Goodness! this started as a WAFFy `Ranma tells Akane how he feels' fic, but it sorta got away from that. Ah well.

Revelations and Revisions Suika Roberts

I knock at Akane's door. `Come,' she says, distractedly, for she would be doing her homework. I enter, settle to the floor by her chair in seiza.

`Akane,' I look up at her for an instant, then look back at my hands, clenched across my knees, `Do you find me attractive like this?' I keep my eyes firmly on my hands which, I notice, have gone white-knuckled.

`Are you joking? Why would I find a girl attractive?'

`No, I'm not joking. Please don't blow up at me, or lie to me, I don't think I could cope, but since a little bit before the wedding, I've been watching you, your reactions, the way you flirt with Yuka, heck, I even considered sneaking into the public bath the last time you went, but I decided that would be a bad idea.'

`Of course.'

`After all of that, I came to the realization that probably, like me, you are not attracted to males.'

`What would make you think such a thing in the first place?'

`I was talking to Utchan, trying to figure out why she likes me like that. We got to talkin' about attraction an' who we found attractive, who we could actually contemplate livin' with, an' stuff like that.' I force my hands to relax. `I'd never thought about that kinda stuff before, and afterwards I started to think about how you act around others, and it was just so obvious.

`There's the way you look at people. You, like me, pay a lot more attention to women, I didn't notice at the time, but you always seem to like me better when I'm a girl. When I'm a girl it's harder to make you angry, and easier to calm you down again.

`I could be wrong, of course.'

`Would you mind?'

`Would I mind what?'

`If you were wrong?'

`Tabun.'

`Doushite?'

`I doubt you find me attractive as a male. Kami know I don't.'

`Find yourself attractive?' Why is she asking all of these questions? 'Tisn't like her. Maybe I inspired it by asking that first question.

`Yep.'

`Whyever not? You're not hard on the eyes as a male.'

`So? Guys just don't interest me. I can appreciate my body, how strong and fast I've made it, the pain-free way it works, the simple sparity of it's lines, but it has bothered me ever since I was about twelve or so, I just don't like it much.'

`So why were you so annoyed with your curse?'

`Kusooyaji had me firmly convinced that girls couldn't be real martial artists, girls couldn't be attracted to girls, girls were weak and silly.

`Took Utchan calling me a fool and you desirable to make me notice what a load of crap I was carrying about.'

`Ukyou called me desirable?'

`Yeah. She's too scared to try this, though.' I stare at my knees again. I look up with the touch of Akane's hand on my chin, lifting my face. She kisses me on the lips, then steps back.

`Thank you for telling me that. I wouldn't have the courage to do this, otherwise,' with that she presses her hand against my hair, then walks from the room.

I sit there for a moment, stunned, before it really hits me in the gut, and I can't fight the tears any more. I let them flow, refusing to sob, curling about the pain, resting my face against my knees. After a while I stop trying to fight the sobs, and just lay there on Akane's floor absurdly glad that Oyaji is off hiding somewhere.

Later, not really feeling any better, but somehow too tired to cry anymore, I start to pick myself up.

`Ranma-kun? Are you OK? I heard someone crying when I came in.' I recognize Kasumi's voice, and I turn away from it, hiding my face.

`Yeah, I'm fine.' hope she doesn't notice my voice cracking.

`No, you're not. Please, tell me what's wrong.' I hear her walk up behind me, and she takes me in her arms. I try to fight, but she somehow overpowers me, or maybe I just give in, I can't be sure.

`Akane. . .' I take a deep breath and try again, `Akane thanked me. . .' I'd thought the tears had stopped! `Right before she left.' I can't speak around the sobs, so I just press my face to Kasumi's shoulder and try to get myself under control again.

`Shh. I'm here, I won't leave. Shh.' Kasumi holds me for a spell, then asks another question, `What did she thank you for?'

`I was ttryin' to tell her I like her,' it hits me again, and I curl tighter against Kasumi.

`And?' she asks gently.

`I told her that Ukyou said she was . . .' I gulp, rub my face on Kasumi's shoulder, `desirable,' I strangle a sob, `And she kisses me, says thanks, presses her hand to my hair, and leaves, just like that, gone.' I can't strangle the next sob, or its friends, and Kasumi holds me gently, firmly, her hand cupping the back of my head.

`That was really mean.' The pure anger in her voice shocks me totally, and I force my head back to look at her. She looks down at me, leans forward, and kisses me lightly on the forehead, then the chin, then my lips, my mouth opening under hers, her tongue sliding across mine. It feels so good I almost faint, which is saying quite a lot. I break the kiss, scared.

`Why?' I try to say it forcefully, but it comes out a faint whisper.

`When,' she takes a deep breath, `When you first got here, I thought you were so pretty. Then,' another deep breath, `I found out that you are a boy; that scared me. I passed you to Akane because I knew,' she pulls me tightly against her, and I hug her back, `that she was finds slightly more males attractive than I do, and I thought you two would be happy together.' Kasumi shakes her head, her chin brushing over my hair.

