Chaos Lord Productions Brings You.

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Stars in the Sky - Sidestory

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Written by Chaos Lord

Disclaimer: All entities and devices in this story belong to their respective owners. For the purposes of this story those would be Rumiko Takahashi and Naoko Takeuchi.

WARNING: Extreme OOC ahead. If slavish adherence to the originals are your bag, read no further.

****DOUBLE WARNING: This chapter has instances of hate speech in it. Such words are only there to further the story and do not reflect my real feelings on the matter. If you are easily offended by such things please stop reading now.****

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A Nerima-side Story

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As the last of her patrons slowly shuffled out of the restaurant, Ukyo wearily closed up shop for the day. In solitude she cleaned the griddle and pulled in the sign. She had let Konatsu, her long time employee, off work a tad early as the crowds had ben rather thin that night. The solitude, she had thought, would prove the perfect opportunity to consider her situation. Instead, it only served to highlight how alone she was.

Alone? Ha! That was a laugh. Here she was, in the middle of one of the most populated cities on the planet, and she was alone. She routinely interacted with others, and she was alone. Hell, there was even a guy living under her roof, and she was alone!

And yet, that was how she felt.

For so long she had lived and breathed one thing, and that was Ranma. At first she lived to kill him and later she lived to marry the oaf. In each instance, it seemed to be a full life. Now, what was there to live for? Okonomyaki? Oh sure, it did sound like a good idea, on the surface. But what was the point of doing something she loved if there was no one there to share it with?

There were so many things she could do. At that moment the possibilities seemed infinite. The sheer number of them weighed down upon her mind. A sea of infinities almost canceled one another out until appeared as if she was left with nothing.

Even the radio seemed to echo her inner thoughts. A soft song of loss and love played in the background, giving voice to her sorrow. Slowly it seeped into her mind and she found herself humming along with the tune. Despite the haunting sadness there, Ukyo found her spirits being lifted through commiseration with the unseen singer.

Through the course of her closing up, Ukyo moved around her store along paths born of a great deal of experience. As her pathing took her by the store's radio, she noticed that the device was off at the time. Suddenly she was on alert. Someone was in her store and from the voice it was a woman.

"Come on bitch," growled Ukyo as she hefted her spatula, "time to see why you don't mess with me."

Moving through the building as if she had received SWAT training, the martial artist cleared the lower floor before heading upstairs. As she crept up the stairs, Ukyo could hear the steady stream of water from the furo. It soon became clear to her that the intruder, no matter how sweet the voice, was in the bathroom making use of the facilities.

Still, she was nothing but thorough. Before confronting the intruder, Ukyo ensured that there would be no knives in her back courtesy of some kind thief. With those rooms cleared the warrior-cook neared the door of her bathroom. The singing coming from the room had never stopped and it was playing hell on her desire to throttle the intruder.

Hefting her battle spatula, Ukyo breathed deeply before kicking the door in. The mighty battle roar was cut short at the sight of the naked female hastily covering herself. From the girl's long black hair to the shape of her face it was quite clear who she was looking at; she just didn't know what to make of it. "K,Konatsu?"

As she wrapped a towel around herself in a very feminine way, Konatsu nodded. "Yes, Mis . . . Ukyo."

That made it in the mind of the chef. No one called her mistress, and though the ninja tried to squelch it Ukyo heard it quite loudly. Between the truncated word and the startlingly obvious femininity, the young Kuonji's brain pretty much shut down. "Get downstairs. Now," she commanded woodenly before leaving the room herself.

Not wanting to upset her employer and landlord any more than she had, Konatsu grabbed her robe and ran downstairs. Of all the ways she had imagined Ukyo finding it out, this was among the worse. As she came into the main room of the restaurant, the ninja winced upon seeing the neutral expression on the chef's face.

Though her face may have made her appear as if she was mentally not there, Ukyo was cataloguing every move the young woman made. She, and that was the only pronoun that her mind would supply, moved with the kind of grace that proudly announced her femaleness. In the back of her mind the Kuonji girl compared Konatsu with Ranma. Ranma, no matter his gender, acted in a manner that reinforced his manhood. Even when done up in the most feminine matter, the red-head was so obviously a male in a woman's body. Konatsu was like the opposite side of the coin. As a male the ninja acted more feminine than she herself did. And that was only magnified in this well proportioned body she now wore.

"How, why," she asked lamely.

"Ranma gave me some packets of instant Nyannīchuan."

Ukyo sighed, "Of course it was Ranma. But why'd he give it to you?"

"I asked him for them," she said simply.

That was yet a further strike against the stronghold of her mind. After all the grousing that Ranma had done with regards to his curse, Ukyo could not fathom any reason a male would willingly sacrifice that part of himself to swim in an ocean of womanhood. "Why the hell d'ya want that?"

Konatsu acted as if she had been slapped. "Is it really so hard to believe," she asked morosely. "I might have been born a man, I might even think of myself as one most of the time, but I was raised as a woman. You saw what my step family was like. They hate men, and they hated me even more since I could look better as a female than they ever could. Every time I tried to be even slightly male I was beaten. Inch by inch, they pushed me further into femininity until I had a hard time knowing who and what I was. Eventually I found a balance, straddling the line between man and woman.

But when that happened I realized that I was missing something in life. For the longest time I didn't know what was wrong until I met all of you and saw Ranma's curse in action. It took everything I had not to run to Jusenkyo as fast as I could. Then, one day, I saw Ranma splash some guy who was being rather fresh with his female form. When the pervert became a busty woman, I had to ask him what he did. That was when he told me about the instant packets. Right there I told him about some guys that were bothering me and he gave me a few of the packets he had."

"And you used them I can see."

Konatsu looked at the other woman sharply. "Yes, I used them and it was one of the hardest things I've done. I know you probably think that I'm a pervert just like that idiot Tsubasa, but it took a lot of thought to use the first pack. I was . . . I was terrified. I didn't want to loose the last bit of my manhood, but that missing part refused to be quiet until I used one.

So, on one night when you were gone, I mixed one of the packs with some cold water and splashed myself. Let me tell you," she said as her voice took on a bit of awe, "that moment, when I became a woman for the first time, was one of the happiest of my life. It was like regaining a lost arm or something. I cried, I danced through my room, and I sang until I thought my heart would burst."

The emotion that poured from the woman was so palatable that it tugged at Ukyo's heart strings. Despite what Konatsu had said, she could not think of the person before her on the same breath as Tsubasa. Tsubasa was a pervert who only dressed as a woman to achieve some sort of praise from her. Konatsu though was a woman who had been deeply abused and had to cope with a dual identity like few others.

