A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is owned by Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
Foreword: Ha-ha! Thought you'd heard the last of this series (again), didja? Well, I'm not quite done for yet.
Thanks for all those that have supported me so far! I've included a short list at the end.
What has gone before: Ermh… The plot's too convoluted, even for me to explain. Arby's dead, and Tuxedo Mask died, went to the afterlife, and dueled with a dead level 10 Super Sayajin. The more surprising part of it was that Tux-boy defeated dear ol' Kakkarotto.
The Sailor Senshi nearly got obliterated by a youma death squad, but the Atomic Starlight Knight jumped in and saved the girls, proclaiming his love for Sailor Moon. Sam Beckett helped save Nephrite, and then finally got to leap away… into Ikari Gendo.
Jadeite battled his… er… her inner self and darkness. She won, barely. ASK tried to kill her when he figured out (took him long enough!) that she was really a magically-transformed youma general. It all got worked out in the end, though. Really, it did.
Any other subplots? Oh! Sailor Pluto took Ranma to Disneyland to train.
And… That's about it. I'm not really a slow writer… I just have a funny way of organizing things. Enjoy!
After a long day of being dead, meeting deceased friends, enemies, and ancestors he had no clue about, and then literally fighting for his life through the fiery depths of hell, Darien Shields thought a bit of relaxation was in order.
Much like several of his acquaintances, who had just managed to stumble out of a taxi and find their respective bedding, the man slumped down upon his unmade mattress and went out like the last wretched, soggy match in a desperately-needed mountain survival kit.
A few hours later, a bony finger prodded him awake. "Unnnhhh! Quit poking my eye… quit… stop…"
AWAKEN. I AM COME.
"Fivemminutshhhheerrshumthin," Darien slurred, wrapping his pillow around his head. "Wha—?"
UNLESS YOU WISH TO DIE IN YOUR SLEEP.
*Shhhick!*Shhhick!* Darien slowly, cautiously opened his eyes when he heard the slow sharpening sounds of a whetstone against a not-exactly-metal blade. "What?!" he asked, sitting up, just as his pillow was cloven in two.
"GWAH!" the college student choked as his inborn Tuxedo Mask reflexes forced him to roll away from another strike.
VERY LIVELY FOR A DEAD MAN, BUT…
The hooded figure suddenly paused when the city light from the window illuminated Darien's face. Death's heavy tones grew slightly annoyed. EH? WHAT ARE YOU DOING BACK AGAIN?!
Darien gulped loudly. "I-I can't die! I just got back!"
I CAN SEE THAT, Death said, shaking his skull and turning away, holding up his skeletal hands in a gesture of frustration. THIS IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR. NOBODY WISHES TO STAY DEAD OF LATE.
"Yeah, know what you mean. I remember the good old days when things like bullets and ki blasts used to kill people. Eh heh…"
I MUST SPEAK TO THE UNION ABOUT ALL THESE DO-OVERS…
"I fought for my life," Darien explained hastily, "against impossible odds, and I won!"
Death didn't seem to be paying attention anymore, caught up in his own world-weariness. NOT LIKE IN THE OLD DAYS. I CAME KNOCKING AND EVERYONE KNEW THEIR PLACE.
"I'm alive!" Darien added.
OH, CERTAINLY THEY COMPLAINED, BUT IN THE END, THEY REMAINED THERE. He glared at the man with the blue fires glowing in his empty sockets. NOT LIKE YOU.
Darien recoiled at the word 'you,' which had as much force and weight to it as the dropped lid of a giant stone sarcophagus.
"Ugh!" Darien choked, covering his mouth with both hands. "What's that cologne you're wearing?!"
EAU DE LA TOMBE.
"It's completely suffocating!!!"
EXACTLY. BREATHE DEEPLY. ARE YOU FEELING ASPHYXIATED YET? NO, I CAN SEE YOU'RE NOT.
"I'm not ready to die again just yet!"
Death started pacing around.
KIDS THESE DAYS… THEY NEVER KNOW HOW TO RESPECT AUTHORITY. ALWAYS TRYING TO RESIST. THERE'S YOU AND… OH YES, THERE'S THIS OBNOXIOUS KNIGHT THAT'S BEEN GIVING ME TROUBLE FOR AGES. I'LL HAVE HIM, YOU KNOW. MAKE NO MISTAKE. IN THE END, ALL MUST ANSWER TO ME.
"Um, yeah," Darien added uncertainly. "I'm alive now. I went through Hell to get my life back and I think I've earned it, and I'd appreciate not being killed again anytime soon…"
YOU SAY IT AS IF YOU HAD A CHOICE.
"Actually, I think I do in this matter."
HOW DO YOU FIGURE THAT?
"I'm alive. You only take away dead people. And if I were to die, it would have to be of something, wouldn't it?"
NORMALLY, YES. HOWEVER, YOU COULD DIE OF TERROR…
"You're not that frightening!"
Suddenly, the phone rang. Instinctively, Darien picked it up. "Hello?" Then he frowned and looked at the clock. "Who are you and what are you doing, calling at three o'clock in the morning?!" He looked at his shoes, which were on the floor. "Uh, ten, why?" His frown shifted into a scowl. "No, I'm NOT interested in buying a new cell phone with a thousand minute calling plan!!!"
The receiver nearly broke when the college student slammed it back down on the hook. "I signed up with one company and the rest are already hounding me!"
A moment later, the phone started ringing again. Darien picked it up and shouted, "WHAT?!"
The Infamous Split-Screen Phone Conversation came back, and on the other side was the familiar friendly face of Kasumi Incognito. "Oh my! Were you sleeping?"
"Huh?!" Darien yelped in surprise. "Um, er, hi! Terra's mom, right? No, I'd already gotten up. Why is everyone calling this early?"
"I was just a little worried about you," Kasumi replied. "Are you feeling all right? You're not sick or anything, are you?"
"I'm feeling fine, actually. Just a little tired."
"That's very good! I thought you might be dying."
WHO IS IT? Death asked, peering over the man's shoulder.
*HACK-COUGH!*GAG!* "That cologne again!" Covering up part of the receiver, Darien looked at him and said, "It's Kasumi, the mother of a friend of mine." He turned his attention back to the phone. "What would make you think I'm dying?"
