Suddenly there was a loud crash, someone yelling in the background, and then the line went dead.
The four heroes stood frozen to spot, gaping at one another in surprise.
"What the hell?" asked Jupiter, looking as baffled as the rest of the assembled team.
Mamoru strode out of his bathroom and headed toward his answering machine. The others followed suit. He looked at the blinking light on his machine and clicked the replay message button.
"You have one unread message," the disembodied voice declared, listing off time of call and phone number of the caller.
"Fascinating," murmured Zoicite, staring at the machine in wonderment.
"Wait. If you don't even know what an answering machine is, how did Kunzite figure out how to use a phone, let alone get a hold of Tuxedo Kamen's telephone number?" Jupiter asked.
No one had any idea. As they tried to puzzle it out, Mamoru suddenly shouted, "Motoki!"
The others jumped. Mamoru had turned around wide-eyed and frightened, his eyes still glowing.
"Motoki? What about Motoki?" demanded Jupiter.
"That's Motoki's phone number! He was calling from Motoki's apartment!"
"No!" Jupiter shouted, while slamming her fist into her palm and getting an angry glint in her eye. She looked up, a furious expression on her face. "If he hurt Motoki…" she let the threat trail off, too angry to speak.
"We have to go to his place now," growled Mamoru. He knew Kunzite wasn't himself right now, but there was no way he was going to let Motoki, his only friend, get hurt in the crossfire of their battle with the Dark Kingdom.
"Wait. We have to think this through logically before we go barreling into a possible trap," stated Venus rationally, standing in front of both Jupiter and Mamoru, who were already heading toward the balcony.
"We don't have the time…" began Mamoru, before Zoicite put a restraining arm on his shoulder.
"Sailor Venus is right, Master. You won't be much use to your friend if you fall into a trap."
Jupiter and Mamoru looked almost murderous, but they both willed themselves to calm down. The other two were right. They had to think before they ran off unprepared.
"First thing's first. Call back and see if we can get a hold of him," instructed Venus, her pulse speeding away.
She was not looking forward to a confrontation with Kunzite. Her darling husband… She wasn't sure if she could bear the pain of attacking him. She felt tears prick her eyes and hastily wiped her face. She glanced up quickly to see if the others had noticed. Mamoru had the phone to his ear and Jupiter was watching him anxiously. Zoicite, however, was staring at her searchingly. She immediately understood why. He was silently questioning who she would put first in this fight, Kunzite or Endymion. She bit her lip and stared hard back at him, knowing that he would be able to read her thoughts easily enough through her facial expressions. Zoicite was almost supernatural in his ability to read others.
He's not my liege yet, she thought bitterly. The prince and princess were only engaged, not married. I owe Endymion nothing.
Zoicite curled his lip and narrowed his eyes at her. She fought the urge to flinch.
He'd never forgive you, Zoicite's hardened face seemed to say.
Venus turned away unable to keep eye contact. Yes, he would, she thought stubbornly. I'm his wife. He'd understand.
She heard Zoicite straighten up, and chanced looking back at him. He was staring at her with near loathing and his stance clearly indicated that she had all but openly declared them enemies.
"Uh, did I just miss something?" questioned Jupiter, having suddenly noticed the stand-off between the Senshi and the Shitennou.
Zoicite and Venus chose not to answer her.
"Okay, fine. Keep more secrets from me," she huffed angrily, crossing her arms.
Venus sighed. She was really not creating a good rapport with her Senshi in this timeline.
"The line's completely dead," Mamoru stated, too worried about Motoki to notice the internal debate that had just taken place behind him.
"Can we go now?" demanded Jupiter impatiently.
Venus had tensed up. She had no excuse to prolong their departure.
Zoicite quickly noted her mental and emotional dilemma and stepped in to handle it. "I suggest we inform Mars and Mercury of the situation and send them. Jupiter can accompany them. The rest of us should remain here to await Sailor Moon's return and prepare for a possible youma attack."
This suggestion was met with two resounding "NO!"s and one "Hell, yeah!"
Jupiter, with all her pent up frustration and anger, was already heading out the balcony window, calling Mars and Mercury as she did so.
Venus and Mamoru were staring angrily at Zoicite. Zoicite remained calm and halted their protests before they began. "Master, I know this is your friend, but it is too dangerous for you to go. I don't want to risk your life unnecessarily."
