The Shi-Tennou Return
by SanjouinDaCapo

Chapter 5

* * * * * * * *

For the next few months, Kunzite and Zoisite went about their civilian lives. Zoisite, using the assumed identity of Adrian Kirsch, would often perform concerts for various charities. His savings were such that he and Kunzite were able to live together. Kunzite had moved out of his cramped apartment, and the windows on the house were fitted with a special tinted glass which kept the harmful ultraviolet rays out.

Kunzite, of course, would sometimes indulge in some sunshine, walking through the garden with Zoisite and sitting with him in the shade, and occasionally engaging in some light petting. Zoisite still didn't want to be seen naked, and he would often have nightmares. Kunzite would try to comfort him, but would never pry, despite desperately wanting to know what had happened.

"I'm so sorry, Master Kunzite," Zoisite sighed after waking from one of his night terrors.

"You don't need to be sorry," Kunzite insisted, "You are strong, you know."

"Me? Strong?" Zoisite chuckled, "Heh... no."

"You are," Kunzite whispered, kissing Zoisite's trembling hand.

The silver-haired man got up and went to the kitchen. He came back with a small glass of juice and a couple small rice biscuits, which he offered to Zoisite. The sandy-blond Earth lord accepted the small midnight snack, as he was having an insulin reaction again. The stress of those bad dreams and his busy schedule contributed to it, and low blood sugar was just as bad as high blood sugar.

"You should take it easy for awhile," Kunzite suggested.

"I can't," Zoisite replied, munching on one of the biscuits, "I would go crazy."

"But you need to relax. I-I don't... want to... lose you again."

Kunzite's voice cracked as he said those words. After that night when Zoisite was ripped away from him, the eldest of the Earth lords had died inside.

"I know," Zoisite laughed, "It's just so hard being a genius sometimes."

He ate the other biscuit and washed it down with the melon-apple juice, then cuddled up to Kunzite, who wrapped him up in a warm hug.

"Master Kunzite," Zoisite whispered, "I probably won't be able to enjoy it as much as you, but tonight I am in the mood for some 'fun'. Could you..."

"Of course," Kunzite obliged, cracking a smile and kissing his lover on the forehead.

It wasn't much, but both enjoyed just being so close to each other. Even though Zoisite's condition made it hard to 'please' him, it was clear that the young Earth lord just wanted to be held and loved by the one he trusted the most.

After they were finished, the two relaxed, kissing and squeezing each other gently.

"You know," Zoisite whispered, "You have never once asked me about my nightmares."

Kunzite nodded.

"I know something terrible happened to you," he replied, "Serenity told me."

"Sh-she did?"

Kunzite nodded again.

"Wh-what did she tell you?"

"Nothing more. She only told me to listen, and that it was not your fault."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't know what to say," Kunzite replied.

"You were always best at listening," Zoisite chuckled, his anger subsiding, "So patient while I whined to you about not being assigned to replace Nephrite. Thank you, Master Kunzite."

"I would give you anything," the elder Earth lord whispered, kissing Zoisite's hand.

"Would you?" Zoisite asked, halting a little, "Even if... I was... ugly?"

"You could never be ugly," Kunzite reassured him, stroking his fine, wispy curls, "I will always love you, and you will always be beautiful."

Zoisite took Kunzite's hand and guided it under his nightshirt. Kunzite gasped as his fingers ran over several jagged depressions – scars – on Zoisite's abdomen and chest.

"I had... many operations," Zoisite explained, feeling guilty for only giving half of the truth, "They made me... ugly."

"No," Kunzite whispered, gently lifting up the nightshirt and shifting to straddle Zoisite's pale body, "You are not ugly, Zoisite, you are not ugly."

With that, he bent down and kissed one of the scars, then nuzzled Zoisite's belly and kissed his navel. Zoisite sighed at Kunzite's gentle touch. Kunzite conjured a red rose in full bloom, and placed it in Zoisite's hand.

"The beauty of this rose could never compare to yours, Zoisite."

The young Earth lord smiled more brightly than he had in a long time. He held the rose to his face, and took in its sweet smell, before setting it aside on his nightstand. Kunzite pulled the shirt up further and looked at Zoisite's frail, slight chest, then made another rose appear out of thin air. He brushed the light pink rose against Zoisite's belly, knocking several petals loose and working his way up to the scar on his lover's chest.

It was obviously from heart surgery. Zoisite had gone through so much, yet there was something he was hiding still, something so painful he couldn't speak about it.

Kunzite buried his face into Zoisite's abdomen, exhaling softly and and eliciting a sigh of ecstasy from his frail lover. Brushing his lips against the scar-ravaged skin, he gave another gentle kiss, and Zoisite let out a soft gasp. The young Earth lord's legs jerked forward reflexively, wrapping around Kunzite's waist.

