*DISCLAIMER*

None of these characters, situations, places, names, letters or
silicon pathways belong to me. In fact, I'm not even writing
this fanfic.
Tail Kinker Presents

F L U X

Part Four of Four
"Saotome Ranma, I challenge you."

"Man, and I just started breakfast." Ranma stood, a cup of
orange juice in one hand, and approached the girl.

The girl was tall, and quite pretty, with long blonde hair.
Judging from the silly orange fuku and golden tiara she was
wearing, she had to be one of these Sailor Senshi.

The girl looked pointedly over Ranma's shoulder. "Saotome-san, I
must ask that your fiancee leave the area. She might get hurt."

Ranma glanced at Akane, who was standing next to him. "Why *are*
you here, anyway?"

Akane smirked. "I just want to watch a girl kick your ass."

"Can you do it from over there?"

Akane sighed. "All right." She returned to the porch and sat
down.

Ranma turned to the girl. "Your name?"

"Sailor Venus."

Ranma scratched his head. "I guess you can't give me your real
name. Oh, well." He snapped into a ready stance. "Whenever
you're ready."

Sailor Venus charged towards him, one hand cocked to deliver a
Crescent Beam.

*SPLASH*

And recieved a cup of cold orange juice in the face for her
troubles.

Ranma yawned. "Well, that was quick. C'mon, Akane, we're gonna
be late."

Akane gestured towards the rabbit staring at Ranma with hate in
her eyes. "What about her?"

Ranma sighed. "All right. I'll give her to Kasumi." He picked
up the rabbit, and carried her into the kitchen.
* * * * *
"Don't you think that was kind of...underhanded, Ranma?"

Ranma glanced over at Akane, who was walking beside him. For a
lark, he'd decided to actually use the sidewalk.

"Oh, you mean about the orange juice and Sailor Venus. Look,
it's called Anything Goes for a reason, okay?"

"I suppose..." Akane sighed. "I just think it wasn't really
fair."

Ranma shrugged.

"Winning isn't everything, you know, Ranma."

"You're right. It's the only thing." He sighed. "Besides, this
way, she didn't get hurt. Right?"

"You have an answer for everything, don't you?"

"Well...no."

Akane stopped and stared at Ranma in total shock. "The great
Saotome Ranma, admitting he doesn't know everything?" She dropped
to her knees, opened her bookbag and started searching through
it.

Ranma looked down at her, bemused. "Whatcha doin'?"

She pulled out a notebook and pen. "Making a note of the date
and time."

Ranma rolled his eyes. "Yeesh! It's not like it never happens."

"Saotome Ranma! Prepare to die!"

Ranma groaned. "Great. As if I don't have enough to--" He
dodged the incoming flying kick effortlessly, and his attacker
rebounded off the wall.

He turned, to face his assailant...another of the Sailor Senshi.

This one was also tall and blonde, but her hair was gathered into
long pigtails with stupid ondango-shaped knots at the base.
Oddly, he recognized her - Sailor Moon. She'd been the subject
of far too many commercials for stupid toys. He shrugged, and
shifted to a ready stance.

The girl struck a stupid pose. "For the honour of the Sailor
Senshi, and for what you did to Sailor Venus especially, I will
punish you!"

Ranma reached into his bookbag, and pulled out a thermos. "Okay,
whenever you're ready."

Sailor Moon stepped towards him.

Ranma unscrewed the top of the thermos and threw the contents
into her face. This resulted only in a wet, angry, orange-
flavoured Senshi.

Ranma shrugged, and put the thermos away. "Guess I couldn't
expect it to work every time."

Sailor Moon roared in anger - Ranma noted how odd it sounded
coming from her - and launched herself into another flying kick.
Which Ranma avoided as easily as he had the first. There was a
*splash* as Sailor Moon landed in the canal.

Ranma straightened up again. "Yo, Akane, you ready for that math
quiz today?"

Akane shook her head. "You're impossible."

"What?" Ranma shrugged. "She's completely hopeless. I can't
fight her."

"Why not?"

Ranma leaned to the side as Sailor Moon went flying past him.
"She can't fight. Not even a little. Heck, even you could beat
her, even with her super powers."

"Super powers?" Akane blinked. "I don't know if I could beat
someone who throws fireballs or beams or something..."

"Nah." Ranma bent over forwards, and Sailor Moon sailed
haplessly past him again. He righted himself. "Maybe she's got
those, too." He sniffed the air and scowled. "I think she landed
in a garbage pile, that last time. No, I mean her strength and
speed. It's way above what it should be."

