Sailor Moon Expanded : The Next Generation presents
Version 2.0 by Mark Latus

4. True Confessions Contrary to his younger sister's most earnest belief Aino Alan was not an idiot. While certainly obsessive this didn't prevent him from being an excellent student, continually scoring in the high nineties in all his courses. If he was a fool was a separate issue as this is a matter of behaviour rather than intelligence. Still such an assessment was perhaps unduly harsh as he was not foolish all the time. He noticed more than his sister believed and this was the source of his current concerns. Having completed his day's classes at CTU Alan was wandering the campus aimlessly as he brooded over what to do if certain suspicions were correct. As he often did he missed the admiring glances that followed him from some of the female students. While it might amaze the girls and women of the bratpack who had suffered Alan's interest with quite limited patience he had quite a following at CTU. As he had during his school days. Still it should be no surprise that the combination of tall, dark and handsome complimented by a chivalric nature with brooding poetic undertones along with a tendency towards mysterious exits and entrances topped off with prominent family connections was appealing to some. The fact it was so hard to engage his interest often added a bit of spice to the mix and made those interested redouble their efforts. These efforts did not always go unheeded as in between bouts of heartbreaking rejection and a fresh obsession Alan was approachable. In fact the number of rejections he had received from those he pursued most ardently meant Alan had not lacked for girlfriends. Sadly (especially in the opinions of the female bratpackers) while pleasant enough none of these relationships had lasted more than a few months at most. As far as Alan could tell it wasn't though any fault of the girls but somehow there was always something missing. A spark of some sort. His own theory was he sought the fire that burned in the eyes of those women born to be warriors. Without that there was something lacking. That was what he needed and why he must continue in his quests of the heart. Those friends and family he had explained his theory to had inevitably pointed out the one flaw with this theory. Namely the total lack of success in those pursuits. However as this would equally inevitably lead to Alan quoting extensively from, "The Taming of the Shrew" the next time he mentioned his theory they simply nodded wisely and wished him luck in the pursuit of whoever had been unfortunate enough to engage his interest this time. At one point or another Alan had suffered heartbreak at the hands of every one of the female bratpackers. Initially he had lost his heart to the younger Rhiannon only to discover her preference for girls. Bouncing back from that he had set his sights on her sister, named for his aunt Titanite. When that didn't work out he had begun chasing Princess Usagi with somewhat limited success. In between bouncing between the two he had also been known to flirt with his cousin Hematite though that was more for practise than in hopes of a serious fling. Besides the bratpack's bookworm looked very cute when she blushed. Unknown to him (not to mention Haruka and Michiru) both Hematite and Usagi had considered distracting him by revealing the Golden Millennium project as he would have undoubtably gone after the other Younger Senshi. Fortunately commonsense and a desire to avoid their sister-in-arms vengeance for siccing him on them prevailed. Still even knowing how he acted they had both been surprised when they heard Sylvite was the current object of his attentions. True the girl looked as old as them but she was still in her early teens chronologically and mentally. They had been relieved to find he wasn't doing anything too serious, more planning for the long term. Still Usagi found his continual comparison of their relationship to her own parents in their pre-regal days more than a little irksome. For her part Hematite was sick of Alan bringing up the centuries that seperated her own parents. Meanwhile another Aino was wandering the campus grounds for the first time in quite a long time and drawing a more than fair share of interest from the female students. Not to mention a lot of scowls from their boyfriends. As always it amused him how his delicate features seemed to fascinate women. Many of his brothers had complained bitterly about fate gifting such a power of attraction on the one of them least interested in using it. Such is karma. He felt a familiar presence and without much surprise noted Alan heading his way. The two greeted each other with an easy familiarity that might have made some of those watching them jump to conclusions and suffer broken hearts. At least until Alan was overheard addressing the silver eyed newcomer as elder brother. Aino Daisuke didn't look like much of an older brother as he didn't appear to have many years on Alan. A reasonable assumption but an error as Daisuke was nearly 500 years old. It would have been equally easy to assume that a stiff wind could snap the almost