Title: Dead Crystals
Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Timeline: "A Child of Darkness and Light", "Crystals of Love: Masks", "The Last Sacrifice: The End of the Silver Millennium", "CAS 1: The Trouble with Love is the Lovers", "CAS 2: To Defy Destiny", "Every Cloud", "Crystal Shards", "CAS 3: Unwilling Accomplice", "Our Past 1: The Reason We Fight", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "Our Past 2: The Reason We Still Fight", "Our Past 3: The Reason We Fought", "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "In the Darkest Forest", "Destiny or Duty", "Dead Crystals", "Desperately Searching", "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 1: The Gathering", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 2: Castle in the Sky", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 3: Queen of the Moon", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 4: Separation Anxiety", "Crystals of Love: Betrayal", "Crystals of Love: Forsaken", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 5: Black Moon Family", "Crystals of Love: Destined Couple", "Crystals of Love: Horoscope", "Crystals of Love: Haiku", "Crystals of Love: Thunder Goddess", "Crystals of Love: Blood of the Rose"
Time: A few years after Sailor Moon Stars, around Usagi's 20th birthday
Summary: Death Reborn Revolution has drastic side-effects
Disclaimer: no ownership . . . blah blah . . .
"Haruka! We're going to be late!"
"I'm coming, Michiru." The blonde racer sighed as she straightened her jacket and headed into the living room where her girlfriend was waiting for her. They were headed to Usagi's birthday party as the princess finally turned twenty, coming of age at last. Mamoru had arranged for the party, paying for everything while the Senshi organized the celebration. Even Chibiusa had come from the future to see her mother's twentieth birthday, the pink-haired girl a young teenager already. Setsuna had already taken Hotaru earlier in the day to see her friend, and the Inner Senshi had been preparing for the party all morning, leaving only Haruka and Michiru to arrive later. They had been at a concert all morning, and the blonde Senshi of Uranus almost wished that she could just curl up somewhere and go to sleep. She loved her princess, but she had a very bad feeling about that day and she really didn't want to go.
Michiru smiled as her partner entered the main room, frowning when she caught onto the blonde's mood. "What's wrong?"
"Just a bad feeling, Michi. I'll be fine. Let's go make the princess happy."
Usagi laughed at Minako's antics, calmly eating the cake Makoto had gone to so much effort to make. Usagi was no longer the selfish child she had been before the Senshi Power found her, eating more healthily and sedately, worried that she had to be in good shape to make it through the pain the Earth would face before she could ascend to her throne. Some days, Haruka wondered what happened to her carefree, fun-loving princess and what the Senshi could do to bring her back.
Setsuna suddenly sat up perfectly straight, garnet eyes focused on something only she could see, her planet symbol appearing on her forehead. Usagi froze, turning to her Outermost Senshi, all sound in the room dissipating. "I feel a great disturbance . . . some leftover evil, some piece of dust from your many vanquishings . . . we must go and stop its influence from spreading."
An instant later, nine Senshi stood where nine women had stood. Chibiusa paused, glancing at her mother as she also transformed, Mamoru changing into Tuxedo Kamen an instant later. Pluto raised her Time Staff and stared into her Garnet Orb, teleporting to where she sensed the evil. After so many years, the other Senshi could still not teleport on their own, so the Inners surrounded Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Kamen, and Sailor Chibi Moon and Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn formed their own circle as both groups teleported.
When they arrived in the park, Pluto was already battling a great dusty gray cloud of something that apparently arose from the small meteoroid on the ground in the center of the grass. The greenery around the cloud was fading, dying off as if poisoned, and Uranus felt a shiver of despair pass through her frame. She raised her Space Sword in defiance as Pluto attacked the cloud.
A dark, raspy laugh filled the air as the dark cloud absorbed Pluto's power easily and attacked back with what looked like a cloud of spores. Uranus grabbed Neptune's arm and pulled her back, away from the danger, as Tuxedo Kamen grabbed Moon and jumped away, the rest of the Senshi scattering.
"It's a Shadow Cloud!"
"A what? What's that, Pluto?"
