"Ranma, is that you?"
The petite redhead stiffened and slowly turned around. "Ryoga?" she whispered with a trembling voice. Her eyes were wide with surprise.
"What the hell are you wearing?" The lost boy had not seen his long time rival in a while, not since he accidentally hit her with the magic koi rod. "I've never seen you... look so... feminine..." The young redhead looked into Ryoga's eyes. What he saw there worried him. For the first time that he could remember, Ryoga saw fear in Ranma's eyes. Fear and something else he couldn't define. And Ranma truly did look like a girl. More so than when he tricked the lost boy with is various disguises.
The young red haired woman quickly looked down, her hands clasped in front of her. "Hello Ryoga. It's been a while," she said in a soft contrite voice.
Ryoga felt a chill run down his spine. Something was wrong, and he didn't know what exactly it was. Normally the young martial artist would automatically attack his pigtailed rival, but he still felt guilty for how the koi rod made Ranma act three months ago. "Y-yes, it has."
"What are you doing here?" she asked in the same soft voice, still not looking up. Ryoga could tell that Ranma was extremely tense, which was unusal. She was always so relaxed regardless of the situation.
"I was trying to find the Tendo dojo," he said casually as he shifted is weight from one foot to the next. "I guess I made it back to Nerima, since you're standing in front of me. I got a souvenir for Akane."
"This isn't Nerima," the pigtailed girl stated. "I don't live there anymore. This is Shinjuku-ku. I live with my mom now."
"Oh." Something was definitely wrong. Usually by now, Ranma would be insulting him and trying to egg him to losing his temper. Ryoga knew he couldn't control his temper well, especially around his arch rival.
"It's nice to see you again," the redhead commented. "I've missed you."
"Umm... Ya whatever," responded the lost boy. He ignored the last statement completely. "So why are you dressed like that anyways?" Ranma was wearing a light blouse, and a dark green skirt that barely reached her knees. It was obvious she was wearing pantyhose and she wore pumps. She had a small black purse slung over her shoulder. There was a hint of make-up on her face and she was wearing jewelry.
The young woman looked up finally and took a deep breath. "Mom said if she had to have a daughter, she wanted a daughter that dressed properly and acted like a lady."
"Oh, so your Mom made you dress that way." Ryoga couldn't help but snigger at that. Even if he still felt a bit guilty about his previous actions against the pigtailed martial artist, he couldn't let up the opportunity to rub it into his rival anything that would cause her discomfort or embarrassment. "I guess you are turning into a real proper girl under her guidance. Did she set up your bridal training too?"
He watched the petite redhead flinch. "Yes," she replied.
Ryoga waited for the normal outburst that he was use to from the pigtailed martial artist but was surprised with that one word answer. "Ranma, are you okay? You're not acting like you normally do."
The petite redhead looked up with a worried look. She bit her lip at first. "Ryoga, do you think I'm pretty?"
The dark-haired boy's eyes grew wide. "What the hell are you asking me that for? Are you sick or something?"
Ranma drew back at the lost boy's reaction. "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you mad."
"What's going on Ranma?" Ryoga was becoming irritated with his rival, something he was use to. It didn't take much to pissed the young man off with anything regarding the pigtailed martial artist. "You're not acting like you normally do."
The red haired young woman sighed. "I think it's best if you disappeared from here, Ryoga, if my mom knew you were around, she'd hunt you down and try to kill you. Same with the Tendos, I don't think you should try to go to the dojo."
"Ranma, what kind of game are you playing?" the lost boy growled. Ryoga was getting tired of playing any of Ranma's games. She was always pulling some crap to make him look bad and embarrass him. And now the Tendos and Ranma's mother wanting to kill him? There was no way he would let Ranma get away with something like that!
"Ryoga, I'm serious. I don't want you to get hurt. Please just go away, and be safe." The redhead martial artist's voice trembled as she said that.
"Ranma, I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on! Why the hell would the Tendos or your mom want to kill me? Akane would never do something like that anyways. She's too sweet."
The petite redhead sighed then looked around as if checking if anyone saw them. Finally she turned back to the lost boy. "Follow me, it's not good to be seen together. I'll probably get in trouble if someone finds out."
"Ranma, I'm not in the mood for any of your games. Just tell me what's going on!"
"Please Ryoga," the redhead pleaded. "I'm not trying to trick you or anything. I swear! Just follow me."
The young man finally relented with great reluctance. Ranma lead Ryoga to a close by ally. As soon as the lost boy turned the corner, he was grabbed by the collar and slammed against the wall. Before he could even protest, he felt lips tightly pressed against his own. In reflex, he tried to gasp in surprise but was stifled as a slick tongue entered his mouth. Ryoga was lost in sensation as Ranma's tongue explored his mouth. The confused boy couldn't remember exactly when he started to kiss back, as stunned as he was.