"When I had to turn back that night I was afraid again, afraid that I would feel that hollow sensation again. Instead, when I became a male, I was just at home as I was when I was a girl. In fact, I even felt more manly than I had in a long time. Like being a female for a while let me be more more of a man than normal."

"Then why do you always dress like a girl then?"

"Why do you still dress like a boy," she asked tearfully. When Konatsu saw the confusion and shock on the woman's face she nodded with vindication. "Yeah, I know your story too. I know how you gave up your femininity because of the girls at your school. And I know that you could have gotten it back the instant Ranma cute. So why are you dressed like a guy?"

Ukyo gaped at the girl who, on most days, was so quiet. Konatsu's question, which was really her own, struck at something deep inside. Why did dress like she did? Why did she go to school every day in pants instead of a skirt like the rest of the girls? "I . . . I . . ."

Konatsu finished the though for her, "You don't know. Why do I dress like girl? Do you think I haven't tried? Well I have. I went out and bought some boy's swim trunks. On one of my days off I went to the beach and walked around in the shorts."

By now the tears were falling own her cheeks in great torrents. "I felt so naked out there. I was a man with no shirt on and I felt like any girl who was on a beach with no top. It was then I made the choice."

There was something about the way she said that which chilled the chef's blood. "What choice?"

"Each pack of instant water is about 1/12th of a curse," she explained. "If you use a whole box of the stuff in a row then you'll get a complete Jusenkyo curse of your choosing."

Though she was afraid to ask, the words just tumbled from Ukyo's mouth, "What number were you on?"

"Four," she said with a smile.

Four. Four steps on a path to half a life as a woman. And though Konatsu looked totally at peace with herself, Ukyo felt compelled to speak up for the girl's manhood. "What about girls?"

"What about them?"

"Do you still like them?" Of all her questions that day, that one somehow held the most meaning to her.

Konatsu smiled at her boss like one would a small child, "Why wouldn't I? There's plenty about us to like," she said as she thrust her bountiful chest out.

Ukyo laughed and pushed out her own bosom, "Got that right sister! But, what are you gonna do about them?"

The ninja sighed mournfully. "Honestly. I don't know. I mean most women want a guy to be a guy. I don't have the first clue about being a guy. They definitely don't want to be with a man who is also a woman. They want their husbands to be in a tuxedo on their wedding day, not a dress. And as much as I would love to have children of my own, I'd have an easier time teaching them about cooking than about any manly pursuit."

"Its like Ranma, only squared," she mused. The woman before her wanted a woman that could accept her as a man and a woman. There were not many women out there who could do that. Hell, there were not many that could understand the duality that Konatsu grappled with. And that was what the robed woman truly needed. "Sugar, you on any kind of clock with this whole impending girlhood thing," asked Ukyo with some of her old baritone.

She cocked her head at the odd question, "No. As long as I don't change back, I can do the rest whenever. Why?"

"Because," said the brunette with a grin, "you and I are going out."

Her eyes flew open in shock. "Out," she squeeked. "A,as in a,a d,d,daa."

"Date," finished the male-clothed Kuonji. "Yeah, I'm asking you out."

Since the discovery in the bathroom, Konatsu had been the one in control of the conversation. Now she found herself a blushing, giggling, wreck. No one had ever asked her out before. To have the one who asked be the same person whom she held a deep affection for was intensely heady. "Does that mean . . .?"

Now it was Ukyo's turn to sigh. "Sugar, my fiance just dumped me for Mother Teresa so I'm not so sure that I'm ready for a relationship. But," she said as 'Natsu looked to be at her most down, "we're both in the same boat here, so I'll tell you what; let's do this and see what happens."

Konatsu nodded with understanding. "I'll go get changed," she happily exclaimed.

Just as the barely clothed young woman was at the stairs, Ukyo called out, "And I better see real cleavage missy!"

"Okay!"

"Well sugar," she sighed, "you better get upstairs and give that girl the date she deserves."

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After running upstairs for her own preparations, which consisted of some loose chest binding and one of her nicer sets of clothing, Ukyo was once again gin the main room waiting for her date to come down. "She wasn't born a girl, yet she still takes forever like one."

Pacing back and forth in her shop, a debate was running hotly. "Come on Ukyo, what the hell are you doing," asked a more feminine voice. "You just got out of one relationship with one guy and now you're jumping into another one!"

A baritone voice laughed derisively, "Right sugar, like Ranma and you were in a 'relationship.' You and I both know that, at best, he saw you as a friend and at worst an annoyance. You never had a chance with him."

"Fine, she never had a chance," sighed girl-Ukyo. "But what about this who Konatsu thing? He really thinks that he's a girl half the time!"

"So? You didn't get yer panties in a twist when Ranma was sporting that rack of his. And 'Natsu's are 'bout as big," boy-Ukyo said with a leer. "Plus we can't forget 'Koto can we? I seem to remember a kiss or two. There was also a little hand-butt interaction if I'm not mistaken."

Girl-Ukyo blushed at that memory. "B,but that was just so her cover wasn't blown."

"Right," drawled boy-Ukyo sarcastically, "you made out with a girl, rather enthusiastically, so that a bunch of clowns you didn't give a crap about wouldn't guess that you were a girl. Besides, I think leaving the poor thing and never calling certainly certified your manliness, don't you?"

"We had a lead on Ranma. That was more important."

"Sure it was, casanova."

"Ladies, ladies," purred a third voice, "you're both missing the point."

Girl folded her arms over her chest, "Which is?"

"Oh come on, Konatsu is a babe right now. Plus her male aspect has one hell of a hot body. If you nab her then you can take that piece of beefcake off the market and no one will be the wiser. It will be like having your cake and she can eat you too," said the third aspect lustfully.

Before girl or boy could chastise their horny comrade, Konatsu's soft voice intruded. "Sorry it took me so long."

The blouse and skirt weren't especially flashy, there wasn't much that Konatsu could buy on her salary, but she had put what she had to good use. Her skirt was short enough to proudly display her perfect legs while maintaining enough length so that she retained the image of a good girl. The blouse was just tight enough across her chest to draw attention to her ample mounds. This effect was increased with the unfastening of the blouse's top two buttons. Konatsu had spent some time with her hair, putting most of it up in a bun with a pair of dark tresses hanging down to perfectly frame her tastefully decorated face.

"My god! Give her some glasses and she's got the perfect sexy librarian look," she thought with awe. "W,wow."

Worriedly, Konatsu looked down at herself. With careful hands she tugged at her cloths to see if there was something amiss. "Is something wrong? I did the best I could with what I had"

Ukyo shook her head and found her throat oddly dry. "Sugar if this is you with limits then we need to keep you away from the real good stuff. Otherwise every guy in the ward's gonna have a broken neck."

She giggled at her date's complement, "Thanks. Y,you look handsome."

