Another Day

                            Another Day
                       A GRIT Fanfic By Blade
 The vempyre advanced towards her, holding up his black medallion.  I
 tried to move, to protect her, but all I could manage was that feeble
 shout, which the vempyre didn't even seem to notice. I had failed,
 and could only helplessly watched the drama play out, as I had so
 many times before. 
 The talking, the bargaining, the pleading, it was over.  Epsilon
 lowered the medallion towards her...towards the woman I loved.  She
 screamed, and my scream answered her, a scream that would go on for
 time everlasting... 
 I sat bolt upright in my futon.  For a moment I looked around wildly,
 then realised it had only been a dream.  Only a dream...I let my head
 sink into my shaking hands. Every night for five years I had relived
 this, yet it still affected me like the first.  But no tears came; I
 would not allow them to come.  This was the price of my failure. 
 With a sigh, I raised my head and glanced at the clock.  It was
 almost time to get up anyway.  Smoothly rising to my feet, I grabbed
 a bathrobe from the closet, wrapped it around myself and stepped
 quietly outside.  A quick check in the komatsu assured me that the
 other houseguest was still asleep.  I smiled faintly. Konatsu in the
 komatsu.  How appropriate.  Of course, Ukyou would still be in bed-
 she didn't get enough sleep as it was. This left the shower to me; a
 fortunate circumstance, as the dream had left me soaked with sweat. 
 Walking into the bathroom, I slid the door shut, undressed, and
 climbed into the shower. The water was hot, almost scalding, and I
 sighed as it beat against my body, relaxing the tight, knotted
 muscles.  But I did not linger to enjoy it.  Quickly washing up, I
 stepped out of the shower, dried myself off and put on the robe
 again.  I wasn't really refreshed, but at least I was now more alert. 
 Returning to my room, I opened the closet.  Everything inside was
 black.  In five years, I had worn nothing else.  The colour of
 mourning...the colour of hate.  The colour that, until recently, had
 defined my entire being.  Ukyou didn't understand, of course. 
 Several times she had tried to persuade me to wear something else,
 but I would always refuse; politely, but without explanation.  And I
 would watch as she threw up her hands and say I was impossible,
 hearing, in my mind, those same words coming from a different mouth,
 long ago... 
 I dressed, pushing those thoughts from my mind.  There was no use
 dwelling on the past.  All that remained was the future...and what to
 do with it.  Taking position in the centre of my spartan, meticulously
 clean room, I did my first morning exercises: a series of simple
 katas that invigorated me, driving away the last of my morning
 tiredness and giving me a pleasant tingle as the blood woke up and
 flowed through me. After that I moved on to some more complex
 stretches, testing all my muscles, making sure that everything moved
 smoothly and precisely. Such were the precautions a martial artist
 had to take.  In a battle, any twitch or imperfection in a movement
 could prove fatal. 
 I knew Konatsu would be doing the same, albeit perhaps not so
 meticulously.  Not Ukyou, though.  She'd probably just do some
 stretches and that would be it.  Martial arts didn't mean that much
 to her; they had simply been a means to an end, long ago. Actually,
 I was the same way...but my end had not been accomplished yet. 
 As I walked out of my room and started down the stairs, the
 mouthwatering scent of Ukyou's okonomiyaki wafted up to me.  At
 first, after coming here, I had refused to let her cook for me,
 saying I was imposing on her enough as it was.  But after a week or
 so, she had persuaded me to relent. Cooking wasn't a chore, she
 assured me; it was her life, what she loved to do most.  I had only
 agreed out of politeness, but since then I had never looked back.  It
 wasn't the okonomiyaki itself - though that was heavenly - but her
 obvious pleasure at my enjoyment of it that made her meals so
 Stepping into the kitchen, I nodded to Konatsu Kenzan.  The kunoichi
 had undoubtedly figured out, in the three years since he had come
 here, that Ukyou had no real romantic interest in him.  But he
 continued to work here, probably because he had nowhere else to go. 