Death idly twirled his scythe in the air for a moment. I'M WAITING…
"I just had a feeling," Kasumi said. "You're certain you're not even the slightest bit ill?"
YES, Death added, placing his fingers on the man's shoulder, PERHAPS YOU FEEL MY ICY GRIP UPON YOU, OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT? HA. HA. HA. HA.
Death sounded as if he'd heard of laughter, but hadn't gotten the basic tenets down. However, one could not argue about the effect it had on the hair on the back of Darien's neck, which was rather like what happens when you take a live cat and tie its tail to a pair of charged high-tension power lines, minus the smoke and the yowling. Well, some of it, anyway.
"Mister Shields, why are you groaning?" Kasumi asked in the thoroughly probing tone that only a mother can possibly hope to manage. "Please tell me, are you feeling ill? Should I call an ambulance?"
"I've just got an unwelcome guest," Darien replied, glaring at Death, who shrugged, obviously not considering the remark worth commenting upon until finally muttering a bit to himself.
NO ONE EVER INVITES ME. I AM SO UNAPPRECIATED. HERE I AM, SHUFFLING YOU OFF THE MORTAL COIL, GETTING RID OF ALL THAT PAIN AND SUFFERING, AND ALL YOU UNGRATEFUL MORTALS CAN'T EVEN TAKE THE TIME TO INVITE ME IN FOR TEA AND BAGLES! WHEN AM I GOING TO BE APPRECIATED?! WHEN?! WHEN'S IT GOING TO BE MY TIME?!
Then someone else picked up the line and started dialing. After an uncomfortable moment, a scene with Terra jammed itself into the split-screen conversation. "Hello?" she asked in a slightly surprised voice.
"Terra?" Kasumi whispered, rather puzzled herself. "Who were you calling?"
"Mother?" Terra replied, "I was feeling a little lonely and was going to call Serena." Her expression and tone showed that she also noted something odd about the situation. "Who were you talking to?"
"She was talking to me," Darien said. "She was worried that something might be wrong and called. But nothing's wrong, everything's completely under control." He looked uneasily at the blade which the robed figure brandished.
ALL'S WELL HERE, Death said, doing a particularly good job of looming over the man. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. HMM. ACTUALLY, ALL'S WELL BECAUSE IT ENDS.
"Darien! That's good to hear," Terra replied brightly. "How did the battle with all the other Sailor Scouts go?"
"Er," Darien began, trying to move away from Death as best he could, "It went well. It looked rough for a while, but then the Starlight Knight showed up and finished off most of the youma."
"There were a lot of them?" Terra continued.
Darien nodded lopsidedly, his forced smile indicating that he was about to generate a very large understatement, "Yeah, a few dozen of 'em. All out for blood. And there was this really loud one that just wouldn't die. I was on a roof nearby, getting ready to toss my new axe at it, then I got blasted back by one of those sonic waves."
"That's right," Kasumi said, "but Sailor Moon gained her powers back and finished it off."
Listening in close to the phone, Death nodded. AH, YES. I WAS THERE.
Darien glared at Death and leaned away. "Why don't you leave me alone?" he whispered, covering up the receiver. "I told you: I'm alive!"
NOT IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT.
"Are you sure there's nothing we can do for you?" Kasumi asked.
NO, IT'S TERMINAL.
"SHH!" Darien hushed Death before replying to Kasumi, "Umm, I don't think there's anything I really need right now, just a little more sleep."
YES, SLEEP. SLEEP THE ETERNAL DREAM AND PASS ON TO THE NEXT—
"Quiet!" Darien half-yelled.
Death drew back a bit. WELL. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SO RUDE.
"Oh! Do you have company?" Terra asked.
"Yes, he does," Kasumi said calmly. "Darien, can I talk to him?"
Darien looked at Death. "They want to talk to you."
ME? WHY? Death asked with a confused grin as he was handed the phone and held it uneasily to the side of his skull. HELLO?
"Hi," Kasumi said, "I hope you don't mind us talking to Mister Shields while you're visiting."
EH? OH, IT'S NO PROBLEM. ONLY A MINOR INCONVENIENCE, REALLY. QUITE MINOR, WHEN COMPARED TO THE FACT HE DOESN'T DIE WHEN HE'S SUPPOSED TO. AND THAT'S QUITE A COMPLAINT WHEN YOU CONSIDER WHO I AM.
"I'm sure you're quite busy, aren't you?" Terra added. "An important person?"
I AM EVERYWHERE AT ONCE. WHEREVER THE HEARTBEAT ENDS OR THE FRAIL BODY FAILS, I AM THERE.
As Darien listened in disbelief, Terra continued, "What do you do, exactly?"
I USHER SOULS INTO THE NEXT WORLD.
"Have you been at it for long?" Kasumi asked.
WHERE THE FIRST PRIMAL CELL WAS, THERE WAS I ALSO.
"Do you have an office somewhere?" Terra inquired with great interest.
I AM NO FURTHER THAN THE THICKNESS OF A SHADOW. WHERE MAN IS, OR WOMAN OR CHILD, THERE AM I.
"Don't you plan on retiring, ever?" Kasumi pressed.
WHEN THE LAST LIFE CRAWLS ITS FINAL INCH ON LEECHED SOIL UNDER FREEZING STARS, THERE WILL I BE.
Kasumi hummed, impressed. "So it's a permanent appointment, then?"
I SUPPOSE YOU MIGHT SAY THAT.
"Then you must love your job to dedicate so much time to it," Terra noted.
IT HAS… ER… ITS PERKS, IF YOU MUST KNOW.
Kasumi nodded. "Oh, very nice! And what is your business with Mister Shields?"
HE HAS TRANSGRESSED THE LAWS OF NATURE AND, IN DEFIANCE TO THE GODS, RETURNED TO WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HIS CAST-OFF MORTAL COIL.
Kasumi held her hand to her face in concern. "Oh my…"
ON REPEATED OCCASIONS. NOT THAT IT MATTERS TO ME WHAT THE GODS SAY, MIND YOU. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, THEY DIE JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS UNIVERSE. IT JUST GETS A BIT ANNOYING AT TIMES, ESPECIALLY WHEN I WENT TO THE TROUBLE OF TAKING HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE.
"I'm sure he didn't mean it," Terra said innocently. "Can't you give him the benefit of a doubt just this once?"
