Love's Rebirth
By Bob Lobster
ranikkoku@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters henceforth. I'm just
borrowing them for a while. I promise to return them in more or less
the same condition.

Song: Pain Is So Close To Pleasure
Artist: Queen
Release Date: 1986

Oooh oooh pain is so close to pleasure oh yeah
Sunshine and rainy weather go hand in hand together all your life
Oooh oooh pain is so close to pleasure everybody knows
One day we love each other then we're fighting one another all the
time
When I was young and just getting started
And people talked to me they sounded broken hearted
Then I grew up and got my imagination
And all I wanted was to start a new relation
So in love but love had a bad reaction
I was looking for some good old satisfaction
But pain is all I got when all I needed was some love and affection
Oooh oooh pain is so close to pleasure yeah yeah
Sunshine and rainy weather go hand in hand together all your life
Pain and pleasure
Oooh oooh pain and pleasure
When your plans go wrong and you turn out the light
But inside of your mind you have to put up a fight
Where are the answers that we're all searching for
There's nothing in this world to be sure of anymore
Some days you're feeling good some days you're feeling bad
But if you're feeling happy someone else is always sad
Let the sweetness of love wipe the tears from your face
For better for worse so let's make the best of the rest of our years
Oooh oooh pain is so close to pleasure I told you so
Sunshine and rainy weather go hand in hand together all your life
Pain and pleasure
Oooh oooh pain is so close to pleasure yeah yeah
Sunshine and rainy weather go hand in hand together all your life
All your life
Pain - pleasure ....

AN: Don't mind the theme song, it really has nothing to do with the
story.^_^

Chapter 1: Death

*He's Dead.*

This thought repeated itself through the young man's head as he walked
down the quiet street, eyes lowered to watch his slightly shuffling
feet. He stopped for a moment in order to orient himself on the
unfamiliar street and find the direction in which he should be going.
Looking up the street slightly, he noticed a sign and compared the
street name on the sign to the one on the small, crumpled piece of
paper in his hand. Finding the two to be the same, he lowered his head
once more and continued to trudge along the street towards his
destination, his mind once more following an all too familiar path.

*I can't believe he's dead.*

He moved his eyes upward to view the vast sky above him. Cloudless and
beautiful the sky would have, at one point, filled him with wonder
like no other sight, not today however. Today, the cloudless sky
seemed to mock him by being in such complete contrast to the mood he
was in. It was as if the heavens were celebrating his father's
passing, rather than morning it as should be happening. Of course,
knowing his father's penchant for making enemies, it wouldn't surprise
him in the least if he had gotten some heavenly figures upset at him
and celebrating was exactly what they were doing. Usually he
understood the sky like no one else, save perhaps his father, but
today he felt that that self-same sky had betrayed him by being so
cheery when he was so down. Sending a slightly hurt glare towards the
bright, laughing sky he quickly returned his eyes to the ground once
more and trudged along on his less than merry way, contenting himself
with counting the cracks in sidewalk.

He had just reached his hundred and twenty-third crack when he heard
somebody curse rather loudly. Looking up from the ever-absorbing
ground he saw a girl, about his own age, with long blond hair had just
fallen into the middle of the street. It was she who had sworn(using
language he was unaware that women were privy to) and she was now in
the process of pushing herself to her knees. She was also,
unfortunately, seemingly oblivious to the danger to her person
presented in the form of a rather expensive looking sports car
speeding toward her. Sighing to himself at the interruption to his
personal, internal exploration and self pity session, he quickly speed
his way towards the girl, shouting a quick warning and hoping that it
got her moving, as he had the horrible suspicion that he wasn't going
to make it on time to help her. Unfortunately, while his shout did
succeed in gaining her attention, it seemed to focus it on him rather
than the car, as she stared at his quickly approaching form open
mouthed and completely ignored her impending death.

Putting on a burst of extra speed, he flew towards the rather
unobservant damsel in distress and leaped at her, putting all his
strength into his legs as a last second gamble to reach her in time.
His gamble seemed to pay off as he managed to reach her and shove her
out of the way of the now rapidly braking vehicle. Unfortunately his
leap only had enough force to do that, and the push against her bled
the last of his momentum away, leaving him staring down the rather
angry looking bumper of what he could now read to be a corvette of
some sort. He had just enough time to realize just how much this was
going to hurt and curse the heavens before he felt his head entering
into a rather painful meeting with the cars bumper, sending him flying
backwards into another rather painful meeting, this time with a nearby
fire hydrant. Just before he blacked out he heard a girl scream, the
squeal of tires and the sound of a bone cracking, a bone he had the
distinct feeling was intimately connected to him, and then morpheus
claimed him, and he slipped into unconsciousness.

