I saw Dex for the first time, this time, late in the spring of 2010. After the the Kinmokunai refugee had showed up just a few months earlier, I did not think I was in for any more really big changes in my life any time soon. But I was wrong.
We were playing at Kennedy, where I was about to finish my first year of high school. Soccer was the game. The girls got to play first and I was one of them, and I helped cream the team from Orinda. Then, after a shower and a change into my Eaglette outfit, I came out to cheer the boys on. But the game wasn't quite ready to start, so I trotted over to the other side of the dusty grass field (actually one of the nicer parts of the Kennedy campus!) to raz Pleione Umino, who had suited up to cheer the Owls, including, of course, Johnny Brown. We've been best buds since we were crawling around in diapers, but she was going to Orinda now, so she was the enemy, theoretically.
"You know we're going to kill you again, don't you," I said to her.
Pleione sucked down enough soda to wet her throat—it was a hot day—and said "Not with Johnny playing."
"Won't make much difference," I said. "Your coach made him into a goalie, and he's not that good at goalkeeping. Now, if he was a forward, I'd be worried."
Pleione sipped some more soda. "I guess you might be right, but soccer really isn't Johnny's game. It would be stupid if he wrecked his knees or something playing soccer. That's what his mom tells him, anyway. Probably the coach told her."
We had a lot of space to ourselves, I noticed. The only other person sitting near us was whoever was wearing the Owlbert suit, the mascot for Orinda. The head was pushed back, but I couldn't see who was wearing the suit, only a small hand that kept reaching down for more sodas. There were three empties already. I said to whoever it was, "I guess it gets pretty hot in that suit."
Owlbert turned around. Owlbert was a kid; no wonder the costume was so bunched up.
"This is Dexter," said Pleione. "Dexter Petronius. Dexter is only eleven but he's really smart."
"I guess so. I'm Sarah, Sarah Uer. Sounds like 'wear' but spelled 'U-E-R.'"
He just looked at me, with very wide eyes, saying nothing. So I couldn't help but read his mind.
Did I forget to mention I can read minds?
My name is Sarah Ami Usagi Uer, this time around. I've been here before, more than once. Sometimes I remember, sometimes in dreams, too often in nightmares. I am the First Princess of the Moon, in one sense. I am known to more as the bishoujo senshi Sailor Chibi Moon, and like my mother I have powers, and one of them is telepathy, mind-reading.
I'm smarter than my mom. I'm not bragging; Mom never got anything better than a B even in American schools, but I have what it takes to get A's, at least so far, most of the time. I'm not a genius like my godmother Auntie Ami who delivered me; I don't live for study. Not like Dexter, either. He could have been in, like, medical school or something if his parents had allowed and he'd wanted, I think. Even Ami was impressed with him, when she met him.
Aunt Ami got to meet him pretty soon after I did, as it turned out.
I can read minds, like I just told you, but it's work, usually. Just finding out what someone is thinking or feeling right now is fairly most of the time, but digging deeper is much harder. Minds don't come with cross-indexes. Plus, there are ways to hide your thoughts even if you aren't a telepath, and the Nekos had been giving instruction to the senshi for more than a year by then.
The point is, though I'm a mind reader, I can be surprised. People can keep secrets from me.
Like the way my best bud Pleione Umino and the others didn't let me know Dexter was coming over for the weekend.
That was a busy spring for me and for the rest of the world, I guess. Kakyuu-sama's people had come at the beginning of March, just when Betty moved in with us.
Betty was sent to spy on us by her father, the "Reverend" John Lee Swainson. He's maybe the biggest televangelist now and he runs his own church. Betty was too good to stomach doing his dirty work. Betty also turned out to be Sailor Earth, the White Rose we were waiting for. She's related to my stepfather Mamoru in some way, though the Reverend is definitely her biological father. These things Auntie Ami, Sailor Mercury, has told us. She seems to have most of Mamo-chan's powers, and from her father, she is a mind reader. Maybe more.
