Forever Hold Your Peace

Written by: Mikami

Summary: The final day arrives: Usagi's wedding day. As she prepares to walk down the aisle to Mamoru's future, Seiya makes a private appearance before the ceremony. One-shot.

Note: I also used the American names for Andrew and Chad for convenience. Written back sometime in 2001-2002. Reposting for old times sake :)

" I've tried to give it all to you

Can't take anymore to do with this

It hurts inside

I know why I hide 'cause

I suffer."

------Staind, Suffer --------

The past week had been hell on end and not many of them got much sleep over the course of those days. The happiness of the event seemed like mere sugarcoating on top of the real work that went on behind the scenes. Last week was a barrage of mental and even physical labor like none of them had ever thought of.

But everything was perfect, like it was supposed to be. The beautiful pearl white of the decorations thoroughly complemented the gentle pastel shades. White roses were arranged only by the best people and bound up with flowing ribbons and trinkets. Soft chiffon hung between the pews while light from the intricate glasswork at the altar shone brightly, giving the whole place the look of a heavenly realm.

Rei fiddled with the pearls that hung around her neck. She bit her lip while darting glances at the door at the end of the hall. What in the world is taking them so long ?, her thoughts muttered inwardly.

She looked at her watch again until she saw another figure approaching her. A young man with sandy blonde hair and a huge excited grin on his face appeared before the raven-haired woman. He eyed her appreciatively and kissed her cheek in greeting.

" You look…marvelous." Andrew mused when he released her. He stopped to admire the silken bridesmaid dress and the purple sparkle of her eyes.

Rei smiled brightly despite the situation." I must say, you do too." She replied when she took notice of what he was wearing. The tuxedo was uniform to the bridal party and made him look elegant as ever as the Best Man. Not a speck on the silken black fabric or even a smudge on the white dress shirt.

" Think so ?" He pushed for compliments while briefly tugging at the collar of the tuxedo.

" Of course I do." Rei laughed heartily." You almost make me want to dump Chad and run off with you."

" I'm glad I still have that effect on women." Andrew compiled before hearing another voice behind him.

" And the blood flows out of my punctured heart."

Rei looked over Andrew's shoulder to find Chad standing there with his hands in his pockets. There was a grin on his face when he caught the conversation and proceeded to play along.

" Trying to get away by breaking our engagement ?" He asked her, amused.

" I tried to so many times but I just can't cut it." Rei swerved around Andrew and walked right into Chad's arms. Her hand lightly tugged on the short brown ponytail at the back of his head." My, you're looking very handsome today."

" So you're trying to sweet talk me now right ? So I'll forget about your plans to run off with Andrew ?"

" Is it working ?" She asked.

Chad put on a thoughtful look while pausing for a second." Unfortunately for me, it is." He chortled then gave her a quick peck on the lips.

" Damn man," Andrew feigned disappointment." There goes another chance I had."

" So, you nervous ?" asked Chad with a smile. He knew Andrew was thrilled to be offered the place of Best Man. The guy couldn't shut up about it.

" Nah. I'm nowhere close to how nervous Mamoru probably is. I just checked on him awhile ago. He's racking but you could tell he's happier than a kid at Christmas."

Rei gave Chad a warm squeeze at the thought." I'm so glad he's happy. They've been waiting all their lives for this. I always thought they'd get it together but not this soon. Time really flies."

" Yeah." Chad replied." Anyway, I heard you girls were up pretty late last night. It's funny how you look normal today."

He received a small swat on the arm and a playful look of annoyance from his fiancée." Okay, well it's true that hardly any of us got sleep last night. Last minute, so many things were misplaced or lost. Makoto was ready to pull her hair out while Ami kept falling asleep."

" What about Minako ?" Andrew asked.

" She was the 'moral support'." Replied Rei." Otherwise known as the Guru of Calmness."

Both men nodded in agreement when the sandy-haired youth's gaze flickered over to the door down the church hall." So why aren't you in there with the rest of them ?"

" It got way too crowded and the atmosphere is really thick. Usagi already has Minako and Makoto fussing over her. If I stayed there any longer, I would've exploded." Rei sweat-dropped with a scratch of her head.

" Amen to that." Chad added.

The three companions watched as more guests started to arrive at the door. The church was immense in size and was fit to accommodate the whole guest list established. Only now there were many more cars and people filing in through the doors, dressed in their finest. The ceremony was going to be the supreme center of attention with the most elegant reception to follow at Tokyo's most classical and ritziest hotel. It would be fit for a king and queen.

Rei could only glance back once more at the door at the end of the hall as Chad led her into the main part of the church. She remembered she had to have a word with Michiru about the last minute setup of the traditional wedding song.

The woman that stood facing her through the mirror was immaculate. She was lavishly adorned with the most expensive silken but delicate-looking wedding dress. Her neck was encrusted with a spray of diamonds while the white gloves reached past her elbows. An ornate but matching diamond tiara gave her the look of a regal queen complete with a soft veil that flowed to the trail of her dress. Her hair was done fancily and her makeup was flawless.

