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

6. Father Knows Best? Kodachi gathered her courage and strode through the front door. It all looked quiet but this was a pretty big apartment so there were lots of places they could be. "Dad?" A bit more tentatively she added, "Mom?" Her father's voice echoed through the stillness. "I'm on the balcony. Mina's not around right now." Kodachi winced a little, sort of perfect timing. Except that it meant she had to go through with it, she'd promised herself that. Taking a deep breath she strode to the balcony. As soon as she stepped through the entryway she froze at the sight of the city so far below. She heard her father gave a command and saw the the floor become an opaque white. She felt a little silly, invisible or not the floor could have supported a thousand of her. Kodachi looked up and saw he'd left the outer walls and ceiling transparent. As always it was a magnificent view, the stars above and the glory of Crystal Tokyo surrounding them. But her mind was on other things. "Where's Mom? Business?" "Yes, but not official. She's seeing her producers, they think it's time for a new compliation disc and they're discussing what it should be. She's considering best material from fifty or so years before the war but nothing's definite yet. If you've got any idea she'd love to hear them." "Actually my mind's on other things. I ... can we talk?" He nodded and waved her towards a chair, shifting his own to face it. Kodachi seated herself and glanced at the book he'd laid down. Looked like another mystery novel, he had a definite weakness for solving puzzles. Dad had a great poker face when he wanted to use it but right now he looked very concerned. He knew her well enough to tell when she was really upset. He waited for her to sit down and settle down before asking, "What did you want to tell me?" She couldn't control herself, it all surged out in a rush. "DadI'minlove withSylbutshedoesntlovemebackandscummyAlantoldhersonowshehatesmeandIwanttodie andit'snotfairhowcanshenotlovemewhenIloveher?" She started crying and flung herself on her father who worried about calming her down first before silently working out exactly what she'd said. He was surprised at what he came up with and decided he'd better doublecheck before saying anything. When she'd regained her composure and used the tissues he materialized to clean herself up he asked, "Do you feel up to repeating any of that a little slower?" Downcast as she was Kodachi managed a smile. "Yeah, yeah I think I can manage that." It took some effort but she managed to recap recent events. After which in an effort to keep her mind off Sylvite she demanded, "So what are you going to do about Alan breaking in here?" "Ko, he didn't break in. This is still his legal residence until he leaves those student apartments and finds his own place to live. But there is a definite invasion of privacy issue." She brightened up. "Can I get him charged?" "Not a good idea. Just a misdemenor and because of the ... sibling rivalry element the case would probably be thrown out. All it would accomplish would be more bad feeling in the family. Not to mention Sylvite is unlikely to appreciate being held up as a contest between you two." Kodachi sighed, "You're right. Forget it." "However I'll have a few words with him. His interpretation of necessary circumstances needs reviewing." Kodachi frowned, wondering how her father could ever conscience violating individual privacy. She decided it must be one of those oldtimer viewpoints that predated the city. Something someone like Aunt Rei would understand. She shook her head, wondering about this didn't solve anything. "Never mind that right now. What do I do about Syl?" "You mean how do you make her love you?" His daughter nodded and Calcite gave her a rueful smile. "Kodachi, one thing I learned a very long time ago is you can't make anyone love you. Maybe Sylvite has an attraction to you she hasn't realised yet but don't get your hopes up. Chances are she'll never feel the same way you do." "But ... but that's not fair!" "No, no it isn't. But while love is a simple thing it can complicate things enormously. And sometimes it doesn't work out, even in Crystal Tokyo. If it's a one sided love then it can't end in happily ever after." "That's not ... it isn't right." "Maybe not but that's how it works. I'm sorry but I can't change that." Kodachi tried to rally. "I don't think it's hopeless. Sylvite likes me and she hates boys so why not?" Calcite sighed. "Ko, you know that hating boys isn't the