Lines of Destiny is one of the classic Ranma fanfictions. "TV Tropes" considers it the "Tropemaker" for 'fukufics' (Ranma/Sailor Moon crossovers). It was left unfinished after chapter twelve was completed in 2000.
If interested, instructions for finding "Lines of Destiny" can be found at the end of this chapter.
Without question the definitive continuation of "Lines of Destiny" is "Lines of Destiny: Destiny's Intersection" by Shareon.
In the course of discussion on that story with the author, I pointed out that the "Lines of Destiny" prologue explicitly excluded from consideration portended a much more important role for Akane in the story.
This resulted in Shareon's repeated encouragement to write my own story. Because of this, I then requested, and received, permission from Louis-Philippe Giroux to write my own continuation of his story.
So, I will.
The question could be asked... why? Because I feel a plot can be constructed to continue the major plot threads of "Lines of Destiny", as I see them, while still encompassing virtually all the plot points of Mr. Giroux' outline. Plus, I choose to embrace the prolog in this telling of events.
Though I will not go as far as adding a third 'IP' for crossover, I do know that the game "Fire Emblem" was important in Mr. Giroux visualization of the world where the central arc of the story tales place. In fact, the art for the character 'Ethlin' was the inspiration he and Mike Koos used for the character design for 'Akana'. fireemblem dot wikia dot com slash wiki slash ethlin . I will use character designs for visual reference of people that are encountered.
The prolog is first found in the archive of the "Lines of Destiny" site dating October 2002. This is about 2 years after the publication of "Lines" chapter 12. I feel it shows a new direction the story might have gone.
A short synopsis of the prologue is: "Prince Kanma (Akane's Silver Millennium incarnation) gives his soul bound spell book to Pluto for safekeeping. He uses a series of safeguards to insure only his reincarnation gets access to it. Additional safeguards assure it will only be opened if the reincarnate is allied with Pluto."
As I said earlier, I feel this indicates Akane must have a central role in the story.
Kevin D. Hammel December 4, 2012
I'll conclude... and start... with the first paragraph from "Lines of Destiny":
"When the Kin of Silence joins the Daughter of Earth, the Circle Of Planets shall be complete once more." - Last prophecy spoken by the Terran Royal Seer before the end of the Silver Millennium.
The Daughter of Terra
A Ranma/Sailor Moon story chronicling possible events after "Lines of Destiny"
"Lines of Destiny" situational copyright Louis-Philippe Giroux
"Destiny's Intersection", and outline thereof, situational copyright Louis-Philipe Giroux and 'Shareon'
Louis-Philippe Giroux (Author of "Lines of Destiny"), 'Shareon' (Author of "Lines of Destiny: Destiny's intersection" s/8018537/1/Lines-of-Destiny-Destiny-s-Intersection ), and Konsaki, (Author of "Fated Pasts, Chaotic Future" s/4346903/1/Fated-Pasts-Chaotic-Future ) all said it would be okay to write this.
Ranma 1/2 is property of Rumiko Takahashi. Publication Rights are held by Viz in The US and Shogakukan in Japan. Sailor Moon is property of Naoko Takeuchi. Publication rights held by Kodansha Ltd. in Japan and Mixx Entertainment in the US. My purpose is to honor these creators and their works. No infringement intended.
Chapter 1: Then and Back Again
It was dawn on the volcanic island of Thera, in the turquoise Aegean Sea. The very life blood of Atlantis flowed through its main city. The bustling capital named for the island pulsed with maritime commerce. Varicolored houses and buildings huddled low in the eastern quarter of the great peak; cascading down to the water. Ships departed the busy port destined for myriad islands. The largest vessels charted courses for the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Some even traded with Endemiyon's court.
The palace at Thera was not as splendid as the magnificent structure on the peninsula at Olympia. Still, crystal chandeliers lit the large rooms whose floors captured the Aegean waves in teal stone. In the grandest halls, the beautiful stone flooring was hidden beneath ornate rugs depicting the rugged coast of the island; the great ships that plied the waves; and the island's majestic peak.
Later today, life in its varied forms would fill the rooms with sound, conversation and laughter. This early, conversation consisted of whispered greetings. Sound was largely absent, save the occasional staccato beat of a woman's shoes on the polished floors. Strident, muffled by carpet, then strident again.
In a small bedroom off one of the great halls, lit only by gray early morning glow, a redheaded young woman finished dressing. Her fingers danced between the twenty lace hooks of her right gray boot. Securing the shoe with a tight, neat bow, she was ready. Flat soles did not announce her fashion sense on the stone flooring as most women's shoes did. Which suited her fine. And the thick brown fabric of her pants and shirt did nothing to declare her First Princess of Earth. The gold quartered circle clasp on her blue cloak marked her such without fashionable assistance.
Not that she didn't like fashion. In fact her usual outfit was far fancier and shaded in white, teal, and blue. It celebrated her figure and femininity, instead of cloaking both in harsh colors and bulky fabric. But that was for less demanding work than what faced her today. So she wore her trusty traveling clothes for the short walk to the Park.
The gray of predawn washing Thera's Monument Park was already mottled with pools of brightness. Shadows of trees and memorials mixed with the day's first light.
Today she would complete her task of cleansing homage at the Cenotaph of the Daughter. She had already worked a solid week at the tomb of the first Terran Senshi's spirit.
Akana inspected the work she had done to this point. A shadow on the stone interrupted her survey. She turned to see Elder Terra, her Aunt Yonagi.
"You're doing well on your task, Akana. An hour at most and you'll be done here." Earth's sole Senshi declared with pride. She was just a bit taller than Akana and had much darker red hair than her niece.
Akana flushed at the complement, "Thanks Auntie... I mean Terra."
"Auntie's always fine, you know that, little... I mean Akana. You've grown into a beautiful young woman. It seems just yesterday... Anyway, I need to get back to the palace. I'll inspect your work when you're done." Elder Terra finished before walking back the way Akana had come.
"Thanks, Terra. I'll be done before you know it!" Akana enthusiastically replied.
And a little over an hour later, Akana was done. The last few black lichen patches had been scraped off the pink stone. In conclusion, the Senshi candidate used a few buckets of water to rinse and cleanse the entirety of the memorial.
"Finally!" the Princess whispered. She stood back to regard the monument.
The ancient pink granite of the hollow tomb glistened as puddles of water, glassy quartz, and black biotite all caught early morning rays. In repose on the top was a stylized sculpture of Sailor Terra. Her eyes were closed in death... or contemplation. Hands folded neatly above her waist. Booted feet together. She rested on a bed of carved flowers. The black catafalque supporting the vacant sarcophagus bore an inscription. The epitaph's gilt had worn to a few specks of golden brightness in the interval since its creation over a millennium before.
Daughter of Terra
Journey now beyond our sight!
Akana bowed her head and offered a silent prayer for the first of her line. The Daughter of Terra who had ascended so long ago. She wondered how that first initiate felt before she took up Terra's mantle. Was that first Senshi nervous? Excited? Scared? All of which Akana was right then.
The redheaded candidate bowed once more to her predecessor then rose to prepare for her own ceremony. And her own tenure as a Terran Sailor Senshi.
Eight thousand years in Akana's future, it was midday on the island of Honshu in the dark green waters of the Pacific Ocean. The great capital of Tokyo sent both ships and jets on missions of commerce around the globe. Though distant from the Aegean Islands, Tokyo's Juuban district was touched by events there long ago. Akana's reincarnation, Ranma, fought an arch demon as Sailor Terra. Inside a shopping mall, of all places. Meanwhile, her last companion Kanma, reborn as Akane, raced to her side.
Akane had heard about demons attacking the mall near the university. Just a minute later, Saturn Knight looked down on the structure from an adjacent rooftop. The shopping center looked deserted. It was the work of moments to hop down three stories and run through the nearest door.
Inside, her footfalls reverberated in the evacuated, cavernous expanse. As she ran toward the obvious battle, she barely made out faint, whispered words, "Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken revised: Armageddon Symphony".
And seconds later, a heart breaking, "Saturn, attend Terra!"
She knew what her reincarnated sister would be asked to do. Suddenly her primary concern was the condition of her husband, Sailor Terra.
As the scene came into sharp focus, she beheld a rare sight. Pluto, on the battlefield for once. In both her lives Saturn Knight had never been happy to see the black clad Sailor Senshi, until that moment. Then Pluto let lose her Dead Scream to finish the matter. The demon gave a last, shuddering breath.
To the left of the demonic corpse, spread-eagled on her back, was Terra. Her white bodysuit now a deep blood crimson. Saturn Knight ran to her fallen husband and bit back a 'Ranma', substituting a shouted "Terra!".
"Big sister, NO! She's badly hurt. Let me heal her okay?" her little sister Sailor Saturn shouted, even while healing light flowed from her outstretched hands.
Saturn Knight stopped. Terra's chest was a mess. The mall in miniature. There were countless broken ribs, some of the bones even stretching the crimson stained material away from her her ribcage with sharp protrusions beneath the bloody fabric. Her husband's face showed much less damage, a few bruises and scrapes. She settled for kissing her husband's perfectly glossed lips. Thank Kanma for something, it was nice to be able to do that without freezing up. Terra's slim arms looked much better off than her chest as well.
Saturn Knight walked to Terra's side, opposite Saturn, and knelt. She carefully sandwiched the exposed portion of Terra's right arm between her hands. Half-fingered gloves allowed her to sense warmth and the flow of life in her husband's smooth limb. That provided real comfort, and fed hope for Terra's survival. Soon, the Knight's tears dotted her own hands and her husband's arm.
In the midst of the destruction, Pluto watched the slain Arch-Demon dematerialize. It had been so close, again. The dark Senshi turned from observing death to watching life.
