In Memory of my dearest Kasumi, I present to you the new and improved In Her Burning Eyes. This is the story as she wanted it to be, complete with all the editing, reorganizing, and added content that she never had the chance to finish. The changes made aren't really all that drastic but they go a long ways in smoothing out the flow of the story.
Basically, if you loved the story before, you're still going to love it. If you were upset with all the errors and the flow of the story when you read it before, you might just get a little more out of it now. And for all of you new to the story, enjoy a wonderful look into Kasumi's early work. Enjoy.
In Her Burning Eyes
Chapter One: Hope Against Hope
Most of the time I don't want to think about it, my one tiny ray of hope. It was the only thing that's ever led me to believe I had any type of future that I could truly be happy in. It was right there, right in front of us all this time and so far I believe I was the only one that noticed. Well, I'm sure Setsuna knew the truth... for better or worse.
The woman always had that all knowing smirk of hers whenever she looked at me. But that makes me wonder sometimes... does she know how much pain this causes me? Does she know how cruel hope can be to someone so used to being hopeless? I had never imagined that she'd be so cruel to me, dangling this in front of me, torturing me with the truth I seek. Does she want me to beg? Does she want me to fall to my knees and plead for her to give me the sweet release from this nightmare?
If this goes on much longer... then maybe I will...
A dream realized...
"What's wrong Rei-chan?" Usagi asked, cocking her head to one side in that oh-so-cute way of hers.
"Nothing, I'm fine," I lied.
"Rei-chan, you wouldn't happen to be lying to me, would you? You know what happens when you lie to me..." It was all there, that playful hint in her voice, that lopsided grin on her face, that twinkle in her eye. It was over before she even made her move. "Usa!"
There she was, future Queen Serenity, the benevolent ruler of the Moon Kingdom, the one who would bring true peace and tranquility to the universe... tickling the living hell out of me. The punishment was made even worse by the fact that she knew all of my most ticklish areas by heart, her expert fingers instantly finding them and going to work. It wasn't until I was barely gasping my protests that she finally ceased her torturous ways by collapsing on top of me, almost as out of breath as I was from her own laughter. My hands seemed to move of their own free will, one to gently stroke her silken blond tresses, the other to find its way to the small of her back. I thanked my lucky stars that she either didn't notice, or simply didn't care.
"Rei-chan?" she asked, lifting off of me just enough to look down into my eyes. Her gaze was suddenly piercing, like she could see every one of my deepest and darkest secrets.
"What is it Usa?" I somehow managed to keep my voice steady despite the butterflies dancing in my stomach.
"You have such beautiful eyes. I get this really funny feeling in my tummy when I look into them." I swallowed hard, my composure was slipping fast under the weight of her words. "I'm not sure where but I swear I've seen 'em somewhere else..." I was beginning to fear that my thundering heart would give away the nervousness I was trying so desperately not to show. "Actually Rei-chan, I wanted to tell you something, it's kinda why I called you over here in the first place. I know you're gonna think I'm crazy and call me Usa-baka, but I think..."
With a bright flash of light and a rush of wind, seventy-five pounds of pink haired irony appeared out of thin air above us. Usagi screamed and dove sideways to avoid the falling girl, allowing her to land square on my chest with a thud.
"Hi Rei-chan!" Chibi-Usa chimed happily, seemingly unaware of the exorbitant amount of pain I was in. I wanted to be angry, hell, I actually tried to be but I just couldn't manage it. The instant my eyes met with hers I felt nothing but tender loving adoration. I reached up to pinch her cheek lightly before ruffling her hair, barely holding in a giggle as she tried to fuss her way out of my reach.
"Hey Chibi-chan, how have you been?" I cooed sweetly.
"Oh you know me Rei-chan, I always have trouble two steps behind me," she said with an almost ear to ear grin. "I'd ask you the same but from what I saw when I came through I could see you were taking good care of my baka-mama," she said, her grin becoming rather sly, almost lecherous even. I didn't even have time to blush as Usagi let out an ear splitting squeal and tackle hugged the little girl off of me.
"You called me mama!" the blonde squeaked happily, nuzzling her cheek against the smaller girl's, seemingly unaware of the rather scathing protest Chibi-Usa was giving her.
"I called you baka-mama because you're the dumber of the two! Even in the future!" My ears perked up upon hearing that.
"Hey, Chibi-chan, what'd you just say?" The pink haired girl stopped her struggling to look at me curiously.
