A thousand and one apologies to you, my precious and most beloved readers. My computer crashed, and I've been so busy trying to set everything back up, as well as deal with your average high-school drama, and midterms, etc., etc. I know it doesn't excuse my trifling behavior, but perhaps you could find it in your large and infinitely generous hearts to forgive lil ol me. Please?

Summary: Three months after Demando and Rubeus arrive, Hotaru and Setsuna have a heart to heart. Rubeus and Demando finally discuss their current situations, and Fate and Destiny nearly drink themselves silly.

Chapter 4-In Which Fate Learns Of Her Alcohol Tolerance Level
Or
Love is a Wonderful Thing

Setsuna was watching the Gate, about three months later, feeling more at ease than she had in a long time. A slender white arm snaked around her waist. Hotaru stood next to her, clad in Senshi garb, and holding her Silence Glaive loosely. "You look happy."

Setsuna rested her arm across the younger girl's shoulders. "I am. What about you?"

Hotaru nodded. "I'm happy too. It was so frustrating seeing the Senshi and Shittenou all together and happy. It made me sad."

Setsuna gave her a one-armed hug. "Me too. But, it seems like you and Rubeus might become more than friends."

A delicate pink stained Hotaru's cheeks. "I don't know. He's sweet, and nice, and very good-looking."

Setsuna couldn't resist. "As well as a good kisser, hmm?"

Hotaru flushed even more. "I don't have much to compare it to, but yes, that as well. Setsuna, did you ever think that maybe, the two of us were meant to be alone?"

Setsuna looked out over the fog. "Yes, I did."

"Do you still feel that way?"

Setsuna thought for a long moment. At last she shook her head slightly. "No. I believe that we are just like the rest of the Senshi, and we will find our soul mates too."

"Do you think that Rubeus could be mine?"

"I believe that Minako is the best person to answer that question."

"Why?"

"You know that she can sense auras."

"Yes, but how does that help?"

"Your soul mate will have an aura of the same color as yours. If you really want to know, bring Rubeus to Minako and ask her."

"But what if she tries to kill him?"

"I suppose we must explain our true reasons eventually. I dislike lying to our fellow Senshi and our rulers, but it must be done. You do know it's been three months."

"I know, but I don't think we should tell them anything until we're perfectly sure of their intentions."

Setsuna nodded. "I'm inclined to agree, Firefly. We could not consider ourselves true Senshi if we let our feelings cloud our judgment."

Hotaru's voice sounded wistful. "Duty first, feelings second."

"Exactly."

"Don't you ever want to get away from it all, and just be normal?"

"Of course I do, but we simply can't. We were chosen for this, and we will fulfill our destinies. When the time comes, we pass our legacy on to our children, and then we will be free at last of our duties."

Hotaru brushed her hair out of her eyes. "But until then, we do what we must to ensure the safety of Serenity and Endymion."

Setsuna nodded. "You're all grown up."

Hotaru smiled. "I'm still your Firefly."

"Always." The sisters turned to a comfortable silence.

"So, do you want to leave?" Rubeus asked.

"What?"

"Do you want to leave? You've been eyeing Sailor Pluto like she's the last plate of ribs at a barbecue."

Demando glared at Rubeus. "And what about you?"

"What about me?"

"You shoved your tongue down Sailor Saturn's throat in front of her big sister."

Rubeus flushed slightly. "Did not."

"Then what do you call it?"

"It was a kiss! Who died and made you my father?"

"No one. You started it."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Did not."

Demando sighed. "Grow up."

"You started it."

Demando launched a pillow at the face of his former minion. "Since when did you grow a mind of your own?"

Rubeus caught the pillow easily and lobbed it back. "When you did."

"Insolent."

Rubeus rolled his eyes. "You're not the boss of me."

Demando smirked. "No, Sailor Saturn is."

"Bastard."

Demando bowed mockingly. "I know."

"But seriously, do you think we'll be here long?"

"I don't know. I hope so."

"Me too." Rubeus got up and left.

Hotaru was curled up on her bed, reading an old copy of Marmalade Boy. Someone knocked. "Come in."

"Hey, Firefly."

Hotaru smiled. "Hi Rubeus. Sit down." Rubeus sat down in the black director's chair across from Hotaru's bed.

"Hotaru, I have something to tell you."

