AN: o, hello there ;D This is the first chapter of a stupidly long fanfic I've been working on based on Ranma 1/2 Season 3's episode, Ryoga & Akane 2-gether 4-ever. I'd like to get more opinions on it, so here I am. The first couple of chapters are pretty tame, but there does get to be quite a bit of explicit adult content down the line. None of that shall appear here, of course, but if your interest is piqued, there's six more chapters available on my livejournal as well as on (sn for both sites is raede :D)

The first chapter is more a prequel to the events that unfold than anything else; I wanted a chance to practice character interactions before I really got moving. It's set the night before Ukyo delivers Ryoga's love letter to Akane. The overall story summary is this: Ranma is out to sabotage Ryoga and Akane's budding romance, but the tables are turned when Ryoga starts warming up to his fictional fiance. Will he still want Akane, or has Ryoga truly found the love he's been missing...?

Major pairings include: Ranma/Ryoga (centric), Ranma/Akane, Ryoga/Akane, and probably some Mousse in there somewhere later.

Firstly, a word of warning to the faint of heart: if you're looking for fluff, you're going to be sorely disappointed with where this story is headed. Not to say that things don't get sweet at times, but my portrayal of romance is bound to come off rather dark. There's betrayal, blackmail, perversion, all that good stuff, and everyone involved is at fault. All the characters are painted as pretty downright despicable in their own way, and I'm not really sure whether there'll be a happy ending.

Oyah, and if you spot any spelling mistakes, lemme know. I suck at proof reading :P

The Lost Boy's Lost Love
Chapter 1: Girl and her Pig


The infuriated scream reverberated throughout the whole of the Tendo residence.

"What?" The young Saotome responded in a tone that was more than just a little too patronizing for Akane's taste. "What's the problem?"

Pale fists thrashed through the air at a furious pace, but each newly thrown punch missed its target as completely as the last.

"Hold STILL!" Akane demanded as she took another lunge forward. But that boy was just too fast - she failed to connect a hit yet again. She turned; he was making circles around her. Literally. How childish was that? Akane growled and went for him full fury for another time.

"Hn...! Ha!" Ranma ducked and fled each of her attempts with ease, his arms kept crossed in an absurdly casual manner. "Now why would I do that?"

"Wh-Why won't you fight back!" Akane panted. "Come on, I'm not playing around! You said you'd help me get better. So HOW am I ever gonna better if YOU won't even take me seriously? HUH!"

She threw another fist straight at his nose, no holding back, no mercy. She didn't care if she broke his whole stupid face.

The heir of the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts arched back with an easy sort of grace, making Akane's passion fueled punch just another close miss. Akane let out a shriek of raw frustration.

Ranma straightened up and smiled back at her with that smug look of his. Akane had stopped. She was just standing there, fuming. "Ain't my fault you're so slow. How we gonna fight when you can't even hit me? Come on, what else ya got?"

Nails bit into Akane's palms, her fists clenched so tight. "You know what...!" She growled in such a manner that made Ranma prepare himself to avoid yet another attack, but to his surprise, Akane's stiff shoulders fell slack a moment later.

"Forget it," she said, voice gone flat. "Just forget it."

She turned and left the dojo at a near-run, not wanting that pony-tail wearing jerk to see the glaze of tears over her eyes. Why did he have to be like that all the time? Always going out of his way just to make her miserable. If he didn't want to help her with her training, then he should've just said so in the first place. What a colossal waste of time.

"Ahhh, Akane, c'mon..." She heard Ranma call out after her in that ohh-you're-overreacting-again sort of way. Then he started to laugh. That was to be his final mistake. "Come on, come back, I was just messin' around! Get a sense of humor one of these days, will ya? We can't all be -"

"I said forget it!" Akane shouted back. She sped up, hearing Ranma's following behind her. She tore through up the stairs and down the hall to her room, breathing a sigh of relief when she finally gave the door a good shutting slam. The rest of the Tendo household didn't so much as blink in her direction. They were well use to young Akane's tantrums, which had become increasingly frequent since the Saotomes moved in.

