A/N: Alright! Here we go I'm nice and pumped up for the next chapter. Don't worry this fiction isn't going anyplace just yet! (Although I've been slacking off just a tad.) I want to give a HUGE thank you to Soulofthepast for rawring me with her epic time staff to get this chappie out. Rukangel I want to thank for sitting with me through our many up's and downs dealing with our fan fictions. Check out her newest fiction called "True Directions" to know what I mean.
Soulofthepast is also starting to post her work on here as well. I say she's great. She doesn't think so. She really wants feedback so give her work a check out as well. (She kicks the crap out of anything I've ever done.)
Anyway, I'll stop rambling on and give you a nice sized chapter for waiting so long. A bit of a warning: verbal ruckus ahead.
I don't own Sailor Moon!
Night Five: Asking How and Why?
After Jupiter had stumbled into the shrine building and tea had been served many things were thoroughly discussed. Setsuna wasn't fond of her current position, even if she knew she would end up having to deal with it. "Stop struggling. It won't do any good." She sighed as she watched Makoto trying to break out of the room they had been locked in. The fire room only had one way to enter and no windows. With Setsuna guarding and Makoto's hands tied behind her back there was little that could be done.
"Why the hell do I get stuck in these odd situations?" Makoto ranted onward once again pulling at the rope trying to loosen it. "Leave it to Venus to resort to bondage." Growling she tried to force her way out yet again.
Setsuna sighed again focusing her hearing on the outside conversation that Minako and seemed to be spearheading. Her keen senses allowed her to hear even the faintest of whispers, but even so, that only added to the difficultly since the Senshi of thunder refused to be quiet. "They'll lock you in here all night if you keep that up." Setsuna warned, making Makoto stop instantly. Resuming her position she allowed the banter outside to invade her ears. Everyone of the Senshi agreed that she shouldn't be involved directly in this conversation. After all, it wasn't her family getting annoyed and as much as Usagi was their queen, this wasn't her verbal battle.
"Look, I can't promise you anything." Minako sighed as she and the others tried to appease Saeko who remained rather annoyed about the entire situation. "Jupiter isn't what one would call reasonable half of the time. She does what she wants and good luck trying to control her."
"If you're some sort of magical general then it's your job to control her." Saeko shot back not fully understanding the dynamics of the girls.
"Nice try. Don't pin Jupiter on me." Minako shot back still highly annoyed. "I don't have control over what she does outside of battle and it's not my place."
Setsuna knew it was getting heated. Saeko wasn't used to this and it was going to cause a stir. Still, she couldn't leave her position, fearful that Jupiter would try to break free. Then again wasn't that the entire reason why she couldn't act diplomatic in the first place? She could hear the bantering back and forth continue as Rei started yelling followed by Minako; this was clearly not going anywhere. Then she heard a voice she hadn't fully been expecting.
"VENUS!" That came from Artemis who had apparently entered the room, Luna had also entered sighing. This man was definitely very much still soft spoken as he no doubt turned red for his explosive interruption. "I mean… What's going on here?" It was clear that a proper meeting would ensue with Luna and Artemis keeping control but that didn't stop Setsuna for keeping watch from her time staff. If they were here it was clear other factors could arise.
"Don't be an idiot." Luna sighed as she dragged him to sit with the others. "I figured this would happen. Minako calm down. I can handle this." Luna commanded attention for the role of adviser as she calmed herself. "Anyone want to fill me in on this little Senshi meeting?" Her eyes were calm as she surveyed the silent room. "No one? That's odd considering we could here you all from the bottom of the shrine."
"Personally, I think that the only one left with objections in all of this remains Saeko." Grandfather Hino sighed. "Although let my words state that I am not altogether thrilled this was hidden so long either." As he poured tea for his new guests he questioned them lightly. "You are the cats that have now turned human correct?"
"Yes." Luna responded simply. "The only ones not present currently remain mostly outer guard and Mamoru who doesn't normally attend meetings. Usagi isn't here but she will one day ascend the throne to be queen. Mamoru's guards are outside now though should you choose to speak with them." Her answer to her suggestions came with glairs that screamed 'hell no!" it was enough of a confirmation now wasn't the time for that. "In any case, this wasn't something they could out right blab to people. It was agreed long ago that it should stay a secret. In the case of Venus it was necessary for many years, although we know her parents also think as much as you do they have not seen confirmation."
