"LITTLE GIRL LOST"
A Sailor Moon Fanfic
By Bill K.

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Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2001 by Naoko Takeuchi/
Kodansha and Toei Animation, and are used without permission, but
with respect. Story is (c) 2001 by Bill Kropfhauser

As always, for those only familiar with the English dub:
Usagi=Serena
Ami=Amy
Rei=Raye
Makoto=Lyta
Minako=Mina
Haruka=Amara
Michiru=Michelle
Setsuna=Trista
Mamoru=Darien
Chibi-Usa=Rini

Finally, Haruka and Michiru are NOT cousins.
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"Come back here!" bellowed Queen Serenity.

Her quarry refused to listen. She raced out of the room and
down the hall at a speed Serenity would never have guessed possible.
Serenity tore out of the bathroom in hot pursuit, but the combination
of her wet, bare feet and the highly polished surface of the hall
conspired against her. Her feet sliding out from under her, Serenity
lurched forward, pin-wheeling her arms. For a moment she looked like
the Usagi of old. But that Usagi would have failed in her battle
with gravity and crashed to Earth like a downed plane; this woman was
older and more graceful. She managed to grasp onto a tapestry long
enough to get her feet back under her. Searching for her quarry, she
spotted Sailor Venus up ahead.

"Venus!" Serenity shouted. "Get her!"

Galvanized into action, Sailor Venus locked onto her target and
crouched, ready for action.

"Stop, fugitive from love and justice!" Venus said
theatrically. "You may have escaped Serenity, but you can't escape
the righteous hand of the lovely and talented Sailor Venus! Prepare
yourself!"

Venus lunged forward. Before the girl could change direction,
Venus caught her under her arms and scooped Chibi-Usa up into the
air. A squeal of delight burst from the naked one-year-old. She
began wriggling joyfully in the grip of the senshi until Venus
brought the girl to her breast and wrapped her arms around her.
Chibi-Usa fought to escape, cackling happily.

"Boy, Crystal Tokyo's in deep trouble if its queen can be
outsmarted by a one-year-old," smirked Venus.

"I only turned my back for a second!" protested Serenity.

"And letting the crown princess run around the palace stark
naked! Some mother you are!"

"Oh quiet, or I'll have Rei put a curse on you," Serenity
scowled. "Come here, you!" and she took Chibi-Usa from Venus.

The toddler squirmed playfully in her mother's grasp and
lightly smacked Serenity's jaw with her palms as Serenity hugged her
to her breast. Chibi-Usa's pink hair was gathered at either side of
her head with two rabbit-shaped hair clasps. It was too short to
twist into rabbit ear odangos yet, but ribbons of pink hair dangled
behind her ears.

"What's the matter, kiddo?" Venus leaned in. "Don't want to
take a bath? Don't you want to be the most fragrant flower in the
palace?"

Chibi-Usa reached over and grasped Venus by the nose.

"Serves you right," Serenity smirked at Venus. "Come on.
You're taking a bath whether you like it or not"

As Serenity headed for the bathroom, Chibi-Usa reached over her
shoulder for Venus.

"Tough luck, kid," Venus grinned, following a few paces behind.
"If you wanted sympathy from me, you shouldn't have tweaked my nose."

Serenity eased her daughter into the toddler-sized
fiber-aluminum tub sitting on the vanity next to the sink. No sooner
did she hit the water then Chibi-Usa started smacking the water with
her hands, splashing it everywhere.

"Would you stop that!" gasped Serenity, catching her daughter's
hands in one of her own and holding them as she cleansing foam over
the girl's back. "Honestly, why do you have to act like such a
brat?"

Chibi-Usa ignored her mother. Seeing her situation as just one
more game, she began trying to tug her hands loose from Serenity's
grasp.

"What do you feed that kid?" Venus asked, leaning against the
doorway. "I haven't seen that much energy in a room full of
puppies."

"I know," marveled Serenity. "And she's in to everything! I
had to put everything in the palace out of her reach. So what does
she do: learns to climb!" Serenity glanced at her daughter and
softened. "Isn't that right, you little monkey?" Chibi-Usa laughed
back at her mother.

"So I'm safe in assuming her playpen's useless?" Venus asked.

"Venus, I'm almost to the point of tying her down," Serenity
said, only partly joking. "It's all Endymion and I can do to keep up
with her."

