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A Ranma ½ alternate universe story
by Katrina Lee Halbred

Disclaimer: All Ranma characters are copyright Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Video, Viz Video, and any others for which I am not aware own the copyrights. The demon-based Ranko originated from one of Gregg's series, but except where noted, the new characters and such are my own. Please don't use them without asking first.

Introduction: Based upon an idea by Gregg Sharp as introduced in Reluctant Bet. Written with permission from Gregg Sharp. {With much thanks to both Gregg and Kickaha for their help and their ideas for getting this started. You can think of this series as an offshoot of one of the time lines that were created after the last reset. Though I have tried to keep Ranko somewhat within the parameters of the way Gregg portrayed her, I have changed her to fit the role I have designed as well as the story.}

Special thanks to Titleist for helping me get the bugs worked out of the base story line and Ranko's character. And very special thanks to my pre-readers!

Episode 1: Here, There, and Everywhere

A red-haired girl walked along the sidewalks, skipping along and going from shop to shop, peering in each of the windows to see what was in each. Her companions, a tall, black haired boy and a balding and overweight man, walked a few feet ahead of her. The man seemed to be off in his own little world as he continued his very animated conversation with the boy. The boy, for the most part, looked bored and from time to time glanced at the girl, as if making sure he knew where she was at all times. Both teenagers wore Chinese style clothing; the boy wearing a red shirt and the girl a pink shirt, both with black pants. A strange thing about the girl's shirt was that there appeared to be two rows of buttons going up and down the center back of the shirt. The buttons were all buttoned, and it almost appeared as if something were stuffed under her shirt. Yet, it was difficult to tell. The girl seemed uncomfortable at times, reaching to scratch her back, as if there were an itch which seemed to elude her.

At one point, the boy gently grabbed the red-haired girl by the arm. "Ranko, you know why you need to make sure you keep your shirt buttoned, right?"

The red haired girl nodded. "Yep! Its so that my wings aren't visible, Big Brother."

The boy sighed. "Ranko, keep it down. People don't get what your wings mean. We don't want it ta get around. I'm sorry that we have ta do things this way. I know you're uncomfortable." He let her go. She giggled as she said "Its OK, Big Brother! Its not that uncomfortable, it just makes me itch some. Besides -laugh- this is my favorite shirt! My Big Brother made it for me!" And she skipped off again.

He had to smile. He had made that shirt for her because of the problems with finding clothing that would fit a girl with wings. No one had any, and though this didn't surprise him, it was still annoying. He had designed the shirt with buttons on the back for flaps, which would allow her wings to slip through comfortably, and yet still keep her clothed. Unfortunately, because of the last town thinking she was the daughter of some ancient dragon come back to avenge his death, they were chased out rather violently. So this time, Ranko had to wear her shirt with her wings folded against her back and the back buttoned. Something Ranma knew had to be more uncomfortable then his sister said.

"Ranma," said the balding martial artist. "You need to watch your sister better. She could get us into trouble like in the last city."

"I know, Pop, but she's having fun. Shouldn't we let her be?"

Ranma's father sighed. "Ranma, right now we've got to get to my friend's house. Ranko can have fun afterwards. I'm sure she'll enjoy playing with one of my friend's daughters."

Ranma nodded. "I guess you're right, Pop. Oh… why are we going to your friend's house in the first place? I thought as martial artists we're supposed to fend for ourselves whenever possible…"

Ranma's father smiled. "We're going to keep a promise."

"Promise? What promise?"

The overweight man hid a grin as he replied. "Its nothing you need to concern yourself with just yet. Its a promise I made to my friend, years ago. Before you were born, in fact."

It began to rain. As it did, the boy shrunk in size, his hair turning from dark to red and his frame becoming decidedly more feminine. The father increased in size, ripping his shirt and pants. Black and white fur appeared from all over his body.

Ranma-chan sighed, hanging her head. "I still think we should've headed back to China to find a cure. This is stupid, Pop."

The panda growfed, holding a sign up. [Ranma! I'm ashamed of you! I thought you were a man, not some whiny girl!]

"You've got to be kidding! Do you know how hard it is, trying to go on with your life when you're a girl half the time?!"

More people stopped to stare at the spectacle of a young girl arguing with a panda.

[Its a matter of honor and pride, Ranma. Be a man and deal with it!]

"Yeah, right. Where's the honor in being a girl when you're supposed to be a guy? The next thing you know, you'll be telling me I shouldn't worry and should find a girl and get married like this!"

The panda big-sweated. [I don't think you need to worry about that right now. For now, let's just get to our destination.]

"Forget it! I'm goin' back to find a cure!"

The panda started to take up a stance and stopped as it noticed that they had a large audience gathered around them. It growled at everyone, loudly, causing the various bystanders to remember appointments they had or places they needed to get to. The panda resumed its stance.

"If you want it this way, that's fine with me!" Ranma-chan also took up a battle stance. Neither combatant got a chance to get started as they heard a rather peculiar noise. It almost sounded like a large vehicle heading their way at a very fast speed. Ranma frowned. She knew that sound. She didn't like that sound. That sound was bad. That sound was very bad. She sighed…


Ranma looked up in time to be slammed into by his younger sister, Ranko, with enough force that both of them ended up going through the wall of a nearby shop. The shopkeeper was in no position to berate them since he was out cold from the crash.

Ranma got up, dazedly. "Sis, could ya please be more careful where you're goin'? That hurt, you know…"

Ranko hid behind her brother. "Sorry, Big Brother, but those boys that are following us, don't want to be friends. They keep saying something about me being a vampire. What's a vampire?"

