Solar Demise - or - Oblivion has Gained on Us
by Pink
A bit of warning first:
I think this story is going to be rewritten yet again, so I may as well try to solicit any kind of good C+C you guys may want to bestow on me. Bring it on, please! ^^/

Oh, and try not to take it too seriously, as I most certainly don't. ^_^
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Part Two - Lavender Punch

I didn't hate it, but I didn't particularly enjoy the frigid-wet sensation of cold ankles whenever my socks were soaked from walking in the rain for too long. I never thought I would miss how water creeped into my shoe after stepping through a deep puddle. Things that were an annoyance in a different situation would be a godsend, if they were to happen now.

Where was P-chan? He seemed to show up on many rainy days, and it was an exceptionally long time since anyone had seen him. Normally I wouldn't be worried, but the fact was that we suddenly lived in chaotic times. It wouldn't be a stretch for someone to spot him on the street and suddenly have an urge for barbecued pork.

Besides something obvious like rain, other simple pleasures in life had disappeared. Districts like Akihabara and Shibuya were ghost towns, devoid of the bustling crowds that their shops once attracted. Things like browsing in a department store had become memories. More than that, they would have helped to remedy my immediate problem of boredom. I spent hours staring out the window, watching whatever passed by. I envied everyone I saw. They hey had somewhere to go and things they wanted to see or do, even in a time like this. One man in a blue car, a middle-aged couple, a man in tall geta, a girl my age, and a group of little kids were doing something while I sat and wasted more hours of my last years on earth. When I heard the little kids laughing as they passed, I wished that I was young and oblivious again.

A knock on my door yanked me out of my thoughts.

"Come in."

All right, I thought. A distraction. The knob turned and clicked, the highlight on the metal wavered and Saotome-Obasan stepped in.

"Hi Obasan, how are you today?" My smile was genuine because now I had something to do. I moved to my bed so that she could sit in the chair at my desk.

"Ah, so you ARE up here." Even in morbidly hot weather, Saotome-Obasan continued to look well-kept. She wore a lavender kimono that had pale, mint-colored flowers scattered sparingly across certain areas of the fabric. Her hair was neatly twisted and bound tightly to her head and pinned to the sides, with a couple of real cherry blossoms as an accent. She headed to the chair and sat, straightening out her kimono to keep the wrinkles to a minimum. "Did you even have breakfast today, Akane-chan? How long have you been awake?"

It was around one o'clock now. "Since about ten, I think." I leaned to stretch my back out a little. Come to think about it, I didn't have breakfast today. Did I have dinner last night? Ah well, it didn't matter. I didn't feel very hungry and I wasn't using much energy sitting around, anyway. "What brings you up here?"

"Oh, nothing urgent, I was just curious as to what you were up to. There isn't any housework that your sister will let me handle, so I decided to come and talk with you... if that's all right?"

Glad to have something new to do and someone else who shared my sense of boredom, I smiled. "Of course! Is there anything you'd like to talk about in particular?"

"No, not really. I just wanted to be in the presence of some pleasant company is all." Saotome-Obasan smiled, and I recognized immediately where some of Ranma's facial features came from. "Are you sure I'm not preventing you from doing something?" The fact that she was leaning more comfortably into the chair showed that she already knew the answer. She was one of the few people who could easily read me.

"Absolutely sure." That was my prompt for her to start talking.

"I'm glad you're not too busy for this old woman," she laughed. "So have you done anything interesting today...?"

=-=-=-=-=-=

Our talk came to an immediate halt when we heard, "Ranma, will you date with me?" Only one person owned such an irritating and badly-accented voice. That same person had a tendency to squeal, "Wo ai ni!" in such a way that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

"Shampoo," I hissed under my breath while I headed out the room. Saotome-Obasan followed, slightly surprised at my change in tone. I gripped the banister and headed downstairs, suppressing the urge to shatter the banister. Near the base of the stairs I spotted her throwing away her pride once more while she pressed against Ranma. My fists clenched. I walked up to the pair, tapping my foot loudly while Ranma's eyes begged me for mercy. How was I supposed to retain any dignity if my father and Ranma's parents insist that we're engaged while Ranma allowed things like this to happen? It wasn't like it was one accident, either. The fact that it happened on a regular basis made the situation more embarrassing. Didn't Ranma understand any of this? There was also something unbelievable about the fact that a highly-skilled martial artist like Ranma was incapable of prying a single woman off of his body.

I sighed in disgust and raised my mallet high into the air.

"A-akane-chan..?" squeaked a barely audible Saotome-Obasan. I never took into the consideration that I had the intent to mallet her son in front of her eyes. That was a thought that was the furthest from my mind at the moment, especially. I brought the mallet down with considerable strength, feeling nearly relieved when I felt it connect with a head. The next step was for Ranma to freeze and pass out, forcing Shampoo to withdraw, and all would be right with the world.

I was sick of even bothering to look at him. I dusted my hands and turned to walk away before barely missing a kick that flew within centimeters of my head. Looking behind me in bewildered surprise I noticed that Ranma was perfectly fine, and Shampoo had a nasty lump forming on her head. Her red chi flickered briefly as she lunged towards my torso. As soon as I blinked I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. The pain prevented me from taking a breath for a brief second, and once I took a breath my stomach burned. Coughing, I shifted into a defensive stance, ready for Shampoo's next attack.

