Site hosted by Build your free website today!
WFY Chapter 3: Lost Hope

Waiting For You
A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic By Stiffanie Flores

Disclaimer : Ranma 1/2 and all characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi. This fanfic is written for enjoyment and self-fulfillment purposes only.

Click on the picture for a larger version

If I die tonight
      I'd go with no regrets
If it's in your arms
      I'd know that I was blessed
And if your eyes
      Are the last thing that I see
Then I'd know the beauty
      Heaven holds for me

And if I make it through
      If I live to see the day
If I'm with you
      I'd know just what to say
The truth be told
      You take my breath away
Every minute, every second
      Every day...

- Moments

"The good news is that we're able to identify the poison," Dr. Tofu was saying. "The tests only confirmed my suspicions. She has a few days, a week at the most. The poison was more fast-acting than I'd expected."

They were gathered downstairs, all present except Akane and Kasumi. The eldest Tendo daughter had stayed home to see to her chores, much to the relief of everyone. Kasumi, with her sweet smile and gentle words, was the heart of her family. They couldn't imagine how they could go on without her. But there were times when it was actually better that Kasumi stayed away. The family was afraid Tofu would lose himself at the sight of her, and that might delay Akane's recovery.

When Dr. Tofu had come up to summon him to his office, saying that the rest of the family was already waiting downstairs, Akane had been deep in slumber, for which Ranma had been very thankful. He hadn't wanted Akane to be present during the meeting, not wanting her to be distressed when she heard the results of the tests. For some reason, he wanted to shield her from the ugly truth of reality.

"One week?" Nabiki repeated incredulously.

Dr. Tofu nodded sadly. "I'm afraid I have worse news," he continued. "In the medical field, there is currently no cure available for the poison."

The small room erupted in chaos. Ranma shot up from his seat, proclaiming his disbelief and denial in a bellow of rage that made Dr. Tofu flinch in surprise. Nabiki's lips thinned, but aside from that, she displayed no outward reaction. Genma was quite speechless, and sat still on his chair looking worriedly at his old friend.

Soun Tendo sat like a statue, rendered immobile by Dr. Tofu's announcement. His eyes remained dry, and in his eyes resided a sort of icy calm that was frightening to see.

"It's happening again," he whispered numbly. "First my dear wife, now my baby..."

"You okay, Tendo?" Genma asked tentatively.

"Can't you do something, Dr. Tofu?" Ranma demanded.

"You'd be the first to know if I discovered something, Ranma," Tofu answered. "I'm sorry, but I truly can't help you."

He frowned. "This poison very different from the ones I've encountered before. It entered Akane's bloodstream directly, which is the reason why it spread so rapidly."

He looked at the gathered family regretfully, carefully refraining to make contact with Ranma's eyes. "Her reaction to the poison is perfectly normal. She feels unusually tired and weak. She would have frequent bouts of high fever, but we could do something to stabilize her body temperature. She would drift in and out of consciousness, and later, she would probably have trouble breathing, and her body won't be able to accept solid food. I expect she'd be in a coma for the last couple of days."

He bowed his head. "I'm truly sorry."

A hand gripped his shoulder, whipping him around. Dr. Tofu blinked, finding himself the object of Ranma's demanding blue-grey eyes. In the back of his mind, he marveled at Ranma's skill. He hadn't even sensed the younger man come up behind him.

"Don't do this, Ranma," he told him, recovering his wits. "I really can't do anything."

"But you've always found a way before," Ranma insisted. "I'm sure you could think of something. Anything!"

"By no means am I stopping here, Ranma," he assured him. "I'm going to call some colleagues, ask for help. But as of now, I haven't found anything which can help us." He shook his head. "Even my sensei's books hardly contain any information about the poison."

"The thing is," he added, "no one has ever discovered an antidote to the poison. Some might have tried to, of course, but the formula of the antidote has yet to be recorded. The problem is that this kind of poison is very rare. I haven't seen proof of its existence myself until now."

