Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ A New Approach ( Chapter 36 )

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


Chapter thirty-six. I never said Tsubasa would never learn Rei's real name. I said Rei never told him her real name before she left Yokohama. Michiru is at Ami's house in hiding and recovering from being torn up by a youma attack that happened way back in some chapter. The reason she hasn't been in the story much is because I can't remember what her character was like in the anime ^_^. It's been ages since I've seen BSSM.

I'm back at university and I have lots of assignments, projects, and labs to do, making free time a thing of the past. There might be longer delays between chapters. It depends if I get swamped in work or not. It should be okay if I keep up to date… but I usually never do. ^.^

The reason that I couldn't update earlier was because I had some assignments to do before the end of the Easter holidays. I always leave it all to the very last minute. ~_~


- Kirika


Chapter 36 - A New Approach

Rei walked out of Minato General Hospital at a slow but steady pace, not entirely sure if her legs would be able to hold up if she went any faster. The automatic doors slid silently shut behind the Fire Senshi as she carefully walked with her hands shoved in her coat pockets. Tsubasa and Sanjuro, the two idiots, were back and she'd probably never get rid of them now. Didn't they have jobs? Rei shook her head. The miko wouldn't be surprised if the two men stuck to her like glue after she met them at the Hikawa Jinja tomorrow. Tsubasa and Sanjuro would insist on coming with her no matter where she was going, and she would probably have to constantly save them from getting killed by some sort of youma. The two men were only ordinary humans; they should have stayed back in Yokohama, away from danger. What had Rei been thinking, agreeing to let them help her? Like she needed *their* help. The Fire Senshi must have gotten hit in the head during the fight inside the mansion. What was she going to tell Usagi and the others? Rei glared down at the pavement as she struggled along the footpath that led away from the hospital. Both Tsubasa and Sanjuro were useless, and not only that, they had already caused problems between her and Usagi by their mere presence. The miko could tell that her princess still wasn't entirely comfortable with her new relationship with her best friend; the blonde might take advantage of any excuse to break it off with her. Rei would have to straighten things out with Usagi as soon as possible. Damn those two morons.


The raven-haired girl looked up from the pavement and was startled to see Usagi, the girl all by herself. The blonde odango atama was sitting on a wooden bench, apparently waiting for her bodyguard. Rei stopped walking and simply stared at the girl. So Usagi had waited on her after all. The Fire Senshi felt her heart swell at the knowledge. She should have had a little more faith in her princess's feelings.

"I called a taxi," Usagi said. "I didn't think you'd be able to walk all the way home, even with an energy bar. It should be here soon."

Rei smiled at her princess and joined her on the bench, letting out a sigh as she sat down beside the girl. She relaxed back on the seat, gazing up at the starry night sky.

"Where's Chibi-Usa? And, uh, Mamoru?" Rei asked in a murmur.

"Mamoru took Chibi-Usa to his apartment to spend the night. We decided that it would be strange if she just appeared for breakfast at my house in the morning," Usagi explained just as quietly.

The two girls were silent for a time, each looking up at the sky while they waited for the cab to arrive. Finally, Rei spoke, her eyes still focused on the stars above.

"You know that I'd never… with either of those two guys. You're the only one I-"

"I know Rei," Usagi said, cutting her best friend off. "I guess I have a tendency to jump to conclusions sometimes," she sighed. "I just thought that since everyone thought you were dead, and since you were all alone in another city… maybe you were lonely and, well…" The blonde trailed off, but Rei caught what she was implying.

The Senshi of Fire felt one corner of her mouth pull up into a rueful half-smile. "Yes, I was lonely. But only a certain odango atama was ever on my mind," she confessed, turning her head to the girl beside her.

Usagi met Rei's half-smile with a full one. However, she then lowered her eyes to the ground in front of the bench, her smile also slipping. "I'm sorry about Mamoru," she said softly. "I know how hard it must be for you to see him and me together."

Rei turned away from Usagi, her own smile falling. "It's okay," she said, glossing over the issue, "It's not your fault. Mamoru's your boyfriend… you have a right to be with him… out in the open." The Fire Senshi turned back to her true love once more, trying to smile reassuringly, but she was sure it came out wistful.

Usagi noticed the raven-haired girl's yearning expression, causing her own to fall even more. "I'm sorry, Rei," she apologised again. "I'll tell him soon. I'll… just- I'll tell him soon."

The Senshi of Fire nodded, and reached out with one hand to run her fingers through her princess's silky blonde hair. "Whenever you're ready," she murmured as she stroked the long golden strands.

