– – – – –


– – – – –

She would not cry. She would not.

She had sworn, a long time ago, that she would never wait for, or cry over him again. Any of them. Not her father, who had washed his hands of spending time with family a long time ago, nor Kaidou, whom she once mistaken for a kindred spirit. Nor the face and name that hurt too much to bring to mind.

She had promised, but here she was, standing at the top of the temple steps, threatened by April storm clouds but unwilling to go inside.

The girls had already come and gone, a boisterous whirlwind of welcome distraction but unable to last forever. Fortunately she had trained them well, and they had refrained from forcibly dragging her on an experience of Tokyo's nightlife.

Grandfather had given his gift and retired to meditate, leaving her alone to wait.

For what, exactly, she wasn't even sure.

Hino-san had made a large deposit into her savings account already (most of which would be used to keep up the temple, just to spite him. What would she need a fancy car or new wardrobe for, anyway?) There would be nothing else coming from him.

Kaidou stopped taking her to dinner the year he got married. He probably thought such a situation was a potential tabloid playground, and acted accordingly. As a stickler for propriety, Kaidou would be unwilling to tarnish either his or Hino-san's reputation. But he had continued to send flowers, every year.

Until this one. It was already late afternoon, and there had been no flowers. Curse him, but this was her last birthday in which normalcy could be mostly guaranteed! Usagi… Usagi was turning 22 this year. After everything they had gone through after seeing Crystal Tokyo, Rei was skeptical about whether it would actually occur like Neo-Queen Serenity had foretold – too much had changed since then. But she couldn't be sure either way, and if Crystal Tokyo did appear, then normality would be thrown out the window.

If Crystal Tokyo appeared, there would never be Girl's Nights like they had now. She wouldn't be able to care for the Shrine by herself, either. Nothing in life would ever be the same.

So why couldn't this birthday be just a little special?

It wasn't fair.

The rain began to fall, a light sprinkle quickly turning into a harsh shower of large, heavy drops that soaked her hair, clothes, and skin. Within its camouflage, her eyes pricked with tears.

Maybe, just this once, she could cry. Not over the men (and lack thereof) in her life, but for good days now long-lost to memory… and a bouquet that never came.

Lily-white, smooth and soft, the petals of a Casablanca flower.


– – – – –

Um… dang. Wasn't supposed to end this way. Jadeite was supposed to actually show up, to round out my quartet of Senshi-shitennou interaction – A meeting/parting, a promise of the future, a watcher in the present, and what was supposed to be a reunion. Darn the muses. Rei wouldn't let go of the angst. If I can bring down stress levels after school ends in a couple weeks (stress tends to churn out angsty stuff), I think I'll try for a companion piece/sequel-ish vignette. Do tell what you thought of it, and how a companion piece should go.