"No, Small Lady. I cannot allow it."
Pluto was outraged by the request the princess had made, but she tried her best to remain calm.
"But, I don't understand why not!" Chibiusa objected, "It doesn't make sense. I've been to the 21rst century at least three times, and it didn't do anything, so I don't see why I can't take Ma--"
"Stop right there." Pluto cut her off, a gloved finger pressing against the teenaged girls lips, "I thought you of all people would understand that with every person who goes to the past, the higher the risk becomes of our current time changing."
Chibiusa scowled, her pale eyebrows creasing together, ruby eyes slanting just barely more than usual. An angry princess, especially a teenaged one, was not something that would be good for ones health. But Pluto stood her ground. She knew that the King and Queen would never approve of the request.
Chibiusa was silent, as if she were trying to think of a good comeback. A reason why her request wasn't so appalling or ridiculous as it might have seemed. But every time it seemed she was finally going to speak, she would choke on the half formed word, and scowl at Pluto once again.
Finally, the only thing she could manage to spit out was, "That's not fair, Puu!"
With the Time Key clenched firmly in her right hand, Pluto cupped Chibiusa's chin with her left. The girl blinked in response, her lips parting in an expression of surprise. Pluto held her gaze firmly for their eyes to lock. Calm as an ocean after a storm, Pluto spoke.
"It may not seem fair to you, but you're fourteen years old, and you should know by now that you don't always get your way."
Chibiusa wrenched her head away from the Time guardian's hand, the scowl returning to her face. "But it's not even for me! She's the one who wanted to--"
"The answer is still no."
Pouting like a child, Chibiusa turned on her heels, and began walking -- No, Stomping -- through the mist, back towards Crystal Tokyo.
"I'm sorry, Small Lady."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Chibiusa yelled at the top of her lungs, her head whipping to look over her shoulder, "I'm not SMALL ANYMORE!"
And with one last step, Chibiusa disappeared through the gate.
Pluto sighed, and shook her head sadly. "She doesn't understand."
"From what I've seen of the princess, she's not likely to give up easily either." Spoke a deep voice.
Pluto turned around to look at the young man standing behind her. He sported tussled, dark green hair, and deep golden eyes. He wore a black shirt and pants, with a deep garnet red jacket. His build was slim, but sturdy at the same time.
"Have you been watching long, Sokujiro-san?"
He nodded, and looked at his index finger with great interest.
"Sometimes I'd like to just point at that bratty princess and--"
"Sokujiro." Pluto spoke with a warning tone.
The young man immediately lowered his hand, looking rather disappointed and dejected.
* * *
She paced. Back and forth, back and forth, tiny feet making tiny strides. Sky blue eyes watched the floor where her feet were going, black hair pulled into twin ponytails that bobbed with her every step. A black, cat-head shaped ball followed her around, floating in midair. She stopped, hands clasped behind her back while she looked up at the ball.
"Luna-P, what do you think is TAKING so long?" she asked her toy, her voice high-pitched and squeaky.
Luna-P only beeped in response, and the little girl sighed in dismay. impatient, but tired of pacing, she plunked down into a cross-legged position in the middle of the room.
As if on cue, a light filled the room, and when it cleared, Chibiusa was standing there, looking a little more than peeved. The black-haired little girl popped to her feet, immediately at the older girls side.
"What'd she say? What'd she say?!" she begged eagerly.
Chibiusa was silent as she stomped over to the red velvet chair in the corner. Confusion plagued the younger girl's face.
"She said NO!" Chibiusa exclaimed, before turned around, and flopping down into the plush chair.
"No?" confusion changed to disappointment, and blue eyes blinked.
Chibiusa nodded, and let out a breath she'd been holding. The blue eyed, black haired child was so horribly disappointed, and Chibiusa could obviously see that. She motioned the girl over, and she joined Chibiusa in the oversized velvet chair.
"I know how much you wanted to go. Well, don't worry. I'll find us a way there, I promise. I think I have a good idea."
A smile slowly crossed the younger child's face, and she hugged Chibiusa. "Arigatou gozaimasu!"
A soft rapping came from the other side of the room's closed door.
"Usagi!" a deep voice called from behind the door, "Are you in there? Is Mamoko with you?"
"It's time for dinner. Get dressed and come join us."
"Hai!" both girls chorused.
The sound of the King's footsteps were fast fading back down the hallway. Chibiusa smiled at the girl Endymion had called 'Mamoko.'
"C'mon Mamo-chan, lets get changed. And then I'll tell you more about my idea."
"Okay!" the younger girl chirped, all too happy to comply with Chibiusa's orders.
