Love & Lament

Chapter One

"Moon Frisbee..."

"Stop your attack, she's not a Yoma!"

"GO!!!"

"JUNI!!!"

"Juni, Juni what's wrong, what happened."

Hooded eyes, heavy with moisture turned away from the mystic portal, through which the tragic scene unfolded. Older than any living being, the ancient sentinel had seen countless lives come and go and had yet to shed a tear for any of them. And yet, she found herself fighting back tears as she played silent witness to the final moments of her sisters often tragic, and tortured life.

"Ami, I'm sorry for all this. I never meant for you to be caught up in it all. Please forgive me... I should have never, I should have..."

"I love you Ami. You are the best thing that ever happened in our life, I'll always remember you."

Only when Garoben Meioh spoke her final words, did Setsuna finally allow herself to cry. It had been a long time since the ancient Plutonian had shed tears, over two thousand years in fact. back when the world was drastically different, and the galaxy was populated, ruled over by the benevolent Queen Serenity. Only a select few remembered the earths true history. The Silver Millennium, and the majority of those who remembered it, were destroyed and reshaped by Saturn, the Goddess of death and resurrection.

The ageless guardian to the forgotten gates of time took a seat near one of her portals. Her nearly seven foot frame trembled as she thought of her sister. Setsuna was now the last of her race, a forgotten sentinel in a post that no one remembered she stood. Ironically enough, it was the woman she now mourned who had forever bound her to her post. That was one of the slightest of Garoben's crimes. Setsuna's sister was responsible for things much, much worse. Still, time as they say has a way of healing all wounds. That old adage held true for Setsuna, who had long ago forgiven her younger sibling.

"Puu?"

The mourning Plutonian was startled by the distant voice calling out her ridiculous nickname. She allowed a smile to break her melancholy. The voice belonged to the only good person to know of her continued existence. Small lady, as Setsuna referred to her, came from a possible future, where the reincarnated warriors from the Silver Millennium lead the Earth to Unity, Prosperity, and Peace. The nickname, was in reference to the nine hundred year old woman's inability to grow physically beyond that of a ten year old. Which, incidentally, put a serious crimp in their love life. Even though they have been committed partners for over two hundred years, they have yet to fully explore the sexual side of their relationship.

Before her love found her, Setsuna used a fraction of her near infinite powers to alter her appearance. She was not human, and it made her nervous to think that her alien appearance might offend her lover. The first time Small Lady accidentally stumbled into her exiled palace, Setsuna had been wearing a human guise. She had a feeling that the other woman knew it wasn't her true form, but neither of them had yet to bring it up.

"You don't need to keep disguising yourself like that."

Setsuna, startled, caught mid-transformation, turned to face her love. Small lady stood in the entrance to her viewing room. The eternally youthful woman stood barely over three and a half feet tall and was dressed in a courtly white gown. Curly, pink, ponytails pooled on her shoulders from the rabbit ear-like buns they were bound into.

Setsuna looked down at her altered appearance, that of a slender, dark skinned woman, with dark green knee length hair, and crimson eyes. Small lady looked on appreciatively, as well. There was an air of disappointment around her, however. Regardless, the princess made her way to Setsuna, who promptly lifted her in a cradling embrace.

The two shared a number of chaste kisses, before Small Lady pushed gently away. "I looked you up in Artemis's archaic database." She confessed as Setsuna looked upon her quizzically.

"I didn't find anything in reference to you, but I did see a couple pictures of other Plutonians." Small Lady ran her petite hand through her love's thick green hair. "You don't need to keep hiding yourself from me, if you don't want to."

Setsuna looked unsure, Small Lady was the only bright spot in her endless existence, and she was hesitant to reveal herself. "Perhaps later, alright." She offered lamely, as compromise.

Dropping the subject, the couple took a seat next to the viewing portals. Small Lady rested upon Setsuna's lap while the ancient woman ran her fingers through her pink hair. Having been together for so long, the couple long ago did away with the need for needless banter, and just enjoyed being in the others company.

