Nurse Venus is the third arc in my Sailor Moon fanfiction series. The story starts about eight years after the end of Sailor Stars. Usagi has finally married Mamoru, but her days as Sailor Moon seem to be finished. She was partially paralyzed in her final fight and gets around in a wheelchair.
At one point, however, Minako almost married Mamoru, and she has a daughter by him . . .
<......> = A thought quotation.
Sitting in his mother's kitchen drinking Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, trying to keep his mind off the pretty little Filipina maid who had made it--he liked Filipinas a lot, but it was a bad idea to mess with someone his mother liked--he brought up a pleasant memory. The son, that golden white boy who had stolen so much of his mother's love, had died from an overdose. Marvell couldn't be sure that white boy had bought his last stuff from his organization, but it was likely enough . . . his only regret was that he wasn't sure.
When he'd bought the place, he'd found out white boy's mother didn't remember him at all, barely remembered his mother.
"Coffee, Mrs. Jones?" asked the maid, bringing Marvell out of his reverie.
"No, thanks, Aurora. I've had my cup for the day. Could you find something to do somewhere else? I'd like to talk with Marvell alone for awhile." Once she was sure the maid was gone, she filled a glass with warm water, drank some of it, and then sat down to talk. "I want to get another nurse for Kevin, Marvell."
"What's wrong with Mrs. Little?" asked Marvell Jones.
His mother explained, "She's a fine nurse and a good woman, but Kevin just doesn't care for her. He gets upset before she comes over."
Marvell shook his head. "All right. I'll look for someone."
His mother said, "No, you don't have to. I've found someone."
"You have?" said Marvell dubiously.
His mother said, "Yes. She took care of Mrs. Prizzi until she passed on. She's very sweet. And she's pretty, too. Kevin will like that."
Marvell said, "Moms, it ain't a good idea to have anyone here who doesn't work for us." Aurora and the other two Filipinas were illegals; Marvell had got them through an Asian gang. They were all very grateful; otherwise they would be whores. Mrs. Little had two sons in the gang, one still alive.
His mother said, "She'll just be a day nurse. She lives close to here, so she doesn't have to be here more than a few hours a day, just time enough to get Kevin through his therapy. Anyway, Kevin isn't in your business any more."
Marvell said, "He don't want to be left out, Moms . . . Moms, if you hire her, and she finds out something, you know what I'll have to do."
His mother said forcefully, "Just keep your mouth shut about your business around Kevin . . . you should never have let him in."
Marvell took his mother's hand. "You're right about that. I wish I'd never let him in . . . " <But how could I have stopped him?>
After a minute, Mrs. Jones asked, "Are you going to let me do it, son?"
"Yes. Anything to help Kev," he replied, squeezing her hand. "Just let me have her checked out. She might be a cop, or maybe the cops have a handle on her." He released her hand, and pulled out his PDA. "What's her name?"
"Miss Aino, A-I-N-O . . ."
Marvell's checks on Nurse Minako Aino took a couple of weeks. Professionally, she wasn't as impressive as Mrs. Little: not an R.N. yet, though she had tested once (and failed). She did have a lot of physical therapy in her background. She'd worked in a couple of convalescent hospitals and a board-and-care, but most of her work had been as a private nurse or an unpaid volunteer. He checked and found she had been let go from the board-and-care for complaining about how the clients were being treated.
Her driver's license was under suspension. She had never got a speeding ticket, but she had a long history of minor accidents. Otherwise, Aino had no criminal record in the United States or Japan. Finally, his contacts in various police departments and federal agencies found no line on her as a suspect, informant, or undercover cop.
The only thing left was to give her an eyeball check. She lived within easy walking distance of his mother's house, but he didn't even think of walking over from there. He did his walking and jogging on a treadmill. Doing those things outside made him too easy a target.
His mother had called Aino and asked her to keep herself open while they decided whether or not to take her. But Marvell dropped by without calling. He might miss her, this time, but on the other hand, it was less likely to be a setup, if no one knew when he was coming.
Marvell Jones remembered the house from his childhood, a mansion that had been around since long before he was born. He did remembered a ring of little nigger jockeys around the front driveway. Those were gone. The pillars and trim, white before, were now a light gray. It looked less like a fifth-rate Tara. Maybe the new owner had no dreams of happy, hard-working, nigger slaves.
The owner was D.A. Alvarson, a Swiss citizen. Exactly why Nurse Aino was living here was one of the things Marvell wanted to know before he made his final decision.