She looked beautiful, so stunning. Usagi started to wonder if that was really her in the mirror.

The soft rustles of her skirts were heard as she turned around. Minako was already going teary-eyed in her presence as she looked upon Usagi, adorned with the fruits of their labor.

" You look so amazing." Usagi's Maid of Honor said breathlessly. Minako's hands were clasped together in wonder.

" I think you've said that about a million times already." Makoto said with a perked up eyebrow.

Usagi smiled at them both, starting to feel the mist stain her eyes." Oh stop it ! We're going to go through another hour of touching up this eye makeup if you don't stop !"

The light humor was laughed at and the giggles were turning nervous, as Usagi had to take another deep breath.

This was it. This was a day that lay in waiting for so long. It was where two roads met and finally became one road. The planning and the waiting were over now and all that was left to do was make the final trip down the aisle and into the future she was meant to have.

Many times when Usagi visited the church on wedding business, she would gaze endlessly at the altar. She stood there in the silence of the holy place, imagining the faces and the complete surroundings that would take place at the ceremony. The attention seemed so wonderful to imagine because she would be the star. And beside her would stand that man that she loved. It was the man who would be her husband and her King.

Slight talking filtered through the door and Minako's ears caught the sounds." I have a feeling that the big part of the cavalry is entering through the door." She momentarily pictured the stress Ami had to go through trying to organize the guest list with the group.

Makoto brushed her hands on her dress and proceeded towards the door." I'm going to go check on Ami. Mostly to make sure she isn't in a back room sleeping. We'll see you at the altar." She gave her friend an encouraging wink.

Usagi laughed lightly as she watched Makoto exit the room. She turned to Minako and flew into her blonde friend's arms.

" Minako, I'm just so glad you're here with me." Usagi whispered." I don't think I could've survived without any of you."

It was true. Without the Senshi, Usagi would be lost in wedding plans and nobody would be able to dig her out.

" I'm just glad to be here." Minako said, giving her a tight squeeze." But I still can't believe this is it. Geez, it's hard to imagine that it took a thousand something years to get you and Mamoru to the altar. It's the starting of a new Silver Millenium."

Blue orbs blinked again at Minako's face but the bubbly blonde could sense a certain fear in them. She understood her made-up friend had pre-wedding jitters but she never imagined that Usagi's eyes would reflect that much apprehension.

" Are you okay ?" She asked, her face taking a turn for worry.

Usagi paused, then said," Of course. I'm fine. Just trying to get rid of growing cold feet, that's all." She tried smiling again, although it seemed harder to get her mouth to curve upwards." Maybe it's because this wedding has been put off for so long."

" Don't worry Usagi." Minako rubbed her back confidently." The ceremony is always like this. Before you know it, it'll fly by and we'll get to party."

" But it's also nerve-racking because the last time I saw Mamoru yesterday, he seemed so calm. It was almost amazing."

" Yeah well, you know how your 'Mamo-chan' is. He goes stiff in the face of nervousness."

" I just wish I could hold onto my stomach through the ceremony." Usagi said. She pictured herself tripping over the dress and falling face-first onto the aisle-rug. The church would erupt into laughs. The girl shuddered briefly at the thought and gripped Minako's hands tighter.

" Maybe I should leave you alone for a bit. The others are probably getting swamped by the guests." Minako laughed." And we don't want THAT to happen now do we ?"

Nodding, Usagi let her go and took a step back." Alright. Well, um……I'll see you later then ?" She said, trying to make the mood seem lighter.

Her friend glowed in her Maid of Honor dress as she kissed the bride's cheek exited the room. Minako managed one last encouraging smile and closed the door, leaving a flustered bride on the other side.

When Minako left, Usagi's smile dropped two thirds of a fraction. She turned back to the mirror. The only sounds in the room were coming from her breathing and the rustling of her dress.

The bouquet sat atop a classy-looking cushioned chair across the small room. But funny how the room seemed tinier when she was alone in this space.

There was a clump of people trying to get in the door at the same time. The line of guests had to stop a few rounds in order to properly function again. Excited chatter was filling the air above them and people couldn't stop talking about how beautiful and elegant the whole ceremony was going to be. The elaborate planning was highly talked of, trimmed with admiration.

" It's going to be so wonderful." Exclaimed a woman. She was middle-aged with friendly features. Her auburn hair was drawn up into a bun while wearing a maroon dress. She continued to fuss about the decorations to her male companion that looked to be her husband.

" I'm so proud of her." The man beside her said. He anxiously tried to peer over the heads in front of him. The line to the double doors of the church was moving slower now than before. So much for being on schedule.

But the elder man's bright green eyes landed on a figure beside him. He had been so wrapped up in his wife's excitement that he accidentally elbowed another person in the arm.

" Sorry about that." He said politely but managed to break out into a warm smile and a friendly laugh." We all feel like sardines packed into a can so I know just how you feel."

