The New Arrival
by Naia Zifu

Sister Kate thoroughly scrubbed my face and hands, and helped me out of my
worn, dirty overalls and into a mint-green dress with prissy little ruffles. Of
course, I was perfectly capable of washing and dressing myself, but Sister Kate
refused to chance that on such an important occasion for fear I'd come out looking as
tomboyish as usual.
"There now, you look like a perfect little lady," she announced, clapping her
hands in admiration of her own achievement, "but I'm afraid there's nothing I can do
about your hair."
"Nothing's wrong with my hair," I protested, running a hand through my
closely-cropped pale-blonde hair self-consciously.
For once the tall nun didn't argue, but just took my hand and said, "Iko,
Nami-chan, let's go meet your new parents."
Life had been idyllic for me for the first five years. My father had a high-
paying corporate job that kept him away from home a lot, but paid well enough for my
mother to stay home with me all the time, and whenever he travelled my father always
brought back snow globes for me from all the places he'd stopped.
I was a sweet, feminine girl at the time, owing to my mother's influence, with
a wardrobe full of prissy dresses and a pink bedroom filled with all the pretty things
of a little girl's dreams.
Then, suddenly, my pretty little dream world was shattered. My mother took ill
with a disease I was too young to understand and the doctors couldn't fix. My father
took off from work and we both stayed by her bedside and tried to make her comfortable
as she faded away over the course of a month. I was sitting with my mother, holding
her hand and singing her a song, when she died. By then she was too weak to give the
kind of beautiful deathbed speeches people always do in the movies. Indeed, there was
nothing beautiful about her death at all. One minute she was alive, watching me
through sleepy eyes and listening to my childish song, the next her eyes had closed
for the last time and her heart monitor droned.
I was too sad to cry then. I couldn't cry for days. Somehow mere tears, the
same ones I cried when I skint my knee, seemed insufficient to mourn the woman who
had always been the centre of my universe. I didn't know how I'd ever get along
without her.
After my mother died, my father took a lower-paying job with flexible hours so
he could stay home more with me. Unfortunately, he knew nothing of raising a little
girl, and was uncomfortable dealing with anything pink or frilly, so he dealt with me
the only way he knew how. No sooner was my mother's body lowered into the ground
than he'd cut off my waist-length blonde hair and replaced my dresses with boys'
jeans and overalls. Ever after I became my father's little tomboy, and eventually I
even came to prefer that new life.
My father's parenting skills were far from perfect, and on his new salary he
was barely able to make ends meet, but he did his best and I was able to have a
relatively normal and happy life.
The only scary part was that, in his grief over losing my mother, my father
had taken up drinking heavily. I used to hide from him on the nights he'd come home
drunk, knowing how physically and sexually abusive it made him, but I never really
blamed him for such behaviour; I blamed myself. It seems silly in retrospect, but
somehow every time he beat or raped me I convinced myself I deserved it as penance
for what I'd let happen to my mother. After all, if I hadn't let her die my life
would still have been perfect and none of those awful things would have happened.
Come morning, my father would sobre up and apologise, and promise it would never
happen again. Of course, despite his promises, it always did happen again, until
that terrible, rainy night last October when he went out drinking and never returned.
The doctors said death was instantaneous, that he probably never felt a
thing, but because of the severity of the accident I was never allowed to see the
body. They held a closed-casket ceremony and buried him beside my mother, the
woman for whom he had lived and died.
I didn't cry at my father's funeral any more than I had my mother's; I was
still too numb with the realisation that at seven years old I was alone in the
world, without even grandparents or kind aunts to take care of me.
I was taken to an orphanage run by cheerful nuns who took good care of me,
but had an annoying habit of trying to make me grow my hair, wear dresses, and
act all ladylike. I resisted, of course, having come to like the tomboyish ways
my father had forced upon me.
"Such a shame, that," the sisters often said. "A pretty girl should be
able to get adopted easily, but who would adopt a scrawny, dirty little tomboy
like that?"
I tried not to fidget too much, having become uncomfortable with dresses, as
Sister Kate led me down a long corridor to the room where my new parents awaited.
Time to see what kind of couple would be desperate enough to want a daughter as ugly
and boyish as me. . .
As I was brought into the room the couple seated there turned to look at me.
They were both so attractive it made me feel even more self-conscious about my own
looks. The man was tall and handsome, with unkempt sandy hair and friendly blue-
green eyes, and his beautiful wife had aqua hair that cascaded to her shoulders like
ocean waves and exotic deep-blue eyes that held a strangely heart-breaking look even
though she was smiling. Why would such a beautiful couple want to adopt me, of all
Sister Kate introduced us. "Unabara Nami, meet Ten'ou Haruka and Kaiou Michiru,
the nice young couple who have agreed to be your new parents. Ten'ou-san, Kaiou-san,
this is your new daughter Nami."
"Oh Haruka, she's so beautiful!" the woman exclaimed. "She looks just like
you! And 'Nami,' what a wonderful name, like the ocean. I love her already!"
The man took his wife's hand and agreed, "I think she's even prettier in
person than in the pictures. Just the perfect little girl we've been wishing for."
I blinked in surprise. Beautiful? Me? The one the Sisters had been so sure
was too ugly and tomboyish to get adopted? They must be joking, right? No way
anyone who looked like them would find me beautiful!
The man got up and approached me, but I hid behind Sister Kate's chubby legs.
"No need to be shy, Nami-chan," he said soothingly, "you'll fit in with our
little makeshift family just fine. I'll even let you call me Haruka-papa, like
Hotaru-chan does, if you'd like."
"Hotaru-chan?" I repeated, peeping out from behind the stocky nun's habit.
"Who's that?"
"A girl we've been raising in place of an old sensei," he replied. "I guess
she's a bit older than you, but I'm sure you'll enjoy playing together nonetheless.
And our friend Setsuna lives there, too. She's a nice lady, and she knows
absolutely everything."
"You must have a big house to have so many people living there and still have
room for me," I noticed.
He nodded and replied, "We have a big, beautiful house in the country with
your own room all ready for you when you arrive. You'll like it there, Nami-chan,
and I promise we'll be the best parents we can for you." He smiled in a goofy but
charming way and added, "I, for one, intend to spoil you completely and give you
everything a little girl could possibly want."
"Haruka!" his wife scolded, causing him to flush and sweatdrop. Then to me
she said, "You can call me Michiru-mama if you'd like. That's what Hotaru-chan
calls me. But if it doesn't make you too uncomfortable, I've always wanted a
little girl to call me just, 'Mama.' " She blushed becomingly at the admission.
