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Sailor Ranma

by Cheb

A/N#1: This here is my take on Fire's brilliant Sailor Ranko, my own version that is aimed to be fanon-free, based purely on the manga, for both the Ranma and Sailor Moon continuity. For Ranma (post-Kumon Ryu) it's mostly purification (and restoring their proper power levels). For Sailor Moon (the start of the Black Moon Arc)... If you don't know yet, the manga is a completely different continuity from anime. The Senshi here aren't depowered. Their enemies aren't censored to become family-friendly. No civilian is safe from gruesome death in the true, primeval Sailor Moon Canon. No Sailor Senshi is too squeamish to kill her opponents, swiftly and mercilessly. It's the continuity where Beryl was finished with a sword to the gut. It's the continuity where Sailor Moon had to cut the possessed Tuxedo Mask down attempting then to end her own life with the same sword. It's just very sad really.

So, as you can see, I'm not making things Darker and Edgier, I just return to the roots. The Sailor Moon most of you know wasn't created by Takeuchi Naoko. It's a heavily modified AU crafted by at least five different anime directors the most prominent of which is Kunihiku Ikuhara.

Chapter one.
Scarred by the Dark Flame.

The warm night was quiet, with only occasional dog barking from somewhere. The most prominent sound was the steady clicking of Akane's wooden sandals on the asphalt. She and Ranma strode along the narrow streets of Nerima brightly lit with ubiquitous fluorescent street lamps. With the sky clear, there was no ambient light from above so deep shadows lay everywhere the street light couldn't reach. An occasional nook or walking space between properties, the yawning pits of darkness. The trees along the center of a boulevard shrouding the lawn in shadow. But the park ahead was the true realm of darkness, with street lights only along its main alleys, spaced far too far away from each other.

Their mood was rather matching, a forced outward nonchalance laden with tension and dark thoughts like air before the thunderstorm. Akane tried hard to appear confident and casual but she didn't fool Ranma. He didn't miss her eyes darting from side to side at the slightest hint of movement in the shadows. Damn it, he thought sullenly, imagining his pops and Tendou-jisan as those walked down some other street now, full of bluster and confident laugh just to hide their own uneasiness.

The whole matter stank of danger to him, and not the kind he liked. Well, he wasn't in a sunny mood lately, with the recent nightmares and stuff, so when the city representatives showed up begging for help from the famous doujo he just took it as the sign that things were going to get even crappier. It came out he was too damn right. Things didn't just get crappier they rolled right down the gutter. Well, he already knew of the latest media fancy, these “spontaneous combustion” cases spreading around the globe, but he was just dismissing the stupid hype not even bothering with the details to know why these events attracted so much attention. Like he cared if some nut in Germany or Britain set himself on fire to get famous.

Well, now the ugly... something came right to his doorstep. He couldn't remember the guy who died, a complete nobody from the Kunou-“sempai”'s class. Heck, it wasn't even clear that this wasn't caused by some home-made concotion going awry; after all, the poor sap did belong to that nutty chemistry club. But again, it's not every day a young man suddenly turns into a charred, burnt out corpse clad in a mysteriously well preserved white shirt of the Furinkan school uniform. The city council, doubtful the police could do anything, came right to the ones who made a living off hunting monsters and ghosts.

Well, their opinion matched Ranma's in this matter. Not that he thought bad of the cops, they were mostly okay guys, if a bit too persistent after pops did something spectacularly stupid, but they just didn't have it in them to dig through this one. Nah, Ranma dismissed the thought that cops would find the one who could make the guy burn from inside out to cinders while leaving his shirt intact. Well, unless a jealous girlfriend pumped him full of gasoline... Eww. Ranma shook his head. Not even his suitors, including Kodachi, were so twisted. And he had the most fiery girls after him, yeah. Well, Ranma wouldn't dismiss the idea of a love potion gone bad, either. What an unpleasant thought.

