Disclaimer: I do not own Sailormoon, as it is the property of it's
respective owners. I claim absolutely no credit for any of the
characters in this fic.

I'll Always Remember
By Skylark (skylarkkdl@hotmail.com)
Rated PG

----------------------------

I do not know when exactly it began, but I do remember the day I first
saw the girl. I was in the library, browsing the shelves for an
appropriate book - hopefully something on medical studies. It was my
free time, and I could see no reason not to indulge myself in a good
read about something I truly enjoyed. My hand finally came to rest on
the spine of a helpful-appearing volume, so I pulled it from the
shelf, intending to flip quickly through the pages to ensure the
quality of its content.

Instead, I found myself looking into the eyes of another girl. She
looked to be in her early twenties, perhaps a little younger. Through
the gap in the shelf I could see a few wisps of brown hair framing
bright jade-green eyes. Startled, I clumsily dropped the book. It fell
to the ground with a muffled `thump', its pages spilling open randomly
on the carpeted floor. Horrified, I forgot all about the woman and bent
to retrieve the publication, hurriedly straightening the bent sheets
of paper out to their original shape. When I looked up again, she was
gone.

***

That was only the first of many times I saw her. At first I barely
noticed - she was just another unrecognisable face in the crowd,
someone who blended in almost frighteningly well. But as the days went
by, I gradually began to notice her presence more and more. At the
library, in the streets, even occasionally flitting around outside the
grounds of my school. I only caught brief, unconsolidated glimpses of
her at any one time, but she was there nonetheless.

I began to feel scared. Why would this unknown girl care to stalk me -
*was* she even stalking me? I scolded myself for jumping to
conclusions, but the idea still haunted me. I became paranoid,
remaining at home as much as possible, with only my books for
comfort. I had always loved to read, but I did so now more than ever,
hoping to lose myself and my fears within the perfect worlds of
printed text - studying and memorising to my heart's content, yet also
driven by my own suspicions.

It was most unlike me, actually. Whereas I would normally never act
unless certain of the facts, I was then letting my fears push me to
run from an unconfirmed enemy. It might have even been simple
coincidence for all I knew, and still I allowed myself to flee, hiding
myself from any chance of discovery.

I lay awake most nights, pondering this very same thing. What was I
scared of? Surely not the woman, who I had barely seen and whom had
never approached me directly. Could it be that I was scared of what
she might bring: fantastic as it seemed, I harboured an uneasy sense
of recognition towards her, though for all my deliberation I could not
for the life of me remember why.

Anyway, even if she had been following me, there was no reason for it.
I was a solitary girl at the best of times, preferring to devote
myself to studies and lessons. Many assumed I was a loner, but all I
wanted was an ensured position in university. My classmates left me to
myself, and I them. Yes, I was lonely, but I consoled myself by
dreaming of my future career as a doctor. How wonderful - being able
to be in a position in which you could save the lives of others, doing
work that was actually *worth* something - worth far more than any
grade or mark on a test paper. I dreamed often of the day when my
vision would become a reality, but at this point in my life I had to
put the work and effort into my school studies, hoping for the best.

And so I could not understand why anybody would wish to stalk me. It
infuriated me, not having even the faintest idea why. If only my life
could have been written down in an encyclopaedia - I would need only
to turn to the correct entry to find all the answers I wished. But it
was not so, and I remained left floundering along in the dark, blindly
groping my way through life.

As my confusion and desire for information grew, I realised that
eventually I would have to cease eluding my fears. I could only go on
the way I was for so much longer - my own curiosity would undoubtably
get the better of me sooner or later.

***

And so it was. It happened one afternoon as I was making my way home
from school. Everything began as normal... then I perceived a glimpse
of brown hair from the corner of my eye. I stopped dead in my tracks,
knowing that I had to do something, had to know *why*. Plucking up the
nerve, I slowly turned around to confirm my suspicions. The girl was
peering at me from about twenty metres away - half-behind somebody's
car, a scarlet Ferrari which to me was a rich person's sign of
willingness to gloat over others' misfortunes. I hoped it didn't
belong to her.

