"Do you own this place?" asked the officer.
Mrs. Tsukino said, "No, we do not. It belongs to the company my husband is working for. Actually, it belongs to the man who is in charge of it. He does not use it very often, and he allows us to stay here. Of course, we have to keep the place up ourselves. Actually, there are--"
The officer stopped her from rambling on. "I think you answered my question already. How long have you lived here?"
"About six months now," said Mrs. Tsukino.
"And who lives with you here?" asked the officer.
Mrs. Tsukino replied, "My husband, Kenji--he is away again."
"Again?" asked the officer.
Mrs. Tsukino explained, "He is a photographer. He goes all over the world. Especially since Juuban Corporation was taken over. I can show you some of his work, if you like."
The officer said politely, "Maybe later. Who else lives here? This is a big place."
"There are quite a number of people here now," Mrs. Tsukino said. "Besides Kenji and I, there is our son Shingo and our daughter Usagi. She has just had a baby . . . and we have many friends who have come to stay with us, to be with her."
"Are you all right, ma'am?" The officer noticed the woman rub a tear from her face.
Mrs. Tsukino said, "I am sorry . . . It has been a happy time, but a sad time too. I lost my granddaughter . . . my first one . . . not so long ago, and the baby reminds me of her. And the father of the baby, he is also dead . . . I must be strong for my daughter but it is difficult."
"I'm sorry . . . "
"No, I will be fine . . . Besides my family, we have Ms. Leary and her family . . ."
The police officer took the particulars she needed for her report. She asked everyone else what they knew about the car, but did it as quickly as possible. There were a lot of people to see, though, more than she had expected, even in so large a home.
That officer did not know that Nancy Uer was a witness in an important case. In fact, the jail still hadn't reported its mistake; they didn't know they had made one.
When the report on the fingerprints found in the car came in a few days later, the jailors had their mistake pointed out. And some more police officers were sent over to a mansion in Kensington.
Mizuno Ami--or "Amy Mizuno" as most Americans seemed to address her--held on to Mamoru's arm. She would have felt out of her element if it had been a normal date--as if any date with Mamoru could be "normal." Now . . .
The function was not at Stanford. It was an awards dinner for a famous doctor who had taught and researched at Stanford for many years. It was actually part of a medical convention at Moscone Center, a place in San Francisco Ami had heard of even before leaving Japan, but one she had never visited. Mamoru had picked her up in his old car to take her there, although she had offered a more sensible solution, meeting him there. Ami wondered if he had hoped to get a glimpse of Usagi, but he hadn't hung about.
On the drive into San Francisco, Mamoru had asked how Usagi and the baby were doing, but he had also talked about what he was doing at school. He'd wondered which college Ami had chosen. Ami had changed the subject. Then, when he had asked whether the police had talked to them any more about the man who had chased Nancy, she had told him he had been released by mistake--but Ami did had not told him what had become of the man. Instead she had said, "I do not think we will see him again. He would be stupid not to run very far away." Then she had changed the subject again.
Mamoru had had to park his car several blocks away from Moscone Center. Now they were walking the rest of the way. As if she did not have enough on her mind, Ami did not like the look of the neighborhood. "Mamoru, this looks like a bad place."
Mamoru said, "There are some crooks here. But we shouldn't have trouble. See? They always put extra police here when there is a big convention. The place I live now is much worse."
"Where?" asked Ami.
Mamoru said, "A place called Ravenswood. It is very poor. Many people are on drugs and steal to buy them. But most of the people there are just poor, not crooks. Since there is not a lot of money for police, they get robbed a lot."
"Why do you live there, then?" asked Ami.
Mamoru said, "It was the only place close to the Stanford campus I could afford. I could probably move into a dorm in the next term, but I'm not sure I want to now."
"Did you catch any of the crooks?" asked Ami.
Mamoru answered, "I stopped a few of them, but I am not a policeman. I think I help the people a lot more by helping out at the free clinic. When I become a doctor, I would rather help poor people with real sickness than rich ones who just want a better nose." While they were waiting for a light to change, he returned to an uncomfortable subject. "Have you decided where to go to college? I had expected you would be in college now."
