Title: 30 Day Dream
Summary: They knew their destiny, they knew that they were bound for a future of crystal castles in the sky but they still had so much to life to live in the spaces between here and there. AU.
Disclaimer: I don't own this wonderful fandom, or anything else for that matter.
"I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles." –Cole Porter
In June the world changed.
It was to be a summer of awakenings, of new beginnings and of change. Changes that shook their waiting world, perched as they were on the cusp of Eden, until nothing made sense and everything seemed topsy-turvy. They had fallen down the rabbit hole. To them it felt unfair after so much time had passed, felt as though their world had only recently become settled after so many battles and so many triumphs. It seemed that it was too soon for more, but they couldn't resist for long.
They had been in difficult situations before, hoped for change before but instead they had been battered and beaten by monster and villains, by friends and lover and strangers in equal measures. Still, somehow, the world had the capacity to break their hearts. To upset their fragile equilibrium and send them toppling, to surprise them.
It was a cycle of fresh bruises and of tears.
A never ending ouroboros, biting, biting, biting and never learning its lesson.
It had been a week since the stones broke, since they had returned seeking redemption and espousing wonder at the brave new world of modern day Tokyo. Mamoru had been ecstatic and grateful to have his guard returned to him. His friends, his Shittenou, those who he had wanted most to complete his perfect future with his princess.
Those who they had feared the most, who they dreaded as much as they knew redemption was deserved.
It was this certainty that drove them mad.
The blonde guardian, manic even in peace, moved like a hummingbird desperate to avoid the fall-out of this return, desperate to avoid losing her heart again because she knew that she would. With one glance, one touch, at hearing the timbre of the almost forgotten voice, it was inevitable.
So began their breakdown and Makoto was the first to fall prey, so lonely in this life and ready to love and be loved. They couldn't blame her though it felt like betrayal all the same. In the end it was Ami who surprised them most. For all the cost-benefit analysis, the logic and her intelligence she easily found her way into her past lovers arms.
Her answer was simple, "It is the rational conclusion."
Then there were two, the last bastion of defense against the madness that was doomed love.
"Let's run away," Mina said, with stars in her eyes and a fever in her blood. She was Venus in flames, and so at odds with her sunny yellow sundress and the perfect red bow in her hair. So vibrant, so wild compared to the sedate courtyard of the shrine.
Desperate to avoid her love fortune, the hopeless curse, the assurance that doom would rain down upon them all.
"We'll run away and be completely different people, just for a little while."
It was a crazy idea, a mad plan for their mad world. Yet, hadn't they earned it? Earned respite and the luxury to withdraw from a world they had saved and died for over and over again. Rei could feel her friend's heart in the words and suddenly knew that she could not deny her this mad idea.
Linking their hands Mina cajoled, not knowing she had already won, "We'll have an adventure, you and I. We need to get out of this place."
Until our wounds heal, remained unsaid but it hung in the air between them and Rei had no choice but to hear the words as though they had been spoken. As still in this life as her friend was restless, she knew that escape was the only way. She wasn't ready and she was too proud to admit that fact, too scared to face her fears.
Perched high above on the torii posts at the gate, Phobos and Demios cawed into the wind, releasing their charge to this mad folly with a rustle of wings.
"Ok. We'll do it, we'll run," the raven haired miko affirmed with molten steel in her gaze. She was Mars resolute and she was unyielding. "But only for 30 days, just one month and then we return. No more, no less."
So they ran.
They fled so far from their friends, from their duty and from all they'd known intent on embracing whim and wonder. They fled from all of that they were afraid to face, to remember and to know again. Armed with credit cards, maps and henshin wands they plunged into unknown waters and hopped planes and borders with reckless abandon.
They spent two days in Hong Kong roaming the casinos and outdoor markets, slurping hand-made noodles in high rise food courts and relishing in the anonymity of it all. Next they spent two nights and one day in Phuket where they took surfing lessons and flirted with tourists and locals alike, knowing they were on the next flight out of the country.
In Milan they palmed passes to runaway shows from a distant acquaintance from Mina's other life in London, where they acquired designer schwag by posturing in obscenely expensive sunglasses and towering stilettos along with the jet-set.
In Rome they cut the final ties with who they had been, past and present, holding hands as their fabulous stylist Giovanni cut away yards of both black and golden hair a stones throw away from where empires rose and fell. They left the city looking gamine and waifish, full out Audrey according to the blonde and ready for their biggest adventure yet.
Their final stop and they let themselves be swallowed whole by the city until finally Rei and Mina were no more, until Venus and Mars had been lifted from their backs and they were allowed to be what they were. Young girls, ready to seize life and have some laughs with no consequences and no world to save. So Paris became their lover; it became the adrenaline in their veins and the city of their dreams. It was everything they had hoped to find and more, more, more.
Before they were lost to the go-go-go they sent one postcard home, its visage a scenic shot of the Champs-Élysées, sent unsigned and from a provincial postal code.
The scrawled message to their princess was not to worry and not to look for them.
Rei ordered her espresso strong and the café owner knew her order after just three days not just because she was striking with her sleek angled bob but also because men always remembered her. They dreamed about the pout of her rouged red lips, the remoteness of her amethyst eyes and even that made their temperatures rise. Men also remembered the blonde nymphet who hung on her arm as casually as the boho-chic couture she wore, who shone like the sun even at the latest hour.
They were like night and day, two parts of the same whole.
"They think we're lovers," Mina confided conspiratorially one day at the café.
Her eyes were hidden by oversized aviators and the sunlight glinted off her shorn golden hair. As always she looked artfully disheveled and positively buzzed with zeal for life.
Rei responded to this information with her best Gallic shrug and said, "Let them."
Mina seemed tickled by the idea. She took her friends hand and cavalierly leaned against the serious brunette. Rei did nothing to stop her, comforted by the closeness and amused by the scene they presented.
Finally, after a handful of moments she gave in to Mina's fancy. "If my red string didn't lead to another it could only have been you. You know that."
"I do." The blonde smiled at that, defiantly adding more sugar to her latte without moving from the comfortable closeness of her friend. "We're connected by something far stronger than that. Trust me- after all I am the soldier of love."
As funny as fickle as the blonde was, the opposite of the serious and reserved brunette, that simple trust was always implicit.
Unbreakable and eternal.
Three times they made the fashion pages.
Snapshots of two poised women with en vogue designers or hip DJ's at gallery openings and after parties, smiled mysteriously out of each frame. Mina read all the write ups with relish, giggling over their assumed names and how they seemed to belong with the hipsters and fabulous. She never left the house without a fashion magazine stuffed into her enormous shoulder bag, but Rei filled her days with Ginsberg and Kerouac because she finally understood the rhythm to their poetry.
The beat of the drum, the beat of the heart, to be beat down.
They toured the Pére Lachaise cemetery, lighting candles for rock stars they had only ever heard of and quoting verse of prose for writers long dead. They wandered the Louvre and giggled over ancient models of the god of war and the goddess of love, snapping picture of them aping the ancient visages for laughs.
They walked, they wandered, and they danced through the streets of the city that glittered with promise both night and day.
Mina acquired a fedora from an admirer, wearing it like a trophy with both battered Chuck Taylors and fashionable Minolos.
By week two their rusty school learned French was parfait. They had made friends at the café and learned the baking schedule at the local boulangerie to ensure they got their morning croissants warm and their evening baguette before the evening rush.
Rei admitted that espresso had made her lose her taste for tea in favor of the dark tartness that rang in her mornings and ended her days in the city of lights.
Mina had a whirlwind romance with a painter whose name she never bothered to use, though he called her Marie and declared her his muse. They never even kissed and that just tickled her pink.
Rei flirted with the married owner of the librarie, let him call her chére and accepted his books but never his advances.
On the twenty-ninth day they went to sea with a clutch of rich Riviera boys who were out for a laugh and poured Cristal as freely as the designer water chilled alongside it. They wore matching retro bikini's, Mina in red and Rei in tangerine, like a private joke that no one else was in on. When the yacht docked, floating on a tide dyed crimson and gold by the sunset the girls swam through the streets, high on their freedom. They pulled it deep into their lungs and took snapshots with their eyes, new memories to sustain them into the crystalline future ahead of them.
Hand in hand they stumbled though their private Shangri-La, their laughter and their shrieks like howls at the moon.
A month had come and gone in what seemed like mere moments.
That morning Mina woke first and donned tiny denim shorts , an off the shoulder top emblazoned with words for love and sunglasses that swallowed her whole. She burst out onto the morning streets with her arms raised above her, embracing the sun in the sky and the listless breeze that ruffled her artfully messed hair.
Half a block from the café and her story finished and her adventure earned its end.
Kunzite had found her.
He approached her from the opposite direction, deceptively casual in sand colored slacks and a stark white dress shirt. The top two buttons were undone she noticed, just as she noticed his silver eyes never left her face. They approached like duelists, only stopping their movement along the magnetic path when she broke, closing the distance between them with a leap and then she was in his arms.
"Minako," he whispered against the shell of her ear, his breath so warm it gave her goose bumps and she knew what he meant was I love you. She could feel his heartbeat and she could smell coffee and fresh bread scents of morning all around them. Moving so she could see his eyes, the flashes of lilac and slate that betrayed him to her, she reached up to run a finger over the seam of his lips.
"What took you so long?" she asked softly.
Then he smiled and her blood turned to liquid gold. "What was 30 days after a thousand years?"
What indeed other than a collection of moments, of hours and days.
When Rei woke she knew that Mina had gone.
Her pillow had long gone cold, the fedora was missing from its home on the lampshade and what she had sought to escape most was sprawled in the chair by the window.
Jadeite looked deliciously rumpled in worn denim and a slim vintage polo as though he had given chase at the start and not let up until he had found her. So they regarded each other for the first time in this life, sizing up and tearing down with looks and expressions that were too familiar to truly wound.
"I brought you fresh coffee." He opened communication with an absent gesture to the steaming cardboard cup perched innocently on her bedside table. It smelled like heaven and the gesture was so perfect, so controlled but loaded that the fissures in her heart quivered and widened against her will.
Rei took her time in sliding out of bed, letting him have his eyeful of her tiny black panties and slender legs as she took up her coffee and padded across the room toward him. Proud as any ancient queen she prowled towards her quarry. Her bed-head was magnificent and her nightshirt was something of a novelty, a French caricature of Sailor Moon drawn super hero style.
She could see his appreciation in his eyes and the déjà vu was empowering.
Only stopping her approach when their knees touched, she looked down at his casual form and challenging blue eyes in mock defiance. It was always games for them and it always would be if the future was all that was promised. "How did you find us?"
From his front pocked Jadeite withdrew a folded sheet of paper, torn raggedly from a magazine he offered it to her. Taking it from him Rei couldn't help but to laugh, delighted at what had given the game away. It was from the July edition of Vogue and there were she and Mina in Milan with a quote from about Parisian beauties they'd fed the photographer in outrageously bad accents.
"I knew Valentino was a bad idea," she drawled, unresisting when he took the coffee from her hand and set it on the table before pulling her down onto his lap so that she was forced to cradle his slim hips with her bare knees. He leaned close, so impossibly slowly, until their noses almost touched and made quick work of playing his fingers through her stylishly short hair.
Any other girl would have blushed, but Rei had fire in her veins and she reveled in the forbidden attention.
"I like it," he decided after a time, voice gone husky rough like sandpaper and it sent shivers down her spine and made her toes curl against the silky upholstery of the chair. Only he had ever had that effect on her. "It makes you look dangerous. Like the fierce creature you are."
Rei gave him her best predators smile before moving in and quieting him with her lips.
There was no use fighting destiny, not when it promised so much and returned all that had been missing.
It was time to wake up and move forward towards the future they had been promised, but it had been so good. It had been better than good, it had been hot and fun and ooh-lah-lah in all the right ways and in all the wrong ways, too.
It was true what they said; Paris was always a good idea.