Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon: Infinity
Act 21- Seikou and Kasei; Seiya and Jen

The gentle glow of their auras united into a multi-faceted rainbow of power around An’ei Souku who sighed as it wrapped around her. Her cat-like features eased until she appeared to be a normal human again. Her skin still remained dark, but she was human. When the glow faded, she collapsed into a heap on the ground, unable to move. Ryoushi walked over to her. “It’s all right now. She’s sleeping. Onee-chan? Normally I wouldn’t ask you, but, seeing as I’m too weak to carry her, could you? Pleeeaaase?” he asked, drawing out the ‘please’ until she gave in and picked up the unconscious former cat woman and slung her gently over her right shoulder.

StarFire, meanwhile, was tending to Seiya. When they healed An’ei, the spell binding his mind to hers broke. He had collapsed to the floor, moaning softly. She had his head cuddled in her lap, trying to wake him up. He muttered something about a glowing shape and then blackness. He was tossing, as if caught in the throes of a horrible nightmare, limbs thrashing as he tried to escape it. He cried out and sat up, shaking.

“Seiya, daijobu,” she told him gently, wrapping her arms around him from behind. “It’s over. The nightmare is gone, you don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

“Jen?” he asked uncertainly.

“Shh, it’s me. It’s ok. Come back to me, Seiya. Please.”

He shook his head. “I can’t. There’s someone else who you need more than me.” He looked up. “You can come out now.”

“What are you talking about?” StarMaker asked. “Who needs her more than you do?”

Seiya pointed up. “He does.”

A fait glow became visible towards the roof as he said that, then it descended slowly, almost as if it had a mind and wasn’t sure that it was safe. The glow had a very much human shape and gained more confidence that it was safe as it looked around.

It landed beside Seiya. *Are you all right, my other self?*

The senshi heard the voice inside their heads and looked around for its source. Finally, their gazes settled on the glowing figure kneeling beside Seiya.

“I’m not entirely sure, but I will be,” he said, rubbing his head. “There’s someone here who needs to see you. Think you can manage that?”

The glow looked up, right at StarFire and stared. Finally, it said, *I wondered for the longest time how I’d react to seeing you again, my kitsune, and I was completely wrong. How I’ve missed you.* It reached out a hand to touch her cheek.

She shied back. “Who are you?”

It managed to touch her, a gentle presence, the presence that she hadn’t realized still existed, thought dead forever. “Oh stars. Seikou!” Tears flowed from her black eyes, old wounds reopened in her mind. “You’re alive!”

*No, not really.* He sighed, regaining more of his former appearance. He was wearing the dark green and silver armor of KnightRyuusei, the cloak slightly tattered around the edges, the armor dented and scratched in some places. *I’m not alive. This is I, minus my body. My soul, if you will.*

“I was under the impression that, once the body was gone, the soul moved on.” Sailormercury said, perplexed.

*The way it happens naturally, yes, the soul moves on, unless it has other unfinished business. At the time of my body’s death, the only though I had was that I hadn’t told my kitsune how much I truly loved her. That isn’t enough to anchor me to life. As time went on, An’ei herself told me what had happened. When she ordered Diamond to kill me, she also ordered him to trap my essence in the walls of this castle, an easy thing to do for someone of his powers.* He looked up at KnightMorisei, whose green eyes were wide with grief. *I understand, brother. I was watching. I don’t ask that you go out of your way to atone for what you did to your people, like your little sister did, but that you just continue being you, serving what’s left of he Juoukoku like you served it before the war.*

KnightMorisei nodded. “Seikou… Can you be restored?”

He shook his head. *No. The only way is to possess a young body, but that wouldn’t be right. Oh, eventually the boy would come to resemble me in some ways, and would have some of my powers, but it would be only an echo of my former life. I’m doomed to exist like this forever, until someone sets me free.*

“Iada!” StarFire shrieked. “I refuse to believe that!”

