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Chapter 4

A Ranma ½ / Sailor Moon crossover story
by Dark_Phoneix

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.

"Uh, mom… isn't your name Nodoka?" Ranma asked, puzzled. Sure, his mom was weird, but she didn't go around claiming to be someone that she wasn't.

The green-haired woman got the same stunned expression on her face as she had when she first saw Hotaru. Setsuna's head swung from side to side, taking in Hotaru and Ranma's confused gazes. Her mouth puckered into a little 'o' and she sat down in a nearby chair heavily, looking more worried than scared.

"Are you all right, mom?" Ranma asked, walking over to the distressed woman.

Setsuna looked up at her son and said, "Ranma, you know I love you. You do know, don't you?" She sounded desperate for acknowledgement of this simple fact.

Growing more confused that ever, Ranma answered, "Come on, mom, don't ask stupid questions, I know you love me, just like I love you." Ranma looked at Hotaru, his eyes pleading for help. Hotaru was frozen in inaction, unsure of what to do.

Her eyes hardening with determination, Setsuna stood back up, using Ranma's arm to aid her. "Ranma, I'm not really Nodoka Saotome. That name is little more than a false birth record I created to keep the government out of my business." Without looking back, Setsuna strode out of the room purposefully.

Ranma shrugged, hoping his mom wasn't going crazy, and followed her, beckoning Hotaru to join him.

They found Setsuna in a richly appointed parlor, the furnishing somehow managing to convey wealth but doing so with gentle warmth. Ranma knew his mom loved this room, for reasons he couldn't figure out.

Setsuna was seated on a green and blue divan, her legs folded beneath her and a peculiar staff lying in her lap. Both Ranma and Hotaru thought it resembled an enormous key. "Have a seat," Setsuna said, determined yet apprehensive.

Ranma and Hotaru took a seat on a small sofa upholstered to match the divan that Setsuna occupied. "Mom, if you've decided to have a midlife crisis, that's fine. I hear that everyone does eventually, but could you wait till we don't have company?" Ranma had wanted to make a good impression on Hotaru, but now he just wanted to get through the next few minutes without having to commit his mom to a mental institution. At least Hotaru probably wasn't thinking about her academic problems.

Setsuna chuckled hollowly. "No, my son, not hardly a midlife crisis." As she spoke she caressed the shaft of the staff she held, seeming to coax a flare of garnet colored light from the jewel at its crown. She sighed and continued, "I don't even know where to begin. I mean, I've thought about it before, and planned what I'd say, because I knew you would one day discover the truth. But now that the time has arrived, I find myself speechless."

Awkwardly, Hotaru said, "Ranma, Ms. Meiou, if this is a bad time, I can leave and come back later." Happosai was the only family she'd ever known, and while they cared for one another, she'd never had a very deep family bond with anyone. To intrude on another's felt wrong, somehow.

"No, stay. This involves you too, Hotaru." Setsuna stared into the large gem on the head of her staff for a moment longer, then with a negligent flick of her wrist, threw it into the air. Ranma winced, hoping that nothing valuable was broken, not even thinking of retrieving it himself. Much to his amazement, though, the staff disappeared into thin air almost exactly like Hotaru's did when she no longer needed it.

Ranma's mouth hung open. To perform such a feat, a person had to have strong chi control and years of practice, yet his mother had neither. Before he could enquire of what he'd just witnessed, Setsuna began, "Throughout the cosmos, there are Powers. Never-ending Time, the Void of Death, the ever-present Silence, Life's eternal battle. They are numerous, and in our simple understanding, all-powerful. For longer than any civilization has reigned on this planet, I have represented Time. When enemies from the past or future threaten our world, I hold vigil over the Time Stream, the true form of the Universe." The woman paused, surveying the rapt faces of her audience. "Times are ripe for Change, another Power, to exercise its dominion. With my meager powers I have divined the future, subtly manipulating events to bring about the rise of an empire on Earth that would forever embody peace. Twenty years ago, several thousand possible futures came into alignment without explanation. I was dismayed. The avatar of Silence would soon walk the Earth, a being of great power, enough so to utterly destroy Earth."

