I've decided to put all notes and replies at the end so you guys can get to the stories faster. And I just realized we can't post song lyrics on here, so I'm deleteing those...when I get around to it. xP
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters that you recognize.
Lost: Chapter Three
Akane's therapy room was a small, cozy room connected to her office. The ceiling was painted black and Akane had glued on glow in the dark stars. However, the walls commanded more attention. After scouring every home improvement store in the greater Tokyo area and not finding the right shade of paint or the right wallpaper, the stubborn psychiatrist had sat down with a sales associate and designed her own creation. Tall, dark pine trees decorated the walls. The lower levels even had the occasional fallen tree and ferns of older coniferous forests. The carpet was a deep green and the only sources of light were four tall lamps in each corner of the room.
Along a wall sat an old reddish brown tweed couch. In the couch, Ranma Saotome stared at the ceiling. Beside the couch, Akane sat comfortably in a matching recliner with a clipboard examining the sheet of paper on the top while Ranma listened to an old Hikaru Utada CD.
Even in the dim light, Akane could tell what the messy charcoal drawing held. Most of it contained thin smears that appeared random, however, they had been repeats from earlier drawings. This one didn't seem too much different from Ranma's drawing the Friday before: they both held those cut-like smears, skinny malnourished cats, and strewn limbs. But this one held one thing different; there was a badly drawn circle with dots all over it. For the life of her, Akane couldn't figure out what it was. Filing it away for later analysis, she turned the CD down.
"So, Ranma," she began, "tell me about Hito."
He flinched and closed his eyes. Akane watched the man in front of her as he opened his eyes again. They looked darker and more closed off than before, and she was sure it had nothing to do with the lights. One of his hands clamped on the stress relief ball she provided him with each session and the other balled into a fist.
"Ugly." Ranma said quietly, eyes stuck open. "Violent."
"What happened the first time you met him?" Akane asked in a clear, crisp voice.
"What is your first memory of him?"
There was a pause as Ranma sifted through his memories. Akane didn't really expect an answer to this question, and she didn't get one.
"Don't know." Ranma shuddered and visibly tried to regain his composure with even breathing.
Akane got up and Ranma flinched again at the sudden movement.
"Sorry," she said as she sat on the floor leaning against the couch. With her left hand, she slowly relaxed Ranma's empty fist and put her fingers through his. His hand was loose.
"What kind of things did Hito want you to do?" Akane didn't complain when Ranma's hand went rigid and nearly crushed all the bones in her own hand. Maybe it was too soon to mention Hito...
"Fight. Use weapons. Kill." The answers were swift and emotionless.
"And if you didn't?" Akane forced her voice to remain professional and secure. She knew the answers to these questions already from Hito's careful documentations, but it was imperative to Ranma's mental progress that he talks about those experiences.
Ranma's grip on Akane's hand tightened. She quickly took a peek at his face. The man wore an unfamiliar look of terror and his complexion had visibly paled. His whole body had gone rigid and he was trying to draw himself closer physically as if trying to make himself smaller. 'Good luck,' Akane found herself thinking absently. 'You're six feet tall.' Placing her other hand on Ranma's arm, she abandoned all thoughts of pursuing that topic.
"Never mind. Forget Hito. Tell me about what you remember before you met him," Akane commanded.
She gave a mental sigh as Ranma spoke succinctly of a fat, bald man teaching him to punch and kick. His death grip hadn't loosened, but his muscles definitely relaxed. All of this would be much easier if she could put him under complete hypnosis, but when she tried that in their first few sessions, Ranma had gone crazy and nearly tried to kill her. The only useful information she had gotten from that little experiment was that Ranma was deathly afraid of Hito, as he had used hypnosis on Ranma many times before.
Shampoo locked her front door behind her as she reached home. She lived in a small, cozy three-bedroom ranch in a housing district in Tokyo. This was the place that was really, truly her own. Sure, she had the Nekohanten before, but it was really Cologne's restaurant, even though the old Amazon matriarch had never set foot in the building. A wave of shame and pain passed over the young woman, but she firmly squashed it down. There was no use reminiscing about the past. It was over and done with. She was twenty-four now and it has been eight years since she was exiled. Her lips thinned slightly.
'But it wasn't my fault,' the Chinese girl whined to herself, knowing its uselessness. 'Or Ryoga's, for that matter- he just got lost way too easily.'
