Continuing Tales


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 35 of 42

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When her entered her flat, the myriad of sounds launched an onslaught on his nerves. He had been in the office for over twelve hours in an attempt to make up for the free day he had taken yesterday. She sat perched on her kitchen counter, eating cold curry straight from its box. The TV was blaring, her radio was on and right in front of her stood her small green laptop computer. The nimble fingers of her right hand typed the occasional word, while she happily munched on, completely oblivious to his arrival.

Dressed in a floor-length white summer dress despite winter's final onslaught outside, and with her unruly hair held up by some chopsticks, she was quite a picture. Around her, chaos reigned.

Once he turned the TV off, she lifted her eyes from the computer screen and flashed him her most brilliant smile.

"Hey you. Do you want some curry?"

Putting his briefcase down, he walked over to her and carefully sniffed the greasy curry.

"Minako, how old is that?"

Waving the pink fork in her hand, she made a face that clearly told him not to be so picky. He promptly decided to steer away from the food.

"No, thank you. I'd rather not."

After shedding both his coat and his tie, and turning off the radio, he took the offensive box from her hand and threw it straight in the bin.

"Hey, I was eating that!"

He only smirked and picked the unsuspecting bundle of girl up and carried her to her couch, fully intending to put her there and arrange for something proper to eat. But Minako Aino had different plans, so she pulled him down with her, snaking slender arms around his neck and long legs around his slim hips.

"Why don't you stay here with me for a minute? Now that you've dragged me away from the computer and viciously turned off all of my entertainment, you have to provide an alternative or I will get bored. And you don't want that, do you now?" Her blue eyes were sparkling with mischief and quickly deciding that there were more important things than eating, he allowed her sweet smell to engulf him and gave in to her embrace. Careful as to not crush her with his weight, he rested on top of her.

"And what sort of entertainment do you want me to provide you with?", he asked her with a deadpan face. "I can tell you about the meeting with a client form London I had today. He wants me to build him a love nest for his mistress. Lots of small towers, French windows and staircases."

Feigning interest, she answered while slowly nibbling his ear.

"Must be a good a very profitable commission. Men in love tend to splurge."

Thinking about the not so small box in the pocket of his coat, he grinned, but she could only feel the movement of his face as he brushed it against her own neck, his breath sending goosebumps down her spine.

"Yes, they do. Which is a pity for his wife who has not only lost the attention of her husband, but also has to live in a very boring house. Without French windows."

Slender fingers tugged at the hem of his shirt, successfully pulling it out from his trousers. Making use of the opportunity thus presented, they immediately slipped under it and traced small patterns on his back.

"If she is smart, she will take his credit card to compensate her loss."

Closing his eyes, he let his hands wander, moving over curves, under the folds of her dress. A small gasp escaped her throat. His touch always took her out of this world and into another. It had been like this since their first night, and the feeling still remained.

On the counter, the computer stood forgotten.

Another day, another chance.

Once again, Ando made his way up the many stairs leading to the shrine. The sun had come out to play, but maybe it was just reluctant to miss the spectacle that this meeting promised to be. It watched the shitennou's back, and framed his hair in a halo of golden light.

He was quite a vision, and as such he had a pronounced effect on the pair of school girls that had just stormed out of the temple and into the fresh air. Both of them began to giggle, and the more daring one of them batted her eye lashes at him in what she hoped would be an alluring gesture.

The truth was that on this ground, with Mars' reincarnation only metres away, no other woman could deter Ando Tanaka from focusing every inch of his being on the princess he had loved so much and who still evaded him.

He found her within minutes.

"So, lovely day, huh? I think the fact that the sun is always shining when I stop by for a visit has to account for something. Personally, I interpret is as such: The gods are using the weather to tell you that spending time with me is actually a brilliant idea."

Rei turned around to find a grinning Ando leaning against a wall. He was in a visibly good mood, grinning from ear to ear and waiting for her comeback. Despite herself, she turned and smiled. How many sleepless nights he had caused her, she didn't know because counting them would have made resisting him only harder.

"You do realise that speaking of weather that it always good is rather besides the point, when this is only the second time you've been here?"

