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Fabala
11-02-2004, 03:45 PM
The third of my repostings... Following this one -may- be my "Fishy" story, and eventually will be my lengthy short story entitled, "Forgiving Haruka." We'll just have to see ^^

Disclaimer: Yes, like all the other fan fiction writers, I’m merely
borrowing the characters of Sailor Moon for my own twisted purposes.
I do not claim them from their rightful owners in any way.



Checkmate


“Ara, Pluto… I didn’t think you’d be joining us.”

Neptune, wisps of hair falling from the clasp on the back of her
head and floating about her face, stood, her palm extended toward me.
I jump sharply from my daze, snapping to attention and graciously
accept the directed seat. I occupy myself with arranging my large,
almost awkward, staff across my lap before responding to the two
pairs of eyes following my movements. “I was…decidedly detained,
on business matters.”

“But of course,” Uranus says, leaning across the table with a
certain familiar shifty sparkle alight in her eyes, “We know what
the real reason was.” Her words reveal nothing, while her voice
knows all.

“Uranus.” Not a question, not a statement, not even a command.
Merely a voice and a firm hand drawing back the ignited spark
before it becomes a roaring flame.

The blond pauses for a moment, casting a disappointed glance
in Neptune’s direction. I see her pondering the options and
their penalties in her mind, a war raging behind glowing green
eyes. At last youthful vitality proves the winner, as it has
too often with this pair.

She shrugs off the hand, leaning closer still towards me,
raising an eyebrow, “Come on, Pluto. You’ve been ‘detained’
just a little often lately, ne?” There’s a sharp gasp beside
her. She grins, deciding to get the last word in before the
fated consequences. “So what’s his name?”

Despite myself, I find my cheeks grow warm, and probably red.
Thankfully the playful imp at the base of my discomfort has
found herself already in the midst of a scolding. Head bowed,
she remains quiet while Neptune lectures, hovered dangerously
above, but not before throwing a sly wink in my direction.

I lean back in my seat, surprised to find myself chuckling.

******

I shut my eyes, hoping- no, praying -to block out the scenes
displaying themselves before me. The darkness I see is only
stained with the same crimson blood that everything else has
found. I return, with a despaired heart, to what is.

All is of that same blood-lusty hue, that deepest of red.
Even the sky, once a bottomless black to find yourself lost in,
now appears to be bleeding from an unhealed wound. It casts
its light onto a growing pool of blood below, only increasing
in size with every cry, every whimper.

I see a man dressed all in black, his cloak drinking greedily
of the bloodied ground. A gasp, a small lingering cry. He
pulls his sword from a now-dead body, discarding it as a child
does with a plaything it has become bored with. He turns now
to a woman crouched behind a heap of fallen bodies. She
trembles, clasping her small child closer to her chest.

I think there may have been a time, when I first witnessed the
carnage, that I thought there must be compassion in every man’s
heart. That even while caught up in senseless bloodshed their
hearts would soften for the sake of a frightened mother.

I know better now.

He’s separated the two now, mother and daughter. I find my
eyes shut of their own accord, and open seconds later to see
the man walking away, leaving the child sitting- frozen -in a
pool of her mother’s fresh, still-warm, blood.

******

The incident having subsided with little chance of recurrence,
we sit in silence. I have so much I wish I could say, and so
little I’m able to say. I know gazing at their youthful faces,
sparkling with mischief and shimmering with love, will only
bring about further longing. Instead I stare into my cup of tea
and admire the pleasant odor and inviting warmth.

Uranus clears her throat, breaking the silence, but says nothing.
However the quiet air is more ominous now, hanging as a weight
above our heads.

“The approaching war…” Neptune whispers in her gentle way at
last, giving voice to my own thoughts. With those three little
words she has summed up everything on all of our minds, and more.
She doesn’t continue, allowing the statement to merge with the
silence.

Uranus fidgets uncomfortably, finally giving in to her own thoughts,
“Pluto, isn’t there anything you can tell us, anything to help us
figure out what our best course of action is?”

Her face and eyes plead with my heart, and so it breaks when I’m
forced to say, “No.” I turn my face from her sight and the
table, feigning elegance. “I’ve been given strict orders from
Queen Serenity not to reveal anything of the future.”

“But why not?” she pleads again, half rising from her seat.
“Doesn’t the Queen realize that information from you is vital
to the protection of her kingdom, of her daughter?” She closes
her hands into fists, pressed determinedly on the tabletop.

