A Surviving Mau

Ranma ½, Sailor Moon, and any other series used in this fanfic are owned by their respectful owners. I do not own anything about them at all.

-Small pre-story Author's Note: Mrs. Tendo never had an official name, and Kimiko is a fan-made name. I honestly don't care much for the name 'Kimiko'.

"Speech"

'Thoughts'

//Cat Speak//

/Chinese/

Chapter 8

"Where Ranma?" Shampoo asked the group as they waited a few blocks away from the scene of the monster attack. It was almost 10 minutes after they had left the area, and there was no sign of the cat-boy anywhere. "He should have met with us by now."

Her great-grandmother gave a small nod. "You are correct. He would have found and met with us after the fight. That is, unless there's something preventing him from coming." The diminutive woman wasn't worried, though. She knew that the young Saotome could handle himself quite well, but there was the small matter that they couldn't just head over to the boy's mother and say that they didn't know where he was. "Miki," she began, "can you use your connection with the boy to find out anything that could be of use?"

Miki nodded and closed her eyes. Both she and Ranma shared a link of sorts. They couldn't communicate telepathically, but they had the ability to sense if the other was in or out of trouble. There were also times when they could gain a rough estimate of the other's surroundings. After a few moments, the young cat-girl opened her eyes. "Ranma's currently a girl and in kitten form. I can't really sense where she is, but she's fine and doesn't seem too worried. I think she's also being carried by a girl."

The others nodded. At least they knew the child was in safe hands if she was fine and calm. "Now we have to find her!" Shampoo shouted in annoyance. "Ranma no make it easy." The purple-haired girl sighed. "Why no just tell mother of Ranma she become excited about being back and decide to do little exploring? Miki say before that Ranma explore cities on own at nights two year ago."

Cologne stroked her chin in thought. "No, that won't do at all. The child's mother won't like the idea of her son running around instead of first visiting her. It would send a terrible message that Ranma would rather explore than meet her. The best thing to do would be to find Ranma first."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Back in the park, a different group was working on cleaning up some of the mess that was left behind by the strange creatures. "Pudding wonders who Sailor Mau really is!" The short blonde girl stated as she cleaned up some of the cake on the ground. "He should have told us who he really was."

"Well, it's apparent that he's not a Mew Mew." Mint responded. "But he does have the features of a cat." The dark-haired girl clapped her hands together and glanced towards Ichigo. "I think we finally found someone Ichigo can relate to! Maybe we could get the both of you together to talk about fish or yarn-balls!"

Ichigo leveled a glare at the girl. "That was so funny that I forgot to laugh." She stated dryly. "I actually do wish I was able to talk to him, but mostly because I want to know if he has some of the same problems I do." Of course, the redhead was mostly talking about the problem with her ears and tail popping out whenever she got excited. There was also the issue of actually changing into an actual cat with the threat of being stuck in the form forever if she spent too long in it.

"We have more pressing matters." Zakuro interjected as she set a few chairs up. "Those creatures from earlier couldn't have been Chimera Anima, and they seem to attack in large groups." Everyone nodded in agreement -- except for Mint. Her eyes were filled with hearts as she talked about how the older girl was so right.

"But what were they?" Lettuce asked in concern before falling over a chair that she had just set back up.

"Maybe the aliens do have something to do with it." Ichigo supplied with a frown.

"It's nice of you to think about us, Ichigo." A playful voice called out from above. The group glanced up to see Kish floating lazily in the air. "But I must admit that we actually don't have a part in this at all." As he lowered to the ground, he noticed the girls tensing up. "Don't get your tails in a twist." The alien stated with a wave of his hand. "The Bagu are the real threat for right now."

The name caused the group looked at Kish curiously. "What are the Bagu?" Ichigo finally asked.

"They're a nasty race of intergalactic parasites that feed on the blood of living creatures and move from planet to planet." A strange frown appeared on the Kish's lips. "It seems that they are going to try and do our job of killing off the humans for us." Before they could react, Kish teleported to a few inches from Ichigo. "That is, unless you manage to stop them, 'honey'." The alien then proceeded to vanish from the area.

"I really wish he would stop doing that." Ichigo stated after a moment of silence as she tried to kill her embarrassment. "Now we have to worry about creepy bug-like lizard things trying to suck the blood out of people!"

"Don't worry, we'll kick their butts!" Pudding shouted with a fist in the air. "And maybe that Sailor Mau will help us some more! Pudding wants to see him again."

Of to the side, Keiichiro and Ryou were having their own discussion over the sudden appearance of Sailor Mau. "Who was that kid? The only ones that were injected with animal DNA were me, Ichigo, and the others. His powers and abilities also seem to be way different than the girls' powers."