Pluto lost herself in a moment of contemplation. Seeing both of them in distress was painful. Should she disrupt such an intimate moment? Should she offer her support? Of course. She was, at the core, still a warrior for love and justice. It was easy to forget that, amidst the demands of her station. She knelt and placed her own gloved hand atop Akane's.
Saturn Knight was roused from her silent vigil. She would trust touch to inform of her husband's status. Akane focused her remaining senses on the person who had knelt beside her. "Pluto?" She eventually choked out.
"Yes?" Pluto questioned. She realized this was no place for the playacting of past millennia. The dark Senshi seized Akane'e eyes with her own.
By that time, a wary Tuxedo Kamen, Neptune, and Uranus formed a defensive triangle around the wounded Senshi and those aiding her.
Saturn Knight considered what to say. Now... yes now, especially now, was the time. She waited a few moments, gathering composure and courage to ask a single question, "Yesterday... can you... can you... fix it so my husband was cured... yesterday?" Speech left her at that moment. She marshaled the strength to respond verbally in case she had to. Her husband's warmth offered comfort as she waited for her nemesis to reply.
Tuxedo Kamen held his breath. Hoping his reincarnated brother's suffering would finally be over.
Pluto thought for a few moments. This was a thorny one. Her pat answers could be a trap here. She had been careful not to lie. But couldn't risk tipping her hand either. But... Yes, perfect. Pluto looked into the younger woman's tear filled eyes, "Saturn Knight, do you love your husband?"
Little or no verbal response needed. Saturn Knight gave a sharp, affirmative nod punctuated with a grunted, "Un."
Uranus, still focused on her slice of perimeter, took a couple of steps and reached to grasp one of her partner's delicate hands.
Neptune felt her mate's love; and was buoyed by a desperate hope. She looked Uranus' way, pleased to see a faint smile mirroring her own.
Pluto answered with a serious face, "A lot of things would be affected by a cure. Think about this battle here. If your husband was cured he wouldn't have become Terra today. He wouldn't have had Terra's armor to lessen damage and hold his body together. Even with her armor, Terra almost died."
Everyone in the tight circle of concern closed their eyes for a moment at the obvious result.
Pluto continued, "So, happy news one day becomes a funeral the next. Time is very complicated. Is your husband's life worth less than a day as a full man?" The dark Senshi could not remember when it hurt so much to carry out her duty. But this, she knew was nothing...
Uranus actually felt guilty for the request she had made. And saw the good in its denial. But Pluto had let slip details Akane and Ranma needed to know. They really had to reach out to those two. She turned to Neptune and saw a few tears down her love's face. She gently wrapped both her arms around her partner in a hug.
Neptune relaxed in Uranus' strong embrace, returning the hug with her own slim arms. Was the price of the cure worth the life of an ally, and potential friend? She really wanted to talk to Ranma and Akane. Hotaru-chan had already bonded with Ranma's wife. Their whole family could benefit from friendship with the martial artists.
Saturn Knight was terrified. What if Pluto had complied? Old saws like 'be careful what you wish for' suddenly had awful clarity. Tears came again.
Finished healing, Saturn wrapped her small arms around her sister.
Observing Terra was stable, Pluto commented, "Terra can be moved, and those sirens are getting closer. We need to go."
Uranus walked toward Terra.
Akane caught the movement out of the corner of her eye. Her tears were incinerated in an instant. Nobody was going to carry her husband now but her. Saturn Knight shouted, "I'll carry Terra!"
Uranus waved her arms in mock surrender, "Okay, okay. I'll help Saturn. It's not like I'm gonna steal your girl away or anything."
Saturn pulled her arms back. A small smile showed happiness both for her sibling and the return of Akane's passion.
As the magical warriors left the mall, Happosai remained in the shadows contemplating his next move. The dialogue he had heard was intriguing. Especially regarding curses, husbands, and cures. Perhaps Akane was a magical girl. Maybe, Ranma was one too. This was almost too bizarre to imagine. Though the supposition wasn't proven by any means. Still, he had to admit, a master of his school surrounded by girls in short skirts was a very pleasant thought.
As long as they didn't hit too hard. His smiled dimmed... just a little.
Saturn Knight hopped rooftop to rooftop, keeping Uranus in her peripheral vision. Juuban was still new to her so she relied on a native's guidance to their destination; the Hikawa Shrine where Ranma's cousin Rei lived. Step, step, step... leap... step, step... it was easy to become absorbed in the simple rhythms of exertion, so familiar to an avid runner like Akane. She smiled at the weight she carried this time. Much heavier than those usually on her wrists, and infinitely more precious.
It had been a while since Akane had carried Ranma in female form, and Terra was ten or twenty kilos heavier then Ranma had been then. Not to mention she was now considerably taller than Akane. Still no problem for Saturn Knight. Or plain old Akane for that matter. After all, she was more than strong enough to carry Ranma as a guy too, not that the idiot would ever allow that. But he was her idiot. She had to smile at that thought.
Akane snatched a glance at Terra as she ran and leapt toward the shrine. Wow, she was really beautiful. Ranma always seemed to project vulnerability while sleeping, making her even more attractive. Even in a blood-soaked seifuku. Akane swallowed, she had never looked at her husband that way before. But Kanma had. It seemed Kanma was adept at much more than magic, as a number of things he had wanted to do with Akana came unbidden to Akane's mind. This was scary. She was a girl, a woman, a wife. She couldn't even do most of what Kanma had desired. But a few were... intriguing.
And her husband's female form could be Sailor Terra. Was Ranma in conflict with Akana about being a man and husband? Maybe, Akana was awfully hard headed and forceful. Though she was also compassionate. Was he losing ground or gaining? Sadly, Akane realized it was more likely the former. With all the pressure, and seemingly good reasons to be Terra, could he ever win? Yes, with help. Especially from herself. But, still...
No wonder he hated being Terra.
Akane realized that to really support him, she had to walk away from her own dream fulfilled, being Saturn Knight. She was married, if only for a little while so far. The advancement in life she really wanted now was a family... children. Besides, her attacks didn't work as the Knight anyway. Antagonizing her husband wasn't really worth just wearing the armor. So, really it was just another thing her husband would be prettier and better at then her, because he could be Sailor Terra. No really big loss to Akane. Especially since he wanted out too.
Still, Ranma was getting increasingly angry. Was he lashing out in desperation? Maybe. Again, she really needed to help him. Or was he frightened of the obvious benefits being Terra offered above his martial arts supremacy? And if being a girl offered an advantage, would conflict with the 'Man Amongst Men' tear him apart?
Why guess answers for questions when Ranma knew all the answers? If he had faced them.
One question both of them wanted answered was about the pact he and his father had marked when Ranma was a child. The commitment that Ranma would be a man amongst men or he and his parents would have to kill themselves. Akane was pretty sure it was fulfilled, but only Ranma's mother Nodoka could really release her son from it. And her interpretation of things was bizarre and unpredictable. Still, that would be a good thing to resolve, given Ranma's problems right now.
Akane tried to formulate a strategy to help Ranma. To help her... him... them get past the life-changing turbulence together. Intact. Or as whole as they could be, considering the memories they bore. And to find the the lives they would probably, eventually... have to live. All the other Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen had it so easy.
This really was scary.
Finally they reached the shrine. Step, step, and one final leap, landing softly with her husband in a bridal carry. Akane smiled, remembering when Ranma had borne her on their honeymoon... such as it was. At least Nabiki didn't charge for the pictures, at least the first copies. But... it felt really good to return the favor.
It felt wonderful for Ranma to need her, even if Terra wasn't conscious to admit it.
Akane looked around, trying to find a clean, safe place to set her husband down. The shrine was beautiful, an oasis of nature amidst the streets and tracks of the great city. She noticed Saturn just ahead.
"That was a neat trip! Could you set Terra down here please, Saturn Knight?" Akane's little sister smilingly asked.
As she gently set Terra down in the temple courtyard, Saturn Knight became engrossed in planning what to do and how to move forward. She gave Terra one last kiss, this one caste, on her cheek. The corner of her eye caught Saturn healing Terra again. "Thanks, Saturn." She said as she moved away from Terra, allowing her little sister more working room.
"My pleasure, Kan... umm... Saturn Knight." Saturn replied, flushing slightly at her gaffe. Akane was reminding her more and more of her brother.
Terra's eyes snapped open. She noticed Mars, Tuxedo Kamen, Uranus, Neptune and Saturn Knight. Sailor Saturn was just finishing her healing and was backing away.
Earth's warrior blinked a few times... first slowly, then more rapidly. She inspected her gloved hands, as if for the first time.
Slamming her palms to the pavement in exasperation, she pushed down with her recently shattered arms. But didn't seem to be able to raise herself the way she wanted to. Frustration built as her gloved hands hit the ground repeatedly.
Seeing Terra's problems, both Tuxedo Kamen and Saturn Knight rushed to her side. Each one grabbed the nearest shoulder and helped the struggling girl sit up. "Guess you have two Knights in shining armor, Terra-chan," A troubled Saturn Knight said to her husband.
"That she does, Saturn Knight. I sure hope she's okay." Tuxedo Kamen replied, finishing with a concerned look.
Both backed a way a half-step, leaving the seated Terra.
Unconsciously, Terra stretched her short skirt to its fullest, and brushed a few twigs out of her hair with gloved hands. Looking around she saw unfamiliar bodies in familiar uniforms. And from the street just past the trees she heard all the bustle of twentieth century traffic. Finally she yelled, her face registering both fear and horror, "Nooo!"
Tuxedo Kamen's brow knit in concentration. There it was again, a faint psychic voice. Help. Mamoru.
Ranma, are you okay? Tuxedo Kamen sent back to his empathic sibling.
Ranma had awakened isolated and alone in his own body. He knew something was wrong when he regained consciousness and couldn't move. Or even see. He was disoriented and sent a psychic cry of help to Mamoru. He was ecstatic it was returned. Contact with a living person who cared about him was important. He would sort out the details later.
