This story is set sometime after everyone finds out that ChibiUsa is Usagi's and Mamoru's future daughter. I'd like to thank ChibiKris and DrMM for getting on me to actually finish something! And of course, special thanks to Naoko Takeuchi for her beautiful vision that is Sailor Moon!
Disclaimer: The character's are the property of Naoko, Toei, DiC and whoever else makes money off of them... the idea for this story is mine though!
Rating: G for all ages :)
I stared at the floor in front of me, barely listening to the story of our past life, the blood rushing from my face. The room suddenly felt much colder than it actually was. I felt a sharp pain stab through my chest as if my heart were being torn in two. A torrent of emotions whirled through me. It was all I could do to keep from collapsing.
This just couldn't be happening. On one hand, I was elated, overjoyed that my Princess had been discovered. Even if it was Usagi, I would give my life for her. She was the sister of my heart, and I knew she felt the same about me though we were both too stubborn to admit it. On the other hand however, there was a lump forming in my throat as I realized I had just lost the one true love of my life.
Mamoru. Tuxedo Kamen.
To tell the truth, I had suspected it from the beginning, but I had never been absolutely sure. Until now. Mamoru was lying wounded in Usagi's arms. No, not Usagi, I had to remind myself. Princess Serenity. Mamoru's true love. I bit my lip, fighting back every instinct to rush to his side.
"Oh Mars, I'm sorry. You must feel terrible," I heard Mercury say behind me.
Baka! Terrible??? I felt as if someone had taken a sword of the coldest ice and plunged it deep in my heart. But I wouldn't allow the others to know how I truly felt. So instead I forced a smile to my lips and said, "Hmm... but I guess they were meant to be, long before Mamoru and I."
'No!! It wasn't supposed to happen like this!' my heart screamed. I quickly squashed that thought and all my other feelings for my l... for Mamoru... and locked them away in some dark corner of my soul. I felt some part of me die as I did so. But that did not matter. I would allow nothing to stand in the way of my Princess's happiness. Not even myself.
Hardening my heart, I stepped forward intending to help my Prince and Princess. But before I could do anything, the Dark Kingdom stepped in and stole Tuxedo Kamen out from underneath us.
"No!!" cried out Usagi before passing out from the strain.
My heart made the same helpless cry. My love was gone, both emotionally and physically. What else could I do but rush to my fallen Princess's side? As I tried in vain to revive her, I made I silent vow. Kami-sama, I WILL get you back my lo... Mamoru. I WILL return you to Usagi.
I choked back a sob.
And thus the nightmare began.
"I will have the ginzuishou from you Sailor Moon!" an evil Tuxedo Kamen half snarled down at us. He moved as if to leap on top of my tear-streaked friend.
"No!" I cried out, leaping in front of Sailor Moon. "I won't let you do this. I. . ." still love you. The unspoken words caught in my throat.
Tuxedo Kamen sneered and nimbly leaped down off the ledge to stand in front of us. "Then you shall die as well," he said to me, his eyes that were once full of love now overflowed with hatred. He drew out a black rose, preparing to strike.
Forgive me, my love.
Rings of fire shot forth from my hands as I felt the black rose pierce my heart. I fell back, feeling my life force draining away. Above me I heard Tuxedo Kamen's cruel laughter.
"Pathetic," he muttered as he turned to face Sailor Moon.
"I. . . I'm sorry Princess. I have failed you," I managed to say, my voice barely above a whisper as my world faded away. . .
I woke up screaming, my body covered in sweat. I had fallen asleep reading in my room. I sat up on my bed, trying to shove the dream away. It had been months since Beryl had turned Mamoru against us, yet I continued to have nightmares about that dark time. Nightmares where I had no choice but to kill him or he would kill me, or worse yet, Usagi. But if facing Mamoru in battle was hard for me to do, facing him with Usagi was heartwrenching.