As I stared, her eyes widened in alarm as she noticed I had seen her.
Abruptly she turned away, glancing behind her a little. But I wasn't
about to let her escape that easily. My school backpack was weighed
down with books, but I shifted it onto my other shoulder and began to
run after her. As I did, I wondered not for the first time why I was
doing this. Surely passive little me would never follow in pursuit of
another? However, I had not been acting myself lately, so it shouldn't
have seemed so strange. It did, though, and it scared me. Had I really
been so timid my whole life - was *that* how others saw me? If I had
been at home or someplace private, I would have cried at the thought,
for I had always pictured myself as a determined girl, focusing only
on an ultimate goal, destined to reach it through whatever means
possible. In my case, that was studying.

Yet unwittingly, my mysterious stalker had shown me exactly how wrong
I had been. She had shown me that I was much more uncertain than I had
thought I was. It made me angry at myself, angry for being so dense
and stupid, blind to what was obvious to everyone else. All along I
had thought of myself as the smart one. What a lot it took for me to
figure out that intelligence is not always measured by exam results. I
found myself blushing at my ignorance, even as I began to tire and run
out of breath.

But my resentment had driven me forwards quickly, and to my amazement
I managed to catch up to the woman. Grabbing her wrist from behind, I
forced us both to a standstill.

She whirled round, a blank expression on her face. She did not appear
to recognise me, and for a moment I half-believed that I had just
insulted a complete stranger. I quickly dismissed the notion, but let
go of her arm all the same. Close up, there was something about her
face that I found odd and unusual, but I couldn't quite place it.

"Who are you?" I asked once I had regained my breath. "Why have you
been follwing me?" Odd, that I should go to such extremes for the
answers to such simple questions.

The girl's face remained blank, but her eyes bore into mine with such
an intensity that I immediately turned my face away out of
embarrassment. "Who are *you*?" she echoed my words. Her voice was
quite deep for a woman of her young age, and it sent little shivers
down my spine at the sound of it. It was then that something began to
nag me at the back of my brain, some kind of inadequate intuition that
seemed to faintly suggest there was something dreadfully important I
should know.

"Why did you follow *me*?" she continued, eerily repeating my
questions.

I found myself at a loss for words all of a sudden, but felt I had to
explain myself. "I... I'm sorry." I eventually stammered. "I... but...
you *have* been following me these past few weeks. I'm sure of it."
Or I was now at any rate, even if I had not been before. "I'd just
like to know why. Then, I will leave you alone, I promise."

"I'm sure of it." She still repeated my words, telling me nothing. If
I was meant to understand that cryptic message, it flew right over my
head. I liked to deal with solid facts, getting straight answers that
were logical and undisputed. Never in my life had I ever met someone
so strange and frustrating than this girl.

"Please." I tried again, desperately. "You have no idea how much I
need to know this. It's going to drive me insane if you don't tell me.
Or is that what you want?"

Her mouth twisted into a knowing smile, and I felt her eyes
momentarily cease drilling into my face. "I don't think you could ever
know what I want." she replied, and I wasn't quite certain whether it
was just my imagination that heard a note of sadness in her voice.

I opened my mouth to protest, but she held up a finger as if to
silence me and continued. "If it troubles you that much, I will stop.
Then you can forget me, ne?" She laughed, confusing me even more, for
I detected the pain and sorrow in the sound. It was the laugh of a
person who had given up hope. I shivered.

She noticed my small quake, nodding slightly to herself as if making a
desicion. "Hai, I won't bother you again. Please accept my apologies."

And before I could do anything at all, whether to speak or move, she
darted up the street and became quickly lost in the early peak-hour
crowds. Though I looked and looked, I could not see her again.

***

After that incident, my life returned to normal. It took a few weeks
for my paranoia to fade, even when I found no traces of anything to do
with my stalker. I kept up my studying, still. Even the stalking had
not dampened my ambition to become a doctor. I remained studious and
quiet, despite the fact that I knew I was not as outgoing as I would
have otherwise liked to be. My life was once again within my control,
and I could certainly say that I felt secure once again.

