Of Mars And Moon: Heart-Shaped Promise
by Cecily Hawkins

Disclaimer: This is a not-for-profit fanfic containing characters inspired by copyrighted characters. No damage is intended. This story will contain same-sex romantic and sexual relationships. This is number 10 in the series Of Mars And Moon. Each entry takes place in one day. Love and
kisses to Shandryl for beta-reading these things. :)

The early February morning was chill, gray skies just shading to blue. Shannon stood on the balcony, her hands laid lightly on the cold metal railing. She wore only a blue swimsuit and a large white shirt, sleeves rolled up, unbuttoned, billowing in the wintry breeze along with her dark hair.

Hands, warm hands, stole around her waist. "Watching the sun rise?" Alex murmured into her ear.

"Watching the moon," Shannon replied, and leaned back against her lover.

Alex rested her sharp chin against the other's shoulder. "We've interfered enough. Let nature take its course."

"There's no time, and you know it." She tilted her head to bring their cheeks together. "A year from now, the world, if there is a world, will be completely changed."

"Let it wait." She wrapped her arms around her partner. "Let this be a day for just the two of us."

Shannon turned her face and smiled. "Happy Valentine's."

"Come back inside. Your hands will freeze out here." Alex smiled. "It's too early to be out of bed."



"Happy Valentine's Day!"

Mimi Charis blinked sleepily and fumbled on the bedside table for her glasses. "What?" The world came into focus. "Oh, Tom!"

Her husband was leaning over the bed carrying a tray with a plate of hash browns and scrambled eggs, a glass of orange juice, and a beautiful burgundy rose in a vase with a spray of ivy. He smiled. "You'll have to sit up and hold this, or it will spill."

"I didn't even hear you get up." She sat and balanced the tray on her lap, sniffing at the flower. "It's lovely."

"Emily helped pick it out. She has a book on the meanings of flowers. This one," he fingered its petals delicately, "is for unconscious beauty."

Mimi giggled like a girl of her daughter's age. "Which I must have been while you were preparing all this."

"And the ivy is for fidelity." He knelt beside the bed. "I love you, and I'd marry you all over again."

"Oh, Tom." She blushed. "You'll make me forget we've got a teenager in the house."

He held up a piece of paper. "I found this taped to her door."

It was a note. "Dear Mom and Dad: I have a phone, a computer, music, and enough food in here to last the day. The house is yours. Enjoy it."

"Well," she said, trying to fight the smile that was taking over her face. "Well. There's certainly enough breakfast here for two. Care to join me?"


Shaye was reading.

It was a story about a wedding and that, she supposed, was an appropriate way to spend time on Valentine's day. A piece of fanfiction called _Celebration_, by Chris Davies. It was about this girl, Raye, who was actually Sailor Mars, and whose friend Serena was marrying her boyfriend Darien. Serena's boyfriend. Who *had* been Raye's boyfriend, but had apparently forgotten about it because of some magical monster thing. And Serena was her friend, but was blonde and whiny and childish and drove her to distraction as well. The delicious angst of it all had her glued to the computer screen. Who knew there were so many good authors online?

"Whatcha up to?" Terry asked, poking her head around the doorframe.

She turned. "Reading a Sailor Moon story."

Terry rolled her eyes. "That show is for little girls. It's all... *pink*."

"I like pink," Shaye sniffed.

"I'm sorry," she apologised reflexively. "You're entitled to like whatever you want."

"Besides," she turned back to the screen. "It's a good day for pink."

"What? Oh, right. Valentine's. I almost forgot." In fact, she hadn't, but the situation of being both with and without the person she wanted for a valentine had become too commonplace to mention.

"You're a lot like Mars, you know," Shaye mused.

Terry blinked. "You mean I'm like *Ares*? The god of war? Selfish and nasty and going around killing people?" You're the child of the Devil, the memory of her stepfather whispered in her ear. An agent of darkness, Terry's uncle accused. Evil. Sinful. Wrong.

Shaye turned again, looking hurt. "*Sailor* Mars. She's got dark hair and she sings and... she's got a fighting temper but only for the right reasons. Like when you tried to protect me that night at the concert."

"Oh." Stupid, Terry chided herself. If Shaye thought you were evil, she wouldn't be living here. You overreacted. Now say something nice about her show. "So, would that make you Sailor Moon?" she offered.

"Serena?" Shaye squawked. "That airheaded clutzy crybaby? Is that what you think I'm like?"

Terry threw up her hands in surrender. "I'm sorry! I've never seen the show! I just meant... you know, the Moon, it's a nice place, moon goddesses, Artemis, Amazons, stuff like that..."

