Yet Another Ranma / Sailor Moon fic thingy
by Josh Temple
Naturally, I own neither Sailor Moon nor Ranma. So here's the disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shugakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
Warning: If you have any dislike for the concept of Ranma as a Sailor Senshi or of Ranma pretending to be Ranko, please STOP reading. The rest of you still reading, enjoy this damn little project of mine, one that would not leave my mind and delayed my other projects, such as the Return.
Sigh, I can't believe I wrote this. Well given what I've done to Ranma in Generation Lost and The Return, it was only natural.
Chapter 1: Chaos and Complications
Nodoka was worried about the youngest Tendo girl. Despite having a confident and spirited exterior, the older woman felt that the girl was hiding something. It seemed that young woman disliked her body. Nodoka knew that such problems were not uncommon with teenage girls. She also knew that if left unchecked they could develop into full blown disorders.
She felt that all Ranko needed was a push in the right direction. If Ranko could be shown that she really was a beautiful girl, then she would feel much better about whom she was.
To accomplish this Nodoka had formed a plan. She just hoped that Ranko would agree to it. Nodoka smiled when she saw the building up ahead. Soon she would find out.
Ranma sat in the bathroom holding a bar of soap in her hands. It was one of several that she had, but she was loath to use them, especially to lock her in her female form. She would not even be having the decision except for one thing: she missed her mother and wanted to spend time with her, even if it was as Ranko. However, she did not want to risk her mother finding out about the curse.
Ranma finally decided on using the waterproof soap. According to Nodoka, their special weekend would only last a few days, and she had been stuck in her cursed form longer than that before.
Nodoka sighed as she looked at the small suitcase and large backpack the redhead was carrying. The girl hardly had any decent clothing, and the few feminine clothes she did have almost seemed to be costumes that were worn once and forgotten.
"Where are we going Auntie?" Ranma asked. She had noticed that after they got off at a Juuban subway station they had not taken the normal route to Nodoka's house.
"It's a surprise, Ranko. I think you'll like it," Nodoka reassured with a smile. The girl had cooperated so far.
"Um alright," the redhead replied warily.
After a couple blocks they had arrived at the destination Nodoka had in mind. "Umm, I'm not so sure about this," Ranma said as she eyed the salon. A sign on the door proclaimed the establishment to be "Kikuko's Beauty Parlor" Through the large glass windows she could see a few women getting their hair styled. "I really don't think this is a good idea."
"It's okay dear," Nodoka soothed. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to. How about you just go in for a wash and maybe a trim?"
Ranma looked at her mother's eyes. The store seemed normal, as did its patrons and employees. "Fine. If it will make you happy," she said, giving in. "But nothing permanent, just a wash, and maybe a trim," Ranma added, her face stern.
"Of course," Nodoka said, her face brightening. That was all she expected really. She would have to take baby steps with Ranko, but this was progress.
The two women then entered the salon.
In addition to being the owner, Kikuko Ayanami was the head stylist. Today she had cleared a spot in her schedule to do a personal favor for one of her longtime clients. The woman looked up from her desk when she heard the door open. There was Nodoka and with her was another girl. The stylist in her appraised the young woman. She had potential, great potential; unfortunately she looked to be quite the tomboy. However, Kikuko had a plan.
"Ranko, this will be your stylist, Mrs. Ayanami," Nodoka introduced.
"Please call me Kikuko," the stylist said in a friendly voice. "What would you like today?" she asked the redhead who seemed to still be evaluating the situation.
"Just a wash and a trim," Nodoka stated.
"Okay," Kikuko replied, "You can take the center chair when you're ready," she told Nodoka as she pointed to the only open styling chair. "Ranko will have to go in the back with me."
Ranma looked over the woman. With luxurious chestnut-colored hair and a good looking body, she had to be in her late twenties at the oldest. While Ranma did not trust the stylist further than she could throw this store, she did not feel any ill intention from the woman. She shrugged and followed the stylist into the back room. Inside she found a replica of the facilities in the front area, except on a smaller scale. There were only two styling chairs in this room as opposed to the five in the front.
"I wanted to expand the number of people the store could handle. Unfortunately, this dividing wall is load bearing," Kikuko explained as she tapped the wall that divided the front room from the back room. "Now if you don't mind, please sit in the washing chair," Kikuko said as she pointed to a chair that had a sink designed for washing hair in it.
Ranma leaned back into the chair. A towel was placed in between the curved cutout of the sink and her neck to prevent water from dripping. Kikuko then closed the door and started playing some soothing white noise music.
The stylist then unbraided the redhead's hair. "What do you want with this cord?" Kikuko asked holding a thread-like object that had been braided into the girl's hair.
"Just put it off to the side," Ranma said, looking at the dragon's whisker.
The stylist then inspected the redhead's hair. She was trying to figure out what shampoo would be best. She had a sinking suspicion as to which one it would be. As she did this she tried to convince the girl to try a different style. The teen was adamant in sticking to just a wash and maybe shortening her pigtail.
Kikuko nodded she had expected as much, fortunately she had a secret weapon. One of the many shampoos she ordered had a special ingredient in it. This particular hair care product was sold to her by a very persuasive woman with an odd hair color that was expertly dyed.
Supposedly, it was the powdered petals of a flower that when placed in a woman's hair made them into ideal housewives. Once the flower was removed the woman would revert back to normal. Normally Kikuko would have chuckled at such nonsense, but this shampoo did have an unusual effect.
The stylist found that it was most effective at rounding off the edges of tomboys. Much like the flower that it is used in it, the shampoo only lasts for a limited time. To maintain its effectiveness the shampoo must be used daily, otherwise it will wear off.
This should be exactly what this redhead needed. Kikuko then proceeded to wet the redhead's hair. She then took one of the bottles and poured some into her hand and started massaging it into the girl's hair.
Ranma smiled at the pleasant smell of the shampoo. It reminded her of lilacs. The massaging being done to her scalp also felt real good. Even the background music was nice and soothing. The stylist engaged her in small talk and Ranma responded, not wanting to be rude to the woman. Ranma felt very relaxed and if not for the conversation with Kikuko, might have fallen asleep.
As Kikuko got to work she found that even with the help of the shampoo this girl would be a tough nut to crack. Surprisingly, the poor redhead did not even have a female self image. This is the first thing Kikuko must remedy if she hoped to make Ranko into the young woman that Nodoka wanted her to be.
Ranma's mind numbed even further as the shampoo began to work into her. The redhead did not notice when her thinking switched. She was a boy cursed to be in a girl's body one moment and a girl the next.
After this happened she became much more receptive to the conversation with her stylist and the suggestions the woman was putting forth. Kikuko kept asking her about what her goals were, what values were important to her, how did she want to conduct herself. Each time the redhead answered, the stylist would offer suggestions to how she might do things better. The young woman was appreciative of Kikuko's help.
The redhead got her views on femininity from two main sources. Her father, despite being widely discredited to her, was still a very large part of her childhood. The other was her mother, a recent addition to her life, but nonetheless one with considerable sway.
From Genma she knew that girls were weak, emotional, in need of protecting, lacked martial arts skill, girlish, and supposed to be wives and mothers. From Nodoka's example she knew that women should be motivated and driven yet always obedient to their husbands, talk in a gentle tone and with kind words, be affectionate, be ladylike, and be wives and mothers.
