Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Memoirs of being in the Saddle ❯ The first session ( Chapter 21 )
You've never seen a cripple hobble so fast.
I sneered at the elevator I nearly always took and went up the stairs two at a time, which as anyone with a prosthesis can tell you, isn't something you normally want to risk.
Today wasn't normal, it would never be normal.
I was home faster than I ever had been, so much so, that I had to stop and gasp and wheeze for a few minutes in the lot next to my house.
I hated the sensation, the weakness that should never have been there at all. It reminded me of too many things.
I entered the house a lot more composed.
"Been here long?" I asked casually as I rounded the corner to greet Ranma reading a manga on my couch.
"Not too long," she said, idly kicking her feet in the air as she read.
It took me a second to realize that she wasn't reading the manga at all. She was as nervous as I was. I'm not sure if she was excited, but perhaps, in time, that too.
"I've got a couple of Katsudon bowls," I hefted the plastic bag with the two containers. "We'll start after."
She nodded, and abandoned the manga to join me at the table.
Now normally Ranma ate quickly, growing up with Genma ensured that. But tonight, I was finished before she, and I wasn't a fast eater.
"You okay?" I asked. "We can postpone until later if you want."
"Nah, it's just..." she trailed off, uncertain what to say. "I don't know... I feel..."
"Nervous?" I probed gently.
"Excited." She answered quietly.
She flushed slightly, and tried to explain. "You've done so much for me, and I don't mean the money, I mean the talks and the helping me understand things about myself." She swept her arm around my place. "You've let me stay here, you've fed me, you've listened to me bitching about Nabiki..." We both smiled at that. "And so the thought of doing something for you, it feels...nice?
She looked at me carefully. "That's what friends do right?"
"I'll be honest," and I really was, "I don't think most friends would go this far."
"Then we aren't most friends." She countered with a cheeky grin.
I nodded. That was true. You are my friend, and I... have so many plans for you.
I turned and went into my room to change into my usual Jeans and long sleeve shirt.
And get the saddle.
It was on my nightstand where I left it, and the tape on my doorframe had been untouched, as was the one on my office door.
I opened the box and looked at the little red velvet choker.
Amazing isn't it? Ranma could lift boulders that weighed tons, had managed to swim with Ryoga standing on her holding half an ice rink, a chain he couldn't break out of could probably be used to tow a jumbo jet across a runway.
And yet this little bit of cloth would bind him. By binding her.
Smiling, I left the room.
She saw the box before she actually saw me.
"Ranma," I asked. "Are you ready?"
She nodded, not trusting her voice.
I stepped forward, opened the box, and presented it to her.
In seconds it was done.
"Not too tight is it?" I asked. She moved her head up and down, rotated it clockwise, then thrust her chin out.
"I don't think so." Her hands touched the red cloth. "It's pretty soft."
The best things are.
I stepped back, looked her squarely in the eye, and jumped into the saddle.
"Girl." She jerked back, startled slightly at shift in tone of my voice. It wasn't much, but I had practiced in front of a mirror to make sure that I did look and sound a little different, a touch harder.
I can only imagine what was going through her mind right now.
"Are you ready Girl?" I asked.
When she didn't respond I took a step closer, using my height over her as another facet of command.
I looked down on her, she seemed so small now. "Well?"
"Y-yes." She stammered, clearly overwhelmed with what she was feeling.
"Good." I pointed at her chair in the kitchen. "Sit. And I'll explain how this goes."
When you first get on the back of a wild horse, it panics. This is natural.
The saddle is a strange weight even though it can bear so much.
The world feels smaller, constrained.
Freedom has been lost.
Thus it panics.
It retreats to what it always has done. It flees, it bucks, it leaps.
The rider has to remain in the saddle, be the source of the weight, of all the new feelings the horse is feeling, and most importantly, not fall off.
The horse has to realize that what it feels is how things are, and accept it.
Then you can really ride.
