Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Plans/Nothing Left ( Chapter 10 )

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


Tenth chapter. Hmm. Prepare for mush and angst. ^_^



- Kirika


Chapter 10 - Plans/Nothing Left

Laodameia rearranged herself into a more comfortable position as she lounged contentedly on a large pile of soft, plush cushions. She let out a sigh of satisfaction then, with elegance, brought the fine crystal flute she held between delicate fingers to her lips and took a sip of the delectable red wine. Laodameia was enjoying this world. She rather liked the human culture and found their food and drink quite agreeable. Not to mention the lovely humans themselves.

The gorgeous woman stretched out her left arm and admired its graceful shape. It was sheer splendour. She had truly grasped the meaning of human beauty and adored her human form; it was absolutely perfect in every way. Laodameia moved to put down her wineglass, not even bothering to look at what she was doing, and a tray was hurriedly extended to meet it.

The pink-haired woman glanced absently down at the scantly clad human male kneeling to her right who looked upon her with utter rapture and veneration. That was something else Laodameia liked about the humans; their minds could be so easily dominated. It had been a simple matter for her to waltz into the five-star hotel in downtown Tokyo and completely take over the top floor for herself, all through the power of suggestion. She found it enormously delightful that the humans lacked the mental strength to pose even the most marginal of contests to her indomitable will. Laodameia was definitely going to relish her stay in this dimension, even if she did end up slumming on most of these 'operations' as Makareus liked to call them.

Laodameia let out another sigh, but this time, it was a small one of mild irritation as she looked around her penthouse suite. It was the best, and biggest, room in the hotel. Although the décor of the suite and the luxuries in it weren't up to her usual standards, they still provided enough comfort and pleasure. Just barely.

The alluring creature's deep pink eyes, the shade almost purplish, then moved to take in the exquisite human female who knelt on her left. The female beheld her vacantly, totally consumed by feelings of love and worship. Laodameia's sensuous lips curled into a faint smile at her pet. The gesture was enough to make the human gasp in delight and form a trace of joyful tears in her eyes. Laodameia's smile grew wider. But no matter; sometimes even slumming could be quite fun.

Laodameia broke her gaze away from the female and ran her fingers through her dark pink hair several times to fluff up the waves of silky tresses. She wondered how Khairephon was doing back in.… Yokohama was it? Though the names of the human cities were peculiar ones, they all seemed alike to her. Laodameia imagined the ruffian was busy indulging in the same boorish 'hobbies' he always practiced; inflicting crude and violent behaviour upon the human populace. She made a disapproving sound in the back of her throat at the thought of her younger brother's habits. Oh well, to each their own, Laodameia supposed. Even she, on occasion, took amusement in exacting the most delicious tortures upon her pets, though hers were much more... refined than her fierce brother's. And Laodameia's pets seemed to enjoy her ministrations considerably more than Khairephon's victims did, also.

Laodameia pulled out her fan and started to fan herself lightly, a fond smile gracing her features. The relationship she had with her younger brother was certainly a strange one. Despite their heated bickering, they shared a sort of... affection for one another that was rather rare back in their home dimension. Laodameia had long ago ceased trying to analyse the foreign emotion she felt for Khairephon; it was quite beyond even what her considerable mental capabilities could understand.

Khairephon reciprocated her sentiment in his own way. He usually lent his 'dear sister' a few of his most adept youma warriors as protection when she went travelling to another plane alone, or with other siblings. This trip had been no different. All of the creatures chosen to accompany Laodameia had been most pleased to do so and, in turn, she found them useful both as an active part of her personal guard and in the sorties against the Sailor Senshi.

