Ch.13 - It happened once in a dream

She'd gone to sleep nestled in Nabiki's arms, she knew that much for certain, yet there was no Nabiki here. She was quite certain she was in her human form at the time, yet she could clearly feel her tail swishing nervously behind her, and her ears swivel around as various sounds drifted by.

Wind. Forgotten melodies. Kuno spitting rap lyrics in the distance.

She got up and made her way out of the room. Her reflection in the mirror was static. On the other side of the door was no hallway, only a single staircase leading up to a purple beach.

Kuno sang about Akane leading him around on a leash.

The sky was a shade of dark green, much like a sky never ought be, and the corrugated steel floor tickled the bottom of her feet like so much freshly-mown grass.

Looking around, she could see a group of hills nearby, in the distance, tracing the silhouette of her lover. In a mere five steps, she'd already reached the butt and stood there to look for other landmarks. A lake of molten candy to the left, a small forest on the other left, and dead ahead on Nabiki's shoulder, a figure.

She approached the figure in a single step. The figure rose to meet her eye, and she froze. It was the monster cat she was afraid of becoming, sharply defined against the purple sky, and glaring at her.

It meowed, and she knew not what it said. She only knew to get away, but no matter how many steps she took, she could not leave the shoulder.

Every step she took, every breath she took, more ripples appeared below the surface of the candy lake.

When she finally got away from the monster cat, mostly by sliding down Nabiki's back and landing back on her butt, a new figure slowly rose down from the lake, bringing a feeling of hope and cheese.

A strapping young man, dressed in fine silks. Long black hair tied back in a pigtail. He was the ideal martial artist, as she'd considered a few years ago. A little vanity never hurt noone.

In the distance, Nabiki's room folded into the staircase. Her office chair was expulsed with a deafening burp.

The ideal confidently stepped onto Nabiki's hip and strode towards the monster still standing on the shoulder.

"Tiun nar klunaerhuw," said the monster.

"Nisur'el, bhalti ouna nar biri'esew," the ideal replied.

The words made less than no sense to her, but she felt reassured by the ideal's reply nonetheless. The feeling lasted all of a millisecond (insofar as time had meaning) as the monster stood to its full height and launched itself towards the ideal.

She was pushed away much like the trees of the forest from the shockwave of their first strike and fell onto the candy lake. As much as she'd like to help fight the monster, it and the ideal were clearly several levels above her. Sparks flew with every hit, the octarine sky turning to bursts of static.

The forest burned for no discernable reason at all, filling the yellow sky with ashen snowflakes. At least Kuno had stopped spitting fire, too busy being on fire.

Nabiki stood up, leaving the ideal and the monster fighting in the air, and stood next to her.

"Laeamir nuri aiskli'aw, tiun fahr shigrisena."

"I don't know what you said," she wanted to say, but no sound came out.

It didn't matter.

She knew what Nabiki had meant.

Somehow.

She watched the ideal and the monster fight. They moved around each other in a vaguely circular motion, when suddenly the monster was flung down into the lake, shattering its glassy surface. Looking at the monster spasming under the surface, she could see her own reflection. Every time she blinked, it looked different.

Her usual human self. Her catgirl form. Herself, but with shiny black hair. The ideal. Herself with two pigtails, a simple ponytail like she used to have before she went on the vacation that started it all, various other variations on the very theme of Ranma... but never the monster cat.

Every one of them shot off to the monster below to strike it, bouncing off and disappearing in the distance.

Kuno tried, but bounced off the lake.

The ideal floated down to the lake surface. It was only now that she noticed that now that it'd shattered it was no longer candy, but as the ideal sank below the surface, she was surprised to see him disappear entirely. Every centimeter of his body that was below the surface was simply gone. Still, even after completely submerging, the ideal somehow raised one hand back out.

The ideal gave a thumbs up.

She and Nabiki returned the gesture as the hand disappeared again.

Casting one last look at the monster curling up into a ball out on the bottom of the lake, she and Nabiki embraced and hugged.

Nabiki smelled of apricots and chocolate chip cookies.

"Fheira."

Again, she tried to say that she didn't understand this strange dream language.

Once more, the sky turned to static, and stayed that way.

Again, no sound came out.

"Wake up."

She was surprised to hear regular people words, even if they were oddly muffled.

"Ranma, wake up."

The lake broke once more.

In fact, the world broke. The sky shattered as all the grassy metal dissolved, and all went black.

Ranma's eyes snapped open.

"You're kinda crushing me, Tiger," Nabiki whispered, with but a hint of discomfort.

"Ah, 'scuse me."

"It's all good. Sleep with a little powerhouse martial artist like you, Tiger, is kinda asking to be woken up like this."

"Yeah, well. I had a real weird dream."

"Maybe you could tell me about it during lunch. I thought we could check out that restaurant Shampoo works at."

Once more that day, yet for the first time, Nabiki and Ranma embraced and hugged.


Author's Notes

Ivlem amtha'eni, dhi afol ori amthawa oenirhuw. You might not think any of those words make sense, and you'd be forgiven for thinking this considering they're spoken in a dream, but every one of them makes absolutely perfect sense in context. I'm a regular Tolkien.


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