Threats not needed...
A/N: Well, we are getting to the good stuff finally, the thing that makes this a true crossover. Enter Xander stage left, a little cute, shaggy-haired Xander, knee-high to a grasshopper, who wouldn’t love him? I writing this quite seriously, with elaborate plans on how to get Xander away from his parents, when suddenly like a bolt of lightning out of the sky, I came up with this instead. Cause it lets me have Ranma complain for paragraphs on end.
Chapter 4: Threats not needed
The rest of the day was uneventful, Sarah still forgot to stop her shoulder from dropping, although on the plus side had given up her almost American attitude against cleaning up the dojo. A long and hard battle that had been. After straightening out the last details and turning off the lights for the night, Ranma headed over to their home. It was Clem’s turn to cook that night and he’d promised to try his hand at sushi, which should prove to be interesting.
The night was quiet for once, usually on the way home he would meet a couple of vampires, play around a bit before dispatching them with the chopstick he always kept on hand. They were easier to hide after all than a wooden katana.
It was long after dark, when Splinter finally darted through the catflap in the kitchen. Ranma had been getting slightly worried. Rationally he knew that Splinter could take care of himself, but irrationally he kept thinking, he’s just a rat, what will he do when a Fyoral demon grabs him for a quick snack. Sayonara Splinter-san.
“Splinter-san. You are home.” The rat only looked at him, forever refusing to respond to the obvious.
Instead he led the way to the lounge, now transformed into a homely room with a Japanese feel, low tables, cushions, the works. Flopping onto his favourite pillow, Splinter sighed. “Kid’s name is Alexander Harris, except the other kids call him Xander. And his home? It’s bad. The parents are alcoholics, practically ignored the child while I was there, but the way they acted I think they’re abusing him. Doesn’t have the marks on his arms for nothing I suppose.”
Ranma dropped down to the floor. “Why do people do that?”
“Makes them feel strong I suppose.”
“We have to get him out of there.”
“Ranma, this is not some demon you can just kill. Despite evidence to the contrary they are human. There are ways of doing this properly.”
“Why me?” Ranma groused. “It’s a foolproof plan he says.” He kicked a stone by the side of the road, garnering some stares from the other pedestrians. “This way nobody will suspect a thing he says.” Another kick sent a tincan flying. “Well that overgrown rat isn’t the one trying to walk around in TIGHTS!” The last was screamed at the heavens, causing some of the less courageous people around him to flee to the other side of the road. After all it wasn’t often that you saw a slight, pretty Japanese girl swear to herself about the clothing she was wearing.
Shifting uncomfortably because once again the tights were riding up his ass, Ranma stumbled a little in the grey high heels he was forced to wear. With another inaudible curse, he righted himself, pulled his equally grey costume straight and knocked on the door to the Harris household.
When no response could be heard, after all she had timed herself to arrive here about an hour before Xander was due back from primary school. So it was with a light heart that Ranma pressed her finger to the doorbell and left it there, until curses and crashed from inside showed that yes there was somebody home, they were opening the door and no, they were not happy at all about being awake at that time of day. Perfect. First rule of Anything Goes. If you can start out with your opponent in the defensive, then do so. And if he isn’t, make it so.
Ranma plastered a smile to her face and brought out the little folder that held the forged paperwork.
“What do you want?” A hoarse voice demanded, the owner squinting into the early morning sunlight, clearly unused to seeing the world before midday.
“Good morning, Mister Harris. I’m here about Xander.”
“What has the little shit done now?”
Ranma’s smile turned icy. “It’s more what has the big shit done now. You have been abusing that child for years and I am here to tell you that it is now over. Alexander is coming with me and will be placed in a safe and loving environment.
A crafty gleam entered the man’s eyes and he said: “What do I get?”
His attitude repulsed Ranma, who consoled herself with the thought that from now on Xander would not have to deal with this monster masquerading as a human being.
