Okay, so how should I begin? I suppose with who I am. My name is Son Pan; I'm eight years and three months and twelve days old.
The woman downstairs with the long white hair is my Kaasan. Some people call her the queen of stars, but most people around here just call her Serenity. She's supposed to be the most beautiful and powerful woman alive. I can see how they get that about her. Looking through my window, I can see Tousan is with her. I'm not surprised. They're hardly ever apart.
Some people call my parents complete opposites. Maybe, maybe not, but they're happy together. Kaasan is the Legendary Sailor Senshi, the Sailor Soldier of Legend, and Tousan is the Legendary Super Saiyajin. And then there's me, plain old little Pan-chan with hardly any powers.
Today is a big reunion because Kulilyn-jisan and Juuhachi-basan's daughter Marron turns twenty today. Everyone's going to be here: Ojiichan, Obaasan, Goten-jisan, Vegita-jisan, Bulma-basan, Bra-chan, Trunks-niisan; everyone. Marron told me that even her ojisan, her Kaasan's brother, is supposed to show up.
"Pan-chan!" her mother's voice called.
She closed her diary quickly and leaned out the window. "Hai, Kaasan?" she answered.
"Are you coming down any time soon, musume-chan?" Serenity glared briefly at her father-in-law. "Your ojiichan's going to eat up all the cake soon if you don't."
"Don't touch that cake, Ojiichan!" Pan jumped out the window, landing neatly beside her grandfather. Her mother suddenly looked more pale than normal; she supposed it worried her mother for her to do that.
To some members of the reunion, those who hadn't seen the Son family since the battle against Chaos nine years ago or even longer for others, it was most hilarious to see the short, black-haired, blue-eyed girl dressed just like Gokou bossing around the Saiyajin fighter.
Serenity herself smiled at the sight. Pan's antics - and Gokou's reactions to them - were priceless. Gohan often compared the situation to having two children; she laughed softly to herself at the mere though of it. Her father-in-law was like a big child.
She turned quickly towards the voice, and her smile grew brilliantly as she took in the pair before her. "Ohayoo, Trunks-chan, Goten-kun."
Goten threw his arms around her, hugging her tightly. "Ohayoo, oneesan." He released her and grinned at her. "Where are we stashing Marron-chan's presents?"
"Anywhere you can hide them, but I think all the showers are taken, so you can't hide it there."
"Aww," Goten complained.
"I'll just hold onto it then," Trunks stated softly, glancing around at everyone assembled. "Juunanagou isn't here."
Goten shrugged. "Oniisan said he's a hermit. Maybe he just decided not to show up."
Kaasan liked to hang out with Goten-jisan and Trunks-niisan. I'm not really sure why, and I don't think she is either. All I know is that every time one of them felt upset or angry or anything, she knew almost before they do.
Tousan asked her why once. I was supposed to already be in bed sound asleep, but I'd stayed awake because this seemed important, more important than sleep, more important than studying, no matter what Obaasan said!
"I don't know," Kaasan answered; she seemed very unsure of herself and her answer. "I've always been there for Trunks-chan, even since he was younger than Pan-chan." I was seven at the time. "It's hard to stop."
"And Goten?" Tousan asked very softly. He came up behind Kaasan and hugged. Kaasan sighed, covering his arms with hers. They did that a lot; I think it's sweet.
"It's hard to explain, Gohan-kun." That's what Kaasan called Tousan when she didn't know I was listening; well, she also called him koibito when I was not supposed to be around. "In my mind's eye, or wherever my power comes from, Goten-kun and Trunks-chan look like the same person in different bodies." She frowned and then turned in his arms so that they faced each other. "I also see a large pair of purple eyes."
"Purple? Hotaru?" Tousan asked.
"That's what I thought at first too, but it's not her. I can't explain how, but they are different. Younger and older." She shook her head and looked up at him. "What do you think, Gohan-kun?"
"Could it be something from the future?" Tousan asked. My Tousan was the smartest man in the world.
"I don't know. I've never had the ability to see the future before. Those eyes are so sad. If that is the future, it should be changed."
"Juunana!" Juuhachigou exclaimed, startling Pan so badly she almost dropped her piece of the cake. No matter that the cake was almost a meter tall so that there should be enough for everyone; she and her Kaasan and her Obaasan had made this cake for Marron themselves. "You made it!"
The dark-haired Jinzouningen was silent, taking a seat at the far corner of the gather and ignoring the dirty looks being sent his way, mainly by Vegita and Trunks, though each for his own reasons. Trunks could just feel a growl building in his throat when simultaneously Goten's hand gripped his shoulder reassuring and Pan tugged at his pants leg. He shot Goten a grateful look then stared down at the little girl. "Nande, Pan-chan?" he asked quietly.