"Akane..." Ranma's voice sounded from the other side of her door. "Look, I didn't mean to - just quit bein' a drama-queen already, alright?"

Akane collapsed onto her bed, tears falling free in the privacy of her own room. "Go away," she demanded in as steady a voice as she could manage. She set her face to her pillow and let the fabric muffle her quiet sobs.

She knew Ranma was a better martial artist than she was. He didn't need to remind her of it every chance he got. Excuse her for having led a normal life here in Japan while his father was out throwing him in cursed springs or whatever-the-heck. There did happen to be a time when she, Akane Tendo, was the all-star athlete around Nerima.

Yeah, but all that changed when Ranma came along. These days she was being made into the damsel in distress around every corner, and she was sick and tired of it.

"Fine," Ranma's voice retreated. Akane's face remained planted firmly in her pillow. She should've known he'd be too much of an arrogant *** to train with her 'for real'.

Her room was dark; the sun had gone down hardly an hour ago, and the light from her bedside window lit the room just enough to make out shapes. Akane hadn't noticed the little black form curled up on the bed beside her.

P-chan nudged her shoulder, letting out a soft snort that sounded almost like a concerned whimper.

Akane turned her head and blinked through the darkness. A small smile appeared on her lips. "Oh, P-chan..." she cooed and scooped the piglet up in her palm. She turned on her side and cradled him to her chest.

"I'm glad you're not a jerk to me..." she muttered, giving the piglet's ear an affectionate scratch.

Akane set a light kiss to P-chan's head and put him onto her blanket. She rose out of bed and wiped the stain of tears away on the sleeve of her uniform. The little piglet turned its back to the wall as she made her way to the dresser.

Akane yanked at the cloth belt around her waste and let her uniform fall open. When she turned to look back at P-chan, she couldn't help but smile as she noticed how the animal turned away, as if to give her privacy.

"You silly pig..." She laughed. He did the most adorable things sometimes, things she'd never seen other little piglets do. He made a great pet. Now if she could just do something about the wandering off all the time, she might not feel so alone in this house.

Her loose pants fell free with the tilt of her hip. She shook them from her ankles and kicked them away as she picked a plain t-shirt and cotton pants from the dresser. It was well into the evening now; she didn't need to look 'pretty' anymore. As if she cared. This was designated PJ time.

Once redressed, she paused to take in a deep breath. After several seconds, she sighed. "I'm not even gonna look at him..." she mumbled to herself. "...If he even tries to talk to me... hmph..."

P-chan turned his head curiously. He made a few more whimpering snorts.

"I bet you're hungry, huh, P?" Akane wondered aloud. "Stay here, baby, I'll get you some food..."

P-chan hopped off the bed and scrambled to her feet as Akane stepped toward the doorway.

"No, P!" Akane scolded the animal and put her foot between him and the door as her hand went for the knob. "Stay. Back! Back up, P-chan."

P-chan backed away from the door, head low to the ground. He did that when he was sorry about something. Or when he wanted to make her think he was. As soon as Akane opened the door just enough to slip out, P-chan dashed between her legs and sped off down the hall.

"P-CHAN!" she shouted as the little pig bounced down the stairs. "Nobody open any doors...! And close the windows, too!"

Akane headed toward the kitchen. She'd lost sight of him as he escaped downstairs, but clearly, P-chan was a smart pig. If it was food he was after, he knew where to go.

"Oh, but it's such a nice night out," Kasumi said as Akane moved to slide one of the kitchen windows shut. "And the oven's hot. It's letting a nice breeze in."

"P-chan's out again," she explained. "I don't want him escaping. Again." Her eyes fell and glanced about the tiled floor.

