* * *
No One Has Won the War: Chapter 7
by Edmondia Dantes


Disclaimer: Almost all of the characters within belong to Rumiko Takahashi. Me make no money off of story. Suing teenagers bad. Leave me alone, foul lawyers!

Italics - thoughts
"{}" - spoken Chinese


* * *

Warm laughter seemed to ripple on the wind as Ukyo finished closing the shop. She offered Mousse a bright smile as she locked the door. He had just finished devouring a plate of okonomiyaki at an astonishing rate.

"Thank you, Ukyo," he said quietly, taking his dishes to the sink. She blinked in surprise, then rememberd he worked in a restaurant. He's so polite! How strange, nobody around here has manners, not even my Ranchan.

"Thanks for cleaning up." she said cheerfully, "Is the back room okay for you?"

His answering nod, she noticed, was a bit shaky.

* * *

"{Did you know?}"

She shook her head. "{This is incredible. And...what in the world do we do with a dead body? The Japanese are likely to throw a fit, if the fuss we caused coming into the country is any indication.}"

Hairspray spoke up. "{I don't believe that will be a problem, elders.}"

They stared mutely as the man's body dissolved into nothingness, leaving only a bloody tangle of rope and clothing pooled on the chair.

Comb blinked several times. "{Oh dear,}" she remarked mildly, "{It seems we no longer have to worry about that particular problem.}"

Hairspray looked between the two, before saying softly, "{Elders...are you certain it was Mu Tsu? He's not the type to commit patricide.}"

Comb felt her face rearrange into a skeptical expression. Cologne voiced her disbelief.

"{Do you realize how incredibly stubborn your son is? He defied the traditions of our village to follow Xian Pu here. If his affections have indeed been transferred-}"

"{What do you mean?}" Comb asked, alarmed. "{What haven't you told us?}"

Cologne drew herself up. "{Xian Pu had an encounter with the sorceress. It seemed she wanted to...gloat. Judging by Xian Pu's reaction, I can imagine that he was seduced by her, and now is in love with her.}"

Hairspray lost all color. "{But...he...that's...}"

"{Unusual, to say the least. But he is rather unorthodox for a male.}" Comb finished for her.

She toyed with the hilt of her sword. "{Mu Tsu? I never...he's just...not like that. He wouldn't just give himself up like that.}"

Comb watched as Cologne fixed the younger woman with a piercing stare. Hairspray looked more than a little lost, and very confused.

"{Even if he loved her?}"

The question hung heavily in the air, but the woman did not reply.

* * *

What have I done? he thought blankly, sliding the thin door shut behind him. He dropped to sit next to it, leaning against the...softness?

Slim arms reached around him, sweet breath toying at his ear.

She laughed warmly against his neck, touching her lips lightly to his skin. My sweetling, my sweetling, what wonders you have done!

Wonders? WONDERS? I killed my own father! How could you make me do something like that? Despite his vehement words, he made no move to pull away. Her embrace was oddly comforting, though she was the very source of his discomfort.

I made you do nothing. That was you, my chosen, only you. She slid around in front of him, smiling brilliantly. Her hair shimmered brighter than before, the flames in her eyes dancing. Her happiness was palpable, and he nearly let himself fall into it.

"{No.}" he muttered aloud, turning away. "{No.}"

Out of the corner of his eyes he saw her pout prettily. Why are you unhappy? He would have gleefully seen you dead.

"{That's not the point!}" he nearly shouted, "{I'm a murderer! Not in battle, I killed someone in cold blood!}"

A slim hand reached out, cupped his chin. Her touch was magnetic, and he found himself lost in her ethereal presence.

You said you would kill for me. And you have. I knew I could trust you. Her deep pleasure curled enticingly at the fringes of his awareness. He stared at her in awe, amazed that something so horrible could make him feel so good.

She laughed again, and it was light and airy as the moonlight that spilled down her lithe body. Tossing her gleaming silver mane behind her, she lay back on the floor, tangling her fingers in his.