Finally pulling free of her mother's grip, Chibi-Usa resumed
splashing her bath water. Serenity recaptured the toddler's hands,
putting Chibi-Usa back to the task of tugging loose again.

"Must be rough on the social life," Venus commented.

"Social life? What's that?" Serenity asked. Then her face lit
up with inspiration. "Oh, Venus, it'd really be nice to get out for
a night. Could you possibly . . ."

"No."

"But Venus, I need some time away!"

"No way."

"Please?" and Serenity offered her most forlorn face. Venus
scowled.

"No fair using 'the eyes'," groused Venus.

Serenity's big moist blue eyes seemed to get bigger and
moister.

"All right," Venus sighed helplessly.

"Oh, thank you!" Serenity smiled gratefully, reminding Venus
why she made the commitment to this woman all those years ago.
* * * *
It was one of the times of the day Serenity loved the most: the
time she met with the citizens of Crystal Tokyo. Only a crisis kept
her from meeting with the people during the day. Whether mingling
with them outside the palace or receiving visitors there, it was the
time she lived for.

At that moment she was speaking with an elderly woman. The old
lady, garbed for the occasion in a very formal traditional Japanese
kimono, inched up to a discreet distance from the queen and bowed as
deeply as her aging bones would allow. Serenity was off her throne
in an instant and, before the startled old woman knew what was
happening, had summoned a chair for her and was easing her into it.

"Why," she sputtered, "thank you, your majesty."

"Oh, please, I much prefer Serenity," the queen smiled timidly.
"I'm so glad you stopped by to see me, ma'am. What can I do for
you?"

"Oh," the old woman gasped in mortification, "you mustn't be so
formal with me if you don't wish formality in return."

"It's just simple respect," Serenity told her, "for a wise
elder."

"Ah, but I'm only one hundred and six," the woman waved a bony
finger at her. "You're far older than I am."

"Yes, but I don't exactly show it," grinned Serenity, "and I'm
still willing to bet you're wiser than I am. But enough formalities;
how can I help you?"

"I only wished to meet the woman who has done so much for Japan
and the world," she said, looking down self-consciously, "just once
before I died. I traveled from the north just to meet you."

"You honor me," marveled Serenity. "I hope I haven't
disappointed you."

"Far from it," the old woman smiled. "I can see your
greatness, even if you can't."

"I told you that you were wiser than I was," Serenity smiled.
Her joke lit up the old woman's face and her presence seemed to be a
tonic for the woman.

"And how is the princess? The people were so heartened when
you gave birth to her."

"She's the joy of my life," Serenity sighed. "She'll be two
this month."

"June 30," the woman smiled. "We remember. In the northern
provinces, many of us celebrate the day even if the Japanese
government does not officially recognize it."

"Do you have children?"

"Two sons and two daughters," the woman replied. "I have six
grandchildren and two great grandchildren."

"And you think I've achieved greatness?" Serenity said, the
light dancing magically in her eyes. Even the assembled waiting to
speak with her felt the warm, serene vibrations she was giving off,
even though they couldn't hear what was being said.

"Serenity!" the queen suddenly heard in the back of her head.
"Come to the garden, quickly!"

Instantly the queen went pale. The crowd began to murmur with
uneasy upon seeing their beloved queen so stricken. They had no way
of knowing the words in her mind were from Endymion, traveling along
a telepathic link that they used only in dire emergencies. Serenity
glanced at Natsumi, standing off to one side, and instantly the small
black haired woman was by the queen's side.

"Please forgive me," Serenity said as she grasped the old
woman's hands, her voice choked with emotion. "An emergency has come
up involving the princess!"

"Go to her, please," the shocked woman replied in earnest.
"You've spent enough time with me."

"I'll make this up to you, I promise," Serenity said tearfully.
She turned to the crowd. "An emergency has come up! I promise, I
will make this up to you all!" Turning, she looked at Natsumi
hopefully.

"I'll handle it, Serenity," Natsumi said with controlled
distress. "Go on." The queen nodded and rushed from the room.

Flying down the hall, Serenity spotted Endymion ahead of her,
emerging from one of the side passages. The king was running at
breakneck speed.

"The garden," he called back to her. "She's hurt!"

