SINS OF YOUTH
Chapter 1: "Obsession"
A neo-Sailor Moon fanfic
By Bill K.
Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2008 by Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and Toei Animation and are used without permission, but with respect. Story is (c)2008 by Bill K.
There was a small section in the west side of the city of Crystal Tokyo. Over the years it had been many things. Once, a thousand years ago, it had contained a home. But residents wouldn't stay for very long in the home. Some complained about the home being haunted by a ghost, though those stories were usually dismissed. It had been an older home and the noises were often attributed to creaking wood or settling foundations.
After the great disaster of 2013, the house had been destroyed, caved in by the weight of ice on its roof. A new dwelling had been built on the site during what has come to be known in human history as Queen Serenity's month of miracles. The dwelling was sterile and oval, but it was functional and sturdy. However, very quickly the same stories began to rise as had before in the previous structure. At one point Rei Hino, personal priest to the Royal Family, came to the site. Though she could sense some spiritual activity in the area, she could find no trace of an active spirit and declared the stories untrue. But the stories persisted. Soon no one would live in the dwelling. It sat empty for years, dark and foreboding amid the recovering neighborhood.
Finally, when the property began to decay, King Endymion stepped in. He had the dwelling demolished and, at Queen Serenity's suggestion, had a small park erected in the lot. The small patch of green in the midst of the urban setting existed unchanged into the twenty-fifth century.
During the Times of Digression, brought on by the rise of the Death Phantom, many of the dwellings around the small park were destroyed during the burning, looting and rioting that occurred when much of Crystal Tokyo sunk into chaos. The area was abandoned by those who survived the chaos and once again the government had to step in. This time Endymion encouraged retail development and an entertainment district eventually grew in the fallow soil. Lost amid the new growth and the passing centuries were the old stories of a spirit who haunted the park on certain nights.
The Princess Usagi sat in the middle of her room, in the middle of her bed. She was dressed in baggy crystalline fiber weave warm up pants and a dura-mesh sports bra, and her pink crystal hovered a foot in front of her. As Diana watched her curiously, the teen sat as still as death. Her eyes were closed and, save for the slow rise and fall of her chest, there was no movement.
"My Lady?" Diana inquired.
There was no response.
"My Lady, can you hear me?" the gray cat inquired again.
When there was again no response, Diana moved forward and sprang up on the bed. Propping herself up on Usa's knee as the girl sat cross-legged, Diana stared up at her.
"My Lady, are you all right?" Diana asked.
A scowl sprouted on the teen's face, followed by her chest heaving out her frustration.
"What is it, Diana?" huffed the girl.
"What on Earth are you doing?" the cat asked with mounting exasperation. "For a moment, I thought you were possessed."
"I'm trying to contact Helios!" the Princess fussed.
"I might have known," Diana sighed.
"Well, Mom always summons her crystal when she needs that extra power boost," rationalized the teen. "And Elysian is too far away for me to thought-cast to him in normal times. I just figured this way I might be able to communicate with him."
"Didn't you just say this morning that you had a wonderful dream and he was in it?"
"THAT WAS TWELVE WHOLE HOURS AGO!"
Diana responded with a cynical look.
"Oh, you just don't understand!" Usa cried and flopped back dramatically on her bed, her head sinking deep into her pillows.
"I understand, My Lady," Diana replied patiently. "You love him. You wish to be with him. But part of growing up is coming to the realization that you can't have everything you want . . ."
". . . the moment I want it, I know, I know!" Usa interjected. Her expression melted into forlorn sadness. "I just want to talk to him."
"And if this scheme of yours worked, how long would you talk to him?" Diana asked.
"I don't know. What's time to someone in love?"
"And Helios has nothing else to do besides talk to you for hours on end every day?" Diana pointed out. "Because we both know how long and how often you'd be contacting him. To the detriment of your studies, I might add."
"You make me sound so irresponsible," Usa replied.
"Yes. Funny that."
Usa remained silent.
"How do I make you all understand?" Usa responded with exasperation. "What I have now isn't enough! I don't care if it makes me sound greedy or childish or irresponsible! I need Helios! Nothing else matters!"
"Not even your career as Sailor Moon?" Diana inquired. "It was quite important to you a short time ago." Usa heaved another sigh. "I believe you're very close to being late for your senshi training class."
