Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon: Guardians Trilogy
Mirror Universe
Part 02: Don’t drink and drive
DISCLAIMER: Sailormoon and the other cannon senshi belong to Naoko Takeuchi. All other characters are mine. Please don’t take them without asking my permission first.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I was surprised to see him at school at all today,” Makoto said, toying with her straw.

Minako nodded. “I know. And he didn’t space out at all. It’s like he never saw her last night.”

“It’s just plain weird to me, that’s what it is,” Ami said, shaking her head. “I know what those two felt for each other based on their reactions to facing the loss of the other, when Jen became Kitsune and when An’ei Souku kidnapped Seiya. They both completely fell apart. Now she shows back up again, treats Seiya as coldly as she did, turns and walks away, leaving him in such a mess that Taiki and Yaten had to walk him home the way they did, supporting him. If they hadn’t, he would have stayed there, unable to move.”

“I really feel for him,” Usagi said soberly, looking at her friends. “He’s been through so much in the last few years it’s beyond funny.”

Rei snorted. “Yeah, and we haven’t been put through the grinder a few times ourselves? And yet, as soon as Seiya gets his heart broken, it’s ‘Aww. Poor Seiya’. Why is that?”

“Rei-chan!” the other girls scolded.

“That’s really mean of you,” Ami told her, frowning. “If it had been you that had gone through that, we’d all be going ‘Aww. Poor Rei-chan’, but that’s not what happened. We are simply showing sympathy and concern for a hurt friend, much like how we all supported Usagi-chan all of the various times when Mamoru was turned against us or something else horrible happened to him.”

Rei slumped back into her seat and folded her arms across her chest. “I still don’t see why he’s getting this treatment. Jen doesn’t deserve him if she’s going to treat him that coldly. I’m not even sure how he recognized her. She looked way different to me.”

The others nodded, admitting that Rei’s words had the ring of truth to them. None of them had recognized the Guardians right away. Their words, attacks, and uniforms were the only means of telling who they were. That, and StarFighter had recognizing StarFire, despite the changes in her lip color and the color scheme of her fuku. Each Guardian’s color scheme had changed, in fact, but the design remained the same as it had been before. All four lacked the silver and gold streaks they’d had previously. Their black lipstick looked very out of place. All were disturbed by the uncharacteristic looks in the eyes of the four Guardians.

“They look very different,” Minako agreed. “But it’s not a bad different. Jen looks good with shorter hair.”

“So does Shinami-chan,” Usagi added. “It’s funny. Seiya collapsed, but Taiki didn’t really react. I wonder why?”

“You seem to be forgetting that they weren’t as attached as Seiya and Jen were to begin with. If they Guardians had stayed longer, a deeper attachment would have formed, but they didn’t. I suppose he missed her, but got over it, expecting to never see her again. I’m willing to bet he’s a bit confused right now, but nowhere near as out of it as Seiya,” Makoto said, sounding very thoughtful.

“Good point.” Usagi nodded and looked out the window. “I wonder why they’re here or if they’ll come to school with us again.”

“We defeated An’ei Souku and they went back to rebuild their homes. They have no real reason for being here,” Rei added.

“We’ll just have to ask them about it the next time we see them.” Usagi shrugged.

“Who knows when that’ll be though,” Ami sighed, shaking her head.

Three women in sailor fukus prowled around the part of the mountain where the forest had burned down as a result of the crash. It had finally cooled down to tolerable levels, but the ground still smoked a bit. They’d decided to transform before going up the mountain and to hike up as opposed to driving or teleporting. For one, the roads might all have been destroyed. Teleporting would be a bad idea eve if they could have managed with just the three of them as they had no idea what the object that had crashed was, if it was just a piece of rock or something else entirely. The three were in fairly good shape, but even so they were still a bit winded by the time they reached the crash site.

The object that had caused the false sunrise and the sudden forest fire was a large asteroid, large enough to hold an average sized human being with a bit or room left for comfort. The insides were carved out like a reclined chair. There were spaces in which objects could be placed, but those were empty.

The three senshi looked at each other and grimaced. This was not a good sign, though they hadn’t really expected it to be just a rock.

“This does not look good,” Neptune said glumly, saying what was on all of their minds.

“No, but what did we honestly expect?” Pluto asked, leaning on her time staff. “Given our track record, this was what we were likely to find. I know we all hoped for this to be nothing, but that’s not possible. Earth attracts trouble. That’s really all there is to it.”

