This is just a little one-shot that takes place before the wedding I designed because I received a muse tonight, and I probably won't be able to sleep until I get this thing (or most of it anyway) down. My muse, sadly enough, is a conversation that I had with my girlfriend in my car as I was driving her home. I'm going to college this fall, Georgia Tech specifically, and though it's only about thirty minutes away from where she lives, I'm probably not going to have any time to see her at all. She's two years younger than me, and we've been going out for nearly a year and eight months; we have yet to have a real argument at all, or piss each other off in the least. We have something really special and I can definitely say that I love her as much as one could love another. We've decided to give it a shot, rather than just give up; the only thing that bothers me is I'm scared that we'll drift apart, and decide to cut it off. Well, that really doesn't have much to add to the story except to explain where it came from, so enough with my life, I'm sure it doesn't really interest you, and on with the fic.

Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma 1/2

It had been a year now. It had been a year since she had come for her revenge. It had also been a year since she had abandoned the animosity that had driven the same revenge for love.

It had, however, been more than a year since he had come here. It had been over a year since he had discovered his first fiancé. It had also been more than a year since he had first protected the same fiancé with a terrifying ferocity that would cause most to cower in fear.

There was also a second woman that arrived somewhere between the previously mentioned two. She had also come for revenge. And she had also found the same love.

The passing seasons had seen many amazing sights, all of which surrounded these three young women and the man that they held a common fondness for.

The young man in question, Saotome Ranma, had seen the resolution of only sixteen summers, but he was no man's fool. He was strong, possibly stronger than any to have ever drawn breath. He was proud, not only in himself and his art, but also in his family and those around him. He possessed a sense of honor that was infallible; this was likely his most prominent trait, it drove much of his life and all of his decisions. Finally, he loved each of the three girls. He loved them because of the love they shared for him. He could feel it every time he spoke to them, every time glanced into their eyes, even when he merely though about them, he could feel all of their affection as though they were before him describing all they felt for him at that very moment. He, however, let very little of this knowledge manifest itself in his actions.

He kept his love hidden for many reasons. The one that everything led back to, however, was fear; fear to offend any of them, fear to chase any of them away, fear to hurt them.

It was these same hidden emotions that did the same thing they were hidden to prevent; it hurt them all. The covert state of his emotions brought the girls around to the reasoning that their love was completely unrequited, and this caused them great pain.

This pain was most felt, however, by the young chef, Kunoji Ukyo.

Though she was the last to have known Ranma the young man, she was the first to know him, when they were children. When she met him as a child, she felt similarly toward him, though being so young, the emotions surfaced as friendship. When Ranma and his father left, leaving her, a deep, painful void formed in her where the feelings for her friend once were. She did not understand where this pain came from, only its source. It was this pain that spurred her on to exact her revenge, and it was the same pain that had brought her back to him, and uncovered the love she held for him.

This incredible love she had for him, coupled with her lack of family, are what gave her the pain she now felt at the seeming absence of his own desire for her.

It is here the story opens; Kunoji Ukyo is sitting in the small apartment above her restaurant, gazing up at the few stars she cam see through her window, and pondering over her current state.

As she looked up at the night sky and studied the sparse collection of stars, her thoughts once again turned to the boy, no the man she loved so dearly.

'Ranma, why does it hurt so much to love you?' she thought sadly, gazing toward the heavens. 'I've tried everything. I've come up with fool- proof plans that always seem to fail, I've even changed my entire look for him, but nothing seems to ever work at all how it's supposed to. I wonder, is it really worth it? I could be using this time to find someone else,' she reasoned. 'No, that would never work. I could never move on until Ranma made a final decision. Even if I wanted to, I know that deep down I couldn't love another until I know for certain that he wouldn't choose me.' She concluded, shaking her head. 'I've done all I can though. We all tried so hard to get him to choose, but it never worked. I guess the only thing I can do is let him decide on his own.'

As she concluded her musing, a single tear rolled down her soft cheek glistening in the faint moonlight. It left a trail leading to an eye sparkling gently with many more unbidden droplets, held in by the last ounce of will she could summon. She closed her eyes, not caring if the unwelcome saline drops fell from their perch; before burning at the corners of her tender eyes, now falling like rain down the contours of her face and to the floor below, each one absorbing into the rug beneath her.

