The usual disclaimer: Ranma ½ is a trademark of Rumiko Takahashi and VIZ Communications, and its characters have been borrowed without permission. This story was written for non-commercial purposes only.
This story has been adapted from the original told by the Fringeperson with the author's permission. I thought it might be an interesting writing exercise/experiment to tell it from Akane's point of view. I kept all of the original dialogue, but added a bit more (and changed the narration of course). I'll give the link to Fringeperson's story at the end of this chapter – for the readers who might have read the original, I'd like to know when you recognized the plot (hopefully, not with the summary) without the hint of the title. I would also like to know if I succeeded in conveying Akane's motivations properly, and if I added "something worthwhile" (whatever that may be) to the story without overdoing it. For those who didn't happen to read the original, please let me know what you think, then go read the original - it's one of my favorites.
Akane studied her fiancé out of the corner of her eye. Ranma was beyond pissed. Really, she couldn't blame him. Here it was the last day of their Senior Year in High School and they were running late again. Only, it wasn't their fault. Really, how many times did they have to yell "GO AWAY!"
It had started with a sleep powder attack from Kodachi the minute they left the Tendo dojo. Fortunately, the female Kuno had laughed (or whatever you wanted to call that hideous screech) just as she launched her attack. That gave Ranma enough warning to catch and throw the bags into the canal while Akane decked the she-beast. Then there was the cry of "Ranma! You take Shampoo on date now!" They met that challenge by invoking Genma's Umisen-Ken technique and leaving the young lady looking for them three blocks in the wrong direction. Within four blocks of the Amazon encounter, Ryoga showed up yelling "Ranma, prepare to -", which was as far as he got. The police eventually took him off the town flag pole, although he would be walking funny and have a high squeaky voice for the rest of the day. Power wedgies have a way of doing that to a person (Akane was still mad about the whole P-chan thing).
Ukyo had been the worst though – she nonchalantly walked up to Ranma and informed him that she had booked two train tickets to the West Coast resorts where they could set up the Okonomiyaki Stand for the upcoming season. She thought that with the nonsense of school ending, it was time to get back to basics and work on their livelihood. Ranma had been tongue-tied with shock. He just looked at Ukyo like she had three heads. Akane tried to explain to Ukyo that Ranma had been up late last night finishing a project for school (a small fabrication – he had been up late, but it was with Akane celebrating the end of the last final exam) and that he really couldn't be counted on for rational conversation right now. When Ukyo had tried to press her point, Ranma looked at her in complete disbelief and pushed her out of his way while he stormed off. Akane looked at Ukyo. "You really have no idea who he is, do you?" she questioned the chef. Not waiting for an answer, she ran after Ranma.
Finally, Tatewaki Kuno had shown up half a block from school. He should have been at class at Tokyo University, but it was well known that he didn't take his professors very seriously (which was all right as his professors didn't take Tatewaki very seriously). The idiot had his katana with him and proclaimed that now that Akane was finished with school, he and Akane should proceed to the City Hall and proclaim their love in marriage. Ranma hadn't even paused. One second he was beside Akane; the next second he was occupying the space Kuno was last seen in. On the third second, Akane heard the sonic boom. On the ground around Ranma were hundreds of little metal shards, the remains of the katana blade. Of Kuno, there was no sign. Akane looked questioningly at her favorite martial artist.
"I didn't hurt him…much. He'll be okay in a few hours and I made sure he could breathe. He'll need a shot of Novocain® to unclench his teeth from the handle though."
Akane just sighed as the bell rang. She took Ranma's hand and they ran onto school grounds. Principal Kuno tried to stop them, but they just leaped over him and promptly slammed the school doors, locking him outside. "Sorry!" Akane called out. "But these doors are supposed to be locked as soon as the bell sounds. No exceptions. You said so yourself." Ranma didn't say a word though.
