To Give Warning
By Douglas Helm and "Tuxedo" Will Wolfshohl
Those characters that are original and the story "To Give Warning" are copyrighted ©2010-2012 ShoujoFiction .com domain by Douglas Helm and Will Wolfshohl.
This story and our other Sailor Moon stories reside at our Shoujo Fiction dot com website.
Chapter 8 "A Knock at the Door"
Wednesday, May 11, 1994
Azuba-Juuban District, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Federal Republic of Japan
Sailors Jupiter and Moon dashed through the main gate onto the campus of the elementary school that Kino Chiyo attended and raced towards its main building. 'Where's Chiyo?' Jupiter worried when she saw that her sister was not waiting by the gate as she had expected. Her tension level instantly spiked. "Which way did she go, Sailor Moon?"
"I lost sight of her too," the golden-haired Senshi answered understanding her friend's concern. She then leapt from the tarmac adjacent to the main building upwards a full two stories before landing gracefully atop the fenced roof. As Jupiter landed beside her, Sailor Moon held up her hand and said, "Hold it... I heard her car! This way, Jupiter!" And she dashed across the deserted roof, her ponytailed friend easily keeping up.
"Kami-sama," Jupiter breathed as she realized in which direction they were heading, "The auditorium... CHIYO!" The auditorium was a detached building linked to the school's main building by a wide covered pathway approximately 100 feet in length. With a surge of fear behind her, the Jovian Senshi sprinted across the school's rooftop and leapt up and over the fence surrounding the edge landing below atop the path cover. Sailor Moon was only a second behind. The tall Sailor Senshi increased her pace. So much so that she was already on the ground and halfway to the auditorium doors before Sailor Moon had reached the ground.
"Jupiter!" Sailor Moon called out.
"Chiyo's still in there, Sailor Moon. If that bitch has gone after my imouto, I'll fry her ass into cinders!" Sailor Moon could almost feel the electricity emanating from her friend as the tall teen ran as hard as she could to and through the auditorium building's main entrance. Sailor Jupiter didn't even register the fact that the double set of doors were twisted and smashed into the adjacent walls.
"It's not only Chiyo who's in danger," the Senshi of the Moon cautioned sternly. Nevertheless, her brown-haired friend paid her no heed. It didn't surprise her though. In her friend's view, family always came first. She silently pledged to be there for Sailor Jupiter as her friends were there for her when little Serenity (Chibi-Usa) was being pursued by the Black Moon Family.
As Sailor Jupiter ran down through the anteroom, her green boots clacked noisily against its hard tile floor. Suddenly, she heard a loud crash ahead and then nothing. Distracted, she nearly ran over the school custodian who was staring in disbelief at a set of fresh tire thread marks leading down the wide hallway. "A car," the man muttered still in shock. "A car just tore through here?" By the time he had finished his sentence, the teen was already well past him.
"Oji-san, are you hurt?" Sailor Moon paused long enough to ask but his response was cut off as Jupiter's primal howl of rage rang down the corridor. "Get out of the building! Hurry!" the pigtailed Sailor Senshi instructed and ran down the corridor in pursuit of her furious teammate.
When she arrived, Sailor Jupiter was standing at the rear of the auditorium glaring a look of pure death at Eudial. Sailor Moon quickly joined Jupiter as both prepared to attack. Before them lay a swath of broken audience chairs, tables, and other debris that stretched from the stage to just in front of the door. Chiyo was not immediately evident but they assumed she was near where someone's glittering Pure Heart Crystal floated.
"How tiresome... Another interruption to my experiment," the redheaded member of the Witches 5 said in a bored tone. The intruder was dressed in a white lab-coat and standing next to her station wagon with the Death Busters symbol emblazoned on its side. She was between the Sailor Senshi and the floating crystal. "DOORKNOBAR! COME FORTH!" she called.
"Chiyo..." Jupiter assumed and started to move toward the floating crystal but Sailor Moon grabbed her arm.
