Dear Ami

This is my second Sailor Moon story, and is another part of the Crystal Kingdom Archives. It helps if you've read Demon Hunter's Journal first, but (hopefully) it's not necessary. It takes place 917 years after Forsaken Heart.


My Beloved Ami,

Setsuna asked me to write this letter to you, and place it in the archives with a time lock on it that will keep David from knowing the file exists until the day it unlocks. That you're reading this now means it's unlocked, and you should listen to the attached file. It's a journal of the time between our meeting and the birth of our daughter. Well, it's a journal as best as I can remember it, given how long it's been. It's not been nearly as long as I'd like, but we always knew I'd die someday. Tomorrow is that day.

As I sit here in the lab, dictating this and thinking of you in our bedroom, I find myself missing you already. You've made me a new man, Angel. If you'd rejected me that day, I probably wouldn't have lived past the next battle - even with the debt I owed Haruka. But your love gave me a reason to live that transcended any danger. I believe in myself, because I believe in you. Never forget the promise I made when we wed - that no matter what happened, I would always be waiting for you, and that I would find my way back to you, whether in this life or the next.

Setsuna tells me that by the time you read this, the Palace will be the only part of Earth still alive, and Serenity has had to save the rest of the world by putting it into suspended animation until you find a way to cleanse the Earth of the effects of the second war with the ones we're fighting now. She also tells me that Michiru, Haruka, and Hotaru have been gone so Chibi-Usa could grow up without knowing them, so you, Rei, Minako, and Makoto have been forced to use all your power to defend Serenity after the attack from Nemesis.

If I got the time lock right, you should have plenty of time to listen to the journal before our daughter comes to find you. Trust her, as we always have. For both our sakes.

Setsuna tells me you're looking for me, so I'll wrap this up now and go to you for the last time in this life. Tomorrow, we'll be facing another attack from Diamond's army, and I'll be killed when one of their officers catches me by surprise while I'm killing one of their droids. You know it's one of the two ways I'd rather die, and this way is less painful to you.

Always remember, Ami, that I love you with all my heart. I love you more than life itself, and I'll find my way back to you, no matter what it takes.

All my love,

Bill


Sailor Mercury sobbed as she read the letter from her long-lost husband. First she'd lost Zoisite in the Moon Kingdom, then she'd lost Urawa, and finally she'd lost the man who'd restored her heart and given her something to fight for, not merely fight against. When she'd come upon his headless body after the last battle before Serenity had banished their enemies to Nemesis, she'd wanted nothing more than to join him in death. Only her daughter, reminding her of their duty to their Queen, and of his promise when they'd wed, had given her strength to go on - but she'd shut her heart away from the world again, the same way it had been before he'd loved her. This letter reached into her heart and tore open every scar that had held her together since his death.

"I'm here, Mother." Setsuna gathered Ami into her arms and rocked her gently while Ami sobbed brokenly.

**It's not right! Not only wasn't I able to be there for your childhood, but now you have to comfort me over his death - again!**

**I love you, Mother. How can I do any less?**

**I don't want to keep fighting...I just want to be with him. Why couldn't I save him? Why couldn't you save him? Why?**

**It was his time, Mother. You know I can't alter the flow of time...even for my own father.**

Setsuna joined Ami in her tears, and the two women shared their sorrow over the man they both loved more than life. Setsuna had been the only one to see past Ami's mask of pretended cheer. She'd seen that she was acting as the Ami they'd known before she'd known Bill, in order to keep them from knowing how deep the void in her heart was. Setsuna had been with her constantly, for years after his death, loving her without conditions or demands. She'd simply been there, the daughter she had lost as an infant; the daughter who had given her the man she loved - and who had stood by and allowed him to be killed.

"Do you remember the day we met him, Mother?"

"The day the tentacle demon killed him...remember how shocked we all were when he knew Haruka's name?" Ami lifted her head and wiped her eyes, gratefully taking the handkerchief Setsuna carried the way Bill always had.

"How shocked you were, you mean," Setsuna smiled gently, kissing her mother's forehead.

"Well, we didn't know you'd deliberately arranged events to bring us together." Ami smiled weakly and waggled a finger in her daughter's face. "You were just as sneaky and underhanded then as you are now, you know that?"

"You forgot manipulative, Mother. Father always said I was manipulative, too. And he was right." Setsuna returned the smile at the shared joke.

"It hurts so much, Setsuna," Ami whispered. "I thought I'd lost the ability to feel...anything...but reading his letter...."

"Shhh...close your eyes, Mother, and let David play the other file for you. It will help prepare you for what is going to happen." Setsuna looked up and nodded. From the nearest intercom panel, a man's gentle, loving voice spoke.

"No shit, there I was, about to go up the Tokyo Tower...."


"So much of that...," Ami whispered, her voice breaking as she leaned against Setsuna and cried softly.

"Things you suspected, but didn't really know," Setsuna murmured gently, reaching for a brush and gently applying it to her mother's hair. "No matter how much we know someone, there are always new things to learn. What is the most important thing you've learned from what Father said?"

