(A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic)

From the Desk of Megane 6.7

This is a work of Fiction.  All Characters and Landmarks, are the
property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Video, Kitty Films,
Viz Video, Shonen Sunday, and anyone else who legally owns the

DECEMBER 31, 1996
11:00 P.M.

   The sounds of mass celebration were still within earshot of
Ranma Saotome as he lay on the roof of the Tendo Dojo with his
arms by his sides.  It was a beautiful night and the full moon was in
perfect view.  Ranma had given up trying to sleep hours ago and
was now content to stargaze until he fell tired.

   "I don't see what the big deal is about the new year coming
and all."  Ranma thought to himself as he gazed upwards at the sea of
stars.  "When it finally comes, I'll still be stuck with three fiancees
and I'll still have my curse.  It's not like I can start over again or

   Ranma sighed to himself as he recalled some of the events of
the past year that had happened to him.  "It's almost like nothing has
changed at all.  Akane still hits me all the time, I'm still being
challenged by weirdoes and pursued by perverts all the time. 
Shampoo won't leave me alone.  I still can't see mom as a guy and I'm
failing math in school.  If anything life's gotten worse for me!  At
least when I was on the road all the time I only had to put up with
Pop.  Of course, being on the road with Pop is what lead me to all my
troubles in the first place.... 


   Ranma was startled out of his thoughts as he turned to the
source of the voice and saw Kasumi standing on a ladder against the
house.  She had a look of curiosity and concern on her face.   "Is
everything all right Ranma?"

   "Oh it's you.   I'm okay.  Just can't sleep."

   "Sleep?  Don't you want to see the coming of the new year?"
Kasumi asked him.

   "Why?"  Ranma replied wearily.  "Nothing's going to change
    Suddenly Kasumi started to climb up on the roof.  Ranma
was mildly surprised by this but nonetheless sat up and gave her a
helping hand as she crawled across the ceramic tiles and lay
down beside where Ranma was a moment ago.  Ranma wondered if
Kasumi would be safe up here but after a few moments and no sign of
her sliding off, Ranma resumed his spot a few feet away from
her and stared up into the sky again.

   "Why do you say that?"  Kasumi asked as she joined him in

   "It's just... all these things have been happening to me all
year and it seems like nothing I've done has had a lasting effect.  I'm
still knee-deep in trouble."  Ranma replied somberly.

   "Why do you think nothing has changed Ranma?"  Kasumi
asked curiously.

   "Because all of my problems are still here.  You'd think in a
whole year's time I'd be able to deal with at least one of my problems
but just when I think I've got it solved, something happens to mess it
up all over again!  Either that or a new problem develops!  I can't
keep up at this rate!"

   "Things aren't as bad as they seem."  Kasumi said.

   "Oh yeah?  How have things changed?  I have enemies out
for my blood, perverts out for my girl side, promises that *I* never
made...."  Ranma retorted.

    "What promises are you referring to exactly?"  Kasumi
wondered aloud.

   "Everything!"  Ranma shouted with exasperation.  "Pop
made me decide between Ucchan and okonomiyaki when I was too
young to understand what he meant!  "Pop promised for me that I'd
marry Akane and that I'd grow up to be a man among men for my
mother!  Thanks to him, I can't even tell my mom that her son is
right here....

   Kasumi's eyes began to grow misty  "I... I know it's hard to
pretend to be someone else when you're with your mother...."

   "Hard?!  It sucks!"  Ranma growled.

   "...But at least you have a mother to talk to...."  Kasumi's
voice was full of sadness.

   Ranma suddenly felt his heart grow cold as he realized what
Kasumi meant.  He immediately became apologetic.  "I'm... I'm
sorry... I forgot about...."

   Kasumi tried her best to smile.  "It's all right.  I'm just trying
to point out that at least you have a mother to hug and talk to, even if
you're pretending to be someone else.  When my mother died, Father
fell apart emotionally and it was up to me to take care of Akane and
Nabiki because he couldn't bear to talk about her without bursting
into tears.  I forced myself to be strong so I could help everyone else
through it so I mourned in private where no one could see me because
I didn't want to upset them any further."

   Ranma swallowed hard as he considered Kasumi's words. 
"Maybe you're right.  I am lucky that I can see her at all but it still
sucks that I can't be who I am, who she wants to see most of all, who
I want to be most of all...."

   "A man."  Kasumi guessed,

   "Yeah... I admit being a girl has had it's advantages in the
past but I'd GLADLY give it all up to never be a girl again!  To not
be chased and pawed and gawked at by freaks like Happosai and
Kunou and Mikado and...."

