|Flowers for Rei.|
Ami never knew why she felt she always had to rush to the Sailor-soldier meetings. After all, half of the girls were unfailingly late even if the subject matter was supposed to be urgent. The coming get-together, however, wasn't even for anyparticular reason- other than that they had not had a Sailor-meeting in quite a while. Frankly put, a miracle would have to happen in order for it to start on time. She couldn'timagine anything substantial coming out of such a meaningless gathering at all. But, since she was obligated to come and she figured that she might possibly get some studying done while the other girls were bickering, Ami stepped off the bus at the stop in front of Rei'stemple. The paint on the ancient, cracked shrine was beginning to peel off recently, and the now homely appearance of the sacred building contrasted sharply with the beauty of the budding cherry blossoms that surrounded it. There was only more day before the season of the cherry blossoms was over, and the bright pink petals showered on Ami like playful rain.
While she was climbing the temple stairs towards the top, she suddenly heard a large crash from the inside that might have busted the walls of the temple by sheer sound alone. Suddenly tense, Ami quickened hersteps. Did something fragile suddenly fall? <<Is anybody hurt?>> Ami wondered. She crossed the courtyard and saw Mako'sbicycle chained to the front of the temple; Ami guessed that she must have arrived for the meeting somewhat earlier. The din began again, and before long, the strange clamor of wood and furniture breaking drowned out the continual sound of the priestess'raucous crows. For a moment, Ami tried to imagine what type of violent sport Rei and Mako could be engaged in while indoors. But her alert intuition told her that something had gone wrong beyond normal fun and games.
She went inside calling, "Mako?...Rei?" Just then, the clamor stopped abruptly with a final CLANG! of metal against wood. The racket had nearly caused one of Grandpa Hino's fishbowlsto launch from its perch- Ami made sure to secure it firmly in its place before moving into the main chamber.
"In here, Ami," Mako's strangely breathless voice guided her. The next scene Ami came upon looked as though a hurricane had run through it.Tables and chairs were overturned or smashed. A priceless vase lay in pieces on the floor, and the Shinto prints hanging around the walls were knocked out of their proper places. To the left and right, stood Mako and Rei, both livid with rage.
"My, what a mess!" Ami cried in horror. "Oh no- what have you two done to this place?!"
"What have we done? It's all Mako's doing," said Rei icily. Her extremely derisive tone made Ami shrink back reflexively. Mako's visage, on the other hand, was even more scary andAmi felt herself suddenly trapped between two pythons at war. She felt herself shudder with a fear she did not understand.
"You made me do it!" Mako shot back at Rei.
"Look what she did to the wall," Rei said indignantly as she moved aside, showing Ami the ghastly sight of one of Rei'sinnocent tables, twisted so that it was hardly distinguishable anymore, wedged in through one side of the thatch wall and partially jutting out of the other side.
"How did the table get there?" Ami asked.
"Mako threw it."
"I was trying to kill Rei!" Mako yelled hoarsely. Apparently her throat was still constricted from mad fury. "She- she-...!"
"I am very disappointed in both of you," Ami interjected calmly. Instantly, her soothing and level-headed voice seemed to slice the aura of palpable rage around them, like a dolphin through ice water. "I haven'tseen such childish behavior since middle school. Haven't you two ever learned to work out your differences without violence? Isn't that the Sailor soldiers' motto, or did you forget that? I'mhonestly surprised- I would have expected you to have moved past this stage... You girls are only what now, 17?" Ami said, in as scornful a voice as she could muster.
Mako, who seemed so pent-up she could no longer speak, simply pointed her nose to the sky and left the room. "I'll destroy whatever I want to, whenever I want to,"was the uncaring voice that trailed behind her as she was swallowed up by the darkness of the temple halls.
