The wooden door to the hot springs slid open with a gentle creak. Five towels in pink, blue, red, green and yellow were hung across the fence. The Juban Public Hot Springs welcomed their guests. Though the proprietors were unaware, that this town could continue to peacefully exist was owed to their latest guests, even if they did not announce it themselves. The clerk at the desk vaguely recalled seeing them before, perhaps during her high school days when she had been rescued by a superhero.
Being a hero isn't something one simply stops doing as one gets older. The desire to save people is always there, the problem is that society keeps throwing obstacles in the way to make it harder to save everyone. That's why the star of this story, Minako Aino, yearned for a position where she could see and be seen, the dream of every young girl who was forced into fighting monsters at an age that was probably too young. To be an idol! The problem is that being an idol hadn't really worked out as she'd hoped, so she'd settled for being a character actor playing bit parts around the Tokyo movie studios.
She always kept her phone nearby in case a role came up, and that didn't change, not even now. The sounds of ten feet splashing into the water echoed through the hot springs, the sound of a nearby waterfall gently churning in the background. Minako waited for the fog to clear from in front of her eyes, and then looked up at the friends she had been fighting alongside for years.
"I'm feeling kinda out of place here," Minako said, standing up in the hot springs. "All of you have gotten…big."
There was another purpose to this trip. In the middle of the summer, Juban's protectors needed some rest and relaxation. They also needed a way to do so that would not disturb the jewels of love growing in their stomachs. Usagi, Ami, Rei and Makoto were all pregnant. Though their bellies were in different states of swelling, Minako's stomach vanishing beneath the still, bubbling waters of the hot springs made her friends give a collective sigh.
"Usagi, don't you need to be taking care of Mikage?" asked Makoto.
"It's not a problem, I have Mamoru watching her for the weekend!" said Usagi, laughing triumphantly.
Mikage was Usagi's first daughter. Her face seemed like a familiar stranger, and perhaps a sign that the timeline had changed, but no messages had arrived in the mailbox for Usagi, from her future self.
Minako cast her eyes downward at Usagi's stomach. She had some good birthing hips, though that may have had to do with her unending appetite. Her nipples were still clearly a shade of pink, despite being on her second pregnancy. Minako wondered if the Silver Crystal had something to do with making it easier on her, in order to ensure the Queen lived to rule her kingdom. Usagi teased her belly button, now an outie, and dined on the snacks she had brought outside, now gently floating in a nearby washbucket.
"You concieved again really quickly," said Ami. "You'll have to tell me how you're able to find the time and the energy. Ryo can read my mind, but it still took many tries before I overcame my inhibitions. I did a lot of reading on the Internet before we started."
She blushed right afterward, or perhaps it was the heat of the springs.
Ami had reunited with Urawa years later. His supernatural understanding of the world gave Ami a chance to broaden her horizons beyond what was written in the textbooks. Ami was getting her credentials to become a teacher when they proposed, and they were now sharing an apartment.
"What kind of material?" asked Minako, sliding up to Ami's side and placing her head on her shoulders. "Come on, it's just girls here."
"But it's really embarrassing…" Ami said.
"After how candid Usagi was during her first pregnancy, this can't possibly be worse. Remember when she woke us all up in the middle of the night?" said Rei.
"That was a very important crisis!" Usagi said.
"He wanted me to wear my swimsuit in the bedroom," Ami said. "After I went swimming. He said the chlorine smell and the sweat were sexy. It was pretty fun." She cracked a smile.
"Cosplay? Ami, you're too pure," Minako said.
"I didn't trim my bikini line. I hadn't gone swimming in a while, so the hair stuck out," Ami said, her voice slowly rising in volume.
"You go, Ami," said Minako, gently pressing her finger into Ami's bosom.
"That's bold," said Makoto.
"You're supposed to shave down there?" Usagi said, bewildered.
"It's not like any of us had to worry about that during high school," said Rei. "Minako, if you're curious. Yuichiro is doing just fine. He's taken on the Hino name."
"Here I thought you were going to have an international success life," Minako said.
