Story: Tales Of Minako and Hotaru! (all chapters)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 1

Title: The Twenty Masks of Sailor V

Author's Note: this is an alternate universe fic featuring characters and concepts from both Sailor Moon and the manga series Twenty Masks. I don't own any of the characters, I'm just borrowing them for a while. This is also a shoujoai (girl/girl) romance, so if you don't like that sort of thing, stay away.

The Twenty Masks of Sailor V!

Natsuna Sakurada gave the costumed woman a amused smile as the older woman read from the paper, "The costumed adventurer Sailor V is confident she will quickly capture the mysterious thief." The brown haired police officer set the paper she had been quoting from aside as she asked, "You didn't really tell her that?"

"Of course not," Sailor V sighed irritably, the younger blonde girl sitting on the other side of the desk by the window, "I have no idea where she got that quote from." She leaned forward, long blonde hair falling in front of the lenses of the simple mask she wore as she asked with an eager smile, "So tell me about this problem thief of yours."

Natsuna handed the file over as she said, "The thief has picked up the nickname Twenty Masks, mostly due to the use of disguises. Has hit seven museums and other events, stealing one valuable item then slipping away each time."

"Not bad," Sailor V acknowledged as she browsed through the papers, "but I'm not sure why you wanted me to get involved."

"Before every robbery," Natsuna said, looking very annoyed, "this Twenty Masks has sent us a warning that he was going to strike. We've deployed dozens of officers and the best security, but each time he's pulled off the robbery."

"Leaving the police with egg on their faces," Sailor V nodded. She came across a photo then made a face, "No better images?"

The figure in the blurred security photo was turning even as the camera went off, the body slightly blurred by motion. It was hard to pick out details but it almost looked like he was wearing a black tuxedo, a long cape swirling around the slim body. A simple mask covered the eyes, a top hat perched atop a remarkably delicate face.

"Normally Twenty Masks is more thorough," Natsuna admitted, "we think he missed this camera, destroying it only after the photo was taken."

"She," Sailor V murmured as she studied the image.

"What?" Natsuna leaned forward, looking at the image in surprise.

Silently Sailor V pointed to the slight curve visible on the chest, the proportions of the body. "The clothes are padded, but it's still visible. Do you think you can get this enhanced, maybe?" she asked, handing it back to Natsuna.

"I'll pass it on to Doctor Mizuno down in forensics," Natsuna took it back as she continued, "Ami might be able to get some more details out of it."

"Did you have fun at Ami and Makoto's bridal shower?" Sailor V asked impishly.

"Actually, yes," Natsuna chuckled softly, not at all surprised that Sailor V knew about it. She slid the photo away before adding, "And there's another unusual detail in this case, it looks like Twenty Masks is targeting a specific individual."

Sailor V looked at her curiously, "Oh?"

"All the items that have been stolen have belonged to a wealthy young woman named Hotaru Tomoe," Natsuna said simply.

"She's the daughter of Professor Tomoe," Sailor V instantly recognized the name as she worked to recall the articles she had once read, "she's a patron of the arts, having leant items to various museums and special events around the city." Sailor V looked at Natsuna thoughtfully as she asked, "You've interviewed her about this, of course?"

"The young lady has no idea why Twenty Masks would be targeting her," Natsuna said then admitted, "I think Hotaru's not telling the truth, but I'm not quite sure about what or why."

"I'll look into that," Sailor V flashed a smile. She had reason to trust in Natsuna's detective instincts, they had helped her discover her true identity of Minako Aino, after all. "Any other galleries or museums with items belonging to Ms. Tomoe?" Sailor V asked.

"She's making a public presentation to the Cultural Center tomorrow," Natsuna said as she passed over an invitation, "I arranged to get an extra one just in case."

"As sharp as ever," Sailor V said with a grin.

With a bit of a flush to her cheeks Natsuna turned to the filing cabinet on one side of the office, getting some still warm tea from the thermos atop it. "I was wondering if you..." she started to say as she turned back, only to stop cold.

The chair Sailor V had sat in was empty, the small room dead silent. Natsuna rushed over to the now open window to look out at the night, the full moon shining down on the city. For just a moment one of her powerful leaps brought Sailor V into Natsuna's line of sight, the blonde beauty a shadow against the moon, then she was gone.

"Good luck," Natsuna shook her head with a smile before getting back to work.

Sailor V dropped to a roof, scooping up the white shape waiting there before leaping off again. "You heard?" she asked.

"Every word," Artemis answered, the little white cat clasped close to her. "It doesn't feel Negaverse related," he said, "I think it may just be a ordinary robber."

"Nice for a change," Sailor V said dryly. "So I'm going to the unveiling, what sort of face do you think I should wear?"

"Oof," Artemis puffed out as they hit a roof then were launched into the air again. "The young socialite, I think," he said, "just drop that annoying laugh you used last time."

"Aww," Sailor V pouted then laughed much more normally.

The city was still dark as Sailor V reached the mansion, the young blonde moving carefully on the balcony. The house was in one of the best parts of town, a sprawling building that suited the prestige and wealth of the Tomoe family.

"Who's there?" a figure called, the silhouette moving to the balcony doors. She was young, early teens, with short black hair framing a pretty face. She saw who was standing outside and her eyes widened, ":Sailor V!"

"Miss Tomoe," Sailor V nodded. 'How did she know I was here?' she wondered, 'I was nearly silent.' Aloud she said, "I hoped that you would speak to me, tonight."

"Of course," Hotaru Tomoe stepped closer, the nightgown she wore fluttering around her.

Sailor V blushed slightly, looking away from the girl's near nudity. "I didn't mean to interrupt your sleep," she murmured.

"I was just thinking about tomorrow," Hotaru shook her head. She smiled at Sailor V, her delicate perfume carried by the breeze, "How can I help you?"

"You've been targeted by the thief Twenty Masks," Sailor V made herself concentrate on her work, "but do you know why?"

Hotaru shook her head, closing those striking violet eyes as she said, "I have no idea why this criminal would be interested in me."

'She's lying,' Sailor V realized, 'but why?' She moved away, putting a hand on the rail of the balcony, "I'll be watching over things, tomorrow."

"Wait...." Hotaru started but Sailor V was gone, the blonde disappearing into the darkness.

"That's interesting," Artemis muttered once she picked him up from his nearby hiding place.

A faint blush colored Sailor V's cheeks as she thought of the surprisingly pretty young woman, "Yes, it was."

The next day was cloudy, the summer sun struggling to burn through the misty cover. There were security guards stationed all around the Cultural Center, some in plain clothes the others dressed in uniform to make a robber hesitate. Minako Aino spotted them all, of course, but she didn't think they'd get much use today.

'This is far too public for Twenty Masks,' the young woman also known as Sailor V thought, 'she seems to prefer the shadows.' Minako showed the pass to a guard stationed by the gate, one who checked it and her over carefully. The blue party dress hugged her slim body, the low cut top boldly highlighting her cleavage and the high skirt showing off nice legs.

"Go on in, miss," the black haired man said with a nod and a soft gulp.

"Thanks," Minako answered with a wicked smile as she moved in through the front gate.

The Cultural Center was a newer building, one that was constructed more in a western style, a square, blocky shape in concrete. There were stone steps leading up to the entrance, a large porch extending out ten feet before the doors. On that porch the presentation was going to be happening, a band of older officials and a black haired young lady standing beside a drape covered object.

Hotaru Tomoe was dressed somberly, the black dress fitting her nicely. Her short black hair framed a delicate face, pale skin vivid on black. Her face was serious as she listened to the officials talk away, then she frowned slightly. Almost as if she felt Minako's eyes on her Hotaru turned to zero in on her, the girl's eyes meeting Minako's.

'Those violet eyes again,' Minako thought in surprise, 'I wonder if that's her natural color or contacts?" They stood there for a long moment, each silently gazing at the other, then Hotaru turned away to talk to the representatives of the city.

Using her charm and a warm smile Minako smoothly made her way forward through the crowd of guests and the press, waiting not far from where the presentation was going to take place. With some amusement she recognized several of the plain clothed officers in the press of people, and up on the stage Natsuna kept a wary eye out.

'Natsuna looks so good in a suit,' Sailor V noted, 'I almost wish....' then she shook her head. Minako and her had met back in London, when Natsuna had pursued Sailor V thinking she was a criminal, but eventually they had become allies. There even had been some flirting there, but in the end the age difference between them had gotten in the way. 'Not to mention Natsuna falling in love with someone else,' she thought.

All the speech making was pretty boring, the representatives of the Cultural Center almost too overdone in their praise of Miss Tomoe, then the various city politicians who were looking for votes took a turn. Hotaru herself kept her comments short and to the point, thanking the city and it's people for supporting the Center then moving on to the unveiling.

The oldest man on the stage took the drape in his hands and pulled, then a soft gasp of surprise and alarm rang out. The sculpture itself was remarkable, a lovely image of the goddess Venus, but what really drew attention was the note that someone had attached to the bare breasts.

"The Venus will be mine by midnight," the note read, signed at the bottom, "Twenty Masks."

The police around the sculpture went mad as they scurried around looking for how Twenty Masks had gained access and Natsuna glared around intensely. The politicians and officials had a fit but oddly Hotaru stood calmly, speaking reassuringly as they all panicked.

It took Minako a few moments to reach Natsuna's side, the officer subtlety waiting for her to make contact. "Obviously Twenty Masks got here long before the unveiling to add that note," Natsuna murmured to her quietly.

"Exactly," Minako agreed, "you can dust the note for fingerprints, but I doubt you'll get anything. Twenty Masks has been too careful so far, I doubt she'd screw up like that."

"We'll try anyway," Natsuna answered, "so what will you do now?"

"Stand guard tonight," Minako shrugged, "the note gives me two reasons."

"Two?" Natsuna blinked.

"There's the challenge that the note represents," Minako answered, "and there's one other thing: Sailor V stands for Venus." With that Minako slipped away as silently as she came.

Hotaru Tomoe made her way over to Natsuna, the grave young woman looking up at the older officer. "Who was that young woman?" she asked, seemingly casual.

Natsuna lied smoothly, hiding her surprise that Hotaru had been attentive enough to see them talking together, "One of my undercover officers, though I'm sorry to say I can't mention her name."

Hotaru gazed off into the crowd where Minako had disappeared, her expression thoughtful. "Thank you, officer," she smiled politely then turned back to the anxious politicians.

"Miss Tomoe, what are we going to do?" the curator of the museum bleated.

"Don't worry," Hotaru smoothly reassured them, "I'm sure that Sailor V will stop that awful criminal."

'Well, isn't that an interesting comment to make,' Natsuna thought before the officer returned to the demands of her work.

The day passed by quickly, the sun fading away as police were stationed around the Center. Several police cars were parked in front, uniformed officers patrolled the grounds and powerful spotlights swept across the darkness. At the unofficial command post by one of the patrol cars Natsuna sipped her cup of tea, wondering what was going to happen.

"Not bad," Sailor V seemed to drop right out of the sky, landing smoothly by her side.

