Notes and Disclaimers: The rights to these characters belongs to the usual gang, not me. I'm jest a' borrowin' of 'em. This is a vignette that has no context except for, shall we say, post Stars season. One day I *will* write a long story about these three.
No Secrets Between Us
The tinkle of glasses, the sound of low laughter, voices rich with intimacy. The room was lit only with candles and small lamps, and had a twilight feel to it. Three women sat with drinks in their hands.
One woman, her arm casually draped over another of the women's shoulders, laughed. Her voice was warm with drink and the lateness of the hour. Her face was pleasantly flushed, as she turned to the third woman.
"So, Setsuna how old are you really?" Haruka smiled as Michiru giggled slightly into her drink.
Reaching to refill her glass Setsuna smiled; a smile that wiped the smirk off Haruka's face. "I'm 25." Setsuna said, a trifle smugly.
There was a moment of dead silence, then all three women laughed raucously. The laughter went on for slightly longer than was appropriate, and even so, the lingering chuckles and gasps for breath continued.
"No, really." Haruka insisted, as she wiped tears from her eyes.
"Really." Setsuna's voice was serious. And rather sexy, Haruka thought, melodic and captivating.
"Really, Setsuna?" Michiru was, perhaps, a little less steady on her feet than she'd like, but her mind was working perfectly.
Setsuna nodded and sipped again from her glass. "Mmmmm. What excellent brandy." She held the glass up in salute to the other women, who mirrored her actions. They all drank.
Setsuna set her glass down and closed her eyes. Just for a second, just to rest them. Haruka and Michiru watched her, grinning at their fellow Senshi.
Setsuna could feel their eyes on her and it made her feel suprisingly.... Her eyes opened and met those of the younger women. "Rather warm in here, isn't it?" She asked.
Haruka rose, surprisingly quickly and with admirable balance, proceeded to a window and opened it onto the night. A warm breeze blew in, and Setsuna lifted her face towards it.
"I was born on this earth, just like you. Almost twenty-six years ago." Setsuna's voice was soft, as always, but confidential, as well. "I even remember where I was the first day our Princess transformed into Sailor Moon."
"You do?" Two figures sat stiffly upright at this admission.
Setsuna smiled. "Yes, I do. I was Pluto, and yet, I was not Pluto, then. I knew who, what I was, but I had no way to transform."
Setsuna glanced at Michiru and Haruka, who now stared at her in fixed fascination. She leaned back into the sofa cushions and smiled. "There is always a Sailor Pluto." She lapsed into a silence that lasted so long, the two younger women thought she might have fallen asleep.
At last her voice came again. "I was sitting, of all things, on a bus." Setsuna chuckled. There was a change in the air and all of a sudden, I knew I had somewhere to be, something to do and I stood before I could stop myself. I got off the bus and stood on the street, clutching at my chest and wondering what was going on.
"By the time I returned home, hours had passed. I have no idea where I went, or what I was looking for, but when I reached my apartment there was something waiting for me. A note lay on my bed. It said, "The time has not yet come for you to exist. Guard this well - you will know when it is Time. There was a small wooden case with the note."
Haruka and Michiru hardly dared breathe. Setsuna sat up and smiled at them. "It was signed, "Pluto" of course." She leaned forward to raise her glass to her lips.
The two women stared in complete anguish until she relented. "About a year later, I was standing in my apartment when I knew. There was a rush of energy and even as I turned towards my bedroom, where the box was, my henshin wand just appeared in front of me. I felt, for some reason, a terrible grief, like I had just lost someone precious to me, then I touched the wand and transformed.
"I have never doubted that this was what I was born for. Pluto knew she would die fighting the Black Moon, and so I became Pluto."
Silence fell once again.
Haruka sighed. "Now I understand something that I was never able to understand before." She glanced at Michiru. "Right before I met you, before I became Sailor Uranus, something happened that never made sense.
"I'd been having those visions, you know - of the Silence - for years, but this was different. Instead of the destruction and the Dark and Light Messiah, all I had was this compulsion, this desire to do something, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
"I had just finished a race and was cleaning up when I nearly fell over. It was like my body was being ripped apart by something from inside. I never understood it until now, but that must have been " her voice tapered off. Michiru took one hand in hers and squeezed it.
"Me too. I remember that I was playing violin at a dress rehearsal. I did fall over with the shock, but," Michiru's voice was sad. "I knew what I had to do. I ran off the stage without telling anyone why and transformed behind the auditorium. And then I stood, panting, wondering where I had to go, why I had so desperately needed to become Sailor Neptune. And then it went away. It was like I was wiped clean. I practically passed out. When I stumbled back into the theater, my manager found me leaning against a wall. She had the doctor look at me, then sent me home for the night. We passed it off as the flu."
Michiru sighed. "It's never been that bad again, but everytime she transforms, it's like a part of me is already there and the rest of me has to catch up to it."
The other women nodded. Soft night noises came into the room from the window and the women simply sat in the dusk of the lamps, each lost in their own thoughts.
"Do you know," Setsuna commented slowly, "what I would like to do right now?" Haruka and Michiru shook their heads.
"I wish I wish I could go dancing." She leaned her head back once again, closing her eyes, as an unaccountable loneliness washed over her. As the first notes of a muted trumpet poured forth from the stereo speakers, she opened her eyes to find Haruka standing in front of her, holding out one hand.
"May I?" Haruka asked. Setsuna smiled and gave Haruka her hand.
For many hours longer, soft light and music poured out of the windows of the house, while inside three women danced.