* * *
No One Has Won the War
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimers: Ranma 1/2 belings to Rumiko Takahashi, not me. The story *does* belong to me, thankyewverrymuch, as well as a few characters.
 

 Italics - thoughts
"{}" - spoken Chinese

* * *
- Chapter Five -

 "Ack! Shampoo, get offa me!"

Cologne watched narrowly as her she loosened her arms, an unusually subdued look in her eyes. So the child was still frightened, though Ranma couldn't tell. He was frightened of Akane, who was glowing a dangerous blue. Running to a male for comfort was unseemly, though in her heart Cologne couldn't blame her grandchild for it.

"So," she began evenly once the chaos had settled, "You're all here. Good."

Akane nodded, eyes anxious. Genma and Soun looked far more interested in the contents of the back room than anything she would say, and Ranma looked bored. He crossed his feet and rested them lazily on the table. Cologne's eye twitched.

"So what's up, ghoul?"

Shampoo stirred from her seat, something lighting in her eyes as she swatted at him. Ranma was so surprised he fell out of his seat.

"What was that for?" he yelled as his head bobbed up. He jumped back up into his chair and tilted it back. Shampoo took no notice of him.

"Look." Shampoo murmured in a soft tone, pointing to the tablecloth where his feet had rested. Cologne leaned over the table and growled. There was a faint silver outline of the dagger Shampoo had found that morning burned into the cloth.

Her aura must have been clinging to it...though she's not likely to make that mistake again.

"What is that?" Akane asked curiously, peering down at it.

"It Mousse's dagger."

Ranma blinked. "Huh?"

Cologne decided to let Shampoo explain. Ranma was her husband, after all.

"That outline of Mousse's dagger from where Shampoo dropped it onto table in morning."

"Why did you have Mousse's dagger?" Akane asked, her tone curiously hopeful.

Shampoo took a deep breath and straightened her spine. Cologne briefly felt a surge of pride that she was taking this like a true Amazon. When she spoke, her tone was clear and even.

"Because when Shampoo woke up in morning, dagger was in pillow next to her head."

Ranma's chair slammed to the floor.

"WHAT?" came the unanimous shout.

* * *

-Amazon Village, China-

"{Did he ever come home with anything from the shrine?}"

Hairspray shrugged helplessly. "{He kept running off when he was young. He could have gone anywhere. I really do not know.}"

Comb gritted her teeth. These people were impossible. "{He is in very grave danger. You DO know what happened to the others she took, don't you?}"

The mother paled, where the father just closed his eyes. She thought she detected a hint of triumph on his face as he turned away, but dismissed it as her imagination.

"{What can we do?}"

"{Search this room again. Go to any place he might have frequented as a child. Look through everything. Do you understand?}"

"{Yes, honored elder.}"

Comb stalked out, fuming to herself. Her lips curled as she glared around at the reconstruction effort. The sorceress' attack had been very effective.

Too effective. How had she gotten so strong so quickly?

She glanced back at the house, saw the husband move away from the window. A deep suspcion began to gnaw at her gut. It was an unpleasant feeling.

* * *

He was frozen. He found it hard to breathe, breath coming in little gulps as she snarled in quiet menace, hair dancing in a sudden wind, eyes flaming, outlined in molten gold.

She was a vengeful goddess, and he was drawn inevitably to her side, even if he should die in the attempt to reach her.

No answer, sweetling? She advanced slowly, and his eyes teared from the light radiating off her slender body.

Help...Xian Pu...anyone...

She brushed her fingers against his throat, tilting his head down, and harshly tangling a hand in his thick hair.

Mine. You belong to me. Her possessiveness was frighteningly flattering, and he found himself obscenely fascinated by it.

No....

Don't deny it. Her eyes burned as she pressed her body against his, sliding a silk-soft leg around his own. He breathed in her scent, feeling himself relax. It took a moment before he could think clearly.

I...I can't...no.

Why resist, my pretty thing? Her small, sharp teeth nipped lightly at his ear, and he moaned gently, unconciously reaching for her.

So soft.....don't. Her slim hands were busy toying with his robes, and her pale skin was intriguingly cool where he could touch it. He couldn't help it, he wanted...something...so much...

Why not? her tone was faintly mocking as she pressed her mouth up to his.

Please don't do this. It was a plea of a lost man as he fervently returned the kiss, arms tightening around her glimmering body.

But you want me to. She pushed him down, long hair curling against his skin as she pressed him into the ground, tugging the heavy cloth of his robes away.

Yes, yes, please...no... he whimpered softly into her mouth, trying to regain control. She pulled back suddenly, and his body screamed at her departure. He scrambled up, longing piercing his being as he looked at her, a pale flame burning in silver and gold.

Sweetling, come to me. Her head tilted back as she shrugged off the straps of her gown, revealing creamy shoulders and a hint of full, rounded breasts. He blinked, suddenly shy, but unable to look away.

No....yes, yes....please... She smiled, slow and triumphant, but he was too far gone to notice.

She was suddenly there, light and soft and glowing. He cried softly into her tight embrace, hands skimming frantically over her cool skin, aching for everything that was her. For you, only you.

She was so perfect. It felt so good, so very good to hold her, and she sparkled with promise of more, much more. Kami, what am I doing?

She was everything. Her words were as much a caress as her embrace was, clinging and hungry. My darling little one, you know.

Yes...

* * *

"But...it's MOUSSE!" Ranma choked out, eyes huge with disbelief. He had already moved to hover by Akane, though neither had noticed it. Cologne had, and sighed resignedly to herself, casting a sidelong glace to Shampoo. She hadn't noticed either, tracing the silvery outline on the soft linen with a shaking nail.

"Not necessarily. Not this time, anyway." *That* got their attention.

