"RANMA!" Akane yelled as the pigtailed boy was once again glomped by Shampoo. It was a routine to her, really, getting angry whenever something like this happened. They were in the schoolyard, having their lunch break. Akane readied her mallet to strike down the martial artist. "Get away from that hussy!" And she attacked. Ranma, being Ranma, received the full impact of the mallet and acted as if he was hurt, even though he could easily shrug it off. He had defeated Saffron two months ago, but things remained the same in his chaotic life. The girls were even worse than before, since they all grew desperate after the failed wedding attempt, while Akane somehow got the dumb idea that he told her of his undying love for her. As if he could love someone who didn't trust him whatsoever and physically abused him for no real reason at all. She went so far as to attack him when he yawned, stating that he should pay attention to her.

Shampoo recovered and angrily asked. "Why pervert-girl attack Aireen?" Her bombori were at the ready now, and she was anxious to eliminate the competition. She just needed an excuse like this one. It had been awfully close, but they all managed to stop the wedding from taking place. Ukyo chose that exact moment to appear, and assessed the situation. She went to Ranma, ignoring the other two girls, whose bickering was becoming annoying.

"Ranchan, are you OK?" She asked, knowing full well he would recover. She kneeled next to him.

Ranma groaned and started to get up. "Hey, Uchan! Yeah, nothing I can't take." His macho bravado completely backed up. Akane's attacks nearly didn't tickle. He just did it so that people didn't pay attention to him when he was supposedly unconscious. He knew, though, that Ukyo was very perceptive. She knew this was all an act to divert attention. His eyes caught sight of Akane and Shampoo screaming at each other, and got up silently. "Come on, Uchan. Let's get out of here before they decide to turn looking for me." Ukyo nodded and they were quickly out of sight. Neither Shampoo or Akane noticed for five more minutes.

The other students in Furinkan ignored this, it was so typical by now that they didn't even bother to bet on the fight any more. Ranma was definitely the strongest fighter of all, and no one placed a bet against him, so it was no longer business. Ukyo and Ranma sat under a tree, and she handed Ranma an okonomiyaki. "Here. You should eat while you can." She knew the other girls would find them soon. It was as if they had a radar telling them where Ranma was.

The martial artist smiled and dove right in. His thanks were evident in his eyes as he munched with pleasure. Being a Saotome, he finished in seconds and stretched. "Thanks Uchan. That really hit the spot, as usual." Ukyo just smiled. Ranma was confused, for the last couple of days there had been a change in Ukyo, something no one else noticed. She was no longer pressuring him to take a decision, nor was she mad for him not choosing her as a fiancée right away. The only other time that he remembered getting along with her like this was when they were kids. "Uchan, why the sudden change?" He asked bluntly, knowing he was bad with words and would probably mess it all up if he tried to hit around the bush.

Ukyo had been expecting the question, and her answer was ready even before he asked. "I love you, Ranchan. I've loved you since we were kids." Ranma was about to say something, but she put a finger on his lips and continued. "But as you once said, I love you as a friend. I didn't realize that until last week, when you were talking to your mother in the dojo."

Ranma's eyes widened at that. "You heard us?"

Ukyo nodded. "Yeah, I heard everything you said." Ranma shifted uncontrollably in place, but she calmed him down when she said. "Don't worry. I don't really blame any of this in you. In fact, I came to realize that I really want you as my friend." Ranma was relieved to say the least, he hugged her tightly, and she returned the embrace. It was completely innocent in nature, just two friends showing their affection.

Of course, it didn't look like that to the jealous eyes of Shampoo and Akane, who happened to find them just in time to see it. The following beating was extremely violent for everyone who happened to see it. It was the first time Shampoo and Akane agreed on something in a long time, and that was pummeling Ranma to the ground.


Nabiki grinned as she saw a very battered Ranma enter the house. "Hello, Saotome. I take it you were beat up by my sister again?" Ranma's evil eye only made her more smug. "Keep staring at me like that and you're paying for the show." She said mockingly. It was so fun teasing Ranma, especially since he never once fought back.

Ranma walked to the kitchen to get himself something to eat. He was in a bad mood. *How much of this crap do I have to put up with?* His mother happened to be in the kitchen at the time, and she started serving him before he asked for it. It was fairly easy to know what had happened at school. "Hi, mom!" He greeted half-heartedly.

"Hello, son. How was your day?" She asked cheerfully. She hated having to act this way, but it was necessary. The look he gave her spoke for him. She quickly turned in all directions and sat next to him. In barely a whisper, she asked. "What happened?"

Ranma answered in the same volume. "Nothing out of the ordinary, it's just getting to me." He paused for a moment as he fidgeted nervously and said. "Uchan knows."

Nodoka's eyes widened at this. She knew her son would never speak of this to another person, so she tried to find a reason why. "The dojo?" Seeing Ranma nod she felt like a fool. She expected to have some privacy since the Tendos and Genma were having diner out, but she hadn't expected for a fiancée to show up.

Ranma saw her expression and quickly added. "She promised she won't tell a thing, and I trust her."

Nodoka nodded and said. "We shall go to her restaurant and clear things." She went upstairs to tell Kasumi she would be having dinner out with her son. They rarely spent time alone together, so it wasn't suspicious.

