Spoiler Warnings: This has spoilers for Episode 123 ( Hametsu no Kage! Chinmoku no
Messiah no Mezame ) from Sailor Moon Super, you have been warned!

Disclaimer: I am crazy, but I am not about to steal someone else's work and call it
my own. I don't own Sailor Moon, if you think I do, you are even more delusional
than I am... and THAT is a scary thought.

. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
.http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .

"Papa...?"

"Yes, Chibiusa-chan?" Midnight hair shifted as the man looked down at the
small girl next to him.

"Papa..." she paused as if still uncertain whether or not she should ask.
Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath before facing her father again. "Papa,
have you ever been... lonely?"

Curious, innocent eyes, he thought as he touched his palm against her hair.
"Yes, Chibiusa-chan, a long time ago."

"Are you lonely now?" She asked timidly, worry clouding her eyes.

He smiled and shook his head, "No, Chibiusa-chan, not now. Not anymore."

She brightened at this before she looked down at her little hands that were
clutched to the front of his suit, wrinkling the silky material beneath her fists.
"Papa?"

"Yes, Chibiusa-chan?"

"Does loneliness ever go away?" She asked, her voice almost too quiet to
hear.

Now it was his turn to be worried as he lifted the little girl's chin with one
gentle finger, forcing her to look up to him once more. "Are you lonely,
Chibiusa-chan?"

Fire came into her eyes as she pushed her chin from his hands, "No!" The
little girl looked more surprised than him before wide, crimson eyes came back to
meet his, "I'm sorry, Papa, I didn't mean too..."

"Chibiusa-chan," the man smiled gently down at her with sad, dark-blue eyes.
His gentle tone was between a reprimand and a question, silencing her more
effectively than any other expression or words could have accomplished.

"Yes, Papa?" She asked dejectedly.

"Are you lonely?" He asked her with both concern and kindness.

It was her turn to be silent as she buried her face into the lapels of his
jacket, her mouth moving to silently mouth words unheard as her breath warmed
that spot on his clothe, burning onto his skin beneath the layered materials.
"Sometimes... sometimes I think I am."



. Alone In the Crowd .

"Everywhere, there is loneliness inescapable... but all
I ever wanted to give you was happiness in payment for the
happiness you have given me. And I wonder now as I stand
in the blue-grey world of shadows and rain, if I am a part
of the milling shadows, easily forgotten, or if this
feeling inside is the real truth of it all, that I am
alone in the crowd?"

-- Lady Serenity
( Journal Entry 08.04.3503 )


. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .



It was somewhat disorienting, this feeling, this connection that seemed to
spread through him and become a part of him. He was sitting in his room, but
somehow it felt far, far away as well. Gently he cradled the child in his arms,
willing himself to pour all of his love and his trust into her, her courage and her
stubbornness; so that she would stay with him for as long as possible, so that she
may stay alive. He willed the magick that lived within him through centuries of
disuse to awaken from its slumber, and to aid him in saving her from the oblivion
that was just beyond the edge of vision.

The link between them pulsed, synchronizing her soft heartbeat with his, and
he breathed in the air of his apartment in both relief and anxiousness. It was cool
and fresh, the air that traveled through his lungs. A part of his rational mind
thought that someone must have left a window opened in his apartment. "Mamoru-
kun," the feminine voice of the worried black-cat called to him, bringing him back
momentarily from another world that seemed part memory and part dream. "Do you
think this will work?" the feline twitched her ears in agitation.

"Aa," the words formed upon his lips but his attention was obviously elsewhere
from the glazed look in his eyes.

"Let him be, Luna," the white cat next to her shook his head disapprovingly as
he quietly chastised his worried companion. "We can't do anything except let
Mamoru-san concentrate. The others will be able to bring Chibiusa-chan's heart
crystal back to her, and as much as we worry, fretting won't help anyone. It'll
only distract Mamoru-san from his mission."

"Oh, Artemis, I don't know what else to do!" The black cat paced and looked
to the dark-haired man a few feet away. "I don't want to lose her but this could be
dangerous for them both! What if something goes wrong? Whatever will I tell Usagi-
chan?" The female cat hissed back as quietly as she could, her eyes bright with
unsuppressed nervousness.

"Luna... you're beginning to sound like me," the other cat added lamely with a
nervous laugh on his lips, trying to ease the tension in the room.

"Baka--"

The voices faded, beginning to make less and less sense to him as the man
named Chiba Mamoru once again began to drift along with those unfathomable sounds;
drifted between memories and dreams as a myriad of colors assaulted him from within,
taking him far away from the reality he had been so used to. Eyes of dark midnight
blue never left the tiny child in his arms though, keeping her anchored to this
world as he stroked her tiny hands in his own every once in awhile.

