Saffron Saotome

By: James Thomas


            A young boy sits on a roof of dojo in Nerima Japan.  He sits in his black pants and white sleeveless shirt that emulates his ‘father’s’ style of Chinese silk.  He sits in a contemplative pose as he stares at the setting sun.  He sits basking in the last heat waves of the retreating orb with one thought on his mind.


            “Who am I?”  He asks aloud as his thoughts turn inward. 


He had just turned sixteen, a confusing time for most children, but even doubly so when you are another incarnation of a phoenix god.  Up until yesterday he had been a happy guy.  He had a great home that was the current home of Anything Goes Martial Arts, a style that had been rapidly growing in size and popularity in recent years.  His father was the great Ranma Saotome, the man among men and heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts.  His mother was Akane Saotome, heir to the Tendo School.  The two of them had come together after a rocky courtship and many misadventures which had culminated in the creation of his family and the dojo in the current form.  The best part was that he was the heir to all this.  Someday he would be the master of Anything Goes.  He would teach the next generation of the greatest martial artists in the world.


He had been happy…and ignorant.


Yesterday his memories came back.  Yesterday he remembered the thousands of years he had spent being born and burning out providing and protecting his people in China on Phoenix Mountain.  He was the great Lord Saffron!  A God!  No one could match his power!


Then someone did, his ‘father’ to be exact.  Ranma had managed to defeat him and kill him, returning him to infancy.  What impudence to think he could even challenge a god!  What a shame it was to fall to a mortal such as him!


But now he knew better.  Ranma had raised him on the stories of the impossible fights he had won.  The stories would have been stuff of fairy tales had not his grandparents and aunts backed up the stories.  Saffron knew full well that he faced an opponent that deserved respect.  He also now knew that it had been Ranma’s purpose all along.  He had been an unwitting pawn of the Amazon’s, trained to be the figure of balance in the Jusenkyo valley.  A balance Saffron had disturbed by leaving the mountain and chasing a little girl to Japan for a map.  He should have realized that those actions would have repercussions, but he was too impetuous and full of his own power and belief in his immortality to think that he could be stopped.


Yet he was.  He had visited death’s door and returned.  He had returned as a child once again, but this time he had new parents.  He wasn’t the spoiled and coddled by the court of nobles this time.  This time he had been taught the ways of honor and discipline, concepts he had lost long ago.  He had been called on his misdeeds and often punished for them.  His mother still let him off on a few things, but his father always corrected his actions if they ever crossed the line between right and wrong.


His mother, that was a lie and a half.  She wasn’t even the real Akane Saotome.  He had been told she wasn’t at an early age so that the fact she turned into a different person completely with the application of warm water wouldn’t frighten him.  Only now he knew the implications of the name he had been given at such a young and impressionable age.


She was Kiima!  His own right hand lieutenant! She had been an accomplice the lie that he lived now!  She had even been a part in getting him cursed!  Now he turned into an ordinary human with cold water!  This whole situation was her fault!  He should have her drawn and quartered for her actions.


And yet, she was a good mother.  This time around he had been treated and loved as her own child instead of a child of the court that she raised out of duty alone and only the way the court would let her.  She had also told him early on that his curse had been a fortunate accident at his parents wedding.  This way he could live among the other people and not stand out.  If he had not regained his memories, he would have been happy that she was so truthful and forthright about everything he had been told.  As it is, he had his memory and he should be angry!  He should want bloody vengeance!  But he didn’t.  He still loved both Ranma and Kiima like his real mother and father.


So there lay his confusion.  He should mad at the woman who betrayed and is still betraying him and the man who killed him.  But they were his parents in his current life, and he loved them.  This was a lot more confusing in his mind than girls and acne were to a normal teenager.  He had been up here last night and tonight contemplating who he really was at his core.  Was he the God of Phoenix Mountain or was he Saffron Saotome heir to the school of Anything Goes Martial Arts?


