A Sailormoon Christmas Carol

by Fushigi Kismet

It had been fifteen years since the death of Mamoru's parents. It
had been fifteen years since Christmas had really felt like Christmas
to him. As the end of December neared, he fell into the grouchy and
irritable temper that the holiday seasons always found him in.
Usagi sighed, her fist posed above Mamoru's door ready to knock.
A basket full of her toxic Christmas cookies(tm) hung from her left arm.
She debated whether she should simply use her key or not, but decided
against it, coloring as she remembered when she had walked in on him
last time after he had just stepped out of the shower. It hadn't
been as embarrassing for her as it had obviously been for him. She
had never realized that grown men still played with bath toys. It
had been a cute rubber ducky, though.
No, she decided, it would be best if she knocked. She took
another deep breath and rapped lightly on the door.
The explosion from within was immediate. "YES?! WHO IS IT?!"
Mamoru's voice snarled out.
"It's me!" she called, from the other side of the hallway where
his response had sent her scuttling.
"Oh. I'll be right there," he said in a more subdued tone of
She pasted a bright smile on her face and stepped in front of the
door once more. The door opened a crack and light from the hallway
seeped through into his dim apartment. It opened a little further,
creaking as though it hadn't been oiled in several years. Another
creak, another few centimeters.
Impatient, Usagi pushed with all her might against the door and it
flew open with a bang. Dust flooded out into the hallway and she
coughed a little before stepping inside. "Honestly, Mamo-chan, how
long has it been since you cleaned in here?!"
Her eyes gradually grew accustomed to the gloom and she only had
time to think, I hope he's not obsessing over mirrors again . . .,
before everything came into focus.
She sighed a little in relief. Ah, good, no mirrors. That is,
until she took a better look at his apartment. "Mamo-chan, it's a
sty in here!"
The normally neat as a pin apartment now did her own room shame .
. . in terms of messiness, anyway.
He shrugged. "Didn't feel like cleaning."
She went up to him and stood on her tiptoes to feel his forehead.
"Are you coming down with something?" He looked almost as unkept as
his apartment. While unlike his apartment he *had* shaved, he didn't
look a thing like the normal Mamoru. Of course, Usagi knew that he
wasn't sick. She knew because he got like this almost every year.
Well, there had been that one year with Luna and the Snow Kaguya . .
. and afterwards he hadn't seemed unhappy, but that had been a fluke.
After all, saving the world always came with a certain thrill. That
was one of the pluses of being a superhero, she supposed. That and
finding her true, destined love. Except for at times like these when
she really didn't know if she wanted him to be her destined
"Mamo-chan!" she whined. Usagi had always found whining to be an
effective tool over the years. "Clean yourself up! Be more cheerful
. . . it's Christmas Eve Day! My parents want you to come spend
Christmas Eve with us and Christmas with us tomorrow! We're having a
big Christmas party and it'll be lots of fun! I left your gift at
home so you can open it there! Come on, Mamo-chaaaaan!!!!"
He winced. He loved Usagi with all his heart . . . that was true
enough. *However* he often wondered how she could be so cheerful at
times. Like now. "Gomen, Usako . . . I don't think I can."
"Mamo-chan, it's Christmas. You *have* to."
"Bah humbug!" he snorted. He hadn't meant to say that . . . it
just sort of slipped out.
He blinked. She blinked.
He shook his head. Must've been watching the Christmas Carol too
much . . . That Scrooge had the right idea at first.
She shot him a disgusted look. "Mamo-chan! It's Christmas! Try
to be just a little bit agreeable!!!"
"BAH HUMBUG!" they words flew out before he could stop them.
She looked at him for an instant more, then flung her basket of
cookies at him and stormed out the door slamming it shut.
Mamoru was left alone in his apartment . . .
. . . except for the cookies, that is.

Usagi stormed down the street, muttering angrily to herself and
blinking back tears. "Mamo-chan, you *don't* have to be *SUCH* a
jerk at this time of year, do you?! I'm your family now, remember?
Why can't you be happy being with me?!"
Halfway home she slammed right into Minako.
They both fell down.
Minako rubbed at her rear as she got to her feet. She looked over
at her fellow collision victim. "Usagi-chan?"
Usagi sat on the ground, unmoving, staring at the pavement.
"Usagi-chan? Daijobu?"
Tears slowly began to stream down Usagi's face.
"Are you hurt, Usagi-chan?"
Usagi's bottom lip began to quiver . . .
"Usagi-" Minako began but was interrupted by Usagi's wailing.
"HUH?" Minako asked, confused. "What about Mamoru-kun?"
"YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!" Usagi shouted, springing to her feet.
"We have to teach him a lesson! We have to show him the true meaning
of Christmas!!! MINA-P, YOU'RE A *GENIUS*!!!"
"D-D-Demo . . . I-" Minako began as Usagi grabbed her arm and
dragged her off in the direction of the Hikawa Jinga.
"Don't worry, Minako-chan, I have a *PLAN*."
That's what worries me! Minako thought, staring uneasily at the
gleam in Usagi's eyes . . .

Meanwhile, back in his apartment . . .

Mamoru stared at the basket of cookies. He reached over to pick
one up . . . Nah. He wasn't *THAT* desperate . . . not after
Usagi's last batch of cookies had put him in the hospital for a week.
But still, he *was* kind of hungry . . .

At Hikawa Jinga . . .

"He really said, "BAH HUMBUG"?!" Rei said, looking at Usagi with
wide eyes.
She nodded. "He really did."
"Demo . . . that's so stupid."
The odango atama nodded again. "I know. But we've still got to
instill some Christmas spirit in him!"
"And . . . let me guess, you want me to exorcise a Christmas
spirit and stick it into his body?" Rei said skeptically, one eyebrow
"Close . . . but I'm not quite as dense as you pretend to think
me, Rei-chan. If he's gonna act like Scrooge, then we're gonna teach
him the same lesson, the SAME way!"
"Leave it to me." Usagi smiled and the gleam in her eyes also
alarmed Rei. "I already sent Minako-chan out to get everyone we
"Like who?"
"Who else?"

