Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ All's Fair in Love and War ❯ My Hero ( Chapter 18 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 18Selenity was growing more and more curious about what Venus and her brother had brought along to cheer her up. Venus refused to even give her a hint, and her brother was far too busy talking to Paris and Mars. So, she had to contend herself with guessing at what it could possible be, which was not going very well. The only thing that she felt could cheer her up at the moment was Kino, but Venus had promised her that she would not go and talk to him.
Selenity noted that the sun was already setting outside. Everything was bathed in a warm glow, and the whole planet seemed to be relaxing in preparation for the night. She heard her brother's voice above everyone else's.
"Why don't we go for a walk in the gardens? They are beautiful at night time when they are lit by torches. We could take a small stroll, if no one has any objections." No one seemed to have any, so Selenity sent servants out ahead of them to light the torches. They walked outside, the night air still warm. Selenity walked with Venus and her brother at the back of the group, while Paris occupied Mars along with Jupiter and Mercury at the front. Helen and Hera walked together between them, their arms linked, their topic of conversation still on children.
Selenity looked to Venus just as they were walking out of the doors of the palace. "Please tell me what it is," she pleaded quietly, since it was obvious that Venus did not want the others to know what it was.
Venus glanced ahead of them and smiled. "There's your answer," she said with a chuckle. Selenity followed her gaze, and was suddenly aware that the group had stopped, and they were all welcoming someone.
Selenity felt her heart leap into her throat, and her whole chest tightened when he looked up from Helen and his eyes met with hers. The whole universe seemed to freeze as they gazed at one another, but just as quickly as the feeling began, it stopped. The rest of the men claimed Kino and he walked with them, with Helen and Hera falling into step behind them again. Selenity snapped her head around to look at Venus and her brother. "What is he doing here?" she whispered urgently.
Venus smiled, and nodded to her husband. He gave a quick nod and went to join to rest of the men. Venus then turned her attention back to Selenity. "I think I will leave that up to him to explain," she said, the smile melting from her face.
"But why is he here? You promised you would not go and talk to him!" Selenity hissed. She felt like her entire face was one big flame, her cheeks burning with a crimson color.
Venus shrugged her shoulders. "I didn't go and talk to him," she replied, not quite ready to sign her death contract by telling Selenity about the letter she had sent. All the while Selenity was hissing at Venus, she failed to notice her brother walk up to Kino and tap him on the shoulder. Nor did she notice the fact that Kino had slowed his pace and was now almost right next to her. Venus glanced up at him, and then back to Selenity. "I think I'll leave you two alone," she murmured as she quickened her pace to catch up with her husband, and that was about the time that Selenity noticed that Kino was walking right next to her, his gaze fixed on the rest of the group ahead of them.
She felt her face heat up even more, and her heart increase its wild dance inside her chest. He was standing next to her, the man that she had betrayed and had hoped she would not see until her wedding day, the man she loved more than anything but was leaving him for another. She didn't even notice the fact that he was staring down at her as well as they walked. She blinked when she finally did notice, and felt suddenly very aware of just how close they were to one another.
She was glad that she managed to find her voice at last. "What are you doing here?" she managed to ask, her voice a little flat, emotionless. He shrugged.
"I went to visit Venus and she told me that she and your brother were coming here, and asked if I wanted to join them, since you and your mother would not mind," he replied, his voice void of any emotion. Granted, inside he was not feeling so calm. His heart was beating so hard he was sure that she was able to hear it, as well as half the moon.
Selenity felt like her head was spinning from all of the emotions swirling around inside her at that moment. "Did you not receive my letter yet?" she squeaked out, panic rising inside her that he had not yet received it. If he had not, she would now either have to tell him to his face, that she did not love him. Or play out the charade of love and have him hurt even more once he got back home and read the letter. Neither seemed possible to her, so she was half relieved when he nodded his head.
"Yes, I received it on the day that I left to see Venus," he replied.
