Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in the following story are the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Bandai Visual and Sailormoon World. (Hah! Fooled you there, didn't I? You were expecting the *old* copyright holders, but I'm up to date these days. Bwahahahah.)
This is yet another pastiche starring our favorite girls, the Sailor Senshi. It's meant to be taken in good fun, and not as some deep political expression of worldly angst and existentialism. If you can manage to find that in here, you need some major help, my friend. It's also not meant as a violation of copyright, because I know, with every fiber of my being, the Senshi are not at all gay, no siree, and they would *never* go to a bar or club, because they are good girls. This story is, as one of our tour guides in Japan said constantly as he made up wild stories for us, "in my imagination."
If you enjoy this story, please do email me at email@example.com. I know you read my stuff, it's nice to tell me if you like it.
Worldshaking Fanfic supports Yuricon, a celebration of shoujoai and yuri in anime and manga.
WSF also supports the efforts of The Fanfic Revolution, because fanfic does not have to suck.
"Come on!" Minako was almost half a block ahead of them. She hopped up and down in place, presumably to keep warm on this cold December night, although it* might* have been nervous energy. "Coooommmme onnnn!" Her voice wavered as she bounced on her toes.
"We're coming, we're coming, Minako-chan," Makoto called, tired of playing catch-up. "Why don't we just meet you there?"
Minako waved vaguely. It was apparent, even though she wasn't about to admit it, that she hadn't a clue where she was going. She gazed at the unremarkable buildings, hoping for a sign to follow.
"Where *are* we going?" Usagi asked curiously. She bounced on her toes, cold down to her bones. It was a great idea to surprise Makoto for her birthday and everything, but couldn't they have done that at home?
"Just a little further," Minako's words were sure, even if she wasn't. "Ahah!" she shouted and waved. "Come on - we're here." She hustled them into an elevator and they shivered in nervous silence as the register marked the third floor. Minako gestured them out onto a dirty landing in front of an unmarked door.
The four girls trailing behind the blonde eyed the door with some trepidation - this wasn't the snazziest place they'd ever seen. It looked, well, kind of ratty. Minako grinned.
"Okay, before we go in, there's something you ought to know..." her grin widened.
"That we're in the Nichome and this is a lesbian club?" Rei's voice was mild. "What do you think we are, idiots?" She waved one be-mittened hand around. "I mean, just look around! It's pretty obvious, don't you think?" Rei glanced at her friends for confirmation, but only Ami nodded. "Okay, it's obvious to anyone who can read a map."
Minako pouted. "I wanted it to be a surprise. Oh well." She brightened, "Happy birthday, Mako-chan!"
Makoto stared, open-mouthed, at her friend. "You're taking me to a lesbian bar for my birthday? Is this a hint?"
Now it was Minako's turn to stare. "Uh, well, you know...that is..." Her face reddened.
Makoto couldn't keep her face straight for much longer, so she spun on her heel and pulled at the door. She'd think of a way to take it out on Minako again later.
The immediate sensation was heat - the blast of beer-scented warm air made Makoto a little queasy. She could feel her friends peering in over her shoulder, so she stepped in, looking around openly. It was much like any other club she'd been to - small, dark, a little grimy around the edges, but nice enough. She wondered where Minako had heard of the place; she'd never found it before. Makoto shot a small smile over at Ami, whose cheeks were a deep crimson. She found that particular trait incredibly charming - Ami was always embarrassed by anything even remotely suggestive. It was plain cute.
"Let's get a table," Usagi said, gaping openly at the club's denizens.
"Let's," Rei said quickly, "I could use a drink."
"Me too," Ami agreed. "Do you think they have lemonade?"
Rei gave her friend a hard look, then shook her head as if commenting to herself. "I'll get us a table."
A few moments later saw the five of them seated, comfortably enough, embraced by an overstuffed banquette piled with cushions. A young man stepped over to them quickly, and apologized for not meeting them at the door.
"I'm sorry - I'm understaffed tonight." He smiled winningly at Usagi, who smiled back. "My name is Roderikku and I'll be your host tonight. What can I get for you?"
"We'll have two beers, one white wine and two lemonades." Makoto answered quickly. "You do have lemonade?" She grinned up at their host.
The young man beamed. "Of course. I'll be right back. In the meantime, I'll send over one of the other hosts to take care of you." He turned away, his well-cut suit hanging nicely over his slim form. Minako and Usagi were openly ogling him as he walked towards the bar.
"I thought," Usagi leaned forward, speaking in a stage whisper easily audible several yards away, "that this was a lesbian bar. What's a guy doing here?"
Rei blinked at Usagi, opened her mouth, remained that way one solid second, then snapped her mouth shut and sank back into the cushions of the booth.
Usagi looked at her friends' faces, but no one seemed willing to answer. At last Ami managed, "Usagi-chan - that was a woman."
