From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 31

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications. Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Taeuchi.

                           A Different Viewpoint pt 31

    The next morning went by quickly.  Before long, Kasumi was alone with the new kitten.  Kasumi spent the morning showing the kitten around the house and yard.  The kitten wanted to get into everything.  Kasumi kept him away from anything dangerous or fragile, teaching the kitten were he could and could not go.  After several hours of this the kitten was drowsy, so Kasumi took him to the living room and curled up in a nice spot on the porch.  The kitten snuggled up against her sleepily and Kasumi regarded him with a gentle eye before laying her own head down.

    Kasumi woke to a peculiar sensation.  It had begun as an erotic dream, her husband was touching her breast, then sucking on it gently. Kasumi realized that she was a cat, and the feeling of pleasure was coming from the wrong location.  She opened her eyes and looked down. The kitten was sucking away at her tit.  Kasumi's first impulse was to jump away.

    She resisted the impulse and sighed.  < Poor little thing.  It probably misses its mother.>  Kasumi felt her maternal instincts kicking in and let herself relax.  The sensation created by the kitten's tiny mouth was quite pleasurable.  Kasumi felt slightly guilty.  < Is this acceptable behavior?>  She sighed again.  < I wish that this was Johnathon, but I can't blame this kitten.  It's just doing what comes naturally.>  Kasumi slowly let herself relax again.  It felt right to be doing this.

    Kasumi had wanted a child, ever since she had agreed to marry Johnathon she had started wishing to have his child.  This kitten had suddenly become the focus of those feelings.  < How long have I felt this way?>  She idly wondered.  < Since Johnathon suggested a kitten, part of me anticipated this.  Johnathon knew how I felt.  He has always known my feelings, sometimes before I even knew myself.  I wish there was something I could do for him.>  The kitten released the tit it had been sucking on and moved to another.

    Kasumi closed her eyes at the renewed sensation.  < Ah… Now I know why mother cats… Ah… put up with a litter of kittens.>  Kasumi suddenly opened her eyes in shock.  < I can't believe it.  He's actually getting milk.>  Indeed, he was, Kasumi's maternal instincts, her longing for a child, had produced a small miracle.  Kasumi sighed happily.  < I'm glad, the child needed this.>  She closed her eyes then blinked them open again to look at the kitten.  < Child?  The kitten, he's not my child…> Kasumi's eyes softened.  < I… I suppose he is, now.>  Kasumi regarded the small kitten for a long time.

    Some time later, Kasumi heard the front door open and several people enter.  "Kasumi!"  Came a familiar voice.

    Kasumi froze.  < Father!  Oh no, he doesn't know yet!  What should I so?  What can I do?>  Kasumi was torn by indecision.

    Footsteps were headed her way.  "Kasumi, are you here?"  Her father's voice came again.

    < I don't want to disturb the kitten, but father...>  Kasumi remained undecided long enough for her father and Ms and Mr. Saotome to enter the living room.  < Too late.>  Kasumi sighed to herself.     < Things are about to become complicated again.>

    Soun glanced around once, not seeing his daughter immediately he turned to Genma.  "She must have gone shopping.  I hope she's being careful to stay dry."

    Genma started to nod to his friend when his wife's hand dug into his shoulder painfully.  Nodoka's sharp eyes had spotted the black cat and kitten near the shogi doors.  Genma looked at his wife and followed the line of her stare.  He blinked, a black cat looked at him anxiously, a kitten nestled up to her.  Genma could be called many things, but slow to react, never.  Before Soun could look to see what had captured his and Nodoka's attention, Genma clasped a powerful hand on his old friends shoulder.

    Genma spoke calmly.  "Soun, old friend, I think you should sit down."

    Soun paled.  "What is it?  What's wrong?  Is Kasumi...?"

    Genma looked into his friends eyes.  "Stay calm, my old friend. Your daughter seems to have encountered some cold water."  < Where did that kitten come from?>  Genma tried to project strength to his friend though his grip and his eyes.  < Be strong, for your daughter.>

    Soun nodded slowly.  "I see...  It was bound to happen eventually..."  He turned to look.  A black cat was laying in a sunbeam coming in the back doors.  The cat, his daughter, looked back at him with worry in her eyes.  Soun knew that look, he had seen it before.  It had been in his eldest daughters eyes when she had told him about being affected by the Cat's Tongue point, and in his wife's eyes when she was diagnosed with Cancer.  Soun drew upon every but of self control he had.  < I must be strong, for Kasumi.>  He suddenly noticed the tiny kitten that was pressed up against the larger black that was Kasumi. His mind started to overload.  "K-Kasumi?  What?  What is going on?" Nodoka came to Kasumi's rescue.