Setsuna shifted, her eyes going to the floor as she continued, "As is within my power, I searched through the Time Stream for information that could help me temper the Silence, to stop it from carrying out its mission. To my amazement, I found the avatar as a small girl. She was horribly weakened, the results of an accident in her father's laboratory, and her power was being usurped by an entity long thought dead. Even with Time on my side, I could not change the course of the future in the few short years available before the Silence was born again. Desperate, I sought out in my own future a way to alter upcoming events." Setsuna's voice echoed with timeless authority and experience. Hotaru and Ranma found themselves instantly believing her, unable to comprehend anything beyond her words.

"To my shame, I saw in one possible future, one out of several billion, the creation of a new soul. It was the Void's messenger, but on its own it would take countless millennia to travel across the immensity of space. I bound that soul into a child of my body. As a father I chose a simple man, easily controlled by his vices, who would trouble me little over the years as our son grew into his Power. The proper attitude and bit of cold steel turned Genma into a little puppy dog." Setsuna coughed nervously.

"Ranma, you would have guided and protected the Silence's avatar until she grew strong once again. The Silence, though not evil, seeks to bring about utter Silence among the cosmos, and is anathema to Life. If the need ever arose, you would be there to eliminate the Silence's avatar before it could destroy Earth."

"Anyway, shortly before you were born, Ranma, the avatar of Silence was stolen by a being of such a chaotic nature that the Time Stream flowed around him. In the advanced stages of pregnancy, I could not access my powers without endangering you, so by the time I could mount a search effort, it was too late, Hotaru Tomoe was beyond my power."

Hotaru shifted uneasily, a few uncomfortable flashes of long dead memory running through her mind. A glimpse of a glaive slicing through a cybernetic demon's torso. A reflection of herself wearing a sailor fuku in the congealing puddle of blood from an octopus-like alien. The images, thankfully, disappeared as she blinked her eyes rapidly, unwilling to even imagine herself dressed like that.

"My plans and machinations for the future instantly became useless, a massive jumble of random possibilities indiscernible to even me. Heartbroken, my duty unfulfillable, I gave up, turning to my family for comfort. I learned to love Genma and made sure his compulsive urge to create a martial arts juggernaut didn't harm you, Ranma, by creating an image of myself as an honorbound woman fully intent on murdering her husband if he harmed her child." Tears sparkled unshed in Setsuna's eyes as she finally looked back up.

"So you see, I manipulated time to bring you two together, but my failure only served to fulfill my earlier intentions. Now Hotaru is a healthy, vibrant girl capable of taking up her mantle as Silence and Ranma, my son, you need never carry out your own Duty as the Void's representative." Setsuna had tried so hard to squeeze in so much that she feared her son and his friend would not understand what she had intended, but confronting ones own demons is a struggle that can take a lifetime and she wasn't yet up to the task.

Silence (not that kind, no pun intended) held sway for over a minute before Ranma spoke."…You gave birth to me just to play nursemaid or assassin to Hotaru?" Ranma knew his mother spoke the truth, but accepting the truth for what is was took more maturity and experience that he possessed.

Sadly, Setsuna nodded. "Never believe for an instant that I don't love you, no matter why you were brought into this world!" she stated vehemently.

Ranma shook his head, "You even chose my soul for me…" he trailed off, unable to comprehend the implications of that act alone. "Has anything in my life just happened on its own, or did you arrange that too?"

"Son, I had no choice, plea—" Setsuna began, only to be cut off in mid-sentence.

"Don't call me that!" Ranma shouted, jumping to his feet. "Iím not your son! I'm just a tool for you to use!!" Reflexively, Ranma drew in his chi, warping it and his environment so as to make him disappear.

Hotaru was left in a situation she wasn't equipped to deal with. Setsuna was crushing the life out of her, sobbing into her shoulder pitifully, bemoaning her very existence. The teenager patted the distraught woman on the back and said, "Donít cry, he's a boy, they say stupid stuff all the time. When he gets hungry he'll come back, apologize, and everything will be fine."

So, Happosai, her grandfather, the only steady adult figure in her life had kidnapped her as a child. She would deal with him later. Right now, she had to help Ranma's mother.

"He hates me now," Setsuna claimed between racking sobs.

