Bad Ideas Gone Wrong Productions presents

Lost Cause

A Ranma 1/2 fanfiction by Geoduck

Something was wrong.

It wasn't because he didn't know where he was-he was used to that. Over the course of his life, he had frequently woken up in unfamiliar places.

But the thing was-he wasn't lost last night. He distinctly remembered having gone to sleep in his own bed last night. Next to his wife.

He was not next to his wife anymore. Nor in a bed. He was face down on a hard flat surface. It felt like a rough, dirty floor.

He tried to remember how he had gotten to this place. But there was nothing to recall.

Amnesia? Had he lost time? But it clearly didn't wipe out all his memory. He remembered his name, his wife, his daughter.

But there was a fog in his mind. Had he hit his head? Had he gotten drunk? He had no memory of drinking anything, but did that mean anything at all?

He tried to get up and look around, to see if he could tell where he was. For some reason, he was not able to. His arms refused to push himself off the ground. He tried to scoot his legs upward so he could get up on his knees, but he could not move his legs, either. He was equally unsuccessful at rolling over on his back.

Was he paralyzed? Could it be a stroke? True, he wasn't as young as he used to be, but he was still very fit-it couldn't possibly be a stroke, could it?

It was the damn fog in his mind. He couldn't think straight. All that came to mind were worst-case scenarios.

He forced himself to calm down. Okay, so he was unable to move, he didn't know where he was, nor how he got there. He could have sleepwalked to the pens in the middle of the night. One of the bigger pigs could have sat on him. It was an unlikely, but not impossible, explanation.

But… wasn't that metal on his wrists? He tried to bend his fingers over to feel, but they did not reach up far enough for him to touch his wrists.

He tried to pull up his left arm to look at what was around his wrist. It moved slightly, but not enough.

He tried again and again. Failure each time.

It took a dozen or so tries to realize that each time he pulled on his left arm, his other limbs moved as well.

He was trussed up in handcuffs.

He tried again and again to pull his arms and legs apart. They were definitely bound together. Those were certainly cuffs attached around his wrists and ankles.

This was not accident of sleepwalking or a medical condition. Someone had chained him up. Someone wanted him immobile. Somehow, someone had gotten him out of his bedroom in the middle of the night, chained him up, and spirited him out to god-knows-where. Without waking him up, without waking Akari…

His breath quickened. Akari. Holy hell, where was Akari? Some maniac had gotten him out of the way, leaving Akari completely defenseless.

First thing: he had to get out of there. He had to make sure his wife and daughter were safe. He tightened his arms and pulled his wrists apart to snap the chains holding the cuffs together.

They didn't snap.

He could feel his panic increasing. How could they not snap? He'd been able to break chains ten times thicker than a miserable pair of handcuffs ever since he was a boy.

He tried it again. And again. And again.

They didn't snap. They didn't even begin to give.

He remained trapped.

He let his arms be still for a minute and tried to pull his shackles apart using his legs.


He felt panic taking over his senses. No, can not panic, can not panic! He tried telling himself he'd been in far worse situations before, but he felt it hard to believe his own reassuring thoughts.

Tighten the legs again. Nothing. The arms again. Nothing.

Again. Again. Again.


The breaking-point technique! When he was younger he could only do it with his finger, but over the years, he'd adapted it to other parts of his body. He still could move his head, so he'd use his forehead to shatter the floor. It would certainly hurt like hell, but he might be able to flip over onto his back as the floor exploded.

He started to yell "Bakusai tenketsu" but stopped when he realized his mouth was gagged. Why hadn't he noticed that earlier? Never mind, the yell isn't necessary for the technique. With his mind's eye, he could see the breaking points of the floor below his forehead. He smashed at the points with all his might.

There was no explosion. The floor was remained as intact as it had been before.

He could no longer hold back the panic. He was lost. He was confined. He could not rely on his strength or his techniques to free himself.

Someone… something had kidnapped him. And where was Akari? What had he-it-done with Akari?

Only a few times in his life had he ever felt that helpless and scared.

His eyes teared up. He let out a low keening moan.

He'd never get out of this. He'd never see Akari again.

He'd failed completely at protecting his family.

He'd failed.

He'd failed.

He hated using this technique, but it was all he had left.

He felt the heavy ki gathering around him.