"Why is that?" Nabiki asked, her brows knitted in speculation. "Aren't all poisons supposed to be recorded, Dr. Tofu?"

He nodded. "That's right. However, although this poison has been identified, no cure has ever been discovered. We don't know enough about the nature of the poison, and without that, it is difficult to formulate an antidote."

He shook his head. "I'm afraid we're pretty helpless. I cannot try to formulate some kind of antidote for her, since we don't know the full specifics of the poison. If we're wrong, it could be fatal. I don't want to risk it."

"You mean we can't do anything?" Ranma demanded.

"Until I can find someone who can help us, I'm afraid not." He tried to smile at the younger man. "I'll get on to work right away calling some colleagues," he assured the family. "I'll let you know the moment I find something."

Ranma never heard the last of his words. Terror like none other filling his heart, he dashed out of the room. Suddenly, he was driven by an overwhelming desire to see her, to be with her - even though he couldn't do anything to help her, he had to see her, just to ease the throbbing pain in his gut...

He threw open the door to Akane's room. She looked up, relaxing as she saw it was him. "You're here," she said softly.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. He hoped the sound of his heart thumping madly wasn't loud enough for Akane to hear.

"How are you feeling, Akane?" He made his way across the room, peering at her closely.

"Any news from Dr. Tofu, Ranma?" Akane asked.

*Damn,* he thought. *She just had to bring that up.*

"He's identified the poison with the brooch. That's a good start."

"And?" she prodded when Ranma paused, her voice wavering.

"And we're going to start looking for the cure. Don't worry, Akane," he hurried when he saw her stricken expression, "Dr. Tofu is sure we'll be able to find the antidote."

She bit her lip, averting her gaze. "That's good," she murmured.

*Liar,* she thought. *Can't even cover it up well. I can see right through you, baka.*

Ranma looked at her anxiously. "Akane?"

She nodded feebly. "I'm fine. Don't worry."

Ranma sat down beside her. "You sure? I could go down and get Dr. Tofu -"

"Why are you being so nice to me, Ranma?" she asked softly.

He blinked. "Uh..." Where did that thought come from?

"I don't know what to think of you anymore," she began, haltingly at first. "Here you are, looking so concerned and worried. Every time I wake up, I see you sitting beside me, hovering over me. You've been so nice, Ranma, and-"

Ranma stared at her, speechless.

Akane shifted her gaze, looking far away. "Things between us have always been confusing," she said, almost to herself. "Every day, it's the same routine, the same insults, the same stupid fights. Even if we try to make up for it, things just end up getting worse."

"Ranma," she said, turning to him, "will it always have to be like this between us?" A tear rolled down the side of her cheek. "Will I ever know?"

His breath caught in his throat. "Akane -" He reached out, wrapping both of his hands around hers.

She saw him tremble softly, saw his eyes cloud with sorrow. "Don't talk like that," he pleaded. "Please, Akane. Don't give up."

"We'll find your cure," he insisted. "Believe me, Akane. We'll find the antidote, and you'll be okay again. And -"

He paused, drawing a shuddering breath. "Don't give up," he whispered hoarsely, his voice thick with emotion. "Please."

"Ranma - "

He felt her fingers touch his chin, and ever so gently, she tipped his face up to meet his gaze.

Akane was sitting up on the bed, her head leaning against the bed frame. She tried to smile through her tears, ignoring the sharp pain shooting through her body from her sudden movement. "I'm not giving up. I promise."

He gripped her hand tighter. "I'll get your cure, Akane, okay? Believe me. I won't let anything happen to you."

She nodded weakly. "I know."

Ranma tried to smile at her reassuringly, gripping her hand tighter. Suddenly, he frowned. "Why is your hand so cold?"

She shivered slightly. Seeing her, Ranma got up to pull the covers up to her chin. "Still cold?" he asked quietly. "Stupid tomboy, why didn't you say anything?" He winced. "Uh..."

