Setsuna waits patiently, watching the other patrons as she sits at the bar. This isn’t the type of bar she normally frequents. The music is overly loud and it is full of young people. Well, everyone on earth was younger than her, really, but these people seemed especially young. She takes a sip of her wine and looks around again. Minako was late. Very late.
She is wondering whether she should message her, when she feels a soft tap on her shoulder. She turns, and finds a short haired woman, perhaps in her fifties, wearing a fitted suit, standing beside her. “Excuse me, is this seat free?”
Setsuna is a little confused. There are plenty of free seats at the bar. “I’m sorry,” She informs the woman, “I’m waiting on a friend.”
“I see,” The woman nods at her, but doesn’t move away. “Well, could I perhaps interest you in a drink before your friend arrives?”
“Oh thank you,” Setsuna replies. “However, I am quite fine with this drink.”
“Right.” The woman nods, tugs at her tie, and then smiles. “It’s a great bar, isn’t it? Great music.”
“It is not quite my style, but I can see that others may enjoy it.”
At this, the woman looks interested, and leans in a little. “Oh, what type of music is it that you’re into?”
“I prefer silence.”
The woman steps back, looking a little nervous now, and she taps her hand against the counter. “Well….that’s always nice….”
“It is indeed,” Setsuna responds politely, but she is starting to get suspicious now as to the woman’s motives. She turns her full attention to the woman, trying to search her for any hint of darkness that she may have initially missed. The woman looks initially uncomfortable, and then terrified, and then without even another word, makes a run for it.
Setsuna frowns in confusion, but is not overly concerned. She hadn’t detected any evil presence. Still not able to see Minako anywhere, she’s taking out her phone to call her when it beeps in her hand. It’s from the lady in question herself.
She’s still staring at the message blankly when she senses a presence behind her.
“I’m late. I know,” Minako says, seriously. “But I had important business to attend to.”
Setsuna nods. She doesn’t ask anything further. Venus is the leader of Senshi and if she felt it was necessary to inform her, she would. She trusts her judgement.
Minako pops herself up onto the bar stool, and begins to look critically over the cocktail menu. Setsuna watches her for a moment. “Minako.”
“Yes, Setsuna?” Minako asks, still examining the cocktail menu with great focus.
“The message. Just now…”
“Yes, that’s it!” Minako exclaims, and then throws a bright smile at the bartender. The bartender makes her way to Minako in a flash, and Minako orders some ridiculous sounding cocktail, all the while flipping her hair and making eyes with the attentive woman. When she has her drink, she takes a long sip and then smiles at Setsuna. “And that, Setsuna, is how it is done!”
“I’m not quite sure what you mean.”
“This is exactly the problem. Exactly the problem.”
Minako takes another long loud sip of her bright green cocktail and then frowns at Setsuna. “Remember that woman who talked to you earlier? The silver fox?”
There is only one woman she could be talking about, and Setsuna stares back at her, not quite sure where she is going with this. Minako hadn’t even been there at the time.
“Lady comes to flirt with you, hey, is this seat free, baby, and what do you do? Brush her off. No, worse. You scare her off. This is the first thing we need to change!”
“Minako….how do you know…”
Minako waves a hand dismissively. “I know everything. Including that you are an idiot.”
Setsuna blinks at her, aghast.
“Calm down, I’m teasing. What I mean to say is that we need to make a few small changes. How’re you gonna meet a nice girl like that?”
“I know, it’s hard. It’s hard. But that attitude will not do.”
The questions are slowly forming in Setsuna’s head. “You saw her speaking to me?”
Minako takes another slurp of her drink. “I planned it,” Minako says proudly. “Planned it, saw it and heard it. It’s part of Operation Find Meioh a Date, or FMD: Fuck Me Dead, for short. The silver fox was a decoy, of course.”
Setsuna is speechless.
“Setsuna, it was only because she was a decoy that she even hung around for that long,” Minako shakes her head, and then frowns. “Unless….dammit!”
“Unless what?” Setsuna has managed to recover her voice.
“Unless…I made a fatal error. Dammit I shouldn’t have listened to Michiru.”
“Michiru is in on this?”
“Haruka too. In fact, they were the ones that begged me for my help, as of course, the Goddess of Love! And I, Aino Minako, will never turn down friends in need of LOVE!”
Setsuna sighs. Was this what this was all about? Michiru had made some subtle jokes and Haruka had made some not so subtle jokes about her needing to get laid, but she could hardly believe that they had taken it even further. She had told them that she wasn’t looking at the moment. And hadn’t been, for the last thousand years or so.
Now Minako narrows her eyes and stares at Setsuna. “She’s not your type, is she?”
“I knew it! I shouldn’t have listened to Michiru. I should have gone with my instincts. And Haruka’s instincts too!”
“I’m not following you, Minako.”
“What type of women do you like?”
Setsuna frowns. “How do you even know that I like women?”
At this Minako scoffs loudly. “We all know about your little thing with a certain somebody’s mother. And you’re a Sailor Senshi. It comes with the territory.”
“There’s no rule that Sailor Senshi have to be interested in wo-”
“Pfft. Rule? Why would we need a rule for that? Yes, I mean, some of us, including yours truly, prefer not to limit ourselves on the basis of gender, but liking women? That’s just the natural order of things!”
Setsuna just sighs.
“Anyway, back to the point. The silver fox wasn’t your type, was she?”
“Well, I can see that she is very attractive –”
“That’s a no. Damn Michiru! She was convinced you would be into butches. Older butches, she said. Haruka disagreed. She thought you would be into femmes. I’m partial to femmes myself. Hot, fiery ones,” Minako says, smirking. “So what is it?”
Setsuna isn’t used to being asked such direct questions. She’s even less used to answering them. “Well I think all different types of people can be attractive really –”
“Oh yes, very good. Very diplomatic. Now who’re into?”
Someone clears their throat behind Minako and they both turn. It’s a woman with long dark hair, wearing a tight black dress and bold red lipstick. She’s looking at Setsuna very closely and with blatant interest in her eyes. “Excuse me, I was wondering if, I was wondering if you would be free for a dance –am I interrupting?”
“Oh thank you for the invitation. We were just in the middle of a conversation –”
Minako jumps up, and pulls Setsuna to her feet, shoving her in the direction of the other woman. “Oh no, no we weren’t! We were well finished with our conversation and she is more than free for a dance.”
The woman looks baffled, as Minako takes her hand and links it with Setsuna’s hand, and then pushes them both towards the dance floor. Setsuna looks back at her, a little confused, but is soon dancing with the other woman, the two of them talking and smiling as they dance.
Minako grins, very pleased with herself. Taking her mobile out, she texts Haruka.
Operation FMD Stage 1, completed successfully by Aino Minako. Operation FMD Stage 2, commence!