Natsuna Sakurada drummed her fingers on the table in annoyance. She was a tough, determined woman. It was hard enough to make it in the metropolitan force as a policewoman; it was even harder for a policewoman to make it all the way to Superintendent-General at so young an age like she had. She should be out focusing on real, serious crime, like yakuza activity in Kabukichou district or all the reports of strange activity surrounding the Mugen Academy construction site down by the Tokyo Bay.
And yet, the only thing she could think about was Sailor V.
It was hard to wrap her head around the fact that Sailor V -- The Champion of Justice! Tokyo's Great Heroine! The Absolute Coolest Superhero! Her #1 Idol! -- was Minako Aino, that super nice girl she'd bumped into in that weird department store a week ago.
They said that one should never meet their idols, but Minako seemed like a wonderful, lively girl. The fact that they'd had so much in common about their love for idol singers and cute things even before she'd learned Minako's big secret meant she had a hard time combining her mental picture of this nice girl with her beloved hero.
Sailor V, the Sailor V, had had a good time hanging out with her? She still couldn't believe it.
Her work pager buzzed with its powerful shaking, drawing her attention back to earth. Natsuna sighed. It was a standard issue model for everyone at Metropolitan Police HQ, but she'd swear when it went off it shook hard enough to wake the dead.
She checked the display screen, and rolled her eyes at the foreign number. Wakagi kept calling from Siberia, complaining about the snow and begging her to let him return to Tokyo. She'd hoped a month on special assignment at the Japanese Consulate in Vladivostok would chill his hot head a bit, but apparently not.
She'd call him back and listen to today's complaints later. Right now, she had a more important phone call to make.
She looked at the crumpled piece of paper in front of her. Minako had given her her phone number at the Fashion Building. She usually had no problem with calling even the toughest people -- adversarial judges, older police captains who didn't respect her, the owner of the local ramen joint -- but there was something intimidating about just calling up Sailor V to chat.
She couldn't just sit here looking at it all morning. She took a deep breath, lifted the receiver of her home phone and punched in the number.
The phone rang a few times before a woman picked up. "Hello, Aino Residence," she said.
"Erm, yes, hello," Natsuna said, more nervous than she'd hoped. "Is Minako there?"
"Just one moment, please. I'll get her."
Natsuna let out a small sigh of relief at getting the number right before jerking her head away from the receiver as the woman started screaming at someone in another room. "MINA!"
A high-pitched whine from elsewhere in the house echoed loudly in the background. "Whaaaaaaaat?"
"GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED! THERE'S A PHONECALL FOR YOU!!"
"I'm coooOOOOoooming!" There was a sound of the phone receiver banging around a bit before a different voice came on the phone. " 'llo?"
"Um, Minako? This is Natsuna Sakurada. We met at the Fashion Building Heroine last week?"
Minako's voice brightened immediately. "Oh, Big Sis Natsuna! Hi! What's up?"
There were so many things Natsuna wanted to say. How long have you been Sailor V? Where did you get your powers? How are you so good at fighting crime? Are you friends with this mysterious Phantom Ace person? Do you think we could fight crime together? But she held her tongue and asked the question she'd actually called about.
"I got a couple of ticket to the Shibuya Idol Fest this weekend through work." That was a lie; she'd gone out and bought them specifically in hopes that Minako would be interested in going with her. "would you like to come with me?
"No. WAY!" Minako gushed. "That big Dark Dreams concert they've been promoting all over TV? I would die to go to that. I am so in!"
The stress Natsuna'd been feeling melted away. "That's great. Shall we meet tomorrow at 2 by the Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station? I'll bring the tickets."
"It's a date! I'll be there tomorrow!" said Minako.
"Shouldn't you be studying for that big test tomorrow?" a male voice said from somewhere nearby.
"Is someone else there?" Natsuna asked with confusion.
There was a loud thunk, and then the low sound of a grumbling cat.
"Nope, definitely not any bossy-pants losers hanging around here. I'll see you Sunday!"
Shibuya was bustling that Sunday. Stylishly dressed crowds wandered between trendy clothing stores, cafes, karaoke parlors, and a hundred more amusements. Natsuna stood by the dog statue outside the station, waiting for Minako. She'd dressed down for the day, exchanging her police uniform for a trendy sundress and jewelry. She kept her work pager clipped to a wide belt she'd worn around her waist, just in case, but she wasn't expecting to return any desperate calls.
