Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma 1/2, or anything associated with it. I have written this story solely because I enjoy writing.
Author's Notes: I've often wondered what would have happened if Akane had learned of Ryoga's Jusenkyo curse soon after they had met. Hence, this story, in which explore the ways in which their relationship changes. I hope everybody enjoys!
Chapter 1: Akane's Surprise
This sure has been one strange day, Akane thought to herself as she went downstairs, cradling a little black piglet in her arms.
That day in school, Ranma had had another fight with the strange newcomer to the Nerima District, Ryoga Hibiki. This battle had spilled out into a destructive nightmare that had resulted in the destruction of half the Nerima zoo, along with several injuries to Ranma and Akane, their clothes being wrecked, and Akane's hair…
Akane sighed, taking a moment to feel her now-short black hair. Just so much had happened in one day, and her hair accidentally being sliced off was the least of it. As if that wasn't bad enough, now Ryoga's showing up here to attack Ranma! she thought irritably, recalling how the strange martial artist had started fighting Ranma until Akane had lobbed a barbell at his head. Now, Akane certainly understood the urge to pound on Ranma; she had it herself quite frequently! Still, I wonder what Ranma did to make Ryoga so mad at him…
As the little pig shifted about in her arms, Akane returned her attention to it, giving it a smile. "There, there…" she smiled, marveling at just how adorable it was, with its yellow bandana and wide, soulful eyes. What she couldn't understand was how it had gotten into her room. She knew it had been running around in the rain; it was still soaked from being outside. Then there was the matter of the bump on its head...
Akane was distracted from her musings by a voice. She wasn't able to make out the words, but she could tell that it was Ranma in his girl-form. As she entered the living room, she saw her fiancée, a big-busted, red-head (how perverse could you get?) sitting on the floor next to a soaking wet dog.
"Where'd that dog come from?" Akane wondered, noting the dog's large, bloodshot eyes and grey fur with brown patches. "What happened to Ryoga?"
Ranma turned to look at Akane, but then her gaze fell on the shivering bundle in her arms. "Hey, where's you get that weird-lookin' pig?"
At Ranma's words, the pig started squealing angrily, squirming about in Akane's arms. Looking down and smiling broadly, Akane pulled the pig into an even deeper embrace. "Shh, baby. Oh, be a good piggy, now. We'll get some nice medicine to put on your boo-boo, okay?"
The pig soon relaxed against Akane's chest. "Hey, I think it's blushing!" Ranma declared, setting off another barrage of angry squeals.
"Don't be stupid," Akane countered. That's strange, she thought. It's almost as if it can understand what she's saying.
Akane wasn't given any further time to contemplate this when Ranma pulled the pig from her arms and held it up above her head. "You dirty little pig! Ha, it's a HE!"
As the pig struggled futilely to get away, Akane took note of the pig's obviously male attributes. "Ooh, you're right!"
Now even angrier at Ranma's rough treatment, the pig flailed about frantically in her hands before managing to get in her face and wail away at her with its hooves. Akane smirked at the mess of scratches it left before she got it away from Ranma. She smirked even more at the hurt, indignant look Ranma had.
Amused by the pig's antics, Akane wasted no further time getting some antiseptic, and was soon sitting in the living room, gently applying the medicine to the lump on the pig's head. Akane was simply amazed at how well-behaved the little piglet was. I wonder if you belong to somebody, she mused somewhat sadly. She knew she was already getting too attached to the darling creature. You must've gotten this bandana from somewhere.
Trying to distract herself, Akane returned her attention to another mystery. "Come to think of it, Ranma, I know I've seen that dog before," Akane spoke, the dog in question having not moved since she had first seen it.
Ranma squirmed a bit at this. "Yeah?" she replied hesitantly before turning to look at the dog intently.
A few seconds passed as Akane pondered the matter, and soon the memory returned to her. "Ah, now I remember! That's the Yamada's dog. I'm sure of it! Here, Bess!"
Ranma was clearly shocked at Akane's statements, but was even more amazed when Bess barked happily, gave a doggy smile, and offered Akane its forepaw. "What?" Ranma squeaked as Akane took the paw in her hand. You mean…this isn't Ryoga?!
