Blood and Darkness

A crossover fanfic by jimra

I don't own 'em; lets just leave it at that. Also, the timelines of the animes I'm crossing are a little skewed, but if you didn't know that I'd have to tell you to go back and read from chapter one. I'm not repeating this timeline screw-up warning again, so just deal with it.

Chapter Four

----------------------------------

Minako's bright grin never faltered as she took her new friend up to her room, leading the pigtailed girl by the hand. Even if the other girl wasn't always a girl, it was always nice to have new friends, boys or girls. As they reached the top of the stairs, the blonde looked through the open door to her room, occupying the entirety of the attic, and suddenly she felt her new friend freeze.

"C—c—ca—" Ranma stuttered, and Minako saw why. On her bed, Artemis was lounging contentedly, watching them with curious eyes.

The blonde ten-year-old looked at her friend in sympathy, and released the frozen girl's hand in favor of rushing into her room and shooing the white moon cat into her closet. Looking back, Ranma had visibly relaxed once the feline was safely out of sight.

Motioning Ranma to enter, Minako sat lightly on her bed. "Why are you scared of cats, anyway?"

The redhead shook her head, replying, "I don't wanna talk about it. Let's just say I had a very bad experience with them in the past and leave it at that."

Shrugging, Minako assented. "So what's it like, being a boy?"

The red-haired child cocked her head to the side, obviously puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"Well," replied the blonde, "you're the only person I know who can switch between being a boy and a girl, so I was just wondering what's it like."

Ranma shrugged. "It's not much different, really. My balance is a bit different, and there are a few different parts, but overall it's pretty much the same. I mean, I'm still me whether I'm a boy or a girl."

Minako nodded, saying, "That's good. Are you going to go to school with me on Monday?"

"I dunno," Ranma answered. "I guess, but I don't know how long Oyaji plans on staying."

"Dad hasn't been talking about anything else since your father phoned from France," the blonde replied enthusiastically, "so if Dad has any say in the matter, you'll be here a while. How's your English?"

Switching to the language, the redhead answered, "Better than my Chinese or French, but not perfect."

Going along with the language shift, Minako said in English, "Then we'd better use it from now on. That's the only way you'll get any better."

The redhead nodded to the blonde, but Minako preempted any reply the other girl might have had, asking, "What happened after you got cursed? Your dad said it was about a year ago."

"Well, that girl I saved, Shampoo, tagged along with us for about two months until this other guy, someone originally from her village, showed up. By that time, we were in Mongolia, and Mousse, that was the guy's name, said that he had voluntarily chosen exile in order to travel with Shampoo. They stayed with us for another two weeks, but when Oyaji said we were heading for Europe, they decided against coming with us. They left together, but I don't think Shampoo was too happy with traveling with the duck."

"Duck?" inquired Minako.

Ranma looked sheepish for a moment before explaining. "Yeah, apparently Mousse had been late to the fight where we met Shampoo, and he managed to walk right into the Spring of Drowned Duck. He's got really bad eyes, and even with his glasses he has a hard time seeing. On top of that, he doesn't even wear them half the time."

The blonde girl laughed at that one, motioning the redhead to continue.

"After that, it was just me and Dad," Ranma said. "We passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, the Ukraine, Romania…."

When Ranma trailed off, a troubled look in her eyes, Minako asked, "What happened in Romania?"

The older girl looked a bit reluctant to talk about it, but visibly taking hold of herself, she said, "I saw my first daemon in Romania."

Minako's eyes widened at that, but remembering what Artemis had said about keeping her identity as Sailor V a secret, the blonde remained silent, letting Ranma speak.

"It was worse than the one I saw last night," the redhead continued. "The…thing…nearly killed me, and that's when Dad started teaching me the forbidden techniques."

The pigtailed girl seemed to brighten at that last bit, saying, "Now those are some powerful techniques."

Realizing that Ranma definitely didn't want to talk about the daemon in Romania, Minako asked, "What happened next?"

"Well," answered the redhead, "then we passed through Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland—the Alps aren't as hard to climb as the Bayankala range, by the way—France, and finally, we swam across the English Channel before getting here."

