Continuing Tales


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 37 of 42

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The night had been a short one, and his sleep had been pierced by nightmares of the most abhorrent kind time and again. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw blood, death and destruction. Before the sun had arisen, Takeshi was wide awake and refused to fall back asleep. One more nightmarish remembrance of his past would undo him.

Next to him lay Minako, very very still. Each time he had shot up in his bed, he had searched for the luminescent light of her hair in the darkness and listened carefully for the soft sound of her breathing.

Unknowingly, Minako had unleashed his inner demons very much like Rei had done to Ando. They were so prominent now, looming over his shoulders and leaving him cold and alone in the dead of the night.

And yet, he couldn't bring himself to get up and leave her behind. He continued to watch her sleeping, his angel with her venomous tongue. What future could they possibly have if their past stood between them like that? The question was not new, but it now had an edge to it that he hadn't felt before.

The girl turned and rested closer to him now. Only millimetres kept them from touching, but the invisible barrier remained uncrossed. It seemed that they were back were they had started, and the thought didn't sit well with the architect.

Half an hour later, Takeshi finally tore his eyes from her and got up.

The sound of the shower's drumming water woke her up, and the feeling of misery consumed her as soon as she realised that he had left the bed without so much as a hurried kiss. While she knew that she had no right to expect anything from him after the disastrous evening, she had still hoped that come morning, everything would be forgotten and they could just pick up where they had left things before everything had gone so horribly wrong. Her inner optimist was bitterly disappointed.

Following him into the steaming bathroom, she could barely make him out in the shower. How hot the water had to be to create such a mist was something she had no inclination to find out, but the image of his broad back nevertheless propelled her forward and she slid under the shower alongside him. Her slender body pressed itself against his taut muscles and her arms encircled him, holding him as tight as she could. The embrace was meant to say so many things, but she doubted that he was inclined to listen. His stood with his arms pushed against the wall, exercising every inch of willpower left in him to suppress the urge to turn around and seek solace in her arms. A solace he didn't deserve.

Takeshi closed his eyes and neither one of them noticed that Minako had forgotten to shed her pyjamas before entering the shower. They remained like this for ten more minutes, before Takeshi got out without a word and left the fully clothed woman under the scolding water.

Ando wondered when had been the last time he dreaded a meeting with friends this much and concluded that he probably never had. There was not enough alcohol in this world to make an evening in a pub with Umino (who was still glowering at him), Takeshi (who'd probably punch him again), Hiromasa (whose opinion on the whole thing was not quite clear yet) and the blissfully clueless Mamoru anything but incredibly awkward. But the meeting had been arranged weeks ago and he couldn't cancel now.

Checking his mobile phone again, the display still help no information besides the time. He hadn't heard from Minako ever since she stormed out of his bedroom yesterday morning, which was a very bad sign indeed. Shaking the pack of cigarettes, the journalist came to realise that not only was it empty, but smoking was most certainly going to be prohibited in the pub anyway. The revelation did nothing to cheer him up. His bloodshot eyes shot over the spines of his books, all of which were staked on his desk in a chaotic heap of world literature. What sort of book was fitting right now? Something dark, that was for sure. The Changeling was pulled from one of the many stacks and opened, but the words refused to come together before his eyes.

The sound of Umino steps in the hall and the thud of a closing door caused him to drop the book, grab his jacket and follow his flatmate.

"You know, since we're going to the same place, we might as well go together. Only going together doesn't really work when you just up and leave without telling me, does it now?"

Umino just shrugged his shoulders and walked on without paying any further attention to the man next to him.

Tonight was going to be great.

The others were already in the pub, and the three sets of identically angry glares he received rendered any questions concerning the evening's fun factor superfluous.

Hiromasa, who had always been the most outright of them all, welcomed Umino with a brotherly hug and Ando without so much as a handshake but with a few choice words instead. Mamoru just shook his head like a disappointed parent and Takeshi took a gulp from his drink.

Ando eventually sat down next to Umino, carefully avoiding Takeshi's eyes. He managed to stay put on his chair for about two minutes, before he shot up with a fake grin plastered on his face.

"Next round is on me, I'll go get it."

Mamoru looked down at his still more or less full beer, but Ando didn't take the hint and rushed over to the bar.

It was Hiromasa who followed him.

"What the fuck were you thinking, Ando? Having your mate's girlfriend staying over night without even letting him know?" The taller man leaned onto the bar, attracting several appreciative glances from a group of woman sitting nearby.