Up in Hinako's class, Ranma just sat sullenly and stewed. Akane didn't like this at all. Nothing good ever came of these moods. She sighed again. Hopefully, he'd snap out of it soon. Miss Hinako quickly began class by rattling off everything that needed to be done before the end of the day. She also promised a small celebration for the end of the school year, if they could complete all the tasks. Akane noted that Ranma never reacted at all. However, when Miss Hinako asked him to attend to a task, he did so without challenge – just a quick nod of the head. Well that was good at least – he wasn't intent on trying to rile the teacher up (although, truth be known, the two tended to tolerate each other better ever since the fish bowl incident). As class progressed, Akane noted with relief that Ranma seemed less sullen, and more thoughtful. He caught her looking at him and smiled at her with a wink. She happily returned his smile and went back to her own tasks.
Lunch went pretty much as usual, except Ukyo was in a snippy mood and left Ranma and Akane alone, which suited Akane just fine. The chef just sold her Okonomiyaki to the lunch time crowd and then packed up, skipping the rest of the school day. Yuka, Sayuri, Daisuke, and Hiroshi sat with Ranma and Akane. Sayuri and Daisuke were holding hands and discussing their plans to attend to same college up north. Hiroshi was planning on waiting a year to save up some money and improve his test scores. Yuka was going to start working at the family business and attending school part time. Ranma nodded and told Yuka he thought that was good plan, which took the group by surprise (except Akane).
A mischievous grin came over Daisuke's face. "I'm sorry, but did the great Ranma Saotome just admit that college was a good idea?"
Ranma put on a superior face and said with a mocking tone, "Why my dear Daisuke, I would never suggest that higher education was a bad idea."
Sayuri began to cough into her hand, "Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit," which got a laugh from everyone and a wink from Ranma.
"Actually, the Tomboy here," Ranma said as he threw a balled up napkin at Akane while she slapped his hand for the 'Tomboy' remark, "convinced me that I might want to get a degree some day, especially if I wanted to teach martial arts. I don't think I'll start in the next year or so, but I won't be that far behind you."
"What about you Akane?" Yuka asked. "You've been awful quiet about your plans."
Akane shrugged her shoulders and said: "I'll probably do the same thing as you, Yuka. Get a job and go to college part time. If I want to teach martial arts, I really should get a degree to boost my qualifications."
"Whoa, whoa there," Hiroshi mock-cried. "Did I just hear Ranma and Akane admit to similar plans? Or maybe the same plans?" he added maliciously.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Akane said with her nose in that air, but Ranma wasn't having any of that. He reached over and pulled Akane into his lap, laughing at the light dig in the ribs from Akane and the smile she was suppressing. She then settled into Ranma's lap and lay back against him.
Yuka grinned wickedly. "I guess that answers that question."
While she was enjoying the ensuing laughter, Akane reflected on her relationship with the shape-shifter. Things had gone very well between them in the past year. Ever since the failed wedding, her father had stopped trying to push them into matrimony until the fiancée mess was solved. She and Ranma had been allowed to relax around each other and actually have real conversations. These conversations had lead to secret dates (it saved on the town's superstructure to keep them secret), and then to their first kiss, which had eventually lead to even more interesting times (which was no one else's business, thank you very much).
Akane was snapped out of her musings by an outraged shout. "Hey! Hey! Bad kiddies!" the phony Hawaiian accent called across the grounds. "No public display of affection on the school grounds!" The principal then had to run as his comments were greeted by a hail of half-eaten food from everyone outside. "I HATE the last day of school!" he muttered loudly. Just then, the school bell rang, so everyone got up to return to class.
Back at the classroom, as they continued to work on Hinako's list, Akane reflected on the Ranma's change of heart concerning college. "I guess that one's my fault," she smirked to herself. As had they gotten closer, Akane had confided to Ranma that see wanted to attend college, but her family had no money to send her, and she didn't have Nabiki's talents at procuring money (nor did she want them in all honesty). When Ranma had asked her why she wanted to attend, she rattled off several reasons why a degree would be important to someone wanting to run a dojo. At first, he had responded with skepticism, but as she continued, his face had softened into thoughtfulness. When she had finished, he just responded with an "I see. We will have to work on that." The comment had shocked her at first, but she realized shortly thereafter that it meant that Ranma was committed to her as well as martial arts.
