OK all, here's Part 6 - sorry it took so long. It's hard to co-author a story when you're 3 states away from your co-author. :-) Sailor Scouts and co. are not ours - Moon Mages and Guardian Dogs 'n' stuff are. Don't' use 'em! Hope you enjoy it!
by Renee-chan and L.M. Griffin
Across the realms of space and time, Dr. Samuel Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator...Wait, wrong series...Sorry.
Across the realms of time and space, a long, long, time ago, in a galaxy far, far...Wait, wrong one again!
Take Three! *the readers sigh, wondering why the writers are making this the longest intro in history...*
Across the realms of time and space, there are many Earths. One of these Earths was the one where Lauren and Renee had spent most of their formative years. Let us zoom closer to this blue orb, to find the families that the girls had left behind....
I don't like this. I don't like this one bit. The young terrier-mix heaved a huge sigh and rested his head on his paws. I know Renee's not that wonderful about e-mailing her mother back promptly, but she's never this bad. Four days and no e-mail, no phone call, no nothing! I don't like it.
He rolled onto his side to better catch a ray of sunlight, I hate to admit it, but I think she's in serious trouble. Damn, I hate this! Why couldn't Setsuna have thrown us into the right universe? At least then I would have been able to tell Renée who she is. Damn. It isn't fair.
He rolled back onto his stomach and stared up at the cloudless blue sky. He turned his head and took in the property: the quiet pool, the broad fence, the quaint little house. Why didn't I go to Delaware with her?
He moaned slightly and heaved himself to his feet. His body still ached in sympathy with that dream he'd had this afternoon. He'd awakened from his nap, cold and shaking. I haven't dreamt about my death in years. And it seemed so damned real! Oh Renée. Where are you? Rusty hung his head in silent mourning, I won't lose her again, I can't.
He lifted his head and trotted to the house, wishing for the millionth time that he could reach the door handle. He scratched at the door. No one came. He scratched again. Still, no one came. He sat down. Not again. Oh, how humiliating. He could feel his face burning beneath his fur. He cleared his throat and began to bark.
After several minutes of sitting at the kitchen door and barking, Rusty was beginning to get annoyed. Why do they do this to me? They let me out and then forget I'm out here! It's not as if they couldn't hear me from in there!
He lay down on the stoop and pondered his options. He soon realized that he had none. Oh bother.
"Did they forget to let you in again, boy?"
Rusty jumped up, giddy with relief. Renee's Uncle. Thank the gods. He'll let me in. He jumped up, placing his paws on Uncle's legs. He whined a little. "Get down you stupid mutt!" Uncle pushed Rusty off his legs, "Damn dog." Rusty permitted himself a slight canine smile and lolled his tongue out.
The only one who didn't know that Renee's uncle was crazy about him, was Renee's uncle. Uncle pulled out his keys and opened the door for him. He shouted, "What, are you people, stupid? You left the damn dog out and he's been barking like crazy for the past five minutes!"
Rusty trotted past him into the den. The sight that met his eyes was not a welcome one. Linda, Bernard, and Lisa sat huddled together on the couch, looking extremely dazed. Across from them, in front of the TV, was a youma. Bug-eyed and tentacled, the damn thing looked like it meant business. Oh crap.
Uncle stood in the den doorway, staring at the youma. He slid over to the couch and sat down, "Maybe we should get out of here?" he suggested. Unfortunately, his sister and family were too scared to listen.
Rusty smiled, I could really get to like that old man. Too bad he's not a Lunar. He looked up at the youma and assumed a fighting stance - legs spread for balance, and teeth bared in a growl. He heard Lisa yell, "No Rusty, come over here - you'll get hurt!"
He ignored Renee's little sister and kept his attention tuned on the youma. The youma looked down suddenly, as if noticing him for the first time. He reached a tentacle out for the snarling dog and Rusty skipped out of the way, laughing all the while. He looked fearlessly up at the youma.
For the first time in a thousand years, he used his voice. "It'll take more than that you stupid youma! You think you can handle me? I faced down all Four Generals and won! I was the Guardian Dog of the Moon Mages, Councilor to Her Majesty, Queen Serenity, and personal Familiar to Renée of the Emerald! If you think you can take me down that easily, you've got another thing coming, pal!"
The youma stared at him and actually looked scared. Rusty let his mouth fall into a canine grin - all teeth. This is what we call, psyching out the enemy. He grabbed one of the youma's tentacles and ran beneath its legs. He yanked the tentacle, neatly flipping the youma onto the ground. "Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? I'm a bit of a mage, myself!"
With that comment, he gathered a ball of magical energy and blasted the youma to smithereens. He smiled as he remembered the Princess's and Mages' favorite word. He spoke it quietly to the ashes, "Moondusted."
Rusty turned and spoke to Renee's family, "Are you all OK?"
They nodded their heads numbly. Linda, Renee's mother, asked feebly, "What happened? How can you talk?"
