By Princess Destiny
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Chapter One

1000 Years Ago,
The Moon Kingdom

"You cannot see each other any more." Queen Serenity's words rang through the hall. Any whispers, that had started upon the entrance of the Queen, had quieted. Any rumors to the topic of discussion halted. If there was anything the courtiers had expected to hear from the Moon Queen-it had not been this.

"Mother-you cannot be serious!" Princess Serenity cried out. 'Mother!' Her hand reached up to grasp Endymion's arm in a frantic grip. This could not be happening! Their engagement had just been announced the night before at a great ball. It had been a momentous occasion, the joining between the Moon Kingdom and the Golden Kingdom of Earth. Never before had this sort of union been considered, and even more rare, that the Princess and Prince had been in love.

"My decision is final, Princess Serenity." The Queen said firmly. Her silver eyes softened slightly as she gazed into her daughter's tearful blue eyes. 'There is nothing to be done, daughter.' She murmured quietly into the Princess' mind.

'This cannot be!' Serenity whispered, her mental tone anguished.

Almost unnoticed, the courtiers of the Earth slipped from the room, sensing something huge was about to happen in the Silver Millennium. If the Queen of the Moon Kingdom was breaking off relations and her daughter's engagement with Earth...

"May I ask why, your majesty?" Prince Endymion spoke for the first time. His tone seemed detached, but the Queen could see his eyes clearly and they were filled with an anguish to match the Princess'.

"Endymion," Serenity said informally, tone gentle. "Metallia has risen once more. There have been reports from my own sources that many of Earth are with her-under her power. How can I keep my people and my daughter safe, if I allow any from Earth here in my Kingdom? None can be trusted, when dark powers are at work. Many could not withstand the mind control of the Dark Kingdom."

"I see," The Prince nodded slowly. Then he turned his head to look at his love. He would not see her again for perhaps months. Maybe even years. Who could say how long the battle would go?

"No," Princess Serenity cried out. "This cannot be allowed to happen! Say that it is not true, mother."

"Serenity!" The Queen's voice lashed out like a whip. To disobey the Queen in public was a severe breach of protocol. Even if she was the Princess' mother.

"Yes, mother," The Princess said proudly, tilting her head. "I am sorry."

Queen Serenity looked down from the dais, over the heads of her daughter and her love. Her face was calm and yet, eyes were steely with resolution. "Let it be known, that all Terrans henceforth that are found on the Moon Kingdom, are to be severely punished. They will be taken as spies for the Dark Kingdom and treated accordingly as traitors to the crown," She looked at them all, eyes sweeping over their faces compassionately now. "You have until the Sun reaches it's zenith over the Earth."

'This is a nightmare! Endymion is no spy.' Serenity said, mental voice filled with tears. Her head lowered, clinging closer to her Prince. "No. Not this."

"Serenity," Endymion said quietly. He put a hand under her chin, forcing her face upwards gently. Then he gazed into her tearful eyes. "This has to be, Princess. It won't be forever."

"No. Not forever, Prince Endymion," The Queen said. She rose gracefully to her feet, looking at the courtiers briefly. "All of you, spread the word over the Kingdom to all parts. My decree must be heard by all, so that the Terrans have a fair chance to leave. Not all here are guilty, but be assured that there are spies of the Dark Kingdom amongst us. Even our people."

A steady murmur rose as the courtiers all glanced at each other, wondering if one of their number might be spy. Then-as one-they turned and swiftly left the hall. The Queen gestured to the guards, who quietly left and closed the great doors to the hall behind them. "Now," Serenity said, coming down the steps of the dais to the two there.

"Mother?" The Princess said, lifting her face up towards the Queen. The blue eyes swam with tears freely, now that it was only the three of them.

"I am sorry, Serenity. Endymion. You must understand. To have your engagement go forward when out worlds are at war would be foolish. You must see that your wedding would be the perfect means of destroying the ruling monarchy in this Solar System."

"What do you mean, mother?" The Princess questioned, eyes widening.

Endymion had been looking narrowly at the Queen. "I understand, Princess," He said coolly, eyes burning a furious blue. But not aimed at the lovely Queen. "You, I, Queen Serenity and both of my parents would have attended the wedding."

"And because Serenity is the crown princess, the monarchs of the other planets would have attended." The Queen added quietly.

The Princess still looked bewildered. Then, slowly, it dawned upon her what they were saying. "They would kill us all!"

"Without mercy, daughter," Queen Serenity nodded her head. "In one swift blow, they would have rule of the System. By one act alone."

"Then," The Princess swallowed. "We shall not marry. For now."

"For now." The Queen and Prince Endymion murmured.

Princess Serenity looked at her mother. "Can I-say goodbye to him, mother?"

"Of course, Serenity. But do not be long. If you love your Prince, as I know you do, you must guarantee his safe passage by an early leaving of the Moon."

"The zenith is in less than three hours." Endymion said.

"My heart goes with you, Prince," The Queen said softly. She stepped close, pressing her lips to his forehead briefly. For a heartbeat, a silver symbol for Earth appeared on his forehead, then disappeared. The Queen smiled bitter- sweetly at them both, then left the hall by a passage behind the throne.

Once alone, the two stood quietly.

'There must be something I can do. Endymion will be separated from me for a very long time. I will not let him go alone-'

"What are you thinking, Serenity?" Endymion said sternly. He looked into his love's eyes and saw mischief and determination there.

She grabbed his hand quickly, smiling sweetly. "Come with me, my love. I have an idea." She breathed.

Endymion followed as she led him through a side door. Along a corridor and up some stairs, they went. They took so many corridors, turns and stairs that Endymion lost his way. "Where are we going, Serenity?" He questioned, feeling a slight unease.

"It is a surprise, Endymion," She smiled at him reassuringly. "It is something that will keep you in my heart always. And I in yours."

"You are always in my heart already, Princess." He said softly, smiling back gently.

"Come, Prince," She teased, pressing against a seemingly solid section of wall. Beneath her hand the stones began to glow silver and then the wall slid back. The Princess immediately went inside the darkened chamber, taking the Prince with her.

He blinked as the wall slid back into place, leaving them in darkness. "I cannot see anything."

"It is not for long." She promised, leading him blindly forward. Apparently, the Princess could see very well in the surrounding darkness.

Endymion walked behind her until he saw a faint light ahead. Gradually, it became more light and he could see a chamber ahead. Suddenly, they stepped into the chamber. Endymion looked around and gasped. The chamber was domed, pillars of pure white marble stretching towards the ceiling. Across the domed roof was the night sky, stars scattered brilliantly amongst-all nine planets of the System. They were painted in perfect detail. In the centre of the room was an alter of sorts, made of the same pure white marble.

And there, glowing a foot from it's surface was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It was like a large diamond, but glowed with an incredible, impossible power. "What is it?" He gasped, enthralled.

"The power behind the throne of Serenity. The guardian of the Silver Millennium. It is older than time itself and passed from mother to daughter." The Princess let go of his hand, walking forwards gracefully to the alter.

To Endymion, the Princess seemed to also be surrounded by the silver light of the jewel. It glowed all around her, in a comforting light as she reached for it. The Prince held his breath, aware of being in the presence of great power.

"It is the Silver Imperium Crystal," Serenity's fingers closed around the Crystal, bringing it down from it's height. It rested in the palm of her hand as she turned towards him, smiling with joy. "Only those of the Royal Moon family can touch this Crystal. It means death to any other."

"Perhaps you should not be touching it, Serenity." Endymion felt a disquiet as she walked towards him. He was also wary after her words. She was, after all, bringing it towards him!

"It is quite safe, unless you seek to touch it." She laughed, a musical sound. The Princess stopped a foot from her Prince, the crystal in the hands cupped between their bodies. "Please Silver Crystal, help us. Keep our hearts together always-"

'Serenity! What have you done?' Her Mother's voice sounded in her ears, sounding frightened and disbelieving.

The Princess knew her mother was close and glanced down the passage behind Endymion. She hurried her words, not letting Endymion know the true danger of her touching the Crystal. It had not been passed onto her by her mother- "Let us be together for all eternity! Never let anything come between us and no matter how far apart we become, let us always find each other again."

"Serenity!" Queen Serenity called out, coming into the chamber quickly. Artemis and Luna were with her.

Endymion whirled, his back to the Princess. "Queen Serenity." He said, flinching as he saw the terrible look in her eyes. It suddenly clicked that the Princess had done something-forbidden. He turned back to the Princess quickly, in time to see the Silver Crystal glow with a blinding Light.

"Silver Crystal, I evoke thee! Moon Crystal Power." Princess Serenity's words echoed around the Chamber.

"No!" Queen Serenity cried out.

The glow faded, revealing the Princess smiling triumphantly. "Now we can never be separated. Not even by time."

"What have you done, Serenity?" The Queen said, silver eyes glittering with fear.

Abruptly, the Crystal flared. They all turned to look at it as it floated from the Princess' hand. And then-there was a terrible sound as the Crystal cracked.

"Great Selene!" Luna shouted, horrified. "The Crystal!"

"Mother!" The Princess screamed as two bright lights broke from the Crystal, shooting swifter than the eye could follow into the bodies of Endymion and herself. Both were thrown backwards, unconscious.

Queen Serenity reached up for the Crystal, which fell back to it's faint glow. She studied it closely as Luna and Artemis checked the Prince and Princess. The Crystal seemed undamaged, the crack having disappeared. But the fact still remained that two parts of the Crystal were now inside her daughter and Endymion's bodies. The Queen placed the Crystal back onto the alter and then knelt beside her daughter. "Oh Serenity. Did you love him this much?" She whispered.

"The Crystal, Queen Serenity. Is it-damaged?" Artemis said slowly.

"It seems to be all right-" The Queen began.

"It is irreparably damaged," A voice said from the shadows. The three watched as Sailor Pluto stepped out into the light. "The Silver Crystal will never be the same again. Not for a millennia."

"But-the battle." Queen Serenity said quietly. She looked into Pluto's eyes and saw an ageless sorrow.

"The Crystal has been weakened." The Senshi of Time said simply.

Nothing more need be said. Serenity understood completely. Her daughter, through her love of the Prince, had destroyed them all. The Queen looked down at Endymion's body coldly. He had been part of this. So be it. "Take him back to Earth and give him to his Kingdom, Artemis." She spoke softly.

"Yes my Queen," the white cat blurred, becoming human. He slid his arms under the Prince's body and lifted him easily. Then the golden crescent moon on his forehead glowed, consuming them both. The Prince and the white-haired man disappeared.

"I will take the Princess." Luna said slowly, becoming human also.

When they had gone, Queen Serenity sank to her knees before the Senshi of time, face devastated. "She does not-and perhaps never will-know what she has done this day."

"I know." Pluto said solemnly.

"Tell me Pluto," The Queen slowly, raising her eyes to meet Pluto’s red one's. "I am to die, am I not? And my Kingdom with me."

"I-" Sailor Pluto hesitated.

"Do not answer, my friend," Serenity whispered, getting to her feet. She stood tall, acting the Queen she was. A doomed Queen, for a doomed civilisation. "I can see the answer in your eyes."

"Then, I have not broken any of the rules," Pluto said, smiling faintly. The staff in her hand glowed red for a moment. "I will return, Serenity." Then she also disappeared.

The Queen stood there, bathed in the light of the Silver Crystal, for a long moment. She knew her duty. She would protect her daughter and their people until her last breath...

The sword was stuck right through his chest. It had pierced through his armour like a knife through silk. Serenity felt her own heart die then. Without Endymion, there was nothing. She had stood frozen until that moment, like a motionless statue-but now a cry burst from her, revealing all the agony and horror and heartbreak that she was feeling.

"Endymion! No!"

Unnoticed, her grip on the Star Locket had become loose. As the Princess fled towards her fallen Prince, the locket flew from her hands. It fell slowly, playing the Prince and Princess' song for the last time. As it reached it's last notes, the Locket hit the stones on the ground, shattering into a thousand pieces. Never to play again...

"Serenity! Noooo!"

"The Crystal wasn't at it's full strength, My Queen." Pluto murmured solemnly. Her red eyes were blank, as if trying to hide her emotions.

Queen Serenity smiled slightly, even that small movement cost her agony. Truly, the Silver Crystal asked a terrible price for it's powers. But to a Serenity, daughter of Serenity, it should not have been so. "I know Setsuna. I knew when we caught Serenity and Endymion. She did not realise what she had done..." The words trailed off weakly, as the beautiful Queen coughed up a small amount of blood.

Sailor Pluto put down the Time Staff, moving to kneel beside her fallen Queen. She put a gloved hand to her short skirt and ripped off a piece roughly. "Stay still, Serenity." She said gently, leaning over the pillar on which the Queen's body rested. She daubed softly around Serenity’s mouth, taking all traces of blood with it.

"Thank you, old friend." Serenity murmured. The light in her silver eyes began to fade, taking the soul with it. The Queen raised a slender hand with difficulty, grasping Sailor Pluto's wrist in a surprisingly firm grip. "You must take care of her also, Pluto. I have sent Artemis and Luna to find her, when a millennium has passed. But you must guard her also."

"Of course, Serenity," Pluto swore, eyes filling with a betraying wetness. To see her beloved Queen thus, hurt her more than she had hurt in a thousand years or more. Even though she knew what would come of this sacrifice. "You will watch over her also."

"What?" Serenity blinked at Pluto, perplexed.

"Your spirit is connected ever to the energy of the Silver Crystal," Pluto explained, staring into the silver eyes before her. "When the Senshi are awakened once more, your spirit will rise."

"Then-" Serenity's eyes closed peacefully, the words falling from her trembling lips. "I will see her again, one day."

"Yes. One day." Pluto smiled. She continued to watch her Queen for a long moment, waiting. Slowly, her smile faded as she noticed the eyelids of her beautiful Queen had not again opened. She tremblingly reached forwards, fingers wrapping around Serenity's wrist. The Senshi bowed her head, sighing silently.

Slowly, stately, the Senshi of Pluto went about her duty. She gently picked up the body of her Queen and walked through the ruins to where the Temple of Selene had rested. It was nothing more than a few pillars now, but had once been the centre of the Moon Palace. Gently, she lay down Serenity on the ground and went back to get her Staff.

The Senshi pointed it carefully, drawing in the power. "Dead scream!" Purple energy shot out, blowing the rubble out of the way. Pluto gestured. A slab in the smooth floor slid back silently, revealing a stone staircase beneath. Pluto picked up the Queen carefully once more and descended the stairs. The chamber beyond was darkened. A look at the garnet orb and it became to glow brightly, illuminating everything in red.

The room had once been domed, but now, not much remained. The mural on the roof had almost fallen completely to rubble, leaving the marble bare. Many pillars had fallen also. But the alter, where the silver Crystal had rested was in one piece. There, the Senshi of Time placed her beloved Queen. She crossed the slender arms over the chest, then stroked the silver bangs back from Serenity's cold forehead. The golden crescent moon had dimmed, but still rested proudly on the Queen's brow.

Pluto stepped back, bowing her head in respect for a long moment. "Goodbye my Queen," A lone tear fell from Sailor Pluto's eyes. No matter how long she had known this would happen, she would always grieve this moment in time the most. "We will meet again-in a thousand years."

Chapter Two

Modern Day,

Usagi walked swiftly down the sidewalk, blue eyes gleaming with excitement. Her bag dangled from the slender fingers of her left hand, an ice cream in her right.

Ami walked close beside her, trying to keep up. "Can you walk a little slower please, Usagi?” The blue-haired girl asked with slight desperation. Her feet were almost tripping over themselves in an effort to keep up with her blonde friend. Ami's bag was clutched to her chest, blue eyes anxious.

The blonde turned her head and smiled brightly. "Why? It's a great day Ami," Usagi gestured with her ice cream towards the clear blue sky. Her eyes were lit, as always with an innocent delight of life that at times made Ami envious. "There's no more School for today. Relax will you?"

"I am relaxed." Ami said calmly. She deliberately slowed down her pace so that her best friend was forced to slow also. "I've got a computer course in-” She looked down at her watch. "Twenty-five minutes."

"So you can come with me to the Arcade." Usagi finished for her mischievously. Her eyes glinted as she spun around so that she was walking backwards.

Ami watched with some trepidation, her friend's clumsy nature well known to her. "Watch where you're going, Usagi." Ami murmured absently. She reached into her School bag and brought out a book.

Usagi glanced at it distrustfully, nose wrinkling. The before Ami could gasp, the blonde had snatched it from her hand.

"No studying before class...come on." Usagi called out gleefully. She turned and dashed off up the sidewalk.