To her gross displeasure, Ranma came into her peripheral view, ducking into the fridge for a soda and chuckling as she looked frantically for her 'precious P'. He just had to tease her about every little thing. An irritated frown plastered itself across Akane's face. Like she'd promised herself, she refused to even look at him.

"He still here...?" Ranma shook his head. He snapped the lid of his beverage with a loud pop.

"Well, you can't expect to keep him couped up in your room all the time, Akane," Kasumi reasoned. "Maybe you can set him a pin up in the yard."

"Ohh, yeah!" Ranma piped enthusiastically. He laughed. "He'd love that... Wouldn't you P-chan!" he called out through the house.

Akane's eyes shot to Ranma for the first time. Reluctantly, she had to ask. "Did you see where he went?" Her tone was - well, she was still clearly agitated, that was for sure.

"Eh, don't worry. Even if he gets out, he always come back, right? ...Unfortunately."

"Why do you always hafta-" Akane stopped, glancing to Kasumi. She let the thought drop and just scowled down at her feet. "Just don't let him get out again if you see him, okay?"

"Yeah... you got it." Ranma shrugged. He didn't sound particularly sincere. He never did.

Akane pushed by Ranma and out of the kitchen, eyes gluing themselves to the floor. Ranma made a face as her shoulder bumped carelessly into his. He snorted.

"Man, I hate living with chicks," he muttered to himself when she was safely out of earshot. " moody..." Kasumi didn't pay him any mind.

Ranma set his drink down and set off toward the bathroom. He caught a glimpse of Akane as he passed the family area. She was plopped on the couch with her father and Nabiki in front of the TV. She didn't even glance over at him. Seemed she'd taken to ignoring his very presence for the night.

Well, whatever. She'd cool off by morning.

"...Well, well, well," Ranma laughed as he reached the bathroom doorway. One little black piglet in a familiar spotted bandanna was perched atop the toilet, preparing for a daring jump from its shelf to the sink. "What's up, Ryoga, buddy? Havin' issues?"

P-chan turned his head to the boy with all-too expressive glare. Redirecting its attention to the sink, the little animal shuffled back before making its attempt to cross. The piglet squealed as its face smacked flat against the sink's edge. P-chan fell with an audible thud to the floor. Ranma's voice cracked into laughter.

"Oh-ho! Hahaha! Geez! You want some help, there, 'P'...?"

P-chan met Ranma's eyes with a loud, urgent squeal.

"Yeah, yeah." Ranma turned to slide the bathroom door shut. He made his way over to the sink an gave the hot water knob a twist.

The piglet stood on its hind legs and whined, ears perking at the stream of water. Ranma set his hand in the stream. In a matter of seconds, his black locks became lighter, redder; his height dropped and his chest bulged.

"Hold on, stupid, it's gotta get hot first." Ranma's voice chimed light and feminine. She bent down to grab P-chan up by his ribboned bandanna. "Where the heck are your clothes at, anyway...?"

Ranma shook her head at P-chan as he squirmed. She kept her hand beneath the faucet for several more moments, until the water grew warm enough that her own shape changed again. At last, Ranma set P-chan in the sink and turned away.

"I guess you can borrow some of mine," he offered. "Just so you don't freak the whole house out. You're lucky I'm so hospitable and stuff."

"Ranma..." Ryoga growled, his human form now reclined quite comically in the sink bowl. "Do you know that you reduced poor Akane to tears!"

"Is it my fault if that girl has no sense of humor?" Ranma scrunched his nose. It seemed like he was always making Akane cry; both her and this goon ought to be used to it by now. He was. He'd apologize later and she'd be alright again. Until she decided to get mad about some other stupid thing that only a moody chick like her would get mad about.

"...She just wants to be mad about something..." he reasoned. "Besides, you wanna start yappin', I'll just leave you here in the buff for Akane to find. You're a guest in this house, bud - so act like it."

Ryoga glared at him from the sink, hands staying cupped over his privates. Gee, he was shy. "...You better be careful, Ranma..."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. The way you treat Akane, someone could come along and take her away from you real fast some day." That's right, Ryoga thought to himself. Maybe even sooner than you think.