"What, about her being dumb as a brick?" she asked, pointing to Usagi's face which immediately adopted an angry glare and bit the accusatory finger. Howling in surprise, the struggle continued anew and my question was quickly forgotten, at least by the two of them. I realized that I'd probably have to get her alone to get a straight answer and settled in to watch the battle come to a close, ending with Usagi receiving a rather hard pinch on the behind. She crawled over to me in a pitiful state, eyes shining with tears.
"Will you kiss it better Rei-chan?" she asked, flashing mischievous puppy dog eyes.
"Like hell I'm kissing your butt better!" I screamed, causing her to shift tactics and take on a rather sultry expression.
"You'd do it if you loved me," she whispered with a throaty purr that not only made me blush from head to toe, but also had the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. She giggled and pointed at my blushing face. "Oh ho, Rei-chan! Did I just catch you thinking naughty things about me?!" Regaining my composure I glared down at the giggly blonde, knowing full well that revenge was a game both of us could play. Plan in mind, I clasped my fist to my chest and bowed slightly.
"As a Senshi of the Moon Kingdom and your private bodyguard, it would be an honor and a privilege to kiss your butt until it's all better my princess," I said in as respectful a tone as I could manage before reaching down to hike her skirt up around her waist. Her eyes flew open in surprise and she attempted to scamper away but I was able to hook my fingers under the waistband of her panties. Abandoning her escape, she locked her fingers around mine to prevent her underwear, and her dignity, from being stripped away.
"Stop it please, Rei-chan!" she squealed, giggling in spite of the situation.
"Oh no my princess, I insist! Please let me kiss it for you, I wish to do it so very much! Just let me remove your royal panties, and I'll kiss royal butt until it's all better!" I shouted, making lewd kissy noises in between fits of giggles.
"Oh my goodness!" a voice squeaked from the doorway. Usagi and I turned in unison to see Hotaru standing in the open doorway with more color in her cheeks than I'd ever thought possible for the pale girl. I turned my attention back to what I'd been doing and found that we were in a rather provocative position and the dialog certainly couldn't have helped.
"Hey there, Hotaru-chan..." I said shakily. I tried to be as nonchalant as possible while letting go of Usagi's panties but was left cringing as they snapped loudly against her skin causing the blonde to moan slightly. "What brings you here?" I asked, not able to meet her eyes.
"Um... I... Setsuna-mama said that Chibi-Usa would be here so I..." the blushing girl managed, her voice even more demure than usual.
"Taru-chan!" the pink haired girl called out, leaping over Usagi's prone form to run and hug her friend. "I missed you so much I just had to come visit!" I wouldn't have thought it possible but Hotaru's blush managed to deepen a few shades.
"You mean... you came back just to see... me?" the shy girl asked, eyes cast downward.
"Well mostly. I did kinda want to see Rei-chan and that baka there on the ground but it looks like they're having enough fun with each other," she said with a grin.
"It's surprising..." Hotaru murmured quietly, almost to herself.
"I... I thought only Michiru-mama and Haruka-papa did those kinda things..." My heart seemed to skip a beat at the comparison to the couple.
"Oh, it's not all that surprising actually. Come on, let's go the park and leave the two hentai lovebirds alone," Chibi-Usa said coyly, taking Hotaru by the arm and leading her out the doorway. All embarrassment was quickly pushed aside as I saw my plan to get my questions answered walking arm in arm out the door.
"Hey, Chibi-chan!" I called after them, untangling myself from Usagi's legs and shuffling over to them. "You're gonna come back later, right? I haven't seen you for a long time and I want to catch up," I said, my hand involuntarily finding its way to her cheek again. Her eyes seemed to light up slightly.
"Of course, Rei-chan! You know I love spending time with you and..." she leaned in close to whisper, "my baka-mama over there," she finished, tilting her head at Usagi who's ears seemed to perk up at the mention without even being able to actually hear it.
"Thanks Chibi-chan, I'll be looking forward to it," I said, smiling down at her lovingly. Without thinking, I leaned down and placed a light kiss on her forehead. Blushing, she backed away and waved goodbye before turning and dragging Hotaru out the doorway by the hand. Still smiling, I turned around to see Usagi grinning at me, a warm glow surrounding her. "What?" I asked, suddenly self conscious.
"Rei-chan is so cute when she's being sweet to my Chibi-Usa," she said, tears glistening in the corners of her eyes. Feeling the shift in the mood I sat down next to her so she could lean her head on my shoulder. Deciding to press my luck, I wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her a little tighter against me.
"How could I not be?" I asked quietly, almost whispering to avoid disturbing the moment. Every time I looked into that sweet little girl's eyes I saw hope for the future, hope for a life that wasn't shrouded in crushing loneliness. I don't know how, I don't why, I just knew my salvation was there in those crimson orbs. After a while I could feel Usagi trembling against me so I held her a bit tighter to give her some comfort. When it didn't stop I tilted her chin up to face me, finding that what I'd mistaken for quiet sobbing was actually an attempt to suppress her laughter.
