Title: Wait
Author: Girl Who Writes
Feedback: If you feel so moved.
Characters: Setsuna
Word Count: 734
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst, Drama
Summary: This had to happen. No, it was not her place to adopt the Princess as her own – she was not to be a mother or a sister, she was a soldier. Anything beyond that was not her role to fill.
Notes: Written based upon Episode 75 - A Mysterious New Warrior, Sailor Pluto Appears for August's SMMFC.
Disclaimer: The characters of Sailor Moon belong to Toei, Bandai and Naoko Takeuchi. I make no profit from this fan-based venture.


Quiet.

There were times when the Time Gates seemed even more desolate and lonely than ever seemed possible – in her darkest hours, the only soul left after the battle of the Silver Millennium, she had stood before the door, shaking as the horrible realizations crashed around her. Few times had she felt so hopeless, so insubstantial that she might as well have fallen in the battle and returned nothing but a whisp of smoke.

It was a tired cliché, even then, but silence really was louder than anything else Sailor Pluto could think of. Sound didn't permeate every aspect of existence – however disjointed such a life was; it didn't feel so heavy nor endless.

Small Lady was in great danger. Her grasp tightened around the Time Staff, and she stared out into the mists. Small Lady, with her bright eyes and ready smile – the first to seek her out in so long, for nothing more than friendship; not for her wisdom, for her protection, for power or knowledge. She had asked for nothing more than company; they were two lonely people, almost invisible in the great palace. And now...

It felt like the greatest betrayal, to allow Small Lady down this path. How could she? It would have been so easy to draw the child away from this path, to nip those angry, hurt feelings in the bud; to give the little princess the feeling of being beloved, talented and special. Pluto had no family and no friends that remembered her. She had a King and Queen whose word was above and beyond law. She could have been Small Lady's mother, whilst the Neo-Queen mothered the people of Tokyo...

She ducked her head, her hair falling into her eyes. Was her duty so sacred, so important to her that she could allow this? A defenseless, friendless child – virtually orphaned by the Dark Moon's attack – in horrible danger, with only half-truths to guide her defenders. She could have done something, found Small Lady a safe haven, and sent for help without letting a little girl suffer so much – and there was more pain waiting in the future.

The Garnet Orb flashed at her. Its warning was clear – yes, this had to happen. No, it was not her place to adopt the Princess as her own – she was not a mother or a sister, she was a soldier.Anything beyond that was not her role to fill. Besides, so many pieces of this future depended on these events; Sailor Moon needed to fight, to learn – to carve Crystal Tokyo out for the future

She could see it clearly now – in her mind, the Time Stream splitting into two neon blue strands. One was the triumph, Small Lady's realization of her own power, of her parents' love, of friends waiting to be met and excitement for the future. The Sailor Senshi returning to Tokyo full of hope – and more challenges to come, challenges they would now be able to face.

And the second, the failure. The dark, dead shell of Crystal Tokyo, crumbling away as the Dark Moon took over time, changed history; cutting down the Senshi without so much as a second thought. Her own anguish in that time line – the grief, fury and terrible emptiness – was almost tangible. Her mind recoiled and for a second, her hand shook. Angry, hate-filled crimson eyes stared back, the sultry drawl of a girl ruined from resentment, fear and loneliness. A monster that killed and twisted everything she had loved. It was too much to risk, she could not do it to any of them...

The steadying glow of the Garnet Orb – her weapon, her protector, her confidant – brought her back to herself, reassuring her doubts and calming her fears. This was her duty. Whatever was to come, she had to meet with an even hand and a steady gaze, until the Time Stream said otherwise.

She had to trust Princess Serenity. The King and Queen had prepared Small Lady as best as they could, even if it had hurt or they thought it cruel. They were her parents, they were the ones that made the decisions for Small Lady. Not her.

Sailor Pluto wasn't all knowing. She was still human, and she worried for the small princess, worried for the senshi, who were little more than children playing war.

And she could do nothing but wait.