Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon or Immortal Rain, no matter how much I wish I did.
In her life, the woman known as both Sailor Pluto and Meioh Setsuna loved only twice.
The first time she loved, she loved as Sailor Pluto before the fall of the Silver Millennium, when she was still young enough to believe in fairytales and true love and the Time Staff was light in her hands. She was less of a woman then and more of a child.
(She never got that innocence back, either.)
Back then, her first love was the future queen and Usagi's mother, Selenity. It was not unrequited.
It was as most first loves are, awkward and uncertain—but also sweet and gentle, perhaps a little unsure at times but pure and steady, as only first loves can be. For a time, Pluto believed Selenity would be her only love.
And then came duty. Selenity's duty as a princess and future queen of the Moon Kingdom, and Pluto's duty as the senshi of time and the wielder of the Garnet Orb and the Time Staff.
Selenity cried. Pluto just held her and whispered softly into her ear, making empty promises and praying for strength.
Pluto left for the Gate of Time before midnight. She did not see Selenity's coronation.
They never saw each other again.
By the time Sailor Pluto learned of the fall of the Silver Millennium, it was too late for her to do anything. She couldn't prevent it, for she had known it was coming—she couldn't even fight to try and prevent it, because she had to be there only to guide the much younger and less experienced Sailor Saturn.
There was blood. Blood and fire and the stench of death hanging heavily in the air, even as she tried to ignore it, even as she held Saturn's hand in her own and felt the young girl tremble, her grip on the Silence Glaive so tight it was a miracle her hand didn't start bleeding.
For a moment, just an instant, Sailor Pluto saw her—a motionless slim form, silver hair long and streaked with red, blue eyes closed forever.
And then she was gone.
Something inside Sailor Pluto cracked and crumbled into a thousand pieces.
It would lay there, broken, for centuries.
As Meioh Setsuna and Sailor Pluto, she loved them. She loved Michiru and Haruka for their jokes and their teasing, for the way they could always detect her mood and the way they insisted on being with her even when she wanted to be alone. She loved their counterparts, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune for always being there with her, silent and supportive, for being her best friends and sisters during the Silver Millennium.
She loved Hotaru for her childlike innocence, for her pranks (she'd undoubtedly picked them up from Haruka.) and the way she always crawled into her arms without complaint when she needed comfort. She loved Sailor Saturn for her strength, for her certainty in her duty and for her gentle heart that had no doubt evolved from her friendship with Sailor Chibi Moon.
(Hotaru never told her that she remembered the fall, that she remembered picking her way through the ruins and holding Pluto's hand. She never told her that she remembered the way Pluto had stiffened, had gone deathly still, when she saw Selenity's body.)
As Meioh Setsuna and Sailor Pluto, she loved them.
But though she loved them, she never loved the way she had loved Selenity, with complete abandon, without thinking about the tomorrows and the what-ifs, living only for the moment.
She doubted she'd ever love anyone like that ever again.
(She wanted her innocence back.)
The second time she loved, she loved as Meioh Setsuna after the fall of the Silver Millennium and after years, centuries of solitude. The fairytales had lost their glitter and her belief of true love had died with Selenity. The Time Staff weighed so heavily in her hands that it threatened to burn her flesh, and she was more of a woman then a child.
This time, she surprised even herself—her second love was not Tsukino Usagi, as Haruka and Michiru had so often speculated and even Setsuna herself had expected.
Her second love was the senshi of love itself, a self-proclaimed goddess and the princess of Venus, Aino Minako.
Not long after figuring it out, Setsuna started avoiding the younger woman like the plague.
Haruka thought she was just rusty and a bit out of practice. That one earned her a good, hard smack over the head.
Hotaru thought she was shy, when she wasn't busy being a little put off by the thought of her mother being in love with someone. That made them laugh.
Michiru thought she was afraid. That one earned her an all out glare from the senshi of time.
(Michiru was right, but Setsuna would never tell her that.)
Loving Minako was different from loving Selenity.
No matter how similar she was to the moon hime and to the late queen, Minako was her own person with her own flairs and faults.
"Ah! Setsuna-san! Your finger!"
Setsuna blinked and looked blankly at the blood welling from the thin cut along her finger; her mind must have been wandering again. "It's nothing," she began, only to fall silent as Minako kneels before her, tearing off a piece of clothe and carefully wrapping it around Setsuna's finger. A slim eyebrow arched. "Thank you, but I don't think that was necessary."
Minako grinned, blue eyes dancing as she swept golden locks away. "I don't think so. You could've bled and bled. People die that way, you know." She poked Setsuna. "I just saved your life."