Struggling to keep her emotions in check, Serenity paused only
long enough to send a mental summons to Ami. Following Endymion down
the hall, hopelessly trying to keep up, the queen arrived at a
balcony overlooking the garden two stories below. Pressing to the
railing, Serenity peered over to see that Endymion had effortlessly
leaped the distance to the ground and was tending to their daughter.
Her hands flew to her mouth and the tears flowed freely. Chibi-Usa
lay amid a bed of gardenias, twisted like a broken doll. Endymion
touched her chest and a golden aura enveloped them both.

"Endymion?" she cried.

"She's not dead," Endymion said, concentrating lightly. "I've
stabilized her and I'm keeping her unconscious so she doesn't move
around and aggravate her injuries. Alert the medical staff."

Outside the palace infirmary, Serenity waited on the verge of
tears. Ami had been there to meet them. She instantly took charge
of Chibi-Usa. Endymion followed her in, hoping to make some use of
his long-forgotten medical studies. It wasn't long before her other
three friends arrived. Serenity had only to glimpse Makoto's
anguished, tear-stained face to know how it happened, but she had to
inquire anyway.

"Makoto," she whimpered. "I thought you were watching her."

"I-I went to get more memory crystals," Makoto pried out, her
voice raw with emotion. "We - - she was coloring on her computer.
I-I was only gone for two minutes tops!"

Once there was a time when Serenity might have held
recriminations against her friend for what happened, but that was a
lifetime ago. She was Queen Serenity now and she was above such
things. Forgiveness was her faith and she extended her arms in
forgiveness to Makoto. The tall woman, still far taller and more
imposing than her queen, fell into the woman's arms and drew strength
from them.

"Please tell me she's going to be all right," cried Makoto,
sobbing forlornly on her queen. "Please - - I'll trade my life if I
have to!"

"Hey, nothing's going to happen to her," Minako said hoarsely,
grabbing Makoto by the shoulders in an attempt to reassure her.
"She's got an appointment in the past in a couple of years,
remember?" Rei looked over to Minako and caught the faint hint of
doubt in the blonde's eyes, the faint hint of doubt she shared.

"Please calm down, Makoto," Serenity whispered, holding the
sobbing woman.

"Serenity, if anything happens to her . . ." Makoto wailed.

"Nothing will happen," Serenity said, as much for herself as
for Makoto, "You must believe that."

The door hissed open. Everyone turned expectantly to Ami as
she walked out.

"You can all come in," Ami said. "But please be quiet. She's
resting."

When Chibi-Usa's eyes finally opened, she saw her mother and
father hovering near her bed on one side and Ami standing over her on
the other. She tried to move.

"Oh, my baby!" sobbed Serenity, hugging her tight and kissing
her.

"Don't cry, Mama," Chibi-Usa said weakly.

"What happened?"

"I got bored," Chibi-Usa replied in a contrite voice. "I went
to the balcony to look at the garden, and I saw a butterfly. It was
so pretty - - it looked like you, Mama. I wanted to touch it, so I
climbed up on the balcony fence," and Chibi-Usa's features clouded
over in shame, "and I slipped and I fell."

"Oh, Small Lady," sobbed Serenity. "I've told you not to do
things like that!"

"Daddy, I hurt all over," whined Chibi-Usa.

Endymion glanced at Ami. She pressed a place on her display
terminal and the child was bathed in a blue light.

"The anesthetic field should take care of the pain," Ami said
softly. "She's very lucky she landed in a flower bed with very soft
earth. Her broken ankle and wrist will each mend in about a week
with the help of the ultrasonic inducer." Ami leaned down to her
patient. "You see, this is what happens when you don't mind your
mother and father."

"Yes, Auntie Ami," the girl said glumly.

Chibi-Usa noticed Makoto in the doorway and how distraught she
was.

"Auntie Makoto," she whimpered.

"Yes, Small Lady," Makoto said, her voice choked with the tears
that stained her face.

"I'm sorry if I got you into trouble."

Makoto sank to her knees next to the bed and pressed her
forehead to the child's hand.

"I'm just glad you didn't get hurt worse," Makoto whispered
gratefully. Chibi-Usa saw her mother's forgiving hand press to
Makoto's head and it made her feel better.

