windsnocturne: (Kunzite/Zoisite)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: two lifetimes and a thousand more
Fandom: Sailor Moon
Prompt: reincarnation
Rating: PG
Pairing/Characters: Kunzite/Zoisite, Zoisite+Ami, Zoisite+Usagi, Zoisite's OC family
Warnings: None

Summary: It was just another day at his after-school job when his life changed forever.

This takes place after the Makai arc, but before the Black Moon arc starts. Zoisite's street name is Keiichi Saito, Kunzite's is Kazuyuki Ito and he's Minako's lit teacher. Makoto and Zoisite both work at the same flower shop, but neither knows who the other is. And though this is set in 90s anime canon it uses bits from the manga (Zoisite's age, the Shitennou having been Endymion's guardians in the Silver Millenium).

And for reference, the Shitennou were revived as normal humans just after the Makai arc, but are treated as if they've always been their civilian selves. Their memories of the Silver Millenium and the Dark Kingdom are dormant, as are their memories of the girls as the Sailor Guardians. Keiichi/Zoisite is basically another Naru for most of the story.

I also based the flower shop in this fic on tokyoflowershop.com, which sells stuffed animals and chocolate. Possibly taking some liberties since I don't know if this is an actual thing in Japan.





He went to the flower shop after school just like any other day, donned his apron and stood at the register. He didn't like working the register as much as he did arranging the bouquets and baskets, but Yuuko would be out sick for at least another two days.

"You're lucky you don't catch colds easily, Keiichi," she'd said as she left early at the beginning of the week, her nose red and her eyes tired. She looked positively horrid, Keiichi thought, possibly the worst part of being sick. But he liked her well enough, even if he couldn't say the same for her lazy son whom he had the misfortune of being lab partners with (though he was careful not to mention that too often around Yuuko). And clearly she trusted him to take over her work, which was one of the highest compliments a teenager could get from a fortysomething.

And he supposed that tall girl they'd just hired could handle the arrangements when she arrived. Obviously she didn't have the same talent as he did, but she was almost as good. Not that he'd ever tell her to her face, of course.

"Saito?" His boss, a middle-aged man who could pass for his twenties on a good day but looked sixty on a bad one, approached the register with a fresh roll of coins. Keiichi looked up from the change he was sorting and nodded respectfully.

"Yes, sir."

"The afternoon rush is starting soon, be ready. Miss Kino should be here any minute, and just in time, too. I really wish Arisugawa didn't have to cut out so early," the man sighed. "I tell you, this is the worst time for an employer, what with everyone getting sick. Saito, you better stay healthy or I'll have your head." Keiichi couldn't help shaking his head even as he laughed.

"If I get sick, I'll demand an instant cure from a doctor, I promise," he said. The tall girl, Kino, rushed through the door at that moment, shaking snow from her coat and her ponytail. For some reason he was both irritated and fascinated by the girl, she could be pleasant enough but she had a temper to rival his own and her talent with flower arrangements was second only to his. Or even worse, equal to his.

"Made it just before it got really bad out there!" Kino announced. "Hey, Keiichi."

"Afternoon, Kino." He nodded politely. Lucky girl, she gets to work with the flowers and I'm stuck behind a counter! Working the register was akin to history class in school; he was good enough at it, but it was low on his list of choices for how to spend an afternoon. Kino smirked, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder.

"Want to trade places, Keiichi?" she asked with a smirk. "Just kidding! Poor Youko would be heartbroken if she knew her son's dear friend wasn't taking up her mantle for the week." Keiichi gave her a dirty look. By now her teasing didn't rile him up as much as it had in the past, but he still didn't enjoy it.

"No thank you. You'll have to suffer through arranging gift baskets, but the boss trusts me with the money," he teased. Granted, though, earning Mr. Takahashi's trust with the money wasn't a big deal, as long as you didn't steal from the register to buy dirty anime tapes like one of his past cashiers had. Or so he'd heard other employees from before his time talk about. Normally such a thing would be a dirty secret, but they treated it like their own little urban legend.

When the first teenage customers stopped in, he braced himself for the lovesick squeals and sighs. By now Keiichi was used to being fawned over, and who could blame them? He wasn't merely a handsome man, he was beautiful. Like a classical painting, he'd overheard several girls say. Not that Keiichi was interested in these girls (or girls at all), and he knew he was just a piece of eye candy, but he couldn't say he disliked the attention. What good was beauty when it went unrecognized, after all?

"Look, it's the pretty one again! Oh, I hope that woman gets promoted or something so he can stay at the register!"

"Such lovely hair! I just want to run my fingers through it!"

"I never even liked flowers before he started working here!" Then, in Kino's direction, "You're soooo lucky you get to work with this guy!"

"Eh, he's okay. Personally I like the tall dark and handsome types better," Kino said with a laugh. "Keiichi's more like the obnoxious brother I never had."

"Bite me!" Keiichi called playfully.

