Note: The plot positively curdles....
Thoughts flew and tangled in Sailor Moon’s brain, confusing and impairing her, each screaming for attention. The only thing that she knew for sure was that she *must* find Kunzite... he would be able to take her to the Dark Kingdom. Perhaps then there would be redemption; perhaps then there would be revenge...
She had gone over the plan in her head ten thousand times, but still, it felt strange. She laughed with the irony that it was her going through this- a sweet girl, turned insane... *I’m truly deranged* she thought. *I’m doing the exact opposite of what I have always tried to do. Instead of running from the Dark Kingdom I am running straight into their embrace; and instead of fearing for my life I’m risking it, and actually believe it’s a small price to pay. The tables have really turned...* She smiled with the irony, almost laughing at herself and her total lunacy. *I am the only force that could make this happen, complete the circle, the bonding. My friends will live, that is all that matters. They don’t understand now, but when the time comes they’ll know.* She smiled bitterly to herself thinking of truth and knowledge. *But never happiness. Truth and knowledge are for those who will never be truly happy.* A tear slipped down her cheek, for a moment a sparkling diamond, resting on her cheek. It plummeted down, and became one with the wet floor.
*They don’t have memories of dying, or of the moon... and even I don’t remember very much. I remember clearly only my death...their flesh burning, and I remember the smell, the smell of innocent blood, dripping off lifeless limbs, my friends, my protectors...frothy life-force spilling to the ground, and they were dead, forever dead, ALWAYS-* she tried to get a grip on herself, grappling with the dangerous bond that held her to the past, a prisoner. Shaking, she grasped a dank wall for support, the disguise pen pressing into the palm of her hand, the jewel on it cutting her hand. She stared down her bow, realizing that she had torn at the material, reducing it to worn shreds. Bits of red fabric sat at her feet, lonely and lifeless as the dead...she tried to escape, and leave memory behind attempting to think only of the caves, and her destination, her mission... no not her mission, only of the caves...the caves...*Yes* she told herself in her mind *yes, I will think only of these caverns.*
The caves were dark and forbidding, the walls created of what appeared to be organic plant life. It seemed as if at any moment they would began pulsing and moaning, as if an icy hand would spring from the walls and grab her...suck her into the wall forever, ripping life from her- No. She forced herself not to think of that. She would survive at least long enough to find Kunzite! Eyes flashing, chin set in a determined fashion, she strode with deliberate steps down one passage and through the next...and through the next... and the next...her pace slowed and her chin lowered a bit. The caverns seemed truly endless holes of chaos; perhaps she would never find Kunzite. *Perhaps I will die here* she thought, and laughed morbid despair, finally allowing pain to sear her heart. *At least if I die-* an image of Beryl flashed into her mind and her head flew up. She would find Kunzite...she *would* find Beryl! *I cannot die now, when I can earn the freedom of my friends. Maybe I can, maybe I will die later, but I must avenge him first... I must kill her for my madness. If I don’t my life will be days of worthless thoughts, years of insanity... but I will find Beryl, and I will make her regret that she was ever born! I will make her understand, I will make her pay!* Sailor Moon stood, proud and defiant her eyes flashing in such pain and mirthless anger that anyone seeing her would have winced, and indeed someone did. “Yes” she whispered, “I will make her pay.”
“I had no idea that you would be so hurt over death, even that of a lover”, Kunzite said, his voice containing more startled contempt than mocking. He was floating mid-air, staring at her with a peculiar look on his face. Sailor Moon raised her hands in defense, a look of pure hatred masking her lovely face, her features contorted into a facade of disgust.
“Kunzite!” She snarled menacingly, eyes flickering, words springing from her mouth as a dog does from it’s cage. ”What would *you* know about love!”
An expression of pure pain crossed Kunzite’s face, but was quickly replaced by one of deep hatred and anger. ”More than you will ever know or understand, *princess*.” His silver eyes glared straight into her blue ones, and the emotion that they held made her quail like a slender willow tree in a gust of wind.
She lowered her head, her voice quiet, and pained. “I was waiting for you, Kunzite”, she whispered.
Kunzite started, surprise registering in his face. He quickly covered it with wariness; studying her for a long moment, observing her weakness. He at last smiled mockingly, flipped his long silver hair over his shoulder, and shook his cape as a bull-fighter would at a bull before it charged. “*What*, to challenge me little princess?”
