The Nightingale
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by Blue

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I can die when I wish to: that is my elixir of life.
- Ernest Renan
Death is the veil which those who live call life:
They sleep, and it is lifted.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
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I had always wanted to die in autumn. It is most beautiful then, when the leaves
are in decay, their soft and vivid hues plastering the sidewalks and burying the dying
grasses. The children are happiest in autumn here. The bonfires, the festivals, and the
celebrations when life is the most beautiful simply because Death is coming soon to take
its place had always what fascinated me and made me love the autumn best. Nature puts
on her brightest and gayest colors then, the soft greens and yellow, drifting to deep gold
and reds. The sky is always crystal clear and blue - when it wasn't raining that is - and
when it does, the scent of freshness fills the air. The last of the roses blooms in fall,
their blossoms full, their scents dousing the atmosphere with romance that spring never
had. I had always wanted to die in beauty, in the beauty that would surround me when
my last fall takes place, and how I pray I would not wake to find duty knocking on my
door again. I only want peace now, peace and life. In duty neither exists, neither
survives.

Sunset
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No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard,
Or keeps the end from being hard.
- Robert Frost
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The wind pulled on her long tangled hair, its dark-violet color swirled in the
coolness like agitated flames of fire. She glanced down. Her feet seemed to hover on
that pivotal point between the last of the solidness beneath it and freedom, the freedom
that nothingness can bring. Her violet eyes seemed cool, detached, some might even say
saturnine and uncaring. One step, she smiled as her foot met air and nothing else. A voice,
frantic in meaning and not words made her twist her body more in curiosity than alarm,
but it was too late, gravity already pulled her down toward the green-red grave she had
chosen for herself, a last flight really.
She saw the golden hair fluttering in the breeze, wide-frightened blue gazes
searching into her own dark-purple ones before the view disappeared. She saw arms
reaching out for her and immediately pulled out a wall of flames onto the cliff, disabling
anyone form reaching her in time, not even by flight. She saw a golden angel above her
moments later, reaching for her with outstretched arms and pure-white wings, sun-lit
gold combined with angry sky-blue eyes stared down at her, perhaps condemning her,
and for a second she feared, feared the path that she had chosen. A pair of dove-white
wings flown out from her own back, majestic in its breadth and grace, but it was too
late, the jagged rock pierced her body. As the pure white begun to turn to red, bones
snapped under the pressure of impact, giving her a crippled look, as white feathers
begun to drift onto the ground, stained at once by an angry red.
"Minako-chan?" Her voice sounded childish and frightful, like a child who got
caught doing something deserving of great punishment. The face above her changed
suddenly, and all she saw was a blond haired man with fire-blue eyes that seemed to
sheer into her soul. A soft smile appeared on his face, and he seemed to whisper her
name in gentle reverence and care, love beckoning her toward his own radiance like the
Sun, the wind, and the sky had once beckoned her to take her first flight.
"Jadeite." She whispered, her last breath leaving her body. The frown
disappeared, her purple gaze dimmed, as a soft loving smile appeared on her face even
as her body convulsed, once, before her limber form fell still against the crimson ground.
"Iie Rei-chan!" A voice cried out in despair. "Iie!"

***

I died for Beauty - but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining Room -

He questioned softly "Why I failed"?
"For Beauty", I replied -
"And I - for Truth - Themself are One -
We Brethren, are", He said -

And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night -
We talked between the Rooms -
Until the Moss had reached our lips -
And covered up - our names -

--Emily Dickinson

***

When we were young…
"Rei-chan!" A long-blond woman called as she approached the dark-haired
priestess. "Rei-chan, gomen! I didn't mean to be so late!" The blond exclaimed.
The dark-haired woman sighed, before a sly grin appeared on her face. "Taking
lessons from Usagi I see." She replied casually. She twirled a dark-tress between her
fingers as the blond scowled at her comment.
"Iie!" She said, narrowing her blue-eyes slightly, but a smile shown onto her
faces moments later, making it hard to believe she could ever look annoyed or sad. "But
Luna, I can't vouch for."
Her grin turned sly, "How is Artemis these days?" She asked, tossing the strand
from between her fingers with a flick of her wrist, sending it to join the mass of black-
purple fire that rippled with her every movement. "I heard that the two are getting quite
cozy, especially after that time when…"
The two gossiped for sometime, before Rei decided to change out of her miko
clothing to a more casual wear, and told her grandpa that she was going out. The blond-
haired man only winked at the two women before they left, hiding his smile behind the
light-colored moustache and muttering about how time seemed to pass so fast nowadays.
"How is your grandpa these days?" The blond inquired worriedly as the two
reached the Juuban District.
"Not very well, after Glaxia's attack and my disappearance for such a long time...
it had put some really hard strains on him. He seems…older these days." The dark-haired
woman sighed, smoothing her skirt as the two of them headed toward the park. "Ever
wonder Minako-chan…" She trailed off thinking, and then laughing softly she shook her
head to her friend's confused look. "Iie. It was just a silly idea."
"Huh? What is it Rei-chan? What's wrong?" The blond inquired, the two
stopped before a street, waiting for the light to change.
"Ever wonder if we'll ever turn out like that? Old, I mean." She said softly, just
before the light turned green, just before the silence could become unbearable.
"Iie! I can never be old!" the blond exclaimed jokingly. "Rei-chan." The blond
softened her tone and smiled, resting a hand gently on the dark-haired woman's
shoulder. "You've seen the future Rei-chan, we all have. We can't get old." The blond
smiled, "We'll never have to worry about wrinkles, ne?" The two laughed, as they walked
the rest of the way to the park to meet the others. "Rei-chan, don't worry about your
grandpa, he'll be fine. I think that lie about being a Makoto's worked, I don't think I
have ever been so grateful that Usagi's and my own parents didn't push the matter any
further!"
"Perhaps…" She said softly after awhile.
"Gomen Rei-chan, what did you say?" The blond asked with a smile.
"A-no." She smiled back, forcing the question that softly whispered in her mind.
Perhaps…we should be…fearful.

