The Teacher. ~A Ranma ½ Fanfic~
“Ne~e, Akane …”
“Yeah?” she replied without looking up from her desk.
Ranma took the liberty of sitting down on Akane’s bed, causing a squeal from the mattress springs.
“Don’t fall through,” muttered Akane.
“Akane, don’t you ever wonder that maybe there are some people who are … teachers?”
“Teachers in what sense?”
“Like … you meet them, and you fall in love, and they teach you something very special and very precious, but after that, it’s time to let go?”
“What kind of dumb theory is that, Ranma?!” cried Akane, who now left her head stationary so that he couldn’t see a little tear welling up at what he said – it hit much harder than he had intended. That was Ranma for you, always saying stupid things not realizing how much they would affect the people around him.
“Well, you see,” Ranma continued, “Sometimes you love someone who is so different from you, and you know it’s true love, but that person is just … so different, you know? Like a princess falling in love with a vegetable vender boy. She learns what it is like to work hard to survive, the happiness of simple songs and games, everything like that. But after she learns that, the lesson he has to teach is done, and he wants her to move on to someone who she will be happier with, just because he knows he can never really understand her.”
Akane sat there for a moment, staring at her homework on vectors.
“Well, Ranma, we’re different, aren’t we? We’re um … sorta kinda in love, I guess,” she admitted, blushing with embarrassment at the end of her line.
“That’s debatable. But the fact of the matter is that we’re engaged.”
“Not by any choice of our own. No, Ranma, engagement is nothing. You can’t be engaged to someone when you aren’t engaged in the heart. And you can’t be engaged in the heart if you regard yourself as a teacher. Sure, maybe you can make it sound noble by saying that she’ll find someone better afterwards, but what are you saying of yourself? Why aren’t you choosing her, huh?”
“I didn’t say it was me!”
“You’re too idiotic to mean anything more subtle than that!” declared the blue-haired girl.
“Hey!” shouted Ranma. “Hmph, just what I’d expect out of a kawaiikune tomboy like you ….”
“You jerk,” said Akane softly. “When you’re in love, everyone is a teacher, and no one is a teacher. Do you get that?”
Ranma fumbled around with words, the only sound coming out being “Er ….”
“There is no love at all, none at all! None … if you think that she is there to learn about guys from you, and find out what they can be like, so that she can use that for a reference in the future. None … if you think that you have nothing to learn from her. None … if you ever, ever even suggest that you are better than her. None, Ranma!”
She continued, “You think you’re better than me, just because you are a better martial artist? Just because you can use Kachuu Tenshin Amaguriken and Mouko Takabisha? Huh? So tell me, Ranma, if martial arts is your life and martial arts is your love, why are you staying here with me, when you know that, although I’m a black-belt by all standards, I’m not you?! Watch what you say, ‘cause I’m tempted to demonstrate to you a very special vector that points towards the door and has a very large magnitude, shall we say.”
“Yes?” demanded Akane, her blue aura flaring up.
“I … I know I learn things from you.”
“You’re just always too damn proud to admit it! I’m not fucking asking you to bow down to me! I don’t want that; I don’t need to be a goddess! I just want you to stop treating me like a doll when we spar and stop acting like I’m some low-life because I don’t go on month-long training trips to remote parts of China where I could fall into the Spring of Drowned Lamb with a Large Bird on Its Back!” Akane cried with exasperation. “Not everyone believes like you do, that the Art is everything! Not even me, the heir to the Anything Goes Dojo! I love the Art, yes! I love teaching it to other people! I use it when I need to defend myself! Ranma, if you don’t understand that that makes me a good martial artist, too, just like you, then maybe you need to really go on another trip, and this time discover every part of the Art that you’ve never bothered to learn.”
“Don’t ‘Akane-chan’ me now!”
“Hai,” replied Ranma, letting his pride drop a bit. “Gomen nasai … .”
Akane sighed. “Ranma, your whole life … every moment of your life has been about improving your technique. And it’s been fulfilling for you, so you feel like there’s no need to stop, and there’s nothing better than it. But what if, Ranma, what if this obsession is preventing you from seeing something beautiful, something good and worthy and noble, from seeing that in everyday life, in everyday people?”
“From seeing something beautiful in you …,” said Ranma, his eyes softening.
“I didn’t say it was me!”
“ ‘You’re too idiotic to mean anything more subtle than that.’ Touché, Sweetheart.”
“Don’t ‘Sweetheart’ me now!! And … yes I mean me! Look at what we share! Hordes of random boys and girls after us, the same stupid temper, a love for Kasumi’s food, the same books on our bookshelves, an friendship with Doctor Tofu, and deep feelings that we always express the wrong way. Push come to shove, Ranma, I’d more readily admit that I’m the girl version of you than a girl like the my classmates. It’s not … I’m a princess or something.”
“I know ….”
“Ranma, it’s okay to see the world based on what belts people wear. But realize that not all your rules apply to everyone. Just like a good preacher should not declare a nonbeliever to be a devil, just like a good opera singer should not criticize the children who sing in the shower, just like them, so a good martial artist should not … a martial artist should not make love a martial art!
“Of course our love is going to involve martial arts. We might even show off our techniques after our wedding ceremony. Our child is certainly going to carry on the tradition of our families. And I’m going to work in this dojo when I grow up. But our love itself can’t be a martial art! We’re not training, there are no sensei. We are feeling things, and feelings are independent of conscience, independent of skill, independent of class of race of rank of intelligence of gender! Feelings are feelings. Love is love. And you, buddy, are in trouble for making me cry onto my homework page.”
“Akane-chan, Akane-chan, Akane-chan …. Suki dayo.”
“Ranma-kun, Ranma-kun, Ranma-kun …. Suki yo. Fugen-jikkou ….”
Ranma responded by standing up and hugging Akane from behind. “What I can’t say right now, feel it this way.”
Akane breathed deeply, wondering to herself what she would do. She could feel something in the embrace, but she wasn’t sure if it was all she wanted. She didn’t just a need a hug or reassurance; she wanted love, everlasting love. She wanted Ranma, but she wanted Ranma to want her just as much.
“Koi wa shian no hoka …,” she whispered.
“Do you really believe that?” asked Ranma.
“Yes, I do, Ranma. But I don’t know if such a love can last forever. Can it, Ranma?”
“How should I know? It’s always easier if you can enumerate the reasons and look at them once in awhile. If you can’t make such a list, how do you know it isn’t lust?”
“That is something you have to listen to in your heart. Lust doesn’t come from the heart, so when you feel a warmth in your heart, that is love. But … there’s more, there’s more ….”
“Love is when the idea of using you to learn about love and then going to find my soulmate disgusts me. Love is when I shout at you and say that I want to end it but deep down I desperately want you to stop me from ending it all. Love is when you keep on mistreating me and I wait a thousand autumns for you to stop being a jerk. Love is when I say that Akane and Ranma will be together forever, and my heart rejoices, and nothing in me wonders if you are really good enough to be the One. Love! Let’s go out and find it.”
“Right now? Where would we look?”
“In each other, dummy!” said Akane, grabbing Ranma’s arm. And so they left the house, running down the streets, looking for love.
I am told that they finally found it, three years later, and that indeed, Akane looked brilliant kicking Ranma’s face in her flowing white gown.