Legal Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2. Rumiko Takahashi's. Not mine. This holds no legal weight and is an excuse for me to write something silly and/or offensive.
ESCAPE FROM RANMA SAOTOME!
Presented by The Anonguy Workshop
[Step 1: Recognizing your problem is Ranma Saotome]
Akane, Ukyo, and Shampoo are sick of your shit
Ranma Saotome's scream faded as he neared suborbital flight velocity over the City of Nerima, the young man leaving behind yet another swath of hilarity in his wake. At Ground Zero of the latest termination of hijinks, Akane Tendo, Shampoo, and Ukyo Kuonji lay on the ground in the middle of what used to be a street festival, now a ruin after events better not discussed.
Lying on her back, arms spread out, Akane watched as Ranma became a distant twinkle in the afternoon sky and let out a sigh. Like the other two girls, she was covered in dirt, her clothes were torn in places unappealing and otherwise, and some of her hair was singed. Another stupid fight that left her day ruined and Ranma on his way to the next prefecture–wait no, Ukyo definitely hit him towards Tokyo Bay this time.
"This was stupid," she said aloud.
Ukyo let out a weak, sardonic laugh. "I thought it was going well until Kuno attacked Ran-chan… and the chickens started exploding… and the Nationalists dancing in…"
"None of that stuff even matters," Akane quickly snapped. "As usual, he says something so stupid that someone has to hit him, and the only thing that surprised me this time was that you hit him before I did."
"You know, with it ending up like this, why do we always end up fighting each other over him?"
"Exactly." Akane sat up. "Ucchan, you and I can get along like perfectly civilized human beings, friends even, but the moment Ranma's on the line we both go at each other's throats and it always ends like this."
Ukyo nodded in agreement. "A whole bunch of screaming and fighting and nothing to show for the investment made. For once I'd like to get a little something-something out of all my time and effort."
Shampoo let out a brief but loud and very sharp laugh. Akane and Ukyo stared at the purple-haired foreigner.
"Don't even start," she said. "You don't know anything about time and effort."
"And I suppose you do, Miss 'Throw your Naked Self' at him?" Ukyo asked.
"Only reason Shampoo in this stupid country, dealing with stupid girls, and getting into stupid fights is airen. Would be on next boat to China otherwise."
Akane huffed loudly. "I'd pay for your tickets myself if you left now!"
Ukyo smirked. "Oh poor you, stuck in an awful country for a guy who doesn't even like you. Try being his friend for ten years, and him not even realizing you were a girl or that he and his idiot father abandoned you!"
Akane snorted. "Really? You're going to play that card when the moment he said you were cute, you dropped that whole vendetta of yours and got all cuddly with him?"
"At least he thought I was cute," Ukyo sniped.
"Aiya, airen have crappy taste in girls. Look at Shampoo, so beautiful and he act like Shampoo spit poison from every orifice." Shampoo finished with a rueful snort at the end of that little pot shot.
Ukyo and Akane leveled their harshest glares at Shampoo, and it was Akane who finally formulated a comeback. "You mean you don't?"
"Sometimes Shampoo wonder, with how he gets. Shampoo come to him in bath, he becomes stammering idiot, nose doesn't even bleed. Shampoo waiting for him in bed, wearing cute underwear, he goes running away. Shampoo even invite airen for quick fun behind Cat Cafe and he act like Shampoo speaking Korean or something."
Akane and Ukyo's glares were less harsh, and more aghast. Well, Akane's was. "Is that all you can think about, doing perverted things with Ranma like that?!"
"Haven't you?" Shampoo retorted.
Akane recoiled at the very thought, her cheeks flushed scarlet. "I-I-I…!"
Ukyo too began to blush brightly. "Well, the thought has certainly crossed my mind… but…"
"With stuck up girls like you, Shampoo should have easy win, but he always pussy even when he don't have pussy." Shampoo's expression became rueful again. "Could get any other boy in this stupid country up my skirt…"
"So why don't you?" Akane recovered enough to ask, trying to get her emotions under control just a tad. "If it's so easy for you to get any man you want, then why don't you hop off and leave us alone?"
"And is this some kind of expression of your devotion?" Ukyo added before Shampoo could retort. "We have a saying in my family, 'just because you don't eat okonomiyaki everyday doesn't mean you love okonomiyaki more than anything else.' "
Shampoo glared at them, wishing for the energy to restart the earlier fight, but alas, she was too drained to leap over there and smack two bitches.
"What? No witty comeback?" Akane asked, crossing her arms bruskly.
"Not that, just wondering what two little girls like you know about real love." Shampoo settled down and loaded up her next verbal shell. "If you think you can judge Shampoo's love for airen, ask yourself what makes what you is doing better?"
Akane and Ukyo looked at each other for a brief moment, trying to gauge which of them would be the first to leap over the edge and answer the challenge.
"Shampoo is waiting…" The Chinese Amazon sing-songed, tapping a finger against her arm.
"Okay, so maybe neither of us are exactly fit to judge you, but that also means you can't judge us back." Ukyo took a second option and went for blithely dodging the question. "You're frustrated right?" Ukyo turned to look at Akane.
