Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma 1/2.
Author's Notes: Another day and another great story. Can life get any better? My inspiration is up as if my energy so I promise this will be some of my finest work! This has been used before I'm sure but please bear with me. On with the show!
The New Girl on the Block
Let's Get Platonic
The day was bright and sunny. A perfect day for spending time with the people you care about most. Couples were taking this opportunity to have picnics or to go out on the lake at the park. Smiles adorned the faces of everyone as they basked in the sunshine. The only person who wasn't affected by the spirit of this wonderful day was a dejected redhead sitting by the lake. Her eyes roamed over the people there as she drank in the sight. The girl dreamed that it was her and her fiancée sitting out there enjoying one another's company. This unfortunate creature's name was Ranma Saotome. Her clothes were soaking wet from her encounter with the lake.
"Mornings suck." She grumbled. It honestly wasn't her fault this time. Akane had decided to make breakfast but unlike previous times, she was going to do her best to eat it and be nice about it. The pigtailed girl groaned when she remembered her startled reaction to her cooking. It was actually good. When she had exclaimed about the world ending and that the food was good she was sure the mallet would descend, but instead Akane was happy.
"I said it was good." She smiled as she reminisced, but then Nabiki ruined it. She had given her a couple thousand yen and congratulated her on living. What sick game was that? It really made her violent fiancée mad and before she knew it, she was airborne. What a gyp, she thought, here she sat by the water on the most beautiful day of the year and she was miserable. This week was supposed to be better than Golden Week because the Fiancée Brigade was out of town. Shampoo was off with the Old Ghoul training in the mountains and Ukyou was at a family reunion to try and get back on her father's good side.
"What a lousy way to start the week let alone the day." She sighed as she drew her knees up to her chest, a curiously feminine gesture that didn't upset her at all. As a girl she could get away with it and it helped keep her profile low. Drawing attention to herself was never a good idea. Her musings were disturbed by a rustling in the bushes. Her eyes wandered over to the bushes in time to see a wolf emerge from out of the brush. The wolf was beautiful with a honey blonde coat and was clearly a master of all it surveyed. The most striking feature of this beautiful animal was the eyes, one sapphire blue and one emerald green. Despite the obvious size, she felt no fear. This wolf clearly meant her no harm. The curious creature padded up to her silently. Ranma could tell the wolf was female simply because of the way her aura looked but something about her seemed off.
"C'mere girl." She beckoned gently, holding her hand out. Something told her she had no reason to be afraid. Her feelings were confirmed when the wolf approached her, giving her hand a lick. The redhead had to take a moment to relax when she realized just how big her new friend was. She was easily bigger than herself. The wolf turned her head towards the woods and padded off slowly. When she stopped and looked back, Ranma realized that she wanted her to follow.
"Where ya goin'?" she asked as she got to her feet. The wolf didn't even stop as she plunged into the bushes with Ranma hot on her heels. There was a strange freedom associated with running through the forest but before she could get a good rhythm going, the wolf stopped in a clearing. The clearing was home to a tent, a pack, and clothing. The way the clothes were scattered in front of the campfire reminded the girl of something. When the wolf began nudging the backpack open with her nose did things begin to click.
"Jusenkyo!" Ranma exclaimed as she saw the exact same thing that Ryoga would do when he was a pig. The wolf regarded her briefly before giving a slight growl of recognition before returning to her work. The redhead couldn't just stand there and watch without trying to help. It wasn't too hard to get water from the lake using a metal saucepan she found in her new friend's pack, the wolf watching her with a bemused expression. A fire was started so that the water could heat with the girl stirring it to make sure it heated evenly. The wolf's tongue lolled out as she waited for the water.
"I know a lot about Jusenkyo. You see I got a curse there too. I'm really a guy that turns into a girl. My name is Ranma Saotome." She told her new companion. The wolf looked briefly startled but the redhead didn't seem to notice. A crash sounded from the bushes, causing both heads to turn toward the sound. From out of the bushes came a young man wearing a bandanna on his head and a huge backpack. In his hand he carried a large combat umbrella and looked travel weary.
