by Moon Momma

Chapter 9

* * * * * * * *

"So anyway," Naru was saying to Keiko, "it all came back to us a few nights ago. I was in love with him when I was a teenager, and he was attacked and nearly murdered in front of me by these rivals of his. My mom didn't want me being around someone who had dangerous enemies, so she took me to the States. He and I were both so traumatized by what happened that we completely repressed the memories. I had even forgotten that my real name was Osaka Naru."

Keiko looked at Naru with a thoroughly skeptical expression on her face. "That settles it, girlfriend. I'm changing careers. I'm going to become a Freudian analyst and charge your rich husband big money to get your head straightened out."

"You know, that's one of the things I like about you, Keiko," Naru said. "You're not at all gullible." She smiled at her friend's perplexed expression.

* * * * * * * *

At lunchtime that day, Naru sat at a patio table at the cafe near the hospital, waiting eagerly for her lunch companion. She had felt both excited and nervous when she phoned Usagi the day after the memories came back. Usagi had burst into tears when Naru said, "Usagi? It's Naru. Osaka Naru."

"You remembered," Usagi cried. "Last night. Just like I did. I can't believe it. I did your wedding, and now you turn out to be my best friend. And you married Nephrite. I just can't believe it. How did he come back?"

"We have no idea. But look, Usagi, I really want to see you and talk to you. I've got some questions maybe you can answer for me. Can we have lunch tomorrow?"

"Darn it, tomorrow won't work. I'm doing wedding planning with Rei and Makoto. Day after, okay? I promise. I'm writing it on my schedule right now."

"Great. At that cafe where we ran into each other."

"Sounds good. Oh, Naru-chan, I've missed you, even though I didn't remember you."

Usagi arrived, looking eagerly around the patio. Naru stood up and waved. Usagi hurried over, and the two women embraced each other tightly. After a moment they sat down. "I still can't believe this," Usagi said.

"Me either," Naru said. "Oh, Usagi, I can't tell you how good it is to have my life back."

Usagi smiled a little sadly and looked down at her hands. "I'm afraid I have to ask your forgiveness. To start with, Naru, there's something I have to tell you about me, that I should have told you when we were kids."

"You're Sailor Moon." Naru smiled. "Nephrite told me. Actually, he'd rather be called Masato, but I don't think he'd mind it if we call him Nephrite just between the two of us."

"Okay. I'm glad he told you. He found out that night, by the way. That's what he was talking about to me, right before he... you know. Anyway, at the end of the fight against the Dark Kingdom, the other Senshi and I... even though we won, we all died. When I knew I was dying, I wished as hard as I could that we could just live on and be happy, like normal girls. My Silver Crystal brought us back and erased our memories so that we could have normal lives for a while. Well, obviously, for that to work, it also had to erase the memories of everyone who was ever involved with anything the Dark Kingdom ever did. Including, of course, you."

The waiter came over, and the two friends ordered chicken salads and white wine.

"Anyway," Usagi went on, "other things came up, aliens with their energy-sucking tree, and we all--the Senshi and I--had to have our memories restored. Somehow, I guess because you were so closely involved with everything that had happened, your memories came back too." Usagi reached across the table and gripped Naru's hand. "It hit you all at once, the memories of Nephrite and your feelings for him, and you just couldn't handle it. You had a complete breakdown. Your mom woke up in the middle of the night one night and you were standing in the middle of the street just screaming. When she and some of the neighbors tried to take you back in the house, you fought like crazy. You sent two of the neighbors to the hospital with broken noses and concussions. Finally she called me. I went to see her with the other Senshi.

"We told her what happened to you, and she decided it would be best to take you away from where those terrible things had happened. I used the Silver Crystal to erase your memory of everything that had happened. I knew now that the block was just temporary, the memories would come back when the time was right, when you were ready. It also erased all our memories of you guys, too. I guess, I don't know, so no one would accidentally say anything to bring it up again? Or maybe something else happened to make us forget. I haven't been able to figure it out. Anyway, blocking your memories didn't seem to help. You were in pretty bad shape after that. I went to see you right before you and your mom moved away, and you just sat there and stared. It was creepy and sad, almost like you were dead."

The salads had arrived. Naru toyed with her fork, her appetite gone. "My mother knew. All those years, she knew what had happened to me, and she never told me. Even when she knew she was dying. She kept my life from me."

Usagi squeezed Naru's hand. "Don't be too hard on her. She cried when I told her about you and Nephrite. She felt so sorry for you. I think she must have been afraid that if you knew what had happened you could never find a way to be happy. And I can't say I blame her. No one should have to live with seeing the man she loves murdered right in front of her eyes when she's fourteen years old."

"You could be right," Naru sighed. She realized there were tears on her face, and wiped them away. "So what do I need to forgive you for?"

"For blocking your memories. It might have been better to let you work out how to deal with everything. I had no right to make that decision for you. Maybe, if you had been able to remember, you could have dealt with it and then gone on with your life. You and Umino Gurio were quite an item for a little while." She winked.

Naru laughed, and wiped away more tears. "Poor Umino. What a geek. What's he doing now?"

"He's on a, whatsit, a research fellowship in the Amazon jungle, studying very large insects. Pure heaven for him. You know, he actually turned out to be kind of cute, once he got contacts and a normal haircut. Plus, now he has muscles..."

"Umino." Naru laughed again and shook her head. "Usagi, there could never have been anyone for me but Nephrite. It was just... I mean... We fit." She locked her fingers together to illustrate. "Even though I really never knew him very well at all, I felt like I knew him, in my heart, better than anyone else in the world did, and he knew me the same way. Even when I didn't remember him, before I met him as Masato, no one else felt right. I dated a lot of guys, but never more than two or three times each. I just knew that none of them were what I wanted. But when I met Masato, I knew right away that he was the one I'd been waiting for."

Usagi finally forked up a bite of her salad and chewed it. Naru followed her example, and they ate in silence for a few minutes before Usagi spoke again. "So you guys met and fell in love and got married, all without remembering that you'd known each other in the past. That's so... cool. Mamoru and I--You know about us, our past, don't you?"

"Yeah. Nephrite and Zoisite and Kunzite--Zeb and Mallory--all explained it to me. You and Mamoru were a prince and princess long ago, and were engaged then."

"Right. By the way, how is that, with you two and Zoisite? I mean, he's the one who killed Nephrite."

"He showed up at our place that night. He had remembered too, and he was crying and begging us to forgive him. So we did. He isn't... the way he was before. None of them are evil any more. Zeb and Mallory really are the nicest guys."

"Anyway, Mamoru and I really love each other and we're very happy together, but sometimes I can't help wondering how much of that is our loving each other for who we are now, and how much of it is the past. I mean, does Mamoru love me because I'm me, Usagi, Rini's mother, the florist and decorator who never did very well in school, or does he really love Princess Serenity, who was so many things I'm not?"

"He loves both, because you are both. You may not believe it, Usagi, but when I look at you I really do see a princess." Naru smiled. "Nephrite and I didn't have any trouble with that. It was like, this is who you are, and this is more of who you are, and I love the whole package. I'm sure it's the same way with Mamoru." She winked at her friend. "How could he put up with you, otherwise?"

Usagi laughed and wiped away a tear. "We'd better get eating. That waiter keeps giving us dirty looks. And I want dessert."

"Nephrite likes the chocolate-hazelnut torte. And now that I remember that I like chocolate, that's what I'm going to have."

* * * * * * * *

Two weeks later, Naru was in the kitchen with Zeb and Mallory, preparing Japanese-Mexican tacos. Zeb and Mallory were back in Japan, ironing out some details with Mallory's Kamchatka tours, and had brought Naru a supply of Mexican food ingredients. The three of them were drinking wine while Naru cooked, and were getting increasingly silly. "I know," Naru said, "the next great culinary breakthrough--sushi tacos!"

Mallory snorted into his wineglass, "Please, no!" while Zeb said innocently, "But what's wrong with sushi?"

Masato came in, calling greetings to everyone while he hung up his jacket, then walked into the kitchen carrying a square brown package. He and Naru put their arms around each other and kissed until Mallory loudly cleared his throat. "You two are doing that in front of the wrong audience. We don't find it interesting."

Masato and Naru pulled apart, smiling apologetically, and Masato held out the package. "This came to the office. I have no idea who it's from."

Naru looked at the address, with Mallory and Zeb peering over her shoulder. It was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Sanjouin Masato," and had come from an "Ivan Chesnokov" in some unpronounceable town in Russia.

"Maybe it's a bomb," Naru said, a little worried.

"It's not a bomb. I actually stopped by a hospital on the way home and got them to x-ray it. There are several things in it, but none of them are bombs."

"Well?" Zeb said. "Aren't you going to open it?"

Masato found the kitchen scissors and cut through the tape that sealed the package. From inside the box he lifted out a jar of caviar, a hand-painted nested doll, a pair of enameled candle holders, and an envelope. The envelope contained a card printed in Russian. Inside, the sender had written, "Wishing you joy on the occasion of your marriage. May lifelong happiness be yours. By the way, say 'Hi' to Zeb and Mallory." It was signed, "Ivan Chesnokov, Seaman First Class, Russian Navy."

"Who the hell--?" Masato said. Then he saw something else in the envelope and fished it out. It was a photograph of a family: father, mother, three children. The back was labeled, "Ivan, Grigory, Sofya, Alexei, Tatiana." Masato turned the photo over again, studied it more closely, then started laughing. The others crowded around him, looking at the people in the picture, especially the father of the family, a man with short, thick blond hair who was winking at the camera. "What do you know," Masato laughed. "It's Jadeite. He got out of the crystal after all."

"Right after Beryl was defeated, it looks like," Mallory said. "That older boy is obviously his kid, and he has to be seven or eight years old, wouldn't you say?"

Naru agreed, then Zeb said, "You don't suppose it was Jadeite who brought us all back, do you? After all, he was out of the crystal before any of us came back to life."

The three men stared at each other. Then Masato drew Naru into his arms and held her close against him. He kissed the top of her head and buried his face in her hair. Zeb and Mallory were also holding each other. Masato finally spoke. "We owe him everything we have. He remembered us."

*The End*

* * * * * * * *

return to Index

The Nephrite and Naru Treasury