"I wouldn't worry too much." Keiichiro responded reassuringly.

"You know something, don't you?" The blond boy accused once he noticed his friend was hiding some information.

The older man stayed silent for a long moment before answering. "I did promise to him that I'd keep what little I found out a secret. It was in return for him keeping it secret that he spotted Ichigo's tail." Keiichiro couldn't help but chuckle at the exasperated look on his younger friend's face. "I may not have seen him become Sailor Mau, but I was able to quickly put two-and-two together. I know his name, so perhaps we can look for him later on and ask him how he acquired his animal genes."

Ryou nodded and wondered if they could get the boy to help. More help in combating the villains was always needed. "I'm more curious about whether the kid has a full cat form, and if he also runs the risk of getting trapped in it."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Several blocks away, a young girl of around nine was lounging on a sofa and snacking away on some potato chips. Her eyes were dark, and she had dark brown hair tied up in twin pigtails. Her name was Nabiki Tendo, and most people who knew her would state that her most defining attributes were her dry wit and sarcasm. Despite that, she was still a friendly, normal, and sweet girl.

Turning the page of the manga she was reading, Nabiki's cheeks turned a small shade of pink. 'Now I know why mom and dad keep this series hidden.' She thought as she continued to read.

"Nabiki!"

"Eep!" The middle Tendo daughter shouted as she leapt off of the sofa and turned around to come face-to-face with her older sister, Kasumi. Before Nabiki could act, her sister had swiftly reached out and pinched her hard on the cheek.

"You KNOW that we aren't supposed to be reading those. Mother and father told us that we weren't to even touch them." Kasumi let go as she finished.

"Nobody could ever accuse you of being weak." Nabiki deadpanned as she rubbed the sore spot on her cheek. "Honestly sis, way to be-- what's the word-- hypocritical. I've seen you sneak into mom and dad's room several times to take one to read." Smirking at the reddening cheeks of her sister, Nabiki flipped the book around in her hand. "At least I can say I was just curious about it. You, on the other hand, seem to have a naughty mind."

"I only read it because I like the story!" Kasumi argued as she continued to remain flustered. "M-- Maybe it is a little pervy, but the main characters make a great couple, and I like reading about Makoto and Yura's everyday lives."

Nabiki was going to have some more fun at teasing her thoroughly embarrassed sister, but was knocked out of her mirth when the entrance door was heard opening and closing. "We're back!" Nabiki recognized the voice as her younger sister's, and that meant their mother was back as well. Glancing quickly at the manga in her hands, the middle Tendo sister quickly shoved it into Kasumi's hand just as their sister and mother came into view.

"Kasumi," the tone in her mother's voice made the older sibling look up nervously, "that wouldn't happen to be my manga, would it?"

"Y-- Yes, it is." Kasumi responded hesitantly as she kept giving side-long glances to Nabiki. Her sister was acting completely innocent as she continued to eat her chips. "B-- But it's not what it looks like!" Kasumi was on the verge of panicking as her mother walked up and gently grabbed the book out of her hands.

Shizue held the book in her hands and examined it. After what seemed like a long moment, she noticed that the manga seemed to have been previously held by greasy fingers. Turning her eyes towards her second oldest daughter, the matriarch of the Tendo family noted that the brand of chips Nabiki was eating were greasier than most other brands. "Nabiki, how many times have I told you to wipe your hands so you don't leave spots on things?" Shizue had to suppress a smile as the girl in question sputtered before looking like a dear caught in the headlights. "Also, how many times have I told you to stop trying to get others in trouble and take responsibility for your own actions? I'm very disappointed, young lady."

"Sorry mama." Nabiki answered in a subdued voice. "I was just curious and wanted to read it to see what it was like."

Shizue's expression softened as she kneeled down in front of her second oldest. "It's alright, dear. I was angrier that you tried to frame your own sister for something you did. Just promise me that you won't do it again."

"I promise." Nabiki responded with a small smile and a nod. This earned her a kiss on the forehead from her mother.

"Good," the Tendo matriarch stated with a motherly smile, "now, I take it that your father is busy teaching some classes in the dojo right now?" At Kasumi and Nabiki's nods, Shizue slowly stood up and looked at her children. "The session should be about over, so I'm going to go check on him. Oh, and Akane, make sure you dry off your new friend."

"Okay, mama." Akane responded with a nod as she continued to hold the red-furred kitten form of Ranma in her arms. When her mother left the room, both of her older siblings glanced at her curiously. Their eyes widened when they noticed the small and furry feline in the youngest Tendo's arms. Needless to say, both girls were next to Akane so fast that it almost seemed as if they teleported.

