AN: Brief answers to certain questions and comments. While this story does take place in Jubaan, and the Senshi do exist there, this is not intended as a crossover. The Senshi are more of a background element than anything else. Also, as for the opening to chapter 2. It was a dream sequence people! Of course it didn't make sense. The actual events will come to light in the future.
A week later Ranma watched the two go through a basic kata. None of the three had mentioned the outburst, and that suited her just fine. They all understood pain and loss. There was no need to discuss it, only accept it and support each other. True, she had been forced to leave her home. She had been cast aside like trash. But here, here she had made a new home.
Ranma blinked at the thought. Was this bridge her home? True, she slept here. True she trained here. But what made it home? Her eyes roamed the canal, taking in her tent, the tent they had scrounged for Kimi and Yuri, the collection of cans and bottles, before coming back to rest on the two girls. They were still moving through the forms.
Ranma was impressed with how much they had learned in such a short time. At first she had only planned to teach them some basic self-defense, but already they had moved into actual martial arts. Not many people out there had the drive to come so far so fast. Sure, she would do better, but Ranma knew she was an exception not the rule.
Yes, she nodded to herself, this is what home was. Not a place or things, but people.
A month had passed since the incident. Ranma had continued to teach the two, and they had improved by leaps and bounds. Neither was black belt material yet (not that Anything Goes used a belt ranking system), but they were improving very quickly. Ranma was fairly sure that either could handle one or two of the average street punks she occasionally saw on her rounds. Together it would take at least five or six to overwhelm them. She was proud of them. They were her family now. Her sisters.
The thought seemed odd to Ranma. The feeling she had for them was different then what she had ever felt for anyone else. The closest was Uccha… Ukyo, before the betrayal. But even then she always knew Ukyo wanted more than she was willing to give.
Ranma, Yuri, and Kimi were heading back to the bridge after a busy day. This was their second trip and it was considerably later than they normally stayed out. They were only a few blocks from home when Ranma's highly tuned senses picked up the sound of a scuffle in a dark alley. For a moment Ranma froze, her mind warring with itself, till a short scream ended by a slap rang from the alley. In an instant she had pressed her bags into the arms of the other two and sprinted down the alley.
In the depths of the alley a young couple was being accosted by five thugs. The young man was trying to shield his girlfriend behind him. One of the gang members was rifling through the girl's purse while the other four advanced slowly on the terrified teens.
"This here ain't no public street, see. It's a, whatcha call it, toll road." The apparent leader grinned nastily while his compatriots sniggered. "Means you gots to pay. Why don't we start with you, tough guy," he cracked his knuckles, "then we can move on to sweet cheeks there." The two teens cringed back.
"I've got a better idea," rang a strong voice from behind the thugs. "Why don't you lot apologize to the nice people and get the hell out of 'my' territory before you make me mad." The five punks turned to see Ranma blocking the end of the alley.
"Look at the little chickie. Thinks she's bad she does." The one going through the purse giggled in a high pitched voice. "Com'on Dai, let's show her what bad is." One of the others broke off and drew a knife while joining the giggler in advancing on the glowering redhead.
"I was in a good mood, so I'll give ya till the count of three." Ranma held up three fingers, then immediately folded one back down. "One… two… three." As she intoned the final number and folded the last finger, Giggles leapt toward her intending to grapple. Instead she casually ducked under his arm and backhanded him across the face with her newly formed fist. He flew sideways into a small dumpster with a clang, but Ranma paid him no attention. She was already moving past, intercepting his knife wielding compatriot. The thug slashed at her, only to find his wrist caught in a grip of steel. Ranma twisted his arm behind his back and deftly removed the knife from his grip with her free hand.
"You shouldn't play with knives, you could hurt yourself." Staring straight into the leader's eyes she slammed the knife into the brick wall and twisted. The blade snapped off with a sharp ting, and Ranma tossed the hilt at the shaken leader's feet. "Last warning." Everyone stared at the hilt as it rocked back and forth on the pavement. Suddenly the gang leader turned and ran, his two friends close behind. Ranma shoved the punk she was holding after them. The teen girl looked out from behind her boyfriend and gasped, pointing behind Ranma, who turned to see the giggler raising a piece of pipe over his head. He stopped when a petit hand tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, pipe still raised, to see Kimi and Yuri standing there. Kimi drew back her left fist while Yuri mirrored the action with her right. The combined blow from the two lifted the unfortunate gang member off his feet and into unconsciousness. The pipe clattered on the ground.
"Good form," Ranma commented dispassionately. "I think you may have cracked his jaw." She looked down at the punk, then shrugged. Kneeling down she began rifling his pockets, transferring their contents to her own. Without looking up she addressed the teen couple still standing a few yards away. "You two should really be more careful walking down alleys. All kinds of bad folk out there." Ranma casually picked up the purse and tossed it at the couple. It smacked into the young man's chest, causing him to fumble with it. When he looked back up, she was at the end of the alley picking up the dropped bags and disappearing into the street.