A Sailor Moon fan fiction by Thomas Sewell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
<......> Thought quotation
This story actually takes place during the time frame of A Year and Change. It can sort of be taken as a free-floating chapter in that arc, and maybe I'll decide to officially work it in later. But while a lot of its background comes from the fourth arc of my epic, this is a small, quiet story about a lonely little girl and her new friend . . .
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?" asked Calaeno's mother, suddenly in the doorway.
"We're just looking around, Auntie Naru," said Lily Chiba, pretty much the leader of the trio that Ami's Hermetia completed.
Umino Naru came inside the room, stooping to pick up things, mostly papers, but also empty soda cans, water bottles, wrappers from chewing gum. <Chewing gum . . . what a peculiar American habit for Gurio to pick up. None of the children really like it . . .> And then she stopped, dead still, looking at the silvered paper that had held gum Gurio had chewed . . . there would be no more of these scattered about, now.
For just a moment, she had forgotten he was dead.
"Momma?" said Calaeno, coming up.
It was usually "Momma" with Kare-chan, not "okasan" or "kaasan" even when she spoke Japanese. <Not "Mom" any more. She did that to mimic Lily who mimics Chibi-usa . . . but it's "Momma" again since . . .> "I'm fine, Kare-chan. Just tired . . . if you are going to stay in here, you should clean it up first." She set down the trash she had gathered in a pile so she could hug Calaeno.
"Auntie Naru?" asked Lily, coming up, stopping close, but not reaching out . . .
Naru scooped up Lily into her arms as well. Gin-chan's child had withdrawn since . . . since. She seemed afraid to ask for things like hugs and kisses, maybe because she was afraid she wouldn't get them now. <She belongs with us,> thought Naru. <We must find a way . . . > "Yes, Lily-chan?"
"Could you plug in the big TV for us?" asked Lily. "The really big one there?"
The five-year-olds, of course, were not allowed to touch electrical plugs yet. Naru sighed inwardly. The machine Lily was pointing to was a white elephant more than twice as old as herself. In fact, Gurio had bought it in Japan, one of his many "bargains." Naru remembered this monstrous contraption being crammed into Umino's room when they lived with his parents in Juuban, when they were first married . . . before that, even. It had never worked, as far as she knew. But . . . <Try it. It shouldn't be dangerous . . . I hope.> "I will do it for you. Please, all of you," for Hermetia had drifted up, "Stay here. This thing is very old. It might have a short in it or something."
Naru discovered why the girls had not done it themselves--instead of a regular cord, the thing had a heavy one with a massive plug at the end, the kind that went to something like a stove or a washing machine. But there was a socket for it, although something else was plugged into it. Hoping that the something else wasn't important, Naru pulled out that plug and inserted the plug from the monstrous TV--more likely a monitor; she had picked up some electronic lore from Gurio. <It is not smoking . . . one of the better bargains, then.> But it didn't seem to be working, either . . . some lights in front lit, but the controls were a complete mystery, unmarked. Somehow she got a combination that produced sound, blaring Mexican music--not very good, either. Alison Gonsoles was an affectionado of Mexican and Tejano music, and lately Maia had taken to it, so Naru had heard enough to know good from bad. <Alison, gone off with Carmen, their father is so sick . . . The house is getting so empty . . . Gods, how do I stop this thing?> Naru did not discover how to change the volume, or switch off the music, which was replaced by an even more blaring commercial in Spanish.
"What's up, Mom?" asked Alcyone, Naru's third daughter, and the most aggressively American so far. Ara-chan fingered the mysterious controls and the volume dropped off instantly. "What are you pods doin' in Da--in the junk room?"
"Lookin'," said Lily.
"Ara-chan, can you make this thing work?" asked Naru. Alcyone had a knack for these things. <If only she had a knack for school, too . . . >
"I can get radio, and sound for TV. But . . . " she disappeared behind the mammoth machine. "Dad said there's a computer inside that controls everything. Dad never figured out that computer. He was always going to do it . . . but he never got around to it."