I smiled and nodded. "Okay, then, Mama and Papa it is. I hope my real
parents won't mind. But I guess they'd want me to be with a nice family who'll take
good care of me, and if it's a rich family with a papa who'll spoil me that's all
the better, right?"
"Unabara Nami," Sister Kate scolded, "haven't you learned by now that how much
money someone has is no measure of their worth as a person? It's because Ten'ou-san
and Kaiou-san seem like such kind, honest, decent young people that we felt they'd
make good parents to you, not for how rich they are or how much they'll spoil you."
"Gomen," I apologised in a fake sad voice, hanging my head to make it seem
more sincere.
Papa accepted my apology with a smile and offered a hug, which I hesitated
before creeping out from behind Sister Kate to accept.
But when he hugged me I noticed something strange about him--my new papa had
_breasts._ I gasped at the realisation that this perfect couple was actually two
women, but said nothing of it in front of Sister Kate for fear she'd turn down the
adoption and I'd never get another chance at a family.
It wasn't until we were safely outside and getting into Papa's yellow
convertible that I brought the topic up, saying bluntly, "I know you aren't a real
papa, because when you hugged me I noticed you had breasts, and real men don't have
those, just women."
"Chikusho. . .I knew I should have waited for that hug," Papa said, but
admitted, "Yes, I am a woman, but it isn't like I go around pretending not to be.
If someone asks my gender I always tell them I'm female. Most people just don't ask,
and because of my looks and voice they assume I'm a man."
"Well, maybe if you didn't have such short hair and wear boys' clothes," I
began, then realised I was talking about myself as well and changed the subject.
"I know you're both girls, but are you really in love or just pretending so you can
keep me?"
Both women's faces went entirely red. Finally it was Mama who replied shyly,
"Yes, Nami-chan, Haruka and I are very much in love. Does that bother you?"
"A little," I admitted, "but I'll try to get used to it. I guess it makes
sense only a couple of freaks would want to adopt a freak like me."
"I don't think any of us are freaks, Nami-chan," Papa opined. "We're just
different, that's all. There's nothing wrong with that. Michiru and I are just
like any other two people in love, except we just happen to both be women. And
there's nothing wrong with your being a tomboy, either, Nami-chan. We love you
just the way you are."
I laughed at her, perhaps a bit mockingly. "Coming from another tomboy, and
a gay one at that, somehow that doesn't sound too comforting."
"I hope this attitude of hers is just for show," Mama said to Papa. "The
Sisters at the orphanage said Nami-chan was a sweet and cheerful little girl. If
she turns out otherwise we might have to take her back for an exchange."
I shrunk down into my seat and resolved to be good from then on, not knowing
whether she was joking or not, but unwilling to chance it.
I sat quietly watching the scenery go by for a while before my next question
occurred to me.
"I hope this isn't a silly question," I began, "but now that I'm going to
belong to you, am I still going to have the same name, or will I have to change it
to one of yours instead? And if so, which one?"
"You can keep your own name if you like," Mama replied, "but if you want we
can have it changed to seem more like a real family. Lately I've been thinking about
doing that myself." She sighed heavily. "The only bad thing about Haruka's and my
relationship is we can never legally marry and have a family together like most
couples, so the only way I'll ever become 'Mrs. Ten'ou Michiru' is to have it legally
changed on my own."
"Then I guess I'm the daughter you could never have together," I thought aloud.
"But couldn't you have gotten pregnant artificially?"
"I want to so badly, but Haruka says she doesn't want some strange man's
sperm swimming around inside her fiancee. I told her it isn't as bad as all that,
but. . ."
"Fiancee?" I repeated, blinking stupidly. "But I thought since you're both
girls you can't get married."
"Not legally, no, but Haruka's asked me to marry her symbolically," she
replied, and showed me her ring, which was shiny gold with a big diamond set between
two smaller blue-green stones. "We're having our commitment ceremony next month,
and I'd love for you to participate. How would you like to be our Flower Girl?"
I frowned at the idea, knowing Flower Girls always have to wear prissy dresses
and flowers in their hair, and carry dainty baskets of petals to drop along the aisle.
"Can't I be the Ring Bear instead?" I asked. "They get to wear little tuxedos
and be in charge of not losing the wedding rings, right? That sounds way more
important than just dropping stupid flower petals all over."
Mama laughed and replied, "Of course you can be our Ring Bearer, Nami-chan.
I'm sure you'll look adorable in a little tuxedo, eh, Haruka?"
"A child after my own heart," Papa said. "I can see we'll get along
"Are we almost home yet?" I asked impatiently. "It feels like we've been
driving forever."
"Almost, almost," Papa replied. "We'll be there in a few minutes, and then
you can meet the rest of your new family."
"I'm going to meet my new family! I'm going to meet my new family!" I
repeated to myself in my excitement. "And live in a big house with my own room
again, and a girl papa who'll spoil me, and. . ." I looked down at my clothes and
decided, "I can't meet my new family dressed like this--they'll think I'm some kind
of _girl_ or something."
I rummaged through the duffel bag that held the few toys and outfits I'd been
allowed to keep at the orphanage and selected a striped T-shirt and blue overalls,
then proceeded to change into the new outfit in the moving car without even removing
my safety belt. My dress nearly flew right out of the convertible when I took it
off, but I caught it just before it could and stuffed it back into the bag. I should
have just let it go so I'd never have to wear it again, but I knew I'd probably get
in trouble if I did. I still refused to wear dresses again, though. I'd just have
to think of other ways to get out of it in the future. . .
Soon Papa ordered me to close my eyes so I wouldn't see my new house until we
got there, so I obediently covered them until the car stopped and Papa said it was
okay to look.
I gasped with amazement at the size of the place and asked in a near-whisper,
"Am I really going to get to live here? It's so big, just like a castle!"
Mama picked up my bag and Papa picked me up, and we started towards the big
"Iko, Nami-hime-chan," Papa said with a laugh, "your castle awaits."
Everything was dark when we went inside, and I thought maybe no-one was home,
but when Papa found the light switch and turned it on, the room was decorated for a
party and full of people who shouted, "Surprise!"
A moment later a confused woman's voice said, "I thought Haruka-chan said
they were adopting a little girl."
