Beta: Yup, still the same.
Rating: Same rating, too.
Genre: This hasn't changed either!
Notes/Warnings: Ditto this, still own nobody here.
Summary: Good friends and new (possible) friends unite in an attempt to cheer up a heartbroken classmate, but as usual, things may not go as they planned...
Sitting in class that next day, Serena couldn't keep her focus on anything her teacher was saying. Her mind was wandering, and she kept glancing at the empty desk beside her. Molly's desk, abandoned for so long. How long had it been now?
Poor Molly. Serena's mind replayed the events. Molly watching helplessly as someone she cared about--someone who had protected her, even--simply dissolved into nothing before her eyes. Someone the girls had been unable to save. Molly's tears, her cries echoing into the night...
Would we have been able to do anything? Maybe we had to be faster. Maybe if we'd been there sooner...oh, Molly, I wish we could've fixed things. I wish you didn't have to see that happen, I wish we could've saved him for you! If only...
She glanced over again, and noticed this time that Tori was looking back at her. Her expression was one of concern, and Serena could see the extra papers on her desk. Extra notes, copies she usually made in case Serena needed them. This time, though, Serena knew who deserved them instead.
Deep in thought, she could hardly hear the bell signaling the end of the day, and it took Lydia poking her in the back with her pen to snap her out of it. "Hey, Serena? Hey, class is over, time to get going. Yeh coming?"
"Huh?" Serena looked around, noticing the other students filing out of the room. "Oh, already?"
"So what are we doing today?" Lydia asked, stuffing her books into her backpack. "Another arcade trip? Maybe a stop for food?"
Serena shook her head. "I think I have something else to do today," she said, packing her own bag. "A friend I really should go check on."
"The one who sits in front of me?" Tori asked, carefully tucking her papers into a folder. "You kept looking at her desk all through class."
Serena nodded. "Hey, Tori? Those extra notes you usually give me...do you still have them? I think I should give them to Molly instead, so she can catch up."
Tori nodded, opening her folder and sorting through its contents.
"Has she been out sick for long?" Lydia asked. "I haven't met her yet."
If being heartsick counts, Serena thought. "She's been out for about a week or so. She--" Oh, how can I even explain it? "She lost someone really dear to her, and she's been taking time off to recover."
"Mmm." Lydia said. "What an unlucky thing to happen to anyone. Poor lass. Off to see her today, yeh said?"
Serena nodded. "I wanted to give her enough time alone if she wanted it. Besides, someone should bring her homework, right? Maybe she'd be up for company now."
Tori handed over a cheerful, flower-printed folder full of copied notes. "Hopefully she comes back to school soon," she said. "Tell her I wish her well, and I hope to meet her soon."
"I hope she comes back, too," Serena said, tucking the folder in her bag. "She'd probably like to meet you guys, too."
The girls headed for the door together. "Hey, Serena, think it'd be okay if I tagged along?" Lydia asked. "Maybe a big group of friends would help cheer her right up."
"A big group might be too much, if she's still not feeling very social," Tori commented. "Serena, what do you think? You know Molly well enough, right?"
Would I want a big group of people showing up if I was still trying to get over something like this? Oh, I don't even know what I'd want, I can't even try to put myself in her place! Will she even want to see me? Oh, Molly, I wish I could've done more...
Lost in thought, Serena didn't even realize that the door to the classroom had opened again, and the other two girls tried to get her attention in unison ("Serena! The door!") just a bit too late. She collided head-on with whoever walked in, sending her bag flying and her tumbling backwards.
"Ah, sorry about that," a familiar voice said. "I thought you'd made a run for it by now."
Serena blinked, pulling herself together and looking up to see...Melvin, giving her an awkward smile and offering her a hand up. "I could say the same about you," she said. "Are you waiting for me or something?"
Melvin shrugged. "I just came back to see if anyone was here, that's all," he stated. "Could I...maybe walk you home?"
"I'm not going home yet," Serena explained, grabbing her bag. "I figured I'd go see if Molly was up for company yet, and Lydia asked if she could come along, so we're heading over."
This prompted a suspicious look at Tori. "You're not going?" Melvin asked.
"I figure I shouldn't invite myself along, and it should be a small group that goes," Tori answered. "After all, she doesn't know me yet, I'd rather meet her when she comes back." Of course, she doesn't know Lydia either, and that didn't stop her from inviting herself along...
