Ranma went down from her toes, breaking the kiss with Kentaro. The puddle of water splished, when her feet came down fully. They should mop up the water, she knew - but at the moment her thoughts were going into an entirely different direction.
He was still a little baffled by the kiss - considering that he had thought their relationship dead for the last six weeks, that was probably not so surprising - so he was a little slow in reacting. He nodded an open-mouthed "Uh-huh?"
"Um..." Ranma was rather hesitant to bring this up now. Perhaps they needed more time to get over the events that lay just behind them. <No, dammit!> she thought <I swore I'd do this, and I ain't gonna back down.> "Do you remember that day when... when Akane came back? When we came home and there she was?"
Kentaro just nodded, a little puzzled by the sudden non-sequitur, perhaps.
"We-e-ell, it's like this: That afternoon I had more in mind than just, um, making out like we did before."
Kentaro smiled, bemused - so that was the connection. "I had suspected as much. So, why do you ask? Does that mean...?"
He left the question open, but it was clear that he had caught Ranma's meaning. She nodded enthusiastically, thankful for his perceptive nature. At least she hadn't needed to spell it out too directly. She was fighting down a flush as it was.
"Yeah. I, err, I kinda had to think of it, when we were kissing, just now." The flush won the battle and coloured her face. <Oh man,> thought Ranma, <this is going to be difficult.>
Kentaro was strongly aware of Ranma's body, standing so near his own. They were both sopping wet and he knew that it was probably just his imagination, but he was sure he felt the warmth of her body through the air. Did she really mean that? Or was it another test? No, he decided, Ranma was not the type for such 'testing' games, despite what had just happened with the fake Nyanniichuan water. He was sure she meant what she said and the colour of her cheeks spoke a clear language. Oh god, how he had waited for this. He had to fight himself, not to hug Ranma too suddenly. This was going to be her first time ever.
"Well, I have a bedroom, where we could... see what we can do."
Ranma flushed again. Kentaro's circumspect way of expressing the fact that they were very probably going to have sex very soon did not help her at all. She needed to be level-headed right now, but he made it sound so... she didn't know what it sounded like. Naughty. Something like that.
She walked over to the door that Kentaro had indicated, and he followed close behind, carefully watching her. He frowned a bit at the stiff way she walked. If she was forcing herself to do this, perhaps it was still too early. She wasn't likely to enjoy it any in that case.
<You mean you won't,> added a little devil at the back of his brain.
When both of them were in the bedroom, Kentaro looked at Ranma closely. He could clearly see the traces of uncertainty, perhaps even fear, in her eyes. And something else he couldn't quite place. She clearly was struggling with herself.
"Ranma," he began, "We don't have to do this right away. We could just try out things that we did before, and see how they feel now, or something like that. You don't have to do anything for me - you have done more than enough. We can always do this later."
"No!" Ranma surprised Kentaro with the forcefulness of her reply. She noticed this and repeated it a little calmer. "No. I have to do this now, 'cause I feel that it's the right moment. You know me, Kentaro - if I say 'later' now, it's gonna be 'later' forever. I always put off confessing to Akane 'til 'later', and suddenly there was no 'later' anymore - just 'too late'. I don't learn my lessons easily, but some mistakes I don't make twice."
Kentaro smiled warmly at her and took her hand. "Don't worry, Ranma. I'll be with you all the way." He squeezed her hand reassuringly.
It was a beautiful summer in the foothills of the Kii Sanchi, where the two of them were hiking through the semi-wilderness. Ranma was standing on a medium-sized boulder and pulled Kentaro up after her. The boulder was at the top of of the largest hill for several miles around and they had a truly marvelous view from up there. The climb up to it had been exhausting - well, at least for Kentaro it had been - but well worth it. The rocky outcropping they were standing on stood out several yards above even the highest trees below and thus they had clear sight right unto the horizon, the woodland below them rolling outwards in giant waves like a green ocean.
It took Ranma a while before she noticed that Kentaro had not let go of her hand. With the sudden realization, she instinctively shook off his grip, before she could stop herself. She looked at Kentaro and cringed.
"Aw, man, Kentaro. Don't look at me like a kicked puppy. Sorry, I coulda done that a bit friendlier. But you know how it is."
Kentaro gave her a small smile. He did know how it was. "Don't worry, Ranma. I understand."
"Sure you do, Kentaro, sure you do," sighed Ranma, in a way that meant 'That's what you think'.
Kentaro's smile didn't change. "Well, I understand that you are in a situation that you didn't want and that my attraction to you is a reminder of it. I don't take offense when you react this way, because you feel it is contrary to your 'real gender'." Nothing in his speech or behavior indicated the quotation marks around 'Real Gender' - but both of them knew they were there, in his mind. "I may look like 'a kicked puppy', heh, but it doesn't really hurt me that much. I am attracted to you, simply because I would have to be blind and probably dead not to - but the reason I am staying with you, the reason why I go on trips like this with you, the reason why I try to help you cope is another. It's because I am your friend; first and foremost your friend."
He waved an arm, encompassing the magnificent vista from their location. "Doing things like this and sharing experiences with you as a friend gives me so much. And I think it also gives something to you, to be able to share things again. I know that some of my desires can't be met by a simple friendship like this, but I can live without that. Friendship is what you are ready for, and that is certainly good enough for me. I will wait and be your friend as long as you want me around. I hope you can forgive me, if one part of me keeps hoping that one day it will become more than friendship. Until then I'll always be there for you."
Ranma could not remember what she had answered back then. Probably 'Dream on, bud,' or something of the kind. Now, when she thought back to those days, she felt only love for that man who had been more than patient with her, had been been her friend when she desperately needed one and had helped her come to terms with the fact that she was female and would likely have remained so forever. She gripped his hand more tightly and pulled, gathering Kentaro in a passionate embrace and kiss.
Kentaro was caught off guard by this. He had not expected a reaction like that from her at this stage. When she broke the kiss he was a little confused and more than a little aroused - but he refused to show the latter too much; this was about Ranma and her feelings towards having sex, not about him. With her passionate kiss still on his lips he asked "What was that for, now?"
Ranma smiled lovingly. "Just for being there."
Kentaro looked into her eyes. "You are serious about this, aren't you?"
Ranma nodded. Not saying a word, she began unbuttoning her shirt. Kentaro watched her fingers work their way down the front of the garment. He almost shuddered with excitement, thinking of the beauty that lay still hidden beneath the cloth, soon to be revealed. But suddenly Ranma stopped.
"Ooops," she said, "I'd better... Err, wait a moment, Kentaro."
She turned and ran from the bedroom quickly before Kentaro could say a word. Puzzled, he stood, waiting for her return. He heard water running from the direction of the kitchen, then Ranma's footsteps came hurrying back. When he saw her enter, she was carrying the cask again, which she had apparently filled anew with water. She set it down on the nightstand beside the bed and turned back to him. Seeing his questioning look, she simply said "Just in case."
Kentaro raised an eyebrow, but Ranma forestalled any questions. "You never experienced my curse in its unlocked state - trust me, you never know." With that she resumed the unbuttoning of her shirt. Kentaro's pulse quickened immediately, as slowly, Ranma's breasts were revealed. She was not wearing a bra. <Of course she isn't,> said a tiny part of him, <she was male when she arrived, after all,> but the rest of his mind found it rather hard to concentrate on that fact, in the light of the visual evidence to the contrary.