"You know," Kasumi said, "let him off with a warning this time?"
Death glanced at Darien, who still had his arms folded and was looking defiant. I DON'T THINK A WARNING WOULD SUFFICE IN THIS CASE.
"Could you at least go easy on him?" Terra requested. "He's a friend of ours."
Death paused to consider that. I WILL SEE WHAT I CAN DO. NOW, IF YOU COULD FINISH YOUR CONVERSATION WITH HIM QUICKLY, I WOULD BE EVER SO OBLIGED.
"Of course," Kasumi replied.
Death returned the phone.
"He seems like a reasonable fellow," Kasumi said in her typical cheerful and overly optimistic tone. "Maybe you could talk it out with him."
Darien glanced at the robed skeleton, and with raised eyebrows, eloquently said, "Er…"
"And then," Terra added, "you could come over in the morning to have breakfast with us and tell us how it all went. Would you like that?"
"Yes," Kasumi agreed with a nod, "would you care to drop by in the morning, around seven? I could make pancakes and I'm sure you'll have all sorts of interesting things to tell us."
In the corner of Darien's range of vision, Death shook his head. NO, I DOUBT YOU'LL HAVE TIME FOR THAT.
"Uh, sure!" Darien replied in a sort of forced cheerfulness. "I'd be glad to come over. See you in the morning."
"See ya!" Terra said, even more cheerfully than her mother.
"Bye!" Kasumi said.
*Click!* Darien hung up the phone, just in time to duck another swipe from Death's scythe. "Hey!"
SORRY. COULDN'T RESIST.
"I'm alive right now," Darien insisted, "and you're not going to make me die of terror, okay?!"
Death nodded. YES, I SUPPOSE TERROR IS TOO MUNDANE. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD DIE OF BUBONIC PLAGUE…
The man gagged. "Bubonic plague!? There hasn't been a case of that around here for ages!"
YES, Death said in agreement. I WAS THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED, YOU KNOW. HOW ABOUT CANCER? CANCER'S IN STYLE NOWADAYS.
Darien's mouth hung open in horror. "Cancer?! That's a horrible way to die!"
INDEED. IF YOU DON'T LIKE THAT, THEN SIMPLY JUMP OUT THE WINDOW. IT'LL BE QUICKER.
THEN HOW DOES DERMATITIS SOUND?
"Dermatitis?!" Darien asked incredulously. "Nobody dies of dandruff! How about old age, years and years from now?"
Death paused, scraping a finger against his jawbone as he considered that.
Death tilted his head at the man.
WOULD YOU PROMISE NOT TO COME BACK AFTER THAT?
Darien threw up his hands. "Uh, sure! I mean, I would have lived a long, full life and everything. What more would there be to do after that?"
GOOD. I EXPECT YOU TO ABIDE BY THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT IN FORTY YEARS. WILL YOU?
"Forty years?!" Darien asked incredulously. "You've got to be kidding! I'll barely be past my prime by then!"
MOST PEOPLE DON'T GET THIS SORT OF OFFER. I SUGGEST YOU TAKE IT.
"I've had dreams and seen the future, though! I'm almost completely convinced that I'm the Prince of the Earth, and I'm supposed to live for thousands of years!"
YES… RATHER INCONVENIENT, THAT.
"Good, it isn't a delusion," Darien whispered to himself before adding, "So I'll need a lot more time than just forty years!"
THAT'S A BIT TOO LONG AND INSPECIFIC. HOW ABOUT TWO HUNDRED?
"Oh, come on! For Pete's sake, that wouldn't even get me through the Great Ice that's supposed to happen! Four thousand, and not a century less!"
THAT'S TOO MUCH, EVEN FOR ONE OF YOU STUCK-UP PRINCES. FIVE HUNDRED YEARS.
"I have to fulfill my Destiny! Three thousand, seven hundred years."
ONE THOUSAND YEARS, AND NOT A DAY OVER.
"At least give me three thousand! The kingdom's supposed to last forever!"
TWO THOUSAND, AND YOU STOP YOUR SNIVELING.
"How about two thousand, five hundred?"
TWO THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY.
"Two thousand, three hundred and seventy five?"
YOU'VE GOT YOURSELF A DEAL!
Darien and Death shook hands, supposedly sealing the agreement, but halfway through, the bonier individual paused.
ON SECOND THOUGHT, COULD I GET THAT IN WRITING?
"Oh, fine!" Darien muttered, scrambling around for a pen and a piece of paper.
Death positively beamed at this turn of events. HAVE TO MAKE SURE OF THESE THINGS, YOU KNOW.
"Yeah, yeah," the aforementioned Mister Shields muttered, half in relief, half in exasperation.
A few minutes and a signature later, Death grinned down at the man before departing, and after that, Darien Shields never felt more alive.
As Death departed, something occurred to him about one of the women whom he spoke to on the phone. TERRA INCOGNITO? WAS THAT HER NAME? I WONDER IF THAT COULD BE…
Atop his floating white horse, the black-robed figure pulled out a very large obsidian hourglass, about a foot and a half high and seven inches in diameter. Parts of it had strange and ugly symbols carved into it, but over those, large pink and red bows had been tied. Flowers, also pink, were painted all over the device at regular intervals. Inside, a dull pile of black sand on the receiving end was topped by a few sparkling grains of gold. A very, very tiny patch of brightly-colored specks slowly trickled down from the top.
AH, YES. HER. NOT LONG NOW, AND IT'LL BE ABOUT TIME. NOT EVEN MOST GODS LIVE THAT LONG. TOO BAD, REALLY. EVEN AFTER SO LONG, SHE WAS JUST BARELY GETTING INTERESTING.
Death spurred his flying steed onward. There yet remained a great deal of work for him to do this night.
It would take more than a thousand years and an artificial ice age before the human race civilized itself sufficiently to the point where they decided that mucking up the timeline wasn't just for world heroes, villains, and Purple ArbyFish. For this reason, laws against time travel had to be placed in order to keep Destiny from being tampered with.
It wasn't so much that lifestyles had degraded to the point where everybody wanted to change them, nor was it the fact that the people felt like rebelling against the delightfully ditzy totalitarian regime that had forbidden such interference. The problem was, rather, that with improved technology and knowledge, the human race sadly edged toward total self-annihilation every generation or two.
