okay two things: first is, this is all jet wolf's fault. so blame her.

second of all: sorta AU where Ail&En never happen, the girls don't regain their memories through Luna's special forehead powers after they lose them in Classic. This happens a month or two after the events of episodes 45 and 46.

oh wait three things: this is already half-way completed and planned to the end. so new parts will be coming fast.

It's my first ever Rei-centered fic. I tried.


Prologue:

Five soldiers who were also young girls fell, one by one, in the fight against a great evil. They won at forfeit of their lives. The last one to close her eyes, ancient princess and accidental warrior, sent a wish out into the universe. To be released from this burden. To be carefree again. For her and her friends to return to their lives as ordinary schoolgirls.

The wish was granted in a flash of immense power from the crystal that was her only heritage from her destroyed kingdom. The girls were brought back to their previous lives, ordinary and normal and scattered and separated and with no memories of the battle, their deaths, or each other.

In hindsight, the princess should have been more specific.


Chapter 1: Rei

The sun was too bright. And the sky too blue. And her sleep last night too short.

Still, Rei Hino sat gracefully, with a tight, professional smile on her face while the schoolgirls in front of her squealed over the colorful charms, amulets and plaques the Hikawa Shrine offered for sale.

"Oh my gosh, Naru look!"

Rei repressed a cringe as the high-pitched, girly voice ignited a small but significant pounding under her right temple.

"They have SO MANY!" the girl continued to squeal, clapping her hands and bouncing a little on her feet. Her red-headed companion giggled in response, but remained calmer in the face of her exuberant friend.

"C'mon Usagi, do you even have any allowance money left?"

The loud girl, Usagi, seemed to deflate at the question. "Well-" she dug through her schoolbag, "I think I have just enough for one?"

It took Rei a second to realize that the girl was looking at directly at her, hand held out with a jumble of coinage.

She wants me to count her change for her? Rei thought incredulously, but found herself counting and answering that the girl could afford one small charm.

For a second their eyes met, sharp hazel eyes into unassuming blue ones. Usagi blinked. Rei looked down.

"Get one for grades," Naru suggested and Usagi reacted swiftly with scorn that made Rei bristle in spite of herself.

"Are you serious!? No way! Grades are not the most important thing in life you know!"

Considering the math skills she had shown earlier, Rei privately thought that a charm for good grades was probably a better bet. But, it was her job, so she packaged the pink charm for Finding Love and handed it to the schoolgirl with a polite, but dismissive, farewell.

It was only as the girls left, Usagi's twin pigtails bouncing down the shrine steps, that Rei felt a shiver down her spine. A few strands of glossy black hair rose in the evening breeze, and she heard her two crows cawing as they circled the sky.

"Good for nothing Yuuichiro!" Rei snapped, looking over to the open lattice on the far side of the room. "I told him to close this!" She ran her hands down her arms, dismissing the shiver as a chill caused by the open sliding door, and stomped out to find her assistant and yell at him.

After a cathartic lecture to Yuuichiro, and a peaceful dinner, Rei settled down with the newest volume of her favorite manga and ended up falling asleep in a relatively good mood.

It wouldn't last.

She woke up the next day feeling annoyed. This was unusual. Usually Rei woke up in a fine mood, and it took at least part of the day for any grouchiness to build.

But there was something ringing in her ears. The echo of a dream she quickly forgot. Sighing, she bent to pick up the manga she had fallen asleep reading and froze.

On the last page, there was a small smudge in the top corner. Appalled, Rei put the book close to her face and examined the offending mark. She scratched at it, wrinkling her nose. "Chocolate? But I would never..."

Rei pulled volume after volume down her shelf, examining each closely and with mounting confusion. She'd never bend the spines this much. She'd never use the flaps as bookmarks. She'd never... even read this one yet!

"YUUICHIRO!" Rei burst into his room, ignoring his cries of protest and embarrassment as he tried to cover up his purple pajama pants. "Have you been READING MY MANGA?!"

The day only got worse from there. Yuuichiro swore up and down he never touched Rei's manga, or even set foot in Rei's room, and Rei grudgingly had to admit she believed him. Her grandpa had a similar mystified reaction.

She was late to school, did poorly on a test, and halfway into the day, the buckle on her shoe broke.

Even worse on home from school, she saw the pig-tailed girl from yesterday walking along the opposite side of the street, a small black cat pattering along behind her.

"I'll see her again," Rei whispered out loud, not sure where the prediction came from, but knowing it was true. Whether she wanted to or not.

"Curse my luck," the priestess muttered, at the stomach-dropping feeling that she -for some reason- wanted to.


tbc in Chapter 2: Ami