Prologue - A Brief History Lesson
Silver Millennium Calendar 3520380.77
(November 4th, 13843 BCE)
(Friday, 11:37 PM)
The grand ballroom of Amalthea Castle was the definition of opulence. Large white marble columns supported an immense room which held one thousand of the high society swells who lived past the asteroid belt. Though a small moon of Jupiter, its closeness to the large planet made Amalthea a resort for the ultra-wealthy. Indeed, the view of Jupiter itself dominated the night sky and it's ochre surface shone through the floor to ceiling windows that opened up to an expansive balcony. At the moment there where, oddly, only two people. They stood admiring the view, though not paying the gas giant nor the throngs of people inside any mind.
The man was tall, around two meters in height. His skin was light, barely tinged with blue. His long black hair, draped openly behind him and fell onto his mantle, the cape of which he used to envelop the woman next to him. She was somewhat tall, a little more than a hundred and sixty centimeters. Her long silver hair was done up in an intricate french braid. She wore an elegant, if low-cut white ball gown and delicate, iridescent crystal heeled slippers.
The two stared in each other's eyes, taking in as much of the other features as was possible behind the delicate, porcelain masques. They leaned into each other again and shared a deep kiss.
"I haven't felt this way in a very long time," the woman half-whispered as she pulled herself away.
"Neither have I," the man confessed. "You're quite a woman."
She wrapped the cloth of the man's cape tighter, enjoying the feeling of his warmth. She looked up and said, with a giddy smile, "If this isn't too forward of me, what's a gentleman like yourself doing in a place like this?"
The man blinked. "I'm visiting my younger brother who works at the Europa Institute. I'm from Oikumene in the Rigel System."
"Oh?" The blonde woman put a gloved finger on the man's chest delicately, slowly tracing the outline of the detailed gold embroidery of his tunic downwards. "Is it true what they say about Rigelians?" she asked mischievously.
The man looked away slightly, rolling his eyes a bit, but smiled all the same. "I have a suite upstairs. Why don't we see for ourselves?"
The woman put a hand over her décolletage and said, in an over-dramatic voice, "Oh my. But we haven't even introduced ourselves."
The man finally reached around with an arm and touched the small of her back, bringing her closer. "For tonight, call me 'Xavin'," he whispered.
The woman looked up at him closely. She bit her lip before smiling again. "You can call me 'Bunny'." She rose on her tiptoes to kiss him once more.
Silver Millennium Calendar 3520580.37
(Monday, July 31, 13842 BCE)
The large antechamber was dark, the only light emanating from a large fireplace and the nighttime sky. The white crystal room was sparsely decorated save for a four-post bed, a small writing desk, and a chaise lounge. The lone figure in the room sat on the chaise, her attention turned towards the large floor to ceiling window, overlooking the stars and the full earth at the apex of its rise. Her long silver hair glistened in the earthlight.
A set of large alabaster doors at the front of the room creaked open and a second figure entered. She was dressed in a slim, black formal gown which complimented her dark brown skin. Her green hair was put up in a complicated french braid. As she closed the door behind her, the woman on the chaise spoke.
"Did all the negotiations go as planned?"
The woman standing nodded. "Yes, my queen. It took some third-party negotiation to see the agreement through, but King Endymion's family is preparing to receive her. They were grateful since the queen is unable to have any more children after the difficult birth of their son. They, too, wish to avoid rumor and, truth be told, her majesty is looking forward to a daughter."
"I'm glad," the queen said, relieved.
The two were frozen in silence, the crackling of the fire echoing across the vast antechamber.
"If I can speak frankly, My Queen?"
The queen nodded. "Of course."
"Damn it, Serenity," Setsuna all but spat. "Why is all this subterfuge is necessary? It isn't right."
Serenity shook her head, "I dare say it hardly matters if its right or wrong. It's improper for me to be with child. Aside from the scandal sheets, the negotiations have been with the Andromedans over the union between King Halycon and I are still rather tense." She gave a quick, almost bitter, laugh, " Heh. I can't even get married without it being a political nightmare."
She drew in a long breath, exhaling it fully before continuing. "If it were just my reputation at stake... but the fate of the Moon Kingdom would be at risk and I can't allow myself to put billions of people at risk because of a… personal failing."
Setsuna snorted and replied in an accusing, yet amused tone, "Personal failing indeed. Were those marriage agreements so tense you sought relief elsewhere?"
Serenity cracked a smile. "Please. Not like it wouldn't have happened after we got married. The man's gayer than a Martian Tea Party. The only real benefit, other than the alliance and its resources, is that it'll make the damn Terran Senate and their Isolationist spooks think I don't control the reins of power. Fools."
"Still…" Setsuna paused. "I can't believe you just went and did it with a complete stranger without even the foresight of birth control."
"Setsuna!" the queen snapped, her controlled façade breaking as she chided her confidant with the expression of a school girl, before her mood changed and she became remorseful. "I'm sorry. You're right, it was totally, inexcusably reckless. But I just wanted to be a regular person again for just one night. The papers can barely stop themselves from printing an article every time I take a shit, let alone suggest I have needs. Being out there, even in disguise was so freeing," she said, in mock relief, before adding, in a petulant voice, "Besides... I was tanked to the gills on Venusian Shiraz. And he was Rigelian. You know how they are."
