Story: Chain of Hearts (all chapters)

Authors: writer jm

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Chapter 1

Title: The Arrival

Welcome to my first Minaru! (That’s a Minako and Hotaru romance.) This was inspiried by Amazoness Quartet’s Finally Free(sort of). It was a slave story with Hotaru and Chibi-Usa and was I really enjoyed it. This is officially my oldest shoujo-ai tale and has been on the back burner for a while. I have reworked it repeatedly and this is it’s third incarnation. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don’t own Sailor Moon or any of the characters. If I did, we wouldn’t hear about Mamoru or the Generals ever. Ever. I promise, it would be awesome!

Thoughts ‘…..’

Speaking “…..”

Chapter One: The Arrival

The chains jarred her arms as she felt the pull on the other length of her shackles. She quickly shuffled to the edge of her carriage, knowing better than resisting. There was no point. She was a slave and she could do nothing with her wrists and ankles shackled. She had lost her father, whom she now barely remembered. She had lost her best friend, for something she did not do. Her sweaty trader looked her over, making sure she was “presentable.” Her hair was unkempt and she was dirty. The woolen rags she was wearing could never be presentable. It was an ugly brown and almost too short for modesty. It itched and was a little tight, clinging to her developing feminine attributes.

“You had better behave this time,” he growled at her. He jerked the chain again to make sure she was paying attention. She had a distant look to her face as her violet eyes were set upon her new home. She pulled up her shackled hands to shift some of the short, dark hair out of her eyes. It was an immense castle with marble pillars and high stone walls.

‘I guess I will be serving royalty, again,’ she thought with a sigh. ‘I hope this turns out better than last time.’ She dropped to the ground somewhat less than gracefully, due to her restrained feet and landed on her knees and elbows.

“Up, you!” the trader yelled, while tugging on her chain. She weakly rose to her feet and he led her to the gate where a large gatekeeper asked him his reason for being here. “I got the requested slave here for Her Majesty the Queen.” He handed the burly soldier a letter with a wax seal on it and let him peruse it.

“Okay you may enter,” the gatekeeper turned and yelled up to the gate operator, “Open the gate!” The large, iron gate groaned as they opened inward. The young slave had no time to enjoy the beautiful fountain in the center of the paved courtyard. She quickly scanned the marble halls lavished with tapestries and expensive rugs.

They stopped in front of two large wooden double doors with a heart-shaped crest. The two imposing female guards crossed their halberds to impede entry. Her trader anxiously announced: “I’m bringing this slave to Her Majesty upon Queen Serenity’s behalf. Here is my letter.” The guard on the right scrutinized the letter before announcing them. The guards opened the doors and let them in.

The slave girl was even more in awe when she entered the throne room. The room was well lit and colored by numerous stained glass windows. The only clear window was circular and shone upon a throne embroidered with gold. No, actually it was the golden hair of the occupant of that throne. The woman sitting on the throne of Venus shone like the sun. She was the most beautiful woman the slave had ever seen. She was wearing a sky blue dress that accented her piercing sapphire eyes. She wore a contemplative look as the slave trader pulled her to a set distance from the throne and they both bowed deeply.

“This is the girl sent by Queen Serenity?” she asked simply, her voice cool.

“Yes, your majesty,” her slave handler replied in his most humble voice.

“Why was she dismissed from the Moon Palace?” the Queen with an inquisitive look. She had heard rumors and wanted to know the truth.

“The slave girl had an ‘unnatural interest’ in Her Majesty’s daughter,” he replied as sweat beaded his forehead.

‘He forgot to add in the part where she was just using me as kissing practice. Although, I would rather it be a girl, but I can’t let them know that...’ The slave girl thought to herself. Her heart ached at the loss of her dear friend who so kind to her. A tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t think she would ever be fortunate enough to meet someone who she could trust that much ever again.

“Well, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about my daughter with her…” the Queen laughed lightly. “She is completely boy crazy.” The slave handler laughed cautiously as if she were a wild tiger who could decide that he would serve her better as a meal. A dour servant brought him his payment and he bowed his way out. The slave girl was left alone with the imposing monarch and frightened out of her wits. Somehow, she maintained a calm visage.

‘What if she wishes to “reeducate” me?’ One of the young scars on her back itched at the thought of whipped again. It had taken several days for her to be able to travel again after she was caught doing ‘forbidden things’ with Queen Serenity’s daughter. She watched the Queen descend from the throne to stand in front of her. The kneeling slave immediately lowered her head to the soft carpet.

“Stand and let me examine you.” The Queen ordered. She obeyed instantly, but meekly to show that she was no threat. The Queen lifted her chin and examined her face. “Such beautiful eyes…Lovely, but dirty and dressed terribly… What is your name, girl?”

Her voice came out in barely a whisper: “Hotaru, your majesty.”

“Hotaru…” the Queen let it roll off her tongue as if tasting it. She let a slight smile spread on her face, “or ‘firefly.’ My youngest will adore you, once you are clean and dressed properly.” Her smile faded into a much more serious look, one that could consciously send someone to the gallows, given proper motivation. “If you attempt anything ‘inappropriate’ with my daughter, like you did with Princess Serenity, you will regret it.” The smile returned as she beckoned a couple of servants to take her away.

The second Princess of Venus was sitting in her room pacing. She despised waiting. She was tired of waiting. ‘You should not have to wait for your present, especially not on your birthday,’ she thought to herself. Frustrated, she sat down and began to brush her long golden hair, a habit she used to calm herself. ‘At sixteen, I’ve came a long way from the freckled little girl I used to be. But Minako, you’ll never be your mother…’ She sighed and began to wonder what kind of present would take so long to arrive.

She had everything she could want: jewelry, a team of seamstresses who could make her the most beautiful dresses, and legions adoring admirers. Yet she didn’t have anyone she could call a friend. Well, every now and then another princess would come for a visit and they would have some fun, but those were temporary visits. She wanted someone she could trust with her secrets or babble on to about her latest crush. She used to enjoy being with her older sister, but now she was studying to be the next ruler of Venus and had no time for ‘such nonsense.’ She had begun to feel truly alone in the cold palace she was trapped in. She started as someone knocked on the door.

“Yes?” Minako called. A familiar female servant peeked in and politely bowed.

“The Queen has summoned you, highness,” she said with her head held low. Minako was used to Martha’s visits. She had taken care of her for almost five years now and wasn’t that much older than Minako herself. She had always kept distant, even when Minako tried to be friendly. She could have been a decent friend, if she wasn’t afraid of her mother. “Princess Minako?” Minako shook her head and scolded herself for spacing out. A delay like that might get Martha in trouble. She quickly followed the servant down the hall to the throne room as her thoughts now turned to the present awaiting her.

Hotaru had been bathed, or scrubbed, and was now being dressed in a modest black dress that the rest of the staff wore. She rubbed her wrists glad to be out of her shackles and collar. She glanced at her right wrist that now had a silver bracelet on it attached by a chain to a ring on her third finger. Both ring and bracelet were adorned with the heart-shaped symbol of Venusian royalty. Hotaru was familiar with these bracelets. Although somewhat attractive, they were an indicator to everyone that she was a slave and who she belonged to.

It didn’t bother her much. She didn’t care about who owned her as long as she was fed and had a place to sleep, and not abused. She had long ago resigned herself to her life as a slave. Butterflies danced in her stomach. She was nervous to meet her new mistress. She hoped that she was not going to be a cruel mistress. One of the maids placed a silver choker adorned with a pink heart around her neck. Hotaru turned to the maid, unfamiliar with this accessory.

“What is the necklace for?” she asked as politely as she could.

The serious, gray-haired servant snorted and looked her straight in the eye: “It’s a way to tell the other servants that you’re the Princess’s new pet.” Hotaru wasn’t surprised at the need for special identification. At her previous location, she wore a special necklace with a crescent moon.

“So what is the Princess like?” she continued trying to focus on the important questions. The aging maid thought for a minute and looked around to see if anyone could hear. Convinced no one was close enough to hear, she leaned closer to Hotaru as she led her out of the room and down the hall.

