A Ranma ½ / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon crossover story
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, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
C&C requested as always.
Chapter 9: Revenge and Rebirth, Part 1
"Section Chief Tofu completed the autopsies," Jacob said as he dropped a thick folder onto Stillwater's desk.
The WIC commander picked it up and started to skim the report. Later, he would read it more thoroughly. "I thought that the demons there were pretty weak."
"Yes, the highest was a Class 5 that one of Miss Saotome's brood killed," Jacob agreed.
"Though her kids are progressing well," Stillwater noted. The agent paused to find the appropriate word. "Any… personal requirements they need addressed?"
Jacob allowed a slight smile to form. "Sir, if you're asking whether or not the brood needs some… male companionship? The answer's no. Besides, I'm fairly certain Miss Saotome doesn't swing that way."
"But no women for her either?" Stillwater asked, a hint of amusement entering his voice. He knew that succubae tended to have no personal gender preference when it came to feeding on humans. Males were just much more susceptible to their charms.
"She has an impressive amount of control. Plus, Miss Saotome's got another way to release stress and gather energy." Jacob chuckled slightly.
"Good, we don't need more complications," Stillwater nodded. "We've confirmed that this was Alexia's brood. But we didn't get her, and I suspect that her stronger minions are still alive," Stillwater said as his eyes lingered on the photographs of the demons that had been killed by other demons.
"I agree with that assessment. I'd be very surprised if that was the extent of her brood. Her continued existence will be a complication. As is the Assembly presence. We must also watch Murdock more closely. At least we stamped out the Pattern V's in the forests to the south of the city." Jacob added.
"Yes, I'd be very interested to know who Murdock's working for," Stillwater sighed as he stroked his goatee. "Clearly, these groups are here for much the same reason we are."
"And they will be after the Pattern Silvers too."
"Likely. The documentation unearthed and translated by Historical Research Section seems to indicate that the Silvers are key in both forestalling the cataclysm or bringing it to its ultimate end."
"A part of me still hopes that this all just the deluded ramblings of madmen," Jacob said, shaking his head.
"Sadly, we've both seen too much to discount it entirely. This is cyclical in nature, and current events are starting to match past ones."
"A hundred and ten years ago it was nothing more than a bright light observed by loggers in the Yukon. Eighty-seven years ago it was just a thousand acres of destruction in northern Montana. Forty-two years ago the Company lost nearly two hundred men and barely contained the situation.
"And it was only five years ago that HR discovered the connection between those events," Jacob explained, using the abbreviation for Historical Research section. Willard International Consulting also had a Human Resources department. A commonality that caused more than some confusion. "Eventually, they managed to convince Command that the risk warranted this level of resources, and here we are."
"Yes and other… recent events have lent credibility to that… prophecy," Stillwater said, showing clear distaste for the last word. The only reason he, and the majority of Command, put stock in the scenario was the mass of evidence that seemed to confirm it.
"This time, I fear our own abilities will be insufficient. Our jammers can only do so much; our own weapons are not designed for this task. The energy increase is exponential in nature. We need the Pattern Silvers," Jacob explained.
"You're not proposing full disclosure?" Stillwater asked with some annoyance.
Jacob shook his head. "There's no need, Sir. They'll do whatever it takes to stop it of their own free will. They are the good guys after all," the agent said with a slight smile.
"Provided that this event is not key to their own plans for the future," Stillwater warned.
"If a global calamity of the scale foretold was a part of their plans, then we have more than this event to worry about." Jacob shook his head. He had read the reports from Historical Research. The accounts, if they were to be believed, of an interplanetary civilization dominated by the Pattern Silvers and the possibility of its return were… disturbing.
"That would make the Pattern Silvers the enemy," Stillwater said in a cold voice.
"I know. WIC is charged with protecting humanity from all threats of a Pattern Registering Nature," Jacob sighed. He hoped that it would not have to come to that, but he was pragmatic enough to face that possibility and to have contingency plans for it.
"This is not the first time the Company has faced cataclysm, and it will not be the last. We will stop this threat. The alternative is unacceptable. The world will not end in either way Robert Frost said it would," Stillwater stated.
"'Fire and Ice,'" Jacob responded giving the title. He suppressed a sigh. Stillwater was almost obsessed with that poem.
Kasumi approached the dojo. Her mug was in her left hand and her right rested just above her waist. It was natural for her to keep her free arm at the ready. The agent entered without knocking.
Her eyes narrowed at the sight of her sister being attacked by the succubus' mate. Akane blocked Nariko's arms and tried to use her legs to sweep the taller girl off her feet.
Nariko tumbled backwards but used her wings to regain her balance. Akane closed in and tried to tackle her mate, but found her stomach being tapped by Nariko's tail. Akane frowned but continued on and embraced Nariko.
"You've got to keep track of your opponent's tail. Even if it just grazes you, it'll be very damaging," Ranma said as she looked down at her cuddling daughters.
"I know; it's just that my training has been for people who don't have tails." Akane frowned before lightly kissing Nariko.
"Yes, you've been sparring like a human. But we're not… limited in that way. Look at Nariko; she used her wings to keep from falling. Nice work there, honey," Ranma complimented.
"Thanks Mommy," Nariko said, her skin reddening almost imperceptibly in what passed for a blush in her species.
"But I can still fight like a demon," Akane said, remembering her first battle: the killing, the draining, the feeding.
"We're going to do more than that. I learned martial arts as a human too. But we need to adjust to our new bodies."
"Planning on making Saotome Anything Goes a truly aerial art?" Kasumi interjected as she considered the possibilities. Ranma's brood had considerable potential.
"Yes, though it's not too different really. One of the key points of Musabetsu Kakutou is learning to adapt to any advantage or disadvantage, including extra body parts," Ranma said as she stretched her wings slightly.
"Good," Kasumi nodded. "Cute… spandex," the agent commented on the garments the brood was wearing. They were in matching low-backed and sleeveless unitards that went to mid-thigh. Akane's was deep blue and white, Nariko's was black and violet, and Ranma's was dark purple and red.
"Lycra actually," Akane said, pointing out the minor difference in the materials. She had gotten up off the floor and was as putting her straps back on her shoulders.
"With our wings and tails, it's practical," Ranma shrugged.
The agent nodded. "I heard you're going back to school tomorrow," Kasumi stated.
"Yeah, they've done alright in the mall and other places," Ranma said before telling her kids what kata they should practice.
"And Akane's cover story?" Kasumi asked.
As she watched her daughters' forms, Ranma gave a brief explanation.
"Impressive," Kasumi noted. The story was simple and close to the truth. Akane had been injured very badly. She was recovering. The experience had changed her life and Akane had decided to stop hiding who she really was.
"Mom helped… and Jacob," Ranma added. "Nari-chan, keep your left leg straighter," the redhead then advised the other demoness. She watched as Nariko tried the sequence again. Shaking her head, Ranma walked over to her daughter to help.
"I like how it takes care of her hair color, pale skin, and mate."
"Mother says I shouldn't call Nari-chan that," Akane said as she practiced a kata that was familiar except for the bit involving her wings that Mother added.
"Girlfriend would attract less attention," Ranma confirmed before turning back to her older daughter. "That's it. Very good."
"Thanks, Mommy," Nariko beamed.
"My friends seemed to like Nari-chan," Akane recalled. The blue and silver-haired succubus' first impression of Nariko was amazement at a sane, but airheaded, member of the Kuno family.
"That's good," Kasumi noted. She hoped that her sister would not have too many problems going back to school. There were going to be some, but she knew Akane could handle it.
Nabiki sighed; she watched the brood of demons enter the house and walk upstairs. At least Akane was able to practice martial arts with… her mother. The middle sister had an idea as to what they were training for. They were working with Willard International Consulting, an organization she only recently learned the truth about.
The brunette mentally kicked herself for not seeing it earlier. Kasumi's coworkers were a bunch of company drones with no lives outside of their work. Nabiki had just assumed that their work was white-collar, not black helicopter.
"Nabiki," a familiar voice behind the teenager stated. Nabiki's body jerked in surprise as she turned to see Kasumi standing behind her.
"You're going to be asked questions tomorrow. I trust you'll not divulge anything sensitive?" the operations agent inquired in a friendly voice. A slight smile was on her face.
"No. Akane's my sister too," Nabiki said, somewhat insulted by the comment. She then looked into her sister's eyes. She always knew something was… off with Kasumi. Her older sister's incident of five years ago was still fresh in her mind.
"Good," Kasumi said with a grin that was much less threatening.
"It's just so very strange. Sure it's still Akane, but she's not human."
"Akane's gotten much better," Kasumi noted. "Ranma seems to be doing a good job."
"For a sex demon sure."
"That's what Akane is now."
Nabiki did not know how to interpret her sister's tone.
"Okay, it's my turn," Ranma said as Akane stepped out of the shower.
"You're not going to use any hot water, are you Mommy?" Nariko asked while she handed her mate a towel.
"Yeah," the redhead said.
"Mommy…" Nariko whined.
"Are you sure you want to, Mother?"
Recognizing the girl's shock, Ranma sighed. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to take a hot shower. Look, I'll be right here. You'll even be able to see me through the glass."
"If you insist," Akane acquiesced. She then hung up her towel. "Don't worry, Mommy's still here," she reassured her mate.
Nariko nodded and took comfort in Akane's embrace.
"Yes, I'm not leaving," Ranma said to the pair of nude demons. The redhead closed her eyes, and her unitard and undergarments disappeared. The demoness walked into the shower stall. Using the hot water that came out of the faucet, she changed forms as her male clothes appeared
Ranma stepped back to avoid the water and disrobed. His clothing was then tossed over the shower curtain. He knew his children were still in the bathroom, but he could not feel them. Ranma put those thoughts aside concentrated on washing his body. If the girls needed him it would be quite easy to bring Mommy back.
After he finished showering he shut off the water and asked for a towel. Ranma expected one of his girls to toss one to him. Instead, Nariko slid open the door and handed him a towel.
Ranma blinked at his daughter. He should have seen this coming. Grabbing the towel he quickly wrapped it around his waist.
"Something wrong Mommy?" Nariko asked, with some confusion. How could she have a problem with nudity? The brood slept in the nude and only wore clothing for convenience.
"Oh, nothing" Ranma forced himself to either avert his gaze or keep it centered on his girl's face.
"Mommy's bashful." Nariko smiled to her mate.
"Don't see why, Mother's very good looking in either form," Akane noted. The blue-haired demon looked over the human form of her mother and formulated a plan. Mother had sacrificed so much for them. It would be nice if she could show her appreciation.
"It's just that I'm male, like this and you're… Never mind." Ranma walked to the sink. He was actually pretty happy. The girls were joking about his male form and not cowering and whining for their Mommy. That was a good sign.
"You're going to change back, aren't you?" Nariko asked.
"In a little bit." He inspected his eyes; they seemed to be clear of violet flecks. He sighed in relief before placing his hand into a flow of cold water from the faucet. The martial artist watched the reflected pair of eyes subtly change shape and not so subtly change color.
Ranma looked her body over. She was planning to summon her unitard and wear that, or go to her room and get the leather dress her mother had bought her. Her growing powers had given her more options. Ranma shrugged and decided to see what she could do.
