Disclaimer:Ah, but we all know the drill.So, let’s skip this one time, shall we?

Chapter5 -A Heart of Ice And A Smile

Again, I had caught a glimpse of her smile as she was wiping a table.But when she saw me looking at her, she stomped away while hugging a tray.

“Shampoo…” I frowned.I continued to go back to the kitchen after her.We both took off our aprons.Shampoo then said goodnight to her grandmother and proceeded to leave the Nekohanten.

I walked right in back of her.She walked away from me silently, and paid no more attention to me.

That icy stare…

I was such an expert on it.

I sighed.Geez, I could feel my heart just crunching inside of me.As a man, I should have some pride, shouldn’t I?But…But…Shampoo…I let her take it all away.

I came to take her back to China.I failed.I came to defeat Ranma so that she would be my bride, I failed once more.I challenged her when she was three so that it was certain that I would marry her, I had failed then too… 

As I looked at Shampoo and thought about the past, I saw a distant star that could never be touched.And it hurt me deeply.I wasn’t ever worthy of her affection in the first place, but was that any reason to give her up?No.

She deserved so much better than this.I treated her like she was the world.Well, she was my own.

Always have, always will be.

I wiped a tear that had emerged.I have turned into such a crybaby because I knew she didn’t have to be here.She had me, but because of that law that kept us apart and kept her bound to Ranma, I couldn’t do anything.She always had me, though…

Though she stepped on me like dirt, I didn’t have anything in the first place anyway.I was nothing if I couldn’t have her.

Nothing.

My existence, I had rationalized, was to make her happy.Even if it was shunned and never appreciated, even if I was given insults, even if she really did hate me with every fiber of her being, I would never give up on her.

Again, she slammed the door on my face.I opened the door and let myself in.We both went upstairs to our rooms.

I smiled, “Good night, Shampoo.”

“Hmph.”She entered her room and proceeded to go downstairs to take a shower.

The smile had faded as soon as I went inside my own room.

“How could I let myself become so used to this kind of treatment?” I asked myself as I changed my clothes and took off the multitude of weapons hidden in my wardrobe.“Doesn’t matter.”

Again, I found myself smiling when I slipped under the covers.“Once again, I am able to sleep in the same house as my beloved, Shampoo.That’s all that counts.”

“And where are you going, Mousse?” my mother harshly questioned.

“I am going to defeat the one named Ranma Saotome and take Shampoo back as my bride.”I was stepping out of my house.

She slapped me across the face.My mother was an Amazon woman.And like the rest of them, she had a pride that could never be brought down.It meant death if it was done, which was why the ‘Kiss of Death’ was created in the first place.

So it was no surprise to me that she left yet another red mark on my face at the mention of the name of Shampoo…

“You have brought me great shame, Mousse.”Her eyes were filled with anger and some sympathy.“There are so many other girls in this village!Why can’t you defeat one and then marry her instead?!”

I gave the same explanation I had given since the age of three.“I love her, Mother.Do we have to go over this again?”

“You were defeated when you were three!” she shouted at me.“Don’t you understand that?It’s the law!”

I shook my head.“Disown me if you like.It doesn’t matter much to me now.”

My mother began to cry.She knew she was defeated.And I began to cry myself.What had I become?But I couldn’t and I wouldn’t change my decision.

She hugged me and shook her head.“I don’t, I don’t want you to be unhappy…”

Then, she gently pushed me away.

She gave me the ‘Kiss of Death’.

“Go, Mousse,” she sadly commanded. 

As I walked away into the night, I knew I would never be able to return to my village again.I had just been disowned and exiled.

Shampoo had been exiled to Japan.It meant that she could never come back here.If she did, she would become a second-class citizen.And I didn’t want that to see that.I couldn’t bear it…

I didn’t care anymore what happened to me.I just knew that I couldn’t live without being close to her…

I couldn’t stand just wondering there what she was doing; I couldn’t stand not being able to see her; I couldn’t stand not living without a smile or even that icy stare.

When I woke up, I had tears all over my face.What a pathetic person I had become.But I had chosen it for her and for myself.

I got up slowly from my bed.“She didn’t need to know any of my sacrifices for her,” I whispered to myself.“That was selfish.”

Even if it was just this, I was happy.

When I passed her down the hall, she grumpily said, “Good morning, Mousse.”

I smiled, “Good morning, my beautiful Shampoo.”

Little by little, I knew I was tearing down her defenses towards me.Her heart of ice was slowing melting.But it had taken such a long time.I knew all along it would have.

Nonetheless, I didn’t care.I had all the time in the world, as long as I could see her face.As long as I could be with her…

“Mousse, you too slow,” she insulted; but then she waited some feet for me to catch up somewhat to her on the street.

I smiled at her.“I’m coming!”

But somehow, deep down inside, I was glad she had defeated me when we were children.I wanted… what I wanted most from Shampoo was herself.That’s all I was waiting for.

I wanted her to love me the way I had come to love her: pure and unconditional and…

…not by some stupid law we had grown up with…

…but of her own free will.

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Author’s notes:I can’t say anything more but that I’ve come to love Mousse more and more because of this…* sniff, sniff *Enough said, ne?

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