Disclaimer: The Ranmaverse and all of it's characters are property of the brillant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them. Only the story belongs to me.
He was an empty shell now. A hollow body with no soul left in it. He had been unable to save the only woman he had ever truly loved. She had died in his arms as he sat there helpless, unable to change her fate. He had tried everything, even killed the god Saffron, but in the end, it changed nothing. He was too late to save her, the water that was supposed to undo the dehydration did little more then changing her back into a human rather then the doll she had become trying to save him. Even as the doll she had risked her life to light the path from him to Saffron so he could see to deliver the killing blow. She was dead and it was his fault. It had always been his job to protect her since the day they met, but now when it mattered most he was unable to fulfill his duty. He never even got the chance to tell her how much she meant to him, that he loved her, that he would die and even kill for her. But he reasoned with his mind that she knew, she had felt the same, for she died to protect and help him fight the battle. She wouldn't have done that if she didn't love him he reasoned with himself. But that fact only made it harder. Who ever said it was better to love and lose then to never love at all, probably wasn't counting if the person died in your arms. It hurt so much and he couldn't stop the tears as he rocked her in his arms, trying to will her back to life. Nothing helped, nothing changed, nothing he did would fix this. She was dead and it was all his fault. "You need to let go now Ranma." A voice said quietly as he walked over to them. Ranma knew the voice, a voice that normally yelled at him with hatred or angry, now held only sadness. The tears could be heard out the edge of the voice. Ranma felt Akane being pulled out of his arms and looked up to find Ryoga trying to take her away. "You can't have her." Ranma said coldly as he tightened his hold on the woman he loved more then life itself. "I'm not taking her anywhere, you need to get some sleep Ranma. I'm just going to move her to the side so you can sleep." Ryoga said softly, he too was feeling the pain of losing her, but he needed to stay strong for Ranma. He could see him slowly slipping away and if he didn't act quick he knew Ranma would try to join her. "You're not tak'in her." Ranma said just as coldly, taking his eyes off of Ryoga and back to the woman in his arms. "She stays with me." Ranma warned loud enough for everyone to hear, his eyes still on the beautiful girl in his arms.
Ryoga just shook his head and walked toward his tent, he knew how Ranma was hurting, he knew it had to be at least as bad as he was, but he figured it was even worse. But for now there was nothing he could do. He just needed to give his friend/rival some time to come to terms with what had happened. Can you ever really come to terms? He wondered to himself as he crawled inside his tent. Hearing a noise behind him he turned to find Shampoo making her way over to Ranma. He thought about stopping her, but figured she deserve what she was about to get. He knew she would do something or say something stupid. She would do whatever would be the very worse thing to do at that moment. But even Ryoga wasn't sure what that was, but he knew she would do it and she would get what was coming to her.
*This is just too too good. Violent-girl is gone, spatual-girl and
crazy-girl not here to ruin Shampoo's plans. We already in China,
not far from village. Great-grandmother be so happy when she hear
Shampoo got husband.* Shampoo thought to herself with a smile as she
slowly made her way over to Ranma. (Leave him be Shampoo.) Mousse
warned looking over at her, but not even bothering to get up to stop
her. (Shut up stupid Mousse, now Ranma will be mine.) Shampoo shot
back at him as she continued walking toward Ranma. (You really are
heartless aren't you? I always just thought it was me you liked to
torture, but you just like to torture everyone.) Mousse said shaking
his head sadly. (This mean you're done bothering me?) Shampoo asked
hopefully. (Yes I am done wasting my time on such a cold. heartless
bitch.) Mousse replied as he turned from her and looked into the fire
that was glowing brightly in front of him. (You deserve what ever
he does to you for distrubing him. The woman he loves just died and
already you're thinking of ways to win him. You disgust me.) Mousse
spat at her, no longer bothering her look up at her. Shampoo just
smiled to herself and started toward Ranma again.