"Hmm, only the second time? Careful there, this sounds almost as if you want me around more often and I don't think you're quite there yet." He wagged his fingers in mock reprimanding, and Rei suddenly understood why he and Minako got along so well.

Had she been raised differently and not worn the traditional clothing that demanded a certain respect, she would have rolled her eyes. Instead, she walked past him and towards the back entrance of the temple, calling to him over her shoulder.

"If we are going to have this conversation, I'd rather have it sitting down and with a cup of tea in front of me."

Not quite believing his luck, he resisted the urge to just bound after her like a happy puppy and instead followed the miko in measured steps which belied his goofy smile.

They sat down in a small and almost empty room. It was designed to exude calm, there were next to no colours but the white of the carpet and the polished cherry wood of the table and it promptly made him nervous. He was more at ease around bright, flashing neons and loud voices. This quietness had an intention, it was here that things were brought to light that should rather have lain forgotten. The smile slid from his face like melted wax, and if it were any other person in the room, he would have bolted from it long ago. But everything about her kept him in place; he was a starving man, and she was the only nourishment that he cared for.

Her capable hands prepared the tea, but she made sure not to touch him when she handed him the delicate porcelain cup. Too strong was the feeling that she would lose herself once skin met skin if she had not prepared herself for it.

"Can you still read minds?"

The question caught him off guard, and he almost spilled the hot beverage. He had expected an onslaught of insults, cold tones that were supposed to drive him away and bitter resentment, but this casual, yet loaded question took him by surprise. But she always did.

"You are changing. You are changing into another man right in front of me, don't you dare deny it! What has gotten into you lately?"

She hated the pleading sound of her voice, but something was very wrong and it was her duty as a senshi and her need as his lover to find out what it was. Darkness was everywhere, tainting the few hours they managed to steal from father time and turning their love into something foul.

"I do not know what you are talking about. I am very much the man I've been the first time we met, but maybe I'm not to your taste any longer? Perhaps you have grown bored of me, and now wish to be held by someone else's arms? I suggest Nephrite, he is quite ardent, if the maids are to be believed."

He had never spoken to her in that way, with derision mocking her through every word. It hurt her deeply, and the fact that she could never lie to him and make him believe that she stopped caring for him dug into her even further. For him, she had given up everything but being a senshi. The first daughter of Mars' rulers was traditionally a priestess, but this position was tied to the virginity she had willingly given to him, thus barring her way back into the temples for evermore.

A sinister smirk rested on his lips as he used them to kiss her goodbye. Her mind was an open book to him ever since they had shared a bed, and he was taking advantage of it now to lash back at her, solely because she belonged to a world that resisted his own so persistently. Beryl was right, Earth deserved a place among the other planets in the Silver Alliance and it was because of people like Sailor Mars that they didn't get it. He closed the door gently, a completely mockery of attentive behaviour. Once it was shut, she crumbled to the floor, where Mercury found her hours later.

Weighing his words more carefully than normal for him, he took his time to answer. His eyes however were always set on hers. He suddenly understood that she was not going to let him down easy. A message would be delivered today, and he was the recipient, willing or not.

"Yes, I can." Clearing his throat, he continued. "It's not controllable as of yet, I occasionally hear bits and pieces, see some images, but I cannot use it consciously. It just happens."


"This is no longer my name." His voice was rougher than he would have liked it to be, but he was deeply unsettled and yet something inside him refused to cave. His witticism had left him at the door, stripping him down to the very core. In this white room, joking and pretending were not an option.

"It will always be your name."

Putting the cup back on its saucer, she broke the eye contact. If he had to put a finger on it, he would have reckoned that she was steeling herself to be vulnerable, which was a completely stupid thing to say, but no other words came to the smooth talker's mind.

Before the silence stretched to far, she reached over the table and grabbed his hand.

An avalanche of images flooded his mind almost violently, as her touch send his soul reeling.

Black clothes. A grave. A funeral.

A small girl crying and waving after a retreating black limousine.