Year: 1996
Location: Tokyo City

"Sailor Moon!"
She screamed. She just didn't know she had, didn't know she had moved at all,
but in a moment, she was there. She couldn't describe what happened next, it was all
too confusing. One moment all she felt was numbness and dread, and then it all
exploded to pain. Pain that shot up her arm and raced through her body, bombarding her
brain with too much emotions and feelings, shutting out the screams, the explosions,
everything. The world suddenly disappeared, the ground, the sky, all red, as the all
color dissipated to splotches of red, like blood, blinding her. She panicked, but she
couldn't move, the pain was too much, and soon all she saw was white light and she
knew they had won. At least Usagi is safe now, she thought before her world went
black.

"Rei." There was someone calling, who was it calling? Her mind wondered as
she looked around her in confusion. The sand beneath her feet was red, the sky was red,
the mountains, cliffs, everything but the swirling blue-black water before her, one that
churned its great mass as it called to her. "Rei Hino."
"Who are you?" She asked, as she found a dark-figure, obscured by shadows
walking towards her from the dark-waters. Her hair swirled. The strands were red, like
the sea, like everything else. It's long mass twisted and swirled before her as a great
gust of wind blew by. It was warm, like fire. "Who?" She asked again when the figure
did not reply.
"Who are you?" The figure asked. It allowed enough time for the question sink
in. She gasped in surprise when she realized that she didn't know, she couldn't
remember. One strand of crimson few before her eyes, she moved her hand to whisk it
away, but stopped herself and grasped it instead. Her hair was red. She didn't
remember it being red. What did she look like? Who are you? She asked herself.
"Who am I?" She asked aloud as the figure emerged.
"You are Hino Rei of Earth, Senshi and Protector of the Moon Princess Serenity,
Sailor Mars, Princess of the Red Planet Mars." It replied.
"You are Home." The figure split to two identical images, the second image
continued the reply of the first. Two women, of hair the color of raven wings, their
figures were slim and strong, they seemed familiar.
"Who are you?" Her eyes were wide with confusion, for she did not recognize
the titles given to her.
"We are your guardians Hino-san. Phobos and Diemos. Do you remember?
Princess." She started, a soft glow begun to emit between the two of them, as a flash of
white momentarily blinded her. But when all had settled she gasped again, for their
before her stood a woman, hair long and red, eyes deep-crimson, body slime and
muscular. The woman's posture bespoke confidence and grace, perhaps even a hint of
arrogance and imperious air shone through her eyes. "This is you Princess." They
answered her unspoken question.
"Iie. How can she be me?" She questioned. "How can I be sure?"
The two guardians looked to each other, their communication silent, their bodies
tension told her that they were worried, how, she did not know, she just did. "Princess,
we cannot make you remember. You must remember for yourself. You must remember
for the pledge you had made to the Great Queen of the Moon, when you promised her your
eternal allegiance and that of the allegiance of your Planet to that of the Moon and its
Princess. The Princess who you pledged your soul to."
"How do I know you are not lying?" She retored.
"Because you do." They replied, their smiles soft and loving, their eyes
seemingly hungry, hungry for what? She wondered, before they promptly disappeared.
"Come back! Where did you go?" She looked around frantically, the air was
silent again, their presence was gone, and she was alone, again. Surrounded by high
cliffs of red rocks and sand, and a black sea, she was scared. Fear. What is fear? Her
mind asked.
"Sailor Senshi Mars?" A voice called to her. Startled she looked up to meet
blue eyes and silver-white hair. "Sailor Senshi Mars." The woman smiled at her. She
was beautiful, all peace and calm and grace and love. Everything that she longed for at
that moment, but she did not move, suspicion stopped her in her tracks.
"Who are you?" The image split, a younger woman stood beside the former.
Both had silver-white hair and kind blue eyes. Both had the strands of moonlight hair
held in two small buns, held back to have the rest cascade down in torrents of
interwoven strands, as soft curls framed their serene faces. "Serenity." She whispered,
the two smiled at her and nodded their heads slowly in agreement.
"Remember your pledge to me and my daughter Sailor Senshi Mars." The
former of the two women spoke. "Remember your duty. Remember the Peace times.
Remember. Remember."
"Mars-chan. Come back with me." The younger one spoke and smiled, a smile
as bright as a ray of moonlight in the darkness of the night. "Come back with me and
we'll train together sister." Her voice changed, the two women's forms suddenly
merged again, back to one. Only now it was a long-haired blond that stood before her, a
scarlet ribbon pulled strands of golden hair away from her face. Blue, piercing eyes
stared into her own, penetrating her soul. "Sister. What are you doing here?" The
woman asked, her smile confused and gentle.
"Who are you?" She asked, feeling somehow disoriented and at an obvious
disadvantage to all those that visited her, all those who seemed to have significance to
this woman named Hino Rei, Sailor Senshi Mars, Princess of the Red Planet Mars. All
who seems to know who she was without her knowing them in return. Knowledge held
power, someone told her that once, but she couldn't remember who, but she
acknowledged the truth in that statement and she didn't like knowing that others had
power over her, didn't like knowing that they knew more about her than herself, nor that
she could not even comprehend their existence, much less her own.
"Rei-chan, do you not remember me?" Her eyes were soft and sad. Remember,
remember they all say, but what do they want me to remember? Life? Love? Dreams?
All of those? "I just want you to remember that we are sisters Rei-chan. Sisters." She
answered as she extended her hand towards her and upon the wrist, she saw a white scar,
she saw it as if she were right beside the blond-haired woman, she knew that it existed.
"Look Rei-chan, look at your own wrist." She fixed her eyes onto her right wrist, the
cool gold metal, with ruby gemstones embedded upon it sparked and winked at her as it
slid down her forearm, but it was the white scar that startled her.
"Who are you?" She asked frantically, looking to see the woman fade, and a
man stood in her place. A beautiful man, with golden hair and ice-blue eyes, whose
very presence tugged at her heart and she did not know why, she feared him the most.
He smiled at her, and silence stretched, she trembled inwardly. Who was he?
"I am who you have searched for all your life." She trembled under his gaze, his
rich, melodious voice. She trembled because her heart felt like bursting. "You must
return, my love. Rei." He seem to let her name linger on his lips, his eyes misted, he
made a move toward her but when she took a mirrored step back he hesitated, he
stopped and smiled sadly at her, his arms reaching for her. "It is not yet time Rei. My
princess, you must return to the living, you must. Your duty is not yet over, you must
return to your world and regain your own memories. It is not yet time for us to be
together." His smile saddened, "I've waited for you Rei, for over a thousand years, but
there are more time to pass before you can truly join me, when you can leave your
world. Please, you must return! Your Princess of the Moon needs you!" He said, his
voice almost frantic.
"Do you not hate her?" She asked, suddenly curious, suddenly not afraid.
"Iie! Hate who?" He asked, taken back by her reply.
"This Moon Princess you talk about. She keeps you from the one you love, ne?"
She asked as she tilted her head to one side, studying him.
"Iie." He looked to the ocean, before finally turning back to her. "I used to
once, until I realized that it would've been the same, had I been in your place. That
there are others who loved you as well, others who cared and others you cared for. I
cannot take you away from them. I love you, Rei." His eyes were sincere, she could
sense the love and the turbulent emotions within his arua.
"Yet you fight to believe it." She said at last.
"It is hard to stay away from you Rei." He laughed, one that sent shivers down
her back, why, she did not know. "The ocean Rei, it holds all the answers you wish for.
But it is the fire you seek. Ask the ocean Rei." He reached for her then, perhaps out of
a last moment hope, a moment where he could not control even himself form trying. A
flower appeared within his hand, one that was pale and perfect, its scent already wafting
to her nose. "Remember Rei, remember me, as I love you! Always and forever!
Remember?" The last moment was a question, before he faded into nothing, the breeze
pulled at her strands, and a tear slipped through.
"I love you too, Jadeite." She whispered and looked back to the ocean, and
dipped her feet within to its cool depth.

