"Of Life and Love": Start         Previous: Chapter 07       Next: Chapter 09

 Revelations, Part One: "Of Life and Love"

Chapter Eight:

Ranma stretched, feeling her body brushing against Ryoga’s as she did so. Ryoga’s arm around her chest drew her closer to him and then he relaxed into sleep again. Smiling, Ranma closed her eyes, not to sleep but rather to concentrate on the feeling of her back against Ryoga’s chest, his head tucked into her hair, his arm around her… She breathed in his scent, letting it permeate every part of her being as she memorized it and adored it. And she felt his soft breathing against the nape of her neck, his chest expanding with every breath, his warmth around her. Every one of those speaking of his aliveness. Ryoga is alive. Alive – and he loves me. Ranma rolled over so she could look at him, her heart twisting inside of her for her love of him. As she watched, Ryoga shifted slightly in response to her movement, but he didn’t wake, just moved his arms around to hold her again. I think he was up half the night watching over me. Every time Ranma had wakened in the night, Ryoga had been there for her. Feeling his care, she had been able to relax and go back to sleep. Ryoga cares. He loves me. He’s alive. Ranma kissed his cheek lightly and then carefully squirmed her way out of his arms.

She paused at the flap of the tent and looked back at him. Without Ranma there, Ryoga had rolled over onto his stomach, one arm under his head and the other stretched out by his side. He’d also managed to knock off the top sleeping bag. Ranma snuck back and gently covered him, her heart doing flip-flops as she watched him. Her feelings were without words but as deep as the ocean’s floor. The depth of her care. The strength of Ryoga’s care. The feelings that bound them together… The intense emotion that governed life and death was now a part of them and bound them as they had never been to any other. Ranma left the tent and walked out into the morning light. She stretched up, feeling the kinks in her muscles and tendons but ignoring them. The sunrise was pink on a few fluffy morning clouds. Ranma watched it happily. Ryoga is alive. Alive. "Ryoga is alive."

 

The leaves opened their pores to the morning light, drinking in the fresh carbon dioxide of the morning, soaking in the energy of the sun. A rustle in the distance told of the tree’s neighbors saying ‘good morning’. The knobby pine was complaining again of the woodpecker that had decided it was a good shelter. But there was some pride in the boast, for not every tree could support so many others by its life.

Ryoga woke up feeling something wrong. Besides sharing the thoughts of a tree. It took him a moment to realize that Ranma wasn’t next to him. Seventeen years alone, two nights with Ranma, and already it feels more natural to be with her than without. Ryoga got up and went outside. He saw the small pot of rice sitting by the banked fire and grinned. After his morning call to nature, Ryoga picked up the rice and then searched for Ranma. He finally found him in the hot springs, relaxing in the warm steam, head tilted back and eyes closed. Sitting down on a nearby rock, Ryoga ate his rice while watching Ranma. He’s so handsome. I always used to envy his good looks and easy way – the perfect lady’s man. Now… those same features grabbed Ryoga’s attention in a very different way than envy. It’s amazing how much I love Ranma. Now that I know that he cares… How much he cares. How much he always cared. Why didn’t I know? Why did I let my respect turn to anger? But Ryoga knew the answer to that one – it was because anger was easier to deal with than pain. Or at least it had seemed so at the time.

Ranma opened his eyes, feeling Ryoga's regard. And he recognized that look… Standing up, Ranma grinned, "Hold on a sec and I'll change."

"Huh?" Ryoga blinked several times at the seeming segue to his thoughts, "Ranma, it's not a spar I'm thinking about right now."

"Spar?" Ranma also blinked as he got out of the water and started walking to the cold section.

Oh, he meant change forms, not clothes. Idiot. Ryoga put down the empty rice bowl and stood up. With one smooth move, he tackled Ranma, knocking them both into the hot spring. As they fell, he twisted them around so he would hit first…

And Ranma rolled even as Ryoga was twisting them and he ended up hitting the rock, a smothered yelp of pain escaping his lips

"Ranma!" Ryoga pulled them both up to a sitting position as he quickly ran his hands over his friend, wincing at the bruise that was forming on Ranma's back. "What the hell did you do that for?"

Gulping down a sniffle, Ranma waited until Ryoga's brown eyes met his. He stared at the angry concern in the velvet earth-tones and he raised his hand to touch Ryoga's warm cheek, "I'm never going to let you take damage for me ever again. Never, Ryoga."

"Oh damn…" Ryoga realized abruptly just how close his actions had been… "I'm sorry, my sweet. I didn't mean… I…" Ryoga trembled as darkness started to close in around him.

And then the light broke through again as Ranma leaned in to kiss him gently, "It's okay, Ryoga-love. But what were you doing?"

Ryoga laughed softly, transferring his concern back into love for his friend. "Ranma no baka… you don't have to change forms for me to love you." He kissed Ranma's cheek and trailed his fingers through Ranma's hair. "I was actually looking forward to the opportunity of knowing you a bit better in this form…"

"Ryoga, I'm a guy."

"No duh."

"But—"

Ryoga moved his mouth over Ranma's and shut him up. Eventually, when Ranma was out of breath, Ryoga moved on. "Ranma," he murmured as he trailed kisses over his chest, "didn't we already go over this?"

