by neko

Katie's birthday present years ago. I worked very hard on this, and it was my best work at the time, even though it's a song fic (please don't hold that against me), so I'm really fond of this one.

Sailor Moon and its characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha Comics, and Toei Animation. The song is Am I the Only One? by the Barenaked Ladies. I own none of this.

Somewhere in here is a quote from my favourite book, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson. Read it now.

Am I the only one who gets to make you laugh--
Laugh until you cry?

I remember . . .

When I first joined you as a Sailor Senshi, in our search for the Talismans, we were just getting to know each other better. We began learning one another's likes and dislikes, personal quirks and specialties, all the things that define who we are, as most new friends do.

That's what we were, then: friends. Not just partners or allies or fellow Senshi, but friends. Someone to talk to, listen to, sing and make music with, sit beside for hours without ever saying a word, because nothing need be said. Someone who understood.

We trusted each other, even then. It wasn't because we needed or even wanted to, but because we both knew it to be true. We had no memories of our previous lives, were not even aware of them, yet we followed our instincts and found each other.

It was a typical holiday for us. There was no school, and neither one of us had any plans beyond a picnic in the park. With the warm April sun shining down on us, nothing else seemed to matter.

After lunch, we went for a walk by the river. We waded for a bit--you smiled so sweetly when I suggested it, nodding quietly--you ahead, holding your skirt above the water, and me following close behind to be sure you didn't fall. It was me who fell, eventually, slipping on the rocks and tumbling backwards into the knee-deep water. You laughed at the expression on my face, somehow gracefully managing to stay upright, and I couldn't help but join you in your mirth.

You once told me that is your favourite memory. I like to think it is because the day was spent together. I know this to be true for me.

Am I the only one who asks you to go--
Go on without me?

I remember . . .

Have you ever noticed that the youma always got stronger as we did? I wonder whether it was chance or necessity that awakened our powers at the same rate, or if those who sought to bring the Silence responded to our advances with their own renewed efforts? It is a troubling matter, but I guess we will never know, now.

In retrospect, the first enemies we faced were very simple. For the most part, we were stronger than the Inner Senshi, and usually helped them out, yet there were occasions when even we had difficulties.

It was that day that I gained so much more respect for Odango-chan. Those damned youma twins had joined us by the wrist, she and I, and we were at a great disadvantage. Our styles were so different and I could not, at first, bring myself to work with someone as weak as I thought her to be.

It was you who undid me, eventually. It was foolish, I know, to believe that the Guardian of Neptune could be drowned in her own sea, but when that red-haired bitch threw you over the edge . . . with your injuries . . . I thought it might be the last time I would see you . . . and it hurt.

Odango-chan talked to me, made me understand your sacrifice and the responsibility that came with accepting it, that it was entirely possible we could have died without the distraction you provided, and the target with us.

She didn't know it, but she also helped me come to terms with my new feelings for you.

Her innocent compassion never ceases to amaze me, just as your elegant wisdom never stops making you more beautiful.

Am I the only one who loves when you leave
Your hair down in front of your eyes?

I remember . . .

The day went badly. You had felt that there would be another attack, as indeed there was. It was difficult and we fought hard against rather nasty daimon, the victim this time nearly losing her life.

It wasn't the Talisman, and the monster was almost defeated when the Inner Senshi showed up. Sailor Moon gave her usual speech and attack, providing us with a perfect opportunity for a quiet exit. Our work was done, after all.

This wouldn't have been so terrible, had it not been for the trip home. Tired and not a little bit disoriented from the fight, we rode my motorcycle. A truck swerved and unbalanced us as I tried to avoid it, sending us flying. We had to have the bike picked up for repairs.

Back at the apartment, there was a message saying that my race scheduled for the next day had been postponed, and possibly canceled. I sat at the window, staring out at the city we guarded, waiting for you to come back from your swim. This was proof enough of my foul mood, that I would rather sulk than watch you glide through your waters like a dolphin.

You came up from behind to wrap your arms around me, melting away all of my frustration with your presence alone. You asked me to brush your hair for you.

It was still damp and the soft waves clung to my fingers. The thick mane ran halfway down your back, its intriguing turquoise colour complementing your eyes and adding to your ageless appearance. The drying strands now dealt with, I felt much better and we were ready for bed.

Perhaps this day was not so terrible, after all.

And who? Who do you think I am?

I remember . . .

Usagi-chan's birthday was a terrible mess. It all started with a daimon-laiden gift from her unsuspecting prince and led to the discovery of her heart crsystal.

