"Setsuna-san!" Sailor Moon called out in the emptiness of the Moon. "Sailor Pluto!"
"Yes, Your Majesty?" the green-haired Senshi stated. Sailor Moon turned to regard her.
"You have been with me longer than any of the Senshi, even the Inners, my friend. You were with when I guarded the sleeping earth during the Cleansing, while the other Senshi were in suspended animation. You came to that other dimension to protect me. You have helped me to fight for Crystal Tokyo. I once more need you help though, my dear friend."
"What is it that you need, my Queen?"
"The favor I have to ask you will probably refuse. However, I must ask."
"Ask, my Queen."
"Long ago, during the battle with the monsters from Lina Inverse's dimension, a new timeline tried to assert itself over this one. ChibiUsa was replaced with--"
"Koneko. Yes, Your Majesty, I recall it very well. You wish to see this other timeline, do you not?"
"Yes, Pluto, I do. Very much. Now that I have seen Koneko again and know that she carries memories of me that I do not, I must see. Either through the Time Gate or the Crystal's power, I must see it. I must know--"
"What might have been," Pluto finished.
"Yes. Will you help me, Setsuna-san?"
Pluto sighed. "Yes, my Queen, I will. However, you will only be able to see it. You and I will be nothing but observers there."
"Why?" For a split second, the thousand-year-old Queen looked as she once had when people just called her Usagi. It brought a wistful smile to Setsuna's lips. There was so little of Usagi left in Serenity; the pressure of ruling the Crystal Utopia had changed her so much.
Queen Serenity had known this would probably happen when Serenity was reborn. True, Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom had been carefree and exuberant, but she, unlike Usagi, had been carefully prepared for the pressures of ruling from the time she was young. Now the only time Neo Queen Serenity tended to act like Usagi at all anymore was when she was with Rei. She didn't pig out on Makoto's cooking as much anymore; she had become more refined and had developed excellent manners. She was too visible a figure to go shopping with Minako or Ami. Hotaru had never been her companion as much as she was ChibiUsa's. And Haruka and Michiru were always off together.
Setsuna knew Endymion preferred the more dignified Serenity, although she wasn't sure why; Serenity seemed sad in the way she was subdued and quiet. ChibiUsa was in the past now, training as a Sailor Senshi and making friends with all of their younger selves.
Serenity had also seemed more like Usagi with Vegita and herself. Setuna supposed it could be because she had been Serenity's companion for so long, and Vegita was . . . Vegita; he defied explanation, but he somehow made Usagi reappear and that made him wonderful in Setsuna's book.
"That timeline no longer exists in real time and space. It would not be here at all if Vegita had not wished Koneko into existence. Keep that in mind as we go," she explained.
"We're practically the same age now, Your Majesty. It simply is not right for you to call me that."
"Shall I call you 'Puu' as ChibiUsa does then?" Sailor Moon countered. Pluto laughed.
"No. Just Setsuna."
"Only if you stop calling me 'Your Majesty' and 'my Queen'."
"Agreed, but what shall I call you?"
"Think of a nickname as we go."
Setsuna brought her to the Time Gate, and together the two Senshi stepped through.
"Small Lady!" Queen Serenity called. She sounded a little impatient, Sailor Moon thought.
A small black head appeared around the corner. Koneko looked the same age as ChibiUsa was now, and she wore the same expression ChibiUsa often did when she knew she was in trouble. "Yes, Mama?"
"Care to explain to me why the Inner Senshi are calling for your blood and two of the Outers want to see you hanged?"
Koneko looked around the corner. "I don't really know, Mama." She looked again, apparently considering making a break for it.
"Don't even think about it, Small Lady. Haruka-san wants to tar and feather you, starting with your tail."
Koneko gasped, wrapping her tail tightly around her waist. "You wouldn't let her do that, would you, Mama?" she whispered, her huge blue eyes tearful.
Sailor Moon practically watched Serenity's resolve crumble. She knelt down and opened her arms; Koneko immediately ran into them. "Of course not, Koneko-chan. But you must quit playing such awful pranks on them."
