"Violence and Corruption"
a Sailor Moon Fanfic
By Bill K.
(e-mail at billk57@earthlink.net)

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Story and all characters not previously copyrighted are copyright 2000 by Bill
Kropfhauser; Sailor Moon and all related characters previously appearing in
Sailor Moon manga or anime are copyright 2000 by Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and
Toei Animation and are used without permission, but with tremendous respect and
gratitude.
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Author's notes: This story takes place a few months after Sailor Moon Sailor
Stars. If you haven't seen the series that far, beware. Elements of previous
seasons are referred to and the ending of Sailor Stars is strongly hinted at.
As always, if you are only familiar with the English dub of Sailor Moon - -

Usagi=Serena
Ami=Amy
Rei=Raye
Makoto=Lyta
Minako=Mina
Haruka=Amara
Michiru=Michelle
Setsuna=Trista
Mamoru=Darien
Cooan=Catsy
Beruche=Birdy
Karaberas=Avery
Petz=Prisma
Yuuichiro=Chad
Kenji=Usagi's father
Ikuko=Usagi's mother
Shingo=Sammy
Yuuichiro=Chad
"Odango Atama"=Usagi/Serena's hairstyle, usually translated as "Meatball Head",
but occasionally as "Dumpling"

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Episode One: The Gathering Shadow

It had been a good plan at first. Rather than study at Rei's, where they
were always dodging her grandfather or Rei was screaming at either Yuuichiro or
Usagi, or Usagi's, where Usagi was always screaming at Shingo, or Minako's,
where Minako and her mother were always screaming at each other, Makoto had
invited them over to her place to study. Makoto liked having her friends over
to her apartment. She liked spending time with them and she liked showing off
her spotless, beautifully decorated home. Secretly she liked hearing them
marvel at the domestic perfection of the place. It made her feel good to please
people with her domesticity, for she knew that one day she would meet a man, he
would notice her domestic flair and it would overwhelm his negative impression
of her height and imposing physical frame. But that was for some day; for right
now, she enjoyed hearing someone else's voice in the apartment besides her own.

The trouble was, they weren't getting much studying done. Ami did her
part, as usual, trying to marshal the others. However, Usagi and Minako had
begged Makoto to cook something for them and Makoto couldn't say no. By the
time she got back, the deadly duo had suckered Rei into a debate on something
totally unrelated to school and Ami had surrendered in disgust. Once the snack
was served, all thoughts of studying were hopeless dreams. Not that Makoto
minded that much.

"Usagi," Makoto asked, chin propped leisurely on her hand, when the debate
had ground to a halt. "Have you thought about what you're going to do when you
graduate?"

"Of course," beamed Usagi, straightening up with excitement. "I'm going
to marry Mamo-chan!"

"No, I mean immediately after you graduate."

"He's going to wear a handsome kimono and I'm going to wear the most
stunning gown in the world. And the temple will be filled with everyone I've
ever known."

"No, Usagi . . ."

"And we're going to make our everlasting vows of devotion to each other.
Then he's going to sweep me off my feet and carry me off to our love nest and
we'll live happily ever after." Usagi's chest thrust out, then fell with the
release of a deep, contented sigh.

"Usagi, what makes you think he's going to marry you right after you
graduate?" scowled Rei.

"Why not?" Usagi asked. Then a pall of fear draped over her features.
"Do you know something? Is something wrong?"

"Usagi, what she means is . . ." began Ami.

"OH, REI, YOU ARE SO CRUEL!" bellowed Usagi, tears welling up in her eyes.
"TO SAY . . . TO EVEN HINT THAT MAMO-CHAN DOESN'T LOVE ME!"

"Why do I bother?" muttered Rei.

"Usagi, nobody is saying that Mamoru doesn't love you," Ami insisted.
"But you can't just assume your wedding is going to happen the day after you
graduate high school."

"IF she graduates high school," groused Rei. Usagi shot her a quick,
vibrating tongue.

"Why wouldn't he?" Usagi asked.

"Usagi, he has plans," Ami told her. "He has school. He has a career to
pursue. And until he establishes himself, you can't expect him to provide for a
wife, can you?"

