|Well She Seemed Normal
Author: 4Shame PM
Normalcy is a trivial topic, especially where the girls are involved. Nevertheless, they resume as close to normal positions as they can get. In the meantime, the new world order grows actively curious about the origins of this new Lunar Corporation.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 6 - Words: 22,090 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 07-17-12 - Published: 04-30-12 - id: 8074535
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
With a hopeful sigh, a young woman just shy of seventeen dismissed herself to a private corner, her chipper blonde companion 7 years her senior slightly preoccupied with a collection of Swedish chocolates on the table.
Deep violet hair bobbled around her pale chin, a pair of eyes adrift just below her bangs echoing a soft lavender hue of color. When she was certain she was out of anyone's hearing range, she pulled out a silver-plaited watch baring the ominous sign of Saturn. Their plastic fused with rubber digital watches had been replaced by fancier styles of wrist-wear, which did them well.
It appeared the old watches were somewhat outdated and quite simply a bit childish. So you could imagine how it felt for the older senshi to pull out or sport the communicator that made them appear as though they were still stuck in the past. Such a watch may have been acceptable for young teenagers but it was not viewed in the same light for a woman in her mid-twenties trying to find work in corporate Japan or elsewhere. The only one that was able to get away with wearing something so youthful had been Usagi, which wasn't too difficult for the girls to understand.
Nevertheless, it was with this newly designed watch that this petite violet haired teen had huddled into a corner to see who had been paging her.
"Setsuna," she quickly acknowledged. "Tell me you've called to say we're needed back immediately."
Desperation was not a tone that young Hotaru often employed but it was clearly drenching every syllable of her statement. Briefly amused, Setsuna released a small laugh.
"I'm afraid not," the ruby-eyed woman replied with a smile.
Hotaru frowned, the glimmer of hope in her eyes now completely decimated.
"Well then, to what do I owe this pleasant surprise," she said in deflation. Many lessons with Michiru about cordial conversation seemed to stick to her subconscious much more than she had originally realized.
"I'm curious to know how your…vacation is going with our prince and princess."
Hotaru jumped, completely surprised by the crafty ways of her princes who had managed to sneak up on her quite successfully.
"You mean Usagi and Mamo-chan," Usagi corrected. She lovingly draped an arm around Hotaru's shoulders, squeezing just a pinch to show how much she loved her. "We're all friends, Setsuna," Usagi pointed out. "So stop referring to us as people you're not close to. Prince and princess are such closed off titles!"
"Of course, milady," Setsuna responded from habit.
"See, there you go again!" Usagi pouted, pointing an accusatory finger in the direction of Hotaru's communicator. "Do we mean nothing to you Setsuna?" Usagi asked with a frown.
"You mean the utmost to me, Usagi-hime," Setsuna sincerely stated without hesitation.
Usagi had to slap a hand to her forehead, Hotaru silently laughing at Setsuna's set in stone ways. It was quite an amusing sight to see Usagi scolding Setsuna, a view that Hotaru had been warmed by. It had been some time since something so light-hearted had occurred and suddenly she was overwhelmed with anxiety when she heard the front door open.
"Mamo-chan!" Usagi cheered in mid-scolding, flashing a strange smile that Hotaru hadn't liked since its first birthing. It was guarded, less genuine and awkward upon Usagi's cream skin and sparkling blue eyes. That smile didn't belong there and Hotaru wondered where Usagi's real smile had skittered off to.
"Usako," he said softly, appearing in the doorway with a handful of gifts to add to the piles of useless trinkets cluttering the household. "I found some things I thought you might like."
She gasped and Hotaru's nightmare was reborn as she watched the two in this recently installed routine.
"It's so beautiful!" Usagi would squeal. "Thank you so much, Mamo-chan."
"Anything for you, Usako," Mamoru would reply as he retreated back to the doorframe to watch her as she sorted through the shopping bags. His midnight blue opals would be heavy, masked in a façade that Hotaru couldn't quite describe properly.
She hated this though. She hated everything about it. It wasn't right. It didn't feel right.
Hotaru's ears perked when Setsuna's solemn voice found its way to her hearing and she cowered from the room where the royal pair pranced in their uneasy dance. They came out here for distance from their duties. They came out here for self-evaluation away from the new strains of this perplexing present. So why did Hotaru feel like they were getting nowhere?
"Is everything alright out there?" Setsuna had asked through the communicator.
