Categories > Anime/Manga > Ranma 1/2 > The Raven

Mutual Sacrifice

by Narsil 0 reviews

Category: Ranma 1/2 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Akane,Ranma - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2012-08-15 - Updated: 2012-08-15 - 4903 words - Complete

Nabiki could feel her older sister trembling where her arm circled Kasumi’s waist, hand resting on her thigh, as the two watched Raven force their little sister back and back, the steel-on-steel skirling sound of one frantic parry by Akane after another hitting their ears. Even the beginning-to-fret baby clamped in the oldest Tendo’s arms couldn’t distract her from the scene. If Nabiki knew her sister, Kasumi would be desperately hoping that Akane would somehow win and hating herself because of what that would mean for Ranma — Raven, rather.

Nabiki hadn’t been hopeful or conflicted, she’d been resigned. She’d had a good idea what her little sister was up to — suicide by opponent. She’d never believed Akane’s assertions that she actually had a chance to get Ranma out of Hell, and now the demon hunter-in-training had simply moved that suicide up to now.

But while Nabiki wasn’t a martial artist like her little sister, she had been a bookie, betting on the fights that regularly erupted in her home ward, which meant she had to be able to judge the capabilities of the fighters she was betting on or go broke. And that meant that she was following the fight much better than she suspected her older sister was, and her own resignation had been fading, warring with her own growing sick hope — and suddenly it was over, Raven’s blade blocked inches from Akane’s throat by the head of a massive polearm in the hands of a strange white-clad, tattooed woman that had come out of nowhere.

Akane was screaming something at the newcomer, but Nabiki couldn’t understand a word — it was suddenly all she could do to stay on her feet, and she found herself sweat-drenched and shaking, leaning against an older sister leaning against her. The world seemed to rock in place as it faded in and out of focus and the memory of the last flurry of moves in Akane’s suicide gambit replayed in her mind’s eye.

Then the world abruptly snapped back into focus as Akane’s head whipped around and she dropped to her knees.

Nabiki’s head whipped around to follow her sister’s gaze to find another woman and a young girl approaching Raven and Akane, the woman with her hands cupped in front of her chest and apparently holding a tiny ball of light.

Then the two looked up past Akane, the little girl calling out a greeting, and Nabiki twisted to see what they were looking at — and found another two women, floating down from one of the trees that lined the park, related somehow to the rest if the facial tattoos were any indication. The large raven that had accompanied Raven before coasted down to land on the shoulder of the woman with star tattoos.

Beside her, Kasumi was actually ignoring the now-squalling baby in her arms as she stared at the scene. “Nabiki, what’s happening?” the Tendo matriarch asked with a voice that shook.

“I don’t know, big sis, let’s go find out,” Nabiki replied. She strode toward her still-kneeling younger sister, Kasumi following behind as she finally began singing softly to the baby.


Urd was shaking as she floated down to the ground beside her mother, horrified relief echoing through her as her mind kept replaying Lind’s dash across the field to save Akane — something that should have been Urd’s job. What had she been doing sitting in a tree while Akane fought for Ranma’s — Raven’s life? Because you thought it was safe. That because neither one was actually trying to kill the other, you thought you could sit back and dither.

Of course, considering how quickly everything had changed in the last seconds of the duel, it was possible she wouldn’t have been able to move fast enough to prevent Akane’s death even if she’d been right on top of them, and ... ‘And’ nothing, you’re grasping at straws — you failed, and if not for Lind doing your job for you an innocent girl you were supposed to protect would have died because of it.

“Rise, Akane-chan,” Lind was saying to the kneeling girl as they approached.

“What? But you’re ... and I shouted ...” the raven-haired girl stammered.

“You did nothing to be ashamed of,” the Valkyrie responded to the near-incoherent objection. “No, today the honor is yours. Please, rise.”

A fiercely blushing Akane rose to her feet just as her two sisters arrived, and Nabiki grabbed her younger sister’s arm to pull her to the side, a pale redheaded revenant following them. “Don’t you ever do that to me again!” the pageboy-haired brunette hissed. “What’s going on?”

