New Year's Cookie Scramble
By Douglas Helm and "Tuxedo" Will Wolfshohl
Those characters that are original and the story "Lita's New Year's Cookie Scramble" are copyrighted ©2006-2007 ShoujoFiction .com domain by Douglas Helm and Will Wolfshohl.
Yes, we are using the DiC dub universe. It is intentional for a number of reasons. Therefore, this story is set in that wonderful little bit of North America in Tokyo. :) Serena is not Usagi. There are differences. However, when there are areas covered in our story, which are not referenced by DiC® (by the second season), we will use the original or Adventures of the Chibi-Scouts' names.
This story and our other Sailor Moon stories reside at our Shoujo Fiction .com domain. Comment are welcomed and encouraged.
Chapter 1 - Best Laid Plans
Since before dawn on that cold and snowy New Year's Eve, Lita Kino (clandestine Sailor Scout of Jupiter) had been busy baking dozens of cookies. It was the start of what she knew would be a very long and hoped fulfilling day. These particular cookies were destined for the bake sale that evening that Raye organized at the Cherry Hill Temple. It was part of their annual New Year's festivities.
The tall brunette and her other Sailor Scout friends had happily volunteered to help Raye and spend the night. Her friends Serena and Mina had cheered the fact that they were going to get the opportunity to wear pretty priestess garb while selling all those tasty goodies. The Scout of Mars, of course, was less than enthusiastic about the prospect and bemoaned Serena's presence at the entire affair. The typically ditzy blonde with her meatball-styled hairdo and long flowing pigtails managed to enrage Raye by simply ignoring the normal barb. Lita was happy about that -- Raye and Serena continuously bickering was not something that she wanted to endure all night.
It was near lunchtime. The teenager thought that she'd get one more batch in the oven before stopping for a snack when she heard a knock on her door. 'Damn! Who could that be?' She wasn't due to meet the girls for hours. Puzzled, the fourteen year old wiped her hands on her apron and went to answer the door. When she opened it, she was mildly surprised to see Reenie standing at the door.
The seven year old girl from the future had vibrantly pink hair done up in cone-shaped meatballs and puffy pigtails. Her deep amber eyes looked almost red. The youngster was dressed in jacket, wool hat and mittens, along with her boots but she also had a depressed air about her. Luna Ball, Reenie's constant floating companion, floated almost resignedly behind its young mistress.
"Hey chum, why so glum?" Lita asked as she ushered the child into her apartment after looking down the corridor to make sure the girl was alone. "And where's Serena?"
"Hi Lita," Reenie said, pulling off her hat. "That Meatball Head is at home."
'Oh boy...' "You two have a fight?" Lita wondered. She internally sighed as the little girl before her nodded. Sometimes Lita wished that she had a big sister that she could argue with and then make up with. A role model. Someone to be there for you through thick and thin. Mina thought that living alone in your very own apartment was cool but she knew firsthand it wasn't. It could get very lonely, especially around special occasions. As Reenie handed the teen her jacket, Lita asked, "Reenie, did you get that for Christmas?" She pointed to the new black turtleneck sweater the child had been wearing under her jacket.
"Yeah," Reenie replied, "Serena got it for me." While Lita hung up her jacket, the youngster gathered Luna Ball into her arms and hugged it. The little girl was also dressed in bluejeans and pink socks with embroidered pictures of bunnies on the sides. Lita, on the other hand, wore an apron over a set of jeans and a favorite old T-shirt. She planned to clean up, take a nap, and change into something better suited before she went to the temple.
"What'd you two fight about this time?" the Sailor Scout of Jupiter questioned as she patted a stool beside the kitchen counter. Reenie clambered up and eyed one of the still-warm chocolate chip cookies hopefully. Smiling, the teen motioned for her visitor to take one.
Her young guest chewed on the cookie for a moment and then exclaimed, "She treats me like a baby!" Lita raised an eyebrow but didn't speak. "And then, Auntie Ellen sides with Meatball Head and tells me if I'm gonna act like a baby, I can't go tonight!" 'It was all Serena's fault! She knocked Luna Ball away before I could use it and then, Aunt Ellen and Uncle Ken went out...' Her forehead wrinkled in a frown.