<And he never will . . .> "Well, then," said Naru, "I guess that is that. Maybe Peri-chan and Mai-chan can do something with it. Or you when you get older."
"Aly," said Lily, "Will you show me how to work the buttons?"
Naru quietly left the odd-placed basement room Gurio had spent so much time in. She went up to check on the babies and Taygeta the two-year-old, who was napping--and then she went to her room, closed the door, and had a good, long cry, for she did not want to do her crying in front of the children.
A week later, Lily's partners in her trio were gone. Auntie Naru took Calaeno and all sisters and her little brother to Japan, to stay with Uncle Gurio's family for awhile . . . maybe a long while, Lily had overheard the grownups saying. And Hermetia went with Auntie Ami, of course; she went to visit her mother in Africa every year, they said . . . but the grownups said, when they didn't think Lily could hear, that maybe Auntie Ami would stay and work with her mother.
Big Auntie Mako, always a soft touch for a hug and a cookie or two--she was gone, too. One day sheriffs came, and a mean-looking lady, and Auntie Mako was crying and mad at the same time, so mad Lily could see her sigil glowing . . . The sheriffs and the mean lady had papers that meant something bad, and they looked around the house for Tammy and Philip, but they were not there, not where they could find them. And the next day the mean lady and more sheriffs came back, but Auntie Mako was gone with Tammy and Philip, ZoŽ and Zara, and her two little babies, and the grownups said they didn't know where they had gone.
Lily had never been very close with Philip because, after all, he was a boy, but he was close to her age, and he was as all-right as any boy could be. And now he was gone, hiding with the others somewhere from the mean lady and the sheriffs.
There were her sisters, of course, except for Nereid who went back to France, but Kimi and Ishi were eleven now, and Sarah was really fifteen, even if her official birthday wasn't until November, and Julie-chan and Ikuko-chan were little babies. It was fun to chase her sort-of siblings Isis and Achilles around and be chased for awhile, but they were two, and Lily was five now. There was no one left in the big, big house really right for a five-year-old any more. Everybody was too young or too old to play senshi and generals. Besides . . . it wasn't fun playing senshi now. Lily didn't hang around Sarah and pretend to be her Fifth Asatara any more.
What good was playing senshi when you were a real senshi and Venus-sama wouldn't let you punish the enemy for mama and papa?
Today, there wasn't even Isi-chan and Aki-chan to horseplay with. Auntie Minako was with her mother and the little man in Switzerland, which Lily pictured as full of chocolate and cuckoo-clocks, and she had taken Isi and Aki and Ishi and little baby Aphrodite. Sarah and Kimi were in Japanese school, something that Lily would have been starting next summer . . . but now Grandpa and Grandma Han were coming sometime soon, and probably Lily would be going away to live with them, the grownups said when they thought she couldn't hear, or understand Japanese. Like Auntie Usagi and Auntie Rei now . . .
Lily wanted to be where she couldn't hear. She went down to the basement. Not with the elevator; that made noise that grownups would wonder about. Not the stairs; the stairs to the basement echoed. Lily transformed, phased out, and let herself sink through the floor, not making a sound.
Lily went to the room Uncle Gurio had used so much, full of wonderful junk like the big, big TV. Lily took a few moments to recall what Alcyone had showed her, but she had little trouble; there was a pattern to it that Lily could see, if Auntie Naru could not. There was a scary moment when the sound seemed loud, but no one came.
There were quite a few interesting sounds to find, but nothing seemed to make the picture come on. She found herself talking to someone--someone driving a taxi, it turned out. Then she fooled around some more and found a truck driver, and another, and another, all talking with each other. They were friendlier, happy to talk, until they got too busy or too far away.
