Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ When Angels Fall ❯ Grief ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

When Angels Fall
Chapter 2
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Nabiki slowly made her way back to the dojo, several empty photo albums in her bag. Her emotions were not playing across her face like her sisters, but they were there, bubbling, waiting for a sign of weakness in the mask of the Ice Queen, to break through.
She was still fighting the desire to begin crying, to show emotions and feelings for one whom she had used. It felt...wrong...to her to cry for Ranma.
It wasn't because he didn't deserve those tears. No, if anyone deserved to be remembered fondly it was Ranma. He had always taken risk unto himself to help her family.
No, the real reason was because her tears weren't worthy of him. She was nothing but an abuser to him. She had used whatever means at her disposal to keep him hemorrhaging money. Hell, she had even threatened to reveal his curse to his Mother, threatened to allow Shampoo to kill “girl-type” Ranma when she had first arrived.
No, she wouldn't sully someone like Ranma with her tears.
She placed her hand against a wall, trying to force the mask back on, to keep the layers from cracking. She would cry at the funeral after forgiveness was granted, after her sins had been absolved. Until then, she would remain the frozen bitch people called her when they felt she wasn't able to hear them.
She had feelings, despite what others claimed or what her actions alluded to. She had rage against a Father who couldn't be bothered to support his daughters. She felt despair for a sister who gave up her own dreams to become a caretaker. She felt sadness for her little sister, who wasted her time with someone she loved, because pride was more important than openness.
She felt much more for the pigtailed boy who had fallen, though not the sort of love her sister had for him, or other girls claimed to have for him as well. She was happy he had found love, found children of his own, and grew up. She was angry with him for wasting his time with Akane when they could have done so much more together, for allowing people to push him around, to occasionally not doing the right thing for the right reasons, and for finally dying.
Most of all, she was saddened that he had lost his life, because now he would leave so many things unanswered, so many hearts left empty...
He had left so much unfinished. I...I guess I should begin my penance. “Shampoo, I need to talk with you and Ukyo.”
“What Mercenary Girl want?” asked the bubbly Amazon, still on her delivery bike with an order yet to be delivered. “You have news on Airen, yes?”
Nabiki nodded. “No charge. But...but you all need to know what's happened.”
Shampoo lowered her gaze, before delivering a menacing look at Nabiki. “What stupid panda-man do now?”
Shaking her head, Nabiki turned to walk away. “Be at the dojo at nine tonight, and bring your great-grandmother with you. I won't go over this again.”
Shampoo growled a bit, not used to being so disrespected by the Tendo girl. If there was news of where Ranma had gone, she wanted it now!
But she did still have a delivery to make, and her great-grandmother would be better prepared to get the information out of the Tendo girl. So, she would wait.
She just doubted that they would be waiting until nine to get it.
As she heard the Amazon ride off, Nabiki felt her knees weaken a bit, the full feeling of what could have happened to her surfacing. No...NO! I can't be weak now! They'll be much worse when they finally learn of what happened!
She knew what she could do: she could send them after the real villains, the real scourges that had slain their Airen/Ranchan. She had no doubt that they would still seek some matter of vengeance against the Tendo family, if for nothing more than petty spite. With Cologne there, they might not do much damage, but the need would still be there, and it could only be restrained for so long.
As she entered the grounds, she heard two things that further drew pain into her soul: the sobs of her little sister, and the quiet suggesting that Kasumi was immobile as well. Entering the dojo, she saw Akane, still in the corner, still clutching a pigtail of a training dummy, still crying.
As she stepped closer, she felt her own heart getting heavier, a feeling of weight growing on her shoulders, the mask beginning to shatter. No, not like this, we shouldn't be like this.
Before Akane knew what was happening, she found herself walking, still clutching the pigtail. Entering the house, she was happy to see no sign that Nodoka was currently there. As she became more aware of her surroundings, she noticed that Nabiki was supporting her, walking her to the stairs.
They passed Ranma's room, passed the doors to both of their rooms, coming to a stop at Kasumi's door, where a gentle sob could be heard.
Without waiting for an invitation or even announcing their presence, Nabiki merely opened the door, revealing the sprawled out form of Kasumi on the bed, face down, filling her pillow with tears.
Soon, she watched as Nabiki led her to the bed, arousing Kasumi to their presence. Before each sister knew what was happening, both were sitting on the bed, Nabiki between them, the albums on a dresser, and all three embraced in a hug.
And for the first time in a long while, the middle Tendo let her tears fall. Never again, will we be apart. Never again, will we forget each other. Never again, will we cry...alone.
Ikuko sat on the couch, staring into the television. She knew something was wrong, as she had not seen her daughter for a week. The other girls claimed she was on a camping trip, which soon gave way to a constantly spiraling and puzzling story, that had ended with Usagi shaving her hair and becoming a nun in some temple on a forgotten island.
She couldn't fault the girls for protecting their friend, and only Mamoru's presence had kept her husband from hunting him down on the belief that Usagi had eloped with the college student. But what could Usagi have been up to that resulted in her friends acting and talking like...like clueless idiots?