"Shhh, he's just taking it hard." Hotaru herself wasn't taking the revelation all that easily. Silence, huh? What was Silence, and why would she— better yet, how would she— destroy the world with it? That line of thought led her to Ranma's intended roll. Guardian or assassin. Why was she comforting a woman who had engineered the birth of a person who's sole purpose in life was had been to take care of her until she became too great a danger, then to kill her?

The green-haired woman just clutched Hotaru more forcefully. Eventually, when she had no more tears to shed, Setsuna pushed Hotaru away from her and wiped her face with the corner of her apron. "I-I apologize for burdening you with my troubles, Hotaru, especially since you are as much a victim of my plotting as my son."

"You were just looking out for the greater good, Ms. Meiou. I can understand that. I've lived a good life so far, I don't suppose I mind finding out that it wasn't as spontaneous as I once believed," Hotaru assured her. Grandfather, on the other hand, had a lot to answer for.

Setsuna managed a tight smile. "Youíre a good person, better than me. Here, take this, it's part of your legacy." The woman's arm disappeared into thin air, returning a moment later with the glaive Hotaru had seen in the flash of memory earlier. Almost as soon as the polearm was free from wherever its resting place had been, Setsuna dropped it, unable to compensate for its great weight.

Hotaru grabbed it before it could strike the floor, amazed at just how heavy the weapon actually was. It had to be solid iron to weigh so much. "What is this?"

"You'll know soon enough. Now, please leave me, I'd like to be alone," Setsuna requested. Thousands of years without any emotional release, compounded by Ranma's ire with her, had drained Setsuna of energy more completely than if she had been fighting her way around a black hole in the Time Stream.

"I'm gonna try to find Ranma. Do you want me to tell him anything?" Hotaru asked. While the weapon Setsuna had given her was well within her strength range, it would be rather conspicuous to carry it around, so she slid into weapons space with her normal staff, surprised that it fit so easily.

Setsuna's eyes reflected the pain she felt at the mention of her son's name. Tears began to gather again and she sniffled repeatedly. "Please, give him this. "Again Setsuna repeated the trick of pulling objects from nowhere, this time returning with an odd, foot long blade that curved in opposite directions on either end. "If he never wants to see me again, at least he'll have what is rightfully his. Tell him that I love him more than anything."

Hotaru nodded, accepting the… whatever, and slipped it in with her staff and the odd glaive. If the glaive was heavier than it should have been, the weapon for Ranma was lighter than its size should have allowed. As she wound her way through the house, towards the only exit she knew, Hotaru couldn't help but hear Setsuna's renewed sobbing.

Though no one would have blamed him if he had cried, Ranma wasn't the type to get weepy. No, Ranma was angry. When Ranma got angry he had to fight his aura constantly, lest it break loose and wreak havoc on his surroundings.

His own mother, the woman who had given him life and helped to raise him, had betrayed him. It went beyond betrayal. His entire existence was nothing more than a lie. He'd depended on his mother over the years when the training became too much, when he felt that the pressures were too great.

Ranma couldn't see how he'd been fooled for so long. He knew he wasn't the most perceptive of people, but over sixteen years of time should have been long enough to figure out that something wasn't right. Well, at least he still had his father, as little comfort as that was, and he knew the man to be as in the dark about his wife as Ranma had been.

Finding Ranma was easier than Hotaru had thought it would be. All she had to do was follow the energy drain. Ranma was sitting in the rafters on the underside of a small bridge, unaware of the havoc he was causing. Birds that happened to fly over the general area near Ranma fell from the sky, drained of energy and dying on impact with the ground or surrounding buildings. Hotaru herself had to fight tooth and nail to keep her own aura intact.

She was thankful that an average person's aura was so weak and wrapped up within themselves that anyone driving across the bridge wouldn't suffer complete loss of energy, maybe at the worst feeling slightly tired.

"Idiot, stop that!" Hotaru shouted, tossing her staff like a spear at Ranma. Ranma didn't even try to stop the projectile and it slammed into his stomach at full speed.

"Oooof!" Ranma barked, his breath soundly knocked out. He leaned forward convulsively, overbalancing himself and falling uncontrollably into the water below.

"Usagi, I think you should stop worrying about what that girl thought of our outfits, and help us decide whether or not the girl are new enemies," Makoto said.

"But, guys, we look good in our uniforms, all the magazines say so!" Usagi wailed. If only that big mean demon hadn't shown up, they wouldn't have to worry about this. Why couldn't all the mean people go bother America or maybe China?