"With the big..."
"Yes!" She nearly moaned. "Oh gods, what a night that was! Phew..." Serenity fanned her face theatrically as she let out the ghost of a smile before slowly returning to a more neutral regal demeanor, "but in this galaxy, an unmarried woman, especially royalty, can't be seen with child. And I'll be damned if I'm going to let the vultures in the Terran Senate catch me in a moment of weakness. Not yet anyway."
Setsuna walked over and sat down on the chaise next to Serenity, "So you're just giving up on her? Your child?" Setsuna began to tear up, "This isn't like you, Serenity."
"No Setsuna..." Queen Serenity said, shaking her head and looking down and placing a hand on her ponderous stomach, "I'm giving her a chance at being free."
"That's a rather self-serving sentiment," Setsuna replied softly.
Serenity pursed her lips, but nodded in agreement, "You're right. It benefits me as much as anything." She looked up at her aide and confidant. "However, I really mean it when I say if I can't give her my love and protection, I would rather give her freedom. Any legitimate child of mine will have the eyes of every planet and every citizen on her. Maybe it is just selfishness, but it's also a bit of intuition. This one isn't meant for that sort of life. She won't need my name or influence to do great things."
Setsuna nodded, unsure if she could trust her words.
Serenity brushed a stray lock of silver hair, "Besides, this is a long-term project."
"Oh?" Setsuna said, raising an eyebrow,
Serenity pointed at her stomach. "This little one is an insurance policy for the Moon Kingdom. If she's ever needed, my power can be bestowed upon her. The Moon Kingdom will have a guardian, no matter what."
Setsuna gave her companion an odd look. Serenity looked away from the piercing gaze, returning again to the more vulnerable woman she had been acting like.
"I know that's a cold sentiment, Secchan" the silver-haired woman confessed in a small, scared voice, tears finally dripping from her face, "but this world is no place for a bastard child. I-I love her too much to see her be the target of ridicule."
The door opened suddenly. A servant entered the room and said, quietly, "My Queen, it's time."
Serenity looked at Setsuna, "Thank you, Secchan. You've always been too good for me."
"Selene..." Setsuna whispered.
The queen leaned up and softly pulled the taller Setsuna into a tender hug and kissed her on the forehead.
"I know. I'm sorry I put you through all this grief. I don't know what someone like you sees in a foolish girl like me." She put on a brave face, undercut by the tear tracks on her cheeks. "It will be okay in the end. I promise."
With those words Queen Serenity, the high monarch and ruler of the Moon Kingdom, slowly stood. Even so far along in her pregnancy, she walked with the a grace and poise that had not wavered. She followed behind the servant, quickly exiting the room.
Once the doors closed with a definite thud, Setsuna closed her eyes and wept for a long time.
Silver Millennium Calendar 3540670.11
(Wednesday, September 2, 13817 BCE)
The open crystal Moon Palace had been hastily converted to a fortress when Queen Metallia's forces, led by Beryl, sprung up seemingly overnight. The past year had been nothing but protracted siege warfare. Contact outside of the solar system had been severed and, one by one, the planets had been choked of civilian life until, what was left of the Silver Millennium had gathered on the Moon, to face overwhelming odds.
Inside the Command Grid, Queen Serenity Stood facing a large bank of screens while various communications officers relayed information.
"Your Highness, enemy forces have breached the outer defense grid! We're being overrun!"
"Neptune and Uranus's forces are down. Jupiter and Mercury's are leading the defense groups and-"
There was a loud explosion, causing the building to rock violently.
"Ma'am! Large shockwave detected to the westward grid past Defense grid Beta- We've lost the signal from Venus and Mars!"
Queen Serenity nodded and stood. She pressed button on her wrist.
"Moon. Come in Moon..."
There was a loud pitched scream. "Endymioooon!" the voice on the other end wailed.
"Get me a visual." Queen Serenity ordered. An officer in front of her shook his head.
"No good, Ma'am. We've lost all exterior camera feeds".
"Usagi. Usagi!" Queen Serenity screamed into her wrist.
"Endymion… I'm sorry... you and Venus and... died to save me, I..." Usagi said. A metallic shinking echoed through the sounds of battle and then the signal went dead.
With a shaky breath, Queen Serenity held on to the railing in front of her. Barely grasping what she had just witnessed. She looked down and, after a beat, picked herself up. She held her head up and said in a low, commanding voice.
"Attention all remaining officers. This is Queen Serenity of the Moon Kingdom. I am implementing plan Omega. Authorization three-four-seven-omicron-rho. Repeat, plan Omega is now in effect. Prepare remaining personnel as appropriate. May the gods help us all."
The communications officers looked at each other, hesitant looks in their eyes, as they began inputting a complicated series of commands. The staff on the control bridge nodded slowly.
"Sailor Pluto, do you copy me?"
There was a crackle of static. "…Pluto here, your Majesty."
"It's time. We're implementing Omega."
"…Acknowledged. Beginning mission protocols."
"Setsuna?" Serenity called out.
"Y-yes, Your Majesty?"
"Take care of them."
"I will, My Queen."
"Oh, and Setsu… Secchan?"
Queen Serenity closed her eyes. "I love you."
