14 Going on 30
Written by Elen-Di
Hello! This one-shot was written on June 30, 2008 in honor of Usagi's 30th birthday (WAAH! She's getting so old!). It hasn't been posted until now because I left for vacation and wanted to edit a few things. Reviews are always welcome, and I hope everyone enjoys!
Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of its original characters… however, all other characters (all children except Chibiusa) are exclusively of my own invention. Play nice and pease do not use them without asking.
The date was June 29, 1992, and Usagi Tsukino was not happy about it. Crossing her arms, she glared daggers at her younger brother, Shingo. The unruly younger sibling had been teasing his sister – not an unusual occurrence – but it seemed he'd finally struck a nerve. Unfortunately, he was not yet aware of that somewhat important detail.
"You're not mature enough to be 14," he snickered. "Most teenage girls have friends, or maybe even a boyfriend – not that that'll ever happen to you; you're such a whining crybaby –"
He was abruptly cut off by a well-aimed shoe thrown at his face. If it had been a cartoon, there would be a shoe imprint on his face and twittering birds circling his head.
"OUCH! What the – !"
"Just shut up, Shingo, just SHUT UP!" the older girl cried, running upstairs to her room at top speed, tears welling up in her eyes. The door slammed.
Shingo heard a tongue clicking from the doorway, and turned to see Ikuko standing there. Immediately the tirade burst forth. "MAMA! Did you see how she threw a shoe at my face and told me to shut up and – !"
"And how you were cruelly teasing her only a few seconds before?" Ikuko said lightly. "Shingo, what you were saying to your sister was downright mean. If you didn't have very many friends, how would you feel if someone rubbed it in your face?"
"But she –"
"Is very upset right now, which she has a right to be. That doesn't excuse her behavior," she added quickly, seeing Shingo open his mouth again. "But what you said deserves punishment as well. That said, would you rather I punish you both or leave things as they are?"
"Leave as are," Shingo mumbled, his younger-sibling-sense-of-injustice blazing. Even if I am right.
Barricaded into the safety of her room, Usagi sobbed unashamedly. That stupid brat, remind her of just how lonely she was. While very kind, Usagi was painfully shy. Especially sine her officially becoming a "teenager," she had found it very difficult to interact with other girls her age. Her insecurities prevented her from talking to others and therefore from forming friendships. She was especially afraid to do or say anything wrong for fear that no one would like her – or worse, laugh at her. Thus she grew even quieter. Shingo's comments had stung especially because tomorrow was her fourteenth birthday, and she didn't feel lik she had anyone to invite to ap arty. Adding to that fact was that the romantic manga she devoured so often had provided a thirst to be loved by a boyfriend who would always be charming and gallant to her, like Princes were supposed to be.
Eventually her sobs quieted, and she fell asleep. When Ikuko came up to check on her, Usgi was sound asleep, mumbling in her dreams. Ikuko tucked her into bed, knowing that Usagi would come downstairs when she awoke.
In her dreams, Usagi walked along the strangest landscape she had ever seen. The ground was all grayish rock, and there were craters, large and small, every several meters or so. The sky was completely black but filled with stars. Even more puzzling were the blue-white marble ruins that dotted the landscape. It was a lonely place, completely devoid of sound and color.
Why are you sad, dear one? a voice suddenly whispered. Usagi looked around, confused – the voice had seemingly come from nowhere.
"What? Who's there?" she asked, and because she was dreaming she was not afraid.
I am the ground beneath your feet, and you are dreaming. Why so sad, my daughter?
"Oh. That explains things," Usagi nodded. "I'm dreaming." She felt rather than heard the voice emit a soft chuckle. After a second, Usagi answered. "I'm sad because I don't have any friends… or a boyfriend. No one likes me… I'm so hopeless." Bitterness tainted her voice, and her eyes were cast downwards.
More people like you than you think, dear one, the voice replied gently. And you would have plenty of friends if you allowed yourself to relax and just be the kindhearted person you are.
"But what if no one likes who I am?" Usagi asked, trying hard not to sound like she was whining. "What if I do something wrong?"
No one is perfect, the voice told her. Part of learning, especially in interacting with people, is making mistakes. It's natural.
Usagi sighed. "A lot easier said than done, you know." Her eyes grew unfocused, as if she looked beyond where she stood, then wistful. "I wish I knew how to talk with people… I wish I was an adult, say… 30! Then I'd definitely know how to talk to people!"
There was a brief silence, then the voice said, What if you saw yourself at age 30, on the basis that you learn to interact with people starting now? It might give you motivation…
Usagi pondered this and decided, why not? "All right," she said. "What do I do?"
