By Kevin Hammel, with Andrew Norris' Thanks.

One of Two Side Stories to Streams of Time, covering the year of training.




At Tea Time


Ranma looked up from the book she was reading. Her predecessor was

excellent at finding the important things to record, and using JUST

enough words to describe them. This made for reading exceptionally

informative AND boring. But with each sentence, her memory filled in

the details between the fragments. Slowly, she was remembering her

previous life, with the aid of the paper patchwork.


Her gaze fell for a moment at a cup of tea she had fixed herself. She

smiled a tiny, secret smile. The previous Sailor Pluto had always

loved a cup of tea; Ranma had grown to appreciate it just as much.

With her mind off her studies, other sensations called for attention;

none more so than the pain in her tightly wrapped foot.


"Damned heels..." She whispered to... herself? Laughter rang through

the empty halls as she thought about the sheer lunacy of WHISPERING.

She was the only person for thousands of millions of kilometers.

Heck, pop was still back on Earth, with everybody else. As laughter

died down to a smile, her throbbing foot brought her mind full



WHY had she tried to work out in her Sailor Senshi fuku anyway?

BECAUSE that's what she would wear when she fought. And she had been

raised from infancy to be a warrior in this life, in HIS life.

Someday, she swore to herself, she would be able to FIGHT in those

shoes! It was tough enough just to work fight and fashion into the

same sentence, but she had to do that and more. Pluto had to fight

despite the frills of her station.


But Pluto's memories told Ranma it was NOT her place to fight. She

was like a chess player, manipulating her pawns to defend her

position. To defend the Earth and its people. To do what was right

for all Humanity, not individual humans.


That's what Elder Pluto had done; to her it was all just a matter of

moving pieces to get the desired result. Wars were started, innocent

lives lost, but Earth and Humanity had survived, so the end DID

justify the means.


But... could she do that? Could SHE treat people like that? Think of

them as cattle or tools? What GOOD was saving a world inhabited by

cattle? If Humanity itself was worth saving, weren't all the people?


That was one thing that her life as a martial artist had taught her.

The weak were to be protected; it was a martial artist's duty. There

was no talk about 'acceptable casualties' or 'sacrificing the few for

the many'. The martial artist might sacrifice his own life, but it

was not for him to sacrifice others. Each life itself was important,

so even killing itself was wrong. No matter what else her father had

taught her, THAT had stuck. A small laugh escaped her grasp, as she

thought about some of her father's other teachings... that girls were

weak, for instance. SHE certainly wasn't and neither were the rest of

the Sailor Senshi.


Thinking of her fellow warriors brought back remembered glimpses of

the lives the inner Senshi led. Each loved her position, and each of

the people they protected. Surprisingly, none of the inner Senshi

loved the people more than their Queen did. Eventually each of them

had found someone to share her life with.


The other outer Sailor Senshi were warriors first. They fought to

defend the system itself. It was a hard, lonely, life. Companionship

was what made it bearable. Each of those girls had found a mate as



But Pluto lived in isolation, perhaps BECAUSE of what she did, and

had to do. Ranma, on the other hand, had NEVER been without

companionship. His father was always there for him... whether to push

him through an insane training regimen, or berate him for whining

like a weak girl. Sometimes, he would even praise his son or listen

to what his child had to say. And it was those moments he treasured

above all others.


It had seemed, no, WAS a good idea to have someone close to talk to.

She wanted another person to give a second opinion on things. Someone

to remind her SHE herself was human. Heck, she even needed somebody

to teach her how to be a girl so she could go to school and not look

like a TOTAL loser. She smiled as she thought what Pop might teach

her about girls and being one... The smile became broader as she

considered what she could teach him about girls and being one.


Maybe it wouldn't or couldn't be her companion of the last decade. So

who would, who COULD be that person for her? If she was lucky, maybe

she could find several girls to help her. Listening to the absolute

quiet of the castle, Ranma realized how nice it would be to have some



Of course, when the Senshi reawakened, they might prove to be

friendly... but could she let them know her... his secret?


She returned to the question of a life-mate, a woman she could open

up to freely. After all, Ranma had been raised a boy, and WAS a boy,

no mater what her body looked like. So, it was only natural for her

to want a woman to share her life with. But... her old body brought

pain after only a few hours, and the water temperature required for

change was scalding. She would not be a man in body often, but she

would ALWAYS be a man, at least inside, at least in her heart. But

she would ALSO have to be something she knew nothing about... a girl.


If Ranma did not want to sacrifice other lives in the pursuit of her

goals, could he ask a woman to make a similar sacrifice for a man

like HER?


But, she supposed, that was where love would come in. Though to be

honest, she knew neither how nor why it would help. It had never

crossed his mind before.