"Oh," Usagi replied, staring down at the table. It was clearly the first
time she'd considered such a thing. "I guess that makes sense."

"Which means when you graduate, Usagi," Minako said, leaning in on her
elbows, "you're going to have to get a job."

"A JOB!" squealed Usagi. "I've already got a job! I'm Sailor Moon! And
it's getting to be a full time job anymore!"

"Yeah, but you can't support yourself being Sailor Moon, can you," grinned
Makoto. "You're going to have to get one that pays. Do you have any idea what
you'd like to do?"

"Um. . ." Usagi thought. "Have you?"

"Sure! I'd love to run my own bakery some day, or a restaurant, but I
don't have the money yet. So I guess I'll just get a job cooking at someone
else's restaurant so I can learn how it's done."

"And of course I'm going to be an idol some day," Minako said proudly.
"If I can get any kind of job inside the industry, like when I was working with
the Three Starlights, that would be great. Or maybe performing in some small
club or other venue that'll get me discovered. But I'll take anything that'll
allow me time to go to auditions."

"Well, I've already got a job," Rei added. "Grampa keeps threatening to
leave the temple in my hands. I figure one day he's going to be serious." Then
she smiled wistfully. "Unless I sell somebody one of my songs first. Or a
whole bunch of them. Or even better, someone hears one of the demo tapes I make
and wants me to record them myself. That would be the best ending of all."

"And I'll be entering college and then med school," Ami said, "although I
haven't decided which offer to accept yet. Then once I've graduated med school,
I'll intern at a hospital, then residency. After that, I'll either start my own
practice or go back to college and study micro-biology so I can specialize - -
perhaps even make some new discovery in the field."

At that point, Ami noticed the others were staring at her, overwhelmed.
Her eyes darted to the table and her cheeks flushed.

"So how about you, Usagi?" asked Makoto.

"Well . . ."

"Let me guess," sighed Rei. "You haven't thought about it because you've
been too busy drawing red hearts in your notebook that have your and Mamoru's
names in them."

"You don't have to be right all the time," grumbled Usagi.

"Well, there's plenty of things you can do," Makoto smiled. "Maybe you
can be a waitress at my restaurant." Makoto thought suddenly. "Although you
might accidentally break all the dishes."

"Well, I'll give you a job as my assistant," Minako offered. "You could
answer my fan mail and . . . Wait a minute. I forgot about the way you spell."

"You could always . . ." Ami began.

"Forget it, Ami-chan," Usagi sighed, holding up her hand. "I know I'm not
smart enough to help you."

"Don't worry, Usagi. I'll give you a job," Rei jabbed. "We can always
use somebody to sweep up."

Instead of the laughter or anger Rei was expecting, the room filled with
an awkward silence. Usagi looked down at the table silently.

"I think I'm going to go home," she said quietly, rising up from the table
and grasping her satchel.

"Usagi," Makoto appealed, but her friend kept going without looking back.
The door shut softly behind her, leaving behind a melancholy room. "Nice one,
Rei," sighed Makoto.

"Well, I can't help it if the truth hurts," Rei scowled in frustration.

"Well here's a truth for you," Minako snapped. "You've got a big mouth!
How'd that feel?"

"Terrible. Give me another one, though. I think I deserve it."

"We were all pretty hard on her," Ami confessed.

"Yeah," said Minako. "Some friends we are."
* * * *
In a dark wound deep inside the Earth, a woman sat on a throne carved from
granite. She was a slim woman, long and lean, yet muscular in a wiry way. Not
unlike the dragon she wore as an emblem on her shiny green silk dress, a dress
with a high collar around her slender throat, no sleeves and a hem extending to
her feet. A long, slim, menacing leg jutted out through a slit on the left side
of the dress, a slit that ran from the hem to the hip.

There were other resemblances to the dragon on her dress: a pronounced
arched, hairless brow over her eyes and eyes with elliptical irises - - lizard
eyes. Her nose was long and thin, her cheeks long and sallow. Pronounced
pointed ears cut through a thick, tousled, curling mane of brown hair tumbling
down to her shoulders and down her back. Her skin was soft, but cold, the tone
faint and with a slight greenish tint.

