Stillness in Time

By Ninnik Nishukan


They opened their eyes more or less in the same moment, awakened by one another's stirring there among the sheets.

Her first impulse was to scream and kick him off the futon.

He stiffened at her odd expression; she looked just about ready to get violent on him.

A few quiet moments passed as her face settled down with the recollection of what had taken place. She'd allowed him to get into bed with her, so she had absolutely no right to get all outraged by his presence there.

It seems he, too, was gradually relaxing, his wide-eyed expression gone and the stiff dread around his lips melted away as it became apparent that he wasn't going to be punished.

Now they were simply staring at each other, which, on the whole, wasn't really that much of an improvement.

He wore such a disconcerting look in his eyes; she couldn't quite remember that he'd ever scrutinized her like this. He was staring at her openly, at her face, at her tousled hair, naked shoulders, collar bones and even at the top of her breast, halfly hidden beneath the sheets. She wanted to cover herself up completely with the sheets, but something inside made her stop; some treacherous part of her liked that he was watching her like that. It wasn't a lustful gaze, just something...uncertain, careful, almost soft...

She gazed back at him, unable to tear her eyes away from his broad shoulders, messy hair and serious expression. At last he squirmed a little, barely moving, showing some amount of discomfort in their current situation. He wondered for how long they were going to be silent as he lay there, his thoughts flying a mile a minute as he tried to decipher her expression, as he tried to figure out what she was thinking, and why she wasn't saying anything.

If he were to speak first, what was he supposed to say?

If he were to move first, what in the world was he supposed to do? Leave?

He'd become aware that he was naked beneath the sheets, completely naked, and some nervous prediction coursing through his taut body told him that she was just as naked as him, which was probably why neither of them were moving. He wanted to sit up and check if his clothes were lying close by, but his rigid body, feeling as if it was being held down by magic, wouldn't let him. Lifting boulders and crushing them under his strong grip; that he could do, but to move under her intense look, that he could not.

Her brow knitted worriedly, and his eyes travelled across hers and up to the delicate skin of her temples and forehead, then back down across her eyes and to her mouth, some alien feeling of longing threatening to take hold of him.

"Ukyo..." His hoarse voice immediately broke, forcing him to clear his throat.

Somehow this broke the spell, and Ukyo sat up, pulling the sheets further up her body and around her.

Which obviously wasn't a very good idea, seeing as they were both wearing the same sheet.

Protesting in his still groggy voice, he pulled at the sheet before Ukyo could remove it completely from his nude body, which in turn resulted in Ukyo being exposed.

Their upper bodies now uncovered, they froze as they stared at each other, a wild, confused expression haunting both their faces for a moment as they were rendered motionless once more. His eyes travelled involuntarily down her front, to her full, rounded breasts and flat-toned stomach, and he felt his cheeks heat up. Quickly returning his gaze to her face, he was awed to find the same redness present there as she studied his muscled torso and belly.

She noticed him looking at her and she met his eyes. For a short moment their gazes locked intensely before they both turned redder, turning away from each other. Ukyo slid underneath the sheets and so did he, both hiding their bodies again.

"Ryoga?" Ukyo finally asked hesitantly.

Staring up into the ceiling, he drew a breath. "Yeah?"

"What...what are you thinking about?" She wanted to know.

He swallowed. "I'm not sure..."

"Do you know why we...?" Ukyo left the question hanging, sounding almost afraid.

Knowing what she meant, his head spinning with possible answers, Ryoga found none, only a question. "Do you hate me?"

"What?" Ukyo raised herself up on one arm, staring down at him, careful to hold the sheet to her bosom.

Ryoga bit his lip. "Isn't this kind of thing...usually a guy's fault? If something like this happens?" He risked a glance at her.

Anger flashed for a moment behind her eyes before she sighed. "Give me some credit, Ryoga. I'm not a helpless little girl, I can take care of myself and make my own decisions."

"S-so you...you decided to do this?" He asked, eyes wide and staring.

She grabbed a handful of his hair, outraged. "Are you accusing me of planning to seduce you?!" Normally, Ukyo would have grabbed his shirt, but seeing as he wasn't wearing any...

Ryoga sat up now as well, Ukyo's hairpulling giving him no choice. "What am I supposed to think with you giving me those cryptic answers?" He glared at her. "Could you let go of my hair? That kinda hurts, you know!"

Ukyo pursed her lips, loosening her grip on his hair, letting the soft strands slip slowly through her fingers for a moment. "Okay, okay...I'm sorry." She sighed in defeat.

Ryoga huffed indignantly, turning his head away from Ukyo.

After a while, he felt a hand on his arm. Looking around, he met Ukyo's warm smile.

"I don't hate you."

Exhaling in relief, he pulled her towards him on an impulse, wrapping his arms around her in this position, both sitting on their knees, kissing her forehead gently.

"Now see," Ukyo said, amused, as he released her, for some reason reluctantly, "that's the kind of thing guys are supposed to do the morning after."

