Disclaimer: We do not own Sailor Moon or its characters. However, we do own the made up characters that will be mentioned later.

A/N: This story is coauthored by the amazing arashi-enkou. She came up with the plot, the title, and the fan characters, so I'm pretty much just here to help and add details. This takes place after Stars. There is a new group of enemies whom little is known about at the beginning. To learn more it's better if you just read it. We're also ignoring Mamoru's existence in this story, so sorry if you like him. The pairings in here will be Rei/Usagi, Ami/Makoto, Haruka/Michiru, and Setsuna/Minako. We may add more but if we do it will be pairing our villain fan characters.


Crystalline Nightmare

Prologue


Something was wrong.

She sighed and threw in another log on the fire. Scratch that; something was always wrong. Whether it was war or a murder or a monster terrorizing the city, something was always wrong with the world. And, because it was her job to save it, she was always on the front line to protect a doomed species.

Whoop-de-doo.

Rei let a muttered curse slip through her lips. What was wrong with her lately? Sure, she was always the pessimist of their little group, but she'd never been so...mad. Yes, she had a bad temper, but it was never like this. It was like something was boiling under her heart, something black and vile. A log popped in the fire; smoke swirled to the ceiling in a warped, twisted spiral. Rei was instantly alert. Whenever smoke appeared, a voice followed soon after, telling her of events to be, no matter how horrible it was. Clairvoyance was her blessing and her curse, apparently.

A giggle flowing into her mind. "Ooooh, bad Senshi. Didn't your mommy ever teach you not to spy?"

In front of her eyes, the fire turned blue, and twisted into a shape that was vaguely human. Rei shot to her feet, hand already on her transformation pen. The shape in the fire giggled again, sugary sweet enough to make her hackles rise.

"Naughty! It's not time for you to know about us yet Rei Hino. Or maybe I should call you Sailor Mars?"

A hand lashed out, lightning quick, and hit her chest. Four long furrows allowed blood to seep through her white robe, and the pain that followed surprised her. It slammed into her head like a white-hot spear, and her last conscious thought was, 'They know...'

--

Setsuna shot up, gasping for breath. Sheets pooled around her waist and she grabbed her heart. It thundered in her ears, while sweat slid down her neck. She threw the blankets off and ripped off her pajamas, instead donning a simple T-shirt and jeans. Not even bothering with shoes, she raced out of the house and into Haruka's car. After grabbing the spare keys from the dashboard, she jammed them into the ignition and raced to Rei's temple.

Hopefully, she wouldn't be too late.

--

A throbbing pain lingered in Rei's chest as she awoke much later. She had experienced a nightmare so surreal she could have sworn she was trapped in hell. Monsters towered over her, taunting her. The sky was charcoal with reddish liquid splattered in random places. The smoky atmosphere constricted her lungs. She wanted to scream, to fight back, but her whole body was frozen, and she was doomed to helplessly watch the terror in front of her.

Some oddly familiar figures appeared in the distance but Rei couldn't quite make out the identities of those people. She tried to squint but it felt like her eyelids were stapled open. The figures eventually revealed themselves to be Usagi, Ami, Minako, and Makoto. Her fellow Senshi. Her friends.

All of them begged for Rei's help. She wanted so badly to assure them she'd save them, that everything would be okay in the end. How could she do that when she couldn't even speak?

The cackling of the demons pierced the air, and Rei wished it would deafen her. They seized the four girls with their long claws and tossed them into cages. At that moment Rei's only desire was to cry but her eyes withheld her tears. She heard was the shouting of her friends, the pain of which was overwhelming for Rei. The last thing she remembered before her awakening was a demon leaning in towards her ear. Its breath felt hot enough to melt the skin off her bone. The gap between the Senshi and the demon was shortened as it whispered, "We know your little secret. We all know..."

Rei moaned loudly as she awoke. Her eyes darted rapidly around the room. It took a few minutes for her to be completely sure she was awake and safe, at least for now. Relief filled her for that moment, but deep down there was an enormous fear slowly growing.

"Glad to see you're awake."

Rei looked to her left, astonished to see Setsuna next to her.

"Setsuna," the miko shook her head, then grabbed her chest on reflex. She hissed at the pain. "Agh, dammit...what the hell?"

"You were lucky. Believe me."

"Lucky? How?"

When Setsuna met her eyes, Rei gulped at the anger within. "You didn't die."

"...Tch," Rei scoffed, then looked to her chest. It was bound tightly in bandages, and some flecks of red remained. "So that wasn't a dream?"

"Why haven't you spoken to anyone, Rei?" the green haired woman snapped. The younger woman was a bit shocked. She'd never heard Setsuna sound so...off. "You haven't talked to any of the Senshi in weeks. Why is that?"

"None of your business."

"I'll make it my business when I see you dead!" Setsuna shouted, slamming her hand on the nightstand. The glass of water trembled, then fell to the floor. Rei jumped, nearly falling off of the bed. The woman backed off, pinched her forehead and took breaths through her clenched teeth.

"We both can see what lies ahead," Setsuna began, in a slightly calmer voice. "But you have a wider spectrum for the present. You can't just shut us all out, Rei, when something bad comes up--"

"They know," Rei whispered. She cleared her throat. "They know, Setsuna, they know. They know who we are."

Crimson eyes flickered sadly. "Yes. That's why you have to grin and bear a little teamwork once in a while."

Rei sighed. "Usagi's gonna tear me a new one for this."

"It's your own damn fault for worrying her."

Rei shook her head in denial. "It's not like I'm not worried about everyone else either."

Setsuna briefly chuckled before seating herself beside the other woman. "I know. But you certainly have quite an attachment to our princess."

A blush appeared on Rei's face, which she tried to mask with anger. "That's not the point! The point is we need to warn everyone else and do something. Waiting for the enemy to show its cowardly face is not an option."

"Of course not. We will gather the others and warn them, then devise a plan to defend ourselves. Strength exists in numbers."

"How is that possible when we know so little about the enemy?"

Setsuna's eyes faded to a dark, bloody red. "I have a feeling you'll be the one learning about our enemies through your dreams. It seems they are communicating you when you're asleep."

Once again Rei was overcome with a potent desire to scream and curse the world, curse her life. She would never understand why she held so much responsibility when she sometimes didn't feel as strong as she acted. There had to be someone, anyone out there more worthy of the title of Sailor Mars than herself. But her sense of duty overpowered her resentment. And, though she wouldn't admit it, so did her love for those she cared for.

A supportive hand planted itself on Rei's shoulder. "I know this is painful for you. It is for me, and it will be for everyone else. You're strong. You can handle this, and you aren't alone."

An image of Usagi fluttered into Rei's head. Despite her often obnoxious behavior, she'd stick to Rei like glue, for better or for worse. "I know." she replied, swallowing her fear. "I know that very well."

Setsuna chuckled, and then ruffled the Niko's hair affectionately. "Get some rest Rei. You deserve it."

"Get off." Rei grumbled, ducking the older woman's hand. "Jeez. I'm not a kid."

"You act like it." Setsuna rolled her eyes. "Sleep. I'll get everyone together and tell them."

Rei huffed, then plopped back to the bed. Within a few minutes, she was asleep. Setsuna looked at the young Senshi for a few moments, then stood to her feet. A tense breath passed through her lips.

"This...will not end well," she predicted, shuddering at the prospect of calling the admittedly eccentric Goddess of Love and the no doubt pissed off Haruka. "Not well at all."


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