Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Old Acquaintances ( Chapter 35 )

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


Chapter thirty-five. LOL, Tsubasa and Rei getting together? Didn't I say I'd never pair Rei with anyone but Usagi? I'd kill her before that happened…

As for chapter length, I usually try to hit 3000 words per chapter. Sometimes I go over. ^_^


- Kirika


Chapter 35 - Old Acquaintances

Makareus stared out of his office's large rectangular window, high up on the twentieth floor of his headquarters, his eyes glued to the spot where he had witnessed an enormous dome of bright white light erupt in the city. A small, pleased, smile remained plastered on his face, having been there ever since the sight that proclaimed his victory had appeared. The demon's older brother was dead. The Sailor Senshi were dead. All that remained was to put the senshi in hospital out of her misery, and Makareus could do that at his leisure. He knew now that Makoto Kino was indeed a Sailor Senshi, since the group had responded to the message he had sent to her hospital room. The fools. They had all went to their deaths for one annoying little brat. Makareus thought he might even keep the last Sailor Senshi alive, filling the rest of her days with incomparable suffering. Human beings were frail, but the Sailor Senshi group had proven strong and troublesome to defeat, if not entirely bright. Makareus was sure that the senshi's body would be able to take all kinds of torture before breaking. He wondered if her mind what crack first, before her body. It didn't really matter; either way, Makareus had won. This world, this dimension, was all his now. Not to mention his family's entire empire back on his home plane. The cunning demon's plan had worked perfectly; Thrinakie's headquarters had to have been totally vaporised, and with it, the old buzzard and Earth's defenders.

Makareus heard a knock on his office door, but remained smiling triumphantly at that specific spot in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo. "Come!" he barked.

The demon's keen ears heard the door open and two figures take several sure steps into his office, both moving like they were coiled springs, ready to burst into action at any moment. Both were formidable foes, with dangerous skills. But of course, none could compare to Makareus. The sharp-minded creature turned around to face his visitors.

"My Lord, the Night Haunter has returned," Iason declared, gesturing to his companion with one hand.

Makareus strolled forward, as if he had all the time in the world, until he was in front of his desk. "Indeed? And I trust your mission was a brilliant success?" he said confidently, the small smile still gracing his lips.

"Yes…" Lazarus said in his raspy voice.

"All the spell components were received, my Lord. There were minor injuries among the other members of the Silent Blades," Iason elaborated, before pausing briefly. "However," he then went on, "the entire plan did not go as anticipated."

Makareus raised a questioning eyebrow. "What? Thrinakie didn't… he isn't still *alive*, is he?" he asked warily.

"Inconclusive, my Lord, " Iason reported, "apparently the Sailor Senshi engaged your brother's forces. Somewhere along the way, a considerable amount of destructive energy was unleashed, causing the pocket plane inside Thrinakie's mansion to utterly collapse in on itself. It is assumed all inhabitants on the plane were slain, including the arch-mage, but it has been confirmed that… the Sailor Senshi escaped with their lives."

Makareus said nothing as he digested the news. How could this be? How could any living thing survive the incredible explosion he had seen with his very own eyes? The demon looked at Lazarus and noted that there wasn't a scratch on the youma. Makareus wasn't at all surprised; the Night Haunter could dodge a blow from Death itself. But the Sailor Senshi had no such luck or skill… did they?

"How…?" Makareus murmured rhetorically, deep in thought.

"Unknown, my Lord," Iason answered anyway, "reports are still coming in. The Sailor Senshi were hurt, however, and are being hospitalised as we speak. If you wish, we could attack right now…"

The demon thought about it for a few seconds, but then shook his head. "No. It is best if we stick to the shadows, especially with news like this. Continue gathering information about Kino's friends. When the time is right, we shall strike them when they least suspect," he commanded. Makareus focused his eyes on his right-hand youma and pointed at the creature's chest. "Make it so, Iason. I'll have them all slaughtered in their *classrooms* if I have to," he swore.

Iason bowed in acceptance. "Is that all, my Lord?," he asked.

