Chapter 6: "Behold a Vision"

By Bill K.

"I can't wait to start making some real money," sighed Mamoru.
He straightened his black morning jacket for the fourth time and
opened the car door for his wife. "Then I can replace this junker
with a real car."

"This car is only nine years old," clucked Usagi, gathering her
kimono so she could step into the passenger side. It was red with
colorful bouquets of pink, yellow and white floral arrangements
embroidered on it.

"Ten. I got it just after I met you."

"Well if it means that much to you, go out and get one. We'll

"No, first we pay off your father."

"Daddy won't mind, Mamo-chan."

"I'll mind."

"Stubborn," muttered Usagi.

"You're sure you feel up to this?" Mamoru asked, brushing lint
from his pinstriped black slacks. Usagi glared at him. "I'm not
being a worry-wart husband, I'm being a thorough physician."

Usagi's frown screwed up into a cynical grin. "Yes, Doctor
Chiba, I'm physically fit. I'm just sorry my worry-wart husband had
to drag you away from the wedding you were going to."

"That's all right," he smiled and leaned in close. "I have a
very forgiving wife." He leaned in farther and kissed her.
* * * *
Makoto sat alone in the room Rei had given her to prepare,
staring down at her clasped hands and trying to push down the
butterflies. Her grandmother would be here soon to help her with her
gown and make up. Sanjuro was with his grandparents. Her friends
would arrive soon.

"I hope they're not disappointed," Makoto whispered to herself.

"Give yourself some credit," came a girl's voice from behind
her, a voice that sounded impossibly like Ves-Ves. Makoto whirled
around and gasped in surprise.

"What are you guys doing here?" Makoto exclaimed. Standing in
the room were Usa, Hotaru, Jun-Jun, Cere-Cere, Ves-Ves and
Palla-Palla. All the girls looked about eighteen.

"We just had to see you on the day you got married!" squealed

"They let you come back?" Makoto asked.

"Well," Usa flashed a guilty look, "I kinda snuck a Time Key
out. You know me - - never take 'no' for an answer."

"Well come here and give me a hug!" Makoto pulled the willowy
beauty to her and squeezed her tight. "My but you're so big and
pretty! You're as tall as I am! You still giving your mom fits?
No, I know, you can't tell me."

"Hey, it's not like she'd be revealing that big a secret,"
jabbed Jun-Jun. Usa replied with a wagging tongue.

"Yeah, I suppose," smiled Makoto, hugging Jun-Jun. "Oh and you
girls are all practically women now. You four doing what she tells

"When we can't find a way around it," chuckled Cere-Cere.
Makoto hugged her, too.

"I can't believe how you've all grown!" Makoto remarked,
turning to Ves-Ves. "I bet the boys are chasing all of you."

"They chase the others," smirked Ves-Ves. "I choose who I
want. They know better than to chase me."

"What do you do if you catch one?"

"Wrestle him into submission," Ves-Ves said and winked at her.
Makoto shook her head. She turned to Hotaru.

"Looks like the thirtieth century is agreeing with you, Hotaru.
Do you like it there?"

"It took a while to get used to," Hotaru said. "There are good
parts and bad parts."

"And one particularly good part, right Hotaru?" nudged Usa.
Hotaru blushed.

"Sounds like you've got a fella," Makoto smiled. Hotaru nodded
shyly. "It's nice, isn't it?"

"Yeah," she said, coloring more.

"Don't forget Palla-Palla!" the eighteen-year-old girl whined

"Aw, I could never forget you, hon'" Makoto said and squeezed
the girl tight. Palla-Palla cooed.

"We got a gift for you, Miss Makoto Ma'am!" Palla-Palla said.
She held up a box.

"Why thank you!" Makoto exclaimed happily. She opened it and
looked inside. Her eyes bugged out. "Oh my goodness!" Makoto gasped

Inside the box was an eight-inch figurine of a man and a woman.
They held hands and looked at each other with obvious devotion. The
figurine was carved from solid crystal, a clear crystal that gave off
a blue-white aura as it sat in Makoto's hands. But the most striking
part was the intricate detail of the figurines, for they both were
carved to look like Makoto and Sanjuro.

"Is this diamond?" whispered Makoto.

"Even more rare," smiled Jun-Jun. "It's a 'love crystal'.
They won't even be discovered until 2211. The crystal has a unique
quality. It reacts with certain body chemistry and only glows for
someone who's in love."