The first one to comment was Nabiki as she stared at a certain spot on Ranma's forehead. "It has a really weird bald spot." The nine-year-old commented as she poked the kitten's forehead before picking Ranma up by the scruff of her neck. "Maybe you're some type of magical animal or something, huh?" Nabiki joked humorously as she held the kitten in place.

Thankfully, before Ranma could do or say anything to blow her cover, Akane managed to come to her rescue. "Don't be mean to her!" She shouted as she gave her sister a slap upside the head and gently took the kitten away from her. "She's just a kitten, and you could end up hurting her."

As Nabiki rubbed the side of her head and grumbled about violent sisters, Kasumi scratched Ranma behind her ear. "I think it's cute because it makes her unique." A sudden thought occurred to the older sister. "You haven't thought up a name for her yet, have you?"

Akane shook her head. It wasn't long before her eyes brightened as a name came to her. "Oh, I know a name for her!" The others in the room were silent as she smiled. "Her name can be C-chan! The 'C' would stand for the English word 'cat'!" Akane noticed the looks that she was receiving. "What? I think the name's cute."

"No offense, Akane, but you suck at naming animals." Nabiki stated with a half-lidded stare and hands on her hips.

Ranma had to agree with the assessment. 'Can't you be a little more original or something? Jeez, even Shampoo is more creative in her names than that.'

Before Akane could start an argument, Kasumi reached out and started to pet the kitten again. "I think I have a better name. The spot on her forehead is very smooth, and I keep being reminded of a gem of some kind. Maybe we can name her Nyoko?"

"That's using your brain, Kasumi." Nabiki commented as she gave her older sister a pat on the back. Turning to her younger, Nabiki smirked. "Looks like you need to work on your naming skills, Akane."

"You two just don't know good names when you hear them." Akane pouted as she held Ranma face-to-face. "You like the name C-chan, don't you?" she asked playfully. When the transformed child shook her head, Akane frowned. "If you weren't a kitten, I'd think that you knew what I said."

"Here you go, Akane." Kasumi stated softly as she handed her sister a small towel from almost out of nowhere. In her other hand was a small bowl of milk. Akane was going to ask how she did that, but decided to ignore it as she dried Ranma off and set her down onto the floor. Kasumi then set the bowl down on in front of the kitten. "I'm sure she's probably thirsty."

Ranma managed to suppress a sigh as she walked over to the bowl and began to lap up the milk. 'I'll never understand how cats can put up with this without feeling embarrassed.' At the same time, though, she was actually having fun. The trio of girls didn't know the truth about her, and they didn't seem too bad. 'It won't take too long for Miki and the others to find me, so maybe I'll just play along.' Ranma thought as she finished the bowl of milk. Suppressing her amusement, she glanced at all three of the Tendo daughters. "Nya!"

"I think Nyoko liked the milk!" Akane exclaimed happily as she picked Ranma up again. She still would have preferred to have called the kitten C-chan, but she guessed Nyoko was also a cute name.

The laughing of a male voice distracted the foursome from their activity. "So you girls already named it?" Ranma turned her head to spot a tall man dressed in a dark brown gi. His long black hair ended a little past his shoulders, and above his lip was a thin mustache. "I just hope you don't end up getting too attached. That kitten may very well belong to somebody else."

"I hope not! I won't let anyone take Nyoko!" Akane shouted as she raised a fist. "I'll punch anybody who tries to take her."

"Akane!" Shizue scolded as she crossed her arms. "I've told you many times to control your temper. Unnecessary violence solves nothing. Right, dear?" Mrs. Tendo asked as she glanced towards her husband.

Soun quickly nodded in agreement. "Yes, and it's also not becoming for a martial artist to go around wrongfully hurting people. I believe that I've also told you that, Akane."

"Yes mama, papa." Akane answered softly. In her arms, Ranma's ears perked up perked she learned that the girl was a martial artist. "I'll try harder to not lose my temper."

Her father nodded his head in approval. "See that you do, because starting tomorrow, I'll start training you in some higher forms of the Tendo Anything Goes martial arts. You've been doing well, and I think advancing you will be the perfect idea."

Akane's eyes brightened once she heard what her father had said. "You mean it, papa?!" At her father's nod, the youngest Tendo daughter hopped to her feet and proceeded to jump for joy. Akane wished that her sisters had a greater interest in martial arts so they had more in common, but it didn't really matter too much. In her arms, Ranma was trying to not feel dizzy with all the jumping, and was also planning on watching the father-daughter duo practice.

Soun could only chuckle at his daughter's excited behavior. 'Ah the joys of teaching a child in the art.' A stray thought managed to filter its way into his head. 'I wonder how my old training partner, Genma, is doing on his training trip with his son.'