"No. Make sure Thrinakie's followers back in Pandemonium know who their new master is," Makareus added sternly.

"Of course, my Lord," Iason said, bowing again before glancing at Lazarus and leaving the office.

"I want you to stay in this dimension. I will have further need of you and your order," the demon told the Night Haunter, staring into the youma's weeping mask's eye slits.

"Very well…" the black-clad assassin replied.

"The Sailor Senshi have turned out to be worthy defenders of this planet. Do you think yourself able to defeat them?" Makareus inquired.

Lazarus tilted his head to one side, as if indicating how ridiculous the question was. The creature stroked his hands over his two punch dagger holsters strapped to each leg, tracing the handles of the weapons with pale fingertips.

"Like a shadow, I am. And a shadow… can never truly die," he whispered.


"There, Ms. Masaki, all done. Your body had almost reached its limit, but I think it's safe for you to go home. Make sure you get plenty of bed rest, okay?" the doctor said to Rei, having just finished dressing her last wound.

Rei nodded to the doctor in the compliance as she flexed each arm experimentally. All her muscles ached and it was like she hadn't slept in ages, but other than that, she didn't feel too bad; even her eyesight had returned to normal. The Fire Senshi's injuries didn't hurt too much either… perhaps she had been wounded so often that she had gotten used to physical pain. Or maybe it was a Sailor Senshi thing.

The doctor smiled at the girl and then left the treatment room, closing the door behind her. Rei slipped off the bed and stood on the floor, her legs wobbling a little. The raven-haired girl held onto the bed for support as her legs got used to her body weight. Rei let out a slow breath, and then made her way towards what was left of her clothes piled on a chair. A nurse had remorselessly cut open most of her clothes so the doctor could get to her wounds, but it was all Rei had to wear. She would have her long coat to hide her tattered clothing anyway; the miko had pulled off the black garment before the nurse could snip it into ribbons.

As Rei was putting on her coat, the treatment room door opened, revealing exactly whom she wanted to see. Usagi stood in the doorway, her clothes only slightly less shredded than her bodyguard's.

"I see they butchered your outfit too," the blonde commented as she took in Rei's appearance. "Those monsters! Didn't they know how much this top cost?!" Usagi wailed in despair, pulling at the cut bits of cloth on her arm that used to be a sleeve.

Rei grinned at her princess and finished slipping on her coat. "Well, the youma are all dust now, odango atama," she consoled the girl.

"Huh?" Usagi said, letting go of her ruined clothes and looking at Rei. "I wasn't talking about the youma, I was talking about the doctors and nurses! They could have just *asked* me to take my clothes off; I wasn't so badly hurt that they had to go nuts with a pair of scissors!"

Rei chuckled at her true love's tirade, eliciting a scowl from the girl for the lack of sympathy. The Fire Senshi quickly schooled her expression to one of understanding, even though her lips kept twitching as she tried to stop from smiling.

"Oh, I'm sorry Usagi, but they were just doing their jobs. Are you embarrassed to be seen looking like that? You can wear my coat if you want…" Rei cooed.

Usagi waved away the miko's offer. "No, it's okay," she said, and then gave her bodyguard a look over. "…It looks better on you anyway." A pink blush dusted Usagi's cheeks at the words.

Rei nodded in acceptance and sat in the chair her clothes had just been in, letting her tired body rest for a moment. Usagi noticed the girl's exhaustion and reached behind her, fishing in her back pocket for something. A second later, she pulled out a chocolate bar triumphantly.

"Here, Rei!" Usagi said brightly, walking up to her best friend while holding out the bar. "I got you this from one of the vending machines. It's kinda squashed… I sort of sat on it earlier, but its still edible. It's one of those energy bars; maybe it'll help you get your strength back. Enough to get home, anyway." Home… Rei wondered when Usagi had considered her house her bodyguard's home.

Rei blinked at the chocolate bar in her princess's hand. She was touched by her true love's thoughtfulness, and felt a faint blush come to her cheeks. Rei shyly took the proffered treat from Usagi's hand, thanking the girl softly as she did so. She then hungrily wolfed down the chocolate bar in record time, almost as fast at her princess, with the girl in question watching indulgently all the while.