"What?" I asked defensively.
"I was just thinking about what Hotaru-chan said," she said before breaking into a fit of giggles. "You're so the Haruka!" I groaned and shoved her backwards, instantly finding myself on top of her. I'd been planning to tickle her without mercy until I saw the way she was staring up at me. She had an expression of such deep seeded confusion, almost like she was seeing my face for the first time.
"Usa..." I could barely whisper the word and she didn't even seem to notice.
"Rei-chan... I..." she reached up with one hand to lightly run her fingertips across my forehead and down to caress my cheek. "Whenever I really look into your eyes I get all fluttery in here," she breathed, using her free hand to take one of mine and and rest it on her stomach. "Can you feel it, Rei-chan...?"
The sight of her laying there, hair splayed out beneath her like a river of golden silk, eyes half lidded as she reached up to caress my face... It was simply too much to bear. I leaned down slowly, allowing my eyes to drink in as much of this beautiful image as possible. I was so close now that I could feel her trembling breath upon my lips as our eyes locked together and I saw such longing reflected in those sky blue pools. With a sense of elation I had never before experienced, I closed the remaining distance and pressed my lips to hers...
On the other side of town in the Outer Senshi's house, Setsuna couldn't help the smile forming on her lips. "So it begins..."
Destiny in motion...
I could feel something tickling the back of my neck and squirmed in agitation to make it go away. A few seconds later it was back again, forcing me to swat at it with my hand. Whatever it was darted away to a safe distance and giggled. It returned a third time, forcing me to roll over and open my eyes to take better aim at the annoyance. My vision was instantly filled with a very happy, very naked, Usagi.
"Morning Rei-chan," she cooed in a much-too-sweet voice, leaning down to kiss me on the nose.
"U-Usa! Why are you naked?!" I sputtered, pushing myself away from her, face ablaze. She stuck her tongue out at me.
"Like you're one to talk," she giggled, pointing down at me. Too enraptured to look away I simply felt at my torso, discovering that I was indeed completely nude. I looked around the room, finding myself on Usagi's floor amid a pile of hastily discarded clothes by the looks of it.
"I'm dreaming," I said to myself simply, continuing to stare at Usagi, fully intending to take in as much as possible before I woke up.
"Oh, you dream about me naked, do you? That would explain your... eagerness, from earlier," she said with a wink before crawling towards me. Too stunned to move, I simply lay back as she slid on top of me. "See Rei-chan?" she whispered, reaching down to pinch my cheek. "You're not dreaming."
"You mean we..." I couldn't even say the words.
"A couple times," she said, laying down on top of me to nuzzle my neck. "And I know I don't really have anything to compare it to... but it was wonderful!" I brought my hand up instinctively to pet her hair, finding the action was remarkably difficult to perform. I'd been too surprised to notice it before but my body felt like it was made of stone. "Wait," she said, lifting up suddenly, "you don't remember?" Her face started to blur, forcing me to close my eyes to keep the room from spinning.
"I feel so tired Usa, like I just fought a hundred Youma and completely drained all my energy." I could feel her lips nibbling at my neck for a moment before pulling away.
"I wonder if that means I was really good or really bad at it?" she asked, more to herself than me.
"Usa..." I paused as a flood of memories washed over me. My kisses traveling down her neck as my fingertips danced up and down the inside of her thighs. I remembered holding her in my arms as our nude bodies pressed together, our lips barely parting. I remembered how it was like I knew every single inch of her body by heart and how it made making love to her feel as natural as breathing. "Oh... I remember. But still, even with..." I could tell I was blushing, "...all of that, I don't think I should be this tired."
"Well then, why don't we just lay back and relax for a while?" she cooed, snuggling up against me and draping my arm around her neck. I gripped her as tightly as I could manage, tears sliding down my cheeks. "I'm not hurting you, am I?" she asked nervously, that familiar Usagi concern making it even harder to control my tears. I managed to shake my head.
"It's just... I never thought I'd be able to hold you like this. I'm so happy and yet... so sad at the same time..."
"Why would you be sad, Rei-chan?"
"Because you're the future queen... you'll get married and... we already know you have a daughter. It's like destiny is laughing at me! I... I love you Usagi, I've loved you for so long and it's tortured me so much to know that I don't have any place in your future other than as your bodyguard and if I'm lucky, your friend. I've always told myself that I would be okay with that. That if you were happy I would be happy too. But then I found something to hope for, a possibility for happiness... and now this... you here in my arms. It's just too much!" I said, breaking down completely into wracking sobs. Usagi was silent for a long time, simply holding me tight to offer what comfort she could.