She hadn't waited long when she heard her name being called. "Big Sis Natsunaaaaa!"
She peered though the crowd to see Minako bounding her way. She'd worn jean shorts and a brightly coloured t-shirt, and her long blonde her bounced as she ran through the crowds. Natsuna waved back, and Minako veered over to where she waited.
"Big Sis Natsuna! It's so good to see you again. Thanks so much for inviting me out today."
"You can just call me Natsuna," she said. "If we're just hanging out together, there's no need to be so formal."
"Natsuna..." Minako said, testing out the name. "I like that."
Natsuna reached into her handbag and pulled out a couple of ticket. "Shall we go?"
They both headed over to concert hall, which was decked out in large colourful posters of the festival's line-up. There were some minor up-and-coming idol groups performing as opening acts -- Lovin' Beauty, Perfume, The Three Lights -- but the main attraction was Dark Dream, a male idol duo heavily promoted in the press and on TV. They seemed to have come out of nowhere, and in the last couple of weeks they'd gotten their single to the top of the Oricon charts, a live performance on Music Station's Friday TV spectacular, and covers of a ton of hot teen magazines.
The event security officers let Natsuna and Minako pass after a quick check over. They exchanged their tickets for wristbands and headed past the band merchandise booths in the lobby and towards the main stage. Lovin' Beauty had already started their set, and fans excitedly waved coloured glowsticks in time to the music.
It was too loud in the concert hall to talk, so Natsuna eagerly danced along in time to the beat. It was so nice to let the stress of her casework go and just take in the beautiful voices of the pop singers. Minako eagerly moshed along, trying her best to sing along with the few songs she knew.
As the crew was changing the stage between The Three Lights and Perfume and the noise levels came down a bit, Minako riffled through her bag, looking for something. It took her a second, but she gave a grin of triumph as she pulled her hand back out.
"I thought we should come to this prepared, so I brought something." She opened her hand to reveal four differently coloured glowstick. "Ta-dah!" she said proudly. "It's just not an idol show without glowsticks."
Minako offered her hand to Natsuna, who grabbed a pair. "Thanks," she said.
Minako flashed her a V-sign with her free hand as the lights dimmed again and Perfume started their set. They started cheering in time with the music, their coloured light sticks creating patterns in the darkness.
Perfume's set came to an end, and an excited energy filled the room as the crew members started setting up for the main event.
"Are you ready?" Natsuna asked. "I love Dark Dreams' new single."
"Yesssss!" Minako answered. "I can't wait to rock out." Her expression dimmed a bit. "Although..."
"What is it?" Natsuna asked.
Minako shook her head. "I'm sure it's nothing. Let's enjoy some hot idol boys!"
There was a hush over the crowd as Dark Dreams took the stage. They were as cool looking as the posters had promised they would be. Noir, the shorter one, had long wavy hair and a long earring dangling from one ear. Kuro, the taller one, had dark hair cut short and spikey. They posed back to back to back and saluted the crowd.
"Shibuya! We're Dark Dreams!" Noir called out.
"We're so glad so many of you could make it out here today," Kuro continued.
"So give us your love!"
"Give us your energy!"
"Give us all of your energy!" they finished together.
A drum machine kicked up, and they dove in to the song.
All in service of our Dark Queeeeeen
Gonna take all of your energy, ooo oooh,
As you fall into some Dark Dreams
Forever, ooo woah-woah
The crowd went wild, but there was a strange edge to it. Natsuna had felt energized by the opening groups, but with this...
It was as though they were pulling everything right out of her.
Natsuna suddenly became aware of the energy draining from her body. She dropped to her knees with as her limbs started going limp and her eyes felt heavy.
Minako looked over in shock. "Natsuna? What's--" she gasped as people all around her started dropping like flies. Her head turned to the stage where Dark Dreams were still performing. In her woozy state, Natsuna could have sworn that the singers' eyes were glowing.
"It's the enemy," Minako said with steel in her voice. She grabbed something metallic and curved from out of her bag. "Natsuna? Hang in there. I promise..."
Another wave of exhaustion washed over Natsuna. Her eyes fell shut, and she passed out of consciousness.
And then a strong, incessant buzzing knocked her back awake.
She groggily opened her eyes and stared down towards her waist. The pager clipped to her belt shook violently, and she reached to grasp it in her hand. The display screen showed a call from a long-distance number in Russia.
"Thanks, Wakagi," she muttered.
