Looking For Trouble
A Ranma ½ / Teen Titans Fan Fic
Disclaimer – Ranma ½ is the creation of Rumiko Takahashi. Teen Titans is the property of DC Comics. Both are used without permission.
Ranma Saotome grinned as one of his best friends stepped through the private gate at Narita National Airport. Roy Harper looked rumpled, as anyone would after a long international flight, no matter how luxurious the aircraft, but otherwise seemed awake and alert. Roy was a lean, fit young man, about a year older than Ranma and an inch or two taller, but not quite as broad across the shoulders. He wore his red hair almost militarily short, and his keen green eyes glinted with pleasure when he spotted his friend. He was dressed in blue jeans, black sneakers and a t-shirt that bore the legend 'Great Frog' with an anthropomorphic frog which looked like the bastard spawn of Kermit the Frog and Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth's Rat Fink adorning the front.
"Roy," said Ranma as he walked up to his friend. "Welcome to Tokyo."
Roy grinned back as he shook hands and clapped Ranma on the shoulder. "Thanks buddy. You're looking good. Or at least happier than last time I saw you. How did things work out with your folks?"
"That's... a bit complicated. A lot more complicated than I expected."
Roy gave Ranma a quizzical look. "Considering you were dealing with a surprise arranged marriage and a seppuku contract, I'm almost afraid to ask for details."
"Oh yeah, it was tons of fun. But things are working out. I'll tell you about it in the car. How are things with you?"
Roy shrugged. "Quiet enough that I'm pretty bored. No Titan missions or emergencies, and there hasn't been much trouble in Starling City since Onomatopoeia took a header into the bay off of Star Bridge last month. Brick may be up to something, but when isn't he? Donna, Wally and Garth all say 'hi', by the way, and are sorry they couldn't come out with me."
"It's okay. Trust me, I know something about family obligations," Ranma said wryly.
"Yeah, but at least their families make reasonable demands."
"It's good to see you again, Master Roy," said Alfred. He had walked up to the two young men as they talked.
"Thanks, Alfred. Same here." Roy looked the older man over. "I didn't realize you owned any clothes that weren't black."
Alfred smiled. "Even an old fossil of a manservant lets his hair down every once in a while," he joked, straightening the lapels of his white drill suit. "May I take your bag, sir?"
"No, I got it. Thank you, though." Roy slung the carry-on duffel in his left hand over his shoulder. The three began to walk from the gate. "It's still a shame the rest of the crew couldn't visit," Roy said to Ranma. "It would have been cool, all of us hanging out in Tokyo."
"Maybe they'll be able to swing it in a few weeks," Ranma answered.
"Huh? I thought you were heading back to Gotham in early August."
"That was my original plan, but like I said things got complicated."
"Just how complicated?"
Ranma flashed a crooked smile. "Well, for one thing, I've got a fiancee now."
Roy stopped and stared wide-eyed at Ranma. Ranma walked a few more steps then turned to him, still smirking and silently counting seconds. Alfred just shook his head and continued on, trusting his charges would not linger too long.
"Say what?" Roy finally said.
"Indoor voice, Roy."
"You went through with it? You actually agreed to your old man's hair-brained idea?"
"I just won a bet today. Wally and Garth once said only Donna could ever get you to shut up; I knocked you speechless for thirty-two seconds."
"You are a goddamn troll, Saotome. You gonna explain just why you went out of your mind?"
"Yeah, I will. But not here. Come on, we need to get to the penthouse before two. Someone's visiting that I want you to meet. I'll give you the details on the drive over."
Akane Tendo practically flew down the stairs, skipped into the living room and plopped down at the table, a happy smile lighting up her face. She had with her a small duffel bag that held a gi and a change of clothes.
"Good morning, daddy," she said cheerfully to her father. Soun Tendo acknowledged his youngest daughter with a perfunctory grunt from behind his newspaper. Akane rolled her eyes a little; even though he had agreed to allow her to become Yoru Yamamoto's student in the martial arts, Soun was still petulant about the issue, and would not talk to her on the days she had lessons. Akane refused to allow his childish behavior to dampen her good cheer – today would be only her fourth class with Yoru-sensei, but already she felt so much better about her skills, and was eager to learn more.
