Shampoo was not a mean person by nature. When she yelled at Mousse she didn't really mean what she said all the time. He was annoying, sure, but what made her always want to hit him? To hurt him whenever he hugged an inanimate object or some random people on the street?

She didn't want to find out, but it happened anyways.

Mousse jumped out, glasses perched on the top of his head, eyes sparkling. "Shampoo!"

He ran into a pole.

Shampoo decided to see if the twitching mass on the ground was all right. "Mousse okay?"

Even years later, she wasn't quite sure what made her stop that particular day. Maybe it was that Ranma and Akane had finally gotten married in secret, and only after the fact (a week later) was she told about it. Maybe it was the little, tiny part of her brain that she usually shut out telling her Mousse had "beaten" her by holding her back. She was now, by Chinese law since Ranma refused her, his.

Or maybe she was just lonely.

Mousse jumped up and hugged her bike basket. "Oh Shampoo! I just got us tickets to go to the carnival tonight! What do you think?" He gazed tearfully and longingly at her bike basket. Shampoo sweatdropped. "We could go in through the tunnel of love!"

Shampoo shook her head. "Shampoo have something important to deliver. Take her all night." It was a lie. There wasn't any delivery at all; it was a rather slow day. But she didn't like the way her heart was starting to thump at the prospect of spending time with Mousse. She tapped him on the head and, inadvertently, pushed him out of the way.

She'd pushed too hard. She hadn't meant to, but it was just something natural to her to do with Mousse.

Looking back, it was probably that one action that made him go over the edge like that. He'd been rejected too many times and knew a lie when he saw one.

His glasses fell over his eyes. She never saw his eyes as she passed (the glare was too strong), but she felt him watching her.

She could always feel when he was watching her.

Mousse went missing.

By some twisted chance of fate, Ryoga happened to pass by a certain tree on a certain path on a certain day at a certain time.

No one, not even Ryoga, knew how he made it to the Tendo household without getting lost again, though Ukyo said it was probably the tense situation that made him focus on where he was going.

The doctor praised Ryoga for his strength and speed. An hour later and he would have been a goner. Luckily Mousse hadn't lost too much blood, and his blood type was easy to come by, and Cologne was rich enough to pay for all of Mousse's expenses.

Cologne never told his family. There was no telling what they might have done.

Shampoo stood just inside the doorway. The white room was glaring at her, telling her quite plainly that it was all her fault.

All her fault.

Shampoo took a deep breath and glanced at his form before quickly looking away. Mousse was pale, and the bandages on his hands, wrists, and arms were painfully plain, out there for all to see. The ones on his thighs were underneath the sheets.

She almost whimpered. But she wasn't that weak yet.

"M-Mousse?" she asked hesitantly.

He didn't respond.

People came and went. They were all extremely nice and all wore fake, plastic smiles. They sent flowers, and Ukyo sometimes snuck an okonomyaki in. Mousse always ate that with great gusto. But whenever Shampoo was around he would become abnormally subdued.

Shampoo explained what happened, and nobody (except Ryoga, who, while going to get flowers, got lost and phoned in from Russia and therefor didn't know what part Shampoo played in all this) blamed her, she hadn't meant to push Mousse away.

But she had, and that was the problem.

Shampoo sat down in a chair, shifting every so often. Mousse was staring at his hands. The silence was pressing down on both of them.

Shampoo couldn't take it any longer.

She jumped up, forgetting the wish her great grandmother had that she speak Japanese while in Japan. ("When in Rome, do as the Romans do.")

"Why?" Shampoo screeched in Chinese. "Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? WHY?"

Mousse jumped after the first word, then stared at her in something akin to fascination. ". . . I'm sorry," he responded also in Chinese.

It was the utter helplessness in his eyes that made her do what she did next.

She kissed him.

Ranma and Akane had the love/hate relationship down. Nobody on the street that had never met them could even tell they had seven children.

Ryoga and Ukyo were even weirder. It came as a surprise to everyone when they finally came out with their relationship. Their house in Nerima was rarely used as Ukyo went with Ryoga to travel. When they did visit (Ukyo always dutifully out in front and holding Ryoga's hand) they usually had one more child than last time, which Ranma found scary.

Cologne died a year after Mousse's attempted suicide, and Happosai became sullen for about a month afterward, until brightening up and going about terrorizing the local ladies.

He disappeared one day in the winter, and nobody ever found his body.

Everyone was sure that he wasn't dead yet because it was too much to hope for.

That crazy teacher of Ranma's continued to chase Soun until she was one day hit by a car.

If their yell was anything to go by, Ranma and Akane were ecstatic.

Genma got into debts so heavily that he ran away and never came back. (Ranma was also ecstatic about this.)

Nabiki started flaunting herself in front of Kuno . . . for his money. Since Kuno wasn't that bright, and found her -- um -- "sexy", he asked her to go out with him after a few weeks.

Even after the wedding it was under much speculation whether they really loved each other or not. It wasn't the most pleasant of topics, but it was a thing to argue about in the rain.

Nobody was surprised when Kasumi married Dr. Tofu. In fact, his patients were very glad he finally got it over with so they could get checkups in relative peace without having to worry about him doing something stupid whenever Kasumi walked into a room.

Soun eventually had a heart failure and Ranma took over the school.

. . . But what about Shampoo and Mousse?

After that kiss their relationship went nowhere. He never asked her on a date, and she never offered. Their relationship was a platonic love, but, even so, they never got together. Some people asked why, and neither of them had much of an answer. It just wasn't the right time.

Even when she was old and wrinkled, bent over and shriveled, when everyone she had known when she was growing up was dead and she was watching the next generations of her friends, when Mousse was gone, she still had no answer.

All she knew was that with that push, she said she wouldn't accept him as her husband. Whether consciously or not, she was honor-bound to uphold her decision.

Without Mousse, her honor was everything.

Disclaimer: Don't own Ranma.

AN: Sorry I was so mean to Mousse. He's my favorite character in Ranma ½! But I just thought this would be more realistic.

Sorry for any characterization mistakes. It was a spur of the moment thing.