"Blood Calls Out For Blood"
A Ranma ½ / Sailor Moon Crossover
Sailor Moon and all related properties are properties of Naoko Takeuchi. Ranma ½ and all related properties are properties of Rumiko Takahashi. This story is inspired by Vaughan Stevens' "Recruiting" and I owe him a debt of gratitude for a good story and inspiration.
An odd foot, rimmed with serrated blades, stepped forward, leaving a bloody footprint. The foot's owner, a massive, hideous figure, stepped down the street, licking the blood from its barbed claws, somehow avoiding being cut. A man screamed behind him, clutching his abdomen, spurting blood and trying to keep the looped coils of bowel from spilling out.
All delicacies to the right beings. And tonight, the Deathbringer, self-proclaimed leader of the Hounds of Hell, enjoyed the finer things in life. To him, this night was as a buffet put together by the world's finest chefs. And it was going to do his best to enjoy the evening. It doubted it would ever find such another night. Unlike the other optimistic candidates (read: stupid bastards), the Deathbringer was no fool. This night would almost certainly be either the last night of freedom as it saw it, or the night of its destruction. The former would come if it was able to kill one or more of those thrice-damned warrior-harlots that had slain his fellow fiends and escape, or it would fall. Of the candidates, only the Ravener had seemed to have come close to completing the objective. There had been reports that one of the whores had not shown up since the Ravener's destruction. If that was true, then the Deathbringer would almost have to applaud the fiend's skills.
Unfortunately, for its predecessor, it had made the mistake of, as the pathetic two-legged worms are so fond of saying, 'biting off more than it could chew'. The Deathbringer understood the meaning of tactics. It knew the easiest way to take down a force that, it could admit, was numerically superior, and possibly superior in power, was to take it down a piece at a time. Unlike many others, the fiend's virtual immortality gave it a long view on things. Its predecessors were too impetuous, too convinced that they would have to take down their enemies in one swift stroke.
The Deathbringer knew, however, that it was far easier, not to mention more satisfying, to take down the opponents gradually. The satisfaction came from both the collateral pain and suffering it could cause as bait, to knowing that with each death, the harlots would grow weaker, not merely numerically, but knowing that their opponent could take them apart at its leisure. Causing them to fear, to hurt, and to live in utter paranoia as they constantly look over their shoulder for the knife in the darkness.
A being in a blue 'skin' pulled out one of the crude weapons the worms wielded and charged him. With a smirk of contented malice, the Deathbringer grasped at the hand that bore the weapon, the barbs lining its palm rending at the weak flesh like 5-grit sandpaper over a water balloon. The man cried out as it ran its claws along the man's chest, laying the flesh open, yet causing no internal damage. If the fiend had the equipment for it, it would have found an almost orgasmic high. Instead, to a creature built for the causing of pain, the experience was far better than any messy organic tryst.
It smirked as the police officer clawed for its walky-talky, bawling in pain as he tries to call for help. Let him call, the creature thought. The more the merrier.
The rain continued to fall as Akane held Kaiba, stroking her hair. She loves me, Akane thought. How come I never saw it before in Ranma? The answer was obvious, she realized. She didn't want to see. She was too willing to make Ranma the scapegoat for her anger at being used as a token, a bargaining tool. She had not really seen Ranma as a person, but rather, as the focus of everything wrong with her life. Ranma was a true martial artist, while she was hampered by her father's inability to cope with her mother's death. He could cook, whereas she realized she was positively deadly in the kitchen. He had the affection of several beautiful women, whereas she just attracted the insane or those being coerced into it, whether it was Kunou's lustful fanaticism, Gosunkugi's disturbing stalking, or Ryouga's obsessiveness.
Worst of all, in retrospect, was the contrast between Ranma's innocent ignorance and her own willful blindness. She never saw it before, but after hearing of the death of Ukyou and Ryouga, and seeing Ranma disappear, she was lost. She ended up having to look back at herself, and realized she didn't like what she saw. To make things even stranger, Ranma returned, but was not Ranma anymore.
Kaiba was soft spoken, polite, educated, everything Ranma never was. Yet in the girl's eyes was the same love that rarely shone through her eyes, and never toward anyone but Akane herself. She may not have been the same man she had fallen in love with, but she seemed to be the same person despite the numerous changes. Akane was beginning to realize that if she had lost Ranma, then perhaps she should hold tighter to this slip of a child who had pried loose the locks placed about her heart.
