8:00 AM, Hiroshima, August 5, 1945
"Ohio Isao-chan," Hiroko whispered into the telephone, as she closed the door behind her.
"Hiroko! Ahh I'll take this in the study, it's business." Isao said to his wife, as he left the kitchen and went into the study. "Why are you calling here Hiroko-chan, if my wife were to have answered the phone..." he said worried that she still might have noticed something.
"Isao-chan, I don't know if I can do this any longer. I don't know if I should. My mind says what we're doing is wrong but..." she said running one hand through her long black hair.
"But your heart says to continue, you know how I feel about you Hiroko-chan, you know I would die without you."
"I know, but what we're doing is wrong. I love you yes but we're both married, you have children, we both have lives that makes our love wrong!"
"I can't talk of this now, meet me tomorrow at the Kita restaurant, at about ****. We'll talk then." he said into the phone expecting his wife to come in any second.
"I don't know if I should, I don't..." she said, battling her own feelings, making her rational sense take precedence.
"Hiroko I love you, we'll talk then, we'll settle all then but for now I have to go, Sayonra." Isao said without letting her have another chance to disagree.
"Sayonara..." she said softly into the phone.
"Hiroko-chan? Where are you Hiroko-chan? Oh here you are!" said Hiroko's husband as he entered the room, "Who was that on the phone?"
"That was mother, I called to see how she was doing, she's been sick lately." Hiroko said biting her tongue after she said it. She hated lying, she hated all this deceit but what was she to do. Abandoning her morals she kept on lying.
"Where is my briefcase I have a big meeting with Fukada Industries this morning and I have all my business charts in there." he said looking around the bedroom.
"How should I know where *your* briefcase is? You were the one to have it last!" she said bitterly.
"Onna! Damn woman why I bother with you? It's the same day in day out! Nag, nag, nag! Do you think Teramae Akira's wife speaks to him with such a tongue! The same day in day out! Why I put up with you...here it is!" Hiroko's husband said. Picking up his briefcase beside the bed he checked his hair and straighten his tie.
"Will you be home for dinner?" she said putting his words out of her mind.
"No, I have a dinner meeting this afternoon and I'll be working through the night. Don't wait up for me, Sayonara!" he said heading out the door and off to work.
Following him out she went to the window and watching him drive down the driveway. Holding her gaze on his car as it drove down the road and out of sight.
"What will I do?" she thought to her self, not knowing how to face the reality of her dilemma.
She had met Isao four months ago when she had gone to buy a dress for her sister's wedding. They had met purely by chance when they had shared a table on a busy day. Having no where else to sit or talk with a conversation had begun. They had seemed to talk for hours, not noticing the time what so ever. She had never wanted anything to come of it, they both knew the other was married and that they should never risk dishonor by committing adultery.
They had meant it to be just a friendship but then one day in the dark of a movie theater they had kissed and then from that one kiss everything had changed. Since that one moment, that simple somewhat meaningless exchange of emotion the path they thought their lives led changed for what seem forever.
"What can I do? I love Isao with all my heart, but then there's Hiroshi, my husband, do I still love him?" she thought to herself remembering how tender Isao was and how hurtful Hiroshi had been.
"But this is more than just what I want! How many will be hurt because of my actions? I can't save everyone, must I sacrifice myself so that everyone can remain happy. But if I do I hurt Isao, the one that means the most to me. Oh Isao-chan what would I do without you!" she thought, taking out a picture of him she had kept in old pot on the shelf.
She had remember when they had taken that picture, they were on a picnic far off in the country. It was the first time in weeks that both their spouses had been gone. Isao's wife and children were visiting with family and Hiroshi was on a business trip. How joyful those days had been. Just the two them free among the beautiful country side. How the smell of fresh air tingled her nose; how the touch of his lips felt so good as he kissed her neck.
"Truly I love you Isao but what of you Hiroshi? I loved you once, or at least I thought I did. My mother wanted me to marry you but I though I could learn to love you. You seemed all right enough, at first you were sweet and romantic but after we were married you wanted me only as a wife. I was no longer your Goddess, as you put it, I then became your slave." Hiroko said as she put the picture away and went back into her room to comb her long black hair.