Live, his link demanded while a faint and far-off reply shimmered in the
distance.

"Live," before him a young woman stood smiling, a sun-hat in her hands as her
pink hair streamed behind her. A golden symbol winked at him from an invisible
source of light, shining with its own, mysterious brightness. Next to her a white-
haired man stood, bowing before Mamoru.

"Endymion-sama," copper and rouge eyes studied him as the prince stood
watching the woman next to the man. "In the land of dreams she may stay for awhile
if you wish."

"Will you stay?" Mamoru asked, for once rudely ignoring his humble servant
though he did register the suggestion.

The woman only smiled playfully, putting a finger to her lips as she cast a
look to the man next to her, "For now," she said vaguely and then the unending dream
began.

A few words suddenly came from the world he left behind, "...share
memories..." Luna's broken sentence came.

He didn't even know when he had closed his eyes and fallen asleep holding his
child, but by the time he did, he had forgotten it again.


* * * * *


The air was salty, he noted as he traveled over the wide, golden planes that
shifted easily beneath his feet. It took him awhile to register that he was
standing on sand and a little girl, far smaller than he had ever seen her before,
turned in the setting sun laughing. "Papa! Mama! Over here, everyone!" Her hands
were cupped while her eyes of crimson were alighted with pretty tints of gold from
the sun, almost like a reflection of the sky. Her small mouth tilted up in the
corners to form a wide grin, while beside her a small cat wiggled in the sand, a
distasteful look marring its even smaller face as it sneezed a little once in
awhile.

A feminine laugh rang beside him as well, older and richer but just as clear
and achingly familiar, yet somehow he could not place where he had heard it before.
"Chibiusa-chan, did you find the sea-shell that you were looking for?"

He wanted to turn and study the woman but found himself unable to do such a
simple act. At the same time he found himself to be laughing as well, even without
him feeling the need to. Somehow, he realized with slight panic, he had lost
control of his body and was trapped within a shell of bones and flesh. But he had
sensed nothing sinister in the environment as he continued to approach the little
girl on the beach. It was only then that he realized the feel of another's hand in
his gloved one as slender fingers tightened around his in an affectionate squeeze.

"Musume, did you find what you were looking for?" The woman next to him asked
while he felt his lips stretch into a knowing smile.

"Yes, Mama!" The girl with pink hair done in rabbit ears and pigtails bobbed
her head up and down eagerly. She opened her palms and within them laid a small,
yellow shell that was delicately crafted by the very sea that had discarded it.

"It's very pretty, Chibiusa-chan." He felt himself speak with that same smile
and saw his hand come forth, laying a gentle pat on her small head. The girl's grin
widened and even though he still felt trapped, there was a warmth in his heart that
spread as words he could not control tumbled like the gentle waves did onto the
sand, escaping him from a place he never knew existed. "Musume, are you happy?"

Yellow was the color for sunsets and moonlight, yellow was the color of dry
sand and lion's fur, and yellow was the color of melancholy and innocent joy...

Chibiusa beamed as she held the shell for his inspection, "Yes, Papa!"

He saw himself reaching to accept her gift, one given freely yet remained just
as priceless like any precious memory. He felt the delicate shell on his fingertips
and realized how easily it could be broken. In the blink of an eye, it turned into
a red, red rose, blossoming before his eyes from a tiny bud to a full bloom beauty.

Time, time, time... passes like the sands in an hourglass.

With the sands he tumbled as well, taking away his smiling Chibiusa and the
mysterious woman beside him who held his heart with her familiar laugh. They all
disappeared, buried in the golden grains as he fell unendingly. Silent and wide-
eyed, he was unable to scream or make a sound as the sea of sand drowned him, and
swallowed him whole.

Time, time, time... passes away like the waves of an ocean, never lost and
never gained.

"Are you lonely, Mamoru-kun?"

But he could not answer, for like the footprints in the wet sand that were
filled with salty tears, he was erased and buried in the sands of time.


* * * * *


Breathing. He was still breathing, he realized.

Dark eyes snapped open to discover that before him, another slept. Green-hair
was left to cascade onto the white, cotton pillow with bangs tinted purple, while
green skin gleamed in the dull light from outside the semi-closed curtains of white
and grey. An innocent expression was etched onto a face that was relaxed in repose,
unaware of his ponderous gaze.

A name and an ache always accompanied him when he thought of this time.

"Fiore," but there was no sound and his mouth refused to move.

