Title: First and Last.
Chapter: The First
Author: Girl Who Writes
Genre: Angst, Drama
Characters: Setsuna Meioh
Spoilers: Up to the S series.
Notes: Written for lj's fic variations challenge. The prompt for all five parts of this fic is 'dark/light'. This is just a spur of the moment idea I had and several characters mentioned will be rehashed and defined in future fics I have planned. This really only touches upon my idea of the Silver Millennium very briefly. There was a much more detailed scene including Queen Serenity that didn't make it into this – it's posted in my writing LJ - linked to on my profile - if anyone would like to read it. I hope you enjoy this.
One thing I will mention is the use of the Garnet Orb. It's obviously way too big in canon to be used the way it is in this fic; I'm assuming that it can manipulate itself to Setsuna's needs - so, in this case, with the heart-shaped frame and all, it's approximately the size of the palm of your hand.
Summary: Setsuna is taken to the Gates of Time to assume her duties. A five part fic chronicling defining moment in Setsuna's life.
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi. I'm just a humble fan and make no profit from this fan based venture.
First and last, everything considered: First and last, it is important to know oneself - Heritage Dictionary
She was taken to the Gates of Time when she was a child – still young enough, her father could rest his hand on the top of her head and ruffle her hair affectionately. She'd get annoyed with her beloved 'Papa' and he'd swing her into his arms, laughing.
Her papa told her stories of the magical senshi, who would save the galaxy from evil and find lovely princes they would fall in love with. He told her of the Outer Senshi, brave women who brandished sacred weapons and were as close as sisters; that as long as they stuck together, no one could bring them down.
And then, he gave her the strangest locket she had ever seen – it was a silver, heart-shaped frame with a red glass ball in the middle.
"Was it Mama's?" Setsuna asked as her father fastened it to the front of her dress.
"No, it wasn't your mother's." He looked down at her, his eyes sad as her small hand closed over the red orb inside the locket. It felt warm to touch and, later, when her Papa tucked her in goodnight and told her a story – not about the senshi this time – she looked at the locket on the nightstand next to her, the red ball glowing slightly.
He took her to the Doors the next day, his face somber as he pulled the key from a chain he wore around his waist, and unlocked a door at the end of a hallway she couldn't remember ever being there before.
In the doorway was a man dressed much like one of the Plutonian monks, but far, far older. He wore a chain around his neck, with a miniature hourglass hanging from it and long, shapeless robes.
He stared at her, with grey, unblinking eyes, and she tried to hide behind her father, but the King held her hand tightly.
"She is very young," the strange monk said slowly.
"Yes." Aeon looked at his daughter, the Garnet Orb fixed to the front of her dress.
"She cannot wield the Time Staff yet. She will need to be trained." His voice was flat, as if he was reciting the alphabet. He looked neither aggressive nor kind, and Setsuna wondered how this man could have lived in the castle without her coming across him. He looked strange.
"She would be better served to wait a few years – at least until she could hold the Staff herself." The monk turned to disappear into the darkness beyond the mysterious door.
"The time has come. The senshi are awakening, and the Garnet Orb has responded to Setsuna. You haven't noticed that you are losing control over the Time Stream?" Aeon observed.
The monk froze and turned back, staring hard at the child. "Manipulations have become more difficult in recent days. I will assume Selenity of the Moon has ordered this?"
"She has. The Mirror and Sword have been sent to Neptune and Uranus, respectively. The girls will be taken to the moon for their education and training in the coming years."
"Has Saturn an heiress yet?" the monk looked up sharply. "There must be nine senshi before they can receive their henshin wands."
"No. Pandora has no children."
"And I will assume that Selenity will not awaken Serenity as the senshi of the Moon until the last possible moment… but we have time." The monk bobbed down to Setsuna's height.
"How old are you, child?"
"Seven, sir," Setsuna managed. His grey eyes were without pupils, blank and staring, like a dead thing.
"Seven years old. I was nine when I was brought here. Do you understand what is happening, Setsuna of Pluto?"
"No," Setsuna looked up at her Papa.
"You are the Guardian of Time and Space, the Senshi of Pluto," the monk said carefully.
"Papa…" Setsuna said nervously, clinging tightly to her father's hand.
Aeon bobbed down to his daughter's level. "You've got to go with him, Setsuna," he said gently, sadly. "Remember I told you the stories of the Outer Senshi who saved everyone?"
"Well, you're one of them. And you don't know how to be a senshi, do you?"
"No, I don't."
"Well, since you're older than Princess Michiru and Princess Haruka, you'll have to teach them one day. So, right now, someone needs to teach you so you can do that." Aeon stroked his daughter's hair.
"Can't you?" Setsuna whispered, her eyes beginning to fill with tears.
"No, sweetheart – I have nothing to teach you here. You must go," Aeon kissed his daughter's forehead and untangled his hand from hers. "And you must be brave for me."
Tears began to fall onto her cheeks as she tried to hold back the sobs. "I don't like the dark, Papa," she whispered, flinging her arms around his waist.
"We must go now," the monk interrupted. "Princess."
"I'll be here, Setsuna," Aeon watched at the old monk who had guarded time for a millennia took his daughter's hand and firmly walked towards the open doorway. "If you can come back, I'll be waiting here."
"Papa!" Setsuna let out a sob as the door swung closed, the light from the castle vanishing along with her father.
The monk looked at the crying little girl and once again knelt to her level, offering her a clean handkerchief. "It may not help now, child," he said gently, "but time does heal all wounds. I promise."
Setsuna sniffled and looked around at the dark, misty corridor, a row of ornate, locked doors, several floating candles offering only enough light to make out rough shapes. The Garnet Orb glowed a soft pink as Setsuna peeked down the hallway.
"I want to go home," Setsuna said softly.
"You are the Guardian of Time, Princess Setsuna, this is your home," the monk said from behind her. "There is no going back, child. I'm sorry." The monk lowered his gaze and shuffled off into the shadows.
And she curled one hand around the Garnet Orb fixed to her dress and curled into a ball in a corner and began to cry.