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

In a moderately lit room located within the Amazon village of Joketsuzoku, the matriarchs were having a meeting. They were welcoming back one of the elders who had been away on a trip to visit some relatives who were living somewhere in Europe. /It's so good to see that you have returned safely, Elder Fang-Hua./ One of the younger elders, an elderly woman of around 80-years-old with graying red hair, greeted with a kind smile.

Fang Hua, a woman of around 120 with short white hair in a bun style, nodded in response. /I thank you for the kind greeting, Elder Mei-Lien. I am most curious to know of what has happened in my 10 month absence. Where, by chance, is Elder Kho Lon?/

/She's currently on a trip in Japan with her great-granddaughter, young Ranma Saotome, and Ranma's friend Miki. The purpose was so that young Ranma could meet up with his mother again./ An elder who's hair had a green tint to it provided.

/Ah yes, the cat-child./ Fang-Hua observed as she scratched her chin. /It was a pleasure to get to know him, as well as his friend. His father, though, is a completely different story. I assume you got rid of that useless oaf?/

Mei-Lien's response was an evil smile. /Not exactly, Fang-Hua. You see, the fat oaf thought that he could break into elder Kho Lon's home and snoop around. He also thought that he could attack Xian Pu's father and escape from everyone by using a weird technique that allowed him to disappear from view entirely. We were thinking about just putting him to death, but he managed to CONVINC us that he'd do anything to prevent it. After he finished up with whatever we had in mind, he would leave and never set foot within a mile of this place./ The other elders cackled in amusement.

The returning elder was most curious as to what the others had decided for the fool. /So, what punishment did you decide was most suitable?/

Mei-Lien continued to smile as she held up a small bell. /Oh nothing much, just a little fun with that new Instant Jusenkyou product and the Cat's Tongue pressure point./ The red-haired woman proceeded to ring the bell. "Oh Genma, please be a good little servant and bring us some tea, please!"

After a few moments of silence, the sound of feet could be heard shuffling towards them. It wasn't long before a figure emerged from the doorway with a large tray of cups, water, and a tea kettle. The figure was obviously female, but she was slightly thick-bodied, and her head lacked any hint of hair whatsoever. Her eyes were small, and she wore a pair of glasses that were held in place by a strap that was positioned behind her ears. Her feet were bare, and a pair of shackles hanging from her ankles made sure that she couldn't run. Around her neck was a thick collar, and the only other thing she wore was a Chinese-style mini-dress. It was obvious that finger and toenails were painted, and there were traces of make-up on her face. Said face had obvious disgust and embarrassment of the whole situation.

"Your tea… honorable elders." Genma softly stated in a strained voice. She HATED what they had done to HIM. These WOMEN had alerted all of the guards and warriors of the village about HIS Umisenken, and so she had more people watching her than ever. The collar around her neck also had some weird seal on it that actually prevented her from molding her energy to even be able to USE the sealed arts. Turning around, she made her way towards the doorway to leave, but she was stopped in her tracks by the voice of Mei-Lien.

"Oh you don't have to leave so soon. Why don't you stay here and join us for a little while, sweetie?" The very voice caused the now female Genma to shiver in complete revulsion, but she ended up obeying and sitting down. It was best to not do something that could make the situation even WORSE. "That's a good girl. See, you can do this if you just put your mind to it."

"I think I already learned my lesson. Could I just have that phoenix pill so I can leave?" Genma whined as she felt her embarrassment continue to skyrocket. "You told me that it would reverse that stupid cat's tongue point, and I think almost two weeks is enough!"

Mei-Lien tsked as she shook her head. "I'm sorry dear, but I should have told you."

"T-- Told me what?" Genma asked nervously. She didn't like the sound of this.

"The phoenix pill CAN cure you, and we WILL give it to you. However, we don't HAVE a pill ready right now." It was an outright lie, and everyone in the room -- except for Genma -- knew it. "We are working on creating one, but it could take around a year and a half to two years to actually make."

Genma was completely shell-shocked. "A-- A year and a half to two years? I'm going to be stuck like this for almost two years?!" Just what kind of savages WERE these people.

The red-haired matriarch patted Genma on the shoulder. "Now, now, don't get all panicky. There ARE a couple options you can take." Genma's head snapped right into her direction. "You can end up changing back to your original form, but it would be VERY painful, and once you turned into your normal curse, you'd be completely stuck as a panda. Of course, you can also stay as you are now and actually go about the two years as a human who can communicate with other people properly instead of a voiceless animal that uses signs from nowhere. Now, doesn't the second option sound like a much better one than turning into a smelly and hairy animal?"

