Since the battle ended, Usagi had been having misgivings. Tuxedo Kamen had been hit protecting her from Zoisite's dark purple crystal. His cloak had seemed to deflect most of the damage, but still, she had felt him flinch violently as the deadly barrage hit them. He had told her he was fine and left.
The Senshi had argued with her, saying he was the enemy and was not to be trusted, but the blonde knew deep in her heart that he was nothing they said of him.
Sailor Moon had de-transformed and walked towards home, going through Juuban park towards the south entrance. It was a fast route home and she wanted some time to herself before her family returned from their business trip. Her mother had left Usagi with Ami for the weekend, but the girl had wanted some time for herself and so was heading home before going back to her friend's house.
Something was drawing her like a magnet across the city and she was powerless to resist.
A bright silver cord that she could almost see, and certainly feel. Something was very wrong...someone was in trouble. But who?
The blonde stared past the trees and the lake and saw a figure staggering in the distance. She had very good eyes and could see who it was immediately. A figure she'd recognise in a snowstorm. Chiba Mamoru! And he was hurt. "Oh no, he's hurt!" Obeying an instinct that she really didn't understand, she fled across the grass and down the hill towards him. It had been his pain calling to her.
She reached him and grasped at his hand, limp at his side. "Mamoru? Mamoru, are you alright?" She said urgently, seeing a darkly-red patch of liquid spreading over his horrid green jacket. Blue eyes widened as her mind flashed back to the battle. Tuxedo Kamen had been wounded on his left side...and so was this man.
It just couldn't be. He must have hurt himself another way, because she knew there was no way he was Tuxedo Kamen.
"Odango...Atama." Mamoru said slowly, groggy. His eyes focused on her concerned face. "Don't worry about me. I'm fine."
He was clearly lying and she was not amused. "You're bleeding badly." She said bluntly, lightly touching the wet material with the palm of her hand. Even with that slight touch, he paled in agony. She held up the red-stained skin under his nose. "What happened?"
"I got beaten up by a gang." The handsome upperclassman gasped out, breath struggling in his lungs. "They overpowered me. Stabbed me."
Usagi was horrified. "You've been stabbed in the back?" No wonder he was bleeding so much. "We have to get you to a hospital."
"I'm trying." He gave her a ghost of a smile. "It's a few blocks down."
"So is my house." She blurted out, still in shock. She'd been given some medical training by Ami and thought that she could look after him. She shifted her shoulders uneasily as the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly stood up.
"It's too deep." He told her, deep blue gaze becoming dazed.
She knew he was losing a lot of blood from what she could see and how he was acting. How was Mamoru still on his feet?
"Usagi-run." He whispered, to her, stumbling forward.
The golden-haired girl caught his arm and kept him steady. Run? But why-
"Good, I did wound him fatally then." A voice gloated from behind them.
Usagi felt her blood freeze in her veins as she recognised the satisfied female voice. She turned her head slowly and saw Zoisite floating over them.
"Come to see your handiwork?" Mamoru managed to get out harshly, eyes steely.
The girl's mouth fell open and she gaped at him in shock. Mamoru knew Zoisite? Oh no, this was way too much a coincidence. Tuxedo Kamen had been injured by the General and now here she was, talking as if the upperclassman were the cloaked hero.
"It can't be." Usagi felt her mouth move with the words, but they never emerged.
"Let the girl go." Mamoru told Zoisite, straightening and standing on his own. As if he weren't in agony and mortal danger.
Usagi's eyes filled with tears at the sight. It had to be him. She had never seen Mamoru this way, standing so proudly. And he knew who Zoisite was.
"I don't think so." Malicious green eyes took in Usagi. "She can die along with you."
"N-no...damn..." The dark-haired man's voice trailed off and he pitched forward into her arms.
Usagi fell down with his almost burying her, panic filling her. "Mamoru?" She said in fear shaking his shoulder. He was out cold! She looked up at Zoisite as she heard footsteps and saw the woman standing over them.
But something wasn't right. Zoisite had an almost-devastated look in her green eyes. She stood there as if frozen. "No." She said woodenly, eyes on Mamoru's unconscious body.
Usagi stared at the unexpected sight. What on earth could be wrong with the Dark General, she couldn't even begin to guess.
Before she could even think of another plan, she shoved Mamoru's body off of hers and into the air. He fell backwards, wavered and then tumbled back towards her. She turned quickly and he landed heavily on her back. Usagi gave Zoisite another urgent look before hoisting the man's legs up on either side of her waist and backing away. He was damned heavy, but she had soon discovered after being a Senshi for a while, that she and the others were different even when not transformed. They were stronger, could jump amazing heights, endure a lot more pain than a normal girl and go without sleep for days without feeling the effects.
Luna had been concerned at first, but then seemed to come up with an explanation. They were Senshi, so naturally their bodies were adjusting to their powers even when not transformed.
