A/N: Akane is lousy when it comes to first impressions. But how to change that?
If you're an Akane-hater, look away now. Disturbing scenes ahead…
Tendo Akane, Master Detective
by Shadow Crystal Mage
Disclaimer: Everyone knows Rumiko Takahashi. So many people play in her toybox, what's one more?
The doorbell rang in the middle of the day. In recent times, this was becoming as common in the Tendo household as the violent entrances. There were murmured words in the entryway, and Kasumi entered the living room with a rather worried looking young woman clutching her purse to her chest. "Akane-chan, you have a client."
Akane looked from a stack of computer printouts on ballistics she was reading, regarding the girl with a welcoming, professional smile. "Thank you, Kasumi. What can I do for you Miss?"
The girl knelt nervously on the other side of the table from Akane as Kasumi left, eyeing her nervously. She'd heard a lot of things about the girl in front of her aside from her widely publicized accomplishments, many of them disturbing rumors of extreme vioence. She looked down at the tabletop nervously. "I'm not sure how to say, Tendo-san. I've never really done anything like this before…"
"There's nothing to be nervous about Ayase Hitomi-san," Akane said reassuringly, causing Hitomi's eyes to jerk up in surprise, staring at the blue haired girl sitting opposite her. "I know it must be difficult for a high school sophomore on an art scholarship to put her trust in an uncertified teenager claiming to be a detective, especially given how money has been so tight considering you mother's recent illness. Still, enjo kosai is not a proper answer. If you wish, I could recommend you to a classmate of mine who is generous in his philanthropy, if you don't mind listening to a few archaic speeches telling you how beautiful you are."
When Kasumi returned with a few refreshments, Hitomi's mouth was hanging open, and she hurriedly accepted a glass of water to moisten her throat. "H-how…?" she managed to ask as she stared.
Akane laughed. "Surprised that the shaved, rabid gorilla is psychic? No, please don't be embarrassed for my sake Ayase-san. My reputation in that area is well deserved, if a little outdated. As for how I know, it was pretty easy. A portion of your school ID is visible from you purse, thus giving me your identity and grade level. Your purse is obviously hand decorated with a skill and eye for design beyond that of a mere pen-doodler, yet contains no brand marks besides some rather distinctive metal fittings, and shows too much evidence of loving care and pride to be a mass produced purchase. You wear the school uniform of a very prestigious private school, yet the hems are slightly worn, the creases are a bit loose, and there is a small, subtle tear on one of the breast pockets neatly stitched in the same way as the embroidery of your purse. A sheet from a doctor's subscription pad is also visible in your purse, providing me with the unfortunate details of your mother's condition. The outline of a crumpled sheet of paper, some change, and a small canister of prescription medication is visible through your vest, possible in an internal pocket, which is not standard issue in school uniforms. Next to it is the outline of a metal canister in a leather holster, possibly mace or pepper spray. The rest was elementary."
In the lull, Akane sipped her tea, thanking her sister, who offered Hitomi a biscuit.
"Wow…" the girl said, staring at Akane in awe and a little embarrassment of her own. "That's amazing."
"It's handy," Akane agreed. "Now, Ayase-san, about your problem. How long has your brother been missing…?"
Kasumi returned to the kitchen, where the rest of the family was listening in amazement as Akane skillfully questioned her latest client. "Akane's so popular, isn't she?" she said brightly as she set aside the tea things. "I have to get changed, Akane will be wanting to go."
"I'm still not going to get over that," Nabiki grumbled, listening to the fee her little sister was negotiating in disgruntlement. It was much lower than she'd have charged, but as Akane had told her when she'd banned the middle sister from handling her personal accounts, happy clients meant more referrals, which in the long run meant more business. Besides, she really didn't have a license for this, so best to stay on people's good side.
Soun nodded solemnly, fatherly pride shining in his eyes and figuratively reflecting off the happy tears running down his face. It was practically none-stop these days, meaning he'd had to cut off all alcohol and drink at least five glasses of water an hour. "Who would have thought that starring as the lead in that play would lead to this."
"And after all the fuss she made about playing a guy," Ranma said. He liked how things were going. He didn't get beat up as much these days, since one look was all it took for Akane to know what had been happening before she walked in on whatever ludicrous scene she'd walked in on. On the flipside, when he screwed up because of something he was doing, the resulting thrashing was perfectly justified, though to be fair, there weren't as many of those as before. "She'd really wanted to play that Irene Adler chick."
"I still don't see how this all turned her into a better fighter," Genma groused, nursing the jaw where Akane had knocked him out yesterday. While he normally didn't directly attack women (distracting them and running away being his preferred mode), yesterday's incident had involved a (fraudulent) baldness cure and some weird spices. He'd been confused, something had hit 'fight' instead of 'flight' in his instincts, and the next thing he knew Akane had knocked him out. "Who's this 'Cassandra Cain' she keeps talking about? Sounds like some kind of manga character…"
"Close," Akane said, coming into the kitchen after escorting her client to the door. "Sis, can you call Kunou and tell him I'm sending him someone to help?"
"What am I, your secretary?" Nabiki said.
Akane gave a mildly exasperated sigh. "I should not have to bribe you to do things like this," Akane said, handing her sister a yen note. "Come on Kasumi! Game's afoot and all that! Gotta give the client her money's worth."
"Coming Akane," Kasumi said, returning from her room wearing her coat and wrapping a scarf around her neck. "Where to?"
"The arcade," Akane said as they headed for the door. "I need to talk to the Katsuya-kun and his friends. He should still be in the area, but just in case I'll call Conan-kun and his friends a call, have them keep an eye out…"
"Sherlock Holmes never actually says 'The game's afoot' in any of the books!" Nabiki called after them.
A/N: Akane and Kasumi, partners in crime. Or you know, the opposite thereof. Dynamic Duo, maybe?
Anyway, someone observed that the reason Akane doesn't come off so well is because she tends to stick with her first impression of someone, no matter how much later evidence contradicts said impression. Add in the fact that most of her first impressions of people are lousy representations of their personalities and tendencies, and bad impressions happen. So I thought "How to fix this?". Then I realized, "Sherlock Holmes was always good at first impressions…"
Please review, C&C welcome. Akane-haters need not apply.
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.