    Nodoka came over to Kasumi and knelt.  "Hello Kasumi-chan.  That's a lovely kitten."  Kasumi looked up at Nodoka gratefully, then shrugged helplessly.  Nodoka looked thoughtful.  < It's only been four days, so this can't be Kasumi's kitten.  No matter how strange things get around here, that's not possible.>  She smiled down at Kasumi reassuringly. "When did you adopt it?"  Nodoka paused.  "Oh of course you can't talk, excuse me dear."  Kasumi nodded and Nodoka smiled.  "Was it yesterday?" Kasumi nodded again.  Nodoka turned to Soun, who was still in shock. "Come over here and see the kitten, Soun.  Kasumi adopted it yesterday."

    Soun's mouth opened and closed once.  "A-adopted?"

    Genma laughed.  "Of course, it's only been four days, certainly not enough time for it to be anything else."

    Soun laughed shakily.  "Of course, of course."  He walked over to his daughter.  "A very fine kitten."  He announced after giving it an appraising glance.  Kasumi looked at her father gratefully and nodded. He sat next to his daughter, facing the Koi pond outside.

    Genma joined his friend.  "Yes indeed.  A fine feline."  He blinked.  "Ah, this must be part of Ranma's cat-phobia training, eh?"  Kasumi nodded.  Genma nodded back.  "Very good of you to care for it while the boy is at school."

    Nodoka smiled at Kasumi, then looked at her husband.  A look of respect, the first that she had felt for him in years, crossed her face.  "Why don't I get you two a drink?"  Nodoka offered cheerfully.

    Genma clapped Soun on the back.  "Capital idea!  Come, old friend, shall we play a round of Go?"

    Soun nodded with false cheerfulness.  "Yes, yes that sounds excellent."

    Nodoka went to the kitchen for some sake.  < Oh my, that was a shock.  First to find Kasumi stuck as a cat and suckling a kitten as well!  Then Genma behaves intelligently for once in his life.  Will wonders never cease?>  As Nodoka brought the sake in, a thought occurred to her.  < If it's not Kasumi's kitten, then how does she have milk for it?>  She handed a large bottle to Genma and some sake cups, then peered down at Kasumi.  The kitten did seem to be continently feeding.  Nodoka shook her head in amazement.  < I've heard of it happening, but it's still quite incredible.>  She nodded to herself.  < If anyone is suited to be a mother, it's Kasumi.>  Nodoka sat down, looking thoughtful.  < How is Johnathon handling this?>

    When Ranma and Akane arrived home, Soun and Genma were quite drunk.  Nodoka greeted them at the door.  "Welcome home Akane, Son.  Perhaps you might tell us about the last few days?"

    In the living room, Akane took it upon herself to tell the tale.  Ranma held the kitten and added an occasionally comment, but otherwise Akane had the audience to herself.  She left out several details.  Ranma's actions as a cat, naturally, Akane kept to herself.  Akane also failed to mention the appearance of the Sailor Senshi.

    Akane reasoned with herself over the small deception.  < I should protect Johnathon's secret, even if he hasn't been able  to tell us everything.  I just can't tell anyone what happened with Ranma, the consequences are too great to think of it.>

    Johnathon came to the Tendo Dojo, now his home, halfway through the story.  He decided to let Akane tell it and went to Kasumi's side.  His wife hopped up into his lap and he held her while they all listened.

    When the story was told, Soun shakily turned to Johnathon.  "Don't blame yourself, son.  There was nothing you could have done."  Johnathon bowed his head.  He didn't speak.  There really wasn't anything he could think of to say.  The phone rang, interrupting the silence.

    Nodoka got up and went to it.  "Yes?  Yes he's here.  Johnathon-san, there is a Miss Mizumi on the phone for you."

    Johnathon blinked, then stood.  "Thank you."  He went to the phone.  "Hello?  It's Johnathon."

