Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Bodyguards ( Chapter 21 )

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


Chapter twenty-one. Hmm. Questions to answer. You can always tell the Mamoru/Usagi fans from the Rei/Usagi ones ^_^.

Firstly to address Rei's less than friendly feelings towards Mamoru. It was mentioned that she should be happy that Usagi was happy, similar to Tomoyo in CCS. I'm pretty sure I said something about that in the story, but never mind. Tomoyo is the perfect friend; she never has a bad thing to say about anyone or anything. She's just niceness incarnate. Rei is not niceness incarnate. She -should- be happy her special person is happy with someone else… it works in theory, and is the honourable thing to do, but trust me, it's absolutely painful in practice. And besides, I'm sure I made it obvious that Rei's mental state was slowly going into the toilet. If not, I'll try harder.

Next, Rei and Usagi never being together, and that Usagi loves Mamoru. True, she does love Mamoru and I hope I emphasized that in the story. I tried not to bash Mamoru too much either and paint him in a decent light… hope I succeeded. But that's no reason Rei/Usagi can't work. Sure, destiny says U+M will be together… but if that was completely and utterly certain, Usagi and Mamoru could go into each and every fight and -know- they will survive and win the day. Why? Because of destiny, and the future being already written, saying that they would survive and create Chibi-Usa and live together in Crystal Tokyo. LOL how boring ^_^. Speaking of Chibi-Usa, who says she is doomed if Usagi and Mamoru break up? There are plenty of ways to get around this… none of which I'll mention here ^_^. Also, in love triangles, someone always gets hurt. Fact of life. And finally, what greater battle is there than against destiny, what greater fight than against the predetermined future? It may seem hopeless, impossible… but those are the battles I like best, and why I chose to write a Rei/Usagi story. And besides, I never said it would turn out happy for Rei… but then I never said anything about how it would end either. Take that how you wish. ^_^

Hmm. That took a while.


- Kirika


Chapter 21 - Bodyguards

Aiaia rested her head back on the hard stiff backed chair she was slumped on, Kolkhis hovering over her with a ornate paintbrush while muttering incomprehensible phrases, occasionally brushing her nearly completely unadorned armour with different coloured paints that no doubt contained some sort of magical power. But Aiaia ignored him and merely stared into space, only distantly aware of the mouldy books stacked high in the cramped room around her. The armoured youma's body still hurt all over but she was alive, the healing symbols on her enchanted metal suit slowly treating her wounds. The fall from her late mistress's hotel room had nearly killed Aiaia, but the rune-covered armour Thrinakie had gifted Lady Laodameia with coupled with the strong defensive magics weaved into it had protected the youma from the majority of the damage she had received. The armour-plated suit had been crafted specifically for Aiaia by her mistress's magically inclined older sibling when the youma had been appointed Lady Laodameia's head bodyguard and personal assistant. But Aiaia had failed in her duty.

"You're the only one left of hers now," Kolkhis said offhandedly, taking a break from replacing and re-enchanting the runes on Aiaia's armour. "Too bad about what happened… Laodameia was kinda hot." He gazed off into the distance, probably imagining doing repulsive things to Aiaia's mistress.

The white-haired youma flicked her eyes to the mage and glared. Kolkhis seemed to realise what he had said and became flustered, aware of Aiaia's feelings for the late Lady Laodameia. He fidgeted nervously and nearly dropped his paintbrush.

"Err… what I meant was, with Lady Laodameia and Lord Khairephon… gone, all their followers back in Pandemonium will probably desert. I guess some will be absorbed by my master's and Lord Makareus' armies, but you're effectively the only one left of Lady Laodameia's," Kolkhis hastily clarified.

The only one left. Aiaia was the only youma left of her Lady's. The only one left to avenge her!

"You can always join up with me," Kolkhis suggested cheerfully, beginning to paint another protection of fire ward on Aiaia's rune armour, "Lord Thrinakie is a good master, you know."

"Maybe…" Aiaia replied coldly and noncommittally. She wanted to get revenge on her mistress's behalf first and foremost.

"And now that Lady Laodameia is, umm… no longer with us, Lord Thrinakie has deemed it necessary for us to engage the Sailor Senshi. I must say; I'm not very eager to meet them…" Kolkhis paused in drawing the symbol on Aiaia's armour and swallowed nervously. He had always been a coward when it came to battle.

Aiaia considered his words. She wanted the Sailor Senshi dead for what they had done to her mistress, but with Thrinakie's youma behind her she would stand a better chance obtaining her vengeance. Aiaia couldn't die before she had avenged Lady Laodameia, her love. But she would crush the life out of three specific Sailor Senshi with her bare hands- she would make sure that none of Thrinakie's spellcasters would dare deny her the pleasure… and the right.