Just relax, the voice whispered, And close your eyes…
Usagi obeyed. Several seconds later, something nudged her to open them. She did so, and gaped.
She was looking down on a large bed set in the middle of what appeared to be a master bedroom. Sleeping in the huge bed, curled next to each other, were a man and woman. The man had thick, ebony hair, while the woman's was a golden blonde. The woman's hair waved gently, and, as Usagi noted with disbelief, was so long that it draped off the bed and onto the floor.
A shaft of light was just beginning to peer through the curtains, and all was quiet save for a lone bird chirping outside the window. For several moments, all Usagi could do was stare. What on Earth was this?
Suddenly an alarm clock blared to life behind her. Usagi jumped, startled, then saw that the man had awoken. He stretched languorously, opening his eyes. Usagi gasped. They were the deepest, most intense navy blue she had ever seen – and he was looking straight at her.
Usagi fidgeted. How could she possibly explain what she was doing here in their bedroom when she herself didn't know…?
But then the man did the strangest thing. He groaned and muttered, "Eight already? She must be rubbing off on me…" As he said this he glanced tenderly at the woman beside him, whom Usagi guessed to be his wife. He didn't even appear to notice Usagi's presence.
He can't see me.
The idea was strange, impossible… and yet Usagi sensed it to be true. She would have to wait and see to confirm, but the next several moments would tell.
The man shook his wife's shoulder gently. "Usako," he whispered. "Usako, time to wake up…" He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
The woman groaned. "Mamo-chan… it's too early…"
"Actually, it's eight o'clock," he said, smiling gently. "Besides, aren't you forgetting what day it is…?"
The woman her eyes and blinked at him. "Hmm? What?"
"It's June 30, 2008," the man, Mamo-chan, whispered. "Your thirtieth birthday…"
The woman jolted upright. "What?!" she yelped. "I completely forgot!"
The man grinned slyly at her. "Yes, I know… that's why I reminded you, Odango."
To Usagi's surprise, the woman stuck her tongue out at him. "Mamoru," she said warningly, "It's my birthday; therefore, I get to order you around all day. And that means I decide when you call me 'Odango.'"
Mamoru laughed. "Don't you order me around all the time anyway?" he teased. "Dear wife," he learned over so their noses touched, "I am yours to command."
"Then your first order of the day is to kiss me," she said with a straight face, though her eyes were laughing.
"With pleasure." He kissed her on the lips, and they stayed for several moments. Finally he broke away and whispered, "Happy birthday, Usagi."
There was a sudden knock on the door, and then it opened slowly. A pair of light violet eyes peeked in. "Mama?"
The now-thirty-year-old Usagi smiled. "Come on in, Chibiusa." She paused. "Are the others with you?"
The door opened all the way and a lithe young girl who looked to be about eight or nine years old came in. Her hair was pale blonde, so light it almost looked white. She grinned happily at her parents. "Dakai and the twins are still asleep," she informed them. "but I couldn't stay asleep! I'm too excited!"
"Ah, yes… Happy ninth birthday, Chibiusa," said mother-Usagi.
"And Happy birthday to you too, Mama," the girl said. She turned to her father expectantly. "What are we doing today, Dad?"
"Well, your mother has a dentist appointment at one," he said, glancing at his wife – she groaned and buried her face in a pillow – "And then all your aunts and uncles are coming over later tonight to celebrate."
Chibiusa clapped her hands with glee. "Oh YAY! Are Grandma Ikuko and Grandpa Kenji coming over as well?"
"Yes," came her mother's muffled voice from beneath the pillow. "So are Uncle Shingo and Aunt Mika."
"YAY!" Chibiusa began dancing around the room in delight. Her father tried to shush her, saying, "I don't think your siblings are awake yet," but his reasoning was ignored. Within a few minutes, three more taps were heard on the door, and three other children entered. A boy, about two years younger than Chibiusa with pitch black hair and blue eyes like his father led, and he was followed by a pair of fraternal twins: a boy and girl. Both had blue-gray eyes, but the boy was blonde and the girl as dark haired as her father. Soon all four children were laughing and bouncing up and down on their parents' bed. After a few minutes their mother joined them while their father stood on the floor, waiting to catch any flying children.
Invisible teenage Usagi watched the scene with awe. This was… her… in sixteen years. She was married with four children! And who were all these aunts and uncles her future husband had spoken of? They had been addressed separately from Shingo… Who has apparently married Mika, she thought slyly. I KNEW he liked her!
