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A Ranma ½ story
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ is property of Rumiko Takahashi and Viz video.

The house reverberated for an instant with the force of a slammed door, echoed shortly by a muffled 'thump' as a weeping schoolgirl threw herself onto her mattress.

"It's not fair!" she whimpered, wishing that things could be otherwise.

He ran, unmindful of where he ran, sweat mingling with the tears streaking down his face, branches from a wooded thicket tearing at his clothes before he stumbled to a halt and collapsed onto his knees, heaving for breath.

"Not…" he gasped out, trying to catch his breath, and restrain a sob. "Not fair…"

She shook her head, sitting up and nodded as her sister poked her head into the room. "Akane?"

Akane nodded again. "Come on in…"

The older sister trudged in, laying a comforting arm about Akane's shoulder. "I'm… sorry."

"You knew?"

She nodded silently.

He cast his eyes upward, towards the unforgiving stars and the bottomless black depths of the sky. "Not… fair…" he whimpered, gathering his power and throwing it towards his most final technique.

"How could you tell?" Akane asked, stark betrayal shining in her eyes.

"It was obvious to me," the older sister said, sighing and brushing back her bangs to peer at the younger. "I mean, his father started acting the same way afterwards… but why are you letting this get to you?"

Akane blinked at her sister in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

"Why are you letting this come between you and him?"

The younger sister's expression shifted to disgust. "Nabiki…"

He swallowed, fighting down a torrent of disgust and self-loathing, then prepared to unleash a massive wave of ki -- one which would obliterate everything around him. "Not… fair…" he whispered again.

"Wait!" He spun, surprised, and turned to face the source of the voice, seeing a vaguely female shape in the darkness, stumbling towards him through the low brush hurriedly. "Wait, Ranma!"

Hanging his head, he sighed. "Why… why are you chasing me?"

Akane spat distastefully, "It's not right, and it's… it's… it's sickening, Nabiki. How could you even suggest it!?"

"Akane! I'm surprised… are you serious? It's something important enough to come between you and Ranma like that? You can't take him back?"

Ranma blinked, a thick sheaf of… paper?… hitting his chest. "What's this?" he asked, reflexively taking the documents from the girl.

"If… Just… just look at it."

His narrowing suspiciously, Ranma titled the documents in his hands towards the moonlight -- and a better viewing angle.

"Akane! Be sensible about this! You make it out to be some huge world-ending thing! Why are you being so… so… so foolish about this!?"

Calming herself with some effort, Akane sniffed, and turned away. "It's just not right," she stated. "To be with him when he's…"

He blinked, making out a signature on the cover of one of the papers, his eyes involuntarily widening. "This is…" he said breathlessly, looking up at the girl sharply.

She nodded in the darkness, her own head hanging low. "Is… secret shame. Great-grandmother is… 'partner in crime.'"

Ranma's jaw dropped, and he gasped, "You mean… you… you…"

Shampoo's eyes met Ranma's, as the autographed copies of Caravan Kidd nearly slipped from his fingers in his surprise. "Yes, Ranma. Shampoo is otaku, too. Learned Japanese for fansubs in Amazon village."

"I mean, what if he asked me to cosplay with him, or something, Nabiki? I mean, think about it."

Nabiki stared at her sister blankly, then shrugged. "Well, you two would make a passable Kei and Yuri, but --"


Author's notes: Sorry, sorry. I had to do it. This is largely inspired by 'Burakumin Blues', but also (and more so) by 'Poison', with apologies to both Mr. Sommer and Susan Doenime.

Flames et al, can be directed to me freely, for my -- again -- blatant lack of shame.

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Last revision: January 7, 2006

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