The black calf-high, high-heeled, leather boots were the same, but everything else was different. She wore a pair of black leather pants that were not quite painted on. Her top was sleeveless and silk. Of a Chinese style, it bore considerable resemblance to the top of a cheongsam. The shirt was dark green and clasped with buttons in the front and had gold trim.
"Wow, you look great," Akane said, looking her Mother over.
"It's very nice," Nariko confirmed.
Ranma's reaction was a bit different. "I'm finally wearing pants!"
Assembly of Man acolyte Ryoga Hibiki leveled his gaze at his partner. The two demon hunters were in the hotel room that they had been using.
"I assure you, I have no doubts." Ukyou gazed out the window of the room. The Canada Trust Tower loomed prominently in the view. She pushed those errant, those traitorous thoughts out of her mind; now was not the time.
"Really? Father Oslo has told me about your previous relation with the target."
"I didn't know the demon was Ranma!" Ukyou shouted. "You knew who this demon was, but you never told me! And you've had just as much personal contact with Ranma as me."
"I had my orders," Ryoga said simply.
"It's moot, anyway. Even if Ranma was my friend, that's not him, not anymore. That's a demon that took over and corrupted his body. There's no way I could confuse Ranma Saotome with that redheaded succubus."
"Just be sure to keep that in mind."
"I will… though, maybe we should ask for assistance."
"No. We don't need any help," Ryoga indignantly replied.
"Are you sure? You couldn't kill her before, and now she's got two spawn."
"I tried to do that alone before, but together we will destroy them."
"Umm, Red, I really don't need to see your butt in that much detail," Nabiki remarked dryly to Ranma as the brood mother walked into the kitchen.
"Hey! You're the one staring at me." Ranma turned to face the teenager.
"It's hard not to," Nabiki replied. "You're wearing skin-tight leather pants."
"They're pants. At the moment, that's all that matters. So shut up," Ranma paused to pull some material off her skin. "Besides, these aren't that tight."
"A whole quarter inch of extra material. No, not tight at all," Nabiki observed, dryly.
"Actually, Mother's clothing's pretty modest," Akane interjected as she and her mate walked in from the porch.
"Well, she is wearing clothing," Nabiki remarked.
"I was only naked in the living room once!" Akane bristled. In practice for school she kept control of herself and prevented her eyes from flaring.
The middle sister decided to not comment about the other places Akane was naked, and instead comment on something else. "At least the school uniform looks good with your new hair. I'm surprised you're wearing the normal version and not the fashion disaster that your mother does."
"Please tell me you're not going to defend that… thing you wear," Nabiki smiled.
"Well…. no," Ranma said before changing the subject. "So Akane, what were you doing out there?"
"We were talking with Father and Grandpa about if we'd qualify for the joining of the houses," Akane explained.
"Oh, any luck with that?" Ranma asked as she looked out to see her father and Soun sitting out on the back porch playing what looked to be go, but might have been something else.
"Grandpa's strange. I don't know what he thinks of me," Nariko commented.
"I'm sure he likes you. He's just… set in his ways," Ranma suggested. She hoped she would not have to straighten things out with her father… again.
"We should get to school pretty soon," Nabiki remarked. "So Sunshine, not even going to bother with a mockery of the uniform?" the teenager asked, using Ranma's school alias.
Ranma glared at Nabiki and used her powers to change her clothing.
"No fishnets? And is that skirt just a miniskirt instead of a micro-mini?" Nabiki inquired in a teasing voice. Ranma's uniform was still darker than the normal, most notably in the use of a black blouse instead of a white one and a crimson girl's ribbon tie instead of a dark blue one, but her skirt was normal length. Ranma's kids were wearing their own standard uniforms.
"You think I like wearing that stuff? I'm a guy," Ranma replied.
Nabiki raised her eyebrow and snickered.
"Let's just go," the redhead grumbled
The middle Tendo sister's response was cut short. Something was off. She normally had to look up to meet the redhead's eyes, but now… "Just how high were those platform boots?" Nabiki asked after checking Ranma's footwear.
"Those things are a pain to wear," Ranma said with a shrug.
"But you look so delightfully Goth in them," Nabiki teased. She smiled after seeing Ranma glare.
Nariko looked at her mommy. Barefoot, she might actually be a bit taller than the redheaded demon that had turned her. Nariko paused at that. She should not be taller than Mommy. Tatewaki was taller than Ranma. Nariko shook her head. It did not really matter.
The quartet made their way out of the house and to Nabiki's car. Their progress was noted by the WIC team that was watching the house. The surveillance had been quietly added after Akane had been taken.
"It's been fairly quiet," Janet remarked to her companions as they walked down the second floor hallway.
"What are you talking about?" Usagi asked "Everyone's been talking about Akane today."
"More demons," Rei muttered as she shook her head. There was a time when they would attack beings like that on sight.
"Not that, with our… after school activities," Janet clarified. "So far I've just had that thing with Ami in that store."
"You seem… eager," Usagi stated as the group walked down a stairwell.
"Well, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can't help but sense that something big is coming."
"The school did get taken over," Rei reminded the newest Senshi.
"Where is Ami, anyway?" Usagi asked.
"Yeah, it's not often we see you two apart," Rei joked. She did feel a bit perturbed at how much time Ami spent with the new girl, but she could see the reasons for it. Janet was smart and a Senshi. Granted, the auburn-haired girl was not a supergenius like Ami was, but Janet was very bright.
"She told me she wanted to find Minako and Makoto," Janet explained, answering Usagi's question.
"Oh, I see," Usagi said.
"So what do you guys think of Sunshine's brood?" Janet quietly asked.
"They seem nice enough," Usagi's gaze was distant.
"Yeah, for a bunch of… demons. They seem okay," Rei admitted after they exited the stairwell and entered the ground floor.
"I'm glad we got your approval," a voice calmly remarked.
Rei turned to see a redhead with violet-flecked blue-eyes leaning on some lockers. "What're you doing here?" the raven-haired girl asked.
"Akane and Nariko are in the bathroom," Ranma explained as she pointed to the door. While she had no problems with going into a girl's bathroom when she needed to use it, going in when she did not was different.
"Oh, so how's your… family doing?" Usagi asked after considering her words. The school's general population did not know about the brood.
"The girls are fine," Ranma replied, eyeing the other Senshi. "I guess someone told you about them. That's good. Now you won't do anything stupid."
Rei bristled at the unspoken threat, but the princess had declared these demons off limits.
"Wow, I've never been this close to a — well you know — before," Janet remarked as she looked over Ranma. The redhead looked human; though there was something off about her. It was mostly with the eyes, while there was nothing that looked inhuman about them, they were simply a little bit… strange, though it could just be their blue and violet coloration.
"Yeah." Ranma turned to see her daughters exiting the bathroom. The mother smiled slightly at the sight.
Akane stopped when she spotted the girls mother was talking to. She could smell a signature on the humans, something that Mother had as well. "Sunny?" the blue-haired girl asked, using the public name for Mother her mate had come up with.
"It's okay, Akane. They're those girls we talked about," Ranma reassured.
"Hi! I'm Nariko Saotome," the black and violet-haired demoness greeted happily as she walked closer to Usagi.
"Usagi Tsukino," Usagi smiled in return. The red-eyed demoness seemed to be very nice.
"Nari-chan…" Ranma warned.
"But my records still say my last name's Kuno," Nariko admitted, sheepishly.
"Maybe we should eat lunch together," Usagi suggested. "We should get to know each other more."
"We were planning on eating with Samantha and Naoko," Ranma said as the group of girls made their way to the cafeteria.
"They're not cleared?" Janet asked. Neither of those girls were Sailor Senshi or demons, but they might be agents.
"They're nice normal girls," Ranma explained, answering the girl's question. It was nice to have some friends who were not too weird. The downside was that they were Sunshine Saotome's friends.
"Hey Akane, I like the new hair. You wanna have a good time?" a male classmate by the name of William Stetson said while leering at the girl. He was fairly handsome, but obnoxious.
A small growl escaped Akane's lips as she turned to face the intruder. Getting hit on like this was starting to wear very thin, and right in front of her mate! "I'm not interested in you. I've got a girlfriend now. Just leave," the demon said managing to keep her voice even and her eyes from glowing. Part of her wanted to give Stetson exactly what he wanted, right up until she drained the last drop of life force out of his body.
"Well maybe you could both come. I'm sure I could handle you two," Stetson said with a slanted smile.
Ranma smirked. The poor fool had no idea what he was dealing with. She did know exactly what Akane was going though. Most guys took the hint and stopped bugging her, but there were always a few who kept coming back.
It was as if they were drawn to her and her kids, which was quite true. Succubae were designed to be very sexy, sensual, and appealing. When they got around hormonal teenage boys…
It would be simplicity itself to seduce one and drain him. Ranma shook her head. She would never do that. Not to a boy or a girl. It was just an urge she had. She could almost taste the energy the humans gave off. Her kids seemed to have even less of a problem with it. They did have each other and they were still draining energy from their mother. Though ever since she had killed those youma, Ranma had found those urges had been dulled.
Nariko bit her lower lip. She remembered Stetson. He was one of Tatewaki's friends and seemed like a nice enough guy back then. Now, he was a rude annoyance. Nariko sighed; things were so confusing.
"No," Akane said as she narrowed her eyes. "Remember what happened the last time you hit on me?"
"You hit right back," Stetson replied, thinking he sounded much cooler than he really did.
"Well Nariko, it looks like he finally got one right," Akane almost snarled as she made a fist. She would have preferred to extend her claws.
Stetson ignored the fist and looked in eyes that almost seemed to glow. The teen suddenly felt an overwhelming fear for his safely. A deep primal part of him got the urge to flee and hide. He was lucky that Akane had chosen that sense to give off. She could just as easily given another signal, one that would have ensnared him.
"Bill. Go. Now," Akane stated.
Stetson looked at the six girls glaring at him. The three paler ones seemed more threatening, not that the other half was friendly either. After giving one last, quite lame pickup line, he quietly slinked away.
"Wow, no wonder you guys changed teams," Janet observed once Stetson was out of sight.
Rei gave a sideways glance at the auburn-haired girl, but held her tongue.
"You did good, Akane," Ranma reassured.
"Why can't they leave us alone?" Akane moaned.
"I'm sorry," Nariko said as she looked down at the hem of her skirt.
"Don't worry. These guys would be after us anyway without what you… what Tatewaki did," Akane said as she wrapped her arm around her mate's waist.
"No, I'm sorry about what I did to you and Mommy," Nariko clarified.
"I can't forgive what Tatewaki did. He was a vile person."
Nariko whimpered and closed her eyes.
Akane pulled her mate closer. "But you're not him. You're Nariko."
"I know; I still feel bad."
"That's what makes you a good person."
A mental image flashed into Usagi's mind as she watched the two demons comfort each other. It was from the dream she had, the one where she and Queen DarkStar ruled over humanity. The blonde shuddered, not wanting to think of mated succubae, especially when one of them was herself.
Usagi looked at Ranma. There was something she had to know — there was also something Usagi should tell her. "Sunshine," Usagi said, using Ranma's alias. "Can we talk… in private?" the blonde asked, her eyes looking at the redhead.