And it was a brilliant piece of information to have had at a time like that!
The small girl continued to back away, noting warily that the General seemed to be in shell-shock. "Whatever the heck is wrong with her, it's my chance." She muttered, turning around and running like the devil was after her.
She kept to back streets and hid whenever a car or person came near them, heart beating frantically. She was scared stiff for the man on her back, who she now suspected strongly was Tuxedo Kamen. Usagi didn't know how he could possibly be the hero who always rescued her, but she knew that despite she and Mamoru arguing, they weren't bitter enemies. More like siblings. They fought similar to herself and Shingo.
"What a thing to think at a time like this!" She berated herself, slipping into her front yard. She praised whatever power was watching over her that her parents were still gone, then attempted to leap up into the tree in front of her window.
To her horror, she missed the lower branch and fell. The blonde turned in mid-air and landed first, with him on top. All the breath left her body and she lay there, gasping for breath. After a minute or two, she calmed and took stock of the situation. She had thankfully managed to cushion Mamoru's fall and he lay with his head over her shoulder, chest to chest.
Struggling mightily, Usagi pushed him off her and lugged him into her arms. "I hope this works." She whispered, extremely worried about how much damage had been done to Mamoru. There was an awful amount of blood seeping through his thick jacket. The sooner she got him up into her room, the sooner she could take off his clothes and patch him up.
"Wait." A voice said from behind her, scaring her silly.
The golden-haired teen turned and looked at Zoisite warily. The woman had followed them! That meant that the General now knew where Sailor Moon lived. Her blue eyes narrowed. "Get away from us!" She spat, turning swiftly and leaping into the tree. Branches went by in a blur as apprehension and a strange sense of protectiveness filled her.
She leapt through the open window and carefully placed Mamoru on the bed.
Zoisite came in closely, face expressionless. Her fists clenched at her side and her eyes on Mamoru.
Usagi turned to face her, face determined. "I said, get away!" She shouted at the woman, half-crouching in a defensive posture. She was ready to do bodily harm to protect Mamoru, if need be.
"I don't mean any harm-" The woman began bizarrely.
The blonde girl choked back a hysterical laugh and settled on a glare. "Are you serious? YOU did this to him, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did." Zoisite said distractedly, still looking at Mamoru with the strangest expression in her green eyes.
Usagi didn't wait for the woman to regain her senses. In one movement, she launched into the air, foot aiming squarely for Zoisite's face. The woman caught a sandalled shoe in the right cheek and stumbled backwards, crashing into the wardrobe. She felt down, dazed.
The blonde shot her eyes around in a panic, looking for something to tie Zoisite up with and her eyes landed on a tight pink rope cord that bound her bunny curtains. She ripped it swiftly from the wall and stretched it between her hands. It would do.
Zoisite was getting to her knees when Usagi's full weight landed onto her back.
"Stay still." Usagi told her in an icy tone, everything perfectly clear to her. The other Senshi would have been proud at how their Leader had taken control of the situation without panicking or wailing.
The Dark General was bound within moments, using one of Makoto's Sailor knots.
Blue eyes blazing dislike, Usagi shoved Zoisite into the corner near the window and went back to Mamoru. She checked his eyes and saw the pupils were slightly dilated. Not a good sign, according to Ami. The blonde almost checked his pulse and found it was erratic and faint. "I don't like this at all." She told him, brushing back a lock of hair from his white face.
She hauled him up by the arms and pulled his jacket off. It stuck to his back with died blood and she gingerly peeled it away. He groaned in pain, even unconscious and she winced. His shirt came next and then Usagi reached under the bed and pulled out her emergency first aid kit.
"What are you doing, human?" Zoisite said sharply from her position against the wall. She watched every move Usagi made as she wiped off Mamoru's back and the bleeding wound, which had jagged edges.
Usagi was no expert, but she could see that Zoisite had done a great deal of damage and there was one large wound surrounded by smaller ones. All damage of the shattered crystal the General had flung at them. "I'm so sorry." She said to him in a low regretful voice. This was all her fault. If Tuxedo Kamen hadn't rescued her then he would not have been injured.
"I asked you a question, girl." The flaxen-haired woman said in a hard tone.
"Shut up!" The Senshi of the Moon snapped at her, eyes flashing warningly. "I won't hesitate to knock you out with something hard."
Strangely still, this shut the General up.
Usagi had no time to ponder over it as she cleaned the wound, taking out any crystal shards she could find with a pair of tweezers as he lay on his front on her soft bed. The covers soon became smeared with blood, as did her hands, but she worked steadily for half an hour.
Near the end, Mamoru came to, groaning with pain. "Where am I?" He said as Usagi urged him to sit up.