These two groups of ideas meshed and with the chemically assisted pushing of the stylist remade the girl's personality. Different thoughts, habits, and manners were brought forward and covered her mind in a thick coating of femininity.
The girl having her hair washed knew that as an aspiring wife and mother she must be ladylike, polite, kind, gentle, affectionate, and emotional. She was determined to get the training to become the best woman she could be.
Kikuko was pleased with her progress. Ranko was coming along very nicely. The girl she was talking to now was vastly better than the one that walked into this room. There was one oddity. When Kikuko started she asked Ranko what she did in her free time. The redhead's immediate response was martial arts. Now however
"No, I'm not a martial artist," Ranko replied as she thought about how her hair should be styled. "When I was younger I did a bit, but I never learned much. I stopped because it was inappropriate," the redhead explained. She was a girl and not supposed to do martial arts. She was glad for this. Fighting was such an ugly thing.
Ranko supposed that if she ever found herself in a fight she would try to talk her way out. Failing that she'd have someone step forward and protect her. If there is no one else then with great reluctance she would defend herself. She did doubt as to what she could do. After all, she was a girl and had no real skill.
Kikuko dismissed the discrepancy. Obviously, Ranko simply found her old hobby distasteful in light of her new outlook on life. Everything else about her was the same. She was still Ranko Tendo. She still lived in Nerima with her cousins and uncle.
Now with an appreciative client, Kikuko can discuss what to do with her hair with Ranko's enthusiastic input. The stylist knew that the girl would now want more than just a wash and a trim.
She dried Ranko's hair and took her to one of the styling chairs and got to work. The redhead's hair was then trimmed and sculpted. The untamed mop that was once tied into a pigtail was controlled and shaped.
It became a gently curving and wavy body that had a slight part on her left and spilled down to Ranko's shoulder blades in a waved cascade. The style was rather close to that of Nodoka's save for the brilliant red color and that her hair was loose instead of in a bun.
Kikuko finished and turned Ranko's chair around so she can see her reflection. Ranko beamed when she saw her new hairstyle. "It is so beautiful and elegant!" she gushed as she hugged her stylist.
Kikuko smiled. Having a girl come around was the most rewarding part of her job. "Now, we've finished your hair."
Ranko pouted at her reflection. Her new hair simply accentuated the other problems with her body, her ragged nails, her lack of makeup, and her unpierced ears were the first things that came to her mind "Would you mind if we go further? I still need a lot of work," Ranko pleaded.
"Sure thing, I've got the afternoon free," Kikuko assured the girl. She did have another appointment in a couple hours but she could switch off with one of her other girls if need be. Ranko's makeover was more important. "I'll just tell your aunt," Kikuko said as she left.
"Don't let her see me. I want it to be a surprise," Ranko then said with a mischievous grin.
The stylist smiled and left the room closing the door behind her.
"You mean she wants a full makeover? How'd that happen?" Nodoka asked, shock on her face. Her own styling had finished just a few minutes ago and she was reading a magazine in the waiting area.
"I convinced her to try something new with her hair. After she saw it, she just had to have the rest," Kikuko explained. Technically it was true. Ranko just needed a bit of assistance.
"I knew that she was in denial, and that a little push would help her, but I never imagined that she would go over this quick," Nodoka observed with amazement. "And she wants everything? Oh dear."
"Don't worry; I'll give you a nice discount."
"You don't have to. I have no problem paying."
"No, I insist. I love helping girls discover their feminine side. Now don't come in. She wants you to be surprised."
"If I can't convince you." Nodoka acquiesced. She then smiled, and began to think. Given Ranko's epiphany, she would have to change their whole itinerary.
Kikuko congratulated herself on the service she had just done for these two women and went back to Ranko.
"You really think so?" Kikuko asked.
"If it will get rid of my body hair and smooth my skin? Yes," Ranko answered.
"It will be painful," the stylist cautioned.
"If it's too much we can stop."
Kikuko nodded and got the necessary supplies for Ranko's bikini wax. The redhead had very little body hair and a surprising pain tolerance. The job was quickly completed.
After Ranko was cleaned up from the waxing, the stylist showed Ranko a special cream that moisturized and softened her skin. Some of it was demonstrated on her skin. Pleased with the results, Ranko asked if it could be put on the rest of her body.
Ranko's ears were pierced. She was told how to rotate the gold studs and how long they must stay in for the holes to become permanent. The redhead then received a manicure and a pedicure. Her finger nails were extended to give an overhang of three-tenths of an inch, shaped, and glossed. Their color would be determined later to match her new clothing.
Ranko's eyebrows were then trimmed into perfect feminine arcs. The redhead smiled as this was being done for her. She felt like she was in a chrysalis being transformed into something new and beautiful.
Kikuko then handed Ranko a robe and a pair of slippers. She then led the girl out the back door of the small room and into the Salon's storeroom. From there they went up a pair of stairs and enter another storeroom. This one was for a clothing store.
The proprietor, a friend of Kikuko's, was surprised to see them coming in the back, but if they had gone up the front steps Nodoka would have seen Ranko. Kikuko then found a pair of panties and a bra for the redhead, and they start looking for the perfect dress.
Ranko finally selected a tight little green dress with a black belt, dark green three inch high heels, and a green and black purse. Kikuko paid for the clothing and added it to the reduced bill she was going to give Nodoka. Confidently walking in her heels and dress, Ranko followed her stylist back to the salon.
With Kikuko's help Ranko painted her long nails a matching green. A nice subtle perfume was then sprayed around her. Then came her makeup. Kikuko explained to Ranko some of the basics as she applied it on the girl's face. The stylist was confident that Nodoka could teach the girl the rest. Lipstick, foundation, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, all accented her face in a subtle yet sexy way that was designed to catch the eye.
"Finished," Kikuko said as she placed the tube of lipstick in Ranko's hand. The redhead placed it in her purse with some other cosmetics.
Ranko then got up and looked at her reflection. "I really do clean up nice," she laughed as she gave several poses in front of the mirror.
Kikuko smiled in satisfaction. She then supplied Ranko samples of the makeup, moisturizers, and other beauty aids that were used in the makeover. Included in the shoebox sized package were several bottles of the shampoo that was used.
"Oh Ranko, do you want that cord that was in your hair before?" Kikuko asked.
Ranko looked at the thread. She remembered keeping it in her hair, but could not place the reason for why it did seem somewhat important, maybe sentimental reasons. "Might as well," she finally said, as she put it in her purse.
"Remember the use this shampoo every time you shower," Kikuko said. For today's changes to last Ranko would have to keep putting the shampoo in her hair.
"Why wouldn't I?" Ranko asked. "It feels so good and it makes my hair so silky," the redhead stated as she passed a manicured hand through her styled hair.
"Oh no problem," Kikuko said as she looked at the pair of shampoo bottles in the box with Ranko's other stuff. "Ready to show your aunt?"
Ranko smiled and nodded.
Nodoka watched in disbelief at the young woman that glided out of the back room. Gone were the ugly pants and shirt, instead she was wearing a lovely dress that matched beautifully with her hair. Nodoka chucked at the girl's hairstyle. It was a crimson and loose version of her own. The woman admired Kikuko's skill for getting that mane under control.
