Past Lives - By Kirika
A Sailor Moon shoujo-ai Rei/Usagi fanfic, sequel to Absence.
She's back! You know who! _ This fic takes place a couple of months or so after the conclusion of my other story, Absence. Reading Absence beforehand is not necessary, but references are made to it.
As a quick refresher: Rei and Usagi are together, bonded as Usagi and Mamoru used to be; Ami and Makoto are together; Chibi-Usa and Hotaru are sort of together; Haruka and Michiru are together naturally; Setsuna is alone but has a thing for Rei; Minako is alone but has begun to look to Setsuna for company; and Mamoru is alone but still allied with the Sailor Senshi.
This story will centre on Rei/Usagi mainly, with emphasis on Rei as the main character. Minako will likely get a lot of attention as well. Primary focus is on the Inner Senshi also.
As with Absence, this story takes place before Stars and is a bit like a 'default' Sailor Moon universe, following the anime world but mixed with some elements from the manga world. I don't want Sailor Moon overpowered (she's at Super Sailor Moon level). ^_^
Expect violence and yuri, weird youma names, a whole lot of angst, and the threat of character death.
Western naming conventions are used, and Japanese suffixes are omitted (so no -chans and -samas), as are other Japanese terms where possible. Some select few are maintained however, like odango atama. ^_^
**So this series returns to FF! Hope it goes better than Absence. You can read the first story at my site. Check my profile.
Prologue - Eternal Sleep
"Here. It's here." Chamista looked up at the building's façade, squinting through the darkness at the human scrawl painted on the signboard. Her lips moved, mouthing the alien language, before she sneered at her failure. She'd never gotten a good grasp on this world's written word, despite being gifted as she was in the arcane. Chamista's lacking had been her boon, however. Cast aside to the reverse ranks by her master, she had survived where Lord Thrinakie had fallen to Earth's guardians.
"La Crepe," Shuthiru murmured beside her. "Some sort of feeding hall." While a weaver of magicks like Chamista, Shuthiru was monumentally weak in the art and thus subservient to the more talented mage. Even Shuthiru's human form was less aesthetically pleasing; mousy and frail, dull hair and petite body, the face of a peasant; so… mundane. Like a servant should be, Chamista supposed. Chamista reasoned it helped smooth Shuthiru's infiltration among the human cattle, but being ordinary was a painful prospect to her. She was *not* ordinary.
Chamista smiled at her stunning reflection-for human standards-in the feeding hall's front window-long straight blue hair well past her slender shoulders, perfect alabaster skin and light blue eyes, the oval face and delicate features surely of a human goddess. She was beautiful in her own body; why should she not be the same in human skin?
A gruff cough. "Should I batter down the wall?"
Chamista's eyes shifted disparagingly to the brute fouling her reflection. What remained of Khairephon's troops had abandoned the secondary headquarters in-Yokohama, was it?-after the maniac's death to link up with the other Lords and Lady in this city of Tokyo. Unfortunately some of them had survived as well. Good fighters, but that was all they thought about. Little better than weapons to be pointed at the enemy and released.
"No. You want to wake up the humans and bring their law enforcement down upon us? *Think*," Chamista harshly chastised. "Avishul."
The youma turned her head towards Chamista, barely able to be seen in the shadows cast by the streetlights. In Makareus's service shadows were Avishul's realm, and she dwelled in them still. Her human mask mirrored her obsession; black hair that fell in such a way that it shaded most of her face, and dusky skin that blended into the night.
Avishul didn't verbally answer Chamista's summons, but Makareus's agents were a different breed, sinister in their dealings and eerie in their methods.
"Open the way," Chamista said.
It took a second for Chamista to realise Avishul was no longer there, and the click of La Crepe's door unlocking from the inside signalled the shadow dweller had carried out her mistress's bidding. "Go," Chamista ordered.
Within the building Chamista let her senses reach out around her, feeling underneath the veil of reality with mystical fingers. "Yes…" she breathed. "There was a breach here."