"I see... So you snuck out and came over here instead?" Lita deduced, frowning slightly. When her guest nodded, she asked, "Won't your aunt get upset with you?"
"I didn't sneak out... I just sorta said I was going outside to play."
"And came over here," Lita remarked dryly.
"Serena won't find out..." the youngster protested.
"Yeah, she's probably pigging out on stuff." Deciding to change the subject, she commented, "Auntie Ellen and Uncle Ken went to get some stuff for tonight. They're going to a different party or something."
"And you don't think creeping over here without telling Serena is going to tick her off? Especially if she's supposed to be watching you?"
The girl shrugged. "I think Serena was just bein' mean to me. You're so lucky, Lita."
Lita briefly considered the wisdom of getting into the middle of an argument between Reenie and Serena but dismissed the notion. She had always stood by Serena and Reenie being a child tended to exaggerate things. "What did she do, Reenie?" the young woman asked.
The little girl's nostrils flared. "She said if I wanted to go to the temple tonight, I had to take a NAP after lunch, take my bath, and then WEAR my 'jammies' to the temple!"
"Sounds pretty reasonable to me, Reenie." Her young friend glared. "Well, it does."
"I'M NOT A BABY!" Reenie shouted and thrust Luna Ball away. The black orb retreated by rolling across the floor and hiding under Lita's chair.
"You're seven," the brunette commented in a tone that implied she thought Reenie was acting much younger at that moment.
"Seven and a half. 'Sides, in school," Reenie expounded, "We learned that people here in Japan celebrate being a year older on New Year's Day because it was a new year so really I'll be EIGHT tomorrow."
Lita chuckled. "Reenie! That sounds like something I'd tell my mom!" She snorted. "She still would've made me do all the things Serena told you that you'd have to do." Lita considered, "Actually if I was that sassy with her, I would've been in real hot water." The youngster's cheeks reddened slightly. "Okay, Reenie, what's really bugging you?" The little girl shrugged and quickly stuffed the rest of the cookie in her mouth. "Is it the pajamas?"
Reenie stared down at her swinging feet, hands folded in her lap, and asked softly, "Lita, do you miss your mommy?"
The brunette felt her heart skip a beat. "All the time, kiddo. I miss both my parents a lot." She reached out, picked a cookie up, and took a bite of it before continuing, "I'd give all this up..." She gestured to her apartment. "If I could have them back... even for a little while." She took another bite. "You know, I'm actually kinda jealous of you."
Reenie's head came up and she stared at the older girl. "Huh?"
"Sometimes I kinda wish that I was you, Reenie. No, I don't mean I'd want the Negaverse chasing after me but having Serena around to hold me when I got scared or just hang out and have fun with..." Lita shook her head. "I know it sounds kinda sappy. Serena is good-hearted though. She'd forgive anybody anything." The pink-haired girl frowned. "Sure, she would. You know it's true. She forgave you when you took the Imperium Silver Crystal, didn't she?"
"Yeah, I s'ppose," the pink-haired girl admitted softly.
"Kiddo, can I ask you something?" The youngster nodded. "Why did you get all bent out of shape about what Serena asked you to do?"
Reenie frowned, pressed her lips together, and looked as if she wasn't going to answer when she grated out, "I'm a princess. I'm s'pposed to be a fine lady like my mommy." She glowered at the tall brunette beside her. "I can't do that taking a nap or wearing my 'jammies' out in public... even if they are hidden." This last part was said with derision.
"How many people know you're a princess?"
"I meant in this time," the teenager persisted.
"I guess just the Sailor Scouts," Reenie admitted although she didn't seem too happy about it.
The little girl started reaching for another cookie but Lita stopped her with a stern stare. "Those are for the bake sale tonight, Reenie. Let me make us some hot soup and we can have lunch."
The tall teen hummed to herself watching carefully just to make sure that Reenie didn't try to snag any more cookies. "Maybe after lunch, Reenie," Lita offered a few minutes later as she placed a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup before her guest, "You can help me make up another batch of cookies?"