"How are the others?" Rei asked once she had chewed down the energy bar.

Usagi wandered over to the bed and sat on it, facing the Senshi of Fire, before she answered. "Chibi-Usa and Mamoru are going to fine. Minako was kinda beat up, but she's gonna be okay too," she informed Rei. "But Haruka…" she trailed off, looking pained. Rei was afraid to ask.

"They say she'll recover, but her heart has been under a lot of strain," Usagi continued in a subdued tone. "I don't know how long it's going to take for her to get better. If Hotaru hadn't healed her…" She shook her head, dispelling the bleak thoughts.

Rei was quiet for a while, but then spoke again. "How's Hotaru?"

"She's really tired, but she'll be alright soon. Healing Haruka just about took everything she had," Usagi replied.

The Fire Senshi nodded. "They won't be able to stay in hospital… it isn't safe," she said. "There's still one more demon thing out there."

"I know, Rei. But what can we do? It's too dangerous to move Makoto, and maybe even Haruka now," the blonde said. "Minako is going to stay and guard her, but she can't do that forever."

Rei sighed and leaned back in her chair. "We'll think of something. But it better be soon."

"Yeah…" Usagi agreed quietly, looking down at the floor.

Wishing to lighten the mood, Rei relaxed even more in the chair, putting her arms behind her head and ignoring her muscles' uncomfortable twinges. "So…" she drawled out, "back to your place, huh?" The Fire Senshi gave a roguish grin to her princess while flicking her raven eyebrows up and down suggestively.

Usagi reddened but rolled her eyes at Rei's antics. Just as she was about to make a no doubt witty comeback, another figure entered the treatment room. So much for lightening the mood, Rei thought as she saw Mamoru.

"Hi, how are you feeling, Rei?" the prince asked the Senshi of Fire.

"Like I was strained through someone's bowels; how do you think I feel?" Rei said bitterly.

Mamoru's eyebrows rose at the miko's tone. Usagi glanced between her prince and her best friend, worry written all over her face. Rei sighed and clamped down on her temper; she didn't want her princess to see how much Mamoru's mere presence aggravated her.

"Sorry. It's just been a stressful night," Rei apologised, putting a hand to her head for added effect.

Mamoru shrugged his shoulders, smiling faintly at the girl. "It's understandable. It's not every night you witness a Silence Glaive Surprise," he said, dismissing Rei's earlier attitude.

There was an awkward silence as Mamoru realised he had interrupted something between the two girls. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" he asked. Usagi's face started to redden, the girl probably thinking back to Rei's suggestive comments, or perhaps her own planned response to them.

Mamoru looked at his girlfriend. "Are you alright, Usa-ko?" he said, puzzled at the blonde's reaction. "I didn't interrupt one of those 'girls only' talks, did I?"

The prince's words only made Usagi's blush deepen, and the blonde odango atama hastily scrambled for something to say, stuttering wildly. At that moment there was a loud shout from the hallway outside the door. At first, Rei didn't recognise the name being called, but as the sound of swift footsteps came closer, dreaded realisation dawned on her. Rei sat up abruptly in her chair as yet another figure appeared in the doorway, pushing Mamoru roughly out of the way.

"Megumi! We found you!"

Oh no. Oh please, no. Not them. Rei silently prayed to the gods, covering her forehead with one hand, as if trying to ward off a coming headache.

Sanjuro stopped in front of the raven-haired girl, grinning like an idiot. "I've finally found you. I bet you thought you could just leave me for dead back in Yokohama, huh? I can't believe you didn't even visit me in hospital! Even after I had wasted that tentacle thing for you!" he said, stabbing a finger at Rei accusingly.

Mamoru was just standing upright again when a second person barged past him, albeit a little more carefully.

"Megumi! I'm so glad you're okay! We saw what happened back at that estate…" Tsubasa said, standing beside Sanjuro.

