Continuing Tales


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 32 of 42

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"By the way: thank you so much for your help during our move- it is greatly appreciated."

"Oh come on, Hiromasa, I was busy. I have to work, earn a living, assemble some money so that I will be able to provide for a wifey and a bunch of merry, red-cheeked kids one day. "

The taller man just grinned, and rummaged in his fridge for two more bottles of beer. Makoto hadn't been best pleased that part of her beloved, brand new fridge had been taken over by large amounts of assorted bottles filled with nothing but alcohol, but it was a guys' night and that just demanded lots of beer. Sighing, she had given in and even made them a batch of deliciously smelling brownies, which weren't necessarily manly, but too good not to appreciate.

Ando and Hiromasa returned to the living-room, each grabbing a slim white controller.

"In order to turn Rei into a wifey, you might need the silver crystal and fairy to go along with it. Because she isn't even talking to you yet, is she?"

Ando shrugged, seemingly unbothered by the lack of progress his relationship to the priestress was making and instead focused his attention on the game. Teeing off, he watched the golf ball shoot in the sky, landing near the white flag on the green. His handsome mouth split into a smile, one that got even wider when Hiromasa's ball landed somewhere in the rough.

"She'll come round, trust me."

Early the next morning, a visibly hungover Ando sat perched on the top step of the staircase that led to the shrine. If he had turned his head for even an inch, the impressive building would have been in clear sight. The place was as of yet empty, which might have to do with the fact that the sun was still playing hide and seek with the moon on the horizon, neither really there nor really gone.

Unfolding one of many newspapers he had bought, the shitennou began to read. His scathing book review had made it on the top spot of the feature pages, which he noted with satisfaction. Every time he wrote a nice review that complimented an author, it was crammed between some boring interview with an airhead actress and a comment on next season's fashions. But as soon he was snarky, tada! Front page.

Behind him, a door slid open and two ravens soared up in the sky.

Followed by a girl, who upon seeing him, froze for the a moment so brief that it was over quicker than a blink of an eye and then strode towards him in angry, meaningful steps. She didn't pause to consider that even from the distance, she had recognised him immediately.

"What are you doing here?", she called out to him, her voice laden with surprise and resentment.

Not lifting his eyes from the paper, he calmly answered.

"Well, I need some peace and quiet to read my paper, and in case you haven't heard, which would make sense given how shy and polite your friend Ami is, Umino snores exceptionally loudly. It's very disruptive, you see."

Momentarily stunned into silence by his audacity, Rei glared daggers at the back of Ando's still unturned head, before she decided to just leave the man without the attention for which he had undoubtedly come. Turning on the spot, she marched back into the shrine, slamming the thin door shut with as much force as she could muster.

Three hours later, a hesitant sun had arisen and rewarded the shitennou's perseverance with several beams shining right on his face. Being thus warmed despite the chilly air, his vigour was slowly returning. He had finished three newspapers by now, all of them front to back. They made little rustling sounds in the light breeze, as the wind toyed with their pages.

In the distance, a sweeping and seething Rei noticed that he was seemingly done with his silly papers and hoped that without her company or encouragement, he would just leave. But her memories from the Silver Millennium were too clear to indulge in this impossible hope for long. Jadeite was persistent and nothing in his blatant and unabashed position on the steps contradicted this. He would probably stay here all day just to annoy her. She considered calling Minako, but even if she could get her friend to intervene on her behalf and make him go away, he would probably just return the next day, and the day after that, and for as many days as it would take him to weasel his way back into her heart.

But there was no room in her heart and soul for a man who had all but killed her a millennia ago. She was better than him, he didn't deserve her and so the only reaction he would ever be allowed to read in her eyes was contempt.

Her sweeps got a little bit fiercer, her fingers gripped the broom a little harder and her heart softened just so slightly as the sun kissed his hair, making it look like spun gold. It was the first thing she noticed about him when he came to Mars as an ambassador, those wonderfully different curls. On Mars, the only colour hair anybody had was black. He stood out in court, and all eyes were turned on him. Stopping in her movements, she remembered that this eyes had never left hers, oblivious to all the attention he was receiving as long as her eyes were fixed on him.

Feeling her eyes on his back just as he felt the sun on his face, Ando smiled and plucked the battered book out of his jacket's pockets. It was one of his favourites, and as such sported countless coffee stains, dog's ears and creases. The pages had already turned a greyish yellow, but to him, this was a prerequisite for any good paperback. He hated them when they were pristine and still smelled of print. It was the soft smell of dust that he loved, and this copy of John Irving's 'Garp' had in abundance.

