Sailor Moon: Anotherís Lifetimes

(Sailor Moon, after R)

 

Usagi walked down the sidewalk, content in mind and body. Luna was in her arms. Mamoru was by her side, his arm draped around her shoulders. They walked together with no awkwardness or hesitation. Despite the difference in their sizes, they adjusted for pace and balance so well and so automatically that it wasnít worth a second thought. Except at the times when Usagi wanted to feel the deep and abiding satisfaction in their love and friendship. She breathed in the salty air and turned to face the harbor, watching the waves rock the fishing boats and charters. Mamoru halted with her, easily, and he too looked out over the peaceful scene. No words needed to be said between any of them, as they enjoyed the feeling of peace.

A laugh across the waters caught Usagiís attention, and she turned her gaze to a boat that was just disembarking its passengers. American tourists, by the look of the group. They all had smiles on their faces and joy in their movements.

"Itís so nice to see others appreciate our land," Luna remarked, also watching the tourists.

"Yes, thatís one thing at least about Americans Ė they donít hesitate to show their happiness." Mamoruís mouth twitched up in a smile as he looked from the group to Usagi, who felt her face growing warm. Luna made a sound that wasnít quite a meow, and hopped out of Usagiís arms, walking down the sidewalk away from them, her tail high in the air.

The two lovers watched her go, their mirth barely restrained.

"Oh dear," Mamoru smiled in earnest, "Iím not sure if the Lady diíNath quite approves of what I had planned on doing to the Sacred Princess of the Moon."

Usagiís breath was caught in her throat, but she forced some words out, "And what, my Prince, were you planning on doing?"

"Imitating Americans and showing my happinessÖ" Mamoru leaned over, his hands on her shoulders, and brushed his lips gently across hers. She lifted her head to meet him, her eyes closing to fully savor the richness of their love. After several long moments, they moved apart, blue eyes opening to meet equally deep blue eyes. They stood looking for almost as long as theyíd spent kissing, then Usagi dipped her head to his chest with a sigh of contentment.

Their interlude was broken by the sounds of cheerful voices and loud steps coming their way. Mamoru and Usagi hastily pulled away from each other, exchanging one last amused glance for the situation. Then they linked arms and strolled the direction Luna had gone, their route taking them past the small group of tourists. The tourists were actually not grouped at all, but strung out in a long line as they peered around as they followed their guide. Small bunchings of two, five, and other numbers showed the attachments of couples, families, and groupings of friends. All of them smiled cheerfully at the couple they passed, and not a few called out hearty greetings. Mamoru and Usagi smiled back and glanced at each other, the mutual gleam in their eyes showing how they were amused at the same time as genuinely enjoying the openness of the Americans.

As the last couple in the line passed them by, Usagi again looked out over the harbor. She was nearly jerked off balance by Mamoru as he stopped dead still, not following her movements. His grip on her arm tightened almost to the point of pain. Usagi turned to see what had caught his attention, and saw the shocked look on the womanís face of the couple that had just passed them by. She had twisted her body around to watch them, her hand tightly clenching that of the man she was with. At the moment, Usagi felt great sympathy for him. The couple were in their late thirties, but still an attractive pair Ė him with short wavy blonde hair, her with long russet tresses. The womanís hazel eyes were wide with what almost looked to be pain. The manís blue eyes were concerned.

After a long moment in which Mamoru and the woman gazed at each other, and Usagi and the man at them, Mamoru let go of Usagiís arm at the same instant the woman released her own grip. They stepped towards each other, then halted again. The woman bit her lip, then took another step, her lips trembling so violently that the name she spoke could barely be heard.

"Endymion?"

Mamoru took the final step separating them and his arms enfolded her tightly, "Latisha."

Tears poured out of the womanís brilliant eyes, running down her cheeks to fall upon Mamoruís shoulder. "Endymion. I tried to warn you. I did. They came in the night. It was over before we could do anything. They missed me at first Ė I was in the gardens. But then they found me." The womanís hands trembled violently and she clasped them around his neck, in the act of a child seeking protection. "Endymion. I saw PapaÖ" Her body was shaking violently. "EndymionÖ"

He held her close, his own tears mingling with hers, "Latisha. Itís over. Youíre safe now. Itís over. Itís been over for a long, long time. You are safe now. My sweetling, youíre safe."

She lifted her head, "I had to warn you. I couldnít do anything, but I had to warn you. Endymion, Iíve been looking for you for so very long."