She also had more "experience" if you get my meaning. Certainly more "experience" than me. When she came to our Halloween bash, she got enough "experience" from one of our other guests (a most unexpected one) to get pregnent, another reason she left her father.
Dexter wasn't going to get anything like that kind of experience, at least from me, even if he turned out to be more than a mental prodigy. Fortunately they told me he was coming on the Friday morning before he was coming (Mom had been in on it, of course) so I had time to take countermeasures.
I really liked going to Kennedy. I guess it helped having lifetimes of martial arts programmed into my old soul, maybe. I wouldn't say Kennedy is a free fire zone, but even girls need to fight. But I liked the people, most of them, even some I had to beat up a few times. Mostly poor, mostly nonwhite, they were at Kennedy because there wasn't any better place they could get to.
The staff at Kennedy isn't the best, big surprise. Kennedy has some real treasures, but it has more teachers who really don't teach, much. Some are just young; some are just marking time until they can go on to a better, whiter school. Some are mediocre for life. Probably the worst are the ones who can't find work elsewhere, though that category includes some of the treasures, too. So, Kennedy has a few of the very best, maybe a few more of the very worst, and mostly second- or third-rates.
I knew by then I would, like Pleione, be going to Orinda in the fall. I felt bad about leaving Kennedy. My heart was with the underdogs. But I want to go to a good college, and Kennedy just isn't made for that.
Two of the people who wouldn't be following me to Orinda were Joline and Paula. They'd tried, and their parents, and failed. There were just so many places for students from outside the district. Anyway, they were some of my oldest friends and I made sure they would be coming home with me, but I wanted some stronger Dexter repellent. That meant a guy, a boy, a person of the testicular persuasion. Now I knew any number of geeks that okasan wouldn't object too. Taking all the tough classes I could at Kennedy, of course I knew them all. But I decided to ask Evan. He doesn't look like a geek. He's tall, and he looks like he can take care of himself. He can't, but he knows how to look like he can.
On the other hand, he has a .50 caliber mouth he shoots off too much, and a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood tree.
But Evan was a guy, definitely a person of the testicular persuasion who would look like a credible boyfriend to Dexter. Or at least I hoped so. His mom knew my mom, from volunteer work. And, anyway, I felt like bugging him.
I tracked him down. Before I pounced, I put on a generous coat of lip gloss. I was in a day-glo pink phase then. I slinked up to him and purred: "Ev?"
He had his back to me, but he knew who it was. "That's 'Evan," he snapped. "What do you want this time?"
As you can see, we were already completely in accord—NOT!
"Wanna come over after school?"
"Come where? To your place?"
"And see the bug-eyed mosnters I'm hiding inside. C'mon, I won't bite. Unless . . . ." I enhanced my comeon with a little thought remodeling. That I can do better than my mom, especially if my vic&mdashuh, target is already having a thought I can amplify or mold a little. In this case I had a lot to work with; Evan had the usual hormones for an seventeen-year-old guy. Testosterone can be a wonderful thing if you know how to make ti work for you. Even though Evan saw big trouble, just the remote possiblity . . . You get the idea.
"Oh, all right!" he finally said. "If Moms doesn't have other ideas." I had quite a little audience by then, and I played up to them, too. "I'm sure you'll have lots and lots of fun!" I gushed. Then I got up on my tippy-tip-toes (Okay, I'm sort of height-challenged) hopped up a little more and planted a big splatter of a kiss on his manly cheek, leaving a gross pink blob. Evan was blushing. I could tell, even if it didn't show through his dark skin. I could feel him feel the heat.
Sometimes it is really nice to be Sailor Chibi Moon.
"Our" house really belongs to D.A. Alvarson, who is usually described as something like a "reclusive Swiss millionaire." He's a citizen of Switzerland, to be sure, but he's really from a long way further than that.
Anyway, while our bus was straining to make the hill, I told Evan something about the house and what it was like growing up. "Sure it's a mansion, it's bigger than the White House, at least the old part, but it's not exactly a national treasure."