"I guess so," Ranma agreed. "Girls, get your lunch. I'll be with you in a bit," the demoness said to her kids.
"You two go with Akane and Nariko, we'll be right back," Usagi told Rei and Janet.
"Queen DarkStar?" Ranma asked after Usagi had explained that dream. "That's pretty messed up. I'm not royalty, and I've got no intention to take over the world," the redhead said. A small voice within her did tell her that the original DarkStar was a queen and did control the earth. This voice was quashed by another one that claimed that she only had the body, memories, and powers of DarkStar.
"The dream predicted Nariko," Usagi pointed out as the walked along one of the paths outside the school. The two girls were speaking in Japanese. It was a welcome change for Usagi who while understandable, did not enjoy English.
Ranma had been raised to be fluent in two languages and hardly cared. When Genma learned of Soun's plans to move to Canada, he knew that it would be best for the joining of the houses if any children he had could speak English.
The redhead suspected that Usagi also switched languages to prevent eavesdropping. Ranma smirked a little bit at that. WIC had an Operations Centre in Japan and Furinkan was full of Japanese students. "But it didn't have Akane. I guess those other girls were Samantha and Naoko," Ranma said.
"So you knew the name of my daughter beforehand. That's the ONE thing your dream had that's real. I'm pretty sure we're not going to date. You're nice and all, but I've got more pressing things in my life. And didn't you lose your boyfriend?" Ranma asked after she looked Usagi over.
Usagi blinked. Most nights she still cried before falling asleep. It hurt to have lost him and in such a senseless way. He had died before, but at least those times it was in her arms… and of course he came back. She still hoped for a resurrection, but it seemed pretty grim. She was talking to Mamoru's… replacement.
"Though the part about you being a demon is… interesting," Ranma said as she appraised the girl. The redhead could easily see how the blonde would look as a succubus. It was an image that would haunt her own dreams later.
"It was horrible," Usagi said, shuddering at the memory. She looked to see Ranma's eyes appear to shimmer slightly.
"I can imagine," Ranma noted. She idly licked one of her fangs. It would be simple to… The redhead halted that line of thought.
The blonde stared at the demoness. "I know that dream's not real. It's still troubling. Why did it get that Nariko part right? Have you been having any odd dreams?"
"I'm a guy who's also a demonic mother. Yeah, I get them a lot."
"I still don't like knowing Nariko's name."
"Neither do I. You sure no one told you about Nariko before you met her?" Ranma asked.
"I don't think so…" Usagi said as she pondered.
"The dream also has me treating those demons like minions and not kids," Ranma observed.
"So you really are a mother?" Usagi asked.
"Uh, yeah," Ranma confirmed as she looked around the school grounds. While she could not see the WIC team that was monitoring them, she knew one had to be there. "There's two ways to I can turn someone into a demon. One, I force the person to change and they turn into a demon that's bonded to me."
"A child," Ranma corrected. The thought of having mere minions instead of children sickened her. Monsters like Alexia had minions. "The other's more complicated and needs the help of the person being turned, but the new demon isn't nearly as dependent on me."
"Why didn't you use that one?" Usagi asked. The possibility that Ranma wanted to have a brood entered the blonde's mind.
"The second way's too slow. Both of my kids were dying when I turned them. I had to make them into my children."
"I'm a mother too," Usagi admitted. "Or I will be."
"What?" Ranma asked. That had gotten her attention.
"My daughter's from the future. I have her with Mamoru. She was sent back in time for her safety. Good thing… I don't think the future's like I remember it anymore," Usagi sighed. She still believed in Crystal Tokyo, but with Mamoru gone things were going to be different.
"Future? Yeah… with that –um Black Moon group, right? So you know what's going to happen?" Ranma asked. Murdock had told him about the Senshi, but a lot of what he said seemed too far-fetched.
"We did," Usagi sighed as she rubbed her eyes. "But Murdock ruined that." Usagi's face twisted in anger.
"Oh," the redhead stated as she let the Murdock comment slide "So in that future with your late boyfriend you had a kid. She came back in time; she's here right now?" the demoness asked as she tried to untangle the blonde's story.
"Setsuna got a sample from him. He can still be her father," Usagi explained.
Ranma nodded with understanding. "So then she knew he was going to die?"
"Not quite," Usagi answered, glaring at the demon. "Before… before he died, there was this evil queen. Long story short, she did something to Mamoru that made our daughter start to fade in and out of existence. After we beat her, Setsuna did that to make sure my daughter wouldn't disappear again."
"Good thing then," Ranma agreed. The thought of losing one of her kids made the demoness shudder. "You have a photo of her?" Ranma asked, suspecting the answer to that question. After all, she had pictures of her kids in her purse and her male form's wallet, and her mother carried much the same.
"Yes, here's my Chibi-Usa," Usagi answered as she pulled out and handed over the image. The blonde smiled; at least one part of Mamoru was still alive.
"Cute," Ranma said, looking over the picture. The pink hair was a bit much, but the eyes were very interesting.
"A little bit too cute," Usagi said.
"She reminds me of my Nari-chan. Same eye color," Ranma explained.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she was a demon all this time," Usagi joked.
Ranma noted that there was something strange in the blonde's tone, but shrugged it off. "She staying with you and the other Senshi?"
"Sorta. She's back in Japan with the outers."
"Why?" Ranma asked. She suspected that there were Senshi to the other planets. Pluto was proof of this.
"The outers are there in case something happens in Japan."
"And your daughter's with them because…?" Ranma asked. The thought of being on the other side of the world from her children was completely alien to her.
"Pluto advised it," Usagi sighed. "It's… it's… going to be dangerous to have her here. She's just a kid."
The demon blinked. She was training her kids to fight and had already led them into battle. However, Usagi's daughter was much younger. "I just think you should have your daughter brought over here. She did lose her father. She'd want to be with her mother again, and you do have your friends to help protect her."
"When I talk to Usa next I'll ask her if she wants to visit."
"Okay, I know it's strange to get parenting advice from an energy-draining male demoness," Ranma laughed.
"You… drain people?" Usagi asked. She should have known. Ranma was a demon. Suddenly, the blonde wished she was not alone with her.
"Nope, only the demons we've fought," the succubus said. Though a part of her wondered what she would do if she killed a human opponent… like Assemblyman Hibiki. Then there were the boys, and even girls, at school…. Ranma immediately terminated that line of thought.
Ranma leveled her gaze at the other magical girl "It's something we need. Well… I don't need it as much, but my kids are growing. It's a good way to do it. The energy would go to waste anyway."
"I guess it's better than seducing and draining people," Usagi allowed.
"Neither myself or my kids will EVER do that," Ranma evenly said, but her eyes did start to glow.
"Sorry," Usagi apologized, slightly unnerved by Ranma's outburst. "It's just strange. You feed on demons. They were your own kind—"
Ranma glared at this.
"—and you took their energy. It's kinda like cannibalism."
"Kinda," Ranma agreed, deciding not to mention what Akane had done; that was cannibalism. "Look, it's not something I'm proud of," the redhead started. Don't kid yourself; you are proud, Ranma mentally corrected herself. Remember how you felt when your kids made their first kills? That feeling of satisfaction and pride.
"It's just something we have to do," Ranma shrugged. "These monsters have to be killed."
"I guess. It's just creepy… no offense."
"How do you think it feels from my side? You think I want to be a demon?" Ranma asked in a quiet but forceful voice.
Usagi made eye contact; blue eyes met with violet-tainted ones. "No, but you have to be one anyway," the blonde answered.
"Yes," replied Ranma, her eyes guarded.
"Let's go see how the girls are doing."
Alexia watched the house across the street from her location. Getting herself in position had been the easy part; controlling her power so that she would not be detected was much harder.
The demoness smirked despite this. Her minions, those that were still alive, had tried to suggest that it would not be in her best interest to go herself. If those humans found her they might— Alexia shut of that line of reasoning. Her mortality was not something she liked to dwell on.
Besides, the demoness thought with a smirk as she turned her attention to the WIC van parked near the house. They're on the lookout for something demonic. They're expecting a brood of demons to swoop in and start killing, not carefully observing and plotting.
Sneaking to that gray van and slaughtering the humans inside had a definite appeal to Alexia, but she knew it would simply increase their presence around the house. The demoness sighed. Her brood could storm the house, but the response from the humans would be swift. The chances of her minions slaying the treasonous brood were, sadly, slim.
The problem was in those… agents. Their equipment provided an effective early warning system. Her spawn could easily get past it, but not without alerting them. The same was true of the school the traitor and her stolen minions still attended for some reason. Alexia preferred to ignore the little detail that only one of Ranma's children had been turned by herself.
She then spotted a silver sedan approach and park in front of the house. Alexia's face clouded as she watched her spawn step out. The young demoness, now enslaved to and altered by that traitorous bitch, was happily chatting with a demon hunter. As she watched this… abomination, she was struck with inspiration. There was a way she could strike at that annoying redhead and reclaim what was hers….
"Oh hi, Akane. How's it going?" Ranma asked as her daughter entered their bedroom. Nariko was spending a few hours with her father, and Akane had just been out with Kasumi.
"When… when I first met you… I saw that little leather dress and thought you were just another bimbo," Akane admitted as she sat down on the bed next to her mother. "I'd never thought I'd end up in leathers of my own," the demoness sighed.
"It's not like you wear them all the time… anymore," Ranma offered.
"I know," Akane smiled as she picked the gift that Kasumi had helped her pick up.
"What's this?" Ranma asked as she looked at the simply wrapped box her daughter had handed her.
"Open it," Akane offered.
The redhead ripped the wrapping off and gazed at the contents. Great, more clothes, she thought. She then looked closer at the two items. It was clothing, but it was not for her succubus form. Holding the shirt and drawstring pants, Ranma looked questioningly at Akane.
"You were there for me, you helped me remember who I was and accept what I am. I want to be there for you too," Akane explained.
"I know you're really… really a guy. I've seen how you look at your male-side," Akane said, somewhat softly. "It's gotta hurt to do this — be a woman, a demoness, a mother. But you do it anyway, for us." She then flashed a fanged grin that went straight to the young mother's heart.
The redhead closed her eyes and smiled.
"Mother, are you okay?" Akane asked.
"I'm fine," Ranma said as she wiped the corners of her eyes. There was still hope for her human side. "I'm just so proud. I love you so much." The demoness then leaned over and hugged Akane.
"I love you too," Akane sighed happily in her mother's embrace.
Ranma untangled herself from her daughter. "I think I'll go change."
"I checked the size of your clothing before I went. It should fit you," Akane offered.
"Thanks Honey," the redhead said as she walked out of the room.
As her mother left, Akane chuckled at Ranma's modesty. But that helped prove that her mother really was a guy, at least when she was male.
Once in the bathroom, Ranma returned to her birth form. He did not worry about Nariko losing her connection to Mommy. His daughter was already out of range. Ranma then changed into Akane's gift. Ranma chuckled as he pulled on the pair of black pants. Akane had gotten the right size and Ranma would not need to worry about asking her to return it. The martial artist then slipped on the rich yellow, almost golden, silk shirt.