"I was never like this once, when I was younger I remember being so free. Being so able to stand up for myself, I was strong willed and determined. I had a fire in my belly, as grandmother had put it. I was young, strong and beautiful. What ever happened to that girl? Does she live with Isao? Can I ever hope to live as the person I was meant to be."
Looking at herself in the mirror she smiled as she shook her long raven black hair back and forth. Hiroko was still very attractive but the days of wondering what to do had made her looked tired. She had betrayed her morals, her personal code, to be with Isao. She lied, she'd ever committed adultery. How dishonorable she was in her own eyes.
"I have two choices, Isao or what others think is right, what I think is right!" she corrected herself, how far she had distanced herself from her morals to hold on to Isao. If she could leave this life behind and spend her time with Isao she would, but from this prison there was no escape.
"Two choices, is there one choice here that allows me to be with you Isao without hurting the ones I love." she said out loud, "I can't decide now, I'll decide tomorrow. I make my choice before I get to the restaurant. I'll decide who I will be with, sacrifice myself so others may be happy or go with Isao. If only I could have you, my Love, without hurting my family." With a slight sigh of relief she put down the brush and headed out to make some breakfast before cleaning the house.
8:00 AM, August 6, Hiroshima, 1945
"Sayonara...Sayonara." said Hiroko as she watched Hiroshi drive once again down the driveway. She said it as if it were the last time she would see him again. Hiroshi quickly left the house this morning. Another fight had ensued after he arrived home last night. The only think making this one different than the rest being a large bruise which covered her upper arm. It was the first time things had ever gotten violent. Hiroshi had found the picture in the old pot where Hiroko had kept it hidden for so very long. Hiroko picked up the picture from the floor, Hiroshi had crumbled it in his hands when she had never answered his questions.
"Who is this?!" she remembered him shouting, the words echoing in her head. She remembered the crash of the pot as he threw it at her, the sound it made as it broke only a short distance from her head. She remembered the pain as he grasped her in his strong hands and demanded she tell him. He threw her to the ground and stormed into the bedroom. There she remained all night, not moving just thinking over and over that this was the end, that any minute he would storm out of the room and take his full rage out on her. But he never, he simply woke in the morning, got ready for work as he always did and left without a word.
"This is life is over, Teramae Hiroko is dead, only Ainohi Hiroko remains!" she said out loud reclaiming her family name.
"I'm coming Isao, I'm coming!" Hiroko said turning from the window. Going to the bedroom she removed all her things and placed them in a big suit case that Hiroshi had often used on long business trips. She stayed in the shower extra long today, making the water hotter than she usually had it. Letting it burn away her old life, purifying her soul. Returning the vibrant young girl that had she had been in the days of her youth.
She put on her best dress and combined her hair for what seemed an hour, making her self look her best for Isao. She took the large suitcase and left the house. As she turned the knob she thought to lock it, urged by the force of habit. Then on second thought she left it unlocked, a lock is to protect your treasures, your love ones. This house contained neither for her anymore.
"Sayonara." she whispered as she quickly ran down the walk and to the bus stop. Taking the bus she went to a hotel and registered herself under Ainohi Hiroshi with what little money she had.
Leaving her things unpacked in the room she quickly left and went to meet Isao. It was **** she would have to be there in a hour, plenty of time to get to Kita restaurant.
****, Hiroshima, August 6, 1945
Hiroko waited impatiently for Isao in the partly filled restaurant, she twisted her napkin in her hands.
"What if Isao doesn't want to leave his family? What will I do then?" she thought to herself, she began to feel a little sad at the thought she was breaking up a family.
"What have I gotten myself into?" she whispered out loud. "Maybe this was a mistake! Maybe I should go back to Hiroshi before he notices I'm gone! Oh please let this choice be the right one!"
"Hiroko!" Isao said as he entered the outdoor restaurant, he smiled contentedly as he saw her.
"Isao-chan!" she said as she hugged him making sure he didn't touch her bruise.
"Hiroko, what's wrong I know that look, what happened?" he said sitting her down at the table.
"I need to talk to you, it's...it's about Hiroshi!" she said almost coming to tears, "I'm not going to cry!" she thought to her self, "I'm better than to weep tears over what he's done!"