Mamoru the father finally called the children to order and sent them off to get dressed. Then he scooped up older-Usagi in his arms and swept off to the bathroom. From the subsequent splash and shrieking, he had dumped her into the bathtub. Younger Usagi grinned despite herself. At least it seemed like she would be having fun, come sixteen years.
In the midst of shooing the children downstairs for breakfast and getting dressed, mother-Usagi glared at Mamoru. "Way to make an appointment for the dentist on my birthday," she grumbled. She looked pleadingly at her husband. "Can't we just reschedule? Pleeeease?"
Mamoru rolled his eyes but squeezed her hand comfortingly. "Odango, today was the only day they could schedule you. And don't worry; it's just a regular appointment –" ("As if that ever stopped me from worrying," she muttered) – "and just think! Your teeth will be all clean in time for the party today."
"Hmph," was the response, but she held his hand all the tighter. Then abruptly she said, "In that case, I'll just mosey on over after lunch and you can stay home and watch the kids, ok?"
Mamoru wagged a finger. "Now, now, Usako, I know what you're thinking. You are not going to pretend to go, then escape. The kids and I are going to walk you up to the door of the dentists and make sure you go in. All right?"
"Damn!" she muttered under her breath. "How do you always read my mind?!"
A few steps behind her, Mamoru heard her exclamation and grinned to himself. "Because you're so easy to read, darling," he murmured under his own breath.
Invisible Usagi decided to explore as much as possible while she was here – after all, she wanted to know what her future was going to be like. However, she encountered an unfortunate side effect: she had to follow her future self, whether she liked it or not. This fact was discovered when Usagi, about to step further into the large master bedroom, suddenly found herself standing behind her thirty-year-old self in the kitchen. No stairs had been necessary, it seemed… She simply followed the older Usagi.
That also meant that when thirty-year-old Usagi had her dentist appointment, fourteen-year-old Usagi was forced to follow… something she was not looking forward to. Apparently her future self hated the dentist as much as she did, which was to say, if it had been up to her, Usagi would never step foot within a ten mile radius of a dentist's office. This also meant that she and Mamoru and their children lived rather far away from one, but that did not stop Mamoru from making good on his promise. He and the children coerced his protesting wife into the car, and then drove away. The other Usagi stood for several moments on the lawn outside the beautiful house, pondering. According to the force that had made her follow her doppelganger all day previously, she should be floating alongside the car as it made its way to the dreaded dentist appointment. Yet she was still here…?
She had just finished thinking this thought when, all of a sudden, she was floating in the air beside a red car going 45 miles an hour. Usagi let out a shriek – she was practically flying over a paved road, not something experienced every day – then realized she seemed to be in no immediate danger. She was not touching anything, and she certainly didn't seem to be in any danger of falling. Then she looked up, and saw she was headed directly for a gigantic truck.
Usagi screamed bloody murder and shut her eyes tightly, although she didn't suppose that would do any good. She was about to become an invisible Usagi pancake, and it was all that stupid talking rock's fault –!
The truck beeped, and Usagi knew it was a millisecond away from hitting her. She braced herself to feel extreme pain… and felt nothing. She opened her eyes. There was nothing in front of her. She looked around, bewildered, then peered over her shoulder behind her. The truck drove merrily away, never knowing how close it had come to killing an innocent invisible girl. And yet… shouldn't it have hit her? It was still in the same lane as before…?
Before she could wonder at the incident further, she realized she was slowing down, as was the car beside her. The car pulled into the parking lot of an auspicious, older building and Usagi realized with dread: they were here.
Usagi in the car had also realized it, but she no longer complained or tried to escape the fate that beheld her. She had a dentist appointment, whether she liked it or not. She was thirty years old today, and if there was something that had definitely happened to her within the past sixteen years, it was that she had matured. She had to set a good example for her four children, all of whom were wary of the dentist as well (Chibiusa was a little more than wary, actually – she hated the dentist nearly as much as her mother).
So elder Usagi stepped bravely out of the car and walked with her head high into the office, never looking around for fear that she'd lose her nerve. Younger Usagi followed, the familiar feeling of foreboding that came whenever she walked into a medical office swirling around her psyche.
Mamoru walked with his wife, holding her hand. The children followed a few steps behind, although Dakai practically had to drag his older sister, even though she wasn't even the one with the appointment. All in all, the picture the family presented was slightly comical, especially since the look on Usagi's face was the look of someone who faced death.
According to the huge grandfather clock on one wall of the spacious living room, it was nearly five o'clock. Invisible-Usagi had overheard future-husband-Mamoru telling the children – her children – that their guests would be arriving at five. The atmosphere throughout the entire day had been one of excitement – after the house had been completely cleaned, that was. After the dreaded appointment (which hadn't actually been so bad, reflected Usagi), the family had returned home and cleaned the entire house from top to bottom. It had provided invisible Usagi ample opportunity to survey her future home.