Her mouth, which had been hanging open, snapped shut. She tightened her jaw. "Then why are you here? I thought I made it clear that it would be best if we did not see each other until the day of our wedding," she said, referring to her and Mars' wedding. He smirked. As you wished, he thought to himself, I am not seeing you until our wedding day. His plans completely unimaginable to her at the moment.
"I came here to ask you why you felt you had the need to lie to me," he said softly. They were a few meters behind everyone else, so no one could hear their conversation.
She turned her gaze to the path in front of them, her jaw tense. "I didn't lie to you," she replied.
"Well you either lied to me when you said you loved me, or you lied when you denied that," he said matter-of-factly, " So you did lie to me."
"I thought I explained that. I was delusional when you were here. I didn't know what I was saying." Even though she remained calm, she could already feel the pain seeping into her veins and flowing through her whole body at the words she was speaking.
He smiled. "I don't believe that. Did you really think that you would hurt me less if you told me you did not love me, rather than telling me the truth that you were being forced into a marriage against your will?" he asked.
"I didn't want you coming after me and-" she snapped, but cut herself off, aware that she had just more or less agreed with his statement, and thus revealed the truth. "-and that's why I told you the truth," she finished lamely. "I didn't think that you would believe me, but I had to say it."
He turned his head so that he was looking at her. "Selenity, please, I beg of you, don't lie to me," he said. She felt a shiver run up and down her spine. She didn't want to lie to him. More than anything she wanted to wrap her arms around him and cry, and apologize a dozen times over for the letter and tell him the whole truth. Instead though, she gritted her teeth.
"I'm not lying," she replied, her voice quivering ever so slightly. Kino stopped walking and touched her gently on the shoulder, motioning her to stop walking. He waited until the rest of the group had walked some distance and turned a corner. Then Kino took Selenity's hand and more or less dragged her from the path, leading her to a small grove of trees out of earshot of the path and out of the torchlight.
"Where are you taking me? We shouldn't be alone like this," she remarked, but he paid her no heed. Once they were in the small grove of trees, Kino finally stopped. He spun around and faced Selenity, looking down into her eyes. Light from the stars and planets filtered through the thin canopy of leaves, illuminating them just enough so that they could see each other's facial expressions, once their eyes adjusted to the dark. Anyone looking from the path would not have seen them at all though.
He could see that tears were already dancing in her eyes, but she refused to let them flow. Her legs felt weak and she was afraid that her knees might buckle and give out at the closeness she was feeling to him.
He stared down at her, and then reached out and gripped her shoulders. "I want you to tell me to my face, right now, that you do not love me," he said, his voice raspy. She stared at him, and then looked down at his chest.
"I don't love you," she said, her voice monotone, but still cascading with deep emotion that only the two of them could feel. She knew that he could sense the untruth of those words.
"Look me in the eyes when you say that," he whispered. She slowly brought her gaze up to meet his, and felt herself tremble at the deep ocean of emotions which was in his eyes. Her lips trembled as she started to speak.
"How many times do I have to say it Kino? I told you in the letter, and I just told you now. What more do you want from me?" She was glad that he was still gripping her shoulders and thus somewhat supporting her, otherwise she would have already fallen.
His gaze on her did not falter, and it almost seemed like he had expected her to answer in the way that she did. "I want you to look me in the eyes when you say it, Selenity. That shouldn't be too hard to do if it is the truth," he replied.
There was a determination and stubbornness in her eyes. "I don't have to, Kino. I already said it. Just because you say something isn't true doesn't mean that it isn't. Words can't change reality that easily," she replied, her eyes narrowed, her words clipped.
He stared at her with the same determination and stubbornness however. "I know. So what makes you think that you can stop loving me by just saying so?"
"Kino, please, stop it! Just accept the truth! Don't make me hurt you more than I already have!" she cried out, as the torrent of tears she had been trying to hold back let go.
Kino stared at her, and nodded his head, as his hand darted to her neck. "I'm doing just that," he said as he drew her to him, his head dipping down so that his lips came to hers, separated by a small cushion of air only. She gasped a little, and he felt her breath against his lips. "I accepted the truth when you told me you loved me, and I won't let you hurt me any more, by making sure you keep your promise," he whispered, his voice husky and thick. She trembled in his arms, wanting so badly just to close the space between them, but not having the strength to do so. Her eyes fluttered closed, but opened right away.
"Kino, I can't…." her voice was muted by her own sob. Her tears flowed down her face freely, but neither of them made any move to stop them.
"Why not?" he asked, tightening his grip on her.
Her heart skipped a beat, and she flinched a little. How can he have such an effect on me? "I'm engaged to Mars…." she said, but wasn't able to go on.
"Do you want to marry him?" Kino asked, still not allowing the space between their lips to change. Her eyes sparkled with her tears, as she slowly, almost un-noticeably, shook her head. "Then don't." He whispered.
"I have to," she replied.
"No you don't. Marry me instead."
Another sob came from her. "I-I can't."
"Why?" he demanded, his voice gruff.
"I already told you-"
"Then tell me again." He snapped. Her face was so close, her eyes staring into his, and she couldn't pull away, she couldn't tear her gaze from his.
"I can't," she repeated, her voice such a soft whisper he almost couldn't hear her words.
"Why?" he persisted. He saw her swallow hard.
"Because I-I……." her whole body convulsed, and she knew she could not support the lie any longer, not with him staring at her the way that he was. "Because I love you!" her voice was so hushed, but she couldn't stand it any longer. She closed the space between them, throwing her arms around his neck, her lips landing firmly on his….and he made no move to stop her. One of his hands went to the back of her neck, pulling her in closer, deepening their kiss. His other arm was wrapped around her waist, supporting her so that she would not fall.
She clung to him as though he was her lifeline to the world of the living, her only anchor to everything that she knew and believed. He could feel her shaking, her emotions coming off her in waves that made him feel weak as well, but he refused to abandon his strength, since she was relying on it too. Her tiny body pressed against his as though she wanted to join the two together, and he would have let her if it meant being with her for the rest of his days. He tried to pull away, but she didn't let him. Her grip tightened as her tongue sought entry to his mouth, which he granted.
Her passion was fierce and demanding, and he was afraid of letting her go. Her tongue battled his, but he was fighting a battle he could never win. As the war drew to an end, her side was victorious. She pulled back so that her lips were once again only a cushion-of-air away from his. Their breathing was deep from the heated moment.
"I think," he said, his voice shaky and raspy, "that you're reasoning is a little misplaced then, don't you think?" he asked, and swallowed hard. Her tears were still flowing, her pain evident on her features.
"Huh?" was her only reply. He would have chuckled if they had been in any other situation.
"If you love me, then shouldn't that be a reason to marry me, rather than not to?"
She drew in her breath shakily. "Kino, I have to marry Mars. I am promised to him, and I don't want to start a war over me. It will be easier this way. If I come with you now, there will always be a war between you and him."
He sighed as he leaned his forehead against hers. "That is a price I am willing to pay. You can't always take the easy way out, and I know I can't be without you. Besides, your mother said that you only had to marry Mars if you were alive and able to, when the day of your wedding came."
She looked at him, a look of shock on her face. "Are you saying that I should die then?"
He shook his head, a sincere look of worry on his face. "No, of course not! I would never think of doing anything, or letting you do anything, that could harm you in any way!" He replied. She nodded. He pulled away a little so that he still had his arms around her waist but she was no longer leaning on him. Her hands rested on his chest.
He wanted to look at her as he spoke, but before he had a chance to continue and explain himself, she began to talk. "How did you know?" she asked. At first he didn't know what she was asking, his mind still a little hazy from her kiss and focused on telling her what plans he had. Then it registered.
"How did I know the letter wasn't true?" he asked, and she nodded. He shrugged his shoulders a little. "I didn't," he replied.
She tilted her head in confusion. "You didn't? Then how……." Her words were lost as another voice interrupted them.
"I told him," came the answer. Kino wanted to chuckle at how fast Selenity jumped away from him at the sound of someone else voice, but he knew who it was. Venus stepped under the cover of the trees, followed by Paris and Helen.
Selenity finally recognized who it was, and snapper her mouth shut. "You told him? But I….you said you didn't go to him? You promised you wouldn't!"
Venus smiled sheepishly. "True, but I never promised that I wouldn't write him a letter explaining everything."
Selenity stared at her friend, speechless. One part of her wanted to strangle Venus on the spot for finding a loophole, but another part was so relieved that she had found it. Her gaze fell to Helen and Pairs. Helen smiled at her.
"We know the whole story. We came along with Venus so that when we return it doesn't look odd that the two of you are coming back alone. No one noticed us slip away, but when they do realize we're gone, your brother will tell them that we went for another tour of the gardens, and he'll make sure they don't come after us," she said, hoping to sooth Selenity's nerves somewhat.
Selenity considered this for a moment, and then nodded her head. "We should be getting back then before someone does come to find us."
Paris smiled at her. "That's why we're here, in these trees. No one will be able to see or hear us from the path. That's why your brother suggested the walk after it was dark."
Selenity looked to Kino. "Kino," she said gently, "this doesn't change anything. I still have to marry Mars."
Kino stepped up to her and took her hand in his. "Tenshi, I told you that your mother said you had to marry Mars if you were alive and able. Well, you are alive, and we can't change that…..but perhaps we could change the other part."
Selenity felt her heart pound and her stomach flutter. "What do you mean? How?"
Kino gave her a lopsided grin. "Allow me to fulfill your wish, to not have seen you until your wedding day," he replied simply.
Selenity looked completely baffled. "How is it going to help if I don't see you until Mars' and my weddi-" Kino cut her off.
"No Tenshi. Not Mars' wedding day. YOUR wedding day……with me."
If she had thought her heart had been beating hard and her stomach fluttering before, it was nothing compared to what she was feeling now. Her mouth opened, but no words came out. He chuckled as he tugged on her hand, pulling her closer. "Marry me," he said softly, "Now, tonight."
Selenity stared up into his eyes. Her heart was screaming at her to say yes, to do it, but her mind was telling her to be rational, to think of the consequences. Even if they married in secret, they would eventually have to tell her mother, as well as Mars and Ares, and she doubted they would take the news well. Her mother would probably castrated Kino on the spot and then send him back to his home planet and spend every waking moment finding a way to destroy the marriage so the Mars Match could be carried through. There was also the issue of where they would live, but she had a feeling that Kino had already been informed of the issues by both Venus and her mother, and probably had a plan. Besides, how could they find someone to marry them, and not run the risk of being caught?
"We can't, I mean who would….and…" she stopped as Kino glanced to Venus, Paris, and Helen. She followed his gaze.
"That's why they're here. Venus has the power to marry, and Paris and Helen can be witnesses." The three nodded their heads in agreement with Kino's statement, huge grins plastered to their faces.
Selenity snapped her head back to look at Kino. He didn't have a grin on his face. His eyes were pleading with her to accept his, to say yes. It was all she wanted, but something was holding her back. She could feel the warmth of his hand on hers, his gentle, imploring gaze bringing her to the breaking point. He made her happy, and she knew this. "You make me happy, and I want to do the same to you…" he murmured, as thought he had been reading her thoughts, and placed his lips gently on hers. The kiss was very tender, and too brief for Selenity's liking, but she knew they had an audience. As the warmth of his lips left hers, she felt cold, and alone. At that moment, she knew what she was going to do. To hell with the consequences…..
"Alright," came her soft voice, "I'll marry you, tonight." A smile broke out on his face. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her again, this time hard. He then turned to Venus, Paris, and Helen, all of whom were beaming.
"You heard her," he said, unable to mask his joy. They all nodded, and stepped closer to the couple. Venus stepped in front of them. Helen stood next to Selenity and Paris next to Kino. Kino and Selenity held their hands together and looked at Venus.