He sent one of his bodyguards up to the door first. While he was waiting for the bodyguard to get an answer, Marvell noticed another thing: the windows were about two inches thick.
The bodyguard came down. "She's home."
"All right. You, you come with me, you stay."
He went up to the door, noting that his men were really looking . . . they were all good. New enough to still have an edge on, but at the job long enough to be smooth. But he'd have to send them out soon; last year's war had left the ranks thin. Plenty of new talent, but not enough managers who were both tough enough and smart enough to make the operation work smoothly.
As he walked through the entry hall, Marvell was thinking about a cut he needed to make, Jaleel, one of his best men, but one who was getting too big, thinking about taking Marvell's place. The man had put some feelers out to the reds. Unfortunately for Jaleel, the reds thought Marvell was better to do business with now than any new man. <Soon . . . this week.> Marvell had killed many men, and had more killed. Once the decision was made, it should be done quickly. Marvell believed that some people could smell things like this, especially if they were in his business and alive after a few years. He had acted on odd feelings over the years, and had never been sorry that he had. <Better make it messy . . . that will make the others think again.>
"Take a seat. Minako will be finished in a few minutes."
The voice belonged to a woman in a wheelchair. She was blonde and good looking, if you ignored the withered legs under her skirt.
Marvell replied, "Thank you, Miss . . .?"
"Mrs. Chiba," the woman said.
Marvell asked, "Would Mr. Alvarson be in, by the way?"
Mrs. Chiba said, "You mean the owner? No, he's off tending to his business somewhere else. Why would you like to see him?"
Marvell said, looking around, "I like this house . . . I might buy it."
"Really?" She had an accent he found hard to place, but he could tell she didn't believe him. She wheeled over to a table, and took something from a small lacquer box. Wheeling back up to him, she held out a card. He took it. It read:
"THE GREY COMPANY" and gave several mailing addresses, and an internet site.
"If you can use e-mail, that's probably the quickest way to get an answer. Just put 'attention: D.A. Alvarson.' He reads his e-mail."
"Thank you." He pocketed the card.
The woman in the wheelchair moved away, and vanished behind one of the two double stairs.
Marvell didn't sit, so his guards didn't, either. He strolled around the big front room, which reminded him of a hotel lobby. There were a lot of couches and chairs, and they didn't match. He noticed that most of them were lightweight, except for a few set along the back wall. None of them looked new.
The tables held various items, and he looked them over. He noticed a stack of coloring books; the box next to it had several hundred crayons. There weren't any televisions showing, or any audio equipment. He did notice some cameras, and pointed them out to his guards. But there were few homes in Kensington without security cameras, including his mother's.
The woman in the wheelchair reappeared after the promised few minutes, among a few other people: a man and a woman in martial arts pajamas, and a blonde in a leotard and tights. The two martial artists went up the stairs, the woman pausing to give Marvell a penetrating look from the landing before continuing up. The blonde in the leotard, soaked with sweat and showing every seam of her underwear, and the contour of her nipples beneath it, pushed the woman in the wheelchair toward Marvell. They looked a lot alike, a lot alike, but not quite enough to for Marvell to be sure they were related. Perhaps an idle thought, but blood was always a connection worth considering . . .
The blonde in the leotard stepped around to the side of the woman in the wheelchair, and bowed. Then she held out her hand. "I am Minako Aino, Mr. Jones. I have met your mother."
Marvell took her hand, and impulsively bent down for a moment to kiss it. He noticed that she did not recoil, though he read trouble in her face. "Nice to meet you at last. I'm sorry I wasn't able to see you sooner."
Aino said, "I think I understand. You wanted to be careful."
<She knows the score . . . but no one with enough brains to be any good wouldn't.> Marvell glanced at the one in the wheelchair, but only for a moment. Her eyes were on him, and they were looking far past his face. He looked back at Aino, and said, "Yes. When can you start?"
Aino said, "Mr. Jones, I like your mother. I want to help her. But before I make my decision, may I meet your brother? The one I will be taking care of?"
Marvell said, "Fair enough."
Aino said, "And I want my friend Usagi with me, when we meet."
"Usagi?" asked Marvell.
"I am Usagi," said the one in the wheelchair. After an awkward interval of silence, she spoke again. "Tonight would be fine. We could have your brother and your mother over for dinner. You and your friends too, if you like. We are used to feeding lots of people."
"I can borrow Usagi's van to bring your brother," said Aino. "It has a wheelchair lift."
Marvell thought another moment. "What time do you eat?"
"Six o'clock," said Aino. "Is that too early? Too late?"