He didn't deserve to be a husband. He didn't deserve to be a father.

He was weak. Stupid. Useless.

He was a disgusting… perverted… pig.

He willed the "Shi shi hokodan" upwards. Only hopelessness could save him now.

But it wasn't going up. The ki evaporated like mist.

His most powerful technique wasn't working.

He panted in exhaustion. Maybe the best thing was to rest awhile and think about what to do next. The failed Shi shi hokodan had at least succeeded in calming him down.

"All done, then?"

He jerked in surprise at the voice. A man was nearby, behind him.

"To be honest, I was a little bit worried about the Bakusai tenketsu and the Shi shi hokodan. Those were the only real unknowns in this whole operation."

He racked his brain trying to recognize the voice. Had he heard it before? He didn't think so, but there was something familiar about it.

"Of course, there was also the chance that you might have developed other techniques that I don't even know about. But I think the precautions I took were probably enough to prevent you from pulling them off."

Ryoga kept his body as still as possible, willing himself to breathe slowly and regularly. He had to be calm. He couldn't afford panic or rage.

"At this point, I would imagine that you are trying to figure out who I am. But it would spoil it if I just came out and told you. It's better for you to figure out for yourself."

The speaker paused.

"…if you can, that is. You aren't the best at figuring out riddles, after all."

No, don't get angry. Getting upset at childish taunting would be worse than panic. The stakes are too high.

"So, where to begin? I supposed I should let you see what's going on." The speaker walked over to his side and paused for a moment. He could feel the speaker's boots work their way under his side, and with a sharp movement, flip him over onto his back. He winced as he felt his limbs now being crushed under his body in an uncomfortable position. He couldn't see anything, as the beam of a flashlight was being pointed at his face.

He blinked his eyes a few times in a vain attempt to see the speaker, then mostly closed them, trying to peer through a tiny crack.

"Why are you closing your eyes? Don't you want to see the monster who could do something like this?" Ryoga could hear a smirk in the voice of the speaker. "Oh, have I been blinding you? How terrible of me." The speaker turned off the flashlight, returning the room to total darkness.

He could hear the speaker walk a few steps away and adjust some sort of equipment. In a moment, the room was dimly lit by a paraffin lamp.

Ryoga's eyes adjusted to the low light of the room. He titled his head to look at his captor, but the unknown person still had his back to him. He could see that he was below average in height, but that he had muscle. He moved like a martial artist. A strong one.

The speaker paused, as if he could tell Ryoga was starting at his back, trying to guess his identity.

Finally, he turned around, looking directly in Ryoga's face.

Ryoga did not recognize the face. He did not remember ever having seen him before. He was young. Maybe a teenager, or someone in his early twenties.

He was Chinese. That is, he looked Chinese, but he spoke Japanese fluently, with what sounded to him like a Tokyo accent.

The young man smirked. "Disappointed you didn't recognize my face? I thought you would be. And so, the mystery continues. Is the person before you a face from the past seeking revenge? A man with a particular mission? A psychopath who has singled you out?"

Fear was slowly returning to Ryoga. The fact that this stranger seemed to know everything about him, and that he knew nothing about the stranger put him into yet another position of inferiority.

"Since you couldn't guess who I am by looking at me, you owe me a forfeit. I suppose I could try… this."

Ryoga could see the blow before it connected. The stranger jabbed him quickly in the diaphragm. It didn't hurt much, but he could feel the breath get knocked out of him. Ryoga writhed helplessly for a few seconds as he desperately tried to breathe.

Finally he managed again, and with relief he took in several great breaths of air.

"I think I'm tired of you being mute. It's time I took the gag off." Putting one knee in the middle of Ryoga's chest, the stanger held the gag in one hand, and in the other, a long knife which Ryoga hadn't seen previously.

With one quick motion, he slit through the gag, the point of the knife uncomfortably close to Ryoga's left eye.

Ryoga spit out the part of the gag still in his mouth. "Tastes… terrible."

"Trying to sound like a tough man, are you? Don't." The stranger kicked Ryoga in the side, causing him to wince.

"Then please… please let me go."

The stranger paused. "I didn't expect you to beg pathetically so quickly. I won't let you go, but thank you for saying 'please.' I appreciate politeness."