Too weak to argue, she closed her eyes, clutching the blankets closer to her body. "Don't start, Ranma," she said softly, her lips quivering slightly.

"Uh...sorry." He sat down on the bed beside her, covering her fingers with his hand.

"Your hand is so warm, Ranma," Akane whispered, her voice barely audible.

Without another word, Ranma withdrew his hand, leaving Akane's fingers twitching nervously at the loss. Hesitantly, he looped his left arm behind her neck, allowing her head to rest against his shoulder. He moved closer, swinging his legs up on the bed. Wrapping his other arm around her slim waist, he pulled her closer to him, feeling her light weight leaning against his body.

Akane shifted against him, turning her head so that the side of her face rested upon his shoulders. A soft sigh of pleasure escaped her lips, as the warmth from his body eased away the cold.

The intoxicating feel of his nearness, along with the heat seeping into her body, drugged her senses, as a soft smile touched her lips. "This feels nice, Ranma," she whispered, her breath warm on his neck.

"Good," he replied, a faint blush coloring his cheeks. He could feel the gentle rise and fall of her chest as she leaned against him, and he relaxed.

"Akane," he began awkwardly, "I wanted to tell you, I'm sorry - for all the rude things I've said..."

"Don't leave me, Ranma," she breathed, as though she hadn't heard him. "I'm not afraid, when you're here." She gripped Ranma's hand, which rested on her waist. "Please stay..."

"I'll stay right here," he promised, squeezing her hand warmly. "Don't worry."

"Thank you..."

There was an awkward silence for a while. Ranma, for his part, was nervously glancing at the door. He should get up and move away, he knew. If someone were to come into the room right now and see him lying with Akane, he would surely be in a lot of trouble. Especially if it turned out to be Kunou or Ryouga. Or Nabiki with her camera. Ranma suppressed a shudder. She would suck him dry, blood and all.


Ranma looked down at her. "Hmm?"

She lay motionless against him, her eyes closed, long lashes dark against her pale skin, her mouth parted slightly. If he hadn't heard her speak just now, he'd have thought she was asleep.

"It's ... nice, to be with you... like this," she whispered. "Just the two of us alone, without anyone else to get in the way..."

Ranma smiled. "We've been alone together lots of times, Akane," he told her.

"Yeah... But never like this."

"Like what?"

Ranma saw her cheeks flush with color. "Like you're holding me now, baka," she said, but without the usual force behind the insults.

Ranma gazed into space for a while, remembering a time when he'd reached out his hand, as he stood quivering with uncertainty, waiting for Akane to react. To his relief and surprise, she'd taken his hand, and clasped it warmly, and he'd never been as happy, as content, as he'd been at that moment...

No rivals around trying to kill him, or any of his other fiancees fighting each other for his attention... The moment was perfect, and he'd wanted so much to tell her how he felt for her, and he'd tried so hard, wishing that for once, he could let her know...

"Are you angry, Akane? About the other girls?" he blurted out. Then, he blinked, surprised at his own question.

She stiffened against him. "Why are you asking?"

He laughed shortly. "To tell the truth, I don't know. I surprised myself asking the question. But I've been thinking of this a long time, Akane, and - you always seem so angry about it."

She hesitated before answering. "I guess... Does it matter?"

He tried to smile. "Who ever said I wanted to be on the receiving end of your wrath, Akane?" he tried to joke.

"I'm not angry at you, Ranma. Well, at least not all the time. Most of the time, I'm just angry the other girls are always making trouble for us, wrecking the house, or bring trouble with them when their enemies hunt them down and we somehow get caught up in it..."

She sighed. "I'm tired, Ranma. It's been fun and great workout and all that, but I'm tired. I wish things would settle back to normal again. I wish I could go to school without being on my guard for a surprise attack from some lavender-haired Amazon..."

She trailed off, and both of them were quiet for a while.

