Ukyou paused. She was only a block away from the docks now, but she felt no need to go any further. Ranma was on the other side of the street.
She quickly ran across the street. It wasn't too busy, especially at this time, but there were enough people around to give her adequate cover. She ran up to him.
"Ranma!" She shouted.
Ranma stopped and turned around. Ukyou continued to run up to him.
"Ranma, I can't let you do this."
He sighed. He didn't know how Ukyou knew about anything, but there wasn't much he could do now. "Ukyou, you've got to understand."
"Ranma, Akane cares for you. It took me so long to realize it, but she does. She cares so much for you, and believe it or not, I know you do as well."
"I know, Ukyou."
"And... You know?"
"Ukyou, I've already seen Akane. And once this is all over with, I'll tell her how I feel." He blinked for a moment. "What about you?"
"You. You've been after me ever since you came to Nerima. How... Why are you telling me to go to Akane?"
Ukyou blinked. She never realized it that way. She did care for Ranma, a great bit, and had even gone to the point where she'd be willing to hurt others just to get to him.
Ranma smiled. "You've changed, haven't you?"
Ukyou blinked again. She realized it. Yes, she had changed. Since Ranma had left, she had been spending time with Akane. Originally because she thought Akane would know where Ranma is, but after Akane admitted how she felt, and Ukyou realized that she didn't know where he was, she just went to help her out. Cheer her up.
"Ranma... I..." She looked up at him. Her heart seemed to melt for a moment, and then she walked up to him. She put her arms around his shoulders and pulled him down into a deep kiss.
A moment later, they parted.
"Uhh... Ukyou?" Ranma muttered.
Ukyou just stared. No feeling. It was as if she was kissing her brother.
"Ranma. I..." She thought.
"Why did you--"
She laughed. "I had to see. I had to see what I felt for you."
"It's not love." She smiled at him. "It's not LOVE love. It's more... It's like brotherly love. I... Ten years for revenge, and I never realized it until now. It felt like more of a blood feud than... Than betrayal."
"Shhh." She put her finger to his lips. "Ranma, you don't know how much better I feel. It's like.. A weight has been lifted. I feel... Free."
"Ranma, I... I'm your best friend, right?"
Ranma nodded sheepishly.
"And that's all we are." She smiled. "I don't even feel that bad. Just... remorseful for all I've done to sabotage you and Akane, while I was just being...." She looked into his eyes. "An overprotective sister."
"Akane loves you Ranma. I know that. I guess before it was just a feeling of... I don't know what. But I see it now. She loves you, and you love her. And I love you, as a brother."
"Ukyou. I'm glad to have you as a friend. I really am. But if I don't do this, Akane may never see the light of day again."
Ukyou blinked. "What?"
"Look, its hard to explain. Akane never told you why I left because I never told her why. All I did was leave a letter that I _THOUGHT_ would stop her, or anyone else for that matter, from finding me. But two people did."
Ranma nodded. "They shot him Ukyou."
Ukyou's heart jumped. "What? How? Is he--"
"He's alive. They shot him twice in the kneecaps. Right now, he's in the hospital in a coma. Having them let him live was the only way I would continue to work for them."
"I don't know. People. They've got pictures of me. Of you. Of Akane, Shampoo, Ryouga. Everyone. They can even tell me where Ryouga is at this exact moment."
"I don't know, Ukyou. Things have happened so fast. They've sent me out on missions, but I refused to kill. That was the one thing I refused to do." He chuckled. "I was almost shot several times, and beat some gangsters loaded to the teeth with ammunition down to the ground, but I never killed anyone."
"What do they need you to do?"
"I'm still not sure. They talk about making a change. They say there's something wrong with our country." He paused. "They talk about transients walking the streets. Crime going out of control." He shook his head. "They want to rule with an iron fist. Starting with Japan."
"They want to take over Japan?"
"Yes. They've even got people in the government working for them. Apparently I've got to go kill a government official right now, and make it look like an accident, all because he's against what the others are doing."
"But I thought you said--"
"I wouldn't kill. Yes. But they've got Akane. And they're probably watching me right now."
"So if I don't do as they say, they'll kill Akane and the reporter."
"I tried to go to the press, but they caught him before he could tell anyone."