"What's wrong?" he asked as he touched her arms tenderly to reassure her. Hiroko winced from the bruise on her arm.
"What's wrong Hiroko-chan?" he asked as he rolled up her short sleeve to expose the giant bruise that was now a shade of dark purple and black.
"Hiroko-chan? What did he do to you?" Isao said his eyes going wide at the site of the bruise.
"We had a fight...and...and" Hiroko said trying to fight back the tears. She turned her face from him hiding her expression she looked to the sky. As she gazed into the milky blue heavens above, a dark black spot appeared followed by the low rumble of an airplane flying over head.
"Sukunai Otoko-no-ko!" she said in a trance pointing to the sky, Isao looked up and saw it too, it was bigger now and looked like a small black seed. Whatever it was it was coming closer and as it did it grew in size.
"Sukunai Otoko-no-ko? What do you mean 'Little Boy'?" he said confused, as he looked again Isao relized what it was.
"A bomb!" he said as he heard alarms ring through out the city.
"Sukunai Otoko-no-ko!" she repeated once again not looking at any thing else but the dark seed which grew larger as it descended.
Then in one brief moment the dark seed sprouted and nurtured by the sky bloomed into a rage of fire.
A blue light appeared filling Hiroko's vision, white light filled anything as it passed over the restaurant, knocking over tables and leaving the burnt ashes of life in it's wake. Isao flew through the air being slightly protected by the table and chairs as they pinned him to the ground.
Hiroko's burn covered body flew through the air taking the brunt of the blast. Her skin singed a dark black and her hair crackling with fire.
With which seemed the last bit of strength she could muster she pushed herself up with one arm. Her head flying backwards as she felt a new power grow within her. Looking at the ground she saw her smoldering body, the ashes of her old life.
Turning towards the sky, she felt herself coming to life as she floated into the air. Looking at herself with new eyes she examined this new body, flawless skin covered only by her raven black hair that seemed to run for miles around her. A bright red aura surrounded her as she ascended into the fire filled sky, her raven hair flapping in the wind exposing her nakedness.
"Who am I?" she said rising higher still, her eyes shone white hot as flashes of an age old life formed before her eyes.
"A...a...princess! No....not only a princess...but first...and foremost..." she said looking deeply into the artificial sunset.
"A warrior!" she said feeling the flames start to fill her new body, an old familiar friend which now reached for her soul. Gaining ground the fire filled her, burning away her old life. Forgetting Hiroshi she sailed higher still, the flames neither touching or scaring her skin. Forgetting her problems, she felt rage and love churn and give birth to power. Forgetting Hiroko, she was reborn.
As she sailed high above the fire covered city, she burst with power surging upward making the smoke of the bomb surge towards the heavens like a mushroom.
"I...am...Mars! Honor guard of the universe, protector of the Crystal and sworn to defend the princess! The messiah! The innocence of life!" she exclaimed leaving her old life behind and embracing who she had been, who she was for eons. Who she was destined to be before creation, before Armageddon, before even all thought of the beginning or the end.
The bright red aura surged with strength resembling a flame burning with out control. The flames wrapped themselves around her body forming cloths. Forming the guise of a warrior, of a Sailor Senshi.
Her trance subsided and for the first time in her life she understood who she was, she understood who she was meant to be. She was the flame, the eternal burning.
Looking to the ground far below, she remembered a face, like a midnight dream it tugged at her mind. Begging her to remember.
"Isao!" she whispered. Flying to the ground she looked frantically for her loved one. Rage and frustration consumed her as she could not find him. Closing her eyes she folded her hands together, reaching out with her mind she found him; somehow he was still alive. Turning to a pile of burnt chairs she began to throw them aside with the power of her mind.
Beneath them she found him, his body burned and his legs crushed from the chairs and tables. She sensed his pain and almost went insane knowing how he was suffering.
Isao forced his eyes open, his face melted, his eyes felt dry as he began to make out the images before him. Before his eyes was a beautiful maiden glowing with a red aura. Her eyes shone a bright white as she surveyed him. His first emotion was fear, his mind could not comprehend what he saw before him, but then as he peered deeper into those white hot eyes he saw something.
