Pink Sugar Heart Attack

This is another part of the Crystal Kingdom Archives. It helps if you've read Demon Hunter's Journal first, but (hopefully) it's not necessary. This story takes place during and after Chapter Four of the journal.


Usagi held Hotaru tightly, looking toward the door where her mother-to-be had just chased the other Inner Senshi out of the kitchen. Now the elder Usagi was kneeling on Hotaru's other side, touching Hotaru's arm and speaking gently to her.

"Hotaru? What do you feel inside? I mean, way down inside, where nothing makes any sense?" It was times like this that she showed just how wonderful she was; how she would be the mother Usagi loved with all her heart.

"I . . ." Hotaru looked her way and sobbed, hanging her head in shame, finally whispering, "I love her. I want to love her the way Mama and Papa love each other."

Usagi caught her breath and looked over Hotaru's head at her mother, noticing the surprise in her eyes at Hotaru's words. It was no less than her own, but most likely for a different reason. She'd just had her 17th birthday a week before coming back into the past for what Sailor Pluto had warned her would be her last trip before she was born - but her mother still seemed to think of her as Chibi-Usa, the way she'd been when they first met, almost ten years before.

"Why didn't you tell me, Hotaru?" Usagi asked, gently brushing the dark hair away from her friend's face. "I'd do anything for you. Anything at all."

"But I don't want that," Hotaru cried. "I don't want you to love me just because...."

Usagi turned her friend's gaze up to her and kissed her, firmly and lovingly. It was the only way she could think of to reassure Hotaru that she loved her just as deeply, and in the same way. Hotaru would never know how she had wondered, back home in Crystal Tokyo, if she'd ever feel the same way Usagi had felt. Now that she knew her feelings were reciprocated, her happiness at returning to the past was complete.

When she finally drew back to look into Hotaru's eyes, she sensed that Makoto was the only other person still in the kitchen - and she was focussing intently on her cooking.

"Hotaru? Do you know how much I prayed you'd love me like this? It's the real reason I came back to the past this time. I couldn't stand not knowing." Usagi smiled happily and wiped away Hotaru's tears with her thumbs. "I was so afraid that when I told you how much I love you, that you'd tell me to go away."

"You...love me?" Hotaru squeaked, looking into Usagi's eyes in disbelief. "You really love me?"

"I really love you," Usagi smiled and pulled her sweetheart close, nuzzled her hair, and whispered into her ear, "I love you with all my heart. I want to be with you forever, just like Michiru and Haruka. Will you have me...like that?"

"Yes!" Hotaru sobbed happily and covered Usagi with joyful kisses. "Oh, yes! I love you, Usagi! I want to be yours more than anything!"

"Well, then," Usagi whispered when Hotaru finally let her speak again, "we should go out there - together - and let them know before they start worrying, huh?"

"Together?" Hotaru's face lit up joyfully as she thought about what Usagi had said. "Together. Yes...."

"You don't get out of here without letting me say something," Makoto said, finally setting down her knife and turning off the tea kettle to let the water settle before adding it to the tea pot. "You both know how difficult it is for Michiru and Haruka. If your love is strong enough to stand those kinds of difficulties, then you can count on me to stand behind you."

Usagi looked into Hotaru's eyes, and saw love and determination in the gaze that she returned. She hugged her sweetheart happily, then bounced over to hug Makoto.

"Thank you, Mako-chan. If anyone wants to hurt my Hotaru, they're going to have to go through me to do it!"

"You don't think I'm going to let anyone get close enough to hurt you, do you?" Hotaru asked quietly, moving up to slip her arms around Usagi from behind and smile happily at Makoto. "Thank you, Makoto. I know how much trouble Mama and Papa have because of who they are, and it means a lot to know you understand."

Makoto smiled and hugged both of them, then pushed them gently toward the door.

"I think Usagi might be still trying to cope with the idea. Maybe the two of you should go reassure her, huh?"

"Yeah, we should. Thanks, Mako-chan! Come on, Cupcake!" Usagi squeezed Hotaru's hand and headed for the door, tugging her along like a puppy dragging its human.

