Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ The Seneschal ❯ The Last Race ( Chapter 5 )
Suzuka City, Japan, 1984
The little girl sat in the mostly empty hospital waiting room. Her sea-grean eyes were empty, lifeless. Her shoulder length blonde hair was matted to her head with dirt and her clothing stained with oil. But her face was empty of emotion. Lost. She was oblivious to the whisperers that stood nearby.
"So what are we doing with her?"
"Her stepmother has already been notified." The big cop elbowed the other one with a grin. "She's coming here herself!"
Incredulous, the shorter officer stared at his partner.
"Get outta here," he said, "Is Yumi Toshinden REALLY coming here herself??"
The other man nodded. "What did you expect? They might as well have been married!" He leaned forward until he was staring the little girl in the face. "Hey kid! You know that your step-mama is coming, right?"
The girl said nothing. She just continued to stare blankly ahead, not even registering that someone had spoken to her.
"Ah come on, Hiro," The shorter cop said, "Leave her alone. Poor thing."
The hospital doors slid open and the person in question walked in. She looked to be close to her mid-thirties. Her face was mostly unlined except for some mild laugh-lines around her brown eyes. Her eyes were the first thing anybody ever noticed about her. They were a distant yet piercing brown that could bore through stone. Her clothes were simple: Pair of jeans and a t-shirt. A small diamond ring graced her left hand.
Yumi's eyes locked right onto the young six-year-old girl in the torn and stained clothing. The two police men backed out of her way as the musician dropped down to her knees in front of the little girl. The girl's eyes seemed to flash faintly with recognition as Yumi's hands touched her face and stroked back the dirty blonde hair.
"Are you ok?" Yumi asked.
The little girl's exotic green eyes suddenly overflowed with tears. She fell forward into Yumi's arms, burying her face against Yumi's neck as she cried. Yumi stood up, cradling the little girl in her arms. She rubbed the girl's back as the child poured out her grief.
"It's ok, little one," Yumi murmured, "I got you now. I'll take care of everything, 'Ruka-chan."
She turned to the police inspector that had followed her into the room.
"What happened?" Yumi asked.
The inspector, a man named Kanojo, cleared his throat. Then he glared at the two police men that had been standing nearby. Taking a hint, the officers left, casting awestruck glances over their shoulders at the diminutive musician.
"The car went out of control," Kanojo said, "and he hit the wall doing over three hundred kilometers-per-hour."
Yumi's eyes narrowed.
"What the hell does that mean?? How would he have 'lost control'?"
Kanojo held up his hands. "Look Miss Toshinden, without having MPD go over the wreck with a fine-tooth comb, I can't really answer that. All indications point to it being driver error."
On Yumi's shoulder, the little girl seemed to have cried herself out and fallen asleep. A dangerous, almost ferocious glint appeared in Yumi's eyes as she glared at the inspector.
"Akira Tenoh was one of the best drivers in Japan. He was ranked one of the top ten Formula One racers in the world. The man was a consumate professional. There is NO way that he would have lost control of that car." Yumi cocked her head slightly. "Did you talk to Wataru Higoshi or any of the other pit crew?"
Kanojo took off his glasses and folded them into his shirt pocket. Then he rubbed his eyes.
"Look, ma'am," Kanojo said, "Without any other direct evidence, as far as MPD is concerned this is a tragic accident. My hands are tied. Besides, this is not the first time something like this happened at that track. Accidents are common."
Yumi blinked her eyes slowly as she examined Kanojo's face. It made the inspector feel unnerved by the intensity of the woman's eyes.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that the same thing happened a month ago. The driver lost control."
"Akira has driven that track hundreds of times!" Yumi growled, "These circumstances don't strike you as suspicious?"
"I already told you," Kanojo said, "It was an accident! The DRIVER screwed up."
"So no investigation then?"
"Your department FAILS, Inspector," Yumi said quietly. Her eyes were flickering with a dangerous light. She turned to leave, carrying the sleeping child.
And I will see someone burn for this.
She took the transformation stick from her back pocket and watched in the bathroom mirror as time reversed itself on her face. The older, thirty-something Yumi Toshinden quickly disappeared and the youthful face of Yumiko took her place.
She quietly slid the engagement ring off her finger and stared at the small brilliant cut diamond. Her heart felt empty.
Yumiko sighed and glanced back at her familiar face. Not one wrinkle, nor one single laugh-line was apparent.
All these millennia, and not even a single grey hair. I haven't aged a day since I was eighteen standard years old.
