RESSURRECTION,

Chapter 12: "Crystal Tokyo"

By Bill K.

"Wow," mused Sailor Venus, just as stunned as everybody by the departure of Sailor Pluto. "She really knows how to make an exit."

Several feet away, Uranus turned to her partner, meaning to express her own incredulity at what had transpired, only to find Neptune in an even deeper state of shock.

"Neptune?" Uranus inquired. It seemed to her that Neptune was struggling to cope with the departure and failing.

"I was sensing something like this might happen," Neptune whispered. "But I ignored it. I didn't want to acknowledge it. I was afraid that if I acknowledged it, that it would happen. That's so childish!"

Neptune turned. She felt herself beginning to unravel, felt a rising tide of emotion that was about to engulf her and she didn't know how to stop it. Then she felt arms wrap around her from behind, arms she intuitively knew belonged to Uranus, and suddenly the strength to keep herself together was there.

"It'll be OK," Uranus told her and it was precisely what she wanted to hear. "It's like Setsuna said. We've all got a destiny. Some aren't as great as others. We'll just have to cherish our memories of her that much more."

Neptune was about to agree. Then, out of the blue, Serenity wrapped her arms around Neptune's neck and buried her head against the woman's chest. Uranus barely had time to release her.

"OH, MICHIRU!" she wailed. "This probably hurts even worse for you! You and Setsuna were so close! I'M SO SORRY FOR YOU!"

Neptune could only stare down at Serenity, stunned into inaction and unable to figure out how to respond. Then slowly her expression softened and the corners of her mouth began to curl. For all their disagreements over the years, this woman still had that magic way about her to somehow know exactly what to do just when you were feeling down. Neptune curled her arms around Serenity's torso.

"Thank you, Serenity," she whispered.

"I can't believe she's gone," Jupiter mused to Venus, Mars and Mercury.

"Well hey, it's not like she died," Venus replied. "Maybe we can visit her in that - - wherever it is."

"I think that'd be a really good idea," Mars agreed. "I don't care what Setsuna said, she'll get lonely in there sooner or later. A little company once in a while wouldn't hurt."

She glanced to Mercury for support, but Mercury was staring off beyond her. Mars turned and saw Mercury's mother approaching, just as Mercury moved to meet her.

"Mother?" Mercury inquired. "Is something wrong?"

"I'd say so," Dr. Mizuno said. There was barely contained concern in her face and voice, a radical departure for the usually controlled Dr. Mizuno. "There's a group - - no, it's a mob - - headed for the government complex. They're shouting anti-government slogans and they look quite potentially violent. The minute I saw it I thought you and your group would want to head off any potential conflict. I - - didn't know how else to contact you, so I came here hoping you'd all still be here."

"What set them off?" Mercury asked. Mars and Jupiter were within earshot as well.

"I don't know, but it started right about the time those fire creatures appeared."

"You saw that?"

"Practically the entire city saw it."

"We'll get right on it. Thank you, Mother." Mercury headed for Serenity, flanked by the other senshi.

"Um," Dr. Mizuno began, stopping Mercury in her tracks. "No, never mind. You have a duty to attend to. That's more important."

"Mother," Mercury said, sensing what her mother wanted, "I think I know what you're thinking. I know it's not as important as saving lives, but it's still important - - and we need to do it. We need to carve out a little time and talk about some things."

"You're right," her mother nodded. "I'll - - try to free myself."

"Mother," Mercury said. "I apologize if I was short the last time we saw each other."

"And I apologize if I caused you to doubt that," her mother fumbled saying, "that I love you."

Mercury nodded and rejoined the group. As they walked toward Serenity and Endymion, Jupiter noticed the small smile on Mercury's face.

"It's amazing how much hearing those words can do for you, isn't it?" Jupiter asked.

Mercury flushed slightly.

"Serenity!" Venus called out. "Come on. We've got trouble."

"Again?" groaned Serenity. Making a scooping movement with her hands, she levitated herself and all the senshi. Then she stopped. "Setsuko! She can't come with us! It'll be too dangerous!"

