Well well well, lots have happened since the last chapter. The Sailor Ranko Manga rose from the dead like phoenix so go visit the site and enjoy the comic. Spread the news and give Becky some love. She deserves every bit for returning to the monumental task.

It took some time to finally finish this chapter. I mainly enjoyed the good summer weather, so the fanfic got side railed.

As always, anyone that would like to proofread the story can PM me. I do have two awesome proofreaders, but I am totally clueless with my English sometimes. Any feedback on making this better is greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank khammel and DianaBialaska for their amazing help.

Chapter 6


"... from a certain point of view."

"Alert, alert! Coolant level, low. Alert!..." The computer voice repeated as red lights flashed, in the dark room, accompanied by the annoying sound of a ringing alarm. This scenery was interrupted by a single flash of white light.

Navigating the dark room was a challenge, even for Ranma. It was quite some time since she needed to work on the mainframe core. To be honest… It was a lifetime ago. Her memories of the layout were close to nonexistent. Still, as with the other memories, she found that when she concentrated hard enough, she could remember bits of information.

"Chizuko, stop!" Ranma called from behind the bird, who was attempting to dismantle the main drive array to switch to the backup one. The slight aura around the bird gave off enough light to illuminate the area well enough to plainly see what the bird was doing.

Chizuko turned around. "Is this another trick?" She asked, eyeing Ranma suspiciously.

Ranma walked closer and slapped the bird over the head. "Stupid." she crossed her hands, glaring at the bird. "Can't you tell?"

"Mistress?" The bird carefully asked, still unsure of what was happening at the moment. She then poked the redhead with her wing gently. It was strange. She really couldn't tell. The mannerism was the same almost the same. The stance and expression… yet this redhead was flesh and blood.

"Yeah, I am real. We need to get the mainframe in order again, or we're toast." Ranma ordered with rare urgency in her voice.

"But… I thought she.. why? I…" The bird stuttered, unable to cope with the fast evolving situation.

"Well, for one, she is me…" As she blurted that sentence out, she cringed internally. "More importantly, she came around just as you switched her off. Ohh, and we kind of need that mainframe. We were performing the refueling maneuver. Don't you remember?" Ranma checked the crystal data slice drive. "I hope you didn't damage these." She looked at the pile of discarded drive modules.

"I am sorry, mistress. I failed you yet again." Chizuko hung her head.

This reminded Ranma a bit of Sasuke. She would be damned if she ever treated the bird as bad as Kuno did with his servant. Chizuko was no servant, but a friend. One of the oldest, in fact. "Look." Ranma frowned and switched her attention to the miserable have gron fond of Chizuko over the short time of coming to the station to rest. Pinching the base of her nose, she put her hand on the wing and dropped to her level to be able to see eye to eye with the grounded bird. "You were trying to do what you thought was right. Don't beat yourself up over it, ok? God knows I made some blunders along the way." The redhead smiled. "Now, how about you help me put these drives back?" She smiled.

Ranma carefully picked the thallium crystal drives, placing them to their respective racks. She went over the Moon kingdom alphabet symbols to make sure she didn't mess up this time. "This should be about right, don't you think? I am still quite a bit rusty when it comes to this gibberish." She sighed, who would have thought that Ranma Saotome would one day be the one to fix things like these. It instilled a sense of pride in herself. After all, Ranma Saotome can do anything and certainly never loses.

Chizuko looked over the drive racks, inspecting the sequence and orientation, nodding. "That is correct."

Ranma looked from the bird to the control panel near the door. "Well, you know that I don't really feel competent to do these things right? Going on instinct here is not going to cut it." The two stared at the red blinking panel. "Crap!" Both said.

The group of senshi and one tuxedo clad young man headed down the corridor when the lights went out momentarily until the emergency power kicked in a few moments later.

The group turned towards Ami. "What?" She threw up her hands. "It looks like auxiliary power kicked in."

Usagi eyed the bluenette with a surprised look. "Sounds like Ranma has rubbed off on you." She sighed, earning her own surprised look back from the science prodigy.

"It might have worked both ways, actually." Konatsu giggled, which earned her quite a few raised eyebrows too.

