Disclaimer: Sailor Moon slipped from my fingers a long time ago. So long ago, I can't remember it.
Merry Christmas, Small Lady
"Rushing through the snow,
On a one-man open show,
O'er the fields we go,
Blushing all the way, la la la!"
Sailor Mercury glanced around the bright room, chuckling to see that she was not the only one cringing as Sailor Venus delved into the chorus. It was with great restraint that she turned back to the twenty-foot Christmas tree, tinsel in hand and lips pursed.
"Ohhh, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun, it is to hide, in one man's open sleeeeighhh!"
A loud snapping noise reverberated around the ballroom (Mercury reckoned it was one of Mars' veins... or maybe it was the ornament shattered in her fist... who knows). Mars whirled on the woman currently singing beside her. "How is it, Venus, that you have the ability to make everything- even a traditional holiday tune- sound dirty?"
The blonde clad in vibrant orange pouted. "Mars, don't be mean. It's Christmas Eve! And you know I have a terrible memory."
"Clearly," the fire priestess drawled, sarcasm lacing her tone as she gestured to the garland drooped over their heads. "Now come help me fix this; Jupiter hung it crooked. And no more singing."
"Finicky, much, Mars?" a brawny warrior dressed in festive green teased, waltzing into the room with a platter of cookies through the looming double doors adorned in holly.
"Oh my gosh, that smells divine!" Venus crooned, sauntering up to Sailor Jupiter. "May I have just one, pretty, pretty please?"
"One," Jupiter chuckled. "Each. Then the rest need to be stored away for tonight's party."
"I love you!" the Senshi of Beauty proclaimed at this, snatching up a piece of heaven incarnate. "Remind me to buy you an awesome Christmas present later."
"You haven't gotten your gifts yet!?" Mercury fairly shouted, eyes bulging as she ceased nibbling on her cookie in surprise.
"Not everyone shops two months early, Mercury," Mars said sagely, and Mercury gave her friend the beady eye.
"You're not done yet either, I take it?"
"Almost. I'm... I'm a little stuck on what to get for Serenity and Small Lady."
"Stuck? Mars, what could be easier? Small Lady's a baby, she could care less; Serenity adores anything that induces cavities! Gosh, Mercury's present is harder than that," Jupiter intoned, ignoring the glare her blue-haired comrade bestowed on her.
"You're right, of course, but... I don't want to go the materialistic route again this year. No, tomorrow... tomorrow's gift should be... meaningful. Special. For... for important people," the raven head murmured, flushing pink by the end. She had never been one to share her emotions publicly. The blush only grew as the topic of their conversation floated into the room, chirping baby Princess of five months on hip. Luna was trailing almost protectively behind Her Majesty, watching the pair with avid intensity. Ever since Small Lady's birth- which had been a harrowing experience for both mother and child, to the point where Neo-Queen Serenity couldn't leave her bed for two months straight- the feline advisor had taken it upon herself to guard the royal's every move. The intention was noble, at heart, though Serenity swore in privacy to her Senshi that if Luna didn't stop soon, the cat might end up strung by her claws on the Christmas tree.
"Oh my word, this is magnificent!" Serenity beamed, cerulean eyes sweeping the ballroom as she appreciated the holiday decor. "The guests are going to be floored! ...Um, who hung all this mistletoe?" The odangoed blonde swapped at a particularly annoying clump tickling the top of her crown, scowling.
"Three guesses who," Mars mumbled, rolling her eyes at Venus' proud display of "Ooh, me! Me! Me! D'ya like it?" It was a wonder she had matured at all these past hundred years. Serenity giggled, walking over to their throng and plucking up a cookie from Jupiter's tray.
"Mm, chocolate chip! My favorite."
"Chocha!" Small Lady gurgled, reaching for the sweet with a maternally-inherited gleam in her red orbs. Serenity laughed and allowed the girl to gum an end. Mars watched them interact with equal appraisal and fascination.