It was very late at night by the time Rei and Usagi arrived at the Hikawa Jinja. All the way there, both girls were quiet, neither even glancing at the other. Rei's numerous cuts had all stopped bleeding, the chilly night air drying the blood and sealing the slashes. The miko had offered Usagi her long coat, since the girl was obviously cold, but the blonde had declined.

As the pair walked up the shrine's many steps, Rei became more and more depressed. It was strange how you could be surfing cloud nine one minute, and come crashing down to Earth the next. Rei kept thinking that maybe she had done something to cause Usagi to avoid her kiss, but for the life of her she couldn't come up with any valid reason. Except… except that Usagi was disgusted with the idea of sharing a kiss with her. The first time they had kissed had been at the Fire Senshi's instigation, and had probably caught Usagi off guard causing her to just go along with it. Maybe she was actually repulsed at the thought of kissing another girl.

Rei sighed as she and Usagi entered her room. The miko took off her coat, revealing bloodstained clothes beneath, and then threw it over a chair. The Senshi of Fire was used to being in a constant dull pain by now, either physically or mentally. Usagi stood in the doorway of Rei's bedroom, not looking sure what to do. Rei let out another sigh.

"You don't need to stay, I can take care of myself," she said tiredly.

Usagi seemed to consider this for a second, but then shook her head.

"It's okay. I'll, uh… run you a b-bath," she stuttered, then abruptly turned around and headed towards the bathroom.

Rei watched her princess go. The miko then wandered over to her dressing table and leaned against it on both her hands, staring at her reflection in the attached mirror. A worn out looking girl stared back at her with haunted lavender eyes, dark rings under them. No wonder Usagi didn't want to kiss her; she wasn't very pretty. Rei leaned forward more and rested her forehead on the smooth glass of the mirror, closing her eyes. The girl idly noted that she had to go to school tomorrow. She was going to be exhausted. But Rei could always catch up on lost sleep in class… she could make up some excuse that recovering from the 'amnesia' caused it if she were caught.

School… who cared about school anyway? That was the last thing Rei was worried about; she was just trying to avoid the situation. Usagi had rejected her. The blonde hadn't said anything as such, but she may as well have. Rei had known that her love for her princess would never be returned, but recently there had always been a minute glimmer of hope buried deep inside her that said there was a chance. To have that hope snuffed out completely was excruciatingly painful. Rei breathed out slowly, clouding the surface of her mirror. At least it seemed that they were still friends. It was better than nothing; going on in life without some sort of relationship with her only love would be a nightmare. Going on in life… Rei guessed that she had made her choice.


Usagi's voice woke up the Fire Senshi from her thoughts. She opened her eyes and stood upright, turning to face her friend.

"The bath's ready," the blonde said quietly.

Rei merely nodded and followed Usagi to the bathroom.


Rei was aware of Usagi's eyes on her as she began to remove her clothes carefully, not wanting to disturb any injuries. A light blush graced the miko's cheeks as it dawned on her that she was stripping in front of her princess. Rei spared a circumspect glance at Usagi, and saw that she was now looking away from her, blushing also. Rei smiled sadly. She looked so cute.

Once Rei was down to her underwear, she started to unwrap her bandaged body but hesitated, pausing with a strip of the white cloth held in one hand. Usagi was already sickened by the Fire Senshi; seeing her scarred, half-healed appearance would be enough to send her running.

"Does it hurt?" Usagi asked, noticing Rei's uncertainty. "Do you want me to help?"

Rei shook her head, not looking at the girl. "It doesn't hurt," she whispered.

The miko resumed unwrapping her bandages, her eyes tightening in pain when some of the cloth would stick stubbornly to the blood incrusted wounds. As Rei removed the bandages, she could hear Usagi's sharp intake of breath at the sight of the many hideous cuts and bruises that decorated her battle-weary body. The wounds would heal in time, not even leaving any permanent scars due to Sailor Senshi healing, but Rei had never felt more self-conscious than she did now. Once she was finished, the Senshi of Fire raised her arms slightly as if to hug herself and hide how ugly she had become. Rei risked a sideways glance at Usagi, to gauge how horrified and revolted she was.

Her princess gazed at her ruined body with misty eyes, taking in the price of combat. "Rei… I didn't think they would be this bad…" Usagi whispered.

Rei gave a small half-smile without humour. So, she was more repulsive than Usagi had thought she would have been. "Yeah… some youma in Yokohama got a few lucky shots in," she murmured morosely. But no youma had hurt her as much as her true love had.

