Crystals of Love: Haiku
Title: Crystals of Love: Haiku
Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Series: Crystals of Love: Tales of the Heart from Crystal Tokyo
Couples: Haruka/Michiru, Usagi/Mamoru, Rei/Minako, Ami/Makoto, Ailan/Setsuna, Hotaru/Shioko, others
Timeline: "A Child of Darkness and Light", "The Last Sacrifice: The End of the Silver Millennium", "CAS 1: The Trouble with Love is the Lovers", "CAS 2: To Defy Destiny", "Every Cloud", "Crystal Shards", "CAS 3: Unwilling Accomplice", "Our Past 1: The Reason We Fight", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "Our Past 2: The Reason We Still Fight", "Our Past 3: The Reason We Fought", "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "In the Darkest Forest", "Destiny or Duty", "Desperately Searching", "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 1: The Gathering", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 2: Castle in the Sky", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 3: Queen of the Moon", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 4: Separation Anxiety", "Crystals of Love: Betrayal", "Crystals of Love: Forsaken", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 5: Black Moon Family", "Crystals of Love: Destined Couple", "Horoscope", "Crystals of Love: Haiku"
Time: after the end of the Black moon Crisis, 1000 years after Stars
Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon but I do own a lot of the characters, as you well know. Please do not steal.
Chapter 1: Babies and Kittens
"Small Lady, please go play outside for a little while." Serenity's words were calm, as always, but her friends knew how much stress she was under. The pink-haired princess nodded and left, red eyes searching her mother's face for any indication as to why she was being sent away. The queen sighed and rested her head on her hand, gently rubbing her swollen belly. The baby was almost as much trouble as Chibiusa had been.
"Nowhere near it," Haruka scoffed, eyes twinkling. "Michiru had a harder time with Kazeko than you're having with your girl. It's just been nine hundred years and you're not used to the stress. We told you to have your children a little closer together."
Usagi rolled her eyes, glad that her husband was absent. "It wasn't exactly my fault, Haruka. I was too busy with affairs of state to be bothered with affairs of babies. After all, two of my best senshi abandoned me a bare century into my reign."
Michiru chuckled, glancing up from the scene she was painting so carefully. "Maa, Usagi! Would you have preferred not to have a solar system left to rule?"
"No, I suppose not." The other Senshi laughed, having missed such informal gatherings in the past few centuries. Haruka and Michiru had been dead while the relations between the original Planet Senshi decayed, so their rebirth only served to renew old ties and remind the senshi what made them friends to begin with. Ami was sitting in Makoto's lap mulling over star charts the Star Senshi had brought back from Andromeda while her wife was trying to coax the genius to eat something she had made earlier.
Rei was lying on a low couch in the corner, teaching her daughter Akane some of her miko chants while the girl—who aged so slowly that she appeared to be only about ten—carefully imitated her mother, desperate to learn the ancient words. It had been a hundred and more years since her fateful birth, and shrines like the one in Akaneyama had sprung up across the world, many dedicated to a single senshi or a pair, often Star Senshi. When Rei noticed the new trend, she begged Usagi to make the commoners stop building such shrines, but the queen would have none of it. Rei eventually began to pass her teachings onto the humans, training mikos and priests across the globe until the ancient Shinto rites were revived and revitalized, altered to fit the world of Crystal Tokyo. All of her daughters learned some of the rites, though Akane was the first to indicate a yearning to become the miko her mother had been in her youth.
Minako, busy with her toddler twins, Akako and Kinko, glanced up at her wife and smiled, unable to resist the urge. After Rei almost died alone a century earlier, the pair had never been closer or happier, their bond as tight as any among the senshi.
Hotaru was asleep in her adopted father's lap, the recent diplomatic trip to Kinmokusei having exhausted the woman. Her wife was busy dealing with the Star Senshi on the Moon, but Saturn was content to be with her parents and queen, a luxury she had missed in the last eight hundred years. Haruka absently stroked her daughter's purple hair as she watched her wife paint, amazed that she could miss so much in just eight centuries. Michiru, pregnant with triplets, sported a larger belly than her queen, though Usagi was further along in her pregnancy. The entire palace had begun to take bets as to when the two women would give birth, knowing that the kingdom was taking up the game, as well. Haruka could feel the three girls shifting inside their mother, cramped for space and eager to escape. She knew that Michiru would never carry them to term, a feat Haruka had been able to accomplish with Kotori and Kaichou.
"They'll be healthy, and that's all that matters."
"I know," Haruka murmured, caressing Michiru's cheek as the artist paused her brush.
From her perch beside the huge windows, Setsuna watched the interactions of her fellow Senshi with marked interest. "They were never truly happy, divided as they were."
"No," Ailan whispered. "Our daughter was not happy, either. She knew that a part of her soul was missing for eight centuries. I think she will be a better queen than ever before now that her team is complete once more."
All activity in the room stopped as a flustered white cat dashed into the room, claws scraping the floor as he scrambled for purchase to bring himself to a stop. Artemis's red eyes were wild, his breathing labored, and Minako handed her daughters to Setsuna and Ailan as she scooped her cat into her arms. "Artemis! What's wrong?"
"Luna's gone into labor! Our baby's finally going to be born!"