"It's not as if Min and I were doing the nasty, Hiromasa. I needed a friend, she knew it, she cared, she stayed, she helped. Nothing to get your knickers in a twist over. I wouldn't take her from Takeshi, and by the way: Give the girl some credit. She wouldn't allow me to take her from him even if I wanted to, which I emphatically don't."

"You have other friends, too. And no one minds if they stay over night."

"Oh, so you hurling insults at me before you even know what is going on is friendly behavi-?"

Hiromasa interrupted him, his brown eyes hard and his jaw set.

"I know what's going on. Makoto told me, and the way I see it, you made two, possibly three people miserable in a remarkably short amount of time."


"Rei joined us for dinner yesterday evening."

Ando took on a feverish appearance. His eyes began to glimmer, but at the same time, all the colour drained from his face. His fingers reached inside his jacket and pulled out the empty pack of cigarettes, shaking it maniacally as if that would cause it to to miraculously replenish itself.

"How is she?"

Every trace of defiance or humour was gone from his voice, and he almost sounded broken. Suddenly no longer angry, Hiromasa patted him on the back, an expression of pity on his face.

"Not good, but the girls are taking care of her."

He picked up the drinks the journalist had ordered and carried them over to their table. A battered Ando followed him, sat down and cast his eyes to the floor. Mamoru and Takeshi exchanged worried glances as the night progressed and Ando's mouth remained firmly shut. He didn't drink, he didn't speak, he did nothing.

Misery loves company, so when the men finally left the pub, it was the likeliest and the unlikeliest of persons who fell in step next to the blonde shitennou.

The two of them marched in silence, unable to speak despite sharing so much.

Hiromasa, Umino and Mamoru walked ahead, resisting the temptation to turn around and see how exactly the two of them were working this out. A small part of Umino still hoped that Takeshi would just break Ando's nose, but unless Ando said something particularly stupid, he knew that it just wasn't going to happen.

Minako knew that the boys were meeting tonight, because Ami had been her usual thoughtful self and let her know. Still, she felt that everything depended on herself and Takeshi spending as much time with each other as possible right now in order to dig themselves out of this mess she had created, so when his keys turned in the lock and he entered his penthouse, she was there.

She sat on his bed, startling him when he entered.

"I don't think we arranged to meet tonight, Minako".

His voice was stern, but she knew that he was not upset to see her sitting in the middle of his bed, a novel clutched in her sweaty palms.

"We didn't."

He disappeared into the bathroom without acknowledging her any further and when he came back, he was in his perfectly pressed pyjamas, those she would have loved to mock endlessly, but didn't dare to. As soon as he had set his alarm clock, he turned out the light and slid under the covers.

"Good night."

She responded in kind and hesitated only for a moment before she inched closer to him and placed a hand on his stomach, brushing past the fabric and hunting for his skin. A minute later, her whole body followed as she snuggled close. He remained rigid as a board.

"Takeshi, please. Don't be mad."

"I'm not."

Their voices seemed to resonate in the dark room.

His eyes opened, and he immediately noticed that were Minako was supposed to be, a bright yellow post-it stuck to the pillow.

It read: "Tonight at my place. -M"

How she had managed to sneak out so quietly that it hadn't caused him to wake up, he didn't know.

Hiromasa's workspace was wonderful. There was beautiful and more or less finished furniture all over the space and several drawings stuck to the brick walls. The table that served both as a counter and as his desk held three framed pictures, one of a laughing Makoto, one of a merry bunch of tall people who all had brown curly hair and a faded one of a small boy with a basset hound. The walls went up many metres, giving the space much air and light, as the whole ceiling was one giant window.

The high-heel clad girl in the middle of it seemed completely out of place. Minako had just waltzed in and started to look at several of his pieces, completely ignoring the fact that Hiromasa was trying his best to be angry with her.

"Minako, I'm sorry, but I don't have any time for you right now."

She waved him off impatiently.

"You have time, you just don't want to have time because you think I'm cheating on your friend with your other friend, which is a completely ridiculous insinuation. But since this is between Takeshi and me anyway, you should really try to crack a smile now and say something like 'oh Minako, what a pleasant surprise'. And then I'll smile as well and we can get down to business."

Dumbstruck, he looked at her rummaging through his stuff and inquired disbelievingly: "Business?"

