Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Back From The Edge ( Chapter 22 )

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


Chapter twenty-two. Well after hiding in a bunker with a shotgun for a while, here is the next chapter. Hehe, I'll try not to screw with your heads anymore, it's just that head screwing is so fun! …That didn't come out right. ^_^;

And besides, you *know* there just has to be Mamoru/Usagi stuff… Usagi does love him after all. She wouldn't just drop the guy like a bad habit and shack up with Rei. How realistic is that? Anyway, I'm back at university and I have to take out my despair on something: so there! ^_^


- Kirika


Chapter 22 - Back From The Edge

Makareus walked with purpose into the National Science Museum located in Taito-ku, his second-in command, Iason, a few steps behind him in deference. The demon had been summoned to the museum by his brother, Thrinakie… a fact that irritated the grey suited man to no end. Why must the fossil always pick these types of places to meet at? The humans had acquired no knowledge that was worth bothering with. Perhaps Makareus' 'dear' brother simply enjoyed being with other fossils, the demon thought bitterly as he passed by the preserved bones of some sort of carnivorous creature, human tourists gawking all around it.

Makareus continued at his brisk pace to the aerospace hall, where his elder brother had said he would be. He spotted the old goat looking at a scaled down model of what appeared to be an interstellar spacecraft. Or an airplane; Makareus wasn't too informed on all facets of human technology. He approached Thrinakie with his right-hand youma behind him. Thrinakie had left his robes and staff behind and was dressed in a brown tweed suit, complete with cane. Makareus wondered if any tourists had mistaken him for a professor at the museum and had asked him questions about the exhibits. The sad thing was that the ancient demon would have probably answered their inquiries… correctly.

"Marvellous… don't you… agree?" Thrinakie wheezed, gesturing with a wrinkled hand at the model.

Makareus merely glanced at Iason with a long-suffering expression on his face. Already the senile fool was grating on Makareus' nerves. Thrinakie was supposed to have great power… so why in all the planes couldn't he do something about his annoying voice?!

"It is… amazing… how far humans… have come… in so short… a time," the old man continued, apparently oblivious of his brother's mood.

"Yes. Amazing," Makareus deadpanned. "Is there a reason why I am here? Or did you just intend to bore me?" He spoke in a disrespectful tone, but frankly the demon didn't care.

If Thrinakie noticed the master of deception's tone, he made no hint of it. "Our sister… has fallen… as well as… Khairephon," he croaked instead.

"Laodameia… is…?" Makareus said in disbelief, his annoyance at Thrinakie forgotten. He had never liked his sister, but to think that she *and* his little brother were no more was too much. Perhaps it was for the best that Makareus had never placed any of his agents in Laodameia's midst; at many points in time he had certainly considered it- the trollop was known to be flighty, but also possessed some degree of craftiness. Or at least, she *had* possessed some.

"Yes… slaughtered… with her youma… there was… one… one… one…" The old man choked like a broken record, trying to force out the rest of his sentence.

"Yes? Yes? YES?!" Makareus cried anxiously in an increasingly loudening voice, about ready to shake the words out of his brother.

"…One… moment," Thrinakie finished, and brought a hand to his mouth as he coughed up some phlegm.

Makareus felt like screaming. He looked up at museum's high ceiling, silently praying to whatever higher power was listening to give him strength to endure these constant annoyances.

"There was… one… survivor… our sister's now former bodyguard…" Thrinakie eventually continued.

"Bodyguard? Rather pathetic bodyguard if what you say is true," Makareus snorted, folding his arms.

Thrinakie nodded. "But she has… informed me… that the Sailor Senshi… are responsible…"

"Well *that* was obvious," Makareus said sarcastically, impatient.

"I have also… learned… that Khairephon is-" Thrinakie started.

Makareus interrupted the wheezing session. "Yes, yes I know, he is dead, what a pity, we all feel the loss," he said quickly, waving a hand dismissively. "Does this mean that your oh-so-wise self will actually be lending a hand in the fight against the Sailor Senshi now?" He raised an expectant eyebrow, his expression dry.

"Yes… I can divine whom… they are… in human… society…" the old goat drawled.

"Why didn't you do this before?!" Makareus yelled, making several tourists turn to look in his direction, some even making shushing motions.

"It is… not… so simple… I need… something of theirs… hair… skin… or something they own…" Thrinakie explained.