"I'm...sorry, Akane," Ranma began hesitantly. "I should have...I - "

He laughed shortly. "It's not just that, is it? There's Ryouga and Mousse and Kunou attacking me every day. And there are those weird princes and monsters who pop out of the woodwork to challenge me, and..."

He dragged a hand through his hair. "Damn. I'm sorry, Akane. For all the trouble I bring. You've been attacked and kidnapped and almost killed, and it's all my fault. I'll bet even this time you're poisoned, it's somehow my fault, too."

"Ranma..." She took his hand and squeezed it warmly. Ranma closed his eyes and turned away.

"Ranma, look at me," she commanded in a soft voice. Hesitantly, Ranma looked down at her.

Her lips quivered with a tremulous smile. "I have never, _ever_ blamed you for the chaos in our lives, Ranma. Please don't think that."


She frowned. "Okay, I might have blamed you once or twice. I forgot. But I want you to know right now, I don't hold you responsible for anything. You're a trouble magnet, Ranma, almost as much as you attract water."

She smiled, and gave his hand another warm squeeze. "Even if all that was somehow your fault, whenever I get in trouble, you're always the first one to come to my rescue. That means a lot. Really."

Ranma's heart trembled in his chest. Here she was, lying in a hospital bed, teetering at death's door, and still she tried to comfort him, soothe his guilty conscience. Even as they both knew, it had to be Ranma's enemy - someone he'd insulted, or defeated, or offended - who'd poisoned Akane, still, she sought to make him feel better, even as she herself was in much worse condition...

*Aww, Akane,* he thought, as he stared into her wide brown eyes, *why do you make it so damned _easy_ for me to love you?*


Nabiki sat back on the couch, flipping through the pages of her magazine listlessly. She was fooling herself, she knew. There was no way she could concentrate on the latest news in the stock market when her sister had only a few more days to live...

She frowned. Speaking of which... Who had poisoned Akane? Why take such a subtle approach? If whoever it was wanted her dead, why not kill her using a more direct tactic?

She was tempted to think it was one of Ranma's other fiancees. After all, Kunou or Ryouga would never harm Akane. Mousse? She frowned. Mousse was a possibility. After all, didn't he once try to turn Akane into a duck? But then again, killing Akane would mean eliminating an obstacle to winning Ranma, and that seemed more like Shampoo's style rather than Mousse's...

The door to the clinic burst open. "Father! Father, look at this. I got it in today's mail!"

Nabiki looked up, startled, as Kasumi rushed into the room, waving a sheet of paper in her hand. Beads of perspiration trickled down her neck, her face was flushed red, and she was breathing heavily, indicating that she'd run all the way from home. A few strands of hair escaped her neat ponytail, hanging limply against her face. The sight of her stricken face was enough to send everyone into a panicked frenzy.

Soun, seated beside Nabiki, reached for the sheet of paper Kasumi held out, his eyes quickly scanning the few words scrawled on the page. His eyes widened, and he started to tremble.

"What is it, Daddy?" Without waiting for an answer, Nabiki snatched the paper out of her father's hands. "What the hell?" she shouted after a minute.

The poison is called "Chueh wang" (Hopelessness).
There is a certain man in Japan who has been able to formulate
the antidote before. This man lives in the mountains a few
miles north of Ryugenzawa. The map shows the exact location.
Tendo Akane will die on the third day without proper treatment.

The note was unsigned.

Nabiki frowned. It was too suspicious. Akane suddenly getting poisoned, then this mysterious letter. Who could have sent it?

And more importantly, whoever the sender is, was he telling the truth?

"This is good news, Tendo," Genma said, slapping his friend's back.

"We should show this to Dr. Tofu," Kasumi suggested. "He might know something about the poison now that it's been identified."

"What's that commotion about?" Tofu came into the waiting room, and there was a collective sigh of exasperation. Kasumi merely looked up, a smile lighting up her face.

