Sorry for the late entry here. Last week was insane and then it was a nice long weekend so... yeah, I enjoyed it :D Here's the deleted scenes and/or bloopers (which consist of funny things my beta said to me or we made into even funnier things). Not much to say about them :) Enjoy!
It will be some time on the epilogue. Not that my seminar is over I've got two weeks to get as much wedding planning done as possible :D -.-; Jumping from one highly stressful event to another x.x Plus my beta and I haven't gotten a moment to talk to each other, so it's not edited or complete :P I would say it's about halfway. It could be fine as it stands, or I could add more to it. Just need to talk about it some more :P
Hopefully I'll also go through and fix the first chapters that don't have the separations. That might make them a little easier to read ;)
Well, enjoy the last day of vacation:)
- Lillie Bell
The Original Prologue
There is a moment between life and imminent death attributed to an awakening of consciousness. For most, this is in the form of a person's life, by way of important features and moments, "flashing" like a picture reel before his/her eyes. Be the eyes closed or open, the culmination of one's life is there in its unadulterated glory, be it saintly or sinisterly twisted. For a child of six, very little life essence, or memory, is available for viewing. The traumatic events that cause retrospective flashing are fully viewed by these children. Where an adult will have many memories shifting between retina and cornea, a child has very few and the world and reality are truly in focus. He will only see the situation before him. A child experiences a traumatic event, having not learned of ways to shield him/herself from the harsh, bitter cold realities of life. For a child, death happens prior to life's true beginning and before memories can block those few milliseconds before the end occurs.
Yet, as a blue coupe hydroplaned through a guard rail and over a cliff, as the metal crinkled with each tumble down, as the screams ceased to echo when branches impaled the vehicle, it was not the short-lived life of Chiba Mamoru that flashed through the eyes of the six-year old boy. Focused, as they were, on the two limp, bloodied bodies before him, his blue eyes could only stare in horror as a tree limb suddenly ripped through the broken windshield and headed straight for his chest. Were he older, this moment would be opportunistic indeed for memories to surface. But the child simply stared as his innocent view of the world shattered as effectively as the windows of the car. The world had sentenced them to die, lost and forgotten upon a hillside. And as the child grew, for a moment, the world changed. A shift occurred, a stirring of something long forgotten. Something latent in him refused to die, could not give in to the hopelessness and cruelty of fate for putting them in this situation. In a moment of selfish need, he grappled for it; dove for the squirming, resolute thread of vivacity within him. A life of loneliness was better than none at all, and even as a child Mamoru knew he had to survive. Something in this world needed him more than any other.
He pulled upon thatsomething with all of his might. With the tree limb barely a foot from his stomach a great golden light surrounded the child. No longer was it a fight for survival or a ruthless arbor lance before his eyes, but memories. Memories wrapped in golden ribbon and filled with joy, love, and immeasurable shame. He remembered a gentle green planet, filled with power and promises to her beloved children. He felt the soft caresses of his mother and the callous palms of his father, and remembered how these caresses were cherished as he grew in age. The world was new then, before the corruption and occupation. It was a time before evil turned people against themselves, before the Dark Kingdom nurtured the hate inside his people. It was prior to the fall, prior to his parents' deaths, and his kingdom's destruction; but there was so much more.
The memories came painfully as he recalled a past one thousand years in age. A past with a silver-haired princess, and soul mate, whom he had given his life to save. A princess who had taken hers so quickly his blood was still fresh enough to warm her stomach as his sword passed through it. A sword that was as a part of him as his arm, making it possible to feel as the metal penetrated her abdomen as though it were his own body driving her to her death. He could feel her blood as it pulsed against the sword, sliding down the metal surface. Crimson droplets streamed from hilt to ground as her life flowed around him, soaking cold slicing through his fingers and clothes.
