Usagi opened the front door and stepped inside, shedding her shoes for some comfortable slippers.
"Hey mom, I'm home!" she called out. A moment later, Ikuko popped her head around the corner with a large smile of welcome. She came further into the room, an apron around her middle and cooking dough on her hands and face.
"Hello dear. How was your day?"
"Great! Math is really going well now." Usagi commented. Ikuko's smile widened.
"Getting a little help, hmm?" she teased lightly and Usagi blushed. "Is it Ami? She really is a bright young girl."
"Mmm, something like that." The blonde girl evaded the question quickly, mind racing. What her mom would have thought if she really knew that her daughter was getting the aid of a magical Crystal which had the power to destroy worlds!
"Well, it's good Usagi. I'm really proud of the way you've picked yourself up…and your grades too." Ikuko went back into the kitchen, her daughter trailing after her.
"High School is different. I grew up." The blonde said seriously, sitting down at the table. She watched as her mom went back to the dough and rolled it into balls for the cookie board. Ikuko through her a knowing look.
"They won't be long."
Usagi blinked, her mind been far away from thoughts of food. They had still been on the Silver Crystal. "Ah, thanks mom."
"Why don't you go wash up and do your homework?"
"Sure," Usagi murmured without protesting and Ikuko watched till her daughter left the room.
"She sure has changed these last few years...I wonder." Ikuko mused, idly blowing her blue bangs out of her eyes. She hummed softly as she put the last ball of dough on the tray on put them into the oven smoothly. Dinner wasn't even started yet. Shingo came bounding into the kitchen then and Ikuko sighed.
"Mom! My shirt hasn't been washed for the School play tonight!" He almost wailed, reminiscent of his sister.
"Did you check on the line dear?" Ikuko asked patiently and his eyes lit up. He dashed from the kitchen and Ikuko went back to her dinner. She'd just lit the gas on the stove and put the pot on to boil the water when Shingo came back in.
"It's not there!" he yelled desperately, clutching his hands together.
"Hi Honey. Mmm, what smells good?" Kenji called out cheerfully as he walked into the kitchen and put his briefcase down on the table. Shingo immediately turned to his dad.
"Dad, have you seen my shirt for the School play tonight. You know, the red one with the black stripe?"
Kenji scratched his head, looking rather confused. "That was tonight?"
"Yes dear, it's the fourteenth." Ikuko reminded him and Kenji smiled sheepishly.
"Oh, so it is," He sat down at the table and loosened his tie wearily. "Sorry, no I haven't seen it, son."
"Did you check the drier?" Ikuko asked Shingo, starting to get a little irritated. Dinner won't cooked because of all the washing and she'd only just gotten the desert in the oven…now this.
"The drier!" Shingo shouted, as if the idea had been the smartest in the world.
"So, how long till dinner?" Kenji asked his wife, who had turned back to the pot and was lowering some spaghetti into it.
"Not long. We're trying something new, a recipe from a friend over in America"
"Oh? Nothing too rich I hope." Kenji said, patting his stomach jokingly. Ikuko walked over and kissed him on the cheek.
"No dear, you'll like it." she told him softly. Their heads shot up as they head a huge crash and Ikuko was out the kitchen door in seconds. Kenji was only a little behind her as they rushed into the laundry and found Shingo being crushed under a shelf and a basket of clothes.
"Shingo!" Ikuko yelled, running forward and pulling the basket off him. Kenji lifted the shelf carefully and Shingo rolled out.
Usagi came running in then, blue eyes wide. When she saw the shelf and Shingo, she ran forward worriedly.
"Shingo! Are you okay?"
"I'm okay." he muttered, more embarrassed than anything. There was a gash on his forehead and Kenji examined his son, then turned to look at the long scratch down the dryers front.
"You're lucky, young man. The brunt of the shelf fell onto the drier and kept it from crushing you." Kenji said sternly and Shingo scratched the back of his head.
"I guess I shouldn't have yanked on the basket so hard. But it was up so high!" He protested. Usagi was still watching him worriedly and before she had thought, she reached out her mind using the Crystal. He seemed fine and she sighed with relief, knowing it was only a gash. She started to retract her mind, but as her power left his head, she suddenly had the sense that something was terribly wrong.
"Mom-" she began, not really knowing what to say, but then Ikuko's head raised quickly as she smelt something.
"The kitchen! Great Kami, I can smell fire!" she gasped. Usagi was right next to her mom as they ran back to the kitchen and stopped in the doorway to see a horror. The cookie's had burst to a crisp in the oven and were blazing with fire. Worse yet though, the boiling pot on the gas burner had somehow caught as well and the tendrils of flame had burnt up to the curtains over the window.