The Sailor Senshi. The pale woman fashionably attired in a magnificent gown made up of different shades of pink silk, licked her lips. Her raspberry eyes seemed to smoulder as her fanning hastened somewhat. Thrinakie hadn't told her that they were such pretty girls... and that man who fought beside them wearing a cape…

Laodameia smiled lecherously. Another thing she liked about humans was the way their lovely bodies reacted to certain... stimuli; especially her own elegant human manifestation. It was different when Laodameia was in her true form; her body didn't feel, or react, in quite the same way…

The woman fanned a little faster. Laodameia didn't really need to kill *all* of the Sailor Senshi, or their male friend. No, she could keep one. Or perhaps two. She tapped a slender finger on her chin as she contemplated which one of this world's defenders would be spared her terrible wrath. The blonde one with the ribbon in her golden locks perhaps... yes, and that masked male too. Laodameia decided she would let the two of them keep their odd outfits; it would be more... entertaining that way.

With thoughts of her new plans in mind, the woman reached over to a small silver bell that sat beside her on the cushions and rang it gently. After the briefest of moments the double doors of her room opened and her youma assistant, Aiaia, walked in briskly. She was in her human form because Laodameia liked her youma to present themselves in that way when before her. Many of her youma worshipers had human figures quite pleasing to the eye.

"Aiaia, I want you to send this request to all the youma under my command," Laodameia ordered as soon as her aide was a few feet in front of her.

"As you wish, my Lady," Aiaia said in deference with her head bent low, her shoulder length brunette hair slightly hiding the light pink flush on her cheeks.

"I want one of the Sailor Senshi captured *alive* and also that male who fights alongside them... you know, the one they call Tux-- something. I would much prefer it if the blonde senshi with straight hair were captured. And don't hurt them too much! It would not do if you permanently damaged their bodies..." Laodameia licked her lips again as she imagined getting one of the Sailor Senshi and their male friend into her possession.

Aiaia raised her head and looked at her mistress, her mouth open as if she were going to say something.

Laodameia tapped her hand on her leg in impatience. "Well? Get going!" she commanded with annoyance, making a shooing motion with her fan.

The youma lowered her head again, her blush deepening. "Y-Yes, my Lady," she stuttered. Aiaia stepped backwards several paces, bowing as she went, then quickly turned and strode from the room, closing the suite's doors behind her.

Laodameia ignored her servant's departure and relaxed back onto her cushions. She couldn't wait until her new pets arrived. Perhaps she should have told Aiaia to capture more of the Sailor Senshi. Was one going to be enough? She rather liked that cute one with the short blue hair too. Laodameia let out a small breath of air. She couldn't really decide. They were all just so exquisite!


Sanjuro yawned widely, making no effort to cover his mouth. He stretched his arms and slouched back into the chair in front of his desk in the newsroom of the Yokohama Daily. It had taken two full days of work, a level of effort that was indeed a rarity for him, but he had nearly finished his two-page spread on the masked fire woman. All he needed now was an exclusive interview with her, some pictures of her in action... and a heroic name. Sanjuro couldn't think of a decent name for the life of him. He was beginning to consider that maybe he should just rip one off from an anime series or something.

Sanjuro rubbed his bleary eyes, and then stuffed the remainder of his potato chips into his mouth. While he munched away, the reporter looked at his computer clock... it was nearly nine at night. Sanjuro had been at work entirely far too long today... but it had been worth it to get most of his feature done. His story was going to blow the editor's mind! The reporter scrunched up his chip packet and threw it into the bin beside his desk.

Sanjuro looked over at the only other person in the office; Tetsuya Arisawa. Sanjuro didn't know Tetsuya very well; the man hadn't been with The Daily that long. If he remembered right, the newcomer covered sports. Tetsuya seemed a little uptight to the spiky-haired man. He always came to work right on time and dressed immaculately in a suit and tie everyday. He was definitely not the kind of person a laid-back reporter like Sanjuro would get along well with. Tetsuya didn't usually work this late, though. But, come to think of it, Sanjuro did recall him working late into the previous evening, too. He guessed that Tetsuya must have been covering some big sporting special for the newspaper, or something similar. The reporter put thoughts of the stuffy Tetsuya out of his mind; he had worked long enough and it was time to go home.

