A Most Peculiar Set of Circumstances

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belonged to Rumiko Takahashi, Sailor Moon to someone else, but as for whose hands the licenses and assorted rights have ended up in, I have no idea... I just know it's not me. And the story is non profit too.

By Steamed Bun

Chapter 1

I never thought it'd come to this.

I look to my right side at Ranma, his face pale yet resolute as he writes down his farewell to the world. To my other side is Nodoka, gripping tightly the family blade.

My wife has asked for our deaths.

The paper in front of me is still blank. My mind, so used to finding ways to evade and wriggle out of my duty is similarly blank of any ways to avoid this.

No! It cannot end like this.


My son turns towards me, slightly surprised.

"We shouldn't be doing this."

My wife interrupts. "Honor demands it. You failed to uphold the contract. Would you try to wriggle out of this obligation too?"

I ignore her and turn to continue pleading with my son. But his face closed as soon as honor was mentioned, and I know my cause is lost.

I try regardless. "Ranma, you of all people should know the importance of life! It is the foremost duty of a martial artist to prevent death when he can. Would you let someone die because of honor?"

He laughs bitterly. "What would you know of honor and duty?"

I wince, but it is a blow I expected. I know now that he will not listen to me, however rational the arguments I put forth.

As I settle down back into my earlier position, Nodoka grimly tells me, "At least you raised him better than yourself."

But I will not resign my son to this fate! I must try again. My mind races with half baked plans, all of them worthless.

Ranma finishes his poem, and Nodoka hands him his blade. Time is running out, and I have only one chance now.

As Ranma prepares himself, I leap at him, fervently hoping that I will be able to knock him unconscious and take him away from this. But I have trained him too well, and he angrily slams me through the wall.

I recover in the next room only to hear a thump.

It takes me only a few milliseconds to realize what has just happened.

So I run. Run from the mistakes I have done, and from the mistake I have just failed to stop. And most of all, I run from the tragedy that my life has become.

The night was one of those clear ones; the cool air crisp and clean. Perfect for walking outside. Oddly enough, few people nowadays agree with that sentiment. But at least there were three who were appreciating it.

"Ah, we should go out on these little outings more often." Haruka said to the girls at her side.

"Sure. Just as long as either Hotaru or I get to choose the movie next time;" Michiru laughed, "your taste in movies seems to be getting worse and worse."

"Aw, Hotaru, you liked it right?"

"Um…the violence was very…realistic?"

"What she meant to say, were she a bit more blunt, was that the movie sucked. And hard. I mean, what was with the heroine falling in love with the guy just because he beat her up?"

Haruka chuckled as they rounded the corner, "Sure, I guess you guys can choose next time."

Now, one of the many problematic things with corners is that they're hard to see around. Thus, the reason why a great many car crashes happen at intersections.

In this case, the three were merely scattered to the ground, in an excellent example of momentum transfer from a large barreling object to lighter ones.

"You son of a bitch! He didn't even stop to apologize." Haruka shook her fist angrily at the already retreating figure. "Michiru, Hotaru, you guys all right?"

"Just skinned my knees a bit," replied Hotaru, "no real harm done." But by the time she finished the last part of the sentence, Haruka was already chasing after the disappearing figure.

"Help me up?"

Michiru gave Hotaru a hand, and they began to follow Haruka.

I've been running for a while. Maybe an hour or so now.

The enormity of what has just happened has not quite hit me yet. In one single stroke, I have lost all that I once valued.

The things I have held dear in my life were fivefold. Honor, the art, my wife, my home, and my son.

I sacrificed my honor for the art, and the art for my wife and my home. I sacrificed my wife and home to pass what little remained of my art to my son. And now?

Now I have nothing.

And it is all my fault. My mistakes, my foolishness, my weaknesses.

I have lost everything, and have only myself to blame.

So what do I do now?

My son, my son! I am so sorry!

"God damn it, the bastard's fast!" Haruka hissed between her teeth as she struggled to keep up.

The figure ahead suddenly stopped, collapsing against a wall.

"Finally." Haruka breathed. She approached to give the man a piece of her mind.

The very last thing she expected to see was a bald, portly middle aged man, slumped against a wall, wailing and blubbering.

Her anger faded, leaving her feeling vaguely awkward about the situation.

It's a bit difficult for most people to scold a crying middle aged man. Actually it's hard for most people to deal with at all. Now if it was a crying young attractive woman, her instincts would have taken over, and she'd handle it like a pro.

As it was, she settled for standing around until Michiru and Hotaru caught up.

After a few minutes, they finally did, breathing heavily from the long run.

"Haruka, you shouldn't go chasing after strangers like that," said Michiru. "What if he had a weapon or something?"

Hotaru's eyes widened as she saw the weeping man.

"Wow, do you think that maybe you were too harsh on him? Did you have to make him cry?"

Haruka gestured helplessly, "He was like this when I got here. And he doesn't seem to have noticed me either."

"Should we do something? He looks like he needs some help." Michiru asked the other two.

Hotaru approached him slowly. "Mister, do you need any help? What's wrong?"

Through my haze of grief and tears, I gradually notice someone talking to me. It's a young girl.

Would Ranma have asked a crying stranger what was wrong? I would avoid it if it looked like trouble, but my son…my son…

She's asking me a question.

What's wrong?

Everything. Everything's wrong. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. Ranma was supposed to be happy. Happy with Akane, no, happy with anyone, just so long as he was alive. I was supposed to be with my wife, doing my best to make up for lost time.

But this is too long to explain.

As it is, I barely manage to choke out, "My son…"

"Did something happen to him?"

"He's dead," I sob. "My child."

I resume crying, unable to do anything else against the incapacitating grief.

"I think he said his son died," Hotaru told her parents.

The two looked at him with sympathy.

"Try asking him if he wants any help."

"Mister? Do you need help?"

"He's not saying anything."

The three looked at him before huddling together.

"I don't think I'd feel right leaving a grieving parent on the street," Haruka said.

"Yeah, you're right. Do we bring him home then?" asked Michiru.

"I guess so. What else can we do? Here, help me pick him up."

Michiru took his other arm, and three slowly helped the nearly insensate man to their home.

AN: Was it new and innovative? Tell me your opinions in a review. Any suggestions/errors found? Tell me in a review. In conclusion, please leave a review.