"Are you sure that's what you want?"

The topic of discussion had been long deliberated as each girl sat patiently around the rectangular table of the Hikawa shrine. So many meetings had taken place here and so many fights had bonded each person together in a way that they had never expected. Their attentive eyes rested on the golden pig-tailed youth who they fondly knew as Usagi.

"Yes," she said decisively. "This is what I want."

Her cerulean blue hues sparkled like gems as she looked over each one of her dear friends. They had dedicated their lives to her and although a majority of them just barely graduated high school, each of them had made sacrifices already that could have bettered their opportunities if they weren't engaged in the calling of their past life. A comforting arm circled around her shoulders with reassurance and softly squeezed.

She had relayed this idea with him many times before and he had told her each time that whatever path she chose, he would support. Her heart felt lifted as she again recognized how lucky she was to have someone to truly care for and someone she could trust. After all, that's why she had decided this, so that her friends could find a facet of life for themselves and not have to be conflicted with the strain of their duties.

Uncertainty marring each one's features, the room brimmed with silent contemplation. Chaos was defeated and no other threat had presented itself for almost a year now. No spike in negative energy, no inexplicable attack on the public, nothing everything was at ease. However, each female had tucked away the thought that if they were to take it easy during the period of no fights an enemy would spring itself upon them when they least expected it. So it was hard. No, it was nearly impossible for them to imagine that their services were no longer needed. Countless times before when they believed they had faced their last enemy, another one would always come…always.

"It's hard for me to believe this."

All eyes turned to the product of those words. The bright red bow tying strands of shimmering blonde strands achieved a sense of lurid attraction before their gazes simmered down to meet her sapphire orbs. She looked timid; scared even of the message expulsed from their princess since before they were reborn on Earth. The reasons behind her flurry of mixed emotions raised her to heightened inquisition but her jumbled thoughts were racing so quickly that she found it difficult to sort them all at once.

"Minako-chan," Usagi spoke softly. "I want you guys to be able to live the lives you've always dreamt. I don't want to hold you back from your future."

"But Crystal Tokyo hasn't happened," a blue-haired girl chimed in. "I think if we were to continue our lives in our own desired direction, it would be a great disruption to have to deal with the rise of Crystal Tokyo in the future. I almost think it would be easier for us to wait until Crystal Tokyo comes and then venture off in the road of our dreams."

A few heads bobbed in agreement at her statement and Usagi frowned. Crystal Tokyo was another topic that she had yet to address. Luna and Artemis shifted uncomfortably as they realized the light that they would have to shed on the senshi concerning their inquiries.

"Crystal Tokyo is an option." At the words of the black cat, the room grew stale. A lingering disquiet permeated the small quarters as they anticipated Luna's in depth explanation. The feline sighed. "It doesn't have to happen if Usagi does not think it is necessary."

The judgment of the pigtailed princess was now the subject of deep consideration. Although she still fell victim to many klutz attacks and couldn't multitask for the life of her, she had grown immensely in demeanor. Her aura already suggesting that of which could only belong to royalty.

"How could you know already that it is no longer necessary?"

The senshi's own miko asked expectantly, her amethyst eyes boring into Usagi's soft blue ones. Somehow, Usagi had anticipated she would be the one to ask this.

"I don't," she admitted.

The tension increased amongst them, their minds delving deeper in scrutiny. This was a long debate. Supposedly it was due to the fact that the senshi had each secretly longed for the chance to be released from duty so they would not easily give up on its premise. However, disbanding without proper regard to probable possibilities would only lead them to danger. They had gotten stronger since they first started this path and to disperse now meant weakening their power and leaving a huge opportunity for evil to devour…that is if there still was evil for them to face.

"Okay."

Arched eyebrows etched their way across the girls at the voice of the green-eyed senshi of Jupiter. Her wavy auburn tresses pulled back into a ponytail swayed as she turned to face their princess.

"I'll do it."

"You'll do what?"

The sandy blonde female sitting across from the brunette was quick to respond as her agitated character swelled with scorn. Disappointment coursed through her as she pondered how Makoto could so easily agree with Usagi's suggestion. She knew the brunette was a loyal friend to their princess but she had never expected that she would be so quick to jump at the opportunity to abandon her. So what it was Usagi telling them to go off on their own, Makoto should have known better.

"If Usagi-chan wants us to follow our dreams then I will."

"Makoto," Rei interjected. "How could you?"

Makoto's emeralds remained steadfast with reason. "Usagi-chan has never led us astray, so why would she start now? I trust her and if this is what she believes to be best, then I will do it without question."

Slowly, the bold statement resonated in the ears of the surrounding women. She was right, they supposed. Usagi had never before led them astray but she was human and humans were bound to make mistakes sometimes.

"It wouldn't be so bad…" the red-bowed female chirped. "To put down the senshi calling for a while and pursue our life dreams…"

The delayed relay of her thoughts seemed to sink a new revival of optimism. Of course each girl present had dreams of their own but an unmentioned fear resided in each of them that if they did embark on their own, the duty of the senshi would be revitalized in the mist of their journey and ultimately terminate the potential lives they had worked to gain.

"I suppose it wouldn't."

The contagious attitude shift snuck its way casually into the mindsets of each member in attendance. The fact of the matter was that they were still young and the opportunities ahead were abundant. However, if they chose to postpone their lives in order to accommodate the possibility that a threat still existed in their futures then they might lose their chance at fulfilling their aspirations. In the event that an enemy did arise when they had decided to disband, would it really be that bad to have to return? After all, at least when all was said and done concerning the senshi business they would have a life to return to. With their constant searches for supernatural threats, their social lives had dwindled and contacts disintegrated giving them the feeling that they only existed to fight youkai. That wasn't all that was fated for them, was it? No, couldn't be.

A careful compromise was reached as all girls decided together that they would follow the suggestion presented by Usagi and move on with their lives. Nevertheless, they would each have to keep in mind that if there was an enemy rising they would have to be quick to show for the fight.

An array of emotions splayed across each soldiers features as the inevitable departure neared with every moment.

"So," Minako started. "Do we forfeit our powers until a threat arises?"

Luna's small cat head shook nay. "You're powers are a part of you. They're not something we can just take away."

A scoff was earned at the revelation, neither girl completely aware of the thought.

"I guess this is goodbye then."

The women in the room stood from their seated position and took a moment to look each other over. They had been through so much together, seen so much terror and witnessed so much joy. It was daunting, to say the least, to consider that from this day on the duty they had shared throughout their youth was now being put to rest.

"Not goodbye," Usagi prodded. "We can all still keep in touch."

Small smiles were earned as they all nodded. Somehow though, they knew that staying in contact wouldn't be as simple as they liked to imagine. Each person standing held such a unique perspective of life that neither of them could honestly say they shared similar desires. A genius desiring to be a medical professional, an ex-volleyball star wanting to return to the court and go to college, a priestess desiring to pursue a chance at stardom, a violinist set on producing paintings for museums and continuing her music career, a racecar driver thriving to outdrive all other competitors, a chef aspiring to have her own restaurant, a young girl still yet to live out the rest of her teenage years, two cats intent on dwelling in a peaceful time, a gatekeeper who secretly sketched designs in her free time with the desire to delve into fashion, a prince securely fastened on the chance to protect and care for his true love and a selfless princess adamant on giving her friends the opportunity to live freely. What a melting pot of aspirations.

The two cats waved their tails gaily as they watched the girls part their separate ways. They would assimilate fine; there was no doubt about it.

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JPandS