Title: Windy Nights
Lyric Wheel submission
Author: Alatri ^..^ alatri@att.net
Fandom: Ranma 1/2
Complete/Updated: July 2001
Feedback: Comments, critiques, suggestions, etc, all welcome. ;-)
Disclaimer: Only mine in my dreams. ;-)  This is a work of fiction based upon the manga/anime characters invented by Takahashi Rumiko she and the publishers hold the copyrights to the Ranma World. This story was written for free entertainment purposes only and may not be reproduced for profit or altered without permission.
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Windy Nights


The empty lot again. Ryoga stared at it silently. As much as he hated trying to make is somewhere and finding himself in strange villages with people staring at him in fascination and pity, he hated even more trying to go home and ending up in the vacant lot. Home was only a few blocks from here. Why couldn't he simply *find* it? Why did the roads keep coming back here?!

Ryoga slammed his fist into a rock and barely noticed the shattering cracks. "Damn you, Ranma Saotome!" he yelled into the silence of the pre-dawn.

A wooden shoe bounced off his head.

"Damn you, Ryoga Hibiki! Go home!!" The neighbor in the house next door drew his head back in and slammed the window shut.

Ryoga scowled. There was a twinge of guilt, but mostly he was just irritated. How could they know? How could any of them know?

/I'm so alone.../

Ryoga glanced around the empty lot again, trying hard not to think of all the fun times he and Ranma had here once... The sparring, the challenges, the fun and laughter mixed with taunts and teasing. And then there came that day...

/You left me standing here./ A long, long time ago.

With a determination not to feel the pain, Ryoga started walking. He knew he was near home. He knew he was near Akane's home, and Ranma. A fierce longing welled up within him, along with a bitter resentment. The Tendo family... open, caring, welcoming... Akane with the sweet smile and fierce protectiveness; Nabiki with ready wit and sharp eyes; Kasumi with her gentle voice and overwhelming acceptance... And Ranma, in the midst of such paradise, didn't even seem to appreciate it.

Ryoga hesitated at a crossroads. The way to the Tendo's... Left? Right? He'd seen the road before... why couldn't he remember which way? With a shrug, Ryoga picked the way that seemed the straightest.

He should have known better.

Ryoga stared out over the valley from his perch on the tall rock. "Where am I now?!" The wind whipped wildly around him, but Ryoga didn't care as he listened to his words disappear in the emptiness.

Empty.

Alone.

Again.

Through the night, Ryoga stood upon his rock, the wind merely an accompaniment to his wild thoughts as he longed to accompany it. Towards the morning, the wild wind was replaced by a rain that pelted down upon the small black pig. As the sun rose, the rain stopped, but there were still pools of water reflecting in the wide open eyes of the pig.

/Why leave me standing here?/

But it wasn't here... Ryoga sighed and finally left the mountain top, dragging his pack with his teeth and taking the most tortured, twisted path he could find. Many days later, he found himself in the empty lot again.

But it wasn't empty.

Ryoga stopped and stared at the figure sitting on the piles of pipes, where Ryoga normally sat.

The dejected-looking figure raised his head and looked at the pig. "Hi ya," Ranma said softly, smiling crookedly. "This time you've really done it, Ryoga. Two months? Akane is frantic, worrying about you."

Two months? It had seemed like a long time, but...

Ranma was still looking at him, his smile fading.

Ryoga let go of his pack and worked his jaw for a moment, shaking himself out. Then he hopped up to sit next to Ranma and look out over the neighborhood.

"It was pretty wild last night," Ranma remarked, conversationally, "The wind was blowing something fierce, and there was lightning in the air, though the rain didn't actually start `til this mornin'."

Glancing over, Ryoga realized for the first time that Ranma was in the girl-form.

"You would've liked it, Ryoga." Ranma laughed tiredly, "You always did like stormy weather."

Ryoga noticed the tiredness in Ranma's voice and wondered at it.

"Oh, you're found him." The dry voice made them both look over. Nabiki handed Ranma a tired package that was obviously a Kasumi- care-package. She then picked up Ryoga's pack and slung it over her shoulder. "I'll go back to the house and get the hot bath ready." Without any other comment, she left them.

Ryoga watched silently as Ranma unwrapped the lunch and divided its contents with trembling fingers. Eventually, Ranma met the pig's gaze.

The crooked grin was back. "Last time, I waited for you for a week. This time, I thought I'd try a bit longer." His voice was trembling too.

Ryoga ate his rice.

"You left me standing here, Ryoga." Ranma spoke in a bare whisper, "waiting..." He shook his head slightly. "Did you have to be gone so long?"

/Like I could help it?/ Ryoga snorted. Then he hopped off the pipes and stood expectantly, waiting for Ranma.

Ranma's eyes lit up and he also jumped off, landing agily next to Ryoga. "That hot bath sounds good," Ranma said, his voice light and happy.

Ryoga nodded.

And then they walked together along the road, Ranma leading slightly with Ryoga at his side. Going home, together.

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The Long and Winding Road
Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon
Performed by the Beatles

The Long and Winding Road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Leads me to your door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left me full of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I've been alone
And many times I've cried
Anyway, you'll never know
The many ways I've tried
And still they lead me back

To the long and winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don't keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door