Meanwhile, Ami and Endymion were huddling just out of earshot.

"There has to be a way to keep this from happening again," Ami
said to him, her eyes glued to her patient and her friends.

"I was thinking the same thing," Endymion replied.
* * * *
Queen Serenity glided down the hall, lost in thought. The
situation with the Chinese government was something she didn't want
to face at that moment. Japan and China had been uneasy neighbors
for centuries and, despite all of her efforts on behalf of both Japan
and the city-state of Crystal Tokyo, China seemed more and more
desiring of a fight. And she detested fighting.

It was the only reason she put off Small Lady's entreaties for
attention. The little girl had clearly been neglected for days now.
The negotiations with China had occupied all of her time, as well as
Endymion's. The inner senshi had helped out when they could, but
she'd needed them more often than she'd expected and that meant long
periods of loneliness for Small Lady. It made Serenity feel
unbelievably guilty for doing that to any two and a half year old,
but particularly hers. A child of that age needed nurturing. But
the world needed her, too.

"Small Lady," she said hopefully, pausing at the door to her
daughter's room. When there was no response, she overrode the
pneumatic lock on the door and peered in. No one was there.

She sighed and moved on to all of Chibi-Usa's favorite haunts
in the palace. With each destination reached, she found no trace of
the girl and her consternation increased. With every member of the
palace staff questioned, it became more apparent that the princess
was missing. Soon Serenity was running down the palace halls.

"Endymion!" she cried, bursting into the room King Endymion was
using to examine computer intelligence reports on the Asian
situation. "Small Lady's missing!"

"Again?" he replied with incredulous frustration. Pushing
aside his mounting fears, Endymion closed his eyes and let his head
roll back slightly. When he achieved a calm state, the king reached
out with his mind along the psychic link he had with his wife and
daughter. Serenity's distress stuck out clearly in his mind like a
huge orange ball. "Wherever she is, she's not in any distress."

"This is all my fault," Serenity said, the line so familiar
that Endymion almost mouthed the words silently. He moved over to
her and took her in his arms. Serenity fell into their familiar
comfort as she had ever since the 1990's. "I've been neglecting
her."

"We couldn't help it," Endymion told her. "Besides, she's too
young to run away. She's probably just off somewhere investigating."

"But where?" demanded Serenity.

"Let's find out," Endymion replied.

"I don't know," he said. "Let's consult my computer center."

Serenity accompanied Endymion down to his nerve center of
computers and video observation banks. Though he could spend hours
at a time here, she never liked the place. It was so cold and
solitary, and Serenity had never quite released her technophobia
from her adolescence. Too, she found the idea of constantly spying
on everyone unnerving. Endymion had convinced her it was useful to
manage the security and safety of Crystal Tokyo and she let it pass.
But she never warmed up to it.

Once in the room, Endymion sat down at a crystal panel and
began touching points on it. Instantly the video display terminals
began changing from one scene in and around the palace to another.
There didn't seem to be an inch of the palace or the grounds that
weren't covered.

But none of Endymion's video displays could turn up any sign of
their daughter this time. He flipped through every inch of the
palace with mounting concern while the computer sifted through every
inch of Crystal Tokyo. There was no trace of her.

"Endymion?" gasped Serenity fearfully. She knew exactly what
his computers had just told him.

"She's not in a place my observation drones can photograph,"
Endymion answered, his frustration mounting. Then a thought struck
him. "There is one thing we can try, though."

Taking hold of his wife's hands, Endymion backed so there was
about a foot between them. His eyes closed and his face calmed. A
warp formed over his chest and a gold crystal floated out to hover
just below his chin.

Taking the hint, Serenity did the same and summoned the silver
crystal. When it reached its place near her chin, she reached out
through the crystal with her mind for Endymion. She found him
waiting patiently for her.

They linked and together their minds blanketed reality,
searching for the life signature of the one closest to them. In an
instant it stood out, a path leading to it that shone pink and
bright. And, just as instantly, a projection of Sailor Pluto
appeared before them. Slowly, reluctantly, the king and queen
severed their bond and returned to reality. Serenity, her cheeks
flushed, turned to Pluto.

"My Queen," the projection said, bowing politely. "Please come
to the Door of Time." The senshi then mysteriously faded away.
Serenity turned to Endymion.

