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A Life Once Lived/8

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Chapter Eight: Dilemma of the Golden Edge Part Two Edit

The car door shut quietly, and the footsteps moved even quieter. If it had not been for the noise the child was making, they would have caught everyone off guard. Especially Mousse. Although, Mousse was the only one to notice before they walked into the home.

"Hello?", Akane yelled as she walked into the door. Instinctively, Ranma's eyes shot up.

Ryouga followed behind her silently, and cautiously. He had agreed to come along to see Mousse the previous night, but he knew deeper down it was really Ranma he had wanted to see. To speak to.

"Ahh, Akane!", Nodoka greeted. "Welcome to the party!"

  • Party?*, Akane thought as she walked into the tea room. Her jaw

dropped. There were several people, nearly all of them had surprised her.

Some, however, she had expected. Her father, obviously. Nabiki and Kinami were more than likely to be there. Mousse's friend from the night before, and of course, Mousse. Seeing Mr. & Mrs. Saotome in the tea room with their daughter in the corner was surprising enough as it was.

But the deciding factor was sitting opposite Nabiki, next to Mrs. Saotome.

"U... Ukyou?", Akane asked, eyes shot wide open.

"Uhh.. Hi there, Akane...", she replied meekly.

A million thoughts ran through her mind. Several different outcomes played themselves through. Maybe it was the shock of seeing both Mousse and Ukyou back in Nerima. The former alive, and the latter.. well.. back... Maybe it was the fact that she had run out on Ranma and herself six years earlier, and that she partially blamed Ukyou for Ranma's death, that had she been there, he might not have died. But whatever it was that led her to slap Ukyou accross the face, succeeded.

Ukyou was not expecting it. Akane just walked up to her, face expressionless, and let her palm fly into the side of Ukyou's face. With a surprising crack, Ukyou feel back from her kneeling position and onto the floor.

"What--!?", Ukyou asked. But stopped as she saw Akane letting the tears flow freely.

"Akane, dear?", Nodoka asked, mouth agape, "What's the matter?"

"How... Dare you?", she asked under her breath.

"What?", Ukyou replied.

"How dare you come back after all this time?! Where were you when Ranma took off to China to die?"

"I... Akane, I didn't know!", she defended.

"Oh, how convienient!"

Everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing, and stared at the two of them, shocked.

"Akane, she didn't--", Ryouga tried to interupt.

"It doesn't matter!", she replied. "It's too late now, anyways!"

Mousse walked over to Ukyou and helped her up. "Are you okay?", he asked.

Ukyou nodded. "I'd... I'd better go...", she said, running off towards the door.

At this point, Ranma just didn't care anymore. "No.", he said, blocking the entrance. The truth is, nobody, not even Ukyou noticed his movement by the time he had arrived at the door.

"Move.", she said, trying her best to remain expressionless.

"Ukyou, sit down. He replied."

Nodoka gasped. She was going to gasp after he had spoken the first time, but wasn't quite sure she had heard the voice.

"Ranma, I'm going to go. I'm obviously not welcome here."

Genma promptly fainted while Akane stared into space for a moment. Her face betraying her emotions. She was too shocked for words.

"No.", Nodoka said. "It can't be."

"_MOVE_, Ranma."

"Ukyou, sit down. NOW."

Ukyou chose that moment to try and pry him out of her way, there was no success, as she collapsed to the ground and began to cry.

"I thought... Hiruken... He... Sounds like Ranma!", Nodoka muttered to herself. She looked towards Genma's unconscious form laying on the ground near the Shogi board, next to a catatonic Soun.

"Well, so much for that!", Kinami blurted.

"What's going on here?", Nodoka asked.

Ryouga walked over to the person standing in front of the tea room entrance. "R.. Ranma?"

Ranma did the only thing he could do. He nodded.


Soun was the first to come out of his catatonic trance. Akane still stood silently, not showing any form of emotion. A few minutes later, Genma awoke from his involuntary slumber.

"I suppose I'd better explain.", Ranma said as he sat down at the table.

"A few of you already knew who I was, even before this little.. Problem. Either by accident, or my revealing myself."

Ukyou sniffled a bit at his words.

"That fact is, whether or not you believe it, I am Ranma Saotome. Or at least, I used to be."

