Chapter 12: "Consequences"

By Bill K.

With the death of Sakiko, the rumbling black clouds began to
dissipate in the night sky. The howling wind died down and life in
Japan began to return to normal.

Chibi-Moon helped her friend to her feet, then dived at Saturn,
wrapping her arms tightly around the girl as they came together.
Saturn used her glaive to steady herself.

"I DID IT!" cried Chibi-Moon. "I SAVED YOU!"

Saturn allowed herself a few moments to enjoy her friend's
overflow of emotion. But a thought entered her mind and it wouldn't
go away. Instead it kept growing bigger and bigger until it couldn't
be shied away from.

"Saved me from what, Usa?" Saturn asked gently. Chibi-Moon
pulled back from her friend, her demeanor a swirl of laughter and
tears. She was panting so hard she couldn't find a voice. "Usa,
you said you came back to save me. What was supposed to happen?"

"Well," Chibi-Moon gasped out, trying to laugh and cry and
experience a dozen other emotions at once, "I guess it won't hurt to
tell you now. You were supposed to die today. And-and I saved you!"

"I don't like the direction this is going," Ceres whispered

"Usa!" gasped Saturn, her eyes wide with alarm. "Are you

"Well, yes! All our history files describe this battle. It
says Sailor Moon managed to stop Sakiko's rampage, but that Sailor
Saturn was hurt in the battle and was never heard from again."
Chibi-Moon smiled frantically. "But that's not going to happen now!
I came back in time to save you and I did!"

Chibi-Moon was expecting something other than the look of
horror she got from her friend. Her tearful joy faded into a look of

"Usa," whispered Saturn fearfully. "Do you know what you've
done? By saving me, you've changed your own past!"

"I don't care about that!" cried Chibi-Moon.

"You have to care! Usa, you may have changed the future! You
may not have a future to go back to now!"

"Well," mumbled Chibi-Moon. "Then I'll stay here!"

"And what about Crystal Tokyo? What about Helios? What about
your parents? What about all the people in the future who might not
live now because I'm alive beyond where I should be?" Saturn shook
her head numbly. "No, no I can't live with that."

To the horror of everyone, Sailor Saturn pulled away from
Chibi-Moon. Her glaive pivoted in her hand so that the blade end
faced her chest. The senshi leaned forward, preparing to fall onto
her glaive and end her life. With a shriek of terror, Chibi-Moon's
hands shot out and caught the handle of the glaive before it could
impact with the ground.

"Hotaru, no! Don't do it! You can't!" screamed Chibi-Moon.

"I have to!" sobbed Saturn. "I want to live, Usa, I do - - but
not at this price! There's an order to things! You can't fight it!
Please don't dishonor yourself this way!"

"Please, Hotaru!" sobbed Chibi-Moon. "Don't do this! I-I
couldn't bear it!"

Saturn was about to respond, but both girls stopped when a
delicate hand in a white glove folded over Saturn's right hand. They
looked up and found Eternal Sailor Moon standing next to them, a look
of hopeful charity on her face.

"Hotaru," she said gently. "I admire your nobility in wanting
to sacrifice your life for the sake of others. But please don't do
this. Maybe we can work this out so you don't have to die.
Remember, where there's life, there's hope. But if you die, then
there's no hope." And Sailor Moon gave Saturn one of her hopeful
looks. Naturally, the girl could do nothing else but melt before it.

"You know best, Sailor Moon," Saturn whispered, lowering the
glaive. As Sailor Moon patted Saturn on the shoulder, she glanced at
Chibi-Moon. The girl seemed so filled with gratitude and awe that
she threatened to burst. Sailor Moon winked at her and made the
girl's smile grow even more.

"So what do we do?" Uranus asked with just a little more
anxiety than she wanted to betray. She glanced at Pluto.

"I cannot say," Pluto replied. "Clearly, though, something
must be done."

"Maybe if I go away somewhere," Saturn said, shaken and
emotional, "so I don't have any contact with anybody."

"If you have to, I'm going with you," Chibi-Moon proclaimed.
"You're not going to face the rest of your life alone. I swear it!"

"Princess!" gasped Juno.

"Don't try to talk me out of it!" she snarled.

"As you wish," Juno replied. "But where you go, we go."

"Our mission is to protect you," Ceres replied to Chibi-Moon's
surprised look. "We're dedicated to that mission."

