The bright lights that surrounded him like comforting beams of hope blinded Ryoga’s eyes. From the plane, these lights looked small and insignificant. But as Ryan drove, Ryoga saw what those lights really were. Lamplights. Neon glowing store sign lights. Moving car lights on the dark road.
The lights of a city that never sleeps.
“Is this San Francisco?” He knew the answer of his own question.
“Nope, this is the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz,” Ryan said sarcastically. “Of course it is San Francisco!”
“It’s kinda like Tokyo at night,” Ryoga said. “I end up in the metropolitan area of Tokyo sometimes. The whole city suddenly comes to life.”
“It’s wonderful,” Ryan replied. “Kinda like Christmas everyday. A guy could get sick of it. Hold on, here’s our stop.”
The car suddenly turned onto a street lined with rainbow flags on every corner. This area was the brightest of all. Store names flashed quickly and logged into Ryoga’s memory. American Boy. Injenious. Fuzio. A Different Light Bookstore. Names and lights and people flashed before his eyes as if time had never touched them one bit.
Ryan looked at his radio. “Ooh! My favorite song!” He cranked up the volume. Ryoga looked anxiously out the window at the dancing lights, feeling as if they too were dancing to the music.
Someone is coming to take me away. I wish that I, that I could stay. Girl, you know I’ve got to go. And Lord I wish it wasn’t so.*
“Save tonight, and fight the break of dawn,” Ryan started to sing. “Come tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll be gone. Save tonight, and fight the break of dawn. Come tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll be gone.”
He stopped. “I can’t believe that song is an oldies song already. Where has the time gone?”
Ryoga wanted to know that too.
”Well, here we are. Mi casa es su casa.”
The car stopped in front of a light blue house. A rack of newly painted white stairs led to the front entrance with three doors on it. The building had three floors. Some of the paint off the windows panes were starting to peel off. At the top of the building, a lone rainbow flag drenched from the rain attempted to dry itself off in the wind. Ryan went up to the door on the right side and started fumbling for a key. Finally, he realized that he was wearing it around his neck. Ryoga looked around puzzled.
“Well come on in,”
Ryoga’s lost sense of direction kicked in. “The left door is still closed.”
Ryan then did something Ryoga never expected. He ran back down the stairs and grabbed Ryoga’s hand. “It’s the right one.”
Ryan’s hand felt like pure San Francisco ice but to Ryoga, it was as warm as a blazing fire.
“Follow me.” And Ryoga did.
Ryoga’s eyes widened.
Soft hues of light swam across Ryan’s cozy little loft. The walls were painted blood red. But they went perfectly with the shiny hardwood floor below. Two large white couches circled around a medium size coffee table littered with magazines. Their edges looking toward a fireplace where a blazing fire greeted guests. Ryoga had been to bigger homes. The Tendo dojo was actually a very large house for Japanese standards. But the dojo never felt like an actual home.
“Take a seat and I’ll whip something up,” Ryan said and he dashed to the kitchen. While Ryan dashed to the kitchen, Ryoga wandered around the living room. Every single object had a story about its owner. The shelf was filled with used Asian American Studies books and a complete collection of Shakespeare. A diploma over the bookshelf told Ryoga that Ryan was an English-Asian American Studies double major at the University of California, Davis. Magazines lay neatly on top of the large coffee table. A large photo book, “The Making of Disney’s Hercules” covered half the desk. The other half had a bunch of random magazines with interesting titles- OUT, Noodle, Instinct, The Advocate, and Disney Magazine. Above the mantle was a crucifix. Most Koreans are Christians. However, to the left and right of the mantle was less religious. On both sides of the mantle were full sized posters of two dashing gentlemen. One poster featured a youthful topless white man, looking toward the side. The other was of a dignified Asian police officer who reminded Ryoga of Ranma with shorter hair. Ryoga took a closer look. A beautiful white man
“Who’s the white guy?” Ryoga asked. “Is he your boyfriend?”