She sat on her throne, motionless, studying with great intensity a
holographic image in her lap. The scene was a recreation in miniature of the
climactic struggle between Sailor Moon and Sailor Galaxia, a battle now months
gone.

Off to one side were Tygos and Tenera. They watched their mistress stare
at the holographic ballet as she had for weeks on end. If they were concerned
about their mistress's actions, they kept their concerns unspoken. They stood
motionless, waiting for the summons of their mistress. The red glare of the
natural underground light painted their obsidian black bodies with eerie
highlights. There were no features on their faces save for phosphorescent
white eyes and a long, thin mound that might have been a nose. Their figures
were female, long and lean like their mistress. The only difference was their
hair color. Tygos had long flowing silver locks, while Tenera's thick mane was
a deep violet.

Breaking her gaze, Tygos turned to her sister and voiced her concern with
her expressionless face and the subtle posture of her body. Tenera responded in
kind.

"Come to me," their mistress said, expecting obedience. The pair
responded instantly, their light and gliding gait effortlessly covering the
distance in moments.

"Command us, Talon Umbra," Tygos said. She and Tenera bowed deferentially.

"We have reached a critical time," the empress said, her tone controlled
and all-knowing. "A force again grows upon the world, a force that will one day
oppose me and all I seek to gain on the world above."

"Point me to this force, Mistress," boasted Tygos, "and I will obliterate
it in your name."

A bemused smile crossed the face of Talon Umbra.

"No, Tygos," she said maternally. "You are not what I need this time."

"But Mistress . . ."

"You are my good right arm. You have served me faithfully and well for
these many centuries. I charge you, serve me again by standing down and
allowing your sister to carry my banner in this battle."

Tygos wavered. Her chest expanded and her shoulders straightened. For a
moment, it seemed as if she would resist. Then she bowed her head.

"Yes, Mistress," she whispered.

"Tenera. Look at this human. Study her well."

A holographic image of Sailor Moon appeared in the air between them.

"Mistress," Tenera questioned, "you concern yourself with this . . .
child?"

"Do not be fooled by outer appearances," cautioned Talon Umbra, her lizard
eyes narrowing. "The light is strong in her. I have seen that light shine and
it is a brilliance I have not seen in two thousand years. This child can bring
the end to us all."

"What must I do, Mistress?" asked Tenera deferentially.

"You must weave your web, Tenera. You must snare your victims in your
black folds and claim them for your own. Through you, they will follow me."

"She will be yours, Mistress."

"No!" snapped Talon Umbra. "You must not strike directly at her! Others
have tried and others have failed. Were it that simple, I would send Tygos."
Talon Umbra waived her hand and other images sprung up around Sailor Moon, those
of the inner senshi. "This one is protected. They are aspects of her: Brain,
heart, spirit and arm. Rob her of these. Turn her aspects against her and only
then can you crush her." Talon Umbra allowed herself a feral smile as her bosom
heaved.

"Your will is my will, my Mistress," bowed Tenera. "It shall be so."

"Strike first at this one," the empress said, pointing to Sailor Mars.
"She has the second sight and is the most dangerous to you. Defeat her and the
others will fall more easily. But you must be cautious with this one. A single
misstep, a single elephantine movement on your part will reveal you and destroy
any hope of success. You must move carefully, but only you can succeed."

"I will not fail you, my Mistress," Tenera pledged. Her image wavered and
then disappeared.

Talon Umbra eased back into her throne. She waived her hand and all the
images dissipated, save for that of Sailor Moon. As she stared at the image, a
malevolent smile curled the woman's mouth.
* * * *
Usagi lay across her bed, staring up at the ceiling. The cold slap of
reality her friends had given her was just the latest trial she'd undergone. At
the moment, the girl wondered if her entire world were about to come crashing
down on her head again, so soon after having rebuilt it after the destructive
battle with Sailor Galaxia.

