Author's Notes: Ranma is a bit more mature because he's older and has been living by himself for a couple years. He's doesn't have as horrible social skills as the younger Ranma had.

This story is in semi-script form. Don't read this if you don't like script-type stories.

= = = = = = = = =

Manager Ranma 1/2

Episode 1

The New Manager and Cook!
Here's Ranma!!

= = = = = = = = =

(Ranma looked up at the large apartment complex, Hinata Inn, in amazement. He had a chance at working at this place? Not bad. It had been over two years since he'd escaped from that hell hole he used to call home. He had been living off money from small, part time jobs as a waiter/waitress and sometimes a bouncer, but the money just wasn't cutting it. He didn't especially like either job as well. That made him decide that it was time to look for another source of income. Ranma walked up to the door and knocked. No response. Odd. The owner of the apartment complex should be home, it was past noon already. He knocked again, harder.)

Misato: Hai, hai, I'm coming... (grumbles)

(Ranma raised an eyebrow at the haggard voice of the woman. Sounded like she just woke up. The door was opened by a young woman with dark blue hair, clothed in a simple tank a top and short shorts. She looked at him with her bloodshot eyes.)

Misato: Yeah, what do you want?

Ranma: Um, hi, I'm here for the manager job.

Misato: ...Huh? Wha?

Ranma: You told me to meet you here for an interview, remember? I'm Ranma Saotome.

Misato: (blinks) Ranma Saotome...? Oh yeah! C'mon in. Sorry about that.

(Ranma nodded and followed her to a dining room. She motioned for him to sit down at the table.)

Misato: I'm Misato Katsuragi.

Ranma: (bows slightly) Nice to meet ya.

Misato: Likewise.

(Misato took a moment to fully taken in Ranma's appearance. He was a young man with a very defined build she was pleased to note. He had his black hair in a pigtail and wore a Chinese styled silk tank top with black pants. Ranma looked at Misato curiously with his deep blue pearls as she continued to stare at him.

Misato: (thinks) He has nice eyes...

Ranma: (shifts uncomfortably) Um, Misato-san?

Misato: (flushes slightly) Oh, er, sorry. I'm a bit hungover...

Ranma: (grins) I can see that. I can make you a drink that will help with your hangover. Want me to?

Misato: Really? I mean, it's not that bad.

Ranma: Ya sure? It'll only take a couple of minutes. (thinks) Heh, anything that'll help me get this job.

Misato: Um, okay. Go for it. Help yourself around the kitchen. I'm not sure if we have what you need though.

Ranma: Ah don't worry, I can make do with whatever ya have.

(Ranma proceeded to search through the cabinets, taking out various things, as Misato took out Ranma's application.)

Misato: Anyways, let's get down to business. Says here your 22?

Ranma: Yup.

Misato: And you're a student at Todai?

Ranma: Uh huh. Hey, do ya have any sugar?

Misato: Of course, right over there. I'm just curious, what's your major?

Ranma: I'm going for a degree in teaching.

Misato: (thinks) Teaching? That's a surprise, he doesn't look like the teacher type to me. Hell, he doesn't look like a Todai type either. (out loud) I see. Any other past job experience besides being a waiter and a bouncer?

Ranma: (hesitant) Well...I tried being an assistant teacher at a martial arts dojo, but it didn't work out...

(That peeked Misato's interest. She could tell that he was obviously athletic, but she didn't expect him to be a martial artist.)

Misato: Really? How come it didn't work out?

Ranma: (grimly, reluctantly) Turns out I'm a cruddy teacher...

Misato: That's too bad.

Ranma: But I'm trying to get better! That's why I'm going to Todai.

Misato: ...You're going to Todai so you can be a better martial arts teacher?

Ranma: Yeah.

Misato: Why Todai specifically? It couldn't of been easy to get into there.

Ranma: I dunno, I heard it was a good place to go to. Wasn't that hard.

(Misato raised an eyebrow at that. Todai, the University of Tokyo, was quite a prestigious school and had very high entry standards. The way he said it made it seem like Ranma simply decided to go there on a whim. Moving along, she glanced at a piece of paper that had a long list of interview questions. Misato grimaced as she saw she wasn't even a quarter way through. And the hangover wasn't helping either.)

Misato: Um, I see. So... (thinks) Ahh, I don't need to ask all these useless questions. Might as well get straight to the point....I wanna go back to sleep... (out loud) Why do you want to be manager of Hinata Inn?

Ranma: Uh, well, the pay is good, and I like the location. I've also never done this sort of thing before, wanted a change from my usual jobs.