Uranus leaned her hands on the edge of the ship-like thing and stared at its insides. “How are we going to break this to Koneko-chan-tachi? It’s been quiet ever since An’ei Souku and they’re getting used to it.”

“It’ll hurt for the first little bit, but they adjust after that,” Pluto reassured her. “It’s always like this.”

The trio turned and headed back home, not knowing of the eyes that had watched them throughout their excursion, the ears that heard their conversation, and not seeing the silent forms slipping back to town following a parallel path to theirs further over on the mountain.

“Seiya? Are you in there?”

Silence.

“Come on, Seiya. I know you’re in there; I can hear the music. You might as well open up.”

The music stopped playing and Seiya opened the door. “What do you want Taiki?”

Taiki came in and sat down in a chair beside Seiya’s bed. He was quiet for a minute before he looked right at Seiya. “I know you’re hurting. I know why you’re hurting, but I’m still confused on this. Why are you trying to pretend that it didn’t happen? Why did you even go to school today? We all would have understood if you’d played hooky today. I don’t get it, Seiya. We were all there, we saw them, heard their voices. We all know it happened. It’s useless to pretend that it didn’t.”

Seiya tried to keep himself from hitting Taiki. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that he had. “You don’t get it, do you, Taiki? I have to pretend it didn’t happen. If I do, I don’t hurt. I won’t her Jen’s cold voice saying that Jen no longer exists. If I don’t, I hurt. I hear those words.” A tear trickled down his cheek. “I can’t take it, Taiki! I thought I was over her. I thought I could go on with my life like I did when I met Mamoru-san. I even started dating that cute little thing from the class next to ours, Kaniza Tsuki. But then she shows up again just when I think I’m normal again. I hate it! I hate not being in control of my emotions. I’m ashamed that I lost control like that when I saw her. I don’t know what they must think of me now, especially her. I can’t bear to think about that.”

Taiki leaned forward and placed a hand on Seiya’s shoulder. “I understand what you’re feeling. I felt a bit of it when I heard Shinami’s voice again. I wasn’t as close to her as you were to Jen, but it still hurt. I wish I knew why they were back. There’s no reason for them to be back, really.”

He shook his head. “I don’t care why they’re back. I just want to know why she was so cold to me and why she hasn’t come to see me yet. It’s not like she doesn’t know where I live.” He paused. “She looked so different, too.”

“We’ll figure it out eventually.” There was an awkward silence before Taiki continued. “Well, if you feel like eating anything, dinner’s ready.”

“If I don’t come out, make sure Yaten doesn’t eat it all on me, ne?”

Taiki smiled and stood. “I’ll try.”

“So?” Yaten demanded. “How is he?”

Taiki slumped into his chair, shaking his head. “Not good. The only thing that could possibly help him is the one thing that, to the best of my knowledge, won’t have anything to do with him.”

“Jen.” Yaten set his fork down. “Great. How did I know you were going to say that?”

“Lucky guess?” He sighed. “This is not good. Not good at all.”

“No it’s not, but we knew that already.” He pushed his potatoes around the plate with his knife. “So, how do you propose that we get a hold of them? Their old apartment has tenants, so they wouldn’t go there.”

“You checked already?” Taiki was impressed.

He shrugged. “I wanted to know why they were back and why Jen was so cold. I felt like an idiot.”

“I can’t think of anywhere else they’d be then.” Taiki stood and walked over to the window. He stared for a long time at the setting sun. “This isn’t doing us any good. I’m going out to clear my head. Save some of that for Seiya. He might be hungry later.”

“And if he isn’t?”

“Then you can eat it tomorrow,” Taiki said, grabbing his coat and heading out the door.

Taiki got into his car and drove aimlessly, randomly turning down roads as he felt like it. Lost in thought, he just kept driving. It was hours before he stopped, but that was to get more gas. While he was paying for the gas, he grabbed himself something to drink while he drove.

The problem with drinking and driving is the whole bladder issue. Cursing softly, he turned down another road to find somewhere he could stop. Ironically, the place he found was the hotel where he’d first met Hizashi Shinami at the poetry reading. It seemed like it was a long time ago but, as he walked into the place, it felt like only yesterday that he’d been sitting at that little corner table, talking to her, wondering why he felt like he knew her. He shook his head and headed for the bathroom

He came out and sat down at a table, deciding to stay a while. Feeling a bit nostalgic, he took out the small leather folder that he always carried with him and ordered the hotel’s famous hot chocolate. As he sipped it, he remembered Shinami’s shy but friendly smile, her ready laugh, long blond hair and large, liquid blue eyes. Flipping through the folder, he found a page that had writing on it that wasn’t his own. Intrigued, he read what it said; surprised that he hadn’t noticed it before.

