Author's Note - In case anyone missed it, I posted two chapters together this time: Chapter 14 and the Epilogue. This is it, the last chapter. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Sailor Pluto stepped into the Void. It was only a mere moment ago that she had left to seek out the Princess in ancient China, and yet lifetimes had passed. She was older and wiser. She understood now.
And so she waited and she waited and she waited.
Time had no meaning in the Void. It was impossible to say how long she stood there, guarding the Space-Time Door. All she knew was that one day - one year, one second, one lifetime - she heard a little voice call out through the mist.
Sailor Pluto saw a little pink-haired girl approach her cautiously. She recognized her immediately and knelt down to greet her. "Hello," she replied with a soft smile. "Who might you be?"
The princess smiled hesitantly back. "My name is Princess Serenity," she said quietly. "My mama is the Queen. Do you know her?"
"Oh, yes," Sailor Pluto said with mock solemnity. "Neo-Queen Serenity is my liege-lady. I am her loyal vassal, Sailor Pluto."
The little princess put her hands on her hips and looked up at her skeptically. "I've never heard of you before. What's your real name?"
Sailor Pluto stared in surprise at the strange question. No one had ever asked her that before. "I have been known by many names: Meng Po... Sibyll... Delphia... Salome... Ananta..."
"But which one is your real name?"
Sailor Pluto smiled sadly. "I'm afraid I don't have one. I am simply Sailor Pluto."
"Well, I can't call you that all the time. I think I'll call you Puu. Is that alright?" The little princess looked at her shyly.
Sailor Pluto nodded her head. "I would like that."
"So, now we're friends, okay?" The princess insisted. She then took a moment to really look around her. "Where am I?" She asked.
"You are in the Void."
"Oh. Do you live here?"
Sailor Pluto laughed. "Yes. I live here."
The princess regarded the mists skeptically, as though not quite believing her. "Where's your house then?"
"I don't have a house."
"Then where do you sleep?"
"I don't sleep."
The little girl huffed and folded her arms. "You're lying. Everybody sleeps."
Sailor Pluto shook her head. "I don't. At least, I don't have to when I'm here. I'm too busy to sleep. My job is to guard the Space-Time Door. If I don't watch it then dinosaurs might fall out of the sky and land in Tokyo."
The girl dropped her arms and gaped at her. "Really?" She squeaked.
Sailor Pluto laughed again and stood up, holding out her hand. "Do you wish to see it?"
With a wide grin the princess clasped on and began to babble incessantly. Sailor Pluto led her to the Door and opened it, revealing the Earth's primeval past. The princess gasped as she watched a herd of triceratops make their way towards a river to drink.
Small Lady licked her ice cream as she held onto Sailor Pluto's hand. The Plutonian smiled indulgently down at her as she led the little girl through the crowd. She reminded her of Emeline and Leonore, and even of Serenity in all her different incarnations in a way. Sailor Pluto could even see a little of her rowdy James in the girl. Sailor Pluto sighed as the thought tugged at her heart. She wanted to make this trip special. Small Lady deserved it. It would be their very last one.
She nodded at the gentlemen who tipped their hats in their direction and gallantly offered the pair a better view. They assumed from her long black skirts and high, modest collar that she was a widow left with a young child. Not once did it ever cross their minds that she might simply like the color.
She didn't bother to correct them, though. She wanted Small Lady to see everything. Small Lady watched rapturously as a handsome man with a thin moustache came onto the stage. His electric generators were already charged and with a dramatic flourish he raised his hands above his head and shot lightening from his fingertips.
Small Lady stood there transfixed with her tongue still halfway out, her ice cream completely forgotten, as she watched Nikola Tesla strut across the stage like a magician.
It was night by the time they began to make their way down the illuminated street. They passed by crowds gawking and pointing at how the hundreds of lamps blocked out the stars in the night sky. Small Lady swung their joined hands through the air as she hummed tunelessly. "Did you enjoy the World's Fair?" Sailor Pluto asked. "You seemed to like Tesla's show."
"I've seen Sailor Jupiter shoot real lightening from her fingers," Small Lady replied with a toss of her pink hair. The girl liked to pretend that she was so very grown up and far too sophisticated for things like magic shows. Sailor Pluto smiled, but didn't say anything. She had seen the expression on her face as they had watched the show. Small Lady couldn't fool her.
Sailor Pluto took her back into the Void and with a wave Small Lady raced through the mist back to where her mother and father were waiting in Crystal Tokyo. She didn't know it, but nothing would be the same ever again. Tomorrow, Crystal Tokyo will be attacked by the terrorist group known as Black Moon. But that was tomorrow.
Today, though, was the day Sailor Pluto was meant to die.
Sailor Pluto threw open the Door and stepped out to meet Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune just after the fall of the Silver Millennium. She had put this off long enough. Together their Talismans summoned Sailor Saturn and with the last remnants of the fallen Moon Kingdom, Sailor Pluto was destroyed.
But she knew she wouldn't stop there.
It was a beautiful spring day when Setsuna Meioh awoke and suddenly knew it was time to seek out Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. She had been waiting for this day her entire life, ever since she had discovered that she possessed the ability to transform into Sailor Pluto. She had always known she was different from other people. She had always felt... older than she ought to be, she supposed. Even her parents had often remarked upon how strange and ancient she seemed. She made people uncomfortable with her silence and her calm, placid expressions. Once, a young Buddhist had asked if she had reached Enlightenment. No, she had replied, she had just seen everything.
She had transformed and journeyed into the Void where she had discovered the Space-Time Door. She threw it open and saw her own life, a life that spanned as long as time itself. She saw her past. She could see everything that had transpired before and after. She saw the birth of Sailor Pluto, her death, and her reincarnation. She saw Emeline and James and Leonore grow old and die. They had children, and their children had children, and so on. She watched her ancient descendants spread across Europe. There was one, Ambrosio Maria Moreno, a Portuguese trader, who sailed to Japan and never left. He stayed and married and had many children. They had children and eventually they gave birth to her, their own ancestor.
Setsuna had laughed at that.
But then she saw her future. She saw the moment when she would meet Haruka and Michiru and Hotaru. All her life she had been different. She found she was unable to make friendships, to truly be close to people. Even her own parents were held at arm's length. She was so lonely.
And then she saw them. Her family. All she had to do was wait.
She stayed with them for a long time. Centuries. She never wanted to leave them, but the moment Neo-Queen Serenity pressed the newborn infant Small Lady into her arms she knew that this time was over.
She returned to the Void and she waited and she waited and she waited.
And then one day she met Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Venus. They pleaded with her, begged her to help them.
And she knew it was the end. Finally, everything was going to stop. She wondered what it would be like when she ceased to exist, even though she knew that it was impossible for her to do so. Even when she was dead, she would still be alive in another, different moment of time.
It was the Plutonian way.
She looked into the faces of Black Lady, Sailor Moon, and... King Endymion. "... I carried out my mission with honor..." Sailor Pluto gasped. "Endymion... your face is so close... Don't look so sad... Your lavender cape... Beautiful violet of sunset... Endymion..."