To top things off, he still couldn't shake that nightmare out of his head. He didn't want to remember, it was just a vague, ugly nightmare. There was nothing to remember. It wasn't real, nothing more than fractured, nonsensical shards of madness... The gale force blizzard howling in the ruined husk of the Tendou residence, the all-consuming rush of hatred, the blood on his hands, and Akane who... Dammit! He grit his teeth and whacked himself good, making a sharp sound. Akane frowned casting a nervous glance at him.

Well done, Saotome, well done, he congratulated himself. Make her even more nervous, will you? But the picture of her... He just couldn't stand it! It was so horrific... Enough! He just wanted that nightmare to go the hell away, shoo, scram, and stop bothering him.

“Are you all right, Ranma?” Akane asked as she stopped to turn to him.

“Don't worry, I'm good,” he lied noticing with disgust that they were deep in the park now. Damn it, he was really aware of his surroundings, wasn't he? “Let's go,” he said a little too sharply, angry at himself like hell. Who was he, some untrained wannabe? He already had one to worry about!

“Well, if you say so,” Akane replied in a tone that made no doubt she didn't believe him. “We still have a park to check.”

Which was a waste of time in his opinion, there was little chance to stumble onto the bastard who liked setting people on fire. The whole idea made his blood boil with rage but he knew it would be very hard to track someone who didn't come out to fight openly.

Halfway through the park they both noticed a strange light reaching through the canopy. “What is that? A helicopter?” Akane asked if just to reassure herself.

“It's too quiet for a helicopter,” Ranma replied, his hackles rising for some reason. The mysterious light went down disappearing behind the trees. “Let's sneak up on 'em.”

Akane nodded and followed him. He had to admit, she wasn't half bad at stealth. If only she could cook as good as she threw things... Throwing was the only art she was good at. Not as good as him, of course, but really good. If she only could dodge that good. He didn't like the idea there could be some flying nut beyond these trees, someone as dangerous as Herb or Rouge.

The mysterious light gone out, the clearing ahead drowned in deep shadows its closest edge barely lit by the faraway street lights. That was enough for them to notice a small girl, six or maybe seven years old, who stood peeking into the shadow-shrouded expanse of grass from behind a tree. She was fully in their line of sight.

“What is she doing here?” Akane asked in worry.

The girl stopped hiding and stepped onto the open. She seemed fascinated with something on the clearing they couldn't yet discern in the deep shadows.

“I don't know but I have a bad feeling,” Ranma whispered in reply, already moving to intercept the kid. “Let's...”

The girl burst into flames, the roaring fire ruining their night vision with its angry reddish glow. Her high-pitched shriek was soon joined with Akane's horrified scream. The Tendou heir rushed forward blindly, focused solely on putting the fire out.

Having no other choice, Ranma launched himself forward intent on distracting the unseen foe from his headstrong fiancee. Whoever did that to the little girl, it was no natural phenomena. He was sure of that. It had to be some inhuman thing, like that acid-spitting alien from space or maybe a demon escaped from Hell or a vengeful spirit...

He was slightly surprised to find a shapely woman in some sort of fluffy skirt thingie. Well, that didn't matter much. She was still an inhuman thing who preyed on the defenseless. He took it all at once. She stood in front of a line of black vaguely human-like shapes. There was a cruel smirk on her lips, her outstretched hand rising again. Pointing at the little girl who was as good as gone. Pointing at Akane... In the fraction of a second his fiance had left to live, Ranma tumbled frantically grabbing a dry branch and flinging it like a spear at the enemy.

When he came out of his tumble, there was surprise on her face, the cinders of the branch falling around her slowly, Akane forgotten. The bitch was slow, she hadn't even noticed him yet! Seeing her blinded by her own fire Ranma didn't waste any time looking a gift horse in the mouth. Exerting a Herculean effort he slipped into the Thousand Seas Fist invisibility technique. It was hard, oh so hard, to stay calm, but the Soul of Ice training allowed him to manage. The little girl was silent now but Akane's anguished scream told him all he had to know. He slipped between the woman-shaped abomination and the line of silent, unmoving, non-living figures dismissing these as not being a threat. He stood still for a moment, focusing himself. The circumstances notwithstanding, a decision to kill wasn't the one to be made in the heat of a moment.

