On a Raven Wind

Author: Abigail aka Moonchild aka Drive Me Mercury

Email: abigail@makenai.org

Rating: PG-13 (subject to go up or down at my whim ^_~)

Chapter started: 2-07-03 Chapter ended: 2-09-03

Disclaimer: Sailor Moon and all characters and settings belong to the one-and-only Naoko Takeuchi. All created characters and plots within this story are my own.

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Prologue.

Devonshire, England, 1998.

The brown thrush lighted on the green-and-pink-splayed rosebush with practiced ease, ruffling her feathers to cast off the dust of the late July afternoon. She hopped lithely from one branch to another, a helpless earwig pinched between her beak, until she reached the woven mass of grass and twine that was her half-hidden nest. Four greedy mouths reached out, stretching necks begged to be first. Her hatchlings were growing fatter, the nest becoming more and more cramped. Their downy fluff was quickly becoming mature feathers, and it wouldn't be long before she would have to bid her brood farewell, and let them each fly on their own.

That was the way Nature dictated things.

Ne, bird?

Will you miss them?

Or will you be happy that you won't have to hunt for four times the food every day?

At least you will know that they'll be able to care for themselves.

But yet… will you be sad once they're gone? Even knowing that new eggs will hatch in the spring?

The bird arched her wings and flew away again in a flash of brown and white. The woman by the window lingered longer, sighing softly into the summer breeze that wafted through the shade of the garden and found its way through the open screen. A slight perfume of roses trailed in the air, sweetening the room, as antique lace curtains moved lazily in the mid-summer humidity. The occasional musical voice of a songbird accented the afternoon, drifting in from the gardens that she had come to know familiarly over the past months.

She usually avoided the rose garden, where many prize crimson buds blotted the leaves lining the pathway, but the sweet pink blooms that grew beneath this window had always comforted her. They seemed to convey a soft innocence, a gentle fragility that masked hidden strength. And today, her heavy heart needed such strength.

She rose from the windowseat, her long golden wave of hair catching the sunlight as it fell past her knees, and turned to the figure across the room who had come unannounced, as swiftly and silently as the darkness. Yet somehow the other woman knew she would be standing there.

"It's time."

The gentle voice seemed to accent, rather than break, the stillness of the room. Garnet orbs spoke across the distance, meeting azure blue ones. Raven hair fell like a shadow behind her, reflecting green where the sunlight hit it. She wore a gray business suit, simple yet elegant.

"It came too soon." A weak protest from the woman by the window.

"You knew this day would have to come," the figure spoke with the wise but caring tone of a mother. "This was your decision, after all."

"I know." She bowed her head. "I haven't changed my mind."

"It's the best thing to do, my Princess." The dark woman moved across the room, to a bundle of blankets that occasionally emitted a small noise. Carefully, she scooped it into her arms. The blonde woman glanced toward her, catching glimpse of a small black tuft of hair that peeked out of the blanket. She turned again toward the window.

When the second woman had the package arranged comfortably in her arms, she turned her attention once more to the girl by the window. "Will you say goodbye?"

"…I already have. If I look at her again, I know I won't be able to let go. So please… just go now, before my heart changes my mind."

"…Usagi-chan…" The dark woman abandoned all formality and addressed the blonde woman as the dear friend that she was. When no response came, she nodded only slightly, turning to walk away with the precious bundle.

"Please remember," she paused, hoping to give a final word of comfort. "You have a whole new future ahead of you now. Look towards that."

"Arigato, Setsuna-san," the girl spoke, still not turning to meet her eyes.

The room was silent, and Usagi knew she was gone. Again the only sounds were the birds and buzzing insects outside. She turned away from the window to survey the dim parlor, it's furnishings echoing the Victorian era when it had been built. This part of the old estate had been her home for the past six months, while she'd been in England under the guise of studying abroad. Setsuna had arranged for her to stay, and the owners had been very kind to her.

Usagi shivered in spite of the heat, wrapping her arms gently over her chest. She had to follow the Guardian of Time's advice, and focus on the future now. In just a few days she would be able to return to Japan to be reunited with her friends. That thought allowed a ghost of a smile to cross her lips, though she felt hardly as excited as she might be under normal circumstances.

As much as she willed herself not to, her eyes drifted toward the empty bassinet across the room. It was an antique she had carried down from the attic, with a decorative lace-trimmed skirt and satin sheets which she'd carefully tucked around the edge. The tiny bed drew her toward itself, and now Usagi let a hand fall onto the smoothness of the sheets.

It's best to forget. Don't dwell on the past. She tried to push away the image of a tiny face that was still so fresh in her mind. Ivory hands caressed the fabric softly, as first one, then another wet drop marred the pristine whiteness of the satin.

She had done what had to, to ensure the safety of her future. Why, then, did she feel as if she'd just given away her only future happiness?