Ranma knew that Ryoga now carried a Jusenkyo curse. The lost boy's admission to following Ranma to China, his refusing to allow himself to get wet, even in battle had all but confirmed this theory. But after Ryoga had been exposed to the rain during the fight and driven away, Ranma had followed him and found the final piece of evidence; Ryoga's clothes and backpack, abandoned, with Ryoga himself nowhere to be found.
When Ranma found this dog nearby, snarling menacingly at her, she had assumed that this was Ryoga. There certainly was a resemblance! But if Akane was right, then…?
"Wait a sec!" The gender-bending martial artist stood and left the living room, but returned soon enough with a kettle of hot water in hand. However, just as Ranma was about to enter the living room, her foot hit a small patch of water that was left from when either she or Bess had entered earlier. Immediately, Ranma was slipping about on one foot, cartwheeling her arms in an effort to regain her balance!
"Ranma, watch out!" Akane screamed as the pig squealed in horror, the two of them watching helplessly as the teakettle flew from Ranma's hand. The kettle banged into the ceiling, knocking the lid free, and soon hot water was spilling everywhere!
Ranma was hit, and immediately went from a sexy red-headed girl to a taller, raven-haired boy. Bess was also splashed, but she quickly shook herself dry, not even bothering to bark. Wincing as the water hit her, Akane stared daggers at Ranma. "Ranma!!" she shouted, before her eyes went wide in confusion. Before the water had fallen, the pig had been squealing in terror before it had managed to wrench itself from her grip and fell to the floor. But those squeals were now replaced by much more human sounds of dismay.
Akane took note of Ranma's shocked expression, and looked down the path his gaze took, before bringing her hands to her mouth in embarrassment. Where the pig had once been, there was now a naked, well-built boy who was now looking up at the two of them. The boy shot a glare of anger at Ranma before giving a contrite glance at Akane. As the two of them blushed, the boy curled himself into a ball, hiding his privates and his face as best as he could.
As for Akane, she was in a state of shock. She could only stare as Ranma exclaimed, "Ryoga! You're…a pig!"
A few minutes later, Ryoga was wrapped up in a towel, and he, Ranma, and Akane were seated at the table, looking at each other.
"I don't believe it!" Ranma started, Akane and Ryoga still somewhat mortified by the earlier incident. "You really did follow me all the way to Jusenkyo!"
"What?!" Akane started, but as she looked at Ryoga, it all clicked into place. How else could a person turn into a pig? "You mean…?"
Ryoga snorted as he looked away, though he shot hateful looks at Ranma from the corner of his eye. "Like I would actually just wait for you to come back? After you skipped out on our duel?!" he declared. "Do you have any idea how big China is when you're traveling on foot! I searched everywhere, looking for you, Ranma!"
Akane could believe it. Ryoga may have had the worst sense of direction that she had ever seen, but she had quickly learned that he had a stubborn streak that rivaled Ranma at his best. "So…how did this happen?" she asked.
Once again blushing lightly as he looked at her, Ryoga explained, "Well, one day I was looking down a cliff, and saw all these small springs with bamboo poles sticking out of them."
"Jusenkyo, right," Ranma added. "Well, then what? You weren't actually stupid enough to go train there, were you?"
"Train?!! Are you kidding me?!" Ryoga countered angrily. "Before I knew what was going on, this panda came rushing out of the woods! I'd barely got out of the way when this crazy girl came after it, and kicked me straight into the lake!!"
A girl…and a panda…? Akane thought, the wheels turning in her mind as she looked at Ranma.
"And that's when I…that's when I realized that…I'd been cast straight into Hell!" Ryoga snarled at the memory. "I'd just gotten to the surface of the spring when I…"
"What? You found out you were a pig?" Ranma tossed in helpfully. When Ryoga intensified the strength of his glare, Ranma continued. "So what happened next? You got out of the spring, and…?"
"I was pulled out, by the panda!" Ryoga growled. "The thing looked at me for a bit before it started skipping along, taking me to the guide's house!"
"And then what happened?" Akane asked. "Did the guide help you turn back into a human?"
"As if!" Ryoga snarled. "The first thing he did when he saw me was bring out a pair of cooking knives! The two of them were planning on boiling me alive and eating me!!"
Her eyes wide with horror, Akane brought her hands to her mouth. She could practically see it; Ryoga, in the form of a pig, dangling helplessly above a wok filled with boiling water. "But you turned back the instant they put you in," Ranma deduced.