Ranma sighed and sat back. "What is it Nabiki?"

Nabiki was shocked to hear the sudden question. She tried to listen in to the conversation, since business had been low and she wanted more money. Extortioning Ranma may be the answer. Too bad she couldn't hear a word they spoke. She walked into the kitchen, making it seem as if she had just arrived. "What are you talking about, Saotome?"

Ranma shook his head and didn't answer. Nabiki was a very difficult person, and he was in no mood to deal with her. He saw his mother get down and got up. Nodoka saw Nabiki and said. "Nabiki. My son and I are going to have dinner and maybe watch a movie together. See you tomorrow." And with that she left, followed by Ranma.

The Ice Queen stood there for a moment, thinking. She then decided to take her camera and follow them. The opportunity to make money always seemed to follow Ranma around.


"Nabiki is following us." Ranma stated after five minutes of walking. They were heading to the Uchan's, but not in the normal route, since they suspected something like this would happen.

Nodoka didn't react. "I know. She's determined to discover what this is all about." She paused as they passed a couple. "We have to talk to Ukyo privately, though."

Nabiki herself was following from a distance she was sure no one would be able to discover her. It seemed like they had said the truth, they were heading to the movies. She cursed silently because of the wasted time and effort. She saw as Ranma and Nodoka turned a corner, and when she reached there, they were gone. She smirked. "Maybe I wasn't wrong after all. Those two are up to something." She really liked Nodoka, but Ranma was an easy target for whatever they were up to. Her eyes flashed with yen signs as soon as she thought about selling the information.

She started to walk again, intent on finding them to gain money. From a rooftop, Ranma and Nodoka watched as she walked down a street. "She'll find out sooner or later. Nabiki never gives up and is very clever."

Nodoka nodded. "Indeed. But for the time being we have lost her. Let us deal with Ukyo before anything else happens." And with that Nodoka and Ranma jumped down and made their way to the Uchan's quickly.

The restaurant was completely empty, the rush hour having passed. As soon as they entered, Ukyo greeted them and closed the door, putting the 'Closed' sign on. "I knew you would come." She said as she sat on a table. Nodoka and Ranma did likewise.

Nodoka nodded. "We had to explain this to you, so that you understand. We are doing this because we believe it is the right thing to do."

Ukyo nodded, knowing full well it was true. "I know, Ranchan is my friend. I'm backing him up all the way."

Nodoka smiled at seeing her son had, at least, one loyal friend. Ranma was glad Ukyo backed him up. Any other person would have, by now, turned his back on him in the best of cases. "You must keep this a secret, even from your dreams. We don't know what might happen to you if anyone finds out."

Ranma suddenly tensed and said. "Someone is coming. I think Nabiki discovered our location." Nodoka nodded while Ukyo looked confused. He explained it to her. "On our way here, Nabiki followed us. We managed to lose her, but she found us at last. I'm just glad we managed to talk about this without her listening in."

As if on cue, Nabiki knocked on the door. "Open up Ukyo. We know Ranma is in there."

Ranma was depressed to hear this. "Fuck. She didn't come alone."

Nodoka frowned. "Ranma, your language."

Ranma looked at her pleadingly. "You know how tiring this is, mother. I don't know how long I can stand this craziness." Ukyo and Nodoka understood. Ranma's voice was full of frustration. And he had the right to be annoyed, it had been a long time now.

The door collapsed with a kick from Shampoo, who entered the restaurant quickly followed by Akane and Nabiki. The last saw Ranma and smirked. "Consider this your payback for running away from me like that." Ranma saw her with open anger now, which didn't go unnoticed by Nodoka.

His mother stepped between the girls, who had blood in their eyes, and Ranma. They had assumed he was making his engagement with Ukyo official, since he was meeting her with his mother. To say that they were angry would be the master of all understatements. Besides, they were still angry at what happened that morning at school.

The sight of Nodoka in front of them was shocking though. She rarely participated in any of their fights, but now she was obviously protecting her son. Nodoka was trying to give Ranma a break. She had seen how every day's pressure had started to impact on his behavior, he was depressed most of the time when he was alone. The only time he seemed to be alive was when they were training, because he really loved the excitement of the fight over anything else. Now seeing him near the border of losing it, she decided to end it all. She would start with their plans, now. "You two better back off and keep quiet, I have an announcement to make." This stopped everyone right where they were, Nodoka was rarely this harsh. Even Nabiki showed some surprise in her features.

Akane was the first to protest. "But auntie, that baka was..."

Nodoka silenced her with a glare. "That 'baka' you are talking about is my son." The voice was so cold that the youngest Tendo backed a step in fear. Nodoka eyed everyone and said. "I have decided to brake all the engagements. My son and I will be returning home this very evening." Protests started to leave Akane's and Shampoo's mouths, but they weren't paid attention to. Nodoka turned on them and walked to Ranma. Ukyo smiled at the situation, she knew the main problem here were the engagements. Ranma exchanged a glance with his mother and thanked her with a nod.

Nabiki was more than shocked by the reaction, but she quickly reigned over her own emotions and smiled. "I don't think so, Saotome-san." They all turned to her. She would be damned if her biggest income just walked out the door. "Ranma is staying with us until he covers his debt with me." And she knew he would never be able to do that. The big jerk always did something to owe her even more.

