(Invitation) Everyone Needs a Break
Feb 19 2018
Written by Lish
Food, especially sweets, were brand new to Setsuna, but it was something she was learning to be accustomed to. When you lived within time, you had to do things like eat and sleep, which was very different than Setsuna's normal life. Living in a dimension that didn't succumb to time or space, Setsuna never needed to sleep or eat, it was just the way things were, and she never tired. For centuries she stood guard at the door of space and time and never tired of her mission, never relaxed and never felt the need to rest. Now, she was tired all the time, her feet got sore when she stood too long and her stomach made these awful noises when she didn't eat for a long time. It was all very confusing, but Setsuna did her best to hide her confusion and pretend like she understood, even when she didn't. The last thing that any of the other girls needed was to be worried about her, she was the one who was supposed to always watch out for them.

Heading to the Crown, where Usagi worked, Setsuna was hoping she could catch the young girl on a break at work, so they could talk. It didn't long in this world for Setsuna to learn that Usagi loved to talk, and if she wasn't talking, then something was wrong, but for the most part, the girl just talked, about everything. More and more, she talked about what was going on around them, and that was normal, but Setsuna also knew that Usagi needed a break at times. Setsuna, too, missed Small Lady very much, and was worried about the safety of the princess, but in time, they would find their way back to each other, they always did. Time fixed all problems, even if the others didn't always see it.

Stepping up to the counter, Setsuna smiled to the face of the man she didn't know by name, but worked at the Crown. "Excuse me, is Usagi-Chan around? I'm Setsuna Meioh, I was hoping she might have a break soon?" Glancing around the place, Setsuna didn't see Usagi right away, but there was always a good chance that the girl was in the back, doing something related to her job. Not everyone had such flexible jobs like Setsuna did, able to make her own hours, so long as her clients were happy.

"I was also wondering if I could order a chocolate cake. The one with raspberries? It is quite delicious." The cake, with raspberries and powdered sugar on top, was very good, and Setsuna could understand the appeal of eating it. Perhaps with a break and a cake, Setsuna and Usagi could sit down and talk, about whatever Usagi wanted to talk about. It reminded Setsuna of Small Lady at times, when they would just talk, and Small Lady would tell her problems to Setsuna, who would do her best to try and make the princess feel better, without giving away any future knowledge that Setsuna knew. It bothered Small Lady very much that she couldn't awaken her Sailor form, but Setsuna knew it was coming, in time. She had seen the girl awaken, and return to the past to train with Sailor Moon. But Setsuna could not reveal such things to anyone, and so she listened, and offered comforting words instead.

Taking a long wallet out of her tote bag she used for working, Setsuna removed the money needed to pay for the cake and handed it over to the man, placing the change back in her wallet. Money was a problem in the real world, Setsuna was learning, but her job seemed to pay fairly, or so Setsuna thought. It was hard to tell, when you had never worked before, or even lived in the real world. Well, not since she was a young princess herself.

Written by Vicky
"Oh! I think I've heard of you, are you one of Ayumi-san's roommates? She just went on lunch. I'll go get her for you!" The hostess responded pleasantly as a cashier took care of Setsuna-san's order.
"This cake is a very popular choice here, you've got very good taste. Do you want a slice or the entire dish?" The cashier inquired, pulling out the tray from underneath the display counter.
This time of day was much more flexible for the hostess, so it was easier for her to go fetch Usagi from the back room. Usagi was about to clock out when the back room door opened.
"Ayumi-san, Meioh-san is outside and waiting for you." The hostess informed Usagi, startling the bunny as the hostess walked away and back to the front.
"E-Eh? Setsuna-san's outside for me? Are you sure?" Azure hues fluttered as she quickly punched out. Setsuna-san had impeccable timing, as the bunny was about to go grab a bite to eat herself. She was so hungry, and she had often looked forward to when she'd be able to eat something while at work. There was no excuse not to! Whereas at the Command Center they were still on a very strict budget, but Motoki-san was very generous and Usagi had often wondered if Motoki-san knew who she really was in disguise.
She chose not to inform the girls of Motoki-san's generosity when she knew it was dangerous getting a job at Crown in the first place. But Usagi also wanted to be in a safe, familiar environment where she was frequently visited by people she once knew. And it benefited her twice as much that she knew the Command Center was nearby in case of emergencies.
Exiting the back room when she finished taking off her apron, Usagi headed to where she saw Setsuna-san. Did something happen? Usagi couldn't help but wonder when it was unusual for Setsuna-san to stop by.
"Setsuna-san!" Usagi greeted as she came up to the Space-Time Guardian. "Is everything okay? Where are the others?"