"...I love you too, Selene. Farewell."
Queen Serenity walked into her makeshift private quarters. From her desk, she pulled out two pictures. She looked at the subjects of the photographs for a moment before, with one last breath of resolve, she summoned the Ginzuishou and held it tight against her. The force of her will powered the crystal until a powerful beam of silvery-white light shot grew, engulfing the room. Then, in a large beam, shot upwards and out of the Palace. As the combined forces of Queen Metallia surrounded the last remaining bastion of the Moon Kingdom, the satellite of Earth itself began to glow with the same incandescent brilliance.
In moments, the solar system was silent.
(April 15th, 1996 CE)
A blond-haired middle-school aged girl picked herself up from the ground.
"Oh no! I stepped on a poor kitty."
She picked up the hurt black cat. It began gesticulating wildly in her hands. The girl noticed the bandages on the cat's forehead.
"Do you want me to take the bandage off?" she wondered as she pulled off the bandage from the black cat's head.
She was briefly transfixed by the yellow, crescent moon-shaped patch of fur on the cat's forehead before realizing the time.
"Oh god, I'm gonna be late for school!" she exclaimed and ran off.
(May 4th, 1996)
The red-haired girl looked up the confused members of the Tendo family and said, in a soft voice,
"I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry about this."
The black-haired boy walked downstairs, a towel draped over his shoulders. His presence attracted the attention of the confused household.
"Um, I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry about this."
(August, 25th, 1996)
The black void of evil force known as Queen Metallia cried out, "I will kill the carrier of the blood of the Moon Kingdom!"
Sailor Moon, inside of Metallia along with the unconscious body of Mamoru, held out the Ginzuishou and focused. The mass of darkness screamed as the silver light burned her insides. Sailor Moon, picked up Mamoru's still form and leapt out of the inky mass through a shaft of the Ginzuishou's light. Sailor Moon took Mamoru's hand and felt its growing warmth.
Mamoru slowly opened his eyes.
"Usagi?" He lifted his hands in front of his face, but his eyes are cloudy and blinded. As Sailor Moon knelt by his side, Queen Metallia came up behind her.
Again, Sailor Moon extended the Ginzuishou, blasting her. Queen Metallia., in response, began growing in size, trying to swallow the full energy of the Ginzuishou.
Sailor Moon felt a sense of loneliness. Her Senshi were gone, Luna was far away, and Mamoru rendered blind. Just as the sense of despair began to grow too heavy for Sailor Moon, Mamoru reached into his jacket and pulled out the kunzite stone.
A warm voice he didn't even realize he missed said, "Her forehead, My Lord. It's her weakness! Please, destroy her. Save us, My Lord." In Mamoru's mind, the spirits of the other generals appeared, smiling. Then, at once, the four stones shattered.
Mamoru cried out, "Her forehead, Sailor Moon! You can do it! I know you think you're a crybaby, but have confidence in yourself. He stood up behind her, feeling Sailor Moon's face with his hands. Her cheeks were wet. "I'll always be by your side, Serenity."
"Endymion." Sailor Moon uttered as she took his hand. At her touch, the Crescent Moon Stick extended into a staff.
Mamoru felt the energy emerging from Usagi and thought he could the Moon shining into his blinded eyes.
Sailor Moon turned to Metallia. "I, Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom, with the full strength of the Moon, will seal you away!"
(November 27th, 1996)
It was a bitterly cold afternoon when Akane came into the house. She had stood outside by the front gate of the house for almost half an hour, looking down the road for any sign of Ranma's return from Mt. Horai. As she came back inside, Kasumi walked up to her and gave Akane a small hug.
"He'll be back soon, Akane. You have to believe that," the elder sister said.
Akane rested her head against Kasumi's shoulder and nodded. "I know."
"Good." Kasumi smiled. "It's so cold today, why don't you take a bath? It'll warm you up."
Akane nodded again and walked towards the bathroom. Opening the door, she found Ranma, Mousse, and Ryouga sitting the furo. The three of them had surprised looks.
"Hey! No peeping in the men's furo!" Mousse yelled out.
"Long time no see, Akane." Ryouga said, his cheeks glowing red.
"H-Hey Akane." Ranma said, smiling nervously. "I'm home."
Akane blinked, the realization she was looking at the three naked men inside her bathroom had hit her. In an instant she turned away and walked out into the hall, red with anger.
"What the hell! I was so worried about you and you're just hanging out in the bath!" She yelled behind her. Ranma, a towel wrapped around his waist came out into the hall.
"What're ya talking about? Look! I'm a man again!"
Akane sputtered, "I-I know that! P-put on some clothes, dummy."
A few minutes later, Ranma walked back downstairs, buttoning the frogs on his shirt, "Bossy as always..." he muttered. "A guy goes through all this trouble..." He turned to Akane. "Can't ya say somethin' nice for a cha-"
Ranma was rendered speechless when Akane grabbed him, squeezing the surprised martial artist until he found it hard to breathe.
"Welcome home..." Akane thought to herself.
(December 2nd, 1996)
In Ichinohashi Park, near Juuban High, Chibi-Usa and Usagi met Mamoru. Sitting down Mamoru pulled out a Tuxedo Kamen doll.