So, here she was, sitting in class taking an inventory of school supplies while consider her future, one that included the pig-tailed boy. She knew where she wanted to end up eventually, but the intermediate steps were very hazy. Part of her was sad though – High School had been full of high adventure and now she and Ranma were heading into the boring world of adulthood: part-time college, jobs, money, marriage, kids. She wasn't ready to start down that path without one final adventure. She wanted to do something exciting, maybe even a little crazy before settling down.
All right, she was leaving out the fiancée brigade and her own set of suitors. But, they were annoying nuisances when it can right down to it. O.K. – *persistent* annoying nuisances, but nuisances all the same. Not what she considered much of a challenge anymore. Damn. She really had changed. Once upon a time, she would have killed for a boring, quiet life. Now, she wondered why anyone bothered looking for it. Her eyes drifted to Ranma, who was cleaning windows and lost in thought again. The water was obvious cold, as the red hair on her head attested to, but Ranma wasn't paying any more attention than the job absolutely required. What was she thinking so hard about? Suddenly, Akane had to work very hard to suppress an attack of the giggles. 'She?' Akane was worried about a future with Ranma being boring? What *had* Akane been thinking? Still, she wanted the two of them to embark on one more an adventure before settling down…
After school, Akane and Ranma (male again) walked home via the canal fence. It limited the potential avenues of attack and allowed both of them to train at the same time. They leapt down and sprinted the final three blocks to the dojo. As they came within sight of the complex, Genma appeared and yelled "Prepare yourself son! We are going to Siberia on a training mission!" The words froze Akane's thoughts – No! Genma's training missions were always disasters. She wanted Ranma whole and unmarried. However, it was Ranma's next words that nearly froze her heart.
"Actually Pops, I found out about a dojo in Nepal that I'd really like to check out," Ranma yelled back.
Akane's father then appeared beside Genma at the door of the complex. "What's this?" Soun exclaimed. "Ranma is going to someone else's dojo? What an outrage!"
As they neared, Ranma said quickly: "I just want to learn everything I can, and this dojo in Nepal looked interesting. They claim that if you do not begin training there before the age of twenty, you will not be flexible enough to perform the techniques that they teach."
"How long will this training last?" Akane asked sternly as her brain started up again.
"Don't really know, but I think they take girls as well as guys. Want to come with?" Ranma offered; hope shining clearly in his eyes.
Akane melted slightly under that gaze and smiled up at him. "Sure, I'll go pack."
"Pack everything! No telling what you might need when we get there," he called after her as she headed into the complex.
Up in her room, she paused for a moment, and then let out a large whoop of joy. "YES! A training trip! Just the two of us!" she thought. They had discussed this option before and thought about doing it this summer. They have never discussed Nepal, but obviously Ranma must have heard about it recently. Now this sounded like an adventure. She ran into Nabiki's room and fired up the computer. She did a quick web search regarding Nepal's climate and made some mental notes. Then she raced off to her room to gather what she needed.
About two hours later, there was a knock on the door and, at Akane's acknowledgement, Ranma let himself in. He nodded at her packing. "Did you find your passport?" he asked.
"Yep. Not a problem."
"Good. Here, I need you to sign these." He placed some documents – no, some checks – in front of her.
"Ranma…these are Travelers' Checks in both our names."
"Yeah, so sign them before Pop's gets wind that they are two signature checks."
"But this is your money!"
"Look, we are going on a training trip to another country – together. We are going to have to share resources and watch each other's back. Hopefully, we won't need the money, but if we do, we will be glad to have it. I can place whatever we don't use back in the bank when we get home."
"All right…" Akane agreed reluctantly. She started to sign the documents. Once she was done, Ranma gathered them up and split the small stack in half. Then he produced a small pouch with four straps on it. He placed one of the stacks in the pouch and zippered it up, and handed the pouch to Akane.
"Here. Tie this around your stomach under your clothes to keep the money safe for now." He made his own stack of checks vanish. "Or do you need a hand?" he asked roguishly, wagging his eyebrows.
"Pervert!" she cried in false tones, giving the young man a half-push. He caught her arms and pulled her to him.
