[FFML] [oneshot] [Ranma] The Seashell

Ambulatory Kettle 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.

The Seashell
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 
go."
	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."
	"Ranma..."
	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, 
Ranma."
	"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 
martial artist."	
	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, 
anyway.
	They were coming up on the dojo.  Akane took the shell away from 
her ear.
	"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.
	"You coming?"
	"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....

Fin.


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