"That I miss him even more...that he loved me more than I ever imagined...that I love him more than...I...," Ami gasped in horror and sat upright, deep wracking sobs tearing through her body as she whispered, "No...no...no...."

"You love him even more than you love our Queen, don't you, Mother?" Setsuna drew Ami back into her arms as the Princess of Mercury nodded brokenly. "Then listen to her words. David, play file Serenity A-1."

Queen Serenity's voice came from the intercom, as gentle and loving as it had ever been in the past 900 years.

"My Lady Mercury, it is my wish that you trust your heart - in all things. If you did not love your husband more than anything else in your life, including me, you would not be the woman I love and believe in. It is my will that you pursue the clues you are about to receive until you have solved the puzzle our Lady Pluto has presented."

"In other words, Ami," Usagi's voice said with a cheerful laugh, "go get him! Oh, and don't come back until you're ready. And that's an order!"

"Go get him? What does she mean?" Ami looked up at her daughter and bit her lip as she tried to concentrate, only to break down into sobs. "The only one I want to get has been dead for 900 years!"

"Do you know why Sailor Moon, Sailor Saturn, and Fluorite, even working together, could not bring him back to you, Mother?"

"No...." Ami could still remember her despair as first Hotaru, then Serenity, and finally Fluorite had all tried to revive her beloved, but all they could do was restore his body to the condition it had been in when they had married.

"It was because he was no longer there to be brought back to you. It was his last, and greatest, discovery - one that he could only put into effect at the moment of his death."

"And it took him away from me! I hate science!" Ami sobbed and curled up in Setsuna's arms, blindly wishing she were dead.

"No, Mother, you don't. You're just hurting too much to realize it. Will you trust me?" Setsuna gently caressed Ami's hair and waited while she sobbed herself out.

"I always trust you...no matter what," Ami whispered sadly.

"Then get Edgar and come with me." Setsuna stood, helping Ami to her feet.

**Hermes? Where's Edgar?**

**In Bill's tuxedo pocket, where he's been for the last 917 years.**

**Why didn't he say anything?**

**Because I have been meditating. My meditations are now complete, and I am ready to go with you.**

Ami stumbled toward the closet, shuffled through the clothes until she came across the tuxedo her beloved had worn on their wedding day, and dug through its pockets until she had found her quarry. Edgar, like Hermes, was a wristwatch, but where Hermes had a blue case and a face made of a slice of sapphire, Edgar had a black case and a face made of a slice of garnet. Ami slipped Edgar over her wrist and pushed him up her arm until he was tight enough to not fall off.

Setsuna was waiting with a damp washcloth, and gently wiped her face clean.

"I suggest you put on your royal garb, Mother. It will help."

Ami looked down at her fuku, which she hadn't been out of except for necessities in over 900 years, and caught her breath as she tried to bring back the memory of how to access her gown. With a sob, she managed it, and stood in a sapphire blue evening gown, with matching blue choker and her sigil blazing on her forehead. When she opened her eyes to look for her daughter, she saw Setsuna had also changed out of her fuku; her gown was a deep, dark, almost black, shade of red that matched the garnet that made up the face of Persephone, her watch.

The two princesses, holding hands like best friends, made their way through the palace, with Lady Pluto leading the way. At the door to Pluto's chambers, she turned to gaze on her mother and sighed, giving her a hug before murmuring softly to her.

"You should go in first, Mother. I will be right behind you."

Ami looked into her daughter's eyes for some kind of clue as to her behavior, but found no more than she ever did. Biting her lip, she hugged Setsuna and pushed the door open. Once Ami was through, Setsuna closed the door and pressed her forehead against it, allowing a tear to trickle through her iron self-control.

"Mother, Father, I love you," she whispered softly.


Ami looked around the room, wondering why Setsuna had closed her in without following her. Maybe there was a clue here somewhere...the room showed the same self-discipline Setsuna followed in everything she did. The bed was made, something Ami realized she hadn't done in so long, she wasn't sure she remembered how; the dressing table was neatly arranged, with each item in perfect alignment with the items beside it. There wasn't so much as a dust bunny on the floor, and the only artwork in the room was a painting of Ami, Bill, and Setsuna that he had commissioned as a birthday gift for their daughter. Seeing the image of her heart's light, Ami fell to her knees and sobbed, wishing with all her heart that she could die and not feel this emptiness and pain any more.

**I'd be very sad if you did that, Angel.**

Ami whimpered in despair, knowing that she'd lost herself so thoroughly that she was imagining his voice now.

"You know, I didn't think I was that ugly," Bill's voice said from inches behind her left ear. "Of course, no beauty on Earth compares with...OOF!"

Bill looked up at her from the floor, absently rubbing the back of his head.

"Ouch. Leave a body for 900 years and it gets all stiff on you. Remind me not to do that again any time soon."

"But...but...you're DEAD!" Ami wailed, unable to comprehend how he could be on the floor beneath her - and afraid she was hallucinating the entire encounter.