Ranma whispered behind him to his sister, still keeping an eye on the three teenagers who had chased her. "It's a dead guy that drinks blood."

Ranko frowned, cutely, feeling her fangs. "A dead guy? They think I'm a dead guy? Who drinks blood? Ewwww! That is so gross." Ranko made a face. "You're so smart, Big Brother." Ranko hugged Ranma-chan from behind. She peeked at the boys from Ranma's right side. "Why are you doing this? I've done nothing wrong!"

The teenagers laughed. "Yeah, right, and those aren't vampire fangs, right?"

Ranko missed the sarcasm in the boy's voice. "No, they aren't vampire fangs. At least, not that I'm aware of. Come to think of it, I don't know why I have these fangs."

The leader growled. He didn't like being made a fool of. "Move out of the way, red-head. My… friends and I have some business with that vampire behind you," said the teenager in the front. He kept his hands in the pockets of his brown leather jacket, and occasionally withdrew a hand to brush back the long, brown hair, which seemed to keep falling over his left eye. His black jeans were scuffed and dirty.

"If you want my sister, then you'll have to get through me first," was Ranma's reply.

"Hi, Mrs. Fujishiro!" Ranko yelled, waving at a nearby shopkeeper as she stepped out to sweep her front porch. The shopkeeper waved back. <Why, its that nice young girl I was chatting with a few minutes ago,> the shopkeeper thought to herself. She glared at the leader of the three teens. "Go home, boys."

The teen looked at the shopkeeper, a smug look on his face. "Why should I? You don't want the same thing to happen here that happened 15 years ago do you?"

The shopkeeper groaned. "No one even knows if that ever happened. Lay off and go home. I swear, you three always pick on those that come through here that are different then you. Last week it was that green haired girl with fangs and horns. The week before that it was that girl with the third eye. Can't you find something better to do with your free time?" She raised her broom and got in a battle stance, holding it like a bo staff. "Go home or get hurt. Your choice."

The head teen looked a little startled by the apparent support that the vampire was getting. "Maybe you forgot, Makoto, the trouble her kind caused those years ago. And you know, the town still seems… affected. Its like her kind are still here. Therefore, since no one else has the balls to stand up, my gang and I will exterminate these vermin to make sure our city is purified once again!" He laughed.

The shopkeeper groaned. She wondered if that boy was crazy sometimes.

People from inside other shops stepped out to see what the commotion was all about. After they saw the destruction done to the building Ranko and Ranma had crashed through as well as the three teens, they hastily went back inside, closing doors behind them.

Ranma studied her opponents carefully. They didn't look like much, but it was hard to judge since they all were wearing thick jackets. Ranma looked more carefully at the front pockets of the jacket. There, on the pocket, was a symbol. It was a picture of a human head with crude red eyes and fangs, having a red line slashed through it. The teen who appeared to be the leader was still looking at the shopkeeper. Ranma watched the other two especially as they appeared to be watching Ranko. Ranma frowned. She didn't like that. They looked like they were about to -

The boys looked at each other and nodded once. Then, in a snapping motion that was too fast for the eye to follow, they withdrew their hands from where they had them hidden behind their backs. Several things flew from their hands, towards the intended targets. Ranma caught several sharp objects between her fingers. She was startled enough that several of the objects got by her. She growled as she looked at the weapons she had caught.

<Shuriken?? You've got to be kidding! These kids think they're ninja or something?>

Something whizzed by Ranko's head, from where she was hiding behind her brother's back. Ranko cried out in surprise as several shuriken ripped the back of her shirt, causing it to fall off. Her dragon-like wings, now freed of their confinement, extended to their full length announcing to the world that Ranko was more than she seemed. Ranko looked at the shredded remains of her shirt in shock as it slowly fell to the ground, leaving her bra-less bosom visible for anyone to see, who cared to look. "My shirt…" she whispered, still in shock. "My favorite shirt. The one Big Brother made for me…"

For a moment, all was quiet as the three teens stared, open-mouthed at Ranko's wings. Then, they started laughing. "Get a load of the dragon-vampire we have here." yelled the leader.

Ranma started to get really mad as she quickly looked at her sister who was still staring at the remains of her shirt and then looked back at the three laughing antagonists before her. She stopped as she felt heat emanating from somewhere behind her. She gulped. She knew Ranko's temper well and although rare, she had also seen what it could do. She turned around in trepidation as she noticed the blue glow around Ranko's body.

<Oh, boy…> She thought. "R-Ranko…Calm down. Let's be reasonable…"

Ranma really didn't want Ranko to blow her top. Every time she did that "fireball" attack it was unpredictable, but Ranma almost always got nailed or knocked out by something. Not only that, but the attack was incredibly unpredictable on the surrounding area since it actually destroyed quite a bit of the area and took the area over with nature. Nice trick, but not so nice when Ranma was always caught in the 'blast zone' whenever it was cast. One of these days, she was going to have to talk to Cologne about teaching Ranko ANY kind of ki attack…

Tears fell from Ranko's eyes as she walked in front of Ranma. "That was my favorite shirt! My Big Brother got that for me! You… you… MEANIES!" Ranko raised her hands above her head. "FIREBALL!" she yelled out. A bright white light appeared in between Ranko's upraised hands and began to grow. It grew at an astronomical rate, covering everything and everyone within a few hundred yards in a matter of seconds. When Ranma heard the shout, she hit the deck, but was still caught in the explosion. When the light cleared, Ranko was left standing in the middle of a crater, which was overgrown with assorted plants. Around her, various parts of the street and buildings were damaged, torn apart by trees and bushes that were now growing there. Everyone who had been unlucky enough to be close to Ranko was knocked out.