“She’s kind of an airhead and she’s rather flighty when it comes to boys. But she’s really kind at heart. Just be nice and she’ll love you.” She whispered in Hotaru’s ear as they walked toward the throne room again.

“Now Minako, dear,” the Queen said in her rarely-used “mother” voice, “you’re a young woman now and I believe that you need some responsibility…” Her jaw clenched as she noticed her daughter was spacing out. “Minako!” Her mother’s uncharacteristic outburst jerked Minako back to reality.

“Yes, mother, responsibility,” Minako stated casually. Her mother shifted uneasily in her throne, trying to relax.

‘Was she paying attention, or did she just pick up on that last word?’ the Queen pondered. Maybe her daughter wasn’t such a total airhead…

“Is it a puppy! Or a kitty! Or a fish!” Minako started rambling to herself excitedly, while making animal faces.

‘Okay… at least I didn’t get her fireworks,’ the royal mother’s train of thought was interrupted by a hesitant knock on the door. “Ah, it has arrived.” Her daughter let out a cute squeal of glee reminiscent of girls half her age. She clasped her hands over her heart as the doors slowly opened. A middle-aged servant walked in and stepped aside revealing a short, dark-haired girl who couldn’t be much younger than herself. She looked at her mother questioningly, receiving a nod that meant, ‘yes, she’s yours.’

She let out another childish squeal and ran to her present, frightening an already nervous Hotaru, who kept her eyes glued to the floor. Minako caught the girl in a bear hug, giggling as Hotaru tried to breath. Minako let go and said: “Thank you, mother! She’s absolutely adorable!” Her mother smiled and Minako began to dance with Hotaru like they were playing ‘ring around the rosy.’

Hotaru never saw the first crushing hug coming. She heard a squeal issue from the blonde girl and clamped her eyes shut as she lowered her head. The next thing she knew she was caught in a rib-cracking embrace. It wasn’t as if she didn’t appreciate the sign of approval, she just liked breathing. The girl let go and she inhaled deeply. The princess turned to her mother and curtsied: “Thank you, mother! She’s absolutely adorable!” Hotaru felt a blush arrive on her cheeks.

‘At least she thinks I’m cute…’ Hotaru had worried if she was going to be up to her ‘royal standards.’ Her eyes widened as the princess grabbed her hands and began to dance around with her. As they twirled, Minako’s long golden hair caught light from the stained glass. It was like a rainbow was wrapping itself around her. Hotaru noticed that her new owner was vibrant and lovely. She blushed again and scolded herself as she fought off vertigo, or something else.

Minako’s dance ended when she finally saw the frightened look in the other girl’s violet eyes. Minako was drawn in the sorrow and beauty she saw. She didn’t know if she could look away. She heard her mother use a polite cough to interrupt her daze. Minako temporarily let go of her embarrassed ‘present’ and curtsied again to her mother.

“You are now responsible for this girl’s well-being,” the Queen stated regally, “She’s not just a present; she’s also a test.” Minako’s smile shrunk a little at the word ‘test.’ “If you can take care of her properly, I might put you in charge something in the palace. Since your sister Aria will be the next Queen, you must find a purpose for your life of privilege.” Minako nodded solemnly. “But don’t forget to enjoy today and get ready for tonight.” The Queen let a smile show on her face and let her daughter be excused.

Minako smiled and boldly declared: “I feel like the cow that ate the canary!” Her mother rolled her eyes and kept her smile as a sweat drop formed on her brow. Minako said “thank you” at least a dozen times as she grabbed her present by the arm and practically skipped out the door.

End of Chapter One

That’s my beginning. I hope you stick around for the rest of it.

Read and Review, please. Most of the storyline has been plotted, but I will gladly hear suggestions.

Chapter 2

Title: Dinner and A Tour

Welcome to Chapter 2! I post most of my works in chunks, so don’t be surprised to see 2 or 3 chapters at a time. I don’t have much else to say, except that I think that this is another cute couple that doesn’t get much exposure. Thus, here I am to do my part. I recommend reading Ayrki’s ‘Boogiemen, Dragons, and Tricksters.’

Disclaimer: I don’t own Sailor Moon, but I wouldn’t argue if someone tried to give it to me!

Thoughts ‘…..’

Speaking “…..”

Chapter Two: Dinner and A Tour

Hotaru’s stomach began to tie itself in knots as she walked arm-in-arm with the princess. The princess, who had a huge grin, kept staring at her with a gleam in her eye. ‘Is there something on my face?’ she wondered. Then, her stomach spoke for her with a weak growl.

“Are you hungry?” the princess turned and looked at her curiously. Hotaru put her eyes to the floor as they stopped. “You don’t have to be shy… I really want to take care of you. It’s about my usual lunch time anyway.” Her stomach growled loudly, startling Hotaru. Minako laughed. “Yeah, it’s definitely time to feed ‘the beast!’” Hotaru looked at her curiously and couldn’t contain a miniscule smile that was forming. Minako beamed. “There you go! A smile looks good on you.” Hotaru’s cheeks flushed at the compliment. She was not used to such nice things being said about her, except from Princess Serenity. That was when she noticed Minako was quite similar to Serenity; they could almost have been twins…

Minako found Martha near her room and asked her if she would have her lunch brought to her room. Martha bowed and quickly walked towards the kitchen. Minako brought Hotaru into her room and settled into a chair. Hotaru remained standing. Minako turned to Hotaru with a curious look and asked: “Don’t you want to sit down? Wait a minute! I’m so sorry! I haven’t even asked you your name!”

“Hotaru, your highness,” she said in a whisper.

“That’s a lovely name,” Minako said as she contemplated something. “That means ‘firefly,’ doesn’t it?”

“Yes, your highness,” Minako’s face saddened as she let out a sigh and Hotaru wondered if she had done something wrong. She cursed her luck. She had barely been with her new master ten minutes and already gotten herself in trouble. She shuddered, unsure how much her mistake would cost her.

“I’m sorry. I just don’t like to hear all that flowery stuff coming from someone my own age.” Minako put a comforting hand on her shoulder. Hotaru flinched. “Please don’t be afraid of me… I want a friend, not a slave.” She led Hotaru to a chair at her table and had her sit down. The door swung open and pair of servants carried in silver trays of food. Hotaru bolted to her feet, uncertain if she could be seen sitting one of the princess’s chairs. “Sit down, silly. It’s just our food.”

‘Silly?’ that was the first time Hotaru had been called that. She carefully sat back down as Minako settled into hers across from her. The servants laid the trays in front of Minako who clasped her hands appreciatively. The pair of servants removed the lids and left the princess to her own devices, knowing from experience that she did not like to be stared at while she ravaged her meal.

As soon as the door closed, Minako rose to her feet and fixed a plate. Hotaru nearly fell out of her chair when a smiling Minako handed her a plate first. Hotaru had never been so confused in her life (well, except for the kissing incident). The master was always served first, because she had always brought it to the previous princess! She tried to protest, but Minako just smiled as prepared her own plate before she sat down. She crossed her hands, bowed her head, and spoke to someone who Hotaru couldn’t see. “Thank you, Goddess, for providing us with food, even though there are some who don’t appreciate it. Thank you for answering my prayers about a friend!” She clapped her hands and dug in. Hotaru all though she was starving ate silently occasionally glancing at the princess who seemed to truly enjoy her meal.

‘She just thanked someone who’s not in the room for me… Does everyone around here act like this or is it just her? I guess she really does like me. She’s nice too. Weird, but nice…’ They finished their meals and the servants took the trays away. Minako had a contemplative look on her face as she turned to Hotaru.

“So what do you want to do now, Hotaru?” Minako asked cheerfully. Hotaru’s shock was evident on her face. “Are you all right? Is it indigestion?”

“No, it’s just that I haven’t ever been asked that before, highness,” Hotaru replied in that quiet voice. Minako balked at the formal title used, but kept her resolve. She would not give up.