"Where am I?" She was cold at first when she first drowned in the ocean, so
cold that she could no longer feel her body, so cold that she feared that she was going to
die then and there. But the warmth came all of a sudden, hotness in the dark-blue depth
that somehow reminded her of his eyes. "Where am I?" She asked again, to no one in
particular.
"Child of Mars, Senshi of Fire, Spirit of the Flames." A voice whispered back at
her, calling to her, comforting her. "You are the fire child, are you not?"
"I-I'm not sure." She tried to twist her body in the heat and warmth, not because
she was uncomfortable, but because some sense within her muddled mind kept her
always wanting to be alert about her surroundings.
"Child of Fire, do not be foolish as to rid yourself of your memories, do not let
go of your duty to the Moon Child, not yet. Time is not yet here, time is not yet ready
for your departure." She shook her head, she knew somehow, somewhere she had made
a decision, but she still did not know what it is that she based her decision on. A flash.
A flicker. What was that?

"Rei-chan! What are you doing here?"
"Minako forgot something and I came to get it for her it's- Oh, gomen! I-I
didn't mean to interrupt."
"Rei-chan…I…"
"I should go…Gomen!"
"Rei-"
"It's okay, you don't have to explain, I have to go, please forgive me!"

"Can you believe it, I heard that she has magical powers!"
"A witch?"
"Better be careful around her, she might put a spell on you!"

"She pretty isn't she?"
"Real hot!"
"Hot as fire!"
"Better not get burned!"
"Such a challenge! I heard she keeps to herself though."
"I heard she put curses on people."
"She's just a pretty face, nothing too threatening."

"What are you doing?"
"You're cute you know?"
"Get away from me!"
"Why?"
"Get away!"
"Hey!"
"Get away!"
"Ahhhh! You really are a witch! I should've known."

"Jadeite! Why are you doing this?"
"Because, I - hate - you!"
"Jadeite!"
"Die, Sailor Senshi Mars!"

"Shimatta! Matte! Matte! I don't want to remember! I don't want to! I don't want to!
Why don't you just leave me alone? Why don't you just let me die?"
The world shattered, a blinding white light shone through the darkness. "Rei-
chan? You're awake!"
"Rei-chan! You worried me!"
"Rei-chan." Warm arms surrounded her. Soon she was immersed in a world of
white and gold and laughter, happy banter and relief.
Why are you so cruel?
Simply because it is not your fate alone.