She was also amazed not only at how complete the makeover was, but how naturally Ranko was taking it. "My god you're stunning, absolutely stunning," Nodoka finally said to the girl she considered her niece.
Ranko smiled and twirled around showing her aunt the back of her dress and the spill of her hair. The girl then walked over to Nodoka, embraced her and kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you so much. You were right. I had no idea what I was missing," Ranko gushed.
"I knew you'd come around," Nodoka responded holding the girl in tight.
Eventually, they broke apart and Ranko then hugged her stylist. "Thank you for what you've done."
"It was my pleasure," Kikuko replied as she handed Ranko the box with her supplies in it.
Kikuko then took Nodoka aside to discuss the bill. Nodoka thought that the discount was too much, but the stylist refused to accept any more money. While this happened Ranko went to the bags she brought with her.
She shook her head as she went over what she had brought. Hardly any skirts, no dresses, no bras, only one set of underwear What was she thinking? The vast majority of the stuff was useless to her.
Ranko started sorting the items. The things she might one day use went in her little suitcase and the items she had no idea how they even got there went in that clunky backpack. By the time she was finished she had enough room in her suitcase to put the package Kikuko had made for her inside.
"What's going on?" Nodoka asked after she had paid the bill.
"Oh I'm just getting rid of a few things," Ranko said as she picked up her suitcase. "Would you mind throwing out that stuff?" the redhead asked her stylist while pointing at her old backpack.
"Sure thing," Kikuko smiled.
"Would you mind if we go shopping?" Ranko asked Nodoka.
"Not at all," Nodoka smiled.
From the roof of another building a green haired woman watched two other women leave a salon. Sailor Pluto then sighed in contentment. A highly probable risk had just been negated. It was all a matter of placing the right item in the right person's hand at the right time. She was just amazed that things had gone off so well.
The former martial artist was not the first risk that she had neutralized nor would it be the last. Now the probability of Crystal Tokyo was much better. As it was not really Ranma's fault Pluto had devised of a humane way to deal with him. Ranko will happily live out her life, and a horrible cascade in the timeline will be adverted.
Pluto gave one last look at the redhead before teleporting out.
After stopping at Nodoka's house to drop off Ranko's suitcase. The two women went to a nearby mall. They would have gone to the clothing shop that was above the salon, but the mall was closer and they needed things other than clothing. There Nodoka helped the younger woman build up a wardrobe for her.
"I don't know," Ranko stated as she studied how the skirt and blouse combination showed off her body. "If I get this blue skirt then I can match it with those sandals I got, both of those belts, and that one little top. On the other hand if I get that white skirt, I can get those cute little sandals, which would then match with that scoop-necked dress in that last shop."
"I'm sure you can make the right decision," Nodoka assured the girl. She could easily have bought both of the skirts for Ranko. There was more enough in the funds that Nodoka had set aside for this little project. However, making the girl choose forced her to make decisions as to what clothing to buy helped her gain an appreciation for making the most of her clothing and buying what was important and not wasting it on stuff she would not wear.
So far, Ranko preferred dresses and skirts that were very feminine, short, and tight, while still staying tasteful. Her tastes in clothing seemed to lean towards attracting a mate. Ranko knew it was a bit early for her to catch a husband. She needed some more training, but it did not hurt to practice.
"I think the blue would be good. It matches my eyes!" Ranko chirped as she dashed back into the changing room.
Nodoka smiled again. It was simply amazing how well the girl had adapted. It was almost as if there was another person inside of her just waiting for the opportunity to get out. Ranko's fashion sense was also developing along nicely. Nodoka then noticed the next garment that Ranko had put on. "No absolutely not!" the older woman stated.
"I won't wear it outside. It will be just in case," Ranko pleaded. The redhead had put on a leotard-like garment that was made out of a sparking clear material. Spirals of a silver material sewn into it kept her technically decent while leaving nothing to the imagination. She was also perched on matching silver and clear spiked heels.
"I know what you want that for," Nodoka observed. "And you're still too young. You shouldn't get married until you finish school."
"But I need to be prepared," Ranko pouted with her head hung down. She knew she had lost. She could not argue with her aunt.
"No, now go and change," Nodoka said to the saddened redhead. The woman sighed as she watched the girl walk back to the changing room. Ranko then came back out wearing the green dress that she had gotten from the shop above the salon.
"Okay, I'm done," Ranko said as she gathered the clothing she wanted. She would have preferred to keep shopping but her aunt had said that this was the last clothing shop they would go to.
"Great," Nodoka said as she watched the cashier ring up the items. "Now we can get you some more makeup."
Ranko grinned. The makeup in that package that her stylist had given her was a nice start, but now she needed to fill it out.
Nodoka helped Ranko carry her many clothing boxes. This was the other reason she was planning to build the girl's wardrobe in stages. Fortunately there was only the makeup and beauty aids store and one other left.
Kikuko was correct in that Nodoka would know how to teach Ranko about makeup. As the older woman lead her niece through the cosmetics store she explained to her what the various products did and which ones would be good for her skin type, eye color, hair color, and other such factors.
Nodoka was pleased with her charge's inquisitiveness and her memory for what went with what. She knew that once she taught Ranko the basics of application the girl would pick it up rapidly. Nodoka relished the idea of tutoring such a receptive girl
'That's the last of it," Ranko exclaimed as she balanced the bags of cosmetics with the boxes clothing she carried.
"Not quite, there's one last thing. It's a surprise." Nodoka grinned. Originally she was planning on doing this later, but Ranko had been so wonderful and made such progress today she had to reward her.
Ranko's blue eyes brightened. Given how amazing this day was she knew that this last thing had to be something spectacular. When she saw the shop that Nodoka was leading her to, the redhead squealed in delight.
It was a jewelry store.
Nodoka then escorted the young woman into the establishment. When Ranko had entered the various clothing shops and the cosmetics store her face had brightened, but now it positively glowed.
"I'm so very proud of you today," Nodoka said, her voice straining to stay even. "I'm going to let you pick out any three things. Just nothing too expensive. I'm not made of money," she joked. While Nodoka would technically have been able to pay for the three most expensive items. It would have severally drained her savings.
Her family if not astoundingly wealthy was then very comfortable.
Nodoka would never have to work a day in her life. She feared that this was one of the reasons Genma had married her. Fortunately, her accounts had been set up so that she was the only one that could access them.
Ranko placed her other purchases down and then wandered around the store like a kid in a candy store. The first thing she eliminated were rings. The only ring she wanted would have to be given to her by a man.
She then found a pair of earrings that caught her eye. It was a pair of hanging earrings. The gems in them were largish teardrop-shaped fire opals. Their color was stunning. Hot oranges, yellows, and reds of such brightness that they looked as if they might glow in the dark were reflected from the depths of the crystals.
Nodoka approved of the earrings, and Ranko went to her next selection. It was in the watch section that the redhead found the next piece that stood out. The timepiece's band was made out of gold heart-shaped links. The watch itself was also made of gold and shaped like a heart.
