For Want of a Button

Part Two

© 1998 by Heather Fleming


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Author's Note: This story was originally going to be a one-parter, but it got too long and I wanted some feedback on the first half or so before I invested too much more effort in it. I was amazed at all the positive comments I received within just a few days of putting part one up, some of them from wonderful fanfiction writers themselves, so I lost no time in continuing...


For Want of a Button - Part Two

© 1998 by Heather Fleming

--Flashback--

"Samsonite," the man at the door said, "you're needed."

The dark-haired mage looked up, annoyed. "I'm teaching," he said, gesturing towards his silver-haired pupil.

"It's urgent," the man said. "There's been an accident."

Samsonite sighed. "Very well," he said. "Kunzite, you might as well come along. This could take a while."

The twelve-year-old sighed and put away his books, then followed his teacher outside to the messenger's vehicle.

"So tell me about this accident," Samsonite said as they sped along the road. "What do you need me for?"

"Car went off the road just out of town. Debris everywhere."

"And I'm supposed to clean it up," Samsonite said with a grimace. "What a town. I have better things to do with my time than clear away wreckage."

They pulled up to the scene of the accident. "Hop out, Kunzite," Samsonite said. "The sooner this is finished, the sooner we can get back to our lesson."

Kunzite went up to the wrecked vehicle. Four of the bodies inside were clearly dead, two grown, two small. But the fifth, a little blond child of indeterminate gender no more than six years old, was alive and awake. "Hey," Kunzite said through the broken window. "Hey, kid."

The child turned its head, and a pair of wide green eyes stared boldly up at him. "Who are you?"

"Kunzite," he replied, oddly charmed by the total lack of fear the child showed. "And you?"

"My name's Zoey," the child said. "How come I can't move my legs?"

"Umm... your car, it, uh, fell over, and you got hurt from it. But don't worry, it'll be okay." He concentrated and produced a large pink rose from the air -- his latest trick. "Here," he said, handing it through the window.

"Oooooohh, neat!" Zoey exclaimed, and frowned intently. After a moment a handful of pink petals floated through the air. "It didn't work right," Zoey said poutingly.

"Hey, where'd you learn that?" Kunzite asked, catching one of the petals. It looked more like a petal from a cherry blossom than from a rose, but there was no doubt as to what Zoey had been trying to do.

"I did what I saw you did," said Zoey. "Or I tried to, anyway. And now my head hurts."

"Oh my God," said Kunzite.

"What's the matter?" demanded Zoey. "What did I do?" And empathic presence came from the child (the boy -- Kunzite was sure now from the empathic touch that Zoey was a boy), clumsily trying to probe Kunzite for the answer.

"Oh my God," Kunzite said again, shielding himself. "Samsonite!"

"What's the matter?" Zoey demanded again, loudly, then winced and clutched Kunzite's rose. "Oooohhh, my head..."

"You'll be fine," Kunzite said.

"What is it?" Samsonite asked irritably as he came around the car.

"That kid," Kunzite said quietly, moving away from the car and turning to face his teacher. "He's alive!"

"Does that look like my problem?" Samsonite hissed. "It's not my fault he survived the crash." Kunzite stared at him, shocked. "Well, I certainly don't want a pesky injured kid in my house, and you can bet no one else will either. Apatite, let's dump this wreck into the ravine."

"But you can't just let him die!"

"Why not?"

"He--he's got magic! That kid's an empath. And he conjured after watching me do it just once."

"Well, why the hell didn't you say so in the first place?" said Samsonite and pushed past Kunzite to the window. "Hey, kid. Who are you?"

"Zoey," the little boy replied. "And I'm tired and I hurt and I just want to go to sleep!"

"Don't worry, kid, it'll be fine," Samsonite said. "Kunzite, go get some blankets and find that guy with the metal-cutters. Move it, move it!"

As Kunzite hurried off, he sent a pulse of reassurance to Zoey, certain that the boy would pick it up. I wonder, he thought, I wonder if you realize how lucky you are, kid. Maybe one day you'll realize I just saved your life.

* * *

--Fast forward two years--

"Kunzite," Samsonite said as they finished up their lesson, "do me a favour, will you? Find Zoey and tell him to get his sorry butt in here. He was supposed to be home two hours ago."

"And where might I be likely to find him?" Kunzite asked, keeping his face and voice neutral as he was learning to do so well.

"Last I heard, he was in the cherry orchard with Pyrite and Hematite."

"All right," said Kunzite. "I'm on my way."

He left the house and drove his little speeder towards the orchard. He was a little worried about Samsonite's adopted son, actually, because as much as the little boy could be a brat, he was never irresponsible enough to be two hours late. Something must have happened.

"Zoey!" he called when he was in the orchard. "Zoey!" He got out of the speeder and walked into the trees. "Zoey, you little weasel, where are you?!"

