Summary: Its Setsuna's birthday…so why isn't she happy?
"It's almost Halloween. It's almost Halloween." Tomoe Hotaru sang as she skipped around the kitchen. "It's almost Halloween." Her purple hair bounced up and down in time with her skips. Her arms were out horizontally in the air. She circled her mother's and father's legs.
"Sweetie, I need you to wash your hands for dinner." Kaioh Michiru ordered gently as she snapped peas in two before putting them in the giant salad bowl.
"And go and get Setsuna while you're at it." Ten'oh Haruka added as she watched a tea pot simmer.
"Okay Michiru-mama." Hotaru nodded before heading towards the doorway. "And Haruka-papa, a watched pot never boils."
"I doubt it." Haruka turned and gave her daughter a smile. She jumped when the tea pot started to whistle. Hotaru giggled before pressing a hand to her mouth and running out of the room.
"What a sweet kid." Michiru smiled to herself as she placed the salad bowl onto the center of the kitchen table. "She's growing up so fast."
"Yeah;" Haruka nodded in agreement as she poured three cups of tea. "Pretty soon she'll go back with her father." She stated with a smile sigh.
"Let's not worry about that right now." Haruka ordered before placing her arms around Michiru's waist. "We should focus on the good times we're having." She kissed the aqua-haired woman's temple before unwrapping her arms and grabbing a small stack of plates.
"Wait a minute," Michiru paused. "It's almost Halloween." She muttered.
"I know. I heard three times already." Haruka grabbed a pea and tossed it into her mouth. She quickly backed away when Michiru reached out to smack her arm.
"Isn't it Setsuna's birthday tomorrow?" she questioned. Haruka stopped mid-chew and frowned. She stalked over to the refrigerator and placed her finger on the calendar.
"Yup, October 29th." The blond called out. "I wonder why she never said anything."
"She hasn't said much in the past few days." Michiru turned and rested her back against the counter and placed her chin on her upturned fist. "That's not like her." She mused.
"Yes it is." Haruka quickly countered. "Whenever she's not at the college, or the observatory, or taking care of Hotaru, or watching Chibi-usa, or watching the Gates of Time she locks herself in her bedroom."
"Doesn't she want to celebrate at all?" a frown flashed across Michiru's face for the slightest second.
"I'm sure she does." Haruka answered with a small nod. "She probably doesn't want to make a big deal out of it. I'm she's turning…" she looked up at the ceiling thought. She lowered her head and looked at Michiru who just shrugged and shook her head. "How old is she turning?"
"Let's say twenty-five." Michiru suggested. "That is until Setsuna says how old she actually is turning."
"Okay, we're ready to eat." Hotaru proclaimed as she entered the room with Meioh Setsuna a couple of paces behind her. Setsuna remained silent as everyone took their seats at the dinner table.
"Okay, take each other's hands." Michiru instructed before closing her eyes and bowing her head.
"Itadakimasu!" the four recited. Hotaru and Setsuna passed their plates over to Haruka and Michiru who then took it and started to place food on them.
"So, what is everyone doing tomorrow?" Michiru questioned.
"I'm going to the park with Chibi-usa and then we're going to a movie." Hotaru excitedly explained. "And then we're going to shop for our Halloween costumes. I'm thinking of going as a princess or a wizard."
"Why not a firefly?" Haruka finished loading food onto Hotaru's plate and passed it back to her.
"Silly Haruka-papa." Hotaru giggled. "That's too obvious."
"What does Chibi-usa want to be?" the blond continued. She reached out and tapped the young child on her nose. "A rabbit?"
"No, Haruka-papa." She giggled again. "She's going as a frog."
"A frog?" Haruka questioned.
"Yeah;" Hotaru nodded before picking up her fork and starting to eat. She quickly leaned back as Haruka passed Setsuna's plate to her. "She says this way if someone kisses her she'll turn into a princess."
"I thought it was a prince." Haruka said.