"Jupiter, we need to take care of the Daimon FIRST!" Sailor Moon insisted. "We don't even know for sure if that is your imouto." Jupiter's jaw clenched but after a heartbeat or two, she nodded stiffly.
As they were speaking, the back of Eudial's station wagon popped open and a cloud of pink smoke billowed forth. It quickly dissipated leaving a Daimon standing in its wake. She (or it since it wasn't really human) was dark green and purple. Its left arm held a massive steel police riot shield while its right arm ended in a large key-shaped weapon. "DOORKNOBAR!" the female-looking figure roared.
"Doorknobar," Eudial directed, "Seal this room!"
"Yes sir!" the Daimon snapped. It saluted its mistress with its key and instantly sprang into action. The Sailor Senshi tensed waiting for it to attack them but instead, the Daimon flashed from window to window, from door to door, sealing every possible exit with a solid sheet of thick steel. Even a mouse hole in the corner did not escape the Daimon's notice. As it flew down around the main room of the auditorium at a breakneck pace, the two Sailor Senshi were momentarily taken aback preventing them from promptly moving to the attack. In a flash, the Daimon was back at Eudial's side - the room was sealed in steel. "Mission complete, sir!"
"Very well... In the meantime, Doorknobar, make sure that these intruders don't interrupt me," Eudial commanded. She then started towards the floating Heart Crystal.
"Stop right there!" Sailor Moon shouted.
"Don't you lay a finger on her, you bitch!" Jupiter added angrily.
"You are interfering with a delicate experiment!" Eudial warned. "Doorknobar, take them down!"
"Yes sir!" the Daimon responded and leapt to the attack.
"SPARKLING WIDE PRESSURE!" Jupiter shouted. She flung a ball of crackling high-voltage electricity at Doorknobar. It let out a shriek as the attack struck its riot shield. The electricity flashed through the metal and the voltage surged across into the monster's body.
While Sailor Jupiter was dealing with the Daimon, Sailor Moon leapt towards Eudial. Spotting Chiyo on the floor, she instead interposed herself between the woman and the eleven year old's limp form. She spared a glance at the preteen before demanding, "STOP RIGHT THERE! I AM THE PRETTY SAILOR-SUITED SENSHI SAILOR MOON. HOW DARE YOU DROP THE CURTAIN ON A YOUNG GIRL'S HOPES AND DREAMS! IN THE NAME OF THE MOON, I WILL PUNISH YOU!"
The redhead gritted her teeth and then shouted, "DOORKNOBAR! TAKE CARE OF THIS LITTLE PEST!" The Daimon (still shaking off the effects of Sailor Jupiter's attack) leapt towards Sailor Moon.
"SAILOR MOON KICK!" Sailor Moon shouted and pivoting sharply, she smashed the heel of her right boot into the attacking Daimon. It gave a shout of pain and went flying backward. It toppled to the ground, rolled, and staggered upright. Both Sailor Senshi tensed waiting for the Daimon's next attack but instead, Doorknobar twisted around and clutched Eudial. "Sir, let's retreat!" she begged. "They're too strong!"
"Coward! Get up and fight them!" Eudial demanded. She attempted to kick the Daimon away but Doorknobar clung onto her mistress' leg and continued pleading with her for discretion. "GET OFF ME!" Both teens were confused by the sudden change in the enemy's tactics. They're momentary confusion allowed Eudial the time to kick off the cowardly Daimon, rip open the front passenger door of her station wagon, and pull out an odd-looking machine.
"What is that?" Jupiter questioned as she took up a defensive stance beside Sailor Moon.
"This is my latest invention - the Firebuster Mark I!" Eudial exclaimed, "And I will now demonstrate its power!" It looked like a futuristic bazooka with a black star on its muzzle. She lifted it into position.
"Quick! Sailor Moon!"
The pigtailed Sailor Senshi nodded and pulled out her Spiral Heart Moon Rod. "MOON SPIRAL HEART ATTACK!" she shouted and her attack flashed out just as Eudial activated her Firebuster. A pillar of fire lanced out and for a moment, the two attacks smashed together in the middle releasing a blinding light. Sailor Jupiter turned her face slightly; the Daimon cowered in front of her mistress, shield raised to block the intense heat from the flames.