Ranma had beautiful breasts, Kentaro always thought. They were full, yet not large, and round without sagging, topped by the tiny erect nubs of her nipples. Just perfect. Seeing these two lovely mounds revealed, a shudder raced through Kentaro's body. His whole chest tightened with desire. He had the strong urge to just grab Ranma and squeeze her for all she was worth, kissing like crazy. But he couldn't do that, he told himself, clenching his hands frustratedly, this was Ranma's first time and he had to keep his reactions under control to make this as easy and pleasurable for her as possible. God, this was hard! And so was he.
Ranma saw the look of wild lust that crept into Kentaro's eyes, as he gazed over her breasts, and a feeling of pleasure mixed with hints of fear raced through her mind. She had always been secretly proud of her... healthy body, but sometimes the looks that men would give her gave her the creeps - but this was Kentaro, the man she loved, the man she planned to have sex with. She knew he would do his best to make her feel good about it.
She dropped her shirt on the ground and took a step nearer to him, thus enabling him to touch her, which he did. But he did not reach out for her breasts, as she had expected from the looks of desire he gave them. Instead he brought a hand up to her face and softly caressed her cheek. It was a simple gesture, but it meant the world to Ranma - instantly a lot of her hesitation dissolved to nothing. She loved him and he loved her. He took a step towards her and they embraced each other, once again kissing passionately. Their tongues darted in and out each other's mouths, probing and exploring like they seldom ever had. Ranma felt her breasts pressed up against Kentaro's. It felt... interesting, the way her nipples rubbed against his clothes. She found herself imagining what it would feel like against his bare chest.
As if reading her thoughts, Kentaro breathlessly broke the kiss, took a quick step back and hastily pulled off his top. Still breathing heavily, he stood before her, the piece of clothing dangling from his hand. His eyes locked with hers and they resumed the kiss, Kentaro dropping the top in the process.
It did feel better with both of their chests naked. She could feel his heart beating furiously while their tongues wrestled and she was able to run her hands down his spine, feeling his warm skin. She had never really been attracted to him physically. The male anatomy as such did nothing for her, her sexual preference being what it was. But their relationship wasn't about sexual preference - or perhaps it was, in a way. She had found that once she admitted that she loved him she was able to find pleasure in touching or kissing him. It was more than sexual attraction that made her feel this way - it was a manifestation of their love for each other and that's what made it pleasurable.
Kentaro's hands were not idle either. While one of them remained behind her back, wandering up and down her spine, not unlike hers on his own back, he brought the other hand to her front and started caressing her breasts, applying just a bit of pressure to them. Ranma almost sighed into their kiss, which surprised her. It was astonishing how her reaction to the same sensation had changed only through the admission of her love for him.
"All right, class," Ranma called, "that's enough."
With a collective sigh of relief her students stopped their workout and sagged to the ground. All of them were in top condition, but you had to be, just to keep up with Sensei and her demands. Now they waited for her to impart today's final lesson. Sensei had always made a point of it to include a theoretical part in her teachings. Sometimes it would be a tale that contained a valuable lesson, sometimes it would be a rule to be understood by the students and sometimes...
"OK," Ranma said, "Hypothetical situation. You are up in the mountains, trying to cross a deep chasm. You find a bridge that leads across, but just as you approach it, you see a fighter at the other end; a big samurai with a huge sword on his back. He also wants to cross the bridge and steps on it, coming towards you. How do you deal with the situation?"
"Hmmm," made Morisato, "if he's a Samurai, he's probably used to formal battles, so I'd try some form of Suiken ['Drunk Fu'] to confuse him and get into his guard."
"Sounds good," Ketoboshi agreed, "The sword means that he is limited in his fighting style by the weapon of his choice. If you know his weapon, you know his weakness."
"Oh, sure!" snorted Hiroshito, the only woman in the room apart from Sensei herself, "The sword means that he is carrying a sword. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't go assuming that you know how he fights just because you saw him carrying a sword. In fact, if it is really big, it might be intended to fulfill the purpose of intimidation rather than fighting. You'd best be prepared, if he turns out to know unarmed combat."
Ranma smiled. That was Yoshie, to be sure. She always tried to cover every angle and be prepared for everything. She had yet to learn that the unexpected - yes, even unexpectable - had a way of turning the best laid plans over. Being prepared for everything, most of all meant being prepared to have your expectations and assumptions turn out completely wrong. She was definitely on the right way, though. Ranma listened to the debate for a little while longer. She always encouraged these open discussions, because they served an important purpose. They made clear that there was not one perfect solution to every problem, not even one perfect way for dealing with one situation. She wouldn't want her students to think that they only had to know the 'right' answer. There were always different ways, all of them valid, all of them 'right'. They hadn't found the real lesson behind the question yet, though.
She looked over at Kentaro, who was not participating in the lively debate. "So, Marumoto," She called out to him, "I haven't heard any suggestions from you, yet."
Kentaro raised an eyebrow. "That's because I am still standing on this side of the bridge, waiting for the Samurai to cross, so I can cross it after him. It's only a bridge, after all."
That stopped the discussion short. Ranma grinned broadly, as she saw all the other students mentally whack themselves over the head. They immediately understood the nature of their error - conventional thinking. They had simply assumed that the situation would have to lead to a fight.
"Well, I guess that's it for today," Sensei said, "Think about it until next time."
Thus dismissed, the students stood up and left for the locker rooms of the university's training hall. Only Ranma and Kentaro, whom she had signalled to stay, remained.
"Well, well, well," Ranma remarked, "Good thinking, Kentaro. We'll make a martial artist of you, yet."
Kentaro smiled happily, appreciating this as one of the greatest compliments Ranma could make. She smiled back at him and nodded her head in the direction of the showers. "Well, off you go," she said, effectively dismissing him, "See you later tonight."
As he went off towards the locker rooms, Ranma followed some distance behind, on her way to the women's lockers. She passed the men's door just a moment after he had entered it. She could hear the conversation taking place, and stopped when she noticed what it was about.
"So, Kentaro," went Morisato's voice, "What did Sensei have to say to her 'favourite student'? Going on a date with her again? Finally gonna score tonight?"
She heard Kentaro laugh at Morisato's teasing. "Ha, I wish! As a matter of fact, I am going out for dinner with her tonight. But that's as far as it goes between us. You know that Sensei is not interested in that. Didn't she dunk you head-first into the punch on the last New Year's party for what you tried?"
Morisato just coughed at that, embarrassedly.
"As for me," Kentaro continued, "I'll just wait until she's ready."
"And what if that's never? Ever thought that you could be waiting forever?" asked Ketoboshi.
Kentaro sighed. "I have, Shutaro; I have. And I've come to the conclusion that I'll gladly wait forever - as long as I can be her friend in the meantime."
Ranma didn't hear him react to the catcalls that erupted now, calling him a wuss, but she didn't have to see him to imagine that patient smile on his features that she knew so well. With a smile of herself she went on her way, shaking her head. Kentaro never ceased to astound her. What was it that powered this man? What gave him the energy to stay with her for all this time, helping her every time she was falling into depression again, being her friend at a time when she desperately needed one, yet did her level best to keep everyone away. She knew that he was attracted to her, but still...
