“Blood Calls Out For Blood”
A Ranma ˝ / Sailor Moon Crossover
Sailor Moon and all related properties are properties of Naoko Takeuchi. Ranma ˝ and all related properties are properties of Rumiko Takahashi. This story is inspired by Vaughan Stevens’ “Recruiting” and I owe him a debt of gratitude for a good story and inspiration.
The sun began to rise as Saotome Kaiba worked through a kata. To an outside observer, it seemed like a graceful dance, but to one of the two people within the shell, it was painfully clumsy. << This is going to take a lot of work, >> one thought to herself.
<< Well, I wasn’t a martial artist, >> the other admitted.
<< I’m not blaming you, just pointing out that we’ve got a lot of work to do. >>
She finished the kata, and rubbed at her shoulder. << We’ve got a lot of work to do today, don’t we? >>
As Kaiba stepped into the kitchen, she passed Setsuna without noticing her. The elder Senshi sipped her coffee and watched Kaiba thoughtfully. << That we do. We have to speak to both of our mothers. I have to admit, I’m more worried about speaking to your mother than I am to mine, >> Kaiba continued to think to herself.
“Can we talk, Kaiba-chan?” Setsuna said softly, causing Kaiba to spin, slipping smoothly into combat mode before realizing her assailant was one of her mentors.
“We’ve got to learn how you do that,” Kaiba said, shaking her head and clutching her chest as she tried to calm down. “Yes, certainly, Setsuna-san.”
Setsuna tried not to frown at the pluralism in the pronoun. She gestured to a chair while pouring Kaiba a cup of tea. “I was wondering if you had any ideas on how you are going to deal with your parents.”
Kaiba took the tea, wrapping her hands about the warm cup. “We’re not sure, to be honest. We have three people to deal with. Genma, Nodoka and Rieko.” Setsuna’s eyes hardened almost imperceptibly at the first. “To be honest, I’d just as soon not deal with Genma again.” She took a sip from the tea, brow creasing. “We know the panda’s uses and they are quite few, and none of them are worth the harassment we would receive. We are no longer the ‘man among men’ he sought, nor the ‘pure martial artist’ he forged, nor do we wish to be anymore.”
Setsuna nodded in approval. “I would have to agree. Perhaps the only one from your previous life who would be more of a hindrance would be Happosai.”
Kaiba shuddered and nodded softly. “He is the last person we ever want to see. The old lecher would be even more of a problem to all of us. Though, if he ever touches Usagi, he’s hentai au pate.” A slightly malicious smirk crossed her face, though it didn’t fit too well.
Setsuna smirked a bit. “There won’t be that much left of him,” she replied.
Kaiba nodded. "Anyway, now we come to Nodoka. We... Well, she has apparently already accepted what we are. We could be wrong, but unless she has objections to our participation as Senshi we should be alright there." Her voice was logical, calculating, cold, but Setsuna could see the fear in her eyes. Ami’s logic was in her voice, but Ranma’s worries shone like a beacon in her eyes.
Setsuna nodded softly. “If she does reject you, you still have all of us. We will be here for you.”
Kaiba nodded weakly, before staring down into the tea. “Then there is Rieko. To be honest, we have no idea how to handle her. She was not often there for us, but it seemed like she was doing so voluntarily. Genma kept us from Nodoka for over a decade, but Rieko was there. And she just did not seem to try.” Kaiba’s expression bore both frustration and regret. “We suppose part of it was our own fault. The best we can do is to extend a hand to her. If she is willing to try, that would be good. If not…” Kaiba sank a little, and Setsuna shook her head lightly.
“I don’t know what to say about Mizuno-sensei,” Setsuna replied. “I’ve not come in contact with her often and as I said, I can’t speak of the future, so the best we can do is to try, I suppose.”
Kaiba nodded as she finished off her tea. “Can you give us a ride there?” She asked.
Setsuna restrained a bit of surprise at the request then nodded. Perhaps she does trust us, she thought to herself as she moved to get her keys.
