Chaos Lord Productions Brings You.
Stars in the Sky
Written by Chaos Lord
Disclaimer: All entities and devices in this story belong to their respective owners.
WARNING: Extreme OOC ahead. If slavish adherence to the originals are your bag, read no further.
Chapter 2 – Meet the Alexanders
The streets of Nerima were oddly quiet considering the momentous occasion which was occurring. Ranma, nexus of chaos and troublemaker extraodinare, was leaving. Perhaps, the ward was in mourning. With him gone, things would be much quieter. Oh sure, it wouldn't be instant, but eventually the citizens would look around and realize that things were not as they were supposed to be. Whatever the reason, as Ranma and his companion, Kasumi Tendo, crossed into Itabashi, they did so to little fanfare.
Looking at her boyfriend, Kasumi could not help but notice that he had calmed down significantly with their passing into a new ward. "Well, we're out of Nerima. Care to tell me why we are heading to Minato via Itabashi?"
"I don't want the others follown' us. If we go straight to Minato we'd leave a path even Ryoga could follow. I figure I have enough money for the two of us to take the subway'n bus all over the place."
"And hopefully loose them in one other the other wards," finished Kasumi with a smile. The plan was sound enough. For western minds Tokyo was a hard city to grasp. They hear that the place is separated into wards and think it is similar to how cities in America are divided up. A ward to them was no different than downtown, or the west side. But in Tokyo, the various wards were more like small towns who operated independently from one another yet still remained under the larger Tokyo umbrella The ease with which one could get hopelessly lost in the sprawling metropolis was astounding. By actually obfuscating their trail, even an experienced tracker like Shampoo would have a difficult time following them.
For the next several hours, the couple explored the seemingly endless labyrinth that was the Tokyo metropolitan transit system. Though their primary motive was escape, Ranma and Kasumi treated it as a date/adventure. Neither teen had really seen much of the city beyond the boarders of Nerima, so it was the perfect opportunity for some sightseeing. Slowly, they wound their way back and forth through nearly every ward Tokyo had to offer.
It was nearly seven o'clock by the time Ranma and Kasumi finally made it to the Alexander home. The place was positively huge. Without exaggeration, it was at least as big as the Tendo home and Dojo combined and with all he empty space filled. Built in the new style, someone had taken great pains to reduce the coldness of the building with a multitude of foliage.
Kasumi looked over at her love with wide eyes. "Did you know it was this big?"
Ranma shook his head. "Hell no. Mom told me gramps had worked with the ambassador, but I didn't think of this."
"Well, I guess we should go in," offered Kasumi helpfully. But Ranma didn't move a muscle. "Ranma, it will okay."
"How'd you know," asked the pig-tailed martial artist softly. "I mean I aint exactly all hoity toity."
"And I love you for it," she replied as she took his hand. "They will too."
"What if they don't?"
Kasumi smiled, "Then we will march over to the park we passed and set up there."
"Ya'd do that for me?"
"Try and stop me. Now, are you coming, or will I have to drag you?" When he started to laugh, Kasumi felt her heart lighten. To her, Ranma was at his best when he was laughing. That he had done so much of it since last night meant the world to her.
"Okay, okay," he laughed heartily. "I'll go. Not even married an I'm bein' henpecked," grumbled Ranma with a smile.
As they walked up to the front door, Kasumi giggled. "Well I wouldn't want you to go without it."
"Oh great," he groaned.
Stepping up onto the front doorstep, Kasumi pressed the doorbell. As she stood there beside her love, the eldest Tendo tightened her grip upon his hand. "Don't worry," she winked. "I have a good feeling about this."
The couple stood there for a few moments before the door slowly opened. Its opening reveled to the pair a woman. A few strands of gray hair among a mane of auburn and the occasional wrinkle were the only signs of the woman's true age. "Oh, you must be Ranma."
Ranma blinked. "How did you know?"
"You have your grandfather's eyes. Besides, a grandmother knows," she said with a smile and wink. Turning her gaze to Ranma's companion, the Alexander matriarch bowed. "My name is Yori Alexander. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
"Oh," gasped Kasumi before executing a bow of her own. "I am Kasumi Tendo, and the pleasure is mine Mrs. Alexander."
"Please dear, call me Yori."
Again Kasumi bowed, "I am honored."
"Kasumi, I really hope you are not this formal all the time. We tend to be rather laid back around here."
"Don't see how mom came from ere' then," muttered Ranma.
A film of sadness formed over Yori's eyes. "Nodoka was always wrapped up in her on little world." As quickly as it formed, her depression lifted. "Come now, let's get a look at you." With gentle, but firm, hands she twisted and turned Ranma back and forth as if he were a side of beef. "Hmm, strong lines. Straight back. You certainly lack any of Genma's more negative physical traits."
Used to being manhandled by women, Ranma just smiled and nodded. "Um, thanks. I think."
Suddenly, Yori realized what she was doing and pulled away. In a move that showed irrefutable proof of her relation to Ranma, she scratched the back of her head. "Oh, sorry," laughed the woman embarrassedly. "I get carried away sometimes."
"I'm used to it."
"He really is," added Kasumi helpfully.