"Behave, you two," Takahashi scolded, but by now he was so used to their sniping he didn't seem to care, so long as they didn't have fistfights or scare off the customers. Two of the girls bought little stuffed animals while the third hoped the boy she liked would send her a bouquet of roses.

A typical afternoon at the Shining Blossom Flower Shop. By now, Keiichi had memorized which customers stopped in at which times and their habits; after the afternoon rush of people his and Kino's age would come the businessmen shopping for their wives. Anniversaries, birthdays, apologies (half of those having been Keiichi's own father, the champion of I'm sorry I acted like an idiot and made you sad, please love me again gifts) or simple tokens to express their love just because they felt like it. Weekends were for families, mothers with children or old couples or siblings buying anniversary gifts for their parents.

"Excuse me, young man," a deep, rich tenor prompted after the third group of girls left, "what bouquets do you reccomend for an anniversary?" Keiichi looked up from the register drawer and suddenly the air around him grew warm. He forgot his voice, unable to tear his gaze away from long white hair, a dark complexion and piercing silver-blue eyes.

It wasn't the first time he'd been instantly attracted to a man, he'd already done the whole wrestling with his feelings for other males thing. But this wasn't just an attractive man, something about him stirred a sense of familiarity in Keiichi.

"Hey, Saito! The man's talking to you!" Kino shouted, snapping Keiichi out of his reverie. He glared in her direction, coughed slightly, and regained his composure.

"My apologies, sir. Anniversary, you said?" He smiled. "That depends on what your wife's favorite flower is."

"Oh, I'm not married," the man said. "I want to send a gift to my parents, since I'm not sure I'll be able to attend the party my sister's throwing for them." Keiichi couldn't help but chuckle a little.

"Such a devoted son. Well, all right, then, what are your mother's favorites?"

"She can never pick a favorite for some reason. At least that's what I assume because she's always been happy with whatever Father gave her." The man shook his head. "You'd think that would make it easier."

"My mother has always been partial to cherry blossoms," Keiichi said. "You can't go wrong with them. They're lovely, simple and give off such a calming scent." Even in winter, his mother would find a way to make the house smell of them alongside the holly and ivy they hung at Christmas. It helped take away some of the sadness when they finally had to take down the garlands and get rid of the tree. "Several of our best arrangements include them."

"Hm." The man nodded slightly, looking a bit lost in thought for a moment before returning his gaze to Keiichi. "Allow me to browse for a moment, then?"

"Of course." Keiichi watched him carefully, allowing himself to take in every aspect of his form. He moved with an easy grace despite his height and muscular build, his hair swinging and brushing against powerful shoulders with every step. He gave off an aura Keiichi couldn't place, but was strangely comforting despite not even knowing the man's name. If it weren't for the two girls who burst through the door just then he would have forgotten entirely where he was.

"Heey, Keiichi-chan!" Usagi Tsukino, a junior high school girl he'd unwittingly become friends with recently, and that friend of hers whose name escaped him at the moment.

"Hard work or working hard?" the other girl asked. Usagi laughed nervously, patting her on the back.

"I think it's hard work and no play makes something something, Minako." Right, Minako. Keiichi just shook his head, Usagi was comical enough on her own but seeing her with this other girl was like watching the mirror routine in his grandfather's favorite American movies.

"Afternoon, bun-head. Minako." Usagi stuck her lip out at him.

"Don't call me that! Only Mamo-chan gets to call me that!" she huffed.

"Oh, right. How is the big loser, anyway?" Mamoru Chiba was Usagi's boyfriend and while Keiichi didn't exactly hate him, something compelled him to pick on the man any chance he got. Most likely his wardrobe, especially that ridiculous pea-soup jacket.

"He's fine! He sends his love," Usagi said with a wink. "He also wanted to know how you did on your history project. Did the books help?" Keiichi sighed. Why did she have to remember that?

"I didn't get it back yet, but I think the books helped me pad out the written part a few pages longer," he said. "I suppose I'll have to thank him sometime, won't I? Even though I don't much like asking for his help." The truth was, Mamoru was like the older brother Keiichi had never had, which was both good (it was nice to feel like he had brothers at all) and bad (why did he need another older sibling when he had two sisters to boss him?). Most of the time he wasn't sure how he felt about the man.

"You better! Otherwise he's not going to help you next time and you'll be creaking without a paddle!" Minako giggled. Once again, Usagi and Keiichi rolled their eyes and he heard Kino groan from the back room.

"It's up a creek without a paddle, Minako."

"Oh, hi Mako-chan! I didn't know she was working back there this afternoon!" Suddenly the man from earlier came back into his line of vision, as well as that of the girls, and Minako gasped. "Oh look, it's Mr. Ito! Hi, Mr. Ito, what are you doing here?"

"Ito?" Keiichi blinked.

"He's a new teacher at Minako's school," Kino said. "He's really young, he just transferred from somewhere in Arabia or India or somewhere." Mr. Ito smiled, brushing a lock of hair behind his ear.

"Arabia," he confirmed. "Hello, Miss Aino. I thought you were going home to study for the test next week?" Minako giggled sheepishly.