Mama said with a giggle, "Kazashi-mama, this is our new daughter, Unabara
Nami, and, um, she _was_ wearing a dress when we picked her up. . . Nami-chan,
what did you do with that pretty green dress you had on?"
"I took it off in the car," I answered. "I didn't want to meet my new
family looking like some prissy girl." I looked around bemusedly at the crowd of
people gathered there and asked, "Who are all these people?"
Papa put me down, declaring me too big to hold so long, then took my hand
and led me around for introductions.
"This is your new sister, Tomoe Hotaru," she said, indicating a girl not
much taller than me but looking a few years older, who was dressed all in black
and had bobbed black hair, big purple eyes, and skin as white as snow.
Hotaru smiled and greeted me cheerfully. "Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama
told me so much about you, Nami-chan. I'm so glad to finally meet you. After the
party I'll show you around the house, okay? I'm sure you'll like it here just as
much as I do."
Next Papa introduced me to a tall woman with dark skin, green-black hair all
the way past her knees and worn partly in a bun, and strangely red eyes. "This is
our friend Meiou Setsuna. Like I said, she knows _everything. . ._she just can't
tell you much of it. . . And _never_ ask her age--she hates that."
"You can call me Setsuna-auntie if you'd like," she offered. "Hotaru-chan
calls me Setsuna-mama, but I don't think your new parents would approve of your
doing so, too."
"It's okay, one new mama is enough for me," I replied, "and Setsuna-auntie
sounds nicer anyway."
Setsuna replied, "Yes, I guess it does at that. Nami-chan, you're every bit
as kawaii as I expected. It's an honour to meet you. Remind me to get your
measurements later."
"Huh? Measurements?" I asked, but Papa was already moving on to the next
"Nami-chan, this is my mama and papa, your new grandparents, Kazashi and
Masato," Papa said, indicating a tall, well-dressed couple.
The woman had sandy hair like Papa's, except long and worn up, icy-blue
eyes, and lots of shiny gold jewellery. The man had thinning brown hair and a
moustache, and his eyes were a friendly green with little yellow specks.
Obaa-san apologised, "Gomen, I didn't mean to mistake your gender a moment
ago. You really are a lovely little girl. I just expected someone a little
more. . .erm. . .feminine. . .I guess I should've known my Haruka-chan would pick
out another tomboy."
Ojii-san added, "We're glad to have you in the family, Nami-chan, no matter
what you look like."
"Where are your mama and papa?" I asked Mama. "I don't see any other old
people around who look like you."
"My parents?" Mama said, a sad look on her face. "My parents couldn't make
it today, Nami-chan."
"Then can I meet them another day?"
"Another day?" she repeated. "I don't think so, Nami-chan."
"Doshite? Do you think they won't like me?" I asked, close to tears. "Are
you ashamed of me 'cause I look like a boy?"
Mama knelt down and hugged me, and stroked my hair as I began to cry on her
"It's not that at all, Nami-chan. I've said what a beautiful little girl you
are and how much I love you already, haven't I?" Mama said. "The reason my parents
aren't here is because they're ashamed of me. It has nothing to do with you, I
I sniffled and raised my head, tears still in my eyes. "Why would they be
ashamed of you? You're so nice and pretty and ladylike."
"My parents don't approve of my relationship with Haruka," she replied.
"Because of that, they've wanted nothing to do with me for years. I did call them
to tell them about the engagement and the adoption. I thought maybe knowing we were
getting 'married' and giving them a grandchild would help change their minds, but
it didn't. They just don't want me in their lives anymore as long as I'm in love
with a woman, and as much as it hurts I have to try to accept that."
"You must really, really love Papa if you still want to be with her when
your parents told you not to," I noticed.
Mama nodded. "Yes, Nami-chan, I love her more than life itself."
Papa blushed at that and hid her face shyly, which was kawaii but weird
coming from someone like her.
"Mama, it doesn't bother me anymore that you're both girls," I said
soothingly, even though it still did just a little. "As long as you're happy and
in love, that's all that matters. And I don't care if I never meet your mean old
parents as long as I live! If they don't want you anymore, I don't want them,
either, okay?"
Mama smiled through the beginnings of tears and gathered me up in another
hug. "I'm glad you don't mind our relationship anymore. You don't know how much
that means to me. I'd hate to think you'd feel uncomfortable with your new family
in any way."
I kissed her cheek and promised, "I won't, Mama. I'll just love you and be
proud of you forever, no matter what your stupid old parents think." The assembled
crowd aww-ed the pretty scene, causing me to wonder, "I know all my new family, now,
but who are all these other people?"
Papa resumed the introductions, taking me next to a tall, thin man with neat
black hair, big brown eyes, thick glasses, and little freckles across his nose and
"Nami-chan, this is my best male friend in the whole world, Kobayashi
Urano," Papa said. "I've known him since I was about your size."
"Wow," I said in awe, and tried to imagine my tall papa at my size, which
came out looking more SD than childlike, and I imagined her friend SD as well so
they could play on the seesaw together, "you two must've known each other a
_really_ long time, then!"
Urano laughed. "Nothing like a young child to make you feel old, eh,
Haruka-chan?" he said, then said to me, "You know, you remind me so much of
Haruka-chan when she was your age, though at the time she would've killed to look
as boyish as you. . ."
"Papa didn't always look like that?" I asked, and tried to imagine my little
SD papa with long braids tied in pink ribbon and a frilly pink dress on, but
Urano started to answer, but Papa interrupted, "That's quite enough out of
you on that subject, Urano-kun. Nami-chan does have other guests to meet."
Papa led me to a short girl with big blue eyes and blonde hair that looked
like it would reach the floor if it weren't put up. She wore her hair in little
round buns resembling odango, that had long ponytails hanging down from them.
Standing with her was a tall man with black hair and gentle blue eyes, who had his
arm around the blonde girl's waist.
"This is Tsukino Usagi, and her fiance Chiba Mamoru, the luckiest man
alive," Papa said. Then as an aside to Usagi she added, "If I'd just met you
before Michiru I might've been the 'groom' at your wedding instead of having to
settle for 'best man.' "
Mamoru threatened, "Keep flirting with my fiancee and you won't even get
that, Haruka-san. You've got a perfectly lovely fiancee of your own to flirt with
all you want, you know."
Papa laughed. "I know, and I do, but you know me, Mamoru-san, I'm nothing
if I don't try."
"Well, you can try being a little less persistent," he complained.
"Gomen," Papa apologised, with an embarrassed look.
