This was originally published by me under the name Anduril at Anime Addventures, with the only changes being a few corrections in spelling and punctuation and occasional word choice. If you like the beginning of my story but think I've gone off the rails, or have your own ideas for a great branch-off, or think I'm taking too long to update and want to continue the story yourself, come to Anime Addventures and join in the fun!

I claim no ownership rights to any of the works of Rumiko Takahashi or Naoko Takeuchi, or anything I've borrowed and modified in from the Champions and Dark Champions settings published by Hero Games.


Steve Dansville sighed with relief as the business meeting broke up, then glanced over at his co-worker with carefully hidden worry as they took the elevator down to the office building's lobby. "Hey, Stacy, how'd you like a night on the town?" he asked. Ignoring the beautiful 5'9" short-haired blonde's slight wince, he continued, "Not a date, nothing romantic, just see some of the tourist spots — not much point in visiting Tokyo if you don't take in the sights."

With a forced smile, Stacy shook her head. "Thanks, Steve, I appreciate it, but I'm afraid I don't feel in a touristy mood tonight. We've got a few months, I'll catch the sights later. I think I'll just take a walk in the park, and then go for a hot bath with a good book."

"Sure, Stacy, that's fine — enjoy your book, we'll go touring later." With a smile and a wave, the brown-haired 6' muscular man turned toward their hotel, only letting the smile vanish, replaced by a concerned look, when Stacy couldn't see it. Poor Stacy. I know you can't expect a rape victim to bounce back overnight, but this is bad — though at least she was mostly able to hide her panic attack during the meeting. Maybe if we'd never been lovers — At least this trip gets her out of Hudson City for awhile, maybe that'll help bring back the fun-loving free spirit I knew before.

*

Stacy sighed as she crossed the street and wandered into the park, her smile turning sad now that she was away from her co-worker. Poor Steve, he worries so much — amazing how that fling in college turned into such a great friend. It's really too bad that I just couldn't seem to feel the way he wanted, even if he's engaged now. The nights we shared were certainly lively!

Unbidden, a memory of one of those happy times flashed into her mind, only to have the smiling face of her best friend morph into the grinning, unshaven face of a teenaged predator, as she felt the prick of the knife at her throat as he thrust into her — Gasping for breath, Stacy broke into a blind run into the park.

A few minutes later, Stacy got herself back under control, her trembling fading away, the tightness in her chest easing off, her breathing slowing back down to normal. Looking around and not seeing any park benches in the small clearing she found herself at the edge of, the blonde backed away from the clearing for a few feet, sat down on the grass, and leaned back against a tree. Staring off into space, she fought to hold back the tears but only succeeded in reducing them to a slow trickle. Dammit! Not even — I need those memories of the good times! How do I get through this without even that to help?

As she fought to bring her tears under control, Stacy slowly became aware of sounds coming from the clearing she'd backed out of however long ago. Dully curious, she got up and walked forward, only to freeze in amazement at the sight before her.

In the clearing, a stout older man in a dirty white gi with a scarf tied over his balding head was sparring with a young gi-clad boy, long black hair pulled back in a low pony-tail — if sparring included bouncing around the clearing like balls in a pinball game. With wide eyes, she stared as the boy flipped over a flying kick to deliver a punch to the back the older man's head.

{Hey, I gotcha, Pop, yer gettin' slow!} the boy crowed in a rather uncouth version of Japanese, and the man rolled and bounced to his feet with a laugh.

{Good shot, boy, let's see if you can do it again!}

For the next half-hour, Stacy simply sat at the edge of the clearing and watched the two spar, feeling hope flicker awake for the first time in months.

*

Eventually, the two broke off when the boy finally got a kick through to his father's back, and the balding man swept up his son in a hug as he laughed. {Good for you, Ranma,} he shouted, {you may actually make a true martial artist yet!}

As the man spun his son around, Stacy slowly stood up and, trembling slightly, walked into the clearing. As the man set down his son and turned toward her, she bowed politely. {Please forgive me for interrupting,} she said in the near-fluent Japanese she'd learned in college and practiced since arriving in Tokyo. {I am Hunter Stacy, an American here on business. I've been watching you for the last half hour.}

The stout man returned the bow. {Saotome Genma, and yes, I knew you were watching. Did you enjoy the show?}

{Yes, I did, I've never seen anything like it,} Stacy said. {I am sure this is an impertinence, but can you teach me how to fight like that?}

Genma frowned. {Women should not have to fight,} he said sternly. {It is the responsibility of men to protect them.}

No, he can't ... ! Stacy's mind raced, and after a brief hesitation she responded, {That may be true, but women should know how to fight because men will not always able to fulfill their responsibilities, or even be around. No man was there to protect me the night I was ... was attacked. If not for a passing car ...} Her voice quavered as she broke off and fought for control, and Genma stiffened.