Natsuna looked cross, "How do you do that?"

Sailor V flashed her a grin, "Professional secret." She set Artemis down on the hood of the car as she continued, "Pass on any relevant information, I'll check the place out." With that she was off, disappearing into the shadows.

"Hi," Artemis gave Natsuna a sheepish smile, the white cat looking mildly embarrassed at being dumped there with the officer.

Sailor V perched on a lamp post then rose, the skirt of her sailor fuku blowing gently in the breeze as she took in the scene. 'The problem with police is,' she thought, reaching out to touch a whisper thin line that stretched from a nearby building to the Cultural Center, 'they never look up.' Using the line and the right equipment access to the center would be terribly easy. As fast as possible she bounded to the roof of the building only to freeze, gazing at what awaited her.

"I've been waiting for you," Twenty Masks said calmly, her voice warm as she sat on the roof, a thermos sitting there beside her. She had taken out the padding from the suit, the curve of breasts and hips now clearly visible under the black cloth. Beside her two cups steamed, the rich scent of hot cocoa carried by the breeze.

"You're awfully casual about being caught," Sailor V said, her body tensed and ready for any move her foe might make.

"I've accomplished what I set out to do," Twenty Masks said simply. She held out one of the cups, "Would you like some?"

Sailor V walked closer, the better to strike if she needed to. "And what did you want to do?" she asked, taking the cup with a wary smile.

Twenty Masks took her hat off, short black hair swinging free. "Trying to meet you, of course," she said with a shrug.

"What?" Sailor V blinked.

"You aren't the easiest woman to contact," Twenty Masks flashed a smile, "so I needed to find a way to get your attention."

"But why did you target someone like Hotaru...." Sailor V trailed off as it hit her suddenly, the pieces falling into place. "Of course," she murmured, eyes narrowing.

Twenty Masks reached up to remove her mask, those violet eyes now twinkling with honest amusement. "I thought you'd get it," Hotaru smiled, sipping her own cocoa. She smoothly rose, "I intend to return all the items to the museums, of course."

"Why did you want to contact me?" Sailor V demanded, trying to ignore the sudden racing of her heart. 'I always liked a woman in a suit,' she thought.

Hotaru set the cup down on the roof, moving with an almost unearthly grace. "I don't know if someone can really fall in love at first sight," Hotaru suddenly stepped close, "but I think it happened to me the first time that I saw you." With that she pressed her lips to the startled Sailor V's, swiftly drawing her into a lingering kiss.

"What?!" Sailor V blurted, pulling back once the kiss ended.

"What's going on?" Artemis demanded into her ear, the communications device she wore keeping them in constant contact.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Sailor V muttered.

Hotaru stepped back, smiling up at her. "I'm sorry if I'm too forward," she said softly, "but I've wanted to do that for so long."

"Gah," Sailor V shook her head, trying to clear it. "You can't be in love with me," she tried to be reasonable, "you don't even know me."

Hotaru put her hand on Sailor V's shoulder, looking up at her with those oddly bottomless eyes. "I'd love to get to know you better," she said simply.

"Oh, boy," Sailor V whimpered.


The criminal known as Twenty Masks made her last appearance that very night, Hotaru quite willingly choosing to retire that identity. Sailor V swiftly brokered a deal between Hotaru and Natsuna, closing the case without bringing too much publicity to either the police force or the Tomoe family. Over time Hotaru won Sailor V over, both in her civilian identity and as Sailor V's new partner in crime fighting.... the mysterious Sailor Saturn.


Chapter 2

Title: Codename Sailor V: The Bodyguard: One


Codename Sailor V: The Bodyguard. (One of Two)

"So what's the problem?" Minako Aino asked her agent, the lovely blonde raising her eyebrow. The star of a popular television series called Codename: Sailor V, along with being a singer and dancer, she was an idol of growing popularity.

"The threats are picking up in frequency," Setsuna Meiou said crisply, her long greenish black hair flowing like a wave around her. She waved a plastic bagged sheet of paper as she calmly said, "I'm getting worried."

Minako frowned, "What did the police say?"

"They've taken the letters and will look into it," Setsuna said, "but they don't sound hopeful. They did make an interesting suggestion, however."

"Oh?" Minako looked curious.

"Temporarily hiring on a bodyguard, at least until they catch up with whoever is doing this," Setsuna said calmly.

"Oh no," Minako said quickly, "I am not having some man following me around, supposedly for my own protection."

"Then why not a woman?" Setsuna offered.

"Huh?" Minako blinked.

Several hours later a young woman bowed slightly, her short, almost purple-black hair going well with her violet eyes. "My name is Hotaru Tomoe," she said serenely, "it's good to meet you both." Wearing a simple black dress she looked gently elegant, yet she also seemed very sure of herself despite her youth.

"You were recommended by the police," Setsuna said thoughtfully, "but I was wondering how much experience you had?"

"I'm older than I look," Hotaru calmly reassured her, "and I've had my private investigator's license for almost a year now."

"I checked into your references," Setsuna conceded, "they're very good."

Minako had to smile, thinking that despite her age Hotaru looked like about the right age to be a member of her fan club. "Do you understand what the job is to be?" she asked Hotaru curiously.

Hotaru looked at her, her eyes almost like pools of purest violet. "It sounds fairly straight forward," she answered, "I'm to shadow you in case this stalker tries to take a shot at you."

"I should warn you that there are going to be some pretty long days involved," Minako pointed out calmly, "I act, sing and make public appearances."

"You might want to hold off on appearing in public," Hotaru said reasonably, "it would make protecting you somewhat easier."

"Sorry," Minako shook her head, "I committed to these appearances months ago, and I can't easily back out now."

"Then we'll just have to figure out a way to have me keep an eye on you without standing out too much," Hotaru shrugged.

"Considering she'll be in full Sailor V costume it'll be hard to stay close and not stand out," Setsuna calmly noted.

Minako was looking at Hotaru thoughtfully, checking her out from head to toe. "You know," she finally murmured, "I think I have an idea."

Hotaru blinked at Minako, looking over at her warily. "I don't think I like the look on your face," she finally said.

Minako chuckled, "We'll see."

The next week was interesting for the two women, to say the least. Minako went to the studio, worked on ads and held her personal appearances, and in the background Hotaru quietly followed. Remarkably she blended in very well; carrying Minako's personal planner and looking much like a professional assistant, not a bodyguard. They talked together, forced to spend their time side by side, and quickly discovered they enjoyed each other's company.

"I don't think I appreciated how busy an idol is," Hotaru murmured as they drove to the studio to record an ad for the Sailor V special.

"Out at four in the morning most days and back home by ten at night if I'm lucky," Minako agreed. She looked stylish and elegant, but then again she almost always did, due to good personal taste and fine clothes. She looked at Hotaru thoughtfully, "You've been keeping up fine, I notice."

"Thank you," Hotaru flashed a rare smile. Normally the young woman looked professionally grave, so it gave Minako a flash of pleasure to see amusement on her face. "Private Eyes tend to work long hours too, so I’m used to it."

"So what's up next?" Minako asked.

Just like a real assistant Hotaru checked through the schedule, "We're going to see Setsuna-san first, then there's a costume fitting." She frowned and asked, "I thought you already had several Sailor V costumes?"

"The costume isn’t for me, it's for you," Minako explained.

"Ehh!" Hotaru looked at Minako in confusion.

'She's so cute when she's clueless,' Minako realized. She looked at Hotaru with amusement, "Remember, we need a way for you not to stand out when I appear in costume."

"But..." Hotaru said weakly.

"Don't worry," Minako reassured her, "it'll be tasteful."

"This from a woman who wears a schoolgirl sailor fuku as part of her costume," Hotaru said wryly. "So I get put through this after we meet with Setsuna-san?" she asked.

"Yup," Minako agreed cheerfully.

"I'm doomed," Hotaru sighed.

The meeting with Setsuna showed that no new threats had come in from the stalker, and then the three of them were off for the costume fitting. With a feeling of dread Hotaru followed the costumer, a tall woman named Makoto, into the changing rooms where she helped fit the young woman into her new outfit.

"Are you ready?" Makoto asked her quietly, the brown haired woman giving Hotaru a comforting smile.

"No," Hotaru shrugged as she paused before the curtain, "but that's never stopped me."

Minako turned as she heard Hotaru step out, and then froze. The sailor fuku was white and purple rather than orange like hers and the boots were styled different... but it was the cool reserve and intensity in Hoare’s eyes that carried it off. Deep down she was a warrior, no matter how oddly she was dressed, and it shone through.

"Perfect," Setsuna murmured, studying Hotaru intently.

"You haven't said anything," Hotaru finally looked over at Minako wryly, "does it really look that bad on me?"

"You look great," Minako managed, looking at Hotaru in admiration, "It's perfect for the look we were thinking of, too."

"So I'm wearing this to your performance tomorrow?" Hotaru asked.

"Not just wearing," Setsuna grinned, "you're participating, too."

"Oh no," Hotaru protested.

The next afternoon the sun beat down at the park, Sailor V posing dramatically as the band of monsters gathered around her warily. "There are too many for me," Minako dramatically declared her white and orange sailor fuku gleaming "is there no one who can help me?"

The dramatic music swelled, and she arose as a concealed lift brought the costume clad woman to the top of a platform. Hotaru held the pole arm in one slightly sweaty hand as the murmurs of the crowd rose in surprise wondering who this new figure could be.

"When evil threatens the innocent I will be there," Hotaru declared, "I, Sailor S!" She leapt spinning the wooden prop weapon as she dropped beside Sailor V, the two going back to back against the enemies.

"Nice entrance," Sailor V said dramatically.

"Thanks," Hotaru sweatdropped.

To be continued...

Chapter 3

Title: Codename Sailor V: The Bodyguard: Two


Sailor V: The shadow companion. (Two of Two)

Hotaru spun her polearm, feeling hideously silly dressed in the modified sailor fuku as she stood beside Sailor V on the stage. Still, the crowd was eating it up as the heroic Sailor V was saved by the mysterious Sailor S.

'We have got to come up with a better name,' Hotaru mused as she warily watched the actors draw near them, dressed in their outlandish costumes. "So what do we do now?" Hotaru murmured, keeping her voice down.

"Follow my lead," Minako murmured, barely moving her lips.

With a unsurprising show of grace Minako spun, producing a crescent shaped boomerang from beneath her costume, "My shining tiara will drive back the forces of evil!" She threw it skillfully, sending it soaring so that it appeared to fly over the enemy, all of whom pretended to drop.

The children and teens in the crowd cheered happily, waving their hands and jumping excitedly. More importantly many of them carried Sailor V products, the clothes and other stuff with the dramatic masked face.

Silently Hotaru raised her polearm, her eyes narrowing as she studied her foes. Smoothly she was off, striking with just enough force for the actors to know they were hit, not enough to hurt them. Her dramatic silence seemed to impress the crowd nearly as much as Sailor V's speeches, the crowd crying out it's approval.

