Fallen From Grace
Loving someone is hell. Well, only if you can't have them. Unrequited love, cliché yet at the same time, rather appropriate. Just one more thing to add to the list of tragedies that make up my life.
Perhaps I'm being a bit melodramatic. Well, guess what?
Screw all of you.
"Hey, Hotaru! What are you doing just sitting there for?"
The raven-haired girl snapped around to look at the person calling her. It turned out to be a beautiful young woman, around 25 or so. Her shimmering blonde hair was done in the most peculiar, yet adorable, style of two buns, one on either side of her head. Her blue eyes twinkled as they watched her, an ever-present smile on her pink lips.
"Sorry, Usagi. I was just thinking."
The younger girl stood and felt the blonde link her arm through hers. Without another word, Usagi led her away from the log she sat on and back toward the site of their picnic. Soon, the sound of laughter reached her ears. Even she had to smile at the scene before her.
The blue-haired genius that was Ami Mizuno was chasing Makoto Kino, who had in her procession a book, which would appear to belong to the annoyed girl.
"Mako! Give that back!"
But the brunette ignored the shouts of her friend. Uncharacteristically, Ami threw herself at Makoto, managing to make the taller girl fall, rather ungracefully, on the grass. However, the tall brunette was able to throw the book at Haruka.
"Is this your book Ami?" the blonde teased with a trademark grin.
"Haruka," Michiru whispered huskily as she smiled up at the blonde, "be nice and give Ami back her book."
Haruka looked from the book to her girlfriend, then from her girlfriend back to the book. Decisions, decisions...
Suddenly, a blur appeared out of nowhere and snatched the book out of Haruka's hand. Everyone turned their eyes on the last blonde of the group.
Minako stood there, looking quite smug as she nonchalantly flipped through the pages of the book with a critical eye.
"Ami-chan, it's a BEAUTIFUL Saturday afternoon and you're with your friends. Yet you still insist upon reading? That really hurts. "
Ami hesitated when she saw Minako's quivering lip and heard the pathetic sniffle. With a sigh, she relented and allowed Makoto to drag her towards Haruka and Michiru.
"All right! Let's play tag!"
"Aren't we too old for that?" Haruka asked as Minako began jumping up and down.
"Ruka, it sounds like fun."
The blonde took one look at the expression on her lover's face and relented, ignoring the snickers coming from Minako and Makoto. At this point, Hotaru was being dragged by a very excited Usagi toward the group. She couldn't help but smile at her friend's enthusiasm, however, and had no problem letting the blonde tug and pull at her.
"Hey, guys! Wait for us!"
"Come on, Usa! Hotaru, are you joining us?"
Feeling Minako's questioning gaze on her, Hotaru shook her head.
"No, I'd rather watch."
"But, Hotaru!" Usagi whined, and the leader of the Inner senshi joined in.
"Oh, leave her be. Unlike you, Usagi, Hotaru doesn't want to make a fool of herself."
"Rei! You're so mean!"
The other dark-haired woman only rolled her eyes at the blonde's whining. Really, she was going to become a powerful queen? You sure as hell couldn't tell right now.
With a huff, Usagi dragged everyone else to the middle of the clearing as she began explaining what was safe and what wasn't. Hotaru looked at Rei and gave her a tiny smile.
The older girl smiled at her. "We've known each other too long for you to still call me 'Rei-san.' Call me Rei-chan or just Rei like everyone else."
Hotaru blushed as she nodded. "Yes, Rei-sa... I mean, Rei."
It was awkward calling the miko by her name and the shorter woman looked away quickly, trying to hide her embarrassment. With a nod to excuse herself, she walked away from the clearing, heading back to her sanctuary.
Rei's brows furrowed as she watched her walk away. What was up with Hotaru anyhow? Sure, she didn't know the girl as well as she used to, but something was definitely bothering her.
Judging from her expression, the far-away eyes, as well as the vibes coming from her, it was big.