"Demo. . ."
"And you must stop getting Hotaru-chan to play such tricks as well."
"Aww, Mama. . ."
Serenity held her daughter at arm's length and looked directly into her eyes, as if she were trying to hypnotize her. "Koneko, I mean it this time. Your father and I aren't going to be here for a few days, and I don't want to come back to find your pretty tail covered with goose feather, my little princess."
"Where are you going, Mama?"
"There's a planet on the edge of our Solar System that's on the brink of civil war. Their king asked your Papa and me to come try to negociate peace. It shouldn't take any longer than a week."
"Are you taking the Senshi with you?"
"Just Venus, Mercury, and Pluto. Neptune maybe, but no one else. Without Michiru-san around, if you misbehave, Haruka-san will get you, kitten." Serenity smiled and played with her daughter's odangos. "Maybe instead of kitten ears, you'll have two feathers sticking up right here like a little Indian princess."
"No! I'll be good, Mama. I promise," she stated, crossing her heart. "When are you leaving?"
"Tomorrow morning, right after breakfast." A grin broke over the Queen's face; Sailor Moon knew she was about to start teasing her daughter. "If Mako-chan can feed you two Saiyajin."
"You eat almost as much as me and Papa do, Mama," Koneko indignantly said, throwing her hands on her hips.
"Hai, I do, but I eat it slower, so that she has time to keep up."
"Love you, Mama." Koneko now attached herself to her mother, and Queen Serenity stood, hugging her daughter and lifting her with a strength that could only be born in practice.
"I love you too, Koneko-chan, my pet, my kitten."
Sailor Moon turned to Pluto. "Koneko is nice here. To me, I mean. Why?"
"She has had no reason to doubt your love for her." Pluto winced internally as she answered. She knew the truth would hurt her Queen, but it must be told.
Sailor Moon shook visibly then straightened and nodded. "I have failed her miserably, haven't I? No wonder she hates me." She was silent for a long time. "Nothing happens on this trip, does it?"
"No, not exactly."
"What do you mean by 'not exactly', Pluto?"
"I know that's your way of asking if anyone dies. No, no one dies. The peace talks are a failure, and they barely escape with their lives, particularly the King and Queen. If not for Mercury's quick thinking and Neptune's presence and Venus's leadership, it would have ended up in complete disaster."
Their attention was redirected as a very familiar voice spoke, "How are my girls?"
"Vegita," Sailor Moon whispered.
"Papa!" Koneko yelled, wiggling away from Serenity and running to her father, holding her arms up to be lifted. When he finally complied, she squeezed his neck tightly. "Papa," she asked sharply when she eased her hold a few minutes later, "where were you?"
He gave her a severe look. "Convincing Haruka not to tar and feather a certain spoiled little princess." Queen Serenity laughed softly, walking over to them.
As Koneko's fearful look returned and she again tightened her stranglehold on her father, burying her face in his shoulder, Serenity ran her hand up and down her daughter's back soothingly. With a conspiratorial wink at Vegita, she whispered to Koneko, "Leave some of your Papa for me, kitten."
Immediately Koneko let go and looked at her mother. "Are you two wanting another soft moment?"
Vegita and Serenity laughed and then said as one, "Yes."
"You two have more soft moments than Haruka-san and Michiru-san," Koneko complained, sliding down out of her father's arms. "I'm going to go play with Hotaru."
"Don't get in trouble," Vegita reminded her retreating back.
Once Koneko was out of sight, Serenity seemed to become a bit more serious. "I think we may have pushed too far with the tar and feathering bit. She seems genuinely terrified."
"It'll take sheer terror to make her behave," Vegita reminded her.
"And who's the one who's convinced a little brother would make her behave?" The twinkle was back in Serenity's eyes.
"I don't know. You seemed pretty convinced after she was born that pregnancy was not a battle meant for men."