"What do you mean?" The Tendo fool asked a question? Would wonders never cease?

"She should have control of him fairly soon. However, last night he wouldn't have tried to kill Shampoo. It had to have been the sorceress."

"SORCERESS?!"

She could just *see* the plans forming in their heads. "Yes, sorceress, but don't think she'll take away your curses."

The cursed ones looked crushed.

"She'd love to kill Shampoo and I, as well as anyone associated with us. You do know that she is dangerous."

Ranma was getting too cocky again. "So? We can take anybody on and win."

"Even someone who is on your side?"

They were quiet for a short while as they absorbed the unsettling statement. Then Akane looked up. Well, she is the intelligent one of the group, Cologne admitted to herself, And thank the gods for that.

"Who is this person exactly, and why is she controlling *Mousse* of all people? It's not like he's the strongest fighter here."

Shampoo turned towards them unexpectedly. "Male fighter very rare in Amazon tribe. Only three in this generation. Mousse by far the strongest of them, and better than everyone but Shampoo and elders."

So she does feel badly about how she has treated him. I had wondered.

"Shampoo think sorceress not concerned with outsiders, only Amazon tribe."

Cologne nodded. "Her grievences against our tribe are great. Whatever name she had has been long forgotten, but the legends are very clear. To put it simply, she wants all of the Amazons dead, except Mousse. Her chosen one."

* * *

Her slender arms curved against his back, and he nuzzled his face in her soft, fragrant hair. He had no idea where they were, decided he did not care in the slightest. There was her, him, and the gentle breeze that warmed instead of cooled.

Starlight glowed above him, and she shimmered with their radience. The long grass around them gleamed silver where she touched it, and reflected the brilliance of the stars back to the heavens. It was wonderful.

Do you like it, sweetling?

Yes...And?...and you.

Her amber eyes locked with him, pale flames dancing within them, drawing through his soul. She drew him up so he was facing her, lacing their fingers together.

I have given you much.

Yes...and I am grateful.

I wonder...would you do the same for me?

I would do anything for you.

Somehow, he could remember saying something like that before, to a vision of lovliness all clad in purple. But she never wore purple...who was he thinking of? Xian Pu? But he hadn't ever loved her! He would remember something like that.

She smiled and pulled him close, and everything else was forgotten.

* * *

-Joketsuzoku-

Hairspray stood silently as Comb looked through the pile of things, in a heap on the floor.

"{Well?}" she asked tersely as she straightened up. "{Is this all you found?}"

"{Yes.}" Her voice was devoid of all emotion as she studiously ignored the violent protestations of the man who stood between two young warriors, wrists bound and at swordpoint.

Comb turned to stare at him, his expression vacant and eyes burning dully. Her mouth curled in disgust.
"{What have you done?}"

 A wide, sickly grin split his face. "{I did well. She said I did well.}" He giggled childishly. "{I'm a good boy. But she didn't want me,}" he said petulantly, "{I wasn't good enough. But she said he was. Why is he better than me?}"

 Her hand darted out, struck a pressure point, and he wilted to the floor. One of the girls prodded him with a foot, and recoiled, repelled.

 "{I had no idea.}" Hairspray's voice broke the silence as she stared at the huddled heap that was her husband.

 Comb tried not to sigh. "{You have my sympathy, child.}"

 "{Thank you, honored elder.}"

 "{For what has happened, and what will happen, it is much deserved.}"

 * * *

 "Chosen one?"

 "Yes. This is not the first time she has attacked. Many hundreds of years ago, long before even my time, she was an outstanding Amazon warrior. She was engaged to an outsider, who had beaten her through the use of dark magic. Not that she minded. She began learning from him, and gradually grew to be even stronger than he was. When the children and men began to die in mysterious ways, the people suspected him. While she was away, he was tried and killed. When she returned, it was because she had destroyed a nature spirit and taken it's powers. When she learned of her fiancee's death, she declared war on the entire tribe. The times immediately following her declaration were never recorded by the scribes, but one's imagination can suffice. Eventually, with the help of several priests, her spirit was trapped within a large group of rocks within the forest by the village. However, she has broken out several times since then, each time attempting to murder those of our tribe, choosing one male as her implement of destruction."

 "And she chose Mousse." Akane finished, a concerned expression on her face.

 "Exactly."

 "Great-grandmother..." her voice was soft, and she spoke slowly, studying the tablecloth she dug her fingers into.

 "Yes?"

Shampoo lifted her head, looking slightly betrayed. "Why you never tell Shampoo about this before?"

 "The tale is usually told at a warrior's eighteenth birthday. Both you and Mousse are seventeen." Cologne said matter-of-factly.

 "So...lemme get this straight. Mousse is gonna start going after you and Shampoo?" Ranma said, frowning from where he was curling his fingers against Akane's hand, not that either of them were aware of it.

 Cologne muffled a grimace and nodded. "I believe so."

 "And this sorceress is gonna help him?"

 "Or control him, one or the other."

 "What can we do to help?"

 "Be on guard. Don't mention anything. She knows everything he knows. I don't know how much control she has now, but either way he'll be lost by tomorrow."

* * *

He could be happy like this. He was happy.

"You know..."

Her amazing eyes flitted open, and she stared up at him, lazily tracing a finger over his collarbone.

Hmm?

He shook his head slightly, determined not to be distracted

"I don't know your name."

Does it matter?

"Well, I can't just keep calling you...you."

She tugged lightly on a lock of ebony hair, pulling him down next to her. She brushed a soft kiss against his mouth, much gentler than before.

If I have a name, I do not recall it. Call me what you would.

Beloved... he thought blissfully.

He could taste her pleasure in her reply.

My sweetling...mine.

Mousse smiled.

Yes.

* * *

Written in 2000 by Edmondia Dantes

Chapter Six
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