Genma contemplated over it for a moment. She hated being female, and she got used to her other form. When she thought about it though, it actually seemed like they were going easier on her by still letting her be human. Being female was STILL something she completely hated, but she figured it was better than being an animal. So, with great reluctance, Genma nodded her head. "I think I prefer the second option."

"Good!" Mei-Lien stated with a clap of her hands. "In the meantime, I think we might actually have some fun helping you get to know your feminine side!"

"W-- WHAT?!" Genma shouted as she shot to her feet. All around her, the elders cackled evilly in amusement. "No way in hell are you going to turn me even more girly. I'm a man! I will not allow you all to turn me into even more of a weak-minded female!" Genma slapped her hand over her mouth, but it was far too late to prevent the words from coming out.

The room suddenly became chilled as several pairs of eyes attempted to glare holes into her body. Finally, Mei-Lien -- the one that Genma would identify as being the source of the entire injustice -- stood up and stared right into the man-turned-woman's eyes. If possible, the evil smile from earlier turned more sinister. "Is that so? Well, it looks like this is going to be even more satisfying than I thought." Taking a finger, she poked Genma in the chest. "Genma, we are going to have so much fun in helping you get in touch with your feminine side that it will make the choice you made seem even WORSE than the possibility of being stuck as a panda. We will begin first thing tomorrow morning. You are dismissed."

Genma started to protest, and she ended up having to be dragged out of the room by a pair of guards. "NO! STOP! HAVE MERCY! I didn't mean what I saaaaiiiiidddd!!!"

Once Genma had been properly dragged off, Mei-Lien turned towards her fellow elders. /Another order of business has presented itself to us. All in favor of obtaining some Drowned Girl Spring so that our lovely young lady can continue her punishment even after it is all over?/

/But Mei-Lien, you know as well as we do that the water directly from the springs is completely unpredictable./ One of the more shriveled and diminutive elders, Elder Dao-Ming, provided.

/You are correct, Dao-Ming. However, even if the results aren't to what we expected, the end result will still be the same./ The elders murmured amongst themselves for a little while before finally agreeing upon the choice of action. Mei-Lien smiled ever so evilly as she tapped her fingers together. /Excellent./

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ranma watched in silence as Soun and Akane practiced by going over a few warm-ups before starting with the real training. It was the morning of the next day, and Ranma was starting to get real antsy as she waited for Miki and the others to find her. She could have just upped and left, but a nagging feeling in the back of her mind prevented her from doing so. The family had been quite kind to her, and Ranma felt that outright leaving wasn't a good way to pay them back. 'Why am I thinking about it so much?' The kitten thought to herself as she scratched at the ribbon around her neck. 'Maybe this has something to do with it.'

The ribbon was a simple little black cloth that the oldest daughter, Kasumi, made for her. The family agreed that even though someone might come looking for her later, they could still give her a present to make her seem like a member of the family. Akane wanted to use a big pink bow, but it was felt that small and simple was a much better choice.

When she wanted to, Akane could be quite stubborn in something she wanted, and would end up pouting if she didn't get it. That was actually what happened the night before when Akane learned that she couldn't let 'Nyoko' sleep in her bed. After a little while, both Shizue and Soun agreed that 'Nyoko' could sleep in Akane's room, but on some sheets on the floor. Needless to say, Akane had also slept on the floor next to 'Nyoko's makeshift bedding.

A voice brought Ranma out of her thoughts. "If I didn't know any better, Nyoko, I'd say you liked martial arts." The kitten turned her attention to the speaker to see Shizue. Ranma soon found herself being gently picked up and held in the arms of the Tendo matriarch. "My husband is such an excellent man and martial artist." She knew that the kitten couldn't understand her, but that wasn't important. "He has such a strong will, and I'm proud to have him as the father of my children." Shizue's lips twitched in amusement. "He does have rare moments where he can become such a baby though, but that's just between me and you."

Ranma wondered why the woman was talking to her like the way she was. 'She probably just wants to talk to somebody she feels won't speak back or something.' The child-turned kitten thought to herself. Ranma was also trying to figure out what sensed 'off' about the Tendo matriarch. It was as if the woman was feeling ill. 'I sensed this once before when I visited the village healers. The senior healer was giving the same feeling.'

"What are you doing here!?" The shout shook Ranma out of her thoughts, and both she and Shizue glanced into Soun's direction to see that the man was glaring at the rear opening of the dojo. Standing just outside was a man of almost 20 with short black hair. "I told you to never set foot anywhere near my house again!" Whoever the man was, Ranma was sure that he must have done something terrible to enrage Soun so much.

The young man gulped as he tried to get what he wanted to say out. "T-- Tendo-san, I came to apologize and see if you could accept me as a student again."