"Yeah!" Reenie squeaked excitedly. She started eating her soup and then paused. "Lita?"
"If you... I mean if you me, would you have done what Serena told ya to?"
"When's your normal bedtime?"
The seven year old blushed. "7:30," she eventually answered.
"So, you're staying up with us until at least midnight, probably later. You're gonna have lotsa fun and get to eat lots of cool stuff. I think taking a nap and wearing my PJs would've been worth it." Lita regarded her for a long moment. "I guess you got to do a lot more stuff as a princess though, so maybe staying up past my bedtime and eating as many goodies as you want isn't so special."
"Uh..." the pink-haired girl began and started eating again. Truth be told, Reenie had much more freedom here in the past than she did in Crystal Tokyo so tonight was, had been, a well-anticipated treat. Melissa wasn't being allowed to stay up. Reenie's best friend had been more than a little jealous of her when she found out that Reenie would be. Now though, she was most assuredly not going to be and she'd have to confess to Melissa when school started again.
"I never was a princess, Reenie," Lita declared. "But you might wanna ask Serena."
"Eh?!" Reenie asked in complete bewilderment, "Please... Serena ain't no princess!"
"You bet your pigtails she is," Lita disagreed in a rather serious tone. Reenie just stared. "Why do you think Serena has the Silver Crystal?" The brunette tried hard not to laugh as girl gawked at her in stunned confusion. "Didn't your parents tell you about the Silver Millennium?"
"Only a little," Reenie admitted, frowning now, "It was ruled by Queen Serenity and there was a big battle."
"That's right," Lita replied nodding. "Queen Serenity ruled Moon Kingdom during the Silver Millennium. She had a grown daughter, Princess Serenity. Prince Endymion (the Prince from Earth) loved Serenity very much and they were to be wed." Lita stopped, took a large breath, and reconsidered the story.
"What happened?!" Reenie asked, eyes wide and face showing complete attention.
"Well," Lita reconsidered, "If your parents didn't tell you..."
"LI-TA!" the little girl whined, "You can't just stop there!"
The teenager sighed then shrugged. "The Negaverse. There was trouble on Earth from Queen Beryl, servant of the great demon Queen Metallia, was working to conquer Earth and the Moon plus she wanted Prince Endymion for herself." Lita shivered. She didn't like thinking about Beryl. "But she couldn't find him. The Prince had gone secretly to the Moon to meet Princess Serenity one last time before going off to face Beryl."
"Come on, Lita!" Reenie demanded, bouncing up and down on the stool, "Don't stop!"
Lita, much to the seven year old's annoyance, turned and rummaged in the refrigerator for a moment before bringing out a can of diet soda. Breaking it open, she took a long swallow and sighed. "Well... Prince Endymion snuck into the Palace on the Moon and met secretly with Princess Serenity. Their meeting was short 'cause Queen Beryl and her Negaverse army attacked the Palace!" 'If that kid's eyes get any bigger, they're going to explode,' Lita thought to herself before taking another drink of her soda. "There was a terrible fight and finally to save her daughter and Prince Endymion, Queen Serenity used the Imperium Silver Crystal to send them and her court into the future so they wouldn't be captured."
Reenie was quiet for a long time. Long enough that Lita was growing worried when the little girl asked, "So Serena is Princess Serenity?" It seemed impossible but given what Lita said...
"Yeah," the adolescent answered, "But because of the Imperium Silver Crystal, Serena needs to... power up, like she does when she's Sailor Moon."
"What happened to Queen Beryl?" the youngster asked, "Daddy said that Sailor Moon defeated her."
"That's right, but she was in her princess form. She was Princess Serenity."
"Oh..." Reenie appeared to be mulling that over.
"So you see, Reenie, if you need to talk over any princess stuff, Serena will listen. She certainly isn't going to assume anything." Her little visitor blinked in confusion. "Kiddo, when I first met Serena, I had a reputation of being a bully, a tough girl who didn't like anybody or anything."
"But you're not!" Reenie protested.
