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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It was the end of Noriko's first day at school. She had enrolled in Juuban High School, and was in year two, class three. All the Senshi except from Setsuna, Hotaru and Rei also attended this school. Most people were going to their clubs now, and Hotaru had suggested that she join one herself. But Noriko wasn't sure; there were so many to choose from.
She turned at the sound of her name. It was Aino Minako, Sailor Venus.
"Minako. What is it?" She asked, pleased at seeing the energetic younger girl.
"Have you decided what club to join?" Minako asked as she ran up to Noriko.
"No, I'm not really sure what to do. What club are you in?" Noriko asked.
Minako drew herself up. "How can you ask that? I'm Aino Minako, the best volleyball player in all of Japan!" she said dramatically.
"Well, I am from another planet." Noriko smiled, and was surprised that she hadn't suddenly been put in a bad mood by mentioning home.
Minako seemed to notice this and changed the subject. "You do seem to be settling in well. What do you think of Earth?"
"It's a lot like Centauri." In spite of herself, she did start to feel more melancholy at the actual word Centauri, but continued anyway. "The sun's more yellow, and the gravity is less. But it is still similar enough that I'm finding it easy to adapt." Except for the dreams, she finished silently. It was nearly a week since she had arrived, and every night she had been plagued by nightmares of Centauri's destruction and its people's demise.
Minako frowned slightly at seeing Noriko's expression stiffen and decided that this topic of conversation wasn't worthwhile. She was trying to quickly come up with something else to talk about when a distraction presented itself. "Look, it's Ami-chan!" she said excitedly, hoping some of it would rub off on Noriko. "Ami! Over here!" She waved frantically at her friend, who was walking by with a book clutched tightly to her chest.
"Minako, Noriko," Ami greeted them as she came over.
"So, Ami, what's new?" Minako asked, hoping Ami would talk about something interesting — which was unlikely, but at least it would get them off the subject of Noriko's home.
"Nothing much… I got a book from the library about Unix programming. Want to see?" She held the ridiculously thick book up to them.
Minako recoiled slightly, but noticeably. "Uh… No, thanks!"
Noriko managed a slightly more polite, "Some other time."
Ami seemed disappointed, but not surprised. "Oh well. I'd better get to computer club anyway." She walked off with her book.
"Oh, I'd better get to volleyball practice!" Minako ran off, and Noriko was alone again. Then she remembered the notice for the karate club. Karate was like the martial arts she practiced on Centauri. I'd be good at that, she thought as she went to the gym.
"I haven't seen you before," the teacher in charge of the karate club observed as Noriko entered.
"I just transferred here. I'd like to sign up for karate club," she told him.
"Name?" he asked.
"Any previous experience?"
She hesitated, not sure how different it would be to what she knew, then settled on, "Yes."
The teacher caught her hesitation and smiled. "It's all right; I'll pair you up with another beginner." He called over to a first year student who was waving his arms in a most uncoordinated fashion, "Shiromizu Koichi! You're fighting Ka'Tenmei Noriko!" He pointed at Noriko. The boy's eyes lit up as he looked at Noriko.
"Yes, sir!" he said eagerly.
"Noriko, the changing rooms are there." He pointed to a door with "Girls Changing Room" written on it.
"Okay." Noriko went in and got changed into her PE gear. Professor Tomoe had bought all her clothes for her, since she only had the clothes on her back when she came to Earth.
She emerged in her t-shirt and shorts, and dropped into a combat stance opposite Koichi.
"I'll go easy on you." Koichi smiled condescendingly at her.
Poor kid doesn't have a chance, she thought as she looked at his stiff combat stance and obvious ungainliness. "Please…" She matched his smile. "Don't hold back on me."
"Begin," another student, acting as umpire, called.
Koichi inched his way closer to her a little at a time. Noriko waited… and waited. The fool wasn't even in striking distance. He must be really bad to be this cautious, she thought.