"No.", Nodoka placed her face into her hands. "It can't be. _YOU_ can't be..."

"Please, listen to me."

Genma decided to choose this moment to speak. "I don't know who you are. Who you think you are, but I'm giving you ten seconds to get the hell out of my sight.", he said clenching his fists.

"Pop, I--"

"_DON'T YOU DARE_, call me that. I am not your father, you are not my son. My son is dead."

"Honey, please--", Nodoka pleaded with her husband.

"No!", Genma looked at his wife, with a betrayed look on his face, "You actually believe this nonsense?"

"He deserves to be heard out. Even if he isn't who he says he is."

"He is who he says he is.", Soun interupted. "He's proven that already."

"Don't tell me he's got you believing this nonsense!", Genma replied.

"It's not nonsense.", Mousse continued. "It is Ranma."

Nabiki could only nod.

Genma shook his head. "I don't believe this. Don't you see? Ranma is _GONE_. He's dead, nothing we do can change that!"

"You're right.", Ranma interupted.

"See, he admits it. Now who are you?"

"Ranma Saotome."

Genma clenched his fists again, growling, he continued. "And now you can't even make up your own goddamned mind on who you are!"

"Shut up, pop. Just sit down and shut up."

"Who are you to talk to me like that?!"

Ranma pounding his fist on the table and stood up. Ripping his cowl off, to reveal his form to the people in the room. "Look, I've had a really bad experience. Ever since I came back yesterday morning! And ever since then it's been nothing but a roller coaster. Protecting friends from friends, fighting demons from hell, becoming a goddamned cat! And now to top it all off, my own _FATHER_ is too blind to see whats in front of him."

Genma couldn't speak. He could only stare at the grotesque form standing in front of him. Akane was the first to break the silence.

"You're alive.", she said, tears streaming out of her eyes.

Ranma turned towards her. "Akane, I--"

"SHUT UP!", she replied, "You're alive. You've been alive all this time, and _NOW_ you decide to come back and tell us?! I don't care that your face is like that. I don't care now, and I wouldn't have cared then. Only if you had come back. Ranma, don't you get it? I loved you. I _LOVED_ you goddamn it! I still do, I never got over your.. Death", she scoffed. "But now you're back. And what do you expect us to do? Jump for joy? It's not as easy as that. Most of us have accepted the fact that you were dead. Look at your parents," she pointed at them, and Ranko, who was in the corner, standing next to little Ranma, frightened at what was happening. "They've accepted your death, and moved on. It took them a while, but they moved on. Look at Ryouga and I. We accepted it, and also moved on with our lives. I swear, it was a mistake to name our son the way we did, if we had known you were still alive."

"That's just it! I _WASN'T_ alive!", he shouted. "Look at me Akane, look at me. Do you think I could have survived this long with a face like this, with a body like this? Hell. I don't even feel pain! I was shot several times last night, but look at me. No blood. Hell, I don't even _HAVE_ blood. Do you think I've been alive for the past five years? Hell, I only came back yesterday. Whether it was the fates that brought Mousse and Ukyou here at that time, or it was pure coincidence, it happened.", he collapsed, "Damn it Akane, now you know why I didn't want anyone else to know."

Akane was speechless, as was everyone else after hearing the confession. Genma decided to break the silence.

"I'm still not convinced.", he said, "For all I know you're just a doppleganger. And a very unconvincing one at that."

"Fine.", Ranma said, getting up to walk to the door, "Believe whatever the hell you want."

"Ranma, wait.", Nodoka yelled as she ran up beside him.

"What?", he said, without looking back.

"For almost a year, my own son was hidden from me in plain sight. I promised to myself that nothing like that would ever happen to me again. I knew it was you from the moment I heard you speak, Ranma.", she looked into his eyes as he turned back.

"Your eyes may hide you, but I know my son. I know."

"Mom, I... I'm not the same.", he said.

"You were always my son. You always will be. I love you, son.", she said as she embraced him in a powerful hug. Genma stood up and adjusted his glasses.

"I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, for now.", he said, "But the minute you slip up, I'll be all over you."

"Then I suppose he'd better not slip up.", a voice said from the doorway, surprising everyone.

