He was devastated; never had he known such pain. Tears fell from his eyes as he continued to dig with frostbitten hands.
The ice had come suddenly with neither cause nor reason, but what reason could you expect from cold, lifeless ice? His bloodied fingers turned the snow crimson as he continued to dig. Finally, he saw a hand jutting out of the snow. He pulled, hoping that she still lived… yet her body was stiff, the flesh cold as the snow around them. Ranma Saotome reared back his head and roared out his pain and his grief at the injustice of it all, and all the while he cradled his belovedís still form to his own, rocking it back and forth as hot tears fell from his eyes.
He found the rest soon after: friends, fiancťes, rivals, and his parents. He buried them all without shedding a tear. He had long ceased grieving. Grieving was for the living, and he felt he no longer deserved to be among them. He entombed his beloved in a casket of ice high atop the slopes of Mount Fuji, and there he stayed, guarding her tomb.
He lived as a hermit, forsaking the fellowship of his fellow man and instead opting to live alone. He fought monsters and wild beasts that sought to disturb his belovedís resting place. He challenged each and every soul that thought to trouble his ladyís eternal rest. In the years that followed, he had slain every beast that dared near the tomb, and soon the place was desolate save for the few plants that grew there.
Years passed, but he didnít seem to age. His hair had turned white after fighting the resident Snow Maiden and killing her; the essence of the snow spirit merging with his own arctic soul. The soul of ice he embodied soon turned the volcano top into a blisteringly cold wasteland, allowing him the solitude he craved for as a youth.
Yet even solitude did nothing for the guilt he felt inside him: the painful realization that despite his skill, despite the numerous enemies he had bested, he still wasnít good enough to save everyone he cared for. He buried his pain under icy indifference. He distracted himself by focusing on his Art, harnessing the god-given talent bestowed upon him and honing it to a fine edge.
He had grown more powerful each passing year, his mastery over his body and his surroundings growing by leaps and bounds over time. Yet not even his skill in the Art could fill the void that was inside him. He soon thought himself too powerful to exist, and thus decided he sealed himself in a pillar of ice that rose to the heavens, every now and then giving forth his aura as a beacon to the one he was waiting for. He waited for years and years for the one who would end his guilt and his pain by ending his life.
Jiro Maeda presents
A Ranma ½ / Sailor Moon crossover story
Part 1: "And the Snowflakes DancedÖ"
Disclaimer: The characters and circumstances appearing in this fanfic arenít mine, they were never mine and they never will be mine. 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. (Did she change her name when she got married?)
The beeping of the Mercury computer disrupted Ami Mizunoís breakfast, disturbing the peace and quiet ambiance of early morning Crystal Tokyo. The quiet Senshi took a sip from her tea (Chamomile this morning, good for shot nerves) and calmly summoned the offending device from subspace, and stared in shock at something sheíd dismissed months ago as just another anomaly. She almost spit out her tea at the data the tiny hand console relayed from Athena, Mare Serenitas Research Centerís state-of-the-art computer. "This canít be right…" she remarked to herself as she punched in several other commands. The resulting data had her teleporting immediately to the research center.
Upon reaching the computer room, she immediately jacked up her hand console to the main unit and ordered a complete holo-analysis of the anomaly. She whistled to herself as she observed the steady rise and fall of the energy levels. "Athena, display data of the recent spike with the one observed November of the previous year, together with those of the recent flux, please," she requested.
"Confirming." The pleasant female voice of the AI chimed as several graphs and readings sprung to life around Ami.
"No doubt about it, the two spikes are identical. I doubt this is just a random anomaly brought about by the great ice, as I thought it was," she murmured to herself.
She didnít wish to bother her queen, Serenity being overly stressed as it was, due to her impending labor; and the others were no less panic-stricken. She permitted herself a small laugh as she remembered her dear friend waddling like a penguin as she left her bedroom towards the throne room proper to greet dignitaries from other states. She de-transformed as she entered the teleportation room, pausing only to grab a thick parka and some analysis equipment. A blink of light later, the room was empty.
Ami found herself in the middle of a barren, icy landscape. Spires of ice jutted from the ground in even patterns, like pikes awaiting the enemy that would be impaled by them. "Not even wild grass grows here," she said, shivering despite her thick coat. Her teeth rattled as fierce winds blew across the land. She held her transformation rod in shivering fingers as she altered her form to that of Eternal Mercury. She frowned at the now useless equipment she brought with her. ĎThe tools are too frozen to be of any use now,í she thought as she gamely made her way towards the location that her computer had indicated to be the source of the energy beacon.
The harsh arctic winds that assaulted her were most certainly abnormal. She clenched her parka closer to her shivering form, wishing in spite of herself that her Senshi uniform were more insulated. She felt the initial symptoms of frostbite, the shivering and the numbness, yet boldly pressed on. She brought her arm in front of her, intent on shielding her face from the onslaught of hail and snow that pelted her slight form from all directions, courtesy of the powerful snowstorm that appeared out of nowhere. "Whoever this is, most certainly does not want visitors," she remarked to herself… or tried to remark to herself, since the clattering of her teeth badly mangled her words. When she finally reached the column of ice, the storm suddenly ceased. She looked on in wonder as the pillar glowed a lambent blue, pulsing every so often akin to the rhythm of a beating heart. She was transfixed by the sight, and unintentionally touched the strange pillar with a gloved hand. She was startled when she heard a voice inside her head.
—Are you her?— murmured the definitely masculine voice.
ĎWhat are you talking about? Who is this Ďsheí? And more to the point, what are you?í Mercury replied in her mind, trying her best not to panic.