Rei let the stray thought leave her mind. Despite how much pain her love for Usagi caused her, she wouldn't stop feeling how she did about her princess.

The Fire Senshi flinched as she felt Usagi touch the outline of the old stab wound in her side, causing the blonde to pull back her hand quickly.

"Oh! Did I hurt you?" she squeaked in concern.

"N-No, it's just that… I thought now that you've seen… what I look like, that you wouldn't want to… touch me anymore…" Rei explained haltingly, feeling more vulnerable than ever.

"Rei…" Usagi sighed, "why would you think a thing like th- oh…" Her words trailed off as memory of the rejected kiss came back to her.

The pair stood on the bathroom tiles together in silence. After a moment, Usagi looked at the cooling bathwater. "You should get in the bath before it gets cold," she suggested, changing the subject.

Rei simply nodded and reached behind herself to take off her bra. She stopped, blushing, and looked at Usagi, then at the bubble-free bathwater and then back at Usagi again. The blonde blinked at Rei for a second in confusion and then turned beet red. She swallowed nervously before putting on a smile.

"You've n-nothing I haven't seen before," Usagi stammered, despite the fact that she was aware that circumstances had changed between them and that she wouldn't just look at Rei's body in merely friendly appraisal anymore.

Rei gathered her courage and removed her underwear, then carefully stepped into the tub and sat down in the soothing water. She sighed deeply and ignored the needles of pain that the hot water caused in her exposed lacerations. Rei relaxed gingerly back in the tub, trying not to disturb the burns and slashes on her back. She tilted her head back, wetting her hair, and then closed her eyes. The Fire Senshi could practically feel Usagi's eyes all over her exposed figure, committing every detail to memory. Rei wondered how long she had held out not looking for. It was almost enough to make the miko grin in amusement. Almost.

Rei heard her princess kneel beside the bathtub. There was a rattling as Usagi grabbed something followed by a squirting sound. Rei cracked open her eyes and looked at the blonde odango atama. Usagi met her gaze nervously. She was holding a bottle of shampoo.

"I should, uh…" Usagi mumbled, gesturing with the shampoo at Rei. "It's why I'm here after all, right? Well, not to wash your hair but to, you know," she babbled in a falsely cheerful voice, waving with one hand at Rei's scarred body.

The Senshi of Fire just nodded and sat up, before shutting her eyes once more. She heard the squirting sound again and then felt hands in her hair, rubbing the raven locks gently. As Usagi massaged her scalp, Rei let her mind drift and her muscles relax, enjoying the sensation. It was probably the only time her princess would do something like this for her, and the miko intended to remember and take pleasure in ever second of the experience.

Neither spoke as Usagi finished washing Rei's hair and then rinsed it, before she proceeded to pick up a washcloth. She squeezed some liquid soap on the material and began to do the task she had come here with her friend for. Usagi delicately cleaned her bodyguard's rips and stabs, washing away the caked blood and grime. Rei held back a groan as Usagi started to massage her right shoulder, the joint having been dislocated before. She felt the stiffness leave her shoulder as her princess worked on it firmly yet carefully. The blonde then moved on to her old stab wound, paying extra special attention and care to the grievous injury.

"You should have got stitches…" she murmured absently as she washed.

Rei said nothing and continued to delight in Usagi's healing touch.

The bathwater was getting somewhat cold by the time Usagi finished cleaning all of Rei's wounds, and the miko was starting to feel the chill. The blonde odango atama, who had seemed to become more comfortable with the Fire Senshi's naked form, gestured for the girl to rise and get out of the tub. Rei obeyed her princess, and Usagi draped a fluffy towel around the girl's shoulders and then started to dry her raven hair with another towel. Once finished, Usagi wrapped Rei's hair up in a towel on top of her head, and picked up the second towel around her best friend's shoulders. Rei idly wondered why her princess never suggested that she dry herself, but the thought was quickly banished when Usagi started to lovingly dry her body, the blonde's cheeks graced with a pink hue all the while. The miko blushed furiously as her princess moved on to more sensitive areas, and she desperately tried to keep the ecchi thoughts out of her mind, only partially succeeding.

Once the pleasurable ordeal was over, Usagi wrapped a towel around Rei and took her hand in one of her own. Rei swallowed hard as her princess led her back to the bedroom, causing the Senshi of Fire's ecchi thoughts to flare up again. Usagi sat Rei down on the futon and walked over to the medical supplies that were spread out all over the top of the miko's dresser. She grabbed a bundle of bandages and medical pads, and also a bottle of burn ointment. Usagi returned to Rei's side and dumped the medical supplies on the floor near her, and then sat beside the wounded girl somewhat breathlessly, her cheeks still pink. The blonde odango atama casually pulled off Rei's towel, but being careful not to aggravate the Fire Senshi's unprotected wounds. Rei blushed again as she was suddenly exposed once more. Usagi picked up the bandages and medical pads, and proceeded to treat all of her bodyguard's gashes and stabs, delicately and tenderly dressing the wounds.

