Flame:
Chapter one: Red, red, blood . . .
SailorKagome
One shattered heart
Two reunited lovers
Three forgotten soldiers
Four left behind, to live or to die
Five blood stained souls
Millions of lost lives

I panted heavily, glancing back and forth to make sure I was safe. And as I looked, I saw the mutilated bodies of my fallen comrades. No! I closed my eyes. But who was left? I had to look. With my hands balled up into fists, I forced myself to look.

Venus . . .
Mercury . . .
Jupiter . . .
Neptune . . .
Uranus . . .
Healer . . .
Fighter . . .
Maker . . .
Kakyuu . . .
Even . . .

Even the Quartet and the Animates . . .

Saturn's body was nowhere to be found, but . . .but I myself had seen her fall earlier . . .

That left Pluto, Serenity, and myself, Mars.

And Serenity . . . She lay unconscious in the wreckage.

I came back to earth as I felt something warm and wet drop onto my leg. And it was red. Slowly, I opened my hands and saw my white gloves stained red . . . Stained by blood. I'd squeezed so hard that my nails had broken flesh . . . But it didn't really hurt. The pain was numbing. Maybe I was just incapable of feeling anymore . . . Hah! Wouldn't that be a treat? Just like the 'Perfect Soldier' himself.

But, no. Those were tears sliding down my face, though I didn't know when I'd started crying. Bringing my hand up to my face, I began wiping the tears away. Wait! My gloves! They still dripped blood . . . And now . . . My tears mingled with my blood, creating little rivers of red winding down my face.

Red, red, blood . . .

"Mars!" A voiced screamed, laced with desperation, and my head jerked up at the sound. When did I become so paranoid, I asked myself, only to hear no answer.

"Yes . . .Pluto?" Vaguely, I wondered why I seemed so . . . Unworried? Distanced? Everything seemed to move in slow motion. And I was still crying. Why?!

"You . . .you must-" She sounded so tired. So weary. My eyes viewed her, and indeed, she was. She looked even worse then I. And I'd never seen her so frazzled and . . .fragile.

She balanced on the time staff and began again.

"It isn't safe here any longer. You must keep Serenity alive. It is essential. He must not get her or the crystal."

"I- I know, but how am I supposed to do that?" Grimacing, I continued to bleed.

Drip.

Drip . . .

Each drop sounded like a tidal wave crashing onto shore.

"Leave this time to our future." Sighing, she closed her eyes and the ornament at the top of the time staff began to glow.

A door appeared.

"Our future?" Did she mean . . .

Drip . . .

"Yes . . . She can make a life there, and you already have one. But stay hidden. Don't draw attention, and don't let him find you."

"What about you?" Yes, I could still feel . . . Very concerned, I was.

"You mustn't worry about that. The important thing is that she's safe. Because if she isn't here, then he cannot destroy this planet. He needs her and the crystal, and she will need the planet. No planet, no crystal. Who knows? Maybe it will be so long that he'll die." Feebly, she laughed, though we both knew it wasn't true.

"And there is one more thing." The look on her face was unforgettable.

"What?" Something was wrong.

"I should have told you all long ago . . .this may have been prevented . . ."

Drip . . .

"The one that caused this all . . . It was not Endy-" Something exploded through her chest, and I retched.

Behind her was the one who killed all my friends.

Mamoru.

The door wavered.

" . . .Go . . ." She fell.

I raced to Serenity, and stooped to pick her up. But . . .my gloves were stained with blood . . . She could never be stained. That was unforgivable. I ripped off the gloves and threw them on the ground; they created pools of red where they lay.

Red, red, blood . . .

Red, damp earth . . .

Forever stained with blood . . .

And I ran with her, to the door that led to her future and my home. The doorknob . . . Open, please! I fumbled, it opened, and in we fell. Behind us, the door disappeared.

And we fell . . .

I thought of Pluto and all my friends . . .

I will never forget that sight. Memories of this day shall forever be burned into my mind.

Somewhere along the way, I felt the henshin fading, and we were as civilians once again.

Red, red, blood . . .

Oh . . . I hurt all over. And I was still bleeding. Serenity . . . Yes, she was there. Asleep. We had to get somewhere safe then. She must be kept safe. I tried getting up, but . . . My legs wouldn't cooperate. I collapsed, and my head hung. I started crying again. My shoulders shook, and I could feel the tears making trails through the dried blood on my face.

Footsteps . . .

No! To get this far . . . No, my leg . . . I think it's broken. It's not fair! She doesn't deserve this. She didn't deserve any of this. They should've just left her alone . . .

They were closer now. Right in front of us. I could sense them standing there . . . Looking at us.

"Why . . ." My voice was bitter and low. "Why can't you just leave us alone?! We never did anything . . ." Now my voice broke.

"Miss . . ." A soft voice . . . "Miss, we're not going to hurt you."

"No!" My head snapped up, and I knew they must've been shocked. Shocked by the blood . . .

"Liars. You think they're your friend . . . And then they betray you. And then everyone is dead. So much death . . . Everything reeks of blood." I had to stand. We had to get away . . .

I gasped. And I did stand . . . Now I knew why I had felt so numb back there. My henshin must've kept the pain away . . . But now I felt it ten-fold. I heard a crack. And, there! I could see the bone in my right leg . . .

I bit back a scream.

My eyes flickered to the ones in front of us. Only children. What kind of world had I left, that they made children fight? Of course I fought. And I was trained. But I was special. We all were. We weren't human.

I sank to the ground. Newly spattered with blood . . .

"Please don't hurt her . . ." I whispered.

"Oh, no . . ." The one with the soft voice rushed to us. A kind voice, almost . . . "Miss, no. We're here to help." He grasped my hand and saw the cuts.

Now his hands were stained . . .

He brought out bandages and began to wrap my hands, covering the wounds. But the blood would still seep through.

"Why are you doing this?" My eyes began to cloud . . .so tired.

"Because, I don't like to see people hurt." Very gentle . . .

"What are your names?" Should I tell him? They'd eventually find out.

"My name . . . Rei-" No, that wasn't it. That was a cover name . . . What was my name again? Oh, yes . . .

"She is-" Usagi or Serenity? Which one . . . "Usagi. Tsukino Usagi. I am Meiran Chang." I sighed as I drifted off into a dreamless slumber, unaware of the affect my name had on my audience.

Forever stained . . .


All right. The first chapter of Flame: Rewritten. Which, of course, shall still be called Flame. I'm anxious to see how people will react to the rewritten version. I hope everyone likes it. I just didn't feel the last one lived up to my potential, and a lot of the old one didn't match up. There were numerous flaws.

Of course, if enough readers do not like this version, please tell me, and maybe I can remedy it. Though, personally, I favour this one.

But I am still going to continue the old Flame! So don't worry, it will still be there. And it will still be finished.

Feedback would be appreciated, because I always enjoy hearing what my readers have to say, and I take seriously your opinion.

! JU57 L34RN3D L33t! W00t!

SailorKagome