You may be the bearer of the Mirror of Truth, but even I had a feeling of impending disaster as we drove Odango-chan to the Tokyo Tower. This arrangement reeked of a trap, and I knew that if we let her go she would be the next victim. I feared the worst.

I also knew that for the sake of the world and the prevention of the Silence, she had to go through with this.

It may well be that the Inner Senshi protect the Princess and we protect the kingdom, but I have always been particularily fond of Odango-chan; not the Princess or Neo-Queen but Tsukino Usagi, for her innocent cheer and friendly nature. To leave this supposedly helpless creature to the wolves nearly tore me up inside.

If alone, I probably would have gone to her, protected her, and that would have been even worse. Endangering the mission and letting innocents die for my weakness would have destroyed me.Yet you held me back, not condemning, but understanding and sympathising as we watched Usagi's soul being torn from her body.

It was beautiful. It shone so intensely that all present were sure it was a Talisman. Fortunately, we were wrong. I'm not sure that I could have handled it alone, but you saved me from my most dangerous foe. Myself.

And who? Who do you think I'll be without you?

I remember . . .

Eudial had instructed us to meet her at the old cathedral, and that then she would show us the bearers of the Talisman. You said it was true so, the salvation of the world in mind, we walked right into an open trap.

She was always an exhibitionist. The cathedral itself was abandonned, but the interior was in excellent condition. The murals and reliefs were stunning, those damned cherubim no exception.

The music echoed and amplified as I ran into the grand hall. Even then you were beautiful, hanging from those thorned vines that looked so terribly sharp. I started towards you, only to be shot at by the dart cannons hidden in the walls.

Eudial fulfilled her promise, then, and revealed to us the identities of two of the bearers of the Talisman: Sailors Neptune and Uranus.

You tried to protect me, ignoring the darts until you practically fell unto her gun, your soul forming itself into the Mirror of Truth, as breathtkaing as its bearer. You were dying before me and I couldn't even hold you.

She was about to kill me too, a fate I had accepted. The ends justified the means, after all. Three lives would make little difference with the fate of the world at stake.

It was at this point that Usagi-chan burst in, a vision of the Messiah in all her glory. She tried to convince otherwise, and the conviction in her voice almost made me believe her, but I knew that what I was about to do was the only way.

I knew that we had promised to continue on if one of us died, but I could never have made it without you, Michiru . . .

Am I the only one who had to dress you up
To see how you fell down?

I remember . . .

Back in the Silver Millenium, as the young princesses of the Empire, we were destined to become Sailor Senshi and rulers both. There was no Sailor Moon, only the innocent Princess Serenity to rule, her Inner Senshi to protect her, and you and me to protect the kingdom, with Pluto to guard the flow of Time and Saturn to destroy; such a heavy burden for seven girls, barely more than children.

Those last two, we did not know very well. Pluto rarely left the Gates, seen only when she was needed and might be allowed to help--she knew and still knows everything that was, is, and will be, but could share very little. She was ageless, possibly as ancient as Time itself, and would live forever, yet we would only see her to call upon Saturn.

Saturn. None of us were allowed to have lives, but she was not even allowed to live, exsisting purely to die and then be reborn in the new world she would create. Soldier of destruction, Soldier of Death and Rebirth, I wished that someday she might experince the life in between. I knew very few people but you, my best friend and later my lover, for royalty, Senshi especially, could not afford too many social and emotional entanglements, making our relationship all the more special for its rarity.

It was the night of a banquet, one of the most dreaded occasions, for I would be forced to wear a dress. I had grown out of throwing tantrums, instead accepting it with distaste, no longer needing to be coerced.

I brought the prospective outfit to your rooms for help--I never much liked having people touch me, and you had earlier promised to help me prepare. The blue dress was tolerable, mostly because there was little of it, but the shoes still puzzled me. They didn't look entirely safe to walk in.

Laughing, you got dressed, unsafe shoes and all, to show me. I was amazed at how quickly and easily you could do all of this by yourself, while I fidgeted at having even you do it for me. You were always full of hidden talents.

You stood up, walking around the room, demonstrating that they weren't very different from my boots as a Senshi, if I could only get passed the fact that these were not a part of me.

Just as you told me how easy it was, you tripped on the carpet and fell. I caught you and fussed ovre you, teasing you about your 'graceless' and 'un-lady-like' behaviour. We giggled and tickled each other until we were both too tired to move, then sorted ourselves out and got ready again. We were late for dinner.

