sailor nothing.
written by stefan gagne
Copyright 2000, Stefan Gagne

chapter four



It was too late.

I ran from the room.  I locked the new room behind me.  Forty five seconds, that's what I had estimated, and it couldn't be any different here.  Any one would do, even a disposable; once you take them out of the plastic housing, they work just fine.  More often than not you wouldn't have to go that far, since replacement blades would be readily available.  There's always the chance that the guy uses an electric, but if that's the case, the kitchen wouldn't be much farther away and kitchens always have knives.  It wouldn't be a kitchen without a knife.

In this case, the replacement blades were right where I expected to find them.  I opened the medicine kit and yanked out the little cardboard and plastic box, which had already been opened up.  Fishing one blade out, I did it the smart way -- across the wrist, yes, but also along the arm.  They only show the part where you cut across the wrist on television, probably so people who want to commit suicide do it the wrong way.

Of course, there was still the chance of being stopped before you die, since it takes some time to bleed to death.  Even making a T-shaped cut on both my wrists, it would take some time.  I considered running some bathwater, since the water stops the cut from clotting -- it just leaks out into the water without sealing up.  The problem is that I was starting to make a horrible mess and my hands were burning with pain, and fumbling with a bathtub knob just didn't appeal to me.

Instead, I figured I had a perfectly serviceable blade here, why not make more cuts?  I started first at my stomach, where I had scars anyway and a few more wouldn't matter much.  Then I remembered that the neck was more important since that's where the critical veins were and I actually felt kind of silly about cutting my stomach.  If I was going to be serious about this, I had to do it right.  Of course, I didn't know exactly where on the neck to cut, so I just made a bunch of random cuts -- I figured what I lacked in quality, I could make up in quantity.

I knew my plan was working the moment I felt myself pulled back into my head.  Everything felt very far away and distant, even the hands I was using to kill myself.  I stopped cutting after awhile when I was too far gone to do anything but a sloppy job of it, and fell to the floor. It was a clean fall, I didn't bang my head on the wall or anything, but the tiles were really hard and cold.  Then again, everything felt cold, so that could have just been me rather than the tiles; I couldn't trust my senses at that point.

It was too late for anything else.  It was also too late to change my mind.  I don't think I could have changed my mind even if I wanted to, because I wasn't really myself when I was killing myself.  I was too late to stop it.

"Himei?  Himei, you're going to be late."

I slapped the snooze alarm on my clock, despite the alarm not ringing.  Instincts die hard.  Dusty flicked his whiskers in my face, knowing the tickling would wake me every time.  But I also knew I had to wait a minute in order to not rush to the bathroom and get my dad's razor.  I hadn't told him about that because I thought he'd worry about me.

"I'm up, I'm up," I protested once my minute was up.  I safely got up to my feet and stretched.  "Why didn't my alarm clock ring?"

"You forgot to set it," Dusty replied, sitting on my quilt.  "I hadn't noticed myself until it was too late.  Sorry about that."

"It's my fault, not yours," I replied, waving my arms to get some feeling back into them.  I must have slept on them funny.  "I guess I'll be standing in the hallway with a bucket again.  It won't be the first time."

The hallway was quiet, but that's because we were ten minutes into first period and everybody who wasn't an embarrassment to the school was in class learning while those who were late because they were recovering from fighting monsters had to carry a bucket of water.

It takes a certain kind of muscle control to stand with a bucket of water without feeling any pain.  You have to control your body and stand in a very specific pose in order to minimize the impact it has on your lower back.  That way, the punishment rolls right off your body, and all you end up feeling is a dull ache when the teacher finally lets you sit down at your desk.

Shin slammed down a stack of photocopied papers on her desk in the Journalism Club Room with pride.  She had a big smile on, but it was a satisfaction smile rather than a happy smile.  I know smiles, even if I'm not that great at them myself; you learn this sort of thing from television.

"I am pleased to announce, my fellow sailor suited amazon princesses of love and justice, that I have found a match," she spoke in a dramatic way.

I don't think she got the reaction she wanted.  Kotashi was attentive as he toyed with an empty can of soda, but Aki seemed really tired.  I think yesterday hit her harder than she wanted to admit.

Yesterday felt like a flashback, like something I could remember and recall myself doing, but it was so divided off from my life that it might not have happened.  I faced a version of myself who was nothing, and it wanted me to die.  It wanted Aki to die too, and Cobalt.  Since it said it was me, it felt it was the best one to make that kind of decision.

