AN: Part of the hold up is that I don't do so great with battle scenes. So apologies ahead of time.

This is pre-beta-ed. It will be updated once it has been beta-ed and replaced.

Going to the beach for a week tomorrow. Will take the lap top. Might or might not write while at the beach.


"They're getting stronger. We can't continue to just gather information." Libra was pacing which brought a smirk from the lips of her companion.

"Concerned the scales are tipping in their favor perhaps?"

Libra growled, "You know, I really hate it when you use my own elements against me."

"I know." Her companion, a woman with long blue hair wrapped her arms around Libra. "But I've never fought fair."

Libra laughed as she leaned back into the other woman, "But the answer is yes, though that shouldn't be possible! Justice is on our side…" She sighed, "I don't understand why we aren't doing more to weaken them. Instead, they're using us to become stronger, and if we're not careful, they're going to become too strong for us."

"No, they'll just become too strong to take on you alone. You forget that we're all a team. I think it's time we talk to the Mistress."

Libra smiled as she turned and kissed her blue haired partner, "Thank you."

Aquarius waggled her eyebrows. "Mmm… you really wanna thank me?"

***

Kunzite was thankful for small favors. There was no question that this new monster was significantly stronger than the ones they'd fought up to this point. He had to admit, to himself at least, that his pride was rather injured by the fact that this youma was much stronger than anything they sent after the Senshi in the Dark Kingdom. However, no one was missing; none of the girls were in comas from using their crystals; no one was traveling to another planet; and none were stuck in surgery or fighting fires or any of the other inescapable demands of their normal lives.

Despite that, they were defeating themselves. As he took a moment to assess the battle field, that was the inescapable realization. The enemy was strong, but he was not convinced that the three youmas were the problem. No, the problem was the fact that they were not fighting as a team.

Every time Mercury stopped to use the Mercury Computer to discover weaknesses, to try to figure out how to turn the odds, Zoisite moved to shield and defend her. Kunzite did not miss the tightening of the blue-haired senshi's jaw at that, nor did he miss that the moment she slid the visor away and communicated the new information, using hand signals to describe her suggestions, that she moved out of the area of Zoisite's protection. The commander of the Shitennou also saw the anger and hurt that lanced through the eyes of the youngest of the Prince's defenders.

The commander had thought, had hoped, that they had resolved their issues upon returning from Mercury, but it seemed that no one, including Zoisite, was immune from the need to protect the genius. Instead, the two barely spoke to each other, as Mercury minimized the amount of protection that Zoisite was allowed to provide her. Kunzite appreciated Mercury's abilities as a strategist, but he would have been much more comfortable to have the two of them collaborating.

They, however, were not the only problem. Despite the clear indication that Mercury wanted Jupiter and Nephrite to pair with Venus and himself against the larger of the youma, reality was not working as well as theory. The reasoning was sound. Neither Venus nor Jupiter was able to heal if the new, larger youma had a human at its core. As some of the stronger warriors, they should have been able to keep it distracted while the others took care of the smaller ones.

Yet once again Nephrite was having to pull his shadow back into himself as Jupiter's lightening struck uncomfortably close to it. Nephrite shot Jupiter a look, but she had jumped aside to charge up again while Venus sent chains to encircle the youma. Kunzite caught Nephrite's eye and the two nodded, using their swords to keep the youma too busy to untangle itself. He felt bad for Nephrite, but he was having the same difficulties synching to Venus. He found it hard to remember that they usually fought beautifully together. However, today, when they had tried him energizing her energy, they had both been painfully shocked, and not tried it again.

Mars and Jadeite, fortunately, were not having the same problems. The smaller youma that they were attacking along with Moon and Endymion—Kunzite hated to think of his Prince as "Tuxedo Mask"—would not have much longer before either Moon or Mars would manage to heal it.

As Mars sent a fireball at the youma, from about two feet to the right of where she appeared to be, Jadeite danced out of the way of the inferno while Moon's tiara sliced the youma from the opposite direction.

Kunzite could not afford to watch that fight as he needed to focus on stepping back from the youma he was attacking when Minako's chains were in place and Jupiter yelled, "Supreme Thunder Blast!" He was gratified that this time the lightning did not stray towards his Second, though he was dismayed to see how little the combination of conductive metal and electricity had fazed the monster.

A quick glance to his left showed Kunzite that whatever Mercury had figured out regarding the second of the smaller of the creatures must have been exactly what they needed. Zoisite and Uranus were providing backup and distraction while Neptune and Mercury combined their water attacks.

He had been struck by the fact that as the Senshi tapped more fully into their elements, they no longer had to shout out their attacks, having a more organic connection to the magic and the elements. Mercury and Neptune joined hands, blue and teal lights melding together as the youma was inundated by water. The water then wrapped around monster, and when it finally dissipated, a young woman slept.

Kunzite blinked as he realized that the woman was indeed sleeping peacefully rather than appearing to have been knocked out. However, his attention was called back to the youma he was fighting as his shoulder nicked by its sword, Venus' chain being the only thing saving him from a more serious injury.

The look she gave him clearly asked, "Which one of us needs protecting?" A man who wore his feelings more expressly on his face would have grimaced, but instead he resumed fighting, hoping that Mercury and Zoisite could provide a better strategy than the one they were currently using.

***

Saturn slid in to check on the woman while Mercury, feeling victorious and forgiving smiled to Zoisite, as she again brought out the Mercury computer, getting a fuller read on the larger youma. She frowned at what she saw, and while Zoisite worked to keep the shield around both of them and Saturn and the woman.

