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A Ranma ½ story
by Lone Wolf

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.


Chapter 3: Questions


It's been almost three months since I last saw Ranma. Finally got out of that cast about a week ago. Everybody was shaken up by the explosion, and I tried to help them those I thought got hit hardest… those who stayed, anyway. Not that I could really do much for anyone.

Ranma's two friends I never really saw again. Hiroshi and Daisuke? Were those the names? Kuno actually came out of this better than anyone, although I heard his sister snapped. The whole place has really quieted down lately.

Ukyo just vanished. Packed up and gone. A yakitoriya bought up her shop, not that she got any money from it.

Cologne and Shampoo left for China. Mousse followed pretty soon after, and the Cat Cafe was bought up by some company. Last I saw it, there were two yellow arches above the restaurant.

Ranma's father ran away. Nothing new about that.

And the Tendos… I tried, I really tried to help them. I did everything I could think of, anything that would force the emotions out…

Nabiki and Kasumi, I don't even know if I can reach. The place is sparkling, and nearly richer than the Kunos, but… cold. Soun seems to have gone catatonic, meditating in the family shine all the time. And Akane…

Damn you, Ranma. She really loved you, you bastard. She looks like-- well, like I usually feel. Nearly anything sets her off, and you can never tell what's going to happen. She could crush you with a punch, or collapse into tears.

I still remember how she looked when I last saw her… Thin, eyes burning with hate for… something. Fearful and despairing, her hands red from all the destruction she'd wrecked…

She won't trust anyone now. She just refuses to let anyone in. Damn it, Ranma! Even dead, you still manage to screw up our lives!

But you can't fix it. I don't really know if anyone can. Maybe that's why I'm here.

Yokosuka Correctional Facility. Hikaru Gosunkugi's prison.

I'll need to thank Nabiki for the taxi later.

The place is a fort. There's just no better way to describe it. Stone walls twenty, maybe thirty feet high, guard towers every thirty yards, spotlights, the works. I could try to bust in-- no. I want answers, not death.

"Excuse me, friend. Are you lost?"

HOLY SH-- Let go of the wall, Ryoga; breathe, breathe…

How the hell did this guy do that? I couldn't even feel his presence. He doesn't look like a fighter.

He tips his hat back, watching me with deep green eyes. "Oh, dear. I do apologize. I had no intention of scaring you."

Well, he's obviously not here to hurt me. "You didn't."

A deep chuckle from this strange pale man. He leans on an oak cane, smiling. "Of course not. Now then my good Ryoga, I ask again-- Are you lost?"

I don't know what it is, but I feel relaxed around this guy. "Yes."

"You're looking for Gosunkugi, correct?"

I find myself staring blankly at his suit. It's a really nice suit, deep blue with red vest and tie.

"Yes."

He smiles again. Something deep within me struggles at that smile, and I shake my head.

"Well then, lets get going. I have a meeting with the killer myself. I'm certain the guards would have no problem with another guest."

I feel strange. It's like I'm half-awake, and something is happening… I turn and look at this man, and see those deep green eyes again.

"Won't that be nice?"

"Yes." It will be nice of those guards to let us through.


We get through easily enough. He simply talks to the guards as we pass them, and we wander through the jail uninterrupted.

This place is huge. Every staircase leads down, and I haven't seen any sunlight for nearly an hour now. The steel and concrete of the cells dimly lit by light bulbs. Oddly enough, none of the inmates seem to notice us.

It's weird. All of them are in the exact same position; hands on their knees, legs crossed, staring at a wall…

I haven't even heard them. Not a cough, not a whisper, not even a breath. Only the green-eyed man's cane as it taps the floor.

Eventually, at what I think is the bottom of this maze, we come to a very small room. It's completely sealed in concrete, with only a small steel door.

My friend snaps his fingers. "I forgot the keys. Drat. It looks like-"

I am NOT going all the way back up there. My fist smashes into the door.

It obligingly explodes inward, flying a short distance before coming to a skidding halt at a huddled form.

Dear god, it smells. This place reeks of… sewage? Not much light gets in this box, but I don't see a toilet. Just a small pile in the corner.

I step inside, and watch the figure shaking on the door. Its clothes are well kept, but it… a fair amount of blood stains the cloth.

"So good to see you again, Gos."

