Her heart wasn't in the fight and her scout knew it, and she even suspected the guards knew it as well. She dodged a whipping tentacle, nimbly back flipped a couple of times before dropping into a leg split as Mercury froze the attacker and Jupiter and Mars combined attacks to finish it off. The creature screamed, dropped to the ground with a dull thud and began changing back into a human. Serena squinted her eyes, focusing on the crystal's power. Her wand hummed at her side like a hive of bees. Shakily, she wrapped her damp palm around the handle and pointed it at the bleeding human.
"Why are you taking so long to finish this?" Mars hissed at her. Because this is the end…because I can feel the crystals longing to be one. "Sailor Moon?" Mars's voice was softer now and Serena realized that all her scouts had stopped to look at her.
"Why are you crying?" Venus asked gently, lowering her hands from a chain attack. Was she crying? She touched her face and found her cheeks drenched with her hot bitter tears. She didn't want them to see her that way. Rows and rows of people that stood to watch the battle all quieted. She didn't want to show them her weakness, her fear. She was a hero after all.
She swallowed back the thick knot in her throat and managed a wobbly smile. "It's finally going to be over." She whispered, not feeling guilty for not telling them the whole truth. But her friends knew her well enough to know when she was being fake. She didn't give them time to respond as she healed the human and the crystal was left floating in the air.
"Why aren't they coming after it?" Jupiter asked in a quiet voice, looking to the shadows and seeing still statue like figures. Their capes were swirling in the gentle night breeze. Because Darien wasn't with them, that's why. Where was he? He had more than enough time to come and reveal her secrets and get in on the battle. But so far, he hasn't shown up. Despite the fact that she was quivering with her own fate, she couldn't help but worry about him. He looked so broken when she left him, like the light in his life was finally blown out. As she thought these things, her scouts were exchanging questionable glances with one another. The crystal still hovered in the air, waiting for someone to snatch it. Serena turned to her friends.
"Get it Mars." She said in a soft, dead voice. Her raven haired teammate gave a final look to her before starting out. Just then, the lights from the streets flickered out and the whole park was bathed in darkness. There was a blanket of shocked and surprised gasps from the surrounding bystanders. Only the flashing lights of the police barricades and police cars stood among the cloak of night. It was then that the guards moved. Startled, the girls all ran to back up Mars. One of the guards arrived at the crystal just as Mars skidded to a halt. The guard jumped like a panther just as Mars dove for it. They both knocked the crystal down and it clinked as it bounced in the dirt.
"Fool!" Mars bellowed and sunk her right heel into the guard's stomach. He jumped back, his shirt ripping as her heel caught the fabric. Mars didn't let up, and gave a series of kicks. A lucky punch nicked his chin, sending his head snapping back.
The Scouts and Guards swarmed together in a mesh of power and steel. Serena didn't move. Part of her wanted this to happen, part of her didn't know what to do. It was like she lost control of everything finally, and it felt…like her secrets were finally floating off of her shoulders and she was free. Maybe they would feel the same, she thought watching Jupiter and the long brown haired Guard exchange fast blows. He had his sword out, sliced the middle. She barely had enough time to dodge it with a flip. He cursed with an impressive word and lunged at her once more.
"Venus crescent beam!" The slender beam was pared by the white haired man and he slid back in the loose dirt as he pushed the power back with the broad end of his huge sword.
"Shine aqua illusion!" The blanket of ice cold water was sent toward the one of the other guys and he ended up sprawled on the ground.
"Mars fire surround!" Multiple rings of fire shot at the short curly haired man. He nimbly dodged them, but one skated by his face and caught his mask on fire. He yelped and Serena watched in tense muteness as his tattered white mask fluttered to the ground. Mars stilled her eyes wide.
"Jadeite?" She finally uttered in a strained whisper. Jadeite was breathing hard staring at her with a similar expression. "Oh my god." She breathed, putting a hand to her trembling mouth.
Serena watched at the two just stared at one another and the fighting ceased a second after Mars spoke.
"Does that mean…?" Venus looked to the other figures, her eyes landing on the tall, somber one with silver hair. She slowly took herself to him, her arm outstretched. Slender finger pulled the mask from his eyes. Venus didn't look at his face, only the disguise that lay in her hands.
Serena shivered and she hugged herself to get warm. She felt him land next to her, but she didn't make an effort to move. I wish I had time to tell them, she thought, watching Jadeite and Mars. But there was no time, not even time to get over my own shock. Her nose burned, her eyes watered. Even in the end, it seems I can't do anything right for them. What would happen now? Everyone's secrets were out now, and they were bleeding with hurt, guilt, even betrayal.
