* Chapter 6 – Saturn

Hotaru Tomoe rubbed her eyes and blinked repeatedly at the blurring computer screen in front of her. Who knew that modeling a roof was the most challenging part of designing a house? She asked herself as her hands pulled at her hair to relieve the headache threatening to build up.

"You should rest." Kyusuke Sarashina told his bestfriend/roommate/occasional date/workmate upon seeing her spiked hair.

The girl looked up at him hopefully. "That suggestion's great, especially if you would continue this while I grab us some dinner?" the young architect insinuated at her colleague while displaying her most charming smile that she knows will melt the sarcastic man.

The guy rolled his eyes but nevertheless took the nearest seat and pulled himself close to the monitor. "Eh, the roof again?" he said with disdain as he scrolled the mouse to browse over what Hotaru had finished.

"Thank you!" she said merrily and gifted him with a kiss on the cheeks before standing up and stretching her arms and back.

"Lasagna, large soda, and chicken wings!" he shouted after her when he heard her open the front door of their shared condo unit.

The closing of the door none too gently was all that answered him but he knew that his orders will arrive, and he chuckled to himself with that thought.

Hotaru stretched once more when she had finally stepped out of the building and inhaled a lungful of the cold air. She eyed the western fast food chains surrounding her and started walking while deciding exactly what she would get herself. City living, the unhealthy way of life; inhaling car exhaust, eating fast food every meal, and being stressed out with the demands of work. But Hotaru had never lived this long in all her previous lifetimes and she somehow feels that it's only a matter of time before she unleash her power once more, so she wanted to taste everything that life has to offer.

And then, her thoughts drifted to Kyusuke. What are they exactly? She doesn't know herself, but he is a living proof to her that her best friend had indeed existed. Someone who knew the kind hearted pink haired girl who reached out to the two of them when no one else would. That one single commonality that bound them together, somehow had blossomed into several more connections. True, they had shared some intimate kisses and hugs, but they had never ever done the most intimate that two people could possibly do. So technically, they're not lovers and neither are they just friends. And one way or another, she is quite sure also that her 'papa' will go ballistic if she finds out that her (not so little anymore) girl is living in the same condo with a guy.

She stopped at the take-out counter of her 'friend's' favorite pizza store and ordered his food; and while she's waiting, she looked around at the other stores around her. Donuts will be good enough; she concluded and headed to buy a half dozen for herself upon taking the packed pasta and chicken.

As she sipped on her coke on her way back, she laughed mentally remembering how the teenage Ami would have sermoned her about too much sugar intake. Or how her Michiru-mama would have thrown away her donuts and prepare her a sandwich with all the works. Or how she never needed to fetch anything outside when it's night time because her Haruka-papa won't allow her. An involuntary sigh escaped her lips. To say that she misses the place where she grew up in is an understatement; but she's quite aware that all of them are living their own lives now.

And the pink haired girl, who is present in this lifetime, is not the same pink haired girl who befriended her. That's what's holding her back actually; when Crystal Tokyo didn't happen, she knew that she'll never meet again her best friend who was from Crystal Tokyo. Maybe the present Chibiusa will grow up and reach her age; they'd look and stay at the same age, true. But she's still not the same person. And up to now, the only living descendant of Saturn is still mourning her loss.

"Hey open up!" she shouted as she kicked on their door because her hands are full.

The dog next door barked wildly with her noise and she was not more thankful that the canine lives indoors. If she could transform, she'd chop that dog's head with her glaive because it always barks at her like she's some thief; she reasoned evilly then smiled wickedly. Who would have thought that a weapon meant for mass destruction can also be used as a dog-neck slicer?

The door swung open and the food parcels in her left hand was instantly grabbed away from her. She followed slowly her roommate inside and kicked the door close on her back. She also kicked her sneakers away from her feet and let the shoes scatter about.

She stepped into their living room and found the food boxes (including her donuts) sprawled out on the table where her laptop is perched; Kyusuke's left hand was busy typing commands on the keyboard while his right guides the mouse in drawing Hotaru's take home work.

"That's mine!" and she approached him and wrestled with his mouth for the donut that he is holding still in between his teeth.

She was successful and she was able to salvage two thirds of the donut that she now holds in her hand. The other third, he quickly swallowed or else she also would try to take it away from him.

"That would have been my payment for doing your work!" he retorted.

She took a bite pointedly and then bent down to look at what the guy has finished since she left. "Hey, you're fast…" she was awed for he was now just rendering the roof.

"Just tell me I'm good." And he grabbed the box of the pasta and took a mouthful with the plastic fork.

She eyed him suspiciously. "Okay you're good, but how did you do it exactly?"

He just chewed and chewed in front of her to show that he cannot answer. She reached out for a chicken in his box and took a bite. "Payment, for my damaged donut." She said as she waved the chicken wings in front of him.

And then, just like the dog next door, he bit the chicken she was waving and pulled it away forcefully out of her hands. Seeing her shocked expression, he put down the wings and laughed.

Her eyes glinted and then she pulled his seat backwards and sat on his lap. She got the pasta box from his hand and took a mouthful also with the fork that was lying on the lasagna. "Twy wesling wif this!" she challenged to him while chomping on his meal.

Kyusuke looked at his childhood friend, the young woman sitting on his lap and raised an eyebrow. They were in a staring contest for several seconds before, smack! He kissed her fully on the mouth; watching carefully her reaction as his tongue licked the sauce off her lips. Her eyes widened, closed and then she backed off. She stood up and placed the box of pasta on the table.

"Okay, you win. What's yours is yours." She said with a grin.

"It's okay, we can share." He smiled widely at her also. "After all, everything here's conjugal property." He finished then returned his attention at her work on the computer, checking if it had finished the rendering of the whole house.

Hotaru touched her lips when she deemed him not looking at her anymore. 'Conjugal?' she asked herself mentally.

He spun around at her. "So, what do you think?" he asked.

"About?" she asked unsure, still lost on his earlier implied meaning; if it has even any, she thought.

The sarcastic guy bit down his smile and just rolled his eyes. He moved his body away and pointed at the screen that has now the 3D rendered view of the house that Hotaru was assigned to finish at their firm.

"Earth to Hotaru-chan!" he clicked together two fingers.

"Oww…" She paused, finally noticing the colored screen, took a deep breath. "That's wonderful! But you should lessen the hue here, and…"

She pointed on the picture and droned on and on and on with suggestions while the guy wasn't even looking.

"Hotaru-chan?" he broke her litany.

"Yes?" she asked and noticed that he was staring at her rather than at the screen.

"That's your work." he said in a low voice.

Sudden remembrance fell on Hotaru and she laughed while scratching the back of her head. Below her, Kyusuke reached for another donut and ate it while watching her laugh heartily. Hotaru noticed, but paid no attention; for being Chibiusa's replacement, she'd let him have that donut.

A/N: Why an architect? If you have the innate power to destroy, you would naturally want to learn how to build also. Thanks all, please review. c=