One Second

© 1998 by Jinci

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There had been one second of difference. One second to act, one second to decide. I had made my decision before, long before, but this was the final test, the setting in stone of ideals long harbored.

In theory, there was still a chance. In reality, there was only what had already become.

I could have saved him, I suppose. It could have been so, had I been someone else. It makes no difference now.

I could have saved him, but I did not. It would have been foolish, ridiculous. Toss aside eternity? For what? Someone to warm my bed? There are hundreds to take his place.

He didn't expect me to save him, he wouldn't have. He knew that such affairs were but a brief entertainment, an easy diversion. Nothing more. He knew that.

Give up forever for that? Forever in this hell is better than an instant in what comes after. I've worked dozens of lifetimes to attain the position I now hold. What could possibly make up for its loss? Save him, and then die myself? Why?

He couldn't have thought that we were anything more than -

He couldn't have. He was as cynical as I am. More, perhaps. He knew this place, knew that it would allow for nothing more than a brief, greedy alliance. Knew that we would have parted soon.

He wouldn't have asked me to choose between everything that could be, all of the power that will be mine for all eternity, and the few months of -

Of whatever it was that he had thought that we had.

He wouldn't ask me to choose between those two, and choose him.

If I had, if I could have held him for that one second of difference -

One second before we both would die. Mine is an eternity of life, and an eternity of solitude. Solitude is sweet in comparison with what awaits after death.

Even I do not know how many thousands of times I have damned myself. However long I may live, there will always be the threat of a greater eternity in wait. One second with him would be small consolation.

He could never have done all that I have, he was never as cold-hearted as I. Evil, certainly. We are all evil here. But his was a passionate evil, alive with wrath and vengeance. Such emotions are looked upon more kindly than a grand cold indifference. He will never be punished as I shall. I shall be once more alone.

Despair is the only thing unforgiven. To give up all hope. To forget the concept of contentment. To abandon any dream of joy. To have left only days of living.

But I felt so before I met him; these emotions do not concern him. I do not mourn him. Surely, for him, death can be no worse than life. He was not happy.

There is no happiness here. We do not even speak of it, it is a myth to us. Happiness is as distant a dream as the rumours of trust that infest our world. Trust. To believe, truly to believe, that there is someone who will not betray you. It is but a whisper away from -

My queen has destroyed youma for less. I have destroyed youma for less. How much more is one of her superior servants to be punished.

I fear. I fear death. I fear demotion more. When my entirety is my station, when I have given all for it -

But what have I given? My life? My life is worth less than nothing. My soul? Far better to feed my soul to the demon of this place, and have done with it, then slowly to watch myself poison eternity with my evil. What, then, have I given? I possess nothing of value. Did I once?

He was evil. But he was someone. He was real to me. Reality is a rare gift, and one that I doubt I shall receive again.

I do not believe that I want for his absence - he made the darkness no lighter - yet his absence makes eternity longer, and I feel that promise crumble beneath my feet.

I fear death, but it is gaining favor in my eyes.

I would change nothing. But I could have saved him.

- End -

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Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.

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