Past and Future

Standard disclaimer: It's not mine, except the idea.Big deal.

This is my first Sailor Moon fanfiction. If anyone wants me to continue, tell me and I'll see what I can do. If you don't like it (which, honestly, wouldn't break my heart), I'd like you to at least tell me why. Thanks.

Her cigarette burned down to the filter before she flicked it to the cement and ground the smoldering butt out. Random strangers in the thin crowd gave her a passing glare, which she ignored without an inch of effort. Rei stood at the base of the steps that lead to the temple waiting for Usagi to arrive. In the five years since the battle with Galaxia she hadn't seen the ball of energy more than a dozen times in the past four years. A dozen chance meetings that caused the priestess to feel a pain that shot from the top of her spine down to her ankle each time. She always meant to tell the odongo atama what she really felt, but the words never came. She was thankful the moon princess hadn't given up, that she had saved everyone, including her.

Clouds began to build as she sat on the bottom step, pulling a mint out of her purse. Usagi was late, but for the first time, Rei didn't care. She was treating the leader of the senshi to dinner, and if she could build the courage, a well deserved thank you. How many times had Usagi saved the world, while putting herself in mortal danger? How often had she been willing to throw her own life away to ensure the safety of others? Too many, Rei concluded.

She had thought of inviting the other senshi, but decided this conversation was too important to be muddled by the others. Her fingers itched for something to fiddle with, she thought of lighting another cigarette, a habit she had picked up a few years ago when her grandfather died and she had never felt so empty. Usagi helped how she could, but life had been hard since that day four and a half years ago when Ami had left for England to continue her education. The senshi unknowingly spread themselves across the country, leaving Rei practically alone.

Minako was on her second marriage. When her first husband became obsessed with her every action he hired a scruple less detective to follow her at all times. She decided that it wasn't love, but instead a perverted emotion caused by a mental failure of some kind. Minako initiated the divorce and asked for nothing but peace. He refused her request. She currently lived with her second husband and a restraining order on a private estate near Mount Fuji.

Makoto had founded a restaurant in the city of Miyajima and was making a mild profit. She claimed she enjoyed being able to serve and talk with the people more than the business end. So it didn't surprise anyone when she formed a partnership with one of the young, local business men and fell in love with him. They were still courting, but it was only a matter of months before the wedding would be announced.

Ami was finishing her education quickly with the help of Urawa. She wrote regularly, preferring the old method of communication for some reason. She mentioned returning to Japan more than once, but only after she completed her schooling. She planned to help her mother, who was ill more and more often. Ami theorized that her mother was becoming more concerned with her patients than she was with her own health.

Mamoru's familiar vehicle stopped next to the temple steps and the tinted driver's side window slowly lowered.

"Sorry I'm late," Usagi began quickly, and stopped just a fast when Rei raised her hand.

"Don't apologize. I figured this would happen, so I made reservations for an hour later than the arranged time," the priestess smiled gently, happy to see the blond had changed so little.

"Rei! You're so mean. You didn't even think I could make it on time," Usagi began to form tears in her eyes as the other woman slipped into the passenger. Her chest heaved once or twice in preparation of a burst of wailing.

"At least I knew you would come," she paused, waiting for the future queen to realize her small complement. Usagi sniffed twice, her way of saying she would stop. "How'd you convince Mamoru to let you use the car?"

"That's why it took me so long. I had to wait for him to leave," she smiled deviously as they made their way through traffic. Rei looked at her a little surprised by the bold action, but chuckled with her friend, thinking of the clumsy woman trying to sneak away with the car keys as her husband walked to his nearby work place.

They arrived in time to be seated after a short waiting period. Aromas floated throughout the building as the two stood near the entrance, patient for their table. Rei's mind wandered to Mokoto, wishing it could have been her cooking and not that of a stranger's. They walked by a few happy couples as they were lead to their spot, then past a group of five teenaged girls. The girls laughed gaily as one cracked a joke about another of the group. She couldn't help but think of the time she once spent with the other senshi when she was the same age. The hostess stopped by a window table and gestured for them to sit and relax.

After a moment of adjustment the pregnant Usagi found a comfortable position and proceeded to examine the extensive menu. Rei watched bemused as her companion struggled to choose just the right thing to satisfy her cravings. In the end she ordered two very different dishes to be combined and served in a pile.

As they waited for their meals to be prepared they talked casually about the happenings of the other senshi. Conversation slipped into memories of older times; the youma that have given them the most trouble, heartaches once experienced, and what could have happened differently.

"Usagi," Rei hesitated. "I've been meaning to tell you this…for too long. I want to thank you, for everything. You're ability to look past the faults that everyone has, especially me. You remained my friend despite the harsh things I've said to you. Ever since Grandpa died it's been hard; taking care of the temple with the help of Yuichirou, trying to keep things the way he would have wanted them and keep in touch with everyone. I never thought things would happen like they did. I'm sorry for the things I did. I should have been more respectful, you're going to be queen and I treated you like a clumsy kid."

"Rei…," Usagi said surprised and sad.

"No, I need to tell you this. I've missed you. I've missed everyone, but you were the one who showed us how to live. I wish I could've appreciated what we had before everyone moved away. I need to thank you for not giving up. You saved us, the world, even me. Of all the people everywhere, I deserved it least of all," she finished with a sigh, a small weight lifted from her heart.

"Rei, you're one of the few that deserved it most," the princess's eyes brimmed with tears. "You pushed me to do what you knew I could do if I tried, what had to be done. I was a clumsy kid and you forced me to be more, to pass into womanhood as gracefully as possible for a crybaby like me."

The two sat quietly for a moment before the blonde spoke up again, "You don't have to worry about the old times either. The others will be coming back pretty quickly once they find out I'm pregnant."

"You haven't told them yet?" the priestess asked, then realized it was part of Usagi's plot to reassemble her senshi and begin her rule over Crystal Tokyo. "You sneaky devil." She said as the waitress arrived with their dinners.