Outside, rain fell in pitter-patters, droplets shimmering on the window pane
in shadowed jewels, each represent one of the million questions that raced through
his head. He realized he was once again young and small, concerned and curious. He
realized that this was a time long ago that he had shared with his friend that he
had thought was no more than a figment his imagination for the longest time.

The boy before him stirred ever so slightly that the movement would have gone
unnoticed if Mamoru had not been awake and studying the other. Eyes the color of
blue-grey, melancholic oceans opened to him, slowly focusing onto his own eyes while
the others reflected his aloneness back to him. For a long time they just looked at
each other, studying the stranger before them both. "I found you in the rain," he
found himself saying. "My name is Mamoru. What's yours?" The boy continued to
look at him with those sad, sleepy eyes. "You looked cold and sad, are you alone?"

The other boy continued to look at Mamoru in silence and Mamoru himself began
to realize that he had not spoken this much since... since the accident. But he
smiled a small, shy smile to the other across from him. "Don't worry, I was alone
too." Mamoru told him, "But I'm not anymore and you don't have to be either if you
want to stay here with me. I'd like that... for you to stay."

He reached across and set his hand over the other's and Mamoru, after all the
years he had thought that this time was no more than a dream that he had clung to
like a safety blanket in his youth, finally remembered the friendship he had gained
and lost in those years far, far away. Suddenly, it had all become painfully clear
and near. "Fiore," the other boy finally said with that same grave look etched on
his face though his eyes were no longer as hooded as before. "My name is Fiore."

And though on the outside, himself of memories past grinned for the first time
in a long time, while inside, Chiba Mamoru, now older and wiser, cried for the man
that the other would one day grow to become. Mamoru knew in that moment that of the
two of them, the loneliness that continued to shine in Fiore's eyes were still there
after the years that had past between them both by and this time it was no longer up
to him to take it away.

"I never knew," the young woman murmured as she stood by the bed, an old,
paper parasol in her hands as its slender, bamboo shaft lay rested on her shoulder.
The parasol was opened, casting shadows into the room while shielding her back from
some unseen threat. "He had been so different when I had met him then... I never
knew." She said again, as the shadows were the only thing that moved in the room
and the silence between them.

"He never changed," and there was silence in the memory as Mamoru stood next
to her, watching himself hold hands with the boy who had once been his only, and
most precious friend during a time when he had been in his greatest despair. The
boy that had him reaching out, because young Mamoru had realized then that there
were others who not only shared his own pain, but held one far deeper than he had
imagined possible.

Yet there was peace in the regretful photograph of the past, for in this
memory of memories, for but a moment, both boys had each other. And being ignorant
of the future to come, he was reminded of a time when loneliness had slumbered in
their hearts like a night flower that had closed its petals to the light of the
momentary sun.

"Papa?" Mamoru turned to the woman-child next to him questioningly, watching
her face slowly revealed beneath the fragil, paper canopy when she had shifted to
look up to him. "Does one forget loneliness so easily?"

He turned his midnight eyes to the bed as the silence dripped down along the
window pane, trailing after the rain outside. "For awhile, it was."


* * * * *


The white dress billowed as he stood in the green grass that was soft and lush
beneath his feet. Beside him, the child with her pink, lustrous hair sat crying on
the emaculated lawn. Her sun-dress danced around her figure in curtains of snow-
colored silk. Around her, other children teased, frowned and shook their heads,
scolding the crying girl.

"A princess? You?" One girl asked in disdain.

Another laughed, "Don't joke about it, you're not princess material."

"Queen Neo-Serenity-sama is way too cool to have a child like you!" A boy
added.

The first nodded in agreement, "And King Endymion-sama is too handsome to be
the father of such an ugly thing!"

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to lie?"

Mamoru frowned disapprovingly at the scene and opened his mouth to tell them
to stop, but his words went unheard even as they left his lips for once without
restraint. But the crying little girl was soon left alone when the other kids,
called away by their respective parents, departed from the scene of their petty and
ignorant cruelties. They had not physically harmed her like children had when he
was young and a child, but their words left the same mark that he himself still
carried at times from his own difficult and youthful years.

"I am too a princess," the girl-child declared suddenly with fire in her tear-
filled eyes. "I'll prove to them how strong and worthy I am to be the daughter of
Mama and Papa! I may not be strong now, but I'll work hard and become the best
princess ever, maybe even as strong as the Sailor Senshi!"

"Chibiusa-chan!" A small voice called and once again a little fur-ball
bounded to her mistress as large, round eyes looked up questioningly at her. "There
you are! Serenity-sama was worried when you disappeared from the palace again," the
little kitten admonished the wide-eyed Chibiusa. "Oh dear," the young cat blinked
as if just realizing the condition the other was in, "Are you alright,
Chibiusa-chan?"