Sanjuro shutdown his computer, packed his things into a shoulder bag, then switched off his desk lamp. Picking up his bag, he began to walk across the newsroom towards where the elevator was located. He hadn't gotten far before the phone on his desk rang. Sanjuro halted in his tracks and turned back towards his desk, frowning in annoyance. Who the hell would be calling the office this late at night?

Sanjuro simply stood there for a moment, wondering if he should just ignore the phone and go home already. He hadn't even eaten dinner yet! Well, unless you counted snack foods, which Sanjuro didn't. While he pondered whether or not to answer the call, he noticed Tetsuya watching him closely. Sanjuro swallowed somewhat uneasily under the rather intense scrutiny of his co-worker as the shrill rings of the phone continued to puncture the oppressive silence of the newsroom repeatedly. A silence the spiky-haired man hadn't even realised existed until now. A cold shiver went down the reporter's spine. He blinked, and then shook his head to clear it. Sometimes Tetsuya gave him the creeps.

Not wanting to look like a jerk in front of the new employee by ignoring the phone, Sanjuro reluctantly walked back to his desk. He felt his colleague's eyes follow him eerily all the while. When he reached his phone, he quickly picked up the receiver.

"Sanjuro Watanabe, Yokohama Daily," he yawned out casually, though his eyes surreptitiously darted towards Tetsuya. He was still watching. Damn weirdo.

"Sanjuro?" questioned a girl's voice on the other end of the line.

"That's what I said. What do you want?" Sanjuro answered rudely; he was too tired for this. Plus Tetsuya was freaking him out and he was hungry. All he wanted to do was go home.

"Umm... you don't know me, but we have a mutual... friend," the voice ventured tentatively, the last word being noticeably forced out.

"Yeah? Well I have lots of friends," Sanjuro replied as he idly played with some paperclips on his desk.

The voice paused for a second, as if not believing his claim. "I'm sure you do, but this friend wears... a mask," the voice continued.

Sanjuro let his bag slip off of his shoulder and hit the floor. "A mas...!" he started loudly, but then hastily cupped the receiver slightly with his free hand, not wanting Tetsuya to overhear. "A mask?" Sanjuro questioned more quietly. "You mean, you know... you know *her*?"

"Yes, and we need your help right now," the girl responded anxiously, while an unidentifiable someone in the background added, "Yeah, like right the hell *now*!" in a fretful, yet substantially muted cry.

"Wicked!" Sanjuro exclaimed elatedly. "She needs my help? That is just so... wow! What does she want me to do? Does she want me to investigate something?" the reporter went on, practically bursting with excitement.

"No, nothing. We need a place to hide out," the girl explained.

"Hide out?" Sanjuro parroted, obviously a little confused.

"Yes, damn it! We need somewhere to hole up for awhile and we want to use your place!" the girl declared irritably, her patience lost.

"Well, I... uh... I guess you and her can crash at my place..." Sanjuro said uncertainly. "Wait. There aren't any ugly monsters that shoot light out of their mouths involved in this, are there?" he then asked apprehensively, the scary memories from his recent encounter with the paranormal coming back to him.

"Monsters that shoot light out of their mouths? Uh... no, of course not," the girl reassured the somewhat rattled reporter. "Can you hurry," the girl urged, "we need to get to your place right away!"

"Okay," Sanjuro relented, "I'll pick you up, I guess, just give me the address." He copied the information down on a notepad near the phone, said his goodbyes, and then set the receiver back onto its cradle. After tearing off the page with the address the spiky-haired man grabbed his bag from the floor and strode briskly, yet calmly, towards the elevator around the corner. He could still feel Tetsuya's eyes on him, only this time, they were boring holes into his back.

