AN: Sorry it took so long, but here is the sixth chapter. I was hoping that starting another story would mean that I would be able to work on one when I was stuck on the other. Unfortunately I ended up with two stories I'm not updating. As always I appreciate your patience and feedback. I would also love your ideas for chapter titles.
Thursday evening found the scouts gathered at the outers house. Even Setsuna had been caught on one of her infrequent trips home and dragooned into joining.
"What is going on you three?" asked Rei. "You've been agitated since you called."
"Today we witnessed a youma attack, and the person who stopped it." A brief silence was followed closely by a volume of questions that overwhelmed the ears of the three younger outer scouts.
"Hold on!" Haruka shouted. "Let her finish.!" Michiru nodded at her lover.
"The three of us were out shopping when we heard a scream from a nearby lot. When we got there we found a youma attacking a young redhead." This was as far as she got before being interrupted again.
"You saw Eclipse?!" seemed to be the general theme of the vocal explosion her announcement had caused.
"Hush! We don't know if the girl was Eclipse or not! She said attacking not fighting!" Haruka's voice rose above the crowd. Once the others had settled back down, Haruka gestured for Michiru continued her tale.
"Thank you dear. Indeed the girl was caught in the youma's grip and seemed no different then any normal girl. In fact we were about to transform and step in when the youma got attacked with what looked like a ball of azure fire. When it dropped the girl a figure appeared and caught her, got her out of the way, then disappeared again. Not left, mind you. Simply faded from sight. Then something began to attack the youma directly. The beast lashed out blindly and caught the attacker by sheer chance. The invisibility ended when it hit the wall." She drew a breath, preparing for the storm her word were going to bring. "It was a guy."
Silence settled over the room for a bare moment before exploding into a cacophony of shouting.
"Girls if you want me to answer questions you need to be quiet!" Michiru shouted over the noise. It took several minutes, but eventually order was restored and the assembled girls sat back down.
"Okay, quick answers. No, we don't know who he was or how he was doing what he did. No he wasn't transformed. I have no idea if he is single, nor do I care." The others looked at Minako, who blushed. "I have seen him before, briefly in the Deep Aqua Mirror when I was trying to find Eclipse. When I tried to use it to find more info on him, it refused to react at all."
"Did he have black hair in a pigtail and was really handsome and looked extremely strong?" asked Rei. Hotaru nodded. "That sounds like the same vision I have been seeing in the sacred fire."
"Hold on a moment," Makoto said as she dug into her purse. She turned back and laid a picture on the table. "Is this what he looked like?"
"That's him!" Haruka exclaimed. "Don't tell me he's your old sempai!" Makoto spared a moment to glare at the tall blond.
"No. Some rude girl was at the Kilrin dojo where I practice. She was looking for the boy in this picture. I know master Kilrin knew something, but he refused to tell her or me, even after she left. He just said some people deserved to live their own lives." Makoto kept a close eye on Usagi as she pulled out the other photo. "The funny thing is she was also looking for this girl." Makoto set the other picture down on top of the previous one. The room went deathly still. Usagi's eyes went wide and her mouth worked up and down, but no sound emerged. The others were in a similar state, except Setsuna who sat as if frozen.
"Tha…" Usagi swallowed. "That's my sensei." Slowly all heads swiveled to look at her. She cringed a bit at the sudden attention. "I didn't say anything yet because I wanted to be sure. I didn't think every one would come. I was hoping to convince Ami to come along and scan her to find out." She reached out and took Setsuna's hand. " Please understand, I didn't want to get your hopes up till we knew for sure." Setsuna attempted a small smile to reassure her princess. Usagi smiled back and looked around the room.
"I suppose this means everyone is coming tomorrow?" The resulting pillow barrage left her buried beneath a mound of the fluffy projectiles.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
That same evening Ranma sat by the lake shore. As he stared out over the gently lapping waves he considered his life. For a decade he had been dragged across the majority of Asia, suffering torture disguised as training. Then he spent two years being the proverbial whipping boy for an entire town full of lunatics. Now here he sat, living alone out of a tent, scrapping by on just enough money to buy food, and the happiest he had ever been.
The sudden gust of wind caused enough spray to change him to her, but was no where near enough to wash the smile from her face. Sticking her tongue out at the lake she stood and returned to the small clearing with her tent. Tomorrow, Usagi and her friends would be expecting her at Lancre Park. It was nice enough, but a bit too popular for Ranma's liking. Still she had a student, and soon might have more. She hummed a bit to herself as she prepared a quick meal of rice and dried fish. She briefly wondered how long this could last. Kuno had already been by, and Master Kilrin said Nabiki had shown up with pictures, looking for her. How long till Nabiki or the amazons tracked her down, or Ryoga popped out of nowhere. Not that she couldn't deal with either of them, but she'd rather not. In fact there was almost no one from her past she wanted to see. Tofu or Kasumi, so long as it wasn't at the same time. Or Akane.
She sighed to herself, her good mood faded. She missed Akane. They would never have worked as a couple, they were too much alike. But they could have been such good friends if the parents had given them a chance. If her foot wasn't always in her mouth. If Akane could control her anger. She sighed again. Despite the disagreements, she wished Akane the best. Maybe now that she was gone Akane could have a more normal life.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Akane stood alone in the dojo. Though the equipment was stacked properly along one wall, and the shrine sat in it's usual spot on the shelf, the room felt empty. Gone was the exuberance and life that a certain aquatransexual had brought to everything he did. Probably forever. In her mind she replayed the scene of so many weeks ago. When Nodoka and Genma had dared to sit in judgment over a boy with far more honor then either of them. How they had demanded that Ranma bow to their whims. They had insulted his honor and dignity. Said that his actions in dealing with those around him were a disgrace
Finally Ranma had turned to leave the room, and Nodoka had dared to draw her sword. Genma bellowed that Ranma would be stricken from the clan records if walked out that door. Neither had expected the response they received. In the blink of an eye Ranma had the Saotome honor blade away from the woman who claimed to be his mother.
"I would have far more honor as a ronin then as a member of this family." The words had been barely above a whisper, but cut through all the noise and bluster of the two fools. He had then grasped the blade in both hands, and with a clear ringing noise, not unlike a bell, snapped it in two. Tossing the pieces onto the floor in front of him he had turned and left. Appearing moments later with his backpack, he bowed to Kasumi and thanked her for her hospitality. Turning to Akane he gave a sad smile and a quiet goodbye. Then he exited the house and leapt over the wall. That was the last she saw of him. Gone from her life as quickly as he had entered it.
Turning to look out over the koi pond she gave a small smile.
"Good luck Ranma. Wherever you are."
AN: That is it for this chapter. Shorter then I wanted but at least it is getting somewhere.
Next time: Ranma meets the Senshi!