The little girl now just a shapeless charred mass, Akane was still screaming, this time in pain, desperately patting at her dogi burning in dozen places at once. She was on the way of becoming a living torch herself — unless she did the smart thing and shed the flaming garment. If the cursed fire could be stopped that easily.

And the bitch was raising her hand again. The next moment Ranma moved, his hand outstretched like a claw, aiming the White Snake Reliable Fist at her unprotected back, suddenly having absolutely no qualms about ripping her heart out. If that stopped her from hurting defenseless people, then so be it. The flames of the fire mercilessly eating up its victim reflected in his eyes turning the windows of his soul into blazing eyes of an avenging god.

The flame barrier sprang into existence when he was almost on top of the enemy, a perfectly complete cocoon of swirling flame making Ranma dodge desperately to the side. Darn it, he thought with a sinking feeling. She saw right through his move, the ultimate backstabbing strike he executed nigh perfectly! If she was that good...

Then he almost tripped in confusion. Completely disregarding him, she was still turning towards the direction he attacked her from! And it looked like she failed to even notice him dashing past her, even with their surroundings reasonably well lit now. Ranma blinked, not understanding. She seemed laughably slow and barely observant. And yet, she managed to avoid a sure-kill strike with an unnatural ease. All the while failing to notice his presence!

He skidded to a stop, crouching, trying to figure the enemy out. The woman, somewhere in her twenties, wore a form-fitting suit patterned with thin vertical stripes running its entire length, a fluffy mass of feathers forming a voluminous decorative skirt obscuring her hips. She didn't move like she knew how to fight, and yet she practically radiated a twisted, uncontrolled power. Everything about her was just wrong. Ranma had his share of encounters with oni and youkai to know her aura was nothing like theirs, it evoked a feeling of something vile and alien. Was she a true demon from Hell? Or was she just possessed by one? He had no time to find that out, with too much at stake.

Ranma snarled firing a quick ki blast to test her defenses. Almost too slowly, she replied with an imperious gesture flinging a whip of liquid flame that cut through the ball of life energy making it sputter impotently. At first, there was unease in her posture, a balm to his heart. But as soon as she turned around and finally saw him, it was replaced with haughty confidence. It was Ranma's turn to dodge and he found it surprisingly hard. She seemed to anticipate his moves no matter which feints he tried to use.

Thankfully, she was still ridiculously slow and telegraphed her moves widely. The fight — well, mostly dodging on his part — was a weird, disquieting experience for Ranma. His opponent pulled a grandmaster's move after another while not even knowing the basics!

Still, it was a dance with death. One glance at the points where the flame struck told him that one failed dodge and it would be over for him. The fire burned brightly, hungrily, consuming the trees and bushes. Consuming a concrete bench with the same ease. So he rolled and dodged and tumbled still trying to think of a way to beat his enemy's strange prescience. As slow as she was, she only had to move one hand while he had to move his whole body.

His attempt to get close was cut short as the enemy let a wide torrent of fire from her outstretched palms all the while hopping backwards as lightly as if she was levitating. A raging pyre rose where he would have been if not him seeing her ridiculously slow preparation for her attack. Quite disconcerting considering he stacked at least two layers of feints to hide his true intention. The Rising Dragon Rampage was out of question as the enemy didn't try to chase him, content with trying to blast him from a stationary position. He shot another, full-power Tiger Domineering barely dodging her counterattack for his trouble while she disrupted the ki blast with suspicious ease. Pierced with her flaming stream, it simply fizzled out, too quietly for all the energy he put into it.

He contemplated unleashing the second one of the sealed schools. Granted, he wasn't trained in it, he just knew theory and learned most of the counters for it, but...

The next moment he had no more time to think. The woman smirked evilly pointing her other hand towards where Akane was. Tumbling through the air, Ranma made a desperate attempt to mimic the technique he never performed himself. A sloppy but still deadly arc of vacuum blade flew at the enemy as he threw his arms wide. She reacted with her characteristic slowness, the vacuum blade shattering on a fiery cocoon that flared in the nick of time when the deadly arc was almost upon her. But this time he saw it clearly, affirming his suspicions. As slow she was, her expression started to turn into a mask of fear before he even started his move. Before he even aimed. It happened at the moment he made his decision to unleash the Thousand Mountains Fist. The bitch could either read his mind or see into the future. Most probably the latter as she did her shtick even before knowing of his presence.

