USAGI NOTICED AFTER AWHILE that Jimmy wasn't really trying to get as close as he had been, most of the time. The last days of the school year meant finals, and she wanted to do as well as she could—she had been very surprised that even her old lazy self had been a better student than most of the American students. Between that and worrying about Chibi-Usa, she didn't give Jimmy or anyone else much thought. He would sit by her when they had classes together, or at lunch, but said little.
But at the end of classes, the last Friday before finals week began, he took her hand and led her away from the bus stop. She started to protest, "Jimmy, I have to get home."
"We need to talk."
"I need to get home, Jimmy. Chi—I have to go home." She gently removed his hand from her arm.
"Why? Why don't you have any time for me?"
"I am sorry . . . " She saw people, mostly other kids from her school, staring at herself and poor Jimmy, who was at the point of tears. She heard a smart remark and turned back with a wicked glance. Turning back to Jimmy and seeing him start to walk away, she ran up to him. "Do not go away like you are now. Please, I am still your friend. I am sorry."
"Sorry . . . Do you know what I feel? Do you know how much . . ."
She kissed him on his cheek. "I need to go home now, Jimmy-chan. But come with me."
"Why? Why should I?"
"If you are my friend, come . . . the bus is coming!"
Usagi ran to catch it. It was very crowded. In fact, she did not know Jimmy had followed her until after she got off at her stop and had started walking home. She heard footsteps behind her, and there he was, still saying nothing, still with pain in his eyes she would do anything to take away—anything but what he really wanted.
But those thoughts were washed from her mind when she saw Chibi-Usa running toward her. As much as she had grown, she seemed very much like the scared little sprout Usagi had first known when she melted into her arms. <This must have been a bad day,> Usagi thought, as she kissed and comforted. Usagi noticed that her foster mother come out and stand in front of the house, arms folded. <Very bad day. Vera-san is very angry>.
Her foster mother said lowly as they came up to the house, "You, git inside. Who're you—Oh, you're that Jimmy. You'd better—"
Usagi found she could think very fast, and before her foster mother could get back into the rant she had started, she held trembling Chibi-Usa closer and said, "Jimmy-chan has invited us to stay over with him tonight. I think that would be a good idea."
Vera-chan stopped speaking, and stepped back, shocked. It was the first time Usagi had ever done something like this. After a moment, without looking at Jimmy, without looking away from Usagi's eyes, she mumbled, "Uh, yeah, I guess . . ."
"We will get some things and go. All right, Vera-san?"
"Thank you. Jimmy-chan, you come?"
It wasn't until they were all on another bus and well over halfway to Jimmy's home that either Jimmy or Chibi-Usa spoke again. Jimmy was first.
"I can't believe this is happening . . . I never even told my folks about . . . who are you, anyway?"
"She still doesn't speak much Eng—" Usagi began.
"Usagi," said Chibi-Usa. "My real name Usagi. Is Usagi. But call me Sarah, you like. If you like. Nice American name." She turned to Usagi and switched to Japanese, "Oka—I will use my American name. I do not think he understood me."
Judging from Jimmy-chan's puzzled look, Usagi agreed with Chibi-Usa. She still found it very hard to tell Jimmy a casual lie, so she was very careful about what she said next. "She is much as I was. She has even more trouble with English. Worse when things are bad. But she is part of my family, Jimmy-chan. I remember that. I am sure. It is precious to have her again." She saw that Chibi-Usa understood, because a sudden tear appeared. Taking Chibi-Usa's hand, and Jimmy-chan's, she said, "Family. Sarah is all the family I know I have now."
"Is she your sister?"
"Family . . . but we will tell your family she is my sister?"
"Uh . . . yeah."
Jimmy lived in a blended family. Usagi had known this, but it was a surprise to meet them all at home. She had met his mother once, and his sister and one of his stepsisters, but there were two other stepsisters, a stepbrother, a half-sister, and a half- brother, who was only a few months old. In the confusion of meeting them all, Chibi-Usa blurted out something in Japanese. "That is one more than Auntie Naru . . ."
"What?" asked Usagi.
"Nothing . . ." Chibi-Usa—or Sarah as she must be called now—would say no more of it. There was so much of the future she knew of but would not tell—annoying as ever, but comforting for being a familiar old annoyance.
Usagi forced herself to return her attention to Jimmy's family. Fortunately they were all distracted by Chi—Sarah—as she took the tiny baby in her arms and gently played with him—she had always had the same magical knack with babies as Ikuko, Usagi's mother; perhaps that had skipped a generation. She wiped the corners of her eyes before she really started streaming; it worked.
"I think we've found another sitter," murmured Jimmy's mother. Usagi heard it—or had she heard what she was thinking? Things were getting strange . . .
Usagi was able to talk with Chibi-Usa in one of the bathrooms for a few minutes later that evening. "What is happening? Why does Jimmy's family like you so much so soon? It's as if—"
"As if I had Luna-P to hypnotize them."
"But you do not . . . are you doing this? How?"
"Maybe . . . I don't know how, if I am doing it. I just wanted to fit in . . . "
"Why not do that at the foster home?"
Chibi-Usa shrugged. "I think they are too mean there. But I will try."
"How can you do it without Luna-P?"
Chibi-Usa looked at Usagi for a long time before answering. "After they took away Luna-P, I asked . . . She told me that Luna P was just a teacher, and that I had to learn to do on my own now . . . Oka—"
"Careful, someone might hear. Remember, if you call me okasan all the time, someone might tell Watanabe-sama about it."
Then two more girls pounded on the door.
Usagi really had planned on having that long-postponed talk with Jimmy that night, but she fell asleep on a chair. Chibi-Usa shooed everyone away from her, told Jimmy to get a blanket, and put it over Usagi after Jimmy had brought it.
Usagi woke up needing to pee at about the usual time, judging from the faint light in the windows. She took a moment to remember where she was, but when she remembered enough to find her way to a bathroom, she thought of little more until she had completed her business. When she was washing up as quietly as she could manage, she began to hear voices from outside. Noticing that the bathroom window was open a tiny crack, she stood on tiptoe to peer out, and saw that Chibi-Usa and Jimmy were in the back yard, talking. This time, whatever special power that had allowed her to hear Jimmy's mother wasn't working; she could not make out what they were saying.
But she could hear that Chibi-Usa was getting more and more upset, and she could see what was beginning to happen . . .
"James!" cried Jimmy's mother, running out to him.
"What in H-E—" Jimmy's stepfather began to say as he stumbled out a few steps behind his wife. Lights began to go on in the other houses.
"I'm sorry. He fell. He's not hurt bad," said Usagi. We were just—"
"I think I can see what you were doing," said Jimmy's stepfather. "Cover yourself and get back in the house."
Usagi pulled her shirt closed, wishing she'd had time to open it without ripping the buttons—she might not be able to find them all to sew them back on. As she walked in the house, she glanced up, without lifting her head. Chibi-Usa was peeking over the top of the roof. All the other children were out in the back yard now. Usagi stuck out her tongue at Jimmy's step-brother Eric, a nine-year-old who reminded of her of Shingo. Then she went in, and quickly went to the front door, hoping that no one would notice. Once outside, she looked around to see if anyone seemed to be watching, and then whispered, louder and louder, until Chibi-Usa came down. "Get inside and change back!" she said to her daughter, "before anyone else sees!"
Chibi-Usa did that, but both of them were dismayed to find that her pajamas had did not rematerialized. Chibi-Usa was still naked. Usagi grabbed the blanket Chibi-Usa had put over her hours before and wrapped it around Chibi-Usa. "Go back out and say you just woke up!"
"What about my pajamas?"
"Ne-e-eh . . . Say you didn't like wearing them!"
Actually, no one paid Chibi-Usa much attention, except for Jimmy— and he was careful not to stare at Chibi-Usa for too long.