same as being attracted to girls. If it was you'd be saying you hate boys all the time too." There was silence then Kodachi nodded. She'd always known that, she'd just managed not to think about it. Sylvite had never seen her as anything more than a friend and probably couldn't see her as anything more. Now thanks to Alan she might not even have that friendship anymore. Then something struck her. "Dad?" "What is it, honey?" "Well, it's just ... aren't you going to say something about my falling for another girl?" "Ko-chan, I can't dictate who you fall in love with, that's your affair. Even I'm not hardcase enough to think I can do that. Like our civic motto says, 'Follow your heart'. What it doesn't add but I will is to be prepared for pitfalls along the way." "I ... I think I've found out the hard way what you mean but ... well I mean another girl. That's not exactly normal is it?" He shook his head. "Actually it's very normal. Most are attracted to the opposite sex but some prefer their own gender. That's always been true for both humans and youma, it's always been like than and I imagine it always will be like that. What could be more natural?" An energy beam powerful enough to take his head off flicked by his ear and melted a patch in the unseen wall. Centuries of experience kept Calcite from moving to shield his daughter while launching a lethal counterattack. Instead he simply said, "However I think your mother has a different opinion." "You're damned right!" Minako strode into the room glaring at Calcite. "How could you tell her such twisted crap?" Mildly he answered, "Mina, two of your old comrades ..." "This isn't about Haruka and Michiru, that was none of my business. But this is family!" Minako loomed over Kodachi and saw her daughter squirm. Forcing herself to sound calm she managed to look under control and sound reasonable. "Ko-chan, you're not really in love with this girl. You're just a little confused by the changes you're going through and it's fooled you into thinking you're attracted to her. Now however she's lead you on." "Syl didn't lead me on, I'm the one who confronted her and she's the one who's not interested! But I still love her!" Taken a little aback by this detail and her daughter's defiance Minako tried a new approach. "Ko-chan, have you ever heard of any of your sisters being interested in women?" "Uhm ... no?" "Exactly. You are an Aino and I know my children. The girls are boy chasers, the boys chase girls and you're all heartbreakers. That's the way it always is in this family." "What about Daisuke?" Minako glared at Calcite for his interuption, "He was a boy, that doesn't count!" Kodachi felt peeved. "How can it not count? It means things don't always go that way. All the boys before Daisuke wanted girls but he broke the pattern. So if you could have one child like that then why not two? Why I can't I be the first girl who chases other girls." Minako barely avoided blowing her stack. "BECAUSE! ... Ahem." She needed an argument and it was obvious Cal wouldn't help, not after the way he'd caved in centuries ago when Daisuke brought a boyfriend home. Blessed inspiration struck. "Ko-chan, at your age girls can go through a phase when they think they're attracted to other girls. But it's just a phase and most (should she have said all?) grow out of it. Right now you're not mature enough to know which way you'll go." Calcite frowned, "I don't know that that's quite ..." Mianko snarled, "How would you know? Were you ever a teenage girl?" "Obviously not but ..." "SO I KNOW MORE ABOUT IT THAN YOU, OKAY?!" Calcite sweatdropped and nodded. Besides she did have a point, Minako had experience from the inside that he couldn't know. Turning back to her daughter she told her, "All I'm saying is don't say anything to anyone else until you know for sure, okay Ko-chan." Reluctantly Kodachi nodded. "Great, now we'll have to see about broadening your horizons so you can make an intelligent choice." Minako pondered the best way to initiate Kodachi in the ancient and noble art of boy watching. Someplace with a lot of scantily clad males for a start. Preferably foreign to add the allure of the exotic. School being in session meant they couldn't just take off on vacation but with Cal's teleporting abilities quick trips abroad were simple. She'd just have to bring him around. But first ... "Ko-chan, you mentioned telling Sylvite you ... uhm ..." "Loved her? I do and I did!" "But she rejected you?" "..." Minako breathed a sigh of relief, that was one less worry. Trying not to sound anxious she