“No.” The word exploded from her mouth, seeming to light the air on fire. “However, when you say it *that* way, I’m very tempted to do so.” She gave an insane laugh, scorning him. “What?! Don’t look so surprised! After all, you’ve had countless experiences challenging us ‘fragile’ Moon women, have you not?!” Her words were like arrows shot by an expert archer, precise, level and cold.
“You wouldn’t dare”, he snarled, all violent temper aroused again in moments. He had been the one in control, the one taunting, but now she had turned the tables, and it provoked him. He sprang from the air, and even before he hit the ground, had a ball of pure energy forming in his hands.
Sailor Moon grappled with her sense’s for a moment, and a bit of sanity entered them. Staring at the ground, she threw a pair of words at him, as dismantling as any physical attack could be. “How true.” She spit it out as if it made her mouth dirty to contain it.
Kunzite reeled, completely disconcerted. *Why would she admit her weakness?-is this some sort of trap?!* If it was, he was confident he could handle it. *Especially after those weak-minded traps she’s thrown at me before.* He did know the power of a creature of the moon, but... there had been a specific weakness of the Moon Princess; unfortunately he remembered little of that. *I wonder...*
He looked up suddenly, realizing that while he had been lost in thought, Sailor Moon had been simply sitting on the cave floor. He pondered why she did not try to run away or at least attack... he eyed her warily once again.
Sailor Moon ignored his cautious air and resumed talking. “I realize that am no formidable foe for you. Even with the Sailor Scouts, I could never dream of beating either you or your queen.” She said the last word with a sneer, as if the title of queen was hardly fit for it’s bearer, and threw her head to one side saucily. “Therefore, I would like to propose a bargain. You see, we all have our own little needs and requirements, the forces of both good and evil. The Dark Kingdom doesn’t want me to get in their way, and I don’t want my friends hurt or killed.” Up until the end her voice had been level and business-like, but now it turned bitter with pain. “Already my lover has been murdered by the Dark Kingdom, and I do not wish to loose any more friends to Dark Kingdom trash!”
The last word was thrown recklessly at Kunzite, but he ignored it. “A bargain?”
“Yes. I’m taking you up on your last offer, but I’m changing the rules. The deal: I’ll come willing to your Dark Kingdom and serve you there, if you promise not to hurt my friends.”
Kunzite wavered once again, considering this ‘bargain’ that had been proposed. Even this compulsive a girl would not give her own mind to her enemies- would she? He had sensed the hopeless desperation in her voice, the intense glow in her eyes, the determined thrust of her body. She wanted this to work, needed it to so badly that he could not refuse. She would give her life, her soul up to pure evil if she could only see those she loved safe. Something about her desperation stuck in the back of his mind, a thought that demanded to be acted upon...perhaps this would be what he needed. “All right. Deal done.” His words were brief for such a powerful contract, and he could see her weeping inwardly, but he ignored her grief. Kunzite waved his hand and a star gate appeared across the room. He held out the same hand, and in a arctic tone commanded, “Ready? Let’s go.”
Sailor Moon stared straight into his eyes, her gaze so piercing and noble that her had to lower his eyes. “I’m ready.”
* * * * * *
“Mercury, haven’t you got any reading on Sailor Moon yet?”, Rei demanded impatiently leaning over Sailor Mercury’s shoulder to get a better look at the numbers furiously darting around the screen.
“Rei, get back your obstructing my vision,” the small girl chided absently.
“Hey I just wanted to-”, Rei began, but was interrupted by a small twitter of triumph from Mercury.
“She’s twenty feet away, through that cavern”, Mercury chirped excitedly, and pointed through a low archway of stone.
“Mercury, what are those two red pulsing area’s on the screen?”
“Oh SHIT!” Mercury ignored the inquires raining down on her and began running toward the small cavern. Red areas meant Dark Kingdom energy, and the way thing’s looked on her computer screen, one had been a star gate, and the other had appeared to be radiating Kunzite’s dark energy.
“C’mon people, let’s go!”, Venus shrilled, pursuing Sailor Mercury at a breakneck speed. The Senshi and their guardians looked dazed for a moment, and then followed after their rapidly disappearing friends.
