Disclaimer -Ranma’s never going to be mine…uh huh…no money off this and I am poor…uh huh…only Ling’s mine…uh huh…etc. etc. etc.

Running Time (RT2)

Chapter 4- Fate picks its winner.And its...?

After hours of fighting, the victor was finally decided upon...

In the silence, a breathless victory was spoken, “I win this time, Shampoo.”

Shampoo skidded to the ground on her back and onto a wall.Her head hung to the side. Her clothes were torn into shreds at every corner as blood seeped to the ground mercilessly.

Ling stood up with her hands still positioned.And her clothes were also in tatters as her heavy breathing brought her body to bounce up and down at the exhaustion.

Mousse could do nothing but stand back and take it.And he tried his best not to cry at his last chance of being with her...but also, he knew what she would go through after this defeat.It was all too clear for him to take it all in at one time…

Shampoo couldn’t move. * I...I lost... *

Ling put down her defense and stood there silently as everyone else held their breath on what would happen next.The number one fighter had fallen and to someone everyone knew that was her adversary since birth.A shame to lose to a foreigner was would have been much better than this…

And no less, she had said she loved the man she fought for.

* I don’t want Shampoo to go through the same thing as me! * Mousse screamed inside the recesses of his brain.*My beautiful, darling Shampoo shouldn’t be brought down so low!!It’s not in her nature, dammit! *

“What goes around, comes around, Shampoo.” Ling said as she turned away from her.“All I can say is that you deserved it. Now it’s time you feel the true pain he went through for you.”

“That’s it, Ling, you won.”Mousse came over to take Ling away gently.* Ling is a good person, but she’s a sore loser.You know that Shampoo.Her fault is wanting revenge, Shampoo... *

“Come on, let’s go,” he said to her.

“No, Mousse.”

* Mousse actually want to leave me for this girl... * Shampoo thought sadly, but she couldn’t do anything.She already did all that she could.

Her mother stepped into the scene as Shampoo stood up.Slap!A great red mark was on her cheek.She whispered to her daughter, “You have greatly dishonored me, Shampoo.”

The crowds started to whisper among themselves; Mousse stood there frozen while trying to comfort Ling but he glanced at Shampoo as much as he could.

Then, the crowds parted for Shampoo to go through.And all Shampoo could do was hold her head up with that confident look that she always wore: The look that said she could never be defeated.

Even in a time like this.

--

When Shampoo got home, her mother wouldn’t even talk to her.And she could feel the rage that her mother was radiating like a fire that wanted to burn her if it was touched.Even more so, Shampoo’s mother gave her a list of things to do all day.It pretty much came to this: “Don’t you dare talk to me.Now that you’ve shamed yourself as well as me, go live with it.”

Shampoo stepped out of her house as she used to do and waved at some of the neighbors.When she did so now, they just stopped whispering amongst themselves and resumed as soon as she walked down the pathway.

It was as if everyone were whispering about last night and couldn’t get enough of it.* That so stupid * Shampoo thought to herself.

Little did she know that little by little, she was beginning to see the mistakes of the law.And that it shouldn’t have been the ultimate source of life.

As she went to buy vegetables from the people she had gotten them from since she was a child.The old woman smiled at her and looked at her in pity, though she tried to hide it.

Inside, Shampoo was cringing in pain and anger at the same time. * I hate face like that. *

After a while of shopping, she saw the two figures she least wanted to see.And yet, she kept her composure. * I am Shampoo, after all. *

Ling just looked at her from head to toe and proceeded to walk with her arm around Mousse.“Come on, Mousse.”

Mousse couldn’t even look at her.When he did, he gave the same icy stare she used to give a thousand times before.

Shampoo still went her way and they went theirs without a word.But inside Mousse’s mind, he couldn’t bear it. * I’m just doing this for Ling’s sake, but...I just can’t... *

As Shampoo headed down the hill towards the stream, she couldn’t help but look around slowly and imagine all the memories she had had there.Every place she looked, there was something to think about.But her train of thought was cut when a woman doing her laundry said, “To think Shampoo actually said she loved him and lost!She’s such a smart girl.What happened?”

“I know,” the woman next to her said, “But I feel so sorry for her mother.”

They all nodded their heads.

By this time, Shampoo had stopped walking and hid by a tree to listen to them.As she leaned on it, she thought her heart would bleed and almost regretted for even coming back.

Another woman commented, “Remember when Mousse used to propose and do everything for her all the time?The only thing he couldn’t do was defeat her.But then again, she was the best fighter of the village.”

What struck the blow was the next comment, “Shampoo had her chance.And she didn’t take one out of that million.Now she comes back to ruin herself as well as her family name.”

When she began to almost cry, the woman who had spoken first said, “It’s as if Mousse and she have traded places.”

That was it: The breaking point.Shampoo ran out of there as quickly and as quietly as she could.* They’re right.But I no want to believe. *

She ran with the bag and wiped her tears with the back of her hand.Then, a painful thought struck her heart: * I go through this for only one day.And Mousse go through this since we three years old.I-I cannot believe it... *

The tears rolling down her cheeks became faster and hotter so she didn’t even bother to wipe them anymore. * How he survive almost all of lifetime like this?And I even help him to cry more and more... *

When she finally sat down on a grassy field where she used to go to when she was little, she sighed heavily. * And yet he always smile for me.Always. *

As Shampoo stayed there, on the other side of town, another kind of fight for life was going on...

Ling stood up in anger.“What do you mean you want to challenge me again, Mousse?!”

Mousse stood there in front of her with a serious look.“I have to.”

With an annoyed and disbelieving expression, Ling stood back with clenched fist.“I can’t believe you’re still defending Shampoo after everything!”

“It’s not about her and it’s not about you, Ling.”He gave a calm, sincere face in response.“I just can’t get it out of my head that you let me win.”

“What?!That would be a dishonor to both of us, Mousse!I can’t believe it!”

“Ling!The way you fought yesterday was much more skillful than when you fought me.”He put his head down.“I have to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke.”

“Mousse...” Ling’s facial expressions softened.

* I’m marrying you for the wrong reasons, and I can’t let it go, Ling. And I can’t stand Shampoo being like this either. She...* Mousse still stood there silently thinking to himself. * I don’t know how to say it anymore, but just like her, I can’t give up even when I know I’ve lost. That’s why I learned to smile instead of cry whenever I couldn’t have her. *

“Okay Mousse.But one more thing.”

“Yeah, wh-Mm!”

Ling kissed him and pushed him away to position herself.“Let’s begin.”

Mousse smiled.“Yes, let’s shall.”

* I’m sorry but your kiss means nothing to me. *

--

Author’s note: >_< Two hours to think of who I wanted him to end up with!!!!

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