Loss at Jusendo
Disclaimer: All hail Takahashi-sama, for creating the fine works she has. In that vein of thought, I am using her creations without permission from her, Viz, or anyone else who actually _does_ own Ranma.
Durandall: A twist on a common variant. It's something that's been bugging me for a while, and wanted to be written.
The battle with Saffron was intense, but with Akane's life on the line, there was only one possible outcome, as far as Ranma was concerned. Saotome Ranma did not lose; not when it really counted. If he did, he clawed his way back and fought again, refusing to give in, until victory was his. This time was no exception, and when Akane had used her doll-like body to intercept a blast of fire, Ranma took advantage of the opening and slashed the ruler of the phoenix people with the Gekkaja.
Stunned, the winged god fell to the ground, and bled his life away. Ranma was already on his way to the dragon tap, to restore Akane. Saffron was reborn in a blast of fire, a ball that consumed his physical remains and coalesced into an egg.
Kima had taken him away, fearing Ranma's wrath, but... with the dragon tap restored, Ranma had to face the inevitable. There was no way to avoid it. She was gone. He had lost her, and he couldn't restore her; not after this. Her sacrifice was made, for his continued happiness.
The party returned to Jusenkyou, quieted by Ranma's demeanor. Perhaps it was because he had killed Saffron, and they thought he would go again, to kill the god more efficiently. Whatever the reason, they were frightened of him.
Ryouga and Mousse wordlessly leapt into the spring that would cure them, followed by Genma. Shampoo found her own, and Ranma found himself staring at his reflection in that pool for a long moment.
He closed his eyes, holding back the tears that he couldn't show, but wished he could. He burnt her image in his memory, knowing he would never see her again, hear her laugh, or watch her smile. It was a loss no one but Ranma could understand. No one had come to understand her like he had.
He heaved one last shuddering sigh, remembering how much he resented her when they first met, and how over time, they had grown close. Certainly, events beyond their control forced them together, but Ranma knew that if he had it to do over again, he'd accept her whole-heartedly. She made him feel complete, and now that he had lost her, he wasn't sure what to do.
A hand touched his shoulder gently, "It... It's time, Ranma... your cure is right there."
He sighed, and stepped into the pool, "I know, Akane. I know." No more running from the truth, now. Akane would never have me, cursed... And then he did shed a tear, because he knew he could never have her back. A last image of her passed through his mind, her rounded face, her laughing smile, and red hair... and then was gone.
Notes: This was brought on by the fact that Ranma says "I'm not sure when, but I guess somewhere along the line I stopped caring about the curse," when Jusenkyou is flooded. I know that manga onna-Ranma did not have red hair, but I thought it was more poignant than a pigtail.
Finalized on 01/02/2001
Durandall, C&C to firstname.lastname@example.org