Once out of sight, Sanjuro ran as fast as he could to the metal doors and pressed the button for the basement garage where his car was parked. The reporter had finally gotten his big break. Contact with the mysterious masked woman; it was just too perfect! With Sanjuro by the heroine's side, it should be a simple matter to snap the action photos of her he wanted. Acquiring consent for a one-on-one interview might take some convincing, though... but Sanjuro was pretty confident about his persuasion abilities. He grinned gleefully as he descended in the elevator. This story was going to make him reporter of the year!


Rei rested her head on the back seat of Sanjuro's car, the front passenger seat having been occupied by all sorts of junk ranging anywhere from old newspapers and crumpled food packaging, to rolls of film and floppy disks; all evidently belonging to Sanjuro. She exhaled heavily; she was exhausted. The miko rolled her head groggily to the left to look at Tsubasa who sat next to her in the rear of the vehicle. Her neighbour still seemed pretty shell-shocked. His brown eyes appeared somewhere between vacant and feverish as he stared straight ahead at the back of the front seat.

Rei smiled a little at the sight. It wasn't every day that your world was turned upside down. Being attacked by a monster and then being forced to flee because more of them were about to storm your apartment was certainly not a crisis one would expect to be faced with in normal everyday life. Rei turned away from Tsubasa and closed her eyes. She tried valiantly to block out Sanjuro's nagging voice that constantly asked where 'she' was. Sanjuro certainly was annoying... but Rei doubted that the youma would be able to find her, or Tsubasa, while staying with him. The Fire Senshi opened her eyes several minutes later when Sanjuro brought her out of her musings with the announcement of their arrival.

Sanjuro lived on the second floor of a small motel-like apartment complex. Sanjuro's standard of living was the complete opposite of Tsubasa's and her own. So much so, that Rei first thought the youma had somehow figured out where she was heading and ransacked the place in search of their prey. But when Sanjuro reacted as if everything was all right, the miko realised with horrible clarity that the apartment was how it always was--a complete sty.

There were clothes just about *everywhere*. Rei thought she even spotted some underpants hanging off the ceiling fan in the main room, which also doubled as the bedroom and kitchen. Used takeout boxes littered the tables and the old newspapers that blanketed the floor nearly hid the dirty brown coloured carpet beneath totally from view.

Rei glanced through the half opened bathroom door near the entrance and sighted wet towels jammed into metal rails and more decorating the tiled floor. The kitchen looked like a cockroach's paradise. There were liberal scatterings of crumbs and other food particles all over the place... including the cracked tiled floor partition. There were also dirty dishes stacked high in the sink and on the counter tops. Rei shook her head in disgust. Gods, how could Sanjuro live like this?

"Welcome to my humble abode!" Sanjuro invited enthusiastically as the trio entered the reporter's home, two however clearly reluctant. If Tsubasa's sickly expression was anything to go by, it looked like he wanted to go back to his own apartment, monsters be damned.

Rei stood there in the doorway, not knowing what to say. "It's... um... nice," she finally settled on.

Sanjuro grinned at what he perceived was a genuine complement and told his guests to make themselves at home.

Rei asked if she could use his bathroom, and after receiving a ready nod of consent, went in with her bedclothes and a bag of medical supplies she had taken with her from Tsubasa's apartment. She showered and treated all of her wounds properly, replacing the quick patch job she had done after the fight at Tsubasa's. She imagined the place was packed with ravenous youma by now. Rei prayed that the creatures wouldn't take their frustrations out on the other tenants in the apartment building after finding Tsubasa and her long gone.

After taking ages to find a clean, dry towel to use on herself, Rei dressed for bed and left the bathroom. When she went back into the main room of Sanjuro's apartment, the raven-haired girl saw that Tsubasa had cleared all of the rubbish off of the reporter's couch and was now sitting on it. She hadn't even noticed that there was, in fact, a couch underneath all of that trash earlier.

"You can use the bathroom next," Rei informed Tsubasa as she noticed him examining the four blood encrusted scars across his bare chest by carefully prodding them with one finger.