Usagi bent down to pat my head. "Aww, look at her, Mamo-chan, she's so
kawaii!" she exclaimed. "She looks just like a little SD Haruka-san!"
"Hey, I'm not deformed!" I protested. "I'm just a little girl. I can't help
it if I'm small!"
"No, of course you're not deformed," Usagi said. "You just look so much like
a little Haruka-san it made me think about SD. . .er, no, that didn't come out right,
either. . . Well, you know what I mean."
"And you look just like Sailor Moon," I noticed. "I bet it takes you a
really long time to wash your hair and fix it up in the mornings."
Usagi looked surprised and babbled, "No, I don't look a bit like Sailor Moon,
really! Sailor Moon is, um, well, she's taller in person, and way prettier than me,
too, and she's got these big wings, you know, really big wings, and. . .and I don't
think Sailor Moon is even a real blonde, do you?"
Papa interrupted, "Let's meet some of your other guests, okay, Nami-chan?"
She indicated a sweet-looking girl with big, almost sad-looking blue eyes and short
blue hair. "This is Mizuno Ami, the genius girl who's at the top of her class at
med school and next year is going to intern at the hospital in town."
"A pleasure to meet you, Nami-chan," Ami said. "I'm thinking about going
into paediatrics, actually, so I can help adorable little kids like you. Have you
thought about what you want to be when you grow up?"
"Yes, I want to be a teacher and an architect and a vet-getarian and an
opera singer and a starship captain and a Sailor Senshi!" I announced. "But most
of all I just want to get married and have a baby to love and take care of forever.
Is that silly? Hey, did you notice our names are almost the same? Nami and Ami,
we're almost like twins!"
"Yes, our names do rhyme, you're very observant to notice that. I'm sure a
bright girl like you can grow up to be anything you like."
I giggled and pointed out, "I notice something else about you, Ami-san,
you've got a cat on your head."
She took the black cat off and showed her to me. "Her name is Luna, and
actually she's Usagi-chan's cat, but she spends so much time with me sometimes it's
hard to tell. You can pet her if you like."
I petted Luna's little head with its strange little moon-shaped bald place,
then she mewed and jumped up on top of my head, so I told her, "Okay, you can stay
up there for a little while, but if you make a poo-poo on me I swear I'll never pet
you again!"
Next Papa led me over to a pretty girl with dark hair longer than her skirt,
I couldn't decide whether it was purple or black, and big purple eyes that slanted
upwards prettily.
"This is Hino Rei, a Shinto priestess at the Hikawa Jinja," Papa said.
"A real live priestess here in my house? Kakkoii!" I cried. "And such a
pretty Shinto priestess, too. The only other priestess I ever saw was the old,
pruny one my old mama used to take me to on holidays when I was little. I didn't
know priestesses were allowed out of their temples."
"Of course we are, Nami-chan," Rei said cheerfully. "Shinto priestesses are
people just like everyone else. Just treat me like you would any other friend,
okay? You can even call me Rei-chan if you want."
"No, that's okay, I don't want to be misrespectful or anything," I replied.
"I'll just call you Rei-san. Or Rei-sama? Yeah, that's it. Nice to meet you,
Rei-sama." I even gave a respectful little bow before moving on just to be
"This is Kino Makoto," Papa said of a pretty girl with a brown ponytail,
big green eyes, and pink rose-shaped earrings, "but her friends just call her
Mako-chan. She's great; pretty, strong, athletic, and an excellent cook to boot."
"You have really pretty earrings, Makoto-san," I said.
"Arigato," Makoto replied. "You can try them on if you want to."
She took them off and handed them to me, and I forced the posts through the
nearly-closed holes in my earlobes, which hadn't worn earrings since before my
mother got sick. I smiled triumphantly once I'd gotten them through and fastened
the clasps. I hadn't even known whether I could still wear earrings.
"How do I look?"
"Like a lovely little princess," Makoto replied. "I'll let you borrow them
for tonight and give them back to me when I go home, okay?"
"Okay," I replied, and hugged her. "Arigato, Makoto-san."
Finally, Papa introduced me to a girl with blonde hair at least as long as
Rei's and tied back in a big red bow, big blue eyes, and a white cat also with a
weird moon-shaped bald spot sitting on her shoulder.
"This is Aino Minako, terror of the volleyball court, and future pop idol,
if she has any say in it," Papa said.
"Hey, you look like Usagi-san," I noticed, "and you have a kitty cat just
like hers, too. Are you twins?"
Minako giggled. "No, but sometimes I wonder if we're not somehow related
and just don't know it yet. People tell us we look alike all the time, and we
even had similar study habits in school, I'm afraid."
I petted her cat's head and said, "I'd ask to hold you, but you might want
to jump on my head, too, and it's full up there already. Maybe later. What's your
cat's name, Minako-san?"
"His name is Artemis," she replied, "which is odd because Artemis was a
goddess in Greek mythology, but you know what they say, 'a rose by any other name
still has its thorns.' "
"No, it's 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,' " a male voice
I looked around for who might have said that, but didn't see anyone else
there. I looked back at Minako, who smiled goofily and shrugged.
Suddenly Papa took me into the kitchen, insisting it was time to eat cake
and open presents.
The cake was big and chocolatey, with "Welcome, Nami-chan!" written across
the top in white frosting and little white and blue flowers all around the sides.
If it had only had candles it would've seemed just like a birthday cake, but as
long as it was chocolate I didn't care what was on the top.
"I baked this cake especially for you, Nami-chan," Makoto said. "It's
chocolate all the way through, with marble swirls of fudge. I hope you like it."
She cut a large piece and set it in front of me, then turned around to look
for a fork to eat it with, but when she returned with the fork my cake was already
gone. Its only evidence left was a few crumbs on the plate and the chocolate on
my fingers and around my mouth, that I was already working on licking off.
"O-kay, I guess that means she likes it. I should just put the fork on
the plate first next time," Makoto said. "Now who else would like a piece?"
Watching everyone else eat their cake made me wish I hadn't eaten mine so
quickly, but since the cake had all been divided I had to be content with picking
off stray crumbs and bits of frosting from the plate. When I'd run out of stray
crumbs and frosting I put my plate in the dishwasher like a good girl and stood on
tiptoe to reach the faucet to wash off my face and hands. Then I returned to the
table and tried to wait patiently for the presents.
After everyone had finished their cake Mama gathered the dirty dishes and
put them in the washer as well, and once the table was clear the presents finally
came out.
