Ranko ˝, Part 7:
"She is really a very nice girl"

Wounded for the first time by Kunou's bokken, Ranma falls clutching his side. Akane is gazing on speechlessly, still hiding unseen behind the stone pillar. Ranma manages to land on his feet but is wobbling a little unsteadily. The photographs are still fluttering in the air. Emboldened by his success Kunou strikes at Ranma again but Ranma dodges without even seeming to pay attention. He is snagging the photos out of the air, studying every one.

Kunou: You refuse to look while you're fighting?! You should not take me so easy!

Ranma: Whoa!

Kunou launches a lightning stab at Ranma's head that he can barely dodge. Ranma rolls backward out of range. Coming to a rest next to the Stone pillar, he is surprised to find Akane there.

Ranma: [on his back before her] Oh. Hi Akane.

Akane: One advice for you - When he's fighting boys, Kunou is quite a strong opponent.

Ranma: [raises a brow] You must be a different Akane from the one who always reminds me that I'm not a boy.

Akane: [kicks him back to Kunou] Then go fight him you "tough guy"!

Ranma somersaults through the air towards his opponent. Kunou confidently raises his sword.

Kunou: Thus the game ends.

Ranma: What?

In a blur of motion Kunou unleashes a rain of stabs towards Ranma. Ranma desperately squirms, bends and jumps to evade.

Kunou: Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike, strike, strike...

Ranma: Wah!


The stone pillar that Akane stands behind is developing a crack.


More and more cracks spiderweb the pillar. Nabiki realizes with amazement that it is on a straight line with Ranma and the striking Kunou.

Nabiki: Wow, that's just the air pressure generated by his strikes.

The Pillar disintegrates into rubble and Akane has to jump to safety. Ranma turns to her alarmed.

Akane: Kyaah!

Ranma: Akane! Are you all right?

Kunou: Now I've got you! [brings down his bokken]

Akane: Look out! Eyes front!

Still looking at Akane, Ranma evades the descending blade and moves in. He swings his leg along Kunou's body and jumps back to safety.

Kunou: Heh! [topples]


Nabiki: What... What did you do?

Akane comes forward. She crouches down and turns over Kunou's prone form. All over his body are footprints. Akane eyes the position of the prints.

Akane: They are on all the vital spots.

Nabiki: You kicked him, Ranma? I couldn't even see it.

Ranma is stretching and acting rather unperturbed.

Ranma: Well, well. If that's all Kunou had going for him...

Akane: Oh, is that so? Well, he hit you, didn't he?

Ranma: Feh, 'tis but a scratch.

Akane: Oh, so this doesn't hurt at all?

She pokes a finger into Ranma's side where his shirt hangs in tatters from Kunou's blow. His eyes water and he assumes a fetal position.

Akane: I really don't understand you sometimes. If it hurts that much, why're you holding it in? You're acting far too much like a boy. Anyway, what distracted you so much that you let him hit you?

She picks up one of the photos lying around. It is one that shows her in her gi, practising punches. She looks at Ranma in horror, taking a step back.

Akane: You're looking at pictures of me?! And I thought the stupid curse was all of it... You twisted hentai!

Ranma: No! It wasn't one of those.

Ranma hold up the picture of his female self, but Akane refuses to look.

Akane: More photographs of me? That does it!


Nabiki picks up the photo from the ground. She taps Akane's shoulder and when she turns hands it to her wordlessly.

Akane: A... a picture of her? But why did she carry it?

Nabiki: Actually Kunou bought them. 3000 yen a set.

Akane: [incredulous] You did them?

Nabiki: [smiles] Just making a little spending money.

Akane: Nabiki! My own sister!

Ranma: [from ground level] Groan...

Akane: [guiltily] Eeep! Ranko!


It's beginning to get dark, but the light outside Dr. Toufuu's clinic is not yet on.

Voice: This is terrible!

In his examination room Dr. Toufuu bends over a badly contorted Ranma.

Dr. Toufuu: Really horrible. Well, except this minor wound by a bokken. What kind of brutal thug would do this?

Akane: [blushing] Err...

Ranma: It was... [Akane tenses] It was nobody you'd know, really.

Akane: Um. It kinda was, err, me.

Dr. Toufuu: [slaps his knee] Ha! I thought I recognized the style. Well, now that I look at it, it's obvious.

He begins to snap all the dislocated joints and bones back into place again.


Dr. Toufuu: Take this backward joint for example.


Dr. Toufuu: It's very you.


Ranma: Eeyowch!

Dr. Toufuu: You're Ranma, her fiancé, right?

Ranma: Urk.


Akane: Not really! I mean, just our parents want...

Dr. Toufuu: Oh, don't worry.


Dr. Toufuu: You've got all the time in the world to decide. You're still kids, after all.

Akane: Yes, Sensei. [thinks] Just a kid to him.


Ranma: [screams] This hurts!

Dr. Toufuu: [stops] Really? It shouldn't. Where does it hurt?

Ranma: [astonished] It... doesn't anymore.

Akane: Dr. Toufuu is great, isn't he?


The light before the door is now turned on against the dark. As The two kids leave, Dr. Toufuu holds Ranma back.

Dr. Toufuu: Ranma. Wait a moment.

Akane is looking back at them but is out of hearing range. She waits.

Dr. Toufuu: I don't know what your fight was about, but please do try to get along with Akane.

Ranma: It was really just a misunderstanding. It's just... She takes this engagement stuff our parents cooked up so seriously. It bothers her and so she ends up fighting me. [sighs]

Dr. Toufuu: She really is a nice girl, underneath.

Ranma: I'm sure she is, but she sure won't let me see that side of her.

Dr. Toufuu: Oh, I guess she will, given time. And encouragement.

Ranma: Huh! Until then, you'd better keep a stretcher ready for me.

Dr. Toufuu: You don't have to be so pessimistic. You'll find out soon enough.

He pats Ranma encouragingly on the back as he leaves.

Dr. Toufuu: She is really a very nice girl.


The streetlamps surround their poles with little pools of light. Ranma and Akane make their way home through the darkened streets of Nerima. Akane does not look at Ranma.

Akane: What did you talk about?

Ranma: Oh, he just told me what a perfect couple we'll be.

Akane: Is that so?

Ranma: No. I'm kidding.

Akane doesn't answer. Ranma tries to look her in the face, but she turns away.

Ranma: Hey, are you hurt about something?

Akane: N.. no! I'm just thinking.

Ranma: [after a pause] He seems to be very fond of you.

Akane: Why should I be interested in what Dr. Toufuu thinks of me?


Dr. Toufuu sits in his room, looking at the wall clock.

Dr. Toufuu: 3... 2... 1...


Ranma: Well, I just thought you'd wa...

Suddenly his legs fold under him.

Ranma: Huh?!

Akane notices him falling back and finally turns. There's just the slightest hint of a glitter in her eyes.

Akane: What happened?

Ranma: My legs... [thinking back to Dr. Toufuu's pat] The doctor did that.

Akane crouches down before him and takes his arms over her shoulders from the back.

Ranma: Uh, what're you doing?

Akane: I'm going to carry you.

Ranma: Oh. I thought you don't want... [breaks off, thinks] Don't want anything to do with me when I'm a boy.

Akane: Well, I can't let you crawl home like that, can I?

As he is carried piggyback by Akane, Ranma thinks back to Dr. Toufuu's words.

Dr. Toufuu (remembered): She's really a nice girl.

Ranma: [thinks] I guess you're right there. If only she'd see me that way...

-- End of part 7.

Part 8: "There is a girl that he likes"

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