ethereal young man in half. An assumption a number of criminally inclined people and tough guys looking to test his reputation as a martial arts master had made to their sorrow. Alan could testify to both his brother's skill and strength. Even without his ability to focus destructive energy (though he usually referred to it as spiritual power) through his limbs he was a formidable opponent. Actually as far as Alan and a lot of other people were concerned he was an unbeatable opponent. Since they were outside the dojo Alan did not address him as sensei knowing his brother preferred that. Though what he couldn't understand was why they were meeting at all. "I was not expecting to see you visiting these hallowed halls of higher learning. Why have you ventured forth from your sanctuary?" "Alan, I'm not exactly a hermit. I don't spend every minute at the dojo ... okay I admit I can be a bit reclusive but I've got a lot to do. As for why I'm here you'd left a message you wanted to have a few words so I figured I could use a change of scenery." He glanced around. "Campus looks pretty much as I remember it but things do have a way of enduring in Tokyo. Buildings do anyway, I guess the trees have all been replaced since I was a student." "I would suppose so, trees that lived so many centuries would be too massive for the campus. About my message ... I hadn't intended to disturb your routine, merely to have a few words at my next lesson." "I know but I got the idea you wanted more of a brother to brother talk than a student to sensei." "You are correct." "Thought so. So I figured meeting on neutral ground would keep you from getting too stiff and formal." He thought about that. "Or at least you'd be as casual as you get." "I bow to your wisdom elder brother. Perhaps we could find a more private spot, there are far too many spectators at the moment." "I noticed. Looks like you've developed a fanclub." "As have you." "Yeah. Girls ... lotta good that does me. Seriously, call me Daisuke okay? Elder brother sounds a bit too stilted." "As you wish eld ... Daisuke." With that Alan lead the way to the Drama Club's headquarters. It was currently deserted though obviously had been in use recently. The door opened at Alan's touch so Daisuke guessed he must be one of the officers. So he wasn't surprised that most of the posters on the walls were for Shakespearean plays. He wondered if the club did anything else with Alan in its ranks. "So what's up?" "It is a personal matter. As I could be wrong I would prefer not to indulge in wanton speculation but since there will be consequences if I am right I thought to ask your advice before proceeding to verify my hypothesis." Daisuke took a moment to untangle that. "You're trying to decide if it's better to let sleeping dogs lie and think I can help you?" "That is what I said." "But you don't want to get to specific about what this is all about?" "Again you strike to the heart of the matter." Daisuke sighed. "Okay, but that's going to make any advice I give pretty general. So what can you tell me?" "I would like to begin with a question." "Feel free." "When did you first realize your interest in our own gender." Daisuke blinked, rather puzzled by the question. "When? That's hard to say. It wasn't like I suddenly woke up one day and decided I liked men. It was more gradual, a lot of little things adding up over time. I suppose it started sometime in my teens. I was sixteen when I put it all together and broke the news to mom and dad." "How did our parents react?" "Well Mom went ballistic. Said I'd been looking bishounen for so long I'd started to take it seriously. I had a new wardrobe and hairstyle before I knew what was going on. When that didn't work she got worse and before I knew it I had dates lined up with every eligible girl in Crystal Tokyo. At least that's what it felt like." He sighed remembering the ensuing chaos when that hadn't changed his mind. "Mom's got some definite ideas about her kids. The boys are girl chasers, the girls are boy crazy. Most of all we're all heartbreakers. I didn't fit the pattern and she didn't like that. Then when I started making my own dates things got worse. I wasn't exactly amenable at the time either. I basically told her if she couldn't accept me or my lifestyle then too damn bad. Things got pretty frosty between us for a few years despite Dad playing peacekeeper. Soon as I got the chance I moved out." "I was unaware mother held you in such disregard." "This was some time ago. As in a few centuries before you were born. It didn't last. She came to accept the way things were a lot quicker than I forgave her disapproval. But I was stubborn and wasn't interested in her overtures even with Tachi telling me to forgive and forget." Daisuke's gaze slipped from the present back to a gray day long ago. "I fell apart when I lost him. I was a basketcase for weeks, hell for months after the funeral. Guess who took care of me and put up with my miserable, whining self?" He sighed. "I don't think she ever stopped loving me. It was just ... she was disappointed in me." "Then the rift has healed long since?" "Yes ... she did wince a little when