Spider and Venom.
Spidergirl laughed gleefully as she swung from web to web off the buildings of Tokyo.
It was invigorating, it was amazing. Just a week before she had been visiting her uncle at Tokyo university, doing extra credit work on his spider genetics project when she had been distracted carrying some of the specimens.
Idle thoughts about if one of the spiders would bite one or two of the rivals for her future husband, her negligence had cost her when one of the spiders moved with startling speed from the cases and bit her hand.
She had been sick for nearly a day before finding herself invigorated and reborn. Stronger and faster than ever, her awareness of her surrounds sharp and clear, like the world was in slow motion. Then she had discovered she could spin webs and even climb walls.
A little research on her secret blunder found her photos of a tight bodied wall crawler in a red and blue city in the western city of New York. Despite one journalist group portraying her counterpart as a criminal, most of that city saw him as a hero, because he made a difference. Because he stopped crime. They didn't fear his freakish nature, they loved and respected him.
Some modifications to make a black leotard, with a tasteful red spider emblem on the front, red and black strapping on her toned armed and legs, and a new superhero entered the world.
With sudden clarity, Spidergirl focused on three figures, one a struggling woman dragged into an alley by two dirty men, one with his hand over her mouth to muffle her cries.
Smiling behind her mask, Spidergirl swung forward with a distinctive laugh, “HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!”
The police would find the criminals beaten and paralyzed bodies hanging in webs.
Happosai frowned as he looked down at the items from his sack. Precious silky darling bras and panties, even a lovely corset, but among them were scattered several unexpected items.
The lecherous old man knew well they must of come from. It wasn't uncommon for a pretty lady to put up a fight if she caught him in her underwear drawer, it was rare for them to try and shoot him with a gun. Even rarer was a girl who could shoot one straight, Happi thought with a chauvinist grin. Having been in a rush he just tipped all her underwear draw in his sack.
A photo of the pretty lady with the gun glared at him from an ID card in the pile, a logo for some genetics company on it. Near the ID were three passports, that as he looked through had the same girl in the photo, with different hair styles and colors, from different countries. Finally there was a silver cannister with a bio-hazard symbol on it.
Cool to the touch, Happi lifted the spray can sized metal tube and examined it before collecting the ID and passports and taking them to the kitchen and dropping them in the bin. As the tube it the bottom of the plastic bin liner, a click went unheard over the thump of impact as the seal broke.
Ryoga Hibiki was in a mix of emotion.
He had finally found the Dojo again.
Where Akane lived at least some of the time, staying some nights per week at an apartment in the city proper.
Stuck in his cursed form, the porcine body quietly jogged on little legs through the dark Tendo home.
After a year of dating Ryoga and Akari had had another fight and broken up. It wasn't his fault... okay, it was. After the second failed wedding when Ranma and Akane broke up, he had been thinking about her too much. Then when after a fight he and Akari were making up... he called her Akane.
It was a good thing, he assured himself. It was the truth that he loved another and shouldn't have been pursing Akari while he still loved Akane Tendo.
Now he had finally found the Tendo Dojo again, and nervously tried to find the stairs to get to her room. He had done this twice already but she was staying at the apartment those times, and this time he was in his cursed form. He wanted to approach her as a man, not the pet she loved.
Still, it had been months since he saw her, and he had heard Ranma was still around her. He had to see her.
Passing the kitchen doorway, a shadow moved.
Freezing in place, P-chans eyes were wide as something black slithered and crawled across the floor. Towards him.
Akane Tendo sighed, looked at the ceiling, and reflected on her life.
She knew why she couldn't sleep. And it was stupid that she was used to the smell of him and his snoring.
It wasn't like they were lovers, but since starting university, things had been getting better.
After the breakup when their fathers again tried a surprise wedding, they had tried to break it off. Ryu Kumon had come to Genma Saotome asking for training after having had the forbidden schools sealed and wanting help in making a new style to revive his family dojo with, and she had dated him for nearly a month. Ranma knew of it, but never said anything. He had been more cordial about it than she had when Yuka had swept in asking Ranma out after he dumped her then Ukyo dumped him.
But Akane never felt for Ryu what she felt for Ranma, and only after she broke up with Ryu and he started on that she was bad in bed, not that he knew, then Ranma had given a good flogging around the dojo floor to her ex.
She had taken to babysitting around the neighborhood to avoid the pain of waiting in vain for Ranma to ask for a date on friday or saturday night.