"I won't cry," she whispered. "Mamo-chan says I should be adult and
adults don't cry." However, she felt the familiar burning sensation in her
eyelids and knew her tear ducts were about to unload just to spite her.

A soft knock on her door caught her attention. "Come in," she squeaked.

"Princess?" her father inquired cautiously, poised in the door frame. "Is
something wrong? You hardly touched your dinner."

"I'm all right, Daddy," Usagi said, then sighed heavily. Her father knew
the sign.

"It doesn't seem like it. Are you worrying about school again?"

"Why worry about something you can't help?" Usagi continued to stare at
the ceiling. "Daddy, what's going to become of me when I graduate?"

"You'll meet some boy and he'll be enchanted by your willowy beauty and
beg you to marry him," he smiled wistfully. "And it'll be the saddest day of my
life, because from that point on I'll only be the second most important man in
your life."

Usagi grinned sympathetically. "No, Daddy. You'll just be 1-A." Then
she grew serious. "But what do I do until I marry him? How can I get a job if
I don't know how to do anything?"

"Well, now you know why your mother is always pushing you to get good
grades. Princess, even the worst student in the history of Japan was good at
something. You're good at a lot more than you think you are. You just have to
find out what you're good at."

"Do they have jobs that pay people to sleep until noon?" Usagi asked.

"If they do," grinned her father, "let me know. I want to get that job
myself. Look, Princess, I'm not saying you're destined to be Queen of some
country some day. You might have to lower your sites some to find what you're
good at. But you are good at more things than you give yourself credit for.
Find one of those and do it until your prince sweeps you away. There's still
time. You don't graduate for another two years."

"OK, Daddy," Usagi replied neutrally.

"Just don't put it off like you always do."

"Yes, Daddy," Usagi grinned in spite of herself.

After her father left, Usagi rolled over onto her side and squeezed her
arms to her chest. She couldn't tell her father everything she was worried
about. It would have made him irrational. Again her mind replayed the memory
loop, in spite of her desire not to view it again.

They were in the park, sitting on one of the benches. Mamoru had just
told her that the new semester at the school in America was approaching and it
would be time again for him to leave. And all at once Usagi felt she was in the
mouth of a swirling whirlpool, being sucked down to drown. Of course Mamoru
noticed. The whole park probably noticed her stiffen.

"Usako, you knew this day was coming, didn't you?" Mamoru said.

"I know my dentist appointment's coming, too," she said, unable to face
him. "It doesn't mean I think about it."

"I'm sorry, Usako. I have to go. I'm already behind because I missed
last semester. I'm just grateful I was able to get them to carry over my
admissions and financial aid paperwork over. I can't miss another semester."

"I'm not trying to stop you," Usagi squeaked. "I know how much you want
to go. How much it means to you. But I can't help being afraid."

"Of what?"

"Well," she paused, "of you meeting another woman who's your age, who's
smart enough to understand what you study, who's mature enough to talk to you on
your level."

"I probably will. That doesn't mean I'll fall in love with her." He
reached over and grasped the third finger of her left hand, the one that bore
the engagement ring he'd given her. "That's what this means, remember? And
I'm taking the same risk. How do I know you won't meet some sixteen-year-old
boy who likes popular music, hates school and has those eyes girls get lost in?
I have faith in our love, Usako. You should, too."

"And," she continued, "I'm afraid of missing you so. The last time became
so unbearable. I tried to be strong without you. I did try. But it hurt,
Mamo-chan. It hurt so much."

"I know. It'll hurt me, too. I know what a dark and dismal place
loneliness is, Usako. I had nothing before I met you. And I wasn't a nice
person before I fell in love with you."

"I remember," Usagi scowled. Mamoru laughed and hugged her to him.

"Well, it was bitterness over the loneliness I felt. It was a darkness
that your light extinguished. I don't relish facing that loneliness again. But
I'm an adult now and you're going to be one soon, and part of the price we pay
for being adults is doing things we don't always want to do."

Usagi's response was a sniff.

"Now what scares you?"

