Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Atonement - Rei's Story ❯ Chapter 6 ( Chapter 6 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Atonement: Rei's Story
by Jason C. Ulloa

Chapter 6

"I'm home!" Rei called out as she passed under the torii and waved at Grandpa. He looked
up from where he was sitting on the steps leading up to the haiden. "Has Ryoku-san come
back from school yet?"

"Not yet," he replied with a small grin. "He should be here soon, though. I hope he didn't
get lost somewhere along the way," he added with a laugh.

Rei frowned as she pur her hands on her hips. "Grandpa, that's not a nice thing to say.
What if he really did get lost? After all, he might not know this area very well."

Grandpa stopped laughing and looked at his granddaughter as he folded his arms in front of
him. "I'm sure he'll be fine," he stated, nodding confidently. "He'll find his way back.
Besides, I don't think he'd want to be walked to school."

"Yeah, it'd be so embarrassing to be walked to school like some first-grader."

"Ryoku-san?" Rei called out as she turned toward the temple entrance. A hand was visible,
waving at her and Grandpa. As it waved, the hand slowly rose higher, showing the arm behind
it, and soon the entire top half of Ryoku's body. She started running toward him the moment
his foot hit the top of the huge stairway.

"How was your first day at school, Ryoku-san?" she asked as she came to a stop a few feet
away from him. Her head tilted inquisitively. "You didn't get lost trying to find it, did

He shook his head. "No, I already knew where it was," he told her. "I used to go to Juuban
Elementary a long time ago."

"You did?" Grandpa asked as he walked up behind Rei. "When?"

"It was before my parents died."

There was no change in his expression, but both Rei and Grandpa knew that they had come
upon a very touchy subject for him.

"I'm sorry...," Grandpa began, but stopped when he saw Ryoku shaking his head.

"Don't be. It wasn't your fault, so don't apologize. I would prefer it that way."

"At any rate," Rei said, breaking the small silence that seemed to hang in the air, "tell me
about your first day at Juuban." She took his hand and started to lead him toward the haiden.

Grandpa watched as the two children went into the shrine and smiled to himself. "I guess I'm
stuck making the tea, then?" he said as he headed toward the haiden as well.


"So, did you make any new friends, Ryoku-san?" Rei asked as she leaned forward on her bed.

Ryoku looked up from his seat on the floor in Rei's room and shrugged. "Not really."

"Not really?" she repeated skeptically as she raised an eyebrow. "Either you did or you

He shrugged again. "Well, I guess I did make one friend...."

"Well?" she prompted as he trailed off. "Go on."

"Her name is Tsukino Usagi," he continued. "She's in the same class as I am. She's the same
age as me, too. She's a nice person; you'd probably like her, Rei-chan."

"Oh... really?" She frowned. "So, if she's your friend, then why did you say 'Not really'

He moved back until he could lean against the wall, and started staring up at the ceiling.
"It's strange.... I've never met her before, yet Usagi-chan acts like she's always known me."

Rei laughed. "You're worried because someone's acting too friendly? That's silly."

Ryoku sighed and met her gaze. "That's not it, Rei-chan."

"Oh? It's something else, then?"

"I never said I was worried, either," he complained. Rei laughed again. "I said it's strange
because I never questioned it whenever I was around her. It felt natural, like almost like
she was someone I used to know a long time ago. If it was someone else acting that way, I
would think that person was weird or something, but not Usagi-chan." He paused and gave her a
chagrined look. "You probably think I'm weird, don't you?"

Rei shook her head. "No, I don't think you're weird." She looked away thoughtfully for a
moment. "But, I think I know how you feel, Ryoku-san."

He blinked. "What do you mean, Rei-chan?"

"Before I met all of you, I had a strange dream. You and I were both in it."

Ryoku blinked again. "You dreamt of me... before you even met me?" he asked disbelievingly.
"Was it... some kind of vision of something?" he asked, gazing intently at her. "Of the
future or something like that?"

Rei gave him a strange look. "That sounds silly, Ryoku-san...," she began, but trailed off
as she thought of something.

"What is it, Rei-chan?"

"Maybe you're right, Ryoku-san."

"What do you mean?" he asked, puzzled. "What was I right about?"

Rei gave him a serious look. "I want you to make me a promise first. Don't tell anyone what
I'm about to tell you."

"Huh? What?"