"Puu, are you Ok?" Small Lady queried. "You've seemed a bit off tonight. I haven't offended you have I?" Small Lady turned in her partners lap, so they could talk face to face.

Setsuna shook her head no. The movement caused a few tears she was hiding to flit from her eyes. Small Lady was quick to kiss them away, and console her love, who's body shook with suppressed sorrow. "What troubles you, love?"

"My sister, the last of my race, died today." Setsuna set Small Lady aside and walked toward the now blank portals. Hesitantly, she dropped her human disguise, appearing for the first time to her lover as a true Plutonian. Her beautiful, exotic features, widened and became more statuesque in appearance, while her dark, smooth, skin, became leathery and gray. Only her crimson eyes, and long emerald locks remained unchanged.

"Now, I am truly alone."

"No." Small Lady was quick to stand by her now taller lovers side, cradling her head against the broad plain of Setsuna's abdomen. "You're not alone. I will always be by your side, no matter what."

Setsuna dropped to a knee and brought her love into a near crushing embrace, which the much smaller woman endured and returned as best she could. "Thank you Small Lady. You make my life worth living."

Setsuna leaned in to kiss her love, when all of the viewing portals in the room suddenly flared to life, and her castle's very foundation began to shake. The ancient guardian used her body to shield the future princess from the arcs of energy that spewed from the time portals.

"Puu, What's happening?" Small Lady shouted over the deafening roar of the sudden disturbance.

Only when the danger had passed did Setsuna move from her lover to the multitude of time portals. Summoning a good deal of energy, she entered one of the portals in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. For Setsuna, the trip into the portal lasted several years. It took that long to figure out what went wrong and what consequences it would have on the timeline. However, because she was the mistress of time, when she returned to her palace only seconds had passed.

"Saturn take her!" The ancient guardian cursed, weary from her travels.

"What is it Puu?" Small Lady asked with growing concern.

Setsuna shook her head wearily as she took a seat next to her short companion. "In death, my sister may have managed to commit yet another deed to add to the list of atrocities she committed in life."

"What do you mean?" Small Lady asked hesitantly as she placed a calming hand on her loves shoulder.

Taking a deep breath the time guardian began to explain what had just occurred. "The explosion was a result of my sisters interference with the time stream. Somehow, she has altered her destiny, and that of her lover that she died to protect. When my sister died, her lover became a wild soul. Which is basically a person vital to certain futures, who is no longer bound to destiny. What happens to her now can quite literally change the future."

Small Lady's eyes widened in panic. "But, what if... If the future changes, will I still remember you?" Panic shown in Small Lady's eyes, the mere thought terrified her

Setsuna's world began to crumble around her, she had not even considered that possibility. When she finally spoke, it was with a heavy heart. "When you return to your timeline, there is a chance that events will have changed enough to prevent you from finding the ancient key that transported you here."

"How big a chance?" Small lady spoke in a trembling voice.

A single tear trailed down the ancient woman's face, and her voice broke as she spoke. "I doubt I will see you again."

Small Lady nodded once, before pulling a small key from a chain around her neck. "Then I won't be going home."

"What?" Setsuna wiped her eyes just in time to see what her lover had prepared to do.

"SMALL LADY, NO!!!"

Heedless of her lover's cry, the now former princess of Crystal Tokyo snapped the magical key in two. The Ancient artifact crumbled to dust, and with it any possibility Small Lady ever had at returning home. She was now as much a prisoner to the gates of time as her lover.

Setsuna scooped up her love in a strong embrace, trembling with the knowledge of what she had given up to remain with her. "Small Lady, without that key..."

"I know Puu, I know." Small Lady whispered into her loves ear. "If there was even a one percent chance that I would never see you again, I would have done the same thing."