He made a quick decision. As long as they knew what was going on, his beloved Renee's family would be in danger. And he had to find Renée. He looked up at them and said, "I'm sorry. I have no choice." He captured their eyes as the crescent moon began to glow upon his brow, Lunar mind melds can be useful at times. He erased the memory of the incident from all the minds and then planted a small suggestion. They were bound to wonder what had happened to Renée and himself. The subconscious suggestion would take care of that. It would actually turn their minds away whenever they tried to think about the unexplained disappearances of their dog and their daughter. Someday he would move it.
He slipped all of their minds into slumber and focused his own. He gathered as much energy as he dared and threw a Mindcall into the Void between Times. ~Setsuna!!~ A glow appeared in the middle of the room and Sailor Pluto soon manifested inside of it. "Yes, my old friend?"
"You know what's happened to Renée, don't you?" he demanded.
"Yes, my friend I do," she replied.
This is like pulling teeth... "All right, I'll bite. What happened to her?" he growled.
Sailor Pluto laughed, "She found Lauren. I sent them both back home."
"I sent them home, Rusty. I'll send you to them, but first, we have to get to Lauren's family as well..."
"Do you mean... another youma?" Rusty asked with a worried tone.
Setsuna nodded, and said, "Beryl had an automatic trigger device that I hadn't counted on. She found out what dimension Lauren and Renee were in, and fixed the trigger so that if either one of them tried to get to the Princess's dimension, a youma would go after their loved ones..."
Rusty snorted, "I never could credit Beryl with much brains... She should have figured any harm towards the girl's families would have increased their determination to find the Princess and kick Beryl's butt."
He looked at his home once more, sighed heavily, then looked up to Setsuna. "All right, let's go before I get mushy... Lauren's family needs saving!"
Setsuna smiled, and with a swirl of the Time Staff, they were gone.
Back in Wilmington, DE, Lauren's mother Debbie paced nervously back and forth in the Griffin family kitchen. Lauren's father Greg put down the phone, and leaned on the counter slightly. He sighed, "Her roommate hasn't seen her...or any of her friends. God, where is she?"
Lauren's younger brother Daniel wandered through the kitchen and said, as he was heading out the door to watch some TV, "Ahhhh hell, she's probably dead. Why don't we call the morgue all ready?"
"Daniel...", his mother's voice low and warning. Daniel saw the look in his father's eyes and got out of the room quickly. On the floor, their dog, Tigger, whined nervously, but neither noticed.
Debbie looked at her husband, and walked into his arms. Greg kissed his wife on the forehead. "I'm sure she's...she's just gone to visit a friend out of town...or something...." he said calmly, then thought to himself, 'Or something...'
Both of them jumped to hear Daniel yelling like a maniac. Greg threw open the door, and saw Daniel run through. Greg looked at Daniel oddly, then turned and faced the doorway. There, was standing a Youma, one like a oozing puddle of slime. It bellowed a terrific howl, and started moving down the hallway quickly. Letting out a strangled cry, Greg slammed the door shut. Debbie and Daniel helped hold the door, while the creature howled and slammed against the door. Tigger growled softly, back tense, black eyes flashing. She suddenly perked her ears, listening.
The three Griffins, too busy holding the door against the youma, didn't see Tigger turn towards the back door and start barking. They did, however, see the green haired Guardian of Time, and Rusty, the Mage Dog burst through the back door. In their sudden surprise, they let go of the door, and the Youma came sliming through. Debbie and Daniel got behind Greg as they all backed away from the door, and looked helplessly from Sailor Pluto and Rusty to the Youma.
Sailor Pluto, with Rusty growling at her side, merely lifted her Time Staff and murmured, "Dead Scream..." The crimson ribbons flew through the air, and smashed into the Youma, turning it into a pile of dust.
The Griffins stared at the pile of dust, and Daniel summed it up in two words what they were all feeling, "Hooooooly Shit!"
Sailor Pluto hid a smile, then turned and looked down at Rusty. Or attempted to, anyways, as he was over by Tigger.
"So, what's a nice lookin' puppy like you doing in a dimension like this?" Rusty purred to Tigger, who cocked her head and looked at Rusty like he was nutty. Sailor Pluto cleared her throat, and glared at the flirtatious Moon Dog.
Rusty shrugged a dog's shrug, and said, "Hey, I haven't been with a cute dog in over a 1000 years! Gimme a break!" And with that, he sauntered over to the Griffins, who still standing there, openmouthed. Rusty eyed them, and the crescent moon on his forehead glowed. Like he did for Renee's family, he planted a small suggestion in their minds to think of something else whenever they thought of Lauren.
Then with one last wistful look back at Tigger from Rusty, and one piercing look from Setsuna, they left the Griffin family slightly bewildered, but safe. Stepping outside, Sailor Pluto swirled her time staff, as a portal open. Rusty took one last whiff of this dimension's air, and disappeared. Pluto soon followed.
Luna sat back from the Luna Mind Meld with the group. Darien sat back with a dazed look on his face, "Wow..."
