a Ranma 1/2 Fanfic

Gary Kleppe

Part 1 of 2

This fanfic is brought to you by SPATULA CITY. Satisfied customer Ukyo Kuonji says, "Ever since I saw that Weird Al movie, I've always gone to Spatula City for all my spatula needs. They carry everything from huge combat spatulas, to little razor-sharp throwing spatulas. Whether I'm using them to lovingly bop Ran-chan on the noggin, or to help Tsubasa find his way out of my shop, I know that I'm using the best."

The characters of Ranma 1/2 are the creation of and rightful property of Rumiko Takahashi. They are used here without permission. This story may be freely redistributed, but it should not be altered substantially or used for profit in any way.

This story takes place before the introduction of Akari.


"I hate you!" Akane screamed. "All this time you've been deceiving me! Taking advantage of me! Get away from me! You lying, perverted bastard! I never want to see you again! Do you understand? If I see you again I'll kill you! I hate you and I'll hate you for the rest of my life!"

The scene ran itself over and over through Ryoga's imagination as he walked. He was sure that someday it would really happen. What had he done to deserve this? Being cursed to turn into a piglet was bad enough. But now Akane. The most beautiful person he had ever known, not only in appearance but in spirit as well. The one who had given love and affection to him as her pet P-chan, affection that he had never known as himself.

Ryoga looked up at the prematurely gray afternoon sky. It matched what he was feeling inside. He desperately wanted to find Akane and tell her everything. Tell her how he felt about her, about P-chan, everything. But he couldn't. He had been deceiving her for so long that she would rightfully hate him for it if he told her. He had had his chance in the beginning. If he had had the courage to tell her from the start... But now there was nothing he could do. He had dug himself into a hole, and the only thing he could do was to keep digging deeper.

The sky turned darker and rumbled. Ryoga had sacrificed his umbrella a few days ago to get away from Azusa. He knew that if he didn't find shelter soon, P-chan would be making an unscheduled appearance. First he needed to find out where he was. It was obviously a major city. Judging by the size of what he had seen so far, it seemed big enough that it had to be Nagoya or Osaka, but surely he'd walked farther than that by now? At least being this far lost, he didn't need to worry about Akane finding out his secret for now.

"I HATE YOU!" The scene started up in Ryoga's mind again. Perhaps it was the reason he could never seem to concentrate on finding his way to where he was going. "I HATE YOU!" Akane. He could hear Akane's voice in his mind as clearly as if she were right around the corner...


"Hurry up, Ranma! If we don't get home soon we'll be soaked!"

Akane moved purposefully through the streets of Nerima. Ranma followed casually but swiftly along the fence top. "What are you so mad about?" he asked, sounding a little irritated himself. Was it his fault that Shampoo had tried to glomp him again at lunch?

"If we're going to be engaged, the least you could do is show me a little consideration."

"What'd I do that was inconsiderate?" Ranma asked. He wouldn't mind a little consideration himself, he thought. Everyone was always trying to tell him what to do. Shampoo and the old ghoul, the crazy Kuno siblings, even his Pop and Mr. Tendo. And Akane. Even though she still claimed she didn't want to be engaged, she still expected him to behave the way she wanted.

"I suppose _you_ think it's OK to let Shampoo jump all over you? What if I did the same thing? What if I was with another man? What if you found Ryoga and me together?"

Akane moved around a corner and unexpectedly walked straight into Ryoga. They were together for a second before they both fell to the ground.

"Akane?" Ryoga asked, stunned. "What are you doing here in Osaka?"

Ranma jumped off the fence top and came around the corner, noticing the situation. "This ain't Osaka, you idiot! We're a couple of blocks from the Dojo! Get inside before it's..."

Too late.

A sudden downpour of rain came and washed away Ranma's masculinity. This is it, he thought. She knows. About P-chan. Only question is which one of us she's gonna kill first.

Akane tried to wipe some of the water away from her face with the jacket of her school uniform. "This is all YOUR fault Ranma! Ooooh! I hate getting caught in the rain! The water gets in my eyes!" Akane looked down to where Ryoga had been to see a familiar black piglet. It looked as if it were cowering in fear for its life. Which it was.