 Ucchan's profit margin had grown considerably over time, and Ukyou
 was now able to afford to give him a modest salary in addition to
 room and board.  However, he hardly ever spent anything, and
 sometimes I wondered what he was saving for. Perhaps he planned to
 get a place of his own.  That would be good; while we did not exactly
 dislike each other, we did make each other uncomfortable, and I would
 not be particularly sorry to see him leave. 
 Ukyou noticed my entrance and called out a cheery greeting.  My reply
 was less than enthusiastic, but she was used to that by now.  Opening
 the cupboard, I reached for a plate...and just as I touched it, a
 steaming okonomiyaki appeared on it like magic.  I whirled in
 surprise, to find Ukyou grinning at me.  Unable to help myself, I
 smiled back...slightly. She winked and went back to her cooking.
 Picking up the plate, I carried it over to the small table reserved
 for the staff, shaking my head.  Ukyou's cheerfulness, optimism, and
 sense of humour never ceased to amaze me.  Despite all that had
 happened to her, she retained a generally sunny disposition that was
 in uncomfortable contrast with my own gloominess and black moods.  I
 envied her ability to handle things like that, sometimes even
 resented it.  But most of all, I admired her for it...for that, and
 many other things.
 Finishing the okonomiyaki, I walked into the restaurant proper and
 set up the chairs.  Ukyou had fired up the main grill, and she gave
 me a "thumbs up" sign.  I unlocked the door and set up the shop
 curtain outside.  Many small restaurant owners would have insisted on
 doing this themselves, but Ukyou was not so proud of her restaurant
 as she was of her own skill.  And many others recognized that skill
 as well: even as I stepped back inside, I saw people heading for the
 now-open door.  Forcing a halfway-pleasant expression on my face, I
 drew out a pad and prepared to take orders. 
 The day passed fairly quickly, as it usually did.  I waited tables
 most of the time, cleaned up the restaurant when few patrons were
 around, and occasionally made a delivery or two.  Finally, after the
 last of the supper crowd had drifted out, Ukyou closed up the shop
 and informed us she would be going out.  As she went up to her room,
 I exchanged a glance with Konatsu.  There was, of course, no doubt
 about whom she was going to see...and it was just as certain how it
 would end.  I wondered, once more, at the optimism and hope that was
 always on her face when she went to see her "Ranchan".  What was she
 secretly wishing to see?  Ranma, her best friend, contented and
 happy?  Or Ranma, her ex-fiancee, finding that life with Akane was
 not what he'd hoped for? 
 Perhaps even Ukyou herself didn't know the answer.  But whatever she
 was looking for, she didn't find it on those frequent visits.  She
 would return, and even on those occasions she managed to act
 outwardly cheerful, there would always be something in her eyes...a
 hopeless, lost look so alien to her it wrenched my heart, even as it
 filled me with an enraged urge to gut Ranma Saotome...
 Strangely, in all of this, I never attached any blame or guilt to
 Ukyou herself.  Some did, I knew.  The Heavensruns, Akane, even
 Konatsu all wondered why Ukyou couldn't get over Ranma and get on
 with her life.  They didn't say it aloud, of course, not around me,
 but I could tell.  The way they acted around her, snippets of
 conversation I had heard before they noticed me and changed the was obvious.  Akane had even made a few attempts to talk
 with her about it, at the restaurant, but her discomfort at talking
 with her old rival on this particular subject had been apparent, and
 the discussion would always get politely aborted.  Ranma was the
 person who really should have broached the subject, but I imagine
 Akane would have had trouble even getting him to admit there was a
 problem, let alone persuade the Gutless Wonder to do anything about
 it.  Which was why I hated him, of course. 