Kasumi came into the living room with a breakfast tray and set it before Akane. "Good morning, dear."
"Good morning, sis." Akane gave her oldest sister a peck on the cheek. Kasumi smiled fondly at her before returning to the kitchen. She came back a minute later with her own breakfast.
Akane looked around the living room. "Where's Nabiki? Is she still asleep?"
"No, she was up earlier," said Kasumi. "She had a bowl of cereal and left the house." She hesitated a moment. "She said she was helping a friend with an errand."
"I see," said Akane slowly. Where her father only refused to speak to her on lesson days, Nabiki had been avoiding her completely since she accepted the engagement to Ranma. She loved her sister, even if Nabiki could be a pest with her teasing and bad habit of borrowing things without asking first, and her cold behavior was starting to bother Akane.
"Do you have anything planned for today after your lesson?" Kasumi asked, interrupting her brooding train of thought.
"Yes, I'm going to visit Ranma. A good friend of his is visiting from the States, and Ranma invited me to come and meet him."
This attracted Soun's attention. "Good! I'm happy that you are being so attentive to your fiance."
Akane rolled her eyes again. "Ranma's my friend, daddy. I like spending time with him."
"Then your marriage will be all the more pleasant." Akane took a deep breath and counted backwards from ten before resuming eating her breakfast. Kasumi frowned at Soun, then looked curiously at Akane before shaking her head and starting on her own meal.
Akane finished eating with decorous speed, patting her mouth clean with a napkin and jumping to her feet. "That was good, Kasumi. Thank you very much. I'm heading out now – I'll see you tonight."
"Have a good day, dear." Akane trotted off to the genkan, donned a pair of sandals and went outside. She was half-way to the front gate when Nabiki called out to her.
"Going to see Yoru-sensei?" Akane turned and saw Nabiki leaning against the house to the side of the door; in her hurry and eagerness Akane had not noticed her. She was dressed in a brown tank-top and blue and yellow shorts, the sole of one foot pressed against the house and her arms folded beneath her breasts. A smoldering scowl darkened her lovely face.
"Yes," said Akane, feeling off-put by the hostility in her sister's tone.
"You seeing Saotome afterwards?"
Nabiki's lips pursed into a tight frown. "For someone who claims to not like boys, you sure are spending a lot of time with one."
"He's my friend, Nabiki. I enjoy spending time with him."
"Even though he's a boy."
"I never said I hated all boys. I hated Kuno and those idiots he convinced to make my life hell."
Nabiki pushed herself off the house and took a few steps towards Akane. "Even so, why did you take the engagement? Do you want to marry Ranma?"
Akane flushed. "No. We got engaged to satisfy family honor and nothing more. We'll stay engaged for a few years then break it off amicably – that's enough to settle the obligation."
"Even so, why did you agree to this, when you knew I was willing to take it?"
"Do you want to marry Ranma?" Akane countered.
"He's wealthy. He's Wayne's heir, and Wayne makes the Kunos look like genteel poor. I'd be foolish not to at least consider it."
"And that's the only reason you want him?" Akane could not stop the slight hint of contempt from creeping into her voice.
Nabiki's frown sharpened. "Pretty much," she said, unrepentant. "It helps that he's cute. Have you found out if he's as good as he looks?"
Akane's blush deepened and she scowled back at her sister. "That's rude, Nabiki."
"And you're still a child. Alright, if you won't answer that question then at least have the guts to answer my first one: why did you accept the engagement?"
Akane bit her lower lip. "I... I... just like him, okay?"
"'Just like him,'" Nabiki mimicked mockingly. "Really lame, Akane. You know what? You're a spoiled brat. You always have to be the center of attention, no matter what someone else wants."