Those with ability to view the timeline secretly knew that they were all an inch away from destruction, and as such, they had good reason to keep people on track with what Destiny decided What Must Be. In the later years of history, Destiny had gotten tired of being pushed around by galactic destroyers, fuku-clad warriors for love and justice, and artificial knights with funny ideas about taking control of their lives.
In a cosmic way, Fate decided that anyone who fought against their place in the grand scheme of things would be stopped, preferably in a painfully educating manner. The reason for this is simple: if Destiny is toyed with too much, She might someday toss up her arms, scream "Forget you all!" in frustration, and stalk away in another direction, taking the Universe with Her.
After some rather enlightening experiences and a lot of theme-park-induced meditation, Sailor Pluto decided that she had learned her lesson. Destiny had decided that she and Ranma were meant for each other, and as a reformed follower of Destiny, she accepted the fact that the boy was now her One True Love.
Besides, getting out of it wasn't worth risking Everything on.
Having spent some time reviewing Ranma's history and having gone with him on every action/thriller ride in Disneyland, she came to realize that he wasn't such a bad choice for a husband after all. He could be very nice and was forgiving of mistakes. He didn't even think much of her attempt at making him learn the Kawaii-ken!
Certainly, he had his quirks, Sailor Pluto considered, like the curse and a few other minor problems, but she was certain she could change him, given time. The curse could be cured, if it came down to that. It wasn't like there was some mystic energy field that made sure he kept it or anything.
The woman giggled, only a slight manic edge remaining in her voice. After she and Ranma had gotten back from their brief vacation, they wasted no time in going to the Crystal Palace to inform the proper authorities of their pending union.
In retrospect, Setsuna noted to herself, Neo-Queen Serenity had taken it remarkably well.
Seated in the waiting room just outside the emergency room at the Crystal Tokyo Special Response Hospital, and dressed in official Sailor Senshi garb, a very female Ranma hunched over and buried her face in her hands, weighed down by guilt and large sweatdrops. "Uh. Um. That is… I'm really sorry your queen died, Setsuna."
Beside her, Sailor Pluto stroked the smaller girl's hand in her own. "Don't worry. It wasn't your fault."
"How was I supposed to know she'd react like that?" Ranma lamented. "I said we planned on, you know, getting married and all, but why did she have to grab her chest and keel over like that? She didn't even look old or sick or anything!"
"She will be all right," Setsuna reassured her fiancé, putting an arm around her shoulders. "You just gave her a bad shock. We have the best medical staff and facilities in the galaxy. There is no need to worry."
"I just hope she's okay."
"Don't worry," Pluto insisted. "She's done this before. It never keeps her down for long."
A minute later, the one Ranma recognized as Sailor Mercury came out of the emergency room, flanked by a pair of nurses or doctors. She wore medical scrubs and a mask, which she pulled off in order to better speak with the waiting duo. She smiled at them and opened her mouth to speak. However, before she could, Ranma leapt up and grabbed her by the shoulders, shaking her wildly.
"Is she gonna be okay?! Please tell me she's okay!"
"She's fine!" Mercury replied, pulling her way out of the redhead's grip. Once she freed herself, she straightened her spectacles and added, "She's all right. It was just a mild case of shock. Her circulatory system is in perfect condition. She was never in any real danger. Now, please calm down."
King Endymion ran into the waiting room, his face red with exhaustion. "I was in negotiations halfway out of the solar system, but I came as quickly as I heard. Is she all right?!"
Mercury nodded at him. "She's fine. You'll find her just down the hall."
The King of the Earth rushed past her and continued toward his wife.
Ranma breathed a sigh of relief and slid back into her seat. "That's a relief! I was worried there for a while."
Mercury glanced through the papers on her clipboard. "Neo-Queen Serenity is quite healthy, despite all that she's experienced throughout the years. In fact, all of the Senshi, including King Endymion, have maintained excellent health for many centuries." She looked toward the two sitting before her. "She said that something you two mentioned surprised her. What was it, may I ask?"
"Well," Ranma began, fidgeting wildly, "that is, er—"
Setsuna grabbed Ranma around the waist and pulled her close. "Ranma and I are getting married!"
Mercury suddenly gasped and went pale. Her jaw fell open and her eyes rolled back, then she clutched her chest and swooned into the arms of her assistants. "M-married?! You and Se… tsu… na?"
Ranma frowned at this turn of events. "Hey! What's so wrong about that?!"
A few more days and a few dozen more heart attacks later, Ranma and Setsuna got an official audience with the recently-recovered Queen. The accolades of what happened in Crystal Tokyo between these two love birds after this fateful occasion could fill volumes.
However, in order to avoid mass confusion and hysteria, the Watchers of this part of the universe have compiled a Frequently Asked Questions list concerning all of these loving, tender moments of the premarital Ranma and Setsuna.
Q. Where did Ranma sleep? How and why?
A. Ranma slept in a simple, yet elegant suite with lots of pink drapes, a goosedown bed with silk sheets, and a large wardrobe filled with some of the finest dresses to be found on the Earth. It was an official room set aside for any up and coming Sailor Senshi like Ranma. He didn't like it very much at all, obviously. While luxury was nice from time to time, it did not mesh well with his self-image. Three times out of five, he went to sleep on the roof.
Q. So, why did he sleep only three out of five times on the roof?
A. Because, the other two times, it was raining slightly too hard for Ranma to rest in, even with some of the bed sheets as a makeshift tent.
Q. How about Setsuna. Where did she sleep?
A. Setsuna slept in her own separate room, which was similarly elegant, but several times larger than Ranma's. But, given her mental state in the past few weeks, she hadn't rested very much in that time. Between Neo-Queen Serenity's coronary trouble and the official meeting, she had a chance to catch up on her sleep time considerably.
Q. Okay, I guess that clears things up. What about the rest of the Senshi or Endymion? How did they all react and interact with Ranma and Sailor Pluto?
A. All of them except for Endymion spent a great deal of time in bed, recovering from the shock of the marriage announcement. The King of the Earth spent most of the time with his wife. Therefore, not a lot of interaction took place.