Hearing the door open, she looked towards it, receiving the shock of her life.
“Mom...um...I'm back.”
Seeing her formerly gangly little girl now looking like a beautiful adult, Ikuko took the smart option, and passed out.
“Way to go, Mom,” said Tenma, “you killed Grandma.”
Ikuko was now sitting at the kitchen table, looking at her daughter, and six new...grandchildren. Usagi had not held back, believing her Mother could handle the whole truth.
So, she told her everything, from being Sailor Moon, to the battles they had fought, the truth behind Chibi-Usa. She told her about the Null Point Prison, the birth of her children with Ranma, how he had acted when at 293, he had discovered his first grey hair.
She told her Mother about the death of her mate, the near mental break she had had when they had returned home, only to discover three days had passed. She told her of nearly going berserk and hunting down everyone who had ever wronged Ranma, of securing Usa to this time, so she would never fade.
She told her Mother everything.
And Ikuko took it. After three hours, the woman still sat in the chair, awake, alert, and still listening, never judging.
Finally, she spoke. “Usagi. I...I don't know what to say.”
“It's okay, Mother,” said the woman who had left this home still a child. “Tonight, you have learned more than you would ever have imagined, and even to the best, such tasks of knowledge would be daunting.”
Ikuko laughed a little. “If I knew those crystals would have given you such an education, I would have made you listen to them sooner, instead of sending you to school.”
Usagi giggled. “I could only listen to them because Ranma taught me how to be balanced. Otherwise, I'd still be a bumbling goofball set to turn the world into a happy little grave.” She shook her head in disgust. “Usa, I'm beginning to understand why Black Lady hated the future me so much.”
“You weren't all bad, Momma,” said Usa, trying to be supportive. True, her mother: the Neo-Queen Serenity, had been fanatical at times with her doctrine, but she was still her Mother.
Now, that might be all she had left; memories of a Mother who would never be, and parents who might not ever get together to have her, but still would allow her to exist.
Usagi still hugged the girl, who had yet to leave the protective and loving embrace of her Mother. She knew that Usa would have other problems as time went on. While she knew her daughter enjoyed the idea that she could live as a normal girl, and not Neo-Princess Serenity, she knew her daughter would miss her old life, even if she never wanted to admit it. “I was, if not in public, at least I can admit I was my own monster in private.”
“Now what, Usagi?” asked Ikuko. “We can't exactly tell your father this; he'll go off and become a youma hunter to protect his little girl, and Shingo would blab this out in a heartbeat.”
Usagi nodded. “As far as they need to be concerned, the Null Point Prison stopped us from aging any further than we are now.”
Ryoko looked down. “So, we tell half truths to protect everyone from the whole truth.”
Keitaro nodded. “They aren't...wise enough...to handle such things. While Grandfather would accept us, he was shown to us by Mother's stories to be over-protective. Our Uncle cares more for his own appearance to friends than his actual safety. No, they are not wise enough to handle such things.”
Ikuko smiled. “I'm glad my grandchildren are smart. But, you all need to grieve as well. Maybe you can tell me about your Father. I would love to know the man that had helped my daughter find peace.”
Ranko smiled outwardly, but inside, she was seething. While one grandparent was showing wisdom and true love for her child and new extended family, she felt reminded of the failures of the grandparents on her Father's side. Why couldn't Grandmother Nodoka be like this? Why couldn't Daddy have had a happy family?
“I'm afraid I must depart,” said Raiden, setting down his cup of tea that Keitaro had made earlier when Ikuko was starting to come around.
Usagi turned towards her oldest child. “Son?”
He bowed. “Mother, I must go to ensure that things do not become chaotic in Nerima when others learn of both our Father's passing, and our existence. It would be best to stave off such foolhardy attacks until the situation is clear. I for one would not like our caring Grandmother to have to deal with any stupidity generated by our worthless Grandfather.”
Ikuko looked at him. “I do hope you are talking of this...Genma,” she spat out the name, trying not to vomit at a few tales Usagi had mentioned during her story.
He nodded. “Some of them would either seek us out to try and force compensation for his actions, our replacement as a mate, or an innocent messenger for delivering such news.”
Usagi nodded. “Be careful and call us if things start to go badly.”
He smiled. “They couldn't touch me if they wanted to.” Fading from view, there wasn't even a breeze to tell them he had left.
Ikuko looked worried. “He won't kill anyone...will he?”
Ranko chuckled. “No. If she wanted people dead, she would've sent me. But I only want the ones responsible for our Father's death. Let them come to me if they seek a painful end.”
Her Grandmother was not amused.
The two fiancées stared at the Tendo sisters—now dressed in formal kimonos—inside the dojo, only Cologne showing any emotion other than shock.
“So then, child,” said Cologne, trying to be passive, “you took this woman's words at face value.”
