All senshi can mindspeak in senshi form, I think. How else could we talk on the moon? Or for that matter, in the middle of a noisy battle? But it's extra work. I'm one of the few that can do it at all in normal form. Even then, it's work, a lot harder than planting suggestions. Luna says I should apply myself more to my telepathic exercises. Well, maybe. (Something else to eat into my free time!)
Anyway, I did manage to tell Pleione silently that she should go tell someone about Dexter's vision of me. I suggested (a) my mom, (b) her mom, (c) Luna and/or Artemis to check for a sigil or (d) all of the above. Pelly chose (d) and all of the above, and more, came to have a look at Dexter. Michiru even came. She said his work showed "promise."
Sailor Neptune hadn't come around the world to size up Dexter's talents as an artist. What we wanted to know is whether or not Dexter was one of us, or something like one of us. Neither Auntie Michiru nor Auntie Rei could divine anything very definite about him, but they saw something significant. Luna and Artemis couldn't see a sigil yet, but they said that one might still show later. Naru's spells made her certain he was a reincarnate, but didn't tell her who he had been.
Actually we all had an idea who he might have been, even me. But even my original Asatara weren't sure.
I stayed up late with my mom and the other elders until we had decided what we knew and what we should do about it. Naru had to wait until Dexter was asleep to do some of her spells. She didn't put him to sleep. She said it might give false readings if she did. Maybe, but she also saw that Dexter didn't want to go to sleep. I knew why. It wasn't just the presence of me. He really felt like he fit in with us. It was a new feeling for him.
Yes, he's that wierd, poor little guy!One thing still bothered me. "Even if I knew him before, I didn't have wings like I have now. I didn't even have wings until . . . " Until I came back after the fall of Crystal Tokyo to my father's world, where my last life ended. "If he is who we think," said okasan, "You met him in your dreams first in your last life. This time, he first met you in his."
It was very late when I went I went up to bed. I'd forgotten about Evan. But when I met Miyo outside my room, my memory got jogged. "Where's Evan?"
"He went home."
"Did he get obnoxious?"
"Not more than he was. I see it is his nature."
"Yes," I said. "Did you hit him?"
"No." "Did you kiss him?"
She went inside.
Miyo has had maybe ten years of training to resist telepathic snooping. I can read her when she's off guard, but she wasn't.
Anyway, why was I bothering to try?
I just climbed out of my jeans and crawled into bed. It was not a sleep-in day coming up. I should have been asleep as soon as I settled in. But I said something after awhile: "Was it any good?"
After another while, Miyo said, "He said he will try to come again, tomorrow or Sunday. I think he will."
"How nice." I grumped.
When okasan first moved here, before she met my father, she went to one of the Japanese-language schools. She hated it. She admitted that to me once. I guess for her, it was the worst of both worlds.
Later, Mom became an American citizen as soon as she could. But even so, she's very proud of being from Japan, and she wants her children to know Japan and Japanese, not only to speak, but to read and write.
It's really hard to read and write Japanese.
It is so hard that in Japan the school days are longer, there's a half-day on Saturdays, and the summer break is only about a month. Besides the hiragana and kana, sort of like alphabets, there are thousands of kanji, symbols Japan borrowed from China. Actually, tens of thousands if you want to read and write at college level.
Well, I have always gone to public schools in California (not always the same California, but close enough.) I don't have to worry about any of that, right?
Okasan found a small school that was willing to take students for Saturdays and for six weeks in summer. And that's where I've spent my Satur- days since I was ten, along with all my fellow chibis who don't go to Japanese- language schools like Auntie Ami's children.
Well, at least I can read manga in the original now, and sometimes even find a bathroom in Japan without asking.
Usually I teleported most of the way to Mr. Yamashiro's school. In fact, usually all of us did when we could get away with it, even Deja, Auntie Rei's daughter, who gets on me for abusing my powers almost as much as Mom. It's a long way to commute. But we couldn't do it that Saturday because Dexter was coming along. In fact, my Mom said that his mom had insisted on it.
Even though we were only part-time students, we had to wear uniforms. I always took mine off as soon as I got home. So while most of the others sat down to dinner (Olivia cooks when I'm away; we always fight when we work in the kitchen together) I went up to my room. I walked in without looking, already pulling my middie blouse over my head. But when I got my blouse all the way off, I found I was looking at Evan. He was looking at me too.
"Eek!" Actually I said something else. Whatever I said, I looked stupid.
"Sorry," Ev said, laughing. "Well, maybe not that sorry." He turned away and set something down on my nightstand, something he had been holding when I'd come in.
I ran over to him and grabbed it. "This wasn't out! Who said you could look through my stuff?"