"Ah…" Ranma was arched against the rock, his back on the stone while the warm water they were in lapped over his legs and thighs… "Not that part of me, no…" Ryoga's lips on his chest… his flat chest, but there was still feeling, different than the girl's…

Ryoga lifted his head and stared at his friend, he's comparing again. Well, I suppose it's natural, but that isn't where I want his mind right now. Ryoga sighed as he watched Ranma, so handsome, so beautiful. The light blue eyes, the coal black hair, framed in such delicate features. Ranma's broad shoulders somehow didn't detract from the impression of delicacy, yet added the feeling of strength. And his litheness, his slim body with the muscles wrapping around his form in flexible strength. Ryoga knew well how strong Ranma was, and how balanced and graceful, and…

He loves me! Ranma watched Ryoga's eyes and marveled. He knew how much Ryoga admired his female form – hell, he could get Ryoga every time with it when Ryoga didn't know it was Ranma – but the way Ryoga was watching him now, caressing her with sight alone… Ranma moaned for the feelings it created in his body. I'm a guy… Aren't I? Ranma's heart flipflopped and she reached out to Ryoga, gently exploring his face with his fingers, leaving wet lines tracing up to the hair over his forehead, brushing the wet strands back as she leaned forward to kiss his lips… and found himself misestimating the height, kissing Ryoga's eyelids as they closed, blinking down as Ryoga let out a wondering sound of delight. Ah, who the hell cares what form I'm in now… Ranma pulled back a bit and let herself simply watch the handsome man who loved him.

Ryoga trailed a hand in the warm water and then ducked down, letting the spring wash over him. When he came up again, he pressed up against Ranma, letting the water create a slippery suction between them as it lubricated even as it dried from the heat of their bodies. He pressed himself against Ranma, closing his eyes to feel their bodies together… and not in a spar. He could feel Ranma's waist next to his, and the lengthening evidence that Ranma was getting as excited as he was. Ryoga kissed Ranma's neck as he wrapped his arms around Ranma's body, stroking over his back and sides and down to the firm muscles in Ranma's buttocks, pulling Ranma in tightly, his body straining for the pressure on his groin. And he wanted…

Damn, he's hard! Ranma wasn't even that close to matching Ryoga's desire yet, though with Ryoga's attention he was definitely getting there. Almost hesitantly, Ranma stroked down Ryoga's side, getting a hand between their bodies so he could reach…

Ryoga cried out, his back arching as his grip on Ranma tightened, "Ranma!"

"Wow…" Ranma's eyes were wide as he looked at the expression of ecstasy on Ryoga's face. He likes this. His own breathing was starting to come shortly in anticipation alone. Ranma moaned, remembering the explosive release from the day before and wanting it again… The fire that was running through his body was creating its own need independent of any thoughts of Ranma's. Distracted, Ranma suddenly remembered his partner again as Ryoga thrust his hips against Ranma's, pushing his erection in Ranma's hand… Ranma tightened his grip and started to curiously experiment, reaching his other hand to touch himself, "Ah!" That felt good! But not as good as Ryoga's hands… Him first, this time! Ranma returned both hands to Ryoga, and he also leaned forward to kiss Ryoga's mouth, trusting his tongue deep.

Ranma! Ryoga greedily sucked on the twisting muscle that was licking throughout his mouth even as he tried to move his own tongue to capture Ranma's. He breathed in the scent of Ranma that was surrounding him, intensified in the hot steam, yet his body still felt hotter. And then pleasure shot through his body in an intense jerk, twisting his muscles as he cried out into Ranma's mouth.

Moving his hands from Ryoga's front to his back, Ranma held his friend as Ryoga slumped down in his arms, panting heavily. "Ryoga…" she murmured lovingly as she kissed him gently… It was really hard to keep female thoughts in his head when his groin was throbbing unrelentingly. "Ah, Ryoga…" Ranma squirmed a bit, trying to find a more comfortable position – or at least one that would let him release some of the tension while waiting for Ryoga.

With a laugh, Ryoga raised his head tiredly, kissing Ranma, "I definitely like your guy body… Oh, here." Ryoga moved around, wrapping his body around Ranma's to pin them both against the rock while he reached down to please Ranma even as he pressed his mind to try and remember some of his earlier ideas. I'd also thought about trying… The other ideas became academic as Ranma cried out and shuddered in release. Ryoga glanced up to Ranma's eyes in surprise, I barely touched him! But the look of wide-eyed astonishment in Ranma's eyes told its own story. Ryoga laughed again as he stroked his friend, he's still not used to the guy's body – boy, this is fun! "Ranma, my love…"

After they cuddled for awhile in the warm water, Ranma's mind eventually started thinking again, and his thoughts kept coming back to the same thing. "We’re both guys… How did that work?"

Oh for pity's sake. "You want me to show you again?" If they did… Ryoga could try some of his other ideas… Ryoga grinned at the thought. He stroked down to Ranma’s bottom and squeezed gently, hoping Ranma would say yes. 