The person the woman's husband elbowed was a young man. The older male momentarily forgot his wife's blabbing and caught onto the youth that stood beside him.

The young man pushed the dark shades up his nose and managed a small smile. He gave a curt nod at the man with his wife.

Just to be friendly, the green-eyed man nudged him." So, which side of the family are you from ?" He asked, recalling that he'd never seen this young man before." I bet you're from the groom's. Ikuko, my sister-in-law's cousin and mother of the bride, said that Chiba Mamoru doesn't have any family. But quite a few of his friends are here."

Promptly, the young man gave another smile." No." He said softly." I'm a friend of the bride."

" Really ? Hmm, I haven't seen all of her friends but I know she hangs around with her little group. You would think that they were all sisters instead of friends huh ?"

" I guess." The youth replied.

It was then the line started moving again and this time it was faster. Gradually, the man and his wife pushed their way forward and got lost at the front of the crowd. The man gave his momentary confidant a last smile before leaving. He even got to pat him on the shoulder.

Another cloud passed the sun on this joyful day and although the atmosphere was swimming with happiness, the sickness inside Seiya's stomach was a festering disease. Trying to look happy had never been so hard and so he settled for looking grim.

Seiya watched as the last of the man and his wife disappeared through the crowd of people. They were family to the bride and looked just about as pleasant as every person around him. Seiya knew if he entertained the man by saying more, he would lose his composure. It was already strenuous to maintain.

The line moved forward again, bringing him closer to the door. He could see the main hall of the church and beyond that would be the aisle and the altar. More murmurs of appreciation were heard around him at the sight of the extravagant decorations that graced the church.

He spotted some familiar faces that were standing near the door. A tall brunette and a blue-headed beauty, Makoto and Ami. Their faces were flushed thrillingly and couldn't contain themselves as they kissed and greeted the family members that they knew. Though they were made up radiantly in their bridesmaid dresses, he could recognize them anywhere.

Seiya took his hands out of his pockets; his mouth was nothing but a grave line that matched the rest of his dead expression. The dark shades he wore against the rays of the sun enhanced the dullness all the more. It wouldn't even do to attempt a fake smile.

As he approached the doorway where Makoto and Ami stood, Seiya took refuge behind a tall but plump man. The jolly fellow stopped in front of the bridesmaids, shook their hands and clasped them tightly.

Behind the plump man, Seiya avoided the gaze of the brunette and blue-head. He ducked around the people that were still trying to get through the door since the plump man prolonged his conversation with Ami and Makoto.

When he came out of the compressed cage of people, the sickening feeling in Seiya's stomach increased and traveled up his throat to choke him. A lump formed uncomfortably at the base of his neck as he stepped behind another clump of people to dodge the sight of Luna and Artemis. For this occasion, Luna and Artemis were able to walk tall in human form. They linked arms lovingly while stopping to talk to Hotaru.

Seiya faintly heard Luna ask the little girl where the rest of the bridesmaids were. Hotaru had explained that most of them were in the main hall of the church. Minako was still probably with the bride.

At that moment, Seiya's head craned to the side. He watched the door down the end of the hall and saw Minako appear from the confines of the room. The blonde shut the door, made eye contact with Artemis and was proceeding over to them.

The dead feeling that his heart radiated broke out and was trickling into every part of his body. The whole scene that was being played out before Seiya's eyes was like a complete picture. The only thing that didn't belong in that picture was him. He was the improper factor.

And yet this improper factor managed to make it into the perfect picture.

Approximately a year ago the striking news of Usagi's engagement to Mamoru hit Taiki. Taiki had been keeping close contacts with Ami over the years and they wrote to each other whenever they had the chance. Ami's message was bursting with excitement as she babbled on and on about how wonderful the moment was when Usagi showed them the ring on her finger.

Taiki was happy to hear it. He told Ami to congratulate the happy couple for him but all the while he was wondering whether he should keep this piece of news to himself. Yaten would surely give some congratulations, as the thought of Usagi and Mamoru getting married was very predictable. But Seiya……

In all respect, the former Three Lights were among the first in the guest list of the wedding. However, misfortune fell upon the invitation when Taiki found out they wouldn't be able to make it because of a long-term excavation of the Lemnoctus ruins to the south of Kinmonku's capital city. With some regret, he had to turn it down after notifying both Yaten and Princess Kakyuu.

But sooner or later, the news reached the somber dark-haired Seiya. At this, Taiki's comrade then sank to a brand-new low. Yaten had expected his friend to break down right at that moment but he was caught off guard. Seiya stared at them with an unreadable expression that was disturbing and unnerving. He then turned around and disappeared into the night. Taiki and Yaten watched as Seiya's departure turned into hours. Hours turned to days, days to weeks and weeks to months.

Seiya was never seen again until eight months later, about three months before the wedding would take place. He received nothing but anger and worry from those who were closest to him. Seiya absorbed it like a sponge and met their upset words with a stoic reaction.