"Rei, what was it that started this again?" Ami attemptedto start again nicely, but unfortunately Rei was no more receptive than Mako. From the side of her mouth, she told Ami to leave her alone and then she stormed off in a similar manner. Eventually, because she was all alone and since she certainly didn'tfeel like cleaning up this insanely disordered room, Ami chose to go back outside and feed the crows until her friends cooled off. They always did, of course. <<They'll come back, and they'll apologize too>>, Ami could say to herself without qualms. The Sailor soldiers were bonded at heart, even though their antics seemed to prove otherwise at times. She looked at her watch, but not for any particular reason. Like broken clockwork, Mina would be a half-hour late to the meeting, at best, and then finally, Usako would appear after that, the last attendee as usual. Ami sighed and had the sinking feeling that it was going to be a troublesome day.
Rei slumped down onto her bed-mat and tried to keep her consciousness from slipping into utter despair. Even now she simply couldn'tbelieve what had happened between her and Mako. She had never expected her tall friend to react so violently. And now, she felt like she had just hurt Ami too. <<...Poor Ami>>, she thought. << She never starts any of the battles around here.She only watches all the time, helpless, while me and her friends rip each other apart and she could hardly do anything about it. And usually, it's Sailor Moon and me, but this is the first time that I'veever gotten something like this out of Mako. Oh God, why do I always feel the need to prove myself? Something must be wrong with me... I'm not normal.>>...
It seemed as if everything was going wrong today. Rei wrestled with the decision of whether she should go out and say sorry, or if she should hide out in her room until the meeting was over instead. Her heart was still jumping from the confrontation. She wanted to beat something, no, tear something to shreds, but at the same she was sick to her stomach and she wanted to sleep for a very, very long time.For two days now, she hadn't been able to sleep without succumbing to sudden fits of agitation which forced her awake at the oddest hours of the night. After that, she couldn'tget back to sleep no matter how hard she tried. She would sit up in bed and watch the silent moon glide through the indigo sky, patiently waiting for the morning to arrive....
She believed that the spirits were trying to tell her something important, but the message was garbled every time. Maybe she didn't have the ability to listen to theirvoices anymore. Maybe she didn'twant to listen to them anymore. Rei thought about poor Ami again and felt as if a leaden weight dropped inside her heart. Something inbred deep within her instincts forced her to revile her recent actions to the point thatit hurt. Slowly, like a zombie burdened with chains, she reached into her writing desk for her silver pen and a pad of paper. She began to write an apology to Ami. <<Screw Mako>>, she thought as the words began to flow. <<I know Ami will understand. Shealways does. Ami's always been on my side.>>...
"Here you go, Ami. I want you to look at this, please..." Rei muttered as she handed the note to the girl genius. She got ready to turn around and go back to her room; she didn'twant to spend any more time apologizing than she needed to. Ami accepted the stationery patiently, with a courteous thank-you. It was then that Rei saw that Ami already had a note in her hand from Mako.
"Thank you guys so much," Ami was saying. "I am thankful to have such gracious friends." The short-haired girl blushed slightly. She started to unfold Rei'sletter, but was stopped when Rei put her hand on top of hers.
"Read Mako's letter first," Rei insisted quietly. "I'm sure you will find it less... disturbing." Ami blinked and blushed again. Then, shrugging, she said, "Sure..." The priestess stalked off back towards her abode, as Ami carefully unfolded the letter which Mako had given her.
Listen, I'm sorry that I gave you the cold shoulder earlier. I guess I really did act out of line that time. But I honestly couldn't help it. I was just so... so... I guess 'mad' is the only word for it. I didn't expect those actions, even from me. But any ways, once I tell you what happened, you'll totally agree with me. I arrived at Rei's house, and I'm all cool like usual, and then all of a sudden she starts telling me that she's been secretly having an affair with Mamoru. And she's like, 'blah blah blah," and I'm all like, 'okay, whatever'. But then she just kept talking about it like she was really serious or something, and after a while I realized, 'wait a minute, this sucks,' so I told her to shut up and quit being mean. But she kept going and finally she said to me that she could prove that Mamoru loved her more than he loved Usako. I guess that was when I exploded. I don't know, I was just really, really mad for some reason. We didn't kick or scratch or anything- we just threw junk at each other until everything was all bashed up and I broke her wall. I wish I hadn't done it, and I want for you and me to be friends again, Ami. Who knows, maybe things could still work out between Rei and me, but I'm still a little bit pissed off at her right now.