Hotaru paused for a moment, watching the scene between her precious Prince and Princess unfolded before her eyes. Their smiles were broad but their eyes spoke of a different tale…
"No," Hotaru had whispered, her heart cracking under the pressure.
She remembered looking up to Usagi and Mamoru, a pair that had survived a millennia of enemies that tried to tear them apart. A pair that would do anything for each other and showed her first hand what an enviable love was. A pair that had given her strength and hope that such a bond was irreversible and could never be destroyed. A pair that the senshi cherished…
"What's wrong?" Setsuna asked, snapping Hotaru from her train of thoughts.
The violet haired teen shook her head, pushing the tears that wanted to be shed away and reforming her answer.
"I meant to say there's no reason to worry," she lied with a feigned smile that she must have inherited from her prince and princess. "Everything's fine."
She watched as Setsuna nodded, muttering something to the effect of stay safe but Hotaru wasn't quite certain what it was. From her spot down the hall she stood staring into the ominous room where Usagi's hand had shivered from Mamoru's accidental touch, and a piercing expression of pain flashed across her eyes before she again covered it with a shining pair of expensive sunglasses that came with a forced smile and faked happiness.
Azure eyes shot open the moment realization had struck that she was unconscious.
Panicked and unaware, she snapped up from the bed, surrounded by a tidy room that was unfamiliar to her. A plain brown desk sat neatly in the corner with a wooden chair pushed into place. Beside it stood a tall shelving unit that had been nailed to the wall. By the gentle sway she felt affecting the gravity of her core, she derived that she was aboard the cruise ship.
How she had gotten here, however, was not something she easily recalled. Furthermore, the room she had now found herself in was even more perplexing.
In search for clues, she turned her head from side to side to survey the area. To her dismay, apart from the desk, shelving unit (which had been empty save for a life jacket) and the twin-sized bed she currently occupied, there wasn't a single item present that suggested this room had belonged to someone else.
Slowly, it seemed, she threw her legs over the side of the bed and stumbled slightly to her feet with an unexpected shift in the boat. It was times like those that she had been grateful for her immunity to seasickness. Speaking of sicknesses…
She immediately raised a hand to feel her forehead, checking for clamminess and heat. She felt nothing. Curious blue eyes shot back to the bed, now taking notice of a damp cloth that rested upon the pillow. She assumed that at one point she must have had that on her forehead and suddenly, the question of how she got here had shot to the forefront of her thoughts.
The inquiry of who was responsible for bringing her to this room had been a delayed focus, but eventually Ami had thought this was more important than the how. To find answers, she first went to the bathroom, once again disappointed to find it had been spotless. Not even a single strand of hair was left within the shower drain and you can believe she was thorough with her investigation because she had broken out her visor in disbelief. Whoever owned this room, she reasoned, had an obsessive-compulsive disorder for cleanliness.
Pressing her visor away, she decided to return to the bedroom where the only mess had existed in the twisted covers by her doing. Even with an unmade bed, the room remained shiningly clean and it made her a bit nervous. Ami imagined that even Makoto would have been impressed, and that was saying something!
Makoto was to clean houses what Ami was to academics: pure genius. Slightly unsettled by the aspect that there existed someone else that could rival Makoto's sparkling reputation for clean rooms, Ami moved towards the closet. Logically, if there was nothing inside there then this room had belonged to nobody but herself (at least for the time that she was unconscious that is).
With an apprehensive sigh, she opened the closet, exhaling in surprise when a single black duffle bag sat patiently upon the uncluttered floorboards. She didn't know why she was so surprised. Perhaps it was because she expected it'd be empty or maybe it was because the bag was so small, either way she couldn't be certain.
Without hesitation she fell to her knees, unzipping the bag immediately afterwards and raising an eyebrow as she pulled out a black garment by the shoulders.
"A priest shirt?" She muttered to herself, trying hard to scan her memory for anyone that would own such a garment. Every face she had seen aboard the ship had darted through her brain, women included, but she couldn't for the life of her derive the potential owner. Pious wasn't exactly a trait she had found on this cruise so she was led to believe that perhaps she had overlooked someone during her first week…
"My, my doc, I woulda never pegged you for the snooping type…"
She cringed the moment she heard the voice, her shoulders suddenly knotted with tension, as she was caught red handed in the act. Her brain was befuddled with haywire, every preconceived notion of him getting thrown off by the single shirt of fabric in her hands and by the pristine condition of this room.
