tenoko1: (SM: Lady of the Moon)
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Chapter one cane be found here

Sailor Moon fanfic- second chapter

Divergence
Chapter Two
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: Teen


Standard disclaimers apply. Readers be warned that your head canon and actual canon may conflict with this story- it’s okay, take a deep breath and keep reading.



    “So why didn’t you tell us you were leaving to go to America to begin with?” Mina asked, idly stirring her neon colored soda with a straw. “I mean, you kinda said something about being out of town for a while, but in no way were other countries mentioned. I didn’t even think they’d let you have a passport, or heck, even through airport security.” She turned inquisitively to Ami. “Shouldn’t our powers or items set off scanners or something? I’m a bit disappointed I’ve never been tackled to the ground or  had to be frisked.”

    “Mina!” the other girls all cried.

    A blonde brow arched a brow, unabashed. “What? Breaks the monotony of the experience. I always imagine some hilarious sequence of events where my items set off an alarm while I’m innocently standing in line reading a book and I end up getting tackled and the bottom of a dog pile of security officers. It’s quite funny, but I usually get weird looks when I start giggling to myself.”

    “Majority of people don’t randomly burst out into fits of giggles in public, blondie,” Haruka laughed, tweaking the end of her hair affectionately.

    Not understanding why the others didn’t find it as funny as she did, Mina shrugged and turned her attention back to the pigtailed girl. “So?”

    Frowning, Usagi shook her head and waved over the waitress for another ginger ale. “How would I know why they don’t set off security in the airports? Besides, how many airports have you been to, Mina? Have you even left our area?”

    Rolling her eyes, the senshi of love waved her off. “Not that! Why did you go out of town?”

    “Oh,” said Usagi with a blink of surprise. She frowned at her empty glass. “Well… hm. It was unexpected. I didn’t fully understand and didn’t really have much choice. Ah, my parents were, um… going through a sort of, um, rough patch,” she admitted uneasily, not looking at any of them.

    No one liked to talk about dysfunction in their own immediate family, even if it wasn’t your fault. A heavy silence fell over their corner booth as the waitress brought out her fresh drink and took the empty glass away. The group waited in patient understanding for Usagi to continue. She cleared her throat and did. “And, uh, apparently at the same time, my aunt’s family was going through some things as well. Ashley was going through a sort of identity crisis and floundering to figure out the whole ‘who am I’ and ‘what do I do with my life’ bit. She’d gotten more and more reckless trying to find something to hang onto, and my aunt called my mother thinking a girl near Ashley’s age might help. Family. I was shipped off to America, my brother went to soccer camp for the summer. When I went I had no idea how long I’d be gone or if my parents would have already filed for divorce by the time I got back.”

    “And did they?” Makoto asked softly. Usagi looked up. “File for divorce, I mean.”

    A small smile playing over her lips, Usagi shook her head. “No, they didn’t. And things seem better now. I came home to half of the walls demolished, all the furniture covered in sheets, and my parents grinning from ear to ear.”

    “Well, then how did things go in America, for you?” asked Rei.

    Usagi glanced first at Haruka, gaze questioning the older woman’s face. She gave her an infinitesimal nod of encouragement, causing Usagi to draw in a deep breath.

    “It was fine. I had a lot of fun.” She hesitated, thinking of how everything had really started to change for her from the moment her cousin embraced her. “I learned a lot.”

    About herself, for starters. That perhaps Ashley wasn’t the only one floundering in the waters of uncertainty asking herself ‘What do I do now?’ and ‘Where do I go from here?’. Usagi still didn’t have all the answers, but Ashley had been key in helping get her on some sort of path. She’d encouraged Usagi to go to college, and had practically gotten her her current job. Stories of Sailor Moon had reached all the way overseas and Ashley couldn’t get enough of them, finding even her enemies as loveable as the senshi themselves. She thought it all some grand romantic tale and ended up selling Usagi as the leading expert on Sailor Moon. Which Sailor Moon had had to confirm upon Usagi’s return to Japan. Not that Usagi had known about the legendary senshi arriving at the office to speak on her behalf. Or the hoops she’d practically had to jump through to prove she was Sailor Moon and not an expert cosplayer.

