Story: A Meeting of Minds (all chapters)
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A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
I control the vertical...
I control the horizontal...
I control all those little features
that you have no idea what they do...
"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?"
I pause, teacup near my lips, and give my housemate a look of mild disinterest. "Yes I am, Michiru. I see no reason for me to attend this meeting."
"Neither do we." my other housemate says with a snort. "But for pure entertainment value, it's definitely cheaper than a movie ticket."
"Haruka!" Michiru exclaimed, giving her love a playful swat on her shoulder. "That is not a very polite thing to say about Usagi and the others."
"Yea, yea. I know." Haruka sulked as she rubbed her shoulder as if injured. "But it's true." The blonde then muttered under her breath.
Taking a sip of tea, I ignore the playful banter between my housemates. I refrain from making a sarcastic remark to them (something along the lines of 'Why don't you two get a room') for two important reasons. The first is that it would destroy the image of somber aloofness I've carefully constructed over the past several millennia.
The second is that they would most likely follow my 'suggestion'.
As I replace my teacup back onto its saucer, I feel a pair of eyes upon me. Looking to my right I see my daughter watching me intently, her violet eyes filled with concern and a touch of sadness.
"Are you sure Setsuna-mama?" she asks almost pleadingly.
I smile slightly. Were it not for all of my experience and training I know I would be putty in her hands; unable to refuse anything my daughter would ask of me...not that I don't refuse her anything now. I just make a better show if it.
"Yes, I'm sure Hotaru-chan." I watch as her face falls slightly, prompting me to continue, "When you get back, why don't you tell me all about what happened today, Ok?"
I watch as Hotaru smiles brightly at my request. Looking at her beaming face, I feel a sense of contentment and joy I haven't felt since...I mentally shake my head, refusing to follow that line of thought.
"Ok Setsuna-mama, I will!" Hotaru chirps happily and throws her arms around my neck, giving me a quick hug.
I look over at Haruka and Michiru with a goofy grin on my face that would do my future Queen proud...on the inside, that is. What the two Outer Senshi see, however, is a softening of my normal reserved demeanor mixed with a slightly challenging look.
"We had best be going." Michiru said with soft resignation; apparently realizing that if our daughter was unable to change my stance on attending the meeting then nothing would.
"Alright," Haruka said with a nod. "But I don't know what's the rush. Rei said to be at the shrine a 10 o'clock. That means that Usagi-chan won't be there until at least a quarter after."
Michiru gives an exasperated sigh, electing a soft giggle from Hotaru as the two follow the blonde out of the dining room. I sit there in silence, listening as the three exit the house. After a few moments I hear Haruka's engine roar to life and my mind adds the obligatory squealing of tires that one would assume would be present whenever the racer got behind the wheel.
After a few moments, I finally allow myself to relax. A shuddering breath escapes my lips as I rest my head in my hands. With Galaxia defeated, there is no longer any need for me to constantly stand vigil over the Gates of Time. No reason to perpetually stand at the lonely post I've maintained for millennia waiting for my Princess and her Senshi to reawaken. No reason that I couldn't let down the many emotional walls that I've build up over countless years and share in the feeling of mutual camaraderie and friendship with the others. No reason, save one.
Logically, I know that Pai's reincarnation is not her. While there are many similarities between the two, seeing as they both share the same soul, their lives and experiences are different from each other. Logically, I know that 'she' is not Pai...that they are two different people; you know, Nurture vs. Nature and all that.
But logic be damned! Ever since she had been born into this new life, I've watched her grow into the young woman she is today. And it pains me to see the same smile that was Pai reflected in her reincarnation. She 'is' Pai...but at the same time, she isn't.
That was the real reason why I avoid contact with the Inner Senshi. Every time I'm around her, I see Pai reflected in those eyes. And it rips me apart inside knowing that she isn't her.
With a sigh, I stand up from my chair. Gathering my tea, I walk through the empty house. I end up in the sitting room and, relaxing on a sofa, I look out the large bay windows. Taking another sip of tea, I let my thoughts wander back in time.
Back to when I first met Pai...
I stride through the halls of the Lunar Palace, deep in thought. Barely paying attention to my surroundings, I ponder the possible reasons why Queen Serenity would have requested my presence. Were it dealing with maters of state, I would have been summoned either to the Crystal Hall or to the Garnet Room, both where her Majesty normally conducts the day-to-day business of governing the Moon Kingdom.
'Not that Noodle Brain would ever bother me with such trivial things as matters of state.' I think to myself, a small smile tugging at my lips.
I remember fondly how; nearly 20 years ago; I was brought to live here at the Lunar Palace. I was a mere seven years old and the youngest daughter of a minor Noble of the House of Nova. I was also the youngest person to ever be Awakened as a Senshi...as the Senshi Pluto, no less. The Guardian of Time. The Keeper of the Gates of Time.
There exists perhaps half a dozen people alive who could comprehend the complexities of what my position entails; yet there is only one other person besides myself who truly understands what it means to be the Senshi of Pluto. The sacrifices I must make, the knowledge I must bear, and the limitations I labor under.
That one person was Queen Serenity...also known affectionately as 'Noodle Brain' to her childhood friend. Me.
'Not that I would ever, ever call her that in public.' I think to my self with a small grin on my face that I quickly school back into impassivity.
No. My Queen and friend wouldn't have summoned me to speak about matters of state, especially since I've been asked to attend to her in the Royal Suite.
'Perhaps a personal matter,' I muse, 'It's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to speak to Serenity about such things.'
My contemplation comes to an end as I arrive at the Royal Suite. I wait patiently for Her Majesties guards to announce me. I nod politely to Senshi Mars as Senshi Venus enters to Suite to inform the Queen that I've arrived. While I know all of the Senshi, I've purposely tried to distance myself from them. A lesson I learned from the previous Pluto. The responsibilities of the Senshi of Pluto would extend my life by several centuries; I would have little time for friends and loved ones and I would only end up watching them fade before my eyes.
Before I could follow that train of thought further, Senshi Venus returned and bade me to enter. It was only after the door was closed, leaving me standing alone in the foyer of the Royal Suite, that I wondered why the Senshi were guarding the Queen here deep within the Lunar Palace. Normally, the Senshi were only required to stand guard over the Queen when she was making a public appearance. I feel myself tensing and I prepare for the worse. Had something happened to Serenity? Or perhaps to her newborn daughter?
I shake my head. 'No, the palace would have been in an uproar had something happened to either the Queen or the Princess.' However, apparently something was going on. I ruefully realize that there was only one way to find the answer to my question. I relax and open myself to the ties that bind me to my Queen. Feeling the gently pull of her presence, I follow my connection to her and find myself in the nursery.
"Iria-chan! You're here! Please, come in and make yourself comfortable!" Queen Serenity exclaimed from a rocking chair as she held her 16-month-old daughter in her arms.
"Your Majesty." I say solemnly and I kneel low before her.
I can practically feel Serenity pout at me as I hear her say; "Now Iria-chan, you're my oldest friend. You know there's no need to be so formal when we're in private."
"As you wish...Noodle Brain." I intone seriously as I look up at her, doing my best to hide my grin.
"Oh...you..." Serenity says in exasperation as her daughter laughed happily.
I rise from my knees and sit in a nearby chair at Serenity's insistence. For the next half an hour or so we chat about little things of no consequence just like two old friends catching up with each other. Most of our talk revolves around young Serenity and the trials and tribulations that Serenity has been facing raising her new daughter. And, before I know it, I find myself with the dubious privilege of changing the Princesses diaper.
After laying the Princess down for a nap, we exit the nursery and retire to the sitting room. Once we are seated, I see a subtle change take place within my hostess. She is no longer my childhood friend, the 'Noodle Brian' with whom I conducted many a mid-night raid upon the kitchen; but the Queen, the sovereign ruler of the entire Solar System.
And I cannot help but morn what has become of my dearest friend; although I understand its necessity.
"Are you familiar with a place by the name of Griffor's Cove?" My Queen asked me.
I close my eyes in thought. While I might be blessed; or perhaps cursed; with a perfect memory, the name fails to ring any bells. I open my eyes to look at my Queen and, before I can voice my lack of knowledge, she begins to speak again.
"Don't worry yourself, Iria-chan. Up until a week ago, I never heard of Griffor's Cove either. In fact, it took Luna several days of searching through old census data to even find any mention of it. For your information, Griffor's Cove was a small fishing village near the southern polar region of Triton. The last recorded census data from nearly 60 years ago listed its population as being about four dozen. We know now that, up until recently, its population was less than half of that."
At another time, I would have smiled at the thought of the stuffy, newly appointed advisor searching through countless records, hunting for information about an obscure village on one of Neptune's moons; all the while berating herself that she should have known everything about it. However, there was one thing that I kept coming back to as I replayed her Majesties words over in my mind.
"'Was?'" I ask quietly.
Nodding solemnly, my Queen begins to speak softly. "Yes. A week ago Senshi Neptune was returning to her Palace on Neptune proper from a routine patrol of the Outer System when she felt the 'seas of Triton calling to her', as she put it." She paused a moment before continuing, her voice filled with a heartbreaking sadness. "When Senshi Neptune arrived, she found the wreckage of a small, yet vibrant, fishing village."
"Youma." I say in a small voice; my Queen's sorrow my own.
We sit in silence as I feel my anger begin to rise. Youma. The dark creatures of destruction whose only reason for existence is to annihilate all live in their path. They have haunted mankind far longer than recorded history. Preying on the weak, Youma exist to drain the life and rend the souls of the living.
"Senshi Neptune did hunt down those creatures, correct?" I ask, my rage creeping into my voice.
Queen Serenity looked at me for a moment before replying. "It was...not necessary."
I blink. Hard. "Your Majesty?"
With a long sigh, my Queen began to speak again. "When Senshi Neptune arrived at Griffor's Cove, she searched for the cause of its fate. To her horror, she found the bodies of 22 people. But, to her utter surprise, she also found the remains of a score of Youma."
I school my features to prevent the shock from appearing on my face. I don't know which startles me more; the fact that so many Youma had attacked the village at one time, or that they had all been destroyed. I resist the urge to summon the Time Staff and whisk myself away to the Gates of Time to search for the answers myself. Not only would such an action be an insult to my Queen, but I also know my friend well enough to know that she would tell me everything she knew.
Giving me a small smile that doesn't reach her eyes, she tells me. "There was one survivor. Luna?" she calls over her shoulder.
A moment later, a black cat enters the sitting room. "Your Majesty." she says as she bows low.
As the young advisor enters the room, I see someone following behind her. A young girl, perhaps no more than four years old, awkwardly wearing a dress her size in the latest fashion. She stops just inside the doorway and sketches an awkward curtsy while softly muttering something that I assume is a polite greeting.
"This is Pai. Pai? This is the Lady Iria; Senshi of Pluto." My Queen says warmly to the child.
I politely nod my head at the young girl as I watch her intently. 'She must be the survivor.' I think to myself as my heart goes out to this young child.
I see her look at me with wide eyes as a faint blush appears on her delicate face. She fumbles a curtsy in my direction and softly mutters a greeting to me; her eyes remaining cast downward.
"Come here, child." My Queen says gently.
Pai slowly moves forward until she is standing next to my Queen. It doesn't surprise me at all when she engulfs the young girl in a warm and loving embrace. I find myself smiling as I see Pai carefully returning the hug. Few besides myself know this side of Queen Serenity, and I find myself being filled with contentment for being one of those few.
My Queen releases Pai from the embrace, keeping one arm around her shoulders. She then looks at me intently, trying to gauge my thoughts. I sit silently, returning her gaze; only to feel my stomach turn slightly as I see a playful glint in my friends' eyes. A glint that I remember all too well.
"Watch." she commands me in a soft voice.
Turning her attention back to Pai, my Queen cups her free hand under Pai's chin and gently lifts her face upward. She then closes her eyes and I feel a surge of power coming from her. I sit patiently as I feel my own power begin to sing in counterpoint to the power that my Queen is using. Then, to my utter surprise, I feel an echo; no, another counterpoint; that slowly begins to gain in strength.
I gasp sharply as I look at Pai. Her eyes are closed and her face is no longer showing the awkward shyness I saw a moment ago. In fact, her young face now holds a graceful bliss as her own power begins to flow through her. I absently notice my tiara disappear as the sigil of Pluto blazes forth on my brow. I watch intently as, to my absolute shock, a sigil appears on Pai's forehead as well.
The sigil of Mercury.
To Be Continued...
Incase you've haven't figured it out yet, this is going to be a
Ami/Setsuna match-up. I've been meaning to do this for a while
now but since my other fics seemed to have stalled, I decided
to go ahead and write this.
Oh, and before anyone can make any (or should I say, certain?)
comments, this fic will span nearly 20 years time in the
Any C&C would be appreciated at email@example.com
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
I do not own Sailor Moon or any
other people mentioned.