'Well,' she thought to herself dryly, 'you are a miko. As one, you're supposed to help people. So... move your ass along!'
With a frustrated sigh, Rei quickly ran to catch up with the woman standing by her only moments ago. She really needed to stop talking to herself... it was getting weird.
Hotaru cursed herself as she sat down on the fallen log. After keeping her secret for years, a single smile from the miko caused her to stutter like a child and her brain to shut down completely. She has never been one to show emotions, or to feel anything except pain so easily. Now after getting to know the senshi and living with Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna, feelings came so easily. Joy, love, happiness, admiration, fulfillment and everything else she's never tasted or felt.
So did it surprise her to realize one day that she loved someone? Not in a family sort of way, but really loved someone?
And is it really surprising with whom it turned out to be? In a nutshell, yes.
Who knew she would fall for her, of all people? She wondered about her sanity for a while. Just like everyone else, she had expected herself to fall in love with ChibiUsa. Who the hell knew she'd fall for her instead?
Life is such a bitc-
Rei watched as the pale girl jumped out of her seat. Violet eyes turned and glared at her, the petite body tense. The miko smiled apologetically and walked until Hotaru had collected herself and sat back down on the log to approach and sit beside her.
"Are you all right?"
"What?" Hotaru asked as she looked at Rei, snapping out of her thoughts once again.
Rei's gaze softened as she brushed a stray strand of hair from the intense violet eyes.
"I asked if you were okay. You seem to have a lot on your mind lately."
Damn, so much for keeping it hidden. Was she that obvious?
"No, I'm fine," Hotaru replied quickly, shrugging a bit.
"You're a pretty bad liar, you know that?"
Hotaru fell forward and would have landed on her face if a strong hand hadn't grabbed her wrist. Rei tugged on Hotaru's arm, frightened that the girl would get hurt. The youngest senshi crashed most ungracefully back onto the log.
"Hotaru! Are you okay?"
Hotaru groaned as her hand instinctively reached to rub her sore ass. Then, remembering who was with her, she quickly stopped.
"Um... yeah, thanks Rei."
"For what? Bruising your cute butt?"
Hotaru pitched forward again, down right shocked for the second time in 10 seconds. This time, the miko decided against grabbing her wrist, knowing she might tug on the girl too hard again and cause something to come out of its socket or bruise her butt again.
So, instead, she wrapped her arms around Hotaru's thin waist. With a single move, the violet-eyed girl stumbled backwards.
The younger girl felt two slender arms holding her, strong and comforting. And, she noticed, she was no longer sitting on the hard log. Instead… whatever she was sitting on was very warm... and very soft.
Violet eyes opened and looked straight into a pair of lavender ones. She knew she was staring into Rei's eyes, because there was only one person who could possibly have eyes that beautiful. They were bottomless orbs of purple, a couple of shades lighter than her own. The fire those eyes held both excited her and scared her at the same time.
It was then she realized she was sitting in the miko's lap.
Jumping to her feet, Hotaru bowed as she blushed.
"I'm sorry! Thank you for catching me!"
Lavender eyes twinkled with amusement as she watched the usually calm and collected senshi stutter. The blush on her cheeks was a definite, and cute, contrast to her pale skin. Rei couldn't help but notice how her silky hair fell in her eyes as she continued to bow.
"Hotaru, it's fine," she said laughing. "I'm just glad you're okay."
The adoring blush faded somewhat, though leaving behind a healthy, rosy but of coloring in the pale cheeks. Rei let her eyes wander to the pond.
"It's beautiful here..."
"Yes, it is."
Rei studied Hotaru. Hm… she'd hit another growth spurt. The last time she had seen her, which was about a month ago, the senshi still looked around 17. Now, she looked 19, six years younger than herself. Unlike the first reincarnation, Hotaru's health was much better this time. There was no demon living inside of her, so her growth was for the most part normal. But then again, being a senshi meant there was no normal, ever.
