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