"Can you and Goten-jisan come help me and Bra-chan keep Marron-san busy? Kaasan says it's almost time for the presents. Can you please help, Trunks-niisan?"
As a distraction, it was fairly obvious and completely underhanded and Goten was nodding away happily in agreement, always more willing to be around the three girls than the adults when there wasn't the promise of sparring. Trunks had pretty much decided that the other boy was addicted to fun and simply couldn't live without it. That would explain the big silly grin plastered all over his face as he drug Trunks off.
Goten-jisan was more than Trunks-niisan's best friend; I know that now, but I'm not sure what to call him. Kaasan once called him an angel in disguise, always keeping Trunks-niisan from doing something really stupid. I mean, like going up against Juunanagou or mouthing off to his father or something else incredibly dumb like that.
Sometimes I think that Goten-jisan was the only thing that kept Trunks-niisan alive as long as he was. I wonder sometimes how Kaasan managed him before he met Goten-jisan. Or maybe meeting Goten-jisan changed how Trunks-niisan acted.
I remember hearing once how Goten-jisan saved Trunks-niisan from Chaos. The way Kulilyn-jisan told it to me, this Chaos, which was very evil and powerful, was out to kill my Kaasan, but it couldn't find her unless she transformed into Sailor Cosmos. Anyway, I was told it tried to kill my Tousan and Trunks-niisan to make Kaasan transform. It tortured Trunks-niisan (and our senses are so much more keen than anyone else's that whatever this torture was much have been purely awful for my foster brother), but Goten-jisan risked his life and rescued him. I found new respect for my uncle when I heard that.
Kaasan's eyes are dark tonight. I think she knows what tonight is too. Who could forget? Well, the Enemy for one. But we haven't forgotten, and we won't ever forget. Tousan said once that our kind has long memories. I remember Kaasan responding to that by saying that it was both a curse and a blessing, then she looked over at me and said, "Now, Pan-chan, be sure not to pass that on to any of your children."
We all laughed. We all thought it was a good joke. It's not so funny now, but I'm not six years old anymore.
If "our kind" has long memories, then Kaasan's "kind" must have memories longer than all of space. She remembers things I've only heard stories of, things that my children will only read about in history books. And her ability to punish herself with her memory is also infinite. I can tell she's remembering now; she's crying.
"You four are up to something, aren't you?" Marron accused, turning to walk backward to glare at the others keeping pace close behind her. Bra was tucked under her brother's arm, walking as close to him as possible, as she was wont to do, and Goten was carrying Pan on his shoulders. Marron frowned looking at the two of them. "She can walk, you know, Goten."
"She's my only niece. I get to spoil her. Right, Pan-chan?"
"Hai!" She flashed Marron a quick victory sign.
"And you are spoiled, ne, Pan-chan?" Marron countered.
Pan was silent but stuck her tongue out at the older girl. "You like to pick on me because I'm the youngest here, don't you, Marron-san?"
Goten reached up and tickled her. "You're still my girl, Pan-chan. Marron's just in a bad mood because she thinks she's getting old. She's a bit spoiled too."
Pan giggled and hugged her uncle's head, wild hair and all. "When I get married, Goten-jisan, I hope he's just like you."
"Just so long as he isn't as old as me."
"Of course not." She giggled again and spoke closer to his, so quietly only he could hear. "But I hope he has pretty eyes like Trunks-niisan and Bra-chan."
"They are pretty, ne?" Goten's voice was soft but not particularly quiet. He was looking at Trunks and his sister, so there was no doubt who he was talking of so fondly. Trunks shot him a dirty look that seemed only half-hearted.
"I'm not pretty." Bra laughed at her older brother's declaration.
"You are so, oniisan. You're the prettiest guy I know." She paused, allowing a blush to cover Trunks's face, before she continued, an absolutely devilish look on her face. "Except maybe Helios no Ou-sama."
Marron laughed. "He is very pretty. Serenity-san has a very kawaii son-in-law."
Looking back, I think we all knew our lives were perfect. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I realize just how idyllic life was back then. Tousan and I were just getting Kaasan to put the past behind her; those clouds behind her eyes were starting to fade. She was beginning to smile more, and it felt like we were getting a glimpse of the person she was before the Wars, of the girl called Usagi.
Now I feel "Usagi" is gone for good, and she took something vital to us all with her.
There was a legend once, of a soldier of the stars, a soldier who would be the light of hope for all people and would lead them through their darkest hour. I fear the shine of the Star of Hope is fading - and I fear a future without that Star of Hope.
For without the power of the Star of Hope, I fear the future is doomed. What kind of universe will it be for all our children if the Light - the Star - of Hope fades away?