Things had been improving between them, as their senior year ended and she had found it a little too easy to ignore all other university programs but Phys Ed at Tokyo U after Ranma got a scholarship for it. She knew Ranma had seen her looking at a minor in child care or education, when he came to her with a proposal.
She smiled remember it. It wasn't a marriage proposal, but a business one. It reeked of Nabiki's help but it was definitely Ranma's mix of stupidity and brilliance behind it.
He wanted to turn the dojo into a childcare center. Childcare business was on the rise across Tokyo as more and more mothers returned to the workforce rather than be stay at home wives. Selling the idea of traditional training and education, a safe clean environment, and very basic martial arts discipline, Ranma thought the income during daylight hours would be much more than teaching classes only in the early morning or evening.
For Akane, it was as close to a marriage proposal as she ever expected. Ranma wanted to work with her in her home for the future.
Rolling over, Akane bit her lip recalling how Nabiki had convinced the Saotome's to finally sell their wrecked home, even with a lack of money to rebuild it still sat on valuable property land. With the money made, they invested in a loft apartment in Tokyo that Nabiki had promised not only would double in value in a few years, they would have tenets for the next three years.
The two bedroom apartment was near enough to Tokyo Metropolitan University campus that it was ideal for Akane, Nabiki and Ranma to stay there rather than commute from Nerima, letting all three keep up with studies and part time work, though it was common for them to come home to the dojo for the weekend, and a night or two every week. Though Nabiki kept enough of a social life that she only made it home Sunday nights for a family dinner.
By Akane sharing one bedroom with Nabiki, and Ranma sleeping in fold out cot mounted to the wall of a tiny storage room, they rented the extra bedroom to two more girls at the university, making it cramped but sharing the rent, utilities, and duties comfortably.
Akane bit her lip as after only two months of this arrangement, Nabiki's boyfriends tended to stay over, the need for privacy driving Akane to Ranma. His tiny bed not big enough for two, she always offered to sleep on the floor but he always did.
They talked. They kissed goodnight. But there were still nerves. Still keeping each other apart. Her hands drifted over her stomach, cupping her flesh as she bit her lips and wondered in frustration how to break down the wall they had so painstakingly built between them.
An almost loud bump on her door made the young woman sit up, quickly moving to the door and opening it. Akane smiled as she saw P-chan in the hall.
“Aw, my baby. I haven't seen you in so long,” Akane said as she crouched and reached for her pet.
Cursing in his mind, P-chan swallowed as the dark and slimy creatures oozed quickly at him, chasing him up the stairs and down the hall. Unable to open Akane's door or the door to the balcony, P-chan growled as best as possible to try and drive it back, then leapt back as tendrils sprung out to try and grab him.
Bouncing off Akane's door, Ryoga was surprised when it opened, his beloved smiling at him, not seeing the danger.
“Bwee!” P-chan cried in warning as the dark ooze grabbed Akane's wrist, crawling with startling speed up her arm and onto her face, muffling her cry.
Racing forward P-chan tried to bite the creature and save Akane, only for Akane's own hand to bat him back, the ooze on her face and head becoming a contained mask of black, with big blank yellow eyes and sharp white inhuman teeth that smiled at him. “Don't worry baby,” it said gutturally.
In horror, Ryoga dashed past Akane and down the stairs, desperate to find hot water or someone to alert to the danger. When he found himself on an unfamiliar street, he realized he was lost and Akane was alone.
Bricks to dust.
Training Dumbies, Block stands, Kendo sticks, she broke them all as she swirled through the dojo like a dervish. Akane could pulverize a brick with just a slap.
The black suit that had crawled on her flesh was like the magic dogi from years ago, only faster. Stronger. Not the art. In the art it was clumsy, but it was learning. She could feel it. It was aware. It was reading her thoughts.
And it was sharing its mind. Fragments. Anger and power. A man in a spider costume. A name starting with a P. Another name, anger with rage now. Eddie. He had used the suit to kill. She wasn't even sure who, and as she recoiled from the memory so did the suit.
Akane wasn't sure if it was her or the suit who thought of Shampoo. Old humiliation and embarrassment rising as she punched the head clean off a training dummy.
Her favorite training dummy. The one she made just a week after he came into her life. The one with a fake pigtail and a Chinese shirt. Her anger trying to stay as she imagined tearing off the shirt and exposing those hard muscles.
The suit seemed confused by Akane's emotions, but even as it assured her, she assured it.
