You aren't stupid. You know what love is.

Love is love, to put it in simple terms that don't explain anything.

It makes you want to protect . . . a certain someone from things, and yet show them off to the world while sticking your tongue out and saying, "I got them, and you didn't! Nyah!"

It makes you want to hit them and kiss them all in the same thought. It doesn't matter, though. You always finally decide to rely on the violence because you're not sure that they'll get what you mean if all you do is give them a "treat". They'd probably act like it was poison, anyways.

It makes you want to cry sometimes in anguish, because they don't get the subtle hints you throw at them. It makes you want to hug them when they look at you with a lost expression, as though you know the ways of the world and the thoughts of others better than they do.

Love . . . hurts.

Because you can't protect him at all, and he always protects you, despite how strong you know you are. You can't show him off because he's not yours, and you know that others who want him could take him away from you fairly easily.

You never kiss him. That would be awkward. You don't think he even wants to be together with you. It was just some stupid thing your parents cooked up. Besides, he thinks you're ugly. He says so all the time.

He wouldn't know subtlety if it came up to him and beat him over the head with a large stick that said, "BELONGING TO SUBTLETY." And you almost never know what people are thinking, unless their name is Nabiki Tendo with an unhealthy love for money. Or if they're like Kodachi and Tatewaki Kuno, because they wear their emotions out on their sleeves and mostly scream out to the heavens what they're thinking, anyways.

Or he, himself. He never could win at poker.

You look up from your breakfast and remove the chopsticks from your mouth. "Ranma. . . ."

You want to know if he really thinks that you're ugly and weak; you want to know if he really thinks you're stupid.

But mostly you want to know if he's really still your fiancé to just appease his honor.

He looks up. "Yeah?"

You decide that you'll never ask. Even if you did, you wouldn't do it at breakfast with everyone sitting practically right next to you and hanging onto your every word, like they always do when the two of you talk. Probably trying to catch a hint of romance. Or, in some cases, looking for blackmail material.

So you adopt a slightly disgusted expression and say, "There's food all over your face, and your table manners are atrocious. I bet they can hear you chewing all the way in Hawaii!" He doesn't really have food all over his face, just some rice near the corner of his mouth. And he wasn't really loud like you said, but you had tried your hand, once again, on cooking dinner last night. He was just a little quicker this morning in reaching for everything, and just a little more appreciative in the comments he gave to Kasumi.

It doesn't make you mad anymore. It's more of a dull annoyance in the back of your head, an old pain from the time you were seven and first tried to bake cookies. It hurt, when they came out burnt and black and disgusting. There had been an almost physical pain when Kasumi had to go to the emergency room to get her stomach pumped when she'd had a taste to try and halt your tears of despair. It shouldn't bother you now, but it still does.

He frowns, irked. "I'll have you know that my table manners are just fine!"

You almost like it, in a twisted sort of way, when you're having your little verbal "lover's" spats. At least then you know how to act and what to say, like a well-rehearsed script. He leaves himself open too much in conversation, unlike when he's fighting.

It ends when you throw some egg in his face and stomp off to school.

You're in love, and it hurts.


Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½, and am making no money from writing this. It is purely for reading, writing, and maybe reviewing and enjoying.

AN: I just thought of it, and pretty much winged it, like I always do. Constructive criticism appreciated, but not necessary.

Beta-read by Kanashii-san.