"Oh, but it's totally fine that he stays here and waits for a youma attack?" spat Venus angrily.
Zoicite turned to her. "Staying here on the home front, so to speak, is far less dangerous than going up against Kunzite. Endymion is first and foremost a warrior. He must fight, but it is important that he not unnecessarily endanger himself. And you already know why you can't go."
Venus had her hands clinched and looked absolutely livid. Zoicite appeared not to notice.
Suddenly a connection clicked in Mamoru's mind. Venus couldn't be trusted to put the mission first. He just didn't realize that the "mission" was his safety.
"I'm going," stated Venus firmly, already marching over to the door. "Try to stop me."
Zoicite seemed clearly reluctant to shoot her with yet another energy blast, lest he seriously injure her this time, but he had already put his hands in position anyway. Mamoru noted the reluctance and calmly took out a rose and threw it at her, again bending it to his power.
Venus had her chain prepared and was waiting for that feeling of static electricity that occurred right before energy was tapped out of the air. She was almost certain the chain would dissipate once she got far enough away, so she didn't have to worry about Zoicite and the prince being trussed up if a youma attacked. However, she didn't realize that conjuring a rose didn't have an effect on the immediate environment.
She barely had time to yelp in surprise when the rose vines wound themselves around her body, including her mouth. The force of the attack caused her to hit the floor with a loud thud. She screeched loudly through the vine in her mouth and rolled over to glare loathingly at the two men.
Zoicite had cocked an eyebrow at Mamoru. "Nicely done."
Mamoru couldn't bring himself to be happy at the compliment, not after seeing the look on Venus' face.
"Uh, maybe we should take her to the bedroom, so she's more comfortable?" Mamoru suggested.
Zoicite nodded and headed around the couch to reach her when a white bundle suddenly leapt at his chest.
"Untie her, Dark Kingdom scum!" the white feline shouted , as he attempted to claw at Zoicite's chest with his one good paw.
Zoicite calmly grabbed the cat by the scruff of his neck and held him at arm's length.
"Hello, Artemis. It is a pleasure to see you again."
"I don't know why I thought this cat couldn't talk," Mamoru muttered, too tired to be surprised.
Zoicite smiled slightly. "Artemis and Luna were both Queen Serenity's personal advisors".
Somehow Mamoru found this tidbit more interesting than talking cats. "Wait, you mean Sailor Moon's mother had two... cats as advisors?"
Artemis had stopped struggling and was simply glaring at Mamoru. Zoicite had also turned to him, frowning.
"Master, that was most discourteous. Surely you hold no prejudice toward those different than you?"
Mamoru gaped. He was being accused of racism against cats? He was about to defend himself, but couldn't bring himself to do it against Zoicite's disapproving glare.
He turned to Artemis a bit sheepishly. "Uh….sorry, I've…uh…I've never met a talking cat before….no offense," he finished, a bit lamely.
Zoicite and Artemis both shared a glance. "Your diplomacy skills need improvement, Master," stated Zoicite.
"Agreed," muttered Artemis, then he looked up at the two men. "I wasn't aware Dark Kingdom warriors were concerned with political correctness."
"Dark Kingdom warriors are not concerned with political correctness, ergo we are not Dark Kingdom warriors," replied Zoicite, smiling slightly.
Artemis cocked an eyebrow at him."They also don't have senses of humor. That still doesn't explain why you knocked my charge and I out earlier and why you have her tied up."
"Ah, well, that is a long story. I assure you, however, that we meant neither of you harm. If you wait here while I make her more comfortable, I will be happy to explain the situation to you. Is that agreeable?"
"It doesn't look like I have much of a choice, now does it?" muttered Artemis, as Zoicite lowered him gently back onto the couch. He then went over to carry the still struggling Venus to Mamoru's bedroom.
Mamoru watched him go and then made his move. He may have been tired, but Mamoru didn't get a free ride to medical school for nothing.
As soon as Zoicite was out of sight, Mamoru strode across his apartment as quietly as possible and then leapt out of his balcony window.
He quickly went around the back of his building and started taking random turns, glancing over his shoulder every few seconds to make sure that Zoicite wasn't following him.
Once he felt secure that he wasn't being followed, Mamoru turned and headed for Motoki's apartment. He felt a little bit guilty for leaving Zoicite and Venus alone to handle a youma, but he didn't doubt that they could handle it. He didn't feel guilty at all for giving Zoicite the slip, however. His best friend was in danger, and he wasn't going to let anybody get in his way of rescuing him.