"Right here," came a voice from above his head, sounding thoroughly annoyed. "It's about time, too. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to notice I was gone."

Kunzite craned his neck and looked up. Zoey was perched on the lowest branch of a very tall tree -- but that lowest branch was very high up. "What the hell?" he burst out. "How'd you get up there?"

"I climbed," said the little boy. "There used to be more branches. Then Pyrite and Hematite took them away before I could stop them."

Kunzite sighed and transported Zoey down from his perch. "All right, Zoey-kun. What happened? And what were you doing with Hematite and Pyrite in the first place? They're almost as old as I am."

Zoey gave him an annoyed look. "They told me they'd show me how to move things with my mind."

"Figures. Zoey, Samsonite will teach you what you need to know at the rate he figures is best."

"But it's so boring!"

Kunzite smiled and shook his head as they returned to the speeder. "Just... how did they get you up that stupid tree?"

"I told you, I climbed. Then they magicked away the branches."

"Well, why the hell did you climb the tree in the first place?"

"Hematite said I couldn't reach the top. He said I was too little and too scared."

Kunzite shook his head again and got into the speeder. Zoey climbed in behind him. "And you did it to spite him?"

"Hey, no one says I'm scared and gets away with it."

"So you'd rather walk right into a setup than be accused of cowardice?"

"I can look after myself."

Kunzite powered up the speeder and drove out of the orchard. "Then why did I have to get you out of that tree?"

"Hey, no one said you had to get me down. I could have done it myself, it just would have taken longer."

Kunzite had to laugh. "Well, I'll give you top marks for nerve. But you're a little lacking in the wisdom department."

"I don't have to be wise," Zoey said matter-of-factly. "I just have to be better than everyone else."

That comment silenced Kunzite for the rest of the drive back to Samsonite's place. But as they were getting out, his curiosity bested him. "By the way, what happened with Hematite and Pyrite after they stuck you in that tree?"

"Well, you remember Pyrite's speeder?"

"Yeah... what do you mean, remember?"

Zoey actually giggled. "Well, they had it parked where I could see it, and it, uh, had a little 'accident' with a fireball."

Kunzite nearly choked. "He saved up for three years to buy that thing!"

"He should have put better protections on it, then."

"You know what, Zoey? You're one mean little kid." He frowned. "I'm surprised he didn't kill you."

Zoey giggled again. "Oh, he tried. But he's stupid. I sent them off on a wild goose chase after an illusion. I bet they're halfway to the highway by now."

"My God," Kunzite said, ruffling Zoey's short blond curls. The two would never dare show their faces in this town again after being bested by an eight-year-old, and to Kunzite that was no great loss. "One day you're going to be the greatest king in the Kingdom."

"If he lives that long, that is," Samsonite's dry voice cut in as he opened the door of the house. "Thank you, Kunzite. Zoey, inside, now."

"But Samsonite--" Zoey began.

"Zoey! Never question an order!"

"Yeah, yeah," the little boy said and trudged inside. Then he poked his head out the door again. "Oh, Kunz-sama..."

Kunzite almost laughed at the address, but managed to control himself. "Yes, Zoey-kun?" he asked with a perfectly straight face.

"I'll never be the greatest king in the Kingdom," he said. "I'll only be the second greatest, because you'll always be greater than me." Then he blushed and pulled his head back inside.

"At least he listens to you," Samsonite muttered. "He thinks you're the best thing since the invention of magic. I wouldn't mind a little of that respect coming to me..."

"Don't be too rough on him," Kunzite said. "He just needs some more time to settle down. After all, he discovered his magic quite late."

"Don't give me advice, young one," Samsonite said, but he was smiling. "Don't let him know, but I like the little fellow. He's got backbone, that's for sure! Now go on and let me deal with my young protegé. I'll see you tomorrow."

* * *

-- Fast Forward One Year --

Kunzite stood beside his new speeder, a present from Samsonite in honour of his departure to begin his training. "Well, good-bye," he said to his teacher.

"Make me proud," Samsonite said and walked back to his house.

Zoey gazed up at him with his perpetually fearless eyes. "You haven't seen the last of me," he declared, shaking his short blond curls. "Six years and I'll be there too."

"And who's going to get you out of trees or avalanches or burning buildings in the meantime?" Kunzite asked affectionately.

Zoey grinned. "I guess I'll have to learn to look after myself, then," he said. "You just wait for me. I'll take the Academy by storm!"

"I'm sure you will," said Kunzite.

Zoey dug into his pockets and pulled out a button. "Here," he said, handing it to him. "When you're the greatest king in the country, wear this and remember the little brat you found in an overturned car."

Kunzite smiled and pocketed the button. "Thanks, Zoey-kun." He pulled a rose from the air and handed it to the boy.