Misato: You know that being a manager is a very taxing job.

Ranma: I can handle it. I'm only a part-time student.

Misato: (thinks) Poor fool, I didn't mean it that way. I meant the residents you'll be dealing with... shudder

Ranma: Alright, one shot of Ranma's Super Special Energy Drink ready to go!

(Ranma handed Misato a glass full of a red liquid. Misato looked at the glass uneasily for a moment before shrugging and gulping it down. Slowly, her eyes lit up in surprise. She slammed the glass down on the table with a wide grin on her face.)

Misato: KYAAA! That was really good!!

Ranma: (smiles bashfully) Heheh, thanks.

Misato: I'm serious! This is REALLY good stuff! I feel better already! "Ranma's Super Special Energy Drink" huh? You made the recipe yourself?

Ranma: (nods) Yup. Actually, it's a special martial arts drink, but it originally tasted really bad. I just added a little of my cooking skills to it and came up with that.

Misato: You cook? Are you good?

Ranma: I'm pretty good. Better than some people I know anyways...

Misato: GREAT! You just got yourself hired!

Ranma: (surprised) R-Really?!

Misato: Yup. Congratulations Saotome, you're now the manager of Hinata Inn!

Ranma: (jumps in the air in glee) YEAH! Thanks a lot Misato-san! Oh, just call me Ranma.

Misato: Okay, but only if you call me Misato. (thinks) Energetic guy... (grins inwardly) Oh well, he's cute.

Ranma: Gotcha. When do I start?

Misato: Right now. How soon can you move in?

Ranma: Probably today. My stuff ain't that far from here.

Misato: Great. Would you mind cooking as well? We include meal plans for all the residents here and our cook recently left us. I'll pay you extra of course.

Ranma: Sure, no prob'.

Misato: Good. Let's go, I'll show you around.

Ranma: Okay.

Misato: You'll be staying over there. Bathrooms are around the corner and the hot springs are down the hall to your left. My room is right next to yours, come by if you need anything.

(Misato winked at Ranma playfully, causing him to blush and inch slowly away from her. She was giving him the "look", a gaze he easily recognized. Misato smirked at Ranma's reaction. After the fiancé fiasco, Ranma had tried his best to avoid relationships with the opposite sex. Or at least, serious relationships where emotions and feelings were at stake.)

Misato: (thinks) Haha, he's blushing like a little kid, how cute. Urd's going to have a blast with this guy.

Ranma: (changing subject) S-So...there's a hot springs here?

Misato: (nods) Yup. This place has been around for a while. It actually used to be a real vacation inn until recently.

Ranma: Wow, awesome.

Misato: Okay then, I'll be in my room if you need me.

(Ranma nodded and made his way to his room. It was a fairly large room, probably one of the better rooms if compared to the other one bedroom apartments for the residents. Ranma smiled. Perhaps his luck was changing.)

Ranma: Guess I better go get my stuff.

= = = = = = = = =

(It didn't take Ranma long to move everything in from his old place because he really didn't have much to begin with. Glancing at the clock, he guessed the residents should be all trickling back home from work and school right about now. Beginning to take out various cooking materials, Ranma figured he might as well start cooking dinner early since the cooking schedule Misato had given him said he had to begin soon anyways. It never occurred to Ranma that cooking was for girls as he had once thought a long time ago. After all, he had been cooking for himself the past couple of years. Why not make money doing it? Ranma suddenly grinned and shook his head at the thought of the young, purple-haired woman.)

Ranma: (thinks) Misato's gonna be an interesting boss...heh, she's an adult that's for sure. Not like those immature girls from back home... (opens more cabinets then blinks) What the? Geez, what in the world were these guys eating? There's hardly anything in here. I better go shopping, I got some time anyways.

(Walking outside, Ranma began walking to toward the local grocery stores he remembered passing by on his way here. At the entrance gates, he could see a young school girl being walked by two older women.)

Hotaru: Haruka-papa, Michiru-mama, you really don't have to walk me home from school anymore. I'm fine now, really!

Michiru: (hugs Hotaru fiercely) Oooh my little baby, living all by herself! Are you sure you don't want to move back home with us?

Haruka: (nods) Yeah, you didn't have to change schools because of those bullies anymore! Not after the beating I gave em!

Hotaru: (shakes head) It's okay, really. I...I just wanted a fresh start. Besides, it's not like I'm living completely by myself. Setsuna-mama is with me. I'll be fine.

Haruka: (sighs) I guess you're right...but make sure to come to us if you need anything!

Hotaru: I will.