* * *
Chibiusa wetted her lips with her tongue, just as she finished removing the last bit of tarnish from the miniature time key. Mamoko assumed it had been left in a drawer to collect dust, and furthermore, thought it was just a pretty piece of jeweler. Mamoko kicked her legs absentmindedly from where she sat on Chibiusa's bed, with Diana in her lap. Her light blue nightgown fluttered with every one of her little kicks, while she stroked the sleeping cat.
"There. Finished." Chibiusa proclaimed triumphantly, holding the key up to catch the light.
The golden key glimmered in the dim lighting of the room, and at the same time it seemed to emit a light of it's own. Chibiusa stood up from her chair, silky pink nightgown falling down around her ankles.
"Are you sure we should leave now? While we're in our Jammies?" Mamoko stood up, holding the limp cat in her arms, while Luna-p floated behind her. "Without saying goodbye to Okaasama and Otousama?"
Chibiusa smirked with pride, "It won't be a problem. I left a lot of my clothes from when I was your age back in the 21rst century, and I know most of the girls probably haven't grown much since they were 14."
Mamoko burst into a grin and a fit of giggles, tightening her hold on Diana, consequently stirring her from her slumber. The cat opened one of her eyes just in time to watch Chibiusa take a deep breath, and hold up the key.
"Hey! wait a minute!" the gray cat struggled and both girls looked to the cat. Mamoko instantly released her, for fear of being scratched. Luckily for her, cats always land on their feet.
"Just what are you doing, Small Lady?!"
"We're going to the 21rst century. And..." Chibiusa scooped the cat up under one arm, "You're coming with us!"
"What!? But-- Pluto will never approve of this! Taking her there! And what will your parents say?!"
"We're not going to find out." the pink haired princess said smugly, and she took Mamoko's hand in her own.
"Now be a good kitty, and stay quiet!" Mamoko cheerfully demanded of the moon cat, and patted her on the head.
"Small lady--" Diana was cut off in the middle of her protest as Mamoko wrapped her tiny fingers around the cats jaws, and giggled gleefully while doing so.
Chibiusa smiled at the little girl, and lifted the key once again.
"Chronos, god of time. Grant us passage through your gates. Grant us passage to the 21rst century!"
But it did not have the desired effect. Mamoko expected to see the same light that engulfed Chibiusa's every time she went to the time gate. But that didn't happen. Instead, the ground beneath them began to shift and creek, though nothing else in the room seemed effected.
"Usagi-san, what's going on?"
The wavering and shifting quickly amplified, the ground beneath them softening, turning into a swirling hole. All three sets of eyes were as wide as saucers.
"This isn't supposed to happen!" Chibiusa shrieked as the hole began to empty out.
Mamoko, frantic and scared, grabbed at the bed with her free hand. Sadly, she missed, and both girls and cat went swirling down the hole of spinning lights, with Luna-P not far behind. Only their screams were left behind, and even they soon faded.
A soft rapping came from the other side of Chibiusa's closed bedroom doors. NeoQueen Serenity stood on the other side of the massive doors. when no response came, she rapped again. Chibiusa never went to bed this early.
"Usagi? Is Mamoko in there with you? It's time for her to go to bed."
No response at all, and particularly, no grumbling response from the little blacked haired girl. Something was wrong.
Serenity twisted the knob and nudged one of the doors open quietly, just in case they had fallen asleep. She always hoped for the rare but better alternative.
"Girls? Are you in--"
What she found, was frightening to her in every way. The swirling black and silver warp hole in the floor was made of swirls of time and space magic, and it showed no sighs of closing.
Maybe it got here by mistake... maybe--
The queen cut her thoughts off, when she saw Chibiusa's open drawer, and the tiny gold and pink time key had gone missing. Panic filled her eyes and her heart, and she turned and ran down the hall.
"Mamo-chan! Mamo-chan, alert Pluto! They've opened a wormhole!"
* * *
Usagi slept soundly in her soft bed. She had flung all but her thin sheet aside in the hot summer night, and that piece of linen she clutched like a favored toy. Her bedroom window was cracked just slightly, the circulation helping to keep Usagi and her furry companion cooler. Usagi murmured incoherently in her sleep. Something about ice cream, and water slides...
And that was when it happened. The blonde girl was jolted out of her dream, when something heavy fell on top of her, knocking the breath out of her lungs. She coughed and sputtered, rousing Luna from her sleep. Shrieking, and unable to see what had struck her, Usagi shoved all the blankets over her attacker, and proceeded to beat them with a pillow. Pink hair poked out from the bottom of the blanket, while the person beneath them flailed.
"Usagi! Stop it! It's me!"
Usagi stop in mid smack, pillow hovering over her head. Her attacker grabbed the blanket tent from the inside, and pulled them off, to reveal a girl with bright ruby eyes, and pale pink hair.
