Dummy Perception: I can't harass you privately, so I answer here: Because she's a bitch! :D I think her only limit comes when a mother's involved. :D

Akane wandered the halls of Furinkan High, trying to ignore the eyes following her every move and the whispered-and not so whispered- jokes and nasty comments about her and Shampoo.

It had being a slow painful day, fruitful in teachings about the treacherous nature of people. In the face of weirdness, her so called friends had abandoned her at the mercy of the gossiping crowd. Some of them had joined it, actively sharing rumors, comments and theories. But the horrors of girl's treachery paled in comparison to that of the transformation the male population went through in the face of the cursed pictures. From polite funny fellows, they had all turned into lustful drooling big-mouthed pervs.

Ranma looked unaffected. He had gone about the daily school routine as always, hanging with friends, dancing his way to the front line of the cafeteria and not doing his homework. Akane was afraid to approach him, even in her loneliness. He acted cool but said the most hurtful things when he was upset.

The day had come to an end and she searched for him. It was time to go home and the time to save face was over. Whatever he said, she could deal with in peace for the rest of the weekend.

"It's bullshit." Ranma asserted crossly, ignoring the pictures Daisuke insisted on showing him.

"Shampoo's all over you, granted. But this'd explain why Akane hates your guts."

"Na, she hates him 'cause he's a jerk." Hiroshi disagreed, his nose still bleeding for the sight the only picture he had being able to afford blessed him with. "Shampoo sure looks like the expert, though."

Ranma snorted. People were so retarded sometimes. Shampoo was in love with him. After that stupid jewel incident there should be no doubt left about that. Akane loved him too and he didn't care what they had to say about that. He smiled faintly. He missed her.

"Danger, danger! Our man's getting horny!" Daisuke screamed.

"Can blame him?"

"Ranma, dude, if you ain't careful, they'll move to China and marry before you know it."

"Gimme a break…"

The loud-mouthed dumbass was about to say something else when he noticed Akane approaching. Daisuke regarded her suspiciously. Hiroshi blew his bleeding nose in a napkin and wiped the drool leaking from his mouth.

"Ranma? Are you ready? To go home?"

"Sure!"

They walked in silence for a while. When Daisuke and Hiroshi were at a safe distance, Akane whispered to him.

"Do you want to ask something…?"

"Look, Akane, I don't give a crap about the pictures, okay? I know it was Nabiki."

It felt like a sudden overwhelming weight simply lifted off her shoulders. Overwhelming relief was followed by a warm feeling spreading all over her chest. It was love, something she had feared but now accepted. Ranma was loyal and noble…in his own weird way.

"I was kinda freaked at first…" He continued, ignoring the crowd of students around them prompting him with frantic waves to shut up. "You're a tomboy and all, it got me thinking…But Shampoo's so feminine and all. She'd kind of be the girl'f the couple, uh?"

He laughed until Akane snarled and kicked him so hard, he rocketed full speed backwards and slammed against the front-wall of the school. It cracked on impact.

Ranma peeled off the wall and dropped to the floor. A pained moan slipped his lips. He raised his head off the dirt and watched Akane storming out of the School's grounds. The bitch couldn't take a freacking joke. He jumped to his feet and was rammed back to the floor by a powerful blow.

"Ranma Saotome!" Kuno howled, his rabid eyes filled with tears. He raised his wooden sword from Ranma's skull and prepared to slam it back on his head. "You are to blame for this disastrous event!"

Ranma snarled and jumped back to his feet, sending the idiot on his back reeling backwards.

"Ranma! Prepare to die!"

A weeping Ryoga was charging towards him. Kuno attacked. Ranma smiled ferally.

"Just what I needed..."

Akane hid in her room, trying to find comfort in solitude. She missed P-chan. Animals were simple creatures. They asked only affection and food for their loyalty and love. There were no lies, no ulterior-motives, no mean words…

There was a soft knock on the door.

"Akane?"

