DISCLAIMER: I did not create Sailor Moon. I do not own Sailor Moon. But I totally love Sailor Moon. With that said . . .
It was a beautiful day in the early stages of an unusually warm Japanese summer. The wind blew light and cool with a gleaming sun perched high in the sky sparkling brilliantly off of the lake below; its steady rays bathing those scattered across the countryside in sun kissed warmth. In a cozy, sandy spot just off of the main beach loitered a group of six on a huge checkered blanket overrun with baskets of food on the verge of emptiness. None ventured to speak a word. It was a mutual period of unwinding and much needed relaxation.
A group of children were playing volleyball nearby and as fate would have it the rogue ball went careening in their direction. The ball collided with a face luckily covered by a book.
"What the-?" The body remained motionless as the kids ran over to retrieve their ball and apologize.
One of the children pushed another in front and she stumbled forward, nervous, "Um, I-I'm really sorry, we were just having a little game of ball and-"
The kid abruptly terminated her apology when the unknown victim sat up and lifted the book off his face to reveal deep ebony hair, devilishly handsome features and a muscular, toned body. The kids weren't expecting a smile though.
"That's alright," the man assured as he handed them the ball, "just be careful next time okay?"
The kids smiled, bowed, and ran off to play. The man sighed heavily and collapsed back down with a hard thud, right on the ankle of another.
A muffled "Dammit!" could be heard underneath the hat that covered her face. Her arm swatted his head, "Mamoru! Do you want to break my leg?!"
Mamoru lazily rolled over mumbling an apology, "Sorry Makoto."
Silence once again.
The one lazing peacefully under the tree sat up out of the shade and stretched. Her cropped, deep blue hair sparkled in the sun as she stifled a yawn. "That's our wake up call guys. Come on, get up!"
She was greeted by unanimous moans of protest. Another, basking in the sun on top of her raven hair berated without opening her eyes, "Come off it Ami. Kids today just don't understand the horrors we call final exams! We're all burnt out here."
"Preach it Rei," spoke the brunette, "too many words and too many formulas. It's a miracle we survived it all. I mean, you'd think we'd have a bit of a break after we defeated Galaxia but no, we had to hit the books and try desperately to catch up the minute it was over!"
Mamoru sighed, "You think it's bad now? Just wait until you get to university. God! I don't remember the last time I went to bed before five."
Rei stretched while sporting a sarcastic grin, "Life is hard for teenage superheroes."
With the book back over his face Mamoru blindly raised his arm into the air, "Uh, hello. In my twenties over here."
Rei narrowed her violet eyes, "Always rubbing it in."
With that said she spotted her comfortable and motionless friend and could not resist the urge to disrupt her calm by pinching the back of her leg.
The raven-haired beauty rolled her eyes, "Minako!"
"Rei, I'm trying to sunbathe here."
Rei shook her head, "Don't you think it's kind of hard to get a sun tan with a white cat sprawled on your back?"
Minako instantly sensed the cat's weight. He must have snuck in while she was napping and failed to notice. "Artemis, dammit, I am trying to sunbathe!"
The cat stretched lazily, "That part of your back was declared my napping ground years ago."
Minako just sighed with a playful smile.
From underneath his book Mamoru groped the ground blindly, "Makoto, where are those delicious sandwiches?"
Makoto sat up and yawned, "Ask Usagi, she's closest."
Mamoru propped himself up onto his forearm as he tilted his head and asked politely, "Usako, could you please pass me one of Mako's sandwiches?"
Everyone turned to the spot Usagi claimed and all they could see of her was a heap of blonde pigtails emitting snores. Rei shook her head, exasperated. She picked up the beach ball and pelted her with it.
As Rei continued to frown Ami tried her hand, shaking Usagi out of a coma, "Usagi, come on, wake up!"
Luna paraded over with an air of confidence as if to say, "I've got this." She burrowed through Usagi's hair and put all of her weight on her neck, which always worked in Usagi's junior high days. However, Usagi only snorted then snored even louder.
Mamoru was struck with an idea. He silently crawled over to the sleeping Princess and gently kissed her on the lips.
Usagi woke in an instant.
"Mmmm, morning Mamo-chan!" She kissed him gingerly as everyone face faulted.
Luna was flabbergasted, "Mamoru, where were you when I needed you all those mornings?!"
Mamoru just flashed Luna a smile in response and began sharing a sandwich with his girlfriend . . . surrendered the sandwich was more like it.
Minako turned over and tied her hair back up with her usual red bow, "So guys. School's out, summer's here and it's been peaceful for two whole months. What more could we ask for?"
Usagi reclined to lay her golden head on Mamoru's broad chest sighing in content as he instinctively wrapped his arms around her.
"Yeah," agreed Mamoru, "we finally get a chance to relax."