He held up his hands and took a step back, still laughing. Then he stopped and said, "Hey, you're crying."
In my last life, I was a child for most of it. I was a child for almost a thousand years. I just stopped growing, and remained a child, never retaining anything that would make me more than a child. It was not until I first came back in time that I started growing again. I didn't get to finish. The future I came from collapsed, turned into something else. Somehow I escaped back in time one last time. Not only back, but across time.
I found myself in a strange world, a frightening world. But it was my world, after all. It was the world of my true father.
One day Auntie Nancy, my father's sister, took a photograph of me, my father, and my mother. Only then, none of us knew he was going to be my father. My father never knew, and I did not know when I knew him.
It was that picture Evan had been looking at when I came in. I wasn't ready to face him or anyone else for maybe twenty minutes. By then, he was gone. I hadn't meant to throw him out of our house.
Well, anyway, he had come over to see Miyo. Let her worry about him.
I didn't have any classes with Evan Maxwell. I was first-year, he was second. I sort of met him by accident, got a little mad at his .50 caliber mouth, and started stalking him a little so I could maybe adjust his attitude. All right, a lot; it was really fun. But I didn't have to see him every day if I didn't want to. So, I didn't try.
I'm afraid I have a reputation for mood swings, and I guess I sort of deserve it. Dexter and Evan had made me remember my old life. More of it came back to me in dreams. And nightmares.
I was not very good company. And, of course, finals came all too soon. But at the end of it, on the last day, I sort of came up for air. I caught Evan before he left. "Hey, who are you taking to the prom?" We had combined junior and senior proms.
"I'm not going."
"Not going! Why not?"
He didn't answer that. Instead he said, "I thought you were mad at me."
"I was. So? Why don't you go? More important, why don't you take me?" You don't think I was going to pass up a chance to get to the prom, do you?
He just looked at me for awhile, sometimes starting to move his lips, but changing his mind about what he was going to say. Finally some words actually made it out of his mouth: "I thought you'd go with that guy. Who is he, anyway? Why do you hide that picture? Don't you want your mom to see it?"
This time I was the one who took a long time to answer. "That picture is old. He's not around any more."
"He dumped you?"
"He died." Before Evan could recover, I gave him an order: "I want a corsage!"
That year Kennedy and a lot of other high schools were combining to hold their proms at Great America, a theme park south of us, closer to San Jose. It's the kind of thing Disneyland has done for a long time.
Pleione's dand and his friend Uncle Kurume started up an internet business in the late nineties and sold out before the bubble broke. They'd gone on to start another company, even bigger. Auntie Naru is very rich now. She rented a limo for Pleione about as long as an Amtrack train. There was no problem with Evan and I riding along with Johnny and Pleione and two of Johnny's friends and their dates. Johnny had been going to take Sylveen, but at the last minute she got a rash or something.
How dare you think that I gave Sylveen a rash or something. Anyway, I don't know how.
Maybe ParaPara does know how. I did just happen to tell her how much I wished something would happen so that Sylveen would be out long enough for Pleione to get a chance. Is it my fault my loyal Asatara, my guard pledged to serve me eternally, might have taken my wish seriously?
Some people say it wasn't a rash, it was a beard.
Anyway, how can you be sure sweet little ParaPara did it? I'm not sure she was paying that much attention to me. She sure was paying a lot to Prince Kagishirou.
Poor Kag! He couldn't go to the prom! He had to suffer taking Miss Universe to some function instead.
"That's a really retro gown," said the date of one of Johnny Brown's friends (at least they were his friends to get the ride!)
"It was my mom's," I said.
"Couldn't get anything else?"
This girl was one reason I liked Kennedy: There were less of her species. I nodded, but added, "It means a lot to her." Which it did.
The other strange girl was interested in more than putting me down. "Isn't your mother the one the aliens asked for first?"
"Yes," I said, shrugging. "My mom knew Kakyuu from when she stayed here long time ago. Before I was born. But that's all. They just know each other."
Actually, Mom is exactly who Kakyuu-tono came to see. She hoped okasan would help her people. Why not? When she left, they both assumed okasan would be running the whole world. She was, in the future I dimly remember, before history changed and the future became something else.
As I've said before, I traveled back from that future that isn't going to happen. In fact, more than once. Don't ask me to explain time travel. Anyway, Setsuna never explains much about it and Dr. Alvarson says even less.
Anyway, Seiya and Kakyuu arrived before the fleet of refugees driven from Kinmoku, and had adjusted to the new realities, more or less. But Kakyuu's husband aboard the fleet knew nothing of this until they broke out of whatever frightful hyperspace they went through (lots didn't make it.) He spoke before he'd really learned enough, and he spoke of my mom in the way they spoke of their own sovereign Kakyuu. That got translated from Meiya's not-perfect Japanese into something like "Rabbit Queen."