He sat for a little while longer as the sun departed and the evening chill began to set in.  He still didn’t know who he was or what his purpose in life would be.  His purpose in life before had been to provide heat and light for his people, but that was gone now.  Kiima had told him about how her (their) people had the hot water from the springs directly and no longer needed him.  He had read between the lines today and figured out that his people had given him up to Ranma as a sacrifice for their future welfare.  It was a testament to Kiima’s loyalty that she was raising him now.  What was he to do now?  He no longer had a plan or path for his life.  He was just lost and so very confused.


“Saffy-chan!”  Came a shout from the side as a figure hopped up on the roof.  “What’cha doin’?”


He turned and smiled at the new occupant of his private thoughtful spot.  A small girl slight in frame, but endowed in figure.  Her red hair fell loosely to her shoulders in a controlled chaos.  This was his ‘sister’, Megumi.  She was the true offspring of Ranma and Kiima, the one who by all rights should be the heir to the dojo.  His parent knew it, he knew it, she knew it, but he was still it because he was the older child in the family.  This told him a lot about how much he was loved and accepted by his family.  She was boisterous, playful, carefree, and caring all at the same time.  She loved to play pranks on people and help them out at the same time.  She was truly her father’s daughter.


“I’m just thinking.”  He replied.


She sat down beside him and hugged her knees up to her chest.  “About what?”


“You know, stuff.”  He didn’t want to burden her with his problems.  He cared for her like a real sister because that was the way he was raised.  She was almost a year younger, but they shared almost everything with each other.  This knowledge he had now was not something to be shared with someone so young.


“Are you worried about the fight with Hibiki-chan?”  She asked.  “That lunkhead has to find his way here before he can challenge you.  Even then you can kick his butt.”


Saffron smiled at his little sister.  “I’m not worried about him.”  The son of Ryoga and Akari Hibiki wasn’t even a challenge for him.  He had the power of the phoenix and Anything Goes behind him.  “There have just been some things on my mind lately.”


“Like what?”  Megumi asked innocently.


“Just some growing up guy stuff.  You wouldn’t want to hear it.”  He replied trying to get her off the subject.


Megumi was smart enough to know when her brother didn’t want to talk about something.  The broody mood he’d been in lately had been getting on her nerves though.  It was time for some action.  “Hey, I know what will cheer you up!”  She exclaimed.


“Who said I needed cheering up?”  He asked, even more confused then he was five minutes ago.


She produced a steaming kettle from apparently nowhere.  “Let’s go flying!”


He shook his head.  “You know mom will kill you if you go flying off in the night.  She told both of us not to go flying in the district and especially not at night.”


Megumi pouted her lower lip out defiantly.  “Who said I always did what mom told me.  I’ll just tell pops it’s training and he’ll take care of mom.”


Saffron pinched his nose and groaned.  His sister had Ranma wrapped tightly around her finger.  The only person who had him more tightly wrapped was their baby sister Kimiko.  Luckily she was only ten years old and had an earlier bed time.  “I’m going to regret this, but okay.”


“Yay!”  Megumi pulled her shirt off to reveal the top of a one-piece swimming suit she wore under her clothes.  The open back allowed her wings to come out without tearing up her clothes.  She poured some water on her head to reverse the Jusenkyo transformation that allowed her to walk around without curious stares or government abduction.  He white wings appeared and spread like angel wings.  She flapped them a couple times for good measure.  “It always feels like I’m set free when my wings are out, like there’s no limit to what I can do!”


Saffron couldn’t help but smile at his sister.   He knew the feeling she was talking about.  He also knew the freedom that came with flying and the power he had access to in his immortal body.  He took off his own shirt and undershirt.  He didn’t have the luxury of everyday clothes for guys that had an open back.  He took the kettle from Megumi and trigged his own transformation.  Golden wings sprouted from his back as power coursed through his body.  He once again felt the powers that were his birthright as the immortal phoenix god.  A thought came through his mind.  Should I use this power to take my vengenence?  He shook his head again. What vengeance is there to take?  Also, it would hurt Megumi, and that’s the last thing I want to do in this world.