"Thank you Sailor S," she cried, Sailor V returning to her side again. The blonde surprised Hotaru by standing close, looking up into her eyes dramatically, "How can I ever thank you?"

Hotaru stiffened a moment as she felt the blonde stand close to her, then with her free arm encircled her shoulders. "No need," she said, carefully pitching her voice so the audience could here, "your smile is reward enough."

"Sailor S," Sailor V looked up at her adoringly and Hotaru saw a flash of pure mischief in those blue eyes.

'Uh oh,' Hotaru had time to think before Sailor V slid close to press her lips to Hotaru's.

There was a moment of stunned silence as the crowd registered the kiss then they roared out their approval. Sailor V slid her fingers in Hotaru's hair, letting the kiss deepen a bit, then slid back to release her. "Thank you," she repeated.

Not long after they were backstage in the dressing room that Minako and Hotaru shared, Setsuna looking at Minako with a stern expression on her noble face. "That wasn't in the script," she gently scolded the star.

"Sorry," Minako said as she removed her mask, smiling a bit at he manager, "I kind of got carried away by the moment."

"Give me some warning next time," Hotaru murmured from where she was sitting, still blushing faintly from the kiss.

"Mind you the crowd liked it," Setsuna noted, her expression thoughtful, "I think I'll run this by the focus groups, see what they think."

Minako smirked, "As long as it's a good looking woman I don't mind." She looked over at Hotaru, her expression noticeably gentler, "I am sorry about surprising you like that, I hope it wasn't too unpleasant for you."

"It wasn't unpleasant," Hotaru answered her quietly.

Minako smiled happily, "Good."

Setsuna looked over at Hotaru thoughtfully then asked, "Do you mind continuing with the Sailor S performances, then?" Seriously, "I think the shows are probably the times where Minako is the most vulnerable."

"I could live without wearing the costume," Hotaru sighed in resignation, "but yes, I'll do the performances."

"Good," Setsuna said briskly, "I'll talk to the poster artist, see if we can work Sailor S into the promotion pieces."

"Urk," Hotaru made a face while Minako chuckled.

Minako smoothly began to strip her fuku off, smiling to herself faintly as Hotaru turned away, blushing. "You know, I think I like your shyness, too."

"Don't tease me, please," Hotaru sighed.

"But it's so fun," Minako said charmingly.

Hotaru had to smile a bit at that remark. Reluctantly she began to strip her own sailor fuku off... only to hear a disturbance out in the hallway. She stopped, frowning, one glove half off, then she moved in front of where Minako stood.

The door crashed open as the woman glared, her eyes sweeping the room. Red hair was elegantly styled, her clothes finely chosen but her eyes carried a hit of madness. "Where..." she growled.

"Natsuna?" Minako squeaked.

"Who?" Hotaru blinked.

"You little witch," Natsuna Sakurada growled out, glaring over at Minako as she continued, "how dare you!"

Hotaru smoothly kept herself between Minako and the older woman, her boots and gloves off but otherwise still dressed in her costume. "Who are you and what's going on?" she asked crisply, keeping a wary eye on Natsuna.

"I'm that little witch's lover," Natsuna started.

"Ex-lover," Minako protested.

Natsuna grit her teeth then glared at Hotaru, "Until Minako here decided to throw me over for a younger model, it seems."

Hotaru fought back a blush, realizing that Natsuna had clearly seen the performance. "That was all part of the show," she protested.

"I hadn't even met her when we broke up a few months ago," Minako looked over Hotaru's shoulder, carefully keeping her bodyguard between her and her ex.

"It doesn't matter," Natsuna growled.

"You were the one sending her the threatening letters!" Hotaru realized.

Natsuna scowled, "I just wanted to scare her, get her to go back to me!" She reached into her jacket, drawing something from within...

'Gun!' Hotaru moved without thinking, grabbing the mock polearm from where it sat nearby then lunging forward, smacking the weapon right out of the surprised woman's hands. Smoothly she spun the weapon around then slammed the wooden pole into Natsuna's gut, dropping the stunned woman to the floor.

"My hero," Minako puffed out, looking at Hotaru adoringly.

With a blush Hotaru looked away, instead kneeling down to grab Natsuna by the arm and pull her to the feet. "You'd better go get Setsuna," she advised, "and tell her we've got your stalker."

Setsuna called the police to collect Natsuna then thanked Hotaru profusely, so much that she embarrassed Hotaru. Deciding the two ladies needed some time alone she left to determine how best to spin the event in the media, thoughts already racing.

"I'm sorry," Minako sighed a little later, dressed in a simple skirt and top, "I never even thought that my ex-girlfriend could be behind it."

Hotaru had dressed herself in basic black, like usual as they sat together. "How long were you together?" she asked her curiously.

"A few months," Minako sighed, "but she was in the closet and refused to even consider the idea of being outed... and I was."

"I'm sorry," Hotaru hesitated, unsure how to ask.

"I was the one who ended it," Minako confirmed, "after she and I had our last big fight." She sighed, "It wasn't easy, but I thought I had to."

Hotaru reached out, comfortingly laying her hand on Minako's.

"So what are you going to do now?" Minako asked softly.

Hotaru blinked, "Well, I suppose I'll get another job."

Minako hesitated, the she smiled up at Hotaru, "I was wondering.. what would you think of staying on as my security?"

Hotaru looked at Minako thoughtfully, remembering their kiss. "Would I have to wear that Sailor S costume?" she asked.

"Probably," Minako squeezed her hand gently, "if Setsuna has her way."

"Well, I suppose I'll have to," Hotaru smiled back, suddenly glad to see Minako's face light up in happiness.


Notes: Natsuna Sakurada is a police officer from the original Sailor V manga and who also appeared once in Sailor Moon. She pursued Minako more than a little obsessively, so I thought it wouldn't be too unrealistic for her to be the stalker.

Chapter 4

Title: The Pirate and the Lady: One


The Pirate and the Lady: A Tale of Minako and Hotaru

Part One of Two

The rocking of the ship and the sounds of combat gradually came to a close as the two figures crouched there in the darkness. All around them rope and musty cloth were stacked, barely leaving them enough room to hide.

"Do you think it's over, father?" Hotaru Tomoe asked, looking up at her parent with her unusual violet eyes. Hair as black as night, coupled with her white skin gave her a look of delicacy, but the intensity in her eyes contradicted that.

Doctor Tomoe, often simply called Doc, smiled wryly, his brown hair falling into his one eye, the other concealed beneath a simple patch. "I think so," the much older man answered thoughtfully, "but I wonder who won?"

Before Hotaru could try to form an answer there was a knocking on the door of the rope locker, then it suddenly swung open to reveal a young woman. Black hair fell in a mane down her back, her smile oddly warm as the stranger offered her hand and gently asked, "Dr. Tomoe? The captain sent me to find you."

Squinting from the bright sunlight they were lead out onto the deck of the battered ship, Hotaru looking around them worriedly. The newcomers were cleaner than the pirates that had captured her and her father months ago, but they were all dressed much the same. 'More pirates,' she thought to herself despairingly as she carefully picked her way across the now debris cluttered ship's deck, 'what do they want of us?'

The dead pirates littered the ship, even as the other vessel floated alongside, grappling hooks and planks firmly connecting the two ships. The difference between the two vessels was remarkable, the new ship well maintained with crisp sails and a clean look, unlike the shabbiness of the ship they had been captured by months ago.

A willowy blonde waited by one of the planks, her long hair tied in two streams down her back. She wore a billowy blouse and tight leather pants light many of the pirates, but somehow she seemed softer, kinder almost. "So you found our prize, Rei?" she asked as they approached.

"The Captain was right, Usagi," Rei answered with a shrug, "they ducked for cover once the trouble started." Gesturing to the plank connecting the ships Rei addressed Hotaru and her father, "Watch your step, please, I'd hate to have to try and fish you out of the sea."

"I'd hate that too," Hotaru muttered as she hiked up her ruined black dress and picked her way across the rough board. Her father in his tunic and pants crossed easier, then Rei followed them over to where a brown haired young man waited.

"Haruka," Rei nodded, "could you bring them to the captain? I'd like to stay aboard with the crew trying to get this hulk shipshape."

With a surprisingly feminine voice Haruka laughed, "You just want to be where Usagi is." More seriously she continued, "I think she's been waiting for them."

'A woman captain,' Hotaru thought as they followed Haruka towards the stern of the ship where a raised forecastle waited, looking around eagerly, 'and most of the crew seem to be women, too? What kind of ship is this?'

An almost amazon looking brown haired woman held the wheel, her muscles rippling her arms, while others climbed the rigging, tightened the ropes and did the hundreds of other jobs a ship at sea needed to do. Standing guard by the door were a tall, black haired woman on one side and a lady with oddly green hair on the other.

"Michiru," Haruka's voice was oddly tender, "I'm glad to see you're all right." Looking to the other lady, "So how impatient is the old lady, Setsuna?"

""Not so bad," Setsuna said with amusement, "but you'd better not let her catch you calling her that, Tenoh. I'd hate to see you walk the plank."

"She hasn't done that to anyone in months," Haruka scoffed.

"Then I suspect she's overdue," Michiru teased.

A bit apologetically to Dr. Tomoe Setsuna said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to pat you both down for weapons."

"Is that necessary?" Haruka frowned, "I thought they were the captain's friends."

"Zoisite got far too close to her a few months back," Michiru reminded her, "if we didn't at least check the others would never forgive us."

'What sort of crew is this,' Hotaru wondered, 'on that other ship, most of the sailors would have gladly allowed their captain's death, the bastard.' Seeing how careful Setsuna was in her search of her father Hotaru reluctantly produced the slim knife she had squirreled away weeks ago, passing it over to the tall woman.

"Go on inside" Setsuna said once she had searched Hotaru, "the captain is waiting."

The door swung open smoothly, revealing a blonde haired young woman sitting at the desk, ledgers and papers roughly scattered about, a heavy log book nearby. Blue eyes looked up then she stood with a smile, "Dr. Tomoe, Hotaru, it's been a long time."

"Minako?" Hotaru blurted in surprise, recognizing their friend from London, a young lady they had last seen more than two years ago.

"You look a bit the worst for wear," Minako went around the desk to reach up to Tomoe's eyepatch, "but I'm glad to see you alive."

A though was forming in Hotaru's brain as she took in her father's oddly serene acceptance of Minako's presence, despite her own sense of shock. "You knew about this," she breathed out then demanded of them both, "what is going on?"

"I'm sorry," Dr. Tomoe started but Minako shushed him.

"No, I'm sorry," Minako said softly, "I should explain." She gestured them to chairs even as she sat back down, "Wine, ale? This is going to take a while."

"No, thank you," Hotaru shook her head, impatient for her to begin.

Drinking from a mug at her side Minako began, "When I first met your father in London, he helped save my life. In a little... escapade involving the police I had been hurt, and though I had evaded them I needed help badly."

"Father treated you, of course," Hotaru noted.

"Yes," Minako nodded, "even though I was in costume as the adventurer Sailor V."