"Chibiusa?!" she gasped, and Luna stared at the girl as well.
"Yes, now stop smacking me!" she replied, and she pulled a pillow feather from her mouth.
"You're not chibi anymore!" Usagi half gasped, "you have...have..."
Chibiusa blinked at her, and the blonde responded by pointing at Chibiusa's chest. Chibiusa looked down, turned bright red, and shoved her 'mother' with all her might.
Usagi tumbled back on her bed, the mattress bouncing beneath the two moon children. Usagi mock scowled at Chibiusa, and lunged at the pink haired girl. Blonde and pink ponytails whipped about, as the girls wrestled around on the bed.
"Girls, honestly, be quiet or you'll wake the whole house!" The black cat hissed, and both girls stopped immediately.
Chibiusa looked franticly around the room, and her expression gradually changed to panic.
"She--She's not here! We must have gotten separated!"
"Who's not here? Who did you get separated from?" Usagi asked.
"Diana?" Luna supplied a possible answer.
"Iie--! Demo!" Chibiusa franticly searched and scanned the room again. There was no hide nor hair of Mamoko, OR Diana. "She...she's not here either."
"Chibiusa, what is going on?" Usagi demanded.
It was rare for anyone to see this look in Usagi's eyes. It clearly said, 'I was JUST getting to be normal, now you've dropped in with a missing partner-in-crime, and I want to know what's going on!'. Though how a single look could say all that, Chibiusa wasn't sure.
"Chibiusa, WHO isn't here?" Usagi demanded.
It was then, that Usagi's private phone line rang.
* * *
Mamoko had been falling. Faster and faster, her tiny body plummeted through the space that seemed to be pulling her down. The swirling color and lights had her disoriented, with her stomach doing flip-flops. She wanted to cry. Her hand had slipped from her sister's hold sometime immediately after they were pulled in, and only Luna-P with it's tracking device had remained close. But just as she thought she couldn't hold back her tears any longer, she felt herself begin to slow down. The colors quickly vanished, the lights dimmed to pitch back as she dropped through the air, and finally hit ground. Or what she THOUGHT was ground. The surface beneath her was hard, lumpy, and spasmed under her impact.
Mamoko squeaked in shock as Luna-P hit her head, and bounced straight back up into the swirling hole. The form underneath her shot straight up underneath the sheets, sending her tummbling heels over head to the foot of the bed. She whimpered as she rubbed her head. and when he looked up, a pair of blue eyes peered at her in shock from under dark strands of hair. Both dark haired, blue eyed people blinked...
"Mamo-chan? ...I'm gonna have a talk with
Chibiusa's...Hai, meet us at the Hikawa
Jinja tomorrow afternoon...Hai...Ja ne Mamo-chan. Daisuki."
Mamoru extended his hand to the child, "C'mon kodomo."
Mamoko glanced from his hand, to his face, and back again. Then, she slipped her hand into his. As his fingers closed around her tiny hand, it felt oddly familiar to both of them. Mamoko expected to be led to a guestroom, but was surprised when Mamoru grabbed her by the waist, lifted her up, and laid her down on his own bed. She blinked, and he smiled down at her.
"I'll take the couch." he said.
And before the child could protest, he pulled the blankets up around her chin. Her mind swam with confusion as she he walked to the doorway. He paused to glance over his shoulder, and smiled.
"Sleep well." he added, and he disappeared around the corner.
Well, no sooner had his form vanished did Mamoko sit up in bed. She pushed back the blankets and pulled at the hem of her silken blue nightgown. She stared at the open doorway where Mamoru had been with blue eyes unblinking. She heard his movements. A door opening was he whispering? The door shut. Another door opened. Soft rustling sounds. Squeaking. The springs in the couch. And then, it was silent. It almost felt like the dark room was getting darker. A squeak escaped her tightening throat and she slid off the bed, creeping up to the door.
Mamoru was fast asleep now, laying on his side on the couch with a blanket draped over his body. Mamoko shuffled quietly across the floor. She didn't want to be alone. Not in this strange environment. She stopped in front of the couch. Nothing was the same as home. It was all so scary. She drew closer...
* * *
It came as quite a surprise to Mamoru when he felt a tiny figure pressing up against him. he nearly jumped, but then saw that it was only the little girl he called "Chuu." She snuggled close to him, curled in the fetal position with her head resting on his chest. Somehow, it felt so right to have the little girl so close to him. There was something about her presence that, while alarming, seemed oddly calm. She seemed to fall into sleep almost instantly. With a gentle smile, Mamoru placed an arm around the child and pulled the blankets over the top of both of them.
"Sleep well, squeaker." he whispered.
And soon, Mamoru was asleep as well.
To Be Continued...