Akane froze for a moment, trying to parse what Nabiki had said. "I don't understand..." she murmured. Suddenly her eyes went wide. "Wh... what?" Akane shouted. "You really think that? You think I wanted those perverts attacking me every morning for three months?"
"No, but I do think you didn't mind it as much as you claimed."
Akane felt the blood drain out of her face, her heart beating painfully against her ribs. She stared at Nabiki, who looked back with cool indifference. Akane swallowed hard; she wanted to scream at her sister, but found all strength had fled her.
"How can you say something like that to me?" she said, voice barely registering above a whisper. "I spent three months alone and afraid of what could happen to me if I lost a fight to Kuno or one of those perverts. How can you possibly believe I enjoyed that?"
Something flickered across Nabiki's face, but just as she was about to speak the front door clattered open and Kasumi walked onto the front step. "What's going on here?" she asked.
"Nothing," muttered Nabiki. She strode past her older sister into the house. Kasumi watched her before turning to Akane.
"Akane, are you alright?" Kasumi asked.
"Fine... Just fine. I've got to run – I'm going to be late." Akane sped out the front gate, leaving her confused older sister staring after her.
Roy finished his can of Coke, set it on the coffee table and looked at Ranma. "A breeding program," he said.
Ranma popped a piece of mochi into his mouth, washed it down with a sip of tea, and nodded. "Yup," he said laconically.
Roy pondered this for a moment. He shook his head, leaned back in his plush chair and covered his eyes with his hands. "That's sick. Goddamn, just what is wrong with super-villains?"
"You answered your own question – they're sick. Ra's al-Ghul is, at least. Anyone who wants to wipe out ninety-five percent of the human population is definitely not playing with a full deck."
"No kidding. I'll take Brick or Count Vertigo over the Demon's Head any day of the week." He dropped his hands. "How's she taking this?"
"As well as you can expect. I think what bothers Akane the most is that her mother isn't what she thought." Ranma smiled wryly. "I can relate to that."
Roy just grunted. "So, you're really gonna stay in Tokyo?"
"Yeah. Akane was reluctant to just up and leave her friends and family – she needs some time to get acclimated to the idea. Plus Bruce wants to do some scouting and research on Ra's, see if he can dig up some leads about this prophecy, and also set up some protection for the Tendos once we bring Akane to Gotham. Alfred and I will be staying while Bruce does that. I'll be going to school with her and Alfred will be my guardian. We should be back State-side around New Year's."
"Unh. Well, at least you'll only be away five more months. Still, I don't know what the Titans will do without you riding herd on us."
"You guys will do alright. Garfield or Lilith can fill in for me 'til I get back, and Donna will be fine leading solo."
"I hope we get Lilith full-time. Beast Boy ticks me off – he doesn't know when to quit."
"You mean him hitting on Donna annoys you."
"I'm over-protective. Bad habit of mine." Ranma snorted at the thought of Wonder Girl of all people needing protection, especially from an amiable goof like Garfield Logan. "Speaking of Donna," Roy continued. "Don't get me wrong, I think the world of her, but I don't think she'll be as good of a field leader as you are."
"Of course not," Ranma grinned smugly. "No one is as good as me."
"In your dreams, at least. You're a cocky punk, Saotome."
"Hey, just stating the truth, Harper. But seriously, I've got complete faith in Donna. Don't you?"
"Yeah, I do. And I'm not just saying that because she's my ex and could tie me into a pretzel if she felt like it," Roy joked. "Ah, hell. I guess I just don't like the idea of not being able to hang out with you regularly for half-a-year."
"You sentimental dope – I'll miss kicking your butt all over the training room every weekend too."
"Then again, maybe not having you around won't be so bad." Both teens laughed. They fell into a companionable silence for a minute. "So, Akane really as hot as you said?"
Ranma rolled his eyes. "And you complain about Garfield... Like I told you, she's gorgeous. But you don't have to take my word for it. She should be here-" he looked up at the sound of Alfred coming into the living room. "Right now."
