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Called In Japan

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Summary: One Slayer Called in Japan can’t seem to be retrieved because of her family, so the new Watcher’s Council sends one of their best and most stubborn, Alexander Harris. Sequel added.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Ranma 1/2AnimeRoninFR18321,16891819,60211 Jul 0530 Aug 05Yes

Called In Japan

Called in Japan

Author: Anime Ronin

Rating: … let’s go with R, given what I’m using.

Summary: One Slayer Called in Japan can’t seem to be retrieved because of her family, so the new Watcher’s Council sends one of their best and most stubborn, Alexander Harris.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

AN: One-shot only – I don’t have the strength or hate for Xander to make this more than one story.

AN2: I have not now, nor have I ever seen Ranma ½ - all of the information about the show here-in are from two sources, Yorath the Wolf and Cyclone_Knight; a few things may be wrong, but it’s not from their lack of trying to correct it. I thank them for their input on this story.

(Airplane bound for Japan)

Xander closed the book he had been reading on the area he was being sent to and, for not the first time, was wondering WHY he had been dragged out of Africa and away from HIS Slayers to retrieve this one girl? From what he had read, four other Watchers, including ex-Principal Wood, had been sent to retrieve this girl and all of them, to a person, had come back with various amounts of both physical and psychological damage, muttering about the family and the insanity of the town of Nerima, but in one case about the cooking of one the sisters of the Slayer Called.

‘Maybe Buffy just wants me to die a slow and ignominious death because my Slayers are better than her Slayers?’ He trained his Slayers in the dirtiest possible fighting techniques, with every weapon he could possibly get his hands on, and against the other Slayers trained by Buffy and company, his Slayers tended to wipe entire mansion floor plans against them.

“Excuse me, Mr. Harris?” He looked over with his one eye and saw the sweet stewardess who looked like a total goddess and that had been catering to him, and him alone, much to the grumbles of the rest of the people in first class, “I’ve been asked to deliver this.”

He looked at the large envelope in her hand and took it with a nod and a smile, “Thank you, Ms. Tammy.”

She gave him a sweet smile, revealing perfectly straight white teeth and a wink, “That’s Miss Tammy.” With that, she straightened up and began to walk away, but with that same extra sway in her hips that he often saw out of his baby Slayers in Africa and with those he had sent to England, and he sighed – no good could come of this.

He opened the large envelope and saw the official Watcher’s letterhead at the top of the coversheet – it was basically his permission to carry his H&K .40, a constant companion wherever he went now, and that this had been cleared with the local government. After that were several files that had been compiled about some of the people at the house he was going to retrieve his newest Slayer – one of them, Genma Saotome, had enough dirt against him that all Xander had to do to quell any stink he might raise was to show him the list of names and numbers provided of people owed and offenses ranging from petty theft to harboring a known sex offender (even though nobody could PROVE the old man had done anything) to selling his only son.

‘Hmm, what’s this? Make threat to show this file to one Nodoka Saotome, wife of Genma Saotome? Damn, somebody has it out for this guy.’ He looked at the next file and saw the name was Soun Tendo, the father of the Slayer he was after – while his file wasn’t as criminal as Genma’s, it still had a few spots on it that could be used against him.

He then looked at the last file that was sent to him, and saw the name ‘Nabiki Tendo’ on it, and the big letters under it – FBI; oh, boy, THIS was going to be real fun. He skimmed through the file and saw enough rackets and investigations against this girl to easily lock her up for life in the local federal prison – he would have to use this as a last resort in order to get the Slayer he wanted to get.

The last page was a hand-written note from Giles, faxed ahead by Willow, ‘Xander, be advised that these are, for the most part, highly trained martial artists you are going to be dealing with; honor, supposedly, is of great importance to them, but do not think for a second that this applies to Genma Saotome. He is a cad and thief of the first order, and liar that you are authorized to shoot if you so determine.’ Gee, Ripper, much?

‘Your new assignment is Kasumi Tendo, eldest of the three daughters, and by far the most mentally stable of the three – she is, from all accounts, very sweet and has had some martial training, but not to the level of her youngest sister Akane. DO NOT, under any circumstances, eat anything that Akane Tendo has prepared – think of it as Buffy’s last attempt at Christmas dinner to the worst level.’ Xander felt his stomach clench at the thought of THAT fiasco – Buffy had tried, he had to admit that, but in the end they had ordered out for pizza on Christmas Eve that year, and had ordered new kitchen appliances the next day.

‘Finally, be wary of the son of Genma Saotome, Ranma, as he is both highly steeped in magic (curses, for the most part, due to bad luck) and is, to date, the most dangerous martial artist that any of our Watchers in Japan have seen in a very long time – he is blunt-spoken, a touch naïve, and generally means well, so I dare say you and he should get along fine.’ Gee, thanks, Giles.

‘Regards, Rupert Giles.’

‘PS: Avoid the Chinese Amazons at all costs – if you cannot, though, the nuclear missile authorization and authentication codes are as follow.’

Xander looked at the codes and began to wonder just what in the hell he had been duped into by Dawnie’s puppy-dog eyes?

(Nerima, Japan – Tendo Dojo)

“RANMA NO BAKA!” He watched in wonder as a red shirt, black pants wearing rocket took off from what he termed as the back yard of the dojo he was in front of into low Earth orbit – if that was his Slayer, he was in big trouble.

He adjusted the pack he had on his back and then reached under his jacket to assure himself that his gun was in place as he reached out to knock on the door – with any luck, he and his new Slayer would be on a plane for London tomorrow morning.

Above him, the perfectly clear blue skies of Japan rumbled with thunder ominously as the door opened to reveal … a large panda bear with a sign in front of him that said ‘Hello’? Okay, it was official, he had finally cracked.

‘Who are you?’

He blinked, “Uh, Alexander Harris, here to speak with Kasumi Tendo and her father, Soun Tendo.”

The panda put away the sign he had and pulled out a new one, ‘Follow me.’

Moments later he was in front of a man with long hair and a mustache and a young woman who was blushing and not looking at him directly; the man was dressed in a traditional gi, but he carried himself with a competent air, while the young woman was tall and lean, dressed in a dress, but there was an almost innocent air around her as well as the man spoke and bowed, “Welcome to the Tendo Dojo, Harris-san.”

He bowed back to the man and woman, “The honor is mine, Tendo-san.”

Soun nodded at this as he studied the boy – older than his daughter Kasumi, the American had several different auras about him, the least of which was the tense, battle-ready one that someone who spent their life in constant danger had at all times. This pleased Soun even as he noticed the way the boy’s jacket bulged slightly, “I do not allow firearms in my home, young man.”

“I carry this for my protection, Tendo-san,” the boy said with a level tone.

“You have used it before?”

“In defense of my person and my students, Tendo-san.” Again, the level tone was there, but also a harder edge that came only with time, experience and death. The man before him had killed to protect his students, and while this reviled Soun on a level, it pleased him on one, too.

“I do not believe in firearms, young man – they are dishonorable.”

The young man did not wait to fire back, “To die because you failed to use any and all weapons at your disposal is also dishonorable, Tendo-san. If I were to die and had used everything I could to protect my friends and family, I could die at peace, but if I had not, I would not rest.”

Soun nodded at this, “Very well. This is my daughter, Kasumi, whom I presume you are here to take into training.” The young man nodded at him, “Why you?”

“Officially? I’m here because I’m known to be able to retrieve students when situations are known to be … difficult – mainly, I work in Africa, but in this case I’m here.”

Kasumi spoke up from his side, her voice curious, “And unofficially?”

The boy looked at his daughter with a slightly amused look, “I cannot prove it, ma’am, but I think they sent me here to see if it was luck on my part or skill that I retrieved as many students as I have.” He saw the way his daughter blushed and Soun nodded slightly – the boy would make a fine husband for his daughter … if he were Japanese and could have survived his training.

“Why are you here? We don’t need a stupid gaijin to protect Kasumi.” Xander turned and saw another young woman, this one also in a gi, but with her hair in a pageboy cut, and she looked angry as she stomped up, “You won’t take Kasumi except over my dead body.”

“Akane!” The girl’s glare didn’t leave him as her father barked out her name, and his one eye locked on her brown eyes, “Do not act dishonorably to someone you do not know!”

“He’s here to take Kasumi, father, and I won’t let that happen!”

“Really? Then you know what she is and what WILL come after her?” Akane jerked back at the tone the gaijin used with her, a chilled tone, one that told her that what he was about to tell her was important and for her to listen or pay the price, later, “Well, then, by all means, I’ll go … but when your family is slaughtered by the things that will come after your sister, remember that this falls on your head.”

“Please, stay, and I apologize for my daughter’s behavior – she is protective of her sister,” Soun said while glaring at Akane. “You say you can explain what Kasumi is, now, and I ask that you do.”

Xander nodded and went off into the canned speech that he’d learned about the Slayers, telling of their past and of what they fought, and he was surprised that he wasn’t being called crazy or an idiot, but then he got into the meat of the story, “And two years ago, while facing a fate worse than the world ending, we were forced to Call ALL of the Slayers. Your daughter, Kasumi, is a Slayer, Tendo-san, and I have been sent here to bring her to London so that we may train her if she so desires.” Soun merely arched an eyebrow at him. “If she does not wish to be trained or to do this, I have an elixir that will remove her powers from her, forever, and this will all have seemed like a bad dream to her.”

Soun nodded, “She will do this.”

Xander shook his head, “I’m sorry, sir, but this must be her decision – I refuse to accept anything less.”

Akane winced at this as her father preformed a technique of his, the large demon head, and bellowed, “YOU WILL TAKE ONLY MY WORD!”

Much to her awe, the gaijin didn’t even blink at this, “I’ve faced down scarier than that, Tendo-san, and I almost married scarier.” He turned to her sister and looked at her patiently, “Well?”

Kasumi blushed at the attention she was getting, “What will I receive if I choose to do this?”