And still, I could not forget the cast of hopelessness on the woman's
face as she had turned and sprinted down the street. Even when my
exams were rapidly approaching, when my days were filled with even
greater loads of schoolwork and studying, at night my dreams
flawlessly replayed that moment over and over again. I often woke from
those dreams with an empty, vacant sensation in the depths of my
stomach, like the beginnings of depression or anxiety.

My exams came, and passed. I scored the highest in my year, ninety-
seven percent. I hoped that I would do equally well - if not better -
the following year, and at university. For now, however, I allowed
myself to relax my studying habits somewhat. It was a well-needed
break, and even I was rather startled to discover just how hard I had
been working myself.

With education occupying a little less of my time, I found myself
remembering the woman who had followed me so persistently those few
months ago. I couldn't lose the feeling that there was something I was
missing, some vital piece to the puzzle. For a while I was convinced
that it was the information she'd refused to disclose to me, but as
the days went past I became not so sure. That was part of it,
certainly - but not the whole picture. It nagged at me relentlessly
as I tried to work the mystery out. I felt incompetant, for though I
could solve complex mathematical equations with little effort, I could
not figure out something as simple as a strange girl, not much older
than myself. Even when she wasn't present, she managed to frustrate
me.

How ironic.

***

One night, I remember I looked out my window at the silver moon
hanging high in the sky. The beams of light had filtered in through my
window onto my bed, waking me. I lay doing nothing for a while, only
breathing heavily, but it soon became clear that I was not going to go
back to sleep that easily. Sighing, I slipped out of bed, shivering
through my thin nightgown in the cold night air. I cautiously made my
way over to the window to close it and pull the curtains across -
instead, I found myself gazing out, up at the dark sky. It was an
unusually clear night, the stars glittering and beautiful against an
ebony backdrop. The moon was in its three-quarter phase, though
whether it was waxing or waning I could not be certain, as I was
rarely awake at this time of night to compare it.

Staring at it now made me remember other times I had stood and gazed
at the night sky, but never had it struck such a chord with me before.
I could even recall watching skies of a slightly different colour and
hue that for some reason contained no moon at all, though it was most
likely my imagination running overtime again. Still, it brought a tear
to my eye. More than ever, I felt there was something I ought to
remember.

"I swear it by the oceans of day and night..." I whispered the phrase
that had suddenly entered my head. It sounded familiar somehow,
probably because to me the glittering stars seemed to resemble the
crests of waves in a gigantic sea. But what did I swear? What had made
me speak that expression so suddenly? It was... It was...

It was no use, that's what it was. Try as I might, my memory refused
to yield me the information I wished for. "What is the point?" I
muttered to myself. "It's only a pathetic saying I made up." But in my
heart I knew it meant something. It meant something vitally important,
so why didn't I know what it was?

Just before I closed the window, I pulled off one of my pearl earrings
on a sudden impulse. I must have been in a truly crazy mood, because
the pearls were antique, from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. They
had cost me a lot of money to buy - I had saved up for years, and here
I was, about to discard one. Still, I held it in my hand for a second,
contemplating. A moment later I threw it carefully, precisely out the
window, watching as it arced through the air, glinting silver in the
moonlight.

"I swear it by the oceans of day and night." I repeated softly, not
knowing why it seemed proper to do so, especially after just throwing
away one of my most valuable possessions.

***

The following morning I realised just what a stupid thing I'd done. I
had no other earrings, and my ears insisted on healing quickly no
matter how many years I'd had them pierced for. I left the house
earlier than usual, to search the yard outside my bedroom window
before making my way to school.

The earring wasn't to be found, though I spent at least half an hour
looking. I arrived at school late and rather dejected at my idiocy. As
a result I was put in detention for the first time in my life.
Fortunately the rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully, though
there was a blonde girl in detention who insisted talking to me non-
stop for the entire hour. I did my best to smile and look interested
for she was friendly enough, but my mind was occupied with how I would
tell my mother I threw away the earring. It was surely the most stupid
action I had ever made, and all because of a vague whim of mine. I
was, of course, heartily regretting it.