Six . . . Time enough to set it up. "No, not sure I can make it tonight . . . You said you were used to feeding lots of people?"
Aino said, "Yes. Most of my old friends live here with Usagi and her family. And we have quite a lot of children now. Would that be too much for your brother?"
"No, no, Kev always liked kids, and Moms . . ." Aino was a charmer; Marvell could see why his mother wanted her for Kevin. Her friend gave him the chills, but she was just a cripple, and a woman, after all. "Give my mother a call, will you? If she agrees, save me and by brothers some plates. I don't know if I'll be able to come, but I'll be disappointed if I can't." He took her hand again, and kissed it. "I hope this isn't the last time I'll see you."
Looking at Jones and his gunmen drive away, Minako Aino saw a car pull away a few seconds later. "Someone is following them. Police, probably."
"Would you like to know what he was thinking about when we invited him to dinner?" asked Usagi.
Minako said, "How his mother and brother would enjoy having a good meal with others?"
Usagi said, "Yes . . . and how it would be a good place for him to be while he has another man killed. He wants to kill him with his girlfriend and maybe their baby, so that other men who want to take his place will think they will be risking too much." Usagi wheeled up to Minako and the window she was looking through, and said, "He is probably sending the orders right now. He has something that he thinks makes his cellphone safe. He was thinking about that just as he walked out."
Minako said, "I won't attack him. That would be betraying his mother."
Usagi said, "Yes . . . Maybe we can stop the killing. I know the man's name is Jaleel. I will send e-mail to the police tip sites. Perhaps they can save the girlfriend and the baby."
Minako asked, "Could we find them ourselves?"
Usagi said, "We only have a few hours. I must tell the police first."
Minako said, "Yes . . . But we must also warn Mr. Jones."
"Mr. Jones?" remarked Usagi.
Minako said, "It is not right for his men to be lost to the police because he came to me to get help for his brother. And other people may be hurt or killed if there is a fight between his men and the police. If he is warned, he will call off his men . . . maybe, if there is time."
Rei came up to them, and Yuuichirou, who said, "You have only just met this Mr. Jones, and already so much trouble. Do you have to do this?"
The ghost of the General appeared in Minako. "It is not Mr. Jones, it is his mother and his brother . . . Go, help Usagi. We must try to keep any killings from happening."
"Some day you may have to fight Mr. Jones," said Rei. "Some day, you may have to kill him."
"Yes. But not today."
Kevin Jones could walk . . . but it hurt. Everything hurt, but walking hurt worse than most things he did, so he used a wheelchair most of the time. Walking, or even having his legs moved by Mrs. Little or the other nurses and therapists who Marvell and his mother had found for him, was torture. What was the point? What parts of his legs that didn't hurt were so numb he couldn't walk more than a few steps without stumbling. Canes didn't help; neither of his hands could grip them hard enough. He could manage a walker, but that was for old ladies, not a man. Kevin was still a man; he still had that, even if no woman would ever look at him the way they'd done before . . .
Kevin wished they would stop making him do therapy, but his mother kept telling him that this new woman would help him. Like she had told him the last one would help him, and the one before that.
Now they were going to meet the new nurse, actually going out to where she lived. His mother had her mind set on it, so it was going to happen. She had wanted him to dress nice, wear real trousers instead of sweats, a shirt with buttons . . . things he couldn't put on or take off by himself, not really. His mother had dressed him. She wouldn't let the Filipina maids do it. She'd gotten rid of the one who'd used to do what she could with him. His mother had called her a whore, but her touch had been gentle.
He had to get his mind off that. He said, "Let's see what's on the TV."
"No, they'll be here in a minute or two."
<That's what you said ten minutes ago.> Kevin did not say it aloud, of course.
But before Kevin could think too much more of what he missed, a van pulled up. The side door slid open, and a lift came down. Kevin's hopes that no one would come to pick them up were dashed. But at least he wouldn't have to struggle into and out of a car again.
He was using one of his powered wheelchairs. His mother didn't like him to use them, but he said they might be out a long time, and she said it was probably all right.
Someone got out of the van as he came up to the lift. It was a beautiful woman, blonde, blue-eyed--but not quite white; her eyes had the folds of an oriental, and her skin was about the shade of the lightest of the Filipinas. Japanese, probably; there were a few Japanese who had odd hair and eye colors; quite a few of them were entertainers, so even Kevin Jones knew of them. Or maybe she was just an Amerasian with colored contacts and a good dye job.
