NOTE: This fic contains language that some readers might find vulgar and offensive. While the use of said language is justified within the context of the story, those who are strongly averse to this sort of thing should probably not continue. In any case, don't say we didn't warn you.

C&C is welcomed and appreciated from those who do decide to read onward.



Feeling refreshed after her morning bath, Akane smoothed her hair. It was the last step in readying herself for a perfect day. The sun was shining, all was quiet, and already she could smell Kasumi's hot, fresh breakfast on the table downstairs. So downstairs she ran, her uniform skirt swishing.

"Good morning, Daddy!" she said to her father, kissing him on the cheek. "What a beautiful morning."

"Good morning, Akane," her father replied, grinning broadly as he tapped out his cigarette, set down his newspaper, and turned toward the food. "Kasumi," he called toward the kitchen, "that smells delicious."

Kasumi came out, carrying the seventh platter of freshly cooked food.

"Good morning, Kasumi," Akane said as she sat at the table and spread her skirt across her lap.

"Good morning," Kasumi said. "Grr, fuck you, fuck you. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes, I feel great," Akane said.

"I'm so happy," said Kasumi, setting down the platter. "Grr, fuck you, fuck you. Would you like some tea, Father?" Her head jerked sharply toward the kitchen, then she looked back, smiling. The morning sun reflected cheerfully from her hair.

"Yes, thank you, Kasumi."

Nabiki came down the stairs and sat at the table, serving herself immediately. Then she looked around, smiled, and laughed. "Oh, that's right. Ranma's already left for school, and his father's working at Dr. Tofu's, so we donít have to grab the food while we can."

"I like having Mr. Saotome and Ranma here," Kasumi said. "Grr, grr, dirty sons of bitches, all of them die, die, die. The mornings are never dull when theyíre here. Also, it gives me a chance to practice my bamboo recipes." She looked sharply toward the kitchen again as she sat down. "Grr, fuck you, fuck you."

"Forgot to take the medicine for your Tourette's Syndrome again, huh, sis?" Nabiki asked.

"Oh, dear," said Kasumi. "Grr, fuck you, fuck you, touch yer mother, grr. I suppose I must have. Ranma must have forgotten to pick up my prescription yesterday." Her head jerked toward the kitchen again.

"Iíll bring it on the way home, Kasumi," Akane said, smiling.

"Thank you," Kasumi said, touching Akane's hand. "Youíre so helpful. Grr, all of them die, die."



KASUMI'S SYNDROME


Characters and situations created by Rumiko Takahashi, used
without permission or legal right

Idea and teaser by Matt Posner, dedicated to Jim Eisenreich
The rest by Gary Kleppe

The sign read "Tendo Training Hall." Ukyo's fist rapped on the door vigorously. In her mind, she rehearsed the way she would greet Mr. Tendo. Good afternoon! Pleased to meet you, she would say, beaming with the kind of big, warm smile that served her so well as a restaurateur.

A cardboard take-out box rested in her left hand. The okonomiyaki inside was inscribed with a passionate little love-note: Akane, meet me at Ucchan's at 2:00 tomorrow. Ryoga. Well, okay, maybe it wasn't all that passionate, but it was about as close as that big lug was going to get. In fact, Ukyo herself had written it, but even so, anything stronger and Ryoga probably would've died of embarrassment.

She wished she didn't have to resort to such extremes. If only things had turned out differently. If only Ran-chan and his father had taken her with them all those years ago. The two of them would have grown up to be the perfect couple... always supportive of one another, anticipating each other's every need, never ever insulting or arguing. If only that misbegotten father of his hadn't ruined everything.

But, as Ukyo had just found out, not everything was hopeless. She still had a chance to win Ran-chan; all she needed to do was get rid of a certain obstacle. And now, getting on the Tendos' good side would make it easier for her to persuade Akane to switch her engagement to Ryoga. She would make it simple for Akane, if she could. If the easy way failed, she'd have to do it the hard way. But no matter what, Ranma would be hers in the end.

A woman wearing a kitchen apron opened the door. Her neatly-bound ponytail fell over her shoulder as her head turned. "Hello! Good afternoon!" the woman said brightly. All in all, she looked like someone's idealized dream of the pretty young homemaker. Mr. Tendo must've robbed the cradle, Ukyo thought. Or maybe his wife was older than she seemed; she'd pretty much have to be to have a daughter as old as Akane.