Q. And the Outer Senshi? Come on, Haruka and Michiru wouldn't have been all that shocked!
A. Quite right. However, they were off chasing people who weren't expecting the Senshi Inquisition. They actually halfway got their introduction speech down. It went something like this:
Nice, huh? Bohemian Rhapsody was such a nice song. It's good to see some people still appreciate fine music groups.
Q. But why was everyone so shocked, anyway?! Did Ranma do something in the past that they all remember?
A. Partly, it was the fact that Setsuna was getting married at all. Secondly, it was that she was marrying another girl. Third, and probably the least important, was a massive temporal displacement paradox that caused a nearly fatal cascade failure in all their central nervous systems that could easily have been mistaken for a heart attack. It is, however, generally accepted that they overreacted.
Q. Well, what about all that time Ranma and Setsuna could have been spending together, going out on dates and stuff in Crystal Tokyo? I wanted to see that!
A. I wanted to see that, too. To make a long story short, Ranma got a chance to look around town some more, as a man for once. While it might have been fun to show how a couple of dates went between Ranma and Pluto in such a peaceful setting, it will have to suffice to say that all went well and the status quo was generally kept. There, aren't you glad you didn't have to see the status quo maintained?
Q. What about Akane, Ukyou, Shampoo, and Kodachi? Aren't they going to do anything about Ranma getting married?!
A. I wouldn't put it past 'em, in whatever time period the wedding takes place.
Q. Why doesn't Ranma just do the hot and cold water splash treatment to show everyone that he's really a boy?
A. He probably hasn't had a chance to think about it yet. Give him a little while longer. Obvious things aren't figured out in the same week, y'know.
Q. What part is Death going to play here?
A. He's not taking theatrical roles at the moment. Sorry.
Q. What's going to happen now?
A. Something about an official meeting with Neo-Queen Serenity to get a marriage license or something.
Q. Sounds great! Get on with it! What happened next?
A. Now, where were we? Ah, yes. At first, Serenity had insisted that the meeting be conducted in an official manner. Official, in this case, meant either princess-like dresses and sailor fuku for women, or tuxedoes and formal armor for men.
"Hey!" Ranma protested as she was dragged into the room by her fiancée, wearing the pink-highlighted Sailor Earth outfit. "I'm a guy!"
"We talked about this before," Setsuna whispered to her. "When she sees you, she sees the Terra who died centuries ago. She's traumatized for life and… just doesn't get it."
"I ain't Terra! I barely even know who she was!"
"I'll show you the file later. She was a very kind and brave, if short-lived, Senshi."
"What happened to her?"
"She sacrificed herself to destroy the Dark Kingdom — an old enemy from ages ago."
"I'll tell you the details later," Setsuna added when the large, opaque sapphire doors swung open. "We have to make a good impression if we wish to get our marriage license."
"Why do we need a license? Can't we just ask to get it over with already?"
"Ooh, I love your initiative! But no, we cannot. Centuries may turn, delightfully ditzy dictatorships may rise, but bureaucracy is forever!"
Ranma winced. "Uh. Um. Okaaay… So, shouldn't I, like, change back or somethin'?"
"I wouldn't bother. That would just complicate things."
"But everyone'll think that—"
"They already think that. You remember how many heart attacks we made everyone go through, right?"
"Do you want to cause another dozen more?"
"Heck no! I don't need THAT on my conscience."
"Then let them have their illusions. Straighten up, now. Remember: I'm the beautiful, yet highly love-deprived Guardian of Time, and you're my lovely secret assistant-slash-mistress from Lebanon."
"Oh, great, so now I'm Lebanese?!"
"It's proper! Arby taught you all about being proper, didn't he? Hee hee hee hee!"
Ranma slapped her forehead. "You're really freaking me out, you know that?"
Sailor Pluto giggled maniacally. "Like it or not, you're marrying me, Ranma. Freaky is now officially part of the job."
"Uh, yeah. Say, have you taken your medication today, or what?"
Soon, the hallway opened up into a very large official audience chamber. Neo-Queen Serenity stood up from her throne and motioned for the two to come forward. She was flanked by the four Inner Senshi, and her daughter hid behind the throne and occasionally poked her head out to see what was going on.
As Ranma and Setsuna approached, Serenity nodded toward them and said, "I'm glad you're both here." On her shoulder sat a white seal-like creature with a cape and glowing red irises.
"Yesss!" hissed the White ArbyFish. "Kill them now!"
"Quiet, Bruce!" Serenity shot back.
"You must!" demanded Bruce.
"Oh, go make another sweater!"
"Fine," replied the ArbyFish, who turned around and took out a set of knitting needles. For a moment, he looked prepared to jab them into Serenity's neck, but he stopped at the last minute and began work with some wool yarn. "I will." He glared evilly at all of those around him.
Serenity grinned sheepishly at the newcomers. "I'm sorry. I don't know why I keep him around."
"It's because he's a very good tactical advisor," Sailor Mars noted.
"Um-hmm!" Venus nodded. "He's a lot better at plotting than Artemis, that's for sure."
"Whatever," Sailor Pluto said. "That's a very nice ArbyFish you've picked up, Milady. I would have stuck with Arby, but there's no accounting for taste, I've come to learn."
"Arby died," Mercury said. "Over a thousand years ago."
"That's his business," Setsuna said while rolling her eyes and waving off her comment. She looked back at Serenity. "You know why we've come. We want your permission to get married."
The Queen nodded. "Of course. I've had some time to think about it, and I was kind of against it at first. But eventually, I decided that it was about time you got married." She frowned. "But why Ranma? I knew you were good friends, but I had no idea that… Well, you know how I feel about Haruka and… Couldn't you at least have found a MAN?!"
Setsuna's eyes twinkled. "Oh, believe me, Ranma is manlier than most other people on this planet."
"I still think you should kill them!" Bruce tried.
"No," Serenity whispered back, before looking into the eyes of the Time Senshi. After a brief staring contest, she shook her head and sighed. "I can see you're not joking." She looked at Ranma. "Sailor Earth, do you want to marry Sailor Pluto?"
Ranma had been distracted by Reenie, who ran out from behind her mother and jumped onto the redhead's back.
"C'mon, let's play horsy again!" the little girl with pink hair shouted. "Horsy, horsy, horsy!" She bounced up and down.
Serenity pursed her lips before calling out to her. "Small Lady! Will you please leave Sailor Earth alone?!"