"All right, no way!" Haruka said, her arms crossed defiantly in
front of her chest. "I will have no part in this little scheme of
The four Outer Senshi and the five Inner Senshi were gathered in
Usagi's living room. A huffing, puffing, and totally exhausted
Minako stood in one corner, leaning against the couch for support.
"Um, hello," Usagi said, looking at Haruka, "since when did I make
this a request? I'm your princess . . . you *have* to listen to me."
Haruka sweatdropped. "You're making this an order?"
"Yup!" Usagi answered eagerly. A little *too* eagerly.
The older woman sighed. "All right then."
"Any more objections?"
"Why are Luna and Artemis not here?" Ami queried.
"Luna would never go along with the plan and Artemis was too busy
eating all of the Christmas cookies at Minako's house to be
"Why that dirty little-" Minako fumed.
"ANY more questions?!" Usagi asked.
A deafening silence answered her.
She smiled brightly. "Good. Here's the plan . . ."

Thirty minutes later . . .

"Usagi-chan, I hate to say this," Makoto began, "but you're off
your rocker!"
"No, this is going work. You just go find your outfit!"
Setsuna coughed.
"Yesss?" Usagi asked.
"Perhaps it would be better if I started."
Usagi looked her up and down. "Yeah . . . but not like that."

That night . . .

What's making that noise?
Mamoru stepped out of his bedroom and saw Usagi standing in front
of him, dressed all in white. "Usako, what are you doing here?"
She ignored the question. "Tonight you will meet seven spirits
and they will show you the true meaning of Christmas . . ."
She vanished in a haze of light.
He shook his head and turned to look at the half-full basket of
cookies. Hallucinations again? I better take some of those to the
lab tomorrow and analyze them.
He opened his front door and looked around just to make sure.
Nothing. Hmmm . . .

"Good job, Ami-chan!" Usagi whispered from their perch outside
Mamoru's apartment's windows.
"Usagi-chan, it's freezing out here!" Sailor Mercury complained,
shivering in the biting wind. They were a good twenty stories up and
their position on the narrow ledge outside was precarious.
"Everything went off without a hitch, though!" Usagi commented,
Mercury clutched her mini-supercomputer closer to her. "Well, the
holographic projections I rigged up my computer to emanate did seem
to work nicely, but I still want to get down!"
"Gomen, Ami-chan, you can get down as soon as Setsuna gets here."
With that, Usagi transformed into Sailormoon and gracefully leapt
from the wall of Mamoru's apartment building to the lower rooftop of
the building next door.
"Can you at least send me up a thermos of soup and some
blankets?!" the Senshi of Ice yelled after her.
"No prob, Minako-chan'll be up to keep you company!"
And that's supposed to reassure me? Minako-chan will probably
want to go CLIMBING! I just wanted to sit and study . . . She
sobbed a little before settling back into her spot, resigned to the
inevitable. Just then a snowflake fluttered down from the sky and
landed on her nose. "Great. Just great. That's all that I need."

Later that night . . .

Mamoru was suddenly shaken awake. "What the-?"
A candle floated over his bed. "Wakey wakey, Mamoru."
"Uh . . . what strange dream dimension have I landed myself in?"
Setsuna peered into his face. "Get up, Mamoru."
"Setsuna-san . . . what are you doing here?"
"I have come to show you the truth of your Christmas Distant
"In your bathrobe and pink bunny slippers?"
She heaved a sigh. "Just never mind. Get up and get dressed.
We're going!"
"Going where?"
"Didn't I already tell you?" She set the candle down with a thud.
"Honestly, Mamoru-kun."
She stepped outside his bedroom and shut the door. "Now, hurry
up and get dressed!"
A few minutes later he stepped out of his bedroom and found
Setsuna sitting on his couch, still dressed in her bathrobe and bunny
slippers, flipping through the channels and eating a bag of pretzels
from his pantry. He decided not to ask.
"Ah, you're ready," she said, getting to her feet. "Okay, put on
your coat."
He did so and with a certain abruptness (but still complete with
wavy lights from Ami's computer) they were . . . elsewhere.
"Don't we have to go through a time corridor to go anywhere?"
She gave him a *look*. "I am a Christmas *spirit* . . . Just
deal with it, all right?"
"Sure . . . Whatever you say."
"Ah, here we are in the beautiful Golden Palace of the Golden
Kingdom. Time period: Silver Millennium right after Prince
Endymion's, heir to the throne, fifth winter solstice. Take a look
around. Try to remember something."
Mamoru looked around at his beautiful surroundings, the golden
fountains, well-tended but snow covered gardens, and newly swept
gold-paved walkways. "Uh, don't you think this is just the tiniest
bit extravagant?"
"Hey, talk to your parents, not to me!"
"My . . . parents?"
Just then a little dark-haired boy ran outside, a puppy chasing
after him. The little boy laughed and opened his arms wide for the
little dog who jumped into them, knocking the small boy over as he
wagged his tail furiously while licking the boy's face. "Duo! That
tickles!!! Hey, hey!"
"That's me!" Mamoru exclaimed, staring at the scene before him.
"Endymion!" a melodious voice called out as a dark-haired woman
gracefully made her way outside. "Endymion! Oh! There you are!
You had better put your coat on dear . . . It's very cold out!"
"Mother!" Endymion said, trying to hold the puppy still in his
She tried to hide a smile as she looked at him with kind grey
eyes. "Oh, darling, a very merry winter solstice!"
He smiled back at her, beaming. "Thank you for the puppy, Mom!"
A tall, black-haired man stepped into the garden.
"And thank you, Father!" the little boy shouted, the puppy getting
the better of him with face-licking and tongue-lashing.
"You are quite welcome, son. Now, take good care of that dog."
"Yes, sir! I'm glad you could come home for once, Father! This
is the best winter solstice ever!" he cried, getting up and playing
with the dog.
"Endymion! Your coat!" his mother cried.
"Yes, ma'am! As soon as Duo calms down!"
"You see, Mamoru," Setsuna whispered, "you haven't always hardened
your heart to Christmas as much as you do now."
"No," he murmured, "I haven't."
Little Duo ran up to Mamoru and sniffing him, began barking
excitedly, his tail wagging. "Excuse me, young man," the Queen of
Earth said, noticing him, "what might I do for you?"
"Here, Duo!" the boy called and the dog ran back to him.
"Darling, let me handle this," the King of Earth said, motioning
at his wife to take their son inside. "I thought we decreed that we
would have no petitioners today? I wanted to spend some time with my
family. What possible reason could you have for being here?"
Mamoru stared at the little family before him. The boy and his
dog had fallen silent now, staring at him with wide eyes. They
think I'm a threat, he thought suddenly, miserably. They think I
mean them ill . . . "It's nothing, Your Highnesses," he said
gently. "I just came to wish you a Merry Christmas."
"Christmas?" little Endymion repeated. He tugged on his mother's
skirt. "Mother, what's Christmas?"
"I think he means winter solstice, dear," she replied absently,
staring at Mamoru.
The King continued to look at him suspiciously, but the Queen
placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "It's all right, dear." She
walked up to Mamoru and, reaching out, took his hands in hers.
"Thank you very much, young man," the Queen said, tears in her eyes.
"A very Merry . . . Christmas to you as well."
She glanced over at Setsuna. "Take care of him for me, would you,
The Senshi of Time nodded.
The Queen let go of his hands and turning around, went to join her
husband and son. They entered the castle together, the king shooting
Mamoru one last suspicious look, little Endymion looking at him with
open curiousity. The Queen did not turn back around.
An instant later Setsuna and Mamoru were alone.
"They could see us," he said, looking at her.
"Did I say they couldn't?"
"My mother *knew* . . ."
"Yes, at this point in time the Queen had not much longer to live
and she knew it. Today, somehow, she sensed that you were her son.
It had always been a great wish of hers to see you grown . . . so I
thought a glimpse of you would do no harm."
"You compromised the timeline for a gift?"
"It is a gift of love, Mamoru . . . there can be no greater love.
Anyway, as I said . . . I am but a Christmas spirit."
"So where to next?"
"Your next guide will show you . . . You may wait for her by this
apple tree."
Setsuna made as though to leave but Mamoru caught hold of her arm
first. "Setsuna-san?"
"Domo arigato gozaimasu."
The green-haired woman smiled. "For what?"
"For helping my mother."
"It was a pleasure as always."
"Why wasn't she shocked at seeing you in your bathrobe and aren't
you cold?"
"Um . . . back in the Silver Millennium I was a little more
*wild*, shall we say, than I am now. And, yes. Freezing." With
that, she turned and left.
Mamoru settled himself for a long wait by the snow-covered apple