I took up with Jonathan but she never said anything. By the time Stephen came along ..." His voice wavered but Daisuke kept going, "... she didn't turn a hair." Alan frowned. "I am a little surprised at mother's attitude. She's always seemed ..." "Tolerant?" "Yes." "There's a big difference between tolerance and acceptance though with hindsight I can't blame her. She grew up back in the twentieth century and she's still carrying a lot of attitudes from back then." He shrugged, "Same as all the immortals, to them the old days aren't the ancient past, it's the times they grew up in and that shaped who they are. Not that they've been frozen since them but you can't escape your past. So no surprise Mom can be a bit old fashioned. Same as Dad's still carrying a lot of emotional baggage from the Dark Kingdom." "Speaking of whom how did he treat your announcement." "Well you know Dad can be hard to read but far as I can tell it was more or less irrelevant to him. Just a detail like the colour of my hair or eyes." Daisuke chuckled, "It upset Mom that he didn't freak out with her. Upset me a bit too now that I think of it. I think I sort of wanted to be rebelling against him. But he just took it in stride. It wasn't until I read Azurite's book that I understood." "Fair Sylvite's mother has written a number of books. To which do you refer?" "'Kingdom of Darkness'. Apparently being gay wasn't looked on as any sort of big deal in Shaziaar. With two of the five immortals who ran the place in a same sex relationship for centuries generations of youma lived and died unable to avoid acknowledging them. Add in their habit of frying anyone outside of Beryl or the other generals who made disparaging comments and you get a society based on evil, treachery and domination with extremely liberal views on sexuality. She had a theory that having Neptune and Uranus around Crystal Tokyo for centuries had a similar effect on this city though that's questionable. People around here tend to be more openminded than the norm anyway." Alan nodded and Daisuke added, "By the way, 'Fair Sylvite'? Haven't you given up yet? Not only can't she stand you she's a little young for you anyway." He had the sudden horrible feeling he was going to trigger one of Alan's "love conquers all" speeches. "The founders of our glorious metropolis overcame a similar gulf between why should we not do the same. Indeed did not our beloved aunt choose a lover centuries her junior? I am patient, in time she will understand my feelings and reciprocate. After all time is one thing neither of us lack." There was an odd emphasis on this last part that puzzled Daisuke. In answer to the unasked question Alan asked, "Tell me Dai, how many times has eldest sister Kimeko wed?" Daisuke shrugged. "Beats me I've lost count of most of the clan's marriages. Too damn many to remember. Beside Kimeko was married god knows how many times before I was born." Alan nodded, his voice was soft as he continued. "We Ainos are an odd lot, none of us have yet died of old age and it is estimated our eldest sister could live another 4 or 5 centuries. Our children live about a third of our span and our grandchildren not even two centuries. Further generations must make do with a lifespan not much longer than the human average." Daisuke tried to follow this. "You're hardly the first to make that observation. First generation Ainos will outlive most if not all of their offspring ... unless they can find another very long lived family. But angsty dialogue aside the general consensus is we like having centuries ahead of us. There hasn't been one of us yet who could honestly say they'd trade it for a regular span. Though you're a little young to be worrying about this. Usually we get about a century behind us before we go into the 'I am apart from humanity and alone forever, boo hoo' phase. Believe me it never lasts." "You miss my point. There is an inevitability in losing our loves to the great thief time. Unless you can find a partner who will stride the centuries with you." Such as a full blooded renegade youma was left unsaid but obvious to both. Daisuke blinked. "You're kidding. You're after Sylvite solely because she won't die on you? Alan, you can't be that scared of winding up alone!" "I am not, she has much that commends her to me. Beauty, vitality, courage and wit. I merely point out that it is a definite added attraction." Without thinking he added, "Even had fate not taken them time would have stolen your lovers. Would you not have welcomed the chance to avoid that?" Softly Daisuke whispered, "That's below the belt, little brother." Alan bowed. "You are correct and I apologise. My words were hasty and ill chosen." "Yes ... but you're not wrong. If I could have spent centuries with them ..." He sighed. "But even if they'd had my longevity they'd be just as dead. Having the potential to live for centuries is hardly a guarantee." "I will remember that. Though I still intend for Sylvite to take me into her heart." Daisuke gave a harsh chuckle. "In a way we're alike. We're both hopeless romantics. But when your heart gets broken you just get depressed for a little while then