The rain was pouring on the streets as Ukyo decided to close shop that night. It was so bad that her usual late night crowd, who ate a quick meal before grabbing the last train into Shinjuku or Shibuya, were nowhere to be seen. After turning the sign over and locking the front door she turned back, towards her small business office.
"Konatsu, clean up, then get some rest," she said softly to the kunoichi turned assistant.
"Ukyo, if it stays this bad, they might have to issue a flood warning."
"Let's hope not. We're killing for business."
"And also..." Kontsu said sheepishly.
"I... I'm scared of thunder."
As if on cue, a large bolt of lightning lit the neighboring blocks, which was almost immediately followed by a loud crack and rumble of thunder. Konatsu yelped and kneeled, cowering behind the grill.
Ukyo looked at Konatsu incredulously. Here was a fighter as capable as her or Shampoo, maybe even as good as Mousse and Ryouga, scared of thunder. Hell, Happosai the grandmaster lech called her a 'genius kunoichi'!
"You're kidding me, Konatsu."
"Hey!" Konatsu pouted as he stood up again, "that fiance of yours is scared of house cats. How can you make fun of me for being scared of something actually scary?" The kunoichi looked down, clasping his hands together daintly, looking like a scolded child.
"Okay, okay. Sheesh. Stop that. That's not very manly of you, you know."
"I'm sorry Ukyo. Old habits die hard," he said looking up at Ukyo.
Ukyo nodded and chuckled a bit to herself, "No, I guess they don't. I mean, get a load of this outfit." She gestured with hands up and down herself. She was wearing her blue vendor's outfit, mostly in the same style as her father's, the only feminization she introduced was to add a pair of dark tights to the ensemble. Ukyo also thought about the sarashi she wore, looser than when she was trying to pass as a guy, but still present and making her figure distinctly androgynous.
"I've always thought you were beautiful and feminine enough. You shouldn't sell yourself short just because that Amazon is a femme wrecking ball. You're more feminine that even the Tendo girl half the time."
"Yeah, fat lot of good that does me."
"I mean, no offense Ukyo, but even your fiance, when he wants to, can be girlier than Shampoo, and he's as masculine as they get!" Ukyo started looking irritated and growled slightly.
"Look, I'm just saying Ukyo. We are who we are." Konatsu looked down again at his feet, "I'm trying to assert myself as a man, but I was raised as a girl and there are lots of things I like about being girly, even if I'm not a girl. You're a lot like me, which is why we're friends. I think."
Konatsu looked up again at Ukyo. For a second, Ukyo stared at the kunoichi and said nothing. She opened her mouth as though about to yell or berate him, but stopped suddenly and sighed. She put a hand on his shoulder and looked at him.
Ukyo spoke softly, "I don't want to think about it anymore today, Konatsu. Let's just finish up. I gotta tally the take for tonight. Sweep, mop, and clean the grill. Then we'll clean and sanitize the tools and we can call it a night, okay?"
"Yes, ma'am," Konatsu straightened up and bowed to Ukyo.
"Okay, okay. No need to be formal. We're friends, after all, Kona-chan" she said with a wink, "If we get it done quickly, maybe we can watch a movie before turning in?"
"I-I'll do my best!" Konatsu said, energetically as Ukyo walked back into her office, a slight smile forming on her face despite herself.