Kanojo's attitude had irritated her. It wasn't an unaccustomed feeling, but Yumiko had grown skilled at burying her emotions over the years. It made things a lot more bearable. Not that she showed much emotion during the Silver Millenium.
Something just didn't seem right about how Akira had died.
I need to go to the track. The smell on Haruka... Faint... could it be what I think it is? Have I been too complacent these past ten years?
She clenched her fists and shut her eyes, crushing her feelings down deep into her psyche. She needed to remain objective. Frosty.
I will need to see his body.
Yumiko left the bathroom and padded silently down the hallway to her living room. Haruka was sleeping fitfully in Yumiko's bed. Yumiko sat down on her couch and absently picked up her guitar. Her nimble fingers picked out a soft but complicated progression of notes as she thought about how she had gotten into the position she was currently in.
The Senshi had started being reborn within a few years of each other. Yumiko knew it had begun back in October of 1975 when she felt the first Senshi being born in Japan. It had bloomed like a welcome sunrise at the edge of her awareness. Then again, the first to be born surprised the hell out of the former Moon Seneschal.
Pluto???? She's supposed to be at the Gates! Why is she being reborn?
After that revelation, it ceased to matter. The first of the Sailor Senshi had been reborn. Yumiko had driven six hours non-stop from Osaka City to Sanno Hospital in Minato-Ku in Tokyo, arriving almost seven hours after the birth. Then she stood almost shoulder to shoulder with Ryosuke Meioh at the glass enclosed nursery staring at Meioh's newborn baby girl.
The grin on Yumiko's face hadn't been there in so long, she almost had forgotten what it felt like. Hope had shone a light into the depths of her empty heart. She leaned over to Meioh.
"Is that your daughter?"
Ryosuke Meioh had been grinning proudly himself.
"Yes indeed! That's my little girl!"
"Have you thought of a name?" Yumiko asked.
"My mother's name was Setsuna. My wife loves the kanji my mother used for it, so I think that's what we're going with."
"Setsuna Meioh," Yumiko murmured. Her eyes were still focused on the newborn baby girl with the fuzzy dark greenish hair. Suddenly, she pulled out her checkbook and quickly filled out a check.
"Here," Yumiko said, taking Meioh's hand and gently folding the check into it, "For Setsuna's future."
Meioh stared at the young woman that walked towards the hospital exit. What a strange girl, he thought. He opened the check and looked at it. His eyes bulged from his head. It couldn't be real!
"Twenty-five MILLION YEN??"
Yumiko smiled briefly at the memory. The Meioh's had indeed cashed the check and deposited it into a trust fund in little Setsuna's name. Yumiko had gone through great pains to make sure that the other Senshi had trust funds set up for them as each were born. And she saw to it that periodic deposits were made into those trust funds.
Yumiko had done a great deal of research into each family a Senshi had been born into. There were really only two girls that she had been concerned about. The Kino's and the Tenoh's.
Uranus had been born as Haruka Tenoh to Akira and Mutsumi Tenoh in January of 1978. But Mutsumi had died in childbirth with Haruka, and neither she nor Akira had any immediate relatives to fall back on for support. Same thing with Wataru and Hiromi Kino and their daughter, Makoto Kino, the reborn Senshi of Jupiter. Except with the Kino's, both of them were currently alive.
Yumiko had approached Akira Tenoh two days after Mutsumi had been pronounced dead. The man was a total mess. Little Haruka stayed in the hospital crying for a mother that wasn't there as Akira tried to figure out what to do without his beloved wife. Yumiko found Akira in the hospital lobby looking unshaven and unwashed and staring blankly out the window.
Tenoh was tall and blonde with sea-green eyes. Not very common traits for a Japanese man. Even having a mother who was Dutch did little to explain his exotic looks. He had found some minor fame as a Formula One racer for Honda Motor Corp, but hadn't been racing lately for obvious reasons. The man had blearily turned to the source of the voice and found Yumiko's musical alter-ego, Yumi Toshinden looking down at him.
"Do I know you?" Tenoh had asked.
Yumiko shook her head. "Not yet. But I have a proposition for you."
Tenoh's face had hardened. "My wife just died two days ago! How dare you come into a hospital and try to proposition me??"
Tenoh found himself suddenly unable to speak. Yumiko removed her finger tip from the small nerve juncture just beneath Tenoh's jawline. Then she pulled him to his feet and pressed a hotel key and a wad of cash into his hand.
"Tenoh-san, you STINK," Yumiko said calmly, "This hotel is across the street. Go to the shop in its lobby and buy yourself a change of clothes. Then, for the love of the gods, go to this room and BATHE."