"Yes Hiro, business. I need a table. Well, a desk, really. Large enough so that really tall people can work on it comfortably. But not too large, because it needs to fit into my flat and it's not as if that is a big empty space because contrary to other people, I do have pretty and decorative things, lots of them, actually. Oh and that being said, and I want a pretty desk, no glass or metal. Glass desk are ugly and pretentious. I want a wooden one, with a drawer or two! And then I need a chair to go with it. Wood as well. And maybe a plush cushion."

She had said of all this rather quickly, her big eyes imploring him to give her what she wanted. Which was a desk, strangely enough. According to Makoto, Minako didn't really study and she had always hated desks. If she ever did something that resembled homework, she did it lying down. But as a furniture designer, Hiromasa already had a few ideas as to what would look nice in Minako's small, cluttered home and so he led her into the back of his storage room, where a cherry wood desk with a matching chair was waiting for its new owner. Her long fingers stroked the velvety wood, and he knew that it was sold.

Wood shavings covered the floor, and the sunlight piercing through the large window showed that lots and lots of dust was dancing in the air.

"I'll take it. Can you deliver it to my place?"

"Sure, it'll be there tomorrow afternoon."

Minako turned to look at him.

"Actually, I need it today. Now, to be precise."

Rolling his eyes, the tall man called his delivery guy.

Minako followed him, rummaging through her spacious bag and finally finding her credit card. Putting it on the Hiromasa's desk, she picked up each of the pictures and examined them. He really was a family person.

"Who's the boy?", she enquired and when no reply came forward, she waved the picture in front of his face. "You can't ignore me, I've done nothing wrong! Well, at least not something you know of and really, ignoring me has never caused me to shut up and go away, you know?"

Sighing, Hiromasa picked up the credit card and ran it through the machine.

"Minako, what is it that you want from me? I've sold you a desk and a chair, but I'm not going to make nice chit-chat with you. It's not going to happen. By the way, you do know that my furniture is rather expensive, don't you? This is not IKEA."

He plucked the picture from her hands and put it back on its coveted spot.

Flicking her hair over her shoulder, she fixed him with an exasperated look.

"First of all, I want you to be civil and that means that you have to talk to me. I would never cheat on Takeshi, but someone had to care of Ando and that someone just happened to have had to be me. End of story, end of discussion. Secondly, I don't care how much that stupid desk cost, because my dear, I'm quite loaded."

Hearing his piece insulted like that caused the designer to knit his eyebrows together and his arms to cross.

"Why are you loaded? You're a student! And it's not just about whether you sleep with Ando or not, it's about you not caring for Takeshi in the same you care for your friends. And that is BULLSHIT AND YOU KNOW IT!"

He had raised his voice while speaking and actually wound up shouting at the surprised looking girl.

"I'm loaded because I was smart enough to turn myself into a brand when I was just 13 years old. Sailor V? Rings a bell? Good. So now that we've settled why I don't have to go to IKEA, but can afford to buy something expensive that really, I have no use for at all, we can leave that chapter behind and come to the juicy bits. Takeshi means just as much to me as my friends do, just as much. Not more, because that's impossible, but just as much and that's a lot. While things between him and I are not smooth sailing, we are far from over and this is why I've just bought a fucking desk, when I don't even have enough bloody space to have it in my flat, but hey, whatever makes him happy. I'm trying my best to make things okay between him and I and mark my words Hiromasa, I will not have you judge me while I do that!"

They glared at each other for a while, none of them willing or able to give in.

Eventually, Hiromasa handed her the receipt.

"That picture? It's me and my dog. His name was Henry, and he lived to the ripe old age of 15. Minako, you had your friends. I had my family and a dog. Takeshi was lonely -completely so- before all of us came back and if you make him regret that he's let you into his life, I promise that I will never so much as greet you again and I don't care that your Makoto's friend. Is that understood?"

She swallowed.

"Yes, it is. And now get that stupid table into my flat so that I can see him smile again."

Takeshi had actually left the office fairly early for his standards. It was just past seven as made his way down the hall leading to Minako's flat, and when he pushed the door open, it bumped into something soft and refused to open wide enough to let him in.

That soft thing was Minako, who gave off an undignified yelp and a curse that was most certainly not lady-like.

"Takeshi! I hadn't expected you just yet, hang on, I'll let you in."

The doors was shut in his face, and he heard some rumbling and a few further choice words, before it opened again.

"Sorry, I'm rearranging furniture."