asked, "Is she likely to mention this to anyone?" "No one who can't keep their mouth closed. She's not going to want this getting around." Minako looked at Calcite. "Her parents can't help noticing she's upset but they're both discrete. I imagine they'll get in touch with us but they won't be telling anyone else." Minako breathed a sigh of relief. One less worry. "Ko-chan, why don't you go to your room. It's getting late and you do have school tomorrow. We can discuss this some more tomorrow. But for now I need a few words with your father." Kodachi considered and said, "Okay, if Dad will come with me for just a moment. We have a private talk to finish." Seeing her mother's expression she quickly added, "It won't take long. Please mom?" Minako hesitated then nodded. Wishing her mother goodnight she grabbed her father's arm and lead him to her room. As soon as the door had closed she whispered, "What do we do now?" A few minutes later, having passed on his advice to endure the next few weeks as best she could, Calcite steeled himself and returned to the balcony. He wasn't surprised to see all the walls had been opaqued. Hoping the soundproofing was up to it he closed the door and let Minako erupt. It was a long night for everyone. The following morning Minako awoke before Calcite. It was usually the reverse but somehow she wasn't suprised. It seemed everything was going topsy turvey. Her mood darkened as she considered her daughter. What could have set her off like this? Could it be some abberation of her senshi hero worship? A possibility except that the two senshi most likely to promote this sort of thing had vanished almost two centuries ago. None of the kids today knew them as anything other than historical figures and the subject of various artworks of senshi triumphs. Senshi fans emulated the contemporary ones who were still active not characters in dust covered stories. Suddenly the obvious candidates came to mind. Of course, it was their fault! Minako almost growled but stifled it before she woke Calcite. Well, it was too late to stop them influencing Ko-chan but not to late to make them feel how displeased she was. She slipped from bed and invoked the change silently. Clad in her uniform she stalked out of the room on her mission of vengeance. She was startled to pass Kodachi in the kitchen, usually trying to get the girl up in the morning was a hopeless task but here she was bright and early. Giving a terse response to her daughter's inquiry she strode out the door, her anger growing with every step. A little later Calcite emerged, surprised to find the one banging around in the kitchen wasn't Mina. "Ko? What are you doing up so early?" She shrugged, "Couldn't sleep." "Ah ... seen your mother?" "Yeah ... it was kinda weird." "Weird how?" "Well she came through wearing her colours and when I asked what was up she said quote, 'I'm going to settle the score with your father's idiot sister!' end quote. Pretty weird." Calcite was more than a little puzzled. Had Minako decided this whole thing was somehow Ti's fault for training the girls to be senshi. Quite a leap of logic but definitely not beyond Minako. He turned to the phone and paged Titanite. His sister appeared on the screen looking sleepy. "Do you have any idea what time it is? Oh yeah, and I'm still mad at you." Calcite didn't take the last part too seriously. Ti had never been much good at holding grudges. "Sorry about this but is Minako there?" "What? Of course not. Why, are you two fighting again?" "No. Well yes but not splitting up kind of fighting ... I hope. Look she's on her way and she's blaming you for ..." Suddenly the penny dropped. "Abyss! I'm an idiot!" "This is news?" "Forget all I said, Minako's not after you. Sorry to bother you and I'll explain when I can. Bye." He cut the connection on his startled sister and visualized the floor he needed. A moment later Kodachi was alone in the apartment and more than a little bewildered. What in the world was going on? While Makoto Kino's life had undergone some major changes over the centuries one thing seemed eternal. Her love of cooking. The Crystal Palace boasted kitchens that never closed and could prepare almost anything (the major exception being Shazziarian cusine due to limited supplies and an even more limited demand). As her frequent flatmate of late had told her, she need never bother putting on an apron again. But to Makoto cooking was an art and food's preparation a labor of love. Of all the immortals she remained the one most likely to found in the kitchen. Those with children