"I thought we agreed you weren't going to call me that anymore," he said with smiles in his eyes.
"Only when it's deserved, dummy." She leaned in close to him and gave him a deep kiss.
When they finally stopped, she asked him, "So what's the plan?"
"We catch the first flight to Kathmandu tomorrow morning."
"We are flying?"
"We're not taking a boat. You still haven't learned to swim, sweetheart."
She still wasn't use to endearments coming from him, although when he finally told her that he loved her last summer, Akane was very happy. However, she had not been surprised. He had been showing it for a long time. She was delighted at the smile on his face when she told him that she loved him as well. He confessed that he wasn't *quite* ready for marriage yet, and wanted to just enjoy being a couple, but he could see it happening in the near future; soon enough that he had started to save up for a ring. She wondered if this was where the money came from… oh well, all the more reason to be conservative with it. Meanwhile, Ranma was continuing to speak:
"I've ordered an airport car to pick us up tomorrow. Hopefully, we can be out of the country before anyone notices."
Akane looked him square in the eyes and asked: "Do you really think we can get out of Nerima without our entourage tagging along?"
"I give us an excellent chance of no one tagging along as we leave the dojo. We might have an issue at the airport itself though. I've tried to keep things quite, but sometimes I swear the walls have ears, even with Nabiki off at college. If there is someone at the airport, we will do our best to keep some distance between us and them. Hopefully, we can get on the airplane without them noticing or lose them when we hit Kathmandu. Just remember that we are practitioners of 'Anything Goes' – be ready to take advantage of any opportunity."
Akane nodded her head. She wanted an adventure, and this was it.
After dinner, Akane was working on placing the finishing touches on her packing, when someone knocked again. This time Kasumi entered the room. Akane looked at her sister and knew she was in trouble – big sister had her "Mom-face" on. "Akane," Kasumi started. "Can we talk for a minute?"
"Sure sis. What's on your mind?"
Kasumi gave a big sigh. "Look, you're no longer a little girl, and you've made up your mind to go with Ranma on this trip." Akane cautiously nodded her head, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Kasumi continued: "Well, part of being a woman is looking at possible outcomes, and preparing for them."
Oh, oh. It was the "sex-talk", part II. "Wait Kasumi…" Akane started to say.
But Kasumi was already in progress again. "And part of the preparation involves this." She held up a six sets of birth control pills. Akane considered her own response and chose the easiest. She leaned over to her carry-on and took out three sets of identically packaged pills. "Oh my…" Kasumi said blushing.
Akane took the pills from her sister's hand and tossed them in the carry-on with the sets she had. Then she hugged her sister. "Ranma and I haven't done anything yet, Kasumi, but I have been considering possible outcomes. We do love each other and there will come a time," she said with a shrug. She felt her big sister sigh again.
"All right. I'll skip the speech. At least you were gentler about it than Nabiki – she left me go on for fifteen minutes before letting me off the hook," Kasumi said with a small laugh.
"Yeah, that sounds like Nabiki. It will be O.K.; Ranma and I will look after each other – really!"
"Hmph. I know you will, and he better!"
"He will, Kasumi. He will."
The next morning started as planned. Akane and Ranma were up at the crack of dawn and got ready to go. Nodoka, Kasumi, and Soun were awake to see them off. Some hugs, some promises of safety, and off the young couple went. Akane could barely contain her excitement as she held Ranma's hand on the way to the airport. However, things fell apart as soon as they hit the airport. Akane let out a groan. It seemed as if half of Nerima was in line to go to Nepal.
Ranma's face was black as a thunderstorm. Akane squeezed his hand, and whispered "Remember, you said this was a possibility."
Ranma growled. "I said one or two people, not the better part of a dozen." Nonetheless, he hid Akane and himself behind an island of potted plants while he considered the next move.