Written by Lish
Nodding to the hostess, Setsuna smiled to her. "Yes, I am." Turning her attention back to the cashier, Setsuna shook her head from side to side when she was questioned about a slice of the cake. "Time is far too precious to spend worrying about little decisions, I'll get the entire cake and then I can't go wrong." Plus, Setsuna knew that Usagi would surely share some of the cake with her. That girl was always hungry, unless there was something serious at hand, then Usagi did a good job about focusing on those situations.

Stepping aside, out of the way of the cashier if a new line should form, she waited patiently for the cashier to tend to her order. Patience was one thing that Setsuna had plenty of, and while she didn't like wasted time, there was nothing wrong with waiting patiently and silently either. It was, after all, one of Setsuna's best traits. After spending several lifetimes standing guard of time itself, Setsuna could wait for anything.

Turning just before her name was called, Setsuna could feel deep within her that it was the right time to turn her attention. Though Setsuna could no longer control time, it didn't change her ability to feel time and the way it shifted. While most people could go about their days and lose track of time, Setsuna felt every second tick by, and it made her more efficient at her job, and in her missions. She couldn't stand just sitting around, doing nothing. It wasn't like her post at the time door, this was a different world, and answers were needed, and fast. Sitting around, playing games or doing nothing was difficult for Setsuna and it made her antsy, ready to leap up and do something more productive. On the other hand, some things were very important to stop and take the time for, which was why she was here in the first place.

"Hello Mikami-Chan. It's just me today. I came to get some chocolate cake and I was hoping you might join me. Since moving here, I have learned that a lot of people take their time for granted. It is the only thing you can give away and never get back. But it is so very important to always take the time for people who are special and stay caught up in their lives." Not that Setsuna had too much practice in that aspect, but she did miss talking to Small Lady very much, and the princess and Usagi were so much alike, it helped ease Setsuna's sadness just a little bit, until they could find Small Lady.

Written by Vicky
The cashier understood where Setsuna-san was coming from. Lately, it seemed that death was commonplace and didn't scare most people on the streets when someone was murdered in front of them. Time was a borrowed, precious gift that was given to them now under the Black Moon regime when it never was before. Before, the murder of innocent people was shocking to citizens. It was bizarre how much things could change within four years.
The cashier would move the cake to a separate plate in preparation for Setsuna-san. "Go ahead and sit down wherever you like, I'll have one of our waiters bring this to your table."
Usagi was relieved when Setsuna-san had offered to share her chocolate cake, and couldn't help but jump at the offer. "Of course, Setsuna-san!" Usagi smiled gratefully, but when she began to speak of time, she frowned.
The way that space-time functioned began to bother the bunny, and she still had nightmares of their expeditions in the intervals of space-time. She couldn't get herself to fully talk to Setsuna-san about it, but their entire mission was troubling.
Just when were they going to be able to get back home? Did they really move here?
But now wasn't the time for that. Setsuna-san had just offered Usagi cake! That quickly brought back Usagi's optimism as cake was one of her favorite foods, and the fact that Setsuna-san was willing to have cake was even more pleasing to the bunny.
Usagi had found it best to always sit by a window, so Usagi began to gesture and move towards it. "I'm glad that it's just you, Setsuna-san. We don't ever get to spend enough time just the two of us at home, it's always so cramped! How are you adjusting to things? Cake seems like a big step for you."

Written by Lish
Dark eyes watched the cashier move the cake to its own platter, suggesting that Setsuna find herself a seat and they would bring the cake over for her. Nodding to the cashier, Setsuna thanked him as her attention fully turned towards Usagi, who was all too happy to accept the invitation of cake. It didn't surprise the time guardian, Usagi loved to eat, something that Setsuna had begun to learn since leaving the space-time plane.

Following Usagi to the table that she picked, next to a window, Setsuna sat down, already hit with questions from Usagi about how she was adjusting to life with other people. "Things are very strange. I accidentally sat on Rei-Chan's sweater today and she thought she lost it for a moment. I'm not used to all this sitting around, or sleeping, or eating, but the cake here did help peak my interest in food." Setsuna couldn't remember the last time she had eaten before this experience, probably not since she was a little girl, before Queen Serenity gave her the solitary mission of guarding the time gate. But when time never actually touched you, it was easy to avoid things that normal humans found necessary.

"How are you doing? I have seen you thinking before. I know that I think about Small Lady quite often, I'm sure that you do as well." Perhaps the others saw what Setsuna saw, or perhaps they didn't, she wasn't sure, but she did know that she had caught Usagi in what appeared to be thought a few times. Setsuna never spoke up, or tried to interrupt the younger girl, but it was more the face that Usagi made, an expression that always reminded Setsuna of Neo Queen Serenity, when she was in deep thought. The queen was far older than Usagi was now, she had years of experience beyond the young teenager, and she was wiser because of it, but their expressions were still the same.