“So do you want me to show you around?” Hotaru contemplated the offer and nodded slightly. “There we go. That’s some progress. Now if I can get you to stop using that ‘highness’ junk.” Hotaru looked at Minako, confusion clearly evident on her face.

“But if I get caught calling you ‘Minako’ instead of ‘highness’, I could get punished…” Hotaru let out a sigh as her mind went back to the lashes she had gotten for calling Princess Serenity ‘miss.’ Minako gently grabbed both her shoulders and looked her straight in the eye.

“As long as you’re with me, you’re safe.” Minako grabbed her hand and squeezed reassuringly it. Hotaru decided she would try and trust her. Minako’s sapphire eyes were sincere and beautiful. “C’mon, we’ve got plenty to see.” The blonde skipped haphazardly down the hall with Hotaru in tow.

The first stop was the library. Minako assumed a stuffy, serious look and announced: “This is a place of learning. There will be no laughing, smiling, or anything fun! This is where I am tortured by my tutors at least five times a week. I’ll make sure you can come here and get books anytime you want.” She paused for a second before cautiously asking: “You can read, right?”

“Yes, highness, um…Minako,” Hotaru replied quietly. “My father was a tutor for Princess Serenity and she brought me along to her lessons. She needed help with her homework.”

“That sure was nice of her,” she looked around and whispered back, “Let’s get out of here before they think I want an extra lesson…” Next, on the agenda, was the kitchen. Hotaru was in awe of the organized chaos going on as they peered in from the doorway.

“Is it always this busy?” Hotaru asked as she dodged a servant exiting with a tray of silverware.

“No, it’s just because some local nobles are coming in for my birthday.” Minako said somewhat derisively. “They’re just here for show; it’s not like they care about me or anything.” Hotaru observed a temporary look of loneliness in her master’s face and felt sympathy. She saw the blue eyes cloud over for a moment, then they widened as she realized she was being watched by a pair of violet eyes. She quickly shifted back to ‘hyper-mode’ and they left the kitchen.

The next stop was the training ground for the castle guards. “Ah, fresh meat!” she nudged Hotaru in the ribs, “I come here all the time to check out the guys. They’re all strong and some are even cute.” As if on cue, two recruits Minako didn’t recognize walked toward them. Minako ran her fingers through her hair and checked her dress, while Hotaru shuffled anxiously. One was a tall, lean boy with short brown hair. Number two was shorter than his companion, but still around six foot. His long blonde hair was tied back with a piece of leather. Both were covered in sweat and were carrying their shirts.

“Hi, ladies, I’m Benjamin and he’s Jonathan,” the tall brunette said with a confident swank. He took Minako’s hand and kissed it.

“Minako.” She said after a giggle. The blonde haired boy went to Hotaru and attempted to kiss her hand. She promptly jerked her hand back.

“And who do you belong to missy?” the blonde boy asked with a smirk. He touched her face. She flinched and grabbed Minako around the waist. The boy let out a derisive snort. “What are you a woman lover, or something?”

Minako heard this and immediately raised her hand, cutting off the brunette, and turn to face the other male: “Leave her alone. She’s with me.”

The blonde looked her in the eye and asked: “Well, since you wear the pants in the relationship, can I borrow her for a little bit of fun?” He barely finished his sentence when Minako’s fist collided with his face. He fell back clutching his bleeding nose. The brunette gave her a look of disgust.

“How dare you! You crazy little…” He had grabbed Minako’s wrist, but she reversed it. She responded with an elbow to the stomach that left him gasping. Minako dusted off her hands and kicked the blonde. This caught the attention of one of the officers in the yard. He walked over and looked at the two recruits on the floor.

“Minako, you really ought to let me handle these situations…” the sandy-haired officer said as he shook his head. “Master Huang taught you well. You’re definitely the hands-on type of royalty.” Minako and the officer shared a laugh as Hotaru tried to over come her shock at watching her master single handedly dispatch the two much larger teens. Hotaru was definitely convinced about being safe with Minako. Minako wrapped an arm around Hotaru and pulled her forward to meet the captain.

“Hotaru, this is Haruka, captain of the guard, and a great friend,” Minako said enthusiastically as Haruka extended a slender hand to the shy, dark-haired girl. Hotaru carefully extended her hand and let Haruka shake it. The warrior glanced at the slave bracelet on her wrist and unique necklace. “Haruka, this is Hotaru, my new friend.” Minako placed heavy emphasis on the word ‘friend.’

“Well, any friend of her ‘highness’ is a friend of mine,” Haruka said with a charming and flirtatious grin, while prodding Minako with the formality.

Minako put on warm smile and sarcastically replied: “Thanks, Captain Tenoh.”

“So do you want me to dump these two outside?” Haruka said, addressing the matter at hand, or perhaps better stated ‘at foot.’

“No, put Benjamin and Jonathan on stable duty for a while. These two need to learn how to treat ladies and not to underestimate them. Maybe taking care of horses would be a start.” Minako said as she began to laugh and Haruka joined in. Hotaru just sighed. First, Minako flirts with two trouble-makers; then she flirts with their superior! Also, there something was odd about the captain. She couldn’t place it, but there was something different about him. She let it go as Haruka pulled the two recruits to their feet and back to the training yard. Minako gently grabbed Hotaru’s hand and led her. “I’m sorry about that… I seem to attract trouble. Are you okay, Hotaru?”

“Yes, I’m fine, Minako,” she said breathlessly. She almost never received an apology from anyone, with the exception of Serenity.

“Let’s go. I’m sure the next stop will cheer you up.” She stopped temporarily. “Hey, you called me Minako without thinking! I’m so happy!” Hotaru blushed at the praise. She hadn’t realized it, but she felt so comfortable and safe around the princess.

Together, they walked down another hallway and out a set of doors. They walked into the palace garden and Hotaru’s violet eyes lit up in amazement. There were beautiful marble statues depicting the various deities of Venus, most of which seemed to be female. There were rare flowers by the dozens. Every color of the rainbow seemed to be represented. Minako led her to a marble bench and set her down. She looked around for something and when she located it, she walked to a patch of flowers. She knelt down and scrutinized them. When she returned to Hotaru, she was carrying a beautiful violet flower. She brushed back some of Hotaru’s hair and put the flower behind her ear.

“It matches your eyes.” Minako said, as she gazed into Hotaru’s eyes. “Very beautiful…” Then, without warning, she grabbed the girl again and they ran off to another part of the castle. Hotaru blushed all the way behind her, with her heart pounding.

“So my daughter dispatched the two recruits bare-handed?” the Queen said leaning forward in her throne. She had a slightly surprised look on her face.

“Yes, your majesty.” Haruka said, kneeling in front of the throne. Her short sandy bangs hid her eyes.

“Impressive. I suppose those years with Master Huang weren’t wasted… Keep me informed if the situation with the two young men changes. Dismissed.” The young captain hesitated. “Is there something else, Captain?”

“I was wondering why you didn’t want to punish the boys further for attacking royalty, your highness.” Haruka was slightly unnerved as she wondered if she had overstepped her boundaries.

The Queen didn’t take long to reply: “Princess Minako has dealt out punishment and I’m not going to overturn it. This will prove to be a good test for her.” She paused before adding: “But do keep an eye on them, Captain.”

“Yes, your majesty,” Haruka said, as she bowed and left. The only sound was the clinking armor. The door closed with a click and the room was left in silence.

Well, Minako, you’ve proven yourself capable. Let’s see what else you can do. The Queen smiled. This was more than she had expected.

End Chapter Two.

Thanks for sticking with it. It’ll keep going, because I’ve got some more written.

By the way, I'd like to thank my readers for all the positive response. I love hearing about people who think I'm funny and send me emails! It makes writing a heck of a lot easier.

Read and Review, please. It makes me happy and that keeps me going.

Chapter 3

Title: Moonlit Waltz

Sorry for taking so long… I’ve been reading some great fanfiction and am preparing to change universities. I really want this story to be great, so I’ll pull no punches in my efforts. Thanks for the reviews so far. For more Minaru (Minako/Hotaru) stories, I’d also like to recommend checking out shanejayell on my favorites list.

Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon! I’d really enjoy rewriting the script though…

Thoughts ‘…’

Speaking “…”

Chapter Three: Moonlit Waltz and A Dream

Minako sighed and looked around the party. It had been for her, but she truly didn’t feel welcome. There were too many stuffy nobles. There were some people her own age; however they were snobby and spoilt. Some young men tried to flirt and try to earn her favor. Minako was too clever for their attempts for power and influence.

Her mother had her dance with some of the young men present. She failed to enjoy any of them, because seated against the wall was her new friend wearing the same black dress from this morning. Minako couldn’t be happy when Hotaru looked so lonely. She left a young noble during a self-promotion, who didn’t notice that he was alone.

Hotaru kept her eyes on the floor. As a slave, she knew better than to meet anyone’s eyes. She didn’t want to make Minako look bad. Then, a familiar pair of shoes entered her view. They were familiar because Minako had made her help decide which ones to wear. She looked upward into the eyes of her master and friend. Minako pulled her to her feet and they left together.

Hotaru was led all the way to back to Minako’s room. From there, Minako led her out to the balcony. The music from the party could still be heard. The blond princess looked at her friend seriously. “Have you ever danced before?” Hotaru shook her head. Minako sighed and placed one of Hotaru’s hands on her shoulder and the other she took in her hand. Then, she led her friend in a simple waltz.

They danced for hours and strangely, no one but a certain sandy-blond captain noticed Minako was gone from the party. However, she wasn’t going to mention it to anyone. She had seen the small smile on the dark-haired girl. It was one she recognized.

Minako yawned as she pulled her nightgown on. Hotaru was examining a blank wall on the opposite side of the room, blushing profusely. Minako smoothed out the silk garment and turned towards her friend. “Hotaru? It’s okay. You can look now.” Hotaru let out a relieved sigh and turned to face the blonde. “Wait a minute. Didn’t they give you anything to wear for bed?”

Hotaru shook her head and quickly added: “That’s all right I’ll probably get something when I get to the servants’ quarters.”

Minako’s jaw dropped at the thought of the girl leaving. “Nonsense! You’re my friend and I intend to show you how much I care. Besides, I’ll worry about you and not get any sleep.” Hotaru opened up her mouth to argue, as she realized the alternative to the servants’ quarters. However, Minako was already digging through her drawers. She had a triumphant look on her face as she pulled out a silky, black night gown.

She expects me to wear that! Hotaru accepted the garment without argument. She struggled with one of the buttons on her dress. She then noticed Minako looking at her.

Minako blushed and blurted out: “Sorry! I’ll just turn around…” She quickly turned around went to the window. Hotaru wondered if the windows would reflect, but the room was dim. She quickly changed and Minako turned around without signal. Her face was slightly flushed.

Hotaru addressed the next issue: “Where do I…?” She let it hang in the air, waiting for reply.

Minako laughed. “In the bed, silly…” As if to demonstrate, she slid under the covers and patted the empty spot next to her on the large four post bed. Hotaru gulped at the suggestive invitation and got in next to her. Minako scooted over to give her room and smiled. She laid her head on the pillow and sighed contentedly. “Good night, Hotaru. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Oh, and sweet dreams.” She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

Hotaru couldn’t go to sleep so easily. This was her first time in such a comfortable bed. It was soft and smooth. Not to mention, there was someone sharing it. Everywhere she slept it was far from everyone else, be it floor, rug or couch. Now she was in an expensive bed with someone she had only known for a day. Although she was somewhat uncomfortable, she trusted the princess. She had given her everything and made her feel safe and… embarrassed. She was always saying nice things about her and complimenting her. It made her feel special. She smiled as she drifted off to sleep.

That night Minako had a dream. She was dancing again. This time she was dancing with Haruka. He looked dashing in his ceremonial uniform. He was smiling as they swept through an empty ballroom. Suddenly, the music stopped and Haruka looked into her eyes and began to lean forward. Minako tensed, but closed her eyes. The kiss was soft. As their bodies moved closer, Minako felt something strange. There were breasts on Haruka. Shocked, she opened her eyes. She gasped as she saw a pair of violet eyes staring lovingly into her own. The sight of a blushing Hotaru woke her up.

In reality, she noticed that she was in fact very close to her friend. Close enough to kiss. Minako relaxed. Then, she sighed. ‘My first kiss and I’m not conscious for it.’ It never bothered her that it was Hotaru. ‘She’s really beautiful when she’s asleep.’

The next day Minako’s lessons continued, but she did not go alone. Together, they covered history, math, grammer, literature, and the humanities. Hotaru remained silent throughout the lessons, but once Minako was doing her homework, she became a veritable fountain of knowledge. With her help, Minako finished her homework quickly. They spent the rest of the day having fun.

Hotaru’s trust in Minako grew stronger everyday. She finally felt happy. Someone cared for her, wanted to know her. The inquisitive blonde kept asking her opinion, as if it actually mattered. She was slowing unraveling the defenses she had put up. They had so quickly been replaced after she had left Serenity’s service. Minako made her feel so comfortable and so uncomfortable at the same time. It confused her. What was it she was feeling? It seemed similar to her friendship with Serenity, but very different. First of all, she didn’t share a bed with her! It was hard to sleep sometimes, and every now and then she would catch Minako watching her sleep. At first, it was creepy, but it quickly became comforting to have someone watching over her.

They did almost everything together. She still refused to bathe with Minako. Just thinking about it made her blush profusely. Other than that, she enjoyed every moment of her service with Minako. She had more freedom than ever. She got to read by ‘getting books for Minako’ (Minako let go her alone to avoid her tutors). She ate well and got plenty of sleep. No one ever bothered her because they knew what the chocker meant. Until that one day…

Hotaru was on her way back from the library after getting more books. She had found a particularly interesting love story to read about. Minako loved romance stories. She always asked Hotaru read them out loud to her. She would always giggle at the mushy parts.

Her thinking was interrupted by the sound of footsteps following her. She kept walking, thinking it to be another servant going about their business. She began to feel anxious as they kept following her. The hallway was abandoned and her anxiety became fear as her pace hastened. The thud of the boots behind her quickened and her pursuer caught up.

Before she could make a corner, someone grabbed her by the arm and slammed her into the wall. Then, she had her arms pinned to her side by strong arms. As she struggled against her attacker, she heard him whisper: “remember me?” Horrified, she looked over her shoulder and saw the face of the blonde recruit who Minako had defended her from. She let out a scream, which was quickly silenced by another blow to the head. Hotaru felt the world spinning and she could barely say anything. The blonde recruit grabbed her tiny wrists in one hand. She let out a gasp as she felt a hand on her breast. “I can have you whenever I want.” His hand went lowered and started to move under her dress. Then, there was the sound of a door opening. The young man cursed and whispered harshly: “Don’t tattle, or I’ll get both of you.” He dropped her and ran off.

Hotaru laid there for a few minutes until her head cleared. Tears formed in her eyes as she collected her books and got back on her feet. She ran all the way back to Minako’s room.

“Welcome back, Hotaru,” Minako said from her seat at the table. When she saw Hotaru standing in tears at the door, she immediately went to her and wrapped her in a hug. “What’s wrong?” She began to stroke Hotaru’s head when she noticed her hand was wet. She looked at it and saw a smear of blood. “What happened? Are you alright?” The hug was broken off as Minako began to inspect her friend.

Hotaru tried to put it off as nothing. “I’m fine. I had an accident.” She remembered the young man’s threat. She didn’t want to endanger Minako. She would do anything for the princess, suffer anything for her.

Minako cleansed the small cut and examined the knot that was forming. “That must have been quite some hit you took.” She noticed the bruises on the face and how Hotaru was covering her chest as if she was ashamed. She noticed the pained look in her violet eyes. That look had been slowly going away and it had returned. This couldn’t have just been an accident. She gently placed a hand on Hotaru’s chin and raised her eyes to meet hers. “Who did this to you?” Hotaru looked shocked.