"And you traveled all that way on foot?" asked Minako in awe.

"Most of it," answered Ranma, pride obvious in her voice. "We occasionally hitched a ride, but we really only did that if the weather was bad. Mainly we just hoofed it. Pop called it training, though sometimes I think it was just because he was cheap."

Minako giggled at that, and Ranma asked, "Anyway, tell me about your school. If you're right about me and Dad staying here awhile, I'm sure he'll want me to go to school."

As their conversation moved into a more mundane realm, as opposed to many year training journeys that spanned half the globe, Minako was sure that she had found a fast friend in Ranma.

----------------------------------

Ranma's day passed in a pleasant-enough fashion, from talking to Minako for most of the morning to lunch, and after having fish and chips cooked by her new blonde friend's mother and using some hot water to return to his birth gender, Ranma decided to ask Minako to show him around the neighborhood. Minako, for her part, was an extremely cheerful tour guide, and although she was only ten years old, she seemed very knowledgeable about the local area. Walking from the Aino home, Minako led Ranma around the neighborhood, pointing out the school both would attend on Monday morning, her church, the nearest convenience store, and finally, the small park. When they arrived at this last place, the blonde girl raced over to the swing set, laughing as she began to swing. Ranma, being his usually dedicated self, set about training on the grassy area between the swings and the sandbox, his body flowing through more and more complex kata. Staying in a state of mushin for his kata, Ranma lost track of time, because when he came back to himself at Minako's beckoning, the sun had almost set, the sky a panoramic painting of soft blues, yellows, and reds over the skyline of London.

"I bet Mom has almost finished dinner, Ranma," said the chipper blonde, her words reminding Ranma that a long workout had given him an ravenous appetite, and the pigtailed boy's stomach gave a loud grumble, much to his embarrassment. Scratching the back of his head underneath his pigtail, Ranma replied, "Then I guess we should be getting back."

Nodding, Minako led Ranma back to the Aino townhouse, and sure enough, the delicious smells cooking nabeudon drew the two children into the kitchen to see Aino Achika standing at the stove, watching over the boiling pot.

"Hi Ranma-kun, Minako-chan," greeted the Aino matriarch in their native language. "I thought you might like a taste of home tonight, Ranma-kun. I hope you like nabeudon."

Smiling enthusiastically, Ranma nodded rapidly, his eyes focused raptly on the cooking food. A moment later, Achika said, "Why don't you two go wash up before dinner?"

Agreeing with the elder Aino's request, Minako and Ranma walked to the stairs, Minako saying, "You can have the shower first, Ranma. Just tell me when you're done." With that, the young blonde walked into the living room.

Thanking her, Ranma showered quickly, and returning about ten minutes later, he told Minako that the shower was free.

Finally, about half an hour after the duo arrived home, Achika called the occupants of the house to the table for dinner, but before Ranma could enter the dining room, his father took him aside.

"Ranma," said Genma, his voice serious, "I don't want to offend Aino-kun and his family, so we should avoid speed training over meals while we are here."

"But—" Ranma began, but Genma cut him off.

"Just do it, son."

Sighing at losing one of his favorite training methods, Ranma nodded in resignation, and larger man smiled, saying, "Don't worry, boy. I'm sure we'll take plenty of training trips out into the countryside while we're here."

Without another word, the Saotomes entered the dining room. It seemed that Aino Achika was a very good cook, and after consuming a wonderful meal of nabeudon, pickles, rice, and tea, Ranma and Minako went to watch television in the living room while the adults talked at the table over after-dinner drinks.

At a little past nine, Minako's father entered the room, saying, "Ranma, Minako, you two should be getting to bed soon. We have to get up early for church in the morning."

"Church?" asked Ranma, his voice confused. "But Oyaji and I are Shinto."

"While you're living here," answered the Aino patriarch, "your father has agreed that both of you will attend church with the family."

Considering he wasn't really a practicing Shintoist, Ranma shrugged at that, and Minako said, "Don't worry about it, Ranma. Our church is really nice."