`I didn't stop to think about how stubborn Akane is, and how hard she will fight anything that someone tells her to do.'

`How did you forget?' The question sounds a little muffled even as I say it.

`I wasn't thinking; I hadn't found anyone so attractive since Akiko-chan, and it scared me silly.'

`Akiko-chan?' this was the first I'd heard of this.

`Atashi no kanojo deshita, koukou no toki ni wa.' (In high school was my girlfriend)

`What happened?'

`Her parents found out. They moved to Hokkaido the next week. She promised to write, but I've not received a single letter.'

It hits me harder than I thought it would, and a groan escapes me before I can think of anything to say; I tighten my grip on her a bit more, straining to find the right words. After a moment I give up, `Maybe her parents are keeping her from writing.'

`I don't think that is the case. If I had her address I'd write her, it doesn't much matter to me that Oyaji said he'd disown me if I contacted her.' I pull back in shock, both at her choice of words for `Father' and the content.

`Your father,' I take a deep, steadying, breath, `the one who said that my curse wasn't a big enough problem to call off the engagement, said that he'd disown you for contacting your friend?'

`Yes,' suddenly I recognize the signs, the same ones I've seen in the mirror too many times, of someone about to cry. I think about how I feel then, and lean forward, kissing the taller girl on high on her left cheek, just under her eye.

I press my cheek against hers, `Let it out. It won't make you feel much better, but it will help a little bit.'

`And you speak from experience?' Her voice is bitter.

`Not much. It's never fixed any of my problems, however.' After a moment I feel a warm wetness against my face, and shift to a slightly more comfortable grip, stroking her back softly. After a few moments she starts sobbing, and only her firm grip on me keeps me from feeling totally helpless.

`If you want I could try and beat any information out of your father.' I try and keep the anger from my voice, but I don't think I succeed all that well.

`Wouldn't do any good,' suddenly she pulls back, staring me in the face, a serious look on hers.

`Ranma,' she takes a breath,`Would you sleep with me tonight?' I blink at her in shock. `We don't have to do anything but sleep; I just can't stand the thought of being alone again tonight.'

`Why,' I study her face for a moment, continue, `why now, why me?'

`Because,' she looks down, `tonight is the anniversary of the last time I saw her; in three days it will be eight years since Mother died; eight years since I gave up the Art.' gave up the Art?

I thought `you never practiced . . . ' I trail off, fishing for answers.

`I did. Mother thought I had great potential, I enjoyed it greatly. Then, the accident happened.'

`Accident?'

`Yeah, a stupid training accident. Mother managed to run a bamboo rod up under her ribs, out behind her collar bone, here,' Kasumi lets go of me with one hand to touch the spot, `I could tell it hurt, but she laughed about it, called it nothing. If she'd gone to the hospital, she probably would have lived; instead, she pulled the rod out by herself, and noticed the blood pouring out. According to the doctors the rod had pinched one of her arteries, and she cut it when she pulled it out. As she died she made my father promise not to give up the Art, told him she'd haunt him if he did.'

It makes a horrible kind of sense; I could see doing something like that, if the stakes were high enough. `And so you gave up the Art, hoping that she'd come back to you.'

`Baka ne,' Kasumi suddenly presses her face to my shoulder again.

`Uun. I'd probably have contemplated the same thing, might even have done it. Has she come back?'

`No.' Kasumi wiggles her face against my shirt.

`It isn't to late to go back, take up the Art again.'

`I'm _nineteen_, Ranma.'

`Shanpoo's hibaachan is three hundred.' Kasumi suddenly laughs, a bitter sound.

`You'd probably prefer to have sex with her, too. You'd probably get a new technique out of it, not just some washed up old maid.' Kasumi's words, her voice, wrap around my heart and sqeeze, and I hug her to me desperately, suddenly more worried than I ever have been before, my own problems lost for a moment.

`That isn't true,' my voice breaks, somehow.

`Of course it is.'

`No, it isn't,' I take a deep breath, press myself against her as best I can, continue, `Yeah, Obaba might offer me a new technique in exchange for sex, I can almost see the old bat doing that. You are not an old maid, however, and . . . ' I can't say it. I can't even say that I like the girl who ties me up in convoluted knots, who I came into this room to talk to, who ran off to attempt to seduce my best friend . . .

`And what? Tofu-sensei likes me?' Kasumi's laugh is even more bitter than her voice, `Tofu-sensei wouldn't recognize the real me if it bit him on his . . . ' I cut her off before she can start the next word.

`And I think you are amazingly beautiful.'

`Fat lot of good that does either of us; I don't like males and you don't like being a girl.' I shake my head, my chin brushing her hair.

`That's just it; I like being a girl; I like being able to cry, or eat parfeits, or be totally bored out of my skull by talk about how the Toukyou Giants are doing. I like it so much that it scared me, completely, totally, utterly. I feared that I might lose that tiny bit that I can identify as _myself_, that isn't there because of something stupid I did, or Oyaji did, or some technique that I learned. By the time I realized that tiny bit was growing when I spent time as a girl I had habits, and I'm not good at changing them.'