"I will! Later...I just wanted to look at the flowers! And what about you?"

"He's buying his parents an anniversary gift," Keiichi said, suddenly feeling the need to stand up for the stranger. "Speaking of which, Usagi, shouldn't you and your brother be doing the same thing?"

"Hey, Mom and Dad's anniversary isn't for another three months!" Usagi grumbled. "Besides, I've already got an idea, Shingo's the one who's gotta get off his lazy butt and say he'll help out!"

"Maybe he's just waiting for his lazy big sister to talk to him instead of throwing hints every which way," Keiichi retorted. Mr. Ito smiled, glancing at the two of them.

"Seems to me you two are just like brother and sister yourselves," he said. "Young man-"

"Keiichi. Keiichi Saito, student at Juuban Municipal high school. Class 2-A." Smooth, Saito, I'm sure he needs to know all that about a boy selling him flowers. Mr. Ito didn't seem to mind, bowing slightly.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, young Saito. Kazuyuki Ito, language teacher at Shiba Koen." He paused, seeming to get a far-off look in his eyes for a moment. "Ah, yes, I just thought I'd tell you I've decided on an arrangement."

"Oh!" Minako took Usagi's arm and they both stepped out of the way. "We'll just leave you to that, then." Usagi nodded, Keiichi breathed a sigh of relief and turned his mind back to business matters.

"What have you decided on, then?" he asked.

"The white roses and red carnations are simple yet elegant, I think both Mother and Father will appreciate them. And if possible...I think I would like some cherry blossoms added to the mix." Mr. Ito smiled. "They are quite lovely." Keiichi nodded. A customer, he's only a customer.

"Of course. Just tell us when you'll need them delivered, or will you be picking them up when the day comes?"

"I'd like them delivered. It'll add to the surprise," Mr. Ito said. He gave the date, and Keiichi quickly pencilled in the order. With any luck, he'd be the one to put it together. "Thank you, young Saito."

"You're welcome! And thank you for shopping at Shining Blossom, we're absolutely honored to meet your floral needs." He bowed, unsure why he'd just done that, and when he stood up Mr. Ito had that far-off look in his eyes again. "Hm?"

"Nothing. For a moment...ah, never mind." Mr. Ito quickly paid for his order and left, glancing over his shoulder once more...their eyes met, and Keiichi leaned against the counter, sighing, watching the door even after Mr. Ito was long gone.

White roses...simple, yet elegant. Like him...

"Oooh, Minako! I think someone's in loooooove!" Usagi's boorish squeal sent him crashing back down to Earth and Keiichi gasped and remembered the money in his hand; he quickly opened the register to put it away, trying to calm his racing heart.

"Are either of you going to buy something? If not, please leave," he snapped.

"Oooh, scary!" Minako giggled. "Don't be embarrassed, Keiichi, all the girls in my class have a crush on Mr. Ito. Even some guys stare at him like that!"

"I'm not some starry-eyed girl or one of the dopes in your class," Keiichi grumbled. "I was simply appreciating his good looks. I barely know the man!"

"You know he's good to his parents, he has a sister, and the kind of flowers his mother likes," Minako said. "That's as good a place to start as any, I'd say!"

"I'm not looking for a relationship! Not with him, not with anyone!"

"You sure? It's been a while since you've had a boyfriend, even a date," Usagi pointed out, and Keiichi glared at her. Okay, so his love life was a bit stagnant lately but with work, school and all the strange things happening in Tokyo up until last week he just hadn't had time. And just because Usagi had a steady boyfriend didn't mean everyone needed to be tied down.

"Maybe I enjoy being single." His heart finally calmed down, his cheeks cooling off as he fixed his ponytail. "Now are you going to buy something or not?"

"Actually, we'd better get going," Usagi groaned. "Rei said if we were late to this week's meeting she'd set us both on fire."

"I'm sure she wasn't serious," Minako said. "Let's go! Bye, Keiichi, see you around!" She took Usagi's hand and they left the shop, Keiichi shaking his head and waiting for the next batch of customers. He heard Kino chuckling from the back, knowing he was in for it from her later. Everyone loves to tease Keiichi, like it's part of their class schedule.

All through the rest of his workday, though, he couldn't get those silver-blue eyes out of his mind. Kazuyuki Ito... He'd never envied Minako Aino as much as he did right now, and for the first time in his sixteen years as the baby of the family wished he were a few years younger. I could listen to that voice all day.

-x-

"How was work today?" his mother asked as she stood at the stove, stirring a pot of rice. He could smell teriyaki as soon as he walked through the door, the one true reminder that it was Friday.

"Fine," he said. "I'm still working the register. I really hope Yuuko gets better soon, otherwise I might have to bribe that girl into switching places with me. I hate to say no to my boss, but..."

"You're a team player, Keiichi. I'm sure Mr. Takahashi appreciates it," his mother said. "Will you set the table? Anna should be home from her club meeting any minute." Keiichi nodded, taking out plates and chopsticks. He'd never admit it, but he liked being asked to set the table. Mundane as any chore could get, but it was oddly comforting.

