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A Twist in Time

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He fell to his knees with a sharp intake of breath as the memories flooded back into him. Hundreds of moments swiftly overtook his mind; the visions clawed their way back to the forefront of his subconscious where Beryl's fog had kept them locked away.

They were fleeting pictures of a young girl with bright eyes and a sweet smile. She was a whirlwind of sunshine with silky blonde hair. Usagi.

Then there were even more memories of the same girl, with gleaming silver hair this time, and a serene smile on her face, but still with the same compassionate whirlwind of emotion exuding from behind sparkling, sapphire blue eyes. Serenity.

Those beautiful memories were darkened by a slew of new memories; awful ones.

These memories were dark ones that did not belong, that should never have happened. What had he done? His hands trembled as the flashes of what Beryl had made him do cut into him.

He choked on the onslaught of emotions as he clenched his fists with disgust and anger. The very same fists that had, only moments before, been wrapped around the slender curve of her neck and choking the life from her.

His eyes focused on her broken, beaten, body beside him and a strangled cry lodged in his throat at the horrific sight. How could he have done this to her?

Her eyes were round, shining with unshed tears as they peered up at him, pleading with him, silently begging him to remember. How could they still be filled with so much hope and love after what he had done to her? He shuddered, filled with guilt, as he gazed upon the beautiful girl that he did not deserve, kneeling in front of him.

She flinched with fear as he reached for her and her body trembled as he pulled her into his arms.

He choked on a broken sob of dismay and buried his face in her hair. Her body sagged in relief against him with the realization that he was no longer Beryl's puppet.

"Sailor moon-" it was a strangled, guttural, sound that tore from his lips, all his pain and regret tinged in those two words.

"NO! Endymion! KILL HER!" He whipped around to face the source of the high-pitched, offending cry of rage.

In one swift movement, he jumped to his feet, and pulled Usagi up with him, as he lunged for his sword that had clanged noisily to the stone floor only moments before. He raised it menacingly towards the red-haired witch.

Beryl stood tall, her eyes widening in disbelief before her gaze darkened with unfettered rage and hatred. Her body radiated with a dark energy that poured off of her in suffocating waves. What felt like an eternity was only a couple of seconds that passed between them. Her pulsating red eyes flashed with fury, and he knew what was going to happen and what he must do.

The air in the dark kingdom where they stood was thick and heavy with evil. He could feel it, taste it on his tongue even, as he watched Beryl's lips curl into a sneer over sharp teeth as she eyed Usagi with seething, deep-seated hatred.

She lifted her arms up high, long claw-like fingernails curling upwards, and sinewy ashy arms tightening as she called upon the dark energy that lingered in the air here. Then, with a cry of rage, she aimed her attack at Usagi, and a beam of smoky black light burst from her hands. She aimed it directly at Usagi's heart.

His breath hitched in his throat, and his heart clenched painfully in his chest. "No!" The exclamation of anger bubbled up in his throat and tore from his lips. It was a desperate rasping sound that echoed in the darkened chamber around them. He wouldn't lose her like this.

It was a split-second decision that he did not regret. His movement was quick, as he leaned forward and widened his stance protectively in front of her. He had only a moment to look back at her. Her beautiful blue eyes wide and filled with horrified disbelief, slender, gloved fingers pressed to her lips as a strangled cry echoed around them. The sapphire blue of her gaze met the cobalt blue of his, and she shook her head with the realization of what was going to happen. He was going to sacrifice his life for her. It was the least he could do for her, his beautiful Princess, for what he had done.

I'm so sorry, Usako. I'm sorry that we have to go through this again. I'm sorry that I wasn't strong enough to resist Beryl. I'm sorry that we didn't have enough time together in this life. I promise you that in the next one I won't be as stupid as I was in this one.

He hoped his pleading glance could convey the things that he did not have time to say, and he closed his eyes with an accepting sigh and prepared himself for the death blow that Beryl would deliver. He held his breath as he waited for the darkness to pierce into him, anticipating the pain, but it never came.

The noises and screams that had echoed off the stone walls moments before had gone silent. It was as if the sound was sucked from the room. He slowly opened his eyes, and they narrowed in confusion.

Beryl still stood before him; Frozen and unmoving. Her face was stuck into a contorted mask of hatred. The dark beam of energy that should have already pierced through his body had stopped and was suspended just inches from his face.

He twisted around to face Usagi that also stood motionless behind him. Her facial expression was filled with devastation and horror as her arms reached out to him as if she meant to pull him away.

"Usako?" He murmured, and the sound of his voice was deafening in the silence around him. His heart began to race as his brows drew together with disbelief. She did not move.

"She can't hear you," the sound of a voice, soft and lilting, rippled through the room. He tore his gaze from Usagi and whipped around to see a figure moving towards him from the shadows of the hall.

She was tall and regal looking, with long green hair flowing delicately behind her. She wore a white fuku, with a black pleated skirt, and a belt with shiny silver keys dangling from her waist. In her delicately gloved hand, she carried a long silver staff.

Another Senshi? He didn't recognize her.

"Who are you?" He demanded and leaned forward, poised to attack, to protect himself and Usagi from this new unknown.

"There is no need for that Endymion," she stated firmly, and her gaze hardened darkly, though it was tinged with wisdom and understanding that made him pause. "I'm here to change things. Do you recognize me at all?" She questioned with a tilt of her head, that sent green waves of hair tumbling over her shoulder.

He curtly shook his head. "No," he snapped, but there was a brief wisp of memory regarding this particular Senshi that flashed through his mind. Although, just like all of the memories that belonged to Endymion, it was dull and he couldn't quite grasp it.

She moved closer to him, and the heels of her boots clicked on the stone floor before she stopped abruptly and lowered her staff with a loud clang that echoed around them.

"I'm Sailor Pluto. I'm Guardian of time and soldier of change, and I need you to remember, Endymion," she commanded quietly, and her words sent shivers rolling down his spine. She didn't yell her statement, she didn't need to, it could have been whispered, and he would have heard the force behind her words.

He didn't have time to react before she lowered the staff again and a flash of light erupted from it, flooded the room and enveloped him in its bright shining brilliance. He lifted his arms to protect his eyes from the blinding light when something happened.

The mere flashes of his past life that he'd been privileged to glimpse before were no longer flashes. The memories that had belonged to Endymion flooded his mind, and in one instant he remembered every single moment of the life he'd lived thousands of years ago as if it were yesterday.

He released a strangled cry and covered his eyes to dull the ache pulsing through his head as his mind expanded and strained against the memories of two lives. It quickly passed, and he let out a breath of relief. It felt good to know, to finally remember it all. He'd spent so much time chasing down the wisps of things that danced around the edges of his mind.

He choked then as the very last memory clicked into place. It was of Serenity; her eyes wide as she screamed his name. He nearly stumbled with the intensity of it. God, he loved her. She was his everything.

The love that he carried for her in this new life was just the beginning. It was unfurling slowly as Usagi and Mamoru clumsily stumbled and waded through the complex emotions, but it was an echo compared to what it would become and to what it had been. That love exploded in him and expanded throughout the fibre of his very being.

He reached for her motionless hand and grasped at her in desperation. "Serenity," he choked brokenly, with the desperate need to hold her again and to feel her lips pressed against his. He clenched his eyes shut and let the emotion wash through him. It took a couple of minutes, but the raw intensity of it dulled until it finally subsided. He straightened his stance, no longer the confused, slumped over posture of brooding Mamoru, but with the confident, and proud attitude of Prince Endymion.

His gaze fell onto the Senshi of Pluto, and his eyes were weary as they carefully studied her. "I know who you are. You're a part of Queen Serenity's outer Senshi," he said, and his tone was steady and even as he faced her. "I thought you were a myth, Sailor Pluto. What are you doing here?" He questioned, his tone firm and harshly matter of fact. Everything that he'd been trained to be as the Prince of the Earth and all the knowledge that he'd been taught about the Lunar Kingdom now firmly embedded into memories that no longer felt like they'd occurred thousands of years ago.

Pluto's lips curled into a hardened smile, "You were about to die Endymion. Again. She would have brought you back this time, but something isn't right. The timeline in the future needs to change, and everything now depends on you to fix it," she stated vehemently, and he frowned and shook his head with confusion. He didn't understand.

He took a step towards her, "What do you mean?" He demanded, and she tilted her head with a patient stare that only the lonely guardian of time could have managed.

"I can't tell you everything. I know you hate riddles, Endymion," she chuckled as if recalling a private joke. "But we need to change this timeline. You're going to have to start over again," she declared, and his brows drew together in irritation now.

"I'm going to send you back to the beginning when Serenity -Usagi- first became the Moon Senshi," she said, and his eyes widened, bewildered and confused. She was going to send him back? "You're going to need to redo this timeline, but this time, you're going to remember everything. Listen to me carefully, this is very important; you need to save your Shitennou this time. It is imperative that you do so," she demanded, her tone laced with a fierce determination that made him shudder.

He inhaled sharply at her words, and Endymion's face fell as he recalled them; his generals, his mentors, his friends. Beryl corrupted them, one by one, in both of his lives it would seem, though she'd managed to find them first this time around.

"This is also important, Endymion, please listen carefully, I know this is going to be a difficult task, but it's imperative that Serenity's timeline stays as close to the original as possible. She must become the Moon Senshi in the same respect that she did before," she ordered, and it took him a moment before he understood what she meant.

His expression hardened, and he stepped back towards Usagi, that was still frozen in place. "I'm not staying away from her," he snapped, and a flash of frustration momentarily crossed Pluto's face.

She sighed softly and shook her head, her green locks tumbling gracefully over her shoulders.

"I know you won't; even if you tried, you wouldn't be able to. You've both always been so determined. Your attraction a magnetic force bringing you together, despite the consequences," her words were riddled with awe and a tinge of sadness. "I am not asking you to stay away from her. I know that you can't. I am simply asking you to refrain from changing her timeline too greatly. I know that it will be difficult but to have the most ideal outcome, she needs to become Sailor Moon, and she needs to remember you at the right time."

He frowned as he tried to process the request when the room suddenly began to shake. It flickered slightly, and the ball of darkness moved somewhat closer before everything came to a standstill again. Endymion nervously shielded Serenity and eyed the orb of darkness that should have ended his life with caution.

Pluto's form shuddered, as her brow furrowed in concentration. She was struggling to maintain control of the situation.

"I'm running out of time Endymion," she whispered and looked up at him with pleading eyes. "Save your generals and protect your princess," she stated, and he clenched his fists in frustration. He had so many questions to ask her.

"How do I save them?" he inquired desperately, and it was the first question that flew from his mouth.

She tilted her head, and her eyes shone brightly as she smiled at him. "Endymion, can't you feel it? You're Prince of the Earth and the powers you once held as that Prince is with you now, amplified even."

Even as she said it, he knew she was right. He could feel the golden power of his ancestors flowing through him. Centuries ago, the heir of Earth could inherit its powers. He'd once been its protector, and he could, at one time, connect with the energy that pulsated throughout the planet. It was a power that had been forgotten long ago. He'd only had minor access to it as Tuxedo Kamen, but now he could feel it pulsing through his fingertips. The ability to heal and the power to fight.

"It's time Endymion," Pluto whispered, and he could see her straining against the unseen power she was using to freeze time.

He could feel the panic set in, "Wait! You speak as if you know me. As if you know her?" He questioned, and Pluto smiled warmly.

"I do know you Endymion," she said, and he felt something pulling at his senses. It must have been her getting ready to hurl him back.

He struggled to keep his eyes open.

"Wait! How will I know if it worked?" He stammered out desperately, and she laughed. The sound was soothing, like a wind chime tinkling in the breeze.

"If it works then I will tell you myself when we meet again. Good luck your highness," she whispered gently as her figure and the scene before him flickered before it disappeared and everything went black.

Chapter Text


Chapter 1

Mamoru awakens

He paced the length of the hall outside what had been his fathers' study. His movements filled with panic, and a bubble of anxiety building like poison in the pit of his stomach. The hall walls were covered in pictures; majestic portraits of his predecessors, frozen for a moment in time, captured and framed. The regal half smiles fixed on their painted faces would have usually given him comfort, as if they were gently guiding him, but today it felt different. He felt pressured as if they were silently judging him. He probably imagined it but he was sure their eyes narrowed accusingly, the water painted orbs following his movements with displeasure.

He stopped his frantic pacing at the sound of hurried, panicked, footsteps. He forced himself to stand tall and to banish the anxiousness from his eyes as a haggard-looking woman burst forward. Her brown hair singed, askew, and her emerald green eyes filled with fear.

"Kora," he stated, his voice laced with concern, as she stopped in front of him. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words died on her lips as she seemed to lose her nerve. She bit her bottom lip nervously and shifted in discomfort. He frowned at the brown-haired servant girl whose peculiar behavior indicated that she was wary of his reaction.

His heart sank with the realization of what that meant. "Kunzite isn't coming. He's fallen to her just like the others," he choked out in dismay, and she lowered her eyes sadly with a curt nod, as she began to wring her hands nervously. Kora was a servant that he'd sent to fetch the last of his generals. Kunzite had been his mentor, one of his closest friends and his wisest general. How was it possible that he, too, had fallen to Beryl? He'd spoken to him only hours ago, but just like the others, he'd turned and begun fighting for a cause that he had never expressed an interest in before. Why was this happening?

This war was far from over, despite the growing darkness, he still had an army of well-trained soldiers ready to protect Earth's interest at a moment's notice, but without his chosen generals by his side, he knew that the victory would feel hollow.

He sighed in defeat and ran a frustrated hand through his black hair. It was then that he noticed Kora's state of dress; the plain dress was dirty, torn, and there were blue-tinged bruises spattered along the length of her shaking arms.

He firmly grasped her arm and frowned as he gently inspected the damage. "It's bad out there," he whispered guiltily. He should have known better than to send a mere maiden outside of the castle walls. He just hadn't expected the news to be so dire; Kunzite should have escorted her back.

Her downcast eyes trained on the floor at his feet. He could see her visibly gulp as she nodded. As the Prince of Earth, he was gifted with specific abilities that allowed him to access the powers of the Golden Kingdom. As an empath, he could feel the remnants of terror swirling around her. He let the Golden healing sparks of his energy heal her until the bruises faded, and then disappeared entirely.

He released her arm and sighed with compassion. "Go rest, Kora. I'm truly sorry," he stated, his tone soft and apologetic.

Her eyes widened, and her gaze met his in alarm. "Oh! Your Highness, please, I wanted to go! Please don't apologize!" She stammered fearfully, and he shook his head to interrupt her sputtered pleas.

He choked on the terror he could feel emanating from her, and sincerely hoped that it was not in fear of retribution from him. "Go," he said and waved his hand dismissively.

She nodded and, with a flurry of brown hair, swivelled around and hurried back the way she'd come. He stared after her and his fists clenched in furious desperation. He'd become too dependent on his generals, and now they were gone. He felt his resolve waver with the realization that he would have to do this on his own.

Beryl had infected everyone, and his planet was in turmoil. He could feel the hatred and the chaos crackling dangerously in the air, and he couldn't figure out where all the dark pandemonium had originated. They'd been a relatively peaceful planet only months ago, and now they were on the brink of war. The people demanded the Silver Imperium Crystal. They wanted to take up arms and go to war with the Moon Kingdom.

The Moon Kingdom of all places!

A peaceful and regal kingdom whose sole mission was to watch them from afar, to guide them, to protect them. It was also the kingdom that currently housed the most important person in his life. His wife, Serenity.

The red-haired witch of darkness had taken everything from him. He would not allow her to touch a single silken strand on his Moon Princesses head, no matter how many diplomats or politicians she corrupted.

He strode with purpose down the stone walls of his home and sadly noted the webbed despair threaded throughout the energy that hung thickly in the air. It was a gloomy place these days, and the people who lived and worked within its walls, usually so happy, now rushed by him with hurried bows and dark, sorrow-filled eyes.

He didn't know where his purposeful stride was bringing him until he sucked in the crisp cold air of the private palace gardens. The air felt thick with tension, even out here. His hands crackled slightly with golden sparks as his body reacted to it, ready to fight, to protect the planet that he could feel dying around him. The once lush garden was fading as the multitude of colourful flowers started to crumble and wilt, suffocated by whatever was infecting the atmosphere.

"Endymion!" The lilting voice, tinged with anxiety and fear, pierced through the haze of his sombre thoughts. His eyes widened at the sound, and he whipped around to face her. His breathing quickened, and his heart froze in fear for her. What was she doing here?

It took only a few moments to take in her beauty. Her pure white gown hugged the slender curves of her waist and cascaded elegantly to the ground. The two silver tresses of her hair framed her heart-shaped face, and her soulful blue eyes glistened with unshed tears. She was wringing her hands nervously.

He let out a growl of frustration and strode to her. He pulled her lithe form into his arms and crushed her to his chest. He tried to be gentle, but he was desperate, and his heart beat painfully against his ribcage as his arms tightened around her. He could feel things changing, and it felt like she might melt and disappear if he didn't hold her tightly enough.

"Serenity, what are you doing here?" He demanded and shuddered as her slight figure trembled in his arms.

"I- I had to see you," she breathed, and the desperation in her voice matched his own. He knew that she could feel it too.

He forced himself to release her and hold her at arm's length. His hand gently cupped her chin as he lifted her face to look up into his eyes. "It isn't safe for you here. Do you know what they – If anyone found you- I couldn't-" the words were strangled and filled with terror. He couldn't finish the thoughts as they were too devastating to imagine.

"Go home Serenity," he choked painfully on the energy swirling around them, and he wasn't sure where his sorrow ended, and hers began. She let out an involuntary sob as her eyes flashed angrily with the depth of her raw emotions.

Her hands clutched his shirt as she pulled him closer to her and glared up at him. "You are my home. Don't you know that?" She whispered brokenly, and he groaned with longing and pressed her against his chest as he crushed his lips onto hers. His fingers intertwined almost painfully in the silky hair at the back of her head. She moaned and melted in his arms as their kiss deepened.

When they pulled apart, they were both breathless. "I promise that I will protect you, Serenity," he whispered, and she looked up at him with a knowing sadness swimming in the pools of her eyes.

"I know you will Endymion."


He awoke with a gasp and her name clinging to his lips. He shot up into a sitting position and pressed the palm of his hand onto his forehead as he tried to steady the beating thrum pulsating in his head. He felt disoriented as his eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness. Where was he?

His legs were tangled in silken sheets, and he could see the outline of his bedroom furniture. It took a moment for the fog to clear from his mind as he dimly recognized the furnishings around him. He was in his apartment. The alarm clock on his bedside table flashed up at him and read 3:04 am. He stumbled from the bed and sluggishly made his way to the ensuite bathroom. He turned on the light and the room filled with a harsh glow that spilled out into the bedroom.

His hands fumbled with the tap, and he cupped cold water in his hands to splash onto his face. He looked up into the mirror and was startled by the reflection staring back at him.

He was a young boy again, the 19-year-old University freshman, that he barely recognized. He searched through the haze in his mind to remember.

Mamoru Chiba.

It was hard to filter through the memories to find Mamoru again. Endymion was so fresh and so raw in his mind. The memories that Pluto had restored assaulted his senses and it was almost painful to try and distinguish between the two lives that he had lived. His first life, the one he was currently drowning in, as Endymion and his second life as Mamoru. He was both of them.

He made his way back to his bedroom, and his eyes searched the room for a clue, a reminder of where he was or more accurately when he was. His medical, biology and anatomy school tomes and papers were strewn across a desk pressed against neutral white painted walls. His eyes landed on his calendar that was propped open against a reading lamp.

He let out a breath that he didn't realize he'd been holding in. It was only the beginning of the school year, and he clenched his eyes shut as he struggled to remember this time. The memories were dull in his mind, but he recalled the anguish and longing that had surrounded this part of his life.

He'd been so lost and broken, longing for the princess in his dreams, and desperately searching for the crystal at her behest. He used to be obsessed with finding her as his dormant golden power had taken on the form of Tuxedo Kamen of its own accord. It was a relief to know who she was now.


Thinking of her, and knowing she was out there without him, made it difficult to breathe. He remembered them both so clearly. His beautiful, carefree, clumsy, Usagi and his gentle, serene, Serenity. They were the same. Usagi was what Serenity could have been had she been allowed to live without the strict structured confines of the palace, weaving through a political life balancing duty and the semantics of war.

Usagi's sapphire blue eyes flashed through his mind, and he let out a sigh of longing. He remembered when he was now. They'd met, but she hadn't been granted her powers as the Moon Senshi yet. He fell back onto his bed and draped his arm over his eyes.

"Save your generals and protect your princess."

Pluto's words ricocheted through him and the implications of the second chance she'd granted him sent a thrill of excitement pulsing through his veins. He could save them this time.

Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite. He remembered them, and he knew that he needed to get his friends away from Beryl. He knew all too well what it felt like; drowning and lost in the darkness that her brainwashing weaved.

It would be easier this time; the unknown didn't consume him. Pluto had gifted him all of his memories. His eyes narrowed as an unbidden memory surfaced and he groaned and silently cursed himself.

Saving his generals would probably be easier than protecting his princess.

He remembered all of the things brooding Mamoru had said to Usagi in the haze of his obsession with the silhouetted princess of his dreams. He'd felt an unwarranted resentment towards the clumsy girl in the arcade that had inexplicably attracted him to her. Subconsciously, he'd been torn between his attraction for Usagi and his love for the Princess. To be fair, at the time he hadn't known that they were one in the same. Still, he cringed as the teasing words flashed through his mind; Odanga atama.

He definitely had his work cut out for him.


He slept in late the next day as he'd stayed up late the night before, unable to sleep with the thoughts of Usagi and his friends coursing through his mind. He'd finally succumbed to his exhaustion after staring, bleary-eyed, at the clock blinking up at him at 5:30 am.

His sleep had been blissfully uninterrupted by the dreams that he had become so accustomed to in the previous timeline. He awoke slowly, barely registering the slightly muffled sound of his phone ringing from beneath a notebook on his bedside table. His hand fumbled automatically towards his phone, and he held the handset up to his ear.

"Hello?" he croaked, his voice still groggy with sleep.

"Mamoru? Where were you today? You missed class," the deep voice on the other line questioned, and his tone was filled with curiosity and tinged with concern.

"What? Who is this?" Mamoru asked, shaking his head slightly, trying to clear it as he filtered through his memories.

"It's Motoki ... are you okay? You don't sound well," he asked, this time with genuine concern.

Mamoru sat up abruptly as the correct memories clicked into place; Right. Motoki. His university classmate and, currently, his only friend.

"Yeah, it was a rough night," he responded and ran his hand through his hair as glanced at the clock. He grimaced as he realized how late it was. He'd missed all of his classes today.

"Princess dreams again?" Motoki asked, and Mamoru cringed. He'd forgotten that Motoki was privy to that information. Mamoru recalled that he'd been frustrated and had confided in Motoki about his dreams before he knew he was Tuxedo Kamen before Usagi had thrown her failing test paper at his head.


He jumped out of bed, phone still pressed against his ear, as he practically tripped over the tangled sheets in his anticipation to get ready.

"Uh, no, there weren't any princess dreams last night. What are you doing now?" He asked as he fumbled with the jeans that he pulled from the dresser in the corner of his room. He knew where Motoki was going.

"I'm on my way to work, like usual," Motoki said apprehensively, and Mamoru knew that he was behaving unusually. He meant to reassure his friend but couldn't find the words.

"I'll see you soon," he replied instead before abruptly ending the call.

It was difficult to remember the original timeline precisely as it had been, but one thing was sure. Mamoru's heart was pounding with anticipation at the thought of seeing the princess – his princess, again.


"You didn't miss much, I guess if you were going to miss a day, today was a good one to miss," Motoki said as he poured Mamoru's usual cup of coffee from behind the arcade counter.

The sounds of the clanging arcade games were strangely comforting as they echoed around him. Mamoru perched on what he knew was his usual stool at the end of the counter, didn't say anything as he brought the bitter brew to his lips eyeing his blonde-haired friend pensively.

"Dude, are you sure you're okay? You're being strange," Motoki said, and Mamoru raised an eyebrow in surprise. Was he still being strange? He did feel disconnected from this life. He was still trying to make sense of the two entirely different worlds that swirled through his mind.

Motoki coughed uncomfortably, and Mamoru realized that it had been a few moments that had passed since his statement. Mamoru gave him an apologetic smile.

"I'm fine. I'm sorry," he murmured, and Motoki shrugged.

"Alright, if you need anything though -" he left the end of the sentence unsaid, and Mamoru smiled gratefully.

"I know, thank you," he replied, and he hoped that his tone was reassuring.

He felt her presence then, as he was so much more attuned to her now. He could feel the energy that pulsed around her. It was so bright and appealing. She flew through the door in a flurry of golden hair, her pleated blue skirt rippling around her and a brilliant smile on her lips.

"Kon'nichiwa Motoki-San!" She said brightly, throwing herself onto the stool near the counter, stumbling a little bit and then flushing adorably.

"Hi Usagi, chocolate Milkshake?" He asked with a warm, indulgent smile and she lit up brightly. "Yes please!"

He almost choked on the emotion as he stared at her, his little ball of sunshine. She glanced over at him, and her eyes darkened.

"What Baka? Do I have something on my face?" She demanded as her hands flew up to her face self-consciously, her nose scrunching up in irritation. He relaxed and smiled at her with raised eyebrows.

"There's nothing on your face. I think one of your Odangos are coming loose though," the words flew out of Mamoru's mouth before he could stop them and Usagi's eyes lit up angrily as her face reddened with irritation. He sharply inhaled as he took in the sight of her. She was positively adorable.

He remembered now why he'd spent so much time teasing her and pushing her buttons; the energy she exuded so passionately while arguing with him was enticing. It washed over him in warm waves and drew him to her.

"They are NOT odangas! You are SO annoying!" She wailed angrily and swirled away from him in irritation, jumping off of the stool in a huff.

"Don't forget your milkshake," he said, his voice tinged with amusement.

Just like he knew she would, she stopped and barreled her way back to the counter, her love of milkshakes overriding her need to soothe her damaged pride. She glared at him as she grabbed the frothy mix Motoki had left there for her.

He chuckled, and her glare turned into a mild frown with narrowed eyes as she sucked the delicious drink noisily through the straw.

"Eh, Baka, did you hit your head or something?" She demanded, "I didn't know that you knew how to laugh."

It was true. Mamoru had been haunted , brooding, and he inwardly cringed at the thought that he hadn't always treated her nicely. He shrugged and winked at her. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she turned away from him and towards Motoki, fumbling through her bag for change to pay for the milkshake.

"Don't worry about it Usagi, on the house for my favourite customer." Motoki smiled warmly, and Usagi flushed with pleasure.

His smile faded instantly at that and his hands clenched around the coffee cup. There was an unwanted flash of irritation and jealousy.

It's not her fault. She doesn't remember.

"UUUSAGI!" There was a cry of excitement from the doorway of the arcade as another girl, a small brunette, flew towards a surprised Usagi.

"Hi, Naru!" Usagi exclaimed.

"Guess what?! My mom is having a sale! She has almost all of the jewelry on clearance! I mean not just the bad quality stuff! All of it!" The girl exclaimed, and Mamoru froze at the statement. He could feel that there was something significant about the jewelry store.

"Oh wow! I want to get something, but I don't think my mom would let me… – You know – because of my test," she said, the last bit mumbled as she glanced at Mamoru. Her face reddened in embarrassment and he pretended not to be listening.

"Oh. Too bad." Naru replied in disappointment, "well I'm going there now, do you still want to come to take a look?"

He remembered now why this tugged at his memory. Tonight would be the first night he met Sailor Moon.

He'd found her in a jewelry store, where he had been searching for the Silver Crystal, being attacked by a vicious Youma. She had fumbled a bit that first time as Sailor Moon, clumsily dodging the creature, her movements unpracticed in her new role as the Moon Senshi.

He could stop this now. He felt the energy around him crackle. His power was restored, and he was stronger than he had ever been and he knew that he could kill it before Sailor Moon become involved.

The thought of his Usako fighting as a Senshi in a battle filled him with dread. It terrified him even as he remembered how strong Sailor Moon had been. He still couldn't stomach the thought of her at the scene of a battle. In fact, just remembering it from the dull memories that had belonged to a confused Tuxedo Kamen filled him with terror. The coffee cup he'd been holding exploded in his clenched fist, and he jumped up in surprise. He had barely touched it.

The girls glanced over at him curiously, Usagi's big blue eyes wide as she regarded him thoughtfully.

"Sorry Motoki," he muttered, and Motoki just waved his hand at him with a smile as he tossed the broken pieces into the trash.

"Don't worry about it, Mamoru. I think that one may have already been cracked," his blonde-haired friend replied with a reassuring smile.

Mamoru knew for a fact that the mug hadn't been cracked.

"You okay there Mamo-Baka?" Usagi quipped, and he smiled back at her causing her to frown in confusion.

"You're right. I am a Baka," he laughed and Usagi's brow furrowed. She had not expected that.

He noticed a gleaming piece of the broken mug on the counter near her at the same time that she did and his hand grazed hers as they both reached for it. She shrank back as if he had electrocuted her.

The physical and emotional attraction sparked between them, and he wondered how he had never noticed it before. His powers had been muted and forgotten back then, but the attraction was just so powerfully palpable. How could he have missed it?

It made his chest ache with longing, and he heard her gasp as she looked up into his eyes. Her lips parted slightly, and he could feel the energy between them, it was electric and tangible in the air. He wanted so badly to pull her into his arms.

The look on her face was one of uncertainty. He could see the confusion behind her eyes as she tried to grasp at things she didn't remember and he could feel the panic swirling through her as she tried to make sense of the attraction between them. Now that he could sense her emotions, he wondered if she had always felt this way, a part of her reaching out to him, and he just hadn't noticed.

She subconsciously leaned in towards him, her eyes unblinkingly locked onto his as her breathing quickened.

"Usagi? Are you coming?" Naru called out to Usagi as she was already halfway out the door.

Just like that, the moment had ended, and Usagi snapped out of her daze. She scrambled down from the stool clumsily, stumbling a bit, her face flushed.

"Coming!" She said and hurriedly followed after her friend.

She glanced back, and for just a moment he saw a flash of something in her eyes. He inhaled sharply at the look. She didn't remember, but she felt it, just like he did. He knew she was running towards danger and it made him want to follow her to stop it from happening.

Serenity had deserved the life that Usagi had now; carefree and uninhibited with her emotions. He had glimpsed that brightness only a handful of times in Serenity, and he had longed for more moments like it.

He felt the apprehension spread throughout his chest with the knowledge that in a couple of hours, Usagi's life as she knew it was going to change. With every fight, with every obstacle, carefree Usagi would harden. He didn't want that for her.

"She must become sailor moon in the same respect that she did before."

Pluto's words rang through his mind, and he sighed in frustration. Usagi had to do this, and he had to let her do this. He would be there to make sure she stayed this way. Usako. His little ball of sunshine.

"What the hell was that?" Mamoru snapped out of his musings and turned back towards Motoki who was staring at him as if he had sprouted another head.

"What?" he said, and Motoki shook his head with confusion.

"That whole thing, just now, with Usagi," he demanded, and Mamoru just shrugged.

"I don't know what you mean," he murmured. "Can I have another coffee?"

Motoki shook his head and poured him another cup of coffee.

"Try not to break this one okay?" He frowned slightly and moved on towards another customer at the end of the counter. Mamoru took a sip of the bitter brew; the hot liquid slightly scalding the inside of his mouth and added a new memory to his ever-growing repertoire.

The memory of a girl blushing furiously over a broken coffee cup.


Chapter Text

Chapter 2


The book felt heavy in his hands, and he glared at the leather-bound manuscript with the crescent moon delicately painted on its cover. His lips set in a grim line. Was this the only book they had about the lunar kingdom in the entire library? His eyes perused his surroundings in dismay.

The high-ceilinged library was by far one of the biggest rooms in the castle. There were hundreds of wooden shelves pressed against stone walls. They stretched from the floors to the stone ceilings with thousands of neatly stacked books of all shapes and sizes.

He'd searched the room from top to bottom, and this was the only book he'd been able to find about the moon. It might have felt heavy, but the words inside were light, shallow sentences, that held no value to him. They were mostly paragraphs of myth twisted and rooted in lies. The only thing he had managed to determine with his search was that they didn't have a clue about the beauty that was the Lunar kingdom and what they did know was warped into something dark and fallacious.

"I thought you had already read every book in this room," a man's voice intoned behind him sarcastically, his voice light and teasing.

Endymion didn't look up from the useless book he was holding but smiled and carefully opened up the tome in his hands.

"We can't all live in the library like you Jadeite," he replied and looked up just in time to catch Jadeite rolling his eyes, with a smirk splayed out jokingly on his lips.

Jadeite was a bit shorter than Endymion. He sported short blonde hair and roman-like features. The same distinct features of the people of kuna'an, which was one of their territories almost a continent away from where they now stood. If that was where Jadeite originated from though, he would never know.

Endymion remembered that he had been playing in the gardens, just a young boy himself when the scrawny waif-like creature that had been Jadeite had stolen into his midst. He'd been almost feral with starvation and poised to attack. The boy had practically hissed and clawed at him, but it was all a show for when Endymion had touched the boy's shoulder to comfort him, the healing powers of the golden kingdom had washed over them.

Jadeite fell to his knees, a weeping broken child, shuddering and trembling as haunted eyes envisioned a horror that Endymion could not see but that he had felt in that brief connection.

Endymion had pleaded with his mother to let Jadeite remain in the castle, and his gentle mother took pity on the boy. They grew up together, and Jadeite rarely left Endymion's side. Endymion had always sensed something raw and burning within him, haunted by an early childhood that he would not speak of.

Occasionally when Endymion could sense a particularly painful emotion within Jadeite, he would lay a hand on his treasured friend's shoulder and use his powers as the Prince of Earth to heal him and to soothe the open wound that left him so raw and exposed.

They never spoke of it, but Jadeite knew what Endymion had done for him.

When he was 12 years old, Endymion's mother fell gravely ill and succumbed to death. His father briefly considered marrying a noblewoman from a nearby hamlet for a short time afterwards.

His father, blinded by his grief, had allowed the woman full reign of the castle. Though the woman was beautiful, she was hateful and vindictive, and it was clear that she despised their kingdom. That was the first time that Endymion was faced with someone that was inherently evil.

With his connection to Earths energy and unable to fully control his powers yet, he was vulnerable to her seething hatred. He was the only one that had been able to sense the darkness within her. It had overwhelmed him, and when she was near, he almost always doubled over in pain.

In those moments, his closest friend, who seemed to understand such hatred, became a great comfort to him.

The woman could also sense that Endymion wasn't fooled and so she centred her loathing on him. His beatings had been often, and he'd been ashamed by his weakness and so had kept the daily thrashings to himself; until Jadeite found out.

He could remember the rage that flashed through his best friends' eyes when he inspected the painful bruises that circled his neck from one of her rages. Jadeite's eyes had narrowed dangerously and in a deadly quiet tone advised him that he was going to take care of this.

The next day, some of his mothers' crown Jewels went missing. Jadeite casually mentioned that he'd seen the woman take them within earshot of the Kings' guard. They searched her room and found them hidden under her mattress.

Jadeite stood beside him in the square on the day that they hung her, strong and brave. Endymion had looked away in horror and met his friends' hardened eyes. He knew what Jadeite had done for him, but the guilt still bubbled up from the pit of his stomach and lodged in his throat. Jadeite had been strong enough to accomplish what he had been too weak to do.

Jadeites eyes softened as he understood what Endymion was feeling. He placed a gentle hand on his friends' shoulder.

"You are bright and pure Endymion. I would gladly take every dark task on for you so that you do not have to. You saved my life, and I will spend the rest of my life saving yours."

He'd nodded numbly as his friends' loyalty and love poured over him in gentle waves of kindness.

They never spoke of it again, and it was him and Jadeite against the world until they were joined by their other friends shortly afterwards.

As they grew, Endymion was trained hard to be prince and heir to the golden kingdom. Jadeite proved himself to be intelligent, with an eidetic memory and a love for all literature he became a valuable asset to the kingdom guard as a brilliant strategist.

He had without question knighted his best friend as one of his generals.

"What are you reading?" Jadeite questioned curiously, leaning forward to read the title of the book he held in his hands.

Endymion looked up at him and shrugged, tossing him the manuscript that Jadeite promptly caught in midair. He glared at Endymion; his eyes narrowed in irritation.

Jadeite treasured every book in this room and did not appreciate the casual toss of one. Endymion just smirked and shrugged again. He'd already perused its yellow pages, and the ridiculous prose had made him snort in disdain. It had nothing useful to say.

Jadeites irritated façade melted away as he curiously fingered the brittle pages. He smiled softly then and glanced up at Endymion, his smile turning into a knowing smirk.

"The lunar kingdom? Really? This wouldn't have anything to do with a certain pretty moon princess would it?" He gently prodded.

Endymion sharply inhaled as shock roared through him. The blood draining from his face. Serenity's visits were forbidden. A secret he had always kept, even as she stole into the kingdom often to see him.

"How-?" he sputtered, and Jadeite laughed.

"Come on Endymion. You're my best friend. I watch over you. Always," he said and then his smile deepened.

"She is not the only one that sneaks into the castle by the cover of darkness. I have an understanding with her Senshi," he stated, and it was Endymion's turn to smile.

"Hm, I've only seen them from afar. Serenity speaks of them often. Sailor Venus is quite beautiful I'm told," he stated, and his friend blushed crimson red as he sputtered slightly. Endymion's eyes widened in surprise. He'd never seen his friend blush like that.

"I'll leave the blonde ones to you, my friend. I've always preferred black hair myself," he murmured, and Endymion raised an eyebrow curiously. So, it was Sailor Mars that was causing his friend's heart to quicken like that.

"How long have you known?" He questioned, and it was Jadeite's turn to shrug.

"Since the beginning. You should have told me yourself." He said, and Endymion grimaced guiltily.

"I couldn't if anyone- "he began, but Jadeite interrupted him.

"I know. I understand my friend. You can save the tortured pleas of forgiveness for Kunzite."

Endymion gasped again. Had he not been discreet?

"Kunzite knows?!" He stammered, and Jadeite grinned widely.

"Endymion. We all know. We are your generals, your friends; we will always watch over you."

He was so exhausted that he needed to periodically remind himself to keep eyes open. Although he did find the lecture on human anatomy mildly interesting, the monotone tone of his professor's voice and the unusually comfortable cushioned chair underneath him in the student hall was lulling him to sleep.

He found that the effort it took to make it to his classes now was something that was becoming increasingly difficult to do. He briefly remembered the driving need he'd had to succeed in school in his previous life as Mamoru. He'd been consumed by the unyielding desire to become something other than the lonely orphan that couldn't remember who he was. That ache had faded away the moment he regained access to his memories.

It briefly crossed his mind that Jadeite would have been proud of the ambition he'd had towards scholarly activities, but he banished the thought as soon as it formed. He couldn't dwell on his friend right now.

It was a relief to fully understand why his generals had betrayed him in his life as Endymion. He'd fallen victim to Beryl's malevolent ministrations as well, and he'd done things that he still could not bear to think about, so it was much easier to forgive the friends that had fallen to her in his past life. However, even with that newfound knowledge, he couldn't completely banish the anger he'd felt towards them last night during Sailor Moons first successful Youma defeat.

He knew the moment that she'd come face to face with the Youma. With his powers fully restored and his energy so attuned to hers he'd felt the exact moment that she had been forced to fight. There had been an unbearable pull in his chest as he felt as she filled with fear. Her emotions had been intense as her silvery energy had unknowingly reached out to his, and he'd nearly doubled over as the sheer terror washed over him. He'd transformed into Tuxedo Kamen and blindly leapt from rooftop to rooftop in his desperation to reach her.

It had been torture watching her stumble her way through the jewelry store. She had lacked confidence, and it was reflected in her uncertain footing and her near-disastrous ending. The monster attacking her was a disgusting abomination of dark energy, and it was difficult to believe that one of his friends had summoned enough dark energy to create it. He'd nearly choked on his terror as he'd watched it dash towards the love of his life, it's sole intent and purpose to kill her as it attacked ferociously without any sign of mercy.

He'd felt the golden sparks of energy flicker dangerously in his palms. It was wound tightly around his core, ready to burst from his fingertips in response to his distress and his intense need to protect her. Instead, he conjured a red rose because that was what he had done the first time.

It had been almost impossible to hold back, but everything went as it had the first time Sailor Moon had battled the Youma in the jewelry store. There was on one significant difference. This time, he didn't want to flee, he wanted to stay there with her. It tore at his heart to feel the crushing uncertainty swirling inside of her, and he'd wanted to ease her insecurities, comfort her and pull her into the safety of his arms.

His eyes widened as a realization dawned on him. He might not be able to comfort her as Tuxedo Kamen but he could, this time around, as Mamoru.

The professor announced the end of his lecture and Mamoru promptly stood up and stretched, relieved that this would mark the last class of the day. He was filled with excited anticipation as he wove his way through the crowd of students into the campus parking lot. He'd felt the strong need to see her all day, make sure she was okay after last night.

The bell attached to the glass doors that led into the Crown arcade jingled noisily as he strode through them. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness in the game room and he let out a sigh of relief when he felt it. She was already here.

He moved slowly to sit in his usual spot as his eyes desperately sought her out. He found her in the corner of the room at the Sailor V game laughing loudly with a short blue-haired girl that he surprisingly recognized immediately.

He wondered if it was his early memories as Endymion or the power of the Golden Kingdom that was enabling him the ability to see through the powerful glamour that had always protected the Senshi's identities. He knew, without a doubt, that the girl beside his Usako was the Senshi of intelligence, Sailor Mercury.

He concentrated and let the golden threads of his energy reach out to towards Usagi. He knew the moment that it linked with hers because he shuddered with the connection he felt to her.

She seemed fine. He could feel her delight at meeting a new friend. Her heart was so open with love and compassion. He could only sense a small pocket of doubt that was undoubtedly left over from her recent battle with the Youma. Even after he let go of the connection, he could still feel her warm glow, and he sighed loudly, wondering what he was going to do next.

"Why don't you go talk to her already?" He jumped as the voice pierced through his gentle musings and stared up into Motoki's smirking eyes. He hadn't even noticed the blonde-haired boys approach.

"What?" he snapped, and Motoki smiled knowingly.

"Mamoru, you have been staring at Usagi for a solid ten minutes now. I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, but you're lucky she didn't notice. When did you start crushing on her anyways?" He said, and Mamoru's face reddened slightly in embarrassment of having been caught staring longingly at her.

"Well, I-" he stammered but stopped as his resolve strengthened. "You know, I think you're right. I'm going to talk to her," he stated firmly and stood to go to her, leaving a wide-eyed, opened mouthed Motoki in his wake.

"Wow, Ami! You are so good at this! You're brilliant!" Usagi gushed as she leant over the Sailor V machine that Ami was expertly button mashing with a small smile on her face.

"I don't know about that. It doesn't look that hard." Mamoru murmured as he silently moved behind them, leaning down to look at the game console with faked derision. Usagi stiffened in irritation and Ami looked up, startled at the intrusion.

He held out his hand to the blue-haired girl with wide eyes and flushed cheeks. He remembered that Mercury had been reserved and cautious in her previous life as well.

"Hi, I'm Chiba Mamoru," he stated warmly, grinning as she took his hand slowly, a small frown forming on her face as she felt the slight spark of recognition that passed between them.

"Mizuno Ami," she replied and quickly pulled away.

"What are you doing, Baka!?" Usagi demanded heatedly, her fists clenched in anger. Despite her curt question and the flash of irritation that he felt curling around her, he noticed that she was careful not to touch him and his grin widened.

She looked so adorable with her face reddened in anger and just because he couldn't stand the distance between them, he leaned forward and tugged one of her golden tresses gently. Her hair was like silk between his fingertips.

"Just wanted to see if it was connected to your head Odango," he smirked, and she gasped in outrage.

"How DARE you-! Why do you have to-" she stammered, and his teasing demeanour instantly vanished as he watched, horrified, as she choked on her tears and swivelled around to leave.

He was the Prince of Earth with access to all of her emotions and to every single beautiful memory that they had ever shared and, somehow, he had still managed to mess it up. He inwardly cursed himself and grasped her wrist before she could flee from the arcade.

"Wait, please, Usagi. I'm sorry," he murmured apologetically, and she turned to look up at him in startled disbelief. The physical contact of his fingers gently holding her wrist sent sparks flying.

"Usagi, I'm just going to get a milkshake, but I'll be over by the counter there if you need me," Ami said, and he only spared her a brief glance.

Ami was frowning, and he could see the intelligence flashing in her eyes as her mind tried to click the forgotten pieces into place. Sailor Mercury could feel it too.

"Okay, Ami." Usagi breathed without taking her eyes off of him. He could feel that the physical attraction between them was sending threads of confusion through her and he gently released her and smiled down at her sheepishly.

"Look, Usagi, I don't mean to be such a jerk – honestly. I was actually going to ask you to show me how to play the game before my mouth got away from me," he stated, his tone desperate and pleading. He hadn't been about to ask her to play the Sailor V game, but he didn't want her to leave just yet. He'd been looking forward to seeing her all day.

Her golden eyebrows arched in distrustful disbelief as she regarded him warily. "You want me to show you how to play Sailor V? Seriously?" She tilted her head and placed her delicate hands on her hips, her eyes narrowing with thinly veiled suspicion.

He suppressed a groan because he wanted to kiss her so badly. Instead, he raised his hands in mock defeat.

"I swear I do! Truce!" he pleaded, and he inwardly sighed in relief as he felt her anger wane and watched her stance soften slightly.

"Well, okay then, I guess I can show you how to play," she murmured, her expression still filled with cautious confusion. He smiled gently to reassure her, but that seemed only to confuse her more. Had he been that much of a jerk to her? She moved beside him and luckily the awkwardness only lasted for a moment as he faced the game console of buttons and dials.

He started the game and knitted his brow in concentration as he tried to get the cartooned figure to move across the blinking landscape through obstacles. He considered himself relatively intelligent and, while he hadn't spent much time on these kinds of games before, he didn't think it would be a difficult thing to master. He had meant to impress her with his awesomeness, but instead, he miserably failed as, no matter how he tried, he could not defeat this stupid game! She shouted instructions at him and even helped guide the joystick once or twice, but every time the silly cartooned Youma obliterated him.

His eyes narrowed angrily, and he swore that the little-cartooned Sailor V stuck her tongue out at him mockingly. "Ugh!" He exclaimed and kicked the game hard, which actually really hurt.

He closed his eyes with a sigh of defeat, his face red in embarrassment as he resigned himself to the fact that he had probably just ruined everything until he heard her laugh. The sound washed over him in warm waves as he looked down at her in startled surprise. She stared up at him, her eyes shining brightly as her hand flew up to cover her mouth, barely restraining her laughter.

He relaxed and chuckled, scratching the back of his head as he felt the hot blush of embarrassment burn on his face.

"I guess I'm not very good at that," he said, and her laughter began in earnest. He grinned at the sound, her amusement spreading warmth throughout his chest.

"Oh – Ma-moru! You – were- awful, but you – just- kept trying!" She stammered in between bouts of laughter, and it was difficult not to laugh with her. Her joy was infectious.

"Oh, come on. I'm not that bad. Jeez, Usagi. Cut a guy some slack here," He pleaded jokingly with a teasing smile as he waited for her laughter to subside.

"I'm sorry, that is awful for me to say, but it was nice to see you not be so good at everything," she said and smiled. He inhaled sharply as the brightness of her smile took his breath away.

"I'm not good at a lot of things," he said with a frown, and she snorted as she rolled her eyes.

"Oh please, you are always making fun of me for my failing grades. Mister I'm-so-smart-and-sophisticated," She said it jokingly, but he could feel the real hurt that layered beneath her words.

That settled it, Mamoru Chiba that did not remember, that spent all of his time brooding, was one hundred percent a stupid jerk. He'd been such a stubborn idiot, and it was a wonder that she'd ever managed to like him in their previous timeline, let alone love him.

"If it makes you feel any better, I fell asleep in class today," He said, and her eyes widened slightly in surprise. She giggled with a slow, grateful smile.

"I don't believe you but thanks for saying that," she said and leaned over conspiratorially. "You know, I do try very hard, but I just hate school!" She exclaimed as she began to rant about her teacher, Miss Haruna, and how she was always late no matter how much she tried to be on time.

"It's my dreams you know, they're so wonderful! I can't get out of bed," She said sheepishly as her face reddened in embarrassment. She bit her lip as if she thought she had said too much and he could feel the uncertainty swirling around her. He leaned towards her then, breathing in her scent, desperately missing her. His Usako.

"What kind of dreams?" he asked softly, and he watched as her lips parted and her breathing quickened under the intensity of his tender gaze.

"I'm a princess in a garden of roses," She breathed softly, and the statement was barely above a gentle whisper. His eyes widened in surprise. He wondered if her dreams were flashes of the memories that he could see so clearly in his mind. His beautiful princess laughing in his castle garden that she had loved so much.

He felt the overwhelming need to hold her, and he'd never wanted anything as badly as he wanted to be with her again but he shook his head to clear it and took a small step back. Although she frowned slightly at the sudden distance he'd put between them, he could sense it, she wasn't ready.

He coughed and shifted restlessly. He knew that their time today would soon be coming to an end, and while he had made some progress in mending her feelings towards him, he was unwilling to just let her leave without some concrete plan to see her again.

"You know Usagi. If you want, I could always help you. I wouldn't mind tutoring you," he offered, and she frowned as she looked up at him in confusion.

"What?" she questioned disbelievingly, and he laughed nervously. "Well, I know you hate school, but I've been told that I'm a pretty good teacher. We could do it here, at the arcade. You know… 30 minutes every other day..." He trailed off at the look of horror on her face.

"Study? At the arcade?" She grimaced at the insanity of the idea, and he chuckled tenderly.

"What if I buy you a milkshake?" He offered and just like he knew they would, her eyes brightened as she considered it.

"What about if I threw in a burger and some fries too?" He murmured thoroughly enjoying the array of adorable facial expressions on her face. He recalled that both Serenity and Usagi had possessed insatiable appetites. He felt the moment that she made her decision.

"Okay! Deal!" She said and laughed brightly.

"Meroww." Mamoru looked down in surprise at the cat at their feet, and his eyes narrowed on the crescent moon on her forehead.


Usagi gingerly picked her up and smiled at him apologetically. "I'm sorry Mamoru! I have to go! I'll see you tomorrow," she yelled as she ran out of the arcade in a flurried frenzy. He stared after her breathless and bewildered. She took all the bright energy with her when she left the room leaving him with a longing ache in the pit of his stomach that only she could take away.

He woke as the terror tore through him and he shot up with a curse, stumbling from the couch in his living room where he'd fallen asleep.

"Usako!" Her name tore from his lips as he felt the pull in his chest indicating that she was in trouble and she needed him.

In one swift motion, he jumped from his balcony, transforming quickly into Tuxedo Kamen on the way down. He forced himself to swallow the terror as he concentrated on her energy, pulling from the energy around him to locate her. The moment he felt the gentle tug of her pure light his body moved of its own accord, bringing him directly where he needed to be. Amis cram school. He remembered this fight.

She was screaming out in horror when he found her, shrouded in Mercury's mist, trapped against the wall, enveloped in a Youmas sharp paper vines. The Youma was shrieking like a banshee as it dashed towards her with long putrid green nails that were sharp as knives.

"Sailor Moon!" It was sailor Mercury screaming out in dismay as the Senshi knew she wasn't going to reach her in time.

"Someone, please help me!" Usagi cried out in terror, and her plea tore at him. It ripped him apart until he couldn't breathe. He should have conjured the roses and split her free as he'd done before but the sight of her plastered against the wall, pleading for her life, so afraid and so exposed, broke him.

"Sailor Moon!" He cried as he wrapped himself around her and shielded her with his cape as his body shuddered with the power of the Golden Kingdom. The energy balled up in his chest and then burst forth from his body, slicing through the mist and the Youma that screeched before disappearing into a puff of black smoke.

She fell into his arms, and he cradled her against his chest. Her breathing quickened, and she looked up at him in alarm.

"Tuxedo Kamen, how did you do that? You saved me," she whispered, and he steadied her before taking a step back, shaking his head in denial. What had he done? This was not what was supposed to happen.

"Well, well, well, I thought we were only dealing with stupid sailor guardian brats. I guess I was wrong. Only something potent could have killed my monster with a burst of light." Tuxedo Kamen swivelled around and stared up in horror at the source of the voice that he recognized so well.

He stumbled back slightly and choked on the raw emotion that lodged in his throat at the sight of his long-lost friend, the brother that he so clearly remembered from their past. He was overwhelmed by flashes and visions of his friend, smiling and protective.

Instead, he looked into the hardened black eyes of one of the Kings of the Dark Kingdom. His face contorted into a sneer of hatred, and it was so similar to Beryl's that he thought he might be sick.

"Jadeite!" he called out pleadingly, and the blonde generals' eyes widened slightly in surprise as he gazed at him.

"Sailor Moon! Do it now!" Luna called, and Tuxedo Kamen turned towards Usagi in time to see her nod with determination. "Right!" She yelled, and she was poised to attack.

This had never happened before. He'd changed things.

"MOON TIARA BOOMERANG" She cried, and he watched as if in slow motion as the Tiara burst from her hands and flew towards Jadeite. The general's eyes widened as he was not expecting it either.

"Sailor Moon! NO!" Mamoru cried and lunged for his friend, crashing into the general and pulling him to the ground just moments before the boomerang would have torn through him.

Jadeites eyes were clouded with confusion as he jumped away from Mamoru with a sneer curled on his lips. "This isn't over!" He screamed as he disappeared in a burst of black smoke.

That had been so close, and he could still feel the tainted energy of what had been his friend lingering in the room. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and he swivelled around to stare into Usagi's soft baby blue eyes. They were full and filled with a mixture of concern and confusion.

"Sailor Moon! Get away from him. He's our enemy!" The warning came from Luna in hissed terror, and he shook his head in denial.

"I'm not," he clutched Sailor moons hand desperately. "I'm not your enemy," he pleaded softly.

"I believe you," she whispered, but he could feel her confusion and the swirling uncertainty in her heart.

At that moment, he suddenly became overwhelmed by everything; Jadeite, Usagi and the suffocating task assigned to him. The memories that had been a gift from Pluto, for the very first time, felt like an enormous burden he needed to carry alone.

He shouldn't have done it, but he pulled her into his arms and crushed her to his chest. He didn't know what her reaction would be, but he buried his face in her hair, needing to feel her in his embrace, to breathe in her scent. He breathed a sigh of relief as she melted into him.

"Sailor Moon!" This time it was Mercury who stood poised to attack, ready to protect her friend should there be any indication that he was going to hurt her.

He reluctantly pulled away from her, and she cried out in pain, startling him. He looked down and noticed, for the first time, that he had grazed a deep, jagged, gash on her arm. His eyes widened in alarm as he couldn't recall her being wounded in their previous timeline. His eyes darkened with the realization that she may very well have been injured, but he wouldn't have known. He hadn't stuck around long enough after any of their battles to find out.

"It's okay Sailor moon," he whispered comfortingly and placed his hand gently on top of her wound. He concentrated on the energy within the earth, pulled it through him and channelled the warm light that burst from his fingertips, healing her instantly.

She gasped as she stared down at her undamaged arm, that should have been puckered and bleeding from the wound, with shock. He glanced into the wary eyes of her Senshi behind her and knew it was time to go.

"Until we meet again, Sailor Moon," He wistfully whispered as he caressed her face, then turned and took off into the night.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Jadeite awakens

He could barely breathe as her soft, supple curves pressed against his body. The palms of his hands deftly pressed into the small of her back urging her closer to him as he deepened their embrace. Her delicate arms wrapped around his neck as she pulled his face down to hers, pressing her lips against his.

The kiss was gentle at first, but he soon came undone as she moaned softly against his mouth and he pulled her even closer as their passion grew. Her dress had become a nuisance, and if they weren't standing in the middle of the garden, he might have torn the offending piece of fabric away. She was such an intoxicating creature.

He tore his lips from hers, and she cried out mournfully at the loss of contact. She peered up at him from beneath lacy lashes, her blue eyes wide and filled with her need and love for him, as they silently pleaded him to continue. The golden threads of his energy automatically reached out to intermingle with hers, and he groaned at the intensity of their connection.

Her emotions, mirroring his own, overwhelmed him, assaulted his senses and very nearly brought him to his knees.

"Endymion. What was that?" She panted in awe as he rested his forehead against hers. His breathing was erratic as he stared into her eyes. She'd felt it too. He tightened his arms around her and chuckled breathlessly.

"It's a little difficult to explain," he whispered as he leant down to trail soft kisses from her ear to the gentle curve of her neck. She moaned and melted against him again.

"Endymion," she whimpered, and he froze as he felt the wetness of her tears on his face.

He pulled back slightly to stare into her eyes in confusion. He cupped her cheek and used the pad of his thumb to wipe away the offending tears. He didn't understand why she was crying.

"Serenity, what's wrong?" He questioned his voice tinged with concern as she began to sob in earnest. He wasn't sure what the cause of her tears, but the sadness emanating from her small frame swirled around him. He choked on the emotion pouring over him, and he reached for her.

"Endymion, I can't bear the secrecy any longer. I want to be with you always," she cried, and he pressed her trembling form against his chest. His palms crackled with golden energy as if to protect him from the sudden onslaught of helplessness that grew with each mournful sob she expelled. He'd become tired of brief, secret, interludes as well. He wanted her, and not just by the cover of darkness and away from prying eyes. He wanted her by his side, in the light, as his wife.

The garden lit up suddenly as a flash of fiery red light exploded in the clearing in front of them. The light was so bright that it momentarily blinded him. His arms instinctively wrapped around Serenity as he positioned his body in front of her to shield her.

He blinked as the light faded and, in its place, stood a tall black haired Senshi. Her hair and red pleated skirt rippled around her from the force of her landing. He assumed, by the circle of singed grass around her, that he was looking at Serenity's fire Senshi, Sailor Mars. Her purple eyes narrowed on him angrily, and he inhaled sharply, his palms crackling dangerously with golden energy in response to the furious intensity swirling around her.

It was the first time he'd seen one of the Senshi up close. They had always kept their distance and had only ever been Serenity's silent protectors. He didn't know they were there most of the time although Serenity assured him they were.

The presence of this particular Senshi set his nerves on edge. Her energy was a swirling mass of pride and power. There was ancient wisdom within it but also a fiery rage that was currently directed towards him.

"Step away from her, Prince of Earth, before I obliterate you in fire," she demanded and raised a hand menacingly, a swirling fireball blazing in the palm of her hand.

He felt his muscles tighten in response to the Senshi's threat and his eyes darkened at the implication of her statement. Did she think he would ever hurt Serenity? Was she really implying that the Princess needed protection from him?

There was a flash of grey as Jadeite appeared, standing protectively in front of them, facing Sailor Mars with a deathly calm expression.

"Lower your hands, Sailor Mars." His tone was quiet, but it emanated power as it echoed around them. For a moment, Mars's eyes clouded with uncertainty, but they steeled as she faced the general.

"Move, Jadeite," she demanded, and Endymion frowned. This may be the first time he saw the Senshi up close, but it was definitely not the first time Jadeite had encountered her, which was very evident by the threads of electric energy crackling in between them.

"The princess is not in any danger," he stated firmly as Serenity moved out of his arms, walking towards Jadeite and her Senshi.

"Mars, please, it's alright," she pleaded, and he automatically pulled her back towards him, away from the suffocating, dangerous, swirling emotions surrounding their protectors. Mars's eyes lit up with fury as she misunderstood Endymion's intentions and she let out a cry of rage.

"Mars. Fire. ATTACK!" She cried, and the fireball burst from her gloved hand, spiralling, as it flew straight at Jadeite. There was a strangled cry of horror from Serenity beside him as she reached out her hands as if to pull the fire away from his general.

Jadeite expertly rolled to the side, easily dodging the assault and leapt into the air crashing into Sailor Mars. She cried out as they collided and rolled onto the grass. He landed on top of her, pinning her wrists above her head, and the Senshi cried out in a fury.

"GET OFF OF ME!" She screamed, the sound strangled and guttural as it burst from her lips. Jadeite ignored her rage and glared down at her.

"No. Why do you have to be so stubborn? I told you they were fine, you didn't need to interfere!" He spat, and she bucked against him angrily to throw him off of her. Although Mars possessed the elemental power of fire, physically, Jadeite was stronger.

"Why don't you just admit that they aren't the real reason you're angry," he demanded, and she hissed through her teeth in irritation.

"I am not going to admit anything! You infuriate me! I hate you Jadeite. Do you hear me? I HATE YOU!" She screamed out furiously. Endymion felt a flash of pain course through his friend as a look of uncertainty crossed his face. It quickly passed, though, as his friend noticed the tears that were gathering in the corners of Mars's eyes. They gave her away, and Jadeites eyes softened.

"Athena. You stupid, maddening, girl," he murmured and crushed his lips onto hers. She struggled only for a moment before returning his embrace.

Serenity gasped and took a step towards them. He placed a hand on her shoulder and held her back. She looked up at him with questioning eyes. He smiled gently and shrugged. The energy was tangible in the air. His friend had fallen in love.

It had been a week since he'd talked to her. He was starting to feel a little pathetic as he found himself missing the sound of her voice. The memories, while definitely a blessing, were frustrating when the intense emotions he felt were not reciprocated by the recipient of his affections. He supposed he was destined to be consumed by his obsession with the Moon Princess no matter what timeline he was living in.

He smiled pitifully at the thought as he took a sip from his coffee cup from his usual spot at the arcade counter, turning the page in one of his school books. He didn't know which book it was as he was only pretending to read it.

The bell on the arcade door jingled noisily, and for the twentieth time that evening, he was disappointed when it wasn't her. He wondered if he had gone this long without seeing her in the original timeline as well. Would he have noticed, back then, if she hadn't shown up to the arcade for a week? He shook his head and sighed sadly; probably not.

"Hey Mamoru, do you want another cup?" Motoki interrupted his thoughts holding up the coffee pot questioningly. Mamoru shook his head, there wasn't really any point in sticking around the arcade.

"No thank you. I think I'm going to head off soon," he murmured with a disappointed sigh and snapped his book shut as he stood to leave.

"Konnichiwa Motoki San! Mamoru San!" His head flew up at the sight of Usagi flying into the arcade. She was a burst of bright energy with golden hair, and the room brightened instantly with her presence. He sank back down onto the bar stool, and Motoki smirked knowingly as he poured him another cup of coffee.

"Hi, Usagi! I haven't seen you in a while! Have you found a better sailor V game somewhere else?" Motoki joked with a teasing grin, and Usagi smiled brightly.

"Eh! What a silly thing to say, of course, I haven't! I have been spending a lot of time at the shrine. I have been helping my new friend look for a missing girl. She's a Miko," she said, and Mamoru frowned as he tried to mentally calculate where they were exactly in the timeline.

Judging by Usagi's statements, she had just located another one of her Senshi. He recalled that the fiery Sailor Mars was a shrine priestess in this lifetime. The memories of missing children and the infamous ghost bus flashed in his mind. There would be another attack from Jadeite soon.

"Wow, sounds like you've been busy. Do you want a milkshake?" Motoki asked, and Usagi smiled brilliantly. Was there anyone else here that could see her glowing like that? He wondered as he choked a little bit on the jealousy that momentarily flashed through him. He remembered when those smiles had been directed at him.

"Yes, please! This one is on Mamoru! Also, burger and fries with all the trimmings!" She beamed, and Motoki laughed. There wasn't a single person in this room that was immune to Usagi's radiant energy. She pulled them all in with her bubbly aura, and he would gladly drown in it.

Motoki made his way to the kitchen and Mamoru raised an eyebrow questioningly. She tilted her head slightly and shrugged her shoulders.

"What? You did say dinner was on you!" She chimed lightly, and he chuckled in amusement.

"I distinctly remember that there was a studying stipulation," he said, and her cheeks reddened in embarrassment. She looked down at her shirt, picking at an invisible piece of lint nervously.

"Well, that's actually why I'm here," she muttered, and he waited, waving his hand, inviting her to continue.

She giggled nervously as she pulled out a crumpled piece of white paper from her bag and he frowned as he took it from her. His eyes widened at the big red 20 written at the top of what looked like a math test. He'd known that school had never really been her forte, but this was really bad.

He coughed loudly to try and hide his laughter, but her eyes narrowed as she noticed.

"Usagi – "He choked, "this is terrible," he stated with a teasing smile.

She glared at him at first but then her face softened, and she shrugged with a small smile. "I know it's bad. I honestly meant to study, but I was distracted," She said sheepishly, her eyes downcast as she gulped in mortification. Her tone sobered him instantly as his eyes scrutinized the piece of paper and found the date scrawled at the top. It was dated for the day after the Youma attack.

Ah, Usako.

He looked up at her and bit back the wave of sorrow that came over him. She deserved to have a normal life. One without battles, Senshi and monsters crawling through the night. Why couldn't he give that to her? He must have stared at her a little too long because her cheeks flared even redder and she wrung her hands nervously. His eyes narrowed at the nervous habit that he'd so often witnessed in Serenity.

"Look, I know it's bad and -please- this is embarrassing enough as it is. I would ask Ami to help me. You know she's a certified genius but-but-" she stammered her sentence trailing off, unable to finish the thought.

But you're her Senshi leader. He inwardly finished the sentence for her.

"Usagi. Come here," he said softly with tender eyes and her head snapped up, clearly surprised by the gentle tone of his voice. She laughed nervously, slid off her stool and came over to where he sat, sitting on the seat beside him. He leant down towards her, they were so close he could feel the heat radiating off of her, and he pulled her math book out of her bag.

He snapped it open on the counter, and she coughed uncomfortably as the intense moment passed.

"Okay, let's get started," he said as he smiled tenderly at her. He was rewarded with a dazzling grin. His heart quickened in excitement as her energy poured out of her and reached for his. For the first time since he could connect with her energy thousands of years ago, he felt it again.

Her heart was unfurling softly with the budding hints of love.

Their thirty minutes of studying turned into two hours. There had definitely been moments of frustration, but she was sincerely trying.

He found it easy to be patient with her as he explained the complicated formulas and gently corrected her mistakes. She listened attentively and tried harder, her embarrassment had quickly melted away and was replaced with a genuine interest in learning.

He watched her with loving delight as she scrunched up her nose and bit the tip of her pink tongue between her teeth in concentration as she scribbled the problems out furiously in a bedazzled pink notebook.

They'd taken a break for dinner, and he'd watched in amusement as she practically inhaled every last bit of her meal before he'd even eaten half of his sandwich. When she was done, she smiled guiltily, and he chuckled warmly as he pushed his plate towards her so that she could finish his meal as well. Her eyes lit up, and she beamed at him as she ate the rest of his fries.