"If that's the case, you kids are going to need a pretty big
deserted island," commented Venus.

"Ahem," they heard someone say with a throaty, seductive voice.
Turning to the sound, everyone found a mature gray cat wearing a
ribbon collar with a bell around it.

"Diana?" Sailor Moon asked, a smile of recognition growing on
her face.

"Yes, Your Majesty," the cat nodded politely.

"You look so much like Luna," marveled Sailor Moon. "She even
corrupted you into talking like her, too."

Diana unsuccessfully smothered a laugh, allowing a rude snort
to escape. That drew chuckles from the others. Shaking herself, she
forced herself back behind her dignified mask.

"My Lady," she said to Chibi-Moon, "you have been summoned to
the palace by the King and Queen." Chibi-Moon suddenly looked sick.
"Your senshi are to come as well." This made the Amazoness Senshi

"Uh oh," scowled Chibi-Moon. She turned to Saturn. "I meant
what I said! If you're going to disappear, I'm going with you! I
don't want to leave you alone again."

"You'd defy your mother?" Saturn asked. "She's the queen."

"I don't care. I won't leave you alone!"

"Then I guess I can't very well go off on my own. I wouldn't
want you to get in trouble. I'll stay here. Maybe we can work
something else out so you have a future to go back to."

"I wish you could come with me. I get lonely away from you."

"Well, at least you have some friends to go back with now,"
Saturn offered. Chibi-Moon glanced at the Amazons.

"Yeah. I guess they're all right after all. But you're my
best friend in the whole universe! I'm going to miss you!"

"I'm going to miss you, too," Saturn said, tears trickling down
her cheeks. "Maybe you can visit again sometime."

Chibi-Moon glanced at Diana and got a subtle shake of her head
in return.

"Something tells me that's not going to be possible,"
Chibi-Moon said glumly. Her face sagged at the prospect of saying
good-bye. Then suddenly Chibi-Moon's face lit up with inspiration.
"Maybe you COULD come to the future with us!"

"M-My Lady!" Diana began nervously.

"If you come to the future, then you won't be in the time line
in the twentieth century! And-and then everything can proceed
normally and you won't have to die!"

"Will it work like that?" Saturn wondered. They turned to
Diana. The cat, caught off guard, could offer no opinion. She and
the others turned to Sailor Pluto.

"It is an idea with merit," was all the tall senshi would

"And besides, nobody in the future will know who you are except
the people in the palace," pleaded Chibi-Moon. "It'll give you a
chance to start over. You won't have to keep suffering for all those
things Mistress 9 did."

Saturn looked at her, torn.

"Please?" Chibi-Moon begged.

Reluctantly Saturn looked away. She surveyed the assembled
senshi until she locked onto Uranus and Neptune. Gently pulling away
from Chibi-Moon, she walked over to them.

"I don't know what to do," Saturn told them. "It's tempting.
I've never really belonged here. But you two have been so good to me
- - you and Setsuna-mama. It would seem so ungrateful for me to just
leave, but I don't know if I can stay."

"You're always welcome to stay with us," Neptune smiled softly,
placing her hand on the girl's shoulder. "You've been the closest
thing I've ever had to a daughter. But every parent knows her child
has to leave one day. If this is the day, go with our love and our

Saturn turned to Uranus.

"You have to decide," Uranus said. "It's your life. If you
decide to go, we'll understand. I've tried to be a better parent to
you than my parents were to me. If you decide to stay, I'll keep

"But no matter what you decide, we'll always love you," Neptune

Saturn sensed Pluto behind her. She turned and looked up to
the woman.

"If you wish my desires, then I hope you will stay," Pluto
replied evenly. "If you wish my advice, it is best for all,
particularly for you, that you go." Saturn looked down. The touch
of Pluto's hand on her head made her raise it. "Know that you have
touched my life and that I hope I have touched yours. Know, too,
that we will meet again." A timid smile broke out on the girl's
face. She turned back to Chibi-Moon.

"I guess I'm going with you," she shrugged, her joy laced with
subtle melancholy. Before Chibi-Moon could react, the inner senshi
crowded around Saturn.

"Hey, we're going to miss you," Mars told her.

"Yeah, you were pretty handy to have in a pinch," grinned

"And you've been a really good friend," added Jupiter.

"Good luck in the future," Mercury said. "Maybe you can help
me when you become a doctor."

