The Child Arrives
Own Ranma and Buffy I do not. Know it you do. Sue me you will not. As well, own Yoda I do not. This is set in a slightly AU Season Three of Buffy. Faith is less liked by the Scoobies, though she has not yet lost all trust in people.
“Good Lord,” Rupert Giles, tweed-clad Watcher and librarian, exclaimed after reading one of the letters he had received in the mail that day. As he was currently in the school library with his charges and their friends, his outburst was immediately noticed.
The elder of his charges, Buffy Summers, reacted first, turning from the pile of demonology texts on the library table to ask, “What is it, Giles? Is there a new prophesy the Council just noticed, or something?” Prophesies are bad; they tend to kill people.
“Not this time,” Giles replied, to the audible relief of all. “This is a purely personal matter, though it will doubtlessly effect all of you as well. I will not try to conceal the consequences of my past; I learned my lesson last time.”
“Personal matter that will effect us all,” Xander Harris mused with a grin. “Is this another demon from your ill-spent youth?”
“Fortunately, no,” Giles assured the group. “This is actually from the time when I was recovering from my addiction. I may have had a few dalliances where we were not as careful as we should have been.”
Surprisingly, to the others, Faith was the first to connect the dots, “So you knocked up some woman; what does that have to do with us?” The others had a flash of insight and gaped at the requisite mental images such a revelation provoked. While they tried, rather unsuccessfully, to find a happy place, the conversation continued.
“Yes, well. My past relationships aside, this will, indeed, effect all of us. I have just been informed that my child will be arriving in Sunnydale soon.”
Willow snapped out of her imagery induced catatonia enough to ask, “Your child? Not your son or your daughter?”
“Yes, quite,” Giles agreed. “The letter was intentionally ambiguous, using absolutely no gender-specific nouns. As I see it, this can mean only two things. Nodoka is either upset that I never returned her letters or called her, and she is getting her revenge by being as vague as possible, or she is trying to lesson any preconceptions I may have.”
“Ooh!” Xander interrupted, an eager look on his face. “Let's make bets! I'm betting revenge.”
“I think she's trying to lessen preconceptions,” Willow stated firmly.
“I'm with Willow,” Buffy agreed. Xander pouted a bit.
“Revenge,” Cordelia decided, causing Xander's pout to vanish. “I mean, you totally should have called her or something at least once!”
Oz shrugged and replied. “Both.”
“Considering where the fuck we are,” Faith began, “It's definitely both. How much do we have to work with?”
Giles sighed, cleaning his glasses at the antics of the teens before him, before answering, “All I know is that my child's name is Saotome Ranma, and that he or she is Japanese. Therefore, Ranma is his or her personal name, while Saotome is the surname.”
Buffy blinked and asked, “That's it? That's all we have to work with?”
“Unfortunately,” Giles confirmed. “To make matters even more serious, Nodoka knows nothing of magic, demons, or Slayers, so Ranma is doubtlessly not prepared to survive on the Hellmouth. If at all possible, I would like to ease him or her into the reality of the world.”
“Don't worry, Giles,” Buffy reassured her watcher, “we'll find Ranma before anything can happen to her, or him, I guess.” Buffy had obviously already decided that Ranma was female. After all, all foreign names fallow the same rule: names ending in 'o' are masculine, and names ending in 'a' are feminine. We'll leave her to her delusions for the moment.
Much later that evening, Faith was on her way back to her motel room after a tiring patrol. After spending half the night waiting for a fledgling to rise, only for the blood in his mouth to have been from a bit tongue or something, and therefore not rising, she patrolled the warehouse area, still not finding anything to kill. Annoyingly, not finding anything made her more tired than fighting five vampires would have.
Hearing what sounded suspiciously like a fight, Faith grinned, feeling new energy fill her. It seemed her luck was looking up. Running towards the fight, Faith made it into viewing range quickly, only to stop so suddenly that she almost fell. Before her was a sight that stunned her enough that she could only say three words, “No fucking way.”