"Rubeus, I have something to tell you," They said at the same time. Hotaru giggled. "You first."

"No, you."

Hotaru giggled again. "Such a gentleman. Fine." Her demeanor became more somber. "I'm in love with you." She winced, as if expecting Rubeus to get up and slap her silly. What she heard was warm and loving laughter.

"That's what I was going to tell you. I'm in love with you too."

Hotaru's face lit up. "Really?"

Rubeus got up and kissed her softly. "Really. Come on, I'm hungry." Hand-in-hand, they made their way downstairs.

*********************Fate and Destiny's Place******************

Fate rubbed the bridge of her nose. "For the last time, Destiny, I don't like 50 Cent or G Unit, and playing their CD over and over will not convince me any differently."

Destiny was dancing in front of the stereo. "Oh, come on! They're not that bad."

Fate folded her arms and sulked. "You dance like a hooker."

Destiny stopped her gyrations and stuck her tongue out at her best friend and fellow omnipotent being. "Do not."

"I need a drink," Fate grumbled. Destiny smiled cheerfully.

"Get me a bottle of Hypnotic while you're up."

"A bottle of Hypnotic? What, do you want me to pour you into bed?"

"We need to celebrate!"

"Celebrate what?"

"That Setsuna and Demando and Hotaru and Rubeus are going to hook up very soon. It's been three months! They'd be crazy not to say they love each other by now."

Fate grinned. "I'll drink to that." She disappeared into the kitchen and was back with a bottle of Hypnotic and a bottle of Everclear in hand. Destiny winced.

"Just how much of that stuff do you plan to drink?"

Fate grinned and gulped straight from the bottle. "I'm going to drink until I feel I am pleasantly inebriated and your damn music doesn't affect me."

Destiny nodded slowly. "You need a man."

Fate shrugged, and took another swig. "What are you talking about? This bottle will be my best friend tonight."

Destiny winced. "I was afraid you'd say that. I just hope you have a high tolerance." In a quieter voice, she mumbled, "Somebody needs to get laid."

Fate just took another gulp of her drink. Destiny sighed in resignation and lifted her glass of Hypnotic to her lips.

Three hours later.

"I love you, you love me, we're a happy family." Fate ran into the coffee table and giggled. "Whoops!"

Destiny tried to stand from where she sat on the floor. "How many drinksh have you had, Fatesey?"

Fate giggled again. "I stopped counting after the tenth one. Who knew Everclear was so addictive?"

Destiny hiccupped. "Hypnotic is better."

Fate began to wave her hands around. "Look what I can do!" In a short time, a tall, dark and gorgeous guy stood looking down at her. "Isn't he loverly?"

Destiny began to wave her hands around, and soon had a tall handsome redhead. "Mine's is better!"

Fate shook her head. "Nuh-uh!"

"Uh-huh!"

Fate shook her head a little to clear it. "Man that liquor is going to be the death of me." She hiccupped, swaying slightly. "It's starting to wear off."

Destiny stretched. "Yeah, mine too." She grinned devilishly, and turned to the man she had just created. "So, what's your name?"

The man shrugged his broad shoulders. "You haven't given me one."

"I think I'm going to call you Calix."

"I'll call mine James."

"Fine by me," Both men said.

****************Time Gate*****************

Hotaru had gone inside a long time ago. Setsuna stood in front of the Time Gate, a small smile on her face. She had given some thought to the matter of Demando, and come to a conclusion. She was deeply in love with him, but didn't know how to tell him. A slight blush stained her cheeks as she felt a pair of strong, masculine arms slip across her waist.

"Demando?"

"I had to come see you, Setsuna. Maybe keep you company if you'll allow it?" Demando brushed a strand of evergreen from Setsuna's face, and pulled her more tightly against him.

Setsuna nodded, and leaned into his embrace. They stayed like that for a long time, until Setsuna turned around to face him. "I love you."

Demando looked shocked. "Setsuna, I love you too."

A big, utterly happy grin spread across the Time Guardian's lovely face. "Really?"

"Really. I'd spend the rest of eternity with you, if you'd let me."

Setsuna brushed her gloved hand across his cheek. "I couldn't let you spend the rest of your life here."

"Setsuna, what's Demando doing here?"