Sure, she came out unscathed. But there was fear reading openly in her entire posture now.

Ranma smirked evilly, preparing to fire off as much vacuum blades as his arms could stand. Granted, he didn't know the true ultimate move of the Thousand Mountains Fist, but he could pull of a suitable replacement using the one he was sure now he could perform with his Chestnut Fist training. He grinned evilly anticipating the tiny pieces the bitch would be cut to, with no chance to dodge, no chance to block all the vacuum blades...

She backed in horror. Then she fled disappearing into the thin air in the cone of light that suddenly shone from above. A moderate-sized flying saucer hung there overhead for a second longer then flared failing rapidly away into the sky. The line of human-like figures came to life attacking him with an inarticulate screech, their black shapes like devils in the dull hellish glow of a thousand small fires around. He tore into these pathetic wooden mannequins in a fit of blinding hatred, a rare moment of not holding back anything, not hiding his true strength.

When he came to, his knuckles were bleeding, his forehead itched fiercely, a few wooden chips stuck into his flesh from where the iron-hard wood just exploded leaving nothing but splinters and sawdust in the enraged martial artist's wake.

Then came the moment to turn towards where Akane was. But he suddenly found himself to make such a simple move. Come on, he told himself. She'd be all right, you will see. But that didn't help. He found himself shaking, he was terrified.

After what felt like eternity, the decision was taken out of his hands. The sounds of barely audible but unmistakable sobbing... Trembling, he turned around, relief already flooding him.

She sat there sobbing, scalded in too many places to count but alive. He stepped toward, his eyes watering by some reason he refused to admit. Her dogi was gone, angry red spots all over her body. Her bra melted in one spot sticking to her side, blisters already forming on her hands and ankles — shed'be lucky not to have scars afterward.

And yet, she was numb to her own pain crying over a small, half-crumbled skeleton. There wasn't even a smell of burnt flesh anymore, just ash and blackened bones piled on the green, unburnt grass.

Akane lifted her eyes to look up at him, tears still running freely. He knew what she felt. They both did their best, and they both failed.

“Just hold on,” he told her starting to panic. “I'll carry you to the hospital.” He didn't want to move her as there was no way to lift her up without holding onto one patch of scalded skin or another, which would be very painful for her. But these burns had to be treated quickly! And he had nothing at hand that would be of any use, these weren't injuries that could be treated with a band-aid or a simple bandage. He tried to employ the Body of Ice technique but failed miserably, he was too worked up. All he could do was to carry her to a hospital.

Ranma gulped down the huge dry lump in his throat and picked Akane up as gently as possible. She didn't react, though, just sobbed quietly having seemingly fallen into stupor. He leaped away carrying her and then there were no one in the ruined park section, only the dying fires crackled quietly and the child's corpse which would now lay still forever.

* * *

In Juuban, a shrine maiden just woke up from a nightmare where some woman burned a small girl then was viciously attacked by some guy who moved like a berserk dervish.

It was all vague and inconclusive, just misty black shapes battling each other in the darkness suffused with fire. The woman was obviously an enemy of sort they hadn't met before. Who was the guy then? Was he the one with the black crescent on his forehead, one who appeared in the sacred fire yesterday when it suddenly died? Or was it someone else?

* * *

The medical staff wheeled Akane away on a gurney, politely but firmly forbidding Ranma to follow her. He went to the public phone in the reception area, to send a warning. This wasn't what he would usually do, but as far as he was concerned, no one was safe, so he felt obliged to at least warn those who would listen to him about the enemy's abilities.

With heavy heart he dialed for the Tendou residence silently praying that it wasn't Akane's father who answered the phone.

His luck held, as bleak as it was. The call was answered by Kasumi. Feeling his throat go dry, he hastily asked her to call Genma. He was so afraid of talking to her directly.