 The turn my thoughts had taken was making me angry, and I knew
 watching Ukyou go to see him wouldn't help, so I decided to go out
 myself first.  Konatsu did the evening cleaning anyway, so I stepped
 outside and grabbed the hose which Ukyou kept there for my
 A quick twist later, and I lifted into the air on nearly soundless
 jets, heading for my usual training area.  Even as I flew, though, my
 thoughts returned to Ranma.  I hated the younger Saotome with a
 passion, a passion that few around here could understand. Despite my
 assertions to the contrary, they usually dismissed it as jealousy,
 just like most of Ranma's other rivals. Those with enough brains and
 familiarity to know that wasn't so - like Akane - simply didn't know 
 what to think of it.  But it was really quite simple: I hated Ranma
 because he had ruined Ukyou's life. Honestly, I didn't really blame
 him for leaving her behind originally; even if it took some kind of
 weird kid to pick food over his supposed friend, he was still too
 young to really be blamed. But for what he had done when they were
 older...there was no forgiveness, no excuse.  Because in his own
 idiotic stubbornness, he could not admit that he loved Akane, he had
 kept Ukyou hoping and dreaming for three years.  
 The others were no comparison.  Kodachi was insane, and Shampoo would
 have loved anybody if they had beaten her in combat.  Akane probably
 got as much aggravation, but she gave as good as she got, and she
 eventually married Ranma anyway.  And the other two got over Ranma
 quickly and found new loves.  Ukyou was left with nothing. Nothing
 but a lost childhood and a shattered dream.  
 I would have killed Ranma for that, but I had long ago made a vow not
 to kill any other being save one, Epsilon.  So I settled for trying
 to humiliate Ranma instead, defeat him in combat, make him grovel,
 put him through some of the pain he had put Ukyou through.  Of
 course, the fact he had been a martial artist all his life, while I
 had only been serious about it in the last five years, had put a
 crimp in that plot.  But I knew he would fall eventually. All it
 would take was one plan he didn't quite make it through, one time the
 odds were stacked just enough in my favour, one occasion his friends
 weren't there early enough. It would come.  All I had to do was
 I landed in my training spot, a secluded grove about a hundred
 kilometres outside of Tokyo.  It was a medium-sized clearing in the
 forest, with six training dummies set up in random positions
 throughout. These dummies had been a gift from Ginseng; they would
 quickly regenerate from any amount of damage, ready to be blasted,
 chopped or shredded again.  
 Switching back into my human form, I opened up on the first with a
 simple Kieiken blast, slicing one of the dummies' heads off.  Then I
 turned, sweeping my arm around with a Kon Tatsu Hikari Ha wave that
 sliced three more in half.  I ran towards the remaining two.  Leaping
 into the air, I demolished one with a Bukidoken bolt, landed in a
 crouch, and then leaped into the next one with a Kon Tatsu Raiken
 thunder fist, blowing it to bits.  After pausing a moment to catch my
 breath, I turned around to face the now-regenerated dummies.  I
 clenched my fists, precisely tightening the muscles in my wrists
 which triggered the claws in my wristbands.  Then I rushed forward
 once again. 
 For several hours I did this, repeatedly demolishing the dummies in
 ever more complex ways; sometimes physically, sometimes with various
 ki attacks.  This method of training was not very conductive to
 improving defence, but I had never been much of a defensive fighter
 anyway, nor cared for the skill.  That was the province of my old
 friend Kei...after finishing off the last dummy with a quick Ramsori
 Ha flurry, I decided to head back.  I was getting tired.  Walking
 over, I picked up the bucket that I left to collect rainwater
 here...then stopped, and looked at the regenerated dummies, narrowing
 my eyes.  I had done most of the last couple of passes physically,
 and I still had a lot of power left, even with the drain from the
 Ramsori Ha.  Perhaps one more move... 
 I was standing at the edge of the clearing, the six dummies arrayed in
 front of me. Having made my decision, I put the bucket down and
 turned to face them.  My eyes closed with concentration; I felt sweat
 break out on my forehead.  I had never tried this with much less than
 full power before, but Ginseng said that I would be able to do more
 as I continued to practice, pushing at the limits of my ki reservoir.
