Loyalty A Sailormoon fanfic By Kristin Renee Taylor Usagi was asleep. A strange fact to point out, but it was the way she slept that made it so interesting. She was sleeping on my arm. She had caught me completely by surprise. One minute I was stretching, and considering trying to pry the popcorn bowl from Minako's grasp, the next my left arm was weighed down by a couple of kilos of blonde hair. "Usagi." I kept my voice low, so I wouldn't distract everybody else from the movie. "Usagi, wake up." Usagi shifted, mumbled something drowsily, and snuggled closer to me. I was glad the only light came from Makoto's television, otherwise the others might've gotten some ecchi ideas. I looked around, determined to force someone into helping me pry her off, but Minako, stretched out on the floor, was out like a light, one arm folded beneath her as a pillow, the other still curled protectively around the bowl of cold popcorn. Ami, sitting on my right, had also fallen asleep, head lolling back in a position that would almost certainly guarantee a neck cramp. Of Makoto, there was no sign, which surprised me. I didn't remember seeing her get up and leave. Alone in my dilemma, I tried again, this time trying to tug my arm free of Usagi's grasp. "C'mon, Usagi, *move!*" I didn't think it was possible for someone asleep to hold onto anything as tightly as Usagi held my arm. My fingers were beginning to tingle as the circulation began to slow. I sighed faintly. "I think the gods must've sent you to me as punishment, although I don't know what for." Then I smiled, "But I have to admit, you're the best punishment I've ever had." I leaned down, kissed her hair. "Usagi-chan no baka." As if she had been waiting for that cue, she released my arm, sprawling across her seat, the armrest, and most of my lap. Annoyed, I pushed her legs off and stood, ignoring her muttered protests. A moment later she had re-arranged her limbs so she was stretched out across the couch, using Ami's lap as a pillow. Ami didn't even wake up. I shook my head, and sought out the errant Senshi of Thunder. Makoto's room was simple, even bordering on the spartan side of things. Outside of her futon and dresser, the only things that decorated the room was a veritable jungle of potted plants. But that was Makoto for you, a simple person with simple pleasures. Makoto sat on the ground near her door, back braced against the wall, arms wrapped around a pillow, in deep contemplation of the moon outside her window, which I couldn't see because of my angle. She looked up at me as I entered. "You're still awake? I'm surprised, Rei-chan. I thought you were out like the others." I took her words as an invitation, and sat down across from her, on her futon, where the moonlight illuminated her fully and left me in shadows. "I think the only part of me that fell asleep was my arm. Usagi has a killer grip." I flexed my arm for emphasis. Makoto smiled, but her attention was distant. I studied her briefly. "A yen for your thoughts?" She glanced at me, hesitated. "Rei-chan... do you enjoy being a Senshi?" It wasn't the question itself that surprised me, but the person asking it. I gave Makoto a longer look. "Do you?" Makoto shrugged. "I'm not sure. I mean, I do like being a Senshi, but I don't know if I enjoy it." She frowned. "Did that make sense?" "Of course it did." Makoto stared down at the pillow. "It's been bothering me a long time, Rei-chan. None of us really got a choice about whether or not to become Senshi. One day I was living my own life. Then next thing I know I'm a human spark plug. Nobody asked me if I wanted to risk my life every week. Nobody ever clued me in that once I picked up that stick Luna threw at me, I'd be locked in Hell's spin cycle for the rest of my life." Watching her, I said, "You don't want to be a Senshi anymore?" "Hell, no!" she said fiercely, glaring up at me. "There's no way I'd give up being Jupiter." I thought for a moment, then said. "If you could rewind time, would you still become a Senshi?" She shook her head. "Yes. Of course I would. Sailor Jupiter is what I am, it's who I was born to be. Before then, I felt incomplete. Now... because of you and the others, I'm finally whole. I belong somewhere." "Then what's the problem?" Makoto ran a hand through her hair, a sure sign of frustration. "I don't know," she said softly. I stood and walked to the door. "Come with me." Makoto stood, puzzled, but followed me as I lead her back to the living room. Since I had left, Usagi had somehow forced Ami off the couch, and was snoring lustily as she lay on her back. Ami had moved to the floor, her back against the couch, her head against one of Usagi's more stationery arms. As far as I could tell, Minako hadn't moved an inch, save for tipping over the bowl, bits of savory buttered popcorn kernels decorated her hair. I stopped in the archway and pointed to Usagi. "Look." Makoto stood next to me. Perplexed, she asked, "What?" "That," and I gestured to Usagi, "is the most annoying person that this universe has ever created. Statistically speaking, with the way she acts she should be dead four thousand times over, and that's just from choking to death while eating." A familiar gleam appeared in Makoto's eyes, and I grinned. "However," I said, stopping whatever she had been about to say, "You have to admit that, if it wasn't for her, then the rest of us probably wouldn't be around." Especially Minako, I thought, glancing at the second blonde. "We're not Senshi because we want to be. Hells, if I had a choice, I probably *wouldn't* be a Senshi." That earned me a surprised look, which I carefully ignored. "But now that I am one, I wouldn't give it up for the world. "Do I enjoy it? No. I don't enjoy it because I can't fight every battle for her and win. Eventually I, and the rest of us, *will* lose and she'll be on her own. *That's* the part of being a Senshi that I don't enjoy: knowing that I can't protect her from every little thing that comes her way. And frankly, Mako-chan, that knowledge scares me. "But its our job to protect her. And, so long as she needs us, I'll always be there for her." I looked at her askance. "Did I answer your question?" "I'm not even sure I had a question... but thank you, Rei-chan." She smiled at me. I nodded and stretched. "Good. Then I'm going to bed. It is way too late to be waxing philosophical like this." Fin. Author's Notes: The story takes place just before the big Beryl battle (Episodes 44 & 45). Remembering that Rei *is* psychic, it leaves all sorts of theories about how she acted during those two episodes. (And if you think Rei's actions were suspicious, check out Minako right before they teleport. Ten bucks that Minako *knew* they were going to get their butts kicked up there. She isn't the most mature, experienced Senshi for nothing... but that's another fanfic for another time.) As always, I want to thank Naoko Takeuchi-sama for creating such a wonderful show, and for putting up with the veritable flood of fanfiction that followed. I don't own the Senshi. I just make them more insightful. :) Comments, Criticisms, Flames, and recipes for soup are always greatly appreciated.