The two attacks "battled" during that instant but then, the Spiral Heart Attack split the column of fire deflecting it out to either side. It struck the far wall setting the curtains there ablaze. Jupiter lunged and covered her unconscious sister's body with her own. She shielded Chiyo and her precious Heart Crystal from the intense heat and flying debris as errant flames consumed the combustible material within the auditorium quickly filling it with thick smoke.
Meanwhile, Sailor's Moon attack bore down on Eudial. Seeing this, she dove into the station wagon for protection. Doorknobar (who had just stood up a few feet in front of Eudial) stared in abject horror as Sailor Moon's attack raced towards her, smashed through her riot shield, and into her body. She exited the scene with a last desperate cry of "Lovely!" absorbing the attack meant for her mistress.
"BLAST YOU!" Eudial roared as she came back out of the car and leveled her Firebuster weapon to strike again. Sailor Moon raised the Spiral Heart Moon Rod to counterattack but then lowered it slightly as she realized that Eudial's Firebuster wasn't working.
"Damn you, Sailor Senshi! You've ruined my experiment! It's time to go back and review the data!" And with that, the redhead dove back into her car, revved the engine, and made for the main exit, which had cleared with the death of Doorknobar.
By now, Sailor Jupiter had retrieved her little sister and was holding the still-unconscious girl in her arms. "Is she all right, Sailor Jupiter?" Sailor Moon questioned as she turned to regard her.
"I-I don't know, Sailor Moon," her brunette companion replied anxiously. "This smoke can't be good for her and she's not waking up! We better get out of here pronto!" The building by now was fully engulfed; its fire sprinklers were having little effect against the intense flames. The school's fire bells were ringing. After taking a quick look around for the best exit from the burning building, Jupiter with her kid sister in her arms ran for it with Sailor Moon right behind her.
# # # # #
Kino Makoto (back in her civilian guise) rushed home as soon as the ambulance carrying her sister had left the school grounds. She was still wearing her blue-skirted Juuban Junior High School uniform. By that point, the fire department was making quick work of what remained of the school auditorium fire. The teen had been more than a little irritated with the ambulance attendant for refusing to allow her to accompany her sister to the hospital. Something about being a "minor child".
When she reached her home, the tall teen burst through the front door and called out, "Mom! Dad!"
Her parents quickly came into the front hall looking concerned. "Where's Chiyo?" her mother demanded, noting that Makoto didn't have her little sister with her.
"On the way to the hospital," Makoto answered frantically. This drew immediate exclamation from both her parents. "Hurry! I'll explain everything on the way..." the brunette trailed off as she noticed her father shaking his head.
"Makoto, what happened to your sister?" her mother demanded.
"No time," the fifteen year old shot back.
"Yes, there is," her father said in a tone she'd last heard as a ten year old child. "You'll explain now, Makoto." He came to stand before his eldest daughter putting his hands on her shoulders. "If she's on the way to the hospital like you said, then she's in good hands and you can take a few moments to explain it to us coherently." Makoto gritted her teeth but then relaxed when she saw the strained look on her mother's features.
"Makoto, what do you mean your sister is in the hospital? What happened?" her mother demanded. Her hands were twisting together but she sounded oddly calm.
"Okaa-san, Otou-san, there was a fire in the auditorium at Chiyo's school." 'I better not mention Eudial and the Sailor Senshi.' "Chiyo got out okay but she was unconscious. The paramedic who I talked to thought she might have gotten some smoke into her lungs. So they took her to the hospital for a check-up. They wouldn't let me come along too."
"But she's all right, ne?" her mother asked her anxiously.
