I Want to Believe in Someone
Chapter 1: Dark Side of the Moon
Disclaimer: Naoko Takeuchi owns Sailor Moon.
"Mars! Retreat!" The blonde warrior collapsed to her knees, clutching her head in pain.
The senshi of fire hesitated.
"That's an order, Mars!" It was the last thing she barked before falling face first into the dust of the dark side of the moon.
Venus' name was on Rei's lips.
With damp, dark hair framing the porcelain curves of her face, the young woman found herself sitting bolt upright on her futon, clutching her pillow to her chest.
Covered in a cold sweat, she inhaled a shaky, uncertain breath as several raw emotions flooded her. Hesitation, urgency, and duty mingled within the confines of her mind, but it was fear that threatened to overpower her, a fear unlike any she had ever known.
But the details of the dream that had caused it evaded her. The remnants of the vision were murky at best, and she couldn't fathom what had frightened her so terribly. As a senshi, Rei had fought many horrifying enemies, had prevented dire futures from coming to pass, and had even faced her own death.
Yet all those emotions paled in comparison to the fear that gripped her heart.
Slowly, her fingers loosened their hold on the pillow held before her and finally, her breathing returned to normal. A practical woman by nature, Rei eventually laid back down. A random nightmare, she was sure its traces would fade once she settled back into the calming atmosphere of her modest miko's room in the shrine high in the mountains of Kyoto.
Time passed, however, and the miko could not find sleep. The shadows of the night slowly shifted with the blue-silver light of the setting moon. Even the soft sound of a cold, late fall breeze rustling through the bare canopy of the towering maples did little to ease the lingering anxiety she felt. Pulling her covers to her chin to ward off the chill, she turned to her side. Her mind's eye granted her a view of the world outside her room; a koi pond was surrounded by a small rock garden, a hedge of boxwood meandered tranquilly along an age old footpath between the shrine buildings, a bamboo container caught water flowing from a well, overflowed, emptied, and then filled once more. The landscape in her head had been carefully planned and staged to create harmony, but still, her mind could not find peace.
'Was that really Venus I dreamt of?' Rei wondered. 'And if it was, then why do I feel so uneasy?' Granted, the miko had never felt particularly comfortable thinking about the leader of the senshi, though it was an act she found herself doing often enough…
The miko reined her wandering mind away from uncertain territory. There was currently another priority to think of, though unfortunately, it still included the damnable Aino Minako.
Wearing her uneasiness like a skin that she couldn't shed, Rei's instincts finally overrode her initial decision to let the barely remembered dream fade into forgetfulness, and swiftly, she rose from her bedding and dressed in her miko attire. Never one to sit idly when a challenge was presented, she marched out of her living quarters, hugging her arms closely to her as her padded feet quietly criss-crossed the covered walkways towards the meditation room. The silver light of the moon lit her way and her warm breath made its presence known on the cold air.
Shutting the thin, sliding door behind her, the faint embers that had been left from the day's use in the firebox cast an ethereal glow in the small room. Rei set about her prayers and then began the ritual of starting the fire. With a practiced ease, she set the flames roaring; sparkling and crackling with a life all their own. Finally, she stepped back, bowed before the altar, clapped her hands twice, and knelt down before the sacred flame.
It was in this position before the sacred fire that the miko felt most comfortable, most in control of her self and her surroundings, but now, even this position did not ease the fear she felt. With an unmatched determination, she concentrated on that fear, stared it in the eye and tried to pin it down, to define it and to conquer it.
But the fear proved to be a worthy adversary, even for the shrine maiden's advanced skills that she had come to this shrine far in the mountains to hone. It did not want to be caught or examined under Rei's critical eye. It dodged her advances, hid in the darker recesses of her mind, and slipped out from underneath her thumb. All of this made Rei track it harder, until finally, she sensed that she was getting closer.
The familiar aura of the fireroom and the sweet, musty aroma of the burning wood suddenly shifted, and abruptly, her nostrils were filled with the biting stench of a sulfurous atmosphere. In a panicked rush, Rei gasped and choked on a mouthful of the stinging air before forcing herself to regulate her breathing to short, shallow breaths, but never once did her concentration or determination waver.
Next, the amber glow behind her tightly closed eyelids changed, revealing an alien landscape of towering grey cliffs that stood like jagged teeth set against a black sky. A heavy mist closed in around her, shrouding her in a murky haze. A violent wind howled relentlessly, buffeting frigidly against her body, whipping her dark, waist length hair and her short, red skirt behind her.