"You're not me," I told it.  "I thought you were, but I know now you're not. You're the part of me that wants to give up. The part of me that wants to die."

The Yamiko tried harder.  "You deserve peace," it said.  "You've been hurt enough."

"I don't want that kind of peace! I don't want to go numb forever. I want to LIVE!" I was yelling at it.  "I want to live, no matter how much it hurts!"

"Boy, it's a good thing you took out that thing!" Aki was saying afterwards, when we were walking home early from school.  "I tried my attack, but it didn't work.  But with you fighting, nothing can stand in our way!  Good work, Himei!"

There was a kind of hard edged nervousness in her voice.  I didn't push her to find out what it was.  Maybe I should have, but it was too late and she was at the Club Room with us and seemed very tired.  I think she was up all night thinking about something but she wasn't saying what it was.  She just said she figured she was coming down with a cold.

Seiki wasn't there with us, since this was strictly a Sailors and friends who know Sailors meeting, but that day Seiki also invited me on a dinner date to make up for the last one which was interrupted by a monster, not that he knew about that.

"I don't get how nobody could know about this," Kotashi was saying after Shin presented her findings.  "It's part of mythology, yes, but that means it was there for anybody to find.  How could the Yamiko keep operating like this without SOMEONE making the connection?  All it takes is a determined eyewitness."

"Magnificent Kamen killed eyewitnesses," I told him.  I don't think he liked that answer.

Shin's presentation about the myth in question was about a story she found in the public library the previous night.  Apparently she and Kotashi had been doing some research to learn more about the enemy and came up with a few possible leads, but this one matched the best.

"I think you two are a great match," Aki told me that day at lunch.

"But I don't know anything about him, and he doesn't know anything about me," I explained, trying to stave off the optimism.  "How can you think we'll be a great match?"

"I know people, Himei.  And I know that a lot of people have already judged you.. and me... one way or the other.  Seiki didn't!  He just walked up to you and talked to you like he would to anybody."

"Which means he could see me as anybody."

"He doesn't treat just anybody that nicely, even for a nice guy like him," Aki told me.  "I mean... he didn't treat me that nicely."

"He didn't?  But at the restaurant--"

"No no, I mean way back when.  Remember?  I was in the fashion club and they wanted me to ask him on a date, and he turned me down.  He wasn't very ... he was very nice about it, really, but he was all uncomfortable and stuff.  He didn't want to date me.  But he ASKED you on a date!  That's something special, Himei!"

"What's so special about this myth?" Aki asked.  "They aren't called 'Yamiko'."

"The wording is a little different, I'll admit," Shin said, having a seat after her presentation.  "But the term, 'Child of Darkness', is VERY close to Yamiko.  And knowing what we do about their nature, how they're reflections of our darkest side, it fits perfectly."

"So a Shinto priestess decides to purify herself by dividing away all her yin," Kotashi said, trying to work it out himself.  "Yin and yang, negative and positive energy. Kind of a flawed interpretation, but she feels she can be a better priestess if she was purified... and boom, it goes wrong and she spawns a 'Child of Darkness'.  You think that's the root Yamiko?"

Shin shrugged.  "They had to come from someone, somewhere.  It's a Dark Queen at the root of the Yamiko, right?  Female.  It clicks.  And the part about how the priestess and the Child of Darkness were dragged forever and ever into a false world that resembled the priestess's home town but was horribly wrong, that's the Yami-gaia.  The myth doesn't use the exact name, but it makes sense.  And that's not even the ringer.  I've left the ringer for the end."

I usually kept the ringer off on the telephone in my room.  Our house had three telephones, and the other two were so loud it could be heard throughout my small home any time a call came in.

Mom was busy making dinner and Dad was watching TV, which were their natural states.  I decided to answer the phone myself.  That's because it was approaching seven o'clock and I thought he might try to call me... and I had to tell him no again.

"Hello?" I said.

"Himei?" he asked.  "Himei, listen--"

"We shouldn't see each other again," I told him.  "Goodbye."

"Wait, please!  I'm throwing a party!"

This took me by surprise, which is why I didn't hang up.

"...a party?" I asked.

"I don't know why he'd treat me special," I told Aki under the tree at lunch.  "Maybe it's just because he found me when I had the flu, and he felt he had to be a gentleman and help me.  He'd do that for you too, even if he turned you down for a date.  He's a nice guy and nice guys do that."