She was keenly aware that the suit had dissolved her nighty and underwear. That it covered her like she wanted Ranma to cover her. She shivered but it was nothing about the cold.
The lights were out but she could see clearly, even able to make out her reflection in the window by moonlight. The black suit was on her like a fetishist dream, smooth and dark, it even gave lift and support to her natural curves in a way that made her think she could kick the leather girl from the Matrix movies ass. Across her chest, a strange spider emblem was across it, one she was keenly aware had come from the first wearer, the one like a spider, only hers was in a pretty shade of yellow rather than classic white.
The same yellow color filled the large empty patches on the inhuman mask, and when she smiled her normally cute mouth showed razor sharp rows of teeth that could never fit in a human mouth. Akane felt she could have rolled her eyes in gross as her own tongue slithered out of her body.
More comforting thoughts reminded her of what the suit had leaned from the spider infused first host. In seconds Akane was crawling on the roof, a black webbing of the same material of the suit shooting across the room to grasp and drag weapons from across the room to her hands.
All the while a dark smile of evil teeth was on her alien lips.
Taking the time to curbstomp the downed guard, the masked thug didn't look back as he walked over broken glass through the broken doors of the shopping center. A stolen toyota sat idling where it had been rammed through the doors, the driver now climbing out of the vehicle to join the criminal walking in.
Both kept a wary eye around the closed shops as they waved a third man in, this one driving a small bulldozer. The trio moved quickly to the group of ATMs near the escalators.
“What the hell was that?” one of the criminals cried as he swung around, crowbar in both hands to defend himself.
“Boys, you need a card to get money from those machines,” a feminine voice called from above.
The criminals looked up in time to see a womans figure jump from near the high ceiling, flipping with the casual grace to land and roll to her feet. Wearing little more than a spider themed leotard and a similar face mask over her nose, eyes, and forehead, the woman smiled and licked her lips. “Please put up a fight? For me? Hohohohohoho!”
Done with talking, the lead criminal raised his had to fire the reloaded tazer, the electric leads jetting out and past Spidergirl as she simply stepped aside. With a casual twist of her wrist, a jet of web swirled out like gymnastics ribbon, the criminal just missed as he threw himself aside.
“I missed, you missed. My turn again?” The masked criminal asked with a smirk.
“Well it isn't his, Hohohohohoho!”
Glancing back, the lead criminal growled seeing his compatriot in the small dozer, struggling against the goop of webbing that had gone into the drivers cage, binding him, the controls, and even carrying his mouth.
Turning back, the criminal glared at the girl, trying to be subtle as he waved his compatriot around the other side of her. “Looks like you didn't miss.”
“She's a mutant!” the second criminal declared nervously.
Spidergirl's demeanor changed instantly, as she stood proudly. “I am not, how dare you accuse me of such. My blood is pure Japanese!”
Ignoring her racism, the leader rushed forward. “Now!”
With casual easy Spidergirl left her feet on the ground as she bent over backwards, her hand snatching the crowbar from the second thugs hands even as she used one hand to grab and pull the leader over her and toss him to the floor. Still bent over, she used the crowbar hook to the still standing man's leg and trip him up.
“Now boys, surely you can put up more of a fight?” Spidergirl teased as she stood erect and turned to face the pair.
“She's a freak,” the second thug cried, clearly terrified, scrambling to his feet to make a run for it.
Grimacing, the superheroine flung forward her arms to send webs at the fleeing criminal, yanking him back. “That isn't very polite!” she said sternly.
Lashing out, the leader of the criminal trio lashed out with a foot, catching the distracted girl in the stomach, knocking her to her back.
“She's only one girl!” he cried as he scrambled to get to the downed girl.
Even as he got his hands on her, one delicate feminine hand gripped the side of his face and yanking the balaclava off roughly. Inhaling at the rough treatment, the thugs eyes focused on the black rose in front of his nose.
With a dumbfounded look on his face, the thug mumbled, “She's only one g...” as he drifted into slumber.
Graceful webs were spun to hold the trio till the authorities arrived. Taking her time, Spidergirl was checking out a shop window with a cute little black dress in it when a flash of light made her spin around at a new threat.
Surprised, she saw a young man with a digital camera, snapping another photo of her. With a simple flex, webbing grasped the device and brought it too her.
“Hey?” the young man cried.
“No, no, that one is good,” Spidergirl said as she reviewed the images than tossed the camera back to the nervous young Japanese man. “I can do better, get one of me at the door.”