    On the other end was Ami Mizumi.  "Johnathon?  We've talked about it, and we've decided to invite Ranma to the shrine.  We've decided to tell him about us and ask him for help in training."

    Johnathon whistled.  "Well, well.  That came quickly.  When do you want him to come?"

    Ami sounded slightly hesitant.  "There's no time like the present.  Can you come tonight?"

    Johnathon considered that.  "Let me check.  I think we can."  He walked into the living room.  "Ranma, Dr. Mizumi wants to know if your offer of training for her daughter and friends still stands."

    Ranma looked surprised.  "What?  Oh yeah, sure.  I owe her a lot for her help."

    Johnathon smiled.  "Are you able to to to Juuban tonight?  I can show you the place."

    Ranma blinked at this.  "Um, sure."

    Johnathon nodded.  "I'll tell her."  He went to the phone.

    Akane looked suspicious.  < Juuban?  And five girls?  Dr. Mizumi said five girls, didn't she.  I bet they're the Sailor Senshi.>

    Johnathon came back into the living room.  "Kasumi, would you like to come?  Luna and Artemis will be there."

    Kasumi blinked.  < Oh my.  This sounds like it will be very interesting!>  She nodded and walked over to him to be picked up.

    Akane stood as well.  "May I come?  I could help."

    Johnathon kept himself from reacting outwardly.  < Uh oh.  I'd better think of something.>  He looked at Akane.  "That's not necessary Akane, really.  Ranma can handle training a few girls.  You should study.  Finals are coming soon anyway, right?"

    Akane looked like she was about to protest.  < Ranma, train girls?  Yeah right.>  She sighed.       < Johnathon is probably protecting the Senshi's identities.>  "Alright, I'll see you later."

    Ranma stood up.  "Right, Akane, I can handle it.  Let's go Johnathon!"

    Johnathon nodded and glanced at Akane, noticing that she looked slightly sad.  < Ah hell.  I'll take responsibilty.>  "Hey Akane, on second thought Ranma might need some help.  He's never trained a beginner before."

    Akane blinked.  "What?  Really?"  She stood.  "Great!  I'll go get my gi!"  Akane ran upstairs and Johnathon and Ranma waited for her.  She came down after just half a minute and together they went out the door.

    Genma punched Soun happily in the arm.  "There they go, working together!  You'll see old friend, they'll be married yet!"

    Soun looked at Genma worriedly.  "Unless... Kasumi..."  Soun broke down sobbing.

    Genma sighed.  < And he was doing so well.>

    As they headed for the train, Johnathon spoke up.  "You've already figured it out, haven't you."  He carried Kasumi in his arms and petted her as he looked at Akane.  The youngest Tendo nodded.

    Ranma smirked.  "It wasn't too hard."

    Akane looked seriously at Johnathon.  "We're going to meet the Sailor Senshi, right?"  He nodded.  Akane hesitated.  "They asked for Ranma, not me, right?"

    Johnathon sighed.  "Yeah, but you'd already figured it out.  I'm going to ask them to consider you for help as well."

    Akane still was hesitant.  "I could go home.  They don't expect me... and you're protecting their secret."

    Now it was Johnathon's turn to hesitate.  "It's their decision in the end.  When we get there, we'll let them decide what to do."

    Akane nodded.  "I'll do what they ask.  If they ask me to leave, I will."

    Johnathon sighed.  "That's very mature of you Akane.  I don't think they will, but I'm glad you feel that way."  Kasumi meowed questioningly.  Johnathon looked down at her.  "I'm bringing you because I don't want to keep secrets from you any longer.  If they permit it, I want you to know the truth."  Kasumi purred and nodded.

    The trip to Juuban was quiet, everyone was lost in their own thoughts.

    Johnathon was troubled.  < Am I doing the right thing?  Should I have brought Akane and Kasumi?  The Senshi's secret is not mine to give.  Also, it could be dangerous.  Is it right to subject Akane and Kasumi to this?>  As they got off the train and started heading for the Hikawa shrine Johnathon paused.  "Akane, Kasumi, things will be dangerous from here.  The Senshi don't lead peaceful lives..."

    Akane stopped him.  "We're not afraid of danger, Johnathon.  We want to face the same dangers you and Ranma do."  Kasumi nodded in agreement.