Akane smiled happily.

"P-chan!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been? Did Ryoga find you and bring you back to me? He's so considerate." Akane picked up the piglet as Ranma stood stunned. "Come on, Ranma! I'm getting soaked! Ryoga at least had sense enough to run off somewhere when the rain started. Pick up the stuff he dropped and let's go."

"O... OK, Akane," stammered Ranma, "I'll grab Ryoga's backpack and his..." His clothes. His clothes were right there, and he wasn't in them. She's GOTTA know now, he thought.

"Pick up the laundry Ryoga was carrying and let's go!!" Akane dragged Ranma home as he was too stunned to move.


Ranma and Ryoga were in the bath, looking at each other and saying nothing. Ranma's mind was elsewhere, trying to understand what had just happened. She should have known. It had to have been obvious. How could she not know? After getting out of the rain, Ranma had volunteered once again to be the official pig-washer. Why had Akane never given her pet a bath herself?

Ranma broke the silence. "What the heck were you doing out there in the rain? Why didn't you use that umbrella of yours?"

"I lost it earlier," Ryoga replied without his usual hostility. "I accidentally walked onto an ice rink at a women's figure skating competition. Remember Azusa Shiratori? Who we skated against once?" As if Ranma could forget. "She was there, going up against someone named Yamaguchi. She got one look at me and remembered her little Charlotte."

"What were you doing in pig form there anyway?" asked Ranma.

"I wasn't in pig form, Ranma!" Ryoga's hostility was making a comeback. "Remember the collar that Azusa put on me before our skating match? Remember that she saw me in human form wearing her collar? Ever since then she's known that I'm her cute little Charlotte. She knows! I wouldn't have gotten away if I hadn't sacrificed my umbrella to try to trip her up."

Ranma's eyelids lowered in an expression of skepticism. "You mean to tell me that you managed to trip up a champion skater like Azusa?"

"Of course not. But she got one look at my umbrella and ran off with it, screaming `Lurleen! You're so cute!!'"

A realization struck Ranma, as if he had been hit an eighteen-wheel truck. Azusa had figured it out.

Akane is stupider than... AZUSA??!?!?!

It couldn't be. "It just doesn't make sense" he thought aloud.

"Yeah. My umbrella wasn't all that cute. She could get one just like it at..." Ranma turned the cold water on Ryoga and his words turned into a stream of pig-squeal.

Ranma got dressed and wandered downstairs as the rain was stopping. Kasumi was cheerfully working away in the kitchen as usual. "Why hello, Ranma! I'm afraid dinner is going to be a little late tonight" she said as Ranma's stomach grumbled in protest.

"Kasumi... can I ask you something?" Ranma said a little hesitantly. Kasumi smiled reassuringly. Ranma had a rare moment of forethought. What he was about to say might earn him a pounding if Akane heard. He looked out the kitchen door; nobody was there. "It's about Akane" he said. "Sometimes I just don't understand her."

"It's not easy to understand another person, Ranma. Understanding Akane is something you are going to have to work at your whole life. Just as she will have to try to understand you."

"Yeah, OK, but it just seems that sometimes she... y'know, can't figure things out. It's like, something can be so obvious, but Akane just doesn't get it."

From outside the kitchen a plate was thrown, striking Ranma squarely in the head. "I heard that, Ranma!" Akane said as she headed out the front door for her afternoon jog. Ranma removed the plate and nursed the bruise that he now had.

"Ranma, it takes a long time to really get to know someone," said Kasumi. "People always keep part of themselves to themselves. You can understand that, can't you? People are always deeper than they seem on the surface."

A voice from outside interrupted. "Pig-tailed girl! Where art thou, my love?"

"Of course," continued Kasumi, "there are exceptions."

Ranma went out reluctantly towards the living room. Well, that talk was useless. Or was it? Had Kasumi been trying to tell him something? Maybe it had been a dumb idea to ask Kasumi to help him understand Akane, when he understood Kasumi even less. She always seemed to treat him as if she were a mother watching a child, the child getting all worked up over some kid's game. But then she seemed to treat everybody else like that too.