Ukyou blinked. "Could we go against them?"
"They keep tabs on most of us. Some they don't consider a threat, some they do."
"Who don't they consider a threat?"
"You're one of them. Cologne and the old freak as well. Apparently, they figured I learned most of my special attacks from my father."
"They don't consider me a threat?"
"No. But if you were with Akane, they probably sent someone to follow you."
"It doesn't matter, Ukyou. Maybe they think its just because you run a restaurant, but they don't consider you a threat."
Ukyou smirked. "I could show them a thing or two."
"You can't take them all on. Not with guns." He paused. "I've got to continue on my way, but you've got to find Cologne and the old freak."
"They can help. I know they can, Ucchan."
Ukyou blinked and then nodded. "I'll do my best."
"Good. There are two of them across the street. Don't look, but one will probably follow you, because we've been talking for too long. Can you take him?"
"I could take about 6 without getting shot, but any more..."
"Right. One should be no problem. They armed?"
"These two, I'm pretty sure. They seem to like to keep tabs on people."
Ukyou nodded. "Where are they being kept?"
"By the docks. Warehouse Seventy-Two."
"Right. What are you going to do about this guy?"
"I've got an idea." He looked up. "But I can only do it alone. Go find them, now." He said.
Ukyou nodded and gave him a sisterly peck on the cheek, and then ran off. Ranma smirked as he noted one of the men across the street, amidst the crowd of people walking in either direction, give chase to Ukyou.
"You've got her?" he asked. As Mazuhara produced a toothy smile, Akane cringed away. "Bring her here."
Mesaki Mazuhara flipped the cellular phone shut and placed it into his pocket. As he smiled at Akane, he spoke.
"Well, Miss Tendo. It seems as though you're going to have some company." He looked back towards the reporter, who was now tied up to a chair.
Akane narrowed her eyes. She tried her best to scream obscenities at him, but for the most part, they remained muffled utterances of gibberish.
Mazuhara smiled. "Your sister should be here in any minute."
It wasn't as if, when put to the test, she wouldn't prevail against the armed man who was now chasing her, but it seemed easier to just run, and avoid him if possible.
It was easier. Constantly looking over her shoulder, she checked if the armed man was still in chase. There was no way he would pull out his gun. It may have been late past midnight, but there were enough people around for him to cause a scene.
It didn't take Ukyou terribly long to reach the train station. Although, for the most part, she was worried she would have to wait for the train. Coincidentally, she got there just as it seemed the doors were going to close.
They did. But not before Ukyou slipped into the second car. The armed man bangs his hands against the window as the train pulled away. Ukyou smiled and relaxed in a seat.
It was a leap of faith.
Well, not exactly, it was a fairly certain jump, just extremely dangerous if anything went wrong. And that's what found Gendo Tosaka clinging to the rear car of a passenger train, at nearly one clock in the morning.
Many would say he was risking his life in making such a jump. But he would say he was saving it. He was only a peon. A simple worker bee to the monarch of his organization. And a worker that doesn't produce much, is of no use to the hive. That's the mentality Gendo had carried with him for over five years.
But as it was, he found himself clinging to the rear ladder of a passenger train. From the speed it was moving, there was pretty much no chance of him being able to jump onto the rear carriage and gain entry into the car. He knew his mark was in the train. Her smiling face made his heart jump as she waved while the train left the station.
But as it was, he was stuck. How long till the next stop, he wondered as the wind blew through his hair, causing the jacket of his suit to flap, even with the extra weight of a 92 series beretta.
He could barely see past the front of his face. Whether it was because of the darkness of the night, or the wind stinging his eyes. But he held on.
If something hit him, it would be all over. A fate that he found he would not mind much, as long as it meant not having to face failure and death at the hands of Mazuhara.
As the wind eased, Gendo felt the feeling in his heart ease. The train was slowing to the next stop, and if Gendo was correct, his mark wouldn't be getting off until Nerima, which was another two stops away. He could get to her before she left the train.
The train stopped. He hopped on the rear carriage and gained entry into the last car of the train. If he wasn't mistaken, the train had a total of five cars. Three cars away, his mark would be sitting, totally unexpectant of what was going to happen.
