A Ranma 1/2 Oneshot
Her knees felt weak. They jittered and buckled, and it seemed as though her legs had completely lost the strength to support her weight. Not that she knew how to stand anymore in any case. Something in her body protested that this wasn't the way it should be right now, so she simply shut down what she was doing and relaxed, letting her body handle the rest. She fell down to the grassy field, barely registering the feel of the hard packed dirt below as her legs impacted into it. The bouquet of flowers in her hands fell to the earth as well, the release of her grip unbidden and the roses completely forgotten.
I love you, he'd said. He was so confident too, like there was absolutely no doubt in his mind. Maybe there wasn't. He said it like he knew her and accepted her completely. Like it was the most natural thing in the world to say. I love you. How long had it been since she'd heard those words? She couldn't remember. Had she ever heard those words before? No. Not directed to her, at least. No one had ever said they loved her. She gave it some thought, and realized that she barely even understood the concept. She knew that is was complex. She vaguely realized there were different types of loves. There was the love that two lovers had for another. There was the love of a mother for her child. There was the love of that siblings had for one another...
She thought of Kasumi. The young woman clearly loved her sisters. She always wore a gentle smile on her face as she went around the house. She always so warm and open towards her family. She always seemed so happy and at peace in doing even the most simple and domestic of tasks such as doing the laundry or cooking a meal. Whatever she could do for her family, Kasumi would find happiness in doing. That was a kind of love, she understood. She didn't know if Kasumi told her sisters that she loved them, but it didn't need to be said for it to be felt or understood. But, that was love for Kasumi's family, not her. She wasn't part of that family, not yet. Maybe she wouldn't ever be.
She thought of her pops. Her father was the only family she'd ever known in her life. Did he ever say he loved her, though? No. That wouldn't be manly in any case. Did her father ever let her know that he loved her through his actions and deeds? No. Not at all. The only time her father ever showed any kind of kindness towards her, the only time he ever had any indications of vulnerability or sincerity were when he was trying to trick her. When he had a clever plan that he needed her to go along with, or when he wanted her to let down her guard so he could trick her in some way. That wasn't love, she thought. No, not love at all.
She thought of her mother. Or, she tried to, at least. She assumed that her mother loved her, but was that just wishful thinking? She couldn't remember the woman at all. The only mental image of a motherly figure she had in her mind had been replaced by the smiling face of Kasumi. She didn't know if her mother was alive or dead. If she wanted to see her child again after all these years, or if she wanted nothing to do with her. Thinking about her was only a dead end.
She thought of her friends. She couldn't remember many of those, she thought sadly. And none of them had been her friends for very long. There was that kid from China who she'd talked with some times while they were searching for the right way to Qinghai. But that was more like an aquaintance, really, and she didn't even remember his name but two months later. There was that dojo master from Yamagata. He was an older man, but he liked spending time with her and teaching her his techniques, and he seemed so sad when her father said they had to leave. There was that kid from middle school, too. What was his name? Ringo? In any case, all they'd done was horseplayed around and walked to school together. There was Ucchan, too! Her best friend! Ukyou said he liked her. But it couldn't have been like that, no. They were just kids. They enjoyed goofing around together and getting into trouble. And that was at least eight years ago. Eight years ago since they'd last seen each other. Ucchan probably didn't even remember her anymore. So much for that thought.
She thought of Akane. The person she was supposed to marry. Well, that wasn't her idea. It wasn't Akane's idea either, as she often made clear. It was because of her pops and Akane's father deciding it on their own that they were in that relationship. Akane was nice sometimes, she thought. Akane had been quick to offer her friendship when she'd first arrived at their house. But that friendship was quickly abandoned due to the circumstances, and now they had a very rocky and uneven relationship. She still wanted to be friends with Akane, but she didn't know how. It seemed like Akane felt the same way most of the time, but then something would happen, accusations would fly, and Akane was calling her an idiot, or a pervert, and all sorts of other names that made her feel bad. Was that love? She didn't think so.
