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Lonely Hearts
A Ranma/Neon Genesis Evangelion Crossover Fanfic
By: Aaron Nowack

Prologue: Last Chance to See

Disclaimer: Ranma is owned by Rumiko Takaashi. Neon Genesis Evangelion is owned by Hideako Anno. I am not either of these people, therefore I make no claim to ownership. However, the text of this fanfic and any original characters are mine, and should not be used without permission. Thank you.

Ranma Saotome whistled happily to himself as he strode down the street. Or, more accurately, along the fence besides the street. No one even bothered to look up at that sight anymore, so common had it become over the nearly two years since Ranma had come to Nerima. It was just as accepted as walking around the large craters caused by martial arts duels, or giant columns of ki energy springing into being with no warning.

Very rarely did visitors to Nerima ever return. For some reason, they found all of these things upsetting. So did the police, who rarely if ever involved themselves with anything having to do with the "raving loonies", as they referred to Nerima's martial artists, native or otherwise. It was so much more conducive to keeping one's body intact to stroll on down to a donut shop or chase a couple of shoplifters than to worry about minor things like major property damage, assault with intent to kill, and the like.

And, in general, the "raving loonies" were a fairly self policing lot. Any martial artist who was foolish enough to involve noncombatants, a category that did not include students of Funrikan High or any members of the Tendo family other than Kasumi, in his fights would find himself delivered to the hospital with many painful, though not life threatening, wounds. And, when a martial artist was in this state, the police would often stir themselves to deliver arrest warrants, or more often papers ordering deportation back to China. Several visitors had learned this the hard way.

This lead to the aforementioned tolerance on the part of most Nerimans. Sure, intellectually they might know that the "raving loonies" were a serious threat to the stability and safety of their town, and they might even write long-winded letters to the newspaper about it. However, it was difficult to really see it as anything but an amusing sideshow, or a odd form of sports entertainment, with no real impact on their daily lives. It was just another part of living in Nerima, like having to sidestep Mrs. Furusawa's old fashioned way of driving out evil spirits each morning, unless one wished to show up at work soaking wet.

So, in a way, there were two different Nerimas. There was ordinary Nerima, where salarymen got up and went to work each morning, students went to school without dodging clouds of shrapnel from a nearby duel, and romantic relationships proceeded in a somewhat ordinary fashion. It was an orderly world, working under the rule of law.

And then, there was the Nerima of the "raving loonies", and also of Funrikan High students. This Nerima was a world of chaos. More often than not, school would begin with a duel, rather than groups of friends calmly walking to classes together. Property damage was a fact of life, and insurance companies were a fabled myth. This was the world where one man could have three fiancees, at least, and a half dozen more suitors of both genders. This one man was Ranma Saotome.

Rarely did these two twain worlds meet. Students at Funrikan High would come home and speak of how they had barely avoided being blown to bits by a ki blast that morning to be greeted by choruses of "Oh my!"'s and "That's nice."'s from their parents. However, sometimes an event of earth shattering proportions would occur, one that would force the two worlds to briefly combine in a storm of chaos. One such event had occurred almost a year ago, at the aborted wedding of Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo. Another such was going to occur today.

For you see, stuck uncaringly into Ranma Saotome's pocket this fine afternoon was a ticking time bomb. And when it went off, it would likely produce a metaphorical explosion of nuclear proportions. It was perhaps the most anticipated and feared item to ever exist in Nerima, forged in the slow fires of utter chaos, tempered in depths of wild China, and cooled over the past year or so. What was this item that threatened all the constants of Neriman life? A simple band of gold. Stuck uncaringly in Ranma Saotome's pocket was an engagement ring, bought with a loan from Nabiki Tendo, allegedly taken to purchase a large collection of manga.

Over the past two years, interested Nerimans had been able to build a twisted map of relationships, suspected or proven, among the "raving loonies". That map was now invalidated, because it was all going to change. Every last bit of it. For this day, this thirteenth of September in the year 2000, the world would change forever. Ranma Saotome, Heir to the Saotome Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, was to propose this very day to Akane Tendo, Heir to the Tendo Anything Goes School of Martial Arts.

Ranma Saotome sighed as he thought about it. Akane...

"AKANE!!!!!!" shouted a wet and female Ranma into the dark churning sea at the same time the next day. Her throat was hoarse from repeated shouting, and she was showing signs of an oncoming cold as a result of staying out in the stinging rain for so long. The skies had been dark when dawn should have come, and showed no signs of lightening as the hours headed on towards noon.

