A/N: Okay, okay, you got me...this is my first Ranma story. I'm really not one to write things like this (what with the fourteen-million obstacles and more to come!) but the idea popped into my head and here it is, the first two parts of chapter one of my new story: Gothic Rain. Hell if I know why I named it Gothic Rain...I suppose I just had an urge for gothic...stuff, being gothic myself. I'm using that word too much...Gothic. Well then! I'll let oyu get on with the fic! It starts in the middle of the action. If you don't get something e-mail or IM me (preferably IM at Goku12366) and let me know! I'll be happy to fix it when I have the time. DON'T EXPECT THIS TO BE UPDATED EVERY TWO DAYS. Sometimes it'll be a week or two before I put up the nect installment. Deal with it. I'm sorry. School makes me aggitated...^_^;;

Ryoga slammed his fist into the wall by my shoulder. "You don't get it, do you Ranma?" he whispered, pain cracking his voice. "I practically poured my guts out last night and you stomped all over my heart. How could you have done that? I stayed up all night after that, thinking of excuses for you. For your sake. Just because it was you, Ranma. If it had been Kuno or Ukyo or Kodachi, even Akane, I wouldn't have overlooked it! I did it because it was you, just because it was you." His eyes were welled up with tears.

I backed away, confused. "What...are you talking about?"

"I was right, you don't get it! Or you're pretending you don't! Ranma! How can you not understand? I've given my heart to you, thrown myself at you. And yet you refuse take the hint."

I was darn confused. Ryoga, my rival, for christ's sake, was confessing his feelings to me? His feelings about me nonetheless! "Ryoga...we need to sober you up, I understand that." It was the best explanation I could come up with. I mean, he was drinking a little that afternoon, right? Weren't we all? That must be it! Right?

"No! Ranma, what do I have to do to make you realize -- what do I have to say?"

"I don't know what or why you're telling me."

His eyes were glazed over with anger. "RANMA!" he screeched, grabbing my shoulders and throwing me into the wall. "I want to tell you how I feel! But no matter how else I try to explain it, you won't listen!" he tried to slap me, but I blocked it and grabbed his wrist. He pulled me close to him with his other hand. "Ranma Saotome, I love you."I blinked, and dodged what would have been his kiss. What had gotten into him?! His hair, black as a raven, hung in a messy series of spikes that just reached his brows. His full lips were twisted into a sorrowful frown. His entire face reflected how hurt he was.

"Being the abnormal straight jerk that I am, I can't kiss you Ryoga. I thought you were in love with Akane? This is just a phase, a result of that liquor or something. In the morning you'll be back to normal. Go to sleep," I pointed toward his bed on the other side of the room. Mine was across from his on the left side, and to my right was Kuno's.

Ryoga dashed some tears away. "Please believe me. It's not...it's n-not the booze. How would you explain last night then, I-I-I was perfectly sober," he sniffled, "and I told you e-everyth-thing that I'd ever kept a secr-ret! E-eve-ever!"


I was so...


"Ranma. Lis-listen to me." he stuttered. "Li-listen to me when I talk to you. I lo-love you." With a quick hand, he wiped away more of his tears. He was crying. "S-s-so much I can't ev-even put it into words. But I-I tri-ied, so will you b-believe me?"

He sounded so sure. All of his emotions were blending and he was pouring out his heart and soul to me right there as he sank to his knees on the floor. His headband seemed to be ruffling his hair, so he yanked it off and threw it to the ground in front of him. Through blurry, crying eyes, he stared at the ground. Maybe he really did love me. But he was a guy. I was a guy. If I were in my female form, would it work? People would think it was weird if two guys were strolling down the street hand-in-hand. Not that Ryoga wasn't a fairly attractive guy -- of course, not as much as myself -- and I couldn't see why he was single. I thought he'd be getting hit on every time he appeared in public. His smile was always perfect, his eyes always gave away his thoughts when he was too depressed to talk. As he knelt there, like he was ready to recieve a beating, his sniffles and whimpers intruded on my mind, trampling the "what-ifs" and "maybes". He looked up at me, tears staining his cheeks, all his emotions rolled into one expression. Pain, anger, love, hate, compion, longing, sorrow. The only one missing was happiness.

"I will believe you." I found myself saying three times over as he dove forward and hugged my knees. I don't care if it's wrong. Unconventional. I can't make excuses to explain his feelings.

"Are you going to love me back?" he asked hopefully. His face was buried in my casual jeans.

Looking down at him, I thought for a moment. "If I...changed into my girl form, would you want me?" That was a stupid question. Stupid. And it made Ryoga wince.

"I love you for you, Ranma. Who you are. I'll love you no matter which gender, or which form you take." he stood, and stared into my eyes, his dark pools burning a hole in my consciousness. That hole made me forget what others would think.

"Yes. I will."

