The first thing Setsuna noticed about the pair returning with Usagi was that the young man the others had called Heero looked a bit embarrassed. He came inside the apartment the five boys seemed to be sharing, grabbed a jean coat, and went right back outside.
The next thing she heard was a sound she'd almost given up on ever hearing again, a familiar and silvery laugh. It couldn't be, she thought to herself. Could these boys have brought her back out so soon?
As Usagi and Duo came in, she had to amend her earlier thought. No, not these boys; this boy, Duo. I guess I underestimated him.
The young blond man who had been identified as Quatre seemed to immediately go into worry mode. "Are you okay, Usagi-san?"
"I'm fine, Quatre-kun." In truth, she sounded better than she had since she showed up at Setsuna's door all those weeks ago; maybe she'd never sounded so good. And apparently Setsuna had the young man with his arm around Usagi's waist to thank for this abrupt but welcome change.
"So this is the weak woman who ran away?" Wufei muttered. Setsuna absentmindedly wished transforming wasn't so difficult these days; otherwise, she'd like to see which was harder: his head or her Time Staff.
This would be the test, she supposed, of Usagi's new-found happiness and self-assuredness. The Usagi she'd come to know over the past few weeks would have started crying and maybe run again. This one looked over her shoulder at Duo and merely asked, "So this is Wufei?"
"Hai, Bunny, that's Wufei."
"Bunny?" Setsuna wondered aloud, shaking her head with a smile. "Come on, Usagi-chan. We need to get home before it gets too late."
"All right," Usagi answered easily. "Ja, D-chan." She stretched up and kissed him lightly. "Ja mata, Quatre-kun, Trowa-kun, Wufei-kun! Tell Heero-kun I said bye!"
"I will, Usagi-san," Quatre answered. "See you Monday at school."
She smiled and nodded and waved as Setsuna practically pushed her out the door. The green-haired woman laughed softly as they stepped out into the late afternoon air. "I like your new friends, Usagi-chan."
"I'm glad, Setsuna-san." The Moon Princess seemed almost happy enough to start skipping, and in fact she almost ran into a young woman her own age with wheat-colored hair as she rounded a corner. "Gomen nasai."
"It's all right," the other girl responded. "Was Heero there?"
Usagi frowned. "Iie. He left. Gomen, oujosan."
"Relena Peacecraft. And you are?" she introduced herself, holding out her hand.
"Tsukino Usagi," Usagi answered, hesitantly taking the offered hand. She stared closer into the other girl's blue eyes; apparently seeing something there she didn't like, her own eyes narrowed and she released the hand she held. "Excuse us, Relena-san. We have to leave now."
She and Setsuna had barely stepped past Relena when a sudden, sharp, blinding pain hit them both. It started at the same time for the pair of them, beginning in the center of their heads and exploding outward. They never even noticed when they passed out.
And because they were unconscious, they never noticed the moon releasing a shimmering light, a single ray that hit earth beside them and took the form of a tall woman with white hair and fairy wings. This woman ran her hand over the eyes that had bothered Usagi so, and Relena stumbled away. The woman looked down at the two unconscious women fondly, one more than the other, and as she stared, their clothing changed. Usagi now wore a long white dress, and Setsuna a long black one.
"Princess Serenity," the wind whispered.
"Daughter," the former queen of the Moon, Serenity, responded. She bent down and touched the princesses' backs, and they vanished.
~ * ~ * ~
She cracked her eyes open and saw her own room, to her surprise. She sat up slowly and then stared down at herself; she was in her princess form, so this could only mean. . .
"Usagi-chan!" she heard someone call.
She jumped off the bed and followed the voice. Setsuna stood there waiting for her in the living room - dressed in her own princess form. "Setsuna-san," she began hesitantly, "does this mean what I think it means?"
The Princess of Pluto nodded. "The Time Gate is open again. Someone has forced it open from our old time."
~ * ~ * ~
Heero Yuy, the so-called Perfect Soldier, was worried, though of course he'd never let anyone else know that. That girl, that Usagi, bothered him to no end, for reasons he could not place, and that was the reason he was walking around in the cold air of early December.
"Where is the princess?" a voice behind him demanded.
He whirled, drawing and cocking his gun and aiming it in one easy motion, to see a woman dressed in a rather skimpy leather outfit before him. "What do you want with Relena-san?"
She sneered and tossed her long black hair over one shoulder. "Not that princess," she answered and literally vanished into thin air.
20 November 2000
Yay!!! Another Act done!! I think I'm doing pretty good here. What about you?