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Sailor Ranko: Just Add Water: Chapter 7, Play Ball!
by
Rebecca Ann Heineman

Ranma 1/2 and the characters therein are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. Based on "Sailor Ranko" by Duncan Zillman and "Twice in a Millennium" by Kevin D. Hammel.

I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me or stuff me with crabmeat.



Ranko looked at herself in the mirror. She had sunk to a new low. "Do I have to go to school like this?"

Akane was enjoying watching Ranko squirm. "Today is our first volleyball game. If you are going to be on the team, you have to attend school at least once as Ranko."

"Why can't I just change before the game?" Ranko looked down at her high school uniform. It was the Juuban High School sailor style dress. It looked cute on her. She was ecstatic that this little travesty didn't involve makeup.

Akane adjusted the collar and brushed off Ranko's dress. "We've been through this. You are on a girl's team. You need to attend school as a girl once in a while to make this work. Nothing would make the other schools more suspicious if you only show up on the team but not at school."

Ranko glared at her reflection. "Oh, and having me come to school as Ranko when I've been Ranma all this time won't make people suspicious already?" She turned to face Akane. "This is a really bad idea and you know it."

Akane gave a sympathetic look. "It's only for one day."

Ranko rolled her eyes to the ceiling. "Remind me why I'm going to embarrass myself today?"

"Today is the day they take the team picture and your class picture. Remember that there is a new student enrolled named..."

Ranko groaned. "Ranko! I know. How did I get talked into this?"

"You can't resist the puppy dog eyes." Akane gave her the puppy dog eyes.

"You and Minako are evil. You know that right?" She grabbed her school bag. She checked for all the necessary items for her survival. She found the water bottle was a bit low and went to the sink to fill it.

Akane remembered she had a question to ask, "Ranko, did you change to a guy at work yesterday?"

"No? Why?" Ranko took a big drink from the bottle. She filled it again.

"I filled your bottle yesterday and was wondering if it was low because you changed back to Ranma."

Ranko looked at her water bottle. "No, I sometimes get thirsty. Water does have other uses." She stuck her bottle in her bag. She took another look at her dress. "Well, this had better be the only day I have to do this. I don't want to make a habit of it."


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Usagi and Rei were at the front of the high school. They were waiting for Ami to hear about the new possible threat to the safety of the planet. Again.

Makoto and Minako soon joined them and the four gathered just inside the school entrance. Makoto started things out, "Anyone know anything more? I got the message from Ami about a demon lord that might want to kill all the women in the world."

Minako shook her head, "That's all I got too. Where is Ami? She's never late."

Rei smirked and lazily pointed to Usagi, "Even meatball head here is on time."

"Hey! Stop being mean to me Rei!" Usagi was holding back a storm of tears.

Rei held her arms akimbo. "You're so lucky I'm going to school here. Grandfather tried to convince me again to transfer back to T*A private school."

"But you still don't have to be mean to me!" Usagi pouted.

Ami arrived. She was out of breath. "Sorry I'm late. I was on the phone with a friend in America. I've got news about the creature Happosai released."

Akane and Ranko came to group. Ranko was trying to hide in the shadows. Akane grabbed her shoulder and pulled her to the group. "C'mon Ranko, it's not they hadn't seen your girl side."

"It's not them that I'm worried about." Ranko sulked.

Minako was overjoyed. "Oh Ranko! Thank you! The team picture is right before the game today."

"Remember. I'm coming to school like this for today only." Ranko lifted her head and just accepted it.

Minako looked at Ranko's hair, "You would look so much better with your hair in a ponytail or if you just let it down."

Ranko wasn't amused, "Like that looks good on me when the hot water hits, right?"

Ami made a gentle cough. "Girls, we have something more important to discuss. I talked to Giles and he found out about the box we have."

Makoto asked, "Giles? Who is he?"

"Rupert Giles, he is a watcher. He's an expert in demonology. Look." Ami pulled out her computer and showed a picture of a really nasty demon. "This is what the box contained."