The twittering of birds was sharp and clear in Akane's ears as she listened from the dojo, keenly aware of the position of the animals. Like she could hunt them.
Realizing it was morning, she was about to start cleaning up when she felt the approach of a man near the door. She was about to panic at being caught in the skin tight black and yellow with the evil mouth of teeth, when she felt the suit ruffle and change.
Opening the door, Genma Saotome looked in surprise at the mess around the normally neat and clean dojo. In the middle of the broken equipment, stood a puzzled Akane looking down at her yellow gi and black belt.
“Been practicing girl? What's the with new belt?”
Akane frowned that the normally stupid old man focused on her gi having a black belt, rather than the old brown one that was her mothers she normally wore with her gi. She wasn't that surprised, knowing that the Anything Goes School had never really used a belt ranking system for its students, so few that it had. The only time it was an issue was when she entered a tournament and her father simply declared her skill level for it. She recalled that Ranma had once said his father would enter him in tournaments and rank him lower than he could handle to make sure he won a prize, so the old man was probably weary of what people advertise about their skill levels.
“Ranma has been giving me some tips, he thought it would help my confidence to show I had improved,” Akane said sweetly. “Do you want to spar some and test if he was right?”
Skipping out of the train station, Akane was still smiling after her victory over Ranma's father. With the suit imitating her training gi, she had been stronger and faster than the older man ever expected. She had been beating him around the yard when he had tried something called a “Tree of woe!”
Pinning her feet under his, then pushing her arms out, Genma had hoped to head butt her down when he took a blow to his exposed groin. He was still complaining of her she had done it with her limbs pinned, unaware that the ends of her gi belt had lashed out.
Akane looked down at the black short skirt and yellow blouse with Chinese ties the suit resembled now. Around her waist like an accessory, was still the black gi belt. The ends waved lightly as she walked but looking down past her cleavage she knew with just light focus, she could make them curled back and forth, even lengthen.
A flash of anger brought a frown to her lips as she spotted a newspaper from the corner of her eye.
Walking to the stand, Akane paid for and quickly pulled out the front page, a girl posing in a black and red leotard and mask, her own spider motif continued with the next picture showing criminals hung up in webs.
Akane felt the symbiont was reacting to the picture, the flash of hate becoming confusion, it wasn't the Spiderman, but as the caption labeled her, 'Tokyo's Spidergirl!'
Frowning as she read the article of the mysterious superpowered vigilante, Akane waited at the lights for a pedestrian crossing. Without looking, she moved when the crowd around her moved, quickly stepping into the street and crossing the road, when the honk of a horn came before a fast moving sports care going through the red light.
Akane didn't think as the pedestrians either froze or scattered before the oncoming vehicle, the ends of the tied gi belt extending even as her sleeves covered her arms, hands and tendrils gripping the front of the car and heaving it up.
To the amazed onlookers, the car rose up and flew through the air, rising to crash through the second story windows of building and vanishing from sight with the sound of screeching brakes.
Akane took a single moment to sigh in relief at the 'For Let' sign on the window beside the ones crashed in by the car, before casually walking away, the symbiont retracting from her hands and back to appearing as her clothes and belt.
Her anger had been fast and hot, uncontrolled. Sure she protected other pedestrians from the driver and no one was hurt more than the driver, but it could have been far worse.
“I'm home,” Ranma called as he closed the door to the apartment behind him.
Removing his shoes, Ranma took three steps before opening the door to the storage room he had turned into his bedroom to toss his bag inside before continuing into the house with the groceries.
Passing the second door he saw the fourth room mate of the apartment, a pretty and tall Australian girl looked back at him and smiled wanly. “Hey Ranma.”
“Hey Vicki, I take it they didn't buy it?” Ranma asked. Vicki had been studying in Japan for nearly two years. However due to the ineptitude of her advisors, the paperwork renewing her visa was lost and she was being forced to return to Australia. Nabiki had suggested she marry him to stay in the country, but between Akane's reaction and Vicki's own values about marriage made that out of the question. She had found one male friend willing to claim he was her fiancé in an attempt to get leniency to renew her visa.
The blond girl shook her head sadly, then put on a brave smile. “Ah, she'll be apples. I've had a rip-snorter in Japan. Perhaps it good fortune I go now and see more of the world.”
“Not for us Vicki,” Ranma said. “We liked having you.”
