Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Warning/Sharpened Knives ( Chapter 26 )

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


Chapter twenty-six. I'm deliberately not doing any parts from Usagi's POV yet. It would reveal too much. And I hope you all don't think it's all good for Rei now. Like *that* would ever happen…

And if by some impossible impossibility you haven't already guessed, Rei is my favourite BSSM character, followed by Usagi at a close second.

I couldn't update yesterday, had too much stuff to do. Namely university stuff.


- Kirika


Chapter 26 - Warning/Sharpened Knives

Lachonius limped into Lord Thrinakie's personal library that doubled also as a research laboratory, attempting to keep his pulverised arm as still as possible. But despite his efforts each step jarred the broken limb agonisingly. His left leg meanwhile, was numb from the knee down, the calf and foot encased in solid ice. The youma hobbled across the dark polished wooden floor towards his master, using his elaborately twisted staff to support himself. Lachonius' dripping rain-drenched robes left a watery trail in his wake. What a disaster the attack had turned out to be. Aiaia had led all the youma to their deaths, the former bodyguard hell-bent on vengeance for her departed Lady. But, Lachonius, ever the survivor, had escaped with his life using a shadow gate spell *and* had succeeded in the original mission. The idiot Sailor Senshi had no idea the 'door' he had used to escape was merely an illusion, simply rendering the youma invisible when he had stepped through and allowing him to flee unchallenged. Thankfully, no one had noticed his footprints in the wet sand while he was stumbling away.

Lord Thrinakie turned and then sighed deeply as he saw the condition his youma was in. Lachonius' master was in his human form, dressed in heavy dark purple robes decorated with multitudes of differently coloured arcane symbols, and though only a handful the youma recognised, each one no doubt had magical significance. The arch mage also had on a high-collared burgundy cloak, the bottom edge of the material graced with a black and white pattern that boggled the mind to look at- it was some kind of optical illusion. As per usual, Lord Thrinakie was carrying a gnarled wooden staff that appeared to serve no purpose other than to be used as walking stick. Lachonius knew that the staff had to contain some sort of hidden power inside of it.

"Your report…?" Lord Thrinakie wheezed, a bushy grey eyebrow arching slightly.

"Lady Laodameia's former pet led us to folly," Lachonius said, his voice cracking somewhat due to the pain of his injures. The youma came to a halt in front of Lord Thrinakie and put all of his weight on his twisted staff. "But *I* was successful in the quest."

The youma balanced on his good leg and let his staff rest against his body as he fished inside one of the sleeves of his dark red robe, being careful not to disturb his shattered arm. Lachonius pulled out a lock of blonde hair with two of his blistered fingers delicately.

"This is from one of the Sailor Senshi," he explained, holding out his prize to his master.

Lord Thrinakie reverently took the hair in his withered, bony fingers. Slowly, a grin spread over his leathery face, creating more crevices and revealing black rotted teeth.

"Yes… this will do… nicely," the demon rasped.

The hunched man raised the lock of hair to his nose and inhaled its fragrance. Lord Thrinakie's grin grew a little broader and took on a sinister appearance. He then gave a start as if just realising his youma was still standing before him.

"Go… be healed… then inform Kolkhis of the… details of the attack… get him to tell Lord Makareus to prepare… his assassins…" the demon ordered, before returning his gaze to the blonde hair held between his fingers.

Lachonius bowed as best he could in his injured condition, and then proceeded to limp back the way he had come. The Sailor Senshi who had broken his arm was going to die, and soon. The youma saw how hurt she had been; there was no chance she would be able to defend herself. Lachonius smiled with satisfaction beneath his cowl. The youma's thoughts were suddenly interrupted when Lord Thrinakie called out to him.

"And do not… trail water… in my library," the arch mage added acidly.

Lachonius considered arguing that it had been raining and his leg was a melting ice cube, but instead he simply turned around slightly and nodded in deference to the demon. Lachonius was just a scholar, a seeker of knowledge; he wasn't cut out for this kind of treatment. With a pain-wracked sigh, the youma made his way out of the library.