"And if it glows any brighter, I'm going to need sunglasses,"
joked Usa.

"Do you like it?" Palla-Palla asked.

"I love it!" Makoto said. She bent down and kissed Palla-Palla
on the cheek, then hugged the rest again. "Thank you all! Can you
stay for the ceremony?"

"Um, not really," Usa said. "We'd like to stay, but Mama
doesn't know we're here and I'd really prefer she didn't find out.
Please don't say anything, Makoto, especially to Usagi."

"Sure, hon'," Makoto smirked. "It'll be our secret."

The youths gathered around Usa. She engaged the key and smoke
surrounded them.

"We saw the pictures!" Cere-Cere called as they disappeared.
"You looked beautiful!" Makoto smiled, pressing the figurine to her
* * * *
"Makoto?" the woman said, peering in through the partially
opened door. She was an older woman, seventy to be exact, but still
an engaging, vital woman. Only five feet tall with graying black
hair, she projected a calm elegance. However there was a twinkle in
her eye that hinted at a playful side she rarely showed.

"Grandma Kino!" Makoto cried. She flew out of her chair and
bent down to hug the woman.

"I'm sorry if I kept you waiting, dear," the woman apologized.
"I don't take to steps as well as I used to."

"I'm just glad you're here," Makoto smiled. She sat down in a
chair while her grandmother got out a make up kit. "Thank you for
doing this. I've never been that good with make up."

"I'm honored you asked me, dear," the woman smiled. "Just as
I'm honored to be your go-between. You didn't have to. Not after
the way we treated you."

"Grandma," Makoto said, taking the woman's hand in hers. "I'm
past that. Mom and Dad's death was a shock - - to all of us. We all
tried to deal with it and we all did a pretty crummy job. I'm no
more blameless than you or Grandpa were. Just because I didn't
understand then doesn't mean I don't understand now."

"It wasn't intentional," she offered. "It's just - - you
resemble him so much. You still do. I just couldn't look at you and
not see him. It doesn't forgive the way we abandoned you, though."

"Well, I did my share to bust up that relationship, too,"
Makoto said. "I wasn't very fit company that whole year after. At
least the money you and Grandpa sent me let me live on my own instead
of scrounging on the streets."

"Money is a poor substitute for love," the woman remarked as
she expertly applied liner to Makoto's eyes.

"Yeah," Makoto said, holding her face still. "But late love's
better than no love at all. I don't blame you, Grandma. We all need
our own time to heal. Besides, I probably hurt you and Grandpa as
much as you hurt me. We were all in the wrong. Stop beating
yourself up about it."

The room was quiet while Makoto's grandmother applied red to
her lips.

"Do you love him?" she asked.

"Like I've never loved anyone before," Makoto replied.

"Does he love you?"

"I think so," Makoto smiled. "I don't know why."

"I do," and the woman dabbed rouge along Makoto's cheeks.
* * * *
"We're gonna be late!" hissed Minako. She scurried from the
elevator through the underground garage to the car. Artemis
scampered ahead of her. As she moved, she held up the hem of her
royal blue kimono embroidered with swans, so she could move faster.

"Minako honey, I had to take that call!" complained Toshihiro,
smoothing out his slacks and straightening the sleeves of his sport
jacket. "Hideki Shiro is a big shot producer!" Toshihiro was squat,
roughly five-six, with about twenty more pounds on his frame than he
should have. He wore thick black frame glasses, his features were
mildly handsome if he cared to keep them up, and his black hair sat
wild and unkempt atop his head. His taste in clothes was audacious,
bordering on loud, yet he projected the dignity of someone who had no
patience for convention when it interfered with his individuality.

"Fine, but if I'm late to the ceremony, I'm blaming you and
you're facing Rei's wrath by yourself."

"I think I'd rather fall on a sword," muttered Toshihiro.

"How do I look?" Minako asked, posing by the car while Artemis
hopped in.

"Like a woman trying to look fifteen," Toshihiro replied,
climbing into the car.


"I keep telling you to lose the ribbon, that it sabotages any
chance you have for a sophisticated image."


"Do you want to do game shows and play sex kittens your whole

"If they want to give me Scarlet O'Hara, I'll lose the ribbon,"
replied Minako acidly. "Otherwise it stays."

"Fine," scowled Toshihiro.

"Don't pout," sighed Minako.

"I'm not . . ." began Toshihiro, but Minako held up her hand.

