Hiroshi frowned as he chiselled the stone statue, something wasn't right about the way he felt. Every time he thought about Ranma, he got an odd feeling inside of peace, warmth.... caring.

It confused him, it didn't feel familiar. It didn't feel like how he felt about Daisuke or the rest of the guy's.

*Confusion* Hiroshi absently thought *Is usually brought about by only dwelling on surface thoughts.*

He latched onto it, while he continued with his statue. He had often thought and chiselled at the same time, and hardly ever noticed what he was doing or making out of the stone.

It had started about three weeks ago, when Ranma had had a nervous breakdown, and run tearfully from school. That night, Ranma had fallen asleep at his house... an utter look of peace and happiness on her face.

The next day, Hiroshi had done everything he could to try and help Ranma cope with some of his problems, and then the fight with Mousse.

Four times now Hiroshi had endangered his life in a valiant attempt at deepening that friendship he held with Ranma. It had deepened. Very much.

So the day's passed, as Ranma came frequently now over to his house to work on her clay statue of Akane. He had told her that it was delicate and fragile to work with clay, that one must be gentle... and Ranma was. The gentlest person he knew.

He recalled with fond regard when he had showed her how to mold a face, using himself for an example; telling her to close her eyes and trail her hands over his face, then try and recreate it....

His arms had been wrapped around her from behind, as he helped her ever so slightly, and they both blushed at the strange closeness at that moment.

Another thing came to Hiroshi's mind, the fact that he had begun referring to Ranma as a girl. Not by accident every once in a while, but now it seemed a full time reference.

His sister tried to help him use correct sexual terms, but soon he forgot again....

There was that... and her smile. *Her smile is so beautiful.* Hiroshi found himself smiling at the thought. He loved seeing Ranma smile. He loved seeing her laugh, he loved looking into her eyes.

Hiroshi frowned again. *What am I saying? She's my friend.* Hiroshi continued thinking, his hands moving unconciously as he continued chiselling.

He recalled all the things they had shared, stories, secrets, pains, fears... and he had listened to each, in awe and happiness. Happy that she was there, happy that she smiled when he said something that touched deeply on her emotions, accurately on her heart....

Hiroshi froze in movement, as his eyes fell on the statue. The chisel and hammer dropped from his nerveless fingers.

Warmth. Happiness. Her Smile. Her Laugh. Her Presence. Her eyes. Her hair. Her Honesty, Compassion, caring, honor.... Her tortured soul, her aching heart, her sadness....

They all touched him.

They all moved him.

He denied it, shook his head, told himself that this was wrong, he was being childish in thinking something like that.

But he knew now, what he was feeling. He knew it with a dread. Tears stained his face as he realized his doom. His hand came up and carressed the cold cheek of the statue.

"I Love You, Ranma." Hiroshi trailed his finger across the cheekbone of Ranma's cold-stone face as the tears flowed freely. He had not noticed what he had been carving for a week. He had known it was a girl, thought with excitement it might be someone he Loved.

He looked at her face, the delicate cheekbones, the small nose, her strong gaze; he noticed the clothing he had finished was the Chinese vest, and he dropped to the ground, wrapping his arms around the statue.

"Ranma.... Kami Help Me, I'm in Love with you."



And Love.

What was Hiroshi's Fate....

* * End 2:1* *

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Next on Ranma 1/2! Ranma finally gets tired of Akane's cooking, and Challenges her to a duel of Cullinary Expertise! But who'll be the winner in this battle of baking? Join us Next Time for Ranma 1/2 FC Edition: A Cullinary Catalyst, Ranma's Challenge of Taste!

((Ending Song is "Equal Romance" With added Pics of Hiroshi and Ranma in the Vault with their Statues, and Daisuke hanging out with Ranma and Hiroshi.))