The Wedding
by Naia Zifu

Because Mama and Papa are both girls, they aren't allowed to legally
marry, but you never would've known it by the elaborate Western-style wedding
they had planned.
The Hikawa Jinja was decorated in the most delicate shades of pale-
blue, pale-green, and pure white, with white roses and gardenias all over
filling the air with their scent. The guests had begun arriving already,
while in the back Obaa-san was fussing over the details of Mama's wedding
dress and fancy hairdo, and Ojii-san made sure Papa's bow tie was straight and
put a little flower in her lapel.
Part of the Best Man's job is supposed to be to help keep the groom
calm before the wedding, but Papa's Best Man, Urano, was the one sweating and
pacing the floor, while Papa tried to calm him down by reminding him that it
wasn't even his wedding, and she should be the nervous one instead. But Papa
didn't seem nervous at all. Excited maybe, happy definitely, but not nervous.
"Papa, my bow tie came untied again," I complained.
"Well, if you'll stop playing with it so much, it won't," she said,
though not in an angry way, and tied it back again for the third time. "Just
relax, Nami-chan, you look great in a tux."
"Obaa-san said I look ridiculous. She said she wished I'd just wear a
dress like a normal little girl. But Papa, I don't wanna be a normal little
girl! I like being just the way I am."
"Aah, don't worry about what my mother says. She's always been weird
about those things," Papa told me. "And stop saying you're not a normal girl
just because of how you look. I've told you before being different doesn't
make you abnormal."
"I know, but it's hard to remember that around Obaa-san," I whined.
Ojii-san said, "Well, you tell her I said you look lovely in that
tuxedo. And while you're there, ask her if they're almost ready in there yet.
The wedding's due to start in twenty minutes."
"Okay," I said, and went back to Rei's room, where Obaa-san was using
a curling iron to make little spiral curls around Mama's beautiful face.
"Obaa-san, Ojii-san sent me to tell you he said I look lovely in my tuxedo,
and to ask if you guys are almost ready in here yet."
"Well, of course _he'd_ say something like that," Obaa-san muttered,
then said more loudly, "We'll be ready in a few minutes. I'm just putting on
the finishing touches."
"That's what you said last time I was in here half an hour ago, and
you were doing her hair then, too," I said. "How long is it going to take you
just to do her hair, Obaa-san? If you keep taking so long all the guests are
gonna leave and there won't even be a wedding!"
"We'll be on time, Nami-chan," Mama promised. "It's taking so long
for me to get ready because I want to look extra-special for this. All my
life I've dreamt of being a bride, and I just want everything to be perfect."
"Is that why you're not complaining about curling irons cause damage,
Mama?" I asked. "I know how picky you get about your hair and anything that
will damage it."
Mama laughed and agreed, "I guess I do get picky about my hair some-
times, but I'll only be a bride once, so today I'll make an exception. I
suppose you 'guys' have been dressed and waiting for an hour already, eh?"
"Uh-huh, and it's really boring in there, too," I complained, "I don't have
anybody to play with, and silly Urano-san keeps pacing around getting nervous
when he's not even getting married!"
"Well, you go talk him down for me, all right? And tell everyone to be
patient just a little longer. I promise to be ready in a few minutes."
I returned and said in an exasperated tone, "Obaa-san is _still_ doing
Mama's hair, just like last time I checked. Mama said it's 'cause she's a
bride and wants to look extra-special, but I swear when I get married I won't
take that long to get dressed, even if I have to be the bride and wear a big,
fancy dress like that."
"It's an important day for her, Nami-chan," Ojii-san said, "Let her
enjoy it. If Michiru-chan says she'll be on time, I believe her. I don't
think she'd be late to her own wedding."
"I'm just glad it doesn't take me over a half-hour to do my hair," I
said. "I just smooth it down with my fingers like this, see? And if it's
sticking up funny when I get up in the mornings I drown it with water until
it behaves. I never take more than a minute or two to fix my hair."
"Now there's a girl who's got it all figured out," Papa said. "You
should give beauty lectures."
"Yeah, and teach Mama how to not be late for her own wedding," I
said with a sigh. I sat slumped with my chin resting on my hands and watched
Urano pace until it started to make me dizzy. Then I said crossly, "Urano-san,
yamete-yo! I'm getting sick of watching you. Mama said I'm supposed to talk
you down for her, and I would, but I don't know what that means. But I do
know if you keep pacing I'll get dizzy and throw up."
"Nami-chan, that's no way to talk to your elders!" Ojii-san scolded.
