A/N: As you're aware, I beta for Jeremy Harper and am slightly (read: a lot) obsessed with his Batman/Ranma crossover. After The Talk, we exchanged some emails where I suggested some ideas for small scenes involving Akane's adjustment to living in Gotham. Since he has enough on his plate, he has given me his blessing to write them myself.
This takes place before The Talk and Debutante (which he is currently working on). I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma or Batman and am using both without permission.
A week after moving into Wayne manor, Akane headed downstairs carrying a basket full of clothes that needed to be laundered. It had taken her nearly that long to be able to navigate the spacious home, and yet she still had no idea where she was going; she had never seen the laundry room. She was sure she had yet to see most the rooms. She decided to head towards the kitchen where she thought Alfred would most likely be. She found him there looking at the pantry and writing in a notebook.
"Hello, Alfred," she said in greeting.
The butler turned around and smiled at his newest charge.
"Good afternoon, Miss Akane. How are you doing this afternoon? Are you adjusting well?"
The blue-haired girl smiled. He had asked her that each day since she had moved there and it made her feel less lonely having someone there who cared about her wellbeing since she was so far away from home and her family. She had begun thinking of him as a sort of grandfather.
"I'm good, thank you. How are you doing?"
"I'm well. Just making a grocery list. Is there anything that you would like to have for dinner? Or any snacks you would prefer to have? Something from home, perhaps. I can order anything you like."
"No, I'm fine, thank you," she said, touched by his thoughtfulness.
"Well then, what can I do for you?"
"Can you show me to the laundry room? I'd like to get some things washed."
"No need, Miss Akane. I was planning on picking up your laundry later today. It looks like you saved me a trip. If you would just leave the basket, I will have everything cleaned and put away by the end of the day."
"Oh…" she replied a little uneasily.
"Is there a problem?"
"No, it's just that there are…I mean…" flustered she stuttered.
How was she supposed to tell him that she just felt uncomfortable with him washing her bras and panties? It just felt…weird.
"I don't want to be any trouble," she said instead.
"It's no trouble. As you know, it's my job to look after the household, which you are now a part of."
"Yes. It's just that, there are some more…delicate things…that I…"
"Ah, I see," Alfred said as the reason for her discomfort finally dawned on him.
It had been a very long time since he had a female under the roof. Not since Martha Wayne had been alive. She had been accustomed to his taking care of everything, not to mention they had much more help back in those days. He had no experience with adolescent females as he had served the Wayne family his entire adult life and Thomas Wayne was an only child. It would take some getting used to having a young lady living with them.
While he had no issues taking care of her intimates, he had no desire to make her uncomfortable, which she obviously was. He cleared his throat softly.
"Why don't I show you to the laundry room."
"Thank you," Akane said shyly, thankful that she didn't have to explain to herself further.
They walked into the laundry room that consisted of several washers and dryers, cabinets and a counter for folding.
"This is the downstairs laundry area. There is one on the same floor as your bedroom that I will show you later which will be more convenient for you. There is an ironing board that extends from that long cabinet in the back and the iron is stored here," he said as he opened a cabinet to the right of the machines, "along with the detergent and drying sheets."
The blue-haired girl gulped as she looked at the stainless steel machines in front of her. As expected of everything in the Wayne Manor, the washers and dryers were technical marvels, full of gleaming buttons and dials.
Alfred noticed her slightly wary look and decided a quick tutorial was needed. "This might be slightly different than the machines you have at home."
He went over how to turn on the washer, pointing out the different settings: normal, heavy, delicate, cold wash, sheets, and power wash. Power wash? Wasn't that something you did to buildings?
Next he moved to the dryer that had automatic and timed drying. High, medium, low setting. Energy saving, fluff, and permanent press. It was a round dryer. How could it press anything, much less permanently?
She tried to focus when she realized that he was still talking. Something about knife pleats. Knife pleats? Was that some place she was supposed to hide weapons?
"Do you have any questions?" he asked, startling her out of her musings.
"No, no. I should be fine. Thank you," she said giving him a small bow.
The older man gave her a bow in return and left her to her own devices.
Akane looked at the machines with some trepidation. After making such a big deal about doing her own laundry she couldn't admit that she had never done it before. Kasumi had taken care of her clothes since her mother passed. She had never so much as touched the washer at home or given laundry a thought.
But really how hard could it be?
An hour later she somehow ended up flooding the room with water and bubbles. She cleaned it up with the help of Alfred and a certain pig-tailed boy that couldn't stop laughing. When she finally took out her clothes, she realized the entire load had been ruined.
How was she supposed to know you had to separate your colors and shouldn't put an entire gallon of bleach in one wash?
After Alfred shooed Ranma away to save Akane from his continued teasing, he sat her down in the kitchen with a cup of hot tea. She finally admitted the truth to the staid butler and agreed that he should see to the laundry in the future.
After all, she couldn't be more embarrassed than she already was.
A/N: Big thanks to Marie Allen for betaing the story and of course Jeremy Harper for writing the series in the first place.