    Johnathon sighed.  "We're here."  He handed Kasumi to Akane.  "Akane, could you wait at the bottom of the steps until I come get you?  I should inform the Senshi that you're here."

    "No need, Johnathon."  Came an authoritative female voice.  "Akane and Kasumi Tendo are welcome."

    Johnathon turned to look.  "Sailor Moon!"

    The Senshi of the Moon smiled and went into an impressive pose.  She had been standing on the steps just out of sight and jumped down.  The other four Senshi jumped down on either side of her.  They all nodded in confirmation of her words.

    Sailor Moon giggled.  "Hey, that was pretty impressive, wasn't it?"  Everyone face faulted.

    Sailor Mars coughed.  "Come on, let's go up to the shrine."  The group marched up to the shrine, and Sailor Moon looked at her friend and nodded.

    In a flash, she transformed into her normal self.  "Hi, I'm Usagi Tsukino."  Four flashes came seconds later.  The other girls introduced themselves one by one.

    Jupiter came up to Ranma with a hearty handshake.  "I'm Makoto Kino."

    Venus waved cheerfully.  "Nice to meet you!  I'm Minako Aino."

    Mars walked up to Akane with a bow.  "Welcome to Hikawa shrine.  I'm Rei Hino."

    Mercury smiled shyly and shrugged.  "Hello, my name is Ami Mizumi."

    Akane blinked.  "Oh!  So you're Dr. Mizumi's daughter."

    Ami put her hand behind her head.  "Well, yes and no.  My mother is a doctor, but..."  She looked embarrassed.  "The Doctor Mizumi you met... was me."

    Akane gasped.  "Really?  You were her?  She looked so much older.  How did you manage it?"

    Usagi grinned and brought out her transformation pen.  "Make me into an astronaut!"  A flash later, Usagi was in a space suit, minus helmet.  Her hair was shorter, so as to fit in a space suit.  She looked subtly the same, but if you didn't already know the truth, it would have been impossible to tell she was the same person.  Usagi twirled, giggling.

    Akane clapped.  "That's really cool!"

    Usagi transformed back.  "Ta da!"

    Rei sighed.  < Usagi's loving this.>

    Johnathon coughed.  "There is one more secret to reveal."  He looked around.  "Artemis,  Luna, are you here?"  A few seconds passed and the two cats walked out of the bushes.

    Ranma blinked.  "They're your cats?  Is that why they are so well trained?"

    Johnathon nodded significantly to the cats.  "Go ahead."

    Luna looked up at Ranma.  "That's not the reason, really."  Akane and Ranma nearly fell down in shock.

    Ranma stammered.  "You... talk?"

    Artemis smirked.  "Quick, isn't he?"  Ranma and Akane stared at the cats incredulously.

    Akane spoke in an awed tone.  "That explains a lot."

    Luna smiled and sat back on her haunches.  "Time to explain a lot more."

    Half an hour later, after an abbreviated tale of the Sailor Senshi's history, Ranma, Akane and Kasumi sat stunned.

    Johnathon nodded at the expressions on their faces.  "That's how I felt too.  Of course, after knowing Ranma, it wasn't too hard to believe."

    Akane giggled.  "After Ranma, nothing's impossible to believe!"

    Ranma glared at Akane.  "Hey!  What's that supposed to mean?"

    Akane shook her head.  "What do you think?  Jusenkyo curses, crazy Amazons, Dragon hair, Phoenixes... do you need more?"

    Ranma shrugged.  "So?"  Everyone else face faulted, and he laughed.  "That was fun."

    Akane looked at Luna.  "So, recently Youma have begun appearing again?"

    Luna nodded.  "That's correct.  We have been unable to discern a pattern yet, except they tend to appear at night.  Also the occurrences seem to be increasing."

    Johnathon frowned.  "More?  That's not a good sign."

    Ranma stood.  "Alright, well, now that I'm here, why don't we see what I can do to help."  He looked at the five girls.  "Ok, Akane has told me something about your skills, but I want to see for myself."  Ranma pointed at Makoto.  "Why don't we start with you.  Attack me, I need to see what I'm working with."

    Makoto blinked.  "Attack you?"

    Ranma nodded.  "Sure, go all out.  I want to see your best."