After the great battle with Beryl, dealing with the pain of losing Mamoru was extremely easy for me for the simple fact there was no pain. We had all lost our memories, so while my heart still did a flip-flop whenever I passed him on the street, I had no recollection of ever having fallen in love with him. I went on with my life... until the evil returned.
As my powers and memories reappeared, so did all those feelings for Mamoru I wish had stayed buried. I watched Usagi pursue him, even though he didn't remember who we were or that he had been Tuxedo Kamen. I gave her words of encouragement when she needed it, even as I was screaming in protest on the inside.
After the Doom Tree fiasco, and Tsukikage no Knight was revealed to be Mamoru, I half expected him to rush back to my side. After all, before he had lost his memories, before the Dark Kingdom had turned him against us, he had been with me. A foolish thought I know, as I was setting myself up for another disappointment. This time, however, I was better prepared when Mamoru turned to Usagi again. I felt only a lingering sadness rather than a crushing void.
I knew she and Mamoru were destined to be together. I had finally accepted that fact. But the pain was still there. I suppose what kept that pain alive was the fact the Mamoru acted as if I wasn't even alive. . . that I had meant nothing to him at one point in his life. I needed closure, but had no idea how to go about getting it short of never seeing my friends again.
I glanced out the window. The sun was only just beginning to go down, setting the sky on fire. Reds, oranges and purples were competing for space on the cloud strewn canvas. I hadn't been asleep for very long, apparently. Glancing at the clock, I noticed I had about an hour until I was to arrive at Usagi's. I chuckled to myself as I went about getting ready for the 'study session.'
I loved Usagi like a sister, but the little odango-atama could be so predictable. She and the others had gone to great lengths to act as if they had forgotten that today was my birthday. They should have known better than to try and fool me. But I indulge them. I'll act surprised -- for them.
I sat down at my dresser. Reaching for my hair brush, I accidentally knocked over a picture frame. I picked it up, wanting to make sure I hadn't damaged it. As I noticed which picture I held in my hand, I put down my brush and stared at it. It was a photograph of me, Usagi and Mamoru, taken just before ChibiUsa had appeared. Unconsciously, my hand moved to cover Usagi's image, leaving only Mamoru and me.
Baka! What was I doing? I quickly shoved the picture into a drawer.
Choking back a sob, I pushed away from the dresser. Mamoru and Usagi were destined for each other. ChibiUsa was proof of that! I had to get over him. I couldn't go on this way or I'd risk losing two of the best friends I've ever had -- not to mention failing in my duty to my Prince and Princess. No, I had to get my mind off the fact the Mamoru didn't care for me -- and never had. Otherwise, why didn't he even say goodbye?
Wiping a tear from my cheek, I finished getting ready, all the while hoping that seeing Mamoru and Usagi together tonight wouldn't be too much for me to handle.
I was checking my appearance in the dresser mirror to make sure I had no tear streaks, when I suddenly realized I was no longer alone in my room. I whirled around, dropping into a defensive posture, expecting a youma getting ready to pounce.
I wasn't expecting him.
"M... Mamoru-kun? What are you doing here?"
He smiled softly. "I'm sorry if I startled you. The door was open. I came to give you this." He withdrew his hand from behind his back. He held out a single, perfect white flower towards me. A Casablanca Lily. My favourite flower.
"Happy birthday, Rei-chan."
"How did you..."
"How did I know? I remembered that trip we took together to the Botanical Gardens... and how your eyes lit up at the sight of these flowers." He looked at the floor as if embarrassed.
I gingerly touched to satiny petals of the lily, inhaling its heady fragrance. He remembered! My heart fluttered and I felt my face flush.
"Thank you," I said softly, placing the delicate blossom in a vase and setting it on my desk next to the door.
I turned back to him, sensing his hesitation.
He looked at me oddly for a moment. "Mamoru-kun? You used to call me Mamo- chan."
"Well," it was my turn to hesitate. "It just didn't seem... appropriate any more."
"So, why are you here? Shouldn't you be with Usagi?" I bit my tongue.
Mamoru simply looked at the floor as if he didn't know how to continue.