"Whew," she gasped. "Doing that always takes a lot out of me."
Endymion reached over and lovingly caressed her cheek.

"But it's always a lot of fun, too," he said, his love for her
reborn in his eyes. Serenity smiled and her chest swelled.

Walking hand in hand through the obsidian mists that surrounded
the Door of Time, the royal couple held hands and forced themselves
to be calm. As they approached the door, Serenity could see Sailor
Pluto's long figure bent over something else obscured by the shadowy
swirls of mist. The pair drew closer and, as Pluto straightened and
the mystery figure turned to them, the mists parted just enough to
allow recognition.

"I sensed your search," Pluto told them. "Had I known, I would
have contacted you sooner."

"Small Lady!" Serenity gasped, relief and happiness evident to
all. She ran over, fell to her knees and hugged her daughter.
Endymion could see the little pink-haired princess was quite
mystified by her mother's reaction.

"What's wrong, Mama?" Chibi-Usa asked.

"I was so worried!" sobbed Serenity. "How many times have I
asked you not to wander off without telling someone?"

"I'm sorry, Mama," Chibi-Usa whined, tears bubbling up in her
eyes. "I was just lonely. But I found a friend now!"

"I'm sorry for leaving you alone so long," Serenity sniffed,
squeezing her daughter to her breast. "But please promise me you
won't wander off like this again! Promise me!"

"I promise," Chibi-Usa said. Serenity pulled back and looked
at her daughter. At that moment, the girl meant what she said with
all her heart. But Serenity knew it wouldn't last. The girl's
impulsive curiosity was just too strong. Serenity gathered the girl
up again and hugged her tight, kissing her on top of her head.
Chibi-Usa clung to her.

"We apologize for Small Lady's intrusion," Endymion offered
Sailor Pluto. Again Pluto seemed honored the king chose to speak to
her and she bowed slightly.

"It was no intrusion, your majesty," Pluto replied. Then a
small, wistful grin crossed her face. "If anything, Small Lady's
visit was a welcome relief to me."

"But how did she even get here?" Serenity wondered.

"As your daughter, Small Lady possesses the ability to traverse
into the dimension of mists," Pluto told her. "I doubt she even
realized she was penetrating the barrier."

"Mama, can't I ever come back?" asked Chibi-Usa fearfully.
"Puu's my friend!"

"Oh, Small Lady," smiled Serenity. "Of course you can come
back. Anytime you wish. Just tell someone where you're going first
so we know where you are."

"I will, Mama! I promise!" The girl broke away from her
mother. She ran over to Sailor Pluto and wrapped her arms around the
woman's legs. "I'll come back again real soon, Puu!"

"I look forward to your visit, Small Lady," Pluto smiled,
leaning down and touching the girl on the head.
* * * *
Weeks later, Serenity was sitting in the royal chambers.
Chibi-Usa was on her lap. The precocious little girl was quiet for
the moment. Serenity had a holographic image of a twentieth century
storybook in her lap. As she related the adventure of Curious George
to her daughter, her finger would point to the words. At first
Chibi-Usa was more interested in the pictures, but as they progressed
she began to make the connection between the words her mother said
and the strange printed characters she was pointing to.

"At," Chibi-Usa said, pointing to the word 'at' in an
imitation of her mother.

"Very good," Serenity said gently.

"At," Chibi-Usa said again, pointing to a different word.

"No, that's a different word," Serenity replied softly.

"At," Chibi-Usa said yet again, pointing to Serenity.

"Now you're just being silly," Serenity grinned. Chibi-Usa
returned the grin.

The pneumatic door hissed softly.

"Forgive me for interrupting," Endymion said, smiling at his
daughter.

"Daddy!" squealed Chibi-Usa. She lurched out of Serenity's lap
and reached for him, Serenity holding her back so she didn't tumble
to the floor. Endymion quickly cut the distance between them and
scooped the girl up in his arms. Serenity smiled at the warm moment
and shut down the holographic projector. "Where have you been,
Daddy? You've been gone so long!"

"Well, your Aunt Ami and I were busy making you a present,"
Endymion told her.

"A present!" she gasped excitedly. "Can I see, can I see, can
I see?"

"Give me a kiss first," Endymion requested. The girl gave him
a peck on the lips. "OK, let's go see your present." He nodded for
Serenity to follow as he left.