Once she had finished softly sobbing, she decided to retire to the little comfort sleep could afford her from the loneliness of her apartment. She walked over to her futon, padding softly over the floor, as though to prevent the waking of another body in the room. When she had reached her desired destination, she slowly pulled back the cover, and slid under the sheets. She rested her head on the pillow and closed her eyes, red from her most recent emotional release. Finally, she took in a deep breath and gently released it, allowing the blanket of sleep to come over her. As she was on the edge of slumber, she was suddenly alerted to the presence of another by the sound of someone quietly, though audibly, alighting upon a rail of the balcony that was attached to her room.

Saotome Ranma was a man of many talents, and sleeping was one. He was almost as well known for the cadaverous manner in which he dozed as for his martial arts. There was a reason he often awoke as a member of the female persuasion, and that was the fact that a bucket of ice water to the face was one of a select few things that possessed the rare gift of having the ability to wake the young man without causing any lasting damage to his person. His father's deafening snore held a similar capability: it was one of the few things that could prevent him from receiving the sandman for a visit.

He was simply unfortunate that tonight he was unable to fall into the death-like state that was his slumber before Genma began his nightly serenade. Thus, Ranma decided that a late night tour of the city would be in order.

Typically, he would simply retire to the roof of the Tendo compound, and he would do one of two things: fall asleep right there, or ponder his unique station in life. There were, however, several isolated nights where he would decide to instead roam the town in his trademark fashion.

He could not remember when he had learned how to vault between roofs and much less from whom, as his father's girth prevented him from being a suitable professor of the subject. He only knew that he could do it, and it was far more efficient than traversing the streets below.

He chose tonight for performing this gymnastic feat, citing the beauty of the clear night sky. He opened the window of his room and placed his foot on its sill, preparing to leap into the night sky. As the muscles in his legs contracted and relaxed the exact rhythm to propel him skyward, a brief thought passed through his mind.

'Akane is probably going to be angry with me if she finds that I've left.' He concluded. However, as he finished creating this sentence in his head, he found himself on the downward arch of his leap, forcing him to push these thoughts from his mind so that he could properly land to allow himself to continue with his jaunt across the thick cover of night that was resting quietly over the slumbering city.

He proceeded with his journey thoughtless, relishing in the calm of night as he allowed his body to choose its own path over the roofs of the locals. After countless housetops, and an undetermined amount of time, he made the decision to rest on a sufficiently flat roof. As he paused, he listened as the ever-present sound of night mingled with his own slightly quickened breath as he gazed heavenward, closing his tired eyes and wondering why fate so often denied him moments of peace such as these.

Watching the moon intently, his thoughts eventually made their way back to what has denied him such peace until now, the fiancés.

Despite common belief, he tried every waking hour in which his mind was not urgently needed to make a choice. He had spent time with each of the girls and learned as much as he could about them without leading them on. He had even made a list of all of their qualities and failings once, hoping that he could make a decision if he was able to compare them directly, but this only served to confuse him further, as comparing the girls was like comparing apples to guava melons.

And so here he lay, comparing them again and again in the recesses of his mind, accomplishing nothing more than befuddling himself further. Concluding that his efforts were completely in vain, he arose from the sanctuary he had found atop this particular building and quietly made his way to the edge of the roof and prepared to leap into the night. Taking a moment to acclimate himself to his surroundings so that he could decipher the most efficient path back to the Tendo home, he realized he was actually near Ucchan's, one of his preferred eating establishments.

Deciding that it would be easier to simply walk the streets to the relatively nearby home, he shifted his stance to that he could jump down to the alley below him. Seeing a balcony, he alight upon it, using it as an intermediary between the roof and the streets beneath; as he was about to complete his decent, he heard a small sound emit from the room attached to the balcony. Pausing momentarily to confirm his suspicions, he glanced back through the window behind him.

Ranma stood, perched on the rail of the balcony, and stared inside, his eyes adjusting to the darkness of the room. As his vision cleared, he was able to see a clearly feminine figure with long hair sitting on a futon to one side of the room. He then saw the figure stand up and move toward the window, obviously intending to figure out who exactly it was standing on her balcony.