“Training in weaponry from around the world, resources from local Watches that will aid you in your calling, a Bachelor of Arts in Occult Sciences, if you so desire, and we will teach you to hone your new strength, speed and instincts,” Xander said to her patiently.

The girl behind him, Akane, piped in, “New strength? What kind and how much and where do I join?”

“You don’t join, Tendo-san, you are chosen by a higher power than I, and as far as strength goes … we’ve never seen a top end to it, but generally five times that of a normal human.” The girl flared at him slightly and he completely ignored it, “Don’t bother trying to argue with me – if you can figure out how to contact them, take it up with them, but I highly doubt a god would care what you think. In fact, I can’t prove it, but I think they all either hate me or love seeing me in mental agony, with as much as I’ve been though recently.”

Soun looked at the American, “And if she decides not to? How long would this potion take to go into effect?”

“Minutes, and within a day your daughter will be back to as she was before she was Called.” Xander looked back at Kasumi, who was still blushing but obviously thinking, “I realize this is a big decision for you to make, so take your time to think on it.”

Kasumi nodded, “Thank you. If I may ask … what happened to your eye?”

He reached up and touched the patch, “I won’t lie to you, Kasumi - it was taken out by an agent of a thing that wanted to end the world. If you accept this calling, there’s a good chance you will get hurt, and even without new training and weapons, you may die. Remember that as you make your decision.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a slip of paper, giving it to her, “That’s where I’m staying and my number there – if you have a question, don’t hesitate to call.”

She took the paper and bowed deeply, “I will, Harris-san.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to see about something, including this place called the Cat Café that a few of my associates keep telling me is great.” With a bow to Soun, Xander left the Tendo dojo and tried to ignore the fact that a red-haired girl in a red shirt and black pants was beating the hell out of that same panda that he met at the front door.

(Later)

The boy’s aura was clouded, very much so, but Cologne knew that while he was putting away yet another Special of the Day, he was watching everything around him – this pleased her, greatly, as sales had been slow that day and she hated the taste of her own cooking.

“(Great Grandmother, why do you look at him? He is no Arien.)”

“(There are many types of men in the world, great granddaughter, and this one is one of the more dangerous ones.)” She picked up a small crystal and pointed it at the young man, watching as it glowed a burning yellow green color before it faded into a darker pattern of greens, browns, blacks and tans, and finally into a pure black color that threatened to shatter the crystal, “(He is steeped in magics, Xian Pu, magics that were meant to end the world.)”

Her great granddaughter merely sneered at the man, “(He is only a male, Great Grandmother, and of no consequence.)”

“(Glad to hear that,)” the young man said in their language, his accent thick but not enough to make his words unclear.

“(You speak our language how? You are not Chinese Amazon.)”

“(No, but I do keep magical ring that lets me understand and speak all languages if I hear enough of it,)” he countered to her, a slightly chilled smile on his face. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few bills and put them on the table, “(The meal was excellent, and I will recommend this place to all who pass.)”

Cologne smiled at this, as she liked word-of-mouth advertising, “Thank you. Who are you here for, young man?” He just gave her a grin but said nothing, so she tried another approach as she noticed the ring on his finger, “Where did you find such an item? It is worth much to right people.”

Xander looked at the wrinkled old woman for a moment and then nodded, “(A friend of mine, a witch, made it for me and has made very few others, as it is very taxing to do, and they are not for sale.)”

“(Everything is for sale at the right price, young man,)” Cologne told him even as she watched her granddaughter attempt to sneak up on the young man, intent to take his ring from him.

“(Just as things can be stolen, as your great granddaughter wishes to do with my ring.)” He turned and looked at the sneaking Xian Pu, who tried to put a completely innocent look on her face, but failed miserably as he stepped aside of her and walked away, “Fair well, ladies.”

Once he was out of the door, Cologne glared at Xian Pu, “(I told you to not underestimate him, great granddaughter! Now we must find him and do not take the ring – yes, it would bring us much honor as a tribal treasure, but it would not be wise to anger the one who made the ring. Simply follow him and this will allow us to find who he is here for.)” Xian Pu nodded at her and was out of the door quickly in search of the young man’s residence.

(That night – British Consulate)

“I’m telling you, Giles, that this place needs to be NUKED off of the damned map! They’re crazy!” He finished scrubbing his hair dry even as he yelled across the room into the speaker phone – he’d called Giles a few moments ago and had made his idea of the town well-known, “I even caught some café girl trying steal that ring that Willow gave me before I left! If it hadn’t been because I was naked I’m damned sure she would have kicked my ass and gotten it.”

“Oh, dear, please tell me this girl didn’t have purple hair, Xander, and that you most certainly did NOT best her in a fight.” Giles’ voice came through the phone line with a great deal of exasperation.

“No, Giles, I didn’t beat her, and yes, she did – I just picked her up and threw her outside into the garden pond. Say, do you guys have cats around here? I think one fell in there, too…”

From outside his window, he heard a caterwaul and saw that same purple-haired cat outside, hissing at him before it turned, presented its tail up into the air and took off.

“Look, G-man, either way, I made contact with the family and Kasumi looks like a nice girl. That sister of hers worries the hell out of me, though – she’s like General Disaster all over again, but without the bleached hair!”

“Xander, how many times do I have to ask you to not call me or Buffy those names?”

He smirked and pulled on his eye patch, “At least once more, G-man, but the point of fact hasn’t changed!”

Giles sighed over the phone and Xander knew his hopes were sunk, “Xander, I realize that we sent you to this place under somewhat false pretenses on how easy it was going to be, but please just finish your job and get back here – Dawn seems to be under the impression that your Slayers are trying to usurp her claim to you.”

Xander groaned and wanted to hit his head against the thin wall, “Oh, God, she hasn’t killed any yet, has she?”

“No, not yet,” Giles said, sounding vaguely amused. “In fact, the last time I saw them they were discussing your … ahem, well, I won’t say what they were discussing, but when you get back you may wish to consider investing in a nice bed, a large one.” With that, Giles hung up and Xander began to whimper.

(London)

“That was mean, Giles.”

He looked at Buffy, who was smiling slightly, and grinned a very Ripper smile, “Yes, quite.”

(Tendo Dojo – same night)

She still felt herself blushing even as she remembered his face – it had been in her dreams ever since she had first felt the surge of power course through her body, that he was an ally and was to be trusted to do what he had to do just as dozens, hundreds, of others had done in the past.

The nightmares had been horrible at first, but she had kept them to herself even as she noticed the chances that her body was going through – she was stronger, faster, she even healed faster, but she never knew why until the first Watcher had come there to take her away. She had been told to pack her bags, that her choice had been made up, and Akane had not taken that well, beating the man into a pulp, just as she had the second one. The third man, named Robin, had been subjected to Akane’s cooking and to Ranma’s temper before he too left, but this man, Alexander … Xander, her memories supplied, was different. He had given her a choice.

Her father had talked to her all that evening about the choices she could make, as had both Akane and Nabiki, but it was Ranma, surprisingly enough, whom had given her the best piece of advice, ‘don’t let anyone make up your mind for you or you will become like me.’ He was such a sweet young man (and occasionally, young woman), but if he ever hurt Akane, Kasumi had vowed to break every bone in his body before breaking his mind.

With that thought in mind, she pulled her blanket up to her chin and slowly began to sink into the land of Nod, her thoughts on the young man, Xander.

… It also didn’t hurt that Boytoy had it going on below the waist.

Her eyes snapped open as heat rushed to her cheeks, “Oh, my.”

(Next Morning)

Akane hit the ground, again, with a hard thump as she was being used as a practice dummy for Kasumi, who had asked the gaijin to help her through some morning exercises in order to help her make up her mind, and right now they were working on throwing. So far, Kasumi was putting her to shame in many of the same places that she had worked years to get to, and it was starting to make her angry with how this had just been HANDED to Kasumi.

“Not bad, Kasumi,” the gaijin said approvingly to her sister, who had asked that he call her by her first name after a few moments of his arrival, but he had made her call him ‘Xander’ instead of ‘Harris-san’.

Kasumi didn’t even have the decency to look TIRED, let alone had much of a sweat worked up, as she smiled and picked at her old gi, a black affair with red trim that was only damp in a few places with sweat, and Akane growled a little as Kasumi bowed, “Thank you, Harr … Xander.”

“You still need to snap your hips a little more to get a clean throw, though that will come with both practice and time.” Xander was dressed in his normal workout clothing of black fatigue bottoms, a tank top and thick socks, his boots off to one side, and his lips were curled up into a slight grin as Akane got to her feet.

“So you say, gaijin – you barely have any muscle tone on you.” Which was true enough – yes, he had muscle, she could see that, but it was softer, less toned that what she would see on, say, Ranma, which, in her mind, made him weak.

“I also don’t do much more than train Slayers these days, Tendo-san, but that’s because of this,” he said, pointing to his black eyepatch, one of the few marks on his body that she could see. The way he moved, though, told her that he was not as weak as she thought he was … something that Akane wanted to test for herself.

She sneered at him again and Xander wanted to groan – he’d seen that look many times before on the faces of many Slayers, all of whom had thought they were better than he was; partially, they were right, they were stronger, faster, more resilient than he was, but none of them had the combat experience that he did … but Akane did have some, unlike them, “If you had two good eyes I would challenge you to a spar, but as you do not, I won’t as I do not beat up the infirm.”

“Rule Two – looks are ALWAYS deceiving, so do not rely on them.” His words appeared to confuse her for a second but he sighed and stepped onto the mats, “I accept your challenge.”

“Are you sure this is a wise thing to do, Harris-san?” Soun said from his place off to the side, “My youngest is the heir to the Tendo fighting style and Dojo and she is also quite skilled.”

“And I thank you for your concern, Tendo-san, but think of this as an object lesson for your youngest – ego and pride often result in a battered and bruised body and your enemy winning.” Xander walked out into the main area of the dojo and stood across from Akane, “Well? Are you going to sit there and gawk or are you going to fight?”

