Life As You Like It
A Kasumi ½ side story
by Adrian D. Moten
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
It was the end of another beautiful day at the Ucchan's, its owner and manager Ukyou Kuonji felt. Ranma would most certainly come to his senses that night and realize that Akane was all wrong for him. Not only that, but he would figure out where his heart wanted to be, who he really loved, and who he would marry. And that lucky girl would be… Ukyou!
She giggled, her cute face beaming. After a moment, she looked at the restaurant door forlornly. She had said the same thing yesterday and the day before and the day before…
'Why won't Ranchan just leave Akane behind?' she mused to herself. 'She brutalizes him on a regular basis and doesn't care about his cries of innocence. She never listens to his side of the story, and she is uncute like Ranchan says she is. She could never love him and would end up killing him because he's just so stuck on his honor. The jackass.'
Ukyou sighed and cleared away a set of dishes. Just then, the front door of her establishment pulled open. She looked up, expecting a few customers, though it was a little too late for them to come into her restaurant.
Her heart skipped a beat. "R-Ranchan?"
"The one and only. Whatcha doin' now?"
"Um… just closing…"
"Good, 'cause I gotta tell you some things, okay? It's kinda important."
"Sure, Ranchan, just let me clean up. Pull up a chair."
Ranma nodded and sat down at an empty table. Ukyou wiped her hands on a dishtowel. Why is he here, she thought to herself. Then a silly smile grew on her face. Maybe he's really came to his senses and is going to marry me! Then the grin fell into a frown. Or maybe he just wants a meal; Akane said she was going to be cooking dinner at their place tonight. Well…
"Hey, Ranchan, want me to fix you up an okonomiyaki while you wait? The grill's still hot."
"Uh, no, that'll be all right, Ukyou. I'm not really hungry right now."
She perked an eyebrow. Ranma, not hungry? What's going on? Then she realized that he had just called her Ukyou, not Ucchan. Her heart jackhammering in her chest, she wiped her hands quickly, then pulled up a chair. "What's going on?"
"Well… it's all these engagements…"
Ukyou could feel the blood draining from her face. "Wh-What about them?"
"Um… well, this mornin'… I was just thinkin'. Been thinkin' for a while now, really, 'bout all these problems I've got 'cause of Oyaji, an' everythin'… Well, this mornin'… I… I decided to do somethin' 'bout them all."
The okonomiyaki chef wrung her hands beneath the table. Ranma, making decisions about the engagements? What would he decide to do? Honor one of them? End them all? Marry someone else? Her eyes widened, and her pounding heart was quickly going into overdrive. She silently pleaded with whatever god was listening to her to let it be the first choice; at least she would still have a chance. "So, ah… what did you come up with, Sugar?"
Ranma sat there quietly, not looking in any particular direction. Ukyou couldn't tell what was running through his mind, but a feeling in her bones told her it wasn't going to be good. He finally spoke. "…This mornin', I broke the engagement with Akane."
Ukyou almost shouted her joy to the top of Mount Fuji. So he finally came around!
"…I also broke off the engagement with Shampoo. Was she ever ticked off… me an' Mousse had to tie her down 'cause she went nuts."
Wait a second. Why would Ranchan bother to break anything off with the purple-headed bimbo? It's not like he had taken their supposed marriage seriously at all. Uneasiness crept beneath Ukyou's skin, bringing out a slight shudder.
"Then, I ended whatever relationship me an' Kodachi had an hour ago."
The girl blinked in surprise. It couldn't be! Was this Ranma's way of saying that he… that he… no, that's not what it means! He… he… he…
"And now, here I am. I'm sorry, but I don't wanna be 'engaged' to you anymore just because Oyaji says I am."
…he's leaving me? Ukyou thought numbly. So great a state of shock she was immersed in, her mind refused to accept the fact that he had just broken their engagement. It's just a bad dream. I'm hearing things. He's being mind controlled. Genma took possession of Ranma's body and is breaking off her engagement so he can force her Ranma to marry Akane after all.
Even she could not believe that last one.
Her heart stopped beating. So, he really did it…
How…? Why…? Who…?
Tears began to shimmer upon her bottom eyelids, as she stared forlornly at the pigtailed martial artist who seemed to be looking for something on the floor. He stood up from his chair.
Ukyou's mind went into overdrive. 'Oh, god, he going to leave. He's really going to leave—! He's going to walk out of the front door and out of my life forever! I… I can't let his do that! Not after ten years of looking for him! I… I can't let him—!'
Quicker than the blink of an eye, the okonomiyaki chef was upon Ranma, her arms clutched around his waist in a bear hug born of desperation. Tears streamed down her cheek as she gazed up into his surprised expression. "Don't go!"
"Go?" he asked, perplexed.
"You can't! You… you just can't… leave me alone again! I… I won't let you!"
"Ukyou…" Ranma tried to pry her arms from around his waist.