Ami gaped after her, for a moment. "Usagi!” She shouted indignantly, running after the blonde.

The blonde girl grinned over her shoulder, making sure that Ami was following. She finished off her ice cream while still running and glanced down at the book in her hand.

"Basic computing." The Senshi of the Moon read out-loud. She grimaced. Computers were more Ami's thing than hers were. She looked up and stopped when she saw that she was just around the corner from the Arcade. Ami was just a few feet behind.

"Usagi. Don't do that again." Her friend admonished.

Usagi turned her head, sticking her tongue out as her friend finally caught up. She gave the book back to Ami quickly and winked. "Now we're hear sooner and we can play more games." Usagi told her with a smile.

The Senshi of Mercury shook her head, blue locks falling into her eyes. "I don't play video games Usagi, you know that.” The genius reminded her as they turned towards the doors of the Crown Games Arcade.

Usagi noticed there were people hanging around the place. More than usual. It was crowded.

"Gee, you think there's something going on?" Usagi wondered with interest.

Ami nodded, going up on the heels of her school shoes to see over the people's heads. The doorway was full of milling people and the two girls could hear the sound of many people inside.

They exchanged a glance.

Usagi grinned. "I'll find out!” She announced. The blonde turned to the nearest guy and tapped on his shoulder. "Hey, what's going on?"

The guy turned, frowning down at her.

She noticed immediately that he was good-looking and blushed. Usagi knew Ami wouldn't be looking at the guy in that way, so couldn't ask her what she thought of him.

"Some sort of competition.” He said shortly and turned away.

The slender girl stuck her tongue out at him, deciding he reminded her too much of Shingo. "Jerk,” She muttered. She turned to Ami, who was watching with a faintly amused smile.

"I heard." Ami murmured.

Usagi got onto the balls of her feet, trying to see over everyone. She jumped around a little, but was really too short to see even over people shoulders. "I want in!” She demanded after a moment. Her face turned slowly red. "There's a game comp and I can't even see-"

"Lower the decibels, Usagi!" A voice ordered cheerfully. Makoto pushed her way through the crowd easily and smiled at her two friends. "I thought I heard your voice."

"It was hard to miss." A familiar annoying voice commented.

Usagi stiffened, already knowing whom it belonged to. Her eyes narrowed. "Who asked you?” She snapped, whirling to face Mamoru.

He grinned unpleasantly down at her. Eyes mocking as usual. He was dressed casually in black slacks, black t-shirt and his usual green jacket. "If it isn't the empty-headed, Odango Atama.” Mamoru said.

Usagi glanced at her friends and saw with disgust that Makoto was watching Mamoru with a star-struck look. It made her even angrier.

"Don't call me that!" Usagi shouted at him furiously. He laughed, eyes glinting. She turned her back on him, pushing her way through the crowd. Usagi boiled inside. He was such a conceited jerk.

"Excuse me. Outta my way!” She called, thrusting her way past people. Usagi finally made her way into the crowded room and her eyes went wide. It was over- flowing with people. Her blue eyes scanned the place and saw that the attention was centred around three video games.

"I haven't noticed them before.” She said to herself.

"That's because they're new, Usagi," Motoki said, appearing at her side. He smiled at all the people happily. "Best thing I ever did too!"

Usagi's eyes gleamed. "Are they Sailor V?” She squealed eagerly.

Motoki shook his head. He raised his eyes towards the closest of the games.

"Nah, something new. It's called Energy Drain." The blonde girl stared at him for a moment, not sure she's heard right. "Weird name..." she commented.

Motoki nodded, running a harried hand through his orange hair.

He looked tired, though happy, Usagi noted.

"Yeah, but it sure got the crowd. Almost as soon as I opened up."

Usagi crossed her arms, eyes thoughtful. She frowned and then her eyes began to water as she looked around. "It's too crowded. I'll never get a go.” She bemoaned.

Motoki gave her an apologetic look. "Sorry Usagi-gotta go.” He moved into the crowd and was swallowed.

The Senshi stood there, ignoring everyone. She'd get a go if it killed her! "Oooh, I gotta get a go.” She bit her nail nervously.

"You won't get near it, give it up girl." Makoto said. She and Ami stood next to Usagi.

The blue-haired girl looked harried. She checked her watch and sighed. "I've got to go guys. See you at school tomorrow?"

"You bet," Makoto grinned and took Usagi's arm. "Come on Usagi. We'll walk you there Ami."

"But-" Usagi protested, fighting against the hold. "I want to play the new game!"

"No Usagi." Makoto told her.

Usagi looked appealingly at Ami.

"No." Ami agreed.

They pulled the blonde through the crowd, but it wasn't an easy task.

Ami looked around, trying to keep her head above everyone's shoulders. "Is it my imagination or is it even more crowded?"

"Yeah...looks like everyone from School's here." Makoto said slowly.

"Everyone?" Usagi questioned, staring around. "Hey, you're right. There's Naru." She pointed to the far side of the Arcade, where the three could see Umino and the red-haired girl together. Usagi's eyes narrowed. "They got a good place too.” She grumbled. There was no answer from Makoto and after a moment, Ami and Usagi looked up at their tall friend. Makoto was staring at the 'Energy Drain' game closest them with a blank expression on her face.

"Makoto?" Usagi waved her hand in front of Makoto's face and the brunette snapped out of her trance.

"Hehe, sorry 'bout that guys," Makoto said in slight confusion. "I spaced there for a second."

"No more than Usagi does at the sight of a game." Ami said seriously.

Usagi glared at them both indignantly. "I do not, Ami!” She hesitated. "Well, maybe."

"No maybes about it, Odango Atama," Mamoru said from behind her. He had to raise his voice slightly to be heard over the crowd, but Usagi heard him loud and clear. She whirled on him, glare intensifying.

"Are you following me or something?” She demanded.

Mamoru stared down his nose at her. "Why would I do a thing like that?” He asked her mockingly.

Usagi turned red in the face. "Why you-” She began.

Just then Ami gave a little scream. "Oh my god! The Computer class, I am so late.” She cried.

'Oh right.' Usagi winced. They'd completely forgot Ami's class! She grabbed Ami's hand and pulled her through the crowd, Makoto close behind.

"See you!" Makoto called back to Mamoru.

Usagi scowled as they pushed their way out of the Arcade. Why was Makoto even talking to that jerk? She hadn't realised she had even spoken aloud until Makoto answered her. "He reminds me of my old boyfriend."

"Whaaat?" Usagi shouted. "You have got to be kidding me."

Makoto rubbed the back of her head as they rushed down the street with Ami between them. "Well, actually...Mamoru's a lot cuter."

"Ewww," Her friend protested loudly. "The words Mamoru and cute do not go together in once sentence, Makoto!"

"Ami?" Makoto appealed.

Ami shook their hands loose, dashing towards a building. She turned once before disappearing inside. "I'm sorry-I'm really late you guys."

Usagi and Makoto watched until their friend had disappeared and then turned back towards the Arcade.

The blonde's feet dragged a little, bag trailing carelessly from her fingers.

Makoto flashed her a glance. "What's up?” She teased lightly.

Usagi threw her a sad look. "Just that I look forward to the Arcade and Motoki after school and now it's so crowded I can't even play! What am I going to do now?” She complained.

Makoto blinked at her, thinking. "Buy you an ice cream?"

"I've already had one-" Usagi began. She grinned. "What am I saying. I never give up an ice cream. You're on!"

The sun was beginning to go down, the first shadows of night closing in. Usagi barely noticed. Makoto had gone home an hour ago, but Usagi hadn't wanted to go. There were few people out this late, only those coming home from a day of work. A man in a briefcase and coat gave Usagi a glance, but she never noticed as she passed him. She sighed and raised her head. Her mom would be furious when she got home finally, but Usagi just hadn't felt up to explaining her latest test paper.

"She'd have just thrown me outside anyway," Usagi said miserably. She bit her lip and tightened her grip on her bag slightly. Her eyes lit up. "Hey, maybe the Arcade is empty now.” She exclaimed.

Usagi looked around and realised she was about a block from the Arcade. Her steps picked up and soon she was hurrying towards her favourite place. Sometimes Motoki kept the place open late. It was half a cafe after all and a lot of adult customers came after school hours. As she neared the place, she saw that it had emptied quite a lot. The lights were on out front, chairs set out for people eating outside. Usagi walked up to the doors and peered inside. Her face fell as she saw that the Arcade part had closed down, all the games off.

"I was too late!" she muttered angrily. Usagi hesitated, then sighed and walked forward. The glass doors opened for her and she stepped past a couple ordering at the counter. Motoki was there, serving food. She tried to signal him, but he was too busy.

"He's working Odango Atama. What do you want?" an annoying voice asked her.

Usagi whirled around to see Mamoru, sitting at a table behind her. He had books all over the table, a cup of coffee in one hand. Usagi stuck her nose in the air, immediately on the defence around him.

"I have a right to be here to, Chiba Mamoru!” She told him haughtily. He chuckled, blue eyes on her face in amusement. After a moment, she turned her eyes back to look at him and saw that his attention was on his books. She fumed for a moment.

"What are you doing?” She demanded, hovering near the table.

Mamoru glanced up briefly. "Studying. Which is what people do when they want to leave School," he raised an eyebrow in her direction, sipping from his cup. "You could take some hints here, Odango Atama."

"Don't call me that!” She shouted at him angrily. Here eyes blazed. "And I know what studying is."

He nodded patronisingly. "Uh huh."

"You-you...jerk.” She muttered under her breath. A shadow fell over her and she glanced up to see Motoki there. He smiled at her warmly and she flushed.

"Usagi. I thought I heard your voice.” He said pleasantly.

Mamoru snorted. "Wail you mean.” He commented.

Motoki laughed lightly, patting Usagi's shoulder. "Don't be so mean to her, buddy.” He said jokingly.

Usagi blushed. "I can...handle it.” She said awkwardly.

"She can handle it," Mamoru agreed. He closed his book and looked up at his friend inquiringly. "You taking a break so we can go over this?"

Motoki nodded. "Yeah, just a sec. You want a drink Usagi?” He offered.

Usagi beamed. "Cocoa?” She said hopefully.

Motoki smiled and ruffled her fringe in a brotherly way. "You got it. Just sit with Mamoru and I'll be right back."

Usagi waited till Motoki had gone and rolled her eyes in dismay. "Do I have to?” She asked the air, eyeing Mamoru's table.

"Ditto on that Odango Atama.” He told her in amusement, leaning back in his chair.

Usagi glared at him and deliberately took the seat across the table from him. The further the better. She put her bag by her feet and sat nervously on the edge, waiting. It was bad enough that she was out without permission, but sitting with Mamoru was even worse! She really hated the guy.

"So," Mamoru said after a long moment. "How are the grades going?"

Usagi glared at him indignantly. "It's none of your business.” She snapped.

Mamoru closed his eyes and smiled with satisfaction. He leaned back easily and crossed a leg over the other. "As I thought.” He murmured.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Usagi demanded, eyes narrowing. She was strangely incensed by his manner.

Motoki came hurrying back, two steaming mugs in his hands. He placed them on the table and regarded Mamoru and Usagi with exasperation. "I can't leave you two together for a moment, can I?" he demanded.

Usagi blushed bright red, feeling like a little kid caught at fighting.

"Sure I-we can Motoki.” She stammered. Mamoru chuckled and she glared under her lashes at him.

Motoki shook his head and sipped from his drink thoughtfully. "Usagi, how are the grades coming?” He asked her with interest.

Usagi was taking a sip of her cocoa and almost spat it across the room when the question was asked. "Not you too!” She wailed.

Mamoru laughed out-right.

Motoki looked confused. "What did I say?"

"Motoki, there you are." a woman walked up and Usagi looked at her enviously. She recognized Reika, Motoki's girlfriend. Reika leaned over and kissed his cheek lightly, then sat down in a spare chair.

"Reika. I thought you were working late." Motoki said.

He looked pleased, Usagi thought with worry. She nibbled on her bottom lip, eyes glued to the two.

"This is Reika, Odango Atama." Mamoru said, almost in her ear.

Usagi jumped and jerked back to see that Mamoru had leaned forward on the table. His elbows rested on his books and she noted absently how slender his fingers were. "Motoki's girlfriend” He added with slight emphasis.

Usagi glared at him, moving as far back into her seat as she could. Taking her eyes from Mamoru's annoyingly smug face, she saw that Reika and Motoki were looking at her. Usagi blushed and thrust out her hand quickly to the woman. "Hi, I'm Usagi.” She offered. Reika shook her hand, smiling friendly.

"I think I've met one of your friends...Makoto, wasn't it?” The red-haired woman mused.

Usagi nodded. "Uh, yeah,” She was remembering a few days ago when Makoto had tried to get to know what sort of woman Motoki liked. Her friend had pretended to want to be an-um, Usagi frowned. Arch-ar-something.

"What's wrong Odango Atama? You'll swallow your face with that frown if you don't watch it." Mamoru taunted. His voice broke into her thoughts. She ignored him.

"You want to be an-umm arc...” She stumbled over the name, really trying to think.

"Archaeologist." Reika supplied.

Usagi's frowned cleared. "Yeah, that's it” She murmured. "How'd you know that Makoto was my friend?"

Motoki smiled at her and then at Reika fondly. "I've told her all about you guys."

"You-you have?" Usagi gasped, flattered.

Motoki continued to smile charmingly. "You girls are my favourite customers, you know.” He added.

Usagi's face fell.

"Oh,” She murmured. She cast her blue eyes about, feeling uncomfortable. So it really was true. Motoki cared about Reika and Makoto and Usagi were just 'customers' to him...Usagi glanced outside and gasped as she saw the moon in the sky. Daylight had fled completely as they talked.

"Oh my god,” She gasped, leaping to her feet. "Mom's going to kill me!"

She pushed her chair back, groping for her school bag. It seemed just beyond her reach and she leaned over for it. Mamoru reached for it at the same time and their hands touched briefly. Usagi stiffened as a strange feeling went up her fingers, like an electric shock. She was so startled that she stumbled over her chair when she straitened.

"Arrggggh!” She shouted as she fell back onto the plastic seat.

Motoki, Reika and Mamoru laughed.

Usagi blushed and then went pale; leaping back to her feet with her bag clutched at her chest. She couldn't even look at them, so embarrassed was she.

"I have to go-bye!” She called, rushing from the place. The glass doors almost didn't open and she hesitated, but made it through. Some people looked at her with interest as she ran past their tables and down the sidewalk. Usagi ignored them all, thinking only of getting home. She glanced up at the moon as the voices of the cafe faded behind her and the cool night air swept over her face. She slowed down, panting slightly.

"Why can't I ever be graceful?" Usagi complained, staring upwards. The moon was beautiful that night, she thought. Silver and almost full. The night sky was dark, dotted only by a few stars. Usagi had passed a few blocks when her skin tingled in warning. It was a feeling she knew well, danger.

"Oh boy.” She whispered, looking around carefully. The streets were relatively deserted, but for a few cars passing here and there. She swallowed. The shadows suddenly looked deeper and more scary than usual.

"I shouldn't have been out so late,” She whispered to herself, moving into the shadow of a shop. Her eyes scanned the street, seeking the source of danger, but could find nothing. She sighed, thinking maybe that she had been mistaken. "I'm too nervous is all."

Usagi kept to the shadows all the way home, confident in the fact that she could defend herself if attacked. One didn't be a super heroine without learning some things! The lights were on outside her house when she got there and Usagi hesitated. Before she could raise a hand to knock, the door was jerked open. Her mom stood there, looking anxious.

"Usagi! Where have you been?" Ikuko demanded, with a strange mixture of anger and relief.

Usagi flushed guiltily then got an idea. "I uh, failed another test mom,” She admitted, stepping inside. Ikuko's eyes changed to anger and Usagi held up a hand quickly. "So I went to the library and I've been studying."

Ikuko's anger faded slightly as she stared at her daughter. "Oh, Usagi,” She sighed, placing a hand on Usagi's shoulder and leading her into the lounge room. "I'm proud that you did...but please let me know if you're going to study late like this again."

Usagi couldn't believe that it had actually worked and a slight grin worked its way onto her mouth. "Sure mom.” She said happily, heading for the stairs.

Ikuko's voice stopped her when she was almost at the top.

"Don't think that's all young lady, I expect you to come down and scrub all the vegetables for dinner. And do the dishes after." Ikuko told her.

Usagi winced, but didn't turn.

Luna came out onto the landing and watched the blonde with accusing eyes.

"Sure mom" Usagi said quickly. She hurried past Luna, but the cat slipped into the room as the door was closing. She jumped onto the bed and regarded Usagi as the blonde threw down her school bag.