His blue eyes turned back to her, filled with compassion, sorrow, and rage. *There’s nothing I can do about it, Kasei,* he said, shaking his head. *Would you truly want a hollow shadow of what I was or live with the memory of what was? I would never dare offer you anything less than Akai Seikou, KnightRyuusei. It just wouldn’t be right.*

“No, Seikou!” StarFire pleaded. “I can’t live without you. I just can’t. I tried, but I can’t!”

*But you can. You have Seiya here. He is me, just Sailorstarfighter, not KnightRyuusei. That’s the only difference between us.* He paused, watching StarFire’s tear filled eyes. *That reminds me. Seiya, my other self, I have a request to make of you.*

“Anything.” Seiya told him.

*I’m glad.* He smiled. *I would ask to borrow your body to hold my kitsune one last time, before I ask Einno-sama to release me from this place and go forth into the eternal rest I thought I wouldn’t be going to for a long time.*

Seiya felt sick, but agreed. If he were in the same position Seikou was, he’d make the same request. “Whenever you’re ready.”

He nodded. *Einno-sama? Will you when I come back out?*

She nodded, removing her hood. “Of course.” Her voice sounded strained, sorrowful, at the prospect, but couldn’t deny him this last wish, no matter what her personal feelings on the matter. This was true death, not the death before rebirth that usually awaited a senshi, but true death, never to be reborn.

He took a deep breath. *I’m ready.* He walked over behind Seiya, who’d managed to stand, and merged his not really solid form with Seiya’s. Seiya flinched a bit, then his clothing changed, becoming a less damaged form of what Seikou had been wearing. His posture altered slightly, but otherwise, it was Seiya in a new set of clothes. He turned to StarFire. She was kneeling on the floor, arms clutching her sides as she sobbed. He smiled gently, leaning forward to place a hand on her shoulder. “Ka-chan, look up. It’s me.”

StarFire looked at the hand on her shoulder, then stood, meeting Seikou/Seiya’s even, steady blue gaze. “Seikou?” she asked.

The hand moved to her cheek. She nuzzled it for a while. “Yes, Ka-chan, it’s me.” He sighed contentedly. “I’ve longed for this for so long, little desert kitsune.”

The other senshi watched this tearful reunion, not sure what to make of this. The Juoukokus understood what they were going through, as did the two still living Knights and the Guardians, but the other senshi were having mixed feelings.

“What’s going on?” Uranus asked, voicing what they were all afraid to say.

“Uranus,” Aquarius said, clapping her on the shoulder. “That man isn’t Seiya, it’s Seikou, her love thought dead these last years.”

StarLight nodded. “He’s possessing Seiya’s body to say a proper goodbye to his love before Einno-sama cancels the spell binding him to this place.” She shivered. “Poor guy.”

“It was so heartless of An’ei Souku to do that to him,” KnightHisei said, clenching his left fist. The leather of his glove creaked as he did so.

“Please, just An’ei now, as I hardly resemble a cat,” she said from StarLight's shoulder. “I don’t suppose you can put me down now, StarLight?” StarLight complied. “Thank you.” She turned to face the senshi. Her coloring had stabilized. The colored streaks in her hair remained, but her hair and skin color had swapped, leaving dark brown skin and black hair. Her eyes had gained a green color, looking like normal eyes.

She watched Seikou and StarFire, who had somehow managed to detransform and become Yoake Kasei, Princess, daughter of Yoake Hibashira, and heiress of the planet-kingdom of Hisei. “I never had a chance with him did I?” she asked StarLove.

She shook her head. “No, you didn’t. He was hers and she his from the days they were born.”

An’ei sighed. “Ah well. I’m sure I’ll find love again.” A thought crossed her mind. “So, what do you say, Yuki?” she asked coyly, sliding up to KnightHisei, teasing.

