Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon or any associated characters. I
don't own the song "Dead Boy's Poem," either. That belongs to the
group Nightwish.

Author's notes are at the end.



Dead Boy's Poem

by Sophia Prester



The injury wasn't fatal. He supposed he should be thankful for
small mercies, but the wound hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Normally, he
healed quickly, but for some reason, his body wasn't cooperating this
time.

(He pictured the ice-dagger punching through the trapezius,
then being deflected by the scapula. There were times when he didn't
know quite so much about the human anatomy.)

Mamoru got up from his chair, breath hissing sharply through
his teeth as the wound pulled open again. He felt the blood soaking
through his shirt, but there wasn't a damned thing he could do about
it--there was no way he could twist his good arm behind him to
bandage the seeping cut.

He wouldn't be heading to the emergency room, though. No time.
No point. No hope.

Pulling on his old green jacket took longer than he thought.
Funny how many simple actions required the use of both arms. How many
other simple but important things had he never noticed before?

Once the jacket was on, he realized it would be uncomfortably
warm, but at least it would mask his wound long enough for him to get
to the Starlight Tower without raising any awkward questions.
Besides, this wasn't exactly the kind of date where you spent hours
agonizing over what to wear.

This was the end for him, he knew deep down. The eleven years
of his life that he could remember had been nothing but preparation
for this day.

****

Born from silence, silence full of it

****

*His* life? He laughed--a short bark of laughter that sent pain
rocketing through his shoulder. No, this life had never been *his*.
Chiba Mamoru was nothing more than a place-holder, coming to life in
a hospital ward with no memory, not even the knowledge of his own
name. All he had was the roaring silence in his brain.

He made friends, he went to class, he made vague noises about
going to medical school, but it was no more than a clanging of
cymbals and ringing of bells to distract himself from the yawning
void that was his inmost self.

****

A perfect concert my best friend
So much to live for, so much to die for

****

In the past few months, however, something essential had
changed. The silence in his soul was no longer silent.

A strange and familiar melody swelled up from out of his silent
past, tantalizing him with the promise of a life that *meant*
something, the promise of a life where he would love and be loved in
return. Along with that melody came the first glimpse of *her*.

At first, the memories were little more than dreams that faded
with the morning light, leaving only the haunting melody that
lingered on the edge of hearing and a sense of unbearable loss.

Then, the memories would flick at his vision during those
frightening (and increasingly frequent) times when he would wake up
in a different part of the city from where he had been just seconds
before. When he looked at his watch he would find that those seconds
had in fact been hours.

The melody carried over from the blackouts, and somehow this
helped to allay the fear. It did not stop him from asking himself
where he had been, or why his body sometimes ached as if he had just
gone ten rounds in the ring with a champion boxer.

Now he finally knew what was happening. He could remember what
happened during those strange times. The fights. The monsters. Sailor
Moon.

Tuxedo Kamen was coming to life. Chiba Mamoru was fading away.
Or were they simply becoming one and the same? He didn't know.

All he knew was that he was at once dying and being born, and
that he had to find the rainbow crystals. Once he did, he knew that
everything would make sense.

Now, as he left his apartment to go answer Zoisite's challenge,
he hung onto the ancient melody as if it were a life-line. He cast
one last glance at the place where he'd lived for the past three
years. There was a good chance he'd never see it again.

He wondered why this thought didn't make him more sad than it
did.

****

If only my heart had a home

****

It was probably because the apartment wasn't really a 'home'--
whatever that was.

He knew that he'd had a mother and father at one point. He
existed, and therefore there had to be both a male and a female
parent, right?

He also had proof of their existence in the form of a wallet-
sized photo that the paramedics had pulled from the wreckage.
Sometimes he looked at the picture and wondered who those people
were. When he was younger, he would make up stories about them and
try to imagine who he was and what his life was like before he had
woken up in the hospital.

When he thought about them, he felt sorrow and regret, but only
at the absence of memory. He mourned--not for them--but for what his
life could have been had he grown up with a normal family, in a
normal home.

If he ever did find 'the right girl', get married, settle down,
and have a family, how would he know what to do? No one had ever told
him the rules.

Maybe it was best that things had worked out as they had.

****

Sing what you can't say
Forget what you can't play
Hasten to drown into beautiful eyes
Walk within my poetry, this dying music
My love letter to nobody

****

He locked his apartment door, reminding himself that he *might*
be coming back, and if he did, he'd like his laptop, stereo, and
television to be there when he returned.