Anna came home just as they were getting dinner to the table, and the first few minutes of the meal were silent and pleasant. Good. The best thing to do was to act like nothing out of the ordinary had happened, not to think of teachers and their gleaming white hair and warm complexions and powerful strides. Wonder whether or not he kept a bouquet of white roses on a table in his home. Imagine-

"Keiichi! Earth to Keiichi!"

"Ah!" He nearly dropped his chopsticks. "Anna, don't do that!"

"Sorry, but you were twirling that peapod for about five minutes," his sister laughed. "You kind of zoned out." Keiichi binked, quickly stuffed the peapod into his mouth and chewed quickly. His father chuckled, taking a sip of his beer.

"Don't worry, son! I've zoned out doing a lot of things," he said. "What's on your mind, boy?"

"Oh...nothing." Keiichi speared a piece of meat with his chopstick. "I was just thinking."

"About a guy, probably," Anna teased. "I've seen that look!" Keiichi glared at his sister, cheeks flooding with heat. Anna wasn't the most intuitive person, but when she hit the nail on the head she really hit it.

"I was not!" he lied. "I just happened to be thinking about my history project. We're supposed to get them back next week, and I'm quite sure I got an A but I can't help wondering if I could have done more." There, make it all about school, he thought. His mother was always enthusiastic about her children's education.

Instead, though, his mother just smiled and reached over to put a hand on his shoulder.

"Does my special little guy have a special someone of his own in mind?"

"No! Mother, please!" He flinched away, grabbing his spoon and pulling his plate closer and filling his mouth with rice, hoping if they saw him busy eating they'd stop talking. It was bad manners to talk with one's mouth full.

"Who's the guy?" his dad asked. Keiichi made a face, chewing, swallowing, knowing he could get indigestion from eating like this but willing to suffer half an hour of that rather than talk about the handsome stranger in the flower shop. Whom I'm not the least bit interested, besides!

"Is it someone at school? Work? Someone you ran into on the street?" Anna grinned. "Did he bump into you and make you drop your books everywhere?" Keiichi swallowed a mouthful of meat and vegetables and turned to glare at her.

"Knock it off, Anna, or I'll make copies of your diary from eighth grade and show my whole class," he snapped. It worked, at least, Anna actually blanched and gave him a you wouldn't dare face before returning to her own plate.

"Boy, that's no way to talk to your sister," Dad scolded. "She was just curious!"

"Is everyone teaming up against me today?" Keiichi groaned. With my luck, Elsa's going to walk through the door and announce a surprise visit so she can join in! Fortunately, by now his mother had caught the hint and held up a hand.

"If he doesn't want to talk about it, let's not force him. A young person's love life is a deeply personal thing," she said. "Now come on, let's talk about something else. Anna, how was your meteorology club meeting?"

"Oh, it was great!" Anna launched into a mile-a-minute description of everything the members said, wore and saw, and Keiichi sighed with relief, pretending to be interested in every detail to keep the attention off of him.

-x-

He did his language homework after dinner, the largest of his weekend assignments and the one that would keep him the busiest. Sometimes he would study with Ami on Friday nights, or have a "homework party" with some classmates (which by now they admitted were just an excuse to sit around Sosuke Tagaki's rec room eating snacks and watching anime), but everyone seemed to have plans with family or elsewhere.

So this left Keiichi alone with his thoughts, which were becoming slightly less unwanted. The simple fact was, Kazuyuki Ito was a gorgeous man. No, beyond gorgeous, even the cutest upperclassmen at school couldn't compare. Minako probably didn't realize just how lucky she was to be able to see him every day.

She probably had a crush on him, Keiichi reasoned. Even if she didn't swoon over every guy who crossed her path the way Kino did, she was just as boy-crazed. And even if she wasn't a person would have to be blind, deaf and devoid of any emotion not to be completely spellbound by the man.

"If only he'd decided to pick up his order instead," Keiichi sighed. "I'm too young to drive the delivery van, and I'd need a damn good excuse to tag along with whoever's driving that day." He twirled his pen between his fingers, thinking. "Unless I offered to help carry the larger orders." He didn't look it, but he did have decent upper body strength. At least enough to carry flowers, provided the arrangements weren't taller than he was.

Or he could pray Mr. Ito changed his mind and called within the next few days saying he'd come to pick up the order. In which case, he'd have to be lucky enough to be working out front at the time.

-x-

As it turned out, though, he didn't need to come up with any excuse or wait for any call. That Sunday, Ami stopped by to ask if he'd walk to the library with her to return some books. It was cold and wet and gross out, but it was also two-thirty and cabin fever was stronger than an ew, gross reaction to the weather. Besides, he liked spending time with Ami.

"Did you finish all your homework?" she asked. She carried an umbrella even though the rain had stopped an hour ago, overprepared as always. She always asked everyone about their homework and study habits, too, probably a reflex from dealing with Usagi all the time.

