|A Year and Change|
|Mika and the Senshi|
Mika also remembered that she was wearing pajamas borrowed from Hotaru. And that reminded her of what else she had borrowed from Hotaru: Shingo.
The big house was not empty; Mika could hear people sleeping. The first person she found up was a little girl praying at the house shrine, When the girl turned spoke to her, she was startled. "Kimi? I thought you were hurt."
"I am Ishtar," said the little girl. "Kimi is in the hospital now."
Mika said, "Oh . . . I am sorry, but you look and sound like Kimi."
Ishtar said, "Yes. We are sisters. Mamoru is our father."
Mika said, "Yes . . . I remember, Shingo told me that, I should have remembered."
"That is all right," the little girl replied. "You have had a scary thing happen to you. It was not your fault."
"Not my fault . . ."
"It is not your fault Kimi-chan was hurt." Mika now remembered that Ishtar was older than she looked, but she seemed even older than she was to Mika, especially with her next words. "I know you will be having Uncle Shingo's love-child. Do not feel so bad about that. I am a love-child, and so is okasan."
Mika said, "But I have shamed myself. And I have hurt Shingo's wife so much."
Ishtar said, "You have hurt Hotaru. And I think probably Shingo too. But you love Shingo so strongly. Hotaru will forgive you, because of that."
When they were alone, Mika told Shingo's wife what Ishtar had said. Hotaru replied, "Ishtar is exactly right. I can forgive you, because you love Shingo."
"But I shouldn't have," protested Mika.
Hotaru said, "But you did . . . And so did Shingo. He would not have slept with you if he did not have a special love for you. I saw that this might happen long ago, Mika."
"With your powers?"
"No, I don't think so . . . I saw because I know Shingo. You knew him first, but I have been with him most of his life." She glanced down at Rhea, at her breast. "I could not help myself. That is why I have Rhea here. And Rhea is why you had Shingo to yourself long enough for him to realize he has always loved you." Holding Rhea a little closer yet, Hotaru looked back up at Mika, and added, "If your child is a girl, she will almost certainly be a sailor fighter someday."
Mika said, "But I am no senshi! And Shingo--"
Hotaru said quietly, "My Rhea will be a senshi, we are already certain of that. And Shingo is Usagi's brother."
"Usagi? Usagi is a senshi?"
"Usagi is the greatest of us all," said Hotaru, rising to leave. "Usagi is Sailor Moon."
Mika sat by herself, absorbing these new shocks. After some time, Hotaru returned, with a now-sleeping Rhea. "This is the forgetting powder," she said, setting down a tiny phial in front of Mika, next to her tea. "If you take it, you should forget everything that has happened for the last few days. At least for awhile. Maybe forever."
Mika picked it up, and looked at it. "Where does it come from?"
"I cannot tell you. It is safe, though. It has been used for a long time, in other places."
Mika continued to hold the phial, but set down her hand. "I would rather not forget that you saved me."
"And Kimi-chan," said Hotaru.
"Yes . . . " Mika stopped to dab her cheeks. "Is she really going to be all right?"
"Chiba-san says so," answered Hotaru. "But she will be in the hospital for a long time." Hotaru sat down, this time next to Mika rather than across the table. She put a hand out to touch Mika's shoulder. "You would also forget what that terrible man did to you."
Mika shook her head. "I would rather remember . . . I will take this if you insist, but I want to remember. If I forget what you did for me, I might try to take Shingo away from you."
Hotaru gently took the phial from Mika's hand. "You do not have to, then. But you will have to tell the police you have forgotten everything."
Mika said, "Yes, I suppose . . . But I will do that, to keep you safe."
Hotaru said, "To keep you safe, too . . . from being locked up with crazy people, if you tell the police the truth. Usagi could tell you stories about that."
Hotaru said, "Yes . . . But do not ask of this for a long time. In fact, it would be better you did not see much of her, until she wants to see you, I think."
"Where is she?" asked Mika.
Hotaru said, "Sleeping. She will be going back to the hospital soon after she gets up."
Mika finished her cup of tea, and got up to get another. She asked if Hotaru would care for some. She did, and showed her where her cup was. Returning, looking for something to talk about besides all the grief she had brought to Shingo's family, Mika asked, "Were you going to go to MIT, before you knew the baby was coming?"