"Let me help you get in," she said, smiling at him. Kevin could see it was a forced smile, but she didn't look away right away, like most women. "All right, this is what you press to get in. Have you used this kind of lift before?"
"No, not quite like this one," said Kevin.
The woman said, "There are a lot of different kinds . . . can I press it for you?"
"Please, it's kind of hard."
She got him inside, and strapped the chair in, making sure he was belted in his chair. It was quite an elaborate harness, and she checked every part of it before she turned away and said to the driver, "We can go now." His mother had taken the seat the woman had been sitting in; she put herself in a little jump seat that folded down behind the driver's seat.
It was not a long ride at all. They pulled up in front of a big house, one of the biggest. Kevin saw people pouring out of the front door as soon as they stopped. Three men and a tall woman picked up his whole chair and carried him up the steps. Waiting for his mother, he saw one of the men go to the drivers side of the van. The driver was a woman, another blonde who looked a lot like the first one--but when the man picked her up, Kevin saw her skinny legs just hung loose. The tall woman got into the driver's seat, and drove the van away. The man carried the crippled woman in his arms up the steps, past Kevin, into the house.
Kevin's mother came up the steps with the blonde who had helped him get in and out of the van. She asked, "Don't you have a ramp for wheelchairs?"
The blonde woman said, "Yes, in the back. But Usagi said it was important for you to come in through the front door."
The house was full of people, including many children. Soon they were all gathered for dinner. It was a buffet; everyone filled up their plates with what they liked. Some of it was plain American food, and he noticed that most of the children took that. But some was not--he saw a little strawberry-blonde girl put a squid in a hot dog bun.
The evening wore on, and on. His mother liked this place, and these people. Kevin didn't know. The adults were polite, even thoughtful, but they were distant, except for the blonde that kept helping him, and the cripple--who always seemed to be looking at him when he looked around for her. She had eyes that looked through a person; old eyes, like Marvell's. The kids were mostly okay . . . except the kids who kept going up to the crippled woman the most. Kevin was always catching those three little girls looking at him, too.
It was a Friday night, and the kids were apparently allowed to stay up late, but they started falling asleep and being carried off. One of them surprised Kevin by coming up to the woman who had been helping him and saying, "Mama, will you put me in bed tonight?" It was one of the girls who had been watching him; he'd thought she belonged to the one in the wheelchair. "His" girl went off with her own little girl.
Waiting for the blonde helper to come back, Kevin saw that his mother had fallen asleep in a comfortable chair. Someone had covered her with a blanket. He wanted to leave, but he wanted to say goodbye to the woman who had helped him so much. He also needed to pee, badly, but he knew he couldn't manage his zipper, and who would help him with that? In fact . . . he realized he had been there for hours and no one had introduced the nurse who was supposed to be living here.
At last she came . . . with the lady in the wheelchair. They were alone in the great front room, although Kevin noticed a few faces on the railings high above, probably too far up to hear.
The cripple said nothing for a long time, staring at him, into him. Finally she said, "Yes."
The blonde who had helped him said, "Usagi approves. I will start Monday."
"Start?" blurted Kevin. "You are the nurse?"
"Yes. I am Aino Minako--Minako Aino, as you would put my names in America. I am the nurse your mother has wanted for you."
"You are lucky," said the crippled lady. "You are the one . . . and I think you need to visit a toilet now. Minako?"
Nurse Aino said, "I will help you. Those are nice pants, but they must be difficult."
And he really helped him. She cleaned him off when he was finished, and said, "You must have happy girlfriends."
He knew she wasn't coming on to him. But that was when he was sure he was in love with her.
Chiba Mamoru held his precious Usako in his tiny apartment in Ravenswood. He stroked her hair, once so long, now cut short, and said, "We have not made love here since the night you returned from Nancy's world. Before Chibi-Usa was born."
Usagi said, "No . . . I thought for so long it would be the last time for so long . . . so long."
Mamoru asked, "Should we see if Minako's new client has left?"
Usagi said, "No. I want to spend the rest of the night . . . I want you to be here when I wake up, and make love again before we leave."
He kissed her, again, and again. But then he asked the question. "Is he the one?"
"Yes. I am sure of it."
Mamoru asked, "How can you stand it, then?"
Usagi sighed, "I have seen his heart . . . he has done bad things, and he does not really understand good and bad the way we do. But Cooan did worse, and I spared her. I have never been sorry I did . . . he was fighting for his family, that is what he felt."
"And the brother?" asked Mamoru.
"We cannot help fighting him someday, unless someone else defeats him first. One of us might kill him. I hope it is not Minako," said Usagi.
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