Blood dripped from the Deathbringer's claws as it moved onward, licking its lips once more. "Positively wonderful," it muttered to itself as it wandered onward. It paused, however, once it looked upon a pair of female humans curled up near a shrine. The shrine left the creature very uncomfortable, but fortunately it was distant enough to allow free access to a pair of very delicious looking targets. One looked a tad on the scrawny side, but its pain was tangible, even from this distance.
Kaiba was the first to her feet, feeling the utter… wrongness, for lack of a better term. The aura of something horrible. Akane blinked in surprise as she watched the girl stand, and then noticed the reason. She stood, at Kaiba's side, preparing to fight. But Kaiba's stance was neither that of a person about to enter combat, nor that of Ranma's deceptively casual combat stance. "Akane, I want you to go hide. Now."
"R... Kaiba, I'm a ma-" Akane protested, but was interrupted.
"Martial arts have nothing to do this, Akane. You try to fight this thing, you are going to die. No ands, ifs, or buts. We sacrificed our existences to protect you from these things. Don't demean Ranma or Ami's sacrifices." There wasn't the mocking condescension that Ranma always seemed to show, merely a concerned stating of facts. Akane would have been angry, except for one thing.
She saw the fear in Kaiba's eyes. And then she realized. She could almost read Kaiba like a child's book. Kaiba was terrified to take on this creature alone. But Kaiba was even more terrified that Akane would get killed by this creature.
Akane looked at Kaiba, but Kaiba already stepped forward, eyes narrowing as she closed her eyes. "Mercury Planet Power Makeup." She whispered hoarsely as she glowed an incandescent blue. Akane stared as Kaiba disappeared, and in her place was a seifuku-clad warrior. "Akane, run," Mercury ordered in a weird, almost multiphonic voice.
Akane swallowed hard and backed off, before dashing up the stairs of the Hikawa Shrine. "Ok, thing," Sailor Mercury muttered as she snuck a covert tap at her communicator's all-call button. "Let's dance."
Akane hurtled up the stairs to the shrine, almost tripping over a stone as she reached the main compound, opening the door and closing it behind her, chest heaving as she leaned against a support post. Her eyes look back toward the closed door, very worried. "Damn it, Kaiba…" she whispered worriedly, rubbing her arms as an eerie feeling ripped through her. Nervously, Akane turned around, pausing as she notices a glow from a nearby cabinet, which was covered in numerous wards. She paused, shaking a little. "Creepy." She muttered, before approaching the cabinet.
Her hand hesitantly moved toward the latched but unlocked cabinet. "Come on, Akane, you know you shouldn't be doing this," She muttered aloud to herself as she rested her hand on the latch. Yet despite her protest, she lifted the latch. In an instant, all the ofuda burst into flames, sending her stumbling back a few feet as they disintegrated. She paused, before reaching once more for the door. As she swung the door open, the only item in the cabinet was revealed to be a softly glowing ruby. Akane blinked in surprise as she noticed the jewel. Confused and curious, she reached a hand toward the gem, but before she could touch it, the gem flared brightly, washing her vision out.
When Akane's vision cleared, she noticed several very odd things. She was no longer in a shrine, but a rose-colored blank room that seemed endless. She was naked. She was floating above the floor. She was not alone. It was the second and last facts that disturbed her. At least the figure before her seemed like a girl, but better safe than sorry. "Who are you?" She yelled.
The figure was equally bare as she looked at Akane. "I can see why they like you," she replied, looking right into Akane's eyes. "Definitely have a fire to you." The girl laughed gently as if at a joke only she was in on.
"Who are you?" Akane repeated. "What are you taking about?"
The girl smiled gently. "My apologies. My name is… was Hino Rei. As for what I'm talking about, I was referring to Ami, and your friend Ranma. Or should I call them Kaiba now."
Akane blinked. "What do you mean?"
Rei sighed. "Ami and I were both killed. Just about a month ago," she began to explain. "We were killed by a terrible creature. And then some time later, the man you know as Ranma came to us. Usagi asked her to help us, but it would cost her much."
Akane blinked. "You mean his manhood?" she asked.
Rei nodded softly. "Ranma had the ability to take up the duties Ami and I worked to fulfill," she replied. "She joined a group of warriors to which Ami and I belonged. But to do so, he had to do something. Unfortunately, we're not sure what would have happened."
Akane blinked and frowned softly. "What did happen?"
Rei looked at Akane and sighed. "None of them understand… I doubt even I understand it completely but… It's nobody's fault they didn't merge right. Except maybe Ranma's."