"Hai," her daughter assured her. "She's fine. Chiyo came around a few minutes later. She was coughing a bit. She was really ticked off that her new CD got toasted in the fire." She mentally grimaced. 'Chiyo's also mad 'cause she missed seeing the Sailor Senshi in action. Better not tell Mom and Dad that either.' Mentally shaking her head, she continued, "Look, Mom, I'm sure she'll be fine. She thinks she's had a grand adventure. She can't wait to tell her friends about it." That actually seemed to calm her mother.
"I'm not surprised," her mother said with more resignation than worry in her voice now. "Your sister was always more of a tomboy than you, Makoto." This offhanded remark took Makoto by surprise.
"Are you okay, Mom?" she asked in a worried tone, "You seem awful calm."
Her mother patted her hand. "Mako-chan, finding a note one morning from your daughter saying, `Off to climb Mount Fuji. Love Chiyo,´ tends to toughen your nerves a bit."
'Mount Fuji?' Makoto wondered.
"Well, we should go to the hospital," her father decided and moved to put his street shoes on.
"Right, Dad," the ponytailed teen agreed. "Let's get a move on. I wanna see how Chiyo's doing."
"I think you're father meant just him and me, dear," her mother clarified. "You stay here, finish your homework, and rest. We'll go check on Chiyo." When Makoto looked as if she were about to argue, her mother shook her head. "No, Makoto, you're a bit too strung out at the moment and what your imouto needs right now is peace and quiet. It'll be hard enough for the hospital staff to keep your sister out of mischief without your worry enhancing `Chiyo's adventure.´"
The fifteen year old argued but despite her best efforts, the Sailor Senshi of Jupiter found herself left at home and fuming. So she did what she normally did when she needed to work off stress, she cooked.
The brunette had just finished measuring out some olive oil when her Senshi communicator went off. Pulling it out of her subspace pocket, she flipped it open. "Hi girlfriend!" Minako's voice sang out of the device. "Gomen, I missed the fun. Mom and Dad caught me sneaking out..." The ribbon-wearing blonde visibly winced. "That was not a fun conversation to have."
"Grounded, ne?" Makoto assumed while leaning against the cupboard. It vaguely occurred to her that possibly that being grounded also played a contributing factor to why she had been left at home.
"Nope!" Minako looked entirely too smug for her own good. "I told them I heard on the news that Chiyo's school was on fire and I knew that she was rehearsing today so I just wanted to go down and make sure she was okay." The blonde took a breath. "So IS Chi-chan all right?"
"I think so, Minako-chan. My folks wouldn't let me come with them to the hospital to see her," the brunette huffed. "This is majorly frustrating. They're not back yet. They must be planning to keep Chiyo there overnight. She'll be scared." 'Did they find something really wrong with her?'
Minako made a sympathetic noise. She knew it was her best friend who was scared. Hopefully to distract her, she asked, "Did the others make it in time, Mako-chan?"
"No... Well, yes but there was a problem."
"What problem?" Artemis demanded, his head coming into view of the Senshi communicator's camera.
"That crazy Daimon sealed all of the entrances. According to Sailor Mercury, even a mouse hole got covered. Anyway, Minako-chan, the building was sealed up tighter than a tick and the other Sailor Senshi couldn't get in until it was all over." 'I'm glad Sailor Moon and I made it inside before that. I don't want to think what would've happened if...'
"I don't feel so bad about not being able to get there," Minako commented. "By the time I got away from my 'rents, Usagi had already called to say it was over." The ribbon-wearing teen pouted a bit. "Is it true what Ami said, Mako-chan?"
"Nani? What did she say?" Makoto inquired.
"That Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were there?"
"They were?" The tall Sailor Senshi frowned. "Well, I didn't see them." Which was a good thing. She had a serious grudge against the blond Outer Senshi.
"That's what our brainiac teammate said," Minako explained. "Tell you what... I'll swing by the hospital and say hello to Chiyo and get her side of the story."
"And just how are you going to get in, Minako? I doubt they'll let non-family members see her." 'They didn't even want me there.' "And it's starting to get past visiting hours."