He brushed back his white hair with his hand as he gave his wings a couple test flaps.  Their parents had told them long ago about their bird people heritage.  They often took him and his sisters on training trips to teach them how to use their wings for flight and combat.


“All right Meg.  Let’s get going before mom or dad notice.”  He alit into the air at a rapid speed to gain altitude before anyone could take notice of the flying man.


Megumi was hot on his heels.  She would not be outdone.  He may be older, but she wasn’t going to let him be better at anything without a fight.  She finally overtook him and passed him easily.  “Catch me if you can, Saffy-Chan!”  She giggled as she sped off through the sky.


Saffron smirked at her antics.  The grin was very similar to the cocky grin usually worn by Ranma.  “I’ll get you.”  He promised as he began to speed after her, hoping the whole time that neither of their parents took notice.




Down below someone did take notice.  Kiima watched worriedly through the kitchen window as her kids sped off into the night. She went to reach for the hot water tap but a hand stopped her.  She looked up into the blue eyes of her husband.


He smiled at her.  “Let them go.  Saffron won’t let Meg get into too much trouble, and Meg definitely won’t let anything happen to her big brother.”


“But they’re just kids!”  She exclaimed as she tried to fight his grip.


“Was I that much older when we met?”  He asked plainly.  “I could handle anything that was thrown at me at that age, I’m sure they can do the same.  Besides, something has been eating at Saffron for the past couple days.  This might do him some good.”


Kiima relaxed a bit, but then grew a little apprehensive.  “You don’t think he’s remembering do you?  I mean, do you think he remembers who he is?  Will he hate us?”  She had long ago thrown off the shackle of being his subject and taken on the role of his mother.


Ranma just smiled at her.  “Don’t worry.  Our son is still in there with the phoenix god.  I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.”


He stepped up and took his wife into his arms.  “Besides, we pretty much have the house to ourselves.  We only have to worry about waking up Kimiko.”  He smiled a lecherous grin as he spoke.


“I think I can handle that.”  She reached up and pulled his head down for a kiss.




Two laughing teens spiraled through the night.  They had long ago left the Nerima prefecture behind and continued their aerial acrobatics into the next district.  They had lost track of where they were, but they knew they could always find their way back home.


At the end of a particulary fast paced trade of diving and spiraling around each other they came to land on an unfamiliar rooftop.  They were both laughing as they tried to catch their breaths.


“I almost got you that time bro!”  Megumi exclaimed as he held her hand to her chest to try and slow her rapid breathing.  “You’ve gotten a lot better in the past couple days.”


“Just some things I’ve thought about, sis.”  Remembered was the proper word for it, but he wasn’t going to tell her that.  “Where are we?”  He asked as he peered over the edge of the building they had landed on.


Megumi looked over the side and saw the sign of the business they were perched on.  “Looks like Juuban.  I’ve always wanted to go shopping here.”


Saffron rolled his eyes at his sister’s main vice, something he swore she got from her Aunty Nabiki.  “Well it looks like everything is closed.”  He commented snidely.  “You’ll have to wait until morning.  Personally, I plan on going back home and sleeping.  You can wait here all you like.”


“Oh you!”  She pouted as she slugged him in the arm.  “Just for that, you have to come with me when I go shopping here.  I get dad to tell you I need protection from the demons here.”


Saffron snorted.  “Demons?  Come on everybody knows that the demons and the sailor senshi are just urban legends.”  At that moment they both turned at the sound of an explosion behind them.  Saffron could feel the magic coming off of the blast even as the light and sound faded.  “Then again…”


“Let’s go check it out.”  Megumi was in the air and heading that direction before Saffron could say anything.  All he could do was follow as fast as he could and hope she didn’t get herself in over her head.


They came to a scene of devastation.  They saw several girls dressed in seifuku battling a large monster roughly humanoid with green skin and red glowing eyes.  There we eight girls total and Saffron could see that four of them were already down.  Still standing were the ones in black, green, red, and multicolored.  The one in the black outfit carried a large pole arm that dwarfed her, but she still handled with ease.