I wince, knowing well the curse of my untold knowledge. “The
Queen has decided to allow our actions to fall into Fate’s hands.
Whatever that may be, we are to let it happen as it should.”
My words only cause to further ignite the growing fire of her
warrior’s spirit. Her eyes narrow darkly.

“Everything has its purpose, Uranus,” the soothing voice of
Neptune interrupts, giving a gentle but firm squeeze to the
closer of her fists.

Uranus relaxes her hands and slumps back into her seat, but
her eyes remain locked on mine, “I just don’t see why you can’t
help us save a few more lives…” she says at last, and even
though her voice has lost the accusing edge it had moments before,
I find myself feeling as though struck.

Neptune wraps an arm around her partner, appearing as a mother
protecting her child, and brings a smile to her lips. She
speaks to us both in a soft but determined voice, “At least,
if it’s the three of us, we’ll be able to put up a good fight,
no matter when they strike.” She strokes the soft golden hair
of her ‘child.’

I swallow hard, certain that what I have to reveal next will
not have a calm outbreak. “Well, actually, I won’t be able to
fight with you and Uranus. Or anyone for that matter.” I see
both pairs of eyes widen and Uranus opens her mouth to speak. I
continue on in a rush, “It isn’t what I would have liked.
Quite the contrary really. But the Queen again has given her
orders. She feels that my being there will only allow for the
chance of a glimpse into the future to slip out.” I lower my
voice to a barely audible whisper, “She doesn’t wish to take
that risk.”

The blonde’s flame has been fed and poked into a leaping fire.
She leaps to her feet, seething with rage, “Doesn’t wish to take
that risk? Doesn’t wish to take that risk!” Neptune’s soothing
ways are helpless now versus her anger. “And what are we? Are
we pawns of hers she intends to send out blindly, only to one
day replace after we aren’t victorious in one of her lunatic
risk-taking schemes?”

I shut my eyes, wishing it didn’t have to be this way.

******

Rising not unlike the graceful Phoenix from the flames are
two figures. I see the blue and gold-clad uniform of one, and
the sea green of the other, both bathed in an eerie red glow,
and feel pain course through my body. My heart aches for them,
feels their pain and knows the further pain awaiting.

They walk, arms dripping with both their own blood and that of
others, and fight to keep their eyes forward, always forward.

I see a small, devilish, figure leap from the piles of bodies
towards them. Its body is entirely coated in a slimy red; its
misshapen form crouched low to the ground. An unearthly, yet
strangely saddening, cry emits from deep within its throat.

I see their faces, watching this beast. Uranus has paused,
mid-step, seemingly unsure as to what she should do. Neptune,
tears streaming down her cheeks, steps forward on shaky legs,
crying out in a weakened voice, “Deep Submerge!” I feel a need
to join her distress, watching the crouched creature ripped into
shreds by her power, and hearing its final despairing shriek.

Neptune collapses to the ground, trembling violently. I hear
her frantic sobbing, mixed with near-incoherent speech. She
stares at the ground before her, so red with blood, so cold with
death, and whispers one word, “Why?” It echoes into silence.

Once, her partner would have been at her side in an instant,
would have held her in a comforting embrace. Now, Uranus stands
at her side and allows her to weep, her own silence only
increasing the sound. She holds up a hand, studying the bloodied
glove, and mouths the same question.

And in the far distance, I know, the man in black approaches.

******

Uranus sits in a slump once more, the rage having finally
subsided when she decided to accept my words.

“Gomen nasai, Uranus…Neptune…” I find myself saying.
“I wish things could be different, but I won’t, under any
circumstances, defy her word.” I reach across the table to
lay a hand on each of their own. “You must understand, both
of you.”

My expression must be pained, I realize, from the concern
marked on Neptune’s. She grasps my hand with both of hers,
giving me a reassuring smile.

Uranus grunts, casting her eyes away from the table.

“Please?” I try again.

My curse as the one who sees the future is ironic, I know.
They call it a gift, but my heart boils against that. What
kind of gift is it that allows the holder to see everything,
but tell nothing? To have companions but know their fate
before they must live it out? That is my curse.

“Hai,” the deep voice finally concedes. “I understand.”
She turns her face to me, with a relieved sigh from her
partner, and matches her eyes with mine. “With or without
you, Pluto, the war will happen. We must prepare and be
ready for it.” She winks, resembling her cocky self of the
old. “After all, we have to see to it those little kittens
don’t fall into harm’s way.”

I nod, smiling for their benefit alone.