The same girl being led into the very temple that he was in now, were women clad in white shirts and red skirts dried her tears and cheered her up with friendly jokes and tales about strong priestesses.

An old man who told her that this sacred ground should pass onto her once he was no more.

His Psyche putting on the uniform of a miko for the first time, with a face so full of pride.

A fire burning brightly in the night, spilling secrets and premonitions that were both her gift and her burden.

Rejection from a man named Kaidou.

White Casablanca lilies, tears, and an unanswered prayer to never fall in love again.

His own face, sneering, taunting, burning.

Five girls with solemn faces and wisdom beyond their years.

Mars standing all alone on the battlefield that was the moon, before dying as much of the wounds on her horribly charred flesh as a broken heart.

Blood. So much blood.

Finally, the shrine again. Peace, love, hope. A sense of security.

The images stopped as soon as her hand had left his. Whether it was out of revenge or not, she had used his gift against him to make him understand. Nausea threatened to overwhelm him, and his knuckles turned white as he gripped the table like a lifeline.

"I hope that I will be able to accept you in time, but do not make me leave this place for something you might throw away again. Here, I am happy. Here, I belong. If you really do feel something for me, as you have Minako believe, then leave me to this. Allow me peace. Do not make me break another vow."

Somewhere in the distance, laughter and shouts mingled, but to him everything was a blur.

"There is no room for the shrine and for you. Do not make me chose, for the last time you did so, I chose you and ended up alone, and there was no way to return to what I was. I cannot take this once more." That her voice was soft almost caused him to throw up. Had he opened his eyes again, he would have seen the tears on her face.

But even without that, shame reared its ugly head, and it had brought his friend regret along with it.

Regret for everything that was and for things that would never be. She was a priestess, she was unattainable. Leaving her alone was all he could do to make her happy. She had made herself perfectly clear, and the words spoken in the corridors of the moon palace resonated in his ears.

"One day, Jadeite, I will tell you to leave and I will mean it. Do not be so foolish to extend your welcome then, for it will not be pleasant."

He all but jumped up, storming out into the sunlight and away from the miko and his heart.

The porcelain cups shivered, but did not break.

The lecture hall was crowded, it was early in the morning and the professor's ongoing droning did nothing to keep the two blonde girls in the last row focused. Usagi was leaning on Minako's shoulder, having been propelled into a sweet slumber by the monotone voice of the ancient man in front of them. Luckily, he neither cared nor noticed what his students were doing.

Minako read a book that had decidedly nothing to do with the subject of the lecture, but she felt as long as she was in this room, everything she did sort of counted as studying. It was one of Ando's well used paperbacks that had found his way into her bag by accident. If her friend's exasperated complaints about her reading habits and his shoving the book into her hands could be counted as an accident, that is. The Hobbit had proved to be very good though, and she decided to ask the journalist for another recommendation as soon as she was finished with this once.

A thought tugged at the corner of her mind, and ten more pages into Bilbo's meeting with the dwarves, it demanded her full attention.

Once all the lectures had been attended, Minako hugged Usagi and made her way to Rei's home. Taking the steps two at a time, she arrived at the temple slightly out of breath, her cheeks tinted red by exercise and air. Rei's grandfather saw her arrive and pointed to the back of the impressive building. Raising her hand in a gesture of thanks, the blonde walked a little bit faster. The old man had looked worried.

Above her, the clouds were playing hide and seek with the sun, moving about the blue sky in an elegant chase. When she finally spotted her friend just standing around without any task to occupy her usually diligent fingers, she broke into a run.

The door bell rang out noisily, being pressed time and again. Sighing, Umino got up and left his desk to answer to this impatient visitor. While Ando was at home, there was no chance in heaven or in hell that he would so much as lift a finger. He had locked himself in his room immediately after his return, and not one sound had come from it since.

When it was Minako who stood in front of him, with concern etched into her pretty face, the philosopher suddenly had a good idea as to why Ando was hiding. He must have been at the temple.

"Is he here?"

Not waiting for an answer, she brushed past him and headed past their living-room and straight to his bedroom. Why she knew which behind which door the room was located was beyond him. Unless she had been here before...