"Don't you ever annouce yourself?", Ranma asked the old man.

"I like it better this way.", Cogliostro shrugged.

"Who are you?", Genma asked.

"Need I introduce myself again? Just call me a friend.", he replied.

"What do you need, old man?"

"I was fortunate enough to have witnessed the fight with Violator last night. A very interesting technique, Saotome. Cat-fist I believe."

"What?", Genma asked. Vaguely recollecting the call the previous night. He mentally smacked himself over the head.

"Interesting is not the word for it. I'd rather not have the technique, thank you very much.", he said, glaring at his father.

"I'm familiar with the methods used in training for the Cat-fist. It must have taken a very disturbed individual, to have even considered training you in such a technique."

Genma suddenly leapt to his defense. "I'm not disturbed! I just.. forgot to read the next page..."

Nodoka had heard all of this before, but was still confused as to something. "Who are you to Ranma?", she asked.

"I am... One of his kind..."

"One of his kind? Whatever do you mean?"

"Lets just call me his advisor."

Ranma nodded, "He told me about Violator before he showed up last night."

"Indeed I have. Most usually are defeated by him on they're first challenge. Ranma is one of the few I've seen who have bested him."

"I've fought demons before."

"Indeed. The incident in which the demon of mischief was released from his prison, and inhabited a young lady named Kasumi I believe."

"How did you..?", Ranma asked.

"I have more sources than you could have imagined, Saotome. The priest was simply one of them."

"The priest? Bazu?"

Cogliostro nodded.

"Ranma, my time here is short, there are other matters I must attend to quickly. It seems there has been a mistake. You may not see me for a short while after this, but I've come to warn you of something."

"Whats that?"

"Do not take lives, by any means. Do not participate in the taking of a life, even if the life you are taking is the same person that took your life away from you. It is imperitive that you follow these rules."

"Why? I was already sent to hell, what does it matter anymore?"

Cogliostro eyed him carefully. "Hell is more than just a place you go to die, Saotome. Heaven is more sinister than you could imagine as well.", he said as he left through the gates.

"Who was that?", Genma asked.

"Cog.", Ranma replied.

"Count Nicholas De Cogliostro..", Mousse corrected.

Nabiki thought for a moment. Spying the time, and seeing it was now past noon, she decided it would be better to catch up at a later time, lest she go out of business. She was low enough on money as it was.

"Kinami, we'd better head back to the restaurant. Ukyou? You coming?"

Ukyou reluctantly nodded, not making eye contact at all, she moved along to tag behind the two of them.

"Bye guys...", Kinami waved, somehow losing her enthusiastic state of mind.

"Ryouga?", Ranma asked.

Ryouga had been waiting since he heard about Ranma's presence the day earlier to get a chance to speak with him, but somehow, now didn't seem the right time. The children had since left to play in an upstairs room, and he was sitting at the tea room table with the rest of the adults.

"Yes?"

"I'm not angry. I don't blame you in away way."

Ryouga felt a weight lift off of his chest as Ranma recited the words. Whether he truly meant it or not, he didn't know.

"Thank you.", he replied.

"Mother?", he asked.

"Ranma?", she replied, worriedly.

"I've missed alot over the past five years. Everything here is new to me. Akane and Ryouga, Ranko.", he laughed, "Little Ranma."

"I know, dear."

"I don't expect Pop to believe I am who I say I am, but I do have this to ask of you.", Ranma said, recieving a frown from Genma as he realized they were talking like he wasn't even there.

"What's that dear?"

"Can I borrow him?"

Genma's mouth dropped open. "What do you mean?", he asked.

"Well, most of us are going to San Fransisco. We've found out Kenoru was there, nothing more."

"You would like your fathers help in bringing him to justice?"

"No prison could hold a man with that kind of power.", Genma replied.

"No.", he agreed. "But Cog is right. We can't kill him. We can only fight him. Lets just hope everything turns out alright."

"Yes.", Nodoka agreed. "Your father may accompany you."

"Hey, you can't leave me out of this!", Ryouga yelled out.

"I didn't expect you to, Ryouga, but its up to Akane."

"What?", Akane asked.

"I'm asking you if you would allow Ryouga to come along. Theres no guarantee that any of us will return alive, that why I'm asking your permission."