Unaccustomed to being slow to think, she could do little but blush uncharacteristically and unsuccessfully attempt to play dumb as she dropped the shirt back into the bag and whipped herself around to look at him. He seemed rather calm as he leant against the entranceway, which she hated, and his handsome smile somehow managed to light up the striking color of his eyes.
His plain white t-shirt was as clean as the room around him, his sinewy frame tall in comparison to her and his scent fresh like cotton. She gulped, trying desperately to compose herself.
"What are you doing here?"
It was the first question that came from her sputtering lips and she winced with embarrassment that she'd ask something she had already known the answer to. Of course it would be him that had her in their room, it was Fate's way of torturing her. The very man she was certain she had pegged turned out to be a complete conundrum and she was certain some mythical path-weaver was out there laughing hysterically at her as she stumbled to get out of this unwanted situation.
"Aw, doc, you really hurt my feeling ya know?" He pouted, blue eyes glittering with merriment. "It almost seems as though you're disappointed that this room belongs to me…"
"I-" she stammered, not quite sure why she was ashamed when she had been giving him the cold shoulder since she realized he was aboard the ship. "I'm simply aghast that such a garment would be in your possession." And then it clicked like a thousand headlights simultaneously coming to life in a pitch black parking lot.
"It's a costume for sex, isn't it?"
She was stunned by the dark expression that crossed his usually playful stare as a shiver ripped through her spine. She stepped back when he moved towards her to pick up the shirt and fold it back in its place.
"That's kinky babe," he said in a tone that was unfamiliar to her. A tone that was frigid and drenched with ire. "But it's not really my style."
She let the question drop when she had sensed that she struck a nerve. By the aura in the room she felt unwelcome, a great contrast to how he seemed when he was so laxly leaning against the door frame with that harmless smile.
He closed the closet door with a quiet sigh, rubbing the bridge of his nose before bursting into an awkward laugh.
"You don't know how to make a bed, do you?" He asked, turning towards the bed and watching her as she did the same.
Without waiting for an answer, he walked over to the mattress, pulling off blankets, sheets and even pillow covers.
"No matter," he said, still sounding like a foreigner that she had never before heard. "I was meaning to wash these anyways."
"L-let me help," she spurted out in one breath, her legs feeling stronger now as she rushed across the floor.
It was strange that she felt guilty for assuming the clothing she found was a costume and for the life of her she could not deny the curiosity she now harbored to discover what purpose that garment had served. Was he really a priest? If he was, then she imagined it wouldn't be too difficult for her to resume the cold shoulder treatment given his previous behavior. Otherwise…well, honestly, could there be any other explanation? Who carried around a suit like that unless they were some type of priest or priest in training?
Feeling slightly eased by her mental deliberations, Ami sighed, taking the washcloth, four pillowcases and a sheet while Duo carried the comforter and another woolly blanket that was frayed at the edges. Quietly they walked in tandem, Ami behind Duo whom she only knew as Ed, towards the laundry room.
The halls were unoccupied; a fact that had startled Ami, and surprisingly, Ed had caught onto her confusion.
"You remember that flash in the sky at our last stop?" He asked over his shoulder, looking friendlier than he had when she first offended him.
"Yes," she nodded in recollection.
"Well, most of the passengers panicked and pretty much attempted to overtake the ship and set sail away from the flash. Basically, to make a long story short, they got stupid and hurt each other, some fainted and now the medical wing is packed with people needing treatment."
Ami laughed a bit, Duo doing the same as they both found themselves eased into a side-by-side walk.
"I don't know if I should be relieved or disappointed that I missed it," Ami smiled with a scoff.
"Be relieved," Duo replied. "It was an outbreak that would have severed your faith in humanity."
He was probably right. People did act rather callously when frightened.
"Ed," Ami said softly, feeling shy as she hugged the sheets and pillowcases closer to her body.
"Hm?" He hummed in response, not quite noticing her slightly abashed self.
"Thank you," she started, her cheeks reddening despite her constant mental screams not to. "For everything."
Duo smiled, glancing at the blue-haired doctor and shrugging.
"I do what I can for the ladies," he winked, returning back to his nature she had become accustomed to.
Suddenly, it didn't seem so annoying.
"You didn't have to go to such lengths to help me, like taking me to your room," she said.
"Oh yes I did," he said with a scoff and she raised an eyebrow. By the perplexed expression on her face, he knew he had to explain.