Ranma surprised everyone but Nodoka by laughing. He stood up and eyed Nabiki carefully. "And what will you do if I don't pay up? All the money you've made out of me should be payment enough." His mother had decided to leave, so he had no intention of being abused any more.

Nabiki narrowed her eyes. "You are paying, Saotome. You don't want your life to become hell." Her anger wasn't feigned this time. She was really angry that this dumb jock would try and challenge her.

Ranma smirked. "Your so called hell is nothing compared to what you'll go through if I get angry." He saw Nabiki tremble in a rage and decided to add insult to injury. "Think. What can a person, who defeated a god with his bare hands, do to a mere girl?"

Nabiki's eyes widened in surprise. Had Ranma just threatened her? She felt a rush of fear flow through her veins. He was right, there was nothing that could stop him from beating the crap out of her. She regained her bearings with a calming thought. "You're bluffing, Saotome. You would never hit a girl."

Nodoka saw where this was leading and decided to stop it. No use in Ranma revealing everything. "Maybe he has qualms against hitting girls. But I don't." Her voice was low. "I don't like the way you have treated my son, Nabiki. Another try, and a beating is going to be the least of your concerns."

Nabiki didn't like threats at all, and she quickly lost all the respect she ever had for Nodoka. "Look, Saotome-san. I think it is time we talk about your living with us." She had been paying the bills for three extra people in the dojo, she would be damned if they got away like this.

Nodoka nodded. "Indeed. I have very interesting recordings of your deals. I believe the police will find them very amusing, don't you?" If this was the game Nabiki was playing, Nodoka would teach her a lesson in humility. The middle Tendo's expression revealed her shock. "Yes. You were very arrogant to think you hold exclusive rights to recording. If you ever bother us again, I'm sure you'll enjoy a few weeks in court, and then jail."

Nabiki was at a loss of words. She was facing the possibility of jail because of her own game. Nodoka's attitude had also changed, drastically. She was being cold and ruthless, even Nabiki had to admit the ability of the master. "I think I can let that pass." She finally said, defeated. She had nothing against Nodoka, since she never bothered to dig on her past. *But don't think I'm finished with you. I'll get my payback.*

Akane and Shampoo were completely shocked. They couldn't believe the sudden change in Nodoka and Ranma. Ranma had actually stood up to Nabiki, and Nodoka threatened her with jail. This was becoming very weird. Akane finally mustered the courage to speak a word. "Auntie?" She was unsure whether she would find a way to stop this from happening. She wanted to defend Nabiki.

Nodoka turned to the whisper and her face hardened even more. "Akane, for too long have you abused my son, knowing he wouldn't fight back. Even after he saved your life you continued to blame him for everything and don't have even a little trust in his actions. I'm glad he is rid of you." And with that she turned to Ukyo. "Send the bill for that door to Nabiki, I'm sure she'll gladly pay for the damage." She left the room, not bothering to say her good byes to the Tendos and Shampoo. Ranma followed close behind, giving one last smile at Ukyo.

Akane and Shampoo were just too shocked to be angry at Ukyo. Each one left to their respective homes. Nabiki did likewise, thinking of a way to take this humiliation back at them. Ukyo was left in the restaurant, a small smile on her features. *I can hardly believe it.* She smiled. "See you tomorrow at school, Ranchan." She decided to get some boards to place the door back on place.


Akane arrived home a few minutes later, hoping to catch Ranma and give him a piece of her mind. She wouldn't if Nodoka was around, but god protect that pervert if he was alone. She rushed into the house, ready to smash his head in with her mallet. The sight that greeted her was frightening. Genma lied sprawled on the ground, beaten badly. Over him stood Nodoka, her katana sheated by her side. The injuries weren't of the edge of the sword, but rather of the sheat. Soun sat cowering in a corner, deathly afraid for his life. He had seen as Genma tried to stand up to his wife when she said Ranma would leave with her. The beating that followed was something not even Happosai would be able to accomplish. Kasumi stood on another corner of the room, her hand over her mouth. "Oh my!" Was all she said at the scene.

Nodoka smiled at her. "Kasumi-chan, I hope to see you again." Akane recognized this as a true smile, and she instantly knew that Nodoka only cared for Kasumi out of all the Tendos. Her gaze wandered to the side, where Ranma stood motionless. His features revealed nothing, as well as his stance. Nodoka lifted a backpack, and Ranma followed suit. As they exited the house through the door, they passed Akane. They didn't even look at her, as if she wasn't in the room. This enraged her even more, but it was the shock from the scene that made her stop.

Nabiki chose that moment to arrive. "What happened?" She asked surprised. She had expected to tell Genma and her dad about Nodoka's plans, so that they would stop her. But the scene in from of her spoke for itself, neither of them was able to stop the calm Nodoka. She had been here, and from the bruises all over Genma's body, she wasn't to be taken lightly. She suddenly remembered Nodoka's words from the restaurant. *If this kind of beating is the least of my concerns, then I have to be very careful.* She wouldn't stop having her revenge. She would be cautious about it.

Soun finally reacted. "Genma!" He cried as he started to shake his companion's body. He knew Genma would live, but the fight had surprised him more than anything before. Nodoka had been so ruthless, so cold-hearted. It was nothing like the woman he had known for the last couple of months. His normal reaction would have been to faint, but the situation was definitely not normal.

