A/N: Putting all of my notes here because doing so at the end would be anticlimactic!
Sorry it took a while to get this chapter up. No, it wasn't because I spent a lot of time perfecting it (it is the last installment after all). This chapter's been done since the last one came out. I prolonged it because I thought that it might be a little anticlimactic and not live to the build-up. But then I was like, "Screw it!" The Rei and Minako I characterized aren't really built for any heavy angst. They're truly mature young adults, just the way I like 'em! But then again, I love me some SilMil fics where Rei is ignorant and pure and Minako is flirty and vying for Purity Rei's attention. The angst is delicious. Too bad they're listed under Ami/Mako because I tend to mi—
Uh, review time (someone link me a fic fitting those requirements not already in my favorites).
Gemna: What reference? HAHA, just keeding. I kind of want to see a parody fic where Rei is Batman, Minako is Rachel, and Usagi is Harvey. Rei the Dark Knight, who uses brute force! Usagi the White Knight, who uses Love and Justice! I—
I should stop now (someone write that for me, please. It is quite up for grabs. Although it would be weird considering Mina and Usagi would have to have an affair).
Thank you to the various kind reviewers who compliment my grammar! I can only hope I didn't overlook any distracting typos! My AP English teacher would be proud, LOL.
On to the real story, now! Thank you guys for supporting my first fanfic (which means you guys have to do your fair share now, lurkers. C'mon, we could use some more fics. Pwease).
Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon.. or Sailor Venus.. or Sailor Mars—SOB.
Part Four: Of Love and War
Blue eyes met violet.
The raven-haired girl smiled.
The blond smiled wider.
The two companions shared a bench overlooking the sunset from Sendai Hill, a basket of food in front of them. They sat quite closely to each other, though not too close.
Everything was going well with Shouta.
Although Rei rather enjoyed his presence, she felt guilty when she reminded herself exactly why she was spending so much time with the boy.
Minako wasn't returning her calls.
She hadn't seen Minako since that day at her house a week ago. Rei was not one to push, so she figured the other girl would come to her when she was ready, and tell her what the hell was going on. Rei trusted Minako enough to know that her fearless leader wouldn't run forever.
Besides, they had a duty to uphold.
"It's pretty nice, isn't it?" Minako's replacement smiled, disrupting Rei from her thoughts.
"Mm. I've always loved the way the reds and oranges blend together at this time of day." Rei shrugged the thought off and answered him honestly. It was true; ever since she had started living at Hikawa, she had come to love the view from where she often did her sweeping. She continued to sip at her box of plum juice, glancing sideways.
Maybe it was just her imagination, but was Shouta suddenly closer?
"Rei-san, I want to tell you something," he said, a blush staining his cheeks. Although he swiftly turned his head away, Rei caught it. She knew that look.
She put her juice down.
She should have let him down when she had had the chance.
"Ever since I…"
Shouta's words were already mixing in her head in a dull blur. She had heard those words over and over.
"Ever since I saw you on that street…"
"On that bus..."
"At that convenience store..."
"In front of that vending machine…"
"I've been in love with you ever since."
No, Hino Rei was far from the ice queen she had been before meeting Usagi. She did not have trouble making male acquaintances.
Just trouble keeping them after having to deal out the blow of rejection.
Maybe she shouldn't have accepted the flowers.
Or agreed to watch a godforsaken sunset with him.
..How could she have been so dense?
Rei liked Shouta, she really did, and she didn't want to break his heart or turn down his confession.
But she had to.
For Hino Rei was not in love with Hirano Shouta.
In fact, she, she was-
Shouta's back suddenly straightened, and although the blush never left, his eyes took on a more determined fire. This caught Rei's attention and she tuned into his words again.
"Hino Rei! I can't stand the thought of being just friends with you!"
He grabbed Rei by the shoulders and leaned in.
Well, that was quite the deviation from the type of speech she was used to.
He had to have been the boldest.
(Or the dumbest.)
In the split second before deciding to physically react, Rei allowed herself one thought:
Was she in love with him yet?
But before she could push him away, a cold voice froze the boy in place.
"Then that's a damn shame."
Rei craned her neck to see Minako standing behind the bench, looking more pissed off than she had ever seen her before. That was saying a lot. As Rei's eyes flitted between Minako and Shouta, she suddenly made a connection.
Oh, so that's what this was about..
She now knew all the answers to her own previously unexplainable actions.
The blonde girl locked eyes with the boy.
"And you've known her for what, two weeks? Try two years, maybe. Get out."
Shouta quickly glanced at Rei. She wasn't angry, but her face kind of mirrored the time Shouta had tried to watch television with her last week.
Completely uninterested and bored out of her mind.