"R-Ryoga…?" Ranma asked in confusion. The sound drew his attention, and with tunnel vision only the truly obsessed possess, he saw her. It didn't matter to him why she was there or what she was doing. Hell, he didn't even see the giant wolf sitting near her side. All he saw was his foe, his rival, his enemy.
"Saotome! Because of you I've seen Hell! Prepare to die!" he roared out in his time-honored, heavily clichéd manner and readied for the attack. So startled was she, that the pigtailed girl didn't even jump to her feet. What startled both youths was the tremendous wolf leaping between them with a ferocious snarl.
"Hold on a sec! Don't do anything rash!" Ranma tried to caution her but the powerful creature merely lowered her body and prepared for battle. Ryoga sneered at the pitifully deluded beast but he had no desire to hurt anything other than his opponent. The decision was taken from him by the wolf leaping upon him before kicking off again with her back legs, razor-sharp back claws slashing through his shirt and staggering him.
"What the…? How did that happen?" Ryoga asked in confusion as he saw the wolf get ready to attack again. His gaze traveled to Ranma with a curious expression but quickly got rid of it with a shake of his head. He lowered the umbrella and prepared to charge his adversary again only to find his efforts thwarted by a fierce head butt to the side of his leg, causing it to buckle from the sudden loss of nerve function. With a mighty roar of anger, he swung his fist to the side only to narrowly miss his target by inches as the wolf nimbly leapt aside.
"Stop you baka! She's a person not a wolf!" Ranma tried to reason with the Lost Boy again but he wasn't listening. The water had heated up to boiling but this wasn't the time for worrying about pain as she upended the whole pot over her head, becoming male in the process. The scalding water helped him focus his mind as he stood up just in time to see the wolf get struck with the umbrella and hurled into a tree. The mighty beast got back up in time to see Ryoga looming over her and whimpered. A dark shadow reared up behind the boy and an ear-splitting crack was heard as fist met flesh. The Lost Boy rocketed into the trees but easily rolled to his feet some distance away.
"Saotome…?" he asked in confusion. The person before him was anything but the person he knew. For one thing, the Ranma he knew shouldn't have been able to hit that hard or sneak up on him that well. The pigtailed boy in front of him was giving him a glare that would have made Herb and Saffron run for the hills. He dropped his pack in preparation for the fight but as soon as it hit the ground, a fist was buried in his gut. When he looked down to stare at the blow, the only thing he could see was Ranma's forearm.
"I said stop. She's a victim from Jusenkyo. You didn't listen." Ranma finished before firing a burst of ki into his stomach, folding him in half and tossing through the air. Not even caring where his foe landed, he turned around to check on his new friend. Ryoga landed in the bushes some distance away. He had a lot of time to reflect on what had just happened considering that both his legs were broken and it seemed that even he could get lost just flying through the air considering it looked like arctic tundra.
"…I really hate you Saotome…" he muttered as he slumped into unconsciousness.
-Back at the camp-
Even in his male form she was an impressive beast. He kneeled down beside her and felt sad when she tried to shy away, but quickly realized that this was the girl from earlier and relaxed. The wolf was groaning slightly from the blow she took but when he felt her to check the extent of the injuries, he was pleased to note that she wasn't hurt all that badly. He gently rubbed between her ears eliciting a mock growl at such treatment before he realized that the water was gone. With a shrug he gathered up her belongings and decided it would be better to change her back at home.
"I'm takin' you home with me. There won't be as many baka there to stop me and I'm sure you'll like everybody. Except my Pop…but don't try to bite him. I bet he don't taste good." He grinned to let her know he was joking and was rewarded by an eye roll which let him know that he was right. What surprised him was how well she could fight even as a wolf. The natural speed and power of an animal coupled with human intelligence led him to understand why the Musk did what they did even if he did think it was wrong. The wolf got to her feet and gave her tail a few swishes to let him know she was happy before trotting up to him.