Suddenly, he charged at her. Noriko resisted the urge to laugh as she neatly stepped away to the side and brought her foot up to kick the back of his head as he passed. Shiromizu Koichi collapsed to the ground with a grunt.
"I submit," he groaned as he attempted to get up.
"Good fight," Noriko said as she relaxed her stance, barely stifling a chuckle.
The teacher had been watching. "It was for you," he said. "You really weren't kidding about experience. I'll put you with someone a bit more advanced." He looked over at a muscled guy on the floor. Standing over him was a third-year girl with soft features and shoulder-length red hair. "Takaya Kimiko," the teacher shouted, the girl looked up. "You're fighting Ka'Tenmei Noriko now."
She smiled at Noriko when she saw Koichi trying to massage the back of his head. "Sure, but I'll be a little tougher than poor Koichi was."
"I like a challenge," Noriko replied as she went to the mat Kimiko was on and assumed her stance opposite Kimiko. Another student dragged off the muscled guy, who showed no signs of getting up. Most of the others had stopped to watch.
"Begin," The teacher said.
Kimiko came at Noriko like a shot from a gun, sending a flurry of punches at her. Noriko was surprised, but able to avoid or block them all. Kimiko jumped back to avoid any counterattack, and they faced each other.
"Impressive," they both said in unison, before looking at each other in surprise.
Noriko then went on the attack, feinting with her right before throwing a punch with her left. But Kimiko caught her fist before it landed. Acting on instinct, Noriko kicked Kimiko's hand before she could do anything. Kimiko yelped in pain as she released Noriko's hand and backed off. A murmur of surprise went through the other students. By now all of them had stopped to watch the fight.
Noriko was enjoying herself. The fight was requiring so much of her concentration that it totally took her mind of the depression she was feeling recently.
Seeing that Kimiko was now dropping her left arm, Noriko decided to attack again. She quickly advanced and kicked at Kimiko. Kimiko however, was not as hurt as she made out; she grabbed Noriko's foot and pushed against it, knocking Noriko over. Putting out her arms before she hit the floor, Noriko was able to go into a backflip and land perfectly on her feet.
Some of the students whistled and clapped, but Noriko couldn't concentrate on that. She was totally intent on her opponent. Nothing existed outside the small area of the mat.
Kimiko looked at Noriko in shock, but recovered into a more defensive stance before Noriko could take advantage of it. They began circling each other, searching for an opening. It was a question of who would snap first and attack. Noriko decided to give Kimiko the opening she wanted. She raised her left arm a bit and relaxed her right. She straightened her legs slightly.
Kimiko grinned and waved her finger at Noriko. "I'm not going to fall for that."
Not what I had in mind, but it'll do, Noriko thought as she saw how Kimiko had shifted her balance slightly as she chided Noriko. Noriko advanced quickly, Kimiko threw a defensive punch, but Noriko hit her elbow mid-punch and pushed her now dead arm away as she used the heel of her other hand to hit Kimiko's solar plexus.
She gasped as the air was forced from her lungs, but Noriko wasn't finished, she held Kimiko's dead arm up and stepped behind her, tripping her over, but retaining her grip on her arm. She twisted it viciously as Kimiko tried to cry out, but her empty lungs wouldn't cooperate. "I yield!" she managed to gasp out.
Noriko relaxed her grip and helped Kimiko up. "That was a great fight!" she said.
Kimiko rubbed her arm. "Where did you learn to fight like that?" she asked.
"You don't want to know." Noriko said. She looked around and saw everyone looking at her in awe. Just like when I was Sailor Centauri, she thought.
"Noriko, that was incredible," a younger girl with short black hair said.
"Hotaru! What are you doing here?" Noriko went to her young friend.
"I came here straight after school. Usagi said she saw you going into the karate club, so I came to see. I wanted to walk you home," Hotaru said.
"Sure, I'm about finished here. I'll get a quick shower and get changed. Back in a minute." She went into the changing room. Kimiko followed her. Noriko turned the shower on and started washing the sweat off. "That was quite a workout," she said to herself.