"Yes, the last of it after breakfast this morning. It was the only time Anna could help me," he said. "Shakespeare tells a decent story, but he tries too hard. I doubt people actually talked like that back then, no matter how rich they were."

"Unfortunately, we can't go back to the sixteenth century and know for sure," Ami said. "But stories written for an audience tend to exaggerate certain qualities and aspects of real life for the purpose of entertainment. The poetry of the romantic era, the films and the anime of today. Even the ones that try to be relatable channel the ways of yesteryear."

"At least this era's fiction knows how people actually talk, though," Keiichi laughed. "Well, most of it. Sosuke loves this American series where the kid can't go five seconds without spouting a silly catchphrase. It's...okay, I guess."

"I hope you're not talking about this weather," a familiar deep voice interjected, and Keiichi felt his heart speed up. Mr. Ito stood on the sidewalk a few paces back from them, holding an umbrella. "The rain is supposed to resume at any time."

"Mr. Ito! Er, fancy running into you here, sir!" Smooth as always, Keiichi.

"I could say the same to you, young Saito. And is this your-"

"Not my girlfriend!" Since they were so close and Ami, unlike Usagi, was single, Mr. Ito wasn't the first to mistake her for Keiichi's girlfriend. "Sorry, I...well, she's just a friend, we're just here to-"

"Keiichi's just keeping me company while I return these," Ami cut in. "We might also try to get some studying done, especially if it rains while we're inside." Keiichi nodded, trying to regain control of himself. It was easier to act like a fool in front of someone so handsome in a more casual setting.

"Right! I apologize if I sounded snippy," he said. Mr. Ito just smiled, of course he wouldn't take offense. He worked with junior high students on a daily basis, ones who probably said much worse out of frustration. Ami just smiled and bowed to the older man as best she could with her arm full of books.

"Mr. Ito, correct? Minako's talked about you quite a bit. She says you're probably her favorite teacher," she said. Mr. Ito chuckled.

"And she's one of my more interesting students. She's told me quite a bit about you as well, though I would have recognized Ami Mizuno anyway," he said. "You're the top student at Jubann Junior High, after all." Ami blushed slightly.

"It's not something I brag about, but..."

"She's just modest. If it were me, I'd make sure all of Tokyo knew," Keiichi said, causing Mr. Ito and Ami both to laugh. Despite her shyness, Ami did have a sense of humor. And Mr. Ito's laugh...well, he could listen to that all day. Or his voice. Or just look at him.

"Young Saito-"

"Keiichi. Please, there's no need to be so formal, Mr. Ito."

"Very well, Keiichi," Mr. Ito said, Keiichi basking in the way his name sounded in that silky tenor. "If you don't mind my asking, what sort of literature are you interested in?"

"Huh?" Why did he ask? "I like horror stories and mysteries, and...um, the occasional romance. As a guilty pleasure, of course! But lately I'm really into Stephen King," Keiichi said. "I just finished reading The Talisman a few weeks ago and I've been looking for a copy of Night Shift, but everywhere I look seems to be sold out, or checked out." He sighed. "It must be very popular!"

"Unfortunately, earlier works of some writers tend to be more obscure and harder to find," Ami said. "One of my father's art books was so rare he had to order it from Europe." Mr. Ito nodded.

"I imagine it cost him quite a bundle. I myself paid fifty-thousand yen for a single magazine that mentioned one of my favorite authors," he sighed. "What us collectors won't do for our interests, hm?" Keiichi laughed.

"Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of yen to spend on one book."

Mr. Ito smiled, then moved closer and rested a hand on his shoulder, causing Keiichi's heart to leap a mile and his cheeks to burn. Such a strong hand! So warm, even though he's wearing gloves...!

"Keep searching. You're bound to find a copy sooner or later...one may turn up where you least expect it, perhaps!"

"Ah...r-right! Of course I'll never give up!" Keiichi stammered, unable to stop a nervous giggle. "Er, we should go inside, Ami, before the rain starts up with us out here!" Thankfully, Ami was the complete opposite of Usagi and Minako when it came to people's crushes. If she noticed, she didn't say a word.

"Let's go, then. It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Ito!" she said.

"And you as well." The man walked away, Keiichi forcing himself not to stare like he had on Friday. Ami was kinder about this sort of thing, but he'd already embarrased himself enough for one afternoon.

Hours later, Keiichi curled up on the davenport in worn jeans and one of Elsa's old flannel shirts, reading a copy of It he'd checked out of the library and listening to the rain. His shoulder still felt warm from where Mr. Ito had touched him.

I've felt that before, he realized, and knew it would drive him crazy when he couldn't place where.

-x-

Ever since he was a child, he'd had strange dreams. Either a golden kingdom on the moon or a cove of darkness lit only by oddly-shaped lamps. He was always surrounded by people with vaguely familiar shapes and faces but he could never make them out.

Tonight, he dreamed of that touch on his shoulder, a soothing voice whispering for him to be patient. Something about a crystal, he couldn't much make out the words but the voice was firm, gentle. Wrapping itself around him like a blanket, he felt safe even when the images faded and he began to wake up.