   "I see your point.  But hasn't being a girl given you an idea
on how we feel about certain things?

   "Such as?"  Ranma frowned.

   "You wonder why Akane keeps hitting you yet you call her
things like uncute and tomboy...."

   "She starts it!  She calls me a pervert and a jerk!  She never
believes anything I say and she always takes her anger out on me! 
Besides, I'm only being honest with her!  She acts like a tomboy!"

   "She just hasn't gotten along very well with boys.  Remember,
they used to attack her every morning before you arrived and that
Kunou person used to ask her out on dates all the time.  You both got
off on the wrong foot when she walked in on you in the bathroom...."

   "She still blames me for that?!  She walked in on me!  How
does that make ME a pervert!?"  a frustrated Ranma replied.  "Besides
my point is that except for a few minor things, nothing has really
changed!  Why should I look forward to something like a new year

   "Maybe things will go better this year than the last.  There's
always hope."  Kasumi replied softly as she lay back

   Ranma looked over at Kasumi.  "How do you do it Kasumi?
How do you manage to be so cheerful, year after year?"

   Kasumi was silent for a long moment, giving serious
consideration to the question.

   "I... I guess it's partly because I've had to be strong for
everyone else's sake when mother died.  I never really had time to
be sad.  So I convinced myself to always look on the bright side of
a situation, no matter how grim it may be."

   "But I've seen you get upset before...."  Ranma remarked.

   "It's not a matter of being upset as it is trying to see the
positive aspects of something.  It's... It's hard to put into words.  It's
similar to putting a candle in a dark room.  No matter how dark and
vast the room may be, it can't block out the light of that candle, no
matter how small it may be.  Do you understand?"   

   "I... I think I do."  Ranma's face was unusually contemplative
as he digested Kasumi's words and their meaning.

   There was another long pause while they both watched the
night sky.   

   "Kasumi, can I ask you a question?"  Ranma suddenly spoke up.

   "Of course, Ranma."  Kasumi replied while still staring up.

   "When I... that is... when Pop brought me to your house for
the first time and you knew your dad wanted one of you to marry
me... Did you have any interest in me at all?"

   "Honestly... no."  Kasumi replied in a quiet voice.  "I was
caught off guard by your transformation into a girl.  I... I panicked."

   "And that's why you and Nabiki convinced our parents Akane
was the best choice?"

   "Well... Akane did hate boys... It seemed to be the proper...."
Kasumi stopped and sighed.  "No.  The truth is we were both scared
and we used Akane to escape.  I'm ashamed to admit it but I wasn't
ready to marry someone who changed into a girl.  None of us were. 
But I still pushed for Akane."  Kasumi lowered her head in shame
and embarrassment. "I'm sorry."

   Ranma gently placed a hand on her shoulder.  "It's okay... I
know it was a tough spot to be in.  At the time, all I wanted to do was
go back to China and get cured.  I *loathed* being a girl, to be stared
at and ridiculed... I must have really scared you, huh?"

   "But I should have been the one... I mean... I was supposed
to be the strong one, to take responsibility when no one else could or
would... I know now that I should have been the one to accept the
engagement but I was too frightened...."          

   Ranma's eyes were very wide as he exclaimed.  "You would
have let yourself be engaged to someone you didn't even know?  Just
like that?"

   "Why not?  You accepted it easily enough."  Kasumi pointed out.

   "Well...."  Ranma placed his hand behind his head.  "I don't
know if accept is the right word... tolerate, maybe.  But you always
had a choice."

   "Did I?  Sometimes I wonder if I truly did.  I know Nabiki
would have rather died than accept this engagement against her will,
because she used to always being in control of a situation.  And if
Akane hadn't eventually accepted your engagement, I have little doubt
the responsibility would have eventually fallen to me."   
   "Accepted?  Since when did Akane accept our engagement?! 
All she does is accuse me of things I haven't done and hit me with her

   "Ranma... have you ever asked yourself why she does that? 
Why she can't stand the thought of another girl near you, and why she
constantly fights with you?"

   "Because she's an uncute, sexless tomboy with an
unreasonable temper?"  Ranma replied with a straight face.