"Yeah, but it's still a mansion," Evan pointed out. "Exactly why does this Alvarson guy let you stay?"
"I guess he likes us," I said. "He married Auntie Minako's mom. Ishi's grandma."
"But you were here a long time before that, weren't you?"
"Yeah." Evan had paying more attention to me and mine than I had thought. "You've done some homework on us, haven't you?"
He didn't answer with words, but I could tell the answer even without reading his thoughts.
"I remember your place."
"Really? Duh!" We had been on the news just a little, with the Queen of Kinmoku moving in and making our place her consulate, and before, with Reverend Swainson's born-again picketers in front of our house trying to "rescue" Tammy and Philip from un-Christian Auntie Makoto and return them to the custody of their hopelessly warped birth-mom.
By then, we were rolling past. The nearest stop is two blocks away.
"I mean from before," he said, "from when I was little."
"I thought you moved up from LA a couple of years ago."
"Yeah, but we lived up here for awhile, me and Moms, for awhile. She split up with Dad but they got back after." I waved at the guards at the Olympus Street gate, but Evan looked right past them at something that wasn't there any more. I asked him what it was that was bothering, even though I knew from the images he had dredged up in his mind. He explained: "There were all these little nigger lawn jockeys around the front driveway."
"I know," I said.
"You know?" he challenged. "How would you know?"
He was asking more than two questions. "They were gone before I moved in, but people told me. Uncle Kevin, for one."
"Uncle Kevin," he said. "Wasn't he the drug guy you guys were mixed up with?"
Evan had done homework, but not enough. "Kevin was a nice guy. All the trouble he got into was because of his brother."
"Yeah, Marvell. We heard of him down in Compton."
We got off and started walking back to the house. I started talking about Mrs. Meaker, the lady who built our place.
Jasamine Meaker was an heiress, maybe with some kind of jinx. Her father went down on the Lusitania, which is a big ship like the Titanic that the Germans sank a few years later, during the First World War. In the next World War, Jasamine's husband was killed, and she never entertained in the big mansion built around the big front room made for balls.
Mrs. Meaker died long before I was born. When I was very small, there was still an old couple living across Olympus Street who knew about her, though they had never been real friends. She had become really strange. Some kids thought she was a witch. If she was, she had picked a good place to build her house. That I didn't tell Evan.
After she died, the place passed to distance relatives, very wealthy ones, of course, or they would have torn down this white elephant or turned it into a hotel or something. All I knew about them was that Marvell Jones' mother worked for them for awhile, and that they were conscious bigots, unlike poor old Mrs. Meaker who just didn't know better than she was raised. They didn't remove the lawn jockeys; they just repainted them, but of course that didn't disguise the molded, ugly features from anyone who looked closely. I guess you could say the same thing for them, but I've never met them.
"How much do you see of Alvarson?" asked Evan as we approached the guards at Olympus Street.
"We see enough of him," I said, and added, "You'd better call him Doctor Alvarson."
"You mean he's here now?"
"I never know when he's coming," I said almost truthfully.
One of the guards a man I didn't really know, but one was Garoka, a Kinmokunai. Garoka only had a few words of English and even his Japanese wasn't very good, but with a little telepathy I could make out what he was saying to me: "Are you sure you trust this man, Princess?"
"Hai. He is no fighter. Only his mouth is dangerous."
Garoka laughed, which needed no translation. Unfortunately Ev seemed to understand that he was being laughed at.
I really wasn't in a joking mood by then, though, and I decided I had baited Evan enough for now. I could see a problem I should have seen before: Evan saw me as a rich white girl. Well, Amerasion. Here I was taking him to the Big House on the Hill. I made a point of taking him to the front door, even though it was a longer walk from the Olympus Street entrance.
Our house has a tall porch in front, held up by six big pillars. It's the whole front of the house. "There's a row of bedrooms above us, " I told Evan before we went inside. Once in, I continued my explanation. "And there's another row up there. Six in front, six in back. We have dormers, too, above, under the roof."