He realized, in the middle of class the next day, that the voice and the touch felt almost identical to that of Mr. Ito.

"Impossible," he murmured, only realizing he'd said it out loud when the teacher turned to stare at him.

"Is something the matter, Mr. Saito?"

"Ah!" He groped for a cover. "I...only brought one pencil with me this morning. I'd thought I had two," he stammered. "Silly me! I'll just have to make this one last twice as long!"

"Good." The teacher gave him a funny look and returned to the board, Keiichi sighing and trying to keep his focus on the board. He took notes furiously, even though he was sure he'd documented every little thing about the Russo-Japanese war over the last few days.

They got their projects back at the end of the period, Keiichi not the least bit surprised at his A+. He smiled, putting up with the jealous groans and accepting back-pats from other clasmates and dealt with Usagi's over-enthusiastic hugs.

"I told you Mamo-chan would come through for you, Zoisite!" And suddenly time seemed to stop for a split second that felt much longer.

Have patience, my dear Zoisite.

He shook his head.

"What did you call me?"

"Keiichi, your name." Usagi giggled. "Someone's having an off day. You didn't eat too much pocky before you went to bed last night, did you?"

"No...for some reason, I just..." Keiichi sighed. He couldn't even begin to explain the dreams, the visions, the feelings from Mr. Ito. "Never mind. I guess I did go to sleep a bit later than I should have last night. I was up late reading."

"Another King novel? Zoisite, those things are way too scary to read before bedtime!" Usagi shuddered. "You should read more lighthearted things before you sleep, Keiichi! I'll lend you my Sailor V and Sally the Witch manga if you want!"

"Doesn't Sailor V kill monsters, though? And Sally the Witch is for kids," Keiichi said with a tiny smile. "I appreciate the thought, though." Usagi grinned.

"Well, let me know if you change your mind. And make sure you thank Mamo-chan!" she said. "He's probably at the coffee shop right now...in fact, I bet you were thinking you'd have a cup anyway!"

"I'd object to that if you hadn't read my mind," Keiichi said, rolling his eyes. He'd picked up the coffee habit from his father when he was twelve, graduating from milk with a little coffee to a mixture to drinking it straight if he was in the mood. His friends often joked that he was a thirtysomething salaryman in a teenage body, which could irritate or amuse him depending on the mood he was in.

He managed to catch Mamoru just as he was leaving and had just ordered himself a cup of coffee when he caught sight of the clock.

"Damn it! I forgot all about work, I was supposed to be there five minutes ago!" He knew the boss wouldn't give him too much grief, he was never late so one time wouldn't be that big of a deal. But he could have kicked himself for forgetting.

"I'll give you a lift," Mamoru offered. "Sir, make that coffee to go?" Too stressed to argue, Keiichi nodded and threw his money down on the counter.

"Keep the change," he muttered. He took his cup and followed Mamoru to his car, sipping silently as he prayed Mr. Takahashi wouldn't ask too many questions.

-x-

When Mamoru dropped him off, he tossed his empty coffee cup into the nearby trash can and tried to walk in like nothing was wrong. But instead of a million questions or a lecture, he found Takahashi standing by the register with a package.

"Someone dropped this off for you earlier. He said you'd know him as the white roses, red carnations and cherry blossoms man," he said. Keiichi's heart nearly skipped a beat. Mr. Ito! He took the package with shaking hands and put it in his pack.

"Thank you, sir. I apologize for being late," he said with a quick bow. Mr. Takahashi shrugged.

"First time for everything, eh? Don't worry about it, Saito, the world didn't end. Kino got here a little early so she's been handling things in the back, but we'll be getting busy soon," he said. Keiichi nodded and headed for the back, putting on an apron and busying himself. But the package remained on his mind even as he arranged basket after bouquet after wreath.

He didn't open it until he was home, safe in his room. Mother and Dad were on a date that night so he and Anna would likely do takeout or make sandwiches, and when he'd walked in he'd heard Anna on the phone. Good. He tore open the paper...and his eyes widened.

"How...?!" It was a hardcover of the very book he'd been hunting for. All he could do for several moments was stare in amazement before he opened the cover. And in there was a piece of paper-no, a note.

Keiichi,

I thought about how you had trouble finding a copy of this book, and when I came home I realized I had two. This one came in a set of King stories I bought at a flea market during a trip to America, but it's in good condition save for a few dog-eared pages.

I hope I'm not being too forward. But as someone who understands the frustration of looking for something so rare, I wanted to lend a helping hand. I hope you enjoy it.

-Kazuyuki Ito


He sank down on his bed, letting the rest of the wrapping fall away and hugging the book to his chest, warmth flooding his cheeks.

He had to thank Mr. Ito in person. A letter or a phone call wasn't enough, he had to find some excuse to see him again. He didn't work Wednesdays, he could always arrange to meet Minako after school for whatever reason. She probably wouldn't mind anyway.