"Uhhh…" Ranma did want it, actually, but… "My guy’s body apparently doesn’t recover as fast as my girl’s." A shame… Another plus for his girl-body; his formerly hated curse that was now a blessing. There was as much wonder in it as there was in Ryoga. Ryoga’s love…

Ryoga laughed and kissed Ranma. They sank into the water, arms around each other, bodies pressed against each other, legs entwined together… Until their heads went under the water. Then they untangled from each other as they coughed and sat up again. And put their arms around each other again.

Ranma’s eyes were still wide, "I still can’t believe… I mean… I’m a guy." With a sigh, Ryoga leaned against Ranma, putting his head down on Ranma’s chest. Ranma automatically stroked Ryoga’s hair, playing with the wet strands and running his fingers along Ryoga’s nape. "You’re a guy. I love you as a girl. And that’s why I still react to you when I'm a guy… but you react to me even when I’m a guy, not a girl." Ranma looked down at Ryoga suspiciously, "Ryoga – are you gay?"

"Oh for…" Ryoga sat up, moving away from Ranma, "That does it. That absolutely does it!" He climbed out of the spring, his every movement radiating anger as he strode off in the direction of the tent.

Ranma puzzledly watched him go. "What did I say?"

 

When Ranma finally came back, he found Ryoga inside the tent, laying out fresh massage sheets and getting the towels and oil ready. Ranma blinked, "Again?"

Ryoga glanced around, "Again. Morning, noon, and night until you’re fully aligned." He looked out the tent flap that Ranma was holding open at the bright sunshine, "Or as close to that schedule as we can get."

"Ryoga… I’m sorry."

And Ryoga had to laugh. He looked at Ranma’s face and saw the puzzlement still there. The apology was one of Ranma’s normal ‘I don’t have the foggiest what happened but I think I should apologize because somebody told me once that I should.’ Oh, Ranma, my dear friend. Sometimes, your lack of experience in the world makes you as innocent as a babe. And other times your training makes you as old as the hills. "Ranma, my sweet," Ryoga stood up and walked to his friend, "I love you. I don’t love ‘girls’. I don’t love ‘guys’. I will love who I will, regardless of what sort of a body they’ve been granted." I’m not one to talk. Ryoga placed a finger on Ranma’s nose and then kissed him. "Now go change into your girl form and we’ll get the next session done."

Ranma looked at Ryoga for a long moment before turning to comply, still baffled.

Ryoga watched him go, the smile still on his lips. I have to admit, I'd never thought about it before… but loving you – Ranma, how could you possibly think I don't love all of you?

 

When Ryoga was finished, Ranma started to sit up. Strong hands pushed her back down.

"Don’t you even dare," Ryoga glowered at her, "Ruining my good work… You stay still for at least ten minutes and let the lines settle in."

Ranma felt refreshed and eager – not at all willing to lie still for that long. His muscles were yearning to be used, to stretch out and be flexed and snapped in katas and spars. He had been still for entirely too long already. Sex might have stretched some previously unused muscles – her thighs still hurt – but it doesn’t do much for the ones I need for fighting.

Ryoga watched Ranma with a grin – Ranma was obeying, but obviously wasn’t willing. He’s getting better. And he was obviously thinking of himself as a guy at the moment – his thoughts on sparring and fighting. It’s weird how I keep switching the pronoun on him… ‘her’. Sometimes I look at him, either form, and see my good friend and buddy – the male Ranma I always knew. Other times… it’s the girl. Still my good friend, that never changes; Ranma is always the bright sparkling element that I care about. But… his mindset changes periodically. He always used to be a guy, either form – he was always a guy. Now… Ryoga smiled and reached out to stroke Ranma’s flank, running his hand over her side and hips, trailing his fingers down her thigh. Now she also thinks as a girl sometimes. Ranma finally accepted the girl-form as a part of himself. Herself. Frowning, Ryoga made the obvious connection, "I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll start thinking like a pig."

The electric shivers that ran through her body at Ryoga’s touch on her were keeping Ranma still. Very, very still. However, at his remark, she rolled to her side and looked at him, "Excuse me?"

Blushing, Ryoga tried to pretend he hadn’t just said that. His hand continued stroking her thigh, fingers wrapping around her leg in an obvious distraction.

Ranma sat up and stretched. Then she wrapped her arms around him, "I like you just the way you are." She kissed him, licking her tongue around his lips and then sucking his lower lip into her mouth. Ryoga’s moan of pleasure was swallowed in her breath. At the sound, Ranma happily started exploring. So what if sex isn’t good for fighting – it’s definitely good for other things! Ryoga melted under her touch, sinking back until he was lying on the ground, one arm around her back, the other caressing her breasts, his mouth open on hers, his lower body seeking hers out as Ranma’s touch was quickly arousing him. Very quickly. Ranma reveled in his response and in hers. So much pleasure… Oh, yes… This is good. Very, very… The thought broke off for the experience.

 

"I thought you weren’t suppose to associate massage with sex?" Ranma asked, stroking Ryoga’s strong chest and tracing the muscle patterns.

Ryoga breathed in the wonderful scent of her hair as he combed it with his fingers, separating the strands and turning them over.