"I'm the Bitch Queen of Frustration, most of all with all this pointless fighting," Akane said, her tone bluntly smacking against the air.
"And Shampoo frustrated with everything in general," Shampoo said, turning away just a tad.
"And I'm frustrated with giving everything and getting nothing." Ukyo pointed at Shampoo. "And the same is for you, and Akane as well. So let's stop trying to one-up each other on who is the most frustrated and turn our attention towards fixing things."
Shampoo jumped out ahead, to present her favorite solution. "Oh that simple, you two give up airen and we go back to China."
"Yeah, not gonna happen," Akane said, shaking her head emphatically no. "I think we need some kind of compromise that leaves us with what is best for all of us."
"Well that means anything where two of us quit and the other takes him is out." Ukyo leaned back. "And I ain't about to share him."
"Pity, that solve everything," Shampoo bemoaned, though she agreed with the sentiment of not sharing him. "So what we do?"
"Well, we all are frustrated with him and our situation." Akane stretched a little as she looked up at the sky. "So, just to put it out there, why do we even bother?"
"We all love him in some way right?" Ukyo asked, wondering what Akane was hinting at.
"And where has that gotten us?" Akane gestured at the ruins of the festival. "Alone, in the ruins of another day, left feeling frustrated and tired. And he's the bar isn't he?"
"Bar?" Shampoo asked, not understanding what the hell that meant.
"Think about it, Ucchan and I are perfectly good friends except where he's involved. And the both of us are wary of you because of him as well. We're all frustrated and it's all because of him." Akane wished for the energy to stand up at that point, but she settled for a half-hearted fist pump. "So why do we need to keep giving him such control over us? I know I could live without sitting on the edge of my seat thinking he's going to do something even a quarter of the way romantic as a sign of how he feels about me."
"And I could certainly do without wasting my time trying to get him to do more than bum food off me." Ukyo nodded, getting what she was saying. "Yeah, and I know I could live without being drug into some fight because I think it'll help him recognize me as his only Fiancée!"
Shampoo looked at them both like they were nuts, before she took a deep breath to steady herself. It wouldn't due to get swept away in the mania, but they did have a point. Most of their problems could be blamed on Ranma, even if superficially.
"Shampoo can admit there is truth in what you say." Shampoo measured her words carefully, making sure to say exactly what she meant. "It true that Shampoo would not be here, stewing in frustration as airen leaves Shampoo cold yet again because of him coming to village. It true that maybe we might be friends if he not in the way. But what you saying? We all give up on him?"
"Well do we have anything to lose if we do?" Akane found she was asking herself this as much as she was the other two, but she didn't feel much weight in it. "I mean, what do we get from him now other than all of this?" Akane's gesture to their devastated day drove the question home, and made the answer a lot easier to accept.
"She's right," Ukyo said, her voice lowering to a whisper as she came to face the reality. "We can't lose something that wasn't there to be lost to begin with. All we're doing is chasing empty headed daydreams in the hopes of healing the damage we've done to ourselves."
"We is frustrated." Shampoo closed her eyes as everything began to click into place. "And airen is source of frustration."
"So why do we keep risking our comfort so he can sit back and reap the benefits of our toil?" Akane gripped her hands to fists for one brief moment as she asked.. "I say it's time we put him through the ringer and let him twist in the wind for a while. Maybe we can decide if he's worth picking back up once we can properly assess things without him in the way."
"This means we give up on him for now?" Ukyo thought it sounded half hearted, but just dropping Ranma at all seemed like a big step to take.
"Maybe for good," Shampoo said, looking Ukyo in the eyes. "If happy without Ranma, no need be miserable with him."
"Let's just agree that none of us are engaged to him, and that we'll stop fighting altogether," Akane spoke up, using what energy she had regained to shamble over towards a relative center for the three. She placed her hand out a little, looking at the others. "I renounce Ranma Saotome as my Fiancé."
"I'm in, as long as you both are," Ukyo said, maneuvering to place her hand on top of Akane's. "I also renounce Ranma Saotome as my Fiancé."
Shampoo looked at the two hands, then up at their owners. If she had the energy, she might have been tempted to try and run away and pretend like she tricked them. But she didn't and they'd easily cancel their renouncing of Ranma if she had been able to try. However, this was still a big decision for her…
But lord was Shampoo tired of being the invader, the enemy to unite against, the one who must be defeated. It sucked and it hurt that she couldn't make friends with them at all before, but now they were extending an olive branch to her. They were willing to remove the obstacle between them and let bygones be bygones. And thus her decision was…
"Shampoo in. But if you is give up halfway, Shampoo will crush without mercy." She made it over and placed her hand on top of the others. "Shampoo renounce Ranma Saotome as airen."
A pregnant silence followed, as the three girls stood with their hands piled over one another's. For long lingering seconds the doubt reigned, as if each was expecting the others to declare them suckers and run off laughing. As those critical seconds passed, relief began to set in.
"We were all thinking the same thing just now," Shampoo said with a bit of a smirk.
"That one of us was going to cut and run?" Ukyo replied before giving Akane a look.
"Hey, I'm the one who thought of this, I should be surprised that you two didn't." And Akane genuinely was.