"Well, I hope your stay here will be more pleasant. Please, come in." With a wide smile, Yori held open the door.
The inside of the Alexander home was filled with a warmth that the exterior construction lacked. Pictures of loved ones adorned the walls, their smiling faces staring out in silent welcome. Everywhere one looked, there were the signs of love only a lifetime of care can instill in a place. But, like an arctic blast all that warmth was blown away by the icy chill wafting off the man at the far end of entryway.
At nearly six foot, two inches, tall, he positively dominated the space. Closely cropped hair, of an almost electric red, was spotted through with motes of silver. Eyes as blue as glacial ice stared out from underneath a deep brow. The fiery red goatee only added to his severe expression. "So," he said with a cold smoothness, "this is Ranma."
"Joseph Alexander," yelled an outraged Yori. "He is our grandson. And you told Nodoka that he could stay here."
"I said he could stay here. I made no mention of whether or not he would be welcome. This boy," said Joseph as he pointed at Ranma, "may be our daughter's son. But he is also the progeny of Genma. And I will not greet him as family until I have seen for myself whether or not he is an Alexander." Looking to Ranma, the patriarch of the Alexander clan spoke with authority. "Come here boy. If you wish entry into our family you must prove yourself."
Ranma nodded, "I figured it wouldn't be as easy as a phone call." Taking a step towards the man, he found his momentum halted by the slim hand still grasping his own. "Kasumi?"
"Are you sure you want to go through with this, whatever it is? We can still try the park."
"Nah, not my style," he replied with his typical bravado. "If the ol' man wants to test me then let's do it."
"Okay," said Kasumi slowly. With no small amount of reluctance, he young woman released her love's hand and watched him approach his ancestor.
Looking up at his grandfather, Ranma stared defiantly into the man's eyes. The intent was clear, if there was challenge to be held, then he would beat it hand's down. "Right, ol' man. What's the test."
"This." Before Ranma could move, Joseph had gripped the younger man by the head. The boy tried for a moment to fight before he ceased his actions. For Joseph, the way was open. And he delved into Ranma's eyes and swum through his soul.
To Ranma, it was the same sensation that had occurred with Kasumi. There was a falling sensation before he suddenly saw it. But instead of seeing a path not taken, a life not lived, Ranma was transported into the past. He saw the first meeting between the young headstrong Yori Saotome and the quiet Joseph. Before his eyes, the couple slowly fell in love. Ranma paid witness to the fierce shouting matches between the lovers and Yori's father. Then the scenes jumped forward to instances of birth. First there were three wonderful sons. They were followed by a daughter, whose hair matched that of his mother. Time sped by and Ranma saw the children grow to adulthood. He saw a father's pain at loosing his only daughter, not to an illness or accident but to love and pride. Finally, Ranma was treated to visions of Joseph desperately attempting to atone for that one sin by ensuring the remaining family was as happy as could be. In seeing, Ranma knew why Joseph was so cold. For the second time in two days, he actually felt like he knew someone.
As Joseph grabbed hold of her love's head, it was all Kasumi could do to stop herself from attacking the man in the defense of the one she treasured so. That restraint vanished with Ranma's fighting. With an almost unholy speed, Kasumi hurled herself towards the two men. It was only Yori stepping into her path that brought a stop to the Tendo's charge. In a move that those in Nerima would think her not capable, Kasumi cast a blazing glare at the older women. "Let me go," she roared in a remarkable likeness to Akane.
"Please," begged Yori, "don't interfere."
"What is he doing to Ranma?"
The older woman looked worriedly back at her husband and grandson. "He's judging him."
"In the Alexander family, there is a gift. Not everyone has it, but those like my husband can do marvelous things. He can look into your eyes and see your past, present, and sometimes your future."
Kasumi could not suppress a gasp. "Ranma did something like that with me."
Yori stared at the young woman fiercely. "Did he force you?"
"Oh my no. I don't think he knew he could do anything like that."
"What did you see?"
In a surge of emotion, the memories of that event flowed over Kasumi once more. "We saw our life together," she said softly. And, with tears in her eyes, she added in an even softer tone, "And we saw our children."
The Alexander matriarch's expression was one of happiness and awe. "That is very rare indeed. Truly, you two are blessed."
"Thank you." Kasumi looked Yori, to where Ranma was standing. A warm smile parted her lips. "We haven't been together for long, but I don't think I could live without him."
"Alexanders are like that. They get under your skin and you never want them to leave"
Like the boy in his grasp, Joseph saw the past, but this time from Ranma's life. Every triumph of Ranma's oh so brief existence had been marred by an even greater tragedy. He felt a measure of fear alongside his descendant as Ranma's mind and body were slowly flayed by the terrors of the Nekoken. Joseph was treated to true deprivation and saw how far a human could go with so little to call his own. With Jusenkyo came the curse, and the elder man knew what it was truly like to be a woman in body. Every mis-adventure in the pursuit of a cure was laid before him. As was the nearly insurmountable fear that constantly hounded Ranma. The fear of loosing himself completely to that which he had been raised to look down upon as a symbol of weakness. That fear, saw Joseph, led Ranma to one inescapable conclusion, death must arrive for him before it was too late. But there was a light at the end of the long terrible dark. A light in the form of a most unexpected source. With it, Joseph could see that healing had begun. And with its brilliance, the darkness in Ranma's soul was slowly lifting.