When they were done, he looked up from her practice test paper and smiled down at her.

"Great job Usagi. You scored a 52," he said warmly, and her face fell slightly. He placed a comforting hand on her wrist.

"Hey," he started reassuringly, "this is an amazing improvement for only two hours of work." He said softly, and he watched her contemplate his words for a minute before she smiled happily.

"You're right! Thank you, Mamoru. I really appreciate how nice you're being to me," she said, her tone soft and tentative. Her feelings towards him were slowly changing as she considered him, and his changed behaviour, in a new light. His heart skipped a beat as his gaze met hers.

"It was my pleasure, Usagi," he replied tenderly, his fingers, that were tightly clenched into fists on the counter, itching to reach out to her.

She was the first to break eye contact with him as she glanced down at her watch. He watched as her eyes widened in alarm as she realized how long she had been here.

"Oh no! I have to go! "she said as she stumbled off her stool clumsily in her hurry to stand. He chuckled as his hand reached out and steadied her before she fell. She grimaced, blushing in embarrassment, as she stood away from the counter.

"Let me walk you home." He said, and she looked up at him with her blue sapphire eyes widened in confusion. He really hated that she was still so wary of him. It was like she expected him to revert back to the teasing jerk he had been before. He inwardly sighed, he definitely deserved that.

"Oh no, Mamoru! You don't have to do that," she said, and he waved his hand dismissively, ignoring her half-hearted protests.

"I know I don't have to. I want to, besides, it's dark outside," he replied as he stood and helped gather her things for her. She flushed adorably and clumsily put her books into her bag. He could sense that she was nervous and uncertain and he silently contemplated different ways to dispel those emotions from her.

They waved goodbye to Motoki and made their way outside. It was a cold evening, and Usagi shivered beside him. He took off his sweater and draped it across her shoulders, and she gulped back the emotions swirling around her.

They walked in silence for a bit, the only sound was the sound of their footsteps echoing on the pavement of the deserted Tokyo street. He silently wished that he could hold her hand. She stopped suddenly, and he slowed beside her. His brow furrowed in confusion as she turned towards him with wide eyes.

"Why are you being so nice to me Mamoru?" She whispered softly, and he froze.

What should he tell her? That he regretted every time, he'd hurt her feelings? That his heart and soul and everything in between ached for her? That he remembered the millions of moments that they had shared together even if she did not? That he would die for her -in fact- that he already had? Twice?

He let out an unsteady breath and ran his hand through his hair nervously.

"You know why Usagi. I know you feel it too," He whispered, and his eyes stared pleadingly into her bright ones. He knew that he wasn't the only one that could feel the electricity between them.

"Do – Do you love me?" She breathed, and the question was barely louder than a whisper. He inhaled sharply as he stared down at her. Her cheeks were flushed, and she was biting her lip nervously. He felt so many things pouring out of her, assaulting his senses with the intensity of it. He knew what it had taken for her to ask him that question; she had left herself vulnerable and exposed herself to the possibility of his rejection. She was so brave. The old Mamoru would have pushed her away with a lie. Something he would have told himself was to protect her even though he was really protecting himself. He didn't care if it was too soon to admit it to her. His shoulders sagged, and he sighed.

"Yes. I love you Usako," he confessed tenderly, and he watched as her eyes widened and filled with wonder. She stepped towards him and tilted her face up to look at him.

"I think maybe I love you too," she said, and he smiled at her softly. His little ball of sunshine was incapable of lying to herself. It had always been so much easier for her to embrace the emotions that swelled inside of her.

It was a relief to know that her feelings for him weren't wholly locked away inside of her but the confusion churning inside of her filled him with guilt.

"I just don't understand – I'm so confused Mamo-chan," she whispered brokenly, and he sighed sadly. It made sense that she was confused, the onslaught of emotion he was evoking in her was building too quickly.

He inhaled sharply as she raised a tentative hand and cupped his cheek. He groaned and leaned into it.

"I'm not sure why I feel this way Mamo-chan. I don't know-" she choked on her words as there was so much intensity swirling around them.

He couldn't keep away from her anymore. He needed to feel her against him.

"Usako," he breathed desperately and pulled her small frame into his arms. He lowered his head and felt her pulse quicken as he gently pressed his lips against hers. She stiffened in surprise but slowly melted into him. Their kiss was gentle at first but soon became desperate as their hearts raced and their passion intensified. His fingers intertwined in the golden locks of her hair and her arms tentatively wrapped around his waist.

A sharp ringing sound pierced through their senses, and Usagi pulled out of his embrace flustered and breathless.

It rang again, and his eyes widened as she stared down at her wrist in shocked disbelief. It was her communicator.

"Oh no! I have to go! I'm sorry Mamo-Chan," She turned to flee but he caught her wrist.

"Wait, Usako- "She shook her head and tore away from him.

"Please! I'm so sorry Mamo-Chan. I promise we will talk about this tomorrow." He watched her disappear into the darkness with his heart in his throat. This was a Youma attack.

It took but an instant to transform into Tuxedo Kamen and he kneeled to the ground to lay his hands flat against the rugged earth to feel for the pulse of the golden energy beneath him just like Kunzite had taught him.

He closed his eyes, and with intense concentration, he felt her light and locked onto her. He leapt into the air, soaring above the skyline, and fell gracefully onto the closest rooftop. It didn't take him long to find her, running with Luna in tow. He shook his head in amused disbelief as he watched her slight figure. She was disguised as a flight attendant chasing a bus that was slowly disappearing into the wall.

His eyes scrutinized the dark barrier that wavered and glistened like glass, and he could feel its malevolence tinging the night air around them. It was most definitely an opening to the dark kingdom. He remembered the last time this had happened, he had watched her disappear into the darkness from behind a foggy haze of confusion.

He was not going to let her go alone this time.

With one final forceful jump off the building, he launched himself into the air until he landed directly beside her. They both grasped onto the back of the bus as it slipped into the darkness. She stumbled slightly, and his arm shot out and caught her before she fell.

"You need to transform into sailor moon before we get to the dark kingdom," he said, and she stiffened in his arms.

"How could you possibly know-" she sputtered, and he tightened his arms around her.

"Do it, Sailor Moon!" He shouted, and she clamped her mouth shut and nodded with determined eyes.


He had seen her transform before. In the back of his mind, he could remember what it had been like when he watched her turn into a Senshi. The sailor guardian of the moon. He'd been awed by her then, but it was nothing compared to what he saw now.

He was watching her from Endymion's eyes now.

With Endymion memories and his power of connection.

Serenity had always been strong with a gentle spirit and power that could command the attention of everyone in the room. She had been strong - but never like this.

The bus stopped suddenly, and he jumped down with Sailor Moon, their shoes clicking loudly on the stone floor. He felt the bile rise in his throat as he choked on the evil energy swirling here within this realm. The last time he'd been in this kingdom was when Beryl had almost killed him with flashing red eyes surrounded by the stench of death.

"Tuxedo Kamen, are you alright?" Usagi whispered worriedly, and he nodded curtly. Something didn't feel right. He knew it was because he was not supposed to be here with her. What had happened last time he'd rescued her could not happen again.

He gazed into her beautiful eyes, and they were clouded with confusion as she stared up at him, searching for something in his eyes as well.

A feeling of terror welled up in the pit of his stomach, and he knew it was a terror for her and what might happen to her here.

Hadn't he just seen her transform into a Senshi? One of the strongest warriors in the entire universe stood in front of him. Why was he terrified for her?

He knew the freshest memories in his mind were the ones of Serenity. He had been powerful at that time with her. He had been Serenity's protector, and she had depended on him.

He knew now what Sailor Pluto had meant when she'd given him the gift of his memories that had restored his access to the Golden Kingdom. He needed the powers again to save his generals, but Serenity was now Usagi and Usagi needed to learn to use the strength she possessed.

She had done this all on her own the first time around, and he needed to let her do it again. He took a step back and choked on the bitter taste in his mouth. She was going to have to fight this time and, if he wanted to keep her timeline intact, he was going to have to let her without interfering.

His heart ached in pain with the knowledge of what he had to do.

"Tuxedo Kamen? Are you alright?" she whispered with concern, and he tore his gaze from hers without answering.

Her communicator buzzed on her arm, and she snapped it open.

"Sailor Moon!" Luna's muffled voice cried through the static-filled connection. "Mercury is trying to lock onto you now. You won't be alone for long." Luna hissed, and Sailor Moon cautiously looked up at him with frowning eyes. She'd sensed a shift in him as well.

"I'm not alone," she said and snapped the communicator shut.

A bright white light pierced through the mist and it momentarily blinded them. When the light disappeared, Sailor Mercury stood in its place with a little black cat perched on her shoulders.

"Sailor Moon!" Sailor Mercury shouted in relief, but her eyes widened at the sight of him. "Tuxedo Kamen?" She asked in confusion, moving closer to Usagi protectively.

"We should go if we want to help your friend," he snapped, and he could feel the shift in Usagi's attention as they all raced down the musty hall.

It wasn't long until they came upon a room that held a sea of unconscious bodies. He knelt down in front of the first one. She was just a little brown-haired girl with pigtails askew on her head. She wore a red dress that was dirty, crumpled and ripped and she was missing a shoe. He lifted her wrist gently and felt for a pulse. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found one and looked up at the Senshi that stared down at him in dismay.

"They're alive, just unconscious," he reassured them and the girls visibly relaxed. He glanced at Usagi and wished he could reach out to her. He could feel how overwhelmed she was at the gruesome sight, pressed down by an overwhelming sadness.

They continued through the room and stopped when they saw a figure kneeling in the mist.

He was kneeling over a girl. He knew instantly that the man was Jadeite and judging by the black, glistening, hair splayed out on the floor, the girl, clad in traditional Miko garb, was the Senshi of Mars.

"Hey! Get away from her! Whoever you are!" Sailor Moon cried out furiously. Jadeite slowly stood, turning towards them and his facial expression was dark and menacing. His gaze trailed the length of Usagi; barely restraining his unfettered disdain.

Tuxedo Kamens blood ran cold, and his body trembled in anger. Jadeite turned to look at him with a cool and calculated expression.

"Why don't you ask your friend in the mask. He seems to know who I am." Jadeites voice was deathly quiet as it echoed around them. His tone intense, dangerous and twisted with hatred.

"MERCURY. AQUA. MIST!" Mercury attacked, and the mist burst from the Senshi's outstretched arms and filled the room. He stumbled slightly in the fog, the panic rising in him as he forced himself to take a step back. He was determined to watch this from afar.

"I'll hold him, go save Rei and the others!" Mercury's voice pierced through the dense fog, and he used his power of connection to search for Usagi in the mist. He sighed in relief when he found her. He would not interfere this time, but he would stay connected to her so that he could feel everything that she felt.

The mist vanished suddenly in a gust of forced cold air. Jadeites cruel laugh echoed around them.

"Is that the best you can do, you little sailor brats?" He screamed and raised his arms high into the air sending crystalized beams of ice towards the girls.

It nearly brought him to his knees when the dark crystalized energy beams pierced into Usagi.

The girls cried out in pain, and he gasped as he felt it coursing through him secondhand from his connection to Usagi. He choked on his frustration.

"Fight Sailor moon!" He pleaded, clenching his hands into fists as the golden energy crackled dangerously at his distress.

She shrieked with the strength it took for her to stay standing against Jadeites relentless attack. He wanted to sweep her away, but it was a strength she needed to learn that she had.

He felt his eyes water with grief at the look in her eyes as she gazed at him, imploring with him to intercede.

"Help us," she whispered through clenched teeth, and he took a pained step backwards in response to her plea.

The flash of pain that roared through her almost brought him to his knees. The grief from what she had perceived as his betrayal intensely pouring off of her. He forced himself to look at Jadeite. His lips were curled into a sneer, and he seemed to truly derive pleasure from the pain he was inflicting on them. His stomach turned violently. This man was not his best friend anymore.

"Hey! What's going on?" Rei had finally awakened, and she stumbled as she pulled herself to her feet only wavering slightly as she took in the scene unravelling in front of her.

"What are you doing?! Stop hurting them!" She cried and latched her hands onto Jadeites arm.

That's when he felt it. It was small and fleeting, but it was a flash of recognition. It was a thread of Jadeite fighting from within the shell that Beryl commanded. Mamoru's resolve strengthened. He would not give up on his friend.

"You saved my life, and I will spend the rest of my life saving yours."

Jadeites whispered oath of loyalty echoed through his mind. If the positions had been reversed and Jadeite had to rescue him from Beryl's clutches he would have given his life to do so.

"Get off of me! I'll end you! You're just a pathetic human." Jadeite sneered and tried to toss Rei aside.

"No, I'm not! I'm special, and I'm not going to let you hurt anyone ever again!" She cried, the power of her guardian planet pouring off of her in droves. Luna flashed forward and sent the sailor Mars pen hurling through the air.

"Rei! You are sailor mars, and you need to transform!" The cat called out, and Rei was only shocked for a moment before she nodded resolutely. She knew, deep down, the powers she could yield.

It only took moments for the Senshi of Mars to transform, the fabric of her red sailor fuku twisting around her body in a burst of red-hot flames.

"What? Another sailor scout?!" Jadeite growled angrily, and Mamoru knew the time to save his friends had come. Sailor Mars poised her hands to attack, he flew forward shielding the snarling general just as the power of mars fire exploded from her fingertips.

They both fell into the firestorm she unleashed, and a flash of anguish shot through him at the sound of Sailor moon's cry of confusion. He used the golden energy to shield them from Sailor Mars fire and turned towards his friend that was sneering at him.

"What the hell are you doing?" He snapped his voice dripping with disdain as Mamoru grit his teeth.

"I'm saving your life," Mamoru growled and closed his eyes in concentration as he placed both of his hands on his friends' shoulder. He pulled from deep within the earth, dodging all the dark energy surrounding them, and let the golden healing power fill him before he let it burst through his fingertips into Jadeite. Jadeite cried out, and Mamoru's eyes flew open.

He watched as the hardened mask on Jadeites face fell, and there was a spark of recognition that flashed through his emerald green eyes. He could feel the memories coming back into his friends' broken mind. They were washing over him and pushing out Beryl's influence.

Jadeites eyes widened and his face crumpled in pain with the realization of what had happened to him and what he had done. His eyes focused on Mamoru's face and Jadeite buried his blonde head in his hands.

"Endymion," he gasped just as Sailor Mars's firestorm ended and Mamoru's shield fell away.

"Again Mars!" Luna cried, and Jadeites head snapped up to stare at Sailor Mars who stood resolute and ready to attack again.

"Athena," he cried out mournfully.

"I've got this luna." Sailor Moon said, and her voice was flat and unyielding. He sucked in a breath at the look of betrayal on her face. She bent forward and prepared to attack.

"MOON. TIARA. BOOMERANG." She screamed and Mamoru dove for his disoriented friend. "Time to go," he said as his hand connected with Jadeites. One moment they were there and in the next they had disappeared in a flash of golden light as Sailor Moon's tiara clattered uselessly to the floor.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4


Endymion grunted as a fist connected hard with his shoulder. He fell back into the stone wall of the training room and instinctively lifted his arms to protect his face. He cringed at the growl of displeasure from his opponent.

"What are you doing?" Nephrite hissed, "You're leaving yourself open!" he snapped angrily as his clenched fist connected with Endymion's stomach. He nearly doubled over from the forceful hit, with barely enough time to catch his breath before Nephrite was attacking again. He whirled to the left barely dodging yet another expertly timed punch.

The golden energy around him crackled in warning, ready to strike should he call upon it, but he ignored it. He'd barely recovered before Nephrite was on him again. He dodged another two attacks but failed to dodge the third one that sent him sprawling onto his back, wincing, as a sharp pain shot down his neck from where his head bounced painfully upon the stone floor.

Nephrite looked down at him, his eyes hard and his arms crossed disapprovingly.

"You're distracted," he snapped angrily and Endymion grinned up at his friend guiltily before he pulled himself up into a sitting position. He blinked, light-headed, as he ran a hand through his hair. While it was true, he was distracted, Nephrite was being particularly hard on him today.

"I know. I'm sorry," he replied and flinched as his hand grazed the painful spot on the back of his head.

Nephrites jaw clenched tightly and he glared down at him even as he offered his hand to help him up. Endymion gratefully accepted, grunting from the aches in his body as he leveraged Nephrites firm grip to stand.

"You may not always have access to power Endymion. What if you have to rely on your skills as a fighter?" Nephrite demanded, his tone laced with thinly veiled irritation. Nephrite had always had a stony disposition but today the energy around him, while usually layered with the need to fight, was tinged with a little more frustration than usual.

"I'm not sure that's going to be a problem. The energy is endless; besides, I always have you," he joked with a light-hearted laugh. Nephrites eyes darkened angrily and Endymion felt the thread of irritation widen as his anger deepened.

"What's wrong with you? Why don't you ever take anything seriously?" He snapped, his words laced in disbelieving fury. Endymion's smile faded in a confused frown as he contemplated the reason for his generals growing ire. He could feel that there was something Nephrite was holding back.

"Is this really about me failing miserably in our training session today or do you have something that you want to say to me Nephrite?" Endymion demanded, his lips set in a harsh line, as the tension crackled tangibly in the air around them. The general whirled towards him with a glare and clenched fists.

"There is not a woman in this world that is worth your life Endymion. Not even a seductive moon princess," he hissed in disgust and Endymion growled furiously as his body tightened with rage. He was well aware of Nephrite's disapproval of his relationship with Serenity but the venomous tone he'd used in reference to her set his blood on fire.

"You're treading dangerous ground Nephrite," He spat, his hands crackling with golden energy in warning. Nephrite laughed darkly as the irritation within him exploded into fury.

"I'm very well acquainted with dangerous ground," he sneered as his body trembled with rage. "Is that why you pulled me from the trenches of hell? Just so I could come here to watch you die?" He demanded and Endymion heard the slight way his voice broke with emotion. It was difficult to remember sometimes that the constant anger that roiled just beneath the surface of Nephrite's energy was just masking a deeper kind of pain. He should have known that Nephrite's anger today was generated out of fear for him.

Endymion's shoulders sagged slightly and he sighed, running his hand through his hair apprehensively. He let out a defeated breath and gazed at his friend unhappily.

"I'm not planning on dying Nephrite, but yes, I would die for her," he said and Nephrite let out a strangled breath of frustration.

"Don't do this Endymion," he gasped, "Don't make the same mistake I did. I'm begging you." His hands were outstretched as he implored him to listen to reason. Endymion knew that his generals were right. He should be considering the responsibilities that he had to his Kingdom and the people he was going to rule one day. It was illogical to risk his life for a woman but Serenity was not just any woman. She was his reason for breathing now and he loved her.

He was willing to risk it all for her if it meant there was a chance, even a slim one, that they could be together. They had decided that they were no longer interested in only fleeting moments of passion by the cover of darkness. He was going to the moon to bow to their queen and declare his love for her daughter.

According to Serenity, this was forbidden, dangerous and unprecedented. They did not know what his fate would be for falling in love with a Goddess. The laws in the Moon Kingdom were absolute and there was a possibility that their love would result in a death sentence as it was deemed an affront to the Gods that they bowed to.

"This isn't like that, Nephrite. She isn't Anna." Endymion said it gently, cautious of his reaction to the sound of her name. Nephrite stiffened and let out a hard bark of sardonic laughter.

"All women are like Anna," he choked out with disgust, his words twisted with pain. He winced in sympathy for his general that had been hurt so badly his heart was hardened towards all women. Endymion reached out comfortingly but Nephrite pulled away.

Nephrite was older than Endymion by only three years but his eyes were haunted and hazy with the darkness from the horrors he had experienced and it made him wise beyond his years.

He'd found Nephrite shortly after his thirteenth birthday. He'd made it a habit to sneak out of the castle, poorly disguised, to go to the nearby villages with Jadeite following disapprovingly in tow.

They snuck into taverns where Endymion could observe the people, his people, in fascination. He'd been young, stupid and tired of his sheltered existence inside the castle walls. Jadeite had needed to secretly drag his drunken, sputtering, body back to the castle on several occasions.

He'd never really paid any attention to what was going on in the township he visited, as he had been too distracted by his newly discovered love for poorly made ale and the tavern wenches that brought it to him. It wasn't until his fifth or sixth visit that he heard the excited whispers and hushed rumours of the fights. He'd been curious enough about it to do some investigating.

The township was lead by a middle-aged, balding, man that had somehow managed to become elected by the people that resided there. Endymion soon came to discover the man was a vile, distasteful human being that was filled to the brim with dark energy and masses of swirling evil. The had man hired mercenaries to create a small enforcement guard that was cruel and took whatever they wanted with no repercussions.

They did what they wanted under the guise of laws that Endymion knew his father had never endorsed. They took what they wanted, whether that was a farmer's entire crop for a season or the blacksmith's wife and lorded menacingly over the people under threats of violence and severe punishment from their makeshift king. Endymion had been appalled that this was happening so close to his home and his revulsion only grew when he discovered what the punishment was for any who dared fight against them.

There was a small rebellion brewing within the township. It was a small group of angry men that secretly fought against the vile wrongs committed by their leader and his enforcement guard. They fought against them in the dead of night, masked vigilantes seeking justice for all that had been taken from them. If one of the rebellion members were caught, they were imprisoned and made to fight for their lives.

Endymion and Jadeite had snuck into one of the fight events one night and he'd been disgusted by the crowd that had gathered there. The balding man and his crew sat on makeshift bleachers and smiled down in amusement at the chaos. Endymion could remember his stomach churning violently in repulsion at the dark, excited, anticipation brewing in the air.

There was a throng of jeering men and women looking down into a massive pit covered in mud and blood. He had pushed himself to the front of the crowd and had gasped in horror at the sight before him. That was the first time he'd laid eyes on Nephrite.

The tall, long-haired boy stood in the pit facing the most disgusting creature Endymion had ever seen. It was a horse sized ghoul with scaly black skin and spider-like legs. It had sharp spikes imbedded all over its body with a vicious looking, scorpion-like, tail. It made a gurgling hissing sound as it clicked its teeth in warning.

Nephrite was shirtless, and deep gashes and cuts were covering his muscled body. His hair, wet with blood and sweat, was plastered to his face and neck.

The monster advanced and slashed at him and Endymion watched in awe as the man-boy skilfully dodged the creatures' attacks, landing expertly aimed punches and kicks on the monster. Nephrite was beginning to tire as one of the monsters' knife-like claws imbedded itself into his leg. He cried out in pain even as the crowd burst into a cacophony of excited cheers.

Nephrite pulled the claw out of his leg, tore it from the monsters' body and then in one swift movement imbedded it into the creatures' head. The monster spluttered and twitched until it lifelessly crashed to the ground. Nephrite, in turn, fell to the mud, wheezing and panting from the strain, wincing at the jeers and boos from the people watching.

"Friends!" The balding man yelled, silencing the crowd, "do not fret my friends! This boy may have been able to beat all of the monsters we've thrown at him, avoiding his inevitable death, for the past three weeks, but has it not been entertaining?!" He cried out jubilantly and the crowd cheered wildly.

"Another one! Another one!" They cried and Endymion could barely manage to filter out the dark frenzied emotions they emitted. It made the bile rise in his throat and filled him with repulsion for the people that condoned such a disgusting display. The man nodded and smiled to his crowd of followers, waving his arm indulgently.

Endymion's body went cold as he trembled with rage. The evil in this place suffocating him. Jadeite placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to look into his friends pleading eyes. "The smart thing to do here would be to leave and tell your father," he said with a hushed imploring tone.

Endymion swirled back to the balding man as his voice rang out.

"Normally we only have one fight per night, but since you asked so nicely, and since I am feeling generous – Release another demon!" He cried and the crowd cheered. Nephrite shook with exhaustion but pulled himself into a standing position, he looked into the crowd with hard, proud, eyes and steadied himself to fight again.

A cage door opened from the wall of the pit and another monster screeched its way forward. It was bigger than the last one. Endymion's resolve strengthened, and Jadeite sighed and shook his head in defeat.

"Well, I guess no one could ever accuse you of being smart," he said with resignation. "Aim for its eyes. Its small brain is right behind them. Don't cut off its legs or another three will grow." Endymion nodded in acknowledgement to Jadeite's instructions. He had learned not to question Jadeite anymore. His friend possessed an endless sea of knowledge and he was rarely wrong.

With a twist of his body, Endymion knelt to the ground. He concentrated, just like Kunzite had taught him, and pulled as much golden energy that he could handle into himself. Then with a burst, he launched himself forward into the pit. He landed beside Nephrite that looked down at him with startled eyes.

Endymion grinned boyishly, "Need some help?" He joked, and Nephrite coughed in disbelief. The crowd roared angrily at the disruption.

The creature lunged towards him and Endymion let the beam of energy burst from his core. It ripped through the monsters' head, instantly disintegrating it. Nephrite, blinded by the light, stumbled backwards and fell to the ground. The crowd fell completely silent and the balding man sputtered from his cushioned seat.

"It's the prince," an anxious onlooker whispered in terror as Endymion turned to Nephrite and offered him his hand. Nephrite gratefully took it and stood. Endymion looked up at the balding man who was staring at him in with a horrified expression on his bloated face that was reddened with his fear.

"You're done," he stated with as much resolute fury as he could muster and the crowd dispersed in a panic.

Endymion and Jadeite took Nephrite back to the castle to plead his case. Nephrite had been the leader of the rebellion, fighting in secret, until his girlfriend, Anna, had betrayed him for a hefty sum of coin.

His father had been more bothered by the fact that another man was playing king rather than by the atrocities that had disgusted Endymion but, regardless of the reason, the royal king's guard had descended upon the township with a vengeance. The man and his ruthless mercenaries had been arrested, tried in a judgement hearing and the community's people were beginning to live without fear again.

Endymion pleaded with Nephrite to stay in the castle with him as he wanted to learn to fight. Nephrite agreed to stay. They quickly became close friends and, when the time came, Nephrite became one of his generals as well. Which was why, at this very moment, Nephrite stared at him with beseeching eyes unable to understand why his friend would willingly risk everything for a woman.

He felt as Nephrite came to terms with his decision and then sighed in acceptance before looking up at him with newly determined eyes.

"I'm going with you," He said curtly, and Endymion shook his head.

"Nephrite-" he started, but Nephrite interrupted him.

"This is not up for discussion," he snapped, and Endymion laughed.

"I thought I was the prince here?" He said jokingly, and Nephrite rolled his eyes and then frowned.

"How are we even getting to the moon?" He questioned and Endymion shrugged. There had been, at one time, an open pathway to travel between both kingdoms. It had long ago been destroyed when residents of the Moon and Earth had been forbidden from interacting. The only way to travel there now was with a descendant of royal blood. This included Serenity and her Senshi that were all royalty from their respective planets.

"Serenity said she would be sending one of her Senshi as she will need to tell her mother before I arrive," he began and Nephrites eyes narrowed with irritation. Endymion knew that Nephrite had, up until this point, avoided the Senshi that traveled with Serenity. He was not as fond of them as his other generals seemed to be.

"Which one are they sending?" He demanded, and Endymion frowned when he sensed a wisp of anticipation within the core of his generally angry aura.

"I'm not sure, she introduced me to her when she was here last, but I don't remember what her guardian planet is. She's the brunette," Endymion answered with a sheepish smile. He probably should have paid more attention as he knew that these women were very important to his Moon Princess but it was difficult to concentrate on anyone else when he was with her.

"That's Sailor Jupiter," Nephrite stated quietly and Endymion nodded with relief as the recognition dawned on him. That's right; he remembered now that Serenity had said, Sailor Jupiter.

It didn't even occur to him to ask Nephrite how he knew who she was.

The light from the rising sun filtered in through the apartment window. Mamoru sat on the Livingroom sofa, deep in thought, as he gazed down at the newspaper in his hand. There was an untouched cup of hot coffee on the table in front of him.

"Sailor moon and scouts rescue missing people from an unknown paranormal event."

The headline was splashed across the front of the paper and Mamoru frowned, anguish bubbling up inside of him as he read it. He couldn't erase the look he'd seen fixed onto Usagi's delicate features from his mind. She'd been hurt that Tuxedo Kamen had seemingly betrayed them to help their enemy. It cut into him and he wished he could find her, pull her into his arms and kiss that pained look from her face.

His head snapped up at the sound of shuffling behind his bedroom door. It creaked open, and a ruffled looking Jadeite entered the room, shifting nervously with downcast eyes.

Mamoru wasn't sure how he'd been able to do it. He'd never teleported before, not in this life or the last one, so last night when he had managed to transport Jadeite from the dark kingdom onto his living room floor; it had taken everything in him not to fall unconscious immediately.

Jadeite, not having access to an unlimited energy source, had not been as lucky and had promptly passed out. Mamoru had barely managed to get Jadeite into his room before collapsing onto the sofa in exhaustion.

"You're awake," he stated softly as his eyes met Jadeites tortured gaze.

"Endymion, I-" he stopped and gulped nervously. He could feel so many things churning within Jadeite. There was relief at being free from Beryl but mostly there was a bubbling mass of guilt, self hatred and pain. Mamoru stood and placed a hand on Jadeites shoulder, releasing some of his healing energy into his friend.

"I'm just pleased to have my friend back," he said, and Jadeite choked on the emotion but nodded curtly, overwhelmed by his friends' forgiveness. Mamoru smiled and turned back towards the living room.

"Also, my name is Mamoru. Not Endymion, not anymore," he casually said as he picked up the newspaper article again.

Usagi. They had snapped a picture of her and the Senshi leaving the scene, and it was painful to see her looking so tired. He felt the ache in his chest widen at the thought that he'd left her there alone.

"That's a ridiculous name," Jadeite said, and Mamoru's eyes met his. He could tell that his friend was trying to filter through his guilt, a wisp of a sad smile on his lips and Mamoru smiled back at him reassuringly He dropped the newspaper back onto the table and quietly considered what to ask him first.

"What do you remember?" He asked, and Jadeite frowned.

"I remember everything from our first life. I remember the rebellion and going with Zoisite to meet Beryl to stop the war from happening and then-" He choked on the memories. "I'm so sorry, Endymion. I tried to fight her. I swear to you that I did," he whispered brokenly and Mamoru nodded.

"I know you did. Have you always been with Beryl? In this life?" He asked and Jadeite frowned deep in thought. He could feel the frustration build in his friend as he tried to recall a time before Beryl.

"I- I don't think so. I remember flashes of before but- it's hazy. I think my name was Jimu," he said, and Mamoru grinned.

"That name suits you," Mamoru said, and jadeite sighed.

"It still doesn't feel right though, although, I suppose it's better than Mamoru," Jadeite said, the haunted look in his eyes lessening slightly as his smile widened.

Mamoru rolled his eyes and laughed softly. He knew how it felt after being pulled from Beryl's mind controlling fog. It was hard to pull away from the horror and the guilt of what she could make you do. He could feel his friend logically working through those emotions now with narrowed eyes and a growl of frustration.

"I don't understand any of this. I saw Athena last night and the Senshi. Were we all reborn?" He questioned softly and then his eyes widened with a sudden realization. He cursed out loud and met Mamoru's startled gaze.

"Beryl wants the silver crystal. That's what we've been looking for," Jadeite said anxiously and then his eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Have you found her? Serenity?" He questioned, his intelligent eyes watching Mamoru's face for any indication of knowledge of the Princess's location. It was Mamoru's turn to shift nervously as he contemplated his general and how much he should tell him.

"Yes, I found her," he cautiously replied as he watched Jadeites eyes. They flashed with intelligence and a cool, calculated logic that he remembered well. Mamoru felt the exact moment that Jadeite figured it out as the energy within him whirred brilliantly every time Jadeite discovered something new or solved a problem.

"I don't remember there ever being a Moon Senshi," he said his eyes piercing knowingly into Mamoru. Mamoru shifted uncomfortably under Jadeites gaze and his friend sighed and shook his head. "Endymion, we need to help the others. You don't know the things she has planned – the things we – they- are going to do," He stated vehemently. Mamoru could feel a mixture of fury and determination roiling just beneath the surface within his friend. Jadeite wanted to save the others just as much as he did.

"I know exactly what Beryl has planned, and I fully intend on getting them away from her," he replied, his voice tinged with a fierce determination which he hoped would reassure his newly-saved friend.

"I'm going to help you," he said, and Mamoru shook his head. "It might be best if you stayed out of sight. If the girls see you-" he started, and Jadeite interrupted him.

"They won't recognize me. Beryl used a glamour that kept our identities hidden," he said and then frowned, "although it doesn't appear to have worked on you. Your powers always allowed you to see through the Senshi's glamour's as well. I assume they're fully restored?" He questioned, in a matter of fact tone of voice and Mamoru replied with a nod. He had always been able to see through the magic of a glamour. There was a shimmery type of power that surrounded a glamour and it slightly resembled the golden energy he could manipulate. He might be able to see through a glamour, but his powers would not allow him manipulate them.

"I'm still not sure if it's a good idea. If Beryl gets a hold of you again..." he let the sentence trail off, not willing to say the words he was thinking. Jadeites eyes hardened, and his fists clenched tightly.

"She'll never get me again," he whispered darkly. "It's my job to protect you Endymion," Mamoru noted his friend's firm resolve, felt the loyalty imbedded in the energy swirling around him and he smiled gently.

"I never could convince you to stay behind. This time I'm not even a prince so I can't even order you around," he said jokingly. "Also, just a friendly reminder, my name is not Endymion. It's Mamoru," he said and turned to go into the kitchen.

"Do you want a coffee?" He questioned, and Jadeite collapsed onto the couch. "Alright," he stated with a sigh and Mamoru pulled a mug from the cupboard.

"I'm not calling you that stupid name," he called out and Mamoru smiled.

He didn't bother going to class that day as he decided to stay with Jadeite. His friend seemed lost and confused. He'd spent so much time with such a dark purpose that he was having a difficult time orienting himself.

They discussed what Jadeite knew about Beryl. The information, while valuable, wasn't much of a surprise to him. The only exception was that Mamoru learned that Beryl was gathering energy and looking for the Silver Crystal for a different Queen that was darker and more powerful than her. That was something he had not known but it made sense to him that Beryl hadn't come upon those dark powers on her own.

They talked about what the next steps for him would be. Jadeite didn't remember anything before Beryl in this life, so he had no idea if he'd gone to school, had family or a job.

"Well, you could always volunteer at the local shrine," Mamoru suggested, and Jadeite frowned with distaste.

"Why on earth would I do that? That seems something more fitting for Kunzite than for me," He said, his tone laced with confusion and Mamoru just shrugged with a smile. "Oh, I don't know. It was just a suggestion," he replied and Jadeites eyes narrowed suspiciously.

Mamoru's phone beeped up at him indicating that the alarm he had set was going off and his heart quickened with excited anticipation. He would get to see her soon.

"I have to go. You'll be fine here? On your own?" he said and Jadeite raised an eyebrow in annoyance. "You do know that I controlled an entire dark army of monsters, right? I'm pretty sure I can handle a little bit of solitude," he said and Mamoru laughed.

"Right. Sorry," Mamoru stated apologetically as he hurriedly put on his shoes.

"You know the smart thing to do, if you're not planning on telling her who you are, would be to stay away from her, right?" He said, and Mamoru grinned sheepishly at his friend.

"Well, I guess no one can ever accuse me of being smart," He teased and Jadeite rolled his eyes.

He stood outside of her school, leaning casually against the fence, his heart beating against his rib cage. He didn't want to wait until she went to the arcade. If she went to the arcade. He needed to see her and he didn't want to wait it out if she decided to avoid him.

The bell rang, and the students began to pour down the walkway, all loudly chattering as they passed him. He used his energy to reach out to hers and, as usual, when his energy connected with her light his heart expanded in his chest.

She was walking with the brunette from the jewellery store and it took a moment for her to notice him. Her eyes met his and they widened in surprise. She stopped walking, startled, and froze in place. He inhaled sharply at the sight of her. She overwhelmed him with her beauty; It wasn't just the glistening golden locks, her shining sapphire coloured eye or her smooth pearly white skin but the pureness and beauty of the light inside of her. He could feel it wash over him every time they were together.

"Mamo-Chan!" She said in astonishment, and he smiled tentatively at her. She flew towards him then, a flurry of golden hair trailing in her wake as she wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her head in his chest.

He stumbled back a little from the unexpected force of her embrace. He laughed softly and placed his hands on her waist to steady them. Her face reddened in embarrassment as she looked up at him.

"Sorry, Mamo-Chan," she whispered and tried to pull away. His hands tightened on her waist to stop her and pull her closer instead, and she flushed with pleasure.

"How was school Usako?" He asked and she scrunched up her nose with distaste at the mention of her least favourite topic of conversation. His heart constricted tightly and he fought the urge to kiss her. She was so damn adorable.

"Thankfully, it's over! Can we talk Mamo-Chan?" She whispered tentatively and he smiled tenderly as he nodded. He took her hand, his fingers interlacing with hers, and led her away from the throng of students at the school entrance.

They were halfway to the arcade, crossing through a park when she stopped. She pulled her hand out of his, and he looked down at her curiously as she nervously began to wring her hands. He inwardly sighed at the confused turmoil swelling inside of her, and he took her hands in his to stop the nervous habit.

"Mamo-Chan, I'm sorry I had to leave yesterday – I know that I was confused before I left you but I'm not confused anymore," she whispered and he frowned as he felt her swirling emotions around them. His pretty little Usako was lying. She was most definitely still confused.

"I wish I knew what this was between us," She sighed miserably, and he grunted and pulled her against him.

"It's okay Usako," He said as she melted against him. He could love her enough for the both of them until she realized how much she loved him too.


Two weeks passed and everyday Mamoru would walk Usagi to school and wait for her afterwards. His least favourite part of the day was the time she was at school, he was in class and they weren't together. They would spend some time at the arcade where he would usually study and she would play games and meet with the girls.

Ami was quick to accept his presence, but Reis' eyes watched him cautiously. The Senshi of Mars had always been fiercely protective of their princess and, although her memories were dormant, he could feel that same fierceness swirling within her now.

They would sometimes disappear for a while, and he knew they were in the secretly hidden headquarters beneath the Sailor V game. He always pretended not to notice her brief disappearances, even though he was very aware of her whereabouts at all times.

It didn't take long for Jadeite to hack into every government database via his computer to forge himself a new identity. There hadn't been an attack in a while, and Jadeite knew that Beryl and his comrades were angry and reanalyzing things since he'd been taken.

"I wonder if she suspects that you're back Endymion," he mused one evening over dinner and Mamoru shrugged.

"I'll face that when it happens," he said and Jadeite nodded.

"You know, this would be much easier for us if you would just tell Serenity what your plan is," Jadeite said in a matter of fact tone, shoving a dumpling into his mouth.

"I already told you that isn't an option. It's not the time for her to remember," he replied, his tone firm and leaving no room for argument, "and her name is Usagi."

Jadeite peered at him with piercing, intelligent, eyes. Mamoru could feel the questions bubbling up inside of the general. Jadeite knew there was something he wasn't telling him but he wisely kept his questions to himself.

It was Friday evening and he sat at the arcade counter, Usagi currently in headquarters, perusing the pages of one of his books for biochemistry. Jadeite, quite annoyingly, had already read every single one of his school books.

At that moment, two delicate arms wrapped around him from behind and he felt Usagi press her head against his back. He smiled and swivelled the chair around, still locked in her embrace, so that she stood between his legs. She wrapped her arms tighter around him and rested her head against his chest. His heart began to race as he rested his chin on top of her head.

"Your heart is pounding Mamo-Chan," she whispered, and an ache began to form in the pit of his stomach. She pulled back and looked up into his eyes with a brilliant white smile.

"I missed you," she said and he laughed gently. "How could you miss me? I've been here the whole time." He murmured and tenderly swept a strand of hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. She giggled and her face flushed with pleasure.

"I still missed you, Mamo-chan. I always miss you when we're apart," She whispered, and he inhaled sharply as her silvery energy washed over him. She was all sweet, bubbly, happiness.

Her face reddened in embarrassment under his gaze and she bit her lip, shifting with uncertainty in his arms.

"I- I'm sorry Mamo-Chan, I know that it's too soon to say such things but I feel so-" she trailed off stammering over her words as she began to wring her hands nervously. Had she always done that? He couldn't remember if the nervous habit had been something she'd habitually done in their previous timeline or if the intensity of his feelings for her now had brought the habit back.

He leaned down so that his face was directly in front of hers and took her hands in his.

"Stop that Usako," he murmured. "I miss you when we're apart too." He said softly and she let out a small breath of relief as he pressed his lips gently to hers. Which would have escalated passionately had Motoki not coughed loudly behind them.

Usagi jumped in surprise and pulled away her face turning crimson red in her embarrassment. Motoki had a knowing smirk on his face, and he chuckled as he turned his stool back towards the counter and pulled Usagi back to his side. She shuddered happily and curled into the crook of his arm.

"Do you want to eat something Usako? We can order food before I walk you home," He asked and smiled down at her indulgently. He was rewarded by his request when her face lit up happily.

"Yes please!" She exclaimed, bouncing on the balls of her feet excitedly sending blonde hair tumbling over her shoulder.

He was about to turn towards Motoki to order when he looked up to see Ami and Rei coming towards the counter. It still felt strange to see the Senshi in this lifetime through Endymion's eyes. He saw flashes of Athena pretending to glare at a smirking Jadeite and Ophelia -Ami now- blushing furiously at some inappropriate joke Zoisite had whispered in her ear. He wanted that life back and he wanted his friends back.

Ami sweetly smiled as they approached, but Reis gaze was hard and unwaveringly intense as she contemplated him. He could feel her passionate energy and the strong urge she felt to protect Usagi. He wished she didn't currently feel the need to protect her from him.

"Hey Usagi, can we join you?" Ami asked softly her voice painfully shy as her face flushed in her nervousness. Usagi beamed at her friend and he watched in awe as Amis' shoulders relaxed, her smile widened and her eyes softened. Usagi was totally unaware of her ability to open up her friend's hearts and pull them in with her bright energy.

"Oh! Sure! Is that okay Mamo-Chan?" She asked and he smiled down at her.

"Of course, Usako, why don't you guys get a booth and I'll bring the food over," he said, and she nodded as she moved towards her friends. They subconsciously circled her protectively. Despite their dormant memories, he could feel that they knew deep down that she was their princess.

"A milkshake too mamo!" She said as her friends pulled her away. "Also, some extra fries Mamo-Chan! "she cried out, and he laughed.

He ordered food for all of them and brought it to their booth. He sat beside Usagi and draped an arm along her shoulders. He basked in the warmth of the moment and observed Usagi lovingly as she chattered endlessly in between bites of food. Her friends laughed along with her, their eyes bright with love for Usagi.

He wondered if Usagi knew the kind of impact she had on people around her. She was automatically someone you wanted to be around and to protect.

"Guys! Did you hear that princess D. Is having a fabulous masquerade party tomorrow? She's going to unveil her kingdoms treasure!" Usagi said in a hushed, awe-filled, tone, bubbling with excitement.

He froze as he recalled the events that had surrounded the masquerade. It was Nephrites first attack.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to be there? With all the pretty woman in their ball gowns, dancing across the dance floor?" She sighed dreamily, her eyes sparkling as she twirled a strand of silken hair hand around her slender index finger.

"Oh Usagi, your head is always in the clouds," Rei said with a loving tone as she popped another fry into her mouth.

They finished eating dinner and all exited the arcade together. Rei was teasing Ami about a boy in her class and he held Usagi's hand tightly in his. It felt so normal, like they were any other young couple in the world. It was one of his favourites moments until the screaming started.

There was suddenly mass hysteria in the street as hordes of screaming; terrified people rushed towards them. In the distance, he heard a loud screeching noise intertwined with the sounds of sirens and explosions.

"Usagi!" Rei called out as she and Ami ran towards the noise. Usagi looked up at him with terror in her eyes, and he could feel that her terror was not for herself, it was for him.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and passionately kissed his lips. It was filled with a desperation that took his breath away as it reminded him of the final days of their first life. She abruptly tore apart from him and turned to run towards her already disappearing friends.

"Usa - wait!" He cried, and there were tears in her eyes.

"Mamo-Chan, please go somewhere safe. I'll find you when this is over!" She cried, and he reached out to her, but his hands only grasped air as she was already halfway down the street.

He stood frozen in fear as the energy swirling around him overwhelmed his senses. He could taste the terror and the fear in his mouth. What the hell? The next attack wasn't until tomorrow and it should have been a quiet covert affair.

"Endymion! I have been looking everywhere for you!" Jadeite grasped his arm and Mamoru took a step back to look at his friend. He was dressed in full Dark King regalia. The glamour of the Dark Kingdom shimmering around him

"What the hell, Jadeite?" He snapped and Jadeite shook his head in frustration.

"I don't know what happened. I felt it when the Youma was pulled from hell, Endymion. I could feel it and then- I just transformed. I think it's the glamour- left over from Beryl," he stammered and Mamoru could feel his friends' energy. It was normal and clearly Jadeite, but it was tinged with something else, a small thread of dark energy.

"You're using dark energy, Jadeite. Stop it now!" He commanded, and Jadeite shook his head helplessly.

"I tried, I can't." He snapped back, his eyes flashing darkly. Mamoru shook his head to clear it.

"Look, I don't have time for this. Usagi needs me. I don't know what's happening," He said, and he felt the panic rising in him as he transformed into Tuxedo Kamen. He dodged crowds of people as he began to run, Jadeite hot on his heels, towards the scene of whatever monster had been conjured.

He stumbled suddenly as an intense feeling of agony unfurled inside of his chest. He gasped and doubled over in pain; Jadeite stopped with him to help him stand.

"What's wrong?!" He demanded as people pushed their way around them. The terror of the crowds along with the intense pain in his chest was agonizing. He knew that the pain was emanating from his connection with Usagi. She was in danger and she needed him now.

"It's Usagi," he gasped and then forcefully propelled himself into the air onto the closest rooftop. He was only somewhat aware of Jadeite following behind him as his desperation to get to her became painfully strong

He stopped, panting heavily, on the rooftop overlooking the scene. This was a Youma bigger than they'd ever encountered before. It was almost as tall as the building he was currently standing on.

The creature was spider-like in nature with a long scorpion-like tail and hundreds of pulsing red eyes. He couldn't put his finger on it but the monster looked familiar. It was covered in spikes that were currently being propelled viciously towards the fighting Senshi. There was one imbedded in Usagi's shoulder and it had her pinned her to the wall of a stone building.

Sailor Mercury was fighting off one of its spiked legs as Mars rained fire on it, but it was apparent that they were losing. He felt like he was being suffocated. The stark terror of the scene in front of him asphyxiating him.

"Jadeite, this wasn't supposed to happen. We need to help them," he choked out, and his words were filled with desperation. Jadeite looked into his eyes and nodded firmly.

They both leapt from the rooftop to land in their midst. His only thought was of Usagi, his beautiful Moon Senshi, as he could feel the energy leaving her. It was too early for her to fight a monster of this magnitude. She hadn't even found all of her Senshi yet.

Her breathing was laboured, and she was slumped down. The only thing holding her up was the spike, sickeningly imbedded in her shoulder. He angrily tore the offending thing out of her and deftly caught her in his arms as she fell forward with a pitiful moan. Damn, she was barely conscious.

"Endy- or tuxedo whatever you're called, watch out!" Jadeite screamed and he clutched her tightly to his chest as he rolled out of the way expertly dodging another blast of spikes. There was a blast of cold mist and another fire attack that was almost instantly blown out by the monster. They just weren't strong enough yet.

He felt a tug from jadeite, the thread of darkness widened as jadeite blast a beam of black ice into the creature. It gasped a bit at impact but recovered quickly.

"Jadeite! Don't use it!" he barked out furiously, and his friend looked back at him guiltily.

"Then heal the freaking superhero and come and fight with me! We're dying over here!" He quipped back, his voice curt and frustrated.

He laid Usagi down on the ground and placed two hands gently over her wound. He closed his eyes in concentration as he used the golden light to seek out her silvery life force. He forcibly unthreaded the damaged energy and she gasped and arched her back as he regenerated the flesh over the jagged cut. When he was done she shot up into a sitting position.

He was feeling light-headed after having been the vessel to expel that much energy, and he sharply inhaled as he felt himself falter slightly.

"Tuxedo Kamen?" She whispered and grasped his shoulders as he wobbled.

"Sailor Moon, I'm weak, and it's going to be a couple of minutes before I can recover. I need you to go help your friends." He panted and felt the trill of terror course through her.

"I can't! Oh god! I'm just a stupid, clumsy girl Tuxedo Kamen! I can't do this," she cried in disbelief and he took her hand in his and peered into her eyes. He tried to convey what he felt for her in his gaze. He wished that she could see what he saw when he looked at her.

"You are so much more than a stupid, clumsy girl, Sailor Moon. You are so much stronger than you think you are. You can do this. I know you can," He whispered passionately, and her eyes widened.

He felt the exact moment that her resolve strengthened. Her eyes filled with determination as she stood and burst towards the Youma that was very close to decimating her friends. She spared one wary glance towards Jadeite and then attacked. He'd never seen her fight like this before, her steps and movements were more calculated with her newfound confidence.

She dodged the monster and tried to blast him with her tiara, but she was not successful. She didn't have the power to do this yet.

He stumbled to his feet his vision blurring with the dizziness. He noted that Mars was unconscious in Jadeites arms as he knelt beside Sailor Mercury, who was barely hanging on to consciousness. She smiled at him gratefully as he healed her.

"Who are you?" Mercury whispered and Mamoru just shook his head.

"Go help her," he gasped, and her eyes widened as she jumped to her feet.

"Right!" She shouted and joined Sailor Moon. "Mercury, Aqua, Blast!" She covered them in a protective mist as he made his way to Jadeite and Sailor Mars. He could feel the exhaustion pulling at him but he ignored it as he fell to his knees in front of his friend, whose eyes were tortured and terrified for the girl he still loved.

"Do you have enough energy to heal her?" He demanded, his words clipped with fear.

They both knew that when they had arrived, he could have killed the monster himself but then he wouldn't have recovered enough in time to heal Sailor Moon. He felt no judgement from his friend who would have done the same thing for the Fire Senshi in his arms.

"Yes," he choked and took her from his trembling arms. She was in rough shape; her legs and chest were torn to shreds. It took him a bit longer to heal her because he was already exhausted and her wounds were bad. When he did she shot up and promptly jumped to her feet.

She looked back at him like she wanted to say something, but he waved her away. "Go help them," he demanded, and she nodded and took off into the mist.

His vision blurred and he winced as he fell forwards slightly, sucking in the air to keep himself conscious and upright.

"Concentrate Endymion; you can recover from this. Damn, I really wish Kunzite was here," Jadeite whispered frantically, worried for his friend.

"I found it Sailor Moon! Its weakness is behind its eyes!" Sailor Mercury's voice rang out throughout the mist and Mamoru froze and his eyes widened. He knew why the youma was familiar now. It was an exact enlarged replica of the creatures that Nephrite had fought in the pits so long ago.

"MOON, TIARA, BOOMERANG!" Sailor Moon cried, and the monster screeched as it finally evaporated.

There was silence for a moment as they all caught their breath. Jadeite was holding Tuxedo Kamen up in a standing position. The Senshi, not sure what to do, watched them with cautious gazes. Luna bounded suddenly onto the scene and over to Sailor Moon.

"I've never seen anything like this Sailor Moon. I tried to get a read on it from headquarters but it just doesn't make sense. I don't know why they're doing things differently!" She said and Mamoru shuddered at the cat's word. He was the reason. He'd changed everything.

The girls gathered near Luna but Sailor Moon came towards them, her movements tentative and unsure as she stopped warily in front of them.

"Thank you for saving us," she whispered, and he shrugged and smiled at her. The adrenaline that had coursed through her during the battle had waned, and all he could feel now was her silvery, uncertain, brightness.

"All in a day's' work Sailor Moon," He whispered, recovered enough to stand up on his own, while Jadeite crossed his arms patiently.

"Who are you? Why do you keep saving me?" She whispered pleadingly, her big blue eyes wide and imploring.

He moved closer to her, and she looked up slowly as if mesmerized by him. He ran a gloved finger along the curve of her cheek, his face only inches from hers. Her scent, vanilla and lavender, assaulted his senses.

"Who wouldn't want to save you?" He replied softly, his eyes trailed on her rosy pink lips. The sirens blaring in the distance broke through their daze, and she inhaled sharply and took a step back from him.

"Well if you guys are done flirting, it might be time to go." Jadeite quipped sardonically and Mamoru frowned as he felt something flare from Within Usagi. She was angry with herself, though he couldn't imagine why. He searched her face for a reason for the emotion coursing through her. She'd wrapped her arms around herself protectively, her eyes downcast and her cheeks tinged pink.

The sirens were dangerously close now, and he could hear the sound of muffled voices as they approached the scene of the monster Sailor Moon has just destroyed. They were out of time now.

Mamoru turned towards Jadeite and nodded mutely at his friend. With one last wistful look at Sailor Moon, they both leapt into the air and disappeared into the night.

He awoke to the sound of his phone blaring in the darkness and he sat up, groggy and bleary-eyed, to look over at the clock on his bedside table. It was only 3am.

He couldn't remember much after he'd left Usagi in the street after fighting the Youma. It had been a blur; his body weighed down by the pure exhaustion running through his veins from the strain of channelling the energy it had taken to heal the Senshi. He vaguely remembered falling into his bed and passing out into oblivion.

The ringing was piercing, and It took him a moment to register that the noise was emanating from his phone and he clumsily fumbled as he reached for it.

"Hello?" He answered, his voice rugged sounding and still thick with sleep.

"Mamo-Chan! You're- you're okay" Usagi's voice, broken and tormented, woke him up instantly. His heart began to race furiously at the painful sound. What was wrong? Was she in trouble?

"Shh, it's okay Usako. I'm fine," he soothed and swung his legs over the side of his bed.

"What apartment is yours Mamo? I know I'm at the right building but I don't know which one yours is," she whispered and he frowned in confusion. He hadn't felt the pull in his chest, so she wasn't in any physical danger. "You're here?" He asked softly as he found his jeans and quickly pulled them on.

"Yes. They told me to wait till morning but- Mamo-Chan Please, I really need to see you," she whispered brokenly, and it tore at his heart.

"It's okay, Usako. I'm in 1809," he answered soothingly as he quickly stumbled into the living room. He glanced over at the sofa noting that Jadeite was curiously absent.

The phone clicked as she hung up and he waited with bated breath for her to arrive. He didn't need to wait long as only mere moments later there was a soft knock on his door. He fumbled with the lock and opened the door for her.

She stood there, bathed in the glow of the fluorescent lights of the hallway and he sharply inhaled as he took in her dishevelled appearance. Her clothes thrown on haphazardly were mismatched and rumpled, her hair was askew, flyaway strands framing her face and her eyes were red-rimmed from crying, tears still staining her face. He choked on the emotions swirling off of her; fear, love, passion and guilt.

"Oh God- Usako," he gasped and she flew into his arms pressing her trembling body against his. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she buried her hands into his hair, forcefully pulling his face down to hers. She crushed her lips on his with so much want and desperation it left him breathless and yearning for her. Christ, he wanted her, badly.

His hands slid down and grasped her bottom, lifted her into him as she wrapped her legs around his waist and deepened their kiss. He barely managed to close the apartment door before pressing her up against it. She moaned, and her lips parted granting his tongue entrance. He growled, his body shuddering as she whimpered into his mouth.

They tore apart breathless and panting as his hands explored the gentle curves of her body. He trailed soft kisses down her neck, stopping to nip just above her collar bone. He knew, from their past life, that this was one of the most sensitive spots on her luscious body.

She gasped, and the cry that tore from her lips was desperate, primal even, as she pulled at his hair. Her quaking body tightening in pleasure.

"Mamo-Chan, please.," she desperately pleaded as she pressed herself into him.

He pulled his lips away from her, his heart pounding against his rib cage and his breathing laboured, as he registered that he was still holding her up against the apartment door.

"Christ, Usako," he breathed and pulled away a bit, releasing her so that she slid down the length of him, her feet hitting the floor. Her first time with him was not going to be up against his apartment door.

"Mamo-Chan, oh god, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," She brokenly whispered and his eyes flew up to hers. There were tears flowing freely now, rolling down her cheeks as she let out a heart-wrenching sob. He inhaled sharply in shock as her anguish poured off of her and assaulted his senses.

"Usako, what's wrong?" He soothed desperately, swinging her into his arms and sinking to his knees with her cradled against his chest.

Her sobs escalated until they were wracking through her trembling body as her fingers clutched the front of his shirt. He stroked her back and her arms as he gently rocked her. He could feel her love for him, stronger than it had ever been in this lifetime, but it was twisted up in threads of anguish and guilt, and it was so frustrating not being able to decipher what was making her feel this way.

He held her, whispering soothing nonsensical words until her tears eventually subsided and she hiccupped softly still clutching onto him. He could feel the emotional and physical exhaustion radiating from her body. Her breathing evened as he held her and for a moment he thought she had fallen asleep.

"Mamo-Chan, will you hold me tonight?" She whispered, her voice raw with pain, her big blue eyes wide and vulnerable. He had to gulp back the onslaught of emotion that tore through him at the sight of her like this.

He wordlessly stood up with her still cradled in his arms and carried her to his bedroom where he laid her down on his bed. The sight of her laying there, curled up on his bed, nearly undid him. Her eyes were closed as she began to drift off to sleep and he took off her shoes and crawled into the bed beside her. She instinctively turned towards him and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close, as she curled into his chest. Her legs tangled intimately with his as she tucked her head beneath his chin. They both gave in to their exhaustion.

Just as he was drifting off to sleep, she sighed gently, and his tired, sleep ridden mind didn't quite register the words that she whispered wistfully.

"Tuxedo Kamen"

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Mamoru vs. Tuxedo Kamen

He had been to many formal events before. As the Prince of Earth, he had been privileged with access to the greatest luxuries and amenities that the planet had to offer. As such, his kingdom had thrown several elegant extravaganzas. He'd mingled with leaders, warriors and the smartest scholars Earth had to offer at the grandest balls and the most luxurious parties. That was, however, nothing compared to the refined elegance of a Masquerade on the Moon.

He was in awe at the splendour of it. The ballroom itself was more significant than his entire castle. It was a room of glimmering white marble and intricate golden finishes. The people, dressed in an array of gossamer materials of silk and satin, swirled expertly along shining floors, serenaded by disembodied melodies that echoed across the room.

Tonight, the people of the Moon Kingdom were celebrating his engagement to their princess, Serenity. It felt like it had taken forever for them to get to this point. He'd fought through the threat of death, uncertainty and short imprisonment in a marble room, but they'd managed to convince the leaders of the Universe that their love was not an affront to the Gods.

Unfortunately, that had resulted in the immediate separation of his reason for breathing. It didn't matter that they had already consummated their love several times. Now that everyone knew, there was apparently traditions that needed to be abided by. One of them being that his pretty princess was being kept under lock and key, until such time that they were connected in a traditional Moon love binding ceremony that was the equivalent to marriage on Earth with a magical component added to it.

He hadn't seen her in weeks. It made him feel hollow and anxious.

He'd just returned from Earth and was instructed to dress for a masquerade ball that was being held in their honour. He didn't care much for the black tuxedo and white mask that seemed to be a fashionable garment on the Moon, but that is what he'd been given to wear and, in all honesty, he didn't care what he wore, so long as he could see Serenity tonight.

Upon entering the ballroom, he was quite surprised to see he blended in very well...almost too well. He frowned when he was struck with a sudden realization: he was dressed exactly like every other man in the room. It was like drowning in a sea of black amongst the beautifully coloured dresses. He frowned as his eyes scanned the gowned women for one in particular.

He jumped slightly as a gloved hand touched his arm. He looked down into the shining eyes of the beautiful Senshi, Sailor Jupiter. Her name was Juno, and he'd become fast friends with the girl that had managed to tame and capture the heart of his hardened general. It was the first time he'd seen her out of her regular Senshi Fuku, clad in a glittering gown of emerald green.

"You won't find her in the crowd, Your Highness," she whispered excitedly, her face flushed.

He exhaled in frustration. This was quickly becoming tiresome. "Why not?" he demanded, and Juno grinned conspiratorially.

"It's a tradition. When a princess of the royal family gets married, there's a masquerade thrown in her honour. The man that she is getting married to wears the same thing as all of the other men in the room," she began, and Endymion's frown deepened. "When the first dance begins, she will stand on the dais. The room will go quiet, and she will need to find you and choose you. It's a test created to judge your connection to each other, as a love binding ceremony can only be performed on one's true soul mate."

Endymion's eyes widened, and his heart began to race.

"Don't worry about it, Endy," Juno smirked and punched his arm gently. "You and Serenity are soulmates, and it's really just a formality. It's not like they're going to throw you off the Moon if she doesn't pick you. It's just for fun," she said, and he grimaced.

"This is not my idea of fun," he groaned, and Juno laughed.

She looked up into the crowd then. Her cheeks flushed, and her smile widened as she caught sight of an irritated-looking Nephrite, standing uncomfortably among the throngs of people. He'd already ditched the mask, jacket and hat, freeing his long hair to hang loosely down his back.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine," she whispered and squeezed his arm comfortingly before she bounded off to meet his sour-faced general.

The moment she left, the lights in the room brightened. The room fell silent, and he inhaled sharply as Serenity stepped onto the marble dais.

She took his breath away.

Her white gown was not as elaborate as the other women in the room. There was no tulle or lace, and it wasn't covered in the intricate golden designs that the women of the court seemed to favour. It was simple and elegant, and it curved around her body like a glove. She didn't need the trimmings of an intricate grown. She was a silver-haired goddess, and it shone throughout the room. In his opinion, there wasn't a woman in this ballroom that compared to her.

Everyone waited with bated breath as her brow furrowed in concentration. Her blue eyes perusing the room, scanning over the men, searching for him.

His breath caught in his throat when her eyes met his. Her pink, heart-shaped, lips stretched into a brilliant smile as she stepped off the dais. The crowd parted as she made her way to him. It was like watching an ethereal being float towards him. She was a goddess, she was a princess, she was his princess.

She stopped in front of him and held up her hand to him, her eyes sparkling with the invitation to dance. He chuckled, took her hand in his and swirled her out onto the dance floor just as the music began.

"How did you know it was me?" he whispered with a smile and she laughed, the melodic sound washing over him.

They twirled onto the edge of the dancefloor, and she smiled up at him. "My darling prince, I would recognize you anywhere."

He awoke to the sound of birds chirping noisily intermingled with the sound of honking horns and squealing tires indicating the morning rush hour. He groggily rolled over and reached for Usagi, but was greeted with nothing but air and cold, crumpled sheets. He sat up quickly, and his eyes scanned the empty room, searching for her.

She wasn't there.

He stood quickly and strode to open his bedroom door that had been wide open last night but was now firmly shut.

"Usako?" he called out, but his heart sank even as he spoke her name. He already knew she'd gone. He couldn't feel her presence; it felt oddly cold in his apartment without her warm glow filling it.

"She's already gone; snuck out just before 6am," Jadeite called out from the living room.

Mamoru found him sitting on the couch, sipping a cup of coffee with one of his biochemistry books perched on his lap. He frowned and clenched his fists in confusion.

It was easier to remember the guilt and distress she had felt when his brain wasn't clouded with his need for her. He glanced up at the apartment door and visions of Usagi pressed against it flashed through his mind. He felt his face flush at the memory.

Jadeite raised an eyebrow with a knowing smirk splayed across his lips.

"Were you here last night?" Mamoru asked, his voice slightly tinged with embarrassment.

Jadeite's smirk widened, and Mamoru shifted uncomfortably. "No. I wasn't here. I left to give you some privacy when I saw her pacing in front of the building," he said, looking back down at the book in his lap. Mamoru exhaled in relief then collapsed into the recliner chair across from him. He groaned out loud as he rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands in frustration.

"Trouble in paradise?" Jadeite teased.

Mamoru winced and sighed softly, leaning back to gaze at his friend. "I have no idea," he muttered. He had obviously done something. In all the lifetimes he could remember having with her, he could not remember her ever feeling that way around him. Had he changed the timeline too much?

He furrowed his brow in confusion as their last battle with the Youma came flooding back to him. "That was Nephrite's monster," Mamoru stated.

Jadeite gazed at him in cool contemplation before he nodded in agreement. "Yes. I recognized it as well," he said.

Mamoru stared at his friend, and he felt a twinge of something emitting from Jadeite's energy. It was something Mamoru remembered well. Jadeite had a theory.

"Jadeite. Spit it out already," Mamoru snapped.

His friend sighed softly, slightly irritated that he'd read him so well. "I think that monster was sent for you," he started.

Mamoru's eyes widened in confusion. Why would they have sent a Youma after him? That didn't make any sense at all.

It was then that he felt the deep thread of guilt twisted around his friend. "After I encountered you that first time, I was furious that you had disintegrated my monster so easily. I reported it to Beryl, and she was very interested. I think that monster was sent to lure you out, to see what you could do. It's what I would have done," he said and gazed at him with haunted eyes.

It had been a risk using his powers around the Senshi and his generals. He knew that he'd be exposed, but there was no other way he could have saved Jadeite.

"Well, that puts a kink in my plans," he muttered, and Jadeite nodded guiltily. "I know. I'm sorry," he said apologetically.

Mamoru shrugged at his friend and smiled. "I'm pretty sure I can handle it. It's not your fault. We'll figure it out," he replied, and Jadeite nodded slowly, but he shifted uncomfortably and averted his gaze. Mamoru's eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"What? What else is there?" he demanded.

"Well, you didn't use your powers to kill the monster in the battle last night," he said. Mamoru's eyes widened. No, he hadn't. He'd used his powers to heal the Senshi who had been the ones to decimate the youma. Dammit.

"They'll probably send another one," Mamoru stated with finality.

Jadeite nodded in agreement, and Mamoru groaned in frustration. Pluto was going to kill him. She was going to come back, and she was going to wrap her pretty little-gloved hands around his throat, and he was going to be forced to look into her scary dark eyes as she choked him to death. He had seriously screwed up the timeline.

"I will know when another monster is pulled," Jadeite said, and his voice was hesitant, his eyes warily watching him to gauge his reaction.

Mamoru snapped out of his desolate musings at the comment. Jadeite had used dark energy last night. "No, you can't do that again," Mamoru commanded harshly, uneasy with Jadeites use of dark energy.

He felt Jadeite's irritation swell as he snapped the book he was holding shut and tossed it onto the coffee table. "I can control it," he said firmly, and Mamoru shook his head vehemently.

"You aren't Kunzite, you can't control evil, Jadeite," he snapped furiously at his friend.