But Urano said sheepishly, "It's okay, sir, she's right anyway.
Someone does need to talk me down or something. If I'm this nervous just
being Haruka-chan's Best Man, I shudder to think what I'll be like at my own
wedding."
He sat down beside me and I patted his back reassuringly. "It's okay,
Urano-san. I'm nervous, too. What if I trip in front of everyone or lose
Mama and Papa's wedding rings? But I'm trying not to think about that 'cause
I know if I do I'll get as nervous and pacing as you. All you really have to
do is stand there anyway. That's easy. I'll be the one holding expensive
jewellery and trying not to drop it."
Urano laughed. "You make it sound like the Best Man's job's not
important."
"It is, but I practised two whole weeks how to carry things on pillows
and not drop them, and I'm still not sure I can do it. If you think being
Best Man is hard, I'll let you be the Ring Bear and I'll be Best Man, and
we'll see how well _you_ can carry rings on a pillow!"
"Nah, that's okay, Nami-chan," Urano replied, laughing more, "you be
the Ring Bearer since you've had all that practise. As nervous as I am today
I'd drop them for sure."
"Okay, then, you just stand around and look nice, Urano-san," I said,
and gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder. "Leave the hard part to me."
"Arigato, Nami-chan," Urano said cheerfully, and hugged me. "Just
like Haruka-chan, you seem to always know the right things to say to make me
feel better."
And it was just in time, too, because, keeping her promise, Mama did
get ready on time and the wedding started just when it was supposed to.
There weren't many guests, just close friends and family (or Papa's,
anyway, since sadly, Mama's still weren't interested in coming), and everyone
had to sit on the floor even though it risked getting their pretty dress-up
clothes dirty. The bridesmaids, who were all the Inner Senshi, were dressed
in pale-blue or -green one-shouldered gowns that I thought made them look
like Greek goddesses. All us "guys" just wore tuxedoes, though. Papa's was
white because she got to be the "groom," but everyone else had to wear funny
light-grey ones with pale-blue lapels, probably because normal black would
look weird with the pale colours the rest of the wedding party wore and
tuxedoes look weird in pale-blue or -green. Since I got to be the Ring Bear,
Hotaru had to be the Flower Girl by default. I didn't think Flower Girls should
be so old, but since she was small for her age it didn't look strange at all.
She had on a pale-blue dress with ribbon bows that looked more like what a
doll would wear than a little girl, and a straw hat, with white flowers and blue
ribbons to match her dress, was on her head. Once everyone was in place,
Mama finally appeared on Mamoru's arm (because her father wasn't there to
give her away and Mamoru was supposed to be some kind of king or
something in the thirtieth century, or so it had been explained to me), wearing
an extravagant off-the-shoulders wedding gown with poufy sleeves, a lace
inset at the front, a very full floor-length skirt, a perfect bouquet of white roses
in her hand, and a sparkly tiara on her head with a veil that hid her beautiful
face unfairly from all of us who wanted to see the excited sparkle in her eyes
and demure flush in her cheeks as her lifelong wish to be a bride, to finally
marry the woman she loved, came true at last.
Once she'd made her way down the aisle Rei's silly old grandfather,
who was performing the ceremony, announced that Mama and Papa had written
their own vows, and then Papa took a slip of paper from her pocket to read.
After reviewing the paper a moment, she began reciting with hardly a
glance at her cheat sheet, "Michiru, you are truly the most beautiful and perfect
woman I've ever met. One look from those big blue eyes of yours is enough to
melt my heart, and your laughter sends my spirit soaring amongst the highest
clouds. I wonder sometimes what an elegant, well-mannered lady like you
would see in an arrogant, headstrong loner like myself, but then you give me
that special look, that secret smile you keep for no-one but me, and suddenly
the hows and whys no longer matter. I just know you love me, and that's all that
counts." Papa blushed sweetly at that and after a cute throat-clearing gesture,
went on, "One rainy night five years ago you showed up on my doorstep because
your parents had thrown you out and you had nowhere else to go. I hated them
so much that night for making you cry like that, for making you feel so unwanted
and unloved, that I promised myself to never let you feel that way again. I swore
to always take care of you, and make sure you always knew how loved and
special you are. Kind of a one-sided vow of sorts, then, but today in front of
everyone, I just wanted to make it official. Michiru, I promise to love, cherish, care
for, and protect you for as long as I live, if you'll have me."