Lily fooled around for quite awhile more, but all she got were radio and TV stations-sound, but no picture. She spent awhile listening to a cartoon, imagining what it would look like . . . and then she started looking for someone else to talk to. But there was no one for a long time except a policeman somewhere who got cross with Lily for talking. There was some rule about that. Lily Chiba didn't know anything about the rule. She said she was sorry and wouldn't talk to policemen on her radio any more.
After fooling around awhile longer, Lily found someone singing in Japanese. It sounded like a young girl, and she had a very pretty voice. Lily Chiba began to sing along with the girl, softly, of course, but a little louder as the song went on. It was a strange song, a story that went on, and sometimes stopped, and then started again. It sounded like one of the songs Lily or another child would make up, but better. When the song-story stopped for longer than it had before, Lily, really in the spirit of the thing, began go make up her own verse.
And then the girl who had been singing spoke. "Who are you? Do you hear me?"
"My name is Lily. I thought you were just on regular radio or maybe TV. I didn't know you could hear me."
"Will you talk with me?" said the voice.
Lily responded, "I will talk with you. Where are you? Are you in Japan?" Lily did know about ham radios; Grandpa was a buff.
The voice was silent for awhile.
"Are you still there?" asked Lily.
"Yes, I am here," said the girl's voice, sounding a little scared now. "I remember . . . I remember a little bit now . . . Are you the one they call Chibi-usa? You sound like her."
"No," said Lily. "Chibi-usa, she is Sarah. She is my sort-of sister because Kimi is her sister and my sister too, but Sarah has a different mama and papa . . . How do you know Sarah is called Chibi-usa? No one but Deja and the grownups ever call her that."
The girl still sounded a little scared. "I don't remember very much . . . but I remember I did mean things to her once, a long time ago. I'm sorry . . . Chibi-usa, is she all right now?"
"I guess," said Lily. "You have not seen her for a real long time?"
"Oh . . . you don't know, then, I suppose."
"What has happened?" asked the girl's voice, sounding concerned.
"We lost our papa," said Lily. "He wasn't really Sarah's papa, but it was always like he was, for her. Sarah's real papa died a long time ago, before she was born." Lily sniffed. "I lost my mama, too. It was when the mean men came into the White House. My friends, they lost their papas too, a lot of them."
"I am so sorry for you . . . Riri."
"Lily," said Lily, and explained that her name meant "lily." "Actually that is sort of a pretend-name. At preschool they always called out 'Lilit.' That means 'owl' in Hebrew. I have a Chinese name too, Siu. I'm sort of all mixed up. I'm Chinese and Jewish and Japanese. Are you just Japanese, or are you like Japanese and Hawaiian or something? I know a girl who's Japanese and Hawaiian."
"I don't know," said the voice. "I don't remember my parents."
"Oh . . . Did you have an accident like papa and lose your memories?"
"No, I don't think so," said the voice. "I can remember some about being little . . . but I don't think any of the people I remember from then were my parents."
"Oh . . . that's sad."
After a few moments of silence the voice said, "Let's sing again for awhile, yes? Let's make a game of it. I will make up one verse, and you make up the next verse."
"That sounds fun."
"Can I go play now, Grandma, Grampa?" asked Lily.
"Yes, you may," said Pamela Fine Han, sighing inside, watching her granddaughter run out of the room before she finished shaking her head.
"What does she go all the time, anyway?" said George. "She's never in her room."
"Mrs. Chiba says most of the time she goes to a room in the basement. Some kind of hobby room or study. She says it mostly has things that belonged to Mr. Umino. Computers and other electronic gadgets." She gave her husband of 47 years a wry look. "Exactly the sort of place I could never get you out of, from the sound of it."
"Well, I guess--" George Han started to say, starting to get up.
"George, let her alone for now?" said Pamela. "From what Mrs. Chiba told me, this is her secret place. I want to ask her about it, first. When the time is right."
George's look became uncertain, but he sat back down. "Pam, we don't have that much time. We can't just fly to Singapore and start working the next day. I think we should go as soon as we can so we can settle Lily in before the job starts up."