Still, she has matured wonderfully. No longer the shortest, Ami now claimed that title. Her black hair was actually a bit past shoulder length, giving her a less child-like appearance.
"So, what's been bugging you?"
Hotaru couldn't help but sigh. Of course, when has Rei Hino ever given up?
"I've already told you you're a bad liar."
Hotaru turned and glared at the senshi of fire in annoyance. Rei merely responded with a chuckled.
"Come on Hotaru, you might not think so, but you're pretty bad at hiding it."
"No, I'm not," the embarrassed and annoyed girl snapped. "I believe I'm quite good at it. It's simply that you're a bit more observant than everyone else."
"So, there is something bugging you."
Rei heard an uncharacteristic curse slip from Hotaru's pink lips.
"Come on, you can tell me."
"No, I can't."
The miko frowned when she saw Hotaru wrap her arms around herself. All right, whatever it is, it must be more serious than she had thought. Rei placed a hand on the girl's shoulder.
"Hey, you can tell me anything. I'm always here to lend a helping ear."
"It's nothing really. Just some small things."
Before Rei could continue, a scream shook the park. Her companion decided that she was, for the first, and probably last time, thankful for a youma attack. Her senses were tingling as she and her secret love ran toward the direction of the scream.
When they got there, the other girls were already present, but still in their civilian identities. With one look at the youma, they quickly transformed.
"Mars Star Power!"
"Saturn Star Power!"
The youma's ugly head turned to the two senshi and sneered. Mars looked at the others, puzzled as to why they haven't transformed yet.
"Mars! Saturn!" Usagi yelled, the panic clear from her voice. "We can't move!"
"Shit," Mars whispered.
One looked at the youma and she knew it would take a lot to bring it down. It was the size of three football players for god's sake! And she didn't particularly like that sword attached to its right arm.
"Damn, I thought I got all of you pests!" It screamed, yellow eyes trained on Saturn and Mars.
"We're not pests!" Mars yelled back, already starting to lose her temper.
Meanwhile, Saturn's cold eyes were studying the situation. The youma was about ten feet from the other girls, so an attack would most likely not hurt them. But, she couldn't take the chance, especially not with the Princess standing in the front. Damn, why weren't the rest of the senshi in front of her?
"You are a bunch of pests! All talk and no action!"
"You dumb ass!" Mars yelled back, "THEY CAN'T MOVE!"
"Oh, yeah? I'll release them just to prove my point!"
Saturn could only blink as the youma turned to the frozen senshi and brought his hands up. Suddenly, he paused. Its head snapped back to Mars, yellow eyes narrowing dangerously.
"You bitch! I'm not going to fall for that."
Mars simply sighed. Well, so much for that idea. She and Saturn barely had time to dodge as the youma came running towards them, swinging its blade dangerously.
Saturn felt the blade cut into her calf. Thank god it was both a small wound and not very deep. Either way, it forced her to lose her balance as she fell to the ground.
The short senshi quickly rolled to her left as the blade narrowly missed her head. Bringing her Silence Glaive up, she was able to block the youma's thrust.
"Mars Firebird Strike!"
The creature shrieked as the phoenix hit its side and the force of the attack sent it flying through the air. Saturn scrambled to her feet, leaning slightly on her glaive.
"Saturn, you okay?"
The Outer Senshi nodded, eyes still trained on the fallen beast.
"Any ideas on dusting it, Mars?"
"We need Moon to dust this one. Any thoughts on how it's freezing them in place?"
Saturn shook her head and tensed when the youma moved. Her eyes turned to the senshi beside her.
"Negative. But we need to do something, fast."
"How's your leg?"
"It's healed now."
"Good. I don't think it's using anything to freeze them, more like a power. And why didn't it do it to us anyhow?"
"My guess is our powered up state gives us immunity."
The two senshi threw themselves in opposite directions as an energy ball launched by the youma came flying towards them. Without another word, Mars raced forward.
"Mars Celestial Fire Surround!"