someone catches you on the rebound. Then before too long you've found another one true love. Me? When my heart gets broken I go brood for decades convinced I'll never love again. Then one day, wham, there he is and I've fallen for someone else. I never learn" Cautiously Alan commented, "I have not suffered tragedies like yours and cannot say I would have coped any better in your place. Still I would hold by the ancient truth, 'better to have loved and lost ...'" "'Than never to have loved at all.' I agree, grasshopper." "Thank you o wisened sage." "Heh. Look getting back to what we were talking about why were you asking about that stuff? I know you well enough to know that you're hardly about to drop the same bombshell on Mom but I can't figure why any of this would matter to you." "I cannot tell you yet. I promise I shall as soon as I can." Daisuke frowned before answering. "All right, I'll accept that." Then smiled, "In the meantime think I'll cruise the campus. I've been on my own nursing my Byronic grief for perhaps too long." With that he excused himself and headed off with a spring in his step. Behind him Alan commented to the empty room, "T'would seem his mourning is finally coming to an end. I am happy for him. As for me I now know I will not be creating any long lasting rifts if my investigators bear fruit. So I can proceed in good conscience." With that he began to make some calls. He would have to drop by at the appropriate time. That afternoon found Alan at his parents' apartment within the Palace. No one was home. His parents were attending their duties while his sister had joined Sylvite for another of Aunt Titanite's training sessions. Though she was still in the Palace he doubted she would interrupt. After the recent fiasco he rather expected his aunt to work them both into the ground in retribution. The door open at his touch. It was still coded with his handprint, after all it hadn't been that long ago that he lived here. Technically he supposed he still did as his current dwelling was only his as long as he remained a student. He closed the door behind him hoping his guess about his sister was correct. Meanwhile just outside the simulator room Sylvite and Kodachi were talking. "You think she's still mad us for the haircut?" "What do you mean us?" "Hey if you hadn't tripped ...!" "Okay, okay. Let's not go into that again." Sylvite sighed then ventured, "Think we should tell her she looks good with short hair." Kodachi shook her head. "I think that would be pushing it. Well time's a wasting and we don't want to keep her waiting. We're lucky she's still willing to train us." The two stepped inside to find Titanite waiting for them in her Polaris costume. "Welcome ladies. Now if you'll just change we'll begin today's exercise. This is a test of your speed, balance and dexterity. I want you to retrieve the boxes on the other side of the moat. There's a teleport blocker so you'll have to do it on foot. All you have to do is make your way over this pit of muck via these rotating, greased logs while dodging the randomly swinging sandbags and of course any hidden booby traps on the other side. Or you can refuse and we can halt the training for good." Sylvite looked at her friend. "Lucky, you said?" "Luck is relative." She paused. "I'd say she's still mad." "I think you're right." They both sighed and activated their costumes and began a very long and messy lesson. Particularly for the already balance challenged Sylvite. Unaware his sister was currently clambering out of a trench dripping goo with every step Alan stood before her room. He noticed her old nameplate was gone. In it's place was a sign reading, "Sailor V's Headquarters. Trespassers will be vaporized." Inside the room looked more or less as it had last time he'd seen it. Posters of the senshi as teens (all autographed), books, stuffed animals and a complete collection of senshi dolls (including the Saturn and Pluto ones never sold to the public) both regular and chibified. He noted with amusement the addition of a dartboard with his photo taped to it. Noticing something odd he took it off its hook and turned it over to find a different picture on the back. It took him a moment to identified the hole filled photo as the younger brother of Artoo and Threepio. Odd, he would have assumed Luke was a friend of his sister's. Replacing the board he crossed to the desk. He ignored the diary recorder. In his experience those who had them would just turn them on and say whatever came into their heads with the result they were unorganized collections of what was mostly drivel. He kneeled down and located the supposedly secret drawer. How secret it was when all of this design had one there was open to question but it was good enough for kids. It only took a moment to pop the drawer and remove the book within. He looked over the locked but otherwise unadorned book and the pen clipped to it. This was more likely to yield what he wanted. Journals were a fad that came and went. Unlike diaries it took effort to make entries, you couldn't dictate instead you had to sit down and write. But the primitivism of it was the attraction factor. The