“That is an excellent question,” Lind said, and ignored the Mistress of Hell and her daughter’s half-sisters as they arrived to focus all her attention on Urd. “Report.”

Taking a deep breath, Urd forced her eyes to meet Lind’s and began. It took several minutes, not helped by the way the normally exuberantly cocky goddess/demon stumbled through her explanation of how miserably she’d failed in her assignment.

Her story of every assumption, miscalculation and dithering moment at an end, she found that somewhere along the way her eyes had dropped to the green lawn they stood on. Feeling completely drained, she again forced her gaze up to meet Lind’s, to find not a hint of either condemnation or sympathy, only calm acceptance. “Your performance of your assignment was poor, from the moment you first encountered Hild-sama to the end, and that end would have been failure,” the Valkyrie said firmly. “However, that failure was inevitable — it was an assignment for which you have neither training nor experience, and I will insist on giving my assessment to any review board you are called before. If anyone other than Kami-sama had given you this assignment, I would demand that they be removed from their position, disciplined, and reduced in rank. I would suggest that you ask Kami-sama why you were given the assignment at the next opportunity — sometimes he will tell you, at least after the fact.”

Glancing over at Hild beside her, Lind added, “But I believe the assignment is over. Is that not correct, Hild-sama?”

“Correct. When it took your intervention to prevent Akane-san’s death, Raven successfully completed her list. She is now my newest Fury, or will be once we return to Niflheim and register the results of the test.”

Urd started at the sound of her mother’s voice — in her need to unburden herself to the Valkyrie, she had actually forgotten that Hild was there. Ignoring Akane’s joyful shout of “Yes!” as she threw her arms around the redhead standing beside her where the three mortals and one spirit had been anxiously listening in, she twisted to stare at the Daimakaicho, a spike of fear shooting through her. Her mother’s tone had been flat, bleached of all emotion, the cheerily mocking undertone that had been there in the worst of times terrifyingly absent.

But Hild wasn’t looking at the exuberant mortal, or at Lind. Instead, all her attention was focused on Belldandy ... and the tiny ball of light in the hands cupped up in front of her chest that somehow gave the impression that it was huddling, trying to hide in the valley between the Norn of the Present’s breasts, sinking into the top of Belldandy’s dress. Urd felt her sudden fear grow, until she felt bleached of all warmth. She knew of only one thing that looked like that, that could terrify her mother that badly —

“Is that thing what I think it is?” Hild demanded.

Belldandy gave the Daimakaicho an old-fashioned look. “Hild-sama, you are scaring the little one,” she said sternly, before leaning down to whisper, “Don’t worry, I won’t let her hurt you,” to the tiny glow.

Urd stared for a moment as the light hesitantly shifted out from the valley of Belldandy’s breasts to once again hover over her palms. Somehow it seemed to Urd as if it was poking a nonexistent tongue out at one of the two most powerful beings on Earth and all its ancillary dimensions.

Urd switched her gaze back to Lind, to find the normally stoic Valkyrie gazing at her sister with a faint, fond smile on her face, shaking her head gently. Feeling the goddess/demon’s gaze, she looked over at the tanned platinum blonde. “Yes, that’s the Demon’s Seed,” she said.

A goddess cannot faint from shock — that requires a circulatory system so inefficient as to not have enough blood to satisfy all a body’s needs at once, and neither the divine nor the demonic actually have blood per se. Nevertheless, Urd tried very, very hard to do just that, and Lind grabbed one of her arms as she swayed in place, her abrupt lightheadedness turning the world surreal.


Unlike Urd, when Hild had declared Raven one of her Furies Kasumi had had to try very, very hard not to faint, swaying in place, Nabiki holding her up (if she asked later, she knew Nabiki would say that was all she was doing, but even through her relief Kasumi could feel the tremors running through the body pressed against her back) while Akane whirled Raven around in circles. Fainting is a very bad idea when you have a baby in your arms.

