They say you shouldn't fall in love with the ones you truly care about. Something about heart ache and, that usually, someone else is supposed to be the one caring for the one you cherish.

Yeah, there's supposedly an unwritten rule about falling in love with those you're closest to. It always causes trouble. There's always an uproar and people get hurt; emotionally and physically. It's inevitable.

Or so they say.

I always tell myself they're right, but I always do the exact opposite. I even try my best to thwart all such activity by being the harshest bitchiest person around. I snap at the littlest things, and nitpick people at their flaws. I'm so good at the façade, they seriously believe I mean every word of it. They don't realize it's all just a mask.

Which is fine with me. I don't need them taking off my mask. It keeps me safe. It lets me pretend a little longer that I don't care for her like I do. It lets me fake irritation, lets me fake impatience. When I wear my mask, no one knows what really goes on inside me. Even the great fire doesn't have an answer… and believe me, I've tried.

What do I mean? Well… let's start at the beginning. I've dreamed of her since before I met her. Yeah, yeah, her prince supposedly did that too. But he only dreamed of his princess. I dreamed of my princess… and my best friend. Hey, she wasn't my best friend at the time. Honestly, I didn't think she was real. I didn't take any of it seriously. Until I saw her.

When I saw her, I was shocked. She wasn't supposed to exist, let alone actually be the one I'd dreamed about. It spooked me. And I admit, I probably reacted poorly. I did, after all, try and dispel her as a demon. I'm glad she didn't leave my life for good at that very moment.

Well, after getting to know her, I was shocked how truly touched I was by her immaturity. It frightened me and bothered me because I knew I found it so endearing. I shouldn't be so awed by one so klutzy, I told myself. I shouldn't find all her bad habits so cute. Didn't that poorly mark my judge of character? But persist, my attention did.

I couldn't help but notice all her flaws. I found them adorable. And I shouldn't. I found her impishly childish behavior cute; I felt that because of that, it meant I didn't value the wisdom that came with maturity. But I couldn't help but find her endearing. I wanted to be near her. I wanted to speak with her, share companionship with her. I wanted… everything and nothing.

I knew that with her innocence came naivety. She knew nothing of the world and all that lay within it. She wouldn't know how to take any of my advances, and she wouldn't understand them as being as such to begin with. So I did nothing. And then He came along, and she was irritated. Then, after being irritated, she became ensnared by his charm. His unique blend of princely habits and less then admirable abilities, she became his. Mostly because of the past.

You know, that's what really bothers me. It isn't that she's with him. Honestly, if she chose him, she chose him and I'll honor that. But it's WHY she chose him that gets me.

She picked him because of the past. Not the present, and honestly, it wasn't for the future until well after they started dating.

No, she chose him because way back in the day, they loved each other. Because of that love, they were reincarnated. They were supposed to meet, fall in love, and start another utopia, again.

What a load of BS. Yeah, they were reincarnated. But it wasn't for their love alone. It was mostly for a mother's love for her daughter. It was a ruler's love for her kingdom. It was… all completely selfish in it's unselfishness. But her plan was slightly flawed. The darned cats that brought all the past memories back corrupted any plans I had of possibly swooping in on her myself.

Not that it was at all seemingly possible. If anyone saw us on a day to day basis, they would think we were bitter rivals until the very end. We would forever being trying to outdo the other in trivial things. But they'd be wrong.

I act like that's what I want. I pretend that's what is best. But it's all fake. I don't mean any of it. I mostly do it because I know she can be better.

Do I want her to do better?

Honestly, no. I don't.

Why? I cherish her as she is. But to survive, incase I can't do my job properly, I need her to be able to take care of herself. I have failed her before. I hate admitting that. I SERIOUSLY hate admitting that. Case in point though, I have failed her. She's died numerous times. Why? I wasn't strong enough to protect her. Why did she survive? Because she's stronger then we'd all given her credit for. On the inside though, it broke my heart to see her have to pull on that inner strength. I didn't want her to learn so fast what it took to survive. I didn't want her to have to face such difficult decisions. I wanted her to remain as she was; innocently perfect.

Is that possible? No.

I know that. I don't like that either, but I know it. It's not possible to remain innocent forever. Even those that seem so, hold, deep within, the subconscious knowledge of reality and what it bestows. They know. It won't seem they do, they won't admit they do, but they know. It shows when they have to make a split second decision. When they're forced into a realistic situation that no one wants to be in. When you look in their eyes afterwards, you see the understanding there, buried behind their wide, innocent eyes.

It's rather frightening if you think about it. Stolen innocence. I guess that's what we've all become forced to accept. Even those of us so childishly simple are forced to understanding the boundaries of innocence and reality. It's a sad, depressing thought. But we make do, and most of us are completely fine.

Perfection has it's price anyway. If things were perfect, we wouldn't understand the idea of choice. Choice wouldn't even exist. We'd all be robotic creations that existed merely to do as we were bid. We'd be manipulated by strings we couldn't see, and even if we could see them, we wouldn't acknowledge them or care that they were there.

Do I get tired of fighting all the battles we run blindly into? Yes. Do I hate having to watch the people I care about suffer and get hurt? Yes. Do I understand the consequences of choosing to fight or look the other way? Yes. Are my choices right? Maybe, maybe not. But to me, they're all the more obvious choices. Even though I know there are several choices, and yet it seems there are none, I wouldn't choose another path.

My fate may have been decided. It may have not. In any case, I will choose to live it as I can. Maybe there are other realities out there that make me out to be more or less then I am. But that's not the reality I'm living in. I have my own choices to make. Or maybe I'm just the product of one, to all, of those multiple choices. Maybe I made no true choice at all.