—Are you the one whoís supposed to kill me?—
ĎKill him?í Mercury thought with a start. She wondered what would drive this entity to want an end to his life. The blue clad Senshi suddenly yelped at the sudden chill that made itself known to the arm she used to touch the pillar.
—Kill me…— the voice pleaded, apparently reading Amiís mind.
"Iím a physician. I extend life, not end it… If you want to die, youíll just have to find someone else to kill you," Ami shouted, her normally calm demeanor evaporating in rage over the sheer nerve of the entity encased in the icy prison. She de-transformed and decided to ignore whoever is in the column of ice. As she turned to leave she heard a cracking sound behind her. She turned and was blown off her feet as the pillar exploded.
"Either you kill me, or I kill you. Take your pick."
Ami opened her eyes and beheld a young man in his late teens, enveloped in a writhing blue nimbus. She grabbed her transformation pen and faltered, her hand shivering due to the extreme cold being emitted by the youth. She scrambled away, trying to distance herself from what she surmised to be the source of the coldness she felt clawing at her, at least far enough to transform. She absently touched the communicator on her wrist, instinct honed by several battles making her realize that she needed help. Sadly, the delicate instrumentation of the device was also damaged by the cold. She fell hard after tripping on an errant icicle. She felt pain lancing up from her left foot. ĎTwisted, probably broken.í She turned to see her pursuer advancing towards her, each step he made making ice shards grow in his path. There was no escape, she thought. "Oh kami, I donít want to die," she whispered as tears began to fall from her eyes. She thought of her friends, of those in Crystal Tokyo that depended on her. Her need to live intensified, adding starch to her spine.
Ranma was disappointed. His would-be killer couldnít even defend herself. He snorted as he closed the distance between him and the young woman, preparing to finish her off by cracking her neck. He was surprised when the young lady in question turned and looked at him with baleful eyes and spoke.
"Huh?" the confusion brought about by the girlís question caused Ranma to stop in his tracks, causing his aura to fade away.
"Why do you want to die?" Ami asked.
"íCuz I got nothing to live for, thatís why. Iím too dangerous to let live anyway," the pigtailed boy answered with a shrug. "So are you going to kill me or what?"
"What? Listen lady, I already gave you my reasons. Iím tired of waiting in that walk-in freezer, and Iím sure as hell tired of yapping with you. If you canít kill me Iíll just go look for someone who will." Ranma answered with heat as he turned and walked off.
"Your answers are insufficient. Theyíre answers one might expect from a nine-year-old, not a young man," Ami retorted.
"Yeah? Well youíre uncute!" shouted Ranma as he turned to face the Senshi.
Ami couldnít explain it but something about this person made her angry. Yet for the life of her, she couldnít explain the resonance she felt within him. What was it about this person that made her want to hug him and hit him all at the same time? She shook her head; such thoughts werenít practical at that moment.
"Look lady, I havenít got all day. If youíre not gonna kill me, then I guess Iím just wastingí my time," Ranma said with regret. The feelings this girl stirred up within him gave him pause. Sure, she looked like Akane, but shouldnít that make him want to leave her and not stay beside her? The confusion inside him made the pigtailed martial artist want to hit his head on something. And so he did…
Ami was about to try to ask the mysterious young man to stop but was floored when he walked towards one of the jutting spires and began repeatedly hitting it with his head. "Stop, what are you doing?" she asked and attempted to stand.
"None of your damn business!" Ranma answered, red in the face. What the hell was going on here? Not even Akane flustered him so easily. He continued to hit his head on the errant ice formation till it cracked.
"You donít have to do that, you know," Ami noted as she finally stood, only to totter precariously. "You donít have a purpose in life right now, and youíre afraid you might hurt someone with your power, correct?"
"Yeah? So what?" he retorted without any force.
"Come with me. You donít have to end your life. Let me help you; youíre just lost right now," Ami pleaded.
"I donít need no help from nobody. I just need to die," Ranma answered in a voice devoid of emotion, the icy blue nimbus flaring to life around him yet again.
"Then I have no choice, do I?" Ami said as she held her transformation pen aloft and changed.
Ranmaís eyes widened at the near nude transformation sequence before him. With a very dry throat he croaked out. "Arenít you cold in that getup?" he asked, pointing at the Senshiís very short skirt. A madly blushing Sailor Mercury promptly clouted him upside the head, returning him to the embrace of the Sandman.
Ami de-transformed and looked at the now unconscious martial artist. She reddened as she recalled hitting him really hard. "I donít go around knocking people out. What is it about him that drives me to violence?" she asked sotto voce as she limped to a nearby boulder she used as a perch. She used her powers to ice up her now swelling ankle, and tried to salvage her communicator, her precious mercury computer nothing more than bits of circuitry and wire after being cannibalized.
After constructing a makeshift distress beacon (Please let someone be monitoring, Athena), she turned to her knocked out companion. "Now what am I to do with you?" she asked aloud, not really expecting an answer.
Author's notes: There's a saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". I think this applies to fanfiction as well. This story is one I have never been certain about. It has no planned-out plot, no structure, and no direction. I'll have to discontinue it, seeing as I no longer enjoy writing it. I like to tell stories, you see, and a story that's not going anywhere would be pointless. I'd like to apologize to those people who might want to read more of this series: I'm no longer having fun because I listened too much to the people around me.
Winter's heart is a simple story in and of itself. It's about an immortal cursed martial artist who wants to die after finding his life pointless, only to find redemption from someone who wouldn't kill him. The Senshi falls for him eventually, finding in him the companion and heart's love she yearned and didn't expect to find. That's all and nothing more.
I don't write because I plant to write for a living, nor do I write to please the audience. I write because I want to tell a story, a story that I feel deserves to be told for whatever reason.
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