The shopkeeper staggered to her feet, shaking her head. The three teens were out cold as was Ranma-chan and the panda.

Ranko gulped, noticing the carnage, "Oops… I think I messed up again." Ranko quickly picked up the panda and slung him over one shoulder and then picked up Ranma-chan, putting her over the other shoulder. She wondered how hard it would be to find the place that her Papa wanted to go to.

She continued walking in the direction they had been heading. After a while, she stopped a teen-aged boy who was walking by her. "Excuse me, sir, do you know where the Tendo Dojo is?" she asked. As she did, she shifted her load and the boy she was talking to noticed she was topless.

Blood began to drip from his nose as he got a good view of certain areas. He covered his nose with his hand and said, "It's a couple of kilometers down this road. Make a right at the first gas station you come to, and then follow that street until you see the dojo sign. You can't miss it."

Ranko bowed, slightly, as her father had put on some weight so it was awkward to carry him. "Thank you. Is there something wrong with your nose? It's bleeding." Ranko looked concerned.

The teenager shook his head and smiled. "No. It's just a cold."

"Oh, OK. Did that cold cause you to hurt your leg, also?"

"Huh? What do you mean?"

Ranko pointed at his pants. "There seems to be some swelling there. Are you sure you aren't injured? I can heal the wound if you are…"

The teenager looked down at what she was talking about, realized exactly where she was talking about and freaked out. He quickly bade a hasty farewell and ran away from the cute young girl… before running into a pole. He quickly recovered only to run into a wall and knock himself out.

Ranko sighed. She never understood boys. Well… except her brother, that is. She giggled and headed off at a speed that left a few people gawking at her. Of course, this might have also been because she was still topless and many guys were getting a view that their girlfriends did not approve of.

Ranko ignored most of the stares. She was used to that sort of thing. Though she did idly wonder why so many guys were running into poles and falling down open manhole covers… it was like they weren't paying attention to where they were going.

Ranko arrived at her destination a few minutes later. She looked at the sign on the gate, which read "To defeat owner in savage combat, please use rear entrance." She shrugged, she wasn't here to challenge anyone that she knew of so she opened the gate, carefully closing it behind her and walked over to the front door. The house was huge. For a moment she stared in wide-eyed amazement at the house, never having been this close to a house this big before. Ranma-chan groaned from Ranko's right side and she remembered her load. She knocked on the door and waited.

A few seconds later, a rather pretty young lady with brown hair and brown eyes answered the door. She looked down at Ranko and noticed three things with a start. First, she noticed that Ranko was topless. Next, she made a mental note of Ranko's wings. And then she noticed the fact that Ranko was carrying a full size panda and a young girl over her shoulders. She smiled warmly, "Can I help you?"

Ranko bowed. "Yes. Papa said that we were supposed to come here to fulfill a promise, though he didn't say what promise that was."

The young women studied the scene before her, and thought quietly to herself. <Father mentioned that a friend of his was stopping by with his children. She looks a little young to have had children but maybe father was mistaken about the sex of his guests.>

"I'm sorry, what's your name, Miss?" asked Ranko, who had been watching the younger woman's facial expressions, curiously.

The young woman smiled. "Kasumi Tendo; and who might you be?"

The winged girl giggled. "My name is Ranko Saotome! Nice to meet you!" She gave an angelic smile, which seemed to have the effect of endearing her to Kasumi's heart.

"Would you like to come in, Ranko?"

"Yes, please!" Ranko giggled, girlishly.

Kasumi opened the door all the way so that Ranko could come in with her load. Ranko started to walk in and was stopped, suddenly by something blocking the doorway. She frowned and looked up, giggling as she noticed that Papa-panda's head was blocking her entrance. She backed up and tried again, only to have his head get really thwacked and his body knocked off her shoulder. She shrugged, resorting to dragging the panda inside instead.

A tall man with a black mustache and black hair walked into the living room as Ranko entered.

"Kasumi, who was at the door?"

"Father, I think the guests you were expecting are here. Only, I was under the impression we would be having three human guests. I guess I'll have to change tonight's menu."

Soun looked at the panda, then at the young girl dragging it inside, then at the young girl on her shoulder. "Um, that must be heavy… Miss…?"

Ranko giggled. "Ranko Saotome."

He did a double take. "Saotome? As in Genma Saotome?"

Ranko giggled again and nodded. "Yepyep! I'm his daughter!"

"Um, yes, of course. Ranko, do you need some help? I am sure that panda and that girl are heavy. By the way, why were you carrying them?"

Ranko laughed. "No, thank you! The girl is my Big Brother and the Panda is Papa!"

Soun's jaw dropped, but Kasumi merely smiled, helping Ranko set the girl down on the floor. Soun started to pick the panda up, but quickly regretted it.

"Akane, Nabiki! Please come here!" Yelled Soun. <Wow! This panda is heavy, and that little girl was carrying it like it was nothing…>

"Ranko, let me get you something to wear. It appears you lost your shirt along the way."

At that, Ranko sniffed. "Yeah… those meanies who were picking on me destroyed the shirt my Big Brother made for me…WAHHH!"

Kasumi smiled, hugging the girl. "Don't worry, I'm sure your 'Big Brother' will make another one for you."

Ranko sniffed. "You think so?"

"I'm sure he would. If he took the time to make you one, I am sure he wouldn't mind making another one for you. And if he doesn't have time, I'll make one for you."

Ranko giggled. "Yay!"