The Kuonji woman found herself blushing as she had when Makoto gave out similar complements. "Well, shall we be off," she asked as she proffered her elbow for Konatsu to take.

With a brilliant smile, the ninja took Ukyo's arm, "Lets!"

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The date was, by her own limited experience, going quite well. Though she could be rather timid as a male, Konatsu seemed to be a great deal more open when he was a she. For Ukyo, it was a welcome change. Even better was how there was no perpetual threat of some bimbo showing up to try to steal her man . . . woman . . . whatever.

It was also a great opportunity to learn about the person she had been sharing her home with for a while now. She had no idea that, while Konatsu could pull off being a woman better than those born to the roll, she loved action movies and pro-wrestling. The thought of the woman screaming her lungs out as two giant, sweaty, guys talked trash and hit one another with chairs was hilarious to the chef.

What made things even more interesting was when their conversation turned to more personal matters. "You want to have kids?"

Konatsu blushed prettily, "Well I don't really want to carry the child to term, but yes. I wouldn't mind a few little tykes running around. And maybe one of them will want to follow in my footsteps."

Ukyo nodded, "Yeah. I've dreamt the same thing before. Though it was always Ranma there with me."

"Sorry," she said as she reached across the table and squeezed Ukyo's hand.

"Don't be," replied Ukyo with a teary smile, "I,I've thought about it a lot since he left. As much as I'd planned it all out, I never really asked him what he wanted. How can you really love someone and never ask them such a basic question?"

Tears were not strangers to Konatsu's eyes either. "You love," she started thickly, "you love what you do. You love it so much that it amazes me sometimes. Every time a customer walks into Ucchans you smile at them so brightly I think I could go blind. When you love something like that, its only natural to assume that others would love it too."

"T,thanks," she smiled as she tried to wash away her tears.

"What are employees for?"

Ukyo shook her head,"No 'Natsu. At work, you're my employee. The rest of the time, I'd be honored to have you as my friend."

Konatsu looked as if she had been replaced by a star, so brilliant was her smile. "Thank you."

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After a movie that both women had chosen for maximum enjoyment, the pair made their way back to their home. "You know, 'Natsu, I really had fun."

"Me too. Thanks for asking me out."

"We could do it again if you want." Though the phrasing of the statement placed all the pressure on the ninja, Ukyo found herself rather nervous.

Konatsu smiled at her friend, "I think that I would like that."

A thrill jumped through Ukyo's mind. It felt just like it did on those exceedingly rare occasions when Ranma accepted one of her invitations for a date. "Great," she exclaimed happily. And in a moment of excitement she reached out and wrapped the smaller girl in a hug.

Though she had not expected the gesture, Konatsu melted into the hug. Inside, the young ninja felt as if she was going to explode with happiness. No one, in a rather long time, had treated her with such kindness. Right then she knew, if her ancestors took her at that moment, she could go with a clear heart.

She hadn't meant to do it, hug the girl. Honestly, her body just went on autopilot. But as Konatsu tried to pull every atom of positive emotion from her, Ukyo could not really find any fault with this turn of events. There was something about playing the protector, about knowing that the person in your arms put the entirety of their trust and faith into you, appealed to the young chef greatly. "Say Konatsu?"

"Yes Ukyo," said the ninja as she looked up with shining eyes.

"W,would you like some h,help becoming a woman?"

For some reason, Konatsu found it increasingly difficult to see her companion. It must have had something to do with this newest wellspring of emotion that seemed to be pushing everything else out of her. "Y,you want to help?" The whole cursing thing had been the most intensely personal thing of the young woman's life, yet she couldn't think of anything she wanted more than to have Ukyo there for her rebirth.

"Only if you want me there," she said with a roguish grin.

Both her smile and her words made Konatsu want to swoon right there on the spot. Even if they were not destined for something greater, at least she would have this moment to relive. At least she wouldn't be alone as she made this greatest of steps in her young life. "I,I would like that."

Ukyo tightened her hold on the young woman beside her, "Then let's get inside and help you."

Konatsu looked around in surprise. For years she had been trained to keep a constant awareness of her surroundings, yet she had completely lost track of everything; such was her occupation with the woman at her side. "Thanks."

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Standing in the small bathroom that served the whole upper floor, both Ukyo and Konatsu looked at one another nervously. "Are you sure that you have to be like that sugar?"

Konatsu looked down at her naked body, as if to confirm that she was really standing before Ukyo in such a fashion. "Yes. The packets said that it works better if you can get more coverage." In all her dreaming of revealing herself to the other woman, this was certainly not how it went; not in the slightest.

"Would it make you feel better if I got naked too?"

The young ninja felt as if her heart was going to stop from fright. Ukyo had, for the procedure, donned a bathing suit. And though it didn't do much to protect the woman's dignity from any sort of imagining, for Konatsu it was just enough to keep her nerves somewhat steady. "NO! I . . . I mean, no. Really. That's okay. No offense, but I don't think I could handle that right now."

Ukyo smiled and nodded eagerly. The offer had really been about making the other girl feel comfortable. Really though, if she had asked for her to take that step, the young Kuonji woman wasn't sure that she would have been able to go through with it. "Okay. Just calm down sugar. Remember, this is supposed to be an important night for you."

She breathed deeply to steady herself, completely unmindful of what it did to her chest. "You're right," she said with a smile. "Thank you for being here to share this with me."

"You're welcome 'Natsu. I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." And she really meant that. Tonight had been wonderful, in a warped way it had been everything she had ever wanted from a date with Ranma. To help her friend take such a momentous step was an honor.

A deep blush worked its way across Konatsu's body. "Me neither."

"Okay," said Ukyo in an effort to get the conversation back on track. "How do we do this?"

Konatsu handed her the remaining packages. "Well, you take one of these and pout it into the bucket and then you fill it with cold water. I'll take the bucket and pour it over myself. Then we just keep doing that 'till we run out of packets."

"Okay. That sounds easy enough." Following her directions, Ukyo readied the first bucket for Konatsu's use. Soon enough she handed the container of cursed water to the transformed young man.

Taking the bucket, Konatsu felt a rush of anticipation. "To think, the bane of Ranma's existence is the savior of mine." The humor was irony was not lost on her, and as she poured the water over her head she did so with a smile. As they cold liquid flowed down her head and between her breasts, the young woman felt a rising wave of femininity seep into her.

Since the first time she doused herself with the water, she had felt that feminine power rush in only to flow away with the hot water. It had been so powerful that first time that Konatsu felt compelled to seek Ranma out and question him about it. The pig-tailed young man had gone ashen when he had mentioned it, and spoke in hushed tones that he too had felt that rising tide. But whereas he had done all he could to escape those waters, Konatsu dove in headfirst. Tonight, as she made her way towards a permanent curse, the young woman felt as if each bucket was an ocean of femaleness.