Meanwhile, back in the present . . .

"Hi, Ami-chan!"
"Oh, Minako-chan . . ." the literally blue Senshi said, teeth
chattering together. "Did you bring the thermos and blankets?"
"Yup! I brought you a graphing calculator, too!"
"A graphing calculator? How's that going to keep me warm?"
"It's not . . . but check out the programs!"
"Minako-chan! You have nothing but games in here!"
"Of course! What else would you use a graphing calculator for? I
brought chinese checkers, too, if you want to play later!"
Ami rolled her eyes and started a long solitary game of tetris.
"Okay, if you're going to be *that* way about it," Minako said,
pouting. She slowly made her way along the ledge to Mamoru's
apartment's balcony and took a flying leap onto it. Once there she
opened the glass doors and took a step inside.
"Minako-chan!" Ami hissed. "What are you *doing*?!"
The blonde stuck her head out the doorway and looked back at her
friend, confused. "Well, he's not going to be back until three or
four, ne? I thought I would watch some TV. But hey, if you want me
to stay out in the cold with you-"
Ami pushed Minako inside and made her way in after her, securely
latching the doors behind them. "Thank Kami-sama! He has *heat*!"
"So?" Minako asked, looking over at the television Setsuna had
left on. "The important thing is what'll we watch?"
Ami picked up the TV listings on the table. "Hey, some of these
are circled in red."
Minako poked her head over to take a look. "What's that?!" She
pointed at the lower left corner of the paper.
Written in red was a note, "Just a few shows I thought you might
like watching. Merry Christmas, Ami-chan & Mina-chan!
The two girls looked at one another.
After a moment, Ami picked up the remote and plopped down on the
couch. "She could've told me to come in!"
"I thought you would be smart enough to figure it out on your
own," Setsuna said, reappearing in the living room dressed in her
Senshi uniform this time. "Where's Mako-chan?"
The doorbell rang and Minako opened the door. Makoto stalked in,
looking none too happy, and Ami and Minako only had a moment to
stare, google-eyed at their friend before Setsuna whisked her away.
"Was she really-?" Ami and Minako exchanged a look.
"Um, let's not think about it. What's on?" Minako asked.
"Oooh, late night anime! Here're some Gundam Wing reruns . . ."
"Sugoi! You know I just love men in Gundams!"

Back in the past . . .

"Nice outfit," Setsuna commented, glancing sideways at Makoto.
Makoto flushed. "Not one more word. Not one," she growled out.
"So where the heck is he? I wanna get my part over with as soon as
"Over there," Setsuna pointed. "You're sure you know what to do?"
"Hai! Usagi went over everything with me when she was . . .
getting my outfit ready."
Setsuna couldn't help a snicker. "I'll bet. Okay, ganbatte ne!"

Mamoru cracked open an eye, realizing that he must have fallen
asleep against the apple tree. When he got a good look at what had
woken him up, he changed his mind. He *had* to still be asleep
because . . . he thought he was seeing . . . Makoto dressed up like a
Christmas ham?
"WHOOOOOO WHOOOOOOO!!!!" the giant ham repeated. "Mamoru-kun,
hurry and wake up! I feel ridiculous!"
"Mako-chan?" he asked warily, backing away.
"Uh . . . NO! It is I, the Christmas Ham! The *SCARY* Christmas
Ham and you will NEVER mention this episode to anyone else on pain of
death! I am the Ghost - scary *scary* ghost - of Christmas Distant
Past Present and I have come to show you the true meaning of
"Mental Note: Usagi's cookies induce severe and frightening
hallucinations in the eater. Eat at your own risk."
Makoto the Ham giggled. "Come on, Mamoru-kun. Time to see your
distant past present . . ."
"How can I have a distant past present? The past is the past . .
Everything seemed to haze out . . .
"And what is WITH that?!" Mamoru muttered, looking at the
shimmering air about them.
Setsuna quickly ducked back behind the tree she was hiding behind
and shut off the haze-causing mechanism on Ami's computer. She
nodded to herself as Makoto activated the time key with the special
switch she had installed . . . Then Mamoru and Makoto had vanished
through time and space and Setsuna followed them . . . discretely.