Later that evening, when they came back from their dinner in a new restaurant that they had tried, she let Kentaro into her apartment. The food had been good, if a little expensive, and they had decided to have some coffee back at Ranma's place. She knew very well that Kentaro was hoping for more than just coffee and she had already decided that she was going to let him. She was feeling very good today and Kentaro had been wonderful company that evening... and she knew that it would feel better in this mood than when she had to force herself. When he held her hand, sitting across her at the table, she squeezed it a little back, letting him know that she was ready to do more.
He smiled warmly back at her and never let go of her hand while they were sipping their coffee. Afterwards, he got up and led her over to the futon, where they sat down. Ranma had gone completely passive, as she always did when they were doing anything physical. She had learned to kiss back and did not feel bad about it anymore, as she had when their strange relationship had begun. Other things were still problematic for her, but she always did her best to supress any aversion she had. Kentaro was her best friend, and he was right about what he had said to her those few years ago - she had to come to terms with her new life and that included having a relationship. She was thankful for his near inexhaustible patience and sometimes she felt horribly guilty about all the time he spent with her, even though it often looked as if she would never be able to really adjust fully.
When Kentaro bowed forward to kiss her, she leaned in and kissed back. Her eyes were closed and she concentrated on the feeling of her lips on someone else's - that way she could actually derive some pleasure from it, sometimes. Just kissing somebody felt good, once she shut out the fact that Kentaro was a man. His hands roamed over her back, while she simply locked hers around him, unmoving. She noticed his kiss growing more passionate and his breathing increase. She wondered what this meant, when suddenly she felt his hand on her breast.
The sensation alone was enough to make her shudder and break the kiss immediately. Kentaro knew at once what was wrong, as soon as his head began to clear. "I'm sorry," he apologized to Ranma who had scooted back a foot or two, her arms clasped before her chest. She wasn't looking a him directly, but staring off into space. "I shouldn't have done that, Ranma," he continued, "I'm sorry. We'd better stop here..."
"No," Ranma interrupted the surprised Kentaro. "It's... We can try that if you want. You just... surprised me and it felt wrong because I wasn't prepared for that." She stopped herself and set her jaw. Resolutely she pulled her top over her head, baring her breasts to him. These breasts, she thought to herself, they were part of what her body was now. An important part; one that made it female. If she ever was going to come to terms with her new body, she would have to begin accepting them. Tonight was as good a place to begin as any. She looked into Kentaro's eyes, seeing them settle on her two prominent mammaries. She saw the desire in them and saw the hesitation.
"Thank you, Ranma," he finally said, "This means a lot to me. I know how hard that must be for you, accepting these female parts of your body."
It was not the first time that Kentaro had practically read her mind, and she was astonished anew every time. She relaxed considerably in the knowledge that he understood her so well. She braced herself when he gently reached out and simply touched her right breast. It felt weird. No other part of her body reacted this sensitively to mere touches. She closed her eyes and concentrated, trying to derive pleasure from it, the way she could do with kisses.
Kentaro was now cupping her breasts in each hand, still not doing much more than just keeping skin contact. Slowly he began to move his hands, not moving her breasts, but sliding them over her delicate skin. When the first finger came in contact with one of her erect nubs, Ranma grit her teeth. The sensation was far too strong for such a little touch. It felt all wrong to receive such a jolt of sensation just from a slowly brushing finger.
Kentaro now applied just a little pressure, increasing the friction between his fingers and her skin. Her breasts were now pulled this way and that for a short distance, as his hands moved over them. He seemed to pay special attention to regularly touch her nipples, and everytime he did, Ranma received another jolt of sensation. Finally she could not go on anymore. She grabbed his wrists lightly and pulled the hands away.
"I... I'm sorry, Kentaro. This is still too much for me. I try to feel pleasure, but it's just too strange; too alien. I have to get used to this before we can try again. Please, let's just cuddle tonight." She was sure that Kentaro would be very disappointed, but when she opened her eyes and looked up at his face, he was smiling at her.
"That's okay, Ranma. You went farther tonight than you have ever before and perhaps you'll get used to it with enough time. Right now I'm very happy that you were ready to try at all. It shows that you really want to develop, no matter how hard it is. I admire that about you, Ranma, and I hope that I can ever repay you for this."
He leaned forwards and kissed her on the cheek, while she was looking at him, wondering. What was it that powered this man? Where on earth did he get this much patience?
Still not breaking the kiss, Ranma pressed into him, increasing the pressure of his hands on her mounds. She couldn't believe how far her perception had changed. The very same sensation that had once freaked her out - well, it still freaked her out, only differently. Nothing physical had changed, only her attitude towards it. And that made all the difference.
As they pressed into each other, Ranma felt Kentaro's erection through his trousers. This had happened a few times while they were petting and she had always had a creepy feeling about it. She had tried to avoid such close contact, so that she wouldn't have to become aware of his arousal this way. Now that she had thrown away her habit of keeping a distance, she felt it again, and wondered what to think about it. On the one hand she was theoretically aware that, if she was going through with this, this part of him was going to play a major role - on the other hand she had a lot of trouble to get her mind around the very concept. Her mind just... veered away whenever her thoughts went into that direction.
It did feel satisfying somehow, though, to think that his hardness was her work; that it was her body that had this effect on him. She had a... unique perspective on how he felt. She knew exactly what made a man aroused and how it felt to be aroused. She had used that knowledge sometimes to get other boys confused, back when she was still freshly cursed. She had stopped with that, when being female was not a game anymore, just like she had worn a dress more often before she was locked than after.
She wondered if she could still do it. She would have to adapt, of course, since the 'Cute Girlie' routine from back then would certainly not work on Kentaro. Hmmm...
Kentaro's head still swam from their kisses and the skin contact, when he felt Ranma push away and take a step back. She gave him a look that he couldn't quite place. He had never seen that expression on her. Only when she flashed him a wicked smile and teasingly turned half around, he realized. <Oh my god,> he thought, gulping, <She's trying to be seductive.> And she was succeeding, too.
She raised her arms and reached behind her head to undo the pony-tail, deliberately pushing out her breast and slowly turning from side to side, thus giving him a perfect view of them. When she had loosened the ribbon she tossed her raven hair, bringing out the coppery glint against the backlight of the bedroom lamp.
Kentaro was overwhelmed by this development. She had never ever been active in their physical encounters (apart from those on the mats of the training hall), but now that the barrier of hesitancy was finally broken down, she displayed the same playful inventiveness that made such a big part of her charm. And it worked. Oh god, it worked.
Ranma turned sideways and bent over straight at the hips, displaying the suppleness of her martial-arts-trained body. With her head in the vicinity of her knees, she reached down and undid the tied bands that held her pant legs closed. Kentaro's breath caught, because he knew what that meant. Indeed, just a moment later Ranma straightened up halfway and quickly shrugged off the baggy trousers. Still bent at almost a right angle, she turned just a bit more away from him and went for the finale.
She took the waistband of her underpants and slowly, sensuously began sliding them down. Her derriére was turned just so that all Kentaro got to see were the alluring curves of her behind and legs. The whole maneuver was very sexy - and calculated to be so. Only one slight thing marred the effect. The underpants in question were a pair of male boxer shorts.
The jarring contrast between Ranma's underwear and the routine she was trying to pull on him, finally allowed Kentaro to snap out of his daze. He chuckled. Ranma's head snapped around at this unexpected sound and the expression on her face said 'What? Why is he laughing? Oh no, I must have made a blunder!' Her crestfallen look made Kentaro laugh even more, which in turn made Ranma flush angrily.