She stood up from her bed and stalked over to where she was standing in front of him and
planted her hands on her hips while frowning sternly. "Promise or I'm not telling," she said
as she thrust a demanding finger down at him.

"Um... uh, okay," Ryoku stammered, caught off guard by the sudden firmness in her voice. "I
promise, Rei-chan. Not a word."

She smiled as she nodded and sat down on the floor beside him. "All right. Grandpa thinks
that I'm beginning to...," she paused as she frowned in concentration, ""


She gave him a quick scowl for a moment, then nodded. "He thinks I might have some kind of
special ability. Psychic powers, he called them."

Ryoku gaped. "No way."

"He said he wasn't sure, though," she continued. "I've always had this ability to find
things that were lost - keys, wallets, and other small things - but until I started having
these dreams, Grandpa would've never thought anything about it."

"The dream where you first saw me was one of them?"

"It was the first one I had that felt like it meant something important," she told him.
"Like someone was trying to tell me something.

"After I had that first dream, I met you and Mako-chan and Keiko-chan."

Ryoku's expression went dead. "Tell me about that dream, Rei-chan."

Rei flinched at the grimness in his tone. "Ryoku-san, I don't think that-"

"Tell me about that dream, Rei-chan," he said again, his tone more urgent and pleading. Her
expression grew concerned when she saw his face grow even more cold and hard. His eyes
looked haunted, almost like when she saw him at Keiko's funeral.

'I knew I shouldn't have mentioned Keiko-chan,' she thought as she reached out and took one
of his hands in her own. 'I think he might be having a flashback to when she died. I've got
to be more careful next time. I don't want to see him hurt like this....'


The pain in his voice was becoming noticeable now. "All right, Ryoku-san," she relented.
"I dreamt that you were crying for some reason. You even spoke to me, but I can't remember
what you said. I think you were asking me to do something, but...." She shrugged feebly.
"That's all I can remember."

"So... there was no way you could have known, then...," he said quietly, his gaze distant as
he stared straight ahead at nothing.

"Ryoku-san, if I had known that Keiko-chan was going to die, then I would've warned you,"
she told him.

He was silent for a long time before nodding. "I know, Rei-chan. You didn't know us then. I
don't blame you in any way for what happened or for you not warning me. You didn't even know
what was going to happen until it happened."


"I understand, Rei-chan. You didn't even know your dreams could warn you of the future. I
just wish that I had the same abilities you have. I could've stopped myself before it was
too late."

Rei's grip on his hand tightened. "You can't blame yourself, Ryoku-san. It's not your fault-"

Ryoku's head snapped toward Rei as his gaze hardened. His mouth was about to open when the
door slid open and Grandpa walked in with a tray and three cups. Immediately, both Rei and
Ryoku moved apart as she quickly released his hands.

"I'm sorry; did I interrupt?" he asked.

Rei glanced over at Ryoku, who was staring down at the ground. His face was relaxed, but the
tightness at the corners of his eyes and his lips betrayed his emotions. "No, Grandpa," she
replied, almost sighing at how quicklu Ryoku went from being talkative to closing back up

Grandpa glanced from Rei to Ryoku, then turned back to Rei as he set the tray down on the
table in the middle of the room and sat down on one side. "So, Ryo-kun, did you enjoy your
first day at your new school?" Ryoku's head lifted at hearing Grandpa call him 'Ryo-kun'. He
blinked as he stared at the elderly priest, momentarily perplexed. "Oh, I hope you don't
mind me calling you that," Grandpa said, putting a hand behind his head and laughing

Ryoku's blank stare vanished as he gave him a small half-smile. "I don't mind, Grandpa.
Actually, I kinda like it."

"It reminds you of Mako-chan, doesn't it?" Rei asked, smiling as she got up and walked over
to the table. She took one of the two remaining cups and sat down on the opposite side of

Ryoku finally got up as well and made his way toward the table. He took the last cup and sat
down on the vacant side facing the window. He took a sip of his tea, then nodded
appreciatively to Grandpa. "This tea is good, Grandpa. Thank you."

"You're welcome," he replied, grinning smugly. "It's my best green tea, made to celebrate
your first day at your new school."

"It's not that big of a deal...," Ryoku said candidly. Rei gave him a sympathetic look as
she sipped her tea.