Setsuko tensed, but said nothing. Mercury, however, turned back to her own mother.

"Mother," Mercury asked. "This is Setsuko. She's a homeless little orphan that Serenity and Endymion have adopted. Could-could you look after her until we get back?"

"Why . . ." Dr. Mizuno stammered, caught off-guard. Then she softened. "You're right, of course. That mob is hardly a place for a child. Of course I'll look after her."

She reached for Setsuko, but the girl clung to Endymion fearfully. When she looked up again, Serenity was by her side.

"Setsuko-chan, this is Dr. Mizuno," Serenity said softly. "She's going to check your health and look after you until I get back. I have to take care of something."

"Usagi-mama?" Setsuko said, her eyes speaking volumes about her fear of abandonment.

"Don't worry," Serenity smiled sweetly. "I'll come back. You've got a lot of growing up to do and I'm going to be there for every minute of it!"

She kissed Setsuko on the forehead. The child allowed herself to be passed to Dr. Mizuno's arms. Then Serenity scooped up the senshi in an invisible bubble and flew off with them, Endymion following on his own.

"Hard, isn't it?" Jupiter murmured to Serenity.

"I've seen you go through it, but I never realized just what you go through until now," Serenity replied. Jupiter nodded in sympathy.

"It's OK, Setsuko-chan," Dr. Mizuno cooed into her ear as she cradled the girl. She stared at Mercury as she spoke. "Sometimes you just have to trust that they'll come back. Sailor Moon and her senshi haven't let me down yet."

Sailor Star Fighter moved to follow, but was held back by Princess Kakyuu. She turned to inquire.

"It is best we stay behind in this instance, dear Star Fighter," Kakyuu said. "The presence of outsiders, no matter how well intentioned, may not be what will best aid the situation. And Usagi and her friends must learn all over again to deal with such things on their own."

Levitating over the city, Serenity and her senshi flew to the government complex that housed the legislative and bureaucratic wings of the Japanese government. Much of it survived the ice intact, but now there was a question of whether it could survive its own people.

"You're not straining yourself doing this, are you?" Mars asked Serenity.

"No, it gets easier the more I use the power of the Silver Crystal," Serenity replied. Then she grew a devilish smirk. "Although you COULD stand to lose a few pounds."

"Said the Queen of between meal snacks," Mars shot back.

"Incredible," Mercury whispered. Everyone turned to look.

Surrounding the buildings was a hopelessly outnumbered garrison of police, army and civil defense troops. Surrounding them were thousands, perhaps ten thousand people, a sea of humanity pressing in against the troops. Tension was thick in the mob. It was a tinderbox waiting for a spark. The troops drew their riot shields up and kept their stun rifles at the ready.

"This bunch is about five seconds away from exploding," Mars reported, her hand held to her temple. The feedback of emotions was on the verge of overwhelming the psychic.

"No," Serenity said, almost with a sob, shaking her head numbly. "No, this can't happen!"

Then someone in the crowd spotted Serenity and the senshi hovering above them. More and more heads began to turn. Fingers pointed. The angry epitaths changed to cheers and shouts of joy until they merged into a chant.

"What are they chanting?" Neptune asked.

"'Sailor Moon for Empress'," Uranus repeated. She glanced at Serenity and smirked. "Kinda catchy."

Serenity grimaced, clearly embarrassed by it all.

Then a shot came from somewhere. One of the protesters screamed and then fell back against several others. Two metallic prongs from a government-issued stun gun hung from his chest. Instantly the protesters nearest the police line surged in a wave of anger and revenge. More stun prongs were launched into the mob, but there were too many surging forward for the police to stop.

"NO!" wailed Serenity. She gestured and an invisible barrier flew up between the mob and the security force. Instantly, though, she clutched her head.

"Serenity!" Endymion gasped.

"Too much!" she grimaced. "Can't hold the crowd and . . ."