Soon enough, they came to the final bucket in this little escapade. The waters contained within the wooden pail held the promise of a lifetime of being half a man and half a woman. Konatsu held no fear for the reflection in those magic waters. Only one thing staid his had, and it was the woman who had helped her along this journey.

"Ukyo. When I do this are you still going to want to have that date?"

The chef flinched at the fearful tone to her friend's words. "Of course I am," she said as she took the pail. "I asked you out knowing that you'd do this. I'd be a poor friend if I reneged on that."

"You mean that," asked a wide-eyed ninja girl. "You really think I'm a friend."

"Sure do sug'. Now may I do the honors of giving you the final dose?"

She nodded happily, her grin so wide that it could break her head in half. "Go ahead." When the final dose of cursed water came rushing down over her head, Konatsu felt something snap inside. The wellspring of female power overflowed its banks and flooded every cell of her body with energy. It was so powerful that she gasped in ecstasy.

Ukyo mistook it for something else and quickly grabbed the girl, "Are you ok?"

Konatsu smiled, "I . . . I'm fine. It's just. I don't know. But something happened."

"Is it done? I mean, are you really cursed?"

"I think so," she said as she looked down at her feminine form.

"Then welcome to the club sister."

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It had been a week since Konatsu took the plunge into the turbulent waters of femininity and Ukyo had been paying careful attention to the sometimes woman. In many ways, her friend acted as if nothing had ever changed. Konatsu would serve tables and flirt with customers no matter the form she was wearing at the moment. And what really amazed the chef was how no one ever noticed it.

More than once she had seen the water antics that come with a Jusenkyo curse play out on Konatsu. One moment he would be dancing around, the next she would get some cold water all over her. Oddly enough though, the cold water didn't seem as malicious with the ninja as it did with Ranma. Further, she never drew attention to the change when it occurred; opting instead to just continue on as if nothing had happened.

Speaking of the curse, in the first few days it had been exceedingly hard to tell when the ninja changed. With the way that Konatsu dressed all the time, she . . . he looked like a female no matter the form at the time. As time passed Ukyo began noticing certain things about her friend. When he was a guy, he was two or three inches taller; something he made up for by slouching slightly. This also had the effect of de-emphasizing his nonexistent chest. As a girl, she would stand up straight and proudly thrust her chest out. Further, after careful examination, Ukyo saw that the girl's butt was visibly bigger than her male one.

In fact, she hadn't paid this much attention to the man in all the time he had been working for her. She couldn't stop though. Something about watching him dance though the store and then suddenly change before her eyes just drew her in. Ukyo didn't know what it was, she had never been that interested in Ranma's curse. And she certainly had never stared at Ranma's butt as much as she had Konatsu's.

The chef tried to tell herself that it was curiosity. That there was nothing about Konatsu that really drew her in. But she knew the truth. She had enjoyed their date, and it was a date. To call it anything else just seemed wrong to her. It had just been a dinner and a movie, in Nerima terms that was nothing. Nothing but the best date she had ever been on.

Get her out of the shop and away from all the formalities, and Konatsu was simply a wonderful person to be around. He liked to read many of the same things as her. And they shared many of the same movies. Even their life stories were equally retched. They had laughed and joked the night away.

Maybe that was why she kept staring at the gender bending soul. She didn't have to be something she wasn't around Konatsu. She wasn't Ucchan, or the Cute Fiance, or anything else. The only thing she had to be in Konatsu's eyes was plain and simple Ukyo.

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As he served some of the restaurant's regulars, Konatsu could feel Ukyo's eyes on him. The looks of the patrons the young man had long grown accustomed to. They had stared even when he had been a man all the time. Some, he knew, were aware of his gender and loved to see their friends fluster when he smiled and winked at them. Ukyo's eyes though, that was a wholly different matter altogether.

Since that wonderful night where she had helped usher him into the ranks of womanhood, the chef had been staring at him. At first the constant attention had felt a little odd. Before that night Ukyo never really paid him any mind. Now, he almost always felt the eyes. Konatsu could feel them traveling up and down his form, no matter what gender he was wearing at the time.

Uyko was curious, he got that. She wanted to know all about the woman she helped birth. And, on occasion, the ninja would put an extra little wiggle into his step just to see his friend blush when she looked her way. After a while, he even started to like the constant attention. It justified his desire for a second date.

The date had been a wonderful experience for him. Konatsu had enjoyed seeing Ukyo in a more natural state. She had been so relaxed, so carefree. There was something really satisfying about making her smile and laugh. It was the kind of thing that could make someone want to settle down and raise a family.

He hadn't been joking about that, having kids. There were times that he wanted to be a father so badly that it ached. Of everything about his manhood, being a father was the one thing he had held onto tightly. No matter how much those sows had beaten him, no matter how much they had derided him, they had never been able to get Konatsu to let go of that. For the longest time, the ninja had thought that he would never be able to find someone that would accept his other side. Now, as he pondered the night he had planned, Konatsu was beginning to think that he had found the one.

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Once again Ukyo found herself closing up shop alone. Not that she minded. No, after seeing how quickly Konatsu had run upstairs when she let him off, she did not mind at all. She especially didn't mind if her friend was planning what she thought he was planning.

As she cleaned up, Ukyo felt her pulse quicken at the thought of another date with the young ninja. In fact, the young chef felt that very giddy, very feminine, thrill of anticipation that she had only experienced a handful of times in her life; if that. Only Ranma had really managed to engender such a feeling in her breast; like her heart was struggling to run wild. And to be honest, she didn't know whether or not that was a good thing.

"Ukyo?"

She knew that voice. It was undoubtedly Konatsu's, but it was deeper, more masculine, than she had ever heard it. As Ukyo turned to see the young man, she felt her thrashing heart come to a halt. Instead of a woman's kimono and makeup, her friend had donned a stylish suit. And though the lines were all man, Ukyo could see that they had been chosen with a woman's eye. No man, in her opinion, could dress so sharply without a woman's help; though given who Konatsu was, that wasn't saying much.

"I,I thought that maybe, this time, I could ask you out as the guy," he said hesitantly.

"Okay," she found herself saying breathlessly.

Konatsu smiled and stepped towards the shaking young woman with more confidence than he had a few moments ago. "So, want to go out tonight?"

Ukyo nodded so hard it looked like her head might just fly off. "J,j,just let me get dressed. Okay?"

"I'll be here waiting."

She giggled nervously before heading upstairs at a dead run. As she took the stairs two at a time, Ukyo's mind desperately ran through all the outfits she had. To her horror, she quickly came to the conclusion that there really wasn't anything in her closet that came even close to matching the elegance that Konatsu displayed downstairs.