****************************************************************

*He's dead.*

That thought repeated itself through the young woman's head as she sat
brooding in her kitchen. She was engaged in what should be her
favorite pastime, devouring large quantities of ice cream, however
today it just didn't seem as right as it once did. Rather than make
her feel better as it was usually wont to do, it only seemed to make
her feel more depressed and make her resent the ice cream slightly, as
if it shouldn't be sweet on a day like today. Nothing should taste so
sweet when she was feeling this bad, it felt too much like the ice
cream was celebrating the passing of her loved one, though she knew
that it was innocent of any such crimes. Still, she couldn't help but
feel slightly betrayed by something that had been a friend to her for
so many years. Pushing the bowl containing the traitorous snack away
from her she had a thought that perhaps it was all the tears that were
falling into her ice cream that ruined the normal effect. It was
rather difficult to enjoy her ice cream, after all, when it was
getting heavily salted by her own unrelenting tear ducts. They had
been leaking nonstop since it had happened, two days before, and every
time she thought that they would stop, that she could finally dry her
face and it would stay dry, she would think about him and they would
start up again.

All in all, it was putting her in a rather unpleasant frame of mind,
which was worrying her friends and family alike, her family more so
since they really had no idea what was wrong with her. That was
something she meant to deal with soon, as she really needed to feel
their comfort. Her friends did their best, but really what she needed
was he daddy. Actually what she really needed was for her love not to
be dead, but since that was looking rather unlikely at the moment, her
daddy would have to do. Luckily he was a very understanding man,
overprotective at times, yes, prone to doing stupid things, especially
when boys were involved, sure, but he was still understanding. The
last thing in the world he ever wanted to see was his baby girl crying
and that was what caused him to do all those stupid overprotective
things, but it also made him a very caring parent, ready to do
anything to help his little girl. It also made him feel rather upset
himself when he saw her acting like she had been the last few days.

Seeing her now, completely ignoring the ice cream he had gotten for
her in favour of putting her head in her hands and crying, he quickly
got up and rounded the table to stand next to her, putting his arms
around her shoulders and pulling her into a gentle, fatherly hug. With
this new, much more comfortable and comforting place to rest her head,
she rapidly switched to sobbing in her daddy's shirt as he valiantly
ignored the large wet spot that was forming on his chest. He didn't
know what was going on, this was true, but by god he was going to do
everything within his power to see his daughter through this hard
time.

After a indeterminable amount of time spent simply holding her and
murmuring comforting words, the torrential rain that was her sobbing
finally eased up into a light drizzle before, for the first time in
two days, drying up completely. She removed her face from his shirt,
mumbling a quick apology for messing it up, to which he just smiled
and waved it off, before she sat back and looked up into the loving,
concerned face of her father. Right then and there she decided that it
was time to tell him the truth, tell him what was really going on, all
the adventures, the good times and the bad, her history and her
future, and especially the final, tragic lose of her love. Only then
could he understand what she was going through and after all he had
done over the last couple days to bring her out of her gloom, he
deserved to understand. Looking him square in the eyes, she began a
conversation that would change her relationship with her family
forever.

"Daddy? There's something I need to tell you..."

****************************************************************

*He's dead.*

That thought repeated itself through the young woman's head as she
glazed down at the picture held tightly in her left hand. It was a
small picture, the kind one would keep in their wallet, and it was
bent in several places, but it was the only picture she ever got of
him, so it would have to do. The picture in question was of a young
man, probably no more than fourteen or fifteen, with long black hair
pulled back in a loose pony tail, and expressive blue eyes that could
melt a girl at the sight of them. It was a picture of the best friend
she ever had. It was also a picture of the only man she had ever
loved, though she would have never told him that, and now she would
never get the chance. She didn't cry over his death though, hers was
an old pain, one she had carried with her for three years. Three years
to this day, actually, which was the real reason that the picture was
out in the first place. Sure she brought it out from time to time to
gaze at it and remember the good times they had together, and try to
forget about the tragic end of their friendship, but it was this day
every year that she brought the picture out specifically to remember
her love for him and to morn his loss.