"Oh, yes, the job," mused Pamela. "The job always comes first, doesn't it?" she added with a touch of bitterness. "Not that I am without sin."
George shook his head. "Pam, the penalty clauses would ruin us and the firm if we walk away. After this one . . . But we have to do this one." And then after some silence between the old lovers, George Han added, "Maybe it would be better if Lily stays here until--"
George said, "If I could get out of the job, I would. I don't want to be away from Lily. But you know what it will be like once the job starts."
"We are not leaving her here," said Pamela. "She is our granddaughter, our flesh and blood. She belongs with us, no matter how difficult it will be. I want every chance to be with her. I don't want her growing up to be a stranger like--"
<Like her mother.>
"I can see you!" Lily exclaimed.
"I can see you!" the image on the huge screen responded.
"Oh . . . I thought you were little like me."
"I was . . . I still don't remember much, but I know all of a sudden I was big . . . you aren't scared of me, are you?"
"No," said Lily. "You still sound like you're little, kinda."
"Maybe I am still little inside . . . Being big can be fun but I wish I was little like I feel . . . people make fun of you when they catch you playing and you're big."
"Auntie Parapara is sort of like that, big but little inside and she plays kind of like she was little with me sometimes . . . " Lily put her hands up on the screen, and the image put her hands up so they were together, but all Lily could feel was warm glass.
"You're spotting again," said Usagi.
"Yes," said Rei with some irritation. "You don't have to read my mind. I would have told you." But then she added. "Sorry. I know you weren't snooping to be snooping. I guess . . . " She stopped, leaning on her cane, listening to the silence in the mansion. It seemed so wrong not to hear children tearing about, or snatches of a half-dozen conversations. "Is anyone else home?"
"Just my babies," said Usagi.
"Not even Olivia?" She was supposed to be the housekeeper. Rei had moved out because of her, but . . . "Is something wrong with her now? It isn't INS, is it?" Olivia had entered the United States illegally, and amnesty for her did not seem to be a settled thing yet, even after . . .
"No," said Usagi. "She's visiting some cousins. Second or maybe third cousins, but family. Down in Los Angeles now. Sarah took her down to save plane fare. Sarah didn't ask permission, of course, but Kimi told me. And of course Olivia didn't tell me; she will do anything to save a dollar. Anyway, she won't come back until tomorrow night."
Usagi poured some green tea for Rei, without asking and without reading her mind, because it wasn't needed for that. Meanwhile she asked, "Did you drive over?"
"No, I walked."
"I'll drive you back."
"It is only--"
"I will drive you back."
Rei drowned her comment with a long restoring drink. The tea was just the right temperature. Odango atama was a worse cook than even herself, but she did do tea the right way. "Isn't Lily-chan here? And the Hans?"
"No," said Usagi. "They all went out, with Sarah and Kimi."
"They actually got Lily-chan out of the house?"
"Yes," said Usagi. "I told Lily-chan she would hurt her grandma and grandpa a lot if she wouldn't go."
"Oh," mused Rei."What is it that Lily-chan is always doing by herself? Deja says she always seems to be in Umino-san's place with all his junk. But she will not tell really tell Deja about it."
"I don't know," said Usagi. "Really. Lily-chan has a hard mind for me to read--for Sarah, too, and she always notices when we try. Artemis-san says there is nothing dangerous in the room, so I let her alone. It's only been going on for two weeks. Lily-chan will probably get tired of whatever it is soon. And anyway . . . "
"Anyway? What? Go on."
"Anyway, Lily-chan will be going away with Gin-chan's mother and father. They may tell her that today. They were thinking about it when they left with her."
Rei took another long sip. "Gin-chan wanted Carmen-chan to have Lily if Mamo-chan . . . We talked about this . . . but she would never sign a will. There was always something else she had to think about first . . . " Another long sip. "Perhaps she did sign a will, and we haven't found it yet . . . "
"No?" asked Rei. "Lily is already a senshi. Perhaps she is even the Earth senshi now; she is Mamo-chan's, after all."