Ami, whose face was emotionless because she was lost in thought, closed Mako's letter and put it down on her lap. She took up Rei's letter and gasped. It was nearly three times as long as Mako's letter!
Look Ami, Rei began bluntly in her spidery, exotic handwriting.
...I'm sorry that you and Mako got mad at me. I want you to know that it's not your fault at all. It's not Mako's fault either. I want Mako to know that I'mnot mad at her for anything she did, and I forgive her for making a mess of the temple. In a way, I could see why she reacted that way. I don't know if she has already begun to tell you her side of the story, but be assured that everything that I asserted is true. I suppose that my mistake was to release everything to her all at once, in one great wide burst. I'lladmit that I acted a little bit impatient. I told her that I've been going out with Mamoru behind Usako's back for a great number of months now. She didn'tbelieve me at first but I hope she believes me now. I realized that it was going to get harder keeping our affair a secret. Quite frankly, it hurt me that I could nottell any of you guys what we were doing. So I figured it was time to let it all out, since I couldn'tbear to keep the secret inside me any longer. I wanted her to know the truth. I still do. Even if it makes her hate me. If you suddenly feel to hate me too, Ami, then that's all right. Trust me, I'll understand, and I wouldn'tbe surprised. I understand now that I should have seen Mako's inevitable anger towards me coming and I should have been more prepared for it-- prepared with patience.
There's something else you should know Ami. I didn't tell Mako this. I was planning to, until I realized that she was just about ready to kill me. I'm pregnant with Mamoru's child. I found out two weeks ago and I'vebeen living in a horrible state of desperate confusion ever since. It's getting so that now I wake up in the morning nauseous and without the strength to rise from bed. I have this sick feeling in me that I can'tdescribe- I exist in a state between sleep and consciousness, between hunger and fullness, agitation and depression, a feeling which has no direction and no abatement. That is why there is a meeting today; because I realize the urgency of the matter and that all of you, my best friends, have a right to know... But I don'tknow how I can tell you about these emotions that I can't even describe. I mean, most of the time I feel confident that I know what I'm doing but now I don'tknow whether I want to scream and shout or break down into tears. I think that I'm feeling fear more than anything else, but strangely, I can't place it or section it off into one corner of my mind like I'm used to doing. I don'teven know if any of you will believe me since after all, none of you have a real reason to listen to anything I say, until Mamoru comes to testify by my side. And, the changes that are happening to my body will soon become more drastic... Another thing has happened. I've started to have horrible nightmares. I know, I know, you won't consider that as startling as my pregnancy, but they're starting to invade myvision during the day as well. Things are cloudy and dark, and I feel harsh winds blowing against me as I'mtrapped in some sort of abyss. I see shadows all around, but I cannot tell if they are men or animals. Even though they affect me profoundly, I haven'tyet been able to discern the meaning of these dreams- they way they present themselves, so threateningly, is not like any dreams I've ever had before. I'm going to discuss them with Mamoru.
I'm terribly sorry Ami, now I know that I'm just starting to complain on you. I don't mean to do it, I really don't. You don'tdeserve that type of treatment. All I wanted to say today is that I truly love Mamoru with all my heart and I'm going to resign from the Sailor soldiers for a little while- until I figure out what in heaven's name I'mtrying to do. But I don't think I can say that out loud now, in front of you and everyone. I don't think I have the strength. Please forgive me. If you can, that is...
Rei's signature was smudged and the pinpoints of dried tears were sprinkled over the paper like stars. Ami ran back into the temple.