She raised her right hand, brushing back her short blond hair, before
lowering to pick up the glass that sat in front of her. Lifting it
before her eyes she stared into the soft, amber liquid smiling as her
mind went back to the time she had spent with him. They had been quick
friends, both being interested in martial arts and other sports, and
had grown to be, over the course of the months that followed, the best
of friends. She wasn't quite sure when, during the time they were
together, her feelings for him had changed, but one morning as she
got up and started getting ready for school, her mind on him as usual,
she realized that she had fallen in love with him. At first she
couldn't believe it. She had never had feelings for a guy before, her
affections always swinging quite firmly towards her own fair gender,
but she quickly came to accept her love for him, and to even spend
hours dreaming of the day she could tell him how she felt. Her dreams
were so perfect, she would blushingly tell him that she loved him, and
he would stand stunned for a moment before smiling roguishly(something
she had never seen him do, but was sure he knew how) and sweeping her
up into a deep kiss and then proclaiming his everlasting love for her.
At that point her dreams would take a slightly more erotic nature and
she would be forced to stammer an excuse to whoever happened to be
there to notice her deep blush.

Those dreams died a rather premature death, however as his own father
came to her baring the horrible news. He had seemed so broken up when
she answered the door that she knew instantly that whatever he had to
say, she didn't want to hear. When he asked her to gather up the rest
of her family, she rushed off to do so, more worried than she had ever
been in her entire life. However all the worry, the speculations
running through her head about what may have happened to bring the man
to her door, none of it prepared her for the news that he gave her
when she was seated before him. His son was dead. The one man she
loved more than anything else in the world was gone. She barely heard
anything after that, she recalled later that he had died in some sort
of training accident and his father was bringing him home to be
buried. He didn't specify where home was, exactly, only that it was
far enough that she would be unable to attend the funeral. This was
all mostly lost on her however as her eyes flooded with tears and her
hearing and vision both tunneled, her body going numb from attempting
to process what she'd been told. She remembered screaming at him that
it was a lie, once she was able to think at all again, begging him to
take back what he said and, when he wouldn't, running crying up to her
room where she locked the door and refused to let anyone in. She
didn't leave that room for two days. All she kept thinking was that it
was wrong, that it wasn't supposed to happen like that. She was
supposed to blushingly tell him how she felt. He was supposed to kiss
her and pledge his love to her. He was supposed to grin roguishly,
damn it! He wasn't supposed to be gone, without her even having a
chance to even say goodbye.

Life, however, rarely happens like a dream, and her life at that
point seemed straight out of a nightmare. It was a long time before
she could think about him without breaking down and crying. This day,
and only this day, though, she would let her emotions out and mourn
him properly.

Out of the courner of her eye, she spotted a woman standing near by.
She was fairly tall, very beautiful and had the most exotic blue-green
hair she'd ever seen, a hue she knew from personal experience was her
natural colour no matter how unusual it seemed. This was the woman she
was supposed to be with. This was the woman that destiny said that she
would love forever and beyond, above all others. Yet, on this day, she
couldn't find it in her heart to even face her because she knew that,
no matter how much she cared for the lady standing near her, she would
always hold him nearer and dearer to her heart. In some ways it felt
like she was betraying this woman that has been her lover for more
than one lifetime, yet she couldn't stop the way she felt any more
than she could stop the earth from spinning, or the sun from burning.
So she pretended not to notice her standing there and continued to
gaze at the picture in her hand. She then raised her glass in a sort
of salute.

"Ranma, wherever you are, I hope you're well. This one's for you,
love." Then she threw the drink back, downing the whole thing in one
go before pouring herself another and sitting back, intent to sip her
drink while she relived the past.

****************************************************************

When he regained consciousness, the first thing that ran through his
head was that he was lying on a bed. Actually, the first thing that
ran through his head was a shot of severe pain, but he ignored that
for the more startling discovery. To most people, waking up on a bed
is the most natural thing in the world, not something that would
surprise someone so. He, however, could count the number of times he
had slept on a bed in the last ten years on both hands and still have
digits left over, so it came as something of a startlement to find
himself on one. The next thing that ran through his mind was that it
hurt to breath. Although that too was somewhat mistaken, as he
actually hurt in so many places that he couldn't be sure of them all.
The most prominent ones however, were his head and his breathing, so
he contented himself to thinking about those. Breathing deeply, he
attempted to analyze the pain as he had done so many times in the past
only to find his thinking rather sluggish, making any kind of analysis
difficult. He was able to determine, however, that he had hurt his
ribs somehow, but whether they were bruised or cracked he couldn't
tell for sure. Thinking hurt. That led a detached section of his mind
to point out that he probably had a concussion, though the forefront
of his mind was having trouble recalling where he would have gotten
such an injury. It was then that an image of a car bumper flying at
him at high speed popped into his mind and he remembered how he was
injured.