Akane blinked. "Above what it should be?"

"Yep." He leaned to the side this time, and this time, Sailor
Moon slammed into the wall, nearly knocking herself silly.
"Endurance, too. Look, that girl's no bigger around than
Gosunkugi, right? And all other things being equal, girls don't
have as much muscle power, pound for pound, as guys. Now don't
get steamed, Akane, it's a fact of life."

Akane counted to ten before responding. "Okay, I'll give you
that one."

"But you guys got us guys beat on pain threshold, recovery times,
and stamina. And a lack of raw strength can be compensated for."
He held out a hand and caught Sailor Moon in mid leap, and set
her down before him.

"Now, look." He took her hand and adjusted the angle of her
wrist. "Keep your hand like this, and punch. Put your whole
body into it; pivot on the ball of your foot. But do it quick."
He stepped back, and raised an open palm. "Here's your target.
Go on."

Sailor Moon hesitated, then threw a punch at his hand.

"No, you've got to remember to keep your wrist in line, and
pivot. You'll get a lot more use out of the power you've got
that way."

She threw the punch again, and Ranma nodded. "Better. Keep
practising that, and you'll get a lot better. That one punch is
the foundation of an entire martial arts form." He opened his
bento. "Have some shrimp."

Sailor Moon's eyes popped open. "Shrimp! I love shrimp!" She
grabbed the bento and started bolting the contents.

"Ranma!" Akane was now furious. "I spent hours working on that
for you!"

"Really?" Ranma glanced down at the now green and comatose
Sailor Senshi at his feet. "It shows."

*WHAM!*
* * * * *
"All right, Saotome! Get ready to fight!"

Ranma stared in total disbelief at the pint-sized "menace" before
him. Whoever she was, she had pink hair, and was perhaps nine
years old. And even that might be giving her some credit...

"You have *GOT* to be kidding."

"Nope!" The girl assumed some semblance of a fighting stance.
"I got as much right to fight you as any of the others. Even if
they disagree."

"I can see where they might."

The girl ran up to him and kicked him in the shin.

"Ite!" He hopped back a step, and glared at her. "Listen, kid.
You really don't want to do this. Run away home, now, before you
get hurt."

"Yeah, right. I've heard all about you, Saotome! You won't hit
a girl." She grinned. "Especially not one as young as me,
right?" She ran forward, and began to flail wildly in his general
direction.

Ranma put a hand out on her forehead, and held her a safe
distance from himself. "Look, kid, go home before I have
toooOOOOWW!" He pulled his hand back, and examined the tooth
marks in it. "Kid, you're really starting to annoy me." He
raised his hands and took a step forward to grab her.

"Ranma! Prepare to die!"

Okay, let's try to look at it from Ryouga's point of view. Here
he was, wandering some godforsaken corner of the Earth - after
all, there was no way at all for him to suspect that he was in
Nerima - ticked off as all get out that the natives would not
explain to him the fastest way to reach Japan. He turns a
corner, and there is Saotome Ranma, his arch-nemesis...apparently
about to start beating up some poor kid.

Ranma cursed. "Oh, man, this is exactly what I do NOT need at
this precise moment..." He dodged a Shi Shi Houkodan, then
grabbed the kid and jumped out of the way of the next, alighting
on the school wall.

"Dammit, Ranma, now you've stooped to picking on kids!"

Ranma cursed, and leaped into the schoolyard. "You want a piece
of me, Ryouga? C'mon! I'm gonna cream ya!"

Ryouga snarled, and charged forward, one fist extended. Ranma's
danger sense went off suddenly, but not from Ryouga's charge. He
leaned to the side...

*SPLASH*

"Bukiiii!!"

Ranma blinked, and glanced over at Sailor ChibiMoon...who was
holding Ranma's thermos.

"Rats! I missed."

"Oh?" Ranma scooped Ryouga up off the ground. "Here. Have a
pig."

"Yay!" She grabbed the pig and locked it into a death grip.
"I'm gonna call him Fred!"

Ranma smirked. "You do that. But preferably somewhere else."
* * * * *
"Ranma, if you get any more conceited, your head is gonna
explode."

Ranma raised his hands defensively. "Look, all I'm sayin',
Akane, is that I've beaten five of them already. They suck,
okay? Maybe that Mars girl was halfway decent, but she had a
hole in her defense a mile wide."

"A hole that only you, and maybe Cologne, could exploit."

"Exactly!"