With obvious resignation, Usa rose to a sitting position again. With a thought, she brought her pink crystal back into her chest. The girl's shoulders slumped.
"Responsibility sucks," she scowled. Diana grinned at her.
"Yes, that's the precise attitude a future monarch should take," the cat needled.
"One of these days I'm going to run away to Elysian and elope," moped the Princess as she climbed out of bed and got dressed. "Without you."
"If that should happen," Diana countered, "I claim your room."
Contained in the palace was a huge gymnasium that was often used for senshi training sessions. There the elder senshi would conduct exercises with the younger Sailor Moon and her senshi, trying to impart some of their experience onto the girls. Often only one of the elders was available for the sessions. Today, though, they had the benefit of three. As Sailor Moon walked into the room, she could see Sailor Mars working with Sailor Pallas, Sailor Venus engaged with Sailor Vesta, and Sailor Jupiter taking on both Sailor Ceres and Sailor Juno.
"Think of yourself holding an invisible rope," Mars instructed Pallas. Pallas nodded, her brow furrowed. "Now picture the rope winding around something. Can you see it in your mind?"
"Pallas thinks so, Miss Mars Ma'am," Pallas replied tentatively.
"Well, now think of the rope pulling tight around whatever you wrapped it around," Mars instructed.
Suddenly Sailor Venus went rigid, her arms pulled to her side and her legs pulled together by an unseen force. With a yelp of surprise jerked from her, Venus lost her balance and topped onto the floor.
"Hey, what happened?" Venus howled. Pallas began laughing with child-like abandon.
"What did you do that for, Stupid?" Vesta chuckled. "I had her right where I wanted her!"
"In your dreams!" snapped Venus.
"It's called 'guarding your flank', Venus," Mars said, not bothering to conceal her amusement. With that, the invisible tethers around Venus faded away and she regained control of her body. Mars turned to Sailor Pallas with gentle remonstration. "Pallas, you let your concentration slip."
"Sorry," Pallas said between giggles.
"That's why I have teammates, traitor," Venus huffed. She sprang up suddenly, causing Vesta to snap back to a defensive stance. "Come on! Stop giggling and transform into something you think can get me!"
Sailor Moon wandered up to Mars. Mars instantly sensed the girl's mood, but kept it to herself.
"Where's Hotaru, Aunt Rei?" the princess asked.
"With Ami. They're still working on getting her past her phobia. I figured she needed that more than she needed this." Her hand went to Sailor Moon's shoulder. "Don't worry so much. Ami knows what she's doing. And Hotaru's a pretty sensible girl. They'll get through this."
Mars and Sailor Moon glanced over at Vesta, lunging as a tiger at Venus. They saw the veteran senshi expertly dodge the great cat, then trap her in the golden links of the Love Me Chain. Vesta changed into a fox, but Venus kept her at bay with Crescent Beam shots so Vesta couldn't attack. Similarly, Jupiter's electrical field was keeping Ceres' vine attack at bay. Juno sprayed her with water, filling the room with the sounds of popping and sizzling.
"So, are you ready to stop mooning over Helios and get some practice in?" Mars nudged gently.
"Aunt Rei," Sailor Moon huffed.
"Princess," Pallas said suddenly. They both looked at her. "You've got a big surprise coming."
"I do?" Sailor Moon replied, perplexed. "What is it?"
"What is what?" Pallas asked blankly.
"The surprise?" Sailor Moon said. Pallas remained blank. "You just said I have a big surprise coming."
"Did she?" Pallas murmured, her brow furrowed. "Pallas remembers having a vision, but she doesn't remember saying anything."
"What was the vision of?" Mars gently prodded the girl.
"Well," Pallas said, searching her unreliable memory. "Pallas saw the Princess. At least, she thinks it was the Princess. It was a little dark and Pallas couldn't see very well. But she was in her senshi fuku - - only it was different. And she had such pretty, pretty wings!"
"Wings?" Sailor Moon repeated with puzzlement.
"Was she doing anything?" Mars questioned the girl. "Did she seem upset or threatened?"
"Um," Pallas shook her head. "Pallas isn't sure. Pallas is very sorry. She doesn't remember the rest of it."
"That's OK. Maybe it will come to you later," Mars consoled her. Then she glanced at Sailor Moon. "Wings?"
"I don't know, Aunt Rei," Sailor Moon shrugged.
Evening came over Crystal Tokyo and the entertainment district came to life. And, like moths to flame, the young and the young at heart came to answer the district's siren song. Walking hand in hand, Hotaru and Yutaka allowed themselves to enjoy the night, the bustle of the district at night and most of all each other's company. In the two plus years she'd known him, Hotaru had noticed that the rail-thin stripling had begun to fill out into a man, particularly through the shoulders. When she pointed it out, he had shrugged and said it was from helping his father with maintenance duties at the palace. Though he was still slim, his new masculinity had given Hotaru more than one fantasy when she was alone in her room, as well as a few like thoughts when they were together. But there was always the darker thought lurking in the back of her mind that, in comparison to his growth, her petite frame looked even more small and sickly.
"What are you thinking about?" Yutaka asked. Caught, Hotaru momentarily flushed. "Are your sessions with Mizuno-Sensei troubling you?"
"No," Hotaru said softly and released his hand so she could cling to his arm. "Actually Mizuno-Sensei has been a big help. She's able to bring what I'm afraid of out into the open and explain it so clearly. It almost doesn't seem so frightening when she explains it. She's very smart."
"Well, you're smart, too," Yutaka contended. "Didn't you tell me last week that you got a 98 on your chemistry test? And it was just last year that you were going on and on about how there was so much progress and so much learning to catch up on because you'd jumped from the twentieth century to the thirtieth, and how you'd never make it."
Hotaru lowered her head to hide her embarrassed smile.
"You were so proud of that score," Yutaka continued. He gave her a shy but earnest smile. "I like seeing you that way."
"Thank you," Hotaru replied softly. "I'll never be as smart as Mizuno-Sensei, though."
"Who is?" Yutaka asked "Just because you're not Mt. Fuji doesn't mean you're not a mountain."
Hotaru realized he was right. Ami Mizuno's last measured IQ was 330. That was the highest in eleven hundred years of history of IQ measurements, by nearly forty points. Only Yui Bidou, the criminal genius known as Viluy, came close with a recorded measurement of 294.
"That's right," Hotaru nodded, impressed by Yutaka's earthy wisdom.
"My dad says that," Yutaka grinned. "Hey, want to check out The Sonic? They've got a new band this week: Voice Of Submission."
"Are they loud?" Hotaru asked with distaste. Yutaka's tastes in music ran more toward driving beats and high decibels than hers did.
"They're not that loud," Yutaka shrugged. "Or if you want, we can head over to Tokada's and eat. We can get a booth in the back."
"The one where no one can see us?" Hotaru asked. Yutaka nodded. A hardly angelic smile grew on Hotaru's lips. "That sounds interesting."
Further conversation halted when a loud crash knifed through the evening. Hotaru and Yutaka looked to the sound. They found the crystalline front window of a local restaurant shattered, crystal fragments strewn all over the walkway. Pedestrians fell back, staring and pointing into the restaurant. Patrons from inside the restaurant were running out in fear and panic from whatever broke the front window. Already surveillance drones were closing in to transmit audio and video to the Central Defense and Protection Department.
"Something's going on in that restaurant," Yutaka said. He stepped in front of Hotaru protectively, staring intently at the commotion.
"I don't see the CDP yet," Hotaru noticed. "Maybe I'd better do something."
Yutaka turned and looked at her nervously. She could tell he didn't want to admit that she could handle the situation better than he could. She also could tell that he didn't want her risking her safety. Silently she nodded, telling him that she would be all right. Reluctantly he relented and Hotaru's henshin stick appeared in her hand.
Before she could transform, thin, reed-like tendrils pushed out the broken openings in the restaurant. They swirled and writhed, reaching for something unseen. Perhaps they were after a specific target and perhaps they were just clutching blindly for anything. Hotaru and Yutaka couldn't tell. Then a figure emerged amid the swirling, clutching tendrils. It was a female figure and she wasn't in a hurry like the restaurant patrons had been. Hotaru stared in confusion. This darkened figure had to be in control of these runaway plants. But who could it be?
The figure moved forward enough for the street light to strike her face and Hotaru nearly went into shock. It was Sailor Ceres and from the look on her face, she was in complete control of the monstrous plant. Not only had she initiated the attack - - she was reveling in it.
Continued in Chapter 2