Deciding now was a good time to find out why he was on a bed he
cracked his eyes open a bit and immediately regretted it. The light,
though dim, pounded into his head like a hundred midgets wielding
jackhammers and he groaned softly before shutting his eyes once more
in an attempt to alleviate the pain. It worked somewhat as the pain
died down to a mere one or two hammer-wielding midgets and he slowly
attempted to reintroduce his eyes to the world of light. When he was
finally able to focus the painful blur he saw into a less painful
blur, he noticed that there was a large blur directly over him, one
that seemed to be talking to him. Focusing further, the blur resolved
itself into the shape of a girl, maybe a year younger than him, with
long blond hair and worried expression on her face. Realizing that she
had been talking to him and in his somewhat addled state of mind he
had completely missed what she had said, he used all the elegance at
his present disposal to ask her to repeat herself.

"Wha'dosei?" He then blinked to himself as that hadn't sounded quite
the way he had intended. She seemed to understand him though, as she
leaned a little closer and repeated what she had said, a little slower
this time to make sure he understood.

"I asked how you feel." She stated and his mind, finally clearing
enough to make sense of things, was able to process it this time and
even come up with an answer.

"I feel...like I was hit...by a truck." He slurred out happy that his
sentence, though a little broken, sounded more like what he had
intended then the last he had tried. She smiled a bit, sort of a half
amused, half saddened smile, and then reached over to grab a washcloth
from beside him before answering.

"It was a sports car actually." She said somewhat meekly, wiping the
sweat off of his brow with the washcloth. She then rinsed the cloth
out and placed it on his head, before sitting back and continuing in a
quiet voice. "And you saved my life. Thank you."

"S'no probl'm." He managed before his head reminded him that it didn't
like his eyes being open for an extended period of time, and he shut
them relieving some of the pressure. He then opened them again and
looked around a bit, as much as he could without moving his head. Not
recognizing anything in the room he was presently residing in, which
wasn't much of a surprise since he was having trouble remembering his
own name at the moment, he decided on the next logical question.
"Where am I?"

He smiled a bit at having managed to say an entire sentence correctly
and then looked up at the girl to hear what she answered him. She was
blushing slightly, but she still answered him, though the answer did
little to set him at ease. "You're in my room....on my bed."

She seemed to blush a bit more, and he felt a moment of panic, which
he couldn't quite figure out the reason for. He knew there was a
reason he shouldn't be on some strange girl's bed, but for the life of
him, he couldn't figure out what it was. Instead, he just looked up
at her again and asked the next, and in his mind more pressing,
question. "How....how did I get here? What happened?"

She smiled at him again and he found himself admiring her beauty. Then
her smile turned a bit sad and she began explaining his current
situation.

"After you saved me from the car," She began, an embarrassed look on
her face at the thought of how she'd almost been hurt. "someone called
an ambulance. The paramedics checked you out, but there wasn't much
wrong with you, so they said that as long as you stayed in bed a few
days, you should be okay. They said that you have a few bruised ribs
and a concussion, but that you'd be fine. I wanted to thank you for
helping me, so I told them that you were a friend of mine and they
helped bring you here."

He thought about that for a moment and figured that they wouldn't
bring him to the hospital for something so minor as a few bruised ribs
and a minor concussion. Though the fact that they left him with her
was somewhat surprising to him as he would have thought that
professionals would be more careful to make sure he knew the girl at
all. Which he realized he didn't, not even her name. He was about to
voice that thought when she beat him to it.