Tsubasa looked up from his inspection and nodded his thanks to the miko. He then got up and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Seeing that the raven-haired girl had come out of his bathroom, Sanjuro walked over to speak to Rei. "Umm, are you hungry? I don't have any food in the fridge that you'd want to eat... but I could order a pizza if you want," Sanjuro said, his eyes occasionally darting to the bandages that visibly graced the girl's bare legs.

"Well, if you would be so kind... but Tsubasa and I don't have much money," Rei replied courteously, while trying to ignore the reporter's scrutiny of her wounds. She hoped that he wouldn't put two and two together. The miko internally chastised herself for not wearing something that would have hidden all of the dressings.

Sanjuro held up a silencing hand. "It's cool. This one's on me. You're a friend of a friend after all." He winked conspiratorially at Rei.

The Fire Senshi smiled at him in thanks and sat on the couch Tsubasa recently vacated to rest her sore, weary legs. While Sanjuro went to the phone and ordered dinner, Rei closed her eyes and thought back to what the shadow youma had told her... with some motivation. The youma were apparently coming through some sort of gate at a Wong Fei's--whatever that was--in Chinatown. It was obvious what Rei had to do. It looked like the Senshi of Fire would be heading to Chinatown in the morning….

Rei then wondered what she was supposed to tell the two men. She could probably spin some tall tale to dupe Sanjuro into believing that she wasn't the masked woman he had encountered at the warehouse; but Tsubasa had been physically attacked and injured by a youma, then subsequently witnessed Rei beat it up. Panicking when the monster escaped from her neighbour's apartment probably hadn't helped her cover much, either. Maybe she could just not bring it up and act as though nothing had happened. Rei pursed her lips. No, Tsubasa would ask questions for sure; he had just abandoned his home and most of his belongings. The miko sighed. Just what *was* she going to tell him?

Rei snapped out of her thoughts when Tsubasa emerged from the bathroom dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants. She quickly avoided his gaze and focused instead on Sanjuro's television in front of the couch. Tsubasa gingerly sat next to Rei and merely watched the TV too, not saying a word. At the point when Rei began to find the silence between herself and Tsubasa uncomfortable, Sanjuro declared that he was going to take a shower and went into the bathroom.

"The money for the pizza's on the kitchen counter!" he called before shutting the door with a bang.

Once Sanjuro was out of the room Tsubasa turned to Rei, the question she dreaded most clear in his eyes. The miko knew what was coming, but hoped she would be wrong, nevertheless….

"Megumi, what happened back in my apartment? You called that thing a 'youma'. You seem to know a lot about what is going on and you can fight; I mean, you can *really* fight! You're right in the middle of all this somehow, aren't you?" Tsubasa said.

Rei continued to stare at the television screen, though the images it displayed didn't register in her mind. "It's... complicated," she began after several moments of internal struggling to find the right words, "and it would probably be better if I didn't say anything... for you own safety." She sighed and paused to rub her temples, before resuming, "Just know that there are some terrible things out there... things that come straight from your worst nightmares... but there are also a few good things too. There are good people who fight those terrible things... do you understand what I'm saying?"

Tsubasa stared at the Fire Senshi's profile for a few seconds while he absorbed what she had said. Then he nodded slowly. "I think so. You're saying that you're... that you're one of those good people."

Rei nodded gravely, her lavender gaze still fixated on the television. "I'm sorry I can't tell you more but..." she started to apologise, but was quickly interrupted by Tsubasa.

"It's okay, I understand. I'm just glad you're on our side," he commented with a smirk.

Rei finally turned to look at her neighbour turned confidant and gave him a rakish half-smile. "Hope I didn't scare you back there."

Tsubasa waved a hand in a dismissive gesture and grinned. "Nah, a young girl beating the snot out of an invisible monster in my very own apartment? Pfft, I saw that last weekend!"