He felt her organs, warm and wet, as they slowly malfunctioned. Even the slow beating of her heart was not lost to him, as close to death as he was himself. And before he could usher his last breath from his ashen lips, he felt her death from his golden sword. A sudden cold pervaded his soul as the golden light of the sword dulled, tarnished by his love's lifeblood, before disappearing completely. He welcomed the blood curdling in his throat, the drowning sensation welcomed as it distracted the connection he held to his sword and Serenity's fallen soul. Tears drifted down his face, having felt that though she held the blade he had been the one to kill her. His love had driven her to this ultimate sin; it was only fit that he felt her death as if it were by his own hand.
He remembered the woman who could not have waited until his breath stopped and his eyes were unseeing to prove the magnitude of her love for him. He had saved her life for her to live it, but the state of her kingdom could not allow such luxury. The sudden and utterly merciless invasion, caused by her association with him, left a kingdom destroyed beyond repair. Were it not for him, the moon could have fought and won, and Serenity would still be alive and her kingdom thriving. The destruction, the suicide, and the sin that defiled her soul were due to a sinister woman who wanted him and everything of his; especially Serenity. Without knowing him, they would have been prepared and not have fallen. The world would have been saved; the Earth rebuilt. As it was, only complete defeat existed. There was nothing from which to build, only ruins. It was over, and it was his fault. The guilt he felt with this knowledge was overwhelming. It was hard to say if in his last breath he drowned in the blood and bile churning in his throat, or the immense shame of his indiscretions.
Amber light pulled the boy from his memories. An ambulance sat high on the road and he could hear the shouts of people climbing down the cliff. Golden eyes watched the men make their way to the crumbled car before shutting slowly, overrun by emotion and disgrace. Crusted tears dried upon his cheeks as the metal crunched and shrieked. Callous arms reached in and pulled the limp body from the car. Mamoru felt none of these actions. He gently floated into unconsciousness haunted by the one epiphany left with him after his first death. It was as his body lay dying, the cold creeping in at all corners, his blood slowing to a crawl and the connection with his planet falling dormant that the older Endymion realized his greatest mistake. That error which led to Princess Serenity's cold body pressing against and constricting his lungs, and her innocent soul trapped in the sin of its last action; the grievous happening he could never allow in this lifetime: she had loved him.
Theirs was truly a forbidden love. By politics, by destiny, and by fate, their love that was so powerful it could destroy or create the universe in a mere moment was as impossible as the world spinning backwards. And nothing in the world would ever change this truth.
From Interlude I: Neph & Zoi
As Zoisite built up his rage and prepared to hiss and spit, the dark-haired man caught him off guard with a serious question.
"What did you sell your soul for?"
The silence of their surroundings crept in once again. Zoisite looked away from the searching gaze penetrating him, unconsciously pulling his overcoat around him. The moon was no colder at that moment than any other, but to the man in question it had suddenly dropped ten degrees. The man closed his eyes and sighed, smiling. He sauntered up to Nephrite. Without preamble, he plastered himself against his fellow general, his white gloves tracing against the man's cheek. Nephrite managed to simply stare at his companion, a faint blush creeping into his cheeks, and he was suddenly feeling that space was no longer as cold as it was a moment ago.
Zoisite made a noise from his throat akin to a purr. He could feel the uncomfortable man's quickened breath against his forehead. He smiled coyly and stood on his toes to be level with the taller general. He wound a finger around a ruddy curl that had fallen across Nephrite's face.
"My, my," he purred. "I asked to be a woman."
Nephrite's eyes grew larger, if possible. Zoisite fought down a giggle, moving closer to Nephrite, tipping his head as though to press upon the callous lips with his own child-like ones. He playfully frowned, eyes roaming from those lips to the brown eyes before moving closer. At the last minute he turned and pressed his cheek to his companion's tan skin. His breath passed over the man's ear.
"When she said no, I simply asked to be able to play the piano."