"You can lie to your mother Usagi, but I know you weren't studying!” The black cat told her sharply.

Usagi sighed, flopping onto the bed beside Luna. The guardian almost went flying, but dug her claws into the cover at the last moment.

"Fine. I wasn't." Usagi admitted readily. She lay back, staring at the roof.

Luna was silent for a moment. Then her face came into Usagi's view above her. "What's wrong?" Luna asked carefully, sensing Usagi's pensive mood.

Usagi blinked at her. "What do you mean?” She asked, not understanding.

Luna shook her head and jumped off the bed. She grasped the lock of Usagi's bag carefully with her teeth and opened it, dragging out a book.

Usagi turned on her side to watch.

"You know, we could still do my idea of opening a circus, Luna," Usagi suggested mischievously. She raised a hand to toy with a long blonde strand of hair absently, blue eyes teasing.

Her adviser glared at her. "Usagi! The royal adviser to Queen Serenity of the Moon Kingdom does not act like a common cat!" Luna announced haughtily.

Usagi grinned at her. "You act almost like a person sometimes Luna.” She told her friend.

Luna glanced at her as she took the small book in her mouth and jumped onto the table. She pawed through it till she came to the day's work. "I was-never mind.” The cat changed her words quickly.

Usagi noticed, but couldn't think what the cat had been going to say. She got to her feet and walked over to the table, staring at the homework book with distaste.

"Do I have to?" she whined.

Luna's eyes glinted. "Of course you do, Usagi. As a Sailor Senshi, your education is very important," Luna pointed to a math sum with a slender paw. "This is terrible Usagi!” She exclaimed, looking at the barely distinguishable numbers.

"It's boring, Luna!" The blonde Senshi complained. She took off her uniform and flung it on the ground carelessly.

Luna's eyes popped open in horror. "Usagi! The Moon Broach!” She yelled, leaping for the clothes.

Usagi flushed as the cat fished through the pile and brought out the broach in her teeth. She snatched it from Luna quickly and put it on her bedside table. "Sorry, sorry." She muttered.

Luna scowled at her, somehow looking cute despite her expression.

The cat and Usagi exchanged glances and Luna finally looked away, sighing. "Honestly Usagi,” She murmured, heading for the windowsill. "If you expect to be a better Senshi-"

"I'm doing okay." Usagi protested.

Luna jumped onto the sill, turning briefly to glance at the blonde. "Okay just isn't going to cut it Usagi. There will come a day when you will need all the skills that you gather as Sailor Moon. You are sworn to protect the Moon Princess," Luna shook her head and leapt out into the night. "You aren't even trying."

Usagi stared after Luna, hurt by the accusation. "I'm trying!” She shouted. She stood there, her eyes going by instinct to the Moon Locket.

"Usagi! Come and help with dinner” Her mom's voice broke into her thoughts. Usagi turned towards the door, giving the open window one last look. She'd show Luna.

The Moon was much higher in the sky as Mamoru pushed away his books. After three cups off coffee and heaps of studying, he finally thought he was ready for the test on Friday.

Motoki wandered over, wiping a cup. "You finished? It's late.” The man commented.

Mamoru gave him a faint grin and stretched widely. Muscled screamed at him and he winced with slight pain.

"Yeah, I'm wasted. But at least I'm ready.” He gave a triumphant smiled.

Motoki smiled back, sinking into the chair across from his friend. "You know Mamoru, you work too hard. I own the business here, but you work almost as hard just to get the grades." Motoki said seriously.

He was concerned, Mamoru could see.

"I want to get into medical School, it's as easy as that." Mamoru told him calmly. He gathered his books into a pile and got to his feet. A yawn escaped him and he glanced down at the watch on his wrist briefly. A grunt of surprise escaped him.

"I told you it was late." His best friend laughed, going back to his counter.

Mamoru nodded. The watch had said that it was 1 O' Clock in the morning. Something else occurred to him and he looked over to his friend. "You close at 11, you should have kicked me out.” He admonished.

Motoki smiled easily, shaking his head. "What are friend's for?” He glanced towards another of the tables and Mamoru saw with surprise that Reika was sitting there, reading a book. "Besides, Reika was here."

"So I see." Mamoru sigh somewhat wistfully.

Motoki looked at him slyly, putting the dry dishes away. "Wish you were in my place?" he said.

The dark-haired man choked back a laugh, incredulous. Him, wanting a girlfriend to complicate his life? "Not on your life, buddy. There's no way I need a girl to ruin my life"

Motoki looked at him with a grin and exchanged a glance with Reika.

She came up to the counter and leaned against it, eyebrows raised. "That's a novel way to put it.” She drawled.

Mamoru grinned tauntingly. "It's true. Give a girlfriend a chance and she'll take over your life...not that you take over Motoki's.” He finished quickly when Reika glared mock- warningly.

The blonde man laughed, drawing Reika close into a hug. "There's no way Reika complicates my life. Rather, she makes it complete."

Mamoru waved it away, a slightly disgusted look in his deep blue eyes. He backed towards the door, books held to his chest. "I don't want to hear it. Really!” He joked.

His friend gave him a smug look, joined shortly by Reika at his next words.

"You'll see Mamoru. One day some girl will come crashing into your life and you'll never be able to image life with her!" He called.

Mamoru shook his head, walking out the glass doors. They closed behind him and he began to walk towards home. He chuckled at the thought of a girlfriend. Not that he hadn't given it thought at one stage. It was just that no one seemed to suit him. They were too giggly or serious or-or- "Never happen!” He repeated sternly. “Absolutely never-"

His words were broken off by a faint scream and the sound of breaking crockery. Mamoru spun around, realising it had come from the Arcade. He dropped his books and ran back to the glass doors, peering inside carefully. The lights had been dimmed, Motoki and Reika having about to leave. At first he couldn't see anything, but then there was movement from the video games. Mamoru pounded on the glass doors and realised the electricity had been turned off.

"Motoki!” He shouted through the crack in the door. Another scream sounded, followed by Motoki yelling. Mamoru backed off and looked around quickly. He picked up a chair and stared at the plastic. It wouldn't break the door. His eyes lightened on the table frame.

"But metal will.” He muttered grimly. Mamoru kicked off the plastic top of the table and picked up the metal frame easily. He swung it towards the large glass doors hard. They cracked, but didn't break and he swung again. The alarms went off, sounding through the night. It almost obscured the sound of breaking glass as the doors finally gave way and shattered. Mamoru was through them in a moment, running towards the sounds of fighting. Through the dim light, he caught sight of Motoki wrestling with some large guy.

Reika was cowering in the corner, holding a hand to a bleeding cheek. She saw Mamoru and her eyes lit up with hope and fear. "Mamoru, be careful. It's not- human!” She warned him.

Mamoru stared at her momentarily. Not human? He got closer, edging around a video game until he got a clear view of who Motoki was fighting. His blue eyes widened incredulously.

"Definitely not human,” He agreed. His orange-haired friend was fighting a creature that was easily seven feet tall-with only a small knife as a weapon against the beast. Mamoru called it beast because it was covered in course brown fur. It hands were at least a big as Motoki's head and the claws long and black. Also razor-sharp. Long jagged white teeth sprouted in a mass from its long muzzle, it's eye glaring a menacing green.

"Give me your energy!” The monster growled, it's voice like grating metal.

Mamoru paused. "It talks?” He muttered, unable to think for a moment.

His friend nodded dizzily, dodging the large hands trying to grab him. "It talks, it claws...how do we get rid of it?” He yelled in fear.

Mamoru looked around, realising hat there were no weapons he could really use against the creature. Only Motoki's knife. "Give me a sec!” He shouted to his friend.

Motoki grinned weakly. "I'm not going anywhere, Mamoru” He assured. He turned his head to watch his friend and the monster swung out, grabbing with his hairy hands. Motoki got caught by the apron and was lifted.

"Hehehe,” The monster slobbered. It began to glow greenly and Reika screamed as Motoki's body was consumed.

"Jupiter Thunder Crash!" a strong voice called out.

The upperclassman watched in amazement as the Arcade was lit up with green lightning. It snaked towards the monster and consumed him in seconds. Motoki was dropped unceremoniously. A figure appeared in the dim light and Mamoru saw the brief flash of white gloves as Motoki was dragged away from the creature.

"Motoki!” He yelled, running after the figure. He raced around a few games and came to a dead halt at the sight of two young girls leaning over his friend.

They both looked up as Reika joined them.

The tallest of the girls, a brunette with her hair in a ponytail checked Motoki over quickly. "He seems okay...Mercury?" the girl asked, voice faintly anxious.

Mamoru watched in further amazement as the shorter blue-haired girl reached into the air around her drew out a compact. No, not a compact, Mamoru soon realised. A computer of sorts. The girl scanned Motoki and nodded quickly. "Just drained. He'll be fine” She told Reika quietly.

"Mars Fireballs…Strike!” The cry came from behind them.

They all whirled and Mamoru saw fire light up the Arcade briefly. There was a bellow of anger and pain from the creature.

"Evil Begone!"

The two girls exchanged a quick look.

"I better go help Mars till Sailor Moon gets here.” The brunette murmured. She rushed out of the safety of the surrounding video games, but the blue-haired girl stayed behind.

Mamoru studied her, realising finally that these girls were the elusive Sailor Senshi Tokyo had heard about. The girl wore a clinging white body suit, a short skirt and blue bows. A golden tiara was on her forehead, blue boots covering her legs. The other girl had been in green and pink. He watched as the Senshi bit her lip, listening to the fight. "You should go help.” He told her abruptly, certain she ought to be helping her friends.

She gave him a quick look, then glanced at Motoki doubtfully.

"Go," Reika urged. Motoki nodded weakly.

"I'll be fine.” He confirmed, coughing harshly.

The Senshi nodded and was gone, swallowed into the dark of the room.

Mamoru and the other two crouched, listening as the girls battled the monster with amazing flashes of power lighting up the room.

"Mercury Bubbles Blast!" Came the cry.

Mamoru blinked, feeling the temperature into her room suddenly drop to almost freezing. He shivered, unable to see anywhere in the room. Suddenly a horrible pain consumed him and he fell to his knees.

"Mamoru?" Motoki cried out, worried.

The dark-haired man tried to answer, but the darkness rushed in on him.

Chapter Three

"Usagi!" Luna's voice came out of the darkness.

Usagi shot up in bed, gasping for breath. Her eyes were wide, staring at nothing. She'd been dreaming. Deeply. About a beautiful place. She'd been dancing in someone's arms, a person she loved with all her heart-

"Usagi!" The black cat shouted in her ear.

Usagi jumped the glared into the black of the room. She could barely see her fury companion, the moon having gone behind clouds sometime in the night.

"What?" The Senshi of the Moon demanded, irritated. Her mind sought after the dream, elusive though it was. She'd had such a feeling of belonging. Luna's weight on the bedspread disappeared, only to be replaced a moment later. Usagi saw something glinting faintly in the cat's mouth had reached for it curiously.

"Uf ooch oopd." Luna muttered.

Usagi's hands closed around cool metal. Familiar.

"Oh, my communicator beeped.” She said, heart sinking. She'd hoped it wasn't something like that. Usagi felt for the buttons and pressed Mars. After a moment, the Senshi came on screen.

"Finally!” The raven-haired girl snapped. Her purple eyes flashed with irritation as she glared into the communicator. Usagi noted her hair looked rather windswept. "We've got trouble down here at the Arcade. Some sort of wolf-creature."

Immediately Usagi was on the alert. "I'm on my way.” She promised. The communicator went blank and the blonde leapt out of bed quickly.

Luna scrambled out of the way, amazed at how quickly Usagi threw on her clothes.

"You aren't usually this...prompt, Usagi." Luna commented, following the blonde to the window.

Usagi glared at her through the darkness, reaching for the sill clumsily. "I'm not totally without responsibility, Luna!” She snapped. She touched the sill and pulled herself onto it, balancing for a moment. Just as she was about to drop, she slipped and fell into the bushes below with a crash.

"Arrggggh!” She shrieked. The leaves and branches of her mom's plant bit into her and she froze for a moment. Her parents hadn't seemed to have heard her and she sighed with relief.

Luna dropped down beside her nimbly a smirk on her face. "So I see.” She commented.

Usagi had no time for her and got to her feet, wobbling slightly. Something felt...wrong tonight. She paused for a moment, then headed off the lawn and down the street. Luna trailed behind. At that time of the morning, there was no one around and she reached for her broach confidently. She bit her lip as her fingers closed around it. She'd never tell Luna, but she'd almost forgotten to pick it up from her bedside table on the way out the window!

"Hurry, Usagi!" Luna urged, catching up.

The small girl nodded, holding the Broach up to the moon. It glinted eerily, almost seeming to take the moonlight into itself. "Moon Prism Power!” She shouted. As always, the power surged through her, giving her confidence. It consumed her and she felt a surge of fierce joy. As the power faded, she broke from her pose and continued down the street.

As Sailor Moon reached turned the corner from the Arcade, she saw what had worried Sailor Mars so much. Tables were upturned, shattered glass lying all over the sidewalk. Lights were coming crazily from inside, showing the Senshi's different powers as they battled the monster.

"Ahahaha!" a high voice laughed, annoying familiar.

Sailor Moon's eyes narrowed. "Zoisite,” She murmured. Sailor Moon looked down at the black cat at her feet. "Luna, I want you to go back home and wait for me there."

Luna looked up at her, eyes worried. "I'd rather see-"

"No," Sailor Moon said with unaccustomed firmness. She startled both her and Luna. The blonde touched a gloved hand to Luna's forehead gently, tracing the crescent moon there. "I-I just want you at home safe, Luna. So I know you're there."

"All right,” The adviser agreed, backing away. "For Serenity's sake, be careful, Sailor Moon."

"I will," Sailor Moon promised. She took a deep breath and ran through the doorway, boots crushing glass beneath them. Luckily she hadn't been heard, the Senshi repeatedly firing their attacks at something very tall. Sailor Moon's eyes widened when she saw the latest monster.

"Eww. Ugly.” She muttered, creeping closer. It was really tall, covered in fur and looked furious. It's fur showed signs of fire and electricity. Sailor Moon scanned the room and saw Zoisite floating a few meters away. She was holding a small purple crystal in her hands that looked familiar.

"You Senshi are such a laugh. I don't know why I bother to show up," Zoisite sniffed haughtily. Her eyes turned towards the monster. "However, Queen Beryl is pleased with the huge amount of energy Worella here collected. The new video game was my idea of course,"

"Video game?" Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars said in surprise, glancing around them.

"That's a girl?" Jupiter demanded, staring at the monster.

Sailor Mars turned to look at her. "Does it matter?” She yelled at her friend.

Sailor Jupiter scratched the back of her head in embarrassment. "Uh, no.” She said, flushing.

Zoisite watched them, a frown on her face. "Enough talk, Worella, get them!” She ordered coolly.

The monster growled and charged Jupiter, who dodged nimbly. It's arm swung back though and knocked the Senshi off her feet. She flew back with a gasp of surprise.

"Jupiter! I'll get it" Mars cried out angrily, stepping forward. "Mars Fire-!"

"Uh, uh," Zoisite taunted, flinging her hand towards the raven-haired Senshi. "Zoi!"

A black ball of darkness formed in the palm of her hand and shot towards Sailor Mars almost before she could gasp. Mars dodged, but got caught on the shoulder. She fell to the floor, wincing.

Zoisite looked at Mercury, who was standing defiantly between the others and the monster.

"Mercury, I've got do something." Sailor Moon whispered. She moved closer, reaching for her tiara automatically. She couldn't use the Moon wand; her friends were in the way. The wand was good yes, but it had never been aimed at a Senshi. What if it accidentally hurt her friends?

"Are you going to stand up to me, Mercury?" Zoisite laughed at the thought.

Sailor Moon narrowed her blue eyes in concentration, aiming for the monster's shoulder.

"I will if I have to-" Mercury shouted defiantly.

Sailor Moon removed the tiara, golden energy forming in her hands. "Moon Tiara Magic!” She shouted, flinging the energy. It flew from her hand like a bullet, streaming golden energy.

Mercury stepped back, the monster turning away a little too late. It howled chillingly as the tiara hit it square in the shoulder.

The golden-haired Senshi watched with awe and horror as the smell of burnt fur filled the room. The monster's shoulder smoked and Sailor Moon saw with a fascinated horror that the skin was black. It roared again in agony, rearing back.

Zoisite fell back in shock as it raced past her, heading where Sailor Moon was standing.