Ukyo sat up in bed, trying to make out the face of the masculine figure trespassing on her balcony. Finding her efforts to be futile, she decided to walk slowly to the window and hopefully get a better view of his visage, and maybe even decipher his identity. As she approached, she could see a clearly heavily muscled chest and body, and a handsome, yet soft face. When she was finally about five feet away from the glass, she could see a pigtail of medium length hanging from the back of his head.

Now at this point, with all of the hints that have been left for you (the respected reader), you should have hopefully been able to connect these two plots, barring complete ineptitude.

Ukyo gasped raggedly as she made the connection that the man outside her window was in fact none other than her beloved Ranchan. She immediately increased the pace of her steps and ran to the window and threw it open, surprising the unsuspecting Ranma. Regaining his balance after nearly falling over the edge of the rail in surprise, Ranma hopped lightly down to the floor of the balcony.

After he jumped down, Ranma straightened up and look at Ukyo full in the face, "Sorry I woke you up, I couldn't sleep with the old man snoring, so I decided to do a little roof-hopping," he explained.

"It's ok Ranchan, I wasn't asleep quite yet, I'm just glad you aren't a thief," Ukyo responded, staring at the strong face she had come to adore so much. Gathering all of her courage, she made her next move, "So, do you want to come in and talk for a while? I promise I won't try to seduce you," she added as an after thought, aware of what Ranma may think of her offer.

"Sure, I haven't had much time to talk to you lately," he answered quickly, and with an almost imperceptible hint of nervousness, "If I'm not going to keep you up that is."

Ukyo responded with a chuckle, "I wasn't really all that tired anyway."

Ranma sat on the windowsill and gracefully swung his legs in as Ukyo moved to the light switch. Once Ranma had fully entered the room, Ukyo flipped the switch, allowing current to flow to the small fixture in the center of her room. The room was bathed in a bright, artificial light, causing both occupants to wince and squint their eyes. After a few short moments, their eyes adjusted to the light. Ukyo walked softly over to her futon, motioning for Ranma to join her. With the same slight reluctance, Ranma made his way over to the small bed and sat beside her, leaving a comfortable distance between the two.

"So, what do you want to talk about?" Ranma began somewhat awkwardly.

"Anything's fine with me," she pointed out. "How's your life treating you?" she prompted.

Ranma was beginning to feel more relaxed, confident Akane and her mallet were safely indisposed at the moment with sleeping, and opened his mouth to respond with a typically witty remark; that is, until he noticed something amiss about Ukyo. One glance at her eyes revealed what she had been doing before his arrival. They were red, not from exhaustion, like she would undoubtedly try to explain, but rather, they were a different red, a shade only seen on a person fresh from a deep and involved secession of crying.

As oblivious as everyone assumed Ranma was, and probably is, he was at least smart enough to pick up on this seemingly minute detail. Not only that, but thanks to being slightly more intuitive than a common houseplant, he was able to make a reasonable guess as to the cause of his fiancé's emotional release, himself.

'Wait, Ukchan's eyes are all red and puffy, she's probably been crying; probably over me too. Damn it sucks being me,' he thought bitterly, silently cursing himself and his station in life.

Being too tired to beat around the bush, he decided to be rather blunt, as always, and at least try to console his friend and fiancé.

"You've been crying haven't you?" he asked, looking deep into her eyes with the gentlest expression he could muster. It worked at least on some level, judging from the completely surprised appearance her face took on.

Ukyo, for her part, was holding herself together quite well. After Ranma's opening question, and the resulting shock, she instinctively tore her gaze from his, not wanting him to see the unshed tears that once again pulled at the corners of her tired eyes, and soon found themselves on a path directly down her face, thanks to Ranma's friendly reminder of her earlier bout of sobbing.

Ranma, on the other hand, was now treading on unfamiliar ground. Thanks to a combination of his father's "sagely" wisdom that emotions were weaknesses and should be hidden to keep others from taking advantage of them, and the fact Ranma had actually known too few people long enough to become a confidant for their feelings, he knew exceptionally little about human emotions, and much less of how to console them. Thus, his presently crying friend, and the fact that aforementioned tears were over him, made for quite the awkward situation, to say the least.

Ranma's lack of knowledge of the subject at hand, along with his natural impulsiveness led him to his decision on how to remedy the situation: wing it.