Ryoga tried a different tack. "Look, I can tell you're a martial artist. And you're strong. If you want a match… if you want to try and beat me, let's have a fair fight and…"

The stranger laughed mirthlessly. "A 'fair fight'? No thank you. I'm not interested in a fair fight, as should be obvious to you right now. I could never beat you in a fair fight, and I really have my heart set on winning. So things will have to remain completely unfair. Beating you is the only way I can get revenge."

Ryoga's eyes widened. "Revenge? But I don't…" His world briefly exploded as the stranger clipped him on the chin with his boot. For a few moments, he only saw bright flashes of light and could only hear a loud ringing in his ears before finally returning to his senses.

"I gave you a big clue just now, so it deserved a big forfeit. Hope it hurt."

It took a few seconds before Ryoga could gather himself enough to speak again. "Are you… are you from Phoenix Mountain?"

"Good guess. Excellent guess. Completely wrong, but definitely the most likely scenario, based on what you currently know." He kicked Ryoga sharply on the inside of his left upper arm. He screamed when he felt his shoulder dislocate.

"And while we're at it, I'll save you your next guess. I'm not from the Musk Dynasty," he kicked the left arm again, causing Ryoga to scream again, "or the Amazon village," another kick, "and I'm not Pantyhosetaro." This was followed by the strongest kick yet. Ryoga felt like was going to vomit.

As his bound victim tried to recover from this barrage of kicks, the stranger shook his head. "I'm tired of this. I'm just going to have to tell you my name." He knelt down next to Ryoga's head. With one hand, he gripped his hair, and then carefully put his lips next to the bound man's ear. "I… am… P-chan."

"P… P-chan? That's ridiculous." Without a word, the stranger got up and walked over to the table with the lamp. He picked up a bucket sitting next to the lamp, and threw the contents in Ryoga's face. Not prepared for a cold water soaking, he sputtered and coughed for a few seconds.

"So it's true, you really don't transform any more. What a shame, losing your better half like that."

Finally recovering, Ryoga looked at his captor. "Why are you talking about the pig?"

The stranger smiled regretfully. "I tell him the truth, and he does not understand." Then, his demeanor changing, he grasped Ryoga's throat in a tight grip. "Do you remember the day your curse ended? I know you remember. I remember it."

"You…" Ryoga fought to form words around the stranger's strangling hold. "You weren't there…"

"Of course I was there. That monk who told you he could cure you… Mousse, Shampoo, Ranma, Ranma's stupid father… and me."

"No, not you. You can't have been."

"I. Was. There. I remember the moment. The moment that the damn monk split me in half. Into two halves. A man who no longer changed into a pig. And a pig who no longer changed into a man. A pig who had all the memories of being a man, but who could not be one again."

Ryoga felt himself go cold. "Oh my god…"

The stranger-his other self-let go of Ryoga's throat and slapped him sharply across the face. "Are you seriously trying to tell me you never thought about it? That you never considered what really happened?"

Ryoga, unable to form words, tried to protest his innocence. His assailant would have none of it. "You knew it. You realized it. But you pretended to be ignorant. But I'll bet you dreamed about it. I'll bet you had nightmares of what it would be like to be trapped in the body of a pig. After all, why did you deserve to be the lucky one? Why should you get the human body? Get the girl? Have a home, have a daughter? And why should I lose everything? Everything. Even myself."

Ryoga tried to slow his breathing as the stranger continued to rant.

"You remember what it's like to be trapped. I was you back then, too. We got locked when we fought the Musk Dynasty. Just a few hours, but you remember the horror."

Sticking his face directly in Ryoga's, he screamed. "Eighteen years! I was eighteen years in that pig's body. An entire… miserable… lifetime!"

"I remember those first moments. Those moments where I was trapped… and nobody cared. You… you picked me up, you bastard. You gave me to Akane to be a pet.

"I know we used to think it might not be a bad thing to be Akane's pet forever. But when girls grow up, they don't treat their pets the same. Especially when they'd rather share their bed with their boyfriend than their pet.

"So I ran away. I ran away to look for a cure… or something to undo the cure. Something to make me human again. And that meant only one thing.


The stranger paused a long time, gathering his thoughts.

"You know, China is a big place. And it's even bigger when you're a pig. Do you have the vaguest idea how many years it took me to find the cursed springs?

