title: losing your memory
summary: the past comes back in fragments. venus, on waking up one thousand years after the moon kingdom burns.
dedication: sara aka moirail aka the baby aka princess fucking moon. i don't think i could do life without you now. merry Christmas, you dork. ps: stop drinking cider at work, you utter lush.
The Moon Kingdom goes up in flames.
The Moon Kingdom goes up in flames, but not before Beryl brings the towers crumbling down to break into a hundred irreparable pieces which makes the ground shatter underfoot.
Not before its princess dies.
Venus kicks a shard out of her way, spitting blood up between her teeth, vile and bitter. There is laughter straggling at the back of her throat, hot and burning and bubbling and I will kill you, she thinks, I will kill you all.
The sky is on fire. Mars was never one to go down without fighting and oh, oh she's done it now, she's going to burn the universe down with the force of her rage.
Mercury and Jupiter are already dead.
Venus puts another step forward, and another, and another, one hand grasping the ragged wound in her side.
"Not…far now," she tells herself, gritting her teeth against every exquisite stab of pain. She can see her, fragile as a flower, face down in the lily pond with her golden hair floating around her like she's a mermaid.
There's blood, too, pooling on the ground and soaking her princess's pretty white gown. So much blood.
Venus bends, folds, turns her princess over with hands which are exquisitely, painfully gentle. Her princess's lover is somewhere around here and if she could only stand she'd –
No point, Mercury whispers at the back of her head. He's dead too. They're all dead.
Venus cradles her dead princess carefully in her arms, blood and water mixing between their pale limbs. Betrayal is a stain in crimson, it seems.
"I love you," Irina whispers. "I love all of you."
With trembling, blood-stained fingers, she closes Serenity's staring eyes and waits for the end to come.
losing your memory
She dreams sometimes – has done for as long as she can remember. They are ghostly, intangible things, images passing beneath her eyelids like butterflies and she can never remember them.
Daylight inevitably chases them away.
"I just – I feel sometimes like the whole world is wrong," Minako says, keeping her hands clasped in her lap, still and poised. She stares the therapist straight in the eye, hard and unflinching like diamonds. Behind her, the clock is ticking slowly.
"In what way?"
Her knuckles are bone white, fingers digging crescent moons into her palms. She's twelve and her parents think there is something wrong with her.
Maybe there is.
She presses her lips together mulishly and doesn't answer him.
Minako lasts a year on the pills the silly Doctor gave her, before she starts throwing them casually down the sink, once a day, right after her mother kisses her on the cheek before she rushes out to work. They make a tinny sound as they go down the drain, a gentle plink-plink that follows her into sleep every night.
Two weeks later, she is followed home by a white cat. It stares at her with imploring eyes, but mother has rules about strays.
Still, she feels bad when she shuts the door on it. It's like closing a door on a friend.
"Venus," Artemis says, and it sends a chill down through her bones.
"I don't remember it," Minako tells her guardian. Even now, after what she's done – after she felt herself change, like a ghost rose inside her skin for a moment and moved around in it – it is hard to believe.
"No. You wouldn't."
It is a strange tale, but no stranger than what she's seen tonight. No stranger than the dreams she cannot recall on waking, the sense that someone out there is calling a name which is and isn't hers.
"Did I die?"
"You all did," Artemis tells her. "But the Queen took your slumbering souls in her arms and sent them here to be reborn. All your life you've been asleep, Minako."
Her hands are trembling. She touches the still burning mark on her forehead with slender fingers and thinks of ivory towers, of laughter, of the sweetness of moon peaches on her tongue.
Minako cannot remember, but –
"I think I'm trying to wake up," she murmurs.
"Irina!" someone shouts, a girl – a voice she can't put a name to. "Irina, look! Come and see what Endymion has found!"
Beside her, Evadne smiles reluctantly. There is a sadness to it which makes her think of glaciers melting, disappearing into the ocean forever. An end.
"She loves him, I think," she murmurs.
"That is what I'm afraid of," the girl called Irina says.
Minako wears a red ribbon in her hair now. It feels like protection.
It feels like armour.
"I want to find them. The others."
Artemis looks at her in surprise, like she's said something dangerous or inappropriate. "What?"
"I want to find them," Minako repeats, shoulders straight as she summons that gaze she used to stare down three different therapists. "You said there were others, that we were all sent here to be reborn. I want to find them, Artemis."
She is fourteen years old and has fought many battles – some she can remember and others she fears she never will. Her mind sparks and short-circuits when she tries to look back for too long, stares too hard at the invisible line cutting her in two.
But Artemis is shaking his head. "I don't even know where they are," he protests. "Neither of us did. It took me thirteen years just to find you, Minako."
"And why did you look, specifically, for me?" she demands.
"Because you are the leader of the Senshi."
She smiles bright and sharp, the grin of a commander. It feels unfamiliar on her face, but Minako let's Venus take the lead for this one. There is a hole in her heart which she is only just starting to understand, though she's always always felt it.
"Yes," she agrees. "I am."
The youma overwhelm the palace, screaming death in their wake. There is blood bubbling at the corner of Almathea's mouth, red and wet.
"No. No, no, you can't. You can't." But it is Irina ordering her, not Venus and both of them are choking on the unfairness of it all.