“Oh Ranma, you are sweet,” she replied with a smile. “Let me finish packing and I'll take us all for dinner and karaoke, my treat.”
Nodding, Ranma walked on into the house spotting a forlorn Nabiki sitting on the kitchen bench, eating from a box of crackers, and looking on out the window. She looked up as he entered.
“Vicki's going home.”
“Yeah, I just spoke to her. What about Kaida?”
Nabiki frowned. The fifth flatmate, who shared with Vicki's room had been the last to sign in with them and the first to cause problems. Namely when she got drunk during the house warming and kissed Ranma. Akane had not taken it well and pushed the young woman so hard she imprinted in the wall.
Fighting back and forth and put Kaida on the defensive to the point of threatening legal action when Nabiki had threatened holding to fines if she broke the lease in leaving. In the end Vicki had mediated things between the women by taking everyone but Ranma to a ladies night with males strippers. Unfortunately Ranko had been invited, not that Kaida, studying journalism at Tokyo U, had been told of Ranma's curse.
Aside from what he saw that night, he was going to miss Vicki.
“We talked and she is not going to move out. With her daddy's money and lawyers she could have forced us to let her out of the lease like we are Vicki, and she's even agreed to the rent increase till we replace her as long as Akane isn't using the second bed in her room when Keitaro comes around to study.”
Nabiki didn't even have the decency to blush at Ranma's look, knowing Keitaro showed up nearly every night to 'study'. The older girl gave a sly smirk back at him. “Of course if you and Akane start sharing a bed I might be able to get Aunty to give us some leeway on the penalty clauses.”
Ranma didn't take the bait. “I'm still on for the job Sunday?”
“Certainly are,” Nabiki nodded with a smile. “You going to drag Akane to see off Vicki tonight? Her flight is tomorrow.”
“Yeah, though how many guys are you two dragging along?”
Nabiki smirked, recalling the last time they went drinking and karaoke. She had invited a pair of twins from her psych class as part of her minor, as she hadn't decided which one she actually wanted to date. When a few love songs had turned the atmosphere from fun singing to quiet make outs, the extra wheel made a move on Akane while Ranma was singing. She had hoped when Ranma had dragged Akane out the door they would have finally made a move himself but they ended up going off and sparring for half the night in a park.
“Only the six of us tonight. Though it wouldn't matter if you made a move.”
Ranma gave her the look, making Nabiki roll her eyes, getting the message of 'butt out' that had been said a thousand times.
Ranma took the eye roll knowing Nabiki would never more than prod like this, nor ever stop prodding. With a shake of his head he moved on. “I've got a project for bio, can I use your computer to make some downloads from the web?”
“Let me clean up and save some files and you can have it,” Nabiki said with a shrug, avoiding the normal teasing about his lack of computing skills or what content he might download.
Slipping off her shoes, Akane nervously walked into the apartment without announcing her presence. She bit her lip as she ventured down the hall, the symbiote masquerade as her clothes enhancing her senses, knowing Vicki was on the phone in her room and Ranma's bag was in his tiny room.
She continued down the hall and was about to reach for her door handle when she could smell him inside, a smile coming to her lips. Several images from the symbiote didn't help her focus, her fears of Ranma discovering whatever this suit was before she understood it, was not compatible with it grabbing him and webbing him to her bed.
With a huff she pushed open the door and stepped inside. “Hey Ranma.”
Looking up with a grin, Ranma nodded. “Hey yourself. Did you sleep well back home?” Akane could vaguely recall that she hadn't been but with the suit made her feel so energized. “It was interesting, weird dreams without your snoring,” she replied teasingly.
His cheeks going pink, Ranma nodded. “Well if it helps we'll have the spare room soon.”
Akane frowned and nodded, part of her lamenting the loss of friends, part at not having the excuse regarding their sleeping arrangements, and an embarrassed part unnerved by the symbiote's suggestions of her amplified desires.
Ranma groaned as he woke up, his head throbbing with a hangover.
He hadn't thought he was that drunk, memory of the night, of Vicki and Nabiki really pouring drinks into him and Akane despite his reluctance, the singing, some dancing. He recalled some making out, and then a dumpster behind the kareoke house where he through up and Akane teasing him as she dragged him home and dumped him in his bedding on the tatami mats.
The feeling of morning wood twitched recalling Akane's unusually forward choices of songs for Kareoke as he tried to swallow his dry throat.
It was about then Ranma realized he was in his wall mounted cot holding Akane.