Within the cage the emotional pain created around his mind, Seiya quietly pondered why he had responded to the wedding news the way he had. He knew it was going to end like this. Usagi would marry Mamoru and they would become Neo-King Endymion and Neo-Queen Serenity of Crystal Tokyo. The destiny of it all was unavoidable. Seiya forced himself to believe he was happy for her but he outright lied.

He would never be happy again.

In the three months that were left before the wedding, Seiya kept mostly to himself. The only things he could do were to think and ponder. In other words, he was slowly going insane. He would sit there on his bed with a bitter smile on his face, imagining all the hectic but enjoyable wedding planning that was taking place on Earth. Sometimes, Seiya's imagination would lose control and go overboard. Usagi's happy face would fill his thoughts and taunt him and he would envision the child that would belong to her. It was Mamoru's child.

It all boiled down to a point where he was about to fall off the brink of saneness, when Seiya decided to leave Kinmonku for awhile. He dismissed the former plans of going to the ruin excavation. And his decision landed him at the wedding, the last place he wanted to be.

Why he was there, Seiya still had no clue. All he knew was that he was going to see Usagi……and he wanted to have a word with her. The conclusion of his actions weighed heavily upon him, threatening to break him.

Glancing at the room at the end of the church hall, he waited until Luna, Artemis and Hotaru cleared out. They were nudged away by more guests; in fact, the pews were filling rapidly. To his right, Makoto and Ami were being subdued but he could tell they were anxious to get away from greeting the guests.

Seiya swept fluidly through the continuous crowd, evading anybody that would recognize him. He kept his cover and blended well with the rest of the guests in their formal wear. When everybody else was so preoccupied, Seiya quietly slipped down the hall towards the room that held the bride.

Mamoru frowned at the hundredth try at tying his formal tie. All was in place except for that. Sighing, he put down the tie for a moment and reached for the gold cufflinks. He put them on flawlessly and slipped on his gloves while he decided that he needed help with the last article of his wear.

They didn't go through too much to get this tuxedo, even if it was one of the most expensive. In front of the mirror, Mamoru practically looked like a king. So, THIS is what Endymion sorta looked like. , He thought vaguely.

The butterflies in his stomach were fluttering wildly. He also had the pre-wedding jitters but it felt good knowing that he'd be joining the woman he loved at the altar.

Mamoru bet she looked absolutely exquisite. Usagi would take his breath away the moment he'd see her at the door. Everything would be perfect as doubt and dread would flee from their minds. Their future was as bright as it was predicted.

He took one last look at himself and tucked back a stray hair from his face. The noise from the guests outside was enough to send him buzzing into another fit of happiness. Besides, it was almost time and he needed to get to the altar.

Michiru would be able to help fix his tie since she already obliged for Haruka. Scooping up the infuriating fabric, Mamoru exited his room. He was greeted by the onslaught of guests and had to literally pull himself out in a fit of laughter to get away.

Eventually he reached the altar and found Michiru with the rest of her quartet of musicians. Haruka stood near and her eyes lit up the moment she saw Mamoru.

" Having problems ?" She cracked a laugh when she eyed the tie among the groom's fingers.

" Yeah. What a day for problems huh ?" Mamoru closed the distance between himself and Michiru. He held out the tie to her with the playful look of a pleading puppy dog.

The green-haired female giggled and took the possession without a word. She shook her head with a grin on her face and motioned for him to come closer.

" You're nervous aren't you ?" Haruka asked her friend.

" Geez, why does everybody keep asking me that ?" Mamoru made a face as Michiru threaded the tie around his neck." For the last time, YES, I am."

The groom received a hearty smack on the shoulder." No worries," Haruka smiled." Just pretend this is an operation, since you're a surgeon. The only way it'll be successful is if you don't screw up at the critical parts."

" Oh thank-you very much. What a great analogy by the way, linking bloody operations to my wedding day."

" I was only trying to help." Haruka said, pretending to be hurt.

" Oh I know." Mamoru felt Michiru give the tie one last tug before releasing him.

" There you go." She said warmly." Perfect."

" Thanks a lot Michiru." Mamoru beamed." I probably would've looked like an idiot without you."

" Yeah, and that would be unfortunate for you." She joked.

Haruka looked towards the door as the guests were still piling in. She could also see the bridal party starting to assemble at the doorway." Well, it's almost time." She figured since the last groups of guests were coming in.

Mamoru took another deep breath.

The reflection in front of Usagi didn't waver no matter how much she thought it would. It stood still ahead of her, following each and every one of her movements. The woman in the mirror was her. That woman that stared back at Usagi would be the woman that would last her through the ceremony and into the night.

Her heart was thumping quietly in her chest. Usagi was feeling apprehension for the wrong reason. It wasn't apprehension from pre-wedding cold feet as it should have been that moment.

The bride had a loving groom that stood getting ready at the altar and yet the thoughts of another man kept returning to the surface to provoke her.