"A demon created from the remnants of evil energy, capable of poisoning an entire planet in less than a day and using the energy from its destruction to increase its power and find a new planet. This one has already destroyed something outside our Solar System or it would not be so strong already. We must destroy it, somehow."
"But your power didn't work, Pluto! How can any of ours?"
"Mine might, Mercury," Moon replied, pulling out the wand she hadn't used since she fought Galaxia so long ago. "But I don't know if it will obey me after so long." Closing her eyes, the princess concentrated her power into the wand, wincing as it screamed its defiance. It no longer wished to obey her, possible didn't even recognize her since her Star Seed was rebuilt fighting Galaxia. Shaking her head, Eternal Sailor Moon stepped back. "I can't do anything. Only your powers can destroy this thing."
Jupiter shrugged and clapped her hands together. "Then I suppose we should get started. Ladies, shall we?"
Mars attacked first, her fire power absorbed as easily as Pluto's had been. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Neptune attacked in turn, but they were as easily defeated. The black cloud grew with every attack, the life around it vanishing, the poison spreading. As the other Senshi rested, Saturn stepped forward, scythe held ready.
"I was born to defeat this thing," she whispered, raising her staff above her head, purple eyes fierce. Her voice filled with a dark power as she swung her scythe, her cloud of purple power reaching out to the evil as she cried out, "Death Reborn Revolution!!"
"NO!!!!" Neptune leapt forward, wrapping her arms around Saturn as the youngest Senshi sent forth her greatest power. The dark cloud screamed as the destructive power of Saturn surrounded and consumed it, sending one last dark tendril toward the fainting girl. Neptune raised her mirror to shield her daughter as Saturn fell, her scythe vanishing with the menace, flipping the Aqua Mirror to reflect the tendril back to the dying cloud.
A sharp wind filled the park as Neptune fell to the ground with Saturn, her last minute embrace having saved her daughter from the side-effects of her power. Uranus knelt down and easily lifted Sailor Saturn as she detransformed, leaving a pale girl curled up in her father's arms. Haruka and Michiru detransformed as the other Senshi followed their lead, staring at the blackened field. "Are there any more of those things out there, Setsuna-san?"
"I hope not. I should go to Pluto and set up some alarm system to warn us if something like this happens again. We should also think about trying to practice our powers to defeat it next time, because Hotaru can't use her power like that again. It was pure luck that Michiru was able to interfere and save her."
"We'll help you, if you want."
"No. You stay here with Michiru and Hotaru while I go set up some alarm system."
Haruka nodded and carried her adopted daughter away, leading Michiru and the younger Senshi back to their homes. Michiru pulled out a small handkerchief and coughed into it as she followed her family and friends away.
"Setsuna, I think that my powers are fading."
"Fading? What do you mean?"
"I don't feel as strong as I did before. I can't see as well in the middle of the night, I can't seem to run as fast or as easily, and I don't feel that power surge I used to when Uranus is high in the sky. Michiru thinks she's losing her powers just as fast if not faster than I am."
Pluto nodded and stood, gesturing for Uranus to follow her. "I spoke to Usagi about the possibility of this happening. We haven't had any attacks or even possible attacks in months, not since that cloud wraith thing, and I doubt anything else will happen until Usagi is ready to create Crystal Tokyo."
"When will that be?"
"I do not know. When she is ready. It may take a while. I think our powers may start to fade slowly until that time comes, then we will be reborn stronger and better than before. Let your powers go, Haruka-san; you do not need them now."
Michiru sat in the window and watched birds flying by, coughing gently into her tissue. Recently her coughing fits were getting worse, though she was still able to hide it from Haruka. She had been to the doctor twice, but he wasn't able to tell her what was wrong, only that she needed rest.
"Are you okay? You seem a little under the weather."
Michiru smiled as she turned to her daughter. "You're learning American phrases from Minako-san again, aren't you?"
"Yeah. She invited me to go shopping with her today. We saw the others and they were very worried. Usagi-san says that Haruka-papa is losing her powers."
"She is. I'm getting weaker, too. How are the girls holding up?"