He felt the anger start churn around his general. "Darkness is not evil, Endymion. You of all people should know that. Has Kunzite taught you nothing? I have always had this inside of me. Beryl just showed me how to use it. Do you think I'm evil?" he demanded, his voice deathly calm as he stared at him with a cool, level gaze.

Mamoru stared back at his friend. It was true that Jadeite had always had some form of darkness within him. Mamoru had sensed it within him the first time Jadeite had fallen, anguished, to his knees as a child in a rose garden so long ago. He knew Jadeite wasn't evil. Kunzite had taught him, long ago, the difference between darkness and evil but how could he tell his friend that he was okay with him using something that had quite literally killed him and consumed so many people? That the thought of his friend becoming consumed in the darkness filled him with dread.

"You know I don't think you're evil. I just don't know what to say - how could I even-" he stammered in frustration, unable to put his thoughts into words.

The anger around Jadeite dwindled, and he sighed. "I know. I'm going to be careful," he promised. "But I am going to be useful."

Endymion sighed and leaned back slightly in his chair. There was a moment of silence between them before he could manage a reply, "I'm going to stop you if you can't handle it."

Jadeite grinned widely. "Good," he said, picking up the book from the coffee table again. "You might want to go find Serenity now. I hate it when you brood."

Mamoru glared at him even as he stood to go get ready to find her. "You're going to need to get your own place," he snapped. Jadeite's chuckle followed him all the way to his bedroom.

She wasn't at the Arcade like she usually would have been on a Saturday morning. He'd called her twice, and each time her phone had gone straight to voicemail.

Mamoru stood outside of the crown arcade scowling at his phone that was clenched tightly in his hands. His heart constricted painfully in his chest at the thought that she was avoiding him.

He closed his eyes in concentration, sending prodding threads of his own energy to fan out and connect with hers. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found her.

He could feel the warmth and happiness that swelled around her, but he could also feel the exhaustion and the confusion too, albeit it was not as pronounced as it had been last night.

He frowned and shifted uncomfortably in his indecisiveness. He wasn't sure if she needed space from him, some time to come to terms with the overwhelming connection and emotion that should have developed more slowly between them. He cringed guiltily. He had definitely sped up that process.

If she ultimately decided that she wasn't ready for their relationship in this capacity he would back off and be what she needed him to be, even if that meant she just wanted his friendship. He grimaced at the thought. That would definitely be difficult, as he could barely keep his hands off of her now, but he'd do it for her if that were what she wanted.

He wouldn't know what she wanted, though, until he spoke to her.

It was easy to find her once he'd made the decision to do so. He followed the tangled webs of energy until her silvery threads grew stronger and he found her in a deserted park, sitting on a bench, her legs pulled up to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. She rested her chin on her knees, and she was staring into space, lost in thought.

He felt his heart start to race nervously as he approached her from behind.

She jumped when he laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. She whirled around in startled fear, her blue eyes wide and afraid but she visibly relaxed and her eyes softened gently when she realized it was him.

"Mamo-Chan, you found me," She whispered with a wistful smile and held her arms out to him.

He exhaled a relieved breath expelling all of the doubt and anxiety that had been swirling within him only moments before. She wanted to be with him too. She loved him just as much as he loved her. She may not know the depth of her feelings for him yet but, he could feel it swirling inside of her, and it was like they were back on the Moon.

"Usako." He whispered and swept her into his arms, cradling her to his chest as he joined her on the bench. It was quiet for a while with her curled into his arms and his chin resting on the top of her head.

"I'm sorry I left this morning, Mamo-Chan. I didn't want my parents to know I had left," She whispered, her voice softly cutting into the silence around them. He frowned, knowing that was not the only reason why she'd left this morning.

"Usako, please tell me what's wrong." He whispered, and she shuddered in his arms.

She leant back to look up at him, and he stared into her eyes searching for answers.

"There's nothing wrong, Mamo-chan. Not anymore. You're real, and you love me," She whispered and reached a hand up to stroke the side of his face.

He shuddered at her touch but then frowned down at her. It felt like she'd made a decision and that decision sent a flood of relief through her. What the hell? What decision had she made? What the hell had he changed in the timeline to have caused this?

"Usako, are you sure you're okay?" He asked her firmly his arms tightening around her. Her emotions causing alarmed confusion to swell up inside of his chest.

He hated now knowing what she was thinking, and he desperately wanted to pry the answers from her pretty little head so that he could fix whatever it was that was tearing her apart. Which he had fully intended on doing until she smiled at him. It was blinding.

"No, I would probably feel much better if you were kissing me," she teased, and with a groan, he swept down and gave her what they both wanted.

His little Usako was definitely distracting him. In this particular moment, he didn't really care.

They made their way to the arcade shortly after their passionate embrace.

She held his hand and chattered sweetly as they walked. He was thankful that his little ball of sunshine was back and he found it difficult to concentrate on what she was saying as he was too distracted by the way her eyes lit up and her face glowed with excitement when she spoke of the things that made her happy.

Rei was there when they arrived, and her eyes were narrowed in confusion when they walked in.

"Usagi! Where have you been? I've tried calling you several times!" She said with irritation, and Usagi blushed adorably.

"Uhh, were we supposed to meet Rei?" She questioned guiltily, and the patient priestess sighed in defeat.

"Oh Usagi. You forgot again, didn't you?" She scolded gently, and Usagi laughed nervously.

"Sorry, Rei. I'm here now, I was a little distracted." Usagi responded, glancing up at him shyly while blushing prettily. He suppressed a groan, damn, did she know what she did to him? He smiled at her and squeezed her hand.

Rei gazed at Usagi, and he could feel the fire. Senshi's exasperation, but it was intertwined with a deep love for her friend.

"Well say goodbye to Mamoru Usagi. We have plans, remember?" She said, and there was meaning behind her tone. Mamoru frowned slightly as he tried to decipher it. Usagi's eyes widened.

"Oh! Well, that's not until later tonight. Can't I stay with Mamo-Chan for a while longer?" She asked pleadingly just as the realization of what they were talking about dawned on him. The masquerade was tonight. In the confusion of the attack, he'd completely forgotten about it. Would Nephrite even attack tonight?

The girls were apparently still on the hunt for the crystal and their princess so it would still make sense that they would go.

"That's okay Usako. I need to study for an exam anyways. Will you call me later tonight?" He asked and her face flushed.

"Yes, as soon I get home from – from Amis house," she stuttered over the lie and she but her lip guiltily. She was such a terrible liar with her emotions written all over her face.

He bent down and gave her a sweet, chaste, kiss on her lips. She locked her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. They pulled apart breathlessly.

"I'll see you later Usako," he murmured gently, and he would see her later.

He would see her later as Tuxedo Kamen.

"Can you please tell me why we are going to a ball?" Jadeite demanded with disgust as they both stood on a rooftop, he as Tuxedo Kamen and Jadeite with his Dark King glamour, staring down at the entrance to the embassy across the street.

"You didn't have to come to this, and it's a masquerade, not a ball," he said as he kept an eye trained on the street. He wanted to make sure things hadn't changed and that Usagi and the girls were still coming.

"Like I would let you go as Tuxedo Kamen anywhere without me. I told you that I was going to be useful." Jadeite scoffed just as Mamoru felt Usagi's silvery light rounding the corner with Ami and Rei in tow.

She looked so beautiful in the elaborate pink gown she wore. Jadeite let out a strangled breath of disbelief as he noticed their arrival as well.

"Please tell me we did not come to a ball so you can dance with the princess?" He said with derision, and Tuxedo Kamen shot him a glare.

"No, well - not just that. I think Nephrite is going to be here," he stated firmly and cringed as Jadeite went silent and quietly considered him with intelligent eyes.

"Why do you think that?" He asked softly his tone laced with interest.

Jadeite was the smartest person he had ever met, and Mamoru could feel the curiosity bubbling up in his friend, the mechanical wheels of his brain twisting and turning until he figured out what Mamoru had not told him yet. He knew it was only a matter of time before his friend demanded more answers from him but for now, he would just have to wait.

"I just know, can you please trust me?" he asked, and Jadeite sighed in annoyance.

"Are you going to save him tonight?" Jadeite asked rather than answering his question.

He could feel his friend's irritation at the unknown. Jadeite calculated everything before he made a move and Mamoru knew that his friend felt uncomfortable with his current lack of knowledge. He could also sense Jadeite's loyalty and the trust he had in him.

"I will try," he said and then leapt down from the building when the girls had safely made it inside. Jadeite followed closely behind him.

They had no issue getting into the masquerade just like he hadn't had problems entering the embassy in the original timeline. Once they came into the hall, they stood at the bottom of a swirling staircase within a throng of elegantly dressed people.

"So? What now?" Jadeite asked, and Tuxedo Kamen knew where he needed to be.

"Mars and Mercury are looking for the treasure. If Nephrite appears that's where he'll be," he said, and Jadeite nodded.

"Okay. I'll check it out. I'm assuming that you're going to find Serenity?" He asked with a tone of silent resignation and Mamoru shrugged sheepishly.

"It's impossible to stay away from her," he said simply, and Jadeite rolled his eyes at him and turned to go the opposite way.

"I remember that very clearly." Mamoru heard him mutter under his breath as he disappeared down the hall.

He found her on the edge of the dance floor gazing into the crowd just like she had been the first time. Her blue eyes sparkling wistfully and her hands clasped in elation. He dimly remembered what he had felt the first time he'd seen her like this. It was a pale shadow compared to the emotions sweeping through him now.

He swept forward, and her eyes widened when she saw him. He held out his hand to her and just like before, she was unable to resist the pull between them.

She took his hand, and he swept her onto the dance floor. He hadn't known how to dance in their original timeline, but it had been so natural between them. The distant memory of the balls they'd attended together in a different life had helped guide him through the steps. This time the memory wasn't hazy or indistinct. This time he remembered.

He twirled her expertly around the floor, his steps timed perfectly, as he dipped her and swept her back up into his arms. The energy around them sparked and crackled with the intensity of it.

When the dance was done, he pulled her to the edge of the dancefloor, and they were both panting from the exertion. He smiled softly and stared into her eyes. Her big beautiful blue eyes that were currently welled up with… -tears?

They fell from her eyes in torrential droves, rolling down her cheeks as she bit her lip painfully to stop the sob that was threatening to explode from her chest. He stepped back in complete shock, not able to comprehend what was happening.

She pushed him away, and he stumbled a bit as she twirled away from him and flew through the balcony doors. It took a moment before he came to his senses. What was going on? She had definitely not cried the first time. He raced after her, the terror of this new unknown filling him with dread. He found her by the railing, her head in her hands, and her shoulders shaking as she whimpered.

He bit back a strangled groan at the sight of her like this as he tentatively approached her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry," He pleaded softly, and her eyes snapped up to his. They narrowed angrily and flashed furious daggers at him. He shook his head in confusion under her glare.

"Did you find out who I am just so that you could torture me?" She hissed with her fists clenched at her sides.

He took a step back slightly as her fury rolled over him.

"What? I don't know what you mean-" he stammered in confusion. What was going on? He could feel her anger and her frustration, but he didn't why.

"Shut up! I know that you know who I am! I know you do! Otherwise, you wouldn't keep finding me and doing this to me! I- I – "She gasped and started sobbing into her hands again. He reached out to comfort her, and she slapped his hands away.

"Don't touch me!" She spat. "I love him too much- can't you see you're tearing me apart? I love him! I love him," she sobbed desperately, and he gasped as the shock roared through him as he stumbled backwards.

She was torn between Tuxedo Kamen and Mamoru. He was tearing her apart. He was the reason that she was feeling this way. He groaned in disgust with himself.

Christ, how had he not seen this before? Of course, she was confused! What the hell was wrong with him? This had gone too far.

"Let me explain-" he started towards her, desperate to explain, but he was interrupted as a slip of a girl rushed at Usagi. It was princess D.

Usagi's eyes widened as Princess D knocked into her while leaping off the balcony. She stumbled backwards and cried out as her foot caught in her dress and she flew over the railing.

He acted instinctively just like before, leaping over the railing and grasping her wrist with one hand and the railing with the other. They both dangled in midair as he tried to pull her up. He gazed down into her angry eyes.

"Let go of me!" she snapped and promptly began to struggle against him. He grunted at the strain of trying to hold onto her. His hand was slipping.

"Usako, stop struggling. I can't hold you," he gasped and then her eyes widened in shock.

"Usako?" She whispered as his last finger slipped from the railing and they tumbled through the air.

"Usagi! Use your pen!" Luna cried out from the balcony. Usagi tore her pen from the front of her dress and used it to conjure an umbrella that softened their fall to the ground. They stumbled a bit, and his hands fell to her waist to steady them.

"Are you hurt?" He asked clutching her arm, his eyes scanning her body for any sign that she had injured herself. She turned to stare up at him, and he cringed at the accusation flashing in her eyes.

"Mamoru?" She whispered, and he grinned sheepishly. This had gone too far now. He was done tearing her apart. She needed to at least know that he was Tuxedo Kamen.

"The one and only," he said with a guilty smile as he stepped towards her. He should have expected it when her eyes flared up with recognition and then narrowed in seething anger.

She balled up her tiny hand into a fist, pulled back, and with all the strength she could muster, his sweet, gentle, beautiful princess punched him right in the face.

Mamoru glared at Jadeite who was chuckling softly to himself. They were currently sitting at his kitchen table. Mamoru was trying to eat a bowl of rice and Jadeite was staring down at his open laptop, the machinery humming softly as he typed.

Every so often Jadeite would laugh and smirk at him, and Mamoru knew why his supposed friend was laughing. He'd found Usagi's anger absolutely hilarious.

When she'd discovered his identity as Tuxedo Kamen, she'd been angry. In fact, Mamoru couldn't remember a time, in any of their lifetimes together, where he'd ever felt her energy swell with such fury towards him.

Her angry punch had been followed by a bark of unrestrained laughter from his friend that had stood on the balcony overlooking them. Sailor Mars and Sailor Mercury also stared down at him and their red-faced, furious, Senshi leader in confusion.

"You don't have time for this! Princess D needs your help! Transform Sailor Moon!" Luna had cried out, and Usagi recovered long enough to give him a glare and transform.

He did have to admit that her anger fueled her to fight like he'd never seen her fight before. They made short work of the Youma without any help from him.

The battle went exactly as it did the first time, except for Sailor Moon's swirling rage and the lack of his general's appearance. Nephrite did not make an appearance before the Youma had torn from the princess or afterwards when it had been slain.

Jadeite theorized that Beryl was cautious, that she was afraid that she would lose another one of her Dark Kings.

Sailor Moon and her Senshi didn't stick around after the fight this time either. She'd completely ignored him as she bounded out of there as quickly as she could. He didn't try and stop her. She definitely needed space from him this time.

Which he thought he could handle except that Jadeite wouldn't stop laughing.

"I swear to God Jadeite, if you laugh one more time, I think I might actually kill you!" He snapped angrily causing Jadeite to laugh again.

Mamoru's eyes narrowed angrily, and he had to choke back an angry snarl.

"I'm sorry, Endymion. I know that this is definitely not funny to you but honestly, it's kind of a relief to see Serenity mad like that," He stated softly.

"What?" Endymion choked in disbelief. He wondered briefly if Pluto really needed him to rescue all of his generals.

"Don't blast me into oblivion please, I only mean that in all the time I've known you and Serenity you've only ever been this wholesome, perfect couple. I don't think I have ever seen Serenity raise her tone with you or get irritated with you. "He stated and shifted slightly. "I like this version of Serenity. She's strong."

Mamoru's glare dwindled into a thoughtful scowl as he thought about that. It was true. He had rarely glimpsed an ounce of anger in her. She'd been raised to be a demure political creature that had pulled at his protective nature. He'd wanted to shield Serenity from the world. He was her saviour but Usagi? Well, Usagi was his equal.

She was just as strong as him this time, maybe even stronger. She handled the life of a Senshi, balancing school and him while still keeping her heart open and bright. She filled everyone she knew with love for her. They were pulled in by her endless compassion.

He liked this version of Serenity too, and he loved her even more than he had before if that was even possible. He groaned, and his head fell into his hands in anguish as he let out a strangled breath of frustration. He didn't know what to do about an angry Usagi.

Jadeite chuckled again.

"It's going to be fine Endymion. Trust me when I say that it's more fun this way." Jadeite said, and Endymion snorted in disbelief.

His head snapped up at the sound of loud, angry, knocking on his front door. His eyes met Jadeite's who just smirked in an 'I told you so' kind of manner. He sat frozen in place, his heart racing furiously. It wasn't possible. There was just no way. It couldn't be her.

"Mamoru! I know you're in there! Open the door!" The statement was slightly muffled but very angry.

Mamoru used his power to feel for her energy. The blinding ball of light, passion, anger and love standing outside of his door was most definitely her.

He shot up and strode to the door. He'd barely unlocked it when she flew past him in a flurry of rage, golden hair trailing behind her. She stopped short at the sight of Jadeite sitting casually at the table a small smile on his lips.

Her eyes widened, and she swirled around to face him angrily.

"Are you kidding me?!" She cried, "Do you have any idea how angry I am?"

Mamoru grimaced and shifted uncomfortably.

"I'm pretty sure he knows how angry you are." Jadeite said as he snapped the laptop shut. She gasped in a fury.

"I didn't ask you!" She screamed as her body shook in frustration.

Jadeite chuckled and stood up, "that is my cue to leave," he said and made his way to the door.

"Please try not to kidnap any more innocent people on your way out!" Usagi cried, and Jadeite laughed even more loudly as he closed the apartment door behind him.

"Usako-" he started towards her.

"No! Don't you dare call me that! How could you do that to me, Mamoru? I was torn up inside with the thought that I was betraying you! I couldn't understand how I could love two men so much. How could you-" She stopped as she sobbed involuntarily. He groaned in anguish.

"I didn't know Usako. I swear it never occurred to me what It would do to you. I just couldn't keep myself from you as either Mamoru or Tuxedo Kamen," He pleaded desperately, his gaze imploring her to forgive him. Her anger washed over them as she gasped.

"How could you possibly not know! It was so obvious!" she cried in disbelief, and he cringed.

"I'm sorry." He muttered feeling like a complete moron. He felt as the fury swirling around her slowly dwindled in its intensity.

"I deserve answers Mamoru." She whispered, and he nodded tentatively. He would tell her as much as he could.

"I'm still mad at you," she said stubbornly, and Mamoru sighed. "I know," he answered softly.

"I love you." She snapped angrily, and he smiled at her. "I know that too," he said, and with a groan, a moment of hesitation, she flew into his arms.

He crushed her to his chest and her arms wrapped around his neck. Their kiss was intense and filled with a driving need that he had never experienced with her before. She buried her hands in his hair and parted her lips so that their kiss could deepen. He groaned and lifted her into his arms.

"Mamo-Chan, please" she pleaded, trembling and pressed her soft body into his. He growled, the rumble vibrating in his chest as he swept her into his arms and carried her into the bedroom.

His first time with her in this lifetime was completely different than his first time with her as Serenity so long ago.

It wasn't just tender reverence between them this time. This time she was teeming with a passion that, not only matched his own perfectly but exploded over him in waves as they spent most of the night exploring each other.

It was only later when she laid spent and curled into his arms, that she demanded answers from him. He told her of his past life on earth, of the generals and friends that were stolen from him by Beryl and he told her about the powers he could use from the Golden Kingdom.

He did not tell her about their past together on the Moon. He prayed that keeping it from her was enough to keep her timeline intact.

She told him things about the Senshi and her search for the princess and the silver crystal that he pretended he didn't know.

He was beginning to drift off to sleep, completely content with her curled up beside him, her legs intermingled with his as he gently stroked her back when she spoke.

"So how can I help you save your friends Mamo-Chan?" She asked with a small yawn. His eyes widened in confusion, and he looked down at her. "What do you mean?" He asked, and she looked up at him in surprise.

"Well, I'm Sailor Moon, and my mission is to find our princess and the Silver Crystal to protect her from the monsters that your friends are creating. You have superpowers, I have superpowers, and it looks like we have the same goal," she said, and she yawned again, her eyes starting to close. "We make the perfect team," she murmured sleepily, and he felt his heart expand almost painfully in his chest.

It had never occurred to him that he might not have to do this alone. He had been prepared to shoulder this burden without help from anyone. He was supposed to save his shitennou and protect his princess. He hadn't realized how overwhelmed he'd felt by the incredible task of changing time; not until she offered him the option to do this with her. Together.

He swallowed deeply, choking on the intensity of his love for her. "Usako," he whispered, but she was already asleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

Nephrite awakens

There was no doubt that the room he had been confined to was one of the most beautiful rooms he had ever seen. It had high majestic ceilings that were held up by enormous marble pillars. They towered above him. There were intricately hand-painted designs webbed across the walls of the room and every surface polished and gleamed brightly.

While Endymion definitely appreciated the luxuries of the room, it was still his prison, and it had been for the last three weeks.

The Moon Kingdom was the most beautiful place that he had ever been to. It was a peaceful and serene place that was built with a refined elegance you would never be able to find on earth.

There was so much glimmering white marble; it was in the swirling staircases, the towering structures and in all of the walkways. The castle, the most magnificent structure of them all, towered over everything.

While Endymion did find the beauty of this place mesmerizing, the moment he'd arrived with Jupiter and Nephrite by his side, he also felt a cold emptiness seep into his chest.

It was only later that he realized that it was because he didn't have a connection to the golden kingdom here. He had no direct access to the energy in this place. It left him feeling bereft as he had grown so used to having the energy flow through him. On earth, it was in everything he touched, it vibrated through every living thing and pulsed down to his very core.

If there was an energy source here, Endymion could not feel it. The lack of the dominant force that he was so accustomed to left him feeling numb. Endymion clenched his fists in frustration. It also meant that he was utterly powerless.

When Jupiter had guided him into the long regal hall, the people of the moon kingdom, all pale, ethereal looking beings, had curiously gathered to watch him. It had been unnerving to not be able to taste the energy in the room, and for the first time in his life, he hadn't been able to read what the crowd was feeling.

Nephrite, ever the loyal friend, had stood beside him tense and protective, glaring daggers at the back of Jupiter's head.

It felt like a lifetime before he saw her, his beautiful Serenity, standing on a marble dais beside her equally beautiful mother. They were a breathtaking sight standing side by side. He had inhaled sharply at the awe he felt when gazing upon them.

They exuded a calm strength that was amplified by the powerful Senshi and Queens guard that protectively surrounded them.

His eyes met Serenity's anxious gaze. She was wringing her hands nervously, and he could see her tremble. He smiled gently at her, trying to convey confidence he did not feel, to comfort her.

"Prince Endymion of Earth," the Queen of the moon began, and the room was silenced. "I am dismayed by the things my daughter has finally deigned to tell me. I would like to hear it from you," she said, and though her voice was soft and melodic, it was firm and powerful too.

He immediately knelt before the Queen, bowing his head respectfully, Nephrite shook with fury behind him. It was clear his friend, and the general did not share the same reverence that he did for the royalty in front of them.

"Your Highness, I have full confidence that everything your daughter has told you is the truth." He said, and the room burst out into a cacophony of hushed, angry whispers. He cringed at what was apparently their disapproval. He looked up into the queen's face, and there was no change in her facial expression as she gazed down at him.

"I would only like to add that I am in love with her and I want her to be my wife," He stated firmly.

The rooms whispered disapproval burst into outraged cries, he did not need to feel their energy to know that they were not happy with his statement.

The queen silenced them again by just raising her hand. He could not read the look in her eyes as she gazed at him in a moment of quiet contemplation. When she spoke again, her voice was firm and resolute.

"Prince Endymion, this is an unfortunate development that breaks my heart," the Queen began, and his heart sank. "I do sense a great passion within you, and I know that you are a good man, but my daughter knows that this is forbidden. While this is a rare circumstance, it is not unprecedented."

There was a catch of emotion in the Queen's voice and a brief flash of sorrow in her violet eyes. He clenched his hands tightly into fists and wondered if anyone else could hear the sound of his heart hammering nervously in his chest.

"The law states that the punishment for such an indiscretion is death," the Queen stated, and her voice broke with her grief.

He heard Nephrite growl furiously behind him as he leaned forward into a fighting stance.

Serenity cried out in anguish and tore through the guard that was encircling her. She flew

into him, and he automatically wrapped his arms around her.

"Mother, please! I love him. I couldn't bear it," she pleaded her tone broken and anguished. He tightened his arms around her. He couldn't stand to see her like this.

The Queen tilted her head softly as she stepped down gracefully from the dais and glided towards her daughter. There was devastation in her movements that Endymion didn't understand.

"My sweet, darling, Serenity. The law has always been absolute," she whispered gently tears gathering in the violet irises of her eyes.

Endymion felt the hair rise on the back of his arms and neck. A cold dread started to spread throughout his chest. He could feel that something wasn't right. She raised a hand to cup her daughters cheek lovingly.

"Our purpose is to silently guide the people of earth as their world develops. Our laws state that the punishment is death, but it will not result in your beloved prince's death, my darling, but your own." The Queen choked on the words mournfully. He choked in disbelief at her statement. He had been prepared to forfeit his life for their love, but he would not allow her to die for him.

The room burst out again in outrage, their shouts of anger echoing around them loudly. Serenity's Senshi took a step towards them, their hands sparking with their powers. Serenity sagged against him with a sigh of relief.

"Endymion, you will live," she murmured, the words were barely above a whisper, but he heard it. It filled him with fury.

"No!" He cried angrily. He clutched her arm, and she gasped as he forced her to move behind him. His stance widened in front of her protectively.

"Nephrite," he growled, and his general was instantly at his side. "I don't have access to my powers here. I can't protect her that way. Will you fight with me?" He asked with desperation.

Nephrite nodded, his eyes hardened with love and loyalty for his friend. Serenity gasped and pulled at the back of his shirt.

"No Endymion. You can't fight them!" She pleaded. "Go home and be happy," she choked out painfully, and Endymion snorted in disgust.

"I am not leaving this place unless you are with me. Do you understand me Serenity? If you die, I die," he snapped, and Nephrite sighed with irritation from beside him.

Jupiter stepped towards them then, the lightning flashing from the tiara on her forehead as she locked eyes with Nephrite. He leaned forward prepared to fight. Endymion could feel the adrenaline course through him even though he knew that they could not possibly hope to win against a team of trained Senshi with elemental powers.

Nephrite was poised to leap at the electric brunette when she suddenly swirled around, turning her back on him, to face the queen.

"I am the guardian of Jupiter, and I am honour bound to protect my princess. I won't stand by and let this happen. She is my friend, she is my sister, and I love her," she roared and the electricity crackled in her fists as she stood ready to fight for her princess.

The other Senshi leaped into the air and landed beside Jupiter, poised and ready to betray the Silver Millennium alliance to protect Serenity.

He breathed a sigh of relief as Serenity trembled behind him. The whole room was silent and thick with tension as they waited with bated breath to see what the Queen would do next.

He watched as a brilliant smile widened on her delicate heart-shaped lips.

"You are very loved, my beautiful daughter. This is all I have ever wanted for you," she said sweetly, and the Senshi visibly relaxed in front of him. He did not. He and Nephrite still stood firm and ready to fight.

"I am going to see what I can do about this for you my darling," she said and raised her hands to her guard. "Would you be so kind as to escort Prince Endymion to his temporary quarters?" she asked and the armed men, dressed in moon regalia, moved towards them.

He tightened his hold on Serenity, glaring at them and the Senshi stayed rooted in place. The queen laughed gently.

"Senshi, please lower your guard. Prince Endymion, release my daughter. I promise you that she will be safe," the queen said and smiled indulgently clearly pleased with the devotion surrounding her daughter.

The Senshi relaxed and slowly dispersed allowing the Queen's guard to pass through. The fear that had subsided a bit roared back to life within him. It bubbled up into his throat, and he tightened his hold on her.

Serenity grasped his arm pulling him around to face her. His arms circled around her protectively. She rested her hand gently on his face, and he leaned into it. Her eyes were wide and imploring.

"Endymion, my love, it's going to be okay. We will be together again soon," she whispered and abruptly twirled out of his embrace and away from him.

"No!" He growled, and the guard clasped his arms tightly and began to forcibly lead him away. Nephrite roared in rage behind them, and Endymion heard the crack of bone as his fist connected with a grunting guard.

Jupiter leaped forward and tried to restrain him but Nephrite was strong, and he broke free. She pounced and wrapped her arms around him as he clamoured furiously. She let loose a minor lightning attack that successfully rendered him unconscious.

They'd led him then to the white marble room, and this is where he'd been imprisoned ever since.

He'd been treated kindly, fed and given clean clothes but Endymion still felt like a caged animal. He'd tried desperately to reach out and touch Serenity's energy, but it didn't work. This godforsaken rock in the sky was dead and devoid of any kind of power that he could access.

The people who served him at the Queen's behest were annoyingly tight-lipped and immune to his desperate pleas for information. He spent most of his time pacing the room alternating between murderous thoughts of fury and exhausting acceptance.

He was in the process of pacing the room again when there was a commotion behind the marble doors that out into the hall.

"I can't just magically open the door Nephrite. This kind of thing takes time," a muffled voice snapped, and Endymion frowned as he concentrated on deciphering the conversation.

"You're kidding, right? Do you not conjure lightning bolts out of that ridiculously pretty little head of yours? Just zap it open!" Nephrite scoffed, and Endymion released a breath of relief. Finally.

"You are so irritating. This has been the longest three weeks of my life, babysitting you!" She snapped back.

"Really? Your flushed cheeks tell a different story, Juno, princess of Jupiter."

There was silence. Endymion's eyes widened in surprise, and then he sighed with irritation.

"If you two are quite finished out there, I wouldn't mind it if you opened the door," he snapped and was greeted by more silence.

He grinned with amusement, he genuinely was pleased for his friend, but he was also eager to be out of this room.

"I swear to god if you guys are kissing against the door of the room that I have been trapped in ..." he growled, and there was a slight scuffle as the door flew open.

Jupiter stood in the doorway, her face flushed and red and Nephrite strode in as if he owned the room.

"You swear to god what? How many times have I had to watch you devour your pretty little princess? Gratitude your highness, it's not overrated," he said and crossed his arms proudly. Endymion rolled his eyes.

"Can someone please tell me what's going on? Is Serenity alright?" He demanded desperately, and Nephrite shared a look with Jupiter.

"Serenity is fine. The queen had to convene with all the rulers of the planets. Apparently, your relationship is reason enough to gather all the leaders of the universe." Nephrite stated sarcastically, and Jupiter huffed in irritation.

"I'm pretty sure you said you were going to at least try and be respectful of our traditions Nephrite." Jupiter snapped, and Nephrite rolled his eyes. He softened a bit, though, at the look of anger on her face.

"It turns out that your relationship with Princess Serenity is an affront to the will of the Gods. Queen Serenity has been fighting with the council for you." Nephrite said, and Endymion's chest tightened uncomfortably.

"So? What's going to happen?" He demanded, and Nephrite smiled.

"Looks like you're getting married."

He had definitely changed the timeline. There wasn't any doubt about that now.

Since the night of Usagi's confrontation there had been six separate youma attacks, all of them had been in quick succession, each monster more brutal than the last. They didn't even appear to be searching for anything like they should have been.

The Dark Kingdom Kings sole purpose should have been to gather energy for Beryl and find the Silver Imperium Crystal that Mamoru knew was safely tucked away within Usagi.

The Youmas they were creating didn't do anything but cause chaos and destruction, and the Senshi and Usagi were exhausted.

The Sunday after Usagi had spent the night she'd called a Senshi meeting. The girls and Luna had met them with Jadeite in his apartment, and the whole encounter had been filled with tension and suspicion.

"Usagi. I don't trust them." Rei had snapped glaring furiously at Jadeite who's expression was impassive. Mamoru had noted that Jadeite had not been able to keep his eyes off of her, the emotions swirling within him, sad and wistful as he watched her.

"Now they know who we are," she growled with clenched fists.

"Usagi, Rei is right. What you did exposes all of us." Luna hissed, and he'd felt the frustration swell around Usagi as her eyes shot from each one of her friends confused faces.

He'd wanted to intercede, to say something to take the pressure off of her, do something so that her friends would stop looking at her this way. Instead, he crossed his arms across his chest and forced himself to remain silent.

"I know I should have talked to you guys -" She began, and Rei interrupted her abruptly,

"Yes, you should have Usagi!" She snapped, and he could see the tears well in Usagi's eyes. He started towards her to offer her some comfort but she clenched her fists and her eyes hardened with determination.

"You don't have to trust them, but you do have to trust me. I would never do anything to hurt you guys. You know I wouldn't. This feels right Rei," she said, and Reis stance softened as her hot glare was replaced with a soft scowl as she contemplated Usagi's words.

He knew the girls felt a pull towards Usagi just like he did. They loved her loyally and trusted her judgement. She'd found them, opened her heart to them and brought them together.

"I trust you Usagi. It makes more sense to fight together than apart. We can coordinate better this way." Ami said, her voice soft and quiet.

While Rei worked with fire and passion, Ami was quiet and observant, her logical disposition would have had her analyzing every possibility before speaking. Mercury's blue eyes met his, and they were filled with questions.

"Tell us what you know." She said, and he told them the same thing that he had told Usagi the night before.

"So you aren't interested in the Silver Crystal?" Luna quipped, still suspicious, and Jadeite raised an eyebrow in surprise.

"No, we aren't interested in finding the Silver Crystal," he said and met Jadeites inquisitive stare.

He knew that Jadeite was confused and wanted to know why they were keeping the fact that Usagi was the princess a secret. There was a quick flash of irritation that went through his eyes, but then it passed. Jadeite trusted Mamoru as well.

"He doesn't need the silver crystal. I'm sure you've noticed that he has enough power on his own. The monsters they're sending are not for you, sailor scouts, it's for him." Jadeite said, and everyone in the room turned to look at him in surprise. "They'll send more to find out what he can do." Jadeite finished, and Mamoru glared at him as he felt the fear for him rise and twist up into Usagi.

"Well, then you can't use your powers Mamo-Chan. We'll take care of any monsters they send our way," she said with firm resolve. His heart clenched painfully at the thought of her protecting him. Dammit, he should be the one defending her.

"We'll be stronger once we locate the rest of the Senshi. This must still be a priority Usagi. We need to find them and then find the princess." Luna said, and Usagi nodded in agreement.

"I know, Luna. We can do all of it. I know we can." Usagi's statement had filled him with dread.

They had reached a tentative agreement with the Senshi that afternoon. They wouldn't interfere as he saved his friends and he promised not to interfere with their search for the Crystal, of course, he already knew where the Crystal was.

Jadeite and Ami had both agreed that it was best if Mamoru didn't use his powers until he absolutely needed to save his generals. This had been a harder promise to keep as he watched them fight the monsters without him. Although, he did have to admit that each fight was making Usagi and the Senshi stronger.

They were coordinated and more in sync than he had ever seen them. With Jadeites help, they were blasting the Youmas away with ease. He barely even needed to heal them during battles anymore.

The only problem was that neither Nephrite, Zoisite or Kunzite ever made an appearance. He didn't know what Beryl's new game was, but he was never going to be able to save them if they refused to show their faces.

These were the thoughts running through his head as he leaned against the fence waiting for Usagi to finish school like usual.

He heard the bell ring in the distance and used the threads of his energy to intertwine with hers. He didn't understand how she managed to shine so brightly with the exhaustion running through her. He frowned as there was something new today. She was filled with happy excitement.

He watched as she rounded the corner and his frown was quickly replaced with a relieved smile.

Even though he had completely changed the course of their lives, his Usako had still managed to find Sailor Jupiter, although he knew that she didn't know it yet.

She was bounding down the walkway with a more withdrawn Jupiter in tow. She was watching Usagi in amusement, and he couldn't quite hear their conversation yet, but by the lively way Usagi's arms were moving he knew that she was probably chattering happily about something that interested her.

Usagi's eyes lit up brightly like they always did when she saw him. He automatically lifted his arm out to her so that he could pull her to his side.

"Hi, Mamo-Chan!" She said warmly giving him a hug and turning towards Jupiter that was standing a couple of feet away. He could tell she felt awkward as she shifted uncomfortably with her bag clasped in her hands.

"Makoto, this is my boyfriend, Mamoru. Mamo-Chan this is my new friend Kino Makoto. She makes the best food I have ever eaten. Seriously Mamo-chan, she shared her lunch with me today, and it was like I'd died and gone to heaven!" Usagi cried dramatically, and Mamoru chuckled.

"It's nice to meet you. You must be quite the cook! Usagi takes her love for food very seriously." Mamoru teased as his grip tightened around her lovingly.

"Oh.. Usagi is just too nice. It wasn't really anything." she laughed nervously, her face reddened in embarrassment. "It's very nice to meet you too. I'll let you guys go now," she stammered, and Usagi gasped.

"What? No way! Mako, you have to come with us to the arcade! I promised I'd show you around! Honestly, the crown is the best place ever! You have to meet Ami and Rei too. They're going to love you!" She said with excitement and bounded from his side hooking her arm with Makoto's who was blushing furiously.

"I wouldn't want to intrude.." Makoto said, and he could feel the warmth unfurling within Makoto in response to Usagi's compassion. He couldn't take his eyes off of Usagi, her face flushed with pleasure as she gazed at her new friend with shining eyes and a dazzling smile. Makoto was not immune to Usagi's glowing brightness either. He smiled gently, always in awe by the way Usagi affected people. He was probably biased because she was his reincarnated wife and all that, but, damn, she was just so cute.

"What? Don't be silly! I'll show you the Sailor V game!" Usagi exclaimed excitedly as she pulled Makoto towards the sidewalk.

"Don't ask Mamoru to teach you to play." She said and then leaned over to whisper loudly."He is the worst Sailor V player I have ever seen."

He chuckled as he followed them both to the arcade.

The arcade was busier than usual, bustling with activity when Mamoru entered behind Usagi and Makoto. His eyes scanned the room, and he frowned when they locked onto Jadeite, Rei and Ami, sitting in a more secluded area of the parlour, away from the buzz of the machines. They looked to be lost deep in conversation, and by the swirling intensity surrounding them, it was serious.

His gaze locked onto Usagi whose eyes were widened slightly as she had come to the same realization that he had. She tilted her head towards the group, keeping his gaze, indicating that she wanted him to go see what was going on.

"Come on Makoto! Let's see what you can do!" She exclaimed happily to her friend, pulling her off towards the Sailor V game, squeezing his hand gently as she passed. He watched her for a moment, overcome with another wave of love. He could feel as she devoted all of her attention to her new friend, giving more energy than she could spare in her exhaustion, even though he knew she wanted to find out what was going on too.

He made his way to them, and they barely noticed him approach.

"It's called a premonition, Jadeite." Rei snapped in irritation, "it's just a glimpse. I've already told you everything I know." The energy in the air around them was perceptibly thick with passionate fury, which he knew, was a result of the roiling dormant feelings in Rei and the longing for her within his general. Sparks were flying between his friends as they glared at each other. Ami gave him a small smile as she shifted uncomfortably.

"Well that must be annoying, blue corpses in wedding dresses doesn't really make any sense," he said, his tone harsh, and her eyes narrowed angrily.

Wedding dresses and corpses? He knew what they were talking about and he was momentarily relieved. Maybe, he hadn't changed things entirely after all.

"I don't know Jadeite. There's something strange about this vision. It keeps changing," she said, and he inwardly sighed. Well, so much for that thought.

"Either way, it has something to with a woman seducing men and to be honest if a weak man allows himself to be seduced it's his own fault. I think all men are fools. I don't trust them." Rei scoffed indignantly, and Jadeite snorted and laughed dryly.

"Oh please. This is coming from a woman that is probably very well versed in the art seduction!" He snapped, and Mamoru cringed at the anger that flared up around Rei. Jadeite's energy was churning dangerously close to fury from the pent-up frustration and bitter longing for the black haired Senshi that had just casually dismissed all men, including his pained general who was still very much in love with her.

"Excuse me?!" She choked furiously, "You don't even know me!"

"I know that - " Jadeite began and Mamoru interrupted him before his friend said something that they both regretted.

"So you think there's going to be another attack?" Mamoru asked, and Jadeite clamped his mouth shut. He could still feel the anger boiling inside his friend, simmering just below the surface as he tried to regain control of his emotions.

Rei turned to him her eyes narrowed in confusion, she had been so concentrated on Jadeite that she hadn't even noticed his presence.

"Yes, but I'm not one hundred percent certain. It's just a feeling," she replied softly. "Excuse me," she said, and with one final glare towards Jadeite, she pushed past them in a flurry of black hair. Ami coughed uncomfortably, and he turned to her.

"We're keeping an eye on it," she said softly and turned to Jadeite. "Please let us know if you feel them conjure another one," she whispered shyly before she picked up her bag and raced after Rei.

The lack of swirling energy in the air after their departure was almost a relief. Mamoru didn't say a word as he shot Jadeite a disapproving look.

Jadeite glared back at him."Don't even say it, Endymion," he snapped furiously, "and this meeting place is juvenile!" He spat venomously as he stomped out of the arcade leaving him alone to stare after him with sympathy.

He found Usagi still at the Sailor V game cheering on a bright-eyed Makoto.

"Oh wow! That's so great Mako!" she said, and Makoto flushed with the compliment. Usagi didn't look up from the console, but she was definitely aware of his presence as she held out her hand to take his. He smiled as he squeezed her hand tenderly and moved to stand beside her behind Makoto. He glared at the offending arcade game that he had come to despise.

Usagi glanced up at him briefly with questioning eyes, and he shrugged. "Tell you later" he mouthed quietly and she nodded. When Makoto finished playing the final game she sighed and turned towards them.

"Well, I guess I better get going," she said, and her voice was tinged with disappointment. He felt Usagi soften beside him as her heart swelled with love for the girl she had just met.

"Hey, Mako! We have some friends coming over to Mamo-Chan's for dinner tonight. Why don't you come over?" she asked excitedly and he gave her a surprised look.

He hadn't been aware of any dinner plans with friends. She gave him a small smile and shrugged. Her new friend didn't want to be alone, and she was going to make that happen. Mako's eyes widened slightly.

"Oh. I really don't want to be a bother," She said in flustered embarrassment. Usagi giggled and placed a comforting hand on her friend's arm.

"Don't be silly Mako! It'll be so much fun! You are not a bother at all" Usagi exclaimed sweetly. He felt the grateful compassion well up within the Senshi of Jupiter as she very visibly gulped down the onslaught of emotion brought on by Usagi's acceptance of her.

"Okay, yeah sure. Your parents don't care that you go to your college boyfriends apartment?" She asked, and Usagi smiled guiltily.

"Well, they don't really know. They think I've been spending all my time at Amis," she said her eyes shining brightly. "I haven't been late to school once since I've been with Mamo-chan, so they think Amis been a good influence on me."

She was only really on time every day because she snuck out and came to his place every night after the Tsukinos had gone to bed and he had to practically drag her out of bed every morning to get her back home before her parents knew she'd been missing.

She usually woke up fully about half way there so that she was ready, bright and chipper when her parents woke up for the day.

Makos' eyes widened and then she laughed.

"You're really great, Usagi. I'm happy I met you," she said, and he felt Usagi glow beside him.

"Aw, Mako! Me too!" she cried happily and burst forward to give her new friend a warm hug. "Also, and I swear I didn't invite you over just for this, but can you bring over some of those dumplings you had at lunch?" Usagi asked eagerly, and Mako laughed.

"Sure Usagi. No problem!" Makoto's stood a little taller, her confidence soaring under Usagi's praise.

His little ball of sunshine squealed in delight as she joyfully told her new friend Mamoru's address. They exchanged numbers just in case. She was going to go home and meet them there later.

They waved goodbye to Mako and Usagi twirled into his arms in elation.

"Oh, Mamo! Isn't she just fabulous?" She said happily and then let out a small yawn. He laughed and pulled her into his arms, leaning down to gently place a kiss on her forehead.

"Yes, Usako. She's great, but you're exhausted, and I'm pretty sure we don't have dinner plans with any of your friends," he said gently stroking the small of her back.

"Oh. Well, Jadeite will be there, I'll ask Rei and Ami to come too," she said and then yawned again.

"We'll see, come on Usako. You need a nap," he said and took her hand leading her out of the arcade.

"Now you're speaking my language!" Usagi laughed, but he felt her sigh tiredly. She really was exhausted.

It turned out that Usagi didn't have to call Rei to come over for dinner as when they entered the apartment, Usagi practically dead on her feet, Rei and Jadeite were already there.

Reis' face was red with anger, and Jadeites arms were crossed, his jaw clenched in a fury. They had apparently walked into a heated argument.

"Rei!" Usagi said in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

Rei frowned and it was clear that she had not planned on being caught here with Jadeite.

He could feel the tension swirling uncomfortably around them. Rei would clearly not be staying for dinner. He inwardly cringed. He knew that Usagi was looking forward to it and when he glanced down at her he was fully prepared for his senses to be assaulted with her disappointment.

His brow furrowed in confusion when he was instead assuaged with an elated excitement that clearly did not fit the situation. Usagi smiled slyly and bounded over to her friend.

"You know, since you're already here, I would really love for you to meet my friend Makoto, Rei. She's coming over for dinner. Won't you stay?" She implored sweetly, her hands grasping her friend's arm. Rei looked down at her in confusion.

"Usagi, I don't think-" She started before Usagi pleadingly interrupted her.

"Oh please, Rei? I know that you don't have plans tonight. You were just saying before that you weren't doing anything! I mean- unless there's a reason you don't want to stay?" She said blinking up at her friend innocently.

"What? Of course, there isn't a reason!" She sputtered, her eyes wide and her cheeks tinged pink. Jadeite snorted behind them quietly behind them. Rei narrowed her eyes and glowered angrily at him.

"Oh, that's great, Rei! Does that mean you'll stay for dinner?" Usagi questioned, smiling innocently - a little too innocently- at her friend. Rei rolled her eyes and sighed in defeat.

"Alright! Stop giving me that look, Usagi! I'll stay for dinner!" She exclaimed, and Usagi squealed excitedly.

Mamoru looked over at Jadeite that now had a small, soft, smile splayed out on his lips. He glanced over at Mamoru with raised eyebrows and Mamoru shrugged gently.

His pretty princess was perceptive when it came to her friends, she had such a big heart, and she had sensed something in Rei. Now, she was playing matchmaker, and everyone in the room knew it except for Rei.

"Great! Why don't you and Jadeite stay in the living room and me and Mamo-Chan can cook!" She said, and Reis' eyes narrowed.

"If you cook, I'm leaving," she stated firmly, and Usagi laughed sheepishly. For someone that enjoyed food so much, she was a terrible cook.

"Okay, Mamo-chan can cook, and I'll just watch." She said and then pulled at his arm, yanking him into the kitchen. "Come on Mamo-Chan!" she whispered, and he laughed as he let her drag him away.

Usagi's attempt at matchmaking had been momentarily forgotten when they made it to the kitchen, and he'd dug through the fridge and cupboard to scrounge up some ingredients to make a decent enough dinner to eat.

He probably would have done a good job too if Usagi hadn't spent all of her time distracting him.

He'd given her peppers to dice up, and she ate half of them before handing them over, giggling guiltily.

He then gave her romaine lettuce to cut up for a salad, but it was quickly forgotten as she got distracted by a song that she was humming and started dancing around the kitchen, golden tresses swirling around her, as she twirled and moved to the beat playing in her head. The sight of her, so carefree, her faced flushed prettily and the energy coursing through her so warm and enticing.

He'd had to kiss her then, he couldn't help himself, and it took a couple of minutes before they surfaced from their passionate embrace. At that point, the ground beef he'd been browning in a cast iron pan on the stove had sizzled and burnt to a blackened crisp.

Usagi laughed giddily and shrugged her shoulders picking out some pieces as she tried to salvage something edible. He watched her try and rescue their impromptu dinner, and he couldn't help but feel overwhelmed as her happiness washed over him.

That led to another passionate embrace, her hands in his hair, his wrapped around her as he pulled her into him as he deepened their kiss. He would have lost himself if they hadn't been interrupted this time by a sharp cough from Jadeite.

"I guess we're ordering in," he murmured with amusement and Mamoru laughed as Usagi stuck her tongue out at the general.

As it turned out, they didn't need to order in as Makoto showed up a short time later with an assortment of delicious dishes that they devoured around the coffee table in the living room.

The dinner should have been awkward, and in any normal circumstance it would have been, what with Makoto just meeting everyone and the tension between Jadeite and Rei but Usagi was not a normal girl. The bubbly happiness she exuded was infectious, and it put everyone at ease.

Soon they were all laughing along with her, and there was a feeling of friendship and peace that hung in the air. He couldn't breathe with how overwhelming it was. He'd missed out on so much the first time around.

He was basking in the contented glow of the moments when Jadeite suddenly doubled over in pain, clutching at his chest, and gasping for air.

They all stopped to stare at him, and Mamoru froze as he realized what that meant.

"Hey, are you ok?" Makoto asked worriedly leaning towards him. Jadeite looked up and met Mamoru's eyes.

"We have to go," he choked, and Mamoru knew that Nephrite had conjured another monster.

Usagi and Rei jumped up quickly. Rei moved towards Jadeite, grasped his arm and pulled him up. Usagi turned towards Makoto whose eyes had widened in concern.

"I'm so sorry Mako, we have to go- we need to get him to - to a hospital. Mamo-Chan can walk you home," she said and looked at him with pleading eyes. His eyes narrowed. He didn't want to let her go. The thought that she would be fighting without him there filled him with dread.

"Please Mamo-Chan," she whispered. He knew they didn't want him to fight, but what if she needed him to heal her? He turned to look at Jadeite who's eyes had hardened.

"You've got this?" He asked and knew that he wasn't just asking his friend to fight, but to also protect his reason for living. Jadeite nodded.

"I got it. Go," he said crisply as he stood with Rei. The urgency flaring furiously around them. Makoto stood and glanced at them in confusion. He could tell that she knew something strange was happening. Juno had always had keen eyes.

"It's really okay, Mamoru. I can make it home on my own," She said, and Mamoru shook his head.

"It's not really safe out there anymore these days, let's go." He said, and his tone left no room for arguments as he stood. He met Usagi's gaze, and her eyes were soft, grateful and filled with concern for him. She was the one about to run off and fight an evil monster and of course she would be worried about him. He shook his head in exasperation. His princess needed to learn to worry about herself a little bit more.

They all left the apartment together and Usagi, Rei and Jadeite took off down the street where he knew they would ultimately transform and prepare to fight.

He turned the other way abruptly with Makoto who had her arms crossed around her middle, walking, with an unsure look on her face. They walked for several minutes in silence.

"So uh, Jadeite is a pretty unique name," she joked trying to fill the overbearing quietness between them, but he barely heard her as he kept his threads of energy fanned out and firmly connected with Usagi.

"Okay…" Makoto said, and he heard her gulp loudly. He sighed and stopped to turn towards her. She stared up at him with sad, vulnerable eyes.

"I'm sorry, I know that this is confusing to you right now, I swear we're not-" He stopped then when he felt it. The sharp pain pierced through him with an overwhelming force that tore him apart. He gasped and doubled over. Usako!

Whatever was happening back there was killing her, it was sucking the life from her.

"Hey Mamoru, are you okay? Man, it's not my food, is it? I swear I cooked it all properly." Makoto exclaimed worriedly.

"No, It's Usagi. Christ. I have to get to her," He choked brokenly through the intensity of her pain in their connection. Makoto's eyes widened in alarm.

"What do you mean?!" she demanded and he forced himself to lessen the connection to Usagi so that he could function. He considered his options. He already knew that she was Sailor Jupiter so he wouldn't be exposing any of them - not in the long run anyways.

He quickly transformed into Tuxedo Kamen, and Makoto gasped.

"You're the guy with Sailor Moon, from the news!" She cried and then she gasped as she made the connection.

'Does that mean that Usagi is - is she-?" She stammered, and Mamoru nodded.

"Yes, she's in trouble. I have to go to her." He said, and something flashed through Mako as he felt her resolve strengthen. She was Sailor Jupiter, and on some level deep down she knew it too.

"I'm going with you," she demanded fiercely, and he nodded. He swept her into his arms, and sailed into the air, landing on the closest rooftop.

"Holy crap!" Makoto screamed but he ignored her as his connection to Usagi drove him, leading him from rooftop to rooftop until he landed on the street beside a familiar wedding dress shop.

That was the only thing that was familiar about this scene though. It wasn't just a mannequin youma in a wedding dress this time. This time Beryl herself stood in the street. Her red hair flying around her thin, sallow, face. Her sharp teeth exposed in a snarl and her red eyes flashing angrily. Her arms were raised in the air and beams of pure dark energy was bursting from her fingertips piercing through the Senshi, pressing them to the ground.

Mercury was whimpering softly under Beryl's beam, and Jadeite was kneeling over an unconscious sailor Mars, barely holding on as he shielded her from the beam of darkness. His eyes found the person he was seeking, and he gasped in horror at the sight of her, crumpled to the ground, immobile and unconscious as she was being pulverized.

Makoto gasped, and Mamoru threw her behind an overturned vehicle in the street.

"I'm going to get rid of you meddling little wretches, once and for all," She seethed angrily. They must have destroyed the Youma that had appeared here quickly and proficiently, and it had finally been enough. Beryl was tired of waiting.

He felt the sheer terror coursing through him, suffocating him as he felt the life force drain out of Usagi.

"Hey! She's killing them! Do something!" Makoto screamed angrily, kneeling behind the car.

He nodded and forced the terror to the side as he knelt down, placed his hands on the ground and concentrated. He pulled the energy from the earth, letting it fill him up inside until he felt like his chest would explode, and then he stood and with all the force he could muster unleashed the golden energy.

It was just enough to stop Beryl from killing his friends. She snarled viciously and cried out in pain. His attack had torn through her arm leaving it broken and mangled, ashy flesh sliced into pieces.

She clutched her destroyed arm to her chest and hissed furiously at the relieved groans of the Senshi as they collapsed on the ground, Jadeite collapsing on top of sailor mars.

He wobbled and his eyes watered from the strength it took to stay standing and face her.

Her narrowed red eyes turned to him, and her snarl turned into a feral smile, like a jungle panther ready to feast on him.

"There you are, my prize," she said it slowly, and hungrily her words pouring over him like cold ice.

"Nephrite!" She snapped, and the Dark King appeared suddenly beside Beryl.

"Yes, my queen?" He said reverently, and it made him want to be sick.

"Kill the others, all of them, including the traitor," she spat, and he nodded. He choked out angrily but stumbled to the ground. He was too weak. He couldn't do anything.

"You will be coming with me," Beryl said, and he knew he couldn't fight her. He turned anguished eyes to look at his broken friends lying on the ground, to Usagi who was barely breathing and then to Makoto, still hidden behind the car, her eyes widened in horror.

A tiny ball of black fur dashed forwards hurling the green Jupiter pen through the air, Makoto caught it in midair and stared down at it, her eyes wide with astonishment.

"You are Sailor Jupiter! Transform!" Luna cried, and Mamoru saw the flash of recognition cross her face. She jumped to her feet, momentarily distracting Beryl and Nephrite, as she transformed.

She flew into the air and landed in front of Mamoru.

"Jupiter, my guardian planet, bring forth the storm and bring down your thunder. JUPITER. THUNDERBOLT!" She cried, and a swirl of lightning exploded from the tiara on her head.

It was a powerful attack, but it was no match for Beryl. The witch's poisonous laughter echoed around them. She lifted her one good hand and the darkness exploded from her palm and pierced into Sailor Jupiter that cried out in pain as it brought her to her knees.

He choked on the evil surrounding them. How had he let this happen? He looked up into Nephrites cold eyes and trembled with rage at what Beryl had done to him. Jupiter couldn't hold on for much longer. He had to do this.

He pulled on every last thread of strength that he had left and he projected the golden healing power forcefully towards Nephrite. It took everything he had to hold the connection, but he almost cried in relief as he watched Nephites eyes clear and widen as the memories filtered through Beryl's fog.

His eyes finally focused on the scene in front of him, and Nephrite roared in a fury. He turned towards Beryl and blasted a concentrated beam of dark energy towards her.

The attack took her by surprise and pierced through her undamaged hand rendering her useless.

"No!" She screamed with unfettered rage just as Nephrite jumped to the ground and caught Jupiter in his arms before her body crashed onto the pavement.

Her red eyes focused on him, and he could feel the evil hatred simmering within her. "You will pay for this." She snarled and disappeared in a puff of black smoke. He collapsed to the ground in relief.

Nephrite turned towards him in shock, an unconscious Jupiter pressed tightly to his chest, and his eyes filled with sorrow.

"Endymion," he choked, and Mamoru forced out a smile.

"Welcome to the team, old friend," he coughed, and that was all he could manage before everything went black.


Chapter Text

Chapter 7


He stood in the darkened front hall of his abandoned castle and stared forlornly out the window into the night.

He knew that it was over. He'd fought as hard as he could, but they had lost.

This was evident by outraged, screaming mobs of people standing outside the gates, demanding action, demanding that he hand over the princess, their chants for the Silver Imperium Crystal ringing out throughout the streets.

The darkness that had only tinged the atmosphere around him before had thickened into a malevolent and evil presence that had sent a hazy fog through everyone's minds. He was barely able to connect with any bright energy anymore. When he tried to summon anything, his hands crackled uselessly. His father had finally succumbed to death the night before, and the final vestiges of human kindness in the castle had fallen to the darkness.

He was alone now.

"Endymion." The sound of her voice sent thrills of fear down his back.

He turned to see her standing before him. Her glimmering white gown wasn't stained or ripped like everything else on this planet. Her tendency to always wear white seemed out of place in the suffocating darkness here.

Her eyes were wide with sadness, her cheeks wet with her tears. His heart pounded against his rib cage in terror for her. The monsters out there would take her purity and tear it apart.

"Serenity, you shouldn't be here," he said despairingly even as he reached for her.

He knew that deep down, on the more selfish level of his psyche, he really did want her to be here with him. He'd lost everything he'd ever cared about, except for her. She was the only bright thing left in his world, and he was consumed with the need to drown in it.

She flew into his him,, wrapping quivering arms around his waist. He could feel the despondency churning in the air around her.

"I know. I want to fight with you, Endymion. I will always be by your side," she whispered against his chest.

There was an explosion just outside the window, and he knew that they were through the gates. They were coming for her.

"Serenity. You need to go back to the moon now. I can't protect you here anymore. I will come back to you when this is over," he said, clasping her arms tightly, his tone harsh and urgent.

She sobbed in agony, and she crushed her lips onto his. It was filled with intense desperation he just couldn't bear. He tore away from her and turned to face the oncoming horde of darkness that would be filled with the people he loved that had once loved him.

It was only as they burst through the door that he recognized the raw emotion in Serenity's kiss.

She was saying goodbye.

"Endymion. You need to wake up," Nephrite's firm voice broke through the darkness. It felt like he'd fallen into a dark void, the calming threads of sleep forcing him unconscious, allowing the power of the Golden Kingdom to heal him. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking as they adjusted to the light. He was on the sofa in the living room of his apartment.

The attack came back to him in a torrential flood of memories. He choked in horror and shot up into a sitting position.

Nephrite stood over him, his fists clenched and his eyes filled with concern. Mars sat on the ground with her head in her hands, knees pulled into her chest and her back leaning against the coffee table. She was still in her red and white sailor fuku.

His heart started to race in alarm as the blood began to pound in his ears. There was so much grief swirling around Mars.

Too much grief.

His eyes scanned the apartment. His recliner was pushed against the wall, partially overturned, and the floor was covered in battered, unconscious Sailor Scouts. Even little Luna lay motionless and curled up against Sailor Mercury, her breathing laboured and uneven.

His gaze flashed over his broken friends, and he could feel the terror rise in his chest when he could not find the golden-haired girl he was searching for.

"Rei... where is she?" he choked, and Sailor Mars looked up at him, her eyes filled with tears.

"She wasn't breathing Mamoru, the others - Jadeite- they're breathing but- " she choked on her emotions.

He stumbled off the couch in blind terror, Nephrite catching him before he fell to the ground. He pushed away from him. "Where is she!?" he demanded. He hadn't come back through time just to lose her like this.

"Sailor Moon? She's in the bedroom," Nephrite said gently, all the darkness that had been glinting in his eyes just hours before now softened and filled with guilt.

Mamoru flew from the living room and into his bedroom. Usagi was laying on her side atop the crumpled purple sheets of his bed. Her back was towards him, and she was still in her torn sailor fuku, her golden hair trailing off the bed.

She was motionless, her chest still and unmoving. A moan of anguish tore from his lips as he stumbled to her blindly. He pulled her into his arms and cradled her to his chest, burying his face in her hair.

Not her.

He wished he had died the first time around. He wished Pluto had never saved him and given him all of these memories. Is this what she had felt those times he'd sacrificed himself to save her? Had she also held his lifeless body in her arms? Had her heart been torn apart as the unbearable grief and anguish twisted up inside her like it was doing to him now? He gasped at the pain swirling through him. He couldn't do this. It wasn't worth it without her, his little ball of sunshine.

He felt it then. It was faint, and without his powers, he never would have noticed it until it was too late. It was a small spark of energy, a little bit of her shining life force shimmering within her, fighting to live.

He gasped as hope unfurled within him. As long as she was still fighting, he could save her! He closed his eyes, took a deep cleansing breath, her scent filling his senses, and concentrated. He pulled all of the golden energy he could manage into his body then pressed the healing power into Usagi.

It felt like hours had passed as he concentrated on healing her, but in reality, it was only seconds as the adrenaline coursing through him quickened the process.

He placed his hand on her chest, just so he could feel the life come back into her, as her heart began to race beneath his palm. He heard her gasp as she arched her back. He felt her radiant energy explode with life.

He collapsed into her, his face wet with tears of relief.

"Usako," he moaned into her hair, pressing her to him.

"Mamo-chan. It's okay. You saved me," she whispered and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Usagi!" Mars cried from the doorway, stumbling towards them. "Usagi, you're alive! I'm so sorry I didn't protect you - I'm supposed to protect you!" She sobbed as she clasped Usagi's arm, pulling her from Mamoru's grasp.

"Mars, don't be silly. Why would you need to protect me? We were fighting for our lives," she said gently pulling away from him and hugging her friend.

"I don't know. I just feel like I failed you- like I'm supposed to - supposed to -" she pulled away from Usagi and leaned against the wall gasping, her eyes wide and confused.

Usagi's eyes widened, and she suddenly jumped out of bed.

"Where are the others?!" She demanded. He forced himself to stand at her side as he remembered his broken friends as well. He stumbled a bit, and Usagi caught him and steadied him.

"Mamo-chan, are you alright?" Usagi asked with concern, and he straightened and nodded.

"Yes. I need to heal the others," he said with determination.

Usagi gasped softly at the sight that greeted her in the living room. He felt the sadness and sorrow overwhelm her and felt her pressing need to cry but when he glanced at her, her eyes were dry, and her chin was tilted up with strength and resolve.

Usagi knelt beside him as he began his work, sparing a brief glance towards Nephrite as she did so.

He started with Jadeite who was in the worst condition, as he had borne the brunt of the attacks that had been meant for Sailor Mars. It was a relief when his friend's eyes opened, and he pulled himself into a sitting position. Mars sobbed as she fell into his outstretched arms.

He pulled himself over to Ami and Luna next, forcing his trembling hands to cooperate, his eyes watering from the strength it took to stay conscious.

"It's okay Mamo-chan. I know you can do this," Usagi whispered beside him, a gentle hand squeezing his arm.

Her concentrated, bright energy washed over him, and he breathed in deeply, pulling from her radiant vitality to continue.

He went to heal Jupiter next and found her unconscious form clutched in Nephrite's arms.

"I'm so sorry," Nephrite whispered and gently handed her to him.

"Who is that?" Usagi asked softly, referring to the woman he was attempting to heal.

Mamoru smiled at her through his exhaustion. "Makoto."

Her dazzling smile and the happiness that expanded within her renewed his vigour again, enabling him to quickly heal and awaken Makoto.

When he was finished healing his friends, he collapsed onto the couch in exhaustion. The energy in the room was thick and heavy with tension. He could barely hold onto the connection through his fatigue.

"I think there's a lot of things that we need to talk about, but tonight is not the night," Luna said from the coffee table.

"I'm really confused. I know I'm really new to the team, but isn't he the bad guy? I mean, he was there when I was blasted into oblivion," Jupiter exclaimed angrily, glaring daggers into Nephrite.

Nephrite frowned and took a tentative step forward. "I'm sorry. Juno- " he went to move towards her, and she flinched backwards. He stepped back as his hardened mask fell back into place.

"Jupiter," Mars said firmly stepping towards Nephrite. Her eyes were narrowed, and he felt a twinge of something from within her.

"What?" Nephrite asked, staring into Mars' fiery eyes.

"You said, Juno. It's Jupiter," she whispered.

He inhaled sharply as he watched the recognition flash over her face. She turned to look at Usagi with widened eyes.

Jadeite noticed as well.

"Jadeite, maybe you can walk Mars and the girls home," Mamoru said quickly.

Jadeite nodded and grasped Reis' arm as she turned to look at him.

"Jadeite," she gasped, and he groaned inwardly. He knew that memories were filtering through her mind. The exchange had been so glaringly evident to Mamoru and Jadeite, but the others only watched curiously, too exhausted to decipher it for what it really was.

"Please, Rei. Let me take you home," Jadeite whispered pleadingly, and Rei's eyes narrowed in frustration.

He felt as the thread of recognition connected and the love she felt for Jadeite that had been locked away with her memories unfurled within her. He knew the instant everything fell into place. He felt very fortunate at that moment that Rei also remembered the faith and trust she had placed in Jadeite as well.

"Fine," she snapped. Her gaze softened as she turned towards her newly discovered princess. "Usagi, I'll see you tomorrow." It was not a question, but a statement of fact.

Usagi nodded and gave her friend a smile. "Go home and rest, Rei. See you then," she said softly.

Jadeite pulled the girls from the apartment and Mamoru sighed as the door shut behind them. All of the things he was trying to preserve were unravelling around him. Was it Usagi's near death that had pulled Rei's memories out?

"Thank you for freeing me from her." Nephrite's eyes were downcast and his voice tinged with regret.

Usagi, his big-hearted princess, placed a comforting hand on Nephrite's arm. He looked up at her in surprise.

"It's awful what that woman has done to you. I'm glad you're safe now," she said, her smile bright and comforting.

"Thank you, Sailor Moon," Nephrite said with a tentative smile of his own.

Mamoru frowned. Sailor Moon's glamour was still disguising her from Nephrite. He didn't recognize her.

"Do you know when Beryl will attack again, Nephrite?" Mamoru asked, pulling Nephrite's gaze from Usagi.

