THE BRIDE'S BOUQUET
_Here I go!
Usagi shouted as she threw her bouquet backward.
The pop idol and the priestess who happened to stand beside her both rushed toward almost unconsciously, and ended up hitting the other's shouders in the process. Their eyes locked in surprise for a brief moment, each found herself wondering if the cause for their collision had been what she thought it had been; and the next second they found themselves hastily turning away, both feigning innocence.
When the bouquet flew above their heads, both could not help but suppress a sigh in defeat and eyed it with curiosity instead, unsure of where it would be landing.
It settled within Motoki's hands.
After blabbing to himself about the sudden success without noticing others' stares in amazement, he finally realized all gazes were fixed upon him.
He turned to Makoto after a little hesitation, then asked her shyly but sincerely enough to be considered a proposal.
"Well... what about us next?"
Even though they both felt genuinely happy for their forever close friend and once teammate, another thought paved its way into their minds.
Everyone else deserves one too... after all they had been through...
The luxury cherished and held sacred by every living thing as "the other half".
After seeing Usagi off with her newly-wed husband, Rei simply went her ways. Minako, too, left the wedding without saying so much words to others as a mere "see you again".
But on their chosen paths, they could not help but let their thoughts drift to an unanswered question.
"What if I caught the bouquet?"
An hour later, Aino Minako found herself in the VIP lounge waiting for the next flight, which unfortunately could not depart as soon as she wished. In this life she was-yes the magic word-free from her duties as a sailor senshi, and to see that others had already moved on was a relief to say the least. Now they are only bounded by their friendship-the one thing they would always hold close to their hearts, away from all battle scars-however it was a pleasant, willing bound since none of them could forget just how much they had been through together.
Was it not something an unconscious part of her had always wanted? To make her own decisions and deal with whatever life puts in her way, which promptly reminded her of a certain other, whose image happened to flash through her mind when the unanswered question concerning the bride's bouquet was mentally raised.
She was indeed happier in this life, but incomplete.
Unbeknownst to the pop idol, a security guard entered the room, the uniformed hat shadowing the face, flowers in hand, which could have surprised all of Usagi's friends had they been present, by its identical image of the bride's bouquet.
_Miss Aino,-the guard addressed in a monotone-this is a present for you from Hikari Shrine.
The location startled her-but not so much as the voice already did. Her sharp ears were God's gift along with her beautiful voice, thanks to which she could easily identify who was speaking, no matter how many masks one put on in an attempt to hide who one truly was.
_Please tell the sender I said "thank you" with all my heart.
Minako reached out to the bouquet, and in a brief moment their hands brushed against each other.
The guard quietly left the room, leaving Minako inhaling deeply the sweet scent of the white roses.
She put the flowers on the table, unintentionally woke a sleeping Artemis.
_... Minako?-he stifled a yawn. She lifted the bouquet back into her arms, smiled to her guardian who would just seem like an ordinary stuffed cat to others.
_Go back to sleep, Artemis, there's nothing to be worried about now.
_Wow-his eyes widened at the sight of her holding the flowers as if it was a treasure-who gave you that bouquet? It suits you perfectly!
_You look...-Artemis paused, no "beautiful" was not the right one , she has always been that way. Oh right...
_... complete.-He finished his sentence, seemingly satisfied with his word choice, and dozed off again when she was left to ponder his compliment.
Hino Rei was doing her usual chore of sweeping the Shrine's front yard when a mailman came into sight.
_Miss Hino I believe?
_Yes,-she fought herself not to raise an eyebrow. The mailman himself knew her very well, he often gave offerings to the Shrine as an expression of his gratitude for her taking care of his daughter after his wife had gone; why addressed her so formally today?
_A special delivery with all my heart.
The few words startled her as much as her presence startled Minako last time she had come to her in disguise of a security guard, with her raven hair hidden beneath the hat they all seemed to wear. She slowly put down her broom while her mind quietly surveyed the aura of the person waiting in front of her. The same choice of words only served to improve her curiosity when she realized it was indeed the mailman she had long been friends with.
He met her eyes, smiled warmly and pulled from behind his back a bouquet identical to what she had given Minako last time, at the cost of a temporarily knockout guard.
At her surprise he simply shrugged-but not without an explanation.
_Sorry about the strange act, Rei-san, it was a special order from the office to say those exact words.
She smiled to him genuinely in response, and clutched the bouquet to her body, inhaling the sweet scent along with its underlying message.
She slept well that night, dreaming of Makoto's now-in-progress wedding, a bouquet being threw, her own triumphant smile as she caught it, and a pop idol's crystal laughter when she found herself at its immediate receiving end.
Little did she know, the roles were switched in another dream across the oceans, in a certain celebrity's bedroom.
Sometimes, a bride's bouquet does not automatically make its captors-or rather, recipients-the next bride.
Instead, it makes them complete.