Disclaimer: Sailor Moon isn't mine.

A/N: Alright, side-note time! I will be referring to Seiya in the masculine sense ("he" "him" "his"), due to his decision to remain in male form. It's just easier that way ^^ Thank you to xo Usako ox, Ashgeliton, serenityrain2233, Fangirl44, Bronze Wolf, Dia-chan87, Chibi Lady, HikariRedPearl, IPityYou, Immortal Sailor Cosmos, Aeden Hale, Raven Haired Light, noodlegirl, debora diskey, ryuuzan, AelitaGal129, Chicwa88, Meyoukey, and Reiajade.

Okay, and I just wanted to clarify something that is still coming up in reviews once in a while: Mamoru is OOC. I know he would never hurt Usagi, and I know he would never resort to alcoholism, and I know he would never go at Usagi with a gun. Ever. But this is an AU; it does not occur in the canon world! I myself am a HUGE UxM fan, so this fic was a difficult undertaking. I felt like something really, really dramatic had to occur that would drive Usagi into another man's arms (Seiya), simply because she loved Mamoru so much. In fact, you will see that her love never fully dies throughout the fic, even though their relationship ended so tragically. You can never really let go of that first one, you know? Usagi will forever be scarred, but Seiya will help her recover. You'll see ;D

Love Hurts

Part 6: "Unearthing the Past"

For a few seconds of utter shock, Usagi just stood there, staring at the individual long since buried in her past. Seiya seemed to be having the same problem as she, for when his next query came out, it was in a croak.

"Odango, is it... is it really you?"

"I should be asking you the same question," Usagi joked, feeling as if she'd just been submerged in warm liquid from the inside out... We're safe! "I didn't know you were back!"

"And you weren't supposed to; not yet," Seiya answered grudgingly, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "The girls were going to keep it a secret and unveil my presence at the party, but, well... surprise!"

Usagi giggled, and Seiya started when a little voice from beyond his line of vision asked shyly, "Who's that, Mama?"

"An old friend of mine," the blonde replied affectionately, but Seiya barely heard her- he was still reeling from the revelation that Usagi was a mother. Somehow, he managed to break through the fog to offer,

"Well, it's no use chatting under such a hot sun. And I do believe you were... er... hitchhiking? Jump in."

"Thank you," the woman who'd once been the unrequited love of his life said gratefully. She bent forward and grasped up her child, hiding a wince before setting the girl into the backseat of the black Porsche. Usagi praised her good foresight for having applied a new 'bandage' to the bullet wound on her shoulder only ten minutes before, so luckily blood hadn't started leaking through yet. "Buckle up, ChibiUsa." Seiya took this moment to glance back and fully appraise the offspring of... was it Chiba Usagi, now? He rather missed the cute Tsukino surname; no longer could he joke about her being the "Rabbit of the Moon" and how fitting the title was... Seiya sighed, very softly, as Usagi nuzzled noses with ChibiUsa (he wondered if that was really her name; it sounded so silly... probably short for Usagi, the Starlight surmised). The child really was adorable, and the picture of her mother... in fact, Seiya took perverse satisfaction in the fact that little of her father seemed to have been passed down through the genes.

The moment the thought entered his head, the man grimaced, wishing he could take it back. Usagi has a family now. Pull it together, Kou! You can't go moping about through life pining for what will never be yours... even if it hurts to let go; even if dreams of her effervescent, smiling face still plague your dreams at night...

Seiya was yanked from reverie by the slamming of the passenger side door, Usagi now beside him and fidgeting awkwardly.

"So where exactly were you heading?" the Starlight inquired, confused by his companion's disheveled state and paranoid demeanor. Every few seconds, her cerulean eyes sought out ChibiUsa or the road, as if... afraid. And for some reason, she was continuously dabbing at her shoulder. Seiya craned his neck, hoping to see what she was plucking at, but the Odango parried his movements with shifting of her own.