Kaiba was visibly nervous as she stepped through the corridors of the hospital, approaching Saotome Nodoka’s room. Setsuna was right behind her, keeping an eye on the shorter girl, an expression of concern upon her face.
“Kaiba-chan, are you sure you’re up to this now?” Setsuna asked. Not for the first time in the last hour.
Kaiba, however, gave the same reply she had every time before. “We have to do this, Setsuna. We need to let her know. And we really need to have her in our lives if we can.” Despite the brave front she put forward, however, Kaiba was justifiably nervous.
And then they arrived. Taking a very deep breath, Kaiba knocked softly on the door. “Come in,” a soft voice spoke. As the pair entered, they saw Saotome Nodoka, sitting in a chair. She was wearing a new kimono, though a plaster cast could be seen about her right arm. “Can…” she paused as she stared at Kaiba, who seemed almost terrified.
“Mother?” Kaiba whispered quietly. That word, one she longed to hear for a decade and heard all too briefly, broke down the walls in Nodoka’s heart as she stood and embraced the child she knew, deep within her heart, was her son or daughter. Gender didn’t matter. All that mattered was that the ten year torture was over. The two were finally reunited.
After a long embrace, Nodoka looked up. “I’m sorry. I’m Saotome Nodoka,” she said softly, bowing to Setsuna.
“Mother, this is our friend and teacher, Meioh Setsuna. Setsuna, this is our mother.” A visible shine of happiness emerged as Kaiba spoke of Nodoka.
Setsuna bowed in return. “I am very proud to meet the mother of a good friend. It is an honor to meet you.”
Nodoka blushed and smiled as she placed a hand on Kaiba’s shoulder. “So, I gather my child is alright, now?”
Kaiba sank a little. “Mother, we’ve got a lot of explanations to make.” She led Nodoka to her seat as she began to explain an edited version of the last few days. She gave a glance to Setsuna. “We need to let her know. Just about us,” she offered. Setsuna’s expression was grave, but understanding.
“When one of our old friends, Ryouga, was killed a few weeks ago by one of those things that attacked you, a few other people were killed as well. One of them was a warrior who fought against these creatures.” Kaiba sat back a bit further in her seat, staring at the ground. “Her allies fought valiantly but she died on the same day Ryouga was killed. And frankly, we couldn’t let it happen again. We couldn’t let more people die. Not when we could maybe do something about it.”
Nodoka listened, something concerning her about the tone of the conversation, but she couldn’t quite make it out. She did not interrupt, however as Kaiba continued to speak. “But what her friends asked of me, we didn’t know if we could do it. We wouldn’t be a man anymore, maybe not even us anymore. But after Ukyou died… after the thing almost killed you, we had to.”
With a dry mouth, Nodoka asked, “What did you do?”
Kaiba looked at her feet, whispering, “We became something more. The warrior and us… we became one. We aren’t quite Ranma, and we aren’t quite that warrior, but maybe the best of both.”
Nodoka stared at her child, while Setsuna kept near Kaiba’s side, trying not to look as if she were protecting her, though that was the only thing on her mind at that point. Nodoka stood and walked toward Kaiba, who never took her gaze from the floor. Her hand reached down to tilt the girl’s face upward. “I can’t believe anyone would have the courage to make such a sacrifice,” Nodoka whispered. “I don’t think I could have made a sacrifice like that.” Kaiba looked into her eyes, as if ready to burst into tears. “My daughter, I could never be more proud than to have a child like you.”
Kaiba sobbed weakly as she enfolded her mother in her arms, as Setsuna sighed in utter relief. “You have an amazing daughter, Saotome-san,” Setsuna said softly.
Nodoka nodded quietly as she looked down to Kaiba. “I think I do too.”
Kaiba smiled weakly, blushing as she sat up. “Mother… we have to talk to someone else too.” She said softly. Nodoka looked at her curiously. “We… have to go speak to the mother of the warrior who fell. We have to let her know about us too.”
Nodoka looked to the two. “I see. And who is this?”
Setsuna replied, “Mizuno Rieko.”