The girls gazed at a very ugly demon. To emphasize the point, Ami typed a few keys and superimposed a silhouette of a human next to it. The thing stood six meters tall. It had blood red skin which the lower half looking like the bottom of a goat covered in brown fur and hoofed feet. The arms were solid muscle with giant hands ending in huge black sharp fingernails. The creatures face was like an evil bull and had a snake's tongue. The teeth were numerous and razor sharp. This thing meant business.

Ami took back her computer. "It's called the demon of pain. This thing can hide its evil aura. It needs a host to exist in. Since Happosai's missing, we can probably assume that it is hiding in him. We can sense its evil if it's changing bodies. Also, this thing has a very strange history."

Usagi sat down, "Why can't a month go by without something like this happening? Why?"

"Pay attention dumpling head." Rei pulled up Usagi and brought her back to the group.

"Stop it Rei!" Usagi started crying.

Minako got between Rei and Usagi, "Knock it off you two."

Makoto took a peek at Ami's computer. "What's the history on this thing? Anything we could use against it?"

Ami closed up her computer and put it away. "It seemed that this demon was sealed away because it had a sick sense of humor. It really enjoys making its victim suffer in anguish. It's totally unpredictable."

Ranko was confused, "A demon with a sense of humor? Is that possible?"

Ami told the group, "We need to be on constant guard. This thing is smart, it's ancient and it is capable of anything. If anyone senses evil or sees Happosai, alert everyone else immediately. Rei, I need you to work on marking a ward that can seal a lord of demons. You'll have to make it out of metal or some other long lasting material. We don't want this thing getting out again."

Rei understood and shook her head, "I'm going to have to do some research on this."

Ranko turned to Usagi, "Does this 'end of the world' stuff happen often?"

Usagi shook her head in the affirmative.

Ranko sighed, "And I thought life in Nerima was strange."

Usagi stopped crying and got angry with Ranko, "Ranko! This is all your fault!"

Ranko shot back, "My fault? What do you mean my fault?"

"Happosai did this to get back at you!"

"Don't you try blaming me for that little pervert!"

"Well he lived with you!"

"Past tense! He lived at the Tendo's because Mr. Tendo and my dad were too chicken to kick him out!"

Usagi stomped on the ground. "Why didn't YOU kick him out?"

Ranko got in Usagi's face. "It wasn't my house!"

Usagi got on her tiptoes. "I thought you were the heir!"

Ranko stood back, crossed her arms and faced away from Usagi. "Funny, Mr. Tendo is still very much alive and in charge!"

The other girls were watching the pointless argument between Usagi and Ranko. Akane looked up at the sky to pretend this wasn't happening. The school bell rang and the two stopped the argument. Usagi and Ranko exchanged raspberries and stuck their tongues out at each other. They ran off to class leaving the rest standing behind. They all shrugged and went to their classrooms.

Rei stood there for a moment. She had a feeling of deja vu. Except that Ranko was the one having the useless argument with Usagi instead of her. She smiled as she walked to class and quietly thought, "At least Usagi has the same effect on others as she does me."


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Ukyou entered the Furinkan High School gate. She was lonely. She missed Ranma dearly. She knew that she only had two more years of high school left before she graduated and could attend a culinary college. She didn't know what she wanted out of life anymore. Ranma was gone. She had to move on. She just wasn't ready for that yet.

A voice called out for Ukyou, "Hey! Wait up!" Ukyou turned to the voice and saw Nabiki running up to her.

Ukyou perked up a little, "Hey Nabiki. What's up?"

Nabiki ran up to Ukyou and caught her breath. "I want to talk to you about Ranma."

Ukyou really perked up. Nabiki wanted to talk about her favorite subject. "How's he doing?"

"Well, I was wondering if Ranma was doing anything different lately. Did he get some new skill recently?"

Ukyou was a little perplexed at the question, "Not that I know of. He hasn't been by my restaurant lately so I hadn't talked to him in weeks."

Nabiki wasn't happy with the answer. "Well Ranma seems to be able to travel quickly and I was wondering if he learned some way to run faster than normal."

Ukyou bit her lip. She knew about Sailor Sun and that she could teleport. She was going to have to call Ranma and warn her that Nabiki was on to her. "Nope. Not that I know of."

Nabiki grew cold. She knew she was being lied to. "Ok, well thanks anyways."

