When Luna adopts a cat, no one bats an eye.
The cat is black, save for a white crescent moon on its forehead. Everyone in the dorm is content to coo at it and spoil it, even the manager from time to time, when he thinks no one is looking. At night, Luna will wake up to the cat sitting on her chest and staring down at her with intelligent eyes, and she starts to think there’s something more to it than meets the eye.
It reminds her of Sulli, in a way, but everyone else thinks it’s more like Krystal since it sleeps all the time. She pouts and scratches it behind the ears and wishes Amber were back from the states already.
One day, while she’s giving it milk, the building complex starts to shake. Thinking it’s an earthquake, Luna drops to her knees and crawls under the table, drawing the cat with her.
“It’s not an earthquake.” A female voice with an accent like that lady from Pirates of the Caribbean says.
Luna looks around for the source, confused. Maybe they had a guest and she didn’t know it? She’s about to write it off as her over-active imagination when it says: “Down here, you buffoon.” She looks down, and her eyes meet with those of the dark cat, who looks anything but amused at being squished against her chest.
“Would you let me go already?” The cat’s mouth moves, and words came out. Luna’s jaw falls slack, and her arms drop from around the cat’s fur. “That’s better,” says the feline, jumping away and licking its ruffled fur.
Luna blinks, and blinks again, trying to process the cat who was just talking to her. The cat returns her stare evenly, in a very un-catlike-fashion. Luna screams bloody murder. Forgetting that she’s under the coffee table, she tries to leap to her feet. Instead she cracks her head on the underside of the glass and sees stars. Sinking once more to the floor, she holds the back of her head and tries not to cry—or think, because if she thinks she’ll realize that she’s insane.
The cat swipes at her with a paw. “What are you doing laying around?” It asks.
“I’m sorry,” Luna gasps, not really sure what she’s apologizing for. She blinks tears of pain out of her eyes as she rolled out from under the table and kneels on the floor. “I’ve just never seen a talking cat before.” She stares at it through her dyed hair, as though waiting for it to sprout eight heads (and truthfully, she is).
The feline makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like a sigh, and bats at her knee with its paw. “My name is Moony. I was sent to be the tutor of you and your friends.”
Luna blinks down at the animal. “Tutor us for what?”
The building rumbles again beneath her, and one of Victoria’s glass ornaments start to teeter towards the edge of the end table. “What is that?” She asks, getting to her feet to go look out the window.
Pulling back the shades, she screams at the huge robot-like thing that looked like it came straight out of a science fiction movie. It was jumping up and down in the street, causing huge potholes each time it landed. She covers her face with her hands and backs away from the window so fast that she falls on her butt.
“W-W-What the heck?!” She gasps, fumbling for her phone to call emergency services or manager or Victoria or someone—anyone.
The cat attacks her suddenly, and the world is full of fur and claws and hissing. Luna shrieks (she seems to be doing a lot of that lately) and flings her phone at the animal, missing completely. It slams on the floor and the cover pops off on the first bounce, on the second, her battery slides across the floor and hits the talking cat’s paw.
Moony sits on the battery and glares at her. Cradling her hand in her lap, Luna collapses on the floor, deflated. “What do you want me to do then?” She asks, feeling slightly insane for talking to a cat—even if it talks back.
The cat might be smiling—Luna isn’t sure since she’s just an idol—not well versed in cat language. “I want you to fight it.”
Luna bursts out laughing so hard she cries, and doesn’t stop until the cat swipes at her with its claws again. “You have to be joking.” Luna may have done a lot of things, like memorize insanely hard choreography in less than forty-eight hours, but this is ridiculous.
“There’s no way I can beat a robot,” she tells the cat. “You need super powers for that.”
The cat closes it’s eyes and starts cleaning its fur. “Suit yourself, the robot is here for you.”
“Why would it be here for me?” Luna wipes tears from her eyes.
That’s when the cat looks at her, its tail flicking with irritation. “Because you’re the resurrected moon princess.” It says with absolutely no humor flashing in its feline features—no crack of the exterior, no hint that this was all some big joke.
She’s wondering if this is all some cracked up new tv show that puts idols in ridiculous situations and makes them live childhood television shows. “What is this, Sailor Moon?”
“Something like that, yes.”
But then Luna can’t take it any more, sending herself into more hysterics until the front door slams open. Victoria runs into the room and slams the door behind her, locking all the bolts with grocery bags draped up her arms. There’s a frightened expression on her face that quickly turns to a scowl when she spots Luna on the floor.