theory was as it took effort to make entries the writer would organize their thoughts and only make meaningful entries. At least that was the theory, how well it worked depended on the individual. He remembered on his last visit home while his parents prepared dinner he had called his sister to join them. Receiving no answer and opening the door he had seen her slam this journal close and lock it before telling him to get out of her room. Of course that didn't change the likelihood it was trivia or bad poetry but it was a place to start. He had a quick bout of conscience then jimmied the lock and flipped through. Initially the dates were sparse but in more recent days the entries grew longer and more frequent. While keeping part of his attention on listening for anyone entering he devoted most of his concentration to reading. Before long all his attention was focused on the book. That evening two aching but freshly cleaned girls staggered out of an icecream shop into the nearest park having already grabbed a takeout dinner. Both were in a good mood having (eventually) beaten the challenges so their instructor was required to deliver a less vengeful lesson next time. High on their triumph they both felt this was a great day and nothing could spoil that. They were both about to find out they were wrong. Kodachi spotted her brother ambling towards her and whispered, "Romeo at six o clock." Sylvite sighed then blinked as she realised Alan was dressed casually for a change. Lately it seemed every time she saw him he was wearing that tuxedo. But not tonight. Kodachi took a step forwards and tried to stare her brother down. "We're in a good mood and don't need you spoiling it. So bugoff!" She wasn't too surprised when he didn't budge though she was a little surprised when he said, "Ill met by moonlight. I am sure you treasure the chance to be alone with Sylvite so I will not intrude long. Though I thought I might impart a little advice before I left." "Fine. Say your piece and get lost." For some reason Kodachi felt a certain apprehension. Which increased when Alan looked past her to address Sylvite. "My lady I know you have been less than receptive to my attentions ..." Sylvite couldn't suppress a snort. "... still the path of true love is far from smooth and I believe that you will come to understand and return my feelings in time." She considered commenting but decided that might prolong things so she simply nodded an acknowledgement. "As I do not wise to overstay my welcome I will simply add one thing more. I have never been less than honest with my feelings. Unlike the other suitors who pursue you I have never mislead you about my aims and intentions." Sylvite didn't necessarily consider this a virtue but kept quiet. Alan turned to his sister and casually commented, "I dropped by home today", and produced a locked book. Sylvite couldn't understand why Kodachi suddenly went very pale. Kodachi grabbed her journal, her heart suddenly pounding like a jackhammer. Alan didn't resist but quietly told his wild-eyed sister, "I've read it. Will you tell her or shall I?" "YOU BASTARD!" Alan looked unruffled. "I regret having to violate your privacy but truth will out." He dodged his sister's wild swing. "Had I been wrong I would have let you strike me but as I was correct I believe my actions justified." His voice hardened, "You are the one taking advantage of her trust and I will not permit it to continue. Either tell her your feelings or I shall." "GET OUT OF HERE!" She swiped at her brother and he faded back into the trees like a ghost. She tried to spot him but there was no sign. Not that she doubted he was out there. Waiting to see what she would do. And say. She shuddered, closed her eyes and hugged the journal to her. She felt a hand on her shoulders. "Hey, are you okay?" She opened her eyes to see Sylvite looking both concerned and confused. "I don't know what Alan said but you're really shaking." She glared at the trees and held her free hand as if gripping a bat. "Maybe I should go whack him for you." The thought cheered Kodachi but it wouldn't solve anything. Not to mention when Sylvite next met Alan he might tell her ... Kodachi took a deep breath. It would be a lot worse if she heard it from him. Nothing to do but play the hand she was dealt and hope for the best. "Maybe later but first ... there's something I need to tell you." She had Sylvite's full attention, she was curious and eager to know why Alan had acted so strangely. Sure Kodachi and Alan sniped at each other all the time but it was always semi-civilized. Never like that. Kodachi tried to organize her thoughts, an impossible task as she had still been worked out how and when to say this. "That book Alan was waving around ..." "It looked like a journal." "It was. Mine. He borrowed it and read it." Sylvite looked shocked. "What a creep! If anyone read mine I'd die of embarrassment. They're for real personal stuff ... I can't believe he'd stoop so low!" "He thought he had just cause ... he didn't! Even being right's no excuse!" "Huh?" Kodachi took a deep breath. "For some time I've been aware of certain feelings I have ... it's ... complicated. I didn't want to tell anyone because I was still working it out but now I've got no choice ..." She trailed off looking uncertain. Sylvite took a guess and grinned. Probably she'd decided she liked some boy and was embarrassed Alan had found out. So now he'd read her journal the secret was going to come out so she had no choice but to reveal it before Alan did. She wondered who it could be and if it was doubly embarrassing to Kodi that the first person she told was a confirmed boy hater. She resolved not to laugh or get negative whoever it was. Meanwhile Kodachi seemed ready for the big revelation. Kodachi gathered her courage and said in a rush, "SYLILOVEYOU" then waited for an explosion. Nothing happened except Sylvite was watching her with a very confused expression. "Uhm ... well I love you too but what's that got to do with anything?" Kodachi's heart started to soar and she started towards Sylvite ... at which point reality set in as she noticed Syl didn't look the way she should following a declaration of love. "You do?" "Sure. We've been best friends since ..." "You love me 'cause I'm your best friend." "Yeah." Sylvite was perplexed. Why did Kodachi suddenly sound so down. She looked so happy just a moment ago. "That's not how I meant it." Sylvite's puzzled expression remained for a few moments longer. Then the penny dropped. "You're saying ... you love me like Alan loves me?" "Uhm ... well, kinda. Without all the bad poetry ..." The joke trailed off as Sylvite's face went blank. Kodachi stepped forward and took her hands. "Syl ..." "TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME!" Kodachi stepped back involuntarily. She'd never heard Sylvite sound so cold before. Her heart sank as she saw the anger on her friend's features and in her voice. "That's what Alan meant by that stuff about being honest with me! He's never pretended to be my friend to get close to me!" "IT'S NOT LIKE THAT. Syl, I am your friend! It's just ..." "It's just that's not good enough, is it? Like all those jerks at school who decide they want me so they'll grab me. It's never enough! When were you planning to tell me? Next time we had a shower together. Oh I forget, we already did that today. Joke's on me, isn't it? That'll be something to impress the idiots in my fanclub with. Hell, maybe you can take pictures next time!" "Syl, you're not making any sense. I didn't plan this, it just happened ..." "Just happened so you detailed it in your journal. What's in there, all your fantasies about me?" "No ... well some of my dreams ... WAIT! I was just trying to work out it out and I couldn't tell anyone ... it's just me trying to sort my feelings out." Kodachi held out the journal but Sylvite batted it away. "I don't care! I thought Alan was a jerk and you were my friend except he's the one I can trust to stand up for me!" Kodachi tried to protest but Sylvite wasn't listening. Her eyes filled with angry tears she demanded, "Everything was perfect. Why did you have to spoil it? Why can't any of you ever be satisfied with the way things are" Without waiting for answer she vanished leaving the desolate Kodachi stuttering denials to the empty space. Alan slipped away, his mission accomplished. He felt a certain relief having had an unacknowledged fear that Sylvite might return his sister's feelings. Silly of him to be worried, he knew Sylvite's heart better than that. Sylvite was upset but in the long run she would be better for knowing the truth and his sister better for not suffering a hopeless passion. He was in many ways a benefactor to both girls. However he suspected his sister might not see it that way so a strategic withdrawal was in order. In fact from the way he heard his sister starting to bellow and crash through the underbrush he was certain leaving was a wise idea. It seemed his sister's heartbreak had not manifested itself in the soul rending depression he had half expected. Meanwhile Kodachi's mood had swung from misery to the other end of the scale. She was furiously stalking through the park barely noticing her surroundings as she angrily replayed the scene. She wasn't really hunting for Alan anymore, most of her attention was on how she had been wronged. She didn't even notice the brightening glow around herself or that people were getting out of her way. How dare Alan read her journal! Even if he'd been right that was no grounds for violating her privacy! Besides what difference did being right make? It wasn't as if she'd done anything wrong! Sylvite had no reason to blow up like that. Why should she apologise for how she felt? It wasn't as if she'd planned this. She hadn't suddenly got up one morning and decided to fall in love with Sylvite. It had just happened. If anyone was to blame here it was Sylvite. Leading her on by saying she doesn't like boys but freaks out when she finds out a girl likes her. If she couldn't handle that then why didn't she go get herself a boyfriend and stop whining all the time? That stiff necked bitch, how dare she judge her! This started her thinking about Sylvite again and the feelings she had been covering with anger erupted. If anything this got her