Setsuna was overwhelmed by the sacrifice and show of love Small Lady had given her. "I love you." It was all she could think to say, there was no undoing what had just been done.

"Well." Small Lady smiled, seemingly unaffected by what she had just done. "Now you have eternity to prove it."

The former princess pulled her lover to her in a kiss, beginning their eternity.

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"NO!" Ami Mizuno awoke in a cold sweat, her unnaturally blue hair clung to her forehead and the sheets stuck to her skin. Taking a calming breath Ami ran a trembling hand through her short blue locks in an attempt to keep them out of her eyes. Images of her lovers death a few weeks prior had been the constant focus of her dream. Only recently did the nightmares stop, only to start up again in earnest.

Once her heartbeat returned to acceptable levels, Ami glanced at her alarm clock which perched precariously on her windowsill across the room. "Three-thirteen" Shaking her head in resignation, Ami untangled the sheets from her body. Ami knew that she would not be able to find sleep again tonight. That was the case any time she had nightmares, which kept her sleeping hours short and sporadic.

Ami pushed herself from the queen sized bed that once belonged to her lover. Popping her neck slightly, Ami padded over to her chest of drawers where she procured a fresh set of clothes. Knowing that a bath was in order, Ami made her way to the bathing room where she started the tub, arranged her clothes, and prepped her soaps and shampoos.

As the heat from the water relaxed her tense body Ami's mind wandered over the events of the last few weeks. Two weeks after Juni had died a lawyer had shown up at Ami's apartment. The middle aged woman explained how she was under instruction to transfer Juni's estate to Ami in the event that two weeks passed without any contact from her client. Having not heard from Juni, the lawyer had spent a few days to take care of the legalities and all that remained was getting a few signatures from Ami and her mother. Ami was now a homeowner and a multi millionaire.

::Knock, Knock::

"Ami honey, can I come in?"

Broken from her thoughts, Ami regarded the door in silence for a moment. Realizing that her mother was not going anywhere Ami finally answered. "Come in."

Ayanee Mizuno entered the spacious bathing room. She had apparently just returned home from work, as she still wore her EMT uniform.

"How was work?" Ami asked. Her mother had only been back to work for a few days. After her accident, she had spent over a week undergoing multiple tests to determine what caused her to recover as completely as she did. When she was admitted into the hospital she only had a fifty percent chance of recovery, and yet the very next day she was fully healed as if she was never hurt in the first place. That had baffled the staff at the hospital, and many a doctor published papers on their theories of Ayanee's recovery.

"Mind if I join you?" Ayanee asked, and started disrobing at Ami's nod. Once her uniform was folded neatly in the foyer, Ayanee took a seat at a shower stool and began to wash away the sweat and grime of her days work.

"Oh that feels good." Ayanee sighed as the hot water of the shower massaged her skin.

"Work went well." Ayanee spoke after a moment, finally returning to Ami's question. "They are of course put off by the amount of time I was gone, but that couldn't be helped. It's not like I wanted to be in the hospital that long. I mean, I feel perfectly healthy and have since the day after the accident. Hell if it wasn't for the little scar, I wouldn't have known anything had happened."

Ayanee quieted as she continued her shower. There was something that had been weighing on her shoulders for some time now, and she felt as if it was something Ami should know. It was not the easiest thing to explain and Ayanee took a moment to organize her thoughts. "Ami, I think I know what really happened at the hospital. Why I healed as quick as I did."

Ami turned expectantly toward her mother waiting for her explanation.

"Now, this is going to sound crazy but just hear me out." Ayanee paused her shower as she regarded her daughter. "The night I was hospitalized Umi and Tsuzuku came to visit me. Umi spent the entire night by my bedside holding my hand and praying for me to get better. Well, I guess someone heard her prayer, because she swore to me that she saw an angel heal me that night."

"What?" Ami asked making sure she heard right.

