A Ranma 1/2 fan fiction story
by Ukyou Kuonji
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
Chapter 1: An Ounce of Prevention
It was going to happen. Today. At noon.
Ukyou had been fully aware that this was going to happen, sooner or later, but she couldn't bring herself to believe it. Until now.
And now she felt powerless to stop it.
For years, she had been chasing after Ranma Saotome and his father, Genma. Determined to punish them from running out on her engagement to Ranma. When she had finally caught up with them in Nerima, she discovered that all this time Ranma had been completely unaware of the bargain struck between her father and his. Indeed, he hadn't even been aware of her gender; otherwise, he would never have clobbered her as he had when she challenged him to a duel. She couldn't bring herself to resent Ran-chan for his ignorance; besides, he really seemed to like her.
"Kawaii…" Who else had ever called her that? At that moment, she couldn't believe it herself; she thought he was just trying to get out of the beating he so richly deserved. But when Akane popped up, mad as always, she realized that he was too thoughtless to be lying. What was that about children and fools always telling the truth?
Ah, yes. Her dear, dear fool. Such trouble his version of the truth could get him into with Akane. It was what had always kept her hope alive; that one day, he and Akane would face the ultimate truth: that they just weren't meant to be a couple, regardless of any machinations on the part of their parents. Then he would be free to marry her with a clear conscience, his true fiancée, his best friend.
But now, there was a truth that would take him away from her… forever.
It took the smell of a burning okonomiyaki to snap her back to reality. So much for that one, she thought as she discarded it and started another. Then she stared at the perfect circle of mix she had poured onto the grill.
Perfect. As always. Except for that last one. Burned. She hadn't ruined an okonomiyaki in ages. Was she losing her touch? Again, she stared at the sizzling circle. No, this one was flawless, as always. All was well here. But her mind and heart weren't in it. Not anymore. This really wasn't her first love, after all. Ranma came first in her heart. And now, he was going to…
She couldn't bear to think about it.
Suddenly, her eyes turned to steel. She knew what she had to do.
The waitress looked up. Setting plates down in from of some customers, Konatsu hurried back over to the grill. "Ukyou-sama?"
"I have to take care of a personal matter. The okonomiyaki-ya is yours."
"Yes, Ukyou-sama." The kunoichi nodded and bowed. He was fully aware of the 'personal matter' his mistress was referring to. News traveled fast in Nerima, after all. He took a position behind the grill as Ukyou headed upstairs to her apartment.
There was a photo of her and Ran-chan on the nightstand by her bed. She picked it up, and gazed at it. Deep into her darling's eyes. She could feel her eyes start to water, and set the picture down. No. There will be no weeping. I have been strong thus far. There is no point in breaking down now.
Point… no point.
Well, if I can't have him… I have nothing left to lose, do I? She turned toward her desk, picked up a sheet of cream vellum paper, and began mixing some ink.
The page filled, Ukyou wandered to her closet.
He could hear footsteps descending from Ukyou's upstairs room, and he turned around.
Konatsu blinked. Ukyou stood on the stairway, clad in a spotlessly white yukata. No spatulas, but she was carrying a small scroll and something else wrapped in craft paper. He couldn't tell what. She smiled, quizzically.
"Well… how do I look?"
Like a Greek goddess, Konatsu thought, but couldn't bring himself to say it aloud to her. "Ukyou-sama… what are you…? Why..?"
She smiled grimly at his confusion. "Well, I've got to dress for the occasion, don't I?"
"What occasion do you mean?"
"What else, Konatsu-chan? The ceremony. Ranma's and mine. The okonomiyaki-ya is yours. You know what to do." She crossed in front of the grill, and headed for the door.
"But… will you be coming back later?"
She paused, then simply repeated, "The okonomiyaki-ya is yours, Konatsu. I need to go." And with that, she tore out of the little shop. The customers just stared out the door, and then at each other. They had witnessed something, but none of them was quite sure just what. No one watched as a tear sprang unbidden from Konatsu's eyes, landing on the grill with a quiet sizzle.
Can't let this happen to him, she thought, as her bare feet pounded on the pavement. If I lost him, I just couldn't… I just… She didn't want to finish that thought; so she didn't. She focused on running, on getting to the Tendo dojo before… before it was too late. She clutched the scroll and the other package as tightly as she could, and sped up. She could see the digital clock atop a nearby building: 11:55. Gotta hurry! Maybe I can still stop this. I hope I have the courage, in either case…
Aha! The Tendo Anything-Goes School! She pivoted on her right foot, and charged in at the same speed she had taken to get there. It was all she could do not to barrel into Kasumi, who was stepping out of the kitchen with lunch.
"Oh my! Ukyou!"
"Where is he, Kasumi? Where's Ran-chan?"
Kasumi looked at her with what may have been infinite sadness, or just the simple compassion she always with Ranma's various fiancées.
"They're out in the courtyard, Ukyou, but this…." Ukyou dashed off before she could finish "…is supposed to be a private ceremony! Oh, dear. She mustn't interfere with them…"
The courtyard. Soun was sitting on the porch of the house, bawling his eyes out, as usual. Nabiki was sitting next to him: "Now, Daddy, that's enough out of you." But Ukyou could see that Nabiki wasn't as cool and composed as she was pretending to be. Her eyes were red and puffy, and it was only because her father had his head buried in his hands that he didn't notice. Curiously, Akane was nowhere to be seen.
Then she looked out into the courtyard and saw them.
There was a small white tent next to the pond. The fabric was of light enough material that the silhouettes showed through: two figures, kneeling in front of a standing figure.
This was it. This was what she'd come for. To prevent this travesty of justice or die trying. She charged into the tent, and threw herself down, prostrate, at the feet of the standing individual. An individual who, as Ukyou looked up into her face, seemed to be the avenging angel of death herself.
"MRS. SAOTOME!!" Ukyou screamed "PLEASE!! NOOOOO!!!"
To be continued.
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