The door to the computer lab hissed open. Chibi-Usa saw the
object floating in the middle of the room and her face lit up with
excitement.

"Luna!" cried Chibi-Usa happily and the girl wriggled in
Endymion's grasp. He quickly set her down and she ran over to the
black eighteen-inch diameter ball that hovered just off the floor.
When she got directly under it, she leaped up several times trying to
grasp it.

"It's Luna-P!" marveled Serenity. "Endymion, I didn't know you
invented Luna-P!"

"Neither did I until we did," chuckled Endymion.

"You see, Serenity," Ami related, "we've been trying to work
out the parameters for a robot nanny for nearly a year now. Endymion
used the anti-gravity technology from his observation drones on a
miniaturized multitask computer station."

"It will respond to her every command through standard voice
activation technology," Endymion said. "It's programmed to stay with
her no matter where she goes and is equipped with defense, tracking
and homing technology."

"Plus we even managed to miniaturize a matter replication
device and install it as a peripheral," Ami added proudly.

Serenity grinned at them and said, "You both realize that I
don't have the first clue about what you're talking about?"

"Daddy!" whined Chibi-Usa. "I can't reach my present!"

"Just wait a moment, Small Lady," Ami said. "Luna-P! Voice
recognition: Ami Mizuno."

The ball beeped.

"Scan life form directly below you."

The ball beeped again. A soft blue light came from the ball's
painted on eyes and covered Chibi-Usa. Moments later, it stopped.

"Save scan to all protocols," Ami instructed it. The ball
beeped again. "Initiate master programming."

The ball beeped a final time. Then, gently, it lowered itself
into Chibi-Usa's arms. The beaming girl hugged the ball tightly.

"There you are, Small Lady," Ami smiled. "Your very own Luna."

Chibi-Usa beamed happily.

"What do you say?" prompted Serenity.

"Thank you!" Chibi-Usa replied.

As the child began bouncing Luna-P on the floor, Serenity edged
over to Ami and Endymion.

"She's not going to damage it by doing that, is she?" Serenity
asked.

"No, the computer unit is balanced equidistant from the walls
of the ball by its anti-gravity technology. She can bounce it, kick
it or dive on it without hurting it."

"Oh and she will," smirked Serenity. "It was just genius of
both of you to remember to make it look like Luna."

"Actually that happened accidentally," Ami admitted. "After we
constructed the unit, I was trying to think of a way to make it less
imposing for a two-year-old. I thought about pets and that made me
think of Luna. So I thought about making it look like Luna - - and
that's when I remembered Luna-P." Ami shrugged. "I guess it was
fate."

"Luna-P is programmed to try to keep her away from danger as
well as keep an eye on her," Endymion continued. "The unit's not
perfect, but it's as state of the art as any robotic guardian can be.
Now whenever she goes off on one of her impulse explorations, we'll
know she's not facing a potentially dangerous situation alone."

"And we'll be able to trace her more quickly and efficiently
with the aid of the Luna-P unit," Ami added.

"Perfect!" sighed Serenity. She turned to see how her daughter
was enjoying her new present and found her gone. "Where did she go
now?!"

"I didn't think we were going to field test the tracking unit
so soon," grinned Ami. She pulled out a miniaturized computer data
unit. Its display began rapidly shuffling through two-dimensional
replicas of Crystal Tokyo, the replicas growing larger and more
defined as the unit narrowed its search.

"Honestly, that girl could sneak through a room full of rice
paper without making a noise when she wants to!" fretted Serenity.

"Follow me," Ami said. She led the royal couple down the hall,
up an escalating stairs and around a corner to the temple Rei
maintained in the palace. There they found Chibi-Usa showing Luna-P
to Rei.

"What a lovely friend you have, Small Lady," Rei said, humoring
the girl.

"Her name's Luna-P and she's mine!" Chibi-Usa proclaimed
proudly.

"Small Lady," Serenity said, coming up behind her daughter and
kneeling next to her. "How many times have I told you not to sneak
off like that?" The anxiety she felt was clear in her voice.

"I only went to Auntie Rei's!" huffed the little girl.

Serenity let out a sigh, gathered the girl up in her arms and
hugged her tight.

"Brat," she whispered helplessly.

THE END