This was written in response to the idea of "Loops", started on The Fanfiction Forum (link in my profile for those who are curious), which is a scenario in which the characters of anime, manga, book series, etc. are in a perennial Groundhog Day loop, not of a single day but of a timeline adhering to years. In this specific fanfiction, the general (but not held exactly strict) looping timeline for the Sailor Moon series starts from the beginning of Chapter 1 of Sailor Moon, and ends about twenty five years after the end of the series.
"Awake" refers to a character who, during the course of a loop, is aware of the fact that there are Loops and has memories from at least a single past life.
Crossover loops with other series also occur, as noted in the last scene.
This is the author's only Sailor Moon Loop at the moment, though more may always come in the future if it strikes his fancy.
It wasn't often that he was "Awake", a term he had learned through eavesdropping on his sister. Throughout the many Loops that they had been awake in, she and her friends still had not clued in to the ingenious set-up he had devised in his closet, boring a small hole in the drywall and setting up a pair of tin cans in the small space between their bedrooms, before covering over the damaged drywall. It wasn't something many would expect an elementary-school boy to come up with, but then again, he had been through the grades so many times that it was a chore.
When he first came to in his very first second time around, he had been confused. What was going on? Just the day before, he had been an advisor and confidante to his sister, once upon a time a bratty girl named Tsukino Usagi, then Neo Queen Serenity, ruler of the planet along with King Endymion. The Earth was about to usher in a new era of humanity, as they were set to recolonise the Moon, with the ancient Moon Kingdom's life support systems being brought up online, and the first ship bearing robots to terraform Ceres was being sent out.
He hesitated to ask his sister at first if she knew anything about it, thinking it a possible time travel technique, perhaps orchestrated by the mysterious Sailor Pluto, then clamped shut when the opportunity arose. He had been faintly aware in his youth of many mysterious incidents occurring in inner Tokyo, something he would later learn was a result of the shadowy youma infiltrating businesses and residences, attempting to drain energy from humans for the plots of their lieges. Their attempts had been meticulously planned, however, as the Senshi drew more attention themselves when they appeared than the fatigue in the surrounding population that youma operations had hitherto caused.
The blonde boy also knew off-hand the relative dates that each of the other Senshi had in turn 'awoken', as well as the major villains they had fought, events he had learned in a few heart-to-heart talks with his older sibling during the rare downtimes in governing that they shared. So when he walked past Aino Minako on the street a full three months before she was due to arrive on the scene, and saw Mizuno Ami and Hino Rei conversing on the bus only a few days after he 'reset', and heard mention from Usagi of a new, tall girl well-versed in martial arts transferring to school over a month and a half before she had originally transferred, Shingo knew. Whatever had happened to him to bring him back in time had also happened to his sister, and the Inner Senshi.
It was selfish of him, Shingo had thought at the time, not to tell his sister that he also was from a future that no longer was. He didn't think it would make a wit of difference, except perhaps for somebody she could talk to late at night that also knew of the trials she went through, and there was a sort of perverse pleasure in being a third-party observer that knew everything that was going on.
That thought had been quickly blown away when he saw how his sister had gone on to steamroll over all the competition she had faced a lifetime ago. He remembered the lights all going out in Tokyo once, of how eternal darkness had begun to cloak the Earth later, only to be repelled, of how a pink-haired girl also named Usagi came to live with their family briefly, only to disappear, of how the area around Mugen Academy had been laid to waste, and of how Usagi's friends all slowly began to vanish, one by one, seemingly kidnapped, and how Usagi had herself become more and more razzled and stressed. He had genuinely worried for her then, she looked as if her hair was beginning to turn white.
None of that happened. The news didn't report anything about it, and the Senshi never appeared. Instead, the tin cans he had put in the wall to eavesdrop on his sister to find out if she, too had travelled back in time allowed him to listen in on the conversations she held with her friends, the fellow Senshi, over their communication devices. Of how Metaria was a 'joke' as always, boasting of how she beat Nehellenia with both hands tied behind her back, and remarking on how Hotaru, a name he vaguely recognized as the civilian name of Sailor Saturn, the only soldier more rarer than Sailor Pluto in Crystal Tokyo, was able to exorcise Mistress 9 by thought alone at the start of each 'Loop' now. Her father had been apparently possessed in the original timeline, willingly if he was to guess, but lots of experience had allowed Hotaru to enjoy the presence of a more sane version of Professor Tomoe, and even having her once-dead mother around once more.