Makoto looked about at their surroundings. "All right, here we
are at the beautiful-"
"I've heard this all before!"
"Not quite . . ." Makoto said, gesturing at their surroundings.
He gasped. "We're . . . on the Moon?"
"Uh-huh. There you are over there . . . pretty depressed-looking,
He looked over at where he sat desolately on the edge of a marble
fountain. His past self looked about as old as his future self was
at the moment.
"This is you," Makoto whispered, "after you'd been living on the
Moon for three years. If you remember, you were sent here as a
diplomatic ambassador. You have just learned that your mother, who
you haven't seen in over six years since you were away at school
before coming to the Moon, has passed away."
Mamoru felt tears sting the back of his eyelids. He had just seen
his mother . . . She had been so kind to him.
"Gomen nasai," Makoto said gently, as compassionate and
sympathetic to the feelings of others as ever, despite the ham-suit.
She knew what it felt like to lose one's parents.
"Arigato," Mamoru said shortly, looking at his past self.
"Duck!" Makoto hissed and Mamoru ducked reflexively behind the low
wall they were hiding behind. Years of fighting against alien
threats had instilled the reflex of responding instantly to warnings
in him.
A silver-white figure rushed by with a rustle of skirts.
"Endymion!" she cried running towards him, then slowed and stopped
before him. "Endymion?" she asked, gently, pain bleeding through in
her voice. "I-I just heard."
He looked up at her. "Heard what?"
"About . . . your mother."
He looked away. "Yes."
She sat down next to him, her eyes anxious. "If there's anything
I can do . . . Endymion! I don't know how to make it better!"
"You can't," he said abruptly. "Why don't you just go and leave
me for your balls and frivolities?"
"Endymion . . ."

"What is he doing?! The fool!" Mamoru growled, staring fixedly at
the scene before him.
"Endymion and Serenity were not very close. They rarely saw one
another. She hit him on the head once with a parchment by mistake,
he made some type of caustic comment, and they haven't been speaking
to one another since."
"Seems like history likes to repeat itself."
"I hope not!" Makoto muttered, staring at her outfit. I had
better *not* be doing this again in another thousand years . . .
But Mamoru was too absorbed in the scene before him to notice.

"Serenity. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. You were
simply being kind . . . It has been a long time since I have let
anyone be kind to me. I fell out of the habit."
"It's all right," she said looking at him. "You're a very complex
individual, Endymion. I have often wondered what you think of."
"I think of many things . . . mostly of what might have been had I
not left Earth."
"Oh? Do you miss someone you left behind? Some girl perhaps? Or
do you simply find the Moon too unlike your own world. Have we not
treated you well enough? I can order your servants to-"
"No." He placed his hand over her mouth, silencing her. "It's
not that. I left no one behind, save my parents . . . and my dog."
He smiled a little, removing his hand. She looked at him, bemused.
"The Moon is very nice and all of my needs have been seen to . . .
There are simply things that I miss about Earth."
"Like what?" Serenity asked, swinging her legs a little from where
she perched at the edge of the fountain.
"Like snow. Today is winter solstice day back home."
"Winter solstice?" she asked.
"Yes, a very special day. Were I home right now, the ground would
be covered in snow. Today was mother's favorite day of the year."
"Will you take me one day?" Serenity asked. "To see your home, I
mean. To see this "snow" of yours."
"Yes, Serenity," Endymion said, smiling. "I will take you."
She put her hand on top of his. "Good, because I want to know all
about it. All about something that can make you happy."
"Why?" he asked.
She smiled, getting up. "That's for you to find out."
"Serenity," he said, a teasing tone in his voice as he stood up
as well.
She laughed and shook her head. "No! You'll just have to learn
on your own." She took off at a run, but he soon caught up to her.
"Merry winter solstice, Serenity," he said as he caught her in his
"Merry-Oh!" she said.
"What is it, Serenity?" Endymion asked.
"I'm sorry, it's nothing." I thought I just saw a . . . No,
Serenity! No hams are *that* big! And they don't have arms and legs
and heads, either! She turned back to Endymion. "A very Merry
Winter Solstice to you too!"
"Thank you, Serenity," he said, sobering as he looked into her
eyes. "For taking my mind off of things."
"I haven't been doing a very good job if you're thinking about
them again," she chided herself. Then, in one of her characteristic
impulsive displays, she kissed him full on the mouth.
And he kissed her back.

"There, you see!" Makoto said to Mamoru. "That was the beginning
of a wonderful relationship right there! So Christmas *should* have
a *little* meaning to you at least!"
Mamoru shook his head. "No, that was solstice. And that was the
"All right, fine! If I can't convince you, I know two spirits who
"*Two* spirits?"
"That's right!"

Setsuna shook her head, hopping back to the future and back to the
past in less than thirty seconds. She dropped the two Senshi a few
feet away from Mamoru and Makoto. A few feet *above* Mamoru and

"Haruka? Michiru?" Mamoru asked from beneath the tangle of
bodies. "Where did you two drop from?"
"The future," Haruka said immediately as she got to her feet, more
than a little disgusted by the whole situation.
"The distant future!" Michiru added, covering for her partner's
"Uh . . . Okay. Hey, where did Makoto go?!" the befuddled young
man asked, looking about.
"The Christmas Ham has returned to its place in the Cosmic
Refrigerator that houses all good food spirits." I can't believe I
just said that!
Mamoru obviously couldn't believe it either. "Haruka, did you
just say what I thought you said?"
"I'm not Haruka! I am the biker Ghost of your Christmas Distant
Past Future!"
"Me too!" Michiru said, dusting herself off as she got to her
"And you've come to take me back home?" he asked hopefully.
"Nope!" Haruka answered. "We've come dressed in black leather and
chains to show you the folly of your ways, Earthling!"
"Haruka, hon," Michiru whispered, "I think you're overdoing it
just a little."
"Come with us!" Haruka said, waving her arm dramatically into the
hazy distance.
Michiru rolled her eyes and pressed the button on the Time Key
that Makoto had passed onto her during her hasty exit.
"What is that haze doing back?!" Mamoru demanded to know as they
vanished into the Distant Past Future.

He took a good look around him. "Um . . . where are we?"
"The Moon. After its civilization was completely destroyed by
Metallia and Beryl and everything was wiped out by Saturn. Oh, it's
also Christmas Day."
"And this is supposed to show me what?"
"That you should be thankful for what you've got!" Michiru said
calmly. "You're alive, aren't you? You should be thankful for that.
You have a girlfriend and a future daughter who love you . . .
You've got a *great* bunch of friends ready to put up with SO MUCH
nonsense just to make you happy! Think about it."
"But don't think too long . . ." Haruka said in an ominous voice.
"Can I ask you a question?" Mamoru asked.
"If the entire civilization has been wiped out . . . how much air
is left?"
"Not much. Right, let's get out of here!" Haruka nodded at
Michiru who depressed the button on the key. That zapped them right
back into the present.

Meanwhile a few seconds before in the present . . .