"Yes?" the Queen answered, without looking up from her daughter's chewing endeavors.
"How... how are you?"
This time, Serenity did glance up, and not without a funny expression of puzzlement on her face. "Erm... better than I was last Christmas, I guess. Still sore, but I manage to walk to the bathroom perfectly fine on my own, thanks." The last comment earned a glare from Luna.
"I agree. This year we aren't lugging you to the toilet every five minutes with morning sickness," Venus reminisced, laughing quietly.
Mars shook her head. "That's not what I meant. How are you... taking the separation? It must be difficult, to have the prospect of Small Lady celebrating her first Christmas without a father's presence."
For the first time since her arrival, Serenity's mask fell, and the facade of happiness dissolved. Instead, a morose frown tugged at her lips, and the sparkle was suddenly absent from the benign woman's blue eyes. She pulled Small Lady closer and sighed. "You know me too well, Mars."
"You always were an open book, Serenity," Mars grinned affectionately. "A hundred years in your company has only increased my psychic awareness for your emotional spikes."
Serenity returned the wan smile. "I miss Endymion, yes, but... I also know that my duty is to be here, caring for Small Lady. It's just so unfair that kingdom business had to call him away now, when the holidays are right around the corner. I wish I could join him. Even seeing him for a few minutes would make my day!"
Mars nodded, but no words of reply were needed. She could tell, just from the general lack of cheer in Serenity's demeanor, that her best friend was taking Endymion's absence hard. The priestess could almost read the Queen's mind- Serenity's feeling of uselessness at being forced to play consort until her body fully healed from Lady's delivery; her need to talk to the husband who had already been away for a week now... to embrace and to kiss him during this season dedicated to familial love...
For a long moment, silence reigned over the group of old comrades. Then, Small Lady started fussing, body wriggling in an attempt to free herself. Serenity set the infant on the polished marble and watched as she scooted over on all fours to the tree, drawn to the colorful lights. Luna trotted over to babysit, allowing Serenity time to enjoy the Sailors' company. They chatted for a good fifteen minutes about trivial party details; which band should entertain first and how many courses should be served seemed to be the most debated topics of choice. The playful argument about who would get the most suitors desiring a dance was cut short by Luna's yowl.
"Y-Your Majesty!" Luna breathed, trying to untangle her tail from the baby's pudgy but strong grip. Another hand reached out and began yanking on Luna's fur. Small Lady giggled as the black cat mewed anxiously.
"Oh my g- Small Lady! No no!" Neo-Queen Serenity exclaimed, returning from shock at seeing her daughter manhandle the feline. She and Mars rushed over to diffuse the situation, Mars gathering up Lady and Serenity tending to her guardian.
"Luna, are you hurt?"
"Small Lady, Luna is a kitty. She's an animal and we don't hurt animals," Mars explained gently to her pink-haired goddaughter. The little girl started sniffing at having been reprimanded.
"Luna?" Serenity prompted, examining the cat's ruffled tail.
"Only my dignity is injured, Your Majesty," Luna responded, throwing Mars an icy look. "And I happen to be far more than your average domestic pet!"
Mars rolled her eyes. "Try telling that to the baby. I'm sure you'll get real far."
"Luna, you're bleeding!"
"I said I was fine, Serenity."
"Oh no, you don't!" Serenity countered stubbornly. "I had to suffer your 'tender mercies' these past few months... now it's your turn! C'mere, sweetie." She gently eased Luna into her arms and stood. "Mars, can you take care of Small Lady? I'm going to go get some bandages."
"I don't need-!"
"Hush, you. And that's a Queen's order."
Luna grumpily snapped her mouth shut, but snuggled into her charge's grip as the Neo-Queen wandered off to the Medical Wing.
A/N: This story will only be a couple chapters long, but I encourage all to review! It means so much to an author like me to hear both praise and criticism.