Hotaru felt her eyes widened on hearing that piece of news. Sailor V had been the most wanted criminal in London for awhile, a daring thief who had stolen treasures right out from under the noses of the city's various police forces. The artist conceptions had always been of a masked, blonde woman, and she could easily imagine Minako in that role.

"Minako thought she owed me a debt," Dr. Tomoe continued, "but I've never really agreed. She helped fund my free clinic for awhile, but eventually she had to go."

"Despite getting to know you and your father at that time," Minako smiled fondly, "the police were getting a little too close to me." She hesitated, "One of the things I regret was not being able to say good-bye to you, Hotaru."

A flush colored her cheeks as she remembered her teenaged crush on the lovely older woman who had visited their home so regularly. "So after you left London," she asked her curiously, "what happened to you?"

Minako seemed to have noted the blush, but she didn't comment on it. "I had heard that there were opportunities to be had for a brave woman at sea, and eventually signed aboard a pirate ship under Captain Haruna," she said. "I worked my way up to first officer, then when she was killed in battle became the captain."

There was silence in the room, then Dr. Tomoe sighed. "Guess it's my turn," he said, "I eventually helped the wrong person at my clinic, and the Lords decided I needed to be taught a lesson. Thankfully a grateful citizen told me in time to flee, and we escaped to sea."

Hotaru smiled grimly, "Unluckily, our ship was taken by pirates a week out from port. Lord Diamond, as the captain liked to be called, found out father was a doctor and made him help them, using me as a hostage."

"An' the eye?" Minako asked softly.

Dr. Tomoe made a face, "I failed to save one of Diamond's favorites, Emerald. He thought losing my eye would convince me not to fail again."

"Bastard," Minako hissed. She shook her head, "Pirates are gossips, and when the tale reached my ears of Diamond's new doctor I was surprised to hear your name. Immediately I set out to find him, an' hopefully bargain you free, but it didn't work out that way."

"You came after us?" Hotaru looked at Minako in surprise.

Minako met her eyes gently and said, "I couldn't leave my very dear friends in the hands of scum such as these." Clearing her throat after a moment she said, "I can ferry you two to wherever you wish, or you can stay aboard."

"I can't go to anywhere ruled by the British empire," Tomoe shook his head, "I may have been forced to help, but the police and navy won't make that distinction."

"And so we are exiles," Hotaru murmured in a sudden moment of despair.

Gently Minako placed her hand over Hotaru's, squeezing gently. "Not exactly," she said, I have another alternative to offer. On a island in the Caribbean we have established a small town, and we could offer you shelter there.. it's not too civilized just yet, but we're getting there."

A blush colored Hotaru's cheeks once more, and even more oddly she could feel her heart skip a beat. Even before she had found Minako attractive, but now dressed in the leathers and silks of a pirate she looked even more beautiful.

"An what is this town called?" Tomoe asked curiously.

"Crystal Tokyo," Minako answered simply.

To be continued...

Chapter 5

Title: The Pirate and the Lady: Two


The Pirate and the Lady: A Tale of Minako and Hotaru

Part Two of Two

It took nearly a week for the two vessels to reach the secluded island, a most unusual week for Miss Hotaru Tomoe. Aboard Minako's vessel the Moon Princess she worked alongside the pirates, the slim black haired young women doing much of the same jobs as she had under Lord Diamond. Unlike serving him, however, she found the tasks enjoyable surrounded by the cheerful crew, the captain kind but still strict.

'Minako...' Hotaru thought, watching the blonde woman up at the wheel as the island grew in front of them. Her golden main glittered in the sun, her leather and white garb clinging to her graceful body. She was strikingly beautiful, even more so out here where she seemed so free, and more often than not Hotaru found herself hypnotized by her.

"Hotaru?" her father asked, and she jerked up in surprise.

"Yes, Father?" Hotaru turned, a guilty flush coloring her now lightly tanned cheeks. Her father looked much better dressed in clean clothes, his black hair swept back by the breeze. He had quickly settled into a place with the crew, working alongside Ami Mizuno, a former nurse who served as the Princess's doctor. The eye-patch still startled her at times, a reminder of Diamond's cruelty, but she found it gave him a rakish charm.

Dr. Tomoe settled beside her at the rail, the two looking away from the captain and towards the island. "Have you decided what you want to do yet?" he asked her gently.

"I will be guided by your decision, Father," Hotaru said gently.

"I'd like to know your mind on this," Doc. said quietly, "for whatever decision I make will limit your own options." A faint smile appeared on his lips, "I must admit I am tempted to take up her offer to serve aboard one of her ships."

"Oh?" Hotaru felt mildly surprised by that decision, considering how badly he had suffered at Diamond's hands.

"Once Minako restores that wreck it will need a Doctor," Doc. nodded toward the battered vessel that limped along behind them then he answered her unspoken question, "and any captain chosen by Minako would be a different sort than Diamond."

"True enough," Hotaru conceded. She found her gaze tending towards where Minako commanded the vessel, then back to her father, "I haven't made my choice between vessel and shore yet, but I do think I would remain among these pirates."

"Good," Doc. smiled happily. He nodded towards Minako, "From things she has said, I suspect our Captain would miss your company."

Hotaru felt herself blush, a feeling of pleasure racing through her. Each night this past week she had shared a dinner with the captain, sometimes just with Minako and other times with members of the crew and her father, and she had enjoyed herself immensely. Minako had been very attentive to her at those times, making sure her glass and plate were full and even scolding a crew member if any offered some unintentional disrespect.

"And I would miss hers," Hotaru admitted softly.

It was less than a hour later that they tied up to the docks, a busy set of wooden ramps reaching out over calm blue waters. Many larger and smaller vessels were tied up there, but they were dwarfed by the two great ships sliding into place. Men and women raced to tie the ships up, then ramps were set into place as the unloading began.

"Incredible," Hotaru murmured as all the stock stolen from Diamond's ship along with the Moon Princess' supplies were loaded up on carts then hauled up the road to the bustling town.

Hotaru had fought to keep her expectations low, to prepare herself for the worst, but in this she was pleasantly surprised. The town was remarkably neat, much like the country places she had visited in her youth, the pirates greeted with happy cries as they approached. Yes, there was a tavern with much revelry going on and she suspected that at least some of the ladies loitering about were prostitutes, but all in all it was a beautiful place.

"Usagi," a black haired young man rushed over to hug the blonde, then surprisingly Rei joined them in the hug.

"Mamoru love, we've missed you," Rei slapped him on the ass, making him jump.

"And I've missed you two," Mamoru laughed as the three strode off together.

Doc. Tomoe had the oddest look on his face, "From seeing them on the ship I thought that Rei and Usagi were..."

"They are," Minako chuckled from where she walked nearby Hotaru and him, "but they are with Mamoru, too." She shrugged eloquently, "I'm not sure how it works, but for them it seems to."

"Ah," Hotaru blinked. She coughed slightly, "I was wondering if there was a hotel or some such, that my father an I might find lodging...?"

"I'm sorry, no," Minako sounded faintly apologetic, "but I do have a suggestion." As Hotaru looked over at her questioningly Minako continued, "I would be honored for you to stay in my home, at least until we can build a place for you."

"We'd be honored," Doc. said smoothly, even as a blush colored Hotaru's cheeks.

"Good," Minako laughed as she took their hands and tugged them along, "let's go get you settled in."

With a laugh Hotaru followed, once again pulled along by the captain's joyous spirit. "It won't be too much of an inconvenience?" she laughed, black leggings and leather garb warm in the sun. She didn't know where Minako had found the garb on the Moon Princess but it was comfortable, much more so than the tattered skirts she had once worn.

"We'll manage," Minako chuckled.

The house was larger than the small, one bedroom ones in town, and set slightly apart from the rest of the town. Amid the Caribbean trees it stood boldly, two stories tall with a porch and several rooms on the first level and a smaller second floor. The main floor had a large living room, kitchen, dining room and a bedroom, while upstairs was another larger bedroom.

Doc. Tomoe looked around with a smile, "I'm impressed."

"The town insisted on building a larger home for me," Minako made a face, "since I'm lead captain and mayor, sort of."

"I'm sure you've eared it," Hotaru commented quietly, amused to see the older woman blush.

"At least it gives me enough room to put you both up here," Minako said firmly. Quietly she added, "Hotaru, I'm sorry to say that you'll have to share a room with your father."

"That's all right," Hotaru bowed.

"Or," Doc. spoke up with a smile, "she could always share a room with you, captain. You are two women, so there would be no impropriety there."

Hotaru felt her heart race, the idea of sharing a room with Minako strangely exciting to her. "If you wouldn't mind?" she asked Minako softly.

A faint blush colored Minako's cheeks again but her voice was steady, "I'd be honored." She showed Doc. to his room then led Hotaru upstairs as she said, "I think I have a dress or two that might fit you, until we can get you some clothes made."

"To be honest," Hotaru answered, feeling a bit startled as she focused on the sway of Minako's hips just ahead of her o the stairs up, "I like these clothes you've given me."

The bedroom they entered was surprisingly feminine, considering the tough image that Minako seemed to try to maintain. The sheets of the great bed were a faint rose, while the walls gleamed pure white. Twin wardrobes were set up on each side of the room and a dresser with mirror was pushed up against one wall.

"I'm glad," Minako's voice was gently teasing, "but I think you'd like to change into something that isn't stiff with salt and scratching at your skin."

"True," Hotaru chuckled softly.

Opening up both wardrobes Minako smiled, "Take what you will, I know enough sewing to help make it fit."

"Thank you," Hotaru murmured, digging through the tightly packed garments. From the corner of her eye she saw Minako undo the ties in the front of her blouse, revealing tanned skin and the faint white traces of scars as she pulled it off.

"I think you will enjoy the celebration tonight," Minako continued, unaware of Hotaru's searching gaze.

Without consciously thinking about it Hotaru moved across the room, her fingers tracing a white scar that started at the shoulder then ran down her back. "So many scars," she murmured as she touched that creamy skin, "do each of them have a story?"

"Yes," Minako's voice was oddly husky as Hotaru stroked her back. "Do not touch me so," she shuddered slightly and continued in a voice thick with longing, "for I fear I may forget that I am a gentlewoman and do something rash."


"I fear I am no gentlewoman, either," Hotaru answered her as she gently traced a scar to the base of Minako's hips. She breathed in the sea scent in Minako's hair as she continued, "I never said how I looked forward to your visits in London, or how heartbroken I was when you were gone."

"Really?" Minako turned, uncaring that she was topless as she gazed into Hotaru's eyes, seemingly reassured by what she saw in them. She reached out to stroke black hair away from Hotaru's face, "You know, I lied when I said I went looking for you both."

"Oh?" Hotaru sighed happily as she leaned into Minako's touch.

"While rescuing your father was important," Minako confessed as she drew Hotaru close, "saving you was what drove me."

"I'm glad," and with that Hotaru drew the taller woman into a kiss.

Reluctantly Minako drew back after a few moments. "I wonder how long your father will stay occupied in his room?" she asked.