"Time out," she said. "Kiss and make up."

Toshihiro expelled a breath in frustration, then leaned over
and kissed Minako. The kiss was shy at first from both parties, but
began to heat up more and more quickly. In moments hands pressed to
faces, breathing quickened and the heat in the car rose. Finally
they were forced to pull back.

"When did we have to be there?" Toshihiro ventured

Minako bit her lip. "Drive," she whispered, "before I lose my
will power."

Reluctantly Toshihiro started the car and pulled down the ramp.
As he paused to merge into traffic, he glanced at his companion.

"Minako," he grinned boyishly, "personally, I think the ribbon
looks beautiful on you." Minako smiled and shyly looked down.

From the back seat, Artemis just rolled his eyes.
* * * *
Sensing their arrival, Rei walked outside to greet her guests.

"Doctor Mizuno," smiled Rei, nodding to the arrivals. "Ami,

"You look very impressive, Rei," nodded Ami. While Ami and her
mother were both dressed in formal kimonos, Rei wore the traditional
ceremonial robe over her regular priest robes. A white bandanna
across her forehead tied up her black hair.

"Thanks," grinned Rei. "Sometimes that's half the battle."

"You'll do a fine job," Dr. Mizuno said, "Hino-sensei."

"Man, it's always a kick hearing that," chuckled Rei.

"Are the others here?" Ami asked.

"The outers are with Makoto. I haven't heard any screams, so
they must be getting along. Usagi and Minako aren't here yet - - big

"They'll be here," Dr. Mizuno said. "Usagi's gotten a lot more
reliable these last few years. Minako, I'm not so sure about."

As if on cue, Minako and Artemis scampered up the stairs,
Minako immodestly hiking up her kimono to take them two at a time.

"So, does this pass muster?" Minako said, spreading her arms
and posing in her kimono flamboyantly.

Artemis shook his head. "Does anybody want to adopt a cat?"

"You look fine," Rei said in controlled tones. "Swans suit
you. Now do you think you can try for dignity?"

"Where's Toshihiro?" Ami asked.

"Well, since we're not married, he figured he wasn't
technically family and he didn't want to run up against the tradition
cop," Minako said, motioning to Rei. "He's going to check in at the
studio, then meet us at the reception."

"I'm not that strict," muttered Rei.

"Anybody seen the bride?" Minako asked.

"We're waiting on Usagi," Ami answered.

"She's here," called Luna from the steps. "Mamoru's parking
the car. She just stopped for a breath midway up the stairs."
Noticing the concerned looks, Luna added, "She's fine. Just out of
shape from sitting at a drawing table for hours on end." The cat
scampered over to Artemis and they rubbed foreheads.

"Sorry if I kept you waiting," Usagi said, chugging up the
steps. "Rei, do you add in new steps every year?"

"Of course," Rei smiled, eyes twinkling. "I do it just for
you, too." She looked over the kimono. "Is there any color you
can't wear?"

"Some of us are just naturally gifted," Usagi teased.

"Usagi," Dr. Mizuno said, crossing over to her. "I heard about
what happened. Please accept my condolences. And if you ever feel
you're having trouble coping or you just need to talk about it,
please don't hesitate to see me, or your own doctor if that makes you
more comfortable."

"Thank you, Dr. Mizuno," nodded Usagi. "I'll make it. All you
doctors keep telling me that, though. I hope you all don't bill me
for it."

"You're sure you're all right," Rei said, grasping Usagi's
hands. "You tell me if you're not, you hear me?"

"I'm fine, Rei," Usagi said patiently. Then her face lit up
like a little child. "Now stop fussing over me! I want to see the

"Me, too! Me, too!" squealed Minako, popping up next to Usagi.

"Me, three! Me, three!" laughed Ami, jumping in behind them.

Rei giggled. "Me, four, me, four. Come on."

Makoto heard the rap on the door. "Hey, Makoto," called
Minako, "are you decent?"

"Minako!" gasped Ami.

"Not for a few years now!" Makoto called back from inside.
"Come on in!"

Makoto's grandmother opened the door and ushered the women in,
then quietly exited. They turned to the vanity and saw Makoto - -
and their eyes popped.