The blonde gave a tentative smile as she wrapped the bandages about his lightly-muscled chest, making sure to put a thick pad against his larger wound. The smaller had clotted, but the larger was still bleeding. She didn't know how to tell him how bad it was...
"You're at my place, Mamoru." She murmured to him, setting him back slowly by the arms against her pillow. His dark head rested against the headboard and regarded her with a befuddled look.
"Your house?" He looked about, frowning. "Your room?" Mamoru guessed from all the toys, bunnies and overall girlish theme of the room.
"That's right. I bandaged you up after cleaning your injury, but it's bad." The blonde said quietly, showing him the first aid kit, which was full of clotted blood and shards of crystal amongst the medical supplies.
His blue eyes widened at the sight. "They came out of my back?" He was silent for a long moment, then nodded. "Thank you."
"We're not out of trouble yet. And not just your wound." Usagi said brittely, ready to break down. She wanted desperately to have a good cry, but knew she couldn't. She looked behind her, moving out of the way so that he could see Zoisite.
His blue eyes went wide in shock and disbelief. "Zoisite?" He looked at Usagi. "You CAPTURED her?"
"Yeah," The blonde girl said shortly, not willing to explain right then that she was Sailor Moon.
Mamoru looked at her as if he didn't know her, then bowed his head, feeling dizzy. "Thank you again. I know that you must have been scared."
"I was." She whispered for his ears only.
The handsome upperclassman shifted and everything spun around him. He also felt like violently throwing up.
Usagi watched in concern as he dry-retched. "I'd get you a bucket, but I can't leave you alone with her." She said, gesturing to the Dark Kingdom General.
"I'm-okay." He gasped, going even more pale than before. "Have you called an ambulance?" He asked her after a minute or so.
"I haven't. Not with her...that is, I didn't know-" Usagi stammered out, knowing he'd want to know why she didn't get him to the hospital. How could she tell him it was because she sensed that he was as inhuman in physique as the Senshi and the doctors would figure that out in no time? They'd...do things to him.
She also couldn't leave him at Zoisite's mercies, alone in a hospital room with no Senshi to guard him. Who better to protect Tuxedo Kamen than Sailor Moon herself?
Usagi brushed a piece of fluff from his pants and then touched the bandages lightly. "Besides, I can look after you, Mamoru." She said, smiling. She only hoped that she was right. Perhaps she should call Ami?
"Why do I have a feeling that your 'tender loving care' comes with an expiry date?" Mamoru said dryly. He turned his head away while he coughed, chest heaving.
Usagi frowned, but her eyes were concerned. "That's an awful thing to say to someone who just saved your life." She looked pointedly at the bound Dark Kingdom General. "This woman was seriously trying to kill you."
Zoisite sighed, blowing her fringe from her green eyes. "If I'd wanted to kill him, I would have." Her eyes turned towards Mamoru's form and a strangely-tender look entered their depths. "And I don't...not now."
Both Mamoru and Usagi stared at her distrustfully.
"Oh, come now, Zoisite," The handsome upperclassman snorted in derision. "You stab me in the back with a crystal-" He looked carefully at Usagi, knowing she was listening and not wanting her to know that he was really Tuxedo Kamen. However, he was not sure how they were going to avoid that, as they were all holed up in the Odango's bedroom and he was injured and unable to leave.
Well, he supposed it was only matter of time before the world found out the identities of the superhero's saving them on a regular basis.
"And then you follow me, gloating over your victory." Mamoru continued after a brief pause.
The golden-haired girl's eyes widened. So, Zoisite had come to finish him off? And she'd run into Mamoru before the Dark Kingdom General had, thank god. She turned to glare balefully at the strange woman. "Not in MY house, Zoisite." She said firmly.
The flaxen-haired General gazed back rather intently, eyes on Usagi's hairstyle. "I won't try anything." She promised.
Usagi was the one to snort this time, rolling her eyes at Mamoru in a manner that said Zoisite could be trusted about as far as they could throw her. "Sure you won't."
Mamoru winced as he shifted on her bed, feeling the trickle of sticky blood again making its way down his side. "I think it's started to bleed again, Usagi." He murmured to her quietly, unwilling to let his enemy know. He'd been the recipient of her Zoisite's sneer that day already and it was an unpleasant sight.
Fighting the Generals had always been unpleasant for Tuxedo Kamen, though he knew he was taking it rather personally. All four of them had seemed very familiar to him, and it occurred to him that he may have seen them somewhere before. Perhaps when he was a small boy, before he'd lost his memory.
But how was that remotely possible?
"By the way, where's Kunzite? I figured you'd have called him by now." The man questioned her warily.
Zoisite stared back mutely, for once silent.
Usagi glanced uneasily from Mamoru to Zoisite. She was supposed to be a normal girl. A girl that Mamoru bashed into regularly and had no idea about the Dark Kingdom. She had to wonder why the jerk was even saying all this in front of her. Did he want her to know he was Tuxedo Kamen?