"Hiroko?" he said his voice dry and raspy.
"Isao-chan!" she said with her mind, "My love, touch my hand!" she said as she reached for his. Managing with his last ounce of strength, suffering the pain of his broken arm he reached for hers. With one small touch the flames consumed him and he arose like she had did and embraced a new body. Memories flashed before his eyes and he too forgot everything he every knew, his wife, his family, himself.
"Defender of the flame, the universe, and of my lady love, I...am... Aries!" he said as if seeing for the first time. Rising from the ground his naked body wrapped with a red light and he appeared as a Sailor Shogun.
"Mars!" he said embracing her.
"Aries!" she said a tear escaping her white hot eyes.
"What has happened her?" he said looking over the wasteland of fire. The flames consumed all and a bright light burned all life, heating the air a savage wind tore through the town destroying buildings, plants, and people. Hitting the far off mountains the winds returned blasting the city again, bringing fire and destruction in it's wake.
The wind blew upon then, taking Mars' hair and making it fly before her like a black flag billowing in the wind, "A bomb, with a power born from the very atoms of creation."
"What of the people, the children, the families, the lovers, and the friends? What will become of them?" Aries said turning towards the city.
"They will ascend into the light, most of them not knowing what life truly meant, the good taken with the bad they will enter the here after!" she said mourning the death of the multitudes.
"What issued such a thing?" he asked her, "I can't comprehend Mankind?" he said, knowing the answer by not wanting to admit the darkness of human nature.
"War! War always takes the innocent! Remember the Moon kingdom, remember how the war between the Negaverse took all the innocent. Do you remember the last days of the lives we lived so long ago?" she asked him her eyes still shut.
"I remember...I remember being on Mars when the attack came, on that day you were on the moon, you were there to protect the princess." he said remembering more of his old life nearly 1000 years before Isao ever existed.
"Remember Queen Serenity's sacrifice, she gave her life so that we and all those who died would be reborn again!"
"I remember!" he said as the winds howled once again and beat upon the destroyed city, "We must help them, as she did before us! We must give those too young to experience life the chance to live it's joy!" Aries said as he surveyed the city.
"If we do, we will ascend into the light! We will be reborn because of that age old sacrifice! Let us give them the chance that Queen Serenity gave us." Mars said reaching for Aries' hand.
"You and I have seen war, we were born in this life to help the innocent! We will sacrifice our joy so that they will live on!" said Aries embracing her tightly.
"I will miss you, my Love. Search for me in the next life, although our memories will be robbed when we enter the light I would never be able to forget your love." she said pulling back and looking deeply into his eyes. "You and I are one, now and forever! You are the one that complements me, you are the one who shares my soul. I will find you again, on this you can trust!" he said holding her head in his hand. Leaning forward he kissed her, long and tender they held themselves, their very souls together in that one single moment. It would have to satisfy their love for another life time of searching. Savoring this last moment of her soft ruby lips he let her slowly slip away. A single tear broke free from his eye and slowly eroded it's way down his cheek.
"I will always love you!" he said embracing her tightly once again.
"And I you, my Love!" Mars' said not wanting to let him go but knowing that the greater good demanded they sacrifice their love until another life time.
"Don't forget me!" he said smiling at her, tears streamed down his face both comprised of sadness and love. Taking her hand in his they looked to the sky. Harnessing their love into one great burst of strength they willed the souls of the dead to arise. From the rubble hidden by the smoke of creation arose small red stars which arose into sky. Their task done they looked into each others eyes for one final moment and then began to fade slowly out of existence and into the light.
"My love for you will never die!" he whispered in his mind projecting his thought to her.
"As long as the fires burn and the hearts of mankind loves we will always be together!" she replied as she watched him totally disappear.
Looking once more to the ground she realized she found the answer she was looking for. To be with her love and the saving the ones she cared for. Things seemed complete, everything came full circle and as she smiled wrapped in her love she too faded into the light of life. Her last image being of a dark black rain that fell from the sky blanketing the desolate countryside. She could do nothing for those who were still alive, their fight for life had just begun but at least she gave another chance to those who never got to finished what they were destined to become.
"The flames consumes, and what the flame does not consume consumes the flame."