Standard Disclaimer: I don't own any of the chars, etc.

The Widow

Kasumi sat at the window of her bedroom, gazing listlessly out into the cold rainy night. Her eyes seemed so far away, and dried up tears could be seen on her cheeks. A flash of lightning illuminated the room briefly, casting haunting shadows across the walls. Slowly, Kasumi turned to look around her room. The lights were off, giving the once warm room a dark and depressing, almost frightening appearance. Then she heard it. It was a distant noise, a dull thumping really. It sounded almost like someone was striking something firmly, like a plank of wood, possibly a door.

"Oh my, someone is at the door. I guess I'll have to get that…" Kasumi looked at her own door before rising from the soft backed chair she had been sitting on. As she crossed the path to her doorway, she caught a brief glance at a picture frame that was overturned. Just looking at the wretched object brought on a new wave of raw emotion that she was not prepared for. Grasping onto her nearby dresser she slowly lowered herself to the floor, her carpet greedily absorbing the newly spilt tears. Grabbing the picture frame, she threw it at the wall as fast and as hard as she could. The sharp sound of shattered and splintered glass was music to her ears. Wiping the burning tears from her eyes, she slowly looked in the direction of the wall, and at the signs of her work. As her eyes fell on the broken picture frame, she saw that the very picture she sought to drive from her vision, was now staring back at her defiantly. The picture was a simple three quarter shot of two people in traditional wedding clothes. The bride was herself, and the groom was a taller man with short-cropped black hair. The man was grinning smugly at the camera, looking like the guilty cat himself. Kasumi was looking demurely away from the camera, her face, and more importantly her downcast frown, was covered slightly by her white veil. From first glance, one could almost assume it was an arranged affair.

Their parents right had arranged it after Ranma had left them two years ago. Since he didn't marry Akane, no surprise really, after how she treated him, her father was anxious to find someone to run the dojo. Then along came Tatsuya and his father Toyo Yakima. Tatsuya was an excellent martial artist, nowhere near Ranma and the rest, but still very good, having already taught at numerous dojos across Japan. The dowry had been a large sum of money and fifty percent of the profits from the dojo. The same choice of the three daughters was given to Tatsuya, and everyone assumed he would choose Akane, she being the only one who still practiced martial arts. But for some odd reason, which later on became apparent, he chose Kasumi. She knew that she had to uphold honor and marry Tatsuya, as they would be able to provide for her family. The Yakima's were very wealthy, enough to make Nabiki think twice about the engagement. Especially since Tatsuya wanted Kasumi. Nabiki and Akane tried their hardest to get Soun to change his mind about the engagement, even going so far as to offer themselves in her place. But both Soun and Tatsuya were adamant in their decisions. Even though Kasumi herself, did not want to marry, she would never voice those thoughts to anyone, not even her sisters, as it would only make her look bad in her fathers eyes. She had to do her family duty and marry Tatsuya, even though it was against her wishes.

The marriage ceremony went by faster then anyone could imagine and soon it was time for the honeymoon. Kasumi was all but shaking in fear of that night, but she had to fulfill her duty to the Tendo name and gather her resolve. Their honeymoon location was dismal at best. A shady flat in Hokkaido that the Yakima's owned was to be the place where Kasumi would have her last night as an innocent. When the dreaded time came, Kasumi sat on the bed, silently shivering. As Tatsuya entered the room and began to disrobe, Kasumi bowed low and quietly requested him to be gentle with her.

"Oh I'm going to be anything but gentle, dear." Tatsuya said with a malicious grin, causing Kasumi to look up in unhidden fear.


"And don't worry, there's no one around for miles. You can scream as loud as you want…" Tatsuya said softly, still smiling as he closed in on her. At that point she did scream, and continued much into the night.

The next two years had been an absolute hell for Kasumi. Tatsuya beat her at the slightest mistake or instance. As a martial artist, he knew where to strike to achieve the most pain with the least visible damage, and often kept his blows away from her face and arms. Kasumi finally understood why he chose her for his bride. He knew that Akane would fight back and probably win, and that Nabiki would retaliate in ways that would hurt other than physically. Kasumi didn't know enough martial arts to fight back, and would not due to her docile and subservient nature.

There were only a few instances where light fell into the poor dark pit that was Kasumi's marriage, and that was when she met up with Ranma again. They had only met a few times, twelve at the most, but they would spend hours just talking and catching up on old times. They would usually meet at a local café or teashop, and it always ended with Ranma taking her shopping and buying her something, usually a small trinket. He never told her where he got his income from, often waiving it off as not important. She just assumed it came from underground fighting rings he cleaned out in. It was easy to see why, when a young man, barely 20 comes in claming to take on any opponent. Then he would bet on himself with large odds, beat all the other fighters and walk out with large amounts of money. And he could also do it twice for the same fight if he used his cursed form to place the second bet.