Yellow eyes looked around frantically, fire surrounding on all sides. Spotting an exit, it leapt and hurled itself at Mars, sword drawn.
Violet eyes narrowed in panic when Saturn realized the youma figured out Mars' weakness in close combat. The fire senshi dodged as the lion struck over and over again with lightning speed. Who knew this bulky beast was so damn fast?
Purple eyes met as Mars looked over to the youngest senshi for help. The small break in concentration was all the youma needed to send the long-haired fighter flying through the air and into a nearby wall. Before she could even fully feel the force of impact, the world became dark.
The beast snarled triumphantly at the sight of the unconscious body sliding to the ground, a trail of blood staining the white stone. It didn't have much time to bask in its victory when instincts sent its body springing to the side. Still, cold metal cut through its right arm like a hot knife through butter as blood splattered on the ground.
There was no time for the beast to grief for its loss as the Silence Glaive came swinging towards its head. This swipe it was able to dodge, though losing a few strands of orange fur.
"You'll pay for hurting her."
The beast visibly shuddered as it turned to the remaining senshi. Violet eyes glared at the monster, burning with a cold and vicious fire. Despite the enemy's small size, yellow eyes narrowed in fear. A gloved hand gripped the glaive tightly.
In an instant, Saturn charged, her weapon ready to strike. Without its sword, the youma could only dodge. It seemed like victory belonged to the senshi of Death when the lion youma opened its mouth and out shot a beam of ice.
"Damn," the raven-haired senshi mumbled as it became increasingly harder to kill the enemy. How the hell was she supposed to kill it when she couldn't even get close to it?
'I can't use my attack,' Saturn thought angrily. 'It'll destroy the world. Ugh, as if I didn't have enough teen-angst to think about, I have to worry about killing a large monster that has my friends frozen and just knocked out the love of my life. Great.'
Saturn was quickly forced into a defensive position, playing a game of tag with large beams of ice. Half the park was covered in the slippery substance, everything from the benches to the ground to the trees.
'Mars could really help right now.'
At the thought of the older senshi, Saturn looked over at the prone form on the ground. The head wound was bleeding profusely, meaning she needed help, fast.
'Don't think about the way her silky hair looks. If it hits me with that ice beam, we're all screwed. Moon is the one that's cut out for this whole, "the safety of your loved ones and the world rests on your shoulders" kind of crap. I'm just the girl that cleans up the mess should she fail.'
The only senshi left mobile gazed at Mars once again. The anger seized her, rushing through her veins in a raging flood. All other thoughts disappeared as she focused on the task at hand. She weighed each option carefully, the possible outcomes, drawbacks and her own limitations. Oh hell, she practically was power. Just charge the damn thing and be careful of beams of ice threatening to turn her into a Popsicle and the slippery ground. And if that didn't work, well, they were screwed.
She broke into a run, her glaive posed. The beast smirked; this was the opportunity it had been waiting for. Slowly, its snout opened. The blue-white beam rushed at the oncoming senshi.
"What the hell is she thinking!" Haruka exclaimed.
"She's not!" Makoto screamed back.
The senshi and princess could only watch as the ice beam headed for their friend. Even stranger, she didn't appear to plan on dodging.
"You're right," Minako whispered, a small smile playing on her lips.
"What are you smiling at? Do you know something we don't?" Makoto growled in annoyance.
The blonde senshi of Love rolled her eyes dramatically. Makoto would've pounced on her commander and beaten some sense into her if not for the fact that they were frozen.
"You mean, Mako-chan, you haven't noticed?"
While the brunette and now Haruka glared at Minako, Usagi observed Saturn. The fire in those violet eyes and the barely controlled rage was unusual for the girl. She had never seen the calm and deadly senshi so... irrational and impulsive.
"Are you two blind?"
"Just tell us, Minako!"
"Calm down," Michiru scolded her impatient lover. She could not, however, hide the amusement in her voice.