"Go away."

The door swung open and everyone trooped in. Her father led the charge.

"Akane!" He roared. "What is this about you and Shampoo being together?!"

Akane fixed her tear-stricken eyes on Nabiki. The middle Tendo sister paled slightly and hid behind Kasumi.

"Ask her!" Akane snarled

Kasumi, Soun and the fat panda that was Uncle Genma turned their attention to Nabiki. She crossed her arms.

"The pictures are altered." They scowled darkly. She scowled back. "What? I made enough money to repair all the damage Akane's fiance and her little friend do to the house…and Akane's own contribution to the demolitions…"

All set of eyes fell back on Akane.

"You humiliated me in front of the whole school!"

"Well, that was a good scare! Isn't that right, Saotome-kun?" Soun laughed.

The panda gurgled, producing a wooden sign.

"Indeed it was, Tendo-kun!"

"Well, Mr Pu, I guess everything's fine then!"

Akane blinked and turned. She screeched and jumped off the bed, startled out of her guts by the sight of Mr Pu standing right next to the bed.

"Two female no produce heir." The Amazon said, following Soun and Genma out of the room. "Happy daughter no gay."

"I wish you would stop doing this kind of things, Nabiki. It's just not right."

"Everyone'll forget in a week." Nabiki said off-handedly.

The door closed softly and Akane was alone in her room once again. She slumped into her bed and closed her eyes, hoping to fall asleep soon.

Ranma had underestimated Kuno and Ryoga this time. It didn't matter how hard he hit them, the two bastards crawled back to their feet for more. It took hours to get rid of them. With a pig wandering the dark streets of Nerima and Kuno in the Hospital, Ranma could finally go home.

Kuno and Ryoga were mad with rage about the rumors of Akane and Shampoo being together. They blamed him for her abrupt change of heart. Ukyo, in an attempt to stop the fight, had tried to explain that people were just born gay. It came out in the open late because society imposed shames and fears that needed to be dealt with…

His mind replayed those words over and over again. His eyes lowered to the surviving picture clutched between bloody fingers. There was nothing fake in Akane's tender eyes or the gentle touch of Shampoo's delicate fingers on her shoulder…

"Bullshit..."

Ranma threw the picture over his shoulder and continued shuffling back to the Dojo.

Akane was alone in a dark room. Something was out there, stalking her. She couldn't see it. She couldn't move. It was going to hurt her but she couldn't escape.

The cat stared at her with big golden eyes. It was a free creature, above good and evil. It was above death. It yowled and approached. Akane didn't want it to touch her. Its claws nailed painfully into her flesh. It crawled up her body, digging its claws on her flesh, reaching her face, ripping the flesh at her neck, opening widely its fanged mouth…

Akane bolted upright in the bed, letting out a strangled cry. Her wide terrified eyes darted around the room. It was too dark to see. There was something out there. She grabbed the dao sword resting next to the bed and lashed out at the smothering shadows.

It hit something. Akane paled and tried to pull the weapon back. It was stuck. Her free hand flailed about in the darkness for the switch of the lamp. She never found it but light burst into the room. The sudden brightness hurt her eyes but she kept them open to locate the stalking intruder.

Eventually, Akane was able to see Shampoo's haughty face in the white light. Her eyes darted to the end of her sable and found it tangled in a three-sectional staff.

"Spatula Girl congratulate Shampoo for getting out of closet." Shampoo's eyes glinted dangerously as she released both the lamp-switch and Akane's dao. "I not understand so she explain. What is you doing?"

"Excuse me?!"

Akane snapped, setting the sword back on its hiding place behind the bed. A vengeful impulse prompted her to rat Nabiki out but common sense soon overrode it. A more controlled and civilized individual should have the task of giving her sister a lesson.

"It wasn't me." She said with a sigh and slumped back on the bed. She had enough sense no to turn off the light. "If you want to fight, we'll do it tomorrow. I'm tired now."