"God!" Kenji swore, looking around for something to use. Shingo stood there with mouth open and Usagi's mind was racing. She watched as her mom and dad tried to put out the raging fire with water and cloth, but it was spreading too rapidly. Usagi snapped out of her thoughts, which really had taken only seconds and grabbed a table cloth, throwing a tea towel to Shingo. All four of them desperately tried to put the fire out, but soon the heat became too much and they backed off.
"Come on, we'll call the fire brigade!" Kenji shouted, coughing. He took his wife and son by the arm and they turned to leave. Usagi was behind them and crashed into their backs as they abruptly stopped.
"What's wrong?" she coughed harshly, eyes almost watering as she peered past them. Her eyes widened as she saw that the fire had spread, catching onto the wallpaper her mom had thought so pretty. It had followed the paper, almost like a trail of rice and now the Tsukino's were trapped in a ring off fire, even the door blocked off.
"We're trapped." Kenji said bleakly. Ikuko tried to maintain her cool facade, but reality set in and she burst into tears. Shingo, seeing his mom's lost expression, also began to cry quietly. Usagi moved forward, trying to keep the flames back from them by hitting it with her singed table cloth.
"It's no use Usagi." Kenji said gently, though looked around desperately for an escape. His eyes fell on the small kitchen windows.
"The windows maybe?" Ikuko said, calming a little and looking around also. Usagi eyed the windows and saw how small they were. Shingo and she maybe could get out, but her parents would never fit. Ikuko and Kenji had that same idea and Usagi shook her head when they looked at her.
"Shingo can leave, I'm not." she said in determination. Ikuko opened her mouth to protest, but she sucked in too much smoke and a coughing fit ensued. Kenji grabbed Usagi's cloth and wrapped it around his hand, moving as close to the windows as he could, but even then he was too far away.
"I could dive through." Shingo offered, clinging scared to Kenji's arm.
"It's too dangerous, you'd catch fire." Kenji shouted, over the flames which grew in volume as more caught fire. There was only a few meters between their huddled figures and the flames on every side and Usagi's mind was suddenly very clear. She stared at the fire and then back off from her family slightly, hand touching the broach on her dress. The siren's of the fire brigade and ambulance could be heard in the distance, some neighbor had called. But she knew they would be too late.
"Usagi! Don't go do near the fire, maybe the fire men can put it out." Kenji yelled, pulling Usagi closer. His voice had been full of hope and she looked at him rather pityingly.
"They will not get here in time." she said with cold conviction. It made her parents and Shingo look at her, wondering at the strange inflection in her tone. Usagi moved her arm away calmly, face serene.
"Please forgive me." she asked them.
"What do you mean?" Ikuko shouted, some warning going off in her mind at her daughter's determined expression. Usagi held her hand over her broach, closing her eyes.
"Moon Eternal Power...make-up!" Usagi felt the power surround her. Her clothes melted away as she spun and felt the silver Crystal's power go through her. She felt her Senshi Fuku form and her wings unfurl. But most of all, she felt the confidence, the need to save her family.
"U-Usagi?" Shingo stammered incredulously as she finally opened her eyes. She smiled slightly, golden crescent moon glowing. Then stepped forward and grasped her mom's hand in her gloved one.
"Take hands, quickly and form a circle." Eternal Sailor Moon cried urgently. They seemed stunned, but did as she said. Sailor Moon felt Shingo's hand grab hers on the other side and tried to concentrate.
"What are you doing?" Ikuko yelled, coughing violently again and almost letting go. Sailor Moon tightened her hold on her mom and opened her eyes to stare at them all gently.
"I'm going to try a Senshi translocation...I've never done it with just one of us." she admitted, biting her lip. Ikuko's lips quivered, but then she smiled through her tears.
"You can do it Usagi, I believe in you."
Usagi smiled back, then summoned the power of the Silver Crystal. When it had filled her, her mind opened and she saw the future. The crystal palace that would be her home, her's and Endymion's. With the Senshi. She saw Chibi-Usa there, smiling up at Neo-Queen Serenity. But then something happened and Chibi-Usa was ripped away, the Queen who was Usagi's future-self collapsed as everything around her fell to pieces.
"No," Sailor Moon whispered, horrified. The future…was gone.
"Moon Eternal Translocation!" she shouted clearly. The air shimmered around them, the floor trembling with power and even as they disappeared, she felt the fire brush her wings. Everything grew brilliant white and then they were outside, surrounded by people. Eternal Sailor Moon blinked as camera's snapped in her face, people shouting questions excitedly.
"Are you now helping the fire department?"
"How did you know about this fire so quickly?"
"Do the police know what you're doing? Are you helping catch criminals?"
"What do you think about the up-coming election?" this last question made most of the reporters turn to the man with disgusted expressions. He shrugged his shoulders.