The pizza soon arrived and Sanjuro came out of the bathroom just in time to chow down the most slices. By the time dinner was finished, it was late into the night. All three of them were really feeling the rigours of the day, though the specific events each had experienced were quite different. Regardless, Rei and the others decided to get some sleep. The two men graciously offered Rei the double bed, as they should, and she accepted it gratefully. Sanjuro took the couch, leaving Tsubasa to sleep on the floor.

While a hesitant Tsubasa arranged Sanjuro's spare blankets on the grubby floor, Rei sat on the bed and rummaged around in her bag for the picture of Usagi. The Fire Senshi found it wedged between some skirts and pulled it out. As she was taking a good long look at her love, she was suddenly filled with a painful longing.

Tsubasa noticed the girl's obvious expression of yearning. "Who's that? Is that other girl your friend Usagi?" he asked conversationally while he fluffed a pillow and sat beside her.

Rei was startled; she hadn't realised Tsubasa had been watching her. "Yes... that's her," the miko responded in a quiet voice, still gazing at the framed photograph in her hands.

Tsubasa studied Rei's face and the deep sadness that darkened her lavender eyes. He was afraid to ask the next question, but did so anyway. "Is she... is she still... with us?" he asked carefully.

A small smile came to the Fire Senshi's lips. "She'd better be. I'll kill Setsuna if she isn't."

Tsubasa let out the breath he had been holding. He didn't bother asking who 'Setsuna' was. "Oh. Then why do you look so sad? Haven't you seen her in a while? Does she live far away, or something?"

"No…. she lives in Tokyo, but I haven't seen her for some time now," Rei answered softly. Nor will I likely ever see her again, she mentally added.

"Tokyo? That isn't far. Why don't you go for a visit after all of this 'youma' business is over and done with?" Tsubasa suggested, still puzzled by why the miko looked so depressed.

Rei smiled forlornly, her expression falling even more if that were possible. "It's not that simple," she explained sadly, "I'll probably never see her again... except for in this picture... and in my dreams..." she finished in a whisper, tenderly stroking the image of Usagi in the picture with her thumb.

Seeing that the raven-haired girl was becoming even more downcast, Tsubasa briefly considered dropping the whole subject; but his interest was piqued, so he decided to persist, instead. After all, he had just learned that Rei was some sort of fighter for justice. What could compare to that?

"Did you have a falling out with her?" he questioned.

"No," Rei replied, tears beginning to form in her eyes, "we were always arguing, but that wasn't why I left. It was... it was..." More tears gathered in Rei's lavender eyes and were on the verge of spilling out to run down her cheeks.

Why was she talking to Tsubasa about this? He didn't need to know about her personal life; he probably didn't even really care... he was just curious. Rei and Tsubasa weren't that close; she had only known him for slightly over a week. He could almost be called a stranger. Just because they had been neighbours in the same apartment building, and sometimes had breakfast together, didn't mean that they were automatically good friends.

Tsubasa's prying just served to remind her of the one-sided love she held for Usagi. And it hurt so much. The pain was stronger than anything Rei had ever experienced mentally or physically. There was no willpower great enough to block it out, no attack powerful enough to defeat it. It was just pain, raw and true. Rei didn't know she carried such pain, such torment in her heart. All of the recent fighting had distracted her from feeling it. She had only been allowed to remember during the fleeting moments of peace when she was alone. But now all of the pent up misery she felt was resurfacing and pouring out unbidden... no matter who the audience was. Or perhaps the grief inside her heart was not coming out unbidden after all. Either way, it didn't matter; she had to let it out….

"It was…?" Tsubasa encouraged.

The trembling tears that brimmed in Rei's eyes finally fell and rolled down her cheeks, gathering in droplets at the bottom of her chin. "It was... because of me," Rei began. "You see, Usagi is the most courageous, compassionate person I know... m-my best friend..." Her voice faltering a little, and she took a deep breath to help steady herself. "I would have done anything for her, I still would... I would die for her without hesitation..."