I sit in stunned silence at the revelation my Queen just showed me. This young child before me, Pai, had been Awakened as the next Senshi of Mercury at an unprecedented age of four. In my mind, I franticly attempt to decipher the possible impact this event might have upon the Time Stream.
While this is the first time that I've ever had to cope with the Awaking of a new Senshi, I remember well the teachings of my predecessor. I recall the well-known fact of how, with the birth of a new successor to the Throne, new Senshi would come forth for each planet; save for Pluto and Saturn. I also remember the little known fact of how the Star Seeds within the new Senshi would slowly grow in strength until they are ready to take up their mantel and the power it entails.
Normally, the average age a child is discovered to be a Senshi is about 10 years old. I myself was discovered to be the next Senshi of Pluto at age seven, the youngest in history...until now. And it was nearly a year until I was able to even begin to tap into my abilities. However, there also have been a small handful of cases in the past where a Senshi had been violently Awakened to her powers.
It was apparent to me that young Pai was such a case. Most likely, when she was threatened during the attack on her village her powers manifested themselves in a desperate act of self-preservation. However, history has shown that such violent Awakenings can have a far-reaching effect upon the entire Solar System, specifically on the Mana Streams.
The Mana Streams; the primal currents of energy that ebb and flow across the entire universe. The Mana Streams are the basic building blocks of creation...and the source of a Senshi powers. Normally, when a Senshi uses her power, she allows the particular Mana Stream that she is attuned with to pour into her much like a pitcher in a river of water.
However, when a Senshi is violently Awakened the situation is dramatically different. The newly Awaken Senshi reacts instinctively, wrenching at the Mana Stream and bending it to her will. The result is that the course of that particular Mana Stream is affected, causing it to swell in strength without a corresponding increase in the flow of the other Mana Streams. Since Pai is the Senshi of Ice, this means that the best-case scenario is that there will be a slight decrease in the average median temperature across the various planets, planetoids, and moons throughout the solar system.
The worse case, however...
Before I can continue with my bleak musings, I feel a slight pressure on my hand. Startled, I look up into the smiling face of my dear friend.
"There is nothing to worry about, Iria-chan." she says, cradling my hand in one of her own.
"Of course, your Majesty." I reply as convincingly as I can.
"Good!" Serenity said, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze before releasing it. "Now then Iria-chan. About the reason I asked you here..."
I chuckle softly. To this day, I still don't know how she did it. I remember all the arguments I used to try to persuade her that she was wrong. And for every point I would bring up, she would have a carefully prepared counter. Of course, the worst part was that none of her arguments had any basis in actual fact.
For nearly an hour, Serenity and I...discussed her idea, while Luna and young Pai looked on. To this day I still don't know how she was able convince me to agree with her plan. I vaguely remember observing Luna and seeing a look of absolute shock on her face as I argued and fought with my friend. I doubt that the Mau was able to understand how one of her Majesties Senshi was able to forcefully disagree with her decisions until this day.
I also recall how young Pai stood there, her face downcast, avoiding eye contact with me. It didn't take long until Serenity (almost absently) lifted the small girl up onto her lap. Part of me was amazed how quiet and withdrawn she was acting in our presence. There she was, sitting on the lap of the Queen of the entire Moon Kingdom who was discussing her future with one of the most revered and reclusive of Senshi.
"Yea, right." I snort, remembering how the general populous would react to my presence.
But then I remember the tragedy that had just happened to young Pai. Her entire life destroyed; everything she knew turned upside down. She had gone from being a normal little girl in a small fishing village to seeing everyone she knew killed. From there she was brought to the halls of power and was told that she now has a place here; that her old life was no longer important.
Taking a sip of my tea, I smile ruefully, remembering how surprised I was; a short time later; how, once again, my friend was correct in her knowledge of people.
Walking out of the Royal Suite, I barely acknowledged the presence of Senshi Venus and Senshi Mars. Luna was padding along on my right, slightly behind me while young Pai trailed us both. I shake my head slightly, unable to believe how Noodle Brain was able to get me into agreeing to her idea.
'Me. A teacher.' I think to myself in bewilderment.
With all of my responsibilities to guarding the Time Stream and protecting the Gates of Time, I now somehow find myself with the added duty of being responsible for the education of the newest Senshi.
In part, I can understand where Serenity is coming from. I myself am familiar with the problem of being thrust into the limelight at a young age. Also, apparently from all reports, young Pai was fairly intelligent so it would make sense for me to help with her intellectual development. While that all might sound logical, it wasn't very practical for me to help in such an endeavor. However, I had agreed, with great reluctance, and I would definitely keep my promise to my only friend.
'Well, might as well figure out what I'm dealing with.'
"When is the coronation ceremony?" I ask Luna with all the authority I could muster.
"I...uh...that is cough, I mean to say..." the young advisor stumbled over her words for a moment, apparently not expecting me to question her. ”Lady Pais' coronation as the titular Princess of Mercury is scheduled in two days. Her Majesty has also repeatedly denied the Mercurian Court's request to allow Lady Pai to be raised at Mariner Castle."
I nod absently, already knowing that Serenity wouldn't allow young Pai to become embroiled in Court politics.
"Forgive me, Lady Iria." Luna says hesitantly. "I know that this is presumptuous of me to ask, but there has been talk about why a new Senshi has been Awaken at such a young age. I was wondering..."
I stop in the middle of the hall and give the young advisor the 'look'. It was an expression that Serenity had convinced me long ago to learn and practice until it had become second nature. It said 'I know things far beyond your ken and I have seen things that would drive you insane yet I have remained unchanged'. At the time she insisted that I learned the 'look', I thought that it was a complete waste of time; but now I'm thankful for the time I spent schooling my features. It keeps people from asking me bothersome questions about things I have no way of knowing or am unable to answer.
Seeing Luna flinch at my gaze, I ask with mild reproach, "What does her Majesty say?"
The Mau faltered for a moment before she answered, "Her Royal Majesty said that what occurred was a great tragedy to us all and we all must take care to see that it never happens again."
I resist the urge to kick Luna down the hallway. Young Pai is standing silently next to us as the Mau talks about the tragedy that happened at Griffor's Cove as if it were nothing more than an abstract concept. Especially since I know Serenity well enough to know that what Luna just told me was a crude abbreviation of what must have been a heart wrenching speech.
Turning to dismiss my opinion of the young advisor, I'm about to continue escorting young Pai to her quarters when I'm interrupted.
"Ex-excuse me, Lady Pluto?" I hear young Pai say softly.
"Yes, child?" I ask; keeping my frustration at the situation I've found myself in out of my voice.
"You...you are the Senshi of Time, correct?" she asked, looking at the floor in abashment.
"Yes I am."
"I...I was wondering..." Pai said slowly, before launching into a complicated question about how the relative mass of an object would effect its space/time curvature as it passed through the event horizon of a black hole.
I find myself blinking in surprise as I listen to her asking her question. I'm flabbergasted as I see a visible change come over the young child before me. Where once stood a shy, withdrawn girl who was in a situation that was beyond the scope of her normal worldview I now see some who is self assured and filled with curiosity. Watching her, I'm amazed to see that this girl of four years of age isn't merely reciting words she might have heard before, but she actually understands many of the concepts she's talking about; concepts that very few people could even comprehend. While some of what she asked about was incorrect, many of the theory's surrounding her question were dead on.
Perhaps Noodle Brain knew something after all.
Once she's done asking her question, I kneel before her and look her in the eye. "Pai?" I ask cautiously, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Where did you learn about such things?"
The light fades from her eyes when she says "My...my papa, he...he had some books, and..."
I silence her by pressing a finger to her lips. "I understand." I say softly, then smile at her. "Well then, why don't we go over the Royal Library? I'm sure that I'll be able to answer your question better there."
"Lady Iria!" Luna protested, "There are things that Lady Pai must attend to!"
Standing up, I give the Mau the 'look' again. "I see no reason why such matters can not be taken care of at another time." I say with all the authority of the Senshi of Pluto; certain that were she not covered in black fur I would see Luna turn white at the tone of my voice.
Ignoring the young advisor, I extend a hand to young Pai. "Well, shall we?"
I smile as I recall how young Pai and I were ensorcelled in a back corner of the Royal Library that day. Bent over several thick technical books as I first answered her initial question, then we went into a detailed discussing about several related theories. I remember (with a grin) rudely dismissing Luna when she again insisted that there were more important things that needed to be taken care of immediately. Also, I remember giving several servants that arrived the 'look' until they departed. It wasn't until the Queen herself arrived that I realized that we had been there almost the entire day. I still remember the smile she gave the two of us when she announced that we had missed the evening meal.
Of course, at the time I had no idea that the prodigy who was now my responsibility was beginning to form the foundations of her own plan.
I shake myself, trying to dislodge my memories of the past; knowing that what once was would never be again.
I stop to lock the car door before I join the rest of my family. With barely a thought, I take Michirus' hand and the three of us walk towards the entrance of the Hikawa Shrine. Arriving at the steps, I watch Hotaru sprint up the stairs. Michiru squeeze my hand and I can't help but to smile. After her last growth spurt, the weakness that had plagued our daughter her entire life still affected her. Now, at age 14, she had finally been able to build up her strength and endurance to the point that she was able to do many of the things that a 'normal' girl her age could do.
Arriving at the top of the steps, I see Hotaru leaning against the Torii. She's out of breath and there was a sheen of sweat on her brow, but the bright smile on her face warms my heart. Together, the three of us walk over to the family quarters of the shrine.
The door opens before us and we're greeted to the overly perky face of Minako as she leans out of the doorway (giving me an excellent view of her cleavage in the process). "Oh, hey! You're here! And on time too! Come on in!"
We step inside, pausing to remove our shoes. I look around the room and I see the rest of the Inners already there...well, except for Usagi. But that comes as no surprise.
Rei turns to face us and I'm treated to a variety of expressions that cross her beautiful face. First is surprise, which is quickly replaced with a friendly smile. That smile is quickly followed with a look of disappointment that then becomes a fierce scowl.
"Arg! Where is she!?" Rei exclaims before storming out of the room.
I feel Michiru squeeze my hand tightly in a subtle warning. This doesn't keep me from laughing on the inside, however. I've always speculated with Michiru about the exact nature of the type of...relationship the Inners have with each other. I've never mentioned my 'pet theories' to anyone else besides her for a very important reason.
None of our couches are very comfortable to sleep on.
Minako gives us an apologetic shrug before going after the fiery priestess to calm her down (he, he). Ami seems engrossed in what looks like a new laptop computer while Makoto is practically hovering behind her.
"Oh, hello Michiru-san, Haruka-san, Hotaru-chan." the brunette greets us warmly.
I give Makoto the once over as I give her a friendly grin and a wave. Next to me, Michiru gives a polite nod while Hotaru smiles brightly.
"So, what's up?" I ask, stepping over Artemis, who's stretched out in a convenient sunbeam.
"Not much." Makoto replies. "Rei's just..."
"I know." I say, which earns me an elbow in the ribs.
"Say, Hotaru-chan? Do you want to help me out in the kitchen?" the brunette asks.
Hotaru turns to us and gives us her 'puppy-dog eyes' and I feel myself turn into goo. For the umpteenth time, I wonder how Setsuna is able to resist that look; because I know neither Michiru nor I can refuse her when she looks at us like that.
My love comes to my rescue once again before I end up making a fool out of myself. "Go right ahead, Hotaru-chan. Just remember to listen to whatever Makoto tells you to do."
Hotaru leads Makoto off to the kitchen, leaving us with Ami, who apparently hasn't even noticed us yet. Michiru drifts over towards the blue haired girl and I follow. I can't help but notice how great she unknowingly pulls off the whole 'sexy bookworm' look, especially after her glasses have slipped down her nose, like now.
"Hello, Ami-chan." Michiru says politely, surprising the other girl.
"Oh, hello Michiru-san." Ami replies, her hand over her chest. "You startled me. I didn't notice you come in."
"So, I see you got a new toy." I say with another grin, "You planning to surf the Internet for any fun pictures?"
That comment almost earns me another elbow to the ribs, but both of our jaws drop when Ami says, "Why, yes I am. In fact, I already have a beautiful JPEG of your anus. Here, let me show you."
A moment later, I'm struggling to contain my laughter as I look at a high-resolution picture of my patron planet, Uranus. I don't even mind the swat to the back of my head that Michiru gives me, since I know full well that she misheard Ami exactly like I did.
"So, what were you working on before we interrupted you, if you don't mind my asking." Michiru asks.
"Oh! It's no problem. I was trying to work out a program code that will enable me to access the Mercury Computer. I've been working on it for several days now, but I think I might finally be on to something. The technology base of the Silver Millennium is quite a bit different and more advanced that what we have available today, but I believe that I've finally narrowed down the proper sequencing. Right now it's just a matter of writing the code correctly."
"Why do you want to do that?" I ask, perplexed. "I mean, like you just said what we use to have back then was light years ahead of today. So why bother?"