"Okay," Ranma replied, still dubious about the idea. With that, Minako led Ranma upstairs, and bidding him goodnight at the door to the room he shared with his father, the blonde girl continued upstairs to her room.

Entering the bedroom, Ranma was surprised to see that the single, queen-sized bed he had slept on the previous night was gone, replaced by two twin-sized bed. Stripping down to his boxers and undershirt, Ranma lay down on the bed closer to the window, attempting to sleep.

----------------------------------

Entering her room, Minako changed into a pair of yellow and orange print pajamas, and as she relaxed on her bed, she spoke with Artemis. The cat was curious about the new guests in the house, so Minako related the story that Ranma and his father had told the family that morning.

"Ranma is really nice, don't you think?" the blonde asked her venusian guardian, a smile on her face as she thought of her new friend.

"He certainly has led an interesting life, Mina-chan," replied Artemis. "If even half of his story is true, and I don't doubt it after seeing that curse in action, then he's on par with you."

Thinking of the activities of her alter ego, Minako couldn't help but agree with the small white cat. Thinking of Sailor V, Minako looked at the clock on her nightstand. Reading that it was eleven-thirty, she said, "Actually, I had better get to work."

Nodding agreement, Artemis jumped off of her chest, and Minako produced her henshin stick, whispering, "Venus Power, Make Up."

Thankfully, the show of light and power that accompanied her Senshi transformation didn't include any sound effects, and the shade over her window prevented anyone outside the room from seeing the luminous yellow flash of the transformation. A moment later, Sailor Venus stood in Aino Minako's bedroom, and producing a small, crescent-shaped and bejeweled object, Venus' costume blurred, changing into the ubiquitous blue-skirted and red-bowed clothing of Sailor V. As the red mask appeared on the young superhero's face, V said, "Artemis, remind me again why I have to change my costume when I transform."

"I'm not entirely sure, V," answered the white venusian guardian. "I just have orders from Central that you need to change the way you look while we're in England."

Shrugging, V replied, "Oh well. Anyway, I'll see you in a few hours, Artemis."

V barely saw his answering nod before she opened the window, and easily dropping the three stories to the street, London's youngest hero began her nightly patrols.

----------------------------------

Ranma was almost asleep when a strange feeling returned him to full consciousness, and without knowing why, the pigtailed boy sat up on his bed, gazing out of the window. Something didn't feel right about this night, and the sense of wrongness seemed to pull at the young boy. Glancing over to his father, the old man being sound asleep after stumbling into the room earlier, smelling of sake, Ranma decided that he could investigate the feeling alone. Dressing quickly, the pigtailed martial artist opened the window over his bed, dropping lightly to the ground and racing off toward whatever was causing his uneasiness.

----------------------------------

V was about halfway through her planned patrol route when she saw the mugger, a man trying to steal from a young couple at knifepoint, and the young crime fighter jumped into action. Without bothering to warn the mugger, V fired off two beams of her trademark yellow energy, striking the knife-wielding man in the left shoulder and leg. The man went down, but he quickly recovered, running from the little blonde in the seifuku. A grin formed on V's lips as she chased after the criminal, firing more beams in an attempt to steer the man toward a police box, and her plan was apparently successful as two of London's finest tried to stop the fleeing mugger. Unfortunately, the nimble criminal managed to dodge the club-wielding officers, ducking into an alley in an attempt to evade pursuit, and the two law enforcers joined the chase. As V raced past the two officers, she was surprised to see that one of them was the young strawberry-blonde officer that had tried to assist her against the daemon the previous night, but such thoughts were pushed to the periphery of her mind as the mugger picked up speed.

Realizing that her smaller stature gave adults an advantage, physically, against her, the blonde Senshi raised her right hand, and taking careful aim, V fired off another beam, striking the mugger in the back of his knee. The man went down atop a manhole cover in the middle of the street, clutching at the mild burn on his leg, and V stopped, allowing the police to run past her to apprehend the criminal. The little superhero watched as the older officer, a balding man looking to be in his mid-fifties, roughly hauled the would-be mugger off the ground and cuff him while the younger officer lifted her radio, calling for a wagon.