   Kasumi sighed.  "Never mind.  Someday perhaps, you'll
figure it out.  What I'm trying to say is that it was my duty to accept
the engagement.  My family means more to me than life itself.  I have
given myself to them and this house completely, forsaking everything
else.  When I tried to pass you off on Akane, it was the first time in a
long time that I was thinking of myself, that I didn't want to be
engaged to a boy who was three years younger than me and changed
into a girl.  It made me feel so bad that I thought of myself over

   Kasumi lapsed into silence again while Ranma tried to make
sense of what she was saying.  "It... It sounds to me like you're
punishing yourself for being selfish, but what you did wasn't selfish,
it was a matter of choice.  Granted Akane wasn't interested in me
either but if it had been me in your place, I would have done the same

   Kasumi remained silent while Ranma continued.  "I'm not
very good at talking like this.  To be honest, I prefer to fight a
problem rather than solve it and that's gotten me into more trouble
than I care to admit.  But it's still my choice whether or not I want to
eventually marry Akane.  Pop keeps telling me it's a matter of honor
but then he ignores his promise of honor to Ucchan, not to mention
every other girl he promised me to in exchange for food.

   Ranma took a deep breath as he continued.  "I don't blame
you for not wanting me.  If you had, look at all the problems you
would have been stuck with.  Believe me, you were lucky."

   Kasumi looked up at Ranma and suddenly began to laugh. 
It was a joyful sound, like a soothing melody. 

   "What'd I say?"  Ranma was puzzled.

   Kasumi just laughed harder at that.  Soon she was laughing
so hard she could barely keep her balance on the roof.  Then she
eventually stopped laughing and wiped her eyes.  "I'm... I'm sorry... I
was just laughing at the irony... I came up here to cheer you up and
now here you are cheering me up.  It just struck me as funny.  I don't
know why."

   Ranma smiled at that.  Then he stared at Kasumi as if
noticing something for the first time.

   "What is it?"  Kasumi asked, curious at what had captured
his attention.

   "It's... It's nothing... Don't worry about it."  Ranma tried to
shrug it off.

   "No, what is it?"  Kasumi insisted.

   Ranma was quiet for a long moment.  "It's just... this may
sound silly but until now, I've never seen you laugh.  I always see you
smile, but I've never seen you laugh."

   Kasumi froze. Solid.  Her hand went to her mouth
immediately.  Her face was a mask of shock.

   "Kasumi?  Is everything all right?"  A concerned Ranma
asked as he walked closer to her.    

   "I-It's just...."  Kasumi stammered.  "You're right... I
haven't laughed since... since my mother died."

   "I'm sorry!  I didn't mean...."

   "It's okay... It never occurred to me until now.  I always put on
a smile whenever people needed it but when something was funny, I
just couldn't make myself laugh, no matter how hard I tried.  No one
seemed to notice so after a while I stopped trying."
   Ranma felt a lump growing in his throat.  "Kasumi, when
was the last time you felt like yourself?"

   Kasumi seemed to flinch slightly as she replied.  "W... What
do you mean?"

   "I mean when was the last time you felt something like this...."

   Ranma suddenly but gently placed his arms around Kasumi. 
Then he gently brought her chin up to face him and tilted his head

   Kasumi's eyes were wide and frightened, she wanted to pull
away and yet her body refused to let her, betraying her true feelings
and need for someone.  She closed her eyes as her lips met with

   She had not been kissed by anybody for a long time.  While
she had tried it a few times when she was in pre-school, she had never
had a boyfriend of her own.  A part of her wanted to break away, to
say this was wrong and that she was betraying her sister....

   But she wanted this kiss, needed this kiss so badly that she
wrapped her own arms around Ranma's neck and held him tight.
For that moment, Kasumi was truly happy for the first time in years.

   Then Kasumi released the kiss, Ranma was almost reluctant
to do so but nonetheless complied.  Kasumi smiled again, only this
time it was different somehow, as if the other one no longer suited her.

   "Thank you, Ranma.  I needed that."  Kasumi said.

   "I... I think I did too...."  Ranma remarked as they both
laughed.  Meanwhile the sounds of celebration were growing louder
around them.  It was one minute to the new year, when old
acquaintances would be forgotten, new promises made and broken....

   Kasumi and Ranma resumed their places on the roof and
watched as the dark sky began to erupt with fireworks.  Kasumi and
Ranma watched the colorful display of colors with awe as they could
hear the final countdown until the new year.


   "Ranma...."  Kasumi whispered.


   "Yes, Kasumi....?"  Ranma whispered back.


   "I never told this to anyone...."  Kasumi began.


    "Said what?"  Ranma replied, puzzled.


   "I'll whisper it to you...."  Kasumi leaned closer.


   Ranma's eyes went wide as he heard Kasumi's confession. 
Then he smiled and whispered something back to Kasumi as the
celebration around them reached it's peak.

   "Sometimes, I feel the same way."                        

What did Kasumi say to Ranma?  I leave it to your imagination.

I hope you like this version better than the previous one.  C&C is
more than welcome, it's needed!  ;)   ( megane67@home.com)

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