"Open this one first, Nami-chan," Hotaru insisted. "It's from me."
I tore off the shiny but poorly-wrapped paper and tried to find a way into
the box inside. Failing to find the real opening, I just found a seam and made a
new one. Smiling up from inside, nestled in a bed of colourful tissue paper, were
two of the sweetest Uranus and Neptune nuigurumi I'd ever seen.
"Kawaii!" I squealed, and hugged the dollies, then thanked and hugged my new
sister for giving them to me.
"Here's your present from me, Nami-chan," Makoto said, and handed me a big,
well-wrapped box. "I used to have one of these as a girl myself."
From such a big box I expected something wonderful, but it was just an
Easy-Bake Oven. I tried to hide my disappointment by saying cheerfully, "Now I
can make a chocolate cake for you, too!" I thanked her politely, but was eager to
get on to better presents.
Inside Ami's box was just some books she said would help me get ahead in
school and a calculator I played with a bit by randomly pushing buttons to see how
big a number I could make. Minako's box held manga I couldn't read well enough to
understand yet, so mostly I just looked at the pictures. A gift picked out by
Usagi (that Mamoru had just signed the card of, too) was a gigantic, fluffy
stuffed toy cat that bore a passing resemblance to Luna but without a moon on its
forehead. Rei gave me a great toy drum I enjoyed making up a song for everyone on
until Papa insisted I put it away for a while and open quieter presents. Papa's
friend Urano offered a box almost as long as my arm, which made me excited but
cautious, considering my last big box had just been an Easy-Bake Oven. I quickly
opened the fairly well-wrapped box and found inside a yellow radio-controlled
"It's made to look just like Haruka-chan's," he pointed out. "See, these
are all her real sponsor logos and everything."
"I didn't know you drove a racecar, Papa," I said in awe. "Will you take me
for a ride in the real one someday?"
"Well, I don't think Michiru would want me driving you around in it," she
began. "She gets nervous enough when I'm driving it alone. But I can take you to
see it one day, I'm sure she won't mind that."
Urano announced, "Haruka-chan used to be one of the most popular and
successful young racers in Japan before she gave it up, you know. I'm glad she
finally took it back up again. I'm sure she'll be the top racer in the country by
this time next year if she keeps going as she is."
"Wow, I didn't know my new papa was a famous racecar driver! Now I'll have
something to brag about when school starts in the fall!" I said.
"Don't forget Michiru's a famous painter and violinist as well," Papa
pointed out. "It's only fair you should brag about her, too."
"Both my new parents are rich and famous? Kakkoii!" I exclaimed.
"Arigato, Urano-san. Even though I don't usually like racecars I'll love and
play with this one 'cause it's Papa's."
Setsuna gave me a big but flat box and said, "I made this for you myself,
Nami-chan, because I knew how much you've wanted one."
I tore open the box as quickly as possible and squealed with delight to
find a child-sized Sailor fuku in Uranus' navy and yellow.
"Oh, Setsuna-auntie, it's wonderful!" I cried, and pounced on her with such
a big hug she could hardly breathe. "Arigato gozaimasu! How did you know I
wanted one of these?"
Setsuna just smiled mysteriously.
"I want to go try it on right now!" I said, and hopped out of my chair.
But before I could run off Obaa-san said, "Matte, you haven't opened our
present yet."
"Okay," I agreed, and accepted the little box she gave me.
I opened the pretty, sparkly paper and found inside a velvety jewellery
box. Inside that was a pair of sapphire earrings with a necklace to match. They
weren't fancy, just the blue stones alone in a simple setting, but since I'd never
owned real jewels before they seemed like the most beautiful things in the world.
"Ooh, they're so pretty and sparkly!" I exclaimed. "Arigato, Ojii-san,
Obaa-san, I love them!"
Obaa-san sighed with relief. "I'm glad you like them, Nami-chan. I was
afraid when I saw how boyish you looked you wouldn't want jewellery."
"I like anything that sparkles," I replied, and gave Makoto back her rose
earrings to try on the sapphires. I couldn't figure out the clasp of the necklace
myself, so Obaa-san put it on for me. "This must've cost a lot, didn't it?"
"No, this is just a little something to hold you over until your birthday,"
she answered. "I'll find something much more special for you then, I promise."
The other guests' jaws dropped at the statement, but Papa just said with a
shrug, "My parents have always liked giving expensive gifts. I got real jewellery
like that all the time when I was little."
That was met with a chorus of, "lucky you," and, "I wish I had your
parents," from the other girls.
Mama showed me how I looked in an ornate golden mirror she seemed to pull out
of nowhere, and I was admiring the way the stones glittered in the light when
something strange happened. Just for a moment the reflection changed and I thought
I saw a girl in a fuku instead, but when I blinked the reflection was back to normal.
I figured it was just my excitement to try on the fuku Setsuna made for me, even
though the mirror girl's had been coloured differently, and said nothing of it to
Mama or the others.
"If that's all the presents, can I go try on my fuku now?" I asked.
"Of course," Mama replied. "I'll show you up to your room and help you
change in there."
I took Luna off my head and gave her back to Ami, then Mama led me upstairs
and down the hall a bit, to a room with my name on the door in blue. The walls
inside were blue, too, like the sky, and the room was full of white furniture and a
bed with a lacy white canopy.
"Do you like it, Nami-chan?" Mama asked anxiously. "Haruka and I fixed it up
especially for you."
I nodded. "It's beautiful, Mama! I haven't had a room of my own in so long.
They make you sleep with lots of other kids in the orphanage, you know. Even the
room I had at my old house wasn't as nice as this, though. It was littler, and
everything was pink," I said, and made a face. "I used to like pink when I was
little, but not anymore. Pink is for prissy girls."
"I'm glad you like your room, Nami-chan," she said. "Now, let me help you
out of those overalls and into your nice new fuku, okay?"
Although, of course, I could have done it myself, I let Mama help me anyway
just because she seemed so intent on it.
"Mama, how did Setsuna-auntie know I wanted an Uranus fuku if she never even
met me before today?" I asked.
"Ara, Setsuna knows lots of things, Nami-chan. It's better not to ask how
or why."
"I think it would be exciting to meet the real Sailor Uranus, don't you,
"Yes, I hear she's quite lovely," she replied with a giggle.
"And Sailor Neptune is pretty, too, don't you think?"
"Well, I'd imagine they all are, Nami-chan."
