Story: A Meeting of Minds (chapter 6)

Authors: SoftRogue

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Chapter 6

Title: Six

A Meeting of Minds
Chapter 6

a Sailor Moon Fanfic
by SoftRogue

Sailor Moon doesn't belong to me.

---Present Time---

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 tightly embrace her smaller frame against 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.



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. "'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.

"Yes, Ami-san?"

", 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...

Author's Notes...
"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


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