    “I’m sorry I couldn’t properly explain my absence,” she told them. “What was I suppose to say? I really didn’t have much clue what was going on, my mother didn’t actually explain until it was almost time for me to come back and then I was so busy with my plans to come back, start school, my job, and move into my apartment, I honestly didn’t have time to send better explanation nor what to say since I thought it would be fun to surprise all of you with all the changes once I got settled.” She snickered. “I figured Rei would think she was being- oh, what’s the word? Punk’d.”

    The others laughed, only Ami having the good manners to try and disguise it. Rei’s violet eyes met Usagi’s, a shared amusement passing between them, as if agreeing how well they knew the other. The pigtailed girl smiled back fondly.

    “Well, then,” Ami asked, placing the tips of her fingers together like a steeple, “what are your plans now?”

    Frowning delicately, Usagi cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”

    “Have you talked to Mamoru-san, yet?”

    The ebony haired man flickered through Usagi’s mind, smiling fondly at her just as he had the last time she’d seen him. The memory made her smile and she shook her head.

    “No I haven’t. I’m still trying to stick my original plan, and darn it, someone is going to be surprised! All of you found out about it and spoiled it.”

    Mina’s expression was blank. “What plan and surprise?”

    In one fluid motion, Haruka had slid closer to Usagi, wrapping her right arm around the blonde’s shoulders so that she could cup her hand over Usagi’s mouth, pulling the girl to her chest in a sort of embrace while at the same time silencing her.

    “Oh just that our little odango head is growing up and putting on her best attempt at being a responsible adult.” Usagi was struggling to find a way to free herself without groping the older woman. She settled for placing both her hands on Haruka’s thighs and pushing herself backwards, finding blue eyes watching her in amusement and that sensual mouth twisted in a smirk. “She’s so cute when she tries so hard.”

    A menu dropped between their faces pointedly and Usagi looked up, flushing. Seiya was giving Haruka an annoyed look.

    “Would you please stop trying to seduce the future mother of my children?” Grabbing Usagi by the elbow, he helped her back into her original seat, while simultaneously making a shooing motion with the menu so that they would make room for him. He sat in Haruka’s previous spot. “I don’t appreciate it.”

    “You really must be upset with her fiancée, then, whom we already know she will have a child with,” Haruka pointed out logically, that same smirk on her features.

    Seiya didn’t bat an eyelash as he scanned the menu. “I never said how far in the future, just that it would happen. Where are their parfaits? Oh wait, I see them.”

    “I guess that’s why I’m the one always getting to steal kisses from her.”

    “I don’t have to steal them,” he retorted, twisting around to motion for the waitress, then ducking down uncertainly. The girls all looked at him questioningly. “It’s okay for me to be here, right? People aren’t still going on about the Starlights, are they? I hate getting ambushed just because I went out in public.”

    Makoto plopped her chin into her palm unceremoniously. “We have Gackt, now.”

    “And BoA.”

    “Don’t forget Utada.”

    “Or K, Malice Mizer, and Bump of Chicken,” added Rei, counting them off on her fingers.

    Mako snapped her fingers, pointing at the priestess. “I almost forgot Bump of Chicken.” She flashed a smile at Seiya. “So, yeah, we’re completely good on idols at the moment, no one will bother you, don’t worry.”

    Seiya was giving Haruka look that was half disgusted and half utterly confused. “Bump of-” His gaze snapped to each of the faces around the table. “What the heck is Bump of Chicken? And why would you call yourselves that?!”

    “He’s not willing to admit he’s disappointed at being so forgettable,” laughed Haruka, giving his shoulder a shove and earning a cross look in return. Seiya turned to waved the waitress over again. “I guess he knows how Pluto feels now.”

    Frowning, Seiya gave her an uncertain look, not making the connection. “How does Pluto feel?”

    She was smiling pleasantly at him. “Expendable. Pluto’s no longer a planet now, apparently.”

    Laughing, Usagi confessed, “It’s a long running joke now that she should expect her pink slip in the mail any day.” He snorted with laughter. “Officially fired from being a senshi. Or perhaps we should ask for her resignation, make the fall more graceful? What do you think, girls?”

    Mako and Rei were both nodding seriously. “Oh, definitely. Think how awkward and embarrassing this must be for her.”

    “Forget that,” exclaimed Mina, slapping a hand on the table top. “Slap that woman with a pink slip and a box, tell her to pack up her desk and go! Posers get stopped at the door. Who let her past security to begin with?” She was giving Haruka a suspicious look. “I’m blaming you and your partner in crime. It’s your job to keep the freaks from making it this far. Isn’t that the job of the ‘grown-ups’?”