This was mistake number one. She shouldn't have done that. She should have just stayed away. But no, the little hussy just had to try and seduce him. There he was, still holding Akane in his arms, she had yet to go cold and already the amazon bitch was snuggling up next to him and kissing his ear lightly. All of which he ignored until she tried to push Akane out of his arms so she could get into his lap. That was her mistake and it would be her last. Ranma never even looked up at her, just reached his hand up, leaving the other one protectively around Akane, and snapped the bitch's neck like a twig. Had he looked up he would have seen the shocked look on her face, he probably would have laughed, she should have seen it coming. What else would you do when some dumb tramp was trying to push the woman you loved off of your lap, a woman who had just died a few hours ago to protect you. Hell he should have beaten her around a bit first but he would have had to put Akane down and he wasn't about to do that. No getting it done quickly was the way to go, at least this way he didn't have to deal with her for long. He barely noticed when Mousse walked over and picked the amazon up off of the ground before starting out of camp with her. He briefly wondered why Mousse wasn't threatening to kill him but shrugged it off as he laid on the ground bringing Akane down with him. "I love ya 'Kane." Ranma whispered softly in her ear as he closed his eyes and began falling into the blissful nothing that was unconsciousness.
They had returned home just yesterday and already the funeral was under way. Everyone was acting just like you would suspect...Soun hadn't stopped crying since he heard the news of Akane's death, Nabiki held her emotionless face, only crying when she was alone in her room, and Kasumi held that smile on her face, a little sadder the normal, but still trying to keep strong to take care of her family, once again it was falling on her after the death of a loved one. Ranma was...he was empty, a walking hollow shell that held no feelings, no emotions, nothing. He was empty on the inside and it showed to everyone around him. Most understood, even though he could never admit it to her in life, they all knew he loved her. That is all but one, and that brings us to mistake number 2. At least she waited until after the funeral but the moment the wake had started, she made the last mistake of her life. Ranma was sitting out in the yard staring into the koi pond, he could hear the noises coming from inside the house and every so often Kasumi would come out to try and get him to eat something, but he ignored all of it, none of it mattered anymore. So when he heard the foot steps behind him, he figured it was Kasumi coming out to get the still full plate of food he had refused to touch, so he paid no mind to the person behind him, that is until he felt the arms wrap around his waist. Looking over he saw one of last people he wanted to see, here, today of all days. "Ranma-sama now that the wretched peasant is out of the way, we can finally show our love to everyone. Oh Ranma-darling are you as happy as I am?" Kodachi asked as she brought her face close to his and moved in for the kiss. "Not yet." Ranma replied coldly in a hushed whisper. Kodachi smiled as she moved even closer for the kiss but just before her lips found his, she felt his strong hands around her small neck. Confused, her eyes flew open as she realized she was having problems breathing. She let go of his waist and started clawing into his hands, desperate to get them off of her neck, but he held on tight, looking her straight in the eye, but offering no explanation. She should already know and if she didn't he didn't feel she deserved one. It didn't take long, less then a minute really, and she was limp in his arms. He took a hold of one of her feet as he stood up and started dragging her out to the trash where she belonged. When he reached the dumpster, he effortlessly picked her up throwing her inside.
Now came time for mistake number 3...As he turned to go back toward the house, like nothing had happened, at least nothing worth mentioning, he heard the voice calling out to him. The person owning the voice had seen what had happened, not that it mattered, it didn't change anything, and this might even be better. "Vile sorcerer what have you done to my dear sister?" Kuno called out as he ran up to him with his bokken raised above his head. Ranma just stood there, watching him charging at him, none of his normal taunts were heard, his normal smirk no where to be seen, he made no sound, no movement at all. Until Kuno was right before him, he reached his hand up, quicker then Kuno could see, grabbed a hold of the bokken and turning ever so slightly, rammed the weapon into its owner's own stomach. Kuno let out a cry of pain, looking down in disbelieve at the blood that was now seeping out around the sword. He raised his eyes up to look into Ranma's eyes, but he saw nothing, no remorse, no anger, no pleasure, nothing. His eyes were as empty as he was, they held no answer, no reasoning, no explanation. Kuno tried to scream out, but before he could utter a sound, the sword was pushed deeper into his stomach. As blood made its way out of the corner of his mouth, he looked Ranma in the eyes one last time before he fell limply to the ground. Ranma picked him up and threw him next to his sister before shutting the lid and making his way back over to the koi pond, jumping in he felt the transformation quickly take over. Stepping out very wet, and female, Ranma headed into the house, not bothering to look at any of the guests, heading straight up the stairs to his room. Everyone around figured he had turned into a girl so he could cry, had they bothered to check the koi pond they would have seen the slight rust color it had taken and known different, but no one checked.