“Oh, what a coincidence, Ranma-kun,” she said. “They have just returned from their patrolling. But where are you? Are you both all right?”

“Yeah,” Ranma felt highly uncomfortable lying to her. “I'll tell you later. Just call pops, please.” This came out almost as a plea.

A few moments later there was Genma's voice: “What happened, son? Why are you calling me? Is everything...”

“In the hospital,” Ranma interrupted him eliciting a muffled “What?!” from the other end. Well, there was no sense is dragging this out. “Akane got burns.”

The next “What?!” that came towards him sounded more like a bellow. “How could you let this happen!”

“I was fighting that bitch, all right?”Ranma shot back angrily. Then added, much quieter: “The tomboy just tried to put the burning kid out.”

“That bitch? The burning kid?” Genma quickly put two and two together. His son wasn't known for using the strong expletives freely, considering them low-class. “So you have found the monster. Tell me what happened.”

“Well, we first noticed a strange light over the trees in the park,” Ranma shuddered at the memories feeling just now, outside the combat, how grisly the scene was. “We followed it and found a small girl. But before we could do anything, the girl burst into flames...”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. There was no shout, no warning...” Ranma grit his teeth. “That... That bitch has only to point her finger and anything she points at catches fire. And it's a bad fire, I tell you. Nothing can put it out. Well, the tomboy tried but just burned her hands and set her dogi on fire. That girl burned down to bones anyway.”

“How bad is it?” Genma asked, his voice concerned now.

“She'll be fine,” Ranma reassured him. “It's just second-degree burns, mostly on her hands and feet, with first-degree in spots all over the rest of the body.” He frowned. “May have scars on her hands left, though.”

“So that's how it is...” Genma sighed. “I hope you got the monster?”

“No,” Ranma felt his cheeks burning in shame. “She got away.”

“What?” Genma cried out, clearly indignant. “How did you let her?”

“She had that flying saucer thingy, all right?!” Ranma shouted, insulted. “When she saw I had her, she just vanished into the thin air!”

“I see...” Genma sighed, hiding his disappointment.

“And, pops... Be careful, all right? She's strong, and she's a complete bitch. I had to unseal the schools just to stop her from burning Akane.”

The next “What?!” was shocked.

“Yeah. When we fought, she tried a couple times to aim at Akane while she was open trying to help the kid.”

“Disgusting,” Genma growled, obviously thinking of Kasumi and his own wife. “So she is strong, you say?”

“Yeah. And, pops, she is... She is all wrong. She's not a martial artist, clear as day. She is slow, slower that Akane, but she sees into the future. So you just cannot catch her by surprise. Heavens know, I tried! You cannot fight her hand to hand, she has some sort of flame barrier that surrounds her completely if you get too close. And no feint would let you go around that, she just sees through them all. And she can swat a ki blast away like a fly. So the Demon God Assault Shot was the only move that got her at least scared.”

“I see,” Genma said gravely.

“Ah, and she's a one... uh... busty woman,” Ranma added as an afterthought. “Just below my height, her hair medium length, made into two cones on the sides of her head, like, uh, cat ears. She wore a form-fitting white suit all in vertical black strips, and a black tutu made of feathers, like a duster. Also there was...” He paused. “There was a black crescent on her forehead and something glittery above it, in her hair... That's all.”

“Hmm...” Genma drawled thoughtfully. “A shapely woman, you say?”

“Uh... Yeah,” Ranma affirmed unsure what to make of his father's words.

“Maybe the dreaded Master...” Genma thought aloud.

“Well, it would be a good riddance, if he managed to get her. He'd at least die a hero then.” Ranma paused scratching his head. “But I doubt he has it in him to harm her. Nah, it would be sending the old lecher to his certain death.”

“Hmm... So we should contemplate this matter carefully,” Genma's voice turned preachy. “Well done, son. I'll warn that old woman and others. You stay there, at your fiancee's side. You know how bad the girls get upset about anything affecting their looks and Akane-kun would undoubtedly feel angst out of fear that the burns she got could leave scars... er.. ack...”