"She was sound asleep when the room started to get a bit warm and something flashed in her eyes. She told me that she stayed where she was, but opened her eyes to see what was going on. All she could remember was an androgynous looking man with pale skin and long multicolored hair standing at the head of my bead. She said that he was glowing and that the light from his body was seeping into mine and focusing on my wound."

Ami's face was entranced as her mother spoke. This encouraged Ayanee, who halfway thought her daughter would laugh the whole thing off. "She watched him for a few minutes, but she drew a blank after that. The next thing she remembered was me waking her up."

Ayanee finished her shower and moved into the large tub that Ami soaked in "It all sounds so strange, like some kind of bad movie. I just don't know what to believe anymore." Ayanee reached out to lightly stroke her daughters hair. "You know, I think I might finally be getting used to your hair now."

Both women sat in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the relaxing heat. "What are you doing up so early anyway? Did you have another nightmare?"

Ami sighed as she leaned back into the water. "Yes. I thought they were going away, I have had so few since we moved in here."

Ayanee saw an opening to something she had been meaning to speak to Ami about for a long time now. "You know, I am rather shocked that Asagai-sensei left everything to you. Didn't she have any relatives or loved ones that she could have willed it to?"

Ami became uncomfortable. She knew what her mom was really asking. "Mom, please do not play games, if you have a question just ask it." Ami sniffed, trying to hold back another bought of tears. They seemed to be a constant in her life these days. "You knew, or at least suspected that Juni was my lover. What did you hope to achieve by bringing that up now? God mom, I can not go through a day without crying because of her. I do not need your games right now, I can not deal with it." Ami wrapped her arms around her legs and buried her face in her knees struggling to regain composure.

"Shit… Honey I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you. Come here." Ayanee extended an arm to Ami who hesitated for a moment before accepting the embrace she so desperately needed. Ayanee waited for her daughter to calm down a bit before speaking. This time she went directly to the point, without beating around the bush. "I Knew that you were in a relationship with your teacher, I just never imagined you were that serious."

Ayanee sighed as she started trailing her fingers through Ami's short blue locks. "We haven't talked much since Asagai-sensei died. I think you and I have a lot we need to say. Loosing a lover is not something that you can get over easily, or on your own. Trust me, I know."

Ami looked up at her mother, tears still clouding her vision. Ayanee gazed at her daughter with a trance of pain in her own eyes. "I love you Ami, never forget that. I'm sorry for being insensitive, but I just needed to know what was going on. I want to be able to help you through this. I tried letting you figure things out on your own, but you seem to be getting worse."

Ami wanted to deny her mother's charge, but knew she couldn't. "I made a mistake by letting you deal with this on your own and, damn it, I should know better. You saved my life when I let Noriko's death get the better of me. I will not let you get that far. We will deal with this together."

Ayanee wiped the remaining tears from Ami's cheeks before doing the same to her own. "How about we finish our bath, then we can get a goodnights sleep. I'll make us a big breakfast in the morning, after that we have a lot we need to talk about."

Ami looked wearily at her mom. She was not sure she was ready to bring up some of the things she knew her mother would want to talk about. Seeing nothing but love and compassion in her mother's eyes, Ami knew she would confide in her. It struck her suddenly how much she actually missed talking to and confiding in her mother. Before their move to Juban, Ami used to tell her mother everything. The last few months they were able to spend little if any time together, Ami missed her mother being her best friend.

"Mom?" Ami spoke hesitantly, clearly nervous.

"What is it honey?" Ayanee asked after a lengthy silence.

"Is… Would it be alright if I slept in your room tonight?" Ayanee looked surprised for a moment before smiling and hugging her daughter slightly.

"Of course, anytime you need just ask." Ayanee rose from the cooling tub, silently extending a hand to help Ami. "Lets dry off and get some sleep."

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"Moshi, Moshi."

"Uhm, Mr. Shinozaki?"

The aging social worker paused as he recognized the nervous voice on the other line. "Miss. Kino? Are you all right?"

