[08:19] <Anastasia> ---
[08:20] <Anastasia> A few days after Usagi and Haruka pay their visit to Hotaru, Rei follows suit after school...
[08:21] <Rei-chan> Still dressed in her Mugen uniform, and carrying a small bag of grapes in addition to her schoolbag, Rei rings the doorbell to the Tomoe residence.
[08:23] <Anastasia> Answering the door is a nice-looking old lady, dressed in a conservative maid uniform. "Hello there, dear," she smiles. "Are you here to visit Hotaru, too?"
[08:24] * Rei-chan smiles. "That's right. I'm Rei Hino - one of the Professor's assistants. How's Hotaru-chan doing today?"
[08:26] <Anastasia> The maid nods. "Hotaru is doing better today," she comments, standing aside to let you in and guide you down the darkly decorated hallways.
[08:27] <Rei-chan> "I'm glad to hear that," Rei says as she follows the maid.
[08:29] <Anastasia> Leading you to Hotaru's room, you find it to be almost blackly decorated, only torn-down curtains admitting rays of sunlight giving any cheer to the room. Well, that and a cute bunny plushie by her bed, as well as a few other stuffed animals. Hotaru is sitting up, dressed in a overly big white T-shirt and reading, while Professor Tomoe leans over as she reads, the two talking quietly.
[08:30] <Rei-chan> "Hello," Rei says, speaking quietly for some reason, "I'm not disturbing you, am I?"
[08:31] <Anastasia> The two look up, Hotaru rather hesitant while Professor Tomoe smiles. "Not at all, Rei. Hotaru, this is Rei, another of Dad's special assistants."
[08:32] <Rei-chan> "Hello, Hotaru-chan," Rei smiles at the younger girl, "We've met before, but you probably don't remember." She was rather preoccupied by her father the last time, and the only other time it was more the 'Mistress' then Hotaru...
[08:34] <Anastasia> Hotaru puts her book down on her lap. "Hello..." she says, a bit nervous. "Daddy, is she Sailor...." Hotaru peers at you for a moment intently. "...Mars?"
[08:34] <Rei-chan> "That's me," Rei grins, wondering if Hotaru remembered from her detransforming the other day, or if she's remembering something older...
[08:36] <Anastasia> Tomoe nods, chuckling slightly. "Yes, Hotaru." At this, Hotaru smiles at you, charming when she lets a bit of cheer through her gloom. "Thank you, Sailor Mars. Daddy said the Sailor Senshi saved me."
[08:39] <Rei-chan> "You're very welcome Hotaru-chan," Rei smiles, sitting at the foot of the bed, "Not just the Sailor Senshi, though - your daddy's other assistants all helped a lot, too. You should thank Cyprine and Ptliol when you see them - they're the ones who found out where you were being kept." She nods before adding, "And just call me Rei-chan. Sailor Mars is only my name when I'm working," she winks.
[08:42] <Anastasia> Hotaru still smiles, although there is a wanness, a weakness behind it. "Rei-chan... Daddy told me about his other assistants, too."
[08:46] * Rei-chan nods. "We all worked really hard to bring you and your daddy back together again," she looks between the Professor and Hotaru with a fond expression. "Seeing you both like this really is wonderful."
[08:48] <Anastasia> Hotaru looks up at her father, the two sharing a look. "Rei-chan... thank you for bringing my Daddy back to me, too. He'd been gone for so long..." Hotaru looks away, a tear glimmering in her eye as she recalls her days under Germatou and other... things.
[08:51] <Rei-chan> "I understand how things were unpleasant before, but that's all gone, now. You and your daddy can make lots of new, happy memories, now," Rei says, smiling beatifically, even as she feels a twinge of sadness, wishing she and her own father could have such an opportunity.
[08:55] <Anastasia> "That's right, Hotaru," Tomoe smiles, patting his daughter while she sniffles a moment. "Daddy won't laugh at me anymore..." Hotaru murmurs quietly, still looking away.
[08:57] * Rei-chan winces. "That wasn't your daddy, Hotaru-chan," she says, recalling Germatou's nightmarish cackle herself. "The thing that made everything so bad, it's gone forever now," she can't help but smirk a little as she recalls Germatou/Guinvain's end. "The Sailor Senshi made sure of that."
[08:59] <Anastasia> "Yes... but..." Hotaru shivers, and with a surprisingly loud wail, latches onto her father like a slingshot, crying. Between tears, "It kept saying how it was Daddy and it would always come back because I was special..."
[09:01] * Rei-chan looks rather uncomfortable. "You are special, Hotaru-chan, but the daimon won't ever come back, I promise," she says, not really expecting the girl to be paying much attention to her as she cries on her father's chest.
[09:04] <Anastasia> As he comforts his daughter gently, Professor Tomoe looks up to you. "Rei, could you go ask Akita to get Hotaru some hot chocolate, no milk?" he asks.
[09:05] <Rei-chan> "Of course," Rei stands up quickly, leaving the bag of grapes she had brought as she exits the room to search for the maid, and to give the father and daughter their privacy.
[09:10] <Anastasia> The maid is in the depressingly dark-toned living room, and she takes the order quickly. "Hotaru broke down again?" she asks. "It's what her mother or father made her after she had a good cry."
[09:11] * Rei-chan nods sadly. "I think it's my fault. I shouldn't have reminded her..."
[09:11] <Anastasia> She shakes her head. "Nonsense. Even since she came back... I've made hot chocolate a couple times each day." The statement is said with a loving sadness for Hotaru's mental state. "What happened to that poor girl..."
[09:14] <Rei-chan> "I guess..." Rei gives a wan smile, "It's better to get things out and have a good cry than to bottle things up and pretend everything's okay..."
[09:14] <Anastasia> "Yes, dear," she agrees, going to the kitchen. "Tell them that it'll be down there in five minutes."
[09:16] <Rei-chan> "Thank you," Rei bows, returning to Hotaru's room and pausing just outside the door to listen in.
[09:17] <Anastasia> Hotaru seems to have settled down, she's speaking very softly. With the door closed, it's too muted to make out. The Professor's response a moment later isn't, however. "Hotaru... I'm not leaving again."
[09:18] * Rei-chan re-enters the room, "Akita will be up in a few minutes," she says softly.
[09:20] <Anastasia> Hotaru is still clinging to her father, and looks to be almost falling asleep, her back slumped a bit. "Thank you, Rei," he nods. "So... how are the other girls doing? I haven't been to Mugen all week." As he asks this, he motions for you to sit down, a spare chair against the wall as Hotaru's breathing becomes soft and regular, her tears gone.
[09:23] * Rei-chan sits down, giving a sad look to Hotaru. "Things are mostly quiet at school - we're all just getting ready for moving up grades when the new term starts." She smiles a little, "It's peaceful, really. I don't know how long until the next threat to Earth shows up, but until then we can just be normal students."
[09:28] <Anastasia> He nods, stroking Hotaru's back. "Let it stay that way for a long time..." he says, getting up a bit and putting the now already sleeping Hotaru back to bed, tucking her in. "Let's discuss this in my study," he suggests with a final look at Hotaru. "She'll be asleep for at least two hours."