Truth was Ryoga Hibiki had little objections to marrying Shampoo. The problem was that Shampoo would lose him within a day of tracking him down, and he would end up in Europe or Africa or some other continent the next time she would hear from him. And it wasn't really his fault that he had accidentally beaten her in combat either. In the two year time limit to bring him back, the young teen had been exhausted. And who could blame her? She had traveled the world three and a half times by the time her deadline rolled around.
Shampoo opened her refrigerator and took out the bubble tea she had made last night, took a sip, and trekked to her room. Tonight is the start of her new assignment and she would need her sleep. Setting her alarm for 9:30, the woman changed into an oversized T-shirt of the Tokyo Tower and crawled into bed. Falling asleep almost instantly, she didn't notice the presence of another human in her house.
Maybe it was best though. This was one man she didn't want to think about as her dreams plagued her of memories of her trial.
When he was sure she was asleep, the man silently slid out of her closet. Staring at her in her slightly disturbed slumber, the man strode to her bedside and knelt on the floor. Shampoo. He hadn't seen her in three years. And in those three years, she had seemed to only grow more beautiful. Her face had long lost all its baby fat and her body... Well, the light nose bleed he felt coming spoke for itself. Unable to control himself any longer, the man leaned and kissed her lightly on the lips.
Shampoo stirred and the man froze. They had told him that her combat skills had weakened, but she was still a great warrior. Pushing away his hair, he frowned slightly.
'But she hadn't sensed my presence,' he thought uncomfortable. 'I was hiding my chi, true, but the Shampoo I know had always been able to detect it.'
He watched as Shampoo turned in her sleep so that she was facing him. Her long, beautiful hair was sprawled around her like a crown. He couldn't remember the last time he had touched it. Well, not exactly touched. It was probably when she swung her head and hit him in the face with her hair.
Well, now was his chance. Gingerly, the man brushed her silky locks out of her face with his rough, callused hands that felt unworthy of her hair. Who cares if she's exiled? As he sat and played with her hair, the not so mysterious stranger almost missed the slight upwards curve of his beauty queen's rosy lips in her sleep.
"Mousse," she breathed so quiet he almost didn't hear her.
He could have sworn his heard stopped for a full second.
Ukyo Kounji changed out of her normal kitchen garb after the shower into a silk blouse and black pinstripe pants. The businesswoman side of her was both aching for lost costumers on a Monday night and exited for the prospect of the deal. Her small business had grown over the years and she needed a bigger place. There was a spot in Tokyo that she had her eye on, but she was several thousand yen short. While she knew she could have just taken out a loan from the bank, she knew that more money should be put into hiring new staff, fixing up the place, and advertising. The only solution: sell her current building.
And a buyer was interested. This was perfect. Ukyo checked the clock. Five till seven. She ran to the bathroom and quickly grabbed a tube of rouge lipstick and dabbed some on her lips. The woman slowed down a bit applying mascara, but poked herself in the eye anyway.
Three minutes. Opening a drawer, she took out a pair of pearl studs and matching necklace. She may be a cross-dresser, but so was Konatsu. Glancing in the mirror, she smiled at her reflection. Oops, the bow. One minute. Taking off the ribbon, she quickly pulled her brush through it and tried to put it into a bun. Ugh. Why had she told Konatsu to take the day off?
The bell on her door rang at exactly 7:00PM and Ukyo rushed downstairs. Her hair was a little sloppy, but it would do. All she needed to do was sell the building, not herself. At the last few steps, she slowed down and tried to return her breathing back to normal. A pudgy middle-aged man stood at the entrance in a gray suit and smiled at her. She straightened her shirt and extended her hand.
"Hi, I'm Ukyo Kounji," she said amiably. "How are you this evening?"
The man took her hand and shook it firmly, "My, what a beautiful girl. I am Shiro Atawa and I am great."
There was an edge to his voice that Ukyo didn't like, but passed it off. Unluckily, she also missed the man glance down at her body as she turned to lead him through a tour of the restaurant. If she weren't so nervous, maybe she would have caught that he never seemed to pay as close of attention to the building as the girl herself. Or maybe the way he lingered upstairs in the two apartments could have caught her eye. But no. Ukyo was just a friendly okonmiyaki chef. That was all, really.
She was surprised when he didn't push too much on the price. They settled below Ukyo's starting price, but far above what she had actually expected to sell the place for.
She was even more surprised, when they shook on the deal, that he had spun her around in his arms and placed a cool, metal blade on her throat.
"A single word out of you and I'll slit your throat."
Ukyo gulped as fear gripped her. Why did she deny her father's martial arts lessons?