Oh my child, I pray that the Star of Hope will shine for you. . .
"Gohan-kun. . ."
Serenity's voice was soft and very quiet but also very worried, a fact which was not lost on Juuhachigou. She and the former queen may not have become friends in the past nine years, but she knew the woman well enough to know something was bothering her. She also knew that Serenity's "feelings" were nothing to be laughed at, not with the number of times she'd been correct before. But she was also still having to tread lightly around both Serenity and Trunks because of her counterpart's actions in their world.
"Ano. . . Serenity," she started, very lightly touching the other woman's arm. Though never the touchy-feely type herself, she knew Serenity practically lived on touch as much as she did air or water; it calmed her and often opened her up to talking. Unfocused blue eyes turned to match her own. "What's wrong, Serenity?"
"Something feels wrong here, Juuhachi-san." Even upset, the woman was the image of politeness, but she supposed courtly life could do that to a person.
Those words only increased her own worries. All the times one of Serenity's "feelings" had shown up, she'd never said anything like that. "Feels wrong how?"
"I'm not sure. I can't really describe it. Like something bad is about to happen. All I can sense approaching, though, is cold, calculated ambition. Juuhachi-san, I felt more than this from Chaos."
Suddenly light exploded before the two women.
And looking back now, I wish we'd had more time. Kaasan's feeling did not give anyone more than a few seconds to prepare. And only the adults were around in the beginning. Like Bra-chan, Goten-jisan, Trunks-niisan, Marron-san, and I could have done much that Ojiichan and Vegita-jisan didn't.
A wise man, a learned doctor, told me once that Kaasan and I both have something called . . . Oh, never mind, my child. As bright as you are, I'm sure you've already figured your old Kaasan out, even if your Kaasan hasn't quite figured you out yet.
You are so young and so fragile that I almost fear the strength I inherited from my father (and appear to have passed on to you) could easily break you, but something in your eyes burns in a way I have only seen in one other person. Musuko-chan, would it be silly for me to think your Trunks-niisan returned to us?
I can't help remembering what Kaasan said once about the future, about how sad it seemed and how it should be changed. The hope for peace in outer space is dead. Heero Yuy was murdered seven years ago tomorrow, and I believe anarchy is creeping up on us. I wonder if Kaasan heard about the assassination wherever in space she is now.
But really, I don't think this downward descent started with that leader's death. I think it started with the slow destruction of our Star of Hope that began on That Day. That's why I'm waiting so long to introduce you to your Obaasan. Your eyes are already too old for your body; I don't think her intensity would do you any good. It never did me any good, I know that - except to keep me alive.
I don't know if it's good or bad yet, but I think your grandmother may find you in the future, musuko-chan. I worry that perhaps one of you will not survive the experience; she has lost that air of friendliness that is needed to approach you. It also seems that I may not be around then; it's just a feeling I have, but like Kaasan, these feelings of mine are usually correct and have kept the pair of us alive.
I'm trying to remember when this little book turned from a diary into this volume of things I'll probably never be able to say to you, my son. I don't think our time together is going to be as long as I had hoped it would. I can only assume that means They are going to find me, the Enemy I've hidden from for so long. I don't have Kaasan's strength to stand and fight against them for much longer. I'll fight to protect you for as long as I can though, my little boy, but I am not worthy to claim either of my parents. I have lost my will to fight, and I lack the courage to stand alone and to accept everything. I have failed Tousan and Kaasan. Now, I fear I will fail you, my darling son.
I have a few things left to say for this entry, little one. The first is, remember I'll always love you, not matter what happens, musuko-chan. Second, when you meet your Obaasan, take care. It may seem as though she's stuck in the past, but her mind is still in perfect working order; she knows and remembers everything. Third, if you've read this far, you've already read the part about the vision of the future Kaasan had. I've spent many, many nights thinking about this, and I think the key lies in those purple eyes. What the key is and what door it will open I do not know and perhaps it is not my mission to find out, but you must do your best and beyond even that to keep that person alive. I beg this of you, my son. I know you're only two and a half now, but you are also the only person I know I can depend on. Fourth, I love you more than my own life.
And finally, do your best not to forget the past. Don't forget the day the world fell down.
First Draft: 18 June 2000
Revision: 14 January 2009
So, am I evil? Does anyone absolutely hate me for writing this? Or do you like it? I myself was particularly impressed with this particular work. Okay, so it got a little sticky in places, but overall, this is the easiest ficcie I've ever written.
I must demand much e-mail on this because the next part will be so very difficult.
As for the revisions, I am in the process of converting all my stories with Gundam Wing characters over to traditional spellings. So that means all my "Hiiro"s will become "Heero"s and all my "Ririna"s will become "Relena"s. For clarity's sake.