"Master Ranma, Master Roy, Miss Tendo has arrived," Alfred announced, stepping aside to admit a young woman. Ranma and Roy stood, Roy's eyes lighting up with admiration. Akane was a small girl, an inch or two over five feet, and quite shapely, her white and gold blouse and dark-blue skirt showing off her figure and legs to demure yet excellent effect. She smiled at the two young men; it was a lovely smile, but Roy noticed it seemed a little forced, not quite reaching her eyes.
"Hey Akane," said Ranma. "Rough day at Yoru-sensei's?" He had noticed her stressed mood as well.
"What? No," she said. "Well, maybe it was a little difficult. Kairi really threw me around today, but I enjoyed myself a lot."
Ranma nodded. "Akane, I'd like to introduce you to one of my best friends. This is Roy Harper. He just flew in today from Starling City. Roy, this is Akane Tendo."
Roy bowed to Akane. "A pleasure to meet you, Akane," he said in excellent Japanese.
She returned the bow. "Likewise. I'm happy to get a chance to meet one of Ranma's friends." She looked at him speculatively and gave Ranma a questioning glance. Ranma simply smiled back.
"Would you like some refreshments, Miss Akane?" Alfred asked.
"A pink lemonade, please?"
"Of course." Alfred left for the kitchen. Ranma smirked at Akane.
"Isn't that a bit girly for you, Tomboy?" he teased.
Akane stuck her tongue out at him. "If you haven't noticed by now that I am a girl then there's no help for you, jerk."
"Oh, I like her," said Roy as he sat back down with a grin. "She has attitude." Akane and Ranma sat together on the couch. "And, for what's it worth, I definitely noticed you're a girl. The sight of you was worth a ten hour flight from the West Coast."
Akane blushed prettily at the compliment, though her smile was a bit nervous. Ranma rolled his eyes. "Roy's a hopeless horndog, but otherwise harmless."
Roy snorted indignantly. "Like hell. Harmless I ain't. But she doesn't have to worry about me. What manners grandpa Brave Bow didn't manage to grind into me, Ollie somehow did. I'm not about to challenge her to a fight in order to get a date."
Akane looked sharply at Ranma. "You told him about the problems I had at school?"
"What else did you tell him?" she asked sternly.
"I trust Roy with my life," Ranma said gently. "You can too." Akane's expression softened from an angry scowl to a look of intense curiosity. Ranma winked at her. "You feel like showing off, Harper?"
"In front of a pretty girl? Always, Saotome." Roy grinned at Akane. "Ranma says you're a talented martial artist; you ever practice Kyudo?"
Akane shifted her curious gaze to him. "A little. Why?"
Roy stood up. "Show me what you know and I'll tell you."
"I didn't know you had something like this up here," Akane said as she looked around the penthouse gymnasium, obviously impressed. "It's huge!"
"It's convenient," said Ranma. "Beats getting gawked at while performing katas in the park." He flipped a switch on a control panel by the door. A section of the opposite wall receded slightly and slid upwards, revealing an archery target. Meanwhile Roy rummaged through a storage locker, producing a bow and a quiver of practice arrows. He easily bent and strung the bow and handed it and the quiver to Akane.
Akane slung the quiver and examined the bow, flexing it and testing the draw of its string. "Tight," she commented.
"It's a professional target bow," said Roy. "You can put a shaft clean through a six inch oak plank, if you're strong enough to pull it back."
Akane held out the bow, extending her left arm, and pulled the bowstring to her cheek.
"Okay, you're strong enough," acknowledged Roy. "Now show me you can hit a target."
Akane looked at Roy then Ranma. Ranma smiled at her encouragingly. Akane shrugged, notched an arrow, aimed and released. The arrow hummed across the distance in a blink, striking the target's innermost ring, just beneath its red bullseye.
"That's a good shot, Akane," said Roy. "Now shoot four more times."
"Yes, sensei," Akane muttered. Both boys snickered at her sarcasm. Akane proceeded to hit the inner ring two more times, clustering the arrows around her initial shot, while her last two scored the bullseye, the very last one piercing dead center.
Roy let out a low whistle. "That's good shooting, Akane."
