Once More

By: OtakuSailorV

Osaka Naru sat peacefully in the dark bedroom that she had been spending most of her time in for the past three months. She was aging now, nearly eighty years old and despite the fact that all the doctors said that she was perfectly healthy, Naru was dying. She was healthy, she had many more years left if she chose, but Naru was dying.

Wrinkles were set deep in her face like ages old canyons. Tears rolled down into them silently for in her age Naru had learned, among other things, how to cry silently so as not to rouse anyone within earshot. There were bags under her eyes from lack of sleep for the illness she suffered from caused her to see vividly the past that she had long tried to forget or move past. There was one memory in particular that seemed to enjoy coming back to haunt her when she lay fitfully trying to sleep.

It had been so long ago, she had been nothing more than a child and still the pain broke her heart as if it was the first time. How could the memory stay so intact? Could the wounded, broken heart of a teenage girl truly leave such a scar that it would stay fresh and open for so many long, lonely years?

Her mother was gone now, long since passed away, and Naru had no family of her own. She believed that once the young boy Umino had liked her, but she could not forget so there had been no future for them. Usagi and her friends had moved on as well, living in a bright kingdom far away, though the two still stayed the best of friends.

Usagi had offered her the eternal youth that she had obtained and a special place to live on the moon in her kingdom with her. Naru had declined the offer though, she did not wish to live a longer life with such pain.

Now as she sat in her old rocking chair, staring at the gloomy shades over the windows that peeked out onto the streets of Tokyo below.

A raspy sigh escaped her trembling, frail lips and she eased into the cushions, letting herself rest as if she intended to sleep. Her eyes slowly closed, heavy from crying. She sniffed and sighed again, glancing about the gloomy room before pulling on an old golden chain hidden beneath the folds of her clothing.

The heart-shaped pendant didn't give off any music, nor was there anything especially distinguishing about it. It was a plain, simple golden locket, but to Naru it was her greatest treasure. It was even more valuable than all the jewelry contained in the Osa-P store located below.

Her old fingers fidgeted with it for a bit before she was finally able to pull it open.

Inside there was a single aged photograph of a young man. Naru let out another sad sigh as she looked at it. Nephrite had not known that she had taken that picture of him when she was by the tennis courts one day, and maybe she should have taken more. This was the only one, and it was fading fast. It was outdated by the newest technology, pictures weren't even taken anymore like they were when she was young. She refused to let go of it though. It was the only way she could remember; she wasn't sure why she would want to remember such a sad time though.

Lifting her eyes from the locket, she closed it up and placed it back within the folds of her clothing tenderly.

As she looked up, her eyes fell on a lone figure standing by the window. He had not been there before, and she had not heard him enter. Her breath caught and rasped in her throat as her tired old eyes widened to take him in. Could it be? Could he have come back?

But why now? Why when she was old, frail and dying like this? Why when she looked like this, why not when she had still been young? Why had she had to suffer so long and only to see him as he had been the day he had left her? It wasn't fair! Was the whole world trying to cheat her out of happiness?

She gave him a sad smile, too old and too tired to cry any longer. Though if she could, she would have cried her old eyes out, if only she had had some tears left to spare. "Nephrite. . . ?" She asked softly, not quite sure if she was simply dreaming again.

He gave her a reassuring look and held out his hand. "It's time to go, Naru."

Naru felt as if she were a young girl in love again hearing that voice; hearing those words and seeing that hand stretched out in welcome to her. She found she was able to get up with the agility of a youth who has never known the strain of growing old again and hopped toward him with a bright smile, ready to leave if she was to go with him.

There was something that did not seem right though, and when Naru looked at the tiny hand that had been placed in his larger one, her eyes widened again. Her hand was not wrinkled, the bones did not show through the yellow skin and there were no age marks at all! She looked at it closer, but still it remained the same.

With trembling fingers, she lifted her other hand to her face and touched it gently. It was as smooth as the day she had been born. Not a blemish or a single wrinkle anywhere! And her hair, her hair was silky and soft again. A red-brown color that had not been present since the day she had hit sixty.

She was a young girl again! Just as young and beautiful as she had been that day so many years ago! But how had this happened? Only a moment before she had been a feeble old lady in a chair by the window!

Looking back, she could see a bent, hobbling old figure stooped in the rocking chair she had been sitting in for so long. Oh, how frail and sad the old woman looked; her silver hair cushioning her head that lay down against her breast as if she were only asleep. And suddenly she knew that the old woman was she. The gnarled bones in the fingers, the way she held a turquoise ribbon in her right hand. It was all her, and yet not her any longer.

She looked back at Nephrite and gave him a smile, knowing that it was time for her to go now. She would have to leave the poor old woman behind, but she was happy now. Happy that she had finally been reunited with the one she had loved and lost so many years ago.

The pair passed through the shuttered windows easily; hand and hand, their shoulders touching meaningfully as they danced toward the stars that glistened in the night sky above.

The next day, the obituary read simply thus:

". . .Osaka Naru died in her sleep on March 19. . ."

Hello everyone, V-chan here.

For starters, I would like to say that this is my second time writing a Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon fanfiction, and my first time writing anything for Naru and Nephrite. I've wanted to do something for them for so long, since they are one of my favorite pairings and I don't feel they get enough love, but I could never think of anything.

Secondly, I hope the story isn't too hard to understand. I tried to make it as simple as possible, but there are always those few readers who are confused by everything, ne? Hehe.

Thanks for reading this far, minna-san! I appreciate your support and please leave a review. grin

Review Please.