"Simple, girlfriend," Minako said airily. "I'll just reprise my role as `Nurse Minako´ bringing the healing arts to those I love!" Before Makoto could argue, her friend declared, "Ta! Ta! I'll talk to you later! Ja!" And with that, the little screen went blank.
"Minako!" 'The hospital isn't going to survive,' Makoto worried as she turned back to her cooking, 'Come to think of it. With Chiyo and my parents around... Did Minako get to inflict her healing on me?' The tall brunette shuddered. 'Maybe I don't want to know.'
# # # # #
Kino Chiyo was bored, she was VERY bored. 'Cheapskate parents!' she thought to herself for the millionth time as she lay in her bed in a room in the hospital pediatrics ward staring up at the ceiling. She had a D5W IV drip running into her left wrist. 'They could have sprung for a TV!' The preteen couldn't quite believe that her parents wanted her to rest rather than watch television.
She was just considering how she could possibly wangle a set when her room's door opened. Her head turned to find a young nurse with long blond hair entering her room. 'Boy, she needs a new uniform,' the chestnut-haired girl thought. 'It must've shrunk in the dryer. Poor girl...' She remembered that Makoto had done that once and her mother went ballistic after she found out. "Konbanwa kangofu-san."
"And how's my favorite young patient doing?" asked a familiar cheerful voice.
"Minako-oneechan!" Chiyo squeaked in total shock, "W-What are you doing here?"
"I came to check up on my imouto of course!" Minako replied with a grin and she came over to hug the preteen. "And to help get you feeling better."
"Uh... That's okay, Minako-'nee." She coughed. "Gomen. I'm just supposed to be resting," Chiyo explained and was suddenly grateful that she didn't have a TV in the room. The younger girl remembered all too clearly what a disaster that her sister's best friend's good-natured attempts at helping them had turned into the last time the Kino family had been struck ill with the flu. Their television didn't survive the encounter. 'I've never seen Mama so mad.' "My parents didn't even spring for a TV set since they wanted me to rest," she whined then coughed.
"That's not right, Chi-chan," Minako said while looking indignant. "You just wait. I'll get you one from..."
"NO!" Chiyo exclaimed, bolting into a sitting position with images of exploding televisions flashing before her. "No really, Minako-'nee. Thanks for the offer but if you did, my parents would give me the third degree. Besides, they're letting me out tomorrow."
"Okay, I guess you're right," Minako agreed. "So what exactly happened?"
As the perky blue-eyed blonde settled onto the edge of her bed, Chiyo settled back and began, "Well, the Drama Club had just finished our rehearsal for the play... What?" she asked when she noticed the face Minako made.
"Nothing," Minako said waving her hand dismissively, "Tell you later... So go on, Chi-chan... You had just finished your rehearsal."
"Well yeah, so the others left and it was my turn to do clean-up. So I'd just put on my CD - you know the new Mariah Carey one I bought last weekend." Minako nodded. "So I put it on the school's CD player and was starting to sweep up when I heard this sound. At first, I wasn't sure what it was until it got closer, and then I realized that it was an engine roaring. Then all of sudden this big car came bursting into the auditorium!" The girl's eyes got wide. "It swerved. Man, chairs went flying everywhere. I didn't think a car was that tough. So anyway, I asked if the driver was all right, you know, I thought it was a teacher."
"It wasn't though, ne Chi-chan?" Minako assumed in a hushed dramatic tone.
"Yeah," the eleven year old almost whispered. "The door opened and out pops Eudial!" She grimaced. "That b-witch started badmouthing my school so I hopped off the stage and then took a swing at her with the broom!"
"Whoa!" Minako exclaimed while her face brightened, "That's so awesome! You battling Eudial?" 'I wish I could've seen that.' Although she thought there likely was some embellishment on Chiyo's part.
"Onee-chan wouldn't like it," the younger girl grumbled. 'She thinks I'm a little kid.'
'True, Makoto would freak out for sure.' She could empathize with both sides. "Come on, kiddo. Makoto's your big sister, and she's just worried about you. It's part of her job as your onee." Chiyo seemed to understand and smiled. "Now I care about you too of course, but I know you're tougher than you look!" She gave Chiyo a thumbs-up. "So you took a swing at her then what, Chi-chan?"