Mistake 4 came sooner then you would expect. It had been two days since anyone had seen the Kunos, but everyone took it as a blessing in disguise. Ranma was sitting down at the breakfast table like the days before since he had gotten back, he wasn't even looking at his food, let alone eating it. He just sat there, staring sadly at the spot next to him that used to be her's. It was still empty of course, it would remain empty. "Ranma." Kasumi said sweetly drawling his attention from the empty spot for a moment. "Why don't you get out of the house today, maybe go see you're friend Ukyo. I'm sure she would like a visit from you." Kasumi said with her well known smile ever present on her face. She hoped he would listen to her, he really needed to get out of the house, he hadn't said a word to anyone since he had gotten back. Ryoga and Genma had been the ones to tell everyone what had happened in China. *Yes a day out would do him some good.* Kasumi thought to herself as she continued to smile at him waiting for him to respond. After a minute, he finally nodded slightly, and walked out of the room to put on his shoes, and without a word, walked out of the door. It only took him a few minutes to arrive at Ukyo's to find a closed sign on the door. Looking in through the window he saw her sitting down staring at her grill with a smile on her face. He knocked once on the window, drawling her attention to him as her smile widened and she quickly made her way over and let him inside. "Hey Ran-chan, good to see you've finally gotten out of the house." Ukyo said with a smile as she led him over to the stools in front of her grill and sat him down on one, taking the one next to him. "Are you hungry?" Ukyo asked after a minute looking over at him, he remained silent staring toward the grill. "Oh what am I saying? My Ran-chan is always hungry." Ukyo said with a grin as she walked around the counter turning on her grill and starting to mix the batter she needed. "Don't worry Ranma it will get better." Ukyo said when she saw the ever present down cast look on his face. He looked up at her confused so she continued. "Well you're in mourning now but that wont last forever, and we'll be so happy together once you are done, but don't worry I will give you as much time as you need sugar." Ukyo said with a smile as she poured the batter onto the grill. He simply raised his eye brows at her even more confused. "What's that look for Ranma honey? It's down to just us now, no one can stand in our way of being happy. Shampoo didn't come back with you so it looks like she's given up, Kodachi hasn't been seen since the wake, and Akane...her poor family. It's sad it had to happen this way, but you know her family wouldn't let you get away from her no matter how much you wanted to. Why they wanted to force you to marry a violent girl, I may never know. She couldn't even cook, what kind of a wife would she be to anyone, let alone you, when she can't even cook for you without making you sick. Just listen to me, here I am speaking ill of the dead...oh no you're food is burning!" Ukyo cried out turning her attention back to the grill in front of her, to busy trying to save the food to see Ranma walking over to her until he was right next to her. Looking up at him, the smile once again plastered on her face, until she saw the look in his eyes, and it scared her. "What's wrong Ran-chan?" Ukyo asked raising her eye brows at him confused. Again Ranma said nothing, no sound escaped his lips and he reached his hand up next to her head and with full force, slammed her head into the grill in front of them. "Ranma!" Ukyo pleaded, but he ignored her as he continued to slam her head into the grill, staining it with the blood that was now seeping out of the gash in her head from the side of the grill. It only took a minute for her whimpers of pain to stop and he let her slump to the ground. He turned and walked out of the restaurant, the closed sign still present, stopped anyone from visiting Uchan's for quite a while.
