Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ It's Your Own Funeral ( Chapter 3 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Absence - By Kirika


Hello, yet again. This is the third chapter in my Rei/Usagi fic. I forgot to mention earlier that this is my first fanfic... so be gentle when reviewing; I'm very fragile. ^_^

I wasn't really sure about the Shinto religion and what they do with their dead. So I just went with what I know.



- Kirika


Chapter 3 - It's Your Own Funeral

The sky was dark, grey and foreboding. Raindrops fell in a light drizzle upon the small congregation and mingled with the tears on their faces. They were gathered around a casket with a sodden display of brightly coloured flower arrangements lying limply on top of it. The wilting blossoms stood out in stark relief on such a morose day. The priest's voice was sombre as he read the necessary prayers while a chilly wind picked up in the cemetery, trying to steal the black-clad mourners' umbrellas from their grasps. Preoccupied with their grief, no one noticed a lone figure thirty metres or so away, partially concealed by a tall gravestone.

"How very cliché..." Rei muttered dryly to herself, adjusting the hood of her raincoat to further obscure her identity as she discreetly watched the proceedings. She had initially meant to leave Tokyo as soon as she had returned home to fetch some of her things, however, it hadn't worked out that way.

The miko had snuck back to her room at the Hikawa Jinja so she could change into a fresh set of clothes and pack a bag with as few of her belongings as possible so as not to arouse any suspicions. She had also taken what cash she had stashed away for a rainy day. Thankfully, it had been early enough that the Fire Senshi's Grandfather and Yuuichirou were still sound asleep. It had been hard being stealthy with her arm in a sling and her ribs forever aching.

Once Rei had been all set to go to the train station and leave Tokyo, she had suddenly been struck with a morbid fascination to see what her funeral would be like. After all, how often was it that one got to witness their own funeral? She had summarily ignored the nagging thought in the back of her mind that told her she just wanted to see Usagi again. So here Rei was, three days later.

The miko had just checked out of the fleabag motel she had been staying at to while away the time until her funeral. A taxi was waiting patiently for her at the entrance of the cemetery, ready to drive her to the train station once the macabre amusement of observing her own memorial service wore off.

"...I wonder what's in that coffin... obviously they never found my body," Rei continued to mumble softly to herself as she impassively watched the grieving group.

They were all there; Rei's friends and her family. Well, almost all... her father hadn't shown up. But then the Fire Senshi had expected as much; he probably couldn't care less about his only daughter's apparent demise. The last time she had seen her father was when he had offloaded her as a crying young child into her Grandpa's custody at the Hikawa Jinja long ago. Rei supposed she should thank him however; if her father hadn't banished her to the shrine, she probably wouldn't have ever met Usagi. One corner of the girl's mouth curled up into a wry half-smile. No. No matter where her life would have led her, she would have met her princess one day, somehow, and someplace. The Senshi of Fire was positive of that fact.

Rei continued to look at the sorrowful assembly, taking stock of everyone who had come to pay their respects. There was Yuuichirou bawling his eyes out like a baby, and wailing something inane about her being so young and beautiful.

Rei's Grandpa was next to him, but in no better state. Rei found that she couldn't look at the inconsolable elderly man for very long.

Haruka and Michiru were present, the two Outer Sailors no doubt cursing themselves because they hadn't been with the Fire Senshi and her friends in order to prevent the tragedy.

Hotaru, who had accompanied her two guardians, was holding hands with her friend, Chibi-Usa. Both downcast young girls were crying softly and appeared to be the embodiment of misery. Rei didn't dwell on the pink-haired girl for too long. She didn't wish to be reminded, once again, of her hopeless love for her best friend or of her lonely destiny.

The miko's eyes quickly moved on to Minako. She held Luna and Artemis in her arms, both cats appearing pathetically soggy with the rain. All three looked depressed, though the blonde seemed more so than the two felines. The Senshi of Love's red eyes and constant sniffling were a testament to that belief.

Makoto, meanwhile, stood with one arm around Ami next to her as the other held an umbrella over them both, sheltering the pair from the light rain. The brunette's expression was grim while the shorter girl sobbed quietly on her shoulder.

Then finally, Rei observed Usagi... with Mamoru. Usagi sobbed and blubbered before the coffin as Mamoru rubbed her back with soothing strokes in an attempt to comfort the distraught girl. The Senshi of Fire hadn't seen her love so upset since the prince had broken up with her.

Rei's apathetic expression then fell into one of deep sorrow and regret. Usagi was so sad... and it was all her fault. What was she doing? She could take all of her princesses' pain away so easily if she just let the girl know she was, in actual fact, okay. Seeing Usagi hurt so much like that... and so unnecessarily because of her actions... was too much for the Fire Senshi to bear. She closed her eyes and turned her head away from the heartbreaking sight, tears stinging beneath her eyelids.

"I never knew this graveyard was haunted," said a voice behind her, a voice that Rei, unfortunately, recognised, "yet here is a ghost, right before my very eyes."

Oh no. Rei coughed, trying to disguise her voice, but only ended up hurting her ribs. "I um... don't know what you're talking about..." she mumbled lamely, before cursing herself for not thinking of anything better to say.

"Come now, you don't honesty believe that you can trick *me*?" the voice chided softly.

Damn, Rei should have known... *she* always knew everything. Caught, the miko turned around slowly to face Setsuna, the Guardian of Time. The older woman was dressed in black for the sober occasion currently taking place at the cemetery and holding a similarly coloured umbrella.

"I guess you know everything. About the battle, Usagi... everything..." Rei trailed off, her gaze dropping guiltily to the dewy grass covered ground.