Ukyo smiled. "Good afternoon! Pleased to meet you! Is Akane here?"

"Goddamn piece of shit!" the woman said.

"Excuse me?!" Ukyo tensed, ready to draw her battle spatula.

"Akane? I'm afraid she's not home yet. Won't you come in?"

"Er... thank you!" Ukyo smiled again and followed the woman inside.

The house was sparsely furnished, with a central table the only major item in the living room. Well, they were martial artists; they'd probably broken everything else. "Are you a friend of Akane's?" the woman asked.

Ukyo unsheathed her combat spatula from her back, setting it down beside the wall. "Uh, you could say that. Actually I'm an old friend of Ran-chan, er, Ranma. My name's Ukyo. Ukyo Kuonji."

"Fucking ass bitch!"

"What?"

"Fucking ass bitch!"

Ukyo glared angrily at the woman. "Look, I don't know what your problem is, and I know that this is your house, but I think you could at least keep some basic civility here!"

"Oh dear, did I say something wrong?" She seemed genuinely surprised and concerned.

"Oh, duh." Ukyo slapped herself on the forehead. Of course! "My fault, sorry." The woman had just been giving her name! Being called Fucking Ass Bitch was certainly weird, but for a family that had a daughter as violent as Akane, it wasn't that unbelievable.

"Well, would you like to have a seat?" She gestured towards the empty floor. "I'll get you some tea while you wait for Akane. Perhaps you'd like to join us for dinner?"

"Thank you, I'd like that!" Ukyo bowed, then knelt down to the floor as Fucking Ass Bitch strolled into the kitchen.

She heard Fucking's voice from the kitchen. "Asshole Motherfucker!" A man's voice answered something back that Ukyo couldn't make out. Must be Mr. Tendo, she figured, and she suppressed a giggle imagining how it must have been the day the two of them had first introduced themselves to each other. At least they'd had sense enough to name their daughter something normal. No telling how much more maladjusted she'd be if she'd grown up Stuck-up Cunt Tendo.

A tall man walked into the living room. He wore a plain brown gi, and had long hair and a mustache that gave him an air of dignity. "Good afternoon... Ukyo, is it?"

"That's right. Good afternoon and pleased to meet you!" Ukyo bowed.

Mr. Tendo somewhat clumsily returned the bow. "The pleasure is mine, young lady. We're not much on formality here; please relax and make yourself at home."

"Thank you, Mr. Tendo. Or should I call you Asshole Motherfucker?"

Mr. Tendo eyed her warily. "Uh, I'd rather you didn't."

Strange, Ukyo thought. Had she said something wrong?




The door slid open. Ranma stepped through, a little hesitant. After everything he'd been through in the past few days, he wasn't in the mood for another lecture.

Okay, so he'd forgotten to go pick up Kasumi's medicine the day before. But he still didn't feel like hearing Mr. Tendo and Nabiki bug him about it. He'd left early for school just so he wouldn't have to listen to that stuff, only to have Akane corner him at lunchtime. You're a guest in our house, she had told him, and if you want to keep living with us you have to be responsible. Blah blah blah blah blah.

He pushed the door shut, and the whistling of the wind gave way to the sound of women gabbing. "Here you go." Kasumi's voice. "Be careful -- it's hot."

"Mmm, thanks." Ucchan? Had she followed him from school? It had been bad enough when she'd been wanting to pound him. But somehow he had the feeling that having her as another fiancee was going to be even more trouble.

Ranma stepped into the living room as Ukyo breathed in a slow sip from her teacup. "Aaaah. This is really good tea, Fucking Ass Bitch!"

"Why, thank you!" Kasumi replied. "Piss off, fucking bastard. I'm so happy that you like it!"

"Um, Kasumi..." Ranma said to her in a low voice, "Akane had to go back to the you-know-where after school to pick up your you-know-what." Mr. Tendo had told him in no uncertain terms that mentioning Kasumi's condition to anyone outside the family was a no-no. "She oughtta be here in..." He glanced at his watch. "... five or ten minutes."

"Oh, that's fine. Thank you, Ranma! Excuse me, I'll just go check on dinner." She walked out into the kitchen.

"Ucchan!" Ranma half-whispered. "What the heck did you call her that stuff for?"

"Huh? What stuff, Ran-chan?"

"That stuff you said to her. You know."

