Momomiya Ichigo hesitated outside the door of the Cafe Mew Mew. It had been like a second home for her for so long; now she was afraid to enter. The ones inside had been her best friends for over a year, but now, she was not sure. Still, there was no other way. She wished Aoyama was with her, but he was out of town with the kendo club at some big tournament. Maybe that was good; if he were around, she could not have kept him away from that battle today. It was strange, she thought. Aoyama had been born to protect her; now she wanted to protect him. She sighed, and opened the door.

One by one, the Mew Mews rose, but they did not greet her. They were at least as uncomfortable as she was. But someone had to speak, so it was Zakuro as the elder that stepped forward. "Ichigo, what's this about?"

Ichigo swallowed hard. She didn't belong here, and had no right to ask what she needed to ask. Yet what else could she do? She swallowed again, and said, "I need to ask the Mew Mews to go with me tomorrow. I need to go with the Sailor Senshi to that place where they kept Lettuce. The Outer Senshi are holding Sailor Moon's daughter, and Sailor Moon needs to get her back."

"Why do they need us?" Mint said, with some bitterness. "Isn't Sailor Moon great enough to go do this herself?" Then her voice became very hard and demanding. "And how can a girl the age of Sailor Moon have a daughter? She must have been knocked up awfully young."

Ichigo stepped up to her arch-rival, Mint. "Usagi told me that in the future, she will marry her boyfriend Mamoru-san, and they will have a daughter, Chibi-usa. The daughter has traveled back in time to this time period. Apparently she has done this several times. Sailor Pluto is the Guardian of Time, and it seems she can facilitate time-travel. That's how Usagi can have a daughter aged seven when she's sixteen."

"Let those fool Senshi take care of their own problems," Mint muttered.

The others were silent for several very uncomfortable seconds, until Berry spoke: "It seems as if none of us wants to go. I guess that's it."

But Mew Zakuro said, quietly, "I will go. Ichigo is my leader. I have never met anyone like her in my life, and I am sure I never will again. She needs me, and I will go. And besides, she saved my life today, healed me when I was dying. I will go."

The others remained silent, looking at the floor, at each other, at Ryou and Keiichiro, at anyone and anything except Ichigo. Then Ichigo said bitterly, "So, have you learned your lesson, Zakuro? A month ago you voted to get rid of me."

There was more silence. But then little Pudding blurted out, "What do you mean, voted to get rid of you? Zakuro voted for you. She was the only one!"

"Pudding!" Zakuro hissed. "That vote was private."

Ichigo walked up to Zakuro and touched her cheek. "You mean, for this long month I have nursed anger against your betrayal, and all this time I have been wrong?" Zakuro looked into her eyes but said nothing, and Ichigo turned from her. "But that means that - you, Lettuce, betrayed me? Sweet Lettuce?"

Tears began streaming from Lettuce's eyes. "I'm so sorry, Ichigo-chan! But you did it to me, just like everybody else, you did it to me, and I was wicked besides..."

Ichigo's face softened. "What do you mean, Lettuce? What did I do to you?"

Lettuce began sobbing. "All my life people have used me, taken advantage of me, and then threw me aside when I wasn't needed any more, because I'm such a nerd. I did everything for them, did their homework for them, whatever, and then they left me behind when the homework was done. You see, I didn't count! And then, you did the same thing! You bound me to serve Sailor Moon, and you didn't even ask me, as if what I want doesn't count! As if I'm nothing!"

Ichigo touched Lettuce's cheek and made her raise her face until she looked into Ichigo's eyes. "I am so sorry, dear Lettuce. I just wanted to end the fighting, before there was killing."

"I would have supported you in all of it, if you had just asked me!" Lettuce sobbed.

Ichigo embraced the weeping girl, and then asked, "And what do you mean, you were wicked? You've never been wicked, never."

Lettuce whispered to Ichigo, thinking to keep what she said a secret; but the others heard her. "I was being selfish, too. I was trying to get rid of the competition. With you gone, then maybe Ryou..." Her whisper trailed away.