"That's exactly what we're going to do," Usagi heard her mother saying as they stepped into the hall. "Haruka is on her way. Michiru is at a practice, but she'll come as soon as she gets Haruka's note." She laughed, her whole attitude shifting in a moment. "Do you have your stuff, Rei? We've got to give this house a proper warming."

"You'd better not start the party without us!" Usagi yelled as she tugged Hotaru into the living room behind her mother.

"Ha! You think I want to listen to you complaining, Spore?" the elder Usagi shouted back, reaching out with both hands. Usagi held back for just a moment, then ran to embrace her mother, who murmured - softly enough that nobody else could hear it, "So are we going to move her into your bedroom, or you into hers, Pumpkin?"

Usagi felt her cheeks growing hot as she realized she hadn't thought about that. Do I want Hotaru to see my room? It's almost as messy as Mom's! When she glanced toward her sweetheart, that just didn't seem to matter. She extended a hand, smiling lovingly toward her love. When her mother extended a hand, too, Hotaru blushed and came over, to be gathered into the middle and hugged by both of them.

 

Haruka arrived while Rei was blessing the house, and stalked straight toward Usagi and Hotaru as soon as she got inside. As one, they stood to face her, each prepared to defend the other from the anticipated explosion. Haruka stopped and glared for a few moments at both of them from just within arm's reach.

"I love her, Papa," Hotaru declared. "I love her just like you love Mama."

"But you're not old enough," Haruka protested. "You're too young to be hated because of who you love. You're...."

"I'm seventeen years old, Papa. How old were you when you found Mama?"

"That's different. I've always been too masculine for polite society, so people have always found reasons to hate me. You're..."

"I'm not blind, Papa. I know what we'll have to deal with. And if anyone tries to hurt my Usagi, they're going to have to go through me to get to her."

"I'm not a little girl either, Haruka," Usagi said gently, as Haruka stared in surprise at Hotaru. "The reason I came back this time was so that I could tell Hotaru how much I love her, and accept whatever came of that. Learning that she loves me too is all I need to give me the strength to face anything - as long as I'm at her side. And that includes overprotective parents."

Haruka opened her mouth to protest, but saw from the look in Hotaru's eyes that she agreed with Usagi. She clenched her jaw and turned away so they couldn't see the pain in her eyes. She'd grown accustomed to seeing Hotaru face monsters of all kinds, and no longer worried that it was too much for her, but this...she wanted to protect her from the abuse, the hatred, all the pain that would be inflicted on her by so-called normal people. It was hard to accept that she couldn't; that her little girl was more grown up than she had been when she'd met Michiru.

"I can't stop you," Haruka murmured, "any more than my parents could stop me, so I won't try. But...please take good care of each other. Don't let anything come between you and your love."

"Papa?" Hotaru murmured gently as she slipped her arms around Haruka. "Just because I love Usagi doesn't mean I love you any less. You'll always be my Papa. I'll always love you."

"And I'll always be thankful you kept her safe while she was growing up again," Usagi murmured, slipping her arms around Haruka from the other side. "Don't think of this as losing Hotaru. Think of it as gaining me."

Haruka looked down into Hotaru's eyes, seeing the love and happiness that shone out through them. It was the first time she'd seen happiness in her eyes since the last time Chibi-Usa had been with them. And now...Chibi-Usa wasn't so little any more. She'd grown up to be as beautiful as her mother. And as tall, too. She was nearly as tall as Michiru, and when she looked into those pink eyes, all she could see was love - as much love as the Princess showed. If she intended to shine that love on Hotaru, the way her mother did on Mamoru, she didn't want to interfere. Haruka wrapped her arms around both of them and hugged tightly, closing her eyes with the effort of keeping in her tears.

 

When Michiru arrived, the worries were repeated, but with more restraint. The four of them held each other, sharing happy tears. When Makoto brought out the feast she'd prepared in celebration, Usagi dragged Hotaru to the food, demonstrating that she'd inherited more than her beauty and her name from her mother. As soon as she'd loaded up her plate, she pulled Hotaru down into her lap and began feeding the best tidbits to her love.

"Mmm...remember when you did that for me?" Michiru murmured softly to Haruka. "It made me feel so special."

"As special as you are, I hope." Haruka slid her arms around her love and gently nuzzled her, whispering, "It's just so hard to see her grown up."