The chill came unexpectantly. The chill she always got when something wasn't right. It had happened the moment the train stopped, but after seeing noone enter her car as it pulled away from the station, she tried to ease.
Unsuccesfully, of course. The ease never came. Something was wrong, and she knew it with all of her inner being.
She got up from her seat and looked around. Her car was empty. She was alone. A quick looked at the front car revealed two passengers, but there was no other sign of anyone. Then she walked to the rear of her car.
She gasped. The man who had been following her, however he had managed to get on the train, was in the next car.
Thinking quickly, she pulled a mini-spatula from her bandolier and wedged it between the car door and the hinge. Luckily, it had worked. The man was nearly upon her when she managed to strategically place it.
Ukyou gave a quick gesture that would have been considered unladylike, if she had been a proper lady.
The man yanked on the door furiously. As a final attempt, he pulled out his gun.
Ukyou reacted as fast as she could. Already she could feel the train slow to its next stop, she pulled her battle spatula from her back and held it in front of her, barely managing to deflect the bullet.
But that wasn't the intent of the bullet. The window on the train car door had been smashed, and the man had removed the mini-spatula. He was now in the car.
Ukyou had to think quickly. She ran as fast as she could to the front car, opening the door and making a similar blockade using another mini-spatula.
The man frowned again. This time, using the butt of his pistol, he smashed the window open. Fortunately for Ukyou, she hadn't blocked the door to prevent him from getting to her, but instead to buy her time.
When the man got through the door, standing the on carriage between cars, he blinked. Ukyou wasn't there.
"What the hell?" He muttered to himself.
He knew she hadn't entered the next car. He would have noticed that. He looked around in confusion. The only thing he could think of was that she had jumped.
Holding the ladder to the train roof, he swung his body to get a good view of the ground in the area the train had gone past.
Nothing. He blinked when he realized where she was. Swearing to himself and pocketing his gun, he climbed up the ladder.
Ukyou was having trouble holding her grip, but she tried to climb along the roof nonetheless. Seeing the lights of the train station go by, she realized they had skipped a station.
"Damn electronic trains." She muttered. "It had better stop at Nerima or I'm going to write a stern letter of complaint."
Then she heard it. Or rather saw it. A quick spark of light appeared by her head. When she noticed the telltale dent in the roof, she looked back. The man had found her.
The sound of the wind rushing by had obviously drowned out the sound of the bullet. There was nothing she could do without risking losing her grip. If she could just hold out until the train reached Nerima, she would be fine.
Another shot barely missed her. She realized the man was having just as much trouble aiming as Ukyou was having climbing. She increased her rate of movement when she realized the latest factor.
The lights of Nerima began to loom before her. It wouldn't be much longer.
There was another shot. Ukyou screamed in pain as the bullet ripped through her shoulder.
"Are you sure about this?" Hiroshi asked.
"Sure," Daisuke replied. "They told us to meet them here at 1:30."
"Yeah, but what if they meant 1:30 in the afternoon?"
Daisuke blinked. "Well, you know how they are. They're girls. They do weird things."
"Yeah, but I don't think they'd be dumb enough to come to the train station at 1:30 in the morning."
"Oh come on." Daisuke shook his head. Then something caught his attention. "Hey look, there's the train. I'll bet they're on it!"
"Either that or a crazed madman with a gun."
As the train entered the station, Hiroshi and Daisuke prepared themselves. As it slowed, they began to peek into each car.
"So, where are they?" He asked.
Daisuke glared at his friend. "Girls can be late sometimes, you know."
Suddenly, they were interrupted. A small and quick figure loomed over the two of them, knocking Daisuke over as it landed and took off into the distance.
"What the heck was that?!" Hiroshi asked.
"How should I know?!"
"Where did she go?!" Another voice called out.
Hiroshi and Daisuke perked up. The image of a man in a business suit holding a menacing looking pistol in his hand appeared before them. It took the two of them a moment to realize it was real.
"Which way, you fools?!" He demanded.
"IDIOTS! WHERE THE HELL IS SHE?!" He pointed the gun at them.
Suddenly, the two of them started to speak.
Daisuke pointed towards the shopping street. "Over there!"
Hiroshi did the same. "Saw her with my own two eyes!"