Rei had already made sure to lock her door. She heard Ami pounding on it with a violence she didn't think the small girl was capable of. "Rei, can I come in, please?" Rei heard Ami ask in a trembling voice. "Please Rei, I--... You can't just lock yourself away like this, away from everyone!" She knew that what Ami said was true, nonetheless, she found herself unable to lift herself from her position as a heap on the ground. She was keenly aware of the subtle hint of panic in Ami'svoice, an unstable vein of uneasiness that not even the girl genius could prevent from climbing out and altering her voice.
It was no difficult effort for Rei not to answer her. Ami was easy to ignore. Rei had no concept of how much time passed as Ami pleaded with her, if the time was passing at all.
She heard the clicking of a door latch, and then approaching footsteps. "Mako!" Ami exclaimed thankfully, letting rush all of the frustrations which the rigidly closeddoor had brought to bear in her. Incomparably distraught, she rushed into Mako'sarms. There were a few incoherent moments in which Ami tried to explain the contents of the letter to Mako through rubber lips. Rei could sense fragile Ami, still shakingfrom the shock. Mako tried her best to comfort her. Finally, Mako sat down in order to read the letter herself.
<<The letter was for Ami>>, Rei thought in a surge of anguish. Still, she could not move from her broken position. She supposed that it was for the better though, since she wasn't about to show herself despite her heart'spowerful need to let loose about her forbidden relationship.
It was entertaining to hear Mako hiccup with surprise. She turned to Ami as if she was the one responsible for the letter. "You mean- you mean... Rei... and Mamo-chan really--...?!" Mako gasped. She waved her hands and searched for words, but apparently came up empty. Now, Rei could imagine the look of bewilderment on Mako's face perfectly, she could imagine Mako crossing her eyes in disbelief. "But how could that happen- I mean, I never even knew that she had gone much past first base, much less-- " and Rei heard Mako's voice drop dramatically, as she whispered into Ami's ear, "all the way." Mako must have thought that Rei couldn't hear what she was saying nor sense what they were doing, however, Rei's ESP power, which had fine-tuned itself during these stressful days, let her listen in on all of their actions.
"...Damn, she sure pulled one over on us." Mako remarked, her voice fading as her mind filled with thought.
<<Well, you don't have to make it sound like it was just me,>> Rei said to herself dejectedly. She was glad that the other two couldn't see her now, or she would have been reflexively angry, simply in order to defend herself.<<Mamo-chan was there too.... he was always there to tell me everything was all right, and make everything all better.>> By the filtered light of the lamp, Rei sat up straight against the wall and draped her arms around herself. She wished Mamoru was with her right now. She longed for his warm touch and gentle embrace... She thought to herself how much she loved his voice and the shape of his lips. She let herself drift into a period of suspended animation, in which she was alone with Mamoru in a peacefulplace, somewhere far away and high up in the sky where the faces of her friends and whatever they were talking about could not reach her. It was the place she wanted to be forever.
Mina entered noisily, saying how sorry she was for being late. It seemed as though the room was filled with sunshine. A span of silence as Mina read the letter. Rei found it hard to visualize - she could never imagine Mina being anything less than boisterous and the eerie quietness that emanated from her person aftershe was done reading was unsettling. She guessed that Mina'seyebrows came together sharply with worry, and her mouth hung half-open. She had been caught off guard, but quickly Mina put on a determined face and tried to calculate how she could guide the teamthrough this dilemma. She had that combination of leadership and selflessness which Rei never had. Mina looked back down at the paper, and then at Ami and Mako.
"She never said if she was planning to keep the baby or not...?" Mina asked, her voice a trickle of its regular jolly gush. Mako and Ami glanced at each other. It was true, the letter had said nothing about that. Mako hesitated before beginning.