Confident in her abilities, Akane stepped out with a grin on her face even as she heard Ranma enter the dojo, “I hope you enjoy losing, gaijin.”

If she was looking for shock or anger, she was disappointed as all he gave her was a grin, “I’ve learned to compensate over the years, Tendo-san, and that was before I lost my eye.” Across from her he took up a simple stance, like one taught to the normal people in a karate class, but this stance had his blind side OPEN to her, which screamed at her that he either wasn’t thinking, or, had she been anyone else, that he was setting up a trap.

As she was a Tendo, though, she ignored the idea of a trap and took her place across from him, grinning – this was going to be fun.

Ten seconds later, she was revising her thought as her back slammed into the ground hard enough to drive the air out of her lungs, aided by his knee into her gut.

Xander pulled back and rolled away from Akane, smoothly coming to his feet even as she sucked wind back into her chest, “Congratulations – you lose.”

She glared up at him, gasping out, “You … cheated.”

“Rule seven – there is no such thing as a fair fight if you are the loser.” The answer didn’t come from Xander, though, it came from Ranma, and she looked over at him with a glare, seeing him smirking, “So … the uncute tomboy gets taken down by someone with military training – I’m impressed.”

Kasumi looked at Xander, “Military training?”

He shrugged at her, “I picked it up, along with a few other things, along the way – hazard of the job when nobody thinks to train you properly.” He looked at the guy, again dressed in a red shirt and black slacks, and he frowned, “Didn’t I see you beating up that panda the other day?”

Ranma smirked at him and stuck out his hand, “He had it coming – Ranma Saotome.”

Xander nodded and took the hand, “Xander Harris. Was that also you I saw being put into LEO before I got here?”

Ranma shrugged, jerking his thumb over towards Akane, “The uncute tomboy there likes to play with mallets and has a good swing.”

Akane got to her feet and launched herself at the gaijin, simmering at her loss to him, but was shocked as he spun around, grabbed her, and completed the spin as she felt the cold edge of a blade against her throat and the warmth of his breath next to her ear, “Rule 2, subsection two – never be caught unarmed anywhere, any time.” With that said, she was pushed away as the blade was taken away from her throat, sending her stumbling into Ranma, who caught her.

“Dishonorable!” There was an almost collective sigh of frustration as Genma Saotome stormed into the dojo proper, his eyes ablaze with righteous fury, “Using a weapon in such a way is not a way a true martial artist fights! It is weak!”

“Well then it’s a good thing I’m not a martial artist, then, isn’t it?” Xander’s deadpan answer brought a grin to her lips even as she watched him return the knife he had used against her sister to the place in the back of his pants. If there was one thing Kasumi liked about him, it was that he didn’t care what others thought about him.

Genma flared at the boy, using his own version of Soun’s demon head, but the boy was not cowed in any way, so he resorted to snarling, “Do not defile this place with your dishonorable intentions, boy!”

Xander snorted, “Said the pot to the kettle.”

Genma glared at him, “WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?”

Xander said nothing as he walked over to his bag and, after a moment of rummaging around, pulled out a folder that he tossed to Genma. After a few seconds of reading, Genma’s eyes bugged out and Xander spoke, “My orders are to not turn you into the police, Saotome, but instead to give that to your WIFE.”

Ranma stuck his head over his father’s shoulder and read the file, instantly wishing he had not – lists of crimes his father, supposedly, had committed, ranging from petty theft to even SELLING him, but what made Ranma feel the most shame was that these had all happened on their training journey, “Pop? What’re all of these?”

“Lies, my boy!” Even as Genma spoke, Xander reached into his backpack and pulled out a cell phone and began dial a number, “What are you doing?!?”

Xander held up a hand for a moment, “Hello, is this the wife of Saotome Genma? It is? Oh, good, my name is Alexander Harris and I’ve been-“ Xander felt the cell phone jerked away from him and looked over in time to see Genma destroying it, a fearful look on his face, which brought a slightly evil look to his own, a look he had kept from the Hyena incident, “What’s the matter, Genma? Scared?”

“YOU HAVE NO HONOR, YOU SON OF A BITCH!” Genma was about to launch himself at the boy but stopped at the boy MOVED, spinning slightly, picking up his bag and tossing it away as his hand leveled at him, a hand filled with a handgun, “Weakness!”

Xander used his thumb to take the safety off of his pistol, “Firstly, you’re on the wrong end of the gun to be complaining about weakness, secondly, this is technically self-defense, and IF you happen to survive, you WILL be charged with your other crimes.” Genma lost a LOT of his anger at this as the others in the room began to finally register to his senses – Akane was being held back by Kasumi, and Soun was now reading the folder as another girl, one he had not met, was busily snapping off digital photos, “Now, are you going to calm down?”

Genma nodded and the boy put his gun away into the bag – tonight, that bag was his.

Soun frowned at the folder, “Old friend, you and I must talk this evening. Harris-san, I ask that you stay with us for the night, until we can work out all of the details of Kasumi’s going with you, should she choose to do so.” With that, he left the dojo, motioning for his daughters to join him.

Kasumi looked at Xander and then at the gun in his bag – would he have shot Genma? That question went through her head over and over as she went after her father, as did her two sisters.

Soon, it was Ranma and Xander alone in the dojo, as Genma left not long after the girls did, and it was also Ranma who broke the silence, “So … wanna spar?”

(Later – Cat Café)

Cologne looked at her great granddaughter as, for the tenth time that day, Xian Pu flogged herself with the ritual stick of spiritual cleansing, “Great granddaughter, why do you do this?”

Shampoo did not look up at her great grandmother, the shame on her face would give it away that she had been thrown out of the gaijin’s room, let alone while he was naked, a thought that brought a heavy blush to her cheeks as her mind recounted how he looked in perfect detail, “He’s … so … BIG, Great Grandmother.”

Cologne sighed as Xian Pu began to hit herself again with the cleanser – this was going to take some time.

(Tendo Dojo – that night)

He crept quietly through the room as he looked at his prey, the bag the boy had brought with him, and with one furry paw he adjusted his head wrap of invisibility, even though it was just the tablecloth to the dinner table. He reached his paw out, his claws inches from the bag, and that’s when it saw it – it was a red dot of light that was centered on his paw and then slowly began to move up his arm before it got to his shoulder before it went down to his chest.

“Touch it and die, fur ball.” The tone was level, quiet and VERY serious as he looked back and saw the very same pistol he had been threatened with earlier, the source of the red light, but also with a large attachment on the front, one that puzzled him slightly until the boy spoke up, not moving from his point on the futon, “It’s a suppressor, nobody’ll hear anything except for the sounds of bloody panda meat and bone hitting the walls.”

He slowly reached behind his back and pulled out a sign, written in glowing ink, ‘Huh?’

“Explosive hollow point rounds will blow you apart, and nobody’ll hear the shots. Back. Away. Now.”

Genma, choosing discretion over valor, he reached over and doused himself in the hot water that he’d brought with him, changing him back to his human form, “Um, ahem, I don’t suppose that I can convince you to NOT give my wife that file, then?”

“If you don’t start moving, I’ll give her your corpse, Saotome.” Obviously, the American wasn’t much of a quick riser as he was a light sleeper, so Genma crept out of the room quietly, closing the door behind him.

Xander groaned and put the safety back on his pistol – he hurt, badly, and all because of a ‘light spar’ between him and Ranma before dinner; Ranma had pointed out a few things in his technique that could use some improvement and had even offered to help train Xander while he was there (for all of a few days, hopefully), and while Xander had said yes, he was seriously starting to reconsider that idea.

Finally, he closed his eyes and went back to sleep – he’d be up in a few hours, anyway.

(Deserted street corner)

“What do you want, extortionist?”

She smiled at him and waved a few fanned photos slightly, “I come bearing gifts … for the right price.”

Tatwaki Kuno glared at the Tendo girl and wondered just how she was related to his lovely tigress – his beautiful Akane was not as slippery as this girl, “Oh? What now?”

“New guy, he’s scouting Kasumi for a school in London, and he sparred with Akane earlier – whole group of pics for a tiny price of 10000 Yen.”

He narrowed his eyes at the girl, “How can I ensure that these are good quality? I want to know the face of the infidel who thinks he can spar with my beautiful fierce tigress for when I unleash my righteous wrath and justice upon him!”

Nabiki rolled her eyes, slightly, “Good quality, and he won’t be hard to miss, trust me. Whatdaya say, Kuno-baby?”

He said nothing as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the money, “Do not presume that you can cheat me, sister of my fierce tigress – I despise you enough already!”

Nabiki sighed as she took his money and handed over the photos, “Kuno-baby, a piece of advice? This guy carries a GUN with him, and I doubt your boken would hurt him much.”

“I am the Blue Thunder! He will fall before me!”

Nabiki shrugged and left via the crosswalk, muttering, “Yeah, and with any luck you’ll be the DEAD Blue Thunder by this time tomorrow. Shame, you’re my second-best customer.” With that done, she went up to the corner cafe – The Black Rose was always good for a few thousand Yen for pictures of her ‘Ranma-sama’, and after that a trip to the Cat Café to fleece Shampoo.

(Two days later)

Kasumi was hard-pressed to keep her mind on the steady pace they were at as her eyes kept drifting to the now-sweating Xander – he had woken her up that morning for a ‘quick warm up’, and while her mind had gone off into places it shouldn’t have, he had stretched them both out and started a run. Akane had decided to join them that morning and, after four miles, both her sister and Xander were both heavily sweating in the humid morning air.

“Hey, isn’t it my night to cook?” Kasumi almost stumbled at her sister’s words – Akane was right, it WAS her night to cook, which meant …

“No, it’s Ukyo’s for dinner, Akane,” he heard Kasumi say with a nervous twitter in her voice, and given what he had read about Akane’s ‘cooking’, he presumed it was well-founded.

Akane growled off to his side, “Grrr, why do we have to give money to that tramp?”

