"Hey Akane!"

"Hi Ukyo!" Akane greeted back, as she met her friendly rival fiancee at the gates of school. Ever since the American psuedo-holiday of 'April Fools', admittingly, all the fiancees, including Kodachi, have gotten along better. It's impressive how a good joke can bring four women who mostly hated each other's guts together. Why, just the other day all four of them went shopping in the Ginza! That was a great day!

"Ranma snapped out of it yet?" Ukyo asked with a concerned tone. Akane's face scrunched up in irritation.

"Nope, the jerk's still sulking about that prank. Come on, that was weeks ago!"

Ukyo's face twisted in disconcertion, "I dunno, he seemed pretty... I dunno, catatonic?"

"Believe me, he's just faking it to get attention," Akane answered sharply, "Don't get too concerned over it. Once he realizes no one cares about his temper tantrum, he'll be back to his usual, obnoxious self."

"But Akane, he's been staring into space for five weeks. Your mother has to spoon feed him."

Akane shrugged, "So? He's just going through the extra effort, you know how that idiot will go to all lengths to get back at us."

"I still donno, sugar..."

"I'll tell you what, if he doesn't stop this nonsense by the next week or so, we'll brain him for making us worry."

"I don't think that'll solve the problem."

They came to the divergance to take them on their separate ways, "Anyway, I'll see you at school tomorrow, okay?" Ukyo waved, as she walked straight, while Akane turned the corner. From an alley, someone stepped out from hiding, and while being careful still not to be seen, followed Akane around the corner...

'Very... VERY Thin Line Between...'
"Poetic Irony"

Soun checked the clock, being careful not to fully take away his focus on the game board, lest his opponent... gain... the advantage, "Hmm, Akane seems to be running later than usual."

Genma huffed, as he noticed Soun kept his attention well divided, "Ah, who knows with kids today, Tendou? For all we know she could be out doing drugs, getting a tattoo, having unprotected sex, or joining a Neo-Extremist-Right-Wing-Facist Party. I hear they're rather popular with the younger gener-"

"MY. DAUGHTER. WOULD. *NOT*. GET. A. TATTOO!" Soun growled, face to face, with his old friend, showing his 'appreciation' for Genma's observation.

"Heh, I'm sure she's perfectly fine," Genma replied nervously, "She's probably just held back at school... or something." Genma did well not to mention the mental image he had of Akane having her hair shaven into a swaztica.

Genma caught sight of his wife heading from the kitchen with a bowl, and used the distraction as a change of subject "Hmm, it's that time already? My how it flies."

"Yes, Dr. Tofu said we may want to change Ranma's feeding pattern to five meals a day, since he has such a fast metabolism. Especially since he could come out of it at anytime, now."

"Feh, boy goes into shock, and he ends up eating better than I do!" Genma growled, raising his fist into the air. It was a brilliant ploy, as Soun's eyes followed it, allowing Genma to strategically reposition the board for advantage of terrain.

"My, my son's so manly to have such dicipline to stay in meditation for so long!" Nodoka rationalized to herself, not really wanting to accept the fact that her son was doing an astute impression of a vegetable. She stopped by a drawer, and pulled out a bib with a cute little chickie on it; cleaning Ranma up after feeding was always such a trial.

Before she could head upstairs, the front door opened. "Oh, hello, Nabiki," Kasumi greeted from the kitchen, have you seen... oh my." Nabiki walked from the kitchen, with a shocked expression on her extremely pale face. In her hand, she held part of a torn school uniform, along with the neclace Akane had borrowed from her that morning. Both were stained crimson.

"A...Akane..." Nabiki tried to stutter, before turning a frightened expression to her father. Soun immidiatly picked up on his daughter's distress, and what the signs pointed to, and immidiately began to wail. Genma took the opportunity to make a few more extra-cirricular moves in his mutual game with Soun, and immidiately shot to his feet. He grabbed the torn garments with Akane's blood on it, and started to cry tears of dispair.

"Oh, it's a terrible, tragic day for the Saotomes and Tendous, to lose such a cherished link.. er, member of our.. your family!" He then looked solomnly at Nabiki, "It is now your duty to marry the boy, do your sister proud by upholding family honor!"