Ranma tilted up her head to look at him. Ryoga kissed her nose. Smiling, Ranma prompted, "Did you even hear my question?"

"What question?"

Ranma repeated it.

Shrugging, Ryoga squirmed up until he was sitting, Ranma in his lap, her legs straddled around him, her arms around his neck. "There were enough other thoughts in-between that I didn’t really connect the two. But you’re right – I should be more careful."

I don’t really want you to… Ranma sighed. For Ryoga’s sake, she would have to be more careful. Okay, Ryoga had been stroking her in a decidedly not platonic way – but she was the one who actually started the serious bit. But this is so wonderful! Sex. The thing boys had always wondered about, talked in hushed voices about, fantasized about. It was nothing like the locker-room talk. Although Ranma was experiencing it mostly as a girl… It’s so incredible. These feelings... Ranma couldn’t get enough of it. And neither could Ryoga. Ranma could feel him getting hard again as she sat on his lap. And liquid was starting to flow from Ranma’s opening anticipating the need for lubrication. Making Ryoga more excited as he felt it... Making Ranma more excited… Before either of them had even moved, their breathing was deepening and their pupils were dilating as they stared at each other. The anticipation alone… If this is what it’s like… how do adults get anything done? This complete and utter absorption in each other? The need for the pleasure? We just finished. And we’re ready again. I used to dream of sex. I never knew what I was dreaming of. Ryoga’s lips came down on hers and Ranma was laid back down on the tent floor as Ryoga’s hands stroked her sides and hips, her legs still hugging his waist tightly. So much pleasure… Ranma moaned as her head fell back, her eyes shutting. Her hands wrapped around Ryoga’s back and stroked down his spine. She heard Ryoga’s gasp as his back arched in response to her touch and his hips pressed against hers. And then he slid down, his mouth finding her breast and lingering there with licks and nibbles and kisses. Ranma’s moans grew louder and she arched her back at the feel, digging her hands into his hair.

"Enjoy that?" Ryoga asked, his mouth moving slightly away before returning to suck on her nipple.

"Oh, yes…" Ranma answered with a sigh, "Ryoga, anything you do to me is wonderful."

"Anything?" Ryoga asked with a grin in his voice. And then he started teasing her. Stroking her to passion and then pulling away. Moving from one portion of her body to another before she was wholly satisfied anywhere. Lowering his hips over hers but not quite there… He took his time. He very much took his time.

And Ranma was getting desperate. "Ryoga, you jerk!" Ranma twisted in need, reaching for him frantically, "Stop that!" Ryoga’s hands stroked her and kept her away. "Ryoga! I want you now!"

"Umm…" Ryoga grinned again, "I think I’m starting to figure this out… Not quite yet, my sweet love. Just a bit more… You know – this is really a lot of fun."

"Fun! Ryoga!" Ranma’s body was near helpless at Ryoga’s touch. She fell back with a moan, unable to even move. "Ryoga, what are you doing?" She wanted him so badly… And just as she gave up, he entered her. "Ooooo…" His hips moved slowly up and down. He was rubbing across that sensitive little spot… He was fully in her and the sensation was incredible. Ranma tried to move with him but her reflexes were eclipsed by the ecstasy that consumed her. And then he moved faster in her… And as he moved, his hand wandered down to her waist and stroked her nub… Ranma screamed as the pleasure jolted through her like an electrical shock. She clung to Ryoga tightly, holding him as the pleasure kept coming and coming… sweeping through her in a never-ending series of waves. Vaguely she was aware that it was over, but it wasn’t, as her mind and body were lost in the sensation – the electric current through every fiber of her being. The lights twinkling around her, stars in the universe. Adrift on an ocean of stars, the tide rocked her gently. As gently as Ryoga. My love.

Ranma eventually became aware of other sensations. Like her back lying across Ryoga’s chest. He’d evidently moved them while she was adrift. She was still adrift. In her pleasure, Ryoga’s presence was included. His hands running lightly and gently over her breasts and down her stomach. His legs wrapped around hers, one foot wandering up and down her calf. Her head resting in the curve of his neck. That can’t be very comfortable for him. Ranma started to move slightly, but Ryoga’s hands tightened around her, keeping her in place.

"Is anything the matter, love?"

Ranma relaxed, "I just thought that the position couldn’t be comfortable on your neck."

Ryoga chuckled, "I’m comfortable no matter what as long as you’re happy."

"Ummm…" It was a little too much effort to try and speak. Ranma shut her eyes again and continued to let the waves of pleasure wash over her. Less intense than they had been, but oh, so wonderful… "What did you mean, ‘it was fun’?"

Ryoga laughed, the movement of his chest making her head and torso bounce on his. Ranma rolled over so her belly was over his hips and her breasts were pressed into his bare flesh. Oh, this feels so good. Ryoga, my love. She turned her head to the side and laid on his chest, hearing his heartbeat loud in her eardrums. "I’m still waiting for an answer."

"It’s fun making you happy," Ryoga said, his hands sliding across her bottom in a caress. "It’s taken awhile since I’m usually so absorbed in myself, but I think I’m starting to get to know what it is that makes you the most happy."