"Urgh!" Sailor Moon shrieked in terror as the wolf-creature sprung at her, faster than she could blink. Blinding pain bit through her and she screamed. At the same time, the creature howled in her ear, seemingly echoing the agony of the Senshi. Sailor Moon fell back, the creature on top of her.

"Sailor Moon!" a deep voice called out, full of fear and pain.

Her eyes cracked open as the weight of the monster was lifted from her. In the dim light overhead, she saw the shape of a top hat. "Tuxedo Kamen?” She gasped weakly. Sailor Moon tried to move and agony shot up her side. Her entire arm felt heavy, yet pained and she was sure it was bleeding. The monster was pushed from her and warm hand slid under her shoulders gently. A comfortable feeling swept over her as she was held in Tuxedo Kamen's arms. She saw the faint glint of his eyes through his white half-mask.

"Are you okay?” He asked anxiously.

She felt his hands run over her form. Sensed his pause as he saw her arm. But she didn't want to look. It would heal, she was sure. Since she could still feel her arm. "It's okay...what about Zoisite?” She whispered.

His teeth glinted briefly in a grimace. "She left as soon as her creature was killed” He said coldly. Ice in his voice. She blinked at him, wondering suddenly why he was still with her.

"Is she okay?" Jupiter asked from behind Tuxedo Kamen's back.

Sailor Moon felt him stiffen. He pulled away from her, arms sliding to his side.

"Sailor Moon, are you hurt?" Sailor Mars rushed to her side, kneeling on the floor.

Sailor Moon smiled weakly, feeling a bit nauseous. But it was nice to have Mars worry over her. "I'm fine Pyro” She said teasingly.

Sailor Mars snorted. She got to her feet, hands on hips. "And here I was worried about you. Ugh!” She stomped away.

Jupiter grinned faintly at Tuxedo Kamen. "Hey, thanks for your help. You showed up just in time” She commented. "Like always"

Tuxedo Kamen said nothing. He got to his feet, leaving Mercury to help Sailor Moon.

The blonde got to her feet, shaking slightly. She looked down at the monster lying a few feet away. "It's ugly” She commented.

Tuxedo Kamen nodded slightly, as if his part were over and turned to go. He paused suddenly, staring at the monster hard. "Why hasn't it-” He began.

"Hey. I just wanted to say thanks" Motoki said, walking up. He and Reika came into the faint illumination of the security lights. She was supporting him under one shoulder, a worried look on her face.

The Senshi all blushed.

"It was nothing" Sailor Jupiter clasped her hands in front of her, looking at Motoki with a star-struck gaze. She completely ignored Reika's presence.

Sirens were suddenly heard in the distance and the Senshi all stared at each other in consternation.

"Gee, they took their time getting here" Jupiter commented.

Motoki looked faintly apologetic. "I uh, turned off the alarms. I didn't think you'd want the police to see you fighting” He hesitated. "Or the reporters"

Mars rolled her eyes. "Oh yes. DEFINITELY not the reporters” She said dryly.

Sailor Moon sighed, turning her eyes towards Tuxedo Kamen. She frowned in puzzlement when she saw he was standing over the monster, cane out. Sailor Moon walked over, wincing as she jerked her arm. She reached out a hand to touch his Tuxedo lightly.

"What is it?” She asked him quietly. He jumped slightly, moving out of reach of her hand. Sailor Moon lowered it, hurt.

He was silent a moment. "Don't the monsters usually dissolve into dust...not just die?” He asked her.

She frowned at the question, staring at the ugly creature. It didn't connect.

"Yeah?” She said hesitantly, wondering what he meant. Her eyes widened as he poked the wolf-creature with his cane. "Oh-look out!"

The creature abruptly stirred and reared back, fangs flashing in the light. Things seemed to move in slow motion for her. She saw the creature get to its feet, claws extended.

Tuxedo Kamen raised his cane and the claws sheered right through them.

"Jupiter Thunderclap Zap!" Jupiter screamed from behind.

Tuxedo Kamen was grabbed by the shoulders and lifted up to dangle above the monsters head.

Sailor Moon gasped with horror, reacting on instinct. Her hand reached into her sub space pocket even as the muzzle lowered towards Tuxedo Kamen's head.

"No, Tuxedo Kamen!" Sailor Mars shrieked.

The monster's muzzle ripped into Tuxedo Kamen's jacket to the skin below. There was a sickening crunch-and then lightning hit both he and the monster.

"Nooooo!” The monster howled, dropping Tuxedo Kamen's limp body.

Sailor Moon's eyes teared over as she stared at the body, then the blue of them hardened icily. "Moon Healing Activation!” She screamed out her power. It exploded from the Moon Wand in a blinding display of light. They were all blinded. Golden light filled the place, fuelled by Sailor Moon fear, agony and fury. The monster screamed one long agonised sound and then there was silence. The light died abruptly.

"Oh my." Mercury said.

It was a vast understatement. Everyone blinked around. The room had almost been obliterated behind the monster. Luckily there had only been wall. But what had once been white floor and roof was covered in black soot. The monster was also gone, completely.

Sailor Moon stood frozen for a moment, then her eyes blinked. They fell on the hunched form of Tuxedo Kamen and she raced over to him.

He groaned and opened his eyes.

The Senshi raced over.

"Is he-he's okay," Mars said with relief. She stared at Sailor Moon with awe. "Remind me never to get on your bad side, Moon."

"Mmm," Sailor Moon said. Her eyes all for Tuxedo Kamen. His shoulder was a mass of blood and ripped cloth. "Are you okay." she asked him anxiously.

To their surprise, he pushed their hands away and got to his feet.

"I'm fine” He told them, straightening. His eyes glinted at Sailor Moon. "Like you Senshi, I heal fast in this form."

Before they could open their mouth, his cloak had swirled around him and he disappeared into the darkness of the Arcade.

The Senshi gaped for a moment.

"Some gratitude," Motoki commented. "Is he always like that?"

The Senshi sighed.

"Yeah," Mars said. "Always."

"Hello? Is anyone is here?" a voice called out crisply.

The Senshi exchanged a quick glance.

"It's the police." Jupiter whispered, looking towards the front of the store.

Sailor Moon looked that way, seeing the red and blue flashes of light that announced the Tokyo Police had arrived. Several people entered the Arcade.

"Time to book it." Mars looked at the other three Senshi.

Sailor Moon nodded. "Right,” She said. She and the others raced swiftly out the back entrance, sparing only a brief glance at Motoki and his girlfriend. Outside in the alley, they jumped onto the roof of the place. Using the rooftops as an escape, they moved rapidly away, towards Rei's Temple.

As they passed Mercury's place, she stopped. "See you at School, you guys.” She called, dropping down the side of the house.

The others paused, looking at each other.

Sailor Moon sighed, shifting. The pain in her arm was less, but still fiery.

Sailor Mars stepped closer, eyes on her friend. "You okay Sailor Moon?” She asked testily.

Sailor Moon nodded, looking down at the wound. The cloth of her sleeve was bloody and ripped, but the skin underneath seemed no too badly damaged.

"It seems all right. Nothing that won't heal quick." Jupiter said confidently, also looking at the wound. She touched it lightly.

A frisson of pain and a strange sensation went down Sailor Moon's arm, but she said nothing. "I'll be fine guys," Sailor Moon's words were punctuated with a wide yawn. She smiled at them both sheepishly. "I think we need to get some more sleep before the sun rises."

Sailor Jupiter yawned also, stretching her arms above her head. She hitched up her ponytail automatically. "I bushed guys, later!” She called, leaping away.

Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon watched as she disappeared from sight, a blurred figure moving with inhuman speed over the roof tops of the Tokyo houses. There was a short silence, strangely awkward.

"I'm sorry I couldn't stop the monster, Sailor Moon." Sailor Mars clenched a fist with silent rage. Her mouth twisted with anger.

Sailor Moon blinked with surprise. It wasn't often that Mars showed her feelings.

"I'm fine Rei," Sailor Moon said gently, touching her fingers to her friend's cheek softly.

Purple eyes glinted at her, looking suspiciously to be filled with tears. Sailor Mars turned her face away before Sailor Moon could be sure, facing her back to the blonde.

"See you tomorrow, Usagi.” The raven-haired Senshi called out. She leapt away, leaving Sailor Moon standing there alone. When Sailor Mars had disappeared from sight, she turned towards her own home. Luna would be waiting there for her, wanting to know what happened in the fight.

Darkness. It was all he saw for a moment. It scared him until things began to become distinct. Mamoru blinked rapidly, eyes focusing. His face was lying on something soft and after a moment he realised it was carpet.

"What's going on?” He muttered groggily. Other things became distinct and he saw he was in his apartment. His blue eyes widened with incredulity. "How did I get here?” He exclaimed.

Getting shakily to his knees, he used the back of his couch to get to his feet. Things wavered for a moment, a great feeling of weakness invading his body. The second thing he noticed was a terrible pain in his shoulder. Mamoru raised a hand to it, gasping as he touched ragged flesh.

"Don't panic Mamoru.” He murmured to himself, staggering into the bathroom. The light switch was hard to find since he seemed to be disoriented. Like nothing was real at that moment. In fact, everything seemed too bright. Mamoru walked to the sink and looked reluctantly in the mirror.

His blue eyes widened in shock as he saw his left shoulder. His green jacket was torn from the throat to the elbow. His skin showed through and both it and his clothes were caked with a horrifying amount of blood. His blood.

"Oh gods,” He gasped, head reeling. He clutched at the sink, trying to keep focus. His eyes raised again to the wound as he slipped his jacket carefully off. Then his shirt. He stood naked to the waist and studied the bleeding wound carefully. As an aspiring doctor, he knew it was crucial to see how bad it was. How much blood he had lost.

Mamoru turned to the side slightly, forcing himself to look. The wound itself was not as bad as he had first thought. The skin was torn jaggedly, about a finger width long. There were three of them, from the joint in his shoulder. The dark-haired man stared closer, then got a cloth a wet it. He carefully cleaned the wound and then just stared at it silently.

"Teeth marks...” He whispered, almost under his breath. Teeth marks. Where had he gotten them? Mamoru opened the cabinet above his sink and took out a bandage. He walked back into the lounge room and sat down on the couch while he rapped his arm up. It was awkward, but he was loath to call anyone to help. How was he supposed to explain it when he couldn't even remember where he had been bitten?

He sat back casually, sinking into the smoothness of the leather couch. Mamoru's blue eyes raised to the roof as he thought back, trying to make sense of the mess. His mind was a whirl.

"Let's see,” He mused aloud. "I was at the cafe with Motoki and Reika. I remember leaving and then...screaming." his eyes widened as he began to remember. He had run back inside and seen a monster attacking his friends! Then the Sailor Senshi had come and-

"Nothing.” He breathed. His mind was a blank from then. He couldn't remember what had happened. Mamoru looked down at his bandaged shoulder in worry. He must have been wounded somehow by the creature and somehow gotten home. Mamoru turned to look at the phone, there was only one way to find out what happened. Shakily he dialled out the number and waited.

"Hello?" Motoki's voice said on the other end, sounding weary.

"Motoki, it's-"

"Mamoru!" Motoki almost shouted. He sounded relieved and angry. "Where have you been? Reika and I were worried sick."

Mamoru smiled slightly at his friend's tone. "I'm home.” He paused, running a hand through his dark hair.

"How did you get there. Why did you just leave...are you okay?" Motoki's voice rushed from question to question anxiously.

The upperclassman chuckled. Then his eyes fell on his shoulder and he abruptly sobered. "I'm fine. I don't really remember how I got home.” He admitted.

There was a long silence on the other end. Motoki sighed, sounding confused. "Maybe the Sailor Senshi-” He trailed off suggestively.

Mamoru suddenly felt an enormous relief. The Sailor Senshi, yes, they must have brought him home! His mind immediately baulked at that idea though he never said anything to Motoki. "Yeah, that must be it.” He said quietly.

A few minutes later, he hung up the phone. The apartment was eerily silent and Mamoru felt cold to the bone. It just made no sense to him. And what was worse, he had had these black outs in memory before. It would have been so easy to just say the Sailor Senshi had brought him home unconscious...

But how would they have even known who he was. Let alone where he lived?

The air swirled, alive. It pulsed with multi-colours, dazzling to the eye. A breathtaking view for any to see. The only who could, however, had seen it for so long that she barely acknowledged it any more. A beauty that was accepted merely for itself. Sailor Pluto watched the swirling vortex with an expressionless face. She stood before the Time Gate, red eyes constantly seeking. It was her duty. As the Guardian of Time.

"So pensive, Pluto," a quiet voice said. The green-haired beauty never turned her face. The figure that had addressed her stepped through a Portal, materialising. "You always were too serious.” The person went on.

Sailor Pluto nodded slightly, finally acknowledging. "Is that not what is required?” She murmured. Her eyes sought something far into the Time Vortex. Things that no one else could see.

"Seriousness perhaps, but not entirely lacking in emotion.” The figure smiled gently.

"Is that what you think?" Sailor Pluto laughed lightly. She turned, hand resting lightly on her staff. The Garnet Orb glinted with an eerie red light. Pluto's eyes sought out the figure, looking for something.

"Are you well?" she asked the figure.

Slender fingers reached out to touch Sailor Pluto's face, but passed right through them. Pluto flinched slightly, but her slight smile never faded.

"I am well, Pluto. Do not worry for me, old friend." the figure laughed, a musical sound.

Sailor Pluto bowed her head for a moment, hiding the sadness deep within her eyes.

"How fares time?" The figure went on, voice filled with many indefinable emotions.

Sailor Pluto raised her head, turning back towards the swirling Vortex that was the Gate of Time. "Everything is exactly as it should be. I've been doing this for too long for anything to go wrong."

"Too long Pluto,” The figure said sadly. "Are you weary?"

"It is my duty," Pluto replied. Her eyes never wavered from the Vortex. "I have never regretted it."

"Never? Not even when you knew-” The figure broke off, falling silent.

Pluto turned, a soft smile on her face. "I knew that better things would come. More peaceful times. All destruction that I have ever witnessed in all of time has been for a reason," Pluto sighed, passing a hand over her red eyes momentarily. "I know that all the Millennia of silence will bear fruit."

The figure nodded. "Soon."

The day was calm. A bright blue sky and a shinning sun overhead made the mood perfect for the four girls. They were walking through the park, talking. It was a Saturday and Usagi was glad to be spending the day with her friends, instead of having to clean her room. With a strange insight, she realised that if she cleaned her room late on Friday, there would be nothing to hold her back on the weekend. Not even chores.

Makoto folded her arms behind her head, green eyes gleaming. "Can you believe what a perfect day this is?” She asked the others happily.

Ami shook her head, smiling. "It is a great day,” She looked upwards. "Really bright too."

"Mmm, good for the flowers" Usagi agreed enthusiastically. Her eyes alighted on all of the flowers surrounding them. They were walking through the multi- coloured flowerbeds. They were in full bloom. With tones of red, yellows, blues and pinks. "You guys, can we go to the rose gardens?” She asked suddenly.

Rei smiled, eyes lightening with excitement.

"Yeah, it hear they're really beautiful this year.” The raven-haired girl said eagerly.

"Lets go then!" Makoto led the way down the path.

They came to a hedge, which separated the flower gardens from the roses. Before them was a large courtyard, familiarly known as the rose gardens. Collage students had made it about a year ago.

Usagi's eyes lit up as she gazed at them all, her feet automatically taking her towards her favourite part. She found herself wandering away from the others, down a path. She reached the roses and smiled. The red ones were her favourite, without a doubt. They always reminded her of Tuxedo Kamen.

"Red is for passion.” She murmured. She'd heard it somewhere. Her fingers reached out to touch one. It's petals felt soft under her fingers. Her blue eyes were dreamy as she stroked them. An abrupt pain bit into her fingers and she jerked them away.

"Ow,” She muttered, staring down at her index finger. It had been pricked by a thorn and was bleeding lightly. Her eyes stared at the blood, for a moment as if mesmerised. It was so red, so pure and warm-

"You can't be left alone for a second can you, Odango Atama?" an annoying voice said.

Usagi's head jerked up. Mamoru stood a few feet away, looking at her. Her blue eyes narrowed in annoyance.

"What do you want?” She snapped.

Mamoru's eyes gleamed, their blue seeming to deepen. "So rude,” He murmured, a smile in his voice. He turned away, staring at the roses near him. "You really should learn to read."

The blonde girl was confused and angry. "What?” She demanded.

He grinned at her, pointing to a sign.

Usagi looked and a flush started on her face. A 'don't touch the roses' sign was stuck in plain view. "I didn't see it.” She told him coolly.


