Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma½. There, I said it. Now you can't sue me! MWAHAHAHA

Author's note: I got the idea for this fic when I read vol.9 of the manga, where Ranma disguised himself as Ryouga's sister. There was a part where Ranma said he took Ryouga home hundred times before, and that made me think: there is more to Ryouga and Ranma's past than meets the eye, isn't there? So I decided to write this story.

This is not a shounen-ai/yaoi fic.

Sorry for any grammar or spelling mistakes. English is not my native-language.

Enjoy ^___^

And It Makes Me Wonder…

The cool autumn wind blew through the forest, taking with it dry leaves from the trees it passed and making them fall to the ground below, creating a lovely scenery of red and yellow flying and swirling in the air. Ryouga watched it with awe. He loved the autumn and the winds it brought with it. He blew a bang of hair, which fell on his face and wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. He looked up to the sky and smiled, breathing in the clean air of the mountains. The smile turned into a frown, though, as he noticed the dark clouds in the horizon. The fall, as lovely as it may be, always brought the rain with it, making the teenage wanderer look for a shelter. He had to admit that the rain didn't bother him as much as before now, though. About a year ago he and all the Jusenkyou cursed went to China. Ukyo gave them the tickets with the money she made in her restaurant. He never understood why she bought Shampoo a ticket, though. After all, both of them fought over the same guy, but he decided to drop it. This Ukyo can be a really nice girl sometimes…

He found a small clearing and set up his tent. After spreading his sleeping bag on the ground, he lit up a small fire and turned to cook his dinner- a cup of Instant Ramen. He crossed his legs and waited for the food to be ready, letting his mind wander in the meanwhile. At times like this he wished he were home, watch the rain pelt down through the window with a cup of hot coco in his hand… or better yet, with Akane in his arms. He smiled goofily as his thoughts turned to the girl of his dreams, who he met about three years ago- the prettiest, cutest, nicest girl he ever met, the girl, who treated him like a friend, the girl… who was engaged to Ranma Saotome.

Again he frowned as he thought of his rival and at times- best friend. That accursed Ranma always got what Ryouga always wanted, from food to girls. He still could remember clearly the first time he met the black-haired martial artist. It was in junior-high during lunch that Ranma stole the last bread from him. This cycle repeated on itself every day, until Ryouga got sick of it and challenged Ranma to a duel- a duel, which Ranma never showed up to. Sure, he claims that he waited there for four days, but Ryouga knows better than to believe him. He was sure that Ranma didn't even bother to show up. It was during summer vacation, so Ryouga didn't miss any school days.

He never left town when he was studying, otherwise he knew it would take him weeks to find his school again. His mother was home a lot during that time, and she barely even went out to shop. They used to order pizza or ramen for food. His mother wanted to spend as much time as she could with her son as he went to school, and she advised him never to leave town: whenever he sees that the houses are disappearing, he should turn back. It always took him hours before he finally got home, and he was always too tired to finish his homework. That was one of the reasons he quit school- the inability to keep up with the rest of the class. But as he thought of the past, he did remember a period when he always got home in time, and managed to finish his homework. It was during eighth grade, if he remembered right. He was home half an hour after school ended… if only he could remember why…

His eyes widened in sudden shock as he remembered, and a lightning struck, illuminating his small tent with bright light, as if to stress out the moment. He took his Instant Ramen cup off of the fire and began eating, reminiscing that winter day five years ago…

~\/~

It was the middle of December, and it was snowing. Hard. Ryouga wrapped his arms around his weary body in a failed attempt to preserve his body heat. It's been hours since school ended, and he still couldn't find his home anywhere. It was late at night, he could tell, and all the stores were closed, so he couldn't find a shelter in one until the snow ceased. It started snowing hours ago, and still didn't show any signs of stopping. Ryouga trudged his legs along the pavement, trying to find a dry spot that he could fit in. he felt numb all over, and knew he couldn't keep on for very long.

He felt himself fading out, and slid down along a wall to the ground. The fact that he was sitting on snow didn't bother him, for he was already frozen all over. His eyes were only half opened as he waited for the inevitable.

He was this close to fainting when he suddenly sensed a person standing next to him. He cursed himself for not noticing earlier, and he was sure that now he was done for. He could only guess what that person wanted, and he sure hoped that even in his condition he could still beat him up to a pulp. He stood up quickly, a move he soon regretted as his head started spinning and he fell beck down, holding his head in his arms and praying for help. He was too young to die!