Usagi swallowed and inclined her head slightly in acknowledgement. She then closed her eyes and leaned back on the bench, appearing to enjoy her bodyguard's attentions. Rei was happy to oblige her. After a few minutes, Rei felt bolder, and angled her body more towards her true love, while continuing to caress the blonde's satin-smooth locks. She placed her free hand gingerly on Usagi's thigh, curling her fingers around until they were almost touching that certain private place. Rei heard a sharp intake of breath from her princess and looked up, meeting the girl's now half-lidded blue eyes. The Fire Senshi began to remove her hand, thinking that she had gone too far and Usagi was uncomfortable, but the blonde quickly captured the miko's hand with one of her own, keeping it firmly in place on her leg. Rei smiled slyly in response and used her other hand to hold the back of Usagi's head gently, while she moved forward for a kiss. The blonde met Rei's eager lips with her own, and soon both girls were involved in a heated kiss, all thoughts that anybody could see them flying out of their minds. Rei hoped the taxi would take its time.


"Good morning!" said a cheerful voice directly in Rei's ear, jerking her out of her slumber.

The Fire Senshi groaned and rolled onto her back in Usagi's bed, looking up with bleary eyes at her princess. She saw that the girl was already dressed in her school uniform, appearing fresh and well rested. Rei groaned again and closed her eyes, wanting to go back to sleep.

"Uh, uh! Time to get up!" Usagi commanded.

Rei heard the girl's footsteps followed by a swishing sound. Suddenly, a bright light burned through her closed eyelids. Rei moaned loudly and pulled a pillow over her head, blocking out the sunlight.

"Come on, Rei!" Usagi said. "Get up! I have Makoto guard duty today and I thought you said you wanted to keep me company."

The raven-haired girl lifted the pillow covering her face minutely, so she could see her princess and yet keep most of the bright sunlight shining through the window at bay. "I do," she croaked out, "but it's too early yet. What are you doing up at this time of the morning??"

"I have to keep up appearances; I can't let my parents know I'm skipping school," Usagi explained, placing her hands on her hips. "They'd go ballistic. I'm already having, ah… grade setbacks, as it is…"

Rei let the pillow drop over her features again. "I'll be there in a while, just let me sleep a little longer…" she begged, her voice trailing off as sleep threatened to claim her once more.

"Oh, come on, Rei!" Usagi whined. "You know Mamoru is watching over Haruka today, and Minako and Ami need to go home and rest. I'll get bored by myself!"

"I was hit by a Silence Glaive Surprise, at least let me sleep it off…" Rei mumbled out from underneath the pillow.

"Well so was I!" the blonde complained. The Fire Senshi merely grunted in reply.

"Fine," Usagi sighed in defeat. "I'll see you at the hospital." Rei felt the pillow being slightly raised from her face, and then a light kiss was planted on her lips. The pillow was then replaced and she heard Usagi walk away from the bed. "You really are turning into a lazy bones…" she said in parting. The miko's only response was a muffled snore.

Rei finally awoke for the second time that morning feeling much more refreshed. She slowly pulled off the pillow from over her face and blinked up at the ceiling, yawning. "Luna…? Are you here?" she called out into her princess's bedroom.

After a moment, the black feline replied. "Yes…"

"What's the time?" Rei asked through a yawn.

"Almost ten," Luna answered.

The Fire Senshi lay in the bed for a second, and then abruptly snapped upright into a sitting position. "'Almost ten'?!" she repeated in a shout, before tearing off the bed covers and running for the bathroom, leaving a startled and perplexed cat in her wake.

Rei couldn't believe it; she was going to be late for the meeting! And after she had told those two bozos, Sanjuro and Tsubasa, not to be late. Damn it! If they said any smart alec remarks they were going to get it! Rei's mental tirade continued as she quickly showered and dressed, and it didn't completely fade away until she was out of the Tsukino house and nearing the Hikawa Jinja, running as if she were Usagi late for school.


Rei slowed her brisk jog to a walk as she approached the bottom of the Hikawa Jinja's many steps. A frown creased her brow when she saw that there wasn't another person in sight. The miko glanced at her wristwatch: it was just going off half-past ten. Tsubasa and Sanjuro couldn't be *that* late, could they? But then again, Rei thought sheepishly, she herself was. Maybe the pair had just given up waiting and had gone back home, or to wherever they were staying in Tokyo. Rei sighed and dismissed the thought. No, she wouldn't be that lucky. The idiot reporter and her former neighbour were probably prowling around the shrine grounds. The miko blinked a few times. Oh great, who knew what trouble they were causing right now? Rei just bet that the two men had already revealed to her Grandpa and Yuuichirou that she was some sort of fighter against evil. How was she going to explain that?