"For you it's a prince." Michiru reached underneath the table and pinched the blond on the leg. "That sounds like a lot of fun." She turned her attention back to her daughter. "I looked at the forecast it seems to be a great day to paint. What about you Ruka?"
"I was thinking of going to the track." The blond answered as she tucked a napkin into her shirt.
"You do that every day." Michiru pointed out.
"No, I fix up my baby every day." Haruka cocked her head to the side and sent her a mischievous look.
"Hush," Michiru pinched her leg again. "Little ears are always listening." She hissed.
"Oh please." Setsuna muttered from her end of the table. She was looking down at her plate as she put forkful after forkful of food into her mouth.
"Why are you so quiet Setsuna-mama?" Hotaru wondered.
"I just don't have much to talk about." Setsuna shrugged.
"…Does this have anything to do with Pluto being a dwarf planet?" Haruka wondered.
"Haruka." Michiru whispered out of the side of her mouth.
"I mean you still have your powers and it's not like you shrunk-ow!" Haruka cried and dropped her fork before rubbing her leg. She sent Michiru a glare but she quickly shrank back when she noticed the icy tones in her partners look.
"What are you going to do tomorrow, Setsuna?" Michiru cleared her throat.
"Nothing." She responded.
"But don't you want to have fun?" Haruka wondered. "Celebrate-"
"Celebrate what?" Setsuna snapped her head up and eyed the blond.
"Your birthday." Haruka said slowly. She turned and locked eyes with Michiru for a split second before refocusing her attention on the other woman at the table. "It is tomorrow."
"I know." She blinked and continued to eat.
"So why aren't you excited?" Haruka pressed.
"It just seems pointless at my age." Setsuna answered.
"So how old are you turning?" she blurted out. Michiru clicked her tongue twice before closing her eyes and shaking her head slowly.
"We're friends." Setsuna dabbed her lips before placing her fork on her now empty plate. "You tell me."
"Me?" Haruka's eyes widened as she pointed to herself. Setsuna nodded slowly before placing her elbows up on the table. She then laced her fingers and rested her chin on top; her eyes never leaving the blond. "Well, um, you're turning…" she shot a quick look at Michiru who took sudden interest in her tea cup. "Twenty-five?" the blond immediately closed her eyes and waited.
"Not even close." Setsuna whispered before pushing her chair back. She silently grabbed her plate and placed it in the sink before leaving the room.
"I knew she wasn't twenty-five." Michiru stated as soon as she left.
"So why didn't you help me back there?" Haruka demanded. "She looks so sad."
"She does always go to the observatory or the college." Michiru dropped her fork. She pushed her half empty plate aside and rested her elbows on the table as stared down at her reflection in her tea cup. "And she locks herself in her bedroom."
"There must be a way we can cheer her up." Haruka crossed her arms over her chest before leaning back in her seat. Michiru tapped her finger against her tea cup in a staccato rhythm. She looked over at Hotaru who was busy licking off the remains of dinner off of her fork. Michiru gasped softly and sat up straight as Haruka eyed her.
"Hotaru, you're finished." Michiru said with a small smile. "Why don't you go to your room and play?" she suggested. "I'll get your plate."
"I'm going to look up stores that have wizard costumes." Hotaru pushed her chair away from the table and hopped down. "I wonder if I can just use a broom from here." She pondered before skipping out of the room.
"What's up?" Haruka questioned as Michiru quickly got out of her seat and sat in her lap. "You looked as if you got shocked."
"What if we threw her a surprise party?" Michiru suggested with a small smile.
"Oh yeah, she won't see that one coming." Haruka rolled her eyes. Michiru hit her on the arm before rolling her eyes. "I was just joking." She rubbed her arm.
"Ruka, I'm serious." Michiru insisted. "She's so quiet. Maybe if her friends were around then everything will be better." She reached up started to twiddle with the buttons to the blonds dress shirt. "We can have it here around three o'clock."
"Good idea seeing as the inners are very busy with high school they'd want a reason to have fun." Haruka nodded.
