Today's the day. Chibiusa gazed out the window dreamily. Tonight, I finally get to see him again.
"Lady!" PallaPalla called as she ran up and hugged Chibiusa. "What's going on? You seem like you're just staring into space today."
"And on your birthday, of all days! We have all sorts of celebrations planned for you…" VesVes started to go through the list of activities. "Of course there's the public appearance, and then you'll have to meet with the other Senshi…"
"I know, I know," Chibiusa rolled her eyes. I just hope that there's an opportunity for me to sneak out… She thought back on the reason she was anxious to get through the mandatory activities as soon as possible. I almost didn't notice the letter. It was stuck to the outside of my window, he must have flown here to deliver it… All it said was to meet him at the edge of the forest behind the Palace when the sun sets on my birthday. Could this be… a date? Carefully she applied just a hint of blush, brushed her hair, and stared in the mirror evaluating herself.
"Wait… are you actually wearing makeup?" CereCere teased. "Do you have a date planned or something?"
It was the middle of summer, but the nighttime still felt cool. Chibiusa breathed heavily and nervously while she ran as quickly as she could to the meeting spot. I wonder if he'll recognize me… I've grown a lot since the last time he saw me, and a lot has changed.
"Chibiusa," a soft voice said from behind her. "Happy Birthday."
PallaPalla fought the urge to call out to Chibiusa, as she and the rest of the Quartet watched the scene unfold from behind a tall bush. "Shouldn't they be hugging by now?" she asked.
"Shh!" VesVes whispered. "We shouldn't have followed her at all, but since we're here… er… making sure she's safe… the least you could do is keep it down!"
"Right, making sure she's safe… Well, she did sneak out right after the public appearance. It's not safe to just let her go out, being the Princess and all, unaccompanied. Neo Queen Serenity would never forgive us," CereCere reasoned.
"Then again, didn't it seem to you like the Queen let her go?" JunJun added.
"Has it truly been so long?" Helios smiled at Chibiusa. "You've become such a beautiful young woman, and finally are clearly the Maiden I searched so desperately for."
Chibiusa blushed at the compliments. "Where are you leading me?" she asked, trying to change the subject.
"Just… here," he responded, pushing a branch back to reveal a picnic set up for two.
"Wow!" Chibiusa grinned, sitting herself down on the soft blanket. "I think this is the first time I've had a picnic since I've been in the 20th Century!"
"I thought so," Helios leaned in closer. "It must be hard being away from your friends from that time…" he started to blush. "Almost as hard as it has been for me to be away from you."
Chibiusa's eyes widened in surprise from Helios' confession. It's true that I miss everyone from the 20th Century. But I do take comfort in knowing that many of them are still around me here, even if their forms are a little different. But… "Most of all I've missed you," she breathed.
"Come on, kiss her!" PallaPalla silently cheered. "They're leaning in so close to each other already, it's perfect timing!"
"Yeah, what are they waiting for?" JunJun agreed.
"Stop it, you two! We shouldn't even be here, it's not right to spy on her like this… She snuck out; she didn't even want us to know. This is supposed to be private," VesVes protested. "Oh, but she looks so happy… happier than she ever seems around us."
"It's true," CereCere nodded. "It's amazing how well they're getting along, after being apart for so long."
"Well, I suppose that it's time for me to take you back," Helios said, his voice full of regret. He put out his hand and Chibiusa placed her own hand on his, and squeezed tightly.
"I had a lovely time," Chibiusa smiled. Why does it have to be over so soon? "It was so wonderful to see you again, after such a long time apart." I was so worried I would start to forget what he looked like, what his hand felt like in mine…
"I hope to be able to see you more often from now on," Helios said happily, unable to contain his grin. "It seems the laws that dictate my role as priest have become more lax."
"Oh," Chibiusa breathed a sigh of relief. She looked up and noticed they were already at the Palace's back gate. "I guess this is where we part ways."
Chibiusa closed her eyes as Helios leaned in closer, and prepared to once more feel his warm lips kiss her own. Suddenly, she heard a noise behind her, opened her eyes and turned around. "Did you hear that? Is someone there?"
Immediately, the Quartet stood up from where they hid, each smiling apologetically.
"You… spied on me?" Chibiusa asked, annoyed but not surprised.
"I'm sorry, Princess… we only wanted to make sure that you stayed safe," VesVes said while she glanced angrily at the others.
"I'm sure," Chibiusa rolled her eyes. Still hearing noises in the bushes, Chibiusa looked around again. "Is someone else hiding there?"
"It looks like you've caught me," a soft voice said.
Chibiusa, Helios, and the Quartet all gasped as they saw the figure stand up; her long hair touching the grass below, her crown sparkling, and her eyes smiling. "Mama?"
"I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself!" Neo Queen Serenity laughed.
Yes, my friends from the 20th Century are still here. She really is Usagi, isn't she?
Helios bowed to the Queen. "Thank you for changing the laws so that I am permitted to leave my place in Elysion, and for allowing me to come tonight."
"Mama…? This was all your doing?" Chibiusa asked in surprise.
"Well, yes," she smiled. "You've been looking so lonely these days… and I know you've been wanting to see him for a long time. And, despite your father still thinking otherwise, I think you're mature enough to go on your first date now."
"Oh, I'm so jealous of you!" CereCere nudged Chibiusa. "He's definitely a keeper."
"Hey Helios," PallaPalla jumped in between the couple. "Do you happen to have any friends who are as handsome as you?"
Blushing, Helios started to laugh. "Only my flying horse!"
Chibiusa started to giggle. Thank you, Mama. This is the best birthday I've ever had. And now that he can see me whenever he likes, I look forward to many more. "Well maybe that's what you deserve for spying on my first date!" she said, wagging her finger and jokingly scolding the Quartet and her mother.