Chibiusa stuck her tongue out pointedly at her friend and guardian, "I'm fine,
Diana, I just wanted to be out."

Tentatively the little cat jumped onto her lap and rubbed assuringly against
her, "You've been crying, Chibiusa-chan, I hope you didn't hurt yourself."

Chibiusa smiled as she cradled the little, purring kitten in her arms, "As
long as you're with me, Diana, I'll be fine."

"Really?" The little cat beamed happily, "Then I'll never leave your side,
Chibiusa-chan!"

Blue eyes blinked as Chibiusa frowned down at the little kitten, "Hey, didn't
I tell you to call me Usagi?"

"Yes, Chibiusa-chan!" The little girl-child sighed at the beaming young
kitten, "What's the matter Chibiusa-chan? You don't look so good all of a sudden!"
Diana blinked at her mistress with curiosity and worry.

"Never mind, Diana," Chibiusa smiled faintly at the cat, "never mind."

Utopia was beautiful, Chibiusa lifted her head to watch the clouds in the sky,
but somehow she felt just as lonely.

Mamoru allowed himself to set an reassuring hand on the pink-haired girl's
small shoulder, sadness reflected upon his face. Rouge eyes turned to meet his, and
he saw, with great surprise, that her eyes were aged and questioning, much to his
own trapedition, "When does loneliness end, Papa?"

To that, Mamoru had no answer as he gaped at the little girl-child before him.


* * * * *


He came in the nights at a time she was most insecure. His wings were like
that of an angels, the red jewel on his forehead flashing crimson as his amber eyes
shone with that same taint, turning into the color of burnished copper. Pale,
slender hands, gentle and kind reached out to her before they turned into hooves.
Eyes pleading as unspoken words died on his lips becoming a soft, musical whine.

The sound of a bell tinkled into her dreams.

"Elios...-kun," she touched his long, white nozzle. His breath was hot
against the palm of her cool hand as she caressed his soft, white coat. Wings
rustled as the feathers flew around them in the twilight evenings of dreams and
reality.

"Lady Serenity," his forelegs gave as he slowly, gracefully knelt in his
pegasus form.

She could not help but laugh, dropping onto her knees as well and ignoring the
startled look that the winged-horse gave her. She threw her arms around his long,
white neck as she pulled him closer into her embrace, smelling the scent of wind in
his long mane. No, not just wind, but water as well, reminding her of the lagoon
hidden deep within a forest of dreams. "You promised me one last ride tonight,
Elios-kun." She teased and pouted.

"Anything for my Lady and my savior," he answered calmly, regaining his
composure, though he did not physically speak to her in this form.

She pulled away, wide-eyed, "Don't," she silenced his mind as the jewel
flashed under the evening moon. Their reflection in the waters showed a young boy
and a young girl, embracing while the girl held a finger to his lips, rouge eyes
pleading for him to listen and no more. He complied and said nothing while she
smiled up to him relieved, "No matter what, even if the Moon fades away and the Sun
dims to darkness, always know that you were my savior as much as you claim me to be
yours." All of her earlier cheer faded to seriousness as her eyes questioned him,
asking him to understand.

"My Lady--"

"Shh," she shushed him with kindness in those crimson orbs and something else
as well. "Tonight, call me Usagi, Elios-kun, I want us to be together one last
time, as just two people getting to know one another, okay? I... I want to know
you."

The water rippled and now the man was on the other side of the reflective
surface and the horse knelt to the girl in the waters. "Whatever you desire...
Usagi."

She smiled, pink hair flowing, dipping into the waters as she closed her eyes
and pulled him near. His eyes were wide with surprise when he felt her soft,
phantom-like kiss, inexperienced and shy. Then the young girl-child pulled back, a
blush staining her cheeks. "Elios-kun, let's go see the city from the sky again! I
want to view the stars tonight with you," she blurted out nervously, her earlier
boldness fleeing her presence as quickly as it had came at her bidding.

He only smiled with equal shyness as he pulled her into his arms, wings
sprouting in a flurry of white feathers. "Whatever you desire, Usagi."

Rouge eyes turned to he who watched in the shades of the great trees, away
from the young-old man who held her in his arms. Her eyes were ever laughing and
smiling and happy, but the sadness lingered still in the very air around them.
"Where does loneliness go when it ends, Papa?" Her voice broke the private memory
they now shared.

"Does it ever?" He asked in return, but she was gone before the last words
left his lips, and once again, he was left alone with his thoughts. The questions
they shared fell like the feathers that remained behind, a reminder in time -- white
and ephemeral -- holding the glow of things gone past.