"We, my father and I, were gonna try and call your family or
something, but I don't know your name, and we couldn't find any ID on
you at all." She looked at him questioningly then, as if she found it
odd that he wouldn't carry his identification in his pocket at all
times. For someone like him, though, it just wasn't practical. When a
fight could break out at any moment it was better if everything was in
his backpack, so he could just drop it all at once, leaving him
completely unencumbered. That reminded him, he didn't know where his
backpack was. Deciding on one question at a time, he was about to tell
him who he was when she once again interrupted his train of thought,
something easy to do traveling as slowly as it presently was. "Do you
have anyone we should call? Where were you headed when it happened? We
brought your backpack here, but I didn't think it would be right to go
through it before you woke up, so we didn't."

At least that solves the problem of where his backpack was, now if he
could just gather his thoughts enough to answer him before she asked
anything else. Finally he managed to pull himself somewhat together
and began to answer her questions. "I was trying....to find my
mother's house. Haven't seen her in years. Had her address
on....paper, I was carrying."

"You weren't carrying anything when I got to you, so you probably
dropped it. Do you remember where she lives?" Her face had a somewhat
confused expression on it now, as if she was trying to figure out how
someone could not know where their mother lived, but she realized it
must have been a very long time since the last time he saw her.

"It's...somewhere in my pack. I'll find it." With that he began to sit
up, but quickly his head began to swim badly and he was forced to lay
back down, groaning and holding in a mouthful of vomit as his stomach
rebelled. Deciding that he would find his mother's address later, he
instead asked the one question that had been on his mind since he woke
up. "Who are you?"

The girl flushed embarrassedly once more realizing that she had never
ever told him her name before straightening out and giving him her
best smile, the one that drove all the boys wild. "I'm sorry, I never
introduced myself. My name's Minako, Minako Aino. You can just call me
Minako though. What's your name?"

He couldn't help returning her smile and thinking to himself, in a
detached sort of way, that the boys must go wild for a smile like
that. "I'm Ranma Saotome. It's nice to meet you, Minako."

"Well it's nice to meet you too Ranma. You should get some more rest
though. Do you feel like eating anything first?" Minako asked, smiling
at him once more. The smile faded a bit, however, at seeing the
grimace, which appeared on his face at the thought of food, and the
stomach turning effect such a thought had on him. Instead he just
asked for a bit of water, and was rewarded with a glass full, which he
drained quite quickly. Minako then smilingly ordered him to get some
more sleep before getting up and crossing to the door. She gave him
one more fond look before exiting the room, closing the door softly
behind herself. Ranma reflected on how nice she seemed and how
beautiful her smile was, comparing it to that of someone he once
knew, before sleep claimed him once more.

****************************************************************

Her father had been surprisingly understanding about the whole matter.
She had expected him to rant about her safety, or cry about her being
in danger, or chew her out about her choice of clothing. Although to
be fair, he did complain about her miniskirt, but once she explained
that she had no choice about what she wore, he calmed down somewhat
and allowed her to continue. All in all, he mostly just listened,
asking for clarification from time to time, providing some comfort
when it looked like she needed it, and a shoulder to once more cry
upon when she told him about Mamoru's death at the hands of an unknown
enemy. After she had finished telling him the entire story, and had
pulled herself together once more, she waited for his response. Her
father only sat there for a time though, as if in deep thought. When
he had finally spoken again, he told her that it would probably be
best if they kept this from her mother for the time being, something
that she agreed with completely, the less people who knew the better.
Her friends were probably going to be angry enough that she had told
her father, but right then she hadn't cared, she just needed her
father's comfort. He then told her that he wasn't happy that she'd
been keeping it from him, but that he understood why and forgave her
for it.

After that her father and she had talked for a while longer about
several things. They discussed Mamoru's funeral, something he had
agreed to help set up since Mamoru had no living relatives, and the
possibility of a will, something that they should look into at some
point. They also talked about what she was planning to do now, whether
she would continue as Sailor Moon after a tragedy like this occurred,
but she adamantly refused to give up her night life, stating that
Mamoru had died to protect her and she wouldn't throw that in his face
by hiding under her sheets for the rest of her life. At that point her
father had stated how proud he was of her, how much she had matured,
and once more she broke down in tears.