"Usually absorbed in yourself?" Ranma lifted her head in disbelief, "Ryoga, you moron – you haven’t taken a single one of these times for yourself! The single time I was able to get you to stop thinking about me wasn’t even your intention!" She sat up slightly, legs straddling his waist, "You didn’t get your release this time, did you?"

Ryoga shrugged as he bewilderedly stared up at the angry Ranma above him, "I’ll get it eventually – it’s not like I won’t." 

"Ryoga, you baka…" Ranma slid back down again, her anger starting to change to tears, "This was suppose to be your gift. My gift to you. You’ve done so much for me… You love me so much. I can’t do anything. I can’t even give you a gift without you turning it back to me. I’m useless. I can’t do anything right."

"Ah, shit…" Ryoga folded his arms around her as she started to sob. And I thought Ranma’s emotional turmoil was getting better. "Ranma, Ranma-sweet… Ranma. Ranma – will you listen to me?" He shook her slightly.

Ranma sniffled.

"Ranma – I love you. I can’t help that. I love you with all that I am. I’d love you even if we’d never had sex. If all we were was good friends. I know what you’ve done for me, in this, your girl’s body. And it’s incredible. It’s the most incredible gift anyone has ever given me." Ryoga paused for a long moment as he reflected on it. So incredible. For me, Ranma became a girl. He’d never ever wanted it… But for me, to make me happy… to give me a gift… "Ranma, you care. You love me. It’s so amazing."

And Ranma’s tears gradually stopped as she felt his honest truth. He loves me. He loves me. And he likes my gift. He really does.

"It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gift of your body – I love it. I love you, I love your girl’s body, I love the sex… I love the sex with your guy body too. Heck, it’s all wonderful. Having sex with you… I love it. I really, really do. It’s the most incredible thing. I’ve never dreamed of so much pleasure. Having you, knowing you care for me… I never thought it was possible. Especially for me. I thought I’d die alone, with no one around me, never having known the pleasures of a man—"

Ranma started crying again.

"Now what?" Ryoga refocused his thoughts and stopped rambling.

"You did."

"Huh?"

"You did die, you idiot." Ranma sobbed harder.

Ryoga rolled his eyes, oh yeah… "But I wasn’t alone. You were with me. And you brought me back. Ranma – I wouldn’t have come back if it hadn’t been for you. I couldn’t go across the River while you still needed me." Ryoga kissed her gently, wiping the tears away, "I never knew how much you cared. Ranma, I love you. It’s incredible, knowing you love me. Ranma – that is the greatest gift you have given me. You gave me your life, you blockhead – what could be more precious than that? I treasure it. I treasure every part of it. You have given me so many gifts… There is no way I can ever be alone now, knowing that you care."

Ranma’s sobs eased again. And she looked into the warm brown eyes. He means that too. Maybe… Something else inside of her eased. I did make him happy. When he was pleasing me – he was happy. That’s the sort of thing that makes Ryoga happy. Ranma remembered how it felt to have Ryoga convulsing in his climax under her touch. To see the pleasure in his eyes and know that she’d brought him there. And she thought about how much she wanted to please him now. Maybe… maybe letting him please me is the best way to please him? It was an odd thought. ‘There is no way I can ever be alone now…’ He is content, because I care. I care so much… And that is what he considers his gift. Not just the sex. But I still want to see him happy. But he is happy, that I’m happy… This was confusing. Love. It defied all normal definitions. And was so wonderful. I never knew.

"Better, now?" Ryoga asked hopefully.

Poor Ryoga. Ranma giggled, hiccuping slightly. He’s not used to dealing with emotions. When anything normally happens that makes him even come close to facing them, he runs away. But he’s not running away now. He’s staying. Staying here with me. And talking about what he feels. Ranma laid back down on Ryoga’s chest. I think this might be good for him. "Ryoga, I love you. I love you so much. I’m sorry I just spoiled your happiness."

"Oh for… Ranma – you didn’t." Ryoga’s exasperation and fondness showed in his voice. "If we’re going back to that… You idiot – how can you possibly think I haven’t been enjoying myself? You yourself told me I could take you anytime I wanted… Haven’t I been? What about this last time? And the time before? The one before that? Did I even ask you? If you can’t even recognize my orgasms… Didn’t you ever masturbate in your guy-body?"

Ranma sat upright in indignation, "Of course I did!" And then he saw the laugh in Ryoga’s eyes. "Okay," she conceded, "You got me." And she grinned shyly back – not quite used to gentle teasing. Is this… what I try for when I taunt Akane? This give and take of affection? "Ryoga…" Ranma was filled with love for her friend. "I meant every word of it before – when I said you could have me anytime. Because you love me. Also… You know, you can keep going after I’ve climaxed."

Ryoga shrugged and sort of half-grimaced, then grinned, "I do. But sometimes I like watching you so much I forget about continuing. You are so beautiful. And your delight shines through like the sun… It’s so wonderful just to watch you."