"Lost again?" he heard a familiar voice and lifted his head to look at none other than Ranma Saotome, the boy he met a year before. Ranma was smiling. Not of arrogance or of joy over a victory. He was just… smiling.

"What are you doing here?" Ryouga asked hoarsely, trying to stand up again, but Ranma pushed him back down. "What are you doing?! Let me back up, you bastard!"

Ranma frowned. "And I thought that ya were dying. Silly me," he said, and Ryouga saw him fumbling in his pocket for something. When Ranma took his hand out Ryouga saw he was holding a bun. "I didn't finish my lunch this morning, so I left it in my pocket until I'm hungry again, but I think I'll give it to ya. Eat, it'll strengthen ya up so ya can keep on walking."

Ryouga cocked an eyebrow at the other boy. It was the first time that Ranma was actually nice to him. Instead of stealing his food, he gave it to him. Ryouga took the bread and ate it. It sure did wonders to his weary body, and he managed to stand up without feeling dizzy. "Thanks," he muttered.

"No problem," Ranma replied. Ryouga took a good look at the other boy, and was surprised. Ranma, like himself, was still in his school uniform. The only, yet important difference between them was that Ranma was only in his school uniform. He didn't wear any means of protection from the cold, while Ryouga had a heavy coat around him. It's amazing, when you think about it: here he was, fully dressed and freezing, and Ranma looked like the weather didn't even bother him.

"Say…" Ryouga began, "what are you doing here? It's gotta be at least minus twenty out here. Nobody is out besides us. Now, we both now why I'm here, but why you?"

Ranma's expression saddened. "It doesn't matter… what matters now is you- look at yourself- you're probably frozen all over-" Ranma stopped and looked around,"-and you're not even close to your house."

"It's not my fault that I keep getting lost all the time!" Ryouga shouted back.

"I wasn't blaming ya!" Ranma shouted back. Then he sighed." Now come on," he said," let's get ya home."

Ranma led the way. They walked for fifteen minutes until they got there. "Here's your house," Ranma said. "Now go to sleep. Last time I checked it was eleven PM, so it's about midnight now… well, gotta go. Smell ya later!" Ranma waved and hurried away.

The next day, before Ryouga could leave the gates of the school, Ranma stopped him and suggested that he'd take him home. "It'll save you time," he said with a wink, as if laughing at Ryouga. During the months that followed Ranma always walked Ryouga home. Ryouga still didn't understand why Ranma wasn't wearing any coat in the middle of the winter, while everyone else did. He never had umbrellas, either. One day, sometime during the spring, curiosity got the better of him and Ryouga finally asked the million-dollar question: "What's up with you?"

Ranma cocked an eyebrow. "Whadda ya mean?"

"Well, you never wore coats during the winter, never brought any umbrellas, you keep food you don't finish while most kids would throw it away…" Ryouga explained.

"Look," Ranma said. "My life is my life, and I'd really appreciate it if you don't stick your nose into it."

"Oh yeah?!" Ryouga countered.

"Yeah!"

A fight erupted after that, and ended with Ranma as the victor.

Ryouga decided to follow Ranma today. Nobody knew where he lived, and Ryouga decided to find out. He knew that Ranma could sense him easily, so he walked as for from him as he could, thanking god that he was walking in the busy streets… until he left town. If he lived out of town, why did he go to the school there?

"Didn't I tell ya not to stick your nose in other people's lives?" Ranma suddenly asked, making Ryouga jump lightly.

"Well, it's your fault for not telling me!"

"And it's your fault for following me! Why do ya care, anyway?" Ranma asked, turning around to face Ryouga for the first time.

"Because you're not normal, Ranma Saotome! You're not like the average kids."

Ranma shrugged. "So what? You aren't normal, either."

"Yes, but you're… never mind. I'll leave now, but meet me tomorrow at the vacant lot behind my house! We'll fight, and if I win you'll tell me everything!" Ryouga said and turned back, disappearing between the trees near the entrance to the town.

" Ya bet!" He heard Ranma calling back.

Ryouga didn't walk further, though. He waited until he was sure Ranma was gone, and then went to look for his house.

He got lost. After a week of walking and regretting for ever getting involved with this boy, Ryouga gave up. Fortunately, he was close to town when he did so he didn't have much more to walk… not that it matters any, when you have no sense of direction.

