Ranma 1/2 manga fanfiction
by Gary Kleppe

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.

The noodles sagged limply as Akane's chopsticks pushed them through the watery sauce. Lifting them to her mouth, she took a taste. Sugar. The sauce tasted more like sugar than tomatoes, and there were no added spices as far as she could tell.

Sighing noiselessly, she took a whole mouthful and began eating. It wasn't very good, but it was edible, and she didn't want to cause any ill feelings.

Sayuri stared at her with wide-eyed expectation. "How is it, Akane?"

"Er...." Akane searched for something nice to say that wasn't a lie. Or at least wasn't too much of a lie. Sayuri, one of her best friends, maid of honor at her wedding last year, had invited her over for dinner; it wouldn't exactly be polite to sit there and criticize her cooking.

"Wonderful, isn't it?" said Sayuri's brother, as if answering for Akane. The two of them went to the same college, and shared an apartment. "This lady's a great cook, even when she's doing American food. I keep telling her she ought to go professional."

Sayuri beamed a smile at him. "I'm so happy you like it!"

"Actually, it's Italian," Akane said. "Well, Sayuri, I'm not exactly a world class cook myself," she admitted. "But if I could make a suggestion, you might want to try using less sugar, and maybe some different spices. Kasumi has some really good recipes that I'm sure she would...."

Akane's words trailed off. Sayuri continued to stare at her brother, obviously not listening. "Look," she said. "You asked me what I thought. Do you want me to tell you, or don't you?"

The brother smiled dismissively. "Akane, my sister isn't trying to make a gourmet meal. Her food tastes good. That's what matters."

Akane took a breath, trying to keep her anger under control. Tastes good? Professional? How was Sayuri's cooking ever going to improve if he kept telling her things like that? It was obvious to her what was happening. He was giving her empty praise, so he could keep from having to cook a meal of his own once in a while. He was feeding her ego, and she was eating it out of his hand. And then how would her cooking ever improve?

Sayuri gave an obligatory smile and nod to Akane, and began to serve her brother more food. What was the point in arguing? Sayuri obviously wasn't interested. And okay, Akane wasn't the most authoritative source on the subject. But she, at least, had had to work and struggle for every piece of praise that she'd been given on her cooking. When Ranma had finally told her that her curry was normal, even good, it was a wonderful feeling, because she knew that she had earned it. How could she get Sayuri to understand that? She couldn't.

After finishing her dinner and an hour of random chatting, Akane excused herself and headed back home.


"Oh, Ranma?"

Akane's voice was quiet, almost musical. Ranma put down his newspaper and sat up in his chair, preparing to give her his full attention. He could tell just from her tone that this was going to be one of those talks.

"Remember all those times before we got married? When I tried to cook for you? And you told me exactly how bad it was?"

Ranma nodded. Oh, geez, he thought. Why was she bringing that up after all this time?

"Remember all those times I worked so hard to make food that you'd like? When you could've just said that it was good to make me happy, but you didn't?"

"Um, yeah." A drop of sweat trickled down the back of his neck. "So?"

Leaning closer to him, she planted a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."

Ranma could only stare as Akane disappeared through the bedroom door. No matter how long he lived, there were some things he'd never understand.


An hour fic that I actually FINISHED in an hour... what's this world coming to? :) Thanks go to the fine folks in FFIRC's OneHour group one for their comments on this story, and for coming up with the title.