"W-Well, the answer to that is simple. I mean, of course she'll keep her and raise her. This is Rei here, you guys. She's one of us, and she would never be so cruel as to have an a-..." Mako broke off before she could utter the disgusting word.
Ami took advantage of the pause. "But Mako, you don't know if..."
"Oh, come on, Ami," Mako interrupted, as she started to get a little exasperated."How long have we known Rei for? Forever, right? Sure, we all know well enough that Rei loves being a Sailor soldier. But we also know that she has a caring heart inside. Somewhere. It said in her letter that she's going to put off being a soldier, so that obviously means that she's going to keep the baby."
"Listen to me!" Ami said as she stood up. Mina and Mako jumped in surprise. "We've never fully known Rei, so don't pretend that we have," Ami continued passionately as she took the note out of Mina's hands. "If there's anything that we know about her, it's that she is a complete mystery and prefers to stay that way. A child will seriously disrupt her destiny as a Sailor soldier. She won't be able to be friends with Usako anymore... And she has her whole life ahead of her too, so in the end, she has the power to do anything she wants. If you want to look to the letter for evidence, all it proves is that we've never understood her, and probably never will. It's true that she is one of us, but just barely..." With that, Ami abruptly shook her head and shrank back to her meek personality. She was overcome with sadness.
Mina was just starting to speak when the door to Rei's room opened a crack, and the trio saw the priestess's Asian eyes appear, emerging from darkness.
"There's no need for you to argue," Rei said as she stepped into the open. Even though her aura remained forceful, it seemed as though she had been significantly subdued as a prisoner inside her own bedroom. Her voice was low and calm. "I don't know the answer myself..." She held her head in fatigue and seemed to wander sightlessly.
"Well, this is a Sailor-soldier meeting, isn't it?" Mako burst out anxiously. "So let's discuss it!"
"No, let's not." Rei's stone-hard voice cut through the tense space like a bullet. "What I'm going to do with my child is my choice to make. I'll think it over with Mamoru, and then make a decision." They heard her sandals squeak against the oak floorboards as she turned to leave.
"Rei.. wait!" Mina suddenly called out, leaning forward. "What about Usako? She'll be here soon--" Mina stopped a moment, as if expecting an answer from Rei's backside. In the pause, Mina was forced to lower her eyes as she thought about her late friend, the leader of the group. She continued more softly. "Are you going to tell her everything? Do you want for us to tell her?"
Rei partially tilted her face behind her, but still the others were not able to see her eyes. The truth was that Rei honestly didn't know if she could move another step forwards; It seemed as though her heart had sunk down to her feet and made them too heavy to move. "No. Don't tell her. I'll tell her myself. That way, maybe things won't get too crazy," she responded. "Usako wouldn't want to learn such information unless she is alone. If I tell her while all of you are there, watching, it'll be cruel...." Her voice sounded funny, even to her. At that moment, Rei took a final, longing look at them, and she immediately knew with a sinking feeling that none of them could quite know what she meant.
Ami's and Mako's eyes continued to hold a profound, sorrowful expression long after Rei had departed. It wasn't long before Mina couldn't stand it anymore. Reassuringly, she tossed them a smile out of the blue.
"Come on, you guys. You all have to admit that Rei has always been very sensible. In terms of maturity, she's already light years ahead of us. She's also the most spiritual... So you can say that she'snever really needed us for support as much as we thought she did..." The speech was improvised, but her voice sounded so confident, it easily uplifted the room. She went on. "In fact, she'snever really needed our help before. I'm positive that she'll do the right thing on her own. She's gotten into this mess by herself, and it's by herself that she'll emerge from it."
Ami and Mako looked at each other, and then at Mina. They realized that, at this point, they had no other choice but to believe in her. Then, they heard the clamorous clanging of bells as the front door was smacked open. Usako had arrived.
