Realization

Disclaimer - It ain't mine. Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, that absolutely brilliant mangaka.

Warnings - Watch out boys. Or hey, even some girls might wanna skidattle. If you're uncomfortable with the topic of "that time of the month," this fic isn't for you. 'Course, Ranma doesn't like it all that much either... Anyhoo, we're gettin' heavy with the female stuff here, so be on the lookout!


It was always sunny in Nerima. For some inane reason, the weather was the one thing that remained constant in the people's lives. No matter what craziness was occurring, it was usually warm, breezy, and all around comfortable.

And when you're comfortable, it's easy to ignore a sixteen-year old boy running around, constantly being chased by various acquaintances (fiancées, rivals, and would-be suitors alike).

The only days when it would rain seemed to be the days when said sixteen-year old boy would desperately plead that it not.

In which case, the previous statement would have to be changed to "said sixteen-year old GIRL".

Today was not one of those days, yet it was raining anyway.

The strange thing was that, for once in his life, Ranma Saotome actually wanted it to rain.

And for whatever reason, Mother Nature actually conceded to his silent pleas.

One raven-haired boy was quickly turned into a red-haired girl.

And the change was, surprisingly, exactly what he had hoped for.

Thus throwing the Takahashi universe completely out-of-whack.

xXxXxXx

Ryoga Hibiki had absolutely no idea where he was, nor did he have any clue as to how he'd arrived there. As this was far from unusual, however, he gave it no thought. He did vaguely wonder how he'd ended up jumping from one roof to the next, as he had no recollection of jumping onto any roof in the first place, but after pointing out to himself that he sometimes found himself wandering China without ever having crossed a sea to get there, he quickly pushed the thoughts aside. He had more pressing things to worry about, such as the rain that was threatening to turn him into a pig.

Holding his umbrella forward slightly, since the rain seemed to be coming down at a slight angle, Ryoga trudged ahead. The shower had come suddenly, and he was very relieved he'd even managed to get the umbrella open in time. But as abruptly as the shower had started, it tapered off and ended, leaving the tiles beneath his feet slightly slick and the air thick and humid.

Ryoga grumbled to himself, closing the red umbrella that also served as his trademark weapon. He glanced around, hoping to spot something that he recognized. His shoulders slumped forward as he realized that even if there WAS something, he'd probably get lost as he made his way there. That only left one option: ask someone for directions. Of course, it seemed that Ryoga had the worst luck when picking out people to ask. They always gave him the wrong information!

Frowning as he realized this, Ryoga turned slightly, his brown eyes darting about. He started slightly, as they landed on a figure not too far away. Hoping that maybe his luck was finally turning around, Ryoga bounded off to the silhouette in the distance.

"Excuse me, miss!" the bandana-clad boy cried out, as he noticed the figure sitting there had a distinct feminine figure. "You wouldn't happen to-" He stopped himself abruptly, coming to a halt on the roof. The girl's shoulders had visibly tensed up, and Ryoga belatedly noticed the red pig-tail that fell down her back. Growling, Ryoga hoisted his umbrella off his backpack again, and held it out in front of him. "Ranma Saotome..." he ground out, dashing forward and lifting the umbrella above his head. "PREPARE TO-"

"Oh, hey Ryoga," Ranma's female voice interrupted, sounding almost bored. She didn't even bother to turn around. Ryoga deflated instantly, umbrella dropping slightly and the rest of his trademark call trailing off into silence.

"Uhh..." he mumbled intelligently, not quite sure where to go from here. Ranma obviously wasn't going to fight him today, and, quite frankly, Ryoga wasn't really feeling up to it either. Shrugging to himself, Ryoga let his backpack drop off his shoulders to the roof beneath him before sitting down carefully next to Ranma. He stared at the boy-turned-girl's profile for a minute, noting the subtle differences in her posture from what he was used to.

The redhead was sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest. Her arms were wrapped around her shins and the crook in between her knees was serving as a resting spot for her chin. With half-closed eyes, she stared straight ahead, not bothering to acknowledge that the other boy had sat down.

Ryoga blinked, turning his own eyes forward to see if he could decipher what Ranma was staring at. He saw nothing worth noticing. The sun was beginning to peek out from behind the dark grey rain clouds as it set beyond the horizon, but all that was happening behind them. In front, there was only darkened, drab sky and the tops of a few buildings from downtown Nerima.