* * * * *


The mirrors shone in the labyrinth they were in. He watched his reflection
with questioning eyes. Older, this memory was of him when he had become older.

"Mamoru-sempai!" A fellow student tapped him on the shoulder, "You aren't
lost already, are you? This is just the entrance of the Mirror House!"

He gave the other a look that was as indifferent as it was direct, "Are you
lost already, Koharu-san?" Mamoru asked, redirecting the question back at the
inquirer.

The other shrugged good-naturedly, not at all fazed by the cold shoulder. It
was almost like he was used to it as he flashed Mamoru another grin. "Always so
serious, Mamoru-sempai. If I didn't know better I'd have thought you were an old
man in a young man's body!"

Mamoru said nothing. Inside, he remembered how, at the time, he was still
frustrated and uncertain. Nights were spent, wandering aimlessly through the city
with no destination in mind except the vague feeling of wanting and needing to find
something... someone. At the time he would have readily agreed to the comment but
for a different reason than the one he now knew to be true. However, at that time,
he was also wondering how in the world he had allowed himself to be dragged to the
forsaken carnival. He had never been very sociable and the boys he had went with
weren't ones he could even call friends. Yet, he had needed to get away from his
suddenly stuffy apartment and had grabbed at the chance that the others had offered
him. If only he could ignore his dreams of that beguiling voice calling to him.
Who did it belong to?

Perhaps a princess?

Somehow thinking of her brought back that terrible feeling of emptiness and at
the same time, a strange warmth... dare he name it? Was it hope? He couldn't
remember how long it had been since he had felt that emotion but it was strange and
did not sit well with him, neither did the dreams. After all, Mamoru was a very
logical man, he did not believe in fairytales or prophetic dreams. When he was
younger, he would have been the first to scorn such claims, that is until he was
forced to experience it again and again.

Always he found himself on the streets of Tokyo, wandering and wandering,
searching for someone he could not find. He hated feeling as if that someone will
make all of his sorrow disappear, that she was his happiness. That cannot be!
After all, no one can solve all of your problems for you, you yourself is
responsible for whatever it is that happens in your life and if not that, at least
you should not rely on others to solve your problems for you.

Still, his reflection frowned at what his heart continue to tell him. That
"she" was out there, waiting for him, waiting to fill that black, bottomless pit
inside of him.

*I am alone, I will always be alone,* he told himself, his face fixed into a
permanent scowl.

"Did you really believe that, Papa?" The girl with flowing pink hair asked
from the otherside of the mirror, looking back at him.

"Mamoru-san, you look like someone stole your girlfriend!" A cheerful,
teasing voice came as a longhaired man with unruly curls plopped down beside the
ever-smiling Koharu Ryoko.

"Mamoru-sempai's girlfriend?" Koharu looked thoughtfully at this as he turned
to his companion, "He seems so cold though, I just can't imagine him accepting a
date!"

"Perhaps a crush?" The other suggested with a pout. "What if it's an older
woman?" Green eyes widened, "It seems to suit Mamoru's picture, ne?" And much to
the dark-haired boy's chagrin, Koharu readily agreed with their new companion.

"You act so girlish sometimes, Takara-kun." Another dark-haired youth rolled
his eyes upon approach, watching with amusement as Mamoru tried to dispell the
slight blush that colored his cheeks at the indecent proposal. The new comer
stepped out from an unseen hall of mirrors, "But for once I must agree with you."

Mamoru scowled at them as a giggle in the mirror pulled his attention away,
"Did you believe it's true, Papa?" The girl in the mirror asked, suddenly very
serious. "Do you still believe that we are always alone?"

But himself of the past looked away from the mirror, as if disgusted with his
own image and whatever else he saw there. "Someone can't solve all of my
problems," he told the three boys before him, "only I can help myself."

And as he stalked away, four pairs of sad eyes followed his fuming form as the
girl in the mirror twirled the opened parasol of lonely violets upon a snow-white
background in her hands. Her seemingly absent-mindedness accidentally ended up
shattering glass. Mamoru turned with shock on his face as mirror after mirror
broke, exploding and littering the pieces onto the ground, along with their
reflections that were now splintered into a million pieces; pieces that could never
be put together again, pieces of truth and lies and everything in between that made
people who they were and are.

A million emotions litered the ground brokenly.

Mamoru tried desperately to cover his face, attempting to shield himself from
the blasts as well as preparing himself for the cutting pain. Surprisingly, none
came, and when he opened his midnight eyes again, his world was once again changed.