She only clung tighter in response to his efforts. "Stop it! Why are you doing this?! Why are you pushing me away?!"
The pigtailed one tried to squirm free. "Ukyou…"
She scissored his legs with her own, pinning them together. "Why are you doing this, Ranchan?! D… don't you… don't you want the engagement?"
"I can understand why you got rid of Akane and Shampoo. I don't know about Kodachi, but me? Why me? I'm the cute fiancée! I'm the one who listens to you when you got problems. I'm the one who will never hit you." She thought for a second, then amended herself. "…Without a really good reason to do so. Anyway, I… I'm the one w-who… who…"
Blood flooded her cheeks as she tried to make the words come out even as her courage drained away. She sweated as her face glowed hotly. Though she hadn't relinquished her hold on Ranma, behind his back, her index fingers pressed together, then slowly twirled around each other.
"Look, Ukyou, I can't be the fiancé Oyaji forced me to be."
"Why not?!" she snapped at him, her reluctance forgotten. He blinked in surprise as new determination set her on fire. "You jackass, I love you!! Doesn't that make a difference at all to you?!"
A smile creased the corners of Ranma's mouth. "I love you, too, Ukyou."
"Doesn't tha…" Ukyou's eyes widened, the rest of her words instantly forgotten. "Y-y-you do?"
"Yep." Ranma pulled her arms from around his waist, then stood her up.
Inside, Ukyou's heart began to beat again. He loves me! She thought victoriously. He's finally came around! Yes! Yes!! YES!! Then she blushed, her index fingers giving chase to the other again. "Bu… but, if you lo… love me, why are you… leaving me?" she asked hesitantly, the deadly fear she had tangled with seconds ago minutely creeping in.
"I ain't leaving."
"But you just said-"
"I said I can't be the fiancé Oyaji forced me to be. I never said anythin' about not wantin' to be the fiancé I wanna be for you."
Her eyes widened in surprise. "But… what about the nickname you gave me?"
"Huh? What about it?"
"You… haven't called me 'Ucchan' since you came in…"
"Oh, that." Ranma rubbed the back of his head. "Well, it's… kinda a reminder, you know?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I called you Ucchan back when… when I thought you were a guy."
"Yes, you have. What does that mean?" Ukyou gave Ranma a confused look.
"Um… well… I… I don't want you to just be my best friend 'Ucchan.'"
Her heart came dangerously close to stopping again. "Wha… why?"
"Um… er… well… ah…"
Ukyou could plainly see her heart's desire was beginning to sweat profusely. What's gotten Ranchan so nervous all of a sudden? She wondered. "Ranchan…"
He blinked. "Huh?"
"Just say what's on your mind, okay, Sugar?"
"Um…yeah… ah… could you sit down first?"
"Okay…" Ukyou wasn't quite sure where this was going, though a voice in the back of her was whispering in gleeful hope, "Finally." She pulled up a chair and sat down in it. Before Ranma was… she blinked her eyes to make sure she wasn't seeing things.
"Um… Ukyou… ah, I'm not good at these sort of things…"
"Er, Ranchan, why are you kneeling in front of me?" Her pulse quickened in anticipation of the answer. No way, this has got to be a dream, she thought. It was highly doubtful that Ranma watched foreign movies
"This is how you s'pose to do this sort of thing, right?"
"Do what sort of thing?"
"Ah… well… ah… uh…"
When the stammering stopped, Ranma fished an object out of nowhere, presenting it to the Kansai girl so fast, she jerked back in surprise. Upon closer inspection, she saw it to be a ring with a small diamond held in place by the lone facet. A ring, she thought. Everything suddenly fell into place. Ranma ending all of the engagements. Ranma not calling her 'Ucchan' and saying that he didn't want her to just be his best friend. Ranma on his knees before her. And now… Her heart skipped several beats, as she grew dizzy with giddiness. "Ra… Ra… R-R-Ran… ma…" Her voice and body was shaking badly, she was so excited and nervous. "I… Is…? Do you…? Is this…?"
"Shh! Ya know, this ain't an easy thing to ask. Um… wouldja… wouldja marry me?"
"Yes, I would!!" She plowed into Ranma and clung tightly to him. Tears flowed freely down her face while she laughed. "Oh yes, Ranma… Yes…"
He smiled to her. "I love you, Ukyou." His head tilted up towards her lips.
Inside of the Ucchan's, in the bedroom up the stairs, its owner turned over in her sleep, giggling. "…I love you, too, Ranma…" she mumbled happily, kissing her tightly held pillow. "I've dreamed of this day for so long…"
Author's notes: Basic look into Ukyou's character. The style is different than Stigma of a Rose, Memories in a Bubble, and Change because it serves as a few purposes for later chapters of Kasumi ½. It's also said to be a great introduction to Ukyou for those unfamiliar with her.
Thanks to Thomas Hackwood, Larry F, Harold Ancell, and Ranma Dragon for pre-reading.
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