Disclaimer: I do not own Sailormoon or Fushigi Yuugi or any of their characters. Usage is primarily for purposes of entertainment.
Author's Notes: Hello readers. This is the slightly revised, 2007 version of my 6 year old (probably older) work. There's probably not much I am going to change about it. Let it be known that my life has changed dramatically since it's conception and may influence the fic. Also I'd like to let you know that I do not know everything that happened in Fushigi Yuugi since I was mostly working when it was showing. Thus some, or perhaps even most of my details of what's happening at Mt. Leikaka (Reikaku or whatever its million of alterations) may be incorrect. I humbly implore that you forgive these inaccuracies and simply enjoy the story for what it's worth. Also I have not seen ALL of sailormoon. I've seen most of it. I know mostly the anime Rei. Same goes for Tasuki. Please don't flame me on basis of purity or faithfulness to the works of Naoko Takeuchi and Yuu Watase. It's only fanfiction after all. :-)
"Of course." Kouji assured as he put down a big jar of sake on the festivity table. "Once he sees all this sake, he won't complain about having extravagant celebrations, ne?"
"Can I taste some of the sake, huh, Otou-san?" a tiny blue-haired boy with bright eyes tugged at Koji's pants.
"Ayyiiii, you're only 4 years old, Ryobe-chan." Koji squatted to ruffle his son's hair. "Maybe when you're old enough...like 6 or 7, okay?" he winked at the boy who was all starry-eyed at the promise. "Now run along and help your mother with the food, ne?"
The other bandit shook his head as Ryobe ran away to help his mother. "Errr...don't you think it's a little early for Ryobe to go sake-training?"
Koji laughed, "Life is short, my friend. That's why we must seize all opportunities when they come along."
"What the &$ is this all about?" Tasuki demanded as he was being escorted to the main hall of the bandit stronghold two hours later by Koji and the other bandit named Fumaru.
"Wait and see..." Koji winked at this friend. On cue, he and Fumaru kicked the doors open and revealed a room full of Mt. Reikaku bandits, dressed in their Sunday's best (if they ever had one ) and surrounding a long table filled with loads of food and twice as much sake. At the center of the table was Ryobe, holding the Mt. Reikaku version of a birthday cake topped with 21 candles.
"Happy Birthday To You..." the already half-drunk bandits sung off-key. "Happy Birthday To You..."
Tasuki shot an accusing glare at Koji who was twiddling his thumbs and sweatdropping like hell. "And this is supposed to be..."
"It isn't everyday you get to celebrate your 21st birthday, ne?" Koji grinned. He prepared himself for his best friend's onslaught when a small voice piped up next to them.
"Happy Birthday, Genrou-sama." Ryobe smiled, holding up the cake with the candles towards his father's best friend.
Tasuki's expression softened upon seeing the little boy's face. Koji snickered. His son knew well enough to save his father's hide. Tasuki had a special fondness for the little tyke. He took up the boy in his arms and carried him back to the dinner table where everyone was still singing the Birthday song to their almighty leader.
"Happy Birthday...Happy Birthday..."
"Happy Birthday to you..."
Rei's eyes lit with excitement as she gandered at the beautifully decorated birthday cake before her. Baked especially by Mako-chan decorated with white gumpaste casablancas and lined with ribbons and silver candles. The candles' lights reflected through her violet eyes...all eighteen of them burning brightly.
It was her birthday, and despite all protests, her friends put up a small party for her at Hikawa Jinja. A small gathering of friends in contrast to the extravagant debutante's ball her father had wanted for her. He isn't even here, Rei thought bitterly. But she had learned to ignore her father's absence during her birthday celebrations. It would only dampen her somewhat elated mood. And it wouldn't be right to be unhappy when her friends worked hard to give her such a wonderful party. Makoto had baked the cake and done most of the cooking with Ami's help (Usagi had been denied access to the kitchen, thankfully). Minako and Usagi made up all the decorations. It was simple but pretty, and Rei was happy beyond words.
"Make a wish..." Minako reminded her as she closed her eyes and prepared to blow.
Rei thought hard on what she wanted before making up her mind. Her gaze wandered around the four elated girls surrounding her. The smiles on their faces was infectious. If only she could hold on to something like it longer...she thought. For when they were here, she forgot all her loneliness, her longing, her emptiness. Life at Hikawa Jinja wasn't always happy. Fact is, it hardly was. It was the presence of these four young women who made it so...and when they leave...
Rei smiled inwardly when she reached a decision. I wish to find a person who would make me happy...Rei spoke in her inner thoughts. Forever.
"Come on, Gen-chan! Blow the candles!" one of the bandits called out.
"Yeah, so we can dig in and grub already!" yelled another.
