T want them to be together. But then again, what could I do? I haven't a chance in a fight against Shampoo, and even if I had, my victory wouldn't ever give me the love of my beloved. Yes, I would attack another girl for her, but I just would get her despise for it.

I've also tried the voodoo with Shampoo dolls, naturally, but that doesn't work. It never does. I should know better than that by now.

And finally, I could try a trick with the letters. I'm often tempted to do it, to fake a letter or alter the content of one and make them break up somehow. It's very tempting. But then I think how much pain would that cause to Akane, and I just can't do it. I curse my weakness for it, but I just can't do it.

Akane waits for me behind her house, always alert; her fiancé or anyone else could appear anytime. When she sees me coming, her beautiful smile comes back to her face. I just wish it was for me.

"Hikaru-kun," she says. "Did you...?"

"Yes", I answer hiding my sadness as best as I can. "She said it's okay y-you...you can... well, y-you k-know." I give her the Amazon's note.

Thank you very much, Hikaru-kun," she whispers gently.

I can't answer anything right now.

"I fear our families would never approve this, you know...I know, they'll know about it sooner or later, but..." she lowers her head and can't continue. I understand. I know what's to be trapped in an impossible love.

That just makes my work for her much more painful to me.

Who would have ever thought about them both together? Not me, certainly. It's a crazy idea, it would be funny if seeing them together didn't break my heart.

If Akane knew how much this makes me suffer, she would never have asked me to be her messenger. I'm sure about it.

But even so, when I think about how she's entrusted me, of all people, with her happiness, even if it was because she didn't have anyone else to ask this to, I feel something that softens the pain a bit. Akane trusts me, the underdog, the loser, the always useless one. That makes me feel something nice and warm, even if she really doesn't love me, but her.

I suppose that could be called happiness.