"Well, what's so funny, then?" she snapped.
Kentaro, still giggling, pointed at her boxers that were still hanging halfway down her hips. When she didn't comprehend, he calmed down some more and said, "Ranma, that was really a great attempt and you had me going pretty strongly there for a moment - but Strip Tease and Boxer Shorts don't traditionally go together."
Looking down at her underwear, Ranma finally realized and was forced to chuckle, too. She pushed a strand of hair out of her face. "Heh, I guess I'll have to practice a bit before I go professional, eh?"
Kentaro grinned and hugged her. "You're professional enough for me."
They kissed again, slowly this time; a kiss of tender love, not wild passion - although one could certainly lead to the other.
By unspoken agreement they moved over to the futon and sat down there. Ranma unceremoniously removed her shorts completely, while Kentaro took off his trousers. He kept his own underpants on, though. When he turned towards her again, she had lain down on her back with arms and legs very slightly splayed, as if presenting herself to him. Kentaro gulped at the sight of her nakedness. In that way this was his first time, too. He simply knelt before her, drinking her sight for as long as he dared - and could endure.
With iron self control he kept from following his impulse to just pounce on her and gobble her all up. Instead he went back to where they had left off - Second base. Ranma watched him interestedly, as he brought his hands back to her breasts and resumed the slow stimulation. He cupped each mound and began stroking them all over, not yet applying much pressure or kneading them - just touching with a bit of friction. He took care to visit every square inch of her chest with his roaming hands, paying special attention to her nipples, which he visited repeatedly. Ranma's nipples were always slightly erect and jutting out, as is the case with some women, but now they were fully aroused and hard as tiny pebbles.
Kentaro heard her laboured breath and knew that his manipulation of her breasts was stimulating her like it never had before, even on their most pleasurable sessions. Now he bent down and brought his head near her soft mounds.
As she felt his warm breath on her body, Ranma looked down again and saw him waiting with his face poised over her breasts, looking back up at her, as if waiting for confirmation. Almost imperceptibly she nodded, giving him her approval to go ahead. One second later her head flopped back to the mat, as the incredible feeling of what Kentaro was doing hit her.
Not able to restrain himself, Kentaro had gone straight for her right nipple and had given it a gentle kiss, softly sucking on it. Ranma's gasp and shudder showed him that this was as pleasurable to her as it was to him. He went on to shower her right breast with kisses, beginning at the base and working his way up and around. When he passed her nipple again, he opened his mouth and gave it a playful lick that made Ranma jerk. Reaching the top of her chest, he leaned over and continued down her left breast whith the same procedure.
As he reached her other nipple, he suddenly felt Ranma's hands on his head. She grabbed him by the hair and roughly pressed his face against her chest, burying it deep into her soft and pliant flesh. A second later she released the pressure, but kept her hands on his head, ruffling and stroking his hair. Kentaro continued downwards without a word, but surreptitiously brought his hand up to her right breast. Just when he planted the last kiss on the base of Ranma's left breast, he pinched her right nipple.
Ranma had to cut short a scream that would otherwise have alerted neighbours up to a city block away. Grinning broadly, Kentaro pushed himself up and looked into her face.
"Well, Ranma, seems like you are a mammal after all. No, really - I've checked." He ducked the pillow that came for his face.
Ranma propped herself up on her elbows and slowly regained her breath. She looked down her body and then back up at Kentaro. She bit her lip and then asked somewhat nervously, "Aren't you... um, going somewhere else, too?"
Kentaro knew what she meant, of course, but he also had stayed away from there and let her regain her composure for a reason. Slowly and very seriously he spoke. "I will, Ranma, but not until you tell me to. This is going exactly as fast and as far as you want it."
Evenly, Kentaro looked at Ranma, hoping she would understand his meaning. He saw the struggle in her eyes and knew that he had guessed right about what was going on in her mind.
Ranma was confused. For some reason she felt disappointed that Kentaro wouldn't take charge of the situation, that it was up to her to make things happen. But why? She should be glad that he was still so patient, even in this situation, should be thankful that he left the power of decision to her. Suddenly it struck her. Of course! The power of decision - and the responsibility. By forcing her to make the decision what happened when, he also made an important difference. If she just lay back and left all of it to him, sex would always be something that he did to her, not something that they did together, or something that she did. Yes, once she understood this, it wasn't hard to figure out which part of her didn't want her to take an active role in this. Well, that part was in for a rude awakening, if she had anything to say about it.
She looked Kentaro right into the eyes and nodded just a fraction, letting him know that she understood. "Well, in that case..." She spread her legs further apart,in a slightly overplayed gesture, baring her genitals to him. "Down, boy. Down."
Kentaro had to chuckle. He scooted down and knelt between her splayed legs. There he bent forward and for the first time ever looked at her exposed sex. It was pretty unremarkable, if such a word could ever be applied to anything about Ranma. Kentaro was a bit surprised that Ranma's pubic hair was rather sparse and orderly for someone with such strong and wild hair as she had. Most of it was in a thick muff above the actual genitals while only a light, downy fur grew along the soft V of her virginal labia.
"Well, let's see," Kentaro said, "How familiar exactly are you with your female genitalia?" He had to force himself to keep talking reasonably about this, just to keep the tenuous grip on his rationality that threatened to sign off for the day.
"Uh," said Ranma uncertainly, "Not very?"
Somehow this didn't surprise Kentaro. Ranma could be very experienced, even wise, in some concerns - but with some things she was extremely naive. "Well, okay, then we'll just explore them together. First thing outside are the outer lips. They are normally closed, but open a bit when you are aroused. Why, look! It seems you are aroused. You wouldn't have had sex recently, would you?" A swat over the head with the recovered pillow brought him back on track. He gently placed two fingers next to Ranma's lips.
"There's a lot of erectile tissue down here that should be pretty sensitive to touch, and it's pretty warm, too. In medical courses you learn a lot of interesting facts about this area of the body, none of which should be mentioned during actual intercourse unless, of course, you want to stop." This time he dodged the pillow.
"I want you to start," admonished Ranma.
Happily, Kentaro complied.
He lay down between her legs and supported himself with an elbow, while he brought the other hand to Ranma's exposed sex. He began by teasingly stroking her thighs, getting ever nearer to her labia. When he looked up, he saw that Ranma, too, had pushed herself up on her elbows, so that she could see better what he was doing. She was biting her lower lip nervously, but when they made eye contact, he saw no hesitation - only encouragement.
Kentaro turned his attention back to his hand on her thighs. Finally he reached out and made contact with her genitalia. He simply laid his hand over her pubic area, cupping her mons and slightly parted labia. From the way Ranma expelled her breath, not quite gasping or sighing, he could tell that she liked being touched there, so he went on to rubbing her venus mound. Some women did get stimulated by this, but Kentaro could not tell if Ranma did from her reaction. In any case he went further down and now slowly stroked Ranma's swollen outer lips, parting them more and more with his caressing motion.
He had to forcibly keep himself from licking his lips, when the unmistakable fragrance of Ranma's female juices increased noticably. He had to keep a clear head; he had to. Still, it wasn't easy with Ranma's now open sex so invitingly splayed before him and the scent of her arousal in his nose. So he fell back to talking as a way to keep a grip. It was better, anyway, he thought, because this way Ranma was always informed of what was happening.