That had all been several days ago, and now she stood before her
mirror, clad in a formal black dress, doing up her hair in it's usual
twin pony-tail style. Her hand stopped, however, as she stared at her
face in the portal before her. Deciding that the style no longer fit
her, she let her hair fall straight down her back, before pulling it
back into a single thick tail in the back. Pigtails were for children,
she decided, and whatever she happened to be, she was no longer a
child. As she finished tying her hair off, she heard her father
calling her to, telling her it was time to go. Sighing gently to
herself, she stood up and made her way to the door, picking up her
cat, Luna, on the way by and headed downstairs to where her family
awaited her. When she got there, her father immediately pulled her
into a hug, unconsciously squeezing Luna between them, much to her
displeasure, and asked if she was ready. She nodded to him and
followed him as he held the door for her. She could feel the tears
welling up in her eyes once more but she forced them down. She knew
that she wouldn't be able to keep them away once they reached their
destination, but she would stay strong for as long as she could.

Her father got into the car, followed by her mother, her and her
little brother. Neither her mother nor her brother knew the full
story, all they knew was that her boyfriend was dead at the hands of
one of the monsters that attacked their town so frequently. She knew
she should tell them the truth as she had her father, but old habits
died hard and she was far too used to keeping her secrets. Sitting
back in the backseat of the family car, she closed her eyes and tried
to prepare herself for what could be the hardest day of her life,
tried to prepare herself for the funeral of her soul mate.

****************************************************************

The funeral was a quiet affair. Not very many people really knew
Mamoru all that well, so it mostly involved his miscellaneous friends
and, of course, all the senshi. Even the enigmatic Setsuna Meiou
showed up, wearing a black business suit and seeming nearly as
distraught as Usagi herself was. Minako would have thought that the
uncharacteristic show of emotion by the eldest senshi was odd if she
herself wasn't so broken up by the loss of their good friend.

As the funeral progressed Minako found her mind drifting back over the
times that they had all spent together. She remembered battles and
parties and visits to the ice cream parlor. Things had seemed so
simple then, they would go out, make a quick speech, throw a few
attacks and Usagi would dust the monster. No one ever really worried
about getting killed because it seemed inconceivable to them. They
were the Sailor Senshi. They were invulnerable, nothing could keep
them down. Watching as they lowered the casket gently into the ground,
she couldn't help but think how wrong they'd been all that time.

For a moment, her mind flashed back to the conversation she had had
with Ranma the day before. He had been feeling well enough to talk for
a while and had told her about how he had been training with his
father for as long as he could remember, trying to become the world's
greatest martial artist. When she asked him where his father was now,
he had gotten really quiet for a moment. Slightly worried, she had
asked him what was wrong and he had told her, in a quiet voice, that
his father was dead. He had died recently in China, while they were
there on the last leg of his training journey, and that was the reason
Ranma was searching for his mother. She had felt so bad for bringing
it up, he seemed so sad, but he just waved her concern off, stating
he didn't want to talk about it.

It was so easy to forget that everyone dies eventually. After so many
victories, it was hard for any of them to imagine someone dying, but
the possibility was always there. Death was always watching them,
waiting for them to let their guard down, waiting to show them that
they weren't as all powerful as they sometimes thought. It was a
bitter lesson, but one they learned the hard way, standing here as
they were, watching their beloved friend put to rest.

Unable to hold it back any longer, tears began to stream down
Minako's face, and she was thankful for the support of her friends as
Makoto put an arm around her shoulder and brought her into a
comforting embrace.

****************************************************************

As the funeral ended, Haruka made her way towards Usagi. The girl was
standing in her father's protective embrace and looking like she had
just lost her reason for living. Haruka then thought to herself that
that was probably exactly what she felt like right then. *Hadn't that
been how I felt when Ranma died?*

As she stepped up to her, Usagi turned her tear reddened eyes up to
meet Haruka's own and Haruka felt her heart break for the poor girl.
It was like looking into the eyes of a dead person. The life, the
spirit that always filled the girl and made all those around her happy
was missing and in it's place was a void, like someone had cut a hole
out of her soul. Haruka reached down and ran a comforting hand across
Usagi's cheek, wiping away some of the tears that ran down her face,
before pulling her into a tight embrace.

"I know what you're feeling right now." She whispered into Usagi's
ear. " You feel lost and alone, like there's no one out there who
understands, no one who cares. I just want you to know that there is
someone who understands."

Usagi looked up at her with her deadened eyes, as if searching through
her very soul before sighing and looking down again.

"How can you understand?" She quietly asked while pushing out of
Haruka's arms, her voice cracking slightly from emotion. "You have
Michiru. The woman you love is there with you, and always will be. How
could you possibly understand?"