"Thank you," nodded Saturn. "Thank you all." Then two gloved
arms wrapped around her neck.

"OHHHHHHHH!" sobbed Sailor Moon. Robbed of any further ability
to talk by her tears, she settled for hugging the girl tight.
Finally Saturn extricated herself and went over to where Diana,
Chibi-Moon and the Amazons were.

"Hotaru, I promise I'll make things as easy for you as I can,"
Chibi-Moon said.

"It's OK," Saturn smiled. "It's already guaranteed I'm going
to like the part of the future you're in." Chibi-Moon beamed.

"Hey, welcome aboard new roomie!" offered Vesta.

"Do you like flowers?" asked Ceres.

"Pallas will let you play with her dolls," Pallas chirped.

"We'll try hard to fit in with you," smiled Juno.

Just then, Chibi-Moon felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned
to find Sailor Moon next to her.

"Nice thinking there," Sailor Moon told her. "You're really
getting the hang of this, you know?"

Chibi-Moon smiled gratefully. "Thank you, Usagi."

"No, thank you," Sailor Moon replied, "Usagi. Now be nice to
your mother when you get back."

Caught by surprise, Chibi-Moon sputtered for a few moments,
then let loose with a loud raspberry. Sensing more embarrassment to
come, Diana quickly rang the bell on her collar. The sound sequence
engaged the Ruby Time Key and the six people (and one cat) returned
to the thirtieth century in a brilliant flash of light.

"Mamo-chan," Sailor Moon asked when she felt her fiancee's arms
wrap around her from behind, "do you suppose Hotaru will be OK in the

"I think so," he replied. "Don't be fooled by her size.
Hotaru's pretty tough. One thing's for sure, she can only be a
positive influence on Usa."

"Mmm. I hope we're not too rough on her when she gets back."

"I think we'll remember the circumstances she was operating
under." He nuzzled Sailor Moon. "It's a cinch I'll never forget
what happened tonight."
* * * *
Once they arrived at the Door of Time, Chibi-Moon whirled on
the others.

"Diana, take Hotaru and find a place to hide her!" the girl
said to the gray cat.

"But My Lady," Diana began.

"Diana, please, just do it! If Mama and Daddy find out Hotaru
came with us, they're going to freak! I'm not going to risk Mama
sending Hotaru back!"

"Usa?" Saturn inquired uneasily.

"Don't worry, Hotaru," Chibi-Moon said, desperately grasping
Saturn by the arms. "I'll find a way to talk her into letting you
stay. And if worse comes to worse, we'll just run away to Elysian.
I'm sure Helios will take us in."

"Princess!" gasped Juno. Chibi-Moon quickly turned on her.

"Don't argue! This is the way it's going to be! You don't
have to like it, just - - don't say anything!"

They were about to argue, but Queen Serenity's parting words
echoed in their ears.

"As you wish, Princess," Juno replied, looking down.

"Good. Now let's go see Mama and Daddy before they come
looking for us." Chibi-Moon and the senshi ran off, leaving Diana
and Saturn behind. The gray cat shook her head.

"That girl is just so stubborn and impetuous sometimes," sighed

"Yes," nodded Saturn. "But she's so full of life and love that
you really can't stay mad at her for very long."

"True. Come, let me show you to your room. I hope you like
cats. I sort of have the run of the place."

"I've never known a cat who didn't."

Princess Usagi entered the throne room, flanked by her four
senshi. Queen Serenity and King Endymion sat on their thrones,
flanked by Serenity's inner senshi in their sailor regalia. The
Amazoness senshi reached a certain distance, then sank to one knee
and averted their eyes. Usa stood several paces ahead of them, but
she couldn't seem to look at her parents either.

"Sailor Juno, Sailor Ceres, Sailor Vesta and Sailor Pallas,"
King Endymion said with an authoritative bearing, "you have all
performed your mission well. You have our gratitude for protecting
the Princess and returning her safely to us. You may go now."

The senshi nodded, then rose and backed to the door. They
turned to leave.

"I wanted to watch her get it," Vesta was heard to whisper.

"Vesta, you are so disgusting!" hissed Ceres. Then the four
disappeared out the door.

"Um," Queen Serenity said and it was a moment before Usa
realized she was talking to the inner senshi and not her. "Could you
four leave us now? What I have to say to the Princess shouldn't be
said in front of an audience."