He blanched. “Yikes!” he exclaimed, ducking behind KnightMorisei. The senshi burst out laughing, joined shortly by KnightHisei himself and An’ei.

Seikou/Seiya and Kasei were completely oblivious to what was going on with their fellow senshi and friends, lost as they were in each other’s embrace.

“Kasei, I have to go soon,” he told her reluctantly, pulling away from her, still locked in her arms though. “I don’t want to leave you, ever, but I have to. I can’t live like this and you’d be miserable if you could only touch me through another’s body. Wouldn’t you? Kasei, look at me.”

She looked up reluctantly. “You’re right, Seikou. I couldn’t deal with that.” She snuggled closer. “I understand why you have to go, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“Fair enough,” he said, holding her closer to his chest. “I can understand that, Kasei.”

She tried to bury herself inside him. “It’s not fair, Seikou. Why did you have to die? I’m not myself without you. I’m empty, hollow, and alone.”

“But you’re not alone. You have Okami, Tenshi, and Yu-chan. You have your brother Yuki, who is my best friend I might add. There’s Ryoushi, your fire senshi. There’s also Seiya.” He made her look up at him. “Don’t deny it, Kasei. I know you too well.”

“Deny what?”

“That you love Seiya like you once loved me. Grudgingly, then with your whole being.” Kasei averted her eyes. “It’s true, isn’t it?” he persisted.

“Yes, it is,” she admitted, her voice trembling.

“It’s all right, my Kitsune,” he said gently, smiling. “I want you to love him. I want him to love you as I would, because I can’t be with you anymore. Seiya’s body is running out of energy and I can’t stay in here much longer or it’ll kill him. Kasei, know that I will always be watching over you, that I will love you forever, no matter what happens to you, or what you do. I’ve already had this talk with Seiya. He was locked in the same dungeon I tended to hide in and we had ample time to talk. He understands that he will never replace me, and that their will always be a hole in your heart that I left when I died. He says he can go around that. All he wants is you to be with him always.”

Kasei nodded and backed away, retransforming into StarFire, staring one last time at him. “It’s time,” she said grimly. To answer his look of surprise, she shrugged and said, “If you don’t go now, Seiya will die and I’ll never let you leave. Do it now, Einno-sama, before I loose my nerve.”

Somehow Infinity heard her and walked forward. “Seikou, if you’ll be so kind as to leave Seiya, we’ll get you out of your prison.” A glow emerged from Seiya's back and Seiya’s clothing returned to the tattered remnants of his school uniform. He moaned softly and collapsed backwards into StarLight’s strong arms. She winked at StarFire and made as if to carry him off for herself. StarFire made teasing gestures, threatening to hit StarLight, making the silver haired Guardian laugh. Seikou stepped in front of Infinity. *I’m ready,* he told her.

StarInfinity raised her arms and began chanting in some obscure language. The stones of the throne room began to glow, then Seikou, then the whole palace glowed. He began floating off the ground, not of his own free will though. After five minutes, the glowing ceased and Infinity lowered her arms, turning to Seikou. “You’re free to go now. You are no longer tied to these rocks.”

Seikou bowed to her as he floated upwards. “Arigato, Einno-sama. Sayonara, my friends. Ka-chan, Aishiteru. Zutto zutto Aishiteru.” He blew kisses at everyone. “Arigato, Seiya-kun. Fare thee well, my friends, brothers and sisters of my heart. May you all be happy in your lives,” he said, vanishing after voicing the traditional Ryuusei good bye.

Tears formed in the eyes of the Guardians and Juoukoku senshi, who had known him in life and were even friends with him. Starfire whispered a goodbye in her native tongue, followed by the head, lips, heart salute.

The senshi watched him go, Uranus and StarLight supporting Seiya between them. Sailormoon stepped forward after a while. “Come on, minna. Let’s go home. We could all use sleep and food.” Her stomach chose that moment to growl. She blushed as everyone laughed.

