Pretending I Never Found You

He walked the trails of the ancient forest and for a moment, a smirk – the kind that used to grace his lips – formed to shatter the calm of his face.

The forest, after all, was not as ancient as it looked. It was only a hundred years old…the same age as the planet it blankets with its green lushness. Compared to the other planets of the galaxy, these trees were mere saplings.

His feet guided him deeper into the woods. Presently he stopped as he reached the edge of a cliff overlooking a sparkling lake. His planets three suns created a lovely shimmer on the waters surface. His midnight blue eyes did not see the beauty of it.

He was too busy trying to see beyond the tears blinding him.

A hundred years, and still he hurts.

He tried, had done his best to forget. He even went so far as to stop mentioning her name, telling himself even in his sleep, that he was never to speak about her.

His dreams have a way of not listening to him.

'When will I be free of you?' he asked to the memory hidden deep in his soul. 'When will you stop haunting my dreams?'

"When," he whispered, his voice accusing and hurting, "will I stop pretending?"

The wind softly blew and played with his hair. He did not expect an answer.

But answer him, she did.

"I don't know," said a voice behind him.

Shocked, he turned around, his black hair whipping at the speed of his movement. His eyes widened at the sight before him.

She had changed. This was his first observation.

There was no more, the insecure child of years past. A serene demeanor cloaks her, giving her an air of sweet contentment. Her eyes, though kind, only possessed a hint of the mischief that used to crowd in their cerulean depth. Her once golden hair, now streaked with silver, added to that quiet aura she now possessed.

He tried to speak past the sudden tightening of his chest. "Wha- Why are you here?"

She dimpled for an answer and gracefully walked towards him. She stopped besides him, her scent teasing him with her nearness. "I never did get to say thank you," she said, her eyes staring straight ahead, "for searching for me."

He was confused. "I do not understand. I never searched for you…"

She turned her head toward him then. In that instance, he realized that love can torture a man's soul in the most exquisite of ways. "You said, in your song, that you were searching for your love," she reminded him.

He stood still, not even daring to breathe.

"And you found me."

Bitterness seeped his soul, and he lashed back. "Is that how it went? So tell me, fair queen, how is your husband and child?"

She had the gall to smile. "They are doing very well. Small Lady is driving her father nuts, because she is insisting she is now old enough to date."

"I am so happy for you," he said sarcastically.

She didn't answer but returned to gazing at the lake below.

He spoke again, after a long pause. "If you had met me, before you met him…Do you think you could have loved me the way you love him?"

She took a moment to answer. She knew, what ever she was going to say, she must weigh carefully. "What is the point of asking what could have been? If love could be measured by 'what if', do you think it would be so precious?"

She moved, her white gown rustling softly as she stood before him and took his hands in her own. "I do not know what would have happened if I had met you first. More important, though, is I feel no need to ask myself the question." She saw a tear fell from the corner of her eyes, and sadness overcame her. "I am happy. I loved and was loved back. I love still."

She wanted to hug him, but the urge to push him away was just as strong. "I know you pretend, that sometimes, you never found me." Her fingers traced the course of his tears. "I have the power the grant that…To make it a reality."

He stayed silent, even though she was waiting for his comment.

She sighed and squeezed his hands. "Would you like that, Seiya? Would it please you to live in a world that would have been…if you never met me?"

He wanted to stay quiet. To be stubborn in front of her generosity.

And that was when he knew, she had not changed at all. No woman was without vanity, except her. To willingly lose a friend, just for the sake of a friend's happiness. She will bear the knowledge that once, she had the love of a knight, while the one who had pledged to love her for eternity, no longer remembers her.

It was a sacrifice of sort. But one she was used to.

'She truly is,' he thought with surprise, 'a remarkable woman.'

The only question now was…

'Would you like to forget she ever existed?' asked his heart.

What if he never met her? What if she had been an enemy, like his two comrades had claimed she was? What if…he never fell in love with her?

What if he never went searching for love?

Love.

He looked away for fear of betraying the ache of his heart, at the thought of losing her.

He closed his eyes and tried to imagine her as she is now. When he opened them, he did not see the all powerful queen, nor did he see the woman who is now wife to another man, a mother to a child that did not belong to him.

He saw, instead, the young woman he fell in love with.

Tsukino Usagi. And that is what she will always be to him…

"You will take away, my one true love from me?" he asked her, his voice trembling with unshed tears. "I think not, Your Majesty. No one has the right to take that away from me."

"Are you sure, dearest? For without it, the pain will leave you as well," she said in her soft voice.

He smiled. It was the same smile he gave her, that night when he sang his song. The song that claimed how he was searching for his love.

The song he dedicated for her.

The song he sang, for his love.

"Go home," he urged her. "He is waiting for you."

Her blue eyes misted with tears. With a heartbreaking cry she flung herself to his arms. "I am so sorry, that all I do is hurt you."

He savored the embrace, knowing it was all she will ever give. But it was enough.

He would forever deprive himself of what he wanted the most, because he already had what he had wanted all along.

He had found love.

And it was everything that the poets and makers of song had claimed it will be.

The stars and sun collided.

Time stilled.

All the world burst in the most brilliant of colors.

He held her away from him, this time his smile was radiant. "I'll never let anyone take that away from me," he said to her. "Not even you…"

"Now, you should go home. Your Senshi will be looking for you…and he will be looking for you."

She nodded slowly. With a soft kiss to his cheek, she raised her wings and flew away.

The stars and sun collide.

Time stilled.

The world burst in the most brilliant of colors.

It was enough.

xXx

xxxXXXxxx

A/N: Whoo! Wonder how my other readers will comment about this? Ehehehe. I have always wanted to write about Seiya's feeling for Usagi. I always thought how sad the anime treated him. It was like they created a younger, more spontaneous image of Mamoru and pitted the love both men offered to Usagi. I don't know if anyone noticed, but they even share the same Zodiac sign. Both guys are Leo.

And I could never really hate Seiya (as others seem to) for loving Usagi even though he already knew she had a boyfriend…Because, well, how can you condemn a guy who fell in love? Anyways, review, please? I'd like to hear your thoughts about this…