"How can you let them run around so freely like children than force them to fight as adults?" Saeko stared down at Minako. "What about Usagi? She should be here shouldn't she? She is the reason everything stands as it does after all." She was going to be the queen and thus the perfect target. Sadly only Minako stood in sight as a proper replacement. "You are only a child yourself. Barely out of school and thinking that you can handle this on your own. You aren't an army, your barely kids. This isn't a game and I hate how easy you all seem to take this." She was about to go on another rant before Rei shot out of her seat.
"You're only pissy because Ami happens to be involved." She was angry and not only because she had to defend her friends. Usagi was being called out, Her Usagi and Her future queen. If that hadn't been enough to set off the miko, the fact Minako was a replacement target surely did the trick. "We all lay our lives on the line to keep people like you safe! Let me ask you this; did you ever really care about us? Did you even give a damn about the Senshi until you found out Ami was one herself?" She was getting heated quickly thankfully Minako knew time for control was now or never.
"Rei." Minako warned as she got to her feet, pen in hand. She was ready to transform if she needed too. "Stand down." Rei was acting like her Martian bloodline right now, granted Rei wouldn't ever act on her anger so violently it clearly wasn't helping the cause. No one had seen Rei like this outside of battle. It was unnerving. "Now."
"Like hell!" Rei spat as she too pulled out her pen. "I'm not going to, not this time." Holding her pen in hand she leaned over the coffee table. "See this?" She pointed to the wand in her hand. "This is a symbol of our duty to Usagi. Next time you dare challenge me or any one of the Senshi she commands you better damn well be ready to back your words up. I am a Sailor Senshi. I am a Guard. Thus if you become an enemy to Usagi I will be your opponent."Minako sighed as she finally realized Rei was just spitting fire. No physical harm would come of it, but it was time she threw her weight as the apparent Senshi general around.
Grabbing Rei's shoulders she commanded order in the room. "You sit down." Minako's voice was calm, perhaps even loving as she coaxed Rei into a less aggressive temperament. The raven took her seat, but it was clear she would have said more if Minako let her. The blond took a seat behind Rei allowing the vexed girl to rest her head in her lap as she continued to regain control. "This class is why you don't anger Martians with a goal." Minako said attempting to be funny, clearly failing. Her voice was soft but very demanding. Cool and collected as a diplomat should be. "In any case I have to agree. Don't pin this on Usagi. She didn't have a choice in any of this. I refuse to allow you to become so disrespectful of the people I protect and those I command. If you have problems you want to talk about I'll be happy to talk." Minako said glaring at Rei and Saeko personally clearly addressing them. "But leave you're damn egos to the door."
"Couldn't have spoken it better myself." Luna nodded in agreement. "Saeko, I do see your point. I see it more clearly now as a human than I had as a cat. They aren't adults, and being human in its own right is harder than it looks." She paused looking at Ami and the others in the room. "With that said I want to say I'm sorry for making them keep things secret for so long. The real issues here don't require the rest of the Senshi. Ami is your concern. Rei and the others remain simply the same as always." Her mood darkened for only a moment thinking of the one unable to plead her own case. "As far as Makoto is concerned, she has lived on her own quite a long time. If you think you can control her as you can a child who's had a parent then by all means try your luck. Lord knows I've failed, you will too if you keep this up."
"How can you be so sure?" Saeko had a bond with Luna as a cat, and being that Luna was older it was easier to begin a discussion of this sort. Not that the woman still had reservations on the entire ordeal that the Senshi were. The fact that this cat was now a human only seemed to give her an apparent edge. She was a smart woman, too smart to let an opportunity like this pass. Ami for her part couldn't find words. She was placed in the middle of a verbal warzone and honestly she wasn't able to take a side purely because of anger alone. Had it come down to is she would pick the Senshi, she knew she would, but as long as Minako was taking the pressure off there wasn't a need for her to get involved and possibly make matters worse. She was the root of the problem after all.