She smiled at them. "The love that is between the two of you is pure and clean, and therefore I am compelled to help you two. Since you are two of my closest friends, I do so willingly. The unity that you two share already rivals any other that I have ever seen or heard of, something that neither of you can break even if you try, as we have already seen," everyone chuckled, and Selenity blushed. She looked at Kino.
"Are you sure you still want to do this after the hell that I've put you through?" she asked timidly. He smiled at her, and reached out to touch her face.
"I would go to hell and back a dozen more times over if it meant going through with this," he replied. Selenity brought her gaze back to Venus and nodded for her to continue.
Venus inclined her head gently. "You two will now be bound forever. You will be expected to go through life together now. Love has already brought the two of you together, and now it is simply my job to make it official. Kino, it is going to be up to you to protect her from now on, to make sure that she is safe. Make sure that she is always cherished, and that she always knows that you love her. It is up to you to pledge yourself to Selenity."
Kino nodded, and looked at Selenity. "When we were younger, I always thought that I had to look out for you, to make sure that you were always smiling. It resulted in me dancing with you at all those balls, even though I hated dancing back then, but I don't regret it. Over the five years we did not see each other, your letters always kept me wondering, wondering how my feelings for you could grow through words on paper. When I saw you for the first time after, I understood. The woman you grew into captured my heart without me even knowing it, and I fell in love with you. I never want to be separated from you again, not even for a day. I never thought I could love you the way that I do, but each day my love grows stronger. Even when I thought there was no hope for us, the only thing that kept me alive was the hope that you would be happy at least. You're my whole existence Tenshi, you make me live. The life that you give me, I want to spend with you, so that I can use that time to make sure you are safe and happy. I pledge my undying love to you, my very life is yours. I won't ever allow anything to harm you. I love you, and that is all that matters to me." With those words, he squeezed her hand. There was a glimmer of tears in her eyes.
Venus smiled at him, and then looked to Selenity. "It's your job, just as his, to make sure he knows how much you love him always. Although it is up to him to protect you, you need to make sure you protect him as well, even if it is not in the same way. Protect him emotionally, and help him with anything he needs. Be by his side and support him. It is up to you to pledge yourself to Kino."
Selenity looked up at the man beside her, her eyes brimming with tears. "I fell in love with you through those words on the paper that kept you wondering. Perhaps that is why it was so easy to fall for you completely when I saw you, at that ball. My mind told me that I could never be worthy of you, that you would see me always as a young child, and that you needed a real woman. When you told me you loved me, I only dared hope that it was true. Your quiet confidence and support gave me the will and strength to live again, so you gave me my life. I owe my life to you more so than you do to me, and nothing would make me happier than to spend every waking day by your side. Give me the air to breath, which is your very being, and I will never need for anything more. I pledge my entire being to you, along with my love, and I only hope that I can be worthy of you." She did as he had, gripping his hand tighter.
Kino stared at her. "You're wrong you know," he said, his voice cracking, "I'm the one not worthy of you."
Venus smiled at the two as she placed her hand over theirs, which were still joined. A soft golden glow seeped from between her fingers, a warmth that enveloped both Kino and Selenity. The glow faded, and Venus beamed at them as she removed her hand from theirs. They each had a small gold band on their fingers, with a faint crest of Kino's family engraved on it. "You may kiss your wife Kino," Venus said as she took a step back.
Kino smiled as he leaned over and kissed his new wife. Paris put his arm around Helen as she sighed in bliss.
Selenity was certain that with that kiss, Kino had found a way to still time. He poured his entire heart out to her, and she accepted it willingly, doing the same in return. His hands gently caressed her hips, and slowly they pulled apart.
"Congratulations you two!" Helen cried, and hugged Selenity.
Paris clapped Kino on his back. "Welcome to the rest of your life," he said, and the two men smiled at each other.
Venus glanced to the path. "We should be heading back," she said. Everyone nodded, and after making sure once more that there was no one around, quickly went to the path. They decided to head back from the way that they had originally come, since it was a shorter walk. When they reached the palace to door opened allowing Mars and Jupiter out, along with Selenity's brother.