"He's a woman!?!" The reaction was so predictable that her friends merely rolled their eyes.
"Yes, you octopus - and don't be so loud. We're not fourteen anymore." Rei tugged gently on one blonde ponytail. "Open your eyes, Usagi. We're adults now."
Makoto grinned hugely. "Hey Usagi-chan, now might be a good time to point out that I'm gay - just in case you didn't notice."
Usagi giggled and waved her hand at her friend. "Oh, Mako-chan, we all know *that!* We've known that since...eeep!" Usagi's hand flew to her arm where Rei had pinched it. The blonde rounded on her friend. "Talk about acting like an adult! Hypocrite."
Rei sneered. "Turtle."
"Mud puppy?" several voices asked in disbelief.
Usagi shrugged. "It's something I heard about somewhere - mud puppies are *really* ugly, with nasty frowny mouths, just like Rei-chan."
A new argument seemed about to start when Roderikku once again approached the table. This time Usagi watched her with care - noting the flat chest, the masculine mannerisms. She was fascinated with the way she moved. Minako, who had been silent the whole time, simply gaped.
Roderikku served Rei and Makoto their beers, Minako her wine - receiving a very friendly smile in the process - and Ami and Usagi their lemonades.
"Mako-chan," Usagi asked, "have you been here before? I mean, you seemed to know what to do."
Makoto laughed. "Usagi - I ordered drinks. It's not that hard. And no, not here. How *did* you find this place?" Makoto turned to Minako; the blonde was still watching Roderikku, who had now moved over to another table. There seemed to be no other staff about, Makoto noticed.
"What?" Minako dragged her eyes reluctantly away from the attractive cross-dresser. "Oh, I, uh, read about it in a book."
"What book?" Ami jumped in.
"Oh, um, just something I found somewhere." Minako's evasion ended in a change of subject. "So, I guess we should have a toast, right? To Makoto on her birthday." She lifted her wine glass and waited for the rest to echo the toast. She sipped at her wine and turned to Ami. "Your turn."
The blue-haired girl was on the mark, "To Makoto may every year bring greater joy than the one before."
"Ooh, that was a good one," Minako murmured appreciatively.
"My turn?" Usagi stared at her drink for a moment. "Mako-chan, why did you get me lemonade? You got Rei-chan a beer."
Makoto blinked. "Um, Usagi-chan, because you can't hold your liquor and it's my birthday, and I don't want to be scraping you off the floor when we go home?"
"Oh. That makes sense." Usagi stared down at the overpriced glass of juice again. "If I make up a really good toast, I can have a glass of wine? That's fair, right?"
Usagi lifted her glass high, "To Makoto, the bravest, kindest, and gentlest woman I know."
Makoto had just a little trouble swallowing her beer after that.
"I think that deserves a glass of wine." Rei commented agreeably. "Mine can't really beat that, but, happy birthday to the one woman I'd want at my back when the chips are down."
They all drank again and Minako gleefully volunteered to order this round. She slipped out of the booth and disappeared in the direction of the bar.
"Minako isnt...that way, is she?" Usagi asked, as they all watched the blonde obviously flirting with the host at the bar.
Ami cleared her throat. "I think she's...every way."
"Really? Wow." Usagi finished her lemonade and sat back, satisfied. "That must be exhausting."
The three girls laughed.
"She does seem to take her role as "goddess of love" awfully seriously," Makoto agreed. "But now I'll have to be all jealous, won't I?"
Rei smirked. "You mean she hasn't hit on you?"
Six eyes turned towards the dark-haired woman.
"You mean she has on you?" Makoto was beyond surprised.
Rei's shrug was eloquent. "A little. It didn't go anywhere she's not my type."
They all laughed again.
"Speaking of types she's taking a really long time with those drinks," Makoto turned to look for their whimsical friend. After a moment, she realized that the blonde was nowhere to be seen...and neither was Roderikku.
"Well," Makoto said, suddenly, standing, "let me just go see about those drinks..."
"Please, sit and make yourself comfortable," a smooth, amused voice said. "I've brought the drinks."
The four girls whipped around at the voice, which was well known to them.
"Haruka-san!" Usagi was first off the mark. "What are you doing he...." her voice petered out as she took in the tailored suit, the slicked back hair. "Oh. Heh."
Haruka smiled brightly. "It's just a short-term thing. Roderikku is an old friend of mine from school and needed the help for the holidays."
"Can you sit with us?" Ami asked politely.
"As a matter of fact, yes." Haruka smiled. "I'm supposed to, you know that's how this job works." She served four drinks and seated herself where Minako had been, with her own drink in hand.
"I hear a 'Happy Birthday' is in order." Haruka lifted her drink in Makoto's direction and drank.