Unconsciously, she looked at him with a question in her blue eyes.
Mamoru cursed his careless words and knew that an explanation was probably overdue. The blonde, somehow, had picked him up from his face-dive to the ground and carried him to her home. This was very confusing to him, as he knew she couldn't possibly have carried him. She was so very slight...had a member of her family or a friend helped her?
He wasn't exactly sure of the events that had come after his passing out. When he had awoken, Usagi was pressing a cool cloth against his forehead and Zoisite had been sitting, tied up and unusually docile in the corner of the room.
"Look En-er Tuxedo Kamen, I know you don't want to believe me, but I don't want to harm you." Zoisite said quietly, eyes calm and bright. "Or you." She added for Usagi's sake.
Usagi's breath drew in sharply. Zoisite had called Mamoru Tuxedo Kamen and now his identity had been confirmed. But he didn't seem happy about it in the least, from his expression.
The upperclassman glared darkly at the General, cursing her silently for blowing his cover. In one sentence, she had revealed to Usagi his alter-ego. He looked warily at the blonde, when she said nothing, and saw an accepting look on her face. Accepting? What the hell was going on here? "Usagi, did you know I was Tuxedo Kamen?" He demanded of her, blue eyes snapping.
Usagi shifted her legs on the floor, easing the cramped limbs. She looked away from his penetrating gaze for a long moment, then sighed. "I knew." She said simply. The blonde gestured to his bloody shirt. "I happened to witness the battle, actually and saw you injured. I was about to see if you were okay when you collapsed at my feet."
Such a simple explanation, but somehow he didn't get the feeling that she was telling him the truth. He couldn't remember seeing anyone around when they'd battled that Youma.
Zoisite chuckled loudly in amusement. "How quaint." She said cryptically. She uncrossed her legs and stretched them out before her. "If you untie me, I can heal him." She suggested lightly, knowing they'd say no.
"No bloody way!" Mamoru bellowed at her, drawing fuel from his agony. His back felt as if it were on fire; white hot pain going deep into his body. He was slowly bleeding to death, though he hazarded a guess that Usagi didn't know that. She had done a very good job of patching him up, he noticed, looking down. Her bandage-job was very professional. A pity the wound was too bad to be patched up so carelessly. He needed stitches.
"Nice joke!" Usagi snapped at her enemy, ready to strangle her. The girl watched Mamoru carefully as he studied her bandaging. She swallowed and bit her lip. There was thick padding underneath and the bandages had been wrapped firmly, but she could see the new blood seeping through her pink pillow. He was losing blood and would soon faint again.
Perhaps then she could call Ami in. But what could she tell her friend? The truth? It would inevitably lead to both Mamoru and Zoisite finding out that they were the Senshi.
"I wasn't exactly joking, but that's up to you to decide." The General told them gently.
The two stared at her as if she'd grown two heads.
"This isn't the Dark Kingdom General I know and fight." Mamoru retorted cuttingly. "You injured me and now you want to heal me? Has Queen Beryl demanded that you take me to her unharmed, is that it?"
"Queen Beryl doesn't know much about you at all," The woman replied, trying to free her hands and rubbing her raw skin on the ropes.
Usagi smirked in pleasure, knowing she'd done a good job at hogtying the woman. Makoto's rope tricks had come in handy. It was amazing what her friends had in their heads. All sorts of knowledge. Such as Ami showing the blonde how to patch someone up if they were injured.
Her nose wrinkled at the thought. Ami had really been showing her how to bandage HERSELF more than anything else, as the Sailor Senshi frequently came home from battles injured in some way or another. Each girl kept a first aid kit under her bed.
"Mamoru, we need to get you to a hospital." The golden-haired girl told him worriedly. She bent over him, checking his bandages. Her fingers trailed over his chest, checking how tight the wraps were. She eyed the blood on the pillow and her breath whooshed out. "You're going to bleed to death at this rate." She informed him bluntly.
To say he was stunned would have been an understatement. Not only had Usagi patched her up himself, but she seemed rather smarter than he'd given her credit for. So, she had noticed the blood-flow as well, had she? "You're probably right, but I don't think going is a good idea." He said softly, staring back into her concerned eyes. Why had he never noticed before how pretty she was?
He smiled ruefully, knowing it was probably the blood-loss talking. Usagi was a brat. A klutz and a thorn in his side. She was not good looking!
"He's right," Zoisite offered tentatively, with a slight smile. "There are crystal fragments buried in his skin, filled with dark energy. One of your physicians touching that would be killed."
Usagi looked at her in horror and Mamoru stiffened.
"I'm dying then?" The handsome man said, voice rather faint. His vision swam and his life flashed before his eyes.
'Who am I?'
'I'll be your friend from now on.'
'My name is Motoki. What's your name?'
'Hey, jerk, that's mine!'
