A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
Disclaimer: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
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Chapter 9: Birth of a New Soldier! Good Luck, Chibi Moon!
"We're home!" Chibi-Usa announced loudly as she and Usagi entered the Tsukino household.
"Hello," Ikkuko stepped into the hallway before stopping short. "Oh, Usagi! I'm glad you're home; you made it just in time for dinner. Did you have fun this week?" she asked, referring to Usagi's stay with fictional relatives, which had been implanted in her subconscious by Chibi-Usa.
Usagi shuddered. She most certainly had not had any fun over the previous week. But her happiness at seeing her mother overrode that "I'm glad to be back, mama!" Usagi darted forward and hugged her mother. "I want you to know that I love you," she said earnestly. In fact, many times Usagi had wanted to tell her parents — and even her brother — that, for fear that she might die as Sailor Moon, but always she refrained in case they thought it was odd.
Right now she didn't care.
Ikkuko smiled happily at her daughter. "I love you too, sweetie! I guess you must have missed us?" 'It's times like this that make all the troubles of motherhood worthwhile…' she thought, looking at her daughter, so obviously pleased to be home.
"You can say that again," Usagi agreed as she let Ikkuko go.
Chibi-Usa couldn't help but smile at the pair. Then another self-reproaching thought entered her head. 'A while ago I would have probably tried to ruin the moment by mentioning a failed test or something… I can't believe I never recognised Usagi as my mama before…' While she had only found out just before Usagi was kidnapped, seeing Usagi and Neo-Queen Serenity together earlier that day had really driven it home. 'I'm such an idiot!' she thought, recalling all the evidence which pointed to Usagi and the Queen being one and the same.
"Is something wrong, Chibi-Usa?" Ikkuko noticed the child looking a bit unhappy.
"No, nothing!" Chibi-Usa said, plastering a smile over her face.
"She's been out of sorts all week," Ikkuko whispered conspiratorially to Usagi. "I think she's been missing her Usagi-oneechan."
Chibi-Usa certainly wasn't going to disagree with that assessment. "I have missed you," she said simply, not going into any more detail for obvious reasons.
"Oh, I better check on dinner, I don't want to burn it!" Ikkuko sounded mortified at the prospect as she dashed back into the kitchen.
Usagi and Chibi-Usa both walked into the living room where Shingo was playing the Sailor Moon video game and Kenji was trying to read the paper over all the noise coming from the game.
"Hello, papa!" Usagi went over and gave her father a hug as he set down the newspaper.
"Uh… Hello, Usagi!" Kenji replied stiffly, not being as used to physical displays of affection as his wife was. "How have you been?"
A shadow seemed to pass over Usagi's face, but she quickly brushed it off and replaced it with a more cheerful expression. "I'm fine!" she lied, before going over to Shingo. "How's my favourite little brother?" She gave him a hug as well.
"Aaaah!! Get off!!" Shingo cried as Usagi inadvertently caused him to lose control. "Baka Usagi! Look what you did!" He pointed accusingly at the TV where a pixellated Sailor Moon was crying next to the words "Game Over". "I was on the last level, too…" he complained bitterly.
"Well, I missed you too," Usagi said in a slightly miffed tone, but she really couldn't be angry. Shingo was just acting the way he normally did, and Usagi badly needed some normalcy right now.
Luna had by now entered the living room to see what all the commotion was. Her eyes lit up on seeing Usagi safe and sound, but unable to talk in front of her family, she settled for meowing happily.
"Well, at least Luna missed me!" Usagi said pointedly to Shingo. "Didn't you, Luna?" She picked up the aforementioned black cat and began stroking her stomach.
Now Luna, like any cat, enjoyed a good belly stroking, but on the other hand, it was terribly undignified for a "Royal Advisor", so she normally threatened Usagi with her claws when she tried to get too familiar. 'I think I'll let her off this time… besides, it feels sooo good!' she thought deliriously as Usagi's fingers worked their magic.
Kenji coughed before speaking to Usagi. "Usagi, that young man was 'round earlier today, asking for you." His tone made it clear he did not approve of said young man.