Makareus' brow furrowed in contemplation, his older brother's irritating nuances being put aside for the time being. "My youma agents have began to infiltrate schools and universities all over Minato ward, and other nearby wards also. Resources are limited however. We must draw the senshi out and take a piece of their uniforms or something similar… then you can find out who they are, and then I can strike them in the back from the shadows!" The demon smiled gleefully. He would love to see the looks on the Sailors' faces when they went to school, only to find everyone inside dead. Or their families murdered just before they arrived home, the bodies of their loved ones displayed in some macabre fashion. Yes… maybe a warped parody of evening dinner or something equally perverse…

"My youma… are making plans… as we speak…" Thrinakie informed Makareus.

The master of deception nodded absently. "What of the ritual preparations? You know the colossal gate isn't affected by star alignment," he said.

"It is… taking more time… than anticipated… this world does not… have all the components needed… in nature… we must bring them… from the Pandemonium plane… but a civil war has… broken out within Khairephon's armies… for leadership… it is disrupting… things…" Thrinakie reported.

"We should reclaim his and Laodameia's territories and forces before another Lord or Lady does. If any find out that Khairephon and Laodameia have met their demise, they will swamp their planets. They may even attack us, thinking we are weak as merely two," Makareus advised seriously, his sharp mind going over all the possible scenarios that which could threaten his supremacy in his realms.

Thrinakie nodded sagely. "Indeed… we must not… fail here… either… this planet will… give us a foothold… in this dimension… for further conquests…"

Makareus took a deep calming breath, and then straightened his tie, letting the breath out slowly as he did so. "Very well then. I shall take charge of Laodameia's remaining resources and use them and some of my own to quell the uprisings in Khairephon's domain, and reclaim his assets."

"Yes… and I shall get the… necessary components from… the Sailor Senshi… and learn their… identities," Thrinakie said.

"And I shall then prepare the knife in the dark for them…" Makareus sneered.

The demon then nodded to Thrinakie in parting and turned around to leave the museum, Iason at his heels. Of course, a knife in the dark worked well against anyone… even against an arch mage like Makareus' own 'wise' brother…


Rei walked slowly down the footpath towards the Hikawa Jinja. She had just finished her first day back at school, and she was quite exhausted, the lack of any decent sleep the night before wearing her down. Thankfully the Fire Senshi was always popular at the T*A Private Girls' School, and once her classmates had heard what had happened to her, they were even more eager than usual to dote on her. While Rei usually enjoyed being the centre of attention at her school, today she just hadn't been able to muster up any enthusiasm at her classmates' antics. Though that was not surprising, considering the miko's heart was dust inside her chest. And also that she was to spend the rest of her immortal life alone, watching her true and only love with someone else. Other than all that, Rei was just peachy.

Rei shook her head. She had to get out of this cycle of self-pity. It was no way to live her life. And live it the girl would have to do; she still intended to keep her promise to Usagi. Rei was determined to try and get her spirits up somehow; she didn't want her princess sad at seeing her friend miserable for the rest of her existence. Rei sighed deeply. It was easier said than done.

The Fire Senshi kicked a pebble down the footpath, watching it skitter along the pavement and fall down a drain. She wished things could be how they were before: Rei loving Usagi from a distance in secret, the blonde oblivious to her feelings, the two of them bickering over everyday things. Now it was all complicated. Rei wondered what Mamoru would say if he ever found out about her feelings for his soul mate. Maybe the hentai would get off on it.

Rei clamped down on the thought. She had decided that she would try to control her anger from now on. The miko didn't want Usagi to be frightened of her. Rei was aware that the blonde was right when she had said that the Senshi of Fire had changed since coming back from Yokohama. It was like she was always angry. Not a furious hot uncontrollable fiery rage, but more of a cold and vicious flame. Rei felt like lashing out at anyone who even looked at her the wrong way. She knew that wasn't how she used to be. The miko had always had a temper, yes, but it was never this… brutal. While what Rei did to Minako was done with Laodameia's mental instigation, the Fire Senshi knew that the potential for such violence had already been inside her… it had just been awakened. And she didn't want the darkness to ever wake again.

With Rei lost in her introspective thoughts, she didn't realise that someone was waiting at the bottom of the shrine's steps until she was nearly there. The miko raised her head from the ground, and saw that Usagi was sitting on the bottom steps, still in her school uniform. As Rei approached, the blonde noticed her and got to her feet.

"Uh, hi, Rei!" Usagi said somewhat cheerfully, smiling a little skittishly.