Shampoo snorted at the absurdity of it. "Tomboy lot of things but she can't be dishonest to save life."
"So… what happens now?" Ukyo tentatively put forth.
Akane shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I could definitely go for a bath right now. You're welcome to come along."
It was far easier for Ukyo and Shampoo to agree with that, at least.
As Ranma finally swam to the shore of Tokyo Bay, she couldn't help the sensation that weighed on his-turned-her shoulders. Did… did someone just yank the world out from under her?
With a shrug of her shoulders, she forgot all about it and headed for home.
Heaving a deep sigh, Akane luxuriated in the bath, allowing the hot water to do its job and wash away her aches. She had really gone and done it, and now she had to live with the fallout. But that would be a slow falling thing; the axe perched above her head, because she wasn't going to shout it from the rooftops just yet.
It was enough that the three of them knew and reached their agreement, and as such they didn't need to tell him just yet he had been dumped. Not until they could make sure they could live up to their bold words and declarations. But those were things for the morrow, as she really just wanted to focus on recovering her strength.
Deities above knew she'd need it.
That was the funny part in all of this, the principle riders had shut this little merry go round down. It was time to turn away from Ranma Saotome and move towards a new light, a new source of happiness. Where they would find it and how it would turn out would be half the fun.
And maybe the other half would be making him squirm, and twist. To see his face twist and twitch as he wants what he can no longer have. Even now, alone in the bath, she could still feel the lingering effects of the fight that day. It had been different from other fights, more fiercely charged and tightly contested. They almost never went that hard, that heavy, that desperate at one another before. But now they had reached a settlement, one to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity to them all.
It was unbelievable to think that they had done it, that they had finally cast off that loathsome engagement. How none of them chickened out even a tiny bit was amazing to her, but that was because the act was still fresh in the bones, the reaction had yet to fade away. But there in the bath, she could relish her freedom, even as a darker part of her fantasized about the look on Ranma's face when she told him they were through.
And then after that! She was free to do as she wanted. She could do what she wanted to do, get involved with the people she wanted to involve herself with. Fall in love with whomever she wanted to fall in love with!
Raising a hand from the bath water until it was firmly over head, she pulled her closed into a fist and savored the feel of power that coursed through her. Her energy was returning, her fatigue was going away, and her strength was coming back. Everything was right there for the taking, all she had to do was reach out and grab it.
"Akane-chan, Shampoo is here to see you," Kasumi called politely through the door.
Hadn't even been two hours. "Okay, I'll be down in-"
Shampoo walked through the door, destroying it. Well it was better than the wall, though it didn't do much for Akane's indignation.
"Okay, why did you do that?"
"Great Grandmama threw Shampoo out. Live here now."
Akane stared blankly at Shampoo, a litany of reactions to this revelation piling up at the back of her mind even as she flatly replied, "What."
Not 15 minutes ago…
Having emerged from her bath, Shampoo stepped out of the bathroom and was on her way to her room to sleep off the rest of this roller-coaster ride of a day, when Cologne appeared before her.
"Shampoo, I heard that you ran into some trouble again at the festival. Don't worry yourself; I happen to have another idea for you… to…" She trailed off when she saw that something was definitely off about her Great Granddaughter.
Shampoo stared at her Great Grandmother, the unceasing scream at the realization that she'd have to explain herself to her matriarchal elder almost deafening between her ears.
Apparently Cologne could hear it too, because her buggy eyes narrowed. "You are too easy to read, Great Granddaughter. Did something happen?"
Shampoo's mind raced. What was she supposed to say to her, that she was done with Ranma? That she was wasting the best years of her life (and fertility) on a guy who couldn't even give her the courtesy of being aroused when she came onto him?
Amazon Law demanded that she bring Ranma home, and now she was going to tell the highest law of her village, her own great grandmother who had so much hope for her success, that she was no longer going to be party to this Sisyphian effort?
"I gave up on Ranma, I don't want him anymore," she plainly revealed.
Cologne pointed down the stairs. "Get out."
15 minutes and one brief explanation later…
Akane, now seated at the living room table across from Shampoo, wore a dumbstruck expression on her face.
"Just like that?!" She honestly could not believe it.
Shampoo shrugged her shoulders. "Law very specific, must chase Ranma to ends of Earth to marry, can't go back until then."
"And giving up means not even Granny can support you…"
Shampoo nodded. "Shampoo don't care, though."
Akane blinked a few times. "You don't? Why?"
"Saw bright side."
13 minutes and one explanation ago…
"What do you mean Shampoo is now an outsider?! Old bag, I will not stand for this injustice!" Mousse passionately yelled at a coat rack. "And when did you get so thin?!"
Cologne popped Mousse one good with her staff as Shampoo watched from the doorway of the Cat Cafe. "It is the law, if she refuses to marry the outsider she has let down the pride of the village-"
Mousse stopped her right there. "Wait, Shampoo doesn't want to marry Ranma?!" Pushing his glasses over his eyes, he whirled upon his purple-haired vision of beauty. "Oh Shampoo, I knew you would see the-"
Before Shampoo could punch him him out a window, Cologne clubbed Mousse even harder, stopping him cold. "None of that, the last thing we need is for you to have an excuse to chase her if you get your skull caved in."