One quick tug, and he was on top of her. He caught his breath as he stared down, entranced. So wonderful... he thought dazedly. When she smiled, the color in her eyes flickered, her sharp white teeth flashing seductively against the scarlet of her lips.

Silly...come here.

Mousse sighed as she leaned in to kiss him. If this was what he got as a reward, he would willingly slaughter an army for her.

* * *

It was hard to sleep knowing he was out there somewhere. Probably with her, Shampoo thought darkly, tightening the blanket around herself in a protective gesture.

Not so long ago, perhaps even last week, Mousse would be up on the roof with her, speaking quietly in their native tongue, not being overly annoying, just enjoying her presence. She hated to admit it to herself, but those quiet moments were the sweetest she had ever known. Often, Too often, a rebellious voice whispered in the back of her mind, she had wished it were Ranma instead of Mousse with her.

Now she could barely think of Ranma. It made her think of Mousse, though why she wasn't sure. Maybe it was because they both had brilliant smiles that made her heart melt. Maybe it was because they both had black hair that shone in the light, or because they both loved to fight.

What am I doing? I should be after Ranma or...Mu Tsu. She shook her head sharply. I am *not* going to run after him...he betrayed me! He swore...but he's not mine. He's...not mine.

The tears were cold against her cheeks. She stole him! And she...he was mine! And she even...even...with *my* Mu Tsu!

Her pretty face hardened into a black scowl. I will kill her for this.

* * *

"{He's dead.}"

Shampoo, still half-asleep, blinked. "{Who is dead?}" she asked, the words barely registering in her bleary mind.

"{Mu Tsu's father.}"

Shampoo dropped the bowl she was holding. It shattered on the tiles, but she didn't notice. "{What? How?}"

Cologne blinked, then tossed a small, silver knife at her. She snatched it out of the air and examined it. Slim, sharp, with a bit of encrusted blood at the tip. Probably his father's, she thought with a shiver.

She looked back up. Her great-grandmother was regarding her calmly. "{We think Mu Tsu did it.}"

Her world collapsed. Mu Tsu? My gentle Mu Tsu? A killer? No...

Cologne's voice was oddly gentle as she spoke. "{It was her influence, child. He is not to be blamed for his actions while he is under her control. The body is no longer here. It dissolved.}"

"{Dissolved?}"

"{Yes,}" Hairspray affirmed, entering the room quietly. "{Xian Pu, I would like to speak to you later. However, you should probably go tell your fiance about this.}"

Shampoo slowly nodded and spun to leave. She casually dropped the knife, bent into a pretzel, onto the table as she brushed past.

* * *

"Nihao!"

The cheerful greeting and glomping was a painful way to wake up, especially with Akane weilding a frying pan and glowing blue in his peripheral vision.

Ranma scrambled back, trying to disentangle himself from Shampoo and run away from his enraged fiancee at the same time. It didn't work very well.

*WHAM*

"Aiyah. Husband is okay?" questioned a purple thing, poking him.

An irritated, melodic voice wafted to his ears. "I didn't kill him."

The purple thing, which he now recognized as Shampoo, stood up and turned away towards the pretty angry thing, which he now realized was Akane.

"Funny you say that, Akane." Shampoo said softly, striding past her to stare out the window she had created when she had burst through the wall.

Ranma hopped to his feet and walked over to Akane, who was staring at Shampoo in confusion.

"What do you mean?" Akane asked quietly.

"We tell whole family about this, is okay?"

Ranma hesitated until Akane elbowed him. "Uh...sure."

* * *

"He KILLED him?" several people yelled at once.

Shampoo looked back at them calmly. "Great-grandmother and Comb think so. Hairspray too."

"Oh man," Ranma muttered, moving closer to Akane, "Oh man."

"Wait, wait," Nabiki began, "Mousse? As in, duck-boy, blind, and a bit too focused on Shampoo here?"

