I posted the first chapter of this story, and when I woke up, I had 7 alerts on it, 4 favorites for it, and 4 reviews. Now I'm up to 13 reviews, 29 favs, and 50 alerts. I guess I figured out what people here like.
A special thanks to Kariston Drakonis (kick ass name by the way ;)), who responded to my lack of ideas with an entire list of them. I would have thanked you earlier, but your PM's are disabled. 3 of your ideas I was already going to use, and many of your ideas I'll either use or reapply to the story.
Here he was again. Flying through the air to destinations unknown. Maybe teasing Akane for chasing Happosai in just her bath towel wasn't his brightest idea. Well, at least he managed to snag a piece of bread from the table before he got sent flying this time. And the company was nice.
As he munched on the bread, he looked at his companion. "Hey, you doing OK down there?"
Indeed, it was the crow from his last flight. He recognized the scratch on its beak and the feather that stuck up over its right eye. Just like before, it had joined up with him on his way out of Nerima and had raced to keep pace with him from there. Last time it only reached his ankles before pulling out. It had definitely done some training because now it was at his knees, but Ranma could tell it was on its last leg.
It finally conceded defeat a minute later and fell back. "Caw! Caw!"
"Here! Catch!" He threw it the last crust of bread. It nimbly caught it and spiraled off to find a good place to eat it.
Ranma sighs. His life was really getting tense and these short trips were always a good excuse to loosen up, even if it only lasted until he got back to the dojo. And since Akane finally decided to up her training after the last time she sent him across the prefecture by going to Ryouga, the strongest guy she knows, for help, he'd have a lot more time to wind down from his stressed life.
He wondered where he was going to land this time. That last long-distance flight had been the most interesting thing to happen to him in a while. He even managed to stop that water-blasting monster chick without transforming. It didn't stop those girls from seeing his curse though…
"Sorry about this."
Stunned silence greeted his-her statement. None of the Senshi could quite process the situation. Four of them were dumbfounded and above that disappointed that the awesome beefcake they had just watched nearly singlehandedly take out a youma had just turned into a stacked petite redhead. Two of them were trying desperately to keep from ogling the stacked petite redheaded cheesecake that had just been a hunky guy beating the crap out of a youma. One of each was also just completely unbelieving of the impossible convenience of this unfounded situation, and were wondering if whatever came next would lead to disaster. And the final one…
"WOW! Oh my god, that was amazing! Are you an alien Senshi visiting the Earth on a secret mission? Or a knight reincarnated from the Silver Millennium? Or a runaway from a secret super soldier project? Or a magical prince from another universe seeking your bride? Or a…"
The six other Senshi facefaulted at their princess's endless string of even more fantastic questions and overly hyper attitude. By the time they all had pulled themselves back up, Sailor Moon had moved across the field and was dangerously invading Ranma's personal space, stars in her eyes and her hands cupped under her chin with nothing short of pure innocent curiosity and wonder shining through her.
Ranma's sweatdrop was about as large as her head as she slowly said, "Ah, no…I'm just human, so far 's I know. Uh…can you tell me where I am? I'm kinda lost I think."
"This is Juuban Natural Park in Juuban's Minato Ward," Sailor Moon chirped happily. Ranma barely had time to marvel at just how far Akane had sent him before Moon returned to her interrogation. "What did you say your name was? And how do you turn into a girl? And are you sure you're not a magical warrior of justice? Because I know these three girls who disguised themselves as guys when they came to Earth looking for their princess…"
Ranma waved away the questions. "No, no, I'm home-grown human. My name's Ranma Saotome of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts. The girl thing is a curse I picked up on a training trip in China." The twin pigtailed girl deflated slightly at the less than stellar introduction, allowing the one-pigtailed girl to ask, "Uh, could you point me towards a train station maybe? I kinda need to get home."
"Oh sure. There's a train station across the street from the park at the far end, over there." She pointed south, to the left of the recently cleared area of the park.
"Thanks. Have a nice day." Ranma bowed politely to Sailor Moon and then jumped off into the trees.
Sailor Moon waved at her retreating back and called pleasantly, "It was nice meeting you!" She turned back to the others to find them all staring at her slack jawed, even the normally resigned Sailor Mercury and amused Sailor Neptune. She blinked at them all and asked "What?"
…Just thinking about it brought a chuckle to the pigtailed boy's lips. He'd hopped a train heading to Nerima and managed to make it home to a still warm plate of food from Kasumi. A few days of peace later and here he was soaring through the clouds once again for a stupid slip of the tongue that was taken out of context. Again.