Akane thought for a moment. The last time, someone she loved went to fight Kenoru, he wound up dead, even though he had brought along two, extraordinary martial artists. But this time, there would be more. Greater numbers. A look at Ryouga's face clenched it.

"He can go.", she said. "But I'm coming along too."

"No.", Ranma refused. "You've got a son to worry about. If Ryouga doesn't return, then you've got to raise him yourself. I was raised by my father. Trust me, a single parent is better than no parent at all."

The guilt wracked her. She had actually been considering leaving her child behind and going off, to possibly die, or worse.

"Akane, he's right.", Ryouga agreed. "You've got to stay here, you could get hurt, and then Ranma would have nobody."

"But.."

"No buts.", he said.

The phone rang moments later. Soun rushed over to pick it up and answered.

"Hello?"

A pause.

"Yes, of course. It's good to hear from you again."

Another pause.

Soun seemed to be counting up numbers in his head. "Besides you and I, Seven more."

A final pause.

Soun smiled, "Yes. I'll tell them. Goodbye."

Soun hung up the phone. "That was Kuno. He has set up the transportation, we'll need to get out our passports."

Ryouga smiled. He always had his passport with him, you never knew where he would end up.

"When are we leaving?", Ranma asked.

"Tomorrow afternoon.", he replied.


"Do you think they're okay?", Ukyou asked, visibly worried.

"They'll be fine. I.. I'm sorry about the way Akane acted when she saw you.", Nabiki replied.

"It's alright. I deserved it. I shouldn't have run off like that in the first place."

"What time is it?", Kinami asked the only member of the group that had a watch. Nabiki checked the time.

"Twelve Thirty...", she replied.

"Are we taking the scenic route?", Ukyou quipped. "Usually only takes a few minutes to get to the restaurant."

Kinami looked down for a moment, thinking. "We'd better hurry. He might be there soon."

"Kinami...", Nabiki warned.

"I just want to be there when he gets there, Nabs."

"Who?" Ukyou asked.

"Gen--", Nabiki began.

"My boyfriend.", Kinami quickly replied, shooting an icy stare an Nabiki.

"Ooh, a boyfriend, eh? What's he like?", Ukyou asked, trying to get her mind off of what happened before.

"Uhh, Ukyou?", Nabiki asked.

"What?"

Nabiki just shook her head.

Kinami never answered, and began to walk a little faster.

"Did I say something wrong?"


It was nearly two o'clock when it was decided that they should part ways and get ready for the upcoming trip. Ryouga and Akane went home, while Genma and his family stayed at the Dojo.

"So, it's really going to happen now, eh Ranma?"

"Looks like it..", he replied, staring off into the afternoon sky.

"Do you miss it?", he asked.

"Miss what?"

"Everything. Life, the way things used to be..?"

"You mean with Ukyou and Shampoo glomping on me wherever I went?"

Mousse laughed, "I can't believe I used to think that was your fault..."

"It was in a way... I beat her..."

"Yeah... Sometimes I try... Sometimes I try to think what might have happened if Kenoru had never come around into our lives."

"I try not to think about that. If he never had come along, Akane would have definately died. Then I'd be even worse off."

"Kenoru ruined the lives of too many people, Ranma."

"I know. Its not fair. Even you. I remember when we were friends. You would _NOT_ stand for bullies. The minute you saw one, you'd go nuts.", he laughed. "Remember when Gosunkugi was surrounded by those guys at school, and you had met me an' Akane for lunch?"

Mousse laughed. "We sure gave those guys a run for their money."

Ranma smiled under his cowl. "Sure did, even old Gos was thankful after that..."

"Which is out of character for him."

"Of course."

"But I do miss it.", he said.

Mousse nodded.

He laughed. "I could even live with my curse right now if I had to."

"I've had to for seven years."

"Isn't it funny, though?"

"What?"

"An assassin, who turns into a duck..."

"Actually, being a duck has helped me pull off a few jobs I never would have been able to otherwise..."

Ranma looked into the Koi pond for a moment.

"I never lived without remorse, Ranma. Even moreso now, last night I had wanted to kill myself. I'm thinking of turning myself in after we've taken care of Kenoru."