"Yeah," I agreed. "My favourite Senshi used to be Sailor Venus when I was
little. People used to tell me I looked like her until my old papa cut my hair
short. Then I had to play Sailor Uranus instead. I used to not like that until
I found out how neat Uranus really is. Do you think I look like Sailor Uranus,
"A bit," she agreed. "Much closer to Uranus than Venus, I think, and not
just because of the hair."
"My hair is shorter and blonder than Uranus' anyway," I said with a shrug.
"I used to get mad 'cause the other kids said Sailor Uranus is gay and I was gay
for playing her. Do you think Sailor Uranus is gay?"
"I think it doesn't matter whether she is or not, it wasn't nice of the
other kids to call you names either way. Resembling and playing at a lesbian
Senshi wouldn't necessarily mean you were a lesbian, too, of course."
"I tried to tell them that, but they wouldn't believe me. They're so mean
sometimes," I complained. "Mama, has anyone ever told you you look like a Senshi?"
"Um, no, I can't recall that they have."
"Well, I think you do. I think you look like Sailor Neptune 'cause you're
so graceful and beautiful, and you have pretty green hair like hers, too. I
always thought Sailor Neptune is the prettiest Senshi of all."
"Then I guess I should be flattered you think I resemble her," Mama said
"I think more than just that, Mama," I added cautiously. "I think maybe
you really _are_ Sailor Neptune."
Mama stopped and stared at me, a surprised look on her face, and asked,
"What makes you think I might be Sailor Neptune?"
" 'Cause like I said, you look just like her, and you're in love with Papa,
who's a tall girl with short blonde hair like Sailor Uranus, and your friends look
kind of like Sailor Senshi, too, especially Usagi-san, and you even showed me your
special mirror just like Sailor Neptune's. You are her, aren't you? And all
those other girls downstairs, they're Sailor Senshi, too, right? I know with that
hair Usagi-san's just got to be Sailor Moon. You can tell me, I promise not to
"It's just like Ami-chan said, you're an incredibly bright and observant girl,
Nami-chan," Mama said with a sigh. "You're right about everything. But you can't
tell anyone no matter who it is and how much you trust them, not even to brag in
school. Brag all you want about having a famous racer and violinist as parents,
but not a word about knowing Sailor Senshi, you promise?"
"I promise. But can I at least tell the Senshi I know who they are? That
wouldn't be telling secrets, would it? And I have so much I want to ask them."
"I guess there isn't much harm in that," she decided, "but you'll have to
wait until Haruka's parents leave, because they don't know."
Mama zipped up the back of my fuku and fluffed up the bows, then fastened
the blue choker around my neck. There were little gloves for me to put on, too,
but no little blue boots. I guess they were just too hard for Setsuna to find or
make copies of. I was still wearing the sapphire necklace and earrings my new
grandparents had given me, too, but since I didn't even have any gold hoop
earrings and the blue stones looked fine with the fuku anyway, I didn't complain.
Mama complimented, "You make a wonderful Chibi-Uranus, Nami-chan. Here,
look for yourself."
She showed me my reflection in the full-length mirror on my closet door.
The fuku fit as if it were tailored just for me, but if Setsuna didn't have my
measurements yet, that couldn't be possible, could it? Anyway, even though I
still didn't feel comfortable in a skirt, I decided to make an exception in that
case because it wasn't just any old skirt, and after all, I'd only be wearing it
to play anyway. Surely I could put up with it just that long. It was a pretty
authentic-looking fuku, too, and it did look kind of good, even though I knew I
could never be as pretty as the real Sailor Uranus. . .
"Let's go downstairs and show Papa!" I insisted, and nearly dragged Mama
back downstairs.
When we got back everyone was sitting around the living room listening to
my new grandparents tell stories of Papa when she was my size, with Papa
interrupting every once in a while to deny something or ask them to stop, but they
went on anyway.
". . .and then when we found the cat the next morning under Haruka-chan's
bed, his fur was purple!" Obaa-san was saying.
"Oh, the cat wasn't hurt, of course, since she'd only dyed him with Kool-Aid,
but no matter how many times we bathed him the purple wouldn't come out," Ojii-san
continued. "Finally we just had to let it wear off, but until it did we were too
embarrassed to let him out of the house at all."
"And when we asked Haruka-chan why she did it, she just gave us this pitiful
little look and whined, 'I was only trying to make him pretty!' and she was so
kawaii we didn't have the heart to punish her," Obaa-san finished.
Papa protested, "I'm sure I didn't whine, Mama. I never whine. And it
wasn't Kool-Aid I dyed him with, either. It was grape juice."
"Either way, it was funny, dear," Obaa-san replied.
Ojii-san began, "And do you remember the time Haruka-chan thought there
were ghost owls in the attic because the wind whistled through that crack in the
"Don't talk about ghost owls in front of Nami-chan," Papa said, "you'll put
ideas in her head."
"It's okay, I want to hear about it," I insisted. "I want to know all
about Papa when she was my size."
Ojii-san pulled out his wallet. "I think I still have a picture or two of
Haruka-chan as a child in here," he said. "Unfortunately, she's since destroyed
most all the others. Here we go, see how pretty Haruka-chan was as a little girl?"
"She still is," Mama said, and kissed Papa on the lips right in front of
To look at those pictures, I'd hardly even believe it was the same person if
he hadn't told me. She didn't even look like a real little girl, but like a
porcelain collector's doll displayed for visitors to look at, but never touch. I
guess she looked kind of pretty, with make-up on like a little grown-up, fancy
dresses, and carefully curled and styled long hair, but it was all too fake. She
didn't look approachable, and even though she was smiling, she didn't look very
happy that way, either.
"Eew, you looked weird as a girl, Papa," I said, making a face. "I like
you better how you are now."
"Finally someone with taste," Papa said. "When he showed those to Michiru
she said they were adorable and what a shame it was I'd destroyed the rest."
"Well, you were a lovely little girl, Haruka," Mama argued. "There's no
need for you to be ashamed of those pictures."
"Don't worry, Papa, I understand. I wouldn't want anyone to see pictures
of me looking like some prissy girl, either. It's embarrassing," I said.
"Finally someone who understands," Papa said with a sigh of relief. "You
and I are so alike, Nami-chan, it's almost uncanny."