"Well, I wasn't the nicest person in the world either. I didn't have any friends. People were scared of me. I'd been kicked out of two schools for fighting and on my way to be kicked out of Crossroads too..." Lita countered. The child couldn't believe it. "But when I met Serena, she decided she was going to be my friend. If it wasn't for her... Well, I didn't make it easy but we're friends now and Sailor Scouts too. I wish we could've been friends when we were little." There was a small pause and then the brunette added softly, "I'd do anything for her." She gave Reenie a hard look that made the youngster squirm. "Me and Mina, Amy, and even Raye would do anything to help Serena out of a jam. And Serena would do anything to help us or you out, Reenie. Think about that. This is the gal that used the Silver Crystal to kick Queen Beryl's butt and saved all of us and she loves you."
- - - - -
Shortly after one that afternoon, Serena Tsukino had just come down the stairs and turned towards the living room when the front door opened. In came her mother. The blonde was about to say something when she got a jolt as she saw Reenie and her floating companion trailing behind her mother. Her father Ken followed the little girl carrying the packages from their shopping trip.
"What..." Serena began and then putting her hands on her hips demanded, "Where were you?!"
"Shopping?" Her father asked, even her mother looked puzzled.
"No... HER!" Serena declared jabbing a finger at Reenie.
The seven year old took on a look of angelic innocence. "I was outside."
"No, you weren't," the teenager countered, "I looked, and you weren't there. I even went outside and circled around the house and checked the street." Ken quietly left the trio of females and headed for the kitchen.
Meanwhile Reenie started industriously to remove her boots. Serena's mother however got a puzzled look, which turned into a frown, which eventually deepened into a scowl.
"So," Ellen asked quietly, "You didn't tell her that she could go to Lita's?"
"NUHUH!" the teenager declared while shaking her head.
"Reenie Serenity," her aunt began, turning her full attention to the pink-haired youngster who was peeling out of her jacket, "You get your butt up into your room and STAY there." Ken, drawn by the sharpness of his wife's tone came back out into the hall, burden free.
"Yes Auntie," Reenie said miserably.
"Reenie, you snuck out?" Serena asked in worried tones. 'Maybe it was the Negaverse.' After a moment, she shook her head mentally. 'Nah, they're way noisier.'
"To Lita's apartment," her mother answered for her, eyeing Reenie as the seven year old disappeared up the stairs. "She was apparently there baking cookies with Lita all morning, Serena." Ellen Tsukino took her own coat off and added, "Your father and I were driving home and spotted Reenie walking down the sidewalk."
"And how are we supposed to trust you if you can't keep an eye on her for only a little bit?" Ken asked his daughter. Sammy, Serena's little brother, seemed to appear out of thin air with an anticipatory grin on his face.
"Screwed up again, huh Meatball Head?" His sister glowered.
"I majorly didn't tell her that she could go, Mom," Serena said hastily, "I didn't even know she had left the yard!" The teenager blushed slightly. "Sorry." 'That's it for all those yummy cookies.'
Ellen stared at her fourteen year old daughter for several moments. "It's certainly not your fault that Reenie can't seem to understand that she's seven and not seventeen." The mother of two shook her head. "I can't even understand why I give Reenie more leeway than I ever did you or Sammy at that age." Her mother frowned. "That doesn't mean you're off the hook, young lady." The teenager winced. "How can I trust you when you can't even watch Reenie for a few hours alone? Maybe I should ground you along with her."
"I guess..." the blonde offered resignedly, "I'm babysitting tonight then?" She squirmed when her mother gave her a long hard look. "Please, Mom, why should I get nailed for something the Pink Spore did?" Serena begged. The teen felt her plans for that evening evaporate away as her mother put her hands on her hips. "I'll go call Raye and let her know I can't come tonight. I guess I really messed up."
"How do you figure that, Serena?" Ken asked, not entirely sure what his wife was playing at.
"Well Dad..." Serena twisted her fingers together and shifted from foot to foot. "See, me and Reenie were arguing and if I just hadn't of said anything..." She trailed off at her mother's stern look turned into one of exasperation.
"Sweetheart, what you were asking was reasonable. Your father and I would have gotten you a babysitter at her age and you would have gone to bed at your normal time." Ellen snorted, "The fact is that Reenie thinks she's entitled to special privileges that she's not." Ellen sighed. "Serena, you can go to Raye's tonight. Your father and I can stay home."