"Huh!” She turned her back on him, looking at the roses. They really were beautiful, gleaming red with moisture. She stuck her finger into her mouth absently. A flash of white came into her vision and she glanced down in surprise to see a handkerchief being thrust at her.

"Don't suck on it," Mamoru advised. "They put stuff on the roses to make them grow better."

Usagi snatched the white cloth from him. "I knew that.” She grumbled. It stung her finger, but she wrapped it carefully. Her eyes glanced at Mamoru sideways, noting he was ignoring her. Then, her eyes went again to the roses.

"They're beautiful, aren't they?” He said quietly, sincerely.

She started slightly. "Yes,” She admitted. "They are."

There was a short silence and she realised that perhaps that had been the first thing they had ever said to each other that was a normal conversation. She hadn't liked it. She didn't like him! And he was invading her privacy.

"Why don't you go look somewhere else?” She snapped at him, unreasonably angry.

Mamoru turned his head to look at her in amusement. "Why don't you Odango Atama."

"It's Usagi, you big zero,” She shouted, taking a step towards him. He turned fully to face her, arms crossing. "Say it."

"Odango Atama.” He said calmly. Usagi felt her face go red.

"Ooooh! I don't know why I bother talking to you!"

"Then don't.” He advised calmly.

He smiled and she felt her heart contract suddenly. It was unexpected and left her feeling stunned. She turned her face away, swallowing. Then Usagi whirled away abruptly. "Fine, then I'll leave.” She announced haughtily.

Suddenly a large explosion rocked the area. Usagi staggered. The ground shook violently and she went flying. She hit something hard and warm and tumbled over. Shaking the hair from her eyes, she realised her nose was pressed into a green jacket. Mamoru's.

"What's going on?” She shouted. The ground continued to shake for a moment and then all went still. Usagi's fingers clung to Mamoru's jacket as they lay on the ground. She went to move and his fingers tightened on her waist. She stiffened as she realised exactly where she was.

"Wait a minute," Mamoru said in her ear. "The earthquake might start again."

Usagi lay there silent for a long moment, both of them waiting. Slowly, she became aware that she was pressed close against Mamoru, his body half-covering hers. Her face was pressed into his shoulder and she could feel his breath stirring the hair of her fringe.

"Okay, I think it's safe." Mamoru said.

She nodded shakily. It had been a bad earthquake. Mamoru sat up and she moved away. She couldn't look at him and her hands were shaking slightly. She bit her lip and stood. Usagi was shaken not only by the quake. She knew it had been Mamoru's presence. But she didn't even like him!

"You okay, Odango Atama?” He asked her quietly.

Usagi was suddenly angry at the confusion she felt. She glared at him.

"Don't call me that! I'm fine.” She shouted, storming away. She strangely felt-knowing somehow-that Mamoru’s eyes were on her the whole way. Until she disappeared around a hedge and from his sight. Usagi slumped against a hedge, closing her eyes. What had happened just then? When she’d fallen against Mamoru, her body had felt so...alive. Like it’d been filled with an electricity. Her heart had pounded, her hands shaking.

“All because I touched him?” She muttered disbelievingly. Her eyes narrowed for a moment. The other night too, at the Arcade. When she had reached for her bag and their fingers touched-

There you are, Odango Atama!” Rei snapped.

Usagi opened her eyes to see her friends coming around a hedge. Rei looked particularly annoyed. The raven-haired girl opened her mouth, but Usagi dove in quickly. “That jerk you call a boyfriend is here.” She said rather darkly, rubbing her fore-finger and thumb together unconsciously. There was an itch there, a tingling.

Immediately, Rei’s face lightened into a pleased smile. “Mamoru? Here’s here?” She exclaimed in delight.

The girls watched in amusement as Rei smoothed down her hair carefully. She turned to Makoto expectantly. “How do I look?”

“Good enough for Mamoru to eat.” Makoto teased.

Rei smiled and dashed off. She turned at the last minute to call back to them. “I’ll see you later at the Arcade.”

“Sure. Bye!” Makoto shouted.

Usagi was silent. She watched as Rei disappeared, frowning. What did Rei see in him?! Usagi crossed her arms, glaring at a bush of yellow roses. Okay...he has beautiful black hair and his eyes were absolutely gorgeous. “But he’s Mamoru! And he’s a jerk.” She shouted aloud.

Makoto giggled and Usagi realised she had talked out loud. She turned beet red.

“You really have a thing about Mamoru, don’t you girl?” Makoto commented. “I don’t understand how you two hate each other so much.”

“Quite easily,” Usagi said normally, anger fading. What did she care anyway? Her day was too nice to be thinking about Mamoru! “How ‘bout we go get some ice cream guys?”

Makoto grinned and even Ami smiled.

“Sounds like a plan.” Ami murmured.

The day was bright and sunny, a few clouds in the sky. Usagi contemplated them wistfully from her desk by the window. It really was too much a good day to be inside, she complained to herself silently. However-she glanced over at Miss Haruna, who was facing the board and writing math on it. One of Usagi least loved classes. Math, yuck.

“Who needs it anyway?” She muttered. Usagi put her arms on the table and crossed them, resting her chin on her arms tiredly. She was so sleepy. Why did they have to start School so early in the morning anyway?

“Usagi!” Naru hissed warningly.

Usagi jerked her closing eyes open quickly, in time for Miss Haruna to shoot her a warning look. The blonde keep her eyes innocent until the teacher had turned back to the wall. Usagi then turned to face Naru, smiling her thanks. “Thanks Naru. I guess I should watch her more carefully.” Usagi commented.

“You need to stay awake you mean.” Makoto said teasingly from behind.

Usagi turned to face her friend, watching as the brunette stretched tiredly. Having to be a Senshi at night was not always a plus. Okay, you kept fit-but you barely got any sleep. Usagi frowned, turning back to rest her head on her arms again. There was also a certain annoyingly smug Moon cat, who never let Sailor Moon forget she had to be this great Warrior in order to serve the Moon Princess better. Who was she anyway and just exactly how were they meant to find her?

“Why can’t she just find us? It’s not like we don’t fight the Dark Kingdom so much that the Senshi aren’t easy to find. The battles make heaps of noise and all-” Usagi mumbled, yawning. She yawned again.

“Usagi, what Miss H.” Naru warned her. Her friend’s voice seemed to come from far off.

“Uh huh” The blonde muttered. Everything seemed to drift and she was so tired-

Tsukino Usagi!” a voice bellowed in Usagi’s ear. Usagi shot up so fast she almost bashed her head on Miss Haruna’s chin. “What have I told you about sleeping in my classes?” The teacher continued to shout, despite the fact that Usagi was now wide awake.

“I wasn’t sleeping.” Usagi protested automatically. She heard Makoto and Naru groan and realised how lame an excuse that had been. Miss H thought so too, from the glare she was giving, Usagi though in dismay.

“Oh really?” Miss Haruna said sweetly. “Then you won’t mind giving me the answer...will you?”

The girl stared at her in worry, a fine sweat breaking out on her forehead. The teacher had her there. Usagi bit her lip. If she didn’t say something then she’d get detention and Luna would kill her! “Uh...” She muttered.

Miss Haruna crossed her arms smugly, ready to order Usagi out of the classroom. A favourite punishment of the red-haired woman was standing outside with a pale of water of your head.

Usagi rubbed at her head absently, remembering the last time that had happened. The blonde glanced around, trying to get help. Naru was mouthing something frantically, but unfortunately, Usagi couldn’t lip-read.

“Well?” Miss Haruna demanded impatiently. The teacher rubbed a hand through her hair, rolling her eyes skyward. Both she and Usagi knew that she was stalling and didn’t know the answer.

Usagi gnawed more frantically on her lower lip, mind seeking frantically for something to distract Miss Haruna.

“54 Usagi. 54.” Ami’s voice came clearly to Usagi, who glanced over at her, wide-eyed. Ami stared back, blue eyes full of resignation. She met Usagi’s gaze and shrugged to say that she couldn’t help her. But Ami had just told her the answer.

Usagi glanced at the teacher, knowing she would have heard Ami say 54 also and punish them both. Amazingly, Miss Haruna had not even glanced Ami’s way. Usagi swallowed her astonishment.

“54?” She blurted tentatively.

Miss Haruna’s jaw dropped.

There was a dead silence in the class.

Usagi glanced over at Ami to say a silent thanks, but saw an equal look of shock on the blue-haired girl’s face. What was going on? Usagi glanced around uncertainly.

How did you get that-? It’s the right answer.” Miss Haruna said suspiciously. She glanced around, but saw nothing that could have given Usagi the answer when she had clearly been asleep during the question. Snoring even!

Usagi straightened proudly. “I told you. I was awake.” The blonde announced.

Miss H rubbed a hand over her eyes wearily, walking back to her desk. Usagi clearly heard her mutter under her breath. “But Usagi would have known that answer even if she had been awake. She doesn’t study! Arrggggh! I need a stiff drink.”

Usagi’s eyes widened. She looked at the teacher and giggled. Strangely, no one else had seemed to hear Miss Haruna’s talking. A hand slapped her lightly on the shoulder. Usagi turned her head to meet Makoto’s mirthful eyes.

“Okay, spill the beans Usagi. How’d you get the answer?” The brunette demanded.

Usagi shrugged lightly, not understanding herself. Surely someone else had heard Ami say the answer? But the girl was three rows across. “Luck I guess.” Usagi murmured, unblinkingly.

The long slender fingers clenched around the handles, resting against the clutch. Mamoru sat on his motorbike and watched the blonde coming fast down the sidewalk. Like clockwork, he mused. Usagi was always late, that he had noticed-but still, she passed this place about the same time each day. If she got up a little earlier she’d be at School on time. Mamoru frowned darkly when he realised what he was thinking.

“I don’t care if she’s late or not!” He growled. Usagi past him just then, dashing past people expertly. She’d been doing it for a long time, Mamoru supposed. He waited, but she never tripped once.

His eyes widened in amazement as she disappeared around the corner swiftly. She hadn’t tripped once, was it possible that Usagi was somehow graceful when running?

“Or maybe-and more likely-she’s so scared that she’s late that she forgets to think entirely.” Mamoru grinned at the idea. That sounded more like the Odango Atama! Before he thought, he’d kicked the stand up and started his bike to follow her. Truth be told, he’d gotten up and waited for her to come past. Mamoru frowned darkly. He couldn’t understand it. He hated the girl, but something had drawn him here this morning. It was only after he had stopped his bike in wait for her to pass that he realised he knew her pattern so well. When had that happened?

Mamoru cruised slowly along the road, gradually catching up to the whirlwind that was Usagi Tsukino. He was glad that even if she had noticed him, his helmet hid his true identity from her eyes. Usagi never turned her head though and Mamoru followed her all the way to Juuban Middle School.

The blonde dashed through the gates, disappearing from Mamoru’s sight all together. He parked his bike slowly and got off. The wind brushed lightly through his hair, but he ignored it, thinking hard. Why was he here in the first place? “I don’t like her, so what is it?” Mamoru murmured. He was genuinely confused.

He knew though, that what had started all this-what had changed-had been the other night. The Odango Atama had been late home and come to the Arcade when he was studying. Their fingers had brushed and he had felt something. It wasn’t enough to disturb him though. It was really the incident at The Rose gardens that had nagged in his mind. The way he hadn’t wanted her to move away from him. The strange electricity that had flowed through him-and he knew she had felt it too by the way she had jerked away.

This was Usagi though! The Odango Atama'd klutz that was way too young for him.

“Woah! Wait a second Chiba, where did that come from?” He demanded out loud. A man passing gave him a strange look and Mamoru glared back. “What? A man can’t think out loud?” He said coolly. The man quickly scuttled away. Mamoru suddenly calmed. She wasn’t worth the grief.

The dark-haired guy looked towards the School. What the heck was he doing here anyway? He was about to walk away, but a flash of blonde hair caught his eyes. He walked closer, staring through the gate at the School building. It was Usagi, sitting at the window. Her head was resting on her arms, her face tilted towards the sunlight.

Mamoru unconsciously drew in her features. She really was a pretty thing, he thought.

“Okkkkay! That’s it. I’m going to be late anyway, so backup there Chiba.” He muttered, horrified at his thoughts. The Odango Atama...pretty? Mamoru hopped back onto his bike lithely, pulling away from the curb. Maybe Motoki and Reika were right. He really did need a girlfriend if he was thinking fourteen year olds were good-looking!

Mamoru pulled into Juuban Collage car park ten minutes later. He parked the bike, collected his books and headed inside. A few people passed him in the hall, even fewer greeting him. Mamoru was a quiet person and had made some friends, but not many. Mostly girls, who were attracted to him for his good- looks, Motoki had teased frequently. Mamoru grimaced. It only strengthened the red-head’s resolve to get Mamoru hooked up with some girl. It just wasn’t Mamoru’s thing-

“Hey, Mamoru. In here!” Rick shouted.

Mamoru blinked, coming out of his thoughts. He realised he was outside the music room and that his friend Rick was hailing him from within. He went in quickly, eager to take his mind of girls and a particular annoying blonde. A girl, Sally Bergman was playing at the piano in the corner. A piece that Mamoru recognized as ‘Moonlight Sonata’. It was one of his favourites. He winced as she hit a wrong note.

“So, how have you been, Mamoru?” Rick asked eagerly.

Mamoru had a few classes with the guy. They’d become quick friends, though Rick hadn’t made many others. He was a shy, brown-haired guy. A bit on the lanky side. Definitely not football material, Rick had said once jokingly. But he was a nice guy and Mamoru was glad to see him.

“Good. How about you though?” Darin said with concern. “Is that cold totally gone?”

Rick smiled and waved a hand negligently around. He’d had a bad cold for weeks and had to stay in bed. “I’m fine. It’s all gone...Are you all right, Mamoru?” He trailed off as Mamoru winced again.

Mamoru glanced over to where Sally was playing, her hands gliding gracefully over the keys. The girl had been playing for years. A regular genius. So why was she playing so many wrong notes?

“Mamoru?” Rick urged, a puzzled look on his face.

The dark-haired man grimaced as Sally made two more mistakes on the music. He turned and backed towards the door, Rick following. “Yeah,” Mamoru muttered. They reached the door and Mamoru paused, glancing back at the blonde girl at the piano. She finished the song and was glaring at him slightly, almost accusingly. “Look I’ll see you around, okay?”

“Yeah, sure” Rick murmured.

Mamoru and left. As he did, heard Sally and Rick talking.

“What was with him?” She demanded. “He acted like my music stank.”

“I don’t know, he kept wincing though.”

“But I only played eight mistakes! He couldn’t have heard them” There was a snigger from her. “We all know how tone-deaf Mamoru Chiba is! Remember when Mrs. Wilson ordered him to take music classes as a relaxation course?”

“Oh yeah...I remember that one all right.” Rick laughed in amusement.

Mamoru leaned on the wall, a few meters from the room. How he was still hearing them so clearly, was beyond him. But the fact that he was, was troubling enough that he had stopped in the middle of the hall. Students passed around him, glancing at his face as if trying to see what he was doing.

Mamoru supposed he looked rather weird, laying against the wall and clutching his books to his chest. He felt as if the wind had been knocked out of him. His heart was thundering in his ears, though he continued to hear Sally and Rick clearly.

“When did Mamoru become such a music expert?” Sally demanded.

“Maybe he was just being a snob?” Rick suggested, laughing rudely.

Mamoru’s eyes widened. Had Rick, quiet Rick said that?

“He doesn’t need any lessons in that!” Sally sniggered, beginning her playing again.

Mamoru could hear all the deliberately wrong notes she made as if to mock his absence. Mamoru had head enough. He stood up straight and stalked down the hall. Apparently, not everyone who pretended to be his friend-was.

Chapter Four

“Waaaaaah! Makoto slow down!” Usagi wailed in the brunette’s ear.

Makoto winced, but didn’t slow down. She was dragging Usagi forcefully to the other side of the School, outside the art building, where their scores for their recent Math test were posted.

Ami came up behind them, valiantly trying to keep up with Makoto’s long legs-and avoid Usagi’s long flailing streamers of blonde hair.

Some other kids laughed as they watched the three pass.

The Senshi of Mercury blushed redly in embarrassment. Really, sometimes, Makoto and Usagi were too much!

Makootooo. I don’t wanna see!” Usagi shouted as they reached the art building.

Makoto stopped abruptly, Usagi and Ami almost bashing into her back. The brunette grunted with disappointment. “Looks as if you get your wish Usagi.” She commented.

The blonde girl glanced around her and saw that the area around the wall was crowded. Okay, so all the students scores were posted here from the whole school. “We could...come later?” The blonde said hopefully. Both Ami and Makoto grabbed her arms before she could sneak away. Usagi found herself dragged to the back of the crowd, while Ami tried to squint at the board.