"I, um, I... I don't really care. Somewhere with food, I guess."

The answer only served to obfuscate Seiya more than ever, but he decided to drop the matter. Instead, the ebony-haired man cleared his throat, revving up the engine and pulling forward. "Would you like to stop by my place?"

"You're living here?" Usagi questioned suddenly, taken aback. "For how long?"

"It's indeterminate, I guess. Things on Kinmoku have been... rough, to say the least. And I've missed earth quite a bit since we left."

"But what about Princess Kakyuu?"

"Oh, we're still on good terms. I have not lost my loyalty for the Princess, but she understands my restlessness." Seiya looked to Usagi with shamed confession in his features. "It's one of my... er... more frustrating flaws. But here on earth... I don't know, I just feel like I've found my place. I belong here. The Princess realized that, and she released me from service."

"You're not a Sailor Senshi anymore?" Usagi gasped, feeling a small horror in the pit of her stomach at the thought of having to relinquish one's powers in order to be happy. But then again, maybe it just hit too close to home. Her powers had all but run dry, it seemed. Even the Silver Crystal looked dull; unused. True love had become a stranger, and Usagi grimly considered that the implications of this fact were affecting her powers.

"Of course I am," Seiya rolled his eyes. "Princess Kakyuu is not that cruel! I pledged her my life should she ever need my aid, but with the knowledge that I will no longer be around to constantly guard her. My only sorrow is that this decision has driven a wedge between the other Starlights and I."

There was silence for a full minute, and Seiya was nonplussed to see Usagi giving him a very sad look. He had forgotten just how altruistic and empathetic this girl- no, woman- could be... it made his heart ache unpleasantly at what could have been.

"That must have been very difficult for you, Seiya. So are you, erm, remaining in this form?" Usagi blushed fiercely as she gestured to his obviously masculine body.

"I've come to prefer it," was all Seiya had to say on that subject, feeling rather uncomfortable at the direction in which Usagi was staring. Grasping for a new and less obtrusive topic, he decided to tease, "Odango, every time I see you, there always seems to be a mysterious child in tow. I was rather surprised that this time, it was your own. When I talked to the Inners, they mentioned you'd gotten married, but not that..."

"I was a mother?" Usagi chuckled. "These last three years have been... tough... but I cherish every day and every moment with ChibiUsa. She's my pride and joy." And oftentimes the only tether to life I have... my Light in the dark...

"So her name is ChibiUsa?"

"Technically it's Usagi, but to avoid a mix-up, yes."

"I thought as much."

Easy quiescence settled between the pair of old friends following this conversation. Seiya thought it would be polite to ask about Mamoru, but his mouth just wouldn't cooperate so he let all chatter die. Instead, the Starlight watched in his rear view mirror as ChibiUsa dozed off to the gentle, vibrating hum of his car. Usagi became rather fascinated in the passing scenery, eyes drooping dangerously as sleep threatened to beckon her as well. It was only when the memory of a passing comment struck her that she returned to full awareness.

"Seiya... you said the girls were throwing a party? What party?"

Seiya gaped at his blonde comrade. "You mean you didn't know? When Rei-san heard I was coming back to earth, she got in contact with the other Inners, saying it was the perfect time for a reunion. But it was only a couple days ago; maybe she was going to call you today?"

Usagi muddled over this, frowning. If Rei was going to attempt to call her today, she would be sorely disappointed. Then cold dread hit the blonde- what if Mamoru was drunk and spilled details of last night to her priestess friend? None of the girls knew of the abuse Usagi suffered under her own roof, and she intended to keep it that way. But with everyone home again, and she mysteriously absent, secrecy had suddenly become that much harder.

The blonde gulped, gripping her shoulder tightly and ignoring the strange, concerned looks Seiya kept sending her. They can't know...

A/N: Reviews are SO appreciated, and they motivate me to update faster!

AngelMoon Girl