Everyone who was home had come into the room to see what the noise was all about by now. I ignored calls of "Akane, stop!" and "Ladies, this is NOT appropriate behavior in the house." At that moment, they were the last things I wanted to hear. I tried even harder to ignore Ranma.

"Akane, don't do this to yourself!" he yelled. This was his fault in the first place! I didn't need an indecisive moron like him to tell me what to do, and I wasn't about to let Shampoo score another hit on me.

That Chinese bitch placed her hands on her hips and laughed at me! "You are such a weak girl," she screeched, "that everybody is trying to stop you from getting hurt." She tilted her head back and laughed more. "Maybe you should follow their advice," she finished. Anger flowed through my body, my muscles tensed, and I grunted as I stopped the laughter immediately at its source with a roundhouse kick. The satisfaction of watching her fly back while botching an evasive flip was gratifying. Shampoo tried to use her hand as a springboard but landed at a bad angle. Her hand slipped out from under her and her wrist contorted at a strange angle. A loud cracking sound followed. I calmed down enough to allow Dad and Saotome-Ojisan to hold me by my arms in case I wanted to attack again.

"Might want to watch out there, this 'weak girl' just knocked you down!" I watched with a dark grin as she stood and examined her wrist. Adrenaline surged through my body and I shook with excitement when Shampoo glared at me, her lavender eyes streaked with rage. A battle cry escaped her lips but before she was able to attack Ranma grabbed both of her arms and pinned them behind her back.

"YOU!" Shampoo tried to lash out.

"THIS is ENOUGH, ladies!" Saotome-Obasan stood in between us, directing a stern gaze to both of us. "This was a very plain display of stupidity and irresponsibility on BOTH of your parts, and I will not tolerate any more of it in my presence." Her eyes were wild and her demeanor was commanding. I felt my will being broken and bowed deeply in apology.

"I'm sorry Sham--AAAAUGH!" I clutched my stomach, sinking to the floor. Shampoo was already on her way out, leaping over the outside wall.

"I'm going to MAKE you sorry," she hissed before disappearing.

"Akane!" Ranma rushed towards me and put a hand on my back. "Are you okay? What in the HELL made you hit her in the first place when it's a known fact that you can't take her in a fair fight?!"

Instinctively I tried to yell back but ended up coughing out my breakfast on all fours. How could Ranma possibly scold me when it was his fault, I thought to myself. He should have pushed her away and beyond that, he shouldn't have let her hit me! What made things worse was that I was being scolded while Shampoo was the one who escaped, still standing. Using what strength I had remaining, I stumbled outside. Ranma didn't understand anything, and he still managed to scold me and make me feel idiotic. Collapsing against a wall, I sat down and brought my knees to my chest. Tears burned down my face, and when they dried the sun scalded my cheeks. Ranma called my name. I wanted to shrivel up and disappear as he approached me.

"Akane, are you okay?" He asked that question when anyone could have told him the answer by looking at me. I didn't answer, and avoided making eye contact with him. Maybe I shouldn't have acted so hastily. Maybe I could have at least watched who I was hit. No! None of that would have been an issue if Ranma simply would have pushed Shampoo away. It was all Ranma's fault that I felt so ashamed; it was so stupid of me to let her get such a potent hit on me, and in front of Ranma and my family!

Ranma draped an arm around my shoulders. I kept my head down for a few moments longer and then forced myself to look at him. His face was etched with concern. "One more time, Akane," he breathed. "How are you feeling?" I was melting fast under his nice-guy routine. Was it for real? Was he just trying to control me? The day I came home with new clothes he acted like this, too.

"A... little." That didn't change the fact that I still felt weak. My stomach burned a bit. Rubbing my eyes, I sat up straight and exhaled loudly. "What kind of a martial artist needs to sucker punch their opponent"

"That's what I was going to get at, Akane." Ranma squeezed my shoulder gently. I mentally begged him to stop; my heart was going to burst from my chest. Ranma's voice had never been so gentle and in the right situation it would have been plain sensual. "You shouldn't fight with her, she's the kind of person who would really hurt you without a second thought."

"What?!" I scooted away from Ranma, scraping at the ground with my heels. "What am I, a toddler? I know that I'm not as great as you are, but that doesn't mean that I can't protect myself!" I was hurting and he STILL chose to be a jerk? Unbelievable! "I've been training for most of my life, you know! Maybe I'm not some psycho that's obsessed over Kenpo like you and the others, but I can still hold my own!"

"Yeah, that's why you're sitting here hurt after one blow, is that right?" Ranma stood up just as a portion of the wall behind us shattered. Ranma leaped out of the way and Ryouga stepped through the rubble. Before Ryouga spoke, he studied me and glared back at Ranma. Ryouga stalked with purpose towards Ranma, cracking his knuckles.

"Ranma! WHAT HAPPENED to Akane-san? Don't make me KILL you!" Tossing his backpack onto the ground, Ryouga leaped high in the air and lunged at Ranma. "What the hell is going ON??"
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Author's Notes: (September 2002)
More of my attempt to make this fanfic a little more decent. ^^; I've got quite a ways to go...

(May 2003)
Yes. It DID take me THAT many months to finally put this story online. ^^;;;