Disclaimer: A.C. and I don't own Sailor Moon.
This is a sequel we found in A. C.'s files - it is meant to continue the story in Light Fantastic. Looking back on it now, we feel the characters are a little weird, but we thought we might as well post it. So, please enjoy.
Dark Before Dawn (Part Two) - Sequel to Light Fantastic
Chapter One - Prenups
"I'm getting married!" a blonde in a beautiful Empire-waisted wedding dress sang as she twirled dangerously on a stool, sending sewing pins flying in all directions.
"You're getting married!" the other blonde, dressed in a shorter, pale pink cocktail dress, also with pins sticking in it, shouted in unison with the first blonde as they both jumped up and down like three year olds.
"Uh, excuse me, Tsukino-san, please -" the harried attendant tried to calm her exuberant clientèle.
"Usagi, cut it out!" Rei growled and threw a bridal magazine at the two blondes.
"Ow!" Usagi whined as the magazine smacked into her head.
"Rei, why can't you let her be excited?" Mina demanded, patting Usagi's head, "she's getting married, for goodness sake."
"Yeah, Rei," Makoto mumbled behind a mouthful of cake, "Chill."
"There's a difference between excitement and jumping up and down like a moron," Rei retorted.
"Jeeze, why are you in such a bad mood?" Makoto swallowed – she was sampling the wedding cakes for Usagi's wedding while her friends were fitted for the bridesmaids' dresses. Today was the final fitting and final preparations, and she was getting sleepy from eating all the cakes, cookies and other delicacies.
"I know," she said suddenly with a sly grin, "You and Junshi aren't -"
"Shut UP!" Rei exploded. She had been irked all day, having to stand around while people poked and prodded and invaded her personal space, and now she had to deal with the headache that was Minako and Usagi in public. Now she had to deal with Makoto's crass insinuations.
"I've had it," she panted, throwing the head band of roses onto the couch, "I'm going home."
As she attempted to storm out, Ami entered the door without looking up from her book and as a result they both collided and fell on the floor.
"Sorry, Rei," Ami said sheepishly, rubbing her head, "I didn't see you. Oh, no!"
She pointed in horror at the long rip in the pink fabric of the dress.
Rei put her head in her hands.
"Now I'll have to wait for them to fix it," she groaned to herself, "Why? Kami-sama, why?"
Usagi was close to bawling.
"You t-t-tore your b-b-bridesmaids dress!" she sobbed, "Don't you want to be in my wedding, Rei?"
Mina patted her on the shoulder again and threw a death glare at Rei.
"Yes, of course I do," Rei remonstrated, "it's just that -" she stopped, "uh, it's been a long week. And you know how much I don't like standing around for too long. Oh, come one, Usa-chan, stop crying. You'll ruin your dress."
Usagi stopped crying instantly and smiled at Rei, which did not inspire Rei with any sort of feelings of good will.
"Yay! Now, come stand up here with Mina and me." She commanded.
Rei sighed and stood up to obey. As she stood she heard a horrible ripping sound. Everyone was silent, holding their breath and waiting for the outburst. Oddly, Rei only sighed again and took her place on the stool beside Usagi in her now tattered bridesmaids' dress.
Mina and Makoto exchanged meaningful glances. Something was definitely wrong with Rei.
It was less than a month before Usa's wedding, the girls had been engrossed in the preparations: the dresses, the food, the arrangements, the invitations – it seemed there were a million things to do and only three short weeks in which to do them.
Tension was high, nerves were raw, and other pressures were creating turbulence for the Senshi; namely the emergence of a new potential threat.
"I felt something as I was meditating yesterday," Rei said, as she gathered around the table with the Shitennou and the other Senshi.
"It's definitely malignant and it's headed our way, but I don't know when or what it might be."
"I suppose we'll just have to wait and see," Ami pondered, "We'll have to keep a sharp watch on current events."
"I hate sitting and waiting," Mamoru agreed, "But it does seem like the best thing to do. We just need to be on our guard."
"Maybe," he said, turning to Usagi reluctantly, "We should think about postponing the wedding?"
This was the wrong thing to say. Usagi immediately burst into tears.