"Only a workout?" Kimiko asked as she got into the showers herself.
Noriko was surprised, she thought she was alone. "No disrespect; you put up a tremendous fight," she offered consolingly.
"I was undefeated. I really would like to know where you learned to fight," Kimiko said as she started washing herself.
"Fighting evil for love and honour," Noriko whispered almost silently
"What?" Kimiko questioned.
"Nothing!" Noriko covered. "Anyway, my friend's waiting. I'd better go." Noriko turned her shower off and left to get changed.
Kimiko shrugged her shoulders, but winced in pain at the action. "I'll find out your secret," she said to herself.
Noriko and Hotaru were walking from the high school to Hotaru's house. "I've never seen anything like that when you beat up that girl. And I've seen a lot of weird stuff," Hotaru said in admiration.
"Yeah? Well…" Noriko said modestly, "when I awakened as a Senshi, I knew I had to get in shape, and physical violence gave me another option in a fight; even if I lost my powers, which has happened a few times, I can still put up a fight."
"I've always been physically weak…" Hotaru said sadly.
Noriko put an arm around her. "Don't worry, you're young. When I was your age, I was totally out of shape. Hermes was not very happy with me. But I worked hard, and look at me today!" She gave Hotaru a squeeze. "All you need is a good mental outlook and anything's possible." Noriko was surprised at how upbeat she was, but decided not to think about it in case it went away.
"I've been thinking, Hotaru. You're a lot different to the other Senshi of this solar system," she continued. She could feel Hotaru tense up a little. "I don't mean in a bad way," she said quickly.
"I know," Hotaru said. "It's just that I've always been ostracized for being different. When I was younger, I died in a lab accident."
Noriko was speechless, so Hotaru continued. "Papa was so sad, he made a deal to keep me alive, and he was possessed by a daimon. I was brought back to life, but I had changed."
Noriko thought about how Professor Tomoe doted on his daughter. Was he trying to make amends?
Hotaru went on with her story. "I would do bad things, but couldn't remember. I had a strange ability to heal people, but it grossed out the other students at school, so they stayed away from me. Once, I saw a boy was really hurt. I went over to see, but everyone acted scared, they said I had hurt him, but I couldn't remember." Hotaru drew herself closer to Noriko. "I was alone for a long time, but then I made friends with a girl called Chibi-Usa. She didn't judge me for being different. I would be able to play with her and her friends. But then stranger things started to happen. I had to stop being her friend in case I hurt her." Hotaru smiled in recollection. "But she kept coming to see me, even though Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna had told her to stay away. Then I started to awaken as Sailor Saturn. They tried to kill me, but Usagi protected me."
"They tried to kill you?!" Noriko repeated in astonishment.
"Yes." Hotaru said matter-of-factly. "You have to understand; I was possessed by an alien being. They couldn't allow my power to be used for evil. When Mistress 9 had total control over my body, only Usagi still believed in me. She gave me the Holy Grail, knowing that it could make Mistress 9 unstoppable, but I managed to defeat her in my mind and awakened as Sailor Saturn. By then Pharaoh 90 was already coming to destroy us. I used my power to destroy the entire planet, and in the process Pharaoh 90. Sailor Moon still believed in me, and saved me from being killed by using my power. She rebuilt the world and I was reborn as a baby."
Noriko was totally shocked. There was a lot more to this little girl than met the eye. "You have the ability to destroy an entire world?!"
"It's not something I'd do lightly. It was the only way to stop Pharaoh 90."
"I don't envy you, having that kind of power," Noriko finally said.
"It is a heavy burden," Hotaru agreed.
Noriko knew what would cheer them up after that melancholic discussion. "Hey, lets go get some ice cream. My treat!" she said to Hotaru.
"Thanks… but Noriko, you don't have any money," Hotaru reminded her.
"Oh…" Noriko was slightly crestfallen.
"Hey, guys. What's up?" Rei asked as she appeared behind the other Inner Senshi.
