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 fic should not be seen as making a claim.


KENJI

by Douglas Helm

Edited by "Tuxedo" Will


Tsukino Kenji slowly opened the door. Propped up on the hospital bed was his young wife of about twenty-five. Delicately placed in her arms was his first child. Softly, quietly he approached the bed and smiled down at the pair.

His wife, Ikuko, smiled up at him. The afterglow of birth was still there. She felt tired but at the same time she was happy. Their daughter lay on her mother's chest, asleep, her little body rising and falling to the steady motion of her mother's breathing.

Kenji gently lifted the sleeping form and cradled her in his arms. He placed one delicate kiss on her forehead and whispered out, "Welcome to our family, Tsukino Usagi."

As if hearing her name was a cue, the bright blue eyes opened up and looked at her father. She saw him smiling down at her; giving a yawn, she smiled back at him.

Usagi started to fuss after a few seconds, indicating she was hungry. A hunger that would seldom be satisfied. Handing his daughter to Ikuko Kenji kissed his wife and then slipped from the room.

* * *

Kenji bent down and found his three year old daughter hiding under the kitchen table. Reaching in he gently guided her out from under the table while saying, "There you are, Princess. I was starting to wonder where you went to."

Usagi for her part hid her face and tried not to look at her father. She had been naughty and was scared that her father might be angry at her.

Sitting down Kenji sat Usagi on his lap and said, "Usagi-chan, why were you naughty today?" Usagi shrugged, "Were you mad that Mommy was paying attention to Shingo?"

Usagi put her thumb in her mouth and nodded. Mommy was always paying attention to her brother and never to her! She had to show Mommy that she needed attention to.

"Come on, Usagi-chan," Kenji said and standing up carried his daughter up the stairs. Usagi thinking she was in trouble started to cry softly hiding her face in Kenji's chest.

Kenji rubbed his daughter's back for a few seconds and then said softly, "Honey, you have to be quiet, okay?"

Confused, Usagi raised her eyes to look at her father. With thumb still firmly planted in her mouth she nodded that she understood. Softly they entered the room and walked over to the crib. Lying in the crib was her little brother, Shingo, fast asleep. After a minute or so Kenji walked out of the room and closed the door softly.

He walked into his daughter's room that was filled with stuffed animals and a small bed. Sitting down he looked at his daughter and said, "Usagi-chan, did you see how small your baby brother was?"

Thinking she wasn't in trouble, at least not right away, Usagi took her thumb out of her mouth and said, "Hai," softly.

"Well because he's so small means that he needs a lot of help. Mommy and I have to help him." Kenji paused for a moment Usagi was looking at him funny. "Usagi-chan, can you eat your own supper?" Usagi's eyes sparkled and she nodded. She knew how to eat supper, to the horror of her parents she seemed to have an appetite that would never be satisfied.

"Well Shingo can't eat by himself. He needs our help. Do you understand, Usagi-chan?" Usagi nodded again. She thought she knew what her father was getting at.

"So you'll be a good girl and use the potty from now on?" Usagi nodded again and gave her father a big hug. She had hoped he'd forgotten about that.

* * *

Kenji smiled apologetically at the doctor; the poor fellow wasn't used to this type of wailing before. Usagi had both of her five year old hands clamped around Kenji's fingers and was crying at the top of her lungs. She'd fallen and scrapped her knee badly. They had to take her to the doctor to get some of the gravel removed.

"Usagi-chan..." Kenji said over the wail. His little girl's wail died and she looked at her father with teary eyes. "Look at me, Usagi-chan! It's almost over," Kenji said. Usagi sniffled but continued to play the unannounced game of stare. She like this game, her father would make silly faces and try to get her to laugh.

"There, all done." The doctor breathed with relief, "I'll just give her a `you know what' to make sure she doesn't get any infection. Could you stand her on the examining table?"

Kenji nodded and helped his daughter stand up on the table, "You're taller than I am," Kenji said. He could see the bandage wrapped around her right knee. Usagi giggled and didn't see the doctor coming back with a needle.

"You've been really good. Why don't we get some ice cream after?"

Usagi's eyes opened wide; she liked ice cream. She nodded and then started to turn as she felt air on her bottom. Her father tugged her arm and she turned back to look at him. A quick sting and then nothing. Usagi examined what had happened... should she cry?

"You've been a very good girl. Mommy will be proud of you," Kenji said again. Usagi had the funny feeling that something that should make her cry just happened but wasn't sure what. Shrugging she leaned down and wrapped her arms around Kenji's neck. She wanted the ice cream... it was much better than crying.