Nephrite sighed and pushed the man off of him. Silently he reprimanded himself for believing the blond-haired general who was known for pulling stunts like that. Rather ruffled, Nephrite attempted to straighten his uniform and overcoat as a way to pass off the previous event. Zoisite stood a few meters away looking quite smug with himself. His fingertips were once more fingering the ends of his hair at his shoulder. His other hand was at his elbow, propping up the opposite hand. He chuckled at the other's primping.
Once a frown made its way onto the dark-haired man's face, he spoke. "Why a piano?"
Zoisite laughed outright. "What, will we not speak of our earlier intimacy? Nephrite, you tear out my heart with your apathy. Do you not pine for me, my love?" When the man looked less than amused, he dropped his jovial manner and was once again the stoic soldier. With a hint of passion that Nephrite had never heard the man have, he answered. "Music is the epitome of the soul, a unique expression of beauty. I could not give my soul to Endymion-sama, so I gave it to music. She was always my second love."
"She is my first, Metallia will be the second."
He sighed, turning a turbulent pair of eyes and shaky smile upon his comrade. "I shall play for you sometime. Perhaps it will ease your wounded spirit."
They both knew how cruel a joke it was. No sound carried on the desolate Moon, or throughout the expanse of space. While Zoisite could play to his heart's content, there would be no vibration accompanying the movements. Only motion and the small tinks of the hammers hitting the strings. The closest reverberations of sound would be him removing and replacing his feet on the pedals. Nephrite cupped the shorter general's shoulder. He had not been the only one foolish enough to give his soul and receive nothing in return. If Zoisite could play his concertos in his mind, perhaps Nephrite could use his common sense to guide his decisions instead of the stars. They would persevere because, by now, there wasn't much else they could do.
Was there no way to ease their martyred souls?
Beta's response: They aren't martyrs. Martyrs give their lives for a cause; they gave their souls for selfish reasons.
From Usagi's Dreams:
The ground before her blew a trail of dust as her feet carried her farther away from the battle. In a few moments, the area where she had left her friend exploded into thousands of ice crystals as tall as the crumbling palace behind them. A jarring in her heart told her of the girl's death when the sound of shattering ice rang through the air. Tears welled in her eyes as the scene faded away and she was dropped into a small clearing.
Another beta note: I'm very happy that you know big vocabulary words. Really. But the truth of the matter is there is a reason most people don't use them (i.e. the make you sound like a pretentious jerk). See that right there? I used a big word, and it made me sound even more like a jerk. There are only three reactions to seeing vocabulary words in stories: 1) What the hell does that mean? Man, I feel stupid. 2) I know that word! That means I must be smart! 3) Man, that author is a jerk putting unnecessary vocabulary into her story. Just for that, I'm going stop reading forever.
Zombie Kunzite says: "I'm going to stop reading FOREVER!"… BRAINS!!!
From The Aftermath (original 1st paragraph)
No matter how long she stood under the cool water, the images of death and destruction never left her inner sight. Somehow the dream had tattooed the images to her so that she was treated to them more and more. She'd close her eyes and see Mako-chan's bloodied body, the wetness and coldness of death as it creeped out of her body and onto Usagi's dress. Another blink and she felt as skin and bone and organs shattered in the brittle cold encasing the body of the water senshi. She resolved to stop blinking, able to save herself from the horror for a time. Then her eyes, angry and bitter, teared and dried, screamed in agony. She closed them, attempting to do so quick enough to be spared. After repeated failed attempts, Usagi simply let the cold water fall upon her chest and face, coating her body, as her eyes stayed closed. She simply watched the dream recur, hoping at some point the nightmare would end. Always, she was left with those purple ribbons licking at her acquiescent body, whispering for her to commit that immortal sin. The cool spray washed away the tears she never realized she was crying, as she felt the wet leather grip within her grasp once again.
From Minako & Mamoru
Minako ignored his anger. They were all powerless in this situation. She stood her ground. "Usa-chan must fight; it is her destiny as well as yours."
"Then Usa is the Hamlet of this tragedy," he spoke softly.
Beta response: No, Jenn, just no. No Hamlet ever.
Minako fought against the arm that wanted nothing more than to slap him. Had he always been this unreasonable? "Do you have no hope? We will not allow the past to be rewritten. We will destroy our enemies and we will prevail. There is no room for failure." There were no more second chances…
Venus sighed. "She misses you, you know," she whispered. How could this be destiny if so many people were hurting?
His lips twitched down into a frown. Minako continued in a light tone, "She has adjusted to her role as the princess and the bits of Serenity's memories she has. Mako-chan has been training her to defend herself, if you can believe it. It puts poor Mako-chan in a terrible position; she's afraid that if she touches Usa she'll break her." She chuckled a bit to herself as the ghost of a smile lifted the corners of that tight mouth. Yet, the glimmer of guilt and regret showed in his aura.
"She's going to be okay," she said lamely. Venus' support could only help him so much. Only Usagi could make him the way he should have been without the memories of the earth prince lording over his present life. Did he do anything for himself? Was it all for the past and the planet?
"Motoki says you haven't had any luck finding the ginzuishou," he was growing tired of being the center of discussion.
Venus sighed, nodding. He noticed her biting her lip and recognized the gesture. "There's something more."
She stood, starting to pace under his scrutinizing gaze. "I think there's another way to defeat the Dark Kingdom without the ginzuishou. I remember Queen Serenity speaking with us about a sword that held a shard of ginzuishou within it. Only when the senshi and princess are united can it be summoned and used."
Minako looked away across the skyline of Tokyo. "If we are truly doomed then nothing you do now will change anything." She glanced down into the window, watching the writhing body of her sleeping friend. Murmurs floated up on the wind and tears pricked her eyes as she faced him once again. "Don't you see? She calls out for you in her sleep—not Endymion. It is you she needs, now more than ever."
Those pitiful cries were too much to stand there and listen to. In a quick motion, Venus stood and disappeared into the night. Aino Minako appeared on the balcony of her aunt's house and turned back towards the night. She knew that miles away Mamoru sat listening to those cries that escaped from beneath the pillows as Usagi clutched the picture of the three of them. Their hearts were breaking more and more each day. She could only hope that he had the strength to leave the past behind. They needed each other's support and love. All of the girls did. This would be the greatest battle they had ever fought.
From Mamoru & Usagi:
He reached for her hand, touching the soft, cold mandible. In an effort to warm it, he placed both hands around her small one. He swallowed hard, preparing to expose himself as the coward he was. "Usa," he gently spoke…
Beta response: Mandible, Jenn? Watch out, Usagi's turning into a praying mantis! Cover your head, Mamoru!
A Trashed Epilogue
The soft rapping of chalk followed Haruna as she continued to draw scrawling letters across the blackboard. Turning, she closed the exercise book in front of her and looked around the room to find someone to translate the sentence. She pressed her fingers together into a spare napkin, removing the traces of chalk before fixing her suit.
The teacher frowned as she noticed Umino nearly jumping out of his chair to answer her question. She ignored his enthusiastically raised hand and moved on to the next row of students. A few looked on with slightly glazed eyes, tired from already having spent most of the day in class. Her eyes fell hopefully on a redhead in the back, but Naru had her head down, presumably jotting down some notes.
With a sigh, Haruna skipped to the next row. Her eyes found Ami's desk but frowned when the girl was turned away from the board. Haruna followed her gaze, skipping the next row, and landing upon Makoto whose head was also turned. The two of them seemed to be looking at the space between their desks. Minako, occupying the desk behind the one they were focused on seemed to notice the teacher's stare. In fact, it was her sudden jabbing at the person occupying the desk that brought Haruna's attention to Usagi's slumbering form.
With great indignation, Haruna marched down the aisle. As she neared, she could see Usagi draped over the front of her desk, a small pool of drool gathering on the surface. Gentle snores filled the air adding to the mounting frustration Haruna felt. The third time today! And it's only Tuesday.
"Tsukino!" she yelped. Usagi jumped, nearly taking out Ami and Makoto with her flailing arms. She stared about, trying to get her bearing. Her hand came to the brooch at her chest, the faint tingling of the ginzuishou tickling her fingers. Usagi's body was in panic mode, and she nearly transformed before she recognized the disgruntled face an inch from her nose. Haruna frowned as Usagi finally managed to focus on her.
"Translate the sentence on the board, please."
Usagi looked at the curly letters. She followed the humps, dips, and the dotted peaks. Her face scrunched as she concentrated. "Let us go together?"
Haruna relaxed. "That is correct," she announced. "Please try to stay awake," she whispered before moving back up to the front of the room.
Minako let out the giggle she had been holding. Usagi felt as the girl rattled her desk. "Usa-chan," Minako chuckled, "that was a close one!"
"Really, Usagi," Makoto added. "I thought you were going to stand in the hall again!"
Usagi sunk farther into her desk, hiding from their teasing. She yawned, her hand covering her open mouth. She had been fighting youma that had not been wiped out with Metallia. Unfortunately, the youma didn't feel the need to do anything until late at night. Sleep had become a luxury.
"Are you okay, Usagi-san?" Ami asked timidly. Usagi smiled at her concern and nodded.
"Have you been talking to Mamoru late into the night?" Minako waggled her eyebrows.
"No way!" Makoto nearly jumped out of her desk at the accusation. "Usagi, I didn't know you and Mamoru were like that!"
Usagi glared at Minako who simply grinned mischievously. She sighed, turning to her left and whispering. "No, Minako just likes to joke about it. She was on the phone with us at the time."
Ami chuckled lightly at her right. She sat straight suddenly, nervously adjusting her glasses, and the rest of the girls noticed Haruna's stern gaze directed at them. Quickly their mouths clamped shut and they all sat forward in their desks. Haruna turned and began her lesson once again.
As Usagi was writing down notes, there was a soft touch at her wrist. She looked to see Ami's small hand pressing a folded piece of paper underneath her palm as Haruna's back was turned. A faint blush graced Ami's face as the blonde grabbed the letter. Usagi smiled at the other girl's behavior. In the few weeks she had befriended them, Ami had been slightly corrupted. She still studied way too much for any of their tastes, but she had slowly come out of her shell. Ami was now willing to even pass a note. The blush showed her guilt or maybe the thrill of the deed.
Usagi opened the note that a week ago Ami would have been too afraid to pass:
Karaoke at Crown today?
Usagi smiled and gave Ami a thumbs up.
"Ami-chan," Usagi sang as she bound down the stairs. They had all decided to get changed and then head to Crown. It was the opening of their new karaoke bar in the basement. Motoki seemed to have just discovered a use for the space. Ami smiled at her behind her glasses.
"Good afternoon Usagi-chan," she replied politely.Usagi eyed the books in her friend's hand. She crossed her arms as they headed toward Crown. "Don't tell me you're going to try to study?"
Ami ducked behind her books, looking away. "But the math test—"
"Isn't for another week." Usagi eyed Ami before quickly snatching up the bundle and sprinting away. It wasn't long before she heard Ami's sneakers pounding the pavement behind her. Sneaking a glance, she noted the smiled on Ami's face. The genius would never admit it but it was certain she liked the mild teasing from Usagi.
Everything is as it should be. Though none of her friends remembered the past, Usagi could not have been happier. Finally, they had a chance to a life that was their own. True, she knew eventually they would awaken and be needed, but she knew that their dreams would come first. They were no longer the senshi, her protectors, they were her friends.
A whistle bit through the air as Usagi ran across the street. Its shrill cry stopped her in her tracks. She hadn't even paid attention to the crossing sign. Ami was still back at the sidewalk.
"Usagi-chan," a low voice chastised her followed by a sigh. Usagi smiled innocently into the pained face of Kunzite. His white locks were black from his Japanese heritage but his eyes were still their translucent blue hue. His dark uniform marked him as a policeman. "Watch where you're going. I can't stand on every corner, you know."
Usagi nodded sheepishly continuing across the street.
"Got his panties in a wad again?" someone spoke at her elbow. Jadeite inspected her stolen goods. He didn't need to look across the intersection to see Ami bouncing on her heels waiting for the crossing signal. "Terrorizing Ami-chan again?"
Usagi rolled her eyes and waved him off. She looked for Rei to be with him.
"She's meeting us there." In a fluid motion he returned the books to Ami as she came over the curb. She blushed, muttering a quiet thanks."That's a nice skirt you're wearing," she complimented.
Jadeite only sputtered: "Skirt?" They all looked down at the long kilt Rei had given him. "She said it was fashionable."
"About as fashionable as those roots sprouting through," Usagi pointed to the hair at his scalp. The blonde hair had grown out to reveal his naturally black hair. "What color are you aiming for next? Pink?"The man grumbled as they continued down the sidewalk. It wasn't long before they passed a piano shop. One window showed a light-haired man bent over a child, showing him finger placements. Feeling someone watching, Zoisite turned and waved at Usagi.
Coming to Crowne? She mouthed. He nodded then turned back to the young boy.
"I can't believe he spends all day in there," Jadeite said disdainfully as they moved away. "He didn't come home until 2am last night. He said he was composing." He scoffed. "Sometimes I think he just plays to hear himself. I don't think he's writing any of it down; just playing for the sake of playing."
"Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the mat today," Nephrite commented as they entered the arcade. Jadeite pouted at the jibe."At least I have my dignity," he retorted looking pointedly at the mop in Nephrite's hands.
"Really?" His eyebrows hit his forehead. "In that dress?"
Before a brawl could begin Minako stuck her head out of one of the rooms. She waved them in as the doors slip open once again.
"Makoto-san," Ami acknowledged the newcomer with a small bow.
"Yo!" she responded before they made their way into the room.
Usagi lagged behind watching the group rousting each other. Even Ami chuckled at the guy's bickering. Sure, the girls had a little different personalities now, and the generals were a handful, but this was how it should have been. This was the life they were meant to lead.
"Usagi-chan?" Motoki poked at the girl before him. She came out of her trance long enough to greet him and head to their room.
Opening the door, she saw Makoto and Jadeite trying to get Ami to sing the latest single. Most of the chairs were filled with people or bags. A long arm waved her over to the small space available on the other side of Mamoru. Climbing over bags and books, she flopped into the niche. His arm fell about her shoulders and she unconsciously snuggled closer. He laughed at the other's antics as Minako, at his other side, sprang up to help the outnumbered Ami. Mamoru squeezed her shoulder, bending down so she could hear him over the hubbub.
"Is Jadeite wearing a dress?"
She just shook her head, laughing, and he turned back to the scene before them. Mamo-chan. The genuine smile on his face had her heart soaring. He was finally free. He was Chiba Mamoru, heartthrob of Azabu and aspiring physician. Though they were just friends, Usagi looked forward to the day they would be together. But, for now, she was happy enough to see all of them truly alive.
The past is over. All of our sins have been absolved.
She cheered on Ami as she timidly sang the first line of Minako's new song. Minako was before her, tapping the beat and silently singing along.
This was their present. The future could wait till tomorrow.
Some people think life is a dream; but Usagi knows it started with a wish.
That's all there is! I couldn't find the other epilogue I trashed :P It was really just a paragraph or two. As you can see, this one had a bit of PGSM flavour to it and I think I'm going to steer away from that. There weren't too many PGSM elements in the story as a whole (ignoring the whole Zoi/piano :P) so it doesn't make much sense to have an epilogue basted in it. Wow, turkey lingo is sneaking in :P Anyway, so the real epilogue might go something like this... or it could be totally different ;) You'll have to wait to find out :D