With a gasp from both men, the link was severed and both Ranma and Joseph found themselves back in their own bodies.
As his grandfather's hands released his head, Ranma found his legs were having a hard time supporting his weight. Before he could fall though, Kasumi caught him. Her angelic face was marred by worry for his well being. "Don't ya worry Kasumi. Just a little spaced out there fora sec. But I'm feeln' better now." Though he was able to stand on his own, Ranma kept her close to him. Her arm around his waist gave him a feeling of confidence he was sorely lacking at the moment. That experience, despite his bravado, had really shaken him. When it had happened to Kasumi, the sensations had just flowed. This felt more forced and unnatural.
Unlike Ranma, Joseph seemed unaffected by the ordeal. Looking at the young couple, he could see the powerful bond the two shared. It reminded him a great deal of the love that existed between him and Yori. Straightening his shoulders, he began to pronounce his judgment. "Ranma, in you I have seen many things. I have seen a tarnish slowly form from years of fear and Genma's teachings. But, like all such blemishes, they can been polished away with love and understanding, like the kind I see in the eyes of this young woman. Ranma, I would be honored if you would accept the last name of Alexander and join our family as you should have years ago." For the first time since he appeared in the entryway, the frigid man thawed and he echoed his warm, inviting, surroundings.
The experience still fresh in his mind, Ranma felt as if the man's words were true and heartfelt. "He really wants me in the family," he thought happily. Still, there was a question about the woman pressed against his side. "What about Kasumi."
Joseph smiled towards Kasumi. "She is more than welcome here too. And, when the time comes, I will happily welcome her into our family."
Kasumi smiled radiantly and bowed her head. "Thank you, honored grandfather."
"Now Kasumi," admonished the man in a friendly fashion, "call me Joseph. Or gramps if you prefer."
"Thank you Joseph."
"Much better. Now come along, we're all about to have dinner. And we have an opportunity to celebrate," he announced happily.
Ranma instantly perked up, "Food?" As if summoned by the mere thought, his stomach growled like some wild beast.
"Sounds like you brought a healthy appetite," quipped Yori.
"You have no idea," Kasumi replied.
"Yori, be a dear and show Kasumi off to the family. I need to talk to my grandson for a second."
The older woman looped her arm around her counterpart's in a friendly fashion. "Come on dear. Let's let the menfolk have their say," she said with mock seriousness.
Once the woman had left, all the energy seemed to suddenly leave Joseph. The man's shoulders stooped and he looked somewhat haggard. "Ranma, I must apologize."
Said young man tilted his head in confusion. "Huh? What for?"
"As an Alexander, you and I have certain abilities that others lack. I was sworn never to force those powers on another person. And I broke that oath with you. Though it doesn't make any difference, I did it to ensure the safety of my family. Still, I violated a member of my own family, and for that I am eternally sorry."
Such a heartfelt expression of regret was a novelty for Ranma. But he could see that his grandfather really meant what he said. And, unlike Genma, the elder Alexander was actually waiting for Ranma to render a verdict against him. Such actions greatly increased the newly christened Alexander's respect. "Listen, ah gramps. I'm not too good with this stuff, but its okay. You did what you had ta."
Reaching forward, Joseph engulfed his grandson in a hug. "Thank you. I'll try to be a better guardian than your father was."
"I know ya will." Suddenly, Ranma's stomach decided that the focus of attention should be on it, and issued an even louder growl of displeasure.
Joseph belted out a quick laugh at the look of embarrassment on his grandson's face. "We better get you fed before that belly of yours decides to claw free and eat someone."
Even Ranma had to laugh at the image the older Alexander painted. "So that's the pain in my side," he joked as he followed Joseph down the hall.
The trip to the dining room was a short one, just a quick jaunt down the main hall, a right hand turn, and they were there. Back at the Tendos, the space was small but cozy. Here, the room was positively massive. In the center was a enormous table of a western design. Surrounding the oaken surface was a collection of people of various ages and genders. Though all the young people shared Asiatic traits, the levels varied from a slight tinge to the skin to a full blown Japanese national. What was really strange were the eyes, they were all looking at Ranma intently.
With a smile as wide as the world, Joseph placed a hand upon the younger Alexander's shoulder. "Everyone. It is my privilege to introduce my grandson, Ranma. Though he is new to our family, I want you all to treat him as if he had aways been here."
To Ranma's surprise, and delight, the assembly all showed a brilliant smile at the announcement. Some raised a glass in toast, while others cried out a warm greeting. Never in his life had so many expressed such a genuine gladness to see him. "Um thanks," his voice was thick with emotion. Seeing Kasumi's smiling face, he quickly moved over to the empty chair next to her. As he slid into the chair though, a pair of small arms reached out and wrapped gently around his arm. Looking down at the source of the unannounced embrace, he saw a young girl, her teal eyes wide and happy, her mouth turned upwards in a smile. These were framed by a mass of terra cotta colored hair pulled up into short pigtails.
"Hi," whispered the girl happily. "I'm Monica."