It was satisfying to know that while everyone else saw Princess Neptune, perfect lady and ruler, I saw a girl who could make mistakes, then swallow her pride to accept them. I saw a girl who could sneak into my rooms at night, to talk and laugh and have pillow fights, then lie for hours beside me till we both fell asleep and gave the maids a shock. I saw a girl who could befriend the 'Terror of the Palace Staff.' I saw a girl who I could love.

I saw Michiru.

Am I the only one who needs you to go--
Go on about me?

I remember . . .

You were swimming. After yet another hard day, Minako-chan's antics and involuntarily sharing our identities--discovering that Odango-chan and Sailor Moon were one and the same was especially difficult--it was all a bit much to deal with. I should have been driving.

Instead, I sat at the window, looking out on Tokyo, most of her citizens asleep by now, and listened as the phone rang.

The first call from Eudial was expected, and almost comical. That woman was such a drama queen! Even still her threats were far from empty. The second message was the one that troubled me.

We would finally find the talismans. Our mission would be over.

And three innocent people would have to die.

That's what bothered me the most, that I would have to be responsible for the deaths of three pure-hearted people.

I could never have a pure heart; my hands were dirty already.

"I've always loved your hands," you told me. You held them in your own beautiful hands, somehow comforting me and easing the depression with that simple touch.

You were the only person I would allow to touch me like this, and yet, with you, I craved it. I loved this simplest joining that was as intimate as any lover's caress.

I could feel the darkness at the edge of my psyche, threatening now more than ever before, and I never realized how much I needed you before.

Only you could keep the darkness at bay.

Am I the only one who loves when you leave
Your hair down in front of your eyes?

I remember . . .

The first night we spent together was wonderful. We had been sharing the apartment for a few weeks, but we wanted to make this occasion special.

The evening began at your violin recital. It was beautiful and the audience was captivated, carried away to a world only you could create. You always lost yourself while playing, and this performance was no exception. I wished there was some way we could dance to your music, but it just wouldn't be the same in a recording.

I went backstage to your dressing room--Security were used to me, by this point--to pick you up. You smiled at me in the mirror and asked for my help with your dress. I kissed your cheek and we left.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. With all that went on in our lives, we didn't get the chance to eat out often, so this was a treat.

We enjoyed linguini with pesto, good bread and fine wine. For dessert, there were vanilla ice cream and those lovely chocolate mints. The waiter called me 'sir' and looked puzzled when you laughed. I tipped him well.

Back at our apartment, we stayed in the living room for a time, dancing to quiet strands of Tchaikovsky from the CD player. I undid your hair, pinned up all night, and ran my fingers through it. Gazing up at me in the darkened room, silky hair framing your sea-deep eyes, you looked so serene that I was humbled at the sight.

We went back to the bedroom where, in the midst of a fight for the Earth itself, I surrendered to a haven in which only your touch mattered.

And who? Who do you think I am?

I remember . . .

We had a brief rest from fighting for a time, While the Inner Senshi battled a new enemy. We both wanted to help them, yet knew it was impossible. This was their fight. We did have some adventures of our own, though.

We were staying at a lovely seaside inn with good food and a reknowned ventriloquist performing there when I fell ill. You were off enjoying yourself, so I resorted to one of my older hobbies: flirting shamelessly with the help. I don't know if this girl knew who and what I was, but she was blushing up a storm and still not complaining.

You came in, then, dismissing the maid and repremanding me for my activities. I knew that you weren't truly upset, just mildly annoyed. I couldn't exactly blame you.

It was later that the Dead Moon attacked. Ill as I was, I could hardly put up much resistance, and by the time I had gathered my wits to transform, I was already too depleted of energy to do it. That spell was the only thing keeping me upright.

You saved the day yet again, freeing me and returning all of the stolen energy. The puppet, the true master behind this scheme, was simple to destroy once his main bargaining tool was taken away.

I will always remember the words you spoke that night:

"A world without Haruka isn't a world worth saving."

And who? Who do you think I'll be without you?

I remember . . .

The world was in danger again, only this time, the very fabric of time could be ripped apart at the seams.

We had learnt very little from Chibi-Usa that might help prevent these nasty problems. Even still, we almost knew too much. Chibi-Usa had helped us a great deal in the past, and could not have done that if she did not exist. It was exactly as Setsuna said: a paradox.

Discovering power with this crisis, Sailor Moon reached her final form. Her child, her love and her world were in danger, and she yet again went to save them, heedless of the risk to her own life. She had grown very much from the girl she had been two years previous.