"Lie on your stomach," Usagi whispered once she was done with the bandaging.

Rei gulped but nodded and complied with her princess's order. Her senses were all overloaded, and she didn't know what was going on. Rei had thought Usagi didn't have any romantic feelings towards her, that she would be disgusted to even consider the possibility. Hadn't Usagi drawn away from her kiss? It was possible all this was just a friendly gesture, but Rei knew that was quite a stretch. The raven-haired girl was totally confused, but definitely wasn't complaining. She felt the glimmer of hope inside her revive, giving her something to hold on to and pray for. Rei noted that the odd calling deep inside her that had appeared in the confrontation with Khairephon had increased in its intensity, becoming even more apparent that it was hard to ignore.

Rei continued to blush like fury as she lay face down on her futon, acutely aware that Usagi could probably see *everything*. Why the hell hadn't Rei covered herself?! Why hadn't *Usagi* covered her?! The burns were only on the miko's back!

The flustered senshi twitched as she felt a cold and wet substance land on her back. After a moment, she felt Usagi's warm, soft, smooth hands join the substance and begin rubbing it gently into her Crescent Beam burn. A groan escaped Rei's mouth as her princess increased the pressure of her rubbing and moved away from the burn, beginning to give the Fire Senshi a deep and relaxing massage, turning her muscles to goo. The miko moaned in ecstasy as Usagi continued, the blonde starting to hum happily. Rei prayed that Yuuichirou and her Grandpa were sleeping like logs.

Suddenly Usagi stopped humming and Rei felt her love's hands abruptly leave her back. She glanced over her shoulder at her princess, and saw a look of total shock and mortification on her face. As Rei watched on, Usagi's face got redder and redder, so much so that the miko thought she was going to spontaneously combust on the spot. Usagi looked at Rei's naked form with bugged out eyes as if just realising that the girl was indeed bare to the world.

"What… what am I doing?!" she cried. "No… no, no, no, no, no. I shouldn't be doing this! I'm with Mamoru!" She leapt to her feet, backing away from Rei in horror. "I'm with Mamoru!" Usagi repeated vehemently. "I love him, you know! I don't- I don't like girls like that! I-I'm sorry Rei, but- but I should get outa here!" she babbled half incoherently and turned hastily away from Rei, shutting her eyes tight, most likely trying to dispel the view of her best friend's nude body from her mind.

Before her princess fled the room, Rei quickly sat up and called out to her desperately. "Wait! Please, Usagi, wait! We have to talk! We still haven't yet, please stay!"

Usagi shook her head emphatically, her back still to the miko. "I can't, I, uh… have school tomorrow at it's really late already, so I should go." She started to bolt towards the door.

Rei reacted on reflex and moved like quicksilver, grabbing Usagi's wrist before she could run away, grabbing on to that glimmer of hope.

"Gah! Let go, Rei!" Usagi wailed frantically, pulling at her arm like the Fire Senshi was a rabid wolf.

"NO!" Rei yelled, causing her princess to cease her struggling and look at the raven-haired girl warily. "I can't take this anymore, you can't just tease me like this then run away! We *have* to talk about what happened, damn it!"

Usagi recoiled as Rei shouted, appearing frightened. "Okay," she said meekly, looking down at the floor.

Rei blinked at the blonde and then released her grasp on the girl. "Good," she said in a much softer tone.

"Could you at least put some clothes on?" Usagi asked timidly.

Rei looked down at herself, just realising that she was still in her birthday suit. She glanced at Usagi, making sure she wouldn't take off, then walked to her wardrobe and pulled out a dressing gown, putting it on.

Rei let out a fatigued sigh as she sat on her futon, indicating that Usagi should sit next to her with a pat of her hand on it. The blonde girl hesitated for a second, but then reluctantly complied. They both sat in silence for a while, both lost in their own thoughts of what to say. Inwardly, Rei cursed. She hadn't wanted this to happen, really. Even though she had hoped that Usagi would return her feelings one day, she had also hoped that her princess would never find out about them. It complicated things. Rei was forcing her true love into a position where she would have to choose between her best friend and Mamoru. She had sworn she wouldn't do that to Usagi, but nevertheless, here they were. In truth, Rei knew that it had to lead to this point. If her princess hadn't kissed her back at the Rihga Royal Hotel, the Fire Senshi would have certainly self-destructed by now.