"I'm also scared," she whispered, lest some god or spirit hear her and
make it come to pass, "that you won't come back - - that I'll lose you. It
almost happened last time. It had been so long since I'd seen or heard from you
and then when I saw your Star Seed in Galaxia's hands . . ." Usagi shuddered in
Mamoru's grasp and he held onto her more tightly. "I was scared, Mamo-chan!
I was afraid I'd never see you again!"

Mamoru held her to him as she struggled not to cry.

"Usako," he whispered. "What can I say? We walk hand in hand with death
every day of our lives. Part of me is afraid every time you transform into
Sailor Moon. I know what you feel. I held your limp body in my arms on that
asteroid you guided back to Earth and I was afraid I'd lost you forever. And,
but for the grace of Fiore's gift, I would have. That image haunts me, Usako."

Usagi looked up at him, sympathy in her large blue eyes.

"But we can't let fear rule our lives or we have no lives to live. You
have to have the strength to shut your fear up in a little box or else you can't
function."

"I'm not. . ." she began.

"Yes you are. I wouldn't love a girl who wasn't strong. And I love you."

Impulsively, Usagi jammed her mouth to his, wrapping her arms around his
neck. After a moment, Mamoru cradled his arms around Usagi. She kissed until
she couldn't kiss him any longer. Tearing herself from his grasp, cheeks
flushing, she lurched from the bench and stood a few feet from him.

"Go to America," she said, not facing him. "Study hard. I'll wait for
you. I'll be strong." Usagi looked like she wanted to run, but hesitated.
Then she turned and faced him, her long trails of hair whipping out around her.
"But you write me! As soon as you can! Because if you don't do it this time,"
Usagi said, her lower lip quivering, midway between anger and tears, "I'll come
to America and hit you with my shoe!"

A laugh escaped Mamoru's best effort to suppress it. "I will. I recall
how hard you hit with that thing."

Usagi snorted out a sound that seemed part laugh and part sob. She gave
Mamoru one last, longing look, then turned and ran off.

"I'm trying, Mamo-chan," Usagi whispered to herself in her bedroom. His
plane had been gone ten days past and his first letter sat on her desk under a
plaster rabbit figurine. "Why does being an adult have to be so hard?"
* * * *
Tenera hovered above the street outside of Hikawa Shrine, unseen by the
few passersby below. She took great care to view the grounds of the shrine with
the most modest of mystic probes, lest she attract the attention of those inside.
The girl and the old man both possessed some affinity for that which cannot be
seen. How much Tenera wasn't sure of, but her mistress warned her to caution and
caution she would display.

The past was an open display to her and Tenera saw her mistress was right
in warning her against the girl. She could not attack her directly, nor could
she attack through the old man. Each would sense her presence too quickly and
be on guard. Tygos could strike at a foe on guard. Tenera depended on stealth
and cunning. She continued to wait, as she had waited all day, until an opening
that could be exploited came.

Then she saw him. Yuuichiro, returning from the store with school
supplies Rei needed for the next day, which he loudly volunteered to fetch for
her in his never-ending quest to curry her favor, approached the steps to the
temple. She knew of him and of the girl's conflicted feelings toward him, and
Tenera's eyes narrowed.

Her arms extending from her body until she resembled a hovering crucifix,
Tenera's head eased back on her neck. The white eyes became mere slits and the
violet hair blew in a gale felt only by her. She shimmered slightly and then
there were two. A perfect duplicate hovered beside her.

"The man," Tenera said, pointing the duplicate toward Yuuichiro. "He is
your target, my aspect. He will be your bridge to your final destination." The
duplicate nodded solemnly. "Go, then."

The aspect of Tenera glided down to Yuuichiro. She swirled around him,
her obsidian hands caressing his face and chest, her violet hair enveloping his
head, her dark lips whispering silently into his ear. Yuuichiro stopped on one
step, as if listening to a siren call only he heard. The aspect continued to
seduce him unseen.

Then, in an instant, the aspect was sucked inside of Yuuichiro, through
his ears, through his eyes and his nostrils and his mouth. He seemed to shake
from an inner battle being waged, then grew silent. Taking a breath, he took a
step. No longer was he Yuuichiro.