Natsuna forced her head up to look at the stage, and her eyes widened at the sight. There she stood.
Her long golden hair streamed out around her as the stage lights cast odd colours over everything. Her crisp uniform fluttered in the breeze as Sailor V dodged and weaved attacks from the now demonic-looking pop stars.
She was amazing.
"How dare you attack the most sacred of all places: an idol concert! SMAP may forgive you, but I definitely won't! Sailor V Kiiiiiiick!" She launched herself across stage, and her heel connected with Kuro's chest with a powerful thud. The singer went flying into a speaker.
"Welcome, Sailor V!" Noir said. A weird electronic tone rang through his voice. "Lord Danburite said we might see you here. We are the Dark Duo of the Dark Kingdom's Dark Agency, Dark Dreams!"
Well that's kind of overkill on a theme, Natsuna thought as she grit her teeth and forced herself to stand. "Hold it right there!" she yelled. "Tokyo Metropolitan Police! You're under arrest for—" She gestured around at the passed-out concert-goers. "—this!"
Kuro chuckled. "You think you can stop us?" he said as he shot a blast of dark energy towards her.
Natsuna braced for a hit as Sailor V leapt in front of her. "Sailor V Rave Party!" she yelled, swinging a pair of glowsticks rapidly in front of them. The circles of light bounced the dark energy off, and it blasted through the concert hall door and into the lobby.
Sailor V looked back at Natsuna, her brilliant blue eyes shining through the mask. "You okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine," Natsuna said.
"Then it's time to take out the trash," Sailor V said, turning back to the stage. She threw up her hand, and Natsuna could see a crescent moon shaped compact glittering in her grasp. The air temperature rose several degrees as energy pooled around the masked heroine.
An utterly blinding flash of light erupted from the moon in Sailor V's hand. It struck the pair of singers head on, and they let out angry wail as they dissolved into dust.
"Stupid Dark Agency ruining everything fun," Sailor V grumbled, brushing dirt of her uniform.
"Sailor V...?" Natsuna said.
Sailor V turned to face her, surprise and a bit of nervousness apparent in her eyes. "Oh yes," she said, adjusting her mask. "Thank you for your help, uh, random citizen."
"I just want to say..." Natsuna took a deep breath. There was so much she wanted to say to Sailor V, so many times she'd dreamed of this moment. "Thanks," she finally said.
"Thanks?" Sailor V said, quirking her head to the side a bit.
"There's been a lot of weird criminal incidents and fainting spells lately, and our police force still has trouble dealing with them. So, thanks for all you do in making Tokyo a safer city."
A blush spread over Sailor V's cheeks. "Oh. Well. Um..." She coughed and tried to hide her embarrassment by flashing a V-sign. "Monsters beware 'cause Sailor V's on the job!"
She did a backflip away and then disappeared out the door to the lobby.
Natsuna counted to twenty, and wasn't surprised when Minako ran back in.
"Are they gone?" she asked, a little too fervently. "I was so scared I had to flee."
"We're safe. Luckily, Sailor V showed up and saved the day. Thank goodness she was nearby."
A wave of dizziness came over Natsuna. Minako caught her as she swayed on her feet. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," Natsuna said, "I feel like I just ran a marathon though. I don't know what those guys did to me, but I'm just wiped."
Minako slung an arm under Natsuna's shoulders and led her out to the lobby. The blast had taken its toll on the area, as tables and posters lay strewn around the floor. Natsuna found a wall to lean against, and Minako let go to stand beside her.
"Sorry the Dark Dreams concert turned out to be such a mess," Natsuna said.
She scanned the lobby, and her eyes fell on the one modest merchandise booth that was still standing mostly intact.
"Why don't I get you a Three Lights CD to make it up to you? Those guys look like they might be slightly less evil, and I think it comes with a free Fan Club card."
Minako smiled warmly. "You don't have to do that. I mean, yes, thank you, I will totally take a CD featuring a hot new boy band, that's wicked cool of you."
She reached out to take Natsuna's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. Natsuna's heart fluttered as butterflies flied her chest.
"But you know what? Just spending the day together with you a total blast. Thanks so much for everything."
Natsuna curled her fingers around Minako's and squeezed back. Maybe she'd never solve the mysteries of Sailor V. Maybe she'd need to keep her idol worship a secret forever. But standing here with Minako in the ruins of Shibuya Idol fest, none of that mattered at all.