Akane sighed and looked at the line. Near the head of the line she saw Genma and Happosai – no wonder they were not at the house to see them off. Both men were looking at brochures showing fighting monks on a high mountain. Why the hell were they here? They couldn't benefit from the Nepal dojo's techniques. A little ways behind those two were the Kuno siblings. Brother Kuno had been required to check his sword and did not look happy about it. His sister was standing next to him looking through a pharmacology manual. About half a dozen people behind them were Mousse and Shampoo, both looking half asleep. Finally, there was the trio of Ukyo, Konastu, and Ryoga talking quietly among themselves.
Akane looked over at Ranma. He had stopped swearing and looked like he was concentrating on a plan. "All right," he said quietly. "They've already bought their tickets and are waiting for boarding. We stay out of sight and don't give them a reason to leave the queue. Once they are on board, then we will get our tickets. This way, we put as many people between us and them as possible. If we can get two First Class tickets, we take them and place ourselves in a different part of the plane altogether. If not, we do the best we can." Akane nodded her head and watched the boarding gate. She also studied the line to buy tickets. If that line became too long, they would have to get in queue anyway, otherwise they would miss the plane.
Sure enough, the line to buy tickets grew. With another black look, Ranma urged Akane forward and they joined the line. The Nerima crew saw this and began to relax and smile. For just a moment, Akane hated them all. At least she and Ranma were buried in another line. None of the crew had an excuse to try and get near them. Ranma was doing his best to manage their own line. He moved them forward carefully watching the flight schedule and the wall clock, occasionally allowing people to move past them. He also had to appear as if he was *not* managing the time.
Finally, there was the boarding call for the Nepal flight. Ranma stopped letting people go ahead of them and began moving forward. Their stalkers were now moving in their own line, gathering their belonging and pulling out their documentation. As each of the unwanted companions walked through the boarding gate, they looked back at the couple, satisfied that their quarry was trapped. If Ranma wanted to get to the Nepal dojo, the path was through them, and he'd have to take them along.
Finally, after the last of them had gone through the gate, she and Ranma approached the ticketing agent. Ranma turned to Akane and asked quietly, "Where would you like to elope to? Rome, Paris?"
Akane brain stopped for a moment with the question, and then she felt the shock hit her system. She looked into Ranma's eyes. There was amusement glinting in them, and the immense satisfaction that she only saw when he won a battle. But even more, there was love and hope and some fear – he was very serious about the question. "Oh my god!" she thought. "He really means it!" Suddenly the implications of the entire situation hit her full-force. "He's just stuck all the would-be suitors on a plane for an imaginary dojo in Nepal and he got Genma and Happosai in the bargain," her thoughts continued. "Right now, we are as free of them as we are ever going to be!"
Two paths were opened before her. She could ask Ranma to stay with her in Nerima, and live the predicable life with the known set of nuisances. Or she could journey out into the world and make a new life with Ranma by her side. "Now THAT would truly be an adventure!" she thought. She felt happiness surge inside of her as she quickly made her decision.
"Oh Ranma! Paris!" she answered out loud, flinging her arms around his neck.
Ranma hugged Akane and then looked over his fiancee's shoulder at the woman behind the counter. Her own eyes were sparkling as she looked at the happy couple. "Two tickets to Paris please," Ranma said to the woman.
The airport employee smiled at them and then told Akane as the moment stretched on, "Miss? You're going to have to let go long enough to show some ID and pay for the tickets." Akane face burst into flame which cause Ranma to grin even more. They quickly handed over the price of the tickets and their passports. The ticket agent typed everything in and then checked them onto the flight, right on the spot.
"The flight leaves in one hour, and many happy returns," the woman said still smiling. She handed the documents and the boarding passes over to them.
"Thank you," they both answered at the same time. With that they moved out of the way and glanced at the boarding gate for the Nepal flight. As they watched, the door was shut and locked. Not wanting to push their luck any further, they joined hands and ran down the concourse laughing.
Hope you enjoyed the re-telling. Fringeperson's story is titled "The End of the Beginning" located on FanFiction at:
As I said, it is one of my favorites, but I do have a slight problem with it (and with my version above)…the story violates one of Ms. Takahashi guiding principles of the Ranma ½ Manga: Ranma never successfully pulls off a scam without *someone* finding out.
So gentle reader, let's continue on (and the writing exercise is over by the way)…