Akane scowled. "What do you mean it's Ranma's fault?" Akane blinked at her own protest, wondering why she was feeling so protective of Ranma now.
Rei sighed. "The real reason Ranma and Ami haven't joined together right, is because Ranma can't let go."
"What do you mean? How can you know all this if you're dead?" She paused and then grew both outraged and horrified. "What do you mean, let go? You expect Ranma to just die and let this Ami take him over?"
Rei held up her hands. "No! On the contrary. Ranma's not letting her into him completely. He's scared of something… and I think I know what it is. As for how I know, I am a ghost after all; I've been watching my friends. And I was a priestess. I've learned how to read people's spirits."
Akane backed down, but only a little. "Well, what is the great Ranma so scared about?"
"Being alone," Rei said simply. "Ranma feels like he's been alone for a very long time. Whatever it is, he's not letting Ami join with him completely because… what's the joke, schizophrenia is better than being alone?"
Akane blinked. "Alone? He's always had his father… and he's lived with my family for the last two years…" She pauses, "But Ryouga and Ukyou've died recently…"
Rei smiled. "Then you have it right on the head. Ranma's losing everyone around him. But now he has someone in his head that he can keep forever. It's not healthy, but it's understandable."
Akane blinked. If gravity worked normally in the room, she would have fallen onto her rear in shock. "Then… that's why Kaiba's been so weird." She whispered, shaking her head softly.
Rei nodded quietly. "Right now, Kaiba's in a lot of trouble, though," she whispered softly.
Akane swallowed. "I have to go back."
Rei shook her head. "Not like that, you can't. If that thing is like the one that killed me, then you'd never survive. But there is a way."
Akane looked at her. "What are you talking abo…" She paused. "You want me to do what Ranma did."
Rei nodded softly as she rippled, transforming into Sailor Mars. "Your friend, our princess… both of them need help. Without Ami and me, they're both in trouble. They need help, and you can provide it."
Akane 'stood' straighter, shocked to see the girl turn into one of the famed Sailor Warriors. "You… want me to be part of you?"
Rei shook her head. "No. I want to rest. You'll have my knowledge, my power… but you'll be you. And if you can help Kaiba, so much the better." Akane blinked and seemed nervous, but Rei merely said, "You don't have to do this. It's your choice. But if you take up the job, you'll be with Kaiba for as long as you want. If it weren't for my being killed, I would have lived a very long time. Kaiba will live for thousand of years. You can be with him forever, if you wish."
Akane swallowed hard, and nodded. "I… I won't forget you, Rei."
Rei smiled. "Just do me a favor… try to help my grandfather if you could?"
Akane smiled gently. "I wouldn't mind that," she said softly. "Let's do this, Kaiba's in trouble."
The rain started to fall harder as Sailor Mercury glared at the creature, eyes narrowed. The Deathbringer laughed and replied, "So, one of the Sailor Whores shows its face. Perhaps I should tear it off," it mused, as it gave what passed as a smirk.
Mercury raised a hand which glowed with a dim blue light. "Easier said than done, ugly," she replied in that polyphonic voice, hurtling a sphere of ki-caressed air toward the creature's face, causing it to stagger back, snarling.
"Ok, witch. You die, painfully." With that, the creature charged at her with almost inhuman speed, claws sweeping through the air as Mercury leapt, throwing a snap kick into its face before landing on its back. She snarled as she threw a blurring series of punches toward the creature's back. She was suddenly thrown against a wall as the Deathbringer's upper torso turned in a seemingly anatomically impossible move, its claw both cutting across her abdomen and hurling her away.
The warrior stood, an arm clenched over her wounded abdomen, building another ki-bolt. As the creature swung down at her, she threw it at the claw before diving and rolling away. She landed atop a manhole cover, and stepped back, stomping on the cover before backing off to grasp the dented disc. Like an oversized discus, she hurled it at the creature, knocking it into a nearby building. Mercury fell to one knee, trying to concentrate enough to let the magical healing and her own ki pour over her wounds. Almost a full minute passed before the creature emerged from the hole, spitting out obscene words in a hideous language. It charged at Mercury, a scything claw moving to behead the girl, but cut through air as Mercury rolled back. She snarled out, "Shabon Spray!" With the command, the air filled with a visually impenetrable mist. The creature charged at Mercury, but found nothing. Suddenly a spark of pain flared in its side. The claw swung again, but once again cut merely through the air. "Come out, whore! Come out or I will flay your skin a finger width at a time!" The only reply was the impact of a rock slamming into the side of its head.