"I've got the senshi," he said. His cloak extended so that it encompassed the others and held them aloft while he eased them all to the ground. "Do what you have to do."

Unafraid for herself, Serenity lowered herself down until she was between the security line and the protesters. Everyone spread out to give her room. Her very presence seemed to calm the crowd, though the security force looked on tensely.

"Haven't we all gone through enough tragedy?" Serenity asked, appealing to the crowd. "Haven't we all suffered enough?"

"We don't want them in charge!" yelled a member of the mob.

"This isn't the way," Serenity maintained. "Violence is never the way."

"Lead us!" another shouted. "We want you, Sailor Moon!"

"Sailor Moon for Empress!"

"No!" Serenity said, shaking her head. "I'm not qualified! I can't lead you . . .!"

"Yes you can!"

Serenity stared at a young woman pushing out from the mob.

"Momoko?"

"Who fed us? You! Who gave us shelter? You did! Who protected us from the invaders? You did, while Hino and his corrupt Diet sat in there and did nothing! And now they want to just take over again like it's business as usual and nothing ever happened!" spat Momoko. "I know! I was in there listening to it until I couldn't stomach anymore!"

"But you're part of that Diet, Momoko," Serenity said.

"Not anymore. I resigned." She reached over and grasped Serenity's hands. "Sailor Moon, you are qualified to lead us - - just for the simple reason that you care and they don't! The people all need you, Sailor Moon - - not just to help them, but to guide them! To show them a better way! They're teetering into anarchy because it's all they have left! That or submitting to a system that only grows fat off of them!"

"I . . ."

"And you're qualified to lead us because you've got the power to take the country by force if you wanted to - - but you don't want to. They need that kind of benevolence. Please, Sailor Moon, be the leader they want. No one else can be."

Serenity stared at Momoko, trying to find a way to gracefully decline. Then they heard the security force shifting. They turned and saw Secretary General Hino approaching. The crowd saw him, too, and turned surly.

"STEP DOWN!" they shouted. "WE HATE YOU! YOU'VE DONE NOTHING FOR US! FALL ON YOUR SWORD!"

"Insurrection, my dear?" Hino asked, staring directly at Momoko. "Treason? You work quickly. You only just resigned." He turned dismissively from her and addressed the mob. "I am asking you all to disperse, as a representative of your duly elected government."

"HOLD AN ELECTION NOW AND SEE HOW YOU DO!" someone roared from the safety of the crowd.

"It is within my power to suspend civil rights in times of emergency to maintain order," Hino scowled. "Please don't force me to that."

Just then the old man whose stunning initiated the confrontation regained his feet. He shambled up to the edge of Serenity's barrier, staring at Hino with distress. Nobody in the crowd seemed to recognize him except Sailor Mercury and Sailor Venus. Mercury recalled him as the hypothermia shock victim she had tended to just before Serenity and Endymion made the plants grow. Venus remembered Sailor Pluto talking to him while Serenity lay on death's door, telling him that his life had an unguessed value and that he should live.

He pressed against the barrier Serenity had erected. The man stared at Hino with a desperate expression that instantly caught his and Serenity's attention. Others around him stopped and looked at the strange old man.

"Dietman Hino!" he gasped. "Consider your next step! There comes a moment in every man's life when the wrong choice dooms him to infamy!"

Hino started to turn away.

"I voted for you! I supported you! I still think you're a fine man!" the old man shouted amid the surly rumblings of the mob. "But what you're doing is wrong! You can't cling to power you no longer have! To do so will only make things worse! Sailor Moon is what the people want! She has the power to take us back to what we had - - maybe beyond what we had!" His eyes began to shine with awe and reverence. "And she has the generous heart to use her power to help us all. There is no disrespect meant, Dietman Hino. You were good for us in your time. But times have changed. Please step aside before you dishonor your work and your reputation."

Hino glared at the old man. The members of the mob could see he wasn't happy with what the old man had said. The security forces tensed, anticipating the order to push back the mob and reassert control. The mob anticipated the order, too, and began to surge forward.