Ami was embarassed. "I--no. I had planned to go to Tokyo University. But I had to go to Africa with the other senshi to fight a new enemy there. When we got back, it was too late to get in this year. Rei-chan was dropped from T*A Academy. Haruka and Michiru lost their places in school, too. We all had to do makeup work . . . I do not know."
"Why not Stanford?" said Mamoru.
"Ne-e-eh . . . I do not know. It is a good school."
Mamoru said, "It is a very good school. And they seem to be willing to take strange people like me; they wouldn't have a problem with you. After I didn't show up at Harvard, I didn't think any good school would take me."
"That was not your fault," said Ami.
Mamoru said, "No, but how to explain it? 'I'm sorry I didn't come to your school, even though you gave me a full scholarship, because I was dead?'"
Ami let off a short laugh before she could think.
Mamoru put his hand on her cheek and said, "I'd like to have you around. Usagi would. I think she might be living here for a long time."
After a moment, Ami said, "Mamoru."
"The light is green now."
He gave her a funny look before they walked onward.
The dinner was a long affair. There were appetizers and drinks for an hour before the real dinner began. Ami didn't want to be a prude and was curious, so she had two different cocktails. Wine was served with the main meal. When coffee came after the meal, just before the speech, the waiter asked her if she cared for a little brandy in her coffee, and she took it. Finally, more wine, for the toasts to come at the presentation.
Ami felt a little pleasantly light-headed, until the got up to leave. Then she discovered her legs were not doing quite what she wanted.
Everything was hazy walking back to the car, and she faded out shortly after the car was moving.
Ami opened her eyes. She felt a mattress under her. Mamoru was bent close over her.
Ami said, "Would you kiss me? First?"
Mamoru kissed her. Then he rose. Ami saw that Rei was standing there too. She realized she was in the room in the mansion she shared with Rei. Mamoru looked at her for a long moment. She was not certain what was in his face.
Then he turned, and saw Usagi standing in the doorway. Ami could see his shoulders tense, and then slump. "Usako," he said.
"Mamoru," she replied. "It is late. You should spend the night."
Mamoru was shocked. "I--I do not know what to say. You said--"
Usagi cut him off. "Ami-chan, if you'd like, Mamoru could stay here. Rei-chan can stay with me and my little moon."
Mamoru took a step toward Usagi--and she transformed. Mamoru stepped back.
The Death Angel said, "As you can see, I am not as I was before. You must find another. Ami-chan, you have not answered. Do you want Mamoru to stay?"
Before thinking, Ami said, "Yes."
Ami opened her eyes. Sunlight was pouring into the room through the windows.
Mamoru was gone.
She discovered she had a headache and her mouth was dry, and needed to visit a bathroom. Once she had taken care of her immediate needs, she padded downstairs in her robe and pajamas and some warm, weird-looking slippers that looked like little dogs.
There was a bustle. Nancy's family was getting ready to leave, in only a few hours more. Nevertheless, Nancy took time to remark when Ami passed her, "Not exactly glowing after the big night, are you?"
"Big night?" said Ami, puzzled. Then she realized . . . "Oh . . . there was no 'big night.' All we did was talk."
Nancy held her hand, and smiled. "I figured. You were drunk. Not his style at all."
"How--never mind." Ami looked past Nancy at Usagi, sitting with her baby between her mother and Nancy's mother, just far enough away so it wasn't likely they could hear her. "I think I wanted to, Nancy. To make love."
"Yeah. Well, if you have to think, the time ain't right." Nancy squeezed her hands tighter. "You told him about Sarah, didn't you? Chibi-Usa?"
"Yes," said Ami.
Nancy hugged her. "Gonna miss you, too."
Usagi went off with her baby and her mother to see Nancy's family to their plane. Naru, who had become very good friends with Nancy and her family, went along too, and, of course, Umino went with Naru. That left eight senshi alone in the house as night fell. Makoto made up a lot of Mexican-style food that she had learned to fix because Usagi had picked up a taste for it. They just picked away at it, waiting for the return of the others . . . and talking.
Ami was the first to say something important. "I am going to stay here."
"Because of Mamoru?" asked Rei.
Amy said, "That is one reason . . . but I must stay with Usagi. She is my most special friend. I will not leave her now."
"But your mother . . ." said Minako.
Ami said, "My mother was going to go to Africa this year, but she stayed because I did not start college. I will tell her to go."