The beast laughed as the ones remaining standing tried to regroup and prepare for their next offensive.  “You may have stopped my other minions, but you cannot stop me!  I am the lord of the elements!  I will keep turning your powers against you and the legendary Sailor Senshi will be no more!”  He bellowed another laugh as he began to gather power into his clawed hands.


“He’s going to kill them.”  Megumi stated as a fact.  “They’re not fighters; they’re just school girls with powers.  We have to help them.”


“This isn’t our fight Meg.”  Saffron stated.


“Dad would help them.”  She turned to her brother with a hand on her hip.  “It’s a martial artist’s duty to help others in need.”


Saffron looked back to the scene as the girls spread out to try and outflank the monster.  Am I a martial artist?  He thought.  Am I truly Ranma’s son?  The question that plagued him on the dojo roof still plagued him of who he was.


He saw the one in the red skirt unleash a fire attack on the monster.  The thing turned and laughed at her once more.  “You think you can use fire against me!  I burn with the fires of the immortal phoenix!”


Saffron’s eyes lit up at that statement.  “Let’s get’em.”  He didn’t wait for Megumi to respond before diving into the fray.




Sailor Mars could only stare in terror as the dread lord fired a fireball easily twice the size of her strongest attack back at her.  It would be pointless to dodge, the thing was too big.  She could only stare death in the face as the ball of flame hurled toward her.


Something flashed before her eyes and the next thing she knew she saw a shadowed winged figure in between her and the fireball.  The blast seemed to be pulled into itself as it hit the man in front of her. 


The brightness subsided and she saw something straight from her dreams.  The man was tall, well built, and handsome with wings like an angel.  Her breath caught in her throat as he turned his eyes to her.


“Are you okay?”  Saffron asked the girl whose life he had just saved from the fire.


She nervously stuttered for a bit and finally choked out.  “I’m fine.”


He gave her his most winning smile and turned back to the monster.  The smile turned to a copy of Ranma’s cocky smirk as he faced the being of evil.  “So you think you have the fire of the phoenix, eh?”


Saffron gathered his own fire in his hands.  As everyone watched, he seemed to disappear and then reappear at the monster’s feet.  He unleashed the fire of the true immortal phoenix upward into the chest of the beast.  The blazed out of his hands, upward through the monster’s torso, and up into the night air, creating an almost daylight effect around them.


The phoenix god reborn stepped back to admire his work.  The heavily charred monster seemed to try and say something, but only staggered a couple steps toward Saffron.


The Sailor Senshi took in the scene like it was a movie they were watching, waiting for the denouement.  The monster slowly brought his hands up to try and crush the white haired, golden winged hero.


“Y’know, you should just lie down.”  Saffron quipped.  A loud whistling sound came to both of their ears.  They both looked up to see a blue glowing ovoid heading straight toward the monster.  “I told you.”


“METEOR CRASH!!!”  Megumi cried as she slammed both of her chi enhanced feet into the monster’s head, slamming it into the pavement and crushing it.  “Did I miss anyone?” She asked as she gave her brother a victory sign.


“I would say you got him, sis.”  Saffron smirked as he surveyed their work.  That had been the most satisfying thing he could remember ever doing.


“Don’t look now bro, but I think you’re about to get a fan club.”  Megumi smiled as she pointed to girls coming up to him with expressions of awe and admiration on their faces.


All eight of the senshi there came forward and admired his bared chest and spread wings.  Questions began to pore in from all sides all at once. 


“Are those wings real?”


“How did you do that?”


“Are you single?”


And so forth came from all around until finally Sailor Moon asked the most glaring question.  “Who are you?”


For the first time in a couple days, Saffron felt sure about the answer to that question.  He reached back and scratched the back of his head as he answered, “Saffron Saotome.  Sorry about this.”




From the gates of time Pluto observed the scene as it occurred.  She looked on as the reborn phoenix god introduced himself to the Sailor Senshi.  She couldn’t help but smile at the chaos that was about to be thrust upon them.  He may not be the blood of Saotome, but he had the spirit.  It didn’t take a viewing of the future to know that several of those girls would fall for him and that fun (for her) would ensue.