She pointed to a restaurant that was next door to the hospital.
"I will meet you there in thirty minutes. Don't keep me waiting."
Tenoh had surprised himself by actually following the directions given to him by the strange woman. Thirty minutes later he was clean shaven, showered, dressed in fresh clothing and sitting across from the woman in the small cafe restaurant.
"So who are you and what is it you want from me?" Tenoh asked.
"My name is Yumi Toshinden," Yumiko replied, "I first wish to offer my deepest condolences on the loss of your wife."
Tenoh nodded. "Thank you."
"To be blunt, Tenoh-san," Yumiko went on, "you and your wife did not have much in the way of family, correct?"
Tenoh looked away, his face sad. "Yeah, my parents died when I was still young and my mother's family was mostly in Europe. Mutsumi was an orphan. She didn't get along well with her adoptive parents, so she doesn't..." Tenoh winced slightly, "...DIDN'T talk to them any more."
"I'm very sorry," Yumiko said, "it must be hard now for you."
Tenoh shook his head and placed his hands on the table.
"Toshinden-san," he said, "What is it that you want?"
Yumiko watched him for a moment before answering.
"I want to give you an opportunity to provide for your daughter's future."
"What do you mean?"
Yumiko leaned back in the soft bench of the booth they sat in. To Tenoh, it almost reminded him of a tigress calmly watching her prey.
"I would like you to list me as next of kin for Haruka. Godmother, if you please."
Tenoh's eyes widened and he almost stood up in his outrage.
"I have no idea who you think you are!!" Tenoh shouted, "But if you think I'll do something like that... you're completely crazy!"
"Tenoh-san," Yumiko said in a calm voice. Her eyes glittered coldly. "You are a racecar driver. It's in your blood to race. Did you plan on giving that all up to raise your daughter? To live as a salaryman, perhaps?"
Tenoh fell silent and stared at the brown haired woman across from him. How did she know such things?
"Your wife would be sad if you gave up your dreams," Yumiko went on, "Haruka would grow up with a miserable and depressed father who resented her for being born."
"You have no idea," Tenoh growled, "You have no INKLING as to what my relationship with my daughter will be like! Just who the hell are you??"
"I will be your sponsor."
Tenoh stared at Yumiko for a moment. "What are you saying, exactly?" he asked.
"It's very simple," Yumiko said, "Pick your car, pick your pit crew, pick whomever you want to be on Team Tenoh. I want you to be the juggernaut of the speedway. No advertisements on your car, no ads on your uniform, just you, the car, and the track."
Tenoh was flabbergasted. He stared at the empty eyed woman in wonder. Then doubt began to eat at him.
"And all that you want is to be godmother for Haruka? Why is my daughter so important to you?"
"If anything should happen to you, Haruka would end up in half-assed Child Welfare Services, or worse, with your wife's family. I cannot allow that to happen."
Tenoh slammed his hand down on the table causing the napkin dispenser to jump.
"I don't know what angle you're trying to play, Toshinden-san," Tenoh said, "but I will not leave the future welfare of my newborn daughter in the hands of someone I barely know. Not unless you can at least provide me with a good reason."
"Fine, you want the truth?" Yumiko's eyes narrowed as she glared at Akira Tenoh.
"Your daughter is the reincarnation of a long dead super warrioress that once defended this solar system thousands of years ago."
"Huh?" he asked intelligently.
"Whatever my reason is," Yumiko said, "it's irrelevant. The fact remains that I want to provide your daughter with an alternative should anything happen to you."
She held up her hands. "Gods be willing that it never becomes necessary. Live a full and normal life, Tenoh-san. Be there to walk your daughter down the aisle when she gets married. I'll even provide a fat trust fund that will become Haruka's when she comes of age. I have more money than anyone could possibly dream of. How I want to spend it is entirely my prerogative."
Tenoh sat quietly for a moment before speaking.
"My mother once told me a European fairy tale in which a woman promised a magical creature her first born child if he spun her straw into gold." He looked up into Yumiko's eyes. "Are you offering to spin my straw into gold in return for my little girl?"
"There is more to the tale than just that," Yumiko responded, "You already know my name and I'm not offering to spin straw into gold for the life of your daughter. I'm offering her a future where she will be safe and secure." she reached out and touched Tenoh's hand. "Let me do this, Tenoh-san. Let me provide Haruka and you the insurance that she will always be all right, no matter what happens."
Tenoh continued to stare into Yumiko's empty brown eyes. There was something about her eyes. Something strange.