I can’t tell her… I don’t want her to get hurt. Her mind raced as she tried to come up with some lie. It hurt her inside to even attempt this.

Minako gave her a small reassuring smile and said: “It doesn’t matter who it is. I’m sorry for not being there to protect you, but I can now. Only if you tell me who.” Minako softly stroked her hand as her penetrating gaze warded off all lies.

“It was the blonde boy you put to work in the stables; the one who was flirting with me.” She said as tears began to flow anew. Minako embraced her once again and stroked her back soothingly. Minako gazed at the wall with anger.

I gave him a second chance and he attacks Hotaru! He will pay! Minako felt ashamed that she had let her friend get groped and hit by someone she had let stay in the castle. It was her fault. She would have to take care of that later. Now, she was going to stay with Hotaru until her tears dried.

Once Hotaru had settled down, Minako put her to bed and sent for Haruka. She wasn’t going to let this go unpunished, even if she was overstepping her boundaries.

End Chapter 3

Am I evil for treating Hotaru this way? Don’t worry this punk’s gonna get it. Minako’ll take care of it. Do you like how I do Minako and Hotaru? I’m really concerned about that since they’re the focus of the story…

Another important piece of imformation… Haruka is a WOMAN in this story. I really like gender changing when it involves women characters. I think it’s just a way of avoiding shoujo-ai writing. (I don’t mean to sound that offensive.)

Thanks for the reviews thus far. Please feed my ego! (It makes the evil chocobos in my head turn the hamster wheel in my head.)

Chapter 4

Title: Punishment and Recovery

Here’s the second update chapter. Remember, they can come in pairs! It’s what happens when you get a fit of procrastination. I happen to be putting off getting a job to post this, so enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don’t own Sailor Moon, but I’d be glad to have a box set of DVDs (preferably a season with Haruka and Michiru).

Thoughts ‘…’

Speaking “…”

Chapter Four: Punishment and Recovery

Minako wasn’t surprised by the knock on the door, but Hotaru jumped up from her position on the bed. The sandy-haired captain had a concerned look on her face as she came in. Hotaru laid back down when she saw who it was. Haruka looked over Minako for injuries, but she shook her head in response.

“It’s Hotaru, not me.” She indicated in the other girl’s direction. “He struck her and touched her.”

“What! Where did her touch her?” Minako looked down and then at Hotaru, whose eyes were still closed. Minako walked over to the bed and sat beside the other girl. She grabbed her hand and tenderly stroked it.

Minako swallowed and looked pleadingly into the violet eyes: “Hotaru, please tell us where Jonathan…” She clenched her free hand angrily. “…where he touched you.” Hotaru carefully pointed to her chest and her thigh before tears started to flow again. Minako pulled her into a hug.

“He’ll get the brand for that.” Haruka said ominously.

“Well, he deserves it and more…” Minako said as she held her sobbing friend in her arms. Then, Hotaru pulled away slightly to look into Minako’s eyes.

“What’s ‘the brand?’” Hotaru asked with a pained look to Minako. It wasn’t her who answered.

“The brand is for those who prey upon the innocence of women and children. It is a unique sign so everyone else will be able to identify them.” Haruka looked grim. It had been quite a while since anyone had been branded. “I’ll go take care of this at once.”

Before the captain could leave, Minako grabbed the sandy-haired officer into a grateful hug. “Haruka, I could kiss you!”

Haruka broke into a grin. “Please do…is what I want to say, but your mother would kill me! Literally…” They broke off the embrace and Minako spoke again.

“I want to be there when it happens…” Haruka’s smile disappeared. There was a nod of acknowledgement.

“It won’t take long, I know where he is right now. Be in the training yard.” Haruka left.

“Wait here, Hotaru…” Minako said, but seeing the look in the other girl’s eyes at the thought of being alone, she recanted. “It’s not going to be pretty.”

“As long as I’m with you…” was the reply.

A few minutes later, Minako was standing in the dusty training yard with Hotaru wrapped around her arm, anxious. The princess was starting to get anxious herself. Haruka was taking longer than expected. Before she could send someone to check, the captain entered with two guards holding the blonde man. They forced him to his knees in front of Minako.

Haruka looked at Hotaru and said: “I’m sorry, but I have to ask… Is this the young man who attacked you?” Hotaru’s grip tightened on Minako’s arm as she nodded. Haruka turned on the young man. “Jonathan Talricht, do you have anything to say in your defense?”

He looked up and spat: “That little wench threw herself at me! She’s a little whore!”

“Is that all?” Haruka had a look of disdain.

“No, she offered her blonde friend to me, too!”

Haruka uttered a sound that resembled a growl. “She offered herself to you? Her bruises do not agree with you. How dare you! Assaulting a defenseless girl! Do you understand how serious a penalty comes with a crime of this nature? Do you also fail to realize that this slave’s ‘blonde friend’ is the princess, second in line to the throne!” The young man’s eyes widened, but his case was over. “You will receive the brand and will leave the castle in chains so that all will know what you have done.”

A moment later, a brazier was brought in with hot coals in it. Two held the young man while the third used the brand. Hotaru hid her face in Minako’s back as the young man screamed.

A few days later, things went back to normal. Minako and Hotaru were relaxing after lessons. The blonde princess lay on the bed, looking as if she had run a marathon. Hotaru was looking at her from a nearby chair.

“Minako,” Hotaru said to get the other girl’s attention. Blue eyes fluttered open.

“What, Hotaru?” Minako said. She looked over at her friend, upside-down.

“You know that you’d do better in math, if you’d quit trying to pass me notes…”

“Sorry. You just look a little too interested in that stuff…”

“Hey!” Hotaru put on hurt look-obviously fake. “I have to make sure you don’t end up as the court jester.” Minako shot up from her comfortable position.

“You’d better hope not… I don’t know if I could afford you.” Hotaru came over to stand in front of Minako, grinning over her.

“I’m sure you could if you didn’t have to feed ‘the beast’ or your expensive taste in jewelry and clothes.” Hotaru tackled the blonde onto the bed. She knew that the princess was really ticklish. Her fingers went to Minako’s sides and the girl began to laugh. Hotaru stopped to let her friend catch her breath. Big mistake… Minako swiftly turned the tables and began to get her revenge. Hotaru giggled and out right squealed as fingers danced over her sides. “Please, stop I can’t breathe!”

“Well, you shouldn’t pick a fight you can’t win.” Minako let off as Hotaru gasped. “And, I’d rather be with you than have jewelry or dresses.” Hotaru blushed, and Minako closed the gap. She wrapped her arms around her friend and laid her head on her shoulder. Violet eyes closed as a sigh of relief passed from her lips. She loved it here.

The temporary silence was broken by a knock on the door. They both jumped and separated. Hotaru went to the door and peeked out.

“Hi, little firefly,” Haruka said. “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Hotaru’s face was still a little red from the tickling she had received and she quickly let the captain in. Haruka smirked as she noticed Minako’s was also flushed. “Maybe I should come back later…”

“Nonsense!” Minako said quickly. “I’m the one who asked you to drop by…”

“Okay, if you’re sure.” Hotaru didn’t like the grin on Haruka’s face. She was curious why Minako had summoned the captain. “So what might I do for my lady?”

“Well…” Minako started. She looked a bit nervous. “Mother’s been telling me that I need to get serious about the person I will end up sharing the rest of my life with. I know I’ve acted all crazy about every other boy, but there has been one consistent person that I’ve had feelings for a long time…”

“And why are you telling me this?” Haruka looked confused.

“Because it’s you…” Minako finished off shyly. Hotaru felt a strange feeling: jealousy. Haruka jumped as if struck by lightning and began to stumble backwards towards the door. Minako cut the captain off. “What’s wrong, don’t tell me that you don’t care for me. You’re always there for me and flirting with me.”

Haruka clenched her fist. She knew the truth would hurt, but there was no hiding it from someone who had always supported her. “I have something I need to tell you.” Minako braced herself as Hotaru watched anxiously. “I’m already seeing someone.” Then, she attempted to hastily open the door.