"Um hi," mumbled Ranma dumbly. Though the girl was hugging him, as he looked at her, Ranma didn't see any signs of infatuation. Not knowing what to do in such a situation, he looked for aid from the rest of the family. But what he saw gave him pause, the looks of greeting had been replaced by ones of shock and awe. "Did I do somethin' wrong?"
The first to recover from their stupor was a tanned woman with hair the color of spinach. "Monica rarely talks to strangers," she explained.
Next to the woman, a man nodded, "Yeah, it took her almost three months to warm up to my Setsuna." From the way he put his arm around the woman's shoulders, and the look they shared, it was clearly evident that they were madly in love with each other. "By the way," said the man absently, "the name's Justin."
From the right of the couple there came a series of gagging noises. The girl who was making them had to be no more than thirteen. Her maroon hair was wild and her face was the picture of one disgusted with what they were seeing. "Ugh," she groaned. "They're at it again!" After making a few other remarks and unfavorable noises, the girl looked at Ranma with a big ol' toothy grin. "Hey there! Name's Tamiko. Call me Tami or I'll kapowie you into next week."
A slightly older boy next to Tami was desperately trying to quiet the girl, to little effect. "Tami! You're being rude in front of our guests." Though he sat taller than the one he was scolding, the boy seemed smaller. His coke-bottle lenses and drooped shoulders only seemed magnified by the sheer exuberance of Tami.
"Oh come on Daniel," countered Tami. "You heard gramps, Ranma's family. That means I treat him like the rest of you chumps."
The newly unveiled Daniel looked artRanma apologetically. "You must forgive my sister. She seems to think she is the center of the universe."
"That's because I am," she said with no small amount of arrogance.
Daniel sighed and shook his head. "As Tami already said, my name is Daniel. It is an honor to meet you."
Seeing a general trend of introductions, the teenage boy and girl next to Daniel waved as one. "Hi. I'm Kai," said the boy.
"And I'm Cynthia," added the girl.
"As you can see," said Kai as he pointed to his black hair.
"We're twins," finished Cynthia.
Finally, the teenager next to Monica threw out a peace sign and winked. "And last, but surely not least, is I, Marcus. Pleasure to meet a fellow fighter."
Looking at the almost American young man, Ranma was surprised to see that the guy's boast was not all flash and no substance. Though nowhere near his level, he could see that Marcus' ki patterns were well formed. The black hair, and confident smirk reminded Ranma of himself. "What d'ya practice?"
"Mostly the bo, but I threw in some ninjitsu and a spot of stuff I saw on television."
"Now now," interrupted Joseph with a smile, "talk shop later. I take it that you've all introduced yourselves to Kasumi."
Sitting up straight, Daniel nodded with authority. "Yes sir."
"Good man. But less sucking up, you're not getting an extra scoop of ice cream for being considerate."
The young man sighed and snapped his fingers, "Oh well, it was worth a try."
"Yes it was," laughed Yori as she brought in a plate of food.
"Oh," exclaimed Kasumi in shock. "Why didn't you tell me you were going into the kitchen? I could have helped."
Yori smiled and waved dismissively. "Nonsense. You're a guest, I wouldn't want to be rude. Besides, it's my night to cook."
As his grandmother mentioned that Kasumi was a guest, Ranma felt his girlfriend grip his hand tightly. Sharing a quick look with his love, he knew that he would have to be the one to ask the question that was burning in her. "Grandma?"
"Please Ranma, call me Yori, or Gran if must, but don't call me Grandma. Makes me feel like a old woman." She ignored the snickers and comments in favor of staring at her newest grandchild. "What's the matter?"
"I know gramps said it was okay. But, Kasumi can live here right?" He cast a quick glance into Kasumi's loving eyes before continuing. "She shorta left her family for me."
The looks of admiration that were pointed her way deeply shocked Kasumi. She had thought there would be ridicule for doing something so dishonorable. "If it isn't too much of a burden," she said shyly.
"Of course she can stay," exclaimed Yori. It was as if the thought of the young woman not living under their roof was appalling. "From the looks you two are sharing, I'd say Kasumi will be part of the family before we know it."
Ranma and Kasumi looked at each other and blushed. Neither had thought that they were being so obvious. Now though, they could see how they had been acting. Oddly enough, as they stared at their counterpart, neither really cared that others knew. In fact, it felt like an affirmation of their relationship. The couple was broken from their gaze by th sound of gagging.
Over on her side of the table, Tami was making faces. "Oh great, more kissyface."
"Now now," admonished Yori, "don't make fun of them." Looking at the embarrassed couple she smiled and waved a finger. "But that doesn't mean that you two are allowed to make out with the rest of us at the table too."
The couple ducked their heads, "Yes ma'm," they chorused.
Joseph laughed at the antics of the younger generation. "Well now, why don't you two tell us a little about yourselves."
Kasumi looked down at her lap, "There isn't much to tell."
Ranma looked at his love with concern. She sounded so little, it just didn't feel right. "Hey now. That's not true! You kept the Tendos goin' after ya mom died. Everyone in the ward smiled when you're around. Hell! You stopped at least two battles cold just by serving cookies." As he looked at Kasumi, Ranma desperately tried to will his pride of her into his love's mind. Though he didn't realize it, he was doing exactly that, after a fashion. Jumping from his hand into her's was a small stream of confidence-leaden ki.