“Where are Sulli and Krystal?” She asks, moving to the kitchen to dump groceries on the counter and edging back the curtains ever so slightly to peer out the window. “Why is there a giant robot outside the building?”
“They’re at Krystal’s, and the cat says it’s here for me.” Luna says, unable to keep the smile from her face.
“The cat,” Victoria repeats, wondering if she misheard. To cover her confusion, she starts to put the groceries away to give her time to process.
“Yes, it did.” The cat says, and Victoria screams and throws a leak at its head.
Ten minutes later, Victoria has saved at least fifteen of her precious glass heirlooms from falling over, thrown ten of them at the talking cat, and finally, she’s had enough.
“If the cat says you need to twirl around and shout silly things, you should do it.” She says, in her best tone of finality.
Luna turns her head towards her, her eyes at least ten times their normal size. “But Umma!”
“No buts!” Victoria takes her by the arm and drags her down the stairs to the lobby floor, where people have gathered to gawk at the huge robot. Luna squints at it through the glass, peering up at the cockpit, where she’s pretty sure the pilot would be hanging out.
For once in her life since debut, she can stand there and stare and no one cares in the slightest about who she is or what she’s doing. It almost feels nice, until she remembers that she’s about to go spin in a circle and shout completely ridiculous things until she’s wearing a skirt and holding a ridiculous heart shaped wand. Luna’s a very understanding person, she sings well and does her multiplication tables and says her prayers and everything. When she was a little girl, she remembers wanting to be Sailor Moon. But this is crazy.
Victoria gives her shoulders a squeeze. “Be safe,” she says, and then pushes her out the automatic doors in front of the robot—to face impending doom.
Luna stares up at the robot, with its huge thrashing arms and legs that can only move up and down and waddle back and forth, and deduces that it’s not that threatening, just a huge metal ball with a tube of glass in the center that she supposes will represent the cockpit. As far as designs go, she’s pretty sure Krystal could design something better.
“We finally meet, Sailor Moon!” A megaphone enhanced voice shouts from the center of the robot. It’s vaguely familiar, and she squints up at it until a body appears on the other side of the glass.
“Joon-sunbae!” She shouts. “What are you doing in there?”
“I don’t know!” Joon answers, knocking on the glass and waving out of the window. “But this robot is really cool--watch this!”
He disappears from the window and a moment later both the robot’s middle sinks way down the length of the legs until Luna can look in the window and see Joon’s trademark smirk. He salutes and brings the two joysticks in his hands back. The robot hull shoots up the length of the legs and the momentum springs it up into the air half way up the length of her apartment building. A moment later, it comes back to earth with a crash, making windows shatter and people scream. Luna herself falls to the ground from the shock of impact and stares up at the robot, aghast.
“Pretty cool, huh!” She hears Joon saying. When she gets to her feet her whole body is shaking with fear, or anticipation, or embarrassment—she doesn’t really know which. Planting her legs firmly apart, she clenches her fists (and closes her eyes) and shouts that worldwide-famous catchphrase.
“In the name of the moon, I’ll punish you!” She yells, and twirls in a circle.
She’s kind of expecting theme-song music to burst out of nowhere but nothing like that happens. Instead, she feels light, like a feather, and when she opens her eyes it’s to a freaking tiara planting itself on her head.
“Moon cosmic power!” She shouts, feeling like an idiot, yet somehow entranced.
They seem to be the magic words because a short skirt appears on her waist and when she stops spinning, it’s to a complete sailor scout outfit right out of her childhood. In her hands is that trademark wand with the heart on it. She stares at it, kind of dazed. There are high red boots on her legs and tight fitting gloves on her arms. Her dyed hair has been moved into pigtails and she really can’t believe this is happening.
“What s that!” Joon asks, guffawing through the megaphone.
She looks up at the giant robot and swallows, hard. How the heck is she going to fight in high heels and a skirt, anyway? She should talk to anime directors about how stupid their designs are, after all, who wants to beat up a robot in heels? Though of course, the Power Rangers could do it.
But she doesn’t finish the thought, walking up to Joon’s robot and smacking its leg with the wand. Then she hears the voice of the British cat in her ear. “Not like that, you imbecile!”
She backs up with a frown and her hands on her hips. “Sorry Joon-sunbae,” she bows in front of his robot. “A talking cat told me to do this.”
Then she twists around and kicks the leg with her heel, and somehow her heel causes an explosion through the robot’s metal foot. Where a few moments prior she probably would have just fallen into hysterics because how is this happening to her, but now she’s glad that the attack just <>worked</i>.
