DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
by Scott K. Jamison
Ranma 1/2 and its associated characters created by Rumiko Takahashi
She'd lost him. Lost him for good, this time.
Akane sobbed into her hands, not caring that she was in the
middle of the street. "Why? Why did I do that? I always lose my
temper at the wrong time! And now he's gone!"
A honking reminded her to move to the sidewalk.
"If only we had started right! I wish I could do it all over,
so Ranma wouldn't hate me..."
There was a tapping on her shoulder.
"I can help you with that, miss..." the speaker was a tall man
whose hair was white, though his face was unwrinkled.
"Wh-what do you mean?" asked Akane, trying to dry her eyes with
an already sopping handkerchief.
"It just so happens I have an amulet here that allows a person
to go back along their own timeline. It only works once, but think
of all the mistakes you could fix...."
Akane's mind raced. Yes, she could return to the day she met
Ranma, get things off on the right foot to begin with. But--
"What's this going to cost me?"
"Oh, it's free," said the man sincerely. "I already used my
chance, and was much better off for it, so I can't use the amulet
"I see. Okay."
The man smiled and handed Akane a shiny golden pendant. "Use it
tomorrow at noon for best effect."
"Thank you!" Akane ran for home to prepare. She didn't notice
that the man's pocket had more than one chain dangling from it...
"Oh, he wants Akane!"
Akane scowled, not entirely acting. She'd forgotten how much of
a betrayal her sisters' action had seemed like at the time.
Nabiki's eyes shifted as she tried to think of an excuse.
"Well, you hate boys, right? And Ranma's half girl!"
Kasumi nodded enthusiastically.
Akane took a deep breath. This was where it had all started to
go wrong. She had to make this sound good.
"But he's not a girl! He just looks like one, right, Ranma?"
Ranma looked taken aback, but responded, "Yeah, that's right!"
"And shouldn't he be the one to choose, instead of just having
someone pushed on him?"
"Yeah!" said Ranma, smiling now that someone was agreeing with
"Let's all just back off on this engagement thing, okay?"
The two fathers disagreed with that idea, but a few well-placed
blows (Akane had improved, whether Ranma would notice or not)
convinced them that a "trial period" was indeed best.
"I'm a martial artist too, you know!" shouted Akane. Ranma slid
away in the early morning dew. "You don't have to go this easy on
You'd think he'd be a little more considerate, the girl thought.
No wait, he probably thinks this is considerate.
She leapt after the retreating boy, who was really beginning to
irritate her. Her trying to be nicer didn't make Ranma enough less
of a jerk to keep from triggering her temper, it seemed.
"Come back here so I can swat you!" she cried.
Ranma stuck out his tongue. "No way!"
Their sparring was interrupted by Kasumi coming out on to the
porch. "Ranma, there's someone here to see you."
That was funny. Akane didn't remember anyone showing up to see
Ranma the morning after he arrived. She followed him into the living
There was a pretty girl in an attractive dress standing there,
looking slightly nervous. She looked awfully familiar, but Akane
couldn't place her for a moment. Wait a minute, she had a giant
spatula slung across her back.
The other girl blinked and looked at Akane. "H-how did you--"
Ranma interrupted. "You know her, Akane?"
Before she could answer, the okonomiyaki chef crossed to Ranma
and said, "It's me, Ranma, Ukyou Kuonji, you know, Ucchan?"
The pigtailed boy knotted his brow in concentration. "Oh yeah,
Okonomiyaki Ucchan! But when did you fall in the Spring of Drowned
"Oh, I've always been a girl, Ranma. I just never got around to
telling you before. But I was in the neighborhood and heard you were
Akane felt her temperature rising. "Oh, I'll just bet. That
dress doesn't suit you, and shouldn't you be attending school with
"You know about Tsubasa? But that's impossible, unless--"
The two girls stared at each other in horror.
"Excuse me," said Ranma. "Someone like to clue me in here?"
"Well, it's like--" Simultaneously with,
"I just wanted to--"
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but Ranma has another visitor," said
Kasumi. "My, you're popular!"
A purple-haired girl strode through the door, clad in
traditional Amazon fighting garb.
"Shampoo!" This from three throats at once, followed by Ranma
swiveling his neck to look incredulously at both Akane and Ukyou.
"L-listen Shampoo, you really shouldn't--"
"It's okay, Ranma, Shampoo knows you're really a boy. So the
Kiss of Death is no longer in effect. It is now the Kiss of
Ranma fled the room anyway.
The three girls looked at each other for a long silent moment.
Then each of them reached into a pocket and drew forth a shining
amulet. There was a general sigh.
"Okay," ventured Akane, "now what?"
not to be continued...