"Oh crap! What am I going to wear? I can't go in that one fuku I got to try and impress Ranma. And everythin' else's gonna make me look like a hick next to 'Natsu," she thought with uncharacteristic worry.

Just as she was getting ready to work herself up to a total panic, Ukyo opened the door to her room. All that fear and the feelings of inadequacy faded as she saw the dress hanging on the door to her closet. It was a dark blue, her favorite color, and it glittered in the light.

"I hope it fits right," said Konatsu from behind her.

So caught up was she that Ukyo had never heard the ninja approaching. "'Natsu," she gasped. "Where did you get this?"

"Its one of mine," he admitted. "I hope you don't mind using it, I was pretty sure you didn't have anything."

The young woman could tell that he didn't want to insult her with his gift and she found herself extremely touched. She grabbed him in a tight hug, "Thanks," she mumbled into his hard chest.

"You're welcome."

His voice rumbled and roared in his chest as she had her head pressed against it. The sound made her shiver with delight. It was all she could do to not just melt into his arms right then and there. With some effort, she pushed away and smiled into his big brown eyes, "Now you go on sugar. A lady needs her privacy."

"Sure," he smiled. "The zipper on the back can be a little tricky. So if you need some help just call."

"Okay," she said as she shut the door.

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Now it was Konatsu's turn to wait for a date to be ready. As he paced in the main room, the ninja tugged at his collar nervously. "How can guys wear these all the time," he grumbled as he fiddled with his clothing. While he had chosen the outfit to be as masculine as possible, Konatsu felt positively ridiculous. Dresses and kimonos were his standard clothing and a western suit made him feel horribly out of place.

He was determined to give Ukyo the kind of date she deserved. So determined in fact that he had gone to Ranma asking for help to get ready. The pig-tailed teen had been happy to help and had even gone out to choose outfits that would make the night absolutely perfect. It had taken all day, but by the end Konatsu had one suit and one dress, each perfect for the outing. Ranma had even made the purchases; something the young ninja vowed to repay.

"How do I look?" The question was spoken with a soft, almost nervous, lilt.

As he turned to take a gander at his date, Konatsu felt his jaw drop. When he had picked out the dress he had been a she. Trying it on, she had been able to get some idea of how it would look on the brunette. At the time she thought she had a good idea at how it would look. Now though, he found that idea grossly inadequate.

Twin straps of fabric came from over her shoulders to cross at her breasts and giving them a tasteful amount of cleavage. Right under her chest, the two pieces joined together to snugly show off her narrow waist before flowing loosely down her body before coming to rest at her knees.

"Oh . . . oh wow." He couldn't manage much more than that, she was just so beautiful that it gummed up every ounce of mental processing available to him.

Ukyo smiled at his awed look. She relished in the deeply feminine feeling that washed over her as his eyes roamed her form. Slowly, and with a definite sway to her hips, the young woman crossed the distance to stand right before Konatsu. "I'm glad you like it. Someone with a good eye picked it out for me."

"I'm sure that he considers himself the luckiest guy in the world."

She took his hand and gave it a squeeze, "That makes two lucky people then."

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The street was empty when the couple left Uchans; yet there were eyes watching them. As Ukyo slid her hand into the larger one of her companion those eyes narrowed.

"How dare he," raged the eyes. "How dare th,th,that half-man consort with such an angel." She was too good for him. She was too good for anyone. And now it was time to show the upstart that one fact.

The street was empty. There was no one to see a trashcan in the far alley separate from the shadows.

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As she grasped the arm of the man at her side, Ukyo felt happier than she had ever believed possible. Only in her wildest, Ranma related, dreams had she even considered that she would feel this way. In fact, if she woke up right at that moment she wouldn't be surprised; though she would be crushed down in the deepest waters of despair.

Ukyo knew what was happening, she had felt this before and just like then it was an exhilarating feeling. She was falling for the dashing man beside her. She was falling so fast that she could believe that she was flying. But it was different this time. Different from how the feelings for Ranma had been. With Ranma, all her hate for him immediately switched to love when he told her she was cute.

Looking back, the woman knew that it would have never lasted with Ranma. For one, he didn't love her and he never would. There was still a part of him that saw her as his best guy friend from so many years ago. Against that there was no way she would have been able to get with him. Besides, in the case of Ranma it was an issue of multiple paths at the pig-tailed boy. In winning him, she would have been able to satisfy honor, reclaim her femininity, stick it to those jackasses back home, and get her friend back.

It had all been about her, about what she wanted and what she needed. With Konatsu though, she felt as if she and he were building something. That first night they had built a room, maybe two. Those rooms had been decorated over the week by casual glances, quick smiles, and the kind of camaraderie that comes with working closely with one another. And tonight they added a few more rooms to the emotional home Ukyo knew that they would soon live in.

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They were nearing the restaurant when Ukyo felt Konatsu stiffen. "What?"

"Didn't you lock the shop?"

She looked sharply at him, "Of course I did." Getting where he was going, Uyko whipped her head around and saw that, indeed, the door was wide open. "What the hell?"

Someone had broken into her restaurant, into her home! To make matters worse, for the date she had forgone any of her usual battle spatulas, so there was no way that she could bound the interloper if he was still in there.

The ninja's eyes narrowed in suspicion. Unlike the woman beside him, he always had a supply of weapons on him. You never knew when you would have to go ninjaing. "Here," said Konatsu as he handed her a wooden practice sword.

Ukyo didn't even question where he had gotten the sword from, she had seen Mousse do the same thing too many times over her time in Nerima. What did get her attention was the sound of a sword being unsheathed. "What are you doing," she hissed as she spied the blackened katana in his hands.

"You're used to your spatulas," he whispered in full ninja mode. "I can use this thing and not kill someone."

"You better mister. Blood stains are a bitch to get out of, well, everything."

He nodded and began to creep towards the open door. Instinctively, he masked himself in the shadows, appearing as if he had disappeared from sight. As he neared the entrance, Konatsu could feel Ukyo behind him. Her rage was like a physical force that he had to suppress lest he get caught up in it himself.

As they entered the main dining room, the budding couple couldn't see anything out of place. Since he had the better weapon, it was decided that Konatsu would clear the upstairs while Ukyo handled the restaurant.

Even being thorough, it didn't take that long to make sure that the intruder wasn't in the store's back room or the bathrooms. As she closed the door to the women's lavatory, Ukyo heard a pained cry followed by a thud and the clattering of metal. Distantly, the chef could feel her body hurtling up the stairs to come to Konatsu's aid. The rest of her though was devoting its time to being totally afraid that, at that moment, something terrible was happening to her friend/potential love interest.