"What are you talking about, Ran-chan?" She stared at him oddly. "I didn't say anything wrong. "

"Nothing wrong?! You said...." He paused to take a breath. "Never mind. Just skip it." Maybe he'd misheard her. Certainly no one would say something like that and not even realize she'd said something bad. "So, um... what brings you over here, Ucchan?"

"I came to talk to Akane about something," she replied. "When I found out that she wasn't here yet, Fucking Ass Bitch and Asshole Motherfucker were nice enough to let me stay for dinner." She peered closely at him. "Ran-chan, just what is your problem?"




Fucking Ass Bitch poked her head back into the living room. "Dinner's almost ready, Ranma. We'll eat as soon as Akane gets home. Why don't you go and wash up now?"

Ranma nodded. "Good idea," he said as he strode from the room. "Thanks, Kasumi."

Ukyo nearly fell over backwards. Kasumi?! That was her name? No wonder Ranma was getting upset. The chef had the urge to flatten herself with her own spatula. How on Earth could she have been stupid enough to believe anyone could be named Fucking Ass Bitch?

But then why had Kasumi -- if that was her real name -- given a false one? It didn't make sense. Unless... could she have been purposely trying to trip Ukyo up, hoping for her to repeat what she said at the wrong time? Like when Ran-chan was listening? After all, Kasumi and Akane were sisters; it wouldn't be too unbelievable that one of them might help the other keep her hooks in her man by making her rival look like a maniac in his eyes.

Well, she thought, if that's the way it is, fine. Two could play at this little game. All she had to do was get Kasumi to start swearing at her. Eventually Ran-chan would walk in and hear it. Then he'd know who the maniac really was.




The sweet and succulent smells of Kasumi's cooking filled the kitchen. A pan of stir-fry vegetables sizzled on the stove, while a pot of Miso soup simmered quietly.

"I'm telling you, Kasumi," Soun Tendo said with voice firm, "I'm going to have a talk with that girl."

Kasumi smiled at him reassuringly. "Oh, Father, don't worry about it. Goddamn stuck-up cunt! Let's just all have a nice dinner and enjoy ourselves."

Soun grumbled a bit, then let out a breath. "All right. I suppose it really isn't any of my business. But still...."

"Father, would you please look after these vegetables for a few moments?" She handed him a large rubber-headed spoon. "They need to be stirred once a minute."

"Yes, certainly, Kasumi."

"Still what, Father? Grrr! Die, scum queen!" Taking the teapot from the stove, Kasumi filled two clean cups.

"That young lady is going to have to learn proper behavior sooner or later. There are some things that one just doesn't say in a proper household."

"Of course not, Father." Kasumi handed him one of the cups of tea. "Eat shit and die, fucking bastard."

Soun nodded. Yes, he thought, there are times when the man of the house just has to put his foot down. Let's see now, once a minute. One, two, three....




Kasumi carried the teacup into the family room. "Here's a refill for you, Ukyo. Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Dinner will be ready in just a few minutes."

"Er... thanks." Ukyo forced a smile as she accepted the drink. "But... what was that you said just now?"

"I said 'Dinner will be ready in just a few minutes.'"

Ukyo shook her head. "No, no. Before that."

"'Here's a refill for you?'"

"No, that's not what I mean. You said something else after that."

"I did?"

"Yes, you did."

"Really? Oh dear. Fuck you! How strange. I wonder why I don't remember?"

"There!" Ukyo glared at her. "You just said it again!"

"I did?"

"Yes!" Her voice rose to a shout. "I distinctly heard you say 'Fuck you.'"

"Goodness!" Kasumi's hand reflexively went to her mouth. "Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure!"

"I really said... that?"

"Yes, you did!" Ukyo bellowed. "You said 'Fuck you!' Don't pretend you didn't! Don't pretend it was something else!"

Behind her, Ranma emerged from the bathroom, staring curiously.

"Fuck you! Do you hear me? Fuck you!" Her arms gesticulated animatedly to punctuate her speech. "F-U-C-K-Y-O-U! Not fondue! Not stuck queue! Definitely, positively fuck you!"

Following Kasumi's gaze, Ukyo spun around towards Ranma, and her face immediately reddened.

Soun stormed into the room. "What's the meaning of this?! How dare you shout at Kasumi that way?!"

"I-- I--" Ukyo stammered.

"You have been stirring it, haven't you, Father?" Kasumi said. "Fuck the bastards!"

Soun paused for a moment as if lost, then nodded to Kasumi and turned back to Ukyo. "Young lady, I think you had better explain yourself. Right now."