Shampoo gave pause. "Wait, you mean he-"
"You are an outsider now, we will have nothing to do with you. Not I, not Mousse, no one of Joketsuzoku."
"I object!" Mousse yelled before he was turned to a duck with a hastily summoned bucket of water. As he quacked angrily, Cologne turned to order Shampoo out, only to find she was already gone, and down the street cheering and hollering.
I've lost count of how much time has passed…
"So, you're not actually upset that you've been abandoned by your village," Akane said flatly.
"Small price to pay for never having to deal with Mousse again," Shampoo replied with honest cheer in her voice. "This good idea, kill two birds with one stone!"
"But you're homeless in a foreign country," Akane pointed out.
"It okay, Shampoo stay here, be good guest."
That was not a request, and as cheerful as Shampoo was, Akane rightly deduced that the Chinese girl was holding her accountable for her newly acquired homelessness.
"Oh if you have nowhere else to go, you're more than welcome here, you poor thing," Kasumi said gently as she set out snacks for Akane and Shampoo.
"Thank you," Shampoo replied politely.
"Ah… but why did Granny ask you to leave? It seems so sudden."
"A little, yeah," Akane said gamely. After all, Shampoo was still only wearing the towel she had stepped out of her shower with.
"Shampoo give up engagement to Ranma, outsider now."
For the first time since her hair had been shorn off by Ryoga, Akane saw Kasumi so surprised that she lobbed her tray of treats across the room. This time, Ranma wasn't there to catch them. Oh yes, telling everyone that she was done with Ranma too was going to be spectacular. Who knew, maybe she'd even get a reaction out of Nabiki.
"I can't believe I agreed to this."
Ukyo was regretting the deal already, as she made her way from her bathroom to the back office of her restaurant, which had closed up early. A moment of weakness, and she had been convinced to swear off Ran-chan by her very rivals for his affections.
"I'm so stupid. Akane-chan wouldn't dare to be so sneaky, but that Shampoo! She's probably out looking for him now to tell him how Akane and I dumped him!" In mid-rant she sat down at her computer and brought up her paperwork. After today's disaster, she still needed to write up the product she ended up wasting during the free-for-all.
"Come tomorrow," she lamented, "The Amazons will be gone back to China and Ranma will be with them. This is just the worst…"
Or maybe, she less hysterically assured herself, even Shampoo was legit about The Great Ranma Ditching. She really wanted to believe that.
Nevertheless, the numbers she soon saw on the screen took her mind away from the panic she was flying in and out of. Perhaps it was because she was desperate to do anything to take her mind off Ranma, but she immediately noticed something wrong about her waste numbers.
"… These are way too high."
Pulling up a calculator app, a real one of her own out of one desk drawer and an abacus from yet another, she began crunching numbers while entering them into her worksheets. Flour, vegetables, sauce, meat, one by one she entered the items in and when she hit enter, she was stunned at the result.
"That's a month of product in a week!" she shrieked. "No wonder I'm barely in the black!" The numbers staring back at her forced her to examine everything that she knew about her typical businessweek. "D-Do I really waste that much just on Ran-chan?"
The answer stared back at her with an almost mocking indifference. The times he came over to grab a quick bite and hang out a bit, or bringing him lunch at school, or making new okonomiyakis to replace ones lost in scuffles. Or the times he seemed bummed about something so she'd whip him up one, or using them as notes to him. Even the ones she used as challenge letters to Akane or Shampoo popped in through her mind as she came to several realizations.
Okonomiyaki was relatively cheaper food product to maintain due to buying in bulk deals, plus how little it took to make a batch of batter in comparison to other things like maintaining a noodle joint. That was part of the lure of it; cheap to maintain, easier to turn a profit because of how many you could feasibly crank out for even a fraction of the overhead costs. But there was the particular rub to all this, and what was absolutely killing her profits…
She wasn't getting a single yen back on a month's worth of products!
Furiously, she went over her math and redid the numbers, this time adding in small fee to see what she'd have gained from this product waste. Again, she was left stunned, almost numb as she stared at number before her. 10 freakin' yen, just 10 FUCKING yen and she'd be further into the black instead of hovering at the red line. It didn't take her long to realize that she didn't need to run anymore numbers, with such a low variable showing that much of a shift, things would only get more ridiculous.
"Thank you Akane-chan." Ukyo whispered, breathing out a sigh of relief. Her rival's decision to talk her into dumping Ranma meant it would be easier to cut him off the free food teat. "Oh boy, that means I have to tell him…"
A loud rapping noise stirred her from contemplations, and she got up to see what was causing it.
"Speaking of Cao Cao," she muttered to herself, contemplating waving at him through the window and going back to her office. But no, she had to get through this now or else she was liable to lose her nerve. She walked over and opened the door, but only just a tad. "I don't know if me hitting you earlier knocked out your ability to read sugar, but I'm closed."
"That's not stopped you letting me in before." The redhead retorted, wishing she could have gotten some hot water before now.