“I wish!” Ryan giggled from the kitchen. “That’s Hal Sparks. He plays Michael Navotny from Queer As Folk. Isn’t he dreamy? And the other guy is Daniel Wu, a bisexual actor from Hong Kong.”
Ryan broiled two steaks and whipped up mashed potatoes fo the both of them. “This is a man’s meal,” he told Ryoga.
They ate in Ryan’s dining room next to soft candlelight. The room carried a red wall motif as did the rest of Ryan’s house However, blue tones lightly seeped their way into the color spectrum. A table covered with blue cloth, blue flowers in a blue vase. Even their cups full of cocoa were blue.
Ryoga kept Ryan up all night long with stories of his adventures in Nerima. After meeting P-Chan for the first time, Ryan willingly accepted the myth of Jusenkyo, the legendary cursed Chinese springs.
Ryoga couldn’t stop talking no matter how hard he tried. The pictures of his memories in Japan kept flashing in his mind like flickering lights. He stared into Ryan’s intent eyes, peaked with interest and wonder.
“So then did the spring work and cure Ranma?” Ryan asked. He was referring to the Japanese Nannichuan.
“Well, as soon as he got in, we saw a floating sign that said ‘This spring is now closed. Please visit the original in China!’” Ryoga started to laugh. “Boy was Ranma upset! He groped Shampoo with intent of being beaten to death by Akane!”
Both boys laughed hysterically. The rain poured in the background, ricocheting off Ryan’s house like tiny chunks of rock. Ryoga looked out the window and saw the beads of water cling desperately.
“So let me get this straight,” Ryan began. “You are a pig every time you are doused with cold water. This amazon girl, Shampoo, becomes a cat. Her lover, Mousse becomes a duck. And the Ranma guy turns into a woman.”
“Correct,” Ryoga said. “And there are ten million other curses. Spring of Drowned Girl, Spring of Drowned Porcupine…”
“Spring of Drowned Gym Sock?”
“Probably,” Ryoga laughed. He was pretty intoxicated, swirling his wine glass nervously. His cheeks turned a perfectly bright red hue.
“You seem to talk a lot about Ranma,” Ryan asked inquisitively. “At first, it seems to me that you two are rivals but you can only say positive things about him, despite the fact that I can see him as a womanizer, a glutton, and an idiot.”
“HE AIN’T A WOMANIZER!” Ryoga shouted. “HE DOESN’T LIKE ANY OF HIS FIANCEES! ESPECIALLY THAT KAWAIIKUNE YURI* GIRL AKANE!”
“And how do you know?” Ryan asked.
“Because….” Ryoga got up and started to wobble. “I don’t need to answer this.”
“So, is Ranma gay?”
“No! I mean….I don’t know.” Beads of sweat poured down Ryoga’s face. “I just don’t know.”
Ryoga got up and touched the window. The lights of Castro started to slowly turn off. Random men stumbled out of bars like wobbling bowling pins. Ranma was half a world away. He touched the window, feeling the coldness of the glass on his smooth hands. The tingling sensation of pain, iciness, quick but brief.
He turned to Ryan. “He beat me up really good,” Ryoga replied softly. “That’s all.”
Ryan looked at his watch. “Well, would you look at the time! We’d better go to sleep shouldn’t we?”
Ryoga was lost again.
He had wandered into Ryan’s bathroom. For the fifth time. At least Ryan wasn’t in there to embarrass him. He stared for a moment at the shower inclosure. Steam still floating around like a ghastly mist. He could still see the silhouette of Hitomi’s lean and toned naked body still standing in the shower. Ryoga felt his hands moving under his shirt from the smooth ripples of his abs down to the unbuttoned area of his pants…
Stop. What am I doing? Ryoga started to back out of the room through the opposite door. Ryoga realized he was in a different room when he suddenly tripped and fell.
Onto a bed. It felt kinda hard.
