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A Ranma ½ story
by Ukyou Kounji

Mousse


Unrequited love was what we had in common, both with ourselves and our would-be goddesses. It was what made us friends. It was what drove us apart.

After Ranma and Akane finally got married, both of us continued to work alongside the girls we loved: he with Shampoo-san, and I with Ukyou-sama. Our devotion was never returned; just as our love for these girls went unrequited, so they continued to yearn for Ranma-san, even now that he was out of their reach.

I was resigned to my fate; for now, Ukyou-sama's heart would only be happy with her Ran-chan. all I could do was to keep her as content as possible under the circumstances, and maybe someday she might be willing to settle for less. Mousse, on the other hand, never ceased in his pursuit of Shampoo-san. And all he would get for his troubles was either a thorough beating, a splash of water, or sometimes both. I never understood what he saw in that girl, how she treated him so, and how he always came back for more. Of course, my opinions may have been colored from living with Ukyou-sama…

At any rate, Mousse and I began to get together and commiserate now and again, whenever the two restaurants were closed. Sometimes we'd work out together. He'd train me at some of the more basic hidden weapons techniques, and I would show him how to accomplish some of the elementary ninja arts.

But much of the time, we simply bemoaned the fact that we went unnoticed by the girls of our heart.


Our midnight sparring sessions, especially when we faced each other with the other's techniques, regularly left us both exhausted. And rather impressed at the other's skill. Well, I was impressed by Mousse's, anyway.

"I don't understand it, Mousse-san." Bob, weave. "With all this hardware, you should be able to beat anyone who can't dodge fast enough. How come you've never managed to take Shampoo out? She's no great shakes at defense or anything…"

All of a sudden, there was nothing to dodge. All that weaponry fell to the ground with a massive crash. I was so startled at his reaction I dropped to the ground without even looking, and narrowly missed landing on the pointed end of a grappling hook.

He just stood there, staring at his feet. Well, staring at where they would be, if you could see through that pile of metal that climbed nearly to his knees.

I approached him, "Mousse-san?"

He looked up at me. There was a tear track on his right cheek. "I can't do it, Konatsu."

"What? Sure you can. With these attacks, I can't see her avoiding all of it. Taking her down ought to be a piece of cake."

"No, you don't understand. I can't hurt her." He explained how he could not bear to see Shampoo hurt, in any way, which explained his continued animosity toward Ranma-san. "And I will not hurt her with my own hand."

I shrugged. "So, how about with these?" I picked up a chain, and let it drop with a clank. "They're not your hands. Knock her out with a clear conscience."

"They're still a part of me. It's the same thing."

"But you can't have her if you won't defeat her."

He took a deep breath and stared off into space. "I know that. At least I can protect her, even if she doesn't know. Or care."

I shook my head in dismay. He could do so much better. If only he would…


One night, after a particularly rough evening at the Nekohanten, he called off our sparring session, telling me he was going to just go to bed. I decided not to let him off that easily.

I hated to do it, but I figured it was for his own good. Besides, just because he was tired was no reason for me to slack off on my training. A few hours after the restaurant was shut down, and all the lights were out, I slipped in as quietly as possible, and stole one of his robes, along with whatever hardware he'd left concealed in it.

Once back at the Ucchan, I stood in front of a mirror and tried the robe on. Mousse and I are pretty much the same size, tall and thin, so it fit quite well. There was even a pair of glasses hidden along with the usual weaponry, and I slipped them on. Loosening my ponytail, I let my hair cascade down my back. Hmm… yes, I just might be able to pass for him. Of course, maybe that was from looking through his glasses. I popped the cracked lenses out of the frames—evidently this pair had suffered in some skirmish with Shampoo-san—and placed them back on.

No, I really did look like him. Good. On to the next phase of my plan…


The next morning, I stationed myself in the branches of a tree nearby the Nekohanten and waited. Sure enough, there he went, off on some fool's errand for Shampoo-san. Or maybe he was being chased out: I could hear Shampoo hollering at him, at least until he closed the Nekohanten door. Honestly, I don't understand what he saw in her. Ukyou-sama never loses her temper at me… well, not unless I deserve it.

He stormed off for some twenty paces, and then suddenly stopped. I watched as he slowly turned around, and stared at the Nekohanten for a long moment. He opened his mouth as if he were about to say something, and cautiously took a step back in the direction of the restaurant. Then something washed over his face, as if he were coming out of a trance, and he turned again and ran off.

As he disappeared into the distance, I wondered how many times he'd enacted that little ritual. Did he always consider the idea of facing Shampoo-san down every time he stepped out of her orbit? Or was this a recent phenomenon, brought on by my prodding? Or was it just a one-time situation, brought on by the heat of this particular moment?

I leaped down from my leafy perch where I had concealed myself from his view. It really didn't matter how often or long he'd been considering a confrontation. It was time he decided to do it.

Even if I had to do it for him.