“That’s not all, is it?” Minako said as she blocked the door. Haruka stopped and sighed.

“It’s really going to upset you…” Haruka pleaded. Minako was adamant. “Do you remember the traditions of Venus about leadership?” Minako nodded. “What are they?”

“It’s mostly about honor and dignity. Something about being fair and just… There was also something about leaders being all female. So what are you getting at?” Minako looked irritated.

Haruka looked down and ran her hand through her hair. “I am the leader of the guard. I am a woman.” Minako gasped. Hotaru didn’t seem surprised.

“But, that can’t be right…” Tears fell. Haruka stroked Minako’s hair.

“I’m really sorry. I really do care about you, but I can’t love you. It could cost me my life.” Minako sobbed again. Hotaru walked over to her closest friend and wrapped her arms around the blonde. “I have to ask you not to mention my relationship to your mother, highness.”

Minako wiped a few tears away and nodded. “I will always be your friend, but don’t call me ‘highness,’ captain Tenoh. You can trust me.” She had a small smile as she let the sandy-haired captain out.

“Thank you, Minako. I will always be there for you.”

“One thing, Haruka…”


“Who are you going out with?” Minako had an eyebrow quirked.

Haruka paused. “She’s a librarian. Her name’s Michiru.” Then, she left. Minako turned around after the door clicked shut and began to cry again on Hotaru’s shoulder.

An hour later, Minako had settled down somewhat and began to talk once again. It had hurt Hotaru deeply to see her princess get so upset. She stroked the blonde locks soothingly. She whispered softly into her ear: “There’ll be someone else for you.” Mentally she added, 'I'll always be here for you...'

“That’s not it, Hotaru,” Minako looked into concerned violet eyes. “I invited her to kiss me; wanted her to kiss me!”

Hotaru looked confused. “Isn’t it common for someone to want that from someone they love?”

“But I’m not allowed to want to kiss a woman! It’s wrong!” 'Why doesn't my heartcare about that?'

Hotaru struggled with it mentally for a moment. “Why is it wrong?” 'Please. I need some hope!'

Minako shook her head. “I…I don’t know. I just know my Mother wouldn't approve.”

Minako turned around and stared at the floor. Hotaru moved in front of her. “Does it change the way you feel about her? Does it still hurt like the other disappointments in your life?”

“No, I still feel something. Yes, it hurts like one of Master Huang’s kicks.”

“Does it disgust you that you fell for a woman?”

Silence. “I don’t know.” A flutter in Minako’s stomach told her otherwise.

“Would you feel the same if she was a man and told you that she was seeing someone else?”

Another pause. “I guess I would, but that’s not how it is…”

Hotaru ran a hand through her hair. “Love is love. You fell in love with the soul, not the physical, well mostly…” She had to hide a blush. 'And I'm just as bad. Minako's great all around.'

Minako had a harder time of hiding hers. “Well, I did stare at her rear-end a lot.” She giggled. “But I really did like how she always treated me special, even when she trained me in swordsmanship. She always was the first to wish me happy birthday, even though she’s always kept busy. I felt like I had a guardian angel…” Blue eyes became dreamy. Then, she suddenly seemed to snap out of it and looked at her friend curiously. Hotaru became nervous.


“When did you become so wise, Hotaru?”

“I guess all those lessons you had didn’t go in vain.” They laughed. Hotaru felt better at seeing her princess smile again. I wish I could tell you how I feel…

“So my daughter asked you out?” The Queen leaned forward in her throne.

“That was before I explained to her that I was not a man.” Haruka hastily explained. “You understand how flighty the princess can be.”

“True, but it still worries me.”

“Majesty, she was rather upset by the news. I think she will be more careful in the future.” Haruka was worried. I can deal with being punished for my deception, but I don’t want Minako to suffer for my crimes.

“Very well then, you are dismissed.” Haruka bowed and left without hesitation. As the door closed, the Queen was lost in thought. Well, who knows what my daughter will do next…I had better have someone keep a closer eye on her and that ‘friend’ of hers.

End Chapter 4

So… is this getting interesting? Will Hotaru tell Minako how she feels or will she suffer the fate of many shoujo-ai heroines and live with a painful secret? Probably not, I’m too much of a softy when it comes to my stories.

This should be wrapping up soon, so if you want your comment to take effect, you’d better be quick…

Thanks for reading if you’ve stuck with me this far. Review if you please.

Chapter 5

Title: Trials of Love

Here’s the last chapter of the story. I’m tremendously sorry. I’ve been having lots of ‘fun.’ (sarcasm) I truly hope that this chapter epitomizes this story and ends it with a huge impact. I truly appreciate the reviews thus far. This is the most reviewed story out of my collection! I’m so amazed how this has been so popular. Thanks so much to those Minaru fans who are so dedicated. Also, big thanks to other shoujo-ai fan who have been so much support and motivation.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Sailor Moon. Only the plotline might be considered partially mine.

Thoughts ‘…’

Speaking “…”

Chapter Five: Trials of Love

Minako woke up early the next day. She planned on meeting Haruka’s girlfriend. The blond knew that would be the first step in getting over her crush on the captain. She hated leaving Hotaru, but she was sleeping so peacefully. It had taken nearly ten minutes to untangle herself from her friend. Recently, the dark-haired girl had taken to wrapping herself around Minako at night. Minako didn’t mind, it made her feel happy and safe. She swore she heard the door open and close, but didn’t pay any mind. Margaret occasionally came in early to bring breakfast in. She dressed and took one last look at Hotaru’s sleeping form. She looked angelic. The sight gave her a feeling similar to those she had had for Haruka. It didn’t surprise her, it didn’t scare her; she wasn’t sure if she was ready to face that yet. Perhaps she would tell her later today.

A maid was sprinting down the hall. Margaret had been ill, so the Queen had ordered her to check on her daughter this morning. What she had seen had truly been a shock. The princess was sleeping locked in a loving embrace with that slave girl of hers. The slave girl face was way too close to her princess’s bosom to be friendly. They looked like lovers. She had to report this to the Queen immediately.

She hastily knocked on the throne room door. She waited for the “enter” from inside. She entered and curtsied before the Queen.

“What is it, Emille?” the regal voice inquired.

“My Queen, I went to check on your daughter this morning and I…” Emille kind of flinched. “saw her and that slave girl holding each other in bed. It appeared to be more than friendly, my Queen.” She kept her head bowed low, waiting for a reaction. Then, she risked a peek up at her liege. Two ice blue eyes shone with fury, at an unseen person.

“Guards, bring me the slave girl Hotaru…” The Queen said in an even tone. All in the throne room shivered with fear. Two guards briskly left in search of the young girl. The Queen turned to look at Emille. The humble maid shook upon receiving the frosty gaze, so unlike Minako’s. She hoped that she would not be punished for anything. “Dismissed.” She bowed and sighed in relief. She wasted no time in hastily exiting the room.

With only her personal attendants and bodyguard, she let out a primal scream and tossed her favorite cup. “Why? Why my daughter!” A sob escaped from her cool façade as a tear descended her cheek. ‘Hotaru must have corrupted my daughter. I will have to punish her severely.’

Unbeknownst to her, a sandy-haired officer had heard the entire report and tantrum. She knew she couldn’t interfere with the royal commands, so she had to do the next best thing: get Minako. She ran off in search of the princess. She would straighten things out.

Meanwhile, Hotaru was slowly awakening in Minako’s bed. She looked around for Minako. Once she was sure Minako wasn’t waiting to pounce on her, she rolled over and grabbed the blonde’s pillow. She took a deep breath of the scent that was Minako. She knew she loved the princess. It was an impossible love, but she knew as long as she could be with her she could be happy. She was willing follow her anywhere. She felt the pain of having to deny herself her true love, but couldn’t completely deny herself a glimmer of hope. It just wouldn’t die.