"Tell the one about the time Haruka made Jell-O in the toilet," Mama
Obaa-san looked at her watch and answered, "Maybe next time, Michi-chan,
but I'm afraid we should be going now. It's a long ride home and Masato has an
early meeting at work tomorrow." She hugged and kissed both Papa and Mama on the
cheeks, and knelt down to kiss me on the top of my head. "We'll have to come over
to visit more often now that we have such a sweet little granddaughter to spoil.
And in between visits I want you to promise you'll take plenty of pictures and
ring me up about every kawaii thing she does, okay?"
"I will," Mama promised. "And you will both make it to our wedding next
month, won't you?"
"Oh, we wouldn't miss it for the world," Obaa-san replied. "I'd given up
all hope of our Haruka-chan ever getting married until this, and even though I'd
hoped for a more traditional arrangement, if this is the kind of life she wants,
I'm glad she'll at least be spending it with someone like you. You're going to
make such a beautiful bride!"
Ojii-san picked me up and hugged me, then gave me a funny-feeling moustache
kiss on my cheek.
"For what it's worth, I don't think you look like a boy at all, Nami-chan,"
he said reassuringly. "You're beautiful just as you are. Don't let anyone ever
try to change you." He gave a pointed look at Obaa-san at that last remark.
"Okay," I agreed.
While still holding me with one arm, Ojii-san hugged Papa and Mama in turn
with the other, and gave them funny moustache kisses on the cheeks as well. Then
he handed me over to Papa and said, "Take good care of this little one, Haruka-chan.
She's a very special little girl."
Papa beamed proudly and answered, "I know."
"And be careful in that racecar of yours, too, okay? I don't want to turn
on the news one night to hear you've been in an accident," he added. "See you at
the wedding."
Once my new grandparents had left I hugged Papa and announced, "Did you hear
that, Papa? Ojii-san thinks I'm a special little girl!"
"Of course you are," Papa replied, setting me back on the floor again. "We
wouldn't have chosen you if you weren't special."
"I never used to think I was," I admitted. "I thought I must be a bad
person to deserve all the awful things that happened to me, but I guess now there
must be something special about me if Sailor Senshi want to be my parents."
The whole room fell silent and I felt all eyes were on me. But I'd waited
until after my new grandparents left before I mentioned it, just like Mama asked
me to, so what was the problem?
"Nami-chan, who said your parents were Sailor Senshi?" Ami asked.
"Nobody told me, Ami-san. I guessed it myself, and when I asked Mama she
told me I was right about everything. I knot my new parents are Sailor Uranus and
Sailor Neptune."
Mama said, "Yes, but you weren't supposed to say that yet, Nami-chan.
"It's okay, Michiru-san," Urano interrupted, "I've known about your and
Haruka-chan's identities for years now."
Mama and Papa seemed surprised by that, so I guessed they hadn't told him
or even knew he knew.
"I know all of you are Sailor Senshi, too," I said to the other girls. "I
bet I can guess which ones you are. I knew Usagi-san was Sailor Moon the first
time I saw her, since only Sailor Moon has hair like that. I'm sure Ami-san is
Sailor Mercury, 'cause she's the only one with short blue hair like that. I guess
Makoto-san is Sailor Jupiter, since she's tall and has a ponytail like Jupiter's.
Rei-san must be Sailor Mars 'cause of her long dark hair and slanty eyes, and
Minako must be Sailor Venus 'cause she has long blonde hair with a big red bow
like Venus'. I guess Setsuna-auntie must be Sailor Pluto with all that green
hair. . .but where's Sailor Chibi-Moon?"
"She had to go back to the thirtieth century to be with her future family,"
Usagi said. "Maybe someday she'll come back to visit again and you can meet her
then. I'd hate to think I'll have to wait a thousand years to see her again.
Even though we fight too much I still miss her when she's gone."
"You've done pretty well so far, Nami-chan, but I'm afraid you've forgotten
someone," Hotaru said.
"Hotaru-chan, you're a Sailor Senshi, too?" I asked, surprised. I stared
at her for a long time trying to figure out who I'd missed when suddenly it came
to me, and I began to back away slowly. "S-Sailor Saturn? The Senshi of Silence
is my new older sister?"
Hotaru smiled and nodded cheerfully. "Yes, but don't worry, I would never
use my powers unless there were no other choice, and I'm a very nice and friendly
girl otherwise."
"Then, you won't get me with your big, scary glaive and destroy the world?"
"I promise never to get you with my big, scary glaive, Nami-chan," she
answered, "and I'll never destroy the world unless it's absolutely necessary. Is
that good enough?"
"I guess so."
"Of course, she probably shouldn't have gone around naming everyone like
that," Urano said, "since the only ones I knew about were Haruka-chan and
Michiru-san. But if I've kept their secret this long, and even they didn't know
I knew, I guess I can be trusted with your secrets as well."
Papa agreed, "If there's one thing Urano-kun is good at, it's keeping
secrets. I don't think we'll have to kill him for knowing too much. . .yet"
I was a little frightened by that remark, wondering if they really do kill
people for telling their secrets, but since Urano laughed I guessed she must've
been just joking. But since I didn't want to take the chance, I decided to be
extra-careful not to tell their secrets in front of anyone else from then on.
Hotaru grabbed my arm and insisted, "Iko, Nami-chan, time for me to show
you around the house."
"But I want to stay and talk to all the Sailor Senshi," I protested. "I
have so many questions for them and I don't know if I'll ever see them again to
ask, and--"
"Don't be silly, of course you'll see them again," Hotaru interrupted.
"The Sailor Senshi are almost like a big family, Nami-chan. We see each other all
the time. But if I don't show you around the house before bedtime you'll get lost
on your way to breakfast and never be heard from again."
As big a house as it was, I didn't doubt that possibility, so I finally
consented and let her drag me off on her detailed room-by-room tour. All the while
she also gave helpful little tips like, "Always get your shower before
Setsuna-mama's because she takes so long and uses up all the hot water washing her
hair," "If you need something in the middle of the night, never go into Haruka-papa
and Michiru-mama's room without knocking, especially if you hear sounds from inside.
Go bother Setsuna-mama instead if there are sounds from their room, since her room
never has any sounds," and, "If Haruka-papa says no, don't bother asking
Michiru-mama. She never falls for that." By the time she was finished I thought
I could find my way around in my sleep. No worries about getting lost on the way
to breakfast after a tour like that.
"Are there a lot of rules here I should know about?" I asked. "Like no
running or playing ball in the house and don't put your feet on the furniture?"