Ukyo, now carrying the golden staff, paused. "You know. I never imagined I would die like this … in space, I mean."

"Don't talk like that." Konatsu almost wept, suddenly clinging to Ukyo.

Usagi looked to Ami for answers. The senshi of Mercury was however tinkering with her computer again.

"The good news is that the main computer core is down. That means no killer AI. Then there is the bad news…" She raised a finger to punctuate. "We are running on reserves, and the station is being pulled deeper into the Sun's corona and further to its gravity well."

"So, we are dead. Just a different kind of death to look forward to, right?" Mars shrugged.

"We need to fix this. We need to find Ranma, and fast." Usagi ordered.

"She… is… huh! She is in the computer core room. Probably trying to fix this mess." Ami pointed at the red dot close to the golden one on her screen. "We should go and help her out."

"Where are the others?" The Moon princess asked.

"Hey guys!" Minako called from behind the group. The senshi of Venus walked towards them, followed by the two others.

"Lucky Mina knows this station so well." Makoto quipped.

"I used to visit Angwyn frequently. I couldn't stand the thought of her being alone in here all the time. Especially after she got turned down by the queen."

Akane eyed the blond senshi. Something about Minako made her uneasy. Ranma mellowed too quickly to her assaults on the hair. Hell, even Yuka and Sayuri weren't this close to her as Ranma seemed to be to Minako lately.

"We need to help Ranma. Konatsu reminded the crowd of senshi, complimented by a tuxedo clad knight and two cats who watched the scout group with interest.

"That's right." Akane looked around, her eyes resting on Ami.

The senshi of Mercury sighed. Looking from her senshi lookalike, she glanced down the corridor. "I guess it's this way."

"What do you mean you can't stabilize the station?" One redhead shouted at another much less opaque.

The restored hologram frowned. "As you should know, the station has only a limited number of stabilizing thrusters." She pointed at the screen on the panel. "We are past the point of no return, all I can manage is to buy you and the others some time to return to Earth safely."

"Not good enough! I'm not going to let you or the station go down in flames." Shouted an angry Ranma. "Chizuko… is there a way…" The senshi of the Sun paused, looking uncertain. "Can we use the Voltarium cell in the lab?"

The bird's eyes bulged out. "Mistress, you can't be serious!"

"No, you can't. You could blow up the Sun. You can't play with gravity like that. Even minor..." The hologram tried to object.

"What can we do then?" Ranma tapped her foot.

"If you had the spear I made…" She mused, scratching her chin. "You could artificially decrease the weight of the station carefully and with the high precision needed, you could reduce the gravitational pull on the much lighter station. The thrusters would then have no trouble moving the station outwards to the stable orbit."

"Did you… we actually try something like this before?"

Angwin sighed. "I ran a few simulations on gravity manipulation when I was developing the spear. It's not just a weapon. It is a tool that can be a weapon when needed." She looked Ranma in the eyes. "You should know that, girly."

Ranma stared down the hologram. "Don't call me that!" She hissed through the clenched teeth. "You messed this up, you third rate algorithm!"

"Mistress Angwyn, mistress Ranma, please don't argue at a time like this." The bird stepped into the conversation to relieve the tension.

The two redheads crossed their arms, averting their faces from each other in a hilarious display of childishness. This left one very uncomfortable Chizuko suddenly wanting to be anywhere else as a sweat drop formed on the back of her head.

"I guess I can get that Voltarium from the lab…" Ranma finally broke the silence.

Angwyn looked at her incarnation with an appraising eye. "I guess I can make the calculations."

"Sounds like a plan." Said Usagi who was standing near the door accompanied by the whole senshi ensemble, feeling a bit awkward.

"Sheesh, talk about multiple personality disorder." Makoto mused.

"Go count your moons or something, Jupiter!" Angwyn placed her hands on hips and gave Makoto a nasty stare.

"Anyway…" Ukyo said walking to Ranma. "Here is the spear." She said, handing the golden trident-like spear to the redhead.

Ranma looked at the golden weapon cautiously. The apprehension to wield any kind of weapon was ingrained in senshi of the Sun. However, Angwyn was right, this was a tool as much as a weapon. "Thanks." The redhead took the spear, turning to Akane.

