1 Line is borrowed from the Sailor V manga by Naoko Takeuchi.
Artemis watched quietly as Minako left the house. She was going to his house again. Just thinking about the guy caused a hot fire to burn in Artemis's chest. For months he had watched her from afar, enjoying a relationship she had with a boy named Takito. She was in love with him and would come home everyday and tell Artemis about how wonderful he was.
"And today he took me to the park and we fed the birds and had a picnic and then.."
It was a perfect relationship at first, like all relationships are. Everything is new and exciting and wonderful. However, after a few weeks had passed by, things started to change slowly. The first change that he noticed was that Minako no longer spoke of what she did on her dates with Takito. Knowing Minako well enough, he knew there had been a change of some sort, but didn't think much of it since she still smiled.
Another week passed before Artemis realized the change was worse then he first thought. She had come home one rainy day and didn't even greet him. Instead, she went straight into the bathroom to take a shower. He had followed her in, curious as to her quiet nature and saw her scrubbing her body raw, almost as if she was trying to erase something.
It was the day after that that Artemis had noticed the first bruise. It was on the inside of her leg and it wasn't small either. He had questioned Minako about it, but she brushed it off as an accident, dropping books onto her leg. She was clumsy and she was also very stubborn when she wanted to be. Knowing he wouldn't get anything else out of her, he just remained quiet and kept watching her.
Another week passed by and that's when the final change occurred. Minako didn't come home happy anymore; she came home, closed the door and immediately started to cry. It killed him to see her cry, her of all people. He tried to find out what made her so unhappy but she would never speak, just cry quietly in her room with the door closed, not wanting to show her tears to anyone. Not knowing how to comfort her, he curled up at her feet and waited patiently for the tears to dry.
It was that night; after she had gone to bed that he sat on the window ledge and stared up at the moon. He made a wish on the moon, which shined down so brightly on him. He wished to hold her in his arms and comfort her. Looking over at her, he saw her asleep in bed, fresh tears on her cheeks. Glancing at the moon once more, he jumped off the ledge and onto the bed. He licked up her tears, hoping that they would stop coming.
A week later...
She came home, another bruise on her wrist, darker then the first one, indicating that it was freshly made. He watched quietly as she kicked off her shoes and headed upstairs towards her bedroom. With sad eyes, he followed her up the stairs, knowing she didn't want to be alone. She went into her room, pausing only long enough for him to enter, before closing the door. Going over to her window, she sat on the ledge and pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Jumping up on the ledge, he sat there, watching her, wishing there was something he could say.
His heart broke at hearing her cry. It was the same thing everyday and he never understood why she endured it. Why would anyone put up with being abused? Her head was buried in her arms and her whole body shook as she sobbed quietly. Minutes passed by and it wasn't until she heard a noise from downstairs that she finally lifted her head.
Her big blue eyes were full of tears, waiting to fall. Wanting to show that he was there to support her, he licked her hand. Her eyes shifted and she looked down at him, she smiled, just a small smile and picked him up.
"Artemis." The word was whispered into his fur and he felt another tug at his heart as she started to cry once more.
"Minako." She clutched him tighter to her chest, drawing in the warmth from him. His gaze shifted to outside where the sun was starting to set. The horizon was a mixture of orange, red and yellow. He let her cry until there was nothing left before trying to speak again. "Tell me why you cry."
She set him down on the ledge before herself and looked at him. Her head tilted to the side and she gave him another small smile, causing his heart to ache. "It's dinner time, are you hungry? I'll give you some salmon tonight." Wiping her eyes, she stood up to leave.
Squeezing his eyes tight, Artemis hoped that his wish would come true. Reaching out, he grabbed Minako's wrist gently, not wanting to hurt it even further. Minako spun around, surprised to feel a hand on her wrist. Artemis opened his eyes as he realized that he was holding onto Minako with fingers instead of teeth.
"Artemis…you're human." Her eyes were wide with surprise.
"Minako, please talk to me." He moved towards her, he wanted to hold her in his arms and to comfort her as a man and not a cat.
"There's nothing to talk about, really." Artemis was handsome. He was tall and lean with long, white hair and dark blue eyes. Looking into his eyes, she felt herself being pulled in, felt herself growing weak under his gaze. The little strength she had left slowly started to crumble and she felt her eyes start to tear up again. Something pulled her to him, and before she knew it, she threw herself at him, burying her face in his chest and wrapping her arms tightly around him.
Artemis was a bit surprised at her throwing herself at him and stumbled back a bit. Without thinking, his arms wrapped around her small frame and he held her tightly against himself as she started to cry again. Sitting down on the window ledge, he slowly pulled her away from himself. Placing a finger under her chin, he lifted it up so she could look him in the eye.
"Minako, please tell me why you cry." His voice was soft and his eyes begged for the truth.
"H-He...raped me." More tears streamed out of her eyes and down her cheeks. "I-I tried to b-break up with him...and…and..." Minako's body shook as she started to sob once more.
Placing his hands on Minako's cheeks, he pulled her gently towards himself and once more licked up the tears that fell. Minutes passed by quietly while Minako cried and Artemis licked up every tear that fell. He waited until her sobs stopped before talking.
"Minako, why do you stay with him?"