Once when they had met, Tatsuya had beaten her the night before, and Ranma almost found out when he touched one of her bruises. They had been walking down the sidewalk when a cyclist rode by too closely. She would have been struck had he not pulled her out of the way. She tried to suppress the pain, but an almost inaudible gasp escaped her lips. Anyone but Ranma would have missed it, but Ranma being himself, could probably hear a girl in trouble from halfway across the planet.

"Are you ok? Did I hurt you? Oh God Kasumi I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to hurt you! I swear sometimes I forget my strength."

"No I'm ok, it's not from you it's just an sore spot from…something…" She trailed off, avoiding his gaze.

"What from?" He asked innocently.

"Well the other day I was doing some gardening, and a slipped and fell on the handle of my trowel."

Kasumi hated lying to Ranma in any way, but she could not let him know about how Tatsuya beat her almost nightly. Although she would be glad to see Ranma tear into him, the thought of which made a small part of her gasp in astonishment, she could not bring him into her problems, as he had enough of his own.

Looking back to see if he bought the lie, Kasumi waited for a moment while Ranma seemed to consider her words before nodding and turning to walk without another word.

After that meeting, she was pretty sure that Ranma suspected things were not as they seemed. He never said anything about it, but she could see it in his eyes when they spoke.

But now that was over. Her life of hell had been turned upside down. Tatsuya was dead, and she was now a widow. His death had been very ironic, almost cosmically so. He had been drinking again, and while at one of his favorite bars, decided to pick a fight with another patron, someone who you could tell would be a complete pushover. Since half the bar was in his pocket, he had no problems as he carried the scared man out behind the bar to take out his drunken rage on. Shortly after leaving, the man's girlfriend followed them out and defended them man by fighting Tatsuya herself. She proved to be an even better martial artist than Tatsuya, which made him so incensed that he pulled out a knife and tried to stab the woman. In a panic, the woman used a killing blow in self-defense, ending the life of Tatsuya Yakima, and his terrible marriage to Kasumi Tendo.

That was two days ago, and now Kasumi lay sprawled out on her bedroom floor in the house that was bought by Tatsuya. The loud knocking sounded again, bringing her out of her reverie. Sniffling, she rose again and hurried down the stairs to the front door. Catching a glance out one of the side windows had told her enough time had passed that the rain had ceased it's assault on the earth. Taking a moment to compose herself before opening the door, she took a deep breath and then turned the knob, pulling back the door to reveal a dripping wet, slightly steaming, male Ranma.

"Kasumi…I…" he began before being pulled into a tight hug. The hot tears from Kasumi's eyes soon joined the cooling water that dripped from Ranma's shirt.

"Oh Ranma…" She sobbed. Ranma cradled her smaller form and ushered her inside, closing the door behind him. Sitting her down on a couch in the living room, he pulled out a slightly damp facecloth and dabbed some of the tears from her face.

"I'm sorry, I came as soon as I heard. I- How are you holding up?"

"Oh Ranma, always so caring of others… I've been better, but not since a long time now." She reached over to a small box of tissues sitting on the side table. After blowing her nose, she continued. "I just don't know what to do with myself now…"

"Don't worry Kasumi! I'll stay with you until you get things on track again, I promise! I know you must miss Tatsuya and all…"

"Oh no…" she sniffed "It's not that. I…" She pause, and then in the barest whisper she spoke. "I'm so glad that it's over…"


"I'm so sorry Ranma, but I haven't been…the most truthful with you when we met. Even now, as I'm free from him, I'm still afraid."

She then told him everything. She told him about their honeymoon, about the beatings, about the drinking, and about how he was the only light she could see in the last two dark years. Ranma took a moment to digest this information before cursing softly.

"I'm sorry Kasumi, I shoulda done something! I always thought something was wrong whenever I saw you, like the light in your eyes was gone, or dull or something, but God I'm sorry I wasn't there for you." Kasumi broke into more tears as Ranma gathered her into another hug.

"No Ranma, I'm sorry I never told you. I was just…just so afraid of what he'd do to me…"

"Don't worry Kasumi, he's gone now. That son of a bitch can't hurt you no more. I'm here and I won't let it happen again. I promise!" he said this as he looked her right in the eyes, the confidence in his words seeming to cut through Kasumi like a blade. So much was she affected by this that before she knew it, she was reaching out to take Ranma's face in her hands and kissing him softly on the lips. She felt him stiffen for a moment before relaxing in her arms and returning her affection. Breaking the kiss, she pulled him close again, whispering in his ear.

"Please. Please Ranma, stay with me tonight…" She took a shuddering breath. "I-Please fix the damage he has done…"


"I don't want to be alone anymore…"