"We knew it had to happen sooner or later, my love. But...it seems so soon." Michiru sighed softly and snuggled closer to Haruka, whispering softly, "Remind me how much you love me?"

"Later, when we're alone." Haruka relented at the look in Michiru's eyes and kissed her gently, then sat quietly, holding her as she watched Hotaru and Usagi.

"Hey, Rei! Look at this! He's got more manga than you do!" the elder Usagi had, as usual, inhaled more food than all the rest in the time it took anyone other than Chibi-Usa to get properly settled in to eating their first servings of food. She was standing in front of a set of shelves that covered most of one wall, filled with manga, other books, vinyl and plastic figures, and videos.

"Careful, Princess," Bill laughed. "I've got some dojinshi in there, too. Including some about all of you."

"All of us?" Haruka growled dangerously.

"Mm-hmm. All of you. Remember the one I loaned you a last week?"

"That's it? But that was barely ecchi."

"But it was very romantic," Michiru purred, reaching up to stroke Haruka's cheek. "And very inspiring."

"Dojinshi? About us?" Usagi squeaked. "Ami? Did you know about that?"

Ami smiled secretively and leaned against her love with a happy purr. "Look on the top shelf, by the Sailor V doll."

Usagi turned an interesting shade of pink and started looking in the indicated area, while the Rei, Makoto, and Minako gathered around her with gasps and giggles. The look in Rei's eyes as they dug through the manga indicated that she, at least, had already seen everything there. She wandered over to Ami and grinned down at her playfully.

"You do realize there's only a little over six weeks to go before your wedding, right? If we're going to get it together, we'd better start working on it." Rei's eyes danced eagerly as she spoke, and Minako and Makoto dropped the manga they were looking at to join her.

"She's right! Come on!" Minako bubbled and grabbed Ami's arms to tug her away. Ami resisted long enough to share a lingering kiss with Bill before allowing them to tear her away.

The elder Usagi settled into a corner of the room with a stack of manga, while the younger Usagi snuggled happily with Hotaru in another corner. She was so happy, the only thing that could make her happier would be to slip away with her sweetheart to be alone.

 

Usagi purred happily and stroked Hotaru's hair as she watched the sun come up over the sea, thinking that she'd really have to go to sleep soon. But she didn't want to, not yet. She wanted to lay here, holding Hotaru in her arms and drinking in her beauty.

Michiru had given them the ocean-facing bedroom in her house, which had surprised both of them, knowing her special connection with the sea. She'd dismissed their objections by saying that she spent so much time in Haruka's apartment that she'd almost forgotten what her house looked like, and they could consider taking care of it for her sufficient payment for taking over her room.

Hotaru shifted and murmured indistinctly, moving to rest her head on Usagi's breast before sinking back into a deep and contented sleep. Usagi watched her love with happy tears flowing and kissed the top of her head gently before surrendering reluctantly to sleep.

 

"This is the strangest meal I've ever eaten, Usagi," Hotaru murmured, looking around the disaster area Michiru's kitchen had been turned into. "I never thought I'd see soba and pancakes at the same meal."

"Don't forget the pudding for dessert!" Usagi giggled, picking up a noodle to dangle before her love's lips. "Open wide, Cupcake!"

"You are so..." Hotaru gave up and opened wide, laughing happily.

"Cute? Adorable? Tasty? Wonderful? Tempting?" Usagi teased, giggling happily as Hotaru blushed, then reaching out to gently caress her sweetheart in the tender places she'd found the night before. "You've got to restore your strength if we're going to go to Disneyland tomorrow. And that means eating good today and spending lots of time in bed."

Hotaru felt as if her face were going to spontaneously combust as she realized the tone of Usagi's voice and the look in her eyes had absolutely nothing to do with using bed as a place to rest. The caresses she was applying weren't doing anything for her peace of mind or state of relaxation, either. There was no question that her bunny was throwing herself into their relationship with as much enthusiasm as she did everything. Maybe more enthusiasm, if last night and this afternoon were any indication.

"Usagi?" Hotaru managed to squeak. "If you're going to do that...maybe...we should go back to bed?"

