"A FINE CASE OF GUILT"
A Sailor Moon Fanfic
By Bill K.

A very special thank you to Belle for inspiring this story and
providing assistance with the characterizations.

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Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2001 by Naoko Takeuchi/
Kodansha and Toei Animation, and are used without permission, but
with respect. Story is (c) 2001 by Bill Kropfhauser

As always, for those only familiar with the English dub:
Usagi=Serena
Ami=Amy
Rei=Raye
Makoto=Lyta
Minako=Mina
Haruka=Amara
Michiru=Michelle
Setsuna=Trista
Mamoru=Darien
Chibi-Usa=Rini

Finally, Haruka and Michiru are NOT cousins.
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The planet Kinmoku was slowly recovering. Buildings were
returning. Lives were being recovered. And green was reclaiming the
scarred crust. Normalcy was creeping back into the lives of
everyone. So long as no one invoked the dreaded word "Galaxia" that
had become a curse and a sign of ultimate evil, the people went
about their efforts to rebuild and did not think of what had been.

Growing amid a particularly ravaged section of ground was a
small glade with shade trees, green grass, wild sorg blossoms and a
small brook. Sitting under one of the treak trees was Princess
Kakyuu. She rested against the trunk with a stately calm, eyes
gently closed. Her chest seemed to barely rise and fall as she
breathed. In the shade, her porcelain skin standing out against her
robes of red and gold, she seemed like a precious fragile statue, one
that would break should anyone be so bold as to even touch her.

Footsteps came up on her from behind, lightly rustling the
grass. Princess Kakyuu's lips spread ever so slightly, betraying a
lovely smile.

"Good midday to you, Seiya," she said in a whisper of
bewitchingly serene majesty.

"Good midday, Princess," Seiya replied, at the last minute
remembering her manners. "Are you ill?"

"No, Seiya," she smiled serenely. "Though I am grateful you
concern yourself over me."

"As if I could do anything else," the lean woman replied, her
long thin ponytail of black hair gently wafting behind her. "I was
concerned that you had over-extended yourself reforesting our world."

"Do not worry. I know my limits. I am patient." She opened
her eyes and scanned the vast expanse before her. It was a vista of
blackened, scarred soil dotted with new cities being rebuilt and
patches of green that the Princess herself had encouraged to grow.
"It is unfortunate that it takes longer to make something than it
does to destroy it. But I have no better calling before me and all
the time I could want."

"That's good," Seiya answered. Kakyuu detected the relief in
her voice.

"I merely sought to enjoy the splendor for a moment. Of what
use is creating something beautiful if one does not take the time to
enjoy it?"

"Then I'll leave you to it."

"There is no need to rush off," Kakyuu said with gentle humor.
"You could benefit from such things as well."

"I don't think so," Seiya told her. "I've told you such things
aren't for me."

"And I have told you that you need not fear such things."

"I fear nothing," huffed Seiya.

"Of course," Kakyuu replied, smiling to herself. She returned
to absorbing the tranquillity of the scene, pleased that Seiya
lingered nearby. After a while, she spoke again. "What troubles
you?"

"It's nothing," the woman replied.

"And yet it consumes so much of you and has for quite some
time. Please tell me. It pains me to see someone so close to me in
distress. And I would hope you know I would not think ill of you."

"You worry about so much as it is," Seiya told her. "I don't
want to add to your worries."

"My back is broad and I am not the least bit tired. I can
shoulder some of your burden."

Seiya remained stubbornly silent.

"Would you force me to beg you?" Princess Kakyuu asked. Seiya
looked at her, stung. "Nobility is a double-edged sword that can cut
those you try to save if used incorrectly."

"I've done enough to you," Seiya said. "Do you want me to hurt
you, too?"

"Is the pain of what you carry so much greater than the pain of
seeing you suffer in silence?" Princess Kakyuu looked up at Seiya
placidly, with no expectations or recriminations evident in her gaze.
"If again you refuse, we will speak no more of it and I will ask only
that you forgive me for my rudeness in prying."

Seiya looked down, guilty, but said nothing.