"What did you expect me to believe," Vegita returned, "when you were calling me things I'd never heard of?" This teasing seemed to be a common occurance, Sailor Moon noted. "Some things I still haven't figured out?"
"Well," Serenity pretended to relent, moving a little closer to Vegita and wrapping her arms around him, "everything until I started getting fat was fun."
"You can say that again."
"Vegita-sama!" Serenity acted scandalized, but she was trying hard not to laugh as she hit Vegita lightly. "You shock me."
Sailor Moon glanced over at Pluto. "I think we should go now. Give them some privacy."
"I think you're right. Is there anything else you would like to--"
"That was the Moon, right?" Sialor Moon interrupted as they returned to the Time Gate. "They rule the Moon Kingdom, right?"
"Yes. Without Endymion, there is no claim to the earth and so the Crystal Utopia is founded on the Moon instead. Rei is the Queen of Earth because in that time, she married Mamoru."
"Has the other dimension's timeline been changed much?"
"Yes! A lot," Pluto emphatically stated. "Would you like to see how it originally went?"
"You can just summarize it, if you'd like."
"Vegita's change of heart happens much later. His heart stays evil for a long time. Gokou-san and Chichi-san have a second son, Goten. Gohan-kun marries a woman named Videl and has a daughter named Pan. Klillyn-san is still married to Juuhachigou-san; they have a daughter named Marron. When Cell attacked, a mysterious warrior came to help from a future that had been had been devastated by the Jinzouningen because Gokou-san died of that heart disease. In that future, Vegita was killed fighting the Jinzouningen. The boy gave Gokou-san the medication to cure it, so he lives."
"Who is the boy, Setsuna?" Sailor Moon asked, sure she was going to hate the answer.
"Vegita and B-Bulma's future son," Pluto choked out.
"Vegita married Bulma?" Sailor Moon exclaimed, collapsing on the mist-covered ground. "They had a son?"
"And a daughter."
"I messed everything up, didn't I, Setsuna? Vegita's life, Koenko's, Endymion's, my own?" she gasped in dispair.
It hurt Sailor Pluto's heart to see her. She dropped to her knees beside the sobbing woman and gently embraced her, rocking her, nearly holding her in her lap like a child. "No, Serie, you didn't. You didn't."
"How can you say that, Setsuna?" Sailor Moon looked up at her through her tears, and Pluto suddenly understood why Haruka always gave into her.
"You didn't bring them to this dimension. Vegita's, Gokou-san's, and Gohan-kun's future's began to change from that point on. And you only recently found out Koneko still exists, Serie; you cannot change the lives of those you do not know of. Endymion loves you, and you know it. How can you ruin his life?"
"Because - because," Sailor Moon stuttered as the sobs resumed.
"Because I love Vegita too, and maybe more than I love Endymion!" she admitted in one breath. Pluto immediately sensed this was something the Queen had not admitted to even herself in a long time, if ever, and it was probably the reason behind her subdued behavior around the King. The Queen had figured out in her own mind that she would understand because of her lonely post here at the Time Gate and Rei understood because her love had not made it through the Cleansing, and Serie had emerged around the two of them, a bit like Usagi but still different. "Don't tell Endymion, please, Pluto!" she pleaded desperately, looking up at her again, fearfully this time. It nearly broke Setsuna's heart.
"Of course I won't tell, Serie. You have my word, my friend. This whole trip will be our little secret."
"Setsuna? What does my future hold?"
"You future is no longer clearly written, Serie, but I shall do all I can to make sure you are happy."
"I'll never be as happy as Queen Serenity."
It took Setsuna a minute to realize Sailor Moon meant her counterpart and not her mother. "Not yet, Serie, but someday. . . I promise you, someday; I'll see to it that you'll be as happy as she is - or happier, Serie."
Sailor Moon was quiet for a long time, and her crying slowed then ceased. She changed into Neo Queen Serenity effortlessly, stood, then asked, "Serie?"
Setsuna Meiou shrugged. "You said you wanted a nickname, my friend. You have one now. Let's go home, Serie."