Disclaimer -All characters and anything to do with Ranma Nibbunoichi belongs to the fabulous Rumiko Takahashi and all companies distributing this awesome gender-changing series.

‘RT’ is for the ‘Real Thing’ or just ‘Red Thread’?

Chapter 2- Namida: They get you nowhere.

Before entering the house, I breathed in and wiped away all the tears that had slipped down my face with the back of my sleeves.I straightened the white sleeves for a bit to find that they were damp.

Very damp.

I smiled a little.It wasn’t the first time I had cried for Shampoo and only about Shampoo.And I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I did it either.

“Tadaimasu.”I closed the door behind me to find Shampoo going up the stairs since she had just finished her bath.

“Good night, Shampoo,” I called out.

She didn’t even look my way.So, I just went to my room and closed the door quietly.

As I took off my clothes and changed into my pajamas, I thought, “It’s okay.”

But, I hugged my clothes and brightly laughed to myself.“I’m happy I’m even here.Living under the same roof, seeing you everyday...knowing that you’re just there is okay.

I pointed my head in the direction of her room.“It’s okay with me.”

I then looked at myself in the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth.Gosh, I think I cried more than I thought.My eyes weren’t shot, but they were a bit swollen.I shrugged.“Oh well.”

“But when was the first time I cried for Shampoo?” I whispered quietly to myself as I walked up the stairs. 

I stepped into my room and turned off the lights.“Of course I should know.I mean, it has to deal with Shampoo.”

I remember everything about my life that has to do with Shampoo.Even her own life...

Looking up the ceiling, my eyes adjusted to the darkness around me.After a hard day of work and spending a day a few feet away from my love, I would finally rest and think as I looked up to the ceiling.

When was the first time I met Shampoo?I remember now.It was when I was three...

[Flashback]

“Can you please get water from the stream below, Mousse?” my mother asked as she stood in the kitchen for breakfast.“I thought we had enough, but seems that there isn’t.”

“Okay,” I answered with a smile as I stood in front of her.

“Oh Mousse.”She came over to straighten out my clothes.“You have to look nice.You are my son.”

“Yes, Mommy.”

She pushed me along.I went to the back of the house to get the two pails and the pole we had always used for getting water.It wasn’t so hard.This was part of the training.

As I walked down the grassy hill, I heard the stream around me.I knew I was almost there, so I speeded up a bit.But before I got there, I stopped.

There was a little girl with purple hair.It was that girl named Shampoo.Almost everyone knew her family and her.They were very good fighters and she was of no exception. 

But this was the first time I had seen a girl before.

So I looked at her curiously as I quietly peeped behind a tree.“She’s pwetty.”

She suddenly looked into my direction and I hid behind the tree.When I looked again, she was getting more water from the stream.

My cheeks were getting warmer and warmer.The sun would shine over everything soon, so I rushed down to the river even though that girl was there.

She glanced at me, but then she looked away.

I put my two pails into the water and kept on stealing glances at her.She was so fascinating to me because I rarely had time to play with other children in the village.I was the only child of my household, after all.And a hard worker, at that.

“H-hi,” I stuttered.

She smiled at me and nodded her head as she took up her buckets and other things to carry back to her home.

“Bye,” she softly said and rushed up the hill away from me.

When she left, I finally fell down on the ground as some of the water splashed on my clothes and on my face.“Whoa...”

Then, I got up quickly and hurried back home.

[end of flashback]

That was the first time I had met Shampoo.She was the first girl I had ever met in my whole life...

It definitely was an unusual experience for me.

“I know the first time...”But then, I turned to lay on my side.“I cried for you, Shampoo...and it wasn’t even your fault.”

I whispered, “It was about a few months from the first time I met you.”

[another flashback]

On a sunny day, a few days before I was turning four-years-old, Shampoo and I went to this field not to far off from our houses.There were a few trees there and we happened to be next to one.

Shampoo wore that cute smile she always had.“Are you sure you want to practice, Mousse?”

“Yeah, since we have to practice anyway, why not do it together?” I answered back.I would finally have a playmate!

“Okay, but I no so sure.”She then stood up straight and folded her hands in front of her.“I heard we no play together because you boy and I girl. I no know why.”