Working up to Zoisite's chest, Kunzite peppered the scar with more sweet kisses, then slowly pulled the pyjama top off. There Zoisite lay, so vulnerable and bare, but with the loveliest smile on his face. His clear emerald eyes showed a gleam of mischief. Reaching down where the top had fallen, Zoisite picked it up, giving a wicked ear-to-ear grin.

* * * * * * * *

A couple minutes later, Kunzite was lying on the bed, his hands bound with a sheet and his mouth gagged with the pyjama top. A handkerchief was tied around his eyes, blinding him in the dim light. Delicate hands caressed his face and ran down his neck to his belly and sides, and the silver-haired Earth lord struggled against his bonds, letting out fits of giggles through the improvised gag.

Zoisite's face nuzzled against Kunzite's feet, and his lips brushed against them, kissing each toe. Then the younger lord's arms wrapped around Kunzite in a soft embrace. The silver-haired Earth lord let out what could have been a sigh of bliss, one that was muffled by the cloth stuffed in his mouth.

With the blindfold covering his eyes, Kunzite could feel everything with greater acuity, from the caresses to every petal-soft kiss, to his warm embrace. Zoisite's hair brushed against the older Earth-Lord's nose, tickling it while the young man kissed him again and again.

"Oh Kunzite," Zoisite purred, "You seem to be enjoying this a lot."

Kunzite felt Zoisite reaching behind his head and soon, the gag loosened and was pulled off.

"Z-zoisite-" the older Earth lord began, only to be silenced by a finger lightly pressed on his lips.

"There's a reason I took it off," Zoisite chuckled, "And it was not to allow you to speak."

Kunzite felt Zoisite pulling him close, stroking his long, flowing hair. Parting his lips again to sigh in contentment, he was interrupted by a passionate, hungry kiss from his young lover. The silver-haired Earth lord wanted to hold Zoisite and stroke his hair, but the sheet held his hands tight and the kiss effectively gagged him.

Zoisite followed the kiss with several light, tender ones, brushing his lips against Kunzite's and even kissing his chin and jaw. This was the Zoisite Kunzite had known, the one that the others in the Dark Kingdom didn't see, and tonight, he was even more beautiful. No scars or illness could ever change that.

Then, Kunzite felt Zoisite's hands caressing and squeezing his own, and he squeezed back, wishing to embrace his lover. Instead, the young Earth lord wrapped his arms around the stoic, silver-haired man again, stroking his back and shoulders, and keeping him silent with another long, sweet kiss. He reached down, untying the sheets and freeing Kunzite's hands, guiding them to his chest and stomach, then to his face.

The older Earth lord sighed happily, taking in the magnified sensations, from Zoisite's wispy fringe, to his soft eyebrows and delicate, long eyelashes. Another kiss brushed against his lower lip, and Zoisite drew him closer, cradling him against his slight chest. Kunzite finally wrapped his arms around his lover.

* * * * * * * *

The next morning, Kunzite woke up resting on Zoisite's shoulder. No one could bring the stoic lord to his knees like Zoisite did that night. What had followed after his blindfold was removed was so incredible, so wonderful – it was worth everything. Even if Zoisite wasn't physically 'in the mood', he definitely enjoyed it.

There would be work that needed to be done, as always, but for now, the silver-haired Earth lord just lay awake, watching his lover sleep. Zoisite had shown him the physical scars that night, but seemed to be hiding some very deep emotional ones. Gently tracing the scar on the young man's chest, Kunzite wished he could heal the many scars in his heart. All he could do right now was listen.

Sunlight shone through the windows, which filtered out the rays so it would pose little if any danger to the silver-haired man. It wouldn't immediately cause any burns, but any unprotected exposure that lasted longer than a few minutes would be quite bad, not only for his complexion but for his health. Those who had xeroderma pigmentosum were more suseptible to cancer, so Kunzite had to be careful and wear lots of strong sunscreen when going outside, along with clothes which covered most of his body, and a wide-brimmed hat and dark sunglasses. It made him look a little suspicious, but people who knew about his condition and the organization he founded understood his need for so much clothing. Kunzite would have felt like a vampire if the sight of blood didn't make him so ill.

This aspect of the toll was rather disheartening. It did give him a reason to stay indoors, away from people, but also made the Earth lord stand out. People would stare, and many who knew about his condition would often show pity or other forms of condescension. Kunzite didn't feel special, aside from his powers, and the stares and wide berths he would get while shopping made him extremely uncomfortable. He was always glad to return home and be either alone or with Zoisite. Zoisite and a few acquaintances were the only ones who treated Kunzite like a human – no "I'm sorry about that" or questions of how difficult his life was, as it was probably no harder than that of the average person.