angrier as it became harder to keep raging with a broken heart. A new thought intruded, maybe Sylvite was playing hard to get. Maybe she should have followed her? But how do you follow a teleporter? Okay maybe Syl just needed a little time to come to terms with her declaration of love. After all it had been sudden and she did hate boys ... except Luke. Remembering him started depression seeping in again. Kodachi rallied by visualizing her brother. The anger came back and she wished he was nearby. Pounding on him would make her feel a lot better. She started glaring at her surroundings but there was no sign of Tuxedo Moron. Not surprising. Even if Alan had felt like gloating he had better sense than to stick around when she was in this bad a mood. In fact she was radiating hostility and energy so openly that all the parkgoers in the vicinity had decided a change of scenery was in order. Alone and without a target for her rage Kodachi began muttering the worst curses she knew ... which were pretty mild by the standards of any other city but that's another side effect of growing up in a near utopia. She was also becoming uncomfortably aware that she needed to release the power she had generated soon or she might have an involuntary discharge. She could just blast straight up but there was no saying what was overhead. Taking out a plane would be very bad for her image. Blasting the ground would be a lot less risky but who knew what was kind of infrastructure was threaded beneath her feet? With increasing desperation she began searching for something that wouldn't be missed. Nothing but trees (which could fall any which way when severed) and park benches in sight. This wasn't good! Then a stroke of luck as her eyes felt upon a small cluster of boulders arranged in a grouping judged aesthetically pleasing to visitors by suggesting a harmony with nature. Perfect targets. They'd absorb the blast, no one was around to get hit by shrapnel and she'd feel better for having destroyed something. Even if they were only rocks. Visualising her brother's face she raised her hand and pointed. "I wouldn't." Guiltily Kodachi snatched her hand back and tried to look innocent as she turned to face the intruder. Then developed a large sweatdrop as she recognised her. "Aunt Rei!" She noticed the uniform and narrowed eyes, "That is, Sailor Mars. Uhm ... hi ... I was just uhm ..." She noticed Rei's lips move but didn't hear a sound. Rei abruptly beckoned her forward and Kodachi automatically stepped out from under the trees. "Hold it. Fine, now point straight up ... I said ... Good!" Again her lips moved a little without any sound and Kodachi realized she was using an unseen and unheard communicator by subvocalising. "NOW!" Startled Kodachi blasted an energybeam into the evening sky then stood their goggling at how powerful it had been. "Alright, you can relax now." Kodachi blinked then the words penetrated and she lowered her hands. Rei gestured towards a bench and Kodachi sat down watching her carefully. A moment later Rei joined her. Looking a lot more at ease Crystal Tokyo's Internal Security Director casually asked, "So what's got you so worked up?" Not wanting to answer and a little puzzled at the coincidence of their meeting Kodachi tried her own question. "What makes you think I'm worked up?" Rei snorted. "The manaboard lights up and you think we're not going to notice?" "Huh?" "Your father's never mentioned it?" She smile at the headshake. "I imagine he's got his reasons. Well it's not common knowledge but not really a secret that these days we track all the powered folk in CT. Since the war we've been upgrading security. It's primarily to spot paranormal intruders but it also IDs and tags friendlies as well. In case we need to track down anyone in a hurry. Normally it's a passive system, friendlies don't display unless it's requested to find them. Except that we have a few specially marked." Kodachi felt a certain sinking feeling, "Specially marked? Who ...?" "Ainos have been causing me headaches for centuries. Especially in their teens." Rei shook her head. "I remember the number of times I blew up when I was your age. Luckily back then I had to consciously invoke the change so I'd blow my stack as Hino Rei not Sailor Mars. Which was bad enough for causing trouble. Now if I'd had innate powers from birth like you and your siblings ..." "You track the bratpack?!" "Yes and No. The board tracks you same as everyone else but again it doesn't display. Unless you breach the parameters by radiating high energy levels. See we've found it's in the teens we have to keep an eye on you. Powers frequently manifest with puberty which is far from the best time but that's biology for you. So until they hit 21 the board watches paranormals for high power levels. For example I can plot every route you've taken to school in the morning (Kodachi blushed), Sylvite's morning workouts and so on. As those are routine we've reprogrammed the system not to notify us though it still tracks you. But when it's not routine we check where you are and what you're up to. Since you were outside the Palace "holodeck" in a public park and