Evan looked around the big front room. "You could put a basketball court in here."
"Not quite, but close."
I took him into the kitchen, which I could have gotten to from the back easier. But now he hadn't been disrespected by being taken in through the back, and he'd had a little more time to cool off from his contact with the guards. I hadn't seen him talk to any real cops yet, and I wasn't looking forward the the experience.
Mom was where I expected to find her, sewing on a toy rabbit or maybe a donkey (Mom's work in the round is full of love but not a lot of artistic realism.) Lord Seiya was with her at the table. "This is Evan Maxwell, my friend from school," I said. "This is my mom, and this is our friend Lord Seiya."
"Lord Seiya?" Uh-oh, Evan felt a little challenged.
"Seiya will do," croaked my mom's old friend (and old flame, I'd heard by then.)
"Seiya-san is not well," said Mom. Then she told him to keep quiet and drink his herb tea.
"I thought you couldn't catch Earth diseases," said Evan.
"We are not that different," Seiya managed to say. Kinmokunai are close enough to us to catch most human diseases, and the rhinovirus clan particularly loves to visit them, since they had almost no immunities to colds. I didn't get a chance to tell Evan that because okasan spoke up. "I know your mother, Maxwell-san."
"Yeah, she's told me a little about you. But not a lot. How did you get to know the aliens, you know, Mr. Seiya's people?"
"They visited some years ago, before Chibi-Usa was born."
Uh-oh again. Mom was upset now. She doesn't call me Chibi-usa unless she is, with me or someone else. "A nickname for me. I don't like it very much."
Evan nodded acknowledgement, but fired off another question at Mom without a pause. "That long ago? Before I was born?"
"I think so," said Mom. If Evan worked out the math, we were in trouble.
But we were saved by Shi, of all people. "How we came to know is our business, rude one. Leave my father alone!"
Shi goes to Orinda. Even had never met her, and I hadn't warned him. Shi's mouth is at least .60 caliber, and unlike Evan, she can fight, at least compared to a normal. Pleione and I and especially her sister Miyo can make short work of her and often have to, but she'd already messed up a guy at Orinda so bad no one wanted to mess with her. Pretty impressive for six weeks; took me almost a semester to get my rep at Kennedy.
Fortunately, Shi was a girl, so Ev could back down. I tactfully suggested: "Why don't I show Ev the TV room before I start on dinner?"
The TV room is really a little theatre. It's on the second floor, the half-floor, above the kitchen, more or less. Our house has a pillared porch two stories high; there's a row of rooms over it on the third floor. Then there's the front room, with the ceiling four stories up; there's a walkway that sort of hangs in the air along the sides at the third-floor level, dividing it in half. But in the back of the house, there's room for another floor between, though it's a floor with low ceilings. "This is where they hid the colored help," I told Evan. "It was all a bunch of little rooms like this one. Grandpa Tsukino made this one into a darkroom, but . . ." I tried the door; it was locked. Well, there was one opportunity for getting to Evan gone for today; I wasn't going to ask for the key. ". . . Most of the rest we made into the TV room. It's really pretty nice, Lily's grandparents designed it."
Evan responded in the standard male manner. "This the remote?"
Now just why is it that men can always find the remote no matter where you hide it? If only they were as good at finding some other things.
Anyway, Evan didn't wait for an answer. He found the remote, the right remote, in a darkened room and instantly changed the channel from Shojo Theatre to one of the cable news channels. Howls of protest came forth, which he was deaf too, only muttering, "Just a minute," at random intervals, usually when he switched from one news channel to another. He did not have immunity to Celeste, Luna's toddler. At sixteen months Celeste hadn't mastered potty training, much less how remotes worked, but she had catlike coordination, she knew she really, really liked to watch Shojo Theatre, and she knew that the magic box Evan had taken had made it go away. So she climbed up Evan until she could reach the arm that was holding the remote. Evan's response was to say, "Just a minute, just a minute." That was it, he had only the vague notion someone was touching him. However, he became very aware when Celeste bit him. She also has catlike teeth, when she wants.