"It's okay," Ranma said quickly. "Now what were you saying?"
"I asked if you wanted to marry Setsuna."
"Uh, sure!" the redhead replied while gently pulling Reenie's arms off of her neck and placing them onto her shoulders.
"And will you still be able to fulfill your responsibilities as Sailor Earth?"
"Um, okay, if that means powering up and busting all the bad guys that come along, I think I'm up to that."
Neo-Queen Serenity turned back to Setsuna, her lower lip trembling. "All right, I guess you can get married. I mean, Terra's been worried that things will go badly if her replacement doesn't work out. She's been so busy lately!"
Sailor Pluto looked about ready to wave off the comment again, but she stopped. "Er, excuse me? You say Terra's been worried?"
Serenity nodded. "Oh, yes. She's quite busy with the interplanetary agreements, and trying to get Nemesis to agree to a ceasefire. You remember the accords we were drawing up a week ago, don't you?"
The Time Guardian stared at the Queen in a manner that suggested someone before her had just grown six heads, nine legs, and started to yodel. "Terra, as in the former 'Sailor Earth' Terra? Red hair, sweet personality, and was an adopted princess in her past life? THAT Terra?"
It was Serenity's turn to look confused. "Yes, that Terra. Who else would it be?"
Setsuna took a deep breath. "Ah, forgive me for mentioning it, but Terra is dead—"
Everyone except for Pluto and Ranma gasped.
Mercury put her hands to her cheeks. "When did this happen?!"
"Not Terra!" Jupiter looked on, aghast.
"That's NOT a funny joke, Setsuna," Venus noted, grimacing.
Reenie fell off of Ranma's back. "No! Not Auntie Terra!" the little girl cried. "Who's gonna tell me stories on Tuesday nights now?!"
While Sailor Pluto may have been literally drunk on her own confusion and driven insane by her fiancé’s antics, there was something about the entire situation that had the sobering effect like that of a month in a medieval monastery. A strong vacuum formed in the pit of her stomach and she found it difficult to speak for a minute.
Ranma placed her hands on her hips. "Hey, what gives? I thought you said this 'Terra' died."
"She DID," Setsuna whispered back, then took a step toward Serenity. "But, my Queen, surely you remember the day after the war with the Dark Kingdom ended. Terra sacrificed herself for all of us, and the next day, you drew the short straw and had to tell her mother—"
Serenity shook her head. "Terra didn't defeat the Dark Kingdom. I did, and she helped, along with the rest of the Senshi. We went and had a big party afterward—"
"—and you couldn't bring yourself to tell Mrs. Incognito about what happened, so you spent the day at her house, baking cookies and grinning nervously—"
"—and I was so sad because Terra died, then I went to her house the next day to tell her mom about what happened, but I knocked on the door and Terra grabbed me by the arm, and we ran off to school—"
"—so Raye and Amy had to drag you along the next day to tell her what really happened. Terra's mother was crushed, but she came to accept it. This is your least favorite story to tell—"
"—it's my favorite story, because it had a happy ending."
All four Inner Senshi looked at each other, then at the Queen. "That's not how it happened!" they protested at once.
Pluto stared at Serenity. "Terra died," she insisted.
Serenity stared back in concern. "No, she didn't." She looked away. "Yes, it did, and yet, not quite like that, but in a way, sort of, kinda…"
"Terra died very bravely," Mercury said.
"She had a cold and couldn't come to the final battle," Mars added.
"That knight-guy merged with her and blew up the whole town!" Venus cried. "It was horrible! We never recovered, and everybody died." She paused. "Except for me. You know why?" Her shoulders slumped. "But, but, but!!!"
"Auntie Terra reads me stories," Reenie said, "'cause Arby grosses me out all the time, calling me little mucus and… Wait, who's Terra? And Arby. What's an Arby? Is it kinda like Bruce?"
Setsuna paled. "This is bad."
"Yeah," Ranma said while helping Reenie get up off the floor, "nobody seems to remember what really happened. Think this is gonna delay dinner? I'm kinda hungry…"
The Time Senshi winced, the spark of pain lancing across her mind. She grabbed Ranma by the arm. "No, you do not understand!" A sudden, intense headache drove her to her knees. "The timeline has changed — is changing!"
Ranma frowned. "Is that a bad thing?"
Setsuna nodded frantically. "Usually."
*BAMPH!* Reenie disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Serenity gasped. "Small Lady! Where did she go?!"
"Small who?" Mercury asked, before vanishing. Her computer dropped out of her hands onto the floor. Soon after, Jupiter and Mars popped out of existence.
The Queen looked on in horror at her hands, which were growing transparent. She glanced toward Pluto. "Setsuna! What's ha… pen… ing…?" She faded away. The Crystal Palace's entire structure started to quake.
Setsuna leapt to her feet. "Ranma, we have to get out of here, NOW!"
A chunk of crystal landed by their feet. "What's going on?!"
"Do you know what a paradox is?!"
"Do you know what the 'End of the Universe' means?!?!"
IT MEANS I FINALLY GET TO RETIRE.
Ranma looked around as fires started to sprout up all over the place. "Who said that?!"
"It means that the Future is doomed!"
The girl's jaw dropped and she stared at her fiancée. "What?! Naaaw. That can't be happening. You're the one making sure that doesn't happen, right?"
"In case you haven't noticed, I've been too busy concentrating on you to do my job! I'm afraid there's no stopping it now!"
"Do you mean to say that the universe is doomed, we're all going to die, and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it?!?!"
Setsuna held her hand behind her neck and laughed nervously. "Ahe he he he he he he he he he he he heeee. Sucks, huh?"
"YEAH, it does! Can't we do ANYTHING?"
Sailor Pluto shook her head while debris continued to fall around them. "Not really. A paradox this severe isn't easily escaped! We have two options, as I see it. One: There's an off chance if we both focused all our powers into the Garnet Orb," she touched the red sphere on the top of her staff, "we MIGHT be able to make it to the Time Gate and POSSIBLY escape to go back before the paradox started and find a way to fix it!"
"What's the other option?"
The woman grinned mischievously. "If you want to go out with a bang, this could be our last chance."
Ranma backed off. "Eh heh, what do you say we try to save the universe first?"