Ranma-chan came to with one hell of a headache. As she sat up, she realized that she was in foreign surroundings. Immediately, she flipped out of the bedroll and got into a defensive stance, startling the girl that was about to apply a wet wash cloth to her head.

"Where am I? Where's my sister? Where's Pop?" The nervous redhead began to ask. Her eyes darting around. About that time, she noticed Ranko talking animatedly with another girl who looked like she could have been the first girl's older sister. Further looking found the panda asleep out in the side yard, by the koi pond.

As Ranma's vision began to clear, she got a better look at her captor and the confused expression on her 'captor's' face. She relaxed realizing that the girl had no hostile intent.

"Sorry, the last thing I remember is getting ready to fight those three teenagers that were picking on my sister…" The red-head began, sheepishly.

The brown haired girl smiled, sticking her hand out. "That's OK. My name's Nabiki. Nabiki Tendo."

Ranma-chan smiled and shook the proffered hand. "My name's Ranma Saotome, sorry about this."

"Ranma? Son of Genma?" asked a male voice.

Ranma blushed. "Um, yeah." Ranma looked at the black haired man with a mustache, who was kneeling at a table.

"But, you're a girl." He looked from Ranma-chan to Ranko. <With a half… dragon sister also> he thought.

Ranko giggled from where she was, in the kitchen. "Big Brother isn't always a girl."

Kasumi looked up, casually brushing her long brown hair away from her face as she did. "Ranko, dear, what do you mean, he's not always a girl? Isn't your sister… well… your sister?"

Ranko giggled, her wings fluttered happily. "No. I don't have a sister, Kasumi. I have a big brother and right now, he's a girl." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well, there is my blood sister from the Amazon Village…"

Ranma put his hand over Ranko's mouth, smiling. He whispered "Ranko, we don't need to explain that right now."

Ranko pouted as Ranma removed her hand. "But, Big Brother, why not? She is my blood sister…"

Ranma sighed.

Everyone else looked a little puzzled. "Um, son, what are you talking about?"

"Excuse me, Mr. Tendo, would you mind if we talked about Ranko's blood sister later? Oh, why's Pop outside?"

Soun looked puzzled. "Your pop, outside? You mean Genma? Genma isn't here, that I saw. Just a panda."

Ranko giggled again. "Papa is the panda."

"What do you mean?"

Ranma sighed. "Do you have any hot water?"

Kasumi nodded towards the kettle sitting on the table near her teacup. Ranma took the kettle and upended it over herself. Before the Tendo's eyes, Ranma's shape changed, her chest redistributing itself to a more masculine build, her shoulders becoming broader, and her hair becoming black, she also grew in size by about a foot. As Ranma looked at Soun and Kasumi again, his blue eyes held sadness.

"Oh, my…" exclaimed Kasumi.

Soun's cup fell from his hands, shattering as it hit the table, tea splashing everywhere. Soun, himself, fainted.

When Soun next opened his eyes, Kasumi was applying a damp washcloth to his forehead.

"Well, Daddy, that was interesting. You find out that our "fiancé" is a girl half the time and then you faint." Nabiki looked slightly amused. Her eyes narrowed slightly. <What concerns me though is Ranko. She appears to be… well… half dragon… or vampire, or something. It's as if she isn't totally human.>

Soun quickly got up. "That's right. There is that business to attend to. Oh, Genma, my old friend… I didn't see you come in."

Genma was sitting next to Ranma at the table.

There was another girl in the room, leaning against the wall with her arms folded across her chest. She was wearing an off-white gi, had long black hair tied in a ponytail with a ribbon, and looked annoyed.

Nabiki looked at the girl and snorted. "Geez, Akane, do you think that wall is going to fall down without you?"

Akane glared at her sister. "Well, not everyone thinks boys are the most important thing on the planet, Nabiki. I think this whole thing stinks."

Ranma frowned. "Um… excuse me. Did someone say fiancé? What are you talking about?" Ranma glared at Genma.

Genma sweatdropped. "Oh… heheh… did I forget to mention that you are supposed to marry one of Soun's daughter's?"

Ranma was speechless… "I thought you said we were here to fulfill a promise YOU made, Pop…" Ranma had his head down, so that Genma couldn't see his face.

"Well, ha ha… that was the promise, Ranma…"

Ranma growled, then grabbed his father by the shirt and throwing him into the koi pond. After a few seconds, the panda emerged from the water.

"Oh, dear…" said Kasumi, in surprise.

Ranma marched out to the edge of the pond. "How DARE you make promises concerning my life!" A small metal tub slammed into Ranma's head splashing him with water and knocking him backwards. She got up, her look smoldering as she advanced on the panda who had thrown it.

"Father, you have some strange friends." Kasumi was somewhat mystified. She liked Ranko, already considered her as somewhat of an adopted sister, but she didn't know about Ranma.

Soun sighed. "I assure you, they weren't like this before they went to China."

Ranko giggled and walked out into the middle of the war zone, which consisted of Ranma-chan fighting Genma-panda. She poured hot water on both Genma and Ranma with the kettle she had carried out with her. Then, she picked up the overweight martial artist with one hand and grabbed a surprised Ranma with her other, carrying them both into the house by their shirt collars.

"Hey, Sis! Put me down! I can walk on my own two legs!"

Ranko frowned. "Oh, no. You're being a bad boy. We're guests at someone's house and you're out there fighting with Papa!"

Nabiki smirked. "This gets more and more interesting…."

Ranko set both of them down at the table. "Now… please, Big Brother, behave? We are guests here; can we act like it? That goes for you too, Papa."

Akane snorted. It figured. With her daddy, it didn't surprise her that these people acted like weirdoes. Well, they were still guests and she was going to make them feel welcome. She walked over to Ranko and stuck her hand out.