The man, she couldn't even think of his name now, moved her upstairs to her bedroom and tied her hands and feet to the four bedposts. Ukyo was normally considered tall at 5'4, but her frame was still too short to stretch all the way. Lucky for her, her captor allowed the rough rope a few inches of space between her limbs and the posts, instead of, you know, stretching her to death. He then stuffed a piece of cloth into her mouth painfully.
This time, the culinary genius didn't miss the odd glint in his eyes as he looked her over. "You know, I wasn't assigned to do anything more with you, but I never imagined you to be so beautiful."
He chuckled and sat down on the bed relishing her look of fright. Taking off his jacket, he unzipped his pants and pulled them off. "I was never one to let an opportunity pass me by," he murmured, spreading his body over her.
Ukyo tried to scream as the man ran his hands under her shirt and all but ripped apart her pants, but the cloth muffled the sound. The man laughed as he quickly pulled off his boxers too.
"Don't worry. You're not the one I'm waiting for."
Tears fell down the beautiful girls' face as he unbuttoned her blouse and snapped her bra.
Akane paid the cab driver as he pulled to a stop. She and Ranma climbed out and watched the yellow car speed off into the distance. She sighed. Her wallet was losing weight in her precious Louis Vuitton purse. Glancing down the brown beauty, she sighed again. Looks like I won't be able to indulge this year. Usually managing her finances on a slight budget, Akane had enough money to buy herself 'something nice' every year on her birthday. But ever since Ranma had moved in with her, her normally comfortable financial lifestyle had screeched to a halt. All of a sudden, the water and electricity bills skyrocketed and she found that she was paying more than double for groceries. Being taller and more muscular than her, Ranma obviously ate more, a lot more. Within a month of having to pay for Ranma's share of everything and Akane was more than ready to kick him out.
But she couldn't. She knew she couldn't. Instead, she had gone to her boss to ask for a pay raise.
"Miss Tendo," Yuri Kenchi said, "you know I can't give you a raise... You volunteered your place for Mr. Saotome. It's your responsibility."
Akane scowled, "But if I hadn't, he would most definitely be in jail right now. If our own psych boarding couldn't handle his bursts of violence, what makes you think an apartment somewhere else will? And where would he get the money for it?"
"Well..." Kenchi blushed a little.
The wheels in Akane's mind turned and her voice turned dangerously low, "You were going to provide that, weren't you?"
"How's this, Miss Tendo," Kenchi cleared his throat, "you give us a copy of your bills and an estimate of what part of them are of Mr. Saotome. We'll pay for 50 percent."
Akane's eyes narrowed; she didn't live with Nabiki for seventeen years of her live for nothing, "I want 80 percent."
"Sixty-five percent, final offer."
"Seventy percent. You have yourself a deal, Mr. Kenchi."
Kenchi sighed and shook Akane's outstretched hand, ignoring the slight hint of a very Nabiki-like smirk on her lips.
Before she even entered the old restaurant, Akane knew that something was wrong. Even on Monday evenings, Ucchan's should have more business. One Monday a month at 8:30, Akane would visit Ukyo. She knew how loved Ucchan's was. Once indoors though, all her senses screamed at her to run. It was weird, really, since nobody was there. The bell on the door rang oddly loudly as Ranma entered and closed the door behind him. Akane squashed the part of her wanting to call out so that her friend would rush out and tell her that the place was finally sold or something of the nicer sort.
"Anything here seem ...odd, to you?" she whispered to Ranma.
He put a finger to his lips and Akane saw his ears twitch. Though she didn't hear anything, Ranma pointed at the stairs. Akane headed the direction gestured, but Ranma gripped her arm firmly and shook his head.
Akane paused, "Do you think it's dangerous? Is Ukyo going to be all right?"
Ranma nodded, then shook his head.
"Then we have to help her! Let's go," Akane kept her voice low, but irritation could clearly be heard.
He kept his grip on her arm and shook his head again.
"Ranma, if that were your mother, would have leave her?"
He gave her a blank look and Akane sighed. She kept on forgetting that Ranma had pretty much had all sense of righteously and chivalry beaten out of him.
"Then you can go," she whispered resolutely. "But Ukyo is my friend and I'm going to help her. If it were you up there, I wouldn't think twice about going after you either."