often prepared family meals while their kids lived with them but this often became more infrequent after the children grew up and moved away. This had never made a difference to Makoto. She had lived alone on more occasions than she cared to remember (a state of affairs which she fervently hoped never resume) but she had never let that interfere with her culinary skills. When she was alone cooking was a personal pleasure and when she wasn't it was a pleasure to see others enjoying the meals she made. In fact of late she had been expanding her repertoire by taking cooking lessons from Titanite. The intricacies of Ti's rare and nearly unique ethnic cuisine were both fascinating and worrying. Makoto doubted she'd ever really develop an enthusiasm for it but she knew someone who appreciated her efforts and that made them both happy. Makoto had just finished preparing breakfast for the umpteeth time (she had worked out an approximation once and been amazed at the figure though that was now a few centuries out of date) and was shutting down the last appliance. Still humming a very old tune she sat down across from her lover ready to see how everything had turned out. Yet even as she did she felt a certain exasperation. On joining Chrysolite at the breakfast table Makoto realized her partner was munching away with her introspective look firmly in place. Chrys probably wasn't even noticing the taste. Mako felt the mild irritation she always suffered when Chrys didn't notice her cooking. "Hello, Earth to Chrys. Come in please." Chrysolite blinked and tried to bluff it out. "What are you talking about Mako? I was just distracted for a moment, I wasn't ignoring you." "Really?" Chrys nodded. "Then mind telling me what you just ate?" Chrys glanced down to the empty plate and bowl before her and felt a sweatdrop forming. "Uhm ... it tasted great ... whatever it was." Makoto chuckled. "Nice try." Then, somewhat more seriously, "What's got you so concerned this morning? Another vision?" Chrysolite nodded, "Yes, problem is it was symbolic rather than definite so it's open to interpretation. But whatever it is it's not good news." "What did you see?" "I saw a doorway exploding in a burst of power. There's a lot of possibilities. It could mean a diabolist summoning something terrible, a portal opening from another universe and who knows what coming through or even another invasion from space ..." Before Makoto could respond the front door suddenly lit up then shattered in a flare of energy. A very angry Minako glowing with power stalked in. "... then again it could just be your front door exploding." Makoto rose putting herself between Chrys and Minako. Hopefully that would keep Chrys from over reacting while she found out why Mina was so angry. Mildly she commented, "The door wasn't locked, Mina." Minako glared and raised a hand. Almost instantly she was holding a broadsword. She frowned at it and the weapon swiftly morphed into a meagmallet. Painful rather than lethal, more suitable for what she had in mind. Makoto started feeling nervous, which wasn't helped by Mina snarling, "This is all your fault!" "So what's the problem?" Chrys was still slouched at the table looking and sounding lazy and unconcerned. Makoto knew that behind the vapid expression she was working out the best way to take down a berserking Sailor Venus. Hopefully without anyone getting seriously hurt. Minako glared at her. "If it wasn't for having you two as role models Kodachi wouldn't have decided to fall in love with Sylvite! You know those two idolize the Senshi!" Chrysolite blinked, more than a little suprised by her conclusion. Tentatively she offered, "It doesn't quite work like that." Makoto looked puzzled. "Role models? I know it's well known in our little circle but we don't advertise the fact. Far as the public knows the only Senshi and Guardian couple is you and Cal. The only way your daughter knows about us is if you told her." Chrysolite nodded, "One thing I've learned is discretion is a good idea for public figures. Besides what happens behind closed doors is nobody else's business anyway." An expression of uncertainty crossed Minako's face but she didn't lower the mallet and she still looked angry. Suddenly a golden chain whipped around Minako's wrist. Startled she dropped the hammer which began fading even before it hit the ground. The chain snapped backwards and with a squawk Minako spun towards the new intruder becoming more entangled as she did. So she was well wrapped when she came to rest. She glared at the man responsible. From behind