Disclaimer: BSSM is the property of her creator, Takeuchi Naoko. I am making no profit from the writing of this story. This is simply for the love of the art.
The six years after the defeat of Galaxia had been strangely peaceful. Seiya, Yaten and Taiki had returned to Kinmoku with Princess Kakyuu to rebuild what was destroyed. There hadn't been any contact between the earth-bound senshi and the Starlights since that day. Ami explained to Usagi that the probability that the Starlights would be able to keep in touch was slim since a reliable interplanetary communication device had yet to be developed. The explanation did nothing to ease the hurt that Usagi felt. They had been through so much together. It did not seem right for it to just end like that.
Usagi underwent a transformation after her battle with Galaxia. It wasn't like her many variations as Sailor Moon. Usagi had decided that her days of whining and crying were over. She was going to be the self sufficient woman Queen Serenity wanted her to be. Her first step was to enroll in a ballet class. Usagi was the first to admit that she was not the most graceful creature on the planet. Her mother, Queen Serenity, moved with such ease, like she was hovering three inches above the ground. Nothing ever seemed to trip her. Usagi wanted to move like that. She heard that ballet could help her control her body movements, so she decided to give it a try. Rei, with trademark sarcasm, doubted that anything could help the accident prone princess. Usagi proved everyone wrong. After a month of classes, Mamoru noticed that she tripped less. Usagi even bumped into him less often than usual. Her movements became more fluid. Minako once remarked that Usagi seemed to always be floating on air.
Once Usagi got her clumsiness under control, she decided to tackle another vice. Her study habits. First place, while an attainable goal, was not her wish. She simply was tired of being in last place. Usagi was smarter than anyone gave her credit for. She just had to find a way to manipulate the current pedagogy.
Usagi was pleased with her results on the high school entrance exams. She wanted to improve from that point. Never able to devote the amount of time that Ami did pouring over books, Usagi adopted a different method. She began taping her classes. At night, Usagi would listen to the recordings as she did her homework. Her teachers saw a marked improvement within the first three weeks. Usagi had gone from being tied for last with Minako to the middle of the pack. Ami was so impressed that she had to ask how Usagi did it. The odango adorned woman handed Ami her mini tape recorder. By the time Usagi and the others graduated from high school, Usagi was in the top 20 percent of her class. Her impeccable grades got Usagi into an accelerated degree program at Toudai.
She graduated in three years instead of the customary four with a degree in Art History. Mamoru was seated with her family that day. He marveled how his little bunny had matured over the years. She had evolved from an insecure schoolgirl into a self assured young woman ready to take on the world. It was on that day, in front of Usagi's entire family, that he replaced the promise ring with a bona fide engagement ring. In his heart, Usagi was his wife already, but Mamoru promised her father that he would wait until Usagi finished her education before making things official. Little did Tsukino Kenji know that his daughter already had her wedding planned. The date was set for August 23, a mere two months after Usagi's graduation. It never occurred to the older man how his wife and his daughter managed to pull together such a large event in the span of a couple of months.
At the age of twenty-two, the young woman at the center of all the conflicts in within her galaxy was finally reaping the rewards of her hard work. The day had finally arrived. Usagi was going to marry the man she had loved since before she was born. She was excitedly nervous.
'What if Mamo-chan doesn't show up?' Usagi thought. She shuddered. The Usagi of eight years ago was threatening to come out and scream bloody murder. She often thought that fate was playing a joke on her. She thought that one day she would wake up and she'd find that Mamoru was no more than a figment of her imagination. During the time he was supposed to be in America studying, Usagi was deathly afraid that Mamoru would find someone older and more sophisticated. When she did not hear from him, her fears began to take over. Late at night, while lying in bed, Usagi would hear Mamoru's voice telling her that he no longer loved her. The events of years past played like a bad movie in her head. All Usagi could see at that time was Mamoru rejecting her.