Akane rolled her eyes. "Look, Ranma. I might - MIGHT - forgive
your arrogance after beating Mars. But you've got no call to
boast about beating ChibiMoon."

"Is that her name? Sounds kinda stupid."

"Dammit, Ranma!" Akane stopped walking and turned to glare at
him. "She's just a kid!"

"Hey! It's not like I hurt her or anythin'."

"Oh?"

"I mean, I just put my hand on her head, and then she couldn't
reach me. But then she bit me." Ranma scowled at the memory.
"Of course, then I managed to..." He stopped.

"Managed to what?"

"Ah..." Ranma cudgeled his brain for an answer that wouldn't get
him malleted. *Can't tell her she splashed Ryouga...Can't tell
her I gave away P-Chan...Ah-ha!*

"Shampoo tried to interfere in the fight, and the kid splashed
her with my thermos. So I handed Shampoo to the kid, and she
took off, cheering because she had a pet." Ranma grinned.
*Mostly the truth, too. Nice work, brain.*

Akane considered this for a moment, then nodded. "You hit her,
right?"

"Whaaaat?"

"Ranma, there's no way I'm believing that you managed to pick up
Shampoo in her cursed form."

"Why not?"

Akane grinned. "What does Shampoo turn into, Ranma?"

"Huh? You know...she turns into a c...c...ca..."

"The defense rests. You can't even say it, can you?" Akane
laughed. "Well, I hope for your sake that you didn't hurt her
too badly. There's one Senshi left to fight. And who knows how
mad she'll be?"

"Senshi?" Ukyo had just turned the corner, a boxed okonomiyaki
in hand. "What's Ranchan gotten himself into this time?"

Akane smirked. "Oh, he only picked a fight with the Sailor
Senshi. All of them."

Ukyo blinked. "Wow." She turned to Ranma. "Cremation or
burial?"

Ranma blinked. "Ummm...I've beaten five of them so far."

"Really? That's my Ranchan! So who's left?"

"Ummm..."

Akane sighed. "He doesn't know."

"I do so! The..."

Ukyo grinned at him. "Well?"

"Saotome Ranma, I challenge you!"

The three turned to face the challenger - a tall brunette, quite
pretty, but with an expression of determination on her face.

Ranma grinned. "Her!"

Ukyo blinked. "That's the last one you have to fight?"

"Yep."

"You're doomed."

Akane nodded. "Sailor Jupiter is the best of all six in hand-to-
hand combat."

Ranma grinned. "Forget it. I can beat her. It's martial arts!"
He stepped forward. "Ready?"

Jupiter grinned. "Yep." She blinked. "You know..."

Ranma paused. "What?"

"You look just like my old boyfriend..."

There was a distinct sound of teeth grinding from behind Ranma.
He rolled his eyes skyward. "Oh, man. I *really* wish you
hadn't said that..."

"Something you want to tell us, Ranchan?"

Ranma whirled around and raised his hands. "I don't know her!
Really!"

"Oh really? It seems like she knows you."

"Yeah, Ranchan. Entirely too well."

There was a quiet *shing* of a battle spatula being drawn, then,
in stereo:

"Ranma no baka!"

*WHAM* *WHAM*

Jupiter blinked.

Akane shifted her mallet to a better grip, and Ukyo re-sheathed
her battle spat. Jupiter stepped forward and examined Ranma's
remains.

"Boy, you girls sure got him under control."

Ukyo fumed. "Keep clear, hussy. He's spoken for."

Jupiter grinned. "Don't worry. There's just one thing I want
from him..." She raised a fist and planted it square in Ranma's
face.
* * * * *
-Ring-Ring-

Cologne looked up as a trio of girls - Sailor Jupiter, Tendo
Akane, and Kuonji Ukyo - dragged a comatose Ranma into the room.
Jupiter stepped forward to Cologne and bowed.

"Mission accomplished."

Cologne chuckled. "I am impressed." She pogoed over to the
counter and withdrew four bars of soap. She handed three of them
to Jupiter. "Tell your friends to bathe with this soap. It will
alleviate the curse. It is, as I said, only a temporary
solution. Washing with the soap will lock the curse for one
week. Though that time is reduced if you bathe without it - it
tends to wash off. Apply as needed."

"And when these run out?"

"Well..." Cologne spent a moment to light her pipe, and took a
long drag off of it. "I might need your help in the future."

"Oh, great." Jupiter rolled her eyes. "Look, lady, we're not
mercenaries."