Akane shrugged, a little embarrassed by the praise. "Not really. It was only ten meters away."
"Even so, that's pretty impressive for someone who hasn't practiced much."
"Roy's right. Most beginners are lucky if they hit the outer rings," Ranma added.
Roy had gone back to the storage locker, fetching and slinging another quiver over his shoulder and taking up what looked to Akane like an over-sized bracket in his left hand. As he walked back to her and Ranma he shook the bracket. It unfolded into a bow, already strung.
"Trust me, I know decent shooting when I see it," said Roy. "I've been practicing archery almost from the day I started walking." He drew an arrow and notched it, sighting down the shaft at the target. Akane saw that the arrow had a sharp broadhead, not the blunted round tips of the ones she had shot.
Roy took a deep breath and released. The moment his fingers left the string his right arm blurred, reaching over his shoulder for another arrow, drawing, notching, pulling and releasing in the span of a heartbeat. In little more than four seconds he shot five times, each of his arrows splitting Akane's arrows cleanly in half. Akane stared at the target gape-mouthed. "Oh my God," she whispered. She stared wide-eyed at Roy. "You're one of the Teen Titans. You're Arsenal." Roy balanced his bow on his left shoulder and nodded, flashing a cocky grin. Akane grinned back. "This is soooo cool!"
"That's me, alright," laughed Roy. "The epitome of cool."
"Feh. Yeah, you wish," said Ranma. He had gone to the locker and had snapped a black belt around his waist. He walked back to his friends, drawing out batarangs and gripping them between his fingers. "You're not that impressive, Roy." Ranma whipped back his arm and threw. Three batarangs whined and curved through the air, splitting three of Roy's arrows in half – the two bullseyes and a shaft in the inner ring closest to the bullseye.
Roy nodded sagaciously. "You're right, buddy. I'm not just impressive." Roy drew three arrows, notched all of them at once, pulled and released. All three arrows scored the bullseye. "I'm superbly impressive."
"Do you even know what that word means?" Ranma sent three more batarangs at the target. Roy's right arm blurred as he shot them out of the air, the weapons pinging loudly against the far wall.
"Of course I do," he said as he turned to Ranma with a toothy grin. "It means I rule and you drool, Saotome."
"Feh. We'll see who's drooling the next time we spar, Harper."
Akane laughed, very much amused by the masculine mock-posturing. She took a closer look at Roy as he put away the boys and arrows while Ranma cleaned up around the target. "Are you a martial artist as well?" she asked Roy. "I mean, do you practice bare-handed styles?"
"Yeah," said Roy. "You never know when you'll need to break out a good right hook. Never trained with anyone like your Yamamoto, but I had some very good teachers."
"Neat. Would you guys like to come over to my place tomorrow? I've been wanting to spar with Ranma again for a while now, and I wouldn't mind testing myself against someone new."
"Sure," said Roy with a shrug. "I'm game if Ranma's game."
"Definitely," said Ranma. He dumped the shattered arrows into a waste barrel in a corner. "I'm more than happy to watch her kick your butt all over her dojo. Why don't we head back to the living room now? I'd like to hear what sort of paces Yoru-sensei and Kairi have been putting you through, Akane."
"I like Roy," Akane said to Ranma as they rode the elevator down to the ground floor. She had spent a very enjoyable two hours talking and bantering with the two young men. "He's funny."
"Eh, he's tolerable, for a scatter-brained pervert," Ranma said, his smile belying his words. "But seriously, he's a great guy. You can always count on him to watch your back, and like I told you earlier I trust him with my life. You can trust him, too."
"I believe you." Akane giggled. "If someone told me a month ago I could trust a boy, I would have told them they were crazy. Now here I am trusting two of them."
"We're not all bad. Well, at least I'm not. I have my doubts about Roy, sometimes." Ranma gave her a crooked grin and she giggled again. A few companionable moments passed before he spoke. "You wanna tell me what's bothering you?"
Akane pursed her lips. "Nothing. I'm fine."