Nabiki snapped out of her fear-induced catatonic state real quick-like, "HEY!"

"Well then, Kasumi?" Genma offered.

"Oh yes, Nabiki would make an exellent choice!" Kasumi called out from her hiding place in the kitchen.

"TRAITOR!" Nabiki screamed.

"Well, there you have it!" Genma proclaimed, "But, first thing's first. The Boy must avenge his deceased fiancee's murder! Nodoka, go wake up the boy. This foolishness has gone on long enough!"

"Dearest, we're not sure Akane's dead yet," Nodoka supplied with a tone of rationality, "Perhaps she's just wounded..." She looked at the heavily stained cloth in her husband's hand, "and crawling desperately toward medical attention..."

"I'll call Dr. Tofu," Nabiki offered, finally glad the spotlight was off of her for the moment, and rushed for the phone.

"AKANE's DEAAAAAAAADDDD!!!" Soun wailed.

"Oh father, father, father," Kasumi admonished from her hiding place in the kitchen.

Nodoka returned with a highly concerned expression.

"Ranma... seems to be missing..."

"Akane's missing? Ranma too?" Ukyo repeated over the phone. Her face grew worried, "I walked with her a bit from school, but I hadn't seen her since we went our separate ways." Ukyo's face changed to shock, "NO! I would NEVER do anything like that! We may have had our differences, but..."

Ukyo's face changed once again to furiousness, causing Konatsu to turn in another direction and finish cleaning elsewhere, "Well, I see how far your 'trust' goes, Sugar. I'll help in the search for Ranchan Akane-chan, but don't you DARE blame me for this again, or we're going to have to straighten this out between us, with the business end of my spatula... NO THAT WAS NOT A MURDER THREAT!!! FINE! CALL THE POLICE, YOU JACKASS!"

Ukyo slammed the phone down, and growled about irrational fathers. She then considered it, and became extremely worried again; Akane is missing, possibly murdered. Akane was a friend, and a good one, at that; being kidnapped by a prince was one thing, but by a crazy Ginzu weilding psycho serial socialpath schitzoid was something else entirely. Not only that, Ranma, who had been doing an impression of a statue for over a month, was also suddenly missing; it couldn't have been a coincidence.

"Konatsu," Ukyo summoned. She knew that her employee was an exellent tracker, maybe he could find some clues as to what happened to Akane, "We're going to close early today, and I need you to see if you can find out what happened to Akane..."

"Akane-sama? What's wrong?" Konatsu's face began to reflect the concern from Ukyo's.

"That's what I need you to find out. Nabiki found scraps of Akane's uniform with her blood on it just a ways off where we would go our separate ways after school. I need you to start there, and see if you can find any clues. I'm going to go look for Ranma, he's apparently also gone missing. And so help me, if I found out anything had happened to my Ranchan..."

"Alright, Ukyo-sama..." Konatsu turned to leave, but then turned his head back, "I hope she's alright..."

"So do I, Sugar, so do I," Ukyo replied with extreme gravity in her voice. With that, Konatsu vanished into his search. Ukyo sighed, and went outside, pulling in her street sign and putting on the 'Closed' sign. Once she was done with that, she turned to begin a quick clean up. Just as she began, she heard the chimes on her door ring, signalling someone's entry.

"I'm sorry, we're closed. Come back tomorrow, ok... OH!" Ukyo exclaimed in surprise. The only thing she was able to do next, was gasp...

Konatsu returned with a disgruntled expression on his effimate face. He had dropped by the Tendous to find out where Nabiki had found the cloth, and checked the area himself. He was sure it was the area, but he could not find any evidence as to the happenings of Akane. Someone had cleaned the area up, removing what evidence that could have been there previously.

He wasn't sure what to think about that. They left evidence there previously, and then decided to go back and clean up after whatever happened. Either they were very clumsy, or they wanted Nabiki to find that. The latter was his guess, since the necklace Nabiki let Akane borrow was what was found with the scrap. He was sure that nothing good happened to Akane.

With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he entered Ucchans to report his findings. His eyes went wide at the sight before him, just before his stomach relieved itself involintarily...