'Please bring me the Silver Imperium Crystal.'
'Die, Tuxedo Kamen!'
"Mamoru?" Usagi shook his arm gently as his deep blue eyes glazed over. She checked his pulse and found that it was too slow. He was slipping fast. "Mamoru!" She gasped as he slumped back, unconscious.
"Untie me!" Zoisite snarled at the blonde, fighting her bonds.
"Shut the hell up, you bitch, or I'll do it myself." Usagi startled both of them by snarling at the woman, her hand protectively on Mamoru's chest.
Where on earth had THAT come from, the blonde wondered, flabeghasted. She had never sworn in her entire life. But an unbelievably protective surge had come over her and she truly would have killed the woman if she had tried to hurt Mamoru.
Just when had she developed such deep feelings for the jerk she constantly ran into? He seemed to always be there for her...
She brushed the hair from his pale face tenderly. "I won't let you die."
"You're Sailor Moon, aren't you?" The Dark Kingdom General said slowly. "I've seen that expression on your face before when you look at him."
Usagi looked at her sharply, heart sinking in her chest. Was she so very transparent? "I meant what I said." She warned. "Keep silent."
"Do you want him to die?" Came the ominous answer. "Because if you don't let me removed the crystal fragments and dark energy, he'll be dead in twenty minutes."
The golden-haired beauty blanched, eyes huge on Zoisite face. "Are you serious?" She whispered, feeling torn. She couldn't let the same woman who had injured him near him again-but what if Zoisite was right and only she could remove the foreign bodies inside Mamoru?
"I wouldn't be lying to you at a time like this!" The General said in exasperation. She got onto her knees and inched over the floor to Usagi, who was sitting as if turned to stone.
The two met face to face, the blonde not flinching when her enemy was so close. How could she when the only man she had ever cared for was dying before her. "I can call Mercury." Her voice was a mere thread, words choking in her throat.
"She won't make it." The flaxen-haired woman nodded towards the pale man on the bed. "Look, Sailor Moon, I know you have no reason to trust me, but I don't want to hurt him." Her green eyes flitted over Mamoru's still form and distress filled her gaze. "I can't let him die!"
"You've changed." Usagi's voice was hushed and amazed. She could hardly credit what her eyes were seeing, but the General before her seemed a completely different person. She had from the moment Mamoru collapsed. Something in her expression had seemed to shatter, and she did not seem to see them. Zoisite had then followed Usagi home, seeming to watch everything carefully as if concerned. No one had been more astonished than the blonde Senshi when the General had not resisted being bound.
"We don't have time for you to sort your moral issues." Zoisite's hard voice brought Usagi out of her thoughts like a douse of icy water.
"I know!" The blonde shouted in her face, eyes filling with tears. "I feel so helpless. I'm all alone." She fought back the moisture in her eyes, realising she was showing her weakness in front of the very enemy that had wounded Tuxedo Kamen. She shoved Zoisite roughly away from her, uncaring as the woman sprawled harshly onto the carpet. "Keep away from him, Zoisite!"
"You're letting your feelings get in the way," The woman whispered sternly, managing to gain her balance and kneel again near Usagi. "Don't you think that's rather selfish of you, Sailor Moon?"
Usagi gazed at her as if she'd lost her mind. "Are you serious? You're a Dark Kingdom General who has tried to kill us several times and has almost succeeded with Tuxedo Kamen." Blue eyes blazed into green with loathing. "I won't let you within a meter of him."
"Stupid girl." Zoisite blazed back, infuriated. "I WON'T let you kill my Prince because you can't trust me!"
There was a pregnant silence, the blonde stunned mute. Her mouth fell open, then closed, eyes huge in her face as she gawked at the General. "You're mad. He's not your Prince." She breathed, more certain than ever that Zoisite had lost her mind. She had a mad-woman tied up in her room and her family would be home soon. She needed backup. NOW.
Usagi gestured and her communicator fell deftly into her palm from her sub-space pocket. "I'm calling the Senshi in to deal with you." She said coldly.
"You don't remember, do you? But I do. When I saw him fall like that, blood pouring down his back, I knew it was him." Zoisite's voice was far away, threaded with real fear and anxiety.
"Remember what?" Usagi snapped at her, losing her patience completely. She was strung to snapping point over the situation. Zoisite had gone raving mad and Tuxedo Kamen might be breathing his last breath. "Never mind! I don't care!"
A finger pressed on the symbol for Mars an instant before a body crashed into her, sending them both into her dresser violently. It rocked on it's weight and then settled, Zoisite and Usagi mashed up against it painfully.
The blonde groaned and put a hand to her head, feeling the blood rush out of it. It hurt like hell and she wondered if she'd gotten a concussion. It then occurred to her that she had Zoisite in her arms, having unconsciously cradled the woman safely from harm, even as they'd fallen. She shoved Zoisite away in disgust, mouth twisting. "You ARE trying to kill him." She exclaimed, touching her head and feeling a bump swelling there. Luckily, there was no blood on her hand. She looked about swiftly for her communicator and spotted it across the room.