"Very well." Setsuna didn't look too disappointed. Deep down, she knew the timeline was more important than a simple, impulsive idea that wouldn't last long anyway. She held out her staff. "Then hold on to the Time Key and focus your ki!"
Ranma did so. She grabbed the staff and concentrated. An aura sprang up around her.
"That's not going to be much help if you don't say 'Earth Power' while you're doing it."
"Earth Power?!" A glow suddenly sprang up on Ranma's tiara. "Why?"
"It's a compatibility thing. Senshi powers combine more easily. Besides, they're all voice-activated! Haven't you figured that out yet?"
*CRASH!* The two teleported away, just as the palace collapsed in an impressive display of magical demolition.
A white light shined at the point of obliteration at the center of Crystal Tokyo. Its glow intensified and spread past building after building, vaporizing everything in its wake. The shockwave silently spread past the borders of the city, engulfing the island, then the continent, and finally, the world.
The temporal explosion did not stop there. It ballooned to the size of the solar system, then the galaxy, then a galactic cluster, and on and on it went, accelerating and obliterating everything that stood in its path.
At Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the master of ceremonies tapped the microphone and said, "If you'll please bear with us for a moment, our show will begin a little earlier than normal." He cleared his throat and straightened his tie. "Everyone, note the blast from the Milky Way. Who here's from the Milky Way?"
A few hands shot up.
"Ooh, too late to worry about who's going to be next in line to the Juraian Throne, now, isn't it, Princess Ayeka?" The MC turned back to the window. "Note the sheer SPEED that the temporal explosion is moving at. Faster and faster and faster! In seven days, the Universe was created, and now, in seven minutes, the Universe will end, all for your viewing pleasure! Kind of makes you feel guilty, doesn't it?"
A number of chuckles rose from the audience.
"To think, all of you get to go home after this and get educations, raise families, and have quarrels amongst yourselves for the greater good and the wonders of the future!" He put the back of his hand to his cheek as if to whisper. "But we all know it's pointless. It's all going to end now anyway. So, eat, drink, and spend merrily here at Milliways, for right now, it's all going to end!"
After Belldandy had insisted on going back to apologize to that annoying galactic destroyer fragment, Skuld had decided that she couldn't bear to participate — or even watch, really — and headed back to Heaven to get some more late-night work done.
As usual, there were plenty of bugs to squish and problems to fix. However, a few minutes after she sat down at her computer terminal for a nice cup of hot chocolate, the young goddess saw something that made her spit her drink out in a fine spray all over the screen and keyboard. Aloud, she read the words on the medium dark blue screen. "General Protection Fault in TIMELINE32.DLL?! WHO WENT AND INSTALLED WINDOWS IN THE MAIN SERVER?!?!?!?!!"
"Oye did!" Onto the keyboard hopped Arby the ArbyFish, who had a little yellow halo above his head and a pair of cheesy plastic wings strapped to his back. He grinned at the goddess, waved, and exclaimed, "Oye'z ya new supa'voisa', Oye is!" He straightened up proudly as he presented his ID tag. "Bow before me, for Oye iz Root!" He patted his chest. "Come on. Do ya duty!"
Skuld nearly tore her hair out. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" The terminal in front of her started sparking and making unpleasant chugging noises before finally exploding.
To be continued…
[End Chapter 10, Part 2.]
(Scene of the Atomic Starlight Knight and Sailor Pluto kissing each other relentlessly.)
"Heh. This year, we learned an important lesson about friends and family."
(Scene of Terra beating the heck out of her dad.)
"If you have problems, you should always try to work things out…"
(Sailor Pluto bludgeons the tar out of ASK.) (Male Jadeite chokes the other Jadeite mercilessly.)
"…the violent way!"
(Dead Kakkarotto smacks a dead Tuxedo Mask a million miles down into the depths of Hades.)
"In the end, you can always fix your relationship."
(Ukkyo kisses 'Tim on the lips.)
"But, hey, who wants that?"
(The Universe explodes, much to the chagrin of Ranma and Sailor Pluto.)
"Live fast, beat everyone else, and do it in record time. Sailor Nuke Sez. BWAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!"
Author's notes: Oh dear… I didn't really write all that, did I? ^_^;;;
Well, I've been looking for a spot to end the chapter and blow up the future section of the story for quite some time now. I've had it planned for years, but only now have I found a proper spot to do it in.
I'd like to take the time to thank all those that have helped me out so far. Here's a short list:
If anyone has any comments on the entire NETTG 10-2 chapter, go ahead and say them, because soon, I'll be doing a major revision on the whole series, dividing it into books, chapters, and including cover pages… It's going to be a major facelift for the series. Plus, it'll make the segments more manageable, I hope.
Additionally, and I may or may not announce it officially, if anyone wishes to write a section with Ranma and Sailor Pluto "maintaining the status quo" in Crystal Tokyo, you're welcome to do so, and if it's REALLY good, I'll include it on the site and give you credit for it. ^_^
So… All that I have to do now is make an Omake, right?
Well, I'll let you have one, just to fill up some space and not waste a scene that I had come up with, but couldn't use. This would be what would have happened if the timeline hadn't gone loopy and destroyed them all.
Due to some weird protocol that had been instated a decade ago, probably after a one of the realm's more rambunctious parties, a formal audience with the Queen required petitioners to be in their best attire. Best, in Ranma's case, had two problems. He was a she, and she was in a Senshi fuku.
As a side note, that particular piece of etiquette required the Senshi uniform to be in the highest mode available to the wearer. Fortunately for the temporally-displaced martial artist, she had not discovered Super or Eternal Senshi levels, or the entire experience would have been made all the more nerve-grinding by the addition of more skirts, bigger ribbons, hair decorations, and, quite possibly, fluffy, feathery wings.
"I mean," Serenity continued, "I know about Neptune and Uranus, but I never imagined that you, Sailor Pluto…"
"Eh heh." Ranma looked at her pink, knee-length boots and rubbed her toes uncontrollably against the soft sole. "No, I don't feel my masculinity or my identity threatened or anything like that. No-sirree-bob!" she muttered to herself low enough that the Queen couldn't hear. The woman standing next to her, on the other hand, could.
"We'll explain it to her later," Pluto whispered to her fiancé, then burbled in glee, "For now, we have to get our engagement officially announced!"