Rei was anxiously sitting up in her hospital bed, checking the clock on the wall every few seconds. School would be out soon, and the Fire Senshi was eager to see Usagi again. Earlier today, Ami had visited Rei, the blue-haired girl having taken the day off school to stay with Makoto. This had mildly surprised Rei, with Ami being such an advocate for education, but she supposed that when your girlfriend was nearly killed your priorities do tend to shift. Makoto had come out of surgery all right, but still hadn't woken up yet. Ami had been understandably shaken by events and had wanted someone to talk to. The genius had started to tell Rei specifically what her lover's injuries were but shortly after had begun to cry and was unable continue. Makoto would obviously be out of action for some time. Rei had done her best to comfort her friend, but all of the miko's words of reassurance were hollow; she had no idea if Makoto would be able to recover completely.

Haruka had also visited the Senshi of Fire, the blonde struggling into her room in a dressing gown and using a crutch, wheeling her IV drip stand behind her. Haruka had appeared pretty beaten up, but no more than Rei had been many times before. The miko surmised that the Outer Senshi would be fine in a few days time. The visit wasn't only to see how Rei was doing however; apparently the nurses were peeved at Haruka for constantly sneaking out of her room to see Michiru, since the blonde should have been resting instead, so she had needed a place to hide for a while before attempting to see her lover again. Rei didn't blame her; if Usagi was somewhere in this hospital the raven-haired girl would have found a way to see her princess no matter how wounded she was and no matter what anybody said.

Rei's Grandpa had come along in the morning to see his granddaughter and had left Yuuichirou in charge of the Hikawa Jinja, an action Rei had questioned the wisdom of. Rei was certain that as soon as Yuuichirou could get away from the shrine, he would come storming into her room to see if she was all right. She wasn't really looking forward to it; the miko was sure he would ask her to marry him or something so that he could protect her. Usagi had fed Rei's Grandpa some flimsy story as promised to do with muggers and a spur-of-the moment late night study session. By some miracle, the Fire Senshi's Grandpa had seemed to buy the tall tale. Usagi had also apparently said that Rei and her friends had broken out their martial art skills to beat off the muggers, which prompted the miko's Grandpa to give a long and boring lecture on only fighting in self-defence and that the girl should have given up all her valuables instead of trying to be a hero. Rei was going to have a 'word' with her princess about all this, although in retrospect, the explanation was kind of decent and somewhat believable. This was Tokyo after all.

Rei took a break from repeatedly checking the clock when her hospital room door opened. Her head turned sharply to the door, hoping to see Usagi. Maybe she had skipped out of school early. Rei quickly put on a disapproving face, but a wide smile threatened to burst out and ruin the mock expression. Life was certainly getting a lot better. Rei was a little disappointed when Setsuna stepped inside the room instead, but that feeling swiftly faded when she realised she could finally tell someone about her new relationship with her princess, even though the Senshi of Time probably knew everything already. Rei had refrained from telling her other friends anything, in fear that Usagi would like their new feelings for one another to remain secret until Mamoru had been informed. She didn't want to do anything that might screw up things between her and her true love, not after all it had taken to get to this fabulous point.

"Setsuna! I'm pleased you're here; I have so much to tell you!" Rei gushed happily, bouncing up and down on the bed eagerly.

Setsuna paused for one second, perhaps considering if the nurses had doped the girl up, then calmly closed the door and sat in the chair beside the bed.

"You were right! Everything has worked out great between Usagi and I!" Rei started and then continued to ramble on and on about her new relationship while the Guardian of Time simply sat and stared at the girl.

"Oh, and you don't have to worry about my princess's safety anymore," the ecstatic senshi babbled, "that 'moment' has come, gone, *and* been dealt with!" Rei stopped her yammering and grinned expectantly at Setsuna.

The eldest Sailor Senshi remained silent for a brief instant, and then finally opened her mouth to respond. "Indeed…" she simply murmured, staring into the raven-haired girl's lavender eyes.