Mercury darted back, grasping a broken off girder from the building the Deathbringer emerged from, and chucked it at the creature, knocking a leg out from under it, sending it crashing to the ground. The fog began to dissipate as she leapt for the creature, a foot bearing down on its face. The creature swung its claw out once more, sending her hurtling into the wall of the shrine. Her head swam as she looked up, with a claw swinging to split her head in half, when suddenly a dart of flame sheared off a portion of the claw, sending the Deathbringer stumbling back in pain.
A figure in white and red landed before Mercury. "I will not allow you to harm her, fiend," A familiar voice spoke out. Mercury blinked a few more times, trying to clear her vision as she struggled to stand. With a chant and a flick of the wrist, a piece of white paper hurtled toward the creature. Its uninjured claw swung up to block, but the ofuda adhered to the limb, bursting into a white flame, causing the creature to let loose a raucous screech of pain. Suddenly a pair of arms enfolded Mercury, before yanking her upward, disappearing behind the wall.
Akane swallowed hard as she placed Mercury down near a tree. The rush of power she felt flowing through her was incredible, but she was too concerned to take more than a
passing notice of it. "Kaiba? Kaiba, are you ok?" She asked.
Mercury blinked as her vision finally cleared. "No… it can't be… Sailor Mars?"
Akane nodded. "Yes… it's me, Sailor Mercury," She replied, checking her wounds.
Mercury looked at the new Senshi. "Wh… who are you?"
Akane whispered, "It's me, Kaiba. It's Akane."
Mercury looked horrified. "No! You shouldn't have done this! We did this to protect you!"
Mars nodded. "And I'm doing it to protect you. I should have admitted this long ago. I love you, Saotome Kaiba. And I'll be damned if I let that creature take you from me."
Mercury shook her head. "No! That creature will kill you!"
Mars shook her head. "It won't kill us. Not if we work together. You and me, Kaiba." She interrupted a protest with a kiss. The concept of kissing another female still made her a little uneasy, but she knew this was Kaiba, was the woman she loved, even if she would never be the man she loved again.
Mercury blinked in surprise, stiffening, before passing out.
A white haze surrounded the two figures that seemed to drift toward one another. "Why'd she do that? Why'd she kiss us?"
The other figure replied, "You dolt… she cares about us. We became Kaiba and Mercury to save her, and she's become Mars to save us."
"But she'll get hurt! I can't le-"
The figure replied, "It's too late. And don't give us that macho bull that a girl can't fight!"
The first being whispered, "But… I don't want /her/ to fight."
"She'd be hurt anyway. But now she can fight at your side. She'll be with us as long as she wants. We'll live for a very long time, and she'll be by our side forever."
The first figure's voice came out almost like that of a little child seeking reassurance from a big sister. "Are you sure she won't leave?"
"If she's anything like she was before, with both your Akane and the Rei I know? You'll need a crowbar to get her off."
The figures continued to drift even closer, their limbs merging with one another, eyes gazing into one another. "You're leaving me," one whispered softly, worriedly.
"No, I'm not. I'll always be a part of you. But even if I'm not the voice in your head anymore, you won't be alone. You stay with Akane, and she'll stay with you."
The two bodies almost completely merged, leaving one body, save for two heads which were closing on one another. "Promise?" She whispered in a pleading voice?"
Suddenly the area faded into brilliant white, with only the softly spoken, "I promise…" drifting through the emptiness…
Akane held the girl worriedly, laying her down to look into her eyes. "Kaiba! Kaiba, wake up!" She pled. Suddenly a flare of brilliant white flashed in front of her eyes, blinding her and forcing her backwards. She rubbed at her eyes to clear them of the glare-blindness, and then gasped.
The figure before her was not the figure of the Sailor Mercury who was Mizuno Ami, nor the Sailor Mercury that seemed the odd conglomeration of Ami and Saotome Ranma's female form. Instead, a new woman stood before her. Roughly the same height as herself, the girl's hair was a dark lavender color save for a few reddish highlights near her wild bangs, and was tightly braided. About her torso was a light blue and white seifuku with a blue skirt, a bow whitish bow rested at the small of her back with ribbons trailing down to her calves, with a soft blue bow with dark blue star at its heart. A blue and white belt with a golden star rested at the waist, leading down to the dark blue skirt. A pair of brilliant white gloves reached to just above her elbows, with blue corded trim around the edge. A pair of white knee-high boots covered her lower legs and feet, the cuff a soft blue with a golden star just below the kneecap.