Kasumi walked over to them and said. "I guess when Saotome-san wakes up he's gonna be hungry." She quickly left for the kitchen. Akane and Nabiki had large sweat drops on their heads as their sister left the room.

"Did she just say that?" Nabiki asked no one in particular. She sighed and walked upstairs, intent on having some sleep.

Akane knelt next to Genma just as he was regaining consciousness. "Uncle Saotome?" She asked tentatively.

Genma focused his eyes on his crying friend and Akane. Shame could be seen in his face. "I'm sorry. Nodoka took Ranma away." He sounded defeated, and in many ways he was. He had known this would happen some day, and in a way he couldn't be more proud of the boy. He had overcome any expectations Happosai's disciple could even dream about. *Good luck, my son. I know you don't need it but, good luck.* He stood up shakily, and noticed the care with which Akane and Soun were looking after him. He smiled as he remembered the many adventures he had with his boy. "I should leave. Since Ranma is no longer marrying a Tendo, there's no reason for you to support me, my friend."

Soun heard this, and noticed Genma's tone of finality in the matter. "Ranma isn't coming back, is he?" When Genma shook his head, Soun smiled. "Don't worry at all friend, you can stay with us as long as you like. What are friends for?" Before the sometimes panda could interject, Soun continued. "You should take some rest, your wife wasn't lenient with that beating she gave you."

Genma was surprised at the comment. He should be enraged because of it. But instead he found himself laughing together with Soun. It was a change, since Tendo had been too serious since his wife died. They both left upstairs, still laughing.

Akane was left alone, gaping at them. She fumed as she said. "How dare they take this so lightly. Ranma is coming back!" She said angrily. Although to Kasumi, who heard the comment, it sounded like if she was trying to convince herself.


The next morning at Furinkan was full of surprises for the crowd of students. First, Nabiki and Akane arrived together. That in itself wasn't impressive. What was, and they all noticed instantly, was that Ranma was nowhere to be seen. Nabiki quickly got to her people, and started giving them instructions. *You made a mistake, Nodoka. Ranma still has to come to sign out of the school.* She was giving specific instructions to make Ranma's visit a living hell. She somehow managed for one of them to bring Ryoga over. Hinako-sensei would be thrilled to know Ranma was leaving her class, specially since she had paid a couple of people to give a little act. Kuno heard from someone that his pigtailed goddess was dead, killed by the clutches of the vile sorcerer. The amazons weren't found, but that didn't matter. Nabiki rubbed her hands in anticipation. *Think of this as a little taste of what's to come, Saotome.* She could always deny any connection to this, since this kind of stuff
happened everyday.

Akane was silent as many of the girls gave her weird looks. Sayuri and Yuka approached her and asked. "Hey, Akane! Where's Ranma?"

Yuka continued. "Is he sick?" They were both obviously concerned for his well being.

Akane muttered. "When I put my hands on him, he'll wish he was." Sayuri and Yuka recognized the angry mode Akane was in and stepped back, leaving enough space for her battle aura not to harm them. It only increased in size when Ukyo walked into school, with Ranma by her side. "That Baka! So that's where he spent the night." Her mallet suddenly appeared in her hands, as she was about to apply some justice. She didn't get far though.

"SAOTOME!" Kuno yelled enraged beyond reason. That was the only word that came out of his mouth as he charged, a real katana in his hands. He wasn't really happy with the news given to him by Gosunkugi. He would get his revenge on that vile cur.

Nabiki smirked as she saw Kuno charging blindly. *I knew he would buy it if Gosunkugi told him.* Her smile vanished at what happened next. Before he could get into fighting range, a giant spatula sent him to the clock tower. Ukyo easily belted her spatula back in place as she turned to Ranma and said something to him. *Damn, I didn't expect Ukyo to interfere.* She saw Kuno wouldn't be getting up any time soon. She eyed Ranma with hatred and noticed something for the first time. Instead of his usual red shirt, he was wearing a black one, giving his attire a uniform color. This didn't go unnoticed by everyone else, who thought he looked great in black.

Akane smirked evilly. *So Ukyo is also with him. Fine, she'll also receive what she deserves. I'll show her what a real martial artist can do.*

"RANMA. PREPARE TO DIE!" Again Akane was interrupted from her intent as another challenger appeared out of nowhere.

Nabiki smirked once again. *I know Ranma won't let Ukyo fight Ryoga. He's too strong for her.* She also remembered what she told the pig boy. 'Ranma was very mean to Akane, she was deathly afraid of him.' So what if she forgot to mention Nodoka was the one that threatened Akane? It was his fault for not stopping his mother.

Ranma motioned for Ukyo to step aside, this would be his fight. Ranma stood straight and said. "Good to see you, Ryoga. We have things to discuss." His answer was a punch to the jaw that sent him flying against a wall. Ranma crushed and as he fell, the wall collapsed on him. He barely managed to get up.

"Pathetic, Ranma. And I wasn't even trying." Ryoga gloated.

Ranma smirked evilly. "I know." He rushed forward and gave such a blow to the pig boy, that even Nabiki flinched at how it must have felt. Ryoga flew through a couple of trees and crashed on the wall. Everyone thought he wasn't getting up. They gaped at him when he laughed like a maniac and stood up, obviously enjoying himself. Ranma laughed with him.