* * * * *


"Papa, were you lonely once?" The world turned into a forest as they sat in
the clearing. The broken pieces had seemed to have merged together like shining,
mercury drops of poison, merging into a lake of brilliant sky blue and sparkling
azure. The waters flickered before his gaze, one moment a transparent depth and the
next a stormy, grey-emerald sea.

Her legs were bare as she dipped them deep into the lake, dangling her feet in
the strange, rippling waters. A sundress of pink and white covered her and as he
watched her wade her legs in the unknown depths. He saw her reflection in the
waters to be a young lady while before him was but a child. Slowly his eyes
traveled over the rippling surface, stopping suddenly at the gaze of a white
stallion with brilliant mane of marble white and eyes of copper-gold, a color of the
setting sun looked to them from a distance with wings erect upon the waters.
Mamoru's gaze slowly moved up as he saw that over the calm surface, a man stood
alone before a temple in the center of the lake. The other looked ever so longingly
at the shore to them, but did not move nor speak.

"Papa, were you lonely once?" The girl-child repeated herself.

"Once a long time ago," he answered.

"Are you afraid, Papa?" she asked him.

"Of what?"

"The end, the Messiah, the Darkening..." the girl touched her hand to her
lips.

Mamoru turned to her daughter, "Are you? Do you still believe in your friend,
Tomoe Hotaru-san?"

"Friends..." Chibiusa closed her eyes.

The water rippled and he looked down to see that his reflection had grown,
though his hands had gotten smaller than he remembered them to be when he had lifted
them to see. Beside him the young girl was now a young woman, while in the waters
she remained a child as in the waters he remained an adult. "I am over nine-hundred
years old, Papa," rouge eyes turned to him. "Yet in the real world I am still a
little girl," pink-hair flowed like liquid water. "Do you ever feel so very old on
the inside? So very alone?"

"Chibiusa-chan," his voice sounded higher-pitched than he was used to. He
looked up at the lady next to him, "Loneliness is in all of us." He finally said
looking onto the waters, "But that is not the only emotion we experience from day to
day."

"Does it ever go away, Papa?" She asked, her eyes in the water looking up to
him with fear and anxiety.

He knew through their link that she was feeling that black, gaping hole that
threatens to engulf all that is and will be, the inescapable fear that of being
swallowed without friend or even foe near oneself. That is loneliness, that part of
you so empty that it seems to bring irrational fear so potent and clear in a moment
of terrifying truth that if you probe it hard enough and ask yourself enough
questions about what loneliness really is, you would feel yourself slipping from
reality and gaining a bit of insanity. Everyone is afraid, afraid of being left
behind and by themselves, even if we constantly tell ourselves that we can go on.
Still that fear lingers in the corner of our heart of hearts, ever present and never
gone.

"Are you lonely, Chibiusa-chan?" He asked and she looked out over the waters,
reaching out her hand to the man far in the distance, standing and watching with
sorrowful eyes at them on the other side.

"Sometimes I think I am," she said. "Friends, lovers, Papa and Mama... make
it easier to bare... but I wonder, Papa," she looked to his reflection in the water,
"Does this feeling ever go away?"

"We forget it sometimes," he said.

"But it never truly goes away, does it?" Her question was but a whisper on
the breeze, but the leaves were moved by such a breeze nonetheless.

"Loneliness never truly goes away. We are born alone and we die alone. But
when we love someone other than ourselves, loneliness evaporates into the air and is
put on the shelf for another time to contemplate. It doesn't matter if we are with
all of our loved ones or even among strangers, usually in a crowd we are more alone
than ever before compared to being just on our own. But when loneliness ends, there
you shall find the one closest to your heart." He told her.

"I dreamt," she said, "that I was standing alone in a crowd of nameless people
and Elios-kun and Hotaru-chan were waiting for me on the other side, reaching for
me." Rouge eyes looked up from the lake and straight into the sad eyes of the
white-haired man far, far away. "I was alone in the crowd and they were on the
other side of that line on the cement, just out of my reach. When I had stopped to
watch the others pass in a stream of black shadows, I wondered, do they love me? Am
I alone? Will this last forever? The crowd passes me by and there are no answers
to be given." She paused as a breeze rustled the trees around them once more, "But
I can't deny it, Papa, I love them still, even if I'm alone I can't hate them for
it. I love you and Mama, and the Sailor Senshi. Somehow, even now, I can't hate
Hotaru-chan, even if she destroys the world... Somehow all I can feel in my heart is
hope, my hope that she will find happiness."

"Chibiusa-chan...?" Mamoru looked up from the waters himself and turned to
the woman next to him.