"I want you to have this to remember your 'papa' by," Mamoru said, with a slight smile.
Chibi-usa giggled as she took the figure. She then said, "Oh, I have a present for you, Usagi!"
From her backpack she pulled out a small rod. "Here's a Moon Heart rod for the new Usagi."
Usagi began shed a tear in joy as Chibi-Usa stood, waved goodbye, and walked off, disappearing in a flash of light.
Usagi and Mamoru sat there on the park bench, examining the new item.
"You going to miss her, huh?" Mamoru asked.
Usagi nodded. "I am, but we'll see her again someday. She's our daughter after all." She stared at the oasis of green in the middle of Tokyo, "I know that between now and the future, plenty of good things will happen in our lives, so I'm not sad."
"Some things we won't have to wait too long for," Mamoru said as he leaned down to kiss Usagi deeply.
The two were so engrossed in their kiss, they didn't notice the flash of light over them. It wasn't until the familiar black Luna-P ball hit Mamoru square on the head along with Chibi-Usa falling on Usagi's head, that they were knocked out of their trance.
"Chibi-Usa! What's the matter?" Mamoru asked.
The pink-haired girl from the future smiled. "Mama wanted me to give you this." She pulled out a letter and gave it to Usagi.
Mamoru glanced at it briefly, "At least your future self remembers how bad you are at kanji."
"Don't be a meanie, Mamo-chan!" Usagi said as she read the simply-written letter
Dear Usagi and Mamoru
We would like it if Small Lady spent more time in the 20th Century.
Please instruct her on how best to use her powers as a senshi.
All the Best,
Queen Serenity and King Endymion
Usagi and Mamoru looked up at the letter and stared at each other, the same nervous expression on both their faces.
(March 3rd, 1997)
Ranma Saotome, heir to the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, was on his knees. He had broken the seal on the Dragon Spout and the water restored the body of his fiancée, Akane Tendo, to its normal size from the small doll body it had been changed into. The cold water, of course, also triggered Ranma's Jusenkyo curse, but the importance of the moment overshadowed any recognition of that fact.
Now, at the edge of the 'Pools of Sorrow', Jusenkyo, Ranma cradled Akane's body in his arms, speaking softly to her.
"Why did you the last of your strength to save me, Tomboy? Akane, you dummy..."
He looked down once more at her soft face, hoping beyond hope her eyes would open.
"I'm sorry Akane. I'm useless here..." he whispered to himself. "I've never been able to tell you my true feelings. Wake up, Akane. I want to finally tell you how I feel. Akane can you hear me?"
Ranma basked in the stillness of what, not 15 minutes before, had been the most heated battle he had ever faced. He had killed Saffron, the Leader of the Phoenix Tribe and a demi-god. It took everything he had and, he had to admit, it took Akane's sacrifice as well. Thinking upon that, tears began escaping from his slate-blue eyes, landing on Akane's cheeks.
Ranma was too choked up to speak, but his thoughts roiled with everything he was feeling. In pain he practically screamed inside his own head.
"Akane! I want to tell you that I love you!"
Broken, Ranma's eyes were closed and he remained silent until he felt a hand brush his cheek.
Ranma whispered, "A... kane?"
A voice quietly whispered in reply, "Ran... ma..."
"Ranma... I couldn't move my body, but I heard everything," she said in a raspy, tired voice.
Ranma stood, helping Akane up as well. He looked up at Akane and asked, nervously, "E-everything?"
"Yup!" Akane replied, smiling.
(April 18th, 1997)
The looming darkness of the Tau system bore down on Tokyo. The protective barrier formed by the Outer Senshi and their talismans fell and, after giving Sailor Moon of of their Power, the Sailor Senshi fell into unconsciousness.
"No.. their power is still within me and the Ginzuishou!"
"Now, Holy Grail! Come to my hand!"
The Grail appeared before Usagi.
"Lend me your power…Fill me with the power of all nine Sailor Senshi, Holy Grail!"
Mamoru, holding the unconscious body of Chibi-Usa in his arms, looked up in the sky to see Super Sailor Moon fly into the air towards the dark void.
"Usagi?!" He called out. "What are you planning to do?" he whispered.
Usagi looked back down and, for a moment, smiled. She turned back and, with steely determination flew into the void.
Mamoru cried out as he saw the love of his life disappear into the blackness.
(September 12th, 1997)
It was a slow afternoon at Okonomiyaki Ucchan. The restaurant had just opened up and its number one customer (if you discounted the fact he never paid), Ranma Saotome, had his mouth half-full of okonomiyaki when Ukyou Kuonji spoke.
"Ran-chan, I'm sorry."
He looked up, a piece of pork belly dangling from his mouth. "Guh?"
Ukyou shook her head. "I'm sorry for hurting you Ran-chan, but I can't waste anymore time waiting to see if you'll want to marry me anymore. I have my future to think about." She looked off to the side at the waitress who set down a tray of utensils before walking over. "I decided I was better off with the one who wants to be with me."
Konatsu wrapped his arm around Ukyou and bowed slightly. "I hope you aren't too angry at us, Ranma-sama."
"Buh." Was his only reply.
(February 28th, 1998)
Usagi and Mamoru awoke. Around them was an overgrown garden dotted with broken white marble columns. As they sat up, the two lovers realized they had return to their original forms.