"Oh, Haruka, of course I'll have you," Mama said, voice cracking as if she
were on the verge of tears, but she quickly composed herself for her own speech,
which she had memorised well enough not to need a cheat sheet for. "Others
might look at my Haruka and see only the tough, arrogant, cocky, and sometimes
rude tomboy, obsessed with speed and unable to co-operate well in a team. I
won't deny she is all that, but there's so much more to her as well. Haruka, I've
loved you from the moment I saw you, and yes, I knew you were a girl even then.
You don't like to admit it, but deep down inside you're a kind, sensitive, loving,
and generous woman. Even as arrogant as you seem outside, there's a part of you
that's always been self-doubting and uncertain, always in search of approval, like a
child. Well, you needn't try so hard for my approval, because you've always had it.
You're such a beautiful woman both inside and out no matter how you try to hide it
with your men's clothing and tough facade. That's what makes me love you, Haruka.
That's why I will always love you. Being with you is what makes me special and
beautiful, and only when you hold me in your strong arms do I feel complete. I've
always felt safe and loved with you, and I want that feeling to go on forever. So,
even though we've been living as if we were married for years now already, I just
want it to seem more official. Even if it's never legally recognised, I would be
honoured if you'd have me as your wife."
"Of course I will," Papa said, tears forming at the corners of her eyes.
Rei's grandfather wiped tears away from his own eyes and then asked for
the rings. I carefully carried them over just as I'd practised, and they didn't fall off
or get lost even once.
Papa placed the smaller ring on Mama's delicate finger and said, "With
this ring, I thee wed," just like they always do in the movies. Then Mama put the
larger one on Papa and parroted the same thing.
"I now pronounce you, um, wife and wife?" Rei's grandfather said, evoking
giggles from all around. "You may now kiss the bride. Er, the other bride. The
one in the gown."
Papa seemed not to notice the awkwardness of the moment, and just
raised Mama's veil and kissed her for so long I thought they'd suffocate if they didn't
come up for air soon.
When they finally finished kissing, a cheer rose up that seemed louder
than those few guests should make. The commotion grew even louder when Mama
threw her bouquet and all the single women scrambled after it. No-one was more
surprised when Setsuna caught it than she was herself, which was funny for some-
one who supposedly knew everything.
The reception was held outdoors in the courtyard of the Hikawa Jinja. It
was a perfect, sunny day out, with flowers and chirping birds who'd come to eat the
birdseed we'd been given to throw for the wedding (because it's less clean-up and
good for the birdies, too, Mama said). There was a lot of fancy food for guests to
eat, but I was afraid to because I didn't even know what most of it was, so I just
waited impatiently for the cake. At least I'd know what that was supposed to be.
Everyone kept kissing and congratulating Mama and Papa so much it was
hard for me to get to them through the crowd, until Papa finally noticed me and
came over to pick me up.
"I'm happy for you and Mama getting married, Papa," I said, then hugged
and kissed her cheek myself. And as soon as Mama had a free cheek I kissed her,
too. "I'm going to miss you both so much while you're off on your honeymoon."
"It's okay, Nami-chan, we'll only be gone a few days," Mama said, "and
you'll still have Setsuna and Hotaru-chan around to keep you company while we're
gone."
"And I'll bring you back a nice souvenir from Florence when we get back,"
Papa promised.
"Florence? Who's that?" I asked.
They couldn't mean that blonde Amerika-jin lady who played the mother
on "The Brady Bunch" reruns, could they?
Mama giggled and replied, "Not who, Nami-chan, where. Florence is a
place in Italy famous for its Renaissance art."
"Well, that's why Michiru wants to go there," Papa said, and added with a
wink, "but if I have any say in it we won't get to see very much of it while we're
there."
Huh? Why would they want to go somewhere famous for the art if they
didn't even want to see any of it? I guessed that was just another grown-up thing
I just wasn't old enough to understand yet.
"Have a good time at the art, then." I said, "but hurry back and don't forget
me while you're gone."
"We could never forget you, Nami-chan," Mama said soothingly, and
kissed my forehead. "You're our special, perfect little girl we picked out ourselves,
and we love you more dearly than life itself. Of course we won't forget you on our
honeymoon. In fact, just so you won't worry, I'll call you as soon as we get there
and once a day thereafter to prove we're all right and haven't forgotten you, okay?"
"Okay," I agreed. "Now can I have some of your pretty cake?"
People took pictures when Mama and Papa cut their fancy, three-tiered
cake with its little green-haired bride and blond groom figurines on top, and fed
some to one another. I had to wait in line to get a piece of my own, which seemed
like a rip-off, considering the cake I was in line for wasn't even chocolate. It was
all white inside and out, but I did get a piece with a little rose on it, so I could at
least feel a little special about that. And even if the cake wasn't chocolate, it still
tasted pretty yummy anyway.