That was three times tonight she had been tied up. Venus was not happy. The more rational part of her brain was arguing that Zoicite was right, she really shouldn't go, especially since her main reason in doing so was to make sure the Senshi didn't hurt Kunzite. However, love pushed down all rational thought and Venus continued to kick, flail, and struggle as much as possible as Zoicite dragged her to Endymion's bedroom. She had to pretend to be helpless, so that Zoicite didn't realize she could easily escape. She clutched the end of the golden chain in her hand, which he fortunately hadn't noticed.
"Hey, where you are going!?" shouted Artemis from the living room.
Zoicite growled as he flung her on top of the bed. "Must you always be so difficult, Master?!"
He turned around to head back into the living room, when Venus struck.
The golden chain ruptured the vines keeping her captive as power exploded from her. She aimed and struck Zoicite square in the back.
The blond Shitennou cried out in pain and shock as the intensity of the attack forced him to his knees. Venus quickly conjured another chain and willed it to wrap around his body. He fell to the floor and ignoring his angry, muffled shouts, Venus strode to the balcony and leapt into the sunlight.
It became a little bit more difficult to remain unseen as he neared Motoki's apartment. The streets were lined with commuters on their way to work and more than once he saw people pointing and glancing curiously towards his hiding spots.
He was currently hiding in the branches of a tree, just one block away from his destination. Unfortunately, with the traffic and the low buildings, there weren't any places he could move stealthily. He decided to change into his civilian form and run the rest of the way. The less people attracted towards Motoki's apartment, the better.
"MAMORU-KUN! GET IN!"
Mamoru practically jumped out of his skin at the sound of the voice. He turned towards the road to see Motoki in his car, coming to a stop besides him on the sidewalk.
He was so relieved that Motoki was okay, he quickly opened the back door and hopped inside the car.
Only then did he notice Motoki had two other passengers with him. Sailor Moon was curled up on the backseat, apparently sleeping. Kunzite was sitting in the passenger seat.
This time Mamoru did jump, promptly hitting his head on the roof of the car.
"MOTOKI! Get out of the car!"
He already had a rose out, ready to use as a weapon.
"Why?" Motoki asked confusedly, giving him a questioning glance in the rearview mirror.
'"Because…" he trailed off, a little bewildered. Wasn't Motoki in danger? Hadn't Kunzite taken him hostage and forced him to drive…
Okay, that didn't make much sense. Kunzite could teleport. Why would he be forcing Motoki to drive him somewhere? He looked over at Kunzite, who had his head bowed low and his face scrunched up in agony.
"Master," he breathed out, clearly in the grips of emotional pain
Oh, no. Not again. Although he felt a balloon of relief pop in his stomach, because Motoki and Sailor Moon were okay and Sailor Moon had apparently been able to heal Kunzite while she had been missing, he really did not want to go through another emotional heart-to-heart.
Also, there was something really creepy about being called "Master".
Motoki had resumed his driving while Mamoru gathered his thoughts. He was about to tell Kunzite to let it go, that he didn't blame him for being part of the Dark Kingdom, but then he realized Motoki was in the car. Explaining how he knew Kunzite would reveal that he was Tuxedo Kamen. He had to fake ignorance.
"Sorry?" he asked, as if he had misheard.
"Okay, Mamoru. Don't even go there. I know you know him," Motoki snapped.
"'Know him?'" repeated Mamoru, his pulse racing.
"Yeah. You clearly recognized him when you got in the car and you don't seem very surprised Sailor Moon is in the back seat. You totally know what's going on."
Crap. How was he going to get out of this one?
As he was racking his brain for a way out (maybe he had been present at one of the youma attacks and had seen Kunzite?), Motoki was glaring at him angrily in the rearview mirror. "I told you, Mamoru. Don't go there. I just spent my morning fighting a plant monster which destroyed my apartment. I deserve to hear the truth."
Mamoru sighed. He supposed that was true. Motoki should know his secret. He had never told Motoki, not because he didn't trust him to keep the secret, but because….well, he wasn't sure. He just seemed to prefer doing the whole thing solo.
"All right, the truth," he took a deep breath to steady his nerves. "I'm Tuxedo Kamen."