Nodoka blinked. “Mizuno? As in Mizuno-sensei, here in the hospital? I see. Well, I have an appointment with her today… perhaps we can go speak with her then?”
Kaiba nodded softly. “That would be best.”
Mizuno Rieko was sitting at her desk, looking at a group of files. Fortunately it was her last appointment of the day, and she could go home to rest. Not that rest helped her much. Every morning, she looked out into the living room expecting to see her daughter studying. And it was only after a minute that she would realize that it wouldn’t happen anymore.
Rieko had only begun to realize how little she really knew her daughter. Perhaps she took her for granted. She hadn’t expected to see her daughter’s life snuffed out too soon. Her only solace was in her work, but only when she was at work was she able to distract herself.
A knock on the door shook her out of her reverie, as three women walked into the office. Two of them, Rieko did not recognize at first, but the third was easily recognizable. “Come in, please. Saotome-san.”
Nodoka nodded as she slipped into a seat. “Mizuno-sensei, I need to speak to you about something important.”
Rieko cocked her head softly. “What do you mean?”
Nodoka sighed as she tried to figure out where to begin the conversation, when her eyes stopped at a portrait. “Is that your daughter?” she asked Rieko.
Rieko nodded softly. “Yes, that’s Ami.”
Nodoka sighed gently. “I’m sorry for your loss.” Rieko blinked and nodded slowly, unsure how Nodoka knew about her daughter’s death. She knew she never mentioned it to the woman. “But I believe there is something you should know about her.”
Rieko seemed very confused, and more than a bit upset. “What are you talking about?”
Nodoka was about to speak but before she could, Kaiba said quietly, “She loved you. Even though she never saw you often, she loved you very much.” Kaiba’s gaze kept on the ground, but she continued to speak. “She was more than just a scholar, though.”
Rieko was about to inquire, but Setsuna waved a hand, as if to say, Please, wait. Setsuna knew just how important it was that Kaiba was uninterrupted at this juncture.
“She would have been perfectly content just to be a scholar, following in your footsteps. But something happened about two years ago. It was roughly about the time when those monster attacks started. We assume you have seen some of the youma attacks.” A safe assumption. After almost a year, practically everyone in Juuban was either a youma victim or knew one. “Ami had been attacked by a youma when Sailor Moon had arrived.”
Kaiba’s head remained facing downward but her voice never wavered. “During that fight, Sailor Moon protected Ami, but had learned something as well.” She paused. “We don’t know how to put it any other way. Ami is… was Sailor Mercury.” Rieko looked skeptical but fortunately Kaiba did not notice. “She wasn’t sure at first, but she became one of Sailor Moon’s greatest friends. Ami sacrificed much for both her fellow Senshi, and for the world.”
Rieko finally found her voice and said, “I have to admit, I am very skeptical of your story, child. Ami as a warrior? As one of these Sailor Senshi? I find that hard to believe.”
Kaiba stepped forward, raising her head, her voice seeming to change. “You find a lot of things ‘hard to believe’. After all, was it not you who said, ‘Folklore and hearsay is no substitute for empirical proof?’” Rieko blinked, as if slapped. Kaiba pushed forth, however. “You told us that logic and reason were one’s greatest tools. In a maelstrom of chaos, foolishness and nonsense, logic and reason are the anchors to which we can hold when our world gives way.”
Rieko tried to catch her voice. “H… How did you know that?”
“You told it to us when we were seven, just after some children teased us about a fairy tale,” Kaiba said, looking into Rieko’s eyes, almost like a cobra staring down its prey. “It was a rainy night, a Thursday, in fact. You told me not to allow the closed-minded to restrain me.”
Rieko stared, and then said, “How can you know this?”
Kaiba closed her eyes. “The night Ami was killed… someone had lost a friend of theirs, killed by the same creature. That person did not know what to do, until Sailor Moon arrived. The person had helped Sailor Moon kill the creature. And Sailor Moon asked the person to help them stop more people from getting killed. The person could not do so, however, as to do so, in that person’s mind, it would require them to sacrifice everything in their life.”