Looking up from the hand encircling her own smaller appendage, Kasumi saw the pride in her love's eyes. Still, when she measured the events of her life against Ranma's, she found herself coming up short. "But that's just the life of a housewife. What about all the stuff you've done? The training trip. All those adventures back home. Even the fiances. That was all much more interesting than my life."
"Kasumi," said Setsuna softly. "If there is nothing else that I've learned in my life, it is that, no matter who you are, you will always wish for someone else's life."
"She's right," nodded Justin. "If I worried about how much better other people have it I think I'd go crazy."
"Besides," continued Setsuna, "you left home with the man you love. That doesn't seem like the act of a housewife to me."
"I guess I never thought about it that way," said Kasumi with a smile. "I still think Ranma has the better story though."
"I'd like to hear about the fiance thing," leered Kai.
"Something pops did," sighed Ranma unhappily. "Anytime the panda needed to feed his fat face he duped someone inta hitchin' their daughter to me."
"And the dowry was food," gasped Setsuna in shock.
"You got it. By the time Kasumi and me left, I was up to five'r six."
"Oh, what about that delightful young lady two weeks ago," asked Kasumi.
"What? Oh yeah, Michiko. Guess I lucked out with her."
"Well, she did mention to me that your girl form was cute," she said with a smile.
Looks of confusion were shared by most of the gathered Alexanders. They were willing to let the comment slide as a misstatement. Well, all but Tami. "Did you say, "girl form"? You a cross dresser or somethin?"
"Tamiko Alexander," snapped Yori angrily. "Don't be rude."
"What," cried Tami in shock. "We were all thinkin' it!"
"But you don't go asking like that moron," replied Kai.
Kasumi cast an apologetic smile Ranma's way. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
Ranma shrugged, "Nah, don't be. They'd find out sooner 'r later." Looking at the expectant faces of his relatives, he sighed. "No Tami, I've never willin'ly worn girl's clothes as a guy. But thanks to the stupidity of pops I picked myself up a curse." Reaching over to the glass of ice water sitting in front of him, Ranma poured some of the cold liquid over his hand. Like usual, his form shifted in an instant and where once sat a young, black-haired, man there was a young girl with fiery red hair and a generous bust line.
"Jebus H Crist," exclaimed Marcus. "Are you okay man?"
All around the table, Ranma saw the looks of shock and amazement which accompanied an initial showing of the curse. What he didn't expect was the soft laughter from beside him. Throughout the entire affair, Monica had been pressed against his side. "Its like she's afraid I'll go poof or somethin'" Now, as he looked over at her, he didn't see awe, just a warm smile.
"You are prettier than I saw," she said softly.
"Err, thanks," replied Ranma cautiously. As he looked at Monica, Ranma felt that sense of connection again. It wasn't as powerful and moving as Kasumi, or as invasive as Joseph. Instead, a warm wave passed through his mind. Instantly, Ranma knew she meant her complement as just that. He also sensed that she didn't mind the curse. "She still sees me as a guy," thought Ranma happily. "Thanks kiddo," added the feminine Alexander, this time his words were accompanied by a big smile.
Turning back to the family, Ranma took a deep breath. "Yes, I'm 100 girl. No, my mind isn't. No, it doesn't hurt. Please don't touch my boobs, they're real and they're sensitive. Yes I can turn back, I just need hot water. I like bein' a guy, but Kasumi is helpin' with me acceptin' my girl side." It may be blunt, and possibly rude, but his little monologue got a lot of the common questions answered without any fanfare. "I should get it printed on cards," he thought wryly. "Any more questions?"
Daniel raised a unsteady hand, "Um I have one."
Given the boy's age, Ranma doubted that it would be a naughty one. "Go ahead."
Pushing up his glasses, Daniel smirked. "Do you maintain your weight when you change?"
Ranma could say, with a great deal of certainty, that he had never been asked that before. "Uhh, never really weighed myself."
"Oh Ranma, remember that one time you were weighed before the rhythmic gymnastics tournament," said Kasumi helpfully. "I seem to remember that you were lighter as a girl."
He laughed while scratching the back of his head. "Oh ya. I'd forgot bout that. Well, I guess that answers yer question, eh?"
The bespectacled Alexander sat with his mouth wide with shock. "That's impossible! Where does the mass go?"
Tami reached out and slapped her brother in the head. "He turns into a blinkin' girl and you're worried about where the freakin' weight goes?" This time it was her who cast an apologetic look Ranma's way. "Sorry bout him, Danny boy has a hard time with magic. By the way, points for bein' part of a right proper gender."
There was some laughter at the antics of the younger members of the clan. Finally though, it died down enough for the next person with a burning question to be heard. Leaning forward expectantly, Justin asked, "So Ranma. What's it like to have a girl's body." All eyes turned to Ranma. The men wanted intel from their agent in enemy lands, and the women wanted to see how much the other side knew.
Ranma just shrugged. "Its like a guy's, but its not." Seeing the looks of disappointment from all around, he tried to explain. "I mean, sometimes, when I change, I don't notice a difference. Others, its bam. Then, its weird. My walk is off and I got these things hangin' off me," he said as he grasped a breast. There were other things that he knew about the female existence, such as that horrid nightmare once a month, that he would rather not reveal at the moment.
