Continuing Tales

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 29 of 30

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The Ties that Bind

Mamoru sighed.

"Are you sure you'll be fine?" he asked Mina.

Mina shifted the baby to her other hip.

"Of course I will. I'm not a total idiot. Besides, I'm practically done with my final projects and I only have my exams to study for."

"Law finals," Mamoru added, with a raised eyebrow.

"Whatever, I'll be fine. You two haven't had a date in forever, right?" she teased.

Usagi vigorously nodded and started to pull Mamoru toward the door. He tried to turn around.

"And you won't let her eat anything weird, right?" he asked, "Just give her the formula - not too hot -"

"Mamoru, please."

"Come on, Mamo-chan, we're going to miss the movie." Usagi opened the door of Mina's apartment. Now that she was in her second year she was allowed to live off campus.

"And," he added, sticking his head through the door, "You won't let her stay up late? Or -"

"Mamo-chan!" came the irritated voice and Mamoru disappeared behind the door.

Mina chuckled to herself and closed the door.

"Now, Chibi-Usa, are you ready to help me study?"

The baby turned her large red eyes up to Mina's face and giggled.

"That's what I was thinking," Mina replied, "T.V. first, then studying. Very wise."

Just when she and Chibi-Usa were comfortably settled on her floor among the random assortment of body pillows, and she had turned the channel to her favorite drama, there was a knock at the door.

Mina squinted suspiciously. She wasn't expecting visitors.

Picking Chibi-Usa up and cradling her protectively in one arm, she checked for her wand in the pocket of her long sweater.

"Who is it?"


Mina's entire body posture changed. She fumbled with the lock and jerked the door open.

"Kon-kon!" she happily exclaimed.

He winced at the name.

"Mina, I thought we agreed that -"

He stopped short as he caught sight of Chibi-Usa.

"Is that a baby?"

"Good job, genius."

"Where did you -" he stuttered.

Mina laughed and pulled him into the room by the collar of his rain-coat. He removed the coat without taking his gaze from the infant lying contentedly in Mina's arms.

"I can't believe you don't remember Chibi-Usa, Mamoru and Usagi's child?"

"Well, of course I knew they had one," he began, defensively, "I just haven't met her -"

"You could if you'd gone to the shower."

"I had to work."

"Or the party."

"There was an emergency that night."

Mina frowned, her momentary good mood put off by the problem that had been haunting her for the past six months. Since Usagi and Mamoru's wedding, in fact.

"I thought you had work tonight," she murmured, warming up Chibi-Usa's bottle.

Konnor slowly leaned his long frame against the kitchen counter, still staring at the baby.

"I did - I should be there now, actually -"

"Then you should probably go on," she cut in, "You don't want to get behind."

"But I missed you," he finished.

They were both quiet for a moment. It was an uneasy silence of the type that had become all too familiar in the past months.

"You know, Konnor, when you asked me to marry you," she turned to look up at him, "I was serious when I said 'yes.'"

"I was serious too," he replied.

"I know you don't want to wait until you graduate," he continued, "but really -"

"But what?"

She put the bottle on the counter and turned her full attention on him, shifting the baby to her shoulder.

"It's not the waiting to get married that's the problem. I don't agree, but I can wait. If that's what you want. But all this waiting has given me some time to think -"

Konnor's face became more rigid.

"And what conclusion did you reach?" he asked, quietly.

Mina sighed and looked away.

"I don't know if I want to marry you."

Chibi-Usa was upset about something and started to cry and Mina spent a few minutes patting her back and trying to soothe her. Konnor watched them in silence. He straightened and uncrossed his arms.

"I thought you might say something like that," he said at last, when the baby had calmed down, "I understand."

"Where are you going?"

"I -" he began, then stopped, and dropped his hands to his sides.

"I should leave," he said to the floor.

"Why?" Mina demanded, "This is what I mean. You're always leaving - I see you for maybe an hour every week. It's not enough!"

Konnor didn't turn around but his head straightened.

"And I don't know if I want to marry you if this is what it's going to be like," she continued, "barely ever seeing you. I miss you so much I can't stand it! So, you need to decide, Konnor Sterling - your job or me."

"You...want me to spend more time with you?"

"Ye gods!"

"Is that it?"

"Yes, Konnor, that is it."

Konnor turned around, his face, as usual, unreadable. He stared at her.

"I'll quit today."

It was Mina's turn to stare.


"I'll quit," he said, "I was about to be promoted to head Consul, but if this is what's bothering you, then -"

"You can't quit your job!"