Ryoga walked to Ranma and patted him on the back. "About time this little game was over. I was getting sick and tired of this stupid child's play."

Ranma motioned for Ukyo to join them. "Ryoga, Uchan and I are getting signed out. Care to come with us?"

Ryoga shook his head. "Nah, go ahead. I have things to take care of before we leave." And with that he started walking out of school. He stopped in front of a still frozen in place Akane and said with a smirk. "By the way Akane, I'm P-chan." He laughed loudly as he saw her expression. He left before anything else could happen to alter his good mood.

Nabiki was, to say the least, petrified in amazement. Ryoga and Ranma were friends? *Those two are the greatest actors I've ever seen.* She thought back to all the fights they had, in every one of them they seemed about ready to kill each other. She was also shocked to see Ryoga so easily admit he was P-chan, as if it didn't bother him. *I guess his love for Akane was an act too.* She was starting to see a pattern here, and a bad feeling started to overcome her. Ryoga was the second most powerful fighter she knew, and he was in league with Ranma.

Akane was having flashbacks right now. Flashbacks of all the times Ryoga and P-chan for some reason suddenly changed places, but never were in the same place. She cursed herself for being a fool, as much as Kuno. She had been so intent on blaming Ranma that she never noticed the obvious clues. She was so immersed in her own thoughts of self pity that she went to her classroom, forgetting all about Ranma.

Ukyo smiled at Ranma. "So, Ryoga is in this too?"

Ranma nodded. "Has been since the beginning. He'll meet with me once we're done here." He noticed Nabiki standing to the side and walked to her. "Hi Nabiki. Nice setup you pulled." Nabiki was starting to edge away from him, fully expecting an attack. Ranma smiled and continued. "I wanted to thank you for this. Finding Ryoga would have been hard. You saved us a lot of time." And having said that, he walked into the building. Ukyo followed him, as they went to arrange their paperwork.


Hinako-sensei was gonna have a field day with Ranma Saotome today. He was late to class, as well as miss Kuonji. She had also heard from a couple of students that he copied in his exam last Friday. They were delinquents that needed to be disciplined. She was in her adult form, having sucked out the battle aura of a couple of boys for arriving late. She enjoyed having the boys drool at her, especially since she knew none of them would dare move a finger to touch her. "Miss Tendo?" She asked.

Akane got out of her contemplation and said. "Hai."

Hinako continued. "Have you seen Mister Saotome and Miss Kuonji?" She was sure of the answer, this was just a formality.

Before Akane could answer, a voice from the door answered. "We're right here, Hinako." The entire classroom turned to see Ranma and Ukyo. The boy had his arms crossed over his chest, a confident smirk on his face.

Hinako didn't miss the smirk, nor the fact that Ranma was dressed in black. She smiled at him. "You are late, Mister Saotome. And I would like it better if you called me sensei."

Ranma shrugged. "I don't think so. We already signed out of school." Everyone in the classroom gasped. Akane knew this would eventually happen, but she didn't expect it to be so soon.

Hinako smiled evilly. "K, Ranma. It was about time. See you in the usual place." Ranma nodded as he and Ukyo left. Hinako turned to the class and said in a cheerful voice. More so because she was finally getting rid of this. "Class, this is the last time I'm teaching here at Furinkan. Family business has presented itself." The groans from the boys made her smile even more, she loved doing this to people.

Akane knew something was definitely up by now. Two of Ranma's most powerful enemies seemed to be in reality his friends. Ryoga and Hinako-sensei acted as if they knew him of a very long time. Ryoga she could explain, but Hinako was barely known to them. She lifted her hand. "Is there something wrong, Hinako-sensei?"

Hinako smiled. "Not at all, Miss Tendo. I'm leaving to tend some things dealing with my heritage." And with that she left the classroom. As she was walking down the corridors, to present her resign, she bumped into Nabiki.

"Hey there, Hinako-sensei. How did you handle Ranma?" She asked, expecting that at least she had sucked his battle aura dry. She was in her adult form after all.

Hinako smiled. "Just fine, Miss Tendo. It's so good to know we are all finally leaving Nerima." And with that she continued on walking. Leaving a cursing Nabiki behind.

Usually, Nabiki could take things calmly, but this time it was too much. "Isn't a single person in this fucking town what he appears to be?" She cried to no one in particular. The whole school was shocked to hear the Ice Queen so distressed.


Akane and Nabiki decided to follow Hinako from a distance, hoping to catch up with Ranma and solve this giant puzzle. They followed the teacher, still in adult form, to a park. It was small, with a small fountain in the center. They saw several people they recognized already there. Ranma was talking to Nodoka, while Ryoga was laughing as he listened in. What Nabiki and Akane noticed was the attire they were all using. It was their usual ones, but all in black. Nodoka was wearing a black kimono that Kodachi would kill for. Hinako's dress was black, and they were confused about it, since she had been wearing a yellow one in Furinkan. They walked closer to listen in.

Hinako smiled as she saw everyone here. "It's good to see you all. I was wondering when would we leave this place and start with our plans. This pathetic little town bores me."

Ryoga nodded. "Yeah. It was kind of boring after a while. We only had fun when fighting each other."