"All right," Sailor Mercury said, touching Serenity on the
shoulder. "Call us if you need us."

The four senshi walked to the door. Jupiter winked at Usa as
they passed.

"I wanted to watch her get it," Venus was heard to whisper.

"Utterly hopeless," Mars muttered. Then the four disappeared
out the door.

Usa braced herself for her parents' wrath. She knew her mother
would be the worst, because she wouldn't do anything physically to
her. She'd use guilt and express her disappointment. That always
hurt worse than the time Rei spanked her.

"You did a very good job," Serenity said. "I knew you could do

"Since when?" scowled Usa.

"I was there! Remember?"

"Oh yeah," Usa muttered.

"And even if I didn't remember what happened a thousand years
ago, I'd know you could do it. I believe in you, Usa."

"Yeah, that's a laugh," Usa grumbled.

"I do!" Serenity protested.

"We do believe in you," Endymion added. "You've already done
so much. You fought Nemesis at five. You faced The Silence when you
were twelve."

"Usa, when I was twelve, I was getting thirties on math tests
and accidentally locking myself out of the house. Sometimes I lay
awake at night and wonder if there's anything you can't do."

"Then why do you treat me like a child?" Usa demanded.

"We do understand what you're going through. You're fifteen
years old and you've had your first taste of your potential. And you
want to dive in head first and run with it as fast as you can!"
Endymion smiled at his wife's mixed metaphor.

"So what's wrong with that?" Usa complained.

"Usa honey, if it seems like we're holding you back, it's only
because you're going too fast and we're worried you may fall and hurt
yourself. You have a whole lifetime ahead of you to accomplish
everything you want to do. You just have to be patient. If you do
everything now, you won't have anything left to accomplish when
you're sixteen."

"Easy for you to say."

"Usa," sighed Endymion, "if we really wanted to hold you back,
we would have prevented you from running away ahead of time."

"How? How would you have even known?"

"We were there! Remember?" gasped Serenity. "Usa, please,

"Wonder where she gets that from," smirked Endymion.

"Quiet," Serenity huffed.

"Then you knew all along?" Usa asked. They both nodded. "And
you don't care that I changed history?"

"You didn't change history," Endymion said. "I purposefully
wrote a vague account of what happened in the history files because I
knew you were going to come into the past and I didn't want it unduly
affecting your actions. Remember, the file didn't say Saturn died
- - it said she was never heard from again - - which is just as it
happened. You assumed it meant she died."

"We remembered you came into the past with the idea of saving
Hotaru from dying," explained Serenity. "If you knew that you
actually took her into the future, you'd have acted differently and
history would have been changed."

"So you lied to me?!" huffed Usa. "You manipulated me?"

Serenity rolled her eyes. "I give up! Oh, how could I have
raised such a brat!"

"Usa," they heard Hotaru say insistently. Usa turned and found
Hotaru behind her by the door, Diana, Luna and Artemis by her side.

"Hotaru, I told you to . . .!" Usa began to say, then stopped
short. "Oh yeah. She already knows."

"Usa, the Queen was just trying to make sure everything went
according to history," chided Hotaru. "She wasn't trying to
purposefully humiliate you. Please have some faith in her."

Usa looked down, ashamed.

"We do love you, Usa honey," Serenity said earnestly. "You
make it incredibly hard sometimes, but we do love you."

"Well, I love you too," Usa admitted reluctantly. "You both
make it hard, too, but I do love you both."

"That's so beautiful," Artemis sniffed tearfully, peering in
from the slightly open door. Luna stood beside him.

"There, there, my big strong male," Luna said, rubbing her
forehead on his cheek.

Serenity gestured Hotaru forward. The young waif approached
and bowed respectfully.

"I always dreamed about seeing you when you were queen," Hotaru
smiled. "But I never thought it'd be like this! You look so
beautiful, Usagi - - um, I mean Queen Serenity."

"Thank you, Hotaru," smiled Serenity. "It's nice to have you
back. We've all missed you terribly. Of course you'll stay in the
palace, as is the right of a senshi." She shifted her gaze back to
her daughter. "I'm sure the Princess would be very happy to get you
settled in."

"Very happy," Usa said, smiling warmly at Hotaru.

"Just don't get too comfortable, Usa," Serenity said with a
cheshire grin. "In about a month, I have a mission for you."