Akana took control? I wonder why? Came Ranma's response.
Saturn Knight knelt by her husband's side.
Terra looked wide-eyed at the armor clad woman who gazed back with concern and love, "You really are Kanma, aren't you? Oh, why, no... Ranma... oh no. I don't want this. I never wanted this. He never deserved this. And neither did you, Akane-san?" She asked.
Saturn Knight had a sinking feeling, but nodded in response, "A... Akana?" She asked the other woman.
"Yeah... Sorry 'bout this," Terra's response a ghostly echo of the husband Akane already missed terribly.
Tuxedo Kamen knelt to Saturn Knight's' left. All the other people formed a circle around Terra. Saturn sat right of Saturn Knight. Neptune and Uranus Saturn's right. Similarly Mars was shoulder to shoulder with Tuxedo Kamen.
*I'm sorry, Ranma. Like I told Akane, you don't deserve this.* Akana addressed the other half of her soul.
*I heard.* If he could have rolled his eyes he would have. *Thanks for talkin' t' me Akana. I hope we can switch places. Akane? Where's Oh... Kanma's Akane? Figures.* Ranma responded. Ranma wanted to get angry at Akane, but wanted to be with her so much, much more, that the anger fizzled to a small ache.
Right now, he wanted to be Terra again. He wanted to be anything that was in control of his body. Male or female. Civillian or Senshi. Those distinctions had lost a lot of meaning, at least for now. Ever since Ranma got stuffed in a corner of the soul he and Akana shared. Just like a stack of old magazines in a dark, dusty attic. Anything would be better, at least it seemed that way.
Tuxedo Kamen had called Usagi. The Princess was probably needed no matter how things turned out. How's it going, Ranma-san? I called the Princess, she's on her way.
Well, if I said anything but awful, I'd be lyin'. But I'd sure like to be on top in here again. And... thanks. For answering, and being there, Mamoru-san. I really... need you right now. And I'm not gonna forget either. Ranma responded.
Tuxedo Kamen hoped that things would, somehow, work out. That Ranma could be restored. And they could share a special relationship like he had with his little sister, so long ago. He didn't notice a tear making its way down his face.
Akane looked to Mars, "Do you think you could do anything? I know you helped me get memories back."
Rei furrowed her brow, "Do we have any way of speaking to Ranma-san?" This would be even harder if they couldn't talk to her cousin.
"Yes," Tuxedo Kamen responded. "In fact I have been in touch with my brother since he came to."
Saturn Knight loosed a verbal machine gun on the masked warrior. "You have? Why didn't you tell me? Anyway, Thanks, Tuxedo Kamen. Glad you were able to reach him! Is he okay? Please tell him I love him."
"Yes, sorry, you're welcome, me too, yes, right away. Akane-san, he can hear probably you. He just can't speak using his voice." Tuxedo Kamen responded. Ranma-san, Akane-san wants me to tell you she loves you.
Tell her I still love her too, okay? And I love hearing her voice right now. Sorry for putting you in the middle of this. Ranma sent back.
"He says he loves you too, Akane-san. And he loves hearing your voice right now." I sort of have to be in the middle here. Where I'm happy to be, Ranma-san. Tuxedo Kamen responded to his brother's soul after passing Ranma's love to his wife.
Akana decided she wouldn't rain on Ranma's parade and tell him she heard every psychic transmission too. She was happy Mamoru and Ranma were developing what she and Endymion had in their past lives. Terra smiled, shedding a few tears about what she had lost and her new incarnation was gaining. She really wished she could just retreat, and let Ranma live his life. She had only shadowy memories of Nike, thank goodness. Ranma was blessed and cursed in so many ways beyond Jusenkyou.
Saturn noticed tears on Akana's face and went to her, "You okay, Terra-san?" Saturn gently asked.
Terra blushed, "Yes, Verika... just remembering the past. And how I'd really like to move on." She wished, and thought, and hoped she could move on. Maybe the Psi-Techs...
Sailor Saturn smiled at hearing her old name.
Akana blinked her eyes again. "Umm... I don't feel so..." Akane caught her head as Akana passed out.
"Ranma!" Tuxedo Kamen shouted as the link was cut for a moment.
Ranma opened his eyes to white. The sum of all color stretched horizon to horizon. If distance could be judged in this monochrome world, about six meters to his left was white doorframe and door, with only shadows providing real definition. Blinking against the monochrome miasma, he looked around to see white two chairs, Akana was seated in one, dressed in a rough brown shirt and pants tucked into a sturdy pair of laced gray boots. And around her shoulders and down her back; a blue cape with a gold quartered circle clasp. The chairs faced each other across a low table.
"Hi, Ranma. I put these clothes on... not really sure why... Sorry... about what happened, I still don't know what it was, " The redhead said with a half wave. She looked a bit confused.
Ranma felt his heart going out to his old incarnation, "Hey, Akana. Those are our traveling clothes. For going out on the road before we could be Sailor Terra."
Ranma blinked. Where had that come from? He continued to speak, "Umm... so... no ideas then?" Ranma had to ask his previous self, taking the open seat opposite her.
"You're right Ranma. How could I forget these clothes? Well, I think that means... this is it..." She looked a little... a lot down as she finished the thought, "I wanted to move on. To let you live your own life on your own. I've grown comfortable with my existence over eight thousand years. But tired, too. Mind if I ask a couple of questions, since I won't get another chance?"
Ranma shook his head in the affirmative, "Sure, Akana. Ask away."
Akana became serious as she continued, "Ranma, I've given you my most treasured legacy, the mantle of a Sailor Senshi. How do you feel about Terra?"
Ranma thought for a few moments, "Well, being Terra seems to be something I'll need to do sometimes... It's already saved my life once. And helped me... ummm... us... the team I was with... win." He looked into Akana's eyes, "That what you wanted to hear?"
Akana shrugged her shoulders, "I really didn't want to hear anything specific..."
Ranma smirked as he replied, "As long as I said I didn't hate it?"
Akana raised both hands in surrender, "Ya got me. Yeah, that's it. And that is what I wanted to hear,"
Ranma thought for a moment. It was a dream world, so he probably could. With a that in mind, he shifted to Sailor Terra. Ranma noticed Akana had done the same. Both Terras' outfits were fully colored in the funereal white of the dreamscape they inhabited.
One other question. "What about End... Mamoru?"
Ranma gently shook her head back and forth, "Actually, I finally realized how important that connection is. When I came to, I couldn't see or do anything. So I contacted Mamoru. He was nice and concerned. Not pushy, or a jerk or nothing. Not a Kunou.. though he sorta acts like him around the Princess. Maybe that's just how Royal People are. So, I guess that connection's okay. Prob'ly even good lots a times. And Mamoru's okay too, I think."
Akana gave her a slight smile as she continued, "Well, like it or not Ranma... as Sailor Terra, you're 'Royal People'. You're Princess of Earth. Anyway, thanks, Ranma. Just wanted to clear that stuff up first. Since you and I changed, it seems right somehow that two ghost Terras show up at my funeral."
Ranma had a grim expression as she responded, "Yeah, guess you're right." She turned slightly to capture Akana's eyes, "Thanks, Akana. I'm gonna miss you."
Akana shook her head, "Nope, I'll still be here. The really sad part is that... as hard as things are now for you. When I'm gone you're gonna be buried in me."
"Huh?" Ranma asked with a grunt. A touch of anger bubbled up, "What the heck is that supposed to mean?"
Akana looked thoughtful for a moment, then continued. "Remember, we're halves of one soul. So, when I'm gone there will be no separation. We'll go from halves of one soul to one complete soul. Finally. After eight thousand years. You'll have access to all my memories, thoughts, and spirit too. They'll be part of you just like your current ones are. And, though I'm gone... Maybe you'll feel a little extra lift when you think of Akane or something else I might like. Like martial arts, or training."
Ranma arched an eyebrow, "Yeah, I could just imagine. Stuff like shopping, cooking, and housekeeping, am I right? am I?" She added a touch of heat to the repeated question.
Akana responded with a glare that melted to a guarded smile, "I loved shopping, or what passed for it back then. I'd enjoy going to one of those malls now, with Akane. Or teaming up to fight demons at a mall, with Akane too. Armageddon Symphony was awesome, by the way. A deadly mix of our martial arts and Terra's power. With a delightful touch of World Shaking." She shook her head before continuing, "Sheesh, almost sounds like a recipe. Which brings us to cooking. I have to admit, I was a disaster in the kitchen. Sound familiar?"
Despite the situation, both sides of Ranma's soul shared a laugh.
After a bit, Akana continued, still smiling, "And I was a Princess. Though I always treated our staff with respect and love... I never had to worry about housekeeping, except at a training campsite. Or really much cooking, thank goodness."
Ranma returned to the serious, "But that means half my memories and thoughts will be girl's memories and thoughts. How am I supposed to stay a guy, Akana, huh? Why did this have to happen to me... Akane and me. We just got married!" A little more anger bubbled to the surface as she shouted, "I... I... don't wanna be Akane's wife."
Tears fell as Akana continued, "I don't know. But... remember that on your side you have just as much 'guy' as I do girl. So you'll have to decide where to go from there yourself."
Ranma looked down at the floor, getting angry only made Akana cry. She looked up, seizing Akana's eyes with her own, "Guess I got a scrap on my hands then," she concluded by pasting a game, cocky grin on her face, "I'll get through this. We'll get through this, me and Akane."
Akana smiled broadly, trying to offer encouragement, "I'm sure you will. After all, in a lot of ways you're me. And I'm stubborn and don't give up."