Nephrite's eyes narrowed. "She won't attack for a while. Her goals changed because of you and we spent too much time on the offensive. She's growing weak and will need to find a way to gather a large amount of energy to rejuvenate the Dark Kingdom," he said, his voice filled with disgust. Mamoru could feel the tapestry of pain swirling around his friend, there was guilt and self-loathing intermingled with his regret.

"Nephrite, I don't blame you. This was Beryl's doing, not yours. I'm just glad to have you back," Mamoru said, slightly easing the ache within his friend.

"Jadeite couldn't remember this lifetime before Beryl, do you?" he asked and was surprised when Nephrite nodded.

"Yes. I remember it," he stated and his brow furrowed with a thought.

He wished that he'd had the foresight to have been able to stop what Nephrite said next.

"Have you found the princess yet?" he asked, and he cringed as Usagi's eyes widened.

"Why would you ask that? He's not looking for the princess." She said her voice tinged with disbelief.

"What do you mean? Of course, he's looking for the princess. She's the love of his life."


"Usagi, open the door. Please," his voice was soft and imploring.

His forehead was pressed gently against the locked bedroom door that had firmly crashed into his face only moments before. Nephrite had given him an apologetic look, even though Mamoru had felt his confusion, and then quietly slipped out of the apartment.

He didn't hear a sound from within the confines of his room. With a sigh, he turned and leaned his back on the door. He could feel his exhaustion overwhelm him as he slid down to the floor. He didn't know how much longer he could hold on to this lie. Rei already knew who she was and it was definitely a premature discovery. He was tired of keeping this secret, and if he were candid with himself, he wanted her to remember. He wanted to talk to her about it. He wanted her to know everything so that nothing was standing between them.

The minute he decided to tell her, the room around him flickered. Pluto's eyes flashed briefly in front of him before they disappeared.

"I can only give you a glimpse Endymion."

The whispered words echoed in his head, they weren't his own, and for a moment he was blind. A vision of Usagi appeared into his mind. She was older, her eyes bright and shining with love, until her figure started to vibrate and then flicker as she faded away.

The vision disappeared, and he focused on the room around him.

With a groan, his head fell into his hands. He'd understood the message Pluto was trying to convey. He'd been sent here to change things with the strict instructions that Usagi needed to remember at the right time. He didn't know why this was so important, but if that didn't happen, Usagi would change. She would disappear and so would his life with her.

How could he possibly manage it now?

He leaned his head back against the door and listened. It was soft, but he could hear her muffled whimpers from within his bedroom.

"Usako, please," he pleaded softly.

Was it already too late? Had she already remembered and her tears were tears of fury?

He was too tired to reach out and feel her energy. He couldn't manage it, so he had no idea what she was feeling. If it was too late, would he know?

He fell back suddenly as the door opened up behind him. He winced as his head hit the floor and stared up into Usagi's red-rimmed, grief-stricken eyes as she stood over him. She was no longer Sailor Moon, just a normal girl wearing the same clothes she'd worn as she'd twirled happily around in his kitchen, cooking dinner with him for their friends and kissing him.

Had that really only been hours ago? It felt like days.

She didn't look angry. Her body wasn't clenched, and her eyes weren't flashing fire like he'd half expected her to be. Her shoulders were slumped in defeat.

"Mamo-chan, I don't understand why you lied to me. Why wouldn't you tell me about your past with her?" she whispered brokenly and moved back into the bedroom, her shoulders shaking with the sobs she was trying to restrain.

He forced himself to his feet and stumbled slightly as he followed her into the room. His vision swirled blurrily in front of him, and he leaned against the wall for support.

"Usako, please," he murmured, wishing he wasn't so tired.

Usagi swivelled around to face him, her eyes wide and shining with sadness. "Is it because you're still looking for her, Mamo-chan? Do you still love our princess?" she whispered, her voice broken and filled with grief.

He wanted to scream in frustration and at the irony of it all. Instead, he pushed himself off of the wall and strode towards her. She opened her mouth to protest, but he pulled her into his arms and covered her lips with his before she could utter a word.

She only stood frozen for a moment before her lips began to move beneath his, kissing him back with such intensity and yearning, but also sad desperation that was vaguely familiar.

He tore away from her with the realization that she was kissing him goodbye.

His hand flew to her wrists, clasping them tightly, afraid she would disappear if he let go.

"Don't even think about it, Usagi. You are not saying goodbye," he growled, and her eyes widened in surprise that he had read her so well. "It doesn't matter what happened thousands of years ago in a different life. I'm not looking for the princess. I love you," his words were desperate and firm.

"Usako, please trust me. I only want you. I need you," he said and wrapped his arms around her, hoping that his pleading words were enough to convince her.

"Oh, Mamo-chan. I love you. I trust you," she whispered.

His body sagged in relief. He would have to figure out what he would say to Rei, but for now, Usagi's future with him was intact.

He buried his face into her hair and tried not to crush her with his weight as his exhaustion overwhelmed him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and gently pushed him to the bed where he gladly collapsed onto his back. She leaned forward and ran her hand along the curve of his jaw.

"Oh, Mamo-chan, you wore yourself out saving everybody," she whispered, and he closed his eyes. He felt her turn to leave, but he reached out and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back to the bed.

"Stay, Usako," he murmured.

He felt only a brief glimmer of hesitation as she climbed into the bed, laid her head on his chest and curled up beside him. He lifted his hand to the small of her back, pressing her to him. He noted the way her chest fell and rose against him, her breathing calm and even.

He finally let himself slip into the void of darkness, allowing the lull of sleep pull him inwards so that the power of the golden kingdom could heal him.

The sharp smell of burning bacon assaulted his senses as he woke up the next morning. His body felt stiff as he rolled onto his side and stared bleary-eyed at the alarm clock on his nightstand.

11:43 am.

He'd slept for a solid twelve hours.

He exhaled deeply and rolled onto his back to stare up at the ceiling. Usagi was no longer in the room with him, but he knew she was still in the apartment as he could still feel her bright, silvery energy rippling through the air.

He groaned as he pulled himself up into a sitting position and cursed out loud as his vision blurred with the sudden onslaught of dizziness. It felt like he was hungover. He stood slowly and stretched out the uncomfortable kinks in his back. He was still dressed in the clothes that he had worn the night before.

He made his way out to the hall and stopped in the living room entrance. He briefly noted that everything that had been displaced in the chaotic aftermath of last night's battle had been returned to its original location.

He moved towards the kitchen, which was the source of the offending smell, and leaned against the doorjamb in amusement. Usagi, wearing her skirt from the night before with one of his T-shirts, was flitting about the kitchen attempting to make, what he assumed, was breakfast.

Nephrite and Jadeite sat on black swivel stools along the center island watching her. Jadeite with a slightly amused smile and Nephrite with an uncomfortable frown. He surmised that Jadeite had brought Nephrite up to speed.

They hadn't noticed he was standing there yet.

"So, you guys don't talk much, do you? Which is totally fine with me - you know, as long as you don't mind that I'm talking a lot," Usagi prattled anxiously. He could feel that she was nervous about something.

"It's pretty neat that we all probably knew each other in a past life, right? You know, considering you guys must have known the princess too. Was she very beautiful?" Usagi probed curiously. Jadeite and Nephrite exchanged horrified looks.

"I'm not really sure what- to- to say to that, Usagi," Jadeite sputtered uncomfortably, and Nephrite laughed genuinely.

"I don't think I've ever seen you at a loss for words, Jadeite. It's refreshing," Nephrite said with an amused smirk.

Mamoru frowned as he realized that things were not resolved for Usagi. What he had mistaken for a thread of anxiety was actually self-consciousness. She doubted herself.

Silly girl.

"Usako. What on earth are you doing?" he said, his tone tinged with amusement. He did not miss the look of relief on Nephrite's and Jadeite's faces.

Usagi swivelled around to face him, her eyes wide and her cheeks slowly turning a crimson red in embarrassment. She was positively adorable.

"Um. Making you breakfast - oh, and Jadeite and Nephrite too," she replied sweetly with a small, timid smile. He chuckled as he strode into the kitchen and turned down the heat for the pan of bacon that was sizzling on the stove.

She gave him a rueful smile. "It's only a little burnt," she said softly. Nephrite snorted, and Mamoru shot him a glare. Nephrite shrugged back at him in amusement, his eyes curiously trailing Usagi. Mamoru felt the bewilderment within his friend. His little Usako was entirely different than the Serenity he had known.

He pulled her into his arms and playfully tugged on her hair.

"It smells delicious," he said, and Nephrite choked on a bark of laughter which he tried to cover up with a cough.

He felt the thread of self-consciousness within Usagi wane, to be replaced by her usual bubbly demeanour. She twirled out of his arms and to the cupboard to get some plates.

"I was just getting to know Nephrite, Mamoru," Usagi said, and Mamoru's eyes met Nephrite's gaze. Nephrite nodded firmly indicating that he had been made aware of the situation.

"Also, you should probably enjoy this right now while you can, because based on the multiple missed calls and voicemails left by my mom- I am grounded - probably for life," she said.

Nephrite let out a loud groan of irritation that had them all turn towards him questioningly.

"I cannot believe that I was bested - twice - by a teenage girl that can't cook bacon," he growled, and Usagi laughed out loud, sending Nephrite a dazzling smile. He felt the hard shell that circled around his complex general soften. Mamoru smiled. Usagi's silvery brightness was hard to resist.

"Maybe I'll invite Mako over. She makes the most amazing food." Usagi said as she separated the food onto different plates.

"Mako? That's kind of a silly name," Nephrite scoffed.

"I'll have to tell Jupiter you said so," she said, but she missed the startled look that crossed Nephrite's face at the realization that Mako was, in fact, Juno.

"Actually, I haven't spoken to any of the girls yet. Mamo-chan, can I borrow your phone? Mine is dead, and I don't have a charger," she said, and Mamoru barely managed to disguise the dismayed look that crossed his face.

Dammit. Rei.

"Sure, Usa. It's on my desk in my room," he said, and she smiled at him before bounding out of the room to find it.

Mamoru turned towards the expectant gazes of his friends.

"You don't have to tell us everything, but you won't be able to hide it from her for long. She wants answers," Jadeite said, referring to Sailor Mars. "She said she'd meet you at the Hikawa Shrine this afternoon."

Mamoru grimaced at the thought of facing the fiery nature that belonged to Sailor Mars. He had come to love all of Serenity's Senshi and considered all of them his friends, but he was not looking forward to facing the overwhelming, angry passion of a newly awakened Athena, Princess of Mars.

"I think you've made the right decision. Beryl is relentless. The longer you keep Usagi in the dark, with the crystal sealed inside of her, the safer she'll be," Nephrite said and took a bite of the bacon on one of the plates, which he promptly spit out.

Mamoru's eyes widened. That was his answer. It was that easy.

"Nephrite, you're a genius," Mamoru said with elation. Nephrite shrugged, but Jadeite's eyes narrowed slightly. He would never be able to fully convince his bright-eyed friend that there was nothing more to it than that.

"I have a question, and this is important," Nephrite demanded as he pushed his plate away in disgust. "Your name isn't really Mamoru, is it?" he said, his tone laced with distaste.

Jadeite burst into laughter.

The Hikawa Shrine had always struck him as a place of peace and quiet contemplation. It seemed fitting to him that Sailor Mars had become a Miko in this lifetime. He'd always thought that her powers were rooted within an old sort of wisdom that connected her to the blazing energy from her own guardian planet. It made sense to him that she would be pulled into the life of a shrine priestess.

When he found her, later that afternoon, he did not see a calm priestess quietly meditating. He found a furious and passionate warrior, hot fire blazing within the purple irises of her narrowed eyes. She didn't say a word as he approached her but turned abruptly to enter through the door of the Heiden, hall of offerings. He grimaced and hesitated outside of the doorway.

"I don't know what you're so afraid of, Prince of Earth. It's not like I'm going to set you on fire - not yet, anyway," she called from within the structure.

He sighed and followed her in. The intricately decorated room that was used to offer silent prayers was currently void of other patrons. She was quietly lighting some lanterns on an elaborately designed wooden table. The air in the room was hot and thick with the smell of burning incense. He waited patiently as she finished, offering small prayers as she went, then she turned to him.

"How long have you known?" her voice was deathly quiet, a habit she had annoyingly picked up from Jadeite.

Mamoru shifted uncomfortably under her gaze. He didn't sense the strong but unsure threads of Rei. He sensed the full-blown passion of the Princess of Mars, and Athena did not have an unsure bone in her body.

"I knew before she became Sailor Moon," he said honestly.

Rei's piercing eyes narrowed angrily. "You've known the whole time? You let us stumble around in the dark, with no idea what we were looking for or who we were facing, and all this time you knew that Usagi was the princess?" she demanded, her words like the fire she could manipulate, searing into his very soul.

"I've only kept this to myself for as long as I have because Jadeite asked me to," she said with a glare. "But I'm not keeping this from her. She deserves to know. We all deserve to know."

Mamoru could feel the panic bubble up in his chest, but he quickly pushed it aside. He was not going to let Rei intimidate him, no matter how good her intentions were.

"I know that you're angry, but you will not tell Usagi that she's the Moon Princess. I won't let you," he said firmly. Rei gasped in indignation, and she clenched her fists furiously. He could feel her trying to reign in her temper.

"You don't have any say in it. I don't take orders from you," she spat, the fire in her eyes somehow burning even brighter than before.

Mamoru ran a frustrated hand through his hair as he exhaled deeply. "You don't take orders from anyone, Rei. I know it's hard when the memories flood back. It's hard to decipher between that life and the one you're living now, but the Moon Kingdom is gone. There is no queen or court, there are no laws, there's only us, Rei. Usagi deserves a different life," he implored. He absolutely needed Rei to listen. "You know where the Silver Crystal is. You know that Beryl is after it. The longer that we keep her in the dark, the safer she'll be."

He could feel the doubt whirr in the air around Rei as her brow knit in concentration. She was considering her options.

"I don't like this, Mamoru," she said.

"I know, Rei. She is going to remember eventually. I just want it to be when Beryl is at her weakest. If Beryl targets her now..." he trailed off, unable to finish his sentence. The memory of holding her motionless body in his arms, thinking she was gone, made his throat constrict with emotion.

He could see in Rei's eyes that she remembered it, too. He knew he'd convinced her when she sighed in defeat.

"What about Luna, and the others?" she questioned.

"I'm sure they will remember on their own, too. You're still looking for someone," Mamoru said, and Rei's eyes widened as she remembered.

"That's right. I'm surprised she didn't awaken first," Rei said.

She was, of course, referring to their Senshi leader, Aphrodite, otherwise known as Sailor Venus, or Sailor V.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8


The storm was brewing on the horizon; hulking grey clouds swirled ominously in the distance and gusts of cold wind whistled through the leaves in warning. Endymion stood in what had been his mother's gardens, gazing down sadly at the withered roses. He crumbled the brittle petal of one of them between his fingers.

"I thought I would find you out here!" a voice called out loudly.

"Hey, E. I think you need to hire a new gardener. All the plants are dead," Zoisite laughed jokingly.

Endymion rolled his eyes and turned to his bright-eyed general that was examining the roses in amusement.

"I wish you wouldn't call me that," he sighed with a twinge of irritation. Zoisite grinned back mirthfully at him and shrugged his shoulders. He'd once told him that his name was too much of a mouthful and so he had shortened it to E, despite Endymion's vehement protests otherwise.

Another gust of wind burst through the garden, and it sent shivers of dread down his spine.

"It's a little more than that, Zoisite. There's so much dark energy out here," he said forebodingly, and he knew that he was right.

There had been a lot of darkness gathering lately, slowly consuming so many people. It made him uneasy. He'd thought, at first, that the people were angry about his marriage to the moon princess. He soon realized that was part of the problem, but there was far more to it than that.

The king had fallen ill. Endymion had gone to all of the endless political meetings in his place. The diplomats and the leaders that he had known all of his life were different now; they were filled with darkness he had never sensed in them before.

Hushed whispers and rumours were spreading throughout the kingdom. It seemed that his people were rising up and ready to fight, their greed driving them to look up enviously to the peaceful Moon Kingdom that he had just married into. It had frightened him enough to have sent Serenity back to the moon.

"You have been spending way too much time with Kunzite!" Zoisite laughed, "So dramatic!"

Endymion sighed and shot Zoisite a glare. "I wish you would take things a little more seriously sometimes," he snapped.

Zoisite shot him a grin. "You sound just like Ophelia. I'm not interested in being boring like all of you," Zoisite said smiling brightly, referring to Serenity's Senshi, Sailor Mercury.

His smile faded under Endymion's hard stare. It was Zoisite's turn to sigh. "It's going to be fine, E. I'll help you crush this rebellion, just like I did with the last one. You know you can always count on me," he said, placing a comforting hand on Endymion's shoulder.

He didn't doubt that he could count on Zoisite. He'd only been fifteen years old the first time he'd laid eyes on his current friend and general.

The nineteen-year-old boy had been dragged into the castle hall, his hands tied tightly behind his back, as he was thrown to the ground so that he could face the circle of the king's peers. Endymion had been coming to the judicial hearings for over a year now, quietly taking his place at his father's side, merely there to observe and learn.

He hated the hearings. The people that were usually brought before his father was either the dark dredges of society or the wealthy, haughty aristocrats who bickered like children amongst themselves. Endymion had only looked up momentarily when they brought him in. He took one look at the quality of his clothes and his polished appearance and dismissed him as another spoiled rich kid.

"Your Highness, I bring forth Zoisite Beringar, firstborn son of Baron Garth Beringar. He stands accused of the murder of Baroness Melinda Beringar," the court handler read the words from yellowed parchment in his hand. Endymion looked up curiously then. It wasn't the first time he had faced a murderer in court, but it was never usually someone like Zoisite that stood accused.

"What does the accused have to say about this?" His father asked, and Endymion shook his head in annoyance. His father was bored. He had become increasingly careless when it came to matters of the court. It was evident to Endymion that the king no longer cared for the minor semantics of his kingdom.

With the accusation ringing through the room, Endymion expected that the accused would be cowering with fear, but he was surprised to see him standing tall and proudly, a sardonic smile splayed out on his lips.

"Does it really even matter what I say?" he snapped and those within the court gasped.

Endymion felt a spark of interest in his father as the old king leaned forward to peer at the boy curiously. "It matters to me," the king said, and Zoisite's smile faltered as his gaze hardened.

"I loved my mother. I didn't do this," he said, and Endymion felt the truth behind his words.

The king contemplated him for a moment and then turned to the court. "Baron Beringar, what do you say about this?" the king demanded.

It was then that a tall, menacing man stepped forward. Endymion could sense the evil within him instantly.

"My son has always been a disappointment. He spends his time drinking and philandering, even the name his mother gave him reeks of weakness. A gemstone," he spat with disgust, contempt dripping from pursed lips. "I motion to have him executed."

The onlookers at the hearing stirred and the tension in the room thickened harshly. Zoisite stood tall before them, his chin raised proudly; to all those who watched it did not appear that he was affected by his father's' callous dismissal.

He may have seemed impassive, but Endymion felt the thread of anguish twisting up within him. The words his father had spoken hurt him deeply. Endymion prodded further with his energy, but could not find a hint of darkness in the boy that was about to be sentenced to death. The father, on the other hand, was the third person that he had encountered that he knew in his core was inherently evil.

His father leaned back to contemplate the baron and the boy before him. Endymion felt his interest waning. "So be it then. I sentence the boy to death, unless a peer of this court will vouch for him," the king said, waving his hand dismissively. Endymion watched the boy's father's lips curl into a satisfied sneer, and it disgusted him.

"I'll vouch for him," Endymion said loudly.

There was a moment of shocked silence before the room burst into confused outrage. The baron's face contorted into a mask of confusion, followed by a rage that Endymion noted held a slight twinge of fear. That interested him.

Zoisite, on the other hand, stared up at him, frowning with uncertainty.

The king turned to look at Endymion, a frown on his well-weathered face. "What are you doing, boy?" He demanded softly.

Endymion grinned at his father and shrugged. "I'm doing the right thing," he responded firmly.

The king considered him for a moment and then sighed. He knew the power that ran through Endymion. At one time, that same power had coursed through his own veins as well. The king nodded and turned back to the court.

"So be it. The boy will be released into Prince Endymion's charge until such time an investigation is completed," the king began, then looked down at Zoisite. "If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced to death. If you try to run, you will be sentenced to death. Do you understand?" the king demanded and Endymion saw a flash of the power that his father barely exhibited anymore.

Zoisite gazed at Endymion for only a moment before turning back to the king and nodding firmly.

"Your highness - my prince - I assure you that this is a waste of your time. The boy is guilty," the baron sputtered, his face red with rage.

The king gazed at the baron coolly. "The decision has been made," the king stated firmly, silencing the nervous chatter in the room around them. He stood then, indicating the end of this judgement hearing. The king would not be seeing any more accused today.

Endymion stood and strode to Zoisite that was still bound and surrounded by his father's guard. "Well? Release him," he commanded.

They scrambled to obey, frantically pulling at the binds on his wrists until he was free. Zoisite shifted uncomfortably as he rubbed his wrists that were red and raw where the ropes had been. Endymion could sense the confusion intermingled with a resigned suspicion within him, but Zoisite smiled brightly.

"Guess I get to live another day," he mused. "Until the investigation is over, at least."

Endymion frowned at the murmured statement. He knew that Zoisite was innocent, he could feel it. "I thought you said you didn't do it?" Endymion questioned, and Zoisite smirked and shrugged nonchalantly.

"I didn't. Good luck finding proof though. Good old dad probably killed her himself just have a reason to get me executed," he said, his face falling slightly at the thought of his mother.

Endymion watched as the flash of sorrow quickly faded from his eyes, and then Zoisite shifted uncomfortably under Endymion's hard stare. "Has anyone ever told you how intense you are? I mean, I'm really grateful that the Prince of Earth just saved my life and everything, but you know you're kind of scary, right?" he said with an uncomfortable laugh.

Endymion's eyes widened at the statement. He had never thought of himself that way. He surrounded himself with fiercely loyal friends, but he supposed they were hardened and tinged with darkness. He was used to that.

Zoisite was not tainted by the same darkness that was only acquired from genuinely horrific experiences. His energy swirled brightly, heavy with sorrow and sadness, but not darkness. It would make sense that the intensity would make him uncomfortable. Endymion forced himself to relax and smiled sheepishly.

"Oh, good. You can smile," Zoisite joked, and Endymion laughed.

"I happen to know for a fact that your father is guilty and I would be extremely pleased to help you prove it," Endymion said, and Zoisite's eyes widened. A hope spread throughout his new friend as a tentative new agreement had been reached.

It was soon discovered that not only was the baron guilty of murder but that he was also planning a rebellion. He had already amassed a large group of followers. Kunzite was the one to uncover the plot and Jadeite quickly developed a plan. Nephrite infiltrated their inner circle, and from there it was easy to tear them apart.

Endymion had called a judgement hearing and stood glaring down at the man that had so easily condemned his son only weeks before. Zoisite stood by his side, his arms crossed as he stared at his father impassively. The man was red-faced with fury, trembling with hatred not only for his son but for Endymion as well.

"We know what you have done, and enough proof has been presented to the court to convict you. There will be no option for anyone to vouch for you," Endymion said firmly, his voice echoing around the room. "Although, at this point, I doubt anyone would," he said with finality, prepared to mete out the death sentence that would end his life.

"E, wait," Zoisite said softly. Endymion turned towards Zoisite, who was staring at him with pleading eyes. He raised an eyebrow in question.

"He's- he's still my father," Zoisite choked. It was quite rare that Zoisite exhibited emotion like that. In the time that he'd come to know him, he realized that Zoisite hid behind a carefree mask. His defence mechanism was a joke or a wry smile.

Endymion sighed softly, shifting uncomfortably under his friend's imploring gaze. It was not often that he had been allowed to run a judicial hearing with his father's full approval or consent. There was a proven traitor in their midst, an evil man that had conspired to destroy them all. How could he tell his friend that there wasn't any other way?

Zoisite must have sensed Endymion's hesitation as his face fell and sadness pooled into his eyes. Zoisite turned to his father at that moment, the emotion pouring off of him. It was no longer hidden behind a calm facade.

"Was there ever a time that you felt anything at all - for me?" he choked, his emotions exposed and raw.

The man's mouth stretched out into a sneer as he laughed with disdain. "You're pathetic. There is not a person alive that could love you," he snarled. Zoisites eyes widened, and the sorrow that coursed through his friend sent rage coursing through him.

The man's darkened eyes turned to Endymion. "You aren't any better. You'll be a pathetic excuse for a leader! You'll destroy us all!" the Baron cried out with rage.

It happened so quickly that Endymion didn't have time to react. The baron's bindings must have come loose as he burst from them, swivelled towards the shocked guard beside him, and pulled the longsword from the scabbard on his hip. With a guttural scream, the baron lunged towards Endymion. Just before the sword would have pierced through him, the lord sputtered and fell to his knees.

Zoisite had buried his sword deep into his father's stomach. The baron gurgled on the blood in his throat as he slumped forward, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.

There was always a small thread of darkness embedded into Zoisite after that.

Zoisite had always remained his loyal friend, and later he became one of Endymion's trusted generals as well, but Zoisites habit to ignore the severe gravity of some situations continued to be a worrisome flaw.

He looked into his friend's laughing eyes and sighed. "I know you will, Zoisite, but maybe I should send Jadeite with you to meet with Beryl. Just in case," he said, and Zoisite laughed.

"What are you worried about? A pretty little red-haired woman? Come on. I can handle this. I heard she's quite beautiful," he smirked and wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Endymion frowned with irritation. "Jadeite is going with you," he snapped with narrowed eyes, and Zoisite chuckled.

"Don't look at me like that. You know my philandering days are over," he said and then sighed. "Now, If only I could convince Ophelia that that was true."

He was sitting at the counter in the arcade, staring miserably down into his half-empty coffee cup. It had been one week since he'd been allowed to see Usagi. He'd been surviving on only quick, desperate embraces over her lunch break at school and secret whispered conversations over the phone in the middle of the night.

When she had said that she was grounded, she hadn't been kidding. They basically had her under lock and key. There had to be some kind of exception somewhere for reincarnated royalty. He'd married her in a magical love binding ceremony, they'd fought in wars together, he had died for her. The thought that they couldn't see each other because she was grounded was ridiculous.

He sighed softly. He had toyed with the idea of just stealing her away, but it had only been a brief thought. He needed to remember that there was going to be a life after all of this, and they were going to have to live it. He wanted Usagi to have a healthy, happy life and that was going to require some restraint on his part.

Nephrite, they discovered, had his own condo on the other side of town, remnants of life before Beryl had found him. Jadeite spent most nights with Rei, so he actually found himself with a lot of time on his hands.

It had allowed him time to actually attend his classes and catch up on his school workload as well, which was growing steadily bigger. He couldn't remember why he had found the idea of spending so much energy on school so tantalizing before. He would much rather spend all that time with Usagi.

"Hey, Mamoru," a soft voice interrupted his silent commiserations, and he looked up in startled surprise.

The quiet Senshi of Intelligence stood in front of him, in her school uniform, her book bag clasped in her hands. She was smiling at him shyly. He could feel how difficult it was for her to initiate conversation. The only time he had ever seen Sailor Mercury forget her social anxiety was when she was with Usagi. He had seen it briefly, in their previous life, with Zoisite as well.

"Hi Ami," he tried to give her a warm smile, to put her at ease, but he didn't think he had succeeded.

She coughed uncomfortably but moved to sit on on the stool beside him, placing her bag on the counter. "I'm sorry to intrude, I was just leaving headquarters when I saw you sitting here," she said softly, offering him a tentative smile. "You won't have to wait much longer. I told her parents that it was my fault she stayed out all night. I think they have a soft spot for me. "

Ami exuded soft, gentle energy that was warm and comforting, but there was a lonely sadness embedded in there as well. He wondered what had happened to her in this life to make her feel that way.

"Was it that obvious?" he laughed. "How sad is it that I'm sulking because my girlfriend is grounded?" he joked, but his smile faltered a bit at her level stare.

"You and Usagi are a bit more than that. I don't think I've ever seen a connection quite like yours. It defies logic," she said, her tone inquisitive as her brain tried to make sense of something she only saw as illogical. Her brows knitted delicately on her forehead as she became lost in thought, the thread of loneliness widening within her. She shook her head gently as her eyes focused again on Mamoru.

She delicately jumped off the stool, pulling her book bag with her. She stopped, gazing at him sympathetically, and squeezed his arm in comfort. "I have to go, but I just wanted to check in with you, make sure you're alright. I feel like there is something painful happening behind your eyes sometimes, Mamoru. I see it on your face once in a while," she whispered softly. "I just wanted you to know that we're all here for you."

His eyes widened slightly at Amis perceptiveness. He'd forgotten how observant she could be. "Thanks, Ami," he replied, and she gave him a hesitant smile.

"You're very welcome Mamoru," she said and then turned and walked out of the arcade.

He watched her go, feeling disconcerted at the loneliness he'd just felt in Sailor Mercury's heart. It renewed and strengthened his resolve to rescue Zoisite. Mamoru wasn't the only one that needed him back.

"Can we start having these meetings in Nephrites condo? This place is getting seriously cramped," Makoto complained as she handed out the bento boxes she had brought with her. Makoto always came prepared with food.

Rei was sitting on the ground, leaning comfortably against Jadeite, with his laptop on her lap. Jadeite casually had one arm draped across her shoulders as he flipped through the pages of a book with his free hand.

Rei looked up sharply from the screen with a smirk on her face. "When have you ever been to Nephrites condo?" she asked coyly and Makoto's face turned crimson red as she pretended not to hear Reis comment. Nephrite, along with Ami and Usagi, had still not arrived.

Mamoru paced the length of the room anxiously. Usagi had officially been released today and Ami, Usagi's cover, had diligently gone to meet Usagi at her house.

"If you don't stop pacing, you're going to wear out your floor," Jadeite said. He missed the glare Mamoru shot at him, as he hadn't looked up from his book.

He heard the apartment door open and looked up in anticipation, but Nephrite chose that moment to stride into the room. He moved with purpose, a cloud of irritated energy swirling around him.

Jadeite snapped his book shut, looking up at Nephrite curiously. Makoto pointedly continued to stare down at the bento box, her hands clasped tightly around it, and her face slightly tinged pink.

"Let's get this over with," Nephrite snapped. "Where's Usagi?"

Mamoru could feel the tension crackling through the air and, judging by the stiffness in Mako's shoulders and the uncertainty pouring off of her, Mamoru surmised that the stress lay between them.

"What's wrong with you? You're on edge," Jadeite questioned. Like Ami, his friend possessed a boundless pool of knowledge and intelligence but, unlike Ami, he was not as perceptive.

Nephrite gazed coolly at his friend. "There should have been an attack by now. Zoisite is impulsive, Beryl is weak and desperate for energy… it doesn't make sense. I don't know what they're waiting for," he growled.

He was right. According to the original timeline, Zoisite should have attacked almost a week ago. This was the first time Mamoru didn't know what was going to happen.

The door to the apartment flew open once again before Jadeite could respond. Mamoru breathed a sigh of relief as Usagi's radiant energy filled the room. She was followed closely by a more tentative Ami. Her eyes brightened when she saw him. He automatically reached for her, and she gladly skipped into his arms.

"Hello Usako," he said tenderly, tightening his arm around her.

"Hi Mamo-chan," she said sweetly, an elated smile splayed on her lips. "I'm sorry I'm late. I had to stop to get a present for you!" she exclaimed excitedly.

He gave her a small, indulgent smile as he stared down into her bright blue eyes. Nephrite snorted in irritation, and Mamoru looked up just in time to see him roll his eyes. Nephrite was definitely in a bad mood.

Usagi turned to Nephrite with a frown on her face, her eyes gazing at their mutual friend with questioning concern.

Makoto turned towards Usagi and Mamoru, holding a bento box in her outstretched hand.

"Don't mind him, Usagi. I think he was born miserable," she said and shot a glare at Nephrite. "I made you some food," she continued, looking back to Usagi with an eager smile on her lips. Usagi squealed excitedly as she moved to sit beside Mako on the couch, practically inhaling the food with enthusiastic gusto and an occasional moan of satisfaction that drove him insane.

"What did I miss?" she asked in between bites of food.

They discussed the possibility of an attack. Nephrite, having just been an integral part of Beryl's plans, supplied valuable insight into the current inner workings of Beryl and her relationship with the darkness that she manipulated.

"Hey Rei, are you looking up Sailor V?" Usagi said with feverish eagerness, staring down at the laptop screen in the priestesses' lap. Rei's eyes met his as she snapped the laptop shut.

"It was just something that popped up," she said and moved the laptop to the side. It would appear that Rei had some theories of her own in regards to Sailor Venus's identity.

Usagi sighed dreamily. "Sailor V is so beautiful and famous. Do you think she's one of us? Wouldn't that be amazing? She's so graceful," she said in a wistful tone.

Rei's eyes narrowed, and she shot him a glare. He knew that Rei was not happy about their mutual decision to keep what they knew from the rest of the scouts, but he was fortunate that she had decided not to divulge anything.

"Don't be silly Usagi. Sailor Moon is way cooler than Sailor V," Rei said with a playful wink. "And you are way more famous now."

Usagi's eyes widened excitedly. "That reminds me!" she said and reached into her bag that she had dropped unceremoniously onto the floor. She promptly pulled out a small stuffed version of Sailor Moon. She bounded over to Mamoru and held it out to him in her outstretched hand. He stared down at it in horror.

"What on Earth is that?" he asked, and her smiled widened.

"We are so famous that there are stuffed Sailor Scouts for sale! I saw it in the window of the toy store on our way here. I had to get it! It's for you!" she said happily.

He cringed at the laughter that filled the room.

It was later that evening that Mamoru felt the loneliness creep in. The room that had been teeming with friends and swirling with energy hours before was now empty. Jadeite was once again with Rei and Usagi was at home, safely tucked into her bedroom, fast asleep.

He'd tried to work on a paper due for his anatomy class for a while, but had quickly given up due to his inability to concentrate.

He had become accustomed to having a plan of action for the next battle or the next event that he knew was going to take place. The unknown consequences of the changes he'd made left him feeling uneasy.

He was toying with the idea of trying to get some sleep when there was a sharp knock on his front door. He knew instantly that it was Usagi and he frowned in concerned confusion. They had decided that she wouldn't sneak out again for a while, not until they were sure her parents were no longer angry with her for her disappearance weeks ago.

He opened the door and was greeted by an onslaught of emotions coming from her. She stood in the glow of the hallway light, her hair askew, still clad in pink pyjamas and her arms wrapped around her middle protectively. Her eyes were wide and the energy swirling around her was fraught with uncertainty and fear that filled him with dread.

"Usako, what's wrong?" he demanded softly, pulling her into the apartment and closing the door behind them.

"There's nothing wrong. I just - I didn't want to wait until tomorrow to see you," she whispered with a forced, uncertain smile.

"Did something happen? You were almost asleep when I got off the phone with you two hours ago," he said, and she shifted uncomfortably beneath his concerned stare.

"Why does something have to happen for me to want to see you, Mamo-chan? Aren't you happy that I'm here?" she whispered, and his frown deepened. Why was she suddenly feeling so insecure? It was sometimes frustrating to be able to feel what she felt without being able to decipher why she was feeling it.

He pulled her into his arms, and she wrapped her arms around him, burying her face into his chest. He was considering what to say to get her to talk about what was bothering her when she spoke.

"It's stupid, but I've been having nightmares lately... I know they're just dreams but tonight- I don't know. It was so real," she whispered in embarrassment. He stiffened in surprise. Of all the things she could have said at that moment, that was not what he had been expecting.

"What kind of nightmare?" he questioned, frowning down at her. She looked up at him and bit her lip nervously.

"We're together, and I don't remember everything but - you're afraid, and I'm afraid too, and I know that you're going to die and tonight - tonight you did and then I- well, usually I wake up after that, but tonight, well I kept dreaming and then I picked up a .. . and then-" she stammered and shuddered, "well then I died too."

He gasped and the blood drained from his face at her words. He knew what she was talking about even if she didn't.

What the hell?

He knew for a fact that he had been the only one inflicted with dreams in their previous timeline. He understood the need for Pluto's vague secrecy, especially when dealing with something as delicate as the course of time, but did she really need to leave him this blind? Especially when it was becoming so increasingly difficult to keep this from Usagi.

"I know. It's ridiculous, right? I'm silly," Usagi whispered, her cheeks flushed in embarrassment.

"No, Usako, please stop. You're not silly. That kind of dream would terrify me too," he choked out. The memory did terrify him.

She let out a sigh of relief, and he felt the tension and self-consciousness emanating from her wane a little bit. She wrapped her arms tightly around his waist and looked up at him, her eyes filled with a yearning he understood.

"I know I should go home before my parents find me missing, but can I stay, Mamo-chan? I really need to be with you tonight," she whispered pleadingly.

He groaned and buried his face in her hair, his lips pressed gently on the crook of her neck. He felt her shudder beneath him.

"Yes, Usako. Stay with me," he breathed back, his tone hoarse with emotion.

Later on, when her satiated body collapsed into his arms and drifted off to sleep, he noted that he could not detect a single thread of insecurity within her. He fell asleep basking in the contended glow that surrounded them.

The blaring sound of his ringing phone piercing through his room is what awoke him. He groggily untangled himself from a sleeping Usagi, to peer bleary-eyed at the screen flashing brightly through the darkness.

He stared at Jadeite's name in momentary confusion until he heard the sound of Usagi's communicator beeping loudly from her wrist. He shot up into a sitting position as the adrenaline coursed through him as he realized what the simultaneous ringing of their devices meant.

"Usako, love, you need to wake up," he said shaking her gently, his voice tinged with urgency.

"Mmm?" she murmured rolling onto her side slowly, but her eyes widened as the sound of beeping registered through her sleep.

He answered the phone at the same time that she answered the communicator. There was a Youma attack.

They were dressed and transformed within moments. He held her hand as they jumped from the balcony and onto the pavement below. They arrived at the same time as Jadeite, Nephrite and Sailor Jupiter.

The monster, as far as Youmas went, was smaller than any other that they had faced. It was a human-like creature with scales over its body, piercing red eyes and sharp claws instead of hands.

Jupiter used a lightning attack to disable it, and Sailor Moon quickly disintegrated the creature into oblivion. It was over in mere minutes.

Sailor Moon flipped open her communicator. "Luna, where are Mars and Mercury?"

"They're on their way," Luna's slightly muffled response buzzed.

"It's okay, tell them not to come. It's over," she said and snapped it shut, looking up at Jupiter with a frown on her face.

"That was really easy," she muttered. He could feel the uncomfortable, confused tension swirling around them. His heart began to race. That had been easy.

Too easy.

It happened so quickly that he didn't have time to blink. A shard of dark ice energy shot through the air and pierced through Usagi, cutting right through her middle, and Sailor Moon fell to her knees in agony.

It pierced through him as he felt it too, amidst the screams of horror from his friends. He reached for her, and she fell into his arms gasping.

"So what will you do now, Tuxedo Kamen? Save your precious Sailor Moon, or try and brainwash me?" he looked up into Zoisite's steely eyes as his icy words washed over him.

"Save her! Jupiter. Thunder. BLAST!" Jupiter screamed as he pressed his palm to Usagi's wound and began healing her.

Jupiter's lightning was ineffective against Zoisite. With a glare of irritation, he sent another shard of ice towards her. Nephrite slammed into her, pulling her out of the way.

Usagi's breathing was laboured, and he concentrated harder, flowing even more energy into her, but something was wrong. It was healing, but it was healing slower than usual. The ice shard had been infused with a different kind of dark energy that was threading its way through her like poison. Every time he healed one thread another one would appear. It was draining him.

Zoisite cackled as he stared down at Nephrite. "Have you developed some kind of feelings for the pretty Sailor Scout in green, Neph? Maybe I won't kill her; maybe I'll just keep her for myself," Zoisite snapped. Mamoru felt the small twinge of darkness within Nephrite flare as he shot an attack at him with a growl of fury.

Something wasn't right. What was Zoisite doing? This didn't make any sense.

Jadeite threw a burst of darkness that narrowly missed Zoisite. His once carefree general cackled gleefully as Usagi moaned in pain.

"Shh, Usako. I know it hurts. It's okay," he whispered to her comfortingly even as he struggled to stay upright.

Jupiter shot another attack at him, but Zoisite dodged it and flew at her. His fist connected with her face and sent her flying to the ground.

"Poor, pretty Jupiter," Zoisite laughed, and Nephrite roared in rage.

The darkness within him exploded, and in that instant, he knew what Zoisite had been sent here to do. It was a trap. Beryl wanted her kings back, and she had known about the darkness that she could still manipulate within his friends. She knew that if they weren't careful about using it, it would consume them again.

To stop him from interfering, they had attacked Sailor Moon. They knew he would choose to spend his energy-saving her rather than fighting them. His eyes met Jadeite's who realized it at the same time that he had.

"Nephrite! Stop!" Jadeite shouted, but it was too late.

He felt the darkness explode and consume his friend again, just as he healed and expelled the last bit of it in Usagi. Zoisite laughed as Nephrite's eyes hardened and a dark smirk curled onto his lips. Mamoru had hoped to never see that look on Nephrite's face again.

"Welcome back to the winning side, my friend," Zoisite said as Jupiter pulled at Nephrite's arm.

"What are you doing?" she cried out angrily. She hadn't grasped what had happened yet. How could she? She wouldn't have been able to feel the darkness consume him like he had.

He choked on his misery even as his eyes blurred from exhaustion.

"Get off of me," Nephrite demanded, his voice dripping with disgust.

Usagi sat up slowly, her eyes taking in the scene before her. She turned to him, and he tried to sit up, to do something, but he was too weak.

"What's happening?" she demanded.

"Nephrite - I don't have the energy to heal him again, Sailor Moon," he choked out as Nephrite tried to throw Jupiter to the ground. Her eyes widened as she understood, then they hardened with determined resolve. She gave him a quick kiss and shot to her feet.

Jupiter, tears of fury and sadness in her eyes, refused to let go of Nephrite even as he prepared to attack her. Usagi widened her stance as the Moon Wand materialized in her hands. Luna must have already given it to her.

Zoisite jumped out of the way as Usagi lifted the wand high into the air. "Moon. Healing. ESCALATION!" she cried. Even in his weakened state, Mamoru was in awe of her strength and beauty.

The light waves enveloped both Nephrite and Jupiter. He felt their healing power work as the darkness within his friend faded, and recognition filtered back onto his friends face. Unfortunately, Jupiter gasped as she remembered, too.

Mars, Mercury, and Luna arrived just as Sailor Moon finished healing them.

"I'm sorry Mako," Nephrite snapped angrily, but the anger was directed towards himself, not at her.

"Call me Juno," she smirked, and Nephrite's eyes widened before a grin stretched out across his face.

"No!" Zoisite screeched angrily. He'd lost, and now with more Sailor Scouts on the scene, he didn't stand a chance. He disappeared promptly in a puff of black smoke.

Usagi fell to her knees beside him, and he pulled himself up, feeling his strength beginning to return.

"Is everyone okay? Usagi, are you alright?" Mars asked with concern, flying to her side.

"We're okay Rei, no one was hurt," she said soothingly to her friend whose eyes were wide in panic. Jadeite placed a comforting hand on Rei's shoulder.

"Wow. You guys really handled that well. I didn't even have to help." A disembodied, soft, lilting voice rang out over top of all of them.

Christ. Now what?

They had all peered up towards the voice except for Jupiter, was who watching Usagi with curious, watchful eyes. Mamoru would have to speak to her first; he had to stop her from saying something. It was too early; still, he needed more time.

He had recovered enough to stand. He pulled Usagi protectively into his arms as they looked up as well. On top of a pergola, perched casually with a white cat in tow, was a blonde-haired Senshi staring down at them in serene amusement.

"Who are you?" Ami called out.

"Don't you recognize the Heiress to the Moon when you see her?" she said sweetly. Luna and Ami gasped excitedly even as Rei's eyebrow rose in confusion and Jupiter quietly shook her head.

He involuntarily groaned out loud at the inconvenience of Sailor Venus's timing. Usagi stiffened in his arms and the threads of insecurity that he had managed to erase last night widened and twisted up inside of her. She'd mistaken his groan for something else.


How the hell was he going to clean up this mess?

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Zoisite awakens

He felt the blood drain from his face as the fury and anguish roared through him. He stood in the judgement hall, surrounded by advisors and counsellors, though the only one that really mattered was Kunzite, whose eyes were hard and angry.

Kunzite had just conveyed the devastating news to him: Jadeite and Zoisite had turned against them.

It should have been simple. They were to have gone to Beryl to discuss a peace treaty and to hear her conditions. Then they were supposed to come back. He felt his heart clench painfully in his chest. His friends were supposed to come back.

"How did this happen? Kunzite, there has to be a mistake. It's Jadeite and Zoisite. You know them, they would never do this," he spat, his voice hoarse and disbelieving. Kunzite's eyes softened a little as he contemplated his statement. He was having difficulty making sense of this as well.

"I don't know what happened, Endymion. I promise you I will find out." Kunzite's voice was deathly quiet when he spoke.

"We're certain that it is them, leading her followers, to fight us?" he asked again, hoping Kunzite would give him something, even a flicker of uncertainty, but Kunzite stared at him resolutely.

"I'm told that Jadeite is staying behind with Beryl and Zoisite is on his way here," Kunzite replied. He couldn't believe that his friend that he had just seen two days earlier was coming to fight him for his princess and a Silver Crystal that he had never expressed an interest in before.

"Your Highness, forgive the intrusion, but I thought you would like to know that your wife and one of her guardians have arrived," the voice belonged to a castle maiden that spoke from the doorway that led out of the hall.

Endymion's head snapped up in confusion. Dammit, Serenity! She should not be here. He had sent her away to keep her safe.

He turned to dismiss his advisors when the door to the room burst open in a flurry of cold mist. Sailor Mercury broke into the hall, her usually calm and soothing presence was tinged with fury and pain.

He heard the cacophony of whispers and gasps that vibrated amongst his advisors.

They had never seen one of Serenity's Senshi up close before, but they had heard myths of their mystical elemental powers. She was followed closely by his beautiful, white-clad, wife. Serenity gave him an apologetic smile. She knew that she was not supposed to be here.

He frowned as the advisor's frightened whispers turned to ones of admiration at the sight of his Moon Princess, their energy a mix of awe and lust as they gazed at her.

"Get out. You're dismissed," he snapped, and they all scrambled from the room at his tone, their gazes lingering on her for far too long. Kunzite was the only one who remained.

"Sailor Mercury," Kunzite greeted, his tone wary and cautious.

He had never felt this type of angry passion swirling around the Senshi of Intelligence. In fact, he'd barely noticed this particular blunette at all. She was always just out of sight, quiet and observing. She was so reserved and in control of her emotions that he hardly detected her energy at all.

Which was why he was astonished when his carefree friend and general, who was so open and free with his emotions, had taken such a keen interest in the quiet girl that depended solely on calculated logic. He felt his heart constrict at the loss of his loyal friend, which is why, he assumed, the Senshi was currently here in a flurry of unexpected emotion.

"You're lying Kunzite!" she snapped without acknowledging his greeting. "He wouldn't do this!" she cried furiously, her eyes filled with tears of frustration.

He looked past Mercury to Serenity that was watching her friend with wide, sympathetic eyes.

Their eyes met, and he quietly reached for her. She smiled softly and gladly came into his embrace.

"I am just as confused as you, but the intel was not false. He is on his way with her army, as their leader," Kunzite replied, and Endymion noted that his words were not as harsh as they usually were. Kunzite could see the anguish swirling within her too.

She clenched her fists tightly to her side, her posture stiff and trembling, as she audibly gulped as the sorrow overwhelmed her. Serenity gasped sadly in his arms.

"Ophelia.." she whispered pleadingly, stepping towards her friend.

"No!" she cried, and her eyes flashed furiously. "He hasn't betrayed us! He loves me Serenity, it doesn't make sense," she choked on the emotions, shaking her head, unable to control the struggle between her feelings and her calculated logic.

He felt it as her mind won the battle over her heart and her eyes hardened with determined resolve.

"He must have some kind of plan, I'll prove it," she whispered and in a blast of blue mist she disappeared.

Serenity gasped and turned towards him, clutching at his arm desperately.

"Endymion, I know this news is terrible for you, but we have to go after her. Her heart is broken, she isn't herself - I'm afraid for her," she pleaded, and he sighed and pulled her into his arms.

"Yes, of course, we'll go after her," his eyes met Kunzites above her head. Kunzite nodded as he understood Endymion's quietly conveyed message.

He leaned down and pressed his lips gently to hers. When he pulled away, her eyes were narrowed suspiciously. He smiled apologetically and gently pushed her into Kunzite's arms. She cried out in outrage as Kunzite gently restrained her.

"Endymion! What do you think you're doing?" she demanded furiously.

"I am going to rescue our friends my love, but you will be staying right here, safe and sound," he said and turned quickly to leave the room, cringing at the sound of Kunzites grunt of pain as she elbowed him, hard, in the stomach. He chuckled gently as he shut the door behind him.

He would probably pay for this with her wrath later on, but it would be worth it to keep her safe. Anyways, he secretly enjoyed her sporadic angry outbursts. They were just so adorable.

He took a large contingent of armed and loyal men to meet the horde of Beryl's army that was quickly descending upon them, though he doubted that they would have been able to pass through the gates that protected the castle and the village ensconced within it.

He hadn't been prepared to see Zoisite at the head of the army. He had secretly hoped that perhaps Mercury had been right, that they had devised some sort of plan, that they hadn't turned against him to join Beryl.

He just hadn't been prepared to be wrong. The man leading this army was not his friend, not anymore. He'd never felt so much darkness within his general before. His heart constricted painfully as he choked on his disbelief.

The army had stopped their march only because they were shrouded in a powerful mist that he knew belonged to Mercury. He found her, standing on a bluff overlooking the army of men and women, staring down forlornly at what had been her former lover and his old friend.

"Sailor Mercury," he whispered to avoid detection, and she looked up, startled, as he came towards her. He could feel that her passionate outburst had waned as her sensible energy was once again swirling around her infused with soothing coherent logic. The only difference was the almost unbearable sadness that he could feel pressing down on her.

"I left Serenity. I'm - Your Highness, I'm so sorry," she choked out softly, her blue eyes watering with regretful anguish.

He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, offering a small smile. "I promise you she's safe and sound. Although, if it were up to her, she would be here with you right now," he said, and Mercury sighed.

"Luckily, it's not up to her," she said gently and then turned sadly to the scrambling army below them.

"There's something wrong with him, Endymion. It was like he didn't even recognize me," she whispered in grief-stricken disbelief.

His eyes scanned the half hidden men in the fog until he found Zoisite's thread of energy among them. It was twisted up into something unrecognizable. He didn't understand what had happened.

Mercury turned suddenly and desperately clutched his arm. Startled, he turned to look into her wide, sad eyes.

"I need him. It can't end like this," she whispered. "I told him I didn't want to see him again before he left. I didn't mean it, I just couldn't make sense of the chaos he makes me feel its unexplainable - I just-" she choked, unable to finish.

He nodded and took her hand, comfortingly, into his own. "I promise you that I will do everything I can to save him. I'll convince him to come back to us. I swear I will."

He'd believed the words when he'd said them. If only he had known how wrong he had been and how badly he would fail.

He had no idea how he was going get himself out of this situation. He had completely forgotten that their Senshi leader had lied about being the princess in the original timeline, in an attempt to protect Usagi from being discovered.

He thought it was a good idea, except that this time, two of the other Sailor Scouts already knew she was lying, and that was very evident by the looks of disbelief on their faces.

He needed to get Usagi out of here before they said something that he would have to find a way to explain to her. She was already having dreams. He had no idea what it would take to trigger the memories he knew were locked away within her.

Sailor Venus jumped down from the pergola, her blonde hair fluttering behind her as she approached them. He was dimly aware that Usagi had stiffened uncomfortably in his arms and he could feel the panic set in as he desperately tried to think of a solution.

He was, at that moment, infinitely grateful for Jadeite's deft perception. His general had caught his eye and nodded in understanding to a message he hadn't realized he'd conveyed.

"Why on Earth would you…" Rei began but stopped as Jadeite gently squeezed her arm. She looked up at him, and there was an understanding that quickly passed between them. Mars, in her infinite wisdom, did not finish her sentence. She narrowed her eyes as she considered Venus. He felt it when she had made a decision. Venus had been their leader in a previous life, not Usagi, and he knew that Mars could sense that there was a good reason for the lie.

"It's so good to finally meet you guys. It feels like I already know you all so well!" Venus exclaimed with a bubbly laugh. Her demeanour and physical appearance had mirrored Serenity's so well in their past life, it wasn't surprising that she was attempting to play Serenity in the present. After all, it was not the first time the Senshi had assumed Serenity's identity to protect her.

"Strange, it feels like I already know you so well too," Jupiter said sarcastically, her tone scathing and slightly tinged with confused irritation.

He gave Rei a pleading look and, for the second time this evening, felt incredibly grateful that Rei was also intuitive enough to understand what had happened. He watched as her eyes widened at the realization that Jupiter had recovered her memories as well.

"We've been following your career as Sailor V," Mars quipped to cover up Jupiter's harsh tone.

"You're really the princess?" Usagi whispered beside him quietly. "It's so- so lovely to meet you," she stammered.

He sighed as he felt the intricate tapestry of emotions swirling around his silly girl. A myriad of confusion and insecurities, intermingled with excitement and her genuine love for the Senshi. He hated that she had to feel this way. He inwardly cursed Pluto once again for the unfairness of it.

"Tuxedo Kamen, why don't you take Sailor Moon home?" Rei suggested. Usagi frowned in irritation and opened her mouth to protest.

"Sailor Moon, you're dead on your feet. You were just seriously injured. I promise we can handle this," Rei said comfortingly, and he felt Usagi's irritation falter slightly.

He squeezed her arm, and she looked up at him, wide-eyed with concern. He needed to get her out of here. He could feel the tension in the air. Everything could implode at any moment now. Jupiter was on the verge of exploding with her discovery, Venus was picking up on the awkwardness in between them, and he knew that there was no way that Usagi was going to walk away from this willingly.

Unless he said, something he knew would hurt her. His heart constricted at the thought of purposely causing her any pain, but he knew it would only be temporary. He would fix it once they were safely away from here.

He inwardly groaned as he stared into her bright, trusting, blue eyes.

"Sailor Moon..." he trailed off. "I need to leave."

That was all he had needed to say for the small twist of uncertain agony to slash through her as her mind filtered through all the reasons why he would want to leave. He knew that none of the conclusions were good, and he hated that he had manipulated her this way. He was also irritated that it had been so easy. How was it possible that she was still this uncertain about his feelings for her? When this was over, he was going to make damn sure that she never doubted his feelings for her again.

He held his hand out to her, unable to utter another word, consumed in his irrational anger. Her eyes were downcast and sad as she took his hand and he swept her into his arms and leapt onto the pergola first, and then onto the nearest rooftop. He didn't know what type of situation he was leaving behind him. He was unsure about what would happen, between the Senshi, his generals, and the memories he was sure they were going to discuss without him there to mediate.

He would deal with that tomorrow. Right now, he needed to reassure his silly little princess that he could feel was on the verge of bursting into tears.

He held her all the way back to his apartment and clutched her tightly as they burst through his balcony doors. When he released her, she stepped back quickly and wrapped her arms around her middle as if she was trying to hold herself together.

"I think I'm going to go home now, Mamo-chan," she whispered, and he knew it was because she didn't want him to see her cry.

"Usako, you are home," he snapped firmly and pulled her into his arms. She looked up at him, and he cradled her cheek in his hand.

"I already told you that I am not looking for the princess. I don't know that girl, Usako. I will always only ever want you," he said. The tears fell from her eyes then as her bottom lip quivered.

A thought came unbidden into his mind then. Beryl had taken him before, and she may retake him. That had been the key to Usagi regaining her memories the first time. His death, and his capture.

"Even if there is ever a time that I say something, or do something, that will lead you to believe that I don't want you, or that I don't love you, I am going to need you to trust me, Usako," he demanded, and she choked on a sob. "Do you believe me?" he whispered hoarsely.

"Yes," she whispered, her voice raspy and cracking with emotion. He could still feel her uncertainty swirling around them, and he grasped her face gently in his hands, his face so close to hers.

"Usako, please. I'm begging you," he pleaded with her and pressed his lips gently to hers. She sighed beneath his lips and melted into him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He felt the wetness from her tears on her face as their kiss deepened. She whimpered as his hand lowered lovingly to the small of her back and gently pressed her closer to him.

He pulled away and softly kissed her below her ear, trailing kisses to the crook of her neck. "Do you believe me?" he breathed against her skin. She trembled beneath him, and he felt the threads of insecurity unwind slowly as her need and love for him widened within her.

"Yes, Mamo-chan. I believe you," she said, shuddering with her need for him. Her knees buckled, and he swept her into his arms.

She didn't believe him yet. He would have to spend the rest of the night convincing her.

Nephrite's condo was, in fact, much bigger than his apartment. He briefly wondered what it was that Nephrite did to allow him to afford such a nice place before the dread crept back into his chest.

He stood on the sidewalk staring up at the imposing condo complex like he had been for the past ten minutes.

He'd barely managed to get Usagi home this morning before he had received the very cryptic and dread-inducing text message from Jadeite. The Sailor Scouts were calling a meeting without Usagi, and he was going to be their guest of honour. He cringed as he contemplated every single possible scenario and what he would say to them.

"Hey Mamoru," he looked up, startled, as the voice reverberated through his thoughts. Ami stood quietly in front of him, her head tilted and her eyes filled with amusement as she watched him. She had always been the only one with the ability to sneak up on him.

"You know that they're all upstairs right now, watching you, right?" she said and the blood drained from his face.

"What?" he let out a strangled breath of disbelief, glancing up and scanning through the myriad of tinted windows, wondering which one hid their peering faces.

"Yes. They sent me down to get you. Nephrite is not a patient man," she murmured, and he grimaced. No, he was not.

"All of them are waiting up there?" he asked, and she smiled sweetly.

"Yes. All of them except for Usagi. The princess is up there too- although, I guess she isn't really the princess, is she?" Ami said knowingly, and he sighed in defeat.

"You remember now, too?" he asked her with an apologetic look on his face. He was honestly surprised that she hadn't remembered sooner. Ami shook her head.

"No, I don't remember, although I have heard quite a bit from the others. I do have a theory," she said, "but maybe you should come upstairs. I'm not really sure why you seem so nervous, Mamoru. It's not like anyone is mad at you. They all know that you kept it from Usagi to protect her. Isn't that why Venus lied about being the princess?" Ami asked, a delicate frown knitted onto her brow, her eyes flashing up at him curiously.

He considered Ami's words quickly. It wasn't like any of them could possibly begin to guess at his real reason for keeping this from Usagi.

"Jadeite says that you can feel what we feel, that it's a part of the power you inherited in our past lives… Is that why you don't want to go upstairs? Is it overwhelming for you to be in a room with all of us?" Ami asked inquisitively. His eyes widened slightly in startled surprise. They had said a lot to each other in his absence.

"No, I can filter through the emotions," he replied, and she sighed with frustration. He knew that she was having a difficult time trying to fit all the pieces into something that made sense to her. Ami didn't deal well with the unknown.

"Do you want to remember?" he asked her gently. He would give her memories back to her if she asked him too. There was no point in trying to avoid the inevitable now.

He watched as she considered his question and felt the curiosity intermingled with fear and uncertainty swirl around her.

"I have always said that knowledge is power, for it is better to know than to be left in the dark, but honestly Mamoru, based on what Rei and Mako have told me... I think I may be better off not remembering," she whispered, and her cheeks reddened slightly in embarrassment. "It's easier to make informed decisions when you are looking at it from a detached point of view."

He frowned at her observation. Had the others told her everything?

Ami shook her head as if to clear it of any offending thoughts and then she smiled at him shyly.

"Now, are you going to come upstairs of your own accord, or should I call for Rei?" she asked, and he grimaced.

"Alright! Let's go!" he exclaimed, and she laughed softly as they made their way up to Nephrite's condo.

He collapsed onto his couch in exhaustion. He was glad that this afternoon was over. The entire interaction with the Senshi and the generals had drained him.

It had ultimately been decided that it was better for Usagi to remain in the dark about her identity as the princess, despite Mako's vehement protests. She'd been angrier than the rest of them with the recovery of her memories- even angrier than Rei had been- rage swirling around her in droves.

Rei had agreed with him and Minako, but she was opposed to the idea of pretending Venus was the Moon Princess. Minako had ultimately convinced her, stating that the target would be on her rather than Usagi, which was what she had initially intended anyway.

He'd watched the blonde haired Senshi in between arguments. Her eyes had been trained on Jadeite and Nephrite with an envious yearning that made his heart constrict tightly in his chest. Unlike the others, she remembered her relationship with Kunzite, and she desperately missed him.

He had felt the hope unfurl within her when he had told her that he fully intended to save him from Beryl. Ami, still without her memories, had remained indifferent.

Still, even as tired as he was, he couldn't help but feel elated at the intense relief that accompanied what he deemed nothing short of a miracle. When he met Pluto again, he fully expected an exclamation of praise and a pat on the back. Usagi's future was still currently intact, and he had managed to save two of his best friends.

He frowned slightly at that thought. His other two friends were not going to be as easy to save, especially since he no longer knew what to expect.

He glanced down at his watch and sighed sadly. There were still two more hours until he could see Usagi again. The time passed slowly, even more so, since he had decided to spend it actually working on his Anatomy paper.

He left twenty minutes before he usually would have in his eagerness to see her. He made it to her school quickly, and he knew he would still have to wait a while before her bell rang.

He frowned as he approached the school, standing in the spot where he usually waited for her stood Makoto. Her posture was stiff and unyielding, her eyes hard and resolute and her lips pressed into a grim yet determined scowl.

He knew for a fact that all of the Sailor Scouts had made the decision to skip school today, as it had come up in their discussion earlier this afternoon, so there was absolutely no reason for her to be standing there.

He growled in irritation, even as a frenzied panic flashed through him, as he reached out and felt the energy crackling around her, much like the lightning she easily manipulated. Jupiter was going to ruin everything; there could only be one reason she was exuding such a decisive resolve. Mako planned to tell Usagi everything.

"You're kidding me, right?" he snapped as he came upon her. She jumped and swirled around to face him, a look of righteous indignation set on her face. "We discussed this Mako. What do you think you're doing?" he demanded, and her cheeks flared red.

"Stop that! You have no right to do that!" she snapped accusingly. He scowled right back at her.

"What are you talking about?" he demanded in exasperation and her eyes narrowed furiously.

"You're doing that thing! Where you can read my mind or whatever!" She cried, and he rolled his eyes.

"You are being ridiculous. I can't read your mind. It's more of an energy kind of … no, you're getting off topic. What are you doing? We agreed not to say anything to her," he said and infused his voice with a furious condemnation that made her flush in embarrassment.

She shifted slightly and looked away, her eyes narrowed and brooding, refusing to meet his gaze. "I did not agree to anything," she muttered. He was grateful when he could feel the doubt, tinged with guilt, whirr around her. He would be able to reason with her after all.

"Mako, I don't understand why you're so angry. This is the right thing to do. She needs to be protected," he said, imploring her to listen to him.

She looked at him then, and he winced at the pain shining from the pools of her green irises; her anger was just a facade to cover up something else.

"How can we protect her if she doesn't even know to protect herself? I don't want her to die again," Mako choked on the emotion, and he gasped as he felt her sorrow. He'd forgotten what it was like when the memories first came back; it would take a couple of days for the raw emotions that had surrounded their deaths to fade from her mind.

"Hey, stop. It's okay, I know what you're feeling right now. I felt it too when the memories came back. I'm just asking you to trust me for a little while longer," he said softly, and she looked up wearily. "Juno would have trusted me, you know," he teased with a small grin.

She raised her eyebrows, and her lips twitched as she fought an involuntary smile. "Juno also thought you were an extremely huge pain in the butt," she said, and he gasped in mock outrage.

"I don't believe it! I remember that Juno only ever felt a sort of sweet, demure and loving adoration for me. You know, because I'm the awesome Prince of the Earth and all that," he said, and she did laugh then, rolling her eyes at him.

"Okay, fine. I get it. I just - I just love her so much, you know?" Mako whispered, and he sobered instantly.

"Yeah. I think I know a thing or two about loving her," he breathed and she exhaled deeply, releasing all of her pent-up frustration.

The trilling sound of the school bell ringing interrupted their conversation. He automatically searched for her thread of silver energy within the mass of students piling out into the schoolyard. He sighed. Poor Usako, she was so tired.

She was moving slowly down the pathway, but her step quickened, and her eyes brightened when she spotted them.

"Mamo-chan! Mako!" she said excitedly. "Mako why weren't you and Ami at school today? I missed you guys," she said and yawned loudly as she moved into his outstretched arms.

"We were tired, but I felt bad when I heard you had gone to school, so I came to meet you with Mamoru," she replied, and Usagi smiled.

"That's so nice Mako," she said sleepily. "I wish my mom had let me stay home today," she complained, and Mako laughed softly.

"Oh well, I'll let you get some sleep Usagi. I'll see you around," she said and turned to go. He frowned as Usagi stiffened slightly in his arms.

"Wait!" she said and reached out, clasping Makoto's wrist before she could go. "Do you want to do something tonight?" she said, and Makoto frowned.

"Usagi, you are practically falling asleep on your feet. We don't have to do anything tonight. Go home and sleep," Makoto said, and Usagi shook her head.

"I don't want to sleep. I want to do something with my friends," she demanded stubbornly, and he tightened his arms around her. What was going on in that pretty little head of hers?

"Usako, you're exhausted," he agreed with Makoto, and they shared a confused look as she practically stomped her foot in frustration.

"I don't want to sleep. I want to do something… normal. I want to spend time with my boyfriend and my friend just like any other teenage girl on the rest of this planet," she said firmly, and she looked up into his eyes, her pretty big blue eyes wide and pleading.

How could he resist her? It was such a simple request.

"Ok, Usako." he said with a soft sigh."We can do something fun."

She flashed him a dazzling grin, and Mako raised her eyebrows at him questioningly.

"Why don't we do something low key, Usako? We can have dinner at my place, and then we can watch a movie. Would that be okay?" he asked her, and she nodded happily, "Okay. Yes. That sounds like fun."

Makoto shook her head in amusement but agreed to meet them at his place in an hour or so. She would bring dinner. He held her hand as they walked at a slower pace.

He wanted so badly to give her a reprieve from all the things she had to do and all the pain she was going to have to face. He just wished she wasn't so tired.