She was helped in her efforts by the flat, emotionless tone of the one that had just declared Raven hers when she made the announcement — for someone that had gotten what she wanted, she was a very unhappy ... whatever she was. Something was wrong.

Straightening, Kasumi focused on star-tattooed platinum blonde. There was a strong family resemblance to the goddess that had stumbled and stuttered her way through the report on what was apparently her assignment to protect Akane, but to the martial artists’ daughter and sister there was a dangerous air to her, one shared only by one of the other four newcomers, the one that had saved Akane’s life.

And what was a ‘demon’s seed’? Whatever it was, it terrified the triangle-tattooed goddess.

Kasumi glanced over at the revenant and youngest Tendo, but they were still caught up each other. From the look of things spirits couldn’t cry, or Kasumi suspected from the way Raven was now clutching Akane the redhead would have been sobbing on her former fiancée’s shoulder from sheer relief. And from the way Nabiki was still at clutching her, her other sister wasn’t much better.

Shifting the fussing baby to one arm, Kasumi reached up to gently pull Nabiki’s arms from around her and stepped forward, glancing around at the tattooed child and women before focusing on the purple-haired goddess that had saved her sister’s life, apparently hold up the platinum blonde that had just given her report. “Excuse me, Goddess-sama, but what is a ‘demon’s seed’, and how does it involve my family?” she asked hesitantly.

The goddess glanced over. “My name is Lind, and with me are Urd, Belldandy and Skuld, the Norns of the Past, Present and Future, and Hild-sama, Daimakaicho of Niflheim,” she said, indicating each of the others as she named them before handing her poleax to the goddess she was helping brace up. “Here, Urd, use this to brace yourself,” she murmured before turning back to look Kasumi up and down. “No fighter, but enough courage for a flight of Valkyrie,” she mused, before nodding. “You even have the strength for what is to come.” She looked over Kasumi’s shoulder, and a moment later Nabiki stepped around to stand beside her sister on one side as Raven and Akane stepped up on the other, the pair holding hands. The goddess gave them an approving smile. “A true family,” she said, before sobering.

“The Demon’s Seed is a sending from a terrible being we call the Devourer. He travels from Earth to Earth, killing or enslaving each world’s defenders — divine, demonic, faerie or mortal — and making it over into his own image before feeding on its energies — its Life. When he has reduced his current conquest to a near-lifeless rock, he seeks out a new conquest, sending out invitations, seeking weak and greedy minds. Once the sendings find such minds, they offer the usual enticements, power, fame, wealth, pleasure.” Lind glanced sideways at the cute platinum blonde with star tattoos and the raven perched on her shoulder. Out of the corner of her eye, Kasumi saw Akane shudder and seem to shrink in slightly.

Lind continued, “To gain the offered wealth and power, his new acolytes are required to offer a newly pregnant woman, and open a portal through which he sends his Seed — a fragment broken off from his own soul that enters the baby and merges with the child’s spirit when it comes. As the child grows, it strengthens the connection with its father until around its eighteenth birthday it becomes a portal through which the Devourer can enter his new conquest.”

Raven and the Tendos stared in shock at the ball of light, and in response it again shrank back against its protector. Belldandy shifted one hand over to completely cover it, the light’s glow seeping through between her fingers, almost glaring at the mortal. “It isn’t the Seed’s fault who its father is,” she reprimanded them sternly. “Were your fathers so wonderful?”

Raven winced. “But ... ya have the Seed, ya kept it from mergin’, right?” she asked.

Belldandy’s stern look vanished, replaced by sympathy, and Kasumi felt her heart sink. She’d known it couldn’t be that simple, but for a moment she’d hoped....

“Yes they did — this time,” Hild said, and if she still sounded serious enough to make her — sister? daughter? mother? how could you tell how old a goddess was, anyway? — whichever, she was making the other platinum blonde and the raven-haired child — Skuld and Urd? — nervous, but she at least sounded like a living being now, instead of a machine. “And the cult that summoned it is no longer an issue?” Hild asked Lind.