Ichigo held her tightly now. She knew that Ryou desired her and ignored Lettuce, although Lettuce all but worshipped him. She knew that she herself had felt attraction toward Ryou, but she had never touched him. But what if Aoyama-kun were not there? Ichigo did not know. She hugged Lettuce more tightly; but then Lettuce pushed her away, and said, "Ichigo, you saved my life today, when I was dying. I owe you this. And I owe Sailor Moon my life, too. I will go, my friend."

And then suddenly Pudding all but shouted, "Pudding goes! We'll kick their butts!"

Ichigo shook her head, though she smiled. "Hopefully, there won't be any fighting, Pudding-chan. But thanks."

Then Ichigo turned to the last two Mew Mews, who stood apart, each with her arms crossed beneath her breasts. And Berry said with a very hard voice, "I will not go. Let the Senshi fight this out among themselves. I do not serve this Sailor Moon." And Mint turned her head away from Ichigo and stuck her nose in the air, obviously thinking the whole thing was far beneath her - or at least that Ichigo was far beneath her.

But then Zakuro spoke. "Mint, Berry, the rest of us are going. We learned the hard way that it's far the best to follow Ichigo. She's our real leader. She saved us all today. She saved both of you!"

And Berry responded, "I am the leader of the Mew Mews! I will not allow that one to take over! Mew Ichigo, I challenge you to a fight to the finish, to see who leads!"

But Ichigo said, "No. Call me a coward, but I do not fight my own people."

Then she turned to go, but little Pudding ran after her, and grabbed her around the waist, and would not let go. "No! Ichigo, don't go. We need you!"

And Zakuro said, "Berry, my friend, do you really want us to vote? You know the result already. I'm not sure even Mint will vote for you this time."

The fire of anger raged in Berry's eyes. It looked as if there would be a fight, but Mint whispered in her ear. "Don't worry, Berry. That baka Ichigo will mess up soon. She always does. Then we'll make our move, and you'll be leading again."

Then Mint turned to the others and said, "I accept Ichigo - for now. And I will go tomorrow. If I don't, that fool Ichigo might get Zakuro-san hurt."

And Berry nodded her head, but said nothing.

Then the girls left, and Keiichiro said sadly to Ryou, "Trying to get girls to work together keeps proving a lot harder than we thought it would be."

Ryou nodded but said nothing, though he hid a smile from Keiichiro.

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They met the next day at Usagi's house, just before noon. The Mew Mews and the Senshi glared at each other, but Mamoru made sure that he stood between the two sides, lest the fighting begin again. They had to wait for a few minutes; Usagi was late, as usual. But eventually she did descend the stairs.

And Mamoru said, "We all transform here. Then the Senshi will do their Transport thing, and get us all up to wherever the Outer Senshi are. When we get there, we follow this order: Usagi and I will go first, then the rest of the Senshi, and then the Mew Mews. If you Mew Mews get up front, I'm afraid fighting will start." He looked at each of them, and then said, "OK, the Mew Mews transform first."

That got some dark looks from the Senshi; Rei and Minako especially thought that the Mew Mews could attack them, if the Mews transformed and they did not. But Mamoru ignored their dirty looks, and the Mew Mews did transform, and when they all were done, they gathered in a group behind Ichigo.

Than Mamoru said, "Now, the Senshi." And they transformed, except for Usagi, and gathered in their own group on the other side of the crowded room. And then finally Usagi transformed, and took Mamoru with her; and they became the shining Prince and Princess, Endymion and Serenity: Princess Serenity is her white dress and tiara, Prince Endymion in his navy blue, fairy-tale uniform with a sword at his side.

And then Usagi spoke: "My Senshi, gather in our circle, with the others in the middle."

"Hey, wait!" Berry said. Getting themselves surrounded by the Senshi in the middle of a powerful magic spell seemed a very good way to die, if the Senshi betrayed them.

But Ichigo said, "Do it," and she stepped forward; and the others followed her. Ichigo was trusting Sailor Moon and her people with their lives. And it was not as if they were not in danger; at least Rei thought of transporting them all to the sun and letting them burn at a few million degrees. But Rei kept that evil thought to herself. She was no murderer, after all.

Then the Senshi cast their transport spell, and in what seemed like only moments, they reappeared before the twisted doorway that led into the dwelling of Sailor Pluto, the Guardian of Time. Then they put themselves into the order that Mamoru had asked, and they walked in. Usagi would have hesitated, but there was no hesitation in Mamoru's step, and the rest followed him in.