With the most cautious movements of his life, the naked young man crawled from her arms. Grabbing his shorts, Ranma sneaked out of his room in absolute silence.
Pouring a glass of water, Ranma froze feeling the presence behind him. “I take it you didn't give my sister what she needs still?”
Spinning on Nabiki, Ranma looked at her nervously. “Uh, cone of silence?”
Nabiki smirked at Ranma. Taken from some old American TV show, Ranma had come to ask for that when he wanted to talk seriously and in confidence with Akane's older sister. It had started when he had started to agreeing to modeling jobs she arranged and quickly became a safe ground of how deal with Akane or other girls. What was said from either they weren't allowed to speak of. Tease occasionally, but not speak of. “Cone of silence. Whats the gossip?”
“How drunk was I last night?”
The short haired girl shrugged, “Not bad. We all left while you and Akane were kissing. Just how far did things go?”
Ranma squirmed. “I remember the singing. I remember the kissing. But after you and Vicki and the guys left, we walked home. I remember throwing up, Akane was teasing me. We stumbled him, and I fell into bed.”
Frowning, Nabiki glared at him. “This isn't worthy of the Cone of Silence.”
“I woke up in bed with her, naked, and poking her in the side.”
Nabiki bit her tongue. “I take it back. You dog, though the side poke is a faux par.”
“Nabiki, she was still dressed and there was no mess, but how did I end up in bed with her?”
Raising one eyebrow, Nabiki gave him the 'you're being an idiot look'. “Lets see, you have the hots for the girl who could sleep anywhere else but choses to be in a room with her pervert boyfriend for many nights of the last few months. She wore a top she was almost falling out of and shorts that had I am surprised didn't bust last night, ran her hands over herself singing Blondie's 'Touch myself', and you are wondering when your subconcious grew bigger balls than you and made a move?”
Ranma wiped a hand over his face.
“Ranma, do you love my sister?”
Wincing, the young man squirmed and leaned back against the counter top.
“It isn't that hard a question, Ranma.”
“No but...” Ranma began as he looked for the words. “Akane is, like a virus, a disease.”
“Be still my beating heart. Do you have any other poetic insights to your feelings?”
“I mean it. How many guys has she made fall for her because she hit them or went off at them? I heard how Kuno didn't notice her till she tried to join the kendo team and beat him. Ryoga, Ryu, all those idiots who used to horde attack her.”
“Those idiots including you,” Nabiki pointed out. “Ranma you have to work out what way is best for you. But you know what makes you different to all those idiots, to use your words, you might have Akane herpes, but she has Ranma herpes for you. You can keep on not believing me but the evidence is there.”
Ranma hung his head, “It's taken so long to get to here. What happens if when I make a move it is too soon for her? Or someone else tries to interfere?”
Nabiki laughed. “Then you fight for her. Even if it is with her stubbornness.”
“I woke up in bed with her, naked, and poking her in the side.”
Standing just around the corner, as she easedropped, Akane was frozen with embarrasment at the idea that moments ago she had been in bed with a naked Ranma. She stayed frozen as the symbiote faithfully filled in its aid in picking him up from his bedding. She was vividly aware of every part of him it had touched.
“Akane is, like a virus, a disease.”
White hot rage was equally paralyzing at Ranma words, till she listened in as he continued, painting himself into the corner.
“It's taken so long to get to here. What happens if when I make a move it is too soon for her? Or someone else tries to interfere?”
Her emotions swinging almost faster than the suit could keep up, Akane smiled and headed for the shower. “Let anyone come between us now,” she whispered to herself, clenching her fist confidently.
“... fire brigade reports individuals inside.”
With a grimace, Kodachi put down her chemistry text and police scanner, and idly sent a bit of webbing sticking them to the side of the air conditioner tower on the skyscraper. With a running start she cleanly leapt off the side of the building without fear of the fifty floors towards the ground. With flick of her wrist a string of webbing gave her a vine like rope to swing and shift her speed from down to across, launching her down the Tokyo street above the heads of pedestrians and cars.
Ahead, the rising smoke from a small set of apartments billowed over a street filled with the flashing lights of ambulences and fire trucks.
With a graceful twirl, Spidergirl swung under the arm of a street lamp, the webbing hooking and redirecting her straight into a window of the burning building.
Moving lightly through the smoke and flames, Spidergirl raised her arm to send a lasso of webbing through the air, draggin aside a burning couch with cartwheel past to a huddled coughing figure hugging a man who had already passed out.