"What?" he muttered and then he was ignored as they turned back to the super-heroine. Sailor Moon had stepped away from her parents and hoped Shingo had the presence of mind to say nothing. Surprisingly, he didn't and she was grateful as she spread her wings. The media kept shouting questions at her, not really expecting an answer, she knew. The Senshi rarely were in the position to be caught out by the reporters of Tokyo.
"This way, ma'am. Sir, if you would come over to this ambulance?" a medical man asked politely, more interested in the Tsukino's at the moment. Ikuko hesitated and then a worn expression spread over her face as she looked at the remains of her house. The fire was rapidly spreading to the upstairs and Sailor Moon watched sadly.
"Thank you...Sailor Moon." Kenji said loudly. The camera's snapped and Sailor Moon smiled briefly, golden hair streaming as her wings fluttered and she rose a few feet from the ground. She waited a moment more, to see that her family was safe, then flew away.
She was half-way to Rei's Temple before she knew what she was doing. Luna came to her mind and she closed her eyes in relief that her protector was over at Mina's, with Artemis this evening. Eternal Sailor moon landed softly, then staggered as the pain began to hit her. Her wings were partly singed, as were the back of her legs. By some means, Rei had sensed something and came running out of the Temple.
"Usa-Sailor Moon, what happened!" the Priestess yelled, horrified. She had remembered at the last moment that Yuuchirou was with her in the Fire Room when she had a vision of her friend in pain.
"Woah! Sailor Moon." Yuuchirou exclaimed, shocked. Grandpa came barreling out then, arms clutching something.
"How is she, grand-daughter. I sensed something was wrong." Grandpa explained at Rei's surprised look. Rei looked Sailor Moon over as the golden-haired young woman collapsed, out-cold at their feet. Fear clutched the Senshi of fire's heart until she felt her Princess' pulse.
"She's alive. We have to get her inside Grandpa...Yuuchirou?" Rei appealed to the man and after a moment, Yuuchirou reached under Sailor Moon and carefully lifted her up.
"Careful boy." Grandpa ordered softly, but Rei could see that he trusted the young apprentice. They followed him and his precious burden into the Temple, where Rei instructed him to take Sailor Moon into her room. Yuuchirou lay her down on Rei's pallet and stepped backwards as the dark-haired Senshi rushed forward with bandages and salve.
'Oh, Usagi.' Rei agonized in her mind as Sailor Moon winced, even unconscious, from the ministrations. Rei was as delicate as she could be, but Sailor Moon's wings were the worst.
"Grandpa-" she began, about to ask them to leave, but the expression in the old man's eyes stopped her cold.
"We have to take this young lady to the hospital Rei."
"Like, yeah. She's really bad and I've got no idea how to treat wings." Yuuchirou rambled nervously. Rei and Grandpa shot him a furious look and he backed off.
"I meant that in a good way." he protested, hands up.
"We can't take her there, grandpa. They'd…do things to her!" Rei shouted, enraged that they would even think of taking Sailor Moon there. Grandpa looked at his granddaughters wild purple eyes and nodded slightly.
"Very well Rei." he conceded. His eyes were penetrating though and Rei sweted nervously.
"Maybe you should leave, I can take care of her my-" Rei was cut off as Sailor Moon coughed weakly and her blue eyes opened.
"Rei? Where am I?"
"Woah! Sailor Moon knows you!" Yuuchirou yelled. Rei threw a cushion at him and Grandpa's eyes narrowed.
"How are you?" Rei asked tenderly, brushing the sooty golden bangs back from her best friend's face. Something bad had happened and she had a bad feeling that something was wrong with Usagi.
"Fine...my wings hurt though. My legs too." Sailor Moon said weakly, coughing again. Rei looked up anxiously.
"Yuuchirou, uh-can you go get me some more bandages and a glass of water?" she asked the young man uneasily, eyeing her grandfather.
"Ah, sure Rei." he said, dashing off. Rei got up and closed the door to her room, then turned back.
"Grandpa…maybe you should go-"
"No," he said solemnly. A smile spread over his face. "Whatever it is, I can keep a secret."
"He has a right to know Rei, they all did. We should have told our families a long time ago." Sailor Moon said more strongly and looking into her friend's eyes, Rei saw that it was the Princess staring back.
"I-I guess we should have." Rei mumbled, not looking at her grandpa.
"Tell us what?" Grandpa asked suspiciously, a suspicion he was about to fins out something he might not like. The Princess smiled slightly and reached up a hand slowly to touch her broach. Rei and Grandpa both watched with wide eyes as Sailor Moon de-transformed into Usagi.
"Usagi!?" Grandpa stammered, astonished. Then he got a hold of himself. "There always was something strange about you."
"Usagi, how are you feeling... You were in this fire before transforming!" Rei said, utterly horrified. Her friend's clothes were covered in soot, her hands red and raw.