Love, she thought. What a strange word. How can such a small a word carry so much weight? How could such a simple declaration leave her floored, unable to control herself, unable to even stand on her own two feet. She'd never experienced this before. Never in her life had she experienced an emotion this powerful. (Aside from fear. But her mind wouldn't even let her remember that experience. That was forbidden territory.) This was the first time anyone had ever said those words to her. The first time that she'd ever felt those words from someone. What was she supposed to do with this? How was she supposed to respond to this? This was the first time in the memory of her harsh and gruesome life that she'd experienced this foe. This was an attack that she was unprepared to deal with, and her usual instincts were at a complete blank. Fight or flight, she tried to think. Run away? No!
Something within her was triggered. A switch was flipped, and it caused an immediate result in her body, a movement she wasn't entirely aware of. Unsteadily, she rose to her feet. She wasn't exactly conscious of what she was doing. Her mind was numb and she was set to autopilot, but she was aware enough to know that she had to do something. She slowly walked after the retreating form of her would be suitor, quietly pressing down on the grass with her black, chinese slippers as she plodded along after him.
"S-senpai?" She called out to her upperclassman. Her voice cracked in her dry throat, and she swallowed reflexively. The sound of her voice was quiet, and she wondered if he could even hear it. She listened in silence. She heard the swaying of the field's grass in the wind. A flock of crows was flying overhead, and their caws echoed around her. The branches of a nearby tree rumbled with the sound of the weight they supported and the new growth that would be joining them soon. As she considered whether or not she should call out to him again, the retreating figure stopped and turned around.
"Yes, my love?" he replied.
How could he do that! How could he say that? He spoke so firmly and confidently. There was no hesitation at all in his voice. How did he have so much strength when she was feeling so weak? How was he so sure of himself when she'd never felt so unsure in her life? She was a martial artist. A great one, in fact. She'd almost beaten him in a fight before, and she knew his skills well enough now to know that she could win the next time they fought. At least, if it was fought on her territory, and on her terms. But she couldn't beat him here. Not in this fight, not on this battlefield. The footing underneath of her was slippery and strange. Try as she might, she couldn't get a firm hold on the ground. She had no idea of what stance to take, or where the enemy would come from.
She watched him as he approached. The setting sun was behind him, and she could barely make out his details against the contrasting light. His form was covered in darkness, but the side of his face radiated with light. It reflected the cloudy, burning sky that surrounded them, setting his firm, confident features aglow in a rainbow of different colors; reds, yellows, oranges, and blues, and all of the myriad transitions between them. His dark, wavy hair brushed against his forehead and flowed this way and that in the wind. It looked like it was on fire. It looked like a field caught ablaze by a sudden wildfire and tossed into the heavens without a second thought.
He was close to her now, standing protectively over her, and she felt the presence of his large frame all around her. She was looking forward, and all she could see was the middle of his chest, covered by the midnight blue of his cotton martial arts uniform. She craned her neck backwards, tilting her head up so her eyes could see above his chest, above his neck, and look him in the face. He tilted his head down to meet her gaze as well, and their eyes locked together. She held her hands together behind her back and dug her foot into the ground, softly and uncertainly. She suddenly felt very small.
She swallowed again. Her throat felt dry. It felt so very dry. It felt uncomfortable. She wondered if she would ever be able to speak again, or if she had damaged her vocal cords somehow and been cursed into muteness. She let out a noise as she cleared her throat, and, seeing that they worked after all, she spoke. "H-how can you say that?" She asked him suddenly. Her eyes widened in surprise. She didn't mean to speak, did she? She wasn't even sure what she was saying at this point. "How can you say you love me?"