He caught sight of buildings on either side of his peripheral vision and groaned. He hated landing in the city. No matter where he came down he was going to feel it for a long time after. Unless he somehow managed to land in a stream or fountain. A quick tilt of his head revealed a straight road flanked by buildings straight into the distance. Yep, this one was gonna hurt. He closed his eyes and braced for the inevitable impact.
Tetsuo had seen better days. He used to be the talk of the town: VP of a modest accounting firm, wife and two kids, his son a rising soccer star and daughter slowly working her way onto Congress. And then everything went to hell. His daughter got dragged to a karaoke bar and got a contract to become a seiyu, his son dropped soccer to draw manga, his wife ran away with an underwear model and took the kids, and house, with her, and he got laid off so his boss could buy a jet ski for his trip to Sicily.
Now, many people would find this drastic shift in Tetsuo's life to be an unfortunate spell of bad luck, or some kind of divine punishment; and this time, they would be right. You see, Tetsuo had one major character flaw: he was uncharitable to the point that unless by helping someone he could gain equal or greater return, he would openly scoff at them. And this only got worse when he would get drunk, which he thankfully did very rarely, and only to celebrate his own success. It wasn't a big difference, if you consider the difference between a sleeping and attacking bear to not be a 'big' difference.
A month ago, Tetsuo found out some great inside information that allowed him to make a modest killing in stocks, so to celebrate he went and got plastered. He was the life of the party at the bar that night. On his way home to wrap up his celebrating with his loving wife, he walked past a little girl huddled on the ground crying. Apparently, she had gotten lost chasing her dog while walking him, and now she needed help finding her way home. Well, Tetsuo knew exactly what to do. He crouched down in front of the little girl and he…burped horrendously.
Tetsuo spent the next few minutes drunkenly laughing at the little girl and telling her off for her shortcomings. He didn't stop when the girl started crying again, or when a barking little dog jumped up into her lap, or when her mother found them only seconds later.
He was still giggling about it as he stumbled off from the teary reunion. He even gladly told the woman his name when she asked what kind of bastard would act like he did to a crying child. Too bad for him that all she needed was his face, his name, and the handkerchief he dropped to exact her vengeance. You see, she was a witch. She spent her days whipping up old-world potions and spells for those who believed in the practice. And unlike most, she actually knew what she was doing. So as soon as she got home and got her baby girl settled in bed, she got to work. By dawn, she had gotten Tetsuo hooked up with the premium curse package. Until he could see the error of his ways, all that was his he would lose. Plus a little impotence on the side. Don't mess with momma bear's cub and expect to get off.
And now he found himself running down a sidewalk, cops on his heels, and a woman's purse in his hands. And by the looks of the two patrolmen's stomachs, he was going to get away with it. 'Things are finally starting to look up for old Tetsuo!'
Another fine fact: because 'old Tetsuo' was literally cursed to have everything go south, he was actually even more unlucky than Ranma. He also couldn't take a hit. All that saved him from feeling the pain of being slammed into the concrete when Ranma's flight terminated right on top of him was that he was knocked senseless when Ranma crashed into him.
Ranma stood up from his much-less-painful-than-anticipated crash landing and brushed himself off just as the two gasping cops ran up. "Thanks *gasp* for stopping that *pant* that purse thief *gurgle*" Wait, 'gurgle'? "We've been chasing him for three blocks!"
Ranma bit back his usual obnoxious comments about being the best there is—they are cops after all—but let his cocky smirk slip through. "No problem Officer. I was just in the right place at the right time."
The less winded of the two officers starts processing Tetsuo. Well, he cuffs him and confiscates the purse anyways: unconscious people are notoriously hard to read their rights to. The other officer, now having caught his breath, asks Ranma, "So, would you be willing to come to the station to take a statement?"
Ranma's smile flashed from cocky, to sickened, to apologetic too fast for the cop to see. He couldn't risk walking into a police station, not with all the crap he'd been through with Genma that he was technically an accessory to. "I'd rather not. I missed lunch ya see, and really wasn't paying attention to where I was going when I fell on that guy."
The patrolman frowned but nodded understandingly. "OK, if it's just that much I suppose a full statement isn't necessary. Could I get your name at least?" he asked, pulling out a notepad and pen.
Ranma winced imperceptibly at that. He quickly thought it over and decided that he would be long gone from the area before the cop could pull his file and track him down again. "The name's Ranma Saotome."
The cop nodded and wrote a bit more before closing his pad. "Thank you again Mr. Saotome. That will be all. Have a good day." The cop bowed lightly and Ranma reciprocated politely.