Ranma slumped to the bottom of the small boat, staring into her reflection in the raging water below her. The visage that was so similar and so different from her true face. Tears were sweeping across her face, making her vision blur. Finally, she moved again, paddling the makeshift boat back to the small island that had once been a steep hill.

The date was September the fourteenth. Yesterday, the world had changed forever. Three billion lives were wiped out, half of mankind destroyed in an instant. Or at least, that's what the radio had said. According to the continuing emergency broadcasts, most of the world's coastal cities were now gone. The American President Clinton had declared a national state of emergency. Rumor had it he was massing forces to invade Canada and Mexico, to replace what his nation had lost. Other nations seemed to be following suit. Mankind seemed to desire to complete the job Second Impact, as the explosion in Antarctica had already been dubbed, had started.

Ranma carefully tied the boat up to a wooden post. She then entered the small, driftwood hut she had built the last night for shelter. Inside, the rain was somewhat deflected by the roof, though much water still came inside through the many leaks. The sound of the seemingly endless storm was unmuffled. Two figures awaited her inside. One was the stretched out form of Ryouga, unconscious. Ranma's highly trained vision noticed a water stain on his dirty shirt that had not been there before.

Standing over Ryouga was a withered old figure, holding a jug of some sort. The figure greeted Ranma with a racking cough. "Any sign?" Cologne asked him, before doubling over with another fit of coughing.

Ranma slowly shook her head. "None. Any change with Ryouga?"

"No. It's like his ki is completely burnt out. He'll be lucky to live out the day, much less recover fully. With proper care that I can't provide here, I think he'd recover, maybe even be a martial artist again, but I doubt he'll be throwing any ki blasts for decades. In all my three hundred years, I've never seen anything like it," Cologne responded. "What happened to you two?"

Ranma grunted as she sat down by a small fire. "I'd rather not talk about it."

Cologne's eyes hardened for a moment before softening. "I understand." Cologne sat down beside the young girl, handing her the jug she had been holding. "Here. I already gave some to Ryouga, but there's enough left for you."

Ranma took the jug, noting that it was half filled with water. "What is it?"

"Water from the Spring of Drowned Man," the Amazon matriarch replied. Ranma's eyes widened. Cologne continued, "It was to be my wedding present for you... when you married Akane."

Ranma's eyes widened more. She had not thought the Amazon had already given up on his marrying Shampoo. "Th... thank you," she said, her voice choking up with emotion.

Cologne shook her head sadly. "It's nothing. My own small apology, for the harm I did you." The matriarch paused as she coughed for a few moments. "Go. Use it. I want to see you a full man, before I die."

"You can't die, Cologne!" exclaimed Ranma.

Cologne closed her eyes for a moment before responding. "My ki is strong, boy, but... not that strong."

Ranma stared at the jug for a moment. Akane would have been so happy... Akane. Eyes brimming with tears, Ranma slowly poured the water over her head. Her form shifted, becoming broader. Her breasts vanished, and her hair changed color. Where there had been a girl, there was now a boy.

All was silent, except for the raging of the storm outside. "Cologne?" Ranma asked. When there was no reply, Ranma reached out and shook the matriarch, before realizing that what sat before him was now nothing but a lifeless shell. Ranma silently stood, and stalked out into the storm. He didn't really notice that he didn't change form. He walked forward until he was a safe distance from the hut.

Another of his friends and mentors was gone. He silently recited the list. Akane, father, Mr. Tendou, Kasumi, Nabiki, Akane, Ucchan, Shampoo, Konatsu, Mousse, Kunou, Kodachi, Cologne, Happosai, Hiroshi, Daisuke, Yuka, Sayuri, Ms. Hinako, Akane, Akane, AKANE!!!! Ranma glowed a dark, sickly green as he went down the list. Finally, with a primal yell, he let loose his anger and depression. "PERFECT SHI SHI HOKOUDAN!!!"

The green lance of energy sped up like a challenge into the heavens. As it towered over the landscape, a horizontal beam joined it, forming a gigantic cross in the dark sky. The light illuminated the ruins of Tokyo, casting eerie shadows over the small pieces of high ground where a remnant of a remnant of Tokyo's population huddled in fear.

The next day, a boat operated by Gehirin, a research organization that had been funding the Katsuragi Expedition to Antarctica, arrived at the small island. According to the official records later released as part of the United Nations Report on Second Impact, it was one of many such boats operating in the area and took aboard two seventeen year old Japanese males in need of immediate medical treatment. Their names were not included in the report.