"Oh." She blushed, then smiled. "I don't know anything about these gods and goddesses. I guess we both misunderstood."

"It happens," Terry agreed. "Um... well, I've got The Princess Bride, whenever you want to watch it. And we can make popcorn and stuff."

"Okay. Just let me finish my story."

"Sure." She paused. "Happy Valentine's."

"You too."


"Hey, the oven timer's going off."

Karl looked up at his roomate Dion, a slender black queen with eyelashes to die for. "Oh, good, the cookies are done." He set his textbook aside and returned to the kitchen, slipping on oven gloves to safely fetch the pan.

"Hearts?" Dion peeked. "How cute. What's in them?"

"They're sugar cookies with honey," he said, prodding carefully at one to be sure they were properly cooked. "Closest thing to a valentine either of us gets, huh?"

"Honey," Dion drawled, draping a companionable arm around his shoulder. "You could always make me your date for the night."

"I've -seen- your taste in men, honey. Joining those ranks would not be a compliment."

"Suit yourself," he smiled. "Let me know when they're cool enough to eat."

Suddenly, overhead, they heard angry voices rising. A door slammed. Pounding noises. Dion glanced at the ceiling. "Sounds like someone's worse off than we are."

"No kidding," Karl winced at the sound of something shattering, then blinked. "Wait a second. That's Justine's place." He pulled off his mitts and discarded them thoughtlessly on the floor on his way to the exit.

"Justine?" Dion asked, scooping up the oven gloves.

"A friend." He hurried outside and up the stairs to see a dark-haired man banging on the door of Justine's apartment. "Hey!" he yelled.

Alan whirled, an angry snarl on his face. "Mind your own business, fag."

"When you're making enough noise for the whole building to hear, it's my business." Karl noticed the soil and fragments of flowerpot scattered in front of the door. "I hope she broke that and not you."

"This is between me and my girl."

"Yeah, well, just a guess, but I'd say she doesn't want to talk to you right now." He lay a warning hand on the other's shoulder. "I may not have much experience with women, but I can tell you that you're better off waiting until you both cool down."

Alan shrugged the hand away. "Don't touch me." He raised a fist as if to continue knocking, then gave up and let it fall. "This is not over," he informed the door, and began to stomp off, turning back once more to add, "Happy fucking Valentine's Day."

Left alone, Karl knelt to scoop up the pieces of dirt and pottery. There was no sign that a plant had fallen with them, but he did find a small marker labeled Rosa Carolina. Prairie rose. Or, in the
language of flowers, "Love is dangerous."


Terry shook the plastic bowl, rattling the fluffs of popcorn around in an old habit, as if they would stick together in one giant inseparable clump without her efforts at aeration. Shaye, soda in hand,
wandered towards the sofa and paused, a distracted expression on her face.

"Go on," Terry said, coming up behind her with the snacks. "You can have the pillow." There was only one pillow to soften one end of the sofa, so someone would have to lean on the other, hard, wooden arm.

"No," Shaye said thoughtfully. "You lean on the pillow. I'll lean on you."

Terry blinked. Did she mean that? She decided not to ask. "Okay." She took her place at the end of the sofa and placed the bowl on the coffee table. Shaye curled up beside her, feet tucked up onto the couch, head resting on Terry's shoulder. Terry's cheeks felt hot, and she desperately hoped she wasn't blushing. What was that girl doing? "Um. The tape's in the vcr. The remote's on your side."

"Okay." The contact was broken for a second as Shaye leaned over to grab the remote from the floor. She pressed play, set the remote on the table with the bowl, and snuggled up again.

Cautiously, but trying not to seem cautious, Terry eased her arm out of the space between them and rested it on the sofa behind Shaye, who only wriggled closer. The arm stayed there while the farm boy and the beautiful girl fell in love, stayed there while the sorrowing girl was made a promised princess, but when eels shrieked, it drifted downwards, and by the time the giant rat attacked, the arm was there, warmly, around Shaye's unprotesting shoulders.

For this brief interlude, Terry thought, nothing else matters. Lovers or sisters, we are together. And it truly is a happy Valentine's day.

"Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while."
- Westley, _The Princess Bride_

[Author's note: The story Shaye is reading is, indeed, available on the web. I recommend you check it out, even if you don't know anything more about those characters than what she's said about them - for one thing, it will give you an important clue as to what's actually on Shaye's mind by the ending scene. For another, it may be a while before I get the next piece finished - but I promise it will be worth the wait.]


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