As he waited for the elevator, he listened to the tune playing
over and over in his head. It was a nice distraction from the pain in
his shoulder. The tune had a lilting quality to it that would have
tempted him to sing along if he knew the words. Did the tune even
*have* words? He didn't know. Maybe he had known them, once upon a
time.

Again and again, he saw the dream woman looking over her
shoulder at him. The light that surrounded her made her face seem
dark by comparison, but nothing could dim the love and longing in her
eyes. He wanted to run to her, to hold her and tell her that
everything would be all right, but in his dreams he could not move.

When he woke, there was nothing left of her but the fading
strains of an ancient melody.

He refused to believe that he had fallen in love with someone
who did not even exist. Was his other self running around playing
hero for the sake of a delusion? Was he so desperate for someone to
love that he had created this woman in his own brain?

It didn't bear thinking about.

****

Never sigh for better world
It's already composed, played and told
Every thought the music I write
Everything a wish for the night

****

The crystals sat heavy in his pocket.

It was a comfort. They were real, and so the woman who wanted
him to gather them must also be real, right?

If he thought about the dream woman too much, he started to
remember things that he would rather not. He thought about the couple
in Yumemi's paintings, of the handsome man handing the beautiful
woman a locket, a locket that he knew played the song that carried
him through his days. The couple in that painting were from another
time, and if they'd had a 'happily ever after', the ever after had
ended a long time ago.

He cradled his injured arm to his chest. It didn't hurt quite
so much if he could keep the weight of his arm from pulling on the
injured muscles. As he walked along, he suddenly realized that the
couple had *not* had a happy ending.

So why had he been living each day from dream to dream, willing
to throw away the life he had built for a glimpse of something that
never was and may never be?

****

Wrote for the eclipse, wrote for the virgin
Died for the beauty the one in the garden
Created a kingdom, reached for the wisdom
Failed in becoming a god

****

As if to chide himself for his doubts, the memory of those
haunting eyes nearly overcame him and blacked out the world around
him. Even though he didn't know why, he knew that *she* was his
reason for being more than any other half-baked dream he might have
put together over the past decade.

It all led back to *her*, in the end. Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor
Senshi and dreams of moonlight and dancing. Crystals and roses and
lockets and a haunting, never-ending melody. Dresses of gold and
white, and armor of black and silver. Grief and joy and mourning and
rejoicing. Eyes full of love and a promise of happily ever after that
was dashed to pieces on a moonlit evening.

Something had happened, in that world of dreams, and he had
failed. He knew somehow that the price of that failure was beyond
imagining.

If he won now, he knew he would have everything he ever wanted
and more besides. If he lost...

He walked down the street, his eyes fixed on the Tower as the
pain in his shoulder flared up once again. Maybe he should just
forget about this. There was no way he could fight Zoisite in this
condition and hope to win. What would happen if he gave up? What
would he lose if he turned his back on these strange dreams and this
phantom princess? Why couldn't he just go back to being Chiba Mamoru,
get his medical degree, and live an ordinary life?

He had lost one life for this woman already, and look what had
come of that. Why should he be so quick to give up another?

What did he have to lose?

Everything, he told himself. Absolutely everything.

****

Never sigh for better world
It's already composed, played and told
Every thought the music I write
Everything a wish for the night

****

Who are you? he thought towards the mysterious woman...

angel...

fairy...

princess...

goddess...

sorceress...

...he had never met, but whose image led him on.

Love of his life, light of his heart, reason for his very
being.

He could never abandon her but still, he wished...

If only things could be different. If only he could walk down
the street and see her walking down the sidewalk, resplendent in tee
shirt and jeans, crowned with pink plastic barrettes.

What would it be like if they could meet and date like two
ordinary people? He imagined the two of them lounging in his
apartment. He'd be studying for entrance exams and she would be doing
something deliciously ordinary--writing in a diary, reading a
magazine, struggling over math homework--something like that.

Too bad for him that fate seemed to have something much
different in mind for him.

At the next intersection, he was caught by the Don't Walk sign.
He resented the delay, but at the same time was grateful for the
chance to rest for a minute or two.

How foolish of him to be dreaming of an ordinary life. Ordinary
lives were something that belonged to real people, not to a man with
an empty soul and a woman who lived only in dreams.

****

"If you read this line, remember not the hand that wrote it
Remember only the verse, songmaker's cry, the one without tears
For I've given this its strength
and it has become my only strength.
Comforting home, mother's lap, chance for immortality
Where being wanted became a thrill I never knew
The sweet piano writing down my life"

****

Once upon a time he used to write stories about having a mother
and a father. Nothing much happened in these stories. Days started
and days ended in perfect bliss. Sometimes there was even a puppy.
His classmates' stories were about dragons and heroes and shiny
robots and so on.

According to his psychology texts, it was healthy for a child
to have a rich fantasy life. At least he had been normal in that
respect.

The melody played ever on in his mind, letting him know that
yes, there was something wonderful waiting for him. At the moment, it
was the only thing that was keeping him walking towards the Tower.

****

"Teach me passion for I fear it's gone
Show me love, hold the lorn
So much more I wanted to give to the ones who love me

****

What *had* he done with his life? What had he done that anyone
would remember? He knew that Motoki and Rei at least would miss him--
he wasn't *that* far gone into self-pity, he thought, chuckling
grimly. If anything, he should probably feel more guilty than he did
for leaving them without explanation like this.

Mamoru never worried about whether or not his friends truly
loved him. It was more often the case that he felt guilty for not
feeling more strongly for them than he did, for not being a better
friend.

Poor Rei. He wondered if she really liked him, or if she simply
liked the idea of having a boyfriend. He wouldn't be too surprised if
it was the latter. For some reason, he felt a sudden burst of
affection at the idea. Rei was certainly something else. Chances were
that one of the things she liked best about him was how much Usagi
seemed to hate him.

Usagi. The memory of her crazy laugh and her non-stop chatter
stopped him for a moment. She could be so unbelievably aggravating,
and yet...

He wished he could have had time to get to know more of that
little odango-atama than just the teasing and bickering. Even though
she annoyed him beyond all reason, there was something else there,
something he wanted to look at more closely.

****

I'm sorry
Time will tell (this bitter farewell)
I live no more to shame nor me nor you

****

What would have happened if he had spoken to her civilly for a
change? Probably nothing, but he wished he had done something so she
wouldn't remember him as the jerk who made fun of her hair or mocked
her dreams.

It was hard not to mock. Her dreams were of a vibrant, ever
changing future. His were only of a dead, distant past. No wonder
they struck each other like flint and steel whenever they met.

She would grow into a beautiful woman. Nothing like his
princess, he hastily corrected himself, but she'd be something
special someday.

He wondered if he'd ever have a chance to see her again.

The light finally changed. He took a deep breath and walked on
towards the tower. It was only a block or two away, and it now loomed
up ridiculously large over the three and four story buildings
surrounding him. He could almost imagine it toppling forwards to
crush him. Up in that tower were the answers to all the questions he
had ever asked about himself.

He might even learn more about his princess.

Still, he wished...

He wished...

****

And you... I wish I didn't feel for you anymore..."

****

Sometimes, he wished that he had never had these dreams.

What hope was there for him, who was so foolishly in love with
a ghost?

He had forgotten so many things. It would have been a mercy if
he had been allowed to forget *her*.

****

A lonely soul... An ocean soul...

****

A slap on the back and a stab of pain knocked him right out of
his reverie.

He turned around and there she was. Odango-atama. She'd slapped
him on the back right were the fake Sailor Moon had stabbed him.

She told him that he didn't look so well. Normally, he would
have made some kind of retort about *her* looks, but now, all he
could do was stare.

Why had he never allowed himself just to look at her before?

His princess may have been real, but this girl was *alive*.

She looked so puzzled, but there was no way he could explain
and no way should could understand. She was brimful of love, and
life, and youth, and promise, and he knew that if he let himself, he
could drown in her.

If only he could.

He smiled at her and told her what he felt, in the only way he
could.

"You're always so energetic."

I'm sorry.

"Stay that way forever."

Goodbye.


# # #


Author's notes: Yes, I am still working on "Empire of the Sun." This
was written for the Lyric Wheel challenge on the SMRFF mailing list.
This means that this song was not one that I chose, but one that was
assigned to me. The challenge was to think of a fic that went with
the lyrics.

This also happens to be my first attempt at a songfic, and I'm not
sure if the approach I took to fitting lyric to story works or not. I
thought it would be fun to tweak the idea of the typical Usa/Mamo or
Serenity/Endymion relationship but looking at it as a Serenity/Mamoru
dynamic. Anyhow, please let me know what you think.

Obviously this fic takes place during the ep. where Mamoru goes to
confront Zoisite over the rainbow crystals.