"Umm," Ryoga started to talk again, almost afraid to break the silence for some reason he wasn't sure of. "...What's up?" he finally asked lamely, wincing as he did so. He didn't get an answer for a few seconds.

"Nuthin'," Ranma eventually replied, though the answer was muffled since she hadn't bother to raise her head. Ryoga squinted one eye at her and raised the opposite eyebrow.

"...Okaaaay..." he said, doubtfully. The other boy (currently girl) still refused to look at him. Ryoga leaned down and to the side a bit, trying to get a glance at Ranma's closed off face. Or to at least get into her field of vision. He eyed her oddly. "Uh, is something wrong, Ranma?" This time the reply took even longer to come.

"No," Ranma said softly, releasing a sigh at the end of her statement.

"Liar," Ryoga responded immediately. He was rewarded with a barely noticeable shrug. He was about to speak further when Ranma spoke up again, with a bitterness that startled the usually-lost boy.

"Aren't you going to ask about Akane?"

Ryoga crossed his arms, leaning forward a little. Cocking his head to the side, he asked, "Why should I?" And then, with a bitterness of his own, "She's YOUR fiancée."

Ranma snorted. "Never stopped ya before."

Dropping his hands to his lap, Ryoga remained silent for about a minute before the silence became too much. "Ok then," he said, finally caving, "where is she?"

Ranma shrugged. "Heck if I know."

"So why did you want me to ask?" Ryoga said through slightly clenched teeth, closing his eyes in frustration.

"I didn't WANT you to ask. I was just wonderin' why you DIDN'T."

"Well, in any case," Ryoga sighed after a moment, "I'm kind of surprised you're not with her. Or Shampoo or Ukyo for that matter." After pausing for a second, he continued, "Or Kodachi or Kuno or Mousse..." He trailed off thoughtfully, running a hand through his hair.

"Amazing, huh? That I'm actually bein' left alone for once." Ranma gave a humorless laugh. "I thought you were gonna ruin it." Ryoga bit back the harsh comeback that seemed to automatically want to leave his mouth.

"Hmm," he murmured instead. "So why spend it out in the rain?" He smirked, poking Ranma in the shoulder. "Don't tell me you actually LIKE your cursed form, now." Ranma's reaction was not what Ryoga had expected, the slight girl's face clouding over with anger and her fists clenching the thin material of her pants. Ryoga stared at her in a mixture of confusion and shock.

"It's just...easier..." she said slowly, as if afraid to reveal too much. But what she said scared Ryoga anyway.

"Easier!" he exclaimed, turning to fully face the redhead beside him. "How could it be...easier!" he continued to sputter. He stopped abruptly as Ranma's eyes turned glassy, seemingly liquefying. His own eyes widened, but before he could say anything Ranma's eyes cleared and hardened. "Ranma, what's wrong?" Ryoga asked, his voice teetering between worried and a desperate need to know.

"I realized something, Ryoga," Ranma replied evenly, keeping her eyes forward. Ryoga waited for an elaboration, but he soon realized it wasn't coming.

"Ok, realized what?" he prompted.

"Just this past week...or couple of days, actually."

Ryoga had no idea what his sometimes-rival was referring to, and he didn't bother trying to figure it out. The silence between them lengthened and grew steadily more uncomfortable, but Ranma still refused to explain. And Ryoga was quickly growing tired of it.

"Fine, then," the bandana-clad boy finally muttered, standing up in one fluid motion. He was leaning over to pick up his massive backpack, when Ranma's answer reached him. It was so soft he almost couldn't hear it, but the words were crystal clear and they hit Ryoga harder than he would've liked. Somehow hoping that he'd heard wrong, yet inwardly knowing he'd heard perfectly and that the words were RIGHT, Ryoga plopped back down on the ground near Ranma. "...What?" he asked softly, disbelievingly.

For the first time that night, Ranma lifted her head and turned to face Ryoga, her eyes hard and un-showing of any discernable emotion. "We aren't going to find a cure, Ryoga," she repeated harshly, yet somehow sounding gentle at the same time. Ryoga continued to stare at her as if she'd just announced she'd decided to marry Kuno.