"First off, tonight will be a training run, to see if either of us spots any problems with this." I tried to use martial arts terms to ease this along, and didn't pour us anything alcoholic or sugary, just water.
She nodded, feeling the velvet around her neck as she did. Her hand twitched slightly, but she stopped herself from touching it.
"This is going to be new for both of us, moreso for you than me." I pointed at her neck. "You've never done this before, and I've never had a martial artist offer to do this with me."
That implied a lot, most of it untrue. I'll leave the guesswork of which parts to you. The implication that I had done this before did make her relax slightly, as it was intended to.
"At the end of every time we do this, assuming you don't pull that off early, I'll ask you if this is as far as you're willing to go. If it is, we'll try a different angle, explore a different aspect. If not, we'll go a littler further each time until you find it."
She nodded again, this time her hand didn't go for her neck.
"This is about you exploring your limits as much as it is you letting me see you." I pointed out sternly. "Thanks to that moment in the shower, you've come across a facet of yourself that you didn't even know existed. And undoubtedly there are more."
Again I made sure to imply with my words that it was Ranma that would be escalating, not me. And she certainly knew those facets existed, that's why it terrified her, why she checked her reflection so often.
"Doesn't sound like you're getting all that much outta this." She grumped slightly, clearly trying to push this back onto me. "Whaddya paying me for in all this?"
"Why, the pleasure of your company, Girl." I said, implying more than Ranma understood. "You said it yourself, I get to see a pretty girl wearing and doing pretty girly things."
Ranma blushed slightly at my words, then swung back verbally. "Y'get that already, any day I come by."
Cheeky bugger. Thankfully I had something to swing back with.
"All right, how about this? If by the end of the session you don't feel you've earned it, I'll get my camera. Take a few photos to get you used to the concept and difference between 'Seeing' and 'Watching'. How's that?"
With time I figured I could scrape away the association of cameras to Nabiki.
Of invasion to offering.
Slowly make her like it.
As I predicted, the flush on her cheeks faded along with her smile at the thought of doing anything that Nabiki did to her.
Best I could get.
"All right Girl," I kept my commanding tone going. "Head to the bathroom and put on what I put in the box, or, come out as Ranma and without the red on your neck."
She nodded and went to change.
With luck, she'll change right in front of the mirror for me.
"How do I look?"
I got up, strode over and looked at her openly, deliberately, from head to toe. Something I never did.
She smiled slightly as I opened my mouth, no doubt to compliment her.
It took her a second to process that.
"What?!? Why?" She really could hit a high note.
"Think you can fool the cameraman's eye? Really?" I took a step forward. "If I go to the bathroom right now, will I see an empty box? You have everything in there on, Hmm?"
She looked sheepish."N-No."
"Ill give you one more chance to do this," My voice was firm."Now head back and wear everything in that box, or come out as Ranma. "
She fled back to the bathroom quickly. As she did I let my breath out in a slow sigh.
This was hard.
Too harsh, and I might sour her to all this, too nice, and she might balk at later items I introduce.
She had to feel bad about not doing what I said, and few things would be as vital as this first time.
But honestly, did she think I wouldn't be able to tell she wasn't wearing the bra her mother got her? Or the matching silk panties I'd carefully selected to match it?
Boxers and dresses seldom mix. The lines show.
I put the underwear in to see exactly how it would change her figure, her posture, and her mood.
I had to learn as much and as fast as I could.
I was in the saddle after all. I had to lead.
It took longer this time, I'd be reviewing the tape afterwards to see why.
Finally she emerged, and while I couldn't see the bra or panties, I knew she was wearing them.
Her bearing was completely changed.
I nodded. "Better." sweeping my gaze at her from toes to tits, those now covered by bra and dress, I added. "I'll take you at your word that you have everything on."
"I am..." her voice trailed off, before quietly asking what was clearly bothering her. "But I don't understand why it's important."
"Don't you?" I asked calmly. "You are walking different, you are feeling different, and you will act different because of that. All of that is wrapping around you, isn't it?"