He meant that. Ranma’s heart twisted inside her with her love for him, and his for her. You like watching me, do you? Well… Ranma crawled off of Ryoga and sat next to him, waiting until he also sat up. "That means you still haven’t had yours yet." Then she laid back on the tent floor, her hair spread around her, her legs spread apart. And she ran her hands down her body from her lips down her neck to her breasts, lingering there as she stroked her nipples in a circle, moaning a little before continuing down… "Take me, Ryoga," she whispered. "Come and take me now." She keep her hands moving, imagining Ryoga’s hands there instead. She locked her eyes on him as her breathing grew ragged and deep and she started to moan in pleasure as the feelings and anticipation wove throughout her body. She needed Ryoga there. She needed Ryoga… Ranma extended her hands to him, "Ryoga. Come… Come to me. Take me in your arms and make love to me. Take me, for I am yours." Take your gift… and make me happy in your pleasure.

Ryoga’s eyes had been growing wider and wider as he watched her… Finally, something inside of him broke and he raised his hands to his face and rushed outside as blood started spurting from his nose.

"Huh?" Ranma sat up, rather disconcerted and disappointed. But remembering the look on his face just before he ran out… Ranma couldn’t help it, she started giggling. And then laughing. And then howling with laughter. "Oh, poor Ryoga…" Gaining partial control, she yelled out the tent flap, "I’m sorry!" and she actually meant it. Now that I think about it – Ryoga’s been remarkably unfazed by all this considering what he’s normally like around semi-naked girls. I guess… his blood pressure is more governed by his imagination. Ranma giggled, Oh, my poor Ryoga. I didn’t mean to do that to him. Well, I did – but I had a rather different end in mind.

 

Ranma eventually followed the blood trail and found the pig sitting in the very coldest part of the springs – as far away from the emergence of the geo-thermally heated water as he could get and still be in range of their camp. A fairly large pool contained by rock that seeped the heat away and gave back chill, shaded overhead by trees that kept the sun from warming the rock. The small black pig glared at her as she walked over. And then stuck his nose back under the water. After a moment, he rolled over so his snout was in the air.

"I’m sorry, Ryoga," Ranma giggled again, tempered with a certain amount of guilt. "I didn’t think about what that’d do to you." She tested the water’s temperature with a toe. "Burr…" And then she plunged in, ducking under and coming up in a spray of water, "Oh! That’s cold!"

The pig watched her bare form cavort in the water and he forgot to keep his head up. When Ranma swam to him, blood was leaking slowly from his nostrils and tears from his eyes. "Oh…" Ranma scooped the pig gently up in her arms as she walked out of the pool. "I’m sorry, Ryoga. My love. I still wasn’t thinking, was I?" She caressed the pig’s body and rubbed behind his ears. Glancing around, she sat down under one of the trees and put Ryoga in the crook of her arm, holding him so his nose was pointing down. Then she pinched his nostrils gently but firmly shut and held him. And watched him. Ryoga was watching her with a dazed, wondering look. Ranma grinned, "I’m not totally without first-aid knowledge, even if I don’t know as much as you. Oh, my love…" Ranma looked into the pig’s eyes and saw Ryoga. The one she loved. Ryoga was right. The form doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside. Ranma had always known that – for Ryoga. He fought with Ryoga in both forms. He talked to Ryoga in both forms, even if Ryoga couldn’t answer while in the pig’s. He protected Ryoga’s secret, because he could – Ranma’s own curse was too obvious to hide. But Ryoga’s… In Japan, a curse was a disgrace. To be different. Strange. Shunned. But my curse is now my blessing. Different, yes. But through it… Through it, I’ve found love. Love like I never thought I would. She smiled down at Ryoga with all the love in her heart.

And the pig just stared back. Still completely out of it. He didn’t lose that much blood. Ranma shook her head and checked for bleeding. It looked like it was stopped and sealed now. So… better not get his imagination going again. Ranma grinned – her body wanted a workout, and a spar would do nicely. "Come-on, Ryoga. Let’s get you changed back and then we’ll spar. Okay?"

Continuing to watch her with semi-vacant eyes, the pig shrugged slightly. Ranma took that for consent and walked back to the hot portion of the springs.