Her brilliant blue eyes opened to gaze upon Akane, noticing her clad in an outfit virtually identical, save for the exchange of the red of the Martian sands in the place of the blue of the seas. "I am fine now, Sailor Mars." And a familiar, confident smirk crossed Eternal Sailor Mercury's lips. "And I think we've got work to do."
Eternal Sailor Mars smiled and embraced Mercury before nodding. "Let's go," she said, as both charged toward the street.
Sailor Venus struggled to her feet as she looked toward the creature who had hurled her into a telephone pole. The warriors of Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and the Moon were all in various stages of dishevelment after trying to attack the creature, which was in fairly rotten shape itself. The claw injured earlier was now completely shorn off due to Uranus's Space Sword, while the carapace on its right rear leg was visibly broken. It was not willing to give up, however. Its other claw lashed out, knocking Neptune into Uranus. With a hissing screech it loomed upward over the Princess, when two voices called out at the same time.
"Mars Flame Sniper"
"Mercury Aqua Rhapsody"
A blast of intense flame and a sphere of ice slammed into the creature, dumping it onto its back and hurling it several meters away from Sailor Moon. The five Senshi turned toward the source of the attacks, who hurtled through the air, over Usagi's head, landing in a crouch, side by side, before standing. "You didn't think we were out of the fight, did you?" A confident voice, almost to the point of mocking arrogance, came from the shorter of the two figures.
"Not a chance. Sailor Mars," said the taller
"…and Sailor Mercury…"
And then both figure said at the same time, "are here to finish the job."
The five Senshi stared at the two new arrivals with various amounts of shock and joy. Mars grinned as Mercury called out, "Mars, hit him up!" The Senshi of War charged for the creature before performing a sliding tackle. She slid between the creature's four legs, before curling up and lashing both feet upwards. The creature folded as it hurtled up toward the sky. "Fire now!" Mercury ordered as she drew upon her ki.
As Mars rolled out of the way, firing another blast of heat toward the creature, Mercury put herself directly under the falling creature, grinning. "Senshi revision: Suiseiryu Shoten Ha!" she called out, as a hurricane of ice crystals and flame tore at the creature. She stepped out of the way, as the creature crashed to the ground behind her. With a bow to her princess she smiled. "She's all yours, ma'am."
The Senshi looked stunned at the two new warriors. Uranus and Neptune chuckled at Mercury's nonchalance while Sailor Moon shook her head. It didn't take much to imagine a sweatdrop pouring down her head. She drew her scepter out and disintegrated the mutilated fiend, before looking at the two Eternal Senshi. Mars looked to Mercury and said, "I think we've got some explaining to do, show off."
A half hour later, the warriors all met at the Outers' home. Akane and Kaiba were sitting in a corner, a bit flustered at the attention, but holding one another's hand. The remainder of the Senshi were looking at the two as Akane began to explain. Kaiba remained mute the whole time. "… and then I saw Kaiba disappear in a flash of light, and when the light faded, there she was."
The girls (and one man) all looked toward the mute Senshi, who looked up and said, "I… changed. I became me. Not Ami nor Ranma anymore, but maybe the best of us both." Everyone else looked at one another, surprised not to hear the pluralization of self that Kaiba had spoken with before. She looked toward Haruka and said, "I'm sorry I was acting like such a brat."
Haruka blushed and moved to embrace the girl. "No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been so pushy. I'm just glad you're ok now."
Kaiba returned the embrace before leaning softly on Akane, who blushed a bit.
Usagi looked toward Akane, still surprised. "Are you sure you want to do this? You saw how dangerous it was."
Akane paused, looked at Kaiba, and then nodded. "Yes, I am. As long as the person I love is fighting at your side, so am I." It was easier to say love now. Not as easy as before, but still much easier.
Usagi looked toward the rest of her court, before nodding. "Alright. Who am I to say otherwise? You're fighting as much for love as any one of us. Welcome, Sailor Mars."
Akane smiled softly. "Just call me Akane-chan, Princess."
"Only if you call me Usagi-chan," Usagi said with a smile.
Kaiba and Makoto began to cook dinner as the others began to share stories, as camaraderie suffused the building. Some stories elicited laughter, others elicited tears, but all of them tightened the bonds to one another as they talked long into the evening. In the end, all of them fell asleep on sleeping bags in the living room.