Mamoru's statement lingered in their ears as silence descended, forcing each one of them into the present moment. A cool breeze blew past, gently ruffling everyone's hair. They inhaled the fresh air deeply while picking up faint birdsongs and bubbles of human laughter. It was as if there was nothing wrong with the world and they soaked it in blissfully. They appreciated peace, happiness, and free time on a much deeper level than the average person for many obvious reasons. They were running out of fingers to count how many times they had stared the very real threat of Earth extinction dead in the face without so much as a tremble.
Strangely, unaware of each other they all fixated their thoughts on Usagi.
Here was the Princess of Earth's Moon. Their Princess. Always taking the last stand. Always rising above the most insurmountable obstacles when all other attempts had been exhausted and everyone else had perished. Usagi, being most times the only thing that has saved the precious Earth from brutal annihilation time, and time again. The love they felt for her swelled suddenly. She was without a doubt the strongest and most powerful person they knew. However, that was not why they loved her so deeply. Each of them knew that the legend of Sailor Moon would propagate down through time because Usagi was the most loving, selfless, and exceptional human being alive who was also lovable at the exact same time.
Oblivious, Usagi glanced up into Mamoru's face as he smiled back at her lovingly. She then looked around to all her best friends, now more like sisters. She was happy to see them so carefree. Usagi often felt horribly guilty due to the fact that they live to protect her, because for them a free, independent life would always be illusory. Even if attained it could never be fully enjoyed, for that same free life must be given up whole heartedly and without hesitation if Usagi, or the Earth should come to danger. As long as Usagi breathed they would forever be bound to their destiny of a warrior's life, always putting someone else's needs before their own. Through Usagi's eyes this was a forfeit of happiness, which is something barely endurable to someone like her. Though her Senshi did not feel this way it burdened Usagi regardless, as she is the type to seek other people's happiness before her own. Though seeing them now, all four of them playing cards while Luna and Artemis scrapped over a piece of fried shrimp caused Usagi to shine like the Sun. Everything was just so normal, so peaceful. She could ask for nothing more.
Makoto picked up a card from the pile and scowled at it, "Hey, have any of you guys heard from the outers lately?"
Minako picked up a card as well, "No, I don't think they're back from South America as yet." She flipped her hair over her shoulder, "man, it must be great to travel like that!"
"Minako," chirped Ami, "You used to live in England didn't you?"
Minako looked unimpressed.
"And," Ami continued, "you did travel a lot as Sailor V, right?"
Minako pouted her lips angrily as she folded her arms gruffly across her chest.
"It wasn't like how you're saying it Ami! I was always working!"
Ami betrayed a small smile, indicating that she was teasing her.
Rei stole a glance at Ami's cards when the blunette caught her in the act and swatted Rei's face away.
Rei laughed, "Yeah, but I think those four were just itching to get away with all the fighting we've been doing. We've hardly had a chance to do much else."
Usagi and Mamoru joined the game, "The battle with Galaxia was the toughest one we have had to date," spoke Usagi softly. "It's as if each enemy we face is so much more powerful than the last." She slumped a bit, "I don't even want to think of what could be more powerful than Galaxia."
Everyone was momentarily silent. No one liked to recall the day they all died, and it wasn't the first time either. Ami noticed the dark look hovering in Usagi's eyes and placed a hand on top of hers. Ami knew that deep down Usagi blamed herself for their deaths, but it wasn't like that at all. Of course, Usagi would never see it that way.
Usagi's crystal eyes met up with Ami's aqua blue ones, "We pulled through it didn't we?"
Usagi gave a weak smile.
Makoto looked on in sympathy, "Don't stress Usagi, as long as we stick together we're invincible."
Their collective mood lightened considerably.
Minako laid her cards down, "So Ami?"
Ami looked up from her cards, "Hm?"
"Beat you to the water!"
Ami smiled wickedly, "Fat chance!"
Soon everyone was making a mad dash to the water like they truly had no care in the world.
However, as inscribed deep into their destiny . . . that would not last for long.
If someone were around to listen, all one would hear is the hollow sound of the wind and the odd cricket making itself known to the night. In an abandoned corner of Jonanjima in the Port of Tokyo however, it was a different story. It was quiet; too quiet. The silence was deafening . . . unnatural. An extraordinary atmospheric ripple percolated in the dark shadows and seemed to rip open, turning itself inside out to spew a blackness blacker than deep space onto the Earth. It spread through the maze of shipping containers, across the pier, into the water, and through the cracks in the ground. It lethargically crawled like a highly viscous, soup-like mist that seemed to whisper dark and disturbing secrets to the night.
Ami sat at her exam desk writing furiously. She ran her hand through her hair roughly in pure frustration. Why couldn't she find her bearings in something as simple as advanced biochemistry? She was drawing a blank and was beside herself not knowing why. She felt so dumb, so blind, she should know this.