Sailor Pluto was standing next to the eternal hourglass, just where Usagi had found her the last time. Her eyes narrowed. "Sailor Moon!" she began. "You come here with power, as for war. And you bring those - creatures - with you. Those things. They are not welcome in my realm. I do not welcome you. Please leave."

But Usagi said, in as hard a voice as even Setsuna could use, "Those... things, as you call them, are my people. And you are in the presence of your Prince and Princess. Kneel, as protocol demands. This is our realm, just as the planets are."

But Setsuna would not kneel, but instead raised her hand and snapped her fingers; and Sailor Neptune and Sailor Saturn appeared, coming through a door on her left. They had clearly been waiting and watching, for they entered immediately upon Setsuna's signal. Sailor Saturn carried the Silence Glaive. It had disappeared the day before, when Mew Ichigo's glorious water drops had healed the wounded and blessed them all. But now it was back, with the power to destroy whole worlds. The two girls stood beside Sailor Pluto.

Mew Ichigo reached out and seized her Strawberry Bell, and the other Mew Mews produced their weapons as well. But they made no move to attack. Like the Senshi in front of them, they waited.

And Sailor Pluto spoke: "Why do you invade my realm?"

Mamoru answered her, "For two reasons. First, you have rebelled against your Princess, Sailor Moon. We seek to bring you back to loyalty."

Sailor Pluto made no answer, but asked, "And what is the second reason?"

It was Usagi who answered. "You have here our daughter, Chibi-usa. We will take her home."

But Pluto said, "You would abuse Small Lady, as you always do."

Mamoru laid his hand on his sword. "She is our daughter. You have no right to keep her. Where is Chibi-usa?"

But Sailor Pluto would not answer. Instead, she gestured, and her two supporters stepped forward.

Tomoe Hotaru, Sailor Saturn, raised the Silence Glaive, and advanced in silence. She bypassed the Prince and Princess, and the Guardian Senshi gave back before her. With a single word from Usagi or Mamoru, they would attack her; but no word came. They parted, and Hotaru passed between them. Then she stood before Mew Ichigo.

She raised the Glaive. But Ichigo did not move.

She pointed it at Ichigo's heart. But Ichigo did not move.

She pressed it against the base of Ichigo's throat. But Ichigo did not move. Instead she just stared into Hotaru's dark eyes.

And then Hotaru lowered her eyes, and bowed, and turned away. She passed back through the Senshi, and stood before Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion. Then she knelt before Usagi, and bowed, and laid the Silence Glaive at her feet.

"You traitor!" hissed Sailor Pluto. "You are bound for eternity to me. As the Senshi of Death and Rebirth, you are bound to the Guardian of Time."

There was silence for several seconds, and then Sailor Saturn's quiet voice spoke. "I am bound even more to the Prince and Princess. I am bound to Sailor Moon as the leader of the Senshi. You, Setsuna, have been faithless toward your Princess. Yet you expect faithfulness toward yourself." She rose, and faced Sailor Pluto. "Yesterday you commanded me to destroy the Mew Mews. You commanded me to kill. I know that is my destiny - to strike and destroy, when the need demands it, at the cost of my own life. When I do, death comes, but rebirth follows."

Her voice rose for the first time. "But always the Senshi of Death and Rebirth has given her life for a cause great and needed - to save the world, or something like that. Never has she given her life to destroy good and noble people, because her sister Senshi were losing a war that should never have been."

She turned her back on Sailor Pluto and faced the others. "I did not see it then, but I see it now. If I had struck down the Mew Mews yesterday, I would have died, and never have been reborn. For such evil, I would have rotted in hell forever. It is only because by some strange grace the Glaive was momentarily taken from me, that I did not do monstrous evil."

Then she bent down, picked up the Silence Glaive, and stood behind Usagi.

Meioh Setsuna did not generally show emotion, except contempt. But now anger raged in her eyes. She reached out and took Sailor Neptune by the shoulder. "They killed Haruka! Do not forget that!"

And Michiru stepped forward, and stood before Sailor Moon. She spoke: "So-called Princess, you killed my friend yesterday. You killed my lover." Her voice kept rising and became more and more strangled with rage. "You killed Haruka!"