“There were no survivors,” Lind answered calmly.

“Excellent, more grist for my mills,” Hild chirped, smiling happily, her earlier seriousness gone.

Kasumi suddenly felt queasy as she remembered where she’d heard the terms “Norns” and “Niflheim” before, and realized that Hild could well have meant what she said about “grist” and “mills” literally.

“Anyway,” Hild continued, “even if Belldandy was morally flexible enough to keep the Seed from bonding until it was drawn back to merge with its father, the Devourer has our scent now — he has a lock on our world and will simply find other useful idiots to provide him with a new bride and raise the child afterwards. And the next time we may not be lucky enough to locate the next cult, they will be under orders not to draw attention to themselves and given power by their master to blind us to their location. Which means that Kami-sama already has a plan or you wouldn’t be here. Am I right, girls?”

“Yes, you are,” Belldandy replied.


Akane knew where this was headed — where it always headed. The goddesses were going to ask that Ran — Raven magically fix all their problems for them, or tell her that it was somehow all her fault and demand she make it right, talk about how only she could save them all. And whether because of the challenge or simply her generous spirit, Raven would rise to the bait while everyone else stood around and did nothing but applaud.

Not this time.

“I’ll do it!” Akane almost shouted, and blushed as everyone turned to look at her and she realized that she had just interrupted a goddess.

“Do what, exactly, child?” Hild asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Whatever it takes,” Akane replied stubbornly even as her blush turned as fiery as Raven’s hair. “Be the mother, I guess — not something Raven can do, without a body.”

Belldandy smiled, and Akane felt her angry resentment fade in the face of the love and sympathy the goddess seemed to radiate. “A generous offer,” Belldandy replied, “but I’m afraid that isn’t possible — you aren’t pregnant now, and there isn’t time for you to become pregnant. However, there is a way for you and Raven to eventually rejoin each other as friends or lovers, as you choose.

“Akane, you will need to donate your body — your spirit will need to move on, leaving your body free to act as the host for the Seed once we Norns have returned it to its infancy. Normally, your spirit would seek out the afterlife your life has earned you for a time, before returning to Earth for your next life. But this time, we will see to it that you are reborn immediately to a family of our choosing.

“Raven, once the Seed has found its new home, we need you to join with it, to provide the human half of the new soul. You will be stripped of your memories when this happens but not the personality that every spirit carries with it from incarnation to incarnation, and your memories will return over time as you grow. We hope that your strength of will combined with the love and training we provide will give you the strength to resist your new father’s attempt to use you as a portal. Then, once the Devourer has been permanently denied entry into our world, you may seek out Akane and offer to restore her memories and reunite her with the family she will leave behind. You would be almost a year older than her, but I do not think that will matter much.”

“But, what if I ... if the future me refuses the memories?” Akane demanded.

Belldandy shook her head. “While it is possible that you might refuse the memories, considering the family that we have chosen to place you with, it is very unlikely. I do not think you have to worry about that.”

“Akane.” The youngest Tendo glanced sideways at the redhead whose hand she realized she was clutching hard enough to turn her knuckles white — if Raven had been human, her hand would have needed surgery to reconstruct. She forced her hand to relax, and Raven softly sighed with relief. “Akane,” she said again, “it’s fer the whole world.”

“But, why does it have to be us?” Akane protested. “Why can’t they find someone else this time?”

“If there was anyone better fer this, don’t ya think they’d be knockin’ on their door right now?” Raven replied, then ‘oomphed’, freezing in place as her former fiancée let go of her hand to pull her into a hard hug.

“It’s going to be so long!” Akane whispered in her ear.

“Not as long as it would’a been if ya managed to get me ta kill ya,” Raven replied, then winced as Akane stiffened. She hesitantly lifting her arms to return the embrace as she hurried on, “An’ ya won’t remember a thing ‘til I show up on yer doorstep. I won’t remember, fer most’a the time. Yer sisters are the ones that are gonna be missin’ us.”