Hinako asked Ranma. "Where's Ukyo? I thought she was coming with us."

Ranma shook his head. "She doesn't have a part in this. Besides, although she is the best female fighter in Nerima, she's still not up to it. She's leaving town, though."

Ryoga nodded. "I kinda like her. Out of the lot of weaklings she's the smartest one. All the others could only solve problems by fighting."

Hinako grinned. "Look who's talking, muscle brain. I remember you weren't much of a thinker back then."

Ryoga snarled. "Maybe not, but I can still kick anyone's butt."

Ranma smiled and said. "No argument there, Ryoga. Even Saffron is a weakling compared to you." Nabiki was more than a little surprised to hear Ranma admit Ryoga's superiority. And Saffron had been Ranma's hardest opponent to date.

Ryoga smiled. "Yeah, but why did you defeat him in time, Ranma? You could have let that bitch die. We had to put up with her after that." Akane stifled a gasp, knowing full well who they were talking about.

Ranma shook his head. "I know. It was a matter of respect to Kasumi. I couldn't make her suffer like that. That spoiled brat then had delusions that I said I loved her. As if I'd ever say that to her."

Hinako spoke then. "You still haven't forgotten her, have you?" Her answer was a weak shock of his head. Hinako smiled and cheered him up. "I'm sure you'll both be together again. I can't think of a person more fitting for you." Ranma smiled at her.

The Saotome matriarch got back on the past subject. "I know what you mean. Out of the lot Kasumi was the nicest one." Nodoka said. "Nabiki is another story though, if she ever tries something else like today, she's going to be sorry."

Hinako continued in her sultry voice, which was even more sexy now. "I guess we should leave. There's nothing else to do here. We already dealt with everyone, including the amazons."

Nodoka nodded. "Indeed. It is time we leave this place. Let's correct what happened to your sister. She made a mistake, but that bitch who called herself a queen ignored us when I told her I could stop my daughter and bring her back."

Ryoga yawned and said. "We shall leave then. I'm getting bored and want to fight a little. Care to try me, sis? It's been a while since we had fun." He said to Hinako.

She smiled. "Are you crazy? Fight Ranma instead. You know how he enjoys fighting."

Ryoga turned to Ranma. "You and me again, bro. Ready to lose?"

Ranma cracked his knuckles. "Why not?" Nodoka opened a portal in front of them and they all stepped through it, disappearing from view.

Akane and Nabiki stared stupidly at the whole scene. Akane asked after five minutes since they had left. "I take it you are no longer after them?"

Nabiki sarcastically asked. "What gave you that idea?" Inwardly she thought. *The hell I am. They can all go to hell for all I care.* She was relieved she hadn't pulled her plan on Nodoka. The shock of knowing the four of them were together really made a number on her. She could never have seen it, they were just too good at hiding things.


Sailor Pluto was at the Gates of time as she felt a dark energy. The type she had thought would never appear again. As she looked through the Gates, she saw a Youma creating havoc in the commercial section of Juban. *Where did that come from?* She hadn't seen a single cloud in the future she had fought so hard to reach. It was her dream that Crystal Tokyo would come to be, but a new enemy was obviously out there, and she had been unable to predict it. This unnerved her enough that she decided to go down there and look for the summoner of the monster.

On another place, Rei had just had a vision of destruction. Not the destruction of the Earth, as usual, but the destruction of the Crystal Tokyo they all fought to achieve. In her vision, the castle shattered like glass under a wave of dark power. There wasn't death anywhere, just the destruction of the palace. She shuddered and was taken out of her meditation as her communicator started beeping. "What is it?" She asked annoyed. If Usagi was using the communicator to tell them about her date with Mamoru again, she would skin her.

Amy's voice was heard. "A Youma is attacking a block from the video games."

Rei couldn't suppress a feeling of danger from all of this. Her vision suddenly coming to mind. She shook her head and headed out. No time to worry about it now.


Rei arrived to see an impressive sight. The Youma was fighting awfully. Also, the fact that all of the senshi were present didn't do wonders for it's skills. Even Sailor Moon was kicking its butt. She joined in the fray, and wondered why she was so worried.

Setsuna backed away a little from the fight, and wondered what this was? This monster was very resistant, but had nothing in the terms of offensive skills. She saw the fight closely, and saw her fellow senshi were doing short work out of the monster, it would only last a couple of minutes more. Her eyes widened in shock at a single thought. *They are studying us!* She enhanced her senses, trying to pick the aura of someone with evil energy. She came up with nothing. Still unconvinced, she turned everywhere, looking for something suspicious. The fight, nothing special, Sailor Moon was preparing her special attack. The streets, empty, and surprisingly, no bodies. This unnerved her even more, the Youma hadn't attacked a single person, just destroyed some property to attract attention. This added up to her suspicion that they were being watched. She continued to look in all directions, finding nothing, until she gazed up. Up on a rooftop, a block away, the shadow of someone
could be seen. She gazed at it intently, trying to discern any characteristics. The figure turned on its heals and walked out of sight. Pluto didn't chase, knowing she would never catch up. She turned and saw that the senshi had finished the job. *He or she was definitely watching the fight. But I could feel no power emanating from that being.*

Haruka took the senshi of Time out of her contemplation as she said. "A lot of help you gave us, Pluto. You could have attacked a little more." It could be seen she wasn't angry, in fact she was exhilarating. She had enjoyed beating the crap out of something that didn't fight back. The others surrounded her, also giving estrange looks.