"Uh," Ranma replied not-so-intelligently, somewhat taken aback by Setsuna's uncharacteristic giggling.
Neo-Queen Serenity looked rather distraught over the entire concept. "You want to marry Sailor Earth, Setsuna?"
"Yes," the Guardian of the Gate of Time replied quickly. "We had an absolutely delightful time at a very nice theme park, where I had a chance to think it over. No one has ever been more kind, caring, accepting, or forgiving of me. I had different feelings once, but now, I want to marry Ranma, to have and to hold, in sickness, in health, and in or out of curse, all the days of my life, not even after Death do us part."
WE'LL SEE. UNTIL THEN…
"I see," Serenity said, rubbing her chin. "And you, Ter— I mean, Ranma, want to marry her as well?"
The sixteen-year-old moved her jaw to speak, but only closed it again. With disbelieving eyes frozen like those of an ancient peasant that had heard of dragons and just barely had the chance to see one breathe fire and destroy his farm, Ranma took a step back and took measures to compose herself. "I, er, yeah, sorta, kinda…"
Setsuna took the girl by the shoulder and whispered into her ear, "This is our ONE chance for happiness here. Don't let fear of commitment blow it now!"
"Sure!" Ranma blurted out.
Neo-Queen Serenity looked downward. "Okay… Well, if you're both committed to it, then I guess I can sanction it."
Near the door of the Royal Audience Chamber a pair of guards whispered among themselves.
"Thank you!" Setsuna beamed, clasping her hands to her heart. "I knew you'd agree with me."
Serenity breathed a sigh of relief. "It's done, then. I'll have it announced tomorrow evening." Then her lips fell into a pout. "But there's one thing I won't stand for."
"And what might that be?" Pluto inquired. "Ranma must remain male during the honeymoon and his off hours? Very well, we accept." She locked arms with the shorter girl and tugged her closer.
"No, do as you like there," the Queen replied, "but I just won't let you two get married without proper wedding dresses." She put her foot down loudly against the polished marble floor.
Ranma rubbed the back of her head and said, "Well, not me. I won't need a dress, I'll, uh, need a tux—"
"I put my foot down, Ranma," Serenity retorted firmly. "You're both getting the prettiest gowns in the realm for the ceremony, and that's final!" She took both of them by the arm and cheerfully led them outside. Her white wing-things nearly got caught in the door when it closed behind them.
Ranma looked nervously at Setsuna. "I think we should break it to her. I don't wanna hafta get fitted for no wedding dress!"
"We can tell her on the way," Setsuna replied encouragingly. "I'm sure she'll understand."
Thirty-eight volumes of manga…
Seven seasons of reruns…
And a truckload of fan fiction later…
Neo-Queen Serenity remained all a-twitter about the idea of going shopping for wedding dresses. "Oh, Ranma, you'll look so CUTE with lots of white — and ribbons! We shall have to get you lots of ribbons." She tilted her face upwards. "And both of you must have a bouquet that matches your hair. I'm sure we can find some very nice red and green flowers for you. Maybe some pink ones, too. Do you like pink ones, Setsuna? Sure, we'll get some pink ones."
Setsuna put away the laptop computer where she had been demonstrating Ranma's background information while the redhead stared, agape at the Queen's lack of comprehension. "She's ignoring us," the time guardian noted. "I'll distract her. Flee when you see an opening."
Ranma nodded her hearty agreement and began her search for escape routes, but was quickly thwarted when the Queen locked arms with her once more. "Ugh…"
"It'll be so neat! Just wait and see!" Serenity announced with no small amount of excitement.
Reenie tugged at her mother's dress. "Thanks for letting me come, Mommy!" A genuine look of complete innocence filled her face while she examined the engaged couple. "So soon we're gonna see a real, live Lebanese Wedding Ceremony?"
Everyone else fell down, leaving the dear, sweet, Small Lady to frown at them for a minute.
"I-I… er…" Serenity stuttered, getting back up, "…sort of. We're just getting their dresses now. We'll have the wedding in a month or so."
"Can I come to that?"
"Ah, sure, why not?"
"Neat!" the little, pink-haired girl said in her little, whiny voice. "I've always wanted to go to the Middle East." Off in her own little world, she turned aside and looked out the window. "Ooh, look! The candy store. Can we get some?"
"Later, Small Lady, later."
"But I want it now!" Reenie folded her arms and pouted.
It took the Queen a few minutes and a promise to buy her a bunny-backpack to get the princess to calm down, but she eventually did.
They had taken the Royal Limousine, which was, oddly enough, being driven by the Royal Coach, who normally taught things like Tennis and Volleyball, but really wanted to get out and try out being the Chauffeur for the day. They stopped outside the best bridal shop in Crystal Tokyo, who had been informed of their arrival and bustled about, getting everything ready.
"Planning, planning, planning," Serenity continued, tapping a finger to her cheek while she looked the happy couple over. "So many details to iron out. "Do you want bows on your invitations? Oh, of course you do. Who are you planning to invite?"
"Invite?" Ranma said, suddenly put on the spot and given a moment to think. "I think I should at least invite Mom—"
"Yes! Your mother. I can't wait to meet her."
"And shouldn't, like, one of our moms," Ranma continued, pointing between herself and her fiancée, "be taking care of all this?"
"Nonsense!" Serenity replied. "I'm the Queen, so I get to make all the big decisions on this. I'm sure your parents won't mind me doing this for you!"
Ranma looked at Setsuna. "Later, can we go back and pick up Mom? I think she'd want to see all this through."
Setsuna thought about that for a second, then nodded. "Oh, yes. It falls outside the Time Gate's Fair Use policy, but I've learned that some rules are meant to be broken." She giggled maniacally. "I've already broken about a third of them by bringing you here in the first place, but it's not like the Universe is going to blow up or anything because of it." She paused to glower for a second. "Besides, Destiny owes me, big time."
"Hmm… Could this work?" the author asked himself.
After staring at his computer screen nonstop for two months, he came to an indecision. "Nah, anyone can get Ranma into a wedding dress. I'll blow up the universe instead."
He pushed the Big, Red, Shiny "Erase History" Button.
[And that, as they say, is that.]
Hope you liked it! If you did, please say so! If you didn't, tell me all the same! Any response is better than none. ^_-
Benjamin A Oliver
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