"If you see him, tell him to come by my place!" Ukyou smiled.

"I will." Nabiki walked to class. She told herself, "Ok, Ukyou knows something and won't tell me. Nodoka knows something. Akane told something to Kasumi." Nabiki was growing frustrated. She hated being kept in the dark. She was going to try Shampoo next.

Nabiki was fuming. She knew something was different with Ranma and Akane. She just for the life of her couldn't put two and two together. She wanted to scream in frustration.


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The demon formerly known as Happosai, was putting the last touches on his experiment in plumbing. It was pleased with the work. The day after tomorrow, it was going to send the foolish boys to get the final ingredients to this phase of "Operation: Make Happosai Suffer."

Happosai begged and pleaded with the demon to reconsider. The demon was most amused at this. It shredded and burned Happosai's entire underwear collection and Happosai's cries of anguish gave it the energy it needed to fully awaken. Soon, the next phase of the plan would be put into place. Happosai will regret the day he was born when the demon was through with him.


========================================


The teacher did roll call. "Usagi Tsukino?"

"Here."

"Akane Saotome?"

"Here."

"Ranma Saotome?"

A soprano voice answered. "Here."

The teacher looked at Ranko and reached for his iced tea. He took a big sip. He needed the caffeine boost to get through today. The entire teaching staff got the memo about Ranma's "condition". He wished it were happening to someone else's student. No guy should look that cute in a dress. He checked the boxes "Ranma" and "Ranko" in the roll sheet. It was beyond strange that there were now two students listed in his roll sheet where there should be one. He took another sip of tea. He planned to drink some sake after school. He continued roll call.

Kato couldn't stop staring at Ranko. He didn't think that Ranma would cross dress in public.


========================================


Ranko got her lunch from the cafeteria. It was typical cafeteria food. In other words, it was barely fit for human consumption. It was still better than Akane's cooking. She sighed as she went to meet the other girls. She already caught wind of the rumors going around school about her. She was wondering if Nabiki wasn't hiding behind a bush somewhere with a cash register in hand.

She passed by the pervert squad. Kato muttered, "Now he's dressing like a girl. Boy is he weird!"

Ranko continued to walk to the girls by the tree. She found Akane, "Akane, please hold my lunch." She handed her food to Akane. She turned back to the three boys and approached them.

Akira tried to pretend that he didn't see Ranko coming. "Guys, the weirdo is coming here."

Ranko stood next to the three. "If you have something to say, say it to my face."

Kato started laughing. He couldn't hold back the idea of a guy in a dress. He fell to the ground.

Ranko gave a cocky grin. "You think this is funny. Well, for your information you jerks. Right now, I'm 100% woman." She rolled up her sleeves. "I've got a can of 100% whoop ass right here."

Kato stopped laughing. The fight lasted only forty five seconds and was very one sided. The fight lasted that long only because Ranko wanted to let them know exactly what martial arts skill level she possessed. The dust settled and the three guys were bent together like a pretzel. Ranko made a cute girlish pose and batted her eyes to the small crowd that gathered around the melee. "Oh look here! These guys are such wimps that they got beaten by a GIRL!!" Ranko lifted the edge of her skirt and pranced away.

Yoshi moved a little and moaned, "You two, please learn to shut up."

Ranko did her little skipping for only a few steps when she stopped, let go of her skirt and walked in a very male fashion to the waiting girls. She sat with a thud next to Akane and snatched her lunch and swallowed it in five seconds. "Burp."

Akane sat close to Ranko. "Happy now?"

"Yes. Wait a minute. No." Ranko saw she got her dress dirty. She wiped off the dust and her collar was clean again. "I take that back. Yes."

Akane just sat there, "You really worry me sometimes."

Ranko sipped on her drink. "Those jerks deserved it."

"You keep that up and they'll bring back Miss Hinako just for you."

Makoto leaned over to Ranko; "I'm amazed they didn't haul you away to the principal's office right now. You can get kicked out for that. Believe me, I know." She shot a worried glance at the courtyard, looking for a teacher or guardian to come give a detention slip for fighting to Ranko.

