Princess Mercury made it herself, thousands of years ago. It was right there in her compact computer, memories from an old self, an old iteration, that Project Erasure had been the rewriting of history to accommodate modern day, so that everything pre-dating the destruction of Silver Millennium had interred a new memory in the Earth and everyone that lived on it. This was never hard for Ami to understand; for the world she lived in, this precaution had to have taken place. It was the date that shocked her.
She had written it thousands of years before there was even any indication the Moon Kingdom would fall, and had given the data, locked up in a prism sealed with the energy from her crystal to Pluto, to activate when and if the time ever came, something only Pluto would know. There was a binder with theories on this that she kept with her wherever she went, battered and beaten to the point that tape held it together in lieu of simply buying a new one. Was there a direct correlation with Ami's lack of power in comparison to her comrades and how much of her energy she had put into the device that would rewrite history? Given that her reclaiming of it had been a slow process, it could also enter into the equation that the more history of the Moon Kingdom was recovered, the more Ami began to get back, soaking it up like water. If her comrades burst into their old lives like phoenixes rising from the ashes, Ami's had been comparatively like a slow climb.
It was a riddle she wanted to solve herself. A device that erased history that required every bit of her strength. In that short time window where Pluto could meet them, and pretend she had an ordinary life before having to return to the time gates, Ami would discuss it with her. First, breaking the ice that a Dwarf Planet still required its own crystal and that Setsuna shouldn't let the science reports on television get to her, and second, easing into the subject (by placing the heavy binder on the table) of Project Erasure.
"You created it," Setsuna lifted the pages within the binder gingerly, as if they would tear easily if turned quietly, "In the instance, if there was no conjunction of rebirth, for Earth to continue peacefully. Had there been no revival of trouble or youma or Beryl, the people on it could live happy, normal lives, independent of knowing the dangers that once plagued us. However, since Queen Serenity arranged for your revivals in the new world, and threats did come back… its failsafe kicked in for you to become the Princess' protector again, while maintaining history until the world is ready to know of the Moon Kingdom once more."
Ami took a deep breath, searching for the right words. "I know all of that." Her eyes were searching the table for patterns as she nibbled on an onigiri she was too on edge to be hungry for. "It's the date. Project Erasure began development and finished its creation three thousand years ago… that's before any of us besides you could have known what would happen. Do you remember, Setsuna? What prompted my former self to create such a dangerous failsafe? I know- me. I know I wouldn't do it without a reason, and with Crystal Tokyo becoming our future, I need to know what would cause me to seal all of that power away, and what could do it." Her eyes were pleading. "In the wrong hands, that sort of device could destroy us."
Patting her lips with a napkin, Setsuna finally composed herself. "I want you to understand you don't want to know this."
The Time Keeper put her hand up, for silence. "You honestly do not wish to know this. It was on the request of Princess Mercury that should the device work, she never wanted any incarnation of her to know why… but at the same time, she understood her own thirst for knowledge. And that saddened her, knowing you would be met with unrest if you picked apart Project Erasure without any solution. She intended for Project Erasure to be assumed to be part and parcel with whatever Queen Serenity planned; that's the extent of the future I told that you. It was meant to disappear."
They were words that promised an explanation. Ami's eyes lit up with anticipation mixed with fear; she couldn't think of a single thing she wouldn't want herself to know. Had she betrayed the Moon Kingdom in some way? Had the 'her' that had lived for thousands of years already under the influence of the holy crystal experienced something horrible, to be erased in time?
"It was created out of your broken heart."
The immediate onset of hives that Ami had broken out in shortly thereafter had halted the conversation. Love letters already sparked an extreme reaction in her heart, to be told that her past self spearheaded a historically monumental project out of her own love was something no one could handle, with perhaps the exception of Minako, who was destined a warrior, and Usagi, who had taken her life in the past because of it. In Setsuna's apartment, she washed her face, trying to get the cold water to settle her burning skin. The moment she turned, she was startled to see Setsuna in full Senshi get-up. In her hands was a time-turner made of pure gold, encasing a crystal glass center and an aura of shimmery blue… matter, was all Ami could seem to call it. Like her magic, intangible sparkling energy.