Hotaru chuckled softly as she pointed out, "I suspect he'll take his time, considering how deftly he maneuvered us together."

"He did, didn't he?" Minako chuckled herself as she gently drew Hotaru over to the bed. As they lay down together she added, "Then he'd better wait a long time."


Notes: Based around a 'pirate' challenge off of the Stars in Love fanfiction list, though I'm not quite sure how successful it is. The dialog is contemporary in style, and the couplings are mostly shoujoai in nature, as usual for me.

Chapter 6

Title: Agents of SENSHI One


Hotaru and Minako: Agents of S.E.N.S.H.I. (One of Two)

Minako pushed up her black sunglasses, her long blonde hair flowing as she knocked on the door. A few moments later a sandy haired, boyish looking woman opened the door, looking at them curiously. "Haruka Tenoh?" she asked her calmly, taking off her shades and sliding them away into her pocket all with one motion.

"Yes?" Haruka asked, her eyes narrowing a little as she studied the black clad figures. Both women wore black suits, the types government agencies might issue, with almost razor sharp ironing on the creases. Her own pajamas were suited to sleeping in this Sunday morning, but looking at the two of them told her it wasn't likely she was going back to bed anytime soon.

"Minako Aino," she casually offered her wallet, the star badge gleaming, "we're here to talk about your wedding."

" S.E.N.S.H.I.?" Haruka blinked at what was written on the badge.

"Supreme Enforcement Network and Special Headquarters of Investigations," the slightly smaller black haired young woman offered up the information, "and my name is Hotaru Tomoe." She smiled slightly, "May we come in?"

"Oh, of course," Haruka gestured and both women walked inside, her thoughtful gaze following them in. She waved them towards the couch as she asked, "So what's this all about?"

"Are your partners here?" Minako asked with a degree of amusement as she and Hotaru sat. "I'd hate to try to run through everything multiple times."

"I was hoping we could let them sleep." Haruka studied them a moment then sighed, "all right, give me a moment."

"This is going to be an interesting case," Hotaru murmured to Minako softly as Haruka shuffled out of the room, clearly still sleepy.

"They're all interesting cases at S.E.N.S.H.I.," Minako answered with a twinkle in her eye.

"Yes, but why do we keep getting assigned the really interesting ones?" Hotaru flashed one of her rare smiles.

Haruka returned with two women in tow, all three very different physical types. Michiru Kaoru was simply gorgeous, a green haired lady who looked like a model, her eyes shining with gentle amusement. The tallest was Setsuna Meiou, her black hair flowing like some regal cape down her back. And right in the middle was Haruka, the slim figure who was a perfect compliment to them both.

"Welcome to our home," Michiru offered, wearing a robe over what looked like a nightie as the three sat on a couch together, "and I'm sorry I wasn't able to greet you earlier." She tossed a fond look at Haruka, "Instead you had to deal with Miss Grumpy here."

"Hey," Haruka protested, "I was polite."

"That's quite all right," Minako said reassuringly.

"We're usually up earlier today," Michiru looked faintly amused, "but a certain person helped keep us all up."

"Michiru," Setsuna scolded while Haruka just looked very satisfied, much like the proverbial cat that ate the cream.

"I didn't need to know that," Hotaru murmured with a blush.

Minako got up to pass her badge around once more as she said, "You're likely well aware of the resistance to your upcoming marriage in the political right, but what you may not know is that several serious threats have been made. Our agency has been assigned to counter those threats and help protect the ceremony."

"Why weren't we informed of these threats?" Haruka sat up, frowning.

"I think your families may believe you've had enough to deal with Ms. Tenoh, considering you are marrying your two sweethearts," Hotaru said mildly.

"Heh, true," Haruka conceded.

"We were hoping that you'd consider postponing the wedding until we can deal with the suspect," Minako said in business like tones, "or at least consider moving it to a less public place than the Crystal Palace casino."

"No," Michiru shook her head, "we've been waiting years to be married, I don't want someone to scare us into delaying."

"Delaying would just feed the ego of your suspect," Setsuna pointed out. She smiled faintly, "Besides, Haruka has the best security at her Crystal Palace, you know."

Minako sighed softly, studying Haruka intently. In her teens and twenties she had made a name for herself as a international racer, making money both in prizes and promoting products. Investing wisely her and her lover Michiru had become quite wealthy, eventually becoming the co-owners of the spectacular Crystal Palace casino in Tokyo. It had been there that they met Professor Setsuna Meiou, a psychologist hired by the casino to study customer patterns in game play, and a whirlwind romance had begun between the three of them.

Unusually, all three were activists for gay rights in their different ways. Haruka donated to various causes, of course, and spoke up in public about the issues. Setsuna had written extensively on the subject, crusading to change the minds of the psychological community even as she worked to help those with difficulties in coming out or just being out of the closet. Michiru dedicated her music to the cause, donating much of her profits and writing anthems as well as painting works depicting themes of gay and lesbian love. When both polygamy and gay marriage had been legalized recently, they leapt at the chance to finally marry.

'I think I have one of Michiru's erotic prints up in my bedroom,' Minako recalled. "So, we can't change your mind?" she asked.

"Sorry," Haruka shook her head no.

"Then with your permission we'd like to attend the wedding," Hotaru said gravely, "as well as review security procedures with the Crystal Palace staff."

"No problem," Haruka said with a nod, "I'll arrange tickets and pass your names on to my security chief, Natsua Sakurada."

"Natsuna?" Minako visibly paled before shaking herself. "Thank you," she resumed her formal tone, "we'll contact you if anything new develops."

Michiru walked them to the door and quietly added, "Thank you for your help, officers. I'm sure we'll feel much better having you two around."

"Just doing our jobs, ma'am," Hotaru said gravely.

The two women walked over to their waiting unmarked car, Minako reflexedly taking the driver's side as Hotaru took the passenger's seat. "The chief is not going to like this," Minako predicted as she started the car, putting it in gear and pulling out into the quiet suburban street.

"No, she isn't," Hotaru agreed. She looked at Minako thoughtfully a moment, "Natsuna... that's the name of your ex-lover?"

"That's her," Minako agreed, "though I haven't seen her in years."

Hotaru hesitated, then the younger agent reached out to squeeze Minako's hand where it rested on the steering wheel. "If there's anything I can do to help, let me know," she offered softly.

"Thanks," Minako smiled. She puffed out a sigh as they drove into the urban center of Tokyo itself, "Well, let's see how annoyed the boss is."

S.E.N.S.H.I. was based out of a seemingly normal office tower, though one with tighter security than most. Identification cards at the front desk, swipe-cards and a retina scan to access the S.E.N.S.H.I. floors, and even a x-ray scan were all part of the entry procedures. Nodding to coworkers they made their way to the chief's office, down simply decorated halls lined with office doors marked with only numerical designations for added security.

"Welcome back," Usagi Tsukino smiled from her desk, the blonde secretary sorting out paperwork efficiently. "She said to go right in," she nodded to the boss' door.

"Thanks," Hotaru nodded.

Rei Hino looked up from her desk, the black haired woman talking on the phone in clipped tones. It sounded like she was balling someone out, with language that made both ladies pale. Rei was a political appointment due to her father being a prominent Senator, but she had quickly earned the respect of her subordinates by backing them to the hilt and taking no prisoners. Dressed in coal gray she stood out, especially with the scarlet tie and white shirt she added, her eyes flashing.

"Idiot," Rei barked, slamming the phone down. She looked up at them and snarled, "So what's the bad news?"

"How do you know it's bad news?" Minako asked mildly.

Rei sat back with a frown, "You would have told me immediately if it was good."

"We didn't want to interrupt," Hotaru said diplomatically, looking towards the senior agent.

"The good news is that they'll let us have agents at the wedding," Minako said with a wry smile, "the bad is that they are not changing the wedding date."

"Damn it," Rei scowled. She looked irritable, "And this is happening right before the Prime Ministerial elections, too..." Shaking that off she said, "Gay marriage has been a flashpoint issue so we need to make sure this goes off without a hitch."

"Can we have additional agents?" Minako asked, already considering the security issues.

"Give me a list of the specialties you need and I'll try to fill 'em," Rei said briskly, "but no promises. We're stretched pretty thin right now with the whole uproar over the disappearance of the Finance Minister."

"Have they confirmed how much he ran off with?" Hotaru looked curious.

"Well over five million," Rei sighed. She pressed the intercom, "Usagi, could you get me some coffee, please?"

"Yes, ma'am," the cheery voice replied.

Minako offered a salute, "We'll report in when we have more progress."

"Good hunting," Rei wished them as Usagi walked by them into the office, her short dress hugging a slim but beautiful body.

As the door was closing they heard Usagi squeak, "Rei! Not now..."

Hotaru blinked at Minako, who just grinned as she firmly shut the office door. "Trust me," she said as they walked out to the office, "I don't want to know."

To be continued...

Chapter 7

Title: Ahents of SENSHI Two


Hotaru and Minako: Agents of S.E.N.S.H.I. (Two of Two)

"I have to admit," Hotaru commented as she checked her appearance in the mirror and adjusted her black tuxedo, "you look good, partner."

"Why thank you," Minako answered, her pale rose dress swirling around her. Out of her usual work suit she looked surprisingly beautiful, the blonde haired woman wearing just a subtle touch of perfume and makeup. Her blue eyes gave Hotaru a admiring look, "You clean up pretty good, too."

Hotaru blushed slightly, her short black hair brushing her shoulders. "Thanks," she said, looking away shyly.

Minako had to fight back a smile, thinking of all the surprising things that you could discover about people in new circumstances. She and Hotaru had worked together for over a year, but it had mostly been purely professional, but now she was seeing an entirely different side to the reserved young woman. A side, she had to confess, that she was finding to be surprisingly attractive.

"Do you think we'll be able to blend into the wedding party?" Hotaru asked curiously, adding the cuff links smoothly.

Minako carefully put on a necklace as she added, "I think we'll do fine." There was a knock on the door and she called out, "Come in!"

Makoto Kino pushed open the door to the suite, the taller brown haired agent wearing another of the rose dresses. She was surprisingly beautiful, but that appearance hid a dangerously capable martial artist and warrior. "No updates from the Chief yet," she reported, "but from chatter on our operations frequency it sounds like they've found our missing Finance Minister."

"How many of our security staff were pulled away to deal with it?" Hotaru asked, the window outside showing the incredible views available from the Crystal Palace.

"About half," Makoto grimaced.

Minako swore softly at the horrible timing, adjusting the concealed radio she wore. Once she was sure the earpiece was sitting comfortably she said, "Discretely go around to our fellow agents and let them know, please."

"Yes ma'am," Makoto tossed off a military salute then was off.

"Well, we'd better get moving," Hotaru said seriously. She offered her suit clad arm politely and asked, "Shall we?"

"Thank you," Minako set a gloved hand on hers then they went out into the hall.

The Crystal Palace was a fine hotel, now bustling with guests and dignitaries and was a security nightmare for them. There were too many people, too many rooms to check and almost no way to make sure nothing dangerous or illegal got in. The only consolation was a state of the art security system, offering cameras and other surveillance over much of the building.