"But, you just said," Konnor began, slightly tilting his head to one side (which Mina had learned to identify as his expression for extreme confusion).

"Will you stop being silly!" she smacked him on the shoulder in exasperation.

"Listen carefully. There is no need to quit your job, or lose the chance to be the Consul - I know it's been your dream since childhood -"

"That's not precisely -"

"I said listen!"

Konnor stood quietly.

"Now," Mina said, speaking softly so as not to further disturb Chibi-Usa, "Konnor. I don't want you to quit your job. I don't want you to change your entire life to suit me. I just want you to spend more time with me so I know that you are thinking about me - that you are sure about us - so I know that if we get married I'm not going to spend the majority of that time wondering where the man I married disappeared to. Understand?"

Konnor took a deep breath and let it out slowly..

"I was so afraid."

Mina blinked. The unthinkable had just ushered forth from Konnor's lips.

"What did you say?"

"I was afraid," he repeated, actually rubbing his forehead with his hand (a gesture she knew indicated something close to emotional turmoil).

"I thought you wanted to break it off."

Mina stared at him.

"What are you talking about -"

He held up a hand.

"I - I don't have many people in my life, Mina," he said, and she suddenly held very still. In the nearly twelve months that they'd known each other, this was the closest she'd ever been to hearing Konnor actually talk about his private life. She tried as hard as she'd ever tried to keep herself from talking.

"I think of Mamoru and the others as my family, but I don't actually have - that is to say - besides you -"

"You...don't have any family?"

Konnor looked up at her and it was hard for her to control the urge to go to him. Suddenly so many things made sense. She was almost afraid to break the moment, but she had to know.

"What happened?"

"I don't know," he replied, "Unlike Mamoru and Makoto, I never knew my parents. My father and mother only met briefly - they didn't have any kind of relationship, but for some reason she decided to go through with the pregnancy - "

Mina felt her throat getting tight and her eyes stinging. He was speaking in a very detached tone, more emotionless than usual.

"Anyway, she died in labor. I spent the first three months of my life in a hospital. And the rest in an orphanage."

"You never -"

"The hair," he smiled, tugging at a loosened strand, "It's always been this color. I guess it was a bit off-putting to prospective parents."

She tried to laugh but it didn't quite come out as cheerfully as she wished. She took a breath and got control of herself and caught his shirt, pulling him closer.

"Why didn't you tell me about this before?"

"Sorry," he murmured, his cheek resting against her face.

Chibi-Usa protested this embrace and began crying again. Mina drew back, wiped her face, and shushed the baby.

"Well, at least I know why you haven't introduced me to your parents -" she joked, "I was beginning to feel a little insecure."

He gave her a strange look.


He reached out tentatively to touch Chibi-Usa's hand.

"I was just thinking..." he said, softly, watching her grab onto his finger.

Mina smiled and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.

"Now," she tossed his rain coat onto the rack by the door.

"We're going to finish watching my show, and you're going to take care of this baby - because unlike some people, I have a final to pass."

"Good lord, Rei, you look gorgeous."

Rei scowled in Jade's general direction and pulled the low-cut fold of her scarlet kimono a bit closer.

"Why on Earth are you wearing that?"

"Don't you like it?" Jade turned around in a circle, holding out his arms to show off the black silk kimono.

"It's been in the family for years. Well, not my family, technically - but my step-father's -"

"You look ridiculous."

"Just because I'm Westerner," he sighed, "It's so unfair of you to judge me like that."

One of two of the guests at the formal banquet looked in their direction.

"Just behave yourself for one night," Rei hissed.

"I'll do my best."

Jade took her hand and led her to the front table where his mother and step-father were sitting, already speaking with two other guests.

Rei bowed to all of them and sat with Jade on the far end of the table.

"Why do we have to wear kimono?" she demanded, a smile plastered on her face.

Jade smiled sweetly and put his hand on hers. The blood flooded to her cheeks.

"We're in public!"

"It's alright, I told my parents we're engaged."

"You did WHAT!"

Several people stopped talking and looked in their direction.

"Oh, honey, your jokes are so funny," Jade laughed, patting her hand. Rei pursed her lips and gave him a death glare.

"And when do you plan to tell them that you were lying?"

"Well, it won't be a lie, eventually."

Rei snorted.

"I haven't had this much fun in years," he murmured to her, still smiling.

Rei close her eyes and tried to imagine she was in her temple. But thoughts of the temple only made her feel worse.


She opened her eyes, surprised at the change in his tone of voice. She found his eyes, now regarding her with worry.

"You need something to take your mind off of it."