She walked to the table and picked up a piece of toast. She would rather have breakfast with Minako, but decided to go ahead. She didn’t want Minako to find her not ready to be dragged off somewhere on one of their daily adventures. Not that she was reluctant to follow her, but Minako had such an enthusiasm for life. It made Hotaru happy to be alive. The princess was so kind and caring to her, but also extended her kindness to everyone. She picked up another piece of toast. However, there were special things Minako only did for her and with her: tickling, cuddling, studying, strolling through the garden, trying on new clothes… The last one brought a blush to her face. Minako was so beautiful, that the goddess of love must have personally crafted her. Her favorite thing was to see her smile. Hotaru would do anything to see her smile. She would do anything for her.

Then, the doors burst open and two guards came in. Hotaru dropped her piece of toast. They looked directly at her and she knew they were there for her. They didn’t give her time to change, but simply took her by her arms and led her out. Tears formed. ‘How did they find out about me? I was so careful. I don’t want to die! I have to tell Minako that I love her!’

Through her tears, she saw the form of Haruka running past her to look into the empty room. The guards stopped to salute the captain and she gave a nod to Hotaru. Hotaru gave her a desperate, questioning look. Haruka mouthed Minako’s name and ran off. She knew hope would soon be on its way. She just had to hold on.

Minako had made her way to the library and politely asked the head librarian to direct her to Michiru. The normally grumpy lady smiled at the mention of the name. Apparently, she was quite special for the harsh woman to like her. She was directed to a quiet corner of the expansive room.

Minako silently took a moment to observe the woman. She was extremely beautiful. Her shoulder-length, teal hair shone with the sunlight from a nearby window. She had a gentle smile. She was graceful. Minako could see why Haruka was in love with her. The rejection didn’t hurt anymore though; she knew Haruka was happy. She noticed that Michiru was copying music. Next to her was an open violin case.

“Um, hi,” Minako started shyly.

The woman looked up. Her eyes were striking. When she noticed whom she was addressing, she rose and gracefully curtsied.

“How may I help you, your ‘highness?’ ” Michiru put a little teasing emphasis on the title. Apparently Haruka had mentioned Minako’s irritation with formality.

“I wanted to meet the woman who won Haruka’s heart,” Minako said stretching out her hand. Michiru shook it. “By the way, it’s ‘Minako’ to Haruka, so it’s ‘Minako’ to you.”

“You honor me, princess.” The smile was still present.

“Cut it out,” Minako said, laughing. “I can see why you and Haruka are together, you both have the same sense of humor!”

“Thank you. We have plenty of opportunities to laugh, even though we have had to keep our relationship a secret. I just wish we could tell everyone and get married.” Michiru’s visage saddened slightly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring that up.”

“It’s all right. I plan to do something about that if I can get enough authority. You should be able to love who you want.” Minako said with conviction. Then, she leaned forward and hugged the young woman. When she received a questioning look, she replied: “That’s for making Haruka so happy.”

They talked and laughed, until Haruka came running in, out of breath.

“Minako, Hotaru’s in trouble! The Queen thinks Hotaru seduced you!” After the initial shock wore off, they all got up without question and left for the throne room.

Hotaru had been brought before the Queen. She was wearing one of the nightgowns Minako had given her. It was black and modest. Before the Queen, however, she felt completely unprotected underneath the seething gaze. The Queen walked right up to her and harshly smacked her. The small girl fell to the ground.

“How dare you touch my daughter!” The Queen yelled. “What did you do to her?”

“Nothing, your highness! I swear!” Hotaru declared. Her face stung, but she knew it could get much worse quickly. She kneeled to the ground. She wanted to appear as little of a threat as possible.

“Lies! The maid saw you in bed with my daughter! You seduced her, didn’t you?” She grabbed the girl’s black hair and made her violet eyes meet angry sapphires.

“No! I was just sharing the bed. I would never do that to her! I love her!” Hotaru knew as soon as she said that, she knew it was over. A look of horror crossed over the monarch’s face, immediately followed by disgust.

“Bring me my whip! I will make this filth beg for mercy!” The back of Hotaru’s nightgown was torn in half to expose her fair skin. She was shackled to a short pillar which forced her to kneel forward, leaving her back completely unprotected. There was a crack of a whip behind her. The Queen was going to do it herself! “Slave, why don’t you admit that you just wanted my daughter’s power and money?”

Before Hotaru could think, she blurted out: “No, I love her, because she’s kind and gentle.”

“How dare you! You little pervert!” Then, she felt a sharp lash across her back. She let out a whimper. “You know I might go easier on you if you’d just admit you don’t really love my daughter…” The Queen said, haughtily.

“I’ll never give up on her!” Another lash. Then, another. And another. The blows rained mercilessly upon her back. She felt droplets of blood flowing down her back.

When she thought it was unbearable, the door burst open. Minako stood there with Haruka and another woman.

Minako looked horrified. “Mother, stop! Leave Hotaru alone!”

The Queen looked shocked. “But she’s manipulated you. She’s warped your mind!”

“Mother, please! Don’t hurt her anymore!” The look in her mother’s eyes declared she was unreachable. As her mother drew back for another strike, Minako covered Hotaru’s smaller body with her own.

“Minako? What are you doing? This slave said she loves you! She needs to be shown how sick she is!”

Minako looked somewhat surprised. “Is it true, Hotaru?”

Hotaru groaned. She refused to meet Minako’s gaze. ‘I might as well tell her.’ “Yes, Minako. I love you more than anything. I’ve loved you since the first day we danced together in this very room. You are the most beautiful girl in the world and all that matters to me. I’m sorry if you feel sickened by this. I hope I can at least be by your side.” There was a painful silence, before Minako’s arms tightened around the younger girl.

“I love you, too, Hotaru.” Minako gently caressed the Hotaru’s ebony hair. Tears fell on her shoulder.

Their beautiful moment was ruined by a scream: “What!” The Queen’s rage reached new levels. “Minako! I thought you were better than this. You need to be straightened out.” She drew back with the whip and hit her daughter. She had expected her daughter to move out of the way. There was a red stripe on her daughter’s back as she clung to the slave girl. “Minako, move out of the way!”

“No mother! I won’t let you hurt Hotaru!” She was shaking, but her training with Master Huang had been more painful. Her conviction was unshakable.

The Queen’s voice was full of conflicting emotions. “Sorry daughter, but this is for your own good. It would never work out.” She almost sounded like a painful memory was rising to the surface. She drew back. “I can’t let you make the same mistakes I did.”

Before she could swing, Haruka stood between the girls and her Queen.

“What are you doing?” The Queen demanded.

“Protecting your daughter; that was one of your orders. I am sworn to protect the royal family, even from each other. Please stop, your highness!” Haruka was clutching her sword tightly, ready to defend the princess and her friend from further blows. She also kept an eye on the confused guards who waited for the Queen’s commands. They were not eager to face their Captain. Most of them had been trained by her.

The Queen started sobbing. “But I can’t…” She looked at the girls huddling together. Minako was whispering lovingly into the slave girl’s ear soothing her pain. Hotaru’s hands were holding onto the blonde’s arms. Even in this tragic moment, they appeared as a beautiful picture of love and devotion, holding to each other in their time of need.

The monarch felt stirrings within her. Memories long repressed burst forth. She saw an image of herself and another girl with long brown hair and green eyes playing in a garden. Another image brought a blush to her face: her first kiss. She was thirteen. It was in her room after a vigorous game of tag. They were splayed across the bed, exhausted. The brunette smiled at her. They had known each other for years. Their eyes met. A strange look appeared in those emerald eyes. She slowly leant forward and their lips met. The, then, princess had been temporarily confused, but realized the feelings she had been feeling. Their first kiss was immediately followed by the first make out session.

They started a secret relationship. They hid it successfully for three years. Until one day, a maid found them in a compromising situation in the bathroom. The love of her life had been exiled. The monarch had even tried to run away, but never made it past the gate. She had been strictly disciplined and her heart had hardened. She was forced to marry someone she did not love. She had destroyed the person the brunette had loved.

