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I am Ukyo Kuonji

A Ranma ½ story
by Dragon Claw

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


I am Ukyo Kuonji I am one of the few, (and probably the best), practitioners of the Okonomiyaki style of Martial Arts. And I now know what Hell is.

My life, my soul, has been ripped in two. Half my soul, Okonomiyaki preparation and presentation, is still with me. It can never leave me. It has been drilled into me through ten years of intense seaside training. It flows through my blood and the blood of my ancestors. It is who I am.

However…

A person, who has blood, yet no heart to pump it, is as good as dead. And my heart is no longer in my chest. It has been missing for over ten years. It has always been HIS.

Ranma Saotome.

That name has kept me alive, given me purpose for ten years. A lifetime. My hatred of Ranma drove me to better myself in my art, find release in the fight. My hatred of Ranma kept me from showing my form, my girl form, to anyone. Because I was afraid of the advances and affections of the opposite sex. Because I feared love. I only had one heart after all. And it was in Ranma's "care". My hatred of Ranma… dissolved with a simple phrase, "A cute girl like you."

He called me cute.

He had held my heart, now he held my love. Ten years of looking, of training, just to kill him and regain what I had lost, dissolved under the power of his voice. A power that couldn't shatter stone, but sure as heck could break something. It broke my will. My need to hate.

He hadn't known about the reason for my pain. His father had swindled my father into a deal that left us without a business or a home. It had driven my father to drink hard, and cry long. It caused me to work where I could, running errands, cooking for relatives. And always I would feel the shame, the pity in their eyes. I hated that pity. Then my peers, who had feared my abilities as a tomboy and fighter for as far back as I can remember, found their own weapons. They found words. They found taunts and jeers and ridicule. They found ways to isolate me and degrade me. I had always been above them, on the plain reserved for the special or scary. Now I wasn't fit to clean their shoes. It hurt me. So I would hurt. I was expelled from two schools before something worse happened. I lost my father. He was alive in body, but his spirit, his soul had left him. He would beg and drink, then beg some more, then drink some more. After I found him in a gutter for the fourth time, I left.

I knew how to fight and how to cook. I trained every day. Studied when I could. I distanced myself from others. Ironically, the last true friend I had before Nerima was Ranma himself. Tsubasa was a boy who went weird after he caught me showering in the boy's locker room. It was before I could get special exception from Gym because of personal training. He saw who I was, and it drove him insane (in my opinion). His cross-dressing got him expelled, but his family could afford tutors. And it also could afford his tastes, apparently, for he kept at me, in my little apartment, with gifts and his own special dressing habits day in and day out for four months.

Luckily, that was when I found out that Ranma and his father were in Nerima.

So I left. I had my weapons. I had my skill. I had my hate.

"A cute girl like you."

The years from home had caused me to forget something important.

Words can be weapons worse than any oversized spatula.

So, ten years of hate became two years of love. I would fight his other suitors like Shampoo and Kodachi every other day. We were all good, but one was better.

Akane Tendo.

She couldn't cook, but then neither can Kodachi, to a degree. (It all depended how much you liked poisons as spices.) She could fight, but not as well as us. She wasn't a gorgeous bimbo like Shampoo, or a sultry seducer like Kodachi. If anything, she was like me. She was cute. Yet, even in her anger, she somehow had Ranma in a way that we, I, never could. In the aftermath of my actions, of my sins, I can see us, the fiancées, through Ranma's eyes.

Akane was weak, someone to always protect and fight with. A relationship of fire and ice. They were opposites that could hurt each other. Yet each was sensitive to the needs of their opposite. They had a passion hidden in their insults. Hidden from all, even themselves.

Shampoo was a friend. A person who was always relentless, but nonetheless likable when the word "date" wasn't mentioned. Someone that could give access to incredible fighting techniques from the teachings of her Grandmother. Someone to protect, if protection was needed, but one who could handle herself in a fight. Also someone to keep at an arms length, unless you wanted a rainstorm to trigger the Cat-Fist.