    Chuckling, the older blonde nodded in approval. “Way to throw my words back in my face. Nicely done.”

     The aspiring pop star settled back in her seat with her acid colored drink and shrugged. “What can I say? You’re falling down on the job, Haruka. We should start doing write-ups.”

    “Or demotions, Miss Leader,” challenged Uranus. “When was the last time you filled your job description?”

    Not batting an eye, Mina popped forward again to look at the pigtailed girl. “Hey, Usagi! I need you to get assassinated so I get step in as your body double until Chibi-Usa is able to come of age and ascend the thrown.” She paused, frowning. “Wait, I can’t do that. Don’t die, Usagi. Chibi-Usa isn’t born yet. Or, God, wait! Chibi-Usa is my child!” A mischievous look crossed her face, much a like a cat up to no good as she regarded their leader. “My child with Mamoru. Go ahead and get assassinated whenever you like. I’ll take over from there. I promise he and I will get in lots of practice before we produce the actual evidence of our labors. He’ll be in very capable, ah, hands.”

    “Pervert!” accused Usagi, laughing and face inflamed.

    Mina laughed and waved her off. “Ah, don’t hold it against me, Usagi-chan, what with Rei and I having sworn off men in order to devote our lives to our duties- twisted fantasies are all I get.”

    All mirth left the blonde then, and she looked at her friends in complete seriousness, all of them in turn.

    “I don’t expect that of you, or any of you.” she shook her head. “I want all of you to have full and happy lives with every experience, living in the world of today and not worried about the future or the past and what we may have seen in either. Fall in love, get married, have kids, damn well resign as a senshi if you want and I will think nothing about it, I promise, nor forbid it or resent you for it.” She held a hand to her heart, struggling to emphasize just how much she wanted the happiness of her friends more than anything else. She didn’t want them to end up living half lives because of their duties as senshi, to end up missing out on things that would bring them joy when their jobs already promised them so very much pain and guaranteed they would all die like warriors typically did- young and in battle. They each already had.

    “We give up a lot for the sake of this world, to protect it and it’s citizens, to be senshi, but… but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice everything. We are allowed to be selfish, in fact, I demand each of you be selfish, fight for yourselves just as much as you would fight to protect someone else, carve out as normal a life for yourself as you can bear to live. Don’t live a half life. We’re the protectors of love and justice, after all. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have those things for ourselves as well.”

    They all watched her with peculiar expressions as though seeing her for the first time and not sure how to react.

    It was Rei that spoke, smiling wistfully. “Remember when she use to cry at the thought of having to face down a monster? Dear God, when did you grow up without our noticing, Usagi?”

    Ami nodded, in confirmation. “It would seem we are on the right path to the peaceful future we all saw, then.”

    Haruka gave her a lopsided grin and a wink. “Whatever it takes for the sake of the future.”

    They all nodded, smiling. Usagi’s face fell. They were doing what they were doing based on what they had seen of the future, the prize some great distance away, and it was leaving them all with tunnel vision. In their minds, the future was all that mattered, getting to that peaceful utopia. There was nothing else, and their lives were just a means to an end.

    When they got to that future, what then? When they would be forced to give up their civilian lives to be senshi fulltime, wouldn’t they come to regret not having taking full advantage of their earlier years? Would they eventually blame her for their isolation? All of their missed opportunities that would then be forever out of their reach? You could always move forward, but there was no way to go back.

    Sighing, she glanced at her watch and quickly slid out of her seat, shouldering her purse.

    “I have to go. I have work and then homework.”

    Makoto gave her a curious look, leaning back with one arm stretched across the back of the booth. “You never told us what you were studying.”

    Usagi shook her head. “I’m just taking my basic course right now. I won’t get to the rest for a while.”

    It wasn’t completely dishonest. She was taking her basics, but she also knew what classes she planned on focusing on the most: design in a very broad sense- graphics, video games, and clothing- and a minor in law- focusing greatly on law through recorded history of all different cultures and nations not just current law. She had hundreds of years before she would be queen of the world, she was not going to waste her time worrying about preparing for it like she’d cram for a test the next day. She had time to learn at a leisurely pace, which allowed her time to focus on learning what she actually wanted to learn now. Maybe if they saw her taking advantage of the time she had now, it would allow them to do the same.