The man took off in pursuit and left Hiroshi and Daisuke by themselves.
A moment later, Daisuke spoke up. "Hiroshi?"
"Are you alright?"
"No. I think I wet myself."
"Oh... Me too."
"Next time I get a bright idea to come to the train station in the middle of the night, don't listen to me."
Ukyou hid. It was the only thing she could do. After jumping from the train and running nearly two blocks, she found the first unlocked door she could and hid inside.
As it was, the door belonged to a small storage building. She chose it for the location.
She winced as she set herself down behind a crate. As she heard the footsteps outside of the building, and the door open, she frowned.
He had found her.
"Here, bitchy, bitchy, bitchy." He muttered, holding his gun out in front of him.
Ukyou frowned. "Bite me, you freak!" She yelled from behind the crate.
"Oh, that hurts my feelings. Come on and make me better, I'm pretty certain I could--"
"Are all you gangsters this perverted?"
"Not entirely." He said, walking through the maze of crates in the supply room.
"Must be just you then."
"You know, honey. You're pretty mouthy for someone who just might die in a minute." He looked down at the ground and noticed something. "Looks like I clipped you, after all."
Ukyou frowned. The wound on her shoulder was bleeding profusely, and the bandage she had just made from her sleeve didn't seem to be working all that well.
"Lucky Shot." She taunted.
The man with the gun followed the trail of blood, slowly. Being extra cautious.
"You know honey, you don't HAVE to die. You and me could get pretty cozy, all you have to do is say the word."
"I'd rather screw a horse." Was her reply.
The gangster remained pretty calm for the most part. As he approached where the blood trail stopped, and looked around carefully.
"Looks like you don't bleed much, Honey."
Ukyou smirked. "You'd be surprised." She said from above him. She brought her spatula down and crowned him on the side of the head, sending him sprawling against a crate. She frowned and jumped away as she realized that he was still holding his gun. A moment later, he got up and started to yell.
"You are going to DIE now, you bitch!"
He began to shoot at random, at nearly everything he could see. Thankfully, Ukyou was hiding behind a thick crate.
"I think not, fool." A new voice came from outside the door. The gangster turned around to see the door blast off its hinges and hit the floor, as a lone figure stood.
"What the hell are you doing here, you old bag? This has nothing to do with you. Go and knit something for your grandkids before I shoot you too!"
Cologne smirked. "Come, child." She said to Ukyou. "You've much to explain."
Ukyou sighed in relief as she called out. "I'm over here. I've been shot."
Cologne nodded. "I had expected as much."
"What the hell is this?" The gangster shouted. "I told you to get lost, old woman. Now go!"
"I will not be ordered around by a common thug." She smirked at him. "Besides, you're about Seventy years too young to mess with me."
The thug raised his eyebrows. "Oh really?" He raised his gun and smiled. "Good-bye!"
As the smoke cleared from in front of his face, he frowned. The old woman still stood there. She produced something from her hands and tossed it at him.
"I believe that was yours?"
He looked down at his feet to see a small metal object. Closer examination revealed it to be a bullet.
"No way." He muttered. He shot at Cologne three more times.
As the smoke cleared again, he looked at her smiling face.
"No way! I know I got you that time!"
Cologne put her hand out, palm up and revealed two more bullets. The third she spit out of her mouth.
"That's enough, boy." She said. "I can no longer play such games with you." She crossed the distance between them in mere seconds. The gangster barely saw her move. She swung her staff and knocked him to his feet, as she then placed her fingers on his neck and the side of his head. He then lay absolutely still.
"Come child, he is taken care of."
Ukyou raised herself from the side of the crate and walked out to meet her. "Is he dead?"
"Nay, Child. He is merely paralyzed."
"So he can't move?"
"Can he feel?"
"Not at the moment, although any damage that is dealt to him he will feel tenfold after the paralyzing has worn off. By then the police will have arrived."
"Good." She smiled, and proceeded to flatten his face with her spatula.
"Now Child, I assume it is not by mere coincidence that you should happen to commence this fight this close to the Nekohanten?"
Ukyou shook her head. "Ranma's in trouble."
Cologne smiled. "As I had expected."