It was the sort of house Usagi only could have imagined in her daydreams, with a turret room that Chibiusa had claimed as her bedroom, a balcony off of the master bedroom, a spacious living room and dining room, a miniature library, an office her elder self and Mamoru shared, individual rooms for each of the children, and windows everywhere. Even more spectacular was the view presented by the windows and balconies. The house rested on the top of a hill, with what was practically a forest behind the house and a little creek running through it, and the front opened up into a large lawn, garden, and winding driveway. It reminded Usagi of a fairytale house, and the knowledge that it would someday be hers made warmth flush up an down her spine, and tingles of pleasure simmer in her belly.
She looked forward to seeing who all these relatives were, and especially to seeing Shingo with is future wife. Whenever she returned to her real home, she was going to have fun teasing the little brat about the girl.
The doorbell rang, and shrieks of joy followed Chibiusa, Dakai, and the twins as they ran to the door. Chibiusa flung it open and cried joyfully, "Aunt Minako! Uncle Malachite! Emi, Naoko, and Akio!" She hugged her "aunt" fervently, then moved to her uncle and cousins.
"Let them in the door, at least, Chibiusa," said elder-Usagi from behind her, smiling. As "Aunt" Minako and her family came into the cool shade of the house, invisible Usagi stared. Minako almost looked like herself, with long golden hair, except hers was tied up with a bright red bow. For a few seconds, Usagi was alarmed that her husband was OLD – he had white hair! But then she realized that he was as young as Mamoru, and his hair was so blonde it looked white. He had it cut around shoulder-length, but looking at his face Usagi decided it framed his handsome face nicely. She turned her attention to the three children, Emi, Naoko, and Akio. Emi was a beautiful little girl maybe six years old, and she had inherited her mother's shining blonde hair exactly. Naoko was blonde as well, only hers was as pale as her father's. She looked to be about four years old. The youngest, the boy Akio, looked about two and had a mop of fair curls. Emi and Akio had pale blue eyes, but Naoko's were more violet. Looking at Malachite, Usagi could see where her eyes had come from.
Minako moved to her friend excitedly, and now Usagi saw that she bore many gifts. "Usagi-chaaaan! How are you?! How do you feel to be THIIIRTY?" She embraced her friend enthusiastically, and the two laughed.
"I feel old, quite honestly," Usagi said, her eyes shining. "But Mamoru assures me I look younger than ever."
Minako eyed her appraisingly, then nodded. "Well, he's correct," she said smilingly. To her left Malachite and Mamoru embraced as well, and invisible Usagi could tell they were very good friends as well. Minako looked over her shoulder at her children, who were talking enthusiastically with Usagi's. "My honey-darlings! Come say hello to your dear Aunt Usagi!"
The children obeyed enthusiastically, for they loved Usagi as their second mother. Meanwhile Usagi embraced Malachite, Minako Mamoru. "So, Mamoru-kun, how go things?" Minako asked, winking at him. "What did you have to bribe Usagi with to make her go to the dentist today?"
"Hey!" Usagi said indignantly, but her husband laughed. "She actually was very good about it, Minako-chan," he said, his eyes twinkling. "She only complained twenty times this morning."
Minako nodded briskly. "Very good, very good." She turned to her own husband, who was watching her with a quiet countenance. "Come here, darling," she instructed. "I don't think I've had my fifth kiss of the day yet."
Malachite obliged with good humor, and Usagi and Mamoru exchanged grins. Then Usagi turned to hers and Minako's children and said, "Why don't you all go play on the surprise outside?"
When Chibiusa and Dakai looked at her questioningly, Usagi whispered, "It's your birthday present, Chibiusa." Squeals of joy followed this statement, and then Chibiusa, Dakai, and Emi dashed outside while the younger children chose to stay with their parents.
"Come, sit down," invited Usagi as she scooped up Mei and Sora and settled each on one hip. "Oof," she muttered. "You two are getting heavy!" she said, more cheerfully. Minako grinned and picked up Akio, saying, "At least they're growing up nice and healthy. How old are you two, now?"
"We'll be five in December," Mei piped up. She was the more talkative of the twins, her brother choosing to communicate through her.
"I'll be five in February," said Naoko. She looked up at Malachite. "Right, Daddy?"
"Indeed," he told her gravely, but his eyes were soft. He stroked her hair, and she snuggled against him on the couch.