Trying his best to mimic what he had seen done during this set of conditions in movies, he reached over and placed his hand gently, yet comfortingly on her shoulder. However, she instinctively pulled away from the sudden contact, comforting though it may be. Ranma was slightly put off by her reluctance to accept his touch, but pressed onward feeling a strange and unfamiliar desire to do everything he could to end her crying, because for one reason or another, it pained him greatly to see her in this state.

He could not remember when it had started, or for that matter how, but he had recently felt himself being drawn to her. It was not a simple physical attraction to her beauty; he felt that for each of the girls in one way or another. This was a different feeling. It was warm, and subtle, yet definitely present. It was new and entirely foreign to him, though not unwelcome. It was this same feeling that now compelled him to act, telling him to comfort her, to take away her pain.

Thus, with renewed resolve, Ranma redoubled his efforts and blazed onward, quickly deciding on his next move.

He prepared himself for his second attempt and slowly rose from his seat. Once he had stood up, he walked around Ukyo until he was standing in front of her woe-ridden and sobbing form. Then, before she had the chance to turn away again, he knelt down, reached out, and carefully pulled her into a reassuring embrace. Ukyo visibly stiffened at his sudden actions, but this time, she did not pull away, she just laid in his arms, and continued to cry.

"I'm sorry Ukyo. I'm sorry for everything, for all the pain I've caused you. I never realized how all of this was affecting you. Please forgive me," Ranma spoke gently into her ear, just above a whisper.

Ukyo responded quickly after hearing his apology. She threw her arms around Ranma, holding onto him desperately, as though her very life depended on it. She continued to cry, and in fact, its intensity increased dramatically.

"It just hurts so much! Why does something so good have to hurt so much Ranma? Why does it have to hurt Ranma, why?" she choked out, mid sob, still holding him tightly. She paused momentarily to gather her voice and continued, "I love you Ranma. I just love you so much," she finished, placing her head on his shoulder, tears still streaming, uncontained, soaking the material of his red silk shirt.

"I know Ukyo, I know," he responded after a moment.

Ranma's response, though brief, and rather noncommittal, held so much kindness and possessed such a reassuring tone that it caused a momentary lull in the young girl's bawling.

Ukyo shifted slightly in Ranma's embrace, and spoke, her voice barely above an audible level, "How, Ranma? How can you know how I feel?" she asked, a slight bite of resentment in every word she spoke.

"Because I've felt something shift recently Ukyo," he began, "I don't really know it is, but the best way to describe it is I guess I'm falling in love."

Ukyo winced at this. She knew that he and Akane had always been somewhat closer than the other fiancés, due to the fact that they lived under the same roof. Thus, she came to the natural conclusion that he had finally decided to end this farce, and chose to end it with Akane.

"I'll give you a hint," he began whimsically, trying to lighten the mood, even in the least, "We have a lot in common, and I known her longer than any of the others," he said, the slightest hint of a smile making itself noticeable on his face.

'It has to be Akane,' she thought solemnly, 'that clenches it.'

"Please Ranma, stop playing games, and go. I know who you've picked, so just please leave," she said, letting go of him reluctantly and moving out of his arms. She pushed herself a small distance away and drew her legs close to her chest, and allowing her tears to once again fall down her face.

Ranma was somewhat puzzled at this, not understanding why she had pulled away from him, "Why? I though you would be happy when you found out that I loved you?" he asked, visibly baffled.

'Wait a second; did he just say that he loves me?' Ukyo quickly thought, her shock suddenly damming the flow of her tears. 'But he loves Akane, that can't be what he said, I must've misheard him,' she concluded solemnly, preparing to once again release the tears that threatened to overflow her eyes.

That is, until Ranma made his next move. As Ukyo was about to give in to another fit of sobs, he reached over and gingerly wrapped his arms around her shoulders in a comforting and protective way. He than leaned his head down to rest beside her ear and whispered gently to her, "I want to take away the pain Ukchan. I want to stay with you forever. I choose you. Ukchan, I love you."

Ukyo reveled in the feeling of his arms as they tightly, yet lovingly enveloped her. She was entranced by the feeling of his warm breath against her ear. So much so that she almost missed what he had said. She was certain of what she had heard this time, there was no way he had said anything else.