"Never." Soun stated with all the force he could muster. Akane, meanwhile, ran over to her mother, and her older sisters arrived to figure out what all the shouting was about. "You used your abilities in a wrongful matter, and such acts could have disgraced the Tendo Anything Goes! No true martial artist tries to use their abilities to force themselves onto and almost sexually assault young girls!"

The young man managed to calm himself. "Tendo-san, it was a mistake, and I have learned my lesson. Please, can I continue learning--"

What happened next caused Ranma's eyes to bug out. The Tendo patriarch's head seemed to grow several sizes and take on a truly demonic look. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!" Soun bellowed as loud as he could. The unwanted guest froze in place at the sight of the Demon Head technique. "I will not allow honorless slime a means to cause even more harm!"

"Hey! Who are you calling honorless slime?" The young man asked as his demeanor seemed to change. "How dare you say such a--" Soun was on him in an instant and grabbed him by his shirt. "H-- Hey, let me go!"

"I'm only going to say this one more time, young man. I will not start training you again. Now, are you going to leave quietly, or do I have to throw you over the wall?"

"Soun!" Shizue shouted as she ran over to the two. She had set Ranma down back near her daughters so she could calm her husband. "Soun, it's not worth it. Come on; let's just have the police handle it if he doesn't leave."

Soun began to calm down thanks to his wife. He was about to let the young man go when the man started to grumble to himself. "Oh yeah, you're a real big man; letting your damn wife tell you what to do." It was too bad for him that Soun heard him and was about to get angry again.

"Soun, please, remember what you tell Akane. A martial artist shouldn't let their emotions get the better of them!" The statement caused her husband to halt. That was true; what kind of example was he setting. "So come on honey, let's just--" Shizue's sentence was cut off as she started to cough.

"Shizue!" Soun shouted before turning his head back to the now slightly worried young man. "Get out of here, now." That time, the trespasser nodded as he turned around and ran off. The Tendo patriarch focused his attention onto his wife, and the sight of his daughters -- with kitten in arms -- running up to them with worried expressions on their faces. "Shizue, can you stand?" He asked softly as he held out a hand.

His wife took his hand after one last cough. "Y-- Yes, I can stand. I think I need to lie down though." She got to her feet and allowed her husband to hold her steady as they walked off and headed towards their bedroom.

Silence reigned for a long moment between the young sisters and kitten. Finally, Akane shakily broke the silence. "Y-- you think mama will be okay?"

"Hasn't she coughed like that before and they said that it was nothing?" Nabiki added with her own hint of worry.

"She has." Kasumi answered with a slow nod before her eyes took on a glare of determination. "Let's go and find out what's wrong. I won't believe that it's just nothing." Her sisters didn't need anymore incentive than that to go and check to see if there was anything they could do.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Soun pulled the door closed behind him as he exited his and his wife's bedroom. As he did so, he noticed that he had three -- four because of Ranma -- pairs of eyes staring intently at him. After an uncomfortable silence, he answered by placing a finger to his lips. "Shh, your mother is trying to rest. It's best to not disturb her."

Kasumi was the first to speak. "Father, we want to know what is wrong with mother. Don't you dare try and tell us that it is just a passing cold. This has happened before, and we want the TRUTH." She ended her statement with a glare at her father. She was immediately joined by her younger sisters.

If the circumstances weren't so serious, Soun would have found the glares to be adorable. With a sigh, he motioned for his daughters to follow him. It was time that they finally knew the truth. "I guess it's time you three finally know what's going on. Your mother has a sickness that's too far along to be able to cure."

"W-- What's that mean?" Akane asked in fear. "Does that mean she won't get better?"

"It's best if you three come and sit down so I can explain it to you." Their father answered as he started to walk off. The sisters made to follow him, but Ranma managed to jump out of Akane's arms.

"Nyoko?"

"Just let Nyoko be for now, Akane." Kasumi stated softly as she pulled her sister. "I read once that animals are able to sense illness." Akane reluctantly nodded as she followed her siblings to get to know what was really wrong with their mother.

As soon as they were out of view, Ranma turned around and headed towards the bedroom. Since the door was already ajar, she could sneak in without disturbing it and alerting anyone of her presence. Quietly, Ranma entered the bedroom and stalked over towards the bed. Bending her back legs, she built up a little power and leapt up onto the bed. Luckily, she didn't land on Shizue and disturb her. 'Now, what exactly am I looking for?' Ranma thought as climbed onto the Tendo matriarch's chest and stared at the woman's sleeping visage. Softly padding over to Shizue's face, the child-turned-kitten placed her forehead gently onto the ill woman's.