Usagi froze up, since she knew exactly who her father was talking about. "I… I'll see him some other time…" she stammered feverishly as she felt all the pain and betrayal she had been bottling up all day rise to the surface. "Um… I have to use the bathroom," she excused herself, before her family saw her crying.
Everyone apart from Luna was rather puzzled at her reaction, though. Chibi-Usa was remembering how Usagi had responded that morning when they were at Rei's and the subject of Mamo-chan came up. She gave Luna a quizzical look, but the cat was only staring sadly at the door Usagi had departed by, and failed to notice Chibi-Usa's questioning glance.
"I wonder if that young man has been bothering Usagi?" Kenji wondered aloud, a definite edge of fatherly protectiveness in his voice.
"Hah!" Shingo scoffed at that. "It's more likely that she's been bothering him! I can't understand how baka Usagi could get such a cool guy…"
Ikkuko had now come in to summon her family to dinner, and overheard this exchange. "I don't know what you two are talking about! Honestly, Mamoru-kun seems very well mannered, and Shingo…" She rounded on her youngest child. "You shouldn't say such things about your big sister."
Both Tsukino men mumbled apologies at the woman who provided food for them.
Lecture over, Ikkuko remembered what she had come in for. "Well, dinner's ready, come and get it."
Everyone went into the kitchen except Chibi-Usa and Luna, who waited for Usagi. After a minute, she appeared. "Is dinner ready?" she asked, sounding and looking completely normal.
"Yes. Come on before everyone else eats it all," Chibi-Usa said, slightly impatiently.
The two went to join their family in the kitchen, while Luna just watched them go, a sad expression on her features.
Mamoru paced his apartment endlessly, one word repeating through his mind: 'Baka, baka, baka, baka!' For he surely had to be an idiot to ruin things with the one person who made his life worth living.
And not for the first time either. When he wasn't breaking up with her to protect her from the certain death his dreams predicted, he was having sex with an evil entity which had possessed her unwilling body.
Whoever coined the phrase 'You always hurt the one you love' most certainly had been thinking of one Chiba Mamoru.
'Baka, baka, baka, baka!'
After the disastrous encounter with Rei and the others at Hikawa Shrine, he had searched everywhere for his Usako, even going to her home, despite the hostile reception he had received from her father the last time he went. Luckily, her mother had answered the door, and Ikkuko was a lot less overprotective. But of course, she had stuck to the story of Usagi's visiting fictional relatives in Nerima.
Why they had chosen Nerima escaped him completely, since it was only a short bus ride from Juuban; surely it would have made more sense to claim she was visiting relatives in another city?
Oh, but he was getting distracted from his moping now. 'Baka, baka, baka, baka!' his thoughts echoed relentlessly.
The worst thing was, he didn't have a clue how he could possibly apologise for the terrible wrong he did her. If what Dark Serenity had said was true, then it was likely that Usagi would never be able to forgive him.
He really didn't think he could live with that.
'She'll have to go home at some point… maybe I could change into Tuxedo Kamen and go in through her bedroom window tonight…?' he thought optimistically, before angrily scrubbing that idea 'After what you did to her?! That would scare the living daylights out of the poor girl!'
'Baka, baka, baka, baka!'
"What can I do to make it right?!" he demanded loudly, uncaring if his neighbours heard.
The walls of his apartment held no answer.
"Usagi… Is something wrong between you and Mamo-chan?" Chibi-Usa asked hesitantly as she, Usagi and Luna all sat together in Usagi's bedroom.
"N-no! Nothing's wrong! Why would you think that?!" Usagi's voice was several octaves higher than normal as she tried to reassure Chibi-Usa.
"Well, you act weird whenever he gets mentioned, and you left the shrine before he could come 'round to see you. And last night the girls were acting weird towards him after you fell asleep." Chibi-Usa counted off all the relevant points.
"W-well, n-nothings wrong!" Usagi stammered as she tried to come up with a change of subject. "Hey, Chibi-Usa, why don't you try out your new henshin?" she asked. In truth, she was quite curious about it anyway.