    Work over and homework completed, the late night hours found Sailor Moon leaping from rooftop to rooftop. She was on patrol, yes, but more than anything wanted a release, to run full force through the night, let her mind clear as she practiced routines and giving chase to imaginary foes. She’d made her nightly drop by Osaka Jewlery, checking on the safety of Naru and her family. If ever a youma were anywhere in Tokyo, more than likely it was going to B-line it for Naru, just as they always had.

    Not for the first time, she wondered why Naru. Of all the people living in their area, why was Naru the one singled out and attacked more than anyone else? She’d once thought that perhaps the red head was actually the owner of her own Star Seed and that that was what drew in the youma, but in all the situations where Naru had been attacked and her life threatened, never once had she shown signs of awakening as a senshi.

    She was kind and brave and had a heart of gold, a heart that had fallen in love with a general of the Dark Kingdom and had been able to earn his love in return so that he’d been willing to betray his own people and die protecting her. It had been a great injustice, Sailor Moon and Usagi both agreed, that it had only been later that Sailor Moon had gained the ability to cleanse her enemies, to give them second chances at a normal life outside of their evil existence. What would Naru’s life have been like if Naphrite were still alive?

    Shaking her head and contenting herself that Naru and family were safe in their beds, Usagi continued on, leaping to the next building and the next. Soaring through the air and inhaling the crisp scent of the night air, the sky luminous under a full moon and not a single cloud in sight.

    These nightly adventures had started out due to restlessness, even while exhausted. Since the defeat of Galaxia, there had been no more threats to the peace of their world. No youma sightings. No brainwashing of citizens. No mass hallucinations of monsters or crowds of people vanishing. It had been peaceful, and that had had Usagi wound as tight as a spring ready to release. After so many years of constantly having one enemy after the other coming at her, she was having an unusually hard time adjusting to a non-violent lifestyle. She also didn’t want to learn to live a completely peaceful normal life only to be caught unawares, so she’d started nightly patrolling. And ended up enjoying it.

    She understood now why Makoto would go on training trips in the mountains, Rei meditated for hours in the temple, and Ami locked herself away with her books and study. It was strenuous training, but also there was something relaxing about it. A sense of accomplishment at the end of it. That somehow she was a step closer to… well, something anyhow.

    She didn’t stay stationary for long lest she run into someone. Or that Tuxedo Mask show up in case the senshi were in  battle. Though he wasn’t actually a member of their group in an official sense, he always knew when they transformed, somehow sensing when they needed his help, that same ability allowing him to locate the senshi no matter where they were in the city. She wasn’t ever in trouble, so he hadn’t ever needed to make an appearance, but were it her, curiosity would have drawn her out into the night in order to satiate the need to know who it was that transformed every night. Perhaps he thought they were taking turns patrolling the city.

    Either way, should he come looking, she tried to always stay ahead of him. After all, the senshi were all much faster than he was. If she so much as saw a hint of cape, mask, or rose petals she had places all over town she could de-morph and lay low for a while. Over the years, she’d become a professional of knowing the ins and outs of the city. They’d had to.

    Oh but she missed him. Terribly. Wanted nothing more than to throw herself into his arms and be swallowed in his embrace. Being home and so close to him without being able to see him was unbearable some days. She found herself reaching for the phone half a dozen times. She’d continued emailing him as though she weren’t back yet, taking care to write more frequently now that she was home. She told him stories of things that had happened as if they were something that happened that day rather than weeks earlier. He was enthusiastic about her having a good time, being able to see family, and adamant in his wish for her to return home soon. He was home to her, she’d said in complete honestly. When his arms folded around her, everything was as it should be in her world.

    What she was doing was right, though. She was taking those first awkward and unstable steps into being able to stand on her own two legs. She was proving, if only to herself perhaps, that she wasn’t as inept as they often thought she was, that she often thought she was.

    Be who you want to be, Ashley said, rather than what other people want or expect you to be.

    Perhaps that was the first step to reaching that distant happy ending, after all. Rather than worrying about taking all the right steps in order to get there, perhaps it was better to just deal with the here and now, trusting that it would one day lead all of them to that bright future.