"Well, you see. There are a lot of files I can't access with the Mercury Computer or with my visor alone. Looking around its subsystems, I've concluded that there were many other devices that I was able to interface with using the Mercury Computer. I've already asked Luna and Artemis about it and they confirmed that with the Mercury Computer I was able to access just about any piece of technology back during the Silver Millennium, such as a Holographic Imager."
"Ah, I see." Michiru responded with a nod. "So you believe that you have a lot of images stored on your Computer that you can't access now, correct."
"Exactly." Ami says with conviction. "Not that they are all that important now, mind you, but imagine all that we'll be able to see and learn about the Silver Millennium." She pauses for a moment and, once again, I find myself almost fascinated at how quickly Ami can change from a self-assured genius to an introverted schoolgirl. "I don't see Hotaru-chan or Setsuna-san here, did they come with you?"
I smile, realizing that she was so engrossed with her computer she probably wouldn't have noticed a bomb going off next to her. "Well, Hotaru-chan dragged Makoto off to the kitchen. As for Setsuna-san, well, she begged off for whatever reason."
"Oh." She says softly, "I...I recently came across an article about the orbital decay of white dwarfs and I really wanted to get her input on it."
For just a moment, I swear I see a flash of longing and regret reflected in Ami's eyes, but it's gone before I can be absolutely sure of what I saw.
About that time, Minako and Rei return to the room, followed shortly by Hotaru and Makoto bearing several trays of food. I relax and munch on one of Makoto's brownies while I listen to the conversation around me. Ami and Michiru begin talking about merits of various computer art programs while Makoto seems to hang off of the blue haired girls every word. Hotaru and Minako begin talking about their different schools while Rei fumed silently.
After a while, I glance at my watch and frown. '10:16. That's strange.' I think to myself. I then hear a commotion outside and, with a wry grin, I set my watch back a minute.
With a loud bang, the door opens reveling an out of breath Usagi. "Hi, everyone! Sorry I'm late!"
"Arg! Why do I even bother planning these things! You'd better have a good reason for being late, Odango Atama!"
"WWWAAAHHH!!! You're so mean to me, Rei!!"
Inside, I laugh.
To Be Continued...
Well, I hoped you enjoyed the second chapter of this
shoujo-ai fic. I have a lot planned for it, so it might
take a long time to get everything I want written up, so
please beer with me.
Oh, before anyone says anything, I have no idea what I
was talking about when I mentioned the whole 'black hole'
and 'white dwarf' thing. It just sounded good.
Any C&C would be appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
I do not own Sailor Moon or any
other people mentioned.
It truly didn't surprise me that we somehow ended up at the Crown Arcade. Since there was no current threat to Crystal Tokyo or to humanity, the meeting at the Hikawa Shrine was just an informal get together between the Inners and us. We spent several hours there catching up with each other and tasting Makotos wonderful cooking. (Although, truth be told, I spent most of the time keeping a tight reign on Haruka and her...enthusiasm).
Although Haruka might protest about these meetings (somewhat loudly, I might add), I know that she enjoys them...and not because of her little 'theories'. It might have taken the two of us a while to realize it, but Usagi and the others are more than just our fellow Senshi and friends; they are our family.
It wasn't a surprise when Usagi suggested that we all go out for ice cream. After a token protest from Rei, we all headed out to what is practically the Inners second home (the first obviously being the Hikawa Shrine). Arriving at the Arcade, we took up several tables and I was again treated to the sight of my future Queen eating her sundae with a childlike relish. I was also once again treated to Rei's admonishments of Usagi's eating habits.
I was also busy keeping a close eye on my daughter as she picked at the cup of ice cream she ordered for herself. I am still concerned about her eating habits, even though she has shown a marked improvement over how she use to eat after we adopted her. There has also been a definite improvement in her physical wellbeing these past two years; but old habits die-hard and there have been times that I've felt frustrated at how little she would eat.
It wasn't long until the others finished their ice cream and went into the Arcade proper. I smiled at the sight of Minako taking Hotaru under her wing, as it were, and showing her the intricacies of the latest Sailor V game. Usagi was loudly protesting Rei's enthusiasm in playing one of the Arcades newest additions: Whack-a-Rabbit. Ami, meanwhile, had setup her laptop in a nearby booth and was working on refining her program while Makoto sat next to her.
Looking over at Haruka, I couldn't help but roll my eyes as she watched Ami and Makoto with a silly grin on her face. I shook my head when she met my eyes and mouthed 'I told you so.'
Far be it from me to ruin my lovers' fun, but I felt it was finally time to dissuade her of one of her favorite 'theories'. "Watch." I said softly as I turned my attention back to the booth.
It didn't take long until what I expected to happen occurred. While Ami was diligently working away on her laptop, Makoto leaned up against the shorter girl to apparently get a closer look at the screen. Haruka reached over and grasped one of my hands, giving it a squeeze in satisfaction. Not taking my eyes off the two younger girls, I raise my free hand and extend a finger for her to signal her to wait. It didn't take long for what I was waiting for to happen.
After watching for a few moments, we saw Ami shift slightly in her seat. It wasn't much and, if you weren't looking for it, you would have missed it completely. While she didn't move very far, the position she was in now left Makoto in an awkward position. It didn't take long for the brunette to move into a more comfortable position, one that brought her closer to the blue haired girl. A few moments later, Ami once again shifted away from the taller girl.
"Wha..." Haruka muttered, understanding finally dawning.
"I told you so." I say with a small smile, unable to resist needling my love.
"But...but I...I was so sure..."
"You were sure about what?" Minako asked as she suddenly sat across from us, sipping on a soda.
I look around to find Hotaru, only to see her now playing the Sailor V game with Usagi. And apparently winning.
Unfortunately, the slight distraction provided ample time for Haruka to say what was on her mind. "I thought that Ami-chan and Mako-chan were an item, you know?"
'I love Haruka. I love her very much. I don't want to hit her. No, I definitely don't want to hit her...or make her sleep on the couch.' I think to myself repeatedly.
"Oh, that." Minako says, surprising me. "Well, I know that Mako-chan has a thing for Ami but she hasn't come out and said anything yet."
"Oh?" Haruka said, "And how would you know anything about that?" she asks suggestively.
I resist the urge to groan. It's been difficult enough to keep Haruka from making comments to the Inners about their love lives, or apparent lack there of. I know she means well, but she tends to get caught up and carried away with her little 'theories'.
"Ah, you're forgetting that you're speaking to one and only Goddess of Love!" Minako says with enthusiasm. "Besides, I've been watching the two of them for several years now."
"Really..." Haruka says slowly. "So, Makoto's got feelings for Ami, but Ami isn't interested?"
"Exactly." Minako agrees, taking another sip of her soda.
"So...who's the lucky girl that Ami has her eye on?"
"Haruka..." I groan, only to be ignored.
"Don't know." Minako shrugs. "It's hard to get any reading from her. I'm pretty sure that she's not interested in boys, but I've never seen her checking out any girls. I really don't know what type of person she likes."
Haruka sits there in thought for a moment, before giving the other blonde a lecherous grin. "So Miss 'Goddess of Love'...why don't you tell me what's really going on between Rei and Usagi?"
I sigh in defeat and excuse myself from the table, not that they notice as they begin to whisper surreptitiously to each other. Making my way over the booth that Ami and Makoto were sitting at, I join them and spend the next hour or so talking to Ami about the program she was working. If I hadn't been looking for it, I would have missed the look of relief that the blue haired girl gave me. While I wasn't very proficient with computer programming, I knew enough to have a general idea about what she was talking about.
After a while, Usagi and the others finished getting their fix of video games (either that or they ran out of money). We then walked back to the Shrine, cutting through the park behind it, while I listened to Usagi talking excitedly.
"Wow! You were great, Hotaru-chan! I bet you could easly beat the high score on Sailor V!"
"Thank you, Usagi-san." my daughter said shyly.
"I don't think so!" Minako protested, "There isn't anyway that anyone is going to beat MY score!"
"Oh, pooh!" Usagi said. "You're just upset that she beat you twice in a row."
"She did not! I was just taking it easy on her...like I always take it easy on you."
"WHAT!? How could you, Mina-chan!" Usagi whined.
"Ah, geeze Odango Atama! Why don't you grow up? It's just a game." Rei said with exasperation.
"Whaaa! Rei's being mean to me again!"
"You just had to say something, didn't you Rei?" Makoto asked with annoyance.
"I wouldn't have to if she would just act her age." the shrine maiden protested.
"Why would I want to? I wouldn't want to get wrinkles like you." Usagi said, giving Rei the red-eye.
Rei growled and lunged at the blonde, who showed remarkable dexterity by dancing out of her reach.
"Ah, give it a rest, Rei!" Usagi said with a wide smile. "It's a wonderful day! We're here with our friends having a great time! Absolutely nothing could go wrong! So why don't you just chill out!"
Rei paused and was about to respond, but something interrupted her.
We all tensed up and I pulled out my Henshin wand as something fell onto Usagi, driving her face first into the ground. My first impression was the abundance of...pink. A lot of pink. Pink dress, pink hair, and even pink panties.
"Owie..." the pink...thing on top of Usagi said.
"Chibi-Usa!" Hotaru cried out with excitement, launching herself forward and embracing her friend in a tight hug.
"Hotaru-chan!" the future princess replied, returning the hug with enthusiasm.
It took me a moment to recognize her. While it's been only six months since we had last seen her, it's apparently been quite a bit longer for Chibi-Usa. The last time we saw her, she was about 11 years old, but she looked closer to 14 now.
"...uh...can both of you please get off of me?" Usagi moaned from underneath the two younger girls.
I look up from my drawing table, the dress I'm designing no longer taking up my attention. I look inward as I reach out with my powers to identify the source of the disturbance in the Time Stream I just felt. It takes just a moment for me to recognize the unique temporal signature of the Time Key.
"Small Lady." I smile, knowing that she is the only one who is able to use it besides Usagi or myself.
Fortunately for me, when someone travels through time using that particular artifact the effects on the space/time continuum is minimal. With minimal effort, I observe the flow of the Time Stream and I see no consequence to her travel through the flow of time.
I sigh in relief. Since the Time Key is an extension of the Gates of Time itself, it's designed to facilitate ones travel through the Time Stream.
"Unlike some things." I mutter to myself.
"Damn it!" I mutter to myself as I walk through the halls of the Lunar Palace.
"Two whole months! Eight weeks! 56 days! 1344 hours spent cleaning up that...that disaster!"
Stopping in the middle of the deserted hall, I slump my shoulders. Taking a deep breath, I raise my fist up and say, "Damn you! Next time I see you, you'll get what's coming to you! You and your K-9 unit too!"
I pause and realize I'm making a spectacle of myself. Running a hand across my face, I feel a bone weary exhaustion begin to take a hold of me. I know I should just use my powers to return to Charon Castle or even my personal quarters here at the Lunar Palace and sleep for the next day or three. But I can't. Not without seeing my Pai first.
It still amazes me how, in the past two years, young Pai has become such an important part of my life. Ever since the day I first met her, I find myself looking forward to the weekly sessions we have. Since I can't spend a lot of time with her, I've made it a point to visit her at least one day a week. Normally, we would spend the first part of the day reviewing whatever we talked about the last time we met, followed by a variety of discussions ranging from Literature to Physics to Chemistry to Politics. Finally, I would assign a topic for her to write a report on.
To this day, it still amazes me the breadth of knowledge young Pai has and her hunger to learn more. As it is, I can barely stay ahead of my six-year-old charge.
But, thanks to that meddling Time Lord, I've had to spend the past two months repairing damage to the Time Stream he caused. The only thing that kept me from using the Time Gates to locate him and shove the Time Staff so far up his ass he would cough up the Garnet Orb was the fact he did more good than harm.
"Where is she?" I wonder out loud.
I'm starting to get frustrated and irritable as I search the Lunar Palace. I've been searching for a while now, trying to find where young Pai might be. I had already checked her personal quarters and the Royal Library, yet I haven't been able to find her. Figuring that there could be only one other place she might be I make my way down to an unused portion of the Palace.
Finally making my way to my destination, I carefully (very carefully) open the heavy, steel reinforced door and enter the Lab.
"Hello Airi." I say without preamble.
"Gagh!" the Senshi of Mercury exclaims as she juggles a vial of fluid in her hands. "Don't DO that!"
I stand there, giving the blonde Senshi a look of mild reproach. It takes her a few moments to collect herself before she recognizes me. "Oh, hello Lady Iria. What can I do for you?"
"I'm looking for Pai."
She looks at me with large blue eyes before blinking several times. "Who?"
I resist rolling my eyes. While no one could deny fact that Airi was highly intelligent, she was also fairly scatter brained. That was the main reason she hadn't been given the task of seeing to young Pai's education as I was.
"Pai. Your successor?"
I could practically see the gears turning in her head before she finally said, "Oh, Pai! Why didn't you say so in the first place? She should be in the Opal Room with the Princess."