His right hand disappeared in the depths of his pockets yet again, bringing a carefully in aluminium foil wrapped parcel to light. It gleamed in the morning sun, prompting the girl who was curious against her will to inch a wee bit closer, even if she did it surreptitiously so. Ando began to unwrap it most gently, lest his important cargo suffer any damage.

Makoto's brownies were placed on his left knee. He briefly wondered if Hiromasa had noticed that he had nicked the entire batch, but then his friend had been so drunk that he had actually began to serenade his girlfriend upon her return to their home. This had been the moment in which he himself had grabbed the brownies, ditched the Wii's controller and cheerily departed, leaving the two love-birds to themselves. It was a good thing that he used to attend so many wild parties during his college days, nowadays it was still almost impossible to drink him under the table and Hiromasa was -despite his considerable length- most certainly no match for him.

While some people preferred to have something salty as hangover food, Ando had always needed sugar to restore him to his previous form. The fact that he had a huge sweet tooth might have also had something to do with the fact that the brownies had been taken home by him.

Sinking his teeth into the soft chocolaty mass, and hearing her approach actually made this a perfect day, but naturally, he had no intention of telling her about this. It would only drive her away.

She hovered over his shoulder for a while, not quite sure what to do or say. The sunshine on his hair drove her to distraction, and again, a sliver of memory rushed over her.

Lying in his bed, she watched him sleep. It was almost time to go, but it was impossible to tear herself away from him. She had given him her all, even things she had almost vowed to never give to any man at all and she revelled in their secret, silent pact. They were bound to each other forever, and nothing and no one could ever change this. Sneaking a white hand in his sunkissed hair, she smoothed his golden curls and watched as the sun played with them in the morning light. Still sleeping, he pulled her close to him.

Swatting at the memory like an unwelcome insect, she broke out of her reverie.

"This is not a restaurant, you know? And neither is it a public park! You're blocking the entire staircase!", she finally snapped.

Munching, he answered. "I didn't notice anybody coming up the stairs in the past three hours, so to whom am I blocking the stairway exactly?" Some birds had already returned from their winter sanctuary and now began to lift their chirping voices in a sweet song. Oh, how Rei wished for rain and thunder in this very minute! Grumbling, she snatched the brownie from his hands, broke a piece of and began to eat it herself in an act of pure defiance. It was too good for words. Just like Makoto's...

"And my friend's baked goods aren't for you anyway! They are for nice and decent people only!"

"Well, she did make them for Hiromasa. And according to your logic, this would make him a nice and decent person, which I completely agree with, by the way. Upstanding sort of guy, he is." Ando got up and brushed some imaginary dust from the sleeves of his jacket. Standing in front of her caused butterflies to take up residency in his stomach, and he allowed himself an almost goofy grin. "I wonder, can you really expect Makoto to sell her baked goods to decent people only? She has to make a living, so I don't think she gets to be that selective with her customers. And even if she wanted to do so, how can she possibly guarantee that every single customer in her shop is morally sound?" His green eyes were sparkling with mischief and any other woman would have loved to engage in silly conversation with this smooth talker, but Rei was different. She had always been. It made her such a challenge, and it made her the only woman for whom he had ever truly cared. Not the only one he had ever desired, but the only one he had ever loved.

Bereft of the brownie, he instead lit a cigarette, careful not to blow the smoke into her direction. While goading her was part of his plan, disgusting her was not. But he needed something to occupy his hands with, otherwise he might lose control and tangle them in her long silken tresses.

For the second time today, she found herself without words. His easy impudence was annoying her to death, yet seeing him was pleasant in its own way. Not that she would admit this to either him or herself. The thought was as forbidden as they got, and as such shoved into the back of her mind, where it would hopefully be forgotten.

They stared at each other in silence for what felt like a small eternity, short enough to bemoan its ending, but long enough to spark his hope of reclaiming her one day. Her eyes still held the most exquisite colour, a purple so intense it almost seemed completely black.

Feeling her heart speed up, she crumbled the brownie she was holding, soft brown chunks of it falling out of her clutched fist and onto the ground.

Clearing his throat, he spoke up again in a voice so calm that it belied the frantic rhythm of the red hot blood pounding in his veins. She was a thing of beauty so delicate that she herself deserved a shrine to be worshipped in, but this was a compliment so blasphemous that she would never accept it, especially not from him. Instead, he opted for the safe road, one that would lead him to his goal eventually, but just not today.

"I'll leave you to your work now. Have a nice day."

Breaking the eye contact, he quickly assembled his papers, careful not to burn them with his cigarette. He had caught her by surprise when he announced his sudden and unexpected leave, and he knew that she would think about him longer than she wished because of it. When he made his way down the staircase that he had spent the morning on, his elated steps were those of a happy man.

Behind him, a lonely priestess stared after the man she sworn both to love and to hate, wondering which vow would win in the end.


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 32 of 42

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