"You fool, you'll kill him at this rate!" Zoisite shouted at her, tears running down her face in anguish. She hunched there, face slightly lowered to hide her shameful emotion.
Usagi stared at her wordlessly, horrified by Zoisite's reaction. The woman looked as if her heart had been wrenched out! Surely this was a trick, for wasn't the General even now delaying the help the blonde could call for Mamoru? "Crocodile tears." She said flatly.
"You stupid little bitch. If Endymion dies, I will personally make sure that you do not live to see sunrise!" Zoisite shouted at her in fury, green eyes glowing.
"Endymion." Usagi said dumbly, a chime echoing in her mind. Everything faded as memories flooded her mind, making her oblivious to all else.
'Daughter, you have to stay away from the Prince of Earth. He is an enemy.'
'Princess, may I ask for this dance?'
'Well, if it isn't little Princess Serenity!'
'Endymion....please do not leave me! I cannot live without you. I won't..."
"Sailor Moon?" The Dark General's perturbed tone broke through Usagi's trance.
The blonde looked at the General with a clear blue gaze, a strange expression in her eyes. "General Zoisite." She murmured in a daze, picturing the woman in a blue and gold uniform. The garb of the Royal Guard of the Terran Prince, Endymion.
"Zoisite, halt!" She said authoritatively. She was Serenity. Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom and this was her love, Endymion laying there.
Zoisite froze in her assention to the bed to look at Mamoru, her gaze swinging back to Usagi. "Wha-what?" She said halting against her will. It had been the tone of command in Sailor Moon's voice that had made her halt in her tracks.
Usagi reached behind the woman and hastily tugged at the knots, cursing under her breath when they did not budge. "Jupiter trained me too well." She muttered under her breath, smiling slightly when Zoisite turned her back towards her to give her freer leverage.
"You spoke as if you knew me, just then, Sailor Moon," Zoisite's voice was soft, yet penetrating. Her eyes went to her Prince, apprehension darkening them when she saw that his head had slumped limply to the side. His back was almost off the pillow, which was stained bright red. There wasn't much time! "Hurry!" She urged.
"I am!" The girl hissed back, her finger rubbing raw from struggling with the ropes.
"Then use your magic, girl! There's a reason I haven't freed myself, you know." The General's tone was scornful.
Usagi glared at her heatedly, then the words sank in. "What do you mean?"
"I can feel your magic on the ropes. When you bound me, it flowed through the cords and nulled my powers." The woman sounded frankly baffled by the fact that anything could have dampened her powers.
The golden-haired girl stood up quickly, her hand on her broach. If only she had her mother's Silver Crystal, she could heal Endymion! "Right." She ground out. "Moon Prism Power, Makeup!"
Zoisite watched in awe as the girl transformed, her mouth falling open in utter shock as she briefly saw a golden crescent moon shining on Sailor Moon's forehead before it was replaced with the tiara. It couldn't be... "Princess Serenity?" She whispered respectfully when the blonde stood before her finally in her warrior's garb.
Sailor Moon's gaze was steely. "Yes, I am Serenity." She said simply, sinking to her knees. She ripped the tiara from her forehead and summoned it's powers, then cut deftly through the ropes. They fell to the floor and Zoisite swiftly got to her feet. She would trust the General, who had appeared to have regained her memories. The girl thought back to the fall of the Moon Kingdom and remembered seeing Endymion's four Generals at the last stand, too wounded or dead to aid them as they faced Beryl. Her Senshi were already dead, laying nearby.
Only Zoisite had remained conscious, but gravely wounded as her Prince had been stabbed through the chest with his own sword.
The golden-haired girl nodded, recalling that in her anguish of seeing her love die, she had barely spared anyone else a glance. But she had heard Zoisite call out in devastation, knowing she had failed to protect her Prince.
"The wound is deep and the poison has seeped through his system." Zoisite said, snapping Sailor Moon out of her memories.
The blonde cursed her returning memories, heart wrenching in her chest at the General's words. She went to stand beside Zoisite, then sank to her knees bonelessly and took Mamoru's hand. His face was so still, as if already in death. "Do not leave me." She whispered, a tear tracking down her cheek. She couldn't lose him again. Not again!
"Regain your composure Princess!" Zoisite said sharply, a rebuke.
"Yes," Sailor Moon said, straightening and drawing on all her old knowledge as Princess Serenity. Her mother had been training her to become Queen one day. "What can we do?"
"I'll try and stop the bleeding first, then repair whatever damage the poison has done to his system." The General said grimly. Her hands began to glow brightly a deep blue and she touched them to Mamoru's chest lightly. He jumped as if stuck by a shock to the system.