The figure shrieks, scrambling away to a corner. This is Gosunkugi? Kami…

He looks like a skeleton. His skin hangs on him like rags, and his eyes are sunken, making him look… well, worse than Ranma.

Gosunkugi raises a shaking finger at my friend, tears sliding down his face. "You tricked me!"

"Now, now, Gos. Ryoga here has some questions for you." I can feel that gaze on me.

It doesn't matter what he's been treated like. He's a killer, and deserves it. I need answers.

To what?

What can he tell me?

"Why?"

He turns to me, a tight frown on his lips. "Why? WHY?" Gosunkugi starts to laugh, his body jerking about like some sort of deranged puppet, before he falls to the ground, glaring at me with undisguised hate.

"You would ask me that? Martial artists. You couldn't begin to understand."

The bastard. I reach down, grab him by the neck, and lift him into the air. "TELL ME WHY."

"You want to know? You don't care."

I punch him. "TELL ME!"

He crumples, but doesn't make a sound, then just above a whisper, "I did it… because you don't care."

"What?"

"None of you. For two years, they beat me, and no one helped. For two years, I respected her, I waited, I didn't attack, and was beaten for my patience. And then HE came along!"

I drop him, stepping back, "What do you mean?"

By now, Hikaru has stopped listening, instead ranting like a madman. "Everything I did, I did for her! I loved her! And he came and destroyed it! But I thought… I thought maybe one day, she would see. Maybe, one day, they would accept me… maybe…"

He bends over, crying. "But you never saw me. Never could see me… I tried magic to be seen, to be loved… I tried everything and you COULDN'T SEE ME!"

All this for attention?

"You blew up a school so someone would notice you?"

He rocks back and forth, crying. "It wasn't supposed to be this way. He wasn't supposed to come… she… I would've given anything for her… anything…"

I feel a pressure on my arm. "We won't get anything more from him, Ryoga. You wait outside. I need to have a few words with our friend here."

I nod, turning to the door.

Behind me, I hear Hikaru's voice, "NO! Don't leave me here with him! Please!"

I leave, closing the door behind me, and waiting.

Wait a minute… closing the door? I turn, and sure enough, there's the solid steel door I just latched. The door I blew off its hinges almost ten minutes ago.

But how-

The door opens, and out steps the green-eyed man. Something flickers across my vision as I look at him. My guard comes up automatically.

He smiles. "Now what are you doing, Ryoga?"

My name…

"Who are you?"

Those green eyes seem to burn for a moment, "Just a third party with interests at stake. Now, Ryoga, may I ask what you think you're doing?"

Just a concern- my name. How does he know my name?! "Who are you?!" I swing blindly, trying to drive out the pressure in my head.

It doesn't even come close to connecting, and he's managed to grab my head. My arms feel like they're pinned to my sides, my legs like lead weights.

He wrenches my head until we're facing each other, until I see those eyes…

Those eyes… for almost a minute, there's only those eyes… "Really Ryoga, do you think it's wise to attack me? I am your guide, after all. Come now, lets get you out into the fresh air. This prison time must be doing a number on your mind."

Need fresh air…

"Yes…"

The next few moments are a blur. I went through the prison again, but didn't see any details. It's like I'm dreaming.

Dreaming…


A guard found me out cold and outside the prison. I mentioned why I was there, and he told me that no one, let alone some dirty vagrant, would be allowed to see Gosunkugi.

Was it a dream? My neck feels sore, and I remember those eyes… but why does this guy insist that I never went in?

I shake my head, fumbling about for that card Nabiki gave me. I'll sort through this mess later.

Now, I just want to go home.

 


Author's notes: Is this the end? Hardly. There are still tons of side stories, including Hikaru's own. And I did promise someone else another scene with Ranma… and then there are all the good-byes…

Heck, I could be writing this into my eighties, if I live that long. But the main part of the story, the actual plot, ends here. The rest is fleshing out the skeleton.

Yokosuka Prison does exist, and the prisoners really do end up sitting like that, completely silent, at least according to the copious amounts of data Larry F politely bludgeoned me with.

By the way, thank you for that, Larry. It really helped the story.

As always, C&C is appreciated, but even a "Hey! You wrote something!" would be nice.

Zalabar, AKA Lone Wolf

 
Layout, design, & site revisions 2005

Webmaster: Larry F
Last revision: May 21, 2007

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