His second life ended nearly the same as his first life had: he had grown up to become an advisor to his sister as she sat on the throne in Crystal Tokyo, as the Earth was about to launch forth permanent human residences to the Moon.
It took him a few more lives to gather the information he found most important. From what he managed to deduce from the little trinkets of dialogue his sister spouted over her communicator, for every loop he experienced, she experienced at least tenfold, if not more. It was humbling, and was something he had to expect. What was now only a few years age difference had become perhaps a thousand years age difference in the amount of lifetimes lived, and hers were far more hectic and battle-filled than his were (or at least they had been, until sheer experience allowed her to blow away all comers).
By the time of his fifth life, he observed the actions of everybody around him that he was fairly positive wasn't a Looper. His mother and father would deviate very slightly at the start of each Loop from their actions in his original lifetime, but within a couple of years, large shifts in their mannerisms and actions could be detected. The two didn't do the same action at each instant in time over and over again, because his sister always did things differently. Like the ripple of a puddle of water when a rock is thrown in it, her changing actions caused a changing reaction.
So he made a game of it. His sister must surely have observed the phenomenon by now. Usagi was incredibly perceptive of other people, but it was her empathy for emotions, not for motivations, that made her so great a figure. When it came to analysing people's actions, Shingo wasn't sure if she had evolved so much since her first life. So how much could he change the way he went about his life while his sister assumed it was all a natural consequence of her and the Senshi's new actions?
He took kendo up in that life. It was an arduous task, as he had not one but four lives of experience to become set in his ways, and even something as seemingly simple as swinging a stick required him to break away from the accustomed manner he had always carried himself. He stuck to it long enough to become a 7-dan, financially supporting himself through the early career position of a professional engineer he had taken in the previous four lifetimes. He never became a wise and respected adviser to the Throne in that life, however. The next two lives he changed back to what he had now called his 'normal' lives, careful imitations of the first forty-odd years he had once lived, believing his sister would become suspicious if he were to have two lives in a row that deviated significantly from what she was used to.
Kendo was also useful in that it disrupted the tedium that he had developed into. Unlike his sister and her friends, Shingo was normal. The only claim to fame he had was that he was the younger brother of the girl who would become Neo Queen Serenity. Much of each new life was dedicated not to trying to become more and more powerful, but to learning the history and geography of the world. He enjoyed learning about and visiting new cultures every loop.
Thankfully, there was one constant that kept him from becoming incredibly bored. Throughout each life, he had had only a single wife, his childhood classmate, Mika Kayama. Call it sappy of him, maybe, after he had seen some of his sister's friends cycle through many, many, many different boyfriends in only a few lives, but he wasn't sure he could ever love another person as much as he had her, even if every loop tore away decades of memories and he was left with a fragment of the character and personality that she would grow up to be. And yet...every time he looped, as he watched Mika grow up again and again and again, he was always inspired by how a meek little girl who liked her dolls would grow up into a powerful woman, always able to handle being wed to an advisor to Neo Queen Serenity and the stresses it brought about.
But Mika existed at the start of every loop, and could be rebuilt, though with different facets of her base will expressing themselves over the years every lifetime around. The same could not be said for the children he had once fathered, five of them, the age range of fertility being greatly expanded with Usagi's ascension and the life-extending gift she brought. Shingo had been devastated when he had his first and only child in his second life around: although he had once again had a daughter to start, Sakura of his second loop was not the same Sakura of his first life. His precious five sons and daughters were gone, vanquished forever because of those accursed Loops, and so would be Sakura.
He nursed a grudge against his sister for a long time after that. Unlike his own sons and daughters, Usagi's sole child, Chibi-Usa, was always the same person somehow. Was the pink-haired girl herself a Looper, perhaps? Shingo didn't know, though he knew it to be a possibility. Usagi undoubtedly had dealt with the loss of relationships with people who had regressed thirty years in age and memory overnight, but at least her one and only daughter was 'destined' to be born. It still hurt, to be honest. The profound loss he felt at the 'death' of his six children, unable even to bury them as they were lost not to death but to time, was something that would never vanish, but that same force of time had managed to make the hurt fade, and with it, the jealousy of his sister. But needless to say, he never had another child. It was always easy to swat the issue of children away when Mika brought it up – they had hundreds of possible years now to have children, not just a little over a dozen anymore.