Closing her eyes, Ranma concentrated some power into the symbol on her head. A faint glow soon sprung to life and illuminated the area around the two. It was a year ago when Ranma first learned that there was an ability that only her cat form could do. The knowledge was one of the things that she obtained from the original Sailor Mau's memories. Apparently by activating the symbol on her forehead, she could observe certain memories of the one she's using the ability on. She also had access to a type of hypnosis ability while only in cat form as well. Ranma didn't fully have the hang of either, and she was limited in how long she could keep it activated.

After about a minute, Ranma finally learned where the problem was. Cutting off the power to the symbol on her head, Ranma backed up few feet before leaping off the bed. As she landed, she transformed into her human form. Standing up, the redhead turned towards the bed and gently laid her hands onto Shizue's chest. 'It looks like I'm going to be spending a few days completely stuck in kitten form.' Ranma thought with a sigh as she got to work gathering all of the raw magic she could and molded it so that she could use it for healing. Next, the energy traveled down into her hands and began to spread throughout the targeted area. About 30 seconds into it, Ranma was already beginning to feel the strain of using too much of her power. Finally, after another minute, she cut off the flow of magic and fell backwards. As soon as she landed on the floor, Ranma's form wavered and changed into her kitten form. Weakly getting back to her feet, the child-turned-kitten managed to leap back up onto the bed and walk over to the sleeping woman. Closing her eyes, Ranma attempted to sense and see if there was still some of the illness left. It was very feint, but she could sense that it was still there. 'It's not as strong as before though. Great, it seems that I'll have to do this again until it's fully gone!' Ranma thought with a sigh as she climbed up onto Shizue's chest and curled up. 'Note to self: big illnesses suck to cure. I also end up feeling sleepy.' With a yawn, the child-turned-kitten closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Shizue's eyes flittered open a couple of hours later. Bringing a hand to her mouth, she yawned and began to stretch. For reasons she couldn't understand, she felt better than she had in a long while. She felt like she did before she first learned of her illness, and part of her wondered if it was some kind of trick or dream. There was, however, something lightly pressed against her chest. Lifting her head, Shizue noted that the small kitten that they had brought home yesterday was sound asleep. With a feint smile, the Tendo matriarch reached up and gently scratched the kitten at the base of her ear. A soft purr called back as Shizue continued to scratch. As she began to slowly push herself up into a sitting position, Shizue gently scooped Ranma into her arms.

"You're such a sweetie to spend some time with me, Nyoko." She thought with a giggle as she pulled her covers off and stepped out of bed. "Now why don't we just go and see what everyone else is up to?" With kitten in arms, Shizue made her way out of the bedroom and towards the family room where her family most likely was. As soon as she arrived in the room, her daughters -- who were previously watching TV -- saw her and ran towards her.

"Daddy told us everything; please say it's not really true!" Akane shouted as she wrapped her arms around her mother's leg and began to cry. Right next to her, Nabiki was trying to stop the tears from coming out of her own eyes.

"You shouldn't have kept something like this a secret!" Kasumi got out as she wiped her eyes. "It wouldn't hurt as bad if we were told a while back."

Shizue gently put a hand onto her eldest daughter's head. "You are right, honey. We really should have told you sooner, but I was too scared to tell you all." Casting her eyes ahead, she noted that her husband had a worried look on his face.

"Are you feeling any better after your rest?" Soun asked softly.

His wife nodded. "I feel wonderful, actually. I haven't felt this good since I heard the news from the doctor." A playful smile appeared on her lips as she decided to try and lighten the mood. "Maybe Nyoko here has something to do with it. She was sleeping on my chest when she woke up. Could it be that we have a magical kitten in our midst?"

Nabiki raised her hand. "That's what I said when I first saw the spot on her head!" Neither she nor her siblings forgot about their mother's illness, but they were glad that another subject was brought up.

"Oh, I think you woke her up, Nabiki." Shizue commented as Ranma began to stretch and yawn in her arms. Deep blue eyes snapped open and glanced around before centering on Shizue.

"Nya" The kitten stated as she glanced towards the ground. Figuring out what she wanted, the Tendo matriarch gently sat her down on the floor. Once down, Ranma proceeded to stretch lazily.

"Cats can be such lazy creatures." Nabiki joked as she and her sisters kneeled down and began petting the feline. They never noticed that there was a knock at the front door, nor did they notice their mother go to answer it. However, the next moment was one that would cause all three to freeze.

"Girls," Shizue began as she re-entered the room, "we have a guest, and I believe that she's the owner of our little friend." The Tendo girls' heads quickly snapped into her direction. Three pairs of eyes watched as a girl of around Akane's age with long pink hair and clear blue eyes appeared. Her hair also contained black highlights that seemed to be natural. She also had what appeared to be a fuzzy pink belt around her waist.