"I... I wanted to tell you... I wanted to apologize."
He took my small hand in both of his, my fingers suddenly fascinating for they captured his attention.
"Mamoru-kun?" I prompted.
He took a deep breath. "What you must think of me. Rei-chan, I'm so sorry for the way I acted towards you. I should have done this sooner."
I felt flustered, confused. I wasn't quite sure what he was trying to say, so I told him as much.
He sighed. "I know I'm not making myself clear. Please bear with me."
"Rei-chan, I came here tonight to apologize for the way I treated you.
After I was released from the Dark Kingdom, after I regained my memories, I should have come to you to explain... things. But I didn't. No don't interrupt me."
I shut my mouth.
"I admit it," he continued. "I was avoiding you. I couldn't quite bring myself to face you. But that's only made things worse. I've been eaten up with guilt about you."
"Guilt? There's nothing for you to feel guilty about. There was never anything between us, not really." I looked down, ashamed. "If anyone is to feel guilty, it should be me."
"No, Rei-chan. It's not your fault. I know how you felt about me..." I felt my face redden. "I had no right to act as if we had never cared for each other."
Cared... for each other?? He had cared for me?
"Rei-chan, the others are concerned about you. They've noticed that lately you've become withdrawn, quiet. I am to blame for that. I know how you felt about me. Usagi knows as well. She confronted me about being the cause of your recent reclusiveness."
I groaned inwardly. "Usagi knows? Oh, she must hate me!" Tears began to stream down my face.
Mamoru grabbed the sides of my head, forcing me to look up at him through my tears. "Shhh, Rei-chan," he said comfortingly, wiping my tears with the pads of his thumbs. "Usagi doesn't hate you. She's worried about you. As am I."
I broke away from him and sat down on my bed. I grabbed a tissue from the nightstand and attempted to clear the tears from my eyes, but once the floodgates had been opened, there seemed to be no stopping them. Mamoru sat down beside me.
I could tell he wasn't quite sure what to do with the sniveling mess of a girl beside him.
"I feel as if I've betrayed my best friend," I sobbed.
Mamoru placed a hand on my shoulder. "But you haven't..."
"No!" I interrupted him forcefully. "You don't understand. You and Usagi belong to each other. You have been for a thousand years, and ChibiUsa is proof that you will be for a thousand more. What you don't need is an emotional wreck of a girl who is suffering from a broken heart to get in the way of that."
My words died off. We sat on my bed with only the sound of an occasional sob from me for several moments. The tissue in my hands was now reduced to shredded strips. I ran a hand over my eyes before speaking again.
"Look, Mamoru-kun, maybe you should go. You've said what you came to say, and I still have to finish getting ready for the party tonight."
"No, Mamoru," I interrupted again. I sighed and gave him a small smile.
"Listen, I am glad you came here tonight. I had been feeling... sad, lonely...
forgotten. But now," my voice died off.
"Now?" asked Mamoru who had slid off my bed to kneel in front of me, holding my hands in his strong ones.
I smiled at him again. "Now, I know you didn't forget me after...
"I could never forget you Rei-chan," he said, brushing a loose strand of hair from my face.
"As for Usagi..." I began.
This time it was Mamoru's turn to interrupt. "Usagi never blamed you for anything."
"Usagi may have forgiven me, but I haven't forgiven myself. At least, not yet." I saw Mamoru's brow crease with concern. I patted his hand in reassurance.
"Oh don't worry Mamoru-san. I'm sure everything will be better after I talk to her."
I stood up and walked to the door of my room. "Now I really think you should go. Usagi might begin to worry if we don't make it to the party on time."
Mamoru chuckled. "Well, that is if odango-atama can make it to the party on time herself."
"Oh!" I closed my eyes and laughed. That was all too true.
"Oh, Rei-chan, it's so good to hear you laugh again."
"Yeah..." I said, trying to bring myself under control.
"Well," said Mamoru after I had stopped laughing. "I guess I'll see you at the party."