Finally the kiss ended. Ryoga was slumped against the wall trying to catch his breath. He did not know if his legs would support him. Ranma inched away from the dazed boy and sat down on one of the crates against the wall.
"Sorry about that, Ryoga," the petite red haired girl stated in a calm voice. "Its hard to control myself around you. Let me have that one little sin, I won't do it again. I'm sorry."
As Ryoga's synapses started to fire in their normal pattern, he realized what just happened. Ranma kissed him. "Why did you do that?" the lost boy screamed, clenching his fists in anger.
The short redhead flinched at the outburst. "Sorry," she whispered.
"Sorry? You're Sorry!" the dark haired boy bellowed. Ryoga was incensed. His first kiss, stolen by his cursed rival. He had been saving himself for his true love, Akane! The dark haired boy was ready to launch himself at his long time foe when something finally click in his mind. Ranma was a girl, she wasn't insulting him, she was talking to him and she kissed him.
"Ranma," he started with a tremulous voice. "The koi rod, it wore off right? The bruise on your breast disappeared didn't it? I'm sure I saw it fade. It's gone right?"
Ranma was staring at a puddle on the ground, not daring to look up after kissing the young man. "The bruise is gone."
The lost boy sighed in relief. "Thank god for that." At least he didn't have to worry about Ranma throwing herself at him because of some stupid love spell. It still gave the young man the creeps how willingly the voluptuous redhead kept throwing herself at him, even offering to give up her life if it would make him happy.
"But it left side affects," she whispered
"W-what?" the lost boy asked, his eyes wide.
The petite redhead looked up again. "Ryoga, do you think I'm pretty?" The nervousness was clear in the young woman's voice.
"Why do you keep asking me that?" Ryoga wiped his sweaty palms on his pants.
"I just..." she responded looking down again.
"You just what?"
Ranma let out a gusty sigh. "I'm making a fool of myself I guess."
"What the hell is going on? What side affects?"
"I figured that you did this to me, you must have felt something. That's what I hoped anyways," Ranma let out a mirthless chuckle. "Everyone has been telling me that I am fooling myself. I guess they were right."
"Ranma if you don't tell me what's going on, I swear..."
"The bruise left but the magic didn't disappear."
"You mean..." There was a sinking feeling in the pit of Ryoga's stomach. He wasn't sure now if he really wanted to know what was going on. Part of him wanted to take Ranma's advice and just leave, and get lost.
"Yes, I'm still drawn to you. I'm still in love with you."
The lost boy paled. "No..."
"That's not the worst part."
"There's more?" the lost boy asked, wondering how it could get worse.
"Yes," the petite redhead responded. "It locked my curse. I can't change back into a guy anymore."
"What? How? Ranma you better not be playing any of your sick games!" Ryoga's voice lacked the anger it normally held. In it's place was fear.
The young woman bristled. "I'm not lieing to you. I would never lie to you, Ryoga."
"H-how did your c-curse get locked?" Anything that caused a Jusenkyo curse to become locked truly frightened the part time pig.
"The Old Ghoul thinks it was the magic of the love spell fed off the magic of my curse, stripping away the ability to change but making the love spell permanent."
"So if someone were to use the koi rod on me..."
"Maybe. No one wanted to test the theory so we are not sure. Still that was the only explanation anyone could come up with. Nothing else made sense. From what Cologne said, Jusenkyo curses didn't just suddenly become permanent. Something had to have caused it."
"No cure," the redhead stated, cutting the dark-hared boy off. "Nothing will reverse this." Ranma's voice sounded hollow. "I'm stuck like this forever."
"How do you know?"
"You think we didn't try to find a cure? If not for the curse, at least for the love spell? We tried. You don't think that the Amazons want me as a woman do you?"
"So nothing worked?"
"Nothing. Two months of testing different concoctions and magical trinkets before everyone gave up. Nothing worked. Not even the instant nannichuan. Even other love potions didn't make me feel less for you."
"Oh my God..."
Ranma let out a breathless sob. "I thought that, you... that there was... god I am blind. You really hate me don't you?"
"W-well... I..." the young man stammered. He wondered if he truly felt that hatred he always spouted.
"It's Okay Ryoga. I'm sorry. I didn't realize you really hated me. I thought we were friends cause that's how I thought of you."
"W-what?" Ryoga was truly shocked. He had never thought of his rival as a friend. To hear that Ranma though him as a friend...
"I guess Akane was right, I really am an idiot"
The lost boy didn't know what to say or what to do as he watched his redheaded rival fall to her knees and start to weep.