"Nay, Child. I simply assumed. Why else would a crazed gangster with a gun be chasing after you, unless because of my son-in-law?"
Ukyou could think of several reasons, but decided to remain silent. "We've got to find the old--... We've got to find Happosai."
Cologne raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"It's hard to explain. You, me and Happosai are the only ones they don't consider threats."
Cologne nodded. "Understandable. However, Child, you must remain here. Shampoo and Mousse are inside, and they will tend to your wounds."
She shook her head. "I want to help too."
"Nay, Child. They will be looking for you as well. If they sent this man after you, and he has not returned word that he has caught you, they may well send others after you. At least Shampoo and Mousse can offer some protection as to your wound."
"No buts, Child. Tell me what I should know, and Happosai and I will take care of it."
Ukyou began to speak again, but from the adamant look on Colognes face, she caved. She then told her all she knew.
Ranma swallowed hard.
It was all he could do to keep his nerves steady. If things were going to work out as he had planned, he had to stay calm.
Easier said than done.
He pushed open the door.
Empty. The room was empty. He looked around. Was it a trap? Was he supposed to come to an empty room while they...
Oh God. Were they doing something to Akane? Visions of horror passed through Ranma's mind. And then he heard it.
A snore. Ranma felt a rush of relief, but tensed up as he realized what was still at hand.
He approached the bed.
He pulled an object out of his pocket. Poison. It had been supplied to him from Mazuhara for the sole purpose of killing the man who slept in the bed before him.
He poured some poison into a small cloth and scrubbed it in.
The cloth now reeked with poison.
He bent down to the sleeping man.
How easy it would be for him to kill him. Even without the poison, he could snap his neck, or throw him out the window.
Ranma shook his head. It wasn't healthy to think that way.
He placed his hand on the mans shoulder.
He shook him awake.
"Wha?" The man groggily blinked his eyes. A moment later, he let his vision focus. Another moment later, he realized someone had woken him up. He scrambled to the side of the bed.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" He asked, frantically.
Ranma tried to calm him down. "Relax, old man. I'm not going to hurt you."
"There's some money on the desk, just leave peacefully."
"I don't want your money. I was sent here to kill you."
"Oh God." He curled himself into a fetal position. "Don't kill me, God please no."
"Oh relax! I said I ain't gonna hurtcha!"
"But you said--"
"I said I was sent to kill ya. That ain't what I'm gonna do, ya old fool!"
The man blinked. "How do I know your not going to hurt me?"
Ranma sighed. "Look, your just gonna hafta trust me. I haven't killed anyone before, and I ain't about to start now."
"Then why are you here?"
Ranma swallowed. "I need your help."
"Help? You break into my home, threaten to kill me, and you ask for my help?!"
"Hey, I never threatened to kill ya!"
"You still broke into my home!"
"I was forced to!"
"Oh, great. A robber FORCED to rob someone blind. The courts would love to hear that!"
"Will you stop already? I was forced to come in here and kill you, to prevent some kind of bill from going through. But you know what? I want you to live. I like Japan the way it is, and if things work out the way I hope they will, it'll be staying that way for a long time!"
"Look, there's this guy. His name is Mesaki Mazuhara. At least, that's what he says his name is. He's got my fiancee, and he's threatening to kill her unless I do you in, but I ain't killing nobody."
"Mesaki Mazuhara? I know that name."
The man pounded a fist into his hand. "Of course."
"He's some kind of crazy. He keeps saying he's gonna bring about a 'new era' for Japan and the world."
"Ikanisa Manufacturing is a heavy donator for some of the other politicians in Japan."
"Exactly, he's probably got all sorts of 'em on the payroll. But he wants you out of the picture."
"Understandable. I know what kind of seedy background he's from. I vote against everything he's got his fingers into."
"Obviously why he wants you dead."
The man nodded. "I'll call the police. you can explain everything to them, and they'll arrest him."
"No, you can't. Not yet."
"Why? Oh, that's right. Your fiancee."
"He'll kill her if he so much as senses something out of place. I've spent the last month with him. He may not be skilled, but he's smart. And ruthless."
"So what do you suggest we do?"
Ranma smiled. "There's one thing he doesn't yet know about me."
"And that is?"
Ranma thought for a second. "Here's what we do."