"That's a wonderful idea!" Usagi laughed, jumping to her feet. Before Hotaru could protest, she scooped her up in her arms and carried her back toward Michiru's - no, their - bedroom.

 

"We're on our way," Hotaru said into her communicator. "It may take us a while to get there, though."

"That's ok," Ami's carefully-controlled voice said. "He seems to be stable, and Sailor Moon is watching over him, but I think it might take help from you or Chibi-Usa to bring his spirit back. Or both of you. We're not going anywhere until you arrive."

"So much for Disneyland, huh?" Usagi asked lovingly as Hotaru closed the connection. "Should we transform before we go?"

"Yes," Sailor Pluto said, stepping out of the shadows. "At least you should, Hotaru. We may need your healing power."

"All right," Hotaru said, giving Usagi a quick hug before stepping back to transform. "Saturn Crystal Power, MAKE UP!"

"Pink Moon Crystal Power, MAKE UP!"

Sailor Pluto nodded and led them through the dining room door, into the mists. They stepped out of the mists, through the door into the room where Hikawa Shrine's sacred fire was. The others were already there, with Sailor Mercury and Sailor Moon the only ones in their uniforms. Bill was laying on the floor between them, so still he appeared dead.

"Bill! Wake up!" Sailor Mercury shook him, with a hopeless look, as if she'd tried this already and didn't expect it to work any better this time. He groaned and moved a hand blindly around, finally planting it on Sailor Mercury's brooch and pushing convulsively, knocking her onto her back.

"Stay back. I don't know yet what effect my battle has had on me, and I don't want to risk you." His voice sounded strange, as if someone or something else was speaking through him. Everyone felt the strangeness in it, and stared silently at him.

"You had a fight, and didn't invite us?" Haruka broke the silence with a teasing question from where she leaned against the outer doorframe. "I should be annoyed, shouldn't I?"

A fight? But I don't sense any injuries. Sailor Saturn looked closely at him, then closed her eyes so she could look into his spirit. She took a deep breath, surprised at what she saw. His spirit was overlaid by a darkness so much like the darkness of her own power, she immediately felt a kinship with him.

"Now you know, a little, what it's like to be me," she said softly. "I'm sorry."

"It's my own fault," Bill said gently as he pushed himself up to a sitting position. Rei took advantage of that to give him a good solid thump to the back of his head. "Well, it is! You were all so worried for me, and trying to hard to help me, I had to do something to help myself. So I went inside, and found the demon's trail...and I killed it. Permanently, this time."

His voice sounded more normal as he spoke, but the dark energy was still surrounding him. He turned to look behind him, where Rei was sticking her tongue out at him. Seeing that, he laughed and wagged a finger at her.

"Better make sure you plan to follow through, if you're going to issue an invitation like that, fire child," he teased, bringing a blush to Rei's cheeks, a deep chuckle from Haruka, and a soft laugh from Michiru. Sailor Chibi-Moon began giggling, looking at Sailor Saturn with obvious intent in her eyes. It took a moment for Saturn to make the connection, and she blushed, burying her face in Chibi-Moon's hair as the others joined in the laughter.

Seeing Sailor Mercury return to her normal appearance and snuggle against her love, the others returned to their normal appearances and began demanding explanations - except for Setsuna, who was looking at Bill with the first expression of surprise Hotaru could remember ever seeing on her face.

"Wow," Hotaru whispered to Usagi. "Setsuna looks as if someone just sprung something totally unexpected on her."

"Yeah," Usagi whispered back. "I wish I knew who did what, so we can get them to do it again. The only one who was ever able to surprise her that I know of is Mom, and she has to really concentrate on it to pull it off."

"Well, we can find out later. Right now, I want to know what happened here."

"So do I. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll be able to make that trip today after all."

The elder Usagi somehow managed to get the Inner Senshi to shut up, and looked at Bill with an expression an awful lot like the one that Hotaru had frequently been on the receiving end of from her sweetheart.

"You want to hear the story, don't you?" he asked, with a resigned sigh and expression.

When Usagi nodded, he began telling them a story that sounded, to Hotaru, almost as dark and twisted as her own life.