If I could give a gift

To you for each month of the year

I would do so if it would lift

Your heart, my friend I hold dear

In January

First month of the year

I would give a shinning star

To you, the friend I hold dear

In February

Second month of the year

I would give a red rose

To you, the friend I hold dear

In March

Third month of the year

I would give freedom from snow

To you, the friend I hold dear

In April

Fourth month of the year

I would give luck on your exams

To you, the friend I hold dear

In May

Fifth month of the year

I would give a bright red feather

To you, the friend I hold dear

In June

Sixth month of the year

I would give a sunset

To you, the friend I hold dear

In July

Seventh month of the year

I would give a vacation

To you, the friend I hold dear

In August

Eighth month of the year

I would give a seashell

To you, the friend I hold dear

In September

Ninth month of the year

I would give a beautiful day

To you, the friend I hold dear

In October

Tenth month of the year

I would give a many-colored leaf

To you, the friend I hold dear

In November

Eleventh month of the year

I would give a red scarf

To you, the friend I hold dear

In December

Last month of the year

I would give a warm blanket

To you, the friend I hold dear

If I could give a gift to you

To last the whole year through

I would give my heart to you,

My love, endearing and true.

Taiki stared at it, astonished, and read it again. Yes, it’s definitely Shinami-chan’s writing, but when did she write it in here? How come I hadn’t noticed until now? I’ve gone over this page a thousand times, but this is the first time I’ve seen this poem. Just to be sure, he flipped past it and saw some of his own work. Yes, I’ve gone past it many times, but why… He shook his head. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I have something of hers that will always be mine, no matter what happens to her or why she’s come back. I somehow doubt that I’ll ever see her again, even if we’re on the same planet. It’s a big planet after all.

He flipped past that page onto a clear one and picked up his pencil. That was the other thing that bugged him about that poem. It was her writing and it was in pen and sparkly blue metallic pen at that. He knew from knowing her that she only wrote really special poems in that kind of pen. That one and her silver pen were her favorites. He also knew that she didn’t just carry those around with her wherever she went. She must have planned to do this, he thought to himself as he searched for something to write about. What would I say to her if I could see her again today? He wondered.

Inspiration hitting him, he began to write.

He sat there for quite some time writing, erasing a few things and replacing them with others. He didn’t realize how much time had passed, or that any time had passed at all until someone standing in front of him cleared her throat.

“Excuse me, but is this seat taken?” a cute little female voice asked him. That voice. It was as familiar as his own was.

He jerked upright and stared. For a few moments, he couldn’t find his voice to say anything. She waited, patiently, a smile spreading across her delicate face.

“Shinami?” he croaked out. “Is it really you?”

“Who else would I be? And it’s not Shinami; it’s Yumeko.”

“I wasn’t aware that you were going by your real name now.”

She gestured dismissively. “It’s to keep my fans from getting to me.”

“That also explains the hair.” He gestured towards her longer bangs. “I like it. It suits you very well.” He blushed. “I sound like an idiot, don’t I?”

She shook her head, her eyes sparkling. “You sound like the Taiki I remember.” She walked over to his side of the table and threw her arms around him. “I missed you!”

He stood and hugged her, burying his face into her silky blond hair, inhaling the familiar scent of vanilla that he remembered as being her favorite scent. “I missed you, too. Not that I’m complaining, but why did you come back?”

“If I said it was just to see you, would you believe me?” she asked hopefully, snuggling up against his chest.

“I’d really like to, but I highly doubt that’s the only reason you came back. If it was you just by yourself, I’d believe it, but why would Wolf, Jen, and Serena also come back? It doesn’t make any sense that way.”

She sighed and pulled back. “I really did miss you, you know,” she said, reaching up and touching his face. “I know what you are and I still missed you so much.” She paused and suggested that they sit down. “I’m still not really sure why we came back. Kasei is really the one who knows, but from what I heard Einno-sama saying before we left its something to do with a prisoner long thought to be locked in a prison of solid rock. This person, I don’t know if it’s male or female or anything about them, but the prison acted as a kind of stasis field and it kept whoever this is from wreaking havoc on the galaxy. I don’t even know what it is that this person did or what the danger is if he or she gets loose. But I’m sure that’s why were here. Kasei isn’t telling us everything until she’s certain of what’s happening.

“And that’s all you know?”

She nodded. “I wouldn’t lie to you, Taiki,” she said, growing even more serious.