"But...why...how...what-what are you talking about?" Ryoga finally managed to stutter out. "How did you come to THAT conclusion? And WHY? Did you just suddenly decide to give up or something?" Ranma shook her head slightly, facing forward again.

"Umm...I don't really know how to tell you..." she trailed off, looking uncertain of herself and embarrassed at the same time. "I guess... Well, a couple of days ago it occurred to me...I mean, at first, it was just that I was a guy with a Jusenkyo curse, right?" She was speaking rapidly now. "And then I was a guy with a GIRL curse. Then a guy with a girl curse that could come in handy at times. And then a guy who would willingly spend time as a girl to get what he wanted. It kept changing! I'd spend more and more time in my girl form, yet despising it at the same time. I hate it, Ryoga! But at the same time, I've gotten used to it. ...And that used to scare me. That I'd...accepted it or something!"

"So, what changed?" Ryoga asked warily. He wasn't quite sure where all of this was going.

"A couple...um, I guess, two days ago...I just realized...or I was kinda forced to realize...um..."

"Ranma," Ryoga said, agitatedly. Ranma let out a breath, blowing her bangs off her forehead.

"Ok, look," she said, turning completely to face the other boy. "I'm...I'm half girl...Ryoga." Burying her face in her hands, Ranma continued, "Fuck it all, I'm half girl..."

Ryoga blinked. He had absolutely no idea what point Ranma was trying to get across. He cocked his head to the side a bit, staring at her.

"Um, Ranma, sorry for being blunt but...duh?" Ranma actually snorted at that, lifting her head.

"No, you don't get it," she murmured. "Before I always said I was a guy with a girl curse. But no matter what, I was definitely a guy. Now...now I'm...both."

"...So how does that work?" Ryoga asked, scratching the back of his head uncomfortably.

"Ryoga...I could get up right now, in this form, and decide that for the rest of my life I was gonna live as a girl...and ya know what? I would live normally. I could easily say I was just a girl with a GUY curse. I could..." she shivered slightly, "I could get married, have a family, and be a damn housewife if I wanted..."

It briefly occurred to Ryoga that there was something drastically wrong with that statement. Besides the obvious, that Ranma had actually admitted it.

Hmm...

He ran through the list of things she'd said again, trying to pinpoint what was wrong.

Live normally...as a girl...

Blech.

Girl with guy curse...possibility.

Get married.

Have a family.

Be a housewife-

Wait...

Have a family? Live normally?

Ryoga slowly processed these thoughts together.

Married...be a wife, have a family, that meant kids, right? And kids meant-

Ryoga blanched, not at all pleased with the conclusion his mind had come up with. He was brought back to the present when he heard Ranma snicker abruptly, no doubt amused by the string of expressions that had crossed his face.

"Ranma," Ryoga said slowly, shaking his head a bit to clear his thoughts. "Are you saying that...I mean...can you actually...have...?" He trailed off, almost afraid to voice what he was thinking. But Ranma understood anyway and her cheeks reddened as she glanced away. Ryoga drew in a breath in shock. "That...never even occurred to me...ever." Ranma nodded in agreement.

"Me neither. The possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. You'd think I'd have realized it..."

"What made you think about it?" Ryoga asked. "You keep mentioning a couple of days ago..."

Ranma actually shuddered. "You can't guess?"

"Umm..." Ryoga struggled to think of what she was referring to but came up blank. He shrugged sheepishly. "I just don't understand what would suddenly make you think you were...'half girl.' And that there's no cure..."

"That's my way of accepting it, I guess," Ranma replied, rubbing her arms. "The fact that I'm probably going to half-girl for the REST of my freakin' LIFE," she finished bitterly.

Ryoga tossed that thought around in his head for a bit before deciding that he didn't like the fact that it was a possibility for himself as well. He shoved the thought aside and continued talking. "Well, I mean so what if you can...you know...you're still a guy."