"They should be happy together." She said low enough for only Darien's ears. He didn't respond so she continued. "Everything that happened to them in the past, I don't want them to know. I don't want them to relive that horrible fight where they all died to protect me. And what did I do? I killed myself and everything they suffered had been in vain." She quietly walked to where the crystal landed. "If I could go back, I would do things differently. I would have lived the way they wanted me to. The way he wanted me too."
"He?" Darien's voice was a mere whisper. Serena felt her heart expand just thinking about her lover. Was he ever reborn like I was? What was he like I wonder? Did he have friends? Family? Did he always wonder, like she did, if the world had that one precious person just for them? Well, she would never know the 'what-ifs' now. Serena pulled off his mask to see his eyes clearly.
"I never see his face, but I can feel him with my heart. You remind me of him so much." She pulled the rest of the crystals she found that night from a small pocket that was sewn where her bodice met with her skirt. She cupped them in her hand and soon, each of them lit up. From the darkness, three more zoomed in to the park. They were the ones from her house. All seven jewels floated into the chilly night air and swirled and swirled until they exploded in silver light. She took her moon wand and the silver crystal inserted itself. A moan fell from her mouth as she felt the power of the crystal wash through her body. She had to control the reach of the light. If the Scouts or Guards were to be touched by the silver light, who know what suppressed memories could be made known to them.
Serena managed to keep the light solely on her. Her uniform glowed, changed. Light fabric caressed her legs, her shoulders were bare as her dress blossomed and her crescent forehead moon flared to life. The night was thick with stunned silence. Her scouts turned to her with blank faces and the guards were stiff with surprise. She looked at the men and her friends and her heart swelled with sorrow and secrets. The crystal was whole now and if she wanted, she could have reveled all that she knew of the past to them. But she wouldn't, after this final battle they would forget her, their powers would fade and seal themselves until they were needed again. No, what she did want was to keep her promise to a certain man. She didn't miss his astonished expression as she turned to him and tilted her face to meet his eyes.
"This is all I can give you." She whispered and slowly took his hand into her hands. The silver crystal glowed and surrounded the pair, stripped them naked. The ribbons of silver milk caressed their skin, stroked their faces and invaded his mind. Serena watched in silent awe as Darien's eyes fluttered closed, a halo of light surrounding his head. It was over in an instant as the light faded and they were back in the dark park. She still held on to his hand as he gradually came to. He tried to speak, but no words came out. It was to be expected.
"You need to rest after this." She murmured and did a most unexpected thing, she tip-toed and kissed him. Dancing lights from the hidden paparazzi and reporters danced on their faces and the dark silence erupted into cheers and gasps. He looked dazed when she pulled back and she couldn't help the little smirk that pulled at her lips. "You were the best tutor ever." She paused and gave a look to her stunned scouts. "Take care of them will you?" She gave them a silent look of apology.
"Serenity…" Venus began, taking a step forward. But it was too late and she was gone in a flash.
"Serenity!" Mars cried in protest wildly searching the park. "Mercury!" The little scout was already typing furiously on her computer. She was biting her lip, shaking her head as she entered another sequence of keys.
"Nothing. She's not anywhere!" She cried. Damn it! Where could she have gone? And why did she tell Darien to 'take care' of them? She whipped to confront him only to see him fall to the ground in unconsciousness.
"Prince!" Jadeite bolted from her side and he as well as the other guards went to his side.
"Prince?" Jupiter muttered giving the girls a concerned look.
"Kunzite…" Venus began only to stop as the white haired man gave her a halting hand. Venus blinked, hurt creasing her eyes. He must have seen that look because he left Darien's side and gathered her in his arms.
"I'm sorry but we can't have this talk in full view of the entire prefecture." He said. Mars sighed, rubbing her temple to help ease the pain building behind her eyes.
"Let's go." Nephrite had Darien slung over his shoulder. Everyone nodded in agreement and they made it out of the park just as the lights were turned back on.
Serena was back in her original clothes as she stealthily slipped into the shadows of Tokyo. The crystal was safely in her pocket, but she was weak and scared of it all the same. Such a small jewel to hold so much power and bind her to an undeniable destiny. Soon, she was surrounded by dozen or so people who were muttering in excited tones.
"See, I told you there was something going on with them!"
"She kissed him and just left! I wonder what's going on?"
"Does that mean all of them are going to work together since they left together?"
Serena smiled as the young girls passed with their heads huddled close. She saw one of them with her cell phone out with a picture of the kiss they mentioned earlier. The crowed thinned, yet she remained in the same spot looking longingly at the young girls and knowing…that part of her life was over now. It seemed so far away now, school, friends, teenage life…
"Princess Serenity." A soft voice pulled her from her thoughts. She warily lifted her head in acknowledgment and saw two tall figures step from the shadows of the ally. They were familiar to her, the crystal told her of their powers. Strong powers, stronger than her inner scouts.