Year: 1997
Location: The Ice Dream

"It's time." The woman's dark-green hair flowed down her back, flipping in the
cold wind, her fuku looked a bit dirtied, but all of their fukus did.
"I - I can't." Her head bowed.
"Rei-chan?" The blond looked to her startled.
"I just can't forget…the way Yui-chan looked when he said…goodnight to me
just a few hours ago." She smiled, but her eyes wavered. "I - I thought that I could go
through with this but I can't, I want to wake up tomorrow and see his face again."
"He will be there." The dark-haired woman said softly.
"Iie!" He won't, she knew it. He would not be her Yui-chan anymore, he would
think that she betrayed him, he would not understand why she didn't tell him that today
was the last day, he would not understand why she did not tell him that when he wakes
up he would not be able to die. Not naturally anyway. She was doing this without his
permission. And grandpa. Gods! Not grandpa!
"Rei! You must understand that this is the only way!" She looked up at her
princess, the one she would do anything for, give anything she had for, but she can't
give this away, it was not hers to give.
"Is it?" She asked, her eyes uncertain. She never questioned her princess before,
not like this, not this total doubt. She was a good soldier, good soldiers don't ask
questions, but she had to know. She saw the flicker of pain in Minako's eyes, she knew
the other understood, but Minako was a better soldier than her, she would not question,
ever, the decision of her soon to be Queen. Why am I asking? She wondered. She had
never done this before. Mamoru looked slightly startled by the question, but he hid it
well. He loves her too much, he would never question, it hadn't even crossed his mind
till now.
"It's the only way." She looked up to cool blue-eyes, Haruka and Michiru, her
friends, they didn't understand at all. Duty was their only goal, they were even willing
to give up each other for it, they would never understand this moment of doubt, that she
was scared because she feared waking, not sleeping, she longed for it, but waking would
be painful, however she decides. She knew she could not win, but she had to ask, didn't
she?
"Rei-chan, the fire told you this is to be did it not?" It was Ami this time, sweet
and gentle Ami, whose eyes are a little colder now, a little sadder now, after Glaxia,
none of them were the same again.
"Hai." She did not voice that she no longer trusted the fire, not anymore. Even
though she hid it so well that none of them noticed, not even Minako who was slightly
suspicious but she asked no questions. If the Gods ordained it so, so be it. She thought
bitterly, her face contorted into a frown, but she forced a smile onto her lips. "Let's do it
then." She said softly, and felt a warm hand laid upon her shoulder, even through all the
uniform and armor.
A whisper reached her ears. "Don't worry Rei-chan, I too doubt." She glanced
up startled to meet green-eyes, Makoto's. Makoto mistaken though, she thinks I fear
sleeping. Why does she fear sleeping? The question suddenly popped up into her head,
momentarily distracting her, but she nodded to assure the other, as well as the rest of the
Senshi.
The powers gathered, and she suppressed her feelings, remember when her
Grandfather had first shown her the great fire and she hid behind him, afraid of its heat
even as it called to her. He, and the fire taught her fear and how to ignore it, she was
glad, as she had been many a battles when all she had was her will as she faced death
many times, and now she faces immortality. Like Gods we are, she thought as they
chanted. Damn the Gods! If they existed, they would've been kinder and if they were
cruel, they deserve not to be Gods but demons like the youma, they taught her nothing
but fear, something that they had first created. Damn the Gods! She thought again.
They had never helped me escape true pain.
The white light shown as the world was soon covered in a clear blanket of ice,
lulling it to sleep for the next thousand years, and she slept in the arms of ice dreaming
of fire.
The Gods too are cruel child. Remember that. The fire whispered.

Year: 3314
Location: Old Tokyo, the Building of Crystal Tokyo

"Ami-chan! What are you doing?"
"Na ni?" The other jumped. "Rei-chan! You frightened me!" Ami was
engrossed in her work, again!
"Ami-chan you really should slow down! We have eternity you know?"
"Iie. I can't work like that." The other replied simply, and went back to work,
moments latter, the blue-haired genius promptly forgot her existence.
"Nothing to do here but twiddle my thumbs away." She muttered, before turning
and walking away.
"Rei-chan! Can you look after Chibi-usa please?" She found herself in the hall
with a pleading Queen at her side.
"Of course, Serenity-sama." She said, bowing in respect.
"You really should stop doing that Rei-chan!" The other frowned. "If you don't
want to do it, you don't have to, Chibi-usa can be a brat sometimes, and I guess me and
Mamo-chan isn't much help being that we're the ones who spoiled her!" The silver-
haired woman chatted away, even letting King Endimion's old name slip her tongue.
"My Queen." She said, cocking one eyebrow in amusement, before the other
realized her earlier mistake.
"Oh! Gomen! But I just thought that…since we've known each other so long...
that you wouldn't mind." The Queen smiled uncertainly at her. She blushed, she hardly ever
blush, but she felt truly ashamed of herself now.
"Forgive me my Queen." She bowed again. "I will take care of Chibi-usa
today." The other smiled, letting the issue pass.
"Rei-chan?" She had already walked a few steps down the hall, so she was
surprised when the Queen called to her, twisting her body to meet the silver-haired
woman's gaze, she saw the probing question the other asked her, unconiously or not. "I-
Never mind, you go have fun with Chibi-usa." Nodding, she presumed her walk down
the large corridors wondering how she would've answered the question had it been
voiced aloud. Iie, she wouldn't have, it was not her place.

Year: 5468
Location: Crystal Tokyo Palace

"Na ni?" A scream pierced down the hallway. "Chibi-usagi!"
"What did you do this time Chibi-chan?" A short woman with shoulder-length
purple hair looked over to the pinked haired girl questioningly.
"Me? I didn't do anything!" The pink-haired girl objected innocently.
"What did you do this time Chibi-usa?" A weary looking woman with dark-
brown hair asked, her green eyes though stayed alert.
"Chibi-usa! What did you do this time?" A blond-haired woman frowned at her.
"Hai, what is it this time?" She asked in a slightly irritated voice, she couldn't
help but be irritated by the incident, she wanted to know if the pink-haired princess
would answer to the question truthfully or not, both she and Minako already knows what
happened, Ami too, they've seen the results. She flipped her dark-violet mane
gracefully behind one shoulder, she always hated when others disturbed her while she
was writing a score, just like Minako hated when people interrupted her singing.
"What did you do to have your sensai running around like a mad woman?"
A blue-haired woman inquired, glasses pulled from her nose and blue eyes
searching for answers.
"Her hair happens to have a peculiar color of orange when she passed us by,
don't you agree Ami-chan?" She smiled slyly at the blue-haired genius, the other's
cheeks reddened at the realization of what had happened. "If I recall correctly, I believe
the natural color was brown." She continued with a smile, but it was the blond who had
burst out laughing and soon everyone joined in while the pink-haired princess smiled
sheepishly.