"No. If there was really a will, that would be different. But Gin-chan's parents love her, and it is their right to raise her now. They are nothing like Tammy and Philip's parents."
"I was not saying they were bad," said Rei. She took another cleansing drink, and continued. "So. She is to go with them. Do we tell them now, or let them find out?"
"I suppose we should tell them," sighed Usagi, taking a long drink herself. "So much trouble all at once . . . is Mako-chan all right?"
"It is better that you know nothing," said Rei. "I can hide behind attorney-client privilege, but you cannot."
"Hello," said Lily.
"What is wrong?" said the image on the big screen. "You have been crying?"
"I 'spose," Lily said, rubbing her nose with her arm in a most unladylike manner. "I'm going away."
"With your grandma and grandpa?"
"Tomorrow . . . real early. I won't be able to come down here and talk, I think . . . so I guess this is the last time. You'll be lonely again . . . Why don't you let me tell someone? Kimi could be your friend. She's bigger, but not real big yet . . . "
"No," said the image on the screen. "I remember a lot more now. I was very bad, very, very bad. Kimi is the daughter of Sailor Moon?"
"Then she would tell Sailor Moon, and Sailor Moon would punish me, I think. I was very bad. I was very, very bad."
"That was a long time ago," protested Lily.
"It is not a long time to me," said the image on the screen. "You should not tell. It would be right for them to punish me, but you would get into trouble because you did not tell the bishoujo senshi about me as soon as you found out."
"Please, if this is the last time . . . Let's sing together? Let's play the song game? I'll go first . . . "
<Uh-oh, trouble. Okasan does not call me that unless . . .> "What's up, Mom?" Sarah asked, perhaps using an extra Americanism to make things more casual.
"Do you know where Lily-chan is?"
"Nope. Isn't my Fifth Asatara still in bed?" she said before realizing that Lily's grandmother had also arrived in the kitchen.
"Fifth Asatara?" asked Lily's grandmother.
"Oh, it's a game we play," said Sarah, quickly. "Used to play," she added. "You guys are leaving already? I thought the flight wasn't until noon."
"From San Francisco," said Lily's grandmother. "George tells me there are baseball and football games today, so there will be traffic. We need to go as soon as we can."
"I guess," sighed Sarah. "I'm really going to miss the pod."
"We will all miss her, Sarah," said Sarah's mother, "But she belongs with Mr. and Mrs. Han."
Sarah nodded. "Well, if she's not up here, maybe she went down to Uncle Gurio's junk room. She fell asleep there once before."
"And when was this?" Sarah's mother asked with some irritation.
Sarah could feel her mind being probed, but she answered aloud anyway. "Last week . . . Wednesday, I think."
"Wake up! Wake up! Someone is coming!"
Lily opened her eyes. She could read the digital clocks in the junk room. "Oh no! It's morning!"
"Lily?" Grandpa called out from somewhere. "Lily? Are you down here, honey?" Grandpa came through the door . . .
George Han found Lily in her pajamas and a pink quilted robe with moons and stars and rabbits all over it. "Lily, have you been down here all night?"
"I guess, grampa."
Lily was in front of a monitor or perhaps a digital TV, though it wasn't of any kind George had ever seen before. It was on. All he could see was the enormous image of a young woman, or perhaps an overdeveloped girl, with shoulder-length orange-blond hair and yellow-orange eyes, with a gaudy tiara of pearls, and a strapless gown straining to hold in a bosom that did not match her slender form at all. It was a head-and-shoulders shot, and there was nothing in the background.
The really odd thing was, the woman seemed to be looking at him out through the screen . . .
"How on earth did you get here?" asked Mrs. Han.
"Special flight," said Minako, with an arch look at Sarah. "When your mother is D. A. Alvarson's wife, you can get special flights. We came when we heard Lily was leaving so soon. We'd like to see her off." <True enough . . . and better for me to be here to show them. Too risky for Rei, and Usa-chan would scare them out of their wits with her true form . . . why did I lie just now? Habit, I suppose . . . Just how am I going to do this? . . . First things first.> "Where is Lily-chan?"