Rei's smile fell at Setsuna's response. The Guardian of Time had always been somewhat reserved, but this was ridiculous. Couldn't Setsuna even be just a little bit happy for her? She knew that the older woman had no one special in her life, but that was no cause to shun other peoples' good fortune in the matters of the heart. Rei was becoming irritated as she stared back into Setsuna's eyes with disappointment showing in her own. However, the miko suddenly blinked rapidly as realisation finally dawned on her, the meaning in Setsuna's subdued reply and in her crimson eyes smashing the girl's mood down several levels. The 'moment' hadn't occurred yet. The events at the construction yard hadn't been the moment that would threaten and perhaps alter Usagi's life forever that the Guardian of Time had prophesised would happen.

"So… I guess that's why you came here; you wanted to tell me to stay on my toes? That the 'moment' hasn't happened yet?" Rei said in a much less enthusiastic voice. "I should have known it would be some warning of future doom and gloom, after all, why would the Senshi of Time visit me in hospital when she already knows I'm fine, right?" she finished bitterly.

"True, I did know that you had survived, but knowing that fact doesn't stop me from paying a visit to one of my injured friends," Setsuna said, unperturbed at the Fire Senshi's tone.

Rei stared at the woman for a second and then lowered her head in apology. "Oh. Sorry…" she replied sheepishly, idly fiddling with the IV drip that fed fluids into the back of her bandaged left hand.

"You are correct in your assumption however; the princess's life is still in danger. I've had little luck gaining any more insight into the future event," Setsuna informed Rei, "but it does appear most likely to occur at night… at least, that is the impression I continue to receive."

Rei nodded and then sighed. She would have to stay sharp, especially at night time if what Setsuna had said was correct. The Senshi of Fire would have to stay with her princess as much as possible between sun down and sun up. Spending all night and every night with Usagi… things could have been worse, Rei mused, her mood gradually improving.

"Setsuna," Rei asked humbly, an idea occurring to her, "do you know if things work out in the future between Usagi and I?"

The Guardian of Time gave the Fire Senshi a pointed look. Rei dropped her head in defeat.

"Right, right, can't interfere with the timeline," the miko complained in a long-suffering tone.

Setsuna merely nodded sagely to the girl, a faint smile gracing her lips. The woman then stood up from the chair and turned around to leave, but stopped halfway as if considering something. She turned her head back to Rei.

"Stay awake tonight," Setsuna advised seriously, "and make sure you or another Sailor Senshi keeps their communicator close at hand."

Rei was about to ask why but the Senshi of Time quickly talked over her. "I should leave now, before-"

"REI!" Yuuichirou yelled as he barged into the hospital room, the door slamming backwards into the wall with a loud bang.

Rei groaned as the man rushed to her side, completely ignoring Setsuna. The miko pleaded for help silently with her eyes to Setsuna, but the woman simply smirked a little and then left the room, abandoning Rei.

"Oh, Rei, look what those thugs did to you! Oh… your beautiful face…" Yuuichirou sobbed.

The Fire Senshi's gaze snapped to Yuuichirou's, the traitorous Guardian of Time forgotten. "My face? What's wrong with my face?!" Rei cried, trying to control her rising panic. She had to stay attractive for Usagi! Inwardly, the miko knew that her true love wouldn't be that shallow, but she wanted to be pretty for her princess. Usagi deserved as much.

"J-Just remember how you used to look like…" Yuuichirou said, forcing a smile.

Oh gods, it was worse than Rei thought. "A mirror! Give me a mirror!!" she screamed, panic having won the day inside her.

Yuuichirou sighed in defeat and went into the bathroom, coming back with a small hand mirror. He passed it to Rei with a trembling hand. The Fire Senshi snatched the item out of his grip and steeled herself, expecting the mirror to crack when her horrible visage was shown. Why hadn't Usagi said anything about her damaged face? Probably to spare her feelings… Rei's princess was so kind and compassionate.

Rei took a deep breath then looked into the mirror. "Geez, what are you talking about, you numbskull, it's just a couple of bruises and some cuts!" she shouted angrily, but with the relief evident in her voice.

The wounded senshi's right cheekbone had a rather large black bruise decorating it, as well as a purple one under her chin while the rest of the girl's face had numerous small bandaids covering equally small cuts. It wasn't that bad; the injuries would heal in no time.