As soon as I walked into the Nekohanten, dressed as I was, I was greeted with a bucket of cold water (which I dodged) and a bonbori (which I caught and promptly dropped—those things are heavy!) Shampoo started gibbering something at me that I couldn't make out—maybe it was Mandarin, maybe it was some Niuchezu dialect—but I was pretty sure it started off with the phrase "Stupid Mousse…"

To admit I didn't understand would have been to give myself away. I was going to have to get aggressive. I grabbed her wrist, and dragged her, protesting, outside. Then I turned to her with what I hoped would be an indignant look.

"Now… for the benefit of all these nice people," and I gestured at the various pedestrians passing by, "would you be so kind as to repeat what you just said?"

She looked startled for a moment, quickly regained her composure. Controlling her anger with difficulty, she growled "Shampoo want know why stupid Mousse no go on errand, but come back empty-handed right away."

I took a deep breath. Giving speeches before a fight was not something I normally did. I never understood why guys like Ryoga or Mousse felt the need to talk before attacking; after all, it gives your opponent time to prepare, time you shouldn't give them.

But it was what Mousse would have done. Besides, this was a proposal, after all. I just hoped my voice wouldn't give me away. Better make this quick.

"Errand? Shampoo, you do know why I came here all the way from China, don't you? It's because of you. You are my errand. Anything else I have to do here is unimportant.

"And now," I got into a fighting stance, my right hand fumbling around in 'my' robe for a suitable weapon, "I'd appreciate it if you'd let me complete my errand. Fight me, Shampoo. For real."

Dark as it already was, Shampoo's face grew even more so as I spoke. "Why, you…" Then, with a loud kiai, she came storming at me like a raging tornado.

My hand found a mace, and I flung it at her as she charged…


I had always been under the impression that the great and terrible Amazon Shampoo was a force to be reckoned with. After all, she was supposed to be the finest warrior of her tribe, at least in her generation. Certainly, she had given Ranma-san considerable trouble when she was pursuing him, and that took some doing. And, of course, there were the daily thrashings she would mete out to Mousse, a formidable if flawed fighter in his own right.

But it turned out that Mousse had always, fatally, held back when he fought her. And I was not going to. She was up against a new Mousse, and she didn't know it.

So when I let that first mace fly out from beneath my robes, she completely ignored it. Until it hit her square in the face, knocking her out.

I was stunned. I thought it was possible to defeat her, but as I stared down at her comatose form, I wondered if it hadn't been too easy. No matter. Time to disappear into the shadows, and hope that she wouldn't come to until the real Mousse got back.

And just as I turned to leap back into the tree, I ran smack into the Nekohanten's garden gnome. Cologne-obaasan herself, with her usual unreadable look.

"And just where do you think you're going… Mousse?"

The way she pronounced the name paralyzed me. I couldn't tell if she was on to me or not, but she clearly was not about to let me get away, unless I moved really fast.

I didn't. And my world went black.


I was awakened in the grand tradition of fairy-tale princesses everywhere—with a kiss. Shampoo-san's sad smile looked down on me. "Airen…"

Cologne-obaasan's voice explained the sadness in Shampoo-san's face. "Well, you're no Ranma, son-in-law, but you'll do."

I clambered to my feet groggily. The floor seemed to be rolling around under me. "Son-in-law…? Me?"

Shampoo-san nodded. "Ninja-girl-boy defeat Shampoo. Is Shampoo's husband, now. Take back to Niuchezu."

"Which we should have done as soon as we could have grabbed Ranma. Oh, well…"

I was at a loss. "B-b-but… what about Mousse?"

Obaasan squinted at me. "What about him? He wasn't worthy; all this time we have tried to show him that, but he refused to listen. An oaf like that deserves to be left behind."

"Let him take up with stupid spatula girl if he want. Shampoo no care."

"What? Well, I do!" And I ran, still wobbly, to the door…

…and found myself on a ship at sea. There was nowhere to go. Except the Amazon village.

I'd like to think they could hear my wail of anguish back in Nerima…

 


Author's notes: Phew… that was a tough one to put together. Like I said before, this wasn't meant to be a series… and Konatsu's not generally one to take initiative, especially with something like this. If asked, he'd do it, but…

I dunno. It was a good concept, but the execution is lacking something. Part of it probably has to do with eight months of patchwork writing; whenever I got back to it, I was in a different frame of mind than when I started. I might do well to put a coda on this one, where Mousse tracks 'Natsu-chan down and beats the tar outta him (and Konatsu takes it lying down, as he figures he has it coming for [inadvertently] stealing his friend's girl), and where Shampoo shows a semi-masochistic streak (not only does a guy gotta beat her in order to win her the first time, he's gotta do it any/every time he wants to uh, consummate the relationship. Just to prove that he's still sufficiently strong breeding stock)

Anyway, comments, criticisms, flames, whatever… you know the drill.

Itsu mo,
Ucchan ^_^

Ranma
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