Rei refused to let herself cry. As she soon as she had left the area of the temple, she broke into a sprint towards Mamoru's place. She kept her eyes shut tightly, which was no problem since she had long ago memorized the route. Past the ghostly buildings which were, (by now) only empty shells- past the rows of ancient street-lanterns laced with spider webs- and past the wet parking lots where the expensive cars sat like pigs in mud. The night had fallen abruptly. Apparently, it had rained while she wasn't paying attention. She raced into the glass apartments. Past the stinky lobby and up the stairs. Up the stairs and up the stairs, until the tenth floor. When Rei finally arrived in front of Mamoru's doorbell, she felt thoroughly exhausted. She had to wait a moment for her nerves to sit down before she knocked on the door. She had no wish to be disruptive, so she knocked softly. Tap tap.
Obediently, Mamoru opened the door. "Rei!" he said, surprised.She smiled at him, holding her hands together. For a moment, she forgot all about where she was and she felt happy to be next to him. And then she returned to Earth and the dark, bluish hallway.
"We have to talk," she said. She looked down because all of a sudden, it hurt to look into his eyes.
He glanced away as well. "Yes, I agree. We have to talk. Wait a moment while I get dressed..." He did so, and they left.
But it was a while again before actually they spoke to each other. They strolled down the abandoned parkway, arm in arm. To their right was the sea and the Tokyo Bridge. Rei loved to watch that view, but on this particular night, she found that sometimes she could and sometimes she couldn't. Ominously, every once in a while, a veil descended over her vision and she had to figure out where she was all over again... Whether she was walking next to the soft sea surrounded by sullen lights, or whether she was standing in a desolate alleyway littered with trash. Reality kept escaping her. She looked up at Mamoru's face and wondered if he was having the same experience. His eyes were strangely glossy.
He stopped walking and she nearly tripped.
He turned to her and said, "I'm sorry, Rei."
She continued to smile. <<Please, don't allow this glorious night to end so quickly.>> Unfortunately though, the glorious part of her night was gone and she could never again hold onto it. She felt her lip trembling and her face hurt. She smiled, even though she felt a strange pain start to bite at her insides.
"We can't go on." He talked slowly, and deliberately, like how a scientist makes his measurements. "I- I know, Rei. I do love you, but I can't be with you. I realize that I've gone too far. My destiny is with Sailor Moon, no matter who I love..." While he spoke, he seemed to be falling further and further away from her. A cold feeling around her muted his voice and whisked away the lovely lights on the harbor. She realized that she must have been shaking because he put his hands on her shoulders. He spoke, but his voice was only an echo.
"We have to think about Usako, after all.. We both love her, so you must agree with me that we can't let her down. After all, she's so innocent."
<<Yeah, and I'm not.>> Rei thought sadly. She tried to listen to what he was saying, but it was getting harder and harder.
"...Rei, don't you understand? If I stay with you, then there'll be no Neo-Queen Serenity. No Crystal Tokyo. No future. Can't you see that?" He stopped. Maybe she was talking, maybe she wasn't. Her forehead hurt trying to contain the implications of everything he said and she found herself unable to think of two opposing thoughts simultaneously... His destiny and their passion. Like him, she wanted the best for Usako. She had to admit that it had been bugging her mind ever since the start of the relationship- The fact that their forbidden intrigue inevitably had to conflict with the future that was destined for them.
But he had never talked about it before with her. She acknowledged that she had been hiding the truth, keeping it in her, preventing it from ever coming to light. But then, if both of them knew the danger coming, why had he never warned her about it sooner? Instead of helping her move away, he had propelled her forwards into the dark abyss along with him. Why didn't he help her turn away? But even as she asked herself this question, she already knew the answer, weighing in on her. It was because of her darn insistence that she could always support herself. Her confidence had made him believe that she was ready to accept what was coming-- That she would do the thinking for him. Inside, she knew she was, theoretically, just as much at fault as him... But somehow she also knew she was coming out the victim in this situation. After all, she never knew that he would betray her.
"Why are you doing this? And our child, oh Lord, don't you at least care about her?"