Trapping you, putting you at my mercy.
She shivered, arms coming up to clutch her shoulders. "Yes."
"That feeling Girl, is what will keep Ranma safe."
And slowly shift your perceptions.
Seeing the confusion on her face, I gestured towards the kitchen table. "Come, sit."
She even sat differently now.
"Thanks to those two boys," I didn't need to use their names and more importantly I had to slowly remove them from her life. "Ranma had been hurt, in ways he didn't even know he could be hurt. I saw it in how he shied away from everyone, even me that day."
She shivered again, remembering those moments.
"Now, I helped Ranma heal from that, but it or something similar to it could happen again with this, with what he wanted to give me; Seeing, Watching. Lines might be crossed by mistake."
I could tell she was seriously reconsidering this. I had to nip that in the bud.
"That's why right now you aren't Ranma, you are Girl."
Her lips almost mouthed the protective chant 'I'm still me' when my words sunk in. "I'm... not Ranma?"
"Right now, Ranma is wrapped up in you Girl, tucked away. Right now, Ranma is safe. Nothing that happens to you will affect him, and my friendship with him," I kept emphasizing Ranma and him as a separate thing from the scared small redhead in front of me. "...is protected. By you."
Lies, all of it.
Ranma wasn't gone, wasn't safe, wasn't protected. All those times he and she studied the mirror, looking for that thing that wasn't Ranma, terrified of the brief glimpses of it, dreading the moment it took over and snatched something away, forever.
And here I was, wrapping her up in it, using it to slowly stain her, fill her with appetites, give her justifications, excuses.
Girl was a mould, and Ranma would slowly take its shape.
We had already eaten, and had two hours or so left this night. Thus, a movie. I let her pick.
She chose a comedy. I popped a couple bags of popcorn in the microwave, got a bottle of chilled soda and some glasses. We sat with the bowl between us, a flimsy excuse of a barrier. A symbol, nothing more.
We watched the movie, though I'd seen it already, and I chuckled along at the right times. Mostly, I leaned back on the couch and I studied Ranma on her side from the corner of my eye.
She couldn't be tense forever. Slowly she was relaxing, forgetting, accepting.
The dork in the movie fell into the cart of bananas with a crash. She burst out laughing, then cut off almost as fast. My careful glance over saw her looking down at her chest.
Her breasts, the bra, the dress, things rubbing together with her laughter.
I kept my gaze on the screen as she glanced at me, dress moving with her shifting gaze.
She was tense, aware of everything again. Then came the pie scene.
More laughter, more flinches, though the latter were slowly decreasing.
Midway through, she stopped flinching altogether. Just enjoying the show, regardless of what she wore.
Excellent progress, but one more nudge tonight. When she reached for the popcorn, so did I, coincidentally of course.
Our hands touched.
Her gaze snapped to mine, startled at the physical contact, but she was so worn down from the all the tensing and relaxing that she had no protest.
"Sorry." I pulled my hand back, gesturing to the popcorn, "You first."
"Thanks." she mumbled, quickly grabbing a handful.
We accidentally touched again, near the end, only this time, she let me get the handful, before finishing off the popcorn.
Every little bit made it easier.
And then the movie was over.
Ranma had sat and watched a movie with me, and our hands had touched a couple times.
In other words, a date, by the standards of the shy Japanese. And she knew it too.
I think she was so preoccupied with that fact that she forgot all about the dress.
"And so, how was the training run?" I asked her as we stood and stretched, her much more entertainingly than me. Another benefit of doing this was that I didn't have to be discrete in looking at her.
"It wasn't so bad." She was trying to brush her reactions off. "You sure you're getting your money's worth? I mean, there wasn't a whole lot of Seeing or Watching, or whatever."
"There was enough." I assured her, before broaching the topic she was desperate to avoid. "Now do you understand, why you had to wear everything in the box? How it changed things?"
And there it was, out in the open.
