"NATURE LOVER"

A Neo-Sailor Moon fanfic

Chapter 1: "Falling Leaves"

By Bill K.

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Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2004 by Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and Toei

Animation and are used without permission, but with respect. Story is (c)2004 by Bill K.

"Rinbu Revolution" (c)1998 by its respective holders, words by Masami Okou, music by Toshiro

Yabuki.

As always, for those only familiar with the English dub:

Usagi/Serenity=Serena

Ami=Amy

Rei=Raye

Makoto=Lita

Minako=Mina

Haruka=Amara

Michiru=Michelle

Setsuna=Trista

Mamoru/Endymion=Darien

Chibi-Usa/Usa/Princess Usagi=Rini

Finally, Haruka and Michiru are NOT cousins.

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Hotaru paused in the doorway to listen. Usa was sitting at a piano, absently singing. As

she sang, she tapped out a very simple, very basic approximation of the tune. She was just

passing the time.

"Isagiyoku kakkoyoku ikite-yukou," Usa gently sang, "just a long, long time."

Hotaru adored listening to Usa sing. Whenever Usa sang, you could see her wondrous

spirit flower until it engulfed the room. Her voice had a quality to it that made a person's heart

flutter. It seemed to touch you in so many ways.

"Tatoe futari hanarebanare ni natte mo," Usa continued, oblivious to the fact she had an

audience, "let go of me - - take my revolution."

"Rinbu Revolution?" Hotaru said, wandering over. "I didn't realize you were a fan?" Usa

flushed slightly, more embarrassed at being snuck up on than being caught singing.

"I didn't know you were," Usa smiled. "I caught a few episodes when I was in the

twentieth century, then called up the rest from Dad's database. I'm a real fan of the director's

work. I try to catch everything he did." She shrugged. "It gives you a headache trying to follow

it sometimes, but it's got some real nice characters."

"I think Anthy's my favorite," Hotaru said, sitting down on the bench next to Usa. "She's

so beautiful and so misunderstood."

"Yeah. I like Utena the best. I think it's because she has pink hair just like me." Usa hit

a note on the piano at random. "So how are you and your parents doing? They seem settled in."

"We're fine," Hotaru smiled to herself. "If I could just get Haruka-papa to stop terrorizing

Yutaka, it'd be perfect. He's afraid to come over anymore!"

Usa smiled knowingly. "Been there, done that. I think fathers have to take an oath or

something to interfere in their daughters' love lives at every opportunity. Pop's just now

beginning to accept I love Helios and he still wants to fit me for a chastity belt." She glanced

over at her best friend. "So do you love him?"

"Don't ask me that!" pleaded Hotaru. "Yutaka's very nice and I think about him a lot, but

we're still finding out about each other. I think I could love him, but I don't know yet."

"Don't rush," Usa smiled, touching Hotaru on the arm. "If it's meant to be, it'll happen."

The princess scowled. "Gawd, I sound just like Dad!"

Hotaru swung around on the bench so she faced the keyboard.

"Your playing wasn't bad. Been at it long?" she asked.

"I'm just barely competent," Usa replied. "You?"

"A little. I was beginning to learn when the whole Silence thing came up. I'm not very

good."

"Play something!" Usa smiled.

"I'm not very good!" Hotaru pleaded.

"You always say that! Go ahead and play! I guarantee you can't be any worse than I am!"

Usa stood up to give Hotaru room. Reluctantly the dark-tressed girl put her hands to the

keys. After a few moments she began mechanically tapping out a tune. As the rhythm formed in

the air, Usa began nodding her head to it.

"I think I know this song," she smiled. Her mouth opened and the princess began singing

along with the melody Hotaru was trying to capture. As they meshed, Hotaru began to relax

behind the keyboard and listen to the music they were producing.

Maybe she should start practicing it again, Hotaru thought.

- - - -

Cere-Cere wandered through Queen Serenity's garden, caressing the flowers and listening

to their serenade. The Queen's garden was one of her most favorite places in the palace - - in the

kingdom, perhaps, though the promenade in the summer when all the cute guys were circulating

possibly just edged it out. She stopped to listen to a carnation's particularly sweet song and

aroma. Nobody else could hear the flowers and the trees like she could, not even the Queen or

Palla-Palla.