Ranma looked at his reflection with a sideways smirk. He still had a chance to exist, in spite of — or maybe because of his daughters. He then walked back to his room.
"You look good," Akane said as she looked over Ranma. Part of Akane preferred her mother to be in demon form, but if this would make Mother happy…
"Thanks, Akane. You sure you're okay with me being like this?" Ranma asked.
"For a while," Akane admitted. While she could accept, and encourage Mother to be human sometimes, she still needed her mother. Akane wondered if her mate would be able to understand. "I know this coffee shop nearby. It's not a long walk," Akane suggested.
"Hmmm, I guess." While Ranma was not a big fan of coffee, it would be nice to spend some time as a male with his daughter. Ranma and Akane walked down to the first floor and out the front door. Ranma looked questioningly at the overcast sky. He was starting to see that cloud cover was the norm in this part of the world, at least in fall. The martial artist shrugged. If it rained then he and Akane could fly back or catch a ride with the WIC team that was likely to follow them.
Ami Mizuno's journey was not hampered by the threat of rain. Her and her friend's destination was in the building. The apartment door was quickly answered by a professional-looking woman with auburn colored hair. "Hi, Dr. Fraiser," the blue-haired girl greeted. "Is Janet in?"
"Hi," Usagi greeted from her spot next to Ami. She idly wondered if all smart girls had doctors for mothers.
"Yes, she's in her room," Nadine Fraiser said as she opened the door. Her shift at North York General Hospital had just ended.
"Thanks," Ami replied as she crossed the threshold.
"It's nice to see Janet's making friends," Nadine said as she closed the door.
"Yeah," Ami agreed. Why did Janet's mother seem surprised that her daughter was making friends? Janet seemed nice and outgoing enough. Maybe I just think that because she's less shy than I am, Ami thought morosely. All my friends are Senshi, even my new one.
"Janet's in her room." Nadine pointed to the location of her daughter's room.
"Thanks, Dr. Fraiser," Usagi said as she followed Ami. The blonde noticed that Ami went to Janet's room before the older woman told her where it was. Usagi ignored this; she assumed that this was not the first time Ami had visited.
In this Usagi was entirely correct.
Ami knocked on the door. "Janet, it’s me and Usagi."
Shortly after the music playing in Janet's room lowered in volume, the auburn-haired girl opened the door. "Hey, guys. Glad you could make it. I'll show you my room," Janet said while giving a sly smile to Ami.
Ami sighed and shook her head.
Except for a pile of papers and open books on her desk, Janet's room was immaculate. The level of organization was something that even Ami found excessive. Janet was showing off her bookcase when Usagi noticed something.
Usagi looked over Janet. "You know, if you put on a lab coat, you'd be pretty close to your mom."
Janet's face darkened. "No, I'm not."
"But your noses are very close. Your faces have the same shape."
"Your eyes are almost the same shade of grayish-green," Ami added.
"It's a coincidence." Janet had sat on her bed and looked past her friends.
"Pardon?" Ami asked.
Janet paused. She did not want to keep secrets from her friends. She was going to trust them with her life. "I'm adopted," the Senshi of Orion admitted. "My birth mother… she… she died."
"I'm sorry," Ami said as she hugged Janet. At least this explained how Janet got the last name Fraiser. Ami did wonder what had happened to Janet's birth father but thought it wise not to ask.
"It's okay," Janet said in a distant voice. "It… was years ago."
"You poor girl," Usagi said as she sat down next to Janet.
"I'll be fine," Janet said flatly.
"You're not alone," Usagi gave Janet a supportive hand squeeze. Janet did have another mother now, unlike Makoto who was still an orphan as was… Mamoru.
"I know," Janet stated with a slight smile.
"What'd you think of your first day of school?" Ranma asked as he stirred his hot chocolate. He did not like coffee and the tea the cafe served was awful.
"Could have been worse." Akane looked out one of the windows and sighed. "I kinda wanted there to be more of an uproar. I mean, I come back from being missing and more people comment more about my dye job than they do about me being a lesbian!"
Ranma turned to see what the demoness was looking at but remained silent. A silver car had pulled up onto the opposite side of the street.
"I guess those rumors about me playing for the other team were good after all." The blue-haired girl noted sourly. "Half the school probably was expecting me to get a girlfriend. I am Akane Tendo—" She glanced at her mother. "Well Saotome, but they don't know that… boy hater."
Akane continued. "I guess it's not so bad. Nariko's much nicer than any boy."
"She is a good kid," Ranma stated hesitantly.
"It's not your fault," Akane said, trying to stop what she knew was going to happen.
"It is. I'm guilty as hell. If I'd mothered Nariko from day one, she'd…" Ranma sighed.
"You're her mother now, and that is helping her. Nariko used to be incapable of disagreeing with you, but now. 'No, Mommy, I think the pink skirt is better,'" Akane quoted from an earlier conversation.
Ranma laughed. "Nari-chan is spending all day after school with her father. It's good that you both have dads." He glanced out the window to see that what was clearly a Company car had left.
"Yeah, you're not a single mom," Akane said, her voice quite flat.
"What's wrong Honey?"
"Oh nothing," Akane sighed. She hated Tatewaki, but she loved Nariko. She was depressed at the near certainty that Nariko will never "fully recover," but she was relieved that her mate would never turn back into what she was. The demoness hated taking comfort in that.
"It's about Nariko."
Akane nodded. "After she tried to apologize to me. I asked her what she felt about her human life, her old life." She looked at her own drink. She took a reluctant sip of the caffeinated beverage.
"What'd she say?"
"Not much. I don't know whether she simply doesn't think much about it or if she's keeping it private."
Ranma blinked. Nariko was the most open person he knew. This was something he had to keep his eye on.
"What do you think I should do, Daddy?" Nariko asked. The demoness and her father were sitting in the expansive kitchen of the Kuno house.
"You haven't asked your…. mother?" the Drake inquired.
"You've known me longer," Nariko said, nervously.
The Drake smiled. That his child still cared for him, still confided in him reassured him greatly. "I think I've got a solution," the Drake said before explaining what his daughter could do.
"Oh Daddy! You're so smart!" Nariko leapt over and hugged her father.
The Drake closed his arms around his daughter, who snuggled in. The Drake's resolve strengthened. His son Tatewaki might be gone, but his daughter Nariko still had a chance.
A pair of teenagers walked down the edge of the road. The female was leaning on the male who had his arm around her. Ranma looked at his daughter who had a strange grin on her face.
"What?" Ranma asked.
"Oh, it's just the waitress at the coffee shop thought we were a couple," Akane laughed.
"You did keep pretty close to me," Ranma said as he loosened his grip on Akane's waist.
"You're my mother. Though I guess there was no way they could know that."
"They saw a guy and a girl, same age," Ranma agreed with a sigh. A misunderstanding like that had been central to what had happened to Nariko. Ranma, and the former Kuno boy, had both thought that it was romantic love instead of parental.
"I did have a cutesy nickname for you too," Akane laughed.
"Yeah," Ranma sighed. It could have been worse. At least it was only Akane and Nariko who called him Sunny. He did not like the name much, but Nariko had picked it and he did not want to hurt her feelings. He then heard the familiar sound of sporadic rain hitting the ground, leaves, pavement, and everything else.
He looked up to see no discernable change in the heavy cloud cover, aside from the precipitation. Soon there was enough water to trigger the transformation.
Akane nearly purred at the return of her bond with her mother. As nice as Mother's male form was, it was nothing compared to her true form. Akane paused. No, Mother's human form is her true one. It's the one she was born with.
"Damn lake effect weather," Ranma grumbled as she pulled her now loose, longer and crimson hair, back. She looked at her soaked daughter. "Follow me," she said before walking into the forest that ran on the right side of the road.
Once they were surrounded by trees, Ranma did a quick scan with her senses. She then shifted her silk shirt and leather pants slightly. Her true form then manifested. After stretching her wings and tail, Ranma turned to her daughter. "Come on, we're going to do some flying."
Akane looked around the forest. The largely deciduous trees were not that close, but it would still be tricky to use her full wingspan. The constant downpour did not help either. "Mother, you sure about this?"
"It's good training," Ranma said as she oriented herself in the direction of home. "Not all of our flying will be in open spaces and with clear weather."
Akane nodded at this and reverted to her full-demon form. "I'm ready," she said after a brief stretch. Keeping her tail and especially her wings hidden, while easy, always left them a little bit stiff.
"I'll follow you. That way if you hit anything, I'll see it," Ranma
said as she spread her wings.
When they were about halfway home, the blue-haired demoness took a turn too sharply and a branch went right through her left wing. It tore several inches of her wing membrane, until the twig hit one of her wing supports and broke off.
Yowling in pain, Akane tumbled but managed to land on her feet. She almost slipped on the muddy ground, but her tail helped keep her balance. With a wince, Akane pulled her wing in front of her to get a look at the damage.
The demoness looked up from examining the gash to see her mother land. Akane sighed — Mother was always so graceful. She never had problems flying and her posture was always perfect, even here in the pouring rain. "It doesn't look too bad," Akane said as her mother examined the wounded wing.
"It should be okay," Ranma said after watching the torn membranes begin to knit back together. She also checked to make sure there were no splinters or other debris in the wound. "How's the pain?" the redhead asked as she held her hand over the wound. Their wings were nowhere near as sensitive as their horns, but they still had plenty of nerves.
"I'll be fine," Akane said as she waited for the tear to seal. The accelerated healing she had was nice, but it felt so strange. Mother feeding her energy to help speed up her healing was also strange.
Akane laughed at that. Everything about her new body felt strange. Though having her body repair itself before her eyes was rather weird.
"You sure?" Ranma asked, concern on her face. "We can walk the rest of the way," Ranma paused, then added with a slight grin, "Or I could carry you."
"I'll fly," Akane grumbled as she readied her wings.
"Be careful," Ranma said as she watched Akane take off. It was a bit mean, but she had to push her kids. Ranma followed the Akane and was glad that the rest of their flight path was uneventful. Ranma smiled as she watched Akane burst out of the forest and increase her speed a bit as she crossed the Tendo's backyard.
Major Nodoka Saotome, Doctor of Materials Science and Engineering, was in the Tendo living room working on her laptop. Displayed on the screen were the lab results on a sample of the material the captured Inter-Dim gate was made out of. Her next task was to develop ways to synthesize the material. She had a fair idea of why WIC wanted that ability.
She had the house to herself. Her husband and Soun had left shortly after Nodoka had arrived. The Science and Technology Section agent smirked at that. It looked like Genma was still rattled, which was good.
Nabiki had left a couple minutes ago. She said she was going out to meet friends. Nodoka hoped that Command had a team watching the girl. Lt. Tendo had gone out training with her strike team. Nariko was spending most of the evening with her Father and should return sometime before her bedtime.
According to the observation team, Ranma and Akane had gone out to get something to eat. The strange part was that her son was… her son. Ranma had gone out with Akane in male-form. Nodoka had asked Nabiki about the event and was pleased to hear about Akane's gift.
The agent had resumed her work when her phone started to ring. "Major Saotome here," she answered automatically.
"Major, we have an incoming Pattern D," one of the agents running the surveillance on the Tendo property said.