"You as well." The cop quickly joined his partner aside the still-unconscious Tetsuo to await the ambulance he'd called for the unfortunate crook.
Ranma waited until the two weren't looking to sigh in relief at how well he handled that. His rumbling stomach reminded him that he hadn't had nearly enough to eat today and it spurred him to start looking around for somewhere to eat. To his great fortune, he spotted a café right across the street called the Crown Fruit Parlor. He quickly cut across the quiet street, eager to relieve his hunger inside.
Ami sighed as her four closest friends chatted around her. The scouts had called the meeting at the café, ostensibly to talk about Ami's findings from the monster battle the other day, but in the absence of the older Outers to help focus the conversation, the girls had obsessed over a more interesting subject. Namely, the prime slice of beefcake that literally fell out of the sky and took care of the monster for them. Ami could understand their interest. She herself really wanted to study the boy-turned-girl. And no, not just to get his shirt off.
Minako was leading the conversation, being the most boy crazy of the lot. She didn't even mind the genderswap thing all that much. Afterall, she still had Star Healer's number. Makoto had snagged on the 'It's a curse' aspect, and was happy to envision how her newest sempai-lookalike would show his appreciation if she could help cure him. Rei would have hopped on the boy-train too, but she seemed very unsettled by the turns-into-a-girl thing. For now, she was trying to be the voice of "he's probably another enemy out to get us." Considering how often the hot guy really was out to get them, everyone was hesitant to argue with her about it.
Luna of course sided with Rei in not trusting him/her. Artemis had sided with Luna, predictably, but was still investigating. Haruka and Michiru were expected to be cautious, but how much would be determined when they arrived with Hotaru and Setsuna.
When they'd tried getting Usagi's opinion, she'd just sighed wistfully and said, "She had ginormous boobs." The girls had all looked down and sighed dejectedly at that.
"They weren't that big" Makoto grumbled.
"Please. They were at least as big as yours," Minako counter grumbled.
The discussion was just heating up again when Ranma walked in. Minako and Rei immediately dropped their argument and all of them began eyeing (mostly ogling) the pigtailed-boy. They watched as he took a cursory look around, glanced at the menu, checked his wallet, then frowned and headed off to the bathrooms. A minute later the Senshi were surprised to see the boy sneak out of the bathroom in his girl form. They watched in confusion as the girl-who-was-a-boy walked up to the counter. Then they stared, thunderstruck, as she shamelessly flirted her way into a discounted extra-large meal and a sundae. And the way she ate! It was like she hadn't seen food in months! When Rei turned to comment she noticed that Usagi was missing.
'Where did Usagi go?' Rei spots her quickly. At Ranma's table. 'What is that meatball head doing now?'
Ranma looked up from her first bite of chocolate fudge explosion (with sprinkles) to meet the bright blue eyes of a blonde girl about her age with twin buns trailing tails to the floor.
"Uh, hi," she said carefully to the very perky girl that just walked up to her out of nowhere.
"I'm Usagi Tsukino, grade 11. Can I sit here?"
"Ah, sure." Usagi sat across from her and looked at her questioningly. "OH, right. I'm Ranma Saotome, same grade," the redhead grinned.
The blonde smiled one of the most brilliant smiles Ranma has ever seen. "It's a pleasure to meet you Ranma. Is that the chocolate fudge explosion?"
Ranma grinned proudly at the hungry and appreciative look in the girl's eyes. "With sprinkles."
"Really!" she gasped. "Ohhh, Motoki never gives those out without charging extra…"
"Hah! If I hadn't used up the good stuff getting the discounted meal, I'd have gotten nuts, caramel sauce, and an extra cherry."
"No way! He's had cute girls prancing around in front of him for years now. He's built up an immunity or he wouldn't still be in business."
"Oh please. I was two buttons and a bounce away from getting the sundae free." Ranma proclaimed proudly, straightening her back to display the proof. Usagi crossed her arms poutingly. Ranma just smirked and took her first glorious bite of the sugar rush in front of her. "Mmhmm, that's so good."
Usagi perked up as Ranma sped on to her second bite. "Does it taste better as a girl?"
"Yep," Ranma answered around the spoon. Then her eyes bulged comically…and she swallowed her spoon. "ACK!"
And this is the end of the second chapter. I got tired of figuring out how to extend it. Next up, the Outers! And bad guys! Probably!
Also, I've discovered something nobody reading this will like: Cliffies are Fun when you're the one writing them :)
Reviews can only make me write faster. Hint hint.