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Christmas - ibroughtuflours

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The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust


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The Welcoming (Nephrite; Endymion PG-13)
SMNephrite in Exiles - dark_branwen
sea_thoughts
Title: The Welcoming
Author: Starsea
Medium: Fanfic
Theme: Eighteen (second picture)
Genre: General
Version: Manga (Crystal Tokyo)
Rating: PG-13

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.


Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot

Nephrite stumbled as he walked through the grass. Jet lag was pulling at his limbs, turning them heavy and leaden. The feeling brought back bad memories and he pushed himself onwards. There were murmurs, laughter. Steps appeared and he picked his way down them. He could smell the knot garden, lemon balm and camomile giving up their scent in tribute to the pale moon that hung over them. He almost waved at it before reminding himself that Small Lady Princess Lady Serenity Usagi was back on Earth now. And despite growing up, she still had too many names for such a small person.

He saw Pallas peering around the corner of a hedge. She spotted him and beckoned, then vanished before he could say anything. He wondered how long he would have to stay before he could go to bed. He did not have the energy to keep up with a pack of teenage girls right now.

“Nephrite.” Now Venus was standing at his shoulder. He could feel her taking hold his elbow, guiding him. “I know you’re tired. Just a little longer.”

He nodded and smiled. They rounded the corner and entered the area of the gardens called the Meadow. This was a long flat area full of wildflowers, shadowed by old trees that had been planted when Crystal Tokyo was founded. Nephrite could see that one of these trees now had beautiful lamps hung from its branches. A trestle table was set out beneath the branches, loaded with food and decorated with ivy and delicate flower arrangements that must have been done by Ceres. The King and Queen were sitting there, Jadeite and Mars had just come out of an argument discussion to smile at him.

“This...”

“SURPRISE!” yelled Vesta and Pallas, jumping up from their hiding place behind the table, quickly followed by Ceres and Juno.

“We wanted to welcome you back,” said the Princess, popping up at his side. “You were working so hard before you went away and Venus said that this would help cheer you up now you’re back from holiday.”

“It’s... sweet,” he said, glancing at Venus to see if he’d said the correct thing.

“And you don’t have to worry about the food, Jupiter made most of it,” Vesta added, gesturing.

“Jupiter did?” He sat down at the head of the table, feeling as if he’d missed something, something very important. “Why?”

Ceres shot him a look from under her fair, almost invisible eyelashes. Although she was the leader of the senshi, and therefore technically Venus’s protégée, her powers were plant-based and so she often spent time with Jupiter. “We said we wanted to welcome you back and she volunteered.”

Nephrite stared at the table. It was loaded with his favourite meals, which were a fusion of Japanese and West Coast cuisine. “She must have gone to a lot of trouble...”

“Don’t tell me you’re not hungry,” said Endymion with a small smile.

“You will never hear those words out of me,” Nephrite replied with dignity, pouring himself some sake. “Even on my deathbed, I will still be asking for another piece of pie.”

It seemed that was the cue for everybody to sit down and start eating. The food was utterly delicious and he was so absorbed in eating that he didn’t take any notice of the people around him for a good five minutes. When he looked up, he was amazed to find Saturn sitting at his left hand, daintily picking at a rock shrimp dumpling.

“Good to have you back,” she said with a smile that reached her eyes.

“I wasn’t gone for that long,” he protested.

“I wasn’t talking about Prague,” Saturn responded.

Nephrite ducked his head. He always found it difficult to look at Saturn for too long (her grey eyes held the wisdom of the cosmos, the peace of death) and he sometimes wondered how Kunzite even managed to hold a conversation with her, let alone have a friendship. He liked Saturn, but, to put it frankly, she made him nervous.

“Thanks,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s true, though.”

“You’re out of the shadows,” she answered, gloved fingers alighting on his hand for a startling moment. “Enjoy the sunshine.”

Then she was gone and Endymion was sitting there, his eyes steady and concerned on Nephrite’s face. Nephrite ducked his head again, preferring to avoid the questions in Endymion’s gaze.

“How are you?”

It was the same question Endymion had asked in Prague and Nephrite gave him the same answer.

“Fine.”

“You had a hallucination of Beryl, don’t tell me you’re ‘fine’.”

Nephrite banged his glass harder on the table than he meant to. “You’re going to bring this up here? Now?”

“You know a more suitable time and place?” Endymion raised an eyebrow. Sitting in lavender and white, he looked as if he were dissolving around the edges into the evening air, as if he were another hallucination.

“It was just the absinthe, okay? The absinthe and her.” Nephrite didn’t need to explain the ‘her’. Endymion knew. The palace knew. The whole fucking city knew. And he noticed that although she’d cooked all this wonderful food, she wasn’t at the meal. She could make food for him but she couldn’t welcome him home in person.

“She’s still in the kitchen,” Endymion said, his hand reaching out to a piece of sushi from Nephrite’s plate. Nephrite grabbed a fork and stabbed, smirking as Endymion snatched his hand away.

“You don’t steal food from me,” he said, ignoring the sudden silence at the table. “You should know that by now. Kunzite and Jadeite may let you get away with it, but I won’t.”

Endymion shrugged, his eyes warm behind the mask. “It was worth a try.”