"Can you tell who it is?" Nodoka asked as her hand went to her sidearm.
"We're getting another pattern! It's… it's a D-Silver 10," the agent said with relief.
"Good," Nodoka said, her hand still on her gun. It stayed there until she got a clear view of the demons entering the house.
"How was your day?" Nodoka asked her daughter and granddaughter. She noted that Ranma was not in her Senshi form. Nodoka wondered if Ranma had increased her power levels or if she simply had the same power level in either form now.
"Good," Ranma said as she ran her hands through her soaked mane of crimson hair. She had folded her wings against her back and was slipping out of her muddy boots.
"Oh Akane, you got a phone call," Nodoka said as she retrieved the message she had stuck to the refrigerator.
"Hmmm, Yuka called. Looks important," Akane said as she looked over the note. The demoness then walked to the phone and dialed the number.
"Okay, I'll be down the hall," Ranma said before she headed off to the bathroom. "Damn little succubus bladder," Ranma grumbled to herself.
Akane dialed the number. Her old friend answered. After the pleasantries were exchanged, Yuka got to the reason she had tried to call Akane. The blue-haired succubus' eyed flared in response. Akane tried to keep her tone even but was unable to control herself.
Ranma was washing her hands in the first floor bathroom. A quick check confirmed that her eyes still had the same violet content. Part of her had hoped that today's events would somehow reverse the changing in her eyes.
The redhead's attention shifted. She heard her daughter's pained cry, but more directly, she felt it. Ranma tore out of the room and ran to her daughter. She found Akane kneeling on the kitchen floor holding a phone. The dial-tone drone could be heard under the sound of Akane's crying.
"What happened?" Ranma asked as she stepped down to her daughter.
Akane paused in her sobbing long enough to make eye contact with Ranma. "I called Yuka and…" Akane shuddered and folded her wings over her chest.
"Is she okay?" Ranma asked as she put her hand under Akane's chin so she could look into her daughter's face.
As she nodded, Akane emitted a small whimper. Tears resumed their stream down her face. "She's… she was my friend."
Akane tried to gather herself. "Yuka…. can't handle it. She said she always knew something was off with me," the demon's tone had hardened a bit at the end of the last sentence. "I wasn't even being too open with Nariko!" Akane exclaimed.
"I know," Ranma said as she hugged her. She had taken pride in her daughters' restraint. During school, they had hardly even held hands. The redhead sighed. She could guess what the call was about now. Akane just lost a friend.
"Maybe tomorrow—" Ranma tired to suggest before she was cut off.
Akane shook her head and resumed her crying.
Ranma held onto her daughter. Her hand moved up to Akane's right horn. The redhead gently rolled her fingers over the protrusion. Akane's pupils dilated as her sobbing stopped. Akane leaned on her mother and almost started to purr, almost.
"Feeling better now?" Ranma asked. The redhead stopped and looked at her daughter. "Akane?" Ranma inquired her concern increasing. The blue haired demon's face had started to contort.
Akane's eyes suddenly flared a brilliant blue. "How could you!" the demoness cried as she backhanded her mother. Ranma was knocked backwards onto the kitchen floor.
The blue-haired girl stood up. She glared down at her mother. The glow in her eyes stopped and was replaced by tears. "I can't believe it! Is that all you can do when I cry? Use my horns to drug me?"
"I…" Ranma said, dumbly. Before she could get further, her daughter had stormed out of the room.
"What happened?" Nodoka asked after her daughter got up.
"I'm not sure. Akane lost a friend. I tried to comfort her." Ranma shook her head and started walking towards the stairs.
Major Saotome followed Ranma.
"Akane, what's wrong?" the redhead asked after knocking on the locked door.
"Go away!" Akane cried.
"Let me in so we can talk about this," Ranma suggested.
In her room, Akane shook her head. She knew what Mother had done the last time she had locked herself in her room. "Stay out!"
"Akane…" Ranma pleaded.
The redhead considered her options. Forcing her daughter, by either knocking the door down or badgering her to open the door did not seem like a good idea. However, leaving Akane to stew in her room might not be wise either. Ranma looked to see her own mother standing in the hallway. "Mom… could you help?"
Nodoka paused before answering, not out of uncertainty, but out of bizarreness. Her son was asking for help in a mother-daughter dispute, and her son was the mother… the demonic mother. "Of course, Ranma."
"Akane, it's grandma. Can I talk to you?"
Akane looked up. Grandma was human. She would not be able to control her, not like Mother. "You can come in, but not Mother… not yet," Akane added. She got up and unlocked the door. The sobbing demoness looked at her mother. A part of her wanted to embrace mother and let her protect her, but another still felt betrayed, not just at her mother but at her body for feeling that way.
Ranma smiled when she watched her mother go into Akane's room. Her expression soured when she saw her daughter glare at her and slam the door shut.
"What happened?" Nodoka asked sitting down next to the demoness.
"After I called Yuka. Mother rushed to my side. She was holding me and…" Akane paused. "She touched my… my horns."
"Those are very sensitive." Major Saotome said after she recalled what Pattern D biology she knew.
"She just used these to drug me," Akane said as she put a hand to one of the little horns that poked out of her hair.
"I'm sure your Mother was just trying to help you," Nodoka said. The agent was beyond caring about the strangeness of the situation. "She's very proud of how well you're developing."
"Is she? I gave Mother a gift today. Some clothes for her human form, and what does she do to me? She shuts me up when I start complaining!"
"Ranma was just trying to make you feel better. She's your mother; she loves you," Nodoka countered.
"If Mother really loves me, why is she trying to control me? Can't Mother respect me? I tried to show her that I understood her… him, and I got treated like a… minion!" Akane growled before resuming her crying.
"I'm sure it was a mistake. You can tell Mother that," Nodoka suggested.
Akane shook her head.
"I'm afraid. This body… my body wants to be with her. She's my mother. It hurt to hit her like that, but I didn't want her to control me," Akane sighed as she leaned onto her grandmother. The succubus needed physical contact with someone.
The agent looked into Akane's subtly inhuman eyes. "Missing your mother and not wanting to displease her is a perfectly natural thing for both humans and your kind."
"My kind," Akane sighed.
"It's great that you're remembering who you are and becoming a real person again." Nodoka reached around and ran her hand over the demon's wings. She stopped when she found the spot where the wings went into the girl's back. "But you are not human. You are a demon. You have to accept your body, its urges."
"Mother said the same thing. 'Some urges we can fight, some we can't.'”
Nodoka nodded. "Your mother's in the same situation you are. She's learning as she goes. She has to put her humanity aside to raise you two. You have to deal with being a demon. She has to deal with being a demon and a mother. Please let her in. I promise she won't touch your horns."
"Okay, let her in," Akane said after a moment's thought. She knew that Mother did not really want to control her; if Mother did she would already be completely enthralled.
Nodoka opened the door and Ranma stepped through. The redhead was still fully manifested. Her tail nervously swished back and forth.
Akane got up and crossed the room. She stood facing her mother. Her tail was just long enough so that it could snake around and touch Ranma's knees. The demoness wiped her eyes and began to talk.
Nodoka was off to the side watching. Much of what Akane had said to Ranma was identical to what Akane had told Nodoka. The brood mother's stance was depressed. Her head was held level but her wings dropped and her tail hung almost straight down.
"Come over here, Mother," Akane said when she had finished her rant. She could see her mother's black horns had not been hidden.
Ranma nodded and walked over. She was surprised to find her daughter had pounced on her. Akane held onto her mother. Ranma returned the gesture and failed to notice when her daughter had moved one of her arms.
The redhead's eyes widened and she tightened her grip on her daughter. She then folded her wings over Akane's body and started to purr. Akane pulled her hand away from her mother's right horn and watched as the redhead regained herself.
"Mmm… Akane?" Ranma sluggishly asked. Her wings still enveloped her daughter. Ranma blinked. "Oh…. I'm sorry, Akane." The redhead then pulled her wings back behind herself.
"There's one thing you can't ever do! It's okay to hug me or hold me… like a real… human… mom might. Just don't do that!" Akane said her eyes focused on her mother's.
Ranma held her daughter. She looked at the little horns on the girl's head. It would be easy for her to dominate her children and make them into whatever she wanted: her seductresses, hunting partners, servants, concubines, or lieutenants in an ever larger brood. Anything except the one thing that would be worthwhile, the one thing that would be hard for her to do. Something that would require her to be a mother instead of a mistress.
It was difficult enough for Ranma to not use the dominance that already existed between her and her kids. Her children were bonded to her. Ranma could feel it and sometimes could almost see it. The brood mother did not want to add any more methods of control, especially one as potent as the horns were.
This made Ranma's decision an easy one. "I promise to never use yours or Nariko's horns again."
Akane studied her mother's face. Her mother listened to her when Mother could have just rubbed her horns again. She sighed. Mother was still a very, very powerful force in her life.
"Akane, I'm sorry," Ranma said still holding her daughter.
"I know. I'm still wary but…." Akane sighed and leaned onto her mother. She only felt the normal connection between herself and her mother. There was no extra bit of control.
Nodoka excused herself and left the two demons to each other.
The bar had an atmosphere of a bad detective television show. Sitting on the stools around a seedy countertop were the dregs of humanity. An old man with far too many stories to tell sat on the end, away from the others, whispering dark secrets into his glass of whiskey, hoping that this would unlock more secrets of the universe.
A few stools down, sat a woman in her late forties. The years hadn't been kind to her. That didn't dissuade the slimy salary man who sat on the adjacent stool from leaning into her for a moment. She then slugged him for the third time in the last ten minutes.
Next to the so called couple sat a mage. Although the other patrons just took him for another low-life, he was here for a purpose. He sat silently and ignored the pair as they went back into their touch here, punch there match. He had business to attend to and waiting in this seedy dive was part of it.
The barkeep, a man in his thirties, but looked like he was in his fifties, belched as he placed a worn rag on the counter. He rubbed the countertop in an attempt to look busy because the rag was filthier that the counter he was cleaning. "So, ya gunna order somethin', or not?"
The mage placed his elbows on the table and whispered. "I like women's underwear."
The man's eyes glazed over. He slowly stuttered. "Y-y-yeah…"
Calmly, the man continued. "I think I'll go get some."
"I think I'll go get some."
The runic mage smiled. He loved his powers. "There's some, right over there." He pointed at his neighbors.
The bartender slowly backed away and edged toward the left. Murdock looked at the clock on the wall and noted the time. One thing was for certain, his employer was punctual. He got up and walked to a hidden booth in the back of the bar. His face, an evil grin as the screams of "Pervert", "Sicko" and "Die, scumbag" were being shouted from the bar behind him.
He slid into the booth and just as he got comfortable, a familiar female voice was heard from behind a partition. "Having fun again, I see."
"It's all part of my grand plan," Murdock assured as he straightened his silver tie clasp.
The woman gave an oft used sigh. "Murdock, Murdock, Murdock… you can lie to the demons, the Senshi, the humans, but you know better than to lie to us." A smile crossed the woman's face. She could not see him, but she knew that the mage had stiffened in his seat. There were few things that Murdock was frightened of, and the associates she represented were on the top of that list.