her she heard Makoto say, "A Calcite Love Me Chain?" He shrugged, "Whatever works." Minako glared up at her husband and snarled, "Get this junk off me, NOW!" He ignored her demand, picked her up and unceremoniously slung her over his shoulder. Minako's mood wasn't improved by hearing Chrysolite chuckle then say, "Hey Bro, didn't know you two were into that kind of thing." Minako seethed and demanded, "Release me immediately or you will pay a hideous price!" Calcite nodded, "I believe you." With that he turned his attention to Makoto and his half sister. "Sorry about the trouble but we're having a small domestic problem." Minako felt outraged. "SMALL!?" Ignoring her he went on, "I'm afraid Minako jumped to conclusions and decided it was somehow your fault. She's sorry about the door ..." "NO I'M NOT!" "Ahem ... anyway I know some very discrete and quick palace contractors. I'll have them repair the damage. In the meantime ..." A moment's concentration and a heavy curtain covered the door, "... that should give you some measure of privacy temporarily. Sorry about the inconvenience ..." "YOU ARE GOING TO SUFFER FOR THIS HUMILIATION ...! "... and we'll get out of your way." Without waiting for a response Calcite vanished taking the furious Minako with him. Chrysolite picked up her coffee and thoughtfully commented, "Now they are an interesting couple. They make us look positively mundane." Makoto nodded, "That's one way of looking at it." With that she rejoined Chrysolite at the table. Chrys grinned at her over her cup and asked, "No impulses to go rescue your old comrade from her ancient archenemy?" Makoto smiled back, "Chrys do you think Minako couldn't have blasted her way free if she really wanted to?" "Well ... hmmm, now that you mention it, no." Makoto nodded. "Right." Chrysolite frowned, "Except she looked pretty unhappy about getting trussed up so why ...?" "Because she realised she had busted in here for no reason and was about to make a fool of herself. But she didn't want to back down because admitting she made a mistake would also make her look like an idiot. However when Calcite showed up he interfered with her righteous vengeance and dragged her away so it's all his fault. She doesn't have to apologise for making a mistake and can take out her anger on him while forgetting what set her off in the first place." "Hmmm ... pretty deep." After a thoughtful pause Chrys said, "Mako ..." "What?" "They're both crazy aren't they?" "Yeah but they're well matched." Then Mako frowned, "It took you this long to figure that out?" Meanwhile Kodachi had finished breakfast, tossed the plate and cutlery through the cleanser before stowing them and was looking through the fridge trying to decide what to take for lunch. With all the excitement last night neither she nor her parents had either made one up or had one prepared. She was still pondering it when her father abruptly emerged from the bedroom. Kodachi was surprised again. First the kitchen, now this. Dad rarely teleported anywhere in the apartment except for the designated niche. Matter of fact he usually arrived and left by the front door when he was going elsewhere in the Palace. When questioned he'd said overusing the power could isolate you from the world around you and it should be saved for emergencies and vast distances (not that he hadn't bent his own rules on occasion but he usually followed them). Of course thanks to her things weren't normal around here but even so ... Kodachi's speculation was cut off by her father scooping up her schoolbag and pushing it into her arms. He looked a little harried which was also unusual. "Ko, I know it's a bit early but your mother and I need a bit of privacy ..." There was an odd sound from her parent's bedroom, a sort of sizzle followed by a wave of small crashes then soft thuds as though lots of somethings had hit the walls then fallen to the carpet. "... so it'll be best if you leave now." He tucked a cashcard in her hand as he hustled her towards the door. "That'll cover lunch. We'll all get together after school for a family discussion, okay? Have a good day, bye!" "But ..." That was all Kodachi managed to get out before the door slid shut and the "locked" icon appeared on the entry panel. She stood there a moment then shrugged and headed for the elevators. Inside the apartment Calcite hit the key that gave him a priority call to Rei. The screen lit up, it was no surprise she was already in her office. Before she could say hello he was telling her, "Rei, Could you pass word to my office to reschedule my