I nod politely and exit the Lab. 'Why would she be in the Opal Room?' I think to myself, absently aware of an explosion rocking the Lab behind me. 'Nobody's used it for several decades now.'
After several minutes, I make my way to the Opal Room and enter. To my utter surprise, I see that the Opal Room had been redecorated into what looks like a pre-school classroom. Looking around, I notice the assorted toys that one would fine in such a place. As I enter the room, I see Pai sitting at a low table drawing with what looked like a crayon, a look of utter boredom on her face.
"Hello, child." I say softly.
Pai looks up and her face immediately brightened. "Sensei!" she exclaimed.
She stands from her chair and rushes over to me, almost as if she would throw her arms around me and hug me. She stops short, however, and stands in front of me demurely.
"Hello, Sensei." she says softly.
"Pai." I say warmly. "How have you been?"
"Ok...I guess." Pai says; her eyes downcast, her voice thick with distress.
Frowning, I look closely at my charge then glance over at the table she was working at. I can tell that she was drawing what appeared to be a fractal spiral, which surprised me since we already covered fractals over a year ago. Looking around the room, I realize how...childish everything seems. From the scattered toys to the décor, everything looked like it was for a young child; which confused me since Pai never showed any interest in such thing.
Kneeling down, I lift young Pais' chin until I'm looking her in the eyes. "Child? What is going on here?"
"Excuse me?" a voice says from behind me.
Turning my head, I see a primly dressed older woman leading Princess Serenity into the room. "Who are you?" I ask slowly, doing my best to hide my confusion at what's going on.
"I am Dame Miho, the Duchess of Matins." she says properly, "And I have been charged by the Queen herself to see the care of Princess Serenity and that...child."
"I see..." I say slowly, already feeling my ire rise at how she's acting, not only towards me, but also towards young Pai.
"And it's a good thing too." Dame Miho continues as if she didn't even hear me. "It's totally improper for such a young girl-child to be reading about such inconsequential things as 'quantal physicals' or whatever. A proper lady shouldn't bother with such things."
I stand slowly, doing my best to contain my anger. "Pai?" I say softly.
"I want you to take the princess to your quarters. I wish to...speak with Dame Miho."
"Hai, Sensei." young Pai replies, before quickly moving over to the three year old princess. "Come on, Serenity. I have some cookies in my room."
"Wai! Cookies!" the future princess says with excitement before grabbing young Pai's hand and dragging her out of the room.
"Excuse me? What do you think you're doing?" Dame Miho protested.
"Excuse me?! What do YOU think YOU'RE doing?!" I snapped back.
I have to admit, privately, that I was slightly impressed. Most people would have flinched at my tone; however, Dame Miho stood firm before me; however, I was in no mood to be impressed. Ten minutes later, the Duchess of Matins fled from the Opal Room in tears.
I left the Opal Room feeling...satisfied. I know I shouldn't have said some of the things I did, but it felt so...good. I make my way to young Pai's room briskly with a satisfied smirk on my face. Arriving there, I enter her quarters and find her waiting at a table in her small sitting room reading a book.
"Sensei!" young Pai greeted me excitedly, rising from her chair and offering it to me.
I gratefully accept her offer and, a few moments later, she's handing me a cup of tea. Relaxing in the chair, I take a sip of the blend and voice my approval. The two of us then sit in silence for a few moments, savoring the comfortable atmosphere.
"I...I was worried..." young Pai said softly, finally breaking the silence between us.
"About what?" I inquired.
Shyly, young Pai softly said, "You...you were gone for so long. And I didn't hear anything from you..."
"I apologize." I said, interpreting her. "Things became so hectic I was unable to break away."
She nodded in understanding and I relaxed further. We sat there in silence for a while longer. Finally, I asked, "Where is the princess?"
"She's taking a nap in my bed...after finishing an entire plate of cookies I was saving for you." young Pai said with a trace embarrassed.
"Like mother, like daughter." I chuckled softly. Looking at young Pai closely, I ask softly, "What's been happening since I've been gone?"
Young Pai spent the next few minutes filling me in about what's been going on since I had last been here. She told me about the lessons that Airi had been giving her about her future duties as the Senshi of Mercury...when she remembered to, that is. I also learned that apparently a new Senshi of Uranus and a new Senshi of Neptune had been Awakened during my absents. Kei, the new Uranus, was 10 years old while Yuri, the new Neptune, was a year younger. Both had Awakened normally and were currently in the care of their respective elders. However, she avoided the one subject I was interested in.
"And what about Dame Miho?"
Looking down at the floor, young Pai slowly began to speak. "About a week after you left, the Queen brought her in to help raise her daughter. When she learned about me, Dame Miho insisted that I was also put into her care. Since you were missing and the Queen and Lady Airi were both busy, no one was around to say no to her."
"Did...did you enjoy her watching over you?" I asked carefully, suddenly feeling guilty about my 'talk' with the Duchess.
She seriously considered her answer for a moment. "Not...not really, no. I mean, I know I've missed out on what normal girls my age do, but..." young Pai trailed off for a moment before continuing. "She, Dame Miho that is, didn't let me do any of my normal readings. She restricted my access on the computer and convinced Luna to limit my time in the library."
"I see." I replied, suddenly no longer feeling guilty about the dressing down I had given the Duchess...and I also had a sudden strong urge to drop kick the Mau advisor across a courtyard or two.
"By the way, Sensei. Here." young Pai said, shyly handing me several data strips. "I'm sorry that my reports aren't as thorough as I would like, but I did the best I could with what I had available."
I couldn't help but smile, knowing full well that whatever she had written about would be more in depth than most people would be able to do with twice the resources young Pai would have normally had available.
We chatted for a while longer before I finally had to beg off for the day. The events of the past two months had caught up with me and, after several yawns, I excused myself; but only after promising to spend the rest of the tomorrow going over the assignments she had written for me with her.
Stepping out of young Pai's quarters, I yawned again before I turned to head towards my own rooms, only to literally run into the one person I really didn't want to deal with.
"Nanami." I said dryly.
The Senshi of Jupiter and I shared a long look before she finally said, "Serenity wants to talk to you. Now. Follow me."
With that, Nanami turned around and walked down the hall, not even pausing to see if I was following her.
'Oh. Crap.' I think to myself. It could mean only one thing if Queen Serenity had asked HER to come back to the Lunar Palace to deal with ME. I must have stepped in it big time.
I shake my head ruefully as I remember what had happened next. Looking back, I knew that it wasn't one of my greatest moments. It had been the first time that Serenity and I ever really argued before and, unfortunately, it hadn't been as two old friends either. It had been a fight between the Queen and the Senshi of Pluto.
Finally, the two of us had come to a concusses. I had agreed that I had overstepped my bounds with how I had dealt with Dame Miho and Serenity and conceded that she had been wrong to allow the Duchess to effect young Pai's education to such an extent.
"I'm doing it again!" I sighed in frustration, realizing that I had allowed myself to think about what had been between Pai and myself.
Fortunately, before I could dwell on the past further, I heard the sound of Haruka's car pulling into the driveway.
To Be Continued...
Well, I hoped you enjoyed the third chapter of this
shoujo-ai fic. I have a lot planned for it, so it might
take a long time to get everything I want written up, so
please beer with me.
Personally, I don't think this came out as well as it
could have. So, please, if you have any suggestions
let me know.
Any C&C would be appreciated at email@example.com
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
Sometimes you drink the milk...
Sometimes the milk drinks you.
"Pink Sugar Heart Attack!"
From the shadows of a nearby rooftop, I watch as my future princess is locked in mortal combat a Youma. In the week since she returned to the past, I've been observing her sneak out every night as if searching for something. As I watch, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride as her attack destroys the foul creature.
"Boo Ya! Who's the man? Who's the man? I'm the man! It's my birthday! It's my birthday!"
'Oh...kay...' I think to myself as Sailor Chibi-Moon performs a very non-traditional victory celebration.
While I wasn't sure as to the why she had come back, I do know that she wasn't here because of any emergence or threat to the future. Eventually, Chibi-Moon finishes her celebration and, leaping to the rooftops, she began to head back towards the Tsukino residence.
I quickly slip out of the time stream and reappear several buildings ahead of her. Seeing her stop and look down onto the street below with a sense of accomplishment, I walk forward silently and watch her for a moment.
'She looks so much like her mother...and her grandmother.' I think.
"It's one a.m.; does your mother know where you are?" I ask softly.
"Puu!" the pink-haired girl exclaimed excitedly, before turning around and giving me a tight hug. "I'm sooooo glad to see you!"
"And I'm glad to see you as well, Small Lady." I respond, lightly returning the embrace. "Although, perhaps you aren't so small anymore."
"Oh, Puu..." she blushed, releasing the hug and stepping back.
"So...why did you return to this time? I hadn't expected to see you for a while. Did your mother send you here to complete your training as Sailor Moon?" I ask delicately.
Sometimes my dealings with Small Lady have been difficulty. The me that she knows is my future self. While I can use the Gates of Time to see the possible future, there are things that are purposely hidden from my sight. One of the things I do know for sure is, in the future, I will be asked to see to the education of the princess as I was once asked to help Pai.
However, I know myself well enough to know that I would have given Small Lady the impression that I know more now about the future than I truly do.
"Well...sort of..." she hedged.
I can't help but to sigh lightly. "I see. So your mother doesn't know you're here, does she."
"It's not her fault. She's so busy with being pregnant and all, I thought it would be a good idea to get out of her hair."
I blink. I was completely surprised to hear that Neo-Queen Serenity was going to have another child. I mentally shake my head as I listen to what else Small Lady is telling me.
"I mean, I know that I'm not in the way, or anything. I just thought that it would be a good idea if they didn't have to worry about me, you know? So...you're not going to send me back...are you?" She asks me softly.
I don't even have to think about the answer. If I had allowed her to come here in the first place, then there was no reason for me to send her back.
"No, Small Lady. In fact, I'm glad you're here. Hotaru-chan could use a good friend like you; especially now that the two of you are closer in age than you were before."
"Oh..." she blushed slightly, her eyes downcast.
I resist the urge to raise an eyebrow. 'Damn me for showing that Nemoy person one of my best expressions...now I can't use it because everyone thinks I'm copying him!' I can't help but to wonder about her reaction at my mentioning of my daughter, but I simply shrug it off as the enforced loneliness someone in Small Lady's position must endure.
Smiling slightly, I say, "You had best be going home now. I'm sure Usagi would worry if she knew you were out here late at night."
"Ah, who cares what Odango Atama thinks?" she says in mock disgust.
Giving me another hug, Chibi-Moon turns and takes off across the rooftops. I watch her quickly disappear, heading back home. Waiting a few moments, I finally clear my throat.
Behind me, a figure detaches itself from the shadows of the rooftop. Turning around, I can easly make out the billowing cape and top hat it wears. Tuxedo Kamen walks towards me with a slightly bewildered look on his face.
After a moment of silence, he finally manages to say what's on his mind. "Wow...another kid. I never imagined..."
"So, you're aware that your daughter has returned to this time?" I ask the obvious question, wanting to avoid any possible questions about the future.
He shakes his head and says, "Oh...yea. Usako brought her over the other day. Believe me, it was quite a surprise." he said before muttering, "At least she seems to have gotten over her Electra Complex." Meeting my eyes again, he continued. "The night I found out she was back; I went to check up on her. Imagine my surprise when I saw her out patrolling."
I nod in understanding. I myself was surprised to find her going out each night looking for trouble. It had been a long time since there had been any great evil that threatened the future, but there were many Youma that still existed that occasionally surfaced to cause problems.
Figuring that there was nothing left to talk about, I turn around and begin to walk off. Before I slip out of the time stream, however, Tuxedo Kamen clears his throat to get my attention.
"Ahem I was wondering. If you don't mind, I would like to talk to you about something. I cough sort of would like to ask you a favor."
I look at him for a moment before nodding my consent. The two of us make our way to ground level and, a few minutes later; one Mamoru Chibi and one Setsuna Meiou enter one of the all night coffee shops that have recently begun to appear around the Tokyo area.
"Thank the Kami's for Anti-Trust laws." I mutter as we sit down at an out of the way table.
"What was that?" Mamoru asks me, sitting down across from me.
"Some time ago, I...influenced the creation of certain laws in the United States." I explained absently, taking a sip of my coffee. "Had I not, in a few years time, two businesses would have merged into a company called 'StarSoft'. Had that happened, that company would have had enough leverage to take over several countries. It would have only been a matter of time until 'StarSoft' would have had achieved world domination."
Mamoru looked at me with disbelief. "You are kidding, right?"
I give him a mild look for a while before I relent. "Yes, of course I am."
'After all,' I think to myself, hiding a smile. 'the company would have been called 'MicroBucks'.'
The two of us spend some time making small talk. What the others don't know is that Mamoru and I have a friendship of sorts. For quite some time, he has been coming to me to talk about his concerns about the present and future. Of all of those who have been reborn, he is the only one who currently takes his future responsibilities seriously. That isn't to say that the others weren't serious, it was just that he was the only one whose concerns were focused on the future, not just the present.