Ryoga had his eyes scrunched closed at the memory. "My God! If I hadn't changed back when I did, they'd have made me into sweet 'n' sour pork and eaten me for dinner!" Then his eyes opened and spat pure hatred at Ranma. "This is all your fault!!"
"Hey, now, wait a minute, Ryoga!" Ranma protested. "Didn't you say that it was some girl who kicked you into the cursed spring? And a panda who tried to eat you?"
"So what?!" Ryoga asked as the wheels continued to turn in Akane's head.
"So how's it all my fault, then!?" Ranma asked indignantly. "I didn't do nothing! It was the girl and the panda!!" Akane glared at Ranma, as his face told her he had just realized that he was in big trouble. "Wait…a panda…and a girl…?"
The three of them froze momentarily, but were suddenly distracted by sounds of steps outside in the hall. The three of them looked to see Genma Saotome, the elder martial artist in the form of a panda. The lazy warrior had a towel about his neck, and paused to look at the three teenagers. The panda brought up a sign saying 'Hello, everybody', before continuing on his way.
Seconds after Genma had left, Ryoga was still staring at where he had been with wide eyes. "A-a panda…" he started, before swiveling his gaze to Ranma. "And-and…a girl…?"
As Ranma tried to look innocent, the final wheel clicked into place in Akane's mind. "So that's it…" the youngest Tendo growled, bringing out a large hammer before standing up. Looking at Akane, Ranma babbled in protest. "DIE, RANMA!!"
Ranma scrabbled out of the way, just as Akane smashed the cushion he'd been seated upon. "Hey, wait a minute! I can explain! Really!!"
Akane refused to listen to his lies. "No wonder Ryoga hates you so much, you idiot!!" Akane spat hatefully. "You're the one who cursed him!!"
"Ranma…it was YOU!!" Ryoga roared in fury. Unbeknownst to Akane, he had only just made the connection himself, and now was doubly furious as he rose up and charged at Ranma!
"Now, wait! Come on, man!" Ranma protested as he dodged both Ryoga's attack and another swing of Akane's hammer. "Aw, gimme a break!"
"I'll give you several breaks!!" Ryoga snarled, punching straight through a paper wall, narrowly missing Ranma as the target of his ire leapt up and clung to the ceiling.
"So what's the big deal, Ryoga?" Ranma asked nervously, eyeing his two assailants as they closed in on him. "It's not like you're the only with Cursed Spring Syndrome, right?"
"Oh, so now you're whining about your so-called problems, Ranma?" Ryoga retorted. "That's pathetic! You may be a pervert, but at least you get to stay human!"
Akane was puzzled by this, and in this moment of confusion, Ryoga leapt up, trying to grab Ranma. But Ranma quickly countered this move, greeting Ryoga with a kick to the face that sent him flying out of the living room and straight outside, where it was still raining.
"Ryoga!!" Akane cried out as Ryoga's form shrank back down into that of a pig, the towel falling down on top of him.
"You jerk!" Ranma grumped as he came down to the floor and marched over to where Ryoga was, still struggling to get out from under the towel and back out of the rain. He had barely succeeded when Ranma picked him up his bandana and dangled him in mid-air. "I try to be nice, and this is the thanks I get?!"
"Leave him alone!" Akane pleaded. "Haven't you done enough?!"
However, her pleas fell upon deaf ears as Ranma gave Ryoga a light toss before kicking him! "Goodbye and good riddance!" the pigtailed martial artist shouted as the little black piglet sailed out of sight!
Turning about while brushing his hands together in the manner of a job well done, Ranma had his eyes closed when he said, "There! So much for -!"
"You jerk!!" Akane screeched as she brought down the hammer upon Ranma's head. As the biggest creep and pervert she had ever met collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut, Akane tossed the hammer aside and ran out into the rain, running in the general direction she had seen Ryoga flying off in.
"Ryoga! Ryoga!" Akane cried out as she navigated the street in her slippers, her pajamas instantly soaked as she looked this way and that, searching for any sign of a helpless, little black piglet.
About a minute later, Akane heard something, and slowed down to investigate. Looking down an alley, she something rattling about in the piles of garbage strewn there. "Ryoga?" she spoke hesitantly, searching the gloom between the buildings for any sign of him. "Ryoga?" she tried again, raising her voice, slowly entering the alley, carefully watching her step.