"I can understand, Princess, because before I met Michiru..." Her
voice breaks off slightly, as she has trouble bringing forth the next
words. This is something that she's told no one, something that she
couldn't even bring herself to tell Michiru, because it felt like too
much of a betrayal to love a boy so much when she was supposed to be
with someone, even if that boy was dead. Pulling herself together,
Haruka reminded herself that Usagi needed this, needed to know that
someone understood. "...before I met Michiru, I was in love with
someone else, someone who I loved more, I think, then I love even
Michiru."

Usagi gasps slightly at that. Haruka and Michiru were what everyone
thought of as the perfect couple, soul mates as much as she and Mamoru
were. To think that Haruka could possibly love anyone more than
Michiru was just unimaginable. After regaining herself, Usagi
whispered out a question. "What happened to her?"

"Him, actually." Haruka chuckled a bit at the comical look of surprise
on Usagi's face when she said that, but it was a dry chuckle, with no
real mirth in it. "He was the only man I'd ever loved, and still is to
this day, but he was definitely a man. Trust me, I was even more
surprised then you that I'd fall so hard for a guy, but he was so
wonderful, kind, strong, confident but at the same time shy. He was
perfect."

Usagi looked up into Haruka's face and was surprised to see a few
tears starting to fall. Pulling her back into the embrace, Usagi
repeated her earlier question. "What happened?"

Haruka sighed to herself, she really hated thinking about this topic,
let alone talking about it but she had started this conversation, she
might as well finish it. "He was a martial artist, his father had been
training him all his life. Some of that training was dangerous, but he
really loved the Art, it was him that taught me the true beauty of the
Art. One day, however, his father came to my family with horrible
news. There was an accident during a training session, and he was
killed. I never got to tell him how I felt about him. I had it all
planned out you know, what I would say, what he would say, but somehow
I never found the courage. I lost my soul mate that day. I thought I
would die, I thought it would be better that way, but if there was one
thing I knew about him, it's that he never gave up, so I vowed not to
either. I still love him, I think I always will, but I made it
through. You will too. You have friends and family that care for you,
and if you ever need anything, even if just someone who understands,
I'll be here for you."

Usagi was crying again as Haruka finished speaking, but it was
different this time, there was a light in her eyes that hadn't been
there before and she had a slight smile on her face. Haruka smiled
slightly too, realizing that Usagi would be alright now. It would
hurt, for sure, and it would be a long time before she completely
recovered, but at least now she knew there was someone who understood,
so she had something she had been missing before. Hope. Yes, she was
going to be fine.

****************************************************************

As Minako watched Haruka walk slowly away from Usagi and towards the
rest of the group she couldn't help but smile slightly. She couldn't
tell what they had been talking about, but it obviously had an effect
on the grieving girl as she looked more alive than she had since
Mamoru died. She would have to ask Haruka what they had been talking
about that brought Usagi back from the brink of what several of them
feared was a suicidal depression. Just as Haruka stepped up to join
the rest of them Minako realized that something had been said to her
and turned towards Makoto.

"Ummm, I'm sorry, Mako-chan. What did you say?" She asked, hoping that
Makoto wouldn't be upset that she hadn't paying attention. Then again,
they all had a lot on their minds at the moment so she was sure she
would understand.

"I was asking how that boy who helped you out was doing." Makoto said,
earning a curious look from several of the other Senshi. With all that
had happened recently, she had neglected to tell anyone except for
Makoto about Ranma and his rescue of her. She expected to be grilled
by Rei, but it was Haruka who asked the first question.

"Huh, what boy?" She asked, putting the question they all were
wondering into words. Minako was about to explain the situation when
Makoto beat her too it.

"What, she never told you guys? Some guy saved her from getting hit by
a car, pushed her out of the way, but he ended up getting hit instead.
She's been taking care of him at her place for the past couple of
days. You know, playing doctor." She winked at the others, and Minako
blushed badly, not just from the embarrassment, but also from the
naughty thoughts running through her head involving her, Ranma and a
skimpy, little nurse's outfit. Shaking her head, she glared at Makoto
for a moment before turning back to the incredulous stares of the
others.

"It's not like that and you know it. He got hurt really badly and I
feel responsible so I'm taking care of him, that's all." Minako
crossed her arms across her chest and posed heroically, trying to
convince the others through shear force of will that there was nothing
happening between her and the hunk in her bedroom. Then she sighed
slightly, deflating a bit. "Besides, now is definitely not the best
time to try to do anything with him."