"Next time you try to leave me so abruptly, the way you did back in that corridor, I will kick your ass." She playfully slapped her redheaded wife over the back of the head.

"Ou...You uncu…." Ranma stopped herself. "I will, sorry." Ranma leaned in and kissed the senshi of Io and giggled before flashing out of the room. That tomboy needed to know that Ranma Saotome can't be tamed. At least not fully.

"That tomboy!" Akane clenched her fists. "I hate when she does that!"

Ukyo and Konatsu aware of the common insult sweatdropped.

"Is everyone ready?" Ranma asked the rest of the scouts, sliding the Voltarium cell onto the spear after getting it out of the storage unit. With a satisfying click, the cell was firmly in place and ready for use. The Spear felt alive again.

The senshi ensemble gathered at the station's control room was restless.

"Well, as ready as we'll ever be." Replied Ami wiping a bit of sweat off her brow. Those calculations had to be spot on, and it didn't help any that she had to redo them a few times. "You will need to beam outside the station and manipulate the station's gravity, lowering it by at least 30%."

"Is this wise to have Sun do this? Makoto asked, pointing towards Mamoru and the two moon cats. "Who is going to get them back if she blacks out again?"

"There is one escape shuttle at dock A12 ready for use." Angwyn informed the the group already switching her attention to Ranma. "Just get us to the 70% of the mass, and we will take care of the rest Sun. " The hologram of Angwyn assured Ranma.

"Uhmm… Akane. If…" The redhead was interrupted from the babbling by her wife's voice.

"Don't you even dare not come back from this." Akane said in a tone that promised pain if disobeyed.

"Will do." Ranma assured her wife, cocky grin plastered on her face.

With the flash of light, the redhead appeared outside the station. Spear at the ready, she focused her mind on one thing. To artificially lower the weight of the station. She could feel the power in the spear respond and shoot a beam of energy extending around the station like a bubble.

"It seems to be working. Keep it up." Ami spoke in her earpiece. "94% and dropping."

Ranma was so focused on the task that she almost failed to notice that as time passed the spear got warmer in her hand.

"87 Looking good."

The spear was getting really warm now, this however wasn't the entire problem. It was getting lighter, way lighter than it should at this point.

"81% Keep it up."

"I don't think this will work, Ami. There might not be enough power to drop all the way to 70." Ranma advised.

"We have to try. Give it your best. It is in your hands now. There is nothing we can do from here." Angwyn informed the redhead outside the station.

Ranma gritted her teeth and tapped into her senshi powers, supplementing the energy of the spear with the power granted to her by the Sun. "Ahhh!" She yelled out as her hand felt like it was on fire. Tightly clenched around the spear, unable to let go. She felt faint. 'Is this how I am going to go? Again?' She could hear the faint voice of her wife calling over the com link getting more distant.

Light, white flowing cloth, summer breeze. Those were the thoughts evoked in the redhead by her current surroundings as her eyes opened. She found herself on the large western style bed in a white room, definitely inspired by roman architecture. The white marble walls and columns adorned by what looked like white silk cloth surrounded her. Clearing her eyes, she smelled incense. Intoxicating and pleasant. It felt familiar.

Finding that she wore a white nightgown which was almost ethereal, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed, tugging at the offensive garment. Suddenly, her hands went to her forehead. Where the symbol of the Sun glowed slightly under her touch. She was so confused. Was she dead, or was this another of those episodes she experienced lately? The floor felt cold against her bare soles as she stood up. Exploring the room, she inevitably drifted towards the open french window leading to the garden.

She was so taken by the display that her senses failed to alert her to the new person in the room.

"Breathtaking isn't it?" The voice, Ranma knew that voice. "The Moon kingdom was an apex of civilization for millennia and yet, it wasn't."

Ranma turned around to the expected sight. Gleaming, an older version of herself. A woman in her mid 20s wearing a white toga garment adorned with a golden brooch. "And who are you?" She really didn't want to have this conversation with herself again. Two times a day was already too much. "Don't tell me you are yet another me?!" Ranma thought that she was going doolally.