She felt so sorry for them.

Movement caught her attention. Cere-Cere looked up and spotted The Queen strolling in

the garden as well. They'd occasionally meet because the garden was one of Queen Serenity's

favorite places, too. Rather than go up to her, the girl hung back. Cere-Cere was always

intimidated by The Queen, even though the woman seemed to bend over backwards to be

friendly. It's just that she was the queen - - and not just the queen, but the legendary Queen

Serenity and the even more legendary Sailor Moon before that. Her exploits filled an entire

history crystal by themselves. How could you not be intimidated?

Then another figure came into view. It was Haruka Tenoh, Hotaru's "father" and a

legendary senshi in her own right. Serenity turned to the towering blonde and gave her a warm

smile. Cere-Cere decided now was not the time to enjoy the garden.

Still, for a moment her naughty side wondered if she was intruding on something the king

shouldn't know about.

Dismissing the thought, Cere-Cere moved on. There was a patch of trees on the far end

of the palace, ancient trees descended from some of the very trees of old Juuban Park, where the

palace now sat. She could go and commune with them. They were mostly friendly trees.

And she just might spot that hunky gardener's assistant, too.

"Haruka!" Serenity smiled warmly. "I didn't realize you liked gardens!"

"I can take them or leave them," Haruka shrugged. "I just wanted to see what you were

doing, Your Majesty."

Serenity's eyes flared. "Don't you start," she said, wagging a finger at Haruka. Haruka

grinned impishly. "I have WARNED you about that!"

"Oh yeah, must have forgot," Haruka smirked, because she actually hadn't. "It's just that

'Queen Dumpling' seems clunky."

Serenity screwed her face up into a momentary pout. Then she softened.

"Oh, you calling me 'dumpling' really takes me back," Serenity sighed. She glanced up at

Haruka conspiratorially. "If you want to keep doing it, I won't mind. It makes me feel young

again."

"Yeah? You feeling your age?"

"A little. Usa's such a handful anymore. To look at her grow makes me feel young, and

at the same time she has an uncanny knack of making me feel ancient, too."

"Makes me wish I'd seen her when she was smaller," Haruka replied. "Considering I've

never seen her except when she was in the twentieth century - - sorry about missing her birth, but

. . ."

"You and Michiru had your own path to follow," Serenity smiled serenely. "I don't

begrudge you. How are the two of you fitting in?"

"Michiru helps me," Haruka shrugged, "I help her. And having Hotaru around really

helps, too. I really missed that kid a lot."

Haruka noticed Serenity was looking at her in a way that suddenly made her

uncomfortable. The woman shifted.

"Is something wrong?" Serenity asked, touching her hand to Haruka's. "You're my friend.

I'm here to help."

"It's nothing," Haruka shrugged.

"Do you miss space already?"

Haruka was startled for a moment, then remembered she was talking to Serenity.

"No," Haruka replied forcefully. "Hotaru needs me here. And I need her. And Michiru

really needs her. So space is out until - - until we don't need each other anymore." Haruka

rubbed the back of her neck uncomfortably. "It's just - - nothing."

"You're bored," Serenity smiled, throwing Haruka off balance again.

"Well," Haruka smiled sheepishly, "what do folks do for fun around here? Do they still

race air cars? It's been so long, I thought maybe they didn't do it anymore."

"They don't," Serenity replied sadly. "In 2982, we discovered the stress of air car racing

was distorting the magnetic lines of the planet. No air car is permitted above a speed of 20

kmph. All high-speed travel is done through magno-wave intercontinental transports."

"Twenty kmph?" gasped Haruka. "Might as well walk."

"But," Serenity suggested, "humans still have a need to race. Track and field has been

having a resurgence in public popularity in the last decade."

"I'm a little old for track," Haruka smirked.

"But you're still in good shape. I think you could compete. If you put enough work into

it, I think you could be a champion again."

"Get these old bones running again?" Haruka asked, tempted. Then she shook her head.

"Nah, who am I kidding?"

"Perhaps you're right," Serenity said. "The athletes of today are quite fast." As she spoke,

she could see Haruka wavering. It was the reaction she was hoping for. "It would be quite a

challenge for someone to beat them."

Haruka licked her lips.