Maybe a billion people heard that live, before someone cut the feed from our space station. Mom's life, and mine, got even more interesting.
So far, it looks like most people are buing the idea that it was just a difficulty in translation and that Kakyuu just has a sentimental attachment to Mom. So far . . .
Fortunately the two strange girls were much more interested in pumping me about Prince Kag than the reason my mom is so special to Kakyuu and her people. Since I could tell Evan was a little jealous of Kag, I played up all of Kag's good points and admitted to just a few of the not-so-good things, just enough to humannize him and prove I knew him so well.
That was about the most fun I had that night. It began pouring rain before we got to Great America. So much for rides! The dance itself was in a big new exhibition hall owned by the latest outfit to buy out GA (no one seems to make it a moneymaker, but there's always someone else stepping in.) There were free shuttles to the park, but about the only thing usable there was the Imax theater.
Evan wanted to see the Imax show, so of course, I stalled until the last run. I also talked Pleione into stalling so that she–and Johnny, of course–would miss the shuttle, leaving them there without his two less-than-clever friends to distract Johnny and their less-than-likable dates to bother Pleione. Who knows, maybe something good would happen?
Anyway, I told Evan (more or less) what I'd been doing at the end of the show, and said I'd make it up to him if he felt particularly messed up by me. He was pretty messed up, mostly by how well I could handle him, but of course he wouldn't admit it.
While we were talking, the theater had emptied. There wasn't even anyone in the lobby, except for two boys in really sharp tuxes I sort of remembered seeing at the dance. They were halfway out the doors. I thought maybe they were waiting for their dates. They smiled at us but didn't say anything. I nodded. I didn't quite like the way they were smiling, but, whatever. I stopped off at the Ladies Room, and Ev headed off toward the Mens.
I kind of expected to find some girls inside, with the two guys waiting, but it was empty. I was wearing my odongos, (I usually don't in civvies, BTW) and one of them was coming loose. I thought about transforming, which fixes my hair automatically—but it also makes it long, longer than I was wearing it then. So, I wrestled with my hair for quite a while, expecting to hear Evan yelling at me through the doors at any minute.
Finally I got my hair fixed and came out, expecting to see Evan. But he wasn't there. The two guys with the great tuxes weren't in the lobby, either. A lot of the lights were off, too. It looked like the place was deserted.
I stepped outside, and found no one. Now I found I was locked out. Well, that wasn't a problem for me; I just teleported inside, taking the small chance that someone would see me inside. Even if someone did, they probably wouldn't believe it. People don't want to believe, most of them.
However, I didn't yell; there might be a watchman or a janitor or someone and yelling was something they would accept. There was only one place Evan could be if he was still here, the Mens room. That is, if he hadn't just given up and taken the shuttle, instead of making it wait for me. I had decided to be mad if that was what had happened. So, I just marched into the Mens Room expecting to find Evan alone, or no one.
I found Evan, and he wasn't alone.
The two guys with the great tuxes had messed up Evan real good. One of them turned to me and flashed another smile, showing incredibly perfect teeth. He said something I won't repeat. Anyway, before he had said very much, he had trouble talking, maybe because I kicked out some of those perfect teeth. With Hans down, Franz, my other Hitler Youth, came at me with nunchuks. I left them where he wouldn't have any problem at all finding them as soon as he came too.
Then, before he passed out, Evan said I shouldn't have interfered.
My mom knew Evan's mom, but I didn't, not really. Evan was hurt pretty badly, so badly I took him to Hotaru after he passed out. With the major stuff done, I took him to an emergency room close to Great America. Fortunately, from being Dr. Chiba's stepdaughter, I know where every ER in the Bay Area was.
Anyway, waiting for them to finish with Evan, I talked with his mother. I'd just finished selling her a story of how I managed to get him to the ER when she asked me, "Did you know any of these boys?"
"No, I've never seen them before tonight," I said. "They wouldn't be Kennedy, anyway." Way too much money in those teeth for Kennedy.
"Maybe they were from Orinda," she said. "I would have thought boys like that would have gone after Johnny Brown."
"I guess so," I said. "Maybe they settled for Evan instead."
"Are you really surprised this happened?"
I hadn't thought about it yet. "Yeah. I mean, Johnny's got a problem with his mouth sometimes, but he wasn't even talking to those guys that I remember." But that wasn't what she meant. "You mean because of him and me being together."
"Are you saying I shouldn't be dating your son?"
She thought a little bit about how to say it. What she said was, "I'm saying I don't want my son to be hurt any more than he has to be."