"In a sense…" The toga clad redhead replied, stepping closer to the young one. "Yet not quite. I am the one you get your power from, my dear. We are one, bound by the bond forged millennia ago. When I decided to link my destiny with yours, I took your likeness to represent us when communicating with your kind." The woman smiled.

Ranma bulged her eyes out. Lips moving but failing to convey any words or even a sound.

"It's not polite to stare, my dear. One shouldn't stare directly at the Sun, you know." She let go of Ranma and with a giggle walked towards the french window, gesturing for Ranma to follow. Looking outside, she continued. "You are probably wondering why you are here. Rest assured, you are not dead. However, that might very well come to pass unless you take it easy and stop drawing more power than you are able to handle at your current level of harmonization.

"You… you are the..." Ranma stuttered, pointing the finger at the woman.

"Hush now, what did I tell you about minding your manners. Come closer, there is something I want to show you."

Ranma took a step closer. "What has happened? Why am I here?" She asked.

"All in good time, young one. All in good time." the Sun replied, drawing open the curtain. "There is something you need to know." She looked into the distance of the scenery. "You are not the first avatar I have chosen to represent me…"

"Angwyn…" Ranma almost whispered.

"No, I don't mean your first incarnation." She paused and turned her face towards Ranma. "Have you ever wondered why I resisted so much to Angwyn's plea to be my guardian? To your plea? Why I forebode the Serenity of ever linking anyone to me?"

Ranma nodded.

"I did allow another to be linked with me a long time ago." She paused, showing a great deal of pain and effort to continue the story.

"Metalia." Ranma said the word suddenly popping in her head.

"Metalia…" The older redhead nodded. Smiling weakly. The smile being more painful than anything. "I failed to recognize her evil, and I paid dearly for that. Everyone did. You see, the bond we share is one that is not an easy one. When you hurt I do and when I hurt you feel it too." Ranma reached for the woman's hand and grabbed it reassuringly, allowing her to continue.

"When you died trying to defend the kingdom, I knew I made a mistake denying you your pledge. I was wrong about you. You sought power, but not to enslave, but to protect. At that moment, I decided to link myself with you. Not like before with Metalia but completely this time." Tear rolled down the woman's cheek. "When I discovered you were dead, I couldn't take it. I could see the plan Serenity set up for the other guardians, and seeing that Serenity had no more power to help you, I decided to help you in her stead. I entrusted the Mau with your wand and the star seed. Sending you to the future to be resurrected with the rest." She paused briefly. "However, I messed up. I never did such a thing before, and therefore I forgot one detail, which apparently straightened itself out quite nicely."

"You mean my curse?" Ranma interjected.

"Curse…" She smiled weakly. "Your unfortunate birth into the body that wasn't meant to be." She shook her head. "Not only that I failed you before, I also caused no small amount of harm in your current life."

Ranma didn't know what to make of this. There was a part that yelled 'I am a guy!' and then there was a part that wanted to hug the woman for her words of comfort.

As if sensing that, the woman turned to Ranma and hugged the younger version. "I know it must be confusing for you." She let go of Ranma and looked her in the eyes. "It is alright to be who you want to be. Even if you decide one day to give up my gift and the star seed, that is your decision to make. I would miss you, but you are free to do whatever you wish. I want you to know that.

Ranma looked at the woman with unease. This woman...was this to be her future? The elegance of her simple outfit let the feminine charm shine just like… well, like the Sun. "I can't stop being senshi. Not now. They all depend on me. I depend on them. I… I can't give this up."

"Are you sure? You might not like where this life might take you." She asked knowingly.

"I already gave up my senshi status once before and I almost lost my love for it. Hiding from this and running away is no way forward." Ranma replied determined.

The woman smiled. "Well then. If you are going to be my avatar, you need a weapon that can actually be used to channel our energy in a meaningful manner." The Sun smiled and extended her hand. The same golden staff Ranma used before appeared. "You won't be needing this anymore." Sun snapped the end of the staff that housed the Voltarium battery and handed the weapon to Ranma.

"I am sorry." Ranma lowered her head seeing the Voltarium casing disappear. It reminded her of the fact that once before it was used as an extortion tool.