"I go' be'er," he said, smiling teasingly. He reached up and drew her down against his chest, crooning softly as he stroked her hair. She didn't know if he was real, but if he wasn't, she never wanted to wake up from this dream. "Angel...I'm sorry I was gone for so long...but I had to come this far forward in order to be here for you."

"I wanted to die...I didn't want to live...I just wanted to be with you...no matter what it took," Ami sobbed and clung to her husband. "Setsuna wouldn't let me die...she said I had to stay...I had to live...for Serenity."

"And if you hadn't, who would have protected her when Nemesis came, beloved? Setsuna told me that Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru would be gone for as long as it took Chibi-Usa to grow up...and that when I did this, I should time my return for after her return from the past."

"Why didn't you tell me? Why did I have to believe you were dead for so long? Why did my heart have to die? WHY?" Ami wailed, pounding on his chest in her anguish. How could he leave her like that? How could he not know he was breaking her heart?

"I wanted to tell you, Angel, but Setsuna showed me what would happen to you if I did. I couldn't let you die in my place. If you had, you wouldn't have been able to return the way I could. All I could do was trust her when she told me that she would always be here for you, and that she would bring you to me when I returned." Bill sat up and drew Ami into his lap, cradling her the way she'd cradled Hotaru so many times after Chibi-Usa had returned to the future, letting her sob out her anguish and loneliness.

**Don't forget to return me to him, Ami.**

**I...oh!**

Ami blinked and sat up, pushing herself away from her husband just long enough to slip Edgar off her arm and drop him in his hand.

"Is it really you?" she whispered softly. "How do I know I'm not hallucinating this all?"

"I can think of a couple ways to tell," he said gently, touching her lips with a fingertip. "You can ask Edgar, you can ask our daughter, or you can find out just how much I desire you after all this time apart."

"You!" Ami laughed as she swatted his chest. It had to be him - only he could make her feel this way. "Is that the only thing you can think of?"

"Well, I could do with a nice big plate of unagi, but I'd settle for a cup of hojicha. Or the taste of your lips." He smiled and kissed her gently; his lips tasted just as she remembered, the feel of his arms around her was the same, as was his heart beating beneath her hand as she snuggled closer.


"My Queen," Bill bowed his head as he kneeled beside Ami. His presence, his voice, everything about him made her heart flutter, just like it had 900 years ago when they'd discovered their love for each other.

"We've missed you," Serenity said lovingly, "although some have missed you far more than we have. Today seems to be a day for reunions. You have returned to us, my daughter has returned from the past, and...."

Ami looked up as Serenity trailed off, then looked around in confusion - until she saw a flash of purple at the rear of the throne room as Sailor Saturn fled into the distance.

"Small Lady, step forward," Serenity called. Chibi-Usa blinked in surprise, stepped forward to stand beside Ami, and curtseyed to her mother. "Welcome home, daughter. Now, if you would be so kind as to follow David's directions, I wish you to enter the part of the palace that has, until today, been denied you."

"Mother?" Chibi-Usa asked hesitantly. "Can you tell me...what ever happened to Hotaru?"

"Perhaps you should ask her when you find her." Serenity smiled gently, then dropped her demeanor and let her old self peek through. "So what are you waiting for, Spore? Go get her!"

Chibi-Usa squealed happily and dashed up to the throne to hug her mother, then fled the throne room on her mission of discovery. Bill watched her leave with happy tears in his eyes, and Ami was more certain than ever that this truly was her husband, not just her imagination.

"If they can bring each other the happiness they had, today will truly be a day of miracles," Serenity murmured, then stepped down and took Ami's hand, placed it in Bill's, and looked into their eyes with all the love in her heart. "It is my will that the two of you retire and take as much time as necessary to renew your love. Setsuna will be the only one with access to you until such time as you choose to rejoin us." She looked into Ami's eyes; the anguish in her gaze broke Ami's self-control, and she sobbed sorrowfully.

"I'm sorry, Usagi. I missed him so much...I just couldn't be the same person without him."

Serenity dropped to her knees and embraced Ami lovingly. The feel of her Queen's arms around her brought more tears, and she sobbed out all the guilt and emptiness and self-loathing she'd built up over the last 900 years. Serenity simply held her, making no attempt to speak or interrupt, until Ami finally opened her eyes.

"I'm sorry...I've got your gown all wet."

"You haven't been so kind to your own, you know. I love you, Ami. It doesn't matter which face you show the world, I know who you are inside, and I love you. If I could have eased your pain, I would have, but some things are beyond my power to do." Serenity reached to Bill and drew him into Ami's arms, murmuring softly, "Go now, and renew your love for each other. Please?"

The look of hope in Serenity's eyes brought a fresh flow of tears to Ami's, and when the Queen stepped back, Bill had to help her to her feet. His gaze was so full of love, she gave herself up to it and willingly let him lift her.


Disclaimer: Sailor Moon, Sailor Senshi, and all terms, names, etc.associated with the series are copyrighted by Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha. I make no claim to them and this work of fanfiction should not be seen as making a claim.

Those characters and concepts that are original, the Crystal Kingdom Archives, and the story "Dear Ami", are copyrighted 2000 by Bill Hartwell.

Rated: PG


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