"I'm just having some fun. The job's actually ahead of schedule," he said in a voice reminiscent of a school boy swearing that his book report was almost done… he just had to read the book.
"And what progress have you made? The Alexia situation is beyond repair."
"Is it?" Murdock said in an amused voice.
Now the woman was glad that she could not see Murdock. That lopsided, inane, and insane grin disturbed her. Not because she was afraid of him, but it made her doubt the wisdom in using him. "Have you found a way to salvage the situation?"
"Nope!" Murdock answered cheerfully.
The woman swore under her breath. She stopped when she realized that the only person who could understand what she was saying was Murdock. "Please justify your continued… employment," the woman said after composing herself.
Murdock's answer was prompt and almost professional. The sudden shift would have annoyed the woman but she knew that Murdock had finally gotten to brass tacks.
"While Alexia has failed to start DarkStar's true emergence, she was just a minor step in the plan," Murdock assured. There were other parts to the plan. Ones that had been working since day one. However, the spell that he had placed on Ranma was already degrading. The mage supposed he could reapply it, but it was not worth the risk. Already the limiters he had placed on her clothing had vanished. It was only a matter of time before the other aspects of the spell broke down.
Murdock continued. "Her continued existence could even be of use, but not in the way I first planned. Ranma's now a mother. This gives us a unique bargaining position." The woman knew that Murdock's smile had gone from inane to malevolent, and it relieved her.
"You still believe that the redheaded demon will give us what we want?"
"She's one of two people," Murdock shrugged. "Right now I'm working on procuring the other one."
"Good. We cannot accept failure in this mission. Understand?"
"I serve the Order," Murdock replied automatically. If this mission really was that important to his handler and her superiors, wouldn't they assign more than just him to the mission?
That thought gave Murdock pause. What if I'm not the only one they assigned? Sure, I'm the best, but if it's that important to them… Why didn't they tell me? Why haven't I met anyone else?
"Good. I knew we could trust you," the woman said as she got up.
Really? I'm not so sure anymore. Murdock thought as he turned to watch the woman leave. From behind she looked unremarkably average. Her eyes, which he had not seen tonight, were quite interesting. They were a shade of grey that he normally only saw in the mirror.
Once she was gone, Murdock returned to the bar and ordered a drink from the waitress who was covering for the… indisposed bartender. This bar was no Red Turtle, his preferred watering hole, but it would still get the job done.
As Nabiki exited the bathroom, she heard a familiar Norman Blake song. Though someone she would never expect was singing it. The simple song attracted the teenager to the room where it was originating from.
Quietly, she leaned onto the close door. The voice stopped after signing "I'll always love you and make you happy."
"You can come in, Nabiki," Ranma said with some annoyance.
The middle sister opened the door. She first saw her sister sleeping on the far side of the crowded bed while in the center an upright-sitting Ranma cradled a fitful Nariko. "You're not naked?" Nabiki asked. It was a pleasant surprise to not have to deal with another nude demon.
"I summoned this when I sensed you at the door," Ranma said, pointing to the simple black violet-trimmed bra she was wearing. Nariko made a whimpering noise but stopped when her mother hugged her tighter and increased the flow of energy going into her. Ranma took comfort that Nariko was taking her energy as opposed to a more traditional nursing method, one that would prevent her from wearing something over her breasts.
"What's wrong with her?" Nabiki asked.
"Nightmares," Ranma said simply. She had been woken up by her daughter's crying and had immediately gone to her aid.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Nabiki sympathized.
"Akane has them more often, but hers were earlier tonight. They were a bit lighter, too. But now, it's Nariko." Ranma hoped it was not because Nariko had spent the afternoon with her father and not her mother.
"Because of how Akane was turned?" Nabiki asked. She could hardly imagine what her sister had gone through.
Ranma nodded. Often in Akane's nightmares Kasumi was unable to stop… Eclipse. Ranma turned her attention back to her daughter. "It's okay. Nari-chan. Mommy's here," the redhead soothed her daughter.
Still standing at the door, Nabiki cocked her head. It sounded like Nariko was quietly whimpering something.
Ranma, who was closer and had better hearing, was able to make out what her daughter was saying. "Mommy, please don't leave…. I… I love you. No… stay… stay." Nariko's cries degenerated into pathetic sniveling.
After skipping a few lines to Nariko's favorite part, the redhead resumed. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray," Ranma sang to her daughter, with a small smile on her face.
"So that's why you were singing."
Ranma nodded as she continued to sing. Nariko quickly stopped her crying and settled down. Nariko even started emit the purring-like rumbling that succubae were prone to give off.
The redhead then looked up at Nabiki. "She really likes this song. It helps her. I used to rub their horns when this happened—" Ranma said with a quick glance at Akane's sleeping form. "—but I've stopped. I don't do that anymore."
Nabiki nodded. She had heard about the fight between Akane and her… mother. "Well, I'll leave you to your kids. Good night," Nabiki said before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.
Nabiki was busy trying to digest the information and did not notice the person who had silently moved next to her. "Kasumi!" Nabiki exclaimed once she recognized who was in the hallway with her. "What are you doing up?" she asked in a quieter voice.
"I just got in from some night training," Lt. Tendo explained. "Why are you up?"
"Bathroom. Then I heard Ranma singing." Nabiki shook her head. She was actually a little bit jealous of her little sister. Akane had a mother now. Though the price was still very steep.
"Is Akane having nightmares again?" Kasumi asked. She had heard Ranma's late-night lullabies several nights ago.
"Right now it's Nariko."
Kasumi nodded. She got nightmares too. Especially the one where she relived getting her face spattered in gore when a friend got hit next to her. Kasumi was not wearing goggles at the time and a shard of Ensign Robert Talbert's skull had almost hit her right eye. In some nightmares organic shrapnel hit both eyes blinding her, in others she could still see but the experience froze her, and when the enemy attacked again she hesitated…
It was inevitable. Multiple groups were observing Ranma's brood. Two groups — really more of lone representatives — used remote viewing methods that while subtle, were limited in their capability. Two others used a more direct method that put them at risk. The one group that operated with Ranma's knowledge had the most complete coverage, but that was to be expected. All of these groups were hostile to each other to one extent or another. No matter how discrete they were, at least two of these groups were going to meet.
To the south of Furinkan was the Regis Building, a small business park. The office space on the fourth floor was vacant and unused, save for two teens. "And that's the first bus," Ukyou said as she watched the trio of demons enter the school building. "You got the time?" the Assembly Acolyte asked as she put her binoculars down.
"Yes," Ryoga said as he looked over the notes he had written. It was dull work, but they knew what car the demons used to get to school and when they arrived. Already they had physical descriptions of some humans that they associated with, arrival and departure times of other vehicles, where the brood lived, and a few other tidbits.
"Shame you can't go undercover," Ryoga mussed.
"With agents and demons in the school?" Ukyou asked with an amused laugh.
"I knew the Company was a bunch of filthy mercenaries, but to associate with demons? Have they no shame?"
"They must have a reason," Ukyou defended, sincerely hoping that they did. She wanted out of the Assembly, but she did not want to be stuck with an organization that was worse.
"They seek power. They're just a bunch of heartless mercenaries profiting from these unholy monsters. You know what they do with the bodies of the demons they kill," Ryoga snorted.
"We'll just have to make sure we get these demons first then," Ukyou said, changing the subject. She had found that it was best to cut off her partner's rants early, before they had a chance to build up.
"Yes, Ranma will pay for his… no, her," Ryoga corrected with a smirk. "…crimes as a traitor to humanity." The Assemblyman's grin grew exposing his own pair of fangs.
Ukyou looked at those canines with a hint of revulsion. Her partner always had them, but they had slowly been getting slightly more noticeable. His eyes were also getting increasingly… strange. She had seen similar changes in other acolytes as they increased their powers, thought the original length of Ryoga's teeth only exacerbated things.
Ryoga's stance suddenly stiffened.
"What is it?" Ukyou asked
"Can't you feel it?" Ryoga asked as he stood up and checked his weapons.
Ukyou paused and concentrated on her own powers. "Succubae?" the brunette asked, feeling their presence. It was foggy and she had doubts as to their power levels, but there were demonic presences entering the building.
"Yes," Ryoga agreed.
"Damn, Ranma's brood must have spotted us and is coming," Ukyou said as she stowed her binoculars and did her own weapons check. All thoughts of defection were pushed aside as training took over.
"There's a powerful demon coming, but it's not Ranma," Ryoga said. His powers were sharper than his partner's and he described the group of demons coming as best as he could sense.
"Plan?" Ukyou asked.
"I'll take point. We'll have to see where they're going for anything more specific" Ryoga replied.
"Nari-chan, breakfast's ready," Ranma said after entering the dining room.
"Okay, Mommy," Nariko said without looking up from the small pink book before her. Holding a pen behind her canines, the girl stared at the current page. She then removed the implement and wrote a couple words.
"Working on homework?" Ranma noted the little pink book. She did not recall being assigned any essays yesterday, and she, Nariko, and Akane had all been transferred to the same classes.
As her skin reddened just a hint in her species' version of a blush, Nariko shook her head.
"Nari-chan? Is this about last night? If you want, I can be with you next time you meet your father."
"It's not that," Nariko said, breaking eye contact with her mother. "I love seeing Daddy." The demoness let the statement drop. She did not fully understand why her parents did not get along, but she knew that they did not.
"And your nightmares?"
"I'm getting better," Nariko admitted.
"Yes, you are," Ranma said with a smile. Her daughter was becoming more independent. It was very gradual, but it was in the right direction. Even Akane would be hard pressed to spend an entire afternoon away from her Mother.
"I've got you to sing to me," the red-eyed succubus grinned.
Ranma laughed nervously. In retrospect Nabiki's interruption had been rather embarrassing. "So what're you doing?"
"Last night, Daddy suggested that I keep a diary," Nariko said as she closed the book
"Why?" Ranma asked, her curiosity getting to her.
Nariko paused. She looked down at her dairy. "It helps me keep track of… things." Nariko sighed. It was hard for her to articulate her point. Even as a human, she had never been that mentally agile. That was why she had gotten the diary.
"Sounds nice," Ranma said. Even if Nariko's diary was filled with girlish prattling and odes to her mate and Mommy, it was still a good thing for Nariko to do.
"It's pretty fun."
"Nariko, how do you feel about Tatewaki?" Ranma tried to ask it casually, but her tone had shifted,
The red-eyed girl froze. "I think…" she started before her eyes darted down to the diary. "I haven't written about that, yet. Sorry Mommy."
"Oh, I see." Ranma smiled at her daughter. She had a feeling that there might be more to this diary than she first thought.
"Is Auntie Kasumi cooking sausages?" Nariko asked as she licked her upper lip. In addition to the frying meat, she could smell cooked batter and maple syrup, but the flesh held her attention.
"No, she's already left for work."
"Akane's not cooking, is she?" Nariko asked.
"Well… she's really just helping me," Ranma said. Akane was so eager to help, and if she was watched carefully….
"But she's alone now. You should go and check on her," Nariko suggested.
"It's only been a couple minutes." The redhead saw the downcast concern on her daughter's face. "I think you're right, Honey," Ranma said before returning to the kitchen. She could not smell anything burning but that only eliminated one kind of kitchen disaster.