"That should cheer her up." The aqua haired woman rested her head on Haruka's shoulder and closed her eyes. Her steady breathing tickled the blonds' neck. "I mean we haven't had anybody to fight since Galaxia left." She added.
"Question," Haruka said slowly. "How will we keep her out of the house all day without her getting suspicious?"
"I'll take her shopping." Michiru quickly answered. "She likes to shop."
"The mall doesn't even open until 10." The blond reminded her. "How are you going to entertain her for six hours?"
"You'd be surprised at how many stores I can hit in the span of two hours." Michiru smiled.
"Okay, let's throw Setsuna the best birthday party ever." Haruka nodded before holding out her pinky. Michiru giggled softly before wrapping her digit around her partners. The two then moved their hands up and down as if to simulate a shake.
"And let's not tell Hotaru." Michiru added. "She wouldn't be able to keep this a secret."
"Can too." A soft voice cried out. It was soon followed by a gasp. Michiru slid off of Haruka's lap and the two of them walked to the doorway and saw Hotaru looking up at them from the floor.
"Were you eavesdropping young lady?" Michiru questioned.
"No." Hotaru quickly shook her head.
"You know it's rude to eavesdrop." Haruka added. "Now you're going to get it." She quickly dropped to the floor and started to tickle Hotaru's sides. Her shrieks filled the house as she fought of her attack and ran for the stairs. Michiru and Haruka quickly followed. Hotaru reached her hand out so she could quickly grab a hold of her doorknob. She squealed again when she felt arms wrap around her upper body.
Hotaru kicked and giggled as she was laced gently on the floor before being tickled by Haruka again. Michiru brushed her skirt away from her knees before gently gliding to the floor and joining in the assault as well. Hotaru's cries got louder the instant she felt two more hands lightly jabbing her sides.
"Hey, quiet down out here." Setsuna threw her door open. "I'm trying to read." She snapped. She took one look at the pile of senshi in front of her before disappearing back into her bedroom and slamming the door shut.
"Thank god her birthday is tomorrow because I don't think I can deal with an upset Setsuna for much longer." Haruka muttered. Michiru nodded.
"Pluto, what is on your mind?" a deep voice questioned. Sailor Pluto lifted her gaze from the floor and frowned. She leaned against her Garnet Rod.
"Nothing." She answered with a shake of her head.
"Seriously, what's wrong?" the voice asked again.
"It's a long story." Sailor Pluto admitted.
"I've got time."
"That's just it." She sighed deeply. "That's the problem, time."
"But you have a lot of it."
"But I don't want it." Sailor Pluto ran a hand through her hair. Her grip on her Garnet Rob tightened.
"Do you think Sailor Uranus likes the idea of constantly running? She's only twenty. Do you think Sailor Moon like the idea of being a ruler? She's only seventeen." The voice listed off. "Do you think Sailor Saturn likes the idea of being the one who can destroy a planet even if she accidentally drops her glaive? She's just a kid." He added.
"Why was I next in line?" Sailor Pluto changed the topic.
"Things happen for a reason." The deep voice answered. "You probably need to think about it."
"That's what I've always been doing." She responded bitterly. "Since everyone is busy doing things."
"Maybe you aren't as alone as you think."
"Maybe." Sailor Pluto muttered.
"Did I help?" the voice questioned.
"A little bit." She nodded. "Thanks dad."
"You're welcome." Her father's voice responded. "Oh and Setsuna?"
"Yes?" Sailor Pluto questioned.
"Setsuna?" he repeated impatiently. "Setsuna?"
"Setsuna?" a melodious voice whispered.
"What?" Setsuna grumbled before turning on her side.
"Come on, wake up." Michiru turned on the lamp by Setsuna's bed before pulling the sheets off of her.
"Michiru," Setsuna blindly reached out a hand and grabbed a hold of her alarm clock. "It's only eight in the morning." She dropped the alarm clock before grabbing a pillow and covering her face.
"I know." Michiru took the pillow from her. "We're going out."
"Out where?" the green-haired woman sat up on her elbows and rubbed her eyes.