"Oh, never fret. If I call you, it will be for something you
most likely would have handled on your own anyway. But for
now...Shampoo? Would you be so kind as to drag Son-In-Law up to
the bathroom?" She handed Shampoo the fourth bar of soap. "Cold
water first."
* * * * *
Ranma groaned, and rolled over onto her back. Not that this
helped matters much; now the sun was shining in her eyes.

Bad enough that one of the Senshi had managed to defeat her. Oh,
sure, she'd had help, in the form of two jealous fiancees putting
the boots to Ranma, but the last strike had been Jupiter's.

Worse, still. The old ghoul had had her bathed using the water-
proof soap. So much for her male form, for at least a week.
More likely longer.

She sat up and rubbed the rather sizeable lump on her forehead.
Then looked down at herself.

She was dressed in one of Shampoo's cheongsams.

"Aw, man, if Mom sees me in this..."

"Never fear, Son-in-law."

Ranma turned and glared at the elder Amazon. "Old ghoul! Why'd
you do this to me?"

"The dress, or the curse?" She chuckled. "Your own clothes are
currently drying. Until they are finished...well, on Shampoo
that dress is less than modest. On you, it's like a tent.

"As for why I locked your curse...Consider it a lesson in
humility. It's not the truth, but you wouldn't understand the
truth." With that, the old woman turned and hopped out of the
room.

Ranma stared after her. "A lesson in humility?" She looked
down. "Well, those girls weren't too tough, but they were
skilled...Perhaps she means I should show them more respect." She
hopped to her feet. "No time like the present."

She made a quick check to confirm that she was still wearing her
boxers - finding panties would have been a cause to frenzy - then
steeled herself, and walked down the stairs.

Akane was seated with two girls in the main dining room of the
restaurant. It took Ranma a second to realize that one of the
girls with Akane was Hino Rei; the taller girl she didn't
recognize.

Akane gaped at Ranma as she walked into the dining room. "What
on earth...?"

Ranma sighed. "The old ghoul put it on me while I was
unconscious."

"Why didn't you take it off?"

"My own clothes are drying."

"...Ah." Akane decided that, while Ranma was definitely being a
pervert - somehow - she needed more details before she'd feel
justified in pounding her.

The taller girl stood up and bowed to Ranma. "My name is Kino
Makoto. Saotome Ranma, I would like to study under you."

Ranma blinked. "Huh?"

"I've studied under many teachers, but not even one could
possibly approach you in skill."

Ranma frowned. "Well, I suppose I could use a student."

"Six students." Makoto straightened up. "All six of us would
like to learn from you. Well, some more than others." She
grinned.

Ranma nodded. "Right. I understand. But will you be okay with
this?"

Makoto tilted her head. "With what?"

"Well, I may not know exactly who you are...but I do know that
you're one of the Senshi. And if I'm gonna train you, I've gotta
know even more about you six. Are you sure that's all right?"

"We'll make an exception, in your case."

"Plus, there's the fact of my curse. In fact, more so, right
now."

Makoto laughed. "Come on! Consider just who we are! We're used
to shape changing people."

"Right. Then I'd be honoured to teach you."

The girl blinked. "Just like that."

"Why not?"

"But..." Makoto paused; she didn't want to insult him, but
after hearing some of the things that had been said about him...

"Hey, the way I figure it, you girls with the curses are gonna
burn through all that soap Cologne gave you sooner or later."
She shrugged. Who knows what the old ghoul will make you do for
the next batch. If it's something dangerous, you should be
ready."

"And if it's taking you on again?"

Ranma smirked. "Then I should be ready, too." The smirk
deepened. "Next time we fight, I'll know every dirty trick you
can pull. And you can bet I'll have a counter worked out. Ranma
Saotome don't lose."

"Herb."

"Shut up, Akane."

"Tsubasa."

"Shut up."

"Tarou."

"SHUT UP!"
* * * * *
Author's Notes:

Yep, this took a while. Writer's block is a pain; so is work.
Ah, well...C&C can be sent to groves_ca@yahoo.co.uk.

Further Author's Notes:

Originally, when I started this, I predicted a four-part story.
But then I said to myself, "Self, when was the last time you came
in under-budget for word count?" So I bumped it to six parts.

Imagine my surprise when I finished what I really had to say in
four chapters.

So I wrote two more chapters to bring it up to the six I had
predicted. Dumb move; the extra two chapters sucked eggs.

So here is Chapter Four with the original ending I had in mind,
and Chapters Five and Six will live on only in mirror sites that
don't update anymore. :)