As she tried to shake off Ranma's hand, he shoved her behind him and went up the stairs. Akane caught a glimpse of a very annoyed expression on his face, but ignored it and followed, trying to keep her footsteps silent like Ranma's. It was useless though. The bell had announced their presence loud and clear. Her heart was pounding out of nervousness and fear. Closing her eyes, she evened her breathing and cleared her mind like Shampoo had taught her. Ranma came to a sudden stop in front of Ukyo's closed door and Akane almost bumped into him.
"Well?" she mouthed to him.
Ranma scowled at her, motioned for her to stay, and ran the door. Akane stayed out of sight, but she heard the unmistakable click of a gun. 'That can't be good...'
"Ah, Ranma Saotome. Nice of you to finally arrive," a man's voice drawled. "I'm assuming Miss Tendo is nearby? Come on out, Akane-chan. I have a gun pointed at him."
Cursing under her breath, the woman stepped through the door and gasped. Her brain had passed right by the man pointing the gun her direction point blank and had directly processed the image on the bed. There Ukyo was, passed out and tied to the bed posts. Her upper body was naked and she had her pants crudely twisted about her ankles. Her wrists were bloody from struggling on the ropes and there was more blood on the bed sheets. 'No...'
"Oh her," the man smiled, "she was a pleasure."
In a rage, Akane yelled and kicked, hard, at the man's solar plexus. Perhaps because he never expected this kind of stupidity from her, he didn't manage to block in time, stumbled, and the gun went off. Luckily, both Ranma and Akane had moved from their original positions and avoided the fatal shot, though the bullet grazed Akane's left arm. The woman barely noted the pain. Before the man had a chance to regain his breath and balance, Ranma wrenched the gun away and shoved it in Akane's left hand. She winced. Seeing the blood, the man's gray-blue eyes burned a crystal blue. Before Akane's brain even registered that Ranma had moved, he had the man in his hands, strangling him mercilessly.
For a second, a brief second, Akane considered not intervening. He deserved it for Ukyo.
"Ranma, NO!" she then yelled, almost automatically.
Then she knew. She couldn't let Ranma kill this rapist. Ranma was human. For the past thirty months, Akane had worked hard, too hard in Shampoo's opinion, to help Ranma regain his sense of guilt and remorse. She couldn't let him kill again. Though noting the cold, seemingly unstoppable persona, Akane wrapped her small arms around Ranma from behind.
"Please Ranma, don't do it."
She felt his muscles harden, then relax. Using the pause, she pushed between him and the now very purple and unconscious man and looked Ranma in the eye. She found a mass of rough indifference, a picture void of any emotion that in all honesty, scared the living daylights out of her. How much longer would it have taken Ranma to take his life? Akane shuddered, but kept her eyes on his.
Ranma blinked. His facial muscles relaxed a little, and Akane was more than relieved to find a hint of recognition in his eyes. He had reverted back to the weapon Ranma, capable of leveling buildings with his bare hands. He had forgotten her. In those few minutes, everything she had worked for had completely gone to waste. Nothing had sunk in. And did she mention that he had forgotten her? It stung...
"It's Akane," she said weakly, "please stop."
Ranma withdrew his hands and the man crumpled centimeters behind Akane. The familiar relaxed look washed over Ranma and she let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. Maybe the past two and a half years weren't a total waste.
He only shrugged. Now Ukyo...
Shampoo felt like a foolish idiot even after all these years. Dressed in a comfortable ninja outfit to blend in with the night, her breasts were bound and her luscious hair braided and stuffed into the back of that horrible mask. Apparently, her advisor felt that the Chinese girl left too memorable an impression and was too easy to trace. She scowled. It was just like men, especially foreign men, to try to take away her two Amazon prides: her hair and her body. But whatever. She had her job to take care of.
Perched atop a tree, the inside of Shampoo's binoculars told her that it was 9:55. Five more minutes until the men come. Her team of a few other high-class agents was absence from view, though she knew they were all present. Roll call had taken place only seconds earlier via the devices behind each of their ears. None knew the position of another to avoid complications should someone be discovered. Now all they had to do was wait.
Her thoughts drifted back to the peculiar sight she was greeted with when she awoke five minutes before her alarm went off, as she knew she would. Sprawled clumsily across the floor centimeters away from her bed was a dozing Chinese man, an oddly familiar one. She had known it was Mousse before she saw his face.