appointments for today? I'm taking some sick time." Rei blinked. "You look fine to me." With perfect timing the Voice of Doom echoed through the apartment. "CALCITE!" "Give her time." "Got it. I'll tell Mina's people she's unavailable too. Good luck!" Rei broke the connection, mentally kicking herself for not asking how Kodachi was doing. She was wondering how this was connected to whatever had been troubling the girl but that didn't let that delay her as she began giving orders. "I want a scan of the Aino floor. Soon as it's just Minako and Calcite isolate it." "Daughter just got on the elevator. It's just the two of them." "Engage seals and keep them in place until I give the all clear." Which wouldn't happen until one of the happy couple got in touch with her and told her things had calmed down. Or, a little dark voice at the back of her mind whispered, you get a hysterical call saying things have gone horribly wrong. She shook it off. This was the best course of action. Domestic disturbances were tricky enough but domestic disturbances between those two were a lot more hazardous to bystanders than themselves. Luckily their extended family meant they needed a lot of room for when family came to call so they had the whole floor to themselves. So no neighbours to worry about and there were just the three of them in residence at the moment. Just to be on the safe side Rei had the forceshields and reinforcing above and below their floor triplechecked while she made a few calls and let the bureacrats take it from there. It was the personal calls that got her wondering. Makoto, Chrysolite, Azurite and Pyrite didn't seem too surprised while Titanite and Ami were taken aback. Serenity called her, naturally she already knew what was going on, and said she was keeping an eye on them but didn't know why this had come out of nowhere. She was disappointed Rei couldn't give her any answers and a little annoyed by Rei's refusal to speculate. Despite which talk turned to pleasanter things as the two old friends settled down to wait and hope things worked out. Until Serenity suddenly said, "Oh my!" "What?" Hesitantly Serenity said, "Minako's taking our old, 'I'll punish you' line a little too literally. I wonder where she got those clothes." That created a few interesting mental pictures. Rei wondering how to get a little more detail without seeming like a voyeur. If only Serenity didn't look so embarassed it wouldn't seem so intriguing. Maybe she could think of some excuse to get a videofeed of the apartment, after all someone should keep an eye on them and see they didn't get carried away. She could probably justify the invasion of privacy as ... Her musings was interupted by a subconscious alarm. Serenity was looking grave and concerned but from the corner of her eye she would swear she saw a smile flicker over Serenity's lips. Rei frowned at her Queen. "Are you making this up?" "Rei-chan! Really, would I do that?" "I refuse to answer that on the grounds it might be treasonable." Serenity shook her head in mock sorrow. "Rei, Rei, Rei ... you've known me all this time. How could you think I'd be less than forthright with you?" Rei nodded, "You're right Serenity, I apologise. It must have been pure accident all those years that you kept sending false reading to the Palace sensors. Not to mention a complete coincidence that it always happened when you felt like doing those impromptu trips outside. And of course it was absolutely unintentional all those times you sidestepped security arrangements because they were too much trouble." Serenity gave a rueful grin. "I can be a handful, can't I? I wonder why you put up with me?" "Because you're my Queen ... well that's the official reason. The real one is it's because you're my friend." "Thanks Rei ... what did I do to deserve you?" "You got lucky." "I guess so, I've always been lucky when it came to friends." Serenity's eyes unfocused and she shook her head. "You really want to know what's going on with Cal and Mina." "No ... well maybe a hint." After all intelligence gathering was her responsibility. She had a duty to stay on top of things. End of part 6 Next: The final showdown between Kodachi and Sylvite. Be here next time for Part 7 : When Titans Clash! Okay, just kidding. Actually the next chapter has something almost as shocking as far as two cast members are concerned. Plus a cheesy homage to a campy 1960's TV series. Be here next time for Part 7 : A Date That Will Live in Infamy Same Version time Same Version channel
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