“It’s called Capitalism, Tendo-san,” he chipped in, his mind going back to Anya for a moment and her entire dissertation on the pros and cons of the system. “You buy from her, she buys from another, and so on, and so forth. It’s not perfect, but it’s good.”

She glared at the gaijin as they approached Ukyo’s place, but said nothing as they slowed and took a few deep breaths … well, she and gaijin did – Kasumi didn’t even look winded, but at least she and the gaijin had lasted all the way through, and that was a grudging point in his favor.

“Welcome, Tendo-san, Akane and strange American man with one eye!” Ukyo was at her grill, cooking away even though the place was empty (not a surprise, given how early it was), and in a rather cheerful mood as her spatula went about its work.

“Greetings, Ukyo,” Kasumi said cheerily, pulling up a seat in front of the slight bar, “how are you today?”

Ukyo sighed, “I miss my Ranchan.”

Akane growled under her breath, “Tramp.”

Ukyo heard it, apparently, and growled back, “Witch.” She then looked at the young man and smiled, “Howdy.”

He blinked at this – her English, complete with Southern accent, was passably bad, but understandable, but he spoke back in Japanese, “Um, hello.”

She blinked at this and smiled slightly before looking around, “No Ranchan?”

Kasumi shook her head, “No, I am afraid he is otherwise detained this morning, Ukyo-chan.”

(Tendo Dojo)

Ranma was standing on one foot, on a pole, and a bucket full of cold water on his head while Genma was busily hacking away at his body with a kendo stick as he tried to defend himself – ‘yeah, missing out on a run that morning was a REALLY good idea,’ he thought with great sarcasm.

(Ukyo’s Shop)

Even as the young woman prepared the food that Kasumi had ordered for the day’s meals, Xander began to let his mind wander – with as much food as had been ordered, how in the hell did the Tendo’s support themselves? Ranma alone ate enough to make a SLAYER jealous, which was another point – he had to find a way to get Kasumi to start eating more and to do so in a way that would keep all of his remaining parts and pieces in place.

Another worry that came to mind was how he was going to train Kasumi, if it fell to him – he hadn’t missed the side-long looks she had been giving him all morning, or the rosy blush that she had gotten when he had asked her about a light warm up, nor had he missed the seemingly absent Slayer aggression that every other Slayer he had collected seemed to have in spades. If she did not have that edge if she went into battle against a vampire, she could very well die … and he did NOT want to be sent back to this nuthouse any time in the next century to give them THAT piece of news – he highly doubted that any of the demonic underground would survive the Tendo and Saotome families waging open war upon it.

He wasn’t sure what it was that really set him off, really – it could have been a distant pattering of feet heard over the sound of the cooking meats and vegetables, the slight reflection he got off of the hood vent that showed the world outside of the large picture window that ‘Ukyo’ had in her shop, or the ‘danger tingle’ he felt doing NASCAR-like laps up and down his spine, but something made him turn to look out the window just as a body hurled itself through it with a spray of glass, an action that sent him, Akane and Kasumi diving for cover and Ukyo behind a large spatula of some kind.

“Fear not, my fierce tigress, I, Tatwaki Kuno, am here to save you from this vile heathen!” He was tall, thin, wearing a ridiculous blue kimono thing and was pointing a stick … no … a boken … at him as his eyes blazed with mindless zeal – oh, yeah, THIS was going to end well, Xander could tell even as the brainless twit went on to say, “Honorless gaijin bastard, stand and tell me your name so that I may vanquish you.”

Xander snorted, “Hell, I freely admit I’m a dishonorable gaijin, and I really hope that I’m a bastard, considering who my parents are supposed to be.” He stood up with and shook his hair out, glad to see there was no glass in it, “Name’s Harris, kid, and what’s your point. And why not use the door? Tends to be more practical and be cheaper than going through a window all of the time.”

“Dishonorable gaijin, you shall taste my wrath for dare touching my fierce tigress!” Idiot boy lashed out with a lightning strike, but after having fought demons and Slayers for over seven years and having trained Slayers for two, he might as well have sent out fliers as to where and when he was going to attack.

Akane groaned as Kuno’s words registered and then blinked – the gaijin had CAUGHT Kuno’s wooden blade and was holding it, the muscles in his hand, wrist and all up his right arm bulging slightly as he held against the tugging of the blade. She could also see the very unamused look on the gaijin’s face as he reached behind his back and pulled out a GUN, pointing it between Kuno’s eyes – things were about to get very ugly, even she could see that.

“Boy, the next words out of your mouth had better be an apology to Miss Ukyo behind me for breaking her window, and a promise to pay her back.” She poked her head out from behind her oversized spatula at the cold tone in the American man’s voice and instantly wished she had not – he had a pistol in his hand, trained on Kuno’s chest, and Kuno did not even seem to realize how very real danger he was in.

“Until I vanquish you, foul beast, I shall say nothing to the shop owner! Put away your toy and fight like a man!” Kuno gave one last pull of his blade, but even with his infinite strength and perfect form he was not able to budge his honored blade from the infidel’s grasp.

CLICK.

Kasumi began to ease away from the impending blood bath, as did her sister, surprisingly, as she watched Xander flip a small lever on the back of his pistol, revealing a red dot – a part in the back of her mind identified the part in question as a manual safety, and a memory was supplied as she saw Xander himself, still with one eye, standing over a man that had been selling her sister Slayers to demons in the black market. The memory played out in the blink of an eye as Xander fired into the man’s chest four times and then twice into his head before putting the gun away and walking off – the man had been evil, she knew that from her memories, but she also now knew that the man who held Kuno’s blade would NOT hesitate to kill the young man if he deemed the idiot a true threat.

“Rule Two – peace through superior firepower. Rule Two, Sub-section A – always bring a gun to a swordfight.” He saw the infidel’s one good eye loose all sense of humanity as the weapon in the gaijin’s hand seemed to radiate a power, “This is your last chance, son – tell her you’re sorry, promise to pay her for the window and I MIGHT consider letting you walk out of here alive.”

Kuno, while often being accused of being dense, was not stupid – he KNEW a killer when he saw one, and the man in front of him had blood dripping from his hands; he then did the one thing that occurred to him at that point and let go of his honored blade and slowly began to back away, his hand slowly creeping back behind his back, “Very well, I apologize to you, shopkeeper, and will pay for the repairs to your window. Satisfied, gaijin?”

Xander opened his mouth to answer, but the young man who had given a half-hearted apology to Miss Ukyo lashed his other hand out to reveal a … wooden knife? Who the hell did this guy think he was? It didn’t matter, though, as the guy bellowed and charged at him.

“FOR MY FIERCE TIGRESS!”

BAM! BAM-BAM!

Akane watched in fascinated horror as Tatwaki Kuno’s body literally lifted up off of the ground and spun on it’s axis, his forward motion stopped almost completely by the three shots that the gaijin … Xander … had put into the charging idiot – droplets of blood flew through the air as Kuno’s body continued to spin until it finally hit the ground with an almost boneless THUD, his inertia rolling him onto his back and letting her see the gunshot wounds.

The first bullet had entered Kuno’s right side, just below navel and two inches away from it, while the second and third rounds had both gone through his left side and torn out a large, bloody chunk from his back – blood, as red as blood could be, began to leak out onto the floor as Kuno’s pained groans turned into a scream of agony. She then looked down to her shirt and saw that some of Kuno’s blood was there, and as if forced by a divine hand, Akane reached out and touched that blood even as she heard the gaijin bark out to Ukyo to call the paramedics. The blood was warm, yet surprisingly fluid and sticky – she rubbed it between her fingers and saw the way that it defined her fingerprints, but those same fingerprints began to blur, slightly, as her hand began to shake.

“Kasumi! Towels! Akane, get over here!” Xander didn’t bother to look over at the eldest sister, who was moving as he barked out the orders, but even as he put away he gun he turned to Akane, who was trembling, “Akane!” She looked up at him and had this lost look on her face, one that reminded him far too much of some the of the looks he had gotten from his own Slayers, so he cupped her cheek, just as he did with his Slayers, and spoke softly, “Akane, I need your help.”

Her voice was a little disjointed as she looked up at him, “You shot him.”

Xander nodded, “I know, but he was attacking me – we can worry about that later, though. I need your help.” She nodded and followed him over to the idiot’s body, Kasumi having already come back and packed towels around the body, “Okay, Kasumi, Akane, roll his body so I can get these under his body. One, two three!” They rolled Kuno’s body over and he packed the towels like he said, but also observed the exit wounds even as Kuno began to cry out in agony - .40 Smith and Wesson rounds made nice, neat little holes when they went in, but like their big cousins, the Colt .45 APC, they made messy exits and this time was no exception. A chunk of the guy’s back was missing, about the size of a half of a grapefruit, where the two bullets had basically gone in the same place, but the other wound wasn’t half as bad, only missing about the size of a golf ball – such injuries were common with a caliber like .40 S&W, but these were made worse because he was loaded with Parabellum rounds. Still, the fact remained he was bleeding, badly, and if help didn’t get there soon, he’d bleed out.

“Alright, roll him back and let’s get to work trying to save him. Miss Ukyo, tell those goddamned paramedics to get the lead out!”

(Nerima City Hospital)

“So … you SHOT him … and didn’t finish the job?” Ranma’s comment was met with a glare from the one-eyed man, a glare that held within it a promise of slow and torturous death if he said anything else. Naturally, being Ranma Saotome, he had to push his luck, “You realize that you’ve just pretty much made yourself an enemy for life, right? Kuno’s a lot of things, but forgiving isn’t one of them.” His voice dropped a little, “And he ain’t too bright when it comes to people who could kill him when they wanted to.”

“Ranma, do yourself a favor and be quiet.” He looked over at Kasumi in awe, her tone snappish and hard as she walked away from the police detectives that had been questioning her for the past half-hour, “You weren’t there, so don’t say things when you know nothing about them.”