"But we've waited so long," she cried, "It's not fair! We may never get married at this rate."
"I know, Usa-chan, but I'm just saying -" Mamoru tried to reason with her but was interrupted, surprisingly, by Toshiro.
"Have the wedding." He said quietly.
"Have it. There's no reason to put aside Usagi-san's day because of something like this. It's important."
The Shitennou looked at their leader in surprise.
"Since when were you so sensitive?" Kazuya drawled, "Have you been watching the Women's Channel?"
"What do you mean by that, you jerk?" Minako exclaimed, "Toshi-chan isn't a piece of rock, he has feelings you know!"
"Could have fooled me," Kazuya countered.
Minako retaliated by sticking out her tongue and Kazuya followed suit.
"You guys are so mature," Sazume commented .
"Shut up, pretty boy," Kazuya snapped, then continued making faces at Mina.
"He called me 'pretty-boy'" Sazume whined, "Ami-chan!"
"Speaking of maturity," Ami sighed, patting Sazume's carefully curled head, "Is that all Rei?"
"Yeah, that's everything." Rei nodded, "Meeting adjourned."
"Come on, you," Makoto called to Kazuya, grabbing his arm and dragging him out the door.
"Hey, where are you going?" Mina cried, "I'm not through with you, Kazu-san."
"Likewise, blondie," Kazu yelled as Makoto firmly propelled him out of Rei's home.
"Mina, I'm leaving now," Toshiro remarked calmly.
Mina pouted for a moment, but soon brightened.
"I forgot we're going clubbing tonight," she said cheerfully grabbing Toshiro's arm, "I'll beat the crap out of Kazu then."
"I really don't think that's necessary, Mina," Toshiro said.
"Of course it is!" she replied indignantly, "He insulted my sweetie-pie."
Toshiro grimly nodded goodbye to the rest of the group and escorted Mina outside as she continued to chatter on about her plans for the evening.
"Uh, Rei," Junshi approached her quietly, she smiled when she saw him.
"Are you still interested in coming with me to the beach tonight, after we go out with everyone?"
"Yeah, of course," she said, "It'll be fun."
"I hope so," he smiled, but he ran his hands through his hair – a gesture she knew well.
"What's wrong? Is something worrying you?"
Junshi blinked, "No, no. I'm just excited. We haven't had the chance to go out on a real date in some time."
"That's true," Rei agreed, but he noticed the hesitation in her eyes. For some time now he'd felt that her aloofness was not the result of only wanting to keep their relationship out of the public eye, but that there was something more to it. But he'd already planned the evening, and for him there was no going back.
"I'll see you tonight," he said, planting a kiss on her head.
She smiled and nodded, watching him as he left the house with an odd expression in her eyes.
"Bye, Rei." Sazume called as he left, taking a minute to squat down beside Ami, who was engrossed in school work now.
He tapped her on the shoulder and she looked up, startled. He smiled.
"Bye, see you tonight." he said and tapped his cheek. She blushed, but leaned over to lay a kiss, feather-light, on his face. He grinned and they looked at each other for a small moment.
"Bye," she said. He touched her nose and stood up, waving to Usagi and Mamoru who were too engrossed in deciding what kind of wine to have at the reception to pay attention.
But Rei had noticed, had watched each interaction of her friends and their respective beaus, and she couldn't help but draw comparisons between the affection of their relationships and the coldness of her own manner toward Junshi. It was something she'd been struggling to come to terms with since they had begun dating four weeks ago. Part of her felt very drawn to him, as if he were already a part of her – something she couldn't deny any more than she could deny who she was. And yet, she couldn't help her natural reticence to open up to anyone else – she wondered often, late at night, what it would have been like if the two of them had met for the first time in this life. Would Junshi still have fallen in love with her so quickly? How much of his feelings for her now were just a product of his memories for the princess of Mars, long dead? These questions haunted her sleep – and the doubts about her ability to ever be close to anyone surfaced more and more often as they spent time together. She wondered if their relationship would get the chance to begin, or if it would fade away soon.
Usagi and Mamoru's departure broke the line of her thoughts as she bid them goodbye and set about her chores. And soon her mind was preoccupied in what she would wear to go out that night.