Bringing herself back from the realm of bad memories, Usagi glanced at her hand. On her left hand's ring finger was the proof that Mamoru was real, that he loved her and that he would never leave her. Yet, there was something ruining what should have been the happiest day of her life. Usagi shook it off.
"Usagi, what's wrong?" Rei inquired upon noticing Usagi's face pale. Rei walked over to her friend and tucked a few loose strands back into the chignon that adorned Usagi's head.
Usagi glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Even though she couldn't see it, she was the vision of the perfect bride. Her strapless gown accentuated her upper torso that had been toned through years of battle. The gown was cut slim and flared out slightly at her calves leading to the mermaid tail train. It was simple, yet exquisite. Just like the woman wearing it.
Usagi fiddled with her crescent moon earring. "I don't know Rei. I'm so close to having the life that I have dreamed of for so long. I'm just afraid that something is going to go wrong."
Rei held Usagi's hands and smiled. "Usagi, it's natural for you to be nervous. It's your wedding day."
"But Rei-chan " There was a knock at the door. Makoto and Minako were on the other side.
"Come on Usagi," Minako chirped. "I know this is your day, but there is a church full of people waiting for the wedding of the millennium."
Makoto laughed. The truth in Minako's words was not lost on the young women. Mamoru and Usagi had a love that stood the test of time, enemies and egos!
Usagi smiled as she looked at her friends. These were the women who stood by her side when everything went wrong around her. They had grown into such a stunning group of young women. The change was not only physical. Each of Usagi's friends was forging her own path. Rei was pursuing a career in the music industry. She earned a degree in Music Composition from the preeminent fine arts university in Japan. Ever since the festival at Rei's school in the eighth grade, Usagi knew that her hot-tempered friend would not be satisfied until her voice was all over the airwaves. Minako had earned a degree in Drama, to everyone's astonishment, from the same university that Rei attended. Her roles in Ito Daisuke's independent films had garnered critical acclaim for the fledgling actor. Makoto chose to get a degree in business management before attending culinary school. Ami told her that culinary school would be an exercise in futility. They all knew of Makoto's natural talent. Of all the girls, Ami's success was expected, but not under appreciated. She had been Toudai's best student. Ami had graduated summa cum laude. Upon graduation, Ami matriculated to Akashi Progressive Medical School where she was pursuing a combined MD/PhD.
"Oh my God!" Usagi exclaimed. Panic overtook her as she realized something was missing.
Makoto was the first to respond. "What is it! Who's there!" She assumed her fighting stance.
"Where's Ami!" Usagi screeched. "I can't do this without Ami."
The frantic look in the princess' eyes made the situation all the more hilarious. The room erupted with laughter. The look on Makoto's face went from panic to gaiety. It was comforting to know that after all these years, the more Usagi changed the more she stayed the same.
"You sent her to the chapel to make sure everything was in order. Don't you remember?" asked Minako.
"Oh… yeah," Usagi answered sheepishly.
"Listen," Rei forced Usagi down into a chair, "You are letting your nerves get the best of you…" Rei had mellowed over the years. She was less of a firestorm and more of a cozy campfire.
'Rei has really grown into her priestess role,' Usagi thought as her friend continued her counseling.
"…so just relax and enjoy your day." As Rei hugged Usagi, tear flowed down her cheek. Rei sighed as she wiped it away. She released Usagi and walked over to the full-length mirror. Rei looked at her reflection. 'Why couldn't it be me,' she asked herself. Rei didn't want to marry Mamoru. She always knew that he would never be hers. Besides, he was just an adolescent crush. Mamoru was simply a substitute for her heart's true desire. Even since she knew herself, Rei's heart belonged to another. Rei just wanted someone to be there for her the way Mamoru was for Usagi. Rei has someone like that once, a lifetime ago.
Minako and Makoto watched the exchange from across the room.
"Are you okay Mako-chan?" Minako threw a worried glance at her friend. She knew better than any of the senshi what this was doing to them. As the senshi of love, Minako could feel the heartache of her friends. She felt their souls reaching for those no longer there. Her own soul longed for her only love, her true love.