Ukyo turned away to hide her wince, as her old stupidity came to bite her in the ass. "Well come on in then, we got some stuff to talk about anyways."
There was that bad feeling again, but Ranma instantly ignored it as she slipped inside. Sure Ucchan was the one that knocked her out of the park this time, but she was easily the most forgiving and forgivable of her Fiancées. She had nothing to worry about.
"Here." Ukyo offered her a glass of warm water, which she graciously took and became a he again. "Take a seat over there?"
Ranma took a seat, shaking some water out of his hair as Ukyo went behind the griddle. "So," she began, "I just got out of the bath and was doing some numbers, and uh… I have a waste issue."
"So, what you need help taking out the garbage more?" Ranma asked.
"It's a shorthand term for any expenditure I make and I don't make any money back." She tapped the griddle with one of her spatulas to draw his attention. "I have to buy all the ingredients for the okonomiyaki, so I have to sell them so the cost of the fixings doesn't start hurting my regular bottom line."
Ranma stared at her blankly, showing he didn't quite grasp it. That or he was incredibly hungry and the mention of food zoned him out a little…
"In simple terms, I'm spending a lot of money but not seeing any money back because, well, I don't charge you for the okonomiyaki you eat. Or the ones I use for other things." She sighed, as she steeled herself for this next part. "If it was just a very small amount, I could deal with it, but I ran through the math… and just last week I wasted a month's worth of supplies. I'm now buying a month's shipment of toppings, flour, and what not every week and that stuff adds up."
"So? Just raise your prices for a bit, it'll be fine." If he understood any of what she was saying, Ranma's face didn't show it. "But since I'm here, can I have some?"
It was like a jet of cold water straight to her face, it was like he didn't care. No, it was that he didn't understand enough TO care and he wasn't about to break his comfortable stride for her. She bit back an angry retort and looked at him pointedly. "Do you have any money?"
"U-Ucchan!" He sounded hurt, but she didn't find herself particularly caring at the moment.
"Ran-chan, look. I can't keep absorbing the costs for just giving away my product. In another month or so, I'm basically going to be out of business." She breathed out a sigh, and looked at him fully. How scared he looked, but she couldn't read if that was fear for her or fear of losing a free meal whenever he wanted it.
"Can't I just work here as a waitress? Business always seems to be good when my girl side is here." It was a sensible reply after all, and one she considered for a very brief amount of time.
"No." It was clear he didn't want to start paying, and even then, he'd be likely to sneak a few samples here and there. If she couldn't trust him to understand what was going on with her, she couldn't really trust him with such an important job. "I'm sorry, but I have to cut you off, Sugar."
"But nothin'! I'm going down the drain fast, and the fastest means of my survival is wrenching you off the free food train." Plus, getting indebted to him would make things even harder for her in the future. It was almost funny in a way, she'd have jumped at the chance to have him around earlier this morning… but that was before she decided that she had to break free. The money situation only further helped this decision.
He mumbled something she didn't quite catch.
"Sorry, I didn't catch that?"
"It's weird, the C-c-cat Cafe was closed when I stopped by for some ramen." In fact, the door was boarded over even. "And now this…" He kept talking but her ears failed to catch it as she came to a simple revelation.
Shampoo had stayed true to her word! And with that simple thought, all of her reservations for their little plan disappeared. She took a steadying breath as she looked into his confused eyes.
"Are you ok?" He did seem genuinely alarmed; she might have had a weird expression on her face.
"I'm fine." She took one more breath, gathering up her strength. "Ran-c-, no, Ranma, I think it's time we called the engagement off."
Ranma blinked, like one would expect an owl too. "Come again?"
"Let's be honest: You don't really want to marry me, and as I examine things as they are now, I can't afford to marry you anyways. So, to sum it up, I'm not your Fiancée anymore, and as such, I'll ask you to leave now." Unknown to Ukyo, her right hand balled into a fist, as she stared a hole through him.
Ranma was having a difficult time processing this. Was Ucchan… dumping him? "This… this is some kind of joke right? Or are you still angry about today? It wasn't my fault, you know how Kuno is, he attacked first-"
"Ranma, it's not just about today, it's about a lot of days… every day since I first came here to deal with you. You… you're my friend, and I won't forget that, but the engagement ain't gonna work and today helped me realize that. I'm sorry."
His brain was full of fuck. "Ucchan…"
Ukyo took a deep, reaffirming breath. "So unless you plan to pay for some Okonomiyaki, I'll again have to ask you to leave."
Ranma stared in disbelief. Numbly, as though not quite himself, he got up and walked out. Watching him go, Ukyo suddenly felt a stab of lingering guilt, and almost opened her mouth to stop him, but then she remembered how much money she'd be making without him leeching off her stock, and her resolve completely solidified.
"I did it," she whispered to herself as the door swung closed. "I… I cut him off."
She had doubted, hesitated and nearly faltered, but it was done. Now she could focus on what was important to her.
"If Shampoo can do it, so can I." Walking up to the door of her restaurant, Ukyo shut it behind Ranma.