"At my house. Mom and dad were there. I had not choice, we were trapped," Usagi's face seemed to crumple as the Princess left her and her strength seemed sapped. "They'll never forgive me."
"Oh, Usagi. Of course they will." Rei began gently, when her door opened again and Yuuchirou stepped in. His eyes widened and he almost dropped the bandages.
"Umm…Usagi is Sailor Moon?" he gasped. Then strangely, he smiled goofily. "I don't know why it's such a surprise, you girls are always together and I already knew Rei was Sailor Mars."
"What!?" Rei and Grandpa yelled simultaneously, but for different reasons.
"You knew I was Mars?"
"You're Sailor Mars? Damn."
"I Uh, it was when that crazy chick with the purple hair attacked a few years ago. You changed into Sailor Mars right in front of me, 'cause you thought I was unconscious." Yuuchirou told them sheepishly as he dipped a cloth into a bowl and gently dabbed at Usagi's sore hands. She winced, but gritted her teeth as she looked at Rei and her Grandfather.
"Grandpa, I should have told you." Rei began, but Grandpa waved his hands, unconcerned.
"Rei, I understand and I'm proud of you," he stopped, face becoming plaintive. "It's just that I liked Sailor Mars the best, she had nice legs!"
"Grandpa." Yuuchirou exclaimed.
"You pervert!" Rei yelled.
"I didn't know it was you…there's always Sailor Jupiter I guess." Grandpa muttered thoughtfully.
Usagi smiled weakly and Rei caught it, her scowl gradually turning to a smile also. Usagi explained what had happened, as Yuuchirou and Rei bandaged her. Without her wings, it was her back that was burnt and the two men had left the room politely as Rei tended to that.
"Now what?" Rei said finally, a hand comfortingly on her friend's shoulder. She frowned. "I'm surprised the other's didn't turn up...and Mamoru too."
"I was blocking them. Especially Mamoru. I knew you could help me without the others finding out and Mamoru would worry too much." Usagi murmured, exhausted.
"Mamoru? You mean that nice young man that comes around with you…so he's a Sailor-no that can't be right..."
"Tuxedo Kamen, Grandpa." Rei told him with a slight smile. She knew what her Grandpa had stuttered over and the thought of Mamoru in a Sailor Fuku was hilarious.
"Tuxedo Kamen! Of course."
"He's great, but Mars is better." Yuuchirou said, then turned beet red and looked away from Rei's penetrating eyes.
"I have to go see my family." Usagi said, struggling up. Rei put a hand out to stop her and then changed her mind.
"I agree, you should see a doctor."
"She can't, they never saw her there when Sailor Moon rescued Usagi's family." Grandpa said solemnly.
"They'll think Usagi started it." Yuuchirou continued in a rare moment of intelligence. Rei frowned again and Usagi got shakily to her feet, but there was a slight smile on her face.
"I'm okay, I'll just wash up a bit and say I was here overnight." Usagi suggested. Rei clung to her friend's arm, realising just how close Usagi had come to death.
"No way Usagi, you can do this tomorrow," the raven-haired girl commanded. "I've change my mind."
Usagi put a finger over Rei's lips.
"I'm fine Rei, the Crystal is healing me."
"It had better be." a cool voice said from the doorway and they all looked up to see Mamoru and the rest of the group standing there. They all had expressions that were mixed with relief and anger.
"I was blocking you." Usagi stated, knowing it to be true.
"You were, Usagi. Did you forget that Ami and Minako were coming over to your house later for a study session?" Mamoru went on, disappointment in his eyes. There was also relief and love, but Usagi felt his feelings of betrayal acutely.
"I guess I did."
"We went over and found the firemen still there, Usagi's communicator wasn't working and we discovered Mars' was out too. It was a logical assumption where you had gone when the police mentioned Sailor Moon had rescued the Tsukino's." Ami explained uncomfortably. She was so relieved that Usagi was all right that she wanted to cry.
The others were in a similar state and after a few seconds, they rushed towards their golden-haired Princess and buried her in a crushing hug. Usagi's winced as they hurt her wounds, but didn't mention it as all their emotions of love washed over her.
The strongest was Mamoru's, though he hadn't moved from the doorway. His expression went from anger, to relief, then to calm.
"Come on, Usako, I'll take you to the Hospital." he said gently. Usagi walked past the others, towards Mamoru and as she reached him he folded her tenderly into his arms.
"Don't ever scare me like that again!" he whispered fiercely, hugging her close. She nodded, feeling tears pool in her eyes.
"I won't Mamoru, I promise."
"I think we should come, guys. From what Usagi told me, she had to transform in from of the Tsukino's and they'll be feeling very confused right now." Rei suggested, rather loath to interrupt her Prince and Princess.
"Mmm hmm." the others agreed.