"Owww!! Somebody get this kid off me!" But Celeste had let go before he finished his words. She leaped off, caught the remote in her mouth, and landed on four-points bonelessly, repeating a performance she had given for Mrs. Mortensen's budgie the week before. The remote survived the performance; Celeste didn't eat it. She gave it to me and said, approximately, "Toon prrrrease." I switched back to Shojo Theatre, accepted applause and cheers, and then led Evan out before he either wised up to Celeste or grabbed the remote again. There's a geas on the house that makes people want to forget they see strange things, but there are limits. Celeste wasn't a girl in pussycat PJs; she was a cat girl, like she likes to be most of the time, and an aroused Evan was going to notice that. I molded his fresh memory a little and hoped it would do.
Ev's a strange one. He's oblivious to a lot of stuff, but when he turns his attention on something or someone, it's like a sensor beam or something; he can figure out an incredible amount, and fast. Fortunately for the rest of us, his aim is usually off.
I took the remote with me. Better safe than sorry.
I went back down to help in the kitchen. Since Shi had been home before I'd left it, it wasn't surprising to find Pleione there, since she goes to Orinda, too. And Dexter, moon-eyed when I came in and he saw me. He looked away, blushing.
Evan went straight to the little kitchen TV and switched on some news. He's a news junkie. I didn't know until that day. Well, obviously Evan wasn't going to deter Dexter; they didn't even notice each other sitting two feet apart. I didn't bother to introduce Captain News to my moon-eyed-admirer.
I could tell Pleione was loving this, so to even the score with her, at least, I punctured her favorite balloon. "How's Johnny doing?"
"He's fine," Pleione said a little sourly.
"Is he still seeing what's-her-name?"
"Sylveen, Pleione grumped. Then she sighed, and added. "He's going up to the Redwoods with her. Well, his family and hers. Her mom's brother is a dentist up in Eureka."
"Wow, that makes for two dentists and an oral hygienist in the family. If they get married, their kids will sure have great teeth."
Pleione fell for Johnny Brown on the first day of middle school, some time before lunch. Johnny's a jock, a place kicker who's got "NFL" written all over his talented toes, but he's also got smarts, at least for school. He doesn't have the kind of smarts to see that a Pleione Umino is worth ten Sylveen LaRue's with a Sandy Rinderminder thrown in (frosh harvest dance queen—hate her to pieces, but she'll probably be hosting Good Morning America in ten more years.) Still, Johnny has a good heart and is capable of learning. And while Sarah Ami Usagi Uer is a moral person who would never abuse her powers by making someone fall in love(even if she really could,) the First Princess of the Moon sees no reason why she should not give the Sylveens of the world special treatments to break their spells.
I won't tell you what I did. Not really that good a story, anyway.
Anyway, getting back to Johnny and Pleione: Johnny likes Pleione. Everyone with sufficient soul likes her; she's kind, cheerful, seldom-complaining, usually helpful. Besides that, she's got a really fabulous body: great legs, very, very long; exquisite long-fingered hands tipped with nails that don't split; bigger . . . talents as my little crowd puts it sometimes, though she is not so much very large there as I am on the smaller side, so far. Anyway, bod-wise, Pleione Umino has me beat on every point and ridiculously outclassed in height. Stangers are always asking if I'm her little sister, or even her kid, sometimes.
However . . .
While I have a face that is at least cute (it looked better on my father) Pleione's face is, well, disappointing. She looks just like her dad, too. Her dad was a wonderful guy, but no one would say he was a wonderful-looking guy. To make things worse, she hates contact lenses and wears really thick glasses, hiding the one really nice part of her face, her eyes. They are green, like her mother's and most of the other progeny of Auntie Naru.