"Hai," I replied, opening the door for him. Twilight had descended, and the brightest stars of the night had just begun peeking out among the dark purple velvet sky. The faint sweet scent of cherry blossoms rode through my door on the back of a warm spring breeze. I paused to savour the moment, experiencing a sense of calm I had not felt since before Mamoru had been taken by the Dark Kingdom.
I turned back to Mamoru. "Ja ne... Mamo-chan."
Mamoru placed his hand on my shoulder. "Rei-chan, for what it's worth, before my memories returned... before I was aware of Tuxedo Kamen... before Endymion... there was once a guy named Mamoru who cared deeply for a girl named Rei." He bent over and kissed me gently on the cheek. "Ja matta, Rei-chan."
He turned and walked down the steps to the courtyard. I watched him go, tears once again falling freely down my face. But they were tears of happiness, not sorrow. I would miss my Mamo-chan; my memories of our time together would always be bittersweet, but I finally felt released from the fetters which had tied my soul down for so long. For the first time in months I knew I would be all right.
I went back into my room, opened up my dresser drawer and removed the photograph of Mamoru, Usagi and me. I place it back in it's rightful home on my dresser, wiping tears from my eyes. I checked myself in the mirror and adjusted my make-up to cover up the fact that I had been crying. Satisfied with my appearance, I was tucking a loose tendril behind my ear when I heard a soft knock on my door frame. I turned, wondering who it could be.
"Uh, Rei-chan... gomen... I didn't mean to disturb you, but... uh," the poor guy stammered, looking more nervous than I've ever seen him.
I walked over to him, noticing how he seemed to have trouble looking me in the face. "Yes, Yuuichirou-kun?"
Yuuichirou stared at his feet as he brought his hand out from behind his back. "I just wanted to give you these." He held out a bouquet of beautiful white roses. I took them, breathing in their sweet fragrance as he bowed to me. "Happy birthday, Rei-chan."
I looked up from the roses and stared at him. I smiled as he lifted his head to look at me. "Domo arigato gozaimasu, Yuuichirou-kun."
"Well... I should go. Good night Rei-chan."
"Wait!" I stopped him as he turned to leave.
"Um, I was wondering... what are your plans for tonight?" I asked, feeling quite shy all of a sudden.
"Well, ojiisan was going to teach me some new meditation techniques."
"Oh," my face fell.
"Well, I was kind of wondering if you'd like to go to this party with me, but if you're busy..."
"A party?? You mean, as in a date?" he asked, surprise etched in his voice.
"Well, yeah," I answered, blushing.
Yuuichirou let out a huge "Whoop!" before remembering I was still standing there. He composed himself and bowed to me again. "It would be a great honour to escort you to the party, Rei-chan."
I returned the bow with one of my own. "And I would be honoured to have you escort me, Yuuichirou-kun."
Yuuichirou flashed me a huge grin. "Then if you would allow me time to change out of my temple robes, we can leave as soon as you are ready."
"I'm ready now. You go on and change."
Yuuichirou bowed to me again before turning to head toward his room.
"I don't believe this is happening!" I heard him say to himself as he walked away. "Me! On a date with Rei-chan! Kami-sama, how did I get so lucky... Kami- sama, what am I going to wear?"
I chuckled. Yuuichirou could always make me laugh. I felt a slight twinge of guilt for ignoring him these past few months, but from the way my stomach was fluttering, I had a feeling I would be making it up to both of us in the coming ones.
I lifted the bouquet of roses to inhale their scent once more before turning to the vase that held Mamoru's Casablanca Lily. Very carefully I arranged Yuuichirou's flowers in the vase so that the lily was framed by the beautiful roses.
A bouquet of friendship -- old and new.
Smiling, I left my room and sat down on the steps to wait for Yuuichirou.
Night had completely fallen, stars of all sizes were strewn across the dark canvas.
The crickets had begun their nocturnal symphony. I let the breeze play with my hair as I sat there, listening to the music of the night. The world was at peace, and finally, so was I.