She walked into the pool still holding the pig. And then he was holding Ryoga. Holding him close. Ryoga’s body was pressed against his, almost leaning on him… Oooo… Ranma no longer wanted to simply spar. First he checked Ryoga’s face… The nose looked all right. The brown eyes still looked rather dazed. Ranma grinned, perfect. Full initiative for once. Just like I’d wanted earlier. In his other form. But form really didn’t seem to matter at the moment. He wanted Ryoga so badly. And he wanted Ryoga’s pleasure even more. Ranma kissed Ryoga passionately. And Ryoga blinked rather belatedly as his eyes started to focus. Nope. Won’t let you get control this time! Ranma stroked a hand lightly but firmly down Ryoga’s back along the spine. Ryoga moaned as he arched into Ranma, his eyes losing their focus again. Oh, absolutely perfect. Ranma’s hands continued tracing the spinal nerves. And Ryoga’s head tilted back and this time it was Ranma’s mouth that trailed down Ryoga’s neck, tracing the pulsating artery… His hands moved to the front of Ryoga’s waist. Ryoga cried out Ranma’s name at the touch of Ranma’s hands on him. And Ranma’s heart gave a thump at the sound. My name – called with love and delight by the one I love… "Ryoga," Ranma murmured his love and joy in return, and as seductively as he knew how, brought Ryoga up to full erection, not that it took much more. Ryoga moaned, his hands opening and shutting on Ranma’s shoulders, his head tilted back, his eyes open but glazed over… Seeing the pleasure in Ryoga’s eyes… Ryoga was right. This was pleasure. Seeing the one he loved so much have pleasure. Ryoga was clinging helplessly to Ranma as Ranma’s hands wandered over Ryoga’s body. And they were sinking down into the water… That won’t work. Ranma picked Ryoga up and moved them to a shallower portion of the spring. Ryoga’s breath was coming in small little gasps, his body twisting in need for Ranma’s as Ranma’s mouth explored Ryoga’s face, eyes, lips and neck while Ranma stood, holding his friend, his love. Then Ranma laid Ryoga down on a portion of flat rock where the water ran down in rivulets over the rock before dropping into the pool. Ranma stepped back for a moment to watch as the water ran over Ryoga’s body. Ryoga moaned and called out Ranma’s name, his hands reaching desperately for him, his body writhing for the loss of Ranma’s touch, his rich brown eyes staring bewilderedly at Ranma. He is so handsome… Ranma took the step forward again and lowered himself over Ryoga and then the water was running over both of them. Ryoga cried out Ranma’s name in joy as his hands wrapped around Ranma’s back and his mouth locked onto Ranma’s. Oh, Ryoga… I will make you happy. As soon as their mouths disengaged, Ranma moved down and ran his tongue over Ryoga’s chest… It works the other way… It worked this way too, as Ryoga moaned and arched. His gasp of pleasure as Ranma sucked on his nipple proved that that worked also. Not as intense as the girl’s body… But Ryoga doesn’t have the comparison. Ryoga was quite obviously happy at what he was feeling, his eyelids fluttering without control even as his hands clenched Ranma and his body shivered under Ranma's touch. His hips were pushing rhythmically into Ranma and his erection was a very stiff and solid member pressing on Ranma – and Ranma wanted to guide Ryoga into her… Wrong body. So, how am I going to work this? I want Ryoga to have his pleasure… Ranma wasn’t quite so sure what to do now. Ranma’s own member was throbbing intently, wanting… something. Wanting Ryoga… but… The only thing Ranma knew for comparison was Ryoga’s hands. The other times… it had kind-of been mutual masturbation. Although a hell of a lot more intense than just masturbation. Holding Ryoga in his arms… Holding Ryoga in his hand… Having Ryoga stroking him… It had been a lot, lot more than masturbation. Okay – that didn’t even describe it. It was sex. Definitely. But this time… Ranma wanted a bit more for Ryoga. Wanted to do more. But not quite sure… Well… There was the other way bandied about in the locker rooms. It can probably be adapted to two guys… The best way to avoid getting the girl pregna… Ranma’s eyes widened, oh shit… I can’t. Can I? No. It’s not possible. "Oh, No… I’m a guy. It can’t happen to me."

The words somehow came through Ryoga’s unthinking pleasure. Huh? Of course we can, Ranma. Wuss. Ryoga forced himself to reach out of his paralyzing ecstasy and he stroked down Ranma’s waist to his erection, encircling him with thumb and fingers as he rubbed. You want pleasure?

Completely distracted from his thoughts, Ranma’s eyes went wide and he involuntarily cried out his pleasure in a loud kiai.

Ryoga had to grin, "This isn’t a spar." Though it had been a very good spirit yell.

"No?" Ranma shook thoughts of his possible pregnancy out of his head, and then moved around until his head was by Ryoga’s hips. He challenged Ryoga, "So… which of us do you think can bring the other to climax first?" Ranma licked Ryoga’s member with his tongue. Sort of salty… He blew gently and licked again.

Ryoga gasped and his hips bucked, "No… fair… Head start… Oh gods!" That feeling!

"Ow…" Ranma rubbed his nose where it had gotten smashed on Ryoga’s pelvis bone. "All’s fair in love and war – and this is quite definitely love." He placed a hand firmly on Ryoga’s abdomen to keep him down this time and then lowered his mouth again. He licked and blew and explored… This is definitely a different perspective. And he didn’t think that Ryoga was very far away from his peak, the way he was thrashing around. I think he's happy. But what to do… Well, speaking of heads... Ranma deliberately brought as much of Ryoga’s penis into his mouth as he could. It didn’t all fit. My girl’s body is definitely superior on this point. But it didn’t seem to matter to Ryoga as he briefly stilled and then arched one last time, crying out in his climax, spurting his seed into Ranma’s mouth. Ranma coughed and almost gagged at the unexpected fluid. Well, what the hell was I expecting? He swallowed thoughtfully as he considered, "Not bad…" Ranma grinned as he proceeded to lick all the rest off of Ryoga’s member – he hadn’t had lunch yet.

Ryoga moaned, not getting any softer as Ranma’s mouth kept the hardness of his desire fresh despite his climax. "You bastard. You cheat." Oh sweet Buddhas… Ranma… My love.

"How am I suppose to keep up with you if I don’t?" Ranma’s satisfied ego was in the grin in his voice. He had made Ryoga happy. Very happy.