"I know enough," Setsuna replied levelly, her timeless crimson eyes boring into the diffident girl before her disparagingly.

The Fire Senshi squirmed uncomfortably inside, and then let out a defeated sigh. "I suppose this means that you'll tell the others what's going on. You'll tell them that I'm still alive and--" she glanced at her injured arm in the sling, "--fairly well."

Setsuna looked in the direction of where Rei's funeral was underway. "I make it a point never to interfere with the timeline unless absolutely necessary," the Senshi of Time declared, causing the miko to look up in relief. "Though I am not completely adverse to the offering of advice."

Rei let out another sigh, though she was glad Setsuna would keep her survival a secret. "I know what you're going to suggest. You think that I should just tell her how I feel." The raven-haired girl shook her head sadly. "No. Though I don't care about Mamoru's feelings, I do care about Usagi's. I don't want to make her choose between her best friend and her soul mate." What's more, the prince would win each and every time, the Fire Senshi mentally added bitterly. "She probably wouldn't feel the same way I do anyway," Rei continued, "and then our friendship would suffer... I wouldn't even be able to hug Usagi without some implication being read into it. Besides, a princess needs a prince." The Senshi of Fire smiled thinly without a trace of humour.

Setsuna returned her gaze to an even more dejected Rei. "But do you really think this is the correct path to follow? Fleeing from your problems? You are causing Usagi needless pain, not to mention all of your friends and family, as well. It could all be avoided so simply..." the woman reasoned.

"You wouldn't understand. Fate already stopped whatever relationship I might have had with Usagi before it even had a chance to begin. Have you ever felt that it was your destiny to always be alone?" Rei asked with profound weariness, and spoke more in rhetoric than with any actual intent to pose the question to Setsuna.

The Guardian of Time's eyes clouded over at the miko's words, as if a shroud of sadness had suddenly been thrown over her. "Sometimes..." she whispered, her aloof persona vanishing for an instant.

Rei glanced at Setsuna with mild surprise. She hadn't expected an answer from the reticent dark green-haired woman, let alone the answer she had actually been given. "Yeah..." Rei said quietly, "It really sucks."

Setsuna gave the Fire Senshi a small melancholy smile. "Indeed..." she replied just as softly.

Rei and Setsuna then stood together in silence, watching the raven-haired girl's funeral take place with cheerless eyes. Each were lost in their own introspective thoughts as the pitter-patter of light raindrops landed on the Senshi of Time's umbrella. It was the only sound heard besides the priest's muted voice from the service.

After an indeterminate amount of time, Setsuna spoke once more,"...but destiny is not always certain, Rei. The future, not written. There are many threads in the fabric of time, each leading to many possible and different futures. The future you know may not be the future that will occur," the Guardian of Time explained sagely while she continued to gaze at the miko's funeral and her mourning friends.

"Are you kidding?" Rei spat angrily, whirling on Setsuna. "Usagi and Mamoru's future child is in this time for the gods' sakes; I think that pretty much means that they'll be together!"

If Setsuna took offence to the Fire Senshi's outburst, the woman didn't show it in the slightest. "Remember what I said, Rei," she replied calmly instead, turning her head towards the girl.

"Whatever," Rei replied irritably, looking away from Setsuna as she exhaled heavily in aggravation. The miko figured she had seen enough of her own funeral now, and besides; her company was becoming tiresome.

As Rei started to walk away, Setsuna eloquently mentioned, "And what of your duty to the princess?"

Rei stopped walking and looked over her shoulder towards the Senshi of Time. "My duty?"

"You are part of the Moon Princesses' bodyguard, are you not?" Setsuna reminded her gently, directing a pointed, questioning gaze to the now retreating raven-haired girl.

Her duty... her duty to protect Usagi, her princess. Rei felt her resolve to leave start to weaken. How could she leave if her true love needed her protection? What if Usagi got hurt because her ever-vigilant bodyguard wasn't by her side? "The others... the other senshi will protect her," Rei responded in a hesitant voice while she fidgeted unsurely.

The Senshi of Fire started to walk away again, but soon halted to turn and face Setsuna once more. "I-If there ever comes a time... when she needs me... *really* needs me..." Rei began in soft tone, "then I'll come. You find a way to contact me and I'll come. No matter where I am, or what I'm doing... I'll come," Rei swore, her voice strengthening at the end as it filled with undying loyalty for her princess and the determination to protect her at all costs.

"I shall," Setsuna promised, nodding slightly in confirmation. "However, I believe that Usagi truly needs you now," she then said rather shrewdly.

Rei glanced over to her own funeral where Usagi stood, weeping for her lost friend. The Fire Senshi took a good, long, last look at her beautiful princess and committed every detail of her, no matter how small, to memory. She didn't suppose she would ever see Usagi again and it hurt... it hurt a lot. It felt as though she was leaving behind a part of herself; but Rei knew this was her only choice. To go on in life, watching as the only person she was certain she would ever truly love in her immortal existence gave all of her heart and soul to another... was not a life Rei could live. Mamoru would look after Usagi in the miko's stead. Usagi would prefer her prince, her love, to do so anyway.

"She doesn't need me," Rei stated without emotion to Setsuna. "She has... him." With those final words, Rei hardened her resolve to leave, and then strode purposefully back to the taxi. She didn't look back.


To be continued....

Author's ramblings:

Next chapter will be Rei in a new city trying to get over Usagi... I'm thinking Yokohama... that's close to Tokyo, I think. New evil things will probably be introduced in that chapter too.

Hikawa Jinja = Hikawa shrine. The Shinto shrine that Rei, her Grandfather, and Yuuichirou tend to and live at.