Ranma laughed his way to the bathroom door. "Someone like you, Ryoga?" This was rich. Little piggy and his crush never got old.

Well, actually, it did start to get a little old after a while.

"Just someone more mature, is all," said Ryoga.

"Yeah, okay. Whatever, weirdo. Stay here." Ranma stepped out of the bathroom, leaving Ryoga alone. The naked boy slid off the sink and set an ear to the door. For several minutes, things were quiet. Then he could hear Ranma's footsteps returning from his room, and Akane speaking near the door.

"Is there someone in there?" her voice asked.

"Umm," Ranma's answered, sounding perfectly moronic.

Ryoga's blood went cold. His heart pounded in his ears. He was panicking. What if she caught him in here? This was so obvious. He started looking for an escape route. He had the sink; he could possibly change back again. But then who knew how long it'd be before someone else came along and spared a little piglet a cup of hot water?

"Yeah, uh. Ryoga came over for a shower. You know how filthy he is all the time," Ranma's voice answered her at last. "Like a little piggy..."

Ryoga twitched in anger, but he whispered a word of thanks to himself despite it.

"Thank you, Ranma. Thank you." Every time Ranma lied to her for him like this, he was doing so to keep his promise, and Ryoga was forever grateful to that miserable jackass if but for that fact alone.

"Oh," Akane responded in a surprisingly lighthearted manner. "Why didn't you tell me Ryoga was visiting? Hi, Ryoga! Sorry Ranma's such a jerk and didn't tell me you were here," she jibed.

"H-hi Akane," Ryoga stuttered. "That's... alright..."

"Ah-huh," Ranma mouthed, unamused. "Just open up and take these for now, pigboy."

Ryoga slid the door open just enough to slip the clothes through. Through the gap, he locked eyes with Ranma. "Don't call me that," he warned, his tone sharp and serious. The door slid shut. Ranma smirked.

By the time he dressed and emerged from the bathroom, Akane seemed to have gone elsewhere, but Ranma was waiting by the door.

"So you gonna hit the road again, or what?" he asked. "Not that I'm not totally thrilled with you sleeping over in Akane's room every night, you sick ****." He wasn't making much effort to keep his voice low.

"It isn't anything like you wanna make it sound, so screw you," Ryoga growled in defense. "But if you must know, no." Ranma quirked a curious, if not irritated brow, causing a smile form on Ryoga's lips. He nodded. "I thought I'd stick around for a while."

"Ryoga, that's great!" Akane interjected. Ryoga nearly jumped out of his skin. How long had she been listening?

"Wh-what?" Ryoga could hardly manage his stupefied response. Ranma snickered at the spectacle.

"That you're not going away again, I mean," Akane explained, sparing a glance at the amused Saotome. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you. So this means you can stay for a while, right?" She beamed at him with a warm smile. That look made both the boys stomachs churn, albeit for different reasons. "I set another place for you at the table."

"You know, if you keep feeding him, Akane, he's never gonna go away," Ranma mock-lectured. He made a point of pretending not to notice Ryoga glaring over in his general direction.

"Ranma," Akane addressed him coldly. "Stop it."

"No, that's okay, Akane. After all," Ryoga found words at last. He looked at Ranma and raised his nose. "He's not very mature, is he?"

Ryoga laughed. Akane laughed, too. Ranma's head went rolling; he couldn't form a thought. "What's that suppose to mean!" he blurted out in a loud voice, not knowing what else to do as Akane took Ryoga by the arm and pulled him off to the dining area. "I'm plenty more mature than - ugh!"

"Here," Akane sat down on the floor and looked up at Ryoga with a welcoming smile. She gestured to the plate beside her. "Make yourself at home."

Oh, he's more at home already than you may think, Akane, Ranma thought. His eyes marked his resentment, but he kept his mouth shut.

"...Thanks..." Ryoga sat down beside her.