"Ran!" The pink-haired girl shouted as she walked up to Ranma and kneeled down in front of her. "I've been looking all over for you! Why did you go and make us worry like that?" The response she got was a few nyas and a swishing tail. Of course, she actually knew the meaning behind the nyas.

//I've been waiting for you guys, Miki! I can't explain now, but I ended up using a lot of raw magic earlier. I also need a way to come back later on once I'm rested!//

Miki nodded before shaking her head. "You can whine all you want, Ran, but that doesn't mean you are out of trouble." Reaching down, Miki grabbed Ranma and pulled the kitten into her arms and stood up. She was soon face to face with the three Tendo sisters.

"You're taking Nyoko away, aren't you?" Akane accused with crossed arms.

"Yeah, seems so." The pink-haired girl responded while scratching the back of her head. "But hey, maybe I can bring her over to visit sometime? I think she may have had a great time here."

"You mean it? Nabiki asked with a pointed stare.

Miki nodded. "Of course!"

It took a little more conversing before Miki could finally leave with Ranma. As soon as they left the Tendo compound, they met up with the Amazons. Ranma was also finally able to speak again without having to use cat sounds. "I'm now stuck like this for about five days." She said with a sigh. "Their mother had a very bad illness, and I tried using my magic to heal it. I was able to heal her, but I'll need to do it a few more times before she is completely better."

"At least magic good for something." Shampoo commented before her lips turned into a smirk. "You should be used to being kitten by now."

"I am, eggplant-head." The name caused Shampoo to glare. "I just hate when I'm stuck in this form. It limits what I can do by a lot." Ranma's face suddenly flashed in excitement. "Hey, we can go see my mom now!"

Cologne raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure that's wise, child? You are currently stuck as a kitten. Perhaps we should wait until you can regain your human form."

"I don't care! I wanna meet my mom. I don't want to be delayed any longer." She didn't really think it mattered. She would be back to normal within five days. "I think I'll also need some hot water when we get there."

"That really make a lot of difference." Shampoo commented with a rolling of her eyes. "Then again, it make sense coming from flea-fur." The statement caused Ranma's fur to stand on end.

"Are you trying to start something?" The transformed child raised her paws to reveal her claws. "C'mon, I'll take you on right now even though I'm stuck as a kitten!"

"Too, too easy to humiliate." Shampoo shot back with another smirk. "Maybe even show later."

"You're on!" Ranma answered back as she pointed a paw towards the purple-haired girl. "I may be stuck as a kitten, but I'll show you that I'm still a martial artist." Her abilities may have been severely limited as a kitten, but that didn't mean she was completely helpless.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"I'm coming!" Nodoka called out as she made her way to the entrance to answer it. She wasn't expecting any company, and so she didn't have a clue to who it could be. Slowly opening the door, the auburn-haired woman poked her head outside. "Hello?"

"Nodoka Saotome," the diminutive and elderly woman began, "I'm Elder Cologne of the Joketsuzoku. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

Nodoka thought for a moment. "Elder Colo-- wait, does that means you brought Ranma and his friend with you?" She asked as she flung open the door.

"Yep, we're right here, mama!" A small red-furred kitten with a black ribbon around its neck shouted as it was being carried by a pink-haired girl. "But I kind of used a bit too much magic earlier, and I think I told you in the letters that--" Ranma suddenly found herself out of Miki's arms and in one of her mother's. Nodoka's other arm was also giving Miki a gentle hug.

"You could end up being stuck as a kitten for a few days?" Nodoka finished with a small smile. "Ranma, at the moment, I don't care; just as long as I am able to see you again." The woman's lips twitched in amusement. "You're also just too adorable as a kitten!" Nodoka then recalled the other people who had arrived with Ranma and Miki. Calming herself and attempting to regain a dignified appearance, she proceeded to welcome them. "I apologize for getting too carried away. Please, won't you come in?"

Cologne cackled in amusement as she and the others followed the Saotome matriarch inside the house. Maybe Nodoka Saotome wasn't that bad at all.

xxA.Nxx

And so, Ranma is now stuck in kitten form for about a week due to over-use of magic to try and heal Mrs. Tendo. But as nothing is ever truly simple and easy, Shizue still isn't fully cured. It seems that Ranma will become well acquainted with magic exhaustion for quite a while.

Of course, Ranma would probably have to reveal to the Tendos sooner or later that he was the kitten. Maybe even if he becomes friends with them.

Huh, now that Ranma is back in Japan and living with his mother, he'd have to end up going to school. Maybe even Miki and Shampoo would be convinced to go as well.