The door to Akane's closet swung open, and Shampoo began to peer around inside in search of clothes. It brought her back to a conclusion she made about the girl a ways back. While not the most skilled martial artist, and annoying in every way to her, Shampoo certainly admired Akane's fashion sense and the wardrobe she kept with.
"It's really crazy to think," Akane mused as Shampoo looked through the clothes. "Just a couple hours ago, we were battling like we were going to kill each other and now here you are." She tried to pace her thoughts a tad, after all with the ball rolling; it was only a matter of time before her own confrontation with her promise.
"It insane, Shampoo not even believe is happening." Shampoo looked at a particularly cute blouse and thought about how it'd be to wear it. "What think? Is good look for Shampoo?"
"I guess," Akane said, picturing the bubbly Amazon in the top, but found it odd to her mind, "Though my clothes might be too cutesy for you."
"That ok, Shampoo all about cute." To demonstrate her point, Shampoo reached up and pulled down a sunhat from higher in the closet and put it on. "Nihao?"
Maybe a little too cute, Akane thought as she laughed a little at the display. She shook that thought away. "Well as long as you like it, you can wear it until we can get you some more clothes."
Taking off the hat, Shampoo went back into the closet. "You too, too kind. Shampoo need new job, though. Is loopy doctor still around? I make good money as assistant to him before."
Akane blinked a few times. "Actually, I don't know…"
"Eh, if not I work at Spatula Girl place. She pay good, right?"
"Eh…" Akane shrugged her shoulders. "You might have to ask, I never inquired."
Shampoo finally found something worth putting on, and stepped out of the closet again. "How these?"
They were a pair of shorts that were clearly a bit tighter for her than they were Akane, a fact that Akane found herself lingering on briefly as the Chinese girl turned around to show off how well they clung to her curvy hips.
"They might be a little small for you," she replied.
Shampoo turned her back to Akane and swung her hips. "Shampoo think they perfect. Bring all boys to the yard."
Akane looked aside, to avoid staring at her hypnotic hinny swaying side to side. "Don't you start with that kind of talk. Ranma always got like that whenever he wound up in my clothes."
When she looked back, she recoiled when she saw Shampoo looking over her shoulder, on the verge of laughing. "R-Ranma wore your clothes?"
"Back when he first showed up, yeah. He never hesitated to talk about how the hips were too wide, or the chest was too loose, either."
Shampoo gave Akane a look, and then down at her shorts. "You hips about same size as Shampoo's, very nice. Got cute butt, too."
If Akane didn't know better, she'd swear she was in the Twilight Zone what with Shampoo complimenting her. "Oh, thanks…"
"Spatula girl has nice body too. Not curvy like Shampoo or with good hips and butt like you, but still very nice. Ranma got bad, bad taste in what he think attractive. Shampoo think that because they don't look like his girl side."
Akane snickered. "Well he always boasts about how hot his girl half is."
"Really not that hot," Shampoo admitted. "Shampoo got nicer body, bigger boobs too."
When Shampoo cupped her breasts for emphasis, Akane looked away with a mild flush on her cheeks. "Yes, I'm sure they're bigger than everyone's bar Kasumi's, now can you put them away?"
Shampoo smirked. "Aw, jealous? Or just like what you see?"
"Put on a shirt!" Akane snapped at her with a much darker flush.
Shampoo laughed and rather than put on a shirt, she continued to show off by folding her arms underneath her chest. "It's okay to be envious, but you still growing girl, yes? I'm sure you will be almost as good as Shampoo one day."
Akane rolled her eyes. "Please, no more!"
An idea then illuminated Shampoo's eyes, and her teasing smile became a touch sinister. "In fact, Shampoo know Ancient Chinese technique to help."
"Really?" Akane quickly schooled herself, in vain. "I mean, I'm sure you do."
"Yes, behold Shampoo ancient massage technique!" Shampoo declared before she pounced on Akane playfully.
"Ah, no!" Akane squealed as Shampoo's "massage" turned out to be little more than an absurdly effective tickling of her ribs and sides.
As Akane was laughing a thousand deaths, downstairs Ranma walked in to find Kasumi cleaning up the mess Shampoo's surprising revelation had caused her to make. Seeing food all over the floor, ruined, just broke his hungry heart even further.
"Kasumi, what happened?" He asked.
The eldest of the Tendo girls looked up. "Oh, Ranma-kun you're home! I'm sorry, I was given quite a shock today when Shampoo came over."
Ranma grew aghast. Something Shampoo did gave Kasumi a shock? What could she have done to make gentle, kind, and completely oblivious Kasumi react so much as to cause a mess of something? Rather than ask, Ranma immediately jumped onto the logic train… express to Insane Troll City.
"First Ukyo dumps me, and now Shampoo's scaring Kasumi… oh no. That's it! Shampoo has done something to make Ukyo hate me, and now she… Akane!" Ranma grabbed Kasumi's shoulders. "Where's Akane?!"
Kasumi would've explained the situation regarding Shampoo's change of heart to him, but she was currently in shock about Ukyo jumping off the Fiancée bandwagon too. "U-upstairs."
And he was off like a gunshot, running upstairs in less than a second and charging for Akane's door. Throwing it open, he stormed in. "Akane! Shampoo's trying to-!"