"Down in the basement, probably," said Sarah. "Mr. Han went to look for her a few minutes ago."
George Han said, "This is quite a contraption. I've never seen one quite like it. But," he said, bending down to pick Lily up, "We have to get ready and go now, Princess."
Lily scooted back, away from him. George did not try to catch her; he was not a young man any more and he well knew his limits. Instead, he stood up again, and said, "Honey, come on. It's time to get ready. Let's shut this off--"
Lily's hands darted up and caught his. She was surprisingly strong. "No, you mustn't turn her off!"
George Han was a patient man, but the child must learn some discipline. He grabbed her around the waist and lifted her up. "Stop this! There are times for playing and watching TV, but this isn't one of them, Lily. Your mother would not stand for this and neither will I!"
And then Lily passed through his arms like mist . . .
Minako was still thinking about how she was going to reveal the big secret to the Han's without stopping their hearts when she stepped through the door just behind Mrs. Han. Mrs. Han was fairly tall and fairly well-fed, so she was fairly hard to see around, especially when she was wearing heels and Minako wasn't. So when Mrs. Han suddenly stopped, Minako did not know why for a couple of seconds . . .
And when she saw why, all her thoughts about when and how to show the Hans the facts of senshi life became moot. Minako she transformed instinctively, pulling the moonsword smoothly out of nullspace.
There, two meters high, was the face of Mimete. And Lily was hovering in front of it, caressing it on its screen.
"Get away, Fifth Asatara!"
"No!," said Lily, turning. "No, Venus-sama!"
"Get out of the way, Lily," said Mimete. "You could be hurt."
"NOOO! I won't go without you!"
"There is no way, Lily," said Mimete. "This machine will only work here because of the special magic here. It is something like Mugen Gekuan's magic; I can feel it."
"Then I will stay here!"
"Riri-chan," said Mimete, "The magic will not work much longer, anyway. Get away and let Venus punish me. That will be quick. I think I do not want to go away a little at a time like I did before."
"Nooooooo!" sobbed Lily. "There has to be a way . . . "
Then Lily glowed, and a rose appeared in her hands, a golden one. "I am bishoujo senshi. I have magic. I will use my magic." She reached out, with the rose in her hand, to the screen, through the screen . . .
The image melted away, and Mimete's voice screamed. The scream went on and on, so that the Hans and even Sailor Venus covered their ears and closed their eyes.
When they uncovered their ears, and opened their eyes, Lily was on the floor, back in her pajamas and robe. Mimete set her head down gently. Then she walked up to Sailor Venus and knelt down. "I still remember how bad I was. Punish me before Lily wakes up." She bared her neck.
Sailor Venus sent the moonsword back into its sheath somewhere in nullspace.
Mimete was about two centimeters shorter than Lily now. Venus knelt down to hug the child, and didn't think at all about Mr. and Mrs. Han until Mrs. Han regained the power of speech, about two minutes later.
This story had it's start with a brainstorming session with "masdog5", so he can share the blame.
For those of you who are new to Sailor Moon and haven't seen the third season yet, Mimete is the second of the Witches 5. I can't decide if she's my favorite villainess because I really like Eudial, but Eugeal pretty much has the corner on writing Eudial stories beginning with the magnificent "Deep in a Witch's Heart."
If you are wondering about the weird names of Naru's kids, they are all named after stars in the Pleiades: Pleione (Peri-chan), Maia (Mai-chan), Alcyone, Asterope, Electra, Calaeno, Taygeta, Merope and Atlas.
And if you are still trying to figure out just who Lily Chiba is, why don't you read my other stuff? The advent of Lily is a topic of Chapter 13 in "Under Black Wings," and you can also find out about three more of the six daughters of cape-boy that we know about in earlier chapters of that arc.