"Hey, Melvin," Serena piped up. "Maybe you could come with us. She'd probably be happy to see you, too."
The boy smiled at the invitation. "Oh, hey, should we bring her anything? Her homework, maybe?"
Serena held up the floral-print folder. "Tori's donating extra notes to the cause, so that should get Molly caught up. Besides, homework is boring, what she needs is some good company and some really great stories, right?"
"Maybe she'll be cheered up just with some good people she's lucky to be friends with," Lydia offered with a nod. "Shall we be off, then?"
Somewhere in the depths of an evil lair, a woman was watching the events of a battle unfold in her viewing crystal. She recognized at least one figure--Sailor Moon, the one who had been nothing but trouble from the very beginning. Once just a fighter on her own, now she was up to three allies. No, perhaps even more.
"Sailor Rainbow." The name didn't sound familiar. Was this one new? An ally, or a surprise villain? The first crystal had been claimed by her. The first one, and hopefully the last. Six crystals remained, and this "Rainbow" had to be prevented from getting the others.
The replay ended, and the woman looked up from the orb to the soldier standing before her. "You let this newcomer just have the red crystal without even putting up a fight," she stated. "You came back to me empty-handed, and now this..."Sailor Rainbow" has the first rainbow crystal. What do you have to say for yourself, Zoycite?"
"I expected Sailor Moon, my queen," the blonde-haired soldier explained. "I failed to expect that she would have more allies. I certainly didn't expect this..."Rainbow" to show up and know about the crystals so soon."
The queen's hands tensed around her viewing orb. "Sailor Rainbow." The name sounded almost too fitting, for someone who was hunting the crystals as they were. "If she truly is a new ally for Sailor Moon, she will be sure to appear again, and this time, you will be there to stop her from getting in our way. Understood?"
Zoycite bowed. "Yes, my queen," she answered. After a thoughtful pause, she decided to ask the one question that had bothered her. "Queen Beryl, if this..."Sailor Rainbow" does manage to get another crystal, should we then try to destroy her, or capture her?"
That was something to think about, indeed. Beryl frowned. "For now, simply stop her from getting the others," the queen directed. "If she does somehow get more--and she had better not, or there will be punishment--then we will consider taking further action. What is most important is that Sailor Moon and her allies do not get the full set. Are we clear?"
"Yes, my queen." Zoycite bowed again. "I will stop them. The other crystals will soon be yours."
In a swirl of pink flower petals, she vanished, and Beryl leaned back in her seat. They had to get the rainbow crystals, the complete set of seven. Nobody would be allowed to stand in their way, not Sailor Moon, not her allies, and certainly not this newcomer named for the rainbow.
...though perhaps, if she insisted on getting the crystals, they could simply use her and then gather them all at once. That could be possible. If the problem continued...
If not for Serena and Melvin leading the way, Lydia believed she would be lost in the city forever. So many people and so many streets, so many buildings that looked alike! How could anyone find their way around without getting confused? She could see some signs, a few large ones here and there (Serena called them billboards, which made Lydia wonder why they had all been named after the same man), and finally, the trio stopped in front of what looked like a store.
After talking to a lady running the counter, the trio made their way upstairs. Lydia managed to learn that Molly and her mother (the counter lady) lived above their store. "Much like shopkeepers back home," Lydia had remarked. "Suppose it makes sense, then, easier to run the place when yeh live that close."
"I guess I never thought about that," Serena said, knocking on the door. After a moment, she decided to start talking. "Molly? It's Serena, I brought you homework and Melvin came to visit with me, your mom said we could come right up, are you up for company?"
Silence. Serena shifted a bit, then continued. "The others really miss you, Molly, everyone keeps asking if you're coming back. I don't really know what else I can say, but I figured I'd at least come see how you were, and like I said, Melvin came along, and--"
From inside, there was the sound of clicking locks. After a moment, the door opened, revealing Molly's tired face. "I know, I should go back someday," she answered with a shrug. "Come on in, you guys. I don't have anything ready, I didn't know I was getting visitors."
"We just wanted to see you," Melvin said, allowing the girls to enter first and closing the door behind him. "Hey, there's even a new girl who wanted to meet you!"
Molly turned around, coming face to face with Lydia. "Oh, you're new," she stated. "Hello."
"Pleased to meet yeh," Lydia nodded.
Molly simply nodded in return, leading the group into her bedroom. "Make yourselves comfortable."
(Time for a break. Stay tuned, we'll be right back!)