Zoey grinned and sprayed him with the sakura petals he had produced with his first conjuring. "You'll be the best, Kunz-sama. And I'll be the second best right beside you!"

* * *

--Fast Forward Eight Years (To The Present)--

Zoisite's eyes fluttered open, and he struggled to sit up in Kunzite's big bed. "You're awake!" Kunzite said with great relief and propped him up gently against the pillows, taking care not to jar him and upset the speed-healing spell he had set in place.

Zoisite's eyes roved over him. "You haven't even looked after yourself yet," he said in wonder. Then his eyes widened. "Your button's gone."

Kunzite felt the front of his uniform. "Damn!" he exclaimed. "It must have come off when I was fighting... That button meant a lot to me, too. It was a gift."

"I know that," said Zoisite with a weak laugh.

It hit him. "That's right, it was you!" he said, mortified. "You gave it to me! I'm so sorry..."

"Stop that," Zoisite said, wincing. "You're projecting guilt, and it's giving me a hell of a headache."

"Sorry," Kunzite said again, and slapped a shield around his feelings. "Zoi-kun... Zoey... Why didn't you tell me? I was going crazy trying to figured out why you were so familiar, but after eight years, and you looking so different with long hair and all, besides changing your name..."

"Zoey was just my nickname -- I just didn't know that when I was six. But I did some research before I left for training and found out that my real name was Zoisite." His voice was much stronger now -- the speed-healing spell was working. "Besides, Zoey was the little brat you used to babysit. That's... not exactly how I want you to think of me."

Kunzite fingered the now-useless top button of his jacket. "Oh?"

"Kunzite, ever since you left, all I've wanted was to be with you! You're powerful, intelligent, attractive -- not to mention you've saved my life more times than I can count."

"Zoisite--"

"You're the only person who's ever liked me just the way I am. Anyone else would have gladly killed me, given the opportunity."

His eyes suddenly lost their fierceness. "Maybe I'm just being stupid. But I... I've grown attached to you, Kunzite-sama, and I can't help thinking you feel something for me too. I may have been half dead at the time, but I felt it when you came roaring down that corridor. It was just... incredible. It cut right through everything, stronger than anything I'd ever felt before..."

"You idiot," Kunzite said, smiling. "Did you think I stopped myself from frying you, followed you despite that near-impossible cloaking job, and then went up against a dozen or so goons who were trying to kill you, all just because you're my student?"

Zoisite turned bright red. "I--"

Kunzite laughed and sat on the edge of the bed. "You are a singularly charming creature, Zoi-kun," he said, and pulled a big pink rose from the air. "I don't know why, but I find you utterly adorable. And not in a childish way, either, believe me."

Zoisite's fingers closed around the rose. "Really?" he said breathlessly.

"Of course," Kunzite said, and opened his mind to let Zoisite sense his feelings.

"Oh, my..." Zoisite gasped, and threw himself at Kunzite.

Kunzite suddenly found himself on his back, on the floor, underneath a pile of blankets and an equally startled Zoisite. For a moment he could only lie there, winded. Then he began to laugh. "Get off of me, you great lump!" he said affectionately. "I have bruises, you know, from saving your pretty little hide, and you're not exactly helping them heal!"

Zoisite disengaged himself and the blankets, giggling, his face even redder than before. "I'm sorry," he said. "Are you all right?"

Kunzite heaved himself into a sitting position. "I'm fine," he said, still chuckling. "But I fear the mood has been rather spoiled..."

"Oh, I don't know," Zoisite said. "I think we could restore it, if we tried... Are you sure you're all right?"

"Of course," Kunzite said, once again letting Zoisite's empathic sense read him. "Although..." he trailed off, and a big grin spread across his features, "now that I think about it... you seem to have taken my heart custody..."

This time, when Zoisite came flying at him again, Kunzite was prepared.

--A little later...--

"Um... Zoi?"

"Yeah?"

"Maybe we should get up off the floor, hmm?"

"Oh... good idea."

--And quite a bit later...--

"Kunz-sama?"

"Mm-hmm?"

"Do you want me to give you another button?"

"Another... oh."

Silence for a moment.

Then, "You know what, Zoi?"

"What?"

"If you're here with me, I don't think I need a replacement."

"What about Queen Beryl... won't she get mad if you're missing a button from your uniform?"

"Zoi, I'm the top ranking king in the country. If I want to go around with a missing button, she's not going to care as long as I get my job done."

"Oh... good point."

"That's what I thought. Now go to sleep. You've still got lessons in the morning."

"Okey dokey, Kunz-sama..."

And that was that.

The End


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Disclaimer: Sailormoon and all related characters are property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha, and Toei Animation. This is a work of fan fiction, and I'm certainly not making any money off of it.

This story is property of Heather Fleming. Please don't steal it!


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