Ranma shook her head, giving Ryoga a level stare. "You tell me if..." She paused, thumping her fist lightly against the tiles beneath them. The sun had almost completely disappeared by now, but the moon was creeping out from behind some clouds, so they still had a brief light cast upon them. "Guys don't..." Again, she punched the ground softly, and continued doing so as she kept talking. "Ryoga, guys don't get their period. Guys never experience cramps or PMS. Guys never have to acknowledge the fact that there is a very real possibility that they could get pregnant! Guys don't have to deal with that kind of stuff! Well guess what?" she said, angrily. "I'M dealing with it! And there's no way I'm all guy if I'm walking around with a kid inside of me!" She finished her speech with a final pound on the roof, nearly knocking off a few tiles.

Ryoga blinked wide, startled eyes at the girl- yes, girl, his mind said, though he adamantly refused- in front of him. "You're pregnant?" he asked in disbelief, and nearly kicked himself for the stupid question when Ranma gave him the coldest glare she could manage. "Eh-heh...just kidding?" he offered lamely. Ranma waved him off, turning her head to the side. "Look, Ranma, I know you have a reason to be worried, but how is it a 'very real possibility' when it requires actually...um...sleeping with another guy?" Ryoga asked, face cringing at the thought. He was slightly relieved when Ranma's expression matched his.

"I dunno, I was just sayin'..." the slight girl replied. Then she smirked. "Heck, maybe I'll get curious or something. Whaddaya say, Ryoga? Wanna give it a shot?" She winked at him and promptly burst out laughing when Ryoga's face decided to match a tomato as his eyes widened to their fullest.

"Ew, Ranma! Not even funny! Blech, how can you even- augh, gross! Stop laughing, damn it!" Ryoga cried, squeezing his eyes shut and hitting his head lightly with the heels of his palms.

"Y-you should h-have seen- haha- your f-face!" Ranma managed to get out through her laughter. Ryoga continued to shake his head, now burying his palms into his eyes.

"Ewwww, mental images..." he mumbled, shutting Ranma up instantly as she slapped his shoulder.

"Ryoga, you pervert!"

"Sorry..." Trying to get his mind off their current topic of discussion, Ryoga once again ran through their previous conversation in his mind, turning over each detail. His mind came to a halt as he, rather belatedly, discovered something. "Ew, Ranma, you have your period?" he asked in shock. Ranma gave him a sideways glance.

"Did you JUST pick up on that? I got it like...two days ago. That's what I've been referring to." Ryoga grimaced, trying to comprehend what she was going through.

"Is it...gross?" he asked, for lack of thought to think of a better question. Ranma snorted.

"Gross, nasty, uncomfortable...take your pick."

"Sooo..." Ryoga narrowed his eyes at her, "why stay a girl while you have it? Can you not turn back into a guy or something?"

Ranma shifted uncomfortably. "Weeeell," she started, reaching up to tug at her pig-tail. She took a deep breath, which, Ryoga guessed, indicated that she was about to talk really rapidly in order to get it over with. He wasn't wrong. "Ok, here's the thing. I could stay a guy, or rather, TRY to stay a guy, but as the curses seem to ATTRACT water," she said with no small amount of sarcasm, "it's pretty much futile. Plus, even if I tried to stay in my guy form, I'd still have to be ready in case I turned into a girl, but it's just really weird trying to wear a pad when I'm a guy. And they don't fit right in guy underwear anyway, and I can't wear GIRL underwear when I'm a guy so that means that if I stay a girl, it's a lot less likely that'll I'll get hit with hot water and turn back into a guy and the girl underwear's a lot more comfortable anyway when I'm in this form..." Ranma eventually trailed off, taking a deep breath again. "But hey," she said, in a much calmer tone, "if I'm gonna complain about bein' uncomfortable, then I might as well not wear pads at all, 'cause they're like, the grossest things in the world. But I can't wear tampons- do you know what a tampon is?"

It took Ryoga a few seconds to realize that she'd paused in her rambling and that the question was actually directed at him and required an answer. He mentally backtracked, trying to remember what she was talking about. "Uhh...oh! Um, yeah, I remember finding some back at home when my mother and I managed to be in the house at the same time..." He trailed off, recalling exactly WHAT they were and how they were used. Predictably, Ryoga paled and automatically covered his nose with one hand. "Eww..." he mumbled. Ranma nodded in agreement.