And hearing the smugness… Enough was enough. Pulling out of Ranma’s grasp, Ryoga exerted his strength and rolled them over so that Ranma was on the ground. And had to quickly shift so they didn’t fall into the pool. Ryoga twisted around to savagely kiss Ranma, sweeping his tongue through Ranma’s mouth – and tasting his own fluids still there. His kiss turned gentle with his desire for his friend… And his friend’s happiness. "All right, you bastard. You won that round and now it’s my turn for some pay-back." Ryoga moved down to Ranma’s waist. He had always been a quick learner. It helped that Ranma was already more than ready for his attentions. Very ready and also very eager. Ryoga easily duplicated Ranma’s efforts on him. Ranma always had to win the first battle, the obvious one – but Ryoga usually got him back in the end. Today was no exception as Ranma lay panting limply on the rock, unable to even speak, his eyes wide with wonder and delight. Ryoga smiled in smug satisfaction. Then he allowed himself to collapse from Ranma’s previous efforts. Collapse like he wanted to, lost with feelings. Ryoga draped himself over Ranma, laying his head on Ranma’s chest, closing his eyes in exhaustion, even as he half-purred his delight and joy.

Ranma put his arms around Ryoga and sighed happily. The warm water ran over them both, rinsing them clean and keeping the tingling feelings alive. Ranma stroked Ryoga’s hair and closed his eyes as he held his friend close. They were very much together.

 

"Okay, this time I’m hungry."

Ryoga laughed, "That’s good news." With an effort he stood up. And stretched.

Ranma’s eyes ran over him greedily. And then he stood lightly up. And stretched.

And Ryoga frowned as he watched him.

Ranma’s bright eyes dimmed with disappointment and he turned away. He does like my girl’s body better.

"The Buddha himself never had so much trouble…" Ryoga grabbed Ranma’s wrist and kissed it lightly just below his bandanna still tied there, "Ranma, I love you. Didn’t we just prove that?"

"I thought the Buddha was suppose to be celibate?"

Ryoga rolled his eyes, "Ranma – I just realized that you’ve been in your guy form for the last couple of hours."

"Well, no duh…"

"The energy lines. It’s not a bad thing to have you in guy-form," Still holding Ranma’s wrist with one hand, Ryoga stroked up Ranma’s arm to his chest with the other, "Not a bad thing at all," Ryoga pulled Ranma to him and kissed him soundly, holding him close for over a minute while Ranma’s body relaxed into his. Finally, Ryoga let him go, "I just suddenly wondered what that was going to do to your Healing."

"I got it, Ryoga. You don’t have to keep explaining." Ranma smiled happily at his friend. "I’ll change. But I warn you, I can’t cook in either form." He sauntered off to the cold water, enjoying the feel of Ryoga’s eyes on him as he went.

"Oh, yes you can…" Ryoga breathed. And then he shook himself and went back to the tent to start the food. 

 


 Notes to Chapter 8:

- Maybe I better start explaining the hot springs here. What I'm picturing as "hot springs" is a natural phenomenon area where the water geyser bubbles out of the rock in one spot (and is very hot!!!!! Burning hot, literally.), and then runs over the rocks down the slope, eroding into a natural mini-river, but with pockets and holes where the water collects in pools, usually small ones. As the stream gets further away from the emergence point, the water cools off. This leaves a rather broad range of water temperatures. Mostly, the guys stay up where the warmer water is. The 'pool' is down towards the end of the stream… is the end, actually, and the water gathers into a much larger depression than any other point along the stream.

- On Ranma's attitude… Remember, he's only sixteen. Right now, he's still caught up in 'conventions' -- and he has the perfect excuse for his liking Ryoga since he's also a girl part of the time. I think it would have to be bashed over his head with a 2x4 before he'd even *think* of thinking that he himself was gay. Especially since, in this story, he does like girls. <remember, different ideas for different stories… And function does follow form to a certain extent.

- On the possible pregnancy: In this story… Ranma doesn't, and has never had, menstrual periods. Too much flipping in and out of forms to ever establish a cycle. So right now, she can't get pregnant. The only way s/he'd be able to would be to stay in girl form long enough to establish a cycle (I figure at least three months) and then she'd have to carry to term without ever changing. Bad things if s/he changed in like the seventh month…

- On the thinking issue… No, Ryoga isn't going to start thinking like a pig. Character's thoughts are 100% their own thoughts and can be wrong. In this case, the contrast is too great between forms. In order for Ryoga to function as the pig, he can't be anything but himself, ever. On the other hand, we will see Genma occasionally acting like a panda while in human form (and probably not just for effect). That's because the forms are similar enough that the reactions can cross over. And Ranma's two forms are just about identical – but hormones and basic chemical and physical structures do make a difference too, which is why s/he starts having the gender problems. Ask anybody who's had a sex-change operation -- the feeling of being trapped in the wrong body is real, and so is the relief when one is in the correct body. But if Ranma accepts both bodies, then both bodies will eventually start feeling natural to Ranma.

"Of Life and Love": Start         Previous: Chapter 07       Next: Chapter 09