“I believe you. I was just checking. It’s hard to be sure of anything anymore. We thought you girls were gone for good, Yuki, Kitsune, Kibou, and Shibou with you and all the others, too.”

“We didn’t plan on coming back, to tell you the honest truth.” Yumeko looked around. “I think the café is closing for the night. We’d best go somewhere else to talk.”

“There’s a park nearby and I have some blankets in the back of my car. We could go sit and look at the stars, pretend that they’re just specks of light and that nothing bad ever comes of them and talk some more about this,” he suggested.

“You just want to be alone with me some more,” she teased after agreeing.

“Can you blame me? I haven’t seen you in a long time. I want to know everything that happened to you.”

“Oh, most of it is really quite boring,” she said, getting into the passenger side of the car. “Endless days of blasting things apart, reestablishing the travel connections between the planets, planting gardens, getting the Academy set up and running again, things like that. Not a lot of truly interesting things have happened to us.” She fell quiet for a little, staring out the window at the city lights going past.

“Are you ok, Yu-chan?” he asked, getting a bit concerned at her uncharacteristic silence.

“It just seems like it’s been so long since I’ve had any sort of fun. I am, after all, Kinsei’s princess and, as such, have a ton of responsibilities. They’ve been weighing down on me a lot lately and I had to get away. Even if we’re on some mission as Guardians, it’s still away from home. It’s even better because I can see you again.” She turned back to face him and smiled warmly. “Have I told you yet that I missed you?”

“Yes, but I wouldn’t mind hearing it again. I missed you, too.”

She leaned back in the seat. “It feels good to be in a car as opposed to ridding horse back or in a carriage. Those stupid things wreak havoc on my back. It’s no wonder most of the high nobility keep a personal masseuse if they can afford one and often cut expenses if they have to in order to keep one.”

“Really? Do you have one?”

“Not yet. I sometimes use my mother’s, but she’s not very nice, so I don’t like to. I can sometimes convince father or Utano-sempai to give me one, but they have their duties as well, so I tend to go without.”

“Well, we’re here,” he said, turning into a parking lot. “This is one of my most favorite places in the city.”

Yumeko got out of the car and looked around. “I don’t think I’ve ever been here before.”

“It’s not likely. Not many people do come here.” He opened the trunk and pulled out a few blankets, handing one to Shinami. “Follow me.”

“You only have to ask,” she replied and grabbed his hand with her free one.

When they reached the spot Taiki was looking for, he took one of the larger blankets and draped it over the bench as it was a bit damp.

“Do this often?”

“It’s a good place to come and read when I want to be alone where my fans can’t find me.”

“I wish I’d had a place like this when I was an idol singer,” she said wistfully.

“Well, I won’t mind if you come here whenever you feel like. No one else does.”

“Honto?” She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “That’s so sweet of you!”

He blushed, rubbing his cheek, staring at her. “Uh, you’re welcome.”

They wrapped themselves in the blankets and sat, watching the stars cuddling together for some time without speaking to each other, just enjoying the company of the other.

“So, tell me. What was it like to go back home?” he asked suddenly.

“It wasn’t pleasant, those first few months. Everything was a mess. Buildings lay in ruin everywhere you went. Kinsei didn’t suffer as much damage as some of the other planets, Morisei, Shinjusei and Jinsei, but it still had a fair share still. Not long after we got back, we had to find ourselves a new Sailorsagittarius as Kane Ozhishi and Kajino Ryuu, the Sagittarius that you met when we were fighting An’ei Souku, got married. StarArrow returned to his ancestral name, much to the relief of his family. The reunion of parents and lost children was one of the happiest moments. Kasei was finally able to give Akai Seikou a proper funeral. I don’t know what happened at it as it was a private thing as those things are on Hisei. An’ei Souku and her people were made full citizens of the Juoukoku and welcomed with open arms, despite the destruction she caused. They were a major force in the reconstruction of Morisei. The portals were up and running before we got home, so no problems there.

“I don’t know how the others fared with going home, so I can’t speak for them. I can tell you this though. It wasn’t pleasant, those first few months without you. It was even harder to come back here, wondering if you were still going to be here. I debated for days whether or not I wanted you to be, if it would be a good thing to see you. I hadn’t sorted out what I really felt for you until I saw you sitting there in that hotel. I wondered if you realized that you were sitting at the exact same table that you were sitting at the night we met.” She paused, smiling. “Even drinking the same hot chocolate, too. It was hard, too, not to run to hug you when I saw you for the first time when we got back. At that point, I didn’t care that you were in your sailor fuku. I just wanted to be with you again.” She realized what she just said and blushed a deep crimson.