Makoto looked a little confused by that remark, the thought of Minako
having an absolute hunk, as he had been described, sleeping in her bed
and not trying to take advantage of the situation just seemed too
wrong in her mind. She puzzled over it for a moment before asking
Minako what she meant.

"Well, you see, he told me a bit about his life. It seems he's been on
a training journey with his dad since he was five or six, traveling
everywhere to learn martial arts, but recently his father died and
he's been trying to find his mother who he hasn't seen in, like, ten
years." Minako sighed a bit, remembering the pain she saw in Ranma's
eyes, the deep sorrow of someone who's just lost the only family he's
ever known. "He tries to hide it, but it's obvious he's really broken
up over it. When he's well enough, me and Daddy are going to try and
help him find his mother."

Minako looked up to see the others listening to her story with some
sadness and great deal of sympathy for him, especially from Makoto.
That made sense though, since she knew better than anyone what it was
like to lose a parent having lost both when she was really young.
Haruka's expression caught her somewhat off guard though, as she had a
stunned look on her face, which had gone several shades paler. She
looked like she'd just been told something that shook her very reality
at its foundations. That made no sense though, she couldn't think of
anything she had said which would garner such a reaction. Suddenly she
heard someone calling her name and looked over to see her father
waiting by the car, waving to her. She quickly excused herself from
the others, noticing that Haruka didn't acknowledge her and never lost
that far away look in her eyes, before rushing off and climbing into
the car for the drive home.

****************************************************************

When she heard what Minako said, she froze. Her mind was awhirl with
the thought that, somehow, he had survived. It wasn't possible, she
knew it wasn't, but the story matched so perfectly. The training trip
with his father, being on it since he was six, having not seen his
mother in that long, it was all exactly the same. She knew it
shouldn't be possible, but somehow it was him. She couldn't be sure
though, not until he saw him, or at least knew his name. Tuning the
outside world back in, Haruka looked around to ask Minako what his
name was only to see her getting into her father's car. She called out
to her, but the car sped off, as Minako obviously didn't hear her.
Looking around wildly, she saw the others eying her wearily, and
focused immediately on Makoto. She quickly walked up to Makoto, who
shrank back from the intensity of the emotions wafting off of Haruka.

"Makoto, you have to tell me, what was his name?" The insistence in
her voice was obvious, but there was something else there, a sense of
longing that Makoto couldn't help but notice. It all rattled her quite
badly, making her unable to fully comprehend what Haruka was asking
her.

"Wha-what?" Was Makoto's elegant answer to Haruka's question. Seeing
that she was freaking Makoto, and the others around her, out Haruka
took a deep breath to calm her down and asked again, in a less
desperate voice this time.

"The boy, the one Minako was talking about. Did she tell you his
name?"

Calmed down by the less desperate attitude and more understandable
question, this time Makoto was able to compose herself enough to
answer Haruka's question. "I'm sorry, Haruka, she never told me. She
didn't know it when she first told me about him since he was still
unconscious at the time. Right now is the only other time she's talked
about him to me."

Haruka sighed, seeming to collapse in on her self as she gained
control of herself. It didn't matter what his name was, it obviously
wasn't the same person. Ranma was dead, that's all there was to it and
it was time she accepted it. Turning around, Haruka started walking
back towards her car, a frowning Michiru and confused Hotaru following
behind. Yes, he was dead, and no matter how much she loved him it
wouldn't bring him back.

And just to prove it she'd find out who this guy Minako was talking
about was. She smiled a bit. Yes, that's exactly what she would do.

To Be Continued.....


Authors Notes: You know, that one was rather fun to write. Who knows,
I may actually continue it. Of course, I've got three other stories to
wade through first, so probably not any time soon, but hey, stranger
things have indeed happened.^_~
By the by, I borrowed the idea for Genma's telling Haruka that Ranma
had died from a fic by Brian Randall called Rursus Iterum. Hope You
don't mind, Brian, but if you do just drop me a line and I'll try to
do a rewrite. Thanks

For those that don't know, this was written as part of a challenge to
create a Ranma/Sm crossover based on a set of die rolls. Check out the
challenge page at http://www.beeftrapeze.com/challenge/

As usual, any C&C is definately appreciated and can be sent to
ranikkoku@hotmail.com
As well, this and my other stories can be found at
www.geocities.com/ranikkoku