Suddenly Kasumi pushes me back, pressing my back to the floor, her hands on my shoulders to hold herself up.

`So,' suddenly Kasumi smiles at me for the first time since finding me on the floor of Akane's room, `You wouldn't mind if I were to drag you off to my room and have my wicked way with you, then? Is that what you are saying?'

`Not much.' Akane obviously doesn't want me. Ukyou I told the truth, finally, not too long ago. Shanpoo and Kodachi can have each other, for all I care. [Elsewhere, two girls sneeze, then return to what they were doing, for it is most . . . engaging. -S.] Kasumi's smile broadens, and suddenly her lips are pressed to mine, her tounge forcing its way into my mouth. I'd never imagined anything could feel so nice. One of her hands slides down my side, her weight pressing me into the floor, and I almost struggle, almost faint, almost die of the sheer terrifying lust burning though me.

`Kasumi?' I don't say the word too loud, don't raise the tone too high at the end. Her fingers are busy with my top, then in it, one hand on my breast, the other slipping into my pants. I fight down the urge to stop her.

~sb~

I gather my clothes, my shirt gaping slightly around the three frogs that I bothered to button. This is probably the first time I've been in here, in Kasumi's room, and I know I'll associate it with what just happpened, being carried in still limp from *Ummm*, and then, *mmnn*

`Ranma?' Kasumi looks up, her own clothes gathered, a robe wrapped loosely about herself, the tie still half-done.

`Just thinking about what just happened, anata.' Kasumi's smile is so sweet. She closes the space between us, wraps me firmly in her arms, and my head fits nicely under her chin.

~sb~

I settle to the cool tile, my back to her, drawing my hair aside to give her access.

Her hands against my back are so very nice, pressing hard, almost taking my skin off. I moan happily about it.

Kasumi is almost as demonstrative as I. We slip into the tub, and I curl myself into one corner, out of her way. She comes over to me, forcing her way into my lap, one arm about my back and her head on my shoulder.

`Why? I thought . . . ' she wiggles against me, and that part stiffens further.

`That 'cause I don't find guys attractive I'd be adverse to holding one? So long as you keep yourself under control,' that part pokes her hip for emphasis, `I'll try to treat you the same whichever form you are in. I won't try and seduce you as a guy, though.'

`Fine with me.' I wrap my arms around her, and let my head droop against hers. Bliss.

~sb~

Loud yelling and screaming wakes me up, and I instinctively tighten my grip on the person in my lap. Opening my eyes I look up at the person in my lap, recognizing her as Kasumi about the same time I start making sense of Akane's words.

`I can't believe you passed me off to Ukyou like that and then jumped into the bathtub with Kasumi!' I stare at her in shock, carefully move Kasumi off my lap, and stand up to berate her properly.

Kasumi beats me to it, however, `Passed you off? She tried to tell you how she feels and you willfully misinterpret her and run off! Then you have the gall to interupt our bath and yell at her! I can't believe you sometimes!' I stare at her in shock, having never seen her this vehement before. Her hands are clenched into fists under the cold bathwater, her voice shaking slightly as she keeps the volume down by force of will. I blink and duck back under the water, which provides a modecrum of cover.

`I heard her crying before you'd even left the house! I don't know what would have happened to her if I hadn't, but I don't have any delusions of it being pretty. As of now I'm giving notice that either you will treat my iinazuke properly, or I will make you suffer for it. Do you understand?' Akane gulps, nods, and flees the room, closing the door behind her this time.

As soon as she's left the room Kasumi is in my lap again, her face pressed to my neck, holding me tightly and trembling. I wrap my arms around her, stroke her back, worried, `What's wrong?'

She shakes her head against my neck, clutches me tighter. `I haven't felt like this in so long. It scares me, that's all.' After a moment the trembling eases, and she takes my face in her hands, kissing me soundly, firmly, breaking off when a moan escapes from deep in my chest. I open my eyes and she smiles at me.

`We need to get out.' A dissappointed moan escapes before I think to censor it, and she cups one of my breasts in her hand, continuing, `I know. We've already occupied the bath for too long, though. Care to help me make dinner? It'll give us time to talk.' I nod, pull myself out of the water quickly and efficiently. I wrap my hair in a towel, and begin drying off. I start when Kasumi joins in, but acquiese without too much struggle.

`Why don't you ever take your hair down?' She asks, drying her own.

`Habit. The dragon's beard hair may have worn off, but I'm still not comfortable with it.' I discover that it is really hard not to make something more out of drying her off, but somehow manage.

A few moments later, dressed, we enter the kitchen, ignoring the indiscreet stares from our fathers.

`Slice this,' she hands me a daikon, which I reduce to paper-thin slices faster than most machines. I bring it over to her, and she kisses me lightly. The two thumps from behind me feel good, but not nearly as good as her lips.

* fin *

I finished another one! Wow! ^_^

Unlike my last stand-alone, I don't have plans for this one's sequels filling my head ^_-

Ja ne, Suika (1998, December 17 ) edited lightly 1999 August 20 typo fixed 1999 Oct 13