“Time to go dearies.”
Akane wasn't sure why she was rushing ahead to as the ambulances past her in the street, the smoke ahead not near any buildings or places she knew. At the same time her clothes sent her a memory of an old man speaking of the responsibility of those with power.
An older style city apartment block was burning ahead, heavy flames licking out of several windows even as thick black smoke columned out and into the sky.
“My baby! My baby is inside!” cried a woman in pyjamas as a fireman and a police officer tried to calm her down.
Without considering the danger, Akane pushed through the throng of onlookers to reach the nearest building and pushed through the open door. Climbing steps she felt her clothes ripple and spread over her body.
Bursting the lock on the roof access door, the yellow trimmed black suited woman didn't stop as she hurdled a low fence railing and sprinted to the edge of this building to the next towards the burning structure ahead.
Taller than the building Akane was racing across, the burning building had few window facing towards her, and she could feel the apprehension of the suit at the flames. As one, the blacksuited woman leaped the gap between the two buildings with enough force to shoulder barge through the brickwork and inside the building.
Smiling with sharp teeth, Akane looked around the flames and smoke, trying to perceive anyone still inside. Moving quickly down a hallway kicking in doors, Akane heard a cheer from outside followed by a male voice on a bull horn.
“There is still a baby in apartment three C on the third floor.”
Punching the floor, Akane opened a hole to drop down to the floor below.
Spidergirl smiled to the helpful officer with the bullhorn before swinging in a third story window. Almost immediately she ducked left as a rain of flaming debris crashed from the ceiling above, making her suffer from ashes and smoke but avoiding damage or burns.
Weaving quickly through the flames, Spidergirl made it to the door of apartment three C, frowning seeing it kicked in.
Pushing in, superhero spotted a second female in an outlandish outfit pulling a baby from a crib and wrapping it up in a blanket.
“Who are you?”
The wary shout behind Akane made her look in surprise at the gaudily dressed Spidergirl near the door. Akane's mouth worked silently as she tried to think of what to call herself like this, till finally she recalled Ranma's words. “I'm Virus.”
Spidergirl recoiled seeing the alien maw working like an animal before it fimally named itself with a gutteral voice.
“Okay,” Spidergirl finally said. “But this was my fire. I got here first.”
Virus tilted her head before Spidergirl sent two web streaming at her, snatching the baby from her arms with a tug, and running through the door with a laugh. “Haaaaahohohohohoho!”
Shocked at having the child taken, Virus felt the symbiote ripple in irritation at the high pitched laughter.
The black suited woman knew she couldn't catch Spidergirl before the superheroine would reach the front of the building, and unleashed her anger smashing through the wall looking for anyone else who needed saving before the flames became too dangerous.
Spidergirl cartwheeled out of a flame wreathed window and out into the clear air, a swirl of webbing anchoring her for a feather light landing, pausing before passing the baby to the hysterical mother as the cameras photographed her from the crowd.
With a smile she bent and kissed the the child, smiling mysteriously for the crowd and the mother blubbering thanks. Spidergirl's dark eyes narrowed at the smudge of black on the childs cheek.
As casually as possible stepping near a firetruck to check her reflection in the mirror, the soot coated superheroine managed to not freak out at it as she smiled and waved to the cameras, then taking to the air, swimming from vine to vine.
Feeling the rush of having helped with the fire, and a little annoyance with that obnoxious glory hound Spidergirl, Akane slipped out of building through the smoke, and one thought later the newly christened Virus was replaced by a pretty young woman walking busy streets.
Looking up at her name, Akane tried not to grimace seeing Kaida Arasou waving to her while waiting for a break in the traffic to cross the street.
Despite Vicki's mediations, Akane still didn't like Kaida. She reminded her of a sane Kodachi Kuno, an entitled rich girl who had to have things her way. Her mother was some kind of business mogul, Kaida rebelling against her mother by studying journalism and being independent, all the while mother was paying for everything including entrance to the prestigious Tokyo U.
Generally Kaida kept things cool with Akane as Akane did to her, so she wasn't sure what might be going on for her to change tune now.
“Hi Akane, are you busy?”
“I was going to the library before going to the airport to see Vicki off. Why?”
Kaida grimaced having failed to be invited to her roommates goodbye. “I was just wondering if you want to get some coffee?
After grabbing her book and the police scanner, she had moved to the edge of the central business districted and landed on the roof of a high end apartment building. The penthouse included a beautifully appointed pool, spa, and sauna.