Rei shook her head, and looked at Renee. Renee looked at her. The Scouts and Darien had demanded to have this whole weird, wacky story explained to them, as they could NOT recall who the hell Renee and Lauren were. Now, thanks to Luna's nifty, lil' mind trick, they had a pretty darn good idea. Mina reached over and hugged Renée impulsively.
"Glad to have you back..." she murmured.
Renee smiled warmly, and hugged her back. "It's good to BE back!" She sighed deeply. "It seems so far away..."
Artemis pattered over to Renee, and put his white paw on her knee. "We know..." he smiled gently, "But you're home now..."
Renee smiled back. "Well...Not exactly Home. But where I belong. Where we belong...Maybe someday...Lauren and I can go back..." Suddenly, her eyes went wide.
Lita looked at her, concerned, "What is it?"
Renee was pale. "Rusty...he's still over there!" she said in a trembling voice.
Luna murmured, "Oh dear...she's right!"
Rei said, "Can't you just call your parents and have...them...send... - oh yeah, different dimension..." Slapping her forehead, she smiled dolefully.
Darien looked over at Ami, then said, "Surely Ami...you could think of something?"
Ami sighed, and began to type into her computer. She frowned, and said in a sad tone, "This doesn't look good."
Mina sighed and said, "Great, just fill us with optimism, Ami..."
Ami made a face, then said, "Listen you guys, JUST because I'm the smartest one here, doesn't mean I will Always have good news!"
Lita answered a bit smartly, "Oh geez...No more Death, Doom, and Destruction lectures, please!"
A flash of light from outside distracted the girls from their argument. Mina moaned, "What now?" When no youma or random Sailor Scout manifested in the door, the Scouts and Mage relaxed. Too soon, of course.
A voice wound it's way into the room - a pleasant voice, tenor in range but dipping to baritone every once in a bit. This low, semi-husky voice had one thing to say. And it was aimed at Luna... "Lookin' sharp there kitty-cat!"
Luna groaned and hung her head. Artemis leaned closer to catch her muttering, "I hate men. I hate men. I hate men. I hate men..." He put a paw to his mouth and chuckled. He padded over to the doorway and reached out a paw, "How's it goin' there?"
The response was simple, "Not bad."
Renée, bursting with curiosity, jumped up and bounded to the door. Once there, she gave out a small squeal, "Rusty!!!!!" She dropped to her knees and grabbed the Dog up in a huge bear hug. Rusty squirmed around and licked her face until she gasped that she couldn't breathe. After about 10 minutes of this, the two lay panting in each other's arms, exhausted from the exuberance of their reunion.
The rest of the Scouts looked on, smiling. Rei whispered, "This is soooo great!"
Mina whispered back, "Yeah..."
Rusty, after straightening himself, looked around and frowned. "Where's Lauren....and the Princess?" His furry face suddenly looked scared. "They aren't...."
Artemis laughed, " No Rusty... Serena dragged Lauren to the Arcade..."
Lita added, "Which is a fate WORSE than death!!"
Rusty laughed, and went over and pulled on Renee's pant leg. "Come on, I want to see the other crazy Mage I've come to love and tolerate!" Renee grinned and shook her head.
"Why don't we all go?" suggested Luna, "We have to explain everything to Serena anyways, right? Then we can all have a nice reunion..."
Rusty and Artemis made a face and said together, "MORE Mushy stuff? Ack!"
Luna whacked them both over the heads with her paws. Renée grinned, and looked at the others. "It's good to be back..." she said with a wink.
Meanwhile, back in the NEGAVERSE *scary background music and all*, Zalisite and Old Faithful had finally dredged up some good Youma. A great deal of Youma had rotted away in the ancient 'pantry'. Old Faithful shook his shaggy head, and said, "Who knew Youma had expiration dates?"
Zalisite said quietly, "Well, we've got more than enough now...We'd better try one of these out on a test run, make sure they're still fresh and all that." He tried an evil grin, but just couldn't get it right.
"Damn, I go for an evil grin, all I get is a half hearted smirk!!" he sighed deeply. Old Faithful looked at him critically.
"Whatcha need to do Kid, is try curling your lip more, and bring your face up more...here, lean over."
The next five minutes were wasted with Old Faithful pushing Zalisite's face in with his furry paws, trying to get him to do a evil grin. Zalisite leaned over rather uncomfortably, and let the dog squish his face every which way.
"Uhhhhh, Faithful? Shouldn't we be trying out these Youma?" Zalisite said, or rather, tried to say as Faithful squeezed his lips together. It came out more like, "Uhhhh Raourjoal? Skoiue oe ie clewsla iow euiaoe Yoanjs?"
Faithful let go of his face, and nodded. "Yeah, we can work on this facial expression stuff later...you DO know how to open a portal, right?"
Zalisite looked disgusted. "Please, I was top of my Negaverse training class in Portal Transportation!"
He waved his hand, and a black portal appeared. He and Faithful looked at each other, smiled, and Boy and Dog stepped through the portal.