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
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