Firm knocks were designed to tell the suffering man that she had arrived, but he obviously chose not listen.

"Ando, it's me. Let me in."

Umino inched closer, not sure whether to stay or to leave. The door remained firmly shut, but the girl was not deterred and kept on knocking. Somewhere in the kitchen, a clock was ticking.

"Minako, do you want me to call Takeshi? He might be able to help."

The blonde stopped in her movements and slowly turned around.

"No, don't call him. I sincerely doubt that his presence would make a difference. I'll take care of this."

Secretly, Umino was certain that Takeshi's presence would make a difference. It would make all the difference in the world, if not to Ando, then at least to the silver-haired man himself.

The door was opened and Minako slipped in. Despite the short time it had been open, the smell of cigarettes and alcohol reached his nostrils. Shaking his head, Umino returned to his desk with a bad feeling in his guts and an even worse one in his heart.

When he entered his girlfriend's flat, he didn't need to look for her in order to know that she wasn't there. It was completely silent, and since Minako couldn't even read a book without some sort of background noise, it was easy to deduce that she was absent.

No note lay waiting for him, and the answering machine was empty. Takeshi frowned. He was quite certain that they had arranged to meet here tonight, but maybe she had mixed it up. Or been held up somewhere. Being on time wasn't exactly her forte. When he tried to call her on her mobile, she didn't pick up and eventually, her voicebox answered.

Having always been convinced that leaving a message on a machine was rather superfluous when the person who he tried to contact was not picking up the phone in the first place, he broke the connection and sat down on the couch, thinking once more that it was completely impossible that the girl didn't have a single proper table in her flat. She had no dining table, and no desk. There were several spindly coffee tables dotted around the apartment, but that was it.

Propping his sketchbook up on his knees, he began to work on the designs for his new client, sure that she would arrive soon in a whirlwind of laughter and apologies.

But as night had fallen and there was still no trace of her, he grabbed sketchbook, briefcase and his coat and left for his place, still hoping to find her there. He didn't.

An almost sleepless night followed.

In the morning, Umino was once again disturbed by the angry sounds of his door bell.

Shaking his head in disbelief, he got up, hair tousled and eyes almost closed. In the hall he stumbled over the bag Minako had unceremoniously dropped there last night. Cursing, he kicked the orange leather. The bell did not stop ringing.

"Oh for the love of God! I'm on my way!", he hollered. No, Umino Kiichi was definitely not a morning person. Back in Kyoto, his friends had never bothered to speak to him before ten o'clock and even in school the teachers knew that despite the boy's brilliance, no decent answer was to be gotten out of him before the clock struck a certain mark.

Rubbing sleep out of his eyes, he finally reached the door.

Postman? Landlord? Bothersome children? Jehovah's witnesses?



"Good morning, Umino. I apologize for waking you, but I am looking for Minako. None of the girls knew where she was, and I am beginning to worry. Maybe Ando knows something?"

Dressed impeccably in his suit and coat, with not a single hair out of place, his friend was the picture of a perfectly composed man. But Umino knew better and while he still wondered how to breach the news to him, Takeshi had already spotted the treacherous bag.

Recognition flitted over his features and the expression that followed caused Umino to step out of the way and let him into the flat. Striding through the hall, Takeshi threw him an inquiring glance as to which door it was he should open. Gesturing to the last one on the right side, the tired man desperately wished that Minako and Ando were doing something innocent. Like playing scrabble. Or acting out stupid romance novels.

The door was opened, and closed just as quickly. White-faced, Takeshi turned and left, not sparing the helpless man in his pyjamas a second glance.

Teetering on the spot for a little while, curiosity finally got the better of him and he too snuck to the door and peaked in. While it could have been worse, it wasn't good. And it most certainly wasn't scrabble.

They lay asleep on Ando's bed, above the covers, fully clothed, but in an embrace, with Ando's chin resting on the top of Minako's head. Even sleeping, they held hands. The tranquillity of the scene belied the storm it would cause once they awoke.

Already knowing that doing so was incredibly foolish, Umino went into his room, changed and set out to follow Takeshi.


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 35 of 42

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