Part 2

Warning: This is incredibly sappy! I will not be held responsible for any possible tooth decay from reading any further! It’s also kinda angsty. Oh, yeah! It’s official, folks! It’s shounen ai! Consider yourself warned.

“Ranma? Are you in here? You’re not hiding from me, are ya?” Ryoga was sure that would get Ranma to come out, if he was in there, that is. Nothing. Ranma wasn’t budging, no way, no how. He stayed still and held his breath, praying that the lost boy would go away and leave him with his misery. No such luck.

Ryoga stepped into the room, closing the door. He leaned against the door and, with a sigh, slid down to a sitting position. He took off his bandana and unrolled it to reveal a jade pendant on a gold chain. The pendant was ornately carved with the symbol of a dragon. It was very expensive, which is why he carried it in his bandana. When he saw it in the window of a jewelry store, he just knew he had to get it for . . . For who? It’s not Akane’s style and he wouldn’t get something like this for himself. He picked it up by the chain and held it in front of his face. He placed his free hand behind it, pulling it closer to his eyes.

Ranma desperately wanted to peek around the dresser to see what Ryoga was up to, but didn’t dare move. ‘What the hell is he doing?’ he thought.

“Oh, Ranma . . . “ Ryoga sighed, and lowered his hand, clasped around the pendant and his bandana. ‘Huh? Does he know I’m here?’ Ranma thought, this was just too confusing.

“Why did I get this for you? You probably wouldn’t accept it anyhow. What was I thinking?” Ryoga pounded his fist onto his knee. ‘What? Dangit! What did you get me?’ Ranma was dying to know what it was that Ryoga had gotten for him.

“I wasn’t thinking. I never am, when it comes to you. Why do you, of all people, have to occupy my mind so much? It’s not like you care about me, or anything!” Ryoga wipes the tears, that had started falling at some point, from his face. ‘Of course I care about you, Ryoga! I always have!’ Ranma argued in his head, tears trickling down his cheeks. His own feelings were no longer waging a war within him, as Ryoga took up all his consciousness. Guess which side won. ^_~

“Why am I always thinking of you? About the way you tease me, taunt me, and make fun of me . . . the way your eyes light up when faced with a challenge . . . the way you smile when you’ve got someone beat, but they don’t know it yet . . . the way the sunlight bounces of your hair . . . oh, your hair! I’d love to run my fingers through those lovely red tresses . . .” Ryoga sighed pleasantly, as he drifted into a daydream. Ranma had been floating on cloud nine when ‘red hair’ finally sunk in. ‘He . . . likes me as . . . a girl?!’ His eyes filled to the brim with tears, as the realization hit him. ‘Only as a girl? No!’ Tears flooded down his cheeks, as he choked back a sob.

“Huh?” Ryoga looked up. He could have sworn he just heard something. “R-Ranma? Is that you?” Ryoga stood, thinking that if it is Ranma, then he’s surely dead! ‘Maybe he didn’t hear anything? Oh, that’s likely! Maybe it’s not him, maybe I’m just hearing things again.’ he thought. Ranma stood up, his back to Ryoga. ‘I’m dead.’ Ryoga thought. Ranma stood in front of the window, looking out, his arms crossed in front of him.

“So, you like Ranko . . .” Ranma managed to say calmly.

“Well, I-I . . .” Ryoga placed his hand behind his head, blushing.

“But not me.”

“Eh? Now wait a minute! Where’d you get that idea?” Ryoga was startled and confused. ‘What is he getting at?’ he wondered.

“You said ‘red hair’. Ranko’s hair is red. Mine is not.” Ranma wasn’t sure how much longer he could continue before breaking down in tears. He felt like he was being torn apart.

“Oh,” Ryoga said rather sheepishly, his hand back up behind his head. “I didn’t mean it that way. I’m just a sucker for red-heads, is all.” Ryoga blush deeply. He had never told anyone that before. Ranma blinked, repeatedly. ‘He’s a sucker for red-heads? Since when? Does that mean . . .? Do I want it to mean . . . ?’ At that point, every fibre of his being screamed “YES!! GET OVER IT!!”

“So . . . you only like Ranko . . . because she has red hair?” Ranma asked cautiously, his hopes rising.

“Uh, yeah, sort of.” Ryoga stared at his feet, still blushing, and rubbed his arm self- consciously.

“And everything else you said . . .?”

“I meant you. No matter what gender you are, you’re still you, and that’s who I . . . was talking about.” Ryoga choked. ‘Damnit! Why can’t I say it?’ Ryoga berated himself. Ranma turned around to find Ryoga with his head hung low. Ranma lifted Ryoga’s chin with his hand till they were eye to eye. Ryoga blinked back tears and looked back at Ranma’s tear streaked face.

“I feel the same way about you.” Ranma whispered. Unbeknownst to both boys, a storm quickly rolled in, surely a sign of trouble.