radiating enough power to cause real damage I came to see what you were playing at. I may not be able to teleport under my own power but there's nothing to prevent me doing it artificially. First order of business was taking care of the charge you were carrying so I checked it was clear overhead and had you ditch the power. All of which brings us up to now and I'm well aware you haven't answered my question yet." Kodachi mumbled, "It's kind of personal ..." "Uh huh. Look believe it or not I'm not one to pry into people's lives without cause. However when their personal problems endanger others ..." "That won't happen again. I swear. I was just ... I've never done anything like this before, right. I promise it's a one time thing!" Kodachi flinched as Rei locked eyes with her terrified that cool gaze was judging her and finding her wanted. Then suddenly she realized Rei wasn't studying her anymore, instead the fire senshi was leaning back against the bench looking satisfied. "I'll be holding you too that." Kodachi began babbling a thank you but cut off as Rei turned back to her. She still wore her fuku but she looked different. She was Aunt Rei again not Sailor Mars. In a warmer voice she asked, "Do you want to talk about it? My speciality is spiritual matters but I've you'd be surprised what I've been through in the past 1000 years." Kodachi was about to refuse but hesitated. She did want to talk to someone but ... "I ... that is .... thanks for the offer but ..." "But you don't know me well enough to lay whatever it is on me?" At her nod Rei shrugged. "As you wish but I'd advise you to talk to someone. A close friend might ..." "I just alienated my best friend!" Rei blinked at the terse tone. "Got anyone else?" Kodachi thought about it. Sylvite was ... or at least had been her closest friend. As for other names that came to mind, Mara was too mercenary, Luke a potential rival and she wasn't close enough to Leia. Everyone else was more of an acquaintance. "Not for this." "I see. How about a relative. One thing Ainos don't lack is brothers and sisters." "That's sort of true ..." "I sense a 'but' coming." "But it's kind of hard to relate to people centuries older as brothers and sisters. I mean after Alan the next youngest is Aunt ... sister Ruby and she's got a century on him. So I sort of think of them more like aunts and uncles." She thought about Daisuke then rejected it. She didn't really know her older brother, besides one similarity didn't make really make him an ideal candidate. "You've still got Alan though from that glare you're not to happy with him right now." "That's an understatement." The anger vanished and the girl snapped back into her funk. Rei sighed. "Kodachi, this is Crystal Tokyo. Nobody's alone unless they really want to be. Now if you want someone to talk to I know several people who'll listen without passing judgement ..." "I don't know I'd be comfortable talking to a stranger ... There's always Mom I guess but I don't know ..." "Why not Minako?" "It's just ... Mom's always said I can talk to her about anything but I kinda feel this might be pushing the limits." "How about Calcite?" "Dad?" "Why not? He's pretty unshockable and loves you as much as your mother does so whatever's wrong he can handle it. Probably Mina can too, after all she's had no shortage of daughters to deal with." To herself she added, the only time I saw Minako lose it with one of her kids was over Daisuke and that didn't last. That made her speculate but kept it to herself. Leave the rumour mongering to Margrave, she dealt in facts. Besides even if she was right, so what? Should it really matter to anyone except Kodachi? Speaking of whom the girl looked thoughtful. "I guess maybe Dad would listen ... you really think he's unshockable?" "Well except when Minako puts on that nurse costume, yeah." "Huh?" "Long story. Seriously have a word with him. He's probably seen it all before." "I guess." Kodachi rose and bowed, "Sorry to drag you out here." "Forget it, first alert we've had in weeks. A good test that my people are still on their toes." Kodachi bid her a farewell and headed towards the nearest transit station. Rei considered offering her a quick lift back to the palace but decided the girl looked like she wanted the time to think over what she was going to say. Besides since she never travelled with Sylvite to school, preferring to barell through everything between her and it, she might be phobic about teleportation. Speaking of which ... Rei summoned the remote from subspace and clicked the return switch. An instant later she was back in the situation room which was all quiet again. The board was dark and she considered ordering it to actively track Kodachi. Then shook her head. No longer her business and office cartoons aside Big Sister was not watching you. She wasn't a voyeur, just a peacekeeper and all was quiet. Which, complain as she might about things being dull, was the way she liked it. End of part 4 Next - Sylvite finds out a few things about her mother that rather surprise her when she goes looking for sympathy in Part 5 : Motherly Advice
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