It was quite predictable, really. Tofu glanced at Kasumi, and he jumped as if electrocuted. A silly grin spread across his face. "K-K-Kasumi!" he yelped. "What an amazing coincidence to see you here, of all places!"

"Quickly!" Nabiki hissed to Genma, as Tofu started to giggle hysterically. "Get Kasumi and go!"

Genma nodded and stood up. "Kasumi, dear, I'm beginning to get quite hungry. Do you think you could fix me some of that leftover sukiyaki we had for lunch? It was quite tasty, and I'm hungry for more."

Kasumi glanced uncertainly at Genma. "Why, of course, uncle Genma. But -"

"We'll take care of things here, onee-chan," Nabiki said. She glanced at her father, who was sitting beside her silently. "In fact, Daddy must be quite hungry, too. He didn't eat much during lunch. Why don't you go home with Kasumi, Daddy?" She gave her father a push.

Genma grabbed Soun's elbow and pulled his friend to his feet. "Come on, Tendo. Surely I can engage you in a game of shogi? You have to beat me yet, you know..."

Genma half dragged Soun out the door, and Kasumi followed behind them, after looking at Nabiki anxiously.

Nabiki waved them off. "Don't worry, sis."

"Look, Betty-chan, Kasumi's come to see us again..." Tofu chattered mindlessly.

Nabiki sighed and stood up. She slapped the back of her hand against Tofu's face. "Snap out of it, doc," she ordered.

Tofu glanced down at her. "Nabiki! What are you doing here? Don't tell me you have an injury too? Why, with Ranma around, everyone seems to..."

"Doctor!" Nabiki snapped, tapping his face harder. "I have something to show you!"

Tofu's eyes began to clear. The grin wiped off his face, he gazed at her seriously. "What is it, Nabiki?"

She handed him the piece of paper. Tofu glanced at it briefly, then brought his gaze back at Nabiki.

"What do you think, doc?" Nabiki asked quietly.

Tofu's eyes were thoughtful. "It's the best lead we've got. We should try." He smiled at her. "Shall we tell Ranma and Akane?"

Nabiki nodded. "Let's go."


Ranma was staring at her so intently, Akane felt as if she would drown in the blue-grey depths of his eyes. Her breath caught in her throat, and she started to reach up a hand to touch his face...

The door creaked open, and both of them jumped nervously, heads turning in perfect synchrony.

Nabiki and Tofu stood at the open doorway. Her sister, Akane noted, was smirking, her eyes glinting. Tofu simply stared at them impassively, except for a small smile that played at his lips.

Ranma straightened and pulled away, stammering. "It's not what you think! We were just ... I mean, uh..."

Nabiki grinned. "Relax, Ranma. We have something for you." She raised her brows at him. "We can talk about what to do about this... compromising situation later."

"Nabiki!" Akane burst out.

Her sister laughed. "Jeez, Akane, can't you take a joke?"

Akane glanced at Ranma, who'd gotten out of her bed and was shifting uncomfortably on his feet. "Obviously, he can't."

Nabiki gave him an even look, and she sobered. "Okay, down to business. I have something to show you." She handed Ranma a piece of paper. "See what you think of this."

Ranma's eyes flew over the short page. He glared up at Nabiki. "Why didn't you hand this over in the first place?"

Nabiki smirked. "Thought I'd watch you squirm for a while first."

"What is it?" Akane asked.

Ranma handed her the note. "Can we trust this?" he asked Nabiki.

She shrugged. "You got me. What do you think?"

Ranma took a deep breath. "We have to try," he said resolutely. He glanced at his fiancee. "Akane?"

She looked up, and Ranma was surprised to see her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "What is it?" he asked worriedly, sitting beside her.

Her lips trembled. "You're going?" she whispered.

He nodded. "Of course I am. Who else is there to come to your rescue, baka?" he teased.

Akane sniffled and said nothing. Nabiki nodded. "What are your plans?" she asked.

Ranma looked up. "I have to go home and get a few things. Then I'll be on my way."

*** End CHAPTER 3 ***