Moon Cats: Walkabout
Disclaimer: I disclaim. I disclaim!
The flight had been, thankfully, uneventful and Artemis had begged off going to dinner with the others so he could settle into his room.
More to the point, so he could assume his natural, feline form. While Luna and he had both adapted to their innate, and strangely forgotten, shape shifting abilities it was still a bit difficult to maintain the forms for longer than 12 hours or so, without it getting itchy. At least for him since Luna denied having any such difficulties.
Artemis wasn't sure if that was true, or she just liked to appear unflappable.
"Whatever… she's probably still pissed off at me." He muttered, as he shifted into his white cat self, stretching as he hopped onto the bed.
"Actually, she's already mostly forgiven you. But her day was quite hectic."
Artemis, now clinging to the ceiling like the cat he was (Or a certain pigtailed martial artist) glared down at Sailor Pluto, who was somehow sitting in the easy chair in the corner of the room. She had the odd 'smirk that totally isn't a smirk' she liked to use on Usagi. "Really. Did you have to do that?"
"Usagi started sitting against the wall whenever she expects me to turn up, lately. It's gotten a bit dull, and Rei yells to much."
"Right…" Artemis dropped from the ceiling, landing on his feet, and sitting down. "And you decided to come terrify me, for your jollies?"
"No. Were I to do that, I'd wait for you to be human, naked, and in the shower."
Pluto did smirk at that point. "You are far too easy, Artemis. Are you sure the stress of being away isn't more than the stress of staying would have been? It's not too late to fly back."
"I'm not stressed about being away. I'm just tense because of what this archeologist found." Artemis snapped. "There's the possibility of some Mau having made it to Earth after the Fall."
Pluto didn't comment, instead she stood and picked up his coat, arching an eyebrow. "What would Luna say, you just leaving this on the floor." She observed, hanging the coat on a hook.
Artemis shrugged. "She isn't here, is she. And what do you care? You aren't usually one to worry about our relationships. Well, except for Usagi and Mamoru."
"I am your friend, Artemis. And everyone does miss you."
"You can't imagine how much I appreciate you coming to… tell me… that." Artemis frowned, considering the Senshi of Pluto.
Setsuna didn't want that. "Why did you pay for the hotel? Shouldn't the doctor leading this fools errand have paid for things?"
"He did… partially. However, having traveled quite a bit in the past, I'm never letting frugality put me in a flea motel again. Not with this fur." Artemis replied, turning and padding over to a pillow, laying down. "So. Are you going to tell me why you're really here? Or should I guess."
"What are you talking about?" Setsuna asked mildly, folding the rest of his discarded clothing.
"One: You don't pick up after anyone but yourself. Two: You never make social calls. Three: You know myself and Luna's future… and Diana. I suspect we both know we'll work things out. It's not like we have… a lot of… choice…"
Pluto sighed. "I hate trying to play cat and mouse with Mau. You have an advantage."
"Wait, you mean I was right?"
Pluto did not face fault. Her uniform had special, mystical sub routines to stop it. "What?"
"Well. I figured you could have just been bored, you get like that sometimes if memory serves. But I figured I'd play the longshot. You're actually trying to get me to go home, to abandon this. Why? It's not like I can threaten the future."
"Can't you?" Pluto asked. "Would you like to know a secret? About time? Something I've not told anyone except Queen Serenity all those centuries ago?"
Artemis frowned. "Most likely, I don't, but tell me anyway."
"Time isn't a straight line, which you know, and time isn't as neat an image as comparing it to a river makes it sound." Pluto explained, sitting down so she could meet Artemis's eyes more easily. "Rivers, and time, will flow around objects, split and reform, and change fundamentally as it moves forward, all while maintaining certain consistencies. There are fixed points, the Fall for example, and there are critical hinge points, such as the Black Moon family tried to manipulate. Then there's… everything else."
"Everything else? Meaning things that don't change the course of the world?"
"Some of those events even fall into the 'everything else', Artemis." Pluto corrected. "One of them is what you're investigating right now."
"Why would some of the Mau reaching earth matter to the grand scheme of things?"
Pluto remained silent.
"Oh. Telling me would change things, in and of it's self." Artemis guessed.
She remained silent.
"You want me to just run back to Japan, and ignore this, don't you?"
"Just for the time being." Pluto replied. "Allow the human scientist to continue his work. He'll win awards for it, actually. Just don't go with him. That's all I ask."
Artemis stood, stepping closer to Pluto. "You're asking."
"No. If I interfere in events that aren't essential to the future of Crystal Tokyo without need, I'll be violating my oaths as Sailor Pluto." She replied. "I'll admit, I considered doing so anyhow. It's not as though Usagi would have known any better, or cared, but I took those oaths seriously."
Artemis nodded. "I'll take it under advisement."
"I can even teleport you back with me. No more airline food."
"Tempting." Artemis admitted. "But you won't tell me why, will you."
"And that's why my answer is also no." Artemis replied.
"You, too frequently, hold your cards closer to your chest than you should, Pluto." Artemis replied, somewhat coldly. "You weren't like this in the past. I remember more now, as does Luna. You weren't this Chess Master you play at being now. You didn't panic when Hotaru was awakened centuries ago as Saturn, like you were in the here and now. And you haven't even hinted as to why."
"The why's changed."
"But you never bothered to tell them to us. How many other times have you redirected one of us? Or someone we may have interacted with, even though it wasn't really a major history point. How many times did you justify it."
"I've never acted as Sailor Pluto outside of our own circle, or our enemies."
"So just us, then." Artemis translated.
Pluto remained silent.
"This time, and once I speak to the girls I suspect in the future, you're going to find yourself having to explain yourself more. The girls are getting older, Setsuna. They'll stop trusting you if you don't."
Pluto stood. "I can't change your mind?" She asked, ignoring his previous statement.
"Not now." Artemis replied.
Sailor Pluto vanished.
"Okay, Arty… What have you gotten yourself into now?" He muttered.
Back at the time gates, Setsuna stood, watching the white cat. Then, she smiled. "Chess Master, huh. I think I like that." She muttered, as the time stream where Artemis spent the night dreaming of Luna, and flew home, vanished. "I like that very much."
She tried to ignore the chill his observation about the other Senshi had left, still running along the nerves of her spine.
AN: Hello folks! Okay, oddly, I've gotten some messages regarding the preference for less of the crossover elements. I can't garuntee they won't occur, but since I'm not one to ignore the wishes of my readers, I'll tone it down a bit. Note: The Love Hina characters are more or less here to stay, and others are likely to pass through, but I'll make sure to focus more on the Sailor Moon/Moon Cats cast and allow them to be supporting characters.
For those who are curious, you can now follow me on Twitter: Shadoe_Fox