* * * * * *
The Senshi arrived to just in time to see Sailor Moon take Kunzite’s hand in her own. They gasped in shock to see their leader take the hand of an enemy. The slight sound make by their intake of breath made Sailor Moon turn her head.
“Usagi-chan!”, Luna cried. “Usagi-chan, what are you doing?!”
“Traitor!”, Mars gasped through clenched teeth. “She’s gone of to them and betrayed us all!”
Sailor Moon smiled sadly, and tears pricked at the edge of her eyes, spilling over and becoming two crystal clear streams running down her pale face. “Gomen nasai, minna. Gomen nasai. One day you’ll know what I did. You can be free and live real lives now. Your freedom and your safety is all I’ve ever wanted. You can be happy; you can forget. I love you, remember. I hope you have beautiful lives.”
Sailor Moon, Princess Selenity of the Moon, smiled, her tears falling; silver diamonds shattering on the floor. Her soft lips curved up in a melancholy smile, so sad that they would remember it for eternity. “Remember me. I ask only one thing. Remember me.”
“No, Usagi!”, Luna cried, but Usagi simply turned her back, and stepped through the star gate.
“No! Usagi!”, Luna sobbed, and she collapsed on the floor, tiny body shaking, and despondent. “No, no, not again, not again!”
* * * * * *
Kunzite landed softly in the room, barely turning in time to catch Sailor Moon. She landed in his arms with a light whirling sound. He looked at her a moment, perplexed by the unusual grace of her fall and then deposited her body on the bed, collapsing heavily beside her.
“Ohhh.” She moaned quietly, and shifted, snuggling closer to his warm body, the velvety material of the cape clutched in her long fingers. He stared at her fingers, suddenly aware of how small she was, how frail.
She heard someone calling, but it was far away, like the person was standing on a distant hilltop. The call came again, this time much closer, and she felt someone touch her face.
There was something familiar about this situation, the smooth silk beneath her, the heavy silence of the room, pressing down upon her chest. It was a silence of nothing; it made her feel dead inside to think of someone enduring that silence forever.
She groaned again, this time rolling over; every muscle in her body screamed with pain. She sat up, this time almost screaming with the agony that jolted through her. It seemed almost too much to open her eyelids, but she did so quickly, after considering sitting in the pressing silence and the darkness at the same time.
The room tilted and blurred at first, then suddenly came into focus- into focus on a white cape.
“Where-where am I?” she demanded. They sat in the awful silence a few moments more sudden flash of memory hit, horrible and sick. Question filled her mind. Why was she here? Wasn’t she to be enslaved, or killed or... the room tilted, and suddenly the silence was screaming, screaming.
“Kunzite, WHERE AM I?”, she cried suddenly, aware only of her confusion, of her need to protect her friends; she had thought this would be gone from her mind, but no, she remembered everything... everything. She began to weep, bitter tears of rage and misery flooded her eyes. The more
“Kunzite, why haven’t you taken my pain?! WHY?! I thought if I joined you I should have had my memory taken away, or at least killed...but, now I remember everything, everything...”, and she began resentfully to sob, sinking back onto the soft ebony silk sheets of the bed in which she lay. She grabbed a silky pillow and began tearing at the fabric in an delirious rage, ripping at the smooth black fabric.
“Stop, damn you, your insane! STOP!!!!”, Kunzite roared angrily, and running over to the bed, seized the pillow and threw it across the room, creating a shower of pure white feathers, illuminating the black room.
At once the bitter tears stopped. A word so light it could have been one of the feathers that had graced the room moments before. “Why?”
It seem as though he was about to laugh and scorn her, telling her that she was a fool, a fool to love, but something in her pain-filled blue eyes stopped him, and instead he bent down and embraced her. The movement startled both, but it was so true, that it seemed to melt them, draw the pain away. She pushed him away a little so that she could look into his eyes and what she saw in them startled her. The piercing silver, usually so sharp and cold, were filled with tears. She gasped softly, and, almost involun- tarily reached out a small hand and touched his face, wiping away the silver drops from his browned skin.
“Gomen-gomen nasai. I had no idea- but I need to know. What am I doing here? Why? I thought perhaps you could make me forget, forget them, forget him...”
“Do you think I have any loyalty to the queen?”
“Wha-What are you...what are you talking about?” Usagi stumbled over her words, and tried to regain control of her mind, but Kunzite’s question had shaken her out of her paralysis, and the best she could managed was a dazed stare.