Setsuna popped into the living room and saw that both girls had
fallen asleep on the couch. "Ami-chan! Minako-chan! Wake up!"
She heard a banging at the door and when she opened it Rei fell
in. "It took you long enough!" the Shinto priestess said. "These
guys kept looking at me and . . ."
"Rei, you're in an evening gown and it's three o'clock in the
morning. Any guys out at this time of night are *bound* to be the
type to give you funny looks."
Rei made a face.
Minako yawned and shook Ami awake. "Ami-chan! Setsuna and Rei
are here! Mamoru-kun should be here any moment!"
Ami groggily got up and looked for her minicomputer. The lack of
it woke her up fully. "My computer! Where is it!"
"Here!" Setsuna tossed the device to her just as there was a glow
of light and Haruka, Michiru, and Mamoru reappeared in the apartment.
All four of them leapt behind the couch and hid there.
Mamoru blinked. "Okay? Now what? I still have four or five
Senshi left, right?"
"But only three spirits!"
Ami aimed her computer at the scene and the hazy lights reappeared
. . . Temporarily blinded, Mamoru blinked, and when he turned back
around he was met with the sight of Rei in a long blue evening gown
instead of his two leather-clad guides of before.
"Hey, Rei . . . Why can't anyone dress normally?"
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past! I have come to-"
"Show me the true meaning of Christmas?"
"Yeah. That." She waved her arms and Ami started the haze-maker
on her computer back up again.
Setsuna sent them into the past.

In the past . . .

Mamoru opened his eyes and looked around. "Hey . . . I remember
this place. It's my house!" They were standing ouside of a little
house. He peered in a window. "And that . . . That's my room!"
"And that's you!" Rei pointed at the little boy who was laughing
and playing with the new dart set and toy train he had gotten.

"And Tuxedo Mask leapt onto the train and flung a dart at the evil
Mr. Bad, saving the day once again!" the boy shouted, moving around a
little action figure that he had outfitted with a cape and mask and
flinging a dart at the bull's eye hanging on his wall. It head dead
"And what did Tuxedo Mask do then?" his mother asked him, her
hands on her hips as she looked down at him with a smile. She had
walked into his room without him noticing.
"He went home and ate Christmas Dinner with his mom and dad!
After giving lots of food and toys to the hungry and lonely orphans!"
"Of course," his mother said, smiling at him. "He would do that,
wouldn't he?"
"Naturally!" little Mamoru said. "He's a superhero!"
"Okay, come along my little superhero. It's time for breakfast!"
"Yay! Are we having pancakes, Mom?!"
"Uh-huh. And if you can eat all of those I made you some odango,
"Hey, shortstop," his father said, walking into the room holding
the morning newspaper. "Do you like you gifts?"
"Yup! I like 'em all lots!"
"That's good, son."
"Dad, let's go eat! Mom made pancakes!"
Mamoru's mother laughed. "The men in my family are all alike!"

"I remember that," Mamoru said, staring at the scene before him.
"I can't remember much else from my childhood . . . but I can
remember that."
"You used to love Christmas, Mamoru-kun," Rei said sadly. "It was
always a special time of the year for you. What happened to change
all that?"
"I'll tell you what happened!" Mamoru said angrily. "My parents
*died*, that's what happened! We were on our way to visit some
friends the year after this when the car skidded on a patch of ice
and crashed. They both died instantly."
When he looked back into the window he realized that the place and
time had changed. "No. Not here. Never again . . ."
"Gomen nasai, Mamoru-kun," Rei said, tears in her eyes, "but you
have to face up to it."
A chill wind blew outside and snow blew like white dust in the
wind across the frozen and desolate landscape. They stood outside a
grey weathered building. The Home for Emotionally Deprived Youth.
The Orphanage.
He stared in the window and saw the oh-so familiar scene before
him. The scene that had repeated itself for so many years.
"Merry Christmas," Mamoru said to the other boy his age, Shigeru,
as he made his bed.
The other boy fairly snarled at him. "Oh yeah? What's so merry
about it?! We're in a "home". There's nothing good about today at
all, so you can take your "Merry Christmas" and-"
"Oh, leave Chibi-Mamoru alone!" one of the older boys, Takeru
said. "He'll learn soon enough that there's no Christmas here."
"Boys! Attention!" Nobuyama-san, the schoolmaster said, appearing
in the doorway.
The boys all straightened automatically and saluted, all but
Mamoru who had been at the home for barely a week after getting out
of the hospital and was still not used to the home lifestyle.
"Chiba-san, is there a problem?" the schoolmaster asked.
"Iie, Nobuyama-san!"
"Then drop and give me twenty!"
Mamoru bent over and began doing twenty push-ups on his spindly
"All right, the rest of you . . . go and get breakfast! Mamoru-
san can go out and fetch water from the well!"
"Demo . . . We have running water!" Mamoru protested, unable to
stop himself.
"Your point being? You will go out and get that water!"
"All the water's frozen!"
"Then you will chip it out until you have a bucket-full and you
will boil it on the stove . . . and it had *better* be ice and not
snow because that's all you're getting to eat today!" He noticed the
rest of the boys silently watching the scene. "Well? What are you
waiting for?! Go and eat!"
They scampered off, one of them asking, "It's Christmas . . . I
wonder what we'll have?"
"What else?" another answered. "Gruel . . ."
The schoolmaster turned as though to follow the boys, Mamoru
sitting on the floor, staring at him in silent desolation, but paused
in the doorway. "Oh yes, Merry Christmas!" he said, then broke into
laughter as he left.
Mamoru slowly got to his feet and picked up a bucket from where it
hung on a hook on the wall. He wrapped what looked like a rag around
his neck and shuffled towards the door, jamming his shoes on once he
got there. Opening the door, he shivered in the cold and quickly ran
towards the far-off well.
"He doesn't even have a coat or mittens on!" Rei said, moving
towards the boy.
"Don't, Rei." Mamoru said, his head hanging, his face hidden.
"He'd only get in more trouble. Besides, you shouldn't teach him to
She ignored him, making her way towards the boy. He was blowing
on his red hands, hearing the clink of the bucket against the ice of
the well.
"Do you need some help there?" she asked.
"H-H-Help?" his teeth chattered. "With what, ma'am?"
"This well?"
"The water's f-f-frozen."
She smiled gently at him and pointed behind him. "Look, a crow!"
"Where?" he asked, turning around.
With a carefully aimed and whispered Fire Soul down the well, she
shrugged and said, "I must've been mistaken. Hey look, there's
"Honto?" he asked, pulling up the bucket full of water. "Sugoi!"
He poured the contents of the well bucket into his bucket.
"Merry Christmas," Rei said.
"Merry Christmas!" Mamoru said in turn, grabbing his bucket and
rushing back towards the Home. "Merry Christmas!"

