Continuing Tales

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 21 of 30

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The Ties that Bind

Rei was five years old again and her mother had just died. Her father was sitting in their living room in the Western style apartment, listening to a song she couldn't understand and sipping an amber drink with large quantities of ice that tinkled when he stirred the short glass every ten seconds.

Rei sat in the room across the hall from the living room, holding a doll. The doll had porcelain skin, long black hair and large, black glass eyes. The doll was Rei's twin - the same blank expression on the doll's face matching that on Rei's.

Her father said nothing for two hours. And for two hours, Rei held her doll. She could feel her own arms and legs becoming cold, smooth porcelain. Her hair becoming smooth like plastic, and her eyes turning to glass beads... Then the phone rang - and Rei woke up.

She woke up in darkness with the feeling that she wasn't alone. Panicked, and still half-dreaming, she flung her arm out and it collided with something soft and lumpy.

"Grandfather!" she called out, hoarsely, recoiling from the object.

"It's alright, Rei," a voice said, but it wasn't her grandfather' s voice.

"Who - "

"It's Jaden."

For a moment she had no idea who he was - then the nightmare finally cleared and was replaced by a much more familiar emotion.

"What in the name of Hades do you think you are doing in my bedroom?" she demanded in cold outrage.

"Making sure you don't stop breathing," Jade replied, and she realized that his voice sounded hoarser than her own. She fumbled around for the switch to her lamp, but stopped when Jade lit three candles on the short table close to her futon.

"The power's out."


"Because," he paused and turned his head away from her to cough, "our enemy knows we're here and she - or they - or it has decided to make it even harder for us."

"Fear tactics?"

Rei pushed herself up, her head feeling groggy and slow.

"Something like that. But it will be morning in a few hours. Not that it will matter."

Rei squinted in the light of the candles. Outside it was still pitch black. She let her mind wander, making hazy circles.

We could be anywhere, really, she thought, in Tokyo. Or that night out there could be the same dark of the Universe. We could be on the Moon. We could be on Mars...

"Are you hungry?"


Jade's voice was very hoarse and as he coughed again, she grew concerned.

"What's wrong? Are you sick?"


She could see the light reflecting off of his golden head as he shook it.

"Just tired, I think."

"What's wrong with your arm?" she asked suddenly, her voice sharp.

Jade paused and twisted it experimentally.

"Took a hit," he said, after a moment, still turned away from her.

"I think it's alright, though."

Jade's face was expressionless, as usual. Perhaps even more than usual. She detected a tightness around his eyes and diagnosed it as pain.

"Let me see it." She gestured imperatively, the gesture of a princess used to being obeyed.

Jade continued to look at her for a moment, then slowly started to unbutton the top button of his white cotton shirt. He didn't say anything as he completed the process, he took each button as slowly and methodically as the first and never looked up at her.

He opened up the shirt, revealing a defined collarbone and a slightly freckled shoulder with a large dark bruise.

Rei motioned for him to sit on the bed in front of her. He walked over and sat down gently, not too close and not too far from her.

She reached out a hand and let it rest very lightly on Jade's shoulder. He shivered.

"Are you cold?" she asked.


Rei frowned.

"There, you have a knot. I think you've torn something. Does this hurt?"

"Ah- only a bit, " he grimaced as she pounded into his shoulder-blade.


"It's alright."

It's that gentle voice, she thought, dreamily, It always made me feel...calm.

The way his eyes crinkled at the edges - it caught something in her mind. She almost felt like crying.

How could a smile make me sad?

"Rei, you're alright now, aren't you?"

His face was serious again. The smile was gone, she wondered, looking at the sadness and patience etched into his face, if it had only been a figment of her imagination.

No, she thought, I know this face too.

"Are you alright?"

His hand reached out to touch her hair before he could remember to stop it, but he managed to stop before actually touching her. The gesture remained awkward and cut off. He reclaimed his hand and coughed, looking down.

"I think I should let you rest now," he said to the floor. Then he stood.

"Jade, I - " she began, but her throat felt a little tight so she swallowed to make sure she could speak properly.

He had already turned to listen.

"I think I owe you an explanation. Or at least, an answer."

She couldn't tell what he was thinking - it was so frustrating.


"Our conversation - before," she began, grateful for the dim light to hide her embarrassment.

"I wanted to explain. I don't think I did a good job last time."

She didn't look up, but she could feel him still staring at her. She took a deep breath.

"Sit down, please."

The quiet tone of her voice persuaded him more than her words. He sat next to her futon. She held her hands in her lap, still wrapped in the blankets, her hair black and straight - she looked like a perfect porcelain doll.

"You be a part of my a way that I'm not sure I can - should - accept," she said, looking out the window.

"I know that's not a good answer. It's hard for me to explain. You might think that I don' you," she nearly whispered the last words.

"But, I always have."

Jade didn't move.

"I still do," she murmured to herself.

"That's why," she continued, pulling away from the window to look back at her hands, "I cannot accept you."

Jade cleared his throat and gathered his addled thoughts.

"I don't think I quite understand," he said, keeping his voice even and calm, "Could you elaborate?"

Rei felt the blood in her cheeks and hoped the light was too dim for him to see it.

"I...don't love many people," she faltered, feeling her throat tightening up, "I haven't had many people to love in my life. Many of the people who did love me are gone, and some of the people who should have loved me...didn't."

She felt something warm and wet on her cheek, and realized she was crying - but silently. He wouldn't have noticed - the shadows of her hair hid her like a veil.