"The broom hit the car and the brush end snapped off and went flying, then... and then..." The younger girl frowned. "I'm not really sure, Minako-'neechan. She hit me with something and the next thing I remember is waking up with this cute paramedic looking down on me." She winked at her friend.
"I bet Makoto was pissed," the blonde nurse observed while silently cursing at herself for being caught sneaking out and missing it. "She couldn't've been happy that her little sister was the target of the enemy. Makoto was thankful to hear that Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon saved you."
"That's what really ticks me off. I get zapped by that psycho bitch, I miss the entire battle, and the CD I saved my allowance for three weeks for was melted into a puddle of goo!"
The ribbon-wearing nurse was just about to respond when the door opened and another nurse came into the room. "Who are you?" the middle-aged woman in a nurse's uniform asked while pointing at Minako.
# # # # #
Thursday, May 12, 1994
Azuba-Juuban District, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Federal Republic of Japan
Chiyo was discharged from the hospital the next day and came home while Makoto was still at school. The preteen was a jumbled bag of emotions. She liked that her parents were fussing over her. Minako coming to visit her in the hospital the night before had been very nice. Usagi and Serenity had even paid her a quick visit in the morning on their way to school. She felt very lucky having such caring friends and family. On the other hand, Chiyo felt embarrassed for enjoying their attention. After all, she wasn't a little kid with a scraped knee. She was also ashamed she couldn't have done more against Eudial. And deep down, she was worried about Makoto's opinion.
Makoto's initial reaction upon seeing her kid sister back home alive and well seemed to confirm all of Chiyo's worst fears. The petite preteen found herself yanked up from the couch and enveloped in a near bone-crushing hug. "Boy when you had to stay in the hospital, I was really worried!"
"Onee-chan! I'm fine!" the auburn-haired eleven year old gasped out. She bounced back onto the couch as her sister let go.
"You stay right there, Chiyo-chan! I have a feast planned!"
Before Chiyo could say anything, her sister left the living room. 'Makoto is... acting weird.' The youngster frowned. 'Really really weird...' Sitting on the couch, she tried to decipher her sister's odd behavior of late.
# # # # #
Much later, Makoto and Chiyo were arguing. Actually, they were supposed to be bathing but there was more jaw flapping than body scrubbing going on. "I'm perfectly fine!" Chiyo insisted for the third time resisting the urge to throw her washcloth at her sister. "The doctor said I had a bit of smoke inhalation is all."
"Chiyo, you could've been hurt," Makoto growled, pausing in the shampooing of her hair. "What insanity made you attack Eudial?"
Chiyo's cheek blazed red whether with embarrassment or temper was hard to tell. "I can't believe Minako-'nee ratted me out!" Part of her was hoping her sister would be proud of her if she found out.
"She knew how worried I was!" Makoto retorted. "I thought something was really wrong! I mean Mom and Dad wouldn't let me come see you and they spent forever at the hospital."
"They were treating me like a little kid, 'Nee-chan," Chiyo huffed. "Jeez, it was Mount Fuji all over again." Actually, it wasn't. For one thing, unlike her adventure when she was seven years old, there was no sore bottom during the long train ride home. "I told Mama and Daddy to go but I had to pretend to be sleeping to get 'em to finally leave."
"They were worried about you, Chiyo-chan," Makoto pointed out. "And so was I. Messing with Eudial isn't some sort of game."
"You do it!" the preteen shot back.
"Because I'm a Sailor Senshi."
"That's another thing, Makoto," Chiyo stated, her temper flaring again, "You should tell the others that I know they're Sailor Senshi. It'd make talking to Minako a hell of a lot easier." Seeing her older sister shake her head, the preteen demanded, "Why not?"