Pluto smiled. "This was a setup." She pointed the key to the Gates toward the building. "Someone was watching the fight, assessing what we are capable of."

Michiru turned to the building and said. "Never has an enemy hid before. They always threaten us."

Setsuna frowned. "This can only mean they are to be taken seriously. This was well planned and executed. And they still retain the advantage of surprise over us."

Michiru nodded, knowing her words were right. Usagi noticed something and said. "Did you see it? The Youma didn't attack a single person, though it had a lot of chances."

The others understood what she meant. It was weird arriving to a fight and have no one to protect. Only a wimpy monster to fight. Amy checked her computer, and found the traces of whatever energy summoned the Youma. "This doesn't make sense." She said.

Jupiter asked. "What doesn't make sense, Amy?"

Mercury continued. "This energy I'm picking up is a lot like Beryl's. But she is dead."

Sailor Pluto's face was livid after that comment. Thankfully no one noticed, as they were talking all at the same time. *It can't be! They're supposed to be dead.* Without another thought, she disappeared into the Gates of Time. *I was so stupid! I should remember that energy for what it was.*

The others continued to argue for a while, and no conclusion was reached. When they turned to Setsuna and saw she was gone they all shrugged. It was usual of her. Each took their own path.


"Have you seen them?" Asked the woman. The room was completely dark, but somehow they were able to see. Her voice was calm, so much it seemed like she was dead.

The young man nodded. "I have, your majesty. They are stronger than in the Silver Millenium. Saturn has the most raw power, but little control. Princess Serenity is the strongest of them, I was quite impressed with the power that spoiled brat possesses."

Another young man commented. "It is to be expected. Even if she is a spoiled brat, her mother was Queen Serenity."

The woman spoke once again. "I know you enough to trust your assess of her power more accurately than any of us." She paused for a second and asked with a smile. "I sense Pluto is scanning for us."

The first man to speak again said. "Yes. She couldn't feel my presence, as usual, but she caught sight of me from a distance."

"Did she recognize you?" A fourth person asked.

The man shook his head. "No. But she undoubtedly suspects it is us. Her intelligence and wisdom have always been the greatest strength of them."

The other man smirked. "Let them suspect all they want. That will give us the advantage, since they will be wary for a long time, unsure of who their stalker really is."

The woman smiled. "Indeed. Let us continue, then. We have to plan our next move."

All four figures smiled. They were strong because they listened to each other. Their leader encouraged that behavior, since it provided the best results.


"Where are they?" Sailor Pluto asked no one. She was scanning everywhere to find some trace of that evil energy. Well, it wasn't exactly evil energy, but they had summoned a Youma just to test the abilities of the senshi. *No wonder it lasted so long. It was designed to withstand all our attacks before disappearing.* She was seeing again and again the events of that particular night. Or more precisely, the person standing on that roof. She was still unsure, but a feeling settled in her stomach that it was indeed him. She had expected many people to survive, but not him, of all of them. *How did you survive?* She sat down and meditated about this. *If he's back, then I should assume they are all alive. I'm afraid we are in deep trouble this time.* She once again tried to read the future, but it was unclear whether they would survive or not. There was too much chaos in the timestream. This reminded her of that particular man back in the Silver Millenium. A man she could never
predict, because his existence was so chaotic the timestream was changed drastically every second, when it concerned his future.

"I shouldn't be surprised. That's why the Nova Queen adopted him in her family, even if he is weak." The boy had nearly been executed by the Knight forces of planet Uranus, because he had disobeyed a direct order from Sailor Uranus herself. *Although he wasn't especial in any other way, he was independent and sure of himself.* Nova had appeared out of nowhere and asked as a personal favor from Serenity that the boy be spared. Uranus was reluctant, but had no other choice. The next time either of them saw him, he was by the side of his 'mother', together with Beryl, Hira and Razt. Those three gave Setsuna chills, their power level being extremely high. Her thoughts returned to the boy once again.


Setsuna was walking down a corridor in the Silver Palace. Today Queen Nova would visit for diplomatic purposes. Her steps were sure, as she headed to the throne room. She had felt the power surge coming from it, and knew instantly that both rulers were inside. As she walked, a young man with black hair came in the opposite direction, wearing a black shirt and black loose pants. Setsuna quickly noticed him to not be of the palace guard, and said. "Halt! What are you doing here?" She thought he was familiar, but couldn't place him.

The boy stopped and smirked arrogantly. "I'm part of the Queen's escort."

Setsuna stood in front of him, and was annoyed that the boy was acting so smug with the Guardian of Time. "Queen Serenity doesn't have an escort composed of little boys."

The boy himself smiled even wider. "I was talking about my Queen, not Serenity." This earned him a punch right in the jaw.

Setsuna was enraged, and surprised about it. She could remain calm through any situation, but this boy really got to her. It was something in his attitude. "You will respect the Queen, insolent blasphemer."

Said person wiped blood from his lip and smiled again. "I respect her alright, but Queen Nova is the only person I take orders from." His eyes glinted dangerously, and if it wasn't for the fact that Sailor Pluto was very powerful, she would have recoiled from the threat. She suddenly remembered this boy for who he was, the attitude gave him away. Even in the brink of execution he kept it up.