The woman that worked in the jewelry store saw Ranko inspecting the watch. She then pulled it out of the glass case and handed it to the girl. The redhead put the watch on. Much to her relief the band fit her wrist perfectly. She then took if off so that she could get a closer look.
Under a glass cover, its face was silver, and it had pink numbers written in a fancy script. Also on the face and written in the same pink script were three groups of letters, AM, PM, and Alarm. After each was a small circle. The ones for Alarm and AM were silver while the one for PM was pink. There were three hands on the watch. Their ends were all heart-shaped. Two were silver with a pink outline and the third was gold.
There was a gold heart-shaped button on either side of the watch. Ranko tested them out and found that the one on the right wound the watch and when pulled out moved the two pink hands to set the time.
The other button was used to move the gold hand. Much to her delight when this one was pulled out it made the dot next to the word Alarm switch from pink to silver and back again. Ranko then adjusted the alarm and activated it so that she could test it.
She was rewarded by a series of musical notes that while pleasant would be attention grabbing. Ranko doubted that it would wake her up, but that was not the point of such an alarm.
The redhead showed the watch to Nodoka. When the older woman nodded she happily put it next to her earrings. Ranko then started looking for her final piece. It had to be something real special.
She found what she was looking for in the necklace section. Hanging from a simple gold chain was a round glass sphere. Inside of it was a gold hawk-like bird. Impressed by the detail Ranko asked if she could see it.
Holding it in her hands, the girl was able to see the impressive level of detail of the bird. The eyes were tiny fire opals. The bird was perched on a small golden rock outcropping in the bottom of the sphere, and its wings were spread out as if it were about to take off.
The gold was amazingly reflective and the bird looked like its feathers were made of fire. Ranko concluded that it must be a phoenix. She smiled at this. It was an excellent symbol for today's events. The young woman added it to the watch and earrings.
Nodoka smiled at the girl's selections. They were very beautiful pieces of jewelry, and were not too much beyond what she had expected to pay. She purchased the items and handed them to Ranko.
The redhead joyfully put the watch on her left wrist and set it to the correct time. She then slipped the necklace over her neck and put it under her dress. The girl pulled out the studs she got when she had her ears pierced and quickly put the hanging ones in their place.
Nodoka smiled as her niece showed off her new jewelry. As her earrings swung back and forth, they caught the light and reflected it back in a collection of reds, oranges and yellows that made them seem as if they were on fire. Her watch was amazingly cute, and her necklace was very appropriate for the changes Ranko had gone through.
Ranko and Nodoka then picked up their purchases and left the shopping mall. Both women felt exhilarated by the day's events. Ranko hummed happily the entire walk to Nodoka's home. Once they arrived, they unpacked Ranko's new clothing, makeup, and items and set to converting the spare bedroom into Ranko's new room.
A man sat drinking in a bar. He was alone in one of the corner booths. Wearing a pair of faded jeans, a checkered shirt and a leather bomber jacket, he had been kicking back drinks for a couple hours.
His waitress wearily served him another rum and coke. She had one problem working in a bar that was a rather good replica of an old London pub. The place attracted its share of foreigners. The vast majority of them were good customers who simply enjoyed the familiarity of the English-style bar.
Every once in a while, however, this place attracted strange and disconcerting people. The lone man she was serving, while pleasant and polite enough, seemed to be on the verge of doing something rash. Naturally, she had warned the bartender, her fellow waitresses, and the other staff about him and was keeping her eye on him.
She sighed in exasperation when she saw that the man in the corner booth was joined by another foreigner. Given his glazed expression and rumpled clothes, this one looked like he had just stepped of the plane.
"This better be good," the recent arrival said as he sat down.
"I appreciate your promptness. You did have a long journey," the man in the leather jacket replied, emphasizing the word "long" with amusement.
"You should know I'm under contract."
"I know. Not even an edict from The Almighty Himself could convince you to stop. It's very admirable dedication, but also very dangerous."
The man in the rumpled suit shrugged. "I do what I have to do. I also seem to recall you having an agenda that is different from the big guy's."
"The reason I asked you here is for advice."
"You know my fee for such consulting."
"I know and I believe I have something that you would find most appreciative," he said as he pulled a photo out of his jacket and handed it to the other man.
"A rare item. Excellent condition," the man in the suit commented as he studied the image. He flipped the photo over. On the back was an address and what looked like a very long serial number. "I trust it is fully functional?" he inquired as he adjusted his silver tie clip.
"Then what do you wish advisement on?"
"How was the person killed?"
"Oh he wasn't killed. No, just brainwashed and mutilated. And he showed such promise! The ripples his existence could have caused would have been amazing."
The man in the suit shook his head. Angst did not suit the being that sat across from him. "Would you mind explaining the situation?" he asked his client.
The man in the leather jacket nodded and began to describe the day's events.
"I can see why you wanted my assistance."
"You do have the experience in this field."
"Why don't you just keep her from getting to the shampoo for a couple days? The effect will wear off. It would just be like the time he got hit on the head and thought he really was a girl."
"That has not happened yet," the other man pointed out. "Besides, it's too simple. I want to stick it into her face. She thinks that by turning one of my avatars into this thing she can stop my influence on her future. Who does she think she is?" the casually-dressed man demanded as he slammed his glass down on the table.
"Her arrogance is most irritating," the man in the suit noted to what he was consulting. He gave one last look at the photograph before putting it away in a pocket.
"I want to make her pay. I want to hurt her where it counts."
"And that's why you asked for me," the man in the suit stated. "You wanted the help of someone who's done it before."
"I know you can't act here. It's way beyond your jurisdiction, but I'm sure that artifact is more than enough for you to divulge some of your methods."
"Only for the narrow band to accomplish what you want."
Wearing a frilly apron over her blue skirt and white and blue top, Ranko leaned over and checked the turkey breast and sweet potatoes she was roasting in the oven. Satisfied with how they were cooking she walked back to the fridge to prepare the salad. She hummed to herself as her blue Mary Jane's clicked on the tile floor.
Nodoka watched the cooking from a seat at the kitchen table. She was duly impressed by the progress the redhead was making. For dinner tonight her task was to prepare an American Thanksgiving meal. The only differences were that Nodoka required Ranko to adjust the portions so that they would not have days and days of leftovers.
For this meal she simply told Ranko what she wanted. It was then the redhead's job to figure out what she needed, buy it, modify the recipes, and cook it. Nodoka smiled at the culmination of four days of cooking training. It was amazing how quickly the girl learned.
Since they had returned from that trip to the mall on Ranko's first day, Nodoka had not prepared a single meal. Instead, she instructed the redhead on how to cook every meal since then. As Ranko progressed, Nodoka instructed less and less.
"Excuse me Auntie, could you please watch the food while I freshen up?" Ranko asked after stirring the gravy. "It should be fine, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious."
"Sure thing," Nodoka replied, happily.
Ranko took off her apron and sauntered into the bathroom. After she took care of business she washed her hands and then she inspected her appearance. Not only was today the first day she had made her own feast, but it was also the first day she had gotten ready entirely on her own.
She had showered using her special shampoo, a bit of that special body soap, and some more of her moisturizing body wash. She then patted herself dry and set to work on her hair. Ranko made sure that it maintained its wave and curl and that it parted in the right place and fell back correctly.