Twenty vampires were surrounding a single person, a teenage girl by the look of it, wearing a red shirt and black pants, with only a street light for illumination. This was not what stopped Faith. It was the actions of the girl that gave her pause. “Come on, is that all you've got?” the girl demanded as she took down another vampire. Now that Faith took the time to look, she noticed that there were already three vampires on the ground, not moving.
The girl continued to leap, flip, and bend out of the way of the vampires’ punches while almost casually beating them into the ground, in some cases literally, as a few impact craters showed. By now, seven vampires had fallen beneath the fist of the mysterious redhead and were unable to get up again, while the girl showed no signs of tiring. By the time Faith recovered from her shock enough to move, some five minutes later, all of the vampires were down for the count, and the redhead was looting them. “You might as well come out,” the girl called over her shoulder in Faith's direction. “I know you're there!”
Faith started; Slayers were usually too stealthy for the average human to notice. Then again, this girl was no average human. Stepping out of the alley and into proper sight, she called back, “How did you do that?” She was not sure whether she was referring to fighting the vampires or detecting herself.
“It was simple,” the girl replied. “They might have been stronger and faster than an untrained person, but they're no match for most of the people I fight, and had less skill than a barroom brawler to boot.”
“Why are you looting them?” Faith asked, having never considered the idea before.
“Well, I'm going to be here a while, so I'll need money for food and a place to stay. Besides, they were trying to rob me, so they deserved it.” Moving to a new body, she continued, “When you eat as much as I do, every little bit helps.”
They weren't trying to rob you,” Faith stated, pulling out a stake. “They were trying to eat you.” Bending down quickly, next to one of the already looted bodies, Faith slammed the stake into its heart, dusting it.
The girl stared at Faith in shock and horror. “What the hell did you do that for?” she demanded. “How could you just kill somebody like that? Sure they were trying to rob me, but still.”
Faith growled in annoyance, not liking the feelings the rant provoked. “That was not a person!” she shouted. “It was a demon-animated corpse! Go on, feel for a pulse. You won't find one. They're already fucking dead!”
“Fine.” the girl muttered, reaching down to the neck of the body before her. There was no pulse. Surprised, she tried another body, and then another. Turning back to Faith, she asked, “What the hell is going on here?”
Unable to help herself, Faith laughed, “Hell's about right.” Sobering, she continued, “Come on, I'll take you to Giles. He's better at explaining this shit, anyways.”
“Giles?” the girl asked. “Rupert Giles?”
“Yeah,” Faith confirmed. “Why do you ask?” She turned back and took another look at the girl. Now that they were standing at the right angles, relative to the streetlight, Faith could see the girl's Asian features. “You're Ranma, aren't you?”
“Yeah, I am. How did you know? I'm not supposed to marry you, am I?”
“Um, no,” Faith began with a blink. “I don't think so, at least.” She shrugged and added, “Wasn't really expecting to live that long, anyways.”
“What do you mean you won't live that long? You feel perfectly healthy from here!”
Faith sighed sadly and shrugged yet again before replying, “I'm a Slayer. We just don't live that long. Look, Giles can tell you a lot more about it than I can. Help me finish looting and dusting these vamps, and I'll take you to him. Anything on them is going to go with them, so let's not waste it.”
Ranma had to agree, figuring that she could figure it all out after meeting her biological father. Thus, the two girls left the scene of the fight with a total of well over $2000 and an armload each of watches, rings, necklaces, and other assorted jewelry; it is amazing what people will bury with their dead.. Faith even pried out a few gold teeth. Surprisingly, not a single weapon was found, not even a pair of brass knuckles. “What should we do with all of this, anyways?” Ranma asked, slowly slipping some of her swag into her sleeves for easier storage.
Faith stopped for a moment to consider their options. They could carry all of it into the library, where everyone would look down on it as stealing, well, maybe not Oz or Xander; they had their heads on straight, but Buffy would have a conniption fit; or they could... “Let's hide everything for now. Some of the others would have problems with us taking shit from vampires. We can pawn most of it off later.”
Ranma nodded, and suddenly her hands were completely empty. “Let me have your stuff for now so we can go meet my father already.”
“No!” Faith protested. “Why should I give my loot to you?”