"Ok. Ok." Ranko turned to look at her handiwork. The three guys had finally untied themselves from each other and were leaving the courtyard. "I think the message was received loud and clear."

Akane smirked, "Like Kuno?"

Ranko became pale. "You would have to bring him up."

Ami shook her head. "You two have the strangest friends."

Ranko sat up straight, "Tatewaki is not my friend! He is a raving lunatic and his sister is not any better!"

Akane leaned back on the grass, "At least he is the only... Oh hi Shampoo."

Shampoo was standing over Akane. She was wearing her blue Chinese mini-dress that left little to the imagination. She put down her box of ramen and parked her bike. "I see you no change pervert girl."

Akane sat up since her position on the grass looked really bad. Ranko stuttered, "What are you doing here Shampoo?"

Shampoo glomped Ranko. "Airen! Wo Ai Ni!"

Ranko gave a look of terror to the other Sailor Senshi, "It's not what it looks like!"

Upstairs, upperclassmen Haruka and Michiru were looking out the window down into the courtyard like they did from time to time. They liked to watch the Inners socialize. It was a source of amusement. Haruka saw Shampoo. "Now she's cute. Ranko seems to get all the girls."

Michiru gently smacked Haruka on the back of her head.

Ranko twisted herself to squirm away from Shampoo's grasp. "Stop it Shampoo!"

Shampoo slid to the ground when Ranko escaped her grasp. She sat up and offered some ramen. "I bring picnic. Date with Shampoo yes?"

Akane was invoking herculean strength to not make a move. She didn't want to get expelled for fighting. The battle she was playing in her mind would have her banned from all public schools in Japan.

Ami wanted to know, "Shampoo, why are you after a married man?"

Shampoo was happy to answer, "Ranma marry Shampoo. Shampoo be good wife to Ranma." She produced the bowl of ramen.

Ami didn't expect that answer. "That's not what I asked. Ranko, er... Ranma is married to Akane. He's off the market." Ami was trying to use logic on Shampoo. It was an uphill battle.

"Ranma marry Shampoo first." She started to slide toward Ranko who was hiding behind Akane.

Ranko stood up. "I was engaged to Akane first!"

Shampoo stood and faced off with Ranko, "You marry Shampoo first! Marry Akane second!"

"I didn't marry you!"

"Ranma already marry Shampoo!"

"No I didn't!"

"Ranma already marry Shampoo!"

There were about thirty students looking at this very strange argument. A girl demanding marriage from another girl was not a common sight at Juuban High School.

"I didn't marry you! I knocked you out by accident!"

"Amazon law say, Ranma already marry Shampoo!"

"I'm not an Amazon!"

"Ranma Amazon when marry Shampoooooooooo........" Shampoo went flying into the air, powered by the luxurious patent leather sole of Air Akane's foot.

Akane casually went over to Shampoo's bike and spun it around like a discus and released it so that it would land not far from Shampoo on the other side of the high school wall. Akane looked for the ramen box and found Ranko had just finished eating the noodles and placed the empty bowl back in the box. "Can't let good food go to waste." Ranko grinned.

"Honestly Ranko." Akane sent the box flying as well.

Akane stared at the small ground of people. "Got a problem?" The crowd quickly dispersed. Akane sat back down.

The five inners blinked. Ami gulped, "That happens a lot around you doesn't it?"

Ranko slouched, "Story of my life."

Minako read the time. "C'mon Ranko, let's get your class picture taken before someone else shows up to marry you."

"Fine by me!"


========================================


Minako and Ranko went to the small office where a photographer was set up to take Ranko's class picture. Ranko was amazed at how much effort Minako was going through to create the student Ranko Saotome. Ranko was a little suspicious if there was something more going on.

Two other new students had their pictures taken first. Ranko was up next. Ranko sat on the stool and prepared her pose. Minako undid Ranko's pigtail despite her objections. She fluffed up and combed Ranko's hair and tied a ribbon as a headband. Ranko looked very beautiful. The photographer snapped the photo and told Minako that he will be ready for team photos after gym class.

"Can I have my string back? I want to tie my pigtail." Ranko held out her open hand.

"What string?" Minako shoved the string into subspace.

Ranko grimaced. "Ok, what is going on? Out with it!"