"Rei-chan! What are you doing here?" Makoto asked, surprised at seeing Rei at Juuban High School.
"I came here after school ended. What's going on?" Rei replied, forcing her way in between the others to see what they were looking at.
"Takaya Kimiko," Ami said seeing Rei looking at the girl who was training. "She's been training like this since Noriko beat her a few days ago."
"That's nearly two hundred pushups, more than I've done in my whole life," Usagi said in admiration.
"Usagi, you haven't done one pushup in your life, never mind two hundred," Rei scolded her.
"Rei-chan, why are you so mean to me?!" Usagi wailed.
"Have you, Usagi?" Mako asked.
"That's not the point," Usagi complained.
"Hey, look." Minako pointed at the girl with long white hair striding purposefully from the school. "Noriko! Over here!" she called.
Noriko paused, looked at the girls, then at the gate, before deciding to go over. "Yeah?" she asked as she went to them.
"Kimiko's training really hard; I think she wants a rematch," Ami informed her.
Noriko arched an eyebrow. "Really?" Then she called over to Kimiko, who was now doing sit ups, "Hey, Kimiko, want a rematch?"
"Yes. But not today; I'm not ready," Kimiko half-grunted between sit-ups.
"Good," Noriko replied. "I'm busy today."
"What is it?" Rei asked her.
"Hotaru's in bed with flu. I promised I'd come straight from school," Noriko said.
"We'll come over too!" Usagi said for everyone. Fortunately, no one had better plans.
"I think she'd like that," Noriko said as they all left Kimiko to her training.
"It's me," Noriko called as she entered Hotaru's — and my own, she reminded herself — home.
"Hello, everyone." Setsuna came into the hallway with a mug of steaming yellow liquid.
"Setsuna!" Noriko said in surprise. She lived with Hotaru and saw all the other Senshi at school, but hadn't seen Setsuna since she had moved in with Hotaru. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
Setsuna smiled. "Helping to care for Hotaru. The professor is out shopping for groceries, so I'm here to look after Hotaru. Of course, your cat has provided more…" She grimaced slightly. "…than enough help."
As if on cue, Hermes' voice carried down the stairs. "Hurry up with that flu remedy! She's burning up!"
"Coming," she said through gritted teeth as she went up the stairs to Hotaru's room. Everyone else followed her.
Hotaru was sitting in her bed, propped up by a mass of pillows. A box of tissues and a bin full of used tissues was next to her. Her face was bright red and her hair was all mussed. Hermes was snuggled up against her stomach.
Hotaru smiled at everyone. "It's so nice of you all to come," she said. Her voice was strained.
"You'd better not talk. Drink this," Setsuna gave the mug to Hotaru, who drank some, grimaced, then put the mug on her nightstand.
"Thanks," she croaked.
"You won't get better if you don't take your medicine," Minako chastised her.
"Just pray you don't get a visit from 'Nurse' Minako," Rei warned her.
"Well, you did recover after I helped you," Minako said in her own defence.
"Only to make sure you wouldn't come again," Rei replied.
Minako started to look sad, so Usagi put an arm around her. "Don't listen, Minako, I think it's sweet that you cared enough to do all that you did for us."
"Thank you, Usagi." Minako hugged her friend tightly.
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Ami asked Hotaru.
"No, I'm fine—" Hotaru attempted to say, but Hermes quickly spoke over her.
"Turn down the heat; she's boiling. And get her something cold to drink!" he ordered.
Hotaru just rolled her eyes in resignation. "I'll go get something from the fridge," Noriko said. "Hermes, you come too."
"My place is here!" he protested.
"Now!" Noriko ordered firmly. Hotaru mouthed a 'thank you' at her as Hermes reluctantly leapt off the bed.
"I thought a talking cat would be great at first, too," Usagi consoled Hotaru after Noriko and Hermes had left the room.
"He means well," Hotaru told them.
"The road to Hawaii is paved with good intentions," Minako said sagely, nodding at her own wisdom.