"No offense given Dear, we all can slip on our path sometimes as did I so long ago." She lifted Ranma's head to face her. "Now my daughter, take this staff to help you channel our powers."

Ranma took the staff and she could feel a flood of energy envelop her like a warm blanket. She looked down on herself to see she was in her senshi form again. The scenery changed to that of a throne room where the woman sat wearing an evening gown that reminded Ranma of liquid fire. She herself was wearing her senshi uniform, but it looked different. It felt different. She felt like she just got a considerable power boost.

"Well, Ranma, what do you think?" The Sun asked. "This is your more advanced form. You will be able to handle much more power in this form than your previous one. It is reserved for those times you might need an extra edge in your battles."

The redheaded senshi looked down to inspect the new uniform. The cut seemed to be the same, as was the utterly short skirt. However, the colors were a bit different. Where her skirt used to be red, it was now white like her bodysuit slowly changing into golden yellow gradually transitioning into the bright red and then dark maroon. The yellow bow on her chest was adorned by red hearth gem as always. So was her waist, which was adorned by a golden belt with another red hearth crystal. Inspecting further, her collar now had 3 white stripes instead of one and her shoulders were covered by almost ethereal see through petals. The biggest difference however could be felt instead of seen. She could feel her hair was styled differently, it felt heavier, more intricate. The earrings were a bit heavier too, and they dangled from her ears, unlike the previous studs.

"Nice to meet you sailor Sun. You should go now, my daughter. We shall meet again. Be well and remember what I said." The woman said, smiling as she dabbed the redhead's nose with her index finger.

With the departure of Ranma, the tall redheaded woman sighed. "Hard destiny rests upon you child."

A woman clad in yellow robe with long, and dark cobalt hair stepped into view and put a hand on the redheads shoulder. "My daughter will help her with it. Of that, I am sure." The spirit of Io spoke to the redhead, whose lips turned upwards.

Akane didn't need to stand by and watch where this was going. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to head out and save Ranma. It was obvious that the proud redhead would once again try to stretch the boundary of the impossible to achieve her goal. She hated this about Ranma, and she loved it at the same time. This duality was bound to Ranma as much as the curse. Perhaps the curse wasn't such an accident as everyone thought it was. It was hard to imagine Ranma without it. It reminded her of the heartbroken shell of a man when Ranma actually lost the female side for a while. For all the denials and exclamations, Akane knew the truth.

Carefully slipping out of the control room, she put on the zero G equipment Ranma previously introduced to them in the conference room.

"And where exactly do you think you are going?" A hologram of a redhead appeared in front of Akane.

"Where I need to be. Where I must be." Akane took the spare headset from the table. "Don't even try to stop me."

"Ranma knew you might try to do this." Angwyn crossed her hands. "She gave me instructions to stop you, however, I agree with you. You should go get her. I… we can be stubborn at times."

"I'm glad we agree. Now show me the nearest airlock." Akane said, ready to head out.

It was a weird feeling for Akane, to be floating like this in the vacuum of space. The solar radiation stung a little, but her senshi form was more than capable of shielding her from the harmful effects of exposure to the solar wind. By the time she exited the station, Ranma stopped communicating. When that happened, Akane's heart almost stopped.

"Akane, a little more to the left and then straight ahead." Ami advised over the com system. She knew what was up at the moment Akane slipped through the airlock.

"Right." Akane replied, spotting a glimmer of the golden spear clutched in the redhead's arms. 'When I get my hands on you…! She thought, adding power to the propulsion system.

When the guardian of Io arrived, she noticed a few things. Ranma wore a different kind of fuku than the one which she did when she left the station. It was much more elegant and… womanly… She stifled a giggle, remembering the dire situation. She had trouble recognizing the redhead. Her hair was styled in loose french braid that somehow added to the volume of the already more than generous mane. It was adorned with golden planetary symbols woven into the braid. She grabbed onto her wife and almost shuddered how cold her skin felt. It was hard to maneuver with the staff still clutched in the redhead's hands. Still, after some struggling, she managed to get both of them back to the station safely. The station seemed to have stabilized on its own, even after Ranma fainted.