[09:29] <Rei-chan> "Of course," Rei stands up and exits the room, waiting for the Professor to lead the way to the study.
[09:31] <Anastasia> Back through the carpeted halls, you find yourself led to another room - a windowless, dark wood-paneled study, bookshelves built into the largish room. Along with this is the almost required overstuffed chairs, a liquor cabinet and a nice oak table. A hanging lamp provides a nice amount of light, at least.
[09:32] * Rei-chan takes a seat, waiting for the Professor to begin, since she doesn't really have a whole lot to add beyond what she just said, but he seems to have more on his mind.
[09:33] <Anastasia> He sits opposite you, and gets right into things. "Well, IS there another threat coming?" he asks, intent. "You said it like it was a matter of time."
[09:36] * Rei-chan sighs. "Back when we fought the Dark Kingdom, we thought if we could defeat them we could go back to our normal lives afterwards. The threat would be gone and we'd have preserved the peace on Earth. But then there were the Lunar Criminals, and then the Deathbusters, and Alan and Ann..." she frowns. "It's almost like it's our destiny to fight... I don't know what shape the next enemy will take, but I'm sure it will appear."
[09:38] <Anastasia> Tomoe takes in your small speech, quiet for several moments, then getting up and going to the liquor cabinet, a clink of bottle to glass a moment later. "Would you like some wine?" he asks absently, his manners kicking in while he thinks. "I find that I think better sometimes with a glass in my hand."
[09:39] <Rei-chan> "Just a little bit, thanks," Rei says, too polite to refuse.
[09:40] <Anastasia> He nods, coming back with a obviously expensive crystal wine glass, filled nearly to the top for you. He sets it on the table in front of you, sipping his own glass before going on. "I don't know if that's true or not," he shrugs, finally. "If the Earth is going to be in danger again, thenyou girls can count on anything I can do to help."
[09:44] * Rei-chan smiles, taking a small sip of her wine. "Thank you... I'm glad. Having a support base like you've provided for us at Mugen has been truly helpful. And getting to know other magically inclined people, too... It's good to know that we aren't alone; just five girls battling evil in secret..."
[09:50] <Anastasia> He nods. "Supporting yourselves alone against the Dark Kingdom must have been terrible." He sips at his glass, thinking. "Strangely, though, Germatou was uninterested in the early attacks. It dismissed them as amateurs and fools who would go nowhere. His orders for the Deathbusters were, in the event of coming across an attack, to ignore it."
[09:54] <Rei-chan> "Really? I suppose their attacks were a lot more subtle than Alan and Ann's draining sprees..." she frowns, "At least in the beginning, but I'd have thought he'd be concerned when people started being killed in case he missed out on a Talisman. But when you come right down to it, I don't think there's too much difference between Metallia and Pharaoh 90. At least in regards to the end result their presence on Earth would bring..."
[09:59] <Anastasia> "Perhaps not," he agrees. "In the end, the difference for Earth would have been minimal." He thinks that over a moment, going on. "Hm. Do you know anything about Metallia, past her goals, Rei?"
[10:11] * Rei-chan looks rather uncomfortable. "I don't think there's anyone alive who knows more about Metallia than I do..." She takes a gulp of her wine. "Is there anything in particular you want to know?"
[10:12] <Anastasia> He nods, going on. "Everything about Metallia. Any shred, big or small, I want to hear."
[10:18] <Rei-chan> "Okay," Rei takes another drink from her wine glass. "Usagi already told you a lot about the Dark Kingdom, what it did, how it worked... but as for Metallia herself... The only people who really knew much about her were her servants. Though I found out a bit when my mind made contact with her as I tried to close a portal she had made into Tokyo..."
[10:21] <Rei-chan> "First and foremost, Metallia was a creature of hatred and despair. Immensely powerful, too... it wouldn't really be amiss to call her a goddess. When my spirit came into contact with her that time," she shivers, taking another sip of wine, "it was like nothing I'd ever felt. I knew about the dark auras of youma, but this... it was infinitely more powerful. The backlash knocked me out and left me connected to her..."
[10:22] <Rei-chan> "She wanted the Silver Crystal desperately... probably because it was the only thing strong enough to stop her, but also because it would increase her power if she could control it." Rei shakes her head, "As powerful as she was, it wasn't enough. She had to have more."
[10:24] <Rei-chan> "There was a lot of hatred for the Sailor Senshi..." Rei scowls, "After she... changed me... made me into a mockery of what I was... I could feel her vengeful glee at what she had done. Her enemy had been remade into her servant, and it amused her no end..."
[10:26] <Anastasia> Professor Tomoe nods, letting Rei go on without interruption at the current time.
[10:26] <Rei-chan> "If she had succeeded in her ultimate goals... she wanted Earth. She didn't care how much she destroyed of her prize in the process, just so long as she got it." Rei wears a dark expression. "She had special plans for the Princess, but I won't speak of that. Metallia is dead now, and I'm quite happy to forget her miserable existence."
[10:27] <Anastasia> He again nods, thinking. "And of her main servants?" he asks. "Beryl, I believe, and her generals?"
[10:31] <Rei-chan> "Beryl was a sorceress who lived on Earth back in the days of the Silver Millenium... she was powerful and corrupt by any standards - probably a match for Kaolinite. Metallia acted through her, building her power on Earth." Rei again sips her wine, "Beryl lusted after Prince Endymion, but he loved the Moon Princess. It was easy for Metallia to manipulate her through her desires..."
[10:32] <Rei-chan> "The Dark Kingdom's generals were none other than the personal guard of Prince Endymion. I don't think they joined willingly - I think Metallia did to them what she did to me."
[10:33] <Anastasia> He nods at that, raising a hand. "I think both of us understand that part all too well."
[10:34] <Rei-chan> "Yes," Rei nods sadly, "We never found out what had been done to them until after we had defeated the Dark Kingdom, and the last surviving general - Jadeite - he seemed to be beyond help. He had been so thoroughly corrupted that even with Metallia's taint gone, he simply couldn't act any other way..."
[10:35] <Anastasia> That gets a long silence from the Professor. "I see." he finally says, his voice shaky in the slightest.
[10:36] * Rei-chan sighs. "At least he seemed to have found some measure of peace at the very end, but I still wish things could have gone differently for him..." she says, her tone melancholy as she swirls her nearly empty glass.
[10:37] <Anastasia> He nods. "Would you like some more wine?" he glances at his watch, "Or for me to call in some dinner. The time is slipping away from us tonight."
[10:40] * Rei-chan blinks. "So it has... I shouldn't impose on you any further," she says apologetically. "I'm sure you want to spend time with your daughter."
[10:47] <Anastasia> He smiles at that, but shakes his head. "It's no imposition. Besides," he sobers up, "This is as serious as spending time with my daughter is."
[10:49] <Rei-chan> "Well, if you insist I won't refuse," Rei smiles.
[10:50] <Anastasia> He smiles, going to the cabinet again, coming back with the nearly full wine bottle and placing it on the table. He then steps out of the room a moment. "Dinner will be here soon enough, then," he says as he settles back in. "Please, go on."