Ranma nodded. "It's your choice, Mousse. If you feel its the best thing to do, then..."

"I do. Theres nothing more for me to do."

"What about Kinami?"

"Eh?"

"Don't tell me you haven't noticed...?"

"Oh _SHIT!_", he yelled.

"What? What's wrong?"

"I forgot!", he yelled, banging himself on the head.

"What? Oh, you mean..?"

"Her injury, it was caused by her boyfriend!"

"On purpose?"

"_YES_"

"Shit, who is he?"

"I dunno, some guy named Genken, that all I know. He's supposed to see her today sometime."

"Should we go give him a talking to?"

"You wanna come along?"

"Of course, if theres anything I hate more than Cats, its guys who hit girls for fun."


"Welcome to--", Kinami began, then stopped. The store had been empty except for her, while Nabiki and Ukyou negotiated upstairs. Seeing Genken walk in was a bit of a surprise, even if she was expecting him.

"Amazing, you're actually here...", he muttered.

"Genken, hi.. I uhh.. It's good to see you."

Genken laughed. "Whatever.", he said, with a slight slur to his voice. He sat down as the bar.

"Is there something I can get for you?", she asked.

"Gimme some sake."

"Genken, I think you're already--"

"Just gimme some fucking sake, bitch."

Not wanting to 'incur his wrath', she reached under the counter and gave him a bottle of sake.

"350 yen", she said, not making eye contact.

Genken laughed. "Put it on my tab.", then smirked at her. "How come you never put out?", he asked.

"What?"

"You heard me. How come you never put out? We've been going out.. what.. two months now? Ain't it time to give me some sugar?"

"Genken, you're drunk, I think you should--", she was cut off by a loud cracking noise on her cheek. She cried out loud enough for someone to hear.

"Don't you fucking talk back to me!", he said.

It wasn't long before two individual's came running down the stairs. "Genken!", Nabiki yelled, seeing Kinami on the floor, holding her face. "Get the hell out of my store!"

"Maybe you want some instead, eh bitch?", he said, approaching her menacingly. "What about your friend there? We can make it a threesome."

Visibly appalled, Ukyou stepped down in front of Nabiki, "What the hell do you want?", she asked.

"Genken, leave them alone!", Kinami yelled from the floor.

"Shut up! I'll get to you later!"

Ukyou started with a backhand to the face, but somehow, luck smiled on Genken, and he managed to grab her arm and twist it behind her back.

"I think you do want some of me, don't you, bitch?", he asked her. "How would you like it if I snapped that pretty liitle arm of yours right off? I can do it, you know. Make it so you'll be beggin me to leave you alone."

"Get the hell off of me or you'll be sorry!", Ukyou warned him.

"Ooh, what are you going to do, huh?"

"Genken, get the hell off of her!", Kinami warned.

Genken finally lost his temper. He released Ukyou and spun her towards the ground, manging somehow to knock her head on the edge of a chair and render her unconscious, when he turned to Kinami.

"What the fuck? After all I've done for you, all I've _EVER_ done for you, this is how you repay me? I've had just about enough of you, bitch!", he raised his hand and readied it for a large slap across Kinami's face. It never connected. Just before Genken was about to strike, the door swung wide open.

"Get the _HELL_ away from her!", Mousse yelled.

Kinami's heart jumped, "Mousse, leave him alone, this is my problem!"

Genken did a double-take. "Mousse? What the hell kinda name is that?"

"Mousse, please. I can handle this.", Kinami pleaded. Nabiki had a very worried look on her face.

Mousse looked down to the ground, spying Ukyou. This seemed to make him even madder. "If you touch her, I'll _KILL_ you.", he said.

"Who the fuck are you, faggot?", he looked towards Kinami. "Is this the loser you've been seeing behind my back? Huh? Answer me, you _BITCH_!"

"Genken, please. He's--"

"Shutup! I don't want to hear anymore from you.", he pushed her back towards the grill and looked towards Mousse.

"You, faggot, are going to die.", he pointed at him.

"We'll just see about that."

"STOP!", Kinami yelled. Both of them stopped in mid-attack and looked towards Kinami. The third party chose this moment to appear.

"You need our help, Kinami?", Ranma asked.