Chamista walked past the tables and chairs to the rear of the feeding hall. It was faint; very faint. The magicks were dormant and on the brink of unravelling, but a tear definitely existed, and small enough to be manipulated by her. A hope at last. It was not of Pandemonium's making-but wherever it led was better than this dimension. Forging a brand new inter-dimensional portal back to home required too much power on this plane, though not even the giant, albeit unstable, rip in space-time at the communication tower could be prised open again a mere inch by Chamista's magicks. She had not attempted the feat of course until a long time after it had closed, which might have been to her effort's detriment. The youma had not been about to risk a fatal encounter with Earth's rampaging guardians, nor had she been willing to perform the spell while space-time was still in flux from whatever was disturbing it. She was but one mage, after all. It hadn't been Pandemonium's portal; the disturbance had existed before that fissure, and grown in strength before finally settling down following Makareus's defeat and the portal's collapse. Another time, another place and Chamista might have liked to investigate it, but all she wanted now was to see the familiar sight of home.
Chamista's appearance shimmered, her human disguise melting from her luminescent green skin. Slightly curved golden horns sprouted from her chaotic blue hair, the mane teased into many upturned waves and spikes; her pupils had narrowed to vertical strips; a pair of fangs pressed against her bottom lip; and a thick tail lazily swayed behind her, through the slit in the back of her red robes. The youma adjusted her half a dozen pendants and necklaces around her neck and shook out her wrists, settling the chains and bracelets around them. Each trinket had a purpose, and a way of augmenting her power. Chamista would need every scrap to tear between the fabrics of reality, even if she was only reopening the modest tear.
Taking a moment to steady herself, Chamista let her magicks flow through and fill her body, nearly to the degree of consuming it. Her jewellery gleamed brightly, and then burned to white flares, adding their own energy while throwing up barriers that stopped her body from ripping itself apart. Funnelling the power through her fingertips, she sought the edges of the tear and wrenched it wide open, desperation robbing her of finesse and caution. She needed a way home.
Reality parted before Chamista and the other youma like drapes thrown aside, another world touching this one.
"You did it," Shuthiru gasped. "Can you hold it? We should get the others."
"Of course I can hold it!" Chamista snapped, causing Shuthiru to flinch. Her arms shook and sweat had appeared on her brow, but it *would* hold once she had placed the proper mystical restraints. "We should explore the other side before bringing anyone. You might not think it possible, but the world could be worse than this one."
Shuthiru nodded, and eyed the portal with new vigilance.
"Bah," the brute barked. "Waiting is for cowards." He leapt through the cleft, into the murky, craggy world beyond.
Chamista wasn't angry. That he had lived showed that she had set the locks correctly. Her charms and ornaments gradually dimmed as she let the power inside her die, leaving her panting heavily and shaking slightly. "It's safe."
Chamista walked through the portal, Shuthiru following. If Avishul did as well, she treaded lightly and stuck to the dark.
"It's just rocks. Rocks!" the brute roared, changing from human into his true self as he raged, smashing his massive, dark orange fists against said mere rocks. They crumbled like clumps of dirt under his assault and cracks fanned out as spider webs from his blow on the remaining rock face, as if infected with some kind of rot.
Chamista was more optimistic, taking in the cavernous environment first before forming an opinion. She sensed the dimension to be rather small; a pocket plane perhaps, similar to the ones Lord Thrinakie had been fond of. A labyrinth of metallic dark blue rocks surrounded her, even overhead, with no obvious way forward. There was power here however; faint and vanishing, like the portal had been, but once grand and devastating. But there was no way home from here. The fabric of reality was a close match for the human dimension, as if the two were sisters, and as a result no good to Chamista. Whatever it had been, it was all but a dead world now.
"There's something here," Shuthiru called.
Tucked in a corner; seemingly discarded and forgotten judging by the layers of dust upon it and where it had been carelessly placed; was a huge opaque crystal. And encased inside that crystal suspended in time was a man.
"He looks human," Shuthiru remarked as she circled the crystal, though not daring to venture within arm's reach.
"So do we, when we wish it," Chamista said idly, preoccupied with appraising the find. The eyes could easily lie, and in this case they did; she could sense that this man wasn't quite human.
The youma walked up to the crystal and laid a hand on one smooth face. Yes, the feeling was clearer now. Almost human, but… more. He was clad in a uniform-grey, with red trim. Possibly military…. Another guardian, perhaps? He appeared wounded inside his translucent shell, lending credence to a warrior past.
But what was he doing here? He must be imprisoned for a reason; the horrified expression frozen on his face said he hadn't done this to himself, or at least not intentionally. How long had he slumbered in this dying world?
"We waste our time!" the brute bellowed. "There's nothing here!" He stormed off a few steps, before reeling around again. "You are *useless*! We should be keeping up the fight, and forcing the Sailor Senshi to open a way to Pandemonium! They are but a handful of warriors, we can-!"