Smiling at yet another criminal apprehended, V was about to leave when everything went wrong.

----------------------------------

Seras stood on the curb, watching as her partner/superior pulled the suspect to his feet and handcuffed him, and the Cadet-Officer pulled her radio from its place on her belt, calling for a wagon. After getting an affirmative from dispatch, the young officer turned toward V, opening her mouth to thank the little crime fighter, but a loud crash followed by a sickening crunch refocused her attention on the street.

Somehow, the manhole cover on which the suspect had fallen was now on top of the man's head, and by the blood she could see pooling under his head, it had caused a rather nasty head injury. Automatically, Seras called dispatch and requested an ambulance, and before she had finished the call, Sailor V had already raced to the suspect's side, lifting the cover off of his head without apparent effort. As the young police officer moved to the suspect's other side, gently checking his vital signs, she could see her partner, club in hand, cautiously approaching the now open manhole. The suspect wasn't dead, but considering the fractures she could see on his skull, he would probably wish he were.

Her partner's scream immediately refocused Seras' attention, and she was shocked to see him halfway in the manhole, a look of terror and pain on his face. Thrashing, the older man scrabbled his fingers on the street, bloody trails forming on the asphalt as he vainly sought purchase. Seras and V raced forward, intent on helping him, and each blonde grabbed one of his blood-slicked hands, desperately trying to pull the man to safety. For a moment, it seemed like their efforts would succeed, but with a sickening wet crunch and a piercing scream from her partner, the older officer came out of the manhole sans his legs.

It took all of Seras will to avoid vomiting on the spot, but she managed to keep her wits enough to tear off her uniform blouse and apply pressure in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Her partner stopped screaming, and looking up, Seras saw that he had passed out, hopefully from the pain or shock rather than blood loss. V, for her part, was standing there, her face a study in fear and horror, but another voice, one speaking Japanese, snapped the little superhero out of her stupor. Seras chanced another look away from her lifesaving work and was surprised to see Genma Saotome's son standing in the street, staring at the macabre tableau.

----------------------------------

Ranma stared in momentary shock at the scene before him, horror suffusing his being, but the pigtailed boy snapped out of it quickly. Rushing forward, he began to remove the injured police officer's belt.

"What are you doing?" asked the strawberry-blonde police officer.

"He's going to need tourniquets to stop the bleeding," Ranma replied, not ceasing his work. "Take off your belt for the other leg."

The officer blinked once before complying, and by the time the young martial artist had removed the wounded man's belt, the police girl already had her belt around the man's left stump, pulling hard to cut off the blood flow. Ranma quickly copied her actions on the man's right.

"What happened?" asked the dark-haired boy.

"Something in that manhole tore off his legs," replied the young officer, tears in her eyes.

Clenching his jaw in anger, Ranma handed the police girl the belt he was tightening, and with a cold glint in his eyes, the blue-eyed boy stood and walked over to the blonde.

"You handled yourself pretty well yesterday," Ranma said without preamble. "Can you back me up?"

The young blonde looked terrified, but she nodded nonetheless. Nodding in reply, Ranma led the way toward the manhole, pausing only a moment to answer when the police officer asked, "What are you doing?"

"Killing whatever did this to him."

----------------------------------

Sailor V was surprised when Ranma asked her to back him up, and despite her intense fear, she nodded to the pigtailed boy, somewhat unnerved by the look in his eyes. They walked toward the manhole, the icy terror in her belly making her ignore the brief exchange between the officer and her pigtailed friend, and when they reached the yawning black opening, Ranma stared intently into the darkness.

V gathered some of her power into her hand, and a bright yellow sphere of energy appeared over her outstretched palm. A moment later, she dropped the improvised ball of light into the shadowed opening, and the two devil hunters got a look at what had taken the older officer's legs. It appeared to be a giant frog with yellow-orange, scaly skin and solid red eyes, and even as V was making the comparison, the daemon opened its mouth, revealing eight-centimeter, needle-like teeth. Before she could make any further observations, the creature's tongue whipped out, flying like lightning, and it was only by the thinnest margins that she was able to jump over the long, brown appendage.