Zoisite also had problems with being treated like an invalid, and hated being coddled by well-meaning doctors. He had several problems, namely diabetes and a heart condition, but never let them keep him down or away from his passion of music. They did make his body extremely weak, necessitating lots of medications, rest and a special diet, though occasionally he did cheat and have a bite or two of cake or share a truffle with Kunzite. His asthma meant that air-fresheners were mostly a no-go, and he also had some issues with his intestines which made for some embarrassing bathroom emergencies, especially if he ate anything containing wheat, rye or barley. People would feel so sorry for Zoisite, but then get incredibly indignant when he told them off.

Maybe it was human nature to treat people with disabilities that way. It was, however, decidedly unwelcome.

Zoisite stirred and shifted a little, and Kunzite brushed his lips against the delicate-looking young man's jaw. The sandy-blond Earth lord smiled, letting out a sigh of contentment. Every kiss was precious, as was every moment they spent together, since both had conditions that shortened their life-expectancies. Kunzite reached over and turned Zoisite's face toward his, planting a light kiss on his lips.

"Master Kunzite..." Zoisite whispered, returning the kiss.

* * * * * * * *

When they were both fully-awake, Zoisite checked his blood sugar and took some of his medications. Then the two Earth lords took a bath together, which resulted in some petting, making the usually-pale Zoisite blush. After the bath, Zoisite gave himself a shot of insulin and started fixing breakfast. He had some interesting recipes, ones which called for a lot of vegetables and fruits, so their meals were never bland.

While he waited for breakfast, Kunzite brewed some coffee – regular for himself and decaf for Zoisite. When the coffee was done, he got out some milk. Zoisite liked his coffee black, but Kunzite preferred mixing in a generous amount of cream to the point that it tasted like one of those fancy drinks from the café.

The sound of birds chirping reached his ears, and the silver-haired Earth lord cracked a smile. He loved that soft music almost as much as Zoisite's compositions. Birds made such quiet, peaceful neighbours. Zoisite had talked of getting some birds for the house – exotic ones like a cockatoo – but Kunzite had some doubts about that since cockatoos were known for being quite loud and noisy, not to mention messy and destructive, and sometimes even dangerous. Looking at some pictures, he did understand why Zoisite wanted one of those birds; they were so colourful and affectionate, some of them white with yellow crests, and others with pink, fluffy feathers. One of the smaller parrots like lovebirds, budgies or cockatiels would be welcome, however.

Breakfast was rice with stir-fried bean pods and other vegetables which were flavoured with spices and a little soy sauce. Zoisite had also chopped a melon and some strawberries to add some sweetness to the meal.

"So, another interview today?" Zoisite chuckled.

"Their interest has sort of died down," Kunzite replied, taking a bite of melon, "I do have a few appointments with some children at the office. Mostly family counseling, and working with this foundation that grants wishes to sick children."

"Hmm," Zoisite smiled, "Spreading some light in this world?"

"I guess."

"Well, making people happy can be a full-time job. Very low pay, but it beats working for someone who has the power of life or death over you, doesn't it?"

Kunzite nodded.

Zoisite started on his rice and vegetables, using chopsticks which Kunzite had yet to master.

"Speaking of our old job and enemies," Kunzite began, taking a sip of his coffee, "Sailor Moon has been sighted quite a few times. Perhaps we should look into this."

"Enemies," Zoisite sighed, "I doubt they will accept us after what we did. So, how did you die?"

Kunzite looked down at his coffee.

"Sailor Moon..." he mumbled.

"Not the most romantic way to die," Zoisite noted with a smile.

"It could have been worse," Kunzite replied, taking another sip of coffee.

"Hmm... did you ever notice the bond between them? Almost like a family. We, on the other hand... we were so divided."

Kunzite nodded.

"If you hadn't comforted me after I was taken," Zoisite continued, "I would have probably been your rival as well. Remember that night when I was crying and you let me sleep in your bed?"

The silver-haired Earth lord nodded and smiled at the memory.

"I thought you were going to yell at me the next morning, when I woke up and found that I had wet the bed," Zoisite laughed, "But you had wet it too. We both got scolded by one of Beryl's youma."

"Well," Kunzite replied, cracking a smile, "I did not wet the bed in my sleep."

Zoisite looked up at his lover, a shocked look on his face.

"You-you mean that..."

The older man nodded again, smiling more broadly, and Zoisite let out a loud guffaw.

"I did wonder why you wet the bed so much at that age."