Akana flickered for a moment, then returned, clearly shaken. "I guess I'll be going soon. Please remember. When Akane hugs you so hard you think you'll burst. Or encourages you... Or you learn a new technique... Or invent a new attack as Terra... Or Akane perfects a new spell... That little extra bit of happiness you feel is just..." Overcome, Akana couldn't talk anymore. And flickered again.
Ranma hugged the other Terra for all she was worth, "I'll remember Akana, I promise. Thanks for helping me with this." She let her other half go.
Akana pecked Ranma on the cheek. Realizing her time was almost done, she bounded to the door. Opening it, she turned to wave one last time, then went through. Slamming it like a proper tomboy should behind her, Ranma noticed with smile. The stark white landscape collapsed. Sailor Terra pulled herself awake.
This time, with no chance of further injury to a critically ill patient, Saturn Knight had Terra's head right where she wanted it. In her lap.
She seemed to be resting well. There was a golden glow that faded to nothing then Terra opened her eyes. She smiled at Saturn Knight, "Akane, it's me."
Saturn Knight blinked, "Ranma? What happened?"
Terra slowly sat up, quickly assisted by Saturn Knight and Tuxedo Kamen, both of whom grabbed an arm. She tried to access her memories. It did not take long to determine that yes, she had all Akana's memories. She thought for a while what to do about it, but nothing came to mind.
Terra wondered how manly mom would think she was right now. That brought to mind... an image of a woman with long, bright red hair wearing a flowing white dress decorated with black arcane symbols. That's right, mom was a... certainly not a mage. And their house wasn't made of stone either.
Akane was concerned, her husband wasn't talking, but looking inward. "Terra, you okay in there?"
Terra worked at it for a while, finally finding an image of her mom... at least this life. Akana had blown up all over her. She considered what to do. Maybe Rei... Mars, if she could start this mess, at least for Akane... maybe she could fix it. There was only one Rei, so she saw her cousin's face in her mind's eye as she turned to answer her wife.
Terra reported on her self-discoveries, "After Akana left me, I got all her memories. I tried t' think of my mom, and I got Akana's mom instead. I can't even trust my own memories anymore. Any ideas, Mars?" She finished looking at her nearby cousin.
Sailor Mars looked really troubled, "That's horrible Terra." She replied, while walking to her cousin's side. Mars knelt opposite Tuxedo Kamen, on Terra's left side.
Terra thought of her mom, and got her mom now. She alternated mom and dad a few times and kept getting her current mom each time she wanted. "That's weird, I always seem to get my mom now. Will I have to 'fix' all my memories like that?"
Mars shrugged, still looking concerned, "I'm not sure, Terra. Nobody ever had the problem you do, after all. You seemed to have had two complete souls in one body. And now you have two lifetimes of memories to sift trough. And Saturn Knight," she turned to her cousin's wife, "Seems to have a lot more memories than the rest of us who were reincarnated. Except maybe the Princess."
Terra looked troubled as she continued, "Ya know, I'm used to enemies I can fight. Because I know I'm the best and will win. But this enemy ya can't even see or hit or anything. And he... err... she? it? Can wipe me out for good."
Terra took a calming breath before continuing, "I know you Senshi think my curse is wonderful, but I think it's horrible. I guess you guys'll be happy if I just turn into Akana for ya."
Sailor Moon walked from behind Tuxedo Kamen to look down on Terra. She knelt to look her Senshi in the face. "We don't want that Terra. We want you to be you. I know you're not on our team. And never were in this lifetime. I'd love to welcome you back, but I'm just as happy to shield you from battle until you tell me otherwise. Be well, Terra." She rose and went back to her love's side.
A visibly pained Mars continued her answer, "We don't win if you revert to Akana, you know. I heard what you did at that mall. Of everyone on our team... err... reincarnated people who can be sailors. You're the only one who knows the martial arts techniques to do those amazing attacks. So... we don't want you to lose yourself, Ranma. We need... want you well." Mars finished in tears.
Terra rose to hug her cousin, "Thanks, Mars. That was really nice of ya to say. Moon was cool too." She comforted as she wrapped her arms around the tearful young woman.
"Thanks, Terra." Mars replied as she shrugged off the embrace.
Sailor Moon caught Terra's eye and gave a slight bow of acknowledgment.
Terra's gaze shifted slightly from the Princess to another who deserved thanks today. "Thanks, Mam... Tuxedo Kamen. When there was nowhere for me to go, you were there for me." She swallowed. He was so tall. More than twenty centimeters taller than her. She had faced larger opponents. But this was different. No combat involved. Plus he was her brother. At least before. She walked toward him, stopping a few meters short. Hugging seemed natural.. with other girls, at least. What would be the many thing to do? Terra extended both of her arms. The masked warrior came forward and grasped both of Terra's forearms. They held like that for several seconds. "Thanks, Mamoru-san." Terra said at last.
Tuxedo Kamen smiled, "No problem Terra-ch... san. What are big brothers for, anyway? Maybe the four of us can go out to eat sometime and get to know each other better."
Terra turned to see Saturn Knight's smiling approval. "Sounds good." She replied at last. Terra turned and walked the few steps to be next to her wife.
Gesturing to include the entire assemblage, Saturn Knight appeared to be tearing up as she began, "You know, all you other Sailor Senshi, and whatever elses got it great. Your destiny is full of golden sunrises and flower petals. Reinforced by your wonderful Silver Millennium memories. As far as you're concerned, you may not be exactly like you were before, but you're still girls,"
She turned to Tuxedo Kamen, "Or guys... like you were before." Continuing, she focused on Terra, "Terra and I on the other hand..."
She looked to her husband, noticing a brief nod of the head urging her to continue.
"When I carried Terra over here from the mall, I had a few thoughts and feelings that really made me rethink at least what my destiny is. I can't speak for Terra, but I think I got the shaft."
Saturn couldn't keep tears away. She loved her brother was reborn, but how much did that cost Akane? "Ak... Saturn Knight..." she whispered.
The Knight acknowledged Saturn's concern with a wink before continuing. "My Silver Millennium memories are more like a graveyard... heck, a junkyard from a past that doesn't usually fit me, or the life I want... to make for myself... ourselves. And they never ever fit perfectly... because I was a guy." Saturn Knight paused before continuing.
Saturn wiped her eyes.
"Going much deeper than that... I really only want to share that stuff with Terra. And, you know, Terra has it much worse. She... he wasn't just raised to be a man, but a 'Man amongst Men'. And now, as she just said, she's buried in a girl's memories. To top it off, she can actually can become a girl with all those memories. So to help him, to focus on helping both of us. I really don't want to be involved with you guys as Saturn Knight anymore until my husband wants to do this."
Saturn looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled, "I'll be waiting for you to come back to our team. But you're still my sister, always. So I'm sure we'll see each other." she concluded.
Akane smiled at Sailor Saturn before finishing up, "Because my husband, and his happiness, is more important. I want to help him, and get his help."
"So, Saturn Knight, " Terra tossed out, just before the other woman turned, "Why did you of all people, get involved in this madness?" She almost spat out the last few syllables in anger.
Saturn Knight shrugged, "Why did you get involved, Sailor Terra? You discovered you had a life in the Silver Millennium. A life that sorta made your stomach do flip flops if you thought about it much... or at all. And so, somebody probably convinced you to, and you ended up transforming to Terra. And you were probably scared to death before, during and after that transformation."
The Knight took a breath while glancing at Terra for a moment, sensing a little embarrassed confirmation, "I know some people convinced me to transform the first time. And trust me, I was scared I was gonna turn into a guy. But now, I've been there, and I... we can afford to put this stuff on the shelf. I've got a... a soul full of junk... that scares me. Would you help me deal with all that please, Terra?"
Terra noticed the tears on Akane's face, and realized they were for... both of them.
The armored woman returned a pained smile, "As I said, I need to walk away from being Saturn Knight. When I figured out how much real pain being Terra causes you, and why. I realized that I wanted to do what I could to help you get out of this. And the best place to start was for me to leave the team. But..."
Terra was quick to interject, "But what, Saturn Knight? Come on, tell me." She could only imagine what Akane was holding out on her this time.
Saturn Knight's smile was a little less pained. Kanma's reincarnation hoped she wouldn't have to give up on the second best part of this chapter of her lives, "Well, I don't want to walk away from the friendships I've started to make. I found a reincarnated sister who has been really supportive, for example. Whether I'm Saturn Knight or Akane, I still have to deal with the fact that part of my soul is and wants to be a guy. So I want to have some people to talk to about it if I need to. Folks who knew me then and know me now. And don't forget, your mom asked you to help Neptune-chan."
Neptune smiled at the mention.
"Though I really hope you'll be the one who helps me most. And, I'd like to be there for you too, Terra. Because I love you." Saturn Knight pecked Terra on the cheek. Third time today. This could easily become habit forming. She knew part of her wanted to french kiss Terra, but she could deal with that. Besides the last thing she wanted was to get Terra mad.
Terra pondered what to say. It was so much easier to just be angry. But Akane had sort of taken that away from her. With concern she could see and feel, not Mamoru's magic security blanket. Though she saw Mamoru in a different light too, now. Her wife had given Ranma almost everything she could have wanted. What the heck was happening to her... him? No, she was a her now. At least at this minute. She thought back to something Akana had said before the fight 'Life can be good or bad, but you make the call. No one else can.'
Since Akane had done it, Terra decided the peck on the cheek thing was cool. So she did it to Akane. It did make her feel happier. But she still couldn't help feeling betrayed too.
Saturn Knight flushed as her left hand reached the spot Ranma had kissed her. A smile blossomed as she looked up to her companion, "Let's go home, okay?" The Knight asked, offering a hand. She didn't really care what anyone thought about two girls holding hands anymore.
Or, maybe she did. And was proud.
"Not yet, Ms Knight," Ranma said as she brushed off Akane's hand. "You didn't even think it was worth telling me you were Saturn Knight and Kanma. That hurts. A lot."