"Their powers are unaffected. Usagi-san wonders if it's something in the Outer Solar System that's attacking your planets."
"Setsuna-san checked. She can't find anything wrong." Michiru suddenly devolved into a severe coughing fit, regaining her breath with a great deal of effort.
"I'm okay. These fits are getting worse, though. I can't hide it from Haruka for too much longer. I'm worried what she'll do when she finds out."
"She'll insist that you go to the doctor."
"I've already been. They can't find anything wrong."
"Well, just rest. I'll take care of you."
"Hai, Haruka-papa?" The young woman stopped in front of her adoptive father as the tall blonde entered the house, a plate of rice and vegetables on a tray in her hands along with a cup of Michiru's favorite juice and some fruit.
"Are you taking Michiru food?"
"Yes, Haruka-papa. She does not feel very well."
"What's wrong with her? She hasn't been herself lately."
"She's just a little under the weather, that's all."
"Hime-chan, don't lie to me."
The younger woman sighed and hung her head slightly, purple hair hanging over her eyes. "She doesn't want to worry you, Haruka-papa, but I think she is very sick. She coughs constantly and never goes outside anymore. She doesn't think you will be here until tonight, and I think she is getting worse."
Haruka felt her panic level rising as she dashed past her daughter and into her bedroom, staring at her girlfriend lying in their bed, so pale and sickly. How could she have not noticed how bad Michiru was getting? "Michiru . . ."
"Haruka!" The aqua-haired woman struggled to sit up and hide her face, pale eyes evading the racer. "I didn't know you were coming home so early. I was napping a little before I got up to fix supper."
"You've been hiding your condition with makeup," Haruka realized, sitting on the bed beside her girlfriend. "Michiru, what's wrong?"
"I don't know," she whispered. "I've been getting sicker all the time since we met that dust wraith thing. I can't stop coughing and I can barely eat. I don't want to worry you, Haruka. I'm sure I'll get better."
"I want to take you to the doctor, Michiru. I don't care what it takes, I will find a way to heal you." Haruka caressed her girlfriend's cold cheek, wrapping their blankets around her. "Try to eat what Hotaru made for you, then we'll go. I'll take care of you."
Michiru sighed as the doctor poked and prodded her, making her breathe through tubes and cough, making her endure a group of tests she hated already. Her pale blue eyes watched Haruka from across the room as the doctor took samples of her blood and walked away to submit them for tests. Haruka watched her girlfriend with green eyes that had once been much fiercer and stronger, as Michiru's once-sapphire eyes dulled and closed. She suddenly erupted into a fit of coughing, holding her hand to her mouth as she felt a warm liquid cover her palm. Pulling her hand away, Michiru stared in horror at the blood on her hand. Haruka was by her side in a second, pale green eyes widening in shock. "Blood," she whispered. "Michiru . . ."
The doctor returned an instant later, staring at the blood on his patient's hand as he stuck his head out the door and whispered urgently with a nurse for a moment. "Kaiou-san, we need to take you for x-rays and more tests. We've already checked for quite a few things, but coughing blood is a symptom of tuberculosis, so we need to test for that, too. I do not know where you could have contracted tuberculosis in this modern age with your recent vaccinations, but we must check. Come with me, please, and we will find out what is wrong with you."
Michiru looked up at her girlfriend, tears in her eyes. "Haruka . . . I'm scared," she whispered, the admission so out of character for her that Haruka felt a chill race down her spine.
"You'll be okay," she assured the Senshi of Neptune, but even to her the words sounded hollow.
"They said I have to stay here for tests, but at least I get my own private room." Michiru sighed as she looked around the white room, smiling wanly at her daughter. "I will be home soon, Hotaru-chan."
"I know, Mama. Do they know what's wrong?"
"No. They said I don't have tuberculosis, which I knew since I had a shot for it when I was younger, but my lungs are filling with blood nonetheless. They said that I won't be able to sleep without an oxygen tube and that they might have to pump the blood out of my lungs if it keeps getting worse. They said there is some strange contaminant in my blood that they can't identify, so they're sending it to America for analysis. I'm sure the American doctors can find out what it is and how to treat it."