Sailor Moon gripped his hand tightly in her gloved ones, her teeth biting down on her lower lip. "Please be alright, Mamoru." She whispered to him, willing him to be better.
Zoisite's teeth gritted as she struggled to use powers that had not been tapped in over a thousand years. Not the power of the Dark Queen, but that of the pure energy of the Earth that only Endymion's General's had been bestowed with.
"Well?" The girl said impatiently, eyes going to Zoisite's face. Sweat was rolling down her forehead and she looked as if she were in acute agony. "Can I help?" She asked urgently, seised with an unconscious urge to do something. Something she did not quite understand.
"I think...Princess, I can do no more...forgive me." Zoisite murmured, before pitching forward in a dead-faint onto Mamoru's bloodied chest.
Sailor Moon gasped and pulled her back by the shoulders, as concerned for the Generals as she was for Mamoru. Zoisite had been poisoned by Beryl and had regained her memories, trying to heal Mamoru. For that, she could be grateful.
Pressing her fingers to Zoisite's throat, she detected a steady pulse and sighed in relief, laying the woman down on her on the carpet.
Sailor Moon bent over Mamoru and did the same to his throat. A steady beat greeted her, though it was faint. She carefully rolled Mamoru onto his side and poked a gloved finger through the hole made by Zoisite's crystal. To her everlasting relief, she saw pure unblemished skin. "Oh, thank god." She gasped in happiness. He was healed!
"Princess, he's still poisoned." Zoisite's weak voice cut through Sailor Moon's relieved state like a knife. "Oh no!" She shook her head in denial. "You healed him, Zoisite."
"I only healed his wound, not his blood. There is dark energy flowing through it, poisoning him." The flaxen-haired woman leant up upon her arms, which were shaking. She was very pale, but her eyes were determined. "You must use your power to heal him completely."
"My power?" Sailor Moon said numbly. "I have no power, Zoisite, other than this tiara." Her face was bitter. "The other Senshi were given all the good powers."
"That is because you were not meant to be a Senshi, but the Princess of the Moon and heir to the Silver Crystal." Zoisite crawled to her side, leaning on the quilt beneath Mamoru's body. She stared for a long moment into his face, then gave a longing look. "I remembered things, sometimes. But I thought I was going mad, dreaming of a place where I was not a bitter, evil woman. A peaceful time where we lived to protect our Prince and-" A strange look crossed her face. "Our fiances."
Sailor Moon watched in astonishment as Zoisite flushed deeply. She watched the woman touch her chest, feeling the breasts. And then it clicked. General Zoisite had been a man in the Silver Millennium. "Good god, you were a man." She said in horrified fascination. "Affianced to Mercury!"
"I remember." Zoisite said, looking devastated and embarrassed at once. "Beryl and Metallia put me inside a device which infused me with dark energy. I lost my memory, even as my body was changed to this form."
"Oh, Zoisite." The blonde said, not knowing how to give comfort. What on earth could she say to the man, who was now a woman? She must be in pure hell.
Revulsion crossed the General's face as something occurred to her. "It is worse than that, Sailor Moon. I have developed...feelings...for my fellow General, Kunzite."
Sailor Moon gawked at her. "Are you serious, Zoisite? Kunzite?" She had seen the General with light blue hair and hard eyes, hovering occasionally over a battle. He had seemed partial to Zoisite also, but never overly affectionate. Now remembering that Zoisite was a man inside made it terrible complicated.
"We'll find a way to turn you back," She sworn, laying a companionable hand upon the woman's shoulder. "You can't go back to Beryl, after all, so you will be here with me-or Mamoru."
"Mamoru, such a strange name. He will always be Endymion to me." A fond smile crossed Zoisite's lips, then it faded. "But not if you do not find the strength within you to heal him."
"I do not have my mother's Crystal." Sailor Moon whispered, not knowing what to do.
"THINK, Princess." The flaxen-haired woman said harshly. "You must know something."
"Perhaps." The golden-haired girl looked deep inside herself, ignoring all around her for a long moment. And then, as if she had always known it was there, she sensed the wand. Her hand gestured and a pink wand with a large golden crescent moon fell into her palm.
"I know this." Sailor Moon breathed in awe. "It is my mother's Moon Wand and held the Silver Crystal!"
"The Crystal is not there. You do not have it." Zoisite said flatly, despair in her green eyes.
"It is still in pieces!" Sailor Moon said with equal despair.
"The Rainbow Crystal Queen Beryl had us find?" The General said incredulously. "She did not say what they were for." She shook her head. "All this time, we were collecting pieces of the Mystical Silver Crystal that is the key to the universe?"
"My mother told me that the Goddess Artemis, also known as Seline, gave the Silver Crystal to our bloodline to guard. My grandmother, whom I never knew, was the first Selenity. She was named for the goddess." Sailor Moon said, reciting as her memories came more clearer.