"I kept telling myself that you cared, that you really wanted me," Ranma anguished through her tears. "It was the only thing that kept me going for the past three months. I knew you'd come back one day. That I'd see you again. You always show up eventually. I had this idea you'd come and rescue me and prove everyone wrong."
"Everyone says how horrid you are all the time, what you did, but I didn't want to believe... because I love you." Ranma let out a humorless laugh. "Ranma Saotome, man among men, in love with another man. They kept me from finding you. I was going to run away. You know how they stopped me?"
Ryoga didn't know if he wanted to hear the answer. "How?"
"They said if I left, they'd hunt you down and kill you."
Ryoga's eyes grew wide. "What?" No one ever wanted to kill him before, he was stunned and frightened at the notion.
"And I thought about it. I could probably stop them, but it would take me killing some of them. Even then, there was a good chance that one would get through before I could dispatch them all. There was no way I could guarantee you'd live. So I stayed with my mom."
"Them all?" Ryoga repeated. He felt numb, almost as if this was just a dream. "Who are "them"?"
"Cologne, Shampoo, Akane, Pops, Mom, Mr. Tendo, Ukyo, Happosai, Kontasu, Kuno, Kodachi. Only Moose was happy with what you did."
"Yes," the redhead whispered.
"You thought about killing them?"
"To keep you safe? I'd do that and more."
"Why? Why would you kill them for me?"
"Because I love you." The pain in Ranma's voice chilled the lost boy's heart.
"Ranma, those feelings aren't real! You got to snap out of it!"
"You think I don't know? You think I like feeling like this? God I want to hate you so bad, but I only hating myself for pushing you to this in the first place. I hate myself for wanting to be with you. For dreaming about you. For feeling this way all the time. You're on my mind all the time, and I can't stop. Cologne thinks it should wear off in time, she hopes anyways. I am not sure. In the past three months my feelings haven't lessened, only intensified."
"There's got to be a cure!"
"Maybe. I don't know anymore. The Old Ghoul went back to her village, she said she would send word if she ever came across a cure for either the curse or the love spell, but I don't think she will. I guess to her, this is a fit punishment for me not marrying Shampoo."
Ryoga was stunned. He didn't know what to do or think. He wanted to say he was sorry but it didn't seem that it would enough.
"Ha ha, in some ways, this was the best thing that could happen."
"What do you mean?"
"As a girl, I can't marry any of the girls Pop engaged me to. Same with the amazons. They don't want me now cause I'm a girl and suffering from a love spell. To them, it puts my judgment in question because I'm so devoted."
The lost boy was at a loss for words. He just watched as the young woman in front of him wept.
"Why?" Ranma finally asked through her tears looking up at her heart's desire.
Ryoga swallowed the lump in his throat. "Why what?"
"Why do you hate me so much?"
"I-I don't hate you, Ranma."
"Then why would you do this to me?"
"I-I meant it for Akane. You just got in the way."
"I see. So it was just a mistake. All this was a mistake." The redhead let out a long sigh. "I guess you got your wish," Ranma finally said in a quiet voice.
"What wish is that?"
Ranma's tear streaked face looked up at Ryoga. "When you showed up at Furinken High School the first time, you said you wanted to destroy my happiness. Well you succeeded. I'm still a guy in here, Ryoga. I am not attracted to guys. Just you. And I can't have you, can I?" She let out a mirthless laugh. "You know something funny? Even if I think about being with someone else, guy or girl, I feel like I'm betraying you." The petite redhead broke down in tears and cried in earnest.
Ryoga just watch as his one time rival sobbed in front of him, broken and shattered. He was still to shocked to do more than watched the poor young woman.
The young redhead weeping slowly subsided. "Now if you don't mind, I should be getting home," she stated in a melancholy voice. "My mom is expecting me." Ranma slowly got up off the ground and wiped her tears away with the sleeve of her blouse and started walking away.
She suddenly stopped and turned. "Just remember one thing Ryoga, whenever you feel sad or lonely, just remember someone is thinking of you and loves you no matter what." And with that she started running away into the distance.
As Ryoga watched his one time rival disappear from sight, he realized that he reached a goal he set for himself long ago. Ryoga Hibiki had finally beat the unstoppable Ranma Saotome. He knew he should feel elated, to see Ranma in such disgrace, but he only felt empty.
I was reading Kirinin's "Deep Blue: A Koi Rod Love Story" fic the other day when I thought of this. Just a flittering idea that I put down.
For those that say that Ranma acts too "girly", you're right. I did that on purpose. Between being stuck as a girl, being forced by dear ole mom to act and dress like a girl (including bridal training) and being in love with another guy... well, she's not exactly in the most stable of minds.
This is a total one shot. Flame or criticize me if you want, I don't mind...
I know I should be working on my other fics, but with doin some website stuff and work, I've been a bit slow in getting the next chapters finished.