Third First Breaths

Chibi Moon

Usagi "Chibiusa" Tsukino awakens to a hand combing softly through her hair and the feeling of being wrapped up in sheets that feel like the 21stcentury. It even smells like 21st century Tokyo... and that's the sound of the bus outside. Hadn't she requested to be returned to the future? "Mama?" she wonders aloud.

The hand in her hair freezes for just a moment before it continues working tangles out of her locks. "You know, I thought that for a while," a warm voice speaks. "And two years ago I even thought you were my niece," Chibiusa jerks her head up hearing things her grandmother shouldn't remember. "But we both know neither is true."

Fully awake, Chibiusa rolls over, blanket held close, only to see her grandmother holding out a nightgown. She takes it and pulls it over her head. "What?"

"No wait – my question first." Grandma Tsukino points a finger at her nose. "Are you a Sailor Scout?"

"Yes," Chibiusa says before she thinks to deny it.

"Well…that explains more than it doesn't actually." Ikuko sighs and gazes out the window. "Usagi said goodbye four months ago…hugged me…and two days later my memories started coming back."

The day Sailor Moon sacrificed herself to the Cauldron, Chibiusa realizes. Both of their silver crystals had been destroyed. And her memory charm on the Tsukinos must have been destroyed with them.

"You pretended to belong here… showing up one day and still you feel so familiar." Ikuko shakes her head, thoughts drifting. "All Usagi's friends missing too…and the scouts gone. Dr. Mizuno put it together before I did." Ikuko frowns at Chibiusa. "I've waited four months for Usagi to come home. And now she's sprawled out in her bed like she was never gone and you're back and Chibi Chibi is not here." Chibiusa waits as Ikuko stares at her, thinking. "Are you Chibi Chibi?"

"No."

"I thought not…she feels less familiar than you. Is she related to you?"

"Um…" a reincarnation of her mother from eons in the future, "it's complicated.""Fair enough." Ikuko takes Chibiusa's hand. "Who are you to my family?"

"It's" complicated, she starts to say. But Chibiusa bites her tongue. She thinks, really thinks, about what they've put Ikuko Tsukino through and how determined she still is to love them. "I-I'm from the future."

That catches Ikuko. She reels back and assesses Chibiusa, squinting closely at her. "And…we are related."

"Yes." Of course Ikuko clearly doesn't need the confirmation from the way she studies Chibiusa's ears, jawline, and cheekbones with a thoughtful frown. "And…I really am called Chibi Usagi."

Ikuko's brow furrows as she mouths back the words to herself. Then her eyes pop wide open and she looks at Chibiusa with a new perspective. She giggles. "Oh goodness, poor Kenji. Don't tell him. Please don't tell him. Some things my husband would prefer not to think about." She hugs Chibiusa and kisses her hair. "Well this is a surprise." And before Chibiusa can speak, Ikuko is back to studying her. She taps Chibiusa's nose. "And that…Mamoru. Are you related to him as well?"

Her grin answers for her and Ikuko screeches excitedly. Then she's being hugged again. "Oh, and he's so handsome. I hoped. Oh goodness no, this isn't what I came up here to talk about." She pulls away from Chibiusa and smiles at her with a caring smile and very determined stare. "My daughter and you are Sailor Scouts. Tell me about that and what happened when you left."

Chibiusa is still a little dazed. She shouldn't be in the past. Cosmos agreed to return her to her time. And now her Grandmother remembers how Chibiusa is not actually her daughter and knows about the Scouts and somehow the world is not ending. She studies her hands and notes that they are not disappearing so clearly the future isn't changing. She sits up in bed. "I can tell you and Kenji-Papa and Shingo together…if you like."

"Of course," Ikuko stands and straightens out her skirt. "And I still have your mug in the cupboard, your favourite one. How does cocoa sound?"

"With peppermint?" she asks."Well of course," Ikuko laughs as they walk down from the attic room. "Tsukinos don't make it any other way."

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