"Some wine?" asked Mamoru, standing up to go into the kitchen. He looked at Minako, who said, "Sure!" He looked at his friend. "Malachite?"
Malachite shook his head and said dryly, "Someone needs to be able to drive home tonight, and I doubt it'll be Minako." The others laughed while his wife stuck her tongue out at him.
Mamoru had just brought out the wine when the doorbell rang again. Usagi gave Mei and Sora to Mamoru, and then opened the door. They heard her shriek in delight, then say, "Rei-chan! Jadeite-kun! Makoto-chan, Nephrite-kun! Come on in!" She moved aside and the adults and their many children entered. Invisible Usagi saw three clinging to the brown haired couple, and three more to Rei and her husband.
Minako, Malachite and Mamoru stood up as well, and for several minutes there was a confusion of hugs and kisses and exclamations. The loudest one came from Usagi and Minako when they saw Rei in the full light.
"You're PREGNANT!" they shrieked simultaneously, and Mamoru thought he heard a window crack upstairs. "Why didn't you tell us sooner?!" Minako cried.
Rei blushed furiously, but she managed to smile. "We've been so busy, and then we only go the confirmation two weeks ago… not to mention you were on vacation," she told Minako in a vindicated voice. "But yes, it's a boy – he's due in December," she said.
Usagi turned to the children clutching Rei's arms. "Ren, honey, are you excited to be an older sister again?" she asked. The child, who had Jadeite's blonde hair but Rei's vivid amethyst eyes nodded and smiled. Invisible Usagi guessed her age to be five or six. Her brother stood next to her, and he looked to be four. He had Rei's pitch black hair, cropped short, and Jadeite's brown eyes. Jadeite held the third child, a girl that Usagi estimated to be one or two years old. She had light brown hair, and her eyes changed in the light – here they glinted purple, then she turned her head and they looked to be deep blue. What beautiful children they all are, thought invisible Usagi. I didn't know I had so many relatives… Where on Earth did they all come from? She eyed Rei. Maybe she's Mamoru's sister or something…
Her musings were interrupted when elder Usagi's crowd-piercing voice attracted her attention. "Mako-chan, how are you? You look so good! Are you taking good care of her, Nephrite?" Her tone was light and joking, and invisible Usagi saw she addressed the brown-haired couple.
"We're doing great, Usagi-chan," said Makoto in an amused voice. She motioned to her eldest son. "Takeshi here just passed the first level of his karate class with flying colors." Usagi exclaimed over the boy, who looked seven years old and had curly brown hair and emerald eyes. "Tsubaki helped make your cake," continued Makoto, looking proudly at her daughter. She was a beautiful little girl, who had deep red curls with chestnut highlights, and hazel eyes. She held onto Nephrite's arm but looked at Usagi with admiration. Usagi in turn scooped her up and asked her enthusiastically, "So, Tsubaki! Does my cake taste delicious? Mmm?"
Tsubaki giggled, and whispered in Usagi's ear, who exclaimed, "Ooh, how exciting! I can't wait!" She set the child down and turned to Makoto's third child, a boy. "Itsuki! How are we today?"
"I turned frwee last week," he said seriously in his little boy speech. Usagi gasped. "Three? Congratulations! That's so exciting!" She ruffled his russet brown curls and stood up to peck Nephrite on the cheek, then embrace Makoto fully.
Meanwhile, Minako was playing a hand game with Rei's youngest girl. "Good job, Kiyoko!" she was saying. "And then we clap our hands like this –" and she demonstrated.
Jadeite was shaking hands with Malachite, then both were drawn into conversation with Mamoru and Nephrite. Invisible Usagi observed the tall men, all of whom were (according to her) very handsome. As she looked, she also thought, They all can't be my relatives. I doubt they're all Mamoru's brothers; they look nothing like him and they all look to be about the same age... Maybe Mamoru and I were speaking figuratively about their being "aunts" and "uncles."
Then the doorbell rang again, and this time a couple and their two children were admitted. Elder Usagi identified them excitedly as Ami (the woman with blue-black hair), her husband Zoicite, and their two girls, Kumiko and Hikari. Then Usagi and Minako shrieked again, only this time Makoto joined them. "YOU'RE PREGNANT TOO!" they all screeched, and Ami looked faintly embarrassed.
"Yes… we think it's a boy –" (Rei cried, "Me too!") "And I'm due in January." Ami smiled lovingly at her husband. He returned the look, and invisible Usagi swooned at the love in the couple's eyes. They all love each other so much, she thought. And everyone has such beautiful children… She gazed at the two girls Kumiko and Hikari. Kumiko seemed to be seven, Dakai's age, and Hikari looked to be the twins' age. Both had navy blue eyes, although Kumiko was dirty blonde and Hikari a mirror image of her mother.
