Every Cloud

Title: Every Cloud

Author: kazeko

Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon

Rating: PG


Series: prequel to "Crystal Shards"

Multipart: yes

Chapters: 6

Couples: Usagi/Mamoru, Neptune/Uranus (future)

Time: Sailor Moon R, after Mamoru broke up with Usagi, during Emerald's reign

Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon, duh.

AN: There's a couple of things that won't make sense in "Crystal Shards" if you don't read this fic. Also, while you're here, you could review . . .

Title: "Yuujou no tame ni" means "for the sake of friendship"

Chapter 1: Yuujou no tame ni

"We can't be together anymore."

"I don't love you."

"Leave me alone!"

Usagi slumped against the wall as Mamoru's words to her over the past weeks rang through her mind. She wondered what had brought on this newest wave of self-loathing and remembrance, and she groaned lightly as she remembered. Makoto had seen a new boy. And, as usual, he looked just like her old senpai. Usagi let the conversation rise and fall around her, riding the wave of camaraderie and friendship, pretending to listen. No one would question her if she didn't; airhead Usagi never listened at meetings.

Ami watched her leader, knowing there was something wrong with the blonde. She was always a little out there, but the look of pain that crossed her delicate features every now and then showed that something more was going on. Even Usagi's overly emotional and high-pitched responses to Makoto's description of her new crush seemed empty and forced. Surreptitiously, Ami pulled out her Mercury computer and scanned Usagi, watching the readouts dance across the screen. There was nothing physically wrong with her, except a high level of stress hormone. There was no reason for her to be stressed, no new youma or attacks from Emerald, so why was the leader of the Senshi so upset?

Rei, too, was watching, though she could never tell Usagi how much she cared. The young blonde was in pain, and Rei knew that Mamoru was at the heart of it. These days, he always was. Even though he still fought by their side as Tuxedo Kamen, Mamoru never spoke to Usagi, avoided her whenever possible, pushed her away whenever they did run into each other. Usagi still fought for him, begged him to take her back, but she was slowly giving up. Rei knew that soon Usagi would start meeting Mamoru with anger, then they would never speak again. She didn't want her best friend to suffer the pain of a broken heart, but the Senshi of Fire had no idea what to do.

Minako could feel Usagi's pain and loneliness beating at her like waves against the shore, and she fought the tears filling her eyes. Mamoru had no right to do that to the young princess, tell her that he didn't love her, when Minako knew very well that he did. She was trying her best, but the Senshi of Love couldn't figure out what was wrong. Usagi hadn't done anything, but days after Chibiusa arrived, Mamoru pushed Usagi away and hadn't told anyone why yet.

Makoto paused her excited ramble, sensing that the other Senshi had their attention trained on someone else. She glanced to the side, and Usagi jumped slightly, sensing all of her Senshi looking at her. "What?"

"Nothing," Rei smiled, her kindness a first. "Hey, we should do something tomorrow. Do you want to go to the mall, Usagi?"

Ami smiled. "You should take a break from all of this Senshi business," the genius added. "It would do you good, Usagi-chan."

Usagi started to smile and Minako nodded. "Yeah! I hear there's a new Sailor V game out, and maybe there are some new manga you can buy."

"And then we can have a picnic in the park." Makoto might not have the computer, sisterly relationship, or senshi powers that her friends had, but she could see that Usagi was in pain.

Usagi's face lit up at Makoto's suggestion. "You'll cook, Mako-chan?"

"Of course! What do you say?"

"It sounds like a really good idea," Usagi smiles. "Min'na, thank you. It'll be nice to forget the Dark Moon Family for a while."

Luna, curled up in her corner of Rei's room in the shrine beside Artemis, looked up at the preparations. Since the shrine was empty while Yuuichirou and Grandpa were in the city, the two cats could speak freely. "It'll be nice to see her smile again, Artemis. She's been sad for so long."

"She'll be fine."

Silence fell in the room as Mercury's computer beeped a warning. She picked it up. "The park," she whispered, knowing that no one wanted to hear about a youma just then.

Usagi, however, assumed her leader mantle in an instant. "Luna, Artemis; you two go find Chibiusa and make sure she's okay. I'll call you when the battle's over. Min'na, henshin yo!"

"Mercury Star Power, Make Up!"

"Mars Star power, Make Up!"

"Venus Star Power, Make Up!"

"Jupiter Star Power, Make Up!"

"Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!"

Mamoru gripped the edge of his table, sweat on his brow, desperately trying to control his transformation. He would not become Tuxedo Kamen, no matter how much energy he wasted denying the change. Finally, as Usagi settled into her Sailor Moon persona, the urge to change, to go help her as he always had, faded, and he fell onto his couch. Every time he saved Sailor Moon, she looked up at him with those pleading blue eyes, and he knew that he would not be able to deny her much longer. So he had decided after the last battle to let Sailor Moon and her Senshi fight on their own. The only thing he ever did was snatch Sailor Moon out of harm's way, and he knew that he wasn't even needed for that half the time. She could jump away fast when she needed to, and she was the fastest runner he had ever met. She'd be fine.

Then why was he feeling so guilty?

The battle wasn't going so well. This youma was smart, covered in long spines and willing to throw dangerous bladed objects. It was also almost impossible to hit.

"Burning Mandala!"

The youma easily dodged the fire attacking, growling when "Venus Love Me Chain!" wrapped around its middle. While Venus held it still for a moment, Jupiter filled her hands with lightning and sent it hurtling toward the youma.

"Sparkling Wide Pressure!"

"Burning Mandala!" Mars was determined to hit the thing with her attack, and she grinned darkly as it screamed from the burn. The youma broke free of Venus's chain, and the orange-suited senshi pulled it back, waiting for the next opportunity. The youma let out a scream as it released dozens of projectiles, most bladed but some weren't. Sailor Moon managed to jump out of the way, though she was the only one of her senshi so lucky. Venus just barely escaped a sharp knife, glancing at the tiny red line it left on her arm above her glove. Jupiter cursed as one of the blunt rocks nailed her leg, but she was able to land safely, her leg bruised but not broken. Mercury gasped as her arm collided with the rough edge of another rock, but the scrape was not serious. Mars, however, was thrown into a tree as a huge rock slammed into her stomach, and the sound of her ribs cracking filled the park.

"Mars!" Sailor Moon landed by her senshi's side, pulling the rock away, flinching from the tiny needle-like points covering the round surface. Moon touched Mars's belly, pulling her hand away dark with blood. "Mars?"

"I'm okay," she gasped. "The blood comes from dozens of tiny pinpricks. It's not that bad."

"Your ribs?"

"They'll heal." Mars reached for the tree, trying to stand up, and Sailor Moon caught her hand, pulling the red senshi to her feet. "You should go back to the battle, Sailor Moon."

The leader nodded, turning back to the youma, truly angry. "How dare you attack one of my friends?" Her voice was so dark and powerful that her senshi flinched. "Ai to seigi no, Seeraa fuku Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon! Tsukini kawatte, oshiokiyo!" An instant after her speech, Sailor Moon grabbed her tiara and pointed it at the youma. "Moon Tiara Action!"

The youma growled as the tiara barely missed slicing it in half. It pulled a dozen of the thick, deadly spines off its back and through them at Sailor Moon. The leader of the senshi could have escaped—she knew that without a thought. During the split second she had to make her decision, Sailor Moon looked over her shoulder at Mars, Rei, her best friend in the whole world, her soul's sister, and she knew that Mars would never be able to move quickly enough to dodge the incoming projectiles. Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter were too far away, and they could only watch in helpless horror as Sailor Moon stood up straighter and opened her arms.

She was smiling as the spines imbedded themselves in her body, finally understanding the satisfaction Tuxedo Kamen felt when he saved her. Mars was safe. That was the last thought that passed through her mind as she hit the ground.

"NOOOO!" Mars found strength in her fury as she stood up and readied her hands. "How dare you? Burning Mandala!"

"Shine Aqua Illusion!"

"Crescent Beam!"

"Supreme Thunder!"

The youma screamed as it finally died.

Mars fell by Sailor Moon's side, pulling her friend into her lap. "Sailor Moon? Are you okay? Wake up!"

Mercury pulled out her computer as her visor covered her eyes. She touched the seven spines imbedded in Sailor Moon's body, fear crossing her face. "They're poison," she whispered. "Jupiter, get the rest of them for analysis."

The brunette nodded, tears in her eyes as she pulled the other five spines out of the tree and the ground. Sailor Moon moaned as she struggled to open her eyes. Mars gasped at the swollen blood vessels in her leader's eyes. "Rei? Daijoubu?"

"Hai, Usagi," Mars whispered. "Daijoubu." Sailor Moon smiled before her eyes closed again, and pink ribbons swirled around her thin form as her transformation faded. "No," the flame senshi whispered. "Usagi, wake up!"

Mercury touched Mars's arms. "We have to pull the spines out before we move her. I'm afraid the poison has already invaded her system."

"I'll do it." Jupiter handed the extra spines to Mercury as she grabbed the first spine and gently pulled it out. Usagi moaned slightly, but the senshi sighed when they realized that the porcupine-like quills were not barbed. Jupiter removed the other six spines, flinching every time the princess moaned. Mercury wrapped the spines up for analysis as she laid her hands on Usagi's wounds, using her water power to wash the blood and as much of the poison as she could before slumping, sweat on her brow.

"We have to take her to the hospital. Pick her up, Jupiter; my mother knows our secret, so we can tell her the truth about what happened."

Jupiter carefully took the limp princess from Mars's arms, watching the miko's tears as all four senshi stood and jumped away, heading for the hospital.