"Your room looked like it was ransacked by robbers," he exclaimed, "I couldn't just leave you in there knowing they might return."
"Did they take anything?" Ami asked in shock.
"Not from what I could see," Duo shrugged. "I mean, there was still a laptop left on the desk, a bag of your high tech doctor gadgets and who knows what else. But I'll tell you this, those robbers weren't very good thieves…"
Once Duo had mentioned all the important items that were still accounted for, a deep blush had crept onto her cheeks. No, robbers weren't responsible for that mess. Actually, it was quite possibly all her fault.
"Were there socks splayed across the floor by the bookshelf?" She discreetly asked.
"Come to think of it," Duo nodded, "Yeah, there was."
"And pajamas by the open dresser drawers…" Ami prompted.
"Mmhmm," he sounded, now growing suspicious.
"And a moldy sandwich on the nightstand…"
"My god doc, don't tell me you're responsible for all that!"
"It was a test to see what types of preservatives they put in the food aboard the ship. It was strictly scientific!" She defended.
"And what about the clothes all over the place?" He asked as he noticed her pace quickening.
"Organized chaos," she briefly explained, her pace putting her ahead by a few steps.
Duo laughed in amusement.
"Well, you sure know how to make a mess of things," he chimed happily. "Maybe some time when you get the chance you can come over and teach me a few things, huh? We could both get dirty together…"
And he was back, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively and smirking that smirk that Ami despised.
She stopped right inside the laundry room, her sudden halt forcing him to do the same as she whipped around to face him. A sneaky grin crept across her lips and Duo couldn't help but be pleasantly alarmed.
"I suppose it is only fair that I give back after all you've done for me," she said with a feigned innocence that he was soaking up by the second.
"Well, you don't have to," he drawled curiously. "But it would be nice…"
She smiled. "Then why don't I repay you now," she reasoned with a shrug, beckoning him closer with a slight tilt of her head. "No use in waiting, right?"
In retrospect, he could see point blank that this was a trap. But being an "in the moment" type of guy, he was blinded by his urges below the belt. Walking forward to excitedly encase the petite blunette in a coveted laundry room tryst, he had only seen the malicious look in her eyes in the last second and by then it was too late.
Before he could even get a single finger along her smooth skin, or a breath across her neck, he was stopped by the harsh slam of the wooden laundry room door that rammed into his nose and almost snatched his fingers.
"Next time you find me unconscious on a shore," Ami said through the door. "Leave me there."
He huffed indignantly.
"So you purposely fall unconscious on beach shores waiting for a rescuer?" Duo prodded with a scoff. "That's a pretty cheap trick for a supposedly high-minded doctor."
"What?" She yelled through the door.
"Well you said next time, which means you plan to fall asleep on a beach again soon?"
She groaned, noting once more how he could be so observant at the most inopportune times. Their chat through the dilapidated door would continue for hours, neither willing to back down. But for Ami, one thing was certain, she would be sure to never accept his actions as genuine acts of kindness.
Hello. So this one is short. I was going to do more but at this point I just wanted to update something. I've been a little busy and so writing has become somewhat sparse ^^;
Anyhow, thank you for reading and reviewing. All comments, questions or suggestions are graciously welcomed.
TopazDragon: Thank you so much for your review. Long reviews are always so lovely and you are always so encouraging! Thank you! It is truly motivating! I'm glad you liked Rei's bit. I was somewhat iffy on how it would be received but so far it seems okay. I hope this chapter was interesting since we now see Hotaru, Mamoru and Usagi in person. I am so extremely excited to get on about Usagi and Mamoru's relationship and even Ami and Duo's. So far those two have started to be my most favorite for this one. Anyhow, sorry for rambling ^^ and thank you once more for your review!
lily: Thank you for your review. I'm so happy you like the descriptions in here. Sometimes I think they might be crazy or confusing lol. And it was quite fun writing the Heero/Rei bit. More of them will certainly be fun to do! Boy do I have some plans for them! Anyhow, thank you again for your review!
Nerf-or-Nothing: It is so sad to hear that you are computer-less for a while. Curse your ex! And I am terribly sorry you had to go through all of that. Please don't commit murder...for some reason I get the picture that you don't really get much internet access when you're on trial for murder...and I am always looking for your updates! ^^; Nevertheless, thank you for your review! I'm flattered you think this story worthy of being categorized as epic. Hopefully it stays that way! Anyhow, I hope you're doing well! Especially after hearing about all the scandal you had to deal with.