He held up his hands, “Whoa, hold it, I’m just saying that Xander’s opened himself up for a lot of grief now, that’s all, Kasumi. Jeez, where’s the sweet and lovable girl we all know?”

Kasumi sat next to her sister, who was trembling slightly, and glared up at him, “She’s had to deal with the police for the past half hour, police who can’t jail the shooter because he has Diplomatic Immunity and it was a legal shoot.”

From his seat, Xander smiled slightly – THERE was the Slayer in Kasumi that he was worried about, “Gotta remember to thank G-man for the DI papers when I get back to England.”

Kasumi looked at Xander and glared at him, too, “And don’t think for a second that I’m through with you, mister – you and I are going to have a long chat about how you deal with someone who had just witnessed a pain in her backside being SHOT.”

Xander rolled his eye at her, slightly, “Kasumi, your sister is fine – trust me, she’s just in shock and she’ll shake out of it in a few hours. Happens to everyone, trust me.” She glared at him some more and, for a moment, it was like he was arguing with a younger Willow all over again – all that was missing was … ah, never mind, THERE was the Resolve Face, “You know, you’re cute when you’re angry?”

Just like with Willow, Kasumi blushed for a second and then remembered that she was mad at him, “Don’t change the subject! You could have been nicer with Akane.”

He nodded, “Probably, yes, but I also have dealt with these injuries before and we didn’t have TIME to be nice, Kasumi. If you come with me, you’ll be learning how to deal with wounds like Idiot Boy’s, and in the same way – keep them alive until help gets there.” She gave him a look and he went on, “Ever Slayer, every Watcher, has to be three things – a fighter, a researcher, and a medic. There’s no guarantee that you’ll have backup, so with this you’ll have a fighting chance if you’re ever on your own.”

“You’ve done that before.” He looked down at Akane, whose eyes were red and puffy from the crying she had been doing, and she asked, “Shot people and patched them up?”

He nodded slowly, “A few times, but most of the times if I shoot people, I shoot to kill, Akane.”

She looked at him a little more now, “You’d kill people?”

“For my friends, for my family, for my Slayers, I’d die to protect them … and I’d kill to protect them. Sure, it sounds like an easy thing to say, but trust me, it isn’t.” He sat back and little and closed his one eye, “You remember their faces, what the situation was, who the Slayer was they were trying to kill … and it never gets any easier.”

“You don’t forget?”

Xander shook his head, “In the movies you see them making a list, or writing it down in a diary, maybe even marking their weapon, but that’s bullshit. Only thing you’ll ever need to remember them is right up here.” He tapped his skull and then looked over to see Akane looking at him, her eyes a mystery, “First guy I did that do was trying to rape one of my new Slayers because she had twisted her knee, something that slowed her down enough for him to tranq her with enough stuff to drop an elephant – I shot him four times, with the AK I had on me … and I watched him bleed out in front of me so he’d give me nightmares.” He gained a somewhat twisted grin on his face, “Only thing is that SHE had more nightmares about it than I did – how sad is that?”

Nothing else was said for several minutes until the doctor that had been working on Kuno walked over, his scrubs speckled with blood, and the police were not far behind him, “Who of you shot the young man?”

Xander stood up, “I did, in self defense.”

The Asian man, surprisingly tall at over six feet, and young at maybe thirty years old, narrowed his eyes at him, “Do you know how close you came to killing him?”

Xander gave the man a flat look, “He pulled a knife on me, doc – do you realize how very little I care?”

The doctor gave him a pointed look, “A WOODEN knife, young man.”

Xander just shrugged, “Is it my fault he wasn’t smart enough to bring steel? Look, is he going to live, yes or no?”

The doctor appeared to reign in his temper, “Yes, he will, but he will need a long recovery time to rebuild the muscle groups you destroyed with your three shots. I demanded that you be arrested for this, but I’ve been told you have diplomatic immunity.”

Xander gave the man a pointed glare that made him shrink back a step, “That guy’s been known to shatter STONE with a wooden blade, doc. No matter what I did, one of us would have ended up in this place – be happy he came in with a pulse and when he wakes up, tell him to count himself lucky I was in as good of a mood as I was.” With that, he turned and walked out of the ER waiting room, his anger building with every step – damned civilians!

He felt the air rush jut behind him and he jerked away just in time to see a purple-haired young woman fly by into the bushes, her arms out as if to capture him, and after a second he recognized that hair – the same chick who had gotten into his room! “… the fuck?”

“Great granddaughter was defeated by you, young man – by our law, you and she wed.” He didn’t turn to look at the voice of the old woman who he knew was directly behind him, his eyes never left the purple mop of hair that emerged from the bushes.

“Amazon law says she’s gotta kiss him first, and apparently she hasn’t done that yet.” Ranma stepped out of the doors he had been hiding behind since he had seen Shampoo try a flying kiss at Xander and fail when he moved out of the way; he now looked at the shrub-encased Shampoo, who was now looking down at the ground, “I thought _I_ was the only one you had it in for, Shampoo.”

Shampoo blushed, “Great Grandmother tell Shampoo that Shampoo lost fight to naked American man in his room. Law say we married.”

Ranma arched an eyebrow and looked at Xander in a way as if to ask, ‘and WHY were you naked in Shampoo’s presence’, a look that Xander responded to with, “Hey, I’d just gotten into the shower and there she was – don’t think about putting this one on me, Ranma.”

Sensing she was losing control of the situation, Cologne glared at both young men, “No talk, Great Granddaughter and American get married now!”

Ranma gave her a glare, “But Shampoo is engaged to ME, old ghoul, or don’t you remember that?”

“YOU WILL NEVER HAVE MY BELOVED!” Xander jerked around in time to see a boy with glasses launch himself at Ranma, but before he could get to his gun, said boy was kicked by Ranma into a nearby pool and, when the water calmed, there was a duck floating there, quacking at Ranma furiously – weird.

Ranma composed himself and then looked at Cologne, who was shaking in anger, “Well? Are you going to be bound by the old laws, old ghoul, or are you going to break them for the sake of your own tribe’s advancement?”

She glared at the boy before looking at her Great Granddaughter, “Xian Pu … who do you want to marry?”

Xian Pu gave her an almost innocent look that didn’t work on her for a moment, “Shampoo have both?”

“No.” “NO!” “HELL NO!” Were the three answers she got from herself, Ranma and the American, respectively.

Xian Pu pouted, “Shampoo want both!”

She turned back to Ranma with a grin, “Well, Sonny-boy, if you truly do not wish to lose your intended bride, you must fight American for her hand in marriage.”

Before Ranma could say anything, Xander snorted, “Yeah, that’ll be the quickest fight on record. You want a TRAINED martial artist of the highest order to fight ME, a guy who has the equivalent of a half-dozen blue belts from what he’s picked up over the course of nearly a decade? Where’s the fairness in that?” Yes, both Logic and Desperation-Xander rose to the challenge and rode again!

Cologne, however, would have none of his logic, “No. Regrettably you and Sonny-boy must fight for Shampoo’s hand in marriage, or else.” One or both of the young men would bring her tribe, not to mention herself and her great granddaughter, a great deal of both pride and personal honor. It was a risk - she knew that after he had shot the inbred kendoist to protect himself - but it was a risk that she had to make. Honor demanded it. The Law demanded it.

“Or else what?” Even after he had waddled over to the hot tap in the guard station close by, kicking it to make himself human again, Mousse could see that Cologne was pushing closer to getting the American to submit to the fight and he decided on a course of action that, if it got back to her tribe, would get him and her into a great deal of trouble. What was it that Haposai had once told him? Oh, yes, ‘Fortune favors the bold’.

He shook himself off and, after making sure that his glasses were in place, gave Cologne a sly grin, one she returned, and hen shouted, “Or else her tribe will hunt you and your family for the rest of eternity, foul corruptor of women!” With that, he reached into his tunic and pulled out blade, charging in for an attack.

She smiled at the American, confident that Mousse’s threat would cow him into the fight – it didn’t. The look he gave Mousse with his one eye could have sent her to her grave a dozen times over, and with the way his neck bulged and his arms tensed, she realized she had just made a grave mistake. Mousse, however, saw none of this and continued his ill-fated attack run.

Ranma looked at Xander and SWORE he could have seen a pure black battle aura trying it’s best to form around him and took an involuntary step back even as Shampoo squeaked and dove back into the bushes she had spent a few minutes getting out of – no good could come from this as Xander stepped forwards.

Xander only saw the world in shades of red as the boy with glasses rushed him, two blades out and thirsting for his blood, but the only thing that mattered at this point was a voice in the back of his head, one that was howling for blood while saying one word, ‘Prey.’ He surged forwards, meeting the attack head-on, and while the duck-turned-boy was able to get in a glancing shot to his side, only cutting his shirt, Xander was able to grab him, pick him up and, after turning on his axis, slam him into the wall face-first. It wasn’t exactly the best way to end the fight, but in his present state of mind, he didn’t care.

As Mousse’s body slid down the side of the building a trial of blood being left behind, the American turned to her and snarled, “One of my friends or my Slayers come down with anything more than a paper cut that I can’t relate to Slaying and I’ll hunt you down and bathe in your blood and the blood of any who attempt to go after my girls.” She saw a black spark beginning to surround him and instantly made a connection to what he had said – Slayers. He was here to collect a SLAYER, a myth, a dream of many Amazons in times past that were still batted around today, tales of women given great strength and speed in order to hunt and destroy the demons of the world … and if HE was here to find one, she knew she had to have him.

Ranma watched and slowly backed away from the scene as the black battle aura began to take hold around the man, one that was bleeding off enough power that the concrete around Xander was starting to be effected – where in the hell did Xander get this kind of power and where had he hidden it?

“Oh, my.” He turned and saw Kasumi standing in the ER doorway, her eyes glazed over slightly as she watched the scene in front of them – was he seeing things, or did Ranma see the same look he saw in Shampoo’s eyes in Kasumi’s when she looked at Xander? Nah, couldn’t be.