"Hi…" replied Rei, with a lot less enthusiasm. "Where are Ami and Makoto?"

"Well, I thought we could go see Minako and Michiru today, just by ourselves," Usagi explained. "I think Ami and Makoto would appreciate the 'alone' time anyway…" She then paused in mid breath, as if realising that their two friends' relationship could be a reminder of what Rei and her would never have.

Rei fought back the despair that threatened to overwhelm her. "Right… I need to apologise to Minako anyway," she said softly.

"I'm sure she'll forgive you, it wasn't your fault what happened," Usagi said sincerely, attempting to reassure her friend, "Ami told me that she is back to her old self again."

Rei was going to merely nod, but then remembered she was trying to be more 'happy'. "That's great," she said with a forced smile, "I'm sure she'll forgive me too."

"Yeah!" Usagi grinned, obviously glad that Rei was showing some signs of life, "That's the spirit! Luna told me which hospital Minako is staying at but it's different from Michiru's. It'll take a while to visit both of them."

Rei inclined her head in acceptance. "Alright. Let me just put my book bag away, and then we'll go, okay?"

Usagi bobbed her head eagerly while grinning happily. Rei gave a small, subdued smile in return.


When Rei and Usagi entered Minako's room at the hospital she was recovering at, they saw the Senshi of Love lying on her stomach on her bed, stuffing red jello into her mouth while watching TV.

"I think that's a sign she's getting better," Usagi commented.

Rei didn't reply. The miko just stared at her prone friend's back. While Minako was wearing a pale green hospital gown, Rei could visualise the horrific burns marring her back. The raven-haired girl slowly moved her eyes to the injured senshi's throat and took in the putrid yellow bruises circling it. Rei shut her eyes, blocking out the images.

Minako pried her gaze away from the television screen to the newcomers. "Usagi! Rei! You came to see me!" she squealed in delight, putting down her bowl of jello.

"Yep! We had to make sure you were back to normal," Usagi said.

Minako smiled and turned her head to look at Rei, only to find the girl with her eyes tightly closed.

"Hey, the bruises aren't *that* ugly are they?" she joked.

The joke only served to further hammer what Rei had done to her friend harder in her mind. It didn't help that Minako looked so much like the Fire Senshi's princess. If Usagi let her hair out of those odangos, they could pass as sisters, if not spitting images of one another. At one point before Rei left Tokyo, she had even considered pursuing a romantic relationship with the Senshi of Love because of her similarity to Usagi. Both girls shared nearly identical physical characteristics and also many of the personality traits that Rei so loved about her princess. But it would be a lie. Minako would only be a replacement, a substitute for the real thing. And Rei couldn't use her friend like that. At least, that's what the miko had reasoned before she had 'died'. Now that Usagi had crushed all hope of ever returning her feelings, maybe Rei should give it a try with Minako. She wasn't sure if the Senshi of Love had the same sexual preference that she had, but it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot. Minako apparently already knew of her love for Usagi, so it wouldn't be a shock to her, or freak her out, since she, as all the senshi did, accepted Haruka and Michiru, and for that matter, Ami and Makoto also.

Rei opened her eyes and met Minako's gaze. "I-I'm sorry for what I did… I know I wasn't totally in control of myself, but it's no excuse…" she said humbly and honestly, finding it hard to keep her eyes on her injured friend's own.

Minako grinned and preformed some semblance of a shrug lying on the bed. "Hey, I scorched your back, didn't I? So we're even. I'll let the throttling slide," she smirked.

"I nearly killed you…" Rei whispered.

Minako preformed her shrug again. "It wasn't your fault, it was that horrible woman, Laodameia. She brainwashed me completely with that mind thing of hers." The blonde then grimaced, dropping her gaze to the bed sheets. "Eeew, I can't believe the things she made me do… maybe it would have been better if I forgot everything, but I guess it could have been worse," she said, giving a shiver.

"Yeah… I could have killed you," Rei said quietly.

Minako sighed, and returned her eyes to the Fire Senshi's. "You stop that, Rei. It wasn't your fault, okay? I attacked you; you had a right to defend yourself."

"But I used lethal force," Rei argued.

"At Laodameia's suggestion, just like I did. I don't blame you, Rei, and I forgive you if you forgive me for hurting you," Minako said seriously.

