Title: In Another Lifetime
Author: Jade Hunter
Disclaimer: The characters and properties of Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon do not belong to me. This takes place after the last manga in the Ranma ½ universe, and before the whole Galaxia debacle in the Sailor Moon world.
A.N: Yeah, yeah, I know. I already have two Ranma/SM crossovers that I need to work on, especially LFAT – which is going through a serious rewrite, for the millionth time, and will probably be back up again with a completely different storyline – but I can't help it. When I'm inspired, I need to write or I'll go crazy.
A.N.2: Okay, first of all, I don't know the things people have to do in Japan to get into a university, so I'm basing that part slightly on American school systems.
There were places around the world where strange occurances were considered the norm, where aliens went to school, where space pirates competed with alien princesses for a boy, where super powered martial artists fought each other, where all these people destroyed half a block of property every day, maybe every hour.
Juuban was one of those places, because the district seemed to be plagued by a number of monster attacks each year. Not to mention having magical super heroes of its own, though how the people successfully – and proudly – called a handful of girls (wearing scandalously short minis, to boot) super heroes without breaking out into laughter remained a mystery.
Despite all this, however, Juuban was actually considered a peaceful district, that is, by the people living in such places as where aliens went to school, where space pirates and alien princesses fought over weenie boys.
One Ranma Saotome, from the district of Nerima – the place where super powered martial artists fought each other and destroyed property – and currently walking through one of the numerous parks in Juuban, considered the district to be…fairly peaceful.
Kami, I'm so bored.
Ranma yawned, oblivious to the appreciative gazes of the more than abundant schoolgirls in the area. Now at the proud age of eighteen, yet no more independent than he was five years ago, the super powered martial artist was visiting this district on his way back home from visiting Tokyo U. Amazingly enough, his test scores were more than adequate to enter such a university, which shocked half of Nerima into catatonia and mindless babbling for a good week.
"I do good on standardized tests," was all the martial artist would say, though when he saw the disbelieving looks shot his way, he added defensively, "What? I can't have layers?"
Apparently, from their reactions, he couldn't. But he did, and they dealt with it, in time.
With scores high enough to make up slightly for his rather dismal grades in school, Ranma had – on the urgings of his mother – ventured out to visit some of the nearest universities. He hadn't protest that much, though his father and Soun Tendo had, mainly because Ranma was glad for the excuse to get away from his problems in Nerima.
After the entire Saffron event, and the failed wedding, things were going better for Ranma than before, but not as good as he wanted things to be. His relationship with Akane was a little strained, now, because he had been – as much as he didn't want to admit it on the grounds of manliness – deeply hurt by the fact that she hadn't told him about the water from the Spring of Drowned Man. Ukyo and Shampoo were no closer to him than they were before, though he had forgiven them for interfering in the wedding.
And there was the crux of the matter. Akane couldn't understand why he could forgive them so easily, but hold a grudge against her for not telling him about the Nanniichuan. Ranma couldn't get her to understand that, for him, forgiving violence was far easier than forgiving someone who had slighted his trust.
So, despite the protests of many people, Ranma had left Nerima two weeks ago. Now, as he prepared to return, he couldn't help but feel a bit relieved, as he looked forward to the familiarity of the chaos that was his life. As much as he protested the problems in his life, they were far better than the life he would probably lead here, or at any university.
The normality repelled him.
Lost in his thoughts, his hands in the pockets of his black jeans – "You might as well blend in, dear," his mom had said, dragging him into the mall, "there's no point in scaring off the administration, and you can see things from a normal point of view." – Ranma let his feet do the walking and his mind do the wandering.
He didn't see a young woman freeze in shock as she caught sight of him, her ruby eyes wide.
It couldn't be!
That had been her first thought when she saw him, and it was her last thought now as she, Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru joined the Inners for a Senshi meeting in the hidden basement of the Crown Parlor, for an emergency meeting that she had called.
As soon as she entered the room, she was besieged with questions.
"What's going on?"
"Is it another enemy?"
"I hope not, it's been so peaceful lately…"
Such sentiments continued for a chaotic moment, before Haruka frowned and told the adolescent girls in no uncertain terms to "shut up and let Setsuna tell you!"
"Thank you, Haruka," the Guardian of the Times Gates said politely, then turned to address the Inners. "I was at the park today – "
"You go to parks?" Usagi interrupted.
Setsuna nodded, "Yes."
Before she could continue, the Moon Princess interrupted again, "But I thought you couldn't leave the Time Gates?"