Ken decided that he needed to step in, "Err... I'm working tonight."
Serena and Sammy blinked. His wife frowned and then sighed. "Then I'll stay home."
"Honey, it's a business social. If you don't come too, I'll look silly. Especially considering that you know the hosts better than me."
"We can't leave Reenie here by herself, Ken."
"Oh..." the pigtailed teen chewed on her lip, "Could I um... like maybe suggest something, Mom?"
"What?" Ellen asked, looking at her daughter curiously. Serena was not the brightest bulb in the box.
"Well... What if... um... What if you let Reenie come with me to Raye's temple tonight and after we get back tomorrow, you can ground her." The petite blonde poked her index fingers nervously together as her mother pondered her suggestion. "See that way we could go and you guys could go out too and..."
Her mother stood there gazing at her for such a long time that the teen thought her mother was going to explode. She didn't. Instead, the mother of two turned towards the stairs and commanded, "Come with me, Serena." Puzzled, she followed. Sammy gave his father a quizzical look but Ken only shrugged -- girls were still weird.
When they entered Reenie's room, the little girl looked up, worried and miserable looking. Ellen paused, hands on hips, and in the sternest voice she could muster, loomed over the seven year old. "I don't like being lied to, young lady, so I want the truth now."
"Yes, Auntie Ellen," Reenie replied softly.
"Did Serena tell you that you could go to Lita's?" A shake of the head.
"Then WHAT were you doing at Lita's?" The pink-haired girl flinched. The words came out like the crack of a whip.
Serena became alarmed when Reenie quipped without giving the answer any forethought. "Well, Serena said I could go outside... but she didn't say I COULDN'T go to Lita's."
"Why you little..." Serena began and then stopped at her mother's look. Silence filled the room and as the seconds passed and as the silence deepened, Reenie began to squirm.
Finally, Ellen sighed. "Serena, I want to talk with Reenie alone please." The teenager gave her cousin a lethal look and stalked from the room, not quite banging the door behind her. Ellen walked over and sat on Reenie's bed. "Sweetheart, I'm not really sure you deserve to go to Raye's tonight."
"But Auntie, you said I could go!" the little girl protested.
"Young lady," her aunt began in a voice that was starting to sound impatient. "Let me give you some facts. You are SEVEN, understand?"
"Yes, Aunt Ellen," Reenie said miserably, lowering her head.
"You are a guest in MY home, understand?"
"Yes, Aunt Ellen."
"I also do not tolerate misbehavior, ESPECIALLY backtalk from anybody, ESPECIALLY little girls."
"Yes, Aunt Ellen," the youngster whispered. She wanted to crawl under a rock.
"I do not let sassy little girls go to special public events. And whether you like it or not, it is MY choice whether you get to go or not, clear?"
"Yes, Ma'am." The Princess from the future was heartily wishing that she hadn't fought with Serena that morning.
The mother of two went smoothly on. "Serena has made a suggestion which I'm not completely sure I should support." Reenie stare at her in worry. "She thinks that I should let you go to the temple with her tonight and when you come home tomorrow, ground you."
The pink-haired girl suppressed the surge of hope that rushed upwards; she wasn't out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. Her aunt was madder than she'd ever seen her before, well at least at her specifically.
"I am not in the habit of rewarding naughty children, understand?"
"Yes, Ma'am," Reenie squeaked.
The mother of two gave the youngster a long, considering look and then nodded once. "I'm going to be crystal clear about this, Reenie. You may go with Serena tonight. Tomorrow when you come home, you'll be grounded to your room."
"For how long?"
"That depends on the type of report that Serena gives me tomorrow."
"Yes Auntie," was all Reenie dared say.
"Serena is the boss tonight," Ellen instructed firmly, "I mean it, young lady. You do WHAT you're told WHEN you're told, clear? I expect you to be on your best behavior, no backtalk, no arguing."
"I'll be on my best behavior," Reenie promised and crossed her heart with her hand.