Kunzite sighed, his air bitter and lachrymose by turns. “I have no loyalties to the queen anymore, and in fact, the more I think about it, I never really have.” He paused to see how she reacted to this; satisfied with her stunned silence he continued. “I, sadly enough, cannot kill her alone. For that, I need someone to help me, someone pure, good, someone able to blot out her evil...” he stared bluntly at her. “To be exact, you.”
“You want to-WHAT?”, she gasped, his words finally setting in. “You want *me* to help *you*...you want me to help you kill her!” She looked disgusted, and yet at the same time she knew she was trapped with her hate and need to avenge herself. She knew he was not to be trusted... but even as she thought of this, she could feel a burning hole in her heart, a place where Tuxedo Kamen, Endymion, Mamo-chan, had once been. His love had completed her.
She had loved him, loved him enough to die for him, die for him ten times over, and she had! She had died once for him, and now she would kill for him. Even as she thought this she realized how loathsome the task was. Still, in a twisted way she loved it, and she knew he knew that she loathed it. “Yes.”
“Good.” They stared at each other for a few moments, the awful silence filling the room again. Usagi was the first to break it.
“How do you live with this silence?!” she demanded.
Kunzite began to laugh, but his laughter turned into a strangled sob. “I didn’t always” he whispered.
“Yes.” whispered Usagi “you will get your revenge. Don’t cry”
“Hai.” Kunzite inhaled sharply. “Hai.” He seemed to regain composer for a few moments, and Usagi took her chance.
“So” she asked in a matter-of-fact voice, “any ideas on how to go about it?”
* * * * * *
“Luna! Luna, are you all right? Luna!”
Someone was yelling...someone was asking something of Luna, imploring her to remember...to know...but she didn’t want to! She wanted them to leave. Too late. Ugly memory flooded in, clouding her vision.
“Usagi! Usagi-chan! She’s given in to him...” Luna choked, gagged with her own grief. Tearing at the walls of the cave, she cursed fervently, with a scream of rage, flung her tiny body against the wall, her body falling limply to the floor, a rush of crimson blood gushing out of her mouth, tinting her fur red.
“Luna! LUNA!” Ami screamed running to her. She scooped Luna up in her arms, cradling the barely breathing cat. “Why Luna? Why hurt yourself?! Usagi is gone because she wanted us to live! Will you destroy the gift she has given to you?! She gave herself up for us, for our lives! Luna! Luna, you
“I refuse stand and watch the past repeat itself. Death is simple, and death is what I choose.” Her head lolled to one side, breathing more labored than before. In a few seconds she would be dead, her life thrown away, and death would open it’s jaws, swallowing her forever...
“We can’t let her die! We have to will life into her. Quickly, everyone think of her. Think of flowers, and donuts, and many, many beautiful things. Think of Usagi, alive and well. We must entice her back to life!” Jupiter screamed, desperate. “We need her help to save Usagi!”
“Save Usagi-” Rei trailed off.
“But first we must save Luna.”
“Think” Makoto whispered. Give her your best memories. She needs them now more than you ever will.”
The senshi closed their eyes, joining hands. There was a flood of light, as each of them gave up their best memories of life. The cave was illuminated with an eerie pulsing glow that surrounded the tiny figure on the floor. For a moment it was so bright that they couldn’t see, and then it was over.
A cough echoed through the cave. Then a small, startled gasp, another cough...
“Luna?” Minako’s voice rang out shakily in the caves, only resounding faintly. “I- I can’t see.”
“Neither can I-” echoed several other senshi.
“Minna...” Luna coughed, and a small form in the corner began to rise.
“My life. I lost my head...” Luna tried to laugh weakly, but managed instead a strangled sob. “Why? Why did she do that? Again? Again she gave herself for-” Luna stopped abruptly, as the Senshi blindly around, perplexed looks over coming each of their faces. She stared at them for the first time, noticing their blank looks. “What-what’s wrong?”
Minako began to sob. “I can’t see!”
The darkness pressed in around them, gnawing at them.
“My god. You’ve all gone blind.”
There was a pause, and then their wretched shrieks echoed off the walls, filling the cavern with hot pain.