"Five minutes left class," the professor paced slowly across the teaching platform, "you should be finishing up."
"Crap!" Looking at the clock she heard it beep loudly once more. She wasn't even finished the first page! Why didn't she know this?! A sweat bead trickled down the side of her face and splattered onto her exam paper. Startled, she shot her head over to the door to see Rei standing there in full miko attire.
"Huh?" Ami was puzzled, "Rei what are you doing here?"
Rei didn't answer and just stared at her intently. The clock beeped once again. Ami ripped her gaze from Rei and looked at the clock.
Ami slowly opened her eyes to see her curtains blowing in the night air of the open window above her. She silently exhaled, "Phew! Just a dream. But I still felt so stupid. As if I was supposed to know something but couldn't grasp it . . . and what was Rei doing there?"
She shot up in her bed like a bullet and stared at her Mercurian computer, which sat open, beeping, and flashing the map of Tokyo. With wide eyes she stumbled out of bed and began typing furiously. The program she created after the defeat of Galaxia had found something. She kept a twenty-four hour search running to inform her of any supernatural occurrences going on in Tokyo.
Her results were in. There was a dot flashing . . . right over Jonanjima in the Port of Tokyo.
Ami quickly reached behind her back and pulled forth her communicator and Henshin wand.
She pressed the symbol of Mars with a feeling that Rei would be up at three o'clock in the morning. The picture cleared to reveal Rei with the sacred flame behind her. She obviously felt something.
Her face held raw determination, "I'm on it Ami, what's the exact location?"
"Jonanjima, Port of Tokyo."
"Okay, I'll call the others, get down there as soon as possible. We're right behind you."
Ami gave a slight nod, "Right." She put her communicator back in her sub-space pocket, stood up tall and raised her henshin wand. Her face exuded rock solid resolve, just as her friend's did, but also a trace of pleasant nostalgia. A slight grin curved her lips as she uttered the familiar phrase that she had come to love.
"Mercury Crystal Power!"
Super Sailor Jupiter bounded the rooftops as fast as her power injected legs would carry her. With the strength of her planet coursing through her she ripped through the night with super human speed and strength. When she reached her destination she jumped down to the scene. Her fellow Senshi, including Tuxedo Kamen were there already. Half of them stood guard while the other half debated with Mercury to assess what was happening. Eternal Sailor Moon smiled at Jupiter's arrival as she joined guard while also listening to the conversation.
Tuxedo Kamen scanned the area carefully, "So Mercury, what's the deal here?"
Super Sailor Mercury continued typing at light speed while speaking simultaneously, "I'm not quite sure, I'm not getting an exact reading or location, but there is evil here."
She lifted her gaze and touched her earring lightly. Her Mercurian visor shimmered into existence over her face as she scanned the area. "My visor shows no form or noticeable presence, but I know my program is correct!"
Worry passed over Sailor Moon's features, "Mars, what are you feeling?"
Super Sailor Mars had her eyes closed and her hands clasped in a Shinto manner, "Mercury is right, there is definitely a hostile force here."
At that exact moment everyone experienced a shiver race up their spines as Mars' violet eyes shot open. For all of them to feel that it had to be a powerful force.
Mars' lips tightened, "There is evil . . . and it's growing by the second."
Super Sailor Venus frowned in suspicion. With the power of love as her ally she could sense its cold absence. Something was definitely wrong here.
Her fists tightened, "Guys?"
The uncertainty in her tone caught everyone's attention.
There was dead silence. No wind, no insects, no rats, not even the lapping of the water. It felt so unnatural that Sailor Moon wrapped her arms around herself for reassurance. They all crouched slightly showing they were on their guard and ready for anything. A light breeze fluttered past Sailor Moon's ear. The hair on the back of her neck stood erect and she whipped her head around, hearing disturbing whispers.
"Who's that?" She demanded.
The Senshi looked over at Sailor Moon and asked what she heard. Tuxedo Kamen was at her side in an instant, holding Sailor Moon's shaky form in his strong arms. Her eyes remained wide and quivering.
"Didn't you hear that?" She asked urgently.
Tuxedo Kamen grew worried. "What? I didn't hear anything."
Sailor Moon's eyes refocused, she had to gain control of her fear. What kind of super heroine would she be if she were shaking like a leaf?
"The whispers, you didn't hear them?"
Everyone shook their heads while Mercury continued typing. Super Sailor Jupiter impatiently clenched her fists. When Sailor Moon acted like this it freaked everyone out. She just wanted to kick the shit out of whatever the hell was lurking around. She tapped her foot impatiently over an uneven patch of ground. Mercury suddenly ceased typing and whipped her head over to Jupiter in a panic. The Senshi, having fought together for so long knew each other like the back of their hands on and off the battle field. They've learned how to read each other's tone and body language without needing further explanation. That one look from Mercury was all the information Jupiter needed for she took off in a sprint without any verbal warning. At that exact moment the cracked ground she had just been standing on erupted high, a black plume of a thick, liquid-like mist shooting out. The Senshi were knocked off their feet as Jupiter went flying but managed a shaky landing. Everyone instantly jumped back up, assuming offensive stances as the thick mist spread like wild fire, engulfing the entire area. They might as well been separated by many miles for it was so black that they couldn't see their hand in front of their face.