[10:52] <Rei-chan> "Well," Rei admits, "I've basically told you all I know about Metallia. She built up her forces on Earth without anyone in the Moon Kingdom paying attention until the attack came. With surprise and overwhelming force, the Dark Kingdom utterly razed the Silver Millenium, until Queen Serenity used the power of the Ginzuishou to seal the Dark Kingdom away and send us to be reborn in the future..."
[10:57] <Anastasia> "Hm. And the Crystal vanished again after it was used by Usagi?" he asks, vaguely on subject and thinking. "Back to whence it came, perhaps?"
[11:00] <Rei-chan> "I don't know the original source of the Crystal, but after Queen Serenity used it the last time it was split up into smaller fragments..." Rei furrows her brow, "After we gathered all the fragments - rainbow crystals - in one place, the main part of the crystal came out of Usagi and reformed. After the battle at Tokyo Tower it just vanished completely, though, with no clue as to where it went..."
[11:01] <Anastasia> "Could it have fragmented and spread again?" Tomoe muses, taking a sip of wine.
[11:04] * Rei-chan blinks. "That..." she furrows her brow again, "That's actually not a bad guess... hmm..." she looks thoughtful, "The rainbow crystals were hidden inside humans who were the reincarnations of the Dark Kingdom's greatest youma," she smirks, "Kind of odd that a reincarnated youma and a reincarnated sailor senshi would be in the same family, though... but if they've scattered again, I wonder where to?"
[11:05] <Anastasia> "Hmm... a reincarnated youma was related to one of you girls? That's quite interesting..." he murmurs, given even more fuel for the mental fires.
[11:07] <Rei-chan> "Yeah, my Grandpa was one of them - he looked even goofier than normal when he was a youma," Rei snickers slightly. "But if they did scatter, I wonder where?"
[11:09] <Anastasia> "Perhaps back to the youma? Or to-" he's cut off by the maid bringing in dinner, not resuming until the meal is delivered and she has left. It's homemade tempura and rice, and smells nice. "Anyway," he says, "If to them or to other bearers, could they be tracked?"
[11:12] <Rei-chan> "There were two devices that could do it," Rei says, taking a bite of her meal. "The Dark Kingdom had a black homing crystal they used which located them and extracted the crystals. We had the Moon Wand which also located them, though we never got a chance to extract any before the Dark Kingdom got them." She takes another bite. "Both those are gone, though. But I bet Usagi could spot a crystal with her aura sight, now, anyway."
[11:14] <Anastasia> "It may be worth pursuing," he muses, getting into his own meal. "If the Silver Crystal still exists, it would be worthwhile to get it... and prevent it from being used by anyone else."
[11:17] * Rei-chan nods, chewing her food. "Definitely," she says after swallowing. "Having it fall into the wrong hands would be catastrophic. But as to finding it - if it does still exist, even in a fragmented state... well, we don't really have the first clue of where to begin. The original fragments were used to seal powerful youma after the final battle, but there wasn't anything like that in our last battle at Tokyo Tower..."
[11:19] <Anastasia> He nods, working on returning his plate to its natural, empty state. "Could it have been destroyed because of Metallia, or as a backlash? Or..." Professor Tomoe puts down his chopsticks, solemn. "If the Deathbusters were operating during this, it's not unreasonable to assume a third group or individual could have been as well. Is it possible the Crystal was stolen?"
[11:22] <Rei-chan> "Stolen?" Rei looks doubtful, "I'm not sure. Considering how things got 'reset' after that battle, would it have stayed stolen? I think the most likely explanation is that it simply expended all of its power in utterly destroying Metallia - sealing Metallia nearly killed Queen Serenity, remember? I think if the crystal used all of its power it would simply cease to exist."
[11:26] <Anastasia> "Even if that is the case, I'd like to at least inspect one of the fragment carriers," he comments. "Just to be sure."
[11:27] <Rei-chan> "If you like," Rei shrugs amiably, "I know one of them is in Africa right now, but I expect the rest are still around Tokyo. It'd be easiest for you just to meet my Grandfather," she says, finishing off her dinner. "That was nice," she adds, pushing her empty plate away.
[11:29] <Anastasia> "That would be fine," he agrees. "On that; I recall you mentioning your Grandfather was somewhat talented as well?" he asks, settling in after topping off his glass.
[11:30] <Rei-chan> "In spiritual matters, certainly," Rei nods, allowing a bit of pride to show through, "He taught me everything I know about Shinto."
[11:32] <Anastasia> "Supernaturally talented at all," he smiles a bit.
[11:35] <Rei-chan> "Yes... not 'magic' per se, but he's very adept at using his ki. He knows all about creating spiritual wards and banishing demons and reading the Sacred Flame, things like that."
[11:36] <Anastasia> "He taught you the same skills, essentially," he asks, once again sipping from his wine glass. Between the two of you, you've about gone halfway through the bottle...
[11:39] <Rei-chan> "Yes," Rei smiles wanly, "Training to become a miko kept my mind off other things when I first came to live at the Shrine... and I'm glad for it. It's very spiritually fulfilling..." she smiles a bit livelier, "And my connection with the Sacred Flame made mastering my abilities as Sailor Mars a lot easier."
[11:41] <Anastasia> "You girls learned your magics by yourself, or did you have any help from your advisors? Most of the Witches needed some 'guidance'," a touch of distaste at that, the edge of his lip curling, "from Germatou to fully use their powers. The flame was yours?"
[11:45] <Rei-chan> "Our advisors didn't really help much with that... our main attacks mostly come from instinct, or memories of our previous lives. At most Luna or Artemis would just tell us the names of our attacks and remind us of certain abilities like the Sailor Teleport," Rei tells him. "Beyond simple destructive applications, mastery of our elements has mostly been trial and error."
[11:46] <Rei-chan> "The others practice a lot, but I just meditate to further my understanding of fire. Although at first I could only do that transformed," she blushes, "I assume you know about how I was expelled from T*A?"
[11:47] <Anastasia> A sudden chuckle comes from his lips. "Germatou heard about it and he went so far as to talk to the headmaster of T*A after your scanning results pegged you as a Witch candidate."
[11:47] <Rei-chan> "Oh?" Rei slumps a bit, "I've heard some of the rumours from T*A after I left... so what was said 'one headmaster to another'?"
[11:49] <Anastasia> Another deep throated laugh comes from him. "I have to admit, I find this funny even though the filter of Germatou's memories... anyway, the headmaster ranted about a 'pyromaniac, lesbian, Satanic witch who should be burned at the stake, befitting a firebug'. He went on a half hour about it, at least."
[11:50] * Rei-chan turns crimson. "Oh, boy... that was really bad... He had no way of even knowing it was me that did it."
[11:51] <Anastasia> "Heh," he muses. "He also ranted about the Aino girl to a lesser extent; you were the main focus of his wrath." A frown crosses his face at the mention of that last bit of unfinished business. "Speaking of Miss Aino, she was pegged as a possible Witch, but vanished into thin air right after the testing. Do you know what happened to her?"
[11:53] <Rei-chan> "Ugh," Rei frowns at that. "Minako was... is... Sailor Venus. She had a magic device she could use to make herself look different, and is actually the idol singer Full Moon. She decided that going off and singing songs was more important than her duty as a Sailor Senshi. None of us have heard from her since she vanished."