"But, I have the Senshi and this shrine, and my grandfather. And Mamoru, of course. They are my family. I don't need anything else. Or anyone else."

"I see."

She detected no change in his voice. Maybe he really wasn't as affected as he seemed to be before. Perhaps she had misjudged him. It would make the next part easier, but more embarrassing.

"But that's not the real reason," she went on, "I think that for me, love this is... consuming. Like a fire. It was the same in the past. That day you asked came to ask me if I would marry you. It wasn't because I didn't think you were worthy -"

"I never thought -" he began.

"Just let me finish," she pleaded, not looking up, "I couldn't marry you because it would have killed you."

"Did you see that?"

She knew what he meant. She took a breath and shook her head.

"There were visions of death long before you ever turned up. I knew from the day Usagi, Selenity, met me with that ridiculous, goofy look on her face that we were all doomed."

"If you knew, why didn't you -"

"Stop her?" Rei finally looked up at him, but meeting his gaze was too difficult and she had to look away again.

"I could have. I could have lied to her, or convinced her Endymion wasn't true to her - it wouldn't have been hard. Or I could have killed him."

She saw his fist clench and felt a smile. No matter how much he might love her, he would never give up his loyalty to Endymion, Mamoru, for her. Which made the past betrayal - if there was one - so confusing.

"But I could never have stood the pain in those blue eyes if I had taken him from her. Who could say no to Usagi? It's against nature."

"But I don't understand," Jade murmured, letting his head rest in his hand.

"If you were so determined for love to win the day and the rest be damned, then why -"

"Because of the way I loved you. Love you." She looked up at him now, and steeled herself to remain looking at him.

"Jade, if we were together, I would want you to sacrifice everything for me. I would want you whole and entirely. I can't bare for any part of you to be beyond me. Like a fire, I would consume you. There would only be ashes left, and I would consume the ashes. I can't help it. It's part of my nature, maybe...I can't avoid it. This kind of love, don't you see that it would smother you? If you let it, it would kill you. I would kill you. Or drive you away."

She felt a tear on her cheek so hot it seemed to sear her skin. When it dropped on the coverlet it sent a little smoke up from the fabric, like steam.

"I don't think...this kind of's like a curse, isn't it? You just don't understand, Jade. I'm not like Mina or Makoto or Ami-chan. I don't have an open heart or a trusting nature or a clean slate. I don't have the strength Usagi has - the wholeness of heart. I can't be that way. I will need you so much that I will destroy you. It will change you - it will make you miserable. And you'll have to leave."

She took another breath and tried not to shudder when she did. She let herself be quiet for a moment.

"It's better if you leave now," she said at last, her voice and face quiet again, "Than if you leave later."

A porcelain doll, she thought, with a crack. It shatters from the inside out.

"You're crying tears of fire."

She jerked away when she found him suddenly so close to her, calmly watching her cry. Her tears were literally flaming down her face and falling, one by one, on the coverlet, sending up small tendrils of steam, and little hisses.

"Look at me," he said.

She caught her breath. His eyes seemed to be blazing but they were reflecting the light of her tears.

"I will not leave you."

He wouldn't let her look away.

"I will not leave you," he enunciated each word carefully.

He reached out then and caught a tear on his finger.

"Don't!" she couldn't pull away fast enough. She cringed to hear the 'hiss' but it didn't come.

He caught her chin and forced her to look up at his hand.


He showed her his finger. It was perfectly normal. No scorch marks, no burns.


He smiled and waved his hand like a magician.

She blinked, dumbfounded.

"Didn't you know, my love?" he smirked, "I'm flame-proof."

She tentatively started to smile, and the smile became a chuckle until she was laughing in sheer relief and crying at the same time. She held onto his hand, almost clutching it.

His lips twisted into a smile. She realized that of all the expressions she could remember, she had never seen him smile that way before. There was nothing hidden or sarcastic about it.

Jade tugged at her chin, gently but insistently. She allowed him to pull her closer.

"Is that ok?" he asked, softly, when their noses were almost touching.

She hesitated and then nodded.


He tilted his head and kissed her.

For the first time in a long time, she closed her eyes without nightmares or visions of the past or the future, with just the feel of Jade's slow heartbeat against her fingers where they rested on his shoulder. She could feel a slow, comforting warmth spreading from her fingers to his neck and back. His heartbeat started to speed up.

With a beep that seemed abnormally loud, her communicator went off and she tugged back. Jade followed her but stopped when she slid her hand to his chest and pushed.

"We'll finish this conversation later then?" he asked, standing with a sigh.

"I hope so."

He turned away from her to let her transform while he performed his own transformation. After the glows of light faded, he turned back to face her and snatched a quick kiss - darting in as if he wasn't sure if she would let him kiss her or not. As if he wasn't sure that what had just happened wasn't a fluke or a dream.

"Don't worry, you'll get wrinkles," he teased as she frowned, "Besides, Fate's on our side."

She stared up at him, wanting to memorize his face while it still had the after-glow of happiness. It was an expression she doubted even his mother had ever been allowed to see.

"For now," she answered, and while he laughed she caught the collar of his uniform and planted a small but deep kiss on his lips. He felt the seriousness of it, and seemed a little taken-aback.

"Let's go." Was all she said. She could feel the wind picking up outside, hear the crows cawing louder.

Bad omens. But she already knew that. She felt him take her hand. That mask of seriousness clouded his face again. She felt the veil slip over hers as well. She wondered if there would ever be a day when the mask and the veil could be thrown away forever.

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 21 of 30

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