"I'm Akane, want to be friends?"

Ranko smiled, showing her fangs. "Can we?" She was genuinely enthusiastic.

Akane saw Ranko's fangs and time seemed to freeze for her. Something in her mind seemed to stir. An image… of herself as a little girl watching something that resembled a man biting her mother on the neck… Watching the life drain out of her mother's eyes as the creature slowly killed her… And then it looked at her with those fangs as it laughed, flying out the window…

Akane growled as a voice seemed to say in her mind, "She's one of them, responsible for killing your mother. Kill her before she takes any other members of your family!" Akane nodded to herself. Then stopped. How could this… child, be a threat to her family? She seemed to be genuinely innocent. "No!" The voice seemed to say. "It's a trick. Can't you tell by the wings and the fangs? She's not human! How can she be? Kill her before she destroys your family!" What few defenses and questions Akane had crumpled at that final attack on her consciousness. She would remove the problem discreetly and be very careful about it when she did.

Ranko had a nervous expression on her face as she noticed Akane's demeanor change. She also noticed that there was a very feint red glow around Akane's body… the glow scared Ranko… it felt dark and evil… she quickly shook Akane's hand then hid behind her brother.

Ranko's sudden nervousness didn't go unnoticed by Ranma. "Sis, what's wrong?"

Kasumi smiled as she brought in more tea. "Ranko's probably just a little nervous by that red glow that Akane gets from time to time." She looked thoughtful. "It's usually before she gets really mad and then destroys something."

Akane got a worried look on her face. Ranma eyed her, critically. He still couldn't see what they were talking about.

Nabiki, for once, couldn't say anything. She was still in shock by what she had just heard. Her jaw was still hanging open, which her sister Kasumi politely closed for her, causing an audible "click" sound when her teeth came together. "Nabiki, please keep your mouth closed, its not nice to make faces at our guests."

Nabiki hadn't heard her. <Akane with a red glow surrounding her body? Why does that sound… familiar?> Nabiki tried to sort things out in her mind, not noticing the conversation going on around her.

Akane giggled a bit. "So, Ranko, do you practice any martial arts?"

Ranko smiled. "Yes, Papa taught me quite a bit of Anything Goes, amongst others." She frowned. "But, I don't like fighting. I don't want to hurt people."

Akane smiled, slyly. "Do you like to spar?"

Ranko smiled. "Sparring is OK. It's kinda like wrestling with friends, right?"

Ranma frowned. Warning signs were going off in his head, but he couldn't explain why.

Akane nodded. "Then, I CHALLENGE YOU! …" Noticed everyone was staring at her and she gulped nervously as she continued. "To a sparring match."

Ranma put his hand up to stop Ranko from getting up. "Sis, I think you should pass on this challenge. It's been a long day." Ranma couldn't explain why something seemed to be screaming 'danger' in his mind. It was almost like Akane was a monster. Yet, all he could see was someone who was very angry for some reason.

The panda growfed at Ranma, holding up a sign. [She has to accept the challenge.]

"Wow! What a neat trick!" Exclaimed Nabiki. "Where'd he learn to do that?"

Ranko giggled. "I gave him a magic sign holder so he could 'talk' to us while he was a panda. I'm just not sure how I made the sign…"

"What do mean 'she has to accept the challenge'?"

[The honor of the Saotome name is at stake. She must accept the challenge!]

"No. This wouldn't be fair. I know it's about honor and the Saotome name."

[Ranma, if she doesn't learn to use her abilities, how will she defend herself when you aren't around?]

Ranma sighed. "OK, you're right." Ranma turned his gaze towards Akane, seeming to burn it into her. "However, this is a sparring match. I wouldn't like it if you tried to hurt my sister."

"Fine, whatever." Akane's thoughts were along a darker line. I'll show them whose their enemy. No vampire is going to try and suck my family's blood and get away with it.

Akane headed out to the dojo, her eyes glowing a faint red, briefly.

A few minutes later, Ranko was talking with Ranma on one side of the dojo. Akane was doing warm-up exercises on the other.

Ranko turned to face Akane, and Nabiki stood slightly to one side of them, with her arm held between the combatants to separate them.

"Ready!" She said. She paused for a moment as both combatants nodded and then dropped her arm in a slicing motion. "Begin!"

Akane stepped forward, confidently and took a few swings at Ranko who ducked the first one, leaned back so that the second one missed her, and then jumped to avoid the leg sweep, tucking her legs under her as she did, but quickly landing on her feet.

Akane was getting frustrated. "Come on and fight me!" she yelled while doing a power punch, following up with a palm thrust. Both missed their marks as Ranko nimbly did a reverse handspring to avoid both attacks.

"Akane! I thought this was supposed to be a sparring match…" was the response. Ranko moved to the side of Akane's next foot strike grabbing her foot and pulling slightly causing the black-haired girl to lose her balance momentarily, giving Ranko enough time to put one hand on Akane's thigh and do a handstand, followed with a forward flip over Akane's shoulders. Akane fumed some more, getting madder and madder.

Akane went into a series of punches and kicks, forcing Ranko backwards. Ranko dropped into a ball, rolling backwards and then popping back on her feet with her hands. Akane pressed the attack continuing to force the winged girl backwards. Ranko suddenly found herself backed up against the wall. She looked at Akane, a sad look on her face. The red glow around Akane's body seemed to be getting brighter.