He loved her. It was what she had always wanted, what she had been striving for the past year, what she now had. Yet, she did not act as excited as she was. She did not suddenly spin around a pull him into a glomp that would put Shampoo to shame, she did not tackle him a kiss him passionately, fireworks going off and all of that. She just smiled, leaned back into his strong arms, and let a single joyful tear roll down her beautiful, soft face.

After a few short moments of enjoying each other's warmth, Ranma lifted his head and turned Ukyo enough so that he could gaze into the depths of her eyes. They sat there for what felt like forever to both of them, Ukyo studying the dark blue eyes that resonated so much love for her now, Ranma lovingly admiring a similar shade of blue that once held so much pain, but now only displayed joy and love.

What both did not realize, however, was that their faces were slowly closing the gap between them, almost subconsciously. This continued until their faces were mere inches apart, their breath mingling, each basking in the wonderful scent of the other. They were broken out of their stupor simultaneously, realizing what almost happened. Ranma took the lead and made the next move, deciding to finish the job. He removed his right hand from her shoulder and gently cupped her cheek, brushing away a stray tear that remained. He then closed the rest of the distance between their faces, his lips meeting hers.

Both of them being particularly inexperienced in the arena of kissing, it was by no means spectacular. It was simple, and soft. Though it was simple, it was filled with love, electricity passing through the small connecting they had made.

After what seemed like an eternity for the two involved, the kiss, which only lasted a few seconds in actuality, ended. They drew their faces apart slowly, giving only space enough to look the other full in the eyes, and see the emotion that so filled both. After moments, Ukyo took the reigns. She put her left hand behind his head and pulled his lips down to meet hers.

This kiss, now that both were experienced practitioners of the art of kissing, was much more involved than the first for both parties. It was brimming over with passion that was until now unknown to them. Even the rather cliché sparks were flying, and the fireworks were shooting off.

Ranma soon felt Ukyo part her lips slightly, and graze the surface of his lips with her tongue, begging for entrance to his mouth. He was more than happy to oblige her and he too parted his lips, and extended his tongue as well, tracing the shape of her lips, and afterward, explored the inside of her mouth, simply enjoying her taste too much to stop.

The two eventually ran short on breath, and were forced to part. As they separated, each panting from the shear passion of the most recent joining of their lips, Ukyo leaned back into Ranma's arms, enjoying their strength and the powerful muscles hidden by his red shirt. Ranma rested his head atop hers, and the two sat this way for several minutes, recovering from the kiss, and basking in the warmth created by their close proximity.

Ranma was the first to break the silence, "You know, I'm glad I decided to take a stroll tonight," he said with a slight whimsical note to his voice.

"I can't say it was a bad idea," Ukyo quipped. She then continued in a more serious tone, "The only thing I'm worried about is the other girls. They're all my friends, and I really don't want to hurt any of them," she said, sounding somewhat worried.

"Don't worry Ukchan, we can find a way to break it to the gently. Everything will be fine as long as we're together," Ranma responded reassuringly, holding her tightly.

"You're right Ranchan," she said, closing her eyes and leaning further into his arms. "I love you Ranchan," she added softly, her voice barely above a whisper.

"I love you too Ukchan, and nothing will ever change that," Ranma answered, kissing the top of her head. "I should probably get back home before anyone notices I'm missing," he said as an afterthought, reluctantly letting go of the woman he loved and standing up.

Ukyo stood up in kind, and walked to the window with him. When they had reached their destination, Ukyo gave Ranma a farewell, "Good night love," she said, treating him to a long, passionate kiss.

"Night love," Ranma managed after they broke apart. He then shakily climbed out the window and jumped off into the night, bounding over the buildings in the direction of the Tendo compound.

Ukyo closed her window and returned to her futon. She laid back down and fell to sleep instantly, a contented smile on her face, now that she had Ranma, she would never have to cry herself to sleep again.

The End

Whew, that was quite a long little endeavor, but I feel much better now. It was kinda crappy, but I don't have much experience with romance writing, so that's kinda expected. I'm somewhat pleased with it overall, but if this was an actual writing attempt rather than me getting an idea down, and I took more time on it, I'm confident I could make it much better. But anyway, I don't really have much here, so I'm just going to ask that you review, even if it's just a flame, because any review is better than none. So with that, I'm going to say goodnight and goodbye everyone, and please review!