"Usagi…" Rei started awkwardly, "you know how I feel now… even though I haven't said the words. I never intended to ever let you find out but… it just got… too painful to hold in anymore. What I did to- to Minako was just the last straw on a whole lot of things that's happened to me. I just… cracked.

"But then you came and you saved me, you let me kiss you," Rei went on, "and I thought it meant something to you, at least, it felt like it did… but then afterwards… and then Mamoru… it hurt…" She trailed off, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

Rei closed her mouth, not knowing what else to say. Not that she could continue anyway. She swallowed the lump forming in her throat. Usagi remained quiet, fidgeting with a leftover bandage on the futon. Finally, she spoke.

"I care about you, Rei," Usagi said quietly, "you're my best friend… when I lost you, it was terrible, I had never been more miserable… but then you came back, and it was if I was given a second chance. I was so happy, but… you were, *are*, different. At first I thought it was only my imagination, but it's not, and the others notice it too."

Rei said nothing and simply stared at the wooden floorboards in front on her, waiting for Usagi to continue.

"After Minako… I realised. I heard the things you said and overheard what you asked Ami. And this morning, at my house, when you woke me up… there were other, little things, too I noticed. Glances, touches, things like that. I'm not the total ditz you think I am, I can see the signs and add two and two together. But after what happened in the hotel, that's when I knew what was bothering you…"

Usagi paused. Rei knew what was coming now. She steeled herself for the blow.

"But…" Usagi continued, and Rei closed her eyes tightly, "I love Mamoru. I always will, we are meant to be. I care about you, Rei, I really do, please believe me, but not… that, way. The things we did… I just got carried away, I wasn't thinking clearly… I just liked taking care of you for once. I'm so sorry, Rei, please don't hate me, I'll always be your friend… don't do anything rash, please…" The Fire Senshi heard her princess start to cry.

Rei remained where she was with her head down and her eyes shut. So there it was, completely spelled out for her. There was no mistake, no misunderstanding; this was it. It was so… final. Rei felt her heart crumble to dust. She wanted to burn something.

"You'll find someone else, Rei, I know you will… you're very beautiful, I'm sure there are plenty of guys, ah, girls that will jump at the chance to be with you," Usagi tried to console the miko.

"I only want one girl," Rei stated, somewhat coldly.

Usagi was quiet for a moment, before she spoke once again. "I-I'm sorry… I don't love you, I love Mamoru… you know we are to be together forever; it's our destiny…"

There was that word again, destiny. Rei was really sick of that word. If Usagi said 'fate' next the Senshi of Fire was going to scream.

"Please, Rei, don't do anything you'll regret. You weren't like this before; you're not the same since you came back. You used to have more compassion; you used to be… nicer, even if you were cranky sometimes. You… scare me…"

Rei swallowed and opened her eyes. No tears fell. "I know I scare you… but you shouldn't be scared, I'll never hurt you, no matter what. I still have a duty to you princess, and I intend to perform it."

Usagi nodded apprehensively, tears rolling down her cheeks. "O-Okay… I-I'm really sorry, Rei… w-we're still friends, aren't we?"

Rei turned to look at her sobbing princess, seeing her distraught expression. The miko was back to square one; nothing had changed. No, that wasn't true, some things had changed. All hope inside her had died. Whatever friendship she had now with Usagi would be affected, implications being read into every small touch and look she shared with the girl. But you took what you could get.

Rei gave a forced smile. "Sure we are, if you still want to be," she said, trying to put some enthusiasm in her voice for Usagi's sake.

Usagi smiled broadly at her friend. "Oh, thank you, Rei! I'm so glad!" she gushed.

The blonde girl reached out to hug Rei, but the raven-haired miko drew back. Usagi's face fell.

"I… just need some time… could you leave?" Rei requested quietly. "I'll see you tomorrow, all right?" She smiled thinly.

Usagi nodded slowly at her, looking crest-fallen. "S-Sure… I'll… see you…"

Rei returned her gaze to the floor as Usagi left her bedroom. In many ways this Hell was far worse than the previous one she had experienced in Yokohama. But at least she still had Usagi's friendship. She would have to live off that. Rei continued to stare at the floor, as if mentally trying to burn a hole through it. It was strange, she felt the pain, but the tears wouldn't come. Maybe she had run out.

With Rei buried in self-pity, she never saw the last glance her princess gave her before departing.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

I bet when you all got to the happy happy section you thought everything was going to be fine *laughs evilly*