"Haruka-papa is not happy," Hotaru whispered. "Setsuna-mama tried to calm Haruka-papa, but she has had little luck."
"I know. I'm going to be fine, okay? Just go home tonight with your Setsuna-mama and Haruka-papa and I will be there as soon as I get better."
Hotaru jumped up and kissed her mother, rushing into the hall to send Haruka in. The blonde entered slowly, her fear of weakness extending to a fear of hospitals in general, and the steady beeping of the machines did little to calm her. "Michiru, the doctors say that we have to go, but I will be back first thing in the morning, okay?"
"Okay. Go home and get some rest, Haruka."
Haruka leaned over and kissed Michiru's hand, having been forbidden to kiss her face or lips. "Goodnight, my siren of the sea."
"Goodnight, my spirit of the wind. I'll see you in the morning."
"Usagi, my powers are gone! Don't you understand? I can't even transform anymore!"
"Haruka, Setsuna says that it is nothing to worry about. They will come back when you need them most."
The blonde Wind Senshi growled and slammed her fist into the metal pole, a move so uncharacteristically-Haruka that her little princess jumped, stunned. The pole was dented, Haruka's knuckles bloody, and she stared at the red stain in fascination as she hissed her response. "Don't you understand? Michiru has lost her powers, too. Ever since she went to the hospital a week ago, she has been getting steadily worse and I told her to try transforming in Sailor Neptune to heal herself, and she couldn't even call her henshin stick. This is when we need our powers the most, and they are gone! She isn't getting any better and I don't know what to do!"
"My wand won't respond to me anymore, Haruka, as much as I've tried. And the power of the ginzuishou is so weak without the contribution of Neptune and Uranus that it is useless. I really don't know what to do. Her powers are fading because she is sick, and yours are fading because of the bond you two share. I can't help that."
"Setsuna . . . she got a sample of Michiru's blood and analyzed it. She . . . at first she had no idea what happened . . . but she says the contaminant is the dust from the Shadow Cloud we fought months ago."
Usagi froze eyes turning up to Michiru's window high above them in the hospital courtyard. "The Shadow Cloud? It can't be! She never touched it!"
"She protected Hotaru. She deflected its final attack. She said her cough started immediately after the battle."
"My power," Hotaru whispered, having approached without either of the other Senshi noticing. Ami, Rei, Makoto, Minako, Mamoru, and Setsuna were right behind her, waiting for her to explain. "The attack I used was very powerful, the only thing that could stop the Cloud in our moment of weakness, but you know that my power has a price. Usagi, you saved me the last time I used it, but I returned as a baby and Sailor Saturn was dormant within me. This time, nothing happened to me. Because Michiru-mama blocked the attack at the last second, she saved me from death, but the power of the Cloud attacked her. The spores it sent could not be deflected by her mirror. It would have killed me instantly, the price of my power, but her talisman has given her a few more months. She will die as the price of vanquishing the Cloud. We cannot save her."
"NO! I will not believe that! We will save her!"
"I looked in the fires today," Rei whispered, "and I saw nothing but death. I'm sorry, Haruka-san. I'm sorry."
"You can't all just give up! Don't you know what she means to me? I can't lose her!" Haruka was slightly hysterical, her green eyes flashing with the last of her power as she struggled to summon anything to save her girlfriend. "I can't!"
"We've done all we can," Ami whispered. "Her lungs are failing, she can barely breathe, and her heart falters every now and then. She is getting worse, Haruka. If you are going to say goodbye to her, you had better go now."
"NO! I will not let her die!" Haruka felt Usagi reach for her, and she jerked away, furious eyes turned to the little princess. "How could you do this?! If your stupid power worked my girlfriend would not be dying! If your stupid crystal was working you could heal her! When it was one of your Inner Senshi you never gave up, but when it's Michiru you open the door and escort death inside!"
"Haruka," Setsuna snapped, feeling her father moving closer. "That is unfair of you! Usagi did everything she could!" In her mind, the daughter of Hades reached for her father. "Father, please, do not take this one bright soul. Please leave her in this mortal world. We need her."