After that somebody put on music, a slow song without any words, so
Mama and Papa could have the first dance together while everyone else stood
around to watch.
They looked perfect together, just like the ballroom scene in _Beauty
and the Beast,_ I thought with a dreamy sigh.
But if that's who they were, who was I? The little teacup? But that was
silly--the teacup's mother was the teapot, not Belle. Did Belle and the Beast
even have any children?
I was startled out of my daydream when the music changed and I was
almost run over by eager couples wanting to dance. But there weren't any boys
there my age to dance with, and my old Papa never taught me how anyway, so I
just sat down so I'd be out of the way.
A shadow fell over and I was asked, "Excuse me, pretty girl, but may I
have this dance?"
"I don't know how," I replied sadly.
"I'll teach you. Come on, it's fun!"
"I'll step on your toes."
"That's okay, it's all part of learning," he said. "Besides, it's the least I
can do after how you helped me today."
"Okay," I agreed at last, and took Urano's hand, "but if I make your feet
sore, don't say I didn't warn you!"
At first Urano actually _wanted_ me to stand on his feet, because he
said it would help me learn the right steps, but after a couple of songs that way I
was able to get off and try it myself. I still stepped on his toes a bit, but he didn't
complain, just made a funny face any time I did, that looked like he was smiling
to avoid screaming in pain.
"See? It's not so hard," he said. "You're getting the hang of it."
"I'm still stepping on your toes like I said. Are you sure you don't need
to sit down for a while?"
"Nah, I'm fine. Just keep practising," he said, but looked relieved anyway
when in the middle of a song he got a tap on the shoulder.
"Mind if I cut in?" Papa asked. "The cutest girl in the room and you've
been keeping her to yourself all day."
"Sure, be my guest," Urano said, then went to sit down and rest his
aching feet, leaving me alone with Papa and only one dancing lesson under my
belt.
I panicked at first, terrified I'd step all over Papa's feet, too, and seriously
hurt her on her wedding day. But as it turned out, she was such a great dancer
herself, she could make anyone look good. Even as clumsy at dancing as I still
was, I didn't step on her toes even once.
"Had a good time today, Nami-chan?" Papa asked.
"Yeah, pretty much," I replied. "Your wedding was pretty. I'm glad you
let me be in it like that. Was I a good Ring Bear for you, Papa?"
She smiled warmly and replied, "The best. I guess all that practise really
paid off, eh? And the way you talked Urano-kun down was helpful, too, you
know."
"Is that what I did? I thought I just yelled at him for getting on my
nerves with his pacing."
"Yeah, that, too. But I meant the clever way you calmed him after that.
You've been a big help today, Nami-chan. Arigato."
"It was nothing," I replied. "It's just too bad you couldn't have had a real
wedding instead. You deserve it."
Papa shrugged. "It was real enough to us, that's all that matters. We've
said our vows and exchanged rings in front of everyone we care about. We're
married in our hearts and in spirit. That's enough for now," she said. "And one
day, when Usagi-chan takes her rightful place as Queen, she can fix it so Michiru
and I can get married again, legally."
"Oh, I hope so," I said wistfully, "and I hope I'll be alive and there to see
it when it happens."
"Don't worry, you will," Papa said reassuringly, "I promise."
Too soon it was time for Mama and Papa to make their getaway, and I
cried as I waved good-bye to them even though I knew they'd be back. Whatever
Florence was like, I hoped they'd have a good time there and Mama would get to
see all the art she wanted, then return safely with presents and stories about
their trip for me.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned to see Setsuna smiling gently
down at me.
"Well, this has certainly been an exciting day, hasn't it?" she asked. "If
you're tired I can ask the others to take care of the clean-up so I can take you
and Hotaru-chan home."
"Okay," I said, sniffling and drying my eyes on my sleeve. But I wasn't
really tired so much as happy for their wedding, coupled with sadness over not
seeing my new parents for the next two weeks, and the urgency of an important
question that had just popped into my mind. "Setsuna-auntie, how long is it
'til Usagi-san gets to be Queen?"



©1999 Naia Zifu, all rights reserved.
Unabara Nami, Kobayashi Urano, Ten'ou Kazashi and Masato 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 second bit of my 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.
Okay, I know, can we say, "fluff piece?" But it has just enough kawaii bits to be
redeeming, so I'm putting it up anyway. Don't worry, the other parts should be a
little better. *hopes*