Then Serenity moved to Hino. Everyone was taken by surprise. The nearest security forces reached to stop her, but seemed to pull up, then backed away. Hino stared at Serenity, trying to judge if she meant him any harm. But the woman seemed to radiate a warm glow, a glow that Mars recognized.

"Mercury," Mars whispered, her eyes glued to Serenity as were all the senshi from their observation point outside the mob. "Keep your eye on my father. Keep watching him as he talks to Serenity."

"Hino-sama," Serenity said, clasping his hand in hers. Hino looked down and saw the hands, so small and delicate and perfect, so warm and reassuring. They reminded him of his mother's hands. "Please, violence and oppression is not the answer."

"I-I'm sorry," he began haltingly, his feelings suddenly conflicted, "Sailor Moon. Sometimes violence in the name of restoring order and keeping the peace is a-a necessary evil."

"Violence is never necessary. You don't need to be afraid. I don't want to bring down the government. I don't want to lead. I just want to help people."

Shouts of "Sailor Moon for Empress" threatened to drown her out.

Hino stared into Serenity's deep blue eyes for the longest time. It was almost like he was hypnotized by them and by the incredible feeling of peace and contentment he experienced the moment she grasped his hand. He always prided himself on being a logical, pragmatic man, but at the moment he was feeling neither.

"It's," Mercury whispered, staring intently at him, "almost like he's becoming a different person in front of my eyes. His expression - - his entire body language is shifting from belligerence to-to passivity. Is he being influenced or controlled?" Mercury turned to Mars. "Is Serenity doing that?"

"She has to be," Mars mused. "I'm not even sure she's aware she's doing it, but she's emitting some sort of mental influence on him. I've felt it from her earlier and I'm feeling it now." Mars turned to Mercury with a cynical look on her face. "Besides, how else can you explain my father turning into a human being?"

"It's a noble thing to want," Hino replied finally, his eyes still locked on hers. "What you want. But from the sound of it, I think the best way for you to help might be to give in to their demands."

Serenity gaped in shock. So did Momoko.

"This isn't easy for me," Hino continued. "I've dedicated my life to public service. To find out that I'm a failure in the eyes of the people I've dedicated myself to serving is a bitter pill. But a wise man knows better than to fight the will of the people, particularly in a democracy. It's a battle you can't win - - a battle you shouldn't win." He looked down to gather his strength of will. "If you are willing to assume control of the government of Japan, based on a vote of the people in elections I will call for one month from now, I will step aside." He squeezed her hands. "But I will only step aside for you."

"Secretary General!" Serenity gasped. "I-I don't want this!"

"Not every leader has wanted to lead," Hino told her. "Some have been forced to do so because it was the best way to help." Serenity bowed her head timidly. "It's what they want. A wise man - - woman - - knows better than to fight the will of the people. And I think you'll do well. I think I begin to see a little of what my daughter sees in you."

Agonizing, Serenity bit her lip.

"Do it, Sailor Moon," Momoko encouraged her. "I promise I'll do everything I can to help you." And behind her were chants of "Sailor Moon for Empress".

"All right," Serenity squeaked as if she were accepting a death sentence.

A roar rose up from the crowd, followed by cheering and celebrating. With the aid of Endymion, the senshi made their way to her side. Secretary General Hino quietly eased away as Serenity's friends and husband surrounded her.

"Well, looks like Crystal Tokyo's going to come true after all," Venus grinned. "How's it feel to be Queen, Serenity?"

"I think I'm going to be sick," moaned Serenity. Jupiter giggled and hugged her while the others patted her on the back.

* * * *

"You're leaving?" Serenity gasped. She clutched the shoulders of Kakyuu as if she feared the woman would disappear that very second. Setsuko stared with anxiety from the safety of Endymion's arms, upset that her Usagi-mama was upset.

"I have no desire to outstay my welcome, dear friend," Kakyuu smiled pleasantly.

"You could never do that! Tell her Mamo - - I-I mean Endymion!"

"And you have no further need of me, Usagi," Kakyuu persisted.