At least talking to Kasumi hadn't cleaned out Ranma's wallet, as asking the other Tendo sister for help would have. Anyway, Ranma had something more immediate to deal with. "If it isn't Underclassman Kuno, the True Blunder of Furinkan High. Whaddaya want?"

"You are insolent as ever, Saotome" said the samurai, not losing his calm despite Ranma's baiting. Ranma noticed that he carried a heart-shaped box of chocolates in addition to his usual bokken. "A poet once likened life to a box of chocolates. A piquant observation, do you not think?"

"I dunno, too many nuts in it" replied Ranma disinterestedly. "Like I said, whaddaya want?"

"I bring a gift for the pig-tailed girl" Kuno replied, indicating the

"All right! Thanks, man!" Ranma started wolfing down chocolates, happy that he would now not have to go hungry until dinnertime.

Kuno's calm was now utterly lost. "How dare you! These sweets are an expression of my innermost affection! I, Tatewaki Kuno, shall smite you for your transgression!"

Ranma dodged a flurry of bokken strikes. He then leapt over Kuno, bringing his legs down into Kuno's side and sending him crashing into a wall. "Yeah! Hit the road, Jack!" Ranma cried in triumph. "You just aren't cut out for martial arts, Kuno. Stick to something simple. Maybe baseball is more your speed." Ranma sat down to enjoy his snack.

"I raised you better than that, boy!" interrupted Genma, suddenly showing up and snatching the box out of Ranma's grasp. "Battles are not won by underestimating your adversaries. True victory is not just a matter of physical superiority. A true combat is a battle of wills, of minds. You must understand your opponent completely, Ranma. When you can get inside his head, know what he knows and what motivates him, then and only then can you achieve true victory!"

"You're just tryin' to distract me so you can grab this food and run off with it!"

"Yes! That's the way, boy! That's exactly what I'm talking about! Well done!" Ranma and Genma struggled over the box of chocolates. Neither of them noticed that Kuno was getting up. With a self-satisfied smirk, Kuno threw the Tendo dinner table into the air. He then swung his bokken around as if it were a Louisville slugger, batting the table into Ranma and Genma, knocking them into the pond.

"I believe I have just hit a home run," said Kuno, suppressing a laugh.

To his surprise, it was not Ranma and his father who crawled out of the pond, but a panda bear and the pig-tailed girl. "My love!" Kuno fished the box of chocolates out from where it had been knocked into the water. "A present for you, my sweet." He popped a soggy piece of chocolate into Ranma's already brown-stained mouth.

Ranma was less than overjoyed.


That night, Ranma quietly finished his dinner and retired early to his bedroom. He tried once again to comprehend the events of the day. Okay, Kuno is stupid enough to still not know who his "pig-tailed girl" is after all this time. But there's no way Akane's as stupid as Kuno. Ranma felt a heavy feeling, like having an eighteen-wheel truck parked on top of him. Not only because he still didn't understand Akane, but because he had had to endure the pain of listening to Kuno trying to be funny.

Ranma became, in his mind, a teacher standing up at the blackboard in front of a classroom. There was one student in the classroom, who was also Ranma.

"Okay, class," Teacher Ranma began, "let us analyze the following situation. The subject, who we'll call Miss Tendo, is unable to spot obvious clues that that little pig, P-Chan, is really that big pig, Ryoga."

The student Ranma yawned. Even in his imagination, school was boring.

"We know from other experience, however," the teacher Ranma continued, "that Miss Tendo is not that stupid. For example, every time we go in disguise to fool Ryoga, Akane manages to see through it. What can we conclude from this?"

"That you suck as a disguise artist?" Student Ranma offered.

Teacher Ranma mentally threw an eraser at himself. "We have to figure this out! Stop playing dumb and pay attention, you big jerk!"

But that was it. Playing dumb.

Suddenly everything fell into place. Ranma felt a release, like the eighteen-wheel truck moving off and leaving him lying on the road.

Akane wasn't the stupid one after all.

He was.

Pop had been right. Ranma was guilty of underestimating his adversary.

"Akane!!! How long have you known!!"