Shampoo frowned and tried to focus on her task, but it proved difficult. Not having seen him for three years and not talked to him for six since graduating from high school and closing Nekohanten, Shampoo was surprised with the intensity in which she missed her lovesick friend. Though she hadn't given him a second glace ever, the woman found herself admiring the handsome man in her room. Not only did he enter unnoticed, he had considerably changed. Gone were the thick glasses, probably replaced with contacts. His face was tanned and, for lack of a better word, more mature. His hair was still long, but sleekly pulled back into a ponytail with a leather cloth. Though she couldn't be sure, Mousse looked taller than her and definitely better built than before.
It was with mixed emotions in which she had left him asleep on the floor.
Something in the shadows moved. Two men in suits emerged. One was holding a briefcase and the other one was undoubtedly heavily armed. Three different voices immediately whispered the words "targeted sighed" into her ear.
"Wait for the command," Shampoo ordered curtly.
This was the important one. The two men belonged to a highly secretive drug organization. They needed to be taken in alive for proof and questioning. They were obviously out on a deal tonight, but Shampoo had no orders to bring in the customer. Whoever it was, he was highly powerful to be making the deal in person. Credit should be given for even knowing about them. These guys were so secretive they had no name. Others, however, have dubbed them simply the Dealers.
10:04:23. Still only two men in sight. The customer was late. Shampoo frowned. It was not wise to keep the Dealers waiting. The two men were close and whispered to each other in the long deserted park, but didn't move. A part of Shampoo wanted to just pounce on them and turn them in, but her cat-like curiosity kept her frozen in place. Who was the customer?
Another minute and a half passed. A breeze blew by and the leaves rustled. Shampoo's senses screamed alarm, and an internal battle raged. Everything Yamamoto Corp had ever taught her was to stick with the plan. Everything the Amazons have ever taught her was to follow her instinct.
"This is ridiculous," one of the men muttered and dialed a number on his cell phone.
"Take cover!" Shampoo hissed to her teammates.
Before the words completely left her lips, two distinct gunshots rang out in the air. The two men lay dead. Shampoo growled.
"Stay put," she ordered.
Slowly, almost invisibly, another figure emerged from the bushes, picked up the phone, and declared, "I am Kaneida Mimazumi. Thank you for the free crack."
Shampoo absent mindedly wondered why anybody would want a drug named for that part of the body before the man's words hit her like a speeding fire-breathing bullet train full of explosives.
Mimazumi? As in Mimazumi Hito?
Oh no. Akane would not be pleased.
Teresa3: Your English is great for being a second language. I moved to the States when I was 7 and it took me like 4 years to get a hold of it. Anyway, I'm okay with you writing your reviews and such in Spanish. It'll help me with my Spanish grade. :sigh: School is such a hassle. But I am so flattered that you want to translate my stories! Feel free to do it anytime.
Lisiegirl: Hey, you're not allowed to use my hit counter against me. Bah!
Ace: Where are you going on vacation? I wish I could go on vacation. I think you've got something there with the Ukyo theory though it may not be exactly what you're thinking. Remember, Akane waited tables for her for a while.
Vaniah: Thanks for the offer. It's actually because I saw that you were a psych major that I put up that note. --; No, it's not a violence ravaged future, or at least not that far into it. It's sort of the beginning of the breakdown of civilization though, which is sort of why Ranma wasn't put in jail for killing people. oO
Princess Kohana: Of course it's going to be Ranma and Akane! They're the ultimate power couple. Too much power, sometimes, but hey, you can't get everything.
Seras246: Holy crap... I wish I were that smart.
Malice001: Yep! It's a reasonable attachment once you find out more about his and their past though.
Sweetest Taboo: Hey I love Shampoo. She and Akane are my favorite female characters by far. I don't quite like Ukyo as much, but she's a nice girl. And have fun with Psychology. I'm going to take AP Psych senior year. :freaks out:
Lili: Akane doesn't win a fight against Shampoo. If you're talking about when she threw Shampoo, she didn't win. First off, Shampoo didn't even have to perform a "fall" and second, she landed perfectly on her feet. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
Lerris: I hope you like this chapter better, because I do have to agree that the last two were slow and uneventful.
Brittaney AKA BAD: Ranma doesn't really like talking. Sorry.
Angela Jewell: I was so exited to get a review from you! I love your stories and I'm glad you like mine.
Eric Oh: I hope this explains it. I wasn't originally going to put anything in here because it was a minor detail, but since you're the second person who's asked...
A/N: So here it is! Sorry I lied and didn't tell you why Akane is a shrink. That'll come next chapter. I really meant to, but that was too much information to fit into one chapter. So finally some excitement, huh? How do you like it? Be sure to review! They really do motivate me.