Motoki slammed the breaks in shock. Mamoru felt himself thrown against the seat in front of him. Sailor Moon uttered a muffled whine, but continued slumbering.
"Tuxedo Kamen!?" Motoki seemed pole axed. Okay, sure. Imagining his friend as some reincarnated prince was a little weird, but that didn't make Mamoru any different than he was now. However, a tuxedo wearing, rose throwing, alien fighting superhero was an entirely different story.
"You didn't tell me he was Tuxedo Kamen!" he shouted at Kunzite.
Kunzite glanced over at Motoki. "Surely that was obvious, kōhai? I told you he was connected to Sailor Moon."
What the hell? Since when were Kunzite and Motoki on speaking terms?
"Right. Okay, then," Motoki huffed moodily, still shooting venomous looks at Mamoru in the back seat. "Next question. Is Usagi-chan Sailor Moon?"
Mamoru's eyes widened in shock. "How…how did you know that?"
"Lucky guess," Motoki snorted. He was becoming increasingly annoyed with the fact that Mamoru clearly didn't consider him trustworthy enough to be privy to this information.
While Mamoru was still reeling from the shock, Motoki asked his next question. Although he was extremely curious about why Mamoru and Usagi never seemed to get along when they apparently worked together to fight monsters, he was more interested in what Kunzite had told him earlier. "Were you ever planning on telling me you're a reincarnated prince?"
"I wasn't aware of that myself until last night," he defended, still not comfortable with his newfound title.
This statement managed to get a slight reaction out of Kunzite. He seemed to be surprised. Mamoru frowned. Why did Zoicite and Kunzite both believe he would remember some past life he had apparently lived out eons ago?
Motoki stared at Mamoru through the rearview mirror. "Really? You found out you were a prince and then ran to the nearest tattoo parlor to stamp a royal symbol on your forehead?"
"What?" yelled Mamoru, leaning forward so that he could see his reflection in the mirror.
Sure enough, the gold sigil was still visible on his forehead.
"You've got to be kidding me. I'm not even transformed!"
Although he was leaning forward in the seat between Motoki and Kunzite, Kunzite still refused to make eye contact. Mamoru noticed that he hands were on his thighs, scrunched up into fists, and tears were slowly leaking from his closed eyes.
"Um….Kunzite?" he asked, fighting the feeling of awkwardness screaming through him.
Kunzite turned towards him, revealing wet and blood shot eyes. "Aye, Master?" he asked softly.
Mamoru felt his chest tighten at the sight. He remembered Zoicite's sorrow when he had first regained his memories and then his pledge to remain his brother in this timeline. These men clearly cared a lot about him if their guilt over what they had done affected them this deeply.
"I...I don't blame you for what happened. I'd really like for you to…" Mamoru stopped, unsure how to continue. He really didn't like what he was quickly coming to perceive as a master/slave type of relationship, but he decided he could deal with that situation later.
"Um…to resume your post," he finished, hoping that was what Kunzite wanted to hear.
Kunzite turned around to fully face Mamoru. "Master, I do not deserve such clemency. I willingly submit to any form of execution you deem appropriate."
Mamoru felt, rather than saw, the shock radiating off of Motoki at this declaration.
"Execute you? You want Mamoru to execute you?" Motoki snorted and glanced back at Mamoru. "Don't do it in my car, will you? Blood stains are really hard to get out."
Kunzite stared at Motoki in shock.
"He's being sarcastic," Mamoru explained, having enough experience with Zoicite to realize that the Shitennou probably didn't get sarcasm.
Motoki looked at Kunzite. "He's not going to execute you….sempai. At least, if being a prince hasn't gotten to his head yet," he paused and looked back at Mamoru. "I still can't believe you got a tattoo."
Mamoru sighed. He was hoping Kunzite or Zoicite knew how to get rid of the mark on his forehead before he had to go back to school.
"I'm not going to execute you," Mamoru echoed Motoki's statement, "I'd really rather you, um…take up your duties again."
Kunzite breathed shakily, clearly trying to keep his emotions in check. "Master….thank you. That is more than I could ever hope to ask for. I commit myself into your service again, to train you and to serve you until my death."
Mamoru again felt awkwardness threatening to swallow him whole. He was saved from answering by a high pitched shriek which sounded directly above the car.
Mamoru peered through Motoki's sun roof to see what appeared to be some sort of giant bird flying above the car.
