A/N: I'm trying something that is so far, if not nearly unprecedented (see The Titans and the Lost Boy and Dark Titans, both by the perfectly perfect Lathis, right here on this site, for the cause of the qualifier 'nearly'), at least so rare as to be within handshake range of extinction in the 21st century: a Ranma ½ story that not only does not star Ranma in a central capacity, but will also not make who it is based on a Mary Sue or trash the reputations, characterizations skills and/or abilities of anyone else in the cast or anyone in the series it is crossed over with. We used to have a lot of these in the nineties (that's the prehistoric times of 1990 to 1999, when dinosaurs and the Spice Girls roamed the Earth, back before affordable mp3s, the concept of cellphones that were smarter than a Super Nintendo or a Gundam Series that girls liked that didn't have the word 'Wing' on the title. Remember those? No? Empty night, I'm old…), but then fanfiction started becoming cool, and soon every preschool idiot who thought they could write was getting in on it…

Sorry, lots of old bitterness here. Moving along…

Anyway, this can be considered the spiritual younger sibling of my other Akane-centric fic, Tendo Akane, Master Detective. For future reference, the ONLY series crossed over in this story are Negima and Ranma ½. There will be no requests for Ranma to show up and do anything cool. Well, there probably will be, but I won't be listening to them. Every time I receive such a request, I will strip him of a competence point and make Akane stronger. This is her story, after all. This also ignores the age thing because, quite frankly, who cares? Certainly we never did when it was Ranma in the lead. We clear?

Then on with the show!

Akanema! Magistra Akane Magi!

by Shadow Crystal Mage

Chapter 1: Little Clues

Disclaimer: The toys come from the boxes of Rumiko Takahashi and Ken Akamatsu. Somehow, despite all the stuff I wrote up there, I doubt I've heard the last of it…

Akane sat on the train, re-reading her original unabridged English version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, her new hero. It had been hard going at first, but she'd learned. She'd had to learn a lot of things recently, not the least of which was to pay attention and see not only what was really there, but all the logical ways they could have gotten there, irrespective of her knee-jerk opinions.

She idly looked up as one of the stewardess's– single mother, divorced, likes reading, bumped her head during the last turn– passed by, heading towards an old lady– not married to the old guy next to her, widow, plays piano, used to dye her hair and only recently stopped– whom she spoke briefly to. One seat over, a girl– track team, recently left team, problems at home– was talking to her friend– also track team, still on, likes friend, lesbian, pervert, pervert, PER

Closing her eyes, Akane opened them again and stared at the words 'Christmas goose', reminding herself that such a declarative statement has not been supported by any empirical evidence and therefore purely speculative, and is thus an unpardonable (that was a good word) breach of procedure that would taint the evidence of the senses. Not to mention– and here her mental monologue took on a voice that sounded suspiciously like Kasumi– that is was a very rude assumption.

Had anyone she knew been privy to those thoughts, they'd have had a heart attack. Well, maybe not Kasumi, but most people who knew her, probably.

Sighing and trying to distract herself from her previous line of though, she took out the letter she'd been using as a bookmark. It was her acceptance letter into Mahora Academy, which was pretty weird considering she'd never applied to it, or had thought of doing so. Her dad said it was where her mother had gone to school– true– and that she'd always wanted her daughters to attend it– true– but owing to how difficult things had been after their mother's death– true, but misleading– they hadn't been able to afford it– true, but again misleading. Now, however, they did? Because an old school friend of her mothers had recently resurfaced and, after hearing about their situation, had offered to help? Within the realm of possibility, but slightly improbable.

Still, Akane, admitted, it was the simplest explanation, as well as the only currently available explanation, which according to Holmes and Occam meant it was most likely true.

So… why does that explanation feel wrong?

A few weeks ago, she wouldn't have been thinking about it like this. Well, should would have, but only once, and then she would have just pushed it off to the side to be forgotten until it tripped her up. But then there'd been that play…

Absently, she flipped back several pages to A Scandal in Bohemia. They'd been making a play based on it, and once more she'd somehow been put in the position of playing a guy. It was the lead, but it had been a guy, and she'd been very hurt. Their advisor, Watase-sensei, had counseled her to try method acting, if only to distract her from the perceived slight, recommending she read the original short story and few others to get a feel for the character, one of the most famous ones in literature. So she had. And she'd enjoyed it. Then she'd tried doing what he did, observing little clues about people, just for kicks and found she had a hitherto undiscovered knack for it…

And here she was, obsessing over the question of why her father's explanation for how she'd gotten accepted into such a prestigious school felt wrong.

Why her had been easy enough to accept. Mahora had no pre-med courses for Kasumi and no one had any intention of releasing Nabiki on an unsuspecting new public...

Akane's first stop was the dormitory she'd been assigned to so she could drop off her things. Her roommate grumbled about no longer having the room to herself, but helped her move in. Hasegawa Chisame, as she introduced herself, was the kind of strong-looking, beautiful girl that would have intimidated Akane and had her self-esteem issues flaring up not so long ago. Now… well, she was still intimidating and not good for Akane's self-esteem, but given how the girl seemed to stay indoors a lot– pale skin– spend a lot of time on her computer– lower-palm calluses and wrist positioning– and seemed to have her own self-esteem issues– body language– Akane felt she could deal. Hopefully they'd learn to get along. She'd never lived with a net idol– once saw Chiu-sama's picture on Nabiki's computer and noted the similarity– before.

She managed to be in time for the new student's orientation, where someone named Touko-sensei– swordsman's calluses (thank you Kuno-sempai for teaching me what those looked like), unmarried but dating, under a lot of pressure– showed them around the school, and handing each of the new students a surprisingly detailed map. Given the Academy's scale, Akane supposed the usual disproportionate line drawings one usually gets wouldn't be very helpful.

That night, there was a party at the dorm. Apparently, these girls liked to party. It lasted long into the night, and she tried to just enjoy herself and not notice things– girl with her hair pulled in a tail on the left side of her head stalking the long-haired one with the redhead wearing Christmas bells in her hair, pink-haired twins trying to sneak in beer, little kid being fawned over by a bunch of the dormers… wait, what?

Akane stared at the kid for a moment, wondering if he was someone's kid brother visiting, but a quick look around revealed the lack of parents or any other visitors. She turned to the nearest who hadn't been at the orientation– good chance that meant she wasn't a new student– and asked her, "Excuse me, but what's that little kid doing here? He shouldn't be out so late."

The girl, a tall one with long hair tide back in a tail and looked to be a swimmer–tan, build, slight smell of chlorine– looked where Akane was pointing and smiled. "Oh, that's Negi-kun," she said. "He'll be all right."

"Why is he here?" Akane asked. "Is he someone's brother?"

Instead of answering the girl looked at Akane as if she'd just dropped onto the planet, before looked of understanding came over her. "You're new aren't you? What section are you in?"

"Uh, I'm in 3A. But what does that have to do with anything?" Akane asked.

"If I told you, it'll spoil the surprise," the girl said, though she smiled kindly when she said it. "I'm Okochi Akira. We're in the same class."

"Tendo Akane," Akane responded, bowing in greeting. "Pleased to meet you."

Akira, about to do the same, visibly paused at the name, eyes flicking to Akane warily, a look she recognized from back home. She sighed. She'd hoped this would be a fresh start, but since when did life ever really give her what she wanted?

"Yes, that Akane," she confirmed. "The violent maniac shaved gorilla of rumor. Though if it's any consolation, those rumors are a bit outdated."

Akira tried to smile again, though it seemed slightly pained, forced. "Sounds like you'll fit right in," she said enigmatically. Then a pale-haired girl who sort of reminded Akane of a cheerful looking Ayanami Rei– some kind of athlete, and she really didn't feel like doing this now– called to Akira, and the tall girl took the excuse to move off, leaving Akane alone and wondering how much of her reputation had reached here. To her knowledge Ranma and Kuno were known as far as Juuban, or at least wild stories based on them got that far. How had her own rep gotten nearly to the opposite edge of the city?

Okochi, Okochi… she supposed the girl could be related to Okochi Hitomi from her old school, also on the swim team. There was some resemblance there, especially in the facial structure. She'd have to find out somehow, if only to satisfy her own curiosity.

Akane drank punch and tried to enjoy herself, so far from home…

Dear Minna-san,

Well, my first day in Mahora Academy turned out fine, even though school hasn't started yet. I'm not missing everyone back home yet, but give me a little time, it's only been a few hours.

It's everything dad said it would be. I wish you could see it– please don't come and see it!– there's the giant tree from the brochure they sent, and everything looks like the pictures of European cities in magazines and movies. The people here are nice, and I have a new roommate. Everything's pretty low key compared to back home. Ranma would consider it boring.

Speaking of which, do any of you know if Okochi Hitomi-san from class D has a cousin here? Because I just ran into a girl who seemed to have heard of me…

Tendo Soun lay in bed, thinking about the old days and his wife. He reached under his pillow, feeling the square of pasteboard-like material that was one of his most treasured keepsakes from his wife, the others being his children. He didn't pull it out. He didn't need to. He knew what was on it as well as he knew his own face: the intricately drawn illustration of a much younger version of himself, bereft of a moustache, wearing a rather stylish looking battle outfit and surrounded by several floating demonic-looking masks.

His little girl was going to become a Magistra Magi, just like her mother. It made him so proud!

Well, technically she was just going to her mother's school. The Kanto Magic Association would only decide to approach her and propose to train her after some observation, but it was more likely than ever before that they would. A few months ago, given her violent streak, not to mention stubbornness, they were unlikely to touch her unless their only choices were her and a talking dog. And even then they might have picked the dog. But now…

She thought she was a detective. It was kinda cute, in a way. A little harmless pretend. But the harmless pretend had somehow calmed his daughter down, made her less likely to jump to conclusions, made her seem a bit more normal, as much as he hated to say it.

"Soon," he murmured as he drifted off to sleep. "Soon, Akane will become a Magistra Magi, she will pick Ranma to become her partner and then… the schools… will be joined… ZZZZZzzzzzz………… ZZZZZzzzzzz………… ZZZZZzzzzzz…………"

Not that he meant anything by it. He'd just gotten into the habit of putting 'the schools will be joined' at the end of all happy thoughts

And in far off Mahora, under the light of the full moon, a vampire stalked…

- To be continued...

A/N: All I have to say is: Ranma ALWAYS gets bigger power/intelligence/Sue boosts than this and no one bats an eye. I'm well within acceptable limits.

A little chronologically disjointed, but it's just an intro.

Please review, C&C welcome.

Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.