A touch of anger flamed up in Akane's heart, "Well, you never told me you were Terra and Akana either," Akane interrupted. Her idiot husband had a hard time seeing what he did was wrong in a lot of situations. She sighed realizing she was wrong a lot of times too.
Ranma shrugged, "But that was diff... errr... Okay, we're sort'a even then. Still, it shows there are still problems with our marriage. But in the end you also decided to pass on all that Senshi stuff up too. Or at least the transforming. And that's the part that really matters, at least for me. Anyways, you did the right thing. And that made me happy and proud to be your husband. Still, I'm not sure how to feel about you right now. Sorry."
The redhead turned to her wife, "But, I do like you a bunch. What you did and said really helped today. And it meant a lot to me. It's good to know somebody's got my back now. Thanks."
There was real gratitude in her husband's face, but with an undercurrent of fear.
"Excuse me, Terra," Uranus, flanked by Saturn and Neptune, asked the red headed Senshi.
The Earth's Senshi turned to face her questioner, "Yeah?" Terra questioned back.
Neptune bowed slightly, "Terra-san, Saturn Knight-san, we were wondering if you would come by our house for dinner tomorrow? Maybe about six?"
"Well, if my wife is okay with it, sure," Terra replied, then turned to her partner, who was smiling at her reincarnated sister.
"You bet!" Saturn Knight added, continuing to smile at Sailor Saturn the whole time.
The gathering started to break up. Everyone present returned to their civilian identities. And went their separate ways home.
Akane stayed abreast of her husband as they walked home in silence. It hurt a lot Ranma that didn't say 'I love you' when she had the chance. And just last night they had truly consummated their marriage. There was still more work to be done, but she was ready. Her husband didn't lose, but Akane didn't give up.
Reaching their door at last, Ranma opened it for her wife.
"Thanks, Ranma." Akane said as she entered the small apartment they shared.
Ranma followed, shutting the door behind the young couple.
Their apartment wasn't very large, but it was home. Sort of. Or at least enough. The only appliances they could afford were a toaster, small microwave and a rice cooker. Still, that was sufficient to satisfy what cooking needs they had. Two futons sat in a corner of the studio, doing double duty as chairs to lounge on and beds for each, or the two of them. The couple currently faced each other at the desk in the opposite corner they shared for schoolwork.
Studies done for the day, Ranma looked across the desk at Akane, who was working on her last assignment. Because of their different schedules, they hadn't seen much of each other after they left the mall together in the early afternoon. But now, maybe they could talk a little before going to bed. Ranma was still angry with Akane for not being open about her Silver Millennium past. Not to mention her embrace of the role as Saturn Knight. But Akane's decision to abandon that calling, just to support her husband, had raised Ranma's spirits. And, maybe, given him a glimpse of what love was.
"Whew, " Akane breathed as she set the pencil down.
"So," Ranma began, eyes locked onto his wife's. "Do you want to explain exactly what a soul full of junk is?"
"Well... Okay. I have a lot of Kanma's memories in my head. Some of them are, how should I say this?" Akane was interrupted by a rapping on the door.
"Got it, Akane," Ranma said while rising. He figured he could handle most anything that could knock on a door as he opened it. On the other side was a tall woman in an overcoat. An active disguise field made her harder to identify, so Ranma just guessed, "Pluto?" With the visitor's height, it might have been Jupiter, but the Jovian Princess really wasn't into clandestine operations. It could be Uranus. Not that she was one for sneaking much either.
The visitor gave sharp vertical nod, and a quick question, "Is your wife here?"
"Yes, come in?" Ranma asked, unsure how to handle the unexpected guest. Pluto flowed past him. He shut the door in her wake.
Akane rose, "So you wanted to see me?" She searched her memories trying to figure out why. Could it be the grimoire? "Do you have something of mine, Pluto?"
Pluto smiled, "Of course I do. It's been cluttering up my hyperspatial storage for eight thousand years and counting." She summoned a purple book with an embedded blue gem in one hand and a blue gem alone in the other. Both gems glowed.
"As I remember, you need to set the alignment Pluto. I hope you still serve the Princess, at least in your dark heart." Akane recalled after wracking her memories.
"A perfect complement to your perpetually dreary mood around me," Pluto retorted as she she touched the gem to the one embedded into the book's cover. "Done, you should be able to study it now."
Akane turned to her husband, both anticipation and trepidation evident as she asked, "What you you think, Ranma?"
Ranma shrugged, "It's just new techniques Pluto owed you." Turning to the overcoat-clad Senshi, he continued, "She doesn't have to transform or anything to use them, right?"
Pluto nodded, "Well, she might want to summon her staff. As mages usually do, before battle. But, other than that, they are his... errr... hers... at least this time around." Pluto couldn't keep a smirk off her face for Akane's benefit.
Akane rolled her eyes as she replied, "Whatever."
Pluto continued, "Saturn Knight doesn't really have a lot of power on her own, beyond the armor. Which IS critical to battle in hostile environments; and to provide protection against powerful opponents. It's her personal magicks that provide all the special attacks and abilities. Sailor Sehsni spells, on the other hand, are bound to their transformation."
Ranma smiled... At least until Pluto's last sentence. His expression became neutral as he captured his wife's beautiful brown eyes, "Sounds okay, then. Probably even useful if we ever have to help out those Senshi again."
Akane cleared space on her side of the study table. She pushed books aside. Then stacked her notebooks on top. Turning, she walked to Pluto to receive the purple leather-bound grimoire.
Setsuna had an array of guises, many of which Kanma had seen over the years. Akane regarded the Senshi of Time and saw something she had not seen before. Respect.
"Here, Akane," Pluto said in a civil tone, offering the volume. "I know I have been a little... abrasive across the years, but I am proud to have kept this for you."
"Thanks," Was all Akane could really offer in return. She pivoted and walked to the study desk, placing her grimoire to one side so it could be opened and read. The young woman sat down. The simple spell of opening was scarcely a thought and clapped hands. But only she could use it on this tome. The metal bindings snapped open as she touched the book. On a whim, she raised her hands above the book and smiled as the bindings snapped shut again.
"Magic can be pretty amazing sometimes... I guess." Ranma commented from just behind his wife.
"Have fun, kids!" Pluto said as she let herself out.
After more than eight millennia, Kanma's reincarnation placed her hands on the cover again. The ancient locks again clicked admittance. She continued this time, finally opening her grimoire again. The leather creaked but held, protected by magicks cast so long ago. Indecipherable arcane symbols glowed yellow on the pages. A massive swarm of rainbow pinpricks emerged from the tome's open leaves. The lights poured into Akane as if magnetically propelled. After a few seconds, the rainbow flow diminished. Ten seconds later the last light was absorbed.
Akane shook her head. The part of her soul bound to the book had copied itself back, and taught her a first lesson. The presence of Kanma within her was forever manifold stronger. As consequence, the text became clear. She paged through the book, finding Shirak Tabris just a few pages in. It took a few minutes to re-acquaint herself with his old friend. Who would never again fail her. The pages past the last of her new spell remained incomprehensible. But there were several to learn on those leaves she had bypassed. Looking around, she noticed her husband's glazed stare.
A moment later, Ranma blinked. Akane was finally done. That was almost as boring as High School.
Akane raised her two hands in apology. "How long"? She asked.
"About twenty minutes," Ranma replied with a shrug.
Akane faced the book again. She clapped her palms together and her grimoire sealed itself shut. In one smooth motion, she stored it in her hyperspace pocket. "Sorry," Akane offered.
"No worries, I know I've practiced lots of times a lot longer with you watching, Akane." Didja learn anything?
Akane smiled broadly, "Yeah, shirak tabris," She replied, careful not to use her Casting Voice.
Ranma shook his head knowingly. "I actually remember that one. We should find a place where we can practice together, so we can team up. I really do want to work with you. Anyway, back to souls full of junk. What were you thinking of you only wanted to tell me about?"
Akane went to the sink and filled a glass with water, "Wanna be a girl for this Ranma? You usually can talk about personal stuff better when you are." She stopped to her husband's left, ready to pour water if he wanted it.
Ranma looked a little sad and blew out a breath of frustration at himeslf. "Actually, I'm not sure about needing to be a girl for that..."
Akane had jumped to the wrong conclusion and it was too late to stop pouring the water on Ranma. "Oops," she sheepishly interrupted.
"at least anymore." Ranma finished, water already having done its magic on her.
Akane looked chagrinned, "Sorry Ranma. I remember how you used to feel about it. Let me get hot water."
"Nah, this is okay, Akane, really." Ranma replied with a slightly forced smile.
"I showed up at the very end of the fight at the mall. I heard you cast your Armageddon Symphony. Then, just a few seconds later, Pluto ordered Saturn to heal you. So I ran up," Akane swallowed, "There was blood everywhere. Anyhow, I asked Pluto about whether she could fix things yesterday so you would be cured... which would have helped Kaioh-chan too, of course."
"Guess she said no," A dejected Ranma said to the floor.
"Actually, instead, she told us why." Akane cryptically continued, "She pointed out that if you were cured, you wouldn't 'ave become Terra. And without Terra's armor... well..." She couldn't continue.
Ranma covered her eyes.
"Ranma?" Akane asked in a gentle tone she reserved for her husband in girlform.
"Yeah?" Ranma replied. Hoping Akane would carry the conversational load for a while.
Akane continued her narrative, "After you were healed enough, Uranus was going to cary you back, but I told her I wanted to. As I carried you, I realized how beautiful you were. Then I started getting all Kanma's thoughts on what he wanted to do with you. Most of 'em girl's can't do."
Ranma's eyes were wide. "So you've gotta put up with stuff like that too?"
"Yeah," Akane said simply. She debated whether bringing up how happy she was not to be cursed with thoughts like that. But decided using gasoline to put out a fire was a better idea.
