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"Well, Usagi-chan, you're pregnant." Ami pursed her lips as Usagi collapsed backwards into one of the padded chairs in the office Ami shared with her mother.

After a few minutes, the blonde opened her eyes. "Pregnant?" Her eyes pleaded with Ami. Nevertheless, the blue-haired girl nodded. Usagi closed her eyes again. "Drat. What do I tell Mamo-chan? Heck, what do I tell ChibiUsa?"

"Well, since this is October, you can tell her she'll be born in nine months." A thought occurred to Ami. "I guess this means ChibiUsa will have to go back to the future now. After all, she can't very well stay around while you're pregnant with her."

"But what if I send her back here again? I did it before!" Usagi was, by all appearances, trying frantically to keep her mind off the subject. Odd, really. Ami had always thought that she'd be happy when this happened.

"It'll be okay, Usagi-chan. We'll all be with you. Always." Ami clasped the blonde's hands in hers. Usagi smiled gratefully and hugged her.



A Ranmoon fic
by Jonathan Rosebaugh

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.

Thanks to Siaru for prereading!


Book One
Prologue: Fiat Homo


As it turned out, ChibiUsa stayed in the past up until the final weeks. She took the whole pregnancy thing very well in stride, considering that it was she who was about to be born. She tired of feeling the baby kick and catering to Usagi's cravings rather quickly and devoted her time instead to helping Mamoru prepare for having a child, picking out clothes and such. Her father did wonder why she kept giggling during that job, but he held his tongue.

In retrospect, he shouldn't have. A week before the due date, Pluto took ChibiUsa away, on orders from her future self. ChibiUsa seemed to be expecting it, but nobody really thought about it much. They were too busy thinking about Usagi's pregnancy. The days passed quickly, and soon all eight girls were sitting in the waiting room of a hospital, waiting for Mamoru to return with the news they were expecting.

He walked into the room and over to them, face pale. The Outers stood up expectantly; the others, rather tired, remained in their chairs. "It's…." He stopped, then began again. "It's a boy."

Setsuna fainted.


The Inners and Hotaru huddled around Usagi's bed, looking at baby ChibiUsa. Haruka and Michiru stood back near the wall, near Mamoru. "I just don't get it," Ami said. "My computer claims he's ChibiUsa, but he obviously can't be."

Minako nodded. "Transformation magic can change genders; Usagi discovered that for herself. But there's no way ChibiUsa could have kept an illusion going that long. The magic just doesn't last. She had to have been the real McDonalds."

Rei sighed and bopped Minako. "That's 'the real McCoy'. But you're right. There has to be some explanation. And I know just the person to provide it."

"Setsuna," everyone agreed. With impeccable timing, Setsuna opened the door and walked in.

"Yes, yes, I know," she said, silencing the babble of questions. She approached the bed. "Usagi-chan, have you chosen a name for your son?" When the blonde shook her head, Setsuna continued. "I suggest 'Ranma', since that's what he'll be named in the future. No, I wasn't able to discover why this happened. My future self is blocking me, so do I believe we'll find out sometime. But I found out what we need to do about this situation."

Usagi closed her eyes, sighed, and opened them again. "I should have known. Well, this is probably going to take a while. Can we get any ice cream in this place?" She smiled.

"I'll, ah, see what I can do, Usako." Mamoru headed for the door. Usagi sat up and tried to make herself more comfortable.

Makoto held out her arms. "Can I hold him?" Usagi obliged her and Makoto sat down and smiled at the baby.

"Hold him while you can, girls." Setsuna looked sad. "He's leaving us in a week. I have to take him into the future and place him with foster parents. I'm so sorry, Hime-chan."

"But… but… but…" Usagi dissolved into tears; not the torrential crying she had so often exhibited a few years ago, but the tears of a mother for her child. "So that's why I sent her back here after we dealt with Nemesis," she said after several minutes. "That was the only time I'd get to spend with my child as a child. And I wasted it with foolish quarrels."

Setsuna sat on the edge of the bed and wiped tears from her princess's eyes. "I wish there were another way. I spent hours trying to think of one, but the only timelines that showed an alternate path required extremely distasteful things, things that I would never in my nightmares ask you to do.

"I need to ask your forgiveness, Hime-chan. Your little Ranma will suffer many things, things that I could prevent. But I won't. It's necessary that he endure what will happen if he's to do what he has to do. Even so, that's precious little consolation."

Usagi smiled weakly. "I love you, Setsuna. I love all of you. I know you'll do what's right."

The baby began to cry. After checking one probable cause, Makoto said, "I think he's hungry." Usagi opened the snaps on one arm and held out her arms for her son.

After getting him situated for feeding, she continued to watch him, a sad smile on her face. "I hope you can remember who your mother is, Ranma-chan. Setsuna-chan will make sure your foster parents take good care of you." Unnoticed by anyone, Setsuna winced, and a tear rolled out of one eye.

 

To be continued.

Chapter 1
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