Ranma sighed before explaining, “I'm not going to keep it. It's just that I can hide it more securely than you can, and I want to see my father, rather than just here about him.”
“Makes sense,” Faith reluctantly agreed, “though where would you hide all of this crap?” Looking back towards the redhead, she finally noticed Ranma's lack of goodies. “Where did your shit go?”
Ranma smirked smugly and answered, “I hid it all.”
Faith blinked before silently handing over her load of salvaged goods. Seconds later, both girls were empty handed. Suitably impressed by the display, she asked, “What else can you hide like that?”
“Well, I'm not very good at it yet,” Ranma admitted, “so I can only hide my pack and about 100 pounds of small stuff before it becomes noticeable.”
“Not very good?” Faith exclaimed in shock. “If that's not very good, than what is?”
“I know someone who carries at least a ton of weapons at all times, mostly chains and swords, but he also has some pole arms. I'm not sure, but I think he has a motorcycle hidden up one of his sleeves.
“A motorcycle?” Faith asked flatly.
“Yup, though I'm not really sure why. He can already run faster than a motorcycle could go, considering the traffic around Tokyo and all.”
“He could outrun a motorcycle?” Faith asked skeptically.
“Well, yeah,” Ranma answered, scratching the base of her pigtail. “Pretty much all of the martial artists in Nerima could run at least 30 miles an hour.”
“You're shitting me.”
“No I'm not,” Ranma denied. “I could outrun a hungry pack of wolves while carrying several hundred pounds when I was twelve.”
“Prove you can really run that fast,” Faith demanded. “Right here and right now.”
“Fine,” Ranma sighed, giving in to the perceived slight on her abilities far too easily. “Bridal or piggyback?” she asked, confusing Faith. When Faith failed to respond in a timely fashion, she elaborated, “How do you want to be carried?”
“Why would I need you to carry me?” Faith asked apprehensively.
“Well, I don't exactly know where I'm going,” Ranma admitted, embarrassedly scratching the back of her head, “So I need directions, and if you lead, I can't really use my full speed. I doubt you can run as fast as I can.”
“Fine,” Faith huffed. “I'll ride piggy back. It'll let me see where we're going better.” That being carried piggyback required less trust went unmentioned or unnoticed, depending on the person.
“Make sure you hold on tight,” Ranma warned as she crouched to make it easier for Faith to climb on. Faith scoffed as she attempted to make herself comfortable on the smaller girl's back. Perhaps being carried bridal style would have been less awkward, but it was too late to change her mind now. At least Faith would have no trouble holding on, what with her Slayer strength and reflexes. “Here we go!” Ranma shouted to give Faith a last second warning before she moved. Faith, despite her Slayer abilities, was not prepared for the acceleration from a standing start to, if she was any judge, at least 40 miles per hour in less than three seconds. If Ranma had not wrapped her arms around Faith's legs, her passenger would have been left behind. As it was, the only thing that prevented Faith's legs from dislocating was her Slayer constitution.
“Holy fuck!” Faith exclaimed once her heart started beating regularly again. “You call this thirty miles an hour? It's more like forty, at the very least!”
Still running, but not noticeably exerting herself yet, Ranma replied, “Yeah, well, I'm not very good with conversions. Besides, I'm faster than the others.” That last bit was just dripping with smugness.
Fifteen minutes, twelve miles, and three drivers almost given a heart attack later, the two girls arrived at Sunnydale High School. Having thoroughly enjoyed herself after the initial terror wore off, Faith, still perched on Ranma's back, exclaimed, “That was fucking wicked! How did you get so fast?”
“I mostly got faster through some of the training exercises Pops used.”
“Really? Can you teach me?” Faith asked, her eyes shining like a kid's in a candy store.
“Sorry, I can't,” Ranma said apologetically. “I don't have a Teaching Certificate, or a Master Certificate, so I can't teach yet. Besides, I'd never use those training methods. Especially not with a friend.”
“What's wrong with the training? It worked for you, didn't it?”
“Sure, Pop's ideas worked, but most of them could have easily killed me, or anyone else who tried. Being tied behind a train to improve speed and stamina isn't exactly safe.”
