The rain drums softly upon the window pane, dribbling silently down the blurred glass. She sits, mechanically rocking the old, creaking rocking chair, tipping it back and forth slightly and filling the room with its moans of protest. Her dull, blue eyes are fixed upon the gnarled fingers of her freckled hands. Her face is withered and the flesh of her cheeks sagging with age. Her wiry, grey hair lies in unkempt curls upon her head. As she stares out at the dreary sky, she once again, relives those age-old memories...
The horizon is filled with tiny fluttering kisses, soft and sweet as a baby's laughter. The sun beats gently upon their faces, warming their bodies and cleansing their spirits. The grass is plush and giving beneath their feet as they walk through the labyrinth of fading trees. Tsukino Usagi laughs at the beautiful sight only available once a year. Chiba Mamoru squeezes her hand warmly, smiling at the sight of her wide-mouthed admiration.
Two years have passed since the day Princess Fireball and her guardians had come and gone. Chaos had been defeated; her cherished companions had returned to her. And the magic had not been needed again.
Life has returned to normal. And Usagi is happy.
As Usagi and Mamoru approach a small cluster of gently swaying trees, the young girl recognises the other members of her family. Her father and younger brother are spreading out a blanket and unpacking four steaming box lunches. Usagi quickly releases her lover's hand, hoping that her parents had not noticed their intimate touch. To them, Mamoru is simply a friend. And nothing more.
As Usagi finishes her lunch, a shout attracts her attention. She turns and her face brightens as she takes in the sight of her friends. Aino Minako is eagerly dragging the taller Kino Makoto towards Usagi as Mizuno Ami giggles, two cats bundled into her arms. Kaiou Michiru and Ten'ou Haruka are herding the young Tomoe Hotaru as they talk excitedly amongst themselves. Hino Rei seems lost in a waking reverie as she gazes up at the rosy trees. Meiou Setsuna watches over the entire group, an amused smile playing across her lips.
Usagi greets her friends eagerly. Her mother offers the girls some extra fruit. Her father begins a long, intellectual conversation with Mamoru, as her brother, Shingo, and little Hotaru lean against a nearby tree, watching the puffy white clouds roll by. They giggle conspiratorially as they point out the occasionally recognisable shape.
Suddenly, a roar echoes through the trees. A serpent, its skin reinforced with plates of dark, reflective scales, appears from around a tree.
Had she known, at the time, that this creature had been a confused guardian of an other-dimensional lake, that it had been accidentally sent to this Earth through a portal of darkness, which had been mistakenly opened by an amateur sorceress dabbling with the black magicks, perhaps Usagi would have acted differently. Perhaps she could have done something. Perhaps things would have been different. But they weren’t.
Usagi screams in shock and fear as the creature spies the group of people. It lunges. She darts out of the way and turns to find the others have evaded the attack.
She screams for him to move, using all the power her lungs can muster. But he does not. He cannot. He is frozen in place, his large, innocent eyes wide with fright.
There is no other choice. In a split second, she is done. Her mask torn away, she can feel the power flowing in her blood. She leaps forward, her feathered wings quivering with exertion. She reaches out to him. His eyes turn to hers, and he whispers a single word.
Then the creature tears him to pieces.
She whimpers in disbelief as she collapses to the ground beside him and moans his name. There is no reply. She clutches his hand to her chest, and closes her eyes in shock. She feels fingers close around her shoulder. She turns.
She is greeted by the faces of her loving parents. She looks up at them, searching for hope and comfort in their eyes.
All she sees is dead. She realises what has happened before their bodies hit the ground, a single word escaping, in unison, from their parted lips.
She slumps forward. Her forehead brushes the grass as she clenches her fists and squeezes her eyes tightly shut.
Within the span of a minute, her entire life as she knew it had been rent asunder by that hated monster. And she had stood by, helplessly, and watched.
She feels the pain, but, strangely, the tears do not come. They do not grace her eyes with their soothing, cleansing touch. They have expelled her from their pity. They have abandoned her.
She sits, stone-faced, as the battle rages on around her. At some point, she feels Tuxedo Kamen grab her and whip her around violently, forcing her to look him in the eyes. He screams at her over the heat of the fray. How can she abandon her friends to certain death at the hands of this demon? How can she sit there when she knows they need her to help them defeat it and save Tokyo?
But, the words come to her as though spoken through thick glass. They are blurred and lethargic. She cannot understand them. Nor does she care. She turns away.
Maybe he slaps her. Maybe he yells at her. She cannot remember. She remembers only the small of his back as he turns away in disgust, leaving her sitting amongst the withering cherryblossoms littering the dried, yellowing grass.
He walks away. Forever.
She is running, now, through the branches that reach out to grab her struggling body; through the shrubbery that releases its arms to claw at her tender, pink legs. She tears blindly through as the sky sheds its soft, rosy tears.
She stands at the edge of a rocky ravine, a deep jagged scar in the skin of the Earth. Her fingers clench the small, glittering object.
With a sudden burst of anger, she hurtles it into the wound.
It falls silently, disappearing into the canopy of foliage below.
She watches with dull eyes as her dreams fall apart.
The rain is still drumming against the window. She watches it silently. Unemotionally.
She hears a sound at the door. Her bent, sagging body lifts itself, painfully, from the chair and her feet shuffle towards the door. She places a wrinkled hand upon the knob and the barrier slides away.
It crawls in, its pink tongue lolling out of the side of its mouth. Its sides are heaving with effort as it collapses upon the floor. Its body is unbelievably thin and its ribs bulge outwardly. Its fur is dirty and unkempt. There are strong streaks of grey running through what was once a beautiful, night black coat. It is hardly recognisable as a cat.
A small round object falls from its lips. While the object had once been encrusted with tiny, glistening gems, it is now caked only in mud. It's beautiful case is cracked in various places, and it seems that at the slightest disturbance, it will fall to pieces. She picks the object up, but she knows the magic is gone. It had died a long time ago.
The cat looked up at her, its eyes bright with joy despite its fading body.
It dies, a smile upon its lips.
And, finally, the tears begin to flow.
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