Looking to the side, out the window, Setsuna barely saw the people that passed in front of the window. Instead, she saw Small Lady, trapped in the body of a child, looking up at Setsuna with those big, innocent eyes. Many times they were full of happy emotions, excited to tell Pluto about her recent experiences. Other times, they were full of tears, in thought that no one cared about her, or even noticed when she went missing. That wasn't true, it was far from the truth, but Pluto had never been able to convince the princess of this before she went missing.

Written by Vicky
Usagi happily started munching on a slice of cake the moment it was brought to the table. Cake, especially free, was always welcomed especially now. She reminisced briefly how Mama had always made them some sort of pastry for a snack after school, it made her miss home.
Usagi’s train of thought was cutoff as she giggled when Setsuna-san explained the incident with Rei-chan. It must have been hard to stand up for thousands of years~! Didn’t Setsuna-san ever get body pain because of it?
“She isn’t that used to living with people either, I think. Back home she used to live with her grandpa, and she had a very spacious place!” Usagi said, trying to be as vague as possible as she spoke in hushed tones. “It’s really weird to be able to live together like this. I can’t wait until we can get a bigger place, especially one with a bath~! I feel so icky.”
Who didn’t? After being used to bathing daily due to their missions as Sailor Senshi and school, Usagi had grown accustomed to it. It felt weird not being able to shower on a regular basis, especially when she was sweaty. The Command Center fortunately wasn’t very hot, but it wasn’t exactly cold either to make it justified. Nighttime was awful and not nearly as comfy under the sheets.
But when Setsuna-san asked how she was doing, Usagi didn’t know how to respond properly. Sure, she thought about Chibiusa on occasion, but not nearly as often as Mamo-chan. Mamo-chan was the one who she felt so distressed over when they’d fought before they were separated. Did Mamo-chan hate her? Was that why it felt like he was evasive in her attempts to find him? Did he find Chibiusa?
Chibiusa was the least of her worries compared to Mamo-chan. The way she saw it, no news was good news, so Chibiusa was safe. Right? It was selfish, Usagi knew, but she desperately wanted to find Mamo-chan first. Mamo-chan brought normalcy back into her life, Chibiusa didn’t.
She felt awful when Setsuna-san mentioned how she missed her, and the bunny placed the slice of cake down onto the table for a brief moment. Now wasn’t the time to dig into and enjoy cake. They were having a serious conversation.
“You were really close to Yumi-chan, weren’t you?” Usagi asked and confessed, “I worry about her, but…not nearly as much as him.

Written by Lish
Nodding to Usagi, Setsuna really didn't know what to say at times. This wasn't like her normal life, where anyone who approached her had questions about time or the future, or even the past sometimes. In those times, Setsuna always had the answers, though she often didn't reveal the actual answers to anyone, lest she alter the flow of time. However, now, people talked to her about everyday things, about sleeping and bathing, and these were things that Pluto was not used to. Everything was new to her, and it felt like she was an outsider, even at the command center, but all it meant for the older guardian was that she needed to find answers faster.

"I'm not sure how much I enjoy being here. It's so very different, sometimes I wonder if I'm doing anything right at all." It wasn't just being in the shadow dimension, it was being outside of her own dimension. So many millennia spent at the time door, it was a comfort for Pluto, and now she was in a different place, with a different name, and everything just felt odd. At the same time though, Pluto had spent so many years wanting this, wondering what it was like on Earth, living a normal life. Being surrounded by other people, and potentially having people that care about you, or even just having people know that you exist.

Curiosity satiated now, Pluto really wanted to return things to the normal order. And to first do that, they needed to find Small Lady, because Pluto would not return the world to its proper time and dimension without the princess coming with them. The princess was crucial, not just for the future, but for the past as well. It would be her time in the past that she would learn to hone her powers as a sailor senshi, even if she didn't know it just yet.

Though Setsuna knew so much, there was still much to learn, as she was discovering now. She thought that Usagi would be mourning Small Lady as well, but it didn't seem to be that way. Though they were the same person, this wasn't the queen that Setsuna knew, the woman who loved her daughter so dearly that she put her life in jeopardy to save Small Lady, and now she lay comatose in a year so far away. The Usagi that sat before her though, was a child, and her priorities were so much different.