"I had for a long time," Kunzite replied, "I was taken from my parents when I was just five years old – away from everything I knew and held dear. When you came, I was so happy just to have a friend."

"I used to cry and cry," Zoisite noted, taking a sip of coffee, "I'm so embarrassed now... crying for my mummy and daddy, for my teddy..."

He winced at the memory. Kunzite reached across the table and took Zoisite's hand in his.

"Zoisite," the silver-haired Earth lord whispered, "I cried too."

"But... but I never saw you cry," Zoisite stammered.

"I learned not to," Kunzite replied, "It never did me any good."

Zoisite looked up at the ceiling and let out a sigh.

"I thought it was normal. I thought all children went through this kind of training... that love was nothing but a feeling."

Kunzite shook his head.

"It wasn't."

* * * * * * * *

"It's rather strange," Zoisite confessed as he and Kunzite walked down the street, "Ever since I was resurrected, I've been watching people, seeing children being treated with such love and care. Then I hear about some children being 'abused', and it just sounds so much like the way Beryl and her youma treated us."

Kunzite squeezed Zoisite's hand in response, and looked as though he were about to cry. The young Earth lord squeezed back, trying to comfort his stoic lover. Besides work, they had another pressing matter.

"Well, they say one must move on and not dwell too much on the past," Zoisite sighed, "We must find Nephrite and bring back Jadeite. It will be quite interesting."

Suddenly, they heard a commotion in the crowd, and saw a woman in a cat costume chasing after someone, a celebrity whose name escaped both Earth lords. They followed the strange fashion-victim and saw three women sporting the same hairstyles as the Three Lights confront her. Their costumes were quite skimpy, though they resembled sailor fuku. The cat woman's dress also looked vaguely like a sailor fuku, but it was decorated with bells, and she wore a hat that looked like cat-ears, and her long, black braids were tied together.

Then, a familiar-looking man ran out, throwing a flower at her. He was wearing a tuxedo and a top-hat, but his hair was long and wavy.

"P-prince Endymion?" The two Earth lords whispered in unison.

They came in closer to get a better look at the mysterious man in the tuxedo. He threw another flower, blinding the cat woman, who dodged and knocked him off his feet with a swift kick. The man fell with a grunt, and a telephone booth rose out of the pavement next to the sailor-cat, who rushed into it, slamming the door closed. As she did, the booth sank back in and disappeared.

The three strange senshi ran off before Kunzite or Zoisite could get close enough to speak to them. The mysterious tuxed-clad man, however, was in the middle of righting himself. Looking down, he slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand.

"Shit," he cursed, "Of all the times to forget that!"

"Nephrite?" Zoisite gasped, huddling close to Kunzite.

The older Earth lord patted his young lover on the arm reassuringly, while the masked tuxedo guardian looked over at Zoisite and lowered his eyebrows.

"So," the auburn-haired man noted, looking as though he had been walked in on while taking care of something private, "We finally meet... again."

Zoisite nodded, looking very unsure of himself.

"Well I'm sorry but I must cut this reunion short," Nephrite continued, turning to leave.

The young Earth lord grabbed Nephrite's arm, only to be pushed away.

"I will talk with you later, Zoisite!" the tuxedo guardian shouted, running away.

"Nephrite!" Zoisite called, in vain.

He turned to Kunzite and asked, "Should we go after him?"

Kunzite shook his head silently. The younger Earth lord sighed and looked at the ground, noticing a small puddle on the ground.

"Hmph," Zoisite remarked, "Looks like someone couldn't hold it. How disgusting!"

* * * * * * * *

That night, over dinner, the two Earth lords discussed meeting the revived Nephrite.

"I wonder if he is staying in his old place," Zoisite wondered, "It did suit him quite well. Maybe he's still looking at the stars, and worrying about that girl who swooned over him."

"It is possible," Kunzite replied, taking a long drink of hot milk, "That house was his base of operations, after all."

Zoisite nodded.

"Do you think he will ever forgive me for what I did?"

"Why do you worry so, dear one?" Kunzite asked.

"I honestly don't know," Zoisite sighed, "But something happened to me in that dark place... and that cozy room. It... it felt so horrible to be all alone, starving, thirsty, tired. When I was rescued, it just felt so good to be held and cared for."

"I know that feeling."

"And the mother of our enemy helped us both. She didn't even have to!" Zoisite added, "She could have left us to wither away to nothing in the dark place. Why did she help us?"

"It's something I myself am only beginning to understand," Kunzite replied, "It is perhaps... mercy... maybe another kind of love."

"I hope that Nephrite will find that kind of love in his heart."

"He will," Kunzite reassured his lover, "I know he will."

* * * * * * * *

return to Index / go to Chapter 6

The Nephrite and Naru Treasury