Ranma: (thinks) Guess I should make a good impression. This is work after all. (out loud) Hello. I'm Ranma Saotome, the new manager. Just thought I'd let ya know. Are you residents here?

(The three eyed the newcomer. Hotaru eyed Ranma with curiosity and surprise while Haruka and Michiru gave him the suspicious eye. Hotaru, not having any experience at all with young men, can't help but feel a bit uncomfortable at Ranma's presence.)

Hotaru: (bows) O-oh h-hello, I'm Hotaru Tomoe. (smiles meekly) Nice to meet you Saotome-san. Yes, I am a resident here. Um, these are my parents.

(The two gave him a slight bow, still suspicious that their little girl would be living with this young man. Ranma raised an eyebrow at the "parents" because both of them were quite young. There was also something about the blond one, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Ranma shrugged inwardly. Not his business. Hotaru seemed nice enough. And normal, which was the important part. He'd had enough "eccentric" women in his life. Ranma bowed back.)

Ranma: (smiles) Nice to meet you too. Call me Ranma. I'll be going now, I need to buy food for dinner.

Hotaru: You're cooking?

Ranma: Yeah. I should have it ready in an hour or so. I'll see ya around. (walking off)

Hotaru: Okay, bye Ranma-san. (waves)

Michiru: (waits until Ranma was gone) THAT was your manager? I thought you said the manager was a woman!

Hotaru: Oh that's Misato-san. She's not really the manager, she just owns Hinata Inn.

Haruka: I don't know about that guy, he seems TOO friendly. "Call me Ranma"? Hmph.

Hotaru: (sighs, thinks) I love them both to death, but sometimes I wish they wouldn't baby me so much. Although I am surprised that he's our new manager. (out loud) Haruka-papa, Michiru-mama, you really shouldn't worry! I'm sure Ranma-san is a nice guy.

Haruka: If you say so, but just promise me you'll watch your back around him!

Hotaru: I will, I will.

= = = = = = = = =

(Ranma returned shortly to Hinata Inn with a couple bags of groceries in his hand. He had been able to buy the food because Misato was paying any food expenses.)

Ranma: (thinks) I wonder what the other residents are like. I hope they're nice, normal people like Hotaru. (grimacing) Even if I am being a hypocrite since I ain't very normal... Come to think of it, what the hell am I gonna tell 'em about my curse? Ugh... (begins cooking)

Hotaru: (enters, notices Ranma)...H-Hello Ranma-san. What are you cooking for dinner tonight?

Ranma: (still thinking) Should I tell 'em or shouldn't I? What if...what if I get fired? Misato seems nice but anyone would freak if they found out about my curse. And even if I dun tell 'em, there's no way I can hide it forever. Arrgh... (begins chopping vegetables faster in frustration)

Hotaru: Umm, Ranma-san?

Ranma: (blinks) Er, yeah? Sorry, wasn't paying attention.

Hotaru: (giggles slightly) I can see that. It's was nothing. When will dinner be ready?

Ranma: Hmm, not too long.

(A bit of silence ensues while Hotaru goes to the fridge to get a glass of milk.)

Ranma:, uh, you go to high school?

Hotaru: Y-Yes.

Ranma: How do ya like it? I hated high school.

Hotaru: (bit sadly) I...well, I didn't used to like it, but now I do. I recently moved high schools.

Ranma: Eh, how come? Ain't it like the middle of the semester?

Hotaru: Yes, but...I had complications at my old school.

Ranma: Complications?

Hotaru: I-I don't want to talk about it. I'm sorry. (leaves abruptly)

Ranma: Er... did I say sumthin wrong? Wonder what happened...

Urd: (out of view) Oiiii, Misa-chan, want to go out drinking tonight again? Oi, Mis- (enters, notices Ranma) Uh, who're you?

(Urd was wearing a very exotic, foreign purple dress that hugged her figure perfectly. Even Ranma, who'd had plenty of experience with beautiful women, had to blush slightly. Urd caught it and smirked.)

Urd: (thinks, looking over Ranma) Not bad, not bad. Not bad at all. He has a good aura too.

Ranma: Um, hi. I'm Ranma Saotome, the new manager.

Urd: (raises eyebrow) Eh, manager? (smirks) Oooh, I get it. I bet Misato couldn't handle us haha... hey, why're you cooking anyways if you're the new manager? Temporary cook?

Ranma: Permanent actually. As long as I'm here, I'm the manager slash cook.

Urd: (brightens visibly) That's great! It was Misa-chan's turn to cook. (shudders) Oh, I'm Urd by the way.