Rei threw the mirror at Yuuichirou and he caught it, fumbling frantically with the round shape as he tried to prevent dropping it. "Yeah, you're right, it's nothing," he said nervously, putting down the mirror on a table and hastily returning to the miko's side.

Yuuichirou carefully took one of Rei's bandaged hands in his own and stared into her lavender eyes through his long hair, his own eyes becoming misty. Rei didn't like the vibes she was getting off the man.

"Rei… things like this shouldn't happen to you, first the building and now you were mugged and nearly k-killed," he started, getting down on one knee and causing Rei's stomach to lurch at the action.

Rei opened her mouth to argue that she hadn't been *that* close to death, but Yuuichirou interrupted her. "Please, let me look after you. I can protect you from getting hurt," he continued passionately, making the girl blush a little. "When you… went missing all those weeks ago, I realised how short life is. We really don't have much time in this world and I don't want to waste a minute of it. So, please, Rei, give me a chance, I… I love you." Yuuichirou finished his bold speech, his voice breaking slightly at the end.

Rei heard a gasp from the doorway and she broke Yuuichirou's intent gaze and looked up. Usagi and Minako were both watching the spectacle, each with a different expression. Minako had a pleased look on her face, no doubt glad that Yuuichirou had finally managed to say how he felt about Rei in a fairly dignified manner without stumbling too much over the words. She had always been a bit of a hopeless romantic. Usagi on the other hand did not look pleased. The blonde odango atama was staring at where Yuuichirou was tenderly cradling Rei's sore hand. The girl seemed like she didn't know if she should cry, or scream, or to just simply stand there stunned.

Rei quickly freed her hand from Yuuichirou's and said the first thing that came to her mind. "It's not what it looks like," she choked out, looking at Usagi.

"Rrrrright," Minako drawled with a smirk, "don't let us interrupt anything…" She winked conspiringly. Rei glared at her friend in annoyance. Why wasn't the Senshi of Love still in hospital?!

"Rei, please, can you give me an answer?" the still kneeling Yuuichirou implored, ignoring the other two girls. "Can you give me a chance? Do you feel anything for me? Anything at all?"

Rei returned her eyes to Yuuichirou's hopeful ones and sighed regretfully. She held the man's heart in her hands apparently, and she was going to have to crush it. It was going to hurt him, no matter how gently she did it. Rei really didn't want to do this, but there was no other way. She glanced at her princess once more, and then spoke the words she knew would destroy Yuuichirou's dream, permanently.

"Yuuichirou…" Rei began, gazing at the smitten man with pity in her eyes, "I'm sorry but I don't feel anything for you. At least, I don't feel the same way you do about me. I'm sorry… I don't love you." The girl lowered her head and looked away from Yuuichirou, waiting for -and dreading- his response.

Yuuichirou was quiet for a moment, and then Rei heard his soft voice. "…Are you, a-are you sure? I know I can be a bit of a moron sometimes, but I can change if you want me to, I'd do anything for you, Rei, anything…"

Damn, why couldn't he just get the message and let it go? He was just prolonging the pain, holding onto a false hope. Rei was aware of the irony of it all.

"You shouldn't have to change who you are, Yuuichirou," Rei said, feeling tired all of a sudden, "you should find someone who can love you just the way you are."

"But I love you! Only you!" Yuuichirou declared emphatically.

"I'm sorry, but I…" Rei started, and then looked at Usagi once again. The raven-haired girl couldn't tell from her princess's expression if it was all right to let Yuuichirou and Minako know about their relationship. Rei returned her gaze back to Yuuichirou. It was time to strike the killing blow to his heart. "There's someone else who I love more than anything."

Yuuichirou blinked at the miko, and the girl could see unshed tears threatening to spill from his eyes. "Someone… else. Who is he?" he asked, his wavering voice betraying his broken heart.

Rei looked desperately to her princess, seeking advice what to do. Usagi looked back at her bodyguard, and the Senshi of Fire could see the fear in the blonde's eyes, begging her not to tell just who that someone else was.