"Really, why are you blaming her while you're Hotaru's father and should know what Minako does? You should be ashamed you haven't realized it already."
Usagi watched as Saturn jumped out of the way in the last possible second. However, the youma had already moved its position, making the charge useless. Saturn's actions were being controlled by her emotions...
"Mako," Ami mumbled, something Usagi knew her friend only did when she was embarrassed. "Haven't you noticed that Hotaru's been acting a little weird lately?"
"Ami!" Haruka bellowed, jumping to defend her daughter.
"No, Haruka," Minako sighed in exasperation. "She means how Hotaru's been blushing a lot, stuttering, spacing out all the time and avoiding people."
"Really? She's not avoiding me… or it doesn't seem like it."
"Well," Michiru giggled, "that's because she's only avoiding one person."
There was silence. The Princess took in the sight of Saturn slicing the youma's chest, a smirk playing on the senshi's lips.
"She's in love with Rei."
Usagi felt all eyes turn to her.
"She's in love with Rei, am I right? Minako? Ami? Michiru?"
"Wow," the blonde senshi of Venus whispered. "Usa-chan, I didn't know you'd figure it out before Makoto."
The future Queen ignored the unintentional insult. But she wouldn't have been able to comment anyhow seeing as how Haruka screamed loud enough to wake the dead.
"What? That's impossible! Rei? Why Rei? How?"
The senshi of Neptune mumbled under her breath at her lover's outburst. Finally! It only took an entire year for Haruka to realize the truth.
"Ami?" Makoto called. "When did this happen?"
"About a year ago, I suspect. Or, at least I have evidence of it for only a year. Who knows how long Hotaru's really cared for Rei."
"We're talking about Hotaru here, do you guys know for sure?"
"I'm the Goddess of Love! I should know, Makoto!"
"That," Haruka sulked, "is not good enough. She can't be in love with Rei."
"No," Usagi said, cutting in. "She isn't just in love with Rei... she's head over heels in love with Rei."
Saturn dodged yet another beam of ice. The youma was showing no sign of fatigue. She, however, was starting to feel her body shutting down.
'All right, let's hope this one works.'
Once again, she charged. Damn, if her Saturn Death Reborn didn't work, they were all screwed. The lion snickered. This remaining senshi was stupid and young. Her anger clouded her mind much too easily. Using the other one against her was a great idea. It was finally the time to end all this foolishness. Saturn saw the ice beam come towards her and gripped her glaive.
Suddenly, a pair of hands pushed her out of the way and to the ground. As she fell, her expression twisted into one of horror.
Before her eyes, Mars was enclosed in a thick layer of ice and fell to the ground.
The others watched in disbelief. Mars was frozen solid!
"No," Ami whispered.
"Damn it!" Makoto screamed, trying again to move.
All eyes turned to their Princess, confused as to why she whispered 'Saturn' and not 'Mars."
Saturn forced herself to her knees, eyes wide. Slowly, her gloved fingers brushed against the ice that surrounded the fiery senshi.
"Hah! Now that I've got her, she's going to stay frozen!"
"Until you die you mean."
Yellow eyed widened when it heard the cold voice. It soon found herself staring into a pair of violet eyes burning with hatred. And at that point, the youma knew it was going to die.
"This ends now."
Saturn rose to her feet and released her Glaive. The weapon began spinning wildly as an eerie purple light surrounded the senshi. Her tiara disappeared, the sign of Saturn glowing brightly on her forehead.
The other senshi gasped, the raw power coming from the girl was amazing.
The ground shook violently while the lion youma stood frozen with fear.
Saturn grabbed the glaive and slammed it into the ground. A large crack raced towards the youma, splitting to surround the panicked beast. Purple light shot from the ground and enveloped it.
As the lights dimmed, the beast was gone, leaving nothing. Minako screamed as she suddenly regained control of her body. But being in the running position she had been in for so long did nothing to help her regain her balance once she was free from the spell and sent her crashing to the ground. While she got up, sore, everyone else ran over to Saturn.