"I don't understand this Minako. How could they have fallen? They walked by his side and yet they are not here. It's not fair! Why was he reborn and not them?" Makoto looked disconsolate. She tried so hard not to cast a shadow on Usagi's special day. She did not begrudge Usagi. Makoto knew all the sacrifices Usagi made for Mamoru, for all of them. She deserved happiness. Makoto just wanted to know when it would be her turn.
"Are you sure about this," asked Mamoru's best man. "There's no turning back once you do this." The laughter in the man's slate-blue eyes was evident. He knew that Mamoru waited for this day. Some even thought that Mamoru wanted to marry Usagi more than she wanted to marry him.
Ever since Mamoru regained his memories of his past life with Usagi, he had been anxious. Mamoru knew that Usagi sometimes wondered whether he loved her for her or because of the destiny they shared. Never completely comfortable with the depth of emotion Usagi elicited, Mamoru sometimes seemed to shut the vibrant blond out. He could not articulate what he felt for Usagi. A simple 'I love you' was not sufficient. Usagi brought a light into an existence that had been plagued by tragedy. For so long, Mamoru wandered trying to find his place in the world. When he met Usagi, he felt like he had found it. At the age of eighteen, Mamoru did not understand the feelings. He just knew that he could not afford to lose the energetic young woman. Without her, Mamoru knew that he would be plunged back into the lonely darkness. Mamoru, over time, learned how to handle the feelings threatened to consume him. No one, not even the object of his affection, knew that the desire to make Usagi happy was his primary motivator.
"Neither wild horses, nor wicked queens bent on ruling the galaxy could stop me…." Mamoru paused and looked into the eyes of the men before him. "I'm sorry." The men surrounding Mamoru winced at his statement. They knew he meant no harm. The four men had atoned for their crimes and were forgiven by their prince. However, they would never truly be free of their past until they had been absolved of the sins against their own hearts.
"It's alright," replied a man with short sandy blond hair. "We have a lot to make up for. Much time has been lost." He walked over to Mamoru and the best man. He adjusted their bow ties, but his thoughts wandered to a dynamic priestess with violet eyes just as intense as the flames she watched. "I just hope it's not too late."
A tall man with broad shoulders and long chocolate brown hair walked out of the chapel and headed outside.
"Where is he going? The wedding is about to start," a young man with long blonde hair asked. He began to run after the errant groomsman when Mamoru stopped him.
"Let him go. He just needs some air. Today is a big day for all of us." Mamoru patted his friend's shoulder and lead him back to the chapel.
Outside, the dark haired man contemplated his situation. "I wonder if I still have it." He looked toward the sky. Immediately, the crystal clear day turned black for him. He began to read the stars looking for a sign, some kind of portent to indicate that this venture would be successful.
'Almost got it,' he thought. All of a sudden it felt as if a door slammed in his mind.
"What's going on!"
A calm silky voice began speaking from behind him. "You were given a second chance. However, I cannot allow you to do this. You are going to have to get through this the old-fashioned way."
The man turned around to put a face to the voice. All he saw was calf-length black hair with a glossy green sheen.
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"My heart…It feels like my heart is breaking."
The two began to panic. The black haired one was clutching her chest.
"It's Odango," she gasped. "It has to be. Go get Taiki. We're going back. Something is going on with Odango."
"Achoo! Someone must be talking about me."
This is the first in a series of revisions. I was re-read this and I realized that I cheated my readers out of my best effort. The first few chapters were short and choppy. There was no background information on how our favorite Bishoujo Senshi got to this point. I wanted improve the flow and continuity of the piece. The changes will not be drastic. I was thinking more in terms of background info, thoughts and descriptions. Plot-wise i am happy with what I have done. Stylistically, I thought I could use some work. This is still the same fic that we all know and love. Please let me know how this rates as comapred to the original.
Until next time,