"I can't tell you," Rei sighed, "not yet. I'm so sorry, Yuuichirou… I swear we will always be friends." The words were small comfort the girl knew, but what else could she say?

Yuuichirou seemed like he was going to say something, but instead he simply got to his feet and walked dejectedly towards the exit, his head down and his shoulders slumped. Minako and Usagi parted to the side for him to pass. Rei felt terrible. The miko hoped that Yuuichirou would still stay at the Hikawa Jinja.

Rei rested her head back against the headboard of the bed and exhaled slowly. She lifted her left hand to run her fingers through her hair, but was instead granted a slightly painful pull from the IV drip. Rei snarled and ripped the plastic tube out of her vein in a fit of anger, letting the blood pump out over the white bandages. She had enough damn fluids.

Rei felt a pressure being applied the back of her hand, stemming the blood flow. She shifted her eyes to the left and saw that Usagi was the culprit.

"I know that was hard," Usagi said quietly, "but it was the right thing to do."

"Yeah…" Rei murmured, watching her love hold her vein closed, "damn it, I thought it was just a stupid crush."

"Nope, it was the real thing," Minako piped up, after having closed the hospital room door. The Senshi of Love walked over to Rei and Usagi and grinned knowingly. "Similar to what's between you two."

Usagi's head snapped to Minako, her eyes wide and her mouth ready to spew out denials. But Rei knew that denying it was useless; Minako was the self-proclaimed 'Goddess of Love' after all. Besides, Rei was fed up hiding her love for her princess.

Rei gave a grin of her own to her friend, her mood brightening somewhat. "We can't put anything past you, Minako," she joked.

"I knew it!" Minako squealed in triumph. She sat on the side of the bed near Rei and Usagi. "I'm so happy for you two! Tell me everything!" she demanded excitedly.

"Wait!" Usagi interjected hurriedly. "You can't tell anybody, Minako, okay?"

The longhaired blonde looked at Usagi in confusion. "Why not?!" she whined. "This is great gossip!"

Rei watched Usagi expectantly, waiting for her explanation. The blonde odango atama squirmed beneath her gaze. "I just… I'm not…" she began, before sighing in frustration. "It's… Mamoru. I still- I don't want him to find out, okay?" A light blush darkened her cheeks.

"Ah, you want to tell him about us first before anyone else, besides Minako of course, knows, right?" Rei stated confidently. The miko knew that had been the reason for Usagi's unwillingness to tell Yuuichirou about them.

"Yeah, that's exactly it," Usagi replied as she finally stopped the blood coming from her bodyguard's hand. The girl enveloped Rei's bandaged hand in her own pair. The Senshi of Fire enjoyed the soothing warmth of her true love's hands engulfing her own injured one.

Minako tilted her head to the side and raised a dubious eyebrow at Usagi, making the girl squirm a little more. "If you say so…" she said unsurely.

Rei smiled at her princess as a thought struck her. "Hey, Usagi, how's my face look?" she asked. "It's not too, um, ugly, with all these cuts and bruises, is it?" She looked up at the blonde with hopeful eyes.

Usagi spared a glance at Minako and then looked intensely into Rei's lavender eyes. "You could never be ugly, Rei. You'll always be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen," she whispered softly and truthfully, making Rei's breath catch. "And that includes me," she added, smiling impishly.

Rei rolled her eyes and smiled back, and then put her right hand behind her princess's head, lowering her down for a kiss as the blonde girl's blush became more and more prominent. For some strange reason, the miko thought that Usagi would resist, but she didn't, and the two girls engaged in a deep and loving kiss.

"Oh…! This is so romantic!" Minako sighed blissfully, pretending to swoon, causing both girls to redden furiously and break off their kiss as they did so. "Don't stop on my account," Minako continued to tease, flicking her eyebrows up and down while smirking suggestively.

"Grr, shouldn't you still be lying in a hospital somewhere?!" Rei muttered in irritation, her temper flaring with her embarrassment.

"I escaped this afternoon with a clean bill of health," Minako said proudly, giving a little salute.