 Time slowed to a standstill as I struggled to build up the power. It
 seemed to take hours, but finally I felt the vast well forming, a
 seemingly bottomless pit of energy, opening to me in order to do my
 There was no turning back now.  I took a step forward and launched
 myself into the air, the sheer force of the power arcing around me
 keeping me aloft.  Reaching deep into that well, deeper than I ever
 had before, I sucked out all I could, and when it seemed I could hold
 no more without bursting, I thrust it skyward with a cry of triumph.
 The vast energy ripped through me, filling my body with a searing
 heat that was painful yet incredibly, almost erotically pleasurable
 at the same time.  The ecstasy of the ki. And then it left me
 suddenly, and I fell to earth, drained but exultant.  Looking up, I
 saw the dummies blasted to ashes, destroyed by the lightning I had
 called from the sky.  
 I smiled, slowly getting to my feet.  Never before had I managed to
 do the Chou Raiu Jutsu, my most powerful technique, after having
 already exerted myself to that level.  The fight against Ranma didn't
 count; I had stolen so much energy I could have tossed it off a dozen
 times with ease.  This time, it had been entirely my own doing...I
 felt a thrill of triumph at that.  My power was indeed growing.  If I
 could take Ranma off-guard with _that_ move, it would be all over. 
 Of course, the move would be useless against Epsilon, when we
 inevitably met again...but so was almost everything I knew anyway. 
 After a few minutes to catch my breath, I headed back to Tokyo.  My
 good mood slowly faded as I approached.  Ukyou would undoubtedly be
 back by now, and I would have to see that if I didn't have
 enough things plaguing my dreams as it was.  Well, it was quite late,
 I noted, glancing at the moon.  With any luck, she had already gone
 to bed. 
 Landing outside the restaurant, I used the steam generators built
 into the mecha to change back.  I was eternally grateful for Tarou
 for teaching me that trick, although I envied how easily he had
 mastered the new powers at his command.  Tarou had had his curse
 since birth; he was as familiar with that body as he was with his
 human one, and the two "improvements" he had made over the years had
 been quickly and smoothly incorporated into his sphere of knowledge. 
 I, on the other hand, had only had this curse for a few months, and I
 still found new abilites and quirks in it almost every day. 
 Letting myself in, I closed the door behind me and noted with some
 surprise that the room was occupied.  I took a closer look...and
 stopped.  There was Ukyou, sitting in a booth, head pillowed in her
 arms.  After a moment, I could tell that she was not crying, but
 asleep.  Not crying anymore, anyway...Konatsu must have gone to bed
 before she had fallen asleep, since he would have undoubtedly noticed
 I wrestled with the decision before me for a moment, then finally
 gave in.  I couldn't just leave her here; it was already quite cold
 in the restaurant area, and she would be stiff as a board tomorrow. 
 Acting before I lost my nerve, I walked over to her...I hesitated,
 but she didn't awaken, and I gently scooped her up.  I half-expected
 her to wake up and bash me, but she merely stirred slightly.  
 She was surprisingly light, I couldn't help but notice.  The stress
 she had been under lately had probably caused her to lose
 weight...and she didn't eat much, either.  I mentally resolved to try
 and encourage her to have a more healthy diet; the last thing she
 needed was to get sick.  
 I carefully walked over to the stairs, but just as I started up them,
 Ukyou murmured something incomprehensible and turned a bit, putting
 her arms around me.  I stopped again, almost involuntarily.  It was
 not merely the fact that the identity of the person she was _really_
 dreaming of holding was indisputable, but also the almost
 overpowering compulsion to return the embrace that gripped me.  Step
 by step I resumed walking up the stairs, focusing only on what I was
 doing, trying to ignore everything else... 
 It was with both relief and profound disappointment that I reached
 the top of that seemingly endless flight of stairs and Ukyou's room. 
 I walked inside with perhaps more haste than I should have, and as I
 placed her down on her bed, what I had feared finally happened. Her
 eyes snapped open. They rested on me for a moment, still groggy and
 "Ranchan?" she whispered, her voice filled with hope...and even joy.
 I would have given my soul to be able to give her the answer she
 wanted.  But, of course, I couldn't.  Sometimes I wondered if I would
 ever be the one she dreamt of... 
