Dejana's Writing

a Sailormoon fanfiction by Dejana Talis
-not to be used without permission-

Written for sm_monthly, March 2006 (Villains) Day Six (Atonement).

There was a brisk wind blowing that night, but it didn't bother Nephrite. He no longer had a body.

It had taken quite a bit of experimentation to get this far, but after a while, he had discovered there was nowhere he could not go. Distance was a problem, however. The insistant tugging at his soul grew ever stronger as he pulled himself further and further away from the piece of stone entombed in his corpse in the Dark Kingdom. By now it was an almost unbearable agony, as if his very essence was being spread across time and space. Amazing that such a small lump of rock could be such a formidable anchor. Such was his punishment for his sins. Despite the pain, and the pulling that made every inch of further movement nearly impossible, he could not give up yet. His mission was far too important.

At long last, he had reached his destination. The house loomed up before him beneath the shadows of the trees, a hulking dark shape in the moonless night. The trees bent and shuddered in the harsh wind, their leaves rustling like a storm, their branches curling around the house forbiddingly. It was all much less welcoming than Nephrite remembered, but somehow, he was not surprised. The property had gone dark, just as he had.

The difficulty he had crossing the lawn and entering the house had nothing to do with his soul's tie to the rock that anchored him. Even without a body the door and walls posed no obstacle; Nephrite passed through the wood and aluminum siding as if it were air, but it was the most difficult thing he had ever done. It was true, the well-known saying. You can't go home again.

The inside of the house was as dark as the outside, and like the outside, it was both familiar and strange. There was the familiar living room with its familiar furniture, and the front hallway, with the kitchen just visible beyond. That in itself was odd. In all this time, nothing had been moved. There was a change, however, tangible even to the intangible spirit, but it was not physical. There was a feeling of lifelessness in the air. This house was no longer a home. It was as dead as the objects inside it.

Nephrite turned, searching the familiar walls with their familiar details. No, not everything was unchanged. The family photographs were missing, the places where they had hung now barely-distinguishable empty squares on the wall where the sunlight had faded the wallpaper around them. He listened hard, a slight unease growing within him. The silence was absolute. It was as if not even the outside world could bring life to this house. Everything was still here, though, except the pictures; surely the house was not abandoned?

Gathering his spiritual energy, Nephrite drifted upward and floated through the ceiling into the secondfloor. A completely empty room greeted him, its walls stark and white and plain, its floor bare wood. He was momentarily disoriented. He didn't remember any unused rooms. Turning toward the closed door that led to the hallway, the familiar layout of the room finally sank in. Yes, he knew this room, perhaps better than any of the others. When he was last here, however, it had been far from empty.

A soul-consuming sadness only a spirit entity can feel welled up within him. Every relic of the life that had once been here was gone. There was nothing, not a scrap of personality left in the room that had once been the most familiar to him.

Tension threatening to shake his control over the magnetic pull from his stone, Nephrite passed through a wall into the next bedroom. Here, life continued, although there was still a sense of emptiness in the atmosphere. There was furniture and clothing and makeup on the vanity, signs of a life in progress. There was a shape beneath the blankets on the bed, and it moved slightly in rhythm with the sound of even breathing.

Nephrite approached cautiously, although there was no reason to fear discovery. The figure in the bed was fast asleep, and even had it not been, he could not be seen by mortal eyes. The spirit-man shook with every ethereal particle as he beheld the woman sleeping there, her silver-streaked auburn hair spread out over the pillows, her clenched fists trembling fitfully on the blankets. Her face, once rosy and full of life, was thin and drawn and pale, and her closed eyes were ringed with dark circles. Had he still had the ability, Nephrite would have cried.

The woman sighed, and moaned, and turned restlessly in the bed as Nephrite approached. Her lips moved.


Pain filled Nephrite's soul at the sound of a name he had not heard it what seemed like a lifetime. In its wake came a bitter rage, a fury at what destiny had brought him, an anger on behalf of the innocents who had been collateral damage. The injustice of it all was overwhelming. What cruelty, to give him the false hope of reincarnation only to take it all away! As Shinsuke, he had had a normal life, a family that loved him, hopes and dreams, a future...and it had all been wiped away in the blink of an eye by a mistake he had made in a past life.

Even now he remembered that horrible day, although it had been forgotten during his time in the Dark Kingdom. Even the circumstances were unfair. It should've happened in the dead of the night, or even on a stormy day. Not on a beautiful spring afternoon in the bright sunshine.

He'd been on his way home, enjoying the breeze and the warm air that promised of summer...and then there was pain, and darkness as the world around him vanished, and a woman with blazing red hair and an aura of vile strength demanding his allegiance, saying he had already promised it. He was not the human man Shinsuke at all, he was Nephrite, the reincarnation of an ancient warrior who had sold his soul for power, and he had no choice but to become that again. In an instant, he was taken, and everything was taken from him.

And on Earth, a family waited in vain for a son that would never came home.

"Mother..." Nephrite whispered in a voice that could no longer be heard. "I am sorry."

Shinsuke's mother was alone in the bed. Where was his father? Had he left a wretched miserable woman who refused to let go of her vanished son and go on with her life? Or, was it his mother who had grown cold? All of Shinsuke's possessions were gone, and even here in the bedroom, no photograph of him remained. Had his mother tried to forget him, only to be forever tortured by his memory as she slept?

Glancing around at the blank spaces where pictures of Shinsuke had once been, Nephrite had to admit that seemed the more likely explanation.

He turned away from the sleeping woman, grieved and frustrated. Why had he come here? What had he expected to find? What purpose had he expected to serve? He had found a house of misery, and as a powerless spirit, there was nothing he could do to help, nothing at all. What could anyone do? She had lost her son without a trace or an explanation, and no one could restore him, and that was an emptiness nothing could ever fill, and an obstacle nothing could ever overcome. How could he atone for the hole that had been left in this woman's life?


Perhaps there was something he could do after all.

Nephrite returned to the bedside. He bent low over the woman, gathering all his spiritual will into one resolution, one wish, one word.


The woman shuddered, as if a cold wind had passed over her.

Then her grip on the sheets relaxed. Her lips stopped muttering their fitful words. Her eyelids stopped twitching. Her breathing once again grew slow and even, relaxed, restful.

The spectre that haunted her mind was gone.

Nephrite also relaxed. Finally he allowed the ever-present pull to yank him out of the room, out of the house, out of the world, back to the stone that bore his name. There had never been any such person as Shinsuke, only a man who waited to be Nephrite, and now, that man would cause no more pain.

"Goodbye, Mother."

The End
Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon and its associated characters and canon are the property of Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha.
Contact Dejana Sites Writing Artwork Graphics Videos Awards About Blog Links Main