Dodging guests and nodding to guards stationed at stairways and elevators they made their way to the first floor and the security office, now temporarily drafted as their headquarters for the event. Natsuna Sakurada was standing in front of the screens, eyes flickering as the tall brown haired woman intently studied the goings on around them.

Sitting at the control panel Ami Mizuno adjusted a camera slightly, the blue haired woman's eyes focused intently. Their fellow agent handled the controls with the same surety she brought to almost anything electronic, as well as being a terrific nurse and emergency medic.

Natsuna turned at the sound of a door opening, her eyes narrowing just a bit as she saw them enter the room. "Ladies," she said to them frostily, "I can't say I appreciate my staff being bumped for your associate here."

"Agent Mizuno is extremely qualified," Minako answered shortly, "as I don't doubt you've already checked out." She scanned the monitors herself, checking out the reception hall, dining room and the main hall that would be hosting the wedding itself.

"Fair enough," Natsuna conceded.

Hotaru looked up at the taller woman a bit warily and asked her, "Are there any unexpected complications?"

Natsuna snorted as she said, "Well, both sets of parents are fighting, the caterers ran out of crackers, at least one brother-in-law is dead drunk and I understand the bridesmaid's outfits were miss-dyed a lovely violet."

"As I said, any unexpected complications?" Hotaru repeated with a small smile.

Surprisingly both Minako and Natsuna laughed at that. "No, not really," Natsuna said, "and so far at least, there's no sign of any terrorists or other crazies."

As Ami flipped through camera images she paused a moment on Makoto, her eyes lingering a moment, then she moved on. "As far as we know there's no one unauthorized on the premises, but I can't say it'll stay that way."

"The support staff?" Minako assumed.

Ami nodded as Natsuna said, "We've screened everyone we hired for this event, but that doesn't mean someone couldn't be bribed. The best that we can do is be vigilant and hope we catch anything unusual."

Hotaru checked her watch, "Should we check in on the brides?"

"Sounds like a plan," Minako agreed. They headed out into the hall as she looked at Hotaru curiously, "You're awfully stiff with Natsuna."

Hotaru shrugged a bit uncomfortably. "I don't like how she looks at you some times," she finally confessed as they quickly cut across the building, "like you still belong with her."

Minako looked at her in surprise, then smiled slightly. "You don't have to worry," she reached out to squeeze her hand, "I'm not interested in her at all, anymore." A fond smile touched Minako's lips, "I fact, there's someone else I like."

"Who?" Hotaru asked softly.

"I'll tell you later," Minako said as they reached the room the three women were waiting in. She knocked once then opened the door, "Excuse me, we just wanted..."

Both Hotaru and Minako froze in surprise even as Michiru, Setsuna and Haruka leapt apart, blushing faintly. "Next time," Haruka complained good naturedly as the sandy haired woman did up her white dress shirt, "give us a bit more warning before coming in."

Hotaru was blushing redly as she scolded them, "Aren't you supposed to save that for after the wedding?"

"Sorry," Michiru said, her white bridal dress just a bit rumpled, "we got bored waiting and it just sort of happened."

"Would you like us to leave you alone for awhile?" Minako asked with a impish look. A bit more seriously, "It's all clear so far, but we'll be shadowing the event for your safety."

Setsuna smiled, "Thank you very much, I've been very impressed with all the work you've done in the past few weeks."

"Just doing our jobs," Hotaru said a bit gruffly.

Noting her partner's cute blush Minako said, "We'll see you at the ceremony, then." She took Hotaru's hand and tugged, "Excuse us, we should get back to it."

As the door closed they could hear Haruka purr to her future brides, "Now, where were we?"

A few hours later the main hall was filled to bursting, rows of chairs all occupied by family, friends and notables. The abundance of famous faces made Minako even more nervous as she sat in a center aisle seat, Hotaru up ahead of her near the altar. 'If someone does hit the wedding with a bomb it's going to be a disaster,' she thought.

Haruka looked fairly calm standing up by the altar, apparently the earlier quickie had helped calm her nerves. The wedding march began and after a moment Michiru and Setsuna were escorted to the altar by their fathers, then the nervous female priest began the ceremony.

"Anything?" Hotaru's voice came over the radios.

"Not yet," Minako murmured back, feeling her eyes circling the room. Over by one wall a group of men and women prepared a buffet for the party, drinks of various types being laid out. Flower girls had laid out petals on the route, and stiff ushers were waiting along the aisle. She switched over to the security office as she saw a very nervous usher fidget and asked, "Ami, were the ushers cleared by security?"

"They're friends of Haruka apparently," Ami answered, "no, they weren't checked out."

"Crap," Minako murmured, easing out of her seat to make her way cautiously towards the young man. "Hotaru, possible suspect confirmed," she cued her silently.

Apparently whomever the man was he wasn't totally stupid, for he saw them coming. Reaching into his dress jacket he pulled a gun, turning to point it towards the altar even as the ceremony finally began to wind down. Then it was suddenly yanked out of his hand by a flash of gold and he cried out in alarm.

Gracefully Minako had flicked her wrist out and released the spring loaded metal chain she wore disguised as a bracelet, then with a twist yanked it back to get the gun from his hand. "No," he cried out as Hotaru tacked him, "I won't let perverts like you continue to corrupt the innocent!" A blow to his head shut him up, swiftly rendering him unconscious.

"Carry on, please," Hotaru waved as they grabbed him and dragged him out of the hall, "we're done, I think."

They found out the young man's story, eventually, though it took some time. His name was Mamoru, and up until a few years ago he had been happily involved with a younger woman named Usagi Tsukino. Sometime after she met Rei Hino she had eloped, leaving him deeply heartbroken and angry, a rage that eventually fixated on Haruka. He befriended her, intending to do some harm to her, then when he heard about the wedding he saw his chance.

A little while later Hotaru and Minako stood in the corner, watching the couples moving out onto the dance floor together. The chief had given them a break, letting their team remain for the party before returning to base and writing the endless series of reports.

"Is that Ami and Makoto?" Hotaru blinked, faintly surprised.

"You didn't know about them?" Minako smiled, sipping her drink. "You know," she added, "I think I like your occasional moments pure innocence."

"I sort of wish I wasn't so innocent," Hotaru confessed. She looked at Minako curiously, "I thought you'd tell me who you liked?"

Minako ignored the question, "Would you care to dance?"

Hotaru blinked, "I suppose so." They went out to the dancers hand in hand, Minako drawing her close as they swayed together. "You didn't answer my question," Hotaru murmured, feeling a rush from being so near her.

Minako pushed Hotaru's hair back then bent forward to kiss her, "Oh, I think I just did.


Notes: I know "Supreme Enforcement Network and Special Headquarters of Investigations" sounds a bit odd, but it was pretty hard to come up with something that fit "S.E.N.S.H.I.." I've been batting around a Mina/Hotaru as agents fic for awhile, but I couldn't come up with something that fit it. Then a theme of "weddings" was suggested at the Stars in Love yahoo group and it occurred to me I could fit them together pretty well...

Chapter 8

Title: Chapter 7


Heart Song

Hotaru Tomoe took a drink from her glass, her hat pulled down a bit to try and hide her violet eyes. She didn't want to be seen mooning over the singer currently performing up on stage, despite her having visited here nearly every night for the past few days.

"Your refill, miss," the bartender said, his black hair falling into his eyes.

"I didn't order this, mister...," Hotaru blinked, the business suit clad woman sitting up unconsciously.

"Mamoru," he introduced himself. He nodded towards where the singer continued to serenade the audience, "Miss Aino asked me to, if you showed up again."

"Oh?" Hotaru asked.

"Minako doesn't buy drink for people very often," Mamoru added, turning back to cleaning out some of the glasses.

Hotaru turned back to the stage, looking at Minako singing so beautifully. She raised the glass in a toast to Minako and felt warm as Minako flashed her a smile. The woman in the slinky red gown finished up her tune then slid the microphone into it's metal stand, her blue eyes twinkling merrily. "I hope you'll be back later on tonight for the second half," Minako said with a purr, "but for now, I have a very important date."

'She's seeing someone, figures,' Hotaru thought glumly as she saw Minako disappear off stage and a DJ start up some background music. She tried not to feel disappointed, reminding herself she didn't really know anything about this woman.

Wandering by a few days ago Hotaru had heard the voice of an angel coming from the nightclub and wandered inside, quickly becoming enraptured by the blonde beauty standing on stage. Even more stunning was her cheerful banter and stage presence, a warm way about her that drew Hotaru in almost instantly.

"Is this seat taken?" the voice asked sweetly, pulling Hotaru back from her happy memories to a disappointing present.

"No, that's fine," Hotaru started to say as she turned on her stool to look at her, only to trail off in stunned surprise.

Minako Aino looked as beautiful up close as she did on stage, her friendly smile lighting up her face. She took the seat gracefully, eyes faintly amused as she offered her hand, "I don't think we've been introduced. I'm Minako Aino, and you are...?"

Hotaru took the hand, debating the impulse, then kissed the back of her had. "Hotaru Tomoe, ma'am," she answered, looking up to meet her eyes.

A blush colored Minako's cheeks but she seemed charmed by the old fashioned gesture. "Very nice to meet you, Ms. Tomoe," Minako gave a flirtatious smile.

"Hotaru, please," she urged with a half smile.

"It's a nice name," Minako nodded as she leaned a little closer to Hotaru, "and you can call me Minako, if you like."

"I'd be honored," Hotaru said honestly. She gave Minako a searching glance, "I thought you said you had a date...?"

"I do," Minako agreed as she gazed into Hotaru's eyes meaningfully, "why do you think I'm here?" She smiled as Hotaru blushed, realizing what Minako meant. "I'd ask if you come here often, but I've seen you in the audience the last four nights."

"I didn't think I was being that noticeable," Hotaru sighed as she took her hat off, setting it on the bar. Freed of it's confines her short black hair flowed free, shimmering a little like a raven's wing in the bar lights. She waved down Mamoru and said, "A drink for the lady, please."

"Your regular?" Mamoru asked Minako curiously.

"Please," Minako flashed him a grin then looked at Hotaru thoughtfully. "I think I felt your eyes on me the first night, then I began to look for you." With a wry smile she then asked, "So an I being stalked, or...?"

"I'm no stalker," Hotaru said quickly in her own defense, "I just... well, I guess I just was drawn in here by your singing." The younger woman blushed as she admitted, "I've never heard anything so beautiful."

"Thank you," Minako purred. She looked at Hotaru curiously, "You know what I do, of course, but what about you?"

"Nothing as exciting as being a lounge singer," Hotaru drew a card from her pocket and passed it over, "I'm just a antique dealer here in town." She sipped her drink and asked, "So how did you become a singer?"

Minako gave a impish smile, "I've always wanted to be famous, ever since I was a little girl. I haven't made it yet, but I'm working on it."