But that's all too much thinking without getting answers. It's an argument about philosophy, and I am not a person to dwell overly so on such things without getting temperamental and vocal.

Granted, it seems I'm that way all the time anyway. However, inwardly, when I'm outwardly seething, I'm actually quite calm. When I argue with her, I'm actually my most content.

Yeah, yeah, what a two faced B**** I am. I'm out there faking all my irritations at her, while in reality, I'm quite happy. It seems cruel doesn't it? It makes me out to be the bad guy. It looks like I have some irrational joy of making her feel bad.

It's quite the opposite. I hate making her feel bad. I hate seeing her cry. I hate seeing her worry. I hate most, seeing her in pain. Pain is the root of all problems.

Pain causes a person to cry. Pain causes a person to worry. Pain causes a person to do irresponsible things because they somehow think they're doing the right thing. Pain… causes a person to hurt, emotionally and physically. Pain… is a cruel thing indeed.

I hate pain. Not for me. I can handle it. I'm used to it's temper, and I'm totally for going all out against it via my own temper (pun intended).

But I hate seeing her wage her own battle with it. She probably bears the greatest weight trying to contain it. After all, the only reason she pushes so hard, succeeds against impossible odds, is because her pain is too great. She can't stand to lose anyone, can't stand the hurt, the loss. She can't stand being alone. So she fights. She pushes on when she shouldn't have an ounce of power or spirit left. And she wins. She overcomes, and she stands triumphantly smiling that wide innocent smile.

And that's when I see it. That's when I realize she's lying. She's wearing a mask as much as I am. She's hiding. She hates to compromise her dreams, with her destiny, with her responsibility. So she fakes it. She fakes the love, she fakes the happiness, she fakes the innocence.

Unfortunately, because I know it's a mask, I hold the impossible hope, the dream, that maybe, MAYBE, she might have smidgen of a chance to strike out against destiny. Maybe she'd finally decide that her happiness isn't forsaken by the future, by responsibility, and stand up for herself. Maybe she'd change her mind, at long last, and decide that she doesn't want the destiny that has been handed to her.

Why don't I make the first move?

It's simple. I'd scare her into staying in that fake role. She isn't ready until she makes the choice on her own. I know that. If I speak now, she won't be able to handle it. She'll feel like she's being backed into another corner, and she'll retreat even further into herself. She'll force herself even harder to fulfill the role that's been handed her. She'll regret it, but she'll do it.

So I don't say anything. I don't tell her I love the way she laughs, or how pretty her hair is when it glistens in the moonlight. I don't let myself indulge in a content smile when she's reading my manga or laugh at the way she inhales everything she eats. I don't steady her when she stumbles or cheer her on when she fails another test.

For now, I have to fake everything as much as she does. If I stop faking, I won't be able to stop myself from trying to push things faster, to try stealing her before she's ready. If I push too fast, too far, I'll ruin everything. Not just with her, but with everyone. They wouldn't know how to handle it any more then she would. They'd probably even alienate me and help concrete her into her forced role.

I won't allow that. I can't allow that. I HAVE to try. It's my last hope. She'll be beyond my reach if she goes another life time in his arms. She'll be even more entrenched with ghosts of the pasts and images of a supposed "set-in-stone" future. If she can't be convinced now, she never will be. I shall always be forced to smile when they kiss, or console her when he's foolishly hurt her feelings.

I'd do it, but in the long run, it'd destroy me. Destroying me would destroy her, because I'd probably be hell bent on causing revenge. All revenge, of course, would be dealt upon him. Harming him would wound her, and I'd end up so far gone, she'd have to rid me of the mortal plane.

How twisted love can be. Fiore was a good example of that. He was a little odd, but I can understand where he's coming from. When one is alienated from the get go, and someone steps in and offers you a bit of kindness, acknowledgement, you become forever ensnared by that person. What is truly frightening is that all of us Senshi have felt that.

She is our light, our friend, our elixir. She is our all. We all know it separately. It's very rare, though, that we indulge ourselves enough to understand that the others are just as lonely as we are, that she saved all of us in similar ways. Even I forget, at times. It doesn't, however, change the fact that she has indeed saved us, never having HAD to. It was her choice to do so. Even He was like us.

In light of that, I wonder if it is possible that she loves just any one person as a true lover does. I wonder if, maybe, she secretly holds the ridiculous notion she loves us all as one would a lover. I also wonder if the others feel for her as I do, because of it. I mean, if I love her for who she is and what she's brought me, does it not make sense that the others would see it and love her for it as well?

Quite a harem that would be.

In any case, bringing myself back down to a more level reality, she's with him. It's as simple as that. Does she truly feel for him in ways I cannot see? Or, does she possibly hold the secret desire to love another/others? Who truly knows but her?

So I wait, and I watch. I hope, and I dream, and I pray that someday soon she'll be enlightened. But until then, I'm the B**** that hounds her, the cruel task master that so relentlessly verbally attacks her. Sometimes I imagine I see an glint of understanding in her deep blue eyes, but it happens so fast, I always talk myself out of believing it.

So onward we go, blazing in a righteous path of glory. I'll forever be standing guard, watching over her closely, always reaching, but never touching. Maybe… one day… a hand will reach back.

A/N: Sup? Plot bunny attack on this one. Sorry if there are editting mistakes. I kinda wrote it a little... err, way late... and a lil tipsy. Anyway, I like it and hope you do too.