"Oh nothing is going on..." Minako was a poor liar.

Ranko pointed her finger at Minako and shook it as she spoke. "You convince me to come to school as a girl. I wear the dress. Now you are trying to give me a makeover. If I didn't know any better, I would think you're giving me bridal training!"

"Who told you?"

Ranko stopped moving. "My mom?"

Minako smiled from ear to ear.

"Akane's in on it too right?"

Minako actually smiled even more. It looked scary.

Ranko leaned back against the wall and smacked herself on the forehead.

"Ranko, don't be mad." Minako pulled Ranko away from the wall. "Your mom wanted to surprise you by watching your first volleyball game today. She wanted you to look your best."

"I... I... I don't understand. Only a few months ago, she wanted me dead for not being manly enough. Now this?"

"What's to understand? Your mom told me that you were going home tomorrow for bridal training."

Ranko wondered what did mom share with her friends, "Does this training include my new identity as Ranko?"

"Who do you think signed the papers? We were so excited, we thought we'd help you out a little."

Ranko lifted her eyes, "Who is we?"

"Uh..." Minako grinned again.

"I'm going to class." Ranko turned and went to her classroom with a beaming Minako following.


========================================


After school, the volleyball team collected outside of the gymnasium. They were going to take pictures before the game. They were all dressed in their volleyball uniforms. Akane was proud of her uniform. It reminded her of her time on the Furinkan volleyball team.

"Say wasabi!" The photographer took several pictures with different poses.

The team grouped together. The coach led them into the gym. The audience had already been seated and the teams were ready. Minako picked five teammates and all six girls went on the court and the game started. Ranko and Akane watched from the bench. They were the relief players. Ranko watched the game intently. She was studying the opposing team looking for weaknesses. She promised Minako that she wouldn't use martial arts or ki based moves. She didn't promise that she wouldn't use martial arts strategy to win.

The game was almost over and Juuban was behind by five points. Minako sent in Akane to replace Yoko. Akane played like a champion. She defended her area and scored two points with expert attacks. Yuka tripped and hurt her ankle. A timeout was called. Ranko was sent it to replace her.

Ranko saw her mother in the audience. She felt good. The game began and Minako served from behind. The ball bounced twice on the other side and Ranko predicted exactly where the ball was going to cross on her side. She intercepted the ball and threw it to Akane who threw it over the net. The ball came back and flew to Gin in the back. She passed it to Ranko who aimed it perfectly over the net, between the other team and onto the court scoring a point.

This was repeated nine times before the final whistle. Juuban won by two points. Akane crept up to Ranko, "Looks like we might get the championship after all."

Ranko placed her arm behind her head. "I still would have rather played on the men's team."

"C'mon you pervert. Let's change and go home." Akane walked off with the team to the locker room.

Nodoka approached Ranko. "Hi Ranko!"

"Hi mom. Glad you could make it."

"I'm so proud of you."

Ranko nervously scratched her head, "Thanks. Well, I got to change so I'll see you in about fifteen minutes. Can you wait for me?"

Nodoka gave a tiny bow. "Of course."

Ranko went to the side entrance reserved for the teaching staff. It was her way of getting to her private shower without having to go through the men's or women's changing room. She was about to open the door when she felt a slight presence of evil. She stopped and concentrated to find the source of the evil. She couldn't find it. She looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary. She cautiously entered the private changing room.

Ranko showered and changed back into her school dress. She wanted to change back into a guy, but since her mother went to all this trouble, she didn't want to disappoint her. She combed her flowing red hair and tied a new ribbon around the top of her head. The style was very close to the way it looked when she was Sailor Sun. She grabbed her gym bag and met her mother outside. Akane, Ranko and Nodoka went off to the ice cream shop to talk about the game.

Happosai got up from his hiding place. The demon thought to itself, "This one has powers. She should not have been able to sense me." This made the game more fun. The demon had not had a challenge in a very long time.

The real Happosai wanted to jump on Ranko and squeeze her private parts. He screamed again. The demon wouldn't let him. The pain fed the demon well.



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and keeps me from making that bump in the night sound you hear at midnight.

Last edited on November 21, 2002



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