Rei was inside, refilling the candles and the bins of incense, and
scraping the hardened puddles of wax from the candleholders. It was a job she
didn't have time for, but one that had to be done. And since Yuuichiro was out
buying supplies she could have picked up in the morning on her way to school and
Grandpa had neglected to do it while he gave "spiritual guidance" to a pair of
young women who had wandered into the temple, it was left to her.

"I should just go," muttered Rei. "Just live on my own like Makoto and
write songs. Sure I'll starve, but don't all artists have to starve at first?
It beats picking wax out from under my fingernails."

There was a faint tickle at the base of her spine and Rei stopped. She
heard nothing, but she knew something was there. Turning quickly, her long
black hair flowing behind her, she focused on a figure in the doorway.

"Oh," she sighed, recognizing Yuuichiro. "It's just you." Her eyes
glided down to the shopping bag in his hand and her irritation grew. "Could you
put that down, please, and help me with this? I don't want to spend all night
doing it!"

Rei turned back to the candleholders. At once she felt his presence
behind her. The thought occurred to her that he was waiting for instruction
like some brain-dead zombie, until she felt his hand on her shoulder. Gentle,
as he always was, and yet strong. She turned to him.

"What . . ." and the rest died in her throat. She looked into his eyes.
They smoldered with desire for her. There was something different about him.
The need for her was there, as always, but he was a different Yuuichiro:
confident, passionate, with a posture and demeanor that seemed to say to her
that all of her dreams could be hers if only she gave herself over to him. In a
way it was - - exciting.

"No words," he whispered, his hand caressing her chin lightly, then
brushing across her lips. "Words only get in the way."

Yuuichiro leaned in to kiss her. He was half way to her mouth when Rei
shook herself from her trance. Part of her screamed to back away. Her hand
pressed against his chest as a ward against his advances.

"N-Now wait a minute," she mumbled.

"No," he rumbled. Rei found strong hands seizing her, forcing her back
against the wall. Yuuichiro's massive frame pinned her there. She began to
resist, but couldn't stop his mouth from jamming to hers. At first, she thought
Yuuichiro had just lost his mind. Then she felt it: the taint within him,
bubbling to the surface. Rei struggled to break the connection between them,
screaming into his mouth.

With the speed of a cobra, the aspect of Tenera struck. Rei felt it
penetrate her mouth, her nose, her eyes and ears. It was like falling into a
cauldron of bubbling acid. Her mind burst into flames and her body cringed
beneath her.

They both fell to the floor, Yuuichiro numbed with shock and Rei wracked
with tremors. She shook for the longest time. Yuuichiro opened his eyes and
saw Rei convulsing. Struggling to his knees, he scrambled over to her. As he
reached her, she became still.

"Rei-chan!" he gasped, confused and concerned. He had no memory beyond
climbing the steps to the temple. Why was he on the floor? What had happened
to Rei? "What is it? Are you all right?" He pulled the girl up to cradle her
in his arms.

Her response was a vicious backhand. The blow knocked Yuuichiro back.
Freed from his grasp, the dark beauty climbed to her feet and stood over him.

"Rei-chan? What happened?" Yuuichiro begged, stunned by her blow. "I
don't remember . . ."

"DON'T speak to me," hissed Rei, her eyes and voice blazing with such
overpowering hatred and loathing that Yuuichiro's heart froze in fear. "Don't
touch me. Don't look at me. Don't think of me EVER AGAIN!"

"What did I do?" howled Yuuichiro. "I apologize, whatever I did! I-I was
possessed by something! I don't remember what happened!"

Ignoring him, Rei walked purposefully toward the door to the temple
grounds.

"Wait! Where are you going?"

"Away from here," Rei replied. She paused at the door and glanced at him
with a malicious glint in her eye. "I've had it with this place. I'm going to
go out there and claim what's mine."

Rei walked out. Yuuichiro watched the door slam closed in stunned
silence. The gap in his memory was only a few minutes. How could the world
have changed that much in only a few minutes?

Continued in part two