She did not have to look long for him, Konatsu stood at the entrance to his room. Even from behind she knew that, whatever he was seeing, the ninja was completely devastated. His shoulders sagged deeply while his arms lay limply at his sides. The black katana he had wielded was now resting on the floor where it had landed after falling from his nerveless fingers.

Throwing all pretenses of caution into the wind, Ukyo ran up to the limp man. As she neared, the warrior chef saw what had traumatized him so. Whoever had broken in had focused all their attentions on Konatsu's room. The futon was torn up and the mirror smashed. All the drawers of his meager chest were open and their contents strewn about the room. She could see several articles of his clothing that had been shredded and left out where anyone could see them. But that was not the worst that had been done. The fiend, in a final insult, had used Konatsu's own makeup to write hateful slurs like, 'freak and queer,' and a whole host of ever worse things across his walls.

"Oh my god," she gasped in horror.

"W,why," asked the besmirched man hollowly.

Gently, she grabbed him by she shoulders and turned him from the horror that had been wrought against his living space. "I don't know sugar . . . I don't know."

Even as she pulled him away, Konatsu couldn't keep his eyes off the ruined room. He had thought, perhaps foolishly, that he had left this kind of thing behind when he left his step family. Maybe it was the unexpectedness of the attack that had struck at him so. Perhaps the fact that he had actually sipped from the fountain of happiness made it so that his defenses were as diminished as they were.

Ukyo couldn't help but notice his gaze lingering on what had happened, even though they were walking away from it. "Come on 'Natsu," she said as she lightly shook him, "you can sleep in my room tonight."

That, more than the shaking, broke the ninja from his daze. "S,sleep w,w,with y,you," he squeaked.

The chef smiled at the blushing Konatsu, "Well I don't think either of us is up for that sugar." She giggled when he blushed so deeply that he almost went purple. "For both of our sakes, it'll probably be best if you go girl for the night."

"R,right," nodded the ninja quickly. "That sounds good."

She lead him into her room and stood him in the middle. "Strip to your underwear. I'll get you some water."

"Thanks," he smiled as he shucked his coat.

When she left the room, Ukyo rushed down the hall back to Konatsu's abode. There was something there that she needed to check; something that had been gnawing at her since she saw the battered space. The young woman made her way over to the graffiti that the intruder had left.

Now that she was there, actually looking at it, Kounji's suspicions were confirmed. She had seen the writing far too many times for her liking. It had been her hope to not see it ever again, yet those hopes appeared dashed. With them went the psychological well-being of Konatsu, something that raised her ire more than anything. "I swear you bastard," she growled, "the next time you show your face around here, I'll end you."

With her suspicions confirmed, Ukyo hiked up her dress and made for the bathroom. It was quick work to find something to hold some water in and fill it up. Cup in hand, the young chef made her way back to her room just in time to see Konatsu fold the last of his clothing and place it on her chair.

As he stood, Ukyo felt herself grow rather warm. Though she had seen Konatsu naked before, that time he had been a she. Now, even though he still retained his boxers, there was still a great deal of scrumptious skin open to the air. Konatsu's flesh was paler and smoother than Ranma's, which was to be expected, but it was just as vibrant and alive. With his back still turned towards her, she could see the muscles ripple beneath that skin. Ukyo could also see scars faintly marring the smoothness; a remnant of his family's love no doubt.

Whatever yummy thoughts she may have been harboring died a rather quick death when he turned to look at her. It had been easy to imagine that the last few minutes had been some sort of painful fantasy when she just looked at his back, but his face told the real story. Konatsu was pale, paler than his normal pallor allowed, and his eyes were wide with fear and worry. In fact, now that she was really looking at him, Ukyo could see that he was trembling mightily.

Aside from the length of his hair, which was a sight longer than Ranma's, the ninja looked exactly like her former fiance did in the seconds right before his mind surrendered to the Neko-ken. Terror such as that needed to be dealt with, and quickly.

"Oh sugar," she gasped before moving in close and wrapping her arms around him. "Its gonna be okay. Whoever wrote those, those horrible things was bein' a jackass. So you don't go an believe them, okay?"

"O,okay," he said with a long, shuddering, sigh.

Ukyo looked into those frightened eyes and did her best to smile. "Now, before I dump this on you, how do you like to sleep? You want to stick with the boxers or go with somethin' else?"

"S,since I started c,changing, I've been sleeping as a girl."

"Bet you got to sleep on your back, what with those breasts of yours," she quipped. Her smile became less forced when his lips twitched slightly.

"Yeah, but I love the way the silk feels on my skin." Suddenly, his slowly building good mood vanished completely. "Oh god! My c,c,clothes! T,t,they're ruined!"

"Shh, shh. Its all right," soothed Ukyo. "Everythin' gonna be okay. Tomorrow we'll go in there and see what's okay."

"Together?"

His voice was so small and plaintive that Ukyo felt her heart crack a little. "Of course. We'll close the restaurant and we'll make sure everything is okay again. I promise."

The relief was so palatable that it practically constituted an element on the periodic table, "T,thank you. For everything." Before either of them knew what to say, he reached out and embraced the girl once more.

As she felt his arms wrap around her, Ukyo squeezed Konatsu as tightly as she could; hoping to draw as much negativity from him as possible. They stayed like that for a while, just holding each other. Eventually, she began to feel something else pressing against her. Ukyo had a suspicion as to what it was, but instead of being repelled she grinned. If the situation had been different she may have tried to capitalize on it. As it was, she decided to use the feeling to boost his confidence a bit. "Well, looks like we've got some proof that those words weren't true. Eh, sugar," she said saucily.

He had honestly hoped that she was unable to feel the untimely reaction. "S,sorry Ukyo," he said in a panic, "I c'can't control it."

"Hey now. I'm not Akane and you're not Ranma. So don't worry about it okay?" She grinned and did a quick grind to prove her point, "Bedsides, I kinda like it."

"R,really?"

Ukyo nodded shyly, "Yeah. But, and don't take this wrong, I think that, for right now, it'd be best if we use the water."

"Thank you," he said with relief. While his body might be ready for some action, Konatsu knew that his mind was most certainly not.

Reluctantly pulling from his grasp, she moved over to the door and fetched the glass of water. "Ready, sugar?"

Konatsu slowly nodded his head. "I,I'm kinda on the e,edge right now. S,so don't be shocked if I b,break down."

The young woman had expected that. Konatsu had seemed to be more emotionally open when he was a girl. If he was this bad right now, it made sense that she'd be a wreck. "Okay 'Natsu. I'll be here if you do."

As the cascading cold waters rushed down his form and washed away his manhood, Konatsu felt her fears come to pass. For some reason, be it perceived gender differences or the increase in certain hormones, she had a much harder time keeping her emotions in check. And sure enough, hot tears quickly joined the last bit of cold water.