    Makoto stood.  "Alright."  She took a stance and quickly stepped in with a powerful punch.

    Naturally, Ranma wasn't anywhere near where she attacked.  Makoto didn't hesitate but kept after him.  Ranma dodged effortlessly, all the while carefully studying her.

    After a minute he stopped her.  "Alright, that's enough.  You next."  Ranma pointed at Ami.

    Ami nodded and stood.  "I'll do my best, Ranma-sensei."

    As Ranma dodged Ami's attacks, Johnathon did his own analysis.  "Makoto's pretty good."  He said, quietly talking to Luna and Artemis.  "She looks like she got into a lot of fights when she was younger.  She doesn't have the precision of training, but the confidence and power of practice.  She looks to be almost as strong as me, but she needs to smooth out her style and work on speed."  Johnathon watched Ami, continuing his analysis.  "Ami isn't as experienced in physical combat.  She's pretty fast, and she thinks on her feet.  She'll need to learn the basics again."

    Ranma stopped Ami and motioned to Rei.  The shrine maiden nodded and got into her stance.

    As she began Johnathon nodded.  "Rei's better.  Her form is fluid and practiced.  She has some power in there too.  She just needs practice, and to spar with a superior opponent."

    Ranma finished up with Rei and pointed at Minako.  "Your turn."  Minako got up with a wry look, she cracked her knuckles and attacked.

    Johnathon watched her carefully.  "Minako's got the basics down, and she's experienced.  She needs to learn the advanced stuff, and spar with people that can beat her."

    Ranma nodded to Minako after a minute and a half and pointed to Usagi.  Usagi stood slowly, looking very nervous.

    Luna covered her eyes with her paws.  "I can't look, tell me when it's over."

    Johnathon didn't say anything as he watched, then Luna heard Usagi screech.  A couple of seconds of silence followed then several people started laughing.

    "Way to go Usagi!"  Johnathon crowed.

    Luna looked up.  "What?  What happened?"  Usagi was rubbing the back of her head.  Ranma was standing several feet away, rubbing his chin.

    Johnathon laughed.  "After the flying leap kick, she overbalanced and was about to fall over.  Ranma was going to catch her but Usagi managed to snap back upright and tag Ranma with the back of her head.  It was kinda silly, but she hit him!"

    Luna moaned, closing her eyes.  "It's just a dream, I'm sleeping."

    Ranma had Usagi attack him a bit more then stopped her.  He rubbed his chin again.  "OK, Rei, I want you to spar with Akane.  Minako, spar with Johnathon.  Usagi, Ami, Makoto, were going to work on the basics."  Everyone but Makoto nodded.

    Makoto gaped.  "The basics?  With Usagi?  No offense Usagi-chan, but I'm lots better than her."

    Usagi shrugged and smiled.  "None taken, Makoto."

    Ranma looked seriously at Makoto.  "You are pretty good, in fact right now you are probably the strongest fighter of the bunch.  Unfortunately you have a lot of bad habits.  You'll be a lot better if you had a more fluid style, it'll help you a lot in the long run."

    Makoto sighed.  "You're the expert, Sensei."

    Luna and Artemis walked up to Ranma, and Luna spoke to him respectfully.  "Ranma, I wonder if perhaps..."

    Ranma looked down.  < Whoa, I'm still not used to a talking cat.>  "What is it, Luna?"

    Luna hesitated.  "Could you train us as well?  Artemis and I both have human bodies now.  We aren't very practiced with them yet, but..."

    Ranma considered that.  "Hmm.  You won't have any bad habits to correct yet.  I'll give it a shot.  Can you stand on two legs and walk normally?"  Luna nodded.

    Artemis grimaced.  "A little, I haven't gotten as much practice."

    Ranma shrugged.  "Don't worry about it.  A new form always has new problems.  You'll get the hang of it."

    Artemis nodded.  "You'd know, huh?"

    Luna went to Usagi.  "Usagi, did you bring the clothing I asked you to in your bag?"

    Usagi nodded.  "No problem Luna.  Got it covered."  She and the two cats went to get Usagi's bag from the shrine.  Minako ran after.  "I'll help!"