I was the one who Mamoru came to in order to discuss his plans to leave for America. His reasons were sound and I agreed with him, even to the point of suggestion that he leave without telling Usagi. It wasn't MY fault that Galaxia masked her presence from my abilities with Chaos when she killed Mamoru.
Finally, Mamoru and I finish making small talk and he comes to the reason he wanted to talk to me.
"I'm still concerned about Usagi." he tells me, his uneasiness evident in his voice. "I mean, she is about to graduate high school, but most of the time she acts like she is still back in junior high."
I nod in understanding. Usagi's child-like attitude has been a concern of mine as well for some time. It's obvious she has the potential to be a great queen, but so far the only times that promise had shown through were during a crises.
"I've tried talking to her about how I feel," he continued, "and she says she'll try harder. And I've also tried to give her plenty of space to grow, but we know how that turned out." Mamoru sighed.
"Have you tried talking to the others about how you feel?" I asked.
Grimacing, Mamoru said, "I've tried, but...well, talking to Mina-chan about anything serious is almost as bad as talking to Usako. Mako-chan and Luna are both very loyal to Usako and would take anything I say negative about her personally. As for Ami, well I know she would understand, but she's too out of touch with reality to know how to get through to Usako."
I stifle a sudden and violent urge to reach over, grab Mamoru's head, and slam it into the table repeatedly.
"And Rei...well, the two of them are worse than trying to mix oil and water. I mean, believe me, I know that Rei cares about Usako, but...you know."
I take a drink of my coffee to hide my smile. 'Believe me, I know.' I think to myself.
"Iria! Iria! Yo, Iria, wait up!"
I stop and look behind me, young Pai coming to a halt at my side. My ten-year-old prodigy and I were returning to her quarters after spending the day in the Royal Library. Ever since that day several years ago, I have been committed to making sure that I didn't miss out on our time together. Of course, that time was becoming even more precious since young Pai had recently begun her formal training to become the next Senshi of Mercury.
"Thanks for waiting." Nae, the Senshi of Mars, said as she caught up with us. She then leaned against one of the walls and removed one of her shoes. "I swear; if I ever find the moron who thought it was a great idea to give our uniforms high heals, I'll fire a Flame Sniper right down his throat."
I raise an eyebrow at her while young Pai waits patiently by my side. "Was there something you needed, Nae?"
"Nah, I'm just heading your way. Hey, kiddo." Nae said, giving young Pai a grin. "So, have you met Myung yet?"
"No, Lady Nae, I haven't had the opportunity yet." young Pai replied softly.
"Myung?" I ask, giving young Pai a look of curiosity.
"The next Senshi of Mars, Sensei." young Pai answered, "She arrived from Phobos-Deimos Castle the other day."
Nae replaced her shoe and the three of us began walking down the hall towards the Royal Suites. "She's was the forth in line for the Martian throne before she was Awakened, so at least that'll make the nobles happy. Not that I care. I just hope she's not all prissy and high-and-mighty, ya know?"
I nod politely, knowingly exactly what she was talking about. Historically, nearly 95% of the Senshi have been a member of one royal family or another. Out of those, nearly all of them have actually been a member of their patron planets aristocracy. Periodically, however, there have been cases; such as young Pai and Nae; where a Senshi is Awakened who is a commoner. In the past, there have been cases where a new Senshi who was a layman caused the royalty of their patron planet to be...dissatisfied. Such as Nae.
Growing up in the Venusian slums, Nae was nearly 14 years old when she was Awakened as the next Senshi of Mars. Having grown up in such a difficult and dangerous environment, she had a rough and ready demeanor. She had little patience for most people to begin with and an inclination towards rather extreme actions with dealing with such people. Add it to the fact that the nobility would often express their displeasure towards her because of her 'plebeian nature'; there was an obvious potential for an explosive situation. Had it not been for Noodle Brains' kind heart and patience, there would have been many more people that Nae would have angered than she had.
I gave silent thanks that young Pai hadn't had to deal with such alienation.
"So kiddo, how has Airi been treating you?" Nae asked, making small talk.
I watched as, with eyes downcast, young Pai answered in a quiet voice. "Lady Airi is...interesting to work with."
"Ha! That's an understatement if I've ever heard one!" Nae chuckled. "She's the biggest airhead I've ever met. Now, don't get me wrong, she's a genius and all and she's good at her job as a Senshi, but Airi gets side tracked at the smallest things. But don't worry; you're in good hands with her training you." Nae then muttered under her breath "...just don't show her any shiny things..."
After walking for a few more minutes, we heard an angry yell from down the hall. Nae and I exchanged a look and the two of us sprinted down the hall with young Pai trailing behind. Following the noise, we heard we arrived at one of the currently unoccupied rooms in the Royal Suites. Acting on instinct, I put a hand on Nae's shoulder before the Senshi of Mars could open the door.
Said door opened suddenly and, to our surprise, a disheveled Princess of the Moon Kingdom rushed out of the room. She turned back to the room and, mustering as much authority a seven year old could, said, "I am your Princess! I command you to mumph!"
Whatever the younger Serenity would have commanded was interrupted by a large pillow flying through the door and smacking her square in the face. A moment later, a girl of about eight years of age with long, black hair and violet eyes exited the room. Violet eyes that held a somewhat crazed look as she glared at the blond princess.
"I don't care who you are! Don't...You...EVER...touch my vids again!"
"But...but...Myung!" the princess whined
Myung launched herself at the princess who, with a squawk of surprise, ran down the hall. "Myung! You're so mean!"
I watched the two girls run down the hall with a small smile. Fond memories of Noodle Brain and I at that age came to me. Looking over at Nae, I suppressed a grin at the shocked expression on her face.
"So...unless I'm mistaken, I believe that was your successor who was chasing the Princess."
"...wha..." Nae muttered.
"And, if I remember correctly, that hall does lead to one the largest fountains in the Lunar Palace."
A look of shocked understanding crossed the Senshi of Mar's face a moment before she raced after the two younger girls. I turn to look at young Pai, only to see a stunned expression on her face.
Chuckling softly, I said, "Well child, it looks like things are going to be interesting for you around here."
"And Haruka and Michiru...well, I can't help but think that they don't like me."
Mamoru said with a shrug.
I take another sip of my coffee and give Mamoru a look of mild interest. Where the idea that those two did not like him came from, I had no idea. Although, though be told, the two of them did tend to come of a bit standoffish towards...well, just about everyone.
"I see. And what does this have to do with a favor?" I ask.
"Well, I was wondering if you could talk to her." he said. "I mean, I know that there are things that you can and can't do; being who you are and all; but I know that Usako respects you a great deal. If you would...help her to realize her true potential..." Mamoru trailed off, a hopeful look in his eyes.
I look at him for a long moment, my face expressionless. On one hand, he does have a valid point; it was time for Usagi to finally 'grow up', as it were. What he was asking for wouldn't violate any of my oaths and wouldn't interfere with my duties. And besides, it might just provide the distraction I've been looking for to keep my mind away from thoughts of Pai.
Draining my coffee, I stand and throw some money on the table to cover the check. "I'm not making any promises, but I'll see what I can do."
To Be Continued...
Well, another chapter out of the way. Finally.
Honestly however, I feel that this chapter could
have come out...better. If anyone out there has
any suggestions, let me know.
Any C&C would be appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
Sailor Moon doesn't belong to me.
Standing underneath the Torii at the Hikawa Shrine, I gaze up at the night's sky and look at the waxing moon remembering the once great kingdom that existed there. Shaking my head clear of such morose thoughts, I walk towards the family portion of the shrine. Several days have passed since my talk with Mamoru and since then an opportunity that might be beneficial to our future Queen has arisen.
"Ah, Meiou-san. It's good to see you again." an old, yet vibrant, voice called to me softly from the shadows of the porch.
"Hino-san." I return the greeting politely.
"Please, call me Grandpa. Everyone else does." Rei's grandfather says jovially before his voice turns sly. "You know, that shine maiden position is still open. I'm sure that I have a set of robes that would fit you perfectly."
"I'm sorry, but I must decline. My job up takes too much of my time as it is." I reply smoothly, considering that every time I've come to the Shrine as a normal person would he offer me the same thing.
"Ah well, I take it you're here to see Rei and her friends? They're inside in their usual place, go on in."
Bowing my thanks, I head inside. Pausing to open the screen, I look inside and see what I basically expected to see. With midterms approaching, the Inner Senshi were getting together regularly for study sessions. Rei, Ami, and Makoto were all sitting quietly studying. Watching Ami for a moment, I smile fondly at an errant memory of one of the many times that Pai and I had spent at the Royal Library. I shake myself mentally and look at the two remaining girls and what I see doesn't surprise me in the least.
Minako was also engrossed in a textbook, which she had propped up on the table. However, from this angle, I could clearly see that hidden in the book was one of the latest fashion magazines. Usagi, though, was currently using her textbook as a pillow. Even from outside the door, I could clearly hear the soft sound of her snore.
Removing my shoes, I carefully slide open the screen and step inside. Quietly, I creep in and stand behind the sleeping girl. Resisting the urge to smile, I clear my throat.
"Tsukino Usagi. Wake up." I say with authority.
The other girls' all look up with startled expressions, but I pay them no heed. The real show that I'm looking for is happening in front of me.
"GAH! The Meiji Era! 'To be or not to be'! Francisco Franco! 42! 78 electrons and 117 neutrons! 350 degrees for 30 minutes!"
"Hum...History, Literature, Political Science, Math, Physical Science, and Home Economics. Not bad." I mused while Usagi regained her senses and the others watched perplexed. "But aren't you missing a subject?"
"French; which is what Usagi-chan is supposed to be studying." Ami said with a shy smile and a slight blush as she met my eyes.
"Um...le noir, ce mot designe depuis une époque lointaine le nom du destin?" Usagi said automatically.
"Thank you, Ami-san." I nodded slightly towards the blue haired girl while inside, my stomach tightened and I fought down my own blush.
"Huh? Wha? Setsuna-san! Don't do that!" Usagi said as she turned to look at me with a pout on her face.
The other girls giggled for a few moments before Rei said, "It's your own fault, Odango Atama! If you would have been studying like you're suppose too..."
"Here we go again..." Makoto sighed.
"So what brings you to our elbow of the dessert?" Minako asks, ignoring out of shear habit the fight brewing between Rei and Usagi.
I have live for a very long time. I've watched humanity crawl from the wreckage of the Silver Millennium. I have seen Empires rise and fall. I've witnessed great inventions being created. I have observed the secrets of the Universe itself.
And yet, with all that, I still can't make heads or tails of Minako's misquotes.
"Mina-chan? I believe you meant 'What brings you to our neck of the woods.'" Ami translates for all of us.
"That's what I said." Minako said with a perplexed expression.
"So, why are you here Setsuna-san?" Rei asked, deciding to ignore Usagi for the moment.
"I need to speak with the Princess." I state simply.
The atmosphere in the room suddenly became tense, only to be broken by Usagi. "Noooooo. Not now! Why do the bad guys always attack at the worst possible time! I hardly see my Mamo-chan as it is with midterms; now I'll never get to see him!"
"There is no enemy to fight, Princess." I calmly tell Usagi before she could work herself into a frenzy or worse.
As soon as the words left my mouth, the tension in the room vanished. Usagi graced me with a bright smile and said, "Oh, ok! So, what did you want to talk about?"
"I'll tell you on the way home. I've already called your mother to let her know that you'll be late."
"AAAHHHH! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!" Minako suddenly exclaimed. "I gotta go! My mom's going to eat a cow!"
A blonde whirlwind tore through the room as Minako grabbed her things and raced out of the room with a hastily spoken 'goodbye'. I watched as the others recover from the hasty departure of 'Hurricane Mina' and begin to gather their things.
"So, what do you want to talk to Usagi about?" Rei asked with curiosity.
"Yea? So what's up, Setsuna-san?"
I give Usagi a mild look of reproach and answer her in my own way. "Patience, Princess. I'll tell you in the car."
Blinking twice, Usagi looked at me with confusion. "Car? You have a car?"
"I borrowed Haruka's car. I doubt that she'll mind."
"Ooohhhh." Usagi exclaimed.
"Ahem. Excuse me, Setsuna-san?" Ami asked hesitantly with eyes downcast. "I was wondering, if possible, if you could give me a ride home as well?"
My heart clenched at the thought of spending time in the small confines of Haruka's car with Ami. My first instinct is to tell her no, however; no matter what my personal feelings might be; my duty to my future Queen comes first. The fact was; having Ami's calming presence would help me a great deal with talking to Usagi.
"Of course, Ami-san." I answer with a nod.
"Could I get a ride too?" Makoto asked hopefully.