"We were wondering if you were still alive," Jupiter commented.
Selenity saw her brother roll his eyes. "I tried to convince them that we have enough guards around to make sure nothing happens, but they wouldn't listen to me, so I suggested we go search for you in the rose gardens, since that was Helen's favourite area." Selenity smiled at her brother. The rose gardens were on the opposite side of the garden from where they were, so she knew that they would have still had plenty of time had they stayed longer.
"Did you have a nice walk?" Mars asked as he fell into step next to Selenity. She nodded, but she felt Kino tense up, even though there were two people between them. They reached the corridor where they started to split up to go to their individual chambers.
"I'll walk you to your room," Mars offered to Selenity. She wanted to cry. Then she noticed Paris nudge Mars in the shoulder.
"You promised you would show me that book you brought along tonight, and I think we should go now, before my wife bites my head off for being gone so late at night." Mars gave him a funny look.
"I thought we were going to do that in the morn-" Paris cut him off as he grabbed his arm and started to drag him.
"Oh I can't wait to see that chapter about….." his voice trailed off as the two men got further away. Helen glanced at Jupiter, and put on a pout.
"I can't believe that he just left me like that. The hallways are so quiet and dark. He knows I get antsy walking around alone."
Jupiter took on a look of concern. "I can walk you back to your room if you want," he offered. Her face lit in a smile as she accepted his extended arm.
"Goodnight everyone!" she called over her shoulder, giving Selenity a wink.
Selenity waited until they were well out of earshot before she turned to Venus and her brother. She smiled and gave her brother a hug. "Thank you," she murmured. He hugged her tenderly.
"No problem," he replied, and smiled at her affectionately as they pulled apart. "I had to apologize somehow for all those times I hid your dolls on you and teased you and pulled your hair and…well, you get the picture."
Selenity laughed. She then turned to Kino. "Well, I guess this is where we say goodnight."
Kino nodded, taking her hand and placing a gentle kiss on it. "Goodnight, my lady," he murmured, his voice low and husky. She shivered, a slight sadness creeping over her that they had to part now.
Selenity turned to Venus when she heard the woman chuckling. "What?" she asked.
Venus handed her a slip of paper with a number of characters written on it. "Put that on your door tonight," she said. Selenity gave her a curious look. Venus grinned. "It will make sure that no one disturbs you, and no one hears anything, until you yourself open the door." Selenity still had a perplexed look on her face. Kino's face had the same look.
Venus turned to Kino, and after making sure that no one was near, she held out her hand. He took hers, and closed his eyes as a warm glow surrounded him and Venus. When he opened his eyes, he heard a startled gasp from Selenity, and was rather surprised to see….himself looking at him. He took a step back, and realized that his body felt odd. He looked down and let out a gasp himself, although he sounded rather feminine to him. To add to that, he was wearing what Venus had been only moments before. His head shot up to look at Venus…..himself……..
"What just happened!" he hissed, his hand flying to his thought at the sound of Venus' voice coming from his lips.
He….uhh, she….smiled at him. "Think of this as my wedding present to you," she said in Kino's voice. At the dumbfounded faces, she chuckled. "Don't worry, the disguise will melt as soon as Selenity sticks that paper on the door, and will re-appear as soon as she opens the door. Just come and find me in the morning, and I'll remove the illusion. This is just so that you can get to her room without any suspicion."
Kino and Selenity looked at each other and smiled. The two couples parted ways, and headed to their own rooms. Selenity was very relieved that Kino had the disguise, since they did meet up with a couple of guards and maids along the way, all of whom bowed or curtsied to the 'two women.' Granted, Selenity was even more relieved when the disguise did actually melt away as soon as she had pinned the paper to the door. She turned around, and found herself wrapped in the arms of the man she had just given her life to. "You're my hero," she whispered.
He kissed her, his kiss filled with the promise of everything she could ever want or need . That was enough, more than enough, as he scooped her up in his arms, and carried her to the bed. It was a night that neither of them was soon to forget.