Akane froze. She had been so caught up in her — friend? lover? They hadn’t actually done anything but fight and she wasn’t even sure she wanted to be with a girl that way, but the thought of not having Raven in her life now as Ranma had been before hurt so much.... You aren’t the only one this must be hurting, and Ranma’s right — Kasumi and Nabiki are going to be the ones that remember.

She reluctantly released the redheaded spirit to turn and find her sisters facing the pair. Kasumi’s face was tilted down toward the now happily gurgling baby she was bouncing in her arms, but Akane could see tear tracks streaking her cheeks. Nabiki’s cheeks were dry, her face an emotionless mask, but her hands were clenched into fists. “Kasumi? Nabiki? I’m sorry ...”

Kasumi raised her head, and for a moment Akane’s resolve wavered at the sight of the pain in her mother figure’s eyes. But Kasumi forced a smile, and said, “You have nothing to be sorry for, a world to help save, and your love to be reunited with. Do what you have to, we’ll be waiting for you.” Nabiki didn’t speak, but jerked a nod.

Akane stepped over and pulled both sisters into a hard embrace, and started crying as they returned the hug. “I love you both,” she whispered, before reluctantly breaking away and turning to face Hild and the goddesses. “Let’s get this over with,” she managed to get out through a tight throat.


Akane stared up at Raven from where she lay on the park lawn, shivering slightly from tension and the light breeze caressing her naked body. The redhead’s own naked body was covered with goosebumps, except within a few inches of the ball of light bobbing above her hands cupped up in front of her breasts.

Raven smiled tremulously down at her. “Yah ready?” she asked softly.

Akane nodded smiled back as her shivering increased. “I’m ready. Love you, Baka.”

“Love you, Tomboy,” Raven looked up where Akane knew the oldest of the three Norns stood and nodded, then smiled back down at her as the voluptuous platinum blonde began to sing. Her love’s bright blue eyes were the last thing she saw before the weight of the unearthly music of the goddess’s voice washed her away with a cascade of images of her life.

“Ran — Raven, you didn’t escape somehow from Rothgan’s Wall, did you?”

“Let me GO! It’s my fault, I deserve to die!”

“Ranma, I told you to stay out of my FIGHTS!”

“I’m Akane, you want to be friends?”

“Do you think Dr. Tofu thinks I’m cute?”

“Daddy, how can I be a martial artist if you don’t TRAIN me!?”

“What’s wrong with Mommie?”

“I’m gonna be the best martial artist ever!”

And everything went white.


Raven dropped her gaze from Urd (and the extremely strange top half of a breathtakingly beautiful winged woman that seemed to be projecting from the goddess’s back, but Raven had more important concerns), looking back down to Akane’s brown eyes, the youngest Tendo’s terrified gaze locking on her own. Raven smiled, dropping one of her hands from cupping the Seed to grasp Akane’s hand, and Akane smiled back for a moment. Then Urd and her angel’s duo-toned wordless song bore down on them, Akane’s gaze lost its focus into infinity, and before Raven’s eyes her former fiancée’s face grew younger as her body shrank.

Even as the redhead found herself holding the tiny hand of a baby between thumb and forefinger, the youngest of the Norns lifted her own voice to soar above her sister’s, and as endless possibilities seemed to open up before the revenant another ball of light slowly rose from the baby’s chest and passed straight through the revenant, before flying to circle about the child goddess and her own beautiful winged half-angel, the human soul dancing and spinning to the Skuld’s song, and a thread of laughter resonated through both of the competing melodies at the sight.

So shaken was Raven by the sense of Akane’s presence from their brief joining that only the sudden coolness of her palm warned her that the half a soul that they had had to spend long minutes coaxing into her hands was gone, and her eyes dropped just in time to see the Seed vanish into the baby Akane’s chest. At that instant Belldandy and her angel added their own wordless thread to the music of Time, a ribbon of sound that seemed to wrap itself around Urd’s foundation of all that had gone before and lifted to mix with Skuld’s endless possibilities, binding the two together into a harmonious whole — and Raven found herself falling forward, settling downward, the baby looming larger and larger until it seemed to encompass all that was.