His smile. Usagi could never forget his smile. The mischievous twinkle in his eyes, the utmost gentleness that would curve his mouth and the touch he used that was all-too-saddened.

Usagi was sure that she was going through with the right decision. After all, she already knew the WHOLE story of her life as Chibi-usa, Setsuna and many others revealed it to her. From then on after this wedding was over, there would be no more surprises and sudden turns in her life because Usagi already knew what was going to happen.

And that was half the reason she felt dull.

Yes, she was excited about her wedding. What little girl didn't dream about her own wedding ? Here she was, with the ceremony about to start and made-up so finely, standing in front of a mirror contemplating on whether or not she truly wanted it.

As much as possible during the planning of the wedding, Usagi hoped seeds of doubt wouldn't trickle in at the last moment before the actual time. She tried harder to get rid of the apprehension but to no avail she couldn't.

Why do I feel so……dead ?, She absentmindedly asked the mirror. Usagi stood there as if waiting for an answer.

All the excitement from the past weeks had died down with this one moment. All the laughter and joy seemingly disappeared from Usagi's system, leaving her with issues she thought she buried long time ago. They surfaced again, creating more of a problem than before.

" So this is the way it's supposed to be." She spoke softly to her bridal reflection." This is your life."

Usagi was so preoccupied with her dismal expression, she didn't realize that someone stepped into the room until they closed the door. The sudden sound rang through the silence of the room and caught her ears.

For a moment, the bride's eyes widened in horror when she saw a black suit through the reflection of the mirror. She gave a small gasp, thinking it was her groom trying to speak to her before the ceremony. She was going to scold him due to the tradition that the groom was not allowed to see his bride before the ceremony.

Usagi whirled around……and stopped.

The figure that stood at the door still had his back turned towards her. Although she expected Mamoru, it wasn't. Instead of the short and neat haircut that Mamoru always sported, there hung an all-too-familiar ponytail that dangled at his back.

The heart that seemed so stagnant before began to hammer loudly in Usagi's chest as the stranger turned around, revealing himself.

" Seiya." She whispered. Her voice was caught in her throat from the absolute shock." You…you're……" Usagi took a small step forward, her mind trying to compose itself.

The lump in his throat increased its pain. The few candles in the room gave the place an unearthly glow. The wedding dress that adorned Usagi's figure was breathtakingly overwhelming in every sense of the way. Seiya just about swore that Usagi would grow wings and return to the heaven where she belonged.

" Long time, no see." Was all he could manage as an introduction.

" Seiya." She repeated again but her mouth dropped open in shock. Her tongue felt paralyzed and not one coherent thought passed through her head. Usagi couldn't believe it. Had she finally become delusional ?

" How many years has it been ?" said Usagi quietly.

Seiya removed the dark shades that concealed his eyes." About nine."

And it had been. Usagi's eyes drank in the familiar sight although he looked slightly different. His hair was longer but the top style still was the same. His features were a bit sharper, making him look older, wiser and thoughtful. Silken black locks of hair fell over the blue of his eyes, which were deeper and more drowning than before. The black suit that he wore was neat and sleek, complete with a crimson dress shirt inside and a black tie to match the suit.

Usagi wished he didn't look so handsome. The way he looked so matured would start to unnerve her.

" What are you doing here ? I thought Taiki said you would be doing something else." She said when she discovered her voice again.

He shrugged lightly but the grim look on his face didn't move." Small change of plans."

" But I'm so glad you decided to come." Usagi found herself saying." The guest list didn't seem complete without you."

Her words cut through him like a white-hot knife. That's all he was, just one of the many other insignificant guests coming to the wedding. Seiya didn't come to see the wedding, he'd come to see her.

The atmosphere around them was thickening as Seiya felt the pain encircling through his veins. All of a sudden, he wished he didn't take off his shades. He looked at the floor instead.

" Congratulations." He murmured quietly." So how did he do it ? Did he get down on one knee ?"

" Yes."

The smile that graced Seiya's face was a struggling twitch. It began to turn bitter and dishonest so he quit trying." Anyway, that's all I wanted to say."

Seiya was about to turn on his heel when Usagi's hand stopped him." Please Seiya, don't go. I-I haven't seen you in such a long time…just please……please don't go right now."

He sighed, willing himself to endure more although he knew that any moment he would reach a breaking point. It was then Seiya figured out why he went out of his way to come to a place he didn't want to be. He'd come to confess……and maybe to find some closure to stop the bleeding of his heart. He'd come to try, even though he knew these wounds of his would never truly heal.

" Remember on the rooftop……when I asked you if I was good enough ?" He asked her, his voice still low and his eyes anywhere but hers. Seiya sensed her nodding her head." Since then I've been wondering if I was ever good enough for you even if I wasn't Mamoru."

He gave a laugh that came out bitter." But I guess we all know the answer to that do we ? The answer was right in front of my nose the whole time but I couldn't see it. Sometimes I wondered if it was denial. Maybe it was because I was still wishing I had a chance. If I just had one chance……"

Usagi stood still. There was some growing suspicion at the words he that was speaking to her. The pieces were soon falling into place as Seiya continued to avoid her gaze.