"Yeah, a few basic rules like that. Mostly common sense, though. As long
as you try to be a good girl and keep your room clean and do what the grown-ups
tell you, you'll be fine," Hotaru assured me.
"I'm so nervous. Getting a new family is exciting enough, but a family of
Sailor Senshi. . ."
My new sister smiled and hugged me tightly. "Don't feel nervous, Nami-chan.
We're just like any other girls most of the time. Just relax. Everyone loves you
already, and you've got Haruka-papa wrapped around your little finger, so you've
got nothing to worry about," she said. "Well, it's about time for us little girls
to be in bed. Have you got anything to wear?"
"Usually I just sleep in a tank top and panties. Is that all right?"
"I don't think so. I'll let you borrow a set of my pajamas until you get
some of your own, okay?"
Hotaru took me into her room and selected a pair of lavender pajamas with
feet she said might ne a little big, but would do for now, and I took off my
Uranus fuku to try them on. The sleeves almost covered my hands and the only
thing keeping the bottoms from flopping around was the elastic at the ankles, but
I thanked her for the use of them anyway and returned downstairs to ask Mama and
Papa to tuck me into bed.
"Mama, Papa, Hotaru-chan let me borrow pajamas and I'm ready for bed!" I
I didn't understand why everyone "aww"ed when I entered the room, since
wearing outsize pajamas didn't make me feel kawaii, but maybe some grown-ups just
have a weird sense of what's kawaii and that's why they liked it. Anyway, I
decided to milk it for all it's worth.
"Is it okay if I sleep with the kawaii Mama and Papa dollies Hotaru-chan
gave me?"
"Absolutely," Mama agreed, and retrieved them from where they still sat in
the kitchen. She took off their tags and handed the dollies over, adding, "Just
don't tell anyone else they're Mama and Papa dollies, all right? Remember, it's
supposed to be a secret."
"Okay, Mama," I replied cheerfully. "Let me get one more thing and I'll be
ready." I rummaged through my duffel bag and emerged with a tattered old bear in
a red scarf. "This is Mr. Sniffle, and he's my special bear. I've had him since
I was a baby and sleep with him every night. Say hello, Mr. Sniffle." I made the
bear wave to everyone, which brought out another round of "aww"ing. "Okay, I'm
all ready for bed now."
"Matte," Mama said, and waved me back over to take off the sapphire
necklace and earrings I'd forgotten I was still wearing. "Did you remember to
brush your teeth?"
"No," I admitted. "Hold on." I found my toothbrush and gum-flavoured
toothpaste in my bag and went back upstairs to brush my teeth, leaving my brush
and paste in the washroom near my bedroom where I thought they belonged, then
returned downstairs and announced, "Now I did. Ready to tuck me in yet?"
"What did you do with the fuku you had on?"
"I think I left it in Hotaru-chan's room. Hold on." I went back upstairs
and retrieved it, put it in my own room, and returned downstairs. "I put it in
my room. That's okay, right?"
"Of course," Mama replied. "Are you tired enough to sleep yet or do you
need another run up and down the stairs?"
"I'm still excited, but I'll try to sleep anyway," I said. "Ready to tuck
me in now?"
"Tell everyone good-night first, Nami-chan. It's rude to leave your
guests without saying good-night."
I hugged and said good-night to all the guests, thanked them again for
their gifts, and invited them to come back again any time. Then I gathered my
Mama and Papa dollies and Mr. Sniffle, and waited for Mama and Papa to finish the
coffee they'd been drinking, after which they finally decided to tuck me in bed.
I was glad, because I didn't think I could've waited much longer. They excused
themselves for a while and followed me up to my bedroom.
Mama pulled back the blue cherub-on-cloud-printed sheets and I climbed in,
setting my toys beside me before lying down myself. She pulled the sheets up and
tucked me in securely, then tucked each of my toys in, too, and gave me a kiss on
the forehead.
"Good-night, little Nami-chan," she said sweetly. "I know you've had an
exciting day, but try to calm down enough to get some sleep anyway, okay?"
Papa also kissed me, but hers was on the nose, which made me giggle. She
stroked my hair and said, "Good-night, little one. Go to sleep like a good girl
and maybe tomorrow I'll take you to see my racecar, okay?"
"Honto?" I asked excitedly. "And will you take my picture with it and
"Nice going, Haruka, now she'll never get any sleep," Mama scolded.
Papa shrugged. "She wouldn't have anyway and you know it."
"Yeah, today has been the happiest day of my whole life!" I exclaimed.
"I got a new family, lots of presents, a pretty new room, and I got to meet all
the Sailor Senshi, and even found out my new family are all Sailor Senshi! Do you
think that means I'll get to be a Sailor Senshi one day, too?"
Papa shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe someday you really will. We have all the
planets of the solar system covered by now, but who knows when we might need a
Miranda or a Triton?"
"Sailor Triton, yeah, I like the sound of that," I said. "That's who I'll
be, and I'll have a pretty blue fuku just like my room, and my powers will be--"
"That's quite enough for now," Mama said, putting a finger to my lips.
"No sense in getting yourself all worked up like this at bedtime, Nami-chan. You
can have all night to dream about this new Senshi of yours and tell us all about
her in the morning."
"Okay, Mama," I replied, and allowed myself a yawn. "Good-night, Senshi
Mama and Papa. I love you."
Mama turned out the light on their way out, but the bright moon shone
through the window to cast a pleasant glow over the entire room.
I watched the sky and listened to fragments of conversation from downstairs
until I could no longer hold my eyes open, then drifted off into pleasant dreams
of my new Sailor Senshi friends and family, and of the young Sailor in the sky-blue
fuku I'd seen in Mama's mirror, Sailor Triton.

©1999 Naia Zifu, all rights reserved.
Unabara Nami, Kobayashi Urano, Ten'ou Kazashi and Masato, and that anal nun are my
own original characters, but Haruka, Michiru, and all the other Inner and Outer
Senshi are all SM characters that I don't own rights to, but as always, I'm not
trying to make money off anyone else's ideas.
This is the first of a little story mini-series. It has no banner title because I
never knew what to call it, but I've decided to put it up without one and hope
common sense will show how the stories fit together. The next two parts, which I
guess will be put up whenever I can get around to typing them, are short and as
nice (or at least to me) as this one, but they're semi-important linking parts, and
the last part (yet to be finished) should be another pretty good one. Just please,
no-one ask me when those will be up, because as always, I never know when I'll get
up anything. Just. . .sometime this year, okay? *smirks*