* * * * * *
*Now, if Luna was correct...* Artemis thought to himself. He smiled sadly at the thought of the small black cat whom he would probably never see again. The tunnel was dark, so dark he began to doubt what had been said. *Perhaps I took a wrong tunnel... or* Artemis cut off his dismal thoughts. Whatever was going on, he *must* find out. However, even as he thought stoutly of this, his chin lowered a bit and his eyes saddened. It seemed her would never find what he was looking for... and then! Light in the tunnel up ahead! A gale of freezing icy wind, and a gust of snow. A white snowy expanse stretched out before Artemis, majestic and beautiful... in a deathly cold sense. It had the majestic beauty of a deadly snake, poised and ready to strike. Artemis gasped, the existence of such a place hardly seeming believable; as he gazed, he gasped even harder, at the sight of something that he was the sole witness to and, with a yell of terror, retreated swiftly into the entrance through which he had come.
* * * * * *
“Bring down the whole damn Dark Kingdom?! You’re either sick or insane!
Well, *Kunzite* what do *you* propose we do? After we murder Beryl we’re not just going to be able to-” she broke off as Kunzite gave a strangled yelp.
“Shit! Oh shit! You don’t know do you! Metallica won’t need to appoint anyone. She’s planning to attack the earth!”
Usagi started and then her eyes flashed with even more determination. “Well then we *must* destroy Metallia. We can’t let everyone on earth perish!”
“*You* can’t let everyone on earth perish. It’s impossible to bring down the Dark Kingdom! Insane! You’re insane!”
Sailor Moon raised her body on the bed. ”Do you think I can let them die? Do you think that after all these years I would give up on them?! My friends, my family, my...” she paused a moment, her eyes filling with tears. “...my lover?!”
“Usagi-chan, be strong! Do not cry. You will waste your strength” he said gruffly, but reached a rough hand out to her, allowing himself to wipe away her tears, the rough fabric of his glove absorbing them.
“Kunzite!” She pulled away from him in alarm. “You used my name...”
“Mmmm. I heard you’re friends calling to you as you left them.” He paused a moment, cursing and then, in a lower tone, said mockingly, “they're ever weak.”
She gasped, her apparent shock turning quickly to disgust, her pretty face contorted with anger. “No more weaker then you! You lost Zoicite and are the worse to show for it, and yet you mock friendship!” She turned her face away so he couldn’t see tears slipping down her face. In a dry, strangle voice she whispered, “You lose, and yet you mock others loss. Hypocrite. I don’t understand you!”
“As you will never, princess. As you will never.”
Her small body shook, and a wail of pure pain sliced the silence in the room.
“Usagi-chan...” he whispered.
“Leave me alone! You don’t understand! You’re just like them! They don’t know...” She sobbed again and buried her head in a black silk pillow.
“Usagi-chan...I’m sorry.” He reached out and touched her lightly. She felt a surge of warm energy, a surge of caring, friendship, love... the pain was washed from her mind.
“Wha-what did you do?”
He grimaced slightly at the question. “I’m not sure... it seems to be something I learned... then.”
“Earth? But I thought-”
“During the Silver Millennium I was part of the prince’s court-”
“Yes. Endymion.” He stopped for a moment as she gave a startled gasp. “Although I only remember some of what happened...” He trailed off in thought. Impatiently she nudged him.
“Ummm...oh yes. There was a healer in court, and for a while she taught me some of her magic...” he paused again. “Princess-”
“Please, don’t call me that.”
“All right. Usagi-chan, how much do you remember?”
“I-that is to say...” She looked down, her eyes filling with tears. “I do not remember much...only the death. The smell of blood... my friends dying, laying there, covered with thick blood, people laying dead. They were all trying to protect me-they died for me!” She could see them still, eyes open, staring, blank. Twisted bodies, burnt, scorched, blood black. Hate surging through the crowd, death, heat rising, the taste of her own crimson blood...she sank into the bed. Slowly she turned looking at him, her gaze sorrowful, and yet piercing, hate surging through her.
He turned away from the wrathful fire in her eyes. “What did she *do* to you, Kunzite?”
“Gomen nasai, Usagi-chan. Gomen nasai. It was Beryl... she infected us-” His words were sliced by a sob. Slowly, he sank to the floor, hands hiding his face, burning heart throbbing. A cool hand on his shoulder, a lovely glance...
“I know Kunzite. You are forgiven.”
*End Prevailing Darkness Part 1*
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