Her small hall was cluttered. The ancient armchair, the sideboard and a coffee table fought for supremacy, but the coffee table had already lost this war. One of its legs was broken off and lay on the floor.

"I can see that.", he grumbled as he pushed himself through the small opening, closed the door and then had to actually climb over the armchair to enter the living-room. Her smile was apologetic, but not ashamed as she followed him and took the briefcase out of his hands and threw it on the couch.


He needed a moment to figure out what it was he supposed to be looking at before he saw that the spot on which the armchair normally stood was now occupied by a desk. On it lay several new pencils, a ruler, a flower-shaped rubber, and some of his own drawings. Also, there was a small figure, a cheap replica of the Pritzker Prize.

Worrying her hands, Minako waited for a reaction. She had planned it very differently, everything was supposed to be finished and tidy when he got home (including herself), but he had been earlier than expected and thus burst into the middle of the chaos.

"The desk was actually supposed to go in the bedroom, in the little corner by the window, but then you couldn't get to your side of the bed unless you climbed over it and I know that you wouldn't have liked that, so I thought I'd put it here. I also bought a lamp, it's somewhere in the kitchen."

And because things between them were so awkward, because he knew that the desk was her way of saying sorry and showing him that she cared, because she looked so proud at having found something she knew he would like, but also because an ocean of memories stood between them, his voice was gruff as he answered, his back still turned to her.

"Thank you."

Shedding coat, blazer and tie, he walked over the couch, opened his briefcase, took out some papers and sat down at the first desk Minako Aino had ever bought.

She had disappeared in her bedroom a minute later, stubbornly wiping the tears from her face and quickly splashing some water in her face so that he wouldn't be able to tell she had been crying later on. Stupidly, she had hoped for a very different reaction, one that included his rare but charming smile or at the very least sex on that superfluous thing, but him just sitting down and getting busy with his silly papers was not what she had had in mind when the idea had come to her early this morning.

Once she was satisfied that she looked perfectly happy and decidedly not weepy, she tried to shove the armchair into her bedroom, but the cumbersome thing just refused to move. It was stuck in the door frame. Giving it a good kick, it still remained put and she felt herself growing hotter with exertion.

"Damn it", she muttered under her breath and started another attempt with renewed vigour. Several kicks followed, but the furniture didn't budge.

Takeshi shook his head and chuckled. He had watched her antics for a good five minutes and his mood had lightened considerably. If Minako would have had any idea how funny she looked, she would have hurled the Venus chain at the poor troublesome piece of furniture. Rolling up the sleeves of his crisp white shirt, he joined her in her quest and together, they eventually managed to move it, but both were covered in sweat by the time they were finished.

He smiled at her, almost reaching over to stroke some hair out of her face, but then thought better of it. "Why don't you shower first? I'll see if there is something on TV we can watch in the meantime."

A hurt expression manifested on her face, but she made no move to go the bathroom. Instead she bent down and picked the broken leg of the coffee table up, carrying it into her kitchen and returning with glue.

"I didn't mean it. About you not having a right to talk to me about loyalty.", she said quietly and began to fumble with the piece of wood in her hands. Plonking herself on the hardwood floor, she began to apply lavish amounts of sticky white glue to the table and then proceeded to attach the leg back to it.

"Don't worry about it, it's nothing."

Her eyes immediately fixed themselves on his, a look of incredulity in them.

"It's not nothing. It was mean, really mean, and I shouldn't have said it. You are wonderful, and you don't deserve to have something like this hurled at you. Sorry."

Her insistence touched him.

"You have every right to question my loyalty after all that I've done."

His smile didn't reach his eyes, and the kiss he placed on the top of her head made her feel even worse. So far, she had fixed nothing but the stupid coffee table and that had not even been on her list of things to fix for the day. Defeated, she finally went into her bathroom to shower all by herself.

Across town, a happier couple enjoyed dinner.

"Just so you know, I shouted at Minako today."

"Because of Takeshi?"


"Hmm. This lasagne is really good, which spices did you use?" Makoto took another bite of the dish, delight etched into her features.

"You did hear what I just said, didn't you?" Hiromasa put down his fork and leaned over to his girlfriend, gently tugging her ear.

"Yes, you shouted at Minako." He tugged at the other ear, as if he were checking them for functionality. The brunette giggled and placed a sound kiss on his lips.