Kinami looked towards Ranma. "No. I can handle this.", she said as she took up a defensive stance only a few feet from Genken.

"What the fuck is this? A male harem?", he looked towards the new figure standing behind Mousse. He stood a good head taller than him, but about ten times as menacing. He turned to face Kinami. "Oh, you think you can take me, bitch? I'll have you on the floor screaming for mercy in seconds!"

"Shut up, Genken. I'm not going to take your shit anymore!"

"You'll take whatever the fuck I have to dish out, bitch!"

Mousse looked visibly worried. Apparently this man had managed to take out Ukyou, as she was lying on the floor unconscious. Even after Six years, she still had to be good enough to defeat him.

"Come on bitch, lets go!", Genken said as he clenched his fist and ran at her, head on.

Kinami easily sidestepped his punch and kicked him in the back, sending him sprawling into the floor.

"Lucky shot.", he said as he wiped his mouth. "Won't happen again."

"We'll see."

Genken managed to wrap his arms around Kinami and send her to the floor, exactly the place she didn't want to be. Pushing her back against the floor, and manuevering her legs against Genken's stomach, she sent him flying over the grill and regained her balance all at once. On the other side of the grill, Genken stood up and looked menacingly at her.

"You'll pay for that, bitch!"

Mousse smiled. He had an eye for skill, and he could quite obviously see that Kinami was more skilled than Genken. The only problem was that every time Genken was hurt, Kinami's emotional state seemed to degrade.

"AGHHH!", Genken ran at full speed towards Kinami, but istead of launching an attack, he pulled a jackknife out of his pocket and launched it at Kinami. It hit her in the upper arm as she screamed in shock.

"See now, bitch? I told you."

Kinami pulled the knife out of her arm and tossed it to her side. All emotion seemed to drain from her face as she looked at him. No look of betrayal or hurt. Only rage.

"You are going to pay, you son of a bitch.", she said to him.

"What did you call me? I'll make you eat those words, bitch!", he pulled another knife out of his pocket.

Before he could even throw it, it was out of her hands. Kinami had covered the distance to him faster than anyone in the room had even thought possible. She kneed him in the stomach and tossed him across the room with her bare hands. She chased after him and began to kick him ferouciously. A moment later he was unconscious.


The eyes of everyone in the restaurant were transfixed on Kinami. Nobody, even Ranma or Mousse could have guessed she had _THAT_ much skill. Nabiki had seen her spar with Ryouga at the dojo from time to time, but the amount of skill she had shown at that point simply astounding her. She was good enough to beat even Ryouga if she had wanted to.

Kinami's face never molded itself out of the raged look. Mousse walked over to her after she had stopped her assault on the unconscious form of Genken, lying on the ground.

"Are you okay?"

She laughed. "Amazing."

"What?"

"I never thought about it that way before."

"Whats that?"

"I didn't mind him threatening me. But the minute he threatened my friends, everything just blew up. Then after he threw the knife, I lost it."

"How did you..?"

"I've never really been angry before. Not _THIS_ angry. Sure, I've had to defend myself against muggers and would-be rapists, but this was different.", she pointed at him. "I l--... No.. I _THOUGHT_ I loved him. Even if he was drunk, he's still an asshole."

"Kinami, I--", Nabiki began.

"I should have listened to you to begin with, Nabs. I'm sorry."

"No, I am."

"Theres no reason for you to be. This was going to happen eventually. At least I got to him before he killed me."

A few feet away, Ukyou groaned and raised herself up. "What.. What happened?"

"Genken did.", Mousse pointed at the floor.

"When did you guys get here?"

Ranma spoke up. "We decided it would be best if Kinami didn't have to face him alone."

"Wait.", Kinami asked, "You knew?"

"In a way... I knew something was wrong when I saw your shoulder this morning. I just didn't know what."

"Then how did...", she looked towards Nabiki. "You?"

"Not really. I just kinda guessed. From the look on Nabiki's face, I knew.", Mousse said. It wasn't really a lie, he remembered the look precisely.

Kinami looked towards the ground again. Genken finally began to stir.

"What the hell...", he said, groaning.

"Get out Genken.", Kinami said.

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying, get the hell out of here."

"You can't tell me what to do, bitch!"