“If you’re going to try, you should be less obvious about it,” Jadeite called, and the table relaxed and went back to eating.

“So, she’s in the kitchen?” Nephrite repeated, concentrating hard on his food.

“Of course.” Endymion picked up a sushi spring roll. “She might need some help, though.”

“Better keep an ambulance on standby, then,” Nephrite muttered, standing up. He waved at Venus and Jadeite, both suddenly alert. “Indoor business, okay?” Venus shook her head once, telling him that she wasn’t fooled. Jadeite nodded as if he’d understood.

Nephrite took a deep breath, turned and walked towards the palace. Out of the shadows, Saturn had said. Well, that was fine, as long as the light didn’t kill you. He wondered if he had a death wish, if he was like moths that immolated themselves on candles and electrocuted themselves on lights, trying to get too close.

She made the food, he told himself. That has to count for something.

Right?

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EVASIVE NEPHRITE IS EVASIVE. But I guess he'd just as soon pull the trigger on dealing with Jupiter than anything else. :/

CAN'T WAIT FOR MORRRRE

Yeah, I love how he gets all snappy with Endymion for being concerned. I think he'd like to go on another holiday in Dubai and just be there with Kunzite because Kunzite would leave him alone, but that's not going to happen. XD

Thank you for commenting. <3

LOL, poor neph, EVERYBODY knows his love life is sucking right now. i especially love the interaction between saturn and nephrite in this, it's subtle and very well done :)

Thanks! I wanted to create a dreamy, fairytale atmosphere for this story and I don't think I quite managed it. :/ I'm sure I'll fiddle around with it again one day. The interaction between Nephrite and Saturn is one of the bits I like, though.

eeeh 8D. The Saturn/Nephy interaction I liked. Also the bit about Kunzite and Saturn being friends. What a formidable eyes combo theirs must be *.*
Also, you pulled Endy's lavender outfit of Elton John's Doom off. Excellent, my lady. Excellent.

Also the bit about Kunzite and Saturn being friends. What a formidable eyes combo theirs must be *.*

Yes, they both have beautiful grey eyes. The enemies better pray to God they never team up, their combined stare would crush a thousand souls. XD

Also, you pulled Endy's lavender outfit of Elton John's Doom off. Excellent, my lady. Excellent.

Elton John's Doom Off? Huh?

My bad: 'you managed to pull off Endy's Elton John [lavenderlicious] Outfit Of Doom ' . Hopefully it's clearer now ^^;;.
Please don't summon the twin Grey Eyes gaze on me XD.

Maybe it's living in a country with a constitutional monarchy, but I've never thought of lavender as a 'gay' colour. Purple is the royal colour and traditionally only those of the royal family were allowed to wear it. :) Glad that I managed to rescue Endymion's outfit!

I would never summon the Grey Eyes on you. ;)

And I live in the land of Popes and bischops, crimsons and purples are a'plenty ;D. I work in a museum administrated by the Church as well and placed inside the local archbischop's palace, go figure.
In my mind though one thing is purple and one thing is a very pastely lavender hue covering you from head to toe. I wouldn't consider it gay per se myself ( unless we mean gay in the old meaning ;D and hey, I' m a fan of the Rococo colour palette. Go pastels on men go! ) , but in nowaday terms and cut Endymion's royal clothes do remind me of the monochrome outfits Elton wore years ago... yuou managed to override that in your writing and for this I applaud you.

--
How merciful, Mistress *.* .
Talking of monarchy, here in Italy they're cramming news snippets about the Will&Kate princely wedding whenever possible... 30% gossip, 30% genune fascination and the rest is cover up for our country many crisis. Eh.

Haha, that is true! :D And yes, it is gay in the old-fashioned sense, isn't it? Debonair and stylish.

in nowaday terms and cut Endymion's royal clothes do remind me of the monochrome outfits Elton wore years ago... yuou managed to override that in your writing and for this I applaud you.

I see, I see! Thank you! :)

Talking of monarchy, here in Italy they're cramming news snippets about the Will&Kate princely wedding whenever possible... 30% gossip, 30% genune fascination and the rest is cover up for our country many crisis. Eh.

Everybody seems to be obsessed with them! I hope they have good weather and that the wedding goes well but I wish people would stop cashing in.

OMG I love this! I just read the entire series (I've spent the last few hours reading over your work. All of it that I could find except Exiles because I can't find the beginning of that anywhere despite hearing about it all the time.) I love the way you characterize, and dramatize, and remain realistic all at the same time. I can only ever manage two out of three ^.^;;

As for this series, I love it. I especially love your inclusion of the outer senshi and the asteroid senshi. The friendship pairings you set up work wonderfully, too. And poor Neph is too tired to remember what to call Usagi number two, or what to say about Rei and Jed's argument/discussion. Poor guy.

I can't wait for a continuation!

Thank you very much!

You can find Exiles on the dotmoon website but you'll need to sign up and become a member as it's R rated. :)

I especially love your inclusion of the outer senshi and the asteroid senshi.

Not enough interaction between the outer senshi and the shitennou. Goes double for the asteroid senshi.

And poor Neph is too tired to remember what to call Usagi number two, or what to say about Rei and Jed's argument/discussion.

Yeah, poor guy, jet lag sucks.

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