Makoto sat on a chair before the vanity, dressed in a white
silk wedding kimono covered by a pink pastel Uchikake(an outer gown),
also of fine silk. Embroidered on the silk in green and blue pastels
were happy, tranquil scenes of pine thickets by placid bodies of
water. Covering her head was a traditional white silk Tsuno Kakushi
hood. As Makoto peered out from under the hood at her friends, they
could see she was wearing a wig of thick black hair that was done up
atop her head in the old fashion manner, with beautiful Kanzashi
ornaments dangled from it. Her complexion was pale with just a hint
of rouge at the back of the cheeks by the eyes. A small, delicate,
vibrant red mouth smiled timidly at them while large soulful green
eyes looked at them with shy anticipation.

"OHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Usagi exclaimed and instantly burst into
tears. "Oh you look so beautiful!" she sobbed.

"You got the tissues?" Minako murmured to Ami.

"Three boxes," Ami smiled. "Two for Usagi and one for the rest
of us."

"Do I?" Makoto asked, unwilling to believe.

"You're the picture of a beautiful bride," Rei smiled, "just
like I always imagined one would look."

"In fact, that's a great idea," chuckled Minako. She pulled
out a disposable camera and snapped off a shot. "And you always
worried about whether you could look feminine."

"Oh Makoto, if I look half as beautiful as you do when I get
married, I'll be a happy woman," Ami said.

A huge smile burst onto Makoto's face. "Thanks, guys," she
said, dabbing at her eyes. "You don't know how happy this makes me."

"You don't know how happy it makes us!" Usagi sobbed.

"If you're ready, we'll start in a few minutes," Rei told her.

Makoto took a breath. "Man, I don't think I was this nervous
facing the Dark Kingdom at D-point!" she said.

"We'll get you through it," Minako smiled warmly.

"Yes," Ami smiled. "After all, we're senshi - - and family."

"And friends forever," Rei added warmly. Usagi could only nod
her head and cry.

"Then I guess I can face anything," beamed Makoto. "Come on
- - let's get me hitched."

Inside the shrine, the wedding parties took their places.
Sanjuro's family, represented by his parents, his brother Hideki and
his sister Keiko, four grandparents and his Aunt Suichiko, all were
seated at a long table on the left side of the room. On the right
side, seated at another long table, were Makoto's grandmother Akemi,
as well as Usagi, Ami, Ami's mother, Minako, Michiru and Setsuna, all
in very stylish kimonos, as well as Mamoru and Haruka in morning
clothes. In a corner out of sight were Luna and Artemis. More than
one member of Sanjuro's family snuck curious glances at Haruka.

As the guests entered the room, Rei performed a purification
ritual to cleanse the room and all present of impurity. Usagi
watched with fascination as Rei performed the ritual flawlessly.
Though no student of Shinto traditions, she was still impressed by
her friend.

Rei stood in front of the altar with ceremonial offerings to
the various kami to symbolize good fortune. To her right was Yuki,
dressed in her formal white and red robe for her role as "Miko"
(a shrine maiden that assists the priest). In front of Rei was a
table. Seated at the table were Sanjuro and Makoto. Traditional
Japanese music played in the background. At a silent signal from
Rei, Yuki brought out a tray for each guest. On the tray was a cup
of sake, covered in a white cloth. Yuki delicately uncovered each
cup, then moved on to the next guest. When all present were served,
she resumed her place and bowed to Rei.

After the ritual was finished, Rei spoke to the gods,
requesting in a firm but humble voice that they favor the couple
before her with good fortune and good health. Once she was finished,
Sanjuro removed a scroll from the sleeve of his kimono. On cue, his
father, acting as his go-between, got up and crossed over to Sanjuro,
took the scroll and opened it.

"My dearest Makoto," Sanjuro's father read. "I thank you and
your family for favoring me with your hand. Know that I pledge to
you my life, my wealth, my strength, my health and my fidelity. I
pledge I will not make you cry. I pledge I will not treat you
unkindly. I pledge most of all my eternal undying love. In return,
I ask only that you never leave me until it comes time for us to part
this Earth."

Usagi sniffed loudly, drawing some disapproving looks from some
others, Rei in particular. In Japan, traditional weddings were
solemn ceremonies.

Sanjuro's father handed the scroll back to his son and took his
place back at the table.

At Rei's silent behest, Makoto took a cup of sake from a
four-cornered wooden platform atop the table before her and Sanjuro.
She put the cup to her lips and sipped. She lowered the cup and Yuki
came over, handing her a full one as she took the empty. The ritual
was repeated a second time and then a third, then Makoto gently
replaced the cup on the platform. Yuki took it, then provided a full
cup for Sanjuro to drink from. When he drank three times, this
completed the San-San-Kudo ceremony (Three-times-Three Exchange).
Makoto looked down demurely while Sanjuro reached over. He grasped
her hand and slid a gold band onto the ring finger. Glancing up at
him, her hand trembling, Makoto reached over and slid a gold band on
Sanjuro's ring finger.