Ranma looked her wife in the eyes, "So let's see here." She started by pointing to herself, "I needed to be Terra to survive the demon attack. But here's some memories of stuff only girls want. But, 'cause I can still be Terra, I need to think about all this junk as a girl. and as a guy of course. Akane, at least you're a girl thinking about guy stuff but it's just so wrong for both of us."
Akane shook her head 'yes', "Uh huh. Like I said, the rest of those people have no clue what we go through. But I do."
"We've gotta lot to work through here, Akane. But I really want to go through this with you. Because I'm really starting to understand that you do understand me." Ranma did her best to smile. And she hadn't shed a tear the whole time so far.
Akane looked Ranma in the eyes, "Please tell me what you learned from Akana. Kanma's not a voice in my head. Just memories and thoughts I stumble across. Like Akana is now, I guess.
Ranma shrugged, "First, it's not really like that for me. My mind is so mixed up right now, I'm not even always sure what s'posed to be my memories and what're Akana's. For Akana though, she just showed up a lot in dreams. We had a few conversations. From what she said, her soul was split in two. Both halves were supposed to be sealed in the spring. But, somehow one half escaped, which I guess started all these problems for me."
Akane shook her head negatiely, "Ranma, don't talk like that... Don't even think like that, " Akane swallowed her husband up in a hug, "Please?"
Ranma was puzzled as she pushed Akane off, "Wha? I just thought it would be nice to have no curse in my head is all. Or any of this past life stuff."
Akane backed away, "Okay, Ranma, tell me what your life would be like if half Akana's soul hadn't gotten out of the spring?"
Ranma smiled a bit, "It would'a been wonderful. No Akana in my head at all. No mountain o'girl memories after Akana left. Even if I got a curse at Jusenkyou. 'Cause my pop is still an idiot and that would'a happened anyhow."
Akane shook her head negatively. Tears were falling now, "Also no Ranma. Or at least the idiot I call Ranma. Think about it. Where did that soul go? To you. Without that, your parents would have a boy named Ranma, but with a different soul. You would still be in that spring... part of Akana. You would have never even been a boy. Or even a person. Just part of a girl's soul trapped in that spring."
Akane's eyes widened as she continued. "I... Kanma... fished you... Akana... Terra out of that spring after you drowned, after you were dead. The water... was full of blood. Your blood. And I pulled your body out onto the bank. That must be how half of your soul got out, Ranma."
"Man, I knew I had half Akana's soul. But I guess I just thought myself in circles and forgot what that really meant. Trying to get as far away away from the curse as I could. There's just so much to deal with now. And all this too," Ranma blinked. Being mad at Akane for hiding her previous life... doing what Ranma herself had done seemed really dumb now. Especially as she realized what Akane had done for her... as Kanma. "Wow, Akane. Thanks." She latched onto Akane with a vice gripping hug, "I love you, you macho tomboy. Thank you. For everything. For trying to protect me. And saving me in the end. Even though I was dead."
Akane accepted the embrace, and returned one of her own. But she also considered how could she might help Ranma get better. There were so many distractions, her husband didn't have any chance here. Somehow, they needed to escape the interruptions and pressures.
She had always bristled when she heard Genma mention 'going training', usually to escape Nodoka or some other responsibility. But, maybe they could escape all the things that stole the focus Ranma needed right now. Which was, to be honest, what their marriage needed too. Not to mention what Akane needed. She closed her eyes for a moment. She opened them again, feeling tired. She checked the clock. Way past normal bedtime. But she had to at least broach the subject with Ranma.
Still entwined with Ranma, Akane spoke, "Ranma, You... we... need to get away from here. So we can concentrate on helping each other get better from recovering all these memories. Basically, we need a training trip."
Ranma let go, feeling Akane release her and move away so she could sit next to her husband. "You're starting to sound like Pops, Akane. Why do we need to train anyhow? What're you running from anyway?"
Akane shrugged and responded, "All the distractions, Ranma: phones, visitors, demon attacks, your parents, my relatives. All that stuff. We need to concentrate on getting you and me better."
Ranma shrugged back, "I can see why you've gotta a problem, with Kanma's soul. Though I guess I'm havin' a few a' of my own. Now I realize there's a chance I'll be gone or so mixed up there won't be any Ranma left. Dealin' with Terra's just a small one compared to that. When I know who I am... hope it's still me. Then I'll be well and can be Terra again."
Akane responded, "if we withdraw from school, we might get some money back since the term just started. What do you think? We don't need to go to college 'till we're ready, okay? I'm a totally different person than I was a week or so ago. The Akane who came to school here is not the Akane who has part of a guy's soul inside and just learned to cast her first spell."
Ranma grudgingly shook her head, "And when I came here, I didn't expect to worry 'bout having to wear a miniskirt to help fight demons either. Not t' mention having all of an eight thousand year old girl's memories inside a me. Who was me, all that time ago. So, yeah. A break to figure all this stuff out sounds like a pretty good idea now that I think more about it."
Akane yawned, "We can work out details tomorrow. Let's call it day, Ranma. Okay?"
Hit hard with the hour as excitement burned off, Ranma groggily responded, "mmm hmmm. Gotta change first, okay?" There was still some warm water on the stove. Ranma used it, making sure everything was off in the kitchen. In a few moments, Akane's husband was ready to join his wife in bed.
Ranma woke early. Checking the large numbers on Akane's digital clock he saw it was five AM, not too early. But sleep sounded better right now.
Ranma's nose woke him up a little later. The clock said six thirty now. Akane discovered a small, inexpensive market just down the street that more than made up for her lack of culinary prowess. She had brought back a containers of Miso soup and rice, as well as a small piece of grilled fish.
Akane was done, having left three quarters of breakfast for Ranma. She felt satisfied, and wanted Ranma to feel the same. Having picked up what she could, she thought about the paperwork they needed to complete at the University today. Maybe that counselor Ranma'd met a few days ago could help. "Ranma, do you have that counselor you contacted's card?"
Ranma set down his chopsticks for a moment, then looked thoughtful. "I think I stuffed it in my wallet... Let's see here... Here it is. You wanna get in touch with her?" He offered his wife the card as he finished.
Akane shrugged, "It seems like a good idea, Ranma. Let me see here," She looked at the card and swallowed. Figures, who else but... her ...would be involved? "You're not gonna believe this Ranma."
Having finished the last of his meal, Ranma was putting the last few breakfast dishes in the sink, "Try me, Akane."
Akane looked her husband in the eyes, "Either there's a really really weird coincidence or... that counselor's Pluto. Let me call over to Hotaru's and see if she's there."
"Hello, is Setsuna-san there? She went to work? Okay. thanks." Putting down the phone, Akane turned to Ranma. "Want to walk over there? Haruka said she already went to work."
"Actually, since I've... you've got her card... Let me call her." Ranma replied.
"Good thinking, Ranma. Here ya go." Akane said, returning the card she'd borrowed.
Ranma punched in the number and waited for the answer, "Hello, Good morning, Meiou-sensei. This is Saotome Ranma, I talked with you earlier about a teaching position."
Curiosity consumed Setsuna. What could have possessed Ranma to call her today? She'd gone to work early on a whim... she'd thought. So much for catching up on paperwork. "What can I do for you today, Saotome-san?"
Ranma answered into the reciever, "Well, my wife and I need to withdraw from the University 'cause a... personal reasons."
So that's what it was. She'd heard last night that Akana had essentially blown up in Ranma's head, leaving all her memories, "That's a big step. Can you be more specific, Saotome-san?"
Ranma thought for a moment before replying, "My wife says... we should be able to speak freely with you in person. When could we see you?"
Setsuna checked her appointment book. Her first meeting was at ten. This would be twenty to thirty minutes, but three hours were hers. "Your wife is right, by the way. I presume she mentioned why. Anyway, how does now sound? It should only take twenty to thirty minutes. Your paperwork will ready to go when you get here. I would like to talk this over with the two of you before we get them filed, however. I hope to see soon, Saotome-san."
"Yeah, we'll be right over." Ranma replied before he hung up. He turned to Akane, "She said it should take twenty to thirty minutes."
Akane replied, serious in tone and expression, "Good. Even though she's Pluto... let's tell her everything."
Ranma nodded, "Yeah. If she's really a counselor, maybe she can help us get better too."
The young couple got up to take the short walk to school.
Just outside Counselor Meiou's office, Ranma and Akane noticed the door open. A young woman about Akane's height came into the corridor. She wore a dark red-brown coarsely woven tweed suit with a deep v-neck, ivory blouse, and black ribbon tied in a bow. The woman stopped adjacent to the young couple for a few seconds, then continued down the corridor. The newlyweds turned to watch her for a few moments, Her long black hair was gathered in a ponytail. Below the bow, unbound, the curl of her hair grew until it split into several dangling coils.
Turning back toward the door, Akane commented to her husband, "I wonder what business she had with Setsuna?"
"And what was so interesting about us?" Ranma added.
"Come in, Please, " Setsuna politely said, inviting the coupe into her office.
Ranma and Akane seated themselves in comfortable chairs while Setsnua closed the door and walked to her desk. "As you can see, your paperwork is in order." she said while sitting down.
Setsuna turned to Akane, "Akane-san, I turst you are enjoying your new... should I say ancient? book. Not too boring I hope?"
"Not at all, in fact I learned shirak tabris," Akane smiled with pride.
"It's mighty boring watching her read it, though." Ranma added.
"We've been having some problems we'd like to talk to somebody about." Ranma started.
"Stop right there," Setsuna interjected. "I refer patients to others when I cannot work with them because of conflict of interest. Like the two of you." She stopped for a moment.