"Ready to go? Good. We're gonna have to run fast to avoid the usual problems I have just being me." Ranma said with a smile as he prepared to sprint with the wolf crouched low beside him, the incident of before seemingly forgotten. With a fierce cry he took off running at full speed with his furry companion at his side. The trees flew past as the pair dodged and weaved through the woods before emerging in the park again. Without even slowing down they barreled out of the park and down the street feeling the wild thrill of the run surging through their veins. It was easy to forget your problems when you were doing something fun and sharing a good run was enjoyable to the Saotome heir.
-At the Dojo-
The exhausted duo made their way wearily through the back door. The wolf seemed to smirk at the soaked redhead beside her, but aside from that she seemed to be genuinely happy. It wasn't often that she got such a workout and the experience made her smile. She gave the wolf a fond ruffle between the ears, but the moment was soon ruined by an unlikely source.
"Oh my, Ranma-kun! You're soaking wet! Would you like hot water and a towel?" Kasumi asked with a smile. She took notice of the massive animal beside the diminutive redhead and her smile seemed to wan a little until she noticed how friendly the wolf was.
"Hot water would be great but I'll get that from the furo. Uh…wait I got a better idea. My friend here will take the furo and I'll take the hot water." She seemed pleased with this conclusion but the confused look on Kasumi's face made her realize that she had to supply a reason. The wolf also looked a bit confused at the mention of a "furo".
"Oh yeah, sorry 'bout that. My friend is actually a human. I figured that out shortly after we met in the park." Ranma said with a smile. The gentle girl's face cleared and her smile came back.
"Ah, that makes perfect sense, but judging by the puzzled look I imagine she doesn't know what a furo is. Could you show her?" Kasumi asked. Before the redhead could respond, the eldest Tendo sister had already gone into the kitchen. With a start, the girl realized that sweet and kind Kasumi had just manipulated her. The girl chuckled softly at the strange turn before snapping her fingers and leading the wolf to the furo.
"A furo is a place where a person can take a hot bath. Usually you use a cold bucket of water and a quick scrub before you get in. It's not nice to make it dirty cuz then Kasumi has to do more work. I don't care what other people do but I won't make more work for her." She said with a nod. The wolf was surprised at what she was being told because Ranma was talking to her like a person and not like an animal. It didn't matter who knew about her curse they always adopted the same way of speaking, but her fellow curse victim seemed to understand. Ranma made sure that the sign was placed outside the door and that the wolf's pack was set inside the furo room. The steaming water was inviting but she was conditioned from similar times. Before she could tell her friend to climb in, the door opened and Akane stepped in dressed in only a towel.
"Ranma! What are you doing bringing an animal in here?" she demanded. After that morning she suspected something perverted but a low growl got her attention. She stared in shock at the honey blonde wolf beside her erstwhile fiancé. The beast looked as if it would tear her apart in a second. She couldn't figure out what triggered it until Ranma got her attention.
"Put that mallet away. She's been attacked once already so I think she's a bit leery of people with weapons." The redhead suggested. The violent girl looked at her hand in shock just in time to see the mallet. Sheepishly, she made it vanish. The animal gave her a snort and turned back to Ranma as if seeking praise. Ranma laughed at her antics before directing her to the furo.
"Wait…Why are you washing your dog in the furo?" she asked curiously only to have the wolf give her another glare.
"Careful, 'Kane. She's really a person just with a Jusenkyo curse. She's confused about the furo. Since you're here you can show her how to use one and I remain in the house longer than half an hour. Er…didn't mean to say that…" the redhead looked sheepish before turning to her new friend.
"Play nice. She's not really a bad person and she is nice. Sometimes." That last muttered under her breath so softly that only the wolf's ears could hear. Akane seemed stunned by the compliment giving Ranma the time needed to escape and get her own hot water. The door shut and broke the spell.
"So…you don't know how to use a furo?" Akane asked nicely in the awkward silence that followed.
