A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic
by Gary Kleppe

From an idea by David Johnston

C&C is welcomed. Flames will be laughed off.

Akane and I sat on the lawn behind Furinkan High School, with our lunches in front of us. As usual, she was mad at me.

"I ate that chocolate from Ucchan just 'cause I was hungry," I said. "How was I supposed to know she'd make such a big deal about it?"

"I'm really tired of this, Ranma. We're supposed to be engaged! I'm tired of you letting all those other girls chase after you."

"Hey, it ain't *my* idea! I never asked for any of them to be after me! Ucchan, Shampoo, Kodachi... they don't care what I think. Nobody does. I ain't got no control over nothin'!"

Akane seemed like she was about to scream at me, maybe belt me across the schoolyard. Then her face softened, and it looked like she might be about to cry. She took my hand in hers. "Then take control, Ranma," she said. "What do you want to do? How do you really feel about Ucchan?"

It was really weird. Like it wasn't the real Akane. Or maybe it was, for the first time. I couldn't think about it just then; all I could do was answer. "She's a friend... one of my best friends... but no... not like that. She and I could never be..."

"Then tell her. Don't keep her hanging on. That's not good for you, for her, or for anyone else."

I grabbed onto Akane's hand like letting go would've meant falling to my death. "... I can't."

I could tell she was losing her patience. "What do you mean, 'can't?'"

How could I explain? There was no way to get her to understand. "I... I just can't. That's all."

"Ranma..." Eyes narrowed. "You..." Fist clenched. "Jerk!" She punched me into the air, hitting harder than she had in a long time. I flew over the school, landing right in the middle of the pool.

"Damn." I pulled myself out of the pool and shook the water from my girl's body. Damn it, we had been so close to... I didn't know what. Maybe to finally getting past all the stupid fighting and arguments. But I had to go and screw it up. She must've been really hurt. For once she tried to open up to me, and I had to be the jerk.

What made it worse was that Akane had been absolutely right. It wasn't fair for me to keep stringing Ucchan along.

I headed for the men's locker room. A quick change, and then I'd head over to Ukyo's restaurant. I had to tell her -- or at least, I had to try.


The transvestite ninja bowed as I came in the door. "Good afternoon, Ranma!"

"Yeah, uh, hi, Konatsu." I tried to smile, but didn't do a very good job of it. "Is, um, is Ucchan around?"

"Of course! Ukyo-sama! Look who's here!"

"Ran-chan! Care for an okonomiyaki special?" Ukyo smiled from behind the counter as she poured batter onto the grill. She didn't wait for me to say yes; she already knew the answer.

Or she thought she did. "Ukyo, I... I can't. Please. Don't. I've got something I want... I need to talk to you about."

Konatsu quietly faded back as Ukyo vaulted over the grill and sat down on one of the customer stools. "What is it, Ran-chan? What's wrong? Let me help!"

I took the seat next to her. "Ukyo, this ain't easy to say... but I gotta say it. You're a good friend, Ucchan. A great friend. But I... I don't feel the way... like I know you do."

"Ran-chan! Are you saying that you don't love...?"

Ranma silently nodded.

"Oh, Ran-chan, that's all right!" She gave me a playful chuck on the shoulder. "Why didn't you tell me? I understand!"

"You do?"

"Sure! I mean, for me okonomiyaki is my life! But I don't expect everybody to like it as much as I do. It's okay! I'll make you some sandwiches or something instead. Honestly, Ran-chan! You didn't have to keep eating it for so long when you didn't like it, you silly! You must really--"

"No!" I interrupted. "That ain't what I mean!"

"Then what?"

"Ukyo..." I couldn't get words to come out of my mouth.

Her eyes went wide with shock. "You don't love me? Is that what you're saying?"

All I could do is stare at her. I had nothing to say that could make it better, nothing that could excuse the idiot I'd been for so long.

She stood. "Damn it, Ran-chan!" Her giant spatula crashed down onto the stool she had been sitting on, flattening it to the size of one of her okonomiyaki. "Do you know how much I've been through? How much I've given up for you?!"

"Ukyo, I'm... I'm sorry...."

"Sorry? Sorry? After I wasted my whole life? After you ran out on me, and I had to become a boy just so they'd stop making fun of me? Sometimes I can still hear their voices, did you know that?"

Konatsu rushed over to her. "Ukyo-sama, I'm so sorry! If there's anything I can..."

"Damn it!" Her hands circled around Konatsu's neck. "You've always been laughing at me! All of you! Behind my back! I'll make you shut up!" Her strangling grip tightened as the ninja gasped for breath.

"Ucchan, stop!" I yelled. "I was just kidding!"

She looked at me. "What?"

"I was just kidding! Of course I ain't made up my mind who I love. You know me, the most indecisive guy in the world. Probably take me years and years!"

"Oh, Ran-chan!" She let Konatsu fall to the ground and smiled. "You big silly! How about that okonomiyaki now?" I nodded yes.

"I'm so happy for you, Ukyo-sama!" Konatsu coughed out, as his boss delightedly started cooking.

I sighed to myself. I had tried. *How can I explain this to Akane?* I wondered. The answer was simple.

I can't.

AUTHOR'S STUFF: Yes, it's OOC. Consider this to be revenge for all of the "poor, sweet, angelic Ukyo" fanfics. :-P I don't consider this one any more OOC than those.

A tip of the imaginary hat to anyone who recognized the opening conversation.