"Because the others would think it unfair." When the gray-eyed youngster gave her big sister a puzzled look, Makoto sat up a little and explained, "Take Rei. I bet she would love to tell Shingo if only to get him to shut up and show her some serious respect." 'She's not that different from my Rei. Usagi always wished she could tell him and Naru so they would be proud of her.' She then commented, "He's got a major crush on Sailor Moon at the moment." Makoto was amazed how fast she had become acclimated to this new timeline.
"At the moment?"
"Well, he did like Sailor Venus but then Usagi saved him at the beach last summer," the tall teen explained. "And he's practically the leader of the Sailor Moon Fan Club! Minako would wanna tell Mei-chan too. Little Mei-chan thinks the world of the Sailor Senshi, especially Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus."
'Mei-chan is kawaii but...' "I think you're way overacting, 'Nee-chan," Chiyo said after getting her giggles under control. "I mean it would make a lot of things so much easier."
"Well... It would and it wouldn't, Chiyo-chan."
The buxom teen slid back down and stretched in the warm water. "Well, I know you, Chiyo. You'd wanna horn in on everything. You'd probably want your own Senshi communicator and then video ga..." She was cut off by a soapy facecloth hitting her in the face. "Ack!"
"I can be mature and responsible! I can help you guys too!" the petite preteen protested with her hands on her hips. It wasn't fair little eight year old Serenity was a Sailor Senshi and not her.
"Says the girl who was going to run back inside a burning building for an idol CD!"
"I just have better music taste than you, Onee-chan," Chiyo sniffed. She neatly fielded the washcloth Makoto has tossed and threw it back.
A short time later, both girls were relaxing in the steaming water when Chiyo suggested, "'Nee-chan, why don't you tell Usagi-'nee at least?"
"Tell her what?" the brown-haired teen asked, not bothering to open her eyes.
"That I already know about who all the Sailor Senshi are. I mean she's the leader and all. She could decide."
Makoto took a long moment to respond and then stated, "Chiyo, just because you know who we are doesn't mean we want you planning strategy with us."
The chestnut-haired girl jerked into a sitting position and glared, "You think I'd blab to just anyone?"
Makoto cracked open an eye for a moment and then closed it again. "I know you wouldn't. I love you, Chiyo-chan, but this isn't a game. Letting you get more involved is going to make me being able to keep you safe that much harder. They already went after you once. You might get captured next time and no matter how brave you think you are, I'm pretty sure you'll talk."
The eleven year old growled, flung her damp cloth at her sister, put a towel around her, and left the bathroom muttering unkind things under her breath.
# # # # #
Saturday, May 14, 1994
Azuba-Juuban District, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Federal Republic of Japan
Kino Makoto sneezed as dust attacked her nose. Sniffing a little, she folded over the cloth she'd been using to wipe down the shelf, added a brief spray of wood polish, and went back to buffing the bookcase.
It was Saturday and the ponytailed teen was spending that afternoon cleaning. She had always found housework to be soothing and she needed something to sooth her. Her sister had barely spoken to her since she had stormed from the furo two days earlier. Their parents had chalked their youngest child's grumpiness due to the loss of her precious CD as well as the cancellation of her school play. While the auditorium would need extensive repairs (which would take months to complete), it had been in a separate building so normal classes could resume on Monday - much to some student's disappointment.
Makoto knew the real reason why Chiyo was angry, but the brown-haired teen wasn't willing to give into her sister. As it was, she still hadn't forgiven herself for not saving Chiyo sooner. She had forgiven her teammates for their failure to penetrate the auditorium quicker only after she'd found out the Daimon had sealed every entrance with several inches of solid steel.
"If you polish that wood anymore, Makoto," her mother's voice came from behind her, "You'll burn a hole in it." Makoto stopped, looked over her shoulder at her mother, and then looked back at the now gleaming cherry wood of the shelf. Grinning a little, she removed her cloth from its surface and took a step back to study her handiwork. Her mother stepped up beside her and after a moment asked, "What did this bookcase ever do to you?"
"Mo-om," Makoto whined. "Okay, so I let my mind wander." That got a raised eyebrow from her mother. "I was thinking about Chiyo."