For her part, Kasumi felt her entire body thrum with lust as she felt a pull towards Xander – she couldn’t explain what she was feeling, or why she was feeling it, but whatever the reason it was there and it had brought friends, too.

‘Earth Power’ she heard a voice say in the back of her mind.

‘Slayer’ the voice said again as she took a step forwards, the aura becoming more tangible around Xander as Cologne began to back off.

‘Primal’ the voice said again as she reached out and felt the energy crackling against her fingertips.

(England)

Willow, in the middle of the hall and with about four witches behind her, stopped dead in her tracks as she felt a familiar rush of pure energy course through her body; Earth Energy … Xander …

“Oh, Goddess … who pissed him off this time?” Last time she had felt this from her connection with Xander, someone had made a threat against them and his Slayers – who’d do something that stupid?

(Nerima, Japan)

Cologne sneezed, suddenly, and when she looked up again she could see that the power she could see around the boy wasn’t a trick of her aged mind – he MUST belong to her clan, “Xian Pu … kiss him now!” Dutifully, her great granddaughter launched herself out of the bushes, but was intercepted by a snarling mass of young woman and thrown into a near-by pillar with enough force to knock her out.

Xander blinked as he saw Kasumi snarling at Shampoo’s limp body, the blackness that had invaded his sight vanishing, “Huh?”

Kasumi stopped snarling and jerked back, “Oh, my.” She turned and looked at Xander and immediately began to blush a bright, rosy red before she looked down at her feet, dragging a foot across the slightly-discolored concrete.

Ignoring this, and the sound of Ranma snickering behind him, Xander turned and glared at the woman, “Grab her and go, old woman.”

Cologne gave him a hard look, “No! You and Ranma must fight for Xian Pu’s hand in marriage!”

Xander glared at her for a second and then nodded, “Fine.” He turned, walked over to Ranma and hauled off with a right hook that Ranma easily blocked, “Fight back.”

Ranma blinked at Xander and then caught on to the idea before he slammed his fist into Xander’s gut, sending him sailing back into the bushes Shampoo had come from – when Xander didn’t reemerge, he nodded in victory, doing his best to ignore the snarl that was now coming from Kasumi, who’s own battle aura had ignited as she glared at him. “Looks like I win, old ghoul,” he told Cologne even as the words began to circulate in the back of his mind … he’d won … his chance at freedom from Shampoo was gone … oh well, better luck next time.

Cologne reluctantly nodded, “Yes, Ranma, you did.” With that, she went, collecting Shampoo, who had Mousse over her shoulder, and left, “We will meet again, Ranma!”

Xander chose that moment to crawl out of the bushes, spitting leaves all of the way, “She gone?”

Ranma nodded, “Yeah, they are.”

Xander sighed, “Good.” With that, he collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

(Cat Café)

“You put us in danger, Great Grandmother.” She looked up and saw Xian Pu glaring at her, which made her jerk back as her great granddaughter went on, “You make One-Eye very angry, touch Earth Power!” Yes, Cologne had felt that too – the boy had seemingly called up an ocean of power to do with as he would, but he had done nothing but let it blaze, as if he had no control over it. “Tribe hear, tribe come here … you die, WE die.”

Cologne snorted, “The Tribe would never turn against me, great grandchild, and you know that.”

Xian Pu gave her a flat look, “You make One-Eye angry, use Shampoo as tool, lose respect for old laws.” With that, Xian Pu turned around, somewhat unsteadily as she was still suffering from a mild concussion, and stormed out of the room, leaving her alone with her thoughts.

The man, most likely a Watcher, was a dangerous foe, and would make an even more dangerous ally or son-in-law – was risking her life, and the lives of her tribe, worth the honor a Slayer would bring to them? She pondered this for hours as the candle in front of her flickered.

(2 days later - Watcher’s Compound – Nerima, Japan)

She laid a cold cloth over Xander’s forehead even the doctor next to her pulled the thermometer out of his mouth – Kasumi knew that it still read over one hundred degrees, as Xander had been running a fever for the past two days, but there was something else. The battle aura he had shown against Cologne had come back several times since then, flaring up on occasion and taking on a momentary green flare before vanishing, and she could see that it was doing something to him – what, she wasn’t sure, and neither were the Watchers, which was why they had called in expert help, help that was to arrive soon.

Doctor Tofu looked up at her, his glasses fogged slightly, “He’s very ill, Kasumi, but I don’t know why. I have tried every acupressure point I know to revive him, but nothing has helped.”

She sighed and nodded – it had been a last-ditch effort in order to awaken Xander, “Thank you, Doctor Tofu.” He bowed to her and left the room under guard – apparently, none of the Watchers in the building had trusted him anywhere near her.

She perked up at a sudden rumbling that seemed to echo through the house and picked up the short sword that she had hidden away in order to protect Xander, should the need arise, from Shampoo, taking up a stance as the door to the room was literally ripped away to reveal a dozen or so girls, all of whom were looking around.

The lead one, one about Xander’s age and with red hair, looked down at him and whimpered, “(Xander?)”

Kasumi looked at the young woman and asked, “Who are you?” The woman gave her a blank look and she asked again, “Who are you?”

“(Um … I’m sorry, I don’t speak Japanese…)” the redhead said in English, but Kasumi’s English was good enough for her to get the gist of the sentence. She nodded at this and reached into her pocket, taking the ring she had taken off of Xander and throwing it to the red-haired woman, who caught it easily and slipped it onto her finger, “Ahh … can you hear me now?”

Kasumi nodded, “I could hear you before – who are you?”

Willow colored a little, “I’m Willow, Willow Rosenberg, Xander’s friend from Sunnydale. Yup, Sunnydale, long time now almost twenty years we’ve been friends and I guess I’m just worried and I tend to babble when I’m worried … just like I’m doing now.” She saw the woman’s lips curl up slightly as the point of the sword dropped a few inches, “Um … who are you?”

“Kasumi Tendo, of the Tendo Dojo … the Slayer Xander was sent to retrieve.” The young woman looked to be about 19 or so, taller than she, and she was dressed in a reserved dress and blouse combo, a combo that looked good enough that Willow had to remind herself that she and Kennedy were just getting back together after a six-month split. “What did this?”

“He brought forth his battle aura,” Kasumi explained, “but it was odd – when I saw it, a voice in my mind said ‘Earth Power’, and then ‘Slayer’, and then ‘Primal’.”

Willow blanched, “What?!?” This was bad, very bad.

“Willow, what’s wrong?” She looked back at Dawn, who was keeping the other Slayers, mostly Xander’s, whom had ‘insisted’ that they come along ‘for his protection’, in line with the occasional glare and growl.

Willow smiled a forced smile, “Nothing, Dawnie … just something that I didn’t expect.” She looked back at Xander, that smile fading into a scowl as she shook her finger at him, “Mister, you better wake up and tell me why the Hyena’s still in you, and you better do it right now!”

Xander, however, had the audacity to stay asleep.

One of the mini-Slayers, one from south London, spoke up, “Maybe he needs a kiss to be woken up?” Eleven volunteers to test this theory instantly tried to rush Xander’s bed, but, again, they were held in place by a snarl from not only Dawn, but from the girl Kasumi.

Dawn snapped at the Slayers, “If anyone’s going to kiss Xander, it’s me.”

Willow gave Dawn a look, “I’ve known him longer, Dawnie.”

“And I’ve had a crush on him since before I technically existed,” Dawn said to her, trumping her own claim to Xander.

Every girl present had to nod at that particular point of fact, knowing what Dawn was (save Kasumi).

Xander, for some odd reason, shivered in his unconscious state but nobody seemed to notice.

“I try that, no work,” Kasumi chipped in, but in broken English, and earned a furious glare from Dawn.

“You kissed MY man without MY permission?” Dawn, Willow had noted, had started to take on some of Buffy’s less-lovable characteristics in the past year or so, though most often where Xander was involved, and right now she was showing that overly-protective nature that often had Willow wanting to either hug Buffy or strangle the now-brunette Slayer.

One of the mini-Slayers, one of Xander’s from Egypt … Isis, Willow thought her name was, walked into the room with a sigh and a wrapped object in her hands, “You all are hopeless.” She took the wrapped object over towards Xander’s bed and carefully opened the clear wrapping that had red and white print on it, and removed the contents, which she wafted in front of Xander’s nose.

After a few seconds, as if by magic, Xander’s nose twitched and he sniffed the Twinkie being held there.

Isis took the treat, broke it in half, and slowly moved the cream-filled center back and forth in front of Xander’s nose, “If you spend any time with him, you KNOW he knows this smell by heart.”

Dawn growled at the Egyptian Slayer, “I was stuck with my sister in Italy for over two years, missy, but I didn’t HAVE a Twinkie on me or I would have used it.” She reached over and took the other half from the Slayer, and leaned down by Xander’s ear, taking a bite out of it, “Mmmm, Xander … this Twinkie tastes SOOOOO … mmmm, good.”

Kasumi was stunned as some of the red flush of the fever in Xander’s face began to deepen at Dawn’s words, especially in his ears.

Willow frowned, “Dawn, do you remember what we have all repeatedly told you about using the ‘phone sex operator’ voice on Xander?”

Dawn gave her a cheeky smile, “Willow, I’m 19 now – it’s only a matter of time before Xander’s ass … and other parts of his body, are mine and mine alone.”

This comment was met with a growl from ALL Slayers in the room, including the new one, Kasumi.

“Good to know, Dawnie,” Xander rasped out below her, his voice weak but teasing as he bought his head up and bit the Twinkie half she had in her hand, taking it with him.

Within a second, Xander was at the bottom of a Slayer-style dog-pile, with one former Key in there, too, and a red-haired Wicca on top.

(Later)

After barring the bathroom door with every object he could get his hands on, not to mention threats of no hugs, a threat that seemed to work rather well on all of his Slayers, not to mention Willow, but it had not worked too well on Dawn, which had led to the locking of the door from the inside. He also made a mental note to get new locks, numeric ones, put on the doors, with personal access codes, for such eventualities.