There was Akane laying on her bed, pinned down and straddled over by Shampoo. Shampoo was topless and in a pair of shorts that were perfectly taut around her backside, and both her hands were up the t-shirt that Akane wore as if she was feeling… up… her…
Ranma's brain stopped, unable to process beyond what he was seeing. As he waited for it to respond, a positively livid Akane got up from the bed and reset his brain with a punch that launched him out the room, bounced him off the wall, and sent him tumbling back down the stairs.
A few minutes later, after Shampoo finally put a t-shirt on, Ranma came walking up the stairs and calmly knocked on the door. Akane walked over and opened it. "What do you want?"
Ranma just kind of stared at her as he answered, "Shampoo brainwashed Ukyo and Ukyo dumped me."
"No I didn't," Shampoo pointedly responded.
Ranma fully rebooted and pointed at her. "Yes you did! Why else would Ukyo just dump me AND stop giving me free Okonomiyaki?!"
Akane rolled her eyes.
Shampoo remained lukewarm, but direct. "Shampoo think because Spatula Girl no like you anymore."
"Or maybe because you brainwashed her so you can have me for yourself, and you're going to do it to Akane too!" Ranma assumed a fighting stance. "I won't let you!"
"But Shampoo no want Ranma anymore either," the Ex-Amazon pointed out.
"That's what you would…!" Ranma stopped. "… You… what…?"
If Ranma Saotome's brain was a manual transmission, the gears would have been grinding and smoking due to the lack of a clutch. Well, actually from the fact that Ranma never drove stick before in his life.
"Shampoo no like want Ranma anymore."
At this point, punching himself in the face would've done him no good. For a few seconds he stood there, a deer in the proverbial headlights, trying to comprehend what was going on. Pride and ego howled, fear roared, logic and reason whispered unheard in the deafening din, and despair lead the unholy choir that raged in his brain before something finally got through.
"YOU TOO?!" He finally yelled.
"Yes, got thrown out of village and everything, but worth it." Akane could almost swear Shampoo was enjoying this now. In fact, she was.
"But… but you can't just stop liking me!"
"Shampoo already did… thirty-five minutes ago." Oh yes she was, Akane could see it now.
"What for?!" Ranma demanded. "This is unbelievable! You've been doing nothing but fighting over me and now you just-just give up?! This is a joke, right? Or-Or some twisted attempt to make me choose you?" Ranma sounded almost desperate. "You can't just stop liking me!"
"Says who, Ranma?"
"Damn right says Ranma!" Ranma shouted indignantly.
Shampoo looked off to the side to Akane. "Who he think he is?"
Akane shrugged her shoulders. "I've been asking myself that since he came here."
He began to pace around. "I mean… you… doesn't…" Running his fingers through his hair, he held out both hands towards her. "What about all the times before, where you'd stop at nothing to get me, that doesn't mean anything anymore?!"
"It mean everything, why Shampoo not want date anymore," Shampoo explained. "Not worth the trouble."
Ranma stopped; she was saying the same thing Ukyo was saying. "Wait… you've been brainwashed too!"
"Oh my God," Akane whispered.
"That's it! This is all some kind of scheme by-by someone else to mess with my head!" Ranma was pitifully grasping at straws now. "Kuno! Or maybe Mousse got into the really good stuff! Maybe Taro's back! Yeah! He's going to catch me off guard by making everything not make sense anymore, the crafty bastard!"
He clenched a fist. "Don't worry, I'll figure this out Shampoo! Everything will be back to normal soon-!"
"OH MY GOD, ENOUGH!" Akane yelled. "Ranma, Shampoo and Ukyo don't love you anymore, so get over it-!"
The door was all but knocked off its hinges, as Soun and Genma interrupted the entire scene altogether by barging in.
"This is wonderful!" Soun shouted while Genma, in Panda form, waved a sign that said about as much. "Ranma, my boy! The playing field is now clear!"
Ranma whirled upon Soun and his Pop. "W-what?!"
Taking one side, Soun patted him on the shoulder, as Genma wept tears of joy at the other. "It's been months, many months, since this crazy love triangle or square or whatever first started. But look, the interlopers have given up their claim! You have no other Fiancées after you!"
At the Kuno estate, Kodachi suddenly felt neglected… more than usual.
Genma held up a sign reading "You can now marry Akane with no interference!"
Ranma, being angry and irrational as he was, immediately stuck his foot into his own mouth, by kicking himself in the ass.
"I DON'T WANT TO BE STUCK WITH JUST THAT UNCUTE TOMBOY!"
Shampoo looked from Ranma to Akane, and then back to him as he realized what he'd just said. Turning away from the horrified realization engraving itself into Ranma's visage, she looked back to Akane, who was slowly drawing in a deep breath.
Genma flipped his sign around to read "Idiot", as Soun prepared to go all demon transformation to intimidate the young man to take back his words. That all stopped when Akane began laughing.
Soun and Genma, startled, turned to face the youngest Tendo. She fell onto her bed, throwing her head back and laughing hysterically as if Ranma had actually said something good instead of his usual Ranmaisms.