" Being wrong or right didn't really matter to me." He continued." I couldn't have cared less at that time. I pursued the one thing I truly wanted. I wanted it more than anything, even more than salvation or revenge for Kinmonku and more than finding Kakyuu. But funny how it belonged to someone else."

It took a great deal of strength to finally look into Usagi's eyes. The broken look on Seiya's face started to reveal itself even though he maintained his stoic appearance.

The gut wrenching feeling inside Usagi manifested throughout her whole being. The choking sensation in her throat wasn't giving her a chance to breathe as Seiya's eyes bore diligently into hers. She couldn't move. All she could think about was the fear she had of having to hear what came next.

" What are you saying ?" She asked, almost trembling.

" Whoever said that the best things in life are free didn't know what they were talking about." He spoke grimly." You were the best thing in my life but I couldn't have you."

You couldn't because you just can't. Usagi's thoughts echoed distantly. The mounds of buried up pain were surfacing at breakneck speed and she attempted to shove them down desperately.

" No." She said, trying to keep her voice firm." Seiya, you can't do this……not now."

Seiya struggled to keep his voice intact." But I……I have to. It's the only chance I have--" He was cut off.

" Your only chance you have to what !" Usagi shouted suddenly." Tell me you feel something for me ? Tell me that you LOVE me ! No, you TELL me where the logic is in that !"

" Telling you where logic is would be of no use because there is no logic in the emotional hell that I've been going through for nine years." Seiya's voice darkened considerably.

" Well then you have your answer." She replied, seething through her teeth and trying to fight back the burn of tears." And how dare you……how you dare you come to me minutes before I have to walk down that aisle and try to tell me this. What exactly did you expect me to do Seiya ! I haven't seen you in nine years and yet you thought you could take it upon yourself to grace the earth with your presence by seeking me out."

" I just needed a few minutes to talk to you……before you officially become his."

Usagi scoffed bitterly, turning around so he wouldn't see the onslaught of teardrops.

" Don't you ever mention time ! Because there's no more of it left. I'm going to marry Mamoru. I'm going to be Neo-Queen Serenity……and I can't change that."

"……I love you……"

Those three words were all it took to completely destroy her at the moment. Usagi felt the sounding rip at her chest where her heart was. Her mind was whirling, and the tears were falling now. The mascara and eyeliner were streaking down her cheeks, giving her black tears. The expression on Usagi's face was incredulous as she stared at him." Don't say that. Please don't say that."

" But I do."

" Stop it !" She shouted in a fit of helplessness. Her breathing turned labored as it turned into body-racking sobs of grief." Just stop Seiya……I just can't……"

Seiya watched her as his own mind wished for death at that moment. He was unaware of the hot tears that streaked his cheeks. His teeth were clenched with every painful beat of his heart. The pounding was getting worse with every second that he watched her.

" Leave……now." She wept." I want you to leave."

Her reaction cut through him again but somehow didn't surprise him. He deserved to be yelled at and screamed at. After all, he opened the floodgate to pain on the very day that was her wedding. He was a monster, not fit to be in her presence.

" The way I've loved you," Seiya's voice was breaking." It's been nothing but emotional suicide. I just don't want it anymore. To have anything that remotely resembled some closure, I wanted now."

" Please leave……" Usagi continued to cry." Leave me alone."

Closing his eyes to stop the flood of tears Seiya strained heavily." I love you Usagi……I can't change that."

He stepped forward and leaned in. Slowly he brought his mouth close to her and kissed the corner of her lips. The taste of her tears was like his. They were salty and bitter at the same time, both pouring through shattered eyes, suffering from things they couldn't have.

" I'm sure you'll be very happy together." Seiya spoke softly when he drew back." I wish you the best of luck."

With his last sentence spoken, Seiya walked out the door and proceeded to walk out of her life.

Usagi was left standing near the closed door, her body-racking sobs were becoming uncontrollable and her makeup was being washed away by her weeping. All of Minako's hard work was ruined in a matter of seconds.

The incredible onslaught of pain was unbearable at the moment and was threatening to consume the bride entirely.

Meanwhile, Seiya had swiftly put his dark shades back in place over his eyes. They once again concealed the unruly emotions that were creating the maelstrom that tore at his soul. But instead of walking right out of the church, he proceeded to join the rest of the guests that were seated in the pews.

He cleverly managed to dodge the sight of Usagi's party of friends and took refuge at one of the back pews. Seiya's mind screamed at him to leave but his heart told him to stay. He somehow wanted to see Usagi walk down the aisle in that beautiful wedding dress of hers. Maybe his imagination would be sweet to him this time and grant him the vision of her walking down the aisle for him instead. But it was too far-fetched this time.

The despair that weighed him down sat on his shoulders heavily. The sickening feeling was far worse than it was before he talked to Usagi. Just watching Mamoru in his wedding regalia, looking like he was on cloud nine was enough to make Seiya want to throw up. He felt nauseous from grief.