"You're sure you want to do this tonight Usako?" He asked again, and she squeezed his hand and nodded in response.

It was the least he could do.

"What do you think Mako will want to watch, Mamo-chan? A romantic comedy or an action movie? There is no way we are watching a horror movie."

She was sitting cross-legged on the couch, remote perched in her hand as she flipped through the options on Netflix. He watched her from the recliner, biochemistry book in his lap, with adoring amusement. He couldn't believe that she was still awake. She was running solely on fumes right now.

"You know it probably won't just be Mako that comes tonight, right?" he questioned tentatively. He wondered what her reaction was going to be that another two of their friends had paired off.

She glanced over at him curiously with a frown on her face. He was surprised that she really had no idea.

"What do you mean?" she asked, and he could tell that she was racking her brain, guessing at who else might come tonight.

"Well, Nephrite will more than likely be with her," he replied and her eyes furrowed in confusion.

He could tell the moment that it clicked as her eyes flew open in surprise. "Oh!" she gasped loudly. "Oh! Mamo-chan! That is so great!" she squealed and jumped up off the couch excitedly.

"When did that happen? How did I miss that?" she asked, breathless and filled with elation for their friends. He chuckled as her warm waves of happiness washed over him, her excitement palpable, her glow infectious.

She was in the process of doing an adorable happy dance when he realized that everything about her overwhelmed him and it felt as if his heart was going to explode within his chest if he couldn't hold her right now.

"Usa, come here," he growled, and she laughed with a dazzling smile on her face.

"You come here," she teased and took a step backwards, her aura infused with an excited playfulness that had him leaping to his feet, book clattering unceremoniously to the floor.

She squealed again and turned to run but he was quicker, and she didn't make it very far. She giggled as he swept her into his arms and they tumbled onto the couch. He braced himself as he fell on top of her so that she wouldn't feel the brunt of his weight.

His lips were on hers instantly, and it didn't take long for their quick, playful kisses to quickly escalate into long passionate embraces. She whimpered with need beneath him, and he groaned against her lips. He reluctantly tore away, panting, his face buried into her hair.

"Please, for the love of god, let me call Mako and cancel," he pleaded, his voice raspy, against her ear.

There was a knock on the door at that moment, and she laughed even as he groaned mournfully.

"Let's not answer it," he said and began to nibble on her neck again.

"Mamo-chan," she giggled, "don't be silly. There's always later tonight," she winked as she scrambled out from beneath him and bounded over to the door.

He sighed and watched her go with amusement. His little ball of sunshine would probably be fast asleep way before that.

She came back into the room shortly after, followed closely by a smiling Mako and a sour-faced Nephrite, whose arms were laden with multiple bags that he knew contained containers of prepared food.

His little princess was chattering happily about the multitude of movie options there were.

"What about a martial arts movie?" Mako questioned, and Usagi made a face.

"Don't you get enough real-life fights, Mako? Our life is a martial arts movie," she said, and Mako laughed.

"Okay Usagi, you're right. You pick," she said indulgently and took the bags from Nephrites arms, whose scowl lessened a little bit when Mako squeezed his arm and winked at him.

"This is so exciting! It's like my very first double date!" Usagi exclaimed, and Nephrite's eyes widened in horror at the term.

His general was feeling extremely uncomfortable with this whole situation. They had never experienced anything quite like this in their past life before. He wondered if Nephrite would even know how to relax and just watch a movie.

He was not the only one who picked up on Nephrite's terror. Mako also noticed, and after she finished laying out the food on the coffee table, she looked up at him, contrived concern splayed out on her face.

"You don't think there will be an attack tonight, do you?" she said, her question directed towards the bruting man that couldn't comfortably conceive a night of leisure with the girl he loved and their friends.

His eyes brightened at a topic of conversation Mako had known would put him at ease. His perceptive princess was also silent as she listened to their discussion about battle strategy and theories for Zoicite's next attack. She was quietly eating her food on the sofa beside him as they watched Mako gently coax a talking Nephrite to the recliner and place a plate of food in his hands that he automatically took and began to eat.

Mako settled herself on the floor at his feet in between his legs as she began to quietly eat herself. Nephrite was now entirely at ease.

He shared a look with Usagi who gave him a knowing smile. She'd understood what Mako had just done as well. He could feel how ecstatic she was at her friends' happiness.

When they were finished eating, he held out his arms to Usagi, who gladly climbed onto his lap with the remote in her hand. She picked a romantic comedy that he had never seen before and settled in against his chest to watch it.

Mako watched the movie with a confused frown on her face, and Nephrite barely glanced at the screen. His eyes were glued to Juno as he unconsciously played with her hair.

Within minutes, just as he had predicted, he felt Usagi melt into his arms, her breathing even as she succumbed to sleep. The whole room was filled with a happy glow.

Mako glanced over at Usagi and smiled gently at her sleeping friend in his arms.

"Good, I'm glad she fell asleep," Mako whispered. "Do you want us to go?" she asked and he felt the disappointment course through Nephrite at the statement. He was enjoying himself too.

"No, it's okay, stay. I'll have to wake her up soon to bring her home anyway," he said, and Mako frowned.

"Hold on," she said and reached for the phone that was on the table in front of her.

She quickly dialled a number and put the device up to her ear. He dimly heard the muffled greeting on the other line.

"Hi, Mrs. Tsukino! … yes, it's Makoto from school… oh, I'm doing wonderful, thank you for asking!... I'm with her now, we were studying for this crazy hard math test on Monday…. oh thank you… yes, she is definitely improving …. anyways, I'm not sure why but she was so tired today… yeah, I noticed this morning too… well, she fell asleep about ten minutes ago, and I could wake her up, but then she'd probably be up all night! Would it be alright if she spent the night at my house? …. oh of course! I'll make sure to let her know! …. no problem! Thank you! Goodnight Mrs. Tsukino!" She ended the conversation with Usagi's mother, and he smiled at her gratefully.

"Thanks, Mako," he said, and she shrugged.

"I got your back, Endy," she said with a wink, and he laughed.

She settled back into Nephrite, and they all turned back to the TV. It was silent for a moment before Nephrite spoke. "Hey, if the Princess is asleep, do you think we can pick a different movie?" he asked.



They both said at the same time. Mako laughed, scrambled for the remote on the ground and chose a much better action movie as she crawled into Nephrite's lap.

She fell asleep quickly after that.

His gaze met Nephrite's, and his friend shrugged, grinning sheepishly. He didn't think he'd ever seen Nephrite this happy before, and the thread of darkness that had always been twisted up into his friend was almost gone.

For the first time in a while, he silently thanked Pluto for the second chance she'd given him.

The next morning, he decided that Usagi was never allowed to wear anything other than his shirts, as he gazed at her lovingly from where he stood in front of the stove in the kitchen.

She was sitting delicately atop one of the swivel stools behind the center island, her elbow perched on the marble countertop and her head resting in her hand. She looked like she was drowning in his oversized t-shirt and there was a look of contentment on her face as she watched him make them breakfast, a soft smile on her lips.

"I wish I could stay here with you all day, Mamo-chan," she sighed wistfully and he chuckled as he flipped the bacon in the pan.

"I should probably make an appearance in class today, Usako. I feel like I haven't spoken to Motoki in ages, he probably thinks I've fallen off the face the planet," he said, and she sighed loudly with deliberate exaggeration.

"Fiiiiiiinnneee," she said, and he smiled and leant over the counter, kissing her forehead gently.

"I'll pick you up at school just like I always do, Usako. The day will go by quickly," he said, and she rolled her eyes at his lie and jumped off the stool.

"Do you have a radio in here, Mamo-chan?" she asked, and he grinned. His little princess loved to dance. He motioned towards the window sill at an old looking machine that had been here since the day he moved in. It used to play CD's, but that function was broken now.

She turned it on and fiddled with the dial until she found a local pop station. She smiled gleefully, and he watched her dance around the kitchen with tender delight. She was so beguiling, her exhilaration hypnotizing. He coughed slightly as he forced himself to focus on their breakfast.

"We interrupt this program with an emergency broadcast announcement. You need to stop what you are doing and find Sailor Moon."

The spatula he was holding clattered to the floor as he swirled around to stare in disbelief at the radio and what he had just heard. He knew that he hadn't imagined it as Usagi's eyes were wide and filled with confusion as well.

There was suddenly a strange screeching noise that pierced through the room. It carried with it waves of dangerous, dark, mind-numbing energy that was attempting to infiltrate his mind. Usagi screamed as she covered her ears in agony and he let out a burst of bright energy that exploded from his core. It disintegrated the waves of darkness in an instant, and the radio smoked and sizzled as the strain destroyed it.

He pulled a wide-eyed Usagi into his arms as she stared up at him in frightened confusion. "What was that?" she whispered, and he shook his head.

"I don't know, Usako. You need to contact Luna and the others," he demanded, and she nodded and flipped the communicator on her wrist open

He, in turn, called Jadeite. Jadeite was surprised, as he had not felt a thing, which meant that there had not been a Youma created. Jadeite was with Rei, and they agreed to meet at headquarters.

He turned to Usagi "Did you get ahold of Luna?" he asked, and she nodded mutely.

"Yes. I spoke with Luna and Ami, they're on their way to headquarters now. Ami already called Mako, and she is on her way there with Nephrite. The princess is already at headquarters. They must not know that she is the princess yet, luckily they have decided to target me instead of her." He frowned at that statement, and his heart twisted uncomfortably in his chest, as a flash of fear coursed through him. A momentary thread of doubt spiralling within him at the realization that despite their best efforts, she had once again been targeted in this timeline.

"I told them not to listen to the radio," she said and gulped, her eyes glistening with angry, frustrated tears.

He sighed and took her gently into his arms. "Usako, it's going to be alright, I'll always protect you," he whispered, and she sighed in irritation.

"It's not that, Mamo-chan. I just forgot for a minute, you know? We were so happy just now. Why can't we just be happy?" she demanded, and he tightened his arms around her.

"I promise you when this is over, there will be so much sappy happiness you won't even be able to stand it," he murmured kissing her temple lovingly. She let out a languished sigh and hugged him tightly to her.

He held her for just a moment longer and then pulled away with purpose.

"Go get dressed Usako, it's time to go," he said, and they shared a brief determined glance before she bounded out of the kitchen.

He refused to let her transform into Sailor Moon as the streets were teeming with mindless, zombie-like, people frantically searching for the Moon Senshi. Not only had Zoisite managed to control the minds of the masses, but he was slowly sucking the energy from them.

Motoki stopped them as they entered the arcade, his eyes glassy and blank. Mamoru instantly felt the poisonous dark energy gnarled up within him. He grabbed Usagi by the shoulders.

"Do you know where she is? I need to find Sailor Moon," Motoki gasped desperately, his fingers biting painfully into her flesh. She yelped out painfully, and Mamoru had to control the flash of rage as he pulled his friend from her.

He pulled her to his side as they carefully waded through the horde of searching teenagers. He quickly opened the entrance below the Sailor V game and pulled Usagi into headquarters.

"Mamo-chan, I have to transform and heal them," she said, and he shook his head firmly.

"Not a chance in hell Usako," he replied fiercely.

She frowned at him in irritation. "You could heal them," she said hopefully.

He shook his head at her. He probably could heal them but, unlike Usagi, he was selfish. There was no way he was going to waste his energy on a faceless horde of people he didn't care about. His number one priority would always be her and his friends.

Her face fell as she realized that there was nothing she could do to help them yet and he felt the helplessness snake around her energy core as she stared at him miserably.

"Stop, Usako. We will save them," he said and pulled her down the stairs to headquarters where all of their friends were already gathered.

"Usagi! What the hell took you guys so long? I was about to go out there and get you myself," Rei hissed out furiously, already transformed into her Mars fuku.

He glanced over to Nephrite and Jadeite that were also transformed in their dark king regalia outfits, and he frowned. He considered them for a moment, flashes of their previous battle going through his mind when Nephrite caught his eye.

"I'm fine. I won't let it get out of hand this time," Nephrite said firmly. Mamoru didn't like the idea of his generals using the darkness anymore, not after what happened last time. He caught Jadeite's eye, and his friend tilted his head slightly with a raised eyebrow.

They had trusted him, and now it was his turn to believe in them.

Venus stepped towards them, and he was relieved to feel only excited admiration twirling around Usagi. "Sailor V or, um, Your Highness. I'm so happy to see you again! Don't worry. We'll protect you. They're targeting me because they don't know who you are," Usagi said it proudly, and Rei gasped furiously as he exchanged a worried glance with Makoto.

A delicate frown knit onto Venus's brow. "That is not necessary Usagi," she said, and he could feel the threads of contemplation curving around her.

She met his gaze, and he understood the message she was conveying. They were all meant to protect Usagi at all costs, and she would be announcing her stolen Moon identity to the Dark Kingdom tonight.

He turned towards the large, white, polished console at the other side of the room, where Ami was sitting, staring down at the screen in concentration.

"Guys, the longer we sit around here, the more people become infected," she called out to them, "I've pinned the manipulations down to the radio broadcasting building downtown. That's where you'll find Zoisite," she said, and they all turned to stare at the screen.

"Well, let's go!" Nephrite barked out roughly, and Jadeite frowned.

"I think it's pretty clear that Usagi will need to stay here." Jadeite had been brave enough to say out loud what they had all been thinking. Usagi gasped furiously beside him.

"What! Not a chance! You are not leaving me here!" she shouted.

Mamoru turned towards her. "Usako, you need to be reasonable right now. We can't focus on fighting if we are all trying to protect you from being mauled by a horde of Sailor Moon obsessed people," He said, and she snorted.

"I can handle myself just fine, Mamoru! Am I not the leader of the Senshi? It's my mission to protect the princess, not the other way around," she snapped and the silence around them thickened.

"Sailor Moon, I want you to stay here. As your princess, I command it," Minako said forcefully, and he had to stamp down the bubble of irritation that burst within him when he felt the hurt curl through Usagi. Ultimately, this was what he wanted, too.

She could only nod in defeat as she gulped back the tears. He pulled her against his chest tightly, squeezing his arms around her comfortingly.

"I'll stay with her, we can watch you all from here," Ami said gently, her voice soft and sympathetic.

"It's time to go Mamoru," Venus commanded, and this time he couldn't contain his irritation as Usagi stiffened in his arms.

"I am not one of your Senshi Venus, watch your tone," he snapped and her eyebrows raised in surprise. He felt guilty about snapping... until he felt the small wisps of insecurity that had still been within Usagi up until this point disappear entirely.

She pressed a quick kiss to his lips and smiled at him. "Be careful Mamo-chan. Save your friend and come back safely," she said, and he grinned at her.

"Always Usako," he said and then turned and left headquarters with the other Senshi and his generals in tow.

The streets were teeming with droves of zombie-like people, but when they arrived at the building that Ami had directed them to, the road in front of it was eerily empty.

"Zoisite! Show yourself!" Nephrite barked out impatiently.

"Scouts! Fan out!" Venus ordered, and the girls moved out like a well-oiled machine, all widening into fighting stances, their hands sparking from the power within them. It was worth noting that their recovered memories were definitely a benefit in battle.

"Hmm... I don't see Sailor Moon. Where have you hidden her, Tuxedo Kamen?" Zoisite's icy voice blared around them as he appeared in a bubble of darkness, floating above them.

"Sailor Moon is of no consequence to you, Zoisite! I'm the one you're seeking! I am the Moon Princess!" Venus called up to him, her tone bold and ferocious.

He watched as Zoisite frowned, and quietly considered the new Senshi in their entourage. He raised his hand and blast a shard of ice towards her, which she narrowly dodged. His frown curled into a smirk.

"Liar. There was not a single one of your Senshi that tried to protect you. Sailor Moon, on the other hand…" he trailed off, and Mamoru's heart sank. Venus would not be able to fool them this time.

There was a flash of darkness, and Kunzite appeared beside Zoisite. Mamoru's throat constricted tightly at the sight of what had been his friends, the darkness warped and twisted within them.

"Enough, Zoisite. You don't have the luxury of toying with them this time. Kill them and be done with it," he snapped. Zoisite turned towards the older general with an angry sneer that he had never before seen on Zoisite's face.

"If I wanted your help I would have asked for it," he said scathingly, and Kunzite shot him a jeering glare.

"So be it, Zoisite. I look forward to completing the task that you will most definitely fail to complete," he said and disappeared with a snap.

"That's enough of this. Tuxedo Kamen, we'll blind him, and you take him down!" Venus cried, and he nodded.

They attacked all at once in a simultaneous crash of lightning, fire and light. The power of it billowed around them and exploded with force. Zoisite had been expecting it and countered with an elastic-like shield of darkened energy. Their attacks bounced off of the shield and reverberated back onto the scouts, sending them flying through the air. Mamoru caught Venus as she ricocheted towards him and they both slid painfully across the pavement.

He pulled the disoriented Senshi up with him into a standing position, and Zoisite laughed out loudly, his voice ringing around them as he landed forcefully on the ground.

Jadeite held a weakened Mar's in his arms, and Nephrite knelt beside a fallen Jupiter. He felt the flare of angry darkness within them.

"Nephrite! Jadeite! Control it!" he demanded, and he felt the flare pass. Nephrite was the first to attack Zoisite, but he couldn't use his powers to their full potential like Zoisite could without falling into the darkness himself.

Zoisite blasted both of his saved generals to the ground. He growled out furiously, knelt to the ground, and pulled the light within him. He exploded the healing energy towards Zoisite, but he knew what to expect now and dodged it easily.

"Come on, I expected more from such a big group of superheroes. This is supposed to be fun!" he said, and Mamoru could picture him saying something like that in their previous life, but he would have said it with a gentle smile and laughing eyes instead of the dark derision he was using now.

He blasted another beam of light at him, and Zoisite countered with a shard of solid ice. He grunted in pain as it pierced his shoulder. He used some of the light within him to heal it and felt the familiar exhaustion creeping up on him.

His eyes blurred as he flew towards Zoisite and his fist connected with his face, sending him flying backwards, momentarily stunning him. Mamoru attempted to throw another blast of golden healing energy towards him, but Zoisite feinted to the side, eluding it once again.

He was still trying to catch his breath when Zoisite let another shield-like burst of dark energy explode from his core. He gasped in agony as it pierced through him, and heard the others simultaneously cry out as the attack hit them as well.

Whatever darkness Zoisite was channelling was unnatural and powerful. He could feel it radiating off of Zoisite in pulsing waves. It was also destroying his friend from the inside out. There was too much, and pretty soon, whatever remnants of Zoisite there was left would be gone, and all that would be left would be a dark, shell-like version of him. There would be nothing left to save.

He stood but then swayed dizzily and fell to his knees.


He'd already weakened himself too much and needed time to recover. He gazed at the scene before him, and judging by the array of weakened scouts struggling furiously to stand, he didn't have the time he needed to recover.

Zoisite landed in front of him, and the look in his eyes made the bile rise in his throat.

"Where did you hide her, Tuxedo Kamen?" he spat, and he looked up, startled, at Zoisite.

"She doesn't have the Silver Crystal," he snapped, and Zoisite laughed, an echo of the laugh that he had once had. He raised his hand to attack again.

"Mercury. Aqua. Blast!" Mamoru sighed in relief at Ami's excellent timing. The mist-shrouded around them and he heard Zoisite growl in frustration. The distraction gave him enough time to forcibly jump to his feet and move away from Zoisite.

The distraction didn't last long. With another pull from the gnarled darkness consuming him, Zoisite blew the mist away. He groaned in frustration as the fog cleared and there, standing amongst their fallen friends alongside Sailor Mercury, was Sailor Moon.

"Ah, there you are! I thought for certain you were going to let your friends die for you," Zoisite cackled and flew back up into the air above them, "I know what you are, even if you don't, Sailor Moon. Where is the Silver Imperium Crystal?" he demanded.

She ignored him, and he watched as the Moon Wand materialized in her hands. Zoisite's eyes narrowed angrily as he knew what she meant to do. He threw a shard of ice at her hand just as she raised it into the air, prepared to heal him. He gasped as she cried in agony and the Moon Wand clattered to the pavement. Zoisite flew at her and pulled her into his arms, one arm around her waist and the other clasped tightly around her neck, choking her.

Mamoru stumbled towards them, terror coursing through his body, his blood pounding in his ears. He needed only a couple more minutes, and he would be recovered enough to save her.

"Zoisite! Let her go. You don't want to do this," he shouted at him. "Can't you tell, even a little bit, that we're your friends?"

Zoisite's eyes met his, and there was a glimmer of something there. He felt it amidst the darkness eating through him; he was fighting hard against Beryl's prison, perhaps harder than any of his other generals.

Just a minute more.

He could feel the energy building up within him, even as Usagi sputtered for breath beneath his arm.

"You aren't any friend of mine, Tuxedo Kamen," he snapped, but there was uncertainty there, too.

"Zoisite," Sailor Mercury said softly as she tentatively stepped towards them. "Please release her. It's time for you to remember who you are," Ami said and approached him tentatively.

He watched in surprise as recognition flickered through his eyes and his hold on Sailor Moon loosened. It was enough for her to push out of his arms, and swirl away from him. Mamoru caught her as she stumbled backwards. She looked up at him sheepishly, and his eyes narrowed into an angry glare.

"No!" Zoisite choked on the internal struggle within himself. "I'll kill you!" he cried and raised his arm to attack, but Ami leapt from beside them and grasped his outstretched wrist in one hand and wrapped the other arm around his waist.

He felt the emotions coursing through both of them. Ami's energy brightened and flared as the memories filtered back through her, and the darkness that he had thought was serpentined so tightly around Zoisite's core began to unwind and seep out of him as his memories began to filter back through him as well. He exhaled in relief when he felt the familiar threads of his friends energy.

Zoisite and Mercury collapsed breathlessly to their knees. "Ophelia, Christ, I'm so sorry," he moaned, and she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"It's okay. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it when I - said - said- that I-" the newly awakened Ophelia was gasping on the raw pain of her memories. Just like Mako, their deaths were raw and fresh in her mind, and Ami was not accustomed to the intensity of the emotions coursing through her.

She collapsed into his arms, gasping and sobbing, and Zoisite pressed her to his chest, rocking her gently. His eyes met his, and the guilt and regret shone from them.

"I'm sorry, E," he said. "Damn, I'm so sorry," he said pleadingly, and Mamoru smiled back at him.

There was a grunt from behind him, and he suddenly remembered where they were and what they needed to do. He looked down into Sailor Moon's guilt filled eyes.

"Yes. I am very mad at you, but you need to get the Moon Wand and heal the masses. I'll heal our friends," he said, his tone firm and demanding. She grimaced slightly but nodded and pulled away from him. Bounding to her fallen Moon Wand, she leapt into the air and began to heal the people of Tokyo.

He turned to the fallen scouts and one by one they awoke as the gentle ministrations of the Golden Kingdom healed them.

"Where is she, Tuxedo Kamen? Where is Sailor Moon?" Venus demanded in panic after he had awoken her.

"I'm right here Sailor Venus," she said as she landed beside them, wobbling in exhaustion. He could tell that she was having difficulty keeping her eyes open, but she was fighting it. He frowned as he felt anger flicker within her.

"Oh thank goodness you're okay," Venus said, and Usagi's eyes narrowed. "Are you sure you're okay?" she asked gently. He caught Usagi as her knees buckled and swung her into his arms.

She looked up into his eyes, her own filled with furious admonishment. "I'll feel better when you tell me what it is that you have all been keeping from me," she whispered, and the blood drained from his face. He was saved from saying anything as she closed her eyes and succumbed to unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10


He was finding it difficult to concentrate on the girl in front of him. He hated coming to these things. He knew that these extravagant and unnecessary balls were held for one reason and one reason only: to find him a wife.

If his father had it his way, he would have arranged it on his twentieth birthday, two years ago, to the most politically beneficial match. If he had been a daughter, that would have been the case, but luckily he was a son and, as such, held much more sway to the outcome of his love life.

Not enough sway, apparently, as he was still being forced to stand in a room full of ridiculously dressed women that were being paraded in front of him like fresh horse meat in a marketplace. The whole affair made him extremely uncomfortable, especially since he had already set his sights on someone else.

The first time he'd seen her, he'd had been meditating with Kunzite in the garden, and he had just happened to look up to see her standing there. It had occurred to him afterwards that there was no way she should have been able to reach the gardens. They were closed off to the village, a private palace luxury, but he'd been so distracted by the sheer beauty of her that he had forgotten where he was.

She had long silvery tresses of hair, framing a heart-shaped face, with skin like polished alabaster. She wore a gown of white that encased a cinched waist and pooled around her feet, but what had really drawn him to her were her eyes. They had been full and curious, such a pure brightness shining from the deep blue pools that he wished he could drown in.

His eyes met hers, and he felt something crackle between them, a tangible chemistry that had made him inhale sharply. She'd felt it too because her eyes widened in sudden alarm, a yearning curled around her. He'd never wanted to touch someone so badly in his entire life.

He'd turned to tell Kunzite that he was going to see this mysterious girl in the garden, but when he'd looked back to the spot that she had been standing in, she was gone. He'd half convinced himself that she was a spectre, someone that he had conjured in his mind, perhaps some kind of vision sent from the Golden Kingdom that he was finally beginning to master, but he remembered that her energy hadn't been golden like everyone else. It was different, a pure and silvery substance that made him shudder at the thought of it.

In the weeks that followed, he hadn't been able to get her out of his mind. She haunted his dreams, and he imagined her everywhere he went. It was disconcerting how obsessed he'd become with her. She might not even be real.

He'd been on the verge of thinking he'd gone crazy when he saw her again. This time, he saw her in the courtyard. It had been filled with aristocrats, his father's guests for the weekend, and he had been bored and on the verge of finding an excuse to leave when he caught sight of her again, just beyond the tree line.

She was watching the people that annoyed him with a look of curious delight on her face from behind a matured oak tree. She was enchanting. Who was she?

He'd discreetly snuck through the treeline until he stood behind her. Her energy was intoxicating. He wanted to say something witty or amusing, like Zoisite, might have done, but when he opened his mouth to speak, the words became jumbled and tangled up on his tongue.

She must have sensed his presence because she swivelled around with a gasp, her eyes were wide with fear.

"Hello," he'd whispered and inwardly cursed, as he wished he could have managed more. She did visibly relax, but she took a step backwards as if readying herself to run. He felt the panic coursing through her. Why was she afraid?

"You don't need to be afraid, please don't go!" he pleaded gently, and she stopped, her brows knit delicately on her beautiful face as she looked up at him.

"I haven't been able to stop thinking about you. I know everyone here, but I had never seen you before you appeared in my garden. Who are you?" he whispered, his tone imploring and filled with yearning.

"I should not be here," she whispered, and the sweet, soft, lilting sound of her voice was like bells, and it rolled over him in waves.

He shouldn't have done it. It was forward and inappropriate, as they'd only spoken barely two sentences to each other, but his hand, of its own accord, had come up to her face and he gently ran a finger along the curve of her cheek. He felt her body tremble and the same emotions that she evoked in him were mirrored in her as well.

"Serenity," she'd breathed, and it had taken a moment before it had registered that she was telling him her name.

He met with her several times after that, by the cover of darkness usually, in the garden where he'd first seen her. It had been quite the shock when he learned that the beautiful girl he was falling in love with was actually a maiden from the Moon.

It had been so long since anyone had communicated with a being from the Moon that the court now believed that they were merely a myth. He knew for a fact now that they were not.

"What do you think about that, Your Highness?" the girl in front of him tore him out of his gentle musings and his eyes focused on her. He frowned slightly as he tried to remember her name. What was it? Beryl, maybe?

She was pretty enough, with her long red hair and pretty smile, but he had eyes for only one girl now. He took in a sharp intake of breath then, as he felt the familiar glow he had become so accustomed to. She was here.

"I apologize, please excuse me, Lady Beryl," he said as he walked out into the room, searching for her.

He saw her then, through the window, hidden in the shadows, on the balcony just beyond the room. He smiled as he snuck out the glass doors to find her. He wrapped his arms around her slender waist and felt her melt into him as her arms circled around him as well, her delicate fingers splayed into the hair at the nape of his neck.

She gently pressed her lips to his, and he squeezed her closer to him as he deepened their kiss. He felt a sadness twinge within the yearning inside of her. He pulled away and stared down into her blue eyes in confusion.

"Serenity, what's wrong?" he murmured as his hand cupped her face. She sighed sadly as she leaned into it.

"Endymion, I have to tell you something," she whispered, and the statement sent a thrill of dread through him. "I have to say goodbye," she gasped the words out, and the dread within him immediately turned into panic.

"What? Why?" he demanded and tightened his arms around her waist, afraid that if he let her go, she would disappear.

"Don't make this more difficult," she said, and he could see the wetness of the tears on her face shining in the moonlight. "I'm not a Moon maiden, Endymion," she said, and he frowned in confusion.

"I don't care who you are Serenity," he said with firm resolution. "I don't care if you're a tavern wench. I love you," he said, and she gasped softly. It was the first time he had said it to her.

"Endymion…" she choked on the array of emotions coursing through her. "I love you too. I love you more than anything in this world, but I … I shouldn't, and you shouldn't love me. This is forbidden, you could be put to death if they find out what we've done," she cried softly, and he pressed his lips to her cheeks, kissing her salty tears away.

"Stop... Endymion, please listen to me," she gasped as his hand stroked the small of her back and gently pressed her closer to him. "I'm the princess, Endymion. I'm the Princess of the Moon, and they'll kill you for what we've done," she repeated, her voice cracked with terror, sadness and a need for him.

His lips froze on her neck for only a moment before he continued his gentle ministrations, trailing butterfly kisses up to her ear. He nibbled on her earlobe, and she moaned and melted against him.

He stopped only to whisper gently, "I will gladly die then, Serenity, my beautiful Moon Princess. It will be worth it to have you, even if it's only for a short time."

Usagi looked so small, her body deathly still, drowning beneath the comforter in his bed. She could have been a porcelain doll if not for the visible rise and fall of her chest, her breathing even in her sleep.

He wanted to curl up beside her, take her into his arms and never let her go.

She knew something, and he didn't know if he could keep the truth from her any longer. The timeline had utterly changed now. He had no idea what was going to happen anymore. When was the right time to get her memories back? It was possible that he had already done enough damage to destroy Usagi's future. He felt the terror flash through him at the thought. If they didn't have a future together, then what was the point of all of this?

He left her resting in the room and softly shut the door behind him. There was an array of tired generals and Senshi waiting for him in the living room.

When he entered the living room, he briefly noted that they were going to have to find a larger meeting space, when seven pairs of eyes peered up at him in varying degrees of concern and curiosity.

"Is she alright?" This from Venus that he was becoming increasingly irritated with. He remembered that she had annoyed him in their past lives as well. She'd always only ever emitted radiant energy that contained only genuine love for Serenity, but he found her vapid and frustratingly shallow. He had never understood why his wisest general had been so taken with her.

"She's fine, she's just worn out. She's never healed a crowd as big as this one before," he muttered, trying to stamp down the irrational emotions of irritation that bubbled up dangerously close to the surface. Her eyes narrowed at him in confusion. She was more perceptive than he gave her credit for.

"I mean, we are obviously going to tell her now, right?" Jupiter stated. She was standing behind the sofa, Nephrite towering protectively behind her. "Your plan didn't work. They know you aren't the princess, Minako. Isn't it safer at this point for her to know?"

"Well, that's not technically true, actually," Zoisite said. He was perched on the sofa arm behind Ami, who was sitting on the sofa, silently battling the internal myriad of emotions that she had only just regained control of.

Jadeite frowned at him from behind the recliner where Rei sat. She was quietly observing the room, but Mamoru could see the fire swirling behind her watchful eyes.

"What do you mean Zoi? Explain," Jadeite demanded quietly.

Zoisite grinned at his friends. "I had suspicions that Sailor Moon was the princess, but I may have forgotten to tell Beryl about them," he said.

"Nobody forgets to tell the witch anything," Nephrite snapped, and Jupiter's hands clenched angrily at her side. Nephrite gently squeezed her shoulder, and her stiff posture eased.

Zoisite shrugged at Nephrite. "Things have changed since E got you out, Neph. She's losing control in there. She's so mad that she's unreasonable… I think Kunzite may have actually remembered at one point - he was almost out, and she got him again," he said. Mamoru heard Venus quietly gasp beside him and felt the sorrow and longing curl around her. He may have found her vapid and shallow, but her love for his friend was undeniable.

"Either way, even all stuck in that crappy dark mind controlling fog, I knew something felt weird. I didn't actually want to tell her," Zoisite continued. "Although, you might want to cool it with the whole always being all over Sailor Moon thing, E. She knows you're Endymion, but she doesn't know that you know you're Endymion, and just thinks you're confused," Zoisite said, and the room went silent as they considered this new information.

They could try and keep Usagi in the dark for longer, although it was becoming almost impossible to do so, or he could help her remember. The only problem was he didn't know if unlocking her memories would unlock the Silver Imperium Crystal.

However, they had a better chance of protecting her now, what with Beryl down three generals and everyone having regained their memories. This time he was not going to let himself be captured by Beryl, which he could completely guarantee if she had her memories before they faced Beryl again.

The only problem was that he didn't know if that was something that needed to happen. He wished Pluto could give him some kind of sign or vision that he was doing the right thing here.

"What do Luna and Artemis think?" Ami asked quietly, and he frowned. He'd almost forgotten about the cats that were currently at headquarters.

"Artemis agrees with me. I think she should be kept in the dark. The longer her memories stay sealed, the longer the Crystal stays sealed, and the longer she's protected," Venus said. He frowned. It didn't matter that he had just been thinking that exact same thing, he didn't want to agree with her.

The complexity of the emotions swirling around the room was overwhelming. It was exhausting to try and keep up with all of it, but one thread, in particular, had him turning towards the unusually quiet priestess.

"Rei, what are you thinking?" he asked and Jadeite frowned at him as he looked down at the black haired Senshi of Mars. Her purple eyes flashed up at him, and they were filled with suspicion.

"I think that you're hiding something from us, Mamoru," she said, and the room went deathly quiet as all their eyes turned to him. He could feel their trepidation and uncertainty. They were all perceptive in their own rights, and the thought had flashed through their minds at one time or another.

He wasn't sure what to do. He had never been given implicit orders from Pluto not to tell anyone the task that she had given him, but it had always seemed risky, and the chances that they would have even believed him at the beginning would have been practically impossible. It was different now though. They were all reborn super soldiers, they all knew who Sailor Pluto was, and they would believe him now. It would be so nice to have allies.

A vision of Kunzite as his smiling general flashed through his mind before disappearing and he inwardly sighed. He had asked for a sign. He needed to save Kunzite first.

"I'm not hiding anything from you or the others," he snapped. "It has been difficult to make the right decisions for Usagi, and trying to figure out how to get my friends back, all while also battling this darkness that I remember having killed us all."

The moment had passed as the emotions in the room changed from growing suspicion to sympathy and guilt. His gaze met Jadeite's, and the general tilted his head inquisitively his eyes flashing with curiosity. His friend didn't believe him, but he did trust him.

"So, what do we tell her?" Makoto demanded of the group.

"You could always start with the truth."

He inwardly cursed at the sound of her voice. They all swivelled around to face her standing in the doorway. Her face was white, and her eyes were flashing at all of them furiously, a myriad of emotions: outrage, devastation, and… his heart clenched painfully when he felt one emotion that should never be associated with her.

His fiery Usako and his sweet Serenity loved fiercely and loyally by her Senshi, and his generals should never have had to feel the pain of betrayal.

He couldn't get a read on her. His bright, bubbly and emotional Usako was in complete control of her emotions and of all the reactions she could have had to the news that she was actually the beautiful princess Serenity, this one terrified him the most.

He would have taken sobs, wailing, and uncontrollable crying gladly welcomed a furious rage. He would have taken anything over this stoic, stiff, in control version of Usagi that he had never witnessed in any of their lives together. She'd barely said a word as the flurried conversation had swirled around her.

He hadn't said anything to her, but had merely observed as the bits and pieces of information from her horrified and apologetic Senshi came out in crisp, cut up conversations that had been difficult to decipher.

She hadn't interjected once, from her sitting position on the sofa, as every single one of her friends offered her bits and pieces of a life she had had no idea that she had lived. His generals had provided information about the Dark Kingdom and their intentions to protect her at all costs.

Through it all, she hadn't said a word; granted, neither had he, although for different reasons. He wouldn't have been able to say anything even if he had wanted to, his throat was constricted so painfully. He couldn't control the bubble of panic and anxiety that was rising up in his chest, the bubble getting more prominent as each moment passed without a word or some kind of indication from her.

When she did speak again, it was barely above a whisper. "Can you all leave me? I would like to speak to Mamoru alone," she'd said, and he almost choked on the dread that he was feeling.

He barely registered their departure as his eyes remained on Usagi. He vaguely recalled murmured apologies and looks of sympathy as they filed out of the apartment, the door clicking shut firmly behind them.

"Usako, please," he pleaded as he moved beside her on the couch. He reached for her but pulled back at the cold unresponsiveness that was exuding from her.

"How long have you known, Mamoru?" her voice didn't falter, it was deathly quiet as it pierced the air around them.

He briefly considered lying to her but knew that there wasn't any point in doing that anymore. She deserved the truth. "Since the beginning, the day you became Sailor Moon," he said, and her eyes flashed up to his, a flare of anger burning in them.

"The day you were all of a sudden nice to me. When you broke the coffee cup," she said, and it was not a question. She had noticed the strange shift in his behaviour more than he'd known.

"Yes," he said, and her body trembled for a moment as she tried to contain an emotion that he realized he could not feel.

"You knew that I was Sailor Moon? Even back then?" she demanded, and he could barely manage to nod again.

"I was so afraid and so alone at the beginning," she said, and her eyes watered as her bottom lip quivered.

Ah Christ. Usako. He ached to hold her.

"The nightmares? They're real?" she said, and this time her voice did falter.

"Yes. They're real," he replied, and the pain that came over her face would be seared into his memory forever.

"That night, I thought I was crazy - I was so embarrassed, I thought you would think-," she choked on a sob, and he gasped in horrified agony.

"Christ, no. Usako- I'm so sorry," he choked out, and when he tried to touch her, she stood and moved away from him.

"You knew that Minako was not the princess," she said, and he didn't have to respond. She already knew the answer. He watched her as she figured it out, as she thought of every single time that he had had the opportunity to tell her, of every painful lie.

"I can give the memories back to you, Usako, so that you can remember," he pleaded and he knew he was desperate now. She was pulling away from him. She turned to look at him then, with wide, sad blue eyes.

"I don't want to remember," she whispered and he groaned out loud as the pain of her rejection tore through him.

"I'm going home now. I need some time, Mamoru," she said and turned to leave. He had enough sense to stand and grab her wrist, to stop her, to say something to fix this. He had to fix this. He had managed to fix everything else.

"I love you. Please, I love you so much," he said, and she turned to him, her face wet with tears now, and gently pulled her wrist out of his grasp.

"I love you more than anything in the world, Mamoru, but right now, I wish I didn't," she said and then, with a swirl of blonde hair and a click of his apartment door, she was gone.

It felt like he stood there in the dark for ages, just watching the door, when his heart twisted with anguish with the sudden realization of why he had not been able to feel her emotions. She'd subconsciously closed herself off from him, which was something only the carrier of the Silver Imperium Crystal was able to to do.

He fell to his knees in agony as a tormented sob tore from his throat.

The knock on his door echoed through his apartment and temporarily distracted him from the multitude of books that he was currently reading.

It had been two miserable weeks since he had seen or heard from Usagi. To keep his mind off of her, he decided to concentrate on school. He hadn't missed a single class, and he'd torn through every book on his recommended reading list.

His friends had given him space at first, but when Jadeite had come by the second day after she'd left, he must have seen something that had worried him. Since then, at least one of them came over once a day. He snorted in irritation at the thought.

He'd gone to see her once in the two weeks. He'd waited for her after school in their usual place, but when she'd seen him, she'd merely turned and walked the other way. He tried to reach out and feel the bright glow that he so desperately missed, but there was nothing. She had utterly cut herself off from him.

It was the first time that he had hoped there would be some kind of attack from the Dark Kingdom so that he could be near her.

That was another matter altogether. The Dark Kingdom had been unusually silent lately. In the original timeline, this would have been over by now. Jadeite theorized that Beryl was cautious, especially with only one remaining King by her side. They knew, though, that she would be getting desperate for energy soon.

Another sharp rap at the door pulled him out of his pathetic musings, and he considered ignoring it but knew that whichever friend was on the other side of his door would probably just come in anyways.

He unlocked the door and glared at Zoisite that stood in the hallway, a grin on his face and box of pizza in hand. Of all his friends, Zoisite was currently the most annoying.

"What? Don't look at me like that! I come bearing gifts," he laughed and elbowed past him into the living room, where he promptly dropped the steaming box onto the coffee table.

"I've eaten already," Mamoru snapped miserably, and Zoisite's grin widened.

"Well that's good because I'm pretty hungry," he said and collapsed onto the couch, opening the box and pulling out a slice. "Imagine if we had had pizza way back in the day?" he said biting into a piece with a sigh of satisfaction.

Mamoru rolled his eyes and fell onto the recliner across from him. "I don't need your pity," he said with censure.

Zoisite raised a brow questioningly, and his smile faded slightly as he gazed back at Mamoru with a knowing look on his face. "Yes, you do. You look like crap, E. You have to snap out of this," he said and leant forward with a frown. "You're both being pretty stupid, although she is way nicer about it than you are."

Mamoru's eyes widened in surprise at Zoisite's comment. "You've seen her?" he demanded and felt the guilt whirr around his friend, whose amused smile had turned into a sheepish grimace.

"Well… you know Ophelia spends a lot of time with her," he cringed under Mamoru's stare. "I can't wait until you guys get back together. You're way too intense when you're miserable," he said, and Mamoru leaned back with a sigh.

He was being pretty insufferable, he knew that; he just couldn't stand the thought that he might have destroyed his future with Usagi. Pluto had warned him, and he was reasonably sure he had miserably failed. Although, he supposed that if he couldn't be around to protect her, he was happy that his generals were able to watch out for her.

"How is she?" he asked with a sigh and Zoisite's eyes filled with cautious apprehension. "Zoisite, give me some credit at least. I'm not going to fall apart if you talk about her," he laughed dryly.

Zoisite didn't believe him, but he shrugged. "I mean - I don't know what she was like before I came around, but she's you know, exactly like Serenity was, serious and quiet. She's really sad. She doesn't laugh very often," he said, and then he frowned at a thought. "Well, except for when Aphrodite is with her. She spends a lot of time with Venus," he said and leant back again, watching for his reaction with caution.

His little ball of sunshine had reverted to his demure and cautious princess in an attempt to protect her broken heart.

He felt an irrational wave of anger coursed through him at Venus's name, but he quickly stamped the unwelcome emotion out. He knew what it was now that annoyed him about Venus.

Venus had never particularly liked him. She'd never been in favour of their relationship, always afraid that it would destroy the princess she loved. She had never said it out loud, but he had sensed it within her on multiple occasions.

He sighed. If anything, Usagi could use Venus's fierce loyalty right now.

"Well, I'm glad that she has her friends, at least," he replied and then frowned as he felt the nervous uncertainty that began to swirl around Zoisite.

His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What else is going on, Zoisite?" he demanded.

Zoisite laughed. "It's nothing about her, I just have a question that I thought you could answer," he replied and coughed nervously.

Mamoru frowned and regarded his friend with intense curiosity.

"I know Beryl and Kunzite haven't attacked yet, but I'm just concerned that when they do, I won't be able to help you. Not like Jadeite and Neph," he looked away in embarrassment. "I guess I must be weaker than them because I haven't been able to access any kind of power like they can."

His voice was tinged with frustration which led Mamoru to believe that he had been trying to access his old powers and had failed. Mamoru's frown lessened as he scrutinized his nervous friend. There was a multitude of emotions rolling around in him, inadequacy and frustration being the most distinguishable.

"Zoisite, Beryl taught you guys how to manipulate dark energy. Without Beryl and the Dark Kingdom, you can't access the dark energy around you anymore. The others can still do it because they're accessing darkness that's already inside of them," he began, and Zoisite's eyes narrowed in contemplation. "You can't do it because there is barely any darkness inside of you. It's probably why you fought harder than the others when she had a hold of you. It's why I didn't need to heal you, and why Mercury was able to do it just by reminding you of who you were."

He watched as his friends' eyes widened at the words and felt as they eased the uncertainty within him. He grinned with relief.

"Well alright then, I guess that makes me feel better. Just wish I wasn't so useless. It's going to really suck when I'm fighting with a bunch of super soldiers, and all I can do is throw… rocks." he said, and Mamoru raised his eyebrow questioningly.

"Rocks?" Mamoru said with an involuntary laugh and Zoisite shrugged.

"Yeah, or you know, whatever is accessible at the time of said battle," he replied with a smirk.

"You could always tell them a joke. Those are pretty deadly," Mamoru said with a grin, and Zoisite coughed in mock outrage.

"Jealousy of my hilariousness is not very princely of you," he said and pushed the box of pizza towards Mamoru.

He laughed and pulled a slice out of the box. Perhaps Zoisite was not the most annoying one of his friends after all.

He was in the middle of an exam when he felt his phone vibrate at his hip. He glanced up briefly to ensure that no one was looking before discreetly reaching into his pocket to pull it out and see who was calling.

Jadeite's name flashed briefly on the screen, but the call ended before he could answer it. Seconds later, there was a message that popped up in its place.


He felt the familiar flare of anxiety roll down his spine as he automatically sent his threads of energy to find Usagi's. Once again, he was greeted with nothing.

He stood abruptly, and the other students only glanced at him briefly as he made his way to the front of the hall and tossed his unfinished test paper onto the table. He ignored the look of censure from the T.A. and hurried out of the room.

He called Jadeite, and the phone had barely rung once before he answered.

"Where is it?" Mamoru demanded.

"I felt him pull the Youma about ten minutes ago. We can't get a hold of Usagi, Juno or Ophelia. They aren't answering their phones. I'm not able to pinpoint the youma's exact location without Ophelia," Jadeite said, and Mamoru's heart constricted nervously.

His heart began to race within his chest as the panic began to overwhelm him. He closed his eyes and forced himself to think through the anxiety. Why couldn't they get a hold of them?

His eyes flew open in alarm. Makoto, Ami, and Usagi all went to the same school.

"Jadeite. They're still at school," he choked out, and there was a brief moment of silence on the other end of the line.

"We'll meet you there," he said, and the phone clicked indicating that Jadeite had hung up the phone.

It took him only seconds to transform and leap up into the air onto the closest rooftop. It was automatic for him, flying through the air, leaping from one surface to the next. As he approached the school his heart constricted in terrified horror at the obvious and very visible dark aura encircling the building.

He dropped to the pavement and choked at the darkness swirling within the building. Where there should have been an abundance of bright, healthy teenage vitality, there was only darkness with tiny wisps from those that were fading away. He still couldn't connect with Usagi, but he felt Makoto and Ami, and they were fading fast.

Within moments Sailor Mars, Venus, Nephrite, and Jadeite appeared beside him. They were all transformed and ready to fight.

"Zoisite?" he demanded and Jadeites eyes met his.

"Headquarters. He's going insane trying to figure out the console to find Mercury. The cats are with him, but he's not doing well," Jadeite replied. He knew that Zoisite was probably extremely frustrated with his inability to access any powers.

"Usagi?" Venus demanded, her blue eyes narrowed in terror as she scanned the school.

"I don't know," he choked out. "I can feel Jupiter and Mercury. They're fading fast," he said, his voice thick and hoarse with fear. Nephrite growled angrily beside them, leaned down and flew into the air, taking off towards the school.

"Nephrite! Wait!" Jadeite shouted after him, but he was already gone. Jadeite couldn't understand the terror coursing through their friend with Mars safely by his side, but he could. Mamoru burst through the school doors just behind Nephrite. He could sense the others were not far behind them.

The school hallway was littered with teenage bodies. He felt the bile rise in his throat when he realized that some of them were already gone.

"Endymion, where is she?" Nephrite demanded, and he knew that his friend meant Jupiter. It took him only a moment to weave through the tangled webs of malicious energy to find Makoto's.

"She's down the hall, turn left, third door on the right," he spat and gasped as he felt the darkness, the same darkness that had been imbued on Zoisite's poisonous crystals, pressing down on them. "Mercury is two doors beyond that."

Nephrite nodded, his darkness flaring dangerously close to the surface. "Control it, Nephrite. You won't be able to help her if they turn you," he said and felt as it thinned within him instantly.

"I'll get them, you find the princess," Nephrite said and turned abruptly down the hall.

It felt like his chest was going to explode from the effort it took to keep the darkness at bay. This had never happened in the original timeline. There was a chance that this would kill her and it would be his fault. His heart constricted in agony as the thought of losing her seared through him.

They were running out of time and no matter how hard he tried to connect with her energy. He couldn't find it. He looked up sharply as a white-gloved hand clasped his arm. It was Sailor Mars, her purple eyes filled with a mixture of fear and pain.

"We'll find her. Split up," she said, and he nodded firmly, pushing the emotional anguish to the side to concentrate on finding her.

They all took off into different directions, and he had searched two classrooms before he realized that this wasn't going to work. They were going to run out of time. He needed to find another way. He tried to remember if she had ever mentioned where she was at this time of day. She would have been in her last class before leaving school. She was rarely alone.


She never walked down the path alone, she was always with Naru. He felt the hope unfurl within him as he reached out in search of the energy of the girl he only briefly remembered. It just took a moment before he pulled on the familiar thread and followed it.

He found the girl barely breathing in a classroom three doors down from where he had been searching. His eyes scanned the rest of the fallen bodies in the room in desperation. He cried out with relief when he found her. She was slumped over a desk, her head in her arms, her blonde hair framing her face and golden tresses trailing on the floor.

"Usagi. God, please," he whispered his voice hoarse with his terror. He pulled her into his arms and let out a ragged breath of relief when he realized she was still breathing. He pulled the light into himself and tried to heal her, but he couldn't do it. She was still blocking him. She gasped, and her breathing faltered slightly.

"No. Usagi, please. I need you to breathe," he whispered furiously.

She was going to die again, and this time he would be alive to witness it. Her eyes fluttered open, but they were glassy and unfocused.

"Usagi. Let me heal you," he demanded, and she frowned as her eyes focused on his face. Her gaze softened and her lips spread out into a sweet, sleepy smile.

"Mamo-chan," she breathed wistfully, and her eyes closed again. He needed to get her out of here, away from the darkness, away from whatever Youma had generated this soul-sucking void.

He cradled her to his chest as he leapt to his feet and made his way through the throng of bodies into the school hallway. It was getting more difficult to wade through the firm pressure.

Rei and Jadeite came into sight, and Jadeite was holding onto Rei, who was barely standing.

The dark threads within him were extensive and twisted around him, allowing him to remain immune to the effects of the dark energy. His gaze met Jadeite's, and he nodded, indicating that he was still in control.

They came upon Venus- who was on her knees, gasping for air- not far from the school exit.

When she saw them her eyes filled with tears of relief. "Go, get her out," she choked, and the sound was painful to hear. He ignored her request and shifted Usagi into one arm and lifted her by the waist with the other. She leaned against him as they waded through the growing black fog to the exit.

He pushed his way past the dark barrier into the schoolyard and breathed a sigh of relief as the oppressive energy pressing down on them lifted. He released Venus, who fell to her knees and inhaled sharply, breathing in the unaffected air with relief.

His eyes scanned the schoolyard and was relieved to see Nephrite kneeling beside Ami, who lay on the ground, Makoto held firmly in his arms. They were both weak and unconscious, but they were alive. Nephrite, just like Jadeite, had been immune to the darkness. He looked up at Nephrite whose imploring gaze pierced through him.

Mamoru nodded, breathed in deeply and with a burst of white light, released a beam of healing energy that exploded from his core and enveloped all of the Senshi, instantly healing them.

All of them except for Usagi, who remained unconscious in his arms.

Mako and Ami shot up into sitting positions, and Nephrite crushed Mako to him as Ami jumped to her feet. Mars stood upright and called out to the others to transform.

Venus flew to his side. "Usagi? Tuxedo Kamen, heal her!" she demanded, her eyes wide with terror and he choked on his helplessness.

"I can't," he gasped. "She won't let me."

"I'm delighted I stuck around to see this. I assume Tuxedo Kamen that the little girl curled up in your arms is, in fact, Sailor Moon? Beryl will be pleased to know that we've finally discovered her identity. She has been quite a nuisance. You all have." The firm voice carrying out over all of them belonged to Kunzite. He was floating above all of them, his eyes dripping with derision.

There was a cacophony of dismayed gasps as they stared up at Kunzite. Mamoru protectively clutched Usagi closer to his chest and trembled with fury.

This man had been such a gentle, wise soul. He'd taught him how to control the powers of the Golden Kingdom and the importance of protecting the essence of life. That was not who he was staring at now. He had to remind himself that it wasn't his fault. Beryl was the reason a multitude of young teenagers lay dying and dead beyond the school doors, not Kunzite. He tried to send out a wave of energy to save his friend, but he'd been weakened when he'd healed the others. He needed time to recover.

"Malefeci! Destroy them all," he snarled, and the ground in front of the school split with a resounding clack. A large, snarling, worm-like creature tore from the earth. Its mouth was a gaping hole with thousands of yellowed, razor-sharp teeth.

There were hundreds of spindly, jagged like legs that were exploding from its bloated body as it dragged itself out of the crumbling pit beneath it. He gagged on the evil that the creature emitted.

"Kunzite! Don't do this! Please!" Venus cried out even as the creature roared and prepared to attack.

He felt something flicker within Kunzite that mildly resembled his friend, but it disappeared within an instant. However, he had been disturbed enough by Venus's desperate plea that he did not stick around. With one last sneer, he disappeared into a burst of darkness, the rejection deflating Venus.

"I'm not strong enough to kill this thing yet, and Usagi is too weak to even open her eyes. Can you guys hold it off? I'm going to try and wake her," he called out to Venus, his voice barely audible over the sound of gnashing teeth and guttural growls coming from the creature. She must have heard him because, with a sharp nod, she assembled her Senshi and they began to fight.

He felt for the darkness within Nephrite and Jadeite flare out widely, but their attacks were timed perfectly. They had it under control.

He laid Usagi on the ground and pulled her head into his lap, just as Mercury's mist enveloped them. She was struggling to hold on, as was evident by her laboured breathing. He cradled her face in his hands and pressed his forehead to hers.

"Usako, please, if you can hear me, let me in again," he pleaded. "I need you to kill this thing, to save us all, and you can't do that if you don't let me save you."

He could vaguely hear the sounds of screamed attacks and harsh, ear-splitting cries. They were fighting hard around them.

She whimpered and struggled to open her eyes. "It hurts," she whispered, and he pulled her tighter against him.

"I know Usako," he whispered and buried his face in her hair, he pressed his lips to her ear. "Forgive me, Usako," he pleaded gently. He felt it then, the wisps of her energy, exhausted and fading. He heaved a sigh of relief as he placed his palm on her chest. He was, and his reserves were depleted, but he forced himself to push every last bit of healing golden energy into her. He found the dark threads webbed inside of her, untangled them and yanked them from her core. She gasped and arched her back as her eyes flew wide open like he'd electrocuted her and she flew up into a sitting position.

His vision blurred and all he could hear was a ringing sound as his temples began to throb with pressure. He collapsed against her, his breaths short ragged gasps as her arms flew around him. Her eyes were wide and filled with terror, her lips were moving, forming words but he couldn't make out what she was saying.

He watched as her eyes hardened in furious resolve. She passionately pressed her lips to his, flew to her feet, transformed and then disappeared into the mist.

He was dimly aware of the battle going on around him as he pushed his palms into the ground and tried to pull the energy out of the vibrations to heal himself. He had never pushed himself that hard before. He tried to recover from it, but he couldn't, and he collapsed to the ground.

It was almost painful to pull himself out of the blissful void of sleep. He forced his eyes open even though they still burned from exhaustion. It took a moment for his vision to focus and he frowned in confusion as the outlines of his apartment bedroom came into view. He inhaled sharply as Usagi's sweet, bright energy assaulted his senses. After weeks without it, he could have cried from the relief of feeling it envelop him again.

He rolled onto his side and found her beside him. The outline of her sleeping figure, breathing deeply in her sleep, filled him with relieved exaltation. She was safe, she was breathing, and she was beside him.

Her back was turned to him, her hands tucked beneath her head, a soft smile splayed onto her lips in her sleep. He reached for her and pulled her supple form against his body, wrapping his arms around her waist and burying his face in her hair, pressing his lips to her bared shoulder. She sighed softly in her sleep.

"Usako," he whispered against her skin, closing his eyes and tightening his arms around her. He felt it when she woke up, as her body stiffened in his embrace momentarily before melting back into him. He didn't say anything, merely held her, as he waited for her to speak. His grip loosened as she rolled over in his arms so that she was facing him. She peered up at him, her blue eyes wide and vulnerable.

"Mamo-Chan," she breathed, and he watched as her eyes filled with tears that glistened as they gathered. "I missed you so much," she cried, and the tears fell from her eyes then, quietly rolling down her cheeks.

He sighed softly as he gathered her into his arms, pressing his lips comfortingly to her forehead. "I know. I missed you too, Usako. You will never know how much I missed you," he said and held her as she sniffled against his chest.

"I'm still mad at you, Mamo-chan- but I- I understand why you did what you did. I would have lied to protect you, too." He felt his heart clench painfully in his chest at her fervently whispered confession. "I don't want to be apart anymore, Mamo-chan… thank you for giving me time… for giving me space, but I can't do this without you," she whispered.

Her emotions flooded the room. He groaned out loud at the intensity of it; passion, sorrow, longing, and love.

His hand trembled as he pulled her closer to him and gently stroked her hair. He could feel the threads within her twirling brightly as they changed and he realized that she had grown so much more quickly in this timeline. Their love for each other far surpassed the pale shadow of love from their former selves.

He was pulled from his thoughts as the sound of raised voices, and a loud clatter drifted through the closed bedroom door. Usagi's eyes widened as the flood of memories from the battle came back to her just as they did for him.

He shot up into a sitting position as adrenaline coursed through him. "Usako, what happened? With the Youma at the school?" he demanded gently, and she sat up as well. He steadied her as she fell into him, still exhausted and dizzy.

"We fought, it was hard, but Ami found its weakness and I destroyed it. I used the Moon Wand to heal everyone in the school, but there were so many of them, and I pushed as hard as I could- and then I don't remember," she whispered, her head pressed into her hands.

He frowned and prodded gently until he felt the swirling energy of Ami, Zoisite, Jadeite and Minako beyond his bedroom door. He could feel apprehension, frustration, and grief swirling around them.

He stood and held his hand out to hers. Her smile was strained and tinged with fear. She could, on some level, sense the complex tapestry of the emotions weaving its way through the air around them.

She took his hand, and he pulled her from the bed. He refused to let her release him, his fingers intertwined with hers, as they left the room and prepared to face their friends.

The news was devastating, and he had to hold Usagi up as her knees buckled from the shock. She had saved so many people, but the casualties were high. They had lost thirty-two of her school peers.

"No," Usagi whispered in disbelief as he gently led her to the couch so that she could sit through the shock.

Ami stood within the circle of Zoisite's arms, tears streaming down the blunette's face, as she gazed at her friend in shared grief. This was their school. Jadeite stood with Minako, his arms crossed and his lips pressed into a flat angry line. Minako's eyes were downcast as she clenched her fists at her side.

"We left before the police and medical services arrived, to bring you both to safety. The official story is a gas leak," Ami whispered, and Zoisite's arms tightened around her.

"Naru? Umino?" Usagi choked the names out, and he knew she was terrified of what Ami would reply.

"Safe. We didn't know any of the students from the list of names," Ami reassured her. He felt the relief flash through her followed by a thread of sharp suffocating guilt. He pulled her closer to his side, tightening his arm around her and gently pressed a kiss to her temple.

"This is not your fault, Usako. Beryl did this, and we will make her pay. I promise you," he said, and he felt it ease her sorrow if only a little.

"Where are the others?" he questioned with concern.

"They're fine," Jadeite replied. "Makoto and Rei went to your house with Luna, Usagi, to let your parents know that you're alright, that they kept you behind for processing…" Jadeite trailed off and shared a look with Ami.

He could feel the nervousness building between them, the apprehension at something they were afraid to say. His eyes narrowed at the realization that they were afraid to hurt Usagi.

"Jadeite?" he asked sharply, and Usagi's eyes widened as she looked up with curiosity.

His friend winced and sent a pleading look towards the bluenette who was gazing at Usagi in sadness. "Usagi… you can't go home," she said, and Usagi stiffened at the statement. "They know who you are... It won't be long before they discover your name and find your family," Ami said, and Usagi gasped. His heart ached for her; he'd forgotten that Kunzite had discovered her identity. His throat tightened with guilt. Another thing that was his fault.

"There is something that we can do to protect them, Usagi. Luna and Rei discussed it with us at length while you were sleeping- but we wanted to ask you- we couldn't just do it without…" she trailed off as her face contorted into a mask of sorrow for her friend. The Senshi of Intelligence was at a loss for words.

Zoisite tightened his arms around her, giving her the strength to continue. Usagi was trembling beside him, audibly gulping down the dread that was building in her chest. He pressed her closer to his side and allowed some of the golden healing energy to pass through him into her.

It didn't heal the anguish inside of her, but it soothed her frayed nerves.

"Tell me, Ami. How can I protect my family?" she whispered quietly, and Ami coughed as she pulled the strength she needed to continue.

"It's your decision Usagi, but Luna and Rei can use a glamour. It will keep them hidden and safe," Ami said, and Usagi frowned in confusion. Mamoru looked into Jadeite's eyes, and his general sighed.

"The glamour will keep your family safely hidden Usagi, but it will also take away all of their memories of you," he finished for Ami, who sagged gratefully against Zoisite.

There was a moment of silence while Usagi digested the information. He held his breath as he waited, feeling that there was more to it.

"This will keep my family hidden?" she whispered brokenly, and Ami nodded mutely, and Usagi choked on the question he could feel coming next.

"Is it- is it permanent?" she forced out, and Amis' eyes met his. They were glistening with unshed tears. Her eyes wide with sorrow, conveying a message she did not want to say out loud. He inhaled sharply even as he clutched his broken-hearted princess beside him.

The effects of the glamour would be permanent. They would never remember Usagi again.

He softly closed his bedroom door as he quietly made his way into the the living room. It had taken hours of coaxing, but she was finally asleep.

It was the hardest decision that she had ever had to make. He'd hated how helpless he'd been, sitting beside her and watching her struggle so severely with a decision she wanted to make on her own.

He'd told her that it didn't have to be this way. They were so close to defeating this enemy. He would find another to protect all of them, but ultimately she made the heart-wrenching decision to glamour her family.

"There will always be monsters searching for me," she'd whispered, and he had held her as she cried. He promised her that she would never be alone. As long as there was breath within him, his generals, and her Senshi, she would always be loved. She had gone with Rei and Luna to say goodbye to her family, and he'd waited for her in the driveway, his heart aching for her. When it was finished, she had collapsed broken-heartedly into his arms.

He'd sent all of her Senshi and his generals away hours ago, so he was shocked to still see Minako sitting demurely on the sofa. Her eyes downcast, her posture stiff, her hands clutching the pleats of her skirt so tightly her knuckles were white. Her gaze met his and the blue eyes, so similar to Usagi's, were filled with a swirling sadness for her friend.

"Is she alright?" she demanded, her tone laced with involuntary admonishment. He felt the familiar irritation bubble up within him.

"What do you think, Minako?" he snapped, but instantly regretted his tone as her face fell. "I'm sorry, it's been an emotional day," he apologized with a sigh and ran a hand through his hair as he shifted uncomfortably.

"You don't like me," she stated, no sign of disappointment or sadness in her voice. She was merely stating a fact.

He considered her for a moment with curiosity as he felt a twinge of dreaded anticipation within her. "No. I don't like you," he responded honestly. Like her, his voice held no resentment towards her. It was just a statement of fact.

"I don't like you either," she replied, and her blue eyes narrowed in frustration. "But, I need your help," she said, and her voice broke slightly with emotion.

"The man that did this, to he - to us. That isn't Kunzite," she whispered brokenly. "I'm- I am beginning to hate him."

His eyes widened in surprise. Of all the things he had expected her to say, that was not it. He had never felt any indication that her love for his general was waning.

"I just- I love her so much, and to see her like this- because of him-" she said, and the bubble of irritation within him burst.

"Beryl did this," he snapped, his voice tinged with condemnation for what should have been the Senshi of Love.

Her face fell again, and she audibly gulped back her tears. "I'm sorry. I wanted to ask if you could- if you could make me remember, like the others," she had to force the words out of her mouth. It galled her that she needed to ask him for anything.

It was the second time that evening that Venus had surprised him. "You don't remember?" he questioned, and she shook her head.

"I do, but it's only small flashes. The memories are like brief echoes that I can't hold onto. It's so frustrating," she said, and he could feel the aggravation within her. He only briefly remembered what that had been like for him, in his previous life; the wisps of love and echoes of half-remembered memories. It appeared that he had something more in common with her, other than their mutual love for Usagi.

She stared up at him then, and her eyes were not filled with her usual righteous indignation. They were wide, imploring, and filled with frustrated tears. His heart softened towards her, and he knew that Kunzite would need her too after he saved him.

He closed his eyes and pulled the energy within him- which was much easier to do when the atmosphere wasn't littered with darkness. He let it burst from his core and directed its healing properties towards Minako. She gasped as the memories filtered through her, amplifying the wisps that had teased her conscious thoughts. She was trembling with emotion, and he knew it would be days until the raw ache faded.

"Thank you," she whispered and stood up to face him. The tears were silently rolling down her cheeks now. "Will you give Serenity her memories back, too?" she asked.

He stared back at her and sighed. She had already been through so much, and there was so much pain locked away in there, too. He didn't know if the crystal would be unlocked from her as well. He had given up on following Pluto's timeline instructions. It was too late for that now.

"I will if she asks me too," he responded, and she nodded sharply. She was standing in the doorway to the apartment when she turned back to him with a tilt of her head, blonde hair tumbling over her shoulder.

"Do you think he can be saved, after what he's done, Endymion?" she whispered, and his eyes narrowed.

"Do you?" he demanded, and she sighed softly.

"I would still love him even if he couldn't be saved," she replied. With that, she was gone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11


He concentrated as hard as he could on the shimmering golden threads of energy from within the Earth. His hands were pressed firmly to the ground, his fingers threaded within the blades of grass. He could feel a multitude of vibrations, most of them bright and shining, but there was something dark and twisted within the intricate webs of light that sustained the planet. He tried to follow it, to find where it lead, but he faltered from the strain, and the wisps disappeared.