"Neptune, Uranus." The worlds spilled from her mouth as smoothly as a greeting would. They smiled a little, their arms folded.
"What are you planning to do?" Neptune asked. Serena didn't know her name yet, so she identified them by their planet powers. Of course they would have been reborn as well, destiny didn't forget about her guardians.
"You know what I must do." She said softly, bowing her head as she grasped the crystal in her pocket.
"Alone?" Uranus asked, raising a brow in her direction. Serena's mouth tightened. Were they here to stop her? She loved them also, they were the first to fall under Beryl's power. She would give them their life as well, their freedom.
"You can't stop me from doing this. Only one is needed to defeat her." She said stubbornly. The girls exchanged looks.
"It was faster than we originally thought." Neptune said, taking a step forward.
Serena frowned. "What was faster?"
"Your recollections. We didn't mean for it to happen. We wanted to present ourselves to you, but unfortunately we messed up. That movie…we helped make it." Movie? Serena's eyes widened.
"You knew who I was? What you are?" The girls nodded sagely.
"It was only supposed to make you realize who he was." Neptune said.
"Darien." Uranus supplied. Serena looked steadily at each of her protectors.
"Darien? What about him?"
"I thought you trusted your heart Princess? How could you be so blind?" Neptune asked with a smile. Her mind was drawing a blank. Darien was just Darien. Her tutor, her arch nemesis, her tormenter…what was so special about him?
"Please, let us come." Uranus said. A change of subject?
"No. I'll do this myself. I owe all of you." She said defiantly.
"But our duty is to protect you! We were given second chances and I'm not going to mess it up this time!" Uranus was becoming livid. It hurt Serena to hear her say such things, knowing that they never failed in their duty. They did protect her, all of them and she let her selfish emotions get in her way. Looking back now, she saw how weak she was.
"You'll only get in my way." She snapped. "I'm not the weak little girl that once lived in bliss on the Moon. I have a duty, I have a destiny. And if you want to prove your loyalty, than you will obey me." She sighed and turned away. "You can fill the inner scouts in, but I warn you." She pivoted. "Don't tell them about their deaths, don't tell them who killed them understand?" She was dead serious. The two girls shared a look. She saw more protest, so she left before they could stop her.
They would listen to her right? It was such a long time ago since they had seen and talked to one another. Were the Outer Scouts still loyal? Serena came to a halt in front of an abandoned part of town. The old building were tagged and faded.
"Luna?" She called out. She tensed when she heard something in the distance and jumped to the top of a building. Crouching, she squinted into the darkness and saw a tall shadow trotting toward her. Where the heck was Luna? She contacted her just before she met the others at the park. The shadowed person was just a transient. He looked up and down the vacant roads before disappearing into the night. With a sigh, Serena sat on the edge of the roof and waited.
The scouts didn't change from their uniforms when they arrived at the shrine. The guys drug Darien into an empty room. There was little eye contact until they all met outside.
"So…" Jupiter started off, leaning against a tree with her arms folded in front of her.
"This is just crazy." Mars muttered and put a hand to her head.
"You're telling me. I would have never imagined that something like this would ever happen. I mean you guys are the freaking Sailor Scouts!" Zoicite exclaimed and gave Mercury a little grin. "I knew there was more to you."
"Shut up!" Mars exploded, glaring at each one of them, even Jadeite. "You guys don't seem to grasp what is happening here. Our Princess is gone! Why the hell were you after the crystals in the first place?"
"Calm down babe." Jadeite gulped when Mars gave him a dark death look. "Darien needed them. He was dreaming about some chick who wanted the silver crystal and he knew if he got it, she would tell him what he wanted to know." He cautiously touched her shoulder, and began giving her a one handed massage.
"What did he want to know?" Mercury asked.
"I don't know, he would never tell us out right. Look, there are two sides here. If we tell you our side, will you tell us yours?" Kunzite asked, glancing at Venus. Venus game him a frown, narrowing her eyes.
"Scout huddle." The girls all came into a circle, arms around each other's shoulders. "So, what do you think? I should break up with him?"
"Venus." Mars scolded. "Should we tell them?"
"What can we lose by telling them?" Mercury asked.
"Hum, we could lose Serenity's trust and our sense of mystic." Jupiter said with a shrug.
"She just left us! What do you think she did to Darien?" Mars whispered hotly.
"I don't know." Venus lifted her head to stare at the guys who looked like they were having a meeting of their own.