Rei swiftly climbed up the Hikawa Jinja's steps, talking two at a time as she hurried to prevent any chaos. She was panting by the time she reached the top, but there was no time to catch her breath. She quickly scanned the area, taking in the few visitors milling about the shrine and trying to see if Tsubasa and/or Sanjuro were among them. To the miko's horror, she saw her 'friends' talking to her Grandpa near the entrance of the offering hall. Rei ran as fast as she could towards the trio, hoping to stop Tsubasa and Sanjuro from opening their big mouths and letting something important about her Sailor Senshi duties slip out.

"Rei!" Sanjuro greeted loudly as he saw the girl rapidly approach. "You never said this was where you live!" The reporter snapped a shot of Rei, using the camera hanging around his neck, as she came to an abrupt halt beside the small group, the flash temporarily blinding the girl.

Rei blinked repeatedly, clearing the white spots in her vision. She then glared at Sanjuro, causing the man to cringe and step backwards, letting his camera drop to his chest. Rei turned to her Grandpa and smiled an almost sickeningly sweet smile.

"Grandpa, these two haven't been telling you tall tales, have they?" Rei asked innocently, but with a tiny edge of malice beneath her words.

"No…" the miko's grandfather said, puzzled. "They said they were tourists in Tokyo, and that you had offered to show them both around the city." The old man smiled at his granddaughter proudly. "You're always helping people, Rei," he said, making the girl in question redden slightly.

"Uhh… yeah," Rei said, the embarrassment causing her anger to fade somewhat. "So I should… show them around the shrine!" she continued, inspiration striking. "Talk to you later Grandpa!" The Fire Senshi turned away from her grandfather and started to usher Tsubasa and Sanjuro towards the rear of the shrine.

The short old man gave an exaggerated melancholy sigh. "No time for your old Grandpa, I see…" he said sadly.

Rei rolled her eyes and turned back to her Grandpa. He sure was still the master of the guilt trip. "Okay, what is it?" the miko asked impatiently, wanting to get Tsubasa and Sanjuro away from her family before they caused trouble.

"You can at least tell me how you're finding staying with your friend, Usagi," Rei's Grandpa suggested carefully.

"It's alright," the Fire Senshi replied, staring off into space dreamily as she remembered the nights her and her princess had spent together.

"Oh? Just 'alright', hmm? Well, I'm glad that you're getting along better with her," the old man said, grinning a little mischievously.

Rei came back to reality and looked at her Grandpa with a faint pink blush gracing her cheeks. "We get along okay…" she said, her voice cracking a bit as she thought about how 'well' she did get along with Usagi nowadays.

"That's good," Rei's Grandpa chuckled. He made a shooing motion with his hands. "Now, if you run along with your friends, I won't ask why you aren't in school."

The miko paled at her grandfather's words. She had forgotten about that. "I was just… I, ah…" she stammered, frantically searching her mind for a valid excuse.

"I said I wouldn't ask," the short old man reminded the girl as he walked away, "but don't make it a habit."

Rei sighed and watched her Grandpa go. If he knew his granddaughter hadn't been to the T*A Private Girls' school in days he wouldn't be so calm and understanding. What was with him, anyway? There was something… the miko shook her head slightly, dismissing the thoughts. She had other things to deal with right now.

"Alright you two, follow me," Rei ordered Tsubasa and Sanjuro, stomping off to the back of the Hikawa Jinja, away from prying eyes and ears. The raven-haired girl felt her right eye twitch as Sanjuro kept taking photographs of the shrine as he walked.

When the trio were out of sight, Rei whirled around on the two men. "Did I tell you to talk to my grandfather? You could have blown everything!" she yelled angrily.

Tsubasa and Sanjuro exchanged a look with one another, and then returned their eyes to Rei. "You were pretty late," Tsubasa spoke up, "we got bored and decided to explore a little." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "I figured you were a Shinto priestess, since you used ofudas against the youma," he added, no doubt recalling Rei's fight with the youma in his very own apartment.

"Anyway, I needed background information on you for my story," Sanjuro grinned, gesturing to his camera. The grin fled his face as he noticed Rei's dire expression, and clutched the camera protectively to his chest. The reporter remembered what had happened to his last roll of film back in Yokohama.

Rei closed her eyes and rubbed her temples, attempting to relieve some stress. "Don't you two have jobs somewhere?" she asked absently.