 She blinked, and her eyes cleared....and widened slightly.  "Blade?" 
 This was it.  Well, I had taken the chance.  "You had fallen asleep
 downstairs...I just carried you up here.  It was getting cold, and
 you'd be stiff..."  I trailed off, waiting for the explosion. 
 "Thank you," she said softly.
 Now it was my turn to blink.  "Y-you're welcome," I managed to reply.
  I was uncomfortably aware that my hand was on the bed, resting on had it gotten there?  Yet I couldn't pull it away...  "It
 was no trouble."  
 For a long moment after that, we simply remained where we were.  I
 looked into her sea blue eyes, and I knew she, in turn, gazed into my
 dark brown ones. What did she see there?  Could she see past the
 barriers, into the torment I carried there that returned to haunt me
 every night?  I didn't know, for all I could see was those eyes,
 shining in the pale light from the moon, that face, somehow unmarred
 by all the trials she had endured, and her long brown hair, splayed
 out beneath her...  For one instant, I wanted to tell her everything;
 about Tonya, about Epsilon; cleanse my soul and beg for forgiveness,
 for understanding...for acceptance.  I wanted to so badly I could
 barely resist it.  But then I stood up, taking my hand from hers.  I
 couldn't burden her with it. Not yet.  
 "I...I have to go," I said, the rough, raw edge of my voice
 surprising me.  "I'll see you tomorrow," I finished, in a more normal
 tone. I turned and walked towards the door, but at the threshold, I
 hesitated once more and looked back at Ukyou. She was staring at me.
 I read the message in that gaze as clearly as if she had said it
 aloud.  She wanted to know.  She wanted to understand.  And I needed
 her understanding. It would be so simple to go back...what lay ahead
 for me?  More darkness, more loneliness, more nightmares.  Behind lay
 happiness, friendship...even love.  
 Somehow I turned around and walked out, quietly shutting the door
 behind me.  I leaned against the wall and sighed, almost feeling it
 as the darkness entered me once more, taking that place in my spirit
 it had occupied for so long.  I wasn't ready.  What if things
 progressed between Ukyou and I, and then Epsilon came and destroyed
 me?  Or hurt her?  I couldn't take the chance; I would do anything to
 spare her any more suffering. No, I wasn't ready.  Not yet.  Perhaps,
 came the unbidden thought as I walked to my room, not ever. 
 But that one night as I slept, I was not plagued by the nightmares.
 Instead, in my dreams I saw, once more, two sea-blue eyes, shining in
 the moonlight...
                              The End
 Postscript: This fanfic occurred somewhere between the first time
 Blade fought Ranma and the inception of the tournament.  In
 discussions of Blade's relationship with Ukyou, the point is usually
 brought up that we don't know much about their lives "off-screen",
 as it were.  Some people have also wondered how Ukyou reacts to
 Blade's gloominess and depression.  I tried to _partially_ answer
 those questions here, and also, most of all, give a deeper look into
 Blade's psyche, how he thinks, and the reasons for some of his
 If you liked/loved/didn't like/hated this, I would love to hear
 about it!   Whether you're a GRITer or not, I still want to hear any
 and all of your opinions!  E-mail me at, SVP.
                           State of Mind
                           Blade's Theme
                       (By Merril Bainbridge)
 Where do I go from here
 Or am I just like a clock spinning round
 Everything seems unclear
 Confusion is raising its head and I can't make a sound
 And I feel it
 Tearing at my soul while I'm asleep
 I feel it
 Driving me to something I'll regret
 What if I make the change
 What if I lose all my courage this time
 Everything seems so strange
 Try but I can't seem to make a decision that's right
 And I feel it
 Pounding like a drum inside my brain
 I feel it
 If it doesn't stop I'll go insane
 I feel it
 Tearing at my soul while I'm asleep
 I feel it
 Driving me to something I'll regret
 I feel it
 I feel it
 If it doesn't stop I'll go insane...
 I feel it...
All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.