"Youma," hissed Kunzite, staring up at the creature through the windshield.
"Another one?" gasped Motoki, disbelievingly. "How are they finding us?"
"Queen Beryl must be quite intent on finishing us off. She chose a flying one so that it would be able to follow us."
"Well, that's just great. I'm sure my insurance will have no trouble paying for a new apartment and a new car all in the same day," groused Motoki, as he made snap decision and stepped on the gas.
Motoki tried weaving in and out of traffic, as the bird-youma began to dive bomb the car. Its first strike missed the sunroof by a few inches, but still dented the car.
Mamoru quickly pulled the sunroof shut and then hastily transformed into Tuxedo Kamen. He turned to look at the still dozing Sailor Moon. How could she sleep through this!?
Motoki was quickly learning that high speed car chases were nothing like the movies. Even though he was passing most of the traffic relatively quickly, he was fast approaching an intersection. He felt his pulse quicken at the impending danger. He quickly flipped on his hazards and then started honking his horn, trying to get people to move out of his way…and to warn through traffic not to ram him.
Some of the drivers ahead of him pulled over to let him pass, however enough ignored him that there was no way he could get through the intersection.
"Come on, people! Do you not see the demon bird monster!?" he shouted, slamming on the breaks to avoid rear ending the car in front of him.
Sailor Moon fell forward, hitting her head on the back of the passenger seat. She sat up groggily in the back and blinked the sleep out of her eyes confusedly.
Tuxedo Kamen noticed that the heroine had come to and quickly devised a plan. "Sailor Moon! If I open the sun roof, can you throw your tiara at the youma?"
Sailor Moon blinked at him in surprise. "Tuxedo Kamen-sama? I already destroyed the youma," she said.
"There's another one," said Motoki tersely. His nerves were on edge as he honked impatiently at the cars in front of him, worried that any second the bird-monster would be back.
The windshield suddenly cracked as the youma managed to grip the roof of the car in its talons and violently rip it from the car.
Sailor Moon screamed as she got her first look at the giant creature. It looked like a bald eagle, only ten times larger and with black feathers instead of brown. The feathers around its head stood on end and formed a sort of crown around its face. Its eyes were bright yellow and shaped like slits. The beak was at least as long as a human hand and ended with a sharp curved hook. Each talon looked as long and as sharp as a butcher knife.
Oh, God, she couldn't handle this. What happened to the silly youmas shaped like birthday cakes and tennis balls? And why did she have to face three of them, Zoicite, and Kunzite all in a single day? Adrenaline surged through her exhausted body, as she started screaming uncontrollably, the stress finally catching up to her.
Tuxedo Kamen looked over at the screaming girl and suddenly felt very annoyed.
"ODANGO ATAMA! Focus!" snapped Mamoru, his nerves also stretched to the breaking point.
The fact that Tuxedo Kamen had just referred t her as 'Odango Atama' was enough to pull her out of her fearful panic. She couldn't believe that the hero she idolized had just insulted her. She started crying, even as she silently resolved to make him proud of her.
With hands trembling from exhaustion and fear, she reached for her tiara.
Meanwhile, Kunzite was staring up at the sky warily, his hands poised for an energy attack. Unfortunately, the youma had flown back into the direction of the sunlight, blocking Kunzite's view of the creature.
Unable to rush through the crowded intersection, a good number of motorists elected to abandon their cars and run for the cover of nearby buildings. Motoki cursed as he unsuccessfully attempted to pass the idling cars blocking his path.
"We need to bail!" he shouted. Kunzite turned his eyes toward the road and quickly agreed.
"Everyone out!" he ordered, "Move in a zigzag formation."
The four heroes quickly jumped out of Motoki's damaged car and started to run, but Sailor Moon was far too exhausted to make it far. She hadn't slept the previous night and had now used her powers four times without any rest in between. As she started to run, her legs seemed to turn to jelly and she collapsed on the hard asphalt, barely three steps away from the car.
Tuxedo Kamen saw the blond hit the ground from the corner of his eye, and annoyance once again surged through him. He reached down to haul her to her feet.
"Come on, Odango! You can sleep later! I'm tired too, you know!"
He had no idea why he was angry with her at the moment. Watching her sleep had brought back images of her falling asleep and drooling all over her manga at the arcade. He had never seen Sailor Moon (nor could he imagine the Moon Princess) acting in such a lackadaisical fashion and, for some reason, reminding him that she really was Odango Atama underneath the fuku, angered him.
