Author Note:

This is an Alternative Universe story with some OOC behavior from several characters. The timeline is about 6 weeks after the failed wedding. This is my very first Ranma fic and you can expect shortish chapters. So now we all know what to expect from little old me.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Rumiko Takahashi as well as many others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. This disclaimer is valid for this entire story, from the begin 'till the end.

Chapter 1 Gangs and surprises

Softly muttering curses under her breath, Ranma watched hidden in the alley as her pursuers stormed past. Checking that her ki was still suppressed, Ranma slowly extended her ki-senses to ensure her pursuers had left the immediate area.

Swiftly turning on her heels, Ranma faced the slightly out of breath boy as he came running towards her from the other end of the alley. Scowling, Ranma assumed a more obvious stance to warn the boy of her rapidly dwindling patience.

"Thank the Kami, I found you Please, there's trouble and we need your help. Gordo send me to find you or your brother." The boy said, raising his hands to show his none hostile intent and tattoo.

"Gordo ain't been in no fight and he knows tha rules. So do tha others. Ain't one whom wants ta break them rules, so wa ya muttering about?" Ranma stated.

"There's been a crime committed. Someone's hurt and Gordo said that only a fool or an insane would hurt a girl like that, as neither you or your brother would tolerate it. Gordo would handle this himself if he could, but things are complicated. He knock mine and the other boys head together often enough about respecting females, that most of it has stuck with us." The boy explained hurriedly.

Nodding her consent, Ranma motioned the boy to lead her. As they ran, Ranma considered the gangs of Nerima. Several months ago, Ranma had stepped in a fight between two rival gangs before they could demolish an ice-cream parlor. Considering the possibility of been denied some nice ice-cream, Ranma laid down a few 'base rules', as the gangs started to call it, for the gangs. After two weeks of talking and convincing (knocking heads together and all that) all the remaining gangs in Nerima followed these rules. Those whom didn't either stopped existing or were evicted from Nerima.

After some consideration and talks between the leaders, the remaining gangs agreed that the rules weren't a bad idea and divided Nerima in turfs (territory) with several places and roads name neutral ground, in particular ice-cream parlors (big no-no). As Ranma had stated in his 'rules', fights were formalized and moved to special designated locations where little or no damage could occur, at least to the surroundings (incidentally police interference would have a very low probability).

Ranma had learned about how his little talk and examples were used, when he interrupted a turf dispute. Hearing a formal challenge for full gang combat had been issued, Ranma accepted the position of arbiter. When the loosing gang later violated the agreement of the fight, Ranma ensured penalties actions were collected (basically he beat the gang into the ground 'till they swore to honor the agreement).

News of this intervention spread and the leaders of the gangs named Ranma the permanent arbiter for large scale fights (with the added bonus of preventing any serious bodily damage). This was extended to his 'sister' when she watched a fight in her 'brother's' place. An hands-off warning accompanied the extension.

Surprisingly the trouble normally associated with gangs dropped as the rules were formalized and enforced. The gangs themselves felt the only change was that what they did (whatever that was) had more structure. The less trouble with the police was just a convenience on the side.

Shaking her head, Ranma focused on the alley they were approaching. Another boy was on the look-out, shifting nervously as he tried to ignore the quiet sobs of a nearby female member as she was consoled by another female member, whom looked a little green.

Frowning, Ranma entered the alley keeping her senses on alert. Nodding to Gordo in greeting, Ranma raised an eyebrow in a silent question. Grim faced, Gordo pointed to a blanket next to a garbage can. Looking close Ranma noted a young girl, perhaps 7 or 8 years old.

Walking over to the shivering girl, Ranma pulled the blanket back after some silent urging of Gordo. Paling slightly Ranma placed the blanket back and faced Gordo with an icy expression, eyes filled with cold rage.

As Ranma spoke with steel in her voice, the temperature dropped several degrees. "Start talking before I start pounding."