"Anyway, I can't wear tampons, 'cause if I DID get hit with hot water...um...I REALLY don't want to know what would happen...eh-heh." She blanched at the thought, and Ryoga winced from beside her. She shook her head, continuing. "So, I'm stuck wearing pads, in my girl form, because it's just too damn awkward in my guy form. Ya understand?"

Ryoga wanted to nod his head and say yes. He was about to, but he paused. Quite honestly, he DIDN'T understand. In the sense that it'd never happened to him before. Ranma himself wouldn't have understood a week ago. Luckily, the girl seemed to translate his brief silence and interrupted him before he could speak, voicing his thoughts.

"Wait, duh, you can't understand. You're a guy, you've never had this happen to you, and you never WILL have it happen to you." She sighed, resuming the position she'd been sitting in when Ryoga had first found her. "I hate this. I can't talk to anyone about it. Pop's been avoiding me since he found out, Mr. Tendo's out of the question. I'd ask my mom, but she'd kill me once she discovered my curse. Kasumi's tryin' TOO hard to mother me through it, Nabiki thinks it's funny, it's just weird talking to Akane about it. It'd be the same with Ukyo..." Ranma sighed again, and this time, Ryoga echoed her.

"Look, Ranma," he began, scooting closer to the redhead. "You're right. I don't REALLY understand. They tried to teach us in health class, but I wasn't there half the time anyway, plus I've never been through it...so I can't exactly sympathize with you in that respect." He paused as Ranma laid her head down over her crossed arms, staring at him.

"I know," she replied simply. Ryoga shook his head slightly.

"But I want you to know...you CAN talk to me about it. Heck, you just did. I can always listen," Ryoga offered, glancing somewhere off to the side as he felt his cheeks heat up. There was a strange silence around them for a bit, comfortable, yet somewhat awkward all the same.

"Thanks...Ryoga," Ranma replied softly after a while. "I'll remember that." Ryoga blushed further, silently berating himself for doing so.

"Eh-heh, well, hehe, you know... I DO have a curse too. So I SORT OF know what you're- what you're going through," he managed to stutter. Then he frowned. "Though I don't like the thought of being half-pig." Ranma laughed.

"Nah, you don't know how to REALLY be a pig. You're still a guy with a pig curse. If you were stuck in your pig form, you'd be dead in a week, I betcha."

"...I don't know whether that's a compliment or not," Ryoga mused, but he smirked at the girl beside him. They sat there for a while, the night sky now completely dark. It was still a little cloudy so there wasn't much light washing over them. Ryoga leaned back on his hands, legs stretched out in front of him, trying to get used to the feeling of Ranma slightly leaning against his side as she curled her legs beneath her. They tried to maintain whatever truce they had somehow formed for the evening, though they vaguely knew the next day would be awkward if they continued on in this fashion. The air around them slowly grew tense, as neither knew what to say anymore.

Ranma finally broke the somewhat-peaceful silence, sitting up straight as she did so. "Of course, P-chan, if you were stuck as a pig you'd actually be able to be around Akane twenty-four seven. Her and her PET pig, that she just looooooves sooooo much!" she snickered. Ryoga bristled beside her.

"You're just jealous that she actually has feelings for me!" he returned hotly, changing his position to a crouch and putting a hand on his backpack. The atmosphere that had surrounded them cracked and completely dissolved, Ryoga noted, almost regretfully. He grinned, however, as Ranma's blue eyes flashed when she stood up and jerked her head towards him.

"Why would I care about that stupid tomboy!" she snapped, grinning darkly as she too felt the familiar tension return. Both knew this "fight" was a mere cover for their earlier actions, but they welcomed it anyway.

Ryoga took a deep breath, grabbing his pack and shouldering it, at the same time lunging forward with his umbrella. "How dare you insult Akane like that!" he cried, as if they were lines from the never-ending play they were trapped in.

Ranma dodged his swing easily and laughed before taking off across the rooftops. "Were you aiming at me or my shadow, bacon-bits!" she shouted back at the bandana-clad boy. Ryoga glowered at her retreating form before obediently following.

"RAAANMAAAA!"

FIN


Whoo, and that's that! My first Ranma fic. Actually, this is a re-post of an older fic, just in case you were wondering. Same author, same fic, new account. Still, please review and tell me what you thought! Be honest, it doesn't bother me. :)

-Maxine