Disclaimer: I do not own Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon or any of the characters you might recognize from the anime and/or manga.
A/N: So here I am with a new S/U story. While I was writing To Love You More, I discovered that I quite enjoyed writing about Usagi and Seiya. I hadn't planned to come out with this story so soon, but this first chapter has been written for a while. I'm going to keep the chapters fairly short for a while just to make sure I can keep up with the demand but I still wanted to post it; I didn't want any of my SM readers to despair too much. Just to be clear from the get-go, this will be Seiya/Usagi. Enjoy!
Note: To everyone who got two notifications for this, I apologize. The site is being a pain.
The war was over.
Sweeter words had never been spoken. I pulled my wings in closer to my body and wrapped my arms loosely around my stomach, looking out over the city for the first time. The sight of the fallen buildings, the destroyed roads, the sheer destruction made me shudder. I felt sick. I hadn't had time to pay attention before, but now it was hitting me that Galaxia had done a lot of damage. I didn't even want to think about how many people had been hurt and killed during the fight. It would take time, possibly years, before things were back to normal. But as long as I had my friends with me... I knew that I could go through anything.
Galaxia had promised to deliver the stolen Starseeds back to where they belonged. I looked around anxiously, waiting for my friends to appear to me. My stomach was clenching with nerves, and when a few minutes went by and nothing happened, I swallowed a nervous laugh and heard myself speaking.
"Everyone... I did it. I hung in there. But I'm so lonely!"
I listened hard. That was their cue to jump in and tell me that I was being silly because I'd won the war and now we'd work through what was left together.
But there was nothing.
"Eh?" My eyes opened wide, and I gasped as Chibi-Chibi's frail body appeared in front of me. She was unconscious. I reached out and gathered her close to me, realizing that she was warmer than I would have guessed. I was certain that she'd died during the battle, but here she was in front of me, still alive. I cradled her little body and brushed a kiss across her forehead before I spoke in a trembling voice that I barely recognized as my own. "Chibi-Chibi, what – "
I stopped as a series of images raced through my mind accompanied by Galaxia's sweet voice, calling out to me across the vast distance that separated us, explaining her last gift: the only thing she could do for me. My body went cold as the realization set in and my hands began to tremble. Distantly, I realized that we were falling, and I threw my wings out, controlling the descent until we landed gently. My knees refused to support me and I collapsed onto the ground, clutching Chibi-Chibi to my chest, staring blankly at the broken chunks of concrete and glass that littered the grass.
The worried voices of the Starlights, accompanied by a warm, gloved hand on my cheek, pulled me out of my shocked stupor. I lifted my head and found myself staring into dark blue eyes that were filled with so much love and awe that my heart broke. I burst into tears and couldn't stop crying, not even when Fighter began frantically asking me what was wrong. I knew I was scaring them but I couldn't make myself stop. I let Healer take Chibi-Chibi and then threw myself into her arms, sobbing into her shoulder. I clutched at her desperately, afraid that she would disappear, too.
"They're gone," I choked out, feeling her arms come around my waist, mindful of the wings. "They're gone! And they're not coming back. Oh God."
I felt Fighter's body grow still, and then she shivered, though her grip on me never loosened. "Sailor Moon... what do you mean?" she asked, and her voice was so soft that if she hadn't been speaking into my ear I wouldn't have heard her.
"They're not coming back," I whispered back. I was shaking, but it wasn't from the cold. Don't get me wrong – it was freezing even though it was spring. The moon was beautiful but it offered none of the warmth that the sun did, and none of us were dressed for the weather. Well, I wasn't dressed at all except for my wings and the ginzuishou. "Galaxia said... she said..."
"She said what?" Maker pressed urgently when I trailed off, unable to go on. She and Healer knelt beside me and then both of them pressed close, creating a little cocoon with me in the middle. I was basically sitting on all three of their laps.
"She said they're being reborn."