"Rei, I understand the decision you face. It's a tough one. But whatever you decide to do, I won't give up on you. I'll fully support your choice."
Then stand up with me, Rei said. She tried to act as cold and indifferent as he was, she wanted to, but there was something in her body which was as fragile as glass and was breaking. She failed. "Mamoru..." I feel as if they're all threatening me now. I just can't stand the look on their faces. I need you to be there, so that they can see us together, and know the truth. You have to tell them of everything dear we've had together... Tell them so they'll know how much we love each other.
"I'm sorry, Rei. I won't do that.... I won't stand up with you. I'll deny everything." Rei looked up and stopped breathing. His words couldn't have had more effect if he had shattered her heart with a hammer. She stammered as she tried to make sense of what he was telling her.
"But then... they'll think I'm insane--... They'll never trust me again." She used all of her possible motivation to force back the wet clouds descending over her eyes. She felt repulsed now by the hands that were on her shoulders. No. No, you can't do this to me. She shrank backwards.
"You can do it, Rei. You're strong."
But I'm not... I've been having nightmares, Mamo-chan, and they've been scaring me. And as she said it, she felt herself sinking again into their cold and desolate space. The landscape around her had been changing slowly, and now she understood that it was changing back into the scenery of her most disturbing visions. She knew it was only a matter of time until they fully realized themselves to attack her again. It was possible thatthey were her one true weakness, her worst one. She could face her friends, maybe even confront Mamoru, but it was these dreams that shook her to her soul, that she wanted to escape at all costs. She wished she could bury her head in his arms. But of course, that wouldn't have been appropriate right now.
"Me too..." Mamoru said quietly. She looked up; she hadn't expected him to say that. He put his hand on his chin reflectively. "It's so strange, because I never thought I would have the nightmares again. But these are different anyhow, since they aren't projected directly to me. I don't participate in them. I feel like a regular spectator, watching the chaos and pain on a TV screen. But I can't move, and even though I can turn my head, I'll never escape them."
Rei looked to the side, at the water, and thought for a moment. "But they're my visions, I don't really understand why you should share them... It must mean that I am unconsciously projecting them to you somehow." Her eyebrows came together.
Her mind seemed to drift and for a second she flew away and a frightening image suddenly came to her. She saw Mamoru stuck in a chair, facing a television screen that was so close, his face nearly touched it. All over the bluish panel, anxious blotches of alternating light and darkness swirled- the restless, eternal phantoms of her dream... Please, Mamoru. Make them stop. All I need is the piece of mind you give me when we are together. Only you can make them stop hurting me. Only you, Mamoru.
"I admire you, Rei, you were always so independent and strong. You were able to get through anything. You can make it through this too... if you believe in yourself." She felt as if he had told her this before, and his words seemed strangely empty and hollow, as if they weren't real somehow, manufactured by a heartless android who was only masquerading to be Mamoru. All she wanted was to hide her head in his arms. Why, why did this have to happen?
He began to spin on his heel over the sidewalk. To turn around, to leave her. She abruptly gasped in fear. But she didn't have time to scream or weep because at that instant, the world crumbled and the spirits came for her. The last vestiges of the quiet Tokyo bay melted, and they surrounded her in the howling darkness. She felt a crushing weight on her body and she fell to her knees with a cry. The demons came from all directions- some from the sky, and others from the ground- and they tore her clothes and skin with twisted fingernails. Rei screamed. Then, while she was crouched helpless,unable to defend herself, they erected a cross and hung her up on it.
He walked without looking back, one steady step after another. She was high up now, in the airless air, above him. She saw his bowed head and his slow hike-- his sad stride, which would conduct him all the way back to his apartment. She watched him, and her face was streaked with black lines, dirty tears. You can't turn away from your fate. If your destiny is to be with Usako, then this is mine. Look at me, Mamoru.
His eyes were shut tightly and he walked without looking back. The End.