The shower, while needed, had been more of a formality than anything as for him find a reason to take off his eye patch and ensure that was he was feeling there wasn’t real – it’d taken him about nine months to get used to the lack of his left eye, and another year or so to hone his senses, training and fighting styles to compensate for that, but as he stood in front of the mirror, he wasn’t sure how he would feel if, indeed there was an eye there. Right now, it just looked like his left eye was shut, if slightly crusty.

Taking a washrag that had been soaking in warm water, he pressed it to the left eye socket and held it there for a second before starting to rub the crusty away – he could FEEL something there and, even as his heart started to pound a little harder, he was hoping against hope that this wasn’t some kind of a trick.

Slowly, he worked the eyelids open and, staring back at him in the mirror, was a brown iris-ed eye.

The knock on the door jerked him back into reality, “Xander?” Willow.

He draped a towel over his head, went to the door, unlocked it and reached out, dragging his jean and blouse-clad best friend into the bathroom, where he stood in only a towel, “Willow, I think we have a problem.”

She arched an eyebrow, “Yeah, I’d say – if I were a baby Slayer, or some of the older ones, or Faith for that matter, I’d say you and I were both wearing entirely too much, but as I’m not them, I’ll ask what’s wrong?”

He shook his head, “Well, first you’re spending entirely too much time with Faith and second,“ he ripped the towel off of his head and showed her his eye, “I seem to have gained something back. Not sure HOW, but I have my eye back.”

It took Willow a minute to accept that she what she was seeing was real, and another minute for her to silence the little 15 year-old girl in the back of her mind telling her to take ahold of the semi-naked Xander NOW and to not let go until she was physically and sexually satisfied, before she chanted a small spell that let her see why the eye was there … and almost instantly wished she had not.

The Earth Power she had poured into him was back, in spades, and fueling what appeared to be aspects of both the Slayer Spirit he had absorbed when she, Buffy, Giles and he had joined to fight ADAM, and what appeared to be part of the Hyena spirit, which reminded her, “Why is the Hyena still in you?”

Xander rolled both of his eyes at her, “Not important, Wills.”

She smacked him in the chest with her hand, “Yes important, Xander, it’s doing something to you.” He gave her a withering glare and she shut up – okay, the Hyena thing could wait, “What’s happening? I don’t know – the Earth Power you seem to be able to call up now apparently has activated some aspects of both the … well, you know, and the Slayer Spirit we all shared when we joined to defeat ADAM.”

“The healing aspects.” He reached up and touched his eye and she could tell this wasn’t going to be pretty, “And where were these aspects? Why the hell did it wait two years and four uses of that Earth Power for it to come back NOW?”

Again, she just shrugged, “I don’t know, Xander – I look more in-depth into it, later, but for now get some clothes on. I have Slayers to taunt with the fact that I’ve seen you this close to naked.”

“Gee, thanks, don’t do me any favors,” he groused at her as she turned, but she suddenly found herself in his embrace, her back to his front, and she smiled. Xander hugging was good, premium even to Kennedy-hugging, though with Kennedy-hugging often came the promise of Kennedy-sex, but when his hands began to move up and down he stomach she began to worry, “You know, you were right – we’re both wearing WAY too many clothes now…”

“Xander!” She smacked him on the hands and he began to chuckle, which was infectious, so she joined in.

(Elsewhere)

“You know that this will complicate his life.”

“I know, but he deserves it.”

“When the Wicca looks, she WILL see your power markers on this.”

“Let her – Father will not allow us to come to harm.”

She looked at the young Goddess and sighed, “Skuld, I do hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Urd, you DO know who he was in his last life, right?”

The platinum-tressed, bronzed goddess in short pants and a halter top glared at her younger sister, “Of course I know, brat, but Henry Jones Junior did NOT screw up your plans THAT much to deserve THIS kind of punishment.”

Skuld just shrugged her shoulders and drew her debugging mallet, “He caused Father’s Ark to be locked away – it was one of my finest ideas to date, and he had it locked away in a crate somewhere.” She put away her mallet and grinned, “Besides, what harm could come from this?”

Above the shrine, the blue skies of Japan rumbled.

(Next Day - Nerima, Japan – Tendo Dojo)

“I accept your offer, Xander.” “Ow! Leggo my leg!” Came into his ears at the same time.

Xander nodded at Kasumi even as several of his baby Slayers put both Akane and Ranma through the workouts of their lives, “I’m glad to hear that. Isis! No biting!”

Isis, who had been gnawing on Akane’s leg, looked up at him innocently, “She kicked me!”

He rolled his eyes, “That’s the point of a spar.” Isis just shrugged and stamped her foot down where Akane’s hand was, but the youngest Tendo rolled out of the way and kicked Isis again.

“You know, Ranma may want to keep a few of your Slayers here, Xander. He hasn’t had this kind of a workout in months,” Kasumi said somewhat dryly as she watched Ranma take on four other Slayers, all of whom were being put through the paces while he grinned his head off.

Xander snarled, “If he gets engaged to any of them he deals with ME.”

“BWEEEE!” At this point Akane stopped her go-round with Isis and caught the flying black pot-bellied pig that had flung itself at her.

“P-chan!” She cuddled it between her breasts, at which point the pot-bellied pig began to bleed through his nose and make noises of affection … well, as much as a piglet could.

Isis, taking this distraction as a good thing, lashed out at Akane’s unprotected back and landed four good hits, which stumbled the martial artists enough to drop P-chan, which suddenly began to glare at her and oink angrily.

She looked down at the pig and smirked, “What are you going to do? Oink me to death?”

Akane blinked at P-chan charged Isis with a squeal of rage, one of the better sparring partners she’d had in a while, and tried to attack her – tried being operative word as Isis hooked a foot under P-chan’s body and flung it into the air … right towards Xander.

Xander caught the piglet by it’s yellow neck rag and looked at it, his eyes glowing an eerie yellow green for a moment before he licked his lips, something that made P-chan begin to squeal and squirm in Xander’s grasp, “Hmm … suddenly I feel like having a snack.”

Akane stormed over and grabbed P-chan away from Xander, glaring at him even as he glared balefully back at her, his yellow-green eyes flashing before reverting back to their normal brown eyes, “Don’t tease P-chan!”

“Who’s teasing? Ten minutes on the grill and he’s a nice snack waiting for BBQ sauce.”

To this, P-chan fainted in her arms, even as several of the Slayers snickered, “Ohhhh, you meanie!” Akane stormed off, “C’mon, P-chan, we’re going to the baths.” Again the pig’s nose began to bleed as she took off, but its eyes never left Xander as it did it’s best to get away, finally succeeding before the pair did get to the baths.

Xander watched the pig go until he felt something hit him on the back of the head – there, standing with a rolled up newspaper, was Dawn, looking rather amused even as she was standing in a pair of jeans and her ‘Daddy Like’ shirt, “Bad puppy!”

Xander whined playfully even as Kasumi giggled.

Dawn looked at Kasumi, “You see, long ago I learned that there were two ways to control Xander – food and threats of turning him over to my mother. When mom died, though, that threat went to turning him over to my sister, which is why I had to come up with the rolled up newspaper.”

Kasumi frowned, “Your sister … Buffy Summers?”

Dawn smiled, happy that Willow’s translation spell was still holding up, “Yup.”

“And he’s not scared of her?”

Xander snorted even as Dawn shook her head, “Not really – they had a huge blowup not too long after Sunnydale fell and while she called him a bunch of names, he went over everything she did wrong when, if she had used her head, things would have come out better. They didn’t talk to each other for a month or so, but when she did talk to him again, she said he was right and she actually proved she had a brain in her head after that.”

Xander sighed, “Dawn what have we all told you about disrespecting your sister when she’s not here to defend herself?”

Dawn sighed, “I KNOW, Xander, but after some of the bone-headed stuff she’s pulled, it’s hard not to.”

“Trust me, I understand, but she’s getting better – maybe it’s the lack of hair-coloring …” Xander speculated, ignoring the blank looks he was getting from Kasumi and most of the other Slayers.

Dawn, however, just grinned, “Explains why I’ve always been the brains of the family.” She took a lock of her hair and fingered it, “All natural … and if you ever want to check out that claim, just tell me and I’ll let you.”

Xander blushed, “Dawn!”

Kasumi growled at Dawn, “He will not check that out!”

Dawn glared at Dawn, “Look here, missy, I’ve been after him since I was eleven and he was 15, and now that I’m legal I’m not stopping or afraid to stoop to any depths to get him.”

This got growls from the other Slayers, all of whom were now watching the pair square off now even as Xander began to back away – Kasumi’s bright blue battle aura started to be seen around her even as Dawn’s eyes flared with the Summers women temper and Xander knew that this wasn’t going to end well.

“Kinda nice to see you can feel my pain, Xander,” Ranma said, his voice tinged with more than a little amusement. “Though what’s better is someone who has it worse off than me.”

“Go to hell, Ranma.”

“Send me those four Slayers to spar with on a regular basis and I’ll let ya send me there.”

Xander’s only response was a single digit presented in salute form.

All fighting stopped, however, as they all heard Willow shriek, “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”

“SWEETO!” A small, black-clad midget vaulted out of the house and into the dojo, holding a strip of red lace that Xander remembered well – he should, he bought it and the matching bra for Willow as a gag gift for last Christmas and Chanukah and Kennedy had thanked him profusely, but that had been just before she and Willow had broken up for a bit. The only way he could have gotten that was if he’d taken it OFF of Willow … which meant the perv had to die.

BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM. BLAM. BLAM. BLAM-BLAM! His H&K barked out it’s entire magazine and he was unconsciously switching it out as he tracked the little wrinkled bastard through the dojo, the Slayers and Tendos, not to mention Ranma, all diving for cover as Willow stormed into the room, her face like a thundercloud and her eyes starting to fade to black as the little imp fell to the ground, having run out of room.