Ranma was having a late lunch in the kitchen with Kasumi. The gentle girl hadn't had time to eat either so the silence was companionable and not uncomfortable. Kasumi had asked how his day had gone but since the events of that morning and after were a little upsetting to the kind-hearted girl, Ranma gave her the abridged version. She laughed softly as he described the thrill of the run.
"That does sound like a lot of fun." She commented.
"It was. I've never run with a wolf before. What an amazing experience! She ran me into the ground and looked like she could run another twenty miles. I can't wait to actually talk to her. She's probably really cool and would make a good friend." The last part said a little wistfully, making Kasumi tear up slightly but she wiped the moisture away before her meal companion could notice. The uncomfortable silence welled up until it was broken by a loud cry from the direction of the furo. Without a word, the two ran towards the noise and burst into the room on the strangest scene either of them could remember and that's saying a lot.
The situation is as follows. It was unclear what started it but apparently something happened which resulted in Akane being chased by an angry gaijin girl with honey blonde hair and distinctive eyes. One eye was sapphire blue and the other was emerald green. Those eyes helped Ranma recognize the girl immediately. She was somewhat taller than Akane but just shy of his height. The girl was obviously well proportioned but the sight didn't make him as nervous as it should have. Akane spotted the two of them and made a beeline for Kasumi and hid behind her, obviously shaken. Ranma jumped in front of the charging girl and grabbed her with both arms. As soon as his arms settled on her, she calmed down. The girl was trembling slightly from rage but it was manageable now.
"What happened here?" Kasumi asked in confusion as she felt her sister clutching at her back.
"Good question." He replied as he noticed the nude girl he currently held but made no move to let go since he was unsure of what her reaction would be.
"Akane, what happened here?" the gentle girl asked her shaken sister.
"I was minding my own business, doing as that baka fiancé of mine asked, when she asked what kind of guy he was. I told her the truth that he's an inconsiderate, chauvinistic, perverted pig that can't even get his words right. She got her answer and then started chasing me around the furo like she was going to kill me!" Akane exclaimed, surprised that such a thing could happen to her.
"Oh puh-lease…You act soooo innocent when you insulted a person who wasn't even there to defend himself. Why? Is he really as bad as you say? I doubt it because he went out of his way to help me when he didn't even know me. I could just as easily have tried to hurt him when he was a girl but I wanted to be nice and he rewarded me for it. Don't you dare say anything bad about him around me again or you'll regret it you martial arts wannabe." The girl spat in obvious anger causing Akane to rock back slightly from the harsh tone.
"Oh my, Akane did you really say all that?" Kasumi asked her sister. When the girl nodded mutely, her older sister pinched the bridge of her nose as if a migraine was coming on. Ranma groaned as he looked down at the irate girl, unconsciously rubbing her back softly causing the girl to respond with a sleepy smile. He didn't want to ponder the implications of that smile but since she was calm he decided to worry more later.
"Uhm…We don't know your name…" Ranma said tentatively. The girl blinked as she was brought from her slight stupor and blushed slightly.
"I'm Katrina Marx. Just call me Kat." She grinned at him. The name surprisingly enough didn't bother him like it should but the name definitely made him snicker slightly. The girl seemed pleased that he was laughing since it meant he got the joke. Her Japanese was a little rough but understandable, better than Shampoo's.
"Pleased to meet you Kat, I'm Kasumi and this is Akane. Our sister Nabiki isn't home at the moment but you'll meet her later." The girl said. From downstairs a voice could be heard calling up.
"Boy! We're leaving on a training trip immediately! Get your things packed!" Genma's panicked voice could be heard. Ranma sighed as he let go of Kat and told them he would deal with the old man. As soon as he left, the two girls realized they were naked the entire time.
"Why couldn't the pervert tell us, huh?" Akane huffed as she went for her things. Kasumi sighed and sat down to make sure they didn't fight anymore.
"Oh hush. He's not a pervert because if he was don't you think he would have tried an 'accidental' grope? The definition of a pervert seems to be based on a whim to you and frankly I don't care for it. Why can't you be more mature about it? You're his fiancée for crying out loud so where's the trust? Children like you drive me crazy." The girl said.