At the third club they'd found, called, of all things, the 'Starlight' Club, the band wasn't awful and the drinks were good. This seemed to be the best club for people their age, and so the ten of them entered – some in anticipation and others with vague misgivings.
The evening was supposed to be a time when they could forget about the stresses of the day and cut loose. But not everyone was talented in this last area.
Ami, dressed modestly in a pretty sapphire blouse and a longish jean skirt, was sitting at a table in the corner with Toshiro, also dressed conservatively in a grey turtle-neck and slacks, his hair down and his arms crossed passively.
They were enjoying their drinks, but both felt rather awkward in the loud atmosphere of the club. From their vantage point they were able to watch the others, which was proving entertaining.
Mina and Kazuya had, for the moment, forgotten their quarrel and were engaged in leading the entire population of the club in dancing – Mina, wearing a gold sequined halter top, white slacks and golden heels, was doing some kind of energetic, slightly sensuous dancing in concert with Kazuya, dressed in a dark blue dress shirt, sleeves rolled up, and pinstripe slacks. The people around them, of both sexes, were making eyes at the good-looking couple as they danced, and they certainly didn't want for partners when it came to slow dances (of which there were, thankfully, very few.)
"Where is Mako?" Ami asked, having to shout over the noise of the up-beat song.
Toshiro pointed behind her, and, turning, Ami spied the tall girl with cue in her hand, standing by the pool table. She wore an emerald spaghetti strap top and jeans that looked like they'd been sewn on her body, with red embroidered roses at the bottom, flaring out above her green heels. Her hair was up in her accustomed pony tail, and as she bent over for her next shot, Ami blushed to see the appreciative looks she garnered from the men she was playing against.
"She looks like she's having fun." Ami shouted to Toshiro, who nodded. He took a sip of his martini and asked, loudly:
"Where is Zume?"
Ami scanned the crowd and caught sight of the blond in the arcade section of the restaurant. Toshiro followed her look and saw Zume engaged in playing a game that involved some kind of guitar shaped controller. His jacket lay discarded on a chair nearby, and he wore a black T-shirt that had the insignia of some band Toshiro had never heard of emblazoned on the back. His hair was tied back in a pony tail and his jean encased legs were swaying in time with the game he was playing. There were several underage girls surrounding him, and a few boys, watching him playing, cheering along.
"Ah." Toshiro said, taking another bored sip of his drink. A flash of gold caught his eye and he turned to watch Mina dance with Kazuya.
He reflected, not for the first time, that he and Mina were nothing alike. She was a social butterfly, outgoing, vivacious and youthful, she charmed most of the people she met and wrapped them around her fingers quite easily. His personality, he reflected, was almost the exact opposite: he was stoic, calm, preferred to be left alone and didn't enjoy social events at all. As he watched the young men around Mina he felt a twinge of, not jealousy, but almost envy. He had plenty of possessive feelings where Mina was concerned, though many women had captured his interest before, none had ever securely held it like Mina did. But it was precisely because he was so partial to her that he could see that a more outgoing, fun loving personality might make her happier.
He considered the difference in their ages, which, though not impossible, was certainly enough to make him ready for a more lasting commitment – the kind of commitment that would be unfair and unlikely in someone Mina's age.
He sighed, and took another drink.
Ami noticed the sigh but, preoccupied with her own troubles, continued to gaze at Sazume in deep thought.
Across the crowded dance floor, on the other side of the bar, Rei and Junshi were enjoying a quiet drink at a quiet table. They sat in silence, Rei lost in thought, and Junshi fiddling with his pockets and nervously sipping his drink.
Makoto interrupted them by plopping down beside Rei and putting an arm around her.
"You guys sure are quiet tonight," she teased Rei, "You're usually yelling about something by this time."
"Yeah, thanks," Rei snorted, "Did you win?"
"Yep," Makoto grinned, "Piece of cake."
"You OK?" she turned to Junshi who was running his hand through his hair again.
"Um, I'll be back," he said distractedly and rose to walk to the other side of the room.
Makoto flashed Rei an inquiring glance.