Here, Rei understood, she was Sailor Mars.
Her senses went on full alert as the sounds of a struggle reached her ears. No more than fifty feet from her position, an eerie golden glow caught her eye. It seemed alive, snaking out and wrapping mercilessly around an ominous dark form that fell to the ground heavily, sending clouds of dust flying across the surface of the barren terrain. Mars' eyes narrowed as a feminine figure that held the other end of the glowing weapon then leaped to engage the creature in hand to hand combat.
The signs of the struggle caused Mars' heart to skip a beat. Despite the darkness and the mist, despite her lack of knowledge of her surroundings, she ran towards a hauntingly familiar voice that seemed all too desperate to end her battle.
A dangerous feeling of déjà vu washed over Mars in a torrent and a chill ran down her back as recognition and understanding finally set in.
Her voice was a mere whisper, but somehow, her commander heard it. The golden light provided by Venus' Love Me Chain was just enough to show Mars the extent of the seriousness of her wounds, and even the hardened Martian warrior found herself shocked at the damage her leader had taken.
Venus looked at her subordinate with a pleading expression, one eye wrenched shut in pain. "Mars! Retreat!" Her voice broke as she doubled over and collapsed to her knees, her hands clutching at her head, though it had seemed as though her head was one of the few uninjured areas of her body.
From the shadows of the cliffs, more youma crept onto the battleground, convening towards Venus. The senshi of fire, confused and fear-ridden, hesitated. Should she join the fray or follow her commander's will?
"That's an order, Mars!" Venus barked violently before the blonde warrior's caramel eyes rolled into the back of her head and she fell face first into the dust of the dark side of the moon.
The fear that Mars had been harboring rammed into her like a tangible force. As the youma charged Venus' prone body, she noted only belatedly that the sudden illumination that lit the battlefield in tongues of reds, oranges and sparks of bright white-blue light were born from herself as the flames of Mars consumed her.
The panic within her reached its breaking point and Mars' distressed voice broke as it crashed against the surrounding rock walls. "Venus!"
Bloodlust enveloped the raven haired warrior as she charged the youma, drawing them away from her leader. The first of the monsters that came within range was met with a mere Burning Mandala, and she knew instantly, as the monster shriveled up and died in the flames of her fury, that it wasn't that Venus had met her match in her attackers, but that something else had waylaid her first. In a blind and reckless fury, Mars dispatched the remaining six misshapen creatures.
Wasting no time, she turned to locate her leader. Breathing heavily, despite the sting of the sulfur laced atmosphere and the minor cuts and bruises she'd received from the skirmish, she dashed back to collect Venus.
Only… though she was still where she had last seen her, her unusually prone form turned away from Mars, her face down in the dust, Venus hadn't gotten up… and she wasn't moving.
Mars fell to her knees on the blood covered ground. Shaky hands reached out to touch her leader...
And suddenly, before she could make contact, Mars was forcibly pushed back, violently slammed into a rocky outcrop behind her. The force of the impact had reduced her back to her civilian persona, and with the absence of her senshi strength, the pain and fear Rei felt was amplified tenfold.
When the dust settled and she'd regained her breath and opened her eyes, she was met with herself.
Standing between herself and Venus' fallen body, Sailor Mars stood to her full, proud height, her strict posture stiff and unyielding. Her expression was dangerously blank. Her dark brown eyes were cold, yet tinged with red. It could have been the biting winds, but to Rei, it looked more like she'd been crying.
"You should not be here." She barked, and Rei, confused, flinched at the intense pain that laced the voice of the mirror image of alter ego.
Rei's concern for Venus overrode the confusing appearance of Sailor Mars. She stepped to the side to try to see her, but as if she had commanded it, the mists had closed in behind the senshi of fire, creating an impenetrable barrier. "But, Venus… is she going to be alright? I have to know-"
Sailor Mars took a step forward. Her hands balled into fists and her words came out short and clipped. "You must leave this place now. It's for your own good. You should not have seen as much as you have."
Sailor Mars' brows met. She almost snarled. "Leave! Now!"
The winds howled and the mists that lingered behind the warrior rushed towards Rei, enveloping her in frigid blackness-
With a shock, Rei opened her eyes and found herself back in the fire room. The flames before her flared briefly, reaching outwards as if to singe her, and upwards, almost lapping at the ceiling of the small room, before dying back down to its normal size.
Besides the quiet crackle of the burning wood, the only sound in the room was the miko's labored breathing. Her body shook with exertion. A fine sweat covered her skin and her legs had fallen asleep. She uncurled her tightly balled fists. Her fingernails had broken the skin of her palms.
Her eyes widened at the small drops of blood on her hands and her body shuddered at the remembered fragments of the terrible image the fire had shown her.
"Venus…" She whispered.
Only, as she found herself searching for the details of what she'd seen mere seconds ago, she asked herself why her leader came to mind. Unlike dreams, the images that the sacred fire showed her weren't supposed to fade.
But wasn't that exactly what was happening?
For as hard as Rei tried to trace the loose ends of the fading threads that were the vision, they slipped out from under her mental fingers, evading her, until finally, all she could remember for certain was that the fire had shown her that something had happened to Venus, something that had frightened her terribly, and that herself, as Sailor Mars, had prevented her from understanding what had happened next…
and whatever had happened next, it was something she wasn't supposed to see.
The pained expression on Sailor Mars' face as the warrior had forced her out of her own vision stuck in Rei's mind. Why? Why had Sailor Mars forced her away?
More confused and frustrated than she'd been when she'd first woken up from the initial nightmare, Rei rose. Unseeing, unfeeling, her instincts guided her through her familiar surroundings as her tired body unsteadily made its way back to her room. Barely managing to slide the door shut behind her, she fell to her knees in front of her dresser and began rummaging through it.
At length, she pulled out a small, pink cell phone that heralded the days of her youth. Her thumb caressed the plastic shape and brief memories of her active duty as a senshi danced at the edge of her consciousness. She longed to delve into them, to reassure herself that she had no worries, that everything was as it should be.
An echo of her own voice in her ear, her slim frame shook as a disconnected wave of fear washed over her. Things were never so simple when it came to Aino Minako, was it?
She flipped the Teletia S open, and contemplated calling her leader. Her finger hovered over a button she could find by heart. But then… what would she say to her? Even though she and Minako had become friends again Usagi had reset the world and they had all been reunited – a friendship that proved to be even closer than it had been during their senshi days, even though they maintained contact while the popular idol was touring the world, Rei was afraid.
She checked the clock. It was three in the morning. Though they'd spoken at even stranger hours, considering the time difference between them, she knew she'd be interrupting Minako's busy schedule. More than that, with the memories of her dream and her vision continuing to fade from her memory, though Rei couldn't deny that just talking to the annoyingly frustrating woman would at least make her feel better, what more could she tell Minako than that she'd had a dream that something bad had happened to her?
'But was it a dream?' Rei asked herself, still staring at the phone in her hands. 'Or was it a premonition? A threat of something to come?' Her finger lighted softly on the number one key, Minako's speed dial, barely touching it. 'If it is a threat, Minako should be alerted.'
The pink piece of plastic slipped through her fingers, landing softly on the straw mat at her knees. Unheeding, Rei looked up, catching her reflection in the mirror.
Instead of her own troubled frown that she expected to see, the blank expression of the Sailor Mars of her vision glared back at her.
"You should not have seen as much as you have."
A chill ran down Rei's spine as she remembered Sailor Mars' determination to keep her from discovering what lay hidden behind the mists.
'No. It's not a premonition of the future.' Rei realized with a sudden understanding. 'It's a memory of the past…'
Her shaky hand reached out to the ghostly image of Sailor Mars.
'The past is coming back to me.'
o o o
This fic takes place in the PGSM universe, and is set after the events of the Special Act. Though you don't have to have prior knowledge of the PGSM universe to read along, for those of you who haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?
The title of this fic, I Want to Believe in Someone, was inspired by Kitagawa Keiko's (Rei's) PGSM image song, Sakura Fubuki:
Kamisama nante inai, (God doesn't exist,)
Dakedo dareka shinjitai. (But I want to believe in someone.)
Those two lines really struck me. And I think we all know who we'd like to believe that Rei is singing about when she says She wants to believe in someone. So, pardon the dorky title, but you're stuck with it.
Chapter 2 Preview:
"Now, into the dressing room with you." Minako giggled melodiously, the caramel highlighted hair that framed her face falling back behind a shoulder as she pulled both Reiko and the garment into the row of dressing rooms.
The flimsy stall door snapped shut with a click and the slightly taller of the two women hissed as she realized her companion had locked herself into the small space with her. "Minako, what are you-"
Her words were silenced by the other's lips and Reiko purred into Minako's mouth as the decievingly strong body of her leader pushed her back into the mirror.