She fell over to her side, pounding her fist onto the bed and occasionally burying her face into the mattress to muffle her loudest peals. Soun, unsure of what to do, tried to start laughing as well hoping this was one of those American sitcoms where everyone randomly laughed as a group and it was never awkward. When no one else started, he trailed off and cowered behind Ranma.
Genma too grew a bit nervous, sweaty even and he too fell back behind Ranma, and held onto Soun in fear.
"A-Akane?" Ranma asked tentatively, as she began to calm down.
Pushing herself up and still giggling, Akane calmed down and stared at Ranma.
"I hate you," she said with all of her heart. She was perfectly calm, elated even. He made this easier than she'd ever expected.
And for the first time since Ranma's spiral of confusion began, he received the message clearer than any he had ever received before. "W-what?"
"You're a useless, arrogant jerk who only thinks about himself. I hate you," Akane replied as she got up. "I'm standing right here, and you're upset about Shampoo and Ukyo dumping you. I'm still standing right here, and you tell Daddy that you don't want to be stuck with just me. I'm standing right here, in front of you, and you have the absolute gall to say that."
She pointed to the exact spot she stood. "Right here, I'm always right here in front of you when you do or say something stupid, mean, or perverted. You never consider my feelings, because you can't consider anyone or anything but yourself."
Ranma recoiled, though not as dramatically as he normally would. "H-hey-!"
"Don't you say anything! You're not going to say anything until I'm done!" Akane quickly cut in, elation replaced with a measured indignation. "I didn't want to marry you in the first place but when you weren't acting like a spoiled, narcissistic bastard I almost, almost thought maybe you could grow into someone I could love. But you. Don't. Want to."
"But-!" Ranma tried again, but Akane silenced him with a furious look.
"I told you to not say anything until I'm done!" Akane hissed. She stepped forward, with none of her usual anger. This wasn't her normal tirade of frustration, this was the opposite: catharsis, an airing of grievances and concerns. "You didn't want me, or Shampoo or Ukyo. You want girls to chase after you! You want to be the center of attention! You want to feel like a man! I'm tired of it, they're tired of it, so I convinced them and we all agreed to drop you because this is so stupid!"
Ranma shook at her words. Even more shaken was Soun, who could not believe that the patience of his daughter had finally run out. "Akane, what about the schools-?!" He stopped when Akane pointed at him.
"You don't say anything either!" She lowered her hand and sucked in a deep breath as she turned her attention back to Ranma. "I'm tired of living for you, you stupid idiot. I want to live my own life. Where I am happy. Without you. So I'm done with you." She turned away and walked back to her closet.
"So everyone not Shampoo, get out of my room, now."
Ranma just kind of stood there, as he tried to find a way to reassert himself. He was the bad guy in this? Suddenly all the crap that she pulled on him didn't matter?! The abuse that he suffered at her hands, feet, and tables were just a drop in the bucket compared to the things he allegedly did to her?!
Fists clenching and huffing loudly, Ranma prepared to fire back. He was going to hit back with all the times she hit him and called him a pervert and-
"I just told you to leave." Akane was holding a glass of water, picked up off her desk.
Ranma stared at it, and his eyes grew wide.
Akane tossed the water onto Shampoo.
The piercing shriek Ranma let out jolted Kasumi from her shock. Looking for the source, she caught the briefest glimpse of Ranma running past her and out onto the patio, chased by Shampoo in cat form. Stopping at the door as Ranma put a him-shaped hole in the wall surrounding the Tendo home and Dojo, Shampoo's tail pointed upward in satisfaction, and she turned to trot to the kitchen.
"Where did we go wrong, Saotome?!" Soun bawled at the top of the stairs as Shampoo, once more human, made her way back up them. "They were such a lovely couple! Full of youth and fire!"
"No Discipline, absolutely none," Genma's sign read as Shampoo casually strolled past them and went back into what was now her room.
"You dad is an idiot," Shampoo said as she closed the door behind her.
"If you only knew," Akane lamented before she did a double-take. "Are you just a nudist or something?!"
Shampoo looked perplexed for a brief moment, then down at herself. "What?" She looked back at her. "Shampoo perfectly fine with body and someone get Shampoo wet and make lose clothes."
Akane palmed her forehead. "Sorry, I just wanted to get him out of here." She sat down on her bed. "Thanks, though."
The Chinese girl smiled. "No big deal, Shampoo actually like making Ranma freak out."
"I never would've guessed."
Shampoo sat down next to her. "You okay?"
Akane let out a sigh, and then smiled. "I feel like I just got a big weight off my back. I said everything I wanted to say to Ranma, and it feels really good."
Smiling herself, Shampoo hooked an arm around Akane and pulled her into a hug. "Good! Shampoo would have ended tomboy if pussied out and got all weepy about dumping Ranma." She pulled Akane into a tighter hug. "Now we can focus on fun, fun things and have happy times, yes? Even find boys we like."
Mid-cuddle with Shampoo, Akane let out a sigh and relaxed enough to return it.
"Yeah… boys we like…" she mumbled to herself.
A/N: Why hello. We are The Anonguy Workshop. A group of collaborators who will publish stories that mess with you in some way. We hope that you like what we dish out~.