[11:56] <Anastasia> "She dropped her duty, just like that? I had the impression that you girls were tighter and more loyal than that." He again frowns, mulling it over.
[11:58] <Rei-chan> "There's more to it than that... she had been a Sailor Senshi longer than any of us, and it put a lot of pressure on her from an early age... and a lot of the rest is just stupid teenage drama you probably don't want to hear about," Rei says, not really wanting to get drawn on the subject much further.
[12:04] <Anastasia> He can't help but chuckle again, despite it all. "Stupid teenage drama? You'd think the responsible, mature Sailor Senshi were still only 14." Shaking his head, he goes on. "Regardless... if she comes back, will it be a problem?"
[12:06] * Rei-chan sighs. "Probably. Her just leaving without a word like that, especially when Alan and Ann were just starting their attacks, it really came as a blow. If she came back she'd have to work really hard to regain our trust."
[12:09] <Anastasia> Tomoe nods, making a mental note not to buy Hotaru a Full Moon CD. "She is still technically a Mugen eligible student, although I can remove her from that list if you wish."
[12:11] <Rei-chan> "I won't ask you to do that. If she chooses to come back, we won't avoid her. I get the feeling she won't come back, though... not with her career as an idol singer to pursue," Rei snorts, thinking of the all too brief shelf-life idol singers have.
[12:15] <Anastasia> "Alright," he agrees, taking the wine bottle and filling up his glass once more. But as he's doing that, the door to the study cracks open, revealing a still clad in a white shirt (and hopefully panties, but the shirt reaches to her lower ankles anyhow) Hotaru. She looks a touch sweaty from her exertions, but she's up and walking.
[12:16] <Anastasia> Professor Tomoe quickly puts down the glass, going over to Hotaru in a near sprint. "Are you alright, Hotaru-chan? You shouldn't be out of bed yet."
[12:17] * Rei-chan looks over, "She probably wondered where her daddy was," she smiles, standing. "I think I've kept you long enough, Professor."
[12:17] <Anastasia> "Yes," he agrees, kneeling next to his daughter. "It's nearly 8 already."
[12:17] <Anastasia> "Is Rei leaving already," Hotaru asks, looking up at her. "I... I wanted her to stay a little longer."
[12:18] <Rei-chan> "You do?" Rei looks surprised, and flattered.
[12:19] <Anastasia> She nods, looking at you with wide, bright eyes. "I... don't have many visitors usually."
[12:20] <Rei-chan> "Well, I can stay a bit longer, if you don't mind?" Rei looks at the Professor.
[12:20] <Anastasia> He nods to you, then smiles. "Why don't you and Hotaru go, ah, play?"
[12:21] <Rei-chan> "I'd be happy to," Rei kneels down next to Hotaru, "Is there anything you want to do in particular, Hotaru-chan?" she asks pleasantly.
[12:23] <Anastasia> She thinks a moment, putting her finger on her face. "Um... could we play Old Maid?"
[12:24] <Rei-chan> "Sure," Rei smiles, "It's been a while since I've played, but I think I remember the rules."
[12:25] <Anastasia> Hotaru smiles back, seemingly happy at just that. She leads you to her room, a light on now that the sun has set and to a nice, low-lying table and a deck of hardly-used cards...
[12:26] <Anastasia> The next hour passes by nicely, Rei winning 3 games and Hotaru 2. By the end, you've fallen into a relaxed, warm chatter, only broken by Hotaru's yawns.
[12:27] <Rei-chan> "It's getting pretty late now, Hotaru-chan," Rei observes. "You look like you're about ready to nod off."
[12:28] <Anastasia> She nods, yawning again. "I'm tired," she agrees. "Thank you, Rei-chan."
[12:28] <Rei-chan> "No need to thank me, Hotaru-chan," Rei smiles, "I had a lot of fun."
[12:29] <Anastasia> She smiles brightly, but then yawns a third time. "Can... can you and Usagi and Haruka come over again soon?"
[12:30] <Rei-chan> "Sure thing," Rei gets up and goes over to help Hotaru into her bed. "I'll talk to them tomorrow and see about us all coming to see you."
[12:31] <Anastasia> As she gets in, her smile widens into an honest grin. "I'll see you all soon?"
[12:31] <Rei-chan> "Maybe even tomorrow," Rei grins back. "Good night, Hotaru-chan. And sweet dreams," she says, backing out towards the door.
[12:34] <Anastasia> ---
[22:33] <Sailor_Anastasia> Coming down from another day of studying to the Witches office, you find the Professor, Viluy and Eudial looking over a thick pile of papers, talking away...
[22:34] * Usagi-chan gives the group a wave as she comes in, not wanting to disturb them from whatever they're busy with.
[22:34] <Sailor_Anastasia> They don't even look up, throwing around words that make your brain ache and moan.
[22:35] * Usagi-chan grimaces at the flying jargon, settling down at her desk to work on her homework.
[22:36] <Sailor_Anastasia> As you do, the words 'translocation', 'matter-to-light' and 'teleportation' sprinkle the conversation...
[22:37] * Usagi-chan blinks, actually having recognized one of those words. She looks up from her desk, paying a little more attention to the conversation.
[22:38] <Sailor_Anastasia> 'Matter conversion... atomic splitting... lightspeed relativity...' All these words are bandied about, the rabbit's head dully aching.
[22:39] * Usagi-chan shakes her head, giving up on the conversation as being above her head. Maybe Ami could explain all that stuff to her later.
[22:44] <Sailor_Anastasia> As you tune it out, one last phrase gets your attention. "Moon to Earth movement..."
[22:45] <Usagi-chan> THAT gets Usagi's attention. Getting up from her desk, she heads over to get a peek at the papers the three are studying. "What's going on?"
[22:46] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Hi, Usagi," Eudial says, glancing up from her craned position over the papers, wrinking her nose a bit to adjust the light pair of glasses she's wearing. "Do you remember talking about a way to get to the Moon quickly and easily?" Tomoe himself asks.
[22:46] <Usagi-chan> "Yeah, it'd be great if there was some way other than having me or the senshi as a group getting people up there." Usagi replies.
[22:49] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Well," Viluy goes on, taking the bait and running with it, "the Twins and our scanners say the Moon has an unusually vibrant magical current around it now. It might be possible to use that as a level, so to speak, to power a teleportation unit. Maybe."
[22:51] <Usagi-chan> "So... it might be possible to make a machine to teleport us back and forth from the Moon? Is that what you're saying?" Usagi looks surprised.
[22:52] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Perhaps, yes," Professor Tomoe replies, taking this break to stretch out a bit. "At least in theory - it's applying scientific principles to magical applications. It's impossible to know for sure until it's constructed and tested."
[22:54] <Usagi-chan> "Wow... well, it's probably all way above my head. I mean, I'm starting to understand a little bit about how magic works, but I have no clue when it comes to machines." Usagi looks thoughtful. "I wish there was something I could do to help you guys though, it'd be great to have an easier way to get back and forth."
[22:56] <Sailor_Anastasia> The three exchange a long look. Something about it... "Actually, you could," Eudial comments, drumming her fingers together. "How often can you teleport to and back from the moon, rapid fire?"