And everything went white.


Nabiki blinked furiously, trying to clear her eyes of sparkles as the lines, circles and glyphs of glowing light that had sprung up around Raven and her sister with the beginning of the Norns’ song faded with its ending. Vision clearing, she ignored the already-fading memory of music beyond anything she had ever heard, piercing to the soul, and focused on the center of the park where the revenant and her sister had been to find the lovely triangle-tattooed brunette already bending to pick up a tiny form, her sisters standing beside her.

Then Kasumi was pulling her forward, ignoring Nabiki’s protests that it might not be safe to rush toward the goddesses. “Is she all right?” the Tendo matriarch demanded as they reached the Norns.

Belldandy looked up from where she’d been making faces at the happily gurgling baby in her arms and turned so the Tendos could see. “Yes, Raven is,” she replied with a smile. “See for yourselves.”

Nabiki lifted an eyebrow as she examined the infant — the black hair was right, but the gray skin tone was definitely odd. “Is that color normal?” she asked, frowning.

“Yes, Nabiki-san, it is if half of your soul is of the Devourer’s inheritance,” Lind said as she and Hild joined them, the raven Thought still riding the Daimakacho’s shoulder.

“So Akane isn’t in there?”

“Nope, got her right here!” Skuld chirped from where she was leaning against Urd, face drawn with exhaustion. When Kasumi and Nabiki looked over at her, the girl lifted a hand to her chest. “She’s with Noble Scarlet, she’ll be safe until we can send her to her new home.”

“Will ... will we be able to visit her?” Kasumi asked hesitantly.

But Belldandy shook her head. “No. She won’t remember you, and you would not be able to resist demanding a connection that her previous life entitles you to. She and her new family would resent it, and you. Or you would be able to resist the temptation, and remain on the outside looking in. It is better to wait until she remembers, even if it will be almost two decades. You will have your own child to raise, after all.”

Kasumi glanced down at the sleeping baby she’d almost forgotten she was holding in one arm (miraculously sleeping baby, Nabiki thought, and wondered if any of the goddesses had something to do with it), and nodded reluctant acquiescence, shoulders slumping. “Will we at least be able to see Ranma?” she pleaded. “She and ... my child could grow up together —”

But Belldandy was shaking her head again. “I am truly sorry, Kasumi-chan, but that will not be possible. Raven will not be safe around mortals for many years, until she attains control over her heritage. However, with your permission I will visit from time to time — I can at least let you know how your loved ones are doing.”

As Kasumi vigorously nodded and Nabiki felt some of the ache in her soul ease, Belldandy added, “And there is one thing I can do for you.” Shifting the sleeping Raven to one arm, she reached out with the other to lay her hand on the forehead of the baby in Kasumi’s arm. She again lifted her voice in song, though this time without her angelic companion, and for a brief moment the baby seems to glow with a soft pulsing light. As the melody died away, the mortals’ memory of it again fading as it died, the Norn of the Present smiled even as she fought to stay erect. “Now, your child will appear as she would have if her parents had been Japanese. From what I’ve observed, that will make her life as she grows up much easier. And now, we must leave before Raven awakens. Please, be well.” With that, the four goddesses and the Daimakaicho of Niflheim faded from view, leaving the last of the Tendos alone in the park.

The two simply stood and stared out across the peaceful scene even as people started filtering back onto the grassy sward and children swarmed into the nearby playground. The Magic was over. Finally, Nabiki reached up and gently shook her older sister’s shoulder. “Come one, Kasumi, let’s go home. Momma Nodoka must be frantic by now. And I’ll help you come up with a name for the — for our baby.”

A/N: And that finishes The Raven. I won't be posting any more here, not enough hits and posting chapters is too time-consuming, but the sequel, Rocky Ground, as little Raven grows up, as well as my other stories can be found at Your Fanfiction, nom de plume Anduril.
Sign up to rate and review this story