Taiki took a moment to absorb all of this. “You did?”

She nodded, examining her hands instead of looking at him, still blushing furiously. “I couldn’t. Not with Kasei acting all weird like that. I have no idea what her problem was. She was really quiet on the way here. But anyways, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Taiki ran a hand through her hair. “I think I was in too much of a state of shock to react to your being there so suddenly. If you’d stayed a moment longer, I think that’s what I would have done, too.”

She looked up at him, her eyes wide. “Would you?”

“And then some,” he agreed.

“What do you mean by that?”

He cupped her chin in his hand and tilted her head back a bit before kissing her, receiving a surprise when she kissed him back.

“If I’d known that was how you felt about me, I would have lingered when the others insisted on leaving,” Shinami said, leaning against his chest, toying with a strand of his long ponytail. “I’d just started to fall in love with you before I left. A part of me was glad that I never told you how I felt because it made detaching myself a lot easier in the months afterwards, but a part of me regretted never telling you because I didn’t know how you felt or even if you felt the same way.”

“I love you, Yumeko,” he interrupted. “A part of me has since I met you. Admittedly,” he said with a smile. “I thought you were fourteen at the time.”

“Cradle robber,” she teased, tugging on his hair. “I still wish you’d let me play with your hair. I could do such neat things to it.”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m male. We don’t really do the hair styling thing.”

“I’m lucky that way. You can become StarMaker and then we can play.” If he could have seen her face, he would have seen the mischievous sparkle to her eyes that matched the tone in her voice. “Not that you’ll let me or anything.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Taiki said with a similar tone of voice. “I remember something about a slumber party that you girls had after you were finally reunited. I could return to my normal self, change a few things and spend the night with you girls without anyone knowing the difference. I think that would be fine. No harm there.”

Yumeko burst out laughing. “If I thought for one instant that I could get away with that, I would. Granted, that would make hanging out together in town a lot easier, but it would raise a lot of questions. My friends all know I’m straight as an arrow. Hanging off the arm of another woman would be problematic.”

“Good point. Ah well. I tried.”

“And earned brownie points for trying.”

“Oh? And what’s the reward there?” In reply, she kissed him again and stood up. “It’s getting late. I should get back to the others before they start to worry.”

“I’ll drive you.”

She shook her head. “They don’t know I’m with you. If they found out, they’d be so mad.”

“You came out looking for me?”

“Hoping to find you,” she corrected. “It’s best for now if they don’t know. It’s also best if you didn’t tell your friends, any of them, that we talked.”

“I’m so happy right no I could burst and you ask me not to tell them about any of this?”

“For now at least. You’ll be able to tell them soon, I promise.”

“I won’t say anything,” he said reluctantly. “I don’t like it, but I promise. I won’t tell.”

She smiled at him. “Thank you Taiki. I appreciate it.”

“Only you could get me to promise something like this.”

She hugged him quickly. “I’ll see you again soon. I don’t know a date I can give you, but I know where you live, I know all that sort of stuff about you, so I can find you, ok?”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too, Taiki. Goodnight!” She blew a kiss and ran off across the field and vanished into the woods.

Taiki watched her go and left back to his car, blankets under his arm.

“So, did you find him?” She nodded. “Did he believe you?” Nod. “Good. That should keep those pesky senshi off of our backs a little longer. Now that you’ve done that, we can continue with the planning. That little youma was just the beginning of the great plan. Our Lady is wise in giving us these instructions. Together we four will bring about the destruction of the sailor senshi and all those who are on their side.”

“So, we get to play now?”

“Always the impatient one, eh, Garou?”

“I’ve waited a long time to be able to play with the sailors, Reimei. I want to play.” She pouted.

“And you’ll be able to soon enough.” The blond girl walked out of the shadows wearing her fuku. In her hands she held a pair of scissors. “Now that they believe us, we can do away with these excessively feminine trappings and get on with it.” Having said that, she took the scissors to her hair and cut it off. Chunks of long blond hair fell to the ground all around her. When she finished, she handed it to another girl, who cut the tail off of Garou’s hair, leaving a short poof of black. Garou then took the scissors and, giggling hysterically, cut the hair of the girl who had done. That girl, Mitsukai, handed the scissors to Reimei who cut her own long tail off and trimmed the bangs as well.

“I trust that we’re all set now?” Nods all around. “Good.” She drew herself up. “Come on girls. We have some damage to do.”