"Very well," the Princess replied gently, smiling so Seiya
would know there were no hard feelings for her. "May I tell you
something, Seiya? You have changed since the time before Sailor
Galaxia came unto us."

"The destruction the dark one wrought would change even the
hardest warrior," Seiya replied, an edge of bitterness in her voice.
"I never understood until now the expression 'fate worse than death';
it's watching everything around you, everything that you care for,
be destroyed while you watch helplessly."

"Yes, Seiya, you are quite right," Princess Kakyuu replied
softly. She then turned her soft wide eyes toward the woman and
smiled. "But something else has changed you as well."

For the first time she could remember, the gaze of her princess
made her uncomfortable. Seiya found herself looking away.

"Princess Serenity is quite the impressive woman, is she not?"
Princess Kakyuu said seemingly innocently.

"Y-Yes," Seiya forced out.

"Since your time with her, I detect less of," and she smiled
playfully, "ah, how shall I put it - - your charming arrogance than
you have had in the past."

This drew up the corners of Seiya's mouth.

"Were it not My Lady speaking such things," Seiya smirked, "I
would quite surely be insulted."

"And again her influence shows," the princess judged. "You
possess much more sensitivity toward others than before. You are
much better for your time spent with her."

The princess watched Seiya's hands clench into fists.

"Do you disagree?" she asked.

"Very well," Seiya's chest heaved in defeat. "I hoped to spare
you, but once more I'm helpless before your superior mind. You
win."

Princess Kakyuu gazed passively at her.

"I have," she began, choking on every word, "betrayed you."

"How so?" Kakyuu asked quietly, no accusation in her tone.

"During our time on Earth, I was swayed. While the others
focused solely on their mission to search for the Light of Hope and
to guide you to us, I became - - distracted by Sailor Moon; enamored
of her. I abandoned our world, abandoned our mission - - abandoned
you - - for a woman who could not love me."

"I see," Princess Kakyuu replied gently. "You blame yourself
for putting your own concerns aside to help someone in their time of
need."

"It was not as innocent as you make it sound," snapped Seiya.
"My reasons for helping her were not noble ones."

"You are what you are, Seiya, no more and no less. We are all
prisoners of our flesh. Regardless of your initial reasons for
loving Princess Serenity, in the end your love was noble and
unselfish. You should realize this and be more forgiving toward
yourself."

"But Princess," Seiya persisted. "What of us?"

"What of us? Do you renounce your loyalty?"

"Of course not!" she said, horrified by the idea.

"Do you seek a return to Earth?"

"To what end?" she replied, this response more melancholy.

"Is there no longer a place in your heart for me?"

"Always. But it isn't right. You should be first!"

"That is your judgment, not mine." Princess Kakyuu reached up
and extended her hand to Seiya. The woman, after some consideration,
took it hesitantly. "Because of my crystal and my many years, I have
ascended to a state beyond most of our people." The princess put her
free hand to her mouth. "Forgive me the arrogance of that statement,
but it is true. And one of the things I have ascended from is
jealousy."

Seiya stared.

"If I am first in your heart, I rejoice," the princess smiled.
"If I am second to Princess Serenity, I rejoice. If I fall behind a
hundred others, I still rejoice. I am willing to share you with
Princess Serenity and the rest of the galaxy, for my love for you,
and your fellow senshi, and the people of this planet is unselfish.
So long as I have a place in your heart, no matter the size or rank
dear Seiya, I am undiminished."

She could see Seiya struggle with this and she loved her for
it.

"As usual, your logic confuses me, Princess," Seiya replied
finally. "But if you truly take no insult from my weakness, I'll try
not to begrudge myself any longer." She felt the princess squeeze
her hand. "But I was still wrong!"

Princess Kakyuu smiled in amusement. "Clearly your thirst for
justice is undiminished." She released Seiya's hand and eased
herself back against the tree. "Enough of such things. I have more
beauty to enjoy." She patted the grass next to her. "You are
welcomed to stay."

"Then I'll stay," Seiya said and eased down next to her. They
watched the breeze gently waft the leaves of the tree. "May I sing
to you, Princess?"

"Please," she smiled. "Nothing I have ever created has ever
managed to match the absolute beauty of your voice."

END