Leaning forward with a sly smile, Setsuna cast a hooded stare Kasumi's way. "Tell me Kasumi, how do you like having a boyfriend so intimately familiar with the female form?"
Both Kasumi and Ranma shared a quick look before blushing and looking down. "I, I really like it," she stuttered. Feeling a certain exhilaration at that admission, she looked up to stare the other woman in the eye. "Ranma has to be the best boyfriend a woman could ask for. No matter the form." To show just how committed she was to her beloved, Kasumi wrapped her hands around his soft cheeks and gently kissed his full feminine lips.
Now, the Alexanders were a pretty open and accepting bunch, but even they had never seen two girls haul up and start kissing at their dinner table. Setsuna though, just smiled. "Well, its good to see you two get along so well," she said as the couple broke their kiss. From the way the pair looked at each other, it was clear to her that the sex vibe she had gotten from them was referring to the act with Ranma as a woman.
As he looked into Setsuna's smiling face, Ranma saw no trace of the deviousness that lay behind Nabiki's eyes. He just saw a woman happy that two other people were happy. "Yeah, well, I guess I'm lucky." Reaching into the ki pocket he kept on him for the really exotic items, Ranma withdrew several sealed packets. "But if you guys are really interested, here's some of the instant stuff."
Flying through the air, two of the packets were intercepted in their flight by female hands. One, Setsuna, cast a smoky look towards Justin. "Oh, I'll be sure Justin-dear receives the full experience. Doesn't that sound fun honey."
Said man attempted to swallow the massive lump that had suddenly appeared at the back of his throat. Meanwhile, the thoughts running through his mind at the moment made him unconsciously adjust himself. "Y, yeah."
Kai was squirming in his seat too, but his reasons were far more fear based. Cynthia had been the one to catch the item meant for him. He could see what his twin wanted in the wide, almost manic grin she was beaming at him. "Not no, but hell no Cynthia."
"Oh come on," whined the female twin. "It'll be fun. We can try on clothes and be like sisters."
"Remind me to kill you," said Kai to Ranma as he hung his head in defeat. Knowing his sister the way that he did, now that the idea was formed, there would be no stopping her until she had gotten what she wanted.
Ranma couldn't help but chuckle at the young man's plight. "Don't worry, it only lasts once."
"Ranma, why did you have those," asked Kasumi with a confused expression.
"Oh, those," shrugged Ranma. "Well Konatsu asked for some, so I ordered for him. I just got a few extra to use on perverts and stuff."
"Well that is good to know," replied Yori as she sat the last plate on the table. "Now, put away your toys and let's eat."
It was a very satisfied Setsuna who appeared before the Gates of Time. As she had said back at the Alexander dinner table, her Justin had a long, and most definitely pleasurable, encounter with femininity. Why, the thought of their actions made her rub her legs together with desire. In her long, long, life, Setsuna had been with many a person. Due to her orientation, she mostly stuck to men. But, on occasion, she had dipped into the well of another woman. She wasn't about to go full bore like Haruka and Michiru, though what she had just shared with Justin made her really think about moving to a more middle ground approach on the whole preference issue.
Setsuna had loved before, but with Justin it was as if she had found her soul. Their meeting had been a chance encounter, one of the sort that happened a million times every day. He had slipped on a patch of ice and fell into her. For some reason, her short term precog had not been working at that time, and they ended up tumbling to the ground. Whatever the cause of the mistake, it was one that Setsuna would always cherish. When her eyes met his own, she immediately felt a connection unlike any she had ever experienced. Before she knew it, Setsuna had met his family and gotten herself engaged. Even if the Senshi hadn't been reborn, she didn't think she would have been able to say no. With Usagi alive, and in the full blush of her power, there was nothing standing in the way of love.
As a personal rule, Setsuna had refrained from using the Gates to delve into the lives of her new family. Not only was such spying an intrusion, but with the Alexanders she wanted to learn from them, not about them like some movie documentary. With Ranma though, Setsuna was going to break that rule. The boy intrigued her greatly. Not only did he have a gender curse, a rarity in this age, but he also had enough energy to light up half of Beryl's realm. So she returned to the Gates.
No one is quite sure who really made the Gates. When explorers found the structure during the early days of the Moon Kingdom, it was viewed as a significant boon to their society. People envisioned using the Gates to anticipate everything from natural disasters to the movements of an enemy. It was soon discovered though, that the Gates did not give up secrets so easily. Images and information from the past was easily accessible by the mechanism. Future events were far more problematic. Sure, it was possible to see when something would happen, but often just the knowledge of the event would either alter it or make it so the even never occurred at all. At the same time, you never knew whether or not the future you saw was an actual one, or a product of chance created out of the infinite branches created by free will. Eventually, Queen Serenity commanded the creation of a new Senshi. Her mission, to guard the flow of time. This Senshi would ensure that the past remained unchanged and the future was allowed to unfold as it normally would. As that Senshi, Pluto was burdened with the terrible knowledge that the Silver Millennium would end in fire and death. Such a fixed point along the Time Stream stood out clearly, and for months Setsuna had wanted to warn someone, but she was chosen for the position because her psychological profile showed an ability to keep secrets. So, for countless millennia Pluto had waited for the return of the Princess and her court.