Shampoo met her gaze squarely. "No. Mousse as in no more curse, can see, and no love Shampoo."

"How?" gaped Genma.

She glared at him. If he wasn't Ranma's father, I'd be tempted to hurt him. "Shampoo already tell you that," she said evenly, trying to keep her temper.

"So what? Do we have him arrested?" Akane asked slowly, looking around at the group seated at the low table.

Shampoo rolled her eyes. That would help all right. He would just break down the wall, obviously. And besides... "There no proof. Body is gone."

Ranma fell over. "What?"

She leaned over and picked him up. "Body dissolved. Because of sorceress."

"She can do that? My, she must be very powerful." Kasumi said softly. Shampoo glanced at her out of the corner of her eye. She seemed to always know what was going on, no matter what. And she also seemed to be more intelligent than most of the others in the room.

Shampoo couldn't decide if that was a good thing or not.

* * *

She knocked loudly on the door, hoping he was a light sleeper.

He was, as the door slid open barely a minute later. He rubbed at startlingly pretty eyes as he covered a yawn. She tried not to stare. After all, she had Ranchan. But still...he was standing there in just a pair of pants...and he *was* awfully cute...

"Good morning, Ukyo." he murmured through the yawn. He stretched, apparantly uncaring that she was standing right there and getting a rather nice view. She blushed.

He seemed to notice her discomfort, hesitating and blinking. "Sorry, Ukyo."

"Um...s'okay," she mumbled, trying to get the color from her face.

He gave a low chuckle. "I don't mind. Where I'm from, the men have a lot more to be embarassed about than the women do."

"Really?" she looked back up, and he was dressed. She blinked. He was wearing a loose t-shirt instead of his robes.

"Wha?"

"My robes are dirty, and if I'm going to be helping you out, I need to be wearing something light, ne?"

She smiled tentatively at him. "I guess."

* * *

I like her. Mousse stiffened, unconciously wringing all the water out of the wet dishrag he held. He peered through his bangs over at the chef, who was busy with her art.

Ukyo? he questioned.

She's polite. And friendly, but in love with someone else. Which is good.

He fought down the smile that was forming. This was great! It was just like at the Nekohanten, except Ukyo was actually nice to him, unlike the monkey and Shampoo.

Happy, sweetling?

Yes.

Good. Her quiet happiness radiated through his being, and he was content.

Tonight, again.

Again?

We strike.

He felt a twinge of discomfort. He didn't enjoy killing nearly as much as she did...she relished it in a disquieting way that made him a little sick. But they had their reasons. They did...

He tried to convince himself of that as he continued to clean.

* * *

The smoke was acrid and stung her eyes. She didn't blink, just stared as the clothing was devoured by the flames.

"{Are you all right?}" Comb asked from somewhere behind her.

She bowed her head. "{Yes, elder. May I be left alone please?}" her voice was the barest of whispers.

She felt more than heard the two elders depart. She sank to her knees in the little empty lot behind the Nekohanten and stared as what little remained of her husband's possessions burned.

She wrapped shaking arms around herself. Her only child had killed her husband, because of the whims of a sorceress who had called to her husband when he was a child.

It's unbelievable. Why did I not know, not realize what was going on? He was...a good husband in his own, strange way. Nobody knew why I chose him...including me. Hairspray sighed. I know now...for how long? How long has she been controlling my family? How long has she been aware of Mu Tsu?

There was a soft 'tap' from behind and above her. She turned and stood. Shampoo looked back at her from her spot on the roof, something unreadable in her expression.

"{Xian Pu. Come here please.}"

She leapt down down lightly, landing in front of the elder Amazon. Her head tilted down in greeting. I can see why my son liked her...she is very pretty. But he used to be practically blind, so that couldn't be it.

"{Xian Pu, I would like to talk to you aobut my son.}"

She watched as the girl straightened, her eyes narrowing to amethyst slits. "{What do you want to know?} she said in a voice that was colder than ice.

