Part 4

Warning: Dark, NC incest mentioned, OOCness, flashback scene, suicide mentioned ^^;; Cheery, ain't I?

As Ranko and Ryoga made their way down the stairs hand in hand, with Ranko's necklace tucked beneath her shirt, someone made his way through the storm to the Tendo Dojo.



Kuno practiced in the garden behind his house, barefoot and shirtless, wielding his bokken in expert form, the sun glinting off his sweat covered skin. His muscles moved in fluid motion as he moved his bokken into each position. His mind was a virtual blank, as he concentrated on each movement, thinking only of the next. That is, until he faced a certain cherry tree. It still bore the mark of his love for a certain pig-tailed girl, and seeing it only brought bitter memories flowing into his mind. He walked over to the tree, his bokken limp at his side, and ran his fingers over the crude carving, a pain filled expression upon his face. A million and one questions filled his head asking why . . . questions he had no answer for, and quite possibly never will. Tears filled his eyes as he sank to his knees, leaning against the tree. The questions bombarded his tormented soul ceaselessly, causing him to sink deeper into despair.

Why do I even bother? Why do I torture myself like this? Why don't I just end it all? Why can't I just be me? Why do I keep up this facade? His thoughts changed midstream as other, more painful memories surfaced, memories he had tried so hard to forget. Why did I let him do that? Why did I let him get away with it? Why didn't I tell anyone? Why didn't I stop him? Why didn't I kill him when I had the chance? Why did I let him live after what he did to Kodachi? And me . . . Why did he . . .

"What's wrong, dear brother? You look upset." Kodachi interrupted his thoughts. He held back his tears as he looked up at his sister. "I thought you might be thirsty, so I brought you a nice, cool drink." she said with a malicious grin on her face. She handed him a glass of what appeared to be lemonade, but he knew better. He had always known better. But this time, he wasn't going to play along.

"Thank you, dear sister, but I'm not thirsty." he told her. Her face fell as he refused her drink. Now she was worried. He never refused anything from her before, why now?

"What's wrong?" she asked with genuine concern in her voice.

"I was just . . . thinking." he said, looking back at the tree. Kodachi realized what had happened, and why he was brooding.

"About Ranko?" she asked. It must be more than that if he's this bad. What is he not telling me? she thought. Kuno stood up and walked away a bit, his back turned to her.

"And Ranma." he said, wondering if she knew the truth.

Did he figure it out? Is that why he's so upset? Kodachi wondered.

"Eh? What are you thinking, dear brother? That they're a couple? What?" she asked.

Guess not. Kuno thought.

"No. Nothing like that. It's just . . .I think it's time to settle things once and for all." he said, picking up his shirt.

"What exactly do you mean by that, dear brother?" Kodachi had a bad feeling things were going to get ugly.

"I'm going to challenge Ranma to a fight to the death." he stated, as he put his shirt on. And end my misery. A high wind picked up, carrying with it menacing clouds. Looks like it's going to rain. How fitting for the day of my death. Kuno thought.

"I think not!" Kodachi said, tossing a strong dose of paralyzing powder at Kuno. He whirled around, using his bokken to create a wind that caused the powder to change direction and hit Kodachi, paralyzing her instantly.

"Not this time, Kodachi! This is something I have to do! I am not the idiot that everyone thinks I am, and I will no longer pretend to be that idiot! I don't know if your lunacy is real or not, but considering what 'father' did to you . . . to us, I wouldn't be one bit surprised if you had snapped. God knows I almost did. When Mom died . . ." This time, he could not hold back the tears.

"That bastard! If it wasn't for him, she'd still be alive! And maybe if she was, he wouldn't have . . .no, he still would have, that's what he was doing before she killed herself! You don't remember, do you? She found him one night, with us both. I had my eyes closed, but I could hear you crying nearby. I guess one of us wasn't enough for him. She must have heard you crying. I saw her face when she walked in, I've never seen so much negative emotion on someone's face at one time before, or since. But . . . you have come close, before you changed. I imagine I have too, but I've never looked, for fear of what I'd see." he wiped his eyes before continuing.

"She ran. I'm not sure where. He heard her and followed, for what purpose is still unknown to me. Maybe he thought she was going to tell someone, I don't know. But I do know this. I could hear them argue. She slapped him then ran again. He didn't follow this time. She was dead by morning. No one will tell me how she died. It's just as well. Maybe if she was alive, we wouldn't be as messed up as we are now. Her death only gave him the freedom to do whatever he wanted to us, whenever he wanted. But could we really expect her to be able to live with herself knowing what he did to us? Thinking that maybe she could protect us from him? But she couldn't. Even if she tried, it would end up killing her. I don't blame her, it's not her fault father's so 'fond' of us." Kuno clenched his fist, trembling with sheer anger.

"I swear, Kodachi, that if I live to see tomorrow, I will kill him! I don't know how, but I *will* kill him!" The wind howled, stirring the trees, as lightening flashed then thunder rolled.

"I must go now. If don't return alive, poison the bastard. And make sure he doesn't live." he said with an eerie calm, that chilled Kodachi to the bone. He took off his shirt and wrapped it around her shoulders.

"In case it rains before you can move." He explained, before picking up his bokken. "Goodbye, dear sister. Till we meet again." he said without turning, then walked out of the garden and on his way, leaving his shoes behind.

~~End Flashback~~


Kuno walked calmly, but purposefully down the street, his feet splashing through the many puddles. The rain soaked through his skin, robbing him of his warmth, and the wind chilled him to the bone. His hair fell limply into his eyes and his pants clung to him like a second skin. He walked with his head held high, several emotions running through him and playing across his face, causing anyone who looked upon him to shudder from more than just the cold and to pity whomever he was looking for. He held his bokken firmly in his hand, though it was slick with rain and threatened to slip free from his grasp. He was close now, only a block away. With strong determination, he kept his pace, only stopping when he stood in front of the building. Tendo Dojo. The weather-worn sign held many memories for him, though he tried not to think about them. The building was secured, ready if the storm should worsen. Kuno walked up to the front door, his feet slapping against the wooden porch. As he contemplated on whether he should knock or just let himself in, the lights went out throughout Nerima.

And all was dark.

TBC . . .

*bokken=wooden sword, used most often for practicing swordplay (I think. ^^;;)