Dejana's Writing

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

Written for sm_monthly, January 2008 (Silver Millennium) Day Fourteen (Bury).

The hashra was stifling. It had been years since she had worn one, but it felt like an entire lifetime. She shifted uncomfortably beneath the acres of white cloth, shuffling her feet on the mat as sweat rolled down her legs. It was nice to have protection from the blowing sand, but it wasn't worth it. The harsh sun and gritty wind could no longer harm her as they could when she lived here. She was a Sailor Soldier now.

She ached to take the hashra off, but she didn't dare. The last thing she wanted was even more attention. The service in the temple had been bad enough, even with the ceremonial robes covering her. The stares of her countrymen burned her like no fire ever could, and the whispers had been harsher than the sand.

"Isn't that-"

"I thought we'd never see her here again."

"I didn't know her kind were permitted to mingle with commoners."

"What's that she's doing? Why doesn't she just light it with her power?"

"Don't know what she's trying to prove, coming here..."

The voices had stopped when she glared, but they only resumed in greater numbers the minute she turned her head. What should have been a silent ceremony had become a circus of gossip. It was shameful. The priestess had had the decency to apologize to her afterwards for the behavior of the crowd, but even then, the woman wrung her hands as if the soldier might strike her down at any minute.

They all seemed to have forgotten the deceased was her mother.

Even worse were the people who had known her before she was a Sailor Soldier, who spoke to her with fake smiles and tried to pretend nothing had changed.

"We've missed you; will you be visiting often?"

"Of course I wish you could've attended the wedding, but we didn't know where to send the invitation, aha..."

"Are things well on the Moon? I hear the food is dreadful."

"Do we still call you Fira, or...?"

She hadn't known how to answer that one. She had been Fira, once, but it had been many years since she had heard that name. She was no longer that free spirit with dreams of entering the service of the temple. Still, she could not bear the thought of her childhood friends addressing her by her title.

Even as they filed out of the temple and took their places beside the long path to the burial site, the questions had continued. She had borne it all with the best smile she could muster, while her ears burned with the whispers of the surrounding crowd, and recited the calming chants she had been taught over and over again in her mind. She almost wished Serenity had not given her leave to attend.

But she had to come. It was her mother, lying on the hover platform inside the ancient temple. They had never been close, not even before 30 million miles separated them. Still, she was her daughter, and there were certain things daughters had to do. Someone had to light the candles of remembrance, and say the prayers that would guide her mother's soul.

The mourners were a long line of white beneath the burning sun, the sand swirling around them as on the distant dunes. Under the hashras, one person was like another. The protective robes hid all but the eyes. It was still not enough to make a Sailor Soldier disappear. Outside the climate-controlled domes, she wore a hashra like all the others, but the eyes were still upon her. Even when the hover platform emerged from the temple doors, and all attention should have been on its occupant, the eyes still burned into the alien among them. She had belonged here, once. Now she was as much a stranger as the distant Moon Queen.

The platform drew closer. As the daughter of the deceased, the woman who had been Fira stood near the end of the line. Soon the crowd would return to the sheltered city, and she would be able to take the dreadful hashra off... but what then? She would no longer have an excuse to wear the ceremonial robes. She was running out of options.

Even bound in ribbon, tendrils of her mother's dark hair blew free in the wind. The platform was close enough now that the soldier could see her mother's face, drawn by age and dried by death. The skin was already darkening beneath the harsh sun. She would lie under the sand a month, at most, before being absorbed by the planet that bore her.

A lump formed in the throat of the girl who was once Fira. It had been so long since they had spoken. Her mother had been determined not to interfere with her daughter's training. Even when Fira made the effort to contact her, feeling lost and alone on a strange world, her mother had chastised her for her weakness and insisted she work harder toward her goals.

Now that she thought on it, her mother had always been proud Fira was chosen as a Sailor Soldier. She had never seen her mother shine as brightly as she had the day Fira wore the uniform for the first time.

The platform was gliding nearer, only a few mourners away. The soldier's eyes blazed with a sudden defiant fire. She raised her head proudly and swept the hashra off, tearing it from her body as if it were trash. The crowd let out a collective gasp, and countless wide eyes were fixed upon her, but for the first time since her arrival she didn't care. She was no longer part of this world. The life she had had here was no more substantial than the shadow cast behind her by the blazing sun.

She stood straight and tall as her mother passed by her for the last time, ignoring the stares on her red and white uniform. She wasn't here for these people from her past, these strangers. She was here for only one person, and that person would have wanted to see her standing proudly as Sailor Mars. She was who she was, and trying to hide it was an insult to her mother's memory.

"Farewell, Mother. I won't disappoint you."

The End
Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon and its associated characters and canon are the property of Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha.
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