“Let’s put it a way you can understand. My organisation will fund your relocation and a new start for you and your wife. In return you will sign over guardianship to a person of our choosing and promise never to return and bother him again. If you do we will make your life a living misery and nobody will find your body, should they even bother to look. Be assured that Xander will be well taken care of.
“I’m sure you will.” A sickingly knowing grin came over the oaf’s face. “Couldn’t care less either way. You make it worth my while and it’ll be like I never had a son.”
“From what I have seen that seems to be the case already.” Ranma answered scathingly, choosing to ignore the man’s implications about what her plans for the boy were. “Let’s go inside and finalise the details and we can be out of your hair.”
The street went silent again, broken only by the wailing of a female inside the Harris residence, followed by a loud smack and a deep growl. The next several minutes were filled with a man’s grunts of pain and whimpered pleas for mercy.
The door opened once more and Ranma strolled back out as elegantly as her ineptitude with high heels allowed her. Patting back a stray strand of hair, she smilingly addressed Mr. Harris who seemed unwilling to leave the shelter of the house. “Did your mother never tell you not to hit women? Now you run along and pack his things and I will wait out here for Xander to come home.”
About twenty minutes later the door slammed open a final time and a carry-on bag was thrown out only narrowly missing Ranma where she sat on the stairs. She debated with herself whether or not to go back inside and teach the oaf another lesson in manners, but just then she saw the school bus stop at the end of the road, a bunch of kids pouring out laughing and jabbering away at each other. Gradually, one by one they drifted off on their own paths until the only one left was little boy, slightly smaller than the other, with clothes that would have seemed big on a ten year old. His cherub like face had streaks of dirt and tears on it, by the looks of things he was in dire need of a bath and some good food and a lot of tlc.
Clearly reluctant to arrive at home too soon, he shuffled his feet in their dirty sneakers, letting himself be distracted by flowers and stones, generally procrastinating as much as possible. It was only when he was a few feet away that he finally looked up and Ranma straight in the eye.
Ranma didn’t say anything, letting the boy start things at his own speed, knowing that this was the moment when their plans to save him could be made or broken.
Xander titlted his head to one side, chewing his lip and tugging at his sweater. “Who are you?”
“Who are you?” He asked bluntly, when the silence became too much for his six year old heart to take.
Ranma marvelled at the ability of the young to get away with asking rude questions, more than amused by the fact. “I’m Ranma Saotome.”
The tyke scrunched his nose. “You have the fight place in town, don’t you?”
“Yes. I’ve seen you watching through the window.”
Now the kid looked scared, though he did his best to hide it. “I didn’t do nothing. Please don’t tell on me.”
“It’s okay, really. Say, how would you like to come with me and live at my dojo?”
The kid absently scratched his nose. “You mean never come back here?”
“Yes, if you want.” Ranma chose not to tell the kid how easily his father had given him up. Some things he didn’t need to know.
“I don’t have to come back?”
“Not if you don’t want to.”
Xander turned his toes in and rocked on his heels, absently picking at a scab on the back of his hand. “But they’re my mommy and my daddy.” He looked despondent.
Ranma smiled at him. “I promise you never have to come back. Do you believe me?”
The kid shuffled his feet once more. “I guess.” Clearly getting the kid to trust him would take some work, but then he could be patient if her head to.
She chose not to comment on the kid’s reluctance and said: “Well, come along then. Better get going if we want to be home before dark.”
“Okay.” It was a good sign in Ranma’s opinion that Xander then took her hand and followed her down the street.
“You teach in the door joke?”
“It’s dojo and you could say that.”
“You look thinner now.”
Ranma was just about to launch into a rant how her gi did not make her look fat when she realised that she was reacting like a girl and silenced in horror. Instead she changed the subject and said: “Do you want to learn, too?”
“Are you going to hit me if I do something wrong?”
Once again Ranma tamped down on the fury rising in her, killing the impulse to go back and kill Xander’s dad. With a weak chuckle she said instead: “You’re a kid, that’s what kids do. Let me tell you what happened the first time I tried to learn the Neko Ken.”