"Mercury, what is it?"

She glanced at him. "It's going to take all of us." She glanced to towards the ever watchful Neptune and Uranus and then back to Saturn. "All of us."

Mercury heard Zoisite's soft curse. "They're going to be hell to deal with after this."

"I know…"

Zoisite turned to look at the Senshi he loved, careful of his wording because he knew better than anyone else how much she hated being protected. "Mercury…"

She nodded, "I know… Defense and Strategy are my specialties. If I hold back, I can communicate changes and keep Saturn back until the last minute. Pluto can help me defend."

The surge of pride that went through Zoisite had to be ignored so that he could focus. "I could…"

She shook her head. "No. I'm sure Neptune and Uranus would appreciate that, but no, with Pluto, Saturn and I'll have enough defense when I need to be doing calculations. You should fight."

"Mercury… if something happens to you…"

"If something breaks through to us, then it's gone really poorly. Focus on fighting, Zoisite."

A flare of light caught their attention and they looked up to see Silver and Red fire sweeping through the remaining smaller youma. "Go help the others. Take Neptune and Uranus with you."

Zoisite nodded as Pluto silently moved to stand beside Mercury, her nod and slight smile reassuring both of them that this was the right choice.

***

Mars and Moon did not combine their powers in the same way that Mercury and Neptune had. Their powers did not have the same similarity as the Senshi of Water and the Senshi of the Deep. Instead, when the four fighters who had been fighting the youma realized that it was weakened, Tuxedo Kamen and Jadeite stepped back, and from opposite sides, Moon and Mars nodded at each other.

Silver light enveloped Moon while red embraced Mars. The pure light which flowed from Moon joined Mars' fire, spiraling around youma, silver and red light purifying the creature until man who had been at it's core was sleeping peacefully.

Mars glanced over, seeing that they were down to the one larger youma. She noticed the expression on Mercury's face and glanced to Moon and she joined her and the two men, "I think she's got our answer ready."

Moon looked over and frowned, "But she's not happy about it. All right, let's find out what the strategy is."

Kamen was looking in the direction of the larger youma and then back to the small group, "You two go find out, Jadeite and I are going to join the others."

A glance over at them had Mars smirking as she and Moon ran over to get the word from their genius. "I thought Jadeite and I were the ones supposed to be constantly fighting."

Moon glanced over at her friend, "Be nice." She knew that Mars was trying to break the tension. Four of their best fighters, and no ground had seemed to have been gained against the youma. She desperately hoped that Mercury had an answer.

Neptune and Uranus were also running over to join the others, and as the gale and wave hit the youma, Moon was relieved to see that there was a bit of break through. Perhaps this would not be the final battle.

"Mercury?"

Mercury looked up, her expression sober. "It's going to take all of us Senshi." She did not express any doubts about the fact that not all of them had tapped into their Crystals yet, but Moon saw it in her eyes.

"But it needs to be weakened first. It does not have any particular weaknesses. Strong attacks, don't give it time to recover. Physical and magical. Keep it on it's toes." There were enough of them that even with Venus and Kunzite and Jupiter and Nephrite being out of synch, they should be able to wear the creature down.

"We're going to hold Saturn back." Moon glanced over to see Saturn's jaw tense at that slightly. "We don't need any more conflict. Pluto and Saturn will provide me cover as I monitor the fighting. If I notice any developments, any weaknesses that grow, or weak areas, I'll signal. Moon, your attack, like Saturn's is best at the end. Keep an eye on me. When the three of us join you, it'll be time for all of us to use our powers to defeat the youma."

Moon and Mars nodded, Mars running to join the others and communicate the commands. Moon took a position between the main fighting and Mercury, so that she could communicate any signals, as well as using the tiara when there was an opening.

With all of them focusing on the youma, it was not long before Mercury, Saturn, and Pluto were joining the others, the Shitennou and Kamen fading back enough get out of the way of the girls' attacks.

"Jupiter Supreme Thunder!"

"Venus Love Me Chain!"

"Death Reborn Revolution!"

The rest of the girls tapped into their crystals, sending the poor energy of their planets to the youma. The result was not immediate. But after less than a minute the youma exploded with a scream. The human who had been corrupted, continued to scream as the healing power surrounded him, resisting even once he was no longer a youma.

With a final growl, he was over taken and passed out, but all the Senshi looked at each other with confusion as they released their energy.

Venus took command immediately, "Mars? Mercury?"

Mars focused on the unconscious human, her eyes growing wide with alarm. "He was willing."

Mercury nodded as she assessed him with the visor. "The energy readings are different… he is clinging to the dark energy. I agree with Mars' assessment. He was, or at least has become willing."

There was laughter and the looked up to see their red-haired enemy joined by a new blue-haired one. It was the one with the blue hair who was laughing. "Of course he was. As my partner can tell you, justice is on our side. Why would anyone be loyal to any but the side of the righteous?"

"Until next time…" The blue haired woman, wrapped her arm around the other's waist, and in a swirl of water, the two disappeared.

***

No one spoke for a moment. As the silence grew, Mercury and Saturn moved to check on the two sleeping victims, while Moon tried to purify the willing one. Still no one spoke, and there were glances and looks that set Kamen's teeth on edge.

"We need to have a meeting."

Kunzite nodded. Venus' jaw clenched but she nodded as well. Still no one else moved. Mercury and Saturn returned, and Mercury reported, "They'll be fine." As the sirens sounded, Mars moved to collect Moon as the group headed back to the Temple, for a meeting that all of them knew would be uncomfortable but was necessary.