It started slow, just a few tears brimming at the corners of her eyes. Soon though those tears were joined by others and, before she knew it, her body was shaking with great, wrenching, sobs. Like her strings had been cut, Konatsu just fell to her knees as the walls came tumbling down.

Ukyo fell with the sobbing woman, wrapping her arms around her and holding her tight. Though she was not the one who had been directly attacked, she too cried alongside her friend. She cried for Konatsu, cried for how her life turned out, cried for the loss of her first love. They were tears that were just as potent as those falling from the woman in her arms.

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The crying women never made into bed that night. For what seemed like hours the tears fell as two lifetimes of pain came pouring out to form a small ocean of spent sorrow. Neither really knew when they finally succumbed to sleep that night, all they knew was that, when they woke up the next morning, Ukyo was still in the dress he had given her and Kontasu was still in her boxers.

True to the her word, Ucchan's Okonomyaki never opened that day; much to the disappointment to its more regular patrons. The restaurant's two employees spent the bulk of their day in Konatsu's room slowly going over the debris. Luckily, most of the clothes had gone untouched by the carnage; the vandal having restrained himself to just destroying furniture and walls. No matter how clean they looked though, all were placed in a bin to be cleaned; neither girl wanted to guess what unseen things might be on them.

As for the rest of the rest of the room, well that needed a major overhaul. The walls required a whole new coat of paint to totally erase the negative things scrawled across their surface. All of the furniture was beyond repair and would have to be replaced somehow. Eventually Ukyo just made a command decision and told her friend that, until they could get the room the way she wanted it, they would be sharing a room.

By the time that they decided to call it quits for the day neither really felt up to cooking for themselves. So, despite the negative way yesterday ended, they decided to head on out and get something away from the recent pain. It was then that they set up what would turn out to be a tradition for them. Konatsu went out as the woman while Ukyo was once again the man, if only in dress.

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On that day, and many others, several different bushes, mailboxes, and signs shook with rage. Had it been anywhere else other than Nerima someone would have thought the oddly moving inanimate object out of place. Nerimans though just looked at them for what they were and continued on with their lives.

Tsubasa ignored the passerby's, they did not concern him in the slightest. No, what dedicated the mass of this thoughts was the gender changing freak that had dared to court the wonderful Ukyo. She was too good, too pure, to be sullied by such a creature. At least Ranma, who was similarly afflicted, never made any bones about what he viewed as his real body. Konatsu though just changed all willy nilly. And to make things even worse, he/she had the fashion sense of a feudal baroness.

He had hoped that the destruction he had wrought upon the room of the aquasexual would send him running away. Instead all it did was push the two even closer together. Now the problem became an even more urgent one. How could he strike back at the freak without getting massacred in the process?

Of all the random Nerima-folk, Tsubasa only had his ability to hide. While he could become practically anything, it meant that on the pecking order he was only slightly above Hikaru Gosunkugi in effectiveness. Not even his obsession set him apart from the crowd, as obsession was something of a cottage industry for the ward. And like all those others who viewed their personal quest as paramount, the disguised young man would do anything to see his goals met.

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Though their date saw no one attacking them, or really any negatives at all, both Ukyo and Konatsu could not shake the feeling that something bad was on the horizon. All throughout the event they kept looking over their shoulders and scanning the skyline for possible attackers. It got so bad that they actually longed for an attack, just so they could be rid of the damnable feeling.

Finally after only half way being on a date, the couple called off the event and started towards their home. Walking hand-in-hand, Ukyo held herself as close to her man as was possible. Tonight was to have been one where their genders were the same as their birth certificates. It was odd, if someone had told her that she would be looking at Konatsu like she had looked at Ranma she would have whacked them in the head with her spatula. Yet here she was doing exactly that. But with 'Natsu it was even better since he looked back at her with the same desire.

While he tried desperately to enjoy his time with her Konatsu could not stop looking down every alley and staring into every shadow. Someone was following them, he had felt this same sense of warning too many times to conclude anything else. Who it was though still eluded him. All he knew was that, any second now, the attack would come. So, when it did come he was more than prepared.

A flash of silver in the corner of her eye was the only warning that Ukyo had before being shoved away from Konatsu violently. It was only her training that allowed her to turn that momentum into a quick roll. Popping up from her roll she saw something that she had long feared in the making. Fighting, albeit rather clumsily, the man she had grown to care for was a mailbox with arms, legs, and a gleaming knife.

"Fight me," roared Tsubasa as he slashed and stabbed at Konatsu with murderous intent.

Though the attack was lacking any sort of finesse or skill, the young ninja took it seriously. Konatsu juked and bent around strikes. He used a spatula Ukyo had given him to block several of those attacks he couldn't avoid directly. In all honesty the hardest thing about the whole affair was not hurting the attacking mailbox. The ninja's training was positively screaming at him to kill the attacker. "You need to stop this Tsubasa."

"Never! I'll never let you have her!"

Now she was sure, there may have been some doubts in her mind surrounding the defamation of Konatsu's room but they were gone now. "Great, now I've got my own crazies," she muttered angrily. "Hey jackass, stop attacking him now!"

Tsubasa stumbled a bit at that but it didn't last long. Nothing would stop him from taking this course of action, not even the woman he loved. "No! He's not good enough for you. He's a freak!"

It was Konatsu's turn for a misstep and this one caught him a across the chest. The cut wasn't a deep one, but it had that special kind of hurt that paper cuts could provide to the unlucky. Even as he jumped away from the knife he hissed from the pain. "Damn, damn," he mentally berated, "sloppy."

Of course, that was the problem with novices. Unlike the normal fighters Nerima had seen over the years, novices were really dangerous. With a fighter there was always a pattern, some inbred result of the forms every neophyte had to learn. Even Ranma, the most random of them all, had a hint or two of it. Novices though, they had none of that. They just attacked wildly with that almost insane notion that they could do anything. Against that all you could do is dodge and hope for an opening.

"Just what do you think this is going to accomplish," asked Konatsu between knife thrusts.

"It'll get rid of you! You're not good enough for her!"

"I know," said the ninja to the surprise of Ukyo. "But don't you think it should be her choice?"

"She'll choose wrong," he cried. "She always does! I was there for her! We were perfect for each other! But she left! She'll leave you too, she leaves everyone!"

Hearing that made Ukyo lurch. No one liked to hear their sins unveiled before them, especially when they sounded so true. Admittedly she cared about Tsubasa as much as she cared about a stain on the concrete, but he cared about her. She remembered what it had felt like to see Ranma on the top of the stand as he, and it, went off into the distance; and she had only been a kid. How bad must it have felt for Tsubasa, a teenager who saw her as the one bright spot in an otherwise dim world?

"Tsubasa," she cried, "I'm sorry that I hurt you. But this won't get me go with you."