"Father...." Kasumi took Soun by the arm. "I think you and I should go check on dinner, don't you?"

For a moment, the two of them simply looked at each other, as if some unseen communication were passing between them. Then, without saying anything more, they faded into the kitchen.

"What the heck are you doing, yelling all that stuff?" Ranma said. "Damn it, I don't need to get in any more trouble than I'm already in!"

Ukyo fumed, momentarily unable to find words. How could they keep blaming her, when she was only repeating what Kasumi had said? Kasumi had even talked like that right in front of them and they hadn't cared one bit. Were they all working together to get rid of her? Was even Ran-chan in on it? No, of course not. That was just crazy.

"Look, Ucchan... I dunno if you understand how it is. Like they keep reminding me every five minutes, I'm a guest in this house. Maybe that don't mean nothin' to you, but when a friend of mine who's here because of me comes in here and starts cussing out the Tendos, guess who's gonna get blamed? Yours truly. Pop and I might even get thrown out of the house. Out on the street. Do you know what I'm sayin', Ucchan?"

"Thrown...." Ukyo's train of thought derailed, spinning around a hundred and eighty degrees and landing with all of its wheels on the track. "Thrown out? Of the Tendos?" His engagement to Akane ended, forcing him out into the cold... right into the waiting arms of his eternally faithful cute fiancee.

"Yup." Ranma nodded. "Do you understand now?"

"I think I do," she said soberly. "When you put it that way, Ran-chan, it does mean something to me. A lot, actually. A hell of a lot."




Kasumi gulped. The pill slid down into her throat, and a swig of cool water chased it down into her stomach. "Thank you, Akane," she said after swallowing the last of the water.

"Don't mention it, Sis." Akane stuffed the bottle of pills into its usual drawer and slid the drawer closed. "I'll be glad to see you back to normal."

"Kasumi, I'm afraid enough is enough," Soun said. "I'm simply going to have to speak with Ms. Kuonji regarding her behavior."

"Ukyo Kuonji?" Akane looked up. "She's here?"

"Oh yes, she's staying for dinner. Damn it, damn it, son of a bitch!" Kasumi turned to Soun. "Father, please be nice. I feel so sorry for a girl like that. Imagine how unwelcome she must feel whenever she goes somewhere."

"True, true, but whose fault is that?" Soun said. "I don't enjoy being harsh, Kasumi. You know that. But if a person refuses to practice the most basic manners and common courtesy...."

"Father, Father, Father...." Kasumi shook her head. "You just don't see, do you?"

"See what?"

"It's obvious," she said.

Soun and Akane stared at her with blank expressions.

"That poor girl out there is suffering from Tourette's Syndrome."




The Tendos and guests knelt around the small square table. Dishes passed from person to person, one after another, circulating like precision machinery.

"Wow, this food is damn good, Kasumi," Ukyo said. "Shit, I said 'damn.' I'm sorry, Ran-chan. What the fuck is wrong with me? Oh, did I swear again? Oh crap."

Ranma scooped food into his mouth as quietly as he could manage. Maybe they won't notice me, he thought; maybe they'll just forget that I'm here and I won't have to get blamed for this.

Kasumi flashed a clandestine smile at her father. "Poor girl."

"Indeed." Soun nodded, with sympathy in his eyes.

Staring at the two of them for a moment, Ranma shrugged and went back to his food. Sometimes he was almost glad that he had no idea what was going on.


THE END




AUTHOR'S APOLOGIES ^_^: This fic actually started out several years ago. Matt Posner came up with the idea, wrote the teaser, and sent it to me (Gary) as the first part of a sort of Round Robin fic that the two of us were to write. Unfortunately, after I did my first section, Matt lost interest in writing Ranma fanfics, and the whole thing languished on my hard drive with Ukyo stuck in limbo forever wondering whether she had said something wrong. Much later, stalled on my major projects, I went back and picked up this fic again, and you've just seen the result.

We hope that this story does not offend any actual persons with mental illness, friends and family of same, or anyone else. If it does, please let me know and I'll gladly listen to the reasons why.

Thanks go to Megane 6.7 for looking over a (very) incomplete version of this, and to the FFIRC for the semi-weekly Writing Hours during which much of this was completed. As you've probably noticed, this isn't my usual fare. This was as unusual for me to write as it probably was for you to read. :) Liked it or hated it, if you've read the whole thing I'd like to hear anything you have to say.