"Hey Rei-chan, what are you thinking about?" She looked up startled at the
blond who plopped down beside her under the cherry-blossom tree.
"Minako-chan? What are you doing here for? Is Usa's latest sensai still
fuming?" She asked with a grin.
"Yareyare!" The blond sighed, smiling a little wastefully. "She goes through
them like Usagi used to go through food." The blond joked.
"And we all know how Usagi-chan goes through food, ne?" The two laughed at
the old worn out memories. "Minako-chan…" She looked down to the light-blue pond
before her, as cherry petals drifted onto its cool waters, struggling to find words to fit
what she was about to explain. The pale-pink petals glided like a dance, causing rings
of ripples to spiral about, giving her an excuse to act distracted. Glancing to her friend
after a few moments of silence, waiting for some kind of acknowledgement that she had
spoken before.
"Hai Rei-chan?" The other replied softly.
"I don't remember how Usagi-chan looked with blond-odango's anymore. Do
you?" She asked softly, there was a hint of fear in her voice, as she realized what she
said, as she acknowledged the unease she had been feeling for so long.
"Serenity is a different person." The blond replied, as quietly as before. "So are
we all."
"Minako-chan, who are we?" Her voice was a whisper, but she knew the other
had heard her, the silence stretched on for a long while before it was finally broken.
"I don't know Rei-chan. I don't remember anymore." She looked sharply at her
friend then, who sat, swirling her fingers in the pond and watching the ripples slide.
"Who remembers those days as it truly were anyway?"
"Minako-chan!" Her face contorted to a frown, her eyes wide, she was
frightened at the prospect that she did not know truly who she was, and her friend, who
was she? Who was anyone anymore these days? These were the questions that had
drove her to sit hours at the fire, going through old memories, sorting through new ones,
and always she find something gets lost each time, as time slips by so does her
consciousness of who she was as a person, other than a senshi, a soldier, a protector.
Was that all she was, had she ever been anything else?
"Anyway, Rei-chan. You shouldn't concern yourself with these questions." The
other smiled, but her blue eyes seemed somehow emptier now than it had been three-
thousand years ago, but how was it like those thousands of years ago? She couldn't
recall them anymore. When had they changed? Did they really? Or had they always
been like this? "We're at peace now, we had done what we were born to do. It is
enough." Lifting her hand away, the blond stood, and patted her head softly, as if she
were but a child. "Ne?" But the other did not wait for her to argue. "Oh, I have to go
Rei. It is getting late and Usa would need to be hauled off to bed again!" Tossing her
golden tresses, the blond smiled and waved. "Ja!" Before disappearing into
the trees and the coming darkness.
"Who are you Minako? Are you my Minako-chan? The sister of my heart?"
She asked, to no one in particular. Iie. She knew now, those times had passed. Just like
yesterday, and just like the years before. The sister of her heart had died, and now there
was someone just like her standing in her place, but Rei didn't know that Minako
anymore, she was not her Minako-chan, there exists no Minako-chan in this world
anymore. Perhaps there had never been a Minako-chan, perhaps she had only thought
that there were once two girls who understood each other perfectly, who would've die
for each other, who would've lived for each other. She still would do all those things,
but does she know why anymore? Do I? Who knows? We have already forgotten that.

Year: 6000
Place: Just outside of Crystal Tokyo

"Iie Rei-chan! You cannot die on me!" She cried so hard she could hardly see,
the tears kept coming no matter how she willed herself to stop, after a long while, she
finally lifted the limp and bloody body of her friend and stood. Did I fail you Rei-chan
is this why it happened? She stood and opened her wings again, gliding over the city,
feeling the air upon her cheeks, she realized that it had been thousands of years since she
cried, thousands of years since she lost control of a situation, thousands of years since
she lost anything of value to her heart, or lost at all.
"Minako-chan! We're so glad you're back! How are - " They gasped, the
seemingly small and frail form of one of them, one of the immortal senshi dead was
enough to silence anyone.
"Iie!" It was Makoto who broke the silence as she rushed to her side. Ami stood
there, shaking her head over and over again, muttering about something that none of
them could hear, it was too harsh, especially the way she chose to die. The hole in her
chest was a gaping hole that made Hotoru, even after all her doctor's training and years
of experience ran away to vomit and be sick somewhere, Setsuna chased after her to
comfort the younger child, as well as herself. None of them really wanted to stay there
and keep looking at her, some of them left because of it, some of them stayed because
they could not even will themselves to leave.
"Why?" It was the Queen this time, she was connected to them all in this way,
all of them, so she knew immediately that something was wrong and the sight that
greeted her was something she wished she never saw. "What happened? Is there a new
enemy?"
"Iie." Minako answered. "She - "
"Killed herself." It was Ami who finished it.
"Iie! Not Rei-chan!"
"She left us …" The blue-haired woman couldn't continue anymore, she broke
down and cried.
"Why? Why would she do this to us?" Makoto asked, her voice stony and
emotionless, her eyes clear and tired, the tremble in her shoulder was the only thing that
spoke otherwise.
Minako's eyes hardened to cold-blue, her puffy-eyes and tear streaked face
spoke enough, but she was angry now, letting the anger take over the hole in her heart,
take over the pain. "She didn't even say goodbye, the least she could've done was face
us with the truth."
"We would've tried to stop her, no one knew." Suddenly Minako stiffened at the
thought. "Setsuna." She muttered, but everyone heard her and silence reigned once
more.