Frowning thoughtfully, he stared at his petitioner for several minutes, then asked, {How long are you going to be here? And how much time will you be able to devote to the training? I have been training little Ranma, here, on a daily basis for almost a decade. A few hours a day for a few weeks won't help you much.}

Fighting to keep a triumphant smile off her face, she thought over her itinerary, then said, {My business here in Tokyo will take a few months, and I'll need at least eight hours a day on weekdays to meet my responsibilities to my employer. Beyond that, I will devote however many hours you are willing to train me. And after my business is concluded, I have some vacation time coming ... another month before I will need to return to America that I can train full-time.}

Genma raised an eyebrow, then nodded. {You have a cell phone?} he asked.

{Of course,} Stacy answered with a confused look.

{Of course,} Genma repeated wryly. {Good, you will need it. You will check out of your hotel room, buy a tent and a sleeping bag, and join me and Ranma here in the park for the rest of your stay in Tokyo.}

{I will need to look presentable so as not to disgrace my employer,} Stacy protested, but Saotome waved off the objection.

{There is an all-night bath house nearby. It's unisex, mostly caters to salarymen during the day, but some tourists and office girls use it as well. It should meet your needs, and will cost less than your hotel room. That is, if you truly wish for me to train you.}

{Yes! Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you!} the blond woman almost shouted. {I'll buy the tent and sleeping bag, check out of my hotel room, and be back here as soon as I can.}

With a deep bow to her new sensei, she looked around quickly, saw the office building she'd spent the day in over the trees to her left, oriented on her hotel, and almost ran off while pulling out her cell phone and hitting the speed dial. "Steve? Stacy here. Sorry to disturb your fun, but I'm going to need your help with some unexpected shopping." ... "Because you're the Eagle Scout." ... "Yes, I know that sounds crazy, you aren't going to believe this, but ..."

*

Several hours later, Stacy walked back into the empty clearing, huffing slightly under the weight of a backpack filled with a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear and food, plus several changes of clothes.

Looking around fearfully, she caught sight of a white gash on a tree on the edge of the clearing. On walking over to the tree, she realized the white gash was an arrow cut into the trunk, pointing off to the left. With a sigh of relief, she followed the arrow, walking into the little grove of trees until she encountered another small clearing where she found Genma and Ranma Saotome cooking a meal over a small fire.

Genma looked up with a slight smile of greeting as Stacy walked into the clearing, and then chuckled when she fell to her hands and knees, thanks to the way her polite bow overbalanced her. {I see I have my work cut out for me,} he said.

Stacy blushed. {I will do my best to be an exemplary student, Saotome-sensei,} she responded humbly, and Genma nodded approvingly.

{I am sure you will, or I wouldn't have accepted you. Now, hurry up and eat, and we will get to your first lesson.}

An hour later, a confused Stacy sighed and looked over at her new sensei from where she sat in a meditative pose. {Saotome-sensei, I will follow your instructions to the letter, but why are we starting with meditation?}

{For several reasons,} Genma responded lightly. {Normally, I would require you to figure it out yourself, but since as an American you lack the basis a more usual student would have, I'll give you an answer — just this once.

{First, don't think I didn't notice how nervous you were when I got close to you. I won't ask the details of what your attackers did, but it obviously left you afraid of men. You need to learn to control that, or all my training will be useless to you because you will be too terrified to use it if you need to.

{Second, even with the extra month our time is very limited, and one of the things I can teach you once you've mastered the basics is a form of meditation that can replace sleep — mostly. You'll still need a couple of hours a night, and at least one full night's sleep a week, but only that if it's needed — and it will be, if you are to prove a worthy beginner in the little time we have.}

Eyes wide, Stacy stared at her sensei, and realized that for all his lackadaisical pose he was watching her carefully. Quickly, she nodded understanding. {Very well, sensei,} she said, and resumed her meditative practice.

* * * * *

Two weeks later:

Stacy proudly stood in her workout clothes, and Genma walked around her, frowning thoughtfully. Finally, he nodded. {You performed the katas perfectly,} he grudgingly said. {I suppose you are ready to begin sparring.} As his student's face lit up, he added, {But not with me. Ranma!}

Stacy's face fell as the barely-pubescent boy (if that old) broke off his own kata and bounded across the clearing to join them.

Six hours later, a sweat-soaked, red-faced Stacy squirmed slightly as Genma carried her into the bath house she had been using the past several weeks, a grinning Ranma following with a fresh change of her clothes. {This is embarrassing,} she muttered, and Genma chuckled, his pride in his student carefully hidden.

{Give it a few weeks, and you won't embarrass yourself by collapsing after a measly six-hour workout,} he gruffly replied as a wide-eyed attendant took their money. {Now, let's get you cleaned up and soaking, and then a good massage will do you wonders.}

* * * * *

Over two months later:

Stacy lay in her sleeping bag, wide awake as her mind circled the rut it had been in for the past day whenever she hadn't been making a last run through her katas or sparring. Tomorrow (or rather, by now today) she was catching a flight back to Hudson City, to the friends and job she knew so well, and tonight, what was left of it ...