Now though, they were all entering into a period where the Gates' sight became cloudy. Past events could be seen just as clearly as ever, but current and future ones were rapidly loosing any sort of clarity. Even her own innate precognition skills, as limited as they were, were on the fritz. Ranma, as it currently stood, was an anomaly. A look into his past was required to determine where the future may lead.
It only took a few moments for the Gates' mechanisms to find and lock in on Ranma's past. What she saw was shocking. Had anything other than the Gates showed her the life the young man had led, Setsuna would not have believed them. A gender curse had just been the tip of a colossal iceberg. There was so much chaos, so much pain, that it was a miracle that the boy had turned out as stable as he was. Even so, Setsuna saw that Ranma was a threat only to those who threatened him. Otherwise, he was happy simply living his life, free from the hassles of others. Unfortunately, the craziness and the abilities, which Ranma was so accustomed to, were not the norm in Minato, or in its sub ward, Juban. It was quite probable that one or more of her fellow Senshi would take one look at him jumping across roofs and assume he was a Youma. Luckily, she just happened to live with two of the most aggressive of the Senshi. Alerting them would have to be a top priority.
With but a thought, Setsuna appeared in the living room of the home she shared with Haruka and Michiru. Said women were currently engaged in some serious, grade A, necking. Had there not been more pressing matters, the Senshi of Pluto would have allowed the couple to go about their business. Unfortunately, for them, they had proved somewhat trigger happy in their mission and currently her future cousin-in-law was a potential target for their excesses. "Ahem."
Jumping as if she had been struck by lightning, Haruka Tenoh separated from her lover and shakily turned to the source of their interruption. Seeing their mysterious house mate standing there with her standard all-knowing smirk just served to infuriate the blond-haired lesbian. "Sweet Jesus Setsuna! Can't you ever knock or something?!"
Setsuna appeared unflappable in the face of such vitriol. "I would were this not my home. By the way, that bra really suits you."
Looking down, Haruka saw that her shirt remained open from when Michiru had been "examining" her. The parted garment allowed for a full viewing of her modest breasts within their yellow silken confines. With a deep blush forming across her body, Haruka quickly pulled the shirt closed. "There, you happy?"
Grinning wickedly, Setsuna said, "Oh I don't know, the view was pretty nice before. But that is for another time. There has been some new developments. Call the girls, we're having a meeting."
As their nominal friend vanished, both Haruka and Michiru looked at one another with open mouth shock. Neither could believe what the woman had said, nor that she was capable of saying it in such seductive tones.
"Did you have any idea," asked the aqua tressed Senshi of Neptune.
"Are you kidding me?! Had I, she would have been in with us before she knew it."
Though the thought of Setsuna writhing in pleasurable agony as Haruka and herself each sucked on a perfect pink nipple was highly appealing to Michiru, another thought managed to penetrate into the deeper levels of her mind. "Didn't she just mention a meeting."
"Crap, you're right," replied Haruka sullenly. Tonight was their special night and now that was getting canceled by their duty.
"Do not worry love," purred Michiru sensuously. "I will make sure that we get all time we need." With that, she slowly stood and made her way out of the room, all the while taking great care to swing her hips seductively.
Haruka swallowed dryly as all the moisture in her body mysteriously transported to her sex. "Dammit Setsuna! I don't know how, or when, but someday I'll get you back for this," she silently vowed.
It was nearly thirty minutes later that a tired, and somewhat grumpy collection of Sailor Senshi congregated on one of the many rooftops near the Cherry Hill Shrine. Surprisingly, it was Setsuna who was the first to arrive. Those who slowly trickled in attempted to pry answers from the implacable woman, but all they received for their efforts was a small smile.
When the final Senshi to arrive, a bleary-eyed Minako, stumbled onto the roof, Usagi turned to her Senshi and, in the most authoritarian voice she could conjure up, she said, "Okay Setsuna, what's the matter?"
"There is a new pair in the area," she said simply.
"Please tell me there is more than that," said Rei with a touch of anger.
Holding her staff where everyone could see it, Setsuna willed it to show an image. Floating above the ruby orb were a young man and a similarly dressed girl. It was quite obvious that they were somehow related, and quite possibly siblings. "This is Ranma, and . . . Ranko, Alexander. Neither are a threat but they are both special."
"How so," asked Usagi with curiosity.
"They have both lived a life you would describe as a living hell. Because of that, their skill in the martial arts are beyond amazing. Just with their own abilities, they can perform feats similar to what we can do when we are transformed."
"How is that possible," this time it was Ami doing the asking. "The human body is incapable of executing such actions on its own. The only way we can is via our magic."
Setsuna nodded, "Normally, you would be right. But Ranma and Ranko tapped into another source. Their training has granted them massive stores of internal energy. With it they can leap great distances and move faster than the eye can track."
"And you're sure they're not a threat," asked Haruka skeptically.
"Yes I am. Both are good, kind-hearted, people. But they are also used to using their abilities openly. The last thing either needs is to be traveling to school and get blasted by one of us." She smirked as Rei and a few others looked at each other with embarrassment.