She then put on her robe and went back to her room. There she selected clothing, got dressed, switched her studs for her hanging earrings and put on her watch and necklace. Ranko then tackled her makeup and re-coloring her nails. The end result was something that was almost as good as the makeup job that Kikuko had done four days ago.
Ranko's attention went back to her current appearance. Her makeup had required some minimal touchup. Fortunately, she was able to accomplish this using items solely from her purse. It was an interesting challenge. There was a limited space, but she had to take a fair number of items.
As she put her makeup back in her purse a pink address book fell out and landed on the counter. It opened to a page somewhere in the middle. Written in the neat, feminine handwriting that Ranko now had was a name followed by a few sentences. Ranko had made the letters very small to make the most of the book. Nodoka was having her spend a couple hours improving her penmanship every day, and it was now starting to pay off.
Ranko blushed a bit and giggled as she read the entry that the book had fallen open to. It was the first one she had made in this book. It detailed the name, height, approximate weight, age, eye color, hair color, attractiveness, personality, hobbies, conversational aptitude, general rating, and a few other factors, of the butcher's assistant that she had bought the turkey from at the market today. After she bought the meat she chatted with him for a bit.
He was good looking, but it was a real shame his personality was not quite up to par. Ranko knew that she had one chance at finding the right man to be her husband. If she was going to go through so much to be the perfect wife it was only fitting that she find the perfect man. Ranko put her address book back in her purse. It was only prudent that she practice cataloging her candidates.
It was much the same reason that she had flirted ever so slightly with that slightly older boy. "Oh dear," Ranko said when she noticed the time on her watch. She had been in the bathroom several minutes longer than she had expected.
She calmly walked back to the kitchen. It would not do to panic. The meal was most likely fine, and if things needed tending Nodoka was there to help. It was also inappropriate for her to panic in such a way. In addition to teaching Ranko about makeup, hair care, cooking, penmanship, and fashion, the older woman had given lessons on deportment, manners, sewing, cleaning, and running a household budged. At Ranko's insistence, the last four days had been solely lessons in training Ranko to become a lady.
Ranko found her meal in fine condition and was glad that she had entered the room with some poise and dignity. Ranko put on her apron and completed the cooking. The time spent gave her the opportunity to think over the two things that she was planning on asking her mentor.
"Ranko this meal is fabulous," Nodoka congratulated from her position across the table from Ranko. Naturally, the redhead had properly set the utensils and plates for the meal and had served the food with care.
"Thank you," Ranko said after pausing to swallow.
"I think you really have some skill. You went above and beyond with this. You even added to the recipes," Nodoka observed.
"It was nothing," Ranko replied with a blush. The two women continued eating for a couple minutes. Ranko finally decided to ask her first question. "Auntie, would I be eligible for the joining of houses? I am a Tendo after all?"
Nodoka put down her fork and looked at Ranko. "I thought Ranma was engaged to your cousin Akane."
"He is," Ranko admitted. "It's just that they don't seem to like each other."
"Really? What do you know about my son?" Nodoka asked interested in more information on her son.
"I haven't seen him much. You know how often he goes on training with your husband. But I do know that he's a good-looking, strong, and very honorable," the redhead stated with a look of fond remembrance on her face.
Nodoka smiled at this. It showed promise for her son that Ranko thought favorably of him. "I don't know about the engagement dear. That's between your uncle and my husband," the older woman said gently.
Ranko nodded her face slightly downcast. She then resumed eating her meal.
"What's wrong? Is there something between you and Ranma?" Nodoka asked.
"I wish," Ranko said, giggling slightly. "He is a very handsome man. No it's something else. It has to do with me going back the day after tomorrow," the redhead said this with her head down.
"Oh," Nodoka said. A part of her dreaded the prospect of Ranko's return. It had been so nice to have someone to spend time with, someone to mother. "You're not looking forward to going back to your cousins."
"They're nice people. They let me stay with them after what happened with my parents," the redhead said her last words with sadness in her voice.
The older woman nodded. She had only gotten pieces from Ranko and the other Tendos but it seemed that something very unfortunate had taken place with the girl's parents and it had forced her to move out of the country and into Nerima. The Tendo family on the whole seemed quite reluctant to discuss it.
"It's just that they don't seem to have much time for me," the redhead continued. "Akane's having one crisis after another. Nabiki's with her schemes. Kasumi tries to spend time with me but she's so busy taking care of everyone else."
"And your uncle?" Nodoka asked while trying to gauge the girl's loneliness.
"He's a good man, but he's got enough trouble handling his own children. I'm just an extra. Someone they pretend is not there all that much."
"Oh," the older woman said.
"These last few days have just been so nice, and I know that when I get back " Ranko rambled off.
Nodoka nodded in understanding. She had an idea what Ranko was driving at. It seemed that it had been a while since Ranko had a mother, something that she had deeply missed. Her enthusiasm to her makeover and training was evidence of that. Nodoka herself had also missed being a mother. It was then that she decided to make her offer. "Maybe you could stay with me."
"Really! I'd love to!" Ranko said, her eyes twinkling.
"We should first ask the Tendo's if it's okay," Nodoka cautioned.
"Don't worry. I can handle it," Ranko assured Nodoka. The two women then resumed their eating and the topic of conversation drifted to more mundane topics, such as clothing, makeup, and when Ranko would be ready to start dating. Eventually they finished the meal. After Ranko cleaned up, she made a phone call.
Kasumi looked at the house in Juuban. It seemed to be a nice enough place. She knocked on the door. It was answered by a young woman in a fetching dress. A "V" neck with full-length, lacy cuffed sleeves, it was dark blue with black trim and went to the woman's mid-thigh.
It showed off her body very nicely while still being quite tasteful. Her hairless and unblemished legs went from the hem of the woman's skirt to a pair of three-inch blue high heels. She also had long blue manicured fingernails, a very cute heart-shaped watch, dangling earrings of some type of dazzling reddish-orange gem, and a short gold chain necklace with a small bird of some kind within a clear sphere.
More importantly to Kasumi was the other woman's hair and face. Her hair was a bright red, but it was of a wavy and very feminine style that went to her shoulderblades in a loose, but carefully cared for, tumble. Her face was of a familiar shape, but it was accented with a very effective, stylish, and complete makeup job. Her eyes were a recognizable color, but the cosmetics that surrounded them cast them in a different light.
"Oh my," Kasumi commented as she gazed upon the redhead. "Ranko," the elder Tendo started, using Ranma's alias to prevent her from getting in trouble. "This is amazing."
"I know," Ranko beamed. "I have aunt Nodoka to thank for this and Kikuko, my stylist. Please come in," the redhead invited.
"Stylist?" Kasumi wondered to herself as she walked through the door. From the look of the other girl's hair it was rather clear that she had it styled. As Kasumi passed her, she smelled the perfume that the redhead was wearing. It was a pleasant scent that was put on sparingly as to not overwhelm others.
"I'm so happy that you could come," Ranko said after she closed the door.
"So Mrs. Saotome had a hand in this change?" Kasumi asked, while keeping her tone polite.
"Oh yes, she was the one that convinced me to get a makeover and start training in being a woman," Ranko said as she lead Kasumi to the kitchen.