"I-I have opened your outer lips now, Ranma, and I can see the inner folds and the clitoris." He carefully left out the urethral opening, because there are some things you shouldn't talk about during sex.
He carefully brought a single finger into the vicinity of the clitoris and started slowly rubbing her flesh, gradually approaching the tiny nub that was already poking out of its hood. Gently, very gently he finally laid two fingers on both sides of the sheath and began stimulating the clit itself. This time Ranma did gasp and sagged a bit, as her elbows threatened to go weak beneath her. Ketaro smiled to himself and continued his soft manipulations. He knew that the small knob was packed with nerve endings and, unlike its male equivalent, did not like strong pressure.
"Oh- Oh god," he heard Ranma say, "Why don't men have something like that?"
"Oh, but they do," Kentaro grinned, looking up, "It's just a bit larger and more visible."
Ranma needed a moment to understand Kentaro's meaning. "You mean... that thing you're rubbing is what women have instead of a penis?" she asked incredulously. Her speech was rather laboured and gasping now.
"Same thing, basically," Kentaro explained, "It even looks similar, only smaller. And," he added mischievously, "you can do more with it than just rubbing..."
With that he relaxed the arm that had kept him propped up all this time and lay down flat before her, his face right abover her loins. As an example of what he meant, he bent down and placed a light kiss on her mons directly above the cleft of her nether lips. The next kiss was placed directly to the right of her opening, the next after that on the opposite side. Finally he extended his tongue and slowly, teasingly dragged it along the rim of Ranma's sensitive, swollen outer labia.
There was no denying that his teasing got to Ranma, because her juices were flowing now more than ever, and the tangy taste was not lost to Kentaro as he let his tongue dance closer and ever closer to its goal. When he finally gave in to his own desire and directly touched Ranma's clitoris, he heard and felt a muffled impact. This time Ranma's arms had given out beneath her.
The thought of pleasuring Ranma like this stirred him on and he applied what limited knowledge he had about how to pleasure a female to its fullest. Ranma gave off little sounds and he could hear her tossing her head. Smiling, he lifted his head to look at her. Her breast was heaving with the deep breathing and he saw her hands digging into the futon and pulling at the cover. Before she could calm down, he dove back immediately and resumed his work on her sweet smelling sex.
This was getting to him just as much as it was to her. All thoughts besides sex fled his consciousness as her delirious scent filled his nose. Nothing mattered besides pleasuring Ranma, that heavenly feminine creature before him. He brought his fingers back into play and began stroking her thighs, then let them wander up and play through the dark curls upon her pubic mound. One finger strayed down and rested on top of her clitoris' hood, working a counter rhythm to his tongue. The small sounds that Ranma gave off took on a more frantic note.
His head swam with the musky smell of sex and desire. He brought a finger of his other hand up to her labia from below and began tracing it along her lips in the desire to drive her to even higher levels of pleasure with the stimulation. He let the finger stray further inwards and now followed the outline of her inner opening with the tip, until he gently parted it and slowly slipped the finger in.
The very second his finger entered her opening, Ranma just locked up. As if she had turned to stone by the very same magic that let her switch genders, all movement ceased, as did all sounds.
<Oh damn,> Kentaro thought, immediately realizing what this meant, <I went too fast.>
"Dammit, Kentaro," Ranma cursed angrily, "Why'd you have to do that?"
The two of them were standing a little way from the campus cafeteria that they had just left.
Kentaro blinked; he had no idea what Ranma was talking about. She was clearly furious, though, and it wasn't like her to play mind games, so she must be thinking it was obvious to him. Oh well, there was but one way to find out. "I'm sorry, Ranma. I'm not sure what you're talking about. What was it I did?"
Ranma's eyes flared, but then she realized that he wasn't being defensive - he was really just asking. "I mean the way you just took my hand. Right there in front of everybody."
"I- I'm sorry, Ranma," stuttered Kentaro, "I didn't think you'd mind. We've been holding hands so often, I just did it without thinking. But still, I mean it's not like I forced you - you could have told me to stop and I would have."
"Oh sure," Ranma snorted, "And make sure that everybody notices, in case anyone overlooked it? Besides that's not the point. The question is not what I could have done to stop you, but why you did it in the first place."
"I told you: I didn't think you would mind, since we've been holding hands for quite some time."
"But not like this! Not so... casually and in front of all those people. I don't want others to see this; I don't want them to think of me as 'Kentaro's Girlfriend'. Damn, I have trouble thinking of myself like that. I don't want this and I'm not ready for it. You told me you would wait for me and be patient. Whatever became of that promise?"
Kentaro had no answer for this. She was right, he should have remembered that. He should have remembered that gestures that were natural for him took on an entirely new significance for Ranma. He should not - could not - take her for granted. There was nothing he could say except, "I'm sorry, Ranma."
"Well, you'd better be," Ranma said haughtily and turned. Kentaro watched her as she walked away towards her dorm.
That evening while he lay in bed he could not find sleep easily. The thought of Ranma turning her back on him and walking away would not leave his mind. He knew that this did not mean she was breaking off their relationship, but he could not help worrying that maybe one day it would; that one day he would make an error that would lose him the most precious thing in his life.
Ranma was the most precious thing in his life. He could not even imagine a life without her company anymore. Her natural energy and exuberance had a way of bending all that happened around her, like a black hole bends space, and giving it a whole new quality. If you were in her company, you weren't just doing things - you were doing things with Ranma. And if she wasn't there, you weren't just alone - you were alone without Ranma.
He knew it wasn't just his own feelings for her. He had seen it happen all around him. After some time in his company and at his urging, Ranma had tentatively begun integrating herself into the social life at college, and it was fascinating to see how social circles, groups and clubs automatically realigned themselves to make room for the phenomenon that was Ranma. He knew he never wanted her to slip away and prayed for strength so that his stupid, thoughtless mistakes would not one day cost him her presence in his life.
Eventually, Kentaro sank into dreamless sleep and awoke reasonably refreshed. He awaited his meeting with Ranma that afternoon with quite some trepidation. He hoped he could make up with her and make good his mistake from yesterday. He was rather nervous the whole morning.
"Hey, Kentaro!" Ranma called out with a big smile. She approached him swiftly. "Wanna grab something to eat? I've got an appetite, I could eat a horse, and I found a marvelous place right near the campus, last week."
Caught off balance, Kentaro just nodded agreement and fell into step beside her, as she marched off, animatedly talking about the meeting of the women's soccer club that day. He had no doubt that she would be the captain before long, even though she probably did not know that yet. There was no trace, not a hint, of yesterday's incident in her behavior. All her behavior showed was her normal casual friendship.
The afternoon at the restaurant and after that was quite simply wonderful. Ranma was magnificent company, lively and energetic, friendly and all-round happy. When, on their way home, their hands met, there was no hesitation in Ranma. She accepted the contact as if nothing had ever happened. She parted with a friendly smile and a wave, and like the day before, Kentaro watched her vanish into the distance.
His emotions were a turbulent mix. He had not spoken of their conflict yesterday, simply so as not to stir up negative emotions. Ranma had not spoken of it, he was sure, because the thought had never crossed her mind. So forgiving was her nature, so rooted in the present her consciousness, that harboring resentments was almost an impossible act for her. She was always ready to forgive and forget and give others a second chance. Silently Kentaro swore that he would always strive to be worthy of her friendship and never hurt her thoughtlessly so that her open smile that greeted the world would not vanish.