"Come on, Mamoru," she said, reaching his side again. "Let's go."
"Yes, Rei," he murmured, looking up at her, tears in his eyes.
"Merry Christmas."

They reappeared in the present with a flash and Mamoru again found
his current spirit missing. Instead he was met with . . .
"Minako-chan?" Mamoru asked in disbelief.
"Of course!" she responded, sticking her tongue out at him. "You
should be used to the routine by *now*!" I've waited long enough
for my turn, after all!
"It's not that," he murmured slowly. "It's what you're *wearing*
. . ."
"Oh, this?" she asked breezily. "The very latest in Christmas
fashion! Do you like it?"
"Um . . ."

Let us take a moment to comment on Minako's choice of attire.
While she wasn't dressed up in a long evening gown like Rei, or in
black leather and chains like Haruka and Michiru, or as a Christmas
ham like Makoto, or even in a green bathrobe and pink bunny slippers
like Setsuna, she had certainly chosen the most bizarre attire of
all. Okay, maybe not as bad as the Christmas ham . . . or not.
Minako looked like a combination of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
and . . . well, we're not quite sure what. Keep in mind that she had
dressed in record time too! In Mamoru's bathroom, no less.
She wore removable felt antlers on her head, a shiny red ball
nose, and black gloves and shoes. She was dressed in a bizarre
outfit of clashing colors that dazzled the eye and made one slightly
naseous upon viewing it. It looked straight out of the '70s. A
cornucopia of fruit rested on her head between the two ivy-wrapped
antlers, and she had wrapped sleigh bells around her neck, wrists,
and ankles. All in all, she looked pretty strange.

"It's . . . uh . . . very nice," he said in an strangled-sounding
"Arigato!" Yeah, you'd *better* like it! The things I go
through for you, Usagi-chan! Mamoru-kun, you have *NO* idea what
that girl's got stashed away in her closet. She shook her idea
before coming to herself again. "Let's just get started, shall we?"
"Um, you're the Ghost of Christmas Present?"
"You got it!"
"And you're going to show me the present? Isn't that a little
"Not really."
With that, Ami turned the haze back on, Setsuna used her Time-
Space magic, and they were BANG! at Usagi's house. On the roof of
Usagi's house.
Normally this wouldn't have been a problem, seeing as how Mamoru
had spent many an evening perched on the roof of that very house . .
. but never in the middle of winter with a roof covered in ice.
"What are we doing here?" Mamoru asked.
"Showing you the present! First, we've got to get *in* the
"No, chimney!"
It took them around six or seven minutes to get to the chimney and
then on top of it. While they were balanced precariously on top,
Mamoru reached out a hand to steady Minako, which startled the girl
and sent them both crashing down the chimney. The sound was enough
to wake the dead. And Usagi's family. As for Usagi . . . well, she
was already awake.

"Usagi, is that you?!" her father called irritably downstairs.
"No, Dad! I think it's Santa!"
"When are you going to sleep?!"
"When I've polished off all the food in the house!"
"Oh, four o'clock then."
"Then I'm going to cook some more!"
"Don't burn down the house!" her father yelled.
"I won't!"
"Good night, dear!" her mother called.
"Good night!"
"Keep it down, Usagi!" her brother yelled. "Go to bed!"
Usagi jabbed savagely at her cookie dough. "Ha! Like I could
sleep! How could you do this to me, Mamo-chan?!" she said, mixing
the bowl with a metal spoon. It broke in half and she pulled out the
pieces and tossed them onto the pile of broken metal and wooden
spoons in the corner of the counter.
She poured out the dough onto a cutting board and threw little
balls of it onto the trays she had set out. They dented the metal
where they hit. Finishing with that, she shoved the sheet into the
roaring oven and started on another batch of dough, this time with
cookie cutters.
Mamoru winced as she cut through the dough. "Does she get like
this often?" he asked Minako.
"You have no idea," she replied.
They were both stuck in the fireplace where they had fallen,
watching Usagi mutilate food in the kitchen.
He flinched as Usagi stabbed at a carrot, then chopped it into paper
thin slices. She began eating them.
"Usagi hates carrots!" he said, aghast.
"When she's mad, she'll eat anything," Minako observed.
They both recoiled as they heard a huge crash coming from the
kitchen. Usagi burst into tears. "My guacamole and peanut butter
tunafish casserole is ruined!!!"
"You're going to have to eat that tomorrow," Minako whispered.
"So unless you want to die of food poisoning or watch you girlfriend
get really fat thighs, you had *better* come to that party tomorrow."
"But won't I have to *eat* the casserole tomorrow if I go?"
"Not if she throws it out."
They heard another sound as Usagi smacked something with a
"Mamo-chan *SMACK!* had better *SMACK!* learn his lesson
"What is she killing in there?!" he asked, eyes haunted.
"Probably just her cooking. I wouldn't worry."
"Do I hear voices?!" Usagi muttered, stalking towards the living
room. "Santa-san, is that you?!"
Minako jiggled some of her bells. "Maybe she'll think I'm
"I wouldn't count on it! And in the mood she's in she's liable to
*KILL* me!" Hurry, up the chimney!" The two already dusty and dirty
individuals scampered back up the chimney.
Usagi paused in the doorway to her living room. "Must've been a
stray reindeer, I guess." Good job, Minako-chan!
From up in the chimney Minako said, "So what lesson have you
learned from this, Mamoru-kun?"
"Christmas is a time to be very *VERY* nice to my girlfriend."
"Very good! You pass with flying colors! Now, if you can tell me
how to get back *up* a chimney, I'd be *much* happier right now!"

Fifteen minutes later . . .

Mamoru and Minako had managed to climb up out of the Tsukino's
chimney with no little amount of difficulty. Mamoru decided that he
had to respect Santa Claus at the very least for doing this *every*
They popped back into his apartment where Minako proceeded to
leave through the front door muttering something about "cleaning up."
Mamoru took a shower and washed the soot off of his body, changing
into more clothes since he had been keeping count and he still had
one Senshi . . . er . . . spirit left.
Sure enough, as soon as he left his bathroom he encountered a
short robed figure, whose face was covered by a hood. It had a
scythe in hand, but Mamoru was sure that she would have managed to
look menacing even without the weapon.
"Let me guess . . . the Grim Reaper? Okay, how about the Ghost of
Christmas Future?" The hooded figure nodded once.
"Hotaru, is that you?" Mamoru asked trying to peer into the hood.
The robed figure turned away from him, pointing with its scythe.
"What are you pointing at?" He didn't see anything unusual.
It pointed again, more urgently this time, shaking its scythe a
He looked again and this time he saw that they were in the future.
Finally! No hazy lights!