"B-Because he l-loves me!" Artemis was surprised at the look in her eyes, the one that begged for the words she spoke to be the truth.
"Do you really think that?" He lifted up her bruised wrists and placed a kiss on each one, causing Minako to stare at him in surprise.
"If he loved you, would he hurt you?" Slowly, Artemis took Minako's hands in his own and intertwined their fingers. "Would he make you cry?"
He waited quietly for her to answer. Her head dropped and she stared at the floor. The thought that Artemis was trying to pull out of her, it had been inside of her for awhile, she just didn't want to admit it. She didn't want to remember the truth, the curse that she had been given so long ago.
"No." Feeling numb, her legs collapsed and she fell, only for Artemis to catch her and hold her once again in his arms. "He never loved me. No one will ever love me."
"Do you really believe that?" The words surprised Minako and she looked up at Artemis, only to find herself nose to nose with him. His gaze was intense and the closeness between them caused her to blush.
"Y-Yeah, of course I do!" The cold words of Ace rang loud and clear inside her head.
"Your love will be hopeless for all eternity." 1
"Minako, that curse you were given is only effective for those who weren't already in love with you." Minako's eyes widened at his words and her mouth opened slightly, trying to produce a sound. Artemis couldn't help but smile as Minako's mind ran over the information she had just received. "I love you Minako."
"But why? Why do you love me?" Was she hearing this correctly? Artemis of all people, was in love with her?
"Why do people need air to breathe?" Minako stared at his face, taking in every detail of it. His lips were slightly parted, his cheeks were red and his eyes, they were sincere and full of love. She could feel it in her heart; she could feel that he meant every word he had just told her.
Minako pressed her lips softly against Artemis' and wasn't surprised at feeling him respond instantly. She wanted to blame it on her body, say it moved on it's own before she could think, but that was a lie. She wanted to do it; she wanted to see what her heart would tell her. The response was what she had always been longing for. Her heart pounded loudly in her chest, telling her that she had finally found the one person she had been searching for so desperately.
The rest was a blur after that.
A few hours later...
Artemis slowly sat up in bed and disentangled himself from Minako who was fast asleep. There was one thing he had to take care of before he could sleep peacefully. Getting out of bed, he leaned down and kissed Minako on the forehead before going over to her window and opening it. With one last glance over his shoulder, he hopped out onto the roof and disappeared into the night.
Having followed Minako once on her way to his house, he knew the way. The house he wanted wasn't too far away, only a few miles. When he got there, he was pleased to find light on inside. Going up to the front door, he rang the doorbell and waited for the door to open.
"What the hell do you want?" A boy asked as he opened the door and saw a stranger on his front porch.
"I've come to tell you that you will no longer see nor contact Minako." He made sure the words sunk in before turning to leave.
"What the…Who the hell do you think you are to tell that to me? That girl belongs to me and I'll do whatever I want with her!" Takito yelled to Artemis' backside.
Artemis turned around and with a smile, grabbed Takito by the neck and slammed him into the side of the house. "If you so much as look in her direction, I will kill you." The threatening words were spoken in a whisper while Artemis slowly lifted the boy off the ground with inhuman strength. "Got it?"
Takito clawed at the hand that held him, the hand that was slowly cutting off his oxygen and crushing his throat at the same time. He tried to kick the man and was surprised to see that he couldn't touch him. Black dots started to dance before his eyes as more of his oxygen supply was cut off. He tried to say 'yes' but couldn't. Eyes wide with panic, he nodded his head the best he could, knowing that the guy before him could kill him easily with just one hand.
"Good." Dropping the boy to the ground, Artemis turned to leave.
"B-Bastard." Takito rasped as he rubbed his throat with one hand and slowly stood up.
"Oh yes, I forgot." Turning back around, Artemis threw something at the boy, which hit him square between the legs. "That's for hurting her."
Takito screamed in pain as a knife cut into his precious manhood.
Minako opened her eyes slowly, hoping that what happened last night wasn't just a dream. The bed next to her was empty however. Shooting up in bed, Mina quickly scanned her room, a feeling of panic rising in her chest at not seeing Artemis in the room. Stumbling out of bed, Mina left the room and ran downstairs, calling his name over and over.
The feeling of panic increased at not seeing him in the house. Going out the backdoor, Mina's eyes lit up at seeing a certain figure standing near the rosebushes.
"Artemis!" He looked up at hearing his name being called and turned towards the house, only to be tackled to the ground.
"Minako?" Her body began to shake and he realized that she was crying again. Sitting up suddenly, he pried Minako off himself and tried to look her in the eye.
"Minako? Minako?" She continued to cry and once more attached herself to him. "Mina what's wrong?"
"I-I woke up a-and thought y-you were gone!" At hearing her words, Artemis couldn't help but laugh, which caused Minako to stop crying. "What's so funny?" She glared up at him, causing him to laugh even more.
"Mina." He smiled at her while brushing away her tears with his thumbs. "I promise that I'll never leave you; not in this lifetime, or any other."
Minako smiled at his words, "I promise to stop calling you Farty Arty."
Artemis turned red from embarrassment and tried to protest or say something in his defense, but before he could, Minako sealed their promises with a kiss.