Instantly, that last feeling of joy was added to his face. The others disappeared. Just love and joy remained. And I let him kiss me. And it was the best, most pionate kiss I'd ever recieved.

Part Two: No Matter How Hard You Try

I woke the next morning doubting my relationship with Ryoga. I was going to break it off with him, I had to. I remembered the look on Kuno's face when he returned later that night and saw me and Ryoga lying in bed, he was asleep, I was in his arms. I had hidden my shameful face against my lover's chest, hoping Kuno didn't realize I was awake. And then I slept.

But now, alone in my bed, I felt no love for the rival boy. Just shame and anger and hate, much like what he had shown me through the years. I felt regret and was disappointed with myself. That was it. We just couldn't be together. There was no possible way. Not with everyone else breathing down my neck! They wouldn't approve! I was doubting everything. Everyone.

Kuno was fast asleep, tossing and turning. I tiptoed past him and out of the room.

That morning at breakfast, Ryoga, who usually sat on the far edge of the table -- as far from me as he could possibly get -- chose to take a seat right next to me. He was cheerful. Light-headed. He seemed like someone was feuling that fire, and that someone was most likely me. I didn't want to put that fire out.

So did I love him? Or did I not? How do you know?

"Oh!" Ryoga dropped his chopsticks. "I left the water on in the shower! Excuse me, I've got to go and clean the flood up," and with those words he left, and everyone at the table began to speak again.

I poked at my food. It was some American dish. Not that I didn't like American food, but the eggs were "sunny-side up" and practically staring at me. I poked at them. No more staring. Good. I smirked.

Akane tilted her head. "Ranma?"

"Unh." I replied absently. Was that even a reply?

"What's wrong with you today? You've barely said a word and you haven't touched your food aside from stabbing it," she noted.

I looked up. "How do you know when you're in love?"

"Bwaaaa! No! The water's co--" came the muffled wail from down the hall, followed by piggy-squeals which I tried to hide by coughing. Anything to save my Ryoga, right? ...Right?

Akane stared at me, he brow raised. The tomboy tapped me on the head with her chopsticks. "What?"

"I said, how do you know when you're in love?"

She stared at me, and blinked. Just blinked. Everyone was silent, and I continued to stab and poke my food again. No one else resumed their routine. Everyone was looking at me. I felt my cheeks get hot, and realized that I must have been blushing, so I shook my head until my hair fell in just the right way over my face. "Umm, well," Akane began, "you feel nervous around that person, and you feel it in your gut and your heart I guess."

"Oh." Personally, I was really surprised that she'd answered me. However, between the time that she stopped staring and the time she thought I was crazy for asking that, I had realized that maybe she thought I was talking about her. I'm sorry, Akane.

I didn't feel like that toward Ryoga, did I?

More pig squeals, covered by my coughing, were heard. "I'll go help P- I mean, Ryoga. He seems like he's gaving some trouble." I felt Akane's eyes on me until I disappeared into the guys' room.

Ryoga, or rather, P-chan, was having quite a hard time; his (Ryoga's) clothes were practically smothering him, so I picked them up and rung them out as quickly as I could. I turned on the hot water and threw the human Hibiki boy his clothes. "Akane still doesn't know," I stated. Ryoga shook the water out of his hair like a wet dog, and I dodged the stray drops.

He pulled his shirt over his head, put on his underwear and his pants, which were damp around the ankles. That would be excused, considering what he had been, doing. Ryoga smiled at me and kissed my forehead. My nose wrinkled, but he didn't notice. "Thanks, Ranma," he whispered. He was cheerful and again I didn't want to let his fire die. That fire in him that had been just a spark, grew and spread throughout him, like a wild emotional charge set endlessly ablaze. But would I ever gather enough courage to give that raven-haired boy, the slip? I really didn't want to be the one to extinguish that core flame that kept him going. I didn't want to be there if, and when, that happened. I didn't want to see him cry again.

He looked beautiful standing there, in a strange, perverse kind of way. There was a cut across his left cheek, which could easily be explained as a little knick he had gotten from not looking where he was going, or slipping on the drenched floor. His messy, black-as-night hair hung over his eyes in an untidy fashion, but he smoothed it back and into his cheetah-like spotted headband. His clothes stuck to him like a second skin around his slim wrists, ankles, and chest. But I forced myself to look away. Suddenly he took my hand and again, absently, I followed him to the breakfast table.

The sun leaked in through the open windows, spilling its golden essence over everyone in the room. Everyone's faces were lit up with the ethereal white light that played with the peachy shades of their skins. Over Nabiki's russet-colored hair hung a false halo of that same light, adding to the heavenly theme that plagued the morning. Akane, Kasumi, Ryoga - they all wore those crowns of sunlight. Of course it was a plague. We all would have looked like a perfect group of angels, had someone taken a picture. It was screwing with my mind. How could I tell Ryoga I was straight on a day like this?