"Why can't you help us? Ranma asked, then continued in a soft voice, "We did what you wanted. It's just not right yet. Please help us, Setsuna-san. Endi and me will get that sy-ticks... sy-tex working, Setsuna-san. I cross my heart and promise. I know how much you want us to fix it for you." Ranma said, then blinked. "Not sure what that was."
Setsuna shook her head, "You're two people I've know for years. In fact millennia. I really cannot be expected to examine and treat you impartially and fairly. Much as I'd love to, because I honestly like both of you. And I want both of you to be well." She finished by folding her hands on the desk.
"I do, however fully support your withdrawal from the university, even based on what I heard from Michiru-chan, Haruka-san, and Hotaru-chan last night. Not to mention what I just heard, Ranma-san. And, I'll take care of your internship, Ranma. I'll straighten things out with Tamura-sensei. After all, you ARE recovering from what happened in that battle at the mall." Setsuna concluded as she pushed the completed paperwork to Ranma and Akane.
Each of them studied their own paperwork and marked the appropriate sections. When finished each turned their forms back to Setsuna.
"Thanks," Ranma said.
"For one of the few times in my life, I need to say thanks, Setsuna-san, " Akane added.
"Best of luck to the both of you. I'll have an associate initiate contact with you two... if you would still like professional help." Setsuna said as she rose from her seat.
"That would be great, if you can find the time to help, Meiou-sensei." Akane responded.
"We'll leave information about where we're staying with the others at your place... and you if you are there tonight at six PM." Ranma concluded as he and Akane stood.
It wasn't even eight when they left.
Back home again, Akane made a suggestion, " Now that we got the withdrawal paperwork done, let's visit your mom. But first, I need to say something Ranma."
Akane grew tearful as speech drew closer to her heart, "I'm scared about all this. I was really hoping Setsuna-sensei could help us. I... I... want you to be my husband, not Akana. It... it'd be okay if you end up a girl, I guess... with your curse that really doesn't matter. And you're really pretty."
Akane closed her eyes, embarrassed by the burning flush of her admission. She opened then again, seeing only amusement on her husband's face, "But, as long as you stay you. As long as I still know you. Because you're the person I married. Not some strange girl that's been dead for eight thousand years. I love it when you're a man, don't get me wrong. That's your best side, at least to me. But, I love your second best side too. Almost as much."
Ranma flushed bright red as he looked into Akane's eyes and spoke softly. "You're the first guy I ever met who made me feel like a girl, Kanma. Most men are perverts and jerks." Ranma slammed his eyes shut in embarrassment and fear, "Akane, please help me." Keeping his eyes closed, he couldn't to decide what to do. A gentle hug enfolded him. It felt so much better and safer with support from Akane.
Ranma opened his eyes. And tried diverting attention from his own problems. "I understand, Akane. I'm sure I'd be confused about that if you had a curse too. I know having even part of two souls has gotta be confusin'. 'Specially 'cause you were a man before. But that also shows that we're good for each other. I love you in either form I've got too, you know."
He turned to smile at his wife before continuing, "Anyways, thanks Akane, thanks for not givin' up on me. Please don't give up on me. Even if I lose myself. Please, Akane." He closed is eyes again, seeking composure, "Talking to mom about that pact will get rid of one of the weights on my, our souls. And make stuff easier. Maybe you'll get better too with less pressure."
Pausing again, he remembered their date with some other Silver millennium souls they needed to contact. "After that, we can make sure we're packed, before we go to Michiru's." He let go of his wife.
Akane's eyes sparkled, "Yeah it'd help both of us out to get your mom's pact resolved. After that, actually I'd like to visit with all three of them, not just Michiru-chan."
"Let me call mom." Ranma said as he picked up the phone. "Hello,mom? Me and Akane thought we'd visit in a few. Gonna take the train up from Juuban." "Okay, see ya!" Ranma said as he hung up.
It took a bus to train to bus trip to get to Ranma's parents' new home. Almost to their destination; the young couple talked about their impending visit.
Akane glanced at her watch, "We should be right on time. How do you feel about this, Ranma?"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Good, Akane. It's 'bout time we end this stuff... if we can." He walked to the door and pushed the button.
Nodoka opened the door, "Why Hello, Ranma and Akane. Come in, please." She moved aside so her son and his wife could enter the home.
The small rented apartment was a far cry from the Saotome home Ranma's fiancees destroyed back in high school. Ranma and Akane made themselves comfortable kneeling by a table.
Ranma looked around, seeing knickknacks he barely remembered from his youth. He knew there was a waving cat statue in the next room, so he didn't go there. Even though it was just a statue.
As she had been expecting her son and daughter-in-law, Nodoka had three small plates, each with a mochi on it; three napkins; a teapot; and three teacups waiting on the table.
Ranma's mother knelt opposite her guests, pouring tea for each of them, pushing one cup toward Akane and one toward Ranma. She did the same with the three plates and napkins.
Never one to pass up food, Ranma gobbled up his treat in record time. Washing it down by draining the entire teacup in few seconds. He smiled contentedly at Akane, who was more politely consuming Nodoka's offering. Turing to his mother , he gave a slight bow before speaking, "Thanks mom, it was delicious."
A couple minutes later, Akane politely wiped her mouth with a napkin and offered, "Thanks mom. You always have something nice when we visit."
Once everyone finished, Nodoka cleared the table to the kitchenette in the corner. After washing her hands at the sink, she returned to the table. She bowed, "It is always a pleasure to feed you my son, and Akane.
Never one for small talk, Ranma asked the question on his mind, "So, how is your research going, mother? I know you are really..."
Akane looked shocked, and turned to her husband. He really was in trouble.
Nodoka turned red, "I... I've never told anyone about..."
Ranma waved his hands back and forth, "No, mom. Don't ya worry 'bout it. What I meant to say was that Akane and I were wonderin' 'bout the agreement I become a man amongst men."
Nodoka waved a hand dismissively, "Oh, That. Well, once you were married, I burned it. I kept the ashes, if you want to look."
Ranma took a calming breath, "Why didn't ya tell me?"
Nodoka answered with a calculating smile, "Well I figured it was still useful to keep you and your father in line. Please promise me you won't tell Genma," Figuring change to a more interesting subject was in order, she turned to Akane, "So, was Ranma manly the night before last?" Her eyes fairly twinkled in anticipation of all the details.
Akane turned red, "Let's leave it at very, Mother. Okay?"
Nadoka replied with a smile, "Good to hear, Anane-chan. Not even any little tidbits on how things went?"
"Nope, that's our business. None 'a your's, mom!" Ranma interrupted.
Akane squeezed Ranma's hand in agreement.
Nodoka looked a little disapproving, "Oh come now, son. You should be proud of having mastery of such a strong wife. Your exploits should be marks of pride."
Ranma and Akane were both red now.
Ranma stood, Akane following her husband as Ranma answered, "I'm sure, mom. Thanks for the visit. We really need to be going," He was still on slow burn over how his mom hadn't told him what she had done with the agreement. But he didn't see any reason to run out and tell Pops about it either. And that was if he could even find him.
Nodoka looked disappointed, "Oh, and we were just getting started." Ranma's mother stood and made her way across the floor, " Well, I also bought you some cute little things to make your next session even more fun." She disappeared into another room.
Ranma cocked his head to Akane and whispered, "Let's get outa here."
Akane nodded, "Umm hmmm."
They were gone before Nodoka returned with a sweater sized box. "Ah, those children. So shy. But I guess I was too when I was their age... I'll have to bring these by their apartment sometime."
The last stop before Ranma and Akane headed out was the home the Outer Senshi shared. It had taken a train ride from Nerima then a bus trip to get to the neighborhood.
The Outer Senshi lived in a beautiful area, all the apartments were large and meticulously kept up. The one they needed to visit was familiar to Akane. Ranma's wife almost skipped up the steps to the door chime.
Hotaru answered the door, "Hello, Akane-san. It's always good to see you," She looked over Akane's shoulder and waved at Rama, "Hi, Ranma-san. Welcome."
Akane replied first, "Hello, Hotaru-chan."
Ranma followed suit, "Hi, Hotaru-chan." He looked at the girl completely differently now. Ranma was beginning to realize the advantage of Silver Millennium connections. Hotaru really was good for his wife, especially for that reason. Akane had done a lot to improve both their lives the last two days.
Looking into the home, Akane saw Haruka bringing food to the table. Michiru was probably in the six places at the table, Hotaru sat down at one end. Haruka sat next to Hotaru on one side, Akane sat opposite her. This left opposing seats for Michiru and Ranma next to the unoccupied end seat. Ranma sat next to his wife.
Ranma looked to kitchen door for Michiru. A few seconds later, the green haired cook came out with the main dish wearing a simple orange shift dress. It had obviously been carefully selected to hold up to her Jusenkyou change. However a nicely defined waist and sleeveless V-neck marked it as feminine. Coarser than Michiru probably preferred. But something she could be happy with. Especially with complements.
Ranma noticed, "Hey, Michiru-chan. Really cute look. Would work for me too, if I need a dress."
Michiru almost glowed, "Thanks, Ranma-san. It took some shopping, but I'm starting to buy some clothes I like that will at least survive... accidents."
Ranma shook his head in agreement, "Yeah. I was thinkin' knits might work too."
Michiru looked thoughtful as she set the casserole down, "Hmm.. maybe. But it might get a bit tight. I guess it sort of depends on whether it was a good fit before the change or not. But they do have a lot of flexibility."
Ranma looked at his friend's dress again before responding, "Well, that dress you're wearing took some plannin' too, I bet."
Michiru looked at Ranma after setting up the main course on the table, "It would be really fun to shop with you sometime. I 'm sure you have a lot of tips and experience."
Ranma turned a bit red, "Ummm... okay. Jus' let me know. Though t' be honest, I'll prob'ly learn more than I teach. Just pointin' out things we see that look nice and survivable while shoppin' would be nice too. And prob'ly keep us talkin' the whole time. Would you wanna come, Akane?" Ranma said as he looked around to his wife.