The remaining Juoukokus and SunArrow, the ones who’d been left down below, came up then. Sagittarius and SunArrow were arm in arm. Kajino Ryuu, Sailorsagittarius, looked gaunt and wasted, but otherwise fine.

“Einno-sama,” Leo said, coming in and bowing slightly. “We should return home. Everyone back home needs to hear of our victory and that we’re still alive.” Her eyes turned to An’ei and KnightMorisei. “They all need to hear about Diamond and An’ei Souku.”

“You do have a point, Leo,” StarInfinity said. “However, we should wait until the Guardians are ready to return with us.”

Seiya straightened at that. “Wait a minute, you’re not taking her back with you, are you? I just got Jen back, I’m not about to loose her so soon. I won’t!”

StarFire walked over to him and kissed him gently. “Seiya, I have to go, if only to report our success to the Queens that are left, as Leo suggests. I’ll be back, I promise.”

“Promise?” he pleaded.

“Yes, Seiya, I promise. I will come back.”

He nodded. “Guardian StarInfinity, may I make a request before you all have to go?” She nodded so he continued. “All I ask is to spend a week alone with Jen before she goes home.”

She considered this. Why not? she asked herself. He’s been through hell to win her. “I see nothing wrong with that.” She smiled. “I’ll see what I can do to arrange that. Do you have a location you’d like? Either of you?”

StarFire slipped her hand into Seiya’s when he blinked, expressing that he had no particular desire. “I do, Einno-sama. I would like to go to Canada.” She smiled. “We said that’s where we came from when we first arrived here and I wouldn’t mind visiting there before I go.”

“Is that ok with you, Seiya?” He nodded. “Then that’s where you’ll go. I’ll arrange it with your school, but for now,” she clapped her hands. “just be happy, children. You’ve had little enough time for it lately.”

There was a flash, and the palace of the Joudo Tengoku vanished.

Epilogue

After the week was up, the Guardians said a tearful goodbye to their friends, and, with the Juoukoku senshi, returned to their homes and a grateful people. Reconstruction of the destroyed worlds had begun as soon as they realized that they could escape imprisonment on Kinsei, much to the relief of the citizens of Morisei, Shinjusei, and Jinsei. The worlds that were most easily restorable were lower on the list of priorities for the kind of help those three worlds were to receive, so it was up to their Queens and peoples to do what they could.

An’ei was welcomed back as were those of her peoples that would come with her to be full citizens of the Juoukoku. KnightMorisei was welcomed back by his tear-eyed mother, Queen Utano Mori.

The Juoukoku senshi rejoined their companions with much rejoicing. The spot of the Sagittarius senshi was left vacant by the marriage of Kane Ozhishi and Kajino Ryuu. Upon his return, SunArrow had returned to his ancestral family Name. A gleeful Kane Neko, Queen of Jinsei, his mother and former fire Guardian, presided over the ceremony. They endured much teasing from their companions and vanished to Jinsei’s silver moon for they’re honeymoon, in honor of the senshi that had helped them in their battles.

The Guardians returned to their respective homes and families.

Kasei, Guardian StarFire, went to the shrine in her section of Hisei’s palace, where she paid her respects to her older sister, Yoake Hihana, and Akai Seikou. She’d told the story of what had happened to him to the Council just hours ago, as well as An’ei’s story of what had happened to her people and how the war had started. The memories still fresh in her mind, she’d come here instead of to the hot bath and meal that she knew awaited her in her chambers just doors away. “Arigato, Seikou, for everything. Arigato, Seiya, for being there for me always. Arigato, minna, for your help in the fight and for your friendship. We will never forget you.” She snuffed the candles and went to go have her bath, trying to forget that she’d never again see her beloved Seikou in life.