“You're kidding, right?” When Faith noticed Ranma's face, she said, “You're fucking serious? Damn.” Noting that they had been standing outside the school, in the dark, for several minutes already, Faith continued, “We should head inside; the others are probably still here.”
“Okay,” Ranma shrugged. Gesturing into the school, she added, “Lead the way.” Thus, both girls made their way into the building, with the library as their destination.
The core Scoobies; Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles; were gathered around the center of the library, pouring over an assortment of books in a nearly futile hope of finding the signs for the next apocalypse before they occurred, when the double doors leading to the rest of the school banged open. “Yo, Giles!” Faith shouted, announcing her presence to the world, or, more realistically, to the library. “I've got some good news and some bad news 'bout your kid. Which do you want first?
Giles sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose tiredly before answering, “You might as well start with the bad news, Faith. It'd be better to not get my hopes up.”
“Right,” Faith agreed. “The bad news is that there is no way in hell you're going to keep Ranma 'blissfully unaware' about the supernatural shit and this fucking town; she already knows.”
Giles sighed yet again. “I suppose keeping Ranma in the dark, as it were, indefinitely was a fool's hope. What, may I ask, is the good news?”
Faith grinned and pulled Ranma in front of her, showing the shorter girl off as though it were 'Show and Tell' in second grade. “Did I die and no one tell me?” she asked as a setup, “because Ranma, here, kicks vampire ass like you wouldn't fucking believe.”
Ranma, for her part, weakly waved with one hand while scratching the back of her head with the other. “Um, hi? I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry 'bout this.”
Xander, after a not so brief struggle, managed to tear his gaze from the new redhead's chest to make eye contact. “Yo. I'm Xander. Nice to meet you.”
Instead of introducing herself, Buffy demanded, “What do you mean by 'kicking vampire ass'?”
“What does it sound like I mean?” retorted Faith. “She's better than a Slayer!”
“Impossible,” Buffy scoffed. “A normal human could never fight better than a Slayer!”
“Wouldn't say normal,” Ranma muttered softly enough that only Faith could hear her, and even then it was only because of her enhanced hearing. “You people keep talking about a Slayer,” Ranma commented, to the group as a whole. “What, exactly, is a Slayer?”
“Ah, yes,” Giles broke in, being the most qualified to answer. “The Slayer is the one girl in all the world with the power and skill to hold back the darkness. To keep the vampires and demons from overwhelming humanity. Well, two girls now, I suppose.”
“He left out the part where when one Slayer dies another is Called,” Faith added bitterly.
“Called?” Ranma asked, confused. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“When a Slayer dies,” Giles explained wearily, as this was the most depressing part of the Slayer spiel, “the Slayer Spirit, for lack of a better term, finds another Potential, and empowers her.”
“Faith said something about not living very long. What did she mean by that?”
“The average life expectancy of a Slayer is 18 months,” Buffy bleakly stated. “I lasted just over a year. Kendra didn't even last that long. I was lucky; Xander knew CPR.”
“That's horrible!” Ranma exclaimed. “Why doesn't anyone help them?”
Giles coughed guiltily and said, “The Watchers' Council takes the phrasing of the Slayer description a little too literally. 'Stands alone against the darkness,' indeed. Xander, Willow, Oz, and even Cordelia have demonstrated how help increases the life expectancy and ability of a Slayer.”
“Well, it's a Martial Artist's duty to protect the weak, so I guess I'll just have to help,” Ranma stated resolutely.
“Who are you calling weak?” Buffy demanded defensively. “I am not weak!”
“Buffy, please,” Giles tried, placatingly. “I'm sure she wasn't calling you weak.” Faith had to bite her tongue in order to stop herself from laughing at Ranma's muttered comment. Unaware of the commentary, Giles continued, “She just said that she'd be helping you and Faith protect the normal people.” Buffy continued to grumble, but she was being quiet enough for the others' attention to drift elsewhere.
“Um, Giles,” Willow began hesitantly. “This is all very interesting, but it's late, and I'm tired, and we have school tomorrow, so can we all just call it a night and continue in the morning, when we're rested and awake and not tired?”