"I don't want to take my mind off my grandfather's memory -"

"I know. But you can't dwell on it all the time. He wouldn't want you to do that, and you know it."

Rei held his gaze for a moment and he slowly raised her hand to his lips - so slowly that though they were in a crowded room, no one noticed.

"Let's dance."

Rei jerked her hand back.

"I can't dance in a Kimono. Not Western dancing."

"Did I say we were going to tango?"

He pulled her up despite her protests.

"Don't tell me we're doing some country dance -"

"Just come on."

He pulled her past the open space, and out of the room, toward the balcony of the large hotel.

"We're going to dance out here?"


He pulled her, without warning, into a tighter embrace, and started to sway gently.

"What kind of dancing is this?"

"It's American dancing."

"It's ridiculously simple. And you are Too Close."

"Old news."

He continued to sway and she eventually started to as well.

"This is it?"


She sighed, but the movement was surprisingly comfortable and she soon found herself enjoying it.

"It's better if you put your head on my shoulder."

"Don't push your luck."

Jade chuckled to himself and started to pull her in gently swaying circles.

"Are you feeling better? Fresh air, beautiful night, handsome company..."

Rei had been watching his eyes, and she suddenly pulled his cheek next to hers.

"I," she began, whispering softly in his ear - she inwardly smirked when she felt him stiffen.

"Am fine, thanks," she finished, and left a soft kiss under his jaw.

She had to control a smile when she felt him shiver. He was so funny - obviously startled at her sudden aggression and trying to keep up his usual unaffected pretense.

Sometimes she enjoyed turning the tables. Especially when he was hiding his concern for her under the guise of flirtation.

He cleared his throat and she thought she actually caught the hint of a blush on his cheekbones.

"Well, good."

She couldn't keep herself from laughing at this, and buried her head in his shoulder. That was her fatal mistake.

She felt his lips on her neck and was hard pressed to control her own shiver.

"Turn about is fair play," she heard him murmur.

She pulled her head up to tell him that was enough, but he caught her chin and kissed her.

She drew away, but not forcefully, and put a hand on his face.

"Thank you."

Slowly he gave her the smile that he only let her see.

"You know, my grandfather," she began, and swallowed, "He - he would have liked you."


He leaned in to kiss her cheek.

"Well," she sniffed, "You're both perverts."

Jade's laughter cut above the sound of the crowd inside, and Rei, with her head against his shoulder, smiled.

"Did you feel that!"

"Mako, you're cutting off the circulation in my arm."

Nolan gritted his teeth and tried to ease Makoto's death grip on his arm. The plane rolled slowly to one side (her side) and he felt both hands dig into his arm. Grunting, he adjusted his arm around her, hugging her to him despite the arm of the seat between them.

"Think about how much fun you're going to have showing off your football skills to my little brother."

"I can't think of football at a time like this - what was that?"

Makoto gave a low wail as the plane rolled to the other side.

"Is everything alright?" a flight attendant asked.

Nolan nodded, trying not to wince.

The flight attendant smiled at them.

"Newly weds?" she guessed.

"Not really," he replied.


She went about her business and Nolan turned back to Makoto who's head was buried in his arm.

"You have to calm down, sweetheart," he muttered, "It's really going to be alright."

"I can't," she moaned, "It's always like this. I hate flying. Why did I ever let you get me into this!"

"Honey, people are staring."

"Let them stare," she groaned.

Nolan leaned his head back against his seat. It was going to be a long ride. Unless...

He cleared his throat and started to sing, very low.

Makoto stopped moaning and lifted her head.

"What's that?"

"It's a song I heard on the radio yesterday."

"What do the lyrics mean?"

"Uh...well, it's something about two people who...go on vacation...and have a little too much fun."


He started to hum it again.

"Sing it a little louder."

"But, uh, we're on an airplane."


Makoto's large green eyes were beginning to get teary. Nolan swallowed uncomfortably. He looked around at the passengers around him.

"Uh, sweetheart -"


The plane bumped a bit and Makoto clutched his arm in a death grip, which, considering her strength, was rather painful.

So Nolan did the only thing he could do. He sang.

Struggling with some of the high notes, he was forced to switch to falsetto. Which was even more embarrassing. The other passengers turned to stare at him. The little boy in front of him watched him with a mixture of fascination and disgust.

He was tempted to stop. Nothing was worth this humiliation. But then Makoto sighed, and he realized she was nearly asleep. He shifted her off of his arm and onto his shoulder.

Well, maybe some things were worth it...


Ami stretched her arms and rolled onto her side, stiffling a yawn. She opened her eyes.

A pair of light green eyes were staring back at her.