"Uh… I was sort of… fired," Sanjuro said sheepishly, eliciting a mildly surprised look from Tsubasa. "You'd think the new editor of the Daily would have been a little sympathetic about what happened to me," he went on, grumbling, "but nooo, that heartless bastard had the nerve to fire me over the phone while I was still in hospital! Can you believe that?!" The Senshi of Fire now knew why the reporter -the ex- reporter- had come after her; he probably thought a story about her would get back into the new editor's good graces. Or at the very least, land him another job at a rival newspaper.

"Some things are more important than your job," Tsubasa said simply, shrugging his shoulders.

Rei glanced at Tsubasa after hearing his short explanation. Well, he had only been an assistant sushi chef back in Yokohama. He was probably on sick leave or something.

The miko wandered away from the pair towards a small wooden storage shed, nestled nearby the entrance to the forest, which was located close to the shrine. She opened the door and plucked a straw bag off a hook behind it.

"So, are you going to tell- waah!" Sanjuro's question was cut off as a bird flew by his head to land on Rei's shoulder, leaving several dark feathers in its wake. "Damn, what was- gah!" the man was cut off once again as a second black-feathered bird fluttered close by, coming to rest on the ground near the miko's feet.

Rei opened the bag of birdseed and scattered a handful of the feed on the grass-covered ground. "This is Phobos," she said, motioning to the crow on her shoulder with her head, "and that's Deimos." She indicated to the other bird with a hand, which was currently pecking away at the seeds on the ground.

Phobos hopped off the Fire Senshi's shoulder and joined its partner on the grass, plucking birdseed from the green blades with its beak. Rei had been neglecting the two crows lately, but she couldn't help it with being away from the Hikawa Jinja for so long.

"Wow… this is… this is pretty cool," Sanjuro commented as he took a photo of Rei and the bird duo, thankfully having the presence of mind to disable the flash.

Tsubasa said nothing and merely quietly watched the miko feed the crows.

Rei wondered what she was going to tell Sanjuro and Tsubasa about what was going on in Tokyo. She had decided to keep the information she would provide to a bare minimum; for the men's own safety and to save her the headache of having to explain all that had happened previously. And Sanjuro would no doubt include everything in his newspaper article no matter what the Fire Senshi said. But there was also her fellow Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen to think about; Tsubasa and Sanjuro didn't know that they were also fighters for good and justice, and Rei wasn't about to tell them. Come to think of it, the two men didn't know she was Sailor Mars either. Perhaps she could just give the two Yokohama residents enough information to keep them satisfied and then ditch the pair of idiots when the fighting started.

"Right, long story short. Do you remember that giant creature I fought back in Yokohama, Tsubasa?" Rei started, and then continued quickly, not waiting for her former neighbour's response. "There is another one of those things here in Tokyo, with lots of youma to go with it. So, they all have to be taken care of. And that's basically the low down on the situation."

Tsubasa looked oddly at the Fire Senshi, as if he sensed there was more she wasn't telling them. Sanjuro on the other hand, was enthusiastic about what he had just heard. "Whoa, another one of those big ugly things here? Tsubasa told me about that huge monster…" the ex-reporter said, clearly impressed. "You're gonna take us along with you whenever you go hunting youma or anything, right?"

Rei hesitated for a second, and then nodded, not wanting an argument. "Sure," she lied, dusting off her hands and letting the excess birdseed fall to the ground for Phobos and Deimos to clean up.

As the miko was putting away the bird feed, she heard a door open near the shrine and saw Yuuichirou step outside. The man stood motionless for an instant when he noticed Rei with Sanjuro and Tsubasa. He appeared to inwardly debate with himself for a few seconds, and after seeming to have reached a decision, he approached the trio.

"Hi, Rei," Yuuichirou said solemnly. He fidgeted for a moment. "So… which one of them is it?" he asked with obvious trepidation.

"Huh?" the raven-haired girl said in confusion.

"The one who you, 'love more than anything'," Yuuichirou quoted, appearing pained.

Rei blinked at the man. "What? You think that I… and one of *these* two?" she said incredulously, pointing in her two companions' general directions. "Gee, you people don't think very highly of my taste," the Fire Senshi remarked to herself in a low mutter, thinking back to Usagi and Mamoru's assumption last night.

"Hey," Sanjuro whined, sounding hurt.

Yuuichirou appeared puzzled for a second. "You mean you're not going out with any of them?" he asked. Rei shook her head. "Oh… I'd never seen them before, and you looked like you knew them, and…" He trailed off, shrugging his shoulders apologetically.

"Yeah, she'd never go out with any of us," Sanjuro said idly, "she's got the hots for some blonde girl."