Wonderful-looking or not, Pleione's dad was very compatible with her mom, because they had eight more kids together, seven of them girls. Most of them will show up later in this story, but the one I want to tell you about now is Maia, the next one down the long, long line. Except for height (and she might catch up) Maia has all of Pleione's good looks and none of the not-so-good stuff. Maia looks like Naru's mom, who still looks fabulous. Her hair is a richer red; her eyes a deeper green. Maia does wear glasses most of the time, too, but they aren't real strong ones. I think they make her look even better, myself. They sure don't seem to repel boys.
Maia has a special gift for art. Middle schools with art programs are about as easy to find in California as surfboard dealers in Iowa. Maia had an incredibly long commute to her school. Or at least long enough so that she always got home just before dinner.
Maybe you're wondering why I live in a mansion along with a royal family (They were in France that weekend) and yet have to fix dinner every night. Well, like I said, it's Dr. Alvarson's house. He didn't get to be so rich by accident. Before they came, the house had a paid staff of one: Olivia. Before Olivia, it was zero.
We could let Kakyuu's people cook for us, I suppose. Maybe we'll try that again in a hundred years or so. Here's a tip: never invest in a Kinmokunese fast food chain.
But if Maia wasn't going to help with dinner or after (the Kinmokunai standards for dishwashing are compatible with our own) she might help me with another problem during dinner. Plan B: Seat MaiMai next to Dex and far away from me. Hey, I've lost enough guys to her I didn't want to ditch.
After dinner, Maia led Dexter off while I stayed for a few minutes. I checked in her room when I came up with Ev and Miyo. He was working on a big art pad.
Figuring that problem was solved, I went to my room, which is also Miyo's room, and my sibs Kimi and Ishi's. Kimberly's Mom's and Ishtar is Auntie Minako's, but they are almost the same age and look a lot alike, and Mamoru was their father. Mamoru was going to marry Minako, but then the old magic returned long enough for Kimi to start her way here. Lot's of people think they are twins. They were going out as I came in. I noticed they had both brushed their hair and put on some lip gloss, and Ishi had changed into a dress.
I didn't have long to wonder what Kimi and Ishi were up to because Ev made one of his .50 Caliber remarks: "How does it feel to be royalty and having to share a room with Sarah?"
"Not Princess. Lady."
Hmmm. Miyo's English wasn't 100% but it wasn't that bad yet. She was playing dumb to him. That bothered me. It shouldn't have, but it did.
"Lady," he said, sitting down on my bed. "You any relation to Lady Shi?"
"Sister," said. Miyo. "I am the nicer one."
"That wouldn't be too hard."
Miyo has inherited whatever makes Seiya a good diplomat, and part of that must be being able to conceal anger. She had just mildly disrespected her sister—but that doesn't mean she wasn't irked to hear Evan put Shi down.
Even didn't say anything more about Shi, though. Instead, he asked a question that caught me off guard, besides Miyo: "What was your war like? I mean, really?"
Miyo didn't answer for a critical second or two. When she finally spoke, her dumb act was gone. "I did not fight much. I was too young."
"You fought?" Evan had not expected that answer.
Miyo turned to me and said in Japanese "How much have you told him?"
"Nothing about what we are. You should know that."
"You told some of your other friends without asking." Before I could respond, she switched back to English and Evan. "I do not want to speak of it."
Evan nodded. "That's all right. What I really meant was how bad it was for your people. What if your enemies come looking for you here?"
"They are very, very far away." Then Miyo started showing him a new dance she'd learned in Tokyo. She's a way-better dancer than me.
I decided to check on Dex.
Dexter Petronius was hidden behind the pad except for his legs when I looked in the room. I saw Maia was with him, and Pleione, both behind him, both looking very interested in what he was drawing. Alcyone, the third Umino girl, sleeps in the same room but is usually somewhere else when she isn't sleeping. But she was there on this night, and she'd actually combed her hair.