"What happened? Nephrenia had made our bodies small," Usagi asked aloud. A soft voice from behind them answered.
"I was able to rescue you from Nephrenia's nightmare."
Usago and Mamoru looked up to see a young man with silver hair and a white helical horn on his forehead.
"Where are we?" Mamoru asked. He slowly rubbed his temples, wincing. "It's… so familiar."
Helios smiled sadly, his lips curled up in a grimace. "My Prince, this is... this is what's left of the Golden Kingdom you are the heir to. This is-"
"Elysion," Mamoru finished with a whisper.
"Yes, My Prince. From here, you and Princess Serenity can begin to fight Nephrenia!"
The three began to strategize, never noticing the ivy-covered rapier that stood, proud, in the center of the garden.
(October 19th, 1998)
The park directly adjacent to Nerima Station had seen better centuries, the Second World War included. Over the morning, there had been what could best be described as "a no-holds-barred epic showdown".
That the agonists for this particular conflict were a shrunken Chinese woman of indeterminate age and Ranma Saotome, age 18 and currently male (though he'd been female for the majority of the last hour) were of little relevance. Trees were uprooted and turned into kindling. Football field-sized patches of grass were blackened ash. In short, it was a goddamn war zone.
Cologne, elder matriarch of the Nujiezu Amazons of Western China, certainly felt the time pass. At close to 200 years old, she was no spring chicken. Her only advantage to this fight had been her wealth of techniques and secret knowledge, her speed, and her vast reserves of chi. Now, the latter two were faltering, and beginning to affect the first.
"Obstinate child, thinking that defeating Saffron could ever make you my better!" She spat out.
Ranma Saotome was less worse for wear physically, but he was running out of tactical options.
"Heh, Saffron ain't even the strongest opponent I've beaten," he said, forcing an evil grin, despite his cheek muscles being sore after a few skyward journeys courtesy of the hunk of petrified, chi-infused lumber Cologne called a walking staff.
"What are you talking about?"
"Tell me... you seen the old pervert anytime recently?" he asked.
The Amazon matriarch narrowed her eyes. "You're not implying..."
Ranma let one a smirk shine through his otherwise impassive face. "He's holed up in his room... it was a real pain in the ass to get the hospital bed into his room. Doc says he'll be right as rain by New Year's..."
The two ran into each other, trading punches and blocks. To Cologne's consternation he was gaining the advantage in both strikes that went through her defenses and the number of blocks he had to make. In a moment of desperation, Cologne brought her staff back.
"Nujiezu secret technique: High Pressure Wave - Gao Ya Po!"
Ranma leaped high above the amazon elder as a wall of suddenly pressurized air pulsated in front of her. From his back pocket, Ranma pulled out a picnic blanket-sized furoshiki cloth over Cologne.
"Umisenken Ultimate Technique: Goshi Dai Ryuusei Fu!" Ranma disappeared in plain sight, along with all the energy of Cologne's attack.
"You cannot expect to win hiding in the shadows like that petty thief you call a father."
"I guess ya gotta point, ghoul," Ranma replied, his voice echoing around the entire park.
Ranma reappeared, a cloth sack on his back. Cologne threw out her staff as Ranma swung the large cloth sack, as though it were a baseball bat, at the Amazon.
"Bakusai Tenketsu!" She yelled, extending her staff out and touching the cloth sack. The large cloth sack burst open, releasing, to her surprise, the energy of her previous attack. The wave of high pressure air poured out pushing her back.
Ranma gasped theatrically, "Come on, Cologne. I stole that attack fair and square!" Ranma narrowed his eyes. "I only get one shot at this," he thought.
"Yamasenken final technique: SAIDAIKYUU KIJIN RAISHUU DAN!" A barrage of vacuum blades cut a hole through the center of the wave of pressure. He jumped into the vacuum.
"Hiryu Shouten Ha, revised: Kaisouryuu Kourin Ha!" he yelled. The drastic difference in air pressure let Ranma create a vortex which flung the Amazon matriarch high into the air. Incredibly, Cologne recovered from both the g-forces and the turbulence and landed on her feet. Still, she looked worse for wear; her robes were in tatters, marred with dust and twigs. Her long white hair was frayed and shorn off on one side.
"I won't be cowed so easy, whelp," she raised her staff, summoning yet another vast reservoir of ki from gods know where.
Ranma clutched his stomach and clenched his teeth. Inwardly, he was taking stock of his situation."Dammit, that was my last ace in the hole! I'm in trouble now and out of options... come on you bastard!". Just before he closed his eyes to shield himself from the impact, a loud cry from the distance broke Cologne's attention.
"What was that?" Cologne stood back and saw the looming giant winged minotaur known as Pansuto Tarou. As Tarou flew towards them, he carried Shampoo over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
Ranma smiled through the pain as he declared, "I win." He sighed in relief, before falling to the ground face first. "Better late than never, ya stupid cow," he thought.
Spotting a kettle next to Akane, he picked it up and changed back into his human form.
"Hey faggot. I did what the old man asked," Tarou said, nonchalantly.
"Yeah, and you took your sweet time doin' it." Ranma replied, not moving from his prone position. "You issued a formal challenge?"
