Ranma 1/2: A Christmas Gift
by Orla

***

Set directly after the events in the Ranma 1/2 special:
Tendo Family Christmas Scramble. Okay, this isn't the season,
but I suddenly came up with this and had to write it.

Ranma 1/2 is copyright to Rumiko Takahashi - or Takahashi
Rumiko for all the nitpickers - I am not making a profit
from this, so don't sue me, I have nothing!

***

Ryoga Hibiki stood disconsolately in the empty dojo listening
to laughter coming from outside. He slumped further against
the wall, his eyes fixed on the beautifully wrapped gift in
his hands.

*She didn't even see me.* he thought *She ran straight past
me. She went to Ranma.*

Tears welled up in the lost boy's eyes and dripped onto the
bright wrapping.

*Oh, Akane... *

Up until then it had been such a wonderful night. Okay, so
there had been some minor hiccups, that Kuno was such an
idiot sometimes, well, _most_ of the time! However, as Ryoga
had said to Mousse the happy atmosphere at the Tendos, despite
the chaos and the presense of Ranma, had filled Ryoga with a
warmth he had barely known. Then all the fun of the party
itself, the games, the food, and the performances, Ryoga had
loved it. Finally he gathered up his courage and stood, ready
to give his beloved Akane his Christmas gift to her, and maybe,
just maybe, to tell her his true feelings. But...

*Akane, I chose this gift so carefully, I knew you would like
it.*

He just stood there when she ran past, his heart cracking.
No one had cared, asked him if he was alright. Then Akane
and Ranma fell through the roof and he was ready to join
in the fray trying to get at Ranma, letting anger overtake
his sadness. But the release of tension was denied when the
lights went out. Now everyone was outside laughing, Akane
and Ranma were together and Ryoga was...

"Alone." Ryoga murmered. "That's my fate. Akane-san, to you I
am nothing but your little P-chan. Would you even miss Ryoga?"

In the emptiness Ryoga's heartbroken sigh echoed.

***

Ukyou Kuonji stood in the garden with all the others gazing
up at the swirling lights, they were so pretty. She laughed
with the rest and for a moment forgot her troubles. She looked
around for Ranma and saw him, on the balcony, with Akane.

"Ranchan... "

They were smiling, standing close, Ranma had his arm around
Akane. Akane clutched something to her and Ranma wore a ragged
yellow scarf around his neck, Akane's present to him.

Earlier in the evening, during the party, Ukyou had drawn
Akane aside and asked in a whisper. "Akane-chan, what did you
get for Ranchan?"

"I didn't _get_ him anything." Akane bit her lip. "I
made him a... a scarf."

"Made?" Ukyou blinked in surprise. "_You_ made something?!"

Akane pulled away from Ukyou. "Hai, I... I didn't want to
spend money on that baka-hentai!" She stomped away, a fierce
red blush on her cheeks.

Now Ukyou shook her head, trying to stop her eyes from blurring.
Why spend money on a gift when one made with your own hands,
one that he would know would have taken hard work no matter
how bad it is, would mean so much more?

*I was so stupid* Ukyou thought of her behaviour tonight.
*I should never have let myself be sucked into one of Nabiki
Tendo's scheme's, with that Chinese bimbo and that cackling
loony around, of course things went wrong!*

But she paid Nabiki to arrange some time with Ranma and she
had been the first in line.

*And did I behave myself? No, I was giggly and mooched all
over him, trying to be the opposite of Akane and acting more
like Shampoo than myself! Then _they_ turned up. No wonder he
ran away from us!*

Ukyou sneaked another look up and then quickly looked away and
down at the slim parcel in her hand.

*There's no _way_ I can give this to him now. This sucks, it's
Christmas eve and I have no one share this gift with.*

A high-pitched voice rang out. "Ukyou-saaammmmaaaaa!!!"

*Except Tsubasa. Oh _goody_. I might as well keep it for
myself!*

Ukyou sighed and made her way towards the dojo. Time to go,
before she made more of a jackass of herself and before
Tsubasa tracked her down.

She entered the dojo and picked up the prizes she had won in
a couple of the contests. As she turned to go a loud, unhappy
sigh made her pause.

*Someone else feels as bad as I do?* she wondered.

Ukyou looked around and spotted a figure slumped against the
far wall radiating depression.

*Ryoga... *

***

Ryoga wiped his eyes, sighed again and wondering if he should
leave. At this point wandering into another place far far away
from Nerima had a distinct charm.

"Ano... Ryoga?"

A soft voice made him look up. Ukyou Kuonji stood in front of
him, a sympathetic expression on her face. Ryoga straightened
and glared at her, he was embarrassed that she had caught him
being so... so...