She hesitated, glancing down, feeling the bra, the panties, the silk clinging to her form under the dress, how it was the personification of all her fears. Once she'd worn similar in a photo shoot to defeat Happosai, who would have left him forever weak as a baby. That one time lead to another, and another, into this moment. Only now it wasn't dire, end of the world stuff, only for a debt I didn't mind letting sit there.
In other words, for no reason at all than she wanted to do something for me.
"I think so." She didn't, but didn't want to admit it. "So, is this how it's going to be?"
"For the first little while, yes." I wasn't exactly commanding, but I wasn't asking for her suggestion. "Considering how much those things," 'those' being the undergarments. "Affected you so, I think we'll keep the dress the same for the next little while and just change those. See how those affect you."
She looked worried, and so once again I mistakenly assuaged the wrong fears.
"Don't you worry, it would be a long time, if ever, before you actually showed me you in them." The look on her face as that little nightmare was added made it hard not to smirk. But I managed, barely. "It's more to show you how all the little things you don't see add up to the complete package."
"Yeah." The thought was echoing in her mind now.
I nodded, ignoring her plight. "All right, now you head off and go change, I want to talk to Ranma before I end this tonight."
I don't think she noticed that I was once again talking about Ranma as if he and she was a completely different entity. It was starting to work.
"Sure thing..." She trailed off, not stepping to leave. "Can we do one thing first?"
"What's that?" I wasn't sure what she wanted, what more could we do?
The conditions were terrible, the lighting poor, and the only film I had on hand was meant for long distance photography, blackmail, and destroying a certain teen's family.
It didn't matter to Ranma.
Two photos were taken. And while it surprised me at the time, in retrospect it only made sense. If sensitive things were going to be poked at, band-aids pulled off of wounds, then it was best to do as many as you could in one session. Undergarments, touching, dating, and now photos.
Two photos, one with her standing calmly, arms by her sides, gaze level, unsmiling. Almost like a wanted photo if she was holding up the black sign.
The second one, that was completely different. All restraint was gone. She smiled, she posed with her arms behind her head, thrusting her chest out. Even her eyes sparkled.
Two photos, two extremes.
Two limits perhaps?
I assured her that I'd have the photos done soon. This was before digital photography, but I also had a small darkroom from a converted closet that had once been I think for firewood storage for a second small wood burning stove in the old days.
She went into the bathroom and took longer than she had getting dressed up, both times, combined. No doubt looking at herself, I'd check the tapes later.
Finally Ranma came out, Red shirt and black pants, neck bare, holding the box that held the collar.
Still a girl.
With what she was feeling right now, I don't think she'd dare be a man for it.
"So," My voice was less harsh now, back to what was normal for me. "Now you know what it's like. Being Seen."
She nodded, not speaking.
"Movie stars, idols, singers, models, that's what they do." The list didn't have pornstars, but they were also in that list. "In front of a camera, on a stage, with an audience."
She nodded again.
"It takes a toll on you, being what someone else wants, leaving comfortable boundaries behind in order to fufill a role." I went on, speaking as though it was just television I was talking about. "You've seen in tabloids and heard rumors about the wild things celebriteis do, well, that's how they cope because what they do is stressful."
Pornstars actually had it a bit easier, I'm not sure why. Maybe because of all the sex they were having?
She nodded again, thinking about what she had experienced.
"So you see," I started the final bit of today's trap. "I won't mind if you quit. After all, it's a lot more than you thought it would be."
Waving the surrender option at Ranma was practically like waving a red cape at a bull. Ranma Saotome doesn't quit. It's been practically branded on the inside of his eyelids.
"No way!" It was practically reflex. "I still owe you, and I ain't stopping until we're square."
"I suspected you weren't going to stop." I shrugged, sighing. "We'll take it slow, small increments, and we'll feel out how far you can go."
Box back in my hands, I lead her to the door and ended the night.
"I have work tomorrow, so Monday, maybe for an hour?"
And our first night drew to a close.