Ranma: (bows head slightly) Nice to meetcha.

Urd: Yeah. How soon's dinner going to be ready?

Ranma: Pretty soon.

Urd: Cool, I'll hang out here then. (sits down at table) So Ranmaaa you an athlete or something?

Ranma: Martial artist.

Urd: Martial artist eh? Any good?

Ranma: (stops cooking, turns to Urd, grinning) One of the best.

Urd: Haha is that so? You should spar with Motoko then. She's a good martial artist too.

Ranma: (eyebrows raise) Really? I think I will some time.

Setsuna: (out of view) Urd? Are you here?

Urd: In here Setsu-chan!

Setsuna: (out of view) Urd...can you PLEASE stop "borrowing" my clothes! (comes in, sees Ranma) Oh, hello. Are you the new cook?

Ranma: Kinda, I'm actually the new--

Urd: (cuts in) Ahh c'mon Setsu-chan, I'm too lazy to buy human clothes.

Setsuna: (annoyed) Then why don't you just zap yourself new ones!

Urd: (waves hand dismissively) Wearing yours is funner.

Ranma: (thinks) Uhh... what're they talking about?

(Both realized at the same time that Ranma was still in the room, cooking.)

Setsuna: ..... (thinks) Must Urd always bring out the worst in me? The cook must think we're crazy.

Urd: Don't mind us Ranma! We're just talking girl talk, you wouldn't understand.

Ranma: Uh, gotcha. (thinks) Um, maybe that was girl slang?

(Mihoshi entered with a cheerful look on her face.)

Mihoshi: (sees Ranma) Hi there!

Ranma: Hi.

Mihoshi: (smiles cheerfully) That smells good! I'm Mihoshi! (opens the fridge, takes out a soda)

Ranma: (smiles back) Thanks. I'm--

Skuld: (bursts in, bumping into Mihoshi who drops the soda) Ooooh, I can't stand Keiichi! Can't he just propose to her already! Oh, sorry Mihoshi.

Urd: (smirks) First you're trying to break them up, now you're trying to get them hitched?

Skuld: Since I can't get them apart, I thought I'd help Keiichi with Oneesama but he's such a wuss! He doesn't express his feelings enough!

Urd: I could always make him a potion that'll get him to propose.

Skuld: (skeptical) Yeah right. We know how far that got you... (looks around, indicating the room around them)

Urd: (annoyed) I'll have you know that I'm a much better matchmaker than you are twerp! After all, they ARE together aren't they?

Skuld: Yeah, but no thanks to you! If anything, you were doing a better job than I was at breaking them up you old hag!

Urd: What?! Why you...

(Hotaru walked in at that moment, not saying anything, followed by Misato.)

Hotaru: ..... (thinks) I hope Ranma-san doesn't think I'm rude for just walking off like that.

Misato: Mmmm, that smells good Ranma.

Skuld: (just notices Ranma) Who's that?

Ranma: I'm--

Skuld: Mihoshi, watch where you open that!

Mihoshi: (opens can while saying) Wha--

(The soda preceded sprayed its entire contents onto Ranma who was completely drenched. The inevitable had happened. Everyone starred at the new red-head in shock. Ranma grimaced.)

Ranma-chan: (thinks) That didn't take long... (sighs) At least it didn't happen in the bathroom... (out loud) I'm Ranma Saotome, the new manager and cook. Sorry 'bout this.

(After everyone calmed down, Ranma quickly summarized how he got his curse and how it worked. Hotaru, a savior of mankind, experienced demon killer, who's power could destroy the world, instantly sympathized with Ranma. That's not to say that Ranma's curse didn't surprise her, but it reminded her of the Sailor Starlights who changed to women when transformed.)

Hotaru: (thinks) Poor Ranma-san. I bet he feels like how I feel when people discover my healing power. I should heat him up some warm water.

Ranma-chan: If you wanna fire me now, I'll understand... (sighs again)

Urd: So you change back with warm water?

Ranma-chan: Yeah.

Misato: ...I need a drink.

Urd: That's not too bad then.

Mihoshi: (innocently) Are you a guy or a girl?

Ranma: I'M A GUY!!

Hotaru: Here's some warm water Ranma-san.

Ranma: O-Oh, uh thanks. (thinks) That was fast. I'm surprised she didn't run away from me already.

(Everyone watched in amazement yet again as Ranma reverted back to male.)

Mihoshi: Wow!

Skuld: That's amazing!

Misato: That's it! I'm getting drunk tonight for sure.