Rei rubbed her head before looking up from her chair at the two men. She had thought she would never see them again. In fact, she had hoped she wouldn't. Well, except maybe Tsubasa. The Fire Senshi hadn't treated him very nicely in the last couple of days she had spent in Yokohama. Ordinarily, Rei wouldn't have cared, but her cold and vicious side had been responsible for treating Tsubasa like that. And she really wanted to completely conquer that dark side of herself, for her princess's sake, and for her friends' as well. The Senshi of Fire knew what she was capable of now, demon psychics or no. Rei would apologise to her former neighbour for her treatment of him… later. She'd be damned if she would do it in front of Mamoru and Sanjuro.

"So, ah, 'Megumi', do you know these guys?" Usagi asked her bodyguard sceptically, her earlier embarrassment forgotten.

Rei sighed and glanced at the blonde before returning her gaze to the two grinning men in front of her. "This is Tsubasa and this is Sanjuro," she said, pointing to each man in turn. "I met them in Yokohama."

"That's not all!" Sanjuro said enthusiastically. "We kicked monster ass together! I personally iced one myself," he declared proudly, slapping a hand to his chest and ignoring the fact that Usagi and Mamoru might not know about youma.

Rei rolled her eyes. "How did you find me?" she said, trying to keep the moan out of her voice.

"Pfft, that's easy for a top investigative reporter like myself," Sanjuro said, waving one hand dismissively.

"We listened to a police scanner and traced you back here," Tsubasa elaborated. "It took us nearly two weeks to get a good lead."

"Some 'top investigative reporter'," Mamoru smirked.

"Hey! It wasn't like that!" Sanjuro cried indignantly at the prince. "Do you have any idea how many weird occurrences happen in Tokyo?"

"I have some idea," Mamoru said knowingly.

"Look, enough," Rei said, sick of Sanjuro's hi-jinks already. "Why did you both come here?"

"I needed to finish my story about you, obviously," Sanjuro said, turning away from Mamoru. "You're a superhero for crying out loud; did you think I'd just forget about you?"

"I thought I told you not to write a report about me," Rei said sternly, glaring at the reporter.

"I-I… uh…" Sanjuro began, stammering, but was saved by Usagi.

"Rei! I can't believe you told them who you are!" the blonde cried out in disbelief. And then realised her slip up. "Oops."

"Great, odango atama. Now if they didn't already know, they do now," Rei said dryly.

"'Rei'?" Tsubasa questioned, catching the blonde's slip.

Rei let out another sigh. "Yes, Rei is my name. Megumi was just a… an alter ego," the Fire Senshi explained.

"Right, right!" Sanjuro eagerly agreed. "An alter ego for a different city! Brilliant!"

Mamoru grinned at the reporter and then turned to face Rei. "Please tell me you didn't date this guy back in Yokohama or anything?" he laughed, indicating Sanjuro.

Usagi looked at her best friend. Rei could see the pleading in her blue eyes, hoping that it wasn't true. The raven-haired girl wanted to tell her true love that she only had eyes for her, and always would, but it was not something she could say in front of the blonde's boyfriend.

"Nah, she mostly hung out with Tsubasa," Sanjuro said. "Not that there's anything wrong with dating a stud like me!" he added smugly. "Besides, she's a- "

"I think I should talk to these two idiots alone!" Rei hastily blurted out, interrupting Sanjuro's announcement.

Mamoru nodded. "Sure, you probably want to catch up with old friends," he said. "Come on Usa-ko, let's give them some space."

Usagi gave one last look at her bodyguard, the hurt and confusion in her expression obvious to the miko. She probably wondered why Rei hadn't denied that she had dated any of her old acquaintances, and also why she wanted to be alone with the two of them. Rei rubbed her temples as she watched her princess walk out of the room with the prince, the man with an arm around the girl's shoulders. Sanjuro and Tsubasa had only appeared a few minutes ago and already they were screwing things up.

"Okay, listen you morons, go home!" Rei said harshly, her temper flaring. "I don't need either one of you here!"

"B-But we came all this way," Sanjuro said with disappointment in his voice.