It had been two weeks since someone made their last mistake, a strike down at the sanitation stopped anyone from discovering what was in the dumpster and since no one bothered to look in when they threw the trash in, the Kunos remained undiscovered. Ukyo's closed sign was still out diverting anyone from coming in and discovering her behind the grill and since she had fired Konusa when Ranma had returned from China, thinking she would need to close up shop so they could go on the road together, there was no one around to miss her and start looking for her. The days passed much the same as each one before, Ranma said nothing to anyone, spent all day in his or Akane's room, not crying, just sitting there staring off into space. The only time he was seen was during meals, he was even eating a little now, no where near as much as he normally did, but eating all the same. It was at one of these such meals that the 5th mistake was made. It had started out as a quiet dinner, but as Ranma stood to go back upstairs his father's voice calling his name stopped him and he sat back down looking over at him. "We, Tendo and I, have been talking and while this has affected all of us, it doesn't affect the promise that was made and honor demands that our families are joined. And I'm sure you will agree that Akane would want it that way. So it has been decided that you and Nabiki will take over the engagement." Genma said matter- of-factly drawling a nod from Soun and looks of disbelief from the other three around the table. But before either of the sisters could object, Ranma spoke up. "What 'Kane would have wanted?" Ranma repeated to himself, speaking as if the words were in a foreign language to him. "Ya think 'Kane would want ta be dead? That 2 weeks after that one of her sisters gets engaged ta the man she was suppose to marry? No Genma I don't think that is what 'Kane would have wanted." Ranma spat at him, the fact that he called him by his first name did not go unnoticed by anyone at the table. "Show some respect boy, I am your father and family honor demands that our family lines are joined. Akane would not want you to ruin her family honor or your's." Genma insisted as the girls just sat there staring at him in disbelief. "No Genma, family honor demands that ya commit seppuka if ya are unable ta make me a man among men. And what kind of a man let's the woman he loves die savin' him? A man who is not a man that who's. So if ya want ta talk honor, let me be ya second." Ranma said coldly as he reached onto the table and picked up his chopsticks. Everyone looked at him confused and then in horror as he quickly trust the chopsticks into his father's eye, causing him to scream out in pain. Ranma ignored him as he picked up his father's chopsticks that had fallen and turned toward Soun. "You have no honor either. Ya daughter has only been dead two weeks and already ya try ta ruin her memory. You're no better then he is." Ranma accused as he nodded to his father on the floor who had finally stopped screaming and laid motionless, before ramming the chopsticks into Soun's eye as well.
Kasumi and Nabiki stared at him with their mouths agape, they couldn't believe he had just stabbed his own father, but stabbing their's caused Nabiki to lose it. The ice queen shattered as Nabiki started to scream at the top of her lungs, the wails echoing off the walls around them. It was mistake 6, and Ranma had had enough of it, he lunged over the table, taking his seating pillow with him, and pressed the pillow against her face as she fell back on the floor. She struggled to get out of underneath it, but Ranma was of course far too strong and held it in place until she had finally stopped moving. He looked over at Kasumi as he got up, who was still sitting there in utter shock, and smiled at her before he headed up stairs and into Akane's room. It was a good hour before the shock finally wore off and Kasumi ran to the phone to dial Dr. Tofu and the police.