"Well today's your birthday and both Haruka and Hotaru are out." Michiru explained as she took a seat at the end of her bed. "I don't want you to be alone. Let's go and get some tea and then head over to the mall." She added.
"I don't know Michiru-"Setsuna started slowly.
"Come with me for at least two hours." Michiru pleaded. "If you don't have fun we can come home."
"Straight home?" she demanded.
"Straight home." Michiru nodded and crossed two of her fingers. "Senshi's honor."
"Okay," Setsuna sighed deeply. "Give me a couple of minutes to change." She slid out of her bed and headed for her bathroom. Michiru threw the pillow back on the bed before quietly slipping out of the room.
"Well?" Haruka whispered.
"She's going for it." Michiru smiled.
"Okay, here's the plan." The blond mentioned for the purple haired and the aqua haired girls to lean in closer. "Hotaru is going with Chibi-usa, and Mamoru to buy decorations." She whispered. "I will be going out to get party favors with Ami. Makoto and Usagi will make the cake. Rei and Minako are buying sodas, cups, and ice, and you will be distracting Setsuna."
"What if Setsuna wants to come home early while everyone is trying to set up?" Michiru questioned.
"Distract her." Haruka answered simply.
"There are so many things I can do to keep her attention these days." She hissed.
"You're smart." Haruka kissed Michiru's temple before handing Hotaru her purple bag and grabbing her hand. "You'll think of something."
"But-" Michiru tried again but her words were lost on the blond.
"Have fun." She called over her shoulder as she and Hotaru headed down the stairs and out the front door.
"Bye Michiru-mama." Hotaru giggled.
Michiru sighed deeply before resting her head against the wall and closing her eyes.
"Michiru?" Setsuna tapped her shoulder.
"Yes?" Michiru jumped.
"Why are you standing outside my door?" she questioned.
"I'm just waiting for you." The aqua haired woman answered quickly.
"Okay," Setsuna said; a trace of suspicious was laced in her voice. "Let's go." She placed her purse on her shoulder before following Michiru out of the house.
"Hotaru, don't fill up on that candy. We'll be having cake soon and I don't want you to get sick." Haruka placed her hand on her daughter's wrist and wrenched the small fingers open to collect the remaining candy. "Now go put on your party dress."
"Okay Haruka-papa." Hotaru nodded before skipping out of the room.
"I'll help you pick one out." Chibi-usa followed her friend.
"What do you think of these streamers?" Ami questioned after taping up a corner of a dark red streamer. "I tried to use colors she liked." She added while wiping her forehead.
"That corner needs to come down a bit." Haruka pointed out. "Other than that everything looks fine." She quickly wrapped up a small bag with a picture of a balloon on the front and placed it on the table with the other small bags.
"Okay, I finished," Mamoru handed Haruka a giant red balloon. ".blowing up…the balloons." He panted.
"That's great Mamoru-san but we have a pump." Haruka chuckled to herself before picking up a box and pulling the object out.
"You must…be joking." He gasped before taking a seat on the couch.
"I think Usagi rubs off on you day by day." Ami giggled.
"No," Haruka shook her head slowly. "No one can be as bad as Usagi." She added. At that moment Usagi and Makoto walked in from the kitchen with a big cake in the brunettes arms.
"Usagi, I told you not to hover around the cake." Makoto carefully held it out of the bubbly blonds reach,
"I know Mako-chan," Usagi moaned as she eyes the cake carefully. "It just look so good and I helped make it." She added.
"I hope you like this Haruka-san." Makoto motioned for Usagi to go and sit down next to her boyfriend. The blond took a seat and started to fan Mamoru's face.
"Happy Birthday Setsuna." Haruka read. "Good idea since we don't really know how old she is." She added under her breath.
"The cups, soda, and ice are set up in the kitchen." Rei announced as she and Minako entered the room.
"We decided to just keep the ice in a cooler instead of cups so they don't melt before we get to it." Minako added. "And of course we set up a karaoke machine." She squealed with delight. "All of the best songs are already programmed into it."