Mamoruís eyes were full of a pain that Usagi had previously only seen at the moment of her own death. Deaths. Theyíd had more than enough of that to last more than one lifetime, or even several. "Latisha," she rolled the name over in her fragmented memory, searching for the owner. And she found it in the brilliant hazel eyes of a happy ten-year old child, running across the fields of the moon on her first visit with her older brother. And Usagi found the name again on that last night, as she and Endymion had danced together before he turned his attention away from her in anguish to mutter a single name before pulling her out of the ballroom to meet with her mother with the warning of an attack.

The womanís attention had been drawn to her by her name. Usagi felt her own eyes moisten and she blinked rapidly. "We got the warning. Latisha. You were very brave. And you succeeded."

The woman looked at her blankly, then her eyes widened, "Serenity." She looked between them, "But if I succeeded, then why are we here?"

Usagi shrugged, "You succeeded, I didnít say we did."

"Usagi!" Mamoru rightfully snapped at her, and held his sister close, murmuring reassurances to her.

After a moment, the woman drew back from him with a shaky laugh, "Serenity Ė you always do know just what to say. But you defeated them this time. I felt it." She dashed the tears from her cheeks impatiently.

Mamoru looked at her in surprise, his hands still extended to her. She caught them up in her own, and smiled, "Endymion Ė Iíve grown up." Her smile turned wry as she added, "Many times."

Looking at her; really looking at her, Mamoru ventured a smile of his own, "You certainly have. This is a bit of a switch, isnít it."

She laughed, not at all shakily, and dropped his hands after squeezing them. She reached for the hand of the man she was with, "This is my husband, Mark."

"Pleased to meet you." The manís smile was genuine, and held combinations of bemusement and amusement in equal portions. "Jenny, you sure know how to make an appearance."

Usagi felt her eyes widen in shock, "Youíreó"

"A mundane? A mortal? A single lifetime?" He laughed, "Yes, all three. Poor Jenny didnít have much in the way of choice in the matter."

She frowned at him, "Mark. I chose you." She held out her left hand pointedly, the daylight glinting off the diamond in the golden band.

"I was just teasing, sweetling."

Mamoru blinked, hearing his endearment for a beloved younger sister sound quite different on the lips of herÖ He blinked again, looking between them, trying to reconcile his memory with the reality.

"In this here and now," Usagi spoke as dryly as her sister-in-law to be Ė or was that formerly? "Iím Usagi, and your brother is called Mamoru."

"Mam-o-ruÖ" Jenny sounded it out, then smiled, "Thatís part of the syllables of ĎEarthí in Japanese, isnít it?"

Usagi glanced at Mamoru, but he didnít look like he was quite ready to talk yet. "Yes it isÖ" her mouth snapped shut in amazement, suddenly realizing that she was speaking English! And understanding it! Perfectly! "Mamo-chan!"

He looked to her, shocked out of his contemplation, "What?"

"Can I take that test over?"

Mamoru looked at in bewilderment, then his face cleared and he laughed. "I donít think so, Usako."

The older couple were regarding them indulgently. Usagi blushed, "I flunked my English exam yesterday."

"Oh. Too bad we didnít run into you two days ago then." Mark grinned at her conspiritially. He looked up the road at the rapidly receding tourist group. "Jenny Ė what do you say we ditch the tour for the day?"

She rolled her eyes, "I think thatís a given, Mark."

"Oh good. I couldnít stand that couple from Texas that had attached themselves to us. I swear if I heard, Ďbut in America we do it this wayí one more timeÖ"

"Mark, be nice."

"I am." He still grinned easily, despite the tone in her voice, "I didnít say it."

Jenny regarded him with exasperation and fondness, her love for her husband evident. Usagi drew closer to Mamoru and leaned against him with a sigh. This was how she wanted hers and Mamoruís love to be when they were that age. Solid, committed, and deeper than the oceans of space. Mamoru put his arm around her, his attention still mostly on his sister. "LatishaÖ" he spoke the name thoughtfully under his breath, but she still heard and turned back to him. "Endymion," she smiled, "after all this time, Iíve finally found you Ė and thereís not even any danger around."

"No, thank you," Mark spoke hastily, "we had more than enough of that last year!" He took his wifeís arm in one hand, and Usagiís in the other, "Shall we go back to the wharf and find a more private spot to talk?" Without waiting for an answer, he guided them deftly along the way.