Forgetting the how’s, or why’s, she runs to attack it again, when the robot’s arm reaches out with surprising accuracy and pins her to the ground. The hold isn’t exactly strong or anything (she has a hard time believing Joon would want to hurt her, anyway) but it’s still tight enough to keep her pinned there, with her back digging into the broken pavement that the street has become.
Joon lifts her up into the air slowly, and she can see his rage-face through the glass. She does feel bad, because in a no-head kind of way, the robot is actually kind of cute. But that’s beside the point, because said robot is now lifting her, up, up, up and she’s sure that wasn’t in the talking-cat’s plan at all.
She starts struggling against it, managing to get her wand arm lose of the claw to start beating on the metal, but nothing significant happens. She’s about to call it quits when a rose zooms past her face and embeds itself in the metal.
Tuxedo Mask! her mind remembers, and suddenly she’s free—though she’s not exactly sure how—and the arm that had been holding her hostage has now fallen off the body of the robot. But instead of falling to her doom, she lands on a boy—girl? —In a mask and a top hat, and a nice dress suit.
She lifts herself up to find Amber laying under her, holding her head and groaning. “That always looked so much cooler in the show.” And then, “Lunaaaa, you’ve gained weight.” She says, sitting up when Luna peels herself off.
“Amber!” She screams in her ear, wrapping her arms around her and giving her a bone-crushing hug. “You’re back from the states!”
Amber struggles to breathe around the death grip, wondering why she bothered to come back to be abused in the first place. “Hi Luna, long time no see.” She smiles, and her Korean is just as stilted as it always was—a single normality in an entire ocean of weirdness. “Are you Sailor Moon?” She asks with a grin.
Luna flushes and Amber just hugs her again. “It’s fitting, I promise!” both of them seemed to have forgotten that Joon has a robot until he’s almost stepping on them with a foot that looks like it’s about to fall off.
“Oh, right.” Amber snaps her fingers in realization and picks Luna up with some difficulty. “I’ve come to carry you to safety!” She says in her best faux-man voice, though it came out as a croak under the strain of her burden.
Luna pouts. “I’ll just walk,” she said, crossing her arms across her chest.
Though Amber looks relieved, the look was quickly replaced by one of determination, and she takes another small step. “No way, that would be out of character.”
Even to Luna, it sounds like a load of rubbish, but if that was how Amber was going to do it, she could do it, too. “Oh Tuxedo Mask!” She squeals, her voice suddenly tearful as she wraps her arms around Amber’s neck in a crushing hug.
Joon’s robot-foot crashes down right in front of them, close enough that Luna can feel the vibrations through Amber’s body, and they both freeze, staring in shock at the broken pavement under the claw-like foot. Amber drops Luna’s legs. “Okay, no character is worth a life, let’s run!” Amber says, finding Luna’s hand and tearing off down the street.
They make it maybe two feet before a flaming arrow shoots past their heads, embedding itself into the metal hull of the robot. “Unnie!” Krystal yells, dressed in a red sailor suit. She runs up to them, clutching a bow. Sulli came up behind her, wearing all green.
“You guys are dressed up too?” Sulli asks, shaking her head from side to side.
“Yeah,” Luna nods enthusiastically. “The cat can talk, and now we’re fighting Joon, who’s in a robot.”
“Oh,” Krystal mutters under her breath. “That makes perfect sense.”
Luna beams at her, slinging an arm around Amber’s waist. “And Amber is Tuxedo Mask!”
“And what about Vic-Umma?” Krystal asks, putting her hands on her hips.
“She’s in the apartment building—“ She drifts off when she looks behind her and spots someone who looks suspiciously like Victoria race out of the front doors right towards the robot, dressed in a now familiar sailor suit.
“Oh look,” Sulli says, delighted. “Umma.”
“Which one is she?” Krystal squints. “Sailor Venus?”
“Has to be,” Sulli says, “doesn’t she wear orange, or something?”
“Shouldn’t we help her?” Luna asked, staring as Victoria does a roundhouse kick right through the middle of the robot, sending it do the ground, where it stays still, for good. She pulls Joon out of the center-hatch, who is holding his head and moaning about something about girls in mini skirts. If this were an anime, he’d have swirly eyes.
She drops him to the ground next the hull of his contraption and saunters over to the four girls staring at her with wide eyes.
Sulli crosses her arms as soon as Victoria arrives. “I didn’t get to beat up any robots.”
Victoria just smiles and wraps an arm first around Luna, then Amber. She checks them out carefully for injuries and nods to herself when she doesn’t see any, planting warm kisses to the sides of their heads.