I stepped back so Dexter wouldn't see me if he looked up from the pad. The door was wide open, and by moving around a little I could see just about everywhere else in the room through the door. The room was crowded now. I'd found out where Kimi and Ishi had gone: here. Three more of Pleione's sisters were, two: Electra and Asterope, who are twins, and Calaeno, only six then but already interested in boys, at least really cute boys.
Did I forget to mention that Dexter Petronius is really cute?
He's about as white as you can get without being an albino. He has white-blond hair, big pale blue eyes, and creamy skin that looks like it would burn if he spent too long looking at a picture of the sun. The name "Petronius" should give you a clue: His father is an Africaaner, from South Africa. Dex isn't prejudiced, though. I would never have brought Evan home if Dexter had been a little bigot. I would have brought home someone much blacker and with a much better sense of humor.
Anyway, where Calaeno goes, you will usually find Hermetia, my godmother Auntie Ami's oldest, and if they are around at all, Lily and Mimi as well. They were living in Singapore then with their grandparents but sometimes one of us would teleport them home for a visit. Well, me, sometimes I miss the little brats. But either someone else had helped them out or they had come on their own this night. Boy-crazy Mimi was almost catatonic staring at Dex; nothing special. But Lily wasn't too much better. And Hermetia, Meti-chan, who could give away half her IQ and still be a genius?
Let me put it more clearly: Dexter is extremely cute. If I had been six, or nine, or maybe even almost thirteen like my older sibs I might well be as struck. He was impossibly cute for eleven. But he was just that, eleven.
One was doing more than staring dreamily. Diana was putting moves on him. Celeste's big sister is a little older than my sibs, but she's a Mauvian, and she's great at stalking prey, even in full-human form. On a normal eleven-year-old boy blessed by the early puberty American nutrition grants, I think she would have killed him. I considered getting her mother.
However, something else I saw made me forget that temptation. Titania suddenly came out of the room. She spotted me, and came up to me, and we went far enough away to talk. "Sarah, do you have any feelings about him?
"For Dexter? He's just a little kid!"
"That's not what I meant. I mean . . ." she paused. "Did you tell him?"
"Tell him? Oh, tell him. No, of course not." Miyo had just asked me that about Evan.
"You'd better look at what he's working on," Titania said. Then she looked at her watch. "I need to go back."
"You came without permission?" That's not the Titania I know at all.
"I didn't think I would stay this long." She trasformed into Chibi Uranus and flashed back to where she belonged. Paris, I guess, unless she had a performance somewhere.
Titania was really born not long after Pleione, and the two of us were the three of us when we were little. Then Pelly and I went away with our moms, and when we came back, Titania was still five but we were nine. From then on she sorted fitted in with Kimi and Ishi and Al, but she never got as close. How can you ever get as close to someone when you didn't learn to walk and talk along with them?
I had some idea of what I would find, but an image taken from someone's mind isn't usually anything like photo-realistic. The Outer Senshi are all hard to read; I can't read Michiru at all. Besides, Titania has always known when I'm reading her, and she doesn't like it, so I don't do it, usually, and I wasn't through most of our talk. That meant that there was a chance that what Titania thought she saw wasn't as bad as it might be.
I slipped into the room. Dexter didn't look up until I lomed over the top of his artpad. He blushed, and he pulled the pad to himself so I couldn't see.
"Can the rest of us see what you're working on, Dex?" I said gently. He turned it around. "It's you as Sailor Chibi Moon!" blurted Mimi. "Oh, I am sorry."
"Just don't say it in English," I told her, patting her head. Fortunately my "Sixth Asatara" had spoken in rapid-fire Japanese, and Dexter's mind didn't ping on "Seerachibimuun." "This is very nice, Dex. You made me into an angel. But why did you make my wings like that?"
"It is the way you looked in a dream I had."
Dexter had colored in most of one wing. He'd made it mostly black, but put a little rainbow flash of color near the shoulder. That's exactly where it is on my real wings when I have them.
"I guess I must be the girl of your dreams."