Hearing the sharp cracks as if the receiver on the other end was dropped, followed by an ominous, rolling thunder sounding suspiciously like “SA-O-TO-ME- KU-U-U-N!!!”, Ranma shuddered and delicately put the receiver down. Then he put his palms together reciting a quick prayer for his father. Tendou-jisan could be outright terrifying even in the quite mild situations. Ranma was very glad he wasn't there to explain the situation in person.

“Guess I'll have to warn the old ghoul myself.” He turned to the two inspectors who thought they crept up on him inconspicuously. Heh, as if. “Well, I guess as you guys heard it all...”

“I'm sorry,” the older of the glaringly average men said, “But we have to get your written testimony.”

“Just great,” Ranma grumbled.

* * *

Nabiki suddenly found herself crawling backwards on her butt, her legs backpedaling desperately trying to find purchase, scream stuck in her throat like a choking plug. This wasn't your usual Demon Head she'd dismiss with a casual nonchalance. Oh no, this thing was huge as a mountain towering omonously — thankfully, not over her but over the poor uncle Genma. Who was doing his best “Carp on the cutting board” ever.

“What did you say, Saotome-kun?” the head rumbled menacingly, Souun tiny and easily dismissible next to it. Were these storm clouds it parted with its forehead?

Genma did not answer, he just made his ridiculous pose even more perfect, his eyes bulged, his mouth forming outstretched “o”.

“Oh my,” Kasumi injected quietly. “It seems, uncle Saotome has lost his consciousness...”

The demon head frowned mightily, its bulging eyes focused on the frozen form of Genma. Then it deflated rapidly losing its power. Nabiki noticed, at last, the wall behind her back — the sole reason she couldn't back away further — and stood up patting herself down in attempt to save what was left of her dignity and also to hide the fact her legs were shaking. “I'm going to bed,” she announced in an almost casual voice. “I have a school tomorrow, after all.”

“Waaaaah,” the tears gushed forth in powerful streams. “My baby girl would never be able to marry...!”

Nabiki hastened her steps fleeing to her room. What did Ranma-kun do this time to earn such a powerful reaction? It couldn't be that he...?

* * *

Hours later, Ranma sat beside Akane in the ambulance transporting her to another hospital, somewhere in Juuban or the like, he hadn't have payed much attention. Those cops sure were pushy. Feh, like he'd ever spill the details of any top-level techniques to complete strangers. Who did they think he was?

At least the kid would get a proper burial, they'd be able to find who she was and notify her parents. He shivered. He wasn't girly sensitive or stuff, but things like that could make even men cry. This kind of pain... He'd never wish it on anyone. Even Kodachi. Even the old lecher.

Akane lay silent in her half-asleep state. After the pain subsided, chased away by the salves and medications, she felt weak as a kitten. She watched sleepily as the city lights floated by, foggy and indistinct through the shaded windows of the brightly lit ambulance car.

“How are you?” Ranma asked her, an uncharacteristic concern in his voice.

“Fine” she breathed out after a long pause.

He scrunched his nose. Damn it, with her being so stubborn it was often hard to tell if she was really fine or just braved the pain.

“Looks like we're arriving,” he told her. “I'll call home after they get you settled. What do you want me to say them?”

But she was already asleep.

* * *

The mood of the two fathers sitting across each other at the shogi board was stoic. After Souun cried himself to exhaustion, Saotome-kun rose from his unconsciousness and told him the complete story. So, that's how it was. The martial artist's path was fraught with peril, and that included his girl. He just wasn't too good at accepting this, it seems.

Souun solemnly moved his piece. In this harsh and merciless world, his daughters were his only light. But as much as it prided him to see one of them take to the family Art, it also put her in the danger threatening that her light could be lost forever. Ah, if only his wife was still here... But he wouldn't cry anymore today, he vowed to himself.

Saotome-kun went to answer the phone but Souun wasn't in the mood to cheat. When the old friend returned, there was a conspiratorial gleam in his eyes, his grin threatening to spill uncontrollably wide.