Akane smiled, she was really proud of her husband. She also realized this would be important for Michiru and Ranma. So it was important to her too, "Sure, sounds fun. Maybe we could coordinate some 'survivable' outfits."
"I'll go too, if that's okay, papa and mama?" Hotaru enthusiastically asked.
"Well... I guess I'll go too. You can never have too many dresses, right Ranma-chan?" Haruka said, slouching in mock dejection.
Ranma couldn't stop laughing.
Hotaru took the opportunity get up from her seat. She then walked behind her sister to dump a glass of cold water on Ranma.
Still grinning Ranma half-heartedly chased Horatu around Akane and Hotaru's chair. Suddenly, she put the brakes on as the seated Haruka materialized in front of her. "Sorry, Haruka-san." Ranma sheepishly apologized.
"Can we eat now?" Hotaru politely asked.
Haruka grinned, "It seems the girls are getting restless."
Ranma turned red, but was still smiling.
Hotaru just laughed, as both of the 'girls' took their places at the table again.
"Sure, " Michiru responded. She looked at Hotaru, "Do you need you water glass refilled, Hotaru-chan?"
Hotaru stopped lauging to answer, "Okay. Mama. And I'll stay in my seat this time. Unless..." She turned to Ranma and narrowed her eyes for a moment. "I need to get up again."
Akane laughed. "That was really sweet of you, Ranma." She whispered to her husband.
Ranma sighed slightly and rolled her eyes. Still, she just had to wink again at Hortatu.
Michiru set down her chopsticks, looking frightened, "Is the problem you had with Akana... yesterday... normal for Juesnkyou cursed people?"
Ranma responded with a vain attempt at a smile, "No, jus' me. After all I created the 'spring of drowned girl' when I fell in as Akana and died eight thousand years ago. My soul was trapped there. My hero Kanma here," She kissed Akane on the cheek and drew her close with a solid hug for a few seconds, "Pulled my body out of the spring so half of Akana's soul made me, Ranma. The other half got joined to me when I fell in a coupl'a years ago. But the soul only went to me. No other cursed people got it."
Akane was still amazed a simple act of decency... or desperation... so long ago had changed her life so much. By literally giving her husband his.
Hotaru responded first, "That's really cool Kanma could save you, Ranma." She turned to offer her sister a tiny smile for a second, before switching to an expression of comfort for Ranma, "Are you gonna be okay?"
Ranma shrugged, "I really don't know. Akane and I are gonna to train in the mountains and focus on gettin' through this. We already withdrew from the University, since we won't be able t' complete this term. I really wanna be Akane's husband, but I wanna stay a guy inside my head."
Akane squeezed her husband's waist in silent support.
Ranma finished with an invitation, "Akane and I were wonderin' if you three, would like t' spend a few Saturday nights with us after school in the mountains. It'd be good for you guys to get out of the city for a few days."
Haruka turned to the two woman at the center of her life, "Want to go, Michiru-chan?"
Her partner nodded assent.
"Me too papa! Meee tooo!" Hotaru enthusiastically added.
Haruka smiled at Ranma, "I guess that's a yes, Ranma-san and Akane-san. And, since tomorrow's a saturday, why don't we all go up tomorrow? That way we'll have two expert guides the first time."
Michiru looked at Akane, "Akane-san, could you help me carry some things from the table? Then... I'd like a few moments of your time in our bedroom, okay?"
Akane rose, "Sure, Michiru-san."
The two women took the largest serving dishes and went to their secret meeting.
"Girl talk, ya think?" The stunning redhead asked the statuesque blonde.
Haruka shrugged, "Maybe, but we can have some girl talk too... if you want."
Ranma half squinted with one eye and massaged her chin contemplating the conundrum that was girl talk. Maybe this would do. "So, Haruka-san. What does a tomboy like you feel about that Sailor Senshi Uniform?"
Haruka became a lot more serious, "Actually, I love that uniform. The way it feels, the way it looks, the way I feel in it. The pride in those who have come before me as Uranus and the hopes for those who will come after. I died in it and for what it represents. And so, I may add, did you."
Ranma looked thoughtful, "Yeah, you're right. Still, I don't wanna rush back to it. Because... well Akane and me... You know..."
Hotaru captured Ranma's eyes with a youthful, but haunted gaze. "We all know why you can't come back right now. I want you and big sister to be well first. As important as our job is, that's what's important for you two right now. Because we wanna make sure it's the two of you who come back to us. The people we love and know, not the ones we loved and knew."
Akane and Michiru had returned. A tearful Akane knelt down by Hotaru and kissed her little sister on the cheek, "Thanks so much Hotaru-chan."
Ranma had a least a shimmer in her eyes as she added, "Yeah, kiddo. Thanks." She then turned to Haruka, giving a slight bow before speaking, "It's easy t' lose sight a what it means by gettin' hung up on what it looks like. Thanks, Haruka-san."
Haruka returned a curt bow and warm smile of her own.
Michiru popped up, offered a hurried, "Excuse me," and ran in to punch a few buttons on the microwave. She was back a few moments later, "Sorry." She turned to Haruka, "Tell them, Haruka. Tell them what she said."
Haruka took a calming breath. It was not a subject she liked discussing but she would, for her friends. "Well, just after Michiru was cursed, we went to Setsuna... to ask about a cure for Michiru. We demonstrated the curse and Setsuna started asking about how she was cursed."
Michiru picked up, "She also said things like There shouldn't be any curse water in Japan right now. And then..." She turned to Haruka.
Haruka nodded once, "Then I mentioned the Nannichuan water was a gift for Ranma. Suddenly, Setsuna looked absolutely terrified. Like I've never seen her in either of my lives."
Akane shook her head, "I can't even imagine Setsuna terrified of anything. Or at least I couldn't have until that battle yesterday. But, you know... that also involved Ranma and wether she would live of or die."
Haruka nodded at Akane with a grim smile before continuing. "Then Setsuna, who is always controlled, grabbed my shoulders and said tell me Ranma didn't get splashed too. And when I told her just Michiru got splashed..." Haruka turned to her partner, who was in tears.
MIchiru swallowed before speaking, "She sighed in relief. Can you imagine that? She was happy Ranma wasn't cured, but didn't care I was cursed."
The beeper went off on the microwave. Michiru smiled as she rose. "Excuse me. Please continue, honey." She kissed Haruka on the cheek before retiring to the kitchen.
Haruka watched her partner with a wan smile, glad she had something nice to take her mind off things. She turned back to Ranma, "She gave us your address and phone number Ranma. To get you support and help. But then she said a little more you need to hear. I confronted her about the panic attack earlier. She said that keeping your curse, Ranma, was something that only concerns a few people and I'm not one of them. Maybe I'll find out someday, but obviously not yesterday. And that's about it."
Ranma tried to figure things out. She focused on her crossed hands atop the table. She had no idea what to do or think. Why on Earth did Setsuna track curse water in Japan? What would make Pluto terrified of Ranma being cured? And terrified of Ranma dying? Why did Michiru's curse not matter while Ranma's did? She felt a gentle kiss on the cheek and a warm hug from her wife. She closed her eyes to ponder what to do.
Akane looked lovingly on her husband, tears already falling. "We can get through this Ranma. We'll figure out something, together."
"Yeah, together." Haruka strongly agreed, slapping her own strong hand atop Ranma's crossed hands.
"That's right, papa and big sister, together," Hotaru said, putting her own small hand atop Haruka's.
Michiru returned with a tray she set in the center of the table. Then she snaked her hand around the glass dishes she had brought to cover Hotaru's hand with her own, "Together."
Akane who had started it, placed her hand atop Michiru's.
Ranma opened her eyes, realizing she was at the center of four other lives right then. "Thanks guys. I really love you and know we can get through all of this. Together." She noticed a familiar smell and her gaze was taken by the center of the table. There, in all its glory, five glass dishes of her universal female cure-all. "Ice cream!"
"With hot fudge sauce," Michiru added, winking at Akane.
Things got much happier around the table after that.
End First Chapter. v4.1
Kevin D. Hammel December 6, 2013
First, my sincere thanks for reading!
Many thanks to pre-readers
"Sunshine" Temple and Mike Koos
Thanks to C and C from fukufics dot com by
Frice2000, Spokavriel, and ijp92
Thanks to 'Dumbledork' and 'PCHeintz72' on fukufics dot com for their assistance in contacting Louis-Philippe Giroux .
I do not intend to discuss the outline released with "Destiny's Intersection" often. Its availability did require me to tear up the very basis for my original story, but that essentially involved embracing a plot element I might have inadvertently contributed to "Lines" in 1998. So it was all in good fun. :) If you're keeping score, I realize my handling of plot points 3 and 4 is not as specified. My annotations for both are: DONE. MITIGATION IN PROGRESS CH1-2. All I can say is: the prologue forces changes to the outline if it is to be brought into the story as a meaningful plot element.
I try not to use much Japanese in my stories, but a grunted "Un" (a colloquial yes in Japanese) by Akane seemed perfect for her response to Pluto. I also mention mochi, sweet treats made from rice with a variety of fillings, usually sweet beans. I prefer ice cream filled mochi however. :) I do use a few Japanese honorifics (chan, san, sama, sensei), but those are pretty common in fanfic land.
This is my second rewrite of this story due to spirited C&C offered by the folks at "fukufics dot com". Hopefully with all the scenes flying around and moving the text is still intelligible.
One thing I had to cut:
"Hey!" Terra shouted. "Heck, I got rid a' all those fiancees, I don't need any more. I'm MARRIED, for crying out loud! KAANMAAA! Akane's gonna kill me if..."
Saturn Knight winced in response. Boy, did THAT sound familiar. But in the end, she had to laugh.