Back in the present . . .

Ami woke up from where she had fallen asleep behind the couch.
"Oh, what? They left already?! Darnit!"
"Never mind that, Ami-chan," Usagi said, the rest of the Senshi
gathered around . . . Our little lesson is almost complete . . ."

Future Christmas . . .

"What's all this?" Neo-King Endymion asked as he entered, looking
at the crowd of Senshi gathered in the throne room. A large table
had been set with a holiday feast and everything had been decorated
with holly and mistletoe. A Christmas tree sparkled with lights and
ornaments in the corner.
"Just a little Christmas party, Endymion," Neo-Queen Serenity
said, looking around at her guests.
"What?! I thought I said no Christmas parties! One gift per
person . . . and everything goes on as usual!"
Saying that he threw a large plate piled high with Christmas
cookies into the punch bowl, splashing Hotaru in the process.
Naturally, she saw red.
"That's IT!" Hotaru shouted. "Endymion, I am so SICK of you
ruining my Christmas! I spent five HOURS making all those cookies!
Do you have ANY idea how long it takes to put sprinkles on ALL OF
THEM?!!! And I had to SPECIAL ORDER those cookie cutters from
twentieth century SPAIN!!! No more nice Senshi of Death and
Destruction! Go to it!" she ordered the Ghost of Christmas Future.
The Ghost nodded, raising the scythe high into the air.
Mamoru noticed Endymion and Serenity blanching, Chibi-Usa covering
her eyes, and the other Senshi running and ducking for cover. Little
good that would do . . .
"Hotaru, be reasonable," Haruka pleaded.
"I'm WAY past reasonable!" the Silent Messiah responded, glaring
at everyone. "Endymion's going to PAY for his bad behaviour and
lousy attitude!"
The Ghost of Christmas Future began intoning, "Death Reborn
"NO SATURN!!!! DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!"
The robed figure whirled around and asked in a childish voice,
"Why ever not, Mamoru-sama?"
He stood dumbfounded for a moment then managed to stutter out, "D-
The hood feel back to reveal the delicate features of the kitten-
girl. "Hai?"
Mamoru chose that moment to faint.

Neo-King Endymion and Neo-Queen Serenity looked at their guests.
"Coffee? Tea? Eggnog?" Endymion offered.
"No thanks," Usagi said, as the rest of the Senshi grabbed an arm
or a leg and hefted Mamoru up. "I'll just take my boyfriend. Domo
arigato gozaimasu for being so accomodating!"
"No problem," Serenity said smiling. "We know *exactly* what
you're going through. Besides, it's been a long time since we've
done any acting."
"Yes," Neo-King Endymion said. "I haven't been that scrooge-like
for a long time!"
"Good!" Usagi said. "Oh, and thanks, Hotaru-chan!" The grown-up
Saturn waved at her absently as she dried herself off.
"Coming, Hotaru-chan?" Usagi asked the younger Saturn.
"Oh yes!" the girl called. "I've got everything on videotape . .
. from the very first scene. Except for . . . well, that scene."
They had decided ahead of time that if Mamoru was to be confronted
with anything too painful . . . they would let it die a quiet death.
No need to bring that up again.
Usagi smiled a little. "Good . . . Chibi-Usa can watch it
someday. Bye, minna!" she called as Setsuna opened the portal for
them to return to the past.
"Ganbatte ne!" Neo-Queen Serenity called as they vanished. When
they had vanished she elbowed her husband in the ribs. "You *didn't*
have to do that!"
"Of course I did . . . I already did it, after all." He smiled.
"C'mon, Usako, didn't everything work out for the best?"
She smiled smugly back at him. "Due to *my* genius!"

Back in the present . . .

"Maybe we did our job too well?" Usagi asked worriedly, looking
down at the unconscious Mamoru. They had dumped him on the floor of
his apartment after fetching him from the future.
She and Minako exchanged a look, then: "Nah!"
"Hey," Minako thought, "we've got to make this seem like a dream
or else he might retaliate." She winced at the thought of being
Chibi-Usa's permanent baby-sitter during her terrible twos . . .
"Demo, how?" Makoto asked, peering into Mamoru's zonked out face.
"Ami?" Rei asked, turning to the girl genius.
Ami fidgeted for an instant. "Um, I have no idea?"
"AMI!" everyone cried, scandalized.
"Well look," she said, glaring at them, "I still haven't studied
for my Physics exam two weeks from now and I'm only twelve chapters
ahead of everyone else! I still have all my Christmas shopping to do
and my mini-computer blew a fuse from projecting all the dream
images! Give me a break!"
"Kit-Kat?" Hotaru offered.
"Um, no thanks." Ami had the decency to look abashed at her
outburst, with reddened cheeks, sweatdrop and all.
"O-kaaaay," Minako said, turning back around to view the other
sweatdropping Senshi. "Does *anybody* have a plan?"
"We could run him over with his motorcycle and stick him in the
hospital-Nani?!" Haruka asked as the others gave her a look of
"Okay, *nobody* is running over my boyfriend and future husband on
Christmas Day morning!" Usagi said firmly, rolling her eyes.
Michiru tapped her bottom lip with one long slender finger. "We
need something subtle . . . something diabolically inventive . . .
"How about we just hit him over the head and when he wakes up we
tell him he got drunk and it was a hangover?"
"HOTARU!" Setsuna said, staring at her young charge.
"Nani, Setsuna-mama? I'm fourteen! 'Sides, I saw it on TV last
night . . ."
"And exactly *what* were you watching?" Setsuna asked sternly.
"Just a video Haruka and Michiru left lying around." The girl
Haruka and Michiru blushed too.
"I thought I told you to put that HBO Christmas special away!"
Michiru hissed to Haruka.
"I did!"
"Then what did Hotaru see?"
"Um, World's Lamest Home Videos?" the girl offered.
"Never mind," Setsuna said, shaking her head. "Back to the
problem at hand . . ."
"I agree with Hotaru-chan!" Chibi-Usa said from the doorway.
"Chibi-Usa-chan! When did you get here?!" Usagi demanded.
"I saw Diana leave so I used my Time Key to follow her. I got
here right after Mamo-chan and Minako-chan fell down the chimney!
Why didn't you invite me, baka Odango Atama?!"
"Oooh, you little pipsqueak, I didn't invite you because I knew
you would ruin everything!"
"What do you mean?! I just MISSED EVERYTHING!"
"Which is why I had Hotaru follow Setsuna around and TAPE
everything for you, you ungrateful brat!"
"Honto?" the girl asked, looking up at her mother.
"Well, well . . . I still think that you're a-"
"Peace!" Diana called, reverting back to her ultra-kawaii kitty
form. "It's Christmas Eve . . ."
The two girls looked at one another. "Agreed."
"Okay, we run with Hotaru-chan's idea," Usagi said decisively.
"Haruka can do it. You know how he is with forgetting *ME*, though,
so just don't hit him too hard, okay?"
The Senshi signaled okay with her fingers and she gingerly made
her way through the crowd to her future king. She tapped him once on
the head then made her way back to Usagi. "All taken care of."
"You sure?" Usagi asked dubiously.
"Yup." Haruka winked. "Secret pressure point on the head . . ."
"Okay, whatever." Usagi grimaced. "Time to set everything up.
Someone go out and get the beer."
"I'll go!" Ami said immediately.
They looked at her for an instant.
"Ami-chan . . . is there something you're not telling us?" Minako
asked hesitantly.
The blue-haired girl made a face. "Don't you worry about me.
Honestly, Minako-chan, come with me if you like. We just need some
empty cans, ne? I've got a friend who works at the recycling plant.
We can get some beers cans easily enough."
"Good." Usagi nodded briskly. "Minna . . . let's go!"