As Kasumi followed her, she noticed that the other girl's gait and body language were quite female. Kasumi then started to smell the scent of freshly baked cookies and other confections.
Skillfully placed on a large platter in the middle kitchen table were several different types of cookies, brownies, and fudges. "I wanted some variety, so modified the recipes slightly and made only a dozen or so of each," Ranko said as she pulled out a chair for Kasumi. "I put some more in that box. You can take it when you leave," the redhead said indicating a large pink box tied shut with several white ribbons. They were knotted into big bows and had their ends spiraled.
Kasumi smiled when she looked at the various desserts. Clearly freshly made they were constructed with considerable skill. Her curiosity as to what had happened to Ranma grew.
"Ahh, wonderful! The tea's done," Ranko said as she went to the stove and pulled off the kettle. The girl then turned back to Kasumi, her heels clicking on the tile. "I hope it's how you like it," Ranko said as she poured the tea into Kasumi's waiting cup.
"It's very good," Kasumi complimented after taking a sip. She then tried a piece of the white fudge that was on the platter.
Ranko smiled and pulled out the chair opposite Kasumi. As she sat down, she smoothed her dress so that it would not bunch up. After pulling her chair forward Ranko then crossed her legs at the ankle while keeping her knees touching each other.
She then poured herself a cup of tea, and selected a small piece of caramel brownie. Delicately holding it in her manicured hand, the girl placed the brownie in her mouth without smudging her lipstick. Ranko then smiled as she slowly chewed the morsel.
Kasumi blinked at this. Ranma acting as a girl for her mother was one thing, although in this case it was a bit extreme, but eating politely and having proper manners was another. "So auntie Nodoka has been training you on how to be a lady?" Kasumi asked.
Ranko gave a conspiratorial grin and took a sip of her tea. "She did convince me that I had a woman's body, and I thought it would only be proper to learn how to live with it."
"I see," Kasumi said as she sampled another treat. The girl's training was at least paying off in her cooking skills. "So you're enjoying your time here?"
"So very much!" Ranko gushed. She then sampled a piece of walnut fudge. When she finished eating it, her tone then became more serious. "In fact that is one reason why I asked you here."
"For at least a few months I would like to stay with Nodoka."
"It's been so long since I've had a mother, and I'd like to enjoy it. Something of a break. I know that if I go back to Nerima it'll be very chaotic, and that's not something I want to deal with especially if auntie Nodoka comes."
Kasumi nodded. Given how extensive Ranma was doing the Ranko-act having Nodoka with her would cause severe complications. "What should I tell them? They know you're here, and they will come, looking for Ranma."
"I know," Ranko sighed as she strummed her nails on the table. "They always want Ranma, but Ranma's not here is he?" Ranko smiled. "Just tell them that he was never here. The last I saw of him, he was getting ready for a training trip."
Kasumi nodded. It was a fine line, but technically she was not lying too much. She could tell her family that Ranma Saotome was not here. As she looked at the redhead nibble on a cookie she wondered about her, but Kasumi would respect Ranma's or was it Ranko's, choice.
"So Ranma wasn't there?" Nabiki asked as she ate one of the cookies that Kasumi had bought. They were both in the kitchen of the Tendo residence.
"Didn't see him," Kasumi replied as she washed her hands.
"I thought he was going to play Ranko with his mother?" the middle child inquired.
"That's over with."
"So he went out with his mother, hid with her for a few days, and then left when he knew no one was on his trail, very clever," Nabiki surmised. "Nodoka have any clue where 'Ranko' went?"
"I can think of only one thing he'd want."
"To find a cure?" Kasumi asked.
"That'd be my guess," Nabiki mumbled, as she left the room. She was thinking of what value this information had, and how to market it. She knew where Ranma was not and where he might be headed.
Kasumi smiled slightly as she started making dinner. It was amazing the level of trust people had in her. Given her honest nature, it was only natural. Now Ranma would have some time of peace. After all the most trustworthy person in Nerima had testified that Ranma was no longer with his mother.
Nabiki would then spread this information, along with her reasonable, logical, but incorrect theory as to where Ranma was headed. Kasumi did have to admire Ranko, very clever, indeed. The one risky part was the box of sweets, but Nabiki for all her skills had dismissed it. She took one look at the contents of the white box and its decorative ribbons and assumed that Kasumi had stopped at a bakery on her way back.
A redheaded girl woke to the shrill sound of an alarm. She groaned as the pulled herself upright and turned off the buzzing. The teenager tried to gather her thoughts, but they were confused. Her mind switched between being comfortable and disgusted by the skimpy forest green negligee she was wearing. She remembered finally convincing her aunt, maybe it was her mother, to let her buy the thing.
She shook her head trying to clear the cobwebs but her memory remained mushy at best. The girl was plagued by conflicting ideas. For some reason, she half expected to be attacked by if she did not get up in time. She did know one thing something important was going on today.
Still half asleep, the girl got out of bed, blearily put on a robe, and left her room and headed for the bathroom. Somehow, she felt that a shower would be just the thing she needed to wake up. Entering the bathroom she was simultaneously confused and reassured by the wide variety of hygiene and beauty aids.
She disrobed and entered the shower. She activated the flow and was hit by a wave of cold then hot water. As she stood under the warm spray she felt a weird sense of wrongness. The girl dismissed this as she grabbed a shampoo bottle. Opening it, she was rewarded with the scent of lilacs, and her mind cleared a bit.
As she applied the shampoo to her hair, things became more solid do her. Her name was Ranko Tendo, and she was living with Nodoka Saotome. The important thing happening today was her first day of school at Juuban High.
Now that she was awake and knew her place, Ranko finished her shower. She then got ready for the day. By now, her daily preparations of skincare, hair, clothing, makeup, and jewelry were automatic.
Despite this it took a little bit longer to get ready today. This was her first serious wearing of her uniform. She had tried on the seifuku and gotten one in her size yesterday, but this was the first time she had to decide on what makeup, and shoes matched best with the pleated blue skirt and the white blouse with its red-trimmed blue cuffs, blue bow on the front, and large blue with red trim sailor-style collar.
The girl went with her blue Mary Jane's and modified her cosmetics lineup to better compliment her clothing. As she loaded her dark blue purse with necessary supplies, she smiled at her reflection. Her little pink book was still very, very empty, but she was sure that there would be plenty of opportunity to add entries today.
Nodoka had a contented look on her face as she watched Ranko leave the house for school. She was most relived that the administration at Juuban was understanding as to what had happened to Ranko's records. Furinkan was known for sloppy paperwork and there was more than one case of them simply loosing a student's permanent records. The high school in Juuban had similar problems with their own records.
Ranko had to take a placement test too, but she did adequately enough on that. She would have to keep her grades up and have tutoring. That Ranko had also been looking at student organizations and had impressed the head of the cooking club, who was the vice-principal had to have helped as well. There was another factor that had helped make sure that Ranko had gotten in, but Nodoka had no idea about that one.
"I'm sorry, but I really must be going," the other man's drinking companion stated as he put on his coat. He then walked to the front door of the largish hotel suite that he had been staying in.
"But I've just finished setting things up. We need only wait until tonight to make sure that it will work."
"Calm down Loki, this worrying does not suit you."