"She was my only friend." It was so obvious at the time, the princess was the only one who ever came to visit Setsuna for pleasure, unlike her king and queen who came solely for duty, and even then, they very rarely visited the time door. It wasn't normal, and it was forbidden for them to just come and socialize, but Small Lady didn't care. "She is prone to irrational thinking at times. I'm concerned what plan she has come up with here."

Written by Vicky
Setsuna-san’s comment reminded Usagi that this was not the world that Usagi would have ever dreamt of showing Setsuna-san. Not in a million years. Usagi believed that if she ever had the opportunity to show Setsuna-san the present, that it would have been theirs in the middle of their war against the Black Moon. Not some other dimension’s war.
But here they were, sitting at Fruits Parlor Crown in an alternate dimension and talking about just that. Just a year ago, Usagi wouldn’t have ever thought that any of this was even possible. She wouldn’t have imagined that this was the sort of struggles that Sailor V, her favorite superhero was undergoing and that she’d eventually become her best friend.
“Setsuna-san…when we’re able to get back home, do you have to go home right away?” Usagi asked as she tilted her head questionably. “I’d really like to show you around where we actually live, and I think Yumi-chan would too.”
“And that’s a silly thought, Setsuna-san! I think you’re doing fine. You’re not picking up my habits, are you?” The bunny teased the Time Guardian, smiling in an attempt to lighten the conversation. “I think (Rei-chan) would poke at you for that!”
A light huh sound escaped Usagi’s lips when Setsuna-san mentioned her relationship with Chibiusa. It was strange to think that Chibiusa was able to befriend someone like Setsuna-san when she and the other girls had a very different relationship with her. She wanted to learn more about Setsuna-san’s relationship, but she felt like she might have been touching a personal spot.
Or was it Setsuna-san’s own way of showing her worry? Usagi knew that it was selfish to only want Mamo-chan, but her disposition with Chibiusa was not very good.
“I don’t think I’d ever be able to do what you do, Setsuna-san.” Usagi said lowly. “I’m always surrounded by people I love. I can’t…stand being alone. I see so many people here suffering and they seem so alone, it hurts… I know it’s silly…but I’m afraid…of being alone. Of ending up like them.”
Usagi’s gaze became downcast as she stared at the slice of cake on the table. “You don’t….want to go back to that, do you, Setsuna-san? I don’t…think Yumi-chan would want you to.”

Written by Lish
"It is my duty." It seemed surreal at times, talking to the Princess Serenity, after the last conversation that Pluto had had with Queen Serenity. Queen Serenity had come to visit Pluto a few times, not often, but sometimes, and the Queen always repeated the importance of Pluto's mission in the world. Pluto was the solitary guardian, unlike any of the other Outer Senshi, Pluto was different, special, she was a direct descendant of a god and had a far greater mission than the others. At the core, Pluto was always entrusted to keep Princess Serenity safe, but unlike the other Senshi, Pluto's role was to keep space and time from unraveling. Her duty was to hold together the timeline and to ensure that no one ever misused the powers of time, for good or for bad, time was precious and was not meant to be meddled with. Now, Pluto had failed that mission, and time was broken. In her heart, Pluto knew that it was her fault that time was broken, she had broken a taboo of time, she had allowed for others to travel through time, even if they hadn't used the space-time door to do so. Now, Pluto would fix it, fix everything.

"I have begun to enjoy cake..." Smiling to the younger girl, Setsuna took a fork and sunk it into the moist chocolate dessert, pulling a piece off and bringing it to her mouth. The dessert was delicious, and it practically melted in Setsuna's mouth, needing very little effort to chew. It wasn't like other dishes, the things that everyone referred to as 'main dishes', those were harder to chew, but had their own distinct deliciousness.

It was easier to turn the subject back to cake than to answer Usagi's other questions. Small Lady would surely like to show Pluto around, they had a close friendship and Small Lady was always excited to tell Pluto about the new things she learned about, but it didn't stop Pluto from having a mission and a duty. She was a soldier of space, a god of time, and her place was at the space-time door, where it had always been.

Setting the fork down, maroon eyes focused on Usagi. "I have seen you as both a child and an adult, and there have been many struggles throughout that transition. However, I have never seen you alone. You may not always see them, but when you open yourself up to the thought, I know you can feel the love of those closest to you." It had always been Usagi's strongest point, how she held a connection to everyone in her life even if they weren't physically together. Usagi could draw on the power of her friends from afar, and it was a very impressive trait.

"Yumi-chan understands that I have a mission. I made a promise to your mother, and in time, I will make the same promise and swear the same allegiance to you. Being here, I have already broken two taboos of time. I was never supposed to leave, and no one else was ever supposed to travel through it either. If I break the third taboo...there is no returning from that." Glancing out the window, Setsuna spoke as she recalled her discussion with Queen Serenity. If Pluto ever broke the third taboo, if she ever stopped time, it would cost Pluto her own life.