At once Kentaro pulled his finger back out of the rigid Ranma. He could only hope that Ranma would recover, that he had not ruined everything with his damn impatience. And so shortly after promising that this would go only as far and as fast as she wanted, too. He sat up on his knees and looked down at Ranma, who was staring unfocussedly into space. Kentaro held his breath.
Slowly, very slowly, life seemed to flow back into Ranma's body. First came a shuddering, gasping breath that told Kentaro that Ranma, too, had not breathed. Then came a blink and Ranma's eyes unglazed. Immediately they focussed on Kentaro with a stare that was not exactly accusation - but accusation was certainly part of the mix of emotions that played over Ranma's face. Then, with another laboured gasp, Ranma relaxed and sank back against the futon.
Kentaro expelled the air from his lungs with a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry, Ranma," he apologized urgently, "I was getting overexcited and forgot to warn you. I should have thought of what this would be like for you."
Ranma raised a hand to silence him. Her eyes were closed in concentration and she said wearily, "S'okay. Let- Let me just get a grip on myself."
Kentaro watched as Ranma pressed her hands together and went through a breathing exercise that Kentaro knew. It was meant to focus the mind and remove it from all distracting troubles. Finally she opened her eyes again and sat up, so that they now knelt opposite each other.
"That was pretty thoughtless, Kentaro," she said calmly, and Kentaro cast down his gaze. "But I guess I can't hold it against you. God knows I've gotten carried away a few times, myself, in my life. I just want you to know that this is still quite an effort for me. I mean, I'm joking with you and I certainly feel a lot of pleasure - but when you get right down to the bottom of it, we are fighting a battle here." She reached over and squeezed his hand. "I need you to be on my side. On our side."
When Kentaro heard these words he automatically squeezed back Ranma's hand, and Ranma smiled at that. She leaned forward towards him and Kentaro met her half way. They shared a tender kiss that reassured both of them. When they parted, Ranma seemed back to the state she was in when they started. She brought an arm up to her brow, as if wiping away sweat.
"Phew, that was pretty heavy stuff just now, I can tell you. I don't know if anything could have prepared me for feeling this; feeling something actually inside of me. That must have been the absolutely weirdest experience I ever had - and that's saying something, considering the kind of life I've led." She grinned. "Well, I got used to a lot of weirdness... I can do it again."
Kentaro's nervousness ebbed when he heard her determined tone. Suddenly he remembered something that he wanted to ask her about.
"Err, Ranma? When I just... was inside, I felt something. Or rather, I didn't feel something. You see, normally there's this thin skin inside-"
"I know that," interrupted Ranma, pleased to know something about her 'female parts', "The hymen, right?"
"Err, in fact the hymen is the term for a fold in the mucous membrane of the vagina - but you mean the right thing. It's the extension of this fold that is commonly called 'hymen'; and that one is gone."
"Ohh, you... physician!" Ranma playfully chastised.
"Anyway," Kentaro continued, "I just wondered about it. Perhaps it is something to do with the nature of the curse - on the other hand there are a thousand reasons why it could be broken, especially considering some of the things you have been through. It can quite easily break all by itself under rough treatment of the body."
"Oh yeah," Ranma said, scratching her head, "I've been through some pretty rough stuff in female form, beginning with..."
Ranma stopped in mid-sentence and grinned amusedly. Slowly, she began laughing. Kentaro looked on bemused, as Ranma laughed harder and harder, gasping for breath and convulsing with mirth. Finally she calmed down somewhat and Kentaro asked her, "What's so funny?"
Wiping tears of laughter form her eyes she answered, still chuckling, "A-he he heh. I just thought about all the stuff I've been through after I got cursed and when I thought about all my fights back in Nerima, I had to think of a certain upperclassman with a crush on a pigtailed girl." Here she paused, waggling her eyebrows. "I may have lost my maidenhead to Kunou's Bokken. Waaaaahahahahahahaaa!" She broke down with laughter again, while Kentaro winced.
"Well, you may have lost your anatomical virginity, but the technical virginity is still intact," he said.
Ranma stopped, looking at him in disbelief. "You mean you actually have terms for these things?"
Kentaro had to grin. "You wouldn't believe what kind of things we have terms for in medicine."
"I couldn't really care less," replied Ranma, "Less words, more action, Kentaro. Take off those shorts, already."
Kentaro struggled to his feet and reached to slip off his last piece of clothing, when Ranma suddenly leaned forward and grabbed it by the waistband. With a mighty pull she ripped the pants right of his body. Kentaro's eyes bulged and he barely managed to keep his reaction down to a wince.
"Ranma..." he said, "warn me when you're going to do that. In fact, I think I'd like it if you never did that again."
"Sorry, Kentaro," said Ranma sheepishly, "I just thought we oughta get serious, now."
"That's what you do when you're being serious? Gee, I guess I should count myself lucky that I didn't catch you in a funny mood."
"Sorry," Ranma repeated.
"Don't worry, Ranma," smiled Kentaro and went to kneel beside her again, "I know you are anxious to get this over with and I also know that a bit of humor can help through a difficult situation, but-"
"Oh, can the lectures," interrupted Ranma. She put on a know-it-all expression and leaned over to look at his now exposed sex as if dispassionately studying an interesting specimen.
"This is," she said, imitating Kentaro's lecturing tone from before, "what we experts call a 'penis'. It's generally considered a pretty nifty toy by those who possess one - and quite probably by a lot of those who don't, but know someone who does."
Kentaro almost fell over.
Chuckling, he conceded, "Okay, Ranma, I get the hint. No more lectures. I can use my mouth for better things."
An unexpected tingle of anticipatory joy raced along Ranma's spine at these words. With a shiver, she quickly lay down and opened herself to him. Kentaro wasted no time and began by stimulating her breasts. Ranma felt his hands as they cupped her mounds and basked in the sensation. Soon his mouth joined in on the fun and he alternately sucked her nipples or showered her breasts with kisses. The wonderful feelings this gave her spread until all of her breast was tingling with constant pleasure.
Then she felt him kiss his way downwards, leaving a trail of hot marks on her chest leading down to her stomach, where he spent some time circling her belly button. He kept his hands on her breasts, fondling and kneading a bit. Only when he continued on downwards, he let go of them and Ranma felt a small pang of regret for a second. She could not think about that, however, because now Kentaro brought his hands to her sides and tickled her. This sent her hyper-sensitized body into convulsions.
By the time she had caught her breath again, he was already down between her legs, hard at work, making said breath rather ragged. He was swiftly licking all around her vagina, touching her clitoris every so often. The regular jolts of excitement that shot up from her groin were rapidly driving her back into the state of arousal she was in before - and beyond. She was now on a higher level of arousal than she had ever been before in her life. She knew that Kentaro was only waiting for her signal to continue on, and she felt that this was the time for it.
"You can... p-put it in... Kentaro," she managed between her gasping breaths. She braced herself and concentrated on the pleasure and arousal she was feeling. Gently, ever so gently a finger began probing her cleft. Two fingers joined it and pulled her lips apart, while the first slowly made its way into her entrance. She knew what to expect this time and her arousal never ebbed. If anything it was enhanced by the incredibly strange feeling of this digit that so slowly made its way into her.