"That's what we've been trying to implant into your head!" Rei barked again before Minako gave her a look to kill placing pressure on Rei. The raven wanted to snap more and had every right. In the end it wouldn't do any good. What Saeko was asking wasn't possible. It would never be possible and that was the cause for the eruption in the first place. As much as Saeko hated the idea nothing would be done. Ami would remain a Senshi. Her powers couldn't be taken away in an instant and that had upset Saeko.
"Alright, you want to know why we can't handle Makoto?" Minako looked towards the door to the fire room. "In that room is your answer. It won't come from our mouths. Let me lay it on the line. If word gets out about the Senshi Ami will also be placed into danger. You think clearly on your next move. Rat on any of us and the others will be placed into danger. If you lay one finger on Usagi in a manner harmful for her and I will not stop one of the soldiers from doing their job to protect her." Her eyes then faced Saeko squarely. "If you want to find out about us, want to know who we are and where we stand on our views that will need to come from each solider as an individual. I can't and won't answer for Makoto. I can only answer for myself."
"Like hell if I answer any of her-" Rei's mouth was promptly covered by Minako's hand making it clear she was not to speak once released. Martians were very set in their ways. It was easy to anger them and even if they forgave quickly it took a lot of time to calm them into rationality. Just as it seemed things couldn't get harder to control Murphy's Law had decided to come into effect.
"Damn you women sure fight a lot." Jadeite spat waltzing into the room. His eyes set on Rei as his Martian attitude flared to life. "What the hell is wrong with you Mars. You're better than this. Fight her and take her as out like the Martian you are."
"Or how about I kick your ass instead?" Rei shot back coldly after releasing her mouth from Minako's grip. She didn't need this. Not now of all times. Her retaliation was cut short by an enraged Makoto finally bursting through the door tackling Jadeite onto the floor. Everyone stared at Setsuna as she stood at the door watching the display starting verbal a countdown for lord only know what.
"Five." She said examining her nails.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Makoto bellowed.
"I came to visit Rei? You got a problem with that you damned barbarian?" He shot back
"Four." Setsuna said readying her transformation pen.
"Barbarian?!" She yelled hoarsely as all watched in shock. "Last I checked that was your forte you jackass."
"Three." Setsuna counted before whispering her transformation phrase, the others following suit out of fear alone. She obviously knew something, or at least had a plan.
"Oh, my, my, aren't we testy." He laughed grabbing her arms preparing to no doubt over power her. "Women can't do anything right now can they?"
"Two" Setsuna sighed as she tossed Venus a note saying 'chain on my cue'
"I think I'm doing something right." She spat back at him. "You are under me after all."
"I don't think so little girl." She smirked jerking her arms at just the right angle to loosen him from her grasp. He pushed her to the ground as she tried to get him to a lock.
"One" Pluto said as she readied herself for the interception knowing full well this time line shouldn't have happened.
It was a scrimmage. Venus looked to Pluto who shook her head. Now was not the time to get involved just yet. The two brawling on the floor paid no heed as the other Senshi contained the explosive fighting. Nether seemed to be able to get off the floor and it looked more like blowing off steam than a deadly battle. Even so, the two of them needed containment. Eventually Jadeite flung Makoto off of him and prepared to counter only to have her tackle him to the floor again punching him in the face. He finally got away to stand as Makoto did the same. Now and only now would be the proper time. "Chain!" Setsuna shouted slinging her staff across the floor tripping Jadeite who fell on top of the angry thunder slinger. As the two soldiers remained trapped by the power of Venus, Setsuna placed tape over their mouths. Smiling that everything had gone correctly and no one had been hurt.
"Now then, I do believe we were having a meeting." Her stance was calm as she placed herself on a corner wall smiling smugly at the position her friend found herself currently.
"Do I want to know?" Luna asked perturbed that the battle had even broken out.
"I don't assume so." Setsuna said as she examined her time staff, happy for its help once again. "It would not matter anyway. That fate won't happen and we have corrected the imbalance. Now then let's have ourselves a natter about what's really going on."
"Who in the hell uses natter anymore?" Rei sighed as she sat down.
With the two trouble makers contained and Rei being kept in check my Minako things were finally settled enough for a proper debate. The reason for this actual discussion had been about making Ami leave the Senshi team. That had failed. It always would. Having Saeko in the middle of battle wasn't a prime idea either. Slinging accusations back and forth would only cause more trouble. In the end the future wouldn't come for a long time. Transforms weren't needed and the only reason they had been using then was because of the generals. Under reality the entire fight had gotten blown over the top the night Makoto decided to beat up Zoisite. It wasn't that no one had expecting it. Far from the truth when one took the time to think about the Senshi's past track record. Now a time of peace and hope took hold. Soon Usagi would marry. The fact that the four generals were here and in person signified that. The talk went on into the night but finally an agreement had been reached.
"I'll be sure to inform Mamoru to keep them away from the girls." Setsuna nodded in affirmation. "Additionally, the girls aren't to go into combat with the generals at all unless directed under Usagi's order." Looking to Saeko and Rei's grandfather she then nodded to them. "You will be allowed to attend the meetings if you so choose, but you must spare the time to attend. As Senshi we spare time when we must, if you wish to attend you are expected to do the same. The meetings will take place with or without your presence." Her eyes averted to Rei being careful to make a point known. "In accordance to your wishes we as the Senshi will answer any questions you have as long as you keep this among yourselves. No one else is to find out about the Senshi or anything in relation to us." She placed the sheet of agreements on the table and read the last lines. "Furthermore, you will not interfere with Senshi situations or any aftermath that comes from them. If we come to you for help only then are you allowed to assist."
"I can live with that." Grandfather Hino nodded. "I had figured this was going on, I just didn't know how deep it really went." He signed his name and passed it to Saeko prompting her to do the same.
"I don't like it but I'll have to live with it." She scrolled her signature to the document placing it to the middle of the table.
Setsuna picked it up looking at all before her before singing her name. "I will sign the last of this document as a representative of the Senshi. However our future Queen and King do not the time for your paranoia. I do. If you have a question pertaining to them seek out Luna, Minako, or myself. We will most likely have the answer you want or will find out that answer for you."
After all had been signed and the night grew later it was decided that it was time to end the meeting. Ami stood next to Luna speaking to her quietly and Makoto and Artemis did the same. Rei and Minako stood hand in hand clearly not wanting to part ways. Saeko hadn't seen things like this often. Setsuna watched knowingly, perhaps too knowingly as she waited for the others to leave. The generals had gone by now keeping well from the Senshi's sight. It was eerie but at least things had settled down. Finally Makoto slung one arm around Artemis and the other around Ami and the four walked back to Makoto's apartment.
"Will you be alright?" Rei asked Setsuna who stood on the roof unwilling to leave.
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" She looked at the fire starter and smiled. "It wasn't in the line of fate for those two to become human. Things change and time evolves. Within that I know I'm not the same person I was in the days on the moon. I may not have been reborn, but I'm more than the Sailor Pluto you think I am. We are always changing along with fate. It took the fall of an entire Moon Kingdom and many long years later to learn that."
Saeko could hear them talking behind her. She knew what they had told her, but it didn't seem as if it could all be true. Setsuna had kept pretty quiet about herself. The woman was mysterious enough but she couldn't have been alive in the past. Saeko would believe many things, but drew the line at something so impossible. Not that it wasn't fully in the line of reason mind you. Saeko would have rather ignored the background comments. This is until something hit her. "People keep bringing this child named Diana up, but who is she?"
Rei and Minako looked to Setsuna worried. This was one of those things that qualified as risky business. Setsuna kept her voice even, but it was clear she hadn't known how to properly answer that. "That all depends in the four that just left. She may be a daughter of Luna and Artemis, perhaps a child of another father. I don't know right now. She may even end up being your granddaughter." She grew tired answering questions tonight so before she took her leave she left a question in her wake. "Who are the Senshi to you?"
"Leave it to the mage to answer a question with another question." Rei grumble annoyed. She then looked to Saeko. It was late at night and a woman shouldn't be alone in the dark. Rei looked to Minako asking a silent question receiving a nod in response. "Ami went ahead but what about you? You want to stay here or want us to walk you home?"
"I don't want to impose on your grandfather." She said knowing the man has already gone to bed. "I think I'll be fine on my own." She said walking down the steps.
"My ass you will." Rei said trailing behind. Minako smiled at the rude but caring reply. "Listen you, just because I'm a teenager and were friends of your daughter don't expect me to bite my tongue." Her eyes remained angry for only a moment as the two continued to follow Saeko. "Besides it's dangerous out here."