“Ami, can you see what it says? The writing's too small for me.” Makoto asked her friend.

Ami got on her tippy-toes and squinted also. She had good eyes but there the crowd of students was at least 8 people deep in front of them. She could make out anything. “No, unfortunately, I can’t. Though my eyes are perfectly 20/20-” Ami began.

Makoto rolled her eyes.

Usagi scowled at the board. She glared at it hard, her eyes automatically seeking out Ami’s score first. As usual, she sighed, the blue-haired genius had come 100%. “Congratulations Ames! You came first-not that I didn’t think you would.” Usagi said eagerly to her friend.

Ami and Makoto stared at her, then as one, they turned to the board. Then they looked back at her.

“What are you talking about, Usagi. You can’t know that.” Makoto scoffed.

The blonde glared at her indignantly. Then glance at the board.

Makoto was taken aback as the blonde smirked openly at her.

“Naughty, naughty Makoto,” Usagi said teasingly, wagging a finger before Makoto’s face. “Someone didn’t stuuuuuudy. Miss 42%!”

“Whaaaa?” Makoto demanded. Her green eyes glared angrily at the board, though she still could not make out where her score was. “No way! I did study.”

“Usagi,” Ami chided. “Don’t joke with Makoto that way.”

Usagi stared at them both. “I’m not.” She protested. “You have nothing to worry about Makoto, anyway. I only got a 22%.”

Again, Ami and Makoto stared at her. They glanced at each other.

“Nah,” The Senshi of Jupiter muttered, shaking her head.

Usagi looked at the floor, eyes filling slightly. Why didn’t they believe her? What was wrong with them. She glanced up at the board again and saw the answers clearly. Was it possible that Makoto and Ami really could see the board? They seemed like they were telling the truth and why would they lie-it wasn’t like them to tease her. Her Senshi friends were the first close and real friends she had ever had. Other than Naru of course, but it wasn’t like she could discuss Senshi business with the red-haired girl.

Usagi felt a gentle hand on her back and looked up to see Makoto’s compassionate eyes.

“It’s okay, Usagi. I believe you,” The girl looked angry at herself that she had upset Usagi. “I just never knew your eyes were so good.”

“Maybe it has something to do with being a Senshi?” Usagi suggested tentatively, as they headed for the Netball courts. The two girls flanked her, keeping close as they thought about the possibility. Usagi personally wondered where she had even gotten the question from. Since when had she turned into an Ami?

The blonde giggled under her breath. There had to be an explanation for this.

“If there’s an explanation for this, I’d like to hear it!” Mamoru muttered under his breath. He stood under the high wall of Juuban High...for the second time that day. And truth be told, he hadn’t the foggiest idea what he was doing there! He looked around carefully, not seeing anyone. Mamoru had deliberately chosen the side of the School that was near an oval. Not near the street. That way, less people could see him.

“I mean, come on! How many average, normal Collage students in Tokyo do you see trying to sneak into a Juuban Middle School?” The dark-haired man shouted. Immediately, he realized how loud he has said it and looked around huntingly.

“Stealth Tuxie. Remember?” He growled to himself. He took a step back and leapt upwards, hands grasping for the top of the wall. When he pulled himself up easily, he blinked in surprise. Since when had he been so fit, anyway? Mamoru crouched on the edge of the wall and realized he was right near the Netball Courts. At that moment, they were almost empty. Except for a teacher, setting up. Mamoru saw a tree near the inside of the wall, close to the courts and made his way swiftly towards it. The teacher never looked over and he made it to the tree. He frowned as he climbed up the branches.

What was he doing?

Since when did he feel the urge to ditch classes to watch an annoying blonde, anyway. Was he going crazy?! He really didn’t know.

The sooner he found out what drew him to Usagi like a moth to a flame, the safer his sanity would be! Mamoru quickly settled into the branches and waited. He didn’t know what for-but still-he felt drawn. All there was left, was to wait. And he didn’t have to wait too long. Moment’s later a class of giggling girls emerged, along with a familiar set of blonde meatball’s.

Mamoru found himself really looking at her, puzzled by the way his heart almost jumped out of his chest when he saw her. His blood was racing. His blue eyes swept over her long hair, the delicate line of her neck and her slender body. Finally, he settled on her face. The frown on his face intensified. The face was the same as always. The same annoying-though pretty, he had to admit-face that he saw all the time.

His eyes swept over her body again, nose involuntarily twitching. He could almost...smell her. Her scent like flowers and the sunlight, but also the night. Mamoru looked down at his clenched hands, a vein throbbing in his forehead.

“What is happening to me?” He whispered.

“It’s possible, I suppose.” Ami said doubtfully, thinking hard.

Makoto and Usagi waited patiently. They let the blue-haired genius think all the time they were changing into their gym clothes.

As they went outside, Ami finally spoke. She drew the three of them off to the side, as the game was set up. “I think that perhaps it is a definite possibility, you two. Perhaps Usagi, having been Sailor Moon for much longer than the rest of us has developed more acute hearing abilities. We have after all, entirely different powers from each other according to our Planets and distance from the sun.”

Makoto and Usagi’s eyes had glazed over during this discussion. Makoto was first to recover, while Usagi stared silently up at the sun. Was that the reason for their powers? But Jupiter was more powerful than Mercury and Mercury was closest to the sun. Not that there was a Sailor Earth...maybe she would have been the more powerful of them all?

Was this girl maybe the Princess?

Usagi frowned, thinking hard. Hadn’t Luna said this Princess was of the Moon? Now, what was Ami saying. Ah, that the good sight was because of her being Sailor Moon!

“Right.” Makoto looked pleased that they had found an answer.

Usagi was even more pleased than her friends. She’d really began to worry -Usagi suddenly stiffened, every nerve in her body coming to life. Her skin began to tingle, her heart racing and it thundered in her ears. Her blue eyes looked around sharply, seeking...something-A scent was suddenly apparent to her. She raised her face, half-closing her eyes. It was almost like a scent of the night air, warm and inviting-

“Oh no, this isn’t happening!” a voice wailed.

Usagi’s concentration was abruptly broken. She looked around, but no one was near enough to her and Makoto and Ami to have sounded that close.

“What did I do to anger Miss G anyhow? I have to have that-that ditz on my team?”

The small girl finally recognized Sarah Mckellar’s voice. She stared, eyes turning slowly in the direction of the girl...who was right across the other side of the court. Usagi slowly blanched white as she realized how far away the girl was.

“Usagi, you okay, girl?” Makoto asked worried. Both her and Ami had noticed her sudden lack of color.

Usagi knew her hands were shaking. She sat down abruptly, on the edge of the courts. Makoto knelt beside her in concern while Ami checked her pulse.

“It’s a little slow.” The blue-haired girl said doubtfully.

“Look at that, she fell over!” Kelly sneered from next to Sarah.

The Senshi of the Moon looked across the courts reluctantly to see both pairs of eyes staring at her scornfully. Sarah waved mockingly, not realizing that Usagi could actually hear them. The blonde’s eyes filled with tears as she stared at them.

“What a baby! We're, like, doomed.” Kelly went on.

Both girls turned their backs on Usagi, who was suddenly as furious as she was upset. She was trying! She was! But even Luna didn’t realize that. Usagi gasped as a rage hit her, but it didn’t entirely feel like her own anger. Was it?

“I don’t see why Miss G wants her to do Netball anyway, she’s so uncoordinated.” Sarah bewailed. She looked down at her nails and gave a little scream. “I broke a nail!”

“Oh no,” Kelly looked down at the nail sympathetically. “How are you going to go on that date with Brett now?”

“I’ll-have to get a fake one.” Sarah said swiftly.

Usagi stared across at them, eyes burning. She could feel her tears slowly making their way down her check. She was so confused. A burning was in her chest and it was almost as if she could sense her anger being echoed-somehow. A whistle suddenly blew, signifying the start of the game. Sarah and Kelly turned back.

Sarah sighed, glancing again across at Usagi. “Maybe we can swap her or something? Brigit likes the klutz better anyway.”

Usagi’s mouth trembled. She couldn’t take any more! With a cry of anger and shame, the blonde jumped to her feet and ran away. She didn’t know where she was going, but anywhere away from there would be heaven!

How could those girls be so mean? One minute abusing Usagi, the next talking about a date-and fingernails? Mamoru was filled at disgust. His blue eyes darkened in rage, hands clenching at his sides.

Usagi suddenly bolted to her feet, blue eyes glaring like blue beams of fury and tears. Before her friends could do anything, the blonde had raced off the courts and disappeared around the corner of the building. Mamoru hesitated. His fingers tightened on the tree branch, till the blood circulation was almost cut off.

“Those bitches,” He snarled, eyes burning with fury. If looks could kill, the Sarah and Kelly would be nothing but ashes right then. Usagi too, looked as if she had been warring between fighting them or crying.. As Mamoru slipped down the tree to the ground, he knew in his heart that the small blonde was probably crying her heart out right now. He didn’t like Usagi, but he’d be damned if she was going to be alone in this!

Mamoru strode around the edge of the School Gate, then slipped inside. He immediately looked of a sign of blonde hair, but could see nothing. He searched for a while, not daring to actually go inside the School. How he was going to explain what a Collage student was doing on Middle school grounds was not something the upperclassman wanted to do.

After ten minutes, he finally gave up, returning reluctantly to his motorbike in the street. Usagi had completely disappeared.

A tingling feeling invaded his body for a moment, familiar and warm. Then it was gone, leaving Mamoru wondering what it could have been. He almost felt a loss, when it was over. It had been a feeling of intense joy. He hesitated for a long moment, before putting on his helmet. It might have just been his imagination, but Usagi had seemed to almost...sense him. Her eyes had closed and her face turned towards him. Then those girl had started to talk.

Mamoru started the motorbike, revving it wildly. Then he took of down the street, mind in chaos.

Usagi ran blindly, only seeking to get away from the horrible words. What was worse, they were true! She was a klutz and she knew it. But people didn’t have to constantly throw it into her face. Even Luna.

'When will you ever grow up and be responsible Usagi. One day you’ll be the Protector of the Moon Princess. Her life will be in your hands!'

Usagi skidded to a stop as she remembered what Luna had once said to her. It was true, she needed to be more responsible. But right now she needed to feel loved, to feel wanted-to feel free! The blue eyes widened. When was the one time she felt truly free? Usagi raced out of the School and up the back staircase to the top courts. They were deserted, as always.

After only a slight hesitation, she reached for her Moon Broach. Holding it above her head, she felt the tears slipping down her cheeks slowly.

“Moon Prism Power, Makeup!” She shouted. Usagi felt the power envelope her, surging through her veins even as the ribbons surged along her limbs and formed her Sailor suit. With a last burst of intense joy, she threw her arms out, welcoming the cool feel of the golden tiara forming on her forehead. Then the power died out and Sailor Moon stood there, the tears dried on her pale skin. But still, the joy and freedom she had felt in the transformation remained.

Sailor Moon sighed, then leapt onto the fence around the edge of the courts. The ground was far below her, but she had no fear of the heights. She had no doubt she would heal, as always, if she should fall. Tuxedo Mask was always there to rescue her anyway. Sailor Moon’s eyes glazed slightly as she thought of the handsome guy-not that she had ever seen his face, she frowned. Only his eyes, his wonderful deep blue eyes. The eyes that always seemed so familiar to her.

A movement caught her eyes and she glanced down to see a tall figure moving in the shadows to the School building. A guy, from the way he moved. But oh, so graceful. Sailor Moon watched intently, wondering if he were a threat. But the guy seemed to be seeking someone, not lying in wait for a girl. If that had been so, then the man below would have seen Sailor Moon’s fury. She looked with startled eyes as the man emerged into the sunlight, walking slowly towards the back wall. He was familiar. That dark hair, the familiar black turtle-neck sweater. Mamoru!

“What? Mamoru?” Sailor Moon murmured. What on Earth was he doing in her School? She watched, infinitely more interested and rather annoyed. He made his way to the back wall and jumped up, hands grasping at the top. She saw as he leapt gracefully down the other side and walk along the path. Her vantage was great from the courts, she could see him the whole way as he walked smoothly, with an almost animal grace to the car park. His tall body was really perfect, she thought as she watched him. Her head would rest right below his chin-

Mamoru stopped at a motorbike and pulled out a set of keys, drawing her attention back from her dreamy state.

“I didn’t know he had a motorbike...” Sailor Moon exclaimed, somehow thrilled. The jerk suddenly didn’t seem so stodgy. “But still a jerk.” She added.

The blonde watched how the sunlight shone on his dark hair and brought out the blue highlights. Somehow, she could even see his slender fingers as they tightened on his helmet. He was angry about something. Sailor Moon’s eyes faltered on his back. Could it be that Mamoru had seen those girls taunting her? Had seen Usagi run away like a baby, crying. Sailor Moon clenched her gloved hands as she watched him put on his helmet and finally ride away. Her blue eyes were staring blankly into space, thoughtfully.

She finally moved, realizing she could be caught up there. How would she explain what Sailor Moon was doing in Juuban High? Sailor Moon de-transformed, her mind on Mamoru and what he had been doing in her School. Again, she was distracted by the memory of his graceful body...his hair.

Usagi shook her head, glaring at the wall in frustration as she made her way down the stairs to the ground. “I don’t care how beautiful his hair is! What was he doing here?”

The blue eyes looked upwards assessingly. Ami watched as Sailor Moon stood there, her long blonde hair trailing in the wind. She'd been worried when the blonde ran off and had followed her. Moments later, Sailor Moon leapt back down from the fence and disappeared from sight.

"Oh Usagi," Ami murmured, clutching her books to her chest tightly. "What is happening to you?"

The blue-haired girl stood there for a moment, ignoring the end-of-period bell that signaled everyone from gym class was to go back inside. Makoto would be waiting for her too. Ami started to walk back towards the Netball courts, her feet barely moving. Her mind was in turmoil. There was something terribly wrong with Usagi. Even the blonde had more sense than to transform where others might see her. And yet, Usagi had done so.

Makoto saw her and ran over, her pony-tail swaying wildly. She skidded to a stop a foot from Ami, green eyes worried. "Did you find Usagi? Was she okay?" Makoto demanded.

Ami nodded, reaching out for the brunette's arm. She pulled Makoto close, turning their backs on the rest of the gym class, who were moving inside to change back to their School clothes. "I found Sailor Moon." The Senshi of Mercury said significantly.

Makoto's eyes widened. "Sailor Moon. You mean Usagi transformed?" The brunette lowered her voice even more, till she was almost hissing into Ami ear with urgency. "Was there a Monster? Zoisite? Why didn't she call us?"

"Calm down Makoto," Ami said, soberly. "There was no Negaverse activity in the vicinity at all. Usagi just...transformed."

"Just...Transformed?" The brunette echoed, confused.

"The bell meant for all the students to get inside and change before next class, Miss Kino!" The Gym Teacher bellowed from across the courts.

Ami and Makoto started nervously, turning to face the Teacher. Miss G-Short for Gertrude-was collecting the stray Netball's from around the court. Makoto waved, then dragged Ami towards the School building.

"I really don't like her attitude," Makoto almost snarled, green eyes glaring at the ground. "Notice how she said Miss Kino. Not Miss Mizuno."

"She didn't mean anything by it, Makoto." The blue-haired girl soothed.

Makoto nodded in understanding, a lopsided grin forming on her lips.

"Oh, of course not Ames," She said sarcastically. "Who do you think started the rumor of 'the karate maniac? The Teachers of course."

"I think you're over-reacting Makoto." The bookworm noted as they entered the School.

Makoto snorted. The two passed through the girl's change room door and into the room. The room fell slightly silent as the girls saw the brunette's thunderous face. Makoto suddenly grinned wickedly. She turned towards a small girl, tying her shoes.

"You...come here." Makoto ordered.

The girl looked terrified. She started up from her bench, clutching one shoe to her chest. "M-me?" Sarah squeaked. She looked around to see if there was anyone behind her and saw with horror that Makoto had meant her.

"Yeah you, Sarah." Makoto beckoned, throwing a 'I told you' look at Ami.

Sarah approached cautiously, her eyes wild. "Y-yes, Makoto?" She stammered.

The Senshi of Jupiter smiled. "You're in my math class right. I seemed to have forgotten what was for homework."

"Oh!” The girl looked relieved. "It was chapters 5-6 in the algebra part."

"Great, thanks." Makoto said warmly.

Sarah backed away uncertainly, then hurried from the room.