"Silence!" Chamista yelled over her shoulder, her voice rising to an unnaturally thunderous timbre with the enhancement of a small cantrip. Rocks tumbled from the ceiling and walls and plumes of dust spat from every crevice. This world would not hold for visitors for long. "Our masters are dead," Chamista continued at her normal pitch, glancing at the fragile rock walls warily, "yet you believe we can defeat the Sailor Senshi where they could not? You are a fool, not long for this life I suspect."
The brute growled and stormed off again, but held his tongue which was good enough for Chamista, who eagerly returned her attention to the peculiar discovery. She closed her eyes and delved deeper with her honed senses, mystical probes divining the crystal's-and its occupant's-properties. "He teeters on the edge between life and death, neither truly dead nor truly alive, but existing in both realms the same." A wide grin split Chamista's face. "There is power. Whatever conjured this crystal was a great being, wielding a potent power. It has weakened greatly, like the portal and this dimension, but its memory is still gloriously terrifying." Perhaps it could be harnessed. Perhaps it was the boost to Chamista's own power needed to open the tear at the communication tower.
"Can you free him?" Shuthiru asked.
"Oh, I can," Chamista said, opening her eyes. Of course she could; she wasn't pathetic like Shuthiru. Although, if the old magicks hadn't decayed…. "I can. He hangs between living and dying, and all he needs is a little push in one direction…."
Shuthiru jumped back as the crystal exploded, shards flying past Chamista as she smiled triumphantly.
"-AAAAAaaaahhhhh…!" The man screamed before his voice cracked and failed him, and he fell forwards onto his hands and knees, tiny crystal flakes shaken from his mop of blonde hair. He took a few shuddering breaths. "Q-Queen Beryl…" he choked out, panting.
"Nooo…" Chamista chimed at length, "but you *can* consider me your queen."
The man clutched a hand to his head a moment, then finally looked up at his saviour and sneered viciously. "Get away from me, beast."
Chamista sighed and looked over to the brute. "Destroy him," she said coolly.
The muscle-bound brute grinned and lumbered his massive frame towards the man, raising his fists to hammer him to a pulp against the rock floor. The youma didn't notice the crystal shard that vibrated beside the man.
The human suddenly roared and sprung to his feet, swinging his fist up at the brute, the crystal splinter flying from the ground and moving in concert with his arm. Energy burst in the man's hand as it and the crystal smashed into the youma's chest, a cobalt-blue gory mess and a bloody shard bursting out his back, a gaping hole left behind. The brute flew backwards, hitting the other side of the cavern before disintegrating slowly into ash.
The man turned to Chamista, hate in his eyes and his fist raised for another blow, when as suddenly as it had come his strength left him, and he collapsed to his hands and knees once more, his breathing laboured.
One corner of Chamista's mouth curled upwards in a shrewd half-smile while Shuthiru stood nearby, quailing at the brute's demise. "You could be useful."
Chamista knelt down to the man and delicately lifted his chin so she could look him in the eye. "I seek power," she said. "Tell me, or I'll put you back to sleep-a waking sleep that'll have you spend eternity staring at this empty cavern."
The man clenched his teeth and made fists with his hands, but he was beaten. He had slumbered too long.
"There's… a jewel," he said, his every word strained. "A crystal, the finest you've ever seen. The Ginzuishou."
"Where?" Chamista breathed. "Tell me."
"Tokyo." The man snarled, baring his teeth, glaring into space. "Sailor Moon…. Usagi Tsukino!"
Chamista eyes lit up. A powerful jewel in the hands of one of Earth's guardians. The brute had been correct in his desire to fight after all. Ironic. "The Sailor Senshi. Are you friend or enemy of theirs?"
"Enemy," the man spat. He banged his fist against the rock. "Enemy!"
Chamista stood, looking down at the human. "Your name," she said.
The man turned his glare up at her, his dark eyes piercing her. "Jadeite."
Sailor Pluto stood guard at the Door of Time, Garnet Rod erect in hand, staring into the opening's void. Absolute silence pervaded this dimension of grey stone walls and pillars and arches to infinity. It existed outside of time and space just as she did; severed from reality but an integral part of it. Eternal. Lonely.
But it was her burden to bear, and she would not force it on anyone else. Though there was no one else. She served as silently as Time itself, rewarded as witness to countless lifetimes and possibilities, the knowledge of all hers to possess, but never to command, no matter how agonising it was to simply watch as tragedies unfolded that she knew were fated.