Her hair flowed loose from its constraints as he watched his daughter leap
from the edge of the waters, hand reaching forth, "Ai...shiteru," she whispered, her
eyes directed at the far away center of the lake.

The surface broke as the pegasus flew forth, carrying the white-haired man
towards her as she fell in her flight across the shifting waters as a burst of
feathers momentarily blinded him. He was unable to see who it was that sprouted
their wings first, but when the feathers cleared, he caught but a glance of a
poignant second lost too quickly and so much more precious because of its inevitable
end.

Their time was up as pale fingertips brushed against hers, copper eyes of sun-
set evenings met and pleaded with the helpless sadness of crimson sparks, darkening
like flames as her gaze refused to look away from his even as she began to fade. It
was a moment etched in time...

"Aishiteru, Usagi," the man of alabaster mouthed as the ripples met,
distorting and destroying the image it so easily reflected.

And then the city errupted into being around them.


* * * * *


The shadows moved upon the grey cement walkway, nameless and faceless. He
stood, watching the towering forms move by. Beside him, young Chibiusa blinked back
her tears as she looked around her. "My dream," she whispered in awe and in the
distance two people stood, a light in the dark.

"Elios," Mamoru whispered before blinking in surprise as a sudden burst of
light assaulted his eyes and before him stood a woman cloaked in white and purple.
She looked familiar and at the same time so very foreign. How long had time passed
in this reality? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? Days?

"Sailor... Saturn?" Artemis gasped in surprise once he bounded back into
Mamoru's room with Luna falling closely behind.

The translucent form looked down at father and daughter with a sad, sweet
smile. "Hotaru...?" Luna mewled sadly, though surprise tinged her voice as well.

"Thank you, Chibiusa-chan." A brilliant star appeared in her hand and floated
in the air, approaching closer and closer...

And even as Mamoru watched the ghostly form, his mind was still trapped in
another reality, unable to make sense of what his eyes told him of the world his
body still rested in. But before he could attempt to figure it out, he was once
again lost in the mirage of another dream.


* * * * *


The shadows in the streets parted as the raven-haired girl neared.
"Hotaru...-chan?" Chibiusa looked surprised as her friend approached, tears falling
like tiny star crystals down her cheeks, wetting the ground beneath her.

"Thank you, Chibiusa-chan," she said.

"For being my friend, for caring for me, I still want you to stay with me
forever!" Chibiusa cried reaching out. But already the other was retreating, sad
eyes of regret saying more than any words could express. "Hotaru-chan! Don't go!
I had always wanted a friend like you, someone to listen to me when I'm down or
confused, someone to laugh with me and play with me and cry with me."

"Chibiusa-chan," Mamoru, no longer a child, touched her shoulders
reassuringly. "Do you believe in your friend?" Pink-haired wavered as the girl
bobbed her head up and down vehemently. "Then believe that she won't let any of us
down, okay, Chibiusa-chan?"

Chibiusa nodded reluctantly a second time, lacking the conviction she had
before. And it was then a star that shone like the sun burst into their grey, black
world. "You must leave now, Chibiusa-chan," Elios who remained behind smiled ever
so sadly at the girl before him, his lips never moved but they heard him clearly
nonetheless. "The world outside is calling to you, people who love you, both of
you, awaits your return."

"Elios-kun," Chibiusa wipped away a tear as she blinked at him. "Are you
lonely, Elios-kun?"

He only smiled, "As long as Chibiusa-chan is alright and happy, I will try my
best to be happy with her."

"Elios..." Mamoru murmured in amazement. He had not realized the depth of his
servant's devotion to his daughter till that very moment when those eyes of amber-
sunsets turned to him questioningly. Mamoru smiled sadly as he nodded at the man in
understanding and gratitude. It was then that warmth engulfed them all, whisking
both Mamoru and Chibiusa left the world of black and grey.

"As long as Chibiusa-chan and Endymion-sama is happy, I will bare my
loneliness for both of you..." Elios said to the wind as the world shattered,
revealing the shifting lagoon in the empty and enchanted forest.


* * * * *


Like the lantern that had guided you on the dark road, the darkness will never
truly disappear but there is always the bright, unending light. Faint as it may be,
the firefly that is love shall follow you through the days of your lives and when
you see it, even the darkness of solitude cannot swallow up that faint glow. Hence,
don't be afraid of this feeling, even if it shall never truly leave you. There is
no end to loneliness, it will only go to sleep in its lonesome tower of ivory. But
then, when we have finally tasted love and come to understand it in all its aspects
of pain and glory, tears and joy, peace and chaos; it is then that we will come to
see that ever with loneliness we walk there is still companionships that lasts. If
we look deep enough, daring to tread far beyond the darkness of that bottomless pit,
then we might discover that buried in our hearts, all that we hold dear also lay
waiting for us in slumber, waiting past the individuality of freedom. As binding as
a silver string that connects one side of your heart to the other side of that chasm
to your soul, there is hope. Those that have changed us are there to remind us that
there they shall stay, remaining in a drop of crimson that exists in the very beats
of our hearts where no one can touch or take away. Every man, woman, and child that
had loved us shall remain forever in memory within that deep, secret place, filling
all the corners of what we may conceive to be no more but an empty shell with the
scent of days gone by, as well as with future courage.