The Senshi smiled at the tomcat's words, eagerly following him to the room he and Luna shared, the suite providing comfort for them in their cat or human forms. Luna was lying in the nest of shredded cloth she had created over the last few days, completely cat, red eyes glazed as the senshi entered her room. Serenity knelt by her side and placed a gentle hand on her swollen belly, smiling at her feline companion. "Luna? Are you okay?"
"She's very close," the black cat whispered. "There was two of them, but one of them died inside me. Only the female remains."
"Died? Luna, how can you know?"
"Those of us who can change shape are very familiar with the workings of our body. He was not strong enough, so he gave up about a week ago so my body could concentrate on the girl. I just didn't want you to be surprised when my second kitten is born already dead." The cat smiled and placed a paw on Usagi's hand. "Do not be upset, Usagi. We both knew that I would only have one kitten. Stillbirths are pretty common in litter-bearing species. It will cause me no emotional pain."
"I'm glad," Serenity sighed. "How close are you?"
"Pretty close . . ." Luna let out a short, sharp yowl as a sac-covered baby emerged onto the colorful fabric underneath her, the new mother instantly reaching for the squirmy thing with an eager tongue. She broke the sac surrounding the kitten and let Usagi pull it off, licking it with her rough tongue until it began to squeal and mewl. With careful lips, Luna transferred the silvery bundle of fur to her belly, nuzzling it until it began to suckle on one of her teats. Sighing, she laid back down and grinned up at her husband. "Diana, of course."
"She's beautiful," Artemis sighed, knowing better than to get close to his mate for a good twenty-four hours. As much as she loved him, Luna's protective instincts would most likely overwhelm her reason and order her to fight her mate for her kitten's life. As Diana nursed, Luna delivered the stillborn baby and both afterbirths, letting a hovering servant remove the dead tissue from her nest. Serenity carefully removed the blood-stained cloths and rearranged the nest a little, washing her hands in a bowl the same servant girl brought her.
Luna's eyes were heavy with sleep as Serenity finished drying her hands, curling around her daughter as Diana drifted off to sleep. The purblind kitten was finally dry, though completely helpless and dependant upon her mother. "Are you sure the other kitten's death doesn't bother you?"
"Why should it, Usagi? He was never really alive in the sense that I never saw him and he never breathed his first breath. Even if he had been removed from me before he died, he could scarcely have survived on his own and he would have suffered with the birth defects that caused his life to cease for years perhaps. How could he have ever been happy, deformed and imperfect? Besides, there is a saying on Mau: 'the richer the first litter in life, the poorer it will be in love and experience.' We take it to mean that the fewer kittens we have, the more time and love we can devote to them and we will learn how to be better parents so our second litter can be larger with the same end result. The idea is to raise a smaller number of perfect kittens rather than a very large number of very imperfect or emotionally deformed kittens. One bad kit can ruin childhood for the others, and Diana will have a perfectly happy and normal life, with or without littermates. I was one of two, and Artemis had no siblings in his litter."
"I see. Even after so long, Luna, you are still my teacher." The queen bent down and kissed the crescent moon in the center of Luna's forehead, noting the lack of such an emblem on her daughter.
Luna laughed. "We are not born with a mark, Usagi! We receive it after pledging our lives and our services to a royal family! Diana will receive the moon mark if she vows service to your daughter, not because her father and I had vowed service to you."
From Minako's shoulder, Artemis let out a short purr. "Goodnight, my love. I will return tomorrow and meet our daughter."
"Goodnight, Artemis." Serenity dimmed the lights as she and her senshi left, grinning.
"I was wondering when Diana would make her appearance. She's very cute."
Haruka nodded, agreeing with the Senshi of Venus. "Didn't you say that she would travel back in time with Chibiusa?"
"Yes. One day." Serenity stopped as Hotaru froze in the middle of the hallway, only half-awake from her nap earlier. She turned to face her mother and father, purple eyes black and full of tiny white stars. Haruka stepped forward, wondering what was wrong, Michiru grabbing her arm as the youngest of the Planet Senshi began to speak.
"The Darkness is coming again. It has come so many times before, but there aren't enough Dragons this time. We can't find the ancient stones, we can't read the ancient texts, we can't remember the ancient spells. Please, help us. We will die before my wife gives birth . . . please come and save my kittens . . ." Hotaru screamed as her eyes turned purple again, falling to her knees as she lost consciousness. Haruka caught her as Shioko appeared in the hall, frightened emerald eyes flying to her wife's face.
The Star Senshi pulled Hotaru into her arms, smoothing purple hair away from a pale face. "What happened? I saw an image of a black cloud enveloping a bunch of strange Dragons . . . then everything faded."
"We don't know. She said something about a Darkness, and Dragons, and saving some kittens . . . you don't think someone was communicating from Mau?"
Artemis shook his head. "We aren't telepathic with people not from our planet, and we aren't strong telepaths in any case. I would have intercepted a signal before Hotaru."
"What did she mean by stones?" Ami had already pulled out her computer, writing down Hotaru's words from her perfect memory as she struggled to decipher their meaning. "And what spells? The only power Mauians have is that of shape-shifting."
"I don't know," the queen admitted, letting Shioko teleport herself and her wife to their room. "We'll ask Hotaru when she wakes up."
To be continued