My knee-jerk reaction is to turn and glare at the tall brunette, but I stifled that urge and simply clench my teeth. While I hold Makoto no ill will, the simple fact is it's sometime more difficult to spend time with her that it is to spend time with Ami. It wasn't her fault...at least not directly. The first time I met her; or should I say I her pervious incarnation, we got off to a bad start. What happened wasn't her fault; given the circumstances; yet I couldn't help but to blame her. Between that first meeting and several things that happened later, at the time, I couldn't help but feel resentful towards her. And although; like with Ami; I know that she isn't her reincarnation, I can't help feeling how I feel.
What had started as a normal visit to the Lunar Palace to spend time with young Pai had turned into a complete nightmare. Going to Airi's lab to find young Pai, I had found the blonde Senshi in a total panic. It had taken me a few moments to find out what was wrong, only to wish I hadn't. Airi's words had caused a cold lump to form in my stomach and had sent me racing through the halls of the Palace.
I vaguely recall seeing faces of members of the Palace staff and of minor nobles that were sent scurrying out of my way as I rushed towards the medical wing, but I didn't care. My Pai was hurt. She needed me.
Arriving at my destination, I ram the closed door before me with my Staff, causing it to slam open and rebound off the wall before slamming shut; but I'm already inside the waiting room. I barely notice the occupants of the room...two young woman in aquamarine and blue tense up suddenly...an older woman dressed in pure white holding a black object...a young girl in red comforts another young girl in white...a tall girl stands in the corner...these facts reach my mind but I don't understand them; they don't matter. None of them were my Pai.
A voice says something...I don't understand it...it sounds familiar...something about a room...a room number! I don't remember moving, but I suddenly find myself standing in front of another door. With my hand shaking, I carefully open the door and step inside. What I see causes an almost physical pain to shoot through me.
Lying on a bed, with medical equipment hooked up to her, was young Pai. I haltingly approach her when I notice something on a nearby chair, something I recognize immediately. A Senshi uniform, in the color of Mercury, was draped over the chair. I cringe at the condition it was in; rips and tears and scorch marks and bloodstains. Red and green blood stains.
Only one creature in the solar system has green blood, Youma. My knuckles creak as I clench my Staff in anger; an anger that dissipates as I turn to look at young Pai. Carefully, I draw nearer to her, my heart pounding in my ears. I lean my Staff against the wall, reach out, and gently caress her face.
‘So pale.' I think.
At thirteen, young Pai was on the verge of womanhood. Her soft, gentle face; normally graced with bright blue eyes hungry for knowledge that peaked over a slight blush; was now ghostly white. I can't help but remember how, only a week ago, how melodious her laugh sounded as she told me how the princess and Myung had gotten in trouble over a late night raid of the kitchen during a break in our discussion of imaginary numbers.
"I'm here now, child. Don't worry, everything will be alright," I whisper to her as I brush her hair from her forehead with my fingers.
I stay bent over her prone form, speaking softly in reassuring tones, as I caress her light blue hair for several minutes before I hear someone else enter the room.
"What happened?" I ask; my voice devoid of emotion.
"She was returning from Io when the ship she was on was attacked by Youma."
I slowly look over to the foot of the bed and see Queen Serenity standing there; the depth of her sadness reflected in her eyes; petting Luna. Glancing at the other side of the bed and see the princess in a chair, holding young Pai's hand with tear-stained cheeks. Behind her stood Myung, a hand on the princesses' shoulder lending silent support.
"And that?" I demand, perhaps too harshly, jerking my head at the ruined uniform.
"Lady Pai was acting in her position as the future Senshi of Mercury." Luna said haughtily.
"Not now, Luna." Serenity, apparently sensing my mood, warned the advisor.
I glared at the Mau advisor hard for a moment and absently wondered if she knew that the only reason she wasn't currently a grease smear was because of who was holding her.
"Please, tell me." I softly plead. "How...how did it happen?"
Looking at me with kind and understanding eyes, my friend answers my question. "It was supposed to be a routine diplomatic mission. Pai actually approached me and asked if she could go. I believe she mentioned something about 'not wanting to be dragged into some harebrained scheme' or something." She said with a small smile.
Glancing across the bed, I see Myung looking around the room in a poor effort to avoid suspicion. The princess, however, blushes and looks down at her lap in guilt and sniffles softly.
"Pai insisted on wearing the mantle of Mercury." My friend said in a soft voice filled with pride. "You should have seen her, Iria-chan. She looked so joyful and proud wearing the uniform. She told me she wished that the mission could have been delayed a few days so you could've been the first to see her in it."
I blink back my tears and smile. In my minds eyes, I could see the image my friend painted me. Young Pai standing there, wearing her uniform; her eyes shining with an inner light and a slightly embarrassed look on her face as she showed me what she looked like.
After a moment, my friend continued. "Everything was going fine until after her ship left Jupiter's orbit. Youma swarmed over the ship." She sighed before pressing on. "Pai was able to evacuate everyone and covered their escape. She held the Youma back until Uranus and Neptune were able to respond to the ships' distress signal. There...there were a lot of Youma, Iria-chan. A lot of Youma."
"I see." I said carefully. "Why did she go to Io in the first place?"
"She went because of Rion, next Senshi of Jupiter."
A movement by the open door caught my eye. Looking over, I saw a tall girl whose age I guessed at about fourteen. As I looked at her, she straightened up and met my gaze.
'It's because of her my Pai was hurt.' I think to myself as my gaze hardens.
The girl, Rion, met my eyes for a moment, before she flinched hard and wilted back. I felt a grim satisfaction as turned back to look at young Pai, my gaze softened as I again stroked her cheek.
"I'm sorry I wasn't able to see you in your uniform, child." I whispered softly.
Looking at her face, I inhaled sharply when I noticed her lips begin to move slightly. I leaned as close as I could, my ear scant millimeters from her lips. Closing my eyes in concentration, I listen carefully and I hear her muttering something softly. Listening closely, I barely make out what she's whispering over and over.
Once I'm certain I've heard everything she was mumbling, I was out the door, my Staff in hand. Behind me, I hear Serenity call out my name in surprise, but I had more important things to do. Brushing by Rion, I make my way to the waiting room where I see Kei and Yuri, the recently Ascended Senshi of Uranus and Neptune.
"You two. Come with me."
"What?" the blonde haired Kei asked defensively as she leapt to her feet.
In a flash of eldritch crimson light, the three of us were no longer here, but there. There was a dimension outside of the space/time continuum, the resting place of the Gates of Time. Technically, I shouldn't have brought the two of them here since my main duty is to prevent anyone from approaching and using the Gates. But they weren't here to use the Gates, so I was bending the rules slightly.
Frankly though, I didn't care.
"What the...?!" Kei exclaimed, drawing the Space Sword.
"Kei, wait." Yuri cautioned, placing a hand on the blonde's elbow. "Look."
Ignoring the two of them as the stared at the Gates of Time in awe, I raise my free hand and embrace the Mana Stream. I then concentrate and before me, a scale model of the solar system appears. I wait a moment for the image to stabilize before I begin to do mental calculations. There were two things that young Pai had whispered to me, the first being spatial coordinates. Besides my charge, I was probably the only one alive who could figure these calculations in their head.
"It's beautiful." I hear Yuri say from my side as she and Kei join me.
"Here." With a thought, the image suddenly magnifies to a large planetoid in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. "Asteroid P-358."
"What's so special about that rock?" Kei demanded.
"Hush." Yuri said, nudging Kei in the ribs.
"This is where the Youma that attacked the ship came from." I said, before continuing with the other piece of information young Pai gave me. "There is a Nexus here."
Only with supreme effort do I keep from snarling that last part out. If there is one thing I hate more than Youma, then it's Nexuses. A rift in dimensions, a Nexus is a portal between our world and the Negaverse, where the creatures of the Dark Kingdom dwell.
"How do you know?" Kei asked, with a trace of awe in her voice.
"Are you ready?" I ask, dismissing the image and Kei's question.
With a sudden, savage smile, Kei hefted the Space Sword. Yuri drew forth the Deep Aqua Mirror and nodded with determination, understanding what was to come. With a thought, we appeared on the surface of Asteroid P-358. Once there, I released the hold on the anger that had been brewing within me since I found out what had happened to my Pai. Eldritch crimson light began to dance around me as I stalked forward; causing the surface of the planetoid to powder into dust as it fell victim to the ravages of time.
45 minutes later, Asteroid P-358 no longer existed.
"Makoto-chan," Ami's voice snapped me out of my recollection, "I'm sure that Setsuna-san would like to take you home, but Usagi and I live on the other side of Minato Ward, remember? Besides, you know how cramped Haruka-san's car is. I doubt that all four of us could fit in it."
"Oh...Ok." Makoto said, disappointment clearly written on her face. "Well, I guess I'll see you guys later."
Gathering her backpack, Makoto left taking one last look at Ami before making her way outside. With Makoto gone, I look around for Usagi, only to see her missing. However, I'm not the only one to notice her absence.
"Usagi? Where are you?" Rei called out.
A crash in the kitchen alerted us to her whereabouts. "Just a minute! Makoto left some of her brownies! We don't want them going to waste, do we?"
To Be Continued...
Well, I knocked this chapter off in less
than six hours, so it might be just a
As Always any C&C would be appreciated at email@example.com
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
Sailor Moon doesn't belong to me.
Standing in the courtyard of the Hikawa Shrine, I looked up at the nights' sky and couldn't help but feel the awkwardness of the situation. Both Ami and I had stepped outside to wait for Usagi to gather her things, and it seemed like she was taking an eternity. The logical part of my mind kept going over every reason I've cataloged as to why I shouldn't get involved with Ami as nothing more than as a fellow Senshi.
But, deep inside, a small voice kept urging me to reach out and caress her flawless skin...to tightly embrace her smaller frame against mine...to drink deeply of her sweet lips...
With an effort, I push those feelings down. I really didn't want to deal with these thoughts right now...or ever, for that matter. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, I look at Ami as she stood there; holding her books close to her chest. Looking at her face, I see a look that caused my stomach clench. Ami held her head low, a slight blush gracing her features, and her bright blue eyes would occasionally dart up to look in my direction before returning to inspecting the ground. It was the same expression that Pai would wear whenever she was about to ask a question.
The problem was, whenever Pai looked like that you never knew what she was going to ask. It could be something simple as what I had for lunch, or complicated like a question about the relative gravity of a planet compared to it's mass, or something...personal.
"Setsuna-san?" she asked softly.
"Yes Ami-san?" I answer, keeping my voice as level as I could.
"I was wondering...are you sure it's alright for me to come along with you and Usagi-chan? I mean, if you want to talk to her in private it's still not to late for me to catch the bus."
Mentally I sigh in relief; it was a simple question. "Yes, I'm sure Ami-san. In fact, you might be a great help to me."
Ami perked up and looked at me intently with inquisitive eyes. "I will? What do you want me to do?"
"Just be yourself, child." I said gently, a small smile on my face.
I turn my head to look out across the courtyard and I silently curse myself. 'How could I be so stupid as to slip up like that? I called her 'child' for Kamis' sake! That was what I called Pai back then, even at the end! How could I call Ami that?! I should know better than that!'
Before I could berate myself further, the screen slams open and Usagi storms out. Once outside, she turns around and gives a classic demonstration of a raspberry and red-eye combination. A pillow flies out of the shrine and the pony-tailed girl artfully dodges, only to trip over her own two feet.
"Usagi-chan! Are you alright?" Ami asks as she rushes over to help her friend.
I move to get a closer look inside the shrine. I can't help but to compare how Rei looked identical to how Myung would look after one of her many arguments with the princess. The disheveled hair, the face flushed with anger, the wild fire gleaming in her eyes. Even the soft cry of frustration and the slamming of the screen were reminiscent of Myung. I chuckle softly before I move to help Ami help Usagi collect herself.
"Usagi-chan, you shouldn't antagonize Rei-chan so much." Ami cautioned as she handed Usagi her books.
"But it's not my fault that Rei's so crabby." The blonde pouted.
"Shall we go?" I asked, motioning to the Torii.
Ami nods and begins walking towards the steps leading to street level. Usagi started forward but paused to glance back at the shrine before rushing forward to catch up with Ami. Walking at a sedate pace, I follow behind. Once we reach the street, I led the way the short distance to where I parked Haruka's car. Unlocking the doors, Usagi climbs into the back and stretches out across the seat while Ami sits demurely in the passengers' seat. Getting behind the wheel, I buckle my seatbelt and start the car.
"If you two don't mind, I have a short errand to run." I say and, without waiting for a response, I pull out onto the road.
"Oh? What kind of errand? And what did you want to talk to me about?" Usagi asks as she leans forward out of her seat.
"Patience, Princess." I reply, keeping an eye on the road.
Today being the first time I've driven Haruka's car, I've found the experience interesting to say the least. I've had the opportunity to drive many different vehicles over the years, but when I pulled out of our driveway earlier tonight, I wasn't prepared for what happened. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Haruka's car had more that two speeds; those being 'foot off the pedal' and 'pedal against the floor'.