 

Usagi hummed happily as she stroked Hotaru's hair and nibbled on some of Rei's Grandfather's secret energy cakes. The story Bill had told had driven Hotaru into her arms, shivering, as some of her sweetheart's memories had come up in resonance with his. Usagi had cuddled her until she'd stopped shivering, reminding her in loving whispers that she was safe, that she was loved, and that she would never be alone in the dark again.

"She's right, you know. I would have kicked your butt around the shrine and back again," Haruka said, idly twirling a lock of Michiru's hair as they rested comfortably against a wall. The elder Usagi, her head pillowed on Haruka's lap, looked up at her and stuck her tongue out. "Careful, Princess. Bill's warning to Rei applies to you, too, you know."

"And how do you know I'm not prepared to follow through?" she shot back. Usagi blinked and stared at her mother. Did she actually have feelings like that? Was that why she'd accepted her love for Hotaru so quickly? It was hard to believe - but then, it was hard to imagine her mother having any kind of sexual feelings. Mothers just don't do that, right?

The sound of Ami's giggling cut through Usagi's shock and she glanced around the room, to see that everyone except Ami, her mother, and Bill were just as shocked as she felt. Then Mamoru stepped through the door, and got that resigned look he so frequently had when her mother was doing something really flaky.

"What did you do, Dumpling?"

"Just stuck my tongue out at Haruka," she answered in her "I'm-so-innocent" voice. "I can't imagine why they're so surprised."

"Perhaps," Haruka growled softly, "because you're tempting...fate."

"Oh, pooh!" Usagi put on her "love-me" pout. "I hoped I was tempting you."

The younger Usagi's jaw dropped and she stared at her mother in total disbelief. Mom really did have feelings like hers? And she was attracted to Haruka? But what about Michiru? Then Bill started laughing, joined quickly by Ami and Mamoru. She looked at them, and they laughed harder - hard enough that Mamoru lost his balance, slid down the wall, and landed with a thump on the floor.

"See? Mamoru doesn't mind." Usagi's voice then shifted to her gentler, loving tone as she reached out to take Michiru's hand. "Michiru? I don't want to make you jealous. I'd...be very sad if I did that."

Usagi squeezed Hotaru closer, amazed - happily - by her mother's actions. Michiru took her mother's hand and looked into her eyes with a deep sadness, finally emitting a heavy sigh and speaking softly to her.

"Princess, you know we all love you, with everything that is within us. But...what you're offering is...something that should only be shared with those you love the way you love Mamoru. As pleasant as it would be, it's not the same without that love."

"But...the way you flirt with us...especially you, Haruka . . ." Usagi's voice trailed off in confusion.

"That's right," Haruka said. "The way we flirt with you. And that's just what it is: flirting. We love you too much for it to ever be anything more than that, Princess. Your soulmate is over there, not over here. You should be with him, as I am with Michiru."

Usagi rose to her knees and threw her arms around the couple, wailing happily as they returned her hug before gently pushing her in Mamoru's direction.

"Well, Princess? Have you learned what you wanted to?" he asked with a smile as he enfolded her in his arms. She looked up at him suspiciously, then shrieked in happy outrage and swatted his chest.

"You! You're getting as bad as Pluto!" She took a breath, then opened her mouth to continue, only to be silenced as Mamoru kissed her thoroughly. Usagi sighed happily at the sight of her mother and father showing their love, and drew Hotaru up for a happy kiss of her own. As they were kissing, she heard her mom call out, "And you two are just as bad! You knew this would happen, didn't you?"

"Something like that," Bill chuckled. "I know if they'd taken you up on your offer, you'd have enjoyed it - but you'd have felt as if you were betraying Mamoru, no matter how much you love the rest of us. But, you had to learn it for yourself."

"Arg!" Usagi somehow found a pillow and hurled it across the room at him. He batted it away and shot her a smile that had her searching for another pillow. "She's infecting all of you! I'm surrounded by Sailor Pluto wannabes!"

The pillow Bill had batted way bounced off the top of the younger Usagi's head. She glanced around with a mischievous grin and grabbed for the pillow Hotaru had been sitting on before being drawn into her arms. Within minutes, the room had degenerated into an all-out pillow war.

