Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Toei Animation, and Kodansha Comics


The Price To Pay


Paid in Full

by Gita Toronjil-Lee


*What did the Stars tell Nephrite?  Who was their benefactor?*

*Are you watching? Do you see them?  Do you see what they are?*


*You'll see.*


A red Ferrari sits at the curb, its engine idling in neutral.

Two teenage girls, one redheaded, one blonde and strangely pigtailed, walk across the way, slurping at ice cream cones.  The auburn-haired man in the car smiles.  "Be happy, Naru-chan," he murmurs to the automobile's interior, then puts it into first, pops the clutch, and races off toward the trees in the distance with a squeal of tires.  The redhead turns to look, and though she never will be able to explain why she does it, she puts her hand to her lips and waves a kiss toward the receding vehicle.


The words are almost indecipherable over the loudspeaker.  "Flight 254 to Jamaica will be arriving at Gate 12."

The blonde man seated at that gate's waiting area smiles.  As soon as he gets to Jamaica, he will board another plane back to Tokyo.  It is not a vacation he is looking for; to an outside viewer who could not understand, he is wasting his time.  But with a power to conjure currency and plenty of time on his hands, what better thing to do than to try something he'd always dreamed of doing?  He stands up, grabs his empty, prop luggage, and heads off the gate, adjusting his glasses with his free hand as he walks.


He briefly considers ringing the doorbell, but does not.

Instead, he lays the basket down upon the doorstep.  It is a plain straw bowl, but is filled to the brim with recently-acquired sweets.  He bends to readjust the label, which simply reads "Thank you".  White hair falls in his eyes, and he brushes it away.  Before he turns to go, he reaches in his pocket and pulls out a photo.  His own image looks back at him and wraps its arms around the image of the love of his life; he smiles at this in a manner that could almost consider wistful and puts the picture away.  Then he quickly raps on the door with his knuckles and vanishes before Usagi can answer it.


The sakura has not stopped blooming.  

The copper-haired man sighs in tranquility.  "It's still a lovely tree," he comments to himself, and stretches his right hand out.  A flurry of new petals comes forth from his fingers to join the others, which are falling with snowflake gentleness, and to him, this is beautiful.  He hears a rush of wind, and turns, only to greet his tall lover's soft smile; this is even more beautiful.  He does not speak, but rather smiles and reaches out with gloved hands to take the other's.  They stand there like that for a moment before they embrace, and when they hear the sound of a curious black-haired shrine maiden approaching, they vanish, holding each other, leaving two pairs of booted footprints in the soil beneath the cherry tree.


*Are you still not sure what they told him?  Or who was there to help them?*

*Listen.  And know this.*

*A fallen star has sympathy for the likewise fallen.*

*One in particular.*

*It remembers how it shone once in the night sky, but can only vaguely emulate this through silver crystalline glimmering.*

*It knows that it can and will still do great things, and has great power.*

*It knows that these others can be the same.*

 *It knows that a mistake can be rectified.*

*And it was right.*

*They paid their debts.*

*And, in the end, the high cost each had to pay in matters of penitence, life, love...*

* ...for what they got out of it, it seemed a bargain.*


The End


 …in the end, as ever, it all boils down to that damned ginzuishou, doesn't it?

They say that the ginzuishou is good when used by a good heart, and a deadly weapon when used by evil.   I'd never deny the villainy of the Shitennou; however, my point is this: if there is such a thing as pure evil, to the core, it doesn’t exist in these men.  But no matter who or what we are, we all eventually have to pay our dues accordingly for everything we've done.

 And what can I say, but that I'm an incurable, sappy romantic?

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