"I see Queen Nova took you as a guard. I don't know what she sees in you, Ranma." She said smugly.

Ranma smiled. "Nice to see you remember me, oh Guardian of the Gates of Time!" It was mockery in it's purest level. "Indeed, the Queen has taken me in." This surprised the senshi of time again. Each time he referred to Nova, he was respectful, it seemed like she had tamed the arrogant boy.

"Greetings, Sailor Pluto!" A voice was heard from down the hall. She turned to see Razt and Hira walking to her. Her face hardened, hiding her anger towards the boy in front of her. All of them stood together as Hira continued, this time to Ranma. "Brother-dearest, did you make her angry?" She seemed to be amused by the situation.

Setsuna hid her surprise well. "Brother?" She asked, confused.

Razt nodded. "Yes, our mother adopted him as her own child." His tone of voice said he accepted his brother as his own too. "Why did you hit him?" His eyes glinted dangerously, and this time Setsuna was unnerved. Razt was a brutal fighter, capable of taking out any senshi in hand to hand by his raw strength and endurance. He seemed overly protective of his brother, too.

Ranma smiled and said. "Don't bother, Razt. She was only doing her duty." This seemed to calm the fighter quite a bit. Ranma turned to Pluto again and said. "Your Queen is in a private audience with Queen Nova. I don't think they would like to be interrupted." And with that he walked past her, followed by Razt.

Hira remained in front of Pluto and waited till her siblings were out of sight. She was calm, but that was only an appearance. She was too much like her mother. Always the best at hiding her true emotions. "I suggest you don't mess with my little brother, Sailor Pluto. You wouldn't like the consequences."

Setsuna took personal offense by the proclamation. "He's a weakling. He shows no potential for magic or the use of weapons."

Hira smiled. "True, but my mother definitely saw something in him, and I agree with her decision." She then said something that took the senshi of time by surprise. "Besides, we have grown fond of my little brother. Try anything against him, and you will regret it." With that Hira headed to a bench where Ranma and Razt were having some kind of conversation, if a conversation could involve the power fighter throwing stones the size of a person to the middle of the lake.

Setsuna was left there, thinking. Ranma had placed great emphasis in the words 'your Queen', but had nonetheless said them. He also calmed Razt, who was easy to start a fight, and also easy to finish it. She turned to see Hira giggling at something Ranma said, and wondered. *He was a complete asshole back then, and now as well. But there seems to be more to him than I expected.*


Since that day she had kept in touch with the arrogant prince. It was hard to stand him, but after she got past that, she enjoyed their conversations. He didn't like authority, but remained faithful to those he considered friends. It was a great shock for her to actually know why he had been condemned. Ranma wouldn't mention it, but Setsuna did a little paper work. His death sentence was for disobeying the order to kill a spy. He had gone so far as to punch Uranus in the face. The spy was executed in front of his own eyes, and his sentence would be carried by over gravity. It was one of the slowest and most painful ways to die.

She could slowly begin to understand why Ranma had been accepted into the Black Galaxy Family. The boy grew into you, making all those who knew him more whole. When she knew about Beryl, she was devastated to see Ranma try to convince them to let him talk to his sister. He really cared for his adopted family, and suffered greatly when Serenity used the Crystal to finish the battle.

The memories of those days always saddened Setsuna. So many things could have happened that would have changed history. Serenity was too prideful to admit the Black Galaxy Family was stronger than she gave them credit for. Serenity didn't want to lose power, though, and decided to fight on her own. *My Queen. What a mistake! Nova alone could take down Beryl without killing her. With Hira and Razt by her side, they could have stopped the fall of the Silver Millenium.* Regrets were the only thing that remained for the senshi of time. Regrets of not doing something to help them.

She suddenly felt a strange aura of power, and decided to go check it out. Setsuna disappeared on the portal that she opened before herself.


The shadow that had seen the fight of the senshi waited patiently for her to arrive. He had asked someone to attract her attention and then leave. Now he could feel the waves in the fabric of reality and smiled as he knew she did come. "It's been a long time, Senshi of Time." He said casually.

Setsuna heard the words, and together with the voice she recognized them to be from him. "Yes, it has." She said, keeping her expressionless mask. She could see the shadow in front of her, and recognized his general appearance. They stood there, regarding each other for a long time. Each with so many emotions bottled up, and about to explode. Countering emotions they were, but of the strongest kind. In the blink of an eye, they were together in an embrace, kissing passionately. Tears started to form in their eyes. They had been separated for thousands of years, but their love remained intact. "Ranma." She finally managed to say.

Ranma was kissing his beautiful green flower. "Setsuna." They were in a rooftop somewhere, but they didn't care. They started stripping off their clothes, and expressed with actions what words could not.


Author's Notes: I started this story from a crazy idea I had. I have read many fics were Ranma is a reincarnation from the Silver Millenium. Some in which he even was a senshi (I don't really like that idea). So why not make him a reincarnation from a different family? One that didn't like the Moon Kingdom in the first place.

Well, hope you enjoy it. Sorry if some of the history from Sailor Moon is not accurate. I could never force myself to see the actual series, so all my knowledge comes from fics around.

See you in part 2.