Written by Vicky
Usagi couldn’t understand how Setsuna-san could be loyal or dutiful to a job that encouraged loneliness. She wasn’t even sure if it was admirable, because of how much Usagi treasured the people she’d come to meet. Chibiusa was Setsuna-san’s only friend, but even that screamed loneliness after she’d met Hotaru-chan.
Up until now, it seemed Hotaru-chan didn’t have any friends. She was glad that the girl was trying to change that, but for Setsuna-san it seemed like friendship wasn’t even a possibility. No one was supposed to know she existed. It was why she was able to live freely as herself, the Black Moon hadn’t known about her.
It was a scary thought.
But the smile Setsuna-san gave her when she mentioned that she’d enjoyed cake brightened the bunny’s spirits. Cake was her favorite snack, and back home Mama used to make it for her on occasion. There were few times when she wondered if it was primarily for Chibiusa, but the cake was ultimately welcomed.
Her only reaction would be a smile. She’d have to remind Minako-chan to bring more cake home from her workplace for sure.
It was strange, though, when Setsuna-san began to talk about watching her. Azure hues remained focused on Setsuna-san, wondering just how much she’d known. She was right, but Usagi couldn’t help but gaze downcast. “I don’t know, Setsuna-san. Here’s so different…the more that I walk around, the more I feel their grip. It’s so scary to even think about having lived here for four years. I know I’ll always have someone at my side, but…when I go outside alone it’s like a void… No one’s really approachable here. We need to do something for these people before we leave.”
She knew that it this wasn’t their world, and they weren’t their senshi, but maybe that was why they were here—to help these people when their counterparts couldn’t. This world needed saving, and it could be saved with the right choices. They’d had an entire Resistance force around the world at their side willing to aid them if they’d dared revealed themselves and asked. The Earth was willing to fight even if some people weren’t, she’d understand entirely.
They’d fought too much already.
“….The third taboo?” Usagi raised a brow as she’d watched Setsuna-san glance outside. She hadn’t known much about the time laws, but Setsuna-san spoke often of them.  “I don’t think it’s fair to punish you for something that wasn’t beyond your control, Setsuna-san. None of us knew that we’d be here…”

Written by Lish
The best quality about Usagi could in times be her worst quality, always the thing that got her in more trouble than she should be in. A beacon of hope and love, Usagi held everyone together, and it was for Usagi that everyone fought so hard, even when she sometimes led everyone astray with her impulsiveness. Still a child at the moment, she was prone to being impulsive, which often led everyone straight into danger. At the same time, it was often her impulsiveness that eventually got everyone out of danger, Usagi always rushing head-first into the battle to save her friends. In the future, her love would be her undoing, leaving the safety of her palace to save Small Lady, casting Crystal Tokyo into darkness until Sailor Moon could come and save everyone. But now they were in another dimension, which was a kink in the whole future.

"You're allowing yourself to let your doubt cloud your thoughts, which is not who you are. It doesn't matter what dimension we're in, your connection to the people you love can transcend everything. But to spend more time here than is necessary can alter time in permanent ways, alter your futures. If we stay here too long it can change your destiny and when you are supposed to ascend to the throne, and even alter Yumi-Chan's very existence." It wasn't done yet, nothing was set in stone and very few things ever were truly set, but it was a possibility. A possibility that Setsuna was very afraid of, even if she didn't let it show on the outside.

"It is very noble of you to want to help here, but this dimension is not like yours. Some are meant to be darker than others." How did Setsuna possibly make the other sailors understand? It was a difficult thing, and Setsuna doubted that she could talk sense into Usagi, mostly because that girl was stubborn, in all times. It made her sound dark, Setsuna knew it, but it was so much of the reason why Setsuna was never meant to leave the gates of time. She was bound to her duties, just like the other Outer Sailors, unable to simply stray from their paths. They were not like the Inner Sailors, and it was a duty that it seemed the Inner Sailors would not be able to truly understand.

Turning to look out the window, Setsuna could still hear Queen Serenity's voice, telling her all about the three taboos of time. Queen Serenity was patient in explaining the rules to the young Pluto, but she was resolute as well. "You do not need to worry yourself about the taboos of time, that is my concern. Time is not understanding, time does not feel or think, it cannot make choices about whether something is my fault or not, time just is, and breaking as many taboos as I have already, it is not something to take lightly." The more it became common to break the time laws, the closer Pluto moved towards breaking the third taboo, a promise she had sworn to Queen Serenity would never happen. However, Pluto never thought that she would ever break the first two taboos either.

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