"I'm no older than you!" Akane exclaimed.
"In attitude you're just a child in an adult's body. I'm sorry if you don't want to hear that but it's the truth. He deserves someone better." Kat replied.
"Like you?" she spat out snippily.
"Not me per se, I'm not adverse to the idea, but y'know like…Kasumi. He told me about a lot of the stuff going on. I think Kasumi's a better choice." She told the fuming girl. At the mention of her name, Kasumi blushed a deep red.
"How dare you suggest that pervert should be with my sweet sister? He's an animal!" she exclaimed. At the word 'animal' the girl bared her teeth in a strange snarl.
"Watch it kid, you're trying my patience. From everything I've heard no one is innocent except your sister. His father is a piece of trash and so's yours cuz he's such a coward. The old master is a jackass who needs to be thrown to the wolves, no pun intended, and the old woman needs to be brought down a few pegs. His fiancées are a joke and even his supposed friends! If I had the same power that he does I would have pounded all of you into the ground and left." She said to the girl as the two of them dressed, watching with clinical detachment as she became more enraged. Kasumi could sense something was about to happen as she noticed the girl straighten up. Her hair was pulled back in a long braid, wearing a somewhat loose mid-riff shirt with long flared sleeves. Her pants were tight flares. Since she was indoors she knew enough not to put her shoes on. Akane was fully dressed and looked like she was spoiling for a fight.
"Now cut it out you two." Kasumi said sternly.
"Sorry, Tendo-san." Kat blushed slightly, pretty sure that she fouled up somewhere.
"It's just Kasumi dear but you shouldn't be goading anyone to fight." The girl said before leveling a stern gaze on her sister, but it seemed to bounce off.
Without warning, without a sound, Akane rushed at the girl with full intent to pound her into the floor for insulting Kasumi the way she did. Kat didn't even turn around as she dodged her head to the side, the fist passing by with millimeters to spare but the return elbow to the stomach wasn't blocked, knocking the air out of her lungs. The shocked girl tried to get back up but strong hands seized her by the front of her shirt and lifted her easily up to eye level.
"Don't you dare attack me from behind again or I will seriously hurt you. My reflexes are excellent but my nerves are bad so I react a little too strongly to being sneaked up on. Being a wolf part time has advantages." She told the shocked girl after setting her down and tapping her ear.
"If you are quite finished." Kasumi said to Akane in a slightly irritated manner she turned and left the room. Kat had the vague feeling that she had lost that encounter as well.
The scene that greeted him was so familiar that he almost laughed out loud at the way his pops ran around trying to get everything together for a long trip away from home. His mom was nowhere around so that meant that apparently she was being left in the dark about this trip. The main thing that kept him from laughing was that Pops didn't get this anxious unless the heat was on or there was something he was sure Ranma would disapprove of. It turned out to be the latter.
"What the hell's goin' on Pops?" he asked tiredly. It wasn't that he actually cared except for the fact that stuff like this tended to blow up in his face.
"W-what are you talking about, boy?" the old man asked, sweating visibly. His actions and mannerisms could be easily read if you knew what to look for but extreme agitation made him easier still.
"Who did ya piss off now?" Ranma asked, getting annoyed.
"No one, alright? Now let's get packed and leave. I got some new techniques to teach you." His father said in a reasonable manner that he didn't fall for at all. In his haste, he dropped his journal causing papers to explode out of the book. One paper fell close to the irritated boy's feet. Despite his father's mad grab, he was still too slow to stop his son from scooping the paper up.
"What's this?" he asked with a smirk as he prepared to read the paper. It looked like a contract of some sort. Whatever it was it looked professionally done and iron clad. The pertinent part was the agreement between two parties. When he read the agreement his blood ran cold.
It was a marriage contract.
Author's Notes: First chapter is ready to go! I decided to forgo the usual prologue in favor of getting right into the meat of the story. Sure the idea's been done before but I hope to bring something new to the mix. I would like to thank everyone who reads my work and I ask as always for you to be kind. Ja ne!