"Okay!" Chibi-Usa didn't need to be told twice; this was a dream come true for her, after all. 'Far better to be a soldier for love and justice than just a dumb old princess' was her line of thinking. "Are you sure this is okay in here?" she asked as she took out the transformation brooch.
"Sure! I did my first henshin in this very room," Usagi said, glad to be on a safe topic.
"Only because you wouldn't believe it was real," Luna sniffed.
"Well, excuse me for not being used to having talking cats appear in my room and tell me I'm supposed to be some sort of fighter against the evil. It was rather odd from my perspective, you know," Usagi argued good-naturedly.
"Okay, here I go!" Chibi-Usa held up the compact. "Moon Prism Power… Make Up!!" In a swirl of pink light, Chibi-Usa became Sailor Chibi Moon! "Well, how do I look?"
Usagi and Luna both stared at her openmouthed.
"What, is it that impressive?" Chibi Moon smirked, pleased at getting such a reaction.
Usagi abruptly burst into loud laughter, while Luna sweatdropped.
"Huh? What's so funny?" asked a now-worried Chibi Moon.
"Look in the mirror…" Usagi gasped out in-between giggles.
Chibi Moon did as told, then drew in her breath sharply, filled with horror at what she saw. "It… It's pink!!" she yelled. "Everything's pink!! I thought I would look like Sailor Moon, but I just look like some sort of… pink… pinkie thing! This is terrible!!"
"No… It's… it's cute! You're a kawaii little soldier for love and justice!" Usagi said, not sure herself if she was being serious or just making fun of the girl.
"How will I ever threaten monsters if I look like this…?" Chibi Moon bemoaned her fate. "I better have some really powerful attacks…"
"Well, you can't test them out in here," Usagi said firmly. "My first attack was the tiara, and it could destroy youma easily. It probably wouldn't do the walls any favours."
Chibi Moon let her henshin fade. "Luna, do you know why it's pink? It can't be just because of my hair, can it? Sailor Moon, Jupiter and Mars have different hair colours compared to their fuku." She looked at the cat with pleading eyes, as if she had the power to give her fuku a better colour scheme.
"Uh… The fuku colour is based on the colour associated with the planet. I don't know where the colour scheme for Sailor Moon came from, so I can't tell you why yours is pink. It could be because you're a soldier in training… Maybe when you finish training, you'll get a better colour scheme." Luna hoped that would placate the girl.
"I hope so." Chibi-Usa sat down and folded her arms, a sullen expression on her face.
"Never mind, Chibi-Usa. Anyway, it's time for bed." Usagi stretched out and yawned before going to get her pyjamas.
"Okay. Good night, Usagi!" Chibi-Usa said cheerfully as she left to go to her own room.
Usagi watched her go sadly. She had been hoping that Chibi-Usa would want to sleep with her. 'I suppose that means she feels confident that I won't disappear…' Usagi thought as she got changed and then turned her light off.
"Usagi…" Luna began gently, "Do you want to talk about… what happened?" She hoped that Usagi would be more talkative with Chibi-Usa out the room.
"There's nothing to talk about," Usagi said hollowly as she got under the blanket.
"Usagi… It's not right to bottle things up like this. And it's not like you, either! You really should get your feelings out into the open."
"I don't want to talk about it, Luna. Just leave it, will you? Please," Usagi said shakily.
Luna could see that Usagi was uncomfortable with being pushed like this. "Okay, Usagi… But please remember that I'm here if you want to talk. Everyone is worried about you."
There was silence for a few minutes before Usagi spoke. "Luna… Why do you wish I was more like the princess from the Moon Kingdom?"
"What?" Luna was caught off guard by this change in topic. "What are you talking about, Usagi?"
"You always compare me to Princess Serenity, and I'm never good enough," Usagi said sadly.
Luna was now recalling her conversation with Minako from earlier in the day, and was getting rather worried. "But you are Princess Serenity, Usagi-chan," she said, hoping that would satisfy her.
