This was an entry for a contest on A SailorMoon Romance (ASMR), for the holidays. My entry came second.

All characters copyrighted by Takeuchi Naoko

No one was awake when he came home.
In fact, he was surprised that his keys could still open the lock. If he was any of them, he would've changed the lock so that he could never return.

But return he did.

He silently took off his hat, and hung it on the hat rack next to the door. It hadn't hung there for years, and as he looked at it, he felt his heart wrench slightly. He took off his coat too, and draped it on a chair. Another unfamiliar sight. He hadn't done that in eons. His suitcases, filled with used art supplies, canvases and delicately wrapped parcels, lay by the fireplace, colorful wrapping reflecting the light from the fire and glinting back at him through his glasses.

He picked up a small box, wrapped in shiny blue paper and tied in an aqua ribbon, and quietly walked past the living room all decorated for Christmas the next day, and headed off for the hallways, which were not as decorated. Pictures still hung on the wall, from times he could scarcely remember, times when he was still around. He brushed a finger along one picture on the wall, the dust gathering along his fingers. The frame was crude; Popsicle sticks glued haphazardly together, blobs of glue still visible, and blue glitter scattered along the wood. In the picture, a tiny girl and her mother were waving at him. The picture was old, black and white, and slightly faded. But he could still make out the girl's smile, her mother's blissful face. The little girl had wanted to be just like her dad at the time, and therefore tried her best and the picture frame. She worked diligently through the night to complete the frame, and when she was done; her mother hung it on the wall and called it her greatest achievement. It was hanging on the wall ever since.

Another picture hung right next to it. It was a family portrait, painted by him. Before he deserted them. Once again, he wondered to himself why they still kept the portrait. He had done it in acrylics and pastels, and it had taken him months to complete. Back then, this was his masterpiece, the piece he would spend forever perfecting, if he had that long.

He did himself first, because it was easier. He even dressed in the light blue tuxedo from his wedding for the picture. He couldn't recognize the smile that he had painted on his face… it had been so long since he actually did that.

His blushing wife was next. She too was dressed for the picture… a dark blue gown, with matching gloves and crystal earrings. She too was smiling, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her. Even working in the busy medical field couldn't remove her beautiful smile. At least, back then, it didn't.

The last one completed was his pride and joy, his daughter. She was wearing all white with a large blue brooch from her mother's dresser, to make her look older. She was sitting in her mother's lap, and holding onto his hand, a giggle seen easily on her face. She couldn't have been any older than eight years old then. He wondered to himself how old she would be now.

He finally reached the end of the corridor. A bright blue door with a goldfish painted on the wood marked his destination. He hesitated, and prayed that she wasn't awake.
As he pushed open the door, the tiny alarm clock in her room started to chime 12o'clock. He literally tiptoed in, shut the door, and looked around. The room was rather empty, expect for a desk piled with books and papers, and a bed, where a young girl lay sleeping. Books and pens lay scattered on the bed covers, and the girl's face appeared lined with worry. A paper was clutched in her hand; on it were scrawled notes and formulae. Her glasses were still on her face, knocked askew, her short blue hair fanning out on her fish-shaped pillow and face.

The clock was on its fourth chime. He had already placed the gift on her pillow, and softly touched her face. On the sixth chime, he had already left the room, a small tear on his face.

One the last chime, he had already picked up his suitcases, and was preparing to leave the house, when he heard a soft shuffling behind him. He shrugged it off as the crackling fire, but almost jumped when he heard a soft, all-too familiar voice.


He turned around and saw the young girl, clutching to her heart her unwrapped present, a beautifully painted mermaid in her image. Her glasses were straight, her blue hair still messy and unkempt. She watched him with teary eyes, and he did the same, slowly dropping his suitcases.

"Oh PAPA!" she cried out, running to her father, flinging her arms around his neck, kissing his cheek and sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulders. He hugged his daughter tightly, holding her oh so close to him, kissing her brow and crying as well.

"Merry Christmas, Ami… " he hoarsely whispered amidst tears.

Well, there you go. If anyone else likes this, I might consider continuing this with other senshi... it's an idea. Email me if you think I should.

Ishimaru Chiakai