"Don't try my patience Genken. I put up with enough of your shit for the past month! Now get the _HELL_ out of here before I kick your ass _AGAIN_."

"Again? You just got fucking lucky--"

Ranma put his hand on Genken shoulder. "I suggest you listen to her."

Genken stopped. "Get your fucking hand off me before I make you bleed."

"Fine.", Kinami said, taking another defensive stance, "You wanna fight again?"

"No Kinami, conserve your strength. We'll all need it once we get to San Fransisco. You should get someone to look at your shoulder."

"I can help there.", Mousse said, "I've learned a healing trick or two over the years."

"What the fuck?", Genken protested. "Are you deaf, get your--", he grabbed Ranma's hanf and began to twist, "Goddamned hand _OFF_ of me!"

Unfortunately, Ranma's hand did not twist. It did not budge. All Genken's actions hand succeeded in doing were making Ranma madder.

Ranma picked Genken up with one hand and twisted him around to face him. He used his free hand to remove his cowl.

"What that fuck!?", he cried out.

"You can't hurt me, Genken. I'm already dead. Now, either you leave or I'll put you in a similiar situation."

"You couldn't hurt me if you tried.", Genken taunted.

Mousse shook his head. "Listen you stupid idiot! Can't you let your damned warped sense of pride go? I despise you enough as it is, don't make it worse by proving your stubborness too!"

"I'll kick your ass too, faggot!", he replied.

"ENOUGH!", Ranma yelled, picking Genken up into the air. He brought he other hand around, a grotesque claw of what it used to be, and charged a force of green Ki. Genken's eyes widened at the sight of it.

"Don't make me use this.", he said, "It would be very unpleasant."

Fear gripped Genken as he tried desperately to retain his pride, the warped sense that he had. Finally, he let himself go. He quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out the last remaining weapon he had. He plunged the knife deep into Ranma's heart. Genken was dropped to the floor immediately.

"Yeah!", he yelled, psyched up and jumping around like a boxer, "Come on man, lets see how you take that!", he turned his back to Ranma for a split second. Which was a split second too long.

The blow can fast and hard, knocking Genken into the wall and breaking three ribs. He tried to get up and breath in some air, he could only barely manage to do the latter.

Ranma approached him quickly and pulled the knife out of his chest. The neon green fluid flowed freely.

"You son of a bitch!", Ranma yelled, genuinely angry. Had he been more wary of Genken's sneakiness, he amy have been able to stop it, but as it were, he was bleeding. It would be a few more minutes until the wound would heal, but the fluid managed to stop flowing a second later.

Genken could only gawk. He had been a bully during his teen years. And had taken pride in the knowledge that he had never lost a fight to anyone. But now he was in over his head. When the realization hit him, he just couldn't handle it.

"Go. Now.", Ranma said.

Genken looked up at him. He was absolutely sure that Ranma was going to kill him.

"Before I change my mind. _GO_."

Genken was out of the door and down the street faster than a bullet.


"Are you alright?", Mousse asked Kinami after everyone had settled down.

She nodded.

"Do you mind if I ask you something?", Nabiki asked Kinami.

"Whats that?"

"How did you _DO_ that?"

"Huh?"

"I've never seen you fight like that. Even with Ryouga. You had enough skill at that moment to match, or even _BEAT_ him!"

"Well, I never really thought about it. I just attacked. I let my instincts take over."

"Waitasec." Ranma began. "You think about your attack before you do it?"

"Sure.", she shrugged, "Doesn't everyone?"

"I think.. We're about to find out how skilled she really is...", Nabiki deadpanned.

"Kinami, you're supposed to let instinct take over when you fight. Thinking about your attack before you do it is liable to get you killed!"

"Hmm.. I wish somebody would have told me that!"

"How long have you been studying the Art?"

"Well, I started when I was a kid. My dad put me into a Kenpo class. Since then, I've been doign it off and on, but then I saw anything-goes style, and _HAD_ to learn it.. I've improved since then."

"Kinami, if you do that well while thinking about your attacks, imagine how well you'd fight on instinct."

Kinami thought for a moment. "Better?", she asked.

Ranma, for the first time in a long time, laughed whole-heartidly as Mousse bandaged up her arm.


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