In another part of town, the other girls had gathered at the shrine for a little meeting of their own. Luna wet a paw and carefully smoothed it over her ears, stretched a bit, and began. "You probably wonder why I called you here," she said. "I wanted to explain a bit more about the rainbow crystals, before too much time passed."
"There's more to the story?" Lita asked.
"Indeed," Luna replied. "As I said before, there are seven rainbow crystals in all, each containing a spirit sealed away long ago. These crystals have found bearers in this world, allowing the sealed spirits to hide until they are awakened."
Lita sighed. "Like what happened with Joe, right?"
Luna nodded. "He was only the first, I'm afraid, and that means we'll see much more of the enemy as they try to collect all seven."
Amy spoke up next. "Luna, what about this Sailor Rainbow?" she asked. "You said she has the first crystal, but we know nothing else about her."
"Is she really one of us, or what?" Raye added, leaning against the porch railing.
Luna sighed. "I have no idea if she's truly an ally or not yet. All I know is that we should focus on collecting the rainbow crystals before our enemies can get ahold of them."
The other cat in the group, sunning herself on the porch near Lita, spoke up at this point. "You'll probably see Rainbow a lot more, if she wants to get the others," Keine said. "These crystals do sound like something rare, and who would stop at just one?"
That was a good point. Three parties searching for the same treasure? Perhaps.
"Luckily, I gave Serena the wand, and that should help us search for the remaining crystals," Luna continued. She shifted her weight a bit, curling her tail around herself. "As I said before, the wand is a symbol of Sailor Moon being the leader of the sailor scouts."
"Why does she get to be leader, anyway?" Raye asked. "Don't we get a say in who runs the group? It could easily be any of us."
Keine resisted the urge to face-paw. How did Luna manage to stand being so patient?
"Could we take turns at leading?" Amy suggested. "It could give everyone a chance to try."
"Hey, Serena managed to handle things pretty well when we took down that robot thing," Lita stated. "I could see her being a leader, especially with the rest of us around. We made a pretty good team, I'm up for working with her."
"You guys and probably with help from Tuxedo Mask," Raye commented softly.
Lita blinked. "Tuxedo who now?"
"Anyway," Keine spoke up again, before the conversation could get ugly, "she has the wand and you all have the same goal, right? Does a leader matter right now?" Besides, give it some time and Usagi--no, Serena here--could demonstrate that she has what it takes, and she'll surprise you all, but I can't say that now and they won't believe me anyway...
"The teacher has a point," Lita said, leaning over to give the unmarked cat a gentle scritch behind the ears. "I'm up for taking down the enemy and saving the world."
The others nodded. "Protecting the world and gathering those crystals is our highest priority," Amy stated.
"The enemy's going down," Raye added firmly.
An awkward silence hung in the air. Molly sat by her window, gazing blankly outside, and the others tried to figure out what they could talk about that wouldn't somehow prompt the awful memories of what had happened. Talking about the weather was useless. Discussing school was too boring, even when they tried to add humor. If the idea of Melvin and Serena falling over themselves and getting tangled in things (and someone getting hit with a volleyball) wasn't enough to get even a smile, what else?
"Hey, Molly, have you eaten yet today?" Melvin asked suddenly. "Maybe we could take you out for dinner and a movie, or a trip for ice cream or something--"
"Melvin!" Serena yelped, glaring at him. Ice cream probably wouldn't fit at this point, with a girl who had been ready to go out for dessert with her now-dead love!
Melvin winced at the tone of Serena's voice, and quickly changed tactics. "W-well, maybe not dessert, but at least a movie, maybe? Hey, wasn't there a new one with that actor who looked like...what was his name? The rich guy, with the car--"
"Melvin!" Serena yelped again, this time clapping a hand over his mouth. This definitely was the wrong line of discussion now!
Lydia had been sitting quietly, watching everything play out, and she had no idea what was going on. What did ice cream and a rich guy with a car have to do with Molly? Did she know someone like that?
She lost someone really dear to her, Serena had said back in class. Was that someone a rich guy with a car? Was he a relative? Maybe someone who liked ice cream?
Molly turned from the window at that moment. "Maybe going out for a while wouldn't be so bad," she said. "I haven't been to a movie in forever."
Was that a hint of a smile on her face? Maybe I should forgive Melvin. Serena removed her hand, and stood up. "A movie sounds great," she said. "Hey, Lydia, Melvin, let's hit the movies! There has to be something good playing, right? At least it's a nice day out and we can get fresh air, and maybe stop for food, too!"
"Just let me grab my shoes," Molly said, leading the group to the door. "I'll be right out."
Elsewhere in the city, another schoolgirl decided that today would be a good day to explore a bit more, to get used to the city layout. After all, if things had changed for this timeline, it would be best to know ahead of time.
If I stay out and about, and get used to things, I can be of more help, Tori thought, wandering by a group of girls outside a store. Get used to the layout, get faster at showing up. Make it a little more like I belong here, help with the image. Wonder if Lydia's thought about that sort of thing.
She paused for a moment, watching the browsing girls move on towards the next store, and shook her head before continuing on. No, she probably doesn't even think about that. After all, she wants to make friends, she'd ask or she'd follow, right? She's social. She probably doesn't try to--
Another pause. Does she even know who she is? If she does, is she comfortable with who she is? Is she hiding a bunch of secrets, like me?
Tori sighed, shook her head again, and continued walking once more. Maybe if I keep exploring, I'll figure something out.