Rei and Setsuna looked at Minako like they had given up hope. "The road to 'Hell'," Ami corrected her quietly.
Minako held a finger up to her mouth as she considered the correction. "That would make more sense… after all, how could you have a road to Hawaii? It's an island!"
Everyone just stared at her.
"But how can you have a road to hell either? I mean, it's not like you can just drive a few miles out of town to reach it…" Minako continued her musings.
Everyone else continued staring at her.
"Hey, listen!" Mako got everyone's attention. They all strained their ears as they could hear yelling elsewhere in the house. It was difficult to hear properly, but they got the idea that Noriko was telling off Hermes for being an interfering busybody. It ended with a final loud exchange of:
"Get out until you grow up!"
"I'm just looking out for her, you should be grateful!"
"You're suffocating her!"
"I'll come back when you grow up!"
Everyone looked at each other in silence. Usagi broke it. "I wish I could boss Luna around like that."
Noriko came in holding a glass of cola with ice cubes in it. She smiled sweetly at everyone. "Hermes had some errands to run," she said as she handed the glass to Hotaru.
"Thank you," Hotaru said quietly. Everyone else just stared at Noriko.
Noticing everyone's stares, Noriko shrugged her shoulders and said. "Don't worry, he'll be back."
They all murmured in agreement and Ami tried to change the subject. "So, uh, Rei… what's new with you?"
Rei looked startled then answered. "Well… I cleaned the fire pits at the shrine yesterday…"
"Huh. That's interesting," Makoto said slowly.
"Looks like I've made everyone feel awkward. Sorry," Noriko apologised. Everyone quickly refuted that, but they all made excuses and left quickly, leaving Setsuna, Hotaru and Noriko by themselves.
"Never mind. I'm sure some of those reasons were at least partly true," Setsuna consoled Noriko.
"Yeah." Noriko sighed as she slumped into a comfy chair. "Being a solitary Senshi left little time for social skills…"
A few days later, Kimiko challenged Noriko to a rematch after school. They were facing off before their fight. The other Senshi except Setsuna were all watching. Noriko was surprised that Haruka and Michiru were there. Unknown to her, another Sailor Senshi was also watching.
"The karate champ could have the star seed…" Lead Crow wondered aloud as she observed her target.
Kimiko had finished her stretches and called over to Noriko, "Ready?"
"I always am," Noriko replied.
"Makoto, you can be umpire," Kimiko said to Mako.
"Sure. Begin!" Mako told them.
They both charged at one another, Noriko throwing a punch at Kimiko's face, but Kimiko caught her fist and punched Noriko in the stomach before throwing her to the ground. Noriko quickly regained her feet. "You have been practicing," she said in admiration.
"I try to stay on top," Kimiko replied as she kicked at Noriko. But Noriko was ready and grabbed Kimiko's foot and twisted it, causing Kimiko to fall flat on her face.
"Come on, Noriko!" Hotaru (who had made a remarkably fast recovery) called out.
"I'm doing my… Uhhf!" Noriko couldn't finish because Kimiko kicked her in the jaw. Backing off and holding her mouth, Noriko admonished her. "That wasn't nice…"
"You shouldn't get distracted," Kimiko replied.
"Still wasn't nice," Noriko griped as they circled each other. Hotaru guiltily hung her head.
Suddenly, Lead Crow appeared and fired her bracelets at Kimiko. The Senshi quickly ran off to transform.
Noriko watched as a flower appeared on Kimiko's head, and from it, her star seed emerged. It shone brightly, then turned black.
"Not the one, but there's still you." Crow turned to Noriko.
Noriko didn't know why she had kept her transformation wand, but it instinctively appeared in her hand as a million thoughts ran through her head. But, already on an irrevocable course, she said the words she had said a thousand times before… and had promised never to say again. "Centauri Planet Power, MAKE UP!"
She spun the wand and twirled around as her transformation took effect. Sailor Centauri had returned.
To be continued.
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