Setsuna snorted to try and hold it in, but it was too late—the laugh bubbled out from her throat, spilled over and filled the air with its sound, and Minako grinned triumphantly.
"Ha! See? I told you I could make you laugh!"
Had it been Selenity, she would have just let it be.
Within Meioh Setsuna, something began to feebly stir to life. The cracks slowly but surely healed, the pieces began to come together and form a whole.
She felt it always within her, a steady warmth that always grew stronger, so strong sometimes that it threatened to swallow her whole—and she was okay with that. She was more than okay with that. It didn't matter anymore if she was Meioh Setsuna or Sailor Pluto, as long as the feeling was there.
"Being with you hurts. It hurts."
She hadn't felt this feeling in years—even with Selenity. She had always felt happy with Selenity, always content, always loving and loved in return. She'd been young. She'd understood that feeling. With Minako the feeling was stronger, warmer, like a tide that moved in and out of her at will.
Perhaps the strength came from the fact that the woman Setsuna loved was love incarnate.
"Because you remind me… of sadness."
As Sailor Pluto now she stood before the time stream, weaving it together and breaking it apart the way she had always done in the past. As her fingers glided along the glowing blue strands her face was bathed in its light, making her seem pale and other worldly.
And even in the darkness with only candles to light her way, she felt it. That damn feeling of warmth in her that she hadn't felt since the fall of the Silver Millennium, since she had seen the body of her first love.
(Her innocence was coming back. How ironic.)
"I'm drowning… in your tears."
Her fingers trembled among the silken strands of time; she narrowed her eyes, bit her bottom lip, and her touch steadied. She kept her eyes blank, her face unreadable. She resisted the ever growing temptation to study the other paths, what she could have been.
Even the faint chill of the room did nothing to ease this new warmth within her, the feeling she wanted yet did not want.
She wanted it because she knew she loved.
She didn't want it because she knew that when she loved, she risked. And when she risked, nine times out of ten, she lost.
"They flood this heart… that shouldn't exist."
With a low oath of frustration Sailor Pluto stood. It was getting late—she'd stayed much longer than she had intended. By now Hotaru was probably getting worried. Michiru was probably pacing, and Haruka was trying her best to soothe her.
Minako was probably—
No. No, no. She wasn't going to think about Minako.
"Please, don't come back."
Frustrated, tired, she turned away. She'd figure this out later, when she actually had time to do so. When her thoughts weren't clouded by a certain blonde and she wasn't distracted by this new yet old warmth within her, she'd decide what to do.
She lifted a hand, tentatively rested it against her chest so she could feel the steady thump of her heart, could feel the heat seep into her skin.
She wanted it.
She didn't want it.
Because it meant her heart was coming back.
Sailor Pluto's soft voice made Sailor Venus look at her; it was after a battle with a particularly fierce youma. The fight had ended with light bloodshed, but Pluto had wandered off on her own.
Venus followed her.
They now sat side by side at the bridge, gazing out across the water. Even though Venus was looking at her, Pluto didn't meet her gaze. She continued to look out across the water.
"I don't want it to come back," the senshi of time continued quietly, "and yet I do. I can feel it. It's coming back and it hurts."
"What's coming back?"
A long, contemplative moment of silence; Pluto slowly, almost timidly, looked at Venus. Her garnet eyes were dark, anguished and hopeful all at the same time and it made Venus's heart break.
Venus's eyes widened. The unspoken words hung in the air like a gunshot, and Pluto started to turn away again. The next instant though Venus draped her arm along the older woman's neck and pulled her back, so her head was tucked beneath her chin, and traitorous tears leaked out and streaked her cheeks. "Venus?" Pluto whispered shakily.
"Fool." Venus's voice was soft, and she closed her eyes as the tears fell. "If it hurts, let me help you. I want to help you. Don't push me away because it hurts."
Pluto closed her eyes and nodded numbly, her throat so tight and raw that she wasn't capable of speaking even if she wanted to.
And she began to weep.
(She got her innocence back.)
Triste is Latin for sadness and was inspiration for Setsuna's English name, Trista.
I completely and very throughly blame this on Girl Who Writes. She writes these beautiful Sailor Moon ficlets full of angst and drama and horror and romance, and every time I read something of hers I come away inspired. I can honestly admit this was probably inspired by her Setsuna-centric one-shot Burn Out.
I realize that any relationship between Setsuna/Selenity or Serenity or whatever you want to call her is based solely off the fans and their own interpretation of things, but it worked for the ficlet. Besides, I think it would make an interesting storyline: Setsuna, loving and losing Selenity, only to fall in love with Minako.
Damn. I've got to write a chapter fic for that one of these days.
"Italics" are quotes taken from Immortal Rain volume 3.
Read and review, please!