"You need to concentrate harder, Endymion. If you dig deeper, push harder, you'll be able to follow it." The voice that was so annoyingly echoing around him belonged to Kunzite.

He could feel the perspiration bead on his forehead from the strain of trying to sift through the intricate tapestry of darkness and light. He had just grasped it again, and then he grunted in frustration as it disappeared.

"I'm trying, Kunzite. The last time I checked, the planet is a pretty big place," he joked with a grin. His smile faltered as he met Kunzite's cold stare. The man in front of him exuded a calm strength that was both intimidating and, at times, downright scary.

"Your jokes are better suited for Zoisite. I'm going to need you to make sure you take this seriously Endymion," he stated firmly. "If you intend on continuing these midnight rendezvous with the Moon Princess, you had better be prepared to deal with the consequences, when they come."

Endymion scowled in annoyance at his general. He wondered when the topic of Serenity was going to be broached with him. He'd known, for almost a week now, that Kunzite was aware of the relationship that he had attempted to keep discreet. He knew that Kunzite was not happy about it. He could feel the concern and safely guarded censure flickering within the darkness that roiled within his friend.

In his entire life, Endymion had never met another person quite like Kunzite. When he was younger, still experimenting with the newness of the golden powers that he had inherited, he had always assumed that darkness within people meant that they were irredeemable. Kunzite had taught him differently.

It was shortly before he had rescued Nephrite from the pits of hell that he had come face to face with Kunzite.

He had wandered just outside the castle walls, evading Jadeite, that disagreed with his nighttime excursions into the neighbouring village. He was stupid and hadn't covered his face to disguise himself yet when his face had been covered for him with a woollen hood.

He remembered the sheer terror he'd felt as rough hands restrained his arms with rugged ropes that chafed painfully at his wrists. He heard the sounds of laughter as he was thrown roughly in the trunk of a carriage. He struggled in his panic to escape, the cap suffocating him, but he couldn't break free. He heard the crack of a whip and the whinnying of distressed horses as the carriage began to move. He slid backwards, gasping in pain as his head struck the wooden wall.

It felt like they moved for ages. He had long given up trying to figure out where they were going as he winced with every brutal bump they hit.

When they reached their destination, he was roughly torn from the carriage, and violent hands pushed and prodded him towards an unknown location. He stumbled twice and was met with only sharp barks of malicious laughter. He tried to connect to the energy around him, but he was still inexperienced with his powers, and he couldn't do it through the panic pressing down on him.

He thought the walk would never end when he was pulled back and forced to stop. He gasped in pain as there was a sharp kick behind his knees, that made him fall to the ground in a kneeling position.

"Want to see what we got?" The voice beyond the rotten hood, although muffled, was dripping with eager anticipation.

He squinted as the offending garment was ripped from his head and it took a moment for his eyes to adjust to his surroundings. He was kneeling in a clearing somewhere outside, a burning fire lighting up the men that surrounded him. Most of them were vile, dirty creatures, with beady eyes and portly, oversized figures. There was one man that the others seemed to defer to, that was not like the others.

He was tall, regal looking, with sharp features and terrifyingly dark eyes that were currently narrowed on him.

"What is this?" he demanded, and Endymion could sense that his tone was tinged with confusion.

"We caught him wandering outside the gates. We weren't sure, but Lumen over here, says this here is the Crown Prince of Earth!" he chortled loudly, and the men around him joined in their amusement. "Can you believe our luck, man?"

The regal mans face twisted into a mask of undisguised disgust as he gazed at the filthy men surrounding them. "I do not murder children," he said with a repulsed sneer. The men around them went quiet, and he could feel the flash of fear that pulsed through them.

Endymion understood why they were afraid, as the man in front of him had an intensely dark aura, and it was terrifying.

"Well... we weren't suggesting that. We're already here to kill the king, we thought maybe we could ransom the boy first. Get us some coin," the filthy man said, and there was a murmured consensus amongst them.

Kill the king? Ransom?

He knew he was in trouble and he was going to have to figure out a way to get himself out of this situation. He closed his eyes and fumbled around with the energy inside of him. He pulled pieces from his core and attempted to expel it, but it only crackled around him, barely even noticeable.

He wanted to cry with disappointment- why couldn't he do this? When he looked up, he met the regals man's gaze. He was watching him curiously, his brow knit in bewildered contemplation.

He felt something twinge through him and recoiled as he felt another energy, a darker one, prodding the atmosphere around him. He had never known anyone else that could manage something like that, and he frowned. Was it the regal man doing it?

"You have all become an unexpected hindrance," the man snapped, and he felt the men around them falter submissively beneath his hardened glare. "Leave him and get out of my sight while I try and figure out how to resolve this unnecessary obstacle."

The man that had been the spokesman for the others opened his mouth to protest but was suddenly choking beneath the regal man's stare. Endymion shuddered as he felt the threads of darkly tinged energy curling around the men, manipulating the darkness within them.

They didn't say another word but shuffled out of the clearing that was their camp, beyond the circle of light emitted from the hot, crackling fire.

Endymion mustered all the courage within him, and he glared up at the regal man proudly. He was young, and he was weak, but he would fight this man until his last breath. The regal man raised an eyebrow, and an amused smile stretched out across his lips.

"What will I do with you now?" he murmured rhetorically, and Endymion struggled to his feet.

"You'll have to kill me because I fully intend on killing you!" he stated, but his words faltered slightly, giving away his fear.

The man laughed softly. "That is very brave of you, if not misguided. Do you even know how to use the power roiling within you, Prince?" he questioned softly and Endymion felt his face reddening slightly in embarrassment.

"I didn't think so," he stated, and Endymion looked down at the ground in fury. How had he let this happen?

"I know enough to obliterate your evil!" he snapped angrily and the man's eyes widened in surprise.

"Is that what you sense? Evil? I'm not really sure you understand what evil is, Prince. If you did, you would know that it is not evil I am manipulating," he said softly, his eyes filled with pity for him. It infuriated Endymion.

"You are evil. Only an evil person would plan to murder their king," he spat out, blinded by his anger. The man's eyes darkened dangerously, and Endymion could feel the darkness roiling around them as he approached him.

"If you truly want to know what evil is, then maybe you should ask your father about it," he said, his voice deathly quiet. Endymion frowned in confusion; he had never sensed an evil thread within his father.

"My father is not evil," he said confidently, and the man in front of him laughed.

"No. He's not evil. His carelessness breeds evil. He doesn't care about this kingdom, and that is very evident to the monsters lurking on this planet," he whispered darkly. " I know that you come from a very sheltered existence, but imagine this, little Prince. Imagine an entire territory ravaged by war and a king that knowingly ignores it."

Endymion could feel the anger start to build around them as the man become lost within it. "You think I'm evil? You don't know anything. Have you watched your friend's hearts literally being ripped from their chests, Prince? How about holding the woman carrying your unborn child as she dies and gasps for breath, the blood gurgling in her throat?"

Endymion gagged on the images the man's words evoked. He was right, he didn't know anything. He hadn't known about any of this. He knew his father had stopped caring about things- he'd felt that much- but he didn't realize it had gotten this bad.

"What you see within me is not evil. It's darkness, a tainted energy that is created and embedded within me because of the things I have seen, the things I have had to do," the man said, and Endymion could feel that his anger had waned.

"So, is this revenge then?" Endymion whispered, deflated and confused.

The man grinned at him. "No, Prince. I have already told you I am not evil. This is a job. I possess a valuable set of skills. I was hired to assassinate your father," he said, and Endymion cringed.

"I'm confused, that seems like a pretty evil job to me," he said, and the man considered his statement for a moment.

"I can see why you would think that. Your energy is so bright, untainted by anything," he said wistfully. "There is potential within you, and compassion," he said and strode towards him, pulling a knife from his hip.

Endymion cringed as he raised the blade and then sawed the ropes from his wrists. He sighed in relief, rubbing his red, rope burnt wrists.

"Go now, before they come back for you," he said softly, his eyes gentle but tinged with sadness.

Endymion hesitated for only a moment before he turned and waded through the darkness into the forest.

It didn't take long before he realized that he was lost. He had no idea where he was or where they had taken him. It felt like ages that he fumbled through the darkness, searching for a sign of life or a road that would lead him out of here.

They found him before he could find a way out of there. The men, seven or eight of them, were circling around him with bitter laughter and weapons held in their hands.

"I don't care what Kunzite says, I am not giving up the coin that I could get by ransoming you," one of the men growled, and he felt the fear spread through him. The man leaped, and he jumped to the side, barely dodging him.

His heart was pounding in his chest, and he felt the flurry of fury coursing through his veins. He could do this. He could fight them. He backed away and tried, again, to reach for the light he knew was inside of him. He pulled on it gently, and it sparked softly. A small beam hit one of the men, but it was only a push that momentarily delayed him.

"Excellent, Prince. Try concentrating harder, you're focusing too much on the balls of energy around you. It's too much. Concentrate on the individual threads and pull that out," the man's voice echoed in his mind. Startled, Endymion searched for him, but could not see him.

He gasped in pain as one of the men's blades pierced his shoulder. He twisted out of their reach, panting. He took a deep breath and forced himself to concentrate on the individual threads of energy. The man was right, this was easier to control. He pulled on one, and he felt it snap with the tension as it exploded within him and burst through three of his attackers.

The others, not sure what they had witnessed, turned around and ran away in a panic. Endymion fell to his knees; the effort had drained him, and he felt exhausted.

He looked up as the man came into the clearing. He examined Endymion with curiosity, and Endymion felt a bright twinge within him. The man was mostly filled with darkness, but there was light in there, too. It was unfurling slowly into what Endymion recognized as hope.

"How did you know I could do that?" he asked, fighting through his fatigue.

"I can sense it within you. I can do it as well, with the darkness to some extent," he said and sighed. "I am not going to complete this job, but you should know that I will not be the last that is sent here. Be careful, Prince," he said and turned to leave.

The man was right. His father was in danger, and it was his own fault. He wanted to change things, he wanted to be a better ruler. He wanted to stop wars and fight true evil, but he couldn't do that if he didn't learn. He didn't know why, but he trusted this man.

"Wait!" Endymion called out, making the man pause. "I want you to teach me," he said. The man stiffened and turned towards him in surprise.

"What did you say?" he questioned.

Endymion forced a smile on his face. "I said, I want you to teach me how to control this, to use it, so that I can make things better. So that there are more people like me and fewer people tainted with darkness like you," he said, and the man laughed.

"Do you know what you're asking?" he questioned softly and Endymion shrugged.

"Yes, I know what I'm asking. Will you teach me?" he asked.

The man considered it for a moment and then nodded. "Yes. I will teach you how to control your powers, Prince," he said, and Endymion felt the golden thread within him widen. He knew that he was doing the right thing. This man would become a loyal friend.

"I prefer Endymion to prince," he said, and the man held out his hand to help him to his feet.

"My name is Kunzite," he said, and Endymion smiled.

Kunzite returned to the castle with him, and he committed to staying until Endymion learned the skill of energy manipulation. Under his gentle tutelage, he excelled, and his powers grew increasingly stronger. Mutual respect grew between them and Kunzite, as Endymion predicted, became a loyal friend and, when the time came, he became his general as well.

He feared Kunzite's reproach in regards to his love for Serenity the most. Kunzite was wise, and he valued his friend's opinion deeply, which was why the silent admonishment in his statement had hurt him.

"Do you think the consequences will be great, then?" he asked softly. Kunzite gazed at him curiously and then sighed.

"Yes. I do," he replied, and Endymion cringed. "But I can sense that you love her. I envy you that, and I think that something as pure as your connection to the Moon Princess is worth the consequences."

"I'm serious, Mamo-chan. You should go to class today. They're going to kick you out if you don't start showing up," Usagi said softly from the crook of his arm, where she was currently curled up to him as they lay in bed early Monday morning.

It had been just over a week since Usagi's devastating decision to glamour her family, leaving her broken-hearted and permanently residing with him. The first few days had been the hardest. His princess, ordinarily bubbly and bright-eyed, hadn't been able to get out of bed. Luna had remained diligently curled up by her side as he'd felt the grief pressing her down, forcing her immobile, alternating between heart-wrenching sobs and bouts of glassy-eyed silence. She had refused to unpack the boxes of things Rei had collected from her house, too grief-stricken to see the remnants of a life she would never have again.

He refused to leave her side, and he was grateful that the Dark Kingdom had chosen this time to lay dormant. Usagi would not have been able to fight, and that would have been another thing she would have felt unnecessarily guilty about afterwards.

A member of the Senshi had come over every day for a couple of hours since and that had helped her. The second day after the decision had been made, she'd cried in Makoto's arms, who had cried with her, gently rocking her friend. Then she had made Usagi her favourite dish while they watched a funny comedy on tv. That was the first time that Usagi had softly smiled.

The third day Ami brought over a multitude of books that she had poured over with Usagi. Ami had practiced her algebra, and Usagi read manga that she had secretly tucked within her physics book, which, of course, Ami had known since she had been the one to sneak it in the pile of books for her in the first place. That had been the first day that the sorrow waned a little bit with the distraction.

The fourth day, Rei had come over, and they spent most of their time in silence. Rei quietly holding her hand, as they practiced meditation. Usagi had initially scoffed at the idea of meditating, and he had sensed how silly she'd felt when they started, but with Rei's gentle guidance, he also felt an inner peace begin to unfurl within her. It was the first time she'd felt any relief from the agony of losing her family.

The fifth day Minako came over, bright and bubbly, with a large canvas bag filled with dresses for Usagi. Minako chattered about inconsequential things as she brushed Usagi's hair and helped her pick out an outfit to wear. It was the first time since the incident that Usagi felt like a normal teenage girl, her eyes watering gratefully, as she stared at herself in the mirror.

He watched as the anguish slowly faded into a dull ache within her, and he wished that he could take it away altogether. He rolled over onto his side and pulled Usagi against him, burying his face in the golden locks of her hair, sighing softly against her neck.

"I could - or I could just stay here with you forever," he murmured and pressed a gentle kiss on her neck. He felt her shudder beneath his lips as her arms wrapped around him.

"Oh Mamo-chan, I wish you could stay here forever too," she giggled softly, and the sound was like music to his ears. "But what if you do get kicked out of school? Won't you lose the scholarship you have?" she asked, and he shrugged against her.

"Probably," he murmured and kissed her neck again, and this time she sighed. He paused as he felt a twinge of anxiety curl up within her, he pulled back and looked down into her upturned face with a frown.

"Usako, what has you worried?" he asked gently, and her eyes widened in surprise. She bit her bottom lip nervously, and he felt the thread of anxiety extend within her. She shifted uncomfortably beside him, her eyes downcast as she began to wring her hands. She was nervous about something - what was she worried about?

He placed a gentle hand under her chin, pulling her face up to look at him, "Usako, please tell me what is going on inside of your head right now." he asked softly, and she exhaled in frustration.

"I was just worried- maybe I should get- get a job," she whispered, and his eyes flew open wide as he understood.

"Usako, you don't need to get a job. When this is over, you will be going back to school," he said firmly then he smiled down at her. "Usa, sweetheart, you don't have to worry about money," he said and gently kissed her forehead. "My parents left me a very sizable inheritance. It's what I used to pay for school and this apartment."

He felt the knot of anxiety within her untangle as she breathed a sigh of relief. It should have occurred to him, after everything she'd lost, that this would be something she would think about.

"I'm sorry Usako. I know this has all been so sudden for you, and we haven't a chance to discuss any of this," he said, and she sighed with relief and curled up against his chest. He smiled and gently stroked her hair. "Please don't worry that I'll get tossed out of school, I've been keeping up with it." She nodded against him, and they were silent for a couple of minutes while he held her, basking in her glow.

"Mamo-chan?" she whispered. "How do you do that?" she asked and he frowned again, not feeling anything but curiosity from her this time.

"Do what?" he asked as he peered questioningly into her scrutinizing eyes.

"It feels like you can read me sometimes like you know what I'm feeling before I know what I'm feeling," she said, her head tilted as she regarded him inquisitively.

It would seem there were many things that they had not discussed.

"Usako, that's because I can," he said, and he felt her startled surprise as she propped herself up on her elbow to peer down at him. "You know how my powers work. I can manipulate the planet's energy. I can sense when there's a particularly strong emotion. I can sense most of your emotions because I'm so attuned to you," he said, and she grimaced and flopped back down on the pillow with a sigh.

"I'm not really sure how I feel about that," she said, quietly considering what he had said. He didn't feel any anger within her at the discovery, but he knew she wasn't particularly happy about it. He frowned and shifted, propping himself up so that he could look into her eyes.

"You can stop it so that I can't feel you," he said, and his tone was hesitant. "You did it subconsciously when you left before- when we weren't together." He didn't want this. The absence of her bright glow had left him hollow.

"I can show you how to do it if you want, Usako," he whispered, tucking a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. She frowned up at him, and he found himself holding his breath, waiting anxiously for her response.

"You would do that, Mamo-chan?" she asked quietly.

"Yes, if that's what you want." He would do anything to make her feel better at this point. "But I don't want to. It helps to know when you're afraid or in pain. It makes it easier to protect you and heal you but, honestly-" he fumbled slightly on his words as he was overcome with emotion, "honestly Usa, everything about you is so bright and warm. It will be hard not to feel that anymore."

He waited with bated breath as she quietly considered what he'd said, quiet and contemplative. He felt when her uneasiness turned into firm resolve.

"Alright," she said, and he raised an eyebrow in question.

"Alright what, Usako?" He urged her nervously, and her lips widened into a teasing smile.

"What? You mean you don't know?" she said with mock surprise then laughed at the perturbed look on his face,.He narrowed his eyes at her, and she winked as she reached for him with outstretched arms.

He chuckled, and he gathered her into his arms, kissing her playfully on her nose. She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck as she gently pressed her lips to his. Her warm, bright brilliance washing over him was her answer, and he groaned as he deepened their kiss.

She smiled then and gently pulled away.

"Go to school, Mamo-chan. You'll be upset if you fail and they make you withdraw," she said, and he groaned again, but this time mournfully from the loss of contact. Would he really be upset? She gave him a knowing look, and he sighed. Yes, he would be upset.

"Will you be okay here alone, Usako? I don't want to leave you," he said, his tone conveying his gentle concern for the beautiful girl in his arms. Her smile saddened a little bit at his statement, but she nodded.

"Yes, I think I'll be alright now, Mamo-chan. Ami said that the school is still closed after- after what happened. She and Mako will come over to keep me company," she said, and he gently cupped her cheek. He loved her so much,.

He leant down to kiss her again. It was tender and soft, and he could have lost himself in that moment, except that she gently pushed him away again, her eyes shining brightly.

"School, Mamo-chan," she said firmly. When had his bright little Usako become the responsible one?

They had decided to leave the apartment for a change, to enjoy the unseasonably warm October weather. As promised, he had attended all of his classes this past week, immersing himself in the school work that he had admittedly let slide.

Usagi had seemed much more like herself as she flitted about the apartment. She was always excited to see him when he came home, and they had settled into an evening routine. He would sit on the sofa, feet perched on the coffee table, working on whatever assignment he had for that day while she would quietly read a manga, her head in his lap. They would eventually end the night with something on television before stumbling into bed where she slept curled up in his arms.

It felt so normal, like a glimpse of what their lives could be together, but towards the end of the week, he could feel the sadness bubble up closer to the surface.

He'd come home on Friday afternoon to find his little Usako sitting cross-legged on the apartment floor, wearing mismatched pyjamas, staring dejectedly at an array of items spread out around her. It had taken a moment for him to realize that she had decided to unpack one of the boxes that Rei had brought over, and her heart was breaking again, clenching tightly in her chest, as she fought back her tears.

Luna sat on the couch behind her. He met the cat's intelligent eyes, and they were filled with concern for her young, sorrow-filled, charge. He'd gathered her into his arms, and she sighed sadly as he felt the twinge of restlessness within her.

He'd realized then that she needed some air. She needed to get out of the stifling confinement of their apartment, which had proved correct, for when he'd suggested an outing, her eyes had lit up with eager excitement. It had taken his breath away.

He had immediately called their friends and Usagi was delighted that Zoisite, Ami, and Minako would be able to join them.

When they met up with their friends, there was an intensely playful debate on what they would do for the evening. They had ultimately narrowed it down to a late night movie, the mall- suggested by Minako or the carnival. Ami had quietly proposed the museum, and he'd chuckled at the mirrored looks of horror in both Usagi's and Minako's eyes as they firmly shook their heads.

Ami sighed in exasperation, and Zoisite squeezed her hand comfortingly, but mouthed a quiet 'thank God' from behind her.

The decision was made that they would go to the carnival, which had delighted Usagi. She squealed in excitement, her arm hooked through Minako's, a bounce in her step as they slowly made their way there.

He walked in step with Zoisite and Ami as they followed the two blondes that were whispering in eager anticipation ahead of them. He couldn't even manage to feel the irritation that he usually associated with Minako. He was grateful that she was here, reminding Usagi what it was like to feel normal again, gushing over their excitement. He smiled as he felt the flurry of emotions fluttering around her. There were flashes of the brightness that had been her former self. While still dampened with sadness, she was healing.

As far as carnivals went, this was pretty small, but there were games, flashing lights, music and a Ferris wheel, which was more than enough to delight his easy-to-please girlfriend. They split up for a short while, and Usagi gasped excitedly as they passed the games. In one of the booths, there was an array of stuffed Senshi and Tuxedo Kamens as prizes.

He decided at that moment that he was absolutely going to win one of them for her. The concept was simple. He was given three balls, for an exorbitantly high amount of money, and he was supposed to knock down a pyramid of glass bottles.

It should have been easy, and he had smiled arrogantly at Usagi on the first throw, but the irritation began to build as he failed to knock them over, one ball after another. The young, acne-faced attendant behind the counter of the game smirked at him knowingly, which turned his mild irritation into full-blown frustration.

He turned to Usagi who could barely contain her laughter, her hand pressed to her lips in amusement. His eyes narrowed as he rolled up his sleeves and handed the annoyingly smug boy another bill for an additional three balls.

"Mamo-chan, honestly, it's okay. You really don't need to spend more on this game," she said, her voice filled with laughter. His eyes narrowed, and he shook his head.

"I'm going to win this stupid doll for you," he murmured in concentration and aimed the first ball. It hid the pyramid dead center which should have, according to the laws of physics, knocked every bottle down, but it did not. He practically roared in outrage as Usagi burst into gales of laughter behind him. His eyes met the attendants knowing gaze, and he instantly knew that this game was rigged.

"Mamo-chan, I think- you were - you were- better playing Sailor V!" She exclaimed between bouts of laughter. He frowned and the attendant had the audacity to smirk at him.

Game on.

He'd only meant to give the ball a little shove, a little extra force from the energy within him, but he miscalculated the level of his frustration. The next time he threw the ball, the pyramid of glass bottles shattered, the shards cascading to the ground in a sea of glorious, glistening victory.

The attendant's eyes widened in shock and Mamoru cringed.

Usagi really burst into laughter then, holding her stomach and gasping loudly. It really wasn't that funny, and that was evident by the indignant look on the attendants face, but Usagi couldn't stop, releasing all the pent up anger and pain within her on the waves of her laughter. It was infectious, and he laughed as he reached for her and she fell into his arms.

Even the attendant had a half smile on his face as Mamoru demanded a stuffed Tuxedo Kamen, which he promptly handed to Usagi. She was positively glowing, her cheeks flushed and her blue eye shining brightly, as he intertwined his fingers with hers and they set off to find their friends.

"I love you, Mamo-chan," she whispered, and he leaned down and kissed the top of her head.

"I love you too, Usako," he said. Despite everything that had happened and the uncertainty of the new future he had undoubtedly created, at that moment, everything was perfect.

They made their way through the throngs of laughing people to a food truck. The sounds of joyful screams, blaring bells, and loud music surrounded them as he ordered them some fries and burgers. They found their friends sitting on a picnic table just outside of the circle of flashing lights.

Usagi excitedly sat beside Minako and popped a fry into her mouth. She closed her eyes and sighed with satisfaction at the hot treat and Mamoru sat down beside her, pulling her to his side. Ami was quietly reading a book, sitting on the bench with an exasperated Zoisite standing behind her.

"Seriously 'Lia, come on. I know you've already read that book twice," Zoisite said as he leaned forward, his face beside hers, hovering over her shoulder. Her cheeks reddened, and her eyes narrowed slightly, but she ignored him and continued reading.

He chuckled and plucked the book from her hand, holding it high above his head. She gasped in outrage and jumped up to reach for it, but he caught her by the waist with one arm, pressing her close to him and lifting her feet off the ground, even as he held the book up higher in his outstretched hand.

"Zoisite! Give it back to me!" she demanded, but her voice was so soft and shy that her words had little impact.

"Nope! Enough reading! I know this is your read-just-in-case-I'm-socially-freaking-out book. Stop, 'Lia. Come on the Ferris wheel with me," he said, his voice turning slightly pleading and husky.

Mamoru turned away from the very intimate moment to Usagi, whose eyes shined with happiness for her friends, and Minako, who was visibly holding back tears of envious longing.

"Zoi, put me down please," she whispered, her face crimson red. He chuckled, kissed her nose, and gently released her so that she slid down the length of him until her feet touched the ground again.

"So? Will you go on the Ferris wheel with me?" he asked and then whispered something into her ear. Mamoru didn't think Ami's face could get any redder than it already was, but she laughed softly, and a small smile splayed out on her lips.

"Alright! I'll go on the Ferris wheel with you!" she shouted in defeat, but Mamoru could feel the warm pleasure unfurling within her. Zoisite whooped victoriously and tossed Ami's book to Mamoru, who caught it in midair.

He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from them, afraid that she might change her mind, and they disappeared into the crowd.

"They are so cute!" Usagi exclaimed happily and jumped up, pulling Minako up with her. "Do you want to go on the twizzler with me, Minako?" Usagi asked eagerly, referring to a nauseating looking metal contraption of a ride that he would most definitely not be going on.

Minako's eyes brightened, and she smiled at her friend. "Okay, Usagi! I'll go on it with you!" Her face fell as she looked at the long lineup for the ride. "We might be waiting for a while," she said, and Usagi shrugged.

"Worth it! Why don't you guys go wait in the lineup, and I'll get us some ice cream! Is that okay, Mamo-chan?" she asked, her tone softening as she peered up at him.

He smiled down at her, "Usako, you don't need to ask my permission to get ice cream. Go ahead. I'll wait in the lineup with Minako," he said, and she flashed him a dazzling smile that took his breath away and filled him with yearning. It had been so long since she'd felt this way, his little ball of sunshine. He inwardly groaned with the realization that he very much wished that they were at home and alone right now.

"What do you want?" she asked and his eyes widened at her question. Did he say that out loud?

"What?" he choked, and she raised a questioning eyebrow with a smile.

"What flavour ice cream do you want, Mamo-chan?" she laughed, and he felt his face get hot.

"Um-" he mumbled, and Minako interrupted him, "I'll have chocolate, what about you Mamoru? I'm pretty sure they don't serve Usagi flavoured ice cream, so you'll have to choose something else," she quipped.

Usagi burst into laughter, and Mamoru shot Minako a furious scowl. She rolled her eyes at him, and he felt his irritation for the Senshi of Venus return.

"Vanilla, Usako," he said ignoring Minako.

"Okay!" she laughed and swivelled around towards the ice cream truck. He could feel the awkwardness swirling around them after Usagi's departure, and they silently made their way into the sizzler line up. Minako was shifting uncomfortably, her arms crossed and her gaze averted. He could feel the many emotions she was exuding: sadness, her intense dislike for him, her love for Usagi, and her longing for his general. The memories he had given back to her had definitely intensified her feelings for Kunzite.

"It's going to be fine, Minako. I'm going to save him," he said. Her head snapped up to look at him, her hair tumbling over her shoulder with the movement, her gaze boring into him with irritation.

"Don't do that," she spat, her eyes flashing with annoyance. "How does Usagi stand that? It's annoying," she said through gritted teeth, but he didn't reply. She wasn't really angry with him; her anger came from a place of loneliness.

They moved up slightly in the lineup when he felt it, agony sliced through him and he gasped in shock.

No! Usagi!

He clutched his chest as he gasped for air. She was suffocating!

"Mamoru! Usagi?" Minako grasped his arm, and he nodded. Their gaze met for only a moment, the terror coursing through both of them, as he twisted around abruptly and ran. He pulled at Usagi's threads, following her, Minako hot on his heels. There wasn't time to find Ami or Zoisite, he needed to get to Usagi. They both transformed quickly, amidst some shocked gasps from a few onlookers.

They found her just beyond the treeline outside of the carnival, the muffled sounds of the rides and the music still echoing around them. He choked on his terror at sight before him. She had managed to transform into Sailor Moon, but Kunzite had his hand wrapped around her slender neck, squeezing her as he lifted her into the air. She was clawing frantically at his hands, trying to pry his fingers loose, but she just wasn't strong enough.

There was something wrong with Kunzite. His eyes were angry, the energy around him erratic, swirling angrily, flashes of his friend creeping through Beryl's fog. It was then that he noticed the Moon Wand on the ground at Kunzites feet. Instead of defending herself, she had tried to heal his friend.

"Kunzite! Stop!" Venus cried beside him, and Kunzite turned harsh, angry eyes towards them.

His lips curled into a sneer. "She has to die, she's trying to ruin everything," he spat. His voice was not his friend, nor Beryl's king, but a horrible mixture of the two.

Mamoru pulled deeply from his core and released a sharp beam of light that burst through Kunzite's arm. He cried out in pain and Mamoru leapt into the air, barreling into Sailor Moon, catching her before she hit the ground. His princess was sputtering as she gasped for breath. He clutched her to his chest. "Are you hurt?" he demanded as his fingers flew to her neck where the bruises were already forming. He began to heal her, and she pushed his hands away.

"No. H-heal him. F-fi-nish this," she croaked, coughing through the pain.

"Kunzite- please, it's me. It's Aphrodite, don't you remember me?" Venus pleaded as she approached his confused general. Kunzite was kneeling, clutching his torn and ragged arm to his chest, gasping on the strain of the half-memories that Sailor Moon had managed to resurrect.

He looked at Usagi, who was gasping for breath and then at Kunzite that was so close to surfacing. Usagi glared at him. "D-don't e-ev-even thi-in-ink about it!" she coughed, and he could feel what she was trying to convey. She wasn't dying. It was time to save his friend.

He nodded and turned towards Kunzite, he pulled deeply from the swirling brightness around them and let the healing beam burst towards Kunzite. His friend gasped, desperately fighting it, clutching at his chest. Mamoru grunted from the strain of trying to free his friend; it was difficult to tell the difference between the tangled web of darkness weaved by Beryl and the threads of darkness that belonged to Kunzite.

He was so close to untangling it when he felt Beryl's weave tighten and pull around his core even stronger. Kunzite roared and blasted a beam of black light towards them. Mamoru only had time to shield Usagi as it pierced into him, flinging them both to the ground.

"No, you can't take me, Tuxedo Kamen. I am the strongest king, and I won't be swayed!" Kunzite roared and flew to his feet. "She wants you badly, and she will have you!" Kunzite spat and prepared to attack them again.

Mamoru braced himself over Usagi, preparing them for the impact. Venus cried out in anguish and threw her arms around Kunzites waist, clutching at him, her heart aching, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Please, Kunzite. I know that you can fight this. You have always been in control of the darkness, not the other way around, please don't let it control you anymore. I love you," she cried desperately and, for a moment, Mamoru was confident it had worked. Kunzite's eyes widened in shock, and his hand trembled as he intertwined his fingers in Venus's hair. The struggle within him passed and Mamoru felt Beryl win again.

Kunzite balled his fist in her hair and Venus cried out in pain as he yanked her head back, his face inches from hers. "I could never love someone as weak and pathetic as you," he hissed. A sob of agony tore from Minako's throat as he violently tossed her to the ground where she collapsed, her heart twisted up in its anguish.

"This isn't over," he spat and, with one last sneer, disappeared into the Dark Kingdom. Minako curled up on the ground, her body wracked with heart-wrenching sobs of grief, her arms clenched around her middle as if she was trying to hold herself together.

Usagi scrambled out from beneath him, and he watched as his sweet Princess fell to her knees in front of her Senshi leader and gathered the broken-hearted girl into her arms. Minako wrapped her arms around Usagi's waist, gasping for air through her sobs. Usagi stroked her hair as she gently rocked her, humming soothingly as tears streamed down both of their faces.

He had to lessen the connection between them as the anguish in the darkened clearing was unbearable. Usagi's red-rimmed eyes met his, and they were hardened with determination. He understood what she was conveying; they needed to save Kunzite.

He nodded, and his eyes hardened as well. Beryl wanted him, did she? Well, this time she wouldn't win. He wasn't going anywhere.

He lay alone in their bed with his eyes wide open in the darkness, the echoes of sorrow from the nights' events still pulsing through him. The emotion was still too raw and fresh, amplified by the fact that Usagi was not here with him. He understood her need to be with Minako tonight, but he couldn't shake the feeling of foreboding within him.

It had been too easy for Kunzite to find her, and Minako was in no condition to protect her, should the need arise. She'd told him to sleep, that she would be back once Minako was settled, but sleep eluded him.

He closed his eyes and focussed on finding her energy. When he did, he prodded gently, tugging on its threads and ensuring she was okay. He concentrated for as long as he could before his traitorous eyes refused to open and he fell into a restless sleep.

His mind filled with dreams. They were strange flashes; Beryl's red eyes, Kunzite's sneer, Usagi's blue eyes, soft and smiling, then widening in terror.

He awoke abruptly, his heart pounding furiously against his ribcage as his eyes adjusted to the darkness in the room. He exhaled with relief as Usagi's radiant energy filled his senses; she had safely made it home. He rolled over to face her. She looked so fragile and delicate, fast asleep, her hands tucked beneath her head and her blonde hair loose and fanning across her body. He reached for her and pulled her against him, pressing her tightly against his chest.

"Are you alright, Mamo-chan?" she murmured sleepily against him, and he couldn't breathe as his throat constricted tightly, overwhelmed with emotion. He could feel something brewing in the atmosphere around him, just like before in his life as Endymion, when he'd lost everything to Beryl. He buried his face in her endless locks of hair and choked on his fear.

His terror woke her entirely, and she reached up, running her hand along the curve of his jaw. "Mamo-chan, what's wrong?" she whispered, her eyes wide with concern.

How could he explain to her the darkness pressing in on them? The same darkness that had taken their lives before? He couldn't lose her again; they wouldn't get another chance.

He reached for her in desperation, his fingers weaving through her hair at the back of her head as he passionately kissed her. She gasped, parting her lips in surprise and he deepened their kiss. In one swift motion, he flipped her onto her back, pressing his knee in between her legs, parting them. She moaned as he trailed kisses from her neck down to her collarbone, his hands exploring her trembling body beneath him.

"I don't want to lose you, Usa," he murmured against her ear, his voice hoarse with desperation. She wrapped her arms around his neck and ran gentle hands through his hair.

"You'll never lose me Mamo-chan. I promise," she whispered fervently, and with a groan, he lowered his lips to hers and lost himself within the warm waves of her bright glow.

The dark foreboding feeling did not dissipate the next morning. It hung heavy in the air around them, and it felt like it was pressing down on his chest. He was considering what this meant as he poured some coffee into a mug, the steam from the heat of the bitter brew curling up into the air.

Usagi was in their room, on the phone with Minako. He could hear the muffled, soothing tones of her voice as she spoke with her friend behind the bedroom door.

He sighed in frustration and wished that he could expel the dread that was threading its way through him. They were going to face Beryl again soon. He knew it. He could feel it coming. Kunzite's words rang through his mind, and his hand clenched tightly around the coffee cup.

What if she retook him? Could he fight her off this time? The memories of the things he'd done under Beryl's dark fog made him gag. He couldn't let that happen again, not after everything that he had changed. Usagi didn't have her family this time. He was her family, and she could not afford to lose him to Beryl.

There were too many different factors at play. Kunzite was going to be more difficult to save than any of the other generals; it was going to require a joint effort between him and Usagi to do this. He exhaled a relieved breath when he made a decision.

It was time to tell her about Pluto. It was time for her to recover Serenity's memories. If he prepared her, they could save Kunzite and fight Beryl together, and it would guarantee that he wouldn't be captured.

"Hey, can I have a cup of that?" Usagi's soft voice pulled him out of his thoughts. Her head was tilted inquisitively to the side, her eyes bright, a small smile on her lips.

He raised an eyebrow in surprise. "It's coffee, Usako," he said, and she shrugged lightly. He knew for a fact that she was not a fan of coffee, but he could feel the exhaustion sweeping over her. The past couple of weeks had taken an emotional and physical toll on her. He turned and pulled a mug from the cupboard, filled the cup and handing it to her. He slid the jar of sugar across the counter to her as well.

"So, I just got off the phone with Minako," she began with a sigh. "She's doing better. She feels guilty," Usagi said shaking her head in disbelief. "Guilty, of all things. It's terrible what she is going through. Do you think we should have a Senshi meeting, Mamo-chan? Why do we always have to wait for them to come at us? We should fight them." Her voice was edged with anger. She wanted to finish this.

"Usako, I need to tell you something-" he began, and the sound of her communicator ringing loudly on her wrist and his phone ringing dimly from the bedroom interrupted him.

Usagi's eyes widened and then hardened furiously. "We're not even going to get a break this time? Seriously?" she snapped as she flipped the communicator open.

It clicked on and hummed gently as Mercury's slightly blurry face appeared in the circled watch. "Usagi, I know you're probably tired after last night, but there's another Youma attack," Mercury's slightly muffled voice buzzed softly. "I'm sending you the coordinates now."

"Okay, Mercury, we'll be right there," she said and snapped the watch lid closed. She sighed, and he felt the determination and exhaustion swirl around her. She jumped off the stool that she was sitting on, her coffee forgotten, as she promptly transformed into Sailor Moon. It was like he watched her in a daze, the terror building within him with the realization that it was too late now. There wasn't time to explain it to her.

When she turned to him, clad in her Sailor Moon fuku, and frowned at him in confusion. "Mamo-chan? What's wrong? We have to go!" she said, her voice urgent and concerned.

He snapped out of the daze and quickly transformed. She held her hand out to him. He took it and roughly pulled her to his chest. "Usako, no matter what happens tonight, I need you to know that I love you," he said, and she pulled away, her eyes wide and confused.

"Mamo-chan, it's going to be fine, just like all the times we've done this before," she said and pulled him towards the balcony. They leapt into the air and flew towards the pavement below. He knew, wholeheartedly, that this time was not going to be like before.

This was the biggest Youma that they had ever faced. Even without Mercury's coordinates, they would have been able to see the creature from miles away. It towered above the skyline. It was a massive skeletal monster, with house-sized bones protruding from melted, half-rotted flesh. In place of eyes and mouth were gaping crater-like holes, opened wide. The sounds it emitted were terrifying, guttural cries that thundered across Tokyo.

The civilians that had been unfortunate enough to be in its path were lying haphazardly across the pavement, a grotesque image of broken bodies with the sound of wailing sirens and the screams of fleeing survivors surrounding them.

The Dark Kingdom had never created something of this magnitude before. Beryl was angry and desperate, the fear and pain threaded through the air, circling around them.

He clutched Sailor Moon's hand as they leapt above the throngs of people, towards the monster that everyone was fleeing from. They arrived just as the others did, all transformed, except for Zoisite. He stood firmly behind the others, staring up at the monster with fury flashing in his eyes.

"Zoisite! You shouldn't be here!" Mamoru snapped loudly, his voice barely audible over the sounds of terror around them. Zoisite's eyes met his, filled with a determined stubbornness.

"No way in hell I'm going to let her fight alone again, E," he said and then smiled slightly. "Don't worry, looks like there's plenty of rocks," he joked as the monster spit out its first attack.

It was a yellow, acid-like substance, aimed directly at Mercury.

It happened so quickly that there wasn't time for any of them to react, except for Zoisite. He pulled Mercury into the circle of his arms and shielded her as the acid splashed across his back, burning holes into his clothes and searing into his skin. Zoisite cried out in agony as his skin bubbled, the sound intermingled with the cries of horror that tore from his own throat and the rest of the Senshi around them.

"Zoi!" Mercury cried out in anguish as they collapsed to the ground together.

"Tuxedo Kamen!" Venus shouted, and his eyes met hers. "We'll fight this thing, and you can heal us, yeah?"

There was a fury that emanated from all of his friends, a determined, roiling rage that he had never sensed in them before. He was not strong enough to kill this malicious thing alone, and if he tried, he'd be useless for the rest of the fight. Usagi squeezed his hand beside him, and he stared down into her eyes. They were nothing like the soft, bright eyes that he was so used to seeing peering up at him from beneath lacy lashes. These were eyes he had never seen before. They were the angry, hardened, eyes of a fiercely strong Senshi warrior. She was so much stronger than she had ever been, her emotions harsher, and it was his fault. He'd done this to her.

He'd changed things so much that she was not the same Usagi he had known before.

"Tuxedo Kamen!" Mars screamed. She had already attacked the creature with fire, and it had been ineffective.

He shook his head to clear it and nodded. Mamoru squeezed Usagi's hand tightly. She smiled and turned to join her comrades in battle.

He turned and made his way to Zoisite, who was gasping from within Mercury's arms. She was trying to soothe him, tears on her cheeks.

Tuxedo Kamen met her gaze. "I've got this, Mercury. They need you," he said pleadingly. He watched as the terror within her eyes was replaced with a resolute fortitude. She nodded and relinquished Zoisite into his care. Bounding to her feet, she flew into the fray.

He pressed his palms into Zoisite's chest and concentrated on the threads of pain, manipulating the energy until his blistered skin meshed back together and healed him. Zoisite shot up, coughing as he gazed guiltily back at Mamoru.

"Guess I should have grabbed the rock before the monster spit on me," he laughed, but his smile faded as the sounds of screams and shouted attacks registered around him. This was the strongest monster they had ever faced. He knew that the Senshi, his generals, and the love of his life were going to be wounded. He was going to have to heal them, and he knew that being a vessel for the golden energy for too long drained him. He couldn't let himself succumb to sleep.

"Zoisite, I need your help," he choked, and Zoisite was already nodding, ready to do whatever was needed from him. "I'm going to have to heal them, as they fall, so they can continue to fight. At one point it might become too difficult, so I'm going to need you to make sure I don't pass out. I don't care if you have to bash me on the head. Don't let me fall asleep," he demanded sharply.

Zoisite frowned but nodded again. He was up to the task.

One by one, the Senshi and the generals fell and, one by one, he healed them so that they could get back up and jump back into the fray. His beautiful Usako had already fallen twice, limbs mangled and gasping for breath. It went against every one of his instincts to let her run back into the danger after he'd healed her.

After a while, it felt like his chest was on fire. The energy he was using to heal them felt like boiling water, scalding him from the inside out. His eyes burned from exhaustion. Three times he'd collapsed and almost fallen into the darkness that beckoned his burning body.

Zoisite wouldn't let him. He pulled, prodded him and punched him, forcing him to stay awake, to keep healing them. When his legs could barely move anymore, Zoisite lifted him and dragged him to the next Senshi, to Nephrite, whose face had been mangled, to Venus, whose legs had been torn to shreds, to Usagi, with a gaping hole in her shoulder.

It felt like hours that they had been fighting. He didn't think he could take it anymore; his healing ministrations were only half working, and they were all sputtering with the strain of it. Finally, Sailor Moon's final attack worked, and the sputtering demon from hell disintegrated and burned out into the atmosphere.

Usagi caught him this time as he fell. He clutched at her, desperately weak, but still fighting the darkness that wanted to envelop him.

She stroked his back as they sank to the ground, pressing gentle kisses to his face. "It's okay Mamo-chan, sleep. We did it, it's over," she whispered tenderly, but he knew he couldn't fade just yet. He knew this wasn't over.

He scanned his friend's faces, and there was a mixture of relief and victorious smiles.

No! Couldn't they feel that it wasn't over? Couldn't they feel the darkness pressing in on them, whirring suffocatingly in the air?

He tried to say something to them, to beg them not to let their guard down, but before he could force the words out, it was too late. He barely managed to shield Usagi as a bubble of blackened, poisonous, dark energy, riddled with sharp crystallized ice, exploded outwards, sending them flying. A shower of Senshi and generals alike, sliding across the pavement and collapsing onto the ground. Usagi cried out in pain as a crystal pierced through her shoulder.

No. He couldn't heal them all again; he could barely keep his eyes open!

His hand shook from the strain that it took to lift it as he gently pulled the crystal out of her shoulder. She shuddered and gasped from the pain, but she pulled herself up, holding his weight against her as they turned to face the source of the attack.

Within the circle of his fallen friends stood Beryl. Her fiery hair fluttering around her, her red eyes blazing furiously, her lips curled over her teeth into a nasty sneer. He clutched Usagi's arm and forced her behind him, even as he struggled to stay upright. He felt the poisonous energy from her wound spread inside of her, and she collapsed onto the ground, gasping behind him.

The crystal's imbued poison worked fast, and she fell unconscious. His eyes watered as he tried to push golden energy into her, but it only came out as a wisp.

"Hello, my prize," Beryl said. Her voice was like ice water riddled with knives, piercing the air and slicing through the haze of his weakness. He swivelled around to face her.

This was the moment that she was going to do it. She was going to take him and force him to turn on the people he loved. All the horrible things she'd made his generals do filtered through his mind. Jadeite kidnapping the innocent, Nephrite's monster, Zoisite forcing innocent people to attack Sailor Moon... Then, a vision of Kunzite, his hand clenched around Usagi's throat, tossing a broken-hearted Venus violently to the ground.

Something within him snapped, a barrier that had always weakened him, always held him back, shattered inside of him. His exhaustion melted away as the golden energy flooded within him. Beryl's eyes narrowed angrily as he stood tall.

"You'll never take me, Beryl. I will never fall to you," he spat, and he knew it was true. The power flowing within him would never let her hazy fog get through.

Her eyes widened in fury as she realized it at the same time that he did. The dark fog she pushed towards him sizzled in the heat of the golden energy flowing through him.

He would end this, now.

"If I can't have you, I will make you suffer. You will pay for this," she said. He frowned as her face relaxed and her lips spread out into a smile.

"Kunzite, I don't want him anymore. Get the girl," she screamed and the blood drained from his face.

He didn't have time to react. There was a loud snap from behind him as Kunzite pulled an unconscious Usagi into his arms and flew back to Beryl's side.

"You're such a fickle creature anyways, Endymion. Just like you were back then, replacing the Moon Princess with the Moon Senshi; maybe you should keep your head out of the stars," she sneered.

Usagi moaned in pain from Kunzite's arms, and he roared in fury and terror.


He pulled the power within himself and let it burst out, concentrating the deadly beam of light towards Beryl, but she merely laughed. Before it could obliterate her, she disappeared, Kunzite and Usagi in tow.

Mamoru cried out in agony. He had not seen this coming. He wanted Beryl to come back, to take him instead.

He couldn't breathe. The terror was suffocating him. His heart felt like it had been consumed by a black hole as he felt the warm, silvery threads of her energy disappear as they pulled her into a different plane of reality.

She was gone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

Wicked Lady

The pain that was coursing through her from the crystal attack was pure agony, but it was nothing compared to the scream of anguish that tore from Mamoru's throat as Kunzite lifted her into the air. Her eyes watered as she tried to reach for him, to fight her way back to the ground, but Kunzite was strong. His cold fingers bruised her from holding her so tightly.

Her vision swam as she tried to fight through the painful effects of the poison that was wrenching its way through her body. It was difficult to concentrate on the conversation as her eyelids felt like lead, her arms and lips had become numb.

She was dying.

Mamo-chan. How could it end like this? She couldn't leave him behind. He'd become so much to her in such a short while. He'd become her reason for breathing.

He was always taking care of her. The way he cherished her took her breath away, but sometimes she saw something flash in his eyes; a wisp of pain, a heavy burden, a swirl of secrets. She didn't know what secrets he kept to himself and she had long ago told herself that she was not going to ask. She knew that it was because he was protecting her. He was always protecting her.

She wanted to protect him now. She couldn't leave him like this. She needed him. He needed her.

An involuntary moan tore from her lips. She was only dimly aware of the brightness from the attack he shot at Beryl before the darkness swallowed her up, her back arching in agony as the poison reached her heart.

Her body was on fire. It felt like her insides were melting, her bones cracking, the splintered pieces ripping her up inside. The sound of blood-curdling screaming echoed ominously around her. It took a moment before she realized they were her own.

She was lying horizontally on a cold cement slab encased within a glass-like coffin. She couldn't move as there were vine-like beams of pulsing, dark energy coiled around her legs, waist, and arms. Not that she could have moved, even if she wanted to; the agony was too great.

She couldn't think of anything, except that she wanted the pain to stop. She needed it to stop, or she would catch on fire, and her eyes were going to melt into their sockets, or her body was going to rip open.

If her arms were free, she would have clawed at her chest and cut it open herself, just for some relief to the unbearable pressure inside of her. Just when she thought she couldn't take it anymore, just when she thought she would surely die, the pain stopped.

She let out a sob of relief, the sound raspy as it burst from her throat, raw from her screaming. She tried to control her breathing, gulping in the air, desperate to fill her lungs with something other than the burning fire that had just dissipated.

She choked on a strangled gasp of hatred as Beryl's blood-red eyes appeared above her, peering down with disdain. Her ashy, sallow skin was stretched across sharp bony cheeks, her red stained lips sneering victoriously as her hands pressed against the glass.

"What is your name?" she demanded. Usagi wondered why the sound wasn't muffled. It should have been hard to hear her through the glass, but it wasn't; her voice was crystal clear.

Usagi grit her teeth and glared at the red-haired witch above her. She wouldn't tell her anything! Beryl cackled and smiled at her knowingly. Her eyes narrowing in expectation as the pain started again.

Usagi screamed as the fire roared back to life. Even the tears rolling down her cheeks felt like boiling water, burning edged grooves into her face.

"What is your name?" Beryl demanded again. She choked painfully, desperate to stop the pain.

"Usagi!" she cried through her teeth that felt like they were cracking, the word sliding from her tongue that was twisted up liked molten lava in her mouth.

The pain didn't stop, and Beryl frowned. "That is not your name anymore. You belong to me now, Moon Senshi. I will take great pleasure in destroying your pure light and turning you wicked." She could barely focus on Beryl's words, the agony making her writhe and squirm to where she couldn't concentrate on anything else.

"You will be my Wicked Lady," she said. Usagi shook her head in denial. She wouldn't be anything. She was strong!

"What is your name?" she demanded again. Usagi forced her eyes to glare up at Beryl, even as her vision swam with the pain.

"Usagi!" she cried out willfully.

Beryl's smile turned back into a sneer. "We shall see," she said.

Usagi didn't think it was possible, but the agony amplified tenfold. Something in her mind snapped, even as the darkness of Beryl's fog tried to infect it. She lost herself then, in her own mind, to protect herself from Beryl.

She was in their apartment. The sunlight filtered in through the kitchen windows; Nephrite and Jadeite were sitting on the swivel stools behind the kitchen island. These were Mamoru's friends, his generals, and he had risked so much to save them.

She wanted them to like her. What if they liked the princess- the one that Mamoru had loved in a past life- more than her?

She was rambling. She knew she was rambling! Why couldn't they just say something? She was swirling, losing herself in her insecurities. She was a klutzy, stupid girl, and Mamoru… he was so handsome, so sophisticated; she could picture him being with a princess.

"Usako, what are you doing?"

He was leaning against the door jamb, black hair ruffled, tall with sinewy muscles. He was smiling with amusement as he watched her, but his eyes drew her in. Her insecurities melted away when he looked at her like that; like she was the only woman in the world.

He strode to her and took her into his arms. She sighed with relief at the contact. She looked up into his smiling eyes- but they weren't smiling anymore. They were narrowed and turning red, just like Beryl's.

The blood drained from her face in horror. She tried to pull away, but he held her tightly, his fingers cutting into her skin.

"What's your name?" he hissed, his voice unnatural and not at all what Mamoru sounded like.

"Usagi," she cried. He pulled on her hair, yanking her head back so that she was looking into his hate-filled eyes.

"No it's not, Wicked Lady," he sneered. Usagi screamed as the vision melted away. She tore out of the refuge of her mind and was instantly greeted with the agony that she had tried to escape. She suffered through the torment that came with consciousness, the feeling of the fire burning in her lungs, her muscles seizing and twitching in agony until Beryl appeared above her again.

"What is your name?" she demanded, and this time, Usagi couldn't manage to glare through the tears.

"Usagi," she whispered brokenly. The name was painful to say because she knew it would be accompanied by something awful.

"Again then?" Beryl sneered. Usagi cried, but the tears wouldn't come, they had all burned up inside of her.

They were at the carnival. The lights on the rides and the games flashed brilliantly. The sounds of laughter swirling around them. She felt warm and giddy, her fingers intertwined with his.

She glanced up at Mamoru as they walked. He was deep in thought, his jaw rigid as he scrutinized their surroundings. She smiled softly and squeezed his hand.

He glanced down at her, and his eyes softened. She wished, sometimes, that he would tell her what he was thinking. She understood his need to be so protective of her, but she wished that he would open up and let her in. She tried to remember why he was so protective; she knew it was something important, but the reason escaped her.

She was distracted at the sight of stuffed Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen dolls. They were so cute! She tugged on Mamoru's arm and pulled him towards the game. He smiled down at her indulgently, his eyes were bright and compassionate. He leaned down and softly kissed her forehead then turned to the carnival attendant and handed him some money. He was going to try and win her a doll.

Her heart melted as she watched him throw the first ball. She knew that he was trying to make her feel better. She had been such a wreck this past week; she had been so sad, so devastated. She frowned. Why had she been so sad? She couldn't quite recall the reason right now.

Mamoru grunted in irritation as another ball hit the pyramid of glass bottles. It wobbled slightly but did not fall. She chuckled at the frustrated look on his face. The attendant smirked at him, and she watched as Mamoru's eyes narrowed and his body posture stiffened in determination. He looked so handsome with his dark, windswept hair as he rolled up his sleeves.

Her hand flew to her lips as she tried to suppress the laughter that bubbled up into her throat. She didn't want to hurt his feelings; he was too sweet and thoughtful.

"Mamo-chan, honestly, it's okay. You really don't need to spend more on this game," she said, trying to hold back the laughter. This was so important to him… but, why was it so important?

"I'm going to win this stupid doll for you," he murmured and threw the ball into the pyramid again. It really should have fallen, but, judging by the satisfied smirk on the attendants face, the game had been set up so that the customers would fail.

Mamoru was outraged, and the indignant look on his face sent her into a fit of laughter. It felt good to finally laugh… why did it feel this good?

He hit the pyramid again, and this time the bottles exploded, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. That would have been an impossible feat for any regular person, but Mamoru was strong. She knew that there was a reason he was so strong. She frowned in frustration as she realized she couldn't recollect why he was so strong. The answer danced on the edge of her memories. She reached out for it, feeling it on the tips of her fingers, but it was ripped away by something.

She looked up as she heard the deep, soothing tone of his laughter, and then she realized with a start that she was laughing too. He held his hands out to her, smiling eyes beckoning her into his outstretched embrace. She relaxed, her worries melting away as she gratefully fell into his arms. He was hugging her close to him, and she closed her eyes to breathe in his scent.

Something suddenly changed as his arms tightened around her, painfully pressing into her arms, squeezing her too tightly. She gasped in confusion and tried to pull away, but he pulled her even harder. Her head began to throb painfully as the sounds of joy that had surrounded her were slowly sucked away, and everything became silent. The landscape of the carnival was fading and what was left was becoming unfamiliar.

She clutched the front of Mamoru's shirt in a panic. Something was happening; the details of the night were slipping away from her. She held onto him for dear life. He was her anchor, he had to know what was going on.

"Mamo-chan!" she whispered urgently. Was there danger? She could transform into… into what?

She looked up into Mamoru's eyes, but she was not met with the pools of midnight-blue that she loved so much. His eyes were a harsh, unyielding red, just like Beryl's.

"No!" she choked out in terror and shook her head in denial. This couldn't be happening. He was the love of her life!... Wasn't he the love of her life?

In her desperation, she leaned up, wrapped her arms around his neck and tried to kiss him. His hand grasped her golden tresses and yanked them down so that she couldn't reach his lips.

"What's your name?" he demanded, his breath hot on her face, gaze furious and filled with hatred. Tears began to roll down her cheeks in torrents. The darkness that had been just on the edge of her memory enveloped them and the carnival melted away.

Why was he doing this? He loved her, didn't he? He knew her name! Her heart began to pound painfully in her ribcage as the darkness flickered around them. She felt it pull something from her.

What was her name?

Her eyes flew open wide in panic. No! She couldn't let this happen. It was important that she remember what her name was. She searched within herself, pushing through the fog until she found her name, tucked away in a silvery ball of light that was trying to dispel the darkness.

"Usagi!" she screamed at him. He snarled and pushed her violently to the ground. She curled up into the fetal position as the image melted away.

Which brought her right back into the coffin of agony.

"God, please, no. Stop this. I can't do this anymore," she pleaded brokenly.

Beryl appeared above her again, and this time she begged. She knew that she was humiliating herself. She had to be stronger than this, but the pain was agonizing, it hurt so badly. She wanted it to end.

"What is your name?" Beryl demanded, her eyes bore into her.

"U- u- u," Usagi stuttered. Why was she fighting this again? She searched through her mind and remembered. It was important that she didn't forget who she was. People depended on her, although she couldn't remember who or why. "Usagi!" she cried, and Beryl's eyes narrowed in frustration.

"Again then," she hissed. Usagi moaned in despair as the refuge of her mind became a nightmare.

She quietly shut the apartment door behind her. Mamoru had left the hallway light on for her so that she wouldn't have to stumble around in the darkness when she got home. She stopped in the entrance and narrowed her eyes in confusion.

Why had she been out so late? Was it something about a friend? It was a good friend, someone important that had needed her. She tried to reach for the memory but gave up with a grunt of frustration. Was she really that vapid that she would forget something that important?

She made her way down the hall and, as silently as possible, crept into the darkened bedroom.

She smiled and felt her heart expand at the sight of him.

He was splayed out in the bed, shirtless, with the sheets tangled around his waist. His face was so calm and relaxed in his sleep. She quietly changed into her pyjamas in the dark, only managing to fall twice, before she crawled into the bed and curled up behind him.

He was so warm. It felt so good to be next to him.

She was just about to fall asleep when she felt his body stiffen in alarm beside her. He turned, pulled her into his arms, and buried his face in her hair as he crushed her against his chest.

He was trembling, and she knew that he was probably just reeling from the aftermath of… something? It was there, the memory of an event that was important; it swirled around her, but she couldn't reach it.

She frowned and reached up to wrap her arms around his neck. Maybe he could tell her what she was forgetting.

She choked on the question as she realized that she couldn't remember his name. How had she forgotten the name of the man that was currently so intimately pressed up against her? She barely had time to wade through the panic before he flipped her onto her back. His body covered hers, but the gentleness that was there before was gone.

He propped himself up to look down at her. His eyes were a crimson red, a malicious smile on his face.

"What's your name?" he whispered into her ear.

She choked on the terror that ran through her. Why couldn't she remember his name? Why couldn't she remember her name?

He laughed deeply, his chest vibrating against her form as he brought his lips to her ear. "I know your name. It's Wicked Lady," he whispered.

Her eyes flew open in horror. Was she Wicked Lady?


She tore herself from the horrifying memory and screamed in frustration and agony as the pain once again assaulted her body. She could no longer tell the difference between what was real and what was not. Who was that black haired man? Why did he hate her so much? She wondered how long she had been burning up like this. It felt like her skin had been peeled back and her heart was exposed.

She didn't get another chance to speak with Beryl as she was vaulted into another memory. They came in quick succession after that; one memory after another of the dark-haired man that hated her and the things she could not remember, each one ending in unbearable agony and anguish.

This time when she lay in the glass coffin, she looked up, glassy-eyed and defeated. She didn't want to live with this pain anymore. The silvery brightness that she had clung to was shrinking inside of her. She had nothing to anchor her to this life except for pain and despair.

"What is your name?" Beryl demanded again.

This time, she honestly did not know what her name was. She didn't care. She would be anyone for the red-haired woman if it meant that she could finally just die. The moment that she had decided to give up was the moment that the silvery wisp of strength within her disappeared. The pain stopped immediately, and the dark fog that she had been keeping at bay washed over her.

It was such a relief. It cooled her aching body and numbed her throbbing heart. With it, came all the memories that she had forgotten. She remembered her name now.

"Wicked Lady. My name is Wicked Lady," she replied, and her Queen laughed gloriously and opened the glass coffin. The ropes of darkness that were wrapped around her body slipped away, and she felt saddened by the loss. The darkness was so comforting. She sat up and slid off the cement slab where she immediately kneeled at Beryl's feet.

"What is your mission, my Wicked Lady?" Beryl asked her. It took a moment for the fog's comforting memories to completely embed themselves in her broken mind. What a relief to remember everything now.

"To find the Silver Imperium Crystal," Wicked Lady replied. "And to destroy the Senshi if they get in my way."

There was something else in her newfound memories; the black-haired man, the one that hated her and that had brainwashed her Queen's kings. What was his name again? The darkness within her provided it.

"Should I kill Tuxedo Kamen as well, my Queen?" she asked submissively. Beryl smiled slowly, placing her hand on her shoulder.

"No, my Wicked Lady. Don't kill him. Make him suffer."

"Did you find it yet?" he demanded from Mercury, who was perched on the edge of her seat in front of the console at headquarters. She was furiously typing away, trying to locate the wisp of the energy he could only give approximate coordinates for. She looked tired, dark circles under her aquamarine eyes that were dulled from exhaustion and sorrow.

His heart was racing in his chest; he'd felt another flash of her agony last night. He shouldn't have been able to feel anything from her in the Dark Kingdom. He hadn't been able to locate any of his generals when they were ensconced in the plane of darkness, but sometimes, he felt Usagi.

It was just a brief glimpse; he was only ever connected to her for a second, but it ripped through his body. When it was gone, he was panting with the memory of the agony.

They were torturing her.

"I'm sorry, Mamoru. There just isn't anything there," Mercury whispered brokenly, her fingers trembling over the keyboard.

He was choking on the fear, and it was suffocating him. It had been weeks since they'd taken her from him.


It filled him with furious despair. He didn't know what they were doing to her. Were they brainwashing her like they had done to him? He should have seen her by now if that was the case. It hadn't taken weeks with him.

She was so much stronger than he was, though.

There had been a brief time within those weeks where he thought that maybe she was gone. It had felt like his heart had been ripped out of his chest and replaced with a feeling of sorrow like he had never known. Is this what she'd felt like when they had taken him in their previous life?

It had been a relief when he'd felt the first flash of her energy reaching out to him. The relief had been momentary with the realization that she was suffering, badly. He'd then felt a fury, unlike anything he had ever felt.

In the days that followed, he worked closely with the devastated Senshi- and the generals that loved them- to find her. They came close to an opening a couple of times. Jadeite and Nephrite had tried to use the darkness to create a doorway to the Dark Kingdom so that they could go in and find her, but they couldn't do it; not without succumbing to the darkness themselves.

The helplessness was driving him insane, making him restless and irritable. He was so much stronger than he had been. The barrier he'd shattered allowed him to use the power of the golden energy for so much longer, but it didn't matter. He couldn't use the power if he couldn't findher. The Senshi could teleport, but they couldn't connect to her when she was not Sailor Moon, and without out an exact location, it was impossible for them to teleport to another plane.

He'd felt her again tonight, and it had been closer this time. Her boiling agony had pierced through him, and it was unlike any other time before. He didn't know what that meant. If maybe it was the final blow… if maybe… He couldn't finish the thought. Not even to himself. The dread bubbled up in his chest.

"Look again!" he snapped at Mercury with unreasonable fury.

Mercury's eyes glistened with her own tears of frustration.

"Hey, E, take it easy. She's trying as hard as she can," Zoisite said defensively, his voice filled with censure as he placed a comforting hand on Mercury's shoulder.

"It's okay, Zoi. He's right. I'm sorry, Mamoru. I'll keep trying," she whispered, and he felt her resolve strengthen as she turned back to the console.

Dammit. He was a jerk. These were his friends; they loved her too.

"I'm sorry, Ami. I'm just -" he choked on his emotion. "Christ, I can't breathe without her."

The tears in Mercury's eyes spilled over then as she leapt from the console and wrapped her arms around him in a very un-Ami-like hug. It startled him for a moment, but he squeezed her gently in return. He felt the grief roiling in her as she pulled back and furiously wiped the tears off her cheeks.

Zoisite gently pulled her into his arms, he felt his friends heart aching for Mercury.

"I'm sorry, Mamoru. I didn't mean to- I just know how much it hurts- and you're all by yourself," she whispered and sagged against Zoisite. Her exhaustion was getting to her, causing her to lose control of the emotions she generally kept tightly in check.

"Any luck?" They turned to the sharp, curt voice that belonged to Venus as she flew into headquarters towards them. "Jadeite, Mars, and Nephrite are waiting to hear from you as soon as you have the coordinates," she said.

He had learned to appreciate Venus in the past couple of weeks. She was so much stronger than he had ever given her credit for. The fury burning inside of her chest and the anger that clenched her heart closely mirrored his own emotions, but there was a sizable difference. He was barely hanging on by a thread while Venus had taken complete control of the situation. The reasons she had been appointed the leader of the Senshi came roaring back to life within her in this dire situation.

Gone was the vapid, fashion loving, diva that gossiped and chattered endlessly about trivial, inconsequential things. In its place was the calculated, prepared warrior that had once coordinated her Senshi in battles. However, even Senshi leaders could not escape the effects of exhaustion.

"No," Mercury whispered. He could see her struggling to keep her eyes open.

"This is ridiculous. I think we should just have Nephrite and Jadeite open the doorway. If they get sucked into the darkness then Mamoru can just save them again," Venus snapped.

He would be lying if he said he hadn't considered it, because, within his grief, he had. His friends would have done it if he asked them too, but there were too many factors, too many things that could go wrong. He didn't want all of this to be for nothing. He couldn't lose them also.

"That's easy for you to say, Venus, since Kunzite is the one that took her," Jupiter had joined them, her green leather boots clicking furiously as she came down the spiralling staircase, "but we can't risk that chance. We don't even know if it would work," she snapped, and he felt the fire of rage swirl around Venus as her eyes narrowed and her fists clenched angrily.

"You mean you don't want to risk Nephrite?" she hissed. "Have you forgotten about our Princess, our friend, so easily?" Venus's words were unnecessarily harsh, and Mamoru felt the regret within Venus as soon as they flew from her mouth.