"What can we gain by telling them?" Mercury brought their attention back.
"Valuable information. Maybe a new reason for us to be enemies." Venus said.
"Well? We can't just scratch our heads all night. We have to find Serenity and see what she's up to! I have a bad feeling about this. She might do something stupid and get herself into trouble." Jupiter said in a worried tone.
The tense silence was too much. "Well?" Mars asked impatiently.
"We'll tell them the need to know stuff. Not all of it though." Venus told them with a nod. The girls turned to face them, huddled close to one another. The guys waited.
"Serena is a reincarnated Princess and we are her protectors." Venus began.
The guys exchanged looks with one another. "Darien is Prince of Earth, and we're his protectors." Kunzite said back. "What did she do to our Prince?"
"Hey, she would never do something to hurt him." Jupiter said hotly.
"Well Darien was fine before she gave him that kiss." Nephrite shot at her.
"Don't talk to her like that!" Mars took a step forward.
"Calm down." Venus tugged Mars's bow and the dark haired scout let herself be pulled back.
"You are the Prince of the Earth's protectors, I believe you." Mercury started after a couple of heated glares that were tossed back and forth between the groups. "We are the Princess of the Moon's protectors. We were sent here to protect the people here. But our main mission was to get the Silver Crystal. It belongs to her since before we came here. What are your reasons for wanting the crystal?"
Everyone seemed to calm down a bit. "Jadeite, tell them." Kunzite instructed.
"He kept on having dreams about this girl. She was begging him to find the crystal and if he did, Darien believed that she could tell him what was missing in his life. He grew up alone, his parents died when he was young, but he told us that he always felt like he needed to look for someone. It ate at him until the girl came into his dreams. She gave him a purpose, to find the crystal meant that he could finally find what he was looking for." Jadeite explained looking to Mars as he did.
"And he never told you what he was looking for?" Venus asked with a thoughtful finger to her chin.
"He was looking for Princess Serenity." Everyone jumped to ready stance when the unrecognizable voices were heard. The tops of two heads steadily became clearer as the new people made their way up the stairs. They were stunning, one tall and blonde that kinda looked like Jadeite, and one poised beauty with wavy aqua colored hair.
"Who are you?" Venus demanded warily staring at them with fierce narrowed eyes.
"Calm yourself. We're on the same side." The blonde newcomer said and stuffed her hands in the pockets of her black jeans.
"Prove it." Mars shot hotly at them. The two girls exchanged looks and the blonde shrugged.
"Fine." They took out two changing wands that were way different then theirs. After the transformation, the girls looked to one another in shock.
"Uranus and Neptune." Venus said with a troubled shake of her head. "How come we don't remember you?"
"Princess Serenity restrained your knowledge when she kept the crystal's light from shining on you."
"Do you know where she is?" Mars exclaimed. Uranus and Neptune both let out identical troubled sighs.
"About to get herself into danger." Uranus finally said with a frown. Neptune gave a slight incline of her head. There was some rustling, like someone sliding their feet in the dirt. Darien stumbled from the building, bedraggled and still very pale.
"Prince." Kunzite rushed to his side, slinging Darien's arm over his shoulder to keep him standing.
"We have to go. We have to find my Serenity." He said, gritting his teeth and holding a hand to his throbbing head. There was dead silence, the Scouts all flushed in possessiveness.
"Your Serenity?" Mars asked him dangerously. Darien was pale, but he met her gaze with fire burning in his eyes.
"Yes. My Serenity." He turned to his guards. "It was her all along…Serena my mortal pain in the ass was the girl in my dreams."
"I see." Kunzite murmured in understanding and then looked at the newcomers. "Do you know where she went?"
The girls smiled. "Of course." The aqua haired girl said and motioned them to follow. "From this point on, everything you'll experience will truly test your strengths. Physically, mentally…emotionally."
"What do you mean?" Mercury asked, keeping close to Jupiter.
"You'll see." The blonde Uranus answered elusively and for that, the girls felt fear. Mars fell behind the girls and waited for Jadeite to join her.
"Despite everything we've kept from each other, I want you to know…I still love you." She whispered to him, sudden emotion filling her eyes. He crushed her to him, kissed the crown of her head.
"Nothing will change." He vowed. Venus and Kunzite were in front of them and they exchanged a silent forgiveness.
"I hope he's right." Venus whispered taking Kunzite's hand into her own. He pulled her close to him and gave her little hand a squeeze of assurance.
"Me too." He replied back and the group disappeared into the night…
AN: Well here it is the chapter before the final one. Thank you Thank you Thank you for the unlimited patience…remember to review! Kisses :MUH: