By: Jecir

"Baby, my baby, it's written on your face.

You still wonder if we made a big mistakeā€¦"

--"Incomplete" by The Backstreet Boys

Mamoru was sick with grief. He lay in his bed, his body weak with fatigue. He had not told Usagi what was ailing him. He did not wish to burden her further. She was already suffering greatly from their cruel actions. He watched her walk about like a zombie for days, trying to keep that fake smile on her face so that he would not worry. Yet, he knew. She could feel the pain of her Senshi through their bond. He had feared this would happen. He had wanted to be the sole bearer of sorrow. It would have been ok, as long as she and the Senshi did not suffer. Yet, his beloved Usako refused to let it be. She did not want him to suffer, either. She had hoped that by releasing the sealed memories, all could grieve, heal, and move on in life. Yet, after two weeks, it only seemed to get worse.

Usako continuously worried for her Senshi, he continuously worried for his Usako, and the Senshi fell further and further into seclusion. What good would come from this?

He groaned and pulled the covers tighter around his body. He was so cold.

In the past, if he was sick, Tanzanite would sit at the end of his bed and play his flute. Jadeite would try to draw the fever out with his magic, but fevers were not fires, thus he was powerless. That never stopped him from trying, though. Nephrite, ever the scholar, would make sure his ailing liege did not fall behind in his studies. And Kunzite, his best and most loyal friend, would stalk the doctors day in and day out until his master was fully cured.

Oh, how he missed them. They had been his brothers in all but blood. Even so, when he had turned sixteen, they had made a covenant, reaffirming their vows in magic and blood to serve and protect him for eternity. For just a little while, their blood had flown through his veins. He knew their pasts; their secrets; their sacred names.

Ahkmed, the prince of the Central Kingdom, doomed to die for not being born first. In order to save him, Endymion had killed him. Before the entire Central Kingdom, under the piercing gaze of Anubis, he had killed the young boy. Then, that night, he and Helios smuggled the body out of the kingdom, and with the power of the Golden Crystal, had resurrected him into new life. He became Kunzite, the first and greatest Shittenou.

Pollex, a prince who lacked the ability to care, swore his life to the Prince the moment they met. He forsook his birthright, his inherited powers, even his twin sister in order to become Tanzanite.

Cye, the dethroned prince of the West. His father had fallen in an uprising that murdered the entire royal family, save for him. He was spared by a servant and hidden in the mechanical city for eight years before the Overlords found him. They experimented on him, hoping to create a clone. Endymion and his new allies fought valiantly to save him They had all nearly died that day had it not been for Tanzanite's teleportative powers. Cye, like Ahkmed, died from the wounds inflicted to him, only to be resurrected as Nephrite, Second in Command.

Finally, to the peaceful kingdom of the South they went, there to find Ko, the son of the chief, cursed to live in eternal dichotomy. The sacred fire burned deep in his heart, bearing with it the sins of the universe. Yet, through the power of the Golden Crystal, his darker nature was subdued. As long as he remained with his prince, he was safe. Before the entire tribe, he swore loyalty to Endymion, taking the name Jadeite. The southern kingdom remained the strongest ally to the Golden throne.

They had lived wild, adventurous lives, each growing in might and power, and each falling in love with women they were not allowed to have. Endymion had laughed so hard when he spied Jadeite cornering Mars in the rose maze. The sight of Jupiter walking with Nephrite and Tanzanite challenging Mercury to a chess game warmed his heart. Kunzite courting Venus was his favorite joke. Oh, how his stoic friend would blush. It had been his secret hope that a union between Terra and Venus could open the doors to an alliance with the Silver Millennium, for Venus had the ear of the Queen.

But it was never meant to be. Darkness came and everything fell apart.

He had agonized over Jadeite's disappearance. They all had. Each one understood the consequences should Jadeite be gone too long. Then the declaration of war came. He was forced to watch Kunzite and Nephrite ride into battle against impossible odds. When they died, his heart had shattered. Nothing could describe the agony one felt when a bond as deep as the one he shared with each of his Shittenou was forcefully ripped away. He felt the blade that pierced Nephrite's heart. He felt every dark arrow that skewered Kunzite's body. Even in sleep, he felt Tanzanite's back rip open as his sister attacked.

And two days ago, his body burned as if thrown into the heart of a fire as Jadeite died.

All of his men were dead.

All of the Senshi suffered.

Mamoru closed his eyes against the tears. He would recover. He would grow stronger. And one day, he swore, he would bring them back.