dedication: to my nugget hold me please im so scared D:
notes: here, have some ghost stories. one for each sol senshi, beginning with usagi and ending with chibiusa.
title: a cemetery inside of me
summary: We shouldn't be here right now. — Rei, Usagi.
It's an old house.
"We shouldn't be here right now," Rei says, breathes out ash. It's an old house, and that's what tips her off first. "We should not be here right now."
Usagi waves her off, pigtails bouncing, heading for the door. "C'mon, Rei-chan, what's the worst that could happen?"
"That's what every single sorority girl in every single horror movie always says right before she dies," Rei retorts, crosses her arms beneath her breasts. She's not kidding, either—she likes horror movies, thinks they're funny. She's seen things worse in the fire that still burns in the hearth of her home—horror movies don't scare her anymore, if they ever scared her at all.
But they should not be here right now.
She can't explain it, and Usagi wouldn't pay her any attention anyway. It's not something Rei can really name, because it's so many things: the coldness pressing at the base of her spine, the way gooseflesh hides beneath her collar, the feeling of fingers tugging at the small hairs at the nape of her neck. She is the Senshi of Passion; she has been a miko for longer than she can remember, but she knows fire and blood in a way that no one else will ever be able to. She has held it in between her teeth, copper and embers spilling out of her lips in a sick thrush of molten metal. Fire and blood are in her veins.
But Rei knows spirits, too.
They linger in places like this house. They've nowhere else to go, so of course they stay here, looking for reason to pull the unwary into their sheer white claws. The veil of their hair, their blank empty eyes, their broken-off stubby teeth behind peeled-away lips, the black maw of their mouths open and hungry.
Bad things gather in houses like these.
But Usagi won't be swayed, and Rei—Rei can't let her go in alone. Princess or not, she's the person that always hurts Rei's heart the most. Minako would never forgive her, and Rei will end the world in fire before she allows anything to happen to Usagi.
And this house will eat her alive, if given the chance.
"Usagi, stop," Rei says, the word sliding out against her will as all her hair stands on end.
Usagi spins on her heel, long golden curls whipping around her. Her hands curl around her hips, a huffy little tribute to a long-dead princess, and she actually narrows her eyes and glares.
"I'm going in whether you like it or not, Rei-chan!" she says, tosses her head, taps a shiny-shod foot. "So you can come with or you can stay here, but don't try to stop me!"
Rei has to forcefully restrain herself from pinching the bridge of her nose. There's a headache coming, and it has nothing to do with her friend. It has everything to do with the sweet caress of miasma that leaks into her ears like so much oil, clogs up her arteries, sinks into her brain.
Of course Usagi would be stubborn about this.
The sun shines down harsh against Rei's hair, but it isn't warm: it's dirty yellow and desiccated like sloughed off snakeskin over the shining black mass, all beady bright bug eyes and scarab wings, the buzz of cicada song in the wrong season. It chafes at her. Chafes.
A shiver slides down her spine, a single drop of Mercurian ice.
"Are you coming or not?" Usagi calls over her shoulder. She's already halfway inside.
Rei steels herself.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," she calls in reply, and follows Usagi towards the door. It hangs off its hinges, opening into purple-black gloom. There's a—moan, almost, that's what it is, the whole house moans as they pass through the entrance. The threshold is nothing but rotting wood beneath their feet.
Something tightens at the back of her throat and she swallows, hard.
It's like falling down a rabbit hole. Usagi is a glimmer of light, ahead, her laughter a trail of moonglow and Rei has to concentrate to push away the dark things that hover just outside of her line of sight. She can feel them, stroking along her arms and through her hair. The cold chill lasts and all she can think of is the Sacred Fire, searing images into her mind like bones sticking out of the ground all higgledy-piggledy, no order at all.
There is a cemetery inside of Rei, and in its carefully-built cairns her skeletons lie. There are days she hides there, when she cannot face her sisters: today is not one of those days. Usagi is a flare fading fast, and she cannot retreat, even though she wants to.
Rei shakes the ghosts off like so much anxiety, flicking her hands in the dark.
"Usagi," and she's yelling, "Usagi-chan, where are you?"
A darkness closes around her, fingernails tracing the line of her jaw, down her neck. It sneaks into her lungs as sheinahles, and she's gagging, choking it down. There's hair in her throat, crawling all the way down her larynx, the poisoned air so black and it tightens again, tightens.
A cold, lovely finger runs down her cheek.
Rei, they murmur, come sleep now, hush, come sleep, and she can't even breathe.
This is what it means to die, Rei realizes from a very great distance.
(You can't die yet!)
The fire leaves her fingertips only a spark, but a spark is all she needs. It consumes, does fire, eats everything in its path—ghosts are no different. The noise they make as the fire comes for them is inhuman, high-pitched and keening, and the smell of burning flesh is thick in her nose as the darkness recedes. The bodies beneath the floorboards clench and unclench white bony knuckles, reaching for the hem of her skirt. She stands, unsteadily, eyes burning.
Usagi is somewhere in this house. They are eating her, still.
With flaming hands, Rei goes to find her princess.