Rei scowled at the Senshi of Love. "Why don't you go see Ami; unlike Usagi and I, she needs someone to talk to," she suggested, glaring daggers at the intrusive blonde.

Minako seemed to catch the not-so-subtle hint, and backed away innocently towards the door with her hands clasped together behind her back, not taking her eyes off the couple. "Okay, I'll go. I guess you two want some 'alone' time, am I right?" She winked, bobbing her head and smiling all the while. Usagi and Rei's blush intensified. "And don't worry, I won't tell anybody how 'close' the both of you have gotten!" Minako called as she sailed out of the room, ribbing the pair one last time.

Rei let out a sigh of relief. "I didn't think she'd ever leave. You'd think being the Senshi of Love, she'd be more inclined to know when *not* to bother people," she complained acidly, the shortened kiss coming to mind.

"That's Minako for you. She's just happy for- for us," Usagi commented, stammering a little.

The Fire Senshi shrugged, dismissing her friend from her thoughts. There were more fun things to occupy her time with right now. Rei turned her head to Usagi and gave her a half-smile, while raising an eyebrow in anticipation. Usagi seemed uncomfortable for a moment, but quickly recovered and sat on the edge of the bed next to her bodyguard.

"Now," Rei murmured in a husky voice, stroking one of her true love's arms up and down, "where were we?"

Usagi merely sat for an instant staring at Rei, but then bent down close to the girl. "Somewhere near here," she whispered, and then proceeded to continue where she had left off before Minako had interfered.

Rei was right; life was certainly getting a lot better.


Makareus allowed a small, cold, calculating smile to spread over his features as he read Iason's report. His youma agents had done well, having heavily researched the target given to Makareus by Thrinakie. The old buzzard's plan and spell had obviously worked like a charm, and now they knew the identity of a Sailor Senshi, and possibly two or even three more. Makareus scanned the document in his hands, complete with photos, taking in all the relevant information for the assignment.

Haruka Ten'ou… living with a 'Michiru Kaiou', both of who were the legal guardians of one Hotaru Tomoe. It was golden information; the child Tomoe could be used for hostage purposes if necessary.

"Hmm… it seems a 'Setsuna Meiou' is living with them as well. All three adult human females could be Sailor Senshi," Makareus muttered, deep in thought.

"Indeed, my Lord," Iason agreed from where he was standing in front of his master's desk. "I have located the hospital the Ten'ou human is at. Michiru Kaiou is also a patient in the same hospital." The youma handed Makareus another piece of paper with the details.

"Excellent… excellent," the demon murmured absently. Everything was coming together.

"Judging by Kolkhis' report, we have assumed that 'Makoto Kino' could possibly be another Sailor Senshi. She was admitted to the same hospital and at the same time as Ten'ou, and her injuries are grievous enough to belong to the same Sailor Senshi gravely wounded in last night's engagement." Iason handed his Lord another document with a photo attached near the top of a smiling female with a brunette ponytail.

"Four possible Sailor Senshi… three badly hurt and all unsuspecting. Perfect," Makareus reiterated gleefully, still looking over the documents.

"Shall I prepare the usual assassins?" Iason asked dutifully.

"Yes… and I want a coordinated operation, late tonight. Two squads of five; one to infiltrate the hospital, and the other to assault the residence. Try to take the child alive if possible, but a live Sailor Senshi captured would be preferable. Use the standard methods; I want this to go cleanly and smoothly, no foolish ham-fisted attacks, and nothing fancy."

"Yes, my Lord," Iason replied. "Is that all my Lord?"

Makareus nodded and waved the youma away. Finally, all the cards where in his favour. This was simply too easy. The Sailor Senshi wouldn't know what happened until their blood was pooling around their stabbed bodies. This was the way to deal with threats: silently, from the shadows.

"I am Death, come for you…" Makareus whispered as he looked at the photos of the five humans, his cold smile growing wider.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

I wasn't actually sure if Michiru and Haruka were actually the legal guardians of Hotaru but I said they were anyway. And does anyone know if Sailor Saturn uses her glaive as a weapon? I mean can she swing it around and slice and dice things? I can't remember…