Hotaru said, "No. I was going to go to Harvard."
"Harvard admitted you, but not MIT?"
"Oh, I could have gone, but I chose Harvard. I wanted to do my minor in History, and MIT is not as suitable for that. Besides, my father went to Harvard."
"Your father?" asked Mika. One of the few facts she knew for certain was that the mysterious Professor Tomoe had degrees from Harvard. "Was your father Tomoe Souichi?"
"Yes," answered Hotaru. "How do you know of him?"
Mika said "I wanted to know more about his work. About cybernetic prosthetics. Do you know anything of it? You would have been very young--"
"I know of it," said Hotaru, cutting Mika off. "It ended badly." And that is all that Hotaru would say of it.
Mika took Hotaru's advice and avoided Usagi. That was easy enough, because Usagi spent every possible moment at the hospital.
Mika decided that Dr. Han might be good to talk to about her situation. "You live here, with Dr. Chiba and Usagi. How do you all get along?"
"Carefully," remarked Dr. Han, making an American-style joke that Mika did not understand. But Ginger Han was perceptive enough to see this, and became more serious. "Sometimes I think it would be better to move away. But Lily loves her father, and he loves her, very much. And it is best for us to work together. I could not use my special power very much if I did not have Mamoru and my other friends here to help me."
"That is important for you," said Mika, "But I have no powers."
Dr Han waited a moment before continuing. "Are you afraid you will do the wrong thing with Shingo?"
Mika said, "Yes . . . Aren't you afraid that you will do the wrong thing with Dr. Chiba?"
"No," answered Ginger Han. "Now that he has Usagi, Mamoru would never make love to someone else. He is not like that."
"But Shingo is not Mamoru," said Mika.
Dr. Han said, "No, he is not. But I did not say that Mamoru does not still love me, or his other women. He does. But it is important to him to be faithful. Shingo is much like him in that way." Dr. Han took her hand. "Mamoru did slip once that I know of. He had been with Minako for a long time when he made love to Usagi. That is how Kimi-chan came to be. Mamoru did not make love to another woman for a long time after that. We dated for a year before we made love. I could have married him. But I saw he belonged with Usagi. And if you see that Shingo belongs with Hotaru, you should make the same decision."
Despite herself, Mika blurted, "But what if he belongs with me?"
Ginger Han sighed. "You should talk to Ms. Hino. She has insights about these things. And you should be seeing a lawyer, anyway; you are going to be seeing a lot of police soon enough."
Catching Ms. Hino alone was easier than the others, because she had her own home, much smaller than the mansion, but still large by Japanese standards. It was only a short walk from the mansion.
Mika actually remembered Hino Rei from her childhood, and was uncomfortable going to face a woman who was known for her quick, sharp judgments about people. But she was surprised by the woman she found.
Hino-san divined for Mika in her traditional way, through flames and the flow of smoke from incense. Finally she said, "Your child will be a senshi."
"What of Shingo?" asked Mika. "And Hotaru?"
"There are many paths for the three of you. But all of them bring you together, in some way." Hino-san looked away from the fire, into Mika's eyes. "You will have to work out which path you will take with Shingo and Hotaru."
"Ne-e-eh," groaned Mika. "I have shamed myself. I did not think I would ever do something so foolish. And so cruel and selfish. What must you think of me? You are the most sensible friend of Usagi that I remember."
"I have not been all that sensible, Kayama-san," said Hino-san. "And not that kind. I was very thoughtless to Yuuichirou for many years before I became his wife. I lost him. And then to get him back, I stole him from a girl he was going to marry. Deja, my oldest, is really our love-child."
Mika said, "But your husband did not have a wife and a child, did he?"
"No," said Hino-san. "But he gave his promise and then he broke it for my sake. And I cannot believe that Hara-san would not be having a happier life if my Yuuichirou was her husband." Hino-san shook her head. "I think it is time to talk about another problem, Kayama-san. The police in Massachusetts are still looking for you. Some of them think Shingo-kun made you disappear. Since you did not take the forgetting powder, you are going to have to tell them a story . . . "
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