A/N: There is really something about me and weird drabbles.
The people in my photographs are strangers to me.
I know who they are, I can name their names, I can even tell you stories about them. But they are strangers.
They weren't always strangers. I knew them once, knew them well enough to want photographs and to keep them through the years, but to say that I know them now would be a lie.
Yet even then how well did I really know them? As best as anyone knows anyone else I suppose. Except that would be a lie too. I was never one of them. I never knew the secret. Not until afterwards. Not until the whole world knew.
At least she told me in person.
She was the only one who was actually my friend. The rest were all her friends. People I knew because she introduced them to me one by one. In those years she was always so busy, always with them, but somehow she found time for me anyway. I just wasn't allowed to be on the inside of her world.
She told me once, after I knew the truth, that it wasn't safe to let me know. That it would have put me in danger. She was right, of course, though I could hardly accept it at the time. I found it hard to forgive her for not letting me ease the shadow that occasionally fell on her face.
Later, during a late night chat that was so reminiscent of our lost school days, she told me that was only part of the truth.
"Naru-chan," she had mumbled. "You were a point of strength for me. A piece of normalcy, a bit of friendship that had nothing to do with who I had been, or who I would be."
It was gratifying to know I had given her something that they couldn't.
"It's okay, Usagi," I had said in reply.
At least the pictures of her aren't pictures of a stranger. I don't believe that Tsukino Usagi could ever become that to me. Not even if she's using a different name.
They are her world, those strangers in my photographs.
But I was here first.