Ryan looked down trying to hold back his laughter. The irresistably handsome Ryoga had haphazardly tripped and fell onto his bed.
Ryan put down his Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book and looked down at Ryoga. Ryan’s small black glasses made him look like a cute Asian nerd, his brown eyes enhanced by the lens.
Ryoga realized where on Ryan he was lying on. He quickly got up.
“Um….gomen nasai,” Ryoga said embarassingly.
“Well at least it wasn’t the bathroom this time,” Ryan grinned. “You still can’t find your room?”
“I guess so,” Ryoga mumbled. “And I’m getting kinda tired.”
He was too cute to resist. Ryan pulled the covers away of his blanket, revealing the soft white comforter and an extra pillow. “Come here. I don’t bite…hard.”
Ryoga smiled weakly. It could be fun. “I sleep in the buff ya know?”
“Okay,” Ryoga said. He started to undress. Off came the tight shirt. Ryan tried not to stare. “I kinda did something bad,” Ryoga said sheepishly. “I just wanted to try them on.”
He slipped down the tight capris and a glint of silver flickered from his thighs. He was wearing Ryan’s silver thong. The shiny material sparkled around Hibiki’s fragile, yet strong, hips in a V-shaped form. Both edges revealed Ryoga’s sinewy upper legs, dripping from sweat. The pouch which held his tender and secret parts drooped in a neat package. Ryoga turned around to sit on Ryan’s bed, revealing a well shaped buttocks straining to hold the shiny material. Ryoga smiled and covered himself with the blanket. “Good night,” he whispered to Ryan.
Ryan smiled. He started to grab his book again when he felt something.
Ryoga had turned over toward Ryan and was cuddled up against him. Hibiki’s strong, lean arms wrapped themselves around Ryan’s body. Ryoga’s head rested softly on Ryan’s firm pectorals.
Ryan started to breath a little heavier. His skin started to writhe with the warm sensation as Ryoga’s seminaked form wrapped around him like a blanket. The smooth, silky feeling of skin touching skin. He looked down and could hear Ryoga softly breathe into his chest, adding to the sudden sensations all over Ryan’s body. He could feel the closeness of the sensual Asian boy looking for someone to belong to. And as he felt Ryoga’s firm and smooth legs rise and wrap themselves around Ryan’s, Ryan felt something else rising in his pajama pants. Ryan’s nerves started to rage. He wanted to touch Ryoga. He wanted to grab Ryoga and straddle him on the bed. He wanted to hear Ryoga gasp his name, a smile glinting over his thin lips and his fangs shining in the light.
Then he looked down. Ryoga slept like a peaceful angel. Ryan started to stroke Ryoga’s hair for awhile. Then he turned off the light and fell asleep with Ryoga clinging his body tighter. His eyes too weary from the day to notice the protruding smile emerging from the fanged boy’s face.
*The song is called Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry. It was really popular in 1999. Good god, where has the time gone.
* Yuri, the opposite of yaoi, is girl on girl. There are three potential etymologies for the use of the term yuri to denote female/female relationships as depicted in manga and anime. The first is that so many characters in yuri manga were called "Yuri" or "Yuriko," that it became a kind of cliche for the genre itself. It is also likely that the name came about because one of the most common early pairings in hentai manga were Kei and Yuri from Dirty Pair. In addition, in 1971, lesbians in Japan were termed "the lily tribe" by the editor of Barazoku, a gay men's magazine - bara is Japanese for "rose" and yuri is Japanese for the lily. Hence gay men were barazoku, or "rose tribe" while lesbians were yurizoku, the lily tribe. These added up to a term with several plausible etymologies - but no one actual source. At Yuricon we believe that they *all* contributed to the origin of the concept. (Interestingly, Japanese lesbians do not use the term yuri to describe themselves. They tend to call themselves "bians," since "rezu" or "les" has a pejorative connotation. And sexual relationships between women are usually refered to as "onna doshi.")(as found on shoujoai.com)