Ryoga knew his blush was matching hers. "You...what...why did we..."

"Maybe...maybe I did plan on it, I'm not sure..." She searched his eyes. "I know I wanted it, at least."

"So you don't think it's a bad thing, what we did?" Ryoga's eyes widened in realization.

"Do you?" She asked, voice trembling a little.

"Nah..." He grinned, warmth spreading throughout his body at the fact that she really wanted him. It was unfathomable, yet the very fact of it was present there in her eyes and her voice. "As long as you don't."

"I think it's a good thing." A smile tugged at the side of Ukyo's mouth.

He lay back down, pulling her with him, not quite sure if he was supposed to snuggle with her, but wanting to lie down and have her at his side, at least. "I'm pretty sure...that I wanted you, too."

"It eventually became apparent, yes," Ukyo answered cockily, grinning.

"Um...I was wondering...what did you drink last night?" Ryoga asked, concern and newfound uncertainties welling up in his voice.

"Just a glass of wine," Ukyo said firmly. "in fact I think I only had half of it."

Ryoga licked his lips. "So..."

"I was busy cooking, so I didn't really have time to drink much, and I'm not a big drinker." Ukyo shrugged, before turning inquisite eyes on him. "What about you?"

"Nothing." Ryoga grinned slowly. "I got here too late. There wasn't much left."

"Geez!" Ukyo rolled her eyes. "When those old men start drinking there's just no stopping them, is there?"

Ryoga chuckled. "You got that right..."

Ukyo sat up now, rubbing her shoulders. "Ow...I think I may have been sleeping crookedly..." She glanced at Ryoga pleadingly. "Would you mind...?"

"Of course not," Ryoga smiled pleasantly, sitting up with her, taking her narrow, smooth shoulders underneath his warm, hard palms, rubbing away, kneeding the kinks out of her sore muscles. Ukyo didn't care when the sheet slid off her upper body and left her breasts exposed. It wasn't as if he hadn't seen them before. She blushed as she recalled the things he'd done to them during the night.

"So..." This time it was Ukyo's time to lick her lips. "you said you didn't drink, huh? So this isn't just some...you know, just some kinda...thing...um, I mean, even if you didn't drink, it could still just be some kind of...err..."

Ryoga rubbed her more thorougly, and she groaned a little as the tension bled out of her. "To be honest, I'm kinda wondering the same thing," Ryoga said quietly. "What does this...what does it mean to you, Ukyo?"

Ukyo closed her eyes as she contemplated it. "Well, I..." She swallowed, feeling that he owed him the truth; there was something in his voice that haunted her, perhaps the fear of rejection. Well, she was an expert at rejection; she knew perfectly well how much it hurt. "I'm afraid to say anything, Ryoga."

He stiffened, holding his breath, and she turned in his arms, nudity be damned. For a moment he looked frozen in terror, but relaxed slightly as she slipped around him and started kneeding his shoulders instead. He sat crosslegged with a bundle of sheets across his lap, trying to still his breathing as he listened to her.

"I'm afraid that I'm reading too much into it, or that you are reading too much into it, or that you're not reading anything into it at all...you know?" She whispered as she massaged the knots in his back and shoulders. "You wanted to know what this means to me?" She sighed. "Well, it means...it means that I'm not a virgin anymore."

Ryoga stiffened again, icy guilt turning up in his gut like a lump of poison.

Ukyo leaned into him, her cheek resting on his neck. "But I'm...I'm really glad that it was you."

He craned his neck too look at her, and Ukyo's eyes welled up with tears as she caught his grateful expression. He looked adorable: dark, moist eyes underneath black bangs, a small, blissful smile playing on his lips.

"In fact," she went on, suddenly wanting to lavish him with compliments, "I couldn't have asked for a more considerate guy to have my first time with. You were so..."

"Um, Ukyo?" Ryoga's smile vanished as quickly as it had come as he caught sight of something hanging on a hook on the wall. How could he not have noticed it before?

"Ryoga?" She asked tentatively, wondering if she'd said something terribly wrong.

"Do you realize whose room we're in?" He asked slowly, starting to feel a little queasy.

"Uh..." Ukyo turned her head to see what he was staring at, and gasped. A red Chinese shirt. Her thoughts spun back to last night; they'd simply picked a room at random, and what with Ryoga leading and all... "Maybe we should get dressed--"

Their heads snapped around as they heard the sliding door opening followed by a loud yawn.

There was another red Chinese shirt standing in the doorway, this one occupied by one Saotome Ranma, who just couldn't believe what he was seeing.

When the door opened, Ryoga had already put himself more firmly in front of Ukyo, his arms spread, shielding the view of her naked body from Ranma's staring eyes. Ukyo clung to Ryoga's back, breathing in gasps, her face threatening to explode with blushing. Somewhere in Ryoga's mind he registered the fact that Ukyo had not in fact flung herself away from him yet, nor was she yelling out things like "It's not what it seems" to the shocked Ranma. Furthermore, Ryoga began to grow certain that if Ranma should catch a glimpse of Ukyo naked, he, Ryoga, would simply have to punch his lights out.