Tarou nodded. "She's worse than a rabid bitch. Kept saying shit about kisses. I didn't fucking understand a word of it."
"You defeated Shampoo in formal combat?" Cologne asked, aghast.
Ranma looked up at the elder. "Now it ain't my problem. I ain't ever gonna be an Amazon."
"Very well then." Cologne nodded as she began to look over Tarou, poking him lightly in a few places on his chest and face, causing the young man to recoil. "Could be a touch more handsome, but you'll do."
"What the fuck is that shriveled goblin talkin' about?" He said aloud, before receiving a smack on the head from Cologne's staff. Ranma face curled up in a goofy smile at the sight.
Cologne looked towards the gathered crowd until she saw the young man wearing comically thick glasses and a white robe. "Mousse! We're leaving."
"No?" Cologne asked, incredulous.
Mousse shook his head. "I'm sick of dancing to your tune, hag. I'm staying."
Ranma blinked, "Who knew the guy had it in him?"
Cologne narrowed her eyes as she felt the ground slip further away from her. "You know that by doing so you-"
Mousse looked away dramatically and snorted. "Please. I have nothing back at the village I don't already have in better measure."
"Even a chance with Shampoo?" Cologne asked.
Mousse gulped audibly, but slowly nodded as he glanced at Tarou. "Even that."
A Tarou laid Shampoo's sleeping form on the ground, Mousse thought to himself, "Goodbye Shampoo."
"Very well then, Mu Si." With a bit of effort, Cologne produced a canteen of water and threw it on her great-granddaughter. As she picked up the cat, she turned to Tarou and said, "We will see each other soon enough, son-in-law..." and bounded away.
As Tarou pondered the ominous sounding phrase, Mousse stood firm until he could no longer see them. Afterwards, he walked towards Ranma and Akane, the latter slowly helping the former up. He bowed deeply.
"I know I probably can't be forgiven for some of the things I've done to you in the past, but I hope that the few good things I've done will give me another chance." He stood up, but averted his eyes from Ranma and Akane. "I've decided I wanted to stay. Someday, I hope we can be friends."
"Mousse..." Ranma said, surprised.
"Excuse me, Saotome. I have to gather my things." He began to walk away.
"If you need anything, let us know," Akane called out.
"Thank you, but I think..." Mousse took off his glasses and wiped his face with the sleeve of his robes before placing them back on. "I can manage on my own."
After he too disappeared from view Ranma and Akane let out a sigh.
"Poor dope," Ranma muttered.
Akane felt a twinge of sympathy for the self-imposed exile. "I hope he'll be okay."
Ranma chuckled, then groaned in pain. "He'll be fine. Glad to see him grow a pair. The duck's more persistent than mold on bathroom tile."
Tarou finally lost his patience. " Hey tranny! Where's my name!? You promised Happosai'd give me my new name if I did what you asked."
Ranma nodded, "Oh yeah." He winced in pain as he reached into his back pocket. "Here ya go..." Ranma threw it behind him as he limped back home, leaning against Akane's shoulder.
Tarou opened the scroll. In the sloppiest handwriting he could ever recall seeing, he slowly made out Happosai's words.
By decree of Happosai, Grandmaster of the Founding School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, I hereby declare:
will henceforth be named
The Chinese martial artist slumped to the ground on his knees.
His cries of "HAPPOUSAAAAAAAAI!" could be heard all the way to the sea.
(October 20th, 1998)
It was lunchtime at Juuban High School. Usagi, Ami, Makoto, Haruka, and Michiru sat around a shady oak tree. Usagi was trading part of her lunch with Makoto, the two of them enjoying each other's food. Ami was deep into a textbook on sorting algorithms while Haruka and Michiru were deeply into each other.
Suddenly Mnako ran up to the assembled group. "You guys, you guys, you guys!" Minako said, breathless. The group turned to look at the blonde girl with the red bow in her hair.
"Waf izzit, Mina?" Usagi said, her mouth half-full of onigiri.
"I found out about this hot new boy band!" Instantly Haruka and Michiru's attention was gone and they went back to what they were doing.
"Oh, sounds cool," Makoto said, "What are they called?"
"The Three Lights!"
(January 7th, 1999)
It was a cold in the dojo, where Ranma lay prostrate in front of his mother, bowing deeply.
"Please Ma- Mother, you have to get them to drop this engagement."
Nodoka shook her head. "Ranma, my son, I'm surprised at you. I thought you fought the Amazons to marry Akane."
"Ma, I threw myself against the Amazons because I don't want to get married anytime soon," he asserted.
"I thought you loved Akane, son."
Ranma grimaced and looked away. "I... I think I do. I may really love her, but... He asked again, with a slightly pained voice, "can't you see you're killin' us?"
Nodoka frowned. "If you love her, I don't see what difference it makes whether it's an arranged marriage or not."
Ranma lifted his head. "Were you n' Pop an arranged marriage?"
"Ranma... I don't see what-"
"It wasn't, was it?"
Nodoka shook her head. "No, we met quite by accident at Ueno Park one day. I was going to the zoo and we bumped into each other. I was surprised by how taken I was with him. We spent the day feeding the elephants. He then asked me on a more formal date."