The miko smiled and looked up at nothing, her blurry eyes vacant as she stared inwardly at a beautiful vision only she could see. "She is the most gorgeous, divine creature on this earth…." she whispered, before her gaze fell back down to the picture still clutched in her hands. "I-I love her so much that it hurts; but I would rather have this pain than feel nothing for her."

Rei paused then, her face frozen in an expression of deep sorrow. "But..." she continued after a moment, her voice thick, "but Usagi doesn't love me like I love her. She has someone else. The love of *her* life, her true love... her soul mate... her prince... her... destiny…."

Rei swallowed hard as the last word she spoke rang through her, then whatever semblance of control she'd had over her heartache, suddenly failed. She pressed a hand over her face as she started to sob, her heaving body wracked with grief.

Tsubasa didn't know what to do as Rei broke down. He felt like such an insensitive idiot for pushing the girl. Tsubasa awkwardly put an arm around Rei's shoulders to offer some comfort.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pressured you... but, you know, maybe you'll find someone else," he offered as reassuringly as he could manage.

Rei continued to weep uncontrollably, her tears running through her fingers and down the back of her hand. She shook her head. "N-No, there will never be anyone e-else. Usagi was the *only* one... *is* the only one... my only love. Don't you understand? She's the *one*. I thought that I could just forget her, or at least put her behind me, and let her live her life. But I can't. I don't think I ever will forget Usagi... I will love her forever…."

As Rei shared those last four words; she knew them to be true. Rei would never resent Usagi for not loving her the way she desired. She could never ever hate her princess for it, either. Hers was a love that was inextinguishable; it would burn strongly in her heart. Forever.

Tsubasa looked desperately to Sanjuro for help, but the coward was lying on the couch with his eyes closed, pretending to be asleep. Tsubasa looked back at the distraught girl, frantically searching for words to console her with. But he had no words that would give comfort to Rei; no advice that he could give. Sometimes things were just plain bad and there was nothing one could do but simply endure it. It was one of those harsh truths about life.

"I... I don't know what to tell you," he admitted quietly after a few seconds.

"G-Gods... how can I go on like this? I can't take this *every* *single* *day* for the rest of my life. Without her, life is so... it's just too much... th-there's nothing left for me now…." Rei snivelled, her tone filled with hopelessness.

"There *is* something left. You mentioned that you were a fighter on the side of good," Tsubasa argued, not caring if Sanjuro was listening. "You have that. You have people who rely on you to help them, to defend them. Where would I be without you? I would have been killed!"

Rei shook her head vehemently, her tears continuing to fall as she contradicted him, "No, Tsubasa. If I hadn't been there, the attack on y-you wouldn't have happened in the f-first place." Then a depressing comprehension dawned on her like a heavy shroud, the weight of its mantle making her shoulders slump even more. She was a senshi. Her voice took on an edge as she acquiesced, "You're right, Tsubasa, I am a fighter. It's all I have left now. I'll fight, and keep fighting, until there is nothing evil left in this world... or until I'm finally granted death. I have nothing left to lose…." she declared.

Tsubasa didn't like the sound of that.

Rei dropped the hand from her face, took a deep, shuddering breath, and then let it out slowly. She wiped the tears from her face and blew her nose on the tissue Tsubasa handed her.

Tsubasa looked into Rei's red, bloodshot eyes. They weren't sad anymore... they were dull and lifeless; resigned. It was as though the death she had wished to be granted had already laid waste to her on the inside, leaving behind a mere shell that lacked a beating heart or a vibrant soul. It was an unnerving sight.

"I'm going to sleep now," Rei stated, as if nothing had happened. Ignoring Tsubasa, she then climbed under the bed covers and closed her eyes. She never let go of the photo of Usagi.


To be continued.…

Author's ramblings:

Well, I was actually going to write more but I didn't have the time. Besides, this seemed like an okay place to stop. There aren't many chapters left in this Yokohama story arc. As before, I hope the angsty-mushy scene wasn't too cheesy.