"I expect it," her aunt explained, "Because if you're not, Serena is going to call me." Reenie winced. "And when I get you home..." she trailed off but the little girl didn't need her aunt to elaborate further.
"Yes, ma'am, I understand." The seven year old shifted uneasily. "My best behavior."
"Fine," Ellen said while standing, "I'm going to talk with Serena now. You stay here until she comes to get you." The pink-haired girl nodded.
- - - - -
"Mo-th-er...!" Mina Aino whined as she stood in the living room of her home. "I'm going over to help Raye, not go snog some guy."
"It's British, and means 'kiss.'" 'Jeez, we lived there a year.'
"I know you're going to date..." 'Boy, do I know you're going to date!' Mrs. Aino thought before adding, "I just said that I expect you to spend the whole night at the temple." She remarked dryly, "While you're there, Mina, you might also want to pray to the Kamis for better grades."
"Come on, Mom, my grades weren't THAT bad!" Mina protested, brushing some of her long blond hair behind her ear. "I got an 'A' in PE!"
Her mother folded her arms and gave her daughter a dubious expression. "Mina, I talked to Mrs. Tsukino and most of your grades were lower than Serena's." She tried not to smirk as her fourteen year old daughter gaped.
"Well... It's only a midterm report card..." Mina protested.
"And that should be an excuse?"
Mina's mother relented. "All right, Mina, I won't say another word about your grades. I AM warning you though, you turn in this type of report card next time like you did this time and it's summer school for you."
"Okay," Mina agreed gloomily. She watched as her mother left the living room. Sighing, the Sailor Scout of Venus flopped onto the couch and crossed her arms.
Just then, Artemis and Luna, the two Lunar Cat advisors, came into the room. "Hey, you two!" Mina greeted, "Got any plans for tonight?"
"We are going to investigate a possible source of 'Negaenergy,'" Luna announced primly.
"Yeah right," Mina snorted. Artemis glowered.
"We are, Mina," he declared, sitting down, "We need to keep ahead of the Negaverse. We can't rest just because it's a holiday."
"We are a dedicated team," Luna commented, "Unlike SOME people." She sighed. "I do not know how Serena can be so lazy."
"Well, I need to get ready," Mina announced, not willing to listen to a diatribe about her princess. "Artemis, the cream is in the fridge like you asked and the movie you wanted is on Channel 178 at eight o'clock. Enjoy your date." She smiled as Luna began sputtering in the background.
- - - - -
"So you're going to volunteer tonight at the Cherry Hill Temple?" The Sailor Scout of Mercury looked up from her trigonometry textbook as her mother came into the kitchen.
"Yes, Mother. It promises to be an enjoyable experience," Amy stated. She looked at her watch. "Actually, I should get ready. I'll likely be late as it is and Raye is already stressed about it as it is."
Dr. Anderson grinned. "I suppose she would be. Miss Hino is a very conscientious young woman." 'And a good role model for you. I'm not so sure about her grandfather.' "Who else is helping her?"
"Lita, Mina, and Serena."
"Serena?" her mother questioned. "From what I understand, Raye and Serena don't get along."
"They... do like each other, Mother," Amy pointed out carefully, "Raye just wishes that Serena would work harder and take things more seriously."
'As do I.' "What about you?"
"Academically, yes, Mother, she could work harder," the blue-haired teen admitted. "Of course, study is not her strong suit. Serena is an extremely caring person with the biggest heart I've seen." She paused and then continued her analysis, "She's also one of the most naïve as well. I guess that's why I like her." She glanced towards her mother. "I am concerned that you disapprove of me hanging out with Serena."
"I was a little worried, admittedly, Amy, but I trust your judgment. I think you complement each other well." There was no denying the improvement since the cheerful pigtailed blonde had befriended her daughter.
"Are you dropping by tonight?" Amy asked her mother.
"I think I will, Amy. I have nothing much planned tonight unless the hospital gets overloaded and I'm called in."
Amy smiled. "Good. Well, Mother, I should get ready and go now or Raye's going to start pulling her hair out by the roots."
End of Chapter 1
Coming next in Chapter 2 - The Calm Before the Scramble
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