"You're talking to the student of the World's Greatest Detective, Akane. You're gonna have to try harder than that."
Akane sighed, bowing her head. "I had a fight with Nabiki. She's been giving me the cold shoulder ever since you and I got engaged, and this morning she accused me of actually enjoying getting harassed by Kuno and all those perverts as school."
"Damn," muttered Ranma, his blue eyes narrowing slightly in anger. He hesitated a moment before reaching out and taking Akane's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. Akane looked at him, smiling shyly, and reciprocated the squeeze. "I'm sorry, Akane."
"It's okay," she said. "It's not your fault."
"Still, that's a damn cold thing for her to say."
"That's Nabiki – the Ice Queen of Nerima Ward. I love my sister, but we just don't get along. Haven't ever since mama died." Akane shook her head. "She's jealous about you getting engaged to me."
Ranma grunted. "Should have reasoned something like that could have been a possibility, considering how hard she pressed her intentions at me. I don't think there's any way we could have avoided this."
Akane sighed again. "I agree. Oh well, don't worry about it. I'll deal. I'm use to Nabiki being bitchy... Still, it was nice, having her be all sisterly and caring for a while." Akane thought a moment and laughed. "Maybe we can arrange for another super-villain to kidnap me. That could snap her out of this fit."
Ranma laughed too. "We'll hold that plan in reserve."
The elevator reached the lobby and Ranma walked Akane out to the sidewalk, still holding her hand. He gave her hand one last squeeze. "We'll see you tomorrow around noon. Take care, Akane."
"Okay. Have a good day, Ranma." She smiled at him, letting go of his hand and walking off. He watched her until she rounded a corner two blocks away then walked back into the building, grinning and whistling jauntily.
Roy greeted Ranma in the penthouse with a leer and a smirk. "So, you get any?"
Ranma rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah, we had a quickie in the elevator. I banged her right against the wall."
"That's my boy! 'Bout time you grew up and started noticing girls."
"Remind me again why I'm friends with you?"
"Because you keep hoping some of my debonair charm will rub off on you."
"More like I feel sorry for your hopeless ass."
"That's possible," Roy said with a laugh. "Gotta say, Ranma – Akane's a babe. She's a sweetheart, too. And she has two sisters who are just as hot?"
Ranma nodded. "I think she's the cutest, and her middle sister, Nabiki, rubs me the wrong way, but yeah. All of them are very pretty."
Roy grinned wickedly. "Sweet. Really looking forward to tomorrow."
"Hopeless," muttered Ranma. He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Hey Roy, would you mind doing me a favor?"
"Sure. What is it?"
"Tomorrow, when you spar with Akane -"
"Want me to go easy on her? No problem."
Ranma shook his head sharply. "No. Absolutely not. I want you to spar with her as if you were going up against me or Dinah or Ted."
Roy blinked at the request. "But... she's a civilian." Ranma gave him a look. Roy held up his hands in protest. "Hey, it's not like I don't believe what you told me about her, but she's still a civilian. She's not going to be drugged, and she's had only, what, three or four lessons with Yamamoto. It won't do her any good if I just blow her out of the water."
"Just trust me on this, okay Roy?"
Roy looked steadily at Ranma then shrugged. "Alright. If you really want me to beat up your fiancee, I will."
"Thank you. You up for a walk? I feel like stretching my legs."
"Sure. Let's go."
Author's Notes: As with Shadows Over Nerima, this story isn't following any particular continuity on the DC side of things. It is an amalgamation of various sources, including but not limited to the comics, the DCAU, the Arkham-verse and the CW's Arrow.
Roy being able to speak Japanese in this story is not a contrivance. Pre-New 52, at least, he was fluent in that language.
I meant to mention this sometime during Shadows, but by the time my tolerance had reached its limit I was almost done writing the story and decided it wasn't worth it. If you have a problem with any of the pairings implicit in this story, I kindly ask you to refrain from complaining about it. That's all I'm going to say on this matter.
Thanks once again to Pursemonger for her pre-reading and enthusiastic support.