[FFML] [oneshot] [Ranma] The Seashell
ambket at inbox.com
Sat Mar 8 16:33:05 PST 2008
Hurray for me practically spamming the list with too many stories. :P
This is another short one I'm chucking at you tolerant folks. A bit of a "slice-of-life" piece, but hopefully not a slice-of-crap. And yes, more Ranma. :P
Disclaimer: I hereby solemnly swear that I do not own nor have I ever
owned nor am I likely to ever own any part of the rights to Ranma 1/2.
A Ranma 1/2 fanfic by Ambulatory Kettle
The westering sun had broken through the dismal cloud layer that
had hung low over Nerima all morning, heralding a welcome end to any
threat of further rain, much to Ranma's relief. He walked with his
hands tucked in his pockets, content in the afternoon light, as he and
Akane made their way through wet streets back to the Tendou Dojo.
Neither of them had said much since leaving school, but Ranma felt
that that was okay. Things had been pretty good between them lately.
Less bickering, less name-calling. He mused how things seemed to become
easier over time, just falling into place or clicking into stride,
little by little. In between the battles and the crises of course.
As they rounded a corner, something caught Ranma's eye. There at
his foot, against a reflected backdrop of cloud-studded sky, a white
conch shell sat in a puddle like a miniature sailing ship in the midst
of a placid sea.
"Huh. That's weird." Ranma crouched down and picked it up,
throwing ripples through the mirrored image of the sky.
The shell was quite large; bigger than his fist, in fact.
"A conch shell?" Akane said. "I wonder where it came from..."
"From the sea, where else."
"I know THAT, dummy."
"Dummy yerself," Ranma mumbled. But Akane's inflection was more
playful than angry, and Ranma felt he could hardly take offense at being
called "dummy" in such an innocuous tone. Maybe the insult had lost its
edge, after being hurled at him so many times.
Akane either didn't hear him, or let it slide. "I meant I wonder
how it got here," she clarified. "I guess someone had conch for dinner
and didn't do a very good job of taking out the garbage."
"Nah, it's pretty cleaned out inside," Ranma said, peering into
the shell. The whole shell had the look and feel of something very old:
scoured and polished by the sea, protruding spines broken by crashing
waves, finally left to bleach to a bone-white in the sun. It reminded
Ranma overwhelmingly of the ocean.
He handed the shell to Akane to see for herself. She frowned
pensively, a little crinkle on her brow that Ranma couldn't help but
think of as cute, despite his best efforts.
"That is weird."
Ranma stood up and they continued on, Akane turning the shell over
in her hands, inspecting its worn surface with her eyes and with her
hands. Ranma watched her as she lifted the shell to her ear, and closed
here eyes, smiling.
"Mmm. I can hear the sea." She handed the shell back to Ranma.
"Here, you try it."
Ranma rolled the conch between his palms, and snorted half-
heartedly. "Sure, Akane. 'Cause the sound of rushing water is exactly
what I wanna hear."
"Well, fine, if you don't like it, give it back then."
Ranma surreptitiously hooked the fingers of one hand into the
shell opening. He proffered it to Akane, with a grin. "'Kay. Here ya
Akane tugged on it once, then dropped her hand, her mouth twisting
into something in between amusement and mild annoyance.
"What'sa matter? Go ahead, take it."
Still grinning, he danced a few steps ahead.
Akane kept walking, but didn't hurry to catch up, watching him
with the same suppressed smirk. "I'm not chasing you for a seashell,
"Okay then. What will you chase me for?"
Akane averted her eyes, blushing slightly. Ranma tried to pretend
not to notice. <Change the subject,> he thought. He jogged backwards
in a loop and came up alongside her, then turned to face forward, making
a few swipes at the air with the conch on his fist as he did.
"You know, martial artists in Mexico used to fight with conch
shells on their fists," he remarked. "Like, way back in ancient times."
Akane gave him a puzzled look. "How do you know that?"
"Dunno," Ranma replied, making a few more jabs with the shell,
then flipping it into the open palm of his other hand. He still
preferred his bare fists, he decided. "One time I saw an old drawing or
painting or something with two guys wearing masks and facing off with
big shells like this. I think it was from Mexico or somewhere around
there.... I guess it just stuck with me for some reason."
Akane rolled her eyes. "If you could remember stuff for school
half as well as you remember stuff about the martial arts, you wouldn't
be doing so poorly."
"I'm not doing too bad," Ranma protested, tossing the shell back
and forth from hand to hand. "'Sides, schools not important for a
Akane just sighed in apparent exasperation, and shook her head.
Ranma cast his gaze out over the concrete wash. Rainwater dripped
off the chain link fence, little drops climbing down the rungs of an
irregular ladder. He glanced down at the shell. Silently, he extended
his hand, offering it to her. Akane's look of annoyance melted
reluctantly into a shy smile, and she took the shell from him, raising
it again to her ear.
"I love the sea!" she said wistfully, her eyes half-closed in
pleasure and reminiscence. "I can't wait for summer."
Ranma watched her contented smile, and said nothing. Whatever he
might have claimed, Ranma loved the sea too. Sometimes, he had a dream
that he was standing by the seaside, surf breaking at his ankles, cool
spray bathing his face. But in the dream, he remained wonderfully,
blissfully male. And Akane was always there beside him, with dewdrops
of spindrift settling in her hair like a halo of tiny diamonds.
But he wasn't about to tell Akane that. Well, not just yet,
They were coming up on the dojo. Akane took the shell away from
"Here, lemme see that," Ranma said. "If there's a hole in the
top, you can blow in it like a horn."
With a little mischievous grin, Akane skipped ahead, then turned
to face him and put both hands behind her back.
"Hey, I said lemme see it!"
"Too bad!" Akane sang out.
"C'mon, give it!" Ranma reached around her to make a grab for it,
but she just dodged lightly aside with a laugh, keeping the shell
behind her back. Frustrated, Ranma reached both arms around, fumbling
for the conch shell.
Akane's sudden indrawn breath stopped him; he realized that he had
his arms wrapped around her, and stepped away hastily.
"Er, sorry," he said, scratching his nose as he fixed his gaze on
a cinderblock wall.
"It's... it's okay," Akane responded in a small voice, turning
halfway away. She held out the conch shell. Gingerly, Ranma took it,
risking a glance at her face as he did. Her eyes were downcast, and her
cheeks were flushed, but there was a glow in her face that reminded him
of his dream of the sea.
They stood a moment in uneasy silence. Ranma fidgeted with the
shell, rolling the dull spikes along his palm, the little pricks of
pressure serving to distract him from himself. After a bit, Akane
sighed, and turned to head in to the Tendou yard. She paused, casting a
glance back over her shoulder.
"I'll... be in in a minute."
He thought he saw her nod out of the corner of his eye. Then she
padded in through the open gate.
Ranma looked up at the dispersing wisps of clouds as they roiled
against each other like foam-flecked waves caught in slow motion.
Leaning back against the cinderblocks, Ranma closed his eyes, and lifted
the shell to his ear, thinking of the sea....
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