Bit sensitive, isn't she? "{Everything. What he has done since he arrived here. How he has acted in the past, and how it changed. How he feels about you, even.}"

Her head jerked as she spun away. "{He's a fool,}" she said so softly that Hairspray had to strain to hear, "{and nothing more.}"

She sighed, reaching over and placing a hand on the girl's arm. "{I don't believe that, and I don't think you do either.}"

Shampoo looked up, and she was startled to see the beginnings of tears glimmering in her eyes. Poor child, she thought sympathetically, she can't admit how much this is bothering her. "{You can tell me, child. I won't judge.}"

Defiance glinted in her gaze for an instant, then she seemed to realize that Hairspray meant no harm. She hung her head. "{I wish I knew what was happening,}" she whispered brokenly, "{he just was different all of a sudden. He used to just be himself, challenge Ranma, look for a cure, and work here. It was comfortable, normal...and it was nice to have another one of our tribe here besides great-grandmother. But then everything changed.}"

"{Tell me, please.}"

* * *

"Hey, Mousse!"

He turned, flashing her a sweet smile. She felt that blush again, and scolded herself for it. Ranchan, Ranchan, Ranchan. They have the same smile. But there's nothing wrong with looking, she giggled to herself.

"Hey, are you gonna give me your laundry?"

"If you don't mind," he said slowy, giving her a narrow look. Something uneasy gripped at her insides for a split second. His expression was strangely calculating, and vaguely reminded her of Nabiki.

She forced a cheery expression onto her face. "Of course I don't mind. You're a guest."

"Our...my thanks."

"...sure."

* * *

Ukyo stared. It was definitely not lipstick.

She rubbed a nail cautiously along it, watching as rust red flakes fluttered off and marred the perfect surface of her floor. It looked familiar, but she was having a hard time reconciling its presence on his clothing.

"Is something wrong?"

She nearly jumped, turning to stare up at him. She blinked, wishing she could see better. His long hair shadowed his face, and she squinted.

"Um...no."

"Are you certain?" Mousse asked in a strange, echoing tone.

A cold breeze whispered behind her, sending her shivering. She glared, suddenly angry. "Yes."

"All right."

With that, he departed.

She stared after him, lost in thought.

* * *

You slipped earlier.

He nodded silently, clinging carefully to the ceiling of the Nekohanten, in what used to be his room. Everything was still there, but he felt no nostalgia as he looked around.

I do not mind, sweetling. Take care, however. Why? What can they do? he asked carelessly.

Proud, she teased, the wind suddenly toying with him.

Mousse chuckled, the sound lost in the creak of the door opening. He stilled, suddenly focusing, feeling her intense concentration pinpoint intself, flood through his limbs. Otherwise...he wouldn't be able to go through with it again.

He knew the girl. She was a warrior, several years older than he. She was rather mean. She might fight...

She didn't have the chance.

* * *

Long, pale fingers dipped delicately into the crimson pool. She toyed with it like a child would with a mud puddle.

Lifting a hand, she licked it delicately. His knees nearly gave out as he gaped at her. She just smiled, reaching down and caressing the blue hair that was turning purple with the blood flowing from the neat slice on the still neck.

Come, sweetling.

Nearly sobbing, he fell into her arms. The blood on her lips was still warm and coppery, and he felt the first tears slide down his cheeks. The saltiness mixed unpleasantly well with the taste of her mouth.

Warm wind wrapped around them, and then they were on the hill overlooking the valley and she was laughing at him, tossing him onto the ground and catching his mouth savagely under hers.

Something is different, very different now, he thought, almost frightened. It changed with the girl's death. She's evil. It came as a shock, numbing his mind until he could no longer breathe.

He stared up at her dancing eyes, glowing with a brilliance all their own, the warm scarlet trail that shone on her lips and curved down her throat. He brushed a hand against his face. It came away wet. Then what does that make me?

Mine.

* * *

Written in 2000 by Edmondia Dantes

Chapters 8 and 9
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