"I can't," she replied. "Not unguarded."
Everyone blinked, confused at the statement, but Setsuna made no attempts to clear things up. There was no easy way to explain to them; because the Time Gates were outside of the passage of space and time, it was in every time all at once without really being in a time at all. In each time, however, there was a Setsuna, because a person was not the same person as they were a day ago, for experience and time, no matter how small, changed them. Thus, there were millions of her, some from just a second in time before or after her, and each one had a duty to guard the Time Gates, which were outside of all time. In order to have a life of her own, each Setsuna obligingly guarded the Gates for an equal amount of time, taking turns. Because one Pluto never left until another came, and when she did leave, she returned to the time when she disappeared, she never broke any rules, not leaving the Time Gates and not traveling through time at all.
"As I was saying," Setsuna finally continued, "I was at the park when I saw a young man."
Minako perked up, "Is he cute?"
"How old is he?" Makoto wanted to know.
Luna groaned, rolling her eyes, and Artemis hid his face at his protégé's immature behavior in the face of the prospect of a boy. As Ami and Rei sighed and shook their heads in a resigned tandem, Hotaru and Usagi giggled in amusement at their friends' antics while Michiru and Mamoru both smiled indulgently.
Haruka, however, was not as gentle, and asked brusquely, "What does this have to do with us?"
Ignoring Minako and Makoto, Setsuna chose to answer the last question, thankful that at least one of them was paying attention to the relevant details.
"I recognized him," she said slowly. "From the Moon Kingdom."
Silence reigned for a moment.
The Senshi of Time nodded, not at all affected by having everyone yell at her all at once. "Yes. I distinctly remember him…though he looks slightly different now, there's no mistaking him."
"Couldn't he maybe be a descendant?" Hotaru piped up.
Mamoru shook his head before Setsuna could answer, telling the young girl, "Not if he looked as similar as Setsuna says he does. If he were a descendant, over time, his resemblance would have faded, lessened, with the addition of new genes."
"Mamoru is correct," Setsuna said, even as Ami nodded in confirmation. "He looked too much like Campitor."
"That's Latin, isn't it?" Ami pointed out. "If he was from the Moon Kingdom, how could he have a Latin name?"
"Latin, for war-horse," Setsuna agreed. "Campitor's mother was an Earthling."
Rei's brows furrowed as she asked, "I thought that contact between the Earth and the Moon Kingdom was forbidden."
"It was, mainly because they were too…'backwards', if you will," Setsuna replied, nodding an apology to Mamoru, who shrugged and looked slightly embarrassed. "They were far behind Silver Millennium technology, but the main problem was that their people were suspicious about magic, thinking it was some form of satanic sign. Those with magic on Earth, when found out by the public, were frequently rescued by some of the Moon Kingdom's people, agents who were specifically trained for such a task. That's how Campitor was born – his mother was a refugee, and his father was the agent that rescued her."
"How romantic," Minako sighed, completely off topic.
Setsuna simply raised a brow, and Usagi noticed that the two cats were suspiciously quiet, looking deep in thought. This surprised her, for Artemis wasn't prone for seriousness unless they had a new enemy and were about to lose.
"Was Campitor an agent, too?" Haruka asked.
This actually caused her to laugh, causing everyone to stare at her. It wasn't that she had never laughed before, but simply that they didn't see what was so funny. Shaking her head slightly, the Senshi of Pluto finally managed to say, "I'm sorry…it's just…Campitor? An agent?"
This sent her into another gale of laughter, and much to the others' further surprise, Artemis and Luna seemed to shake with silent laughter as well, as best as their cat bodies allowed them.
"Luna?" Usagi demanded. "Do you know something?"
Minako glared at her guardian as well, "Artemis, speak!"
At that, the male Mau scoffed in offended dignity, exclaiming, "I am not a mangy dog!"
"Whatever," the Senshi of Love replied, rolling her eyes and flipping back a lock of hair. "Tell us what you know."
Luna looked in askance at Setsuna, who, still chuckling, nodded slightly.
"Very well," the black cat said, clearing her throat. "From what I can remember about Campitor…he was not the agent type."
Makoto narrowed her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.
"Simple. You see, those who were trained to be agents had to be physically superior in every way to the average citizen," Artemis explained. "Those with naturally impeccable balance, a talent for sneaking, extra strength, build for maximum speed…they were all recruited for the Agency."
Setsuna, finally calm, continued, "Campitor was far from all that. He wasn't weak, just average, which isn't good enough to become an agent. Agency training was harsh, harsher than your training, since it involved a wide range of physical skills as well as some healing magic, while your training focused more on your planetary magic."