Kaiba shifted her stance, never opening her eyes. “That person would have to give up their honor, their friends, their way of life. Everything. So the person refused and prepared to fight the demons once more. But soon after, that person’s best friend, one that person had known for years, was killed fighting the demons. And once again, the person was tempted to accept Sailor Moon’s offer.”
“It wasn’t until later,” Kaiba continued, her hands clenching softly, “That the person’s mother was attacked. The person had not seen their mother for years due to training in the martial arts. When that person saw their mother attacked, they were pushed to the edge. The person could not fight the offer anymore. It was the only way that person could ensure that the person’s family would be safe.”
“So that person went to speak with the Senshi. And the person accepted the Senshi’s offer to become one of them. Something strange happened, however. That person took up the power, but also took up the spirit of the Senshi who died.” Kaiba looked up. “That person and Mizuno Ami became the person, but not…”
“We are that person,” Kaiba whispered as she looked into Rieko’s eyes. “Ami was Sailor Mercury. She had fought and given her life to protect everyone. A person named Saotome Ranma had given their existence as a person to continue her task. And now both of them are within me.”
Dr. Mizuno looked at Kaiba for a long moment, but one could see the light go out of her eyes… and a moment later, she collapsed into her chair, passed out.
Kaiba sighed quietly. “That could have gone better…”
When Rieko awoke, the room was almost crushing in its silence for several minutes, until Rieko slipped into full doctor mode, leading Nodoka off for her examination. Kaiba looked to Setsuna. “She’s thinking about it.” Setsuna raised an eyebrow as Kaiba continued. “If she was troubled or thinking about something, she always wanted to keep busy.”
Setsuna nodded in understanding as she sat back. A few minutes later, the two women walked from the examination room, one with a small key in her hand. Rieko moved to a small cabinet and unlocked it, pulling a crystal bottle from it. The label was black with white writing on it and had a small white sticker on it saying “For medicinal purposes only”. Setsuna smirked as she recognized the black label. “Good choice,” she murmured.
Rieko poured a small glass for herself then put the bottle back into the cabinet, locking it. “So… you are Ami, aren’t you?” She took a very small sip of the single malt whiskey, to steady her nerves.
Kaiba looked a bit nervous. “Somewhat. Ami is part of us. But so is a person who gave up themselves to let others live.”
“This Ranma…” the doctor said quietly, before taking another sip. “She must have… must be a very special girl.”
Kaiba let out a weak chuckle. “That’s… sort of an understatement.”
“This is very hard to deal with,” Rieko said quietly. “I… don’t know if you’d accept me as family, but I’d like to help. If Ami was willing to sacrifice herself for a cause like this, I want to make sure her sacrifice wasn’t in vain. I owe her much more, but this is the only way I can think of to repay her.” She wiped away a tear with the back of her hand.
Kaiba looked to Nodoka and Setsuna, who nodded quietly, before saying, “Don’t. I could use two mothers if you want to be involved this time.” She nibbled her lip. “Maybe it’s overcompensation, but Ranma never really got to be with her mother as much as she wanted, and neither did Ami…” She paused and stifled a strained giggle. “Unlike Kunou, I can have you both.”
Setsuna shook her head in amusement, while the other two looked blank at Kaiba’s joke. “Long story,” Setsuna said to the two women.
Rieko nodded hesitantly then looked to Kaiba, “I’d be honored to be a mother to you.” She set the glass down then embraced Kaiba, who shuddered as she returned the embrace, tears starting to leak from her eyes.
Nodoka nodded in approval, her own eyes shining.
Setsuna gave Nodoka a ride home, before returning with Kaiba to Meioh-ke. Immediately, Kaiba went to the guest room to prepare herself for meeting up with Akane, seeming a bit nervous. Haruka knocked softly on the door, stepping in quietly. “Looking good, Kaiba,” she said, smirking.
Kaiba nodded weakly, adjusting her skirt. “Thanks, we think.”
Haruka smiled and nodded. “The girl you’re interested in. She’s a bit of a tomboy, but she cares, it seems.”