"Yeah, but nice guys don't invite you out to dinner afterwards.  Invite you out TWICE!" Aki said, a bit irritated now.  I was being very frustrating and she was frustrated.  "Himei, I'm telling you, you two could have something very special.  He makes you happy, doesn't he?"

I didn't answer that.  Instead, I told her what I thought earlier while I was in the hall with the bucket.

It wasn't the same hall I found that Yamiko hassling his host's girlfriend, the day I turned into Sailor Nothing, but it looked a lot like it.

I looked down the hall, just moving my eyes because as I said, holding up a bucket of water takes a lot out of you if you don't keep the right pose.  Nobody was there, but I remembered what the scene looked like.

He was going to do something horrible to her if I didn't stop him.  I knocked her out as an act of mercy, but I heard just that morning two students who were walking to school, talking about it.

"I heard she dumped him."

"No way!"

"Yes way!  Something about how he was really forward with her and she got scared.  Then he claimed he didn't know what she was talking about, and it creeped her out even more.  So she broke it off.  He's really upset about it, he's not talking to his friends or anything."

The Yamiko destroyed their relationship.  They swoop in like eagles and pluck innocent field mice out of their warm and happy lives and tear them apart. You don't have to die to be killed.

Where was I?  Where am I?  Oh, right.

Two times now, they had nearly done the same to Seiki and me.  The first time, he fractured his leg.  The second time he only was knocked out, but it could've been much worse.

"I have to break it off with him before there's something to break off," I told Aki under the tree.

"The ringer is that from what I can tell, matching up the period information about the village in the legend, is that the first Yamiko was spawned here," Shin said, happy with the way she dropped the Truth on us in the Club Room.

"In the city?" Aki asked, setting her up for her next line.

"Yes, but I meant more specific than that," Shin told her.  "The first Yamiko was spawned on the grounds Wazaru High was built on."

Of course, her maps and data only proved she was right to a twenty five percent margin of error, but I've found in my years of surviving this that the worst case is always the case in point.

"That's why I have to break it off," I told her.  "He's going to get hurt because of what I'm involved in.  His world will get destroyed, and he could die.  Before this goes anywhere, before he gets any feelings for me not that I think he has any, I have to tell him I can't go on that date tonight and I have to try and avoid him.  It's the only way.  If I don't and something goes wrong, it'll be too late to change anything."

"Himei...!" Aki said, shocked.  "But... but weren't you telling me that you had to live?  That you wanted a normal life?"

"I don't have it yet.  It's not safe to date anyone.  I'll just hurt them and I could never forgive myself for that, in the way I hurt you."

That wasn't the right thing to say.

Aki was sleepy and moody even before I said that, during the Club Room meeting.

"Okay, let's assume you're right and the Yami-gaia and the Yamiko and all that were kicked off right here," Kotashi said, since his job was to play Devil's Advocate to Shin.  "This is a nice fairy tale, but it doesn't get us any closer to finding a way to stop the war."

Shin balked.  "Well jeez, Your Editorial Highness, what did you expect?  A solution on a silver plate?  I'm still researching, give me some time."

"It's too late," the man said, standing over me.  "It's already happening.  It's so close to happening that it's already happened.  You can't stop it what's already happened."

Seiki didn't take the news very well.

"But... you said last night you'd be free," he repeated.  "Did something pop up?  I can rearrange my work schedule, it's not a problem.  We could just do it another night--"

"I can't do it at all," I told him.  "I'm sorry, I shouldn't see you again.  Goodbye."

He could have caught me, no matter how fast I ran home from school.  He was the track team captain.

They stood in the principal's office and I could tell there was something very wrong with them.  Maybe they didn't have to face down a Yamiko version of Sailor Nothing, but they clearly faced something horrible.

One of them kept stammering about being cold.  He'd rub his arms and look around nervously, sometimes moving his lips without saying something, sometimes asking for a blanket.  I think he went to the nurse's office after being dismissed.

Another guy was dead silent.  He listened to the principal's words and he didn't seem to hear them.  He did what was asked of him, went where he had to go, but was in complete shock.

The third guy wasn't too rattled.  He claimed to be out cold the whole time during the 'freak weather incident'.  But I noticed he refused to look at me...

And Seiki?  Seiki was innocent and pure.  He fell asleep.  Just like he did when he fractured his leg.  He came up with his own excuse and decided he'd ask his family doctor about the strange narcolepsy bout he'd been facing lately, and that was enough justification to keep his world turning the way it should.

That world was something I didn't want to break.

"You don't know why I have so many jobs, do you?" Seiki asked me, as he overshadowed me.  "I never actually told you.  I think the only one I told was Kotashi.  Isn't that right, Kotashi?"

Kotashi replied by spitting in his face.

But I broke Aki's world a long time ago.

"What do you mean, hurt me?" Aki asked.

I glanced at my watch.  "Lunchtime's almost up.  We should--"

"What do you mean, hurt me?"

I should be honest with my friends, I had thought at the time.  "I hurt you because I got you dragged into my war," I told her.  "You could have gone on with your life and been happy without being put in danger every day, without having to possibly die each time a Yamiko appears.  I've never felt good about that."

"Himei... you woke me up from a life I hated!  I'm not hurt.  It's.. it's risky out there, yes, but it's risky for all the RIGHT reasons," Aki insisted.  "I'm doing something good.  I'm doing something that matters to the world... and I'm doing something to help you.  Don't think that I wish I didn't become a Sailor."

"You don't?"

"No!  ...I wish I wasn't in danger, yes.  But I'd do it again if I had the choice all over again.  And Seiki... maybe you're not giving him a chance.  Kotashi did okay when he found out.  What if--"

"Seiki's not going to find out," I said firmly.  "If he finds out, it'll be too late to save him.  He doesn't deserve the kind of life I have to live."

"I'm doing something that matters to the world... and I'm doing something to help you."

"I'm doing something to help you."

"Help you."

"Huh?" Aki asked.  "What?... no, I just didn't get much sleep last night.  I'm okay.  Go on."

Shin packed up her stack of notes.  "A few more nights in the library and we might have what we need," she said.  "Assuming no ugly bastards strike and interrupt my work.  Although Kotashi's volunteered to take up the slack if I get called away on business..."

A thought distracted Shin when she looked at Kotashi.  Kotashi looked away.  I notice these things.

"But I thought you liked him!" Dusty protested.

"I had to cut it off," I said, squatting on my cot and watching the clock tick towards 7PM.  "It was the right thing to do."

The Club Room meeting was interrupted with a splitting headache.

"There's a Yamiko spawning," I told the others, even though they knew already.  "Let's go."

But when we chased after the feeling, trying to locate the Yamiko, we found nothing but an empty locker room.  We checked the field outside, to see if it was one of the athletes who went out to practice right after being spawned.  We watched for awhile but didn't see anything unusual.

It's not uncommon for a Yamiko to get away.  If we don't respond fast enough, or if it runs the moment it's spawned, it can slip in with other humans and go unnoticed.  We only feel when one is born.  We don't have some kind of perception on what's an ordinary person and what's someone's horrible side walking on two legs.

I think I'm having some kind of problem with my memory and the time of day.

"I just don't know who I'm jealous of," he announced, as he read aloud from the diary.  Plastic and metal bits hung on wires off the edge, where the voice activated password lock was simply broken apart in order to get at the sensitive contents inside.  "I'm jealous of Himei, since she's going on a date not once but twice with the guy who turned me down.  Maybe I was just doing it for the fashion club, but I had never gone on a date before then and I was really excited--"

"SHUT UP!" Aki screamed.

"--about possibly dating Seiki!  But then he turned me down.  The Club comforted me in my grief, but also told me how mad they were that I didn't do a better job... but I digress."

"...a party?" I asked him.

Seiki's voice on the other end of the line laughed.  "It'll be fun!  Just a few close friends.  Your friends are already here; my buddy Kotashi, his girl Shin, and your closest friend Aki.  I've also got another friend over who wants to meet you."

"Himei?  Himei, you're going to be late."

I slapped the snooze alarm on my clock, despite the alarm not ringing.  Instincts die hard.  Dusty flicked his whiskers in my face, knowing the tickling would wake me every time.  But I also knew I had to wait a minute in order to not rush to the bathroom and get my dad's razor.  I hadn't told him about that because I thought he'd worry about me.

"I'm up, I'm up," I protested once my minute was up.  I safely got up to my feet and stretched.  "Why didn't my alarm clock ring?"

"You forgot to set it," Dusty replied, sitting on my quilt.  "I hadn't noticed myself until it was too late.  Sorry about that."

Something didn't click right.  "Didn't you say that to me already?" I asked him.

There's something very focusing about standing in a hallway holding a bucket.  You have nothing to do with your time other than assume the position and sort through your thoughts.

"You're in no position to complain," he told me.  "It's too late to stop it now.  What you want and how you feel doesn't matter anymore."

In the end, I was weak.

I couldn't resist.  I didn't want to hurt him; I didn't want to drag him into my world, where his beautiful life would be destroyed.  But at the same time... I wanted to see him again.

Maybe it was the 'party' that lured me.  If the others were there, it would be easier.  I wouldn't be alone with him and I wouldn't be frightened of saying the wrong thing.  I wouldn't have to talk a whole lot at all; Shin was a chatterbox and Aki had a way of filling the unpleasant silences with conversation to make sure everybody was comfortable.  Maybe the last party at Le Chapeau failed and I ran to the bathroom to avoid them but this time, this time I could do it.

It would be different this time.  Things wouldn't end in disaster and I wouldn't have to run to the bathroom...

Like I did last time.  I did that already, right?  Wasn't that the time before, or the time before that?

I rang the doorbell at 7:12PM, the fastest I could get there.  He was at the door to smile and greet me.  A smile, a smile that felt so good, he was smiling at me and he was so happy I was there.  Me.  He was happy to see me... I was so weak.

"It's good to see you," Seiki said, showing me in, leading me.  "Everybody's here.  We're about to get started."

Do they dance at parties? I wondered.  I knew Dance Dance Revolution and it was the same thing, right?  Maybe I could ask Seiki to dance later.  Or hopefully he'd ask me, since my knees felt weak and there was no way I'd be able to work up the nerve. Why wasn't his leg in a cast anymore?

"I'm glad you came," Seiki said, leading me through a bunch of empty rooms in his house.  Why were they so empty?  "I'm really glad you're here.  I'm glad we're all here, together at last.  I want you to meet my new friend."

I walked in a straight line.  I remember going straight through things.  This is what happened, one thing after another, right?  There's something very focusing about standing in a hallway holding a bucket.  You have nothing to do with your time other than assume the position and sort through your thoughts.  I could sort them out and ponder what I was so worried about.

What happened next...

What happened next was I met his new friend.

Dark General Neon.

"Welcome to the party," he greeted, bowing deeply as Seiki yanked my weak arm behind my back and cuffed it to my other arm.

"Seiki's not going to find out," I said firmly.  "If he finds out, it'll be too late to save him.  He doesn't deserve the kind of life I..."

I looked around, feeling dizzy.  My tree, lunchtime.  Aki was there...

"Himei?  Are you okay?" she asked me.  "You look a little pale..."

I stood up and tried to get my bearings and failed.  "Something's wrong," I told her.  "Something's very wrong.  I don't know where I am."

"I don't know who I'm jealous of," Dark General Neon was reciting out of Aki's diary, pacing around the dining room, while Aki shook back and forth in her dining chair, trying to knock it over despite having her hands cuffed behind her back.  "I thought I was jealous of Himei at first, but, dot dot dot, I think I may be jealous of Seiki!  Seiki's going to be spending a lot of time with her if I can make this work, and that's good because Himei deserves to be happy, but it means she won't be hanging out with me as much... this is your handwriting, yes, Aki-chan?  Why are you so unhappy?  Shin always says the Truth will set you free.  Feel the freedom!"

I pulled the quilt over my head as I counted.  One minute.  I had to wait a minute so I didn't go and get the razor.

"Himei?  Are you okay?" Dusty asked.

It was a dinner party, but there wasn't any food.  I don't know how, but all the others were there too... they'd been overpowered, and were handcuffed to dining room chairs.  Shin had to be fitted with a gag because she was screaming the kind of language you only hear on cable television.

Even Seiki was in a chair.  The human Seiki, that is.  He had a look on his face that said he was waiting to wake up from a very strange, very scary dream.

Yamiko Seiki was all smiles and warmth and happiness.  "I'm so happy you're all here," he said.  "I'm happy you can be with me.  Now I don't ever have to be alone again..."

"There's something about Himei that makes me so happy to be with her," Dark General Neon continued to recite.  "I feel like everything will be okay if Himei's with me.  I care about her so much and I don't know if she understands just how much.  I don't know WHAT I would do if anything was to happen to her.  I already wrote that I'd die for her if I had to, even if it scares me... this is SUCH good material!  Do you know why, Aki-chan?"

"I'm not listening to you," Aki told him, tears streaming down her cheeks, eyes squeezed shut, trying to look away from the Yamiko even with closed eyes.  "I'm not listening!"

Dark General Neon shut the ruined diary, and tossed it aside.  "It gives me SUCH ideas!  Such fun ideas.  You see, the reason why you don't know who you're jealous of... is because you want Himei.  You want her all for yourself.  You want to be with her, and to make her happy, and to touch her and love her and comfort her in such an intimate way.  I can see it in your mind, you just refuse to recognize it."

Finally, Aki managed to knock over her chair. Due to the small size of the dining room, it only ended up being propped at an angle against the wall rather than crash to the ground.  "SHUT UP!!" she screamed.  "You're wrong!  You're wrong and you're wrong and--"

"And you're wrong," I told him.

"You're not me," I told it.  "I thought you were, but I know now you're not. You're the part of me that wants to give up. The part of me that wants to die."

"There's a difference between thinking of something and doing it," I told Dark General Neon, strangely calm in how I explained reality.  "You can think of anything.  You can even want something.  But what you do is who you are -- what you choose to act on and what you choose NOT to act on.  Yamiko can't choose.  You just do what comes to mind."

This time, I took the bucket of water and I dumped it over my head.  For some reason, this helped me focused better than ever before.  This would help me figure out what was really happening to me.  I refused to look at the hallway and I looked instead at the dining room.

"But Neon helped me see what I wanted to do, and helped me do it," Seiki explained.

"You're not Seiki and I won't think of you as him," I told him.  I was so calm.  Why was I calm when I had ice in my veins?  Maybe because it was too late; I was captured and I couldn't defend myself.  All I could do was talk.

"Himei, I want you to understand.  This is good.  This is what I need.  You don't know why I have so many jobs, do you?" Seiki asked me, as he stood over me.  "I never actually told you.  I think the only one I told was Kotashi.  Isn't that right, Kotashi?"

Kotashi replied by spitting in his face.

Without missing a beat, Seiki wiped the gob from his eye and continued.  "I have a lot of jobs.  I have so many jobs that I only get home a few minutes before I have to go to bed.  I turn on the television to a noisy channel so I hear people while I'm all alone in my house.  I have to be around other people, Himei.  We're sort of opposite and sort of the same.  You're afraid to be around people; they spook you.  I'm afraid to be alone.  I never want to be alone again."

He told me that.  I remember him telling me that.  Was it before now?  Was it then?  Was then now?  Where was he when he told me?  He was here.

"My parents died in a car crash three years ago," he spoke, voice small like a mouse.  "I was all alone in my home.  They were really rich.  My uncle in America was going to take me away from my home, away from my friends.  I didn't want to leave them and be all alone in a strange country.  So, I convinced him I could live by myself so I could keep my home and my friends and still go to school here.  I could do it all by myself.  We were rich.  The law wasn't a problem, my uncle saw to that.  I had to take a lot of jobs, but that was okay, because I couldn't stand the sound of an empty house.  I still can't.  I can't stand it!"

"And now, he has all of you as his new family," Dark General Neon said, patting the boy on the shoulder.  "There there, Seiki.  It's okay now.  It's just like I told you it would be; they'll be with you forever, now.  Even your old human self will be with you!  And Himei... Himei will never leave you like she tried to do today."

I hurt him even when I tried to not hurt him.  I didn't know it but some part of him was hurt when I said I couldn't see him anymore.  I can't do anything right.

Then, because then was the next moment and that was the thing that happened next, the Dark General smiled at me.

"Seiki... it's time," he told the boy.  "It's time to get to know your family.  It's time to make Himei yours and yours alone."

Shin started to scream through her gag.  She got the idea.  I got it too, but I just went numb rather than scream.

Instead I started smashing the bucket against the wall.  It made a great clanging sound, except that I wasn't really banging the bucket against the side of the hallway.  I never did that.  But I wanted to now.

I screamed and screamed, and threw the bucket as hard as I could.  It shattered a window, and dropped out of sight.  Water ran down the cracked and bubbling wallpaper.  I ran down the hallway but I always ended up in the same place.

They had deposited Shin and Kotashi in another room, along with Aki.  Shin was putting up too much of a fuss, and Seiki wanted this special moment to be very quiet, very nice.  He even had lit a candle.  He put on some nice music he liked to listen to.  He asked me if I needed another pillow.

I was weak.  I begged for them to stop.  A warrior of love and justice had no bold words to say.

"You're in no position to complain," the General told me.  "It's too late to stop it now.  What you want and how you feel doesn't matter anymore."

Was this why?  I can't tell.  Why was it all slipping?

When Dark General Neon stopped him, my hopes soared.

"Not just yet, Seiki," he said.  "There's someone who's more deserving.  Someone who wants it, but refuses to accept that he wants it."

There were two Seikis in the room.  One was restrained in a similar way to the way I was.  The other pulled that one to his feet.

"My new friend is right, Seiki," Yamiko Seiki said.  "She was yours first before I came along.  This is very important.  You should be the one to be there for her first.  Make her happy and comfort her, and take her in your arms just like we wanted to dream..."

If there was a single ray of light, it was when the human Seiki snapped out of his 'this isn't happening' state.

"No," he said.

And that's why he wasn't a Yamiko.

"I won't do it," Seiki said.  "I won't hurt her.  Not just because I get lonely.  I'd never, ever hurt her."

And this is why the other one was a Yamiko.

"I would," he said.

And he did, since Seiki would not.

Maybe it's because Shin could be so cold when talking about her Truth.  She told us that night she joined up exactly what had happened to her.  Aki didn't take it well.  I just stood there and listened and didn't feel one way or another because I couldn't really grasp it.  I'd seen the end results, since the Yamiko were like that.  I'd had a few nightmares about it since I know they don't like me and they do that sort of thing to people they don't like, especially Dark General Neon.  But I never really had to think about it beyond an abstract way.

But in truth, I think it's because of Nothing.

I embraced nothingness and went completely numb.  There was a comfort in that.  This dark, horrific force underneath my skin that had scared me so much was being put to good use.  It was a security blanket.  It was keeping me from something I didn't want to be at.

I don't think that the nothingness made everything great.  Not if I was shattered and I couldn't tell when and where I was.  But it was nice to think that it helped, in some small way.

In the movies, the hero always saves the damsel in distress before anything really bad can happen.  I remember a Robin Hood movie which was a lot like this except I think it was meant to be funny, and she was saved in the nick of time.  I was not.

But that's realistic, right?  It wasn't like Seiki, the Seiki I knew and cared for and not this monster who was hurting me, could bust out of his bonds and start fighting the bad guy.  I don't know what he did, but he didn't do that.  I didn't want to look at him so I didn't and I'm not sure how he reacted to it all.

It was too late to stop it.  Point of no return and I had been hurt.

When Shin and Aki burst in with their Sailor costumes on, they poured every bit of themselves into the battle.  I watched that part, even if I couldn't look right at them.  The Seiki before me vanished.  Dark General Neon tried to leave, shouted something about being 'blocked', something about 'that traitor' and also vanished.  I think he died.

He died.  Gone.  Dead.  There's a peace in that, isn't there?  A peace in the finality of it.

I let them set me free, and while they were saying things, I ran to the bathroom.

It was too late.

Forty five seconds, that's what I had estimated, and it couldn't be any different here.


That's where I started, and that's where I began.  I wasn't sure about when the other things took place, but they didn't matter anymore.  Because I was, at long last, dead.

I didn't want to be dead.  I fought hard to resist the urge to put an end to my life; I struggled and I declared in a loud voice, "That's not me!".  But it was too late.  I was weak.  And now it was too late to change my mind.

Too late.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, Dusty.  I'm sorry, Aki.  I'm sorry, Seiki.

I can look up, and I can see a bright white light from the ceiling.  I can feel the harsh sheets against my skin.  There's a soft beeping to my left.  The pull of tape and gauze stuck against the skin on my arms, and my neck.  THIS is now.  THIS is the time that's actually now.  The rest was all my memory; I can see that clearly now.

To tell the truth, I don't think I'm actually dead.

But I don't think I'm actually alive.






Words can't describe exactly how completely and totally fucked up things have become. But this isn't the time to give up. I survived. So will you. I'm going to help you.


It's good that you hate me, Shin. You're going to need that hatred today. You're gonna need a hate so clear it can see for miles. You and I have something to do today.


Why? Why did this have to happen? Is this my fault? How do I really feel about you, Himei...?


Next time on Sailor Nothing... sometimes, it helps just to listen.


This is my fault...




sailor nothing copyright 2000 stefan gagne
unauthorized use prohibited