When detention was over, I walked home with my books, my head downcast
at the street as I attempted to work out what to say to my mother. I
wouldn't *lie*, of course, but I was too embarrassed to tell her what
I had felt the previous night. I was at odds as to what course of
action I should take.

I should have been watching where I stepped, for I walked right into
somebody else. I blushed, apologising quickly, but not really paying
attention. I started to walk away in an even worse mood, but my
unfortunate victim placed a hand on my wrist, stopping me.

"What is it?" I asked in surprise, turning round. I gasped, for I was
looking up into the face of the woman who had been stalking me those
months ago. "W... what?" I repeated, uncertainly.

She regarded me for a moment, then pushed something into my hand.
"This is yours." she stated gruffly, then turned and walked away. This
time, I knew it was forever.

Somehow I had no need to look at the object to know what it was. It
was my pearl earring, the one I had tossed away the previous night.
But how had she gotten hold of it? How was it possible? I had been
certain that she had never been in the vicinity of my house - even
when she was stalking me, for she had given me at least that comfort.
It was the tiniest of objects, at any rate - how would she have even
noticed it?

That was when I realised the vital bit of information I had been
trying to work out. I laughed at my foolishness, for it was an
incredibly stupid mistake to make. My stalker had never been a woman,
but a man. True, he was a very delicate man in appearance, and I
guessed that I was not the first unable to tell the difference. It
made sense, now. I had never seen him wearing a skirt, only trousers.
His voice that had seemed unusually deep for a woman was really
pleasantly gentle for a man. The angles of his face that I had noticed
before only seemed to make sense now that I knew the difference.

And now that I knew this, it was only a matter of seconds before I was
able to figure out the rest. I put his face together with the earring,
his interest in me and last night's fascination with the night sky -
and forced myself to concentrate on the possiblities.

I came up with a hazy memory of a dark navy sky without a moon, and a
vast network of cleverly designed underground canals that formed
oceans underneath a barren exterior. I came up with memories of grand
architecture and magnificent fortresses that were both familiar and
alien to me at the same time. I came up with a memory of a time when I
actually had friends who understood me and my thirst for knowledge,
and who didn't care if I acted so differently from other people. And I
came up with a memory of a man, and a name, and a promise to always
remember them. A vow I had unintentionally broken, through no fault of
my own.

"Zoi... Zoisite?"

I must have looked strange, standing teary-eyed in the centre of a
busy footpath, but I found that I didn't really care any longer. I
looked at the man walking away from me, and made up my mind a split
second before I lost sight of him. For once in my life, I dropped my
pack and my heavy books, and set off at a true sprint.

I called to him determinedly, my footsteps
becoming faster with every passing second. I didn't want to lose him,
not again. Not while I, Mizuno Ami, still walked the face of any
planet in the galaxy. The small figure in the distance turned, as I
had hoped he would. For an instant, he stood there, unmoving. Then he
was running as well, running towards me as fast as I was to him.

We met at some point in the middle, hugging each other, running our
hands through each others' hair. I was crying again, my face fresh
with tears that had waited over a millenium to be shed. Words were
pouring from my mouth, not only apologies but thousands of stories I
had to tell him.

When the worst of it was over, he looked down into my eyes seriously.
"I had thought you had forgotten me, Ami-chan." He smiled, but I was
reminded of the pain I had seen in his eyes before. "I don't think I
could have waited for much longer."

"I couldn't be more sorry!" I admitted. "My memories had vanished - I
*still* can't remember much - but they'll return eventually. I'm sure
of it."

Then we were simply content to hold each other for a long time,
oblivious to the stares from many passers-by. The only time I was
aware of anybody other than Zoi-chan was when the blonde girl I had
met in detention walked past and placed my schoolbag by my feet.

"Thought you might want this, Ami." She winked at me, then waved me
cheerfully goodbye.

I couldn't help but return a smile over Zoisite's shoulder. How about
that - Usagi had known the entire time. I should have guessed.

After all, I am the smart one.

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Well, what do you think? I'd love to get some feedback, if possible.
Email any comments to skylarkkdl@hotmail.com !!