Xander racked the slide on his pistol and had it to the back of the imp’s head as Willow approached, “Drop the thong now and if you twitch wrong I let her have you instead of the bullet.”

“Ranma, my boy, stop him1” The imp complied by dropping the thong, which Xander picked up and shoved into his pocket even as Willow continued her advance, her eyes now glowing black, “She’s going to kill me!”

From his point of cover, Ranma shouted out, “Good!”

“Don’t Willow,” Xander, warned his friend, not taking his eyes off of the imp.

“That perv was WATCHING me in the bathroom, Xander and he GROPED me! He DIES for this.” The imp shivered in fear as Willow approached but wet himself as he felt the hot muzzle of the pistol put against the back of his head.

“Then the pain stops,” Xander said to her, snapping her out of her murderous rage as she looked up at him. Gone was her Xander, and there was the cruel Xander she knew and loved when she wanted to get even with someone.

“You have no honor, using magic and guns!” This got the gun shoved harder into the back of his head, so he tried a different route, “You wouldn’t deny an old man his harmless fun, now, would you?”

“I’ve killed people for less than spying on and groping my girls – call me a bloodthirsty bastard if you want, because while I admit to the first, I hope for the second. Willow … transport him, locked in a magical cell, to the Cat Café, if you please?” She gave him a look and he gave her a grin that reminded her WAY too much of the HyenaXander, “Oh, and while you’re at it…”

(Cat Café – moments later)

Cologne looked at Haposai’s body, trussed up like a turkey, and then at the note attached to it – ‘if he ever comes near my girls again, he dies – make sure he understand that.’

Shampoo shuddered as her great grandmother began to cackle in pure glee even as Haposai began to quiver in pure fear.

(Tendo Dojo)

Kasumi packed her bags even as both of her sisters helped her – it was somewhat daunting to think that, for the first time since her mother had died, se was not going to be in control.

Akane looked up from her task of packing away her unmentionables, a frown on her face, “Are you sure that you don’t want me to cook?”

“Yes, Akane – I’m sure that one day you will be a good cook, but first you have to learn how to follow directions and identify your ingredients.” It was hope against hope that Akane would learn that, but still, if Akane applied herself, it could happen.

Nabiki stopped folding her blouses, “Okay, what I want to know is if you’re going after Harris-san – I’ve got people who are willing to take three to two odds that you’re stringing him along while another group says that you and him are married and with a kid on the way in a year.”

Kasumi blushed heavily at this, “Nabiki! I do not need to add to his very-apparent problems with the other Slayers and Dawn.”

Akane snorted, “He’s just another pervert.”

Both older Tendo girls ignored Akane, the middle child speaking, “Do you know what it is about him that just seems to attract the others?”

Kasumi frowned, “I’m not sure – from my Slayer memories, I remember that Buffy Summers, Kendra and Faith all thought he was cute, but it was how he interacted with them that made him … special. With Buffy, he was her friend after he knew he could never have her, with Kendra … well, she did not live long enough or meet him enough, but it was the idea of him that made her wonder, and with Faith …” Kasumi blushed, knowing exactly WHY Faith liked Xander.

“Well?”

“He’s … persistent, and I shall say no more.” She packed away some of her books into her bag, ignoring the blank look that Akane was giving her and the not-so-blank look that Nabiki was giving her, doing her best to hold back her own blush. The truth was, though, that Faith liked Xander because he had tried to be her friend back in the day – sure, there was the sex, but there was that kernel of friendship that, somehow, had survived her trying to kill him.

In another part of the house, though, there was another conversation going on, this one between Soun and Xander, with Ranma sitting in on it, and Soun looked up at Xander as he sat down, “If my little girl gets permanently harmed because you did not teach her to the best of your abilities, you shall suffer.”

Ranma nodded, “Yeah, and after we get done making you eat Akane’s cooking, we’ll start with the light torture of breaking your bones.”

Xander nodded, “I shall try, that’s all I can say. Now, I have a question for you, Ranma – when were you going to tell me about that curse you have?”

Ranma shrugged, not thinking one second about how embarrassing it may have been for Xander to have been bathing and suddenly had a red-haired girl who was NOT his best friend suddenly where Ranma had been seconds before, “As soon as you asked me, Xander.”

Xander arched an eyebrow, “So that was YOU who was kicking that panda’s ass?”

Ranma smiled, “Yeah, well, Pops had tried to attack me and I need to teach him a lesson.” Ranma then frowned, “You know, I haven’t seen him in the past few days – do you know where he is?”

Soun saw the sudden grin on Xander’s face and narrowed his eyes, “What did you do, Harris-san?”

“I found him trying to get his hands on my bags again when we ended up going to the hospital, Tendo-san – after that, I merely followed up on my promise.” The smile that Xander wore was not a nice one – it was the grin of a predator, of one who had gotten his prey right where he wanted them.

(Unknown Location)

“Please, honey, I know how the files look, but if you give me chance to explain…”

SPLASH.

Genama rubbed the water out of his eyes with a furry paw and began to think of ways to get back at the gaijin bastard that had put him back into the ‘loving’ arms of his wife, one who now knew of all of his past crimes.

Nodoka, however, was smiling slightly – she liked this Harris boy; he had gotten her the file in under two hours of her husband’s final transgression and had even told her where she could find him. Such traits often made her wonder if he was single.

All of that took a backseat, though, as she drew her katana and went at her husband, who was chained to the wall – it was Genma learned a lesson on the rights and privileges of property, and that even wives had needs, too.

(Tendo Dojo)

With the baby Slayers all safely packed away into the cars and on their way to the airport, under watchful glares of both Willow and Dawn, it was now as it had started – Xander and Kasumi now stood at the doors of the dojo, Kasumi saying goodbye to her sisters and Xander to Ranma.

“So, Ranma, have you thought of my offer?”

Ranma nodded at Xander, “Yeah, I have, but as much fun as it would be to train Slayers, I can’t wear tweed.”

Xander snorted, “Trust me, I know the feeling – first time someone tried to put it on me, I shot them. Sure, it was just with a paintball gun, but I’m sure you get the sentiment behind it.” They shook hands then, “Be careful – don’t let this band of loonies get you down.”

Ranma snickered, “This coming from the guy who has at least a dozen super-powered women, most of whom are not of legal age, wanting him to bed them?”

Xander rolled his eyes, “Yeah, yeah, I know – pot and the kettle on the women thing, but at least yours are mostly all legal.”

Ranma snickered, “Thinking of starting your own harem?”

Xander didn’t dignify that with a response, save, “Willow’s looking into your curse, but don’t get your hopes up, okay? She may not be able to cure it, but she may find a way to at least control it.”

Ranma nodded, a smile on his face, “I may have to thank her if she does.”

Xander’s eyes narrowed, slightly, “You hurt her and you’ll never see me coming for you, Saotome.”

Ranme grinned, “Bring it on, gaijin.”

Over with Kasumi and her sisters, her father approached with a box in his hands, “Kasumi, I want you to have this – it was your mother’s.”

Kasumi took the box and looked at the finely carved wood before opening it carefully – inside was a book, and old leather-bound book, and it had a lock on it, “What is it?”

Soun shook his head, “She never told me, Kasumi, nor do I know how to open it – she said that you would, however.” He looked down at it and frowned, “I tried to see it a dozen times or more, it hurt that much to look at it, but something stopped me every time. Maybe it’s for the best, then.”

Kasumi frowned at this for a moment but then nodded, “Very well, father – be good.” He gave her a quick smile before giving her a hug as the cab pulled up to the dojo and honked its horn.

Xander picked up his bags as Kasumi pulled her own two bags with her (sadly, there was a limit to what a Slayer could bring with her – Kennedy had tried to bring her entire closet with her and they had ended up making that rule after the deliver service came with an entire fleet of trucks) and they both got into the cab and told the man to go to the airport..

“What’s in the box?”

Kasumi shrugged her shoulders and looked at the title ‘The Book of Clow’, “I do not know, but it was my mother’s.”

Xander nodded even as his Sunnydale ‘Shit!’ alarms started to go off in spades around the book as he gave off an Oz-like, “Cool.” ‘Note to self: Tell Giles about this … later.’

(Elsewhere)

“You do realize that you’ve pretty much thrown off all of the plans of the Powers, don’tcha, squirt?”

Skuld snorted, “Urd, please, don’t be too nice to those wanna-be Kami, okay? You and I both looked through this guy’s past and we’ve both seen how they’ve used this kid in the past.” She lightly fingered her debugging mallet and looked over at the seven unconscious beings that, normally, were the Powers That Be, “Sure, if they had made him a Champion, that’d have been one thing, but they just used him and he never got anything in return – that’s wrong.”

Urd just snorted as she raided the Powers’ icebox for more of the liquor they had been soaking up like sponges, “You’re starting to sound like Bell-chan, kid. So, what’s next on your list?”

Skuld smiled as she pulled out a list that promptly unrolled to the other side of the room, a good fifty feet, “Well, now that we’ve raided the ‘fridge for liquor and ice cream, we’re going to check on how they Call a Slayer.”

Urd nodded, looking over at the file system that the Powers had set up, “Jeez, are you sure they aren’t all librarians? This looks like the archaic filing system the Earth libraries used to use…”

(London, England)

Down on Earth, Rupert Giles felt the need to straighten his glasses and spout out an ‘I Say!’ for some odd reason, but he ignored it and went back to studying the map he’d been looking at – a new Slayer had been Called, again in Japan, but the temple she was at was heavily warded … warded by heavenly magics … “Oh, dear.”

THE END …?

AN: Okay, folks, that’s it for this story – been kicking around in my skull for a few months now and, after a comment made to Cyc and J (Yorath), this was born. I thank them for their input (honestly, they corrected everything – I’ve read only a few stories on Ranma and most of that is fanon information), this story would not have been possible without them.

So, what do you think? Opinions, reviews and critiques, please – no flames, though, as they will be used to barbeque fresh beef. Thanks in advance, AR.
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