Kodachi was a threat. Insane yet maliciously clever. Alone for years, and with no one to care for her, she had fallen for the first White Knight to come her way. Ranma. In a way, Ranma pitied her. But he could never love her. She was destined to be a lonely Black Rose forever, if she focused only on Ranma. In other words, she needed help. Help he couldn't give.

And me? Well, I am one of his few friends after a ten-year journey. A brother figure that became a sister-figure after he realized my true gender. A confidant, who could listen to his problems, and throw in a free meal in the bargain. Someone to hang with, someone he could really trust. Ucchan. And someone he loved.

As a sister.

He wouldn't return my love. I see why now. To love me in such a way would make him lose his sister for a wife. And that wasn't all right for him. He valued "Ucchan" too much to lose her for as simple a thing as marriage.

Yet, I took in for granted that he could learn to love me like that, like I wanted. Not like he wanted. "Ranchan" got no say in the matter. I just knew that he would come around.

What an idiot I was.

Then I did something I repent now. I crashed his wedding. When he made the choice, the choice that took two years to finalize, I couldn't handle it. So I violated his trust. I didn't want to remain Ucchan any more. I wanted Ukyo Saotome. And I got what I wanted. I am no longer Ucchan. However, I am also not Ukyo Saotome. Because, when I crashed his Wedding, Ranma used something on me. Something in his eyes. He used anger, and he used hate. And I knew that Ranchan was lost. I had lost. A battle of ten years. A battle of two years. Both lost.

I am just a Martial Artist now. I have a small store where I sell my soul daily. And I have no Ranchan to talk to. No Ranma to dream of. Just myself, a store, and a cross-dressing Ninja to keep me company. Oh, and a question. Where do I go from here?


"Ukyo." A voice, HIS voice. On my roof.

"Ranch… Ranma." I catch myself. A little late, but I catch myself. I turn. He is next to me, changed from his tux to a set of his normal Chinese clothing. His normal clothing, his normal pigtail. His abnormal frown. He is frowning at me. I am scum. I try to smile, give my "cute fiancée" smile, but my face can't handle in. I don't deserve that smile now. "Ranma, I know you're angry. But please listen, I thought…"

Thought what? You couldn't love Akane? Your parents forced you into it? You should have picked me? What can I say but… "I'm sorry."

The words, insignificant words, hold what I feel. They show my suffering, my self-hatred, and my sorrow. All I can feel without him. Without Ranchan. I look up, and see compassion, and a mirrored sorrow. Then the words come. I expect, 'I never want to see you again'. I get…

"I know."

Shock. The words he has said, they hold no anger, no hate like this afternoon. Only sorrow.

He sees my shock, and continues. "It feels like someone has died, doesn't it? Your gut wants to heave out food that you suddenly can't eat. You want to cry tears that won't come. You feel a death has happened, and can't be fixed. No technique, no hi-speed punch, no chi-dragon, no confidence blast can mend this." He looks at me and says, "Only words can."

Words. Ranma's worst enemy for years. Worse then a creature with ten times the strength of Ryoga, more claws and chains than Mousse, and more insane habits than the entire Kuno family.

Yet now, words become an ally, not an enemy.

"I don't want to lose you, Ucchan. You were my friend! I loved you like family! But you betrayed me."

He is yelling in his sorrow, and I feel my heart, still in his hands, squeezed in his hands.

We sit in silence.

"Yet I can forgive you." He whispers suddenly.

What?

"I can forgive you, but can Mom? Or Akane? Find their forgiveness…"

I hope against hope.

"And UCCHAN can live again. And I really want to see her." This is said with the beginnings of a classic Ranma smile.

I am reeling with emotion. I can be Ucchan again. I can have Ranchan back.

But his full message is clear. I can never be Ukyo Saotome. And I can never have Ranma.

But, I realize, the man who holds my heart, and will always hold my heart, has forgiven me, and I do the only thing I can. I grab Ranma and begin to cry. And suddenly, hell looks a whole lot nicer.

 


Author's notes: Well, this is my first attempt at a Ranma fanfic. What do you think? I love Comments, so don't hesitate to send me an e-mail at Candelman4@aol.com. But be prepared. This isn't the end by a long shot.

 
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