Usagi's trembling fingers desperately tried to apply the eyeliner and mascara she lost. Her eyes were red and bordering on puffy. For the earth, she couldn't smile and she was still inhaling softly from disappearing sobs.

The appearance of Seiya left her distraught and she couldn't even remember where she was or what she was doing. All that was left was the pain.

She quickly grabbed the bottle of foundation and dabbed it below her eyes, hoping to cover the puffiness. After that was over, she made a vain attempt to smile. Usagi stared at the mirror, never seeing anything so horrible in her entire life.

A soft knock on the door came and Ami's head peeked through." Usagi ?"

" Yeah ? I-I'm alright. I just needed to do a few more touchups, that's all." Usagi said quickly.

" Are you done ?" Ami said smiling." If you don't hurry you're going to miss your own wedding !"

" I'm coming." The bride replied, trailing off." I'll be right there……"

Ami practically skipped away from the door and headed down the hall to where the full bridal party was assembled. All that was left to complete it was Usagi.

The bride turned away from the mirror, not bearing to look at herself anymore. Her mind was not on the wedding or the man that was waiting for her. Usagi picked up her bouquet and left the room.

Her parents and friends looked so happy; they were smiling from ear to ear. Usagi summoned the depth of her inner strength as she reached them but only succeeded in giving the poorest excuse for a smile.

" Usagi where were you ?" asked Minako eagerly." You'll be keeping Mamoru at the altar all day."

Usagi didn't say anything to her friend, just nodded.

The processional wedding song began to play and the strings of Michiru's quartet carried the joyful melody towards every ear in the church. At the first beat, all the honored guests rose to their feet and turned anxiously to the door.

One by one, the required members of the bridal party made their way down the aisle. Their smiles were genuine, and beautiful as people snapped pictures. The endless flashing felt like a wave of bright lights.

Tsukino Kenji patted the arm of his daughter warmly. He gave her a tender look that only a proud father could, when the cue of the wedding music lifted to the air. It was the cue that signaled the bride's entrance.

The whole church seemed to fall into a mesmerizing trance. It was like a single gasp escaped each of their lips at the same time. Eyes widened and admired the exquisite enchantress that appeared at the doorway. She was an angel, she was anything heavenly that was too perfect for this world.

Usagi's very image took Mamoru's breath away and he was frozen on the spot. He never thought she looked so lovely.

As Kenji walked his daughter down the aisle, he looked graciously at each person that snapped a picture.

To Seiya, the bride shone more brightly than a star. Her graceful walk taunted him and her beauty tortured him. It was all part of the agonizing void that repeatedly stabbed him with every step she took towards Mamoru. She was reaching her final destination.

Usagi was thankful that the veil covered her face because she could hardly contain the fresh batch of tears that threatened to spill. Many people would think these were tears of joy but they weren't. They were tears of loss, heartbreak and a shattered soul.

With every step, Mamoru came closer and when she reached his side, he gave her the most loving gaze. Usagi inwardly cringed as she struggled to stop trembling.

" Dearly beloved," The priest began graciously." We are gathered here today……"

But the voice of the holy man sank back into nothingness. Usagi's mind became a raging torment. The tears were pushing themselves out and she blinked furiously to get rid of them. Her hands started to shake but Mamoru held them tighter, thinking that he could give her strength.

Mamoru knew nothing.

Seiya sat back against the pew, oblivious entirely to the priest's words. If only the heaven's could be kind and let him think this was his wedding instead. But no, harsh reality was like a stone being hammered into his head, forcing him to see. Each second that strolled by felt like a million years of anguish.

" If there is anyone here today who thinks that these two people should not be united in holy matrimony speak now or forever hold your peace."

The words rang through the silent church. At that moment, everybody's breath was held just in case someone was foolish enough to object to the marriage.

Usagi's heart was racing as she risked a glance to the crowd. Her eyes spotted Seiya sitting at the very back pew. The gut-wrenching feeling was enough to make her cry out but Usagi held on.

To the priest's words, Seiya didn't object, nor did he say anything. He kept his silence but realized he had enough. Seiya got up from his seat and glanced at Usagi, wanting to remember how she looked on this day. It would be forever engraved in his mind, like a scar of sorrow. With one last look, he turned around and walked towards the door, leaving the source of his pain behind.

The priest smiled warmly and started talking again, resuming the ceremony. Usagi didn't hear a single word he said as she watched Seiya walk away. He was walking away from her……he finally had the strength to.

Pieces of Usagi were what began to fall from her eyes. She bit her lip tightly to keep in her cry. Death washed over her world, darkening the skies and she was heedless of the wedding ceremony.

" Do you Chiba Mamoru, take Tsukino Usagi to be your lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part ?"

" I do." Mamoru said, still mesmerized by Usagi's beauty.

" And do you Tsukino Usagi, take Chiba Mamoru to be your lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part ?"