Seeing the looks on the faces of her friends, Usagi smiled. In her opinion, they were too gung-ho for her taste. Still, they were her comrades, and she would stand beside them come hell or high water. "Thank you Setsuna. We appreciate the warning. Was there anything else we should know?"
"No more dire warnings, princess. But I do have one further piece of information. Ranma is most assuredly taken, and I find it highly doubtful that he would want to change that fact." The looks of disappointment on the faces of Minako and Makoto just added to her day.
"Well thanks," smiled Usagi. "Since that's all, I'm heading back to bed."
Lime was running, his face lined deeply with fear and concern. If one were to look at the young man, they would be hard pressed to tell that he was a warrior with few equals. Even his outfit, a collection of tiger furs, appeared to be the creation of some otaku for the local anime convention. No one would ever guess that he had the strength to move mountains. Unfortunately, that strength proved for naught when the attack came.
He had been asleep in his quarters adjacent to his lord Herb's own stately suite. Suddenly a great explosion threw Lime from his bed. As he dug himself out of the rubble that had been his home, the tiger man was assaulted by the sounds of screams. Some were the lamentations of the wounded, or the dieing, but there were cries that Lime's finely honed hearing picked out from among the rest. They were the utterances of his sovereign; Herb was in danger. With a strength and speed that seemed unnatural, Lime worked his way through the rubble. The screams were soon joined by the sounds of terrible battle. Blasts of energy flew wildly through the air, making his journey all the more perilous.
When he finally made it to the place where the screams and the sounds of battle rang from, Lime came across a truly strange sight. The throne room, the heart of their civilization and carved out of solid rock by the first Musk ruler, was utterly destroyed. At the far edge of the throne room, he could make out the crumpled form of his compatriot Mint. From this distance he could not ascertain the extent of the man's injuries, but Lime could tell that he was still breathing. But all that paled in comparison to the horror of his lord. Herb stood in the center of the devastation screaming. From both hands he launched one ki blast after another. What was more terrifying was the way Herb's body contorted, switching violently between his male and female forms with no semblance of regularity. At times Herb would be screaming obscenities at some unseen foe, then other moments he would yell at himself, commanding the changing monarch to submit.
After what seemed like hours, Herb finally noticed his vassal helplessly watching his struggle. "Go," he cried, "get Saotome! He'll . . . save . . . us . . . arg!"
Had Lime not been quicker on the uptake, he would have been vaporized by a blast of life energy. Still, he received some burns for his troubles. Luckily, whatever was going on within Herb quickly consumed his lord's attention once more and the tiger man was able to move along the edge of the throne room. If he had to leave, he would not do so alone. Mint was over there, and he would be damned before he left his childhood friend to whatever evil battled Herb. Throwing the unconscious Mint over his shoulder, Lime did the one thing a warrior always hated to do, he ran.
As the flames kissed the night sky and the proud Musk kingdom burned to ashes, Lime amd Mint, two of its finest warriors, ran east. With his final bout of sanity, their lord had given them a mission. They had to find the god-killer, the one who laid low the mighty Herb, they had to seek the aid of Ranma Saotome. And, whether he liked it or not, Ranma would save their people, even if it meant that the escaping Musk had to sacrifice their lives.
Authors Notes: Another chapter in the can. This one flowed a lot smoother for me, and I hope for you all as well. There wasn't much action in this chapter, but there was an answer or two given.
Ranma's power: now from the moment this story went all quagmire on me, I had pretty much settled on the moment Kasumi and Ranma shared being the result of an ability inherited from the Alexander side of the family. Some clarifying points though. No, Ranma did not know he had the ability to do that. In fact, prior to that moment, he didn't. Think of it as a x-men style mutation. A certain set of circumstances were needed to happen for Ranma to do that the first time. As you saw, other members of the Alexander family get the ability at different times and at different levels. Some won't have it at all.
Speaking of the Alexander family, you may have noticed that not all of them have Japanese names, that was on purpose. And Monica did predict Ranma's arrival
A word about Setsuna. When we first meet her, she isn't really acting like the one we are used to. She is warm and playful. The reason for this is that she now has a family. There are people who accept her, and she is madly in love with one of their own. Plus, as I have hinted, with Usagi alive, a relationship with someone else is a lot more viable. Let me tell you, Justin is her soul mate and we will not be seeing any questions of that. We also see a different Pluto than in standard R/SM works. She knew nothing about Ranma, nor is she out to kill him. On Crystal Tokyo, right now it's a probability but it is one of many. Its one that Setsuna favors, but its not one that she can actively work for. So no mass murdering Sailor Plutos in this fic boys and girls. And yes, she really did have sex with Justin when they both were women.
By the way, a quick look at Tokyo shows that Juban ward is a fictional place. Many fics place it right next to Nerima in order to ease a crossover. According to my research though, the fictional Juban is a a part of the Azabu district of the Minato ward. And if you look at a map, Minato is two to three wards over from Nerima. So none of this hop, skip, and jump back and forth.
Also in this chapter we see the first rumblings of the enemy on Earth. What is going on should be explained in the next chapter.
King of the Wicker People