Title: Amongst the Stars
Author: Girl Who Writes
Feedback: If you feel so moved.
Characters: Setsuna, Nephrite
Word Count: 714
SMMFC Prompt: Shitennou – Ashes
Summary: After everything he'd done, having only the Time Guardian waiting for him on the other side was something of a relief.
Notes: I let this sit for ages and it evolved. I'm just happy that my writer's block has gone away – perhaps now I can pursue some chapter fics *shock* *gasp*. I originally based this fic in the old saying, 'ashes to ashes', if it seems to obscure. I also reference the past names of some of the senshi, as I'm hoping to add a few flash back fics to this little series. I literally spent hours selecting the names for the Silver Millennium Senshi (for the fore-mentioned chapter fic), so please don't copy them.
This precedes both Presumption and Unprepared (not yet posted). When we hit five in this series, I'll write up a list of stories in order.
Disclaimer: The characters of Sailor Moon belong to Toei, Bandai and Naoko Takeuchi. I make no profit from this fan-based venture.
When he rose into the sky, she was there, amongst the stars.
Her presence was not entirely unexpected and after everything he'd done, having only the Time Guardian waiting for him on the other side was something of a relief.
"General." Her voice was even as he moved to stand beside her. She hadn't changed since the Fall of the Moon Kingdom – not that he expected her to. The hair was in the same style, the same knowing look in her eyes - there was something unnerving and yet reassuring about the unchanging nature of the Time Keeper.
He could still see Naru's tear-stained cheeks, the horror and grief lighting her eyes, feel the pain racing through his body, the power leaking out and he remembered another girl with green eyes and auburn hair, staring at him with the same look on an infinitely larger scale.
"Will she be happy now?" he asked in a hollow voice.
"Osaka Naru?" Pluto said. "She'll live out her life; there will be happy moments and sad moments. She'll have regrets but in the end, she'll be content."
He looked back down, to where Sailor Moon was comforting Naru, who was sobbing as if her heart was breaking. She looked so young; she had been so innocent. Perhaps that's what had charmed him, what had pulled him away from Beryl's thrall.
"She's found the other senshi now," he trailed off. "Do you think… has she forgiven me, Pluto?"
Pluto looked at him, a confused look on her face; an expression that was unfamiliar on her face – she was meant to know everything. "Osaka Naru?"
"My Electra," Nephrite said. "Now she's found the other girls, she'll be safe."
Pluto offered a small, amused smile, and he absently noted how pretty she looked when she smiled. "Osaka Naru isn't Jupiter reborn. She's just an ordinary school girl, Nephrite."
He blinked and looked back down as Sailor Mercury (it stung that Zoicite wouldn't be able to appreciate sweet Clementia's rebirth) and Sailor Moon (angelic Serenity reborn as a soldier, he noted incredulously. Would Beryl see what was so obvious or would what remained of the Lunar Queen's magic keep the Princess's identity safe?) helped Naru to her feet. The senshi of Mars stood off to the side and for a split second, he wished Jadeite was here, to see his Ama alive once again.
"Where is Electra?" he turned to Pluto and took a step towards the Time Guardian; he was only an inch or so taller than her and even that advantage, however small it was, did nothing to intimidate the woman.
"Waiting in the wings," Pluto said smoothly.
"Let me go to her," he said quickly, as if he had anticipated her answer.
"Please. She doesn't know yet, hasn't found the other girls; I could guide her. I wouldn't tell her…" he trailed off as the vision of the Sailor Senshi and Osaka Naru faded away.
"General," her voice was firm. "The last thing this Jupiter needs is more death in her life, especially someone she will only remember as the bringer of her own death."
"Pluto. You will send me away with the only memory of the woman I love being her death at my hand," he sounded frustrated and one enigmatic response away from grabbing her and forcing her to listen. "You don't forgive me, do you, Time Keeper? You blame me for the fall."
Pluto sighed and shook her hair back before turning to face him properly. "It is not my place to forgive or to condemn, General. Nor is it my place to assign guides to the senshi or to alter certain paths on a whim. Your soul must bare the consequences of your actions."
"Or inactions," Nephrite said snidely.
"Or inactions, General. As someone once said to me, it is not up to us how brightly the stars shine." Pluto bowed to him and he realized with dismay that she was fading away. "Whether they shine alone, together…"
"Or even at all." General Nephrite looked up as the Time Keeper continued to fade from his sight, the same blank expression on her face, the same knowing look she had worn from that very first meeting.
And then he was alone with the stars.