After hearing his Master speak in such a way, Kunzite had promptly turned around, lifted Sailor Moon onto his back, and then given Mamoru a stare that could have melted lead. Mamoru resisted the urge to gulp, grateful his mask could hide the fear and guilt in his eyes.
Kunzite took off towards the safety of the buildings, Mamoru following in his wake like a chastened puppy.
Motoki had already made it to the sidewalk and was gesturing frantically at them. Mamoru whirled around just in time to see the youma diving, talons outstretched, toward Sailor Moon's exposed back. Without thinking, Mamoru launched an energy attack at the monster, which sent it crashing into the windows of the building across the street.
Kunzite's eyebrows rose. Without his memory, Endymion still seemed to have access to his powers.
"Master, do you remember how to teleport?" he shouted as he continued to run.
"Teleport?" Mamoru repeated. He could teleport? "I've never tried."
Kunzite had been afraid of that. Teleporting to safety had been his first option, but he assumed that his Master would not remember how to do so and attempting it for the first time in the midst of danger could prove disastrous.
If they didn't want to be followed by the youma, this seemed like their only option. Generally speaking, it was only possible to teleport one extra person, but perhaps with Endymion's added power they could all go as a group. Kunzite would need to use all his power to guide their essences to the right location. That was the greatest danger in teleportation: without enough concentration it was possible to become lost in the ether.
Tuxedo Kamen and Kunzite joined Motoki on the sidewalk. With Sailor Moon still on his back, Kunzite instructed the two men to form a circle, holding hands.
"Listen carefully. Master, you will need to have an image of a safe place in your mind. Think of nothing else. Kōhai, you need to clear your mind completely. Your thoughts could interfere in the transfer."
"Um…what?" said Motoki confused, even though he had already followed instructions and had formed a circle, awkwardly holding hands with Kunzite and Mamoru.
"My apartment should be safe…" Mamoru suggested, realizing that Kunzite obviously wouldn't be attacking the place.
Kunzite nodded, glancing over his shoulder at the exhausted princess. "Your Highness? Can you quiet your thoughts?"
Sailor Moon nodded sleepily against his back. She was having enough trouble staying conscious.
"Keep the image firmly planted in your mind. I will guide the transfer," he stated, and then he turned to Motoki. "Your mind must be clear, kōhai. Our deaths could result if you misdirect us with your wayward thoughts."
Motoki gulped. He had just realized what they would be attempting. "No thoughts. Got it," he said nervously, mentally willing himself to clear his mind. He had practiced meditation as part of his judo training; he could do this, he nervously assured himself.
Kunzite nodded to Endymion, who took a deep breath and then closed his eyes, concentrating on an image of his living room.
"Once you have the image, will yourself to be there," instructed Kunzite, as suddenly people began screaming, trying to warn the heroes that the monster was again diving towards them.
Sailor Moon turned to see the youma hurtling towards them and she suddenly decided she would make Tuxedo Kamen proud of her. She willed power into her tiara, which she still had gripped in her hand.
"NOW, Master!" Kunzite shouted, right before he felt Sailor Moon slip off his back.
Mamoru didn't need any prompting. He wanted to be anywhere but in the path of an attacking youma. He felt power surge through him, similar to the feeling he had when he was launching an energy attack, only the energy seemed to be aimed inward, rather than outward. It pulsed through him and then through his hands into Motoki. He became dimly aware of Motoki's….being, for lack of a better word. It felt as if his life force had combined with Motoki's, and then by extension to Kunzite's. The energy pulsed through them, as if their heartbeats had all synchronized. There was suddenly an odd feeling of weightlessness and then Mamoru felt as if he were being sucked into….the air? It seemed like he was being pulled down a drain, only the direction didn't seem to be down, it seemed to be in. No sooner had this odd sensation began, when Mamoru began to feel the opposite. The energy felt like it was trying to push them out of something. The feeling intensified and Mamoru guessed this is what being born must have felt like; an intense feeling of being pushed out of an enclosed space.
Suddenly, Mamoru became aware of his…mass…returning. He felt complete and whole again and almost jumped in surprise. He was standing in his living room, still holding onto Kunzite and Motoki.