As her mind came back to the present, she looked at the instrument of torment in her hand. Tears continued to flow as she dropped it to the ground. “Terra, I’m so sorry. I’ve become someone you would be disappointed in.” She looked at Haruka who had sheathed her sword through tear-soaked eyes. The captain slowly embraced her and soothed her until the sobbing stopped.

Minako and Hotaru felt safe when they heard the silence. Minako leaned back to examine Hotaru’s back. Stripes criss-cross across the tender skin, but they were few in number. The blonde princess kept stroking her girlfriend’s hair and face affectionately. Through all the hurt, they both knew this was the most important moment of their lives. When they heard the whip drop and the apology to the unseen person, they both let out a sigh of relief.

“Guards, release Hotaru. She’s done nothing wrong and neither has my daughter.” Haruka hastily grabbed the keys and released Hotaru who instantly threw her arms around the princess’s neck and kissed her. Haruka had a huge grin on her face. The Queen had a small, but genuine smile on her face. “Love is not a crime. I will not let my parents dictate my rule. From now on, all in this kingdom may love who they choose! Maybe there will be some joyous weddings from this new proclamation.”

Haruka bowed in front of her Queen and spared a look at her girlfriend in the doorway. Michiru came to stand by her girlfriend and curtsied. “Your highness, if I may humbly request, perhaps Michiru and I could be the first of such marriages? We have been waiting so long…”

The monarch’s face lit up with mild surprise followed by a smile. “Gladly, Captain! I will make arrangements immediately. Now make haste and kiss her.” Haruka embraced Michiru, as they shared a passionate kiss, which spoke volumes of the freedom they now enjoyed. The Queen looked at her daughter and the slave girl. “Minako, she might need to breathe…” The two girls blushed profusely.

“Sorry, mother, but I’ve never been so in love before!” Minako said.

“That’s quite all right, Mina, but you need to learn some restraint.” The monarch said with some humor as she tried to ignore the captain and her girlfriend’s steamy kiss. Hotaru still looked uncomfortably at the floor. The Queen knelt next to her. “I owe you more than any apology for the pain I’ve caused you. I owe you the happiness you’ve brought my daughter. Nothing of more value has been brought inside my throne room since that day you arrived here. You arrived here a slave, but someday soon you will surely be a princess.” With these words, she pulled out a small knife and cut off the chocker around Hotaru’s neck. The dark-haired girl gasped in surprise. “You are free to stand by my daughter’s side. To love her and care for her.” She tenderly caressed Hotaru’s face. The icy blue eyes now held warmth in them. The girl slowly gave the Queen a hug.

“Thank you, mother. You don’t know how much this means to me…” Minako said as she gave her mother a hug.

“Yes, I do,” was the solemn reply. Minako took Hotaru by the hand and gave one last bow before leaving to heal Hotaru. The Queen watched them go, before turning to the ‘engaged’ couple. “Captain… Captain!”

Haruka jumped out of the kiss. “Yes, my Queen?”

“I have a request for you…”

A few days later, the day of the wedding had arrived. Haruka stood shuffling at the alter in full royal guard attire. Hotaru reached out a comforting hand to the anxious captain. The former slave had insisted on wearing a black dress to the wedding, but it wasn’t as dark without the chocker. Haruka settled down.

Then, the doors opened up and Haruka jumped. Minako came out wearing a lovely strapless, blue dress that sent chills up Hotaru’s spine. Minako took her place as Michiru’s bridesmaid. Then, the organ began a familiar tune. The sandy blonde looked eagerly to the door. She was not disappointed as her bride walked down the aisle. Their eyes met and smiles grew. They joined hands and stared lovingly into each other’s eyes. Minako and Hotaru’s eyes met and they shared a happy glance knowing someday they would be doing the same thing someday.

The vows were read by a priestess of Aphrodite. When the priestess got to the ‘I do’s,’ the doors swung open again. All in attendance looked at the intruder. She had brown hair and green eyes. No one knew who she was, except one.

“Terra!” The Queen of Venus yelled. She immediately lost all of her royal composure and ran toward her once lost love.

“Celeste!” The woman met her half-way. They embraced tearfully and shared a loving kiss. They turned to the stunned couple at the alter.

“Sorry, Captain, but there’s going to have to be another couple getting married now. I’ve been waiting longer than you have to get married to the one I love.” She gave Terra a content look, who smiled and embraced her again. They walked hand-in-hand to the alter. Haruka shrugged as if to say ‘the more the merrier.’ Michiru smiled.

Minako could barely contain herself at seeing the look of absolute joy on her mother’s face. Hotaru was smiling and clinging to her love’s arm as if she’d never let go. The Queen pointed out her daughter and Hotaru to Terra, who gasped in amazement. Then, the brunette whispered something back, which made her love blush. The priestess loudly coughed calling attention to the unfinished ceremony. Before they could continue the vows, Haruka handed the Queen a pair of rings. With all needs met, the ceremony began anew.

A few days after the most famous wedding in the kingdom, the princess and her girlfriend sat in the garden looking up at the clouds. Their hands were joined, smiles present on their faces. Minako’s was wide and somewhat goofy. Hotaru’s was small, but fully displaying her true feelings of happiness. After a minute of silence, Minako couldn’t contain herself any longer and rolled on her side to look at the dark-haired girl. “What are you thinking about?”

“You,” was the immediate reply. The princess blushed mildly. Hotaru let out a giggle. “and how I never thought I could be so happy and in love.” Minako leaned in for a brief kiss, before laying her head on Hotaru’s shoulder.

“Well, it’s real, so don’t space out on me too long…” Minako finished with a gentle poke to her girlfriend’s stomach. Another giggle from Hotaru.

“I’m not the only one to space out. You keep staring at me during lessons.” Hotaru’s face reddened at the flustered look on their teacher’s face.

“I can’t help it; you’re just so beautiful! And you’re all mine!” Hotaru blushed fiercely as Minako leaned her head to look into lavender eyes. The former slave had never imagined that possessiveness would make her heart flutter.

“Minako… I love you.” She was lost in a world of blue as Minako leaned over her. She leaned up and kissed her again.

Breathlessly, Minako replied: “I love you, Hotaru.” This time Minako initiated the kiss. It was longer, but just as loving. Hotaru’s arms went around the princess’s neck and hands weaved through golden strands.

“You really have no self-control, princess.” Minako’s eye twitched with mild irritation. She sat on top of Hotaru and began to tickle her mercilessly.

“I have no self-control? You were the one who started it by kissing me!” She stopped when Hotaru begged for air. The blond leant down and applied another kiss. “Okay, I can’t help it! But that makes me think of another issue…”

“What?” Hotaru looked confused. ‘What could she be thinking of at a time like this?’

“What is your title going to be when we get married?” Minako put on a contemplative frown.

Hotaru waited a second before replying: “Yours.”

“Really sweet, but…how about royal snuggle bunny?” Minako said with a giggle.

“Cute, but it doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m with you…” Hotaru tackled her love with a smile and began to get her revenge. Laughter filled the garden. Life had never been better, for either of them. But they had a lifetime to enjoy together.

The End

To all those who reviewed this story: You rock! Thank you for all the reviews!

First major note: I was just going to make the Queen evil without much of a reason, but I decided she deserved a little more back story and happiness. (I’m a sucker for happy endings, can’t you tell?) I thought that maybe she’d had some sort of experience with the forbidden love thing and didn’t want her daughter to go through the same pain.

Second note: What ever happened to Minako’s older sister? I seriously forgot about her! If anyone truly misses her, raise your hand! …Nevermind…

Third note: Yes, I know it’s sappy and romantic, but that’s just me…

I’m so ecstatic! Euphoric even! This is the first multi-chaptered story I’ve ever completed and the first shoujo-ai story idea I had. Words cannot express the feeling of completeness I feel now. (I’m almost moved to tears!) I feel a little sad, but I know that there are people out there who want to see this chapter. I’m sorry it had to be the end.

As always, I’m around if someone wants to borrow from this work. I’m really nice. I may have rules, but it’s just so I know that my story ideas and situations are in good hands. Please feel free to contact me! I love the attention.

God bless! Read and Review! Thank you!

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