"Ren! Takeshi, Kumiko! Why don't you go outside and join Chibiusa and the others?" Minako suggested. "Naoko, Tsubaki, Itsuki, Hideki, Hikari, Mei, Sora – why don't you go play in the basement?"
The children scampered off, leaving only the much younger ones behind. Those included Akio and Kiyoko, who instead snuggled up to their parents on the sofa. Mamoru brought out more wine, and the eight adults settled themselves comfortably. Lighthearted conversation ensued, and invisible Usagi settled herself on a stool and listened. The five women chatted enthusiastically, catching up on all the things that had happened in their lives since they'd last seen each other (Usagi guessed the time to have been a few weeks). The men also fell into conversation ranging from politics ("Did you hear how that moron, the American President Bush is ruining the world?" Jadeite asked Malachite) to house repairs ("Getting these people to install a pool is a nightmare!" Zoicite complained) to their children. Nephrite bragged about Takeshi's karate skills, then Zoicite proudly reported on his daughters' end of the school year reports, which had ranked them highest in their classes ("No surprises there, with a mother like Ami," Jadeite had muttered to Mamoru, who'd nodded). Their conversation then merged with their wives', and they reminisced about old times.
"Remember when you and Rei first met?" Minako addressed Jadeite, laughing.
Rei blushed angrily and glared at her friend. "Minako…"
"Of course," Jadeite chuckled. "She threatened to pound my face into the ground if I so much as asked her for a love charm for whatever stupid girlfriend I had in mind."
"And then he looked at me and said, 'My dear lady, if pounding my face into the ground will give you joy, then I have no need of a love charm for you have captivated me," Rei continued.
Makoto threw back her head and laughed. "I remember you telling us this story! Didn't you end up hitting him anyway?"
"With a broom," Rei smiled and took Jadeite's hand. "He said that was the price for being near me, one he'd pay any day."
"I didn't know what I was in for," said Jadeite, shaking his head in false distress. "I would have done better to just enroll myself in the army with the number of bruises I received."
"How old were you?" asked Usagi, a distant look on her face.
"Fourteen," Rei replied. "It was a month after your fourteenth birthday, Usagi; one month after we'd met –"
"And the summer before our freshman year of high school," finished Ami. She looked around at them. "That's when we really all met each other," she reminded them. "How ironic is it we all went to the same high school? Except for Rei, that is," she added quickly.
"That didn't stop Jadeite," Nephrite snorted. "I remember the oaf would bolt out of sixth period just so he could be in front of the gates to meet Rei when she came out."
Zoicite rolled his eyes. "And don't you remember that that year we had chemistry sixth period?"
Malachite groaned. "That woman. She HATED us… but Jadeite mostly, cause he always ran a millisecond before the bell, and she finished notes ten minutes after the stupid bell had rung."
Jadeite laughed. "The old bat was no match for me anyway. I just copied Zoicite's perfect notes and she couldn't say a word."
"Wait…" Makoto said slowly. "Who did you have for sixth period chemistry? That was your junior year, our freshman year, right?"
Zoicite nodded. "I think the woman's name was…Kato! Kato-san, that's what it was. She was… interesting. Her methods employed fierce intimidation yet unsettling kindness when she was in a good mood. Yet her teaching was quite effective."
"When you guys had her, did she squirt water at you if you said something stupid?" asked Minako, eyes widening. "She ALWAYS did that to us! Especially to me, and I could never figure out why!"
"Did you talk a lot in her class?" asked Malachite dryly. His wife nodded. "That's why, then," he said.
There was comfortable silence for several moments, then Rei said, "Hey Usagi. Remember your fourteenth birthday?"
Invisible Usagi started. Her fourteenth birthday? Tomorrow…?
Elder Usagi blushed fiercely. "Ah… yes…" She turned to Mamoru. "Wasn't that the day I met you?" He nodded, eyes dancing. Usagi turned to the rest. "And that's when I met all of you too, wasn't it?"
"You met us girls later that week," said Makoto. "I don't think you met these yahoos until the school year started," motioning to the men seated with them.
"Didn't I call you an obnoxious, stuck-up baka, darling?" Usagi asked Mamoru reminiscently.
"You did," he said easily. "And I in turn called you a klutzy hyperactive Odango Atama."
"Ahhhh," said Rei. "So THAT'S when that nickname came about, did it?"
"Mmm," assented Usagi. "As unfortunate as it was…"
"Pfft. Unfortunate," scoffed Rei. "You know you liked it when Mamoru called you that."