    Ranma had the girls do some warm up exercises.  Johnathon did some stretching as well.  Akane followed Usagi and Minako so she could change into her gi.  Before long, five girls came out of the shrine.  Everyone but Johnathon was staring at Artemis.  Her white hair was very distinctive, and only Minako, Johnathon, and Luna, had gotten a good look at her before.  She was walking very slowly, holding her arms out for balance.

    Luna was walking smoothly enough, and Ranma's jaw dropped when he saw her.  "You're... you were..."  He shook his head.  "You fooled me completely."

    Luna smiled.  "Johnathon and Usagi helped me.  Artemis hasn't had anywhere near as much practice."

    Minako looked dubiously at the short teetering girl with white hair.  "Will you be OK, Artemis?"

    Artemis nodded.  "I'll be fine, go, go."

    Minako nodded back, then turned and walked up to Johnathon.  "Shall we?"

    The English teacher and martial artist nodded and looked around.  "How about... over there."  He pointed to a relatively clear space among the trees.

    Minako nodded agreeably.  "OK."  They walked over and got into their stances.  Minako bowed to Johnathon and he bowed back.  "Don't go easy on me."  She warned.

    Johnathon looked at her seriously.  "The Youma are coming faster, right?"

    Minako nodded, her eyes hardening.  "That's right."

    Johnathon's eyes hardened in response.  "Then there isn't time to go easy on you."

    Minako looked at him with a wry expression.  "This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you, huh."

    He nodded.  "A bit."  Johnathon took several deep breaths.  "My apologies ahead of time."

    Minako started to grin.  "Accepted, now please proceed with kicking my butt."

    Johnathon's eyes closed for a second.  < Damn, this is going to be hard.>  His eyes opened and they were as cold as ice.  Johnathon attacked slowly, then with increasing speed.  < Minako's a lot like me, a year ago.  She's got a lot of experience, but hasn't met a superior opponent in a while.>  He fought with every bit of his control to remain focused.  < I can't hold back, this may end up saving her life, and her friends.>

    Johnathon broke through Minako's defense in seconds, catching her in the shoulder and ribs with punches pulled at the last possible second, but still painful.  Minako backed off and nodded then Johnathon attacked again.

    Rei got knocked down for the third time and winced.  < What am I sparring with?  A whirlwind?>  She looked up at Akane who waited patiently for her to get up.  Slowly Rei got to her feet to begin again.

    All five of Ranma's students winced at the punishment Rei and Minako were taking.

    Usagi looked nervously at Ranma.  "You're not going to train us like that, are you?"

    Ranma shook his head.  "We'll start with a basic move, a punch.  We will keep doing that until you have that right, then we'll move on to..."  Ranma began training the girls, evaluating them as he went.  < Makoto's getting it together quick, and Ami only needs to be shown a move a couple times before she does it right.  Usagi...>  He frowned.  < She has talent, and speed, and at the same time she is hopeless half the time.  Oh well, practice makes perfect.>  He kept on ignoring the two sparring sessions.  < Akane and Johnathon can do it fine.  I just can't hit girls.>

    Minako's smile was grim.  < I'm getting trashed, and he's holding back, a little at least.  His eyes are so emotionless, I can't tell what he's thinking.  All I know is I'm taking a beating, and Johnathon's expression has never changed.>

    Rei fell again and stayed down.  "That's enough."  She said hoarsely.  "I can hardly lift my arms anymore."

    Akane stepped over and offered Rei a hand up.  "You're pretty good."  Akane said easily.  "As good as me a year ago."  < Although not as strong.>

    Rei looked incredulous.  "You got that much better in a year?"

    Akane shrugged and said one word.  "Ranma."

    Rei blinked.  "Ah."  They both looked over at Minako and Johnathon, still sparring.

    Minako ached.  Johnathon had hit her practically everywhere, but certain spots a lot more than others.  Minako was beginning to understand what he was doing.  Where ever he found a hole in her defenses he attacked, over, and over, and over again until she found a defense that worked.  Then he'd move on to another weak spot, then another.  Minako forced herself to keep going long after her body wanted to quit.  Several times, Johnathon paused and drew back, seeing if Minako wished to call a halt.  Each time she would look at him solemnly and nod, then tell him to continue.