It was hard to admit for Akane, but she was spent. She hauled her wife through the airlock and collapsed into the arms of Minako, who was closest to her. She could only watch as the others placed Ranma on a futuristic stretcher and checked her life signs.

"Interesting." Ami said, scanning Ranma.

"Huh? Is she alright?" Ukyo asked, worried.

"More than that." Ami replied. "She is absolutely fine, but she seems to have reached her enhanced super senshi form." Akane sighed, and took a breather as Ami continued. "I thought it was impossible for any of us to reach this level, previously attained only by Usagi and Usa."

Everyone looked at the twin tailed blond, who just shrugged. "Don't look at me, I don't know how it works."

Luna coughed a bit to get the attention. "It is simple, really." She said, remembering Artemis's love for explaining things. "Artemis can explain this better, however."

"Ehrmm." The white cat cleared his throat. "This form is a power up of your usual senshi form. It shows how much in sync you are with your planet. In Ranma's case, the Sun. All of you are capable of attaining this status in time. You will all eventually be capable of using similar forms if need be."

"But she looks so different." Ukyo commented, looking over at the redhead.

"Yeah, less of a tomboy." Konatsu joined in.

"She is not going to like that." Makoto giggled.

Suddenly, Ranma faded back to her usual senshi form. As she awoke she reached for her face, and massaged her forehead. "Maan! That was intense. Did it work?"

She was greeted by the bulging eyes of her senshi companions, moon cats and one tuxedo clad young man.

"What? Do I have something on my face?" Ranma wiped her hand over her cheek. "How did I get here anyways?" She asked.

Akane slapped her on the head. "I got you here, Baka. Do you have a death wish or something?" Hissed the apparently recovered, yet irritated Akane.

"Ohh." Ranma said, noticing the gear her wife was wearing. "I guess it worked since we are here, not rushing anywhere…" She then smiled. "We have to stop meeting like this."

Chizuko flew into the room and hugged the redhead. "Mistress…"

Ranma patted the bird on the back awkwardly. "What got into you all of a sudden?"

"You reckless… What do you mean, what had gotten into her?" Akane stopped, seeing the hurt look Ranma gave her. "Just don't do this again." She tightly hugged the redhead, squeezing the air out of her, fighting tears about to escape from the corners of her eyes.

"No promises Akane. You know me." Ranma returned the hug and leaned into it, allowing herself a brief moment of vulnerability that felt like heaven.

The Saotome Matriarch sat in the living room pondering the latest events while sipping tea. She called a few of her friends to see if any one of them could pull some strings and help her and her sister with the paperwork. That and to smooth over the business with the senshi fan club chairman that took place a while back.

One simply doesn't deal with wealthy and powerful people without making some friends… and enemies along the way. School records were one thing, but the national registry took some doing. After all, the file at school took a simple name and crafty information bending and was ready, along with her daughter's ID picture.

Her pondering was disrupted by a ringing phone. "Saotome residence, how may I help you?" Nodoka took the phone. As the time passed, her expression got more and more serious until her face went white as a sheet by the end of the call.

She hung up the phone and took a few steps back, carefully sitting down on the cabinet in the hallway. She didn't expect this. The next few days, and maybe weeks, could prove to be interesting indeed.

The rays of morning sun tingled on the faces of the senshi couple, which did nothing to wake them up. A moment later, the brutal sound of their alarm did the trick.

Ranma blindly moved his hand around, until he managed to get hold of the offensive object, and smashed it to the floor, disabling its annoying beeping as the battery flew out of the abused alarm clock.

"That is the third alarm clock this month, Ranma." Akane cleared her eyes. "Wake up, I swear that whenever you sleep as a guy you are impossible to wake up." She rocked her husband to wake him up.

"I thought you would be glad that I managed to catch some sleep." Ranma smiled and kissed Akane. It was true. Ranma noticed a tangible difference between the forms in the way he or she slept.

"I know that you woke up in the middle of the night again to have a few laps around the neighborhood." I also know you got dunked by the cold water when doing so. You smell like a girl." She nuzzled her husband's neck, kissing him there.

Ranma's expression soured. "Nothing gets past you, does it?" He said, getting out of the bed. He hated when she did that. She treated him as a girl even when in the male form. While he kind of gotten used to it in his female form, It made Ranma uncomfortable, especially when in the male form.