My words caused an instant silence to fall. I knew that they understood even though I hadn't said much and I was glad, because I couldn't have gone on. I laid my head on Fighter's shoulder and clung to her, dreading the thought of being alone. My friends weren't coming back. Oh God. They were dead. Their starseeds had gone into the cauldron and would be reborn in new people. Galaxia's last gift to me would be that they would be born on Earth in a short amount of time. But I would never see any of them again. Even Princess Kakyuu. Even Mamo-chan. My shaking grew worse and I whimpered.
The sound must have snapped Maker out of it because she grabbed my hand and gasped. "You're freezing."
"We should really get out of here," Healer said. Even trapped in my misery, I could tell that none of them had really absorbed what I was saying. We were all too shook up from the battle and the losses we'd suffered. I couldn't do anything but cling to Fighter. "The police will be coming and if we're found, it's going to cause a lot of trouble."
She and Maker stood up. Fighter tried to lift me off of her so that she could stand up too, but I think I lost it a little. I remember crying her name and grabbing onto her even more tightly, refusing to let go for even an instant, utterly terrified that if I let go she would vanish. It took both her and Maker to get me on my feet and even then, my legs didn't want to work right. They kept folding under me and I would have fallen had it not been for the two of them.
"Come on," Healer said, holding tightly to Chibi-Chibi.
I'd like to tell you that I know how we got home. I don't. The Starlights were exhausted and now they had me to take care of. I was borderline hysterical, though the further we got from the battlefield, the more lucid I became. On the outskirts of the part of the city that was still standing, Fighter sat me down on a chunk of plastic and coaxed me into letting my transformation go. Even though I was still naked with only the wings on my back, it probably wasn't the best idea. The second my magic released and I was back to being plain old Tsukino Usagi, I dropped like a stone. She caught me and picked me up with surprising ease and we started moving again.
Later, Yaten told me that it wasn't that hard to make it back. The whole city was in a complete panic, so the sight of three sailor senshi running down the sidewalk wasn't all that out of the ordinary. No one had the time to pay any attention; it would be hours yet before anyone realized that Galaxia's reign of terror had officially ended. Furthermore, nearly everyone had had their starseeds stolen, and a lot of the elderly people and children were suffering the after-effects. Then there were those who had been killed or wounded by falling buildings or crumbling roads... Things were in chaos.
Fortunately, their apartment was still in one piece. Maker locked the door the second we were inside. Fighter sat down on the couch with me in her lap and adjusted us both until we were in a comfortable position. I was still holding onto her, my arms around her neck, but I was following the progress of Maker and Healer around the apartment. The instant they were out of sight, I tensed and started to panic until they came back into the room. Within about five minutes, the two of them had sat down next to us without even bothering to get their injuries looked at. Healer was still holding onto Chibi-Chibi, who hadn't woken up yet.
"Now, Odango, what were you saying about the sailor senshi being reborn?" Fighter asked. She sounded like she was trying to keep calm.
The nickname soothed me to the point where I could let go. I grabbed for Healer and Maker instead, pulling on their hands until they were half-sprawled on top of us. "They're being reborn. Galaxia... she couldn't make them reappear. Their starseeds went into the cauldron and they'll be reborn as new people in anywhere from a day to years. Once she stole their starseeds, that's it. They're never coming back. I'm alone again."
They could have protested. I wasn't really alone, not when the three of them were squeezed around me so tightly that I could hardly breathe. But I felt like I was and I think they felt the same way. I wanted to comfort them. I really did. I knew they'd spent so long searching for Princess Kakyuu. To lose her now, to hear that she wasn't coming back after they were so close to retrieving her, must have been devastating. But I couldn't get the words to come. All I could think about was Mamo-chan, and my friends, and Chibi-Usa, and everything that I had lost.
At some point, I started crying again. Someone – Fighter, maybe – un-did my hair, which was already falling out of the odango, and I felt Fighter tangle her hands into it. She held me to her so tightly that it hurt, but I liked the pain. I could feel her tears on my shoulder, dampening the skin. Or maybe that was Healer or Maker. It didn't matter.
We'd fought together.
We'd won together.
And now we cried together.