    Finally Minako staggered and almost fell.  She had been on the edge of exhaustion for several minutes.  Finally she was over that edge.  Heavily Minako staggered several feet from Johnathon and sat down.  Johnathon stayed motionless where he had been when Minako had faltered until she sat down.

    Rei quickly went to Minako's side.  "Mina, are you alright?"  She glared at Johnathon.  "Why didn't you quit earlier?"

    Minako looked at Rei seriously.  "I wasn't done yet."  She turned her head to look at Johnathon.  He had turned his back to her and was slowly walking away.

    Akane was just ahead of him and as Johnathon passed her she looked at his face questioningly.  Akane looked like she was going to ask a question, but something in his eyes stopped her.  Johnathon walked past Akane and to the shrine steps where he sat down tiredly.  Kasumi joined him there and sat next to him quietly.  Minako slowly struggled to her feet.

    Rei got up with her.  "Mina!  Sit back down!  He pummeled you for over an hour!"

    Minako blinked.  "Was that all?  Felt like a lot longer."  She started to slowly walk toward Johnathon.  Rei quickly supported Minako from the side.  "What are you going to do?"

    Minako kept walking, although she allowed Rei to support some of her weight.  "I should thank Johnathon-san."

    Rei looked incredulous.  "For that beating he gave you?  Why would you want to do that?"

    Minako shook her head.  "You don't understand.  We both knew exactly what we were doing.  It was my choice to take that as far as it went.  Johnathon taught me more in that hour then I would have learned other wise in months."  Rei was silent as they approached Johnathon from behind.  Minako spoke up.  "Hey, Johnathon, thanks.  I needed that.  You've really helped me improve my defenses."

    Johnathon slowly turned.  "Minako?  I..."  His eyes were slightly red, and a tear line ran down his face.  Hastily he wiped his eyes,  trying to conceal his earlier distress.

    Rei smiled softly at him as she helped Minako sit down by him and Kasumi.  < It wasn't easy on him either, was it.>

    Minako patted Kasumi's head gently.  "You've got a good man there, Kasumi."  Kasumi looked up at her and nodded.

    Rei looked at Johnathon's face again.  "You don't like hurting other people, do you, Johnathon?"

    Johnathon sighed.  "Not really.  I don't mind a good fight.  And I love to spar, but I don't enjoy seeing others in pain.  Are, are you OK, Minako?"

    Minako smiled wryly.  "Nothing a few days won't fix.  I'll be fine in a couple of days, better than before I'd bet.  You really showed me the holes in my defenses."

    Johnathon nodded.  "That was my intent.  Be sure you practice your blocks some, while you're healing up.  The aches will remind you of where you need work."

    Minako nodded back.  "Yeah, that's for sure.  This is going to be vivid in my mind for weeks."

    Johnathon looked around.  Ranma was still drilling the other girls in the basics.  Punches, kicks, blocks, a little bit of footwork.  Artemis was having a tough time keeping up but was struggling along determinedly.  Luna was doing a bit better, as well as Usagi in most things.  Ami was learning rapidly.  Ranma had to spend very little time correcting her form.  Makoto was also having no trouble, although occasionally Ranma would have her alter her stance or form a bit, correcting some of her bad habits.

    After several minutes of rest, Rei and Akane began sparring again.  Johnathon, Minako and Kasumi watched as they fought.  Akane was clearly superior.  Johnathon could tell that Akane was holding back quite a bit to avoid injuring Rei.

    Minako caught hints of that as well.  "Akane's very good, isn't she."  She stated calmly.

    Johnathon nodded.  "She was my chief sparring partner when I first came to Nerima.  She still is, mostly.  Akane was a lot better than me when I first arrived.  Thanks to her I got better very quickly.  With Ranma's help I've gotten to be almost as good as Akane, but not quite.  Unless I use my feline form, she still beats me."

    Minako whistled, impressed.  "So she's really holding back on Rei."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Mostly on strength.  "Akane's quite a bit stronger than I am, even as a half-cat."

    Minako took a quick look at Johnathon's six foot two frame and then back at the much shorter Akane.  "Really?"  She blinked, not quite believing it.

    Johnathon sighed.  "Really.  Actually, it's a bit embarrassing.  In the crowd I hang out with now, I'm the weakest of all of them.  That's despite the fact that I stand a full head taller then most of them.  Strength can be deceiving.  I know a guy who stands six foot five and weighs a hundred pounds more than me.  He looks like a football linebacker, but he's always been noticeably weaker than me, even after finishing basic training in the army."