Setsuna jumped and spun around. "Queen Serenity, King Endymion," She said, bowing. Demando followed suit.

"Sailor Pluto, you have quite a lot of explaining to do. We'll meet you, Hotaru and Demando in the throne room," Endymion said sternly.

"Rubeus will have to come as well," Setsuna said calmly. Serenity nodded, and the monarchs of Crystal Tokyo left. As soon as they were gone, Setsuna slapped herself across the forehead. "Why didn't I sense them?"

Demando looked dismayed. "It's my fault. If I hadn't distracted you from your duties, you would have been able to explain yourself better."

Setsuna smiled. "It's not your fault, but I must go talk to Hotaru about this." She and Demando walked back to their house hand in hand. Hotaru and Rubeus were making out enthusiastically on the couch. Setsuna cleared her throat, and both young people jumped up, blushing scarlet. "Serenity and Endymion know that Rubeus and Demando are here. We're to meet them in the throne room to try and explain ourselves."

Hotaru murmured a choice word under her breath, and Rubeus seconded it. "Well, it's really about to hit the fan now."

"Amen."

Setsuna led everyone outside. "Let's go."

In the throne room, Endymion was pacing angrily. "What was she thinking?! Demando AND Rubeus? After what they did?"

Serenity was sitting down, trying to calm her husband and dispel her own fears at the same time. "I'm sure Setsuna has a good reason for why Demando and Rubeus are there."

"Do you think that."

"Setsuna could be in love with him? We did find them in a rather compromising position, Endy-chan."

"How could Setsuna even THINK about falling in love with the enemy?"

"You can't help who you love, King Endymion," Setsuna said quietly.

Endymion turned to look the somber guardian full in the face. "But how could you fall in love with the enemy? Don't you care that he tried to kidnap Serenity?"

"How could you fall in love with Serenity?" Seeing Endymion open his mouth, Setsuna hurried on. "I can't help loving Demando any more than you can help your love for Serenity."

"But our love was destined!"

A new voice spoke up. "As are Demando and Pluto's, as well as Rubeus and Saturn's. You can't mess with Fate."

Endymion turned to face the newcomers. "Who are you?"

"Fate."

"And I'm Destiny. Endymion, I can assure you, Rubeus and Demando were destined to be the soul mates of Saturn and Pluto. If you doubt my word, please, feel free to send for Sailor Venus to confirm it."

Endymion turned to Serenity, who was already mentally calling Minako. The pretty blond strolled in a little while later. "Yes, Serenity?"

"I need you to read a few auras for me."

"Sure."

Demando and Setsuna stood forward, and although Minako gave Demando a deep searching look, she closed her eyes and proceeded to read both auras.

"Their auras are deep red, almost black. They match perfectly." Minako murmured. Setsuna and Demando moved back, and Hotaru and Rubeus took their places. Minako tilted her head. "Dark purple and dark purple. Another match." Minako opened her eyes.

Endymion heaved a sigh. "So it's true then."

Fate and Destiny had disappeared while the aura-reading was taking place. Setsuna nodded. "I can assure you, my king, that no harm will come to Queen Serenity from either man."

"I swear it on my life. I will do no harm to either of you. I just wish to live out my days in peace, as nothing more than a humble servant of the crown," Demando said, bowing elegantly.

Rubeus stepped forward and bowed to the king and queen. "As do I."

Hotaru stepped forward and took Serenity's hands in hers. "Serenity, I have never once asked you for anything, but now, I ask you for the sake of my friendship with Chibi-Usa, let them stay."

Serenity smoothed down Hotaru's hair, and looked over at her husband, who had his hands behind his back, staring down Demando. "Hotaru, look me in the eyes and tell me truly. Do you love this man?"

Hotaru looked into Rubeus's red-brown eyes for a long moment before turning back to Serenity's ocean-blue ones. "Yes, more than I can say."

Serenity nodded, before beckoning Setsuna to approach her throne. "Setsuna, same question."

Setsuna's gaze was steady. "With all my heart."

Serenity motioned for Demando and Rubeus to approach her. She leaned close to them and whispered, "If you hurt them, I will have you hunted down and killed. I can see that they love you, and that you love them, so I will not impede upon your happiness."

Both men bowed to the queen and moved back to stand with their loved ones. Minako was nodding in approval. "Well, it's about time! I was starting to worry."