"At last! The final attack!" Akane threw everything into a forward punch. Ranko jumped, landing in a handstand on Akane's shoulders, staying there long enough to look at Akane and smile before doing a back flip off of her shoulders and land on the other side of her. Akane's fist went through the dojo wall, knocking a board loose, which promptly fell down and nailed Akane on the head, which sent her reeling for a few moments. The glow wavered some, before returning to a steady red color.

"Akane! Are you OK?" Ranko ran over to Akane to help steady her. However, Akane would have none of it and as Ranko reached a hand out to help steady the angry girl, she suddenly found herself being thrown over Akane's shoulders in a basic Judo throw.

Ranko curled into a ball as she hit the floor and rolled away from her opponent. Then, she popped back onto her feet. "Akane, STOP IT! This will get you nowhere!"

Akane growled as she jumped, trying a flying back kick. Ranko ducked, and rolled forward. Akane landed, but quickly went into a roundhouse kick catching Ranko in the side as she was turning around. She found herself flung across the dojo and into the wall. Ranko reoriented herself and bounced off the wall. "Ranko Saotome Final Attack! Amazon Teddy Bear Hug!" the red head yelled as she grabbed Akane in a Bear Hug. Akane was too surprised to react and the momentum carried both off their feet. Ranko's hands glowed with bluish light as they fell, and by the time they hit the floor, Akane was asleep.

Ranko started crying. "Why did she start acting that way? Did I do something wrong? I didn't mean it if I did!"

Soun's eye twitched. "Incredible. Its… its the infamous martial arts move rarely seen outside of the legendary Chinese Amazon tribes. The martial arts move used to defeat an enemy without having to kill him by touching specific nerve points on the back. Oh, to think I should live so long as to see it done in front of me."

Ranma smirked. "Well, Mr. Tendo. Anything Goes, right? That was a… friendlier way to stop th' fight, 'cause Ranko didn't want t' hit yer daughter."

Kasumi smiled. "How nice. Such a pleasant girl, don't you think so, Nabiki?"

"Yeah, Sis, whatever." Nabiki stared at the scene that just occurred, her mind reeling. <That… was an attack? Who in their right mind uses an attack that sounds THAT cute????>"

After a little while, everyone gathered around the table.

"Could someone please explain all this?" Asked a very bewildered Soun.

Ranko sighed. "Well, it all started when Papa got this idea for taking us to these "special training grounds" he had heard of…"

Ranko told of their experience at Jyusenkyo. And of the falls into the ponds despite the Guide's warnings.

"Oh, my," summed up Kasumi, putting her hand to her mouth.

Soun frowned looking at Ranko's wings again. "Um… then you aren't under a Jyusenkyo curse??"

Ranko giggled. "Of course not! What would make you think that?"

Soun gulped. Nabiki saved him trying to explain himself. "Gee, Daddy, its not everyday that you meet a girl with wings. And she's not cursed? Now that is news for the tabloids…."

Akane shook her head, sadly. Fools and madmen seemed to populate this city.

Genma was crying. "Oh, you don't know the shame of it. My son turns into a girl half the time. How can I raise him to be a man- *erk*?"

Genma was cut off as Ranma gave him a flying kick into the koi pond. "Geez. You don't have to make such a big deal about this. At least I don't turn into a panda!"

Kasumi quickly snapped herself out of her reverie as Soun began talking again. "Well, Saotome, I don't see the problem. He's still a young man, so he can still marry one of my daughters!"

The panda used the kettle Kasumi handed him to change back into his human form. "That's right, Tendo!" Said Genma, as he sat his wet self back down at the table, next to his old friend.

"Well, you've already met my daughters, son, " said Soun, indicating Akane, Nabiki, and Kasumi. "Choose one of them and they will be your wife."

Akane growled. "There ain't no way I want any part of this. There's no way I want to marry this… this… weirdo with his even weirder sister."

Ranma was on his feet! "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Exactly what I said. You're a weirdo! I bet you ogle yourself in the mirror while in girl form."

Ranma growled. "No I don't! Um… what's ogle mean?"

Akane facefaulted.

Ranko tapped her brother on the shoulder. He waved her off. Ranko nervously watched Akane as she gripped the sides of the table. Hesitantly, she decided to put some distance between herself and the impending attack that Ranma seemed to be steering himself into.

Soun frowned. Kasumi spoke up before he could say anything. "Father, since I am the eldest, I should be the one to carry the family honor." Kasumi smiled at Ranma and Ranko both. <Yes,> she thought. <Ranko needs someone to look after her.> Kasumi felt a sort of motherly instinct which seemed to be awakened by Ranko's presence.

Soun nodded in approval. "Very good, Kasumi-dear. You make your father very proud."

Akane and Ranma continued to glare at each other. "Fine," began Ranma, smiling briefly at Kasumi before turning to glare back at Akane. "As long as I don't have to marry this uncute, macho tomboy bitch…"

Ranma never saw the table that Akane picked up and slammed down over his head, causing it to break into several pieces in the process. "Tomboy bitch, am I? Fine! Die, weirdo!"

Genma snorted. "Ranma, my boy, you had that coming. Maybe next time you'll have better manners when talking to someone of the opposite sex. And besides, someone with your martial arts knowledge should have been able to avoid that attack with ease! I'm ashamed of you, boy!"

Ranko was at Ranma's side in an instant. "Geez, Akane, you could have seriously hurt him!" she began checking her brother for signs of serious damage.

Akane snorted. "Yeah, right. That shouldn't of even phased him if he has studied any martial arts at all. Especially Anything Goes! What a moron."

Ranko glared at Akane. "You… you… You… YOU… MEANIE!" she yelled. Akane facefaulted, expecting a worse insult.