Jimmy's parents weren't really that upset once they knew Jimmy wasn't really hurt, and, in fact, they let Usagi and Chibi-Usa stay another night—in one of the girl's rooms. Usagi thought Chibi-Usa might be using her powers to make that happen, but Chibi-Usa wasn't sure. The two oldest girls had had boys over before, and one of them had been caught making love—the other hadn't been caught. They seemed to think it was a great joke. Usagi and Chibi-Usa let them go on thinking what they thought.
There wasn't any trouble when they came back to the foster home on Sunday, but neither Usagi thought that had anything to do with powers—the foster parents had short tempers, but also short memories, and they were busy making the lives of some of their other charges miserable.
Usagi felt better about leaving Chibi-Usa alone to go to school on Monday than she ever had—because she knew Chibi-Usa would at least be safe, now, since she could transform if she was in real danger. After that, there was the first day of finals to tackle; all too soon after that, the second . . . and before Usagi thought any more deep thoughts at all, it was the last day of school. She was riding home with Jimmy on the bus, and realized that this was the last ride they would be taking together for awhile. So she asked, "Will you come home with me?"
"Sure." One-word answers seemed to be all he could manage since that night . . .
But, as they walked very slowly toward her foster home, he managed some complete sentences. "This is so weird. And I can't tell anyone . . ."
"Why would you want to? They would think you were crazy as me or Chibi-Usa—Sarah, we must always call her that now."
"No, that's not what I mean . . ."
"I mean, everyone thinks we did it. Everyone. I wanted that to happen so much, and now everyone else thinks I made it happen . . . but it didn't."
"That is Oh-Kay, Jimmy-chan. Just tell them all I was very good, no?"
They were close to the house now, and Chibi-Usa/Sarah had come outside, but she waited on the sidewalk, at least plausibly out of earshot. Something made Usagi stop then. So did Jimmy-chan.
"I'm going away for the summer."
"I enlisted in the Marines. I do boot camp this summer, then I go back in after graduation. My dad was a Marine, you know—my real dad. I always wanted to do at least one hitch, and—"
"You enlist because of that night?" At least she hadn't switched into Japanese.
"Yes, I did . . . It was stupid, I should have stayed here for the summer."
"When do you leave?"
"Well . . ."
Chibi-Usa came up to them, but still said nothing.
After a long moment, she wiped the wetness from the corners of Jimmy's eyes. Then she put one hand on his chest, and the other behind his neck, and kissed him full on the mouth for a long time. Then she pushed him back a little bit, surprising him and herself with her quiet strength. "I am very good, Jimmy-chan. But my heart is my Mamo-chan's. You know that. I trust you. But if I could . . ."
He kissed her on the cheek, and then he went to Chibi-Usa and did the same, and hugged Chibi-Usa for a long time. "Take care of your mother," he said very quietly. "You're not the only one who loves her." And then he jogged back to the corner, and around it, and was gone.
Japanese also use a couple of different syllabaries and romaji (the western alphabet), but their use is considered somewhat childish. In fact, this is something Rei remarks on when she reads a letter from the future Usagi to the rest of the senshi in the episode where Chibi Usa returns in the third season.
Those of you who know the manga version might be puzzled why Chibi Usa doesn't know what happened to Mamoru, since in the manga Chibi Moon comes back to fight Galaxia (along with the Asteroid Senshi, the former Amazon Quartet.) Well, keep wondering . . . maybe she doesn't remember because history changed for her when Galaxia was defeated. Or maybe things didn't happen exactly that way in my storyline, which mixes manga and anime elements. Stay tuned . . .
BTW, if anyone out there knows how "Asteroid Senshi" comes out in Japanese, I'd appreciate it if you told me. I've been using "Asatara." Yes, Sere, JunJun, ParaPara and Besu all show up later, and there's even a fifth "Asatara" . . .
The Tokyo dialect is supposed to be quite recognizable by Japanese, particularly those who aren't from Tokyo.