She was startled to see something darting towards one of the garbage cans. It turned out to be several alley cats, growling unnervingly as they converged on the garbage can, which Akane could see was rattling about, a squealing sound emanating from it. "Ryoga!" Akane guessed, and was relieved to see Ryoga's little porcine shape drag itself out of the can. Only to have that relief cut short when the black piglet was knocked from the top of the can by a spectacularly mean-looking alley cat that jumped down upon him!
As Ryoga crashed to the ground, it was like a signal to the other cats, who quickly leapt upon the fallen pig! Horrified by this sight, Akane grabbed for a long section of pipe that was standing nearby. "Get away from him!!" Akane shrieked, charging the marauding felines, swinging the pipe like a quarterstaff as she knocked the vicious cats away. Hissing in protest, the cats finally decided that this was one meal that wasn't worth the trouble, and finally retreated.
As the last of the cats fled from sight, Akane panted lightly before looking down at Ryoga, feeling her heart clench as she did. Though the assault had only lasted for a few seconds, the piglet's black skin was marred with numerous bite and claw marks.
The rain falling on her head mixed with the tears from her eyes as Akane watched Ryoga give a light oink before struggling back to his hooves. The piglet weakly looked at Akane, as if unsure as to what she was doing there.
Akane immediately fell to her knees, her face a picture of sadness as she held out her hands to Ryoga. The piglet with the heart of the warrior looked at her hands for a moment before he finally collapsed into them. Akane then picked him up, paying no heed to the blood as she held him close, nuzzling him with her cheek. She had been confused earlier, when Ryoga had snarled that Ranma was fortunate that he stayed human, despite his transformation.
Not anymore. Akane had just seen how defenseless such a tiny creature could be, in a world filled with destructive giants that could crush him without effort. How isolated he was, without hands to work things with, without a voice that could convey his desperation.
As Akane looked at Ryoga's soulful eyes, even more tears flooded her own as she held Ryoga close. "I'm sorry…" she cried, weeping uncontrollably. "I'm so sorry…"
After a while, Akane made it back to the Tendo dojo, Ryoga tucked securely in her arms. She crept about carefully, looking for any sign of Ranma. I can't let that jerk hurt Ryoga anymore, Akane thought furiously, easily seeing Ranma doing even worse things to Ryoga if he caught him here again.
Much to Akane's relief, there was no sign of the creep as she made her way to the bathroom. Ryoga gave no protest as Akane carefully cleaned him up and dressed his wounds. Soon, medicine marked every injury the cats had given him. "Ryoga, would you mind looking away for a second?" Akane asked, setting him on the sink, just remembering how soaked she was. "I just want to get out of these pajamas."
Ryoga nodded, a light blush appearing on his porcine face as he turned about. "Thanks," Akane murmured as she quickly shed her sodden sleepwear and wrapped herself in a towel. Grabbing another towel for Ryoga, Akane picked the pig up, and the two of them went back downstairs.
"Here, Ryoga. Let's get some hot water going," Akane stated as she entered the kitchen with Ryoga clutched securely to her chest. However, when she looked about, there was no sign of the teakettle. "Huh? Where'd it…oh, right," Akane concluded, remembering the fiasco in the living room. Giving a weary sigh, Akane carried Ryoga to the living room. It didn't take long to find the kettle, but even as they did, Akane felt a wave of exhaustion hit her. The rain and the various shocks she had endured were clearly taking their toll.
Ryoga oinked in concern as Akane yawned heavily. "I'm alright, Ryoga," she said reassuringly, her eyelids growing heavier even as she spoke. "I'm sorry, I just need to sit down for a minute."
Finding a convenient cushion, Akane leaned against the table, draping the free towel about herself and the pig. "Don't worry, Ryoga…" she whispered to the little black bundle in her arms as she slowly drifted away. "We'll have you…back to normal…in just a…minute…"
With that, Akane fell asleep with her head resting against the table, Ryoga still held warmly, lovingly in her arms.
Author's Notes: This is just a little something I came up with when I was trying to come with some new story ideas. A little sappy, but I think it turned out rather nicely. Don't know where I'm going or when I'll update. That depends entirely on how my muses are fairing.
Please, read and review. And if you like, check out my other stories as well.