She really wants this.
"T-1000P," Tenoh said finally.
Yumiko blinked. "Come again?"
"You asked me to pick a car," Tenoh replied, "The car I want is my own design. The T-1000P."
Yumiko's eyes seemed to glimmer for a moment.
"You want to build your own car?" Yumiko asked, "That's fine. What engine do you plan to start with? Honda perhaps?"
Tenoh fought down his surprise. "The development costs would be absurd! You really want to pay for that?"
"I told you I can finance your wildest racing dreams," Yumiko said, "And I know that for F1 racing you used to drive for Honda."
She pulled out a small notebook from her pocket and began to jot down some notes.
"How much do you think you would need to start with? Five million? Ten?"
Tenoh crossed his arms and felt his patented 'Arrogant Tenoh' smirk bend his lips.
"Now Toshinden-san," he said slowly, "Ten million yen would not even be nearly enough to start with."
Yumiko glanced up at him. "You seem to misunderstand me. I was speaking in American dollars."
Tenoh felt his smirk vanish and his mouth fell open.
Ten million DOLLARS?? This can't be real! This has to be bullshit!
Three weeks later, standing in his shiny new Team Tenoh headquarters and surrounded with several million dollars worth of hardware and tools, Akira Tenoh had his lawyer register Yumi Toshinden as godmother and legal next-of-kin to his daughter.
He even added her to his family registry, just to be sure.
Team Tenoh became an established contender in international F1 racing. Akira put together a highly competent racing team that went on to give Ferrari and McLaren runs for their money. Back in Japan, Akira Tenoh quickly became a national racing hero. Japanese corporate sponsors were practically banging down Akira's door wanting to put their patches on his cars and on his uniforms. Honda Motor Corp had been begging for him to come back.
Haruka went everywhere with her father. Every race Tenoh ran, little Haruka would watch from the pit. She would clap her hands and laugh when the cars buzzed by the pits. By the time she was three years old, she could name car parts and rattle off racing statistics. Akira could sense the latent race car driver in his little girl. The pit crew absolutely adored the little blonde.
To Yumiko's surprise, her relationship with Akira Tenoh had heated up over those first three years of Haruka's life. Her own calculated career as musician Yumi Toshinden had been taking off and bearing fruit. She and Akira often butted heads over silly issues. Usually related to money. When Haruka was three, Akira had wanted to start taking corporate sponsors. Yumiko had a deep seated fear that once Akira did that, he wouldn't need her for anything.
So they fought and argued.
Their yelling matches were legendary, with both Team Tenoh and Yumiko's own backup band and road crew often cringing at the noise.
It culminated into one of their worst fights ever. Yumiko was ready to kill Akira Tenoh on the spot. To take his head right from his shoulders with one blinding sweep of her hand. She just couldn't understand how this stubborn man made her so angry. She hadn't gotten that emotional in thousands of years! So how did this man do it to her?? They finally ended up tumbling into bed and having the angriest, most intense sex ever.
Yumiko couldn't recall the last time she had orgasmed so hard that she nearly passed out. Akira had ridden her like a racecar over a particularily tough stretch of track. She in turn took him down like a conquest of epic proportions. It took a while in the smoldering aftermath for Yumiko to remember the past love she once had, thousands of years before. Except that now she could recall the face of her first husband as a loving memory instead of a painful loss.
After that incident, Akira and Yumiko sort of stopped fighting as much and just skipped forward to the make-up sex. Eventually, the first 'corporate' logo that was painted onto the shiny red hood of Akira's Formula 1 racer was a blood red rose sillouhetted over a silver crescent moon.
For Haruka, Yumiko was pretty much known as 'Mama'. Yumiko would often take pains in showing Haruka the picture of her real mother in her funerary shrine. She didn't like the idea of Haruka growing up without knowing who her real mother was. It didn't help that Yumiko saw another lost daughter that she had loved in Haruka's eyes.
Haruka's personality was almost exactly like her father's. She shared the famous Akira Tenoh trait for extreme stubborness and at six years of age, with her pretty blonde hair and sea-green eyes, she was like a small female version of her father, even manifesting that arrogant yet charming smirk that Yumiko couldn't help but love.
Yumiko rubbed her eyes. She needed to stay focused.
Yumiko stood up from the bed. The moonlight flashed across her bare rear and traveled up, highlighting the elaborate black angel wing design that took up most of her back and crested her shoulders. Behind her Akira whistled from the bed.
"Nice ass, babe!"
Yumiko glanced over her shoulder and gave Akira a sultry wink.