Shampoo jumped on the bed and straddled her.

"Is you telling people we lover so Airen hate me?"

"No!" Akane said in a strangled voice "Get off me!"

Shampoo's lips twisted into a vulpine smile. She leaned forward. Akane's eyes bulged.

"Wha-what are you doing?!"

Shampoo did not answer. Their noses touched and then her lips. Akane bolted from the bed, throwing the Amazon off. She flattened against the wall and stared, horrified, at her uninvited guest. Shampoo looked at her with huge tearful eyes.

"What happen? I thought…? Ukyo said…"

"No!" Akane howled "No, no, no!"

The heart-broken look on Shampoo's face was like a blow to the stomach. The blood drained from Akane's face. Her hammering heart skipped a beat. Her frantic mind questioned if she had peed on her pants and then wondered what the hell she was going to do? How did this happen? How would she fix it?!

Shampoo smiled and fell back on the bed, laughing hysterically.

"Aiya! Baka!"

"Nani?"

Ranma reached Akane's room. He had eaten, made some exercise, fought his father and took a bath. He felt ready to confront her. It was a bit late but it was now or never…

"SHAMPOO, NO BAKA!"

The door exploded outwards and flattened Ranma to the floor. Shampoo ran down the corridor, laughing hysterically. Akane speeded after her with a wooden katana tightly clasped between her fingers.

"You stupid, insensitive jerk!"

Ranma crawled from under the door, blinking in confusion.

"I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!"

He joined Kasumi, Nabiki, Soun and Genma downstairs. Akane was trying to beat the crap out of Shampoo, insulting and accusing her of many things. Ranma felt an uncomfortable- and strange- pang of jealousy.

"But Akane!" Shampoo laughed. "Wo ai ni!"

They paled. Nabiki climb back upstairs.

"This's being blown way out of proportion."

"I wasn't aware Shampoo was gay." Kasumi whispered to Ranma. "She seemed so fond of you. Oh, but then you do turn into a girl…"

Ranma was about to retort when something slam into the back of his head. An angry panda towered over him with a sign that read in furious red letters:

"What are you waiting for, boy? Go and get her before it's too late!"

"AGREE!"

Soun and Genma grabbed Ranma and threw him over to the girls just as Akane was swinging her staff towards Shampoo's head. The Amazon ducked. Ranma blinked once before the weapon connected right into his forehead, sending him back against Genma and Soun. They grunted on impact and fell in their butts.

"Aiya! Airen!"

Shampoo's mirth ended abruptly and she caught Akane's staff in the next swing. She pulled but the Amazon's hold did not budge.

"You break promise, Akane!"

"Let. Go."

Shampoo smirked.

"Make me…"

The wooden staff groaned under the strain as both girls stared into each other's eyes. Akane finally lashed out, kicking as hard as she could. Shampoo jumped perched on the staff like a bird and stuck her tongue out at her. The Tendo girl smirked and pulled at the staff but the Amazon didn't lose her footing. She simply jumped to a new perch: Akane's head.

"Slow as cow!" She taunted.

The staff dropped to the floor and Akane slumped slightly. Shampoo cocked her head to the side curiously and jumped down.

"Am I only a joke to you?" Akane asked in a choked tone, her eyes hidden by shadows.

"What you mean?"

"Just get out of my house. And stop getting into my room!"

"Stop getting into her room!" Soun howled into the Amazon's ear, the sheer power of the scream blowing her hair to the side. "Akane will marry Ranma, share their lives! Then they will inherit the Anything-Goes Martial Arts Dojo!"

"Stop making decisions for me!"

Soun gasped and slumped against Genma's broad belly by the sheer violence of the outburst. He stared at Akane like a kicked puppy. When Akane's eyes fell on him, the panda quickly produced a sign.

"New times, new rules!"

"That is enough, Akane." Kasumi said as sternly as she could manage. "We should all go back to bed. It is rather late. We can talk about this tomorrow."