Soun frowned. "Akane, even though Ranma did insult you, that was no reason to attack him like that."

Nabiki looked at Akane. "Yeah, Akane. You know how much it's going to cost to get a new table to replace that one?"

Akane growled. "Fine, side with… these… weirdoes then. It's not my fault none of you see the danger you're in! See if I try and protect any of you from them!" She stormed upstairs slamming her door. She'd show them there was danger here. She'd show them that she wasn't the bad guy.

Nabiki sighed. "You'll have to excuse my sister, if you will. She has been this way for the last few years. She has nightmares about seeing a vampire killing mother when she was five. None of us know what to think about that." She shook her head.

After dinner (which was a quiet event), Kasumi asked Ranko if she wanted to help her with the dishes. Ranko looked up, her eyes sparkling. "Do you mean it, big sister Kasumi?"

Kasumi smiled. She could get used to having Ranko around. "Of course."

The two went in to clean dishes and Ranko learned the art of Martial Arts Dish Catching after she dropped a few while washing them. Kasumi merely giggled and showed her what she had done wrong. Ranko liked Kasumi. After a little while, both were finished with the dishes. This did not go unnoticed by Ranma who watched them both very carefully. Kasumi honestly seemed to like having Ranko around. He felt this was a good thing if true. However, looks weren't everything and he didn't trust everything he saw.

"Ranko, would you like to take a bath now?" asked Kasumi after they had finished cleaning.

Ranko nodded her head.

Kasumi led Ranko to the bathroom, flipping the sign over as she did.

"I'll get these washed for you Ranko as you take a bath. I'll see if I can find something for you to wear in the meantime."

Ranko smiled brightly. "OK, Big Sister. Thanks."

While Ranko was taking her bath, Kasumi showed Ranma and Genma to the guestroom. They put their packs in there, getting themselves settled in. Soun had told them they would be staying awhile, to which Genma heartily agreed.

Ranko relaxed in the bath. It was so nice to be able to soak for a bit after sparring. She sighed, sadly. She never understood why everyone always treated her like she was evil. She wasn't. She was just… different. She didn't know why she had the wings and fangs. Her parents didn't know either. She sighed, again.

Her attention was distracted by the sound of someone knocking on the door. "Um, come in?" she hesitantly responded. She relaxed as Kasumi opened the door.

Kasumi walked in, carrying a change of clothes. She smiled brightly as she entered, closing the door behind her.

"Your clothes are in to wash. Unfortunately, we don't have anything that would fit you with your wings as they are. And seeing how you came here without a shirt, we'll need to get you a new one. However, we can go to the store and pick up some new clothes if you'd like. They'll have to be modified to fit, of course, since girls with wings aren't who the designers usually make clothing for! For now, why don't you try wearing this bathing suit top with these jeans that Nabiki lent me for you to wear?"

Ranko perked up at that. "Really? Do you mean it? Traveling with Papa all the time left us with very little money. So we never really had a chance to buy new clothes."

Kasumi giggled. "Yes, Ranko, I do."

Ranko flung her arms around Kasumi's neck in a girlish hug. "You're the best, Kasumi!" Kasumi smiled.

Akane chose that moment to enter the bath thinking that it would be nice to have a nice hot bath herself. What she saw when she walked in was Ranko trying to sink her fangs into Kasumi's neck. The innocent ploy was so obvious to Akane. Ranko acted innocent until she got one of Akane's sisters alone and then she sucked their blood. Simple. Why didn't anyone else see how simple it was? And there was no way Akane was going to let this happen in her family again! Once was enough.

Kasumi was startled out of her hug when Akane kicked Ranko in the face knocking her across the bath. Her head slammed into the far wall and Ranko fell into the water, unconscious. It only took a moment for Kasumi to react.

She… got mad.

"Keep your fangs out of my sister!" Yelled Akane. "Hasn't your kind done enough damage to my family?"

Kasumi slowly got up until she was within a foot of Akane. "Akane! That was uncalled for! Ranko is our guest here and you've done nothing but be mean to her! It just so happens Ranko was giving me a hug. She was NOT attempting to bite me!"

Ranma, Nabiki, Genma and Soun were in the bathroom in a flash before Akane knew what was going on. "Akane, what happened?"

Akane was in a rage, tears coming down the side of her face. "Her kind took my mother from me! Her kind are the ones to blame for her not being here!" By now, her aura had made itself known and tripled in size. A voice inside Akane's mind seemed to be laughing.

Ranma stepped forward, visibly agitated. "Calm down, Akane. Ranko's NOT a vampire. I wish you'd get it through your head. SHE'S NOT YOUR ENEMY!"

Akane launched herself at Ranma. "Like hell she isn't! She has the fangs! She has the wings! She's a vampire!" Before Akane got very far, Kasumi moved ever so slightly, touching an area on Akane's neck. Akane collapsed into Ranma's arms. The glow that was surrounding Akane's body, quickly winked out.

Kasumi ran over to where Ranko's unmoving form was slowly sinking under the water and pulled her out of the bathtub.

"Ranko… Ranko…?" Kasumi put her head over Ranko's mouth and listened, quietly. She breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. She's still breathing…" Kasumi gently picked Ranko up and carried her out of the bathroom.

Ranma carried Akane to her room, which Nabiki showed the way to.

Kasumi continued to work on Ranko in her room. She wished Akane would get over the death of their mother. With her like that it made it difficult for Kasumi to get anything done. And yet, Kasumi could feel a presence that resided within the house. A presence she hadn't felt since the death of their mother. That worried her, since the presence was coming from Akane.