She blinked.

They were still there, and they were smiling.

Ami's porcelain brow slowly darkened.

"Zoe Johnson -"

Zoe propped his head on his hand.

"Good morning, darling."

"Why are you in my bed!"

Ami sat bolt upright.

"Ami -"

"And why aren't you wearing a shirt!"

"Calm down -"


Zoe's smile fled.


Ami jerked the blankets around her and realized they weren't her blankets.

"Where are we! If you don't explain yourself in two minutes, so help me -"

Zoe sat up and, to Ami's relief, he was wearing boxer shorts.

"First, I'm in your bed because that's where I slept last night."

"Why -"

"And I'm not wearing a shirt because I don't usually sleep in one when it's this hot outside."

"Why is it -"

"And you don't have any clothes because...well..."

Ami's face went white. She took a peek under the covers and shifted, then she gave gasp and straightened.


Zoe felt his fingers going numb and saw frost forming on his nails.

"Ami, wait, look - look at your hand -"

Ami was almost too infuriated to listen but she glanced something sparkling on her hand and stopped.

There was a gold band on her left hand.

She held it up to her face, staring at it as if she wasn't sure that it was her hand.

"How - how - where -"

"You don't remember," he said with a funny sigh, "But you wanted to celebrate getting accepted to med school, so I said let's go have some drinks. So we did. And then we had some more. And then you started to get upset because you were worried that you wouldn't be good enough, so I told you we'd do something that would take your mind off of it - so we sang at the bar."

Ami blanched even whiter.

"No," she whispered in horror.

"So, then after they booed us off the stage and found out that I was underage, we had to leave - and then we went to the park, and I asked you to marry me for the fourteenth time -"

"I told you not until you graduate from school," Ami snapped, "I TOLD you."

"And that's exactly what you said, except that you said that you would think about it if I could find something you couldn't freeze. So I bought two tickets for Las Vegas -"


Ami was starting to feel faint.

"And you slept on the way there, but by the time we landed you were getting your second wind, so I took you to the desert and told you to freeze the sun, but you said that wasn't fair, so you tried to freeze a rock and passed out. And when you woke up, you agreed that I won - so we went to the marriage chapel -"

"Oh my god."

"And we got married. But the ring is real - I bought it three months ago."

Ami started to feel some of her blood return to her face.

"And then we went to this hotel room."

Her eyes snapped toward him.

"You little -"

"I was just going to go to sleep!" he exclaimed, backing up.

"Well, why didn't you!"

"Because you wouldn't let me!" he shouted.

They stared at each other in angry silence, panting hard.

"You're lying?"

"I'm not," he frowned, "And you're lucky that I love you as much as I do, otherwise I'd never forgive you for what you did to me last night. I think my wrist is dislocated."

"How dare - let me see it."

He held out his wrist and she gingerly felt it.

"You just sprained it," she said with a sigh of relief, "Honestly, sometimes you are such a baby."

Zoe frowned.

Ami watched him for a moment.

"Did I... really attack you?"

Zoe looked at her ruefully. Eventually a slow, small smirk crept onto his face.

"It was kind of fun."

Ami threw a pillow at him, knocking him off of the bed even as he collapsed into laughter.

"I can't be married at my age," she gruffed, trying hard not to laugh, "I have far too many things to do."

"Oh, I can help you -"

"You can do your homework and graduate from college on time."

"Come on, Ami," he popped up on the side of the bed, both hands folded demurely with his chin resting on them, looking up at her.

"Is it really so bad?"

Ami closed her eyes and sighed.

"I suppose it was inevitable. I was planning to marry you anyway-"

"That's very kind of you."

"But really, this does not fit into the schedule I'd planned. And what will my mother say? What will your mother say?"

"She'll be fine with it. She's actually been pestering me about it."

"We can't tell anyone."

Zoe's mouth dropped open.

"What do you mean!"

"No," Ami said, crossing her arms, "I've decided. We have to act like this never happened. I'm not retracting the vows, I'm just saying that we are going to pretend in front of our friends and family like we -"

"But, why!"

"Because do you really think that I want to remember my wedding as a drunken visit to a tacky American Elvis chapel!"

"You are a romantic, I knew it."

Ami rolled her eyes.

"Alright," Zoe conceded, kissing her hand, "I'll agree to the pretense. Providing there will be an eventual public acknowledgement."

"A real wedding, if that's what you mean."


"But?" Ami arched an eyebrow. It was difficult to deny such a deceptively sweet face.

"Since we really are married...can we still -"

Zoe got another pillow in his face.

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 29 of 30

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