Makoto was surprised at the concern the aging man's voice plainly conveyed. "Sure, uhm yeah look the deal is I got a bunch of cash and I thought maybe you could help me in putten together some kind of plan. Uhm, you know for my future. So uh can you help me?"

Makoto was obviously extremely nervous. Shinozaki knew that asking her how she got the money would either insult her or scare her off so he decided to skip that obvious line of questions.

"What kind of plans were you considering, investment opportunities, or perhaps educational?" Shinozaki put obvious emphasis on the latter, hoping that Makoto would at least consider it.

Makoto was a bit taken aback by the suggestion. She was thinking more along the lines of a bank account, anything to keep her from blowing it on drugs and other vices. "Can I even go back to school?" Makoto asked, incredulous. "You do know that I can't read or write too good. No, I doubt they'd take me I'm to old anyway."

Shinozaki would have been dismayed if it wasn't for the tone thinly veiled in Makoto's words. She wanted to be able to go back to school, she just did not believe she could. Shinozaki knew better, and knew that he could not properly convince her of that over the phone.

"I'll tell you what, are you free tomorrow?" Shinozaki questioned, already going through his appointment book and canceling several of his more mundane meetings so he could talk with Makoto in person.

"Uhm yeah, I don't got a job no more so, uhm I guess." Makoto's normally bad grammar was made even worse by her nerves.

"Good, meet me at my office tomorrow morning, say around eleven. I will have a list of options for you, and we can further discuss the opportunity of you returning to school." Shinozaki was proud of the young woman whom he had watched grow up. It showed in his voice, but Makoto failed to recognize it for what it was.

Surprised, and hopeful Makoto was quick to agree to the meeting. "Yeah, yeah I'll be there at eleven." Makoto held a dazed look on her face as she returned the old phone to its cradle.

"School huh?"

Makoto sighed in contentment as Fiore's arms enveloped her in a gentle embrace. She breathed in deeply of his natural scent which constantly shifted dependent on his mood. Makoto felt Fiore's lips brush her cheek and quickly turned her head so their lips met. Catching him off guard, Makoto teased a real kiss out of him. Makoto smiled to herself as a pleasing floral scent emanated from her friend. Even though his smell frequently changed, it always mimicked that of a plant.

"Yeah, school can you believe it? I think Mr. Shinozaki really thinks he can get me in. Wouldn't that be something? If I go to school, someday I'll be able to get a good job and support us." Makoto turned in Fiore's embrace so her chest was pressed to his. Fiore started to push away, but Makoto wrapped her arms around his waist, drawing him closer to her. Fiore looked down at her with a questioning expression, which turned to one of understanding when he saw the look of need in her eyes.

Makoto placed a kiss on her friends chest and slowly began to trail them up his neck, eventually reaching his ear which she playfully nipped at. "Come to bed with me?" Makoto asked a mixture of hopefulness and uncertainty plainly evident in her husky voice. As she waited for an answer Makoto continued to tease his ear and neck. As added incentive she slowly trailed her hand down his thin frame to rest on the hardness between his legs.

Fiore found that he had trouble standing much less thinking as Makoto continued her arousing tease. It had been several months since the two friends had last been physically intimate with each other. It was not often that they were, but Makoto had been under a lot of stress and needed her friends loving touch.

Giving in, Fiore ran his hands down Makoto's finely chiseled back to rest upon her toned hard buttocks. Makoto gasped in anticipation as Fiore lifted her to him. Her legs wrapped securely around his slender frame as he carried her across the temple grounds into their shared room.

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Later that night as Makoto reveled in the love and comfort Fiore gave her, Ami found a different kind of comfort in her mother's protective embrace. The last month Ami had been plagued by terrible nightmares. Tonight they would not find her. The nightmares would be replaced by something else, a final gift the mortally wounded Garoben left her young lover. The gift of the past.

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I do not own these characters they belong to various other people and I do not profit from this.