"That should be everything." Haruka tapped her chin and looked around the room.
"Except for the birthday girl." Ami pointed out.
"They should be coming home soon." The blond answered.
"We just saw Setsuna-san and Michiru-san pull up in front." Chibi-usa stated as she and Hotaru ran into the room. Haruka noticed a small smudge of chocolate on edge of each of their lips. She raised an eyebrow and mentioned for them to rub it off which they quickly did.
"Good, turn off the lights and the music." Haruka clapped her hands to get everyone's attention. "Mako-chan, hide in the kitchen with the cake. Don't forget to light the candles as well." She added.
"You got it." Makoto nodded before walking backwards into the kitchen. Usagi frowned as soon as the cake disappeared. "Everybody else has to hide." She called out.
The senshi and Mamoru quickly ran around the room trying to find the right places to hide. It took a couple of seconds to have absolute silence. Someone would crash into something and cry out in pain while others laughed; on top of that everyone was hissing at each other to stop talking.
"Is everyone ready?" Haruka whispered from her corner. She was bent low behind a chair but her arm was pressed against the wall to quickly turn on the light.
"Ready." They all answered. The front door opened and closed quickly. The sound of two pairs of high heels made their way past the foyer.
"Thank you for the shopping trip Michiru." Setsuna's voice drifted into the room. "I think I'm going to head upstairs now."
"Wait Setsuna," Michiru said. "I have one more thing to show you in the living room."
Haruka quickly flipped open her communication watch and started to whisper into it. "Ichi…ni…san." She counted and turned on the light before jumping up.
"Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu Setsuna-san" everyone cried while popping mini-firecrackers.
"Wow," Setsuna flinched and dropped her shopping bags. "Everyone's here." She muttered while looking around the room. "Well not everyone."
"Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu!" Makoto cried as she entered the room with the cake. The candles were lit. Usagi quickly grabbed a plate and follow Makoto closely as she went to set it down on a table.
"Arigatou gozaimasu." Setsuna nodded politely.
"Turn out the lights." Minako ordered. Chibi-usa ran over and flipped the switch.
"How'd it go?" Haruka whispered to Michiru as she watched the other senshi taking charge of the party.
"Setsuna was loosening up at first and then…" Michiru trailed off.
"Then?" she urged her to continue.
"Then when we passed the clock repair shop she got all depressed again." Michiru admitted.
"Sit here Setsuna-mama." Hotaru grabbed her by the hand and placed her in front of the cake.
"Arigatou Hotaru-chan." Setsuna whispered. She kept her head low and focused on the flickering candles. Everyone around her shifted uncomfortably waiting for the birthday girl to do her duties.
"Aren't you going to blow out the candles?" Usagi asked the cake instead of Setsuna. Her eyes were eyeing the wax that slowly melted down the side of the cake.
"You threw me a surprise party?" Setsuna questioned; staring at the flames.
"Yes;" Michiru said with a small smile. "You seemed really depressed lately and we thought this would be the best way to cheer you up." She added.
"Well it didn't." the green-haired woman got up from her seat and headed for the stairs. "I'm sorry everyone but you wasted your time." She called over her shoulder. Everyone sat in silence but flinched when they heard the slam of a door.
"Hotaru," Haruka quickly got to her feet. "Chibi-usa why don't you show everyone that dance your learning in your phys ed class?" she suggested.
"And if you feel tired at all Hotaru take a break." Michiru added as she grabbed a hold of her partner's hand. "We'll be right back." She re-assured everyone before the two of them left the room.
Haruka and Michiru stopped outside of Setsuna's door. The blond raised her hand to knock before dropping it. She raised it and then dropped it again. After a firm squeeze on her other hand by her partner, Haruka took a deep breath before knocking softly. "Setsuna?" she called out.
"Go away." came a muffled reply.
Michiru slowly opened the door and let Haruka walk past the threshold before closing it quietly behind her. "We just want to know what's wrong." She said gently while taking a seat next to the older senshi on her bed. Setsuna was lying face down on her bed with her face buried into her pillow.