    Minako giggled at that.  "I guess appearances can be deceiving."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Definitely, as another example, the strongest guy I know of is about Ranma's size.  Once, he pulled a telephone pole out of the ground, and used it like a club.  That was a year ago, he's gotten stronger since then."

    Minako gasped.  "That's incredible!  Is he even human?"

    Johnathon started to nod.  "Oh yeah, he's human..."  He paused.  "Probably."  Kasumi was rolling around on the ground making sniffing noises that passed for laughter.  Johnathon blinked.  "Was that funny?"

    Kasumi nodded as she composed herself.  < Being a cat has it's perks, like acting like a kid again.>

    Minako giggled and looked at Johnathon when she had managed to get a straight face.  "You mentioned several times that your cursed form is more powerful than your human one.  How much more?"

    Johnathon glanced at her.  "Oh?  Well I seem to be around fifty percent stronger and about twice as fast as a half-cat.  My hearing and smell are much sharper, and I can see better in the dark, although my vision becomes black and white, mostly."

    Minako giggled.  "And you've got a cute tail too."

    Johnathon blinked and looked at Kasumi.  "What is it about girls and the tail anyway?"  Kasumi thrashed hers playfully and meowed in a happy tone.  Johnathon sighed.  "Whatever you say, love."  Kasumi promptly pounced on him with a mock hiss.  Johnathon caught her and held her gently, then began stroking her fur.  Kasumi settled in to enjoy that and Johnathon looked at Minako.  "Speaking of transformations, I assume your transformations into Sailor Senshi make you stronger and faster as well?"

    Minako nodded.  "I'm not sure how much.  Two or three time as strong and tough.  Maybe fifty percent faster or so.  We also recuperate very quickly.  Five to ten times as fast as normal."

    Johnathon looked impressed.  "That's useful.  Your special attacks?  Those are part of the transformation?"

    Minako nodded again.  "That's right.  When we first started out, we went on instinct.  Letting our memories of our past lives tell us what to do.  We've all gotten past that now, mostly.  We can better control our powers now, even pull off little tricks with them.  Ami and Rei especially have gotten good at manipulating their powers to do other things."

    Johnathon smiled.  "Like giving me a quick hot shower."

    Minako nodded.  "I can't do much useful with my powers, though."

    Johnathon looked curious.  "You have a laser, and some sort of energy chain, right?"

    Minako nodded.  "Right, great for zapping the bad guys, but not much use otherwise."

    Johnathon blinked.  "Well, if you've got a laser, perhaps you could diffuse it, and widen it, till you had a light."

    Minako blinked back.  "That's a good idea!"

    Johnathon shrugged.  "I bet you could just widen it out a lot, and use your laser to blind, too."

    Minako grinned.  "That's great!  I should try that!"  She looked thoughtful.  "I wonder what I should call it?"

    Johnathon and Minako talked for another half an hour as it started getting dark.  They covered several subjects and finally stuck with discussing small unit tactics.  Minako had been handling battle tactics for the Senshi up to that point.  Johnathon had a solid grasp of tactics, for small and large groups, that Minako found impressive.  He had several suggestions on tactics that Minako immediately decided to try at the next opportunity.  As it started to get dark Ranma called a halt to the class.

    Luna called for everyone to gather around.  "Ranma, thank you for coming to train us.  How soon can you come again?"

    Ranma looked questioningly at her.  "You're having monster attacks every night?"  Luna nodded.  "Then I'll come back tomorrow."  Ranma announced with confidence.

    Akane nodded.  "We'll help as much as we can.  You helped us when it counted.  It's they least we can do."

    Johnathon looked around at the girls.  "Besides, your cause is just, and your foes are many.  We can't not help!"  Ranma jabbed Johnathon in the ribs.  The tall English teacher smiled and shrugged.  "Sorry, got carried away there for a second."  He looked at Usagi.  "The Youma usually come after dark, right?"  She nodded.  Johnathon spread his arms wide to indicate the whole group.  "Then lets split up and patrol the city!"

    Ten faces looked at him, then at each other, and started to grin.  The Youma were in trouble tonight!

                                        End part 31

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