"Yes. Since you've now fully ascended to the role of Sailor
Moon, the King and I think it would be an excellent gesture of good
will if you were to represent us to the realm of Elysian - - oh, for
about a month or so."

Usa's face lit up.

"When did we decide this?" asked Endymion, startled and alarmed
by the suggestion.

"Tonight," hissed Serenity.

"Do you mean it?" gasped Usa happily.

"Yes," Serenity said, then quickly added. "Just remember,
you'll be on your honor, both as the Princess and as a senshi."

"Yes, Mama, I'll remember!" grinned Usa. "Can Hotaru come with

"Actually I think that's a good idea," Endymion interjected.
"She'd make an excellent CHAPERONE." Usa rolled her eyes. "Now why
don't you two kids run along."

"Looks like I'll finally get to meet your boyfriend," Hotaru
said as they scurried for the door.

"You? It's been so long since I've seen him, you'll have to
introduce me!" joked Usa.

When the door closed, Serenity sighed and eased back onto her
throne. She found herself thinking back to her mother, dead now for
almost a thousand years. Suddenly she felt a great deal of sympathy
with Ikuko.

Just then, a glow began to form in the center of the room.
Instantly Endymion moved in front of Serenity protectively. As the
glow enlarged, two forms began to take shape. As they both stared,
the shapes stepped from the glow. One was easily recognizable as
Diana. The other was an older woman, about forty. She was still
fair of face and her figure was generously apportioned and shapely.
Rabbit ear odangos adorned her head and twin pink ribbons of hair
trailed down to the ground. She wore a flowing white gown that
seemed to be made of moonbeams.

"Usa?" Serenity gasped, recognizing the mature version of her

"Yeah, Mom, Dad," the woman smiled. "It's me."

"Obviously you've come from the future," Endymion reasoned.
"Has something happened?"

"Nothing dire," Usa smiled wistfully. "I was just wandering
around the palace and I remembered what happened today. And I
remembered what a little brat I'd been and how much I probably hurt
you both. And then I remembered something Setsuna told me a long,
long time ago." She looked down uncomfortably. "I just came back to
tell you that, no matter what comes out of my big, ungrateful mouth
now, you two were the best parents a bratty little teenager could
ever have. Don't give up on me, huh?"

"Ohhhh," Serenity sniffed, misty-eyed. She walked over and
hugged her adult daughter. Usa squeezed back hard. "But Usa, how
did you get the opportunity to come back? I sealed the Door of

Usa smiled cryptically. "Let's just say I've got an 'in' with
the door's guardian and leave it at that," and she glanced down at
Diana. The gray cat gave her an icy glare in return. "Hit it,

The cat rang the bell on her collar and the pair was enveloped
in white light.

"I love you both! Really!" Usa called as they faded away.
Serenity felt Endymion hug her from behind as she dabbed at her eyes.

Outside the door, Hotaru and the teenage Usa found the four
Amazons waiting for them. They gathered around their princess.

"So how bad was it?" Juno asked.

"Ah, you know," shrugged Usa. "Typical Mom and Dad stuff. I
suppose it could have been worse." Hotaru rolled her eyes. "And I
found out I'm going to Elysian for a whole month!"

"That's wonderful!" Ceres smiled.

"You were going to let us go, too, right?" Vesta asked

Usa looked at her skeptically. "I suppose Mom would insist,"
she replied, the edges of her mouth turning up wryly. "Just remember
my warning."

"Is there a place there where we can all go riding?" Pallas
asked out of the blue. Usa looked at her, puzzled.

"I-I guess," she shrugged. "What made you think of that?"

"Well, forgive me Princess, but Pallas couldn't help sensing
that you were thinking that when you got to Elysian it would be nice
to ride the pony."

The other four girls turned and stared at Usa, their smiles
growing as the Princess flushed with embarrassment, her eyes growing
to saucers. Pallas looked on, mystified.

"Just because I thought it doesn't mean I was going to do it,
OK!" Usa spat out in consternation. "I know what I promised!"

"We know," Hotaru smiled, enjoying her friend's discomfort.

"And we vow to stick close by your side, Princess," smirked Juno.
"We'll gladly accept our mission to keep you from temptation."

"Gee," scowled Usa, "you're all too kind."

Her friends dissolved into laughter. Hotaru put her arm around
her friend and they all walked off. Pallas laughed as well, even
thought she really wasn't sure what she was laughing about.