******

“World Shaking!” I hear the blue and gold warrior shriek,
destroying two more hunched over creatures. Their cries
pierce my ears and I wince.

Uranus suffers the same effect, dropping to her knees with
both bloody hands clapped tightly over her ears. Her face
contorts in pain and she screams as well. The sound is a
thousand times more hideous than those preceding it.

I watch the two huddled forms and pray that something-
anything -will change what I know is about to happen and
their given fate.

My eyes shut to the world, drawing my twisted self close,
close to in some way keep me protected from the red, red
blood. The game is only now hitting its climax, and I have
no choice but to continue playing.

Peek-a-boo, I see you.

I reopen my eyes, and immediately wish to close them once
more. The man in black has entered the scene.

Both soldiers are on their feet, standing before him.
They seem transfixed, somehow, in his gaze. Nothing sounds,
nobody moves.

My frantic heart at last can take no more. All at once
I find my mouth shaping into words, my throat catching on
the noise.

“Uranus!” And in that one, echoing, word their fate
is at last sealed.

******

“We’re going to die?” Uranus asks, says almost. The words
take several minutes to sink into my head, few and simple
as they are.

I look to their faces, knowing they have been watching my
own and darkening themselves as the minutes passed. But
what can I say? I have been given strict orders from the
Queen and should remind them so, but if there’s anything-
anything -I can do to change what I know is now fated to
happen, should I defy the ruling just once? Can the fate
be altered?

At last I speak, “Why do you ask?” and say the words
probably most unsuited to the situation. I immediately
wish I could erase them and begin again, seeing their
fingers link together and grip tight.

Uranus pauses, collecting her thoughts. She looks to
Neptune with a tender face and back to me, the face
hardening once more, however slightly. She shrugs, stiffly,
“Well, you know, it would be much easier to protect those
little girls if we didn’t have to worry about being dead.”
Undoubtedly she’s taken the hint from her partner to ease
the tension of her question.

I decide on a proper answer, knowing that while it wouldn’t
be a blatant betrayal to the Queen, it should give them
the knowledge they deserve.

“Senshi never die forever.”

******

Uranus snaps out of her daze, startled, and foolishly-
franticly -whirls about for the voice’s source. She’s
recognized the voice, I know, and a single spark of hope
has re-alighted in her spirit.

Foolishly indeed, because in that moment her back is turned,
she’s forgotten that to turn your back on your partner is to
turn your back on the enemy. And to turn on both is a certain
death.

I force myself to keep my gaze on the scene, as much as
my heart wishes to be freed from the sight. I see, with
the now-aware Uranus, the man in black draw his sword from
the gaping wound in Neptune’s torso. The blood already
flows.

I see Uranus’s face contort into one not unlike that of
the demons they have slain. She opens her mouth into a
silent scream.

The man in black pushes the body off of his sword, letting
it fall as a lifeless doll to the ground, with a soft thud.
And with a slight scowl over having soiled his precious weapon
once again, he wipes it off on another fallen body and seems
to pay no further attention to the live one in front of him.

He knows.

He stands, waiting, and only when his foe has dropped to
her knees over her fallen partner does he strike. Only
when she has at last given in and tears stream over her
cheeks does he bring forth blood again.

The man in black leaves, stopping only to wipe away the
fresh crimson coating from his sword. Behind him two pools
of blood are growing, collecting together and adding to the
never-ending red sea. The gloved fingers are entwined, still.

I shut my eyes, sobbing inwardly, and feel as though I
will collapse. The Queen’s orders have been obeyed, and
Fate has taken claim, as it always will.

Their mission has failed, for momentarily the wailing
of the kittens will follow, one by one by one.

******

Finally, as the day grows late, I take leave of my companions.
They smile for my sake, wish me well and laugh, for my own
peace of mind. I return the smiles, and the laughter, while
knowing the truth all along. Those happy faces will never
leave my mind.

I stand at the doorway now, staff in hand, and take a final
glance back at the loving pair. Uranus is gripping Neptune’s
hands firmly, whispering words only they will hear.
Simultaneously they embrace, each seeming to feel that by
squeezing tighter and tighter still, nothing can come between.

And with a sinking heart I at last leave, my own fate as sealed
as my lips.

~Fin

Thanks for reading ^^; Good to know someone is.

Fabala
08-13-2005, 04:24 PM
I was just going through some old writing of mine and found this story. Some days I'm fond of it, some days I'm not. Today was one of the former, so I was planning on posting it. Only turns out I had already ^^;

Sooo...BUMP from the deep, dark pages of the forgotten beyond.