"We care about you." Haruka added.
"Since when?" Setsuna wondered.
"Since always." She answered.
"Then why do you always leave me alone?"
"What?" Michiru and Haruka looked at each other in confusion.
Setsuna lifted her head from her pillow before turning and pressing her back against it. She grabbed a smaller pillow and placed it against her stomach "I guess it makes sense since I never age." She lowered her eyes; refusing to look at either one of them.
"What do you mean?" Michiru cocked her head to the side. She looked at Haruka who just shrugged.
"I look at you two so in love and I watch Hotaru grow up and that hurts me." Setsuna admitted. "Do you have any idea how old I really am?" she finally lifted her head and looked at the two of them.
"Uh…" Haruka trailed off and looked at Michiru. She just blinked once before turning her head to look at Setsuna.
"Too old," Setsuna chuckled bitterly. "But I look like I'm in my twenties. Let's face it when you all are off with your own families and you gradually get older I'll be sitting at the time gate watching."
"Is that why you're so upset?" Haruka asked.
"Yes;" she nodded. "I'm going to be alone forever and seeing you makes me a little-"
"Jealous?" Michiru interjected.
"There are many times where I wish I wasn't a senshi so I could live a normal life;" Setsuna sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "Fall in love, get married, and watch my children grow as I get older."
"I take it you would be mad if I got you a clock." Haruka said slowly. Michiru glared at her and slapped her thigh. "Ow! I was joking." She cried before rubbing the reddening spot on her leg.
"Setsuna, we care about you deeply." Michiru insisted as she moved closer to the green haired woman. She then placed two arms around her waist and rested her head on the older senshi's shoulder.
"Whatever we did to make you think otherwise-"Haruka pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.
"We are truly very sorry." Michiru finished. "And what makes you think you're lonely?" she added looking up at Setsuna. "Hotaru loves you."
"And we'll be with each other in the future protecting Chibi-usa from burning down the palace." Haruka snorted. Michiru giggled into her hand. Setsuna cracked a small smile.
"Well eventually we'll have to give up that post to our children." Setsuna corrected the blond.
"Good point." Haruka nodded. "I don't think I can watch another Usagi go through the trials of being a ruler of a kingdom." She admitted.
"She won't make that many mistakes." Setsuna shook her head. "There will be one large one but I can't go into more detail than that."
"I don't know what you're complaining about." Haruka got off of the bed and grabbed a hold of the Garnet Rod in the corner. "I think I'd like to rule time." She added while eyeing the glistening jewel on top.
"No you wouldn't." Setsuna quickly shook her head. "You have to see people die all of the time. It's sad really."
"That's a good point." Haruka nodded as placed the rod back in the corner.
"There is another good reason you wouldn't want to rule time." Setsuna added.
"What's that?" the blond questioned as she turned around. A soft thump rang through the air as a pillow collided with Haruka's face.
"You didn't see that coming." Setsuna laughed.
Haruka raised an eyebrow at the older senshi before throwing it back at her. Setsuna quickly leaned out of the way and the pillow hit Michiru in the face. "Oh, Michi, I'm so sorry." She quickly apologized.
Michiru clicked her tongue twice. Setsuna giggled into her palm. Michiru grabbed the pillow that was now in her lap and got ready to throw it at Haruka. The blond flinched but ended up laughing as Michiru turned and threw the pillow into Setsuna's face.
"Okay, fine." Setsuna muttered to herself before throwing the pillow at Haruka again. Michiru grabbed another pillow, reached into the pillow case, and folded it in half before starting to hit Setsuna with it.
Setsuna laughed and desperately tried to cover her body as Haruka and Michiru started to double team her.
"Hey Michi, Setsuna." Haruka waved her arms to have Michiru stop swinging her pillow.
"Yes?" they panted.
"We left Usagi and Chibi-usa with the cake." She said slowly. The three outer senshi stared at each other before racing towards the door.