His mouth fell open. That had to be the weirdest experience of his entire life. It was like the air itself had swallowed him and then regurgitated him back out across town. He shared a glance with Motoki, who looked similarly shook up.
"That was trippy," Motoki gasped, eyes wide with shock.
"Hello, Master," snapped an angry voice, coming from behind him.
The trio of men turned around to stare at Zoicite, who sat glaring angrily up at Mamoru from the floor, bound in bright golden chains.
"You!" Motoki shouted, recognizing the man who had attacked Reika.
Kunzite completely ignored the bound Zoicite and the startled Motoki. Instead, he violently punched Mamoru in the gut and then teleported back to the spot where he had lost Sailor Moon.
All the air whooshed out of him as he collapsed onto the carpet, desperately gasping for breath. He had already been bruised by Zoicite's earlier energy attack and this had only exacerbated the pain.
As Motoki reached down to help his struggling friend, Kunzite rematerialized, carrying a limp and lifeless Usagi.
Motoki's stared at them surprised. They had left her behind? How had that happened? And what happened to her Sailor Moon costume?
Kunzite, an expression of fury still on his face, looked down at the unconscious girl in his arms. Before the evening had gone straight to hell, Usagi had been wearing baby pink flannel pajama bottoms with bright pink hearts dotting the fabric. Her top was covered only by a thin white tank top with a pink bunny winking in the middle. Her hair had been brushed out and left free during the night.
He quickly averted his eyes, suddenly realizing how scantily clad she was. He stepped over the still gasping Mamoru and laid his princess gently on the couch. He removed his cape and covered her prone form. Then he suddenly reached down, grabbed Mamoru by the collar of his tuxedo and literally dragged him over to the slumbering girl.
"She needs energy, Master," said Kunzite, spitting out the title like it was a curse word.
What had happened to the broken and contrite Kunzite from earlier? Mamoru, still coughing, even while held in this awkward position over Usagi's chest, could barely comprehend this transformation.
"Now, Master!" he snapped, shaking Mamoru's neck.
He had no idea what he was doing, but he was genuinely afraid of Kunzite at the moment, and so he reached for Usagi's hand, hoping he would be able to give energy to her the same way that energy had pulsed between him and Motoki during their teleport.
He knew shouting at Sailor Moon had probably been the stupidest thing he could have done during the fight, and he was shocked that he had done it. He assumed that the stress from the night had just been too much and, without thinking, he had once again used Usagi as a vent for his frustration.
The guilt built up as he stared down at the untransformed superheroine, Odango Atama. Earlier in the evening, he had thought he had come to grips with her triple identity, but now he wanted to fully imprint the image onto his mind.
This young girl in bunny pajamas was Sailor Moon, who had just destroyed two, possibly three, youmas tonight and had healed both Kunzite and Zoicite. He was sure that he hadn't accidentally missed her in the teleport; she must have slipped off at the last moment so that she could destroy the youma. Probably because I made her feel bad about herself again, he thought miserably.
As the energy began transferring between them (much to Mamoru's relief) he became acutely aware of just how weak Usagi had become. She almost seemed to be struggling to breathe; no wonder she hadn't been able to hold her transformation.
Then he realized what had made Kunzite so livid. Usagi could have died all because she wanted to prove to him that she wasn't a weakling, despite the fact that she had already done so much during the night. The image of Kunzite bringing back a dead Usagi instead of an extremely exhausted one, hung in his mind. For the second time that day, Mamoru felt emotion completely overwhelm him.
He collapsed on top of Usagi and began crying. That was twice tonight that Usagi had almost died and both times were due to his hurtful comments. "I'm sorry, Odango….Usagi….I'm so, so sorry," he gasped out between his sobs.
How could Zoicite claim that he loved her when he treated her like this? He pulled up still sobbing, staring at Usagi's face. The doctor in him noticed she now had a healthy rosy complexion, as opposed to the pale, washed out one from earlier.
He didn't love her, he thought, but that wasn't because he hated her. He had never given her the chance to be anything other than a ditzy, immature blond. He wanted to rectify that as soon as possible. Considering their history, he wasn't sure if they would be able to love each other in this timeline, as Zoicite seemed to think, but he really wanted their relationship to move past being Odango Atama and Mamoru-baka. His resolve hardened. He was going to do everything he could to overcome his own insecurities and open up, so that Usagi would begin to see him as something other than a monster.