Haruka, frowning again, rubbed her forehead. "Wait…this guy, this Campitor…he was kinda quiet, withdrawn, sort of, gangly?"
Setsuna, Luna, and Artemis all nodded the affirmative.
"Then I remember him," Haruka said. "He was…a scientist?"
"Yes," Ami breathed, suddenly. She now began to remember as well. "He was one of the head technicians."
Michiru blinked rapidly, as if to dispel some vision, then added softly, "He was part of the team that manned the main computers."
Setsuna nodded again, pleased that they seemed to be remembering on their own.
Suddenly, Minako jumped up, "I remember him! He was sort of cute, I guess, kinda scrawny, needed a lot of work, but he had the most amazing blue-gray eyes."
At that, Makoto snapped her fingers in recognition, "The guy with the messy black hair! He was always around the computer!"
Usagi, scrunching up her face, recalled, "Yeah…that made it harder for me, to sneak there and watch Endymion. He only took a fifteen minute break every day for lunch, and that was hardly enough time…"
Mamoru glanced at her, "You used to watch me?"
"Every single day," Rei answered in her stead, sounding exasperated. "We couldn't distract her enough, and she never forgot."
Usagi blushed slightly as Mamoru smiled. They exchanged a look.
"I don't remember him," Hotaru said, abruptly.
The others all cast uneasy glances at each other, not knowing what to say. Hotaru knew that, in the past, she had been feared greatly, but she did not know to what extent. Sailor Saturn, as soon as she had received her mantle, had been forced into magical slumber, locked inside the heart of the Moon.
There was a tense moment of silence as no one could think of anything to say to the young girl.
Usagi coughed, then said, "Well, like Haruka said, he was quiet. A loner, I think, and a little rude, to boot. I don't think he had any friends…or even wanted any."
"That's true," Luna agreed. "He didn't socialize at all. I remember…the Queen called him forth, once, because she was concerned about that. He told her that all that mattered to him was being the best, so that he could serve her better. She didn't really have an answer."
"He was a bit blunt, somewhat crass, I suppose you can say," Setsuna added. "The only person who was truly fond of him was the Queen. However, he was a genius with the computer, an expert technician, invaluable."
"Wait, why would my mother send him to the future?" Usagi asked. "If he wasn't a warrior…"
Artemis shook his head. "You don't understand. The technicians, they did a lot in the last battle. They weren't out there, fighting, like the agents or like you girls, but they did a lot. The Dark Kingdom's army was pouring in through their own portal, but also through our portals – the ones we kept connected to Earth for the agents. They somehow discovered them, and began to overwhelm us from the palace as well as on the battlefield; the Moon's forces was fighting a two-front war because of that."
"Queen Serenity realized this," he continued, "but not before the technicians. Campitor and the other technicians, against the explicit orders of the Queen – who knew they were too valuable to the Moon Kingdom to be captured, left her, us, and headed for the main computer. The only way our portals could be closed was from there, and they knew it."
Rei closed her eyes. "I remember…being swarmed, almost…"
"You'd destroy one youma, only to have three more take its place," Minako reminisced, her expression stony and her eyes cold as they gazed far away, into space, into her memories of the past.
Ami was pale, and her hands were shaking slightly as she, too, remembered her last moments on the moon, fighting for her life, the life of her princess, and the life of her people.
"Did they close the portals?" Makoto wondered, her fists clenched. "I though that the number of youma had gotten smaller, but there was already so many…"
"They succeeded," Setsuna said, shortly. "And they all died, one by one, slaughtered like animals."
Ranma eyed the large lake with obvious trepidation. Those that saw him wondered if he had a fear of water, and they wouldn't have been too far off the mark.
Why do all parks have lakes? He complained to himself, giving said lake a wide berth. Or fountains, he added, remembering a previous close call.
This time, Ranma couldn't help but notice when a group of girls wandered near him, because they were an unusual bunch. He could, with his enhanced senses, make out some of what they were whispering to each other, huddled so carefully.
"…looks exactly like…"
Catching them staring at him, which meant that they were talking about him, Ranma took this chance to put his street learned manners to good use and stared right back at them, frowning.
At this, all the girls – though there were some young ladies in the bunch, most were young girls – turned to face him. A few looked a bit embarrassed to be caught, two of them were smiling, one was winking at him, and the older ones seemed cool, indifferent.