In his seventh lifetime, he once more served the Throne, but in a different function: he had taken up poetry in his childhood days, and would become the poet laureate of Crystal Tokyo. It helped him to get over the pains he had carried with himself for eons. If Usagi saw the hidden meanings behind his words, she never mentioned it.
By the time lifetime number nine came around, Shingo decided he had had enough of his mixture of peaceful childhood and high-octane advisory, and looked to do something else: he attempted to learn magic.
Magic was a hard thing to grapple to the ground and grip onto. He was not some planetary guardian, nor did he have the crystallised form of his very soul, or descent from a noble magic family of old. Even worse, he was male, something Neo Queen Serenity had made clear to him when he expressed his desire to her shortly after once more becoming an adviser: men tended to have a far harder time wielding magic than women, a fact grounded by his being able to count on one hand the number of male magic users he knew in Crystal Tokyo.
Out of the routine two decades he would have as one of his sister's close confidante, it took Shingo the first decade just to be able to seize the incorporeal substance that was magic permeating his surroundings. It took nearly the rest of his remaining decade to even be able to harness magic to cast anything, and his last year before the loop reset was spent on trying to cast a spell approaching anything useful.
When the loop finally reset, Shingo was depressed again. He had run the gamut of his Crystal Tokyo career trying to learn magic, and while he had made concrete with the beginnings of learning it, he had barely gotten anywhere substantial afterwards. The blonde boy still insisted on playing the game he had started on seeing how long he could hide his Looping from his sister before giving up the game. To continue it, he would have to wait again until Crystal Tokyo, pretend to start learning magic all over again, do it slightly faster than he had done previously, and then get five to ten useful years of learning done. He would have liked to practice what he had learned before at the beginning of this new loop, but he had no idea if his sister, or Luna the Mau, or any of the other Senshi could somehow sense somebody else using magic. He would not take the risk.
Or at least, that's what he told himself he would do, until his sister mentioned Loop pranks on her communicator device while he was eavesdropping. His sister...was playing pranks during the Loops by using foreknowledge of past lives?
It made a perverse sense to Shingo. Usagi was looping more than he did. Surely she must have gotten bored during the countless years, much like he had by the time of his third life, and turned to short-term jokes to keep on trekking.
Well, he wasn't going to let her get the best of him. In his original lifetime, Shingo had played a lot of mild-mannered pranks on his sister. It was only fitting that he be the first to fire off a prank in an extraplanar time prank war before she hit him back hard with experience manyfold his. He hit paydirt a few loops later, when the point at which he Awoke was a good couple of days earlier than his sister.
Usagi repressed a yawn as she moved her way towards the Osa-P. Damnit Naru, why couldn't you be Awake so I don't have to keep coming to rescue your ass at the start of every Loop?, she thought to herself.
Beside her ran the black Mau known as Luna, a sidekick who was also only Awake part of the time. Unfortunately and fortunately for Usagi, Luna wasn't Awake this Loop. Unfortunate because she wouldn't have somebody to gab with for a few days until the other Awake Senshi met with her (or for a few decades if nobody else was Awake but for her), and fortunately because that meant she could prank Luna with all her foreknowledge and background knowledge that the cat-like 'advisor' had lost in her cryostasis following the loss of the Moon Kingdom.
Idly, Usagi mused, hoping that Mamoru Chiba would be replaced by somebody else from another reality as Tuxedo Mask in this Loop (having Awoken just before Luna had showed up through her open window, she had no idea if Mamoru was around). She still loved Mamoru, marrying him and giving him a daughter in those Loops which weren't cut short that lead to Crystal Tokyo, but it was always amusing to see an alternate Tuxedo Mask, such as the single-minded Sousuke Sagara and the flighty Hikaru Agata as the Phantom Renegade.
She was still recovering from Kenpachi Zaraki, however.
With a couple of long leaps, startling the black kitty following behind her, she finally landed on the street front, standing in front of the Osa-P's front door. Kicking the door open, she started her spiel, "Halt, youma! How dare you-"
And then stopped, as the moonlight shone in through the open door. Dust littered the floor along with the unconscious bodies of many of the patrons that had been hypnotised by the fake jewelry the youma had earlier sold. That there was a great pile of dust centered in the middle of the building indicated the youma had already been defeated, but that wasn't the most surprising part.
It was the short, blonde nine-year old who was standing there, the moonlight revealing his features, leaning against a rudimentary focus staff that he held in one hand. As blue eyes met blue eyes, Shingo cracked a grin. "Yo, Usagi-nee-chan."