"Having seen you perform," Hotaru said with simple honesty, "I don't doubt it."

Minako reached out to gently trail a finger over Hotaru's cheek, "You're quite the charmer." She smiled, pleased to see Hotaru blushed faintly, then looked at her watch with a sigh. "I'm sorry," she got up, "the second set starts soon."

"I wish we could keep talking," Hotaru said softly, meeting Minako's eyes.

"My night's over after this," Minako said after a moment, "if you stick around, I wouldn't mind having some company this evening."

Hotaru nodded firmly, "I'd be honored."

Minako fought back a smile as she headed for the dressing room, swiftly pulling off her earrings first as she shut the door behind her. Her sedate heels were kicked off and the dress was pulled up and over her head, then she set it aside carefully to be washed out later. Her red satin dress gleamed on it's hanger, a sinful looking sheath that showed every curve and she had to wiggle her body a bit just to get into it.

'I can't believe I invited her out,' Minako thought as she picked up a brush and touched up her makeup in the well lit mirror, 'I barely even know her.' Still, something in the girl's soulful violet eyes seemed to draw her to Hotaru, and if her years of performing had taught her anything at all it was to go with her instincts. She pursed her lips, taking her blood red lipstick and gliding it on, smiling a little as she grabbed a pair of fresh earrings too. Sliding on spike heels she was ready to perform the second set, her favorite torch songs.

After the show was over and the club was running down Hotaru was standing outside, her jacket slung over her shoulder. "I'm here," Minako said from behind her.

Hotaru turned, then blinked in surprise at the transformed young woman. Gone was the stylish gown, replaced with casual but fine clothes, a short skirt and blouse in blue and white. Her blonde hair shimmered beautifully but a different, subdued style of makeup gave her a different aura. "Wow," Hotaru breathed as Minako reached her side.

"Surprised?' Minako asked.

"You look wonderful," Hotaru said honestly, "but why so different than on stage?"

"I get approached by fans too often, otherwise," Minako took Hotaru's arm, stroking the white cotton of her shirt clad arm. "You look yummy, too, by the way," she said softly.

Hotaru blushed, but her smile was pleased. "Have you had any dinner?" she asked, looking up at the slightly taller woman.

"I didn't," Minako admitted, "or lunch, either." At Hotaru's worried look she smiled, "Not intentionally, but I got busy."

"Then let's get you fed," Hotaru said firmly.

They walked together for a few moments, then Minako smiled softly, "Is something wrong?"

Hotaru smiled wryly, "I guess I was trying to think of a way to tell you that my intentions towards you are honorable."

"My intentions aren't honorable at all," Minako purred and Hotaru blushed. "I'm sorry," she softened her tone, "I kind of find that sweet, really." She looked at Hotaru, "Did I startle you?"

Hotaru was still blushing. "A little," she admitted, "are you always this impulsive?"

"I am when I find something I want," Minako squeezed Hotaru's arm.

Hotaru looked up at her shyly but she was smiling. "Thank you," she said, "I don't think I would have imagined this happening when I walked in the club a few days ago."

Taking the hint of how short of a time they knew each other Minako smiled. "Let's start with dinner then," she said, "and see where things go from there."

"I'd like that," Hotaru agreed.


Notes: Minako as a nightclub singer was an easy fit, and making Hotaru a antique dealer was almost as simple. I wanted to write a love at first sight story with a touch of realism, though the ending almost had to be a bit undefined.

Chapter 9

Title: Sword and Sorceress


Minako and Hotaru: Sword and Sorceress

The adventurer strode through the misty forest, her crimson cloak flowing around her body as she forced her way forward, the road they were traveling overgrown and tangled up with vines. The blonde was garbed in simple armor, a chainmail shirt and metal breastplate that gleamed as golden as her lovely long hair.

"I think we're lost, Minako," the black haired young woman said wryly from where she was walking beside her calmly. Her own armor was plain brown leather, a rough woolen cloak thrown over her shoulders to fend off the chill mists.

"We are not lost, Hotaru," Minako said firmly as she tried to peer through the white shroud over the land, "I'm sure the city is around here... somewhere."

"That is so comforting," Hotaru said with amusement as they continued on.

The old trail they were following got even worse, if that was possible, but eventually a shape began to grow out of the mist. The tower was part of a fallen castle, the outer wall broken and the inner building itself mostly falling into rubble. Built into one corner the tower looked mostly intact, and from some window up above they saw a flicker of firelight.

"It's not quite what I was expecting," Minako admitted as they circled around to find the remnants of a main road up to the castle, the large paving stones broken up by grass and vines, "do you think we should go check it out?"

"Might be worth while," Hotaru admitted, adjusting the small pack of supplies she carried, one that matched the bag the taller Minako carried.

They moved on almost as one, their boots tapping on the stones as they neared the gate, studying the rubble thoughtfully. Amid the wreckage were the long dead remnants of monsters, goblins, orcs and others left where they had fallen in taking the castle. They climbed over the ruined gate and entered the courtyard, the ground littered by broken shields and swords, the signs of a failed human defense of the place.

"No human bodies," Hotaru noted as they walked towards the main gate of the castle, a black hole waiting to swallow them up.

"I understand that this land burns their dead," Minako noted, her blue eyes warily scanning their surroundings.

"Maybe, but.." Hotaru started when with a bellow things spilled out of the gate.

The goblins raced forward in a wild pack , howling and snarling as over a dozen of them carrying rusted, broken weapons in their gnarled hands attacked. The squat, green skinned man-beasts weren't terribly strong, but they likely thought strength of numbers would carry the day. Sadly they were badly mistaken.

As the goblins reached them Minako kicked out with one of her hard leather boots, sending the lead goblin sprawling even as she drew her sword with a hiss. A single powerful sweep of her weapon sent goblins rolling away, splattering her and the ground with green blood. "Come on, then," Minako purred to her now shaken foes.

From behind Hotaru chanted, cupping her hands together as light began to pulse between them. Drawing her hands back she cried out a single word and unleashed her spell, sending a fireball sweeping in to the goblins. The explosion left a blackened hole in the ground, the surviving goblins fleeing in terror out towards the woods.

"You could have left me with more to do," Minako said wryly as she knelt, using the rags off of one of the goblins to wipe her sword clean.

Sounding more amused than anything else Hotaru said, "I'll leave the next ones to you, if you wish." Together they picked their way through the rubble, heading into the shadows of the wrecked castle itself.

Minako swept her arm to get some cobwebs out of the way as she smiled with honest affection, "Gee, thanks."

"You're welcome," Hotaru looked up at her, a faint blush coloring her cheeks.

Water dripped from the walls as the mist hit the cool stones, the hall lined with moss and slime. The light was dim, whatever came in through holes in the ceiling and the faint glow coming from the odd mosses. They were careful where they treaded on the slick stones, making their way through the wreck towards the corner where the tower was.

"It might be easier if I used my magic for light," Hotaru offered as they peered into a dimly lit room filled with the garbage of years.

"Save your strength," Minako made a face at the stench and closed a door, "I suspect we aren't done fighting yet."

"You feel it too, then?" Hotaru asked.

"There's more in this ruin than us," Minako said calmly, "and we're going to find it."

Moving up the hall they slowed as they heard sounds up ahead. Gesturing Hotaru to be silent Minako peered around the corner, taking in instantly what waited for them. The Orcs were a bit like humans, but only in the basic shape. Tall, with muscles that fit together oddly they gathered at the base of the tower, clad in furs and carrying wooden clubs.

Drawing back into concealment Minako said softly, "They're going to be tougher than the goblins... do you have another Fireball ready?"

Hotaru made a face, "No, I memorized a variety of spells this morning rather than just one over and over."

"There's a lot of them," Minako frowned, "I can probably take them, but it won't be easy without magic."

"I have my usual explosive spell," Hotaru sounded apologetic, "but using it in here might not be too wise."

"Tell me about it," Minako agreed, looking around at the ruins around them and imagining what would happen if you disturbed them much.

"I do have Sleep and Ensnare," Hotaru murmured thoughtfully, "neither one would work on the whole group but they should stop a lot of them together."

"Sounds good," Minako drew her sword as silently as she could, "cast sleep first, then I'll charge. Once I'm fighting the rest, use ensnare."

"Sounds like a plan," Hotaru agreed. She reached out to put a hand on Minako's arm, "Be careful, love."

Minako patted her hand softly, "Always."

"Wait a moment," and Hotaru chanted softly, summoning her magic.

Even as Hotaru unleashed her first spell Minako raced around the corner, smiling as she saw several of the Orcs stagger, then drop to the stones as the spell struck. Sword in hand Minako swung to parry a blow from one of the clubs, striking back viciously as she drove her sword home in a fountain of black blood.

With an incoherent howl a orc swung for her head and Minako barely ducked in time, feeling the nearness on her skin. Taking advantage of an opening she swept her blade across his neck, sending his head rolling to hit the wall with a wet thump. Again and again she slew the Orcs, focusing on keeping them occupied on her, listening to Hotaru chant so musically behind her.

With a final cry Hotaru struck, her spell bolt whizzing by Minako to strike the surviving orcs. In a second it was almost as if a glowing, silvery spider-web lay over them, but to the orcs the many gleaming threads were as strong as steel. Hotaru emerged from cover with a gleaming knife in her hand as she said, "Let's finish this."

"Let's," Minako agreed and both women ruthlessly finished their foes off.

With a bit of distaste they searched the fallen, ultimately coming up with a few coins that they dumped in a money pouch. "This would barely buy a meal," Hotaru noted as they pushed on the battered door to the tower.

Looking up the darkened stairs warily Minako nodded, "Let's hope there's more treasure upstairs or this is going to be a wasted trip."

"You have no patience love," Hotaru teased softly as they began to go up, "there could be tunnels beneath this place, as well."

"True," Minako brightened a bit at the idea of more fights and treasure. She looked at Hotaru as they passed a window, "How are you doing for magic?"

"I still have four spells memorized," Hotaru reassured Minako, "as well as several spell-scrolls I can fall back on in an emergency."

"I know how costly they were, we'll try to save them," Minako vowed. The faint light made Hotaru's face shine, giving her a almost unearthly beauty. Stopping her a moment Minako leaned in and kissed her softly. Gazing at the blushing younger woman Minako smile, "Sorry, I haven't done that in a few hours and I couldn't help myself."

Hotaru blushed a charming red as she murmured, "You can do that anytime." Shaking herself she said, "But first we have a tower to search."

"Maybe there'll be a bed up there soon," Minako flashed a smile, "and we'll take a little break."

"Mina!" Hotaru scolded as they hurried up.

The door at the top of the stairs was in better shape, a torch burning in the holder mounted on the wall. Within they could hear muffled voices, but the stone and thick wood made it impossible to tell who it might be. "What do you think?" Minako asked after they listened a moment.

"Burst in," Hotaru said briskly, "if it's a foe we'll catch them by surprise, if it's a friend we can apologize after."

"Right," Minako kicked the door hard, sending it swinging open as they raced in... only to freeze as she blurted, "You!"

