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 firstname.lastname@example.org