We followed her, of course, away from the white moonlight and into the darkness we faced. Only Saturn knew the danger ahead, I believe. She was, after all, the one who predicted it. That was what frightened me most; not the destructive power she held, but the way her child-like voice spoke of an approaching apocolypse in ageless tones which carried only a deep sadness. It heralded the ancient Senshi's awakening, our normally cheerful Hotaru becoming the melancholy Saturn.

Unimpressed by the determination with which we followed our princess, Neherenia separted us to watch our desperate attempts turn to despair once we realized the futility of our actions and subsequent deaths. We were only another part of her plans to make Usagi suffer.

I found myself fighting beside Mercury, our pairing a perfect example of the differences between Inner and Outer Senshi. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't keep up. She may have had your element, but our partnership could not be duplicated.

Our team proved successful, her analytical skills finding a target for me. Now, to search for you . . .

And who? Who do you think I am?

I remember . . .

The Golden Queen Galaxia was far too powerful. That's really all there was to it. Having amassed so many Starseeds, she was simply too strong for nine souls to defeat, especially when she expected us. None of us had any idea, then, of the power Chibi-Chibi held, and Endymion had disappeared without a word.

Earlier that day, at the Final Concert, Galaxia had shown us a mere fraction of her strength. She destroyed Tin Nyanko, killed Kakyuu, and nearly did the same to Usagi, all without truly materializing.This hit Fighter very hard, and even though I didn't like her, I could understand her response. It could very well have been the last time we saw them.

Sailor Moon and her guardians may have grown quite a bit since we met them, but I don't believe they really knew what they were up against. Usagi held on to the idea that she could succeed through firm belief in her cause, if nothing else. I held no such dillusions. I may have been psychic, but I knew that it was very likely we would all die that day. It was inevitable.

You knew it as well, which served to affirm my own thoughts. You were very rarely wrong about this sort of thing, unfortunately.

The temple grounds were so beautiful that autumn day, so peaceful. The ancient stones gave no indication of what was yet to come, but there was little anyone could do by then, anyway. As we left, the other Senshi behind us, our deaths before us, we said our last goodbyes, hoping beyond hope that they would prove unnecessary.

And who? Who do you think I'll be without you?

I remember . . .

I was right about one thing. Galaxia was powerful. I suppose it should not have come as a surprise, but I had entertained the hope that we might beat her. Now I worried that even the Princess might not be enough.

Wandering the studio with Pluto and Saturn, we came across the Security room, all its screens tuned to the throne room. From there, we could watch them killed, watch their souls ripped from their bodies before the channel went dead. We had seen enough.

Jupiter . . . Mercury . . . Venus . . . Mars . . . Why did I get the feeling she knew where we were, and simply decided to draw out the torture?

With her guardians dead, who knew whether Sailor Moon would survive, much less those damned Starlights? All we knew was that Galaxia had to be stopped. It was only by pure luck and, as we later discovered, the force of Chibi-Chibi's will that we found them again.

The next series of events stand out in my memory with startling and painful clarity. After a brief conversation with the others, we, the Outer Senshi, left in search of Galaxia. We did not, of course, realize that when she wanted to see us, we would be brought to her.

Galaxia was a master when it came to manipulation. I suppose that was why she toyed with us so long. While she might have been able to kill us all, it would be much better for her if we simply gave up and spared her the trouble. This would eventually prove to be her downfall, but not soon enough.

I once read that there are many kinds of treachery, but betrayal is betrayal wherever you find it. Nothing could be more true. Although I know we are forgiven, the knowledge that we killed our family will always be with me. I sometimes wonder if this feeling can be truly understood by one who hasn't experienced it firsthand. I don't think so. Under Galaxia's influence, there was a heady feeling of power in taking their lives, but when I look back, I only feel sick.

Then there was that meeting with Sailor Moon and the Starlights once again. It was probably for the best that I slapped her; she wouldn't have believed, otherwise. She wanted so much for it to be a mistake. She would have forgiven us anything.

When Fighter stepped in, my aggressiveness increased the grudge I held against her. I knew all the right buttons to push--she was a lot like me, after all--and achieving the result I wanted was easy. Even though her swings were wild as all technique went out the window, she still managed to land a punch, allowing me to do the same.

Our fight then moved to the roof, providing us with the opportunity to strike our true target. As my mind cleared of her control, an old phrase came back to me: The ends justify the means.

The only problem was that this time, the ends didn't matter. Our efforts were futile and we died on that roof, holding hands, each with the other's name on her lips.

I meant what I said that day. I would sell my soul to be with you. It was worth it.

It always will be.

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