"What?" Yuuichirou blurted out, staring in amazement at the ex-reporter. He turned his gaze to Rei for an explanation to Sanjuro's blunt words.

"Uhh…" Rei began, her face reddening somewhat. She had to tell Yuuichirou sooner or later, didn't she?

"You… you like a *girl?*" Yuuichirou stated, more to himself than to the miko, as he dropped his eyes to the ground, his brow creasing. "A blonde girl… it's one of your friends, isn't it? That one with the long hair, what's her name… Minako?"

"No, it's…" Rei said, the words coming to her mouth unbidden. Yuuichirou's eyes widened through his brown bangs.

"Wait, it can't be… but you're always hanging around her…" Yuuichirou murmured. Rei could almost see the wheels turning in his brain; the man was so deep in thought. "But she has a boyfriend…" he went on in bewilderment.

"Yeah, but that didn't stop her," Sanjuro said. Rei wished he would shut up.

"So you *are* seeing Usagi?!" Yuuichirou cried out, causing Phobos and Deimos to jump a bit, startled at the sudden outburst. "She's cheating on the guy with you?! You're the other ma-, ah, the 'other woman'?"

"It's not like that," Rei said defensively. But then what was it like? Usagi *was* cheating on Mamoru in way; the blonde odango atama had been right when she had said before that it didn't matter if it was with a girl or not; cheating was cheating.

"I didn't know Usagi was that way," Yuuichirou mused to himself, disregarding Rei's response. His eyes then suddenly flashed to the miko's. "I didn't know *you* were that way!"

"Yep, sorry pal, but you don't have the right… 'equipment'," Sanjuro smirked remorselessly, causing Tsubasa to scowl at him.

Yuuichirou looked at Sanjuro for a few moments, and then returned his attention to the Fire Senshi. He lowered his head, appearing even more crushed than the time back at Minato General Hospital when Rei had said she didn't have any romantic feelings for him.

"You'd think that losing you to a girl instead of another man wouldn't hurt as much," Yuuichirou said quietly, his voice thick. "But it does, even more… because now I know I never even had chance to start with."

Rei looked at Yuuichirou with her lavender eyes full of pity. She hated to have the man's heart relive shattering to pieces all over again. "I… I'm sorry…" she said lamely, the only thing that came to her mind.

The man nodded faintly. "Does Usagi's boyfriend know?" he asked softly.

The miko shook her head. "No. My p-, Usagi, wanted to wait awhile before she told him," she explained.

Yuuichirou returned his gaze to Rei. The raven-haired girl noticed a glistening of moisture beneath the strands of hair dangling over his eyes. "If she really loved you, 'more than anything', like you say you- you love her, she would want to tell the world as soon as she had the chance." He smiled wistfully. "At least, that's what I would've wanted to do…"

Yuuichirou turned away from Rei and began to walk dejectedly back to the front entrance of the Hikawa Jinja. The Senshi of Fire watched the heart broken man leave as she digested his parting words.

"He's right," Tsubasa said quietly from beside her. "I'm not sure how long you've been involved with Usagi, but if she really loved you she would tell Mamoru about the relationship."

"She's just afraid…" Rei murmured, trying to rationalise her princess's actions.

"Maybe," Tsubasa replied, and then shook his head slightly. "I don't really know the girl." He fell silent, looking away from Rei.

Were Yuuichirou and Tsubasa right? Should Usagi have told Mamoru about her feelings for her best friend by now? Rei didn't really know. But she couldn't shake that feeling… that perhaps the two men were right. Usagi didn't seem at all eager to tell her boyfriend about Rei. Maybe she never intended to, maybe the blonde wanted to keep the relationship secret and enjoy the benefits of having a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Rei shook her head vehemently. No. Her princess wouldn't do something like that, would she? She was just nervous, that's all. Nervous about what the prince and all the people she knew would say. But that nagging thought kept repeating in Rei's mind, whispering to her that Usagi would never ever tell Mamoru. Damn it. Perhaps Rei should make more of an effort to convince Usagi to tell her boyfriend. Or maybe the raven-haired girl should attempt to make her romantic relationship with her true love more obvious. That should motivate Usagi into telling Mamoru… unless Rei made it *too* obvious, then the man would probably put two and two together. The Fire Senshi didn't want to force her princess to do anything she didn't want to do, but Yuuichirou and Tsubasa's comments had struck a nerve.

Rei let out a deep sigh. Maybe it was for the best if she made her relationship with Usagi more blatant. She wondered how her true love would react.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

I am tired. There may be lots of mistakes. -_-.z.Z