Disclaimer: If I owned anything, then why on earth wouldn't it be published and sold for millions?

A/N: Read and review, please! This takes place a couple years into the future after Stars.

Hide Behind the Smile

By: AngelMoon Girl


"Miss Aino, telephone for you on line one," my agent called from the open door. I watched him hold the expensive cell phone out to me in the mirror, where I had been primping for the last hour. "It's from Japan."

My heart leapt for joy in my throat. A call from home! I smiled at him gently through my reflection, halting the daily battle for perfect hair. In carefully learned English, I replied,

"Thank you, Jeff. Just bring it over."

He complied so dutifully, then left me to the person on the other end.

"Hello?"

I switched into the familar language of Japanese.

"Minako-chan!" the person squealed, and from the high decibels attained, I knew immediately who it was.

"Usagi-chan! How are you?"

"I should be asking you that. How is America? Is it pretty? A lot of people? I saw you on TV last night in concert! You were so good! I'm so proud..."

Only Usagi could say so much in so little time, without a breath, but she sighed near the end dramatically.

"It's good," I said, less excitedly and in almost a dull tone. No matter how hard I tried to hide it, the tone just always seemed to seep through depressedly into my voice. "How's the baby?"

"She's sleeping. But oh, she's so beautiful! I wish you could see her..."

"Yah, pictures over email don't really amount to the same value," I murmured. Cold regret hit me hard in the gut, as it always does when I think of what I have missed, left behind, and sacrificed to become an idol. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for her birth, Usagi-chan, and for not being able to come see her yet."

"Nonsense! You're following your dream! You're a famous idol now, everyone knows your name! Like you've always wanted! Aren't you just so happy now?" Usagi cried, and I could envision the grin positively splitting the sides of her face. I could imagine the sparkle in her eyes too, but it isn't the real thing. Envisioning something is not the same as seeing it in person-

The Senshi were becoming just memories; looks and idiosyncracies burned into my mind. The pain of missing them sometimes becomes so unbearable that I cry at night, only to hide that sorrow behind a smile the next morning. I always hide behind that famous smile. No one but me knows what lies beneath.

Regret.

Sadness.

Longing.

Loss.

Usagi's question rings over and over in my brain.

Aren't you just so happy now?

Am I?

Is this really what I dreamed of when I wanted to become an idol?

No, a little voice in my head whispered back. Achieving idol status has been my greatest sacrifice.

"Minako-chan! Minako-chan!"

I am forcibly evicted from my morose thoughts by Usagi's voice.

"Huh?"

"Are you OK? All the sudden you just went quiet."

"Oh... I'm fine," I mumbled. The sound of a baby mewing in the background drifted to my ears.

"Chibiusa's crying. I have to go," Usagi said. "But I'll call you again soon! Bye!"

Dial tone hummed through the receiver and I whispered back to no one, "Bye."

The phone finds its way to the table as I leaned foward, towards my reflection. I give myself a good look-over, observing the fine make-up and soft features so fake. The face that takes forever to perfect.

I have lost so much in this quest to become this famous person everyone knows. This person I don't even recognize or know, staring back at me in the mirror. I have lost my friends, my home, my role as a Senshi, and even my best friend giving birth to her first child. I have never even seen baby Chibiusa in person.

I have lost so much to become an idol, but most of all, I have lost Aino Minako.

Myself.


A/N: Thank you for reading this lil' one-shot and don't forget to review! It means a lot!

Check out my other stories too, please! I guarantee you will enjoy at least a few of them.

AngelMoon Girl