"Sorry Murdock, I just want this to hurt that green-haired bitch perfectly," the chaotic deity explained.
"And I'm sure you will, but I have my own work to attend to," the runic mage sighed. When it came down to it, servants of chaos could be just as perfectionistic and obsessive as the agents of order. Loki had more than enough power to crush the Time Guardian, but he insisted on getting his revenge in an obtuse and poetic way. Murdock however did not care, as what he got out of the deal would be most helpful to his own missions.
"You're going to miss a hell of a show."
"Sorry, but I've already got one," Murdock said as he opened the door and stepped through it.
"So you must be the new girl?" Usagi asked the wavy-haired redhead. She evaluated the girl. It seemed that every time there was a new student they ended up as either a new Senshi or an enemy in disguise. As all the planets had been accounted for, Usagi was somewhat worried.
"Yes, I'm Ranko Tendo," the girl said with a smile. "Would you like a treat?" she asked as she opened a pink box.
Usagi's eyes brightened at what was inside. She then pulled out a couple cookies.
Ranko smiled again. Desserts were a very good icebreaker. It was only lunchtime of her first day and she had already meet several girls, notably members of the fashion and cooking clubs and had added more than a few boys to her little pink book.
"These are great! You bake them yourself?" Usagi asked.
"Yeah, I'm just starting though," Ranko admitted before offering more of her confections to the other girl. There was something about this blonde that made her likable.
"Don't be so modest. You're really good. I can't cook anything."
Ranko blushed at this.
Sailor Pluto remotely observed this conversation and sighed. Despite her efforts the universe will try and reassert its original path. Although, this time instead of Ranma Saotome meeting the Princess it was Ranko Tendo.
Ranko hummed happily as she checked herself over one last time. Her hair, makeup, and nails were impeccably done, and she was wearing a light yellow miniskirt, a matching white scoop-necked top with yellow floral print, yellow, one inch, high-heeled sandals, and a little yellow purse. The redhead had put in her jewelry as a final touch. Despite being a casual affair, today was still special.
Auntie Nodoka had finally allowed her to start dating. Immediately after this decision, Ranko started working on the person in her book who was the most likely of her favorite candidates to ask her out. It took only a couple sessions of flirting to get the exchange student Eric Discorso to ask her out.
Good looking, tall, and strong he was also very witty and funny. He had to be intelligent to be bilingual and get as good of grades that he did, but he was neither geeky nor arrogant. No, Ranko thought as she posed a few times in front of her mirror, to make sure that her clothing properly displayed her body. I could do a lot worse than him. He might not be the one but he'll more than do for a start. Ranko thought as she blew a kiss at her reflection and giggled.
Ranko then looked at her watch. Eric should be arriving any moment. The redhead sat on her bed and tried to wait, but it was rather hard for her. It got even harder when she heard someone knock on the front door. She wanted to go down right away, but she knew it was better to have him wait a little bit.
Loki smiled as he waited for someone to answer his polite knocking on the front door. Integrating himself was rather easy. He had originally planned to simply pop into Ranko's dream as a mysterious god-like figure and give her the package he had developed with Murdock's help.
However when he was observing the contents of the redhead's dreams, he came up with a better idea. Granted this one required him to alter his form slightly. There was more than a hint of irony at his cover. Eris was the name of the Greek goddess of strife and chaos. Discordia was the Roman name for the same goddess.
For a Norse god who delighted in spreading disorder and mayhem to use such a name for his cover amused him greatly. He was still grinning when the door he was standing before opened.
"You must be Eric Discorso," Nodoka stated at the boy in front of her. He looked like a decent enough person. He was tall with forest green eyes and short blond hair. He was wearing a simple leather jacket over a nice button-down shirt and a pair of good slacks
"Yes ma'am, may I come in?" the boy asked bowing his head. Nodoka got the distinct impression that if a man had answered the door instead of her the teen would have saluted.
"Please, Ranko should be down in a minute," Nodoka stated. Before allowing Ranko to go on this date she had called the family that was hosting Eric and asked a few questions. The boy had checked out. She then led him to the living room where she would directly interview him during small talk.
Loki cheerfully conversed with the older woman. He understood her reasons for being protective of her surrogate daughter, and was more than willing to play the part of a respectable boy.
"Ranko you should come down now," Nodoka shouted to the upper floor after walking to the bottom of the stairs. She had determined that Eric was acceptable enough.
Loki was standing next to the Saotome woman when he saw Ranko appear and walk down the stairs. His outward expression was that of a respectable young man who was appreciative of his date's beauty. Inside, his anger at a certain time Guardian grew. He would definitely show her the problems a girl with aspirations of being a housewife can do.
"Hello, Eric," Ranko beamed as she walked down the stairs. Most of her concentration was on the perfect walk. She wanted to make an excellent impression on him.
Loki smiled at his date. She filled out her top and skirt very nicely, and walked to show it off. He inhaled deeply and offered to take her out.
Nodoka smiled as she watched the two teens walk off. The redhead was practically walking on air, and her companion seemed to be happy as well. Again, the woman was struck by the amazing progress that her charge had made.
The entity that was known to some as Eric Discorso held hands with a beautiful redhead. "I never realized there were so many ways to bake a cupcake," he replied trying to sound interested. He had just finished a lunch and a movie with her and was walking through a park with her. The lunch was at a rather nice Sushi Bar that he sometimes frequented. Their conversation was about both of their pasts.
He was more than willing to recite the details of his cover story. However when it came time for Ranko to talk about herself, his brain felt like it was going to gnaw its way out to escape from the girlish prattling.
Ranko seemed to only be interested in five things: fashion, hair care, makeup, cooking, and boys. At least the girl was tactful enough to not talk about the last on their date. The girl did not have much else to talk about. Her past was questionable at best and her personality seemed to be only skin deep. Loki knew that both of these were true.
The movie was nice. There was no talking during it. Although Ranko had selected a scary movie specifically so that she could clutch onto him whenever something creepy happened. Loki almost enjoyed having a pretty girl leaning on him, if not for the fact that he knew the girl's true origins.
"I'm having a really good time, Eric" Ranko said as one of her manicured hands gripped Eric's a bit tighter.
"Me too," Loki stated warmly as he turned to the girl. He looked around their surrounding. They were alone. Whatever happened now no one else would see. "I have something for you," he then said to the girl.
"Really?" Ranko asked as her eyes brightened. Eric had done rather well so far and if this gift was good he would earn some big points.
"Yes. When we first met, I saw your pendant and I knew what I had to get," Eric said as he pulled a long thin grey box out from within his coat. He then handed it to the girl.
Ranko held the box in her hands. The dimensions suggested a piece of jewelry most likely a watch, necklace, or bracelet. She was leaning to the last one. She already had one of the first two. "Oh you shouldn't have," Ranko gushed as she opened the box.
Her smile turned to puzzlement when she got a look at the contents. It was a black cylinder with golden flames etched on the upper part of the shaft. The flames transitioned to a golden knob that almost seemed to be wreathed in flames. "What is it?" Ranko asked. It was nice but she had no idea what it was.
Her date's smile became something vaguely unpleasant. "Just hold it and say whatever comes to mind."