Usagi smiled secretively. "Of course – but I never would have told him that then."
Invisible Usagi watched the rest of the party unfold with sheer enjoyment. Shingo, his wife and children had finally arrived, followed by Ikuko and Kenji. They had greeted everyone with obvious familiarity, and Kenji even seemed to have taken a great liking to Mamoru, calling him "Son!" and everything. (Usagi could personally never imagine her father addressing a boy she liked without a shotgun, but maybe Kenji had had a brain transplant sometime during those sixteen years). She particularly enjoyed seeing Shingo all grown up and with a wife – her future self still teased him, and younger Usagi was pleased to see he still blushed furiously when his romantic side was made fun of. She was surprised, but pleased also to see his children – a three year old boy named Tsubasa, and a one year old daughter named Airi. All the children (Usagi counted seventeen, not counting the ones Rei and Ami bore in their wombs) were particularly fun to watch in their games and interactions. Usagi felt warmth rush up and down her spine once more, and knew that this family, even if not all related by blood, was one of the most special she had ever seen. Now they were all seated on the patio outside in the backyard, watching as Makoto placed an enormous birthday cake before Usagi and Chibiusa.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Usagi and Chibiusa, happy birthday to you…"
In those moments, her elder self glowed with an ethereal light that only invisible Usagi could see. Happiness, warmth, love and peace emanated from everyone there, and the positive feelings made Usagi's head spin. All this was to be hers…
… on the basis that you learn to interact with people starting now…
Usagi remembered the words the ground had spoken to her and sighed. It would be difficult, but it would be more than worth it. She would do ANYTHING, knowing that this future could be hers.
Suddenly she realized the light was dimming. That's strange, she thought. It's not that late yet… And then she realized that the sky was not dimming. The scene before her was. Slowly, the landscape turned grey, then black, then disappeared. Soon all Usagi could see were the people until they too, slowly disappeared. The last image before she was everything go black was of herself and Mamoru, surrounded by their four children. Then they faded, and Usagi's world went completely blank.
"Ugghh…" Usagi moaned. She had had such a wonderful dream… what had it been about?
She sat up and opened her eyes, then started in surprise, seeing the brilliant morning sunlight that washed her room pale gold. She peered at her clock and was startled to see it read, 7:02 AM.
She closed her eyes, trying to remember the absolutely marvelous dream she had had… there had been a bunch of people in it, including herself… lots of children? And names… so many names that had been so familiar in her dream, but now she couldn't remember a single one. Except… Mamoru… who was that? Someone important, she felt, but for the life of her she could not remember.
Suddenly someone knocked on her door. "Yes?" she called.
Ikuko walked in, light concern etched on her face. "So you're finally awake," she said. "How late did you stay up on Monday night? You've been asleep since 6 PM last night."
Usagi gaped at her. "What?!"
Ikuko nodded. "Don't you remember? You fought with your brother then stormed upstairs and fell asleep. I tucked you in, thinking you would wake up later and have dinner… but you slept straight through the night. How do you feel?"
"Awake," Usagi replied truthfully. She looked at her clock again. "It's a very strange feeling to have woken up by myself so early," she said.
Ikuko nodded. "But that means you'll be nice and awake all day, which is very fitting. Do you remember what today is?"
Usagi thought for a minute. "My fourteenth birthday," she whispered.
Ikuko smiled. "Yes, darling. Happy birthday. What would you like for breakfast?"
Usagi's stomach grumbled loudly, and she realized just how hungry she was. "I'll have… hmm…" she thought for a minute. "Waffles, sausage, eggs, and toast," she decided. She grinned at her mother. "I have to make up for not eating dinner last night," she said, laughing a little.
Her mother smiled in return, then remembered she had meant to talk to Usagi about something. "Usagi," she said, then hesitated. "…I want to talk to you about Shingo."
The girl furrowed a brow. "What for?"
Ikuko sighed. "Your argument yesterday."
Usagi's face darkened. "Oh. I remember. He was teasing me about having no friends." She bit her lip… there had been something in her dream about that! What had it been…?!
"I've already spoken to Shingo about that," said Ikuko. "If he does it again he will be punished. However, because you already threw your shoe at him, I told him there was no need to punish either of you this time around. However, next time, please just come to me if he makes fun of you like that. I don't want to start your birthday off with a lecture, but you are fourteen now, and old enough to know not to do certain things. Ok?"
"Ok, mom," said Usagi. "I will do my best to act more mature around the two-faced brat from now on."
Ikuko rolled her eyes, but stood up and went downstairs to make Usagi's breakfast.