"Ahhh!" The scream rang out signaling it was time for mistake number 7. The screams continued on until a gentle hand was shaking his shoulder. "Wake up, you're having a bad dream. Shhh it's okay now." The soft voice called out to him as it made soothing noises in his ear. "It's okay, I'm here. It was just a nightmare. It's over now." The voice assured him as soft, but strong arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him closer to the voice. He knew the voice, but the voice shouldn't be here, the voice was gone. "It's okay Ranma, you're awake now, the nightmare is gone." The voice told him as the owner began to rock him back and forth, still making soothing noises in his ear. "'Kane?" Ranma asked confused, refusing to open his eyes, the voice would leave if he did, the voice couldn't be real. "I'm here Ranma." Akane replied as she brushed his bangs out of his eyes. "Ya can't be, ya da..da..died in China." Ranma finally managed to say with a shaky voice. "No you saved me Ranma, I'm okay." Akane said sweetly into his ear. Confused, he finally opened his eyes to see her smiling sweetly, with the smile that made him melt. "'Kane?" Ranma asked again as he reached his hand up to touch her cheek. "But ya died." Ranma said again, still not sure how she could be sitting there with him. "No Ranma that was just a nightmare, I didn't die." Akane insisted as she hugged him tighter to her. "'Kane!" Ranma all but screamed as he turned around and wrapped his arms around her, knocking both of them over. "Ne'er leave me again, ne'er." Ranma pleaded as he pulled her farther into his tight embrace. "Never Ranma." Akane promised with a smile. Ranma looked into her eyes as he felt the tears running down his cheeks, but he didn't care, he had her back, she was here, she was safe, he could still tell her... "I love ya." Ranma blurted out before his insecurities could stop him from telling her before it was too late again. "I loved ya so much e'er since the first day I met ya and ya said ya wanted ta be my friend. I'm sorry I didn't tell ya before I should have but I was so scared that'cha wouldn't feel the same or that'cha would reject and laugh at me, but I love ya more then anyth'in in the world 'Kane." Ranma babbled on as he pulled her back into his embrace, afraid if he let go, she would be gone again. "You were afraid?" Akane asked out loud more to herself then him, she couldn't believe he had been afraid of the same things she was. "Yes but not now, cause I've seen what it was like ta lose ya without tell'in ya how much ya mean ta me and I can't go through that again." Ranma insisted as he reached his hand down and pulled her chin up so she was looking at him. "I love ya 'Kane." Ranma whispered again as he looked into her eyes. "I love you too Ranma." Akane said as she smiled that smile again and he felt himself falling in love with her all over again. Without thinking, Ranma tilted his head down and gently brushed his lips against her's with the softest of kisses. "Will ya marry me?" Ranma asked softly as he pulled his lips away from her's. Too shocked to speak, Akane just nodded her head yes and brought her head up for their second kiss.
"Any change in him?" A man asked as he walked into the room where another doctor was watching a young man on a tv screen. "No he's still talking to himself, thinks this girl, Akane, is with him, Dr. Tofu." The doctor replied, taking his eyes off the screen just long enough to look up at Tofu before returning to the young man who was lying on his bed talking to himself. "How did things go in court?" "They found him unfit to stand trial in his own defense. They sentenced him to a life in here." Tofu responded nodding his head toward the tv. "How's the wife?" The doctor asked after a minute. "Kasumi is doing better, I think getting out of Nermia was the best thing for her. Everything made her remember and miss her family, especially her sisters." Tofu answered sadly. "Ever get a final count?" The doctor asked looking back over at Tofu after the young man on the screen rolled over and stopped talking to himself, falling asleep. "Looks like it was 8 in all. I finally heard back from the Amazon Mousse, seems Shampoo was the first before he came back from China. Funny thing is I told Kasumi what he had been saying about his 'nightmare' to 'Akane', seems she doesn't blame him for all this. Ranma just snapped after the death of Akane, and with those girls throwing themselves on him like that, like Akane's life meant nothing and he was better off with out her, I'm not really surprised it turned out this way." Tofu said shaking his head sadly. "Well I should be getting home, Kasumi should have dinner ready soon and she'll want to hear the news." Tofu said with a bow to the doctor before heading out the door.
He was an empty shell now. There was no life left within him, his mind completely gone. Nothing else existed in the world around him but the beautiful girl. The girl with a smile that could melt his heart. The girl with the shining brown eyes he could find himself getting lost in. The girl who's laugh made him fall in love with her all over again. The girl that existed only to him. Nothing else mattered. She was with him, always by his side. And she would never leave him again, she had promised...