Rising from their seats, Sanjuro and Makoto walked over to the
altar. They each offered twigs from a sacred Sakaki tree to the kami
watching over the ceremony, bowed reverently, and returned to their

Each family member took up his or her cup of sake. Looking
respectfully to the other family, each one drank from the cup. The
cups were then replaced on the trays - - the action, to much
consternation, punctuated by a giggle from Usagi. Several withering
glances went her way and Mamoru, in silent embarrassment, gently
reached around and closed his hand over his wife's mouth.
* * * *
"I-DON'T-BELIEVE-YOU!" fumed Rei, once everybody was outside
and headed for the reception.

"I'm sorry, Rei," Usagi said, grinning and woozy. "But you
know what alcohol does to me." Then she began giggling helplessly.

"You could have faked it," Rei hissed.

"I don't have to fake it," Usagi said, teetering. "Isn't that
right, Mamo-chan?" Mamoru turned a deep shade of red.

"Wow," grinned Minako. "Completely wrecked, and on one drink!"

"Now, now Rei," Ami said, looking a little woozy herself.
"Don't be so hard on her. Alcohol affects different people
differentially." She frowned at that word. "Just look at me. This
is the first time I've ever had sake and," and Ami stopped, mentally
inventoried her state and scowled, "and I believe I'm completely
intoxicalated." Then she snorted with laughter and was quickly
joined by Usagi.

"Great, now we've got two of them," chuckled Minako.

"Come on, Usako," Mamoru said, gently pulling her away. "Let's
get you poured into the car so we can go to the reception."

"Wait, wait, wait!" Usagi demanded. "I have to say this to
you, Rei Himo." She jutted her jaw out at the woman. Rei stood
passively, almost disdainfully. "You know what you are?"

"What?" Rei replied, almost as a dare.

"You're a damn good priest!"

A small smile crawled onto Rei's face. "Thank you."

"And you've got no business being prettier than me!" Usagi

"Come on, Usako," Mamoru said, hoisting his wife over his

"Mamo-chan, look! I'm flying!" Usagi squealed, then dissolved
into giggling fits as her husband carried her to the car. Minako
glanced playfully at Rei.

"Well, at least she wasn't up on the table dancing with a
couple of fans," Minako suggested.

"You know, all of a sudden I'm glad she had a western
ceremony," Rei said, a wry smile on her face. "There is NO WAY she
could have made it through San-San-Kudo."

"Poured into the car," Ami repeated and then dissolved into
giggles herself.

Though neither Makoto nor Sanjuro nor any of their friends
could be considered wealthy, from the looks of the reception it
seemed Makoto was wealthy in one respect: friends. The restaurant
where Makoto worked closed to hold the reception and was nearly
bursting at the seams. Usagi and Mamoru were there with the girls
from the art studio and some eligible interns from the hospital. Ami
and her mother were there. Rei was there, with Yuki and Nanako.
Minako was there with Toshihiro and a whole pack of actor, singer and
technical people that were either friends of Minako, friends of
Toshihiro or people who could sniff out free food. Everybody who
worked with Makoto at the restaurant who wasn't working was there.
Everybody who worked with Sanjuro at the shipyards was there.
Usagi's parents were there with Shingo and his girlfriend. Unazuki
dropped by with her boyfriend and got a big hug from Usagi. Motoki
was there and got an inordinately long hug from Minako, much to the
consternation of Motoki's wife. Minako's parents were there and her
mother and Minako managed to be civil, to everyone's astonishment.
There was even a rumor that the wife of the Emperor was there, but
most figured that was a rumor Minako started as a prank.

Sanjuro's father stood up before the gathered and gave the
traditional introduction of his son to them, extolling his virtues
and reciting glowing accounts of his history. When he finished,
Makoto's grandmother Akemi got up and did the same for Makoto. When
she was finished, the crowd parted and allowed the newly married
couple to be photographed in front of a gold screen, then to exit to
backrooms so they could change from their wedding kimonos to more
casual attire.