Usagi surveyed her room, suddenly wistful. The terrible thing was that Shingo had been correct – she didn't really have very many friends. She was too shy…
That's no excuse, though, she told herself firmly. Starting today you are going to be yourself and outgoing and not worry so much about making people hate you. Just like she said, more people like you than you know… I think.
Then she frowned again. Wait, who had said that? Had it been her mother…? No, she didn't think so, but at this point she just couldn't remember. But something was motivating her, whether it was the dream in her subconscious or whether she had just decided to turn over a new leaf. Today began her newfound optimism.
After consuming a most delicious breakfast, Usagi decided to go exploring. She hadn't been outside in so long, having cooped herself up in her room, reading manga the first week of summer. But today was going to be different. It was a beautiful Tuesday, where the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was hot but not terribly, and there were a few fluffy white cotton ball clouds along the horizon. It was a perfect day for her birthday.
Usagi skipped along the sidewalk, reveling in the warmth and beauty of the day. She was determined to be happy, no matter what! Besides, she had a sense that something special was to happen today…
A sign caught her eye, and she turned to look at it while still moving – and crashed into someone.
She tumbled to the ground along with the obstacle she'd hit. "OOF!" someone grunted. Usagi turned to see that in running into this person, she had also knocked him down. For a moment Usagi stared, her senses tingling at the uncanny sense of familiarity she felt in seeing this person, whom she could have sworn she had never seen in her life.
He was tall, much taller than her, with a shock of black hair and strong features. His eyes were a deep sapphire blue. On his face was an annoyed expression.
"Do you make it a habit to not watch where you're going?" he asked curtly.
Usagi's temper flared. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to run into you, I just got so excited seeing that sign, and –"
He interrupted her. "What is that hairstyle you're wearing?'
She bristled. "My own creation. What of it?"
"They just look remarkably like Odangos," he said nonchalantly.
"What?!" she screeched. "How dare you make fun of my hair, you obnoxious, stuck-up baka!"
"That is the lamest insult I've ever heard, you hyperactive klutz!"
"AAAARRRGH!" Usagi screeched, fed up. "You jerk! Go be rude somewhere else!"
She stalked into the first door in front of her, which advertised the Grand Opening June 30! Crown Arcade and Café! After several moments, the tall youth followed, partially out of curiosity, but partially because he wanted – for some unknown reason – to continue teasing the poor girl.
He found her emphatically banging away at one of the video games in the new arcade. He stood behind her for several moments, watching her play. When her character died, he said, "That was rather pathetic. Have you ever played that game before?"
She swung around, smacking him with her hair. "NO, for your information, that was my first time playing that game. Why are you being so rude? It's not polite to make fun of strangers!"
"You ran into me," he said, "So we're not strangers."
She stuck out her chin. "But you don't know my name."
"Then I'll learn it," he grinned evilly. "I still think Odango fits you perfectly, though."
"Well, what's YOUR name?"
"Mamo-baka – perfect! You have been rechristened Mamo-baka in honor of your ridiculous attitude! Happy now?"
"Well hello!" another voice said before Mamoru could reply scathingly. Both he and Usagi turned around to see a guy in an apron (obviously he worked at this new place) walking up to them.
"I'm Motoki," he greeted them cheerfully. "My family just opened up this place. How do you like it?"
"I'm Usagi," she told him, and stuck out a hand to shake his. He winked at her, and she blushed.
Motoki turned to Mamoru. "You're Mamoru, right?"
"Yesss…" Mamoru looked slightly confused. "Do I know you?"
Motoki shook his head. "We've never been introduced, but you were in my physics class this past year at the high school. You're going to be a junior, right?"
Mamoru nodded and shook the outstretched hand. "If you guys need me for anything – food, mechanical help, psychological bartender talks, whatever – I'm stationed over there at the counter," Motoki said, and pointed. "Nice to meet you Usagi – bye Mamoru!"
He waved and walked back to his station.
Wow, thought Usagi. He was really nice. And what happened to being shy…?
She looked at Mamoru, who was scowling at her. Eh. It's impossible to be shy with that infuriating buffoon around.
AN: Several notes. First, if anyone was thoroughly confused by the vast amount of children and would like a comprehensive list of who the heck is who, I have a nice little table made up that explains everything. Email me and I can send it to you. Or, if enough people ask, I'll just post it alongside the story. Second, Mina's daughter's character Emi is dedicated to my dear friend EmiTheStrangeXX0. Third, this is mean to be a one-shot. It will not be continued unless I go crazy and decide it has enough potential for more, which it doesn't. Thanks to all who have read and please leave me your thoughts and comments, and even your flames.