"Feeling unhappy, sugar?" Ukyou's eyes held his. "Why?"

"What would _you_ know?" he demanded. "You could _never_
understand!"

Ukyou tapped her foot on the floor, then paused, shrugged and
held out a slim package tied with a ribbon. "Here. Merry
Christmas, Ryoga Hibiki."

Ryoga stared at her. "F-for me? Why?"

"Cause _one_ of us should be happy tonight!" Ukyou pushed the
present at him. "Go on. I want you to have it!"

Ryoga hesitated and looked at the gift in his own hand. His
eyes widened and he nodded. "Yes." he said to himself and
holding out Akane's present he said. "Merry Christmas, Ukyou."

She blinked and took it, depositing Ranma's gift in his hands.

"You got burned too, huh?"

Ryoga couldn't help smiling slightly. "Yeah."

"Come on." Ukyou took his hand and led him to the stage. "The
light is better here, I like to _see_ what I'm getting!"

They sat down and carefully unwrapped the presents.

Ryoga pulled out a soft white cashmere scarf. "Wow, it's really
beautiful!" he said softly.

Ukyou blushed. "Yeah? It's okay? I thought it was nice, but
I didn't know if a guy would like it."

Ryoga put it around his neck and marvelled at the softness
of the material. "No, I think it's great. I've never owned
_any_ clothing as nice as this."

Ukyou blushed a bit more and ripped open her gift. "Oh. my."

She pulled out two exquisite miniature fans, unfolding them
she stared in amazement at the delicate painting on both.
"Ryoga... Ryoga, this is lovely!" a tear trickled down one
cheek. "No one's _ever_ given me _anything_ like this!"

Ryoga swallowed. "I'm... I'm glad you like them."

Ukyou sniffed and wiped her face. "I really do."

Ryoga looked at the scarf again, blinked, and narrowed his
eyes. "There are initials on this, 'R S'!"

"Oopsie." Ukyou laughed. "I forgot about that. Just pretend
the 'S' is a 'H'."

"_Thanks_"

Ukyou pulled out two stands for the fans. "Hmmm... I notice
that 'A T' is carved on _these_!"

"Eh... hehhehheh... sorry."

Ukyou smiled at him. "You are such a jackass." She placed the
fans and the stands carefully in their box and stood up.

"Come on, let's go outside and rejoin the party." She held out
her hand.

Ryoga looked up at her and hesitantly took her hand. "S-sure."

***

Later that evening:

"Hey, Ryoga!" Ranma sauntered up to Ryoga who was munching on
a sweet dumpling. "You still here? I'd've expected you to have
wandered away by now."

Ryoga glared at him and swallowed his mouthful. "Shut up,
Ranma." he said calmly.

Ranma was surprised, no battle aura? No yelling 'Ranma-now
-you-die'? "Who are you?" he demanded. "What have you done
with Ryoga?"

"Lay off, Ranchan." Ukyou popped out from behind Ryoga and
placed an okonomiyaki in Ranma's hands. "It's Christmas."

Ranma shrugged. Oh well, there had been enough excitement
for one night and the okonomiyaki did look good. "Sure, Ucchan.
Merry Christmas!" he took a bite of the okonomiyaki and glanced
back at Ryoga. "Nice scarf, where'd you get that?"

Ryoga polished off the dumpling. "It's my Christmas present."

"Oh yeah? Who... "

"Ranma!" Akane called from across the garden. "Dad wants to
take some photos, get over here!"

"Aw man... " Ranma gulped down the rest of the okonomiyaki and
ran over to Akane.

"Everyone please assemble for photos!" Nabiki ordered.

Ryoga sighed. "Photos?"

Ukyou touched his arm. "Come on, sugar, it'll be fun."

Ryoga considered. "Maybe... " he touched the scarf *A Christmas
present from... from a _friend_. You know, today hasn't been
_that_ bad, a photo would be a nice momento* Ryoga smiled at
her. "Let's go."

Ukyou grinned back *he's kinda cute when he smiles*. "Let's."

They walked over to the assembled company.

***

Orla's explanation:

Ok, I am a BIG BIG Ryoga fan -he's soooo kawaii!- and I
always felt _so_ bad when Akane ran past him in the
Christmas special and he was left standing there. Anyway,
I wanted there to be a "happy ending" for him. It would make
_me_ feel happier! Now, I'm also a Ukyou fan and yes I
subscribe to the belief (shared by many I've noticed!) that
Ukyou and Ryoga would make a great couple, also she was the
only other person I could think of to help Ryoga! So I wrote
this fic, it's kinda cutesy, but oh well! I hope you liked it!

Ooki ni! (Thanks)

Orla

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