"I hope P-chan comes out," Akane mused. "You've gotta meet him, Ryoga, he's the cutest little pig you ever saw! I just don't know where he's hiding right now..."

Ryoga laughed nervously. Time for a change of subject. "Y-yeah, well. Ah, Akane, I, uh," he babbled on, struggling for a thought as Akane stared back at him, wide-eyed and expectant. He breathed in relief when Ranma interrupted and drew both their attentions.

"So, Ryoga..." Ranma had seated himself across from them. "Where ya gonna be stayin', huh? That's what I'd really like to know." The stare he put on made Ryoga look away.

"I... don't know yet," Ryoga admitted. It was half-truthful. He knew P-chan was welcome in the Tendo house whenever he so pleased, but he also knew it was wrong to take advantage of Akane and her family's trust. "I'll find some place."

"You're welcome to stay here," Akane announced, and once again Ranma and Ryoga shared one reaction: pure incredulousness.

"Who says?" Ranma demanded to know.

"I say! He could have my room, and I'll sleep with Nabiki or Kasumi. It wouldn't be any trouble at all!"

"Nu-uh, no way," Ranma's disapproval fell on deaf ears. He wasn't sure why the thought of having human Ryoga sleeping in Akane's room by himself bothered him any more or less than P-chan sleeping in bed with Akane - the fact that he could move around, maybe. Mess with stuff. You know. Unmentionables. He seemed like that kind of guy.

"N-no, that's not necessary," Ryoga spoke up. "Like I said, I'll find some place. I'm pretty resourceful when I wanna be."

Akane's eyes softened, that warm smile returning. "I bet you are. It's amazing how you manage out there all by yourself. I worry about you sometimes."

Ryoga blushed such a deep red, it made Ranma want to punch him right in teeth. What the hell was he grinning at?

"You do?" Ryoga just had to clarify.

"Well, yeah! I mean, always disappearing like you do!" Akane said.

"Oh, heh, yeah. I get a little lost sometimes..." What a shy, sorry excuse.

Akane's warm smile was lost completely to expressionlessness as her eyes drifted over to Ranma. That solid staredown rendered his tongue useless. She was just daring him to say something stupid.

He kept right on keeping his thoughts to himself.

"Alright, you guys," Kasumi's voice rang from the kitchen. Nabiki, Mr. Tendo and Mr. Saotome came along soon enough, all bearing light hearted enough greetings for Ryoga. He may have been one of several people out on a mission to kill Ranma, but it was weird - he was so well mannered, nobody really had a problem with him. Even Ranma thought he was an alright guy most of the time. A weirdo pervert, but an alright guy. After all, in all seriousness, he'd cook that little pig in a stew himself long before he let him sleep in Akane's bed if he thought Ryoga was any real threat.

Nah. He was just a nuisance.

Ryoga had about the same table manners Ranma did, but Akane didn't seem to mind. She'd made Mr. Tendo move Ranma across the table for eating like that, but she just giggled - giggled! - while Ryoga chowed down like a... well, you know.

"I'm glad you like it," Kasumi commented on his eagerness. Of course he liked it, everyone liked Kasumi's cooking, and that swine probably hadn't eaten in days. As if he could find his way to the grocery store. "I would've made more if I knew you were coming. I didn't even notice you come in!"

"Oh, I, uh, sorry." Ryoga babbled. "This is really good. Thank you all for having me..."

"No problem at all, Ryoga!"

"Hey, don't mention it. Yer a good kid."

"Yeah, we're glad to have you."

Listen to that! All that praise for nothing. Hell, Ranma had pulled most of these goons out of trouble at some point or another, and they didn't even treat him this good. He huffed a breath. "Choir boy," he muttered and excused himself. Akane made a rude face behind his back, but he didn't see. Nabiki and Mr. Saotome had a laugh. Ryoga was in his own little world.

Ranma went to relax upstairs and before long, was out cold and fast.