"See Ma? That look you had in your eyes," He pointed out. "I wanna know that when I think about Akane, I'll have that look in my eyes and vice versa. I wanna know that it's for real and not just ta make everyone happy. And..." he sighed and muttered, "if I'm honest, I'm kinda tired of satisfying other people's obligations."
Nodoka gasped. "How can you say that?"
Ranma finally moved from his kneeling position and sat in seiza, facing his mother. His expression wavered from the naïve front to one that evoked a sense of tiredness and of the edge of suiting Ranma, the fighter. "Almost dying three times put things into perspective."
Nodoka frowned, but slowly nodded. "I will see what I can do. Your Father and Soun won't be easy to ply."
"Thank you M-Mother. That's all I can ask." Ranma stood and left the dojo. He was accosted by Akane who was standing just outside. She poked a finger at his chest. Akane fumed as she looked up at Ranma.
"So you never wanted to marry me, is that it!? After everything!" she yelled.
"I never said that!"
"Then why do you want to cancel the engagement?"
Ranma looked into Akane's hurt eyes. His lips curled up into a grimace. "Cause... 'cause look at us! We ain't even out of high school yet! How can we be talkin' about marriage n' stuff?" He gave what he felt was a reassuring smile. "You that eager to be a housewife or somethin'?"
Akane was rendered speechless.
Ranma continued, arms flailing somewhat. "I mean... I don't wanna be with you just cause, ya know? After that weddin' disaster, I decided I wanted ta find out if I wanted to be with you. If what I feel for ya is really me or just what Ma and Pop want."
Ranma shook his head, "And I don't wanna marry you now."
Akane raised a fist. "I knew it! You-"
"Hey, I ain't done, tomboy!" Ranna shot back."I don't wanna marry you, but..." he looked down at his shuffling feet. "If you're interested in a dumb, sex-changin' pervert like me, I'd like-" He looked at Akane. "You wanna get dinner and maybe see a movie sometime?"
Akane blinked and lowered her arm. "Ranma... are you asking me out on a date?"
"Well..." Ranma's face began to turn red as he started rubbing the back of his neck. "I ain't not askin', if that's what you're sayin'...," he said, his palms starting to sweat.
There was a strained silence for a moment and Ranma could feel a cold sweat on the back of his neck. His body started to shake a little and Akane began giggling.
"Aw come on, Akane. Don't kick a guy while he's-"
"I'd love to."
"Yeah." She smiled. "You're still a jerk, you know."
Ranma cracked his trademark smirk."Well, yeah. I wouldn't want ya to think I'd lost my touch."
(February 12, 1999)
(Somewhere in Time and Space)
Usagi awoke suddenly in a empty white expanse. She noticed she only wore what appeared to be a while silken nightgown. She felt like she was floating in space and it was difficult to find her bearings.
"I'm alive?" She thought to herself. "Last I remember, I was enveloping the chaos inside the Cauldron of the Galaxy, but at the last moment, I was repelled."
Usagi jerked suddenly when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. Looking back, Usagi saw the love of her life, who she thought had died in the incursion against Galaxia. "Mamoru!" she whispered. Behind him, and dressed similarly to Usagi herself, were nice others. "And everyone else!" Usagi started tearing up, and she sobbed in joy as she grabbed onto Mamoru and held him tightly. Mamoru grabbed Usagi's hand, giving it the lightest of kisses.
"I'm sorry we couldn't protect you better," Minako said, leaning against Rei. Haruka and Michiru nodded as well. Makoto and Ami, flanking Setsuna and Hotaru, nodded as well
The tall, dark, Senshi of Time spoke, "You continued to call on us, drawing on all of our power. Thank you, Usagi."
Usagi ran and grabbed everyone in a tight group hug. Through tears of joy she said, "In my heart of hearts, I believed that I'd see everyone again."
Their reunion was interrupted by a soft pulse of energy. Usagi turned back and saw a tiny girl.
"Chibi-Chibi?" she wondered, before the image of the little girl blew out into blinding white energy. It slowly reformed into a tall, breathtakingly elegant woman, who bore angel wings. She carried a long, intricate staff and regarded the Senshi with a gentle demeanor.
"I am Sailor Cosmos. I am the guardian of the Cauldron and all of its stars. The forces of Chaos sought to destroy all the of the Star Seeds, but with your help Sailor Moon, the strongest of all the Galaxy's seeds, you have bright them back. I have given back all of the star seeds lost to the galaxy and have given them new life in their appointed times and places."
Usagi then felt a small hand touching her neck. She looked up to see Chibi-Usa, in her Super Chibi Moon form, with its tiny wings, flying above her.
"Usagi, I'll be waiting for you in the 30th Century," she said, before becoming a ball of light and floating away into space.
"I remember a star that carried a brilliance unlike any expect your own, Sailor Moon. That was your mother, Queen Serenity, whose life was also lost to the Cauldron's sea of origin. All of you here, who are fully formed star seeds within the cauldron are forever welcome here as you are."
The Senshi looked at each other confused before Sailor Cosmos continued.
"Do you wish to remain here, in your perfected forms? Or do you wish to leave your star forms and return to your world and your lives, however imperfect they may be?"
It only took a moment for the Senshi to decide. They stood together as one when Usagi spoke.