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, Usagi," Ami advised. Ami's opinion ran toward Usagi needing to shut up, let her think for a while, and maybe getting some target practice in real soon before she threw around anymore energy beams.

Usagi sniffled pathetically, but kept quiet on the subject.

"I think we should treat them as enemies until we know for certain where they stand," said Rei. "At least until I can do a thorough fire reading for both of them."

"If they were evil, why did they help us today?" Minako asked. "I mean, they could have just stood back and let us get thrashed by that big ugly demon woman." The boy couldn't be evil, he was just too cute; then again, all the guys they'd fought against had been anywhere from cute to gorgeous. Sigh. Oh, well, he was probably evil incarnate with a smile like that.

"Well, Ami, what do you say?" Makoto asked. All eyes turned to the bookish Senshi of Mercury.

Ami shrugged. "I didn't have my computer running. All I can say is that they didn't use traditional methods that we've come to associate with Negaverse representatives. No portals besides the demon's were open in the area, they didn't fly, and seemed to be dressed casually. Other than that, I have nothing of value to add. My opinion, though, would be to trust them until they give us a reason not to.

That sparked Rei's temper, and pretty soon the Senshi meeting degenerated into another session of who could scream the loudest.

Wringing water from his pigtail, Ranma glared at Hotaru. He wasn't angry with her, too consumed with hateful thoughts about his mother, but he was angry with himself for not dodging such an obvious and slow attack.

"Don't look at me like that. You were draining people's aura up there, and killing birds." Hotaru liked birds. "Even if you are angry, that's not a reason to lose control of yourself," Hotaru snapped, looking down on Ranma with her fists planted firmly on her hips.

Ranma dropped his eyes and began to ring the moisture from his shirt. "Yeah, well, I'm sorry, okay?" he muttered.

"What, you gonna cry now?" Hotaru asked, poking Ranma in the side with the toe of her shoe.

"Don't go there, Hotaru, do not even go there." Ranma stood up and stretched, creating a swirling breeze of warped air to aide in drying his clothes.

"Did you know that your mom cried like a baby after you left? She thinks you hate her," she told Ranma, trying to appeal to his lighter emotions.

Ranma stood still, not responding as he continued to bend the air currents to his will.

"Are you listening to me, Ranma? She thinks that her only child hates her. Quit whining and deal with it." She stomped up to Ranma and even though he was a inch or two taller than her, she managed to appear to look down on him. "I just found out that the man who raised me, who I thought was my grandfather, stole me from my parents when I was an infant. Am I being a little bitch about it? No, I'm not even gonna kill my grandfather. Your mom said that if things had worked out how she had seen, I would be a weak girl right now, but I'm not. Happosai helped me become a martial artist and now I can take care of myself. Setsuna raised you and cared for you even though she thought she'd failed, when she could have just left you to Genma's mercy."

"You don't know what you're talking about, Hotaru. Happosai raised you, but you never knew your parents. How can you know that 'Setsuna' didn't cause you to be injured in that other possible future? She's manipulated the whole world." Ranma met Hotaru's gaze and held her transfixed. "Think what your parents must have felt like when they couldn't find you. Their little baby just disappeared in the night? How many people held them responsible? Maybe they were carrying you down the street and the little pervert just snatched you out of your mother's arms."

Hotaru growled, then, with full amaguriken speed, bitch-slapped Ranma. The irate boy's head snapped back and blood splattered from a split lip.


To be continued.

Author's Notes: Uh, I'm not really satisfied with this chapter, but I couldn't think of any way to make it much better. I'm not good at emotional stuff, angst especially, so this may be rather lacking.

Setsuna isn't an evil bitch, oh my.

What else? Oh, yeah, would Kasumi make a good avatar for Life? Death, Order, Chaos, Life, Silence, Void (these are not stolen aspects from the Delphi forum, it just seems that way) are what I have in mind so far, but any others you could think of and send me would be good, too. I might have the Senshi being avatars of their respective elements, but I'm not sure.

Well, thanks for slogging through my attempts at humanizing Pluto and making Ranma an insensitive ass. Next chapter promises to be more action, destruction, and power-up packed, like normal, really.

C&C and suggestions to my questions can be sent to me at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 5
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