He didn't drop his gaze, but he was silent for some time. He considered her soft features with his eyes. She wondered if maybe she hadn't actually spoke thoese words aloud, and had just imagined them, when he finally he responded. "Do you doubt the veracity of my declaration?" He asked. His words were his usual pompous manner of speech, but his tone was gentle. He smiled and looked off into the horizon for a moment, breaking their locked gaze. Before she could look away, though, his eyes returned to hers, and she felt trapped again. "Perhaps you feel it is too sudden?" He didn't let her respond. "No, there is no love which is too slow or too quick. Love... Indeed. Love is like a blade."
"Love, like the blade, can take time to grow. A masterwork sword is formed from molten steel white hot, and cast into a mold. It is cooled off with a flash of water and beaten into shape, and then set aflame once again. Cool and then hot. Over and over again. For days and days, the artisan works on a single blade, sweating over it, pouring all of his effort into his labor, beating out the impurities for as long as it takes. Working diligently until the blade sings to him and resonates with his heart. And then, once he is finally done, he can take pride in his work, a masterpiece whose legacy endures generations and stands the test of time."
"But love, like the blade, can also be swift. A sword can attack a warrior before he even realizes it. A sudden iaido strike, and without warning, the sheathed blade is now at his throat. Cutting through all of his defenses, he is helpless against the advance of his partner He can do nothing to defend himself, even as the sword pierces straight through his heart, ending life as he knew it before the encounter. And so it was for me, when in a single, instantaneous moment, I knew that I loved you."
Her knees felt weak again. Her mind went blank at the kendoist's words, and internally, all she could muster up to think about was whether or not this was some sort of advanced kendo technique. Her pops didn't have much taste for martial arts based solely on rigid forms like kendo, so she'd only been taught enough to defend herself against its attacks. But she'd never heard about this technique before! It was so powerful, so debilitating. Maybe if she spent a little more time around the upperclassman, she'd be able to... Oh, she was speaking out loud again, and hadn't even realized it. "No one's ever said that to me before," she said, softly. "No one's ever said they loved me..."
An eyebrow shot up quizzically, and he moved closer. They both adjusted their stances to keep their eyes together. "How can that be?" He asked aloud. "How can it be that one as lovely as yourself has not known the soft touches of love? How is it that none in your life have noticed your brave but gentle spirit? How is it that none have come to appreciate the brash and warm fire you hold inside? Indeed, your countenance is exceedingly fair and pleasing to the eye, but it is the unbridled energy I felt from you that drew me to you, like a moth to the flame. It is that flame which lies inside of your heart that connected yours to mine, letting me know, without a doubt, that I love you."
I love you, he said. I love you. The words repeated in her head. I love you. How long had it been that she'd wanted to hear those words from someone? How long had it been that she'd wanted someone to see her as something other than a pervert to be pounded, a rival to be defeated, a weak child to be beaten? How long had it been that she craved nothing more than plain and simple affection?
It was very sudden, but she felt empty. She became aware for the first time of how very hollow she felt inside. All of the hopes and dreams that she'd ever had in her life were always cast away before they could settle in too deeply. Since she was always on the road when growing up, she could only afford to take what she could carry on her back. It didn't leave room for much. Everything that she'd ever wanted was denied to her, so she didn't ever want for much, or so she thought. She felt a strange sensation in her stomach. It felt like something was fluttering around in her belly, churning around, and then surging up into the rest of her body through her veins. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was odd. Were these the moths that he was talking about? It'd seemed that they'd gotten into her somehow, after all. He said that he loved and accepted the spirit that was inside her, but it was so empty before. Maybe this was the feeling of it filling up.