Jupiter gasped with unfettered fury. "How can you even say that to me?" she cried out angrily. "I love her!" she screamed.

There was a hurricane of intense emotions thundering through the air around them; grief, fury, helplessness and exhaustion. They were all, so sleep deprived, spending their nights searching and planning and trying to keep up the pretense that they were normal during the day. It had taken an emotional toll on all of them.

"Guys, please. Stop fighting. She wouldn't want us to fight," Mercury slurred, her words truncated and riddled with fatigue.

Her head fell forward as her eyes closed. Zoisite swung the blunette that had fallen asleep standing up into the safety of his arms.

"E, she can't do any more tonight. I need to bring her home," Zoisite said, his tone soft and imploring as he tightened his arms around her prone body, cradling her against him.

They were all so tired.

"Yes, Christ, Zoi. I'm sorry. Take her home," he choked. Zoisite nodded and smiled sadly as he swept past them to bring her up the stairs.

"You should all go home. I'm going to keep an eye on the monitors to see if there are any indications that the Dark Kingdom is going to surface," Luna said as she hopped up onto the stool that Ami had just vacated.

He hadn't noticed her come in. The cat was always underfoot, quiet and observing. He knew she missed her charge as well.

"I'm not going anywhere, Luna," Venus said, her shoulders trembling. Of all the Senshi, her devastation, without the comfort of someone that loved her, was the most poignant. Luna nodded. The cat knew that she wouldn't have been able to convince the Senshi leader otherwise.

Jupiter's gloved hand gently clasped his shoulder. He looked into her soft green eyes, peering up at him with hope.

"We're going to find her," her eyes hardened slightly, "I promise you," she stated firmly then swivelled around to go up the stairs.

Venus's eyes met his; they were hard and resolute. Her arms crossed firmly, and her lips pressed together into a determined line. The bitter sorrow emanating from her was almost too much to bear on top of his own.

He sighed and raked his hand through his hair. He shook his head to try and shake off the exhaustion he was feeling. Venus's hard stance relaxed, and her face softened slightly.

"Go home, Mamoru. Call us if you feel anything," she said.

He shook his head as he moved towards the console. "It's not home without her," he replied miserably.

Venus didn't say a word as she moved beside him to look at the screen. He briefly glanced down at her and noted the hard glint in her eyes and the firm set of her jaw. She met his eyes and nodded. The decision had been made. They would stay awake all night again tonight and wait for a sign, some kind of indication that she was there.

She had never given up on him, and they would never give up on her.

It was just after five am when he finally stumbled home into the cold and empty apartment, exhausted and riddled with defeat. He hated being here without her. The whole pace teeming with visions of his bright, beautiful, Usako.

He saw her burning bacon in the kitchen, her cheeks flushed, smiling guiltily as she danced across the kitchen floor. She was there in the living room, curled up on the recliner, with mismatched bunny socks, wearing his T-shirt, her eyes laughing as they perused over her favourite manga. He couldn't even go into the bedroom as the images of her splayed out beneath him, her eyes warm, her smile inviting, hit him the hardest.

With a sigh of frustration, he fell onto the sofa, bleary-eyed and exhausted. It was only moments before he fell into the dark void of sleep.

The sound of his phone blaring loudly cut through the fog of sleep and woke him the next morning. He groaned in irritation, not feeling ready to face the day yet. With a sigh he forced himself to sit up, pressing his palms into his eyes as he tried to push the exhaustion away.

He quickly located the source of the offending sound in his jean pocket. Was it Minako? Had she seen something?

He was surprised to see Motoki's name flashing on his screen, and he grimaced guiltily. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been to school, and he had ignored Motoki's previous three calls. He was definitely failing in the friendship department.

With a sigh, he answered the call and held the device up to his ear. "Hey Motoki," he tried to infuse some carefree attitude into his tone but knew he'd failed at that too.

"Wow, you actually answered," he stated, and Mamoru could sense the well-deserved irritation directed towards him.

"Yeah, listen Motoki, I'm sorry that I haven't been the greatest friend lately," -understatement of the year- "I've kind of been going through some things," he finished lamely, cringing at his own words.

"Do you mean the fact that you and Usagi broke up?" he questioned and Mamoru's brows shot up in surprise. The statement caught him off guard and a flash of pain coursed through him at the mention of her name.

"Why would you say that?" he demanded, and there was an uncomfortable silence on the other end of the line. Mamoru shot up from the couch, his heart pounding against his ribcage, as Motoki was considering his words.

"Motoki?" he choked out when the silence became unbearable.

"I wasn't going to say anything, I know it's not really any of my business, but I thought that maybe she was the reason why you stopped showing up to your classes," he mumbled. "But listen, she's at the arcade, and she's just- I don't know- not herself," he said.

The blood drained from his face, and his breathing quickened as his throat constricted painfully. "Is she there, right now?" he asked, the words sounded strained, tangling up on his tongue.

"Yes, she's here, but listen Mamoru, maybe you shouldn't-" Motoki began but, without thinking, Mamoru hung up on him. He hadn't meant to cut his friend off, but he could hardly concentrate through the flurried thoughts that were tumbling around in his mind.

Three things occurred to him simultaneously: she was at the arcade, she wasn't a prisoner in the Dark Kingdom anymore, and she hadn't come to see him.

A strangled groan tore from his throat. He knew what this meant. Usagi had not escaped the Dark Kingdom; she'd been brainwashed, just like he had. He hadn't been able to save her in time. He reached out with his energy, to see if he could find her familiar silvery threads of light, but was not able to find anything. Usagi had cut him out again.

He felt the blood drain from his face as another realization occurred to him.

If she'd cut him off, if she wasn't allowing him to connect with her, he wouldn't be able to heal her and dispel Beryl's suffocating fog. He would need to find another way to bring her back to him.

He knew that this was a bad idea. He should not be here. He should be approaching this with caution if he wanted to save her. He needed to tell the Senshi what Motoki had told him over the phone, and it was essential that he come up with some kind of plan of action, but... he needed to see her.

He would just observe her, ensure that she was okay, and then he would turn around and leave. He would call one of the Senshi, and he would let them know what he had seen. If she had been converted by Beryl, he knew that she wouldn't recognize him. The thought made his stomach turn as he made his way into the arcade, the bell on the door clanging noisily behind him as he entered.

He didn't know if she would still be here. Motoki had called him just over half an hour ago, so he was not sure what to expect as his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting of the arcade.

Motoki caught his eye behind the counter. He considered him quietly for a second, but then tilted his head to the side, silently directing him to Usagi with a sympathetic look in his eyes.

His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. She was leaning casually against one of the pinball games, deep in conversation with a black-haired teenage boy that was leaning into her. She was wearing tight-fitting clothes; jeans that curved to her body and a shimmery black tank top. He didn't think he had ever seen her wear black. Usagi loved bright colours.

The odango hairstyle that she had always worn in both lives, three if you counted the one that had been erased, was gone. It made his heart clench painfully to see something that was so uniquely Usagi not be there. Instead, her hair was twisted up into a ponytail that sat atop of her head in place of her two tresses, the loose golden locks from her ponytail rolling down her back in glimmering waves.

She was smiling up at the boy coyly, her blue eyes gazing at him invitingly. The boy leaned over, running a finger along her cheek, and a flash of fury coursed through him. It didn't matter that he knew that Usagi was not herself right now, that she had gone through weeks of agonizing torture fighting Beryl before she had succumbed to the darkness. Despite everything, he was still a stupid man whose heart had ached painfully from missing her. To finally see her again, only to have her look like that, allowing another person to touch her, set his blood on fire. Had she felt this way, when he had walked into the arcade under Beryl's fog so long ago?

It was unreasonable, it was stupid, and he should have turned around and walked out of the arcade. He didn't do that though. He felt his heart hammering in his chest in anger as he strode to the pair. Usagi noticed him coming first, a delicate eyebrow raised inquisitively, mild curiosity shining from her eyes.

Her eyes that were blue, but not Usagi blue. It was a darker, murkier blue, and he hated it.

He grasped the boy's arm and forcefully pushed him away. The boy gasped in indignant surprise and stepped towards him angrily, his mouth opened, ready to protest, but stopped short at the look in Mamoru's eyes.

"Sorry man," the boy said, lifting his arms in surrender, before walking away.

He turned back to Usagi that was regarding him with cool amusement, a cynical smile on her lips. There was dark energy rolling off of her in torrents, and it made him step back slightly in horror.

Usako. His heart ached painfully at what she had become, what Beryl had turned her into. He reached deep into his core and pushed out the golden healing energy, that flowed so easily through him now, and tried to envelop Usagi. He could feel it prodding the shell that she was using to protect herself, trying to find an opening, but to no avail.

Her smile turned into a curious frown.

"How interesting. Here I thought it was going to take me weeks to find you. I'm happy you found me," she said as she pushed away from the game she was leaning against and came towards him. Her movements were graceful, panther-like; definitely not his sweet, clumsy Usako.

She stopped in front of him, lifting her arms to curl around his neck, running her fingers through his hair. Although he knew she wasn't herself, he leaned into her touch. He had missed her so much.

"I remember the black hair," she whispered seductively. She ran a finger over the curve of his jaw and then leaned up and pressed her lips to his. The kiss was not tentative and gentle like Usagi would have kissed him. It was experienced and demanding, and it made him want to gag.

He tore away from her, gasping. It felt like his chest was on fire with the ache he felt. His beautiful Usako. He needed to save her.

"What's wrong, Tuxedo Kamen? Don't you think I'm beautiful? Don't you want me?" she said with mocking laughter that ripped him to shreds.

"Stop," he choked out and stepped away from her, but she stepped towards him and slid practiced arms around his neck again. He gasped in a mixture of horror and need as she nibbled his earlobe and then pressed her lips to his ear.

"I can give you whatever you want, Tuxedo Kamen, if you give me the crystal," she whispered huskily.

Her words completely cleared the fog from his brain, and he forcefully pushed her away from him. She stumbled back slightly but quickly recovered. She frowned in irritation and a hard glint crossed through her eyes.

He couldn't stand to see her like this. It broke his heart.

"Usagi," he whispered mournfully, and her eyes widened in terror. Christ, what had they done to her? He instinctively reached for her, and her brief look of terror turned into a sneer as she stared at him with disdain.

"That's not my name, Tuxedo Kamen. My name is Wicked Lady, and I will get the Silver Imperium Crystal! Don't get in my way," she snapped. With a flurry of golden hair, she gracefully swivelled around and left the arcade.

He leaned against the pinball machine, his heart in his throat, as he tried to control his accelerated breathing. How was he going to save her? He choked on the pain before taking a deep breath, his resolve strengthening.

He was going to save his princess. He was going to find a way to pull the darkness out of her, and then he was going to find Beryl and rip her heart out.

"So, let me get this straight. Motoki called you and told you Usagi was at the arcade. Instead of calling her Senshi that, might I add, are so desperately looking for her, you thought it would be a good idea to go to the arcade, alone, to confront her because you somehow knew that she had been brainwashed by Beryl," Rei's words were harsh and condemning as she spat them out. The full passionate energy, bequeathed to her by Mars, swirling around the room with a vengeance.

"Is that pretty much the gist of it, Mamoru?" she demanded furiously. He inwardly cringed in the face of her anger.

He currently sat on the couch in his apartment, facing down the furious Senshi, as Rei and Jadeite had been the first to arrive.

The very first thing he'd done after leaving the arcade was call Jadeite. He knew that his wisest general, with the brightest mind, would be able to theorize with him. He would be able to pick apart the problem, calculate, and design a solution to save Usagi from the cloying darkness that currently had a hold of her. However, he had forgotten that although Jadeite was calm, collected, and capable of putting aside his emotion to reason, he would be accompanied by Mars. The priestess, while wise, had a roiling and uncontrollable temper.

"Listen, Rei, it's a little more complicated than that-" he started pleadingly, but the Senshi of fire interrupted him.

"No, it isn't, Mamoru. The only complicated thing in this room is the secret you are so obviously hiding!" she snapped angrily. "How do you know things are going to happen before they happen Mamoru?" she demanded and he could feel the questions burning up inside of her.

"Athena, that's enough," Jadeite said, his tone deathly quiet as he approached her and placed a calming hand on her shoulder. Mamoru had witnessed Jadeite instantly soothe the passionate girl before, his calming words and presence able to tame her fiery energy just enough so that she could think clearly and see reason again. This time it didn't work.

Rei shrugged off his hand furiously. "No, Jei! I'm done with this! I want to know what's going on. He can't keep lying to us, to you, like this!" she cried out, and he could feel that Rei's rage was mostly on behalf of Jadeite. She thought he was treating the man she loved unfairly.

She was wrong. He had done all of this for them, for his friends, and while he was extremely relieved that he had been given a second chance to save them, he'd lost Usagi in the process.

How could he tell them now, what he'd done? That he had screwed it up so badly, that he couldn't save Kunzite and he'd lost their princess, that he had promised to protect with his life, to the darkness. The guilt roared through him, and it was unbearable, and it made him angry.

"You have no idea, Rei," he spat furiously. "You will never know how difficult this has been, what I've done." His voice trembled with the guilt and the rage and Mars stepped back, her eyes widened slightly, startled by his passionate response.

Jadeite frowned slightly as he stepped towards him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. His friends' energy, curious, confused, but mostly sympathetic, enveloped him.

"Tell us, Endymion. Let us help you," he stated in a matter of fact tone, slightly tinged with concern.

What did it matter anymore? Pluto hadn't sent him a wisp of anything in ages. The future she had wanted was probably gone. He needed to salvage what he could now, and he needed his friends to do it.

"You all died. You, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite. You never recovered your memories, you died fighting for Beryl," he began, and their facial expressions were the same, startled eyes and furrowed brows. He had surprised them. That was not what they had expected to hear.

"What are you talking about?" Rei whispered, and he felt something twinge inside of her. Rei had probably seen something within the fires at the shrine, although she would have had no idea what she was looking at.

"We had another life. One where I didn't remember anything, and by the time I did, it was too late. You were all destroyed. I was the one that Beryl took, I did awful things. When Usagi saved me, it was too late. Beryl was going to kill her, but I stepped in front of her when she attacked- and then'-," he stuttered slightly because he knew how impossible it sounded. How ridiculous it must be to them.

"And then what, Mamoru? You just came back?" Rei asked with confusion, but Jadeite tilted his head. He could see the wheels turning behind Jadeites eyes, his eidetic memory scanning through every possibility, everything that he had read and remembered.

"Sailor Pluto?" he asked, his tone questioning and unsure. He had poured over every possibility in seconds and had determined this one to be the most viable.

Mamoru nodded, and he could feel the relief sweep through his friend. The unknown had been irritating him for ages.

"Jei, you know it drives me insane when you do that. I know you figured it out. Tell me," Rei demanded. His friend's eyes softened slightly, and he gave the Senshi a tender look that Mamoru had rarely seen on his serious friend's face.

"I'm sorry, it would appear that Endymion was given a second chance- a do-over, so to speak- from one of your own. Sailor Pluto. I don't remember much about her, but I do remember a brief conversation we had on the Moon. I believe she is the Senshi of Time?" he said and Rei frowned in confusion.

"I know who she is. I just don't understand why she would do that. It's breaking all the rules," Rei said quietly, her eyes narrowed in concentration.

"Well I, for one, am eternally grateful to be alive. To have another chance with you," Jadeite said softly, and Rei's eyes flew open wide as Jadeite's words interrupted her thoughts.

"Oh!" she exclaimed and then turned to Mamoru. He wasn't sure what he had expected. Maybe rage at the fact that he hadn't done a better job, or perhaps censure that he hadn't interfered at times that he could have. He did not expect the grateful tears that gathered in Rei's eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered, and he could feel the gratitude pouring off of her. He choked a little bit on the relief that someone finally knew, but the relief quickly dissipated with sadness, as he silently wished that he had told Usagi when he'd had the chance.

Jadeite gently took Rei's hand in his own, and she smiled at him. Outwardly the action was small, but he could feel the love between his two friends, and it made his own heartache for Usagi.

"I don't know if I should have told you this. I could have changed something else just by saying it out loud," he choked out, and Rei's face crumpled in guilt at his words.

"Oh, Mamoru. I'm so sorry," Rei murmured. "We won't say anything until this is over," she said, and Jadeite nodded in agreement.

Mamoru nodded gratefully. "This didn't happen the first time, so I'm not sure how to save her. She cut me off so I can't use my powers to bring her back," he said desperately. "It's the crystal inside of her. She doesn't know she's doing it. I need your help. We have to figure out a way to save her," he said, and Jadeite and Rei exchanged a worried look.

"You said she knew who you were, even though you weren't transformed?" Jadeite questioned, and Mamoru nodded.

"I think she felt me trying to heal her, and she said-" he choked on the words, "she said she remembered my hair." The whole interaction that he had just had with a dark Usagi made his stomach churn violently.

"What does she want?" Rei asked, the pain swirling around her as well at the thought of their bright Usagi being corrupted by Beryl.

"She said she wanted the crystal," he responded his tone a mixture of misery and disgust.

"That's great!" Jadeite exclaimed, and Rei gasped as Mamoru's eyes shot up to his friends face in confusion.

"If Usagi is looking for the crystal, that means that Beryl doesn't know she's the princess. She has no idea the crystal is locked away in Usagi. We are going to have to save her before they do," Jadeite said, and Mamoru's heart began to race within his chest.

If they discovered who she was, the power she possessed, Beryl would tear her apart to get it. Usagi was so ensconced within the folds of the Dark Kingdom that she would willingly let her do it.

He would not allow that to happen.

Informing the rest of the Senshi and his Generals about Usagi's fall to darkness had been easier with Rei and Jadeite's help. They were all currently crammed into headquarters underneath the Sailor V game as the news of what this meant sunk in.

There was an array of emotions, all mirroring his own; anger, frustration, sorrow and a general feeling of helplessness.

They discussed, at length, different options on bringing her back to them. It was ultimately decided that they would have to find a way to restrain her and force her to remember. The plan was weak and full of flaws, but it was the only option they had at this point.

"Mamoru, you're absolutely certain that you can't get through to her?" Venus demanded for the fifth time, sending a flash of irritation coursing through him. He respected the Senshi of Venus, but she definitely still drove him insane.

"Yes, the only thing I could feel around her was Beryl's darkness," he said, his voice strained and annoyed.

"Guys! Something's happening!" Mercury cried, and they all turned to the Senshi, who was currently sitting in her usual position behind the screens of the console.

He was not very technologically inclined, so it was difficult to read a lot of the things that Mercury had pulled up, but there was no mistaking the dark flashes on the map of the city.

Several videos began to open and flash along the screen. The news and viral videos recorded from people's phones started to play simultaneously, the sounds all jumbled as they overlapped each other.

There was widespread hysteria. Every single television station had been infected, sending brain-numbing demands wrapped within dark energy over the airways. The commands that were brainwashing the masses were simple: find the Silver Imperium Crystal.

It was working. He watched on the videos as crowds of zombie-like people rioted, obsessed and searching for the crystal that he knew they would not find. He frowned in confusion as he watched. This was a scene that seemed vaguely familiar to him.

"Mercury, where are the waves generating from?" Jadeite demanded, and Mercury pulled up the dark flashes he'd seen before with a set of coordinates beside it.

"It looks like it's coming from the telecommunications building downtown, we need to go there and stop it before it infects too many people," she said with wide eyes. "Do you think this is Usagi?" she asked and the other exchanged dismayed looks.

Zoisite leaned over the console with a frown. "Seems a bit dramatic for Serenity… Actually, this seems like something I would have done," he said with a strained laugh, shifting uncomfortably.

Mamoru's eyes widened as he realized why this had been so familiar. This was something Zoisite had done in their previous timeline.

"What do we do, Mamoru? You're the only one who can heal these people," Venus said, her tone laced with uncertainty. She wasn't sure if he could do it.

He could definitely do it, but he knew it would drain him, and he wasn't Usagi. He was selfish. He didn't want towaste his reserves on people he didn't care about.

"We'll figure it out when we get there," he said, knowing full well that if he had to choose between his friends and the zombie-like people rioting outside, the masses were going to lose.

When they arrived at the building from Mercury's coordinates, the place was deserted, a scene that was eerily familiar.

Zoisite and Mercury had stayed behind this time to monitor the situation from headquarters. He was infinitely grateful that Zoisite, who could not transform like the rest of them, was not going to be fighting this time.

It was quiet in the street, and the air was thick with dark, cloying energy that swirled around them and filled him with dread. He didn't know what he was going to do when he had to face her. The thought of meeting Usagi in battle made him sick to his stomach. He could dimly recall flashes of the times she had had to face him, and he didn't know how she had been able to do it.

"We need to shut down the signal. Jupiter, can you handle that? The rest of us will search for Usagi," Venus ordered. Jupiter nodded vehemently; there was no resentment within her from Venus's orders. In another life, she had been well acquainted, dependent even, on Venus's coordination.

"Are you looking for me?"

Everyone froze. The blood drained from his face at the sound of her voice. It was hers, but it was different. The tone was sweet- sickeningly sweet, and the inflection was mocking. He felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck forebodingly as it washed over him. He felt the Senshi, and his generals stiffen anxiously around him, their eyes, like his, scanning their surroundings in search of her.

"I'm afraid I'm going to ask you to leave," her disembodied voice echoed around them. "Unless, of course, you've brought me a pretty little crystal, well then you can stay!" She giggled, and his heart began to race as the bile rose in his throat. Everything about her voice felt so wrong.

She appeared then, floating above them in a filmy bubble of dark energy. She was dressed in a tight-fitting, black satin dress that hugged her curves, low cut in the front, barely leaving anything to the imagination. Her hair was utterly loose now, the golden locks twisting and twirling around her small frame.

His breathing quickened with the emotion that bubbled up in his throat. She looked terrifyingly beautiful. Her eyes were hooded, seductive- this was not his Usako.

He heard the collective gasps, a cacophony of distress from the Senshi around him. They were mesmerized and horrified by her as well.

"You know, I never understood why they would say a diamond is a girl's best friend," she giggled again. "Cleary, crystals are much better."

They couldn't speak as they watched her float down to the ground. She sighed as irritation flashed over her delicate facial features.

"What is up with you guys? Cat got your tongues? I thought you were all supposed to be so tough!" she exclaimed derisively.

"Usagi?" Mars whispered brokenly, her heart twisted up in anguish as she stepped towards her.

Usagi's eyes that had been filled with mocking laughter widened in terror, and he inhaled sharply at the brief look of fear. What had they done to her? The fear was immediately replaced with fury as she lifted her arm into the air, her lips curling into a sneer as she let loose a beam of piercing, dark energy that blasted from the tips of her fingertips and catapulted into Rei.

"My name is Wicked Lady," she screeched angrily as Rei flew into the air before crashing onto the pavement with a sickening thud. Jadeite roared with fury. Mamoru felt the threads of darkness within Jadeite flare as he twisted towards Usagi and flailed a black ball of light at her.

"Jadeite! No!" he shouted, the words pleading and strangled as he reached out for her, torn between his friends and the love of his life that was currently consumed by the darkness that he knew all too well.

It didn't matter though, as Usagi flew into the air, easily dodging the general's attack. She laughed even as Jadeite trembled with rage. With a look of disdain and a flick of her wrist, she fired a beam of darkness that sent Jadeite flying as well.

Jupiter and Venus flew into action after that. He could only watch in horror as the Senshi prepared to attack.

"Venus!" he shouted, his tone of voice filled with fury. They couldn't attack her. This was Usagi! He didn't give a damn if she was corrupted by the darkness, he couldn't watch them do this.

Venus turned towards him, her eyes full and helpless and unsure of what to do.

Usagi took advantage of their momentary hesitation. He watched as Venus was enveloped by a beam, crying in agony as she flew to the ground. Nephrite had pulled Jupiter away just in time to avoid the attack.

He could feel the energy of the Golden Kingdom thunder through him, amplified by adrenaline and rage. Since the day that Beryl has taken Usagi- the day that the barrier inside of him shattered- he knew that he was stronger than he had ever been.

He furrowed his brow in concentration as he pulled the golden threads from within him, letting them blast from his core to envelop his fallen friends. It should have been challenging to heal all three of them at once, but he found it easy as he simultaneously untangled the darkness inside of them. It took only seconds before all three of them shot up and flew to their feet at once.

Usagi growled furiously as she flew back into the air above them. It was a sound that he had never heard come from her. They needed to find a way to restrain her, and they needed to turn off the signal for the brainwashing waves. They weren't going to be able to do either of those things if they didn't take Usagi down.

He ignored the churning of his stomach and swallowed the horror that bubbled up in his throat at the thought of what they were going to have to do. His eyes met Venus's, and he knew that she had realized it, too. His golden energy was useless against Usagi so the horrifying task would fall upon her Senshi.

"As gentle as possible," he shouted to Venus, the half-sentence all that he could manage. She understood though, her eyes filling with sorrow.

"Senshi, we need to attack!" Venus forced the words from her mouth. He felt the horror course through the others, even as they lifted their arms into the air, palms crackling ominously with the power of their respective elements.

He could only watch as Usagi's eyes widened and her arms flew up to cover her face in self-defence as she was blasted by a mixture of Venus's light, Jupiter's thunder, and Mars's fire. The attacks had been hesitant, and not as strong as what they would have typically used, but it hammered into her just the same.

When the light from the attack cleared, Usagi lay on the ground, pitifully whimpering. A cry of horror tore from his throat as he rushed to her, falling to his knees beside her and pulling her into his arms. He trembled as he cradled her to his chest.

"Usako, are you alright?" he croaked fearfully. Could it have been that simple?

Her arms wrapped around his neck as she flattened her lithe body against his chest. Her fingers tangling in the hair at the back of his head and her cheek pressed firmly to his, lips hovering beside his ear, her breath hot against him.

His eyes closed and his arms tightened around her even as the dread began to swirl within him.

"My name is Wicked Lady, Tuxedo Kamen, and you are quickly becoming a nuisance," she snapped as she swiftly tore away from him and flew back up into the air. He was still kneeling when she lifted her palm and emitted a beam of darkness from her fingertips that crashed into him, pressing him into the pavement. He gasped as the attack pierced through him.

It took a moment for him to concentrate, the beam completely rendering him immobile under the pressure of its rays, but he pulled from deep inside of him and managed to envelop his body in a shield of golden light.

He felt immediate relief from the pain of the darkness, but she was bearing down on him forcefully, and the strain to keep the shield intact meant he couldn't move.

The others roared into action, each one of his friends coming at her, but their attempts were half-hearted. With one hand blasting a beam into him and the other one flicking attacks at the fighting Senshi, she was taking them down one by one.

His shield faltered a little bit, and the beam grazed his shoulder. He grit his teeth, perspiration from the strain beading on his forehead, as he forced the light back into place. Christ. She was so strong.

There was a dark pop of light in the air as his final general materialized beside her. Usagi spared him a withering glance as she continued to attack.

"Look who has come out to play! Welcome to the party Kuntz, grab a seat, watch me do what you continuously failed to do!" she laughed, even as her voice faltered slightly from the effort of keeping the darkness trailed on him, as well as attacking the others.

Kunzite's eyes scanned the scene in front of him, a mixture of confusion and irritation swirling in his eyes. The scene in front of him must have seemed strange. He had only ever seen the Senshi fight with the full power of their guardian planets. Their attempts now were weak at best when faced with the darkened Princess they loved.

"Stop playing with them, Wicked Lady, and end this," he hissed, but there was something in his voice, a catch of disgust. He was not enjoying Usagi's display.

Venus stumbled to her feet. Her eyes met Mamoru's, a hard glint shining from within them. A strangled breath caught in his throat and he wanted to call out to her, but he couldn't manage to unclench his teeth through the strain of keeping his shield in place.

Venus knelt to the ground and flung herself into the air with all the final strength she possessed, hurtling towards Usagi.

Usagi's eyes narrowed as she pushed another beam from the palm that was not trailed on Mamoru towards the Senshi leader. The beam pierced through Venus, and the blonde Senshi painfully crashed to the pavement as the beam crushed her to the ground. Venus didn't have the luxury of an energy shield, and her screams of agony pierced through the air.

He needed to do something. He had to stop this, but he could barely move.

"Please, Usagi! Stop!" Venus gasped, the pain resonating pitifully in her pleading cry. He felt the bile rise in his throat as Usagi laughed, the sound echoing around them.

He couldn't let this happen. If Usagi killed her friend, her Senshi leader, she would never recover from that, and he could feel Venus fading, fast.

His head shot up in surprise as he felt another thread of energy, a familiar one, beginning to flare up with anguish. His eyes found Kunzite, whose face was contorted into a mask of confused horror as he watched Venus being pulverized by darkness. He could feel that his friend was so close to breaking free.

Mamoru took a deep breath and allowed the shield to disintegrate as he instead directed a burst of golden healing energy to his general in the air. He gasped as Usagi's beam cut into him.

It was short lived though, as Kunzite blasted Usagi from the air with his own attack, breaking her connection to the beams of darkness. She cried out as Kunzite's attack pierced into her, and she fell to her knees on the ground in front of them. She was hurt, badly, as she clutched a mangled arm to her chest.

"No, Usako," he gasped and jumped to his feet, already fully recovered, to go to her.

Her eyes met his, and he choked painfully as he faltered beneath the emotion blazing from them. He didn't need to be connected to her to recognize the unfettered hatred pouring out them. With a pop of black fog, she disappeared into the Dark Kingdom.

He turned to his fallen friends and Kunzite, who was holding onto a barely conscious Venus. She lifted a gloved hand to softly caress Kunzite's cheek. His face was twisted in anguish. Just like all of his friends that had regained their memories, the emotion within Kunzite was painfully raw.

"Are you in control of it again?" Venus whispered. Kunzite nodded mutely before burying his face into her blonde hair.

"Aphrodite, I'm sorry," he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

"Give her to me, Kunzite," he demanded angrily. He wasn't angry with Kunzite, not really, but his heart was aching with the pain of losing Usagi, of watching her disappear with mangled limbs.

Kunzite didn't say a word as he tenderly handed Venus to him. Mamoru concentrated and let the power burst out to envelop Venus and all of his fallen friends. It only took seconds to untangle the darkness and heal all of them.

Venus shot up to her feet, her eyes widening in alarm.

"Jupiter! The signal!" she cried. Jupiter nodded as she flew up to the tower to disable the sound waves.

Venus determinedly swirled towards him. "Tuxedo Kamen, are you recovered enough to heal the people? Can you do it?" she questioned. He nodded curtly as he felt the energy pulse through him. Yes, he could do it.

"You're much stronger than you were before, Endymion," Kunzite said softly as he stood from his kneeling position on the ground. Mamoru turned towards his general. They had been working on the final barrier before he had gone to Beryl, in another life.

He felt a twinge of anger flicker through his friend. "Why didn't you fight her? Why didn't you take her down?" Kunzite demanded, and Mamoru knew he was referring to Usagi. "She would have killed Aphrodite. Is one Senshi's life more important than the other?" he demanded, and Mamoru's heart clenched angrily.

Venus placed a calming hand on Kunzite's arm. His friend had always been more darkness than light energy, so the guilt he felt did not consume him like it had his other generals, but Mamoru could feel the anger whirring within him. Seeing Venus like that had almost been enough to take him out of Beryl's fog. He was more furious with himself for having lost control of the darkness he had previously been able to manipulate, but Usagi's loss ached within Mamoru too, and Kunzite's misplaced outrage made him angry.

"She's not just Sailor Moon, Kunzite," he spat. "She's Serenity."

Kunzite frowned as the anger within him dissipated with this new piece of information.

"Tuxedo Kamen, it's getting pretty bad out there! You need to heal them!" This from Mars, who was staring up into the skyline. There was smoke curling into the air from a fire in the distance. The riots were getting out of hand.

He nodded with determination and forced himself to push the ache aside at the thought that he should not be the one doing this. It should have been his beautiful Moon Princess, powerful and bright, healing the masses.

Even though he was much more powerful, the golden energy amplified tenfold within him, healing all of those people had exhausted him. His entire body pulsed with the fatigue. If you paired that with the ache in his heart and the anger coursing through his veins, you had a veritably miserable Mamoru that was currently stumbling through his apartment door.

The very last thing that he wanted to be greeted within that moment was Kunzite and the Senshi leader, that annoyed him so quickly, locked in a tender embrace.

To be fair, the couple was barely touching; his hands only gently grasping her elbows, their heads bent close to each other, whispering soft words. To an outsider, it could scarcely be labelled a public display of affection. To him, however, that was cursed with the stupid ability to feel their emotions, the intimacy of the moment radiated throughout the room.

If it had been any other moment, he would have been pleased for his friends. If Usagi was by his side, if he wasn't so damn tired, if he didn't hurt so badly, he may have laughed in amusement.

Instead, he let out a feral growl of irritation that had both the Senshi and his newly rescued general turning towards him in surprise.

"Get out," he choked out angrily. It was all he could manage. He didn't want to explain why he was acting irrational, he just wanted them to leave. The sight of their happiness too much to bear.

Kunzite tilted his head as he gazed at his friend coolly. He knew Kunzite could sense the furious dark emotions roiling within him, so he knew the general understood what he was feeling. However, the bubbly Senshi of love, which he currently deemed clueless, gasped as her eyes widened in sympathy that he did not want. He would have preferred her righteous indignation.

"Mamoru, wait," she started, but he lifted a hand to interrupt her.

"Minako, I'm really not in the mood right now. What are you guys even doing here? Go away," he breathed out, and the words were pained. "Whatever it is can wait until tomorrow."

Minako flew towards him, grasping his arm, staring up at him with bright, hopeful eyes and a smile on her face. It finally registered that the suffocating despair that he had become used to weighing her down these past weeks was gone entirely, and it was not just because Kunzite had awakened. She was hopeful.

"It can't wait until tomorrow, Mamoru. We've figured out a way to save her, to bring Usagi back!" she cried, happy tears gathering in her blue eyes.

He froze as his heart began to pound painfully within him, too afraid to let the hope unfurl into the pit of defeat in his stomach. "How?" he choked out unable to suppress the emotion in his voice.

"I can do it," Kunzite said with steadfast determination as he strode towards them. Mamoru frowned in confusion. He didn't understand.

"Aphrodite said that the reason you haven't been able to heal her like you have the rest of us is that the Silver Crystal within her is preventing your connection." He nodded at Kunzite's accurate statement. "But, clearly, the crystal is isn't preventing the darkness," Kunzite said and a flash of irritation coursed through him.

He was tired of vague statements and riddles. "What is your point, Kunzite?" he demanded, and his general smiled.

"Well, I can manipulate the darkness," he said quietly. Mamoru inhaled sharply as he understood what Kunzite meant.

He felt the hope unfurl within him as he collapsed onto the couch, his head in his hands, and he felt like he was breathing in relief for the first time in weeks.

They had a plan now. They were going to save her.

Chapter Text


Chapter 13

Serenity awakens

She was infuriated. Her entire body trembled with the rage that had accompanied her devastating failure. She'd had them! She had been so close to crushing them beneath the piercing beams of the glorious dark power that coursed through her. She could feel the heat radiating from her face, it was so hot with rage.

She could not control the hatred swirling through her body. The darkness had full reign; it was serpentined around her core and flowing freely through her veins. There was pain there, too, from the mangled pieces of her arm currently clutched to her chest. Kunzite, the damn traitor! Queen Beryl was going to be livid. A momentary flash of terror ran through her at the thought of her Queen.

The plane of the Dark Kingdom enveloped her, its thick, cloying fog pressed down on her, numbing her body, her black leather heels echoed loudly as they clicked methodically along the stone floors. She swallowed down her terror at the inevitable consequences of allowing another one of the kings, the last king, to be swept away by the black-haired man that made her blood boil in hatred.


The name sent a thrill of something she did not recognize anymore through her. What game was he playing?

"Wicked Lady…"

Something hissed her name quietly through the inky blackness surrounding her. The disembodied voice was like insects crawling over her skin, burrowing into her ears. She twisted around gracefully, her eyes frantically seeking the source of the voice echoing around her.

There was a twinge from within her core; just a small, silvery wisp that emanated for a moment through the fog of her darkness. Wicked Lady angrily stamped it back down inside of her.

"Come find me," the cold voice hissed softly, beckoning her to it.

Her legs moved of their own accord then as she followed the pull of the darkness, through the haziness and the daze. She was dimly aware that she'd moved through several black mirrored glass-like walls, moving from one dark plane to the next, until she reached somewhere cold. It was so cold that her breathing quickened into short, painful gasps and her breath became visible as it curled from her lips that were quickly turning blue. She did not shiver or tremble in the arctic wind, as the darkness trapped inside of her ribcage always kept her cold, and she had become accustomed to it.

She reached a stone archway that led into a darkened chamber. Just before she crossed the threshold, another flare of warning glimmered from her core; that annoying silvery wisp of something that appeared at the strangest times. She hesitated in the doorway, her brow furrowed as she peered into the darkness beyond the archway.

"Come in, my Wicked Lady," the voice whistled with the cold wind, and it was no longer just a sound echoing through her mind and crawling over her skin. It was coming from a pulsating, dark figure from inside the chamber.

'Run. Evil.' Another intrusive thought from the silvery wisp. She grunted out loud in frustration as she stamped it down again. Was she infected with some kind of poison? Tuxedo Kamen's disgusting golden light, perhaps? She'd felt it prodding her barrier, and she had been certain that she had kept it at bay, but maybe some had managed to creep in without her knowledge. Was the silvery wisp the same thing that had been used to brainwash Queen Beryl's traitorous Kings?

"Enter, Wicked Lady," the voice had become impatient, curt, slicing through the air like a knife. She inhaled sharply as she strode into the chamber, the cold beginning to pierce through the numbness now, as she came to stand before the figure that flared, flickered and towered above her.

Wicked Lady gulped as she immediately fell to her knees, bowing her head, her golden locks of hair tumbling with the movement. She knew who this was. This was the Ruler of Darkness, the entity above Queen Beryl. Her master, Queen Metallia.

"Master," she croaked submissively, "how can I serve you?"

The Queen of the Dark Kingdom cackled evilly and she cringed in terror at her awesome power, the same power that Queen Metallia had so graciously granted her access to.

"What a prize you are. I sense something strong inside of you, much stronger than the vessel I had originally intended," the voice wheezed and Wicked Lady's heart began to race, hammering so hard within her, she thought it might explode from her chest.

"Master, Queen Beryl-" she began but Metallia screeched furiously, interrupting her.

"Beryl is no longer worthy. She is distracted from our goal. I will keep her to dispose of our obstacles and then I will be rid of her…" she said with seething disdain. "But you, my Wicked Lady. You will be a magnificent vessel for me, your Queen. Do as I command and become my vessel!"

There was no room for argument. Not that she would have- she would gladly become her vessel. "Of course, my Queen," she said and closed her eyes in anticipation, her breathing ragged and uneven as she silently waited for Metallia to possess her.

She gasped in pain and her eyes flew open as the darkness pierced through her. She inhaled deeply, willing her body to accept the brutal pressure forcing itself in on her. She felt herself fading into a strange haze as a piece of Metallia's energy imbedded itself within the the core of her energy. The process was almost completed when the silvery wisp suddenly roared to life within her.

She cried out in unison with Metallia, who was forced to abort the possession process with only a small portion of herself implanted within Wicked Lady's essence.

"What is this?! Why are you denying me access?" Metallia roared in livid outrage as Wicked Lady stepped back and fell from the chamber onto the cold stone floor.

What was happening to her? Her heart was racing, her ears ringing, her breathing uneven as she panted in anguish, clawing the stone floor beneath her. She was trying to grasp at something -anything- to cool the strange, burning agony that was piercing through the numbing effects of the fog and the darkness that had, up until this point, provided her comfort.

"Wicked Lady!" Metallia hissed. The sound came from inside her as well as from within the chamber that she had just vacated.

'Run!' The silvery wisp demanded and this time the agony prevented her from pushing the warning down. She stood, grasping blindly for the walls behind hot tears of torment, and stumbled through the hall. Metallia's furious rage bellowed behind her and bubbled up from her core as the silvery wisp guided her through the walls of conjured glass. She stumbled breathlessly out of the Dark Kingdom into a deserted clearing that she did not recognize.

She let herself collapse onto her back on the grass, gasping and moaning in anguish, clawing at the dirt beneath her. She tried to focus on the pain that shot up her mangled arm to distract her from the struggle blazing inside of her.

There was a piece of Metallia inside of her battling something else. The stupid, silvery wisp that took the comforting numbness away and brought her only pain; hot, searing, blazing, pain.

She gasped and panted as she tried to claw at her chest and face to stop it, her nails raking painfully across her flesh as she screamed.

The forces battling inside her pulled and prodded at her until the blurry blue sky above her disappeared and everything went black.

The pain was blissfully absent now as her eyes opened and adjusted to the light. The thrum of agony from her mangled arm was curiously missing as well as she peered at her surroundings. She was in a circular room. It was such a beautiful room, with marbled white walls and glistening floors. Everything was so pristine and white; the brightness of it hurt her eyes.

In the middle of the room stood a tall crystal tower. It sparkled brilliantly, sending lights dancing across the room as rays of sunshine filtered in through a beautiful, stained-glass window. In front of it stood a beautiful, serene woman with silver tresses of hair. She was clad in a glittering white gown that pooled elegantly at her feet.

She gasped as the woman turned towards her. She was vaguely familiar; her purple eyes were wide and there was an emotion she didn't recognize anymore pouring out of them. On her forehead was a symbol. A crescent moon.

"My darling daughter, do you know where you are?" the specter said, her voice soft and pleading.

She didn't know what to say, or what to do. She stood frozen in place, her mind racing, only dimly registering what the lady had said. Daughter?

"This was not what I had envisioned for you when I sent you back," she whispered softly and then turned to the glistening crystal tower. "This is the Chamber of Prayer in the Moon Kingdom, Serenity. I know that you don't remember this right now, but you will need to remember this later. In times of great need, offer a prayer to this tower, and it will help you."

She searched through her mind for something that she could remember, some snippet of a memory that she could recall, but there was nothing. She choked desperately on her frustration, hot tears pooling in her eyes before flowing freely down her cheeks.

"Who am I?" she choked out. Was she Wicked Lady, still? Or was she Serenity, as this woman had proclaimed? Or was she Usa … she couldn't even finish that name as it filled her with terror.

The woman's face crumpled in sorrow as she held out her arms. She only hesitated for a moment before she fell into them gratefully, wrapping her arms around her, choking on her sadness.

"My darling, you know who you are, I know that you do," her mother whispered comfortingly as she stroked the golden locks of loose hair on her head. "Right now we are inside of you, within the Silver Crystal, that is your birthright."

She frowned in confusion. Was she within the silvery wisp that had fought so hard against Queen Metallia?

"I am going to have to send you back out there, Serenity. Into the darkness. It is going to be agonizing," the woman's voice was filled with pain as her arms tightened around her. "I wish that I did not need to ask this of you, but your fate and the fate of this planet depends on your strength now, Serenity. When you go back, you must not let the darkness consume you or the brightness within you. You will need to find a way to fight and destroy it."

She trembled from the woman's words. Who was she? What was she fighting? Why was there going to be pain?

"Remember, my darling, the crystal will grant you your deepest desires," she breathed softly as the room flickered around them. "Go now. Be strong. Keep the darkness at bay and remember."

The woman released her gently from her embrace and she cried out mournfully as the terror began to overwhelm her senses.

"I don't know what to do! How do I remember who I am?" she called out to her flickering mother, whose soft face was slowly fading away from her.

"Find your prince, my love."

She stood within the Chamber of Prayer for only a moment longer before the vision completely faded and sent her hurtling back into consciousness. Her eyes flew open to be greeted by the blue sky above her.

She screamed in agony, her back arching as the searing pain blasted through her body. The darkness of Metallia thrummed through her core, clawing at the silver ball inside of her, at her mind that was only just holding it at bay.

It hurt so badly. It felt like the very breath inside of her lungs was on fire and it was blazing and bubbling out of her like molten lava, burning her insides into a blackened crisp.

Give in. Metallia demanded, trying to entice her with the numbness of the fog that she had just escaped. She knew she could not give in, despite her pain and despite the fact that she couldn't remember why she had to be strong and what she was protecting. There was a jumbled mess of memories bouncing around her aching brain.

Tuxedo Kamen with red eyes, demanding her name. Tuxedo Kamen with soft eyes kissing her lips amidst the lights of a carnival. Tuxedo Kamen holding her, kissing her in a marbled ballroom as they swirled across the floor.

Which one was true? Who was Tuxedo Kamen? What was inside the silver light within her that she needed to protect from Metallia?

She didn't know anything anymore, but she knew she couldn't go back to the darkness. She sobbed brokenly as she forced herself to her knees and pulled threads of strength from the silver ball inside her. It dulled the agonizing ache slightly, just enough that she was able to force herself onto her feet to try and get her bearings. There was a sharp pain that coursed up her arm and she whimpered as she held the mangled limb to her chest as she began to slowly move forward, using all of her focus to put one foot in front of the other.

Give up, Wicked Lady. Let me in. She stumbled at Metallia's words but forced herself to keep moving, to ignore her and the numbness she knew would take the pain away.

"Find your prince, my love," her white-clad mother's softer whisper echoed inside of her. Yes, that was what she needed to do. She fell to her knees again as Metallia sent a particularly painful slice of darkness through her. Her head fell into her hands and she wept mournfully, reaching out with all her might.

Where are you, my Prince?

Mamoru raked a frustrated hand through his hair. He was surprised he had any hair left with the amount of times he had done that in the past hour. He was still adjusting to the fact that, by some miracle, he had managed to save all of his generals. He couldn't remember the last time that he had convened with all four of them thousands of years ago, so it was hard to ignore the nostalgia bubbling up inside of his chest as he watched them now. The energy in the room was electric and swirling with anticipation and power-driven concepts as they stood in Nephrite's condo, debating all the aspects of their current plan of action.

With Kunzite, the others believed they had enough dark power between the three of them to open a door into the Dark Kingdom. Together, they would go in and find Usagi. Kunzite would pull the darkness within her aside just enough that Mamoru would be able to use the power of the Golden Kingdom and heal her. It was, in theory, an excellent plan, but it was not without its risks, which was why the others had been adamant that they did not want to involve the Senshi, unwilling to risk any danger to the women they loved.

"Kunzite, are you certain that you will be able to do this? If we get there and you fail, we'll have to fight Serenity in her territory," Jadeite questioned. It didn't matter that Mamoru knew that Jadeite meant well, that he was just trying to explore all possibilities, it still sent a flash of irritation coursing through him.

"It's not her territory," he snapped, his voice sounding cracked and pain-filled even to his own ears. He couldn't erase the horrible images of her from the night before from his mind.

Jadeite tilted his head with an apologetic smile and sympathetic eyes. "Of course, I know that it is not technically her territory, Endymion," he said softly, like he was trying to reason with a caged animal.

Which is exactly how he felt. Like a caged animal, restless and ready to rip through the hypothetical bars to save his broken princess.

"I can do it, Jadeite," Kunzite replied with a harsh fervor that was layered with the deep-seated anger he felt coursing through his friend. He was still struggling with the anger at his perceived failure in falling to Beryl so long ago.

"Well, then let's do this. The sooner we get there, the sooner we get back to come up with a plan to crush Beryl for good," Nephrite growled furiously. The energy threads within him coiled tightly, preparing to fight through his anger.

"Zoi, maybe you should stay here," Jadeite stated softly and he watched as Zoisite's eyes hardened and flashed at the strategist with determination.

"No way! I might not be able to use the darkness like all of you, but I know I can be useful. I can do this, and I'm coming with you," he spat, the usual carefree tone in his voice absent in the face of his determined resolution.

He regarded his friends carefully as they continued to debate Zoisite's presence in the face of battle and he felt his throat constrict painfully with emotion. He had lost them twice, although the second time he hadn't remembered their connection, and he didn't want to mess this up. He didn't want to lose any of his loyal friends to Beryl or death again, but he needed Usagi like he needed to breathe. He couldn't stand to leave her in that place for a moment longer and he needed his friends to help him rescue her.

He frowned as a twinge of pain fluttered in his chest but then gasped as it unfurled into a burst of heart-wrenching, agonizing, pain. He clutched his burning chest as he stumbled to the floor. He had never felt a pain so raw and intense before, and he cried out in fury as he realized what was currently burning him up inside.

His connection to Usagi.

Zoisite, who had been the closest to him, fell to the floor beside him.

"E! What the hell? Are you alright?" he demanded anxiously and he looked up at his generals that were all staring at him with varying expressions of concern. Only Kunzite's eyes were wide and horrified as he could feel the echoes from within him.

"It's the princess," Kunzite stated and flew to Mamoru's side, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. "Endymion, lessen the connection so that you can concentrate on the threads. We'll find her," he directed and Mamoru grit his teeth as his eyes watered from the pressure.

Jesus Christ, what had they done to her?

He forced himself to diminish the connection between them and he closed his eyes in concentration, his fists clenching in rage as he searched through the multitude of webs of energy for the one that was currently screaming out for him.

His eyes hardened with resolve as he instantaneously transformed and leapt through the balcony doors, not caring if his generals were following behind him.

He blindly leapt from one building to another, his muscled legs steady beneath him as he pushed them to go to her.

He choked on the bile that rose in his throat when he did find her.

She lay on the ground, her hands clawing at her chest and face that were already covered in blood from the grooves that her nails had created. Her arm was still mangled and broken in several places, her dress shredded to pieces and her long blonde hair was twisted haphazardly around her. Her eyes were clenched shut and her face tightened as she whimpered in agony.

He cried in fury as he fell down beside her, reaching for her and pulling her into his arms. She fought him, the hands that had been clawing at her own body turned towards him. He had to forcefully restrain her wrists to stop her.

He could only faintly feel the pure silver threads of her energy pulsing inside of her. There was something else twisted and coiled around it. It spiraled and tightened around her core, trying to suffocate her essence. He had never felt something like this before.

He could barely hold her still as she writhed and twisted on his lap, crying out in a painful rage. "Usako, please, my love, it's me," he pleaded, his voice hoarse and broken as he blinked back the angry tears at the sight of the shattered shell of the girl he loved.

What was wrong with her? What had they done to her?

He channeled the golden energy from his core and pressed the light into her chest. He choked on the resistance that met him from within her. He had never felt anything like this before, the dark threads inside of her like steel bands woven so tightly into her core that he grit his teeth on the effort it took to bypass them.

She was no longer blocking him out. Iin fact, her silvery energy was desperately reaching out to him, but the thing twisted inside of her was trying to stop him.

The air beside him shifted as his generals arrived and he heard their synchronized gasps of angry revulsion at the sight of her in his arms. He didn't bother to look up, his eyes still closed in concentration, perspiration beading on his face as he bore down and tried to heal her. He just couldn't untangle the iron clad web inside of her.

"Kunzite," he choked out painfully, opening his eyes to stare up into the steely eyes of his white-haired general. "Can you manipulate this? Can you pull the darkness out?" he croaked out through the strain it took to keep his energy connected to her.

Kunzite knelt beside him and cradled her thrashing head in his firm grip. He felt the darkness within Kunzite prodding within her, and it felt like hours before Kunzite pulled away from her, his eyes wide and sad.

"I'm sorry. I can't do it," he said desolately, "that is not darkness inside of her, Endymion." His eyes shot up to Kunzites in confusion. What did that mean? Why couldn't he do this? He only realized that he had said the questions out loud when Kunzite answered them.

"It's not darkness, it's evil."

His body froze and the blood drained from his face at Kunzite's whispered statement. Evil? He had been faced with inherent evil before but the thought that it was twisted up into the bright, pure, warrior of justice in his arms filled him with the wrath he needed to push him past the thing inside of her to connect with her light.

He couldn't expel any of the twisted serpent of evil inside of her, but he was able to expand her silver brightness that widened and more easily kept the clawing thing at bay. The flesh wounds on her face and chest meshed back together, leaving smooth, pearly skin in its wake and the bones in her arm snapped and popped as it mended.

She melted with relief into his arms then, her exhausted body slack as she whimpered softly.

"Thank you," she whispered, her voice hoarse and pained. "It is easier now, to keep her away."

He gathered her to his chest, cradling her head in his trembling hands.

"Keep who away, Usako? Beryl?" he probed tenderly and she winced, her arms clutching at her middle as he felt the thing flare inside of her again.

"No, not her... She's nothing. It wants to use me, to take it from inside of me, but I have to protect it. I can't let her have it," her words were frenzied now and her body began to rage with fever. "I don't know who I am. Can you tell me who I am?" she moaned pitifully and he choked on his tears, his arms shuddering with fury as he clasped her against him.

Her eyes closed as she gave in to the exhaustion, her head slumping forward, her breathing ragged. His healing ministrations had pushed the evil aside enough that it had afforded her respite from her internal struggle and granted her the ability to fall into a fitful sleep.

"We need to get her somewhere safe, Endymion," Kunzite whispered gently and Mamoru gazed, bleary-eyed, into his general's hardened stare.

Yes, he needed to bring her home and find a way to fix this; to heal her, to make her remember, to soothe the torment burning up inside of her. Then, he was going to rip the Dark Kingdom to shreds.

He refused to let her go, her sleeping form curled in his arms, as he sat on the sofa in his apartment encircled by an array of generals and Senshi. He ignored the frantic conversation and the buzz of their intermingling energies as he focused solely on Usagi. The moonlight filtered in through his balcony doors, softly lighting Usagi's strained, pale face.

He kept his palm pressed firmly to her back, fighting her internal battle against evil for her so that she could continue to sleep. Every time he felt the evil entity flare and try to claw its way into her core, he poured his golden energy inside of her to keep it firmly at bay. It was exhausting and he couldn't imagine the agony she must have felt trying to do it by herself.

"So, did Beryl just let her go, then? Did she fight her off?" Venus demanded desperately, the question directed to no one in particular, her gaze trained on the princess with sorrow-filled eyes.

"We don't know, exactly. She reached out to Endymion and we found her like this," Jadeite responded and the others in the room quieted as they regarded the strategist. "I don't think it was Beryl that did this to her." His voice was deathly quiet and the generals exchanged infuriatingly knowing looks.

"Spit it out," Mamoru snapped, startling Usagi who moaned painfully, her eyes fluttering for a moment before closing again. He readjusted her in his arms and she settled back into a fitful sleep.

"It's Queen Metallia," Kunzite stated and they all turned to him. "She's Beryl's master, her connection to the powers she has. We reported to Beryl, so I only felt her evil once when I was under her control, but that is what is inside of the princess right now."

Metallia flared inside of Usagi at the sound of her name. He grit his teeth angrily as he flooded her with light that pushed the monster away again.

"What do we do? How do we get this out of her?" Mars whispered and the silence around the room thickened with a swirling uncertainty. They didn't know what to do.

"I can't believe that she is controlling it right now. Her strength is incredible," Mercury's voice cut through the silence. The blue visor that connected with her mini computer shielding her eyes as she scanned the energy inside of Usagi. "Don't break your connection, Mamoru. It must be such a relief to her," Mercury said and there was a catch of emotion in her voice. Zoisite pulled the blunette into his arms as they gazed down at Usagi, completely at a loss for words.

The suffocating desolation churned through the silence of the room. He noted that even Jadeite had gone mute as he gazed down at Usagi's face. The guilt overwhelmed Mamoru. She should never have had to bear this torment. It should have been him.

"It's time to go to the Moon," Luna's voice cut through the fog of despair as she leapt onto the coffee table, her wide cat eyes filled with stubborn determination. He constantly forgot about the cat that was always underfoot, Usagi's mentor and guide throughout all of her lives.

He narrowed his eyes in confusion, unaware that going back to the destroyed Moon Kingdom that had been Serenity's home was even a possibility.

"It's time to go, Senshi. We will find the answers we need there. I am certain of it," Luna stated firmly. "Mamoru, Usagi is in no condition to come with us. You will need to stay here and protect her while we are gone. Can you do this?" The cat demanded and he tightened his arms more firmly around Usagi.

The cat's stare was demanding and intense and it conveyed the trust she felt, leaving her charge solely in his hands while she was gone. He only managed a nod as Luna turned swiftly and bounced onto the balcony.

He felt the determination swirl in the room as the Senshi warriors, with squared shoulders and set jaws, left the arms of the generals that loved them and followed Luna out into the night.

It didn't hurt as much. The dark fog of sleep didn't offer the same numbing effect as the fog that Queen Metallia promised, but it was a welcome refuge to the burning fire that had consumed her before.

She kept her eyes closed as she resurfaced into consciousness and cringed as she prepared herself for the twisting agony of Metallia's wrath. Her grimace turned into a frown instead. The pain was still there, and it hurt- it hurt very badly- but it was dull compared to what it had been. She had become so accustomed to the agony that this pain was manageable.

She could feel the silver ball of light inside of her, the darkness of Metallia and then- something else, something warm. It was soothing the ache in her chest. The pain had dulled enough for her to become aware of more than the swirling battle inside of her.

The last thing she remembered was collapsing in the clearing, delusional and feverish from the strain of fighting against Metallia's grasp.

She became aware of two things simultaneously; she was not laying on the hard dirt ground of the clearing, but on something soft. The warm glow flooding into her body was emanating from what felt like a strong hand pressed to the small of her back, cradling her in a firm embrace.

She tentatively opened her eyes and met the soft, tired gaze from deep pools of midnight blue. It was Tuxedo Kamen, untransformed, like he had been in the arcade.

They were laying in a bed and he was the reason she was able to manage Metallia's pain.

She'd lost so much and her recollections of him were jumbled and tangled up. There were so many confusing things that didn't make sense anymore and it was so frustrating not to be able to grasp at the strands of memories that danced just beyond her finger tips. Just outside of the silvery wisp, she could feel Metallia flaring and demanding that she hate him.

"You're awake," he whispered tenderly and his voice sounded strained, exhausted, though she couldn't quite understand why.

"Why are you helping me?" she whispered and was pleased to hear that her voice wasn't as broken and raw as it had felt. She watched in confusion as his brow furrowed and he silently cursed.

"Usako, don't you remember me?" he asked pleadingly. That name again. Usako. Was that who she was? Usako?

"You're Tuxedo Kamen, we fought, and you hate me," she bit her lip in an effort to stop the words before they spilled from her mouth, but it was too late. She didn't know why the thought of him hating her hurt, but memories of his hatred were the freshest in her mind.

Except that, his eyes were not red like they were in all the memories from Beryl's fog.

She watched as his eyes widened and filled with anguish. That was an emotion she knew very well now and she choked on her guilt. Beryl's fog was all lies. This man was important to her, important enough that Beryl had wanted her to believe they hated each other. Why couldn't she remember him?

In his shock, the powerful soothing energy that he was channeling into her faltered and she hissed through her teeth and clutched at her chest as Metallia sent a slice of pain through her.

Give in. The Queen of Darkness demanded and she grit her teeth. No. She would never give in again.

"Dammit, I'm so sorry Usako," he said as the golden light strengthened and stamped the pain back down again. She sighed in relief as she felt the light he was providing join hers again to keep Metallia away.

"I'm sorry I don't remember you. I know that it's not true. I know Beryl planted lies in my mind but it's hard to forget the things she made me think- the things you did-" she choked on a broken sob and he crushed her to his chest, tightening his arms around her and burying his head in her hair. It felt nice, he was so warm and she clutched at the front of his shirt to pull him closer.

She didn't know if the mother that she had spoken to in the silver light was real. She didn't know if it had been a delusion to distract her from the pain, but her words still echoed through her.

She wanted her to find her prince. Was it possible that Tuxedo Kamen was that man? The prince that could help her?

"Can you help me, Tuxedo Kamen? It hurts so badly, and you make the pain so much easier to bear. Can you help me remember who I am?" she whispered, her voice desperately beseeching him to mend the broken pieces of her mind.

He groaned as he cradled her face in his hands, his lips just inches from hers.

"Yes," he breathed gruffly, "I can help you remember."

He closed his eyes, his face crumpled with the strain it took for him to keep the warm energy flowing to keep fighting Metallia, as well as pull a seperate thread of golden light to weave through her mind.

The memories came flooding back in torrential waves, drowning out the nightmares that Beryl and Metallia had rooted in their place.

The emotions crashed into her first; happiness, longing, passion, and a deep and endless love for the man currently healing her and love for the friends that treasured her. The feelings were intense and raw as they poured over her, causing Metallia to screech and roar in fury.

Then the memories of her life as Usagi came crashing into her, one after the other. They started from her earliest childhood memory to her more recent memories. There were visions of flushed faces, passionate kisses, and tender embraces. The way she'd felt insecure about her clumsiness around him and the way he had banished her thoughts of inadequacy with his love for her. The memory of the love she felt for her newly discovered Senshi and the generals that loved them. The horror of the recent battles they fought and won, the things that he'd done to save all of them, the way he loved her, cherished her and protected her.

There was sorrow as well; the loss of her family, the day she had discovered that he had lied to her, but it was nothing compared to the nightmares Beryl had weaved for her.

"Mamo-chan," she whispered brokenly, the tears rolling down her cheeks. He sighed as his head fell onto the pillow in exhaustion. He ran a tender hand down to cup her cheek, the pad of his thumb gently wiping away her tears. He then let his hand run along the curve of her neck to settle on her chest just below her collar bone. She could feel the golden energy falter in the strain that it took for him to keep his eyes open.

She covered his hand with her own, her fingers intermingling with his.

"Mamo-chan, it's okay. Sleep now, I can fight on my own for a while," she murmured soothingly and still he fought through the exhaustion.

"No, Usako, there's more. You need to remember everything," his words were slurred and she knew he meant her memories of her life as Princess Serenity. She knew what those memories would bring. They would awaken her and release the Silver Crystal. She needed the Crystal to stay locked away for now, so that it could continue to fight off Metallia.

"It's okay, Mamo-chan," she murmured and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his chest.

She knew the exact moment that he fell asleep and grit her teeth and bit her lip to keep herself from crying out in agony as the full force of Metallia barrelled into her core.

The fire blazing through her body was just as painful as it had been before, but this time, she remembered everything and she'd never felt stronger.

The sky looked like it was on fire, the red and orange hues expanding with the rising of the sun. With the appearance of the sun, marked the disappearance of the Moon and the anticipated arrival of the four Senshi and their cats.

He decided, not for the first time, that his apartment was decidedly too small for all of them combined.

It didn't help that his generals had refused to leave, knowing full well that the Senshi would come here first, rather than seek them out. He could feel the anxiety coursing through all of them, although they had barely said a word since the girls had leapt from the balcony and he had taken Usagi into the bedroom to rest.

He'd expelled every last bit of the energy that he had left untangling the snarled mess that Beryl had implanted in Usagi's mind. He'd meant to let her rest longer, but he had been the one to fall, unwillingly, into the dark void of sleep.

Her shuddering form had woken him up with a start. Her eyes were wide and filled with pain, tears of agony rolling down her cheeks. There was blood on her lower lip from her teeth that had bitten through it with the effort it had taken her to stay silent through her pain. The sight of her like that had filled him with such a guilt-ridden rage that he'd trembled as he connected his energy to hers, channeling the healing power that would offer her some temporary relief from the battle that she'd been fighting alone as he slept.

They'd left the bedroom about an hour ago to wait in the living room with the rest of his generals for the Senshi she was anxious to see. It infuriated him that on top of everything she had been through and the agony she was currently enduring, that she also bore the unnecessary pangs of guilt for having attacked her friends. It made him ache to see the haunted shadows flicker in the blue eyes that had only ever been filled with a bright pureness that was so uniquely his Usako.

The apartment was unnaturally quiet as they each fought with their own inner demons, waiting for the Senshi to arrive. Jadeite sat at the kitchen table with Nephrite. Jadeite had managed to keep himself busy with a particle physics book he was half-heartedly reading while Nephrite had opted to silently brood, lost in thought. Zoisite had fallen asleep on the sofa and Kunzite had disappeared into the kitchen.

He sat with Usagi on the recliner. She was curled up in his arms and there were dark circles under her eyes. Her face was unnaturally pale, her breathing slightly labored as she fought off the monster inside of her. He gently stroked her back in an effort to soothe the inner battle raging within her, along with the healing energy that he offered her to help her fight.

When the balcony doors flew open and the girls, clad in their Senshi Fuku's, bounded into the room, he felt the energy around them perceptibly lighten with relief. His generals made their way into the living room, respectively keeping their distance, as the Senshi's eyes widened eagerly at the sight of a conscious Usagi.

Usagi gasped excitedly and then shuddered as Metallia flared up angrily, trying to take advantage of Usagi's momentary lapse of focus. His jaw clenched furiously as he blasted her back down. She offered him a small, grateful smile as she peered up at him from weary eyes. He didn't know how much longer she could do this and he prayed the Senshi had come back with answers so that he could destroy the evil inside of her.

"Usagi, you're awake!" Jupiter exclaimed first as the girls gathered around them. Luna jumped into her lap, nuzzling into her hand.

Usagi laughed, but it was a half-hearted, stressed laugh, and he felt the concern threading through the girls as they exchanged worried looks.

"Usagi, are you alright?" Mars asked tentatively, kneeling in front of the princess in his arms, and taking her hand gently into hers. He felt Usagi tremble against him, overcome with emotion along with another sharp flare from Metallia.

"I'm fine, Rei," she whispered and he knew that she was just trying to reassure her friends, like she always did. While he admired that in her, now was not the time to gloss over her agony.

"She's not fine. She remembers, but Metallia is burning up inside of her," he stated firmly, ignoring Usagi's glare. "Did you find answers?" he demanded and watched as Venus stepped forward.

She stood tall, her expression hard and stoic as she stared down at him. His eyes flew to her gloved fist that was clenching a steel sword in her hand. It looked vaguely familiar.

"What is that, Minako?" Usagi asked the question for him and Venus frowned, meeting his gaze with an inquisitive tilt of her head.

"I thought you said she remembered?" Venus inquire, her voice tinged with confusion.

"She still doesn't remember her life as Serenity," he responded. Usagi gasped and her body stiffened as another wave of agony pierced through her and he tightened his arms around her, quietly concentrating on helping her ride out another burst of evil.

"Why not?" Venus demanded indignantly and he grit his teeth as he forcibly swallowed the unreasonable irritation she always brought out in him.

"I would really appreciate it if you guys would stop talking about me like I'm not sitting right here. I'm in pain, not invisible!" she snapped and Venus bit her lip guiltily. "I need the Silver Crystal to stay exactly where it is right now. I don't think I can fight the fog otherwise," she whispered and he choked on the emotional impact of her reply.

That made sense- he inwardly cursed his stupidity -of course it did. The Silver Crystal was the only thing keeping Metallia and Wicked Lady at bay right now.

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. The girls regarded Usagi, consumed in their helpless despair.

"The sword Minako," Usagis voice cut through the silence. "What is it?"

Minako visibly gulped down her emotion and then nodded to herself. He felt as her resolve hardened.