"Bathroom, I guess."
Makoto looked at her hard for a moment, but didn't say anything.
Rei glanced around the room and spotted Mina and Kazuya dancing.
"Doesn't that bother you?" she asked, and pointed to a buxom blond in a tight top dancing very close to Kazuya.
Mako glanced over and laughed.
"No, not really." she said, smiling, then caught Rei's eyes and stopped.
"Well," she sighed, "a little. It's just – I don't know."
She suddenly let her fist drop on the table, causing Rei to jump slightly.
"We have fun, you know?" she began, struggling to put her feelings into words, "We always have, we're a lot alike. I love it," she smiled, "but, he's very...free spirited."
"Yeah, I got that," Rei commented sourly.
"Yeah, well. I am too, in some ways. But...maybe it's the wedding thing, I mean," she clasped her fists together, "it's just when I see Usagi and Mamoru together, how happy they are, how...right that seems, and I want that," she said earnestly, "That's how it should be."
Rei stared at her in surprise.
"Don't give me that look," Mako smiled wryly, "I know, I sound like an idiot. But it's true."
"No, that's not stupid," Rei said suddenly, "I...envy you."
The wind on the beach was soft, the breeze ruffled the collar of Rei's deep red silk blouse and she pulled the the black coat around her shoulders closer, shivering slightly.
Junshi walked beside her in silence, they kept pace perfectly through the sand, barefoot. Eventually Junshi stopped and turned to face her. She looked up at him questioningly and he immediately looked up at the sky as if searching for inspiration.
She felt suddenly nervous.
"Rei," he began, fixing her solemnly with his large blue eyes, "I know that this may seem a little fast, and I understand that you might not be ready to hear this, but..." he looked deep into her eyes and the expression she remembered, the rare, intense look he sometimes gave her – as though by looking at her face he was looking at the entire world – the look that frightened her the most – appeared on his face.
"Rei," he began again, "I know you're graduating this year, and I'll understand if maybe you'd like to wait to think about this, but I know how I feel, you are the most important person -"
"Junshi." She interrupted softly, unhappily.
He smiled dismissively, "You're right. I'm being effusive."
"Will you please consider m-" he stopped as she put her finger gently on his lips.
"Don't," she whispered.
His eyes were confused but he remained silent.
"Let's go back," she said, "I'm cold."
"Oh," he said. For a moment he only looked at her, hurt in his face and misunderstanding, but soon the calm mask slipped down, his natural good nature prevented him from showing his feelings any further.
"Alright," he said, " let's go."
From the time they walked to his car, to the moment he kissed her cheek and said goodbye they didn't speak a word to each other.
Kazuya and Makoto were saying goodbye at the door of her apartment rather enthusiastically.
They broke apart, laughing.
"You really have to go now," Makoto declared, "You have work tomorrow and I have school."
"I know, I know," Kazuya replied, grinning and trying to steal another kiss, "can't we just skip?"
"No," she pushed him away forcefully but with an amused chuckle.
"Alright, I get it," he sighed, "I can tell when I'm not wanted."
"You are wanted," Makoto exclaimed and leaned in to kiss him again.
"I wish this would last," she said wistfully when they pulled away again.
"What do you mean?" Kazu asked in amusement, "Is there some catastrophe I don't know about?"
"No, I just..." Mako looked at him seriously for a moment, "Do you...ever think about the future? Our future?"
"Hey, the present is more than enough to take up my mind," he joked, but she noticed his laugh was a bit strained.
"Do you think there's anything...more?" she asked.
He laughed again, but it was a weak laugh and his eyes looked a little evasive.
"I like the way we are now," he commented after a moment, "I won't ever leave you, Mako-chan. But..."
His eyes seemed to be pleading with her and Mako didn't feel like fighting their pull.
"Good," she said and forced a smile, "cause if you did I'd just beat you until you couldn't walk away."
"That's frankly frightening, sweetheart," he said, giving her goodbye kiss.
"I know," she said cheerfully, "Goodnight."
Kazuya was smiling when he left, but his expression during his drive home was hidden behind his helmet.
Toshiro waited in his living room, tapping his foot against the floor, checking his watch.
