Arg, I am really not good at this kind of story, and had to struggle with every sentence this time. Please tell me what you think and please forgive me if it sucks…
(And please take into consideration that I'm not a native English-speaker, so some things might sound strange…)
Disclaimer: If I needed to earn money by writing, I wouldn't writhe this, because I get none through this.
All characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi
Pairing: Ranma/Ryoga, in a way…Dust
By Kia Vail-Kagami
Dust. Sweat. Blood.
The air is thick, heavy. It absorbs everything our fight is made of and gives it back so I can smell it, taste it, breath it in. The air tastes sweet, smells welcome. The air is different this time.
Sweat. Blood. Dust.
It hasn't rained in weeks, the ground is dry. Every step we take causes the dust to rise, until it hangs in the air like a veil. We are trapped inside this dirty cloud. He is trapped here, and I will not allow him to ever escape.
People are staring – I can see them whenever a turn makes me face the street. They are staring, interested, curious, but they won't come closer. They know something is different, and when I breath in this dusty, warm air I can taste their worry, their fear.
We fight in silence. No insults this time, no angry yelling. I do not tease as use to do. Nothing I would say could make things worse. Nothing he would say could express what I see in his eyes. Even the people that are watching us must feel the tension in air, and it keeps them away. Say away, guys. Someone might get hurt, if you come closer. But to be honest, I don't care.
Ryoga is silent, but in his eyes I can see a hatred stronger than everything I have ever seen there before. His eyes are deep, bottomless pools that lead straight to his soul. Every emotion he has ever had is there to see for everyone bothering to look. And nothing compares to the anger I see there now. Nothing compares to the hurt and the pain that is hidden below, and nothing compares to the betrayal.
And all these emotion are directed towards me. In all the time since I knocked him into the cursed spring he has never hated me this much. It's different this time.
He kicks, I dodge. The remains of his power that goes through my defence cuts my cheek. The taste of blood on my tongue. A smile upon my lips. Perfect.
His punches get even stronger in a new flash of anger. This is a game to you?, they ask. It isn't. I have never been this serious. This is the most important victory I ever gained.
The dust gets thicker as we move too fast for our spectators to follow. It has always amused me how everyone believes him stronger than me. He isn't. The only difference is that I am more aware of my strength and can control it, hide it. Just like I always stay cool while he hoses his temper. It is his lack of self-control that puts me in charge every time we fight. I win, always, but those victories are, indeed, hard ones, and they mean that much more to me for that. All my other so called rivals are dust beneath my feet. Ryoga is a challenge.
But now, it's different. What I have done has pushed him into a rage deep enough to drown everything else. Paradox as it seems it makes him calmer, more concentrated. It wouldn't be a shame to lose to him now. Of course, I won't lose. I never lose.
I have already won.
A step left, a turn, and his back hits the hard stone wall surrounding the yard after I turned the strength of his own attack against him. I am there in a second, pining him to the wall, my hands on his shoulders. I can feel the trembling of his body, see the tears in his eyes while I notice again how he is so very slightly smaller than me. My smile returns, but, oh, I am careless for a second. My hands on his shoulders can do nothing to block the kick in the stomach that sends me stumbling backwards, and once I have regained my balance he is already there, jumping over my head while using my own shoulders for support. Landing behind me he kicks my legs away and I fall, hard.
So much passion, and all for me. It feels so good. Listening to the distant beat of pain raging through my body I know that nothing has ever felt this good.
I wonder, briefly, if I'm loosing my mind.
If he uses his Shi Shi Hokadan technique now he would most likely kill me, and the threat of that makes all this so much sweeter. I don't know why he hasn't yet. Maybe he's thinking of all the people nearby who could get hurt. Maybe he's merely thinks it would be unfair.
As I fall I see a new face in the crowd, somewhere behind the dirty cloud around us. My turn now. I have not planned her in here but she serves my purpose just well right now. Fairness has never been one of my problems.
Having hardly touched the ground I rise again, straight into his fist. The punch sends me back down, harder this time.
A cry, shrill and concerned. Enter Akane. Stay away from him, she screams, as she struggles trough the crowd towards us. Eager to protect me, I'm so touched…
The tone of her voice reminds me of the screams of blind rage that left her mouth when I told her the truth about her beloved P-chan this morning.
Ryoga looks confused for a moment, he hasn't even noticed her presence before. It is fascinating to see how easily his anger is washed away to be replaced by hurt and shame. I use his distraction and dash forward – this has to end before Akane reaches us. She was useful for a moment but that moment is over and now her presence is only disturbing, unnecessary.
Probably, I note with some amusement, she thinks I'm doing this all for her. Defending the honour of my fiancee, regardless of the fact that I knew about his curse all along, regardless of the fact that there is not much honour to be defended, regardless of the fact that that he never even would have looked at her for half a second while she undressed. Not that I will remind her - she must not know yet that she was just a tool this time, to reach my goal. He must not know.
I do not hold back any of my strength as I slam him to the ground and something cracks when he lands on the hard, dry earth. Not leaving him time for any reaction that would not have come anyway I sit onto his chest and pin his army to the ground. The dust slowly settles around us.
He would not fight me anymore, even if he could. He has nothing left to give. Akane has defeated him for me.
She slows down, than stops. I pay little attention to her. Just don't come closer, girl. You will not take my victory here, so stay away.
You will not take him from me!
Ryoga's tears run freely now, drawing clean lines through all the dirt and blood on his face. In his eyes there is so much I can not describe. I could lose myself in them, anytime. Blood drips from my own face down onto him to mingle with his tears. The sun burns down on us. The wind has died.
You lose, Ryoga, I whisper.
He shudders. When I feel the movement I smile, and when he sees my smile he shudders again. I wonder what Akane would think if she could see my face now. What would you think, Akane?
"Why, Ranma?", he chokes out. My wight of his chest makes if hard for him to breath. I do not move.
I thought we were friends, his eyes say. We were. It wasn't enough.
As long as he hated me, or thought to do so, I was the centre of his world. He has given up on me. The anger has gone, and he would have left to find another enemy. I could not have let that happen. I had to do something about it. To claim what is rightfully mine.
When I look into his eyes now there is nothing of the careful trust I have seen there before. All I see is hurt and pain, betrayal and anger. No-one could ever hurt him as I have. It will bind him to me eternally.
"I will never let you go," I tell him, calmly, serene. He grows still beneath me, his eyes widening. There is nothing but darkness inside. He doesn't understand.
He doesn't understand.
It doesn't matter. He will. I will make him.
January 26, 2004