The black haired martial artist again opted for the shower. It was just much more convenient than the furoba back at Tendo home. Sure, it was relaxing, but a shower was quicker and cheaper, which was what he needed, lest he wanted to explain to his mom how he managed to cover all those huge bills for the construction of the house. Sometimes inheritance of a previous life had its perks.

He turned the water on and hissed in high alto voice as the cold rush of leftover water doused his, now her, body. She sighed and waited for the heater to kick in. 'Smell like a girl.' Ranma's mind was unwilling to let go of the little remark Akane let slip. 'Does she really like that?' the martial artist wondered. Looking down at her body, looking at and past her breasts, she couldn't help but wonder. 'Is this how It's going to be?'

It was just last week that she stood there wondering about her past, and this time the topic was her future. She thought she is at peace with the curse and all… Now It felt like another storm was coming. The events that happened at the station… it complicated things yet again.

Unlike when she changed into the girl the evening prior, she could feel the change back to the male body when the warm water finally kicked in. The difference puzzled him. Why did the sensitivity to changing forms faded after some time of having the curse? The distinctions between the forms felt blurred. The distinction, once so clear and sharp like razors edge now dull and blunted. Now, neither body felt alien and yet, the male form started to feel neglected. Well neglected no more. After almost a week of running around female, he was going to enjoy his male side. Stepping out of the shower, he tied his longer hair into a long ponytail and got dressed in the red shirt and black pants he liked so much.

Looking in the lavatory mirror, he ran a hand over the smooth face and wondered if he'll ever grow a beard or if he'll stay this smooth for life. It was kind of interesting to think about. Scary, but interesting. Then he remembered the feeling when his father used the cradle from hell. 'Yuck!' He cringed. He really hoped that he wouldn't grow anything like that. It felt like nuzzling to a porcupine. Being partly girl actually had some advantages when thinking about it.

The two tiny holes in his earlobes… those were another matter entirely. With the hair pulled into the ponytail, it was hard to cover those. Sure, some guys had one ear pierced, but not both. The only one that came to mind was pantyhose Taro. Then again, he was a real weirdo, that one. There were a few more subtle things too. He noticed the arched and cleanly shaped eyebrows and his hair was layered, even the fringe which was somehow longer. All part of the transformation into the sailor Sun. It was some time since he looked into the mirror like this, looking for the unmistakable changes that he had to accept as part of being a senshi, some of them permanent. He reached to the fringe and pulled at the hair, revealing a slight part in hair where the tiara rested. Nothing permanent, mind you, just the way his hair laid, it was obvious that something pushed them into the position regularly. Sliding his fingers over the forehead, he could almost see a faint glow of the solar symbol of allegiance. The hair also tend to hold its puffed up feminine shape unless washed after the transformation. It was annoying.

He shook his head and dismissed the disturbing image. He had to push the feeling of losing oneself to the back of his mind once more. These thoughts were not healthy, but he was closer to being a girl than ever before. That moment back in the park on the bench when Rei and Ami caught up to him. After the first glimpse of the past and disturbingly… the future. It scared him. The panic gripping at your soul with the prospect of not knowing yourself.

While his mother and even himself accepted his girl side, he still couldn't accept the feeling of dread that seeped in every time. What if it was all a lie. What if he lived a lie for all those years and in fact was a girl all along. What if he lead on Akane and in a sense himself. What if he was really a girl. Just a girl. Girl trying to be a man. Playing the role that was superimposed on her. What then?! Wasn't even the fact that he was thinking about it at all a proof of this? Normal guys don't think like this, do they?

He put on a brave face number 5 and headed out of the bathroom.

"One of these days they are going to force you to wear that school uniform, you know." Akane jabbed Ranma with her index finger, slipping past him to the bathroom.

"That'll be the day." He called back, almost bumping into Nodoka on the way to the kitchen.

"So, how was your weekend?" The matriarch stopped Ranma, steering him past her.

He evaded collision with his mother and grinned. "Well, you know, the usual. Mad AIs, lots of cleanup and some tinkering around. Pretty boring, actually."