Grandpa took a sip of his tea and put down his cup. "I know you've already told Rei about
your day, but I wanted to hear about your first day, too. Would you mind telling us about it

Ryoku took another sip, then put down his cup as well. "I don't mind," he replied. He
wouldn't go over everything he told Rei, but there was still plently of things he could talk
about. "What do you want to hear about first?"


The phone rang for only a few moments before Makoto picked it up. "Hello?"

"How're you doing, Mako-chan? It's me."

Makoto's face lit up instantly. "Ryo-chan! Hi! How've you been?"

"It's good to hear your voice again, Mako-chan," Ryoku said longingly. "I miss you already."

"Same here, Ryo-chan," she sighed. "It's not the same here without you."

"Mako-chan, did you tell Oyaji where I was?"

"Huh?" she said, caught off guard by the quick change of subject. "Um, yeah. I did tell him
that you were there."

"I see," he said as his voice trailed off thoughtfully.

"Ryo-chan?" Makoto said, breaking the silence that had suddenly came up.

"Did you talk with Oyaji since then?"

"No, I haven't," she told him. "Not since I gave him the number to the shrine."

Another pause. "I'm now staying here at the shrine with Rei-chan and her grandfather," he
told her.

"That's good news, Ryo-chan," she said happily.

"I bet you had to beg Oyaji to get him to do it, didn't you?"

"I called him 'Myouken-ojiisama' and used my kawaii tone of voice," she told him.

She could hear him snort with laughter on the other end of the line. "You really shouldn't
rely on that, Mako-chan," he admonished. "Just think of when you get older and your voice
gets deeper. It won't be as easy to sound as cute as you do when you try to charm Oyaji."

Makoto shook her head as she smiled. "I know, but I figure I may as well use it while it

"Did Oyaji say anything about you coming down to Juuban? He knows that we like to keep
together whenever possible."

"Oyaji is adamant about me staying in this school until the school year is over," she
explained. "He let you get out because you couldn't stay anymore, but he insists that one of
us finish the year that he paid for."

"That definitely sounds like Oyaji," Ryoku commented dryly.

"So, I'm stuck here until next year or so," she concluded.

"What's gonna happen then?" he asked. "Is Oyaji gonna try to get Grandpa to let you stay
here when to transfer to Juuban Elementary? Or, is he gonna make some other arrangement for

She shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine, Ryo-chan," she replied. "I'm not too worried
about it, though. Just as long as we stay together; that's all that matters to me."

"Then, we'll find out when we find out," he said finally.

"So, how've things been over there, Ryo-chan?" she asked. "How's Rei-chan?"

"Oh, Rei-chan's doing all right. She's right here, in fact. Wanna say hi?"

Makoto brightened instantly. "Yeah! Put her on the phone!"

There was a brief pause as Ryoku handed Rei the phone. "Hi, Mako-chan!"

"Rei-chan! How're you doing?"

"I'm all right," she replied cheerily. "I'm just getting adjusted to the fact that one of my
newest friends is going to be living with me and Grandpa.

"So, when are you gonna come visit us, Mako-chan? I know it's a long way, but Ryo-kun and I
both want to see you."

Makoto blinked at the phone. "Ryo-kun?"

"Hm? Oh, that's what Grandpa called him," she explained. "Ryo-kun said he didn't mind, so I
just started calling him that, too. I like it much better than Ryoku-san, anyway."

Makoto could almost see her friend smiling on the other end. There was no doubt in her mind
that those two would start becoming closer, which could be just the thing her brother needed
to keep him from becoming too deeply depressed over losing Keiko.

He needed someone, and right now, Rei looked like she could be that person.

"I'll see what I can do, Rei-chan," she promised. "Can you put Ryo-chan back on the phone?"

"Sure thing," she replied and handed the phone back to Ryoku.

"Hey, Mako-chan."

"It sounds like you're doing much better over there," Makoto commented. "I'm so glad you're
feeling better."

"The hurt isn't as bad as when I was back there in Shirokoyama, but it's still there.

"I made her a promise, Mako-chan. I promised that I would never forget her, and I never
will. All I can do is ask for her to forgive me for not saving her."

Makoto was about to say something when she heard Rei's voice in the background. "Ryo-kun,
you really shouldn't keep blaming yourself. You did all you could-"

"And it wasn't enough," he cut in stonily.

"Ryo-chan, please," she said softly. "Keiko-chan would be heartbroken to hear you talk like
this. Don't say that it's all your fault."