Makoto and Ami looked around and saw that practically the entire room had watched the exchange with baited breath. One looked form Makoto's green eyes, had them all turning away hastily.

"You see?" Makoto said sarcastically.

Ami nodded. She really hadn't thought the problem that big.

The two girls got back into their School clothes and walked from the room. Students were rushing in all directions to get to class, ignoring the two slowly walking girls.

"About Usagi..." Ami began again.

"Hey guys." The object of their discussion abruptly appeared, coming from the left. The blonde's face was strained, slight evidence of tears visible in her red-rimmed eyes.

"You okay, Usagi?" Makoto asked quickly.

The blonde gave them both a look that said she had no idea what they were talking about. Her blue eyes seemed...glazed.

"Ready for the English test?" Ami cut in smoothly.

Usagi gave her a look of complete horror, all traces of unhappiness gone from her pretty face. "Test?!" She shrieked. "There’s a test? In English?"

"Yes, Usagi," Ami murmured in resignation. Did the girl never study? Sometimes Ami truly thought fate was playing a game with them. That this girl- terrible in every class-was the Leader of the Sailor Senshi. It was a miracle. Ami slapped a hand to her mouth in guilt.

"You okay, Ami?" Usagi asked doubtfully. She peered closely at the blue- haired girl.

Ami went even more red-faced under the scrutiny. "I'm fine, Usagi. Uh, I need to go wash my face." The Senshi of Mercury stammered, moving quickly away from them, in the direction of the girls toilets.

Makoto gave Ami's fleeing form a narrow-eyed look. She turned to the confused Usagi. "I'm going to check on her, you go to class, okay?"

"Er-right. Class." Usagi muttered. Her eyes were again panicked.

Makoto dashed after Ami, crashing through the toilet door. Three girls looked up, startled. The brunette gave them a look and they swiftly filed out the door, leaving Ami and Makoto alone.

Ami was bent over the sink at the far end, wiping her face with a wet cloth. She glanced at Makoto as the girl approached. "Why aren't you in class?" Ami asked neutrally.

Makoto glared. "Okay, what gives Ami? You've been acting as weirdly as Usagi!" Makoto accused.

The blue-haired girl looked startled. "Oh, I see." She sighed, leaning back against the sink. Ami turned and dropped the cloth into the waste-basket almost thoughtfully. "Oh Makoto! I was thinking horribly of Usagi." The blue-haired girl said in a guilt-stricken voice.

Makoto looked at her incredulously. "You?" She managed, staring at Ami. "Nah. You think the most of Usagi. You were her first friend out of all of we Senshi."

"It's true." Ami covered her face with her hands, shaking slightly.

The taller girl moved closer, laying a comforting arm about Ami's shoulders. "Tell Auntie Makoto what the problem is." Makoto urged.

Ami giggled, pulling her hands from her face.

"I don't know what it is Makoto. Usagi is acting so strange. I mean, she's never been the best leader. She klutzes out all the time. Tuxedo Mask always has to rescue her from Zoisite or a monster," Ami stared somberly at the wall, absently noting the cracks in the off-white paint. "And yet, when I think of her warm heart, her unselfish acts of kindness towards others. I know exactly why Luna chose her as Leader of the Senshi."

"I know what you mean," Makoto removed her arm and hitched her pony-tail up nervously. "But destiny, you know...It works in strange ways."

Ami turned her head to ask Makoto a question, when suddenly, their communicators beeped simultaneously. The two exchanged a glance. Ami reached into her bag, taking out the small communicator. The light for Mars was lit up red. Ami pressed the small button and Rei's face popped up onto the screen. The raven- haired girl looked...almost harried.

"Guys, about time!" Rei snapped, her purple eyes filled with worry. "Where were you?"

"What do you mean, Rei?" Ami asked, perplexed.

Rei ran a hand through her long dark hair in annoyance. She glanced around, seeing if she were alone. Her face moved closer to the screen. "I mean that I've been trying to contact you for about ten minutes now!" The Priestess-in- training snapped in irritation.

Ami and Makoto looked at each other and then back at Rei.

"This is the first time we've heard the communicator go off, Rei." Makoto offered.

Rei stared at them both, disbelieving. "That can't be. I've had my finger on the all-call button for ages!" She looked slightly ashamed. "Except for Usagi's, that is."

Makoto and Ami looked alert.

"Why not Usagi?" Ami asked calmly.

Rei looked down, her eyes hidden by her long lashes.

"I've been having weird vibes all day. In fact, since the battle the other day." She admitted to them. The screen abruptly flashed and the yellow sign for Luna came up.

Before Rei could say anything more, Luna's face came onto the screen. "What are you girls doing? This is not a phone-line! This is for Senshi emergencies only!" The cat snapped in irritation.

Ami coughed low, embarrassed that they had been caught.

"Luna! We weren't chatting." Rei came back on the screen, looking even angrier than the cat. "Something is seriously wrong with, Usagi!"

Luna looked startled as she came back on.

Ami discretely pressed a button so that the screen split. Now both Luna and Rei could been seen.

"I-I've noticed her strange behavior also," The cat admitted. "The other night, she woke up screaming."

"She ran off during Gym-class. When she came back, we could tell Usagi had been crying." Ami told them all.

Rei's eyes flashed for a moment with an indefinable emotion. "Crying?" She murmured, lips firming. "Who made her cry?" The question was so fierce that the other three were startled.

"We don't know..." Makoto scratched at her head, confused.

"What is more important are the strange changes." Ami cut in.

Rei and Luna stared at her inquiringly. "Her eyesight seems to have improved, her emotions seem more...Unstable. And from what Luna has said, she's not sleeping well either."

"This calls for a Senshi meeting." Rei ordered coolly.

They nodded.

Makoto looked suddenly chagrined. "How do we stop Usagi from finding out we're having a Senshi meeting without her?" The brunette asked.

Rei smirked. "Detention of course, Makoto. The ditz has it everyday. Right?"

"Yeah," Makoto rolled her green eyes. "She has it this afternoon."

"Then the meeting should be right after School today," Luna said calmly. "Rei, I'll meet you there when you get home. Makoto and Ami, get here as soon as you can after School."

The three Senshi nodded in determination. "Right!"

Ami suddenly looked horrified, her blue eyes wide. "Oh my god! The English test."

Makoto looked similarly horrified. "She's right!"

Makoto sank back, closing her eyes. "We're totalled!"

"Oh girls," Luna shook her head. "Whatever you do, don't forget this afternoon!" The cat pressed her paw to the communicator and disappeared.

Rei frowned. "Who does she think we are?" She muttered darkly, resenting Luna's words. "Usagi?"

Usagi walked out slowly from class, hair trailing on the ground. She bombed on the test. Been like a fish out of water!

"How'd you do, Usagi?" Naru said, quickly catching up to the blonde in the hall.

The blonde gave her a weak smile. "Uh, good. I guess." She stared at the ground, absently avoiding the other students in the hall. The last bell had gone and everyone was headed home. Except Usagi.

Naru picked up on Usagi's mood and smiled brightly. "Want to go shopping, Usagi? I hear the Mall had some great sales on at the moment!" The red- haired girl said enthusiastically.

Usagi groaned. "I can't," She almost wailed. "I have detention again."

"Oh. That would put a damper on it, all right" Naru noted. Her blue eyes were filled with disappointment for a moment. Then they cleared. "Well, maybe we can go together this weekend?"

"Yeah. Sounds good" Usagi cheered up quickly. She stopped in front of the Detention room, a hand on the door-knob.

"Well, see you around, Usagi!" Naru called, walking away.

The small blonde watched her go, blue eyes filled with disappointment. Her skin tingled suddenly. Her eyes widened and she spun around to see Miss Haruna walking up quietly.

The Teacher looked almost disappointed.

'Because she wanted to startle me?' Usagi wondered in surprise. Miss Haruna did always seem to be popping up from nowhere and scaring Usagi. It made her stare at the woman in a slightly new light.

"Ah, Usagi?" Miss Haruna seemed put off. She reached Usagi and stopped a foot away. "You'll be happy to know that I've been...Pulled away by an urgent appointment."

"Oh," The Senshi of the Moon tried to play it down, knowing she had just escaped a few hours of detention.

Miss Haruna smiled slightly, almost bursting with happiness. The red-haired woman's smiled turned slightly sour. "As I'm sure it will get all over School by tomorrow anyway," Miss Haruna paused, running hand through her long hair. "I have a date. With a prominent figure in the computer industry."

Usagi stared at her teacher wide-eyed. Miss Haruna didn't usually come right out and admit she had a date. Umino usually had to dig around for a while to find out. "Er-right." She stammered.

"So, you can go now." Miss H gestured with her right hand, eyes far away.

Her student turned away and quickly walked down the hall, unable to believe her luck.

Miss Haruna's voice stopped her just as she was about to leave the School. "Oh and Usagi?" The Teacher's voice was annoyed. "Tell Umino to keep his nose out of my draw!"

"Right!" Usagi called back, escaping swiftly through the front doors. As they closed behind her, she pulled her bag onto her back and stood there for a moment. Was it her imagination, or had that been a really weird experience? She walked down the steps and into the sunlight. There was barely anyone left in the School Yard as she crossed it, heading for the front gates.

"Why, if it isn't the beautiful, Usagi. And all alone too. My good fortune!" Umino's voice came from outside the gates.

Usagi's steps paused for a moment as she looked around for him. Unerringly, her blue eyes swung upwards and saw the annoying boy in a tree above the gate. "Umino. What are you doing in a tree?" Usagi looked at him as if he were nuts. Which he probably was.

Umino scrambled down a branch ungracefully. Then he lost his balance and fell the rest of the way to the ground. His pad and pen fell onto of him a moment later.

The Senshi just looked at him, rolling her eyes.

Umino scrambled to his feet, brushing leaves from his unruly hair. He held his pad to his chest as if they were the crown jewels. "Ah, just checking around for gossip" He muttered.

"In a tree?" Usagi asked in amusement, heading down the path away from the School.

Umino fell in beside her without asking. "Well. Not in the tree exactly. More in the upper level of the School," Umino opened his pad and scanned the contents. "Room 2c to be exact. I just observed Miss Haruna applying an large amount of make-up to her face."

"And?" Usagi looked at him strangely.

Umino thrust up an hand in the air, face triumphant. "From evidence gathered... And the fact that you have been released from your detention. I would surmise that Miss H-"

"Yes?" The blonde said wearily. She was suddenly incredibly tired. Her steps slowed slightly.

"Miss Haruna has a date!" Umino almost yelled.

"I know." Usagi said softly, eyes closing slightly. Was the sun brighter than a minute before?

Umino stopped dead, reaching out to grab Usagi's arm. "Usagi!" He almost whined. "You know Miss H has a date. Have you been holding out on me?"

"Get a life Umino," She told him, wrenching her arm away.

Umino stared after her, making no move to follow as she walked off.

Usagi remembered something and turned her head back towards him. "Oh, Miss Haruna said to keep your nose out of her draw!"  The blonde kept walking, relieved that Umino was no longer following. She's almost reached the corner when she heard Umino's words clearly.

"How did Miss H know about that? I'm sure I was careful." Umino muttered.

Usagi whirled around, eyes wide. She expected to see Umino behind her, but the boy had not moved at all. he was meters away from her, where she had left him. Too far for her to have heard him so clearly. Usagi's blue eyes widened as panic again hit her. It was like earlier, with those girls! She couldn't possibly have heard them OR Umino so clearly, but she had...

"This is not happening. It's so weird." The blonde murmured, walking away fast. She headed instinctively for the Arcade, wondering if Makoto was still there. The girl enjoyed Motoki's place as much as Usagi did.

'And Motoki. He is a cutie!' Usagi thought with a smirk. A vision of the red-haired guy entered her mind. It was abruptly replaced with a vision of Tuxedo Mask. Usagi nodded, a wide smile on her lips. 'Okay. Tuxedo Mask is definitely more handsome than Motoki is!'

Usagi gasped as a feeling suddenly hit her, overwhelming. Moments later, she crashed into a soft, yet firm body. Warm arms came up to steady her. Usagi automatically put her arms up to stop herself from falling. Her palms met the black shirt and the warmth beneath. Her fingers tingled. In fact, her whole body was tingling. Especially from where she was being held by strong hands.

Chapter Five

"Oh, excuse me," Usagi said, embarrassed. Below that feeling was chaos. And an indefinable feeling that she knew this person. Usagi raised her head at the same time as a familiar voice spoke from above her head.

"Are you following me around?" Mamoru asked sarcastically.

Usagi glared up into his dark blue eyes. Trying to ignore the sensations in her body. It was like a thousand fires were moving through her blood. Her veins burned and tingled with the strangest feeling. Like an electric jolt. Her fingers involuntarily clenched into his black shirt. Mamoru's eyes went abruptly blank. Then his fingers tightened on Usagi's shoulders. She suddenly realized that they had been standing there for five minutes, holding onto each other tightly.

Mamoru seemed to realize it at the same time. They simultaneously let go of each other.

The blonde girl weirdly felt...Almost as if she'd lost something when she'd lost touch with Mamoru's body. They stared at each other, a foot away and Usagi could see her own confusion mirrored in Mamoru's eyes. Their eyes locked. Her hands clenched at her sides, unable to drag her eyes from his. The tingling had receded when she had no longer had contact with him, bit it was still there. She felt light-headed, her mouth dry. But her body had never felt so alive.

She wasn’t sure who moved first, but Mamoru's face was suddenly closer. She could feel the warmth radiating from his body. There was only half-a-foot between them now and Usagi had to tilt her head back to look at his face. She saw his eyes darken. Her heart thundered in her ears and she felt her eyes dilate.

A car horn beeped loudly, sounding like a gun-shot to Usagi. She and Mamoru leapt away from each other as if burnt. With a half-meter between them, they stared at each other. Both of them were panting lightly. Everything swum in Usagi's vision for a moment, before her head cleared. Her heart slowed. She blinked dazedly.

'What just happened?' She whimpered inside, horrified. It was Mamoru! Mamoru. The guy she loved to hate. Usagi couldn't take the tension a moment longer. The air was thick with it. She backed away, edging around till her she was facing down the path towards the Arcade. Vaguely, she could see the lights outside the Game Center.

Mamoru watched her silently, seeming bemused.

Nothing at all was said as Usagi swiftly turned and walked away from Mamoru. She could feel him though. All the way till she reached outside the Arcade, she could feel his eyes on her back. Knew he was watching her. The glass doors swished open as she stepped towards them. Usagi stopped, freezing. She stood there for a moment, then her head turned towards the left. Back to where she had crashed into Mamoru.

Usagi's eyes clearly picked his tall form out of the crowd. He was standing where she had left him, not having moved. But he was looking her way. She could feel it. As she looked at his indistinct form, something seemed to happen. Her eyes blurred over, objects seeming to pass her at an enormous speed. When her eyes cleared, she was looking directly into dark blue eyes. She could even see the flecks of silver in them. The dark lashes surrounding. The slight creases from laughter at the corners of his eyes. Her body began to tingle as their eyes again locked. She knew he was seeing her as clearly as she was seeing him.

There was a confusion and anger in the blue depths of his eyes. But also a longing and an uncontrollable hunger...

The Senshi of the Moon gasped and fled into the Arcade blindly. Anything to get away from that look. It had almost seemed to devour her on the spot. She didn't understand what it meant. Why he was feeling those emotions. Why she had been able to read them in his eyes. Hands caught her smoothly. Usagi almost fainted in shock, thinking irrationally that Mamoru had somehow followed her. But no, the hands evoked no feelings in her at all.

"Are you okay, Usagi? You look kind of pale." Motoki's voice said in concern.

Usagi glanced up, her head still thundering. She had too many shocks in the last day than she had had in her life. "I'm-I'm fine, just a little weak" She said weakly, leaning into his warmth. It felt different. Safer for one thing. Her eyes drifted close for a moment, trying to sense. Being in Motoki's arms felt safe and calm. He radiated concern. But that was all.

"Usagi?" He asked, his voice full of concern and embarrassment.

The petite girl realized how it must look-her clinging to him in the center of the Arcade. Everyone must have been watching! Usagi was about to pull away and apologize, when she heard the doors to the Arcade swish open. There was a silence. Immediately, she gasped as a feeling of danger flooded her senses. It rolled through her like a tide. She stiffened up like a board, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up. She knew exactly who was standing there.

"Mamoru. Buddy?" Motoki said. His voice was full of embarrassment and bewilderment. And a slight fear.

'Fear?!' Usagi's eyes flashed open. She could sense Motoki's slight fear acutely. The white of his apron came into focus. She released her death-grip on his arms and turned her head sideways, seeking the source of Motoki's emotions.