"It's good to keep the traditions of the shrine going," Rei said, unfolding her arms from her breasts. "It's not like I want to stay in high society for that long anyway."
Minako looked at Rei's gravid body. She had always been the model of a Japanese woman. Her nipples had darkened considerably during pregnancy, becoming close to the same shade of black as her smooth hair. Rei still carried herself with class at the shrine, even as her belly protruded from her miko robes.
"Yuichiro's spiritual energy joining with mine has made my fortunetelling abilities even more potent," Rei said smugly.
"Yuichiro doesn't seem like he'd be that great in bed. He's kind of awkward," Minako said. "You'd have a much better time with me." She whispered in Rei's ear, moving her hand down towards the shrine maiden's nipples, gently teasing the darkened protrusion with her fingers.
"That was in high school," Rei said, gently pushing Minako's hand away from her breast. "Yuichiro and I are from a traditional family, so we do traditional things."
"Like?" Ami inquired, rubbing her belly in the corner.
"The Hino Shrine's courtship song festival. After everyone went home, we had courtship. We fucked under the stars," Rei said.
"Wouldn't the grass hurt your butt?" Usagi inquired, downing another snack.
"You use a towel, Usagi. It's like flower viewing. Except you're viewing them from on top of his loins while he's complimenting you on how good your hips are," Rei said. "You wouldn't be able to do that."
"I'm sorry I can't create a barrier around my house!" Usagi said, reaching for Rei's cheeks.
Ami waded across the hot springs and rubbed Makoto's swollen belly. Makoto had grown the most of the four, and her already big breasts had gone up at least a cup and a half since she became pregnant. She was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, and had already started preparing the upper floor of her business for their arrival. Her motherly instincts were showing, but she was also the one who could carry all that furniture up the stairs by herself.
Makoto had started a small cafe called Jupiter near the end of her college career. She took a few of the older, about to be scrapped arcade machines from Crown, as well as their older karaoke box, and made the place her own. She was able to do this because she had proposed to Motoki from the other side of a two player arcade game.
"If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have been able to beat that game," said Minako. "My video game skills are second to none!"
"You hacked the machine to make it a communication booth," said Ami. "I'm impressed." She turned back towards Makoto. The two of them had started warmly rubbing each others' bellies, their outie belly buttons getting caught between their fingers.
"Thanks, Ami. I knew I could count on you," Makoto said. "I love Motoki, but he keeps wanting to decorate the place with turtles."
"That sounds like Motoki," said Usagi.
Makoto looked across the hot springs towards the brightly lit interior of the resort. "This is what it was like when we really went at it. The cafe was closed for the night, so we dimmed the lights, got up on one of the tables and went at it. Then we did it again while I was wearing only an apron the next morning."
"That's so romantic. Wait, your customers eat there!"
"The table was cleaned afterward," Makoto said. "Don't try to insinuate things like that. This cafe is very important to me."
"It's better than doing it in Mamoru's cramped apartment." Rei said.
"His apartment isn't cramped, it's intimate," Usagi said in protest. "It's just more fun to do it in the living room."
"At least hang a do not disturb sign or something," Rei said. "You're breeding like a rabbit!"
"It's in my name, isn't it?" Usagi asked.
Minako retreated behind a rock on the other end of the big pool. The sounds of Usagi getting in another spat with everyone echoed faintly in the background. She thought back to the man who was once Adonis, and his parting words. Now, they echoed in her head like a curse.
"You will be hopeless when it comes to love, for all eternity. Your fate is to keep fighting."
It sounded poetic, but the fighting eventually came to a close. There had been peace in the world for years now, though she always kept her transformation pen by her side just in case. She was a fighting a fight that wasn't there for a love that would never arrive.
The Sailor Guardians had cheated Destiny before.
In between acting gigs, Minako tried hooking up with her co-stars, men and women alike, but none could handle her energy in the way Rei or Makoto could. She had gotten in the habit of carrying a condom in her back pocket and trying to have friendly, casual sex at love hotels in hopes of finding the right match. She'd only three men take up the offer over the past six months, and two had to be declined.