Usagi stood silently, staring at the empty doorway of the church. This time she heard what the priest said but not a care flew through her mind. In the fateful seconds that strolled by, Mamoru's smile lost its spark when he realized she wasn't saying anything.

" Usagi ?" His thumb moved tenderly over her hand as he whispered." Usagi."

For an instant, Usagi's gaze reverted back to her groom. He began to look worried.

Her thoughts were a whirlwind as she looked at him. Mamoru was waiting for a simple answer, and so was everybody else. When more time passed by, people started to think something was wrong.

Usagi breathed slowly, trying to collect her thoughts. Her heartbeat was pounding in her ears at the critical moment. She felt like she was standing in an empty desert and the only companions she had in front of her were two roads. Usagi knew where both of them led but only one of them truly had her ardent desire and wish.

All of a sudden, a decision was made.

Everybody in the church looked up in alarm as the bride released her groom. Their horrified eyes widened more when she flew down the altar steps and began to run down the aisle in a frenzy they've never seen before. Gasps filled the silent air as each person rose from their seat.

Minako's hand flew to her mouth, covering the gaping shock.

" Usagi !" Mamoru cried, looking at her in panic as his bride fled the church.

Usagi's lungs were heaving up and down in her chest. The weight of the dress was slowing her down but she desperately kept on running. She exited the main hall of the church and forced the front doors open.

The rays of the sun hit her face like a searchlight. It almost blinded her but she took no heed as she bolted down the stone steps.

One tired hand ripped off her veil, taking the expensive diamond tiara with it. Usagi dropped it carelessly to the ground and continued to lift her skirts in order to run.

The green scenery was nothing but a blur to Usagi as the high heels pumped beneath her.

" Seiya !" She screamed out loud. Her voice was cracking with sobs the moment her eyes found the figure in black at a distance.

Automatically Seiya stopped. The sound of her voice rang through his brain as if the volume was up to a hundred. Shock filled him immediately, turning around slowly to see why in the world Usagi would be behind him.

Usagi gripped her skirts tighter, tears streaking down her cheeks and once again messing up her touchup job. She sprinted towards Seiya and threw herself in his arms. Then time stopped.

" Usagi--" He started to say but was silenced immediately when she grabbed the back of his head and pulled him down into a passion enraged kiss. The action was smoldering and hard. It threatened to burn them both alive as emotions that were pent up were released in mere seconds.

The kiss was everything. It was bitter and sweet, joyful and painful, happy and anguished all the same time. It was a million summer days, cold winter nights. Heated blood pumping through them, their hearts beating wildly in a raging flurry.

When they finally pulled back to breathe, both their foreheads rested against each other. Their panting was ferocious as they both fought to catch their breath.

" I'm so in love with you." Usagi gasped, her fingers entwining themselves in his hair." Oh God, Seiya I love you."

A thousand words couldn't express the enlightenment Seiya went through. All he could do was hold her tight and kiss her again.

Suddenly, Usagi felt the wind blow hard around her as white light began to surround them. One look at Seiya's face and she knew she trusted him completely. The next thing she knew, she was being teleported away. The church, the prison and her past were left behind. It was reduced to nothing more than a faded memory as Usagi embarked to freedom.

Minako, Rei, Ami and Makoto ran as fast as they could down the stone steps of the church. A horrified Luna, Artemis, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna and Hotaru followed in hot pursuit.

" Usagi !" Luna screamed.

But all were struck when they found nothing more than a veil and tiara on the ground.


The starlight silver that shone brilliantly on her finger winked up at her in the warmth of the Kinmonku sun. This place truly was beautiful; it was as close to heaven as she could get.

Usagi stared up at the ring that perfectly fitted her finger as she lay in bed. The silken white sheets clothed her body while her hair left a golden river. She inhaled fully, still aware of Seiya's smell.

Contently, she took off the ring again and peered on the inside. Engraved in classic letters of the Kinmonku language was Seiya's name and the date of their wedding. Naturally, the name on the inside of Seiya's ring was hers in the same style of writing.

It had been three months since she ran off from the wedding that would make her fate as Neo-Queen Serenity. That past life seemed so long ago now and Usagi wondered if she was being so insensitive by abruptly leaving her duties behind.

For some reason, not a single shred of regret plagued her. After living a life filled with orders and commands, Usagi felt like she was doing what SHE truly wanted. The love of a man was everything she needed and he was with her. Deep blue eyes, long ebony hair and a smile to melt hearts, Seiya was the one. The highest peak of her happiness.

Usagi defied her would-be future by running off and she was glad. She never wanted anything more.

Smiling once again, the former princess of the moon sat up in bed. She knew Seiya was out for moment, taking care of some business. Usagi grinned when he told her that he'd be right back. He scrambled out of their room, telling her that if he left sooner then he'd be back sooner.

She gave a small laugh until slowly, Usagi reached down towards her abdomen and touched it lightly." I can't wait to meet you little one." She whispered lovingly." Your daddy will be so happy."