"Don't let her play it down, mom, it was pretty exciting." Akane called from the bathroom. His eyebrow twitched at Akane's use of pronouns. A detail that didn't escape Nodoka.

"Good to see my son around, actually. It was a while, wasn't it?" She smiled, trying to support Ranma.

Ranma massaged the back of his head. "You know how things are. I will probably end up a girl before the day is done."

"Well, I love to see my daughter too." Nodoka smiled. "That reminds me. When you two get home, I have some things I would like to discuss with you both."

"That might take a while, Akane booked me with that shrink, remember?"

"She is a psychologist, not a shrink, and it can wait until after that. You should go there. If nothing else, you might find her to be a pleasant person to talk to."

Ranma bit his cheek to prevent the usual foot in the mouth. "I will go there if it makes you happy."

"No Ranma, go there for yourself, not to make me happy. You being happy makes me happy. Go there to ease your mind, and you might just find it easier to breathe after the end of your session. " Nodoka waved goodbye to the black haired teen.

The school was comparatively boring. The busy and eventful weekend made it seem almost serene. Ranma still wondered how Chizuko and the Angwyn AI were doing. The station was in need of serious repair. The accident damaged several major systems, and it singed the communication array. It would be some time before any live updates from the bird in charge.

Minako could see Ranma squirming in his seat, looking uncomfortable. The martial artist usually looked calm and sometimes downright drowsy. Today, he was restless. Minako wondered if it had anything to do with the form he was in today, since he kept tugging at the collar of his shirt.

Ranma couldn't help but notice a certain… tense atmosphere in the class. It always happened when he switched forms in which he attended the class. When in boy form, girls would tend to avoid him, but looked at him with appreciation, while boys were hesitant to speak to him and involve him in their talks. The only exception was this nerdy kid with thick glasses that reminded Ranma those that Moose worn. The Umino kid. He was kind of a strange amalgamation of Hyroshi, Daisuke, Moose and Gosunkugi. Even Ranma could see the boy had it bad for the ginger girl called Naru. The two would make a cute pair. If only he wasn't such a wimp.

Ranma couldn't help but like the kid. He was nerdy, sure, but he was respectful and never gawked at his girl side. Unlike most boys, he could talk to him without inappropriate questions concerning his girl side or other girls in the class.

Speaking of the devil, Ranma could see the boy approaching him. "Hey Ranma. How was your weekend? Did you see that new movie that just came out?"

Ranma just blinked at the geeky guy. "You know, that senshi movie."

Ranma frowned, unfamiliar with the recent going ons. "Can't say I did."

"Well, you really should. It was amazing. It all makes sense now." Umino pulled a chair to sit across Ranma. "The sailor Sun girl that everyone trashed after she appeared was actually fighting those demons in their own world. Can you believe that?"

Ranma blinked.

"She's a lesbian and went there to save this really butch girl."

Ranma frowned at the description of Akane and his girl side.

"Look Umino, I bet it was awesome, but can we please not talk about senshi?" Ranma tried to steer the conversation away from his weak spot.

"Ohh, I forgot that your ego got hurt when they had to save you back when…" Umino pointed out the Happosai incident, which made Ranma shiver.

"Hey! They didn't have to save me!" Ranma objected, gritting his teeth.

Umino shrugged. "Whatever you say." He looked around to see if the air was clear. "You know, Ranma. I heard some rumors."

"What Rumors?" Interrupted Akane. "And where were you slacking off all this time? We are waiting for you under the tree." Akane put hands on her hips.

"Well, I…" Ranma tried to say, failing as he was pulled out of the chair towards the door to the hallway.

With the school finally over, Ranma had to head out to the clinic where the appointment was made. A long tour around the Tokyo led him to the Kawadacho district in Shinjuku city. The hospital was quite big. Even bigger than the one Ami's mom worked in. Perhaps because it also doubled as a university. More precisely, Women's medical University of Tokyo.

Ranma frowned at the huge signboard. He pondered if this was such a good idea and if he would be better off getting some cold water. Then again, there were lots of guys moving around the place, so he opted to go in as is. The doctor expected a guy anyway. That and he wanted to make it as a guy for a full day.