"We want to go live together back on Earth. We want to live our lives, however difficult it may be at times. We want to live together!" At that declaration, everyone was suddenly enveloped in a bright light and soared out of the Cauldron.
Usagi called out to Salior Cosmos, "Is Chaos gone?"
From the growing distance as the Senshi approach the solar system, then Earth, Usagi heared Sailor Cosmos's reply, "The core of chaos, the Chaos Seed, and I are melded into the Cauldron. We are now too small to be found by outside forces. However, chaos may be born anew. After all, the galaxy is where new stars and new possibilities are born..."
(March 20, 1999)
It was a warm, blessedly Kuno-free day. The principal who bore that surname had left during finals week to "attend a seminar on administrative efficiency protocols". Ranma and Akane couldn't care less if he was learning how to hula into a volcano, they were finished with the distilled chaos known as high school. It wasn't just the end of secondary education, it was the end of a period of their lives that ran from the day Ranma had shown up at Akane's house to the present and every crazy thing in between.
In the middle of the folding chairs where the graduating class of Furinkan High sat, Ranma leaned into the row of people in front of him to whisper into Akane's ear.
"You too, dummy," she replied.
Ranma carefree smile faltered slightly. "Hey, uh... I've been thinkin'.."
"Again? What did I tell you about thinking?" She laughed.
"Shaddup," He took a breath. "We've been goin' out for a while now and all the stuff that made things so rough died down. I know we ain't goin' to the same college and all, but hell it ain't so far away, me in Setagaya and you in Hachioji..."
He tugged at his tie. "I dunno. Thinking of you around other guys at college without sayin' anything just makes... I don't think I can take it. Akane, uh, I can't make no grandiose promises or nuthin', but I'd like to be your boyfriend, if you're willing."
Akane nodded. "I'd like that."
(August 1, 1999)
Usagi and Mamoru stood at the entrance of Narita Airport.
"I'm gonna miss you, Mamo-chan."
"I'm only gone a year. I'll be back next July... barring any other disasters, of course."
Usagi laughed, though it was a tired laugh. "Yeah..."
The young man scooped Usagi into his arms, "When I get back and you finish high school, I'll see you married to me, Usagi Tsukino."
"I should say I'll see you married to me, Mamoru Chiba."
"Yes, my Queen," he replied jokingly. Usagi giggled before sighing. "I'm gonna miss you Mamo-chan"
"I know Usako. I'll call and write. I'm going to go broke buying phone cards on you. If you don't hear from me at least once a week, you can go ahead and assume the galaxy is in peril, okay?"
Usagi smiled. "Okay. Go, before you miss your flight. I don't think Setsuna would be happy if she had to personally escort you back to Boston."
"Take care of yourself. If anything happens while I'm gone, I will get back as soon as possible, okay?"
Usagi nodded and the two finally broke their embrace. Mamoru picked up his duffel bag and walked through the gate. Usagi frantically waved him goodbye and saw the airplane leave.
She was sullen as she walked towards the train station back to Tokyo. As she arrived, she saw five familiar faces. Ami, Rei, Makoto, Minako, and Naru, of all people, were there, smiles on their faces.
"Guys?" Usagi said, not trusting her eyes at the moment. The girls ran up to her and gave her a hug.
"I can't say I know what you're going through Usagi," Naru said. "But I'd be real sad too if I had to say goodbye to Umino for a whole year, even though we can talk to each other online."
"We decided we should have a girls' night out to cheer you up, Usagi!" Makoto said.
"What do you want to do?" Ami asked.
Usagi was unsure how to answer and, in her delay, Rei answered for her.
"What else does she do? Eat and play video games."
"The Crown?" Minako asked.
"The Crown!" Usagi replied as the group of teenagers went off back to the, for the moment, quiet streets of Tokyo.
The term "okama" (オカマ) refers to a particular form of queer male representation that is characterized by effeminate (or perhaps what we would call camp) mannerisms and a tendency to crossdress. In the Manga series, this was the most common way for Tarou to refer to Ranma as both a slur and a taunt.
I recommend a quick jaunt to goggle maps to get a sense of the locations used in this story. In short, Setagaya is a ward just Southwest of Central Tokyo (Along with Meguro Ward). Hachioji is about 40 kilometers west of the 23 central wards of Tokyo.
Yes, I apologize ahead of time. This is my attempt at the already bloated genre we call 'fukufic'. I'm hoping for something of a raucous ride, squarely in between the ur-text known as Lines of Destiny and, on the opposite end of that spectrum, the incredibly awesome Beautiful Destroyer Sailor Moon. If I can get halfway to some of the better known works in the genre, I'll be happy.
As I mentioned in the summary, there will be sex jokes, discussions of queer issues, and some melodrama. The meat of the story, however, is about family. What happens when people discover family they didn't know they had and how the process of incorporation is always awkward at best, fraught with peril at worst. It's also about how one goes about delineating who is family and what it means to be a family.
HUGE Thanks to Frice2000 and Kevin Hammel on fukufics for giving me great feedback on this story as well as my good friend and collaborator (on Prodigal Daughter and Creatures of Habit), Unsurpassed Travesty, for fielding my questions and letting me talk her ear off when this little earwig wouldn't go away.
As always, please read and review this and all of my stories!