"Took you long enough," Haruka Tenoh said with a smile, the sandy haired bard tuning her lute as she sat in a battered chair by the table. Her clothes were silks and wool, bright colored and finely made like the charming performer she was.

"Thank you," Michiru Kaoru smiled, the green haired archer standing by the window. She wore leather armor like Hotaru, her quiver resting on her back as she picked up her short bow.

"How did you...?" Hotaru blinked.

"We were exploring like you when we entered the tower," Haruka explained, "but the orcs got reinforcements blocking our way before we could move on."


"Clever, Ami," Minako conceded from where she was sitting at the table, "I wondered how you'd have them join our party."

The round table was cluttered with books and papers, all of the normal signs of their weekly role-playing sessions. There were the player's handbooks, magical races, monster guides, dungeon master books, all the different kinds of dice and character sheets as well as miniatures to help them visualize the battle field.

Ami Mizuno sat behind the dungeon master's screen, her blue hair falling into her eyes as she sorted her papers. "Thank you," Ami pushed her glasses up with a smile.

"Not bad at all," Michiru agreed from where she sat with Haruka.

"Dropping her voice Minako said to Hotaru, "Thanks for inviting me, this is a lot more enjoyable than I thought it'd be."

"It's nice to have another newcomer here." Hotaru nodded towards Haruka and Michiru, "they've been playing this for years."

"Somehow I still have a hard time imaging Haruka being into something like this for so long," Minako mused.

Ami softly confided, "Haruka still has the first edition set for the game. I was impressed."

"Here's the sodas and I'll have the bowl of snacks in a minute," Setsuna Meiou growled as she slapped the bottles down on the table then stalked off, long black hair swinging angrily.

Softly Michiru explained to the surprised Ami and Michiru, "I think she's still annoyed that Pluto lost it's planet classification recently."

"I HEARD THAT," Setsuna snapped from the other room.

"Ouch," Haruka winced. "I was wondering, is there a reason you two wanted your characters to be lovers?" she asked the newcomers with a impish look.

"No reason at all," Hotaru carefully didn't look at Minako, knowing her face would reveal too much about where their relationship had recently gone in real life.

"So, where to next?" Minako asked Ami to change the subject.

"The tunnels beneath the castle," Ami smiled at them evily, "I have a very well designed dungeon waiting for you."

"Ready and willing," Hotaru nodded, reaching out to covertly take Minako's hand.


Notes: I began to think of this after reading all the 'Gameword' stories from Megatokyo, as well as various fantasy series. The RPG they're playing is Dungeons & Dragons, more or less, based on my memories of when I used to play it years ago. The idea of Haruka being into D&D is inspired by a bit from Dreiser's fanfic 'Scenes from the Elevator' where she had Haruka be into videogame RPGs.

Chapter 10

Title: Haunted Nights


Tales of Minako and Hotaru

Haunted Nights

Minako Aino, TV actress, film star and all around idol, paused as she looked up at her manager and asked him, “So what am I doing here again?” The blonde had a engaging smile, a merry sense of humor dancing in her blue eyes and a sexy body that made more than one person do a double take.

‘Too bad I already have a girlfriend,’ Mamoru thought wryly as the tall, black haired man held the car door open for her. “It’s publicity for your latest film,” the black business suit clad man reminded her, “Horror High Two: the return.”

“Oh that piece of drivel,” Minako sighed wryly, her simple dress swirling around her long, model’s legs..

“That drivel makes a lot of money,” Mamoru shrugged. He pushed his hair back casually, “We’re doing a live action spoof here, basically.”

“Lovely,” Minako smiled as they went to the back of the crowded amusement park, the autumn air brisk as they hurried in through the stage door. “How much of my clothing am I going to shed this time?” she raised a eyebrow.

“Not too much,” Mamoru laughed, “it’s a PG rated show.” A young man met them, his glasses gleaming as he nervously led them in. “How’s the set up going, Greg?” Mamoru asked him as they walked.

“Pretty well,” he smiled, brown hair falling messily into his eyes as Greg continued, “we’ve got the actresses for the monsters all set.”

“Actresses?” Minako said with somewhat more interest.

“Knowing your preferences,” Mamoru said, “I thought you’d like that.”

“Don’t be a stick in the dirt,” Minako poked him in the side.

“Don’t you mean mud?” Greg offered tentatively, a baseball cap holding back his hair. With his jeans and t-shirt, he looked like almost every stage hand Minako had ever met.

“Mud, dirt, same thing,” Minako shrugged as they went through the busy halls, teeming with production crew until they reached the set.

“Oh ho ho ho ho!”the brown haired woman dressed all in black leather called out, her full breasts barely contained by her little top, her skin eerily pale.

“Please,” the blue haired girl begged, her ragged clothes revealing a slim but attractive figure, “no more!”

“You will join my army,” the taller woman smiled, fangs gleaming as she advanced menacingly, “of the UNDEAD!”

“Very nice,” the slim, sandy haired young man emerged, “though Makoto, your introductory laugh needs to be a bit scarier.”

“Right, Ms Tenoh,” Makoto Kino nodded respectfully.

‘Ms?’ Minako looked at Tenoh again in surprise, only then noticing the swell of breasts under her man’s shirt.

“How was my performance, ma’am?” the small blue haired woman asked nervously, taking a pair of glasses out of her costume and putting them on. With that she went from a scantily clad damsel in distress to a raggedly clad nerdette, almost in a instant.

“You’re doing all right, Ami,” Haruka Tenoh looked more amused than anything else by her actress’ subtle transformation, “though you’re going to have to try and look a bit more terrified of Makoto.”

“Sorry,” Ami bowed.

Just then Haruka noticed Minako’s arrival and the director smiled warmly. “Miss Aino, welcome,” Haruka advanced, taking Minako’s hand and then surprisingly bending over to kiss the back gently.

Minako chuckled at the old fashioned greeting, “It seems you’ve already started, I’m sorry if I was late.”

“You’re right on time,” Haruka corrected smoothly, “many of our cast are new actresses, so I organized a early rehearsal for them.”

“Ah, I understand,” Minako nodded. “So, should I get changed?” she asked.

“Michiru,” Haruka yelled then turned to Minako. “Miss Kaoru is our costumer,” she explained, “she’ll get you set up.”

A lovely young woman with blue-green hair bustled from back stage, quickly giving Haruka a kiss on the cheek. “I hope this letch hasn’t been too much trouble?” Michiru joked as she took Minako’s hand.

“Don’t worry, she’s been a perfect gentleman,” Minako fought back a smile as Haruka looked mildly flustered.

“That’s when you really need to worry,” Michiru laughed as they headed back to the dressing rooms.

As they walked a slim black haired girl advanced, her skin ghostly against the rags that covered her body, her violet eyes striking as she met Minako’s eyes. “Excuse me,” she murmured as she brushed by them.

“Who is THAT?” Minako found herself whispering, faintly surprised at how it had felt meeting the gaze of those stunning eyes.

“Hotaru Tomoe,” Michiru said as they reached the room with Minako’s name on the door, “she’s new to the business.”

“I’d certainly remember seeing her before,” Minako admitted, silently resolving to keep an eye on her.

“So why am I a fire demon?” Rei Hino waved a hand as they left the dressing room a sort time later. The black haired woman was sheathed head to toe in red plastic, the material molded to her body enough to be sensual, not erotic.

“We all drew lots, remember,” Usagi Tsukino said, the pretty blonde in a tiger stripped bikini advancing on Rei with a cute set of devil horns in hand.

With a blush Rei looked away from Usagi’s pert breasts, barely contained by the bikini. “If I find out Mamoru-baka rigged this,” she grumbled as Usagi set the devil horns in place, “he’s gonna pay.”

Minako fought back a chuckle as she walked by, dressed in almost as little as the other women. Of course in her case it was because her girl’s school uniform was ripped to simulate running from monsters. The blouse was half torn off, the skirt was shredded and flashes of white under things were visible. Of course the audience wouldn’t know she was also wearing a thin, flesh colored body stocking to prevent any real exposure, so to speak.

“Minako,” Haruka nodded in greeting as she entered the stage, “your just in time for the dark queen’s arrival.”

Despite not having a scrip handy Minako was a trooper. “What do you want me to do?” she asked eagerly.

“The monsters have captured you,” Haruka gestured to Usagi and Rei, who grasped her arms gently but firmly, “and they’re taking you to the queen.”

Minako took her cute and struggled weakly, looking helpless in the monster’s stronger grips while still putting up a fight. “Where are you taking me?” she ad libbed.

“Very nice,” Haruka nodded happily. She gestured to the wings and ordered, “Makoto, bring up your victim Amy.”

Gracefully Makoto strode into the scene with Ami in her arms, a bit of red paint at Ami’s throat faking blood. “I have claimed the first, my queen,” she declared.

“Yes,” Haruka cheered. “All right,” she waved, “demon queen, that’s your cue!”

Dry ice made mist swirl around the stage as a platform lifted, a throne rising up from the white haze. She sat regally, like a true ruler, and her dark garb made her seem ghostlike in the bright lights. Hotaru rose gracefully as the throne reached the stage level then commanded, “Bring her to me.”

Still struggling more for effect than anything else Minako was pulled forward, stepping through the chill mists. “ you want?” Minako asked with that breathy, damsel in distress voice she was so good at.

“What do I want?” Hotaru asked, bending close so that their lips nearly touched. “I want you,” she purred.

‘I think I’m REALLY going to enjoy this play,’ Minako thought, fighting back a smile.

“Yes, just what I wanted,” Haruka crowed, interrupting the moment.

“Uhm, Tenoh-san, isn’t this going to be a bit much for a free performance?” Mamoru asked delicately.

“Yeah, but the movie producers will love the controversy,” Haruka shot back with a grin.

“True,” Mamoru agreed.

“I hope I wasn’t too rough,” Rei apologized after the first run through, still looking faintly embarrassed by her costume.

“No, it was fine,” Minako laughed. She smiled and excused herself, walking over to where Hotaru was getting a drink.

“Miss Aino,” Hotaru smiled shyly, the utter opposite of her demon queen character, “you improvise very well.”

“And you followed pretty well,” Minako answered, getting a cup of water. A smile, “Call me Minako, we’ll be working a few days together.”

“Thank you,” Hotaru blushed a bit, “Minako.”

‘Shy, but cute,’ Minako thought. Part of her was tempted to feed her a line about private tutoring, but she restrained herself. “Are you doing anything this evening?” she asked instead.

Hotaru blushed again, “No...”

“I haven’t worked with Tenoh but usually there’s a bullshit session after a day’s rehearsals at some local spot,” Minako grinned, “if I have to, I’ll organize the outing myself.”

“I think you would, too,” Hotaru flashed a fleeting smile.

“So,” Minako grinned, “you’ll come?”

Hotaru seemed surprised by the invitation, then she smiled, her eyes sparkling with pleasure, “I’d love to.”

A beginning...

Notes: May or may not be a part two, depending on how inspiration hits. This is another of my Halloween fics for this year, too.

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