Nariko opened her diary. It looked like she had some time to add a few more sentences.
Alexia had planned on doing some final observations of her enemy. She had brought her strongest minions, just in case the correct opportunity presented itself. The blonde demoness sighed. The timing was off for a morning attack. Again the succubus cursed those human hunters. Their technology forced her to maintain an unacceptable distance from her prey. She would have another chance to deal with that redheaded traitor later today.
Alexia and her minions were in a pair of large vans parked in a lot far out of WIC sensor range, yet still provided a line of sight to the demons observing the school. Alexia was not watching the school, at least not visibly. She had other more useful senses.
Her eyes were closed as she opened herself to receive the energy emanating around her. It was passive and undetectable to those sensors. The demoness noted with a smirk. She could feel the glowing that marked the traitor and her illicit spawn, the rhythmic flickering that marked the WIC sensors, and….
Alexia's eyes opened in shock. Assemblymen, here? The demoness concentrated in the direction from which source had come. One was fairly weak. The other… Alexia frowned as she shuffled over the energy readings. An Assemblyman this powerful could be a problem.
Or a good snack. Alexia thought with a laugh.
Either way, these interlopers had to be disposed of. She would not stand for another group of human hunters, and there were only two of them.
The receptionist to the Regis Building looked up to see a group of well-dressed women entering. She looked over the visitors with some jealousy. They all had nearly perfect bodies, especially the tall, tanned one in front. The woman leading the group was tall with long, curly blonde hair and piercing green eyes.
"Hello, the people on the… fourth floor are expecting us," Alexia said after checking to make sure that was where the Assemblymen were located.
"Of course," the receptionist agreed. "Go right in." She normally would have noticed that none of the women were carrying briefcases, but she did not feel particularly observant for some reason.
"Thank you," Alexia said with a wry smile. Humans were incredibly easy to manipulate. The blonde demoness then led her minions down a corridor and gave them their orders.
"They're coming," Ukyou said; her more rudimentary senses could tell her that much. The Assembly acolyte idly touched one of the throwing weapons she had secured to a bandolier. She had used them before joining the Assembly, only now they were coated in a material that was more detrimental to demons. She supposed that the words etched onto them helped too in some small way.
Ukyou cleared her mind and concentrated on her surroundings and the sight picture presented by her weapon.
Ryoga looked back to check that Ukyou had a clear path to support him. "You know what to do."
"At least you didn't burn breakfast too badly," Nabiki remarked as she drove her car.
From the passenger seat, Akane gave a sideways glance at her sister
"Good thing Ranma came in to salvage it," the middle Tendo sister said.
Akane glanced at her sister again but remained silent.
Ranma wanted to tell Nabiki to stop picking on her daughter, but she thought Akane could handle it. Those two had been sisters much longer than Ranma had been Akane's mother.
"What's wrong? This about you and Ranma?"
"Mother and I are fine," the blue-haired demoness replied a bit curtly.
"That true?" Nabiki asked Ranma. She noticed that Ranma was wearing a white blouse with her school uniform instead of her unusual black one. She did not know the importance of that change but made a note of it.
Ranma nodded. Akane did not seem to have any problems sleeping in the nude with herself and Nariko. Although, that was a very important part of their bonding and development.
"You going to be okay in school today, with Yuka and all that?" Nabiki asked her little sister.
"Yes," Akane stated. Her mother had asked her this same question when they were getting dressed today.
"Maybe you should tone down the PDA's," Nabiki suggested, referring to Public Displays of Affection.
Ranma then felt something wash over her. Like the concussion that followed an explosion, the redhead was hit by a quick impulse of energy. She could see that her children had also sensed it. Akane and Nariko were confused. They had never sensed anything like that, but their mother had.
"Ryoga," Ranma muttered before she sensed another bloom of energy. This was one that Akane was able to recognize.
"Alexia," Akane uttered.
"What's going on?" the driver, who could not detect the energy, asked.
"Pull over and drop us off," Ranma ordered.
"Why? What did you see?"
"Drop us off now," Ranma stated in a cold voice. "And after that go straight back to school. Find the WIC team there. Wait with them."
Nabiki looked at Ranma and held back her response. She found her will wilting and complied. The car pulled over to the side of the road and stopped.
"Don't follow us," Akane pleaded after she got out of the car.
Nabiki looked at her sister's blue hair, then at the office building that the brood was focused on. "Uh… yeah," she agreed. Nabiki resolved to continue on to school. She did not want to end up like her sister or worse.
"Go!" Ryoga shouted as he maneuvered his sword to slice open an incoming demon-tail. The edge of the silvery blade flared green as it lopped off the fins from the demonic appendage.
"But," Ukyou cried before she flicked a pair of her throwing weapons. The silver spatula-shaped implements buried themselves into one succubus’s neck and another's chest. The special coatings on the weapons immediately and violently reacted with the demonic flesh.
Ryoga's bright green eyes tracked onto a tall blonde succubus that until now had stood off to the side. He could sense her power wafting off of her; he could also sense that she was holding back. "That's an order!" the Assemblyman shouted after he used his umbrella-sheathed weapon to dispatch the demon in front of him.
Ukyou slowly nodded and backed out of the room.
"Poor move, human," Alexia laughed, putting special emphasis on the last word. "Together, you would have stood a better chance.
Ryoga simply smirked. His eyes flared green and from them spread a barely visible aura that surrounded his body.
Alexia's smile grew, and she lazily extended her claws.
Kasumi looked out the Blackhawk's open door. The operations agent ignored the vibration and noise that the helicopter produced, and tried to listen to the briefing that Command was giving her and her team. Having the sound played directly into their headsets helped.
"The North York Observation Team has secured the area. We've detected heavy Pattern D's and what looks to be a D-Silver. More teams are on route," Jacob's even voice said before continuing on.
Lt. Tendo nodded, cataloging the information and checking it with the heads-up display projected onto her goggles.
"That's odd," Sailor Orion remarked, as she watched a grey and green helicopter approach from the east.
"What?" Sailor Mercury asked as she checked the display on her visor.
"That looks like a UH-60A Black Hawk. But it's way too quiet/" Orion tapped one of the ends of her double bladed staff on the ground.
"Let's discuss armaments later," Mars grumbled. She glanced up to see a pair of agents approach. Both were dressed in WIC combat gear. The Sailor Senshi could tell their genders and skin color, but not much else.
"We've got several Pattern D's in the building, including DarkStar and her brood. Further Company support will also be here shortly," the female agent stated briskly.
"Uh… thanks," Sailor Moon replied. The blonde looked up to see the helicopter circle the office building. Off to one side, and quarantined by another group of agents, were the workers that had managed to escape the building. A pair of strangely-gurgled screams indicated that not everyone had managed to escape the Regis building.
Orion perked her attention at that, but she followed the rest of the Senshi into the building.
Sailor DarkStar scanned the office space before her. The blare of a fire alarm hurt her ears, but she was getting used to it. She carefully stepped to avoid spilled coffee, and a step later, spilled blood. The demoness could not see the owner of the pooled fluids; however she could see some drops leading from the main pool of blood
"Mother?" Akane asked from her position next to Nariko.
"Get ready," Ranma said as she formed a fireball in her hands. She had a fair idea what had happened. She lobbed the white-flamed orb around a corner. The magical napalm hit and started to consume both the human corpse and the demoness feeding on it.
Inflamed, the demoness started to turn, only to have her head kicked in by a redheaded succubus. Following through, Ranma sliced diagonally across the chest of her prey. The demoness fell onto the still burning human; her spine had been quartered and her heart and lungs similarly severed.
Ranma glared at the burning pile of human and demon and ceased her fires from burning. She hardly had time to notice how normal it had become for her to receive energy from her kills when another demon appeared.
This one looked to see what had been her mate torn apart and tossed onto what had ended up being the demon's last meal. "Integra!" the grey-haired demon cried. She then snarled at the intruding demons, her claws and tail filaments extended. She leapt at the redheaded demoness who dodged down and to the side.
Ranma turned to see another demoness standing by the remains of an overturned water-cooler. This one, a brunette, appeared to be a bit more powerful than the previous ones. Sailor DarkStar could sense that her kids were handling the grey-haired demoness.
Akane had dodged around the growling demoness. She looked to see her mate go in and trip the grey-haired demoness. Akane then flicked her tail up, intersecting the collection of razor sharp filaments with the demoness' head. The head was shredded into a pulp of mixed consistency. Surprisingly little blood sprayed from the destroyed skull.
Nariko felt the surge of energy go into her. She smiled at her mate — this kill was theirs. It was shared between them.
Akane returned the smile and licked her lips. A few drops of her prey's blood had splattered on her.
Sailor Orion managed to keep herself from vomiting, but it was difficult. The auburn-haired Sailor Senshi could not get what she saw out of her mind. In a meeting room they had just passed was a table. On it a young woman had been dissected. She was not the first body the Senshi had run across, but unlike the other bodies, this one was not torn apart. She was carefully sliced open and select organs and choice cuts of meat had been removed. Orion tightened the grip on her staff. To these monsters, humans were nothing more than food.
"You okay?" Mercury asked.
"No." Orion switched the orientation of her staff. She was careful to avoid hitting Venus. Orion and the blonde were in the front of the group.
"Trust me, she's not okay," Mars agreed from her rearguard position. She and Orion had been the pair to check out the meeting room.
"I hate that fire alarm!" Jupiter grumbled.
Sailor Moon's response was cut short by Orion's shout.
"A little help!" Sailor Orion thrust her staff forward and upward. The double edged silver blade of the weapon cut through a succubus’s shoulder and pinned her to the wall.
Sailor Moon looked the succubus over. The demon was not Ranma, nor one of Ranma's kids. She prepared her attack.
Growling, the pinned succubus pulled herself off the wall, ripping her shoulder open in the process.
"Crescent Beam!" Sailor Venus cried as she stumbled away from the demon's talons. The magical attack blasted through the demon who stumbled to the ground.
Orion looked at the broken demon and shuddered. She slammed her staff's blade into the succubus' chest and stepped back to allow Moon to finish the succubus off.
After the demon had been reduced to dust, Orion glanced down the narrow corridor. From somewhere above and ahead of them came the sounds of fighting. "I guess I feel a little bit better," she remarked as she watched the demon blood dripping from her blades.
Sailor DarkStar fired a fireball at the demon. It impacted with the brunette demon's flaming aura and splattered open. The two sets of flames battled briefly. The white and violet flames were then absorbed into the brunette's yellow ones.
The enemy succubus summoned a pair of fireballs and lobbed them at the demonic Sailor Senshi. The redhead dodged under the orbs and tried to connect with her target. Frustratingly, the brunette managed to sidestep and fire another volley at Sailor DarkStar.
The redhead rolled to the side and used her tail to sweep the other demon. The brunette avoided having her feet cut apart but at the cost of her balance. Continuing her motion, Sailor DarkStar thrust her arm into the brunette's chest. Her claws easily slid past the flaming aura, but her fingers and hand felt prickly and hot when they passed through it.
"Ha! Your stupid fire-shield can't block that can it?" Sailor DarkStar snarled as she pulled her arm back and let the freshly killed corpse fall to the ground. "Though that is a useful technique," she muttered to herself.