"What was it that you found?" she asked quietly after my tears had slowed to a stop. "Your hope?"
"It really surprised me the first time I noticed it but from then on it just seemed kind of obvious, like I always knew it somehow, just like how I've always felt about you. It was the first time I really looked into her..."
"Hey Usa-baka, is Rei-chan still... oh my god you're having sex! Eww!" Chibi-Usa shouted from the doorway, eyes going wide as she dropped the bag she'd been carrying. The ensuing scramble for clothes was made even more humiliating by my lack of strength, forcing Usagi to help me dress myself under the stunned gaze of the pink haired girl. Finally clothed, Usagi was the first to attempt an explanation and unsurprisingly it wasn't well received.
"You saw a bug on her clothes?" the pink haired girl asked incredulously. "How stupid do you think I am?! Even if that were the case, why would you be naked too!" she held up a hand to stop Usagi's further explanation before slapping it to her forehead. "Puu-chan told me this would be happening around this time but I didn't expect to see it! Gah, I'll never be able to get that image out of my head!" Hearing this I sat bolt upright, wincing as I did.
"Setsuna knew about this! Oh that manipulative little... she's been letting me suffer like this for all these years! When I see her I'm gonna...mmph!" My rant was cut off as Usagi pinned me down to the bed with a long kiss. "What was that for?" I asked breathlessly when she finally pulled away.
"I... I don't know. It's just... hearing you say it's been years and seeing how much you've been hurting... I feel like an idiot for not noticing!" she wailed, tears glistening in the corners of her eyes.
"Not surprising," Chibi-Usa muttered from her chair, Usagi turned to stick her tongue out at the girl. I sat up slowly and looked between the two of them, they were definitely mother and daughter, that's for sure.
"Chibi-chan, can I ask you..." the pink haired girl in question raised her hand and wagged a finger back and forth.
"Sorry Rei-chan, you know the rules. I'm bound by the magic that brings me here, I can't reveal anything that would upset the flow of time." I had to bite my lip hard to keep my frustration from spilling out. "Besides, Puu told me you'd be okay because you won't have to wait very long. I know you can handle it Rei-chan, you're the toughest girl I know!" she finished encouragingly and Usagi added in by squeezing my hand.
"And you'll have me to keep you company while you wait, Rei-chan, don't forget that. I may not know what the future holds or even fully understand the feelings I have for you now... but I'll never let you feel the pain of loneliness again, Rei-chan, I swear it as your best friend and as the future queen of Crystal Tokyo." I was always stunned when Usagi made a serious speech like that but this one hit much closer to home. Even more surprising where the sniffles coming from Chibi-Usa.
"You sounded so much like her just then..." the girl murmured.
"Like who?" Usagi asked. I noticed the gleam in her eyes and scooted away a little to avoid the upcoming chaos.
"Like mama..." she paused, realizing her mistake just a little too late. She didn't even have time to run before Usagi scooped her out of the chair and nuzzled her cheek to the smaller girl's.
"You called me mama!"
I couldn't help but chuckle at the absurd nature of their love/hate relationship. I found myself slumping down on the bed, discovering I'd only forgotten about the weariness that consumed me. Pulling the covers up to my chin, I settled in and drifted off to sleep with the lullaby of Chibi-chan explaining to Usagi that she was still an idiot.
Far, far into the future, Sailor Pluto's grin grew ever wider as the facade she had revealed to the Senshi during their trip to the future melted away to reveal the true Crystal Tokyo in all its glory. "Forgive me girls, it was the only way to set things in motion... but then again, you always did like a challenge..."
"Who are you talking to?" a sleepy voice asked from beneath the mound of blankets on the bed behind her.
"Just musing to myself about something from the past." I didn't need to see the girl's face to know she'd rolled her eyes.
"You're such a weirdo."
"You'll be grateful for it, or were rather. It was only a thousand years ago..."
To be continued...
Chapter End Notes:
For any questions involving he-who-must-not-be-named (heh) please check the reviews where I've already answered them ^_^
Comments in italics are ones that were originally left by Kasumi.
There was mostly just sentence and dialogue cleaning, plus the addition to Setsuna's scene at the end to hopefully lessen any confusion about what's going on and tie into the new stuff I'll be adding to the Epilogue.
Please drop a review if you're feeling up to it, I'd love to know what you think of the updated version or just to hear of a fond memory you might have from this story.
In Loving Memory of Kasumi Lien Li Masters