It didn't. "I'm the reincarnation of Princess Serenity. I'm Tsukino Usagi, child of Kenji and Ikkuko. I've lived as a normal girl in Tokyo for fourteen years." She sighed bitterly. "Princess Serenity was royalty on the Moon. She had the best of everything, and wanted for nothing. I'm just a regular girl who has to live up to that, despite having none of the benefits she enjoyed." Usagi paused for a long moment. "Sometimes I hate Princess Serenity."
"B-but Princess Serenity is a part of you, Usagi-chan!" Luna protested, now very worried at the direction of this conversation.
Usagi sat upright to glare at the foot of the bed, where Luna was. "So is Dark Serenity!!" she almost yelled. "If it had been Princess Serenity that had taken over my body, would you have minded?"
Luna was shocked. And also filled with a growing sense of horror as she realised Usagi was right. She probably wouldn't have given a second thought to Usagi if it meant she could have her "perfect princess". But there is no such thing as a "perfect princess"; even Luna knew that. "Usagi…" she said, choosing her words carefully, knowing that one misstep could destroy any trust she had earned from her young charge. "Princess Serenity was not perfect. She wasn't really smarter than you; she just had a better education. If she was more graceful, it was because she was trained to be. You are exactly the person she would have been if she had grown up in more normal circumstances. She had your kind and pure heart. She was sometimes reckless and disobedient… and there were times when she skipped out on her studies."
Luna could now see Usagi was smiling slightly in the darkness. "Usagi, you and the princess are one and the same. Your experiences have made you different, but the core of your soul is identical. I don't know what Dark Serenity was, but Princess Serenity is you. You can't have one without the other, so it would be impossible for her to just appear and take over you. And I know that she would be incapable of such an act even if it were possible, just as you would refuse to place your own life above another."
Usagi sniffed. "That was beautiful, Luna… I knew none of the girls would have placed Princess Serenity above me, but I was really worried about you. I feel a lot better now."
Luna padded up to the head of the bed so Usagi could see her better. "Usagi, you should never denigrate yourself. I know I have been hard on you, but it's only because I truly believe in you."
"Thank you, Luna." Usagi leaned down and gave Luna a short hug. Normally Luna objected to such treatment, but in this case she let it slide.
Hotaru's dreams were frequently of the macabre sort. It was an unfortunate consequence of both the soldier of destruction and an evil daimon inhabiting the same body. When she was not dreaming of the Silence, she would have dreams of the nightmarish creatures inhabiting the strange realm of Tau Ceti.
But for once, she was not dreaming of such disturbing images.
A full moon hung massively in the sky, seeming so close that Hotaru felt sure she could reach it if she tried hard enough. But that was of secondary importance.
A figure stood atop a huge crystalline mound in the foreground. She was wearing a white dress with an exaggerated bow on the back which almost gave her the effect of having butterfly wings. Her long, silvery blonde hair was done up in two long ponytails which streamed out behind her on an ethereal breeze. She had her hands clasped over her chest as if in prayer, and radiated such unearthly beauty that Hotaru almost felt ashamed to look at her, in case she dirtied the vision before her with her unworthy eyes.
"I am the person who embraces everything."
Her voice was the voice of someone who had endured great pain and suffered hardships, and yet refused to bow to them. It was a voice that exemplified hope.
Without conscious thought, Hotaru moved closer.
The bow on her back seemed to disintegrate into nothingness, but as it did, two majestically feathered wings unfurled themselves from her back. Hotaru could now see that she had her eyes closed and her head slightly bowed, as if she really was praying. She also was wearing an elegant golden tiara, inset with several red jewels on her head.
Suddenly, she extended her arms and arched her head backwards. Billions of tiny lights danced across her form while an ornate staff appeared in her hands. As the lights passed over her, she was no longer wearing the dress, but what looked like a sailor fuku. Her wings had now become smaller and more stylised.
"And I am a soldier born from love for all."
She turned to face Hotaru and opened her eyes, a beatific smile on her lips.
To be continued.
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