He spotted a green tent in the clearing on the hill closest to town, and was surprised to see Ranma coming out from it. It was early in the morning, so he figured he was going to school… maybe he should go with him.

He was about to call out for him when he heard another voice from the tent: "Ranma! I want you back here right after school ends! You still have much to learn! I don't care if that Ryouga needs your help- today you are learning a new technique, and we need to start early!"

"Yeah, sure," Ranma replied with a wave of his hand. He didn't seem to care too much about what that man said. "Bye, pop."

'Pop?' Ryouga wondered. That means… that the tent is Ranma's house?!

"Ranma!" Ryouga called. Ranma turned around, his eyes wide.

"Why the hell are you here?!!" he bellowed.

Ryouga put a hand behind his back in embarrassment. "Well, you see? I got lost and returned only now and…"

Ranma cut him off. "Never mind. Now come on- we have school. And it's the last day for me, too- I'm leaving with my pop to China tomorrow."

"China?! Why?" Ryouga asked, surprised. Why did they go to China in the middle of school year?

"To train," Ranma explained. "I'm aiming to be the best martial artist, after all."

"Hey, Ranma… we still have an unfinished fight!" Ryouga said, suddenly remembering.

"Leave it." Ranma said. Ryouga fumed. How could he underestimate him so? He attacked the other boy, but hit air. Ranma was already running towards the school gates.

The next day Ranma didn't arrive to school. Neither did Ryouga, for he decided to follow Ranma to China and finish their fight there.

The rest is history.

~\/~

Ryouga sighed and put his Instant Ramen cup away. He lay on his sleeping back with his arms behind his head, listening to the rain falling on the tent. Suddenly, a wind blew and took the tent with it, leaving Ryouga without any shelter. He stood up quickly and ran after the flying tent, but he slipped on the wet ground and fell. When he got up, the tent was gone… but he found something far better. He saw the lights of town below, and a smile spread on his face. He began running in the direction of the lights, but bumped into something.

"Hey, watch where ya… oh, Ryouga." Ryouga lifted his head and saw Ranma, again, in the middle of the winter without any umbrella or coat.

"Ranma! What are you doing here?"

"Stupid tomboy malleted me all the way to here. Say, the tent the I saw flying through the air earlier was yours, right?" Ranma half-asked, half-stated.

"Yeah," Ryouga said sadly. "Speaking of tents, have you ever lived in one, Ranma?"

"Why, sure I did, when we were in junior high I-" he clasped his hand over his mouth when he realized what he was saying.

"Ah-ha! I knew it! You did live in the tent I saw back then!" Ryouga said, content.

"Well, now I have a home, so leave it. Come on, I'll take you to my house. I wouldn't have wanted to be left out here in this rain." Again, Ranma saved him from the cold.

Ryouga followed Ranma down the hill and into the town. Both walked in silence, the rain providing the only noise around, until Ryouga broke it: "Why were you living in a tent?"

Ranma sighed heavily. "My dad had no money. The money he did have he stole, and all of it went to school. We didn't have enough for an apartment, or clothes, or food…"

"So that's why you always saved your leftovers…" Ryouga said, understanding.

"There, I said it. You happy now?" Ranma seemed annoyed that he had to tell this to someone. No one would have wanted for their acquaintances to know they were too poor to even buy a gum. "Where did it come from, anyway?"

"Well, I remembered that day five years ago, when you picked me up from the street and took me home," Ryouga answered.

"Oh, yeah. I got sick from my dad yelling at me so I went out for a walk," Ranma said with a laugh. Ryouga always heard people say "you'll find it funny in a year", but never really understood. The story did sound kind of funny, when you think of it…

"We're here," declared Ranma and opened the gates to the Tendo household. But instead of walking in, Ranma stopped and turned to Ryouga. "You know, someday, I'll have a real home, all to myself. No stupid parents or tomboys to push me around all the time… " His voice faded as he walked inside, leaving Ryouga outside to wonder.

So maybe Ryouga had better life than Ranma- he had a home, a strange, yet loving family, had money and clothes…

But the bastard still had Akane, and for that Ryouga can never forgive him, even if he helped him get home once.

"Ranma! Get back here!" Ryouga shouted and stormed into the house, starting yet another fist fight with Ranma, which once again resulted with Ranma as the victor.

The End

Author's note: Well, I hope you liked it. It's just an idea that popped into my head and I had to write it down.

Please review!