Super Sailor Mars looked around frantically and called out to her fellow Senshi, "Is everyone okay?"
She heard affirmations all around her when Sailor Moon took the reigns. She whipped out her Eternal Tiare and assumed leadership.
"Okay, we all know where the site is so let's circle it. Mercury?"
"Don't worry Sailor Moon," assured Mercury while tapping the side of her visor, "I'm on it!"
As she looked on to where Jupiter was originally standing she saw something take form. "Something's there! At the eruption site! It's large with an unknown shape. Be ready."
Mercury let her visor go and prepared to call forth her shabon spray when suddenly the obscure mist dissipated. Stunned at it disappearing into thin air the Senshi looked to the eruption site where the creature should be. Only there was no creature. Now everyone was puzzled but experience had taught them to never let their guard down, and to trust Mercury.
Tuxedo Kamen moved his hand deftly causing a rose to appear within it. His eyes darted back and forth furiously. At that instant both Mercury, with her visor back on, and Mars stretched out an arm,
"Kamen! Above you!"
Wasting no time he drew back his arm and hurled the rose with great speed and accuracy as he quickly rolled out of the way. A piercing shriek was heard followed by a huge thud and a small crater magically appearing where Tuxedo Kamen once stood. The rose appeared to be suspended in thin air with greenish blood dripping from its razor sharp tip.
Tuxedo Kamen jumped up, "Shit! It's invisible!"
The rose took to the skies again and began erratically moving through the air at high speed. This was the moment where everyone had had enough. Jupiter looked fixedly at Tuxedo Kamen's rose with her antenna emerging from the emerald in her tiara. Lightning crackled around her and she ran forward yelling, "Supreme Thunder!"
Giant laces of lightning rushed forward at great speeds. The lightning seemed to travel through the sky without impact, but the small flash, loud shriek, and smell of ozone confirmed the hit. It was small, but a hit nonetheless. Jupiter glimpsed the scorched limb and smiled. Venus shared a quick look with Mars and Mercury. The red and orange clad Senshi anticipated its next move and called upon their widest range attacks as their arms lashed out.
"Crescent Beam Shower!"
Packets of hot plasma beams and a billowing plume of fire raced towards its target. Direct hit. A loud howl pierced their ears as gravity claimed the scorched creature and it fell back to the Earth. Mercury ran forward with hands high and acted quickly.
"Shine Aqua Illusion!"
Tons of freezing water rushed forth and crashed into the creature. Ice formed on impact and the demon became fully visible in all its frozen horror. The Senshi grimaced at the sight. It was a horrific looking creature, which stood about four and a half feet tall but had very lean and strong amphibian-like legs, which if extended would put the demon at six feet. It possessed long, boney digits with black, three-inch claws protruding from each one. The creature's mouth gaped wide and never closed, showing razor sharp, needle like teeth that were sure to drip rancid saliva. Its eyes were disproportionately large and as black and void as space itself, while the demon's skin appeared blackish green and seemed rubbery to the touch. Its legs were badly burnt and soon began transforming into the black mist with the rest of its body following suit until mist filled its body mold inside the giant ice crystal. Sailor Moon wore a look of disgust as she raised her Tiare, eager to rid the world of this creature.
"Silver Moon Crystal Power Kiss!"
The silver power of the Moon shot out and impacted with the ice creature. However, instead of eradicating like usual the ice shattered and the black mist exploded out violently, engulfing the area yet again. All got forcibly thrown back, and Mars, being too close to the water fell in, the only evidence being a small splash, which was easily drowned out by the explosion.
"What the hell?!"
"What was that?!"
"Is everyone okay?"
Everyone answered except for Mars.
"Mars! Where are you?"
Mercury was now fed up, "Enough of this." She closed her eyes and called upon her shabon spray concentrating to drive the black mist out.
"Shabon Spray . . . Surround!" The water fog encompassed her and spread out in all directions driving the mist away. She let the power go and everything was back to normal. All that was left of the battle was a pile of ice chunks. Mars was no where to be seen.
Mars struggled terribly to swim up to the surface but she couldn't for the life of her. It was like something all around her was weighing her down, pulling her deeper and deeper. She looked up and could not see the surface anymore; all she saw was black. Her body was on the verge of panic but her mind screamed at her to stay in control. The blackness closed in on her as her mind hazed.
"What the hell's going on? I feel . . . violated!"