She put one of her loose nightgowns on Ranko, after drying her off with a towel. It was obviously too big, but it covered all the places that Kasumi felt needed to be covered.

There was a knock on her door. She already had an idea who it was.


Ranma entered Kasumi's room, quietly, closing the door behind him. Kasumi smiled at Ranma. "Hello, Ranma-kun."

Ranma tried smiling, failed and sighed. "Is Ranko OK?"

Kasumi nodded. "Yes. She will only have a bump when she wakes up in the morning."

Ranma let out a sigh of relief. "That's good." He looked at his fiancée for a moment. <Cute and kind, but is she for real? Can she be trusted?>

Kasumi spoke, startling him, as she seemed to be reading his mind. "Ranma, you can trust me. I won't hurt your sister. As your fiancée, it is my duty to look after my future sister-in-law as well as my sisters."

Ranma sighed yet again. "Kasumi, I have nothing against you personally. I want to trust you, but the last time I trusted my sister's care to someone as nice as you, I ended up having to show them why they can't bully my sister like they did and in the ways they did."

Kasumi waited, her smile wavered only for a moment. <I wonder what they did to her to make Ranma so reluctant to talk about it. Its obvious that he's uncomfortable talking about it all as he keeps fidgeting while talking about that subject. Its sad that people have to be so mean.> "Ranma, I am a Tendo. My honor is very important and as such, you have my word that nothing will happen to Ranko while she is under my care. However, something you should think about, Ranma, is that she is female. Whereas you and your father are male."

Ranma shrugged, nonchalantly. "So? What's that got ta do with anything'?"

"I noticed Ranko wasn't wearing a bra when she got here… and neither do you while you are a girl. She has obviously been taking lessons from you and your father, otherwise she would be wearing a bra. Its female things like that, which she needs to be taught about. She's a girl, not a cursed boy.

She needs to learn to cover herself more than she does as well as learning to have feminine modesty."

"Of course I don't wear a bra! I'm a guy!" Ranma yelled, then 'erked' in surprise, realizing how loudly he had said that. Kasumi stifled a giggle. She had expected that kind of reaction.

Ranma blushed, embarrassed. "Um… S-s-sorry…"

Kasumi smiled. "That's OK, Ranma. I think Ranko should stay with me, however. I think it would be good for her to have someone who could better set an example that she could follow."

Ranma sighed. Kasumi did have a point. Ranko acted like a tomboy a lot of times, while it was obvious she was trying to be a girl at the same time. It didn't work very well. Ranma smiled. Maybe this would work out. Ranko did need to learn about being a girl. That was something he couldn't teach or show her since he didn't have a clue himself. Kasumi seemed nice enough and she would make a good teacher for Ranko to learn from. Maybe things would work out… He stopped as he felt something. Kasumi frowned as she walked over to the door and opened it. Soun and Genma both fell inside the room, hitting the ground face first. Nabiki casually walked to her room, opening the door and closing it, softly behind her.

She looked down at the two fathers and smiled. "Father? Mr. Saotome? Is there something I can help you with?"

Soun gulped as he sought for some reasonable explanation. "Um… We were just looking at the nice design on your door, Kasumi dear. Isn't that right, Saotome?"

[Don't look at me, I'm just a cute panda…]

Soun looked at Genma-panda. "You traitor!"

Soun chased Genma-panda down the stairs, trying to hit him with his own sign. They ran all the way to the living room, and stopped at the Go board.

"Shall we get back to the important things in life, Genma?" asked Soun, taking a seat on one side of the board. The panda nodded and sat on the other side.

Ranma groaned. "I don't believe those two…"

After the previous chaos, there was silence. Kasumi looked back at Ranma. For a moment, he said nothing. Then, he seemed to finally get the nerve.

"Um…Thanks for looking after my sister, Kasumi."

Kasumi smiled. "That's OK, Ranma."

Ranma and Kasumi rejoined the families downstairs. Genma and Soun were chatting away. They stopped when they saw Ranma and Kasumi arrive. "Ah, there you two are. We think it would be a good idea if you both shared a room…"

Kasumi and Ranma both turned a deep crimson.

"Father!" Began Kasumi, a shocked tone to her voice. "I don't know Ranma well enough to be sharing a room with him. Shouldn't that wait until after we are married? It's not proper for us to be together before then."

Soun gulped, nervously. "Well… I guess it wouldn't hurt…" He quickly looked for another subject to bring up. "Is Ranko OK?"

Kasumi smiled. "Yes, Father, she'll be fine. She will just have a bump on her head for a few days." <Akane's behavior is worrying me. I may need to see Dr. Tofu about this before too long. Hopefully, he will know what should be done. Before this, Akane was just an angry young girl… But, within the last few days, her anger has been almost horrifying…>

Since it was late, everyone retired to bed. Ranma sighed, as he stared off into space. It had been a busy day and something didn't feel right about this house. He wasn't sure what it was, though. He looked at his father who was already snoring away and decided he should follow suit.


— End Episode 1 —

Author's notes: Well, what do people think so far? Email me your C&C if you would, as I would be interested in what people's opinion of all this is.

Coming up: In Episode 2, The Saotome Siblings start their first days of school. Ranko and Ranma take on Kuno. Ranko displays her "ki attack". Kuno spends most of the day trimming the jungle in the schoolyard. Akane continues fighting with Ranko and Ranma. Kasumi and Ranma try and get to know each other. Nabiki tries to figure out when she entered the Twilight Zone…

Also, watch for the side story, which should be out pretty soon, called "Ranko's Dreams" its a somewhat dark story and only takes place at night between several episodes. Coming soon.

Episode 2
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