Title: Time, Again

Author: Girl Who Writes

Genre: Drama, Angst

SMMFC Theme: Shitennou - Surrender

Pairing: Chibiusa/Not telling, hah. Does not involve the Outers, for once.

Words: 585

Spoilers: All seasons.

Summary: He wonders if somewhere, anywhere, they ended up getting it right.

Author's Notes: If I could explain this, I would. I think I just like being different. Written back in January, for LJ's SMMFC for the theme of the Shitennou. The lack of new fics from me can be explained by the ugly combination of university work and being ill; hopefully I'll be posting more from now on. More notes at the end.

Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi. I'm just a humble fan and make no profit from this fan based venture.

It burned.

She kissed him and it burned.

He kissed her back, harder, and thought of blood pumping through veins and arteries before spilling hopelessly out of the split in the flesh, staining a white dress and congealing on a marble floor.

(They knew time would change but they took that risk anyway. They knew and that was why they did it in secret; blissful in their ignorance until the call came that Hotaru couldn't stop screaming from the pain in her head, and Setsuna was vomiting up blood).

She pulls back and stares at him distantly before she rests her head against his shoulder. His arm wraps around thin, bony shoulders and he drops a kiss to the top of her head.

(It is not the kiss of a father, of an uncle or of a lover. It is the kiss of the hopeless, of someone who is staring into the abyss and wondering about so many things that didn't matter until now).

She reaches up, pressing her fingers to the crescent sigil on her brow, the rest of her hand shading her eyes as if she is pained or saddened. It is gesture that has been synonymous with her for so many years.

(Twelve years. He was there, watching with an indulgent look behind his eyes. It's just easier to pretend he wasn't.)

He takes her hand in his and pulls it down, looks into her eyes, his fingers brushing against the silver ring she still wears, rusty blood still in the sharp edges of the stone. He holds her hand and she lets him.

{He still finds her, on bad days, scratching helplessly at the sigil on her forehead as if she can scrape her mother and father away from herself, can have unmarked flesh and no guilt, no memories. It doesn't matter that there's blood running down her face, that the flesh is a tangle of white scars upon scars, the moon still burns gold. She'll wail and sob and bash her head against the sink until she is crowned in bruises. And he doesn't know what to do because he never had the chance to have daughters.)

She finally pulls herself to her feet, one hand pressed to her forehead and her face so lost he wishes he had been a father so that he could comfort her. But the words don't come, so he lets her kiss him again.

(This is not what his King meant. He was supposed to watch over her in a father's place, with wisdom and humor. Not this, not kissing a girl with empty eyes and false memories. Not cradle her in his arms and try to take away the pain. If only he could be sure whose pain he wanted to soothe away.)

She leaves the hall, pink ribbons of hair trailing behind her, feet bare against the cold marble floor, and leaves him alone again to ponder – a moon the wrong side up and the names of the dead hanging heavy in both their minds.

A moment – a split-second, an instance, whatever you wished to call it - and perhaps Black Lady would have been burnt away from the child, would have made the little Princess stronger, more determined, whole.

Instead, they have this. A palace full of ghosts and self-loathing. Scars behind a golden moon. A stagnant peace that holds no joy for the survivors.

He stays in the hall and wonders if somewhere, anywhere, they ended up getting it right.


Author's Notes: I don't want to say which one of the Shitennou that I had in mind when I wrote this, because it would change your perception. I really like the idea of the return of Mamoru's guardians messing up the timeline – something I definitely want to explore more of in the future. I hope you enjoyed this.