The girl shrugged and picked up the rod. It was very cool to the touch. She then made a slight cry when it shocked her hand. Her puzzlement grew when the rod turned warm. Realization dawned on her when a series of words came into her mind. Acting on impulse she thrust the rod into the air while shouting "Phoenix Rebirth Power! Make UP!"
Spirals of flames sprung out of her body and burned off her clothing. The fire then solidified forming clothing, makeup, jewelry, boots, and other accessories. She found herself dressed in a stylized seifuku with a white bodysuit, a miniskirt that had its pleats patterned to resemble flames, orange and red boots that also are similar to flames, elbow-length white gloves with orange trim and a pair of big green bows. One was over her chest and the other was just above the back of her skirt.
Her hair had stayed the same style only now it was highlighted in orange and yellow. Her makeup had intensified and changed to reflect her new color scheme. She had a golden tiara with large fire opal set in the center. Her earrings were now heart-shaped hanging fire opals. She had a white choker encircling her neck. Rather narrow, it was white with the golden phoenix that was in her pendant in the center.
"Oh my," the redhead said as she looked at what she was dressed in.
"In this form you are Sailor Phoenix," Loki said as he summoned a large mirror so that the girl could look at her reflection.
"Oh cool! I'm a magical girl!" The girl laughed as she looked at her reflection. The whole costume was rather neat. She then turned to her date. "But why me? I'm just a girl."
"You're very special Ranko. Only certain people can be Sailor Senshi."
"I'll have to have to fight won't I?" Sailor Phoenix asked sourly.
Loki smiled at the image of a pouting magical girl. "I'm afraid so," he stated.
"Well, if I have to fight I might as well do it in something prettier," Phoenix noted as she appraised her uniform. "How do I make alterations? I can see some improvements."
Loki blinked. He was amazed at the mind job that had been done on her. The man then shrugged. She wanted to change her uniform. Might as well let her. He unlocked the costume properties and transferred the alteration access. "Just think about the changes you want."
Phoenix concentrated and her uniform changed. She changed her gloves and bodysuit to an intricately laced and dazzlingly white material. Fire opal sparkles appeared on her boots, skirt and collar, making the garments glitter. She then added two eight inch long, green flowing ribbons to the top of each of her boots. Two pairs of identical ribbons were also placed on the tops of her gloves. Finally she had an immense heart-shaped fire opal hair ornament in the back of her head. Four long spiraled green ribbons then spilled from the back of the gem.
"There, now that's a pretty uniform," Sailor Phoenix said as she posed in front of the mirror.
Loki sighed quietly. He got the impression that she did that a
lot. "You should transform back. I can only avert other's attention
for so long," Loki lied. He could prevent people from noticing
them for an indefinite time period, but it was a convenient way
to get her to transform out of Senshi form. "To revert back
just think of containing the power and shifting out of it,"
he then added.
Loki nodded as the redhead returned to her yellow skirt and white floral blouse. He then banished the mirror and deactivated the cloaking field that had prevented people from watching them.
Ranko then watched, wide eyed, as her henshin stick disappeared. She then delighted in recalling it and making it disappear again. "Wow, so you're like one of those guys that activates magical girls?" Ranko then asked to her date.
"Yes," Loki responded simply.
"I guess I'll have to learn how to fight," Ranko noted as she clasped her hand over her date's.
"Yes but you won't be alone. There are others that you can fight with and I can help train you," Loki reassured.
"You're not going to fight?" Ranko asked.
"I can't. My powers only allow me to recruit, train, and advise," Loki falsified as he started leading her back home. He knew that Nodoka would be expecting him to bring back her niece.
"You're not much of a cute animal sidekick," Ranko joked.
"Not exactly," Loki laughed in return.
Ranko then shifted the conversation back to her baking activities.
Loki sighed inwardly. He then proceeded to continue making small talk with the chattering redhead. Eventually, they made it back to the girl's place.
"This has been an amazing day," Ranko smiled as she stood at the front stoop of her house.
"It was real nice," Loki stated, managing a sly grin.
Ranko leaned forward and upward and kissed Loki on the cheek. "Call me when you get home," she said after she pulled back.
"I'd like that." Ranko blushed. She then opened the front door and went inside.
As Loki walked away from the house, he started to hum. Ranko had met with Kasumi on the fifth day after that infamous makeover, the redhead's first day of school was two days after that, and he went out with her four days after that day. That gave a total of eleven days of Ranko Tendo.
There was still over forty days left before the event happened. His timetable was flexible enough that he could ease Ranko into her new powers.
Sailor Phoenix was alone in the same park she had been activated in. Towards the end of her phone call with Eric he had suggested that she go there before going to bed. There he would show her how to use some of her powers. For some reason Eric was late. Eventually, boredom overcame her and the rookie Senshi started fiddling with her powers.
"This is hard!" Phoenix moaned as she tried to activate one of her attacks. Called "Phoenix Firestorm", the startup to the move involved shouting the name while posing with her arms. "Why can't I shoot it?" she cried. The redheaded magical girl could feel the power forming in her hands but it was not leaving them.
The practicing continued until something happened. Ranko's movements became more fluid and precise culminating in a stream of marble-sized fireballs shooting from her outstretched hands.
"Whoa, cool," Phoenix said as she looked at her gloved hands. An errant thought then entered the girl's head. She then ran forward, ducked to the side, twisted in midair and shouted ""Phoenix Firestorm!" The vast majority of the little fireballs hit the tree she had aimed at.
"I guess all that training did pay off," the red head congratulated to herself.
"Wait training? I never trained. Sure there was some when I was a little girl, but I stopped. Wasn't proper," the girl mumbled to herself. Something was off she remembered training in martial arts, but she remembered more than her memory told her was correct.
"That's more of Ranma's thing. As long as I've known him, he's been obsessed with martial arts. Hmmm, there's something about that time we first met though. He was— what?" the girl pondered as she tugged at her heart-shaped hair ornament.
Realization hit the warrior of love and justice with such a force that her body spasmed and she toppled to the ground. Sitting on the park's well-tended grass, the girl then looked over her uniform. She cataloged the glitter, makeup, jewelry, lace, ribbons, high heels, ribbons, bows, and the miniskirt. Her horror grew when she realized that she had willingly, intentionally, and gleefully modified this thing to make it even more nauseating and cute.
"My god. What's happening to me?" the girl croaked out. The queer doubling she was experiencing was much worse than any she had faced before taking her morning shower. It felt like her memories had been shattered like a thin layer of ice over a pond. And now those broken chunks of solid were floating on an immense pond of past experiences.
"I'm Ranma," the girl said finally acknowledging her past. Memories of the last week and a half then hit her. "Oh, god. What have I done? No. What have they done to me?"
To be continued.
Author's notes: Well, a cliffhanger. Hmm.
Naturally, inspiration for this fic comes from several sources. "Nodoka's Daughter" by James Lee, "Honor and Love," by Kevin D. Hammel, "Clothes Make The " by Night Elf, "Girl Days" by Kenko, "Can't Win" by Bryan Neef, and several other fics where Ranma gets into her feminine side Though in most of those cases it was mostly voluntary. It's a common theme, but so is Ranma as a Sailor Senshi.
Prereaders: Wray and Starfire. Special thanks to Joe Fenton.
And now, time to go back to writing The Return.
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