"Oh, I'm not angry about that. She needs it every once in a while. I almost did it myself yesterday, but in a still not quite established shop full of customers, that's not a particularly good idea. Do you think she listened to you?"

His trademark grin appeared, and he began to dig into the food again.

"Hell yeah."

Miss Fukuda was not happy.

The rude young man was in her Mr. Nakamura's office again, unannounced to boot. Just like last time, he had walked in without so much as asking her whether her boss was in a meeting or otherwise occupied. Really, really rude. Well, at he least he looked like death warmed up, so that was something, she though viciously.

Minako had spent the day in university and later with Rei. Ami had been there as well, quietly studying and subtly watching out for the miko.

Before Minako had even shed her jacket, Rei was standing in front of her, her mesmerising eyes full of questions.

"I haven't spoken to him, but I send him a text and I suppose we will meet tomorrow for coffee or something and then I'll let you know how he's doing." She nudged her friend, a small gesture of comfort that had next to no effect. The raven-haired beauty just walked back over to her bed and sat down, at the same time the saddest and the prettiest girl Minako had ever seen. Her sorrow was written all over her face, she looked fragile in a way she never had before and it seemed as if her temper had all but extinguished. Ami dropped her book and flanked Rei's right, while Minako sat down on on her left.

One day, Minako would just drag Ando here, lock them in the temple and not let them out until both were happy and healed. One day, she would do just that. Just not today.

He stood on a battlefield and blood was dripping off his sword and onto the already sullied ground.

His opponent had been strong, but not a match for him. The fight lasted less than ten minutes and before he knew it, the King of Venus was decapitated and dead on the ground. His crown lay in the dirt, just as his kingdom did.

Takeshi woke up only to find Minako sitting next to him, the lights on and a book in her hands.

"Bad dream?"

He nodded, hiding his eyes behind his hands as if he were shielding them from the light, but actually hiding them from her until he had assumed control of his facial expression again. If she only knew how much her eyes looked like those of the man who had been her father so long ago.

He heard the sound of the book slam shut and suddenly felt the lithe blonde crawling on top of him. The room was bathed in blissful darkness again, so his hands were free to roam over her body. They hadn't slept with each other since he had found her in Ando's bed and he missed being close to her. Still, this was hardly the right moment.

She seemed to disagree and simply ignored his initial reluctance. Her hands travelled through his hair, her lips softly pressed themselves against his and her body just ground itself against him in a way that made it hard for him to breathe, let alone to remain aloof.

Swiftly rolling them over, she found herself flat on her back and it was not long before her nightclothes were nothing but an undignified heap on the floor.

The next morning saw Takeshi up early, which was a very usual event and making breakfast, which wasn't. He never had any breakfast, so when the smell of scrambled eggs and coffee wafted through the penthouse, Minako thought she still had to be dreaming.

Feeling quite hungry, she got up and quickly dressed herself in one of Takeshi's starched shirts and made her way into his kitchen. The dining room table was already laid out, and a suit wearing Takeshi just brought over some strawberries and set them next to her designated seat. He was rewarded with a brilliant smile and the sight of a delightedly munching girl.

He waited until she was between bites before speaking.

"Ando was in my office yesterday."

The mug she had been bringing to her lips was stopped short of reaching its goal. Unsure as to where this was going, she put it back down on the glassy table, hating how loud that sounded in the world that had suddenly turned so still.

"He will go back to New York for a week or two, meet his editor, calm down. He asked me it if I would be fine with him wanting to take you. He was very considerate, and I told him that the decision was entirely up to you, but that I wouldn't make a fuss either way."

Her plate was pushed back, as her appetite had disappeared into nothingness.

"Is this what the breakfast is about?"


Feeling completely unable to deal with the situation, she fumbled with the hem of his shirt, unintentionally exposing even more of her legs. Takeshi just looked the other way, this was about talking and not about carnal instincts.

"Are you in a hurry?", she asked very quietly.

Her question took him by surprise, he had expected her to delve right into the subject at hand.

"No, I don't have to be in the office until ten."

Pushing the chair back, she got up.

"I'll go and take a quick shower then, if you don't mind. We can talk about it once I'm dressed, if that's okay with you."

Not waiting for confirmation, she disappeared in his bedroom and he heard the shower's door shut only a moment later. Takeshi reached into the pockets of his jacket and pulled the long black velvet box out, absent-mindedly toying with it.

On the table, the food lay untouched.


A Sailor Moon Story
by LovelyLytton

Part 37 of 42

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