He looked up as the front door opened and Mina blew into the room.
"I'm so sorry, To-chan!" she apologized, "I ran into a friend from school and I completely lost track of time."
"It's alright," he answered, standing, "Are you ready to go?"
"Almost!" she answered, "I just want to try something on – I sort of stopped by the mall on my way over," she admitted guiltily.
Toshiro only smiled.
Mina ran into his bedroom and shut the door. Five minutes later she emerged wearing a pale peach colored sweater.
"What do you think?"
"Very nice." he said.
"Very nice? Is that all? Come on, To-chan, you can do better than that!" she exclaimed.
"It looks...fuzzy," he said after a moment's thought, "sweaters are supposed to be fuzzy."
Mina stared at him.
"That's it? Oh, well. I guess that's all I can expect," she commented dryly. She turned to the door.
"Alright, I'm ready. Aren't you coming?" she asked as she put her hand to the door nob.
"Actually, Minako, there is something I'd like to talk with you about first."
Mina let go of the handle and turned to give him her full attention.
"I've been thinking," he began, "You are graduating in a few months, you'll have a lot of free time soon, and I think you should spend it wisely."
"I totally agree!" she replied, "I've already planned a vacation for us in London, you'll love it!"
"I meant that you should spend time with other people, besides me," he finished heavily.
"I don't understand," she said slowly, "is this because I was late? Are you mad at me?"
"Not at all," he replied calmly, "Minako you are seventeen, and I'm twenty-five, don't you think that perhaps you should spend time with people your own age?"
Mina's eyes grew wary.
"I have friends my own age," she said, "where is all this coming from?"
"We are so different," he sighed, "you have so many things you should be doing, so many experiences – you need to have that while you can. You don't need me to tie you down during these years."
"To-chan, you aren't making any sense at all. Unless," her eyes snapped to his face, "unless you are trying to say that we – that we-"
She couldn't finish, but Toshiro didn't give her a chance to.
"Maybe a break wouldn't be a bad idea." he suggested gently.
Mina nodded. He had already refused her once before, more – if you counted past lives – but this time she'd been so sure everything was fine.
(Maybe he's right), she thought suddenly, (Maybe it isn't me he wants to take a break. Maybe he needs a break.) With this one treacherous thought a thousand insecurities rushed in and filled her mind to overflowing. (I'm too young for him) she realized, (that's what he meant. He's tired of putting up with me. He wants me to be the one to end it.)
Her heart was beating very fast, but her mind felt very slow.
"I see." she said finally.
"Are you alright, Mina-chan?" he asked, frowning at the look on her face.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Um, I'm going to go home now." She picked up her bags and headed out the door, waving goodbye.
Toshiro watched her go with a mixture of pain and relief.
"I am doing the right thing," he said, but the words sounded a bit hollow, even to his ears.
Sazume and Ami were at the end of a familiar argument. Where they would go to college.
"We can't pick that one," Ami repeated for the fortieth time.
"Why not?" Zume whined as he sat perched on his bed, "the Mathematics department is incredible."
"I know that, but this one has a better Biology department."
"That eliminates all of them, then," he remarked, looking at their list, "what are we going to do?"
He and Ami looked at one another for a few moments.
"I don't suppose," she said at last, hesitantly, "that we have to go to the same school..."
Sazume looked down at the list and said:
They were both wondering, suddenly and tensely, what would happen to them if they chose different schools.
(Will we still be able to see each other?) Ami wondered.
"We could commute," he said, almost as though he'd read her thoughts.
"That's true." she replied, but in her minds' eye she saw herself swamped with work and no time to even call him. She could also see the girls who would fawn on him as soon as he entered the school grounds. This made her bristle.
"Maybe," he said doubtfully, "we can find somewhere else."
The thought neither was willing to voice was the prominent, nagging problem: one of them would have to give up part of their dream in order for both of them to stay together. The question was: who?
(I don't want to break up with Sazume) Ami thought, (but, I can't give up being a doctor, it's been my dream since kindergarden.)
Sazume's thoughts ran along similar lines.
No closer to a solution, they ended the discussion uneasily and decided to return to their homework.