"Why didn't you tell us Setsuna?" Her voice was cold, hard, she knew it, but she
could do nothing about it. The older woman returned her look, only the rouge colored
eyes were calm and filled with sadness, not anger, not hate, not any of the emotions of
betrayal that raced through her own blood. The other senshi looked startled at her
reaction, Ami was the only one who did not respond, but Ami was in her own little
world now, rocking back and forth, she had been like that for sometime.
"She did not wished for you to know, as time has no wish of revealing her
secrets, both can hide them from me if they wished it, for she is not just any ordinary
mortal might I remind you, Sailor Senshi Venus." The emphasis on her title was to
remind her of her duty, but it irked her more of that reminder than anything else.
"She was my best friend!" She screamed, they all started, even Ami who raised
her head sharply but bowed it down again as fresh tears begun to flow down the blue-
haired woman's face, her sobbing stopped the others from saying anything more
damaging.
"We'll talk about this later." The silver haired woman said with a sad sigh and
gently, but firmly pulled the blond senshi away from the group to lead her to her room.
"Minako-chan, I don't know why you're taking this the way you are, but we are all very
distraught at this moment." The Queen's face was stern and gentle, wisdom glowed in
her eyes, but she could not see them as clearly as she did the day before, or the years and
millenniums before that, she felt too much, hurt too much. "Rest for now Minako-chan,
we all need to be away and think this out on our own for awhile." She nodded, out of
habit, out of respect, not because she agreed, but she because she was trained for this.
When the Queen left, she turned and headed for the training grounds, she needed to
blast a few target to hell before she could even begin to think about being calm, she needed
to find her focus again.

The tears didn't stop, she even needed to be helped to her room, her, one of the
protectors of the City of Tokyo, one of the most powerful cities in the world! She
needed help, but when her auburn-haired friend tried to go into her room she stopped
her, giving some flimsy excuse that the other didn't believe in but let her stray in by
herself out of age old respect and friendship, knowing that she needed to be left alone
for now. She'd never thought that any of them was capable of it, especially not Rei, not
Mars, one of their strongest warriors, second only by Minako and Haruka, but Rei hid
her feelings well, too well. Why? Her mind asked for the hundredth time since she
found out. Why? Was life too harsh? Was the pressure too hard? Were we not good
enough friends to her? Her mind raced through the millions of possibilities of why this
had happened, but she never seem to find a possibility that fit the situation, sighing
softly she closed her eyes in frustration. A moment later, when she felt calm enough,
she opened them again. Something caught her eyes this time, a blue envelope laid upon
her bed, on her pillow. Startled she walked over unsteadily, and sat down, carefully
lifting it to inspect it.
Her name was gracefully scrolled at the front. Rei's handwriting! Her mind
clicked, her hand trembled as she opened it and pulled out the letter, something dropped
out. Startled she picked it up, and turned it over to her inspection, she gasped when she
realized what it was. It was black-blue feather, sleek and slim, glowing softly under the
light of the noonday sun, she remembered then the time when Rei first found her in the
woods, far from the palace…

* * *

"Ami-chan! There you are! The ambassadors are coming in two hours or so and
I thought I'd warn you to get ready." The deep-purple tints glinted under the few stray
moonlight that peaked through the knotty branches as the purpled haired woman leaned toward
her.
"Rei-chan! Please be quiet for a little while." She whispered, putting a finger to
her lips. Surprised the other shrugged, complying silently with her request. A soft call
appeared a few moments later, startling the dark-haired woman. A faint song answered
the call, and soon a haunting tune began to be sung, when it was over, violet eyes looked
to her in amazement and a lingering feeling that she could not comprehend.
"What was that?" Rei had asked her, a slight awe in her voice.
"A nightingale." She replied with a soft smile. "Their songs always make me
feel at peace."

* * *

"I wonder why…" She trailed off and picked up the letter upon her lap and
began to read.

Dear Ami,
By the time you receive this letter I would be dead, I had made sure that you
and the rest of the Senshi cannot stop me from my act of self-destruction. But Ami-chan
I die because I cannot escape here but in death. Don't you remember Ami-chan? Don't
you remember the first time I showed you my true desires?
Remember Ami-chan, that the nightingale has wings to flyaway. I wished for
those wings, and I found it in death. Life's wings had only taught me the possibilities of
freedom, but it has only given me wings of war in the form of angels.
Listen forever to their songs Ami-chan.
Goodbye.
Love,
Rei

She cried when she read it out loud to herself, over and over until her tears
stopped and she smiled, weakly. Rei was free now, like the nightingale, like its haunting
songs of goodbye and loneliness, and yet a fresh tear seeped through her face and she
knew that it would be awhile before she could truly accept the truth that the dark-haired
priestess had given her. It hurt too badly now to stop, instead she buried her face into
her pillow and cried, falling asleep in her tears of all the good times and bad when the
Senshi team knew only joy.


I hope Ami-chan is alright, she thought to herself as she closed her door and
leaned upon it. She knew she should be crying, but she was too tired, too tired of
everything, too tired of life. Rei always understood that, but I never thought that she…
Her breath caught in her throat, and she felt like choking, but her eyes were dry. What's
wrong with me? Why can't I cry? Why can't I cry for one of my closest friends? She
got up slowly, and her body tensed as she spotted a gold-green envelope lying upon her
pillow. Frowning with suspicion she approached and swept it up, as a curious stare
replaced the look when she flipped open the lid and took out the sheet. A small green
object dropped to her lap and she glanced down to it in surprise, gasping she lifted the
object up. It was a silver leaf with green-gold stems incased in a clear crystal.