The cause of death was quite clear; the demon's ribcage had been punched through and a part of her had been torn out. That demon should have been easy to dispatch, but Ranma found her fireballs unable to penetrate that shield.
Instead, Ranma had had to fight her more intimately. The redhead admitted that the enemy demon had been quite fast and pretty skilled, but not skilled enough. The organ the redhead held in her hand was proof of that.
"Mother?" Akane asked as she walked over to see her mother take a small bite out of something in the redhead's hand. The blue-haired demon watched her mother's eyes flare with energy as she consumed the muscle.
Ranma smiled as she used one of her talons to cut the heart into three pieces. She then tossed the larger two to her daughters.
"Thanks Mommy," Nariko said as she gulped down the meat.
Akane's reaction was just as automatic. The piece of heart was caught and slipped down her throat. "Mother?" the demoness repeated. "What'd you do that for?"
"I wanted to share with you," Ranma said sweetly. The redhead looked into the corpse hungrily, but she had delayed more than enough. "Come on, this place hasn't been cleared yet!"
"What?" Sailor DarkStar asked, her eyes flaring slightly in irritation.
"Why'd you do that?"
"I'm sorry, but we don't have time for a full feeding," Ranma reprimanded, missing Akane's concern.
"We've got a secondary hit," Gabriel announced from his position at the Blackhawk's Ostar series Pattern scanner. "Multiple Pattern D's concentrated and not moving."
"Location?" Kasumi asked.
"One kilometer, north by northwest," Gabriel answered.
"Intercept them?" Kasumi queried command.
"Reinforcements are two minutes out," Jacob's voice transmitted into Kasumi's headset.
"Yes, you have a go," Stillwater ordered over the communications link. From his position at the head of WIC Toronto A's Command and Control Centre, he gave a brief glance to his executive officer.
The helicopter's pilot nodded and adjusted his course. Sophie and Aram gave the pair of door mounted M144 armament subsystems, each consisting of a 7.62mm M60D machinegun one final check and took position behind them.
"We're right on top of them," Gabriel stated after checking the range.
"I see movement in a large white van," Sophie said, just before the back doors of that vehicle burst open. "Shit!" the agent swore as what seemed to be a swarm of demons poured out. She depressed the trigger on the machinegun and raked the fire over the incoming demons.
The pilot twisted the helicopter around and increased the altitude. He knew full well what would happen if the demons reached the Black Hawk. As this happened, Kasumi shouldered her weapon and fired a pair of 20mm high explosive incendiary rounds into the van. The vehicle exploded with a flat crump and a somewhat bright flash.
"Anything left?" Sophie asked. She had stopped firing, but her finger still rested on the gun's trigger.
"I'm reading clear," Gabriel said.
"Request a cleanup team," Kasumi said before giving their coordinates. She gave one final glance at the fan of demonic body parts. Most of them were right by the remains of the van's rear end, but a few had managed to get a bit further before being shot down. "Sophie, go over the bodies again."
"Yes ma'am," the agent replied, depressing the trigger.
"You're skilled, Acolyte. A few years more experience and you might actually be a threat to me," Alexia allowed with a slight smirk.
Ryoga kept silent and tried to press on with his sword. The green aura surrounding him and his blade had begun to dim. The Assemblyman concentrated. He had another ability; he might as well try it. Father Oslo had taught him that one personally. Ryoga's mentor had told him the technique was a sacred one the Assembly of Man had developed. In reality, its origins were much more mundane. The Assembly had procured it from a mining engineer.
Ryoga concentrated, and the aura around his arms intensified. He tilted his sword to one hand, cupped his other hand, held the two next to each other, and shouted. "Shishi Hokodan!"
A bright sickly-green bolt shot out from Ryoga and sped to the demoness who intensified her shield and tried to step to the side. It sliced through her flaming aura and hit her body near the left hip. The blast sheared through the demoness tearing a large chunk out of her.
"Insolence!" Alexia's eyes flared, and she spawned a pair of fireballs that she pitched at the human.
Ryoga gritted his teeth and concentrated on strengthening his aura. Twin fireballs slammed into him… shattered, ignited, but his aura held. The exertion and the heat leaking through caused his sweating to increase. The demon's wound was healing alarmingly fast.
Alexia lazily lobbed another fireball at him. The magical napalm contained within this one splashed onto Ryoga's green aura. It added to the flames that were already clinging to him. The demoness waved her hand and the flames intensified.
Ryoga snarled and tapped into his powers. The aura surrounding him expanded spreading into Alexia's flames and snuffed them out. The acolyte then stared the demon down and readied his sword.
"Interesting," The unusually tanned succubus smirked. He has quite the potential. He could be very useful, Alexia thought. As she dodged the Assemblyman's blows her grin grew. Even in his worn down state he was… impressive. "I've come to a decision, human," the demon said as she grabbed his blade. Where she held it, the green light on the blade snuffed out. No longer holding back, the demoness wrenched the weapon out of the acolyte's hands and flung it across the room. Eyes of a darker shade of green met the human's.
Ryoga rallied what remained of his power and attacked. His training, his morals, told him to fight to the very end. However when his eyes locked into hers, his will faltered.
Alexia smirked. Ryoga froze. A small trickle of blood started to drip from his left nostril. "I guess I pushed you a little hard," she laughed, watching a small trickle of blood drip out of his right nostril.
Ryoga tried to move his body but found that it was not just his powers that were dimming. He tried to fight her presence, to block out the influence. "Ukyou was right; we should have called for more support. At least she got away…" Ryoga mumbled not quite realizing he was actually talking. "I can't believe it. I never even got the chance to kill Ranma!" Ryoga snarled and managed to clench his fists just before falling forward…
….into the demoness' waiting arms. "Oh, I think you'll get your chance," Alexia said to the unconscious demon hunter as she hoisted him on her back.
Sailor DarkStar ran into what used to be a copy room. At one end of the long room was a damaged human who was fending off a group of succubae.
The demonesses turned from their prey to see another trio of blood-spattered, leather-clad demons. The tallest, a grey-eyed succubus with dark green hair and a face and scent that Ranma found strangely familiar.
"Stop or the human dies," the green haired succubus said as she summoned a black and green fireball. She felt silly using a mere human as a hostage, but Mistress Alexia had said such a maneuver would work.
Ranma narrowed her eyes and made a fireball of her own. "You're dead. All of you," the demonic magical girl swore in a level voice.
Ukyou tried to keep her weapon held ready, but her fatigue and damage made the weight of it problematic. She had seen rival demon clans fight before. Hopefully the two groups would decimate each other enough for her to be able to kill those that remained.
"Really, now?" the green-haired succubus laughed as small flickering flames surrounded her and her two companions
Sailor DarkStar paused. She hated those damn auras. The redhead concentrated and felt the orb within her hands… shift. "DarkStar Burst!" the redhead shouted as the orb propelled itself from her hands.
The green-haired demoness saw what looked like a glossy black sphere leap out of the redhead's hands and zoom towards her. She growled and tried to release her fireball.
Ranma watched the sphere travel. Before it impacted, she could almost make out small swirls of violet, crimson, and silver either in the orb or on its surface. It hit the green-haired demon's aura and exploded. Black shards exploded outward, passed through their auras, and sliced into the three succubae; they exploded in secondary bursts.
Riddled with flaming holes, Alexia's demons crumpled onto the floor.
"Wow… nice, Mother," Akane said.
As she absorbed their energy, Sailor DarkStar looked over the broken bodies. Two were clearly dead; they had been torn apart. The third was slightly less damaged. The lead succubus' grey eyes flared in anger and then dimmed.
It was then that Ranma was able to place the familiarity. The redhead was reminded of the young succubus with light green hair; the one that Captain Jarvis questioned. Their scents were close enough that they could have been sisters… or, perhaps before Alexia turned them, brothers.
"What a lame name though. My attack sounds like some sort of evil candy." Sailor DarkStar shook her head. "Oh no…" The demoness ran over to the human. She was slumped against the wall and had been hit on the arm by one demon's fireball and grazed in the leg by a DarkStar Burst shard.
"How bad is she, Mommy?" Nariko asked as she kept a watch on the doorway they had entered.
"Can you talk?" Ranma asked the strangely familiar teenage girl. Having a fair idea what this girl's profession was, she kept some distance and eyed the girl's hands.
Ukyou's eyes focused on the redhead kneeling before her. She groaned and tightened her grip on her weapon
"Akane! Nariko! Get some medics! I sensed WIC on the lower floors," Ranma explained.
"Hold in there. You're not so bad," Ranma reassured the human. She could sense that the human was not dying and in no need of… turning. The redhead puzzled over who this girl was and what she was doing. It was obvious she was some sort of demon hunter, and very likely she was in the Assembly. She was dressed in a similar set of armor, cloak, and pants as Ryoga. Ranma supposed that was where she had seen this girl. She was an old friend of Ryoga.
"Do you know where Ryoga is?" Sailor DarkStar cautiously asked. She was unable to sense that acolyte's very strong signature.
"Demons," Ukyou stated before losing consciousness.
"There was one very strong Pattern D we have not accounted for; this could be the one known as Alexia. We're going to do a full sweep of the building, while our aerial teams scan the vicinity," Captain Jarvis said to the agents and magical girls that had assembled in the building's lobby. "Lt. Morrison take your team and sweep the—" Jarvis stopped to see a group of demons fly down the stairs and into the entranceway. He was relived that his men kept their weapons ready, but did not point them at the Pattern D's.
"Someone survived up there?" Sailor Orion asked, when she noticed the stretcher being carried by WIC medics.
"She's from another organization, the Assembly of Man. I suppose Command will call them and tell 'em we've got one of their men and send her back," Jarvis explained.
Sailor Mars concentrated on the casualty and tried to block out the blood splattered demons.
"You didn't find Alexia," Sailor DarkStar observed.
"No. We only ran into a pretty weak demon," Sailor Jupiter said.
"Just one?! I had to fight like a dozen of them! And there are, what, six of you?!" Sailor DarkStar exaggerated as she watched the medics rush the Assembly acolyte to a waiting vehicle.
"I knew the Assembly would be trouble," Jacob noted sourly. He was standing next to Commander Stillwater in the Command and Control Center
"Yes, now we've got one wounded and what looks like another missing. I suppose we could say a demon ate that acolyte," Stillwater grumbled.
"We'll go over the bodies. Something should be left… unless Alexia took him," Jacob replied.
"I'm not fully convinced Alexia was even here. We've searched the building and the surrounding area."
"I'll have the scanner logs checked and matched to what Forensic Pathology Section finds. Maybe that powerful Pattern D was killed. Or maybe Alexia teleported out before we got our jammers in place."
"Hell, maybe she teleported out after we got our jammers in place," Stillwater responded.
"That would be an unpleasant thought."
To be continued.
Author's Notes: Thanks goes to my prereaders for enduring my mistakes and making this story better: Jerry Starfire, Black Dragon, Joe Fenton, Wray Loflin, Burger Bill, Kevin D. Hammel, and Mike Koos.
Special thanks goes to Burger Bill for his work on writing the first part of Murdock scene.
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