"Thanks," Makoto said, and gestured at the drink. "I assume we're picking up the tab on that, so drink up." She laughed wryly.
"Of course," Haruka grinned. "That's part of the job too. So what brings you here tonight?"
"Minako did, actually," Rei said. "I wonder where she's gotten to?"
"Probably the ladies room," Haruka suggested smoothly. Makoto refused to meet anyone's eyes and in turn, Rei, Ami and Usagi began to blush.
"Um, so, how is it, working here?" Usagi asked quickly.
Haruka made a face. "It's not really my thing. I'm not the flirtatious kind."
Usagi giggled. "You always flirt with me."
"That's because you're my type," Haruka caught Usagi's eyes with her own.
"But what about Michiru-san?" The wine, or possibly the atmosphere, was making Usagi bolder than usual. "I'm nothing like her."
"No," Haruka admitted, "but you will be." She stood up at that and turned with a completely unironic bow to Minako, who had returned at last. The blonde's face was noticeably flushed, but she was unusually restrained.
"Shall I get you a drink?" Haruka's voice was low and inviting.
Minako beamed up at the older woman. "Good evening Haruka-san and no, thank you, Rodirikku is bringing me something."
Haruka bowed Minako into her seat, then sat herself down on Rei's side of the table. Roderikku joined them moments later.
Makoto watched as a few more hosts appeared around the club. Apparently Roderikku's employees were arriving at last. All were attractively androgynous, and Makoto found herself watching one or the other of them with interest. She wondered what working here would be like.
The group was on their third round of drinks and laughter was loud and long. Usagi, as predicted was already quite intoxicated and Rei wasn't far behind. Minako, an evil grin on her face, dared them to dance together. So far the gambit wasn't working, but Rei's resistance was weakening it wouldnt be long now. Ami's color remained high at the somewhat uninhibited language that flowed around the table, but she wasn't a prude she made a few comments of her own that had her friends choking in surprise.
Makoto excused herself to go to the ladies' room. She passed tables where similar raucous conversations and flirtations were taking place. As she passed by, she glimpsed office ladies relaxing after a long week and cool, professional women whose daily lives were pretense. She saw the dull glint of metal on many fingers more than a few of these women were likely married.
The ladies room was crowded. Several couples were being rather more intimate than Makoto was comfortable with, but she did her best to ignore the sounds she heard. It was always one of the problems with bars the bathrooms and backrooms were free live sex shows. She supposed it was some people's thing, but she found it a bit tasteless.
By the time Makoto left the stall, she was alone. She washed her hands and looked at her reflection. Staring at her image in the mirror, she loosened her ponytail, then gathered the hair back and up. The effect was sloppy, but she regarded herself carefully. Makoto wondered if her jaw was strong enough for her to pass for a man. She leaned forward, narrowing her eyes, trying to give herself a leer.
"Thinking about applying for a job here?" Haruka's laughter was soft and intimate. Despite her embarrassment at being discovered, Makoto laughed along with the older woman, who was lounging in the doorway.
"Everyone looks so, well, cool," she grinned. "I don' think I'm cut out for cool." She let her hair drop, and did not fail to notice Haruka's eyes following its motion.
"No?" the blonde asked, moving into the room and kicking the door closed behind her. "What do you think you're cut out for?"
"Oh, I don't know," Makoto sighed dramatically. "I guess nice. I do nice really well." Haruka didn't answer this statement, so the younger woman continued. "I think Usagi-chan's got cute pretty sewn up, though, and Ami-chan's got, hmmm, sweet. Sexy would have to be a tie though, between Rei-chan and Minako-chan. Wouldn't you agree?"
"Me?" Haruka shook her head. "No. I think that Usagi-chan is the pretty one."
Makoto smiled. "You've had a crush on her since the first day you met, haven't you?" Makoto couldn't be sure in the poor lighting but she thought she saw a flush creep up Haruka's neck. "Then who do you think is sexiest?"
Haruka grinned. "You."
Now it was Makoto's turn to blush. "Please don't tease me, Haruka-san."
"I'm not!" Haruka protested, bringing her hands up in protest. "I'm being honest. I think you're very sexy." Her voice dropped on the last words and despite herself, Makoto could feel herself shiver at the tone.
"I'll tell Michiru-san on you," Makoto joked, trying to avoid the dark blue eyes that bored into hers. She remembered that look all too well and knew her own reaction to it.
"She knows. I'm totally honest with Michiru." Haruka's voice was soft.
Makoto said nothing what was there to say? She pulled her hair back, ready to bind it into her usual ponytail, when Haruka reached out to stop her.
"Don't do that...leave it down." Haruka took Makoto's hand in her own. The younger woman could feel her hand shaking and stared at it. "It looks very nice that way. In fact, you look lovely tonight."
Makoto was finding it hard to breathe. "We should probably get back to the table..."