She felt a great warmth spreading over her face. Had she been standing in the sun too long? No, the sun was now hidden behind a building in the distance, so that couldn't be. But her face felt hot, like the sun was warming it up with noon sunlight. Her whole body felt hot, in fact. She wondered if the flames he was talking about had blazed to life and set her on fire. Something in her chest was beating uncontrollably, and her head felt like it was being crushed underneath a river of thumping blood. She could feel the veins in her arms and legs surging and constricting in bizarre, pulsating patterns. Her knees still felt weak, and she wondered if she would be able to stand any longer. She needed support, or she would probably fall. She wondered if he was feeling the same way. She unclasped her hands from behind her back and raised one up to his chest to check. His chest was definately beating, too. She felt the muscles inside pounding strongly against her delicate fingers. Or was that just the blood she felt pulsating through every part of her body?
He moved even closer. Weren't they already very close? She wondered. How could they possibly be getting any closer? He put one hand on her shoulder, and she felt his fingers snake around her trapezius and onto her shoulder blade. Her bones tingled where he left his hand. The other hand went lower, resting on her hip before taking position at the small of her back. A soft noise came from somewhere, and she realized it had originated from her lungs and throat. His knees pressed lightly into her thighs as he bent his legs. He stretched out his back as he leaned his upper body down towards her, and guided her body to match his position with his hands. His face descended towards hers, and she raised her head at the same time, still maintaining eye contact with her much larger schoolmate. She felt his warm breath against her face. She breathed in the scent. It smelled a little like apples and cinnamon. It was strangely pleasant, and she closed her eyes as she inhaled. And then, she felt his lips against hers.
At first, she felt nothing in particular from the exchange. It just felt like some sort of soft material was pressed up against her dry, cracked skin. It was actually kind of irritating, she thought. She broke contact slightly to lick her lower lip, providing the raw skin with some much needed moisture from her tongue. As she did so, she felt her tongue brush up against his lips as well. He grunted softly in pleasure, and she felt pressure again on her back and shoulder. In no mind to resist the pressure, she accepted his guidance and pressed herself even closer into him. She breathed in his scent again, and was suddenly very aware of the closeness of their bodies, feeling every inch of skin where hers pressed against his. Again, she felt his heart beating steadily through the material of his cotton outfit where her hand was smashed up between them, beating in a rapid staccato that matched the furious beat of her own.
Her hands were being crushed in the space between her body and his. She slipped her hands out from the narrow gap between them, and moved them up around his shoulders. Somehow, they didn't stop there, though. They moved up his neck, to the side of his face and the back of his head. She ran her hand through his dark, wavy hair and clenched tight. She felt his hair brushing up against her skin and tickling the space between her fingers. She tugged at his hair and pulled him closer towards her. He grunted. Was it a sound of pain or pleasure? But be obliged to her demands willingly. And then suddenly he was all over her, and she was all over him. Her skin surged with warmth and tingling pleasure wherever it met his, and she wanted more of it. Her tongue had never gone back into her mouth, and it was now prodding eagerly against his lips. Acquiesing to her aggression, his mouth opened, and she darted inside of him. She felt his hot breath all over her face, and tasted it as her tongue invaded his mouth, darting up to and dancing around with his tongue. And then their exchange was broken again, her lips moving away from his mouth and up his face, as he moved his lips down her neck.
She exhaled sharply, moaning out in pleasure as his arms formed a deeper embrace around her, and as his mouth trailed up the sensitive side of her neck. What was this sensation she felt? What was this pleasure she was experiencing? How was it that she'd lived her whole life without knowing about it? She wanted more of it. She felt like she couldn't live without it now. His touch was all that mattered to her now. It was more important than the air. It was... Ohh..! She wanted him, and wanted to give herself to him. She didn't know what that meant, but that's what her instincts were screaming at her. To take this wonderful, handsome man who loved her and...
Her eyes opened, wide. Her eyebrows shot up and she stared at his face, an expression of pure shock visible on her face. He didn't seem to notice, and continued his pleasurable ministrations, but it wasn't pleasurable to her anymore. Her. HER. She wasn't a her, she realized. And she shouldn't be doing this with a man. A MAN! It was wrong! Her skin tingled again, but it wasn't a pleasant tingling. It was a cold, chilling tingle that ran through her spine, up her neck, and into the ends of her braided hair. Despite the heat she was just feeling moments ago, she shivered. She released her embrace of the taller young man and shuddered. "Stop," she pleaded quietly. He didn't seem to hear her, so she spoke again, louder. "Stop." Did he hear her? Better try it one more time. "Stop. Stop. Stop. STOP. STOP! STOPSTOPSTOP!" In the end, she was all but screaming her lungs out at him.