Mamoru stood there, just inside the doors. His face was impassive, cold. It was his eyes though, that Usagi knew was making Motoki afraid and confused. His deep blue eyes were so dark that they were almost black. They seemed to almost burn though, with an incandescent fury. Absolute fury, barely concealed. And it was aimed at Motoki. His eyes locked on his friend's.

The moment seemed to stretch out for Usagi. Vaguely, she could hear everyone in the room. Laughing, talking, ignoring the three frozen near the door. Not sensing the barely restrained violence in the air. The blonde's numb finger's unclenched from Motoki's t-shirt. She stepped back slowly, eyes on Mamoru.

For a moment, his eyes swung in her direction. The look in the made her falter back a step in actual fear. It wasn't so-much the rage in them, but an ill-concealed hunger and possessiveness that flashed into their depths for a moment.

Usagi wrenched her eyes away and quickly stepped in-between Motoki and Mamoru. It felt like she was moving through water. She realized quickly that she was too short to block Mamoru's eyes from Motoki's. The look in Motoki's eyes was glazed.

'Almost like he's being hypnotized.' The Senshi of the Moon thought incredulously. She resisted the urge to glance back at Mamoru. Instead, she reached up and lightly slapped Motoki's face. It shocked him out of the trance and he glanced down at her as she had wanted.

"Usagi?" He almost pleaded, trying to understand what had just happened.

She opened her mouth, then closed it, not sure what to say. She placed a hand on his arm, not really knowing why, but with the uncontrollable urge to comfort. Undo whatever damage Mamoru had done to his friendship with Motoki. "Motoki, get me a drink?" She asked, voice faint to her own ears. It sounded as if she had not used her voice in years. Foreign even.

He blinked at her, then slowly a smile spread over his face as she continued to look at him with calm. Usagi almost stepped back as a slightly glazed look came over his face again. The scary thing was...he was looking at her this time.

"A drink. Right." Motoki looked up from Usagi, to Mamoru. "What would you like to drink, Mamoru?"

Usagi almost gaped. It was like Motoki had completely forgotten what had just happened! Her blue eyes fell on the hand still resting on his arm gently. A hand she had raised to calm him.

The doors swished open again, before Usagi could even glance back at Mamoru.

"Mamoru!" Rei sounded almost panicked. "Are you alright? Usagi?"

Usagi whirled around, wrenching her hand from Motoki's arm. Her eyes widened with alarm as she saw Rei, Ami and Makoto standing just behind Mamoru.

The fury in his eyes intensified for a moment.

The blonde saw Rei flinch. The girl had always been sensitive to emotions.

Rei reached out almost hesitantly to touch Mamoru's chest. As soon as her fingers brushed his shirt, she reeled back. Her purple eyes were wide, as she stared at him.

Mamoru's face went blank. He turned, reaching out with a hand to catch Rei's. Something strange happened then.

Usagi was watching Rei's face as Mamoru touched her. The raven-haired girl's face went expressionless. Usagi reeled as she felt something. It swept through her like a tidal-wave, burning through her blood. It was almost like when she transformed as Sailor Moon, but different somehow. And familiar. Haunting familiar to her!

"Thanks Mamoru, I thought I was going to fall for a second." Rei laughed, her face relaxing.

Usagi stared, mouth open slightly. "What?" She gasped.

Makoto cut between her view of Mamoru and Rei.

Ami joined her a moment later, both girls stopping near Usagi and Motoki.

"Hey Motoki. Anything happening around here?" Makoto asked casually. Her green eyes sweep the area warily though, as if seeking something.

Motoki scratched at his arm, in exactly the place, Usagi, had touched him. She glanced at the skin and saw that it was white. Pure white skin, amongst the profusely freckled skin of the rest of his arm.

He stared at it for a moment, then shrugged and walked away to the counter. "Nothing much happening around here Makoto." He answered her question of a moment ago. Motoki smiled at them all as Rei and Mamoru joined them. The two stood next to Makoto.

Mamoru looked calm and relaxed as Rei leaned her head on his shoulder, looking happy.

Everyone ordered drinks, then Motoki looked at Usagi.

"Chocolate shake, Usagi?" He asked knowingly.

She nodded, feeling as if she were waking up from a nightmare. Mamoru had not looked as if he wanted to kill Motoki...had he? And he had not looked at Usagi as if he'd like to...

"Chocolate. A triple, with whipped cream." Usagi said coolly. Her eyes firmed, a determined smile spreading over her face.

Motoki nodded, his usual cheerful smile back on his face.

Makoto took Usagi's arm and led her to the side slight as everyone else headed for a table. Mamoru’s arm brushed hers and Usagi almost leapt out of her skin. He looked down at her momentarily as he passed, eyes glinting. She couldn't read his expression though. The brunette's voice got her attention back. The Senshi of the Moon moved her head closer to the Makoto's, eyes curious.

"Did anything happen here? A monster? Zoisite?" Makoto hissed.

Usagi's eyes widened. "No. Nothing." She swallowed, feeling bad about lying. But really, what was she supposed to say? Mamoru had suddenly changed into something infinitely dangerous? If so, then why was no one else seeing it. Sensing it.

"At all?" Makoto asked, incredulous.

Why? Had the girls seen something after all? Usagi shook her head as Motoki walked over to them, a large tray in his hands.

"Go sit down girls. Drinks are up." He said cheerfully.

Makoto pushed Usagi gently towards the table. She sat down next to Ami as Motoki began to serve the drinks.

Usagi saw that there was two chairs left around the large table. One was on the other side of Makoto and one...Next to Mamoru. For a moment, complete panic consumed her. Mamoru's eyes met hers knowingly and the blonde stopped dead.

Makoto looked at her understandingly and pulled Usagi into the chair next to hers. "Sit next to me Usagi?" She said loudly.

Motoki took the tray back to the bar, collected his drink and went to sit next to Mamoru.

What was going on? Usagi watched carefully, but neither Mamoru nor Motoki gave any sign of what had happened earlier.

"So, Mamoru?" Rei began smoothly, moving her chair closer to his. "I hear the boat rides are really romantic at night."

Mamoru looked down at her, smiling slightly. "Yeah, so did I."

Tehe smaller girl held her breath, eyes suddenly glued to the two. Her blue eyes swept over Rei's hand, fingers splayed over one of Mamoru's arms. Even through the green jacket, she could see the lightly muscled arm.

"Well?" Rei said, hinting. Her purple eyes regarded him thoughtfully.

Usagi heard her voice from a long way off. Her attention was held solely by a fascination in Mamoru's jacket. Her blue eyes swept over the green, seeing every detail. Even the loose thread near the middle button. The blue moved upwards, over his chest. The muscles were evident there too. She wondered why she had never noticed before, how fit Mamoru was. His chin had a slight cleft in it, his mouth...

Usagi's eyes skittered to the right. His skin was smooth and lightly tanned, laughter lines at the side of his mouth. The dark hair fell over the dark blue of his eyes, which Usagi carefully avoided.

'His hair looks so soft. Dark like a raven's wing,' Usagi thought absently. Her blue eyes swept downwards again, over his broad shoulders. 'Familiar somehow...' She mused blankly, mind wondering. Where had she seen those shoulders before?

"But not tonight, Rei," Mamoru's voice cut abruptly into Usagi's thoughts, his tone silky and dangerous.

Her eyes swung upwards in surprise to hear that sort of tone from him.

Mamoru's eyes were fixed firmly on her. Not Rei. And in his eyes was a knowing look. Also something darker.

The Senshi of the Moon's heart began to beat faster and she found herself trying to look everywhere but at him. Oh look, there was salt on the table! How nice and normal... Her eyes went back to his helplessly and their gazes locked for a long moment.

Mamoru broke their gazes evetually, turning to Rei as if nothing were amiss. "I've got something to catch up with tonight." He said regretfully.

Rei looked disappointed. Her eyes flickered over him, then Usagi.

The blonde stiffened, turning her face away. Her eyes fell on Ami, then on Makoto and Motoki. They were all looking fist at her and then Mamoru. Usagi felt her heart freeze. They had noticed! They had seen the way Mamoru and Usagi had been staring at each other. 'Oh Gods.' She panicked. Her hand tightened on her thickshake glass.

"Maybe another time, then?" Rei said, trying to hide her disappointment. The raven-haired girl again stared at Usagi and then Mamoru.

A loud noise made everyone jump, as Usagi's glad exploded into chunks. She opened her fingers slowly, letting a large piece of glass drop to the table. Blood dripped down with it. The blonde stared at the piece of glass with fascination, noting the blood on the sharp edges. Her hand remained suspended above the glass, just watching as the blood dripped continuously, steadily onto the table.

"Usagi!" Motoki gasped in horror. He ripped his apron off swiftly.

"Oh god! How did that happen?" Rei gasped simultaneously. She reached out for Usagi's hand, but a larger one beat her.

Mamoru wrapped his slender fingers around Usagi's wrist and turned the hand till the palm was facing upwards.

She gasped at the tingling sensation. It swept along her arm and into the rest of her body. 'Like getting an electric shock.' Usagi murmured in her mind. She tried to take her hand from Mamoru's, but his fingers tightened almost painfully. She tried to ignore him as Motoki and Rei bent over her and examined her hand. She glanced indifferently at it. There was a long cut along her white palm, looking jagged.

"I think she needs stitches," Motoki noted with worry, picking out the smaller pieces of glass gently.

Usagi winced, biting her lip. All the while, intensely aware of Mamoru's grip upon her wrist. She felt as if his hand had been burnt into her skin.

Motoki wrapped his apron around her hand, bandaging it as best as he could.

The upperclassman let go, but Usagi refused to look at him, even though she knew his eyes were on her bent head. She felt both relieved and strangely bereft, when he was no longer touching her skin.

'What is wrong with me?' She cried inwardly, suddenly close to tears. Rei and Makoto took it the wrong way, thinking that Usagi was finally going to give into the wailing tears that were so common of the blonde. A single tear made it's way down her check, seeming to burn. But she wouldn't cry. It just didn't seem...necessary any more. She frankly couldn't think why she always used to cry so much over such little things.

"Mamoru, do you have your car?" Rei was asking urgently, her friend's welfare top-most on her mind.

Usagi's eyes widened with horror as she knew what Rei was going to ask. "Can you drive her to the hospital?"

"I'll come." Makoto said firmly. She had sensed something between the two and didn't want them to be alone.

Usagi's eyes met Mamoru's, wary as she saw a sudden amusement in their blue depths.

"I'm sorry Makoto, but I couldn't fit all of us," He told them all, a smile in his voice. "I brought my bike." He explained smoothly, a ting of satisfaction underlying his words.

Usagi's eyes widened in horror. She's have to ride with him? Hold onto his waist. Be near him.... "I'm fine," Usagi blurted in panic, shifting her chair backwards.

Mamoru looked silently at her, an eyebrow raised. His expression was almost challenging.

The blonde's eyes flashed fury at him for a moment, the old dislike coming flooding back.

"That cut was deep, Usagi. Take Mamoru's help." Motoki said admonishingly.

Usagi wiggled her fingers absently, feeling an itching sensation on her palm. She frowned lightly. When the other's turned to talk to Mamoru, Usagi lifted the edge of the apron and peered at her palm. She quickly pulled it back, going pale. "You know what. I'm feeling sort of queasy. I'd like to walk. Rei, Makoto, come with me?" She asked swiftly.

Her friend's frowned at her, angry and concerned.

"Look Usagi, I know you and Mamoru hate each other," Rei began heatedly, ignoring Makoto's gasp. "But you need to get stitches. So go with Mamoru now, or so help me, I'll-"

"Fine." Usagi said abruptly. She'd startled them all. Even Mamoru. That gave her a feeling of triumph. The Senshi of the Moon looked at him from under lowered lids, a slight smile on her lips.

He looked down at her, eyes shuttered, face expressionless. "Lets go." He told her abruptly, eyes as cool as a winter storm.

"Try not to kill each other." Makoto called out teasingly.

Usagi followed Mamoru outside warily, feeling trapped. He turned to the right and Usagi realized they were headed back to where she had bashed into him earlier. She flushed bright red as she remembered acutely how they had stared at each other. Her eyes spotted his bike, parked on the side of the road. She must have smacked into him just as he got off his bike. Of all the luck!

Mamoru got onto the bike, then looked up at her motionless form as she stood on the curb. "Hop on." He said quietly.

Usagi hesitated, then climbed on after him. Her body came alive as she was forced to cling to every inch of his firm back. It burned through her School dress. Her heart began to thunder and she could hear it even over the sound of the motorbike, as he started it.

The engine roared to life. Mamoru revved it, then took off fast.

Usagi's hands clutched at thin air for a moment, before clinging to Mamoru's shirt in a death-grip. She glared at his back, knowing that had been intentional! They turned a corner and she almost lost her grip again.

The dark-haired man turned his head slightly to glance back at her. "You'll have to hang on better than that, Odango Atama." He shouted back to her, blue eyes glinting wildly.

Usagi's glare intensified as Mamoru sped up. Her hand wasn't hurting so bad now, so she flung both hands around his waist. Usagi's fingers wound into his belt. She felt him shiver as her fingers brushed his waist. Usagi almost let go in shock, not knowing how she had felt that. The bike was vibrating from the speed they were going, yet she had clearly felt him shiver. Usagi closed her eyes, feeling tears surfacing.

She rested her head against him back without thinking, almost sinking into his warmth. What was going on lately? Was she going crazy...Was that it? It wasn't possible to be feeling all that she was. The things that she had seen and heard. Sensed.

The bike slowed. The Senshi of the Moon raised her head, wiping futilely at her cheeks to erase the traces of tears.

Mamoru stopped the bike at the hospital's front entrance, then was silent, unmoving before her.

She waited, but he said nothing. Usagi hopped off the back and stood there, looking up at him. She opened her mouth, an irresistible urge to ask him if all that had happened was just a dream. A nightmare.

Mamoru's eyes became quietly mocking as she continued to stare at him. "Cat got your tongue, Odango Atama?" He asked her, the old Mamoru back.

Before she could blink, Mamoru leaned forwards, an arm shooting out swiftly. She felt his strong fingers encircle the wrist of her left hand and was jerked forward. She lost her balance, falling against his body and half-across his lap on the bike. Usagi put up her hands to fend him off, but as soon as she touched his chest, an electricity filled her body.

Mamoru must have felt it also, for his eyes darkened to a deep blue.

"Let me go, you jerk" The Senshi of the Moon hissed, wanting to be anywhere but there. She hated the way he made her feel...and to be sprawled across his lap like this in front of the hospital-

"Don't I deserve a reward for bringing you to the hospital?" He mocked.

Their eyes locked, the blonde's with a helplessness and growing anger. 'How dare he do this to me?'

Mamoru's head dipped quickly, capturing her lips in a searing kiss.

Every thought in Usagi's head went out the window as she felt his warm lips against hers. She couldn't believe it! Mamoru Chiba was kissing-her... 'That creep!' Her eyes darkened dangerously. She pushed at his chest hard and he fell back. She looked at him, face furious and saw a smug expression in his eyes, along with a deep hunger-

The blonde's reaction was immediate. Her hand swung out of it's own volition and she slapped his face hard.

Mamoru never flinched. His head turned back slowly, eyes burning.

Usagi took a step back, frightened at the look.

The upperclassman said nothing as she backed towards the doors.

She watched as he revved the bike and sped off, barely missing a car. Usagi watched till be disappeared from sight. Then she turned and walked in the opposite direction, away from the hospital. She walked through the car park and onto the walkway, heading towards home. The sun was going down soon.

As she passed a bin, Usagi paused and unwrapped the apron from her hand. She stared down at the palm, now completely smooth. The blood had dried where the cut had been, but there was no sight of a wound at all. Usagi threw the apron into the bin, walking away. She looked down at her palm, wiggling her fingers. She felt completely numb. She remembered watching the shadows form on the ground and under the tree's as the sky darkened. The sun slipped slowly down behind the horizon and the sky was lit with red's, pinks and gold's.

"Mmm. Beautiful," Usagi murmured. She stopped near an ally, leaning back against the shop window to watch the sunset. There was almost no one about and for a moment, she felt completely alone.

As the colors faded and the Moon became visible in the sky, Usagi felt a sudden dizziness overcome her. Her fingers began to tingle, spreading into the rest of her body with a burning sensation. A horrible burning. She felt like she was ripping apart!

"Help me." Usagi whispered, slipping to the side. She had no control over her body as it slid to the ground. The last thing the blonde saw was the bright Moon in the sky. Then everything went dark.

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