As her mind once again reached the beginning of her thought, she nodded in decision. Throwing open her sleeping bag (she hadn't zipped it up since the first night Genma had had Ranma ambush her), she rose and slipped out of her tent and over to the two figures covered with blankets nearby.

Genma stirred at her approach, and looked up. {Why aren't you sleeping?} he asked quietly, to avoid disturbing his snoring son. {You will need to be at the bath house in only a few hours to prepare for your flight.}

Stacy nodded. {Yes, but I can sleep on the flight, there's a better way to spend my last few hours here.} Taking a deep breath, she asked, {Genma-sama, will you join me in my tent until it's time for me to leave?}

Genma's eyes widened slightly, then he frowned. {There's no need to thank me in that particular way, Stacy-chan. You were a fine student and it was a pleasure to teach you.}

{This isn't a thank you, Genma-sama, or at least not just a thank you. It's also proof that I'm finally me again — and a crowning memory of my time with a dear friend that I want to take home with me.}

Genma thought for a long moment and finally nodded as he rose from his blankets. {Very well, but not in that tent, it's a bit too small for the both of us. Pull out your sleeping bag and lay it out on the other side, that will give us some privacy. And Stacy, call me Genma.}

Smiling brightly enough that it should have lit up the clearing, the blonde hurried to her tent.

* * * * *

Six weeks later:

Stacy looked around as she walked down the street where she'd been attacked all those months before. The welcome home party at her work had been magnificent, and she would always treasure the memory of the way Steve, his lovely new wife beside him, had lit up when he had seen her, had realized she was whole again if still scarred. Likewise, sinking back into the familiar routine of work and play and being able to actually enjoy both had been balm for her soul. But through the days, there'd been one constantly reoccurring thought, and she'd finally resolved to act on it — not even the flu bug that had had her vomiting the last couple of mornings would stop her.

So now she was back at the street where she'd been attacked. True, it was broad daylight and there were other people around, not like the night an idiot that thought it couldn't happen to her had walked down a deserted street to save a few minutes, but still, it was the place. And now, she could face it without a hint of an oncoming panic attack, she wouldn't need to detour any more.

Then a scream rent the air, and Stacy's smile vanished as her head jerked up and around. Looking around ... there! A young woman struggling with a couple of even younger thugs, fighting for her purse. Then, even as Stacy charged forward, one of the punks growled something, hand reaching for his pocket, a knife blade flashed and the woman's scream cut off as her mouth gaped in surprise.

Then Stacy was there, whirling into the two thugs with moves now a second nature, they bounced off the wall, two more quick blows they couldn't even see coming dropped them in their tracks, and Stacy caught their victim as she started to collapse and eased her to the ground, pressing one hand to the bleeding stab wound as her other hand reached for her cell phone.

*

Hours later, deep in thought, Stacy walked into her apartment, just returned from the hospital where the woman she'd saved was recovering from her attack. Face it, Stacy, in spite of the violence that felt great! Being able to actually strike back at the kind of scum that hurt you so badly, the sheer happiness of Jennifer's family when we learned she was going to be all right, their gratitude ... you want more. And there's plenty of opportunity for more in this city, the shape it's in. But if you really want to do this, you are going to need more than just the fighting ability Genma taught you, a lot more.

Walking over to the window looking out over the street, Stacy stared out over the city for a time, finally nodding. It's a good thing Genma taught you that technique for going without sleep, you're going to need it.

* * * * *

Two years later:

An obviously female figure dressed in a black bodysuit with a golden halo on its chest, with red gloves, boots and utility belt lightly landed on the rooftop, black red-trimmed cape swirling around her, then hit the button to disengage her golden swingline and retract it into its grip-case. Walking over to edge of the roof, Stacy looked out over the nighttime city in satisfaction, reaching up to make sure that her long blond wig had been kept secure with the mask that covered the upper part of her face — still firmly in place, good. It had been a long two years, keeping up on her work and a somewhat reduced social life, while quietly getting in study of criminology, forensics, lockpicking, and so many other subjects on the side. If it hadn't been for Genma's meditative techniques, she'd never have managed it. But now she was ready, and she just needed ...

A woman's scream echoed up from several streets over, and Stacy's satisfied smile vanished as she whirled and broke into a run in the direction the scream had come from. It was time to let everyone know that DarkAngel was in town.


I was inspired to start this story by Felix Webster's excellent (though sadly incomplete) Robin One Half. I considered doing my own "Ranma as Robin" story, and still may eventually, but decided to go with the Dark Champions: The Animated Series sub-setting of the Hero Games Champions universe, both because it gives me more flexibility (and is less likely to be derivative), and because I actually have my reference materials on hand. Mind, I'm not wedded to the reference material, either – in DC:TAS, Stacy wasn't actually raped, though she had a close call (and, of course, she wasn't trained by Genma).

I'm only three episodes in on this one, but hope to have at least a few updates in January.