"Uh..." Ranma said intelligably.

"R-Ranma," Ukyo stammered, clutching Ryoga's shoulders.

"Um, Ranma?" Ryoga grinned sheepishly. "C-could you just give us a chance to get dressed?"

Ranma tilted his head, eyes locked in a seriously baffled grimace before shaking his head as if trying to rid himself of unwanted thoughts. "Uh, yeah...see ya." He waved half-heartedly before leaving, closing the door behind him.

Ryoga glanced at the alarm clock by the futon. "Geez, it's only five in the morning."

Ukyo collapsed against his back, shaken by the unnerving experience. "Oh, gods...that was just..."

"Awkward?" Ryoga grinned, but his eyes held not a small amount concern. He brought Ukyo around to face him, studying her face. "Ukyo?" He murmured eventually, touching her arms, caressing them.

"It's just that..." Ukyo's voice became thick with emotion. "It was my first time and it's was in his room!" She exclaimed.

"I see." Ryoga sounded bitterly disappointed. "Would you rather it was him?"

Ukyo looked up at him sharply, narrowed her eyes at him for a while, a sad look stealing over her. "No."

He drew a sharp breath soaked with intense emotions, trying to steady his thoughts.

"No, Ryoga. This was just how I wanted it." She whispered, leaning into him. "It's just that for my whole life, Ranma's been such a dominating presence, and I thought that just for once, I'd have something that was just mine..."

"Did you think about him last night?" Ryoga asked, determination burning in his voice.

Realizing what he meant, she smiled gratefully at him; he had a lot more sense than people thought. "No," She answered happily, brightening up. "I guess I didn't." If Ranma hadn't been in her thoughts, hadn't the experience been her own, then? "If I had the chance, I'd do it again."

Smiling shyly, Ryoga reached out to cup her chin, tilting her face up. "Maybe we could...?" He murmured, placing his lips over hers. Her body pressed closer to his as they explored the kiss further, and he felt his manhood stiffen again. Pulled back to reality by this, he broke the kiss, panting as he watched her beautiful face. "Um, we should probably get dressed..." She interjected, panting as well, and he nodded reluctantly.

They both felt suddenly shy at their complete nudeness as they had to stand up to go about gathering up their clothes. Ukyo caught a glance of his semi-erect manhood and reddened severely as she remembered the pleasure it could give her, and had given her several times the night before. She felt her ears heat up as she recalled how it felt in her hand; hard, smooth, searing hot... not to mention how it felt inside her...

They laughed a little as they found Ukyo's bra hanging from a lamp and Ryoga's boxers on top of a small souvenir statue on Ranma's dresser.

Ryoga gulped as Ukyo had to bend over to pick up her socks, and for an almost horrified instant he realized he was forcing himself not to walk over to her and sink into her womanhood from behind; he wanted to caress her body, kiss and lick her neck, feel the sweet scent of her hair in his nostrils, wanted to please her in any way she wanted him to--

Just like last night...

Shuddering from the almost painful pleasure these mental images were bringing him, he quickly slipped on his clothes, the usual yellow shirt and the dark pants, sighing in relief as Ukyo finally got dressed as well. His overactive imagination didn't make it much easier on him, but at least she wasn't naked now. She'd been cooking last night, so the clothes she wore now was her chef's uniform, sans chest bindings, and her brown, smooth hair hanging freely, framing her beautiful face. Somehow this calmed him; she looked like the Ukyo he usually knew, Ukyo the okonomiyaki chef, not Ukyo the glorious, naked goddess.

She stood there before him, smiling for a long moment, but as she started looking at him stupidly, he finally snapped out of it and realized that she was trying to show him something.

"Oh." There in her hand was his bandanna. He was puzzled as his fingers brushed his hair briefly; he hadn't even noticed it was gone.

Smiling coyly, she stepped up to him, tying his bandanna around his head, having to stand on tip-toe and lean against him to be able to reach high enough, her fingers brushing the sensitive nape of his neck, giving the bandanna tails one last tug to make sure it was fastened properly. Leaning back a little, Ukyo smoothed down his hair, and content with her efforts, she planted a modest peck on his cheek.

For some reason this made Ryoga breathe more heavily than when he kissed her, or when he'd seen her naked. This small gesture rooted in him the knowledge that many things had changed. Many things had become different during the last few months; they'd grown closer and had gotten to know each other, but this-- this meant something else. Gulping down air, he moved to hug Ukyo close to himself.

"Growf."

Ryoga blinked. Why did Ukyo sound for all the world like a--

"Saotome-san!"

The panda held up a sign saying "This is my room, you know."

"Uh, um...of course..." The two mumbled, embarassed as they backed out of the Tendo guest room.

They hurried downstairs, keeping their eyes glued to the floor. Living in Nerima should logically prepare one's nerves for interruptions at the absolutely worst moments, yet one never really got used to it.