“Of course not,” spat Akane. “She carried the locket he received from his Mother last month. Do you know what it would've taken to get that from him?”
Seeing the questioning gaze of the Elder, who could easily think of no less than five ways to get it from Ranma—usually using drugged food—Nabiki stepped in. “She knew the Umisenken, and did it to a degree that even Ranma couldn't achieve when we last saw him. She just didn't simply become hard to see, she faded from view completely.”
Cologne shook her head, sadly having to believe them now. She had no doubt that the middle Tendo could recognize the signatures of the Umisenken. After all, the girl had always been one to make astute and keen observations. “So then, what now?”
Kasumi wiped her nose, tears no longer falling, but sinuses still dripping. “The funeral is this Saturday. It's being held here. If Ms. Usagi returns, we'll be certain to call you and let you know so that you may ask her questions.”
Ukyo simply stared on towards Akane. “So, sugar, exactly why did she stop here? Surely the arrangements for the funeral could have been held somewhere else?”
Akane growled. “Even with him dead, you're still trying to play with him as a prize?”
Shampoo was soon growling. “Shampoo want know why strange girl who steal Airen come here as well.”
She was silenced by a hit on her head from Cologne's cane. “Enough of that, child. A brave warrior has fallen, and we are in no position to act like Musk.”
Mousse, however, had been listening in from the other side of the door, chose that moment to burst in. “At last, dear Shampoo, now we can be together!”
He soon found himself lifted into the air by an unseen force that had grasped his throat, before said force slammed him into the ground. Before Mousse could blink, his robes were pinned to the floor by an assortment of knives, as a figure faded into view, holding another knife to the myopic Amazon's throat. Mousse saw a man with blue eyes and short cut blond hair; his glasses have fallen over his eyes when his back encountered the dojo floor.
“I am Raiden,” said the figure. “And you will be silent about any joy your worthless ego finds in the death of my Father, or like my sister feels he should have done when you first arrived, I will kill you.”
The others could only stare at what had happened, never minding the fact that Mousse had been dealt with and no resulting damage had befallen the dojo.
Cologne, however, felt her senses nearly overwhelmed when she sensed the amount of sheer power this man had within him. Even the Phoenix God at his full power wouldn't hold a candle to this child, and even I can tell that he is the child of son-in-law!
Now, can I get him willingly for the tribe?
Almost as if he could hear her thoughts, Raiden raised his gaze to her. “There will be no more fighting over this matter. Neither I nor my siblings; let alone our Mother, will take kindly to the maneuvers you used on our Father. Trust us, try to claim some sort of honor from us on the issues you fools lay on our Father, and we shall remove you from this life.” He stood up. “I am Raiden Tsukino, son of Ranma Saotome and Usagi Tsukino. The Tsukino clan will neither honor nor accept any promises made by the Saotome clan in our name. We will not be coerced into joining the Amazon tribe via outdated laws, nor will we become trophies for spoiled children. Now, play nice, or I will kill you all now.”
No one objected after Mousse tried to voice his disapproval about the threatening of Shampoo, only to have said objection stop with a fist to his gut, causing two of the Amazon male's ribs to crack slightly.
“Taking that there are no other objections,” he asked, standing, and looking for either of the Amazon females or Ukyo to try and start something, he continued. “Then be here tomorrow at four in the afternoon. We shall explain more then.
“But beware, for our patience is not as it should be, and we will not take abuse as our Father did. Elder, I suggest you be ready to silence the other adults, for my siblings and I have no qualms about ending Genma's life.”
He stood up. “Until after the funeral, there will be peace. It is up to you to decide if that peace is of the grave or not. We will be watching.” Before the others could even think of speaking, he faded from view again.
Nabiki chuckled. “Well, I guess we'll see each other tomorrow.” She stood up, smoothing her formal kimono. “If you wish to stay and have someone to talk with about this loss, feel free to join us inside the dining room.”
Surprising the two other rivals against Akane for Ranma, Nabiki looked to them with a tear in her eye. “Trust us, you don't want to be alone right now.”
As the Tendo sisters left to go sit in the house and comfort each other, the remaining people sat, wondering where things stood now.
Ukyo stood up, sighing. “I don't know about you two, but Konatsu's in Kyoto for some competition, so I'd rather stay with them.”
Cologne nodded. “I will head home with Shampoo.”
“Elder,” said Ukyo. “You've lost loved ones before. Can't you stay and help us with that?”
Cologne looked at the woman, seeing that Ukyo hadn't turned to face her, but still the Elder was able to see the traces tears made as they began to wind down the chef's face.
Sighing, and sadly remembering her own lose of Shampoo's Great Grandfather, Cologne acquiesced. “Agreed.”
For one night, there was no rivalry, no challenges, and no accusations. For once, there was...peace.
Raiden sighed from his perch on the roof across from the dojo as they all gathered in the dining area. “Father, I wish you could have seen this.” As a tear traced his face, he smiled. His Father had cared for these people for some reason.

For Raiden, that was enough to justify him standing there, to protect them.