That hit the cross-dressing young man as hard as any blow. Before, she had always said such things in that gruff way she did everything else. Tsubasa had managed to convince himself that it was all part of the act. After all, he only dressed and acted like a girl but inside he was a guy. He had thought that, inside, all those noes actually equalled a resounding yes. Now, that firm footing with which he scaled the walls towards Castle Ukyo, caused him to slip.

Konatsu saw the moment of weakness and rushed in. With three quick strikes the man had disarmed and disabled the raging cross dresser. "Now stay still," he commanded, though there was a thread of softness in that steel.

Slowly, Ukyo walked up to Tsubasa who was now sitting on the hard ground. Tears marred what had surely been an impeccable makeup job. Though the rumpled mailbox disguise sapped some of the pathetic air from him, she still looked upon his distraught form with pity. "Tsubasa . . ."

"Why don't you love me," he asked, never rising his head to look at her.

Kneeling down before the broken man, Ukyo tried to put everything into words. "I . . . you . . .when we met. I,I wasn't looking for love. I was too busy hating Ranma. I hated him for leaving and I hated him for making me wear men's clothing. All your cries of us being perfect because of what we dressed like only made me madder."

For a moment a spark of hope lit in Tsubasa's heart. "D,does that mean we could have a chance," he asked between tears.

She shook her head sadly. Ukyo had seen that hope in his eyes and knew that she would be the one to stifle it. "Sorry sugar, but its just not in the sauce. I love Konatsu."

Konatsu felt as if seven new colors had exploded in his eyes. Though they had been dating for a while now, it was the first time that she had said the words he had so longed to hear. Honestly, given the course of his life up till that point, he really hadn't expected to hear it ever. In his mind, they would keep dating for a while before she came to her senses and left him forever. Had either Ukyo or Tsubasa been looking at him, they would have seen that his smile was so bright it was blinding.

As his hope died, Tsubasa's heart turned to rage. "But why," he cried angrily. "He's just a freak! A . . ." Before he could say whatever was the next word was, Ukyo's hand arced in and stuck his cheek.

"Don't you dare call him that," she hissed. With that one word the memory of what he had done to Konatsu's room came bubbling up to the surface. Those bubbles scrubbed away the pity for Tsubasa that had built up on her emotional shower walls. "He's a man who's been through hell and back and come out of it intact. How would you be if you were beaten everyday because of your gender, huh? I don't care if he's a man or a woman, he's everything I could want and everything I need. I don't know why you do the shit you do, and quite frankly I don't care, but before you start throwing rocks you damn well better make sure there ain't a glass wall!"

As Ukyo breathed heavily in the wake of her rant, Konatsu reached out and gripped her shoulder. "Its okay."

Looking up at the man she had come to love, Ukyo saw that he was blurry from tears she did not know had been there. "But what he said?"

He smiled at her, "Its just words. And after my family, its nothing at all."

As much as she didn't want to let this go, it was hard to feel bad about anything with him looking at her like that. "Okay. If you say so. But what do we do about him."

Him, in this context, was the utterly broken Tsubasa. He just sat where he had been placed, staring out blankly. If it were not for a faint breath occasionally, the two martial artists would have probably thought the cross-dresser to be dead.

Konatsu looked at the man and felt nothing but pity for him. "He needs help. We should probably take him to the local authorities."

She could see the wisdom in that suggestion and nodded. "Sure. That sounds about as good as anything I can think of."

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It took a while to get things sorted out, but eventually Konatsu and Ukyo stepped out of the local police station and into the cool night. They had been assured that Tsubasa would probably receive counseling for his problems along with some probation. Though Ukyo secretly wished for a tad more than that, she kept such thoughts to herself. Since Konatsu was the aggrieved party she let him dictate what they would do to Tsubasa.

As they walked away from the station, their hands just naturally found themselves holding each other. When their fingers touched there was a momentary spark that sent shivers running through both of them. A brief look was shared between the two before they blushingly turned away, though their fingers only held on that much tighter.

Several minutes of companionable silence later, Konatsu finally worked up the nerve to ask something that had been weighing on his mind since the attack. "Did . . . did you mean it? What you said back there."

Ukyo had a good idea about what he meant. For a moment she thought about playing coy but after the night they had it would be wrong. "Yeah. I did. I love you Konatsu."

He felt himself tearing up. "No one's said that to me since father died."

She stopped and looked at the man whose hand she held. Though there were tears pouring down his face, Konatsu was smiling so brightly that she felt her heart melt at the sight. While still holding his hand, the chef pulled herself in close. As het face hovered barley an inch from his, she whispered, "You better get used to it. Because you're gonna be hearing it the rest of your life 'Natsu."

On a list of the all time greatest kisses, the one they shared would probably be rather high up there. It was deep and passionate and filled with emotion. It was the kind of kiss that attempted to bond two people body and soul. For them time lost meaning. All that mattered was the taste of the other and possibly an example of cold fusion.

Eventually they broke their kiss, though they kept their foreheads touching. As they both breathed heavily from emotion and a lack of oxygen, they stared into each other's eyes; continuing the kiss on a spiritual, if not physical level.

"Come on honey," she said, her voice thick with emotion, "let's go home."

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Author's Notes: Okay, that's the end of this little work. For the people wondering where this takes place in the larger Stars in the Sky universe, well it starts soon after the meeting at the Alexander home in Chapter 6 - Family. I just wanted to show a little bit of what is going on in the wider world. Notice that, other than a few mentions, the main cast of SitS is even in this chapter. This was an opportunity for me to tell a smaller, more intimate, story rather than the hugely bombastic tales I normally do.

After some research, I found out that the instant stuff stopped working on Ranma and Genma after one use. What I figure is that the immunity was their own curses fighting against the temporary ones. For normal people though it would keep working with every application.

On the three aspects: I know that whole section was a tad confusing, but I had a method to my madness. In it each represented a portion of Ukyo's mind. Girl was her self doubt and self delusion. Boy was more of her conscious/reality side. While sexy really doesn't need much explanation.

Though this story was a more intimate affair, I just had to have some little bit of conflict. For a story about Ukyo, Tsubasa is the perfect choice for some wrongdoings. And because of his interference, things that might have gone slower were sped up.

Oh, and one last thing. In this one you probably noticed that I use the correct pronouns for Konatsu depending on his/hers current gender. Now the reason why I did that here and not in the main SitS is a simple one. Unlike Ranma, Konatsu views himself as the gender he inhabits at a given moment. So for him I can change the pronouns. For Ranma I keep the pronouns male all the time and instead go with clues in the story to let you know the gender. I always let you know when I change Ranma, because it says it plainly.

I hope you all enjoyed this one.

Chaos Lord

King of the Wicker People