“She said all of that in one breath?” Ranma asked Faith incredulously.
“Yup,” Faith confirmed. “Just don't ask me how.”
“Yes, well, you do have a valid point, Willow,” Giles admitted. “Ranma, I'm sorry, but I only just learned that you were coming this afternoon. As such, I have not had time to prepare a room for you. Will you be alright for the night?”
“Sure,” Ranma shrugged. “I'll just camp out in the park.”
The Scoobies just gaped, before Buffy exploded, “Are you insane? There's vampires out there! Do you want to die?”
Again, Ranma shrugged. “Well it's not like I can check into a hotel or something at this time of night. Besides, vampires don't seem that tough. Hell, even the Tomboy could have taken one of them.”
“Yo, B, chill,” Faith interjected. “My room's got two beds. Ranma can crash with me.”
“Um,” Ranma hedged, “I'm not sure that's a good idea.”
“Fuck yeah, it is,” Faith insisted. “We're both girls, so no problem there. 'Sides, we've got business to finish.”
“Yeah, about that,” Ranma began, “I'm not really a girl.”
“Sure,” Faith scoffed, “with tits like these, you must be a guy.” At this point, Xander would have made a stupid remark, that would result in at least a slap, had he not been distracted by Faith groping Ranma to illustrate her point. “You ain't getting away that easy! Stop arguing and come on; I want some sleep.”
“Please stop,” Ranma whined, or, as she would call it, protested manfully. With a slightly lecherous grin, Faith gave Ranma's breasts one last fondle before complying. Throwing her hands up in defeat, Ranma relented, “Fine, I give. I'll stay with Faith tonight. But first! You all saw me try and tell her! Remember that!”
“Um, sure,” Willow agreed uncertainly, a blush coloring her face. Behind her, Xander tried to discretely adjust his pants. He failed.
“Right,” Faith began,” now that that shit's taken care of, me and Ranma are gonna go. Later.” After a quick round of 'good night's, the two younger girls left, making their way back to Faith's hotel room.
After they were well out of earshot, the rumor mongering began. Giles started the event, quite unintentionally, by saying, “Ranma is definitely not what I was expecting, not that I had expectations, of course.”
“There's no way she's human,” Buffy declared. “Unless Faith's pranking us or something.”
“I wouldn't put it past her,” Willow sourly agreed.
“Buffy, Willow,” Giles began, cleaning his glasses all the while. “There is absolutely no reason a normal human, if very highly trained, could not take out thirty vampires if he or she was extremely lucky and had the element of surprise. Ferociously unlikely, perhaps, but not impossible.”
“Can someone as young as Ranma really be that skilled?” Xander asked out of honest curiosity.
With a sigh, Giles admitted, “I have never heard of anyone under the age of thirty being that skilled, though that hardly makes it impossible.”
“So, assuming Faith isn't lying, I'm guessing demon,” Buffy decided.
“Nah,” Xander disagreed. “She's human. Might have a Primal in her or something, though.”
“And why do you think that?” Buffy asked coldly.
Xander shrugged and answered with a self-depreciating grin, “She didn't try to hit on me.” When most of your dates turn out to be of the demonic persuasion, it tends to become rather predictable.
“But what did she mean about not really being a girl?” Willow asked.
“She was admitting that she is a demon!” Buffy cried, sticking to her story.
“There may be other reasonable explanations,” Giles tried, not quite ready to consider that his daughter might be a demon. That the idea that Ranma being a demon was a reasonable explanation speaks volumes about how Sunnydale relates to the rest of the world. That said, it is probably a good thing that Ranma had come from Nerima, where similar rationales abounded. To prevent any further arguments, Giles announced, “It's getting late. It would be best for you to go home and get some rest. We'll find out more in the morning.”
“Fine,” Buffy pouted. “But it'd better be worth it!” As Buffy's idea of 'worth it' was the confirmation of her unsubstantiated theory, she was bound to be disappointed. After returning the books to their proper shelves to maintain the appearance of a normal library, the Scoobies packed up and left for the night.
WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG
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