As I drove towards our destination, Usagi started to make small talk with Ami and I; although truth be told, Ami was the one who responded to all of the blondes' comments. I listened with one ear as Usagi went on about her Mamo-chan, mid-terms, her Mamo-chan, Rei, her Mamo-chan, possible plans for their break from school after mid-terms, and her Mamo-chan. I was mildly surprised to learn that the girls were trying to organize a short vacation together, although it seemed that neither Usagis' nor Minakos' parents were too keen on the idea. Finally, we arrived at our destination and I parked Haruka's car.
Usagi pressed her face against a window to look at where we were, and then moaned. "But I don't want to go to school now!"
"Usagi-chan? This is an elementary school. You're too old go here." Ami said, trying to placate her friend.
"I know! But it's still a school!"
Opening the car door, I step outside, glance up at the clock tower, and calculate how much time there is until midnight before looking back at the two girls with me. "Aren't you coming?" I ask before closing the door.
I wait patiently as Usagi and Ami exit the car, which is hampered by Usagi trying to climb out of the backseat and over Ami in the process. After watching my own private viewing of 'The Keystone Cops', the two girls are standing beside me in the parking lot of the Elementary school. Before either one could ask anything, I head for a nearby grove of trees.
I arrive in the grove a few seconds before they do, both of them giving me a look of confusion. "Pardon me, Setsuna-san. But why are we here?" Ami asks.
"We have an appointment to keep." I answer as I drew forth my henshin stick. "PLUTO CRYSTAL POWER, MAKE-UP!"
The power of the Mana Stream flows through me, filling me with strength and energy. Materializing before me, the Time Key Staff appears and I grasp it. Not being able to resist, I swing my Staff experimentally and spin around, reveling in the potency coursing through my veins.
"MERCURY CRYSTAL POWER, MAKE-UP!"
"SILVER MOON CRYSTAL POWER, MAKE-UP!"
After both Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury had adjusted to the sudden rush their transformation brings, the two of them looked around prepared for the worst. Seeing nothing, Sailor Moon looked at me curiously while Sailor Mercury activated her visor and began to scan the area with the Mercury Computer.
"Pluto? Would you explain why we're here?" Moon asks with a touch of authority.
"As I said Princess, we have an appointment to keep. Shall we?" I answer her question politely.
"Wait a moment. I'm picking up something." Mercury warns as she completes her scans. "According to this, I'm reading a group of...Class 3 and Class 4 Artifacts?...about a half block that way along with a Class 2 Magical Entity. I'm also detecting a Class 3 Artifact in the clock tower."
"Good. I was worried that they would be late. Follow me." I turn and begin walking away, but before I could go anywhere, someone grabbed a hold of my arm.
"Pluto. An explanation. Now." Moon demanded of me.
I wait a few moments as Moon glares at me while Mercury is furiously typing away at her Computer. Inside, I smile as I test my future Queen's resolve.
"Of course, your Majesty." I say, bowing my head in reverence; which surprises Moon so much she releases my arm. Mercury looks up from her computer as I begin to explain. "In my position as the Senshi of Pluto, I have several duties and responsibilities that go beyond those of the rest of your Senshi. One of those duties is to maintain the sanctity and the continuity of the Time Stream. That is why I am here. As to why you are here, I thought it would be beneficial for you to see some of the things that I do."
After a moment, Sailor Moon nodded and smiled brightly at me. "Ok, Pluto. So what do you want me to do?"
"Watch and listen. That is all. There are things that must happen tonight and the fewer variables that occur; the greater chance they will have for happening correctly."
Moon blinks at me owlishly. "Huh?"
"What Pluto means is that we can't interfere with what is going to happen tonight." Mercury explains. "Isn't that correct?"
"Exactly." I nod towards the blue haired girl.
The three of us began to walk towards the schools gate. As we walked, Mercury kept consulting her Computer with a slightly puzzled look on her face. "Excuse me, Pluto? I was wondering about these readings I'm picking up. The reading I'm getting on the 'Class 2 Magical Entity' is self-explanatory; but what exactly is a 'Class 3' and a 'Class 4 Artifact'?"
Hearing Mercury sound so much like Pai did when she was asking me a question, I automatically answer without thought. "An Artifact is an item infused with magic created with a specific purpose in mind. Artifacts are rated on a scale of 1 to 5; with 5 being the most powerful. Each rating is subdivided either into category A, B, or C; with A being the highest. And, unless I miss my guess, the two Class 4 Artifacts your picking up are rated as a B, while the Artifact in the clock tower is rated as a Class 3A. In fact, child, I'm surprised that you didn't know what an Artifact was already; since you are already familiar with several."
Mercury looked at me with abashment before a look of determination crossed her face and she consulted her Computer. Moon, meanwhile, had had a dazed expression on her face before she suddenly looked at me with surprise.
"We have? When? What were they?"
"The Ginzuishou." Mercury said, looking up form her Computer. The expression on her face showed her disappointment in herself for not realizing the answer sooner.
"Exactly." I nod a small smile on my lips.
"Really! Wow!" Moon exclaimed, "What's its rating?"
I remain silent while Mercury consulted her Computer. After consulting it for a moment she said, "Class 5A; the highest rating available." She then turned to me with eyes hungry for knowledge. "Why didn't the Mercury Computer classify the Ginzuishou as a Class 5A Artifact until I requested the specific information on it?"
"Because it recognized the Ginzuishou as an object from the Silver Millennium. Its classification was common knowledge then, along with information about Artifacts; while these Artifacts here were created within the past few decades. So tell me, child, what other Artifacts do you know?"
"Oh, oh, I know!" Moon interjected. "There are the three Talismans and Saturns' Glaive and then there's the Gates of Time!"
"Correct. The Talismans are all Class 4A while the Gates of Time is a Class 5B and the Silence Glaive is a Class 5C." I explain, never taking my eyes off of Mercury. "What other Artifacts can you think of?"
By this time, Moon had lost interest in my lecture; but Mercury had a look of intense concentration. "Well...there are our henshin sticks...and my Mercury Lyre..."
She fell silent for a moment in deep thought before a look of surprise crossed her face. "Of course! My Mercury Computer! It was designed with a specific purpose in mind and it's powered by magic. In fact..." She typed quickly on her Computer before she looked up at me with satisfaction. "...it's a Class 2C Artifact!"
"Correct, child." I said, my pride evident in my voice. "Come, we're almost there."
Turning away from the other two, I let loose a string of curses under my breath. 'I did it again! I'm treating Ami like I did Pai! And I didn't even notice! I can't believe myself! Am I that weak-willed that I can't even talk to Ami without longing for her?' Fortunately, I was able to derail that train of thought when we arrived at our destination.
We came to a stop behind a parked van. Standing before the closed backdoors, I turned around to face the others. Mercury had a look of concentration, as she was absorbed in the readings on her visor before she nodded to herself and retracted it. Moon looked around curiously, and then looked at me.
"Now, remember. You're here to observe only. Don't say anything and watch."
With that, I turn back to the closed doors and reach forward with my Staff. Most people, even back during the Silver Millennium, assumed that the Time Key Staff was simply either simply a focus for my powers or a way for me to carry and protect the Garnet Orb; however they were mistaken. The Time Key Staff was an extension of the Gates of Time itself. The Gates of Time is the Gate of all gates thus making the Time Key Staff the Key of all keys. With it, no lock or door could bar my way.
'Which is handy when the garage door opener stops working.' I think to myself.
I rap the closed door with the tip of my Staff lightly twice. I hear Mercury and Moon startle slightly at the deep, muffled booming noise that sounds at each tap, like the banging of a knocker on a giant door. After the sound passes, the audible click of the doors locks is heard and they slowly swing open of there own violation.
Inside the van, two 10-year-old girls look at me; shock and confusion evident on their faces. One of them could easily be mistaken for my daughter's younger sister with her amethyst eyes, pale skin, and long hair so black it was almost purple. The other girl had hazel eyes and short cropped brown hair who was in the process of changing into a costume reminiscent of a yellow fairy. However, neither were the one who I was looking for.
"Hoe?" the brunette exclaimed in confusion.
"Hello, Kereberos." I say, speaking into the van.
A pile of clothing shifts around and a small yellow creature that looked remarkably like a plushy doll crawled out. "P-P-Pluto-sama! He, he, he. Um...what brings you here?"
"Kero-chan? What's going on? Are those the Sailor Senshi?" the brunette asks in confusion while the other girl pulls out a camcorder and begins recording.
"...not now, sakura..." Kereberos muttered from the side of his mouth as I heard Moon shuffle closer to get a better look.
"You know exactly why I'm here, Guardian Beast of the Clow." I intone solemnly.
With a nervous sigh, Kereberos says, "The Time Card."
"Correct. It must be captured tonight, or I will be forced to act. You do remember the...conversation I had with Clow Reed when he created that card, don't you?"
The Guardian Beasts nervousness increased. "Yea...yea I do."
"Good. See to it that your new Mistress understands completely what I will and will not tolerate. I would rather not be put into a position where I am required to...take action. Understood?"
"Yes, I'll see to it, Pluto-sama." He said in a resigned tone.
I nod curtly and regard the two younger girls. Addressing the brunette, I say in a reassuring voice, "You have had a great destiny laid before you, Mistresses of the Clow. Hold close your friends and Shield them and yourself from harm and let your heart guide you. Do so and you will persevere over all of the challenges you will face."
"...Hai." she says, with a confused innocence.
I turn to the other girl in the van and say in a conversational voice, "A piece of advice. While they might look good and are commonplace, high heels are a fashion don't for those in our line of work. Believe me, mine are a constant source of discomfort for me."
"Hai." She answers, lowering her camcorder slightly with a speculative look on her face.
With another nod, I raise my Staff slightly and bang it once against the ground soundlessly, causing the doors of the van to close. Motioning to Moon and Mercury, we leave and head back to the grove that we had transformed in. With a thought, I release my connection with the Mana Stream and the others follow suit.
It wasn't until we were almost back to Haruka's car when Usagi finally spoke. "Setsuna-san? What was that about back there? It almost seemed like...well, like there was something serious happening."
"Yes there was." I answer truthfully. "Some time ago, a magician created a series of powerful Artifacts. Before he passed on, he sealed those Artifacts until their next Master came and broke that seal. However, he prophesized that once the seal was broken a catastrophe will befall this world."
"Then we have to help them!" Usagi exclaimed.
I spin around quickly, startling both Usagi and Ami. "Absolutely not." I say in a firm voice. "Under no circumstance are you to involve yourself in this matter."
"But...but why? Aren't we supposed to fight to protect the world?" Usagi stammered, stunned by my words.
"Because this has nothing to do with any of us. The only reason that I got involved is because one of the Artifacts has the power of Time. And before you say anything; yes, what they are doing does involve the fate of the world. However, they are facing that threat because they are fated to handle it. And for your information, there are things that happen constantly that are affecting the fate of the world; a girl fights in a duel with live steel for a great power, a boy faces a demigod in mortal combat to save those he loves, another young girl follows the path of her ancestors by battling against demons, a young man struggles to keep the balance in check between this world and the next. These are just examples of events that; were those who were involved in were to fail; would insure that Crystal Tokyo would not come to pass. Yet it is not our place to interfere because those people are best suited for those tasks."
The blonde girl reels from my words, obviously stunned by what I'm saying, but finds the strength to say, "But it's my responsibility to save everyone. After all, I'm going to become Queen."
"One day, yes." I tell her, "But that day is far in the future. And as for it being your responsibility, one day it will be. But even your Mother knew to delegate responsibility to those who were best suited for it."
"But...but then what am I suppose to do?" she asked in a small voice.
"Live for the present and plan for the future. What are you going to do after you graduate from high school?"
Usagi was silent for a moment. "I don't know yet. I mean, it's over a year away. It's not like anyone else is planning anything yet."
Coughing politely, Ami interjected. "Um, Usagi-chan? Mako-chan has applied to several culinary-arts schools; Rei-chan is already starting to become involved in the day-to-day business of the shrine; Mina-chan has sent demo tapes to several major record companies; and I've already been accepted to Todai."
"Why didn't anyone tell me?" Usagi asked in a small voice.
"We did Usagi-chan. We did."
With a somber expression on her face, the pony-tailed girl shuffled slowly to Haruka's car. The ride to the Tsukino residence was a quite one, with Ami occasionally looking back at her friend to make sure she was ok. Arriving at her house, I park the car and turn off the engine. Turning to addressing Usagi, I speak quietly to her.
"Usagi-chan? Where here."
Ami exits Haruka's car to help Usagi get out. Usagi, still in a daze, made her way up the walkway without bothering to say goodbye. Sitting back in the passengers' seat, Ami watches as her blonde friend enter her home.
"Thank you, Setsuna-san." She says quietly.
"For what?" I ask, slightly confused.
"For talking to Usagi-chan. Rei-chan and I have been getting a little worried about her lately. I think you're the first person who was able to get through to her."