Reaching for the fine china teacup on its elaborately decorated

saucer, she took a sip of the now tepid beverage. A small frown

marred her beautiful face for a moment. She WOULD have to re-heat the

tea... later. With a small sigh, she resumed her reading.




In the Mirror


It was nearly time to go. The young woman paused for a moment to

regard herself in a mirror. The image in the looking glass was...

her, now. A year ago, it had been someone else, a curse that hid her

true form, what she truly was. Now, it showed one facet of her being,

and her life.


She hadn't seen the other facet for six months. He was there to

receive the Timestaff, awed that its power was now his

responsibility. He touched it, and could sense the incredible energy

it controlled, but it was veiled, dimmed. A visit to a fountain

allowed him to wear his alternate form, now she could actually feel

the power in the staff, but not fully. Raising her henshin stick and

transforming brought Sailor Pluto into full contact with her

domain... the Pluto-Charon system, and time itself.


Holding that staff was exhilarating far beyond anything she had ever

experienced, almost intoxicating... until she considered the burden

it represented. The power she now wielded had to be used for the good

of Earth. And she HAD to learn to control it, and defend it. Even at

the cost of her life.


So, she spent six additional months training. Waiting for the staff,

she had kept in shape and studied countless tomes, both those dusty

with age and newly printed. When the staff arrived, she decided to

train her body like she never had... like he never had. He had ten

years... she had six months. The Princess of Pluto had to protect her

staff with her life, so she HAD to train. Hard.


The surface of her patron world, and its moon Charon became familiar

to her. The low gravity made feats impossible on Earth reality. She

trained so hard; she didn't really have time to be lonely... or to

feel sorry for herself. It was time to get to know this body as

intimately as she knew his. Leaps became instinctive. Her Art became

as natural in her Sailor Senshi fuku as his martial artists gi.


As natural for her as it had been for him. A girl's body was a LOT

different from a boy's. She had to re-master each kata, redefine each

attack and defense as it applied to her new form. It had been a tough

six months. It had been a wonderful six months.


Her body itself had changed as well. Looking in the mirror, she could

see her own physical prowess in muscle definition. She knew it had

not been Pluto's place or mission to fight on the front lines, but

she swore to herself not to waste the gift of the Art sixteen years

of life had developed in her. It was every bit a part of her as her

staff and uniform. And after a half year, it was used with as little



For a second, she looked at the form in the mirror for a slightly

different perspective... his old one.


Girls were weak. Well, MAYBE some were... jut like some GUYS were.

She knew SHE wasn't. Strength could be seen in every part of her

body, less obvious that in her other body, but evident nonetheless.

And her Sailor Senshi uniform... when she first saw it, looked



But she knew, had learned, better.


The white body suit was resilient, light, flexible, and tougher than

most armor plate. The gloves were made of the same material. The

collar, skirt, and bows provided a bit of decoration and style; she

WAS a girl, after all. The tiara befit her station as a planet's

Princess, and the Guardian if Time.


Then there were the boots. High heels weren't ideally adapted to the

Art. For a few days she had stumbled around but in the end, she got

used to wearing them in her workouts. They DID look great on her;

after all she was a BISHOJO Sailor Senshi. So she accepted them as a

small price of her station, once she forgot the havoc they played

with her balance.


So, what at first glance was a beautiful young woman, became at

second a beautiful warrior. Physical strength in her arms and legs,

strength of will in her steady gaze, finally the incredible strength

and power hinted at by the faintly glowing Timestaff. Looking longer

at the reflection showed a bit of feminine weakness. A flow of tears

coursing down her face.


Pluto looked down, seeking answers somewhere else than in the mirror,

and finding them. No matter what she looked like, she would always be

Ranma inside... as well as Pluto. Looking up to the mirror again with

Pluto's tear-streaked face, she saw Ranma... in her confident stance,

in that body six months of incredible training had built, in the

cocky smile that told her the staff was in good hands. She would be

both of them... ALL of them, and so would he.


After freshening up a bit, Sailor Pluto opened a portal to meet her

father, and her destiny. She was ready for the tough task ahead,

buoyed by the confident elation of Ranma, bolstered by Elder Pluto's

knowledge and wisdom, and braced for battle as Sailor Pluto.


It was a confident teenager of seventeen years who stepped up to the

portal. She was far different from the confused, angry sixteen-year-

old who had emerged from it a year ago. But, as a teenager, she was

also far less experienced and wise that the woman she succeeded...

After all, she was at least a millennium younger.


But she WOULD succeed. Despite her youth, her birth-gender, his Art -

now hers too, his cocky confidence, or because of all of them... she

would triumph. Sailor Pluto stepped through the portal... her time

had come. And she could neither wait nor keep a little youthful

excitement off her face.




That's it for now,



Kevin D. Hammel

April 1, 2000