“Don’t worry,” she smiles at Sulli, “it was a boring enemy anyways.” She hugs them all close. “Let’s go watch tv or something, I’ll make dinner.”
They all voice their agreement, and only Luna strays behind, staring up at the moon in the sky. It’s still daylight, but the moon has already risen. It’s kind of fitting, really. She looks down at her outfit and fingers the material of the skirt, feeling it through her gloves. She looks like a superhero, she realizes.
“Luna?” Amber calls, and when she looks up, it’s to Victoria and Amber staring back at her as though she’d grown two heads or something.
She wonders vaguely how they change back into their normal wear, or if they’re going to have to be like superman from now on and just wear these clothes under their normal gear, even during schedules. Unless this is going to be their new image, something she suddenly finds wouldn’t mind.
She pushes all that technical crap out of her mind, and when she smiles, it’s as bright as the moon. “Coming!” She says, grabbing both their hands as she reaches them and squeezing warmly.
If the world wants her to be their Sailor Moon, Luna reckons she’s okay with that—as long as her hands are still warmed by her friends. She kind of feels like a little kid again, and it’s nice. Her life has been so stressful that she wonders if she forgot what it was like—this feeling of being happy about having hands held by two precious people.
She wraps her arms around both Victoria and Amber’s waists and buries her face in Victoria’s long hair. It smells like mint and butterscotch—warm, and sort of like Christmas. In the elevator, Amber peels off her mask and takes off her top hat, running a hand through her hair.
She turns to Luna and tenderly brushes a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I’ve gotta go, Princess.” She says, and for some reason, it doesn’t seem very corny to Luna. “I’ll catch you when you wake up!”
Luna’s brow creases and she reaches for Amber to hold on to her—she just got back from America, after all—but to no avail, the world is starting to go distant, farther and farther away the more she tries to reach for it. Her eyes are suddenly heavier than bricks and slip closed of their own accord.
And then, Luna opens her eyes to the television playing Sailor Moon, and Victoria doing dishes in the kitchen. She checks her very much intact phone and discovers that its about nine at night and a police siren is going off somewhere in the city. Her hair isn’t in pigtails and she’s dressed in pajamas, not a sailor scout outfit. Sulli is sleeping in their shared bedroom and Krystal is at her parents’ home as usual.
Luna’s hugging a stuffed black cat with the a crescent lunar mark on it’s head. It doesn’t talk, and it doesn’t move on it’s own, and it definitely doesn’t try to scratch her for thinking stupid things. When she looks up at the television, the talking cat’s name is Luna, like her, not Moony.
She frowns in confusion and pads into the kitchen, drawing back the curtains to peak at the perfectly fine street below. There’re no robots, only clouds, and no cracks in the asphalt or people screaming. It’s just a normal bustling night.
Mildly put out that it was all a dream, now that it’s all said and done, Luna rests her head between Victoria’s shoulder blades. Victoria pauses in scrubbing a pot and starts to wipe her hands on a towel.
“Did you have a nice nap?” She asks, turning around and lifting Luna’s chin. Sometimes it’s easy for her to forget that Victoria isn’t her real mom, especially in times like this.
“I had a dream that Amber came back,” she says, conveniently leaving out the other parts of the story. In response, Victoria pulls her into a hug.
“She’ll be back very soon,” Victoria laughs. Her eyes widen when moment later the doorbell rings. “Can you answer it?” She turns back to the dishes abruptly as a smile steals across her lips.
Luna opens the front door while wiping sleep from her eyes, figuring it’s the manager bringing leftovers or tomorrows schedule. Instead, she gets a rose in her face.
Her eyes travel down the arm and meet chocolate colored eyes, covered by a black mask. On the person’s head they wear a top hat. Luna’s jaw goes slack.
“Good evening, Sailor Moon.” Amber says, stepping into the apartment. Luna can’t stop staring, indeed, she’s half expecting to see a talking cat pop out of her head.
She takes the rose with shaking fingers, and Amber frowns in confusion. “Hey, you okay?” She asks, reaching out to put her hands on her shoulders, but Luna sinks to the floor instead.
Amber glares up at Victoria, who’s drying her hands at the kitchen sink. “You said this’d be a good idea!” She said, dropping the duffel bag she’d been carrying on top of their shoes and toeing off her own and stepping up onto the floor, frowning down at Luna.
“Hey, Sailor Moon,” she frowns, poking Luna in the arm.
Luna blinks, stares at the mask, and the top hat, and the rose in her hands, and then she throws back her head and screams bloody murder. She supposes not ready to save the world after all, especially not in a mini-skirt and heels.