Rei swallowed the lump that was beginning to form in her throat. Yes, Minako was so much like her princess. Rei smiled tremulously and nodded to the Senshi of Love, accepting her terms. Minako beamed a smile at Rei in return. The Fire Senshi turned her head to look at Usagi, only to find the blonde odango atama smiling brightly at her. No… Minako could never replace Usagi. Usagi was a unique soul that no one could ever compare to. Rei mentally chastised herself for even considering the possibility. Had she become that desperate? Rei's heart may be dust blowing in the wind now, but the love for her princess would still never die. The raven-haired girl felt her resolve strengthen inside her. She would always be alone; no one would ever replace Usagi; she had to except that fact. But Rei was still friends with her, still best friends hopefully. And she was resolved to fulfil that role to the best of her ability, just like she would never falter when protecting her true love from danger. Oddly, acknowledging these facts made Rei feel a little better.

"Now, tell me all about your adventures! I may have been brainwashed, but I could still tell when my supposedly dead friend just shows up at the right time!" Minako said eagerly.

Rei smirked a little, some of her old bravado coming back. "Well, Heaven wouldn't have me and Hell couldn't hold me," she said, more life coming back to her dark amethyst eyes.

Minako let out a laugh at Rei's use of such clichéd line. The miko glanced at Usagi when she heard the blonde join in on the laugh, pleased to see her happy. Perhaps her… fate, wasn't so bad. Perhaps merely the reflected light from the brilliance that was Usagi would be enough for Rei to survive. Rei's heart may be dead and gone, but her soul was still intact. Friendship… would it be enough? And as the three friends talked and laughed together, Rei thought that maybe, just maybe, it would be.


It was late in the evening by the time Rei and Usagi left the hospital Minako was at, much to the blonde odango atama's disappointment. It would mean that they would have to forgo visiting Michiru today and do it tomorrow instead. Rei was actually pleased by this fact; it would mean that she would spend more time with Usagi. Initially Rei had believed that the mere sight of her only love would have been enough to destroy her, the memory of Usagi's rejection coming up each and every time they were together. And although it still hurt, Rei thought that maybe she could bear the pain. Going through life wishing for what could never be was not living. It would take time, maybe years even, but Rei would find a way to let her princess go. Even though that thought threatened to bring tears to her eyes, she knew she would have to let Usagi go if she wanted to go on in life. Rei would always love the girl, that would never ever change and no one would replace her, but she had to do it if not for her own sanity then for Usagi's sake. If the blonde saw Rei moping about day in day out, Usagi would blame herself and be devastated that she couldn't help her friend. It would be torture beyond compare, but Rei would succeed. She was doing it for her princess, and nothing would stop her from doing a task in her princess's name.

Rei turned to Usagi as they neared the Hikawa Jinja. "I had a nice time today, Usagi," she said, a small smile appearing on her face.

Usagi smiled back, though hers was slightly larger. "Me too, Rei. I'm glad we can still do things like this… and I'm glad everything is okay between you and Minako. I hope her parents buy that lame kidnapping story."

The blonde paused for a second, as if an idea had just dawned on her. "You know, Minako doesn't have a boyfriend," she remarked thoughtfully, "maybe… maybe you and her could, er, you know…" She trailed off and blushed.

Rei stood up on the first step of the shrine's staircase and twirled around on one foot to face Usagi. She smirked as she looked down from her perch to her princess.

"The thought had crossed my mind, odango atama," Rei said, "except for one problem: she couldn't compare."

Rei turned around and began to climb up the shrine's many steps. "I'll see you tomorrow, Usagi," she called out, her back still to her friend.

When the miko reached the halfway point of the Hikawa Jinja's steps, she felt the calling deep inside of her somewhat gain in strength. Rei was beginning to wonder if the fight with Khairephon had permanently affected her somehow. The Fire Senshi stopped and turned back to where Usagi had been standing. She was mildly surprised to see that the girl was still there. When Usagi realised that Rei was looking at her, she flinched and then abruptly waved wildly at her.

"See ya tomorrow, Rei!" she shouted cheerfully.

Rei found herself involuntarily waving back, though with much less gusto. Her princess was so cute. Rei would let Usagi go tomorrow, the decision sounding hollow in the miko's mind as she waved goodbye to her true love. Yes, tomorrow.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

Bunnicula03, you read my mind on the Minako stuff. ^_^

And since you are all probably from America, I took the liberty to use the word 'jello' rather than 'jelly' like I normally would. I'll probably use 'mom' instead of 'mum' also. Don't say I never did anything for you. ^_~