Then for several seconds nothing was said. Michiru's gasps were loud in the silence, as she stared at her own feet. Then her head jerked up. "But I know that Haruka in her stupid pride tried to slay you and your people, and you only defended yourself. I tried to stop her! I tried! I tried!" She burst into tears, and gasping, knelt before Sailor Moon. "My Princess," she gasped, "forgive my rebellion."

And Sailor Moon reached out, and touched her cheek, and raised her face; and Usagi smiled that glorious Sailor Moon smile that was like no other. And she whispered, though loud enough for the others to hear: "Of course, my friend. All is forgiven."

Michiru stood, and faced Sailor Pluto. "Setsuna-san, that war was so wrong. Haruka wanted to destroy the Mew Mews to salve our pride. She insisted they would destroy us, if we did not destroy them. When she thought that way, she was thinking that the Mew Mews were as blinded by pride as she was. She was wrong. And you, Setsuna, plotted to get Sailor Moon off the throne, so the Small Lady could ascend it. You know you cannot control Usagi, while Usagi's daughter is putty in your hands. You always say that Usagi is too much a fool to rule as Princess. But you are the true fool. You risked all in this rebellion, and you lost. And Haruka died. Died because of your ambition, and her own foolish pride."

Then Kaioh Michiru, Sailor Neptune, took her place beside Sailor Saturn, behind Sailor Moon.

Sailor Pluto's face was red with raging anger, and her knuckles were white as she gripped the Garnet Rod. She stood alone; she had no chance. But in her pride and anger, she raised the rod.

But then Mew Ichigo spoke, loudly and clearly. "Sailor Pluto! Think! You said that Sailor Moon is a fool. You are so right! She is such a fool that she even forgives traitors against her. If you strike her down - I doubt you can, but you might try - all will weep for the loss of such a fool. Do not be a bigger fool that she is! Lower that staff of yours, and bring this Chibi-usa out, and we will go home."

Then Sailor Mercury, Mizuno Ami who understood so much, said quietly, "Sailor Moon has nothing to lose by destroying you. Sailor Pluto will be reincarnated, and will take her place again as Guardian of Time. But you, Meioh Setsuna, will be gone forever. You have everything to lose, while she has nothing to lose. Yet she would forgive you gladly, because, as the cat-girl says, she is a fool. Rejoice that she is a fool, and live."

And Sailor Pluto lowered her Garnet Rod.

Then Mamoru said quietly, "Sailor Neptune, do you know where Small Lady is?" The aqua-haired girl nodded, and left with Sailor Saturn.

When they were gone, Setsuna said, "Sailor Moon. Prince Endymion. Could you allow me enough of my pride to not demand that I kneel to you?"

And Usagi, glorious Princess Serenity, smiled as only she could smile, and said, "Allowing you that little bit of pride is a very small price to pay to get the Senshi back together, and end this awful war." And Setsuna bowed, if only the slightest bit.

Then Mamoru said, "Setsuna-san, we will take our daughter with us. After we leave, you are not to allow her to come to you, until we tell you. It will not be long. You will see her again, and soon. But you must not bring her here, or anywhere else, without our permission."

But Sailor Pluto said, "I fear that foolish, temperamental child who is her mother will abuse her."

Mamoru responded with a smile. "I'll see to it that she doesn't."

Usagi frowned, but then Sailors Saturn and Neptune returned with Chibi-usa in tow. Usagi said, "Come, Chibi-usa. It's time to go home now."

But the pink-haired girl said, "Baka Usagi! I don't want to. You'll be mean to me! I want to stay with Pu-u!"

Then Mamoru stepped forward and dropped to his knee, and opened his arms. "Come, my daughter," he said, smiling.

"Mamoru!" the child said, and raced into his arms.

And he said, "My child, Chibi-usa, please: Usagi is your mother, and my future wife, and the woman I love. Please do not speak that way to your mother."

"OK, Mamoru," the child said, as she pressed into his arms. Then she turned her head toward Usagi and stuck her tongue out; but Mamoru did not see that.

Then he picked up the girl, and said, "Hotaru. Michiru. I think it would be wise if you stayed here a while, to take care of Setsuna and her pride. But come to see us as soon as you can."

"That will be very soon," Michiru said.