After that, Shouta figured she was more of the sunset-watching kind of girl.
And look where that had brought him.
The poor boy was not really one to force anything on anyone, and Rei's facial expression (or lack thereof) only encouraged him to keep up that line of thinking.
He stood up, hoping this humiliation wouldn't last more than a week.
"Rei-san, I-I'm terribly sorry."
The boy was already running down the hill. Rei sighed; another potential male companion gone.
She turned to Minako, who had one eyebrow raised. Her anger was now compounded with confusion and disbelief.
"..You're not going to chase after him?"
"Since when have I ever chased anyone?" Kaidou's face flitted through her mind. "People just come to me. He'll talk to me when he's over it. And hopefully, he'll have a girlfriend by then."
"God, isn't that the truth." Minako sighed and flopped down into the space previously occupied by Shouta. Her head suddenly jerked up. "Wait a minute, you, you--!" She exclaimed, pointing a finger at Rei.
"Oh yeah, what was that about two years? And yes, yes I did." She pretended to add the last sentence as an afterthought.
Rei gave a small smirk as Minako looked utterly horrified. She picked her juice box back up. "I can only assume that you've had enough space now that you're here. Now will you tell me why you've been avoiding me like the plague?"
"Because I'm in love with you."
There was a loud choking noise and Minako had to pat Rei's back while she coughed and spluttered what was left of her plum juice. As Rei dabbed at her mouth with Minako's handkerchief, she sent the other girl a look, daring her to say she was just kidding.
"I'm sorry Rei, but it's true. Could I have been any more obvious?"
Rei remained silent. That terrified the hell out of Minako, but she pressed on.
"Yes, two years. I know, I know. Our duty. Rei, I'm sorry, but I just can't help it. I can't just not feel what I already feel! I'm supposed to be the Goddess of Love, remember?
"I mean, I wasn't planning on trying anything! I was okay with settling for friendship. I was content just being with you like always. Just like that, for two years! But then youand that boy happened! I mean, I could care less about your stupid promise. Really, I came here to let you know I would be okay with that. But then I saw the way he was touching you, and I realized I wasn't okay with him.
"I know you didn't love him, Rei-because, God you really should have seen your face-but you sure liked him. Why were you hanging around him so much? Because that's so unlike you."
The clumsily put-together words seemed to spill right out of Minako's heart. There was a pause, followed by a deep breath.
"Rei, please tell me. What did you see in him?"
Minako's voice was barely above a whisper now. Upon uttering the last sentence, her eyes were dull and downcast, a frown etched deeply onto her face.
The other girl answered without missing a beat.
Before Rei could say anything more, both sides of her face were grabbed by small hands and her lips were forcefully crushed against Minako's. She immediately stiffened at the contact, but then her eyes slid closed and her features relaxed. She tossed what was in her hand.
The kiss was lovely, passionate, natural. What was 'forcefully' quickly changed into 'willingly' as the two held onto each other.
After what felt like hours, they broke apart.
They stayed like that for a while, cheeks flushed and foreheads touching.
Neither felt the need to say anything. Everything that had gone unspoken between the two of them for the entirety of their relationship seemed to have been conveyed in that moment of silence. Sitting there and enjoying each other's presence, it was almost as if nothing had changed.
Minako smiled contently and put her arms around Rei's neck.
"What's that?" She asked, pointing to the object that Rei had thrown. She studied it for a moment and burst out in laughter. "Oh, no way!"
Rei huffed and picked up her ofuda slip, waving it in Minako's face.
"Hey, how was I supposed to know you weren't possessed? After all, that wasn't the first time we've come that close." She pointed accusingly at Minako, who blushed.
"Alright. Haha, you're so cute."
"Ugh, shut up." A deep blush.
Minako released Rei's neck and took her hands.
"Yes, what about this?"
"Can I ask you something? Something crucial?"
"Of course, what is it?"
"What would you do if Usagi and I were placed in separate buildings rigged with bombs on opposite sides of the city? And if the timers on said bombs were only set to give you enough time to go to one of us?"
Rei knew that although the question was silly, she knew what it meant to the both of them. She smiled, knowing her honest answer would be enough. "I'd go to Usagi, you idiot. I trust that you can take care of yourself. Besides, there's no point in rescuing you if you're just going to hate me for not putting our beloved princess first."
"Good!" Minako smiled. "That was my answer too. Besides, I know you love Usagi more than you let on."
Rei didn't deny it. "I do." And just like that, even though Usagi was the current topic of conversation, they were already in each other's personal space.
"Nothing's really going to change, huh?" A lazy smile.
"Not really. Just that we get to kiss and tell the others about it." Her face was already moving closer.
The other girl leaned right in.