"I don't care! Besides, Tokyo's a dangerous place right now, so it's best if you both run along back to Yokohama," Rei suggested forcefully.

"Tokyo's always dangerous," Sanjuro muttered under his breath.

Tsubasa turned away from the door where he had watched Usagi and Mamoru exit. He looked at Rei. "That was her boyfriend, right…? The 'love of her life?'" he asked, remembering the Fire Senshi's words back in Sanjuro's apartment weeks ago.

"Yeah… that's him," Rei said quietly, her anger deflating as depression kicked it.

"*That* guy?" Sanjuro said dubiously, looking back to where the couple had just left. "He didn't seem that flash. What's he got that I don't have?"

"Some sense at least," Rei answered on reflex, causing Sanjuro to scoff. "But it's not so bad anymore. Usagi and I have… something, together now. But it's just…" She trailed off, shaking her head slightly.

"Just what? I thought you'd be overjoyed that your friend returned your feelings," Tsubasa said.

"Yeah… she feels something for me, I know she does. But… do you know that saying, 'sometimes love just isn't enough'? It's like that. She still loves Mamoru, her boyfriend. And I think… I think she loves him more than me," Rei explained, staring at the floor. "I've been trying my hardest to show Usagi how much she means to me, but its like nothing I do can compare to him."

Rei swallowed the lump forming in her throat. She shouldn't get discouraged. All or nothing, wasn't it? A fight against Fate? The Senshi of Fire took a deep breath, and then released it slowly. Yes, she could not falter or Fate would crush her. This was probably another ploy to make her give up and stop interfering with the timeline. Rei felt the fires of defiance and determination rekindle inside her, burning furiously once again.

"You shouldn't give up, Me-Rei," Tsubasa said, stumbling a little over her name. "You sho-"

"I know," the raven-haired girl said firmly, talking over the man. "And I won't. I have a chance and I won't blow it. It's not over yet." It would never be over until she defeated destiny, defeated Fate. Or until she was dead.

"Which is why you two should leave, I don't want you screwing things up between Usagi and I!" Rei went on, pointing to the door for added emphasis.

"Please Rei, we want to stay," Tsubasa said, cutting off Sanjuro's shout of protest. "We can tell there's more youma plots going on here in Tokyo, and we want to help. You can't honestly expect us to just go about our normal lives again, do you?"

"Yes, I do. It's dangerous… you could get killed," Rei argued.

"We fear nothing!" Sanjuro stated, pumping a fist in the air.

"We know the dangers. Hell, we've experienced the dangers," Tsubasa said, ignoring his companion. "We're your friends, Rei, and we care about you. We want to see this thing through, all the way, by your side… just like back in Yokohama."

Rei looked at Tsubasa in the eyes, seeing how determined he was to stick by her. The Fire Senshi rubbed her temples again. Damn, they were so stubborn. She supposed she could use them again like back in Yokohama. Except, she remembered, she never did take advantage of their talents… if they had any. This was a bad idea but…

"Okay," she conceded, causing Sanjuro to let out a whoop of joy and Tsubasa to breath a sigh of relief. "But you're not staying with me or anything."

"That's fine, Rei," Tsubasa said, smiling at the girl in gratitude.

"Yep, we have a place," Sanjuro added, flashing Rei a grin.

"Right. There's a shrine in Minato ward called the Hikawa Jinja. Meet me at the front at ten o' clock tomorrow morning, I can fill you in about what's going on then," Rei said.

Tsubasa nodded in acceptance, and then fidgeted a little bit. "I guess we can catch up on old times too?" he asked hopefully.

Rei shrugged absently. "Sure. I've got to go now; it's been a long night. See you both in the morning… don't be late," she ordered, and then stood up rather unsteadily, before proceeding to leave the room.

Rei hoped Usagi had waited on her so the two of them could walk 'home' together, but she doubted it. With a melancholy sigh, she proceeded to the hospital's main entrance.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

I decided to leave the silence glaive surprise blast a mystery. Draw your own conclusions to what exactly happened.