"It's called the Holy Sword, Usagi. It's the sword I used, so long ago, to destroy Beryl the first time. It's also the sword that you used to–" she faltered on the words and his eyes widened. It was the sword she'd used to take her own life after he'd fallen.

He knew that Usagi knew what Venus had meant, and there was no need to finish the sentence. It hung in the air around them.

"I'm going to use it to destroy Beryl again," Venus said quietly and Usagi shuddered in agony as she fought another wave of evil again. He could feel the familiar pull of exhaustion as he helped her push it away.

"What about Metallia? How did you destroy her before?" Usagi choked out and he frowned as he looked up into Venus's eyes. Surely, this was the answer they were waiting for.

"We didn't destroy Metallia, Usagi." Venus shifted uncomfortably under their gaze. "Queen Serenity sealed her away, with the Silver Imperium Crystal, only after we died and the Silver Millennium Kingdom fell. She used the last of her strength to send us all back, to be happy."

Usagi trembled and choked on the emotion bubbling up inside of her. He felt it too and he fought the urge to crush her to his chest and will her pain away.

"So, there's no hope, then?" she whispered and he didn't understand what she meant.

"Yes, there is, Princess," Nephrite quipped from behind the circle of girls. They all turned to stare at him in confusion, Jupiter automatically moving into his arms. "We'll help you fight," his voice was gruff and filled with determination.

"Yeah, you've still got us. We know the Dark Kingdom inside and out. If there is a way to kill Metallia, we'll find it," the impassioned declaration came from Zoisite on the sofa.

His gaze met Jadeite's, that was now standing behind the kneeling Mars, his eyes were filled with loyal determination. Kunzite, who had come to stand beside them, was nodding with stanch tenacity. He would fight with them as well. Mamoru felt the hope unfurl inside of him. He had his generals this time. They would win. They had to.

He gasped, suddenly, in unison with Usagi as something sharp tore through her core, something different than Metallia's grasp. Usagi tore herself from his arms and fell painfully to her knees. He knelt down beside her, grasping her shoulders and staring at her in confusion.

He could feel the new thread of darkness thrumming inside of her as her chest heaved from her labored breathing, her teeth grit with stubborn determination.

"I'm really glad to hear that Zoisite, because I'm pretty sure Beryl is summoning me right now," she spat, her voice strained and hoarse.

He felt it then, as one by one, the Senshi and the general's threads of energy coiled and tightened in preparation.

This time, they were taking the fight to Beryl.

There were several arguments being heatedly discussed throughout the room and it was difficult to keep up with all of them through the multiple needles of agony piercing into her. Metallia's fury and Beryl's summons were ripping her to shreds. The Silver Crystal, paired with Mamoru's golden light, tightly laced together, offered temporary respite to the burning ache and allowed her to slightly focus on the conversation swirling around her.

She supposed that it was inevitable that with so many passionate personalities in one room that it might be difficult to agree on one plan of action, but they were running out of time. She wasn't sure how Beryl was still connected to her, but she knew that despite the fact that she was clearly Usagi again, Wicked Lady and Metallia were still there, just beyond the silver light, biding their time and waiting for a lapse in her focus.

Another flash of pain pierced through her abdomen. "We have to go," she hissed through gritted teeth. "Beryl is coming, and if we don't want to meet her here, we'll need to go somewhere else."

The heated conversation stopped immediately and Mamoru's arms tightened around her as his generals exchanged knowing looks. The very familiar with the pull that Beryl had when entrenched within her control.

Venus was the first to break out of her shocked stupor.

"Usagi, can you transform?" She asked, her tone urgent as she regarded Usagi with wide eyes.

Could she transform?

She didn't know how she had managed to keep her brooch throughout her ordeal in the Dark Kingdom, but she reached for it now. Her fingers tentative as they encircled the cool piece of jewelry. Another flare of agony- this time from Metallia- pierced through her abdomen just as she shouted the words that would enable her to become the Moon Senshi. Mamoru was still channeling the golden energy into her, but it didn't matter. The process faltered and she collapsed mid-transformation, her sailor fuku flickering around her, before completely fading.

She simply couldn't channel the power she needed to be the Sailor Guardian and keep out Metallia at the same time, even with Mamoru's help. Her fists clenched in frustration and she fought the urge to stomp her foot like a petulant child. She felt like a failure.

"Hey, it's alright Usako," Mamoru murmured, pulling her shuddering form back into his arms.

"We can protect you," he finished tenderly and the statement sent a wave of frustrated despair through her. She didn't want to be protected. She wanted to be useful. She wanted to protect them.

"I know that you can do this Usagi," they all turned to the impassioned voice of Luna that had hopped onto the back of the couch. "I'm going back to the Moon with Artemis. If there is any answers that will lead us to Metallia's destruction, we'll find them there," she stated and Usagi felt the tears well in her eyes as she nodded wordlessly to the little cat that had been with her, guiding her, since the beginning.

"Zoi, stay here. Go to headquarters and monitor from there," Mercury's quiet plea resonated in the room.

Mamoru's general stiffened and he shook his head, determination flashing from his eyes. Another impatient flash from Beryl coursed through her. She clutched Mamoru's arm with desperate urgency.

"I know what you're going to say, Zoi, but I need to concentrate on fighting Beryl. If anything happened to you… please, Zoi," Ami's voice was desperate. Usagi didn't hear his response as the pressure created by Metallia's consistent attacks and Beryl's persistent summons was quickly becoming unbearable.

"Wicked Lady," the words echoed through her along with a painful pull in her chest. She didn't know if it was Metallia or Beryl this time. She bit her lip nervously as her eyes watered in fear.

Beryl was coming for her.

Mamoru had felt it inside of her, too. Her heart leapt into her throat in surprise as he swiftly swept her into his arms. She barely had time to wrap her arms around his neck as he transformed into Tuxedo Kamen and leapt from the balcony, soaring through the air and expertly landing on the pavement below. He began to move quickly from rooftop to rooftop with breathtaking speed. She buried her face in the crook of his neck as the cool air swirled around them, the wind whistling in her ears as it sent her silken strands of golden hair twisting around their forms. She knew the others were not far behind them.

She fought through another attack from Metallia as she clutched Mamoru, focusing on the steady beat of his heart beneath her palm that she pressed to his chest. The ball of pressure exploded inside of her and she knew that they had run out of time.

The sun had completely risen, and it burned brightly in the cloudless sky overhead when they finally stopped in a deserted park. Mamoru gently placed her on her feet but kept her firmly in the circle of his arms as the other Senshi and generals arrived and surrounded them protectively. She did not see Zoisite among them. Mercury must have been able to convince him to stay behind.

She faintly noted that Mamoru was tense behind her, his arms tightening almost painfully around her as his narrowed eyes scanned their surroundings. She knew that he could probably sense the impending doom in the air and she shuddered with dread. The wind noticeably picked up and churned around them, whistling through the leaves and twirling the empty swing, the chains creaking ominously beside them.

"Tuxedo Kamen, protect Usagi! We'll fight!" Venus commanded and she heard Mamoru sigh with irritation behind her.

She smiled softly at that. Mamoru and the Senshi leaders dislike for each other was almost comical given that they were so much alike; both compassionate, stubborn leaders that spent all of their time protecting her. Metallia practically screeched as her love for them expanded in her chest and she choked as she felt her evil grip tighten and claw at her core. Her knees buckled, mostly from exhaustion, at the particularly painful snap inside of her.

Mamoru growled angrily as he held her against him. He was probably exhausted too.

The sky above them darkened as purple veins of lightning flashed across the horizon and a doorway to the Dark Kingdom ripped open in front of them. Beryl appeared suddenly, her long red hair swirling around her, a long metal staff clutched in her hand as her red eyes scanned over them furiously. Her lips stretched into a nasty sneer over angrily grit teeth as her eyes narrowed on Usagi.

"Wicked Lady, I'm so disappointed in you. Don't you remember what they did to you? How terrible they are? Come back to us," she hissed and extended her arm, nails curling from bony fingers into her palm as she beckoned her. She felt Metallia's flame hiss in anticipation inside of her.

"My name is Usagi!" she cried out desperately. Her voice cracked as it burst from an achingly raw throat, the words tangling up on her dry tongue. Beryl's eyes flashed dangerously and her sneer curled into a sinister smile as she raised her sharply angled eyebrow.

"Are you sure?" she spoke the words slowly, her tone taunting as she flicked her wrist towards Usagi, sending a wave of cloying fog that took her off guard.

"What is your name?" She commanded as the fog momentarily enveloped her mind, sending flashes of Beryl's nightmare through her. She cried out at the terror the images evoked and, if not for Mamoru's firm grasp and golden light, Metallia may have managed to claw her way through.

"That's enough of this!" Venus cried out furiously. "Senshi, attack!"

The battle began in earnest then. The senshi and the generals flew at Beryl with every attack that they possessed in their arsenal of elemental and dark powers. The tears fell from her eyes at her inability to help her friends as she sank to her knees in anguish. It hurt so very badly and she felt the guilt and the feelings of inadequacy pressing down on her. Metallia roared in pleasure as the dark fog crept in a little closer to her core.

Mamoru, in response to the despondency within her, exhaled sharply, forcibly cradling her face in his warm hands, bringing his face only inches from hers.

"Usako, stop it," the pleading desperation in his voice plucked at her heartstrings, even as Metallia screeched her displeasure. "Don't you dare give in. You're the strongest person I know. There is not a person alive that could do what you have done," Mamoru whispered, and she felt his hand tremble as he stroked her hair. There was a firm confidence behind those words, interlaced with a faith in her ability to fight and be stronger than she had been before. She pulled from that strength and grit her teeth in determination.

She tried to focus on the battle unfolding around them and noticed that Beryl's red eyes were trained angrily on her. The witch easily fought off Mars's fire assault with a shield of darkness and with a casual flick of her staff, blew away Mercury's mist. Usagi gasped as Beryl raised her staff and prepared to attack her and Mamoru, but she faltered as a ball of darkness hit her directly in the chest. The attack had come from Kunzite.

She roared in fury and Usagi watched in terror as her hair began to pulse with a dark aura as it grew and extended, wrapping all the senshi in its grasp, like steel bands squeezing the life from them.

"No!" she choked out in unison with the generals and tried to stand, only to be pulled back to the ground by Mamoru.

The generals, poised to attack, froze helplessly in the face of the Senshi's cries of agony. Beryl cackled darkly as she regarded the horrified looks on their faces with a victorious smile.

"What is wrong with you? I saved you from this! Love makes you weak and pathetic!" she screamed. "Let me save you again, my precious Kings."

Nephrite cried in fury as his palms widened with an attack, a large beam of icy darkness expanding in his palms. Mamoru inhaled sharply and stiffened behind her.

"Nephrite! Control it!" he cried. Usagi gasped anxiously as she glanced back at the general whose eyes were dangerously close to darkening. She could tell he regained control when the the beam sputtered a little bit, losing its potency.

Beryl laughed maliciously, the sound echoing around them as she tightened her hold on the Senshi warriors, their cries of pain intensifying. The generals all sent attacks at her then, all muted pieces of darkness that she easily evaded. Usagi gasped in agony, her eyes watering with the need to help them.

"Mamo-chan, you need to help them," she whispered urgently and she could see the hesitation in his eyes. "I'm fine, Mamo-chan. I promise that I can fight this on my own while you save our friends," she said confidently and with passion, her eyes silently imploring with him to leave her. She could see the internal struggle on his face, but the screams of the Senshi solidified his decision. With a groan of frustration, he leant over to press a quick kiss to her lips and then leapt to fight Beryl with his Generals.

She braced herself in preparation for the pain with the absence of Mamoru's light and was not surprised as it seared through her. She bit her lip to keep from crying out and dug her fingers into the dirt beneath her in an effort to ground herself.

She watched, bleary-eyed, as Mamoru sent a ray of piercing light through the vines of Beryl's hair that effectively cut though the energy-sucking aura and severed its ties to the Senshi. Beryl cried out furiously as the Senshi fell to the ground, a little weaker, but for the most part unharmed.

Mamoru was strong. She knew that if anyone could destroy Beryl, he could. Beryl's eyes focused on Usagi again as she raised a wrist into the air, a ball of dark energy already forming in her palm. A ball of light disintegrated it before it could be directed to her.

"You can't have her, Beryl!" Mamoru snapped heatedly as he stood in front of Usagi protectively. Beryl flew into the air above them, the darkness bubbling around her.

"I already have her, Endymion," she growled and the bubble expanded around her until it shot forwards and pierced through all of them, throwing them to the ground.

Mamoru shot another ray of light, but it couldn't pierce through the shield around Beryl this time. Usagi whimpered with anguish from the strain it took to keep Metallia at bay now. She knew that the energy pulsating around the red-haired witch was the pure evil that was also currently imbedded into her. The Senshi's attacks were just as ineffective as Mamoru's light had been.

"Wait! I found it! It's her necklace! It's what she's using to channel Metallia! We need to destroy it," Mercury cried out. Usagi's vision swam with the strength it took for her to stay awake. Venus stood tall, stoic and determined. She called upon the sword that she had collected from the Moon. The ancient weapon materialized magically in the palm of her gloved hand. The sight of Venus's fierceness brought a smile of pride to Usagi's face and a howl of ire from Metallia inside of her. Venus knelt low to the ground before pushing herself forcefully upwards, using the momentum to leap into the air, hurtling her body towards Beryl.

Venus cried out as she tore through the dark barrier and smashed into Beryl. There was a flurry of intermingling blonde and red hair as the pair tumbled to the ground. Venus was straddling Beryl and let out a guttural cry as she thrust the blade down onto the hardened stones of the necklace encircling her neck.

It didn't work and Beryl laughed mockingly as she blast the Senshi into the air, where Kunzite deftly caught her before she could smash into the ground. Usagi watched helplessly as Beryl channeled the endless darkness from Metallia and let the beams simultaneously crush the Senshi, the generals, and Mamo-chan that had been weakened from the energy he'd wasted battling Metallia for her.

They were going to lose.

Tears of defeated anger gathered in her eyes as she forced herself to her feet. Why hadn't the sword worked? She felt a twinge from inside the silvery wisp and the answer bubbled up through Metallia's threads snarled inside of her. It was time to remember. She needed to awaken Princess Serenity.

Her eyes met Mamoru's. He was already recovering, pulling the golden energy from within himself and creating a shield of light. She watched as his brows furrowed in confusion as he regarded her with concern. She forced a watery smile on her lips in an effort to ease his worry and then clenched her eyes shut and concentrated on the Silver Crystal inside of her.

"I want to remember," she whispered softly and felt something twinge gently through Metallia's fire. "I want to save my friends!" she said more firmly.

She gasped and her eyes widened as the horrific scene in front of her momentarily melted away. The threads of the Silver Crystal exploded from inside of her. Metallia's pain was temporarily absent as her mind flooded with all of her memories of her life on the Moon. She remembered her first childhood and visions of people that had long ago left this world flashed through her mind. There had been so much happiness, peace, and laughter. She recalled study sessions in a white marbled library, beautiful music as she swirled through the throngs of Moon people in the ballroom, and the laughing purple irises of her mother. Her beautiful mother. She had been such kind and gentle ruler, guiding the Silver Millenium with a firm yet fair hand.

The memories of the time she spent with her Senshi, her sisters, the women who had sworn to protect her, flitted through her mind and she felt the tears of love pour from her eyes as she recalled the pure happiness she'd felt during her time on the Moon with them.

She remembered her longing as she stared at the blue and green orb called Earth in the sky. The intense need she felt to visit the kingdom that had been forbidden to her people.

Then she remembered Endymion.

Endymion. Her prince.

The nights of stolen passion and the way he had consumed every single part of her. She recalled the early days, the excursions they took, the things he had shown her about the planet she'd fallen in love with just as deeply as the prince that protected it. The love expanded inside of her. She thought that Usagi had loved Mamoru, and she had, but it was just a wisp compared to the love that exploded within her now.

She remembered the budding love between Endymion's generals and her Senshi as they fought to come together.

She remembered her marriage to him, bonded forever in the traditional binding ceremony on the Moon, and the nights that followed. The memories became dark after that as she recalled Metallia's evil as it consumed Earth and the Silver Millennium, and the anguish that encompassed their final days.

Her eyes flew open as she felt the silver light lifting her into the air. She was hovering just above the ground when the remnants of her clothes disappeared, replaced with the elegant white gown that had been her favourite on the Moon. Her hair, that had still been loose from her time in the Dark Kingdom, wove and twisted itself into the familiar tresses she always wore, the golden, silken strands brightening into a glistening silver colour. She felt a warm burn on her forehead as the moon crescent, the symbol of her birthright, appeared.

She felt like she was watching the others in a disjointed daze, confused by the varying looks of horror on their faces.

"Usagi!" the horrified cry tore from Endymion's lips and she frowned in confusion. Beryl's cry of rage tore through her daze and Serenity gasped as she felt the Silver Crystal begin to emerge. The sword beside Venus, who was no longer bent beneath Beryls beam in the witch's distraction, shone brightly, the steel gleaming where it had previously been blackened.

"Venus, the sword!" she cried and the Senshi leader wasted no time in clasping the sword that had been restored with Serenity's awakening.

The Silver Crystal appeared just as Venus used the sword to tear away the necklace from Beryl's neck. The witch cried out in anguish as her skeletal body withered, Endymion's name on her lips, as she disintegrated into thin air.

"We did it!" Venus cried, dropping the sword to the ground and leaping into Kunzite's arms as the others cheered victoriously.

She laughed with them. They'd destroyed Beryl, the witch who had destroyed her life the first time and had almost succeeded a second time. Now she could be happy. She could live the life she had always intended, with her prince, Endymion.

She should have known better.

The euphoria that had coursed through her body with the transformation into Serenity disappeared almost instantly. The only weapon that she could use to keep Metallia and Wicked Lady firmly at bay inside of her was currently curled, uselessly, into the palm of her hand.

The threads of evil tore through her body, ravaging her core and ripping through Serenity's silver threads of energy. She knew that she had only moments before Metallia possessed her completely. The evil that had destroyed her kingdom and Endymion's so long ago would finally have in its possession the thing it so desperately wanted.

The princess that could wield the Silver Imperium Crystal.

It had really only been mere moments since Beryl's defeat, but she knew that she didn't have much time to complete what she must do. She could already see Endymion's eyes narrowing in confusion as his gaze snapped towards her. He must have sensed the agony and the resolution swirling inside of her. She knew he would try and stop her, but she couldn't let him. She needed to protect them.

His eyes met hers and it felt like time had slowed down, everything was moving in slow motion, as she leapt for the fallen sword beside Venus.

His eyes widened in horror and she tried to convey the sorrow and the love she felt for him in her gaze. She knew that once she released Metallia it would be up to him to destroy her. The only thing that rivalled the power of the Silver Crystal was the power of the Golden Kingdom.

"Usako!" he screamed and the anguish in his voice broke her heart.

"I love you, Endymion," she whispered and she lifted the sword high, desperately fighting Metallia's fire, and plunged the blade with piercing accuracy right into her abdomen.

Chapter Text


Chapter 14

Silver and Gold

Endymion had only been back from the Moon for two nights and he was still having a hard time adjusting to the difference in the atmosphere. He'd been traveling back and forth between the Moon Kingdom and Earth for the past few months and after each trip it always took a few days before he become fully accustomed to the swift change in energy.

The Moon, while lovely, felt too foreign to him. He detested the disconnect he felt to the energy there and much preferred having the golden powers of the Earth coursing through his veins. It had, of course, been worth it. He couldn't help but smile as the warmth from the memories of the past few months washed over him.

It had all gone so much better than they had expected. When he and Serenity had finally decided that secret passionate encounters in the dead of night and clandestine excursions throughout his kingdom was no longer enough, they had prepared for the worst. In retrospect, he should have considered so much more – he was the sole heir to Earth's Golden Kingdom after all- before he had faced the possibility of death for the love he bore for the Moon Princess.

He probably should have listened to the disbelieving and imploring pleas from his generals, his lifelong friends, as they tried to make him see reason, but he hadn't been able to.

Serenity consumed him. He connected so deeply to the warm, silver threads of her energy that it would have been impossible to ignore it, even if he'd wanted to- which he didn't. They melded and linked in a way that made it impossible for him to remember what his life had been like before her.

It had been nothing short of a miracle that they had persevered and now, finally, Serenity was his wife. He hadn't been sure what to expect from a traditional Moon marriage and he'd been cautious. The customs on the Moon were foreign, magical even, and he understood why the people of Earth had perceived them as mythical, God-like creatures from a dream. They were an elegant, pure race of otherworldly beings that transcended the people of his planet. Although the semantics of what was going to happen had been explained to him in detail, he could never have imagined what it would actually be like. Their love binding ceremony had been the most spiritual thing he had ever experienced.

It was like their souls had been exposed and their energy fused together permanently. He'd been able to sense her emotions and energy before but it was amplified tenfold now; he could feel her silvery light no matter where she was. It had overwhelmed him at first, the intensity of what he felt emanating from her; the love, the passion, the pure essence of her coursing through him. It had been a few days before they had been able to emerge from their chamber on the Moon after the ceremony, as he hadn't been able to keep his hands off of her.

Now, back on Earth, he was faced with a much harsher reality than the fantasy he'd allowed himself to become entrenched in on the Moon. His father had most definitely given up on his Kingdom. While the King had stopped caring little by little for years now, it had become increasingly clear that Endymion was going to have step in for his father.

There had been something dark threading its way into the planet's core before he'd left to go face Queen Serenity almost three months ago. Kunzite had been monitoring it and it had definitely widened considerably since then. It was infecting the people and filling them with darkness. There had been small bands of rebellions sparking all over his territories. He hadn't been overly concerned but, when it had been announced that Earth would be joining the Silver Millennium because of his marriage to the Moon Princess, it had caused an uproar.

He'd been awoken in the early hours before dawn by an abrupt knock on his bedchamber door. There had only been one knock, but it had been enough to rouse him from sleep. He'd untangled himself from the limbs and silvery locks of hair belonging to his sleeping wife and quietly opened the door to be greeted by Jadeite's troubled gray eyes.

His friend and strategist hadn't needed to say a word as Endymion had been able to sense the urgency churning within him as he'd quietly led the general to the solar, that was adjacent to his private bedchambers, to talk.

Which is where he stood now, raking a frustrated hand through his hair as he considered Jadeites words. The unorganized bands of brigands infected by the darkness had changed. A woman with the ability to channel some kind of dark power was amassing an irrational, angry army, and it was quickly becoming a cause for concern.

"I don't understand. How could this woman have caused so much damage in so little time?" He demanded with irritation. In truth, he felt guilty for having allowed this to progress at all. This should have been simple enough to crush, but it was like it had happened overnight.

"We're not certain, Endymion. Kunzite has been monitoring the darkness and he believes that this has escalated too quickly. He thinks we should convene with the council to discuss this officially with the King," Jadeite deadpanned. As usual, his friend did not betray his thoughts, even though he knew Endymion was privy to his emotions.

Endymion sighed. "What do you think, Jadeite?" he inquired of his friend. Jadeite was a brilliant and perceptive tactician that had been Endymion's friend the longest and he valued his opinion.

Jadeite silently considered him for a moment as he measured his words. "I think that this is going to be a problem," he responded, his voice quiet and serious, his eyes penetrating as he gazed at his friend.

Endymion let out a breath with a groan of disgust. He'd briefly envisioned his life as a peaceful ruler, with his beautiful princess by his side, surrounded by happiness. He'd been delusional to think that there wouldn't be consequences to the decisions he'd made to be with Serenity.

"Endymion?" her voice was soft and tentative as she peered at him with wide blue eyes from the threshold of the solar. Her long silver hair was loose and it tumbled over her shoulders in glimmering waves, covering her supple frame that was currently clad in a silken white gossamer dressing gown. It was the fabric she favoured the most and it complemented her well.

His stiffened posture relaxed the moment he connected to her, her light flooded through the room along with an uncertain aura. She was having a difficult time adjusting as well. They had spent so much time hiding and meeting in secret that she was unaccustomed to standing in the light with him.

"I'm here, love," he murmured reassuringly and watched as her cheeks reddened at the sight of his general. Jadeite respectively averted his eyes. It was definitely not common practice for a general to be allowed within the private rooms of the Prince and Princess, but Jadeite had been Endymion's friend for so long that it had never crossed his mind that Jadeite's presence here might be considered inappropriate. He could tell by the mortified look on his wife's face that she had not expected to be seen in her night wear.

"We can discuss this later, Endymion," Jadeite said gently. "I apologize for the intrusion, Your Highness," the last bit had been directed apologetically towards his lovely, and very embarrassed, princess.

Jadeite swiftly left the room, shutting the intricately carved mahogany door behind him.

"Endymion, I'm so sorry. I didn't know that you were meeting Jadeite in here," Serenity murmured nervously, her cheeks burning red as she self consciously tugged at the silken fabric of her dressing gown.

He was always astounded by the pure vulnerability that he had the pleasure of glimpsing within her. She was absolutely enchanting and he was overwhelmed by her. His heart began to race as the emotions from their connection poured over him.

"Serenity, come here," he murmured gently beckoning her with outstretched arms. She sighed with relief, smiling shyly, as she gratefully fell into his warm embrace. He wrapped his arms around her slender frame, running tender hands over her until they rested firmly on her hips. She gasped as he pulled her lithe form against him. Her soft, supple, frame pressed up against the hardness of his body.

She wrapped her arms around him and peered up bashfully from beneath lacy lashes. His gaze drifted down to her rosy lips that parted slightly with the quickening of her breath as her need for him intensified under his hot stare. Would he ever be able to quench his undeniable and endless thirst for her?

He lowered his head until his face was inches from hers, her warm breath fanning his face as he stopped to look at her, bask in the energy from their bond; a mixture of lust and intensely powerful love that consumed them both. A soft moan escaped her lips and he groaned as he closed the gap between them and crushed his lips to hers.

Her lips parted further, granting his tongue entrance as he expertly ran his hands over the curves of her shuddering body. She whimpered wantonly into his mouth and melted under the gentle ministrations of his exploring hands on the bared skin from beneath her dressing gown that was now bunched up at her hips. He would have lifted her pliable body into his arms and carried her back into the bedchamber, if not for a resounding thud that echoed within the room and broke through the haze of their passion.

They broke apart breathlessly, her eyes wide and startled as they scanned the chamber for the source of the noise. He instinctively tightened his arms around her protectively as his narrowed eyes searched the room as well. She gasped in dismay when she found it.

The window had been left partially open and a white morning dove had crashed into the glass pane before falling onto the stone floor beneath the window sill within the chamber. Serenity pulled away from him to go to the fallen creature and he reached out mournfully, frustrated by the loss of bodily contact.

He watched as his compassionate little princess knelt and tenderly cradled the tiny bird in her hands, her face crumpled in sorrow. She loved the creatures of this planet, especially the birds, as they did not exist on the Moon.

"Oh, Endymion," she whispered, her eyes glossing over with tears. "Can you heal him?"

He smiled sympathetically at her, her tender disposition plucking at his heartstrings as he strode to stand beside her. He placed his larger hands over her smaller trembling ones that held the bird and concentrated.

There wasn't a hint of life essence within the creature. Its neck had broken upon impact and it had died instantly. He sighed, as he loathed to tell her that there was nothing he could do for the little dove that seemed to mean so much to her.

"Serenity, love, I'm sorry. It's gone. I can only manipulate the energy within living beings. There is nothing inside of the bird," he murmured tenderly and cringed as her face fell. "I'm sorry, my love," he whispered softly.

He watched as a small frown formed on her face as her eyes concentrated on the motionless creature clutched in their hands. He felt the energy within her swirling uncertainly until he felt a twinge of something from inside of her. He watched, startled, as she clenched her eyes shut and shuddered with the strain of pulling at the threads of light he'd just felt flicker in her core. She channeled a different kind of energy that he had never felt before. A powerful silver thread of light that bubbled softly inside of her.

"Serenity?" he asked cautiously, but she did not respond. He felt it then; she had channeled the silver thread and pushed it into the bird and he could feel it glowing brightly from inside of the small animal.

"Can you heal it now?" she whispered through tightly pressed lips, trying not to break her concentration. He frowned at her request, but he pulled at the golden threads from his core and reached out into the silvery essence within the bird. When the two energies connected, it intermingled gently and burned softly until it ignited something inside of the little creature. A wisp of life. He used the wisp to untangle the wounded threads of light until they heard the audible pop of the birds' neck as it healed. There was a flutter of wings and with a panicked squawk the bird flew from their hands and back out the window.

"What was that?" he demanded, staring at his wife in confusion.

Her eyes were wide and bright as she smiled at him, "I channeled the Silver Crystal for the first time!" she exclaimed excitedly. "You said that you needed to feel life inside of the bird to heal it. Ophelia has been teaching me about the Crystal's magical properties. It draws its power from the life essence of the Moon," her face flushed with her eagerness. "I knew that on its own, it wouldn't bring the bird back, but I thought that, with what your powers could do, you might be able to use it to bring it back to life."

Her face was flushed with the excitement of her discovery. She was teeming with happiness, but he felt the threads of exhaustion as well. He caught her as she stumbled into his arms. She'd channeled an ancient power from the Moon, that had depleted her energy, to heal an insignificant bird.

She smiled up at him sheepishly and he shook his head in exasperation. What was he going to do with his tender-hearted princess?

"Go back to bed, love. You've worn yourself out," he whispered gently as he steadied her. She bit her lip as she gazed at him, her eyes clouding with a different kind of need that slightly overpowered the exhaustion he knew she was feeling.

"I'd rather not go to bed alone," she whispered nervously, pink tinged her cheeks.

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Serenity, you need to sleep, I can feel it," he said softly. She looked down in embarrassment, her long black lashes fanning the tops of reddened cheeks as he felt her building up the courage to say something.

"I need you more," she whispered. It surprised him that, after all they had been through, the passionate nights they had spent together, that she was still so shy.

He chuckled softly as he swept her into his arms. Serenity had been raised in a court as royalty. She'd been trained and prepared for the life of a princess, abiding by the social conducts that royal etiquette dictated. It must have been arduous work teaching her how to behave in a manner that befitted a princess. He carried her back into their chamber.

He intended to spend the rest of his life teaching her otherwise.

He should have known the minute Venus tore the necklace from Beryl's neck that Usagi intended to sacrifice herself. He'd been confused by the emotions emanating from her; acceptance and determination. These were not the emotions you would expect from someone about to impale themselves with a sword.

Even when she picked up the weapon, he stupidly hadn't made the connection to the sadness in her eyes and the heaviness in her energy. It wasn't until she lifted the sword into the air, prepared to thrust, that he understood what she was about to do and why. Her name tore from his throat and he reached for her even though she was too far away and he knew he wouldn't make it in time.

It took a moment for the others to understand what she had done as well. By then he was already by her side, ripping the sword from her body and tossing the offending piece of metal to the ground. He pulled his beautiful Serenity into his arms as he sank to his knees and he could feel it. Dammit, he could feel it. She was fading quickly; there was barely a wisp of anything left in her. Just the evil darkness that was roiling furiously in alarm, panicking as its unwilling victim began to succumb to the throes of death.

He choked on his anguish as he pressed a trembling hand to the gaping wound in her stomach, the blood hot as it seeped through his fingers, staining her white dress. Usako. He couldn't breathe and if she died he would never be able to breathe again.

Her head rolled back over the crook of his elbow as he cradled her against him, silken strands of silver hair tumbling with the movement and her pale face upturned towards him. Her chest heaved and her breaths were short and gasping as she struggled to stay conscious.

"Christ, Usako, what were you thinking?" His voice trembled as he pulled at the tiny threads of her life force and pushed the full healing power of the Golden Kingdom into her as he began to heal the wound.

Her eyes filled with sorrow as she lifted a delicate hand to his face, cupping his cheek softly, a sad, heartbroken smile on her lips. He didn't understand until he felt her energy completely disappear. She'd broken their connection. He wouldn't be able to heal her.

"No! Usagi! Let me heal you!" He roared furiously, his vision blurred with angry tears of grief as he crushed her to his chest and tried again to break through her resistance. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her cheek against his. She was struggling to breathe, her breaths short and pained in his ear. She trembled weakly with the effort it took to hold herself up. He wrapped one arm around her waist and gently cradled the back of her head with his other hand to support her.

He clenched his eyes shut as he pulled at the threads around her and tried to channel what he could into her body but to no avail; she wouldn't let him.

"Dammit, Usako-" his voice cracked with despair, "please. Let me heal you. We can find another way," he sobbed desperately, his body shuddering with panic and terror. She couldn't die like this. His warrior princess could do anything. She had to live, didn't she know he needed her?

"Endymion, I'm so sorry. I promise I will find you in our next life," she whispered brokenly, her voice barely audible as she pressed trembling lips to his neck.

He felt the moment that she completely faded away. With one last gasping breath, her body went slack and her arms slipped from around him and fell limply to her sides. Her head rolled back into his hand, her chest motionless, the air gone from her lungs. He screamed in shattered grief as he felt Metallia's evil burst from the shell of the girl he had loved, retreating into the Dark Kingdom, leaving his little ball of sunshine hollow and empty. There was nothing left inside of her.

He was only vaguely aware of the agonizing sobs, mirroring his own, from the Senshi around him as they cried out for the princess that they were meant to protect. He couldn't release her to go to them. He couldn't move.

He'd failed. He had been sent back to make things better for them, hadn't he? His recovered memories had only resulted in the devastating loss of Usagi. Was this what it was always going to be like? They would find each other, life after life, only to be destroyed like this over and over again? What could they have possibly done to deserve this? What could she have possibly done to deserve this?

He was so consumed in his grief that he did not see the ominous darkening of the sky or feel the cloying darkness creeping slowly towards them. The wind churned furiously around them, whipping painfully at his tear stained face, tugging the fabric of his clothes. Serenity's blood stained dress flapping in the wind.

He clutched Serenity's prone body to his chest as he watched threads of evil energy snake through the earth. It began to rumble below them and burst into the sky, enveloping the bright blue into a black mirror of darkness that shuddered with evil.

"Endymion! We have to go!" He thought that maybe it was Jadeite's voice calling out to him, but he couldn't tell over the piercing howl of the wind. The darkness in the sky shuddered and flickered as the distorted face of Metallia appeared above them, cackling darkly, her evil laughter thundering around them.

The sight of the evil creature towering menacingly above them filled him with fury. Metallia had destroyed his life, twice. Her cancerous infection spread throughout his kingdom, killing his planet and the woman he loved. The first time had resulted in both his and Serenity's deaths. This time they would both die as well, but not before he destroyed her.

The pure rage that coursed through him was the only thing that had the ability to cut through the devastation and enable him to gently lay his motionless princess on the ground. His hand trembled as he tenderly released her, her head lolling to the side towards him. He choked as he cupped her already cold cheek, longing to see the pink blush spread across her face instead of the pale complexion that indicated she was now devoid of life.

He became very aware of the darkness pressing into the atmosphere around him. He could taste the bitter fog on his tongue as it expanded and threaded through all the tangled webs of light inside of the Earth, the infection spreading from one living being to the next at an alarming rate.

He forced himself to stand and turned towards the Senshi, who were all in different states of heart wrenching sorrow, each one trying to fight the disbelief and the desolation in their own way. It felt like time had frozen and the scene before him was a picture that highlighted their devastation.

Mercury had crumpled to her knees, her body shaking from the brokenhearted sobs that he could barely hear through the sounds of the storm of evil that was increasing in intensity. Her arms wrapped around her middle as she tried to control the grief ripping through her. Jadeite held the shuddering fire priestess in his arms as she stoically fought back tears. Jupiter had fallen to her knees as well, her green eyes hard as she stared blankly at Usagi's immobile body on the ground. Nephrite stood resolutely behind her, his hands on her shoulders, offering her whatever strength he could.

Venus stood tall, her blonde hair whipping around her face that was set into a pained mask of roiling fury. Her fists were clenched and her body was stiff and unyielding. Kunzite stood just behind her, his hardened eyes frowning at the orange-clad Senshi in silent concern. Mamoru met Venus's gaze and he knew her thoughts reflected his own. They were going to die destroying Metallia.

"Mamoru, you're running out of time. She's almost consumed the planet!" Venus cried fiercely and he knew that she was right. Even now, he could feel his ability to access the Golden Kingdom dwindling as Metallia's purple cloud of evil ferociously devoured the light.

He nodded to let Venus know that he understood, that he was going to fight, and he knelt to the ground pressing his palm into the Earth, channeling what he could into his body, before letting the beam of light explode from his core and crash into the darkness above them. He felt the bile rise in his throat as his energy connected to Metallia's evil. It was the poison he'd felt infecting his sweet Usako just a short while ago and the feeling of it's bitter, cloying infection reminded him of what he'd lost.

He tried to expand the light to disintegrate her, but there was no sign of life within Metallia, and she was too immense and too powerful. It wasn't going to work. They were all going to die underneath her, again, and this time there wasn't a powerful Moon Queen to send them back to find each other.

He grit his teeth under the pressure of the attack, the sinuous cords of muscle in his neck pulsing under the strain, his body tightly coiled as Metallia laughed mockingly at his ineffective attempt to destroy her.

"Pathetic Prince of Earth! This time I won't be sealed away! This time I will keep your planet!" she cried out contemptuously. "There is nothing that can stop me now!"

She was right. He didn't have the power or the strength to destroy her, and he knew that this was yet another way that he had failed the precious princess that had sacrificed herself believing he could do this.

Venus stepped in front of him and his eyes narrowed in confusion as she strode to the Holy Sword, still stained with Usagi's blood, and gingerly picked it up. She swiveled around, her eyes flashing fire, as she turned to the other Senshi. He could feel the confusion from his generals as the girls deciphered the silent message that Venus had conveyed to them through her gaze. He inhaled sharply as he recognized the emotions flowing through them. It was the same emotions he had felt within Serenity before she had plunged that same sword into her body.

Kunzite felt it too and he angrily grasped Venus's hands in his strong grip, forcibly squeezing her wrist until she released the sword. It fell to the ground in between them. Mamoru tried to speak, but couldn't under the strain it took to keep the light connected firmly with Metallia, although, he wasn't sure why he was bothering. It hadn't made the slightest impact.

"What do you think you're doing?" Kunzite roared furiously, his eyes frantic with a terror he had never felt before inside Kunzite, who had always managed to use the darkness to keep any intense emotions at bay.

"Kunzite, let me go. I have to do this," Venus whispered softly, her blue eyes wide and filled with sadness. It was a moment before Kunzite released her and took a small step back.

"I'll drown in the darkness without your light, Aphrodite," he whispered. Tears of sorrow rolled down her face as she gently ran a gloved hand along the curve of his jaw.

"Only if you let it, Kunzite," she said, her voice cracking with emotion. A moment passed while he felt as Kunzite came to terms with Venus's decision. The general passionately kissed the Senshi leader and Mamoru had to sever his connection with them as the bittersweet agony of their goodbye filled him with bitter resentment. How could everything end like this? The kiss only lasted a moment before Kunzite abruptly released her then turned to join the others.

Jadeite and Nephrite hadn't quite grasped what was happening yet, although he could feel the panic start to rise in Jadeite as he observed the strange way in which the Senshi's stances had hardened resolutely and their eyes blazed with determination. Mamoru broke the connection from Metallia as the exhaustion began to overwhelm him. There was no need to continue wasting what little energy was left in the planet. It wasn't working and they didn't have much time left.

He felt a soft hand gently squeeze his shoulder. He turned to look up into the soulful, tear-filled, aquamarine eyes of the Senshi of Intelligence.

"Will you please tell Zoi that I love him, Mamoru?" she whispered pleadingly. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he would not be here to convey the message, regardless of the outcome from whatever sacrificial plan Venus had devised. Instead, he nodded mutely and it seemed to offer Mercury some comfort as she stood beside Venus that had picked the sword back up in her hand.

She lifted the sword in one hand and her Senshi pen in the other, pointing both objects up to the sky. He didn't know what Venus was doing, but he knew that he wanted it to end with his Moon Princess in his arms. He blindly stumbled to Usagi and pulled her cold body back into his embrace where he clutched her desperately to his chest.

I'm sorry, Usako.

"I relinquish the power of my guardian planet to avenge the Princess. Venus Power!" she cried out even as Metallia roared loudly with laughter.

The others lifted their pens high into the air, mirroring Venus's actions with a litany of impassioned cries that echoed around them.

"To avenge the Princess! Mercury Power!"

"To avenge the Princess! Mars Power!"

"To avenge the Princess! Jupiter Power!"

He watched helplessly as their pens began to glow brightly, their energy burning as he felt them channeling a mixture of their elemental planet powers and their life forces. It exploded from their pens, swirling powerfully in the air before the Holy Sword absorbed it into the steel blade.

He averted his eyes from the blinding light that exploded from the tip of the sword and burst into the sky, the light beam pulsating as it tore through Metallia's evil. It was much brighter than his light had been, but it still had no impact on the swirling dark cloud and Metallia maliciously taunted the Senshi's efforts.

He choked on his despair and disappointment as the last thread of hope that he'd had dissipated. He heard the cacophony of horrified cries from his generals as the girls crumpled to the ground and he cried brokenly as well with the realization that their bodies, just like Serenity's, were now also devoid of life.

The energy in the air was unbearable; agony, sorrow, terror, and the suffocating fog of death.

It was almost over now, and he wondered if he would find them all in whatever life they had after this one. If they had a life after this one. He tried to drown out the sounds of Metallia's mocking laughter, his general's cries of agony, and the churning of the thick evil pressing in on them by burying his face into Usagi's hair that was still silver from her transformation into Serenity.

She'd looked so beautiful as she transformed into the Moon Princess that had managed to capture his heart so long ago. He hadn't been able to breathe as he'd watched the look on her face as she remembered. She had remembered. He choked on the memory of the silvery bright threads of power emitting from her crystal as it had slowly emerged from her chest. In fact, he swore that he could feel it emanating from her right now. His eyes flew open and he inhaled sharply as he pulled himself away to look at her.

The sword that the Senshi had activated with their sacrifice was still glowing brightly from where it lay on the ground, except the beam of light was no longer directed at Metallia. It had managed to find the Silver Imperium Crystal that was still clutched in Usagi's palm. The crystal was shining brilliantly in response to the Senshi's sacrifice and soft beams of its light pierced into Usagi.

It wasn't much, but it was enough. It was enough! His breathing quickened and his heart began to race as the beginnings of hope began to unfurl inside of him again. He pulled what energy was left of the Golden Kingdom and he connected it to the silvery light within Usagi. He cried out in relief as it successfully weaved into the threads of the Silver Crystal and ignited a wisp of life that he could manipulate.

It took every bit of strength he had, but he pulled and prodded and untangled the mess of energy inside of her until he could feel her. Christ, he could feel her! Her back arched and she gasped as her eyes flew open, her body stiffened and coiled tightly as the energy coursed back through her limbs, bringing her back to life. She relaxed as her blue eyes met his, the confusion swirling behind her stare quickly softening into the loving, tender gaze of his little ball of sunshine. Her energy was pure again inside of her. There wasn't a hint of darkness or evil inside her bright silvery light.

"Endymion, how did you –?" she began but she was interrupted as he crushed her against his chest, his arms quaking as they tightened around her with relief and a painful desperation; the remnants of the sorrow he'd felt when she was gone still pressing down on him.

She gently lifted her hands to his face and he shuddered with pleasure beneath her warm touch. He couldn't believe that she was alive and her energy was shining brightly in his arms. He felt the last of his connection to the Golden Kingdom sputter and disappear as Metallia consumed the last of the planets golden energy. They were the only bright things left. Usagi was alive and he wanted, more than anything in the world, to end Metallia's plague so that he could finally live the life he'd always wanted with the people that he loved.

"Usako, you need to defeat Metallia. I couldn't do it. You need to use the Silver Crystal and seal her away for good this time," his tone was firm and pleading. He watched as her eyes widened as she finally turned to take in the scene in front of her.

He felt the horror course through her as her eyes fell upon her fallen Senshi, whose bodies were being cradled by the men they loved.

"No!" The strangled cry of anguish tore from her throat. "What happened to them?" she cried, turning back to stare up at him, her tear-filled eyes wide with horror.

"They sacrificed themselves, Usako. We can bring them back, but first I need you to fight," he pleaded and he felt as her resolve hardened as her body flooded with rage and determination. She nodded curtly and pressed her lips onto his for just a moment before tearing herself from his embrace.

He watched her walk towards her fallen Senshi in awe. She was a regal, confident, beautiful princess with the swirling determination of a trained and powerful Senshi Warrior.

He exhaled softly, his body relaxing as relief flooded through his tightened muscles. His warrior princess could, in fact, do anything and once she saved them from this and he knew for sure that they would all survive this nightmare, he would let her know exactly how he felt about her sword in the stomach stunt.

The absence of agonizing pain coursing through her body was such a relief. The evil that had been imbedded into her soul was now blissfully gone. She hadn't known what would happen to the monster inside of her when she'd plunged the sword into her abdomen, and she had feared that it had been too late, but she'd succeeded and Metallia had failed. She hadn't become the vessel of darkness. She might have managed to expel Metallia from inside of her soul, but Endymion had been the one to save her life.

She was going to live.

She spared a small tender glance for the prince that she'd left kneeling on the ground and she thought she would choke on the emotion bubbling up inside of her. She fully intended to spend the rest of her life showing him how grateful she was and how much she loved him, but first, she needed to destroy Metallia.

Her heart constricted painfully at the sight of her Senshi, her friends, her sisters; the hollow shells of their bodies curled up in the arms of the broken-hearted generals that loved them. Endymion had said that they had sacrificed themselves. She could only guess that it had been to save her. The fury burned through her veins at the thought of her loyal and brave Senshi forfeiting their lives so that she could live. Their sacrifice would not be in vain. She was going to destroy this evil once and for all, even if it was the very last thing she did. She would use the Silver Crystal, just like her beautiful mother before her, and seal Metallia away for good this time.

Endymion's generals looked up at her as she approached, a mixture of confusion and awe on their faces as she passed them to face the monster that had stolen and infected so many lives.

"It appears that Wicked Lady lives after all!" Metallia's voice thundered down around them. It shuddered and wheezed gleefully; the poisonous, raspy tone of her voice filled with a delighted malice that made Serenity tremble with fury.

She tried to remember the lessons that she'd been taught (within the confines of the marbled castle on the Moon) about the power of the Silver Crystal. The memories of everything she'd learned filtered through her mind and, with all the strength that she possessed, she held the cool Crystal in the palms of her hands and raised it up towards Metallia.

Metallia roared in excitement at the sight of the Silver Crystal. The churning winds of evil whipped furiously around her, ripping at her silver hair and her white dress as she closed her eyes and forced herself to concentrate. She did what she'd been taught. She pulled from the energy from within until the threads of her life force, the power of her ancient royal heritage, began to shine brilliantly. She channeled it into the Silver Crystal and a beam of pure silver energy burst from it and blasted into the sky, piercing into Metallia's core.

Serenity could feel the pure power as it expanded into the evil above her, but she realized with crushing despair that it wasn't powerful enough. The evil entity cackled and moaned in satisfaction as she absorbed Serenity's beam of crystal power that Metallia so desperately wanted to make her own.

"Yes, Wicked Lady!" Metallia hissed with satisfaction and Serenity wanted to scream at the monster in frustration. Why wasn't this working? She could feel the tears gather at the corners of her eyes as she strained to push harder, to channel every bit of strength inside of her, so that she could defeat Metallia.

Just when she thought she could push no longer, when her knees began to buckle and she thought she would collapse to the ground in defeat, she felt a strong arm wrap around her waist. She didn't need to open her eyes to know that the arm belonged to Endymion. He was holding her up now, supporting her weight, and she leaned into his strength. He would not let her fail.

"You can do this, Usako. Don't give up," he whispered fervently into her ear. She could hear the trust in his tone and she could feel the faith that he had in her ability to do this. She wished that she believed it as strongly as he did.

The memories of her life as Serenity were the clearest in her mind. She remembered that she'd barely begun using the power of the Silver Crystal before their lives had ended the first time. In fact, she'd only been able to watch helplessly as everyone she loved had fought and died for her. Even when they were gone she had taken her own life, consumed in her grief, rather than fight. What kind of ruler would she have been, if they had survived?

The beam of light from the Silver Crystal faltered with her thoughts and she choked on her despair as Endymion's arm tightened around her.

"You can do this. I know you can. Fight, Usagi!" he demanded passionately, refusing to let her sink to her knees. She felt it click inside of her then. Serenity had been a princess, unpracticed and unprepared for this war, but she wasn't just Serenity. She was Usagi too, and Usagi was a Senshi Warrior of Justice and Love. Usagi had destroyed countless youmas and had successfully survived weeks of torture while holding back the darkest evil that she had ever encountered.

This time, she knew how to fight.

She wasn't sure when it happened, but Mamoru had to step back as her body exploded into a shower of light with her transformation into Sailor Moon. The ribbons of fabric twisted and twirled around her as her sailor fuku replaced Serenity's white princess gown. Her silver tresses flickered until they glimmered into the familiar golden locks of Usagi and Sailor Moon.

She could feel the ancient Moon power, amplified by her confidence, course through her veins. It felt like liquid sunshine, bright and warm, as it exploded from her fingertips into the Silver Crystal. The crystal expanded with the pure energy and unfurled into a crystalized flower that burst from her hand to float just above her palms, glowing so brilliantly it blinded her.

Her Moon Wand magically materialized in her gloved hand and the Crystal lowered and fused into the crescent moon shaped weapon. The handle, of its own accord, flickered before stretching out into the magical staff that she had only ever seen her mother conjure.

"How can you possibly know how to wield the crystal? You're only a child!" Metallia screeched as Sailor Moon thrust the moon stick up towards the sky. The beam pulsed as her attack intensified.

It was definitely more powerful than it had been before, and she was able to disintegrate some of the evil darkness inside of Metallia, but it still wasn't enough. What could she do now? She wasn't sure how much longer she could hold on and she was becoming frantic, her eyes clenched shut as she tried to recall if she'd ever been taught how to fully wield the power of the Silver Crystal.

"Pray with me, Usagi," it was a wisp of sound that vibrated through the Moon Stick. She recognized the soft trill of her mentor's voice. Luna was reaching out to her. She'd forgotten that the black cat had gone with Artemis to the Moon. She frowned as she remembered how the voice of her mother had reached out from the Silver Crystal within her and had offered her brief respite from the burning agony of the battling energies in her tortured soul.

"This is the Chamber of Prayer in the Moon Kingdom, Serenity. I know that you don't remember this right now, but you will need to remember this later. In times of great need, offer a prayer to this tower, and it will help you."

She remembered that she had entered the holy chamber only once as a child. It had been an accident; she'd been very young and she'd run away from the nursemaid that had been watching over her. She'd stared in awe at her slightly distorted reflection on the brilliant, shining, crystal tower. Even as young as she had been at the time, she'd felt the power that coursed through the crystal tower which had been the foundation of her home. She felt that same power now through Luna's prayers.

She knew what she had to do now.

She bent her head low, her blonde tresses tumbling over her shoulders and the Moon Stick clasped tightly in her hands, as she prayed. She prayed for the Senshi sisters that she'd lost, she prayed for the planet that was being consumed by Metallia, and she prayed for this raging war against evil to finally be over.

It was enough.

The power of the Crystal Tower exploded from the Moon and channeled its endless, burning energy into the Moon Stick. It vibrated and burned her hands as the intensity of the silver Moon essence burst through it. She bit her lip to keep from crying out as her fingers singed from the pure power it was emanating. The bright, luminescent glow of the Moon burst through Metallia's dark purple clouds and the evil entity screeched and wailed in a furious rage.

"What is happening?! I can feel the power- but I can't reach it!" Metallia screamed, her anger red hot as the dark mist and fog that made up her form began to disintegrate.

Yes! It was working!

The vibrations from the Moon Stick were now emanating up her arms and coursing through her body. Her teeth were chattering with the strain it took to keep the connection. She knew that she just needed to hold on a little bit longer and this nightmare would finally be over.

"NO!" Metallia cried as the last of her darkness evaporated, sealed away forever, into whatever hell she'd escaped from. The silence from the absence of Metallia's churning storm of darkness was deafening. The tears fell from her eyes in torrents as the realization that it was over swept through her aching body. She'd fought Metallia's cancerous infection and she'd won.

The adrenaline that had been keeping her muscles tightly coiled as she fought seeped away as the relief and exhaustion swept through her. Her knees gave out and, with a sigh of exhaustion, she let herself fall. She was not greeted with the expected impact of the cold, hard ground, but with Mamoru's strong, warm arms as he deftly caught her midair.

She could feel the exhaustion sweeping over her body. Her limbs felt heavy and her eyes burned painfully with the effort it took to keep them open. She looked up from where her head was resting in the crook of Mamoru's elbow into his deep blue eyes. Her breath caught in her throat at the look emanating from his gaze, a mixture of love and pride. Her eyes watered with emotion. He was proud of her.

"Usako, I know you're tired. I can feel your exhaustion, but I'm going to need you to fight a little bit longer," he murmured tenderly as he channeled some of his golden healing energy into her. It helped ease the ache brought on by the fatigue and she forced herself to stand. She stumbled slightly and he steadied her.

She fought the pull of sleep as he led her to her fallen Senshi. The sorrow she'd managed to push aside during the battle with Metallia overwhelmed her as she was faced with the steely-eyed, devastated generals that held her friends' cold bodies in their arms. She bit her lip to stop the broken sob that threatened to bubble up from her throat, but she could not stop the hot tears of grief that spilled from her eyes. He'd said that they could bring them back but she knew that, while the Silver Crystal could channel life essence, it would not be enough to bring her friends back from the clutches of death.

"Mamo-chan, how can we save them?" she pleaded softly, her voice hoarse with emotion. He squeezed her hand comfortingly with a soft smile splayed on his lips.

"Together, Usako. Just like the bird," he said cryptically and it took a moment before she understood what he meant. Her eyes widened with excitement as she remembered. Yes! Just like the bird! She shot him a dazzling smile and closed her eyes in concentration as she raised the Moon Stick and channeled the silvery life essence from the crystal into her fallen friends. She kept the connection until she heard their gasps as, one by one, Mamoru connected with her energy and brought them back to life.

She collapsed to her knees when it was over, breathless and exhausted, reveling in the beautiful moment that came with the awareness that the war was over, and they had all survived.

"Usagi!" the cry of joy had come from Minako and she looked up from her kneeling position on the ground into the bright and smiling eyes of all her Senshi as they stood protectively circled around her. Her love for them bubbled up into her chest and she couldn't keep it from spilling out of her as she sobbed in earnest. She wasn't sure which one of them pulled her to her feet, but her sobs turned into laughter that mingled with theirs as they enveloped her into their arms for a heartfelt group hug.

She wasn't sure how long they stood like that, laughing like relieved maniacs, babbling incoherently about the battle they had miraculously survived, but she knew that she couldn't fight the pull of exhaustion any longer as it became impossible to keep her eyes open.

Mamoru swept her into his arms just as she succumbed to sleep and she sighed as she nuzzled into the hard warmth of his chest.

She wasn't sure how long she'd slept. When she awoke she was still in Mamoru's arms, her head nestled on his shoulder, from the comfort of their bed in the darkness of their bedroom. She still couldn't believe that it was really and truly over.

She felt the euphoria wash over her in the aftermath of their victory as she blinked away the remnants of sleep and stretched languidly along the length of Mamoru's body. She smiled softly as she heard his sharp intake of breath as she pressed her body against his. She wondered how long he'd been awake, or if he'd even slept at all.

She tenderly pressed her lips to the base of his neck as she lazily trailed her fingers across the hard expanse of his chest. His hand shot up and grasped her hand, twining his fingers with hers as he swiftly flipped her onto her back and covered her body with his. She wrapped her arms around his neck and peered up into his eyes. She'd expected to look into the hooded eyes of a man about to ravish his reincarnated wife. What she did not expect to see was the frowning, reproachful eyes that was reminiscent of the brooding Mamoru that had enjoyed teasing her so long ago.

"I'm angry with you, Usako," he whispered and she frowned because he didn't sound angry, not really. "What were you thinking, stabbing yourself like that?" he demanded and she understood now what was happening. She grimaced guiltily up at him. She knew that would not have been easy for him to witness; she remembered what it had been like, watching him die.

"We are supposed to be a team. Do you have any idea how much I need you?" he whispered hoarsely and her love for him expanded almost painfully inside of her chest. She bit her lip to keep from smiling as she wanted to be mindful of his feelings. She knew that he'd been terrified when he thought he'd lost her, but she was just so happy. She was alive, in his arms, in their bed, without the impending threat of evil hanging over them.

"Don't ever do that to me again, Usako. I'm serious. I don't want you to ever step foot near a sword of any kind ever again," he demanded and she did laugh then at the outlandish request; she couldn't help it. His frown deepened as his jaw tightened with irritation. She was the luckiest girl on the planet and she wondered if he knew how much she adored him. She leaned up and pressed her lips softly onto his. They were unyielding at first, but they quickly gentled and reciprocated her movements under her tender ministrations. She pulled away and smiled up into his softened but reproachful gaze.

"I promise that I will never touch a sword ever again," she whispered and then trailed gentle kisses down his jawline, nipping gently when she reached his neck. She heard his sharp intake of breath as his body tightened and hardened against her. She smiled against his skin, feeling bold with the effect that she had on him. She arched her back, pressing her body into his, as her fingers laced through the hair at the nape of his neck.

"Usako," he whispered, his breath hot against her skin as she leaned back to stare up at him. The look she had originally anticipated in his eyes was there now, his burning gaze giving her goosebumps and causing her to tremble with her need for him.

She tried to convey how deeply she loved him and how badly she wanted him through the look in her eyes, but she knew she didn't need to. Her prince could feel the emotions coursing through her and she was grateful, in that moment, for the connection that enabled him to know exactly what she was feeling.

"Do you want to know what heaven looks like, Mamo-chan?" she whispered as their breathing quickened simultaneously with their mutually intense need for each other.

"I already know what heaven looks like," he whispered huskily before he crushed his lips on hers and spent the rest of the night showing her what he meant.

It had been six months since he'd stood with Usagi, his generals, and the Senshi in a deserted park and destroyed Metallia's evil. He'd always had a purpose, a mission, in every single one of his lifetimes. From fighting rebellions as Endymion, discovering his identity and finding his lost princess as Mamoru, to his more recent accomplishment: saving his generals and changing the original timeline.

Now that it was over, he had to admit, he wasn't sure how to just live his life happily with his princess and their friends. He wasn't the only one to struggle in the aftermath of the brutal emotional rollercoaster of the war they'd just fought.

Usagi, while mostly herself again, still awoke at night screaming inconsolably. Her small frame shuddering violently in the aftermath of the nightmares that were remnants of the images and the agony implanted by Beryl and Metallia. It usually took a few days after an episode for the haunted look in her eyes to dissipate and for her bubbly sparkle to come back. He did everything he could in those times to reassure her that she would never be alone. He would always be here, along with the Senshi and their generals that had become permanent fixtures in their lives.

He'd decided shortly after their battle that he was going to pursue school and go into medicine to become a doctor. With all of the healing powers coursing through his veins, he would be able to help so many people. The first few weeks had been difficult, as he had missed so much school that he was very close to being forced to withdraw. He wasn't sure how he'd managed it, but the drive he'd possessed to succeed in his academics in their previous timeline came back full force and he managed to catch up on the almost insurmountable workload.

Usagi was back at school, albeit reluctantly, and she had a lot of catching up to do as well. Some of his favorite moments were the evenings they spent on separate ends of the couch, their legs tangled up while he worked on a physics, organic chemistry, or human anatomy assignment and she worked on her homework; although, more often than not, he caught her secretly reading manga instead.

Luckily, between his and Ami's tutoring, Usagi was managing to keep her head above water in school as well.

"Mamo-chan?" Usagi's soft voice pulled him out of his gentle musings and he shook his head in an effort to clear his thoughts and focused on her face. A delicate golden brow raised inquisitively as she waited for the answer to a question that he had not heard.

He smiled sheepishly. "What did you say, Usako?" he responded and she giggled tenderly.

It was early Saturday morning and they were currently on their way to the Hikawa Shrine for their weekly Senshi meeting. Although they were in contact with their friends every single day, they could only manage to get all of them together once a week.

"I asked if you knew whether or not Jadeite had mentioned if he'd been accepted to Keio," she asked, her fingers interlaced with his as they walked, referring to the university he currently attended and that Jadeite was considering attending in the fall.

"He hasn't said anything yet, although I'm sure he won't have any issues with his transcripts," he replied with a soft smile. As Jadeite was the only one of his generals to not have been able to recover the memories of his life before Beryl, most of the pieces of his identity were forged, as were the transcripts that he had used to apply to Keio University.

"Ugh, I can't wait to be done with school." Usagi said with a grimace, crumpling her nose adorably with distaste. He chuckled softly, his gaze tender as he regarded her with amusement. There were some things that would never change, no matter how many memories she recovered, and her dislike for school was one of them.

The shrine was quiet when they arrived, only a couple of patrons respectfully wandering the grounds. They found Rei first, dressed in her Miko garb, in the secluded outer garden. The scent of the blooming purple irises wafted through the air.

Her eyes had been narrowed in quiet contemplation and Mamoru frowned as he felt the twinge of unease coursing through her, but the feeling quickly dissolved with their approach. The shrine priestess's serious expression softened at the sight of Usagi.

"Hi, Rei!" Usagi skipped excitedly to her friend, her energy bubbling up with excitement as if she hadn't just seen the Senshi of Mars two days ago.

Rei smiled gently at the eager blonde as Usagi began to chatter excitedly about her week and the things she'd done since the last time she'd seen Rei. He watched as the Fire Senshi smiled indulgently, her eyes sparkling with laughter at Usagi's anecdotes. Even slightly broken-hearted, his bubbly princess exuded an enticing aura of happiness that could pull in and soften the most hardened of people.

When the others arrived, he watched as they were pulled in by Usagi as well. It didn't matter what roiling emotions were trapped inside of them, Usagi pulled them all together, and she always would.

The meeting had been short, as there wasn't much to discuss, but they stayed at the shrine for a while and talked about their lives. It was a perfect moment as he reveled in the aura of peace and happiness around his friends and the princess he loved. He was so focused on the conversation and laughter around him that he was caught off guard when he felt a different thread of energy nearby. It exuded a steely strength, intermingled with the powerful threads of change and time.

His eyes shot up and sure enough, just beyond the clearing of purple irises, he was greeted with the intense eyes of the Senshi of Time, Sailor Pluto. Only, she was not clad in her Sailor Fuku; she could have been anyone, just a regular shrine patron meandering through the quiet gardens. He knew better.

Usagi was deep in conversation with Makoto and Ami about something for school so it was easy for him to momentarily slip away. He was certain that his generals had noticed, but they didn't say anything as he left the clearing and waded through the foliage to the Senshi of Time.

He stopped in front of her nervously, his heart racing furiously inside of his chest as he met her gaze. Her head was tilted to the side, her expression impassive as she quietly considered him for a moment.

"Hello, Endymion. It is nice to see you again," she said, her voice soft and quiet. He couldn't quite read the energy around her. It was a blur that was constantly changing.

"Hello," he replied uncertainly, terrified about what her presence here implied.

"You seem concerned," she said and there was a hint of laughter within her tone. He frowned and coughed to clear his constricted throat.

"Did it work? Did I– did everything turn out alright for us?" he forced the question out, even though he didn't really want an answer.

She smiled and laughed softly, her eyes shining with the mysterious knowledge he knew she wasn't going to share. "Yes, for the most part, you succeeded," she said and he frowned at her response.

"For the most part?" he demanded, his question tinged with dread intermingled with anger. What had she expected? He'd done the whole thing practically blind.

Pluto sighed softly and shook her head in exasperation. The movement sending locks of flowing green hair tumbling down her back. "You certainly made some decisions that changed quite a few things; you're both much stronger and better equipped for what lies ahead of you. Would I have done things a little differently?" There was something melodic and hypnotizing about Pluto's voice. "Perhaps, but it all ends very well for you, your Shitennou, and Serenity."

His eyes narrowed in irritation. He really hated Pluto's cryptic statements, despite the fact that the Senshi had granted him a whole new life he could never have conceived before. He decided that Pluto definitely replaced Venus as the most annoying Senshi in existence. Pluto laughed loudly then, as if she had read his thoughts and found them amusing.

"So? Do I get to live happily ever after now, or what?" he asked, not really expecting an answer. His eyes narrowed at the grimace on her face.

"Not quite, I'm afraid," she replied sympathetically eliciting a sigh of irritation from him. "However, I can quite confidently tell you that you make much better decisions in the future. Like your decision not to go to Harvard in America, for example," she said and her eyes were sparkling as if it was some kind of inside joke.

"Harvard? As in the school? Why on Earth would I leave Usagi to go to a school in America? That's just ridiculous," he snapped with confusion and Pluto only laughed in response.

"Regardless, I only came here to thank you for having the strength to carry the enormous burden of changing time, Endymion. I look forward to meeting you again in the future," she said wistfully. He opened his mouth to respond, to ask her more questions about what would come next, but he blinked and she was gone.

He was still considering Pluto's words later that night as he lay in bed with Usagi safely tucked into his arms. His eyes narrowed on the ceiling above as he subconsciously stroked the bare skin of Usagi's shoulder, lazily trailing gentle circles with the tip of his finger. He felt her shudder beneath his touch as she propped herself up on her elbow to peer down at him.

She cocked her head to the side, sending silken strands of golden hair tumbling, fanning out over his arm and chest, her blue eyes wide with questioning concern. "What's wrong, Mamo-chan?" she asked lovingly, her voice soft and enticing.

"Do you ever worry about our future, Usako?" he whispered, his question riddled with apprehension.

He watched as she contemplated his question, the energy around her brightly swirling and untainted with the anxiety that was currently coursing through him. She smiled then and the dazzling brilliance of it took his breath away.

"I worry about a lot of things Mamo-chan, but our future? Together? I've never been more certain of anything in my entire life," she said passionately and he could feel the firm certainty curled tightly around her.

She never ceased to amaze him, his princess, his little ball of sunshine, his reason for breathing. He gently grasped her by the waist and deftly flipped her onto her back. She giggled breathlessly as her head fell onto the pillow. He covered her body with his own and tenderly pressed his lips onto hers.

She was right. They'd fought the demons of the past, defeated them in the present, and would face whatever came at them, together, in the future.

He realized, suddenly, that he'd been so busy demanding answers that he'd actually forgotten to thank Pluto. He silently made a mental note to thank her, the next time he saw her, for the second chance she'd given him. The second chance she'd given his generals and Serenity's Senshi. For granting him the incredible gift of a twist in time.

The End