Makoto returned in a very flattering yellow dress with feminine
puffed sleeves. Her friends and the other guests fawned all over
her. There was much toasting to the couple. Makoto presented a
bouquet of flowers to her grandmother, kissing her warmly on the
cheek, then passed out single flowers to Usagi and all the senshi. A
huge cake was brought out for Makoto and Sanjuro to cut and pass out
to guests. A minor incident occurred when Rei kicked Usagi in the
shins for asking for a second piece.

Then Makoto spotted a man at the door. He was as tall as her,
with brown hair and a kind smile on a kind face. Her hand went to
her mouth. Putting the cake knife down, she tore through the crowd,
raced up to the man and hugged him tightly.

"Shinozaki!" she said, nearly in tears as her mouth formed a
big smile. The man returned her embrace amid an undercurrent of
hushed voices rippling through the party. "I was afraid you weren't
going to make it!"

"I thought you knew me better than that," Shinozaki told her
gently, pulling back just far enough to look in her eye. "Is he the

"I married him, didn't I?" Makoto smiled.

"That's not what I asked. Is he the one?"

Makoto gave him a helpless grin. "He's the one."

"I'm glad," Shinozaki said, his eyes sad, but at the same time
happy for her. "Nobody in this world deserves it more."

"Well," Makoto said, looking directly at him, "I can think of
one person." She felt Sanjuro ease up behind her.

"Not even married one day and you're playing around on me
already?" Sanjuro quipped.

"Don't be silly," Makoto said, flashing him a cynical look.
"San-San, this is Shinozaki."

"Ohhhh," Sanjuro said. "I've certainly heard about you."

"Congratulations," Shinozaki said, extending his hand to
Sanjuro. "You're a very lucky man."

"I like to think so," Sanjuro replied, shaking the offered

"You take care of her now," Shinozaki politely warned him.

Makoto hugged him again and escorted him to get a piece of

Hours later, the five friends sat around a large round table
with Mamoru, Sanjuro and Toshihiro. Minako morosely nursed a glass
of wine. Usagi slept in a drunken stupor on Mamoru's shoulder.

"You feeling all right, Ami?" Sanjuro inquired.

"I'm," she began tentatively, "I think the sake is beginning to
wear off."

"Then have another," slurred Minako.

"Don't listen to her!" fussed Rei. "Just how many is that for
you now?"

"I don't know," Minako said, sipping from the glass in a less
than sure manner. "More than five and less than a million."

"Where are you going on your honeymoon?" Mamoru asked.

"Hakone," smiled Makoto, tired but still high on the

"Oooooooh!" gasped Rei happily. "Nice choice!"

"It better be," chuckled Sanjuro. "It's costing enough." He
looked into Makoto's eyes. "But if it results in a child, it'll be
worth it."

"Stop it," Makoto said, her cheeks flushing.

"Usagi and I went to Atami," Mamoru said. "It was a nice
place," and he smiled playfully, "not that we noticed the d├ęcor

"I don't want to go back," Ami announced sadly in an
alcohol-induced depression.

"I don't want you to go back," Minako said sadly as she
teetered from side to side.

"Hey, come on, Ami," Makoto said, putting her arm around her

"I don't want to leave you all again," Ami said, her eyes
watering. "I've been away so long and I've missed you all so much!"

"And we've missed you. But you've put in so much work. It
seems a shame to quit now. How much longer do you have?"

"Two years."

"It's not that long," smiled Makoto encouragingly. "You can do
it. Besides, you promised to deliver my first baby, remember?"

"No, Minako promised that I'd deliver your first baby," Ami
said glumly.

"I'm such a naughty girl," mumbled Minako. Her head lolled
back and she fell against Toshihiro, as unconscious as Usagi was.

"Well no matter who promised it, I'm holding you to it," Makoto
said. "And you better hurry up and graduate, because I don't know if
San-San and I can wait two years."

"Sometimes it's not a matter of what you want to do, Ami," Rei
said earnestly. "It's what you need to do."

"All right," Ami said softly. "But Christmas break I'm coming
back! I don't care how much travel it entails and how much trouble
it is! I'm sick of spending my vacations at school!" She looked
first to Makoto, then Rei, then to the sleeping forms of Minako and
Usagi. "I'm spending them with my friends!"

"In that case," Makoto said, snuggling up against her new
husband, "the first night you're back, dinner's at our place. And
that goes for all of you, so be sure to tell Sleeping Beauty and her
misfit cousin there, too."

And those who were conscious clinked glasses to affirm it.