The finger was just in past the first knuckle, when Ranma again felt Kentaro's tongue against her clitoris. The unexpected sensation made her jerk. Kentaro kept on pushing slowly and every now and then he would let his tongue dart out towards her sensitive nub, always when she was least expecting it. It was driving her mad. She reached down and ran her fingers through his hair, not quite grabbing his head, but also not letting it stray far from where it was.
When the finger was finally fully inserted, as it had been once before, Kentaro held it there for a moment, completely motionless. Then he began moving it and Ranma's world turned a cartwheel. The pleasure was overwhelming, but still something inside of her was not satisfied, demanded more, demanded something besides pleasure. The realization dawned on Ranma what it was. She took a deep breath.
Kentaro looked up, when Ranma suddenly took his head between her hands and lifted it from her groin.
"Kentaro..." Ranma said slowly, "When I said 'put it in', I didn't just mean your finger." She let that statement sink in for a moment. "This feels good, no question about it, but it could be better - and I know what's missing." She reached down and gently put her hand under his chin, lifting it. "I want to see your face; I want to hold you; I want to kiss you. Come up here, Kentaro. Please."
Wordlessly - for what could he have said? - Kentaro climbed up on his hands and feet and moved up over Ranma until he was eye to eye with her. "Are you sure, Ranma?" was his only question.
Ranma nodded. "Do it."
She felt the tip of his penis as it rested on her pubic mound. Kentaro moved backwards and she felt it drag across her mons and graze her vagina before it lost contact. When she felt it again, the tip was pressing against her opening. She looked up at Kentaro, who was supporting himself on one hand, while holding his erect genital ready with the other. He only waited for her signal.
"Do it," she repeated.
And he did.
Like a sudden splash of cold water, Kentaros's entrance shocked Ranma's whole system and rattled her deeply. This was no mere finger, this was a man's penis. Another man's penis. You are a man, Ranma, shouted a frantic part of her mind, how can you allow this?
Because it feels good, said another, larger part of her. This is the most pleasurable experience in my whole life.
But he is a man. And you are a man. You were born a man and raised to be one. Men don't do this.
<That's stupid,> Ranma thought, <Lots of men do this. And besides, I have a woman's body, so that's got nothing to do with this.>
But inside you are a man, insisted the oldest part of her.
And inside I'm also a woman - so's everybody. And I can make love to a man with this body, answered the other voice in her head.
<I love Kentaro. He did more for me than I can ever pay back, by being my friend and helping me cope and finally helping me build a new identity for myself.>
A woman's identity. You are a man.
And what's so bad about being a woman?
<I've known a few women - somehow they seemed to be able to live with it. But does loving a man mean I am a woman, too?>
At this moment, Kentaro moved his head down, and began suckling her breasts. She felt his mouth on her skin, and it was good and awful, gross and pleasureable, wrong and right and to some part of her brain it just was, completely apart from good or bad. The 'male' and 'female' parts of her mind were shouting at her, trying to drown out each other. This three-way conflict was tearing her apart. Her mind was beginning to fracture. And yet, throughout all of this, there was incredible pleasure radiating from her groin, as if the disintegration of her mind was the greatest of aphrodisiacs.
She heard herself moaning, except it wasn't her, it was some strange, weird part of her that had taken over her body. She was a man. She should take this other man and throw him naked out the window, humiliate him so that he'd never do this again, and yet as he lifted his head from her breasts and began to shift positions, she found herself spreading her legs, knowing that it would make it easier for him, and she felt him touch her down there with a hand, rubbing her, giving her pleasure, and he was inside and it felt good and it felt bad, and he was tearing her, her mind was tearing, her body was tearing, and she was a man and he was inside her and it hurt and it felt good and please stop please give me back my masculinity....
It wasn't until Kentaro stopped that Ranma realized she was screaming.
Kentaro cautiously pulled out of her and scooted out from between her legs. He watched as Ranma sat up and hugged her knees to herself. He did not know, could not imagine what was going on in her head, but he did know that she needed comfort right now. He knelt by her side and put an arm around her shoulders, holding her while she calmed down.
Kentaro woke to the sound of Ranma's screams.
He jumped off the couch and tried to get his bearings in the dark. He had slept over at Ranma's place quite regularly, ever since she got it. So he was able to get over to the futon where Ranma was sleeping - or had been sleeping - without bumping into what little Ranma had in the way of furniture. Within seconds he was kneeling by her side on the futon and held her, murmuring soothing words to her.
"It's all right. It's all right, Ranma. It was only a dream. You know it was a dream, and it's over now."
He knew from experience that Ranma needed some time before she got coherent. This was not the first time that she had risen from nightmares, screaming. Not the first time by far.
"Kentaro..." Ranma managed to breathe. She hugged him tightly, something she never did otherwise, but then she would have hugged a grizzly right now if it had promised comfort.
"It's okay, Ranma," Kentaro repeated, "Tell me what it was. You know you always feel better when you talk about it."
Ranma gulped and drew a shaky breath, but forced herself to begin talking. "I- I was home, I mean really at home - with my mother and father. And... and it was different. I was a boy again and I didn't even remember ever having been a girl. Pop and me never left on that training trip, but stayed at home with Mom and trained in the Dojo. Uh, there was a Dojo behind the house, just like the Tendo's. And I had never heard of Jusenkyo or anything. I was just a boy who was happily living at home with his parents. And then suddenly there's a panda walking into the room and I know it's Pop. And I am so confused that my Pop is a panda and I look down and see that suddenly I'm a girl. Then I look up again and in the doorway I see my Mom, looking at us. And in her hand she holds that katana of hers and she's just looking at us like that."
Ranma lost her voice again at this point and just squeezed Kentaro's ribs. He kept himself from grunting. If he had not been in prime condition - thanks to Ranma's own training - she could easily have broken something in her current state. He just embraced her lightly and continued his soothing murmur.
"I want it to stop!" Ranma said, after a while of this, "I want to stop remembering it. I want it to stop hurting. Why won't it stop?"
Kentaro raised an eyebrow at this. A year and a half ago, when he had first witnessed one of Ranma's nightmares, it was being female that Ranma had wanted to stop. He wondered whether she was aware of this change, but wisely decided not to comment.
"I wish Shampoo was here with her formula 110 to make me forget I was a boy, but I'm so afraid that the nightmares would never stop, I just wouldn't understand why they hurt me so. And she wouldn't do it anyway, even if she was here..." Ranma trailed off into barely coherent tales of Shampoo and Akane and some kind of memory manipulation that the Chinese girl apparently could perform. Kentaro just held her, while Ranma slowly slipped back into a calm, peaceful sleep. At least as peaceful as was possible with a psyche like Ranma's.
Ranma was not crying; she never did. Even at the worst times Kentaro had never witnessed more than some dry sobs from her. Now she was just sitting there with her knees hugged tightly to her chest, almost curled into a fetal ball. She had her eyes closed and was slowly rocking back and forth. She showed no reaction to his comforting arm around her shoulders.
"What's wrong, Ranma?" Kentaro asked soothingly, "Tell me."
"What's wrong?" Ranma asked back, clearly agitated, surprising Kentaro a bit, since he had not expected such a fast and direct response in her current state. "I'll tell you what: It's me! That's what's wrong!"