It wasn't always bad. Pluto found ways to pass time without end. She used the Door like a window, privy to any time or place in existence. Any person, from birth to death. And sometimes, rebirth.
Sailor Pluto smiled softly, watching her as she walked the halls of the Crystal Palace, centre of Crystal Tokyo in the thirtieth century, age of the new Silver Millennium-a time when the beautiful girl had become a beautiful woman, a beauty that would last forever. Sailor Mars, Mars's Princess, but Pluto would always think of her as Rei. Just like Her Majesty did.
The bottom of Rei's stunning red gown kicked up as she picked up her pace, her expression carefully controlled, but Sailor Pluto could tell her excitement. Court was over.
Rei passed King Endymion in his full formal dress-purple tuxedo and white mask, medals on his lapel, fresh from court himself-in the corridor, who smirked at the Princess knowingly. Rei, for her part, clenched her jaw tight, however that was all. Age had tempered her a bit, but she was still the Senshi of Passion and Fire underneath the indifferent posturing.
Sailor Pluto lingered on King Endymion a short while before returning her vision of the timestream to Rei. She still felt a little something for the dashing man, although it had waned as a certain raven-haired girl had wormed her way into her heart, sometime in the twenty-first century. Thus the Senshi of Time had watched Rei almost exclusively since then. Or to be accurate, this incarnation of her had always been watching Rei in this timeless place. Pluto had seen her birth, seen as she dealt with the loss of her mother and the abandonment of her father, witnessed her grow, become a miko, become a Senshi, fight and die and live again, and fall in love. She'd watched Rei's life thousands of times, seen variations of just as many, but she never tired. It was all Pluto had. She could remember talking to Rei, fighting beside her, and even the taste and sensation of that one kiss. And it had been Pluto doing those things, and yet it hadn't been her. She had always been *here*, at the Gates. She would always be here. Watching, only watching.
Rei broke out into a smile when she saw the double doors of the Neo-Queen's private chambers. She couldn't hold it in now.
Rei breezed past the pair of palace guards who saluted her before looking across the doors at each other knowingly after she had gone, almost mirroring King Endymion's earlier lopsided grin. Sailor Pluto smiled broader too. They tried to be so proper in court and in public, modest with their mutual affection and strict in their respective royal roles, all the while pretending Crystal Tokyo and the rest of the galaxy didn't know what was behind those meaningful looks and fleeting touches. A King and Queen may have ruled the Silver Millennium, but it was a Princess that ruled the Queen's heart.
Rei shut the chamber's doors as Neo-Queen Serenity turned to face her, tiara symbolising her station atop her blonde head and dressed in a stately white gown of unrivalled splendour-except perhaps for Rei's own-meeting the Princess's smile with one to match. They rushed across the room, embracing as only lovers could, their lips finding each other's with a hunger finally being fulfilled.
Sometimes Sailor Pluto felt guilty watching their affection in this manner. But it *was* her duty.
"Usagi," Rei whispered when the two women eventually had to part for air, left breathless by their kiss and mounting desire. Rei was the sole Sailor Senshi that still called Neo-Queen Serenity by that name. Underneath the exquisite clothes and priceless jewels, the air of authority and the galaxy at her beck and call, Neo-Queen Serenity was still the clumsy girl Usagi Tsukino to Rei.
Rei pressed her cheek to Serenity's and bade the blonde look ahead with her as she lifted her hand. Flames sprang from her pointed finger as Rei drew a burning heart hanging in the air, then, pulling her finger back-
The image flickered, and Sailor Pluto stood bolt upright from where she was beginning to slouch against her Garnet Rod. For a moment Endymion was in Rei's place, holding Serenity close to him, and Pluto inherently knew they were married. And then the Neo-Queen's chambers were gone, as was the Crystal Palace and Crystal Tokyo, the land scorched and barren. The Silver Millennium no longer existed.
Sailor Pluto seized that thread of time, tracing it back frantically for the source of the disruption. Her eyes widened at what she saw at a certain point in the twenty-first century, amazed at the power and shaken by it. To break those laws…!
Time drifted further back into the past as Sailor Pluto hefted her Garnet Rod into both hands and prepared to do her duty as Guardian, an image of Rei coalescing in the void….
To be continued….
Senshi = soldier
Ginzuishou = Silver Crystal
Miko = Shinto Priestess