* * *

Kenji knocked softly on the door. After a short pause, he opened it to find his seven year old daughter lying on the bed, face buried into a pillow.

He walked over to Usagi and sat down on the edge of the bed. "Usagi-chan?" There wasn't any response, "Usagi-chan?" Kenji said again while gently shaking his daughter.

A tear stained face presented itself, she looked lost and sad. Kenji sighed, Kami-sama this was going to be harder than it looked. Gently pulling Usagi upright he sat her on his knee and gave her a hug.

"Usagi-chan, tell me what happened please." Kenji used a firm but gentle tone, he didn't want to scare his daughter.

"I was playing when Mommy called me for lunch," Usagi said, "I wasn't hungry. I wanted to play."

"And what did you do?"

Usagi lowered her head and mumbled something out, Kenji lifted her chin and asked her to repeat it. "I used bad words."

"And did you apologize to Mommy?" Usagi nodded, "Well you can't go to the movie tonight. Did Mommy tell you that?" Another nod, "I know you really want to see that movie but you were naughty so you can't."

"Please Daddy?" Usagi's eyes drooped and she begged, "I promise I'll be good! Can't I go, please?"

Kenji's resolve was starting to melt when he remembered what Ikuko had said would happen if he gave into his daughter. This was a lesson for the both of them.

"I'm sorry, little one. You'll have to stay home with a babysitter and I don't want to hear that you were bad."

Usagi sagged, her last chance to stay execution was gone. Kenji hugged her comfortingly, and gave a silent promise that he'd take her some other time.

* * *

Over the years Kenji watched his daughter grow from the seven year old little girl into a pleasant young lady. There was some rough spots around her beginning teen years but that had been expected and through the yelling and tears Usagi and Kenji managed to keep the special bond they had.

Mamoru had been Kenji nightmare: older, a car, and what irritated Kenji more was the lack of formal tradition. In hindsight Kenji probably would have accepted Mamoru if he'd found a go-between to arrange a proper courtship with his daughter.

Mamoru had won his little girl's heart though and eventually Kenji couldn't see a point in arguing anymore. She was growing into a woman and he couldn't do anything about it.

Her graduation from high school and acceptance into a community college was a high point for Kenji. He did something that he rarely did -- he got wasted. Ikuko had to drive him home at four in the morning from the celebration party. In the morning Kenji's head was ringing and Ikuko dinged his ears.

Usagi had married at the age of twenty, and was soon expecting to give birth. Kenji both times cried, he was so happy. The only puzzling thing was Usagi and Mamoru seemed to be surprised by the pregnancy. Kenji had mentioned something about Usagi's name and the probable activities to Ikuko; she promptly smacked him. Kenji kept his thoughts on the matter to himself from then on.

* * *

Kenji picked up the phone with shaking hands and dialed his son's number. Shingo had moved out of the house as a wedding gift to Usagi because he'd somehow found out that Kenji had intended to give her the house.

"Moshi moshi?" came the groggy voice.

"Shingo?" Kenji asked, his voice was hard to keep calm.

"Hai, Dad? What's wrong?"

Kenji thought. "Shingo, there's been an accident," there was silence on the other end, "Usagi and Mamoru were in a car accident. The car rolled and something went wrong." His voice was becoming thick with tears.

"Are Usagi and Mamoru alright?" Shingo asked. There was another question but it wasn't asked.

"Yes Mamoru's alright. Shingo, Usagi... Usagi lost the baby."

There was dead silence on the other end. Kenji was about to ask if Shingo was there when he heard a muffled sound like crying. He'd never known his son to cry about his sister before. It was a surprise but at the same time a relief.

"I thought I should tell you, Usagi physically should be alright. I'm not sure how the baby's loss will affect her. Try and see her tomorrow."

"I will. Thanks Dad." And Shingo was gone.

Kenji slumped back into his chair. He was getting old. He felt it. Age was starting to take him, gray hairs were appearing peppering his black hair with uniform gray or white. Kenji pushed off the chair and walked up the stairs; he was getting old.

* * *

The woman bent down and placed a flower on the grave. The stone read Tsukino Kenji. He had only been fifty-six when he died. A tear rolled down the woman's face. Standing up she stepped back bowed and then stood for a long moment collecting her thoughts.

"Good bye Daddy... I'll miss you."

The end.
The story Kenji copyrighted © 1997 by Douglas Helm


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Kenji, 7 September 1997