Kentaro opened his mouth, but she shushed him and went on, "I've got this little voice in my head that tells me I'm a man and I can't do this with you, and then there's another voice that says I'm a woman and making love with a man is okay because I have the right body for it. And they are shouting at me in my mind and they're both right and both wrong. I can't get them to shut up, no matter what I say, because they are both parts of myself." She shuddered in remembrance of the tearing struggle that threatened her sanity. "Yep, I have met the enemy and he is me."
"Do you think so?" asked Kentaro, "So this one voice says you are a man and the other one says you are a woman. And what did you say?"
"I..?" Ranma was puzzled, "I said..." <I said I love Kentaro.>
Ranma stopped and looked at Kentaro, who was calmly, encouragingly gazing back. <Oh god, I do love him. And I want him, no matter how many stupid voices scream at me.>
"I say let's get started again," Ranma said resolutely, "And this time we'll get it right."
Ranma unrolled and lay down once again. Kentaro went down to stimulate her sex again, but Ranma grabbed him by the shoulders, signalling him to cut out the foreplay. This was more than just a physical act to derive pleasure - this was the final sealing of their love. It would eradicate the last remnants of doubt about her future with Kentaro.
The female voice was gone from her head, as if it saw no use in insisting any further and had taken her love for Kentaro as good enough for the moment. Only the small, nagging murmur of the male side remained, telling her to stop this madness. She told it to shut up. <I accepted being a woman a long time ago. I developed and built my personality since then with Kentaro's help. For good or bad, the new person I am is female, because I was female while I became this person.>
But you need not be female anymore. You went through so much trouble to be a man again. Was all that for nothing?
<It wasn't so much trouble, splitting a few boulders. The trouble was figuring out what to do after that. It was never about being male again - it was about having a choice. And I chose Kentaro. If that means being female, so be it!>
The male voice would not accept that, she knew. But somehow she also knew that what she was doing with Kentaro right now would make an end of that, would free her from its influence. She needed to do this; needed to do this very badly.
You're on the right track, then, came the sardonic reply from the rational part of her brain. You are doing this very badly.
And she was, Ranma noticed. She was just lying passively under Kentaro, letting him pump away at her unresisting body - not exactly stimulating for both parties. Keeping her eyes closed, she concentrated on the feelings from her crotch and strove to rekindle the flame of arousal.
This proved to be easy to do. The flame had never gone out entirely, and as soon as Ranma began moving it sprang up again. She rocked her hips in time with his thrusts, and almost shouted when this brought up her clitoris against his organ, rubbing it against his hot, almost burning flesh. Jolt after jolt of pure electric pleasure shot through her, and before long she felt her own juices of arousal flowing over her sex. Deep inside her loins something was building; something big; something fiery, straining for release.
Stop! screamed the male voice with all of its remaining strength. This was wrong, it told her, she could not do this. The thought alone - that somebody was inside her own body. That somebody was invading into - penetrating in the truest sense of the word - the most private space she called her own...
No! It was not "somebody". It was Kentaro. The man she loved. He did not - could not - invade; he was invited.
"Ranma, are you okay?" Kentaro's worried voice pulled Ranma out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes and saw Kentaro looking down at her sympathetically. Obviously he had seen her inner struggle reflected on her face. "We can stop," he suggested, his worry for her showing clearly. He was fully prepared to stop at once, purely out of concern for her.
That cinched it. Kentaro was surprised when Ranma reached up and pulled him down with irresistible force. She kissed him violently and then hissed, "Don't you dare," pressing him close to herself in an unbreakable embrace. Kentaro did his best to keep his rhythm in this position, but fortunately it didn't take much to keep Ranma going right now.
Her breath ragged, her pulse racing, her leg muscles bulging as she forcefully bucked against Kentaro with her hips, Ranma strove for a goal she could not even describe, except in terms of desire.
Suddenly there were words, without a hint of where they came from. Perhaps they were a last present from her waning rationality, given before it winked out with a metaphorical smile, dissolved into the wave of feelings that overwhelmed her. No matter what their origin, these words she had to speak, could not help but speak. They were forcing their way to her lips in the way that rare truth wants out, no matter what. She did not fight them. On the contrary - as if she was in a race with the all-encompassing fiery ball of sensation that was building deep inside of her, she concentrated all of her energy on saying these words, meaning every one of them.
It was building. <Say it.>
Coming closer. <Say it.>
Almost there. <Say it!>
And it was upon her.
As if triggered by the word - or perhaps bringing forth the word, Ranma could not tell which - the feeling that had been building shot up her spine like a trail of fire, to explode in her brain, and back down where it exploded again in her loins.
Kentaro felt Ranma's body seize in orgasm. The feeling that her reflexive tightening gave to his penis and the look on her face was all he needed to be pushed over the final brink himself. With a joyous moan, he too experienced that blissfull jolt of pure pleasure while he watched Ranma shudder and convulse with a release that was four years in the making, possibly longer.
When he came down, his fluids spent and intermingled with Ranma's, he felt the wave of relaxation wash over him, as every tightened muscle in his body released at once. Had he not been lying on top of Ranma already, he would have sunk into her embrace now. For some time both of them just lay there, soaked in sweat, but happy, just enjoying the feel of the other's body against their own.
Finally Kentaro rolled off of Ranma with a groan. Ranma watched him. Spent as he was, he still kept alert and looked at her questioningly, wanting to ascertain her well-being. Ranma thought about it and realized that she herself did not feel spent at all. If anything she felt ready for more.
This was great, she thought. She had just had an orgasm, but the heat was still there, just waiting to build again. Her whole body was still sensitive - actually she felt close to another orgasm. Wow. This was definitely great. She could have many of these and not ever feel tired. She looked over at the exhausted Kentaro again. Oh well, perhaps there was a limit to how many orgasms she would be able to achieve.
On a sudden impulse she reached for his hands and he took hers immediately. One silent moment long they just enjoyed the feelings they shared and basked in the warm afterglow of their lovemaking. Ranma loved the feel of his body next to hers and all that it implied.
It was Kentaro who spoke first and a look of panic crept into his eyes, "Oh no. I forgot. I- I was so worried about how you were feeling, and how much I wanted you, that I forgot to put on...."
Ranma grinned. "Don't worry. Nothing a hot shower won't fix."
He blinked. "Oh, yeah? Are you sure it works that way?"
She snorted. "I won't bore you with the details of what I learned about how this curse affects both of my bodies, but yeah, I'm sure."
Kentaro smiled at her, half relieved, half worried. "Well, I should still have remembered it." He grinned. "I mean, if I begin to act irresponsible too, we're doomed for certain."
Ranma made a playful swat at his head, but she laughed with him. As she did, she was overwhelmed by a wave of warm affection for him. She knew she had found the person she wanted to spend her life with.
Just looking at him made her whole chest tighten so much that it ached. Her hands squeezed his. "I don't ever want to let go of you; I never want to leave." She cast about for words to describe her desire. "I want us to be like this forever. Oh, Kentaro, I want to believe in some kind of... unseen link between us that ties us together so we're never apart."
Kentaro smiled lovingly back at her. "But there is such a link, Ranma. Don't you know? It's love."
For a second Ranma could do nothing but stare at this man; this wonderful, wonderful man. Then she swept him into her arms, irresistible like a force of nature, a hurricane. She put her mouth over his and kissed him for all he was worth.
Which, she decided, was quite a lot.
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