In the end we are born alone and we die alone, but if we have loved or been
loved in return, we will never be alone.

"I dreamt of a world of shadows and could not reach my friends... I found
myself alone in the crowd and unable to move... Papa, do you believe that loneliness
lasts and lasts forever, that one can never escape it?"

"Loneliness goes on and on forever, Chibiusa-chan. But even if we are alone
in the crowd, our hearts will still beat to the whispers of friends and lovers of
yesterdays gone by. And as long as we remember them with a smile, while greeting
the new day with equal brightness, we will never be alone. Love also goes on and on
forever, and even if the darkness lingers so will the light that guides you." Neo-
Queen Serenity clasped her daughter close to her breast as King Endymion smiled
gently down at the picture of mother and daughter.

There is loneliness, but we are never truly alone in the crowd.



. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
.http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .

* ne? - right?

* Aa - Yes

* Musume - daughter (In cultures that uses English, it is not a custum to call one's
daughter, "Daughter" but it is true in some Eastern cultures. Hence, not wanting
that to be overly awkward, I used the japanese version instead.)

* Aishiteru - "I love you" (and this is a very serious way of saying it in Japanese,
unlike America, this phrase is not used very often nor is it thrown around at every
gathering of friends, and it tends to mean *exactly* what it means. In other words,
men do not use it just to get a woman in bed and people don't say it every day to
each other. They have phrases and words with similar meanings for that... well,
those words aren't AS seriouos but you get the point, I hope.)

* Yes, Chibiusa is over 900 years old. You did not read that incorrectly. If you
want to argue with me, I suggest you buy the SuperS manga first and after you have
read it all (since I forgot which volume Chibiusa actually did state her age) THEN
you can argue with me. As for why and how, I've seen speculations of it for her
going back to the future and all, but I have my own beliefs on why this is so. If
you want to see my version of it, go read "When All The Good Angels Sleep", by...
well... ME! Is this self-promotion? I think so ^_~v (For those of you who are
actually following that story, chapter 9 has been done for awhile, but I keep adding
things and driving my editor up the wall because everytime I send her a new version
I keep believing it to be the last one. Poor Campo-san... Anywho, I think she's
holding that chapter hostage till I come up with chapter 10. So, sorry! You'll
have to wait for the finished version of that chapter just like I have to wait for
the finished version. Hence, you are NOT alone! The author is *suffering* with
you!)

* If you are wondering what made me write this... let just say this summer I
revisited Sailor Moon S and my muse decided to knock me over the head with this
idea. I'm slightly peeved when people state that new ideas for Sailor Moon has
run dry. I can think of a few that still has not been explored. Since I've NEVER
written about either Mamoru or Chibiusa (on account that both have annoyed me
greatly at some point in time in the past, during the anime), for me, this is
original, whether or not the idea itself is. So I decided to give this a go.
If you have not noticed, this is not a very emotional fic, at least I don't think it
is overly emotional... okay, I didn't write it to be an angsty fic. I'm looking at
it in a more philosophical point of view... and I am blatantly ignoring all hints at
the crush that Chibiusa seemed to have had for Mamoru in the show. In my opinion,
the pink hairball never was in love with him and did it just to spite Usagi, that
and I believe Chibiusa acutally did have an overwhelming admiration for young Mamoru
(young considering how old he was when Chibiusa was growing up in the future) but I
don't think it was really romantic. As for that kiss, they were both screwed in the
head when that happened, I mean, Chibiusa got a new body and she and Mamoru both
were like... just brainwashed again or something equally silly, hence I would
like to label that under the "things that overly drunk ppl do and regret in the
morning IF they even remembered what happened" catagory. And yes, I do consider
them to be minor characters in the series, though Chibiusa did have her own "sorta"
series or two *cracks up at the memory of the pink sugar heart attack*, I still find
her to be quite two-dimensional, as I do all the characters in the Sailor Moon
universe. After all, that's why I love this universe so much!! I get to expand any
character I see fit! ^_^v

* Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story! Until next time! ^-^

. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
.http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .