Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.
Author's Note: After the first bit with Chibi-Usa, the rest of this fic occurs during the Silver Millennium. I call Minako by her name because I have no clue what she was named in the Silver Millennium, if it changed at all.
In the Light
"Ne, Sailor Pluto… you need a nickname."
Garnet eyes flashed briefly in amusement as the Guardian of Time tilted her head slightly to look down at the small princess of Crystal Tokyo. "You could always call me Setsuna, Small Lady."
"No, no, a nickname. Sailor Pluto, Setsuna… those names are too long." Chibi-Usa frowned contemplatively, studying the empty air in front of her, watching the mist twirl in indistinct patterns as she leaned against Setsuna's legs. After a few minutes of thought, the pink-haired girl's eyes lit up.
"I've got it!"
"Oh?" Setsuna was enjoying herself immensely. "What do you wish to call me?"
"How 'bout Puu?" The child grinned up at her, innocent and young. "It's short, easy to remember, and it sounds cute!"
Setsuna's eyes widened slightly; her heart seemed to miss a beat. Taking her silence for disapproval, Chibi-Usa pouted. "What? You don't like it?"
"I… no." Setsuna swallowed the lump that sprang into her throat, forcing the smile even as her vision blurred. "It's… it's a beautiful name, Small Lady."
A few minutes of silence passed; Chibi-Usa stood, gently tugging on Setsuna's skirt as she felt the older woman tremble.
"… Puu? Hey… why are you crying?"
"Can I hide here for a few hours?"
She stood out like a beam of light in a dark cave; Setsuna wasn't quite sure what to make of Minako as she sat by her old desk, clothed in gold silk and a crooked smile on her face. The princess of Venus looked out of place in the small, dark room, crammed to the brim with dusty old books. "How did you get here in the first place?" the senshi of time asked.
Minako shrugged, absently twirling a key around her finger; the small talisman hung from a chain around her neck. "Serenity gave it to me. She knew I needed to find a place Father couldn't find me, and she gave me permission to stay here until the ball is over."
"And you're hiding from…?"
"No one important. Just an annoying man who can't take a hint. Please, Pluto?" Minako clasped her hands together, looking at the older woman pleadingly. "I swear I'll never come here again."
"Just this once is fine, I suppose."
"You know, I get the feeling this is becoming a habit for you."
Minako said nothing, simply leaned against Setsuna's legs as if they were best friends instead of battle partners. She sighed and rested her cheek against Setsuna's calf. "Sorry, Puu," she murmured.
"What? It's cute." Minako glanced up at her. "Sailor Pluto sounds so official, don't you think? And Setsuna is such a long name. Pretty, but long. So you're Puu now."
Setsuna arched a brow, smirking quietly; Minako lowered her eyes, gazing out across the misty land. "This is maddening," she said. "How do you do it? I'd have gone insane from boredom or loneliness."
"I'm only here most of the time. Selenity gives me permission to leave the Gates, so I'm not always alone. Plus, you've been coming here a lot. So I can't say I'm lonely."
Minako said nothing, and content to let the silence hang between them Setsuna continued to scan the horizon, gripping the Garnet Rod in her hand. She wasn't sure what to make of the warm sensation of Minako against her leg; it unnerved her. "Hiding again?"
"Yeah." Minako closed her eyes. "It's one of Endymion's generals. Kunzite. I like him, but he doesn't get that it's only friendship."
"Can't you speak to Endymion or Serenity about it? If he's bothering you…"
"He just flirts with me and never understands why I won't respond. Father likes him, too, so I can't get any help there." Minako opened her eyes. "At this point, the only way I could get him off my back is by convincing him that I'm dating someone else."
Silence fell; Minako's eyes lit up before she looked up at Setsuna. "Hey, Puu," she said, "want to go out with me?"
Setsuna seemed to choke on the very oxygen she was inhaling.
Minako collapsed into laughter, clutching Setsuna's leg for support. Giggling, she struggled back up and wiped at her eyes as Setsuna blushed. "Oh, that was priceless," she wheezed, giggles still escaping her. "Your reaction, Puu… that was great…"
"I was kidding. I swear."
"It wasn't funny! Why did you… stop laughing, dammit!"
After a few more seconds of Minako snickering and Setsuna blushing, the two senshi managed to get themselves back under control. Still smiling, Minako rested her cheek against Setsuna's calf again. "Sorry, Puu," she whispered. "I just couldn't resist."
Setsuna shrugged, but a light blush still stained her cheeks. Minako sighed and closed her eyes. "… Minako?"
"I wonder why I'm only like this with you." The senshi of love's voice was soft. "Around you, I feel like I can be myself, Puu. I wonder why."
Setsuna said nothing; she felt Minako relax against her leg, and knew the younger girl was asleep. Once she was completely sure, she gently rested her hand on Minako's head, stroking her hair.
"… I wonder why too, Minako."
"Serenity got her first kiss today."
The fact that Minako said this with a scowl made Setsuna wonder if she should view this as good news or bad news. She decided she needed to tread very carefully here. "That's good," she said cautiously. "Isn't it?"
Minako sighed and leaned back against the Gates, crossing her arms loosely across her chest. "It really is," she admitted. "I'm just a little annoyed, I suppose. Reminds me I haven't been kissed yet."
"You could always ask Kunzite." Setsuna kept a perfectly straight face. "I'm sure he'd be more than willing to help you."
The senshi of Venus laughed, delighted. "You just made a joke! Puu, that's great! I finally made you crack a joke!"
Setsuna smiled and shrugged. After a minute, Minako's laughter died away into contemplative silence. "This is depressing," she sighed. "I'm sixteen. Heck, even Ami's been kissed by now."
"Sweet sixteen and never been kissed. Got it."
Minako glanced at Setsuna, lips twitching in a smile she fought against. "You're taking that information to your grave, you know."
Setsuna nodded solemnly, and Minako giggled. Shaking her head, the young princess linked her hands behind her head and smiled, closing her eyes.
"Ah, what am I worrying about? I've got plenty of time for a kiss. I'm young and beautiful. It's only a matter of time." She cracked open an eye, surveying Setsuna with a smirk. "And if worst comes to worst, I can always count on you, right, Puu?"
"You want me to kiss you?"
"I've got no problems with it." Minako closed her eye. "I'm the senshi of love, you know? Love is love in any form, and I'm okay with that."
Setsuna blinked again; after a moment, she looked away, coughing slightly.
"Well, if you have no problem with it, then I don't, either," the green-haired woman murmured, but she was blushing again, and her voice was soft.
Minako heard her.
The fall of the Silver Millennium hit fast and hard, leaving no survivors in its wake. For Sailor Pluto, it was horrifying; stumbling through hallways she'd walked all her life, glimpsing bodies of people she'd always known, and knowing she'd never see them again.
Her stomach churning, she turned away from a particularly gruesome sight of a beheaded young maid and exhaled heavily. She had to find Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus, quickly. They had known this day was coming; they would help her locate Sailor Saturn.
She just had to leave the carnage behind and find them.
As she turned away, a weak whimper attracted her attention; she turned back around, scanning the battleground with wide eyes. "Who is it?" she called. "Who's there?"
"… P… Puu…"
Pluto's heart plummeted to her feet; with an anguished cry she tore after the voice, knowing what she'd find even as she dared to hope against it. She rounded a blown through wall and skidded to a stop, nearly tripping over her own feet.
Her Garnet Rod clattered to the floor.
Sailor Venus smiled weakly at her; wincing; she had managed, in her last moments, to drag herself to a still standing piece of wall and lean against it. A trail of blood showed her journey, and as Pluto knelt next to her she whimpered; blood darkened her stomach, stained her hand as she pressed it to her right side in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding. Her eyes were dazed and cloudy, though a light had come into them when she saw the senshi of time. "H… hey," she rasped, grimacing in pain. "Long time… no see, Puu."
"No." The word was a sob as Pluto's hand covered Venus's, as she felt the warmth of her blood. "No, no."
"You… think this is bad…? You should see… what Kunzite looks like…"
Venus jerked her head slightly, her eyes passing Pluto's shoulder, and the older girl followed her gaze. The white-haired general lay facedown in a pool of blood, numerous cuts covering his body. Venus's Love Me Chain had been true to its mistress to the very end, and the hole blown through Kunzite's back attested to the strength of her Crescent Beam when she needed it.
Pluto managed a strangled laugh before turning back, dropping her forehead to Venus's; the senshi of love closed her eyes and sighed. "I'm glad you're here," she whispered. "I'm… glad I got to see you one last time."
"Minako." A horrible clenching pain made itself known in Pluto's chest. "Minako, no. Don't talk like that."
Venus chuckled softly, coughing. She groaned and opened her eyes, smiling weakly as Pluto pulled away to look at her. "Looks like… I'm not getting my kiss… after all." She coughed again, and blood streaked her chin.
For a moment, Pluto simply gazed at the dying girl; swallowing, she gently stroked Venus's cheek. "If worst comes to worst," she whispered, and pressed her lips against the younger girl's.
Venus stiffened in shock, but the initial surprise passed quickly and she wasted no time responding to the kiss. She was warm, and soft, and eager to respond and initiate; Pluto fought to ignore the taste of blood against her tongue.
After a few minutes, the two broke apart; Venus laughed breathlessly and rested her forehead against Pluto's shoulder, her hand fisted in the other girl's uniform to keep her close. "Wow," she breathed. "That was just… wow." She smiled, closing her eyes. "You're… a really good kisser… Puu…"
Pluto felt the exact moment the life drained out of Venus's body, felt the exact moment her breathing quieted and her heartbeat ceased. Anguished, she rested her cheek against Venus's hair and closed her eyes, her body shaking with tears that couldn't fall.
"Pluto." Sailor Uranus's voice was soft; she and Sailor Neptune stood a respectful distance away, the senshi of the sea holding Sailor Saturn by the hand.
Pluto slowly opened her eyes. She could still taste Venus on her tongue; she could still feel the warmth of her mouth against hers. Slowly, she pulled away from the girl.
"I know." She swallowed, and a single tear spilled free and streaked her cheek. "I know, Uranus."
Sailor Pluto walked away, joining her friends for their final moments together.
For centuries after the fall, Setsuna lived. She lived, and she breathed, because she couldn't die. Death was the one thing she wasn't allowed.
But though her body lived and though she drew breath, her heart was dead.
Her heart had died with the fall of the Silver Millennium. It had died with the princess of Venus.
Her heart had died with their first and last kiss.
I feel depressed now.
A sequel might be in the works... maybe.
Read and review, please!