Then Sailor Moon, followed by the rest of her Senshi, embraced Michiru and Hotaru, and bowed to Setsuna. Then they made ready to leave, but Sailor Neptune said, "Not yet. Please wait." And she and Sailor Saturn approached the Mew Mews. And Michiru asked, "Mew Ichigo, yesterday, those drops - I have lived many lifetimes and have seen many powers. I have never seen anything like that. Never. For a second, all was healed, all wrong was made right, and all creation sang for glory. What power is that?"

But Ichigo answered, "I don't know. It's not really mine."

Michiru then asked , "Does anyone know?"

"I do," said Mew Zakuro. "I do. And I hope, some day, you might, also."

But she would say no more. And Michiru and Hotaru bowed to the Mew Mews, and the Mew Mews returned the honor; and then the Senshi transported them all back home.

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Epilogue

Chibi-usa stood in front of Usagi, her hands on her hips. She stuck her tongue out, and screamed, "Baka Usagi! You're so dumb! I wanna go back by Pu-u! I hate you!" She stuck her tongue out again.

"You little brat!" Usagi began, and she ran after her daughter. But Chibi-usa ran to her father, and leaped into his arms. "Mamoru! Help me! That mean monster Usagi is going to hit me again!"

And Mamoru said, quietly, "Chibi-usa, my daughter, what did I tell you about showing respect to your mother?"

"But she's mean! She hates me!" Chibi-usa wailed.

"Chibi-usa, she loves you with all her heart. And you treat her so badly." The look in his eyes changed, and Chibi-usa, seeing the change, tried to scramble out of his arms; but she could not.

And over his knee she went. Slap! Slap! Slap! He spanked her butt.

"Noooooo!" she wailed. "Stop! I wanna go back by Pu-u! I hate you!"

Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap!

"Mommy! Help me!" the pink-haired girl screamed. "Help! Child abuse!"

But Usagi just watched. Chibi-usa had it coming.

Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap!

"Wuaahhhhhhhhh..."

The End.

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Author's Concluding Note:

If any read this story to the end, they might be offended by my treatment of some of the characters. I will explain three of them.

Sailor Uranus (Tenoh Haruka): My experience with the Sailor Moon Story is through watching the anime in Japanese while reading English subtitles. In the Japanese anime, Haruka and Michiru clearly have a romantic relationship. I understand that when the anime was dubbed into other languages, the lesbian nature of their relationship was left out. But the Haruka of my story is the one of the Japanese anime.

In the anime, Haruka pretended to be a guy and hit on Sailor Moon quite hard. She even kissed her once, if I remember correctly. I find this dishonest, manipulative, selfish, and actually mean. Furthermore, she did this pretty much in Michiru's (Sailor Neptune's) face. I find that selfish and arrogant.

I believe that what she did to Mew Lettuce in my story, and how she died, are consistent with the character as presented in the anime, only I carry her character to extremes that the anime did not.

In other words, I didn't like the character, and I made her pay the price.

Chibi-usa: In the anime Chibi-usa (Chibiusa if you prefer) is a brat that repeatedly treats her mother (Usagi) with gross disrespect. I have seen this happen far too often in real life, and I find it very disturbing.

In other words, I didn't like the character, and I made her pay the price.

Mew Berry: I never read the manga in which she appears. However, from what little I have read of her, I understand that she is pretty much a perfect "Mary Sue" character - too perfect. From that I assume that she is seen as popular and all that, and so automatically became the leader of the Mew Mews as soon as she appeared.

But next to Ichigo, she is as nothing. Mew Ichigo is my heroine. So when she enters the scene, Berry automatically ceases to be the star. In my story, Berry can't deal with that.

The scene where Ichigo uses the Mew Aqua Rod is of course lifted directly from the anime (Episodes 26 and 43, I think). (I believe that in fanfiction, this would be acceptable use of the original.) The "music" they hear is of course Komatsu Rika singing "Glider," just as in the anime. (NOT the song that is sung in the English dub!) That animation sequence (from when Ichigo tells Kisshu "I won't let you!" to when the song ends) in my opinion is the closest thing to fine art I have ever seen in animation. My interpretation of what goes on in that sequence is very odd, but this is my story, so I can tell it as I want.