* * *

"Mako-chan! What are you doing here?" She looked up startled to meet
confused violet-eyes.
"Rei-chan!" She gasped and quickly moved her body to block "I - I - " Her
mind sped away at a hundred different excuses, none of them having anything to deal
with her current situation though. "I was just looking for you!" She laughed nervously,
trying even harder to block her friend's range of view. "I was going to ask you to…if
you wanted to…try out my new cake!" She said, the other girl's eyes widened a little
more, as she walked toward her while using her tall, slim body to block the scene behind
her. Violet eyes narrowed and an alarm bell began to ring in her head moments before
the broomstick connected with it.
"Baka!" The dark-haired girl said with her arms crossed, fuming silently at her
for lying. She rubbed her sore head seeing that lying wasn't going to get her anywhere.
"Why were you sneaking about Mako-chan?"
"Rei-chan!" She said, hanging onto the other's arm, her eyes begging. "I was
only looking around!"
"Then why'd you lie?" The other yelled at her, she plopped down onto the
ground in defeat as the other glared down at her.
"Yare yare!" She said, "I was only looking to see that crystal-of-a-thing you have
lying around. It's pretty!" Her smile brightened. "Aye, Rei-chan, how about you keep
it at my place for awhile?" Her hands opened to reveal a small, clear crystal, a green-
gold leaf encased within it.
"Mako-chan!" The dark-haired woman sighed, "You're as bad as Usagi!" The
dark-haired priestess smiled sadly down at her and rested her hand to her head, "Gomen
nasai, Makoto. I cannot give it to you. It isn't mine yet to give." The dark-haired girl's
smile brightened suddenly, "But, one day Makoto…when it's time…I'll give it to you as
a gift."
"Aie! Really, Rei-chan?" Her eyes brightened.
"Hai! I promise." The dark-haired girl helped her to her feet and the two shook
hands, smiling at each other happily. "Makoto?"
"Hai?"
"Can I have the crystal back now?" She laughed nervously and handed it back to
the miko, smiling the other replaced it back into the display case before turning back
with a bright smile. "What about that new cake?" The dark-haired girl asked, just as
she fell over from surprise.

* * *

"Rei-chan." She whispered, as her eyes misted. You remembered!

Dear Makoto,

You will probably be the last to cry. You hid your emotions sometimes better
than I did and sometimes felt more than we could've guessed. You were always so
strong and so stubborn! I give you the crystal, as a gift, but also a request. Don't cry
Makoto, not now, I don't deserve your tears. Instead, I wish to give you this crystal
simply because it reminded me so much of yourself. So frail and yet so strong, your
inside a golden leaf shining through a beautiful crystal, containing eternal youth. We
were all so surprised ne? When our bodies did not shrivel or fail us in the first few
hundred years, yet it had all become a dream to us all. Survive for me Makoto, survive
eternally, and remember that, there is always someone who loves you Mako-chan. Do
not fear what sleep will bring, nor that love will flee you by, love is eternal. Remember?
Like the leaf in the glass, it is eternal like us.

Love,
Rei

She smiled and held the letter to her heart, as she gently opened her palm and let
the sunlight glide over the crystal, shining like a star, and in the middle, the gold and
green flared as a spark of red shined through and she saw the face of her friend smiling
at her through the glass. There is always someone who loves you Makoto…love is
eternal…eternal like us.


The training took the edge away from her need to kill, to destroy, and to scream.
The machine dummy though, did not survive the sever training though, and she felt
somewhat guilty at its now slashed like body, burnt and broken. Even though they were
easy to put back together and repair, she still felt guilty that she let all her anger out on
it, anger she herself could not explain. Walking to her room, she knew that she would
probably have aching muscles the next day. At least now I know I'm really out of shape
she thought bitterly, as she harshly stomped into her room. Sitting on her bed with a
sigh she fell against the pillow and closed her eyes.
When she finally opened them, it was well into midnight, the moon shone
directly into her faces. Sighing softly, she could almost believe that the whole thing was
just a sick joke, a dream, but when she glanced down and saw the blood still stained
upon her uniform, she knew she was only kidding herself. Sighing she glanced over and
gasped, upon her bed lay a golden envelope, with trembling hands she took off the red
seal and plucked out the letter, a shimmering gold fell upon the bed and she carefully
lifted it up and gasped in surprise. It was half-a-wing, golden-white, shining in the
moonlight, she closed her eyes as she felt tears seeping through, she couldn't hold them
back any longer, soon she was sobbing so hard that her body shook under the suppressed
pain.

* * *

"Rei-chan, now that we'll be working together, we should be friends nai?" She
asked the dark-haired girl with a friendly smile.
Surprised, the purple-haired girl could only nod a response before the other
finally found her voice. "I guess…Minako…-chan." The dark-haired senshi stumbled,
as if unused to the words that friends usually spoke in.
"But don't worry, even if I am the Princess we can be the best of friends. We'll
protect the world form all harm ne?" She asked with a wink.
The dark-haired girl laughed, and shook her head, before turning those intense
violet-eyes onto her again, only they were lighter, happier. "Hai, hai, the best of friends
Minako-chan." She returned the smile, and the two shook hands before both broke into
peals of giggles.