There was a long silence on the other end of the line. "All right. But not saying it will
not make it untrue."

She sighed tiredly. It probably wasn't a good time to try to convince Ryoku. He still needed
more time to come to terms with Keiko's death. Well, she would wait for him, no matter how
long it took.

"Hey Ryo-chan, you never did tell me about your first day back at Juuban Elementary," she
mentioned, breaking the gloomy silence between them.

"I didn't?" he asked, his voice losing some of its dreary qualities as his mind shifted to
something less painful. "Oh. Sorry, Mako-chan. I guess I kinda forgot."

"You baka," she laughed. "Well, I'm still here, so go ahead and tell me. Did you see any of
our old friends there?"

"No, but I did meet this one girl named Tsukino Usagi," he told her. "She's the same age as
I am, and she's in my class, too...."


After Ryoku finished talking on the phone and went outside, Rei followed him. She watched
him as he walked toward where the bell was hanging, rang the bell, and quietly began to
pray. It was the same ritual he had followed since he had first come to the Hikawa Jinja a
couple of days ago.

Rei quietly stood beside him and began praying as well. Even though he never seemed to be
aware of anything while he was praying, she felt as though he would appreciate it if someone
was there to share his sorrow. Besides, Keiko was a friend of hers, too.

Ryoku's prayers were usually very long. During her time at the shrine, she had never seen
anyone pray as long as he did. Not even the people who came and prayed for their own lost
loved ones.

But he wasn't like the others. He wasn't praying only for the soul of Keiko. He was praying
for his own soul. He was seeking forgiveness for failing to save Keiko's life.

He was praying for atonement for what he considered to be a grevious crime.

So, she would pray, too. She would pray for Keiko's soul, but she would also pray for
Ryoku's soul, too. She would pray that he finally find the forgiveness he prayed for and
that his heart would find peace.

She finished her prayer, then turned and headed inside, but stopped before turning the
corner that would take her out of his field of view. "Don't stay out too late, Ryo-kun," she
admonished as she shook a finger at him. She knew that he wouldn't show any sign of hearing
her, but she liked to think that he did hear what she said. "Do you hear me, Ryo-kun?"

No answer.

"Of course, you don't hear me," she said with a sigh. "You never do when you're like this. I
might as well be talking to a brick wall." She eyed him significantly. "A thick, stupid,
brick wall. You baka."

Still no answer.

Rei couldn't help but grin. It was kind of funny; she could insult him and he wouldn't even
answer back. She could say anything she wanted to him, and he would never answer back.
Anything at all....

She turned back around again and left, a thoughtful look on her face. Maybe she should find
out if he really did hear what was going on around him whenever he was praying.

"Good night, Ryo-kun," she called out before heading inside.


Just before Rei went to bed, she could hear the sound of someone walking down the hallway
past her room. 'He's finally done,' she thought to herself as she stepped over to her door
and slid it open.

"You ignored me again, Ryo-kun," she scolded as soon as he looked in her direction.

"I did?" he asked as he stopped and put a hand behind his head sheepishly. "Oh. I'm sorry,
Rei-chan. I didn't mean to do it again."

As usual, his response never seemed to clear up whether or not he had heard her. Oh, sure he
apologized for ignoring her, but the surprise on his face told her that he didn't even know
she was there.

"Ryo-kun, did you even hear me back then?" she asked.

"Um... well, how long ago was it?" he asked sheepishly. "I kinda lose track of time whenever
I'm praying for that long."

Rei grimaced and sighed as she rolled her eyes. "Oh, never mind," she grumbled as she
started to slide her door closed. "Good night, Ryo-kun."

"Good night, Rei-chan." The door closed completely.

Ryoku stared at the door for a moment before shrugging and making his way to his room. He
slid open the door and closed it behind him, then trudged over toward his futon. He unfolded
it, rolled out the blankets, and dropped his pillow at the head. Before he climbed into the
blankets, he turned toward the window and stared out into the black, starry night.

"Good night, Mako-chan," he said quietly before climbing into his blankets and going to


Disclaimer: All original materials belong to their respective owners. Sailor Moon belongs
to Naoko Takeuchi and a bunch of big companies. No copyright infringement is intended. This
story belongs me, so I would appreciate it very much if you would ask for permission before
posting it anywhere else. Thank you.

The Question and all stories included are:
Copyright © July 6, 2001 Jason C. Ulloa.
All Rights Reserved.