"Right…"

Akane stomped her way back into her room. The sight of the broken door filled her with frustration and rage. Her rabid eyes searched for something to replace it with. The bed looked about the right size. She grabbed it and prepared to ram it into the door's frame when Shampoo walked in. It took all of her will power not to throw it at her.

"Everything get very hard if you love Shampoo, see…" She said, glancing at the broken door. "I wanted make sure you no really pervert."

Akane slammed the bed down on its proper place and whirled on the Amazon.

"You should have asked! You mock me all the time; you are just like…Just go away!"

Shampoo picked the door and managed to set it carefully back into the frame, bending the hinges to secure it. It was not going to open again, but she didn't seem to care.

"People no make fun of Shamoo. Not here not in Nujie Zu. No one tells what do. Only Elders, but that is law. You no make self be respected. So everyone makes fun right to you face."

Akane was suddenly reminded of all the horrible things she went through at school. How Yuko had avoided her all day and Sayuri mocked her with other girls. The boys acted like drooling brutes, but that wasn't new. Ranma and Shampoo had more mockery to share and her family did not respect her at all. Perhaps Shampoo was right and being loyal and caring with the people she loved was not enough to win their respect. Feeling exhausted, Akane slumped into the bed and closed her eyes.

Shampoo sat next to her.

"Make people be afraid of you, Akane and they no ever make fun of you to face."

She wanted to say that that was wrong but lacked the necessary conviction. She shook her head. It was wrong. This had been a weird day. In a week, everyone would forget. Maybe sooner if some weirdo popped by to challenge her or Ranma. They liked the spectacle and they had always been there to help her when she hurt herself. She had always been there also to watch their backs. Why did they have to stab her in the back? Why did Ranma have to be such a jerk to her? Why did her family never care how she felt or what she thought?

A pained moan slipped her lips and she covered her face. She couldn't help it. She started crying. It had been just too much for one single day.

Shampoo smirked. She had made an art of the deadly Weeping Girl Attack. If Akane really thought she would fell for it, she was in for a nasty surprise. It was good that she listened, though. Trying to get back at her was a good first step to become a better warrior and a respected individual.

"Is goo try, Akane. But no start with me. Start with silly people at School, okay?"

The bitter sobbing and whimpering continued. Shampoo hesitated. It was too good of an act for someone like Akane. She studied the girl carefully. She poked her on the head. Akane continued crying. Slowly, very carefully, Shampoo hopped closer. Nothing changed. She placed a hand on her shoulder. Nothing…

"Is you really crying?"

"Yes, you dumbass!"

The funny moment became awkward and Shampoo clutched her hands tightly at her lap. Her eyes darted to the window. It would be wise to leave. There wasn't much she could-or should-do. She discarded those thoughts. Akane had been with her when her mother's skull broke. It was only fair she was there to help mend a broken heart.

"It waste of time and energy to cry when other hurt you, Akane. You have to go and hurt them back so they no dare hurt you again."

"You hurt me, should I hurt you back!?"

"No, because I hurt you worse then. I superior, so you take what I give. But all the others you do what you want because is you who hurt them more!"

Akane stared at her for a long time. Her expression was not very reassuring.

"Are you insane?! You don't bully people! You don't hurt them back! You just don't hurt people who care about you!"

"But you hurt Ranma and…"

"And it's wrong! And how he hurts me is wrong too!"

"Then why you keep doing it?"

"I don't know."

They sat in silence for a while. Shampoo was content at least the weeping storm had stopped but Akane still looked miserable. It was a strange tendency among outsiders, to complicate the simple matters of life. The strongest and most intelligent people got their way. Tigers did not mourn over the suffering of the deer…

"I'm tired, Shampoo…" Akane mumbled sullenly. "Please, go home. We can talk tomorrow…"

Shampoo hit her sharply on the back of the head, knocking her out cold. She slugged the unconscious girl over her should and jumped out the window.