Setsuna: (narrows eyes at Ranma, thinks) Who IS this man? Why didn't I see this coming?

Ranma: Um, I guess I should go now...

Everyone except Ranma: (looks at each other, then to Ranma, grinning) NAAAH!

Ranma: Eh?

Urd: (smirks) As surprising as it sounds, I'm sure everyone in here has seen crazy stuff like that. Though a girl changing to a guy is a new one for me.

Ranma: (surprised) R-Really?

Urd: Yeah. I can tell I can trust you, your heart is pure, so I'll let you in on a little secret of mine...

Setsuna: Urd...I don't think that is wise--

Urd: Naaah, nonsense! I'm Urd, the Goddess of the Past and Love!

Skuld: (mutters) Self-proclaimed love goddess...

Ranma: (incredulous) What?! No way!

Urd: It's true.

Ranma: (skeptical) Yeah, sure... (thinks) I've fought a god and she sure don't feel like one. Her aura seems normal.

Urd: (shrugs) You'd be surprised what everyone else's secrets are... (everyone glares at her) er, not that'd I say any them of course...

(Urd and Skuld, being goddesses, knew of everyone's secrets.)

Ranma: How can I tell that you're really a goddess?

Urd: Shall I display some of magic for you?

Everyone except Ranma: NO!!

Urd: Okay, okay, geez...

Mihoshi: (stomach grumbles) dinner ready?

Ranma: (blinks) Yeah.

(Ranma set everyone up with a plate of food as everyone sat down at the dinner table.)

Everyone: Ittadakimas!

Misato: Wow, you really are a good cook, Ranma!

Mihoshi: (nods enthusiastically) This is really good Ranma-san!

Ranma: (bashfully) Thanks.

Misato: That settles it then, aqua-sex-changing-guy or not, you definitely have the job!

Ranma: Wow, thanks a lot Misato! I really appreciate it. (thinks) I can't believe how well they're taking this!

Misato: (winks) You can thank me later.

Ranma: ....... (turns away and coughs in his hand)

Hotaru: M-Misato-san!

Urd: Haha!

(Everyone started laughing after a moment. Even Setsuna had to smile a bit.)

= = = = = = = = =

(Ranma began cleaning up the tables shortly after everyone finished eating. Hotaru stayed and walked up to Ranma.)

Hotaru: Can...Can I help?

Ranma: I dunno...this is kinda my job.

Hotaru: Pleeease?

Ranma: (cringes at the puppy dog look) Er, okay. You can help, but just this once! (thinks) Argh, why am I weak against girls!

Hotaru: (smiles) Thanks!

(They washed dishes in silence for a bit until Hotaru spoke up.)

Hotaru: (hesitant) I'm...I'm sorry if I was rude earlier when I walked away like that.

Ranma: Ah don't worry about it. I shouldn't of pried into it.

Hotaru: (shakes head) No, it was my fault, I overreacted. my old high school, I was bullied a lot.

Ranma: What? Why?

Hotaru: B-Because... (thinks) I don't know why, but I feel I can trust Ranma. (looks at a cut on Ranma's finger, out loud) Can I see your finger? (points at the cut)

Ranma: Huh? Oh, this ain't nuthin, I got it from cooking earlier.

(Hotaru took Ranma's hand wordlessly and hovered her other hand over the cut. Her hand began glowing with a white light and the cut started sealing itself. Ranma's eyes widened.)

Ranma: Wow! That's awesome!

Hotaru: (surprised) Y-You really think so?

Ranma: Yeah, of course! Anyone who picks on you for having a cool power like that is an idiot!

Hotaru: (blushes, smiles) ...Th-Thank you.

Misato: (comes in) Oi, Ranma!

Ranma: Yeah?

Misato: We're going to go out drinking and you're coming with us!

Ranma: ...Eh?

(Urd and Mihoshi followed Misato in shortly.)

Ranma: I dunno...I ain't much of a drinker.

Misato: Ah c'mon, you owe me anyways! (grabs Ranma arm and begins dragging him out)

Ranma: But...

Mihoshi: (cheerfully) This is going to be fun!

Urd: (nods) Think of this as your welcoming party, Ranma!

Ranma: (thinks of excuse) What about Hotaru-chan? Won't she be all alone?

Urd: Nah, Skuld will be here.

Misato: And Setsu-chan, that little party-pooper. Now let's hit the road! We'll be back later tonight, Hotaru-chan!

Hotaru: (nods, smiles) Okay. Have fun!

Ranma: (thinks) Oh man...getting drunk with three beautiful women...I know this ain't gonna end good...

= = = = = = = = =