"Yeah?" Haruka said absently.

Serenity eyed her, trying to suppress her knowing smirk.

"Maybe I should give it a try," Haruka mused. Unseen, Serenity smiled in triumph.

"Show these kids a thing or two."

"I think you're just the person to teach them," Serenity said.

- - - -

The gym was empty save for two. Ves-Ves, dressed in a tight-fitting cherry red body suit

made of breathing polymer, edged to her right, her hands up in front of her and ready for

anything. Her opponent mimicked her movements, but not her tense anticipation. Her opponent

seemed calm and assured of her superiority, but not arrogant. Ves-Ves wished she could attain

the same state.

"Are you going to attack me or are we just going to dance all day?" Makoto smirked. She

wore a green and white polymer body suit and the impressive figure it covered was just one more

reason to make Ves-Ves feel inadequate. Brown hair dangled just above eyes that were serene,

even slightly amused.

"If you're bored, feel free to make the first move," Ves-Ves shot back, then quickly

remembered herself, "Sensei."

Makoto's eyes widened just for a second with glee.

"All right," she said.

Suddenly her fist lashed out. Ves-Ves evaded it, blocking it off with her forearms. But

she didn't have time to gloat. Makoto countered with a flurry of left-hand counter punches.

Ves-Ves slapped each one away with her right, while keeping Makoto's right at bay with her left.

She was succeeding - - Makoto hadn't touched her - - but she was straining as hard as she could

to maintain the pace. Makoto didn't seem like she was even breathing hard. Realizing she

needed some distance - - immediately - - Ves-Ves released the right and struck, shoving Makoto

away as she pushed back with her legs.

Makoto stood, barely taxed, several feet away. Ves-Ves felt her heart pounding and her

muscles ached from the adrenaline coursing through them.

"Careful what you wish for," Makoto smirked.

Then she launched a blur of a kick at the redhead. Ves-Ves blocked it, but the leg

reloaded and launched with blinding speed and an economy of motion. Ves-Ves was unable to

mount any kind of offense because she was too busy dodging a flurry of kicks. Makoto was

actually keeping her at bay using only one leg. Ves-Ves would step back to try to gain some

room to work, but Makoto would follow her, keeping the pressure on.

Suddenly Makoto leaped up, lashed out with her right leg, then executed a midair

pirouette and swung her left leg around toward the girl's head. Ves-Ves ducked, but lost her

balance and tumbled onto her back. No sooner had she hit the floor than Makoto straddled her.

The woman's fist stopped an inch from the young Amazon's jaw.

"And you're out," Makoto smiled.

She instantly got up off of Ves-Ves. The girl replied by gritting her teeth and pounding

her fist into the mat.

"Now don't be that way," Makoto said, offering a helping hand up. Ves-Ves took it

reluctantly. "You gave a good account of yourself. I've just got a few inches, a few pounds and a

few years on you."

"The thing that's so frustrating," Ves-Ves admitted, "is that I can see every move you're

making. It just comes at me so fast!" She huffed out a breath. "It was good to get back in class

again, though. I've kind of missed it. Thanks for sparring with me."

Makoto looked at the brief melancholy on the girl.

"But you'd rather be sparring with Minako," Makoto judged. Ves-Ves shrugged. "Give

her time. Minako does things only when Minako is ready - - but she usually does the right

thing."

"It is better than it was," Ves-Ves said. "Is it ever going to be the way it was before - -

you know, before I went stupid?"

Ves-Ves sat down on a chair. Makoto sat down next to her.

"Probably not. No one's ever going to forget what you did, but the more you work, the

more things will go back. It'll never be like it was before, but it can get to be ninety-five

percent."

"I thought we were making progress," Ves-Ves told her, "but she's still leery of me."

"Ves-Ves," Makoto began seriously, "it's not you. There's something you have to know

about Minako. A long time ago she was in love with a guy who betrayed her. He was kind of

selfish and not always very honest. And she really loved him, so she'd keep giving him second

chances - - but every time she thought she could finally trust him, he'd betray her again. So now

if anyone betrays her trust, she's really leery about trusting them again. That make any sense?"

"This guy must have been a real jerk," Ves-Ves said.