"And when I found them, I knew I had only one chance. Only one precious chance to be cursed with the right curse. I wouldn't rely on that damn guide, or on maps.

"So I spent month after month watching each spring carefully. Patiently waiting for something to fall in and be transformed.

"Then I finally found it. The true Naniichuan. I dove in, and finally, finally had the body of a man again."

Ryoga sensed the story was coming to an end, so he tried to stall for time. "You became a man again, so why not just start over?"

"Forgive and forget? Don't be a moron. You're the last person to tell me that. No, I needed revenge. But I couldn't come after you… not yet. Not in an untrained, weak body. I needed to get a trump card.

"Luckily, I knew where I could find one. I knew that Cologne still had the chart. The chart with the ultimate weakness moxibustion.

"I knew I'd never be able to steal it from someone like Cologne, so I did something truly mad. I asked her to give it to me.

"She knew it was me. Even in the body of a Chinese man who drowned hundreds of years ago, she recognized my abilities. And fortunately, the Amazons really appreciate the meaning of revenge.

"I'm not as good at pressure points as she is, so it took months to learn it. But I did. I guess that makes me one of only three people in the world who can give the ultimate weakness moxibustion.

"Returning to Japan, finding your house, learning your habits-child's play compared to what I had done before.

"As I've been watching you, I've had dozens-hundreds-of opportunities to kill you without you being able to do anything about it. But just killing you wouldn't be enough.

"I needed you to be helpless. I needed you to be unable to move, unable to strike back, completely vulnerable. Just a mild taste of what I went through for eighteen years.

"I'll bet you're wondering what's going to happen next. 'How is he going to kill me?' Or perhaps you're wondering what's going to happen to Akari. Or your little Hitomi. 'Surely he won't hurt the woman we love."

The stranger leaned in closely. "The woman you love. Eighteen years is a long time. Plenty of time to stop caring about things that used to be important. Plenty of time to fall out of love." He paused to listen to Ryoga, who stayed silent. "Oh, no reaction? Or maybe you're just now realizing that I am capable of anything."

Ryoga refused to give in to a fresh wave of panic. That's what this person wanted him to do. He would not panic, not cry, not babble in fear. Because there was still a chance. One tiny chance.

"Now your daughter… she's quite cute. She might just be my type. I think I just might go for her." The man smiled maliciously and leaned in closely to Ryoga's face. "…whether she likes it… or not."


The stranger's eyes widened in sudden shock. He raised his hands to his neck, touched himself gingerly there, then looked at his hands, stained darkly with his own blood. He looked down at Ryoga's face, trying to speak.

"That should have opened up your jugular and your windpipe," Ryoga said quietly.

The stranger finally noticed twin blades of fabric standing up next to Ryoga's head. Blades covered with blood. The two halves of what used to be the gag keeping Ryoga mute.

"Undo the ultimate weakness moxibustion. I can still save your life and get you to a doctor. Undo it. Undo it!"

Distracted by the blood streaming from his neck, the stranger shook his head 'no.'

"Undo it! I'll help you! I swear I'll make it all up to you. I don't want you to die like this."

More resolutely, the stranger continued to shake his head. With the little breath he had left, he wheezed out "We… both… die…" and collapsed across Ryoga's chest.

Ryoga had no way to tell the time precisely. He knew some hours must have passed since the stranger finally died, still collapsed across his chest. The blood that had soaked both of their clothes had cooled.

The room was in total darkness now, the paraffin lamp having spent all its fuel some time ago.

Even with the stranger-his other self-no longer actively tormenting him, Ryoga knew his situation was dire. He had no strength, he was shackled, he had no idea where he was, and there was no reasonable expectation that someone would rescue him.

And even if he did manage to get out, would there be any chance of ever recovering his strength again? Minute. Microscopic.

He concentrated on the waistband of his pants. It certainly didn't make as strong or as large a blade as his bandannas or his belt would, or the gag already had, but he was able to make a small cutting surface. It was clumsy to use and poorly placed, but methodically, laboriously, he cut at the shackles holding him immobile.

Maybe escaping was unlikely. Maybe recovering his strength was almost impossible.

No way in hell was he going to give up.


Author's note: This is a one-shot. There will be no continuation.