Sailor Moon Snippets Sixteen

(after storyline)

 

Usagi was restless. Sheíd gotten in fights with Rei five times that morning, and if the others didnít know Usagi so well, theyídíve thought she deliberately provoked them. She kept switching between Sailor V games, magnas, poking over the shoulders of her friends to see what they were doing, chatting distractedly with them, wandering outside... After sheíd thrown down the last origami that Ami had taught her and started pacing around the room, the others had finally had enough.

"What is it with you today, Usagi?"

"Nothing." Usagi wandered back to the group and sat down on the floor and looked up at Minako, who started to get uneasy at the direct stare. "Mina-chan -- whatís it like in Australia?"

Heads turned to stare at Usagi. Sheíd never before expressed an interest in anything outside of Japan, except for Harvard. Usagi ignored them and waited for Minakoís reply.

"Uhh, itís really nice. The seasons change so dramatically, you canít be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the right place at the right time can be the most breath-taking thing youíve ever seen in your life. The scuba-diving is awesome, and the people are great." Minako sighed, "Itís been awhile since Iíve been there. Artemis and I were planning to visit two years ago, but Mom signed me up for school here and we had to cut vacation short."

"Oh." Usagi didnít seem interested anymore and wandered back to the window.

The others tried to ignore her, and instead focused on Minako. "Tell us more, Mina-chan," Makoto urged her. And so Minako started to tell them about her last visit there five years ago. The others listened, enthralled with the descriptions.

"That does it!" Usagi stomped out of the room.

Interrupted mid-sentence, Minako and the others watched her, open-mouthed, then they all scrambled to follow. They barely caught up with her at the remote grove behind the shrine.

"Usagi! What--"

"Moon Crystal Makeup!" Usagi changed to Sailor Moon while the others were still gaping. "Oh," She turned to look at the sky behind her.

"What the..." They looked around, each and every one getting out their Power Sticks, but they saw nothing. Turning back to Sailor Moon with questions, they refrained for a moment as she was simply standing there, staring up at the sky, not moving a muscle.

"Sailor Moon! Whereís the enemy?"

"Thereís no enemy. Be quiet or leave." Sailor Moonís words were remote and unexpected. The other Senshi hovered uncertainly. Twice, Rei lifted up her Power Stick to change to Mars, and twice lowered it without activating her powers.

The two cats came running from around the corner, "We felt the Power -- whatís up?"

"We donít know."

"Donít know? But--"

"Quiet, please."

They fell silent again. Several minutes went by with no change in the ambiance or Sailor Moonís position.

"What is she doing?"

Ami jumped three feet in the air at the quiet question spoken at her right side where nobody had been standing. When she landed again, a hand pressed to her chest, she saw Tuxedo Mask standing there, an apologetic look on his handsome face.

Rei answered for them all, "We donít know."

Tuxedo Maskís expression was a study in puzzlement.

Ami watched him for a moment, then asked, "Youíre not really here, are you?"

He grinned, "Youíre learning to see, arenít you? No, Iím not."

"Heís not?" Makoto walked forward and swiped a hand through the image of Tuxedo Mask, and looked at her hand in amusement, "Huh."

"Mako-chan!" Tuxedo Mask protested.

"Sorry," Makoto apologized, though she didnít sound at all repentant, "Just had to find out what that was like." The others stifled giggles.

"Will you people, please be QUIET!!! Iím trying to listen!" Sailor Moon glared at them, before turning her back and standing still again.

"Oh!" Luna gasped in surprise.

The others looked at her warily, then at Sailor Moon. Finally, Artemis whispered, "What?"

Luna moved back a ways, then whispered, "Sheís listening."

They rolled their eyes at her.

"Sailor Moon can amplify calls for help through her hair orbs -- whatever it is, it must be very faint."

"It is. And I canít hear a thing with you people chattering like magpies. SHUT UP!"

They all backed away, and moved apart from each other to keep the temptation down.

At long last, the air around Sailor Moon filled with red ribbons and she changed back to Usagi. She sat wearily on a nearby bench. The others moved back closer to her. When theyíd gotten close, Usagi looked tiredly at them, "Do you people know anything about opal?"

"Opal???" Artemis, Luna, and Minako all spoke it as a proper noun and their voices were raised in amazement.

"Ow." Minako raised a hand to her head and grimaced.

"Minako, are you okay?" Artemis jumped up to her shoulder in concern.

She grinned and petted him, "Fine -- Trinity just overwhelmed me for a moment there, letting me know what I should have known about Opal." She shook her head. Sometimes, the combinations of memories, Trinityís, Sailor Venusí, and the earlier ones of when she and Trinity were fully merged; sometimes the combinations got a bit overwhelming. This time around, the merge between herself and Trinity was going more slowly.

"Opal is a stone. Isnít it?" Ami pulled out her computer, but didnít activate it yet.

Usagi frowned, "Yes... No... I canít tell. I wasnít getting words, so much. Just a call for help. From Opal."

Artemis turned his body, perching one paw on Minakoís ear to keep his balance. He faced Tuxedo Mask and said with a faint hint of betrayal, "But you told us that Luna and I were the last of the Moon Cats on Earth."

Tuxedo Mask blinked, "I did? Oh -- Earth did." His mask shaded over, "Hold on a second and Iíll check."

The others gaped at him.

"Tuxedo Mask can really be strange sometimes."

"Hey! Thatís my boyfriend!" Usagi glared at Mako, who laughed at her, not having been truly serious in the first place. Then Tuxedo Maskís image flickered in and out, and Usagi stood up in alarm, "Tuxedo Mask!"

He held up a hand, "Itís okay." He was silent a moment longer, then his mask cleared and he regarded them with his clear blue eyes, "Itís a bit complicated, but apparently Opal isnít dead, but heís not exactly a Moon Cat anymore either. Heís still in Australia--" Tuxedo Mask was interrupted by Luna and Artemis.

"Not a Moon Cat??" "How can that be?" "What do you mean?" "Not a Moon Cat?"

Tuxedo Mask, bombarded with the questions, took an involuntary step back, "Hold on!" They reluctantly calmed down. "I donít know the answers in words -- Earth was being more obscure than he usually is, but apparently something happened many many years ago that forced Opal to change to protect his territory. And now heís being threatened again."

"If you could find all that out," Usagi sat back down on the bench, "Then why did I even bother with that."

There was a slight pop of displaced air and all eyes turned to Tuxedo Mask, who hadnít changed in appearance, but they all knew that he was now there in the flesh as well as image. He walked over and sat down by Usagi, changing to Mamoru as he did so. "Usako -- I didnít even know there was a problem until you heard his cry for help." He put his arm around her and she leaned into him. "I need you. Usako, Iíll never stop needing you."

The others were caught between wanting to just enjoy the love between the couple, and wanting to turn away from the intensity.

Ami cleared her throat, embarrassed. "So, the threat is in Australia?"

Usagi nodded.

The group looked at each other. "Well..."

"I guess that means we get to travel."

"To Australia?"

"For how long?"

"I canít afford a plane ticket."

"But itís the middle of the school season!"

"Weíre needed."

The last comment stopped all the other comments, and they looked at each other, then gathered around Usagi and Mamoru and sat down on the benches and the ground to discuss it more seriously.