"Rei-chan! Look what I got?" The dark-haired priestess turned to her and
smiled a greeting.
"Hai Minako-chan?" The other replied, as curious purple-eyes searched her own
for answers.
"You better not be using your power on me!" She growled a warning as the
other begun to blush profusely. "Anyway! I got us a friendship necklace!" She said,
proudly drawing forth the item.
"Baka Minako-chan!" The dark-haired girl's voice snapped her out of her
happy-state of mind.
"What do you mean baka?" She yelled.
"That's your chain of hearts Minako-chan." The other muttered.
"Oh!" She laughed nervously, "Umm…One sec!" She rummaged through her
bag and finally found it. "Ta-da!"
Silence fell upon the temple grounds and she begun to fret, but her friend's awed
response stopped her. "It's…beautiful!" The other said and the two smiled. The chain
was truly beautiful. It was a pair of copper-gold chains connected to a pair of wings that
flowed at the end. The wings though were in two different colors; one was made of
white-golden material. The other was made of opal, shining with its own red, inner fire.
"What do we do with it though?" The purple-eyed girl asked.
"Do? Break it apart of course and each of us gets to keep one side!" She said
smiling into her startled friend's face, "Let's do it together and wear one of the pair of
wings!" She said with a smile and held it out to the other.
"H-hai." Her friend said meekly, but her smile eased the other's worry. The
wings broke easily, Minako took the red-white and Rei took the gold-white wings
wings, and they put it on for each other.
"Friends forever, ne?" She asked.
"Hai Minako," The dark-haired priestess said as the two hugged. "Friends
forever."

* * *

"You promised forever Rei-chan." She cried, but she finally picked the letter up,
and croaked out an order, the room suddenly was illuminated with light.

Dear Minako-chan,

All I can ask now is for your forgiveness. You would be the last to forgive ne?
But you are also my best of friend, the sister of my heart. Gomen, gomen dear sister,
you who is the other half of my heart, you who have been there always to take my hand
when it trembles, and watch over me while I cry my tears. We watched each other grow
did we not? We watched each other try to love the men out there and found that it could
not work. It was all too painful, was it not? Tell me Minako-chan, why is it that I feel
so discontent with peace? Why is it that I feel so bitter and alone nonetheless, even with
all the Senshi near? Why had I wished to die for so long and could not because of duty?
Gomen, I did not wish to sound so spiteful, nor have I ever wished for your
sympathy. I just wanted to tell you why I had to die. It was the only time you see? It
was the only time that I could do it without Setsuna suspecting, without destroying the
time stream, it was an opportunity I could not let slip through. Why? Because, I can no
longer go on knowing that love is just a step away. A love that no one can give me but
him, I may be immortal and god-like to the rest of the world, but I am still human on the
inside. Do you still remember? I can hardly. What is human anymore? I don't
remember the feel of wanting life to go on, I can hardly remember what it means to be
intimate, I can hardly even remember what I was like in the beginning, nor can I
remember the years that fall away like seconds and death another thing that happens in
the outside world. Have we gone too far? Is this immortality of the Gods what made
them so cruel for we, like them, are no longer apart of this race we were born into, are
we even still human? I don't even remember what it is like to be human.
Oh, Minako-chan, I wanted to tell you that I died not just for love, but for you
and all the Senshi. My last wish is that you will be happy, truly happy I mean. To be
human again, to be able to choose your own path because I have taken my life you see?
You can have a choice now, a chance. Can you not see that I die for you? My traitorous
heart cries for my love, but it is you that I die for. Forgive me sister and receive my last
sacrifice to you, and to our Queen.

Always,
Rei

She covered her mouth, trying to stifle her cries as her tears dropped onto the
golden paper, joining the running ink already there by her sister's tears. Crying through
the night, she fell asleep in sadness and dreamed the life she spent with the dark-haired
miko.
"There will be a time Minako-chan, when I know that I cannot be there for you
by your side, but know this, no matter where you go sister, I will always be there with
you in your heart." "Always Rei-chan?" "Always."
"Hey Rei-chan! Where are you going at this time of night?" "To the woods
Minako-chan." "The woods?" "Hai, I have an old friend there." "Can I come?" "Of
course, I don't think she'll mind you there as long as your quiet."
"It's beautiful!" "Hai." "What is it though?" "A nightingale. Ami and I listen
to it together sometimes." "Rei-chan?" "Hai?" "Why is the song so sad?" "Maybe
she's waiting for someone she loves." "Really?" "Or because she cannot join him."
"Why can't she join her mate?" "Because, she has her duty to her children Minako-
chan, she has to teach them to fly first and teach them to survive." "She can leave for
him later ne?" "Hai, someday, but not today." "It's beautiful nonetheless." "When she
finds him, it will be beautiful then, and until then she will live for the song." "Rei-chan,
how do you know so much?" "Because…we talked once." "But it's a bird!" "Our
hearts speak in only one tongue, but it is what is not said that I understand Minako-chan.
Now be quiet and listen to her song."

She woke to the sunlight shining into her eyes, and blinked, the necklace was
still on her bed, and mysteriously, another one was lying beside it, a red-white wing,
connected to the gold-white wing, the chains were now one chain. "I will be there
always…in your heart Minako-chan. Sister. Always."


Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untounched by Morning -
And untouched by Noon -
Lie the meek members of the Resurrection -
Rafter of Satin - and Roof of Stone!

Grand go the Years - in the Crescent - above them -
World scoop their Arcs -
And Firmaments - row -
Diadems - drop - and Doges - surrender -
Soundless as dots - on a Disc of Snow -

--Emily Dickinson
(version of 1861)

The End


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've always loved to put the end at the end, it's so final! =)
Anyho, I thought romance was a little old and decided to delve into the
relationship of the four senshi =) Gomen if you wanted to read about the outers, I love
'em to but I didn't want to write THAT much! = p

Comments, suggestions, whatever! Send to:

blue@icedream.f2s.com

Ja!
Blue