Shooting them a not so polite but honest look, effectively branding them as 'weirdoes' in his book, Ranma shook his head, muttering about girls these days (sounding suspiciously like his mother, which bothered him to no end), and stalked off.
Well, he attempted to. He turned to look back at them, but when they said nothing, simply standing there awkwardly, Ranma turned again, now honestly eager to get back to the inn he was staying at. For some reason, the sight of these girls filled him with a familiarity that every part of him desperately wanted to ignore.
Again, they called out, "Hey!"
Scowling slightly now, uncomfortable, every nerve screaming at him to ignore them and run, Ranma once again proved his bull-headed tendencies by turning around to face the weird girls. When he faced them fully, he realized that there was one guy in the bunch, looking uncomfortable himself, hanging around in the back. Ranma could sympathize.
"Yeah?" Ranma asked.
One of them, a blonde girl – Is she Japanese? – with her hair up in a strange dumpling type of hairstyle, opened her mouth to speak, but snapped it shut again. She turned to her friends for help. Finally, after much nudging, eye rolling, and silent female communication, one of the older ones stepped up.
This one was dressed in a masculine fashion, her pale sandy hair cropped short as well, but Ranma had been around too many transvestites and crossdressers to be fooled.
She spoke, and he noticed that even her voice lower than an average girl's. "We have a question we want to ask you."
Wary, but seeing that the girls – and the one guy – had little to no skills in terms of martial arts, Ranma reluctantly nodded his head.
Haruka hesitated for a moment, then plunged in, "Are you Campitor?"
Automatically, a denial formed on his lips, but Ranma found himself unable to say anything. Instead, he felt a sort of throbbing pain at the base of his skull and reached up to massage the spot, moving his pigtail out of the way. His uneasiness increased, and he shifted slightly, unconsciously tensing his legs, on the lookout for any indication that he should fight or flee, ready to do either.
Finally another girl, a tall one with her brown hair up in a ponytail, asked impatiently, "Well?"
No, Ranma was going to say, but all that came out was, "You were always the impatient one, Jupiter."
Their eyes widened comically, except the other tall one, the one with the long green hair and red eyes.
His mind whispered, Sailor Pluto, Outer. Guardian of the Time Gates. Talisman: Orb
And as Ranma looked at them, these strangers, statistics about them rattled off in his mind as if he had memorized an encyclopedia on them.
The brown-haired one, Sailor Jupiter, Inner. Senshi of Protection, Nature.
The boyish one was Sailor Uranus, Outer. Senshi of the Heavens. Talisman: Sword.
Sailor Neptune, Outer. Senshi of the Oceans. Talisman: Mirror
Sailor Mars, Inner, second. Senshi of War, Fire. Guardians Phobos, Deimos.
Sailor Mercury, Inner. Senshi of Wisdom, Water.
Sailor Venus, Inner, first. Senshi of Love, Metal. Guardian Artemis.
Princess Serenity II, heir apparent to the throne of the Moon Kingdom, daughter of Queen Serenity, wielder of the Imperium Silver Crystal. Protectors: Inner Senshi. Guardian Luna.
Ranma blinked in surprise. That funny haired girl had a doozy of a title, didn't she? How did he know all this, anyway?
The guy – Prince Endymion IV, heir apparent to the throne of the Earth Kingdom, son of King Endymion III, wielder of the Golden Crystal. Protectors: Four Generals.
The last one was a shocker – Sailor Saturn, Outer. Senshi of Silence, Destruction. Powers of healing. To be contained in magical sleep, security class: Alpha, access code: 548972.
At this information, it was as if Ranma's mind was shuttled to the back, and this new mind, the one who knew all this about them, came to the front. He began to talk, but not him, and he moved, but it wasn't Ranma, not all of it, at least.
"You." He glared first at the young girl who was Sailor Saturn, then at the older young woman who was Sailor Pluto. "She's supposed to be contained in magical sleep, security class: Alpha."
Setsuna's eyes widened as Hotaru stepped back, intimidated.
"Access code: 54 – " he continued, his voice flat, emotionless.
"That was in the old regime," Setsuna snapped at him, obviously ruffled, but he stared back at her, through her, his eyes cold and indifferent. Lifeless. Mechanical. "The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. The old regime falls, gives rise to the new."
The Campitor part of him remembered the quote, glanced at the Princess, acknowledged, "The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen."
"Uh…thanks?" Usagi ventured, smiling uncertainly.