So there were good news then? Souun's spirit soared. “What? What is it?” He asked jumping to his feet, his vow not to cry forgotten.

“They've moved Akane to the Juuban hospital,” Genma explained in a conspiratorial whisper. “The burns ward there is so good there's no way she'd have any scars.”

“So my little girl would be all right!” Souun beamed, tears gushing out.

“Not only that, my friend!” Genma was ecstatic. “Ranma will stay there to watch over her as her only available relative! Do you catch my drift?”

“Ah! Ah, I see! Seeing her injured he will surely overcome his shyness and they'll fall for each other in no time!”

“Not only that, but these other girls wouldn't be able to find them!”

“So there would be no distractions for their budding love!”

“We should celebrate that!” both men shouted in unison.

Unfortunately, their following celebration was cut short.

“Father, have you looked at the time?” Nabiki's voice that reached them from upstairs sounded verily irritated. “It's four in the morning!”

* * *

Ranma sat at the bed watching Akane's sleeping form. Her hands laying on top of her blanket were heavily bandaged resembling those of a mummy.

He suddenly remembered these hands covered with gore as they tore into the broken form of Nabiki, the twitching fingers curled into vicious claws... Arrrgh! Having just been subjected to things as bad if not worse, he swatted the nightmare away like an especially disgusting and pestilent dung-fly.

He forced himself to relax, looking at his fiancee's face instead. It was twitching at times, her brow furrowing, her eyes under the closed eyelids darting from side to side. “Now you'll have nightmares too,” he whispered gloomily. It was just unfair! He'd never think things would turn out like this. Why wasn't it him who got hurt? He just didn't know how to deal with this, he was totally unprepared that someone so close... Ahem... So familiar to him could suffer while he couldn't do a thing to make them better. To think of it, the circle of people close to him have mostly consisted of pops. And pops wasn't someone who'd let anyone make himself suffer. Well, unless he really asked for it, but that didn't count. Pops was a tough old sneak.

The uncute tomboy, on the other hand... He was truly at a loss what to do here. The minutes slowly ticked by, the painfully long chunks of inaction. He felt a burning desire to make things if not right then at least better.

Damn it all, such a complete bastards weren't supposed to get so powerful! He and pops have stomped on their share of such scum, these types just didn't have it in them what takes to work on yourself hard enough to get there! And his assessment of The Bitch, as he got already used to call her, only proved that. She probably have gotten her hands on some powerful magic — or some aliend tech mumbo-jumbo. Then all one had to do was taking the toy from her... Then, payback time!

He looked outside, at the pre-dawn sky becoming lighter and lighter. Stopping that thing from hurting someone else... The need to do that had nothing to do with the indecisive outcome of their fight. He fiercely scratched at his itching forehead finding no wounds nor mosquito bites there. I'm just getting itchy for action, he told himself.

“I'm sorry,” he finally told Akane, sure she didn't hear him. “But it's my duty now.” The sleeping girl didn't reply. “I mean, stopping her. Who else if not the best, right?” His lop-sided grin was forced. “I promised pops I'll watch over you, but you're a strong girl,” he told her while moving to the window and quietly opening it, “strong as gorilla. You'll be fine.” He hopped up to the window-still. “I will hunt that bitch,” he promised quietly over his shoulder. “I will hunt her down and crush her.” Somehow, he felt he could just do that.

When he was gone, the short-haired girl in the bed pried one eye open. Like hell would she let him go alone while she lays here like a some spoiled brat. She'd have to... At this, the light fever coupled with exhaustion clouded her thoughts forcing her body into a much needed sleep.

End of Chapter One

* * *

A/N: #1 Them Sailor Moon enemies aren't just heavy hitters, they are psychics and espers and stuff. Well, the Sailor Senshi too — this kinda stuff is not limited to Rei unlike the anime. But the strongest of them is Mamoru.

A/N #2 Did you know that the ghost cat Mao Mao Lin is a youkai? Well, at least he thinks of himself as one.

* * *

Thanks for C&C to:
 — frice2000
 — three headed dog
 — Sailor Sedai (Ellf)

Last correction: June 19, 2010