    As she neared the park, from her rooftop vantage point she saw a flash of color, figures darting through the trees and bushes so fast they were nearly a blur. They kept to the shadows making it even harder to get a good look at them, even as Sailor Moon matched her pace to theirs the best she could. It was hard, they were fast. Through force of will, she had changed her fuku back to the Super Sailor Moon form, though her powers were no less. Frankly, she liked it better, not to mention that the lack of bulky wings allowed her easier movement and greater speed.

    Realizing that staying on the rooftop would not get her any closer view point, she dropped steal fully down to the ground, keeping to the shadows before darting across the street and into the sanctity of the trees and foliage. It felt almost wrong to be sneaking about and spying like she was, but what choice did she have to see what was going on. It seemed unlikely whoever was out there that they were up to any good, most people were tucked away in bed. Though it wasn’t her job-typically- to deal with ordinary crooks, she also couldn’t look the other way if she happened across them.

    The sound of fighting lead her further into the park, up into a tree and darting from branch to branch with practiced ease. The magic of being transformed was invaluable, because even with all her years of practice, were she simply Usagi, she never could have managed. She wasn’t as graceful as Sailor Moon was.

    The wind picked up violently, sharply and inexpertly cold. Grabbing onto a branch to steady herself, Sailor Moon shivered, listening as the leaves in the trees rustled like the sound of pouring rain. In the next clearing, she could hear the sound of an soft explosion, and began darting forward again. It very much sounded like the sounds the senshi made when attacking.

    Someone was swearing loudly, calling out angrily. Other voices seemed to be trying to placate the person currently swearing loudly and making a fuss. The voices made Usagi stop, perched just where she could see into the clearing. They were a distance off, almost to the top of a hill so that it was hard to make them out, but even still their forms were familiar and the only things she could really see, the loudest’s voice carrying across the empty space.

    The three Outers stood at the top of the hill, Uranus absolutely fuming in her anger.

    “Tricky little cowards, pulling a stunt like that!” she tore off her right glove and threw it furiously to the ground. “FUCK!”

    It actually appeared to be Pluto that attempted the placate her rather than Neptune who stood a small distance away, her every stance and movement reflecting boredom. Too far away to be seen clearly, Sailor Moon could only watch their shadowy forms from a distance, straining her ears to hear words that were spoken in normal tones. She could only hear Uranus’s angry outbursts.

    “Damn fucking straight we’ll find them.” She pivoted to yell out at the park around them. “I’m looking forward to it, you bastards!”

    Pluto was looking around uneasily, continuing to talk in tones so low that Sailor  Moon couldn’t hear it. Seemingly impatient, Neptune flicked her hair over her shoulder and pivoted so that a hand was on her hip, her other hand gesturing as she spoke. Both Uranus and Pluto turned, Pluto nodding and -with a spit on the ground- Uranus apparently relented to whatever she was saying, the three of them turning as one to disappear over the hill. The was a flash of white as the disappeared from view, but Sailor Moon stayed frozen where she was unable to comprehend what she’d just seen.

    Had a new enemy made it’s way to Earth and the three of them were taking care of it before it became an actual problem? Why hadn’t they informed her? She knew why. They only came to her with problems they couldn’t contain. Even still, they didn’t seem themselves. Perhaps the problem was getting to the point they were going to have to involve the other senshi and they weren’t looking forward to it. Uranus’s obvious agitation spoke volumes.

    She stayed exactly was, scarcely even breathing, for a long time afterward, in part hoping that whatever or whoever they had been battling would show themselves. Nothing moved except for the wind through the trees.

    With no other choice, she left the park as well, taking her usual route home, returning to her civilian form blocks from her apartment complex and walking home from there. There was a bag of fast food on the counter with a note from Seiya that it was all to be eaten, followed by her going straight to bed or insane amounts of pain would be involved otherwise. She smiled fondly. They all worried about her so much, did so much for her.

    If Uranus and the others hadn’t mentioned any trouble in town, it was one more effort they were making to keep her from worrying. They had so much on their plates, she would have to start trying harder to not make them worry so much. She would change her schedule so that it allowed her more normal hours, the projects at work would simply take longer to complete, which was her bosses fault for having brought someone in so late to take over and restart it. She could only do what she could do, and they would have to contend with that.

    And she would trust the other senshi. Trust them with the things they kept from her, and with the problems they couldn’t handle on their own. Because they were doing what they did for her benefit and the benefit of others, at risk to themselves. Just as she was doing when she went on patrol by herself.


April 2013

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