"What will you do?" asked Makoto.
Ami said, "I will go to college here, if I can. Stanford, or Berkeley, or UCSF, perhaps. If I cannot get in, then I won't go for awhile. But I won't leave Usagi the way she is."
Setsuna spoke up. "Ami-chan, Usagi is not going to be better soon. Maybe not for years. Maybe not ever."
Rei was next. "What will you do if Mamoru decides he doesn't want you?"
Ami said, "I do not know . . . But whatever I feel for Mamoru, I must stay. I would never have thought of Mamoru that way if Usagi--"
"Had not said that you should try," said Makoto. "She said Mamoru would probably be happiest with another senshi."
Michiru spoke next. "Haruka has found a doctor here she likes. I will stay with her here until the baby comes . . . I think all the senshi should stay together, or as many as can. We are defenders of the whole world, not just Tokyo or Japan. And I think we need to watch over Sailor Moon. No matter how much greater her power is now, she took a foolish chance with the man who Nancy caught. Who will tell her when she is making a mistake, if not us?"
"What does your mirror tell you of the future?" asked Rei.
"Little," said Michiru, "Nothing I really understand. That is not what the mirror does best, anyway. What do you see? You have more power than I to do this."
Rei said, "I have tried . . . I found little of the future, but . . ."
"What did you find?" asked Michiru.
"You should use your mirror to check," said Rei.
"Check what?" asked Michiru.
Rei did not speak for a moment. Then, "Usagi's baby. I think she is Chibi-Usa."
"Her brave little moon," said Minako.
Rei turned to Setsuna and said, "You know many secrets. Is this what is meant to be? Usagi raises Chibi-Usa, knowing that she will die as she did? As she will?"
"I do not know that," said the Senshi of Time.
Ami spoke up. "Wait. If this is Chibi-Usa, why did she fade when Mamoru was almost destroyed by Neherenia?"
Setsuna said, "I do not know. I always believed she was Mamoru's child."
"She would not have been the Chibi-Usa we knew if Mamoru had not raised her," said Makoto. "Maybe that is it."
"Perhaps she did not really fade," said Haruka. "Neherenia's magic distorted reality. What was real and what was a dream?"
Rei said, "It could be that this is a new incarnation for Chibi-Usa. I feel the same soul in her. If it is, then . . ."
"Usagi believes her little moon is Chibi-Usa," said Hotaru quietly. "Her eyes are blue now, but the hair is the same. I think that when she gets a little older, her eyes will change. Jimmy's mother has the same color eyes as Chibi-Usa. I think she is Chibi-Usa . . . I will stay with her."
Setsuna looked very sad as she took Hotaru into her arms. "Well, then, I guess I must stay too." After kissing Hotaru, she took a different tone. "With Mercury's good sense to help, we Outer Senshi should be able to keep Sailor Moon from making too many mistakes. What of the rest?"
"I am staying," said Minako.
Makoto said, "But your mother? I have no family to worry about, but--"
"Okasan came here because I asked her. What does she have in Japan, now? Usagi's mother has already asked her if she would like to stay." Minako stood up. "It is my duty to stay. I have always been the special protector of the Moon Princess. Look what has happened to her when she went away from me."
"You cannot know you could have helped her," said Setsuna.
Minako said, "You cannot tell me you are sure I couldn't have. So, I am staying, and I do not have to ask Mako. So, Rei-chan, will you be the only one who does not stay?"
Makoto said, "Minako, her grandfather--"
"I will stay," said Rei.
"Your grandfather," Mako stubbornly asserted.
"I will tell him why I must stay. I hope he will come here, but grandfather has his own ways." Rei stood up now, and turned to face each other senshi in turn. "I see in all your eyes you think that I am staying because of Mamoru. That is one reason. But Mamoru is not just Mamoru; he is the senshi of Earth. If there is ever to be a King of Earth, it will be him. Such a King should have a powerful queen. If Usagi will not be his queen, then one of us would be best. Setsuna, you are the oldest and wisest among us. Do I speak truly?"
"Yes," said the others.
Then the Senshi of Silence silenced everyone with a quiet remark. "Perhaps even me." After everyone, even Setsuna, went open-mouthed for a long moment, Hotaru added, "When I am old enough, of course."
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