"Yes I do!" Serenity wailed. "I couldn't have done any of this without your help! And now they want me to be their leader!"

"I have merely shown you your path, Usagi. You must walk it yourself." She grasped Serenity's hands. "And you can. You have a brilliant light! Do not be afraid to let it shine!"

"But I can't . . ." Serenity began. Kakyuu gently placed her fingers to still Serenity's lips.

"I would like nothing better than to stay with you. But there are others who need me as well, chief among them my people of Kinmoku. You are strong enough now to walk on your own. And should you falter, you have a mate who adores you, senshi who would die for you and a populace who love you. It was more than I had when I ascended." She squeezed Serenity's hands harder. "And you have the power to reshape the universe and the humility and wisdom to use that power to the betterment of all. I could leave you in no better state."

Serenity snuffled. "I'm going to miss you."

"And I you. I promise to visit again one day. And Kinmoku is a beautiful planet, should you gain the desire to see it." She released Serenity's hands and turned to the Juuban Park Lake. "I leave you with a present, my dear Usagi."

Bringing her hands to her chest, Kakyuu slipped into a deep state of concentration. An aura, not unlike the licks of a burning bush, surrounded her. To everyone's astonishment, the ground around them began to shake. Then thick crystalline spires pushed up through the ground and the water of the lake like blooming roses and reached up to the sky. The crystalline began to expand out towards the other spires, forming walls as they caught the light and refracted out a dazzling rainbow of color at the amazed onlookers. It continued to grow until it was six stories in the air. At that point the inner spires pushed past the outer ones, reaching up into the air for another four stories.

Kakyuu exhaled and opened her eyes. Serenity and the senshi and the civilian onlookers marveled at what they saw.

"It's," Mercury mumbled in awe, "the Palace of Crystal Tokyo - - the one we saw in the future. The one . . ."

"The one where Serenity and Endymion lived," Endymion finished her thought. Serenity turned to him in shock. He gave her a reassuring glance and gripped her arm while Setsuko stared up in amazement.

"Kakyuu, it's too much!" Serenity cried. "I can't . . .!"

"It is merely a reflection of your own shining aura," Kakyuu said. "You are well deserving of it. And it contains the dimensional pocket where we consigned the Door Of Time, so you may better safeguard it, for only you and your mate have the power to truly safeguard such a wonderful and terrible thing."

"I guess we don't have a choice," murmured Serenity. Kakyuu clasped her hands again.

"You always have a choice, dear Usagi. The fact that you only see one acceptable alternative is the wisdom of your soul speaking. Do not fight it. Embrace your destiny."

Serenity nodded and Kakyuu backed away. Sailor Star Fighter stepped up.

"Good-bye," Star Fighter said - - short, to the point, and calculated to minimize revealing the pain that still lingered within her.

"Thank you for everything, Seiya," Serenity smiled, clasping her hands. "Please visit me again once your heart allows you."

"I promise I will," Star Fighter replied, bringing Serenity's hands up to her mouth and kissing them, "Odango." Serenity beamed.

Star Fighter moved off and Kakyuu eased up next to Serenity.

"Seiya will recover," Kakyuu whispered to Serenity. "She is strong enough to conquer her pain and wise enough to know the necessity of it."

"Maybe she could use some help," suggested Serenity. She glanced at Kakyuu with her matchmaker face. "I remember you telling me you weren't involved with anyone."

Kakyuu smiled at the boldness of Serenity's suggestion.

"You only have our best interests in mind, I know," Kakyuu replied patiently, "but your assumptions are incorrect. I have deep feelings for Seiya, it is true, but it is because she is my senshi and my friend."

"So? Don't limit yourself, Kakyuu."

"Usagi, I could no more be attracted to her than you could be attracted to your Ami or Makoto or Minako or . . ." Kakyuu stopped suddenly and for the first time Serenity could remember ever seeing, her eyes bulged in astonishment. Kakyuu's hand came to her mouth. "Oh my!" she gasped. Then she looked at Mars. "I had never considered such a thing!"

"Huh?" Serenity asked, staring blankly.

"Once more your wisdom has shown me a truth I had not seen. Truly you are the wisest of us all!" She grasped Serenity's hand again. "I shall consider it, Usagi. You have my word."

"I'm glad I could help," Serenity replied, still hopelessly confused.

As her princess approached, Star Fighter noticed she looked at her with a new perception. It puzzled her, but she felt all would be explained in time. It usually was when it concerned Kakyuu. Kakyuu grasped Star Fighter's hand and the pair shimmered into an orange fireball, then hurled up into the sky. The senshi crowded around Serenity and Endymion and watched them fly away.

"What do you suppose Princess Kakyuu meant by 'a truth I had not seen' anyway?" Jupiter posed.

"I'm - - not entirely sure," Mercury answered.

"Beats me," Venus replied.

"Well I sure don't know!" Serenity added.

"That's because you're a clueless ditz," muttered Mars, rolling her eyes.

"Stop being mean to me!" fumed Serenity. Then she smiled wickedly. "That's a royal command."

"To which I say 'bite me, Your Highness'," Mars replied acidly.

Uranus and Neptune merely exchanged knowing smiles.

* * * *

Luna softly padded into the royal chambers of the King and Queen, hoping to find Serenity there. After finally ditching Setsuko, who seemed determined to pick the black cat up whether Luna wanted it or not, she scoured the castle to no avail. Serenity was nowhere else to be found and the little black cat was becoming concerned. However, Luna found Serenity curled up in the windowsill of the room's ornate arched window, staring out at the city that was in the process of evolving into Crystal Tokyo.

"There you are! Honestly, Serenity, don't force me to tie a bell around your neck!" There was no response. "Serenity? Is something wrong?"

"No," Serenity replied wistfully. "I guess I'm just still a little overwhelmed by all of this. My head's still swimming." She looked out over the city again. "Nothing's ever going to be the same again, is it?"

"Some of it will," Luna told her. The cat effortlessly leaped up onto the sill next to Serenity. "But change is inevitable. You can't cling to the past forever. Sooner or later you have to turn and face the future or it'll sneak up on you and smack you across the bottom. And the future doesn't have to be something to be scared of. This may be the first day of a life filled with such joy and wonder than you'll scarcely be able to imagine why you were ever frightened of it."

Serenity smiled. "You always know the right thing to say - - sensei."

"S-Sen . . .?" stammered Luna. "Me?"

"Well, who else? Luna, you've been there for me from the very beginning, mentoring me, nudging me, showing me just how much I could accomplish if I just tried," Serenity said gratefully. Then she grew a wicked smile and added "biting me on the calf when I didn't move fast enough."

"It was only once," Luna scowled.

"Luna, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today! Who knows what I would have become, but it wouldn't have been this. Sure, I owe a lot to my husband and my friends, but you more than anyone took a scared, clumsy little goof-up and made her a Queen. So who else should I call sensei?"

"Well," Luna began, her voice thick with emotion, "once again I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit. But I-I do appreciate the sentiment."

"It's been a long and winding road, hasn't it?" Serenity grinned.

"With more than enough bumps to suit me," Luna nodded. "But we've made it. And the best is yet to come. So if you feel it best to address me as sensei, I don't see how I can refuse - - Your Majesty."

"Luna," groaned Serenity.

"Oh, don't start being modest," clucked Luna.

"I wish you wouldn't."

"It's fully deserved."

"It makes me uncomfortable."

"It's a term of great respect, as befitting someone of your title and station!"

"Well I don't like it! I wish you'd call me Usagi!"

"You're not Usagi any longer! You're Serenity now!"

"Well even Serenity's better than something pretentious and stuffy like 'Your Majesty'!" pouted Serenity.

Luna glared at her. "Your Majesty, Your Majesty, Your Majesty!" retorted the cat.

"LUUUUUUUUNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

* * * *

And they lived happily ever after.

Mostly.

THE END