I nod in understanding, start the engine, and pull back out into the street. Part of me couldn't help but enjoy the comfortable silence that existed between Ami and I during the drive. All too quickly, I was pulling into the parking lot of the apartment complex Ami lived in. The blue haired girl started to exit the car, but hesitated.
"Um, Setsuna-san?" she said, with downcast eyes.
"I...um, that is, I've recently come across several interesting articles and I was wondering if I could possible come over to your house and discuss them with you."
"Of course, child." I respond without hesitating.
"Oh. Thank you, Setsuna-san!" Ami said with a bright smile.
I watch her as she exists the car and make her way to the entrance of the apartment complex. She stopped and gave me a quick wave good-bye and I wave back. After she was inside, I took a deep calming breath...
"Stupid." bam "Stupid." Bam "Stupid." Bam
...and repeatedly bang my head against the steering wheel.
To Be Continued...
"Rollin', rollin', rollin'.
Keep those doggies rollin'.
I'm on a roll here! Chapter 6 is done and I'm already hard
at work on Chapter 7.
I hope that no one is disappointed that there were no
flashbacks in the chapter, but don't worry, they'll be
back in the next one! ^_-
As Always any C&C would be appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Meeting of Minds
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell
I walk quietly through the house; one hand holding my robe closed, as I search for my lover. It was nearly midnight and I was beginning to get worried since she hadn't come to bed yet. If it were anyone else, I would say that she was sulking; but she would vehemently say that she doesn't sulk.
Arriving in the living room, I find her sitting in the dark, the moonlight illuminating her soft skin. "Ruka? It's late; come to bed."
I watch as her features harden slightly as she crosses her arms over her chest. "She took my car."
With a sigh of exasperation, I turn on the lights and cross over to where she was sitting. Take a seat on the armrest, I place an arm over the back of the chair and lean close to her. "Come on, Ruka. It's not like Setsuna-san isn't a responsible person. I'm sure your car is just fine."
"She Took my car."
I roll my eyes and decide to change my tactics. If reason didn't work, I'll try humor. "I'm sure your car is fine. This is Setsuna-san we're talking about here. She probably has more experience driving than you. Knowing her, she most likely was one of the first people to drive the Model-T."
"She took My car."
With a sigh of frustration, I try my last tactic. If this doesn't work, then nothing would. "Come back to bed with me, Ruka. I'm feeling...cuddly." I say huskily as I lean close and nibble on her earlobe.
"She took my Car."
I lean back with a frown. Leave it to Haruka to get all worked up over something as silly as a car. I'm about to get up and go back to bed, alone, when I see movement by the doorway. Looking closely, I can barely make out a tuff of black hair.
Hesitantly, our daughter looked into the room before moving to stand on the threshold of the living room. I smiled fondly as she stifled a yawn; she looked so cute dressed in the violet nightgown I'd bought her last week.
"Why are you up, dear?" I ask gently; the only response I get being a slight shrug.
I motion her to come close, which she hesitantly does. When she is in arms length, I reach out and hug her, only to pull back with a start. "Hotaru-chan, are you alright? You're cold!"
I begin to rub her arms furiously, trying to warm them up. My daughter looks down and mutters, "I'm ok, Michiru-mama."
"Then why are you so cold?" I ask with concern.
Before I could press any further, I hear the telltale sound of the front door opening. "She's here." Haruka said in a flat voice.
Moments later, Setsuna walked into the room and looked at the three of us. "Good evening." She said conversationally.
Haruka shot up from the chair and stormed over to our taller housemate. "You took my car!" she said angrily, pointing an accusing finger at her.
Nonplused, Setsuna held out a set of car keys. "Yes I did. Thank you."
Haruka snatched the keys from Setsuna and glared at her. Then, to my surprise, she reached out and brushed Setsunas' emerald tresses from her forehead. My eyes widen when I notice a small red welt on her brow.
My lover studied the mark for a moment. "...steering wheel..." she muttered. Haruka then brushed past Setsuna and raced down the hall. "Don't worry, Baby! Papa's coming!"
'O...kay...' I think to myself, looking at Setsuna curiously.
Ignoring me, Setsuna looked at our daughter. "It's late, Hotaru-chan. You should be in bed."
"Yes, Setsuna-mama. Goodnight, Setsuna-mama, Michiru-mama." Hotaru said and gave us both a quick hug.
"Oh, Hotaru-chan?" the older woman said as Hotaru started walking out of the room, causing her to stop and look back at us. "You shouldn't have your window open at night this time of year. We wouldn't want to catch a cold."
I was confused when Hotaru blushed brightly and suddenly looked very guilty. Before I could say anything, she bolted out of the room. Hearing her frantic footsteps on the stairs, I give Setsuna a questioning look. She returns my look with her bland expression but, for the life of me, it seems...off somehow.
"Setsuna-san? Is there something wrong?"
She opens her mouth slightly, as if to say something, but pauses. "No, Michiru-san. There is nothing wrong. Goodnight."
As I watch her leave, alarm bells are ringing in my head. Through everything we've been through together over the years; the hunt for the Talismans, the awaking of Sailor Saturn, the Dead Moon Circus, Galaxia, raising our daughter; I have never seen her hesitant or unsure. Even when Haruka and I killed her, she was stoic as ever.
I quickly stand and search for the one person I could talk to about Setsuna. Given her earlier performance, I wasn't surprised to find her in the garage under her car. Holding my robe tightly closed, I walk to where I see her feet sticking out from underneath.
"Ruka? What are you doing?"
"She hit her head on the steering wheel." She explained distractedly, "That means that she was in an accident. That mean she did something to my car."
I look the car over with a curious expression. "But there isn't even a scratch on it."
"Exactly! She probably used her powers to fix everything. But I know better..." she replied stubbornly.
"Love, did something seem...off about Setsuna?"
"I've been saying that for years."
"Haruka. I'm being serious here."
With an exaggerated sigh, she slid out from under the car and looked me in the eye; which was surprising, considering the view I was surly presenting her. "No, I didn't. Why?"
"She seemed...distracted, I guess. She wasn't acting like her normal self."
"Knowing Setsuna, she's probably worried about some butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon or something. You know how hard it is to get a bead on her."
"I guess you're right. It must be nothing." I nod slowly. "After all, if something was wrong, she would surly tell us."
Haruka grunts and slides back under the car. I stand, watching a moment, feeling vexed at how she's acting.
"Ruka, aren't you overreacting?"
Her voice muffled from whatever she's doing, she says, "How would you feel if someone 'borrowed' your fiddle without asking?"
"It's no a 'fiddle'! It's a violin!" I snap, and then relax. "But I see your point. Are coming to bed?"
"I'll be there in a minute."
Pouting, I leave the garage. Before I do, I hear Haruka say, "Don't worry, Baby. Papa's here for you. I'll make everything all better."
'I sometimes wonder about her.' I think to my self, making my way to our bedroom, 'Is it a good thing that she treats her car as good as she treats our daughter?'
Everywhere I look, faceless people surround me. I try to push them out of my way with my Staff, but they barely move. They push in closer, almost suffocating me with their presence. I try to squeeze forward, but that causes them to press closer and try to hold me back. They claw franticly at my hair and my Senshi uniform in an effort to stop me. With a triumphant cry, I heave myself forward, past the hoard of people, to land on a cold stone floor.
I breathe deeply the air of freedom as I slowly stand. Looking around, I find myself on a giant stone terrace. Moving slowly, I walk forward, lean against the railing, and look up at the stars above. Like a perfect Topaz, the Earth hung low in the night's sky.
"I'm glad you came." A soft voice said from behind me.
I spin around to face that oh so familiar voice; my evening gown, a green so dark it appears to be black, swirls around me as I turn. Seeing the owner of that voice, a gasp escapes my lips.
A vision of beauty she is, her luminous skin seeming to glow with an inner light. Her court dress, a deceptively simple design, was a pale azure that accented her lithe body. Framing the soft features of her tender face, her ultramarine tresses fluttered softly in a gentle wind. Her cerulean orbs gaze at me intently with a mix of tender adoration and a thinly veiled hunger.
She glided across the floor slowly, her eyes never leaving mine. "Would you care to dance?" She asked, extending a hand towards me.
Taking her hand in mine, we close the gap between us. A haunting aria begins to play as we begin to slowly dance. Neither of us leading, we sway together to the soft music. The universe fades away, leaving only the two of us and the gentle harmony that is floating through the air.
"I've missed you so." She whispers, resting her head against my bosom.
"And I you." I breathe, the scent of her hair filling my being.
She tilted her head back and peered at me with longing. Leaning down, I partake of her sweet lips. Opening her mouth slightly, her tongue slowly probes forward until it finds mine and they begin to dance. We soon succumb to our passion as we kiss each other with an almost physical need. I wrap one arm around her shoulders, drawing her tightly to my body as my other hand caresses her spine. Her hands slowly slide down my back and come to a rest on my behind and squeezes; causing me to moan in desire.
An eternity passes before our lips part. I reach over and caress her face gently. She nuzzles my hand and kisses my palm.
"I love you, Sensei."
"I love you too, Ami."
Jolting awake, my arms flayed around searching for her. With a groan, I sit up in my bed as I slowly try to collect my thoughts. The recollection of my dream crashes into me and I moan as I rest my head in my hands. Crawling out of bed, I make my way to my bathroom. Turning on the shower, I discard my damp nightgown in the hamper I climb into the shower and relax as the hot water runs down my sweat soaked body.
Standing under the deluge of water, I reach for the shampoo and begin to lather my hair. As I massage my scalp, I slowly start to regain my emotional control, a very difficult task indeed.
I've had many dreams like this one before, but none of them were so intense...so real. The one thing that I couldn't shake, though, was that in all of the other dreams she was always Pai and never Ami.
'What's happening to me?' I think as I begin to wash the perspiration from my skin. 'Why does it seem that I'm always thinking about Ami? Why can't I get her out of my head?'
Not finding an answer in the falling water, I complete my morning ablutions and dress. Heading down the stairs, I make my way to the kitchen where I find the others already sitting at the breakfast table.
"Good morning, Setsuna-san." Michiru says, handing me a cup of tea.
"Good morning, Michiru-san. And thank you."
Taking a sip of my tea, I see Haruka reading the paper while Hotaru was busy eating her cereal. In fact, I'm surprised to see that she's devouring her breakfast at a pace that would do Usagi proud. She finishes her food and gulps down her orange juice.
"I gotta go! Bye!" Hotaru said in a rush as she pushed out of her chair.
"Hotaru-chan? What's the rush?" Haruka says from behind her paper.
"I promised to meet Chibi-usa-chan at the park! I see you later!" She called out as she rushed down the hall.
"Well, it's good that she's more energetic lately." Haruka said.
"I know." Michiru sighed. "I just wish that she had more friends her age besides Chibi-chan."
"Don't worry," I say, taking another sip, "I'm sure in a few years time, there'll be boys lined down the driveway wanting to be Hotaru-chans'...friend."
"You don't say." Haruka said with a false cheerfulness as she smoothed out her paper; ignoring the fact she had just torn it in two.
"Oh yes, I'm sure that Setsuna-san is right." Michiru said with a small smirk as she nettled her lover.
"Well, perhaps I'll go talk to Koneko-chans' father about borrowing his shotgun."
"Don't be silly, Ruka. Besides, I'm sure the Tsukinos' don't own a shotgun."
"That's not what Chiba-kun told me." Haruka replied.
The three of us fell into a comfortable silence as Michiru started to prepare breakfast. Soon, the delicious smells of Michiru's cooking filled the kitchen. Our usual mornings consist of Michiru and Haruka asking our daughter about school and her day, while I would occasionally interject a comment or two. But with Hotaru gone so early, we easily fell back into the routine we had established before we adopted her.
The quite was broken by the doorbell ringing. Haruka lowered her paper and Michiru paused in her labor as the three of us shared a slight look of confusion. It was still too early in the morning for any of our friends to drop by unannounced and Haruka had become infamous among the door-to-door salesmen. To this day, tales still circulate about the 'blonde terror' and what she did to that poor cosmetics saleswoman a few years ago.
"I'll get it." Haruka said as she folded her torn paper and stood. "It's probably Hotaru-chan. She was in such a rush to leave she must've forgotten her keys and locked herself out."
Michiru turned her attention back to the stove as I took another sip of my tea. Listening to the front door opening and closing, I was slightly confused when I heard two sets of footsteps and muffled conversation coming towards the kitchen.
"Hey, everyone. We have a visitor." Haruka announced as she reentered the kitchen.
"Ohayo Michiru-san, Setsuna-san." Ami said softly with a bow, causing me to almost drop my teacup.
To Be Continued...
Well, another chapter, another dollar (I wish!)
Incase you haven't noticed, I'm on a roll here,
So I should have the next chapter out shortly.
(Sorry there were no flashbacks in the chapter either,
but I'm sure everyone will be satisfied with the
As Always any C&C would be appreciated at email@example.com
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