Christmas Day morning . . .

"Mamoru-sama! Mamoru-sama!" a voice called and he thought he felt
someone shaking him. A pitcher of cold water was flung into his face
and he bolted upright. "NANI?!"
He saw Diana crouched down near him, looking worried. The pitcher
was on the ground next to her. "Daijobu, Mamoru-sama?"
"I've got *such* a headache . . ." he said, blinking. It was then
that he realized that he was lying on the floor by the couch in his
own apartment. "Was it . . . all just a dream?"
"You seem pretty hung-over," Diana observed.
"I do?" He looked over and saw empty beer cans littered about his
apartment. HUNDREDS of empty beer cans.
Ami-sama and Minako-sama did their job a little *too* well,
Diana thought nervously.
"How much did I DRINK?!" Mamoru asked incredulously.
"Uh . . . I think you had a wild party and did some table
dancing!" Diana said hurriedly.
"NANI?!!! Okay, that's it, I'm NEVER drinking again!" he
Well, that's good. "Hey, Mamoru-san, shouldn't you get up now?"
He did so, then gave her an odd look. "What are you doing here,
"Well, Chibi-Usa came back to spend Christmas Day with the
Tsukinos, and I came with her to spend it with my parents. Usagi
sent me over to see if you were going to come to the Christmas party
or not."
"Oh, that's right!" he groaned. "The Christmas party . . . Yeah,
uh, tell her I've just got some cleaning up to do." He surveyed the
damage in his apartment again.
"Okey-dokey," Diana said, picking her way through the beer cans to
the door.
"Oh, Diana-chan?"
"One last thing. Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas, Mamoru-sama!" she said, smiling widely.

Later that morning . . .

Usagi sighed, her fist posed above Mamoru's door ready to knock.
She took another deep breath and rapped lightly on the door before
running to the other side of the hallway.
The response from within was immediate. "Yes? Who is it?" Mamoru
asked calmly.
"It's me!" she called in relief.
"Oh. I'll be right there," he said brightly.
She smiled happily and stepped in front of the door once more.
The door opened with a bang and light from the hallway flooded into
his dim apartment.
She stepped inside and blinked in surprise. "Wow, Mamo-chan, it's
so clean in here!"
"Yeah, I thought I'd clean up after our little talk yesterday . .
. and, um, other things."
She walked up to him and put her arms on his shoulders. He did
the same to her. "So are you coming over to my house or not?" she
He looked searchingly at her for a long instant. The seconds
ticked by, then . . .
"Hai, Usako. I'd love to spend Christmas with you and your
"Great!" she yelled, flinging her arms around him and holding him
"It is Christmas after all," he whispered in her ear. "Your dad
will just have to put his shotgun away . . . So, Usako, ready for
your gift?"
She nodded exuberantly, her face pressed against his.
He pulled away and pulled something out from underneath the couch.
"Merry Christmas, Usako," he said as he handed her the wrapped gift.
She tore it open gingerly, trying to save the paper, and pulled
out . . . a framed picture of Neo-Queen Serenity, Neo-King Endymion,
and Princess Usagi with Diana atop her head dressed up like Mrs.
Claus, Santa Claus, and an elf, and what looked like the Ghost of
Christmas Future respectively. She stared at it for a long time
before murmuring, "You knew?!"
"No, not at first," he said, smiling good-naturedly. "But Neo-
King Endymion must've slipped this to me while I was asleep."
"How do you know that?"
"I wrote myself a note. Anyway, I noticed it in my pocket while I
was searching for my car keys when I ran out of cleaning fluid today.
After I'd taken a look everything made sense."
"Are you mad?"
"No, Usako. I'm giving this picture to you to show that I have
learned my lesson. Christmas is a time for families, for giving and
loving. It's *not* a time to make people you love miserable. You're
my family now, Usako, and from now on I promise to make all of our
Christmases together special."
"Oh, Mamo-chan!" she said again, flinging herself into his arms
once more. They kissed and then-
"*Ahem.* That's quite enough. Are we going to go to this
Christmas party or not?"
They turned to see the Senshi standing in the doorway, Rei first
and foremost.
"Minna," Mamoru said, "domo arigato for a very . . . *unusual*
The Senshi colored.
"Um, okay, let's go," Makoto said hurriedly. "I've got a *real*
ham in the car."
"It's no good, Mako-chan," Ami said airily, "from all reports
we've already got one right here!" She pulled Haruka out from where
she had been hiding behind Michiru.
"Hey!" Minako protested. "What do you mean?! We all know my
performance was superior . . ."
"No, I don't think so," Rei retaliated, "I was the best."
"I'm sorry but history will judge *me* as the best performer last
night . . ." Setsuna began, trailing the others who had begun to
Usagi turned once more to Mamoru. "Shall we, Mamo-chan?"
"Lead on, my lady," he replied, offering her his arm. She took it
and together they left the apartment, shutting the door behind them
as they went, keeping always the feeling of Christmas in their
"Usako, I don't have to eat that casserole, do I?"
"Every bite! That wasn't acting, you know . . ."
"Demo, Usako-"
"Just kidding! Merry Christmas, Mamo-chan!"
"Merry Christmas, Usako. The very merriest Christmas."

And a very Merry Christmas from me to you!