With that in mind, he set the book on his desk and went down to the kitchen.

"I'm in the mood for tempura tonight," he said. Anna grinned, holding up the phone.

"I already ordered. I was in the mood, too."

Keiichi could have hugged her. Sometimes having an older sister was the best thing in the world.

-x-

He stopped in front of Shiba Koen the next day, book clutched to his chest as he waited for Mr. Ito to come out. When he approached, Keiichi tried to look as casual as he could, not wanting to seem sketchy or weird.

"Mr. Ito! Fancy running into you here," he said. "I just...they gave me your package at work yesterday."

"I see." The man smiled. "How are you liking it so far, Keiichi?"

"It's incredible! I've only read one story, I want to make the experience last," Keiichi said. "Thank you. Truly, I...I didn't expect you to just give me your copy, I wouldn't have minded searching more, but...thank you."

"You're quite welcome," Mr. Ito said warmly. A warmth that seemed to emanate from his whole body, even his steely eyes seemed gentle at that moment...or maybe I'm reaching, Keiichi sighed. He'd more or less accepted that despite the short time they'd known each other he was falling more and more for this man. Crazy? Maybe, but he cared less and less by the moment.

"Um...so..." He laughed nervously. "Are you-ah!" He stumbled, nearly falling backwards into a nearby bush. Mr. Ito's hand caught his arm, uprighting him, and he felt his face positively burn. "T-thank you...again..."

"I hear those rose bushes look lovely in spring," Mr. Ito said, producing a pink rose from seemingly nowhere. "I've always had a fondness for pink flowers, though. Unmasculine as it may seem!"

"N-no, of course not! And if it is, so what? Why should someone like you care what other people think?" Keiichi laughed. Mr. Ito nodded, stepping a bit closer and resting a hand on his shoulder. "Huh...?"

"A pink rose suits you very well," the man murmured, carefully tucking the flower behind his ear. Keiichi's heart pounded, why did this seem so familiar? The rose, the gesture...he took deep breaths, trying to calm his heart, willing his knees not to give way beneath him.

When he regained control of himself, he noticed Mr. Ito's cheeks had turned a bit red.

"My apologies if that was too forward," he said quickly. "I should go."

Keiichi left the rose there all afternoon and evening, dodging questions about where it had come from. That night he took an old vase of his mother's, filled it with water and placed the rose in it. Cut flowers didn't live very long, but he prayed this one would be the exception.

That night, he dreamed of Mr. Ito's warmth and a field of pink roses and cherry blossoms.

-x-

After that they seemed to bump into each other everywhere. At work, outside the arcade or the Crown Parlor, the coffee shop, the library, one day Keiichi even caught sight of Kazuyuki driving past school.

"Normally, I'd see this as a stalker," Rei Hino said that very afternoon, "but my flames aren't sensing any immediate threats."

"I could have told you that," Keiichi grumbled, giving Ami a dirty look. It was her fault they were here in the first place, she was so concerned all of a sudden. She'd met Mr. Ito herself, surely she could trust an educator!

"That doesn't mean something isn't going on, though," Rei said. "Keiichi...do you ever have feelings of deja vu?" And suddenly his mind went back to the first day he'd met Mr. Ito. The sense of familiarity, the look in his eyes. Cherry blossoms are quite lovely. The pink rose, which still stood proudly in it vase.

"Yes."

"Come to think of it, Minako says she feels something strange from him, too," Ami said. "Like-"

"-they've met before," Rei finished. "Keiichi, you seemed to fall for Mr. Ito at first sight according to Usagi and Minako. But that's not usually your style, right?"

"Of course not," Keiichi said, a bit defensively. Attraction was one thing, but he was used to being coy, both out of keeping his leanings subtle and playing hard to get. "And it wasn't-" He sighed. "Oh, who am I kidding? I think...I think it's more than a crush now."

"We thought so." Ami nodded. "Everyone could see it except the two of you...or maybe just Mr. Ito. And judging by the way he always seems to run into you, the gifts he's given you, I think he might feel the same way." Again, Keiichi remembered the strange look on the man's face in the shop.

"Could we have met somewhere before without knowing it? But I would have remembered meeting someone like him! Unless I was too young to remember it..."

"Not likely," Rei said. "If you were a child, he'd have been anywhere from ten to thirteen and he'd have recognized you instantly. No, that day in the shop was the first time you met." She paused. "In this lifetime."

And suddenly all his dreams of the golden kingdom and the dark caverns came flooding back and he felt dizzy. Dreams, only dreams! This is my first lifetime, I'm just a boy with a mother and a father and two sisters! I-I've never believed in past lives, and if I did, there's no way...

But when he dreamed that night, the images became more vivid. He recognized Ami and Usagi, Mamoru, a blonde man he'd never met before laughing with a taller brunette. Flowers, gardens, beautiful music.

"You've come very far with your training. I'm very proud of you."

"Would you care for a game of chess...?"

"You're such a child sometimes? Ah, but I've always wanted a younger brother."

"That's our Zoisite."