[22:57] * Usagi-chan blinks. "Well, I've never actually tried it directly like that before... it doesn't take much when I'm going by myself, so I'd say a lot. If I take more people it takes it out of me a lot faster though."
[22:58] <Sailor_Anastasia> Another three way look. "Usagi, if we were to put you on a sensor and have you teleport back and forth as many times as you can as fast as you can, the readings could be very useful."
[22:59] <Sailor_Anastasia> Professor Tomoe comments. "With those readings, the phase variance of the current would be established, as well as any quirks."
[22:59] <Usagi-chan> "Sure, if that'd help out I'd be happy to do it." Usagi smiles.
[23:00] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Are the sensor pads still in the old lab?" Viluy asks, already mentally going after the setup needed. With Tomoe's nod, the girls get up. "Come on, Usagi," Eudial says.
[23:00] * Usagi-chan nods, following Eudial out of the office.
[23:05] <Sailor_Anastasia> The old laboratory where Germatou held court is now well lit and cleaned, although there is still a high concentration of junk and clutter about. A short amount of moving, with Eudial and Viluy hauling out heavy looking metal pads, sets up the sensor station. It's a metal floor stand to perch on, and some glassy scanners that read signs from your body.
[23:06] * Usagi-chan is rather overawed by the setup, simply watching in silence as the two former Witches set up the equipment.
[23:06] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Stand right on the metal platform," The Professor instructs you as he works at a control panel a bit away from this.
[23:08] * Usagi-chan nods, stepping up onto the metal pads. "Should I go ahead and change now?"
[23:08] <Sailor_Anastasia> As he says that, the other two girls finish up and go to two other control panels, working away as well. "Please do, Usagi."
[23:09] * Usagi-chan nods, closing her eyes as a flash of soft white light announces her transformation into Princess Serenity.
[23:11] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Okay... ready when you are, Usagi," Professor Tomoe says, after glancing at the lab-coated Eudial and uniformed Viluy.
[23:12] <Serenity> "You need me to do this fast, right? Just wanted to doublecheck before I get started." Serenity asks.
[23:12] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Yes. As fast as possible - unless you can do it over twice in a second, it won't be a problem," The Professor confirms, eyes on his instruments.
[23:15] * Serenity giggles. "Nowhere near that fast... okay, here goes!" Serenity closes her eyes as she begins the incantation that will transport her to the Moon palace. About 20 seconds later, she completes the spell and disappears from the pad.
[23:20] <Serenity> Another fifteen seconds or so pass before the blonde reappears, but as the scientists watch the princess teleport back and forth they note that the interval between teleports is diminishing rapidly, and that the soft white glow around Serenity seems to be intensifying, almost focusing. Serenity comes and goes a full dozen more times, then after one final teleport she returns to the sensor pad, looking rather drained.
[23:20] <Serenity> "I think... that's about it. I might have one more in me, but I'll probably faint if I try it again."
[23:21] <Sailor_Anastasia> Once Usagi shows no more signs of going and after several seconds at the controls, Tomoe speaks up. "That's fine, we have the data we need."
[23:22] * Serenity nods, blowing out a breath. "Good... now, I think I'm going to rest a bit." She relaxes, changing back into her school uniform in the process.
[23:23] <Sailor_Anastasia> As Usagi walks back to the office, she finds herself terribly lightheaded and woozy. Perhaps overload? ...even the last thanks of the three are a bit muddled.
[23:23] * Usagi-chan collapses onto the couch, deciding that a nap is probably better there than at her desk.
[23:26] <Sailor_Anastasia> ---
[11:25] <Sailor_Anastasia> One sleepy Monday, Usagi misses school due to a cold. Nothing but a blip in her currently peaceful life, until your mother decides to spend some time with you after bringing you soup.
[11:26] <Sailor_Anastasia> The chatting goes well enough at first, although it hits a snag when Usagi mentions Rei in passing, Ikkuko automatically frowning.
[11:26] * Usagi-chan sighs at her mother's expression.
[11:28] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Usagi..." she sighs herself at this, the tension thickening up in the room. "...How are you and Rei, ah, doing?"
[11:29] <Usagi-chan> "We're, um, very happy." Usagi burrows down into her bed.
[11:30] <Sailor_Anastasia> Ikkuko plays with the folds of her dress as she sits on the edge of her daughter's bed, her hands showing her tension. "That's... good, Usagi."
[11:31] * Usagi-chan looks up at her mother, unsure of what to say.
[11:33] <Sailor_Anastasia> Oppressive silence, as perhaps poisonous as anything Pharoah 90 would have brought, settles in. Ikkuko's face is strained as well, and she is suddenly looking all of her thirtysomething years. "Usagi... are you and Rei... intiamate?"
[11:35] * Usagi-chan works her mouth for a moment, desperately wishing she had a glass of water right now. "Um..." She blushes furiously, trying to hide in the covers.
[11:35] <Sailor_Anastasia> Mother merely stares down at you, her eyes probing. "Usagi Tsukino, tell me the truth," she says firmly, resorting to the Motherly Voice, the one that you've heard since infancy.
[11:36] <Usagi-chan> "Yes..." Usagi says in a tiny voice, shrinking away from her mother.
[11:37] <Sailor_Anastasia> Ikkuko turns away, visibly deflating as a loud breath explodes out of her mouth. Slumped, she lets another meaty, disturbing calm settle into the room.
[11:37] * Usagi-chan closes her eyes tightly, her heart sinking at her mother's reaction.
[11:38] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Then..." Shattered by her words, the silence in the room breaks, leaving only the ambient friction between the two, "...you really should invite Rei over for dinner, and to meet your father."
[11:38] <Sailor_Anastasia> Her voice is notably sad, though, but resolute.
[11:39] * Usagi-chan opens her eyes, startled. "...what?"
[11:40] <Sailor_Anastasia> Her back is still to you as she goes on. "I really hoped for a while that this was some teenage confusion, but I don't think it's the case."
[11:42] * Usagi-chan's voice is small, but resolute. "I really do love Rei-chan."
[11:43] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Yeah. Then... bring her over tomorrow night, Usagi." Ikkuko gets up, still not looking at you. "I'll make a nice dinner and we'll talk."
[11:43] <Usagi-chan> "All right, Mom." Usagi sighs, looking over at the clock.
[11:47] <Usagi-chan> Seeing that it's the middle of lunch period at Mugen, she decides to give Rei a 'call'. 'Rei-chan, are you busy?'
[11:49] <Rei-chan> 'Hi, Usagi,' Rei's mental voice comes back. 'Not really. Viluy and Eudial are talking about something... scientific... but it's all over my head. I'm just eating lunch.'
[11:49] * Usagi-chan sighs mentally. 'I just got done talking with Mom... about us.'
[11:50] <Rei-chan> 'Ah,' comes back as Rei's succinct reply.
[11:51] <Usagi-chan> 'She wanted to know if you'd come over to dinner tomorrow night.'
[11:52] <Rei-chan> 'Really?' Rei sounds surprised, and a little hopeful. 'So she's coming around?'