"This is the outcome of Project Erasure. It was the collaboration between your past life and your lo-"
Ami winced. Pluto finished sympathetically. "… of the person you knew thousands of years ago." She pushed it into her hands. "It's composed of your power and a magic not known to the Moon Kingdom. When it was turned, the Moon Kingdom's history was slowly drained out of time. No matter how many times you turn it now, the energy won't shift to the bottom." As if testing it out, Ami turned it a few times, the blue aura merely floating inside. "It's unbreakable, but you seem to have gotten a sizable amount of energy from it anyway."
"Otherwise, I wouldn't…"
"… have been reborn as a senshi." Pluto put the top of her hand on the time turner. "I know you don't want to hear this again, but you made this device while putting every bit of your heart into it. That's why if you've ever felt different by comparison… that was never chance. I know you're a smart girl, and so was Princess Mercury. But I feel sad for her."
Pluto closed her eyes, tightened her hand around the time key, and tapped the ground so that her door out lead to the place she was supposed to guard, then reopened them with a sharp gaze.
"Because Serenity took her life when she lost her love. When you lost yours, you did everything in your power to make sure history would never hurt the two of you the same way again. You, and the man you loved. You thought if you could erase destiny, you could erase that pain in the event you were reborn again. That you that I remember- the Princess of Mercury… she was a sad woman. Serenity and her fellow guardians were the only light in her life until the end of Silver Millennium."
Ami was stunned into silence, before Pluto walked out. "Maybe that's why you have that reaction, whenever you're approached with the topic of loving another. Perhaps those feelings never left you, and you weren't successful in erasing destiny after all."
Minako was fated never to love another.
Makoto dreamed of having her own family.
Rei was fine being a solitary figure.
Usagi forever had the love of her life.
And by virtue of the future, they would simply be servants to Usagi, without thinking of the dreams they had as normal people.
And Ami rested her head against the wall of the museum, her homework no longer gave her the reprieve of a distraction, so she took to research. 'And Ami erased her history with love'. She'd set the time turner in her bag and gone out to compare inscriptions. She'd searched the iconography inscribed in it and determined it was from Ancient Egypt, roughly two thousand years before the fall of Silver Millennium. She couldn't have a historian look at it for a more accurate approximation because of the energy within it being a bit telltale for the supernatural.
She understood why the Princess Mercury didn't want her to chase after this lead, because Ami would take it up to eleven in finding the answers. She could put the artifact away and save it for another time, but what of her rapidly approaching future where she would be dedicating her life to serving a single person and an entire solar system as an official of law? She didn't like trailing down this mental path, because she was too good at questioning people to be bad at questioning herself. Pursue a medical career, but what will it do when you're a supernatural, sailor-skirted savior of the waking world? What was her preparation in this life for?
She honored Usagi with all her heart, but it was the situation, rather than a single person, that made Ami consider that the needs of many outweigh the dreams of one. None of the soldiers would have the lives they dreamed of. Makoto wouldn't have a flower shop and bakery, and Minako's one and only dream had been doomed before the rest of them became senshi. She wasn't sure what Rei thought of it, and knew the outer senshi were powerfully devoted to the concept of the future. Perhaps Princess Mercury had this all planned out, and the thorn that would've been Ami's core regret was pulled before she was even born.
What would it have been like, to be a happy doctor and save lives and cure disease? To patch people up from things that weren't youma attacks?
"Miss, excuse me."
She snapped to attention, straightening herself up. "I'm sorry?"
He looked like a J-rock enthusiast and like he didn't belong in a museum at all. Those red eyes had to be contacts, and his hair jutted out behind him in three colors- magenta, black, and blonde. However, his voice was extremely calm, just wanting her attention. Without asking permission, he reached for the artifact poking out of he bag before she could react.
"Is this from the exhibits?" He inquired. Ami looked like she had just been hit with a bag of bricks. She brought an actual ancient relic into an exhibit of ancient relics to compare. She looked like an obvious thief.
"I- no. No. I brought this to be appraised for the date it came from." She gave her input nervously, now even more nervous for the swirling ether that didn't move no matter how this young man tried to turn it. "Since this exhibit is passing through town and I-"
"1033 B.C." He responded flawlessly, handing it back to her. "Down to the year. I recognize the Era's trademark sculpt…" Though now he had a suspicious look on her, and she wanted to shrink into the wall and disappear. She knew the unspoken question. What in the world was she doing with it?
"That's- extremely informative, thank you." She stood up, realizing she was about his height. "You must be an expert."
He cut in with absolutely no mercy. "There's something bizarre about that artifact. That's not a mechanical light show going on inside it."
"Indeed. It's… mercury."
It felt like an eon of time passed between them.
"Mercury. Liquid Mercury."
"No, the…" He looked lost. "I know that name."
Great. This was a one way train Ami could hop on and change the subject. "The planet closest to the sun, as well as a chemical and a Roman God. It's not a surprise that it's familiar. It's also toxic, which is probably why a dated relic would have it swirling around inside."
Conversation successfully derailed. She could breathe. He just seemed to be drawing a blank, which was her cue to go. "Thank you for the year number. It'll help my study in the artifact a lot. I have to get to cram school, so-"
"Could you bring that object back next Monday?"
She had been so close to escaping. She turned with a nervous smile. He did know it down to the year, but the very last thing she needed was to be pegged as an artifact thief just because something very old, one of a kind, and extremely rare was in her possession. "I don't know if I have cram school that day or not-"
"I'll be here."
It was as if he'd decided all on his own, a one track mind with its own agenda. It annoyed her, just slightly, to have things decided for her on all ends of the spectrum at the moment. By her past self, by her future self, and by the random stranger she'd just met. At the very least, it was overwhelming. "I'll… see what I can do. I do want to know more about it."
"So do I."
"Then we'll see what happens. For now, I have to go. Until then."
Brightly smiling, she would know if his intentions with the object were pure curiosity if security wasn't called to grab her on the way out. That still didn't ease her mind enough to slow down her brisk pace. Exchanging names would only be a thought that'd stupidly resurface a day later. It wasn't like her to miss that kind of detail.
"Chibi-usa, how come you never brought any photos from the future…? I want to know what I look like!"
The girl sitting in front of her, having a brush run through her eternally puffed pink hair shook her head. "That's against Puu's rules, Usagi. I'm the only thing that gets to travel back."
Usagi's hair had been pulled out of its odangos- it was a ritual between them to brush their impossibly styled hair at night. In a little while, the girl would go back for good so Usagi could start the life that would create Chibi-usa's future, but they agreed (with advice and dates pulled out accordingly) that they could afford just one last summer before the future started. They'd miss one another until their inevitable reunion, and Usagi, accepting of her responsibilities as she was, just wanted one last piece of time where everything seemed just right. Seemed normal, in her teenage years of growing up, and Chibi-usa was a part of that.
"Umm… then tell me what everyone is like. Are they happy?"
"Yeah, everyone's happy. Mama created a peaceful world."
Usagi stopped brushing. "… what about their dreams?"
"They've always told me their dream was keeping the world you protected alive. Without fail, every time."
Usagi's strokes with the brush slowed down to an uneven pace. "That sounds less like a dream and more like a mantra."
"I'm surprised you even know what a mantra is." That earned a firm yank on one of the pink haired girl's tangles. "Sorry! I'm telling the truth, they're all happy and that's how I've always remembered them being! The only one who's different is…"
Usagi crossed her arms in victory, waiting for her pseudo-daughter to continue. It was a subject Chibi-usa very suddenly realized she didn't want to be backed onto.
Momentary victory lost, Usagi started to look concerned.
"What's different with Ami?
"Have you ever noticed how much you contrast with the world down here? You're a walking mist of blue. I'm constantly convinced I'll blink and you'll be gone on the horizon, like a mirage."
"Thankfully, I'm more tangible than that."
"Something I'm thankful for as well."
HAHA. OH MAN.
So basically when I was twelve, I wrote a fan fiction. It was terrible. But it had 150 reviews in twelve short, badly written chapters. People loved it. Somehow? Someway. And now in 2012, almost ten years later, I revisited the idea of a pairing I used to love, and decided to write, to see if I could pull it off with some degree of success.
I have no problem finishing it if anyone is interested in seeing the end. Ta-ta