"Don't worry, dear," she was told. "Your sister will get over it. She had a horrible shock and then to find out her play was cancelled after she and her friends had put so much work into it." She then grinned at her teenage daughter. "On the other hand, if Chiyo being angry with you can get you to clean like you did today, I'll have to come up with things for her to be sore at you about every so often." The brunette teen glared at her mother who laughed.
Deciding to leave the subject alone, Makoto began replacing the items that had come off of the various shelves she had polished. It took longer than it should have because her mother kept rearranging things. Eventually though, she retreated to the couch and waited for her mother to finish.
"Now where am I going to put these?" her mother questioned the room at large as she hefted two large books.
"What are they, Mom?" the ponytailed teen asked. She hadn't really paid much attention when she had initially unloaded the shelves.
"Oh gimme!" Makoto demanded. She sprung off the couch and reaching for them, she took the books from her mother and plopped back onto the couch. "Hmmm... Now let's see... Do any of these have baby pictures of you?"
"No, I was smart enough to hide them," her mother giggled. 'I'm glad Makoto is starting to take an interest in the family. Maybe she's finally growing up.'
"Ha! There's always one," the tall teen retorted and opened one of the albums at random. "Aww... Kawaii... Chibi-Chiyo-chan." She could easily tell that the photo was of her sister, though her hair was a couple shades lighter and there was much less of it in the picture, her big gray eyes were the same. Chiyo looked to be all of two years old in the picture. "Mom, why is Chiyo sitting in the sink?"
Her mother leaned over and considered, "Oh, she was taking a bath."
"In the sink?"
"She needed one, Makoto, and it was handy."
Makoto blinked but then looked at the other pictures on the page. Most of them were her sister with various people Makoto assumed were relatives. The page opposite was organized with pictures of her with the same people. Most she had never seen before. Flipping a few pages backwards, she paused for a moment and stared down at herself - a cute four year old. She felt a smile creep onto her face as she saw that she was perched on her father's lap. Beside them, her mother, looking much younger, was proudly holding her newborn sister.
Directly below that photo was one that took Makoto by surprise. She recognized the distinguished looking older gentleman. 'I thought Ojii-san hated getting his picture taken...' Makoto mused as she reached out to touch the photograph. What was shocking was that her grandfather had no cane and yet he stood straight and tall, and smiled at the camera.
'Is he leaning on something?' she tried to see if he was but there was nothing for him to lean on, nor was he touching anything for support. Looking up at her mother, she inquired, "Where's Ojii-san's cane?"
Her mother, busy with the picture of the four girls, glanced down and said, "I think..." She carefully slid the picture from the page and looked at the back. "Yes, that was taken before Dad broke his hip."
'Broke his hip?' the teen thought in puzzlement. "But... Mom, didn't he always need a cane?"
"Well, after he broke his hip, of course." She sighed a little then speculated, "Not being able to get around like he used to probably helped his heart attack along." She gave her daughter a sad smile. "And after Dad died so suddenly, well... Mom and he were so close... She only lasted a year after he died. At least, she lived to see you be born, Makoto. I wish you and Chiyo could have known them though."
'Died? But I was ten when...' Makoto mind was spinning. Trying to recover, she sought something familiar by asking, "Wasn't he injured in the War though?" Makoto wrinkled her brow, trying to recall the exact details.
"No," her mother said, "Dad said he had a few close shaves but he wasn't severely injured." She replaced the picture and then padded the album. "Come on, Makoto. Let's put these things away and then you can come with me to the market to buy some stuff for supper."
Kino Makoto hadn't heard her brain was yelling a question at her, 'Not injured in the War? Not injured... And Obaa-san died when I was a baby? Oh Kami-sama, did I change the timeline?'
End of Chapter 8
Coming next in Chapter 9 "The Chestnut Enigma"
"Shoujo Fiction™ and the Shoujo Fiction™ logo are a Trademark of Douglas Helm and Will Wolfshohl. Copyrighted ©2002-2003, All Rights Reserved.