Careful to not make a mess, she quickly, stripped down and used a hose to wash off her and her outfit of the soot. Hanging her outfit, gloves and boots over a rail to dry, she wrapped a towel around herself and sat back on a sunlounge, one ear on the police scanner, spidersense peeled for anyone approaching.
If she noticed, Kaida didn't let it show as Akane grimaced a weak smile while they sat and waited for coffee in a pricey little coffee shop attached to the Tokyo Hilton. While Kaida could get along with Nabiki, something about being able to afford little luxuries like this aggravated the younger Tendo sister.
“Akane, I just wanted to sit down and talk. No lawyers, no Ranma, no sister, no Vicki. Just the two of us clearing the air. I've admitted I misinterpreted how things were between you and Ranma when I kissed him, as you have that you overreacted.”
Nodding in half agreement, Akane found a suggestion from her symbiote clothing to reach out and snap her neck more than a little appealing even as she suppressed it.
“Kaida, Ranma and I have had a lot of ups and downs, mainly from people trying to break us up. We still don't actually give our address to our friends back in Nerima because of the property damage that used to happen back then. You were there the last time Tatewaki Kuno broke out of the asylum and came after Ranma in that grocery store.”
Sipping her mocha, Kaida nodded, recalling the disheveled wannabe samurai. Her story on mental health facility security had earned her an extra credit mark.
“As long as you don't try to move on Ranma again, the air between us is clear.”
Kaida shook her head. “That is bull Akane, I haven't done more than look at him in a month and we are still tiptoeing around each other. I say 'good morning' to him and you turn freeze up.”
Pursing her lips, Akane resisted the urge to speak out. “If you leered at him less than Vicki does maybe I would, but are you over Ranma?”
“I wasn't into Ranma. I was just a little drunk and he was there. As for looking, I'm not touching,” Kaida defended. “Listen, I was at a charity event last night for my mother, and some prizes were raffled. I won a dinner for two and room at the Hilton, I'd like for you and Ranma to take it.”
Akane looked as Kaida gestured out the window at the high class hotel.
Before Akane could respond, Kaida's attention was on the group of paperatzi near the entrance to the hotel. “What's going on over there?” she asked not expecting an answer, her nose twitching.
Akane's eyes narrowed on the black van at the corner, the one with the driver wearing a ski mask.
Megumi Hayashibara smiled for the cameras that started flashing the instant the elevator doors opened. A quick role as a anime voice actress had opened the door to music and singing, catapulting her into being a singing idol.
With the upcoming release of her second album and next seasons sales tour, the media hype was starting early.
Her manager at her side, Megumi stepped out into main foyer and headed for the front of the building.
The crack of a firearm made several people cry out, the warning shot knocking plaster from the roof. “Everybody down!” one of several armed masked men cried out.
Kaida's nose was still twitching as she peeked over the top of a table she was hiding behind to see the masked men abducting the idol singer. Absorbing the details, Kaida's mind was already preparing how to write up the incident for possible publication when a black van screeched into the pickup area. Scraping along a black limo and riding the curb, the van came to a stop, the side door sliding open when the black webbing splattered on the windscreen and drivers door frame.
With a heavy thump the van shifted and tilted, slamming onto its side, its open doorway sealed against the paving bricks.
As the police cars came wailing down the street with flashing lights, Kaida was one of the few to see a shadowed figure leap from behind the van and vanish.
“...attempted kidnapping at the Tokyo Hilton.... Hostages taken... Shots fired...”
Yanking the textbook from her face, the dozing Kodachi jumped to her feet, fumbling with her towel. A crime at the Hilton would have more media than anything Kodachi had swung into before.
Getting to her outfit, Kodachi's eyes widened as she saw her leotard was missing. A gust of wind blew her hair around her, and she had to reach out before her bra was blown off the rail. Wide eyes scanned the cityscape for the missing garment. Biting her lower lip, Kodachi quickly donned what she had, torn at the drive for media attention against showing up in a towel and claiming she just got out of the bath.
Glancing at her wrists, Kodachi smiled.
Dragging their prize abductee with them, the masked men moved through the doors into one of the exhibition ballrooms. Their path to the vehicle cut off, they moved quickly for the rear doors, and their backup escape plan.
Waving their guns back to stop anyone following, the first man to reach the fire exit doors just reached for the bar to open it when a black fist burst the wood, connecting with his face and dropping him unconscious.