Yumeko, Guardian StarLove, was performing a similar ritual herself on Kinsei. There was no shrine, but she sat, cross-legged, on her floor, thinking over all her memories of the blue planet called Earth. More specifically, she thought of Taiki, whom she’d just started to fall in love with. She knew he felt the same, but, because neither had openly declared their affection for the other, the separation wasn’t as hard as she knew it was for Kasei and Seiya, or even the separation with Seikou. She got up on her knees and clapped her hands in front of her. “I won’t forget you, Haruka-san, Michiru-san, Setsuna-san, Hotaru-chan. You were my best friends, for all that it was only a short time that we knew each other. Taiki, you were my most important friend. You taught me to be happy again after my return from being Tyger.” She shuddered involuntarily at the memory. “I will always remember that first poetry reading. I hope to see you again, my precious friends.”

Tenshi, Guardian StarSinger, sat and played her flute. She was perched on a cliff facing the sea. The palace wasn’t in the best condition, and she’d had more than enough of being indoors for one day. As social as she was, she didn’t want to be around people anymore today. She’d been surrounded from the moment she set foot on Umisei again. A slight breeze ruffled the feathers of her wings, the wings she’d never shown on Earth. She stopped playing and stared out to sea. They might have understood. she thought to herself. Eternalsailormoon has wings. Sort of. She shook her head. No, it’s better this way. Better that they think we’re all perfectly normal, like them. The Starlights would have understood. She smiled. Ah, the Starlights. I’ve never encountered a more bizarre bunch in my life, long as it has been. I’ll miss their teasing jokes and their easy smiles. I think, though, out of all the people I met, I’ll miss Michiru-san for her music, Hotaru for her easy smiles, and Setsuna for her understanding of what we felt like to have our homes invaded like that. Senshi of the outer system, this song is for you.

Okami, Guardian StarLight, and her massive wolf, Quicksilver, sat under a tree, watching it rain. Queen Yuri had lent her people use of their moon to live until most of the planet Morisei became habitable again. The palace had been destroyed, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t still go to places she’d visited in her childhood that were still intact. Currently, she was visiting the place her father had come from, Icerange it was called, despite the fact that it was almost 2 weeks journey from the colder regions. It was too crowded on Kinsei’s moon, so she’d come here to think, reflect on the last year, both before and during their encounter with Earth’s Sailorsenshi. Most especially, she thought about Sailormoon. Usagi-chan…you would have helped us no matter what, I think, she thought, leaning her head back on the tree trunk, absentmindedly scratching Quicksilver’s ears. Why? I was so nasty to you, but you were the picture of kindness, so much like Yu-chan that I had to hate you on principle. You and Minako-chan. Both of you were so friendly but I rejected you because of your resemblance to the Princess I swore to protect with my life, the girl I forged a blood sister bond with. Now I know why you did it. I understand you just wanted to be friends with me, to get to know me. I regret all the things I said to you. Even you, Rei-chan, Mako-chan. I hope you can eventually forgive me for what I said sometimes. I don’t deal with pain very well and, consequently, tend to take it out on others, especially those who get too close to the source of my pain. If I ever get the opportunity to see you all again, I’d like very much to be friends.

Her twin brother, Ryoushi, who was KnightMorisei and her best friend beside her fellow Guardians, interrupted her thoughts. “Oy, O-chan. I figured you’d be down here. Everyone’s looking for you. Remember that party Ten-chan was trying to organize for the senshi? Well, it’s going down on Hisei in an hour.” He shrugged. “Just thought you’d like to know,” he finished, pushing a thick strand of his sunny blond hair from his green eyes, grinning. “Everyone’s going to be there, even the newlyweds.”

“Really?” Okami’s silver eyes lit up. “I didn’t get to tease them nearly enough at the wedding. Shall we?” She stood, signaling for Quicksilver to get up. The horse sized silver female wolf yawned and stood, following her mistress and Kitsune to the portal that would lead them back to Kinsei’s moon, which shined above their heads like a pearl on a pale blue cloth. The rain had stopped and it looked to be a beautiful year.