“Really?I haven’t heard of that rule.”I sat down and rummaged through the few things I could secretly hide in my clothes.I pulled out my glasses and a scroll that I had written on.“Let’s see.”

Shampoo sat next to me and took the scroll.“You write bad, Mousse.”

I fell to the side.“Please just look for the rule.”

“Okay.”She nodded and read through the writings.“The next set of rules you are going to write are under title ‘Marriage’? You too?”

“Yeah, me too.I learn that tomorrow.But do you know what that is, Shampoo?”I looked over at her curiously.“Well, do you?”

“No.No know yet.I learn tomorrow too.”She got up.“Great-grandmother will teach me.”

I got up.“Oh, so your great-greatgrandma teaches you your lessons, huh?”

“Yes.Your mommy teaches you your lessons?”

“Yes.”

She laughed.“Let’s practice now?”

“Wanna have a pretend match?”

Shampoo tilted her head and smiled even more cutely.“Why not?Is fun!I always do that with mommy and great-grandmother.”

“Okay, here I come!”

We were both across each other with different fighting stances.And then, the match began...

...And by accident, by a single mistake of running instead of ducking or jumping up, she kicked me...I was on the ground.

“Mousse!”She came over to me and dusted my face of the dirt.“Are you all right?”

I got up and smiled.“I’m fine.”

“I think we stop for today.”

“Yeah,” I replied dizzily as I got up.

“You sure you all right?”She looked at me with much concern.

“Yeah, I’m all right.”I dusted myself.

“I’ll see you later, Mousse!”She ran off.

I went off in the other direction.“Bye, Shampoo!”

Little did I know the price I would pay for that single mistake...

When I came back home, my mother looked at me and smiled.“Welcome back, Mousse.”

“Hi, Mommy.”

“How was it playing with Shampoo?”

“We had a pretend match and-“

My mother started to frown.She turned to me and sat down across me.

“What do you mean, ‘pretend match’?”

“She and I had a pretend fighting match to practice fighting.”

Her eyes looked at me in surprise.“And what happened?”

“I lost.But then we we’re going to play again tomorrow.”

She held my shoulders.“Mousse, do you like this girl, Shampoo?”

“Yeah!Lots Mommy.”

She frowned.

“What happened, Mommy?” I asked innocently.

“You might be young to understand.”But then, she patted my head.“But, you’ll find out sooner or later.And it might as well come from me.”

I looked at her confused.Hey, I was only three.

“You cannot marry Shampoo when you grow up, Mousse.”

“What does ‘marry’ mean, Mommy?”

“It’s living with someone you love for the rest of your life.The girl will become a mommy and the boy will become a daddy.”

I nodded.I was a pretty sharp kid.“Ohh...Like you and daddy.”

“Yes, Honey.”She nodded.Then, she did the strangest thing.She knelt down and hugged me.

“Do you mean I’ll never live with Shampoo?Ever?”

She shook her head.“No, Mousse.Not really...”

I stood there like a statue but there was a ringing inside my ears.“But I can still like her right, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Honey.That’s something you’ll have to decide yourself.Someday.”

I pulled away from her and ran down to the stream below.

“I-I don’t understand...aren’t we friends?”Tears were streaming down my face as I hugged my knees.“I can still like her right? ”

[end of flashback]

As I stayed awake in bed, though it happened many years ago, it could still make me cry...like right now.

I tried so hard through the years and even proposed.I even challenged her countless times, but I always failed. 

And the more and more I failed, the more and more I wanted to try harder.It was then I realized that I actually loved this woman who gave me cold stares ever since she had beaten me...

I didn’t know what love was at three, but I grew to know what I felt as time wore on.And all the more, I would cry, but my tears would amount to nothing.

I’d learn to keep them deep inside.

--

Author’s note: This one shot (well, it was planned to be) fanfic will be not too long, but I want to build to the moment. It is because Mousse’s feelings are key to the character of Shampoo.And yet, Shampoo complements Mousse also by the way he comes out.

What all my blabbering means that I want to develop what would have been a very basic and short plot. ^_^

But it seems that I do better on chapter stories than one-shoters.Well, of course, IMO.

Ja for now. ^_~Comments?Send to Reiakane_enju@yahoo.com

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