When Setsuna was accidentally hit by three pillows at once, Usagi caught her breath, worried that she'd be upset. To her surprise, Setsuna set her empty teacup down, picked up one of the pillows, and joined in the fight as enthusiastically as any of the Inners. That thoroughly shocked Haruka and Michiru; they sat gaping at Setsuna as if she were some alien as she joined in the fun. Usagi laughed happily and returned to the combat. It felt good to see her Puu letting loose and enjoying herself.

 

"Thanks, oneesan," Usagi said as Setsuna delivered them back to Michiru's house. "That was fun, wasn't it?"

Hotaru giggled happily as Setsuna considered the answer in her usual way.

"Yes, it was. Even more fun than shopping. I'm surprised." Setsuna's eyes glistened as she looked at Usagi. "What ever happened to 'Puu'?"

"I don't know. Now that I'm old enough to love Hotaru the way I want to, it seems just a little childish. But you'll always be like a big sister to me. You always have been, and it just feels right."

"Thank you, Usagi," Setsuna whispered, sweeping forward to embrace her tightly. "That means more to me than you'll ever know."

Usagi returned the embrace happily, feeling closer to Setsuna than she'd ever felt - and wondering why. Somehow, she knew she really was her big sister - but that didn't make sense. She felt Hotaru watching, and reached out to draw her into the embrace. Setsuna smiled and joined her, so Hotaru ended up squeezed between them, giggling happily.

"Now, I have to wonder who's doing the cooking around here without Michiru in the house, hmm?" Setsuna asked with a teasing smile. "Are you two planning on spending a lot of time with Makoto? Or are you just planning to order a lot of takeout?"

Usagi stuck her tongue out at Setsuna, laughing.

"What? You don't think I can cook, oneesan?"

"Let's just say that I've heard about your mother's cooking." Setsuna winked at Hotaru, who bit her lip to keep from laughing.

"You just better watch out, oneesan, or I'll have to punish you! Do I look like a blonde? Just because Mom can take any food and turn it into toxic waste doesn't mean I do!" Usagi gave Setsuna a raspberry and turned to Hotaru for support. Seeing the way her sweetheart was trying to keep from laughing, she shrieked in mock-anger, "You, too? Just you wait until I get you alone, Cupcake! I'll definitely punish you! Maybe I'll just have to take you over to Mom's place, or to Minako's, and have them cook for you!"

"Eeeew! I thought you loved me, Usagi!" Hotaru wailed, using the wail to conceal her amusement. "Why are you threatening to poison me?"

"Nobody who eats - or tries to eat - their cooking ever complains about mine. Even Makoto didn't complain about my cooking after comparing it to Mom's and Minako's."

"That's not much of a recommendation, you realize," Setsuna said with a soft chuckle. "Maybe you should stick to simple things, like pancakes or soba."

"Don't worry, Setsuna," Hotaru giggled, "I have the phone numbers for every delivery place that's close enough to come here. Even I can't eat soba at every meal. And as for pancakes and pudding...once in a while is often enough for me."

"Waaaaa! You're so mean to me, Cupcake!" Usagi wailed.

"I would say that that's my cue to leave," Setsuna murmured, slipping away from the couple as Hotaru acquired the same look she'd seen so often on Mamoru's face when the Princess turned on the tears.

"Shh...I love you, Usagi," Hotaru murmured, gathering her bunny into her arms and kissing her gently until her wailing stopped. Once she was sure Usagi could hear her, she whispered gently, "But what I want to eat has nothing to do with the kitchen."

"Ooh...," Usagi gasped as her eyes grew wide and her smile lit up the room. "You do? What are we waiting for, then?"

Hotaru smiled happily, kissed her sweetheart, and let her take her hand. For once, Usagi didn't drag her in an enthusiastic run; she led her toward the bedroom at a more sedate pace, pausing every few steps to share a loving hug and kiss.


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Disclaimer: Sailor Moon, Sailor Senshi, and all terms, names, etc. associated with the series are copyrighted by Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha. I make no claim to them and this work of fanfiction should not be seen as making a claim.

Those characters and concepts that are original, the Crystal Kingdom Archives, and the story "Pink Sugar Heart Attack", are copyrighted 2000 by Bill Hartwell.

Rated: PG