[11:53] <Usagi-chan> 'I... well, she still didn't sound all that crazy about it, but I think she's finally willing to accept that I'm serious about us.'
[11:54] <Rei-chan> 'At least there's some hope, now...' Rei responds. 'So how's your cold?' she asks, changing the subject.
[11:56] <Usagi-chan> 'Not too bad, really... just mostly tired more than anything. I'll probably be fine by tomorrow, I hope. It stinks being stuck in bed all day.'
[11:58] <Rei-chan> 'That's good,' Rei nods, unseen by Usagi. 'Can't have you ill tomorrow if it's such a big day...'
[11:59] <Usagi-chan> 'Yeah...' Usagi trails off mentally, still thinking about that. 'I hope everything goes well.'
[11:59] <Rei-chan> 'Me too, Usagi... me too...'
[12:19] <Sailor_Anastasia> ---
[12:20] <Sailor_Anastasia> Usagi does indeed make class Tuesday, even the teleport babble floating around the Witches office unable to get her attention as the day ends.
[12:21] <Sailor_Anastasia> Rei finds Usagi sitting at her desk, seemingly distant...
[12:22] <Rei-chan> "Hi, Usagi," Rei waves a hand in front of her girlfriend's face. "Feeling better today?"
[12:22] <Usagi-chan> "Hmm? Oh hi, Rei-chan." She smiles as she finally focuses on the miko. "Yeah, just thinking about tonight."
[12:24] <Rei-chan> "I hope things go well," Rei says, fidgeting a little nervously. "What time will dinner be at?"
[12:25] <Usagi-chan> "6:30 - that's when Daddy gets home from work, usually." Usagi replies, fidgeting with one of her pigtails.
[12:28] * Rei-chan nods, leaning a bit closer to the blonde. "Well, that's a few hours off..." She steals a quick glance at the other girls in the room, who seem absorbed in their technobabble. "What do you want to do until then?"
[12:29] * Usagi-chan smiles. "Did you have anything in mind?"
[12:30] <Rei-chan> "Well... you seem awfully tense," Rei says in a quiet whisper, "I was hoping I could help with that... if you want me to?"
[12:32] * Usagi-chan blushes. "That would be nice..." she says quietly. "Should I take us away from all of this?" She giggles a little at that.
[12:33] <Rei-chan> "Please," Rei bobs her head in agreement.
[12:35] * Usagi-chan transforms without another word, and in short order the two lovebirds find themselves in Serenity's bedchamber in the Moon Palace, Usagi returning to her school uniform as the two appear.
[12:36] <Rei-chan> "Come on," Rei guides Usagi to the bed, "Let's make sure we're both... relaxed, for dinner," she smiles teasingly.
[12:37] <Sailor_Anastasia> ---
[12:39] <Sailor_Anastasia> Some time later, Rei arrives at the Tsukino house. Indeed, your activities on the Moon did relax you...
[12:40] <Sailor_Anastasia> Usagi is waiting for her, while her mother works away in the kitchen.
[12:42] * Usagi-chan opens the door for her girlfriend, giving her a gentle smile - she still seems pretty relaxed as well. "Come on in, Rei-chan. Mom's still getting things ready."
[12:42] <Rei-chan> "Thanks," Rei smiles, stepping inside and taking off her shoes. 'So does the rest of your family know, now?'
[12:43] <Usagi-chan> 'I have no idea whether Mom told Daddy or not... he hasn't seemed to be mad about it, so I'm guessing she hasn't. And I'm almost positive Shingo doesn't know.' Usagi sighs a little.
[12:44] <Rei-chan> "Right," Rei nods, deciding to play things low key and take her cues from Ikkuko. She follows Usagi inside, looking around for said other family members.
[12:46] <Sailor_Anastasia> Shingo is nowhere in sight, either upstairs or away. Usagi's father is in the living room, just winding down from a day of hard work while Ikkuko is finishing dinner.
[12:47] <Rei-chan> "Hello Mr Tsukino," Rei says, a tad nervously as she wonders if he'll suddenly leap up and start berating the evil lesbian pyromaniac witch who stole his daughter's innocence.
[12:48] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Oh, hello Rei," he turns to look at you from the couch, his tie loose and shirt now untucked. "Usagi mentioned you'd be eating dinner here tonight."
[12:48] <Rei-chan> "Yes, thank you for having me over," Rei says politely, dipping a quick bow.
[12:49] * Usagi-chan smiles outwardly. 'He doesn't know. He'd have said something if he did.'
[12:49] <Rei-chan> 'But is he going to find out tonight?' Rei wonders even while projecting an image of calmness and friendliness.
[12:50] <Sailor_Anastasia> He nods, anything he might have said afterwards cut off by, "Usagi, Kenji...," a tiny pause between that and, "Rei, dinner is ready."
[12:50] <Usagi-chan> "Thanks, Mom, we'll be there in a second!" Usagi calls back. 'I'd imagine so... I just hope he doesn't get too upset over it.'
[12:50] <Rei-chan> 'Shingo's not here?' Rei thinks with a sinking feeling. 'I think your mother doesn't want him to hear what's going to be the topic of conversation tonight...'
[12:52] <Usagi-chan> 'Over at Mika's again, I think.' Usagi replies as the trio head for the dining room.
[12:53] * Rei-chan enters last. "Thank you for inviting me to dinner, Mrs Tsukino," she bows to the blue-haired woman, again keeping up her manners.
[12:53] <Sailor_Anastasia> Dinner is spread out in the dining room, a steaming platter of food. It smells really good...
[12:53] * Usagi-chan smiles nervously, hoping that this doesn't go TOO badly...
[12:53] <Sailor_Anastasia> Ikkuko manages to reply without pausing too much, merely smiling back as she sits down. The plates are filled, food and drink are passed around... and... nothing.
[12:54] <Sailor_Anastasia> Ikkuko doesn't say a thing, pushing her food around her plate a moment before Kenji speaks up. "So! How was your day, Usagi," he asks, oblivious.
[12:54] * Rei-chan sits down next to Usagi. "It smells delicious," she comments, waiting for her hostess to signal they can start eating.
[12:55] <Usagi-chan> "It was fine, Daddy." Usagi smiles a bit. "I managed to get caught up from yesterday fairly fast, so that was nice."
[12:56] <Sailor_Anastasia> He nods, then to Ikkuko as he starts on his food. "Rei, it's nice to have you over. Are you spending the night?"
[12:56] <Rei-chan> "Uh..." Rei glances helplessly at Usagi. "I thought the invitation was just for dinner..."
[12:56] <Sailor_Anastasia> "What's wrong, dear," he says a moment later, Ikkuko's fork clattering loudly against her plate.
[12:57] * Rei-chan winces.
[12:57] * Usagi-chan goes pale, lowering her head a bit and avoiding her mother's face.
[12:57] <Sailor_Anastasia> "It's just for dinner," Usagi's mom agrees, then sighs. "Kenji... Usagi has something she needs to tell you."
[12:57] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Oh?" Kenji smiles at Usagi. "Did you do well on a test, Usagi-chan?"
[12:58] * Rei-chan swallows a lump in her throat, her pale face and wide eyes betraying her nervousness.
[12:58] <Usagi-chan> "Um... no, it's not about that." She glances over at Rei. "I'm dating someone now."
[12:59] <Sailor_Anastasia> "W-w-what?" Kenji twitches three times, finally getting out the word. "Who is it, Usagi?"
[12:59] * Usagi-chan takes a deep breath and swallows before replying. "It's Rei-chan, Daddy."
[12:59] * Rei-chan gives Kenji a slightly strained smile.
[13:00] <Sailor_Anastasia> Like a mist falling on a valley, Kenji's glasses fog up. "Rei-chan is your girlfriend," he asks lightly, a big, stupid grin on his face. He looks almost... unhinged.
[13:01] <Sailor_Anastasia> Usagi's mom merely lowers her gaze, letting the scene play out while her food stays untouched.
[13:01] * Usagi-chan nods slowly, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
[13:01] * Rei-chan reaches over to take Usagi's hand under the table, trying to show some solidarity.
[13:02] * Usagi-chan squeezes Rei's hand tightly, giving the miko a hesitant smile.
[13:02] <Sailor_Anastasia> A final twitch hits Kenji before he doubles over in loud, roaring laughter. It fills the room with an off-key humor, his body shaking with it.
[13:02] * Usagi-chan is completely taken aback at her father's reaction. "Wha... why are you laughing, Daddy?"
[13:02] <Rei-chan> 'This is very not good,' Rei thinks disconsolately.
[13:03] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Oh, Usagi, that was good," he finally manages as his laughing winds down. His glasses are back to normal now, his eyes sparkling. "You had me going there, the way you and Rei exchanged looks, too!"
[13:03] * Usagi-chan lowers her eyes. "I wasn't joking, Daddy."
[13:03] <Rei-chan> "It," Rei coughs delicately, "It's not a joke, Mr Tsukino."
[13:04] <Sailor_Anastasia> "But you have to get up pretty early to get one over on Kenji Tsukino," he grins, pointing a finger at you... which drops a moment later at that second comment. Again his glasses fog. "It isn't?" he asks, very quiet.
[13:04] * Usagi-chan shakes her head, still not meeting his gaze.
[13:04] <Rei-chan> "No joke," Rei says weakly.
[13:05] <Sailor_Anastasia> "So... you're a lesbian, Usagi?" he asks her, still quiet.
[13:05] * Usagi-chan flinches a bit at the word, but nods. "Yes," she says quietly.
[13:06] <Sailor_Anastasia> "My Usagi's lilies are blooming," he mutters, shaking his head. "You really are, Usagi? No joke?"
[13:06] <Usagi-chan> "I really am, Daddy. I'm not kidding." Usagi manages a crooked smile.
[13:07] <Sailor_Anastasia> He nods, his motions stiff. "And Rei... you're... being... a lesbian with my Usagi?"
[13:07] <Rei-chan> "Yes," Rei says in a small voice as she nods.
[13:09] <Sailor_Anastasia> He grumbles. "You didn't even ask permission to date Usagi!" he fires off, annoyed and crossing his arms. "And you're almost too young for her, Usagi needs someone to take care of her!"
[13:10] <Rei-chan> "Uh..." Rei flounders, not really expecting him to take that angle. "I'm two months older than she is!" she quickly replies, pointing at Usagi. Then wincing as she realises how lame that sounded.
[13:11] <Sailor_Anastasia> "And what about poor Umino? He's taking you out to lunch this Sunday!"
[13:11] <Sailor_Anastasia> He shakes his head, seemingly peeved... but not really angry like Ikkuko.
[13:12] <Rei-chan> "He is?" Rei blinks, looking at Usagi in surprise, "I didn't think Usagi and Umino had even spoken since she transferred to Mugen..."
[13:12] <Usagi-chan> "He is?" Usagi looks nonplussed. "Since when?"
[13:13] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Since I talked to him yesterday," he nods. "Usagi hadn't been with anyone but her friends, so I thought she could use a nice nudge towards a nice boy." He laughs frantically, rubbing the back of his head. "I hadn't thought to tell you yet, though."
[13:14] * Usagi-chan sighs. "I wasn't even planning on BEING here on Sunday."
[13:14] <Rei-chan> "Um..." Rei looks rather confused, not having considered this reaction in her mental rehearsals. "I'm sorry I didn't ask for permission... our dating kind of caught us both by surprise." Gamely, she gives Kenji her most winning smile, "Can I have your permission to date your beautiful daughter?"
[13:15] * Usagi-chan grins at Rei's recovery, blushing a bit at the miko's description of her.
[13:15] <Sailor_Anastasia> Kenji turns to Rei, passing by Usagi for the moment.
[13:16] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Well... does she make you happy, Usagi," he asks, as Ikkuko kneads the tablecloth with her hands. She doesn't look happy at all with his reaction, tense lines all over her face.
[13:17] <Usagi-chan> "Very happy, Daddy." Usagi looks up at Rei, giving her a smile.
[13:17] * Rei-chan is too busy looking at Ikkuko, seeming rather unhappy with her reaction, to return Usagi's smile.
[13:18] <Sailor_Anastasia> He even manages to smile back at Usagi. "Rei, you have my permission to date Usag-" Kenji is cut off by Ikkuko's feet stomping on the ground as she gets up and quite hastily storms out of the room and upstairs.
[13:18] * Usagi-chan cringes at her mother's reaction, her smile fading quickly.
[13:19] * Rei-chan hangs her head. "Thanks, Mr Tsukino," she says sadly. "I'm glad at least one of you supports us..."
[13:20] <Usagi-chan> "Thank you, Daddy." Usagi gives her father a wan smile.
[13:20] <Sailor_Anastasia> Kenji pauses, the sound of a bedroom door slamming shut seconds later. He looks over his shoulder, in the direction of the stairs. "Girls, why don't you go ahead and..." he reaches into his wallet, pulling out several nicely large yen notes, "And go get some dinner out? Ikkuko and I need to talk." He sighs, far more serious than you're used to.
[13:21] <Rei-chan> "Thanks," Rei stands up. "Good luck," she adds, giving him a small smile.
[13:21] * Usagi-chan smiles as she takes the money from her father, giving him a hug and a peck on the cheek. "Thanks again, Daddy. I'm sorry this is causing so much trouble with Mom."
[13:22] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Go and have fun with your girlfriend," he does raise his voice a bit at that, still a bit shaky on it, "Usagi."
[13:23] * Usagi-chan nods. "I will. I love you, Daddy." She smiles warmly at her father.
[13:24] <Sailor_Anastasia> He matches the smile for just a moment before resuming a more serious expression, getting up and going upstairs...
[13:24] * Rei-chan sighs, taking Usagi's arm. "That was both better and worse than I had expected..."
[13:25] * Usagi-chan nods. "I'm glad Daddy took it as well as he did," she replies with a sigh. "I just wish Mom wasn't so upset about it."
[13:25] <Rei-chan> "Yeah..." Rei looks downcast. "I was hoping after inviting me like this she was coming around, but that's pretty clearly not true..." she says as she and the blonde head out.
[13:26] <Sailor_Anastasia> As you head out, a scream of, "I DON'T CARE! MY DAUGHTER IS A DAMN LESBIAN," works its way from the house outward, loud enough to reach down the street. Ikkuko seems quite unhappy and teary from the sounds of it.
[13:26] <Usagi-chan> "She'll..." Usagi swallows. "She'll have to accept it sooner or later, Rei-chan - because she's not going to change the way I feel about you." That brings a shaky smile from the blonde.
[13:28] <Rei-chan> "Nothing could change how I feel about you, either," Rei says, giving Usagi a smile interspersed with wincing as she listens to Ikkuko's tirade, unconsciously picking up the pace to get away. "But I still feel horrible causing this sort of trouble for you and your mother..."
[13:29] <Sailor_Anastasia> Fleeing from the scene, you end up at a nearby okonomiyaki restaurant, a sit-in place with booths and atmosphere. Not really upscale, but it works for your purposes.
[13:30] <Sailor_Anastasia> Amid a pair of okonomiyakis, the events of the past hour finally settle in...
[13:31] * Rei-chan eats her okonomiyaki. "It's a pity we never got to eat that dinner... it smelled nice," she notes.
[13:32] * Usagi-chan picks at her own okonomiyaki. "Yeah... Mom's a really good cook..." she says dully.
[13:32] <Rei-chan> "Yeah. I remember the dinner we had at Christmas..." Rei sighs, wondering if Ikkuko will ever tolerate her presence again.
[13:33] * Usagi-chan pushes her plate away, resting her head on her arms. "I wish I'd never said anything to her about it."
[13:34] <Rei-chan> "She'd have found out eventually," Rei says, putting an arm around Usagi. "We wouldn't be able to hide it forever, especially not from your own mother."
[13:35] <Usagi-chan> "I guess so... it just feels really bad that she's so upset about it." Usagi sighs.
[13:36] <Rei-chan> "I know," Rei slumps her shoulders. "I really hate this."
[13:38] <Usagi-chan> "I just wish there was something I could say or do to get her to stop being so angry about it, but she doesn't even want to listen to me."
[13:40] <Rei-chan> "No..." Rei frowns, "After all, two girls like... us... it's unnatural, isn't it?" She shakes her head, "I don't believe that, of course, but... but your mother does. And I don't think anything we can do will convince her otherwise. If she ever accepts us, the impetus has to come from within."
[13:42] * Usagi-chan sighs. "I run around fighting evil in a short skirt and boots, and I'm actually the ruler of an ancient kingdom on the Moon." She gives a short laugh. "You'd think that being with another girl would be fairly small next to all of that."
[13:44] <Rei-chan> "Obviously it's not small to your mother," Rei grumbles. "I suppose at the very least I should be grateful it isn't personal - she doesn't disapprove of me, just my gender."
[13:46] * Usagi-chan sits back up, poking at her now-cold okonomiyaki with her fork. "She won't even let me explain anything... I just hate not being able to do anything!"
[13:48] * Rei-chan sighs loudly. "Your father told us to go out and have fun. We're failing pretty miserably aren't we?"
[13:48] <Usagi-chan> "Yeah, I guess we are," Usagi mumbles. "Kind of hard to when I know what's happening back at home, though."
[13:49] * Rei-chan nods. "I wonder if she's stopped yelling, yet?"
[13:50] <Usagi-chan> "Probably not yelling, but I bet she's still mad. She never yells for very long, but she doesn't exactly change her mind in a hurry either." Usagi frowns.
[13:51] <Rei-chan> "I almost wish a monster would attack right now," Rei snorts, pushing her partially chewed okonomiyaki around. "That always helps work stress off. But there aren't any monsters, and hopefully won't be for some time."
[13:52] * Usagi-chan smirks slightly at that. "You want to go work some stress off? There's something I've done a couple of times, if you want to try it."
[13:53] <Rei-chan> "Oh?" Rei raises an eyebrow, "And what might that be?" she asks, a curious lilt in her voice.
[13:54] <Usagi-chan> "Let's just say that I don't fix EVERYTHING in the palace." Usagi grins. "Beryl left behind more than a few souvenirs, and it feels SO good to just go and blast the heck out of some of them sometimes."
[13:55] <Rei-chan> "Heh," Rei pushes her plate away, chuckling. "I think that sounds like just what the doctor ordered."
[13:56] * Usagi-chan gets up from the table, still grinning. "Come on, we can head up from the bathroom or something."
[13:56] * Rei-chan nods, standing up. "Lead on."
[14:08] <Sailor_Anastasia> A while later, after nightfall, Usagi heads home. Another session on the Moon with Rei did help, but home beckons and looms.
[14:16] * Usagi-chan heads home with a heavy heart, Rei having remained at the Shrine when the girls returned. She steps inside and slips off her shoes, not announcing her presence JUST yet.
[14:17] <Sailor_Anastasia> It's quiet at home. Almost too quiet.
[14:18] * Usagi-chan heads into the darkened house quietly, looking and listening for any sign of her parents.
[14:18] <Sailor_Anastasia> Dad sits in the living room, watching TV, or at least appearing to. He looks to be more staring out into space, thinking.
[14:18] <Usagi-chan> "Hi, Daddy," Usagi says quietly as she catches sight of him.
[14:19] <Sailor_Anastasia> He turns, his glasses off and his face a bit worn. "Hi, Usagi," he answers. "Why don't you sit down here," he pats the couch by him.
[14:20] * Usagi-chan nods, taking the seat next to her father. "How did it go?" she asks, subdued.
[14:21] <Sailor_Anastasia> He doesn't reply to that at first, at least not directly. Instead, he rubs his cheek, a red palm print there. "Your mother decided to spend a few days at her friend's house." He doesn't dress it up at all, sounding sad.
[14:23] * Usagi-chan closes her eyes, hanging her head. "I'm sorry, Daddy," she says in a whisper.
[14:23] <Sailor_Anastasia> "It's not your fault," he sighs again. "She just needs some time."
[14:25] * Usagi-chan is silent for a few moments. "She's had time, Daddy. I told her the same night I found out about my scholarship."
[14:26] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Yeah, I know. She mentioned that," he comments.
[14:27] <Usagi-chan> "I didn't mean for this to happen, I promise!" Usagi looks up at her father with tears in her eyes. "I didn't know she'd be so upset!"
[14:29] <Sailor_Anastasia> He nods. "You couldn't have known, Usagi," he agrees. "I'm not blaming you..." he reaches over, his arm around your shoulders. "Ikkuko will need to work this out herself."
[14:30] * Usagi-chan lets her head rest against Kenji's shoulder. "I'm so sorry..." she sobs.
[14:31] <Sailor_Anastasia> Kenji pats you on the back a few times as you cry. "Don't worry, she'll be back soon enough, Usagi..."
[14:31] <Sailor_Anastasia> After crying herself out...
[14:31] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Usagi, there is also something else," he finally goes on.
[14:32] * Usagi-chan wipes her eyes with her sleeve, still sniffling. "What is it?"
[14:34] <Sailor_Anastasia> "Once things settle down, I'd like to take you and Rei out to dinner," he says, "Since tonight was ruined."
[14:34] * Usagi-chan gives her father a grateful, if teary smile. "Thank you, Daddy."
[14:35] <Sailor_Anastasia> -------