"He had his moments," Makoto smiled. "But he had a lot of good qualities, too. I guess

that's what made his bad qualities so much harder to take. Minako wouldn't have loved him for

as long as she did if he didn't have a lot that was good about him."

"Yeah," Ves-Ves nodded. "I can see why she's like that. If someone I loved kept

betraying me, I'd have a hard time trusting people too." Makoto smiled at the irony of her young

companion's statement.

"Well, want to try me again?" Makoto asked.

"Aw Hell no!" grinned Ves-Ves, "um, Sensei. I mean, the only way I could beat you is if

I was as fast as you. How did you get to be so fast?"

Makoto shrugged. "Part of it is genes and part of it is practice. And some of it is fluid

motion. That's part of your problem - - you're too tense during a fight. You have to flow through

a battle like a water current."

"Yeah," sighed Ves-Ves.

"Hey, I learned it and I'm not the brightest woman who ever lived. So can you."

"How did you do it?"

"You really want to know?"

"Yeah!"

Makoto smiled. "Ever been ice skating?"

- - - -

The trees softly sang to Cere-Cere as she nestled against the trunk of one. It was a mature

melody and it made the girl feel so serene. Nothing bad could intrude upon this. She wouldn't

allow it. Moments like this made the girl with the magenta hair long for a world that was

covered with nothing more than lush green plants. The Earth would have no paving, no

buildings, nothing but green and brown and the yellows and violets and reds of their flowers over

all.

Then the feeling was gone. Cere-Cere sat up and looked around. Something was

intruding, some premonition that she was being watched, stared at by something or someone.

The sensation was a huge damper on her mood. She got to her feet and tugged the hem of her

very short skirt down. Another glance around her yielded nothing.

"I guess I'm just being silly," she murmured. However, the mood was broken and the girl

ambled back to the palace.

"Hi, Cere-Cere," Rei said, greeting her in the corridor leading to the upper levels of the

palace. Rei was wearing, rather than her priestess robes, a smart black business jacket, a red

blouse and black skirt. Despite her age - - which was over a thousand - - the priestess still looked

like a fashion model.

"Oh, Sensei Hino-sama!" Cere-Cere cooed. "That outfit is just killer! I wish I could wear

something like that!"

"Well your outfit looks nice, too," Rei smiled back. "I've always been impressed with

your fashion sense."

"Thank you."

"Communing with the trees again?" Rei asked. Cere-Cere looked puzzled. "You have a

leaf on your back shoulder."

Cere-Cere brushed it off. Mentioning the trees brought back her feeling again.

"Um, Sensei," Cere-Cere began, "have you felt anything odd today?"

"Odd?" Rei asked. "How so?"

"I," Cere-Cere began. "Never mind."

"What?"

"Well," she began again, "it felt like somebody was watching me."

Rei smiled. "I've got news for you, Cere-Cere. A lot of the boys in the palace watch

you."

"Oh, I know about them," Cere-Cere said dismissively. "This was - - different." She

sighed. "Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about."

Rei grasped her hand.

"Maybe I'll have a look around," Rei told her.

Cere-Cere wandered into her quarters. She found Palla-Palla on the floor, playing with

her dolls. Though the girl was fifteen, she would never really mature beyond five or six.

Palla-Palla felt her sister Amazon's presence and turned with a big, beaming smile.

"Hi, Cere-Cere!" Palla-Palla said cheerfully. "Do you want to play dollies?"

"Not right now," Cere-Cere grinned. "Where's everybody at?"

"Ves-Ves is with Miss Makoto Ma'am. Jun-Jun is studying for school." She beamed at

Cere-Cere again. "Palla-Palla is going to bake some cookies! You want to help?"

"No, I'm going to watch a vid," Cere-Cere replied. Then she pointed a finger at

Palla-Palla. "But if you're going to bake, concentrate on what you're doing!"

"Palla-Palla only burned the cookies once!" the girl protested, her lip sticking out.

"Twice," retorted Cere-Cere. "This month!" Palla-Palla replied with her tongue.

"Concentrate."

Cere-Cere walked off into her room to start up the vid-player. As she walked, brown eyes

wafted toward the ceiling. When she disappeared into her room, they lingered for a moment,

then passed through the opposite wall and out.

Continued in Chapter 2