"It is pretty nice, isn't it?" she returned. She had hidden the transformation pen in her hand as she got up. It only really served to make her look physically older. Beyond that, it was one hundred percent her body.
She finished her business with the toliet and washed up. When she returned to the bedroom, she was surprised to find the lights on and a naked Akira sitting on the floor next to the bed. He grinned at her.
"Took you long enough! Thought you fell in or something."
Yumiko arched one elegant eyebrow at that. Then she crossed her arms, emphasizing her more than modest breasts.
"Why are you out of bed?" she asked sweetly.
Akira pointed to the bed, his face serious. "Please sit down, I have something I want to talk to you about."
Mildly perplexed, Yumiko followed his direction. She could sense the man's pulse rate rocketing.
What is he anxious about?
Akira knelt before Yumiko, spreading her legs slightly and taking her hands in his own.
"I want to ask you something very important to me," he paused for a moment, "and important to Haruka-chan."
"What is it, 'Kira-kun?"
He looked up into her eyes. "Yumi, when you first asked me six years ago to make you Haruka's godmother, I thought you were crazy. I said to myself, 'This woman is a certifiable lunatic! A psychopath!'. And when I finally agreed, for the first few years you were still a royal pain in the ass!"
Yumiko frowned. "Is this the romantic part?"
"Let me finish," Akira paused again, gathering his breath. "You saved us. I was hurting so bad when Mutsumi died..." Akira's voice filled with emotion as he spoke, "I never thought I would admit this, but you were like an angel to us. I've fallen very much in love with you."
Akira reached beneath the bed and pulled out a platinum ring with a small brilliant cut diamond setting. Yumiko stared at the ring in his hand, her mouth hanging open.
"Will you marry me, Yumi Toshinden?"
Emotion roiled through Yumiko's mind, obscuring her thought process and making her want to cry. She let go of Akira's hand and grabbed his face, pulling him up off the floor and collapsing back on the bed with him on top of her.
"Yes," Yumiko whispered.
They made love repeatedly through the night. It seemed to Yumiko to be even more intense than their first time.
Yumiko blinked her eyes, coming out of her revery. The guitar fell from her lap with a musical twang and landed on the carpeted floor as she stood up. She leaped over the couch and moved quickly down the hallway to the bedroom.
Haruka stared at the strange dark man that was dressed as a program vendor. Blackness seemed to radiate from the dark man like a smoky dark aura that wreathed his body.
"What do you want?" Papa had asked. The garage was strangely empty, lacking the nervous energy of people that would normally be scurrying to make last minute tune-ups to the cars before the race.
"Why, just to meet the great Akira Tenoh!" the dark man had chortled. When he smiled, it seemed as if his teeth were nothing more than row after row of elongated razors.
Get away from him, papa! Haruka wanted to scream, can't you see the blackness?? Can't you see that he's a bad man??
"I'm sorry, but I don't give autographs," Papa said, "at least until after the race." He then glanced over at Haruka, and his eyes widened in surprise at Haruka's terrified expression.
"I just want to touch you..." the dark man said, reaching out a taloned hand and placing it on Papa's shoulder.
Akira fell to his knees at the touch, his head thrown back in a silent scream.
"So much energy," the dark man whispered, "so many people worship you. It gives you so much energy..." He hissed in pleasure as Akira's face went pale.
Haruka could see the normally warm and rich red color of her papa's presence slowly travel up the stranger's arm, seeming to feed the black aura.
"You will still race today," the dark stranger hissed into Akira's face, "You will get into your car and drive like nothing happened." He slowly grinned, his razor teeth gleaming palely, "And maybe, you may last until the third lap."
The dark man swiveled his head to face Haruka. His eyes were two pits of empty blackness that seemed to lock onto her face.
"I'll come back for you some other time, small fry... maybe when you get a little bigger!"
Haruka screamed as the dark stranger's laughter echoed in her ears.
Haruka opened her eyes. The scream that had awakened her was her own. She felt comforting arms wrapped around her and her head rested against a familiar busom.
"It's ok, 'Ruka-chan," a voice whispered, bringing comfort, "I'm here. It will all be ok, I promise."
Haruka lifted her eyes to the source of the comforting voice. It was the same youthful face with the faint trace of a silver cresent upon the brow. The face of Mama.
A face from her distant memories, not always of Mama.
"Mama..." Haruka wailed, wrapping her arms around Yumiko. Yumiko held the crying girl, slowly rocking herself back and forth.
It didn't occur to Yumiko until a bit later that she had forgotten the transformation stick.