"I am sorry, daughter, but I cannot fight this. I cannot save her. Balance requires her death for saving Saturn's life. She will die in the next few minutes, Se. Tell Haruka to go say goodbye. I will wait that long."
"Haruka, Michiru is dying," Setsuna whispered. "Do not yell at us for not saving her. Go be with her in her last moments."
Haruka stifled a sob, the first she had ever shown in public, as she rushed back into the darkened hospital. As the blackness of night cloaked the land, the lone Senshi evaded guards and nurses as she rushed to her girlfriend's side. "Hades, Lord of the Dead, please spare her," she whispered as she ran. "Please take my soul in exchange for hers."
She skidded to a stop inside her girlfriend's room, falling onto Michiru's bed as the steady beeping that filled the room spiked and lost its rhythm, erratic and failing. She would not see the dawn. "Michiru," Haruka whispered, taking her girlfriend's hand as she helped the woman turn her head. "Michiru, please don't leave me."
"I don't . . . think I have . . . much choice, Haruka," she whispered, valiantly swallowing her coughs. "I'm sorry . . . I promised to be with you forever . . ."
"Shhhh, don't think about that. You'll get better."
"No, I won't. I'm dying, Haruka. I can see him . . . in the corner . . . waiting for me."
Haruka looked over her shoulder, shocked to recognize the hovering form of Hades, the god having come personally for the soul of a Senshi. "No! Please, do not take her!"
"I have no choice. She is dying. She is dead."
"No!" Haruka took Michiru's hand in both of hers, teal eyes focused on her partner's fading blue ones. "I will not let you go." Closing her eyes, Haruka reached deep inside herself for the wellspring of power she had once had as Sailor Uranus, finding nothing. "Uranus, God of the Skies, please help me. As your Avatar I have never asked for anything, but now I ask to give me the power to take her place. Give me the power to save her life. Please, Uranus. Please."
As Haruka prayed, the monitors in the room let out one last beep as Michiru sighed her farewell. "Aishiteru . . . koibito."
Haruka's eyes flew open at that, feeling power fill her as her fading teal eyes sparked to life in emerald green once more. She screamed as fire burned through her, flowing from her hand into Michiru, emerald and gold fire springing up around her. In an instant, she transformed into Super Sailor Uranus, her Space Sword in her free hand. Seven Senshi and the Prince of Earth filled the doorway in that instant as Haruka held the Sword out and buried it in her own breast. "Aishiteru . . . koibito," she whispered, screaming as the power around her intensified. The Senshi had to look away, even Hades averting his eyes as Haruka's power filled the skies. As her scream peaked, as her power blazed brighter than a supernova, a musical screech joined her as the ginzuishou jerked itself from Usagi's broach and dove into the supernova in the center of the hospital room.
Usagi looked up at Haruka, detransformed, slouched over Michiru's body, Hades frozen in the corner. A single beep shattered the fragile silence as the monitors registered a slow, steady heartbeat and Michiru gasped for air. She shot up, sapphire eyes glowing as she pulled Haruka into her arms. "Come back to me," she whispered.
Haruka jerked back to life, emerald eyes shooting up to meet her lover's sapphire ones. "Michiru!"
"I don't know how you did that, Ruka, but I'm healed. Completely."
"Michiru!" Haruka cried as she wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, her tears glowing slightly gold in the dim light. Usagi wiped tears out of her eyes as her crystal returned, its duty complete. The other Senshi began to cry, unable to express their happiness any other way, as Hotaru ran forward and jumped into her mother's arms. Setsuna glanced up at her father, and Hades shook his head.
"Not my doing, Se. Her spirit is healed, her body purged. Haruka found her power, sent that power through their bond, and that reenergizing of their lovers bond called the ginzuishou forth to save one of its protectors. Haruka saved her lover."
Hades vanished as the doctor dashed into the room, staring in shock as Michiru, completely healed, hugging her boyfriend and the purple-haired child. "Kaiou-san? Are you . . . okay?"
"I'm fine," Michiru whispered. "Haruka saved me."
"That must be some bond you share."
"It is. It truly is."