"They're all dancing." Haruka's voice was practically a whisper. "And there's the matter of your birthday. I owe you a present, I think." Her fingers trailed through Makoto's locks lightly, curling a strand of hair around her fingertip. "What would you like?"
Makoto wanted to take a deep breath, but Haruka's scent was too compelling and she thought she'd better not.
"You can buy me a drink," she began, but Haruka leaned over her something that happened infrequently to her.
"I can? Is that it? Isn't there something else you want?"
The tension between them was thick and the younger woman was enjoying it immensely. Haruka's eyes were half-lidded, "bedroom" eyes, and Makoto thrilled at the invitation that lay in them. She knew perfectly well that this was Haruka working that the invitation was no more than an illusion...but still, it was a very nice illusion.
"Haruka-san, thank you, but there's no need to pretend..." her eyes widened as the blonde leaned down and kissed her, pressing her back. Haruka still had one hand in Makoto's hair, the other next to her head against the wall.
The kiss was long and lingering. Makoto did not bother to resist it was too sweet, too wonderful. A few years ago, it might have been too much, but she knew herself better now.
When they parted, slowly, almost reluctantly, Makoto reached out to stroke the older woman's cheek.
"Thank you," she said quietly. "That was a wonderful birthday present."
Haruka pulled away with a smile. "That was wonderful in general. Thank you." She turned away, then turned back. "My birthday is in January," she grinned.
Makoto returned the grin. "I'll remember that."
"I'll see you at the table."
"I'll be right out." When the door had closed behind Haruka, Makoto finally took that deep breath and leaned heavily on the sink. "Whew."
She returned to an abandoned table. The remains of drinks and snacks lay scattered across its surface, but her friends were visible on the dance floor. Rei and Usagi were dancing together no shock there; their relationship had always been one tuxedoed boy away from a love affair. Minako and Roderikku were dancing, also no surprise. Makoto wondered, for the briefest second why the blonde had never hit on her she supposed it was out of pity. Not much on two legs would be able to resist Minako when she was on the warpath. Makoto smiled at Ami, dancing with Haruka. They looked amazing together but then, both were exceptional dancers, as she well knew.
Makoto watched her friends with enjoyment for a little while. She was just contemplating asking Haruka if she could cut in, when a touch on the shoulder made her spin around.
"Would you like to dance?" The woman had short hair, but the cut was not at all boyish. Makoto smiled and nodded and they joined the melee' together.
It was late when they made ready to leave. They dreaded the bill when it came, but Minako was told it was already paid. With some confusion, they turned to find Roderikku, but saw only Haruka at the bar, pointedly ignoring them.
The night air was bracing - for about five seconds. Then it became frigid. The five women faced the night, only slightly tipsy.
"That was a lot of fun," Rei admitted. "We should do it again sometime."
"Whose birthday is next?" Usagi asked, curling her arm into Makoto's, more for warmth than support.
"Mine, I guess," laughed Rei.
Makoto smiled. "Actually," she corrected. "Haruka-san's is next."
"Realllly?" Minako's tone was calculating. "Hmmmm....I wonder if she'll still be working there?"
"I think what you mean is, will Roderikku still be there," Ami kidded. "But it's her club, right? So you can go back anytime."
"Oh that," Minako drawled. "I gave her my num...I mean, yes, if I really wanted to." She cleared her throat over the laughter. "I *meant" that Haruka-san looked really good tonight not that she doesn't always look good." She looked around at the grinning faces and made a moue'. "You know what I mean!" she stamped her foot in protest.
"Yes, we do," Usagi giggled, "but we just love to watch you squirm, Minako-chan. Speaking of looking good," she lifted her face to Makoto, "you look really nice with your hair down, Mako-chan. You should wear it that way more often."
The others agreed quickly.
"Thanks. It was Haruka-san's idea." She smiled. "She said it made me look sexy."
"It does," Usagi said and sighed wistfully. "I'll never be able to look cool like you do, Mako-chan, I'm jealous."
Makoto laughed. "Well, we're even then, Usagi-chan, because I'm jealous of you."
"You are?" The blonde looked up bewildered. "Why?"
Makoto said nothing, and resisted all attempts to get her to speak her mind. But when she met the other's eyes, she could see that they all understood. Every one of them, except their object of devotion, understood exactly what she meant. Even Haruka-san and Michiru-san, Makoto reminded herself.
The five rode the subway until the stop near the shrine. They stood once again in the night air, wishing each other a good night and Makoto a happy birthday.
Entering her apartment, Makoto thought of Usagi's hand on her arm, Haruka's lips on hers, and pulled a folded piece of paper from her coat pocket. As she stared at the scribbled phone number she thought of the short-haired woman in her arms on the dance floor.
"Yeah," she said out loud, "It was a pretty good birthday."