Kaiba shrugged softly. “We always used to call her a tomboy. It’s possible that that’s part of why we loved her.” Her gaze turned toward the window, watching the gathering clouds.
“So you do love her?” Haruka pressed.
“We sacrificed everything for her, for our mother, for our friends-“
“And you’re ducking the question.” Haruka snapped back. “Do you love her?”
Kaiba spun around, frowning. “We care for her. But it’s up to her.”
“If you love her, why haven’t you told her?” Haruka asked in frustration.
“Because we don’t want to lose her. What if she isn’t a lesbian, like you are, like we might be? We can’t afford to scare her off. We can’t afford to lose her.” Kaiba pushed past Haruka and stormed for the door, with Haruka on her heels.
“What’s wrong with being a lesbian?” Haruka growled out as she followed. “For that matter, what are you really scared of?”
Kaiba continued to walk away. “We’re afraid we’re going to lose her…” She almost stammered out.
“Bull. You’re waffling, Kaiba. If you love her, tell her you love her. If she doesn’t love you back, there’s no point pining for someone who will…” But before she could finish, she found herself sprawled on the ground, her face stinging.
“We don’t need to be lectured on what we need,” a resonant yet almost arctic tone escaped her, the same tone Sailor Mercury used when confronting the Decapitator.
As Kaiba glared at Haruka as she stood, Akane began to enter the yard. “Kaiba?” she called out, causing the girl to turn toward her and walk toward her.
“Come on, Akane,” Kaiba said in that chilling resonance, lifting the girl into her arms and leaping for the rooftops, leaving Haruka behind as she disappeared into the overcast night.
Haruka swore as she saw Kaiba leave, face scowling. “Damn it!” She muttered, before she felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun around to see a glaring Michiru.
“What was that all about?” Michiru asked Haruka in a cold voice.
Haruka blinked and then shrank in on herself, shaking her head. “I did it again, didn’t I?”
Michiru sighed. “Love, you need to stop being so confrontational. Especially with Kaiba. She’s had it hard enough.”
Haruka nodded and leaned back against the wall of the house. “Just great…”
Akane was quickly growing angry at Kaiba’s actions, though at the time, she was too busy being scared of being dropped by the smaller girl. Finally Kaiba stopped on a low rooftop, and set Akane down on her feet, as if finally realizing what she was doing.
Kaiba then looked toward Akane, and saw that the girl was utterly furious at this point. She was about to open her mouth when Akane’s hand whipped out across Kaiba’s face. Kaiba’s eyes widened as Akane yelled, “Damn it, Kaiba, I’m not a sack of rice!”
Kaiba wasn’t even hearing the words as she clutched at her face. Her body trembled as Akane continued to rail at her, her expression like that of a wounded animal. Akane didn’t even notice until her rant was interrupted by an animal scream, as Kaiba leapt off of the roof, running down an alley. Akane turned bright red in anger before she paused, turning pale as she picked up her pace. “Damn it!” she repeated to herself. “Just brilliant, Akane. This isn’t Ranma…” she climbed down the fire escape as quickly as she could. “Akane no baka,” She whispered hoarsely as she pursued Kaiba.
Kaiba sprinted down the street as the rain began to fall, hiding her tears. She did not understand what led her in this direction, but she finally collapsed at a brick wall, slumped against the sign at one of the pillars that made up the gate.
Kaiba shuddered and curled up near the gate. <<Was it worth it? Worth all the pain?>>
<<I don’t know. At least they’ll be alive. Maybe that makes it all worth it.>>
<<I know. It hurts like hell.>>
A few minutes later, a figure walked toward Kaiba, kneeling next to her. “Kaiba?” Kaiba hesitated before looking toward her as the darkness deepened. “Kami, this is hard,” the figure whispered as she moved to place a hand on Kaiba’s shoulder. “I’m… I’m sorry.”
Kaiba looked into Akane’s eyes, blinking a few times, before embracing her tightly.
By this time, the sun had gone down, unseen behind the clouds, but except for a few street lights, it was dark. However, the street lights began to dim, as a quadrupedal figure strode down the street…