A growl coming from her companion made her look up, and for a moment, their eyes met in silent communication. 'Are you ready?' Ranma's eyes seemed to ask, and V nodded. A moment later, the two fighters dropped into the storm drain, Ranma leading the way.

----------------------------------

After jumping over the beast's tongue, Ranma decided that it was time for the creature to die, and after confirming that he wasn't going to be alone in fighting the daemon, the pigtailed martial artist dropped into the manhole. As soon as his feet hit the ground, the frog creature jumped forward, it's mouth open as though to swallow him whole, but fortunately, a blast of yellow power from his companion struck the beast, knocking it off course enough for Ranma to dodge its attack. Though the daemon looked clumsy, it moved like lightning, and the pigtailed boy found himself hard pressed to avoid getting caught by the creature's tongue or clawed feet as it leapt madly around the storm drain.

Finally, deciding enough is enough, Ranma met the beast on its next charge, crying out, "Mouko Kaimon Ha!" Using his forearms to block the daemon's clawed limbs, the pigtailed boy planted a devastatingly hard flying kick into the beast's chin, snapping its gaping maw shut. The kick was powerful enough to send the daemon flying, and as it hit the wall, the blonde with him fired a powerful beam at the creature, severing one of its forelimbs.

Ranma smirked as the beast howled in anger and pain, and when it charged again, he thought, 'Now it's time to end this.'

Meeting the daemon's charge once more, Ranma called out, "Geimon Tetsu Sen Shi!" Stiffening his fingers with his ki, the pigtailed boy used the devastating Welcome Gates Iron Fan Fingers from the Yamasenken to drive his right hand deep into the beast's chest. Once his arm was buried up to his elbow, Ranma clenched his hand into a fist and twisted, the creature screaming in pain. Finally, Ranma pulled his arm out of the daemon's body and leapt back, shaking the appendage to remove the daemon's thick green blood. Surprisingly, the creature was still alive, but Ranma's companion rectified that by building up a surprising amount of her trademark yellow energy and blasting the daemon with a powerful beam aimed at the large wound the martial artist had put in the beast's chest. With a final cry of pain, the daemon slumped to the ground, its body rapidly decomposing into a puddle of green goo.

----------------------------------

V slumped against the wall after firing off the most powerful blast she had ever produced, but the small blonde Senshi had a tired smile on her face. Still shaking his blood-covered arm Ranma walked over to her, saying, "Good work. Say, I don't even know your name."

"I'm Sailor V," the girl replied.

"Sao—er Ranma Saotome," the pigtailed boy replied. "I'd offer to shake your hand, but…."

"No problem," answered the magical girl, eyeing the boy's hand.

Ranma glanced about, and a moment later, he walked over to a pool of runoff water, rinsing off his hand and inadvertently transforming into a girl. The redhead sighed, sounding annoyed, as the curse took effect.

"Damn it," Ranma muttered, "you'd think that after having this curse for a year, I'd remember it when I go to wash up."

By this time, V could hear quite a commotion from above, and she said, "I think we ought to make ourselves scarce, Ranma. I don't want to be out all night giving statements to the police."

Nodding in agreement, Ranma fell into step with V as they walked down the storm drain, intent on leaving the scene of London's latest daemon attack via another manhole.

----------------------------------

After climbing out of the storm drain through a manhole four blocks away, V said, "Well, I should be going. It was nice meeting you, Ranma."

"Likewise," replied the pigtailed girl. "If there are more daemons like that, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other."

Nodding cutely, V jumped to a nearby roof, racing away into the night. Ranma watched her go before turning toward the Aino home, her thoughts morose. After a quick, ten-minute walk, the redhead found herself back at the townhouse, and she was relieved to see that the window to the guest room was still open. As she leapt to the sill, something occurred to her: 'Why wasn't Sailor V surprised when I changed into a girl?'

----------------------------------

Author's Notes:

Well, I haven't updated this fic in over four years, so I guess it was due. I hope everyone enjoys it; I've revamped the plot, and in the next couple of chapters, the action is going to heat up. In any case, read, enjoy, and most importantly, review. Later all.