Endymion gnawed his lower lip. "Very well. You may stay here, if you choose."

"I'd much rather stay at the Time Gate, with Setsuna, Your Majesties," Demando said. He was grasping Setsuna's hand, rubbing his thumb across the back of it soothingly.

"It's not my place to decide that."

Setsuna spoke up. "My parents have already told me that he may stay."

Serenity nodded. "Fine. Hotaru, what about you?"

"I have an apartment in the city. We'll live there."

Serenity nodded again. "Very well."

Setsuna hugged Hotaru warmly before she and Demando returned to the Time Gate. Hotaru and Rubeus bowed to Serenity and Endymion before leaving.

"Sere, did we do the right thing?"

"Did you see the looks on their faces? Of course we did."

Back at the Time Gate, Setsuna had a huge grin on her face. Demando spun her around. "Demando!"

"Sorry. I love you."

Setsuna smiled. "I love you too." They walked into the house. Setsuna detransformed, and went upstairs to shower and change. Demando lounged on the couch. When Setsuna was done, she sat down next to him.

"I can come and go as I please, correct?"

Setsuna nodded. "Yes. All you have to do is ask for me to open a portal for you."

Demando nodded. "I need you to open a portal for me."

Setsuna shrugged. "Sure. Where do you want to go?"

"Downtown Tokyo."

Setsuna led him to the Gate, and opened the portal. With his kiss still lingering on her lips, she began to watch the Gate again.

Demando emerged in the shopping district. He had found out from Hotaru that the four sisters owned a beauty parlor there. He spotted it and went in.

Prisma was writing down appointments when Demando entered. She looked up, and her eyes widened in surprise. "Demando?"

"Hello, Prisma. I need a favor."

Prisma eyed him warily. "What?"

"I'm no longer evil. I've been reincarnated. I need your help with something."

Prisma's eyes flew to his forehead, where a golden crescent moon shone. "What?"

"I need to buy a ring."

Prisma raised an eyebrow. "A ring? For who?"

"I want to propose to Setsuna. I just don't have any money."

Prisma smiled. "I'd be more than happy to help." She walked to the door separating the waiting room from the parlor, and called. "Avery, I'm going out, I'll be back soon."

"Okay!"

Prisma grabbed her jacket, and motioned for Demando to follow her. She led him to a respectable-looking jewelry store. "Good afternoon, sir, ma'am. How may I help you?"

"My cousin is looking to buy an engagement ring."

The fat smiling man nodded. "You've come to the right place, sir. We have an extensive collection of engagement rings." He led the two to a counter, filled with rings. "Does anything catch your fancy, sir?"

Prisma nudged Demando and pointed to a white gold ring. It had a medium sized diamond flanked on either side by two garnets. The man opened the counter, and held the ring out. "It's lovely."

Demando sized Prisma up. "You two are about the same size. Try it on."

The ring fit Prisma's slender hand perfectly. "We'll take it."

The man took the ring, and led them to the cash register. "That'll be 2,500 dollars, sir."

Prisma handed the man a gold card, and they left, the ring in a box in Demando's pocket.

"She'll love it, Demando. Let me know how everything goes."

Demando nodded. "I will." Prisma walked back to the beauty parlor, and Demando was content to wander. He found himself in a small park, near a bridge that overlooked a small stream. He sighed. "Now, how the hell do I get back? Setsuna?"

"Yes?" Demando didn't jump, but he turned rather quickly. Setsuna smiled. "I was waiting for you to call me. Are you finished here?"

Demando nodded, and followed Setsuna back through the portal. Once inside the house, he grasped Setsuna's hand. "Setsuna, may I ask you a very important question?"

Setsuna's eyebrows knit together in puzzlement, but she nodded. "Of course."

Demando reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box before going down on one knee. "Will you do me the honor of becoming my bride?"

Setsuna's hands flew to her mouth in shock. She could only nod agreement, and watch helplessly as Demando gently slid the gorgeous ring over the third finger of her left hand. She flung her arms around his neck, and they kissed.

******************************************************************

I know no one was expecting that, but I hated drawing out the suspense so much. Technically, this story IS finished, but I want to do a few follow up chapters, about Demando and Setsuna's wedding, and maybe Hotaru and Rubeus's engagement and wedding. So, what did you think?