"Rei." Minako smiled. She knew the raven well enough by now to know where all the pent up agitation was coming from. "Don't mind her." Minako spoke casually. If this woman was going to be in on Senshi affairs then it wouldn't hurt to play nicely for a change. Rei obviously knew that, even if her attitude made her look rude. "We're going to follow you anyway. We can handle ourselves if someone or thing shows up."
"Your teenage girls." Saeko sighed. "Go back to the shrine. I'll be fine on my own."
"Even if a youma or a general popped out of nowhere?" Minako smiled at the stiffing woman knowing that had strung a slight nerve. "Even if we aren't at war with them we can't trust them. You told us you'd be fine, but in the end your one of the people we protect in this city. I may be leader of combat but Ami would kick the crap out of us if we ever let you get hurt. The only reason she's staying with Makoto is to keep her from sneaking out again to help keep you content."
"Makoto is to hurt to be around on her feet. She should have stayed at the shrine." Saeko knew all too well that fight in the middle of the meeting had done more damage.
"In your eyes perhaps." Rei added. "In Makoto's eyes she's fine and dandy to putter around her house, cook, clean and other random things. That's why Ami went with them."
"Why do you girls insist on being so persistent?" Saeko muttered finally getting annoyed but also worried for Ami. It was true. A lot of things had changed and not all for the better. Her finding out about the Senshi had added a lot of fear as a concerned parent. "For that matter why is my daughter placed in the middle of all of this. Why does it seem she's being put into some sort of odd triangle with a cat and a brash girl?"
"Don't you think we all ask that type of stuff?" Rei calmed down, but she wasn't in the brightest of moods. "In the end stop asking why and ash how. How seems to work better."
"How what?" Saeko exhaled noisily. She knew all of the answers of asking things. Asking why seemed far better than asking how. "How did she get into this mess? How do I make her turn away from the scouts? Are those the questions you want me to ask." She shook her head as she came to her apartment building. "If that's the case I'm way ahead of you."
"No a better how than that." Rei admonished sternly. "How am I going to make it through the night? How will I support my team? How can I better serve my purpose as a Senshi? How can we deal with the next big threat?" Rei rattled off the questions that came to mind that she had often questioned. "We've given up asking why. Now we ask how. We ask how we can move on from such a tainted past. How we can make it through another day. Stop asking way and think like one of us. If you truly support Ami, if you actually care about what happens to her, or us as a total team do your best to help us keep casualties off the street. If you know we will be in a fight be prepared to back us up when we send wounded bystander to the hospital. You can do a lot to help us, but you've got to think how. Not why."
"That's true." Minako backed Rei up; it was the first positive thing to come out of the mouth of the raven in quite a few hours without sounding too rude after all. "First though, you have bigger fish to fry. You need to worry about Ami and not as a Senshi. She's in the middle of having to choose, Luna as well. What you need to do is quit looking at Ami as some child, or even a soldier, but as a woman who's regaining her memories. Love hurts. You should know that better than anyone. No matter what happens someone will get hurt somehow. It's inevitable. When the chips are down you'll have to be one of the ones who helps pick her up." Minako grabbed Rei's hand and turned around prompting the departure. "One last thing, I know what you've lost; more so than you may ever know, but that doesn't ever mean all hope is lost. I can feel your emotions just as well as anyone. Don't lose hope."
Emotions were a hard thing to understand. Clearly the Senshi had a complex dynamic. In the end, Minako was correct. Saeko knew that. Rei for as angry as she could be had also stated a lot of finer points. As the girls trotted off back to the Shrine Saeko mused about Ami. She worried for the girl more than she would like to admit. Luna and Makoto were still fair game and it was clear that Saeko hadn't been as well informed in the past as she should have been. It was time to take an active role she decided. It was a mother right to worry after all, what harm could it do to fish around a little bit? She thought of the people who attended the meeting and decided that tomorrow she would seek out one factor she had the smallest amount of control in, idly wondering if Artemis still ate fish.
I've been up all night typing this thing. I know, I know, I'm brain dead by now. Please leave a review. At least my brain has gotton on course. Next chappie with have lots of fluffiness to make up for the rawr that was this chappie.