"Don't forget to make a wissshhh..." a third one teased.
"Bet ya it'll be for a lifetime's supply of sake..." joked another.
A smirk appeared on Genrou's lips. What do I want? he asked himself as he prepared to blow the candles off. Sure it was no big deal, wishing before blowing off the candles. It was nothing but a traditional ceremony. But for some very strange reason, he felt he should make this wish a good one. His gaze wandered off to Koji who was carrying his four-year-old kid, shouting with glee.
I wish, he thought, I wish I could be as happy and content as Koji is...
And with that, he blew all 21 candles.
A single whiff of air put out eighteen candles at the same time.
And as the scent of blown-out candles caught Rei's nostrils, she thought she had smelled a whiff of sake.
Tasuki inhaled a scent of flowers...casablancas if he wasn't mistaken. But...where did they come from?
Rei's friends clapped merrily in the background.
A gang of bandits yelled in unison. "Feeding time!"
"Finally!" Usagi declared happily, the drool coming from her mouth. "We get to taste the cake...yuuuum!" she reached out to dip a finger in the red-and-white delicacy when her hand was halted by a firm grasp.
"Oi, the birthday celebrant gets to cut first." Rei scolded, trying to stop Usagi from haggling the cake.
"But I'm hungry..." Usagi contested, going all wobbly-eyed.
And all three other Sailor Senshis sweatdropped as Usagi and Rei wrestled each other trying to get to the cake.
"And to think we're already grown women." Makoto sighed.
"Supposedly." laughed Ami.
Tasuki sighed as he watched his fellow bandits dig in the food Koji's wife, Mitsuko had helped prepare. He helped himself as well, taking a little bit of everything and loading a heckuva lot of sake. He joined in the merry festivities, but every once in a while, his eyes would wander off to Koji and his kawaii little boy who was very much a chibi version of himself. Tasuki would be lying if he said he didn't want to have a little boy like Ryobe to tag along with him every once in a while, asking him silly questions and touching everything he wasn't supposed to. But then, having one would require him to have a wife...a woman to live with him and give him heirs to the throne of the Mt. Reikaku stronghold. He felt his skin crawl with the thought. UGH! Why must a man have a woman to get himself kids? Why can't he just have them by himself, produce them in a blink of an eye like the wolves with his ofuda scrolls? Why must one tolerate a bantering, nagging old hag with him just to make kawaii kids like that? He was suddenly reminded of his own childhood...
Is that why he felt empty these past few months? He had been feeling wanton recently, and he didn't quite understand why. He did, however note, that the feeling of discontent appeared everytime he took a gander at Koji and Ryobe, father and son that they are. Watching the facial expressions on Koji whenever Ryobe aksed what the horses were doing on the stable and if what the bandits are doing is illegal. Seeing them ride a horse together and chase rabbits and fowls about the stronghold. Observing them as the little boy would stuggle to carry the sack of goods they had stolen and bring it to headquarters even if he couldn't even budge them.
Shimatta. Tasuki thought. He was getting soft, and it was Koji's fault. Koji and his sudden surge of fatherhood hormones was beginning to get to him. Making him feel discontent and making him feel what he's not usually akin to. All of a sudden he thinks he's incomplete and unhappy. Tasuki smirked as he remembered his birthday wish. Perhaps he should've wished for a lifetime of supply of sake. At least that was more reachable.
Rei sat in the middle of the small party as her friends (well, Usagi mostly) dove into the cake, ice cream and every other delicacy was spread on the decorated table. Her smiled and laughed and enjoyed the celebration despite knowing it was going to be mere memory soon. A fleeting sensation of happiness. Nothing is permanent or defined in this world, she knew that. However, was it so impossible to have something or someone come into her life that would stay and make all things bright and beautiful for more than just a limited time? Usagi had her Mamoru. Ami had her books, and last she heard Ryo was back in town. She couldn't recall who Makoto was seeing at present (she couldn't keep track who was an ex and who was her current flame) but whoever he was, he sure put a permanent smile on her face. Minako was just happy. Always. Regardless.
Her grandfather fell seriously ill a few weeks ago. And although he had made an excellent recovery, that episode had only reminded Rei that he was not immortal and that his years on this green earth can only last so long. She cannot be in denial that one day he was going to leave her too. Her father can be relied on more to be there for his political party than he ever would be for his own flesh and blood.
Loneliness and solitude appears to be a mere heartbeat away.
And this is why she had made that wish with all her heart and all her soul.
But as they say...
Be careful of what you wish for...
Be very careful indeed.
TO BE CONTINUED
This story is dedicated to the two men in my life...my husband and my son, the two I had longed and wished for.