"Zoisite...you're everything.


Zoisite.

He woke up in a cold sweat the next morning. He had to see Mr. Ito...no, Kazuyuki, immediately.

-x-

He didn't bother with breakfast other than a piece of toast, which he managed to scarf down on his way out the door. By now he'd memorized the man's address, reading the return label several times. He rang the bell to apartment #241 and hurried up the stairs, not wanting to bother waiting for an elevator.

"Keiichi."

Kazuyuki stood in the open doorway, as if he'd been expecting him. Keiichi gasped for breath, remembering the words from last night's dream. Zoisite. Not Keiichi, Zoisite, that was my name, wasn't it?

"Good morning." He pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. "Mr.-"

"Kazuyuki," the man said. "Please, there's no need for us to be so formal anymore." He looked pensive for a moment. "You're here for the reason I think you are, aren't you."

"Am I?"

"Last night, I had a dream," Kazuyuki said, leading him inside and over to a large navy blue sofa. "About a cove bathed in darkness, despair and gloom hanging heavy in the air. Evil was all I knew..."

"...yet you were happy," Keiichi finished as they sat down. "I've had that same dream. It's always that, or a vibrant kingdom of love and peace, bathed by the moon's glow."

"Mine start out that way," Kazuyuki said, moving closer. "It all fades in and out so fast. But there's always someone with me. I don't know who they are, at times I can barely make out what they look like. They're always with me..." His expression grew dark. "But the dreams always end the same way." Keiichi felt a sudden pang of sorrow, though he wasn't sure why.

"I take it it's not a happy ending," he said quietly. Kazuyuki looked away for a moment, his eye twitching as if he were about to cry.

"Tell me about your dreams," he said.

"Mine were pretty much the same," Keiichi said quietly, trying to stave off the overwhelming desire to hug the man next to him. "No matter where I was, there was always someone beside me. Even when I could barely make out their face...being with them made me happy. I felt so safe." He swallowed. "But...lately, I've been able to recognize more and more. And..."

"And...?" Kazuyuki moved closer, their faces only inches apart now.

"And I..." You're everything, Zoisite. His heart pounded, his cheeks were on fire and suddenly Kazuyuki's lips were on his and everything seemed to evaporate around them. The gentle warmth, the feeling of security, the softness. Like those dreams...no, he realized, not dreams. Memories. When they broke from the kiss he found himself pulled into a tight embrace, Kazuyuki's heart beating wildly against his cheek.

"It's you," the man whispered, "it's you. I've found you at last..." His voice broke. "Zoisite."

"Kunzite."

And everything came flooding back, Keiichi grabbing the older man's jacket and kissing him with Gods only knew how much time's worth of pent-up love.

-x-

When they were finally able to break apart, Kazuyuki...no, Kunzite's face was streaked with tears. In two lifetimes, he could never remember Kunzite crying.

"What's wrong?" he asked. Kunzite drew his head to his chest, brushing a hand through his ponytail.

"My dreams always end with you dying, Zoisite," he said quietly. "In my arms, in beautiful garden..."

"...of roses and cherry blossoms," Keiichi whispered. "All that time, I dreamed of being in your arms, but I never realized..."

"You don't feel pain in dreams," Kunzite said. "But I held you close, and with your last breath, you told me you loved me." His arms tightened. "I always woke up before I could tell you the same. But I did. I loved you, Zoisite."

"And I loved you." Keiichi nestled further into the embrace. "Ever since then, even back when we were brothers in arms, I loved you more than my own life." Tears swam in his eyes, even though he was smiling. "Oh, Kunzite..."

"Somehow I knew it was you from the moment I walked into the shop," Kunzite said. "I needed to know for sure, though, so..." He sighed. "I apologize if I've come off as a bit of a stalker. Your favorite books, favorite flowers, favorite foods..."

"Stephen King. Cherry blossoms and pink roses. Tempura." Keiichi smiled. "You always made the best tempura, Kunzite. I'm starting to remember more, now...you'd make it for me anytime I felt low, and it always made me feel better."

"I would have invited you over to make it for you, if it had taken us any longer to remember," Kunzite chuckled. Keiichi's hand sought his, squeezing gently as he basked in the warmth of their embrace.

"You still can. Any time you want." Kunzite smiled, pressing a kiss to the top of his head.

"I love you, Zoisite." Every time Kunzite said it, the name felt more right. To his family and friends he'd always be Keiichi, but he was Zoisite. So much of the past still remained to be figured out but the most important piece had fallen into place.

"I love you too," he murmured. "For two lifetimes, and a thousand more."

Their lips met again, softer and sweeter than the first two times, and Zoisite felt truly home.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-06-19 11:06 pm (UTC)
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)
From: [personal profile] out_there
It's been years since I've read Sailor Moon, but Zoisite/Kunzite was my very first yaoi/slash pairing back in the day so when I saw the link on trope bingo I came over to read.

This was really sweet. I liked how gently it built up and how Zoisite was a good guy but still sharp-tongued and a little smug.

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