Relunctantly, he obliged. He released his embrace and pulled back, still holding onto her lightly. He tilted his head to match her gaze again, staring the young woman in the eyes. "What is the matter, my love?" He pleaded. She looked into his eyes and saw the confidence there broken for the first time in the short while she'd known him. She saw the confusion he felt, as well as the pleading in his eyes that told her he wanted to do whatever he could to make things better again. Eyes that spoke of the love he felt for her. "Have I done something that brought offense..."
She felt dirty. She looked away, unable to meet his gaze any longer. "Stop that!" She yelled. "Stop saying that! You don't love me. You can't love me! It's not right!"
"I assure you, my intentions - while perhaps overly zealous - are not false! I truly love..."
"Stop! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" She beat her hands against his chest as she cried out in anger. The tears that she hadn't even realized were forming in her eyes began spilling out, falling down onto her cheeks and rolling off to meet the ground. His arms began to circle around her again, but she would have none of it. She shoved him backwards with all of her might and turned away from the kendoist.
He fell down onto the ground, coming to a sitting position amongst the blades of grass. He sat and regarded the blades of greenery where her tears had fallen in the darkening light of the evening sky. He sat and did nothing as the woman he loved ran away as fast as her little legs could carry her, a trail of tears shed behind her in her wake. He muttered out something, speaking softly to himself. It sounded like a poem, but she was too far away from her upperclassman to hear it, and had no mind to listen in any case.
The trip home went by in a blur. Her emotions were too jumbled to make sense of, and her vision was too blurry because of the tears that kept falling unbidden. Before she even realized it, she was walking up the steps towards the entrance to the Tendo home and opening the door. It was dark outside, but all of the lights on the first floor were on. No one had gone to bed yet. She wiped at her eyes with the short sleeve of her chinese vest and quietly took off her shoes. She hoped the family would leave her alone, she had no desire to see or talk to anyone right now, not after what she'd just gone through.
As usual, however, her wants went ignored, and a voice called out from the family room. It was the voice of Nabiki, who must've heard her coming in through the door. "How'd your fight go?" Nabiki said loudly down the hall. The other girl's voice was full of wry mirth, and she could almost imagine the grin that was on Nabiki's face at the time. She was the one who gave her the challenge letter from the upperclassman, she must've known what his intentions were from the very start. And had spent the whole time she was gone laughing about it. "Did you win?"
No, Ranma Saotome thought. I didn't win. She pressed her fingers up to her lips, remembering the sensation she had experienced earlier. Her heart was still beating hard, and she felt the warmth come back to her face again, despite the cold chill of night. I lost in the worst way possible.
Author's note: I woke up this morning and decided I had to write this fic. I didn't have any kind of plan in mind, I just had a single line in my head and a raging muse that refused to let go until I listened to it. Somehow, the story veered into very light semi-lime territory, which I have absolutely no idea about how to write. I apologize for its akwardness.
The above is a scene from the fifth chapter of the manga and the third episode of the anime. Out of all the confessions of love Ranma recieves in the series, none affect him as strongly and powerfully as Kunou's. Ranma is completely floored by the other boy's words, is unable to come up with any response, and has nightmares for days. This is an expansion of the scene, following it through to perhaps one possible outcome.
I didn't have anyone to do any pre-reading, and there hasn't been any real editing, so I'm sorry if it doesn't make sense to anyone but me. Any comments, criticisms, or discussion is welcome.
If you've not been grossed out enough to get this far, thanks for reading!