Partners

By Edward Simons

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Based on characters and situations created by Takahashi Rumiko Ranma 1/2 and characters copyright Shogakukan, Kitty Animation Circle, and Takahashi Rumiko. This story written 1999 - Edward A. Simons.

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Most of the time we drive each other nuts. Some days I swear I'm just going to start screaming. Other days I look at her and realize just how cute she really is. I've paid a lot of attention to other girls, but my thoughts keep coming back to her.

Most of the other girls are better martial artists, but she has skill, too. I've seen her flatten hordes of male athletes in seconds. And the way she uses that mallet of hers is scary sometimes. Regardless, we make an excellent team when we *do* work together.

Really, most of our problems are our parent's fault. They tried to push us together, but other than our interest in the martial arts we have very little in common. Even then, I think we could get past it, if they'd just quit pushing us so hard. We never have time to relax and get to know each other.

If it's not our parents, it's that stupid little black pig of hers. I hate him. I hate the dopey name she gave him. I hate the way she holds him close instead of me. At least the little jerk is lost most of the time, so I don't have to see his face.

It doesn't help that we got off to a bad start, but sometimes I swear I see something in her eyes that says she wants to be more than friends. I want to respond, but this is the one area I've been a coward about. I never show fear in combat, but this is different. What if I tell her I love her and she doesn't love me? I'm sure she'd use that stupid hammer of hers and I don't want to be on the receiving end. It's not the physical pain, I can handle that. It's what would happen to my heart if she rejected me.

And so we go from battle to battle, bickering the whole time. Sometimes it seems like we're just spinning in circles, but going nowhere. Enough of that. We both know all that does is pull a couple apart. It all ends today, one way or the other. I look down at her, open my mouth, and force the stammering words past my lips.

"A...A...Azusa, we...we need to talk."

"About what, Miki?"