"It must be part of the Golden Crystal." Zoisite said curiously.
"The Golden Crystal?" The blonde asked her, again checking Mamoru's pulse rate. It was slowing. Damn it. While they were talking of the past, he was slipping away. And yet-the more she remembered, the more confident she grew that she could save him. She was Princess of the Moon and great grand-daughter of a Goddess. She had power flowing through her veins!
"Surely." Sailor Moon whispered, gazing at the Moon Wand. "Something that held an object so powerful must have power itself."
"You must be right." Zoisite nodded swiftly, eyed on her Prince. "Have you remembered anything Princess?" She asked formally. "If you have not, I will use all of my power to heal my Prince-"
"And die?" The petite girl said softly, looking deep into the General's eyes. The Generals of Endymion would certainly give their lives for their Prince, of that, she knew. Zoisite would use all of her life energy and powers to heal Mamoru, even if it mean that she die in the process. "I can't allow that." She said harshly, chin lifted proudly.
"Will not ALLOW?" Zoisite growled at her, rage filling her.
Sailor Moon could tell what she was thinking, and nodded. "You owe it to Endymion to live. You are the only one remaining of both of our lost kingdoms."
Zoisite sat as if turned to stone, eyes wide and stunned. "Princess?" She gasped, understanding. She was the only one left who remembered the Golden and Silver Kingdoms. The only one who had not been reborn as a human, such as the Senshi. "But-it won't matter if he does not live! I have no purpose then."
"He told you to protect me with your life." The blonde reminded her gently, the memory sharp in her mind.
'Zoisite, Kunzite, Jaedite, Nephlyte. If I should perish in the battle, you must lay down your lives to ensure that my Princess lives. She is my soul and the only hope of our worlds.'
"You would hold me to that oath now?" Zoisite drew back, eyes bitter and hard. She grasped her elbows in each hand tightly, seeming to cave in upon herself.
Sailor Moon felt like the worst monster. She was holding Zoisite to a promise made a thousand years ago! Endymion would not die again, but Zoisite must not commit suicide to protect her Prince. The blonde had to make absolutely sure of this. It was important, though she did not understand why at that moment.
"I give you my oath that I will not destroy myself to save my Royal charge." Green icy eyes met burning blue. "But know this, Princess Serenity. If Prince Endymion should die, I will not rest until I see in hades for your deception."
"Agreed." Sailor Moon said politely, hiding a smile. How contradictory the woman was. Swearing one moment to serve her loyally, and the next to see her soul damned to eternal hellfire. She held out a gloved hand. "Swear it, General Zoisite."
The woman held her own for a long moment, face a mask of rage. And then she took the Princess' hand in a hard grip and kissed it lightly. "I swear my allegiance to you, Princess Serenity. May I die honourably in battle serving you."
"It took you so very much to say that." The golden-haired girl said softly, understanding. "May your sword always be bright and keen, warrior."
Sailor Moon turned to Mamoru as if in a trance and bent over his form. "My Prince."She whispered tenderly, lips touching his. She drew back, face saddened. "And I give my oath that I will never let you leave me." Her forehead touched his, the coolness of her tiara pressing between them. A bright light blazed forth, bathing them both in pink-coloured power.
"Princess!" Zoisite exclaimed, stumbling backwards as the room filled with a bright soothing light. She saw the tiara disappear from Sailor Moon's head and a symbol burn brightly on Mamoru's own. The blue symbol for earth.
"Come back to me, Mamoru." Sailor Moon whispered, a tear falling from her eye and leaving a wet trail down his cheek. She felt the power moving through her and the Moon Wand, but it seemed blocked and misdirected. Almost, it overcame her, but she regained control. She directed it to heal the man's blood, every nerve-ending tingling from the suppressed power inside of her. Something was trying to get loose, but she was too distracted with her task to pay it attention.
The blonde felt the poison inside of Mamoru and concentrated on it, burning a path of power through his system. When it finally had all disappeared, she opened her eyes, feeling as weak as a kitten. Darkness threatened to rush in, but she pushed it back. "Is he alright?" She said through dry lips, sinking back onto her heels.
Zoisite swiftly leant past her and reached out her senses to her Prince. A deep sigh of relief filled the air. "We have done it, Sailor Moon." She said gratefully, turning to the girl.
Sailor Moon smiled, then ribbons burst around her as her transformation reversed. "Please look after him." She managed, limbs going fluid. Her eyes shut as the weakness suddenly overcame her and she became to faint. "Thank god, Endymion is well." She knew she had healed him and he would be fine.
Forcing her lids to open, she crawled up to him and kissed his lips tenderly. "My Prince. Endymion. Mamoru." A smile graced her lips as her head felt against his chest limply and she let go.
They had beat death this time.