Dark Heart's Desires

By Lord Raa

Disclaim-me-do: Taste piss? Then you should stop drinking girly beers.

Part 1 (of x)

Things were not going well for Ranma at the moment.

He'd been unable to keep a hold of the moxibustion chart that would have enabled Cologne to cure Happosai's use of the "Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion Point" and return his strength.

Realising that he had nothing to stick around Nerima for, he packed what he could carry and left to ponder his next move.

"Ranma," Akane asked in a hesitant voice, "are you really leaving us?"

Turning to look at his fiancée, Ranma took a deep breath. "Yes. I mean, if I can't fight anymore what good am I?"

"There's more to life than martial arts, Ranma," Akane insisted.

"For you, maybe," the pigtailed boy snorted. "I spent the last ten years trainin' and you've seen my test scores. What can I do that don't use my strength?"

Akane was at a loss for words.

"See," the weakened boy sighed. "Look, Akane, I need to go away to think about things for a bit."

"I-I understand," the full time girl nodded. "Will you come back?"

"Maybe," Ranma shrugged as he shifted his pack. "It depends on what I find out about me."

With that, Ranma left Nerima, hoping to find a solution for his problems.

It wasn't long into Ranma's journey that he was forced to take a rest and catch his breath in a park.

"Damn old freak," he groused as he breathed heavily.

"Is something wrong?" a female voice asked from behind him.

"What?" Ranma nearly jumped up. Nearly, as he was still holding on to his backpack.

"I'm sorry for surprising you," the blonde woman bowed to hide her smile. "My name is Mara, what's yours?"

"Ranma," the pigtailed young man answered.

"No family name?"

"Not at the moment," Ranma answered sadly. "I'm on a trip to find something that will help me."

"Oh, what happened to you?" Mara asked as she sat beside Ranma. "Maybe I can help you."

"I've lost my strength," Ranma admitted with a quiet voice.

"But you look so, so buff," the blonde noted with an approving glance.

"That's because I've been practicing martial arts for ten years," Ranma smiled sadly. "Something happened a few days ago to really mess up my life."

"Tell me everything, Ranma," Mara said in her most caring voice. "Don't worry that we've just met and you know nothing about me."

Ranma looked at Mara and blinked. "What?"

The blonde giggled as if she were a complete airhead. Inwardly, she was berating herself for her slip.

"I think I'd better get going," Ranma said as he stood.

Mara reached out and grabbed Ranma's wrist, stopping the martial artist in his tracks.

As Ranma struggled to free himself, the heavens opened and Jusenkyo's "blessing" took effect.

"Jusenkyo?" Mara breathed as a faint memory started to tug at her brain.

Ranma nodded. "Wait – you know about Jusenkyo? Is there a cure?"

"Not for mortals," Mara confessed.

"Mortals? What are you?" Ranma demanded, her eyes narrowing.

"I'm a demon, Ranma Saotome. I know your name because you're part of an ancient prophesy," the infernal being explained.

"Figures," Ranma muttered angrily.

"Hey, it's not all bad," Mara insisted. "I mean, it'll cure all your problems."

The redhead perked up at that nugget of information. "It will?"

"Yes," Mara nodded. "But only if you're the real Ranma Saotome. Tell me your story."

Ranma took a deep breath before starting her long and tragic tale as the rain stopped.

A while later and Ranma had reached up to the point where she'd left Nerima.

Mara was in deep thought as she digested the information. 'There's something missing about this Ranma…what was it again? Ah, I remember now – he's supposed to be afraid of cats!'

Ranma didn't like the look on her companion's face. "What are you plannin'?"

"Nothing," the curvaceous demon sing-songed.

Ranma's eyes scanned the area for threats. She didn't detect anything until she felt something brush up against her leg. The redhead looked down and saw the most terrifying thing in the whole, wide world.

"AARGH! CAT! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!" the slowly drying martial artist screamed and started running around like a headless chicken.

Mara thought that it was rather amusing, but refrained from laughing out loud. "Ranma," she said after taking a moment to compose herself, "if you accept your role in the prophesy, we can make all your problems go away. Including this cat thing."

Ranma leapt up into the tree Mara was using for shade. "You really mean it? You're not going to try to trick me to get my soul or nuthin'?"

"No," Mara said in a completely honest tone. "If you accept, your destiny is that of the Lord of Desire. Part god, part demon and exempt from rules that govern both sides."

"And what does that mean for me?" Ranma asked as she remained clung to a tree branch.

"Everything will be revealed if you accept, Ranma," Mara smiled sweetly.

"Will I be able to change my mind?" the redhead asked when she stopped trembling.

"If you really want to and can find a suitable replacement," the blonde answered with a shrug. "Please, Ranma, will you get out of that tree?"

Ranma nodded and dropped down to the ground. "Is this my only chance to be back to normal?"

"You'll be better than normal, Ranma. What have you got to lose?" the demoness asked with a pleading look.

The redhead took a deep breath and stood up straight. "Ok. Let's do this."

As soon as Ranma uttered those words, she was bathed in a swirling miasma of light that changed colour from white to yellow, yellow to green, green to red, from red to purple, from purple to blue and back to white.

When the light died down, thirty seconds after it had suddenly appeared, Ranma stepped towards Mara.

The demoness blinked as she took in the sight of this new and improved Ranma. "Oh my…"

"Yes, 'oh my' indeed," Ranma replied with his new voice that was deep yet smooth as silk. The newly reincarnated Lord of Desire smiled as more words rolled off his tongue to please his newest friend's ears.

"It is quite all right for us to get to know each other a lot better. Shall we take a walk, Mara-chan?"

Mara squealed with glee as she attached herself to Ranma's arm.

"No," Ranma admonished.

Mara looked questioningly up at Ranma.

"How can I hug you when I can't wrap my arm around you?" Ranma asked with a pleasant smile.

"How silly of me," Mara giggled as she repositioned herself for torso-to-torso contact with Ranma.

"That's better, Mara-chan. Now why don't you tell me your desires while we walk?"

To be continued…?

I want you all to know that this is not something that you should take seriously.

It's just a bit of fun that was pre-read by Chi Vayne.

Until laterer comes.