The violet-eyed senshi was kneeling with Mars' head in her lap. One hand rested on the defrosted woman's neck to raise her head slightly while the other slipped to rest on the back of Mars' head. A purple glow appeared, highlighting the unconscious woman's blood soaked hair. As the others watched, Saturn continued to heal her wounded comrade.
'Let her be all right.'
Saturn had no idea how Mars survived the severe head wound, much less regained consciousness in time to save her only to be encased in ice. The woman was lucky to be alive. Violet eyes opened tiredly as the glow disappeared. She panicked when she had done all she could for Rei yet the woman was still unconscious.
Ami placed a hand on Saturn's shoulder and knelt down on the unconscious woman's other side. After checking her friend over, the computer genius asked Haruka to bring over her car.
"She's fine," Ami reassured everyone, but looked at Saturn. "She's running a fever and I think she has a concussion. The sooner we get her home and in bed, the better."
Saturn nodded numbly and almost whined when Makoto lifted the unconscious girl from her lap. She scolded herself quickly. Rei was hurt and no matter how strong she was, she would never be able to carry the miko to the car.
A hand appeared in her line of vision, offering to help her up. She looked up to discover Usagi smiling down at her warmly. The blonde then pulled her to her feet.
"I know you're worried," her soft voice soothed. "But you're still in your fuku."
A light blush colored Saturn's cheeks once she realized her princess was. Quickly, Hotaru Tomoe took the place of the legendary Saturn.
Haruka's car pulled up and Makoto placed Rei in the backseat before she got in herself. Ami jumped into the passenger side seat. Rage enveloped Hotaru again before she suppressed it.
'Makoto needs to be there to carry Rei up the stairs. Ami is a pre-med student. Haruka-papa needs to drive. Who isn't needed? You.'
Usagi squeezed the youngest senshi's hand as Setsuna suddenly pulled up in a garnet convertible. Her eyes twinkled as they took in the surprised expression on everyone's faces.
"Need a lift?"
I'm sorry about making up an attack for Saturn. I really didn't want to, but I needed SOMETHING that won't cause the destruction of the universe. No universe, no story.
Hope you like it this fic. Weird couple, yes, but CUTE! At least I think so.
- This was deleted by the staff since I didn't change the rating after the site changed its system. I'd been meaning to edit this fic anyway, so it gave me the perfect opportunity. I've gone through and gotten rid of all the annoying typos and stupid errors I'd been too lazy to correct before. (Eek, I know that was bad, I'm sorry!) But other than that, very little has been changed. I've deleted almost all of the notes that I had at the end of each chapter since they don't really apply anymore. Most of them were responses to reviews and to Ebil-sama anyway.
I suppose I'll add a few more notes for those of you that are actually reading this. I don't think there's anyone out there, right? Hello? Anyone?
Either way, back to the point. I don't really recall where the idea for this story came from. I do know that I'd been dying to write a shoujo-ai fic. My first was Gravity of Love, actually, but the idea of a Rei and Hotaru fic just wouldn't leave me be. I suppose it's because they're two of my favorite characters from all of anime and video games. But I thought they would be perfect together. The two are different and yet, in my opinion, very much the same.
I believe that they are different enough for a relationship to not only work but grow and strengthen yet at the same time similar enough for it to be stable. But in order to get there, I figured their personalities contrasted and differed enough for the road to be difficult and not without a certain amount of grief and pain. But it's those things that make it worth it, right?
All right, I better cut this note off here. I'm sure I've lost the attention of those of you that's actually reading this. Thank you for reading either the story or both the story and the note. -
Disclaimer: All of the characters from the show "Sailor Moon" or "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon" (whichever you prefer) belong to the talented Takeuchi Naoko. So, nothing except the plot belongs to me. Well, in a way the plot doesn't really belong to me either. After all, there is no such thing as a "new" idea in writing.