He fought the urge to snort in disdain. He knew enough about magic, about the capabilities of the Crystal, to know that they – and he – had been reincarnated, by the will of the old Queen. This new Queen, this new Princess, was not so much a princess, but a young girl. Perfectly acceptable, of course, for a civilian, but not for someone to rule a kingdom.
"Why have to awakened me?" he asked rudely.
Usagi bit her lip, glanced at Mamoru for support, replied, "We thought…maybe you could help us?"
The truth was that they hadn't even considered not awakening his memories. They had heard that he was from the Silver Millennium, and even though he hadn't been a warrior, he had been a scientist, and could perhaps help them plan, aid Mercury, man the computers at Headquarters, or something.
"Help you." His tone was flat, but there was a condescending note there that all present caught.
Haruka bristled, as did Makoto. Rei thinned her lips, but kept silent.
"Well, ever since…we've had a lot of enemies, and we could…use all the help…we can get," Usagi answered, trailing off weakly at the end.
He grunted slightly, then said, "I have my own life to live."
"We could use your assistance," Ami spoke up. "I'm sure, as a Silver Millennium technician, you'd be more familiar with a lot of the computers at Headquarters…"
"That was a lifetime ago," he replied, his tone softening as he turned to leave. "I'm not a technician anymore. I'm not Campitor anymore."
"Well, I'm not exactly the same as I was in the Silver Millennium," Usagi said, "but I try to do my best to live up to my mother's memory."
Not turning around, he addressed her, "Campitor pledged to your mother that he would serve her and the kingdom for as long as he lived. Campitor also died a thousand years ago, fulfilling that pledge. Let him rest in peace."
"That's bull," Haruka declared angrily. "Campitor might be dead, but you have all his memories. You can still help."
"And what? Leave my family and friends and move to Juuban, just to please the Senshi?" he asked.
Minako blinked. "Move to Juuban?" she repeated. "You don't live here?"
"Took that for granted, too, huh?" he laughed, harshly. "No, I don't live in Juuban. I was visiting."
Still, they persisted. "That doesn't mean you can't help us," Michiru commented.
"Yes, it does," he said. After a moments pause, he continued, "I'm not a technician anymore."
"But – "
He cut off whoever was about to speak; "I have my memories now, thanks to you all. I may remember how to do certain things, I can remember programming the Moon computer…but I don't know how. The skills…they're lost to me. You are Senshi, your magical abilities are a part of your transformation – that's why you can instinctively shoot off attacks. But I…Campitor didn't gain his knowledge through a magical transformation, he learned it, the hard way, the normal way. That's not something I can relearn just by instinct."
The Senshi heard the bitterness in his voice, and knew for a fact that his pained him more than it inconvenienced them. Usagi, most of all, felt guilty that they had ruined his life without even considering what pain it would cause him.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I understand."
At this, he slowly turned, slightly surprised. Usagi smiled, sadly, and took a step forward.
"I'm not Princess Serenity," she said, her voice strong. "I'm Usagi Tsukino. Sometimes, I remember things that Serenity went through, and I become her when I use the Silver Crystal, but…I'm still Usagi, most times."
She turned briefly to gesture at her friends. "That's Minako Aino, Rei Hino, Makoto Kino, Ami Mizuno, Haruka Tenou, Michiru Kaiou, Setsuna Meiou. They're Senshi, too, but they're first and foremost themselves. Mamoru Chiba. He's Prince Endymion, sometimes, but he's also Mamo-chan, too. I love them both, and they're different but the same." She returned her gaze to him. "I understand."
He gazed at her, intently, surprised. In this girl, not in Princess Serenity, but the civilian girl, he saw the makings of a great Queen. She would rule with wisdom, compassion, and most of all, love.
He saw all this, and knew that he would gladly serve her.
Formally, he bowed. "In another lifetime," he promised. "Look for me again. When you are Queen, I will go with you, and serve you as I served your mother."
This surprised her, but pleased her all the same, and Usagi smiled. "If you serve me with the loyalty with which you served my mother, I would be a lucky Queen."
He smiled, for the first time this day. He swept his gaze over the others, who were looking on with surprise and pride, and nodded.
"In another life," he repeated.
They all nodded back, in acknowledgment of his promise.
"Until then," he said, and walked away.
This time, he turned with a smile on his face. "Yeah?"
"You're not Campitor," Setsuna agreed. "Then, who are you?"
He grinned, rakishly, not at all like what they expected from Campitor. It was his trademark grin, the lady killer one that his father was so foolishly proud of and claimed was a part of the Saotome Charm.
"I'm Ranma Saotome, heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts."