I definitely don't own anything having to do with Batman or Ranma 1/2. Too bad, if I did I could spend more time writing.


The tall, lank, balding, gray-haired Wayne family butler was not his usual self as he moved through the manor. The next day would see the weekly arrival of the cleaning crew, but the former member of the British Guard and then MI5 was well-endowed with the fastidiousness needed of all good butlers — and for decades now, Alfred had been a very good butler. And so, his search for the most egregious cases of the mess two masters could leave behind, serious enough that Alfred wasn't comfortable having it seen even by those that were supposed to clean it up. Though there wasn't as much mess as usual, and the source of that lack was also behind Alfred's distraction, because this time he was picking up after only one master, not two.

Normally, the lack of mess alone wouldn't have been a problem. After all, Master Bruce and Master Dick weren't always in residence, and Alfred had known for months of Master Dick's plans to move out when he started attending university. But before, even with his masters' nighttime activities, he had always been certain that they would be returning home eventually. This time, after Master Dick's latest fight with Master Bruce, Alfred wasn't so sure.

While Master Bruce becoming the legal guardian of a young boy devastated by the deaths of his acrobat parents in a circus accident that had turned out not to be an accident had turned out to be the best thing that had happened to him since the murder of his own parents when he was a child, this wasn't the first time the two had clashed. Both were strong personalities, and Master Dick had grown increasingly restless under his guardian's authority — especially as the junior partner of the Batman and Robin duo. Master Bruce's decision to make Barbara Gordon, daughter of the Gotham City police commissioner and longtime friend of Master Dick, a member of the team when they learned that she was the Batgirl that had appeared recently had led to an especially bad blow-up between him and his ward.

Alfred suspected that the viciousness with which Master Dick had laid into his mentor had to do with a great deal more than Master Bruce choosing to allow Master Dick's best friend and potential future love interest to risk her life — it was, after all, her decision to accept. And that had Alfred worried that the father and son in all but name would be a very long time patching up their differences. It is, after all, rather difficult to patch up differences that neither side is willing to acknowledge actually exist.

A massive gong sounded and Alfred started and looked around, realizing that his introspection had brought him to a stop in the middle of the main parlor Master Bruce and Master Dick made most use of. The gong sounded again, and Alfred frowned. That was the bell for the manor's front entrance — and he hadn't been alerted by the electronic security around the estate of anyone entering the grounds, and who would be calling at this time of night? Still, whoever had bypassed the outer circle of the estate's security was ringing the bell at the front door ... Alfred stepped over to the security panel by the doorway and quickly typed in the code for a low-level alert, one that would send a flag to the Batmobile that something was happening at the manor. Alfred now had half an hour, if by that time he didn't send an all-clear or Master Bruce didn't return to the Batmobile and call in to see what the issue was a new alert would be sent, directly to the earpiece in the cowl of the Batman costume. Then after a quick check of the hold-out taser Alfred habitually kept secreted on his person, he headed for the broad stairway leading down to the front doors even as the gong sounded a third time.

Reaching the door, he made certain his haughty butler's face was firmly in place, readied for a quick-draw of the taser, and swung open the door ... and lifted a single eyebrow at the sight revealed in the pool of light from front lights, a buxom, middle-teened Oriental girl dressed in absolutely filthy red silk shirt and loose black pants tied at the ankles, probably Japanese though her pony-tailed hair was fiery red ... and the large, gaunt-from-starvation panda standing behind her. But it was the girl's gaze that really caught his attention, looking him over with a knowing eye, and he suspected she somehow saw past the façade of the proper butler to the ex-soldier and -spy that lay underneath, in the same way that he could see her own warrior status.

"You work for Wayne-san?" she asked abruptly. "Me and the panda need to see him."

Alfred lifted an eyebrow at the inclusion of the panda in her declaration. "Yes, I serve Master Bruce," he replied. "Whom may I say is calling?"

"Oh, yeah, sorry about that." The girl rubbed her neck under her ponytail, blushing slightly. "I'm Saotome Ranma, your boss knew my dad back before I was born."

It was only Alfred's years as a spy that kept his other eyebrow from raising to join the first — that far back would place the relationship sometime toward the end of Master Bruce's wandering years, just before he returned to Gotham to begin his career as a vigilante. "I see," he said, and stepped back and to one side. "I am afraid that Master Bruce is not in at the moment, but he should return momentarily. I am afraid I don't have anything proper on hand for your pet, but would you care for a bit of dinner as you wait?"

Ranma brightened at the mention of food. "You bet!" she said, eagerly walking into the manor with the panda following her.

/oOo\

Hiding behind a line of barrels on a pier at Gotham City's commercial docks, Batman frowned as a soft, low tone sounded in his ear — something was going on at Wayne Manor. Still, Alfred's signal didn't call for dropping everything and rushing home, so the large, caped, black-and-gray costumed vigilante refocused on the tableau before him — not that he'd have been able to just drop everything anyway, not with an innocent in danger. Still, he would have liked to wait just a little longer, to see if Two-Face and his two thugs would spill anything as they interrogated the young dark-haired street boy they had caught, but Alfred's signal meant he'd run out of time. Even as he reached for the collapsible batarangs in his utility belt, he wondered if Alfred had really believed that the low-level alerts stopped at Batman's various vehicles as the Wayne retainer had insisted, claiming to still being quite capable of taking care of himself. Probably not, but so long as the former soldier/spy wasn't explicitly made aware that the signal was immediately forwarded to Batman, and Batgirl when she was on the clock, honor was satisfied.

Batman took a moment to assess the tactical situation visible in the floodlights over the pier, and paused. Two-Face had finally order his underlings to search their captive, and ... one of the thugs was passing a folded piece of paper he'd found to his boss. The now-insane former district attorney unfolded the paper, something metallic slipped out and dropped, Two-Face bent to pick it up ... now!

Two wrist-flicks and the batarangs were on their way, and Batman leaped over the barrels and charged right behind them. The two thugs stumbled to the side, heads rocking back as the batarangs slammed into their foreheads. Batman's side kick took a straightening Two-Face in the chest and knocked him back off his feet, and Batman scooped up the piece of paper the villain had dropped, whirled around, cape swirling around him, and raced past the two thugs just recovering their footing. He grabbed the cheering boy off the box he'd been sitting on with one arm and twisted around behind a stack of crates, then dove off the pier, free hand catching the edge to swing him and the boy into the dark on the small platform underneath, next to the ladder running down into the water. Fortunately, it was low tide and there was plenty of room between the water and the pier. Now he could get the boy in his submersible speed boat for safekeeping before heading back up to deal with Two-Face and his underlings, so long as ...

"Cool, Batman! Thanks for the save, I thought I was a goner, there."

... so long as they didn't know that he and the boy were down below. Suppressing a sigh at the volume of the boy's enthusiastic response to his rescue, Batman slipped the paper he'd grabbed off of the surface of the pier into a pouch on his utility belt and pulled out the remote control for his speed boat to summon it. Maybe they hadn't heard —

"Over here!"

And the night went from bad to worse. Even as the speed boat rose to the surface and the bulletproof glass cover slid back from over the two seats, Batman ran through his options, and this time he couldn't suppress his sigh because he didn't have any. He couldn't toss the boy into the boat and go back up to fight Two-Face and his thugs, if he lost the boy would be trapped. He couldn't send the boat with the boy back to the Batcave alone, he hadn't gotten the all-clear from Alfred yet and so didn't know what he might be sending the boy into. He only had one real choice. Grabbing the boy, he tossed him into the passenger seat, leaped over him into the driver's seat, glanced at the boy to make sure he was completely inside, and grabbed the emergency close lever and yanked. The cover slammed closed even as a fusillade of bullets hammered into the glass, but Batman ignored the sound as he grabbed the wheel and threw the speed boat into maximum throttle to head out to sea. He would just have to hope that the boy and the piece of paper would give him the information he needed to figure out Two-Face's latest scheme.

The all-clear from Alfred came before they were halfway back to the cave.

/oOo\

"He did what?"

Barbara straightened from where she had been leaning against the kitchen counter, and Ranma tensed even as she winced at the volume of the other redheaded girl's shout — she'd known when Barbara first walked in that she had some training, she'd moved well for a civilian, but now she was giving off the vibes of a predator. When the newcomer had shown up and was introduced by Alfred as Barbara Gordon, close friend of Wayne's ward, Ranma had tried to think of something to talk about that would be believed by civilians, and had intended to get a laugh with some of the stories of her pop's training fiascos. So why did Barbara look like she was ready to kill someone instead? Even the butler looked battle-ready ... oh, his expression hadn't changed from polite interest, but his body language had shifted — he was ready to attack. And the panda sitting to the side of the kitchen table was looking as studiously nonchalant as it was possible for a bear to be, but if he could he'd be sweating.

"Uh, yeah ... he ... he ..." Ranma scrambled for something to say to defuse the sudden tension, then breathed a sigh of relief as a tall, dark, well-built man strode into the kitchen. That relief vanished in a hurry, though, when Ranma took in the way he moved — this man was dangerous.

He glanced around at the tableau, focused on Ranma, and his eyes widened. He asked, "Are you related to a Nodoka Tatsuno, by any chance?"

"Uh ... well, I don't know about the family name," Ranma replied, "but my mom's name is Nodoka."

"You look just like her," the man said, smiling affably. "Is your father Genma-sensei?"

Sensei? Pop!? "Yeah, I'm Saotome ... I mean, I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry to drop in on you like this, but we ... I got a problem. If you're Bruce Wayne, Dad recognized you on TV and thinks ... thought with the people you were with, you might be able to help us."

The man stiffened, gaze sharpening, then slowly relaxed. "I see. Recognized my moves, did he?"

"Uh ..." Ranma glanced at the panda out of the corner of his eye and caught a slight nod. "Yeah. Yeah, he did."

"Hmmm." Wayne's gaze flicked between Ranma and the panda. "You can speak freely in front of Alfred and Barbara. What help do you need?"

"Well, it started when Dad decided to check out a training ground in China, way back in the mountains..."

/\

"... they said they had to punish him, splashed him with some cold water to turn him back into a panda, then threw some more water on him. I tried to stop it, but just got splashed, too. I dunno what that water was, but it locked the curses. The elders apologized for getting me, but ..." Ranma shrugged, rubbing the back of her neck again. "They're Amazons, they think they did me a favor. And they didn't have any way to fix it."

"I see." Bruce gazed at the redhead, and the obviously nervous girl became even more so, No, she was scared, body tensed, shivering slightly even as she fought to keep her gaze steady — just as he'd seen as Batman from countless criminals trying fast-talk him. Still, the story was hard to believe, and the girl would know it. He focused on the panda. "So this is Genma."

""Well ... yeah."

Suddenly, the panda produced a wood sign out of thin air, covered with kanji. #Do you still blush when# flip #girls flirt with you, like# flip #Nodoka used to?#

Bruce stiffened, feeling his cheeks heat as he remembered the sultry glances and innuendos the flame-haired young woman had tormented him with during the time he had trained with her boyfriend. He could almost feel the soft touch of fingers running down an arm.

Barbara had been staring in shock at the sign, but on sensing her mentor tense up she glanced toward him and an impish smile crossed her face. "Oooh, what did it say?" she asked.

Bruce coughed. "Never mind. The important thing is that this must be Genma." Hastily returning his attention to Ranma, he forced aside the memories. "I can't help you myself, but I know some people that might. But it will have to wait, Barbara and I are in the middle of a situation." He glanced back at Barbara. "Suit up."


A little short for one of my First Chapters, but it was break it off here or keep going for the entire (rather short) first story arc. And yeah, my own take on a locked Ranma as Robin of "Batman and ..." fame, based on the cartoon. The boy is Tim Drake, but doesn't become Robin this time. For this one, I'd try to keep the story arcs shorter to fit the cartoon format. And no, no lemons for this one.