"It's them," Jupiter says, voice breaking. "Irina, it's the Terrans."
"Traitors!" Irina snarls, teeth gnashing together even as the tears spill up and over. She knew, she knew nothing good could come of Prince Endymion and his entourage, his stupid, charming Shittenou.
She knew it and still she fell, just like the rest of them. No better than a lovesick child.
"No," Almathea says, clutching at Irina's hand desperately. "No. Venus, there's – there's something wrong. He didn't…he didn't know me."
There is too much blood and the smell of it mingles sickeningly on the air with the scent of the lunar roses, only just coming into bloom. Something inside Venus goes very, very still.
"Who?" she asks, but deep down already knows.
Jupiter does not answer.
"Almathea" She cannot breathe. "Alma?Alma!"
Irina screams, just once – long and hard and ragged, a cry for a fallen sister. And she swears, then, that she will kill Nephrite if it is the last thing she does. She will end him.
But first – but first, Serenity.
On the other side of the palace, the sky bursts into flames.
Tokyo is not the Moon Kingdom. It does not glimmer softly in the moons luminescence, but it is a city with glass towers and bright, florescent lights.
There is laughter and music and an acrid taste on the air which doesn't belong.
"Are you sure about this?" Artemis asks, as she stares the city down, hair blowing in the wind, a golden cloud.
Minako feels like her heart might burst out of her chest; her blood is singing in her veins and she knows, she knows that this is where she will find her senshi.
They are four girls trapped in a dark force-field, their screams renting the night air apart.
Minako sees the man with the white hair, the man who is not a man at all and her breath catches in her throat painfully.
For a long moment, she cannot swallow, cannot move, cannot do anything at all.
He killed us, someone snarls at the back of her head, a restless ghost rising from the ashes. Her senshi are still screaming, helpless as newborn babes.
Minako remembers the weight of a princess in her arms, remembers blood spilling across a marble floor and the sky igniting. It is like history repeating itself and yet nothing like it at all.
"You are not taking them again," she hisses, and the singing in her blood is hate.
There is a long moment with nothing but silence to fill it.
"So…you're Sailor Venus?" Mercury asks, eyes wide and curious as a bird's. Mars – Mars is wary, and it makes her smile because even dying doesn't change some things, apparently. Even not remembering.
"Sailor V," Moon corrects softly, and it tugs at her memory sharply. There is something, something –
"Reunited at last," Artemis pipes up, purring proudly and sharing a look with Luna which is part satisfaction of a job well done and part tremulous, unsteady hope.
They are all looking at her, her sisters, and suddenly Minako feels so very shy. They are all so beautiful and strong and fierce and she loves them already, she does.
Or maybe it is Venus who loves them, but –
But I am Venus, she thinks. She's never believed it more than she does now, with four pairs of eyes drinking her in, like she is something special, something precious.
Maybe they've all had holes in their hearts, too, all this time. Just because you don't know what it is you're missing, it doesn't mean you don't miss it.
"Hello," Venus says, softly and smiles.
a pretty lie
"It must have been terrible," Rei murmurs, linking their arms together tightly. "Going through that alone. Serena might be useless in a fight, but at least I had her and Ami around to talk to."
Minako shrugs lightly, watching the blonde in question skip ahead with her pigtails swinging. Ami walks with small steps, hands clasped in front of her and Makoto's head is tilted down so she can hear what Serena is babbling about.
She has her suspicions as the identity of the Moon Princess, but hugs them quietly to her chest. Better to protect her, even from the truth.
"I always knew something was wrong," Minako says instead. "But it wasn't until Artemis came that I started to remember."
Rei is looking at her oddly, questions dancing in her violet eyes. A burning, desperate curiosity.
Your name was Cyrene, she almost tells her. You danced with the flames as the Moon Kingdom died. We were betrayed by the men we loved –
She has come to realise that she is the only one who feels that intangible line, that cut of a thousand years between Irina and Minako. Rei is not Cyrene, just as Ami is not Evadne and Makoto is not Almathea – but she loves them anyway, loves them enough to swallow the whole of their history and build their ties anew.
"Only pieces," Venus lies, smiling. "Only fragments."
"Will it work?" Irina asks, eyes heavy with something too final to be exhaustion. Serenity is cold in her arms. The Palace is falling to pieces around their ears and somewhere in the night, the roses are withering. There is nothing as sad as dead flowers, she thinks.
Selene smiles sadly, cupping Serenity's face in a slender hand. "There is one thing I know, Irina, which you must promise to always remember."
She can barely keep her eyes open. The air smells like blood and ashes, the whole world dying in a single night, a single breath. A cool hand settles on her forehead.
"Love," her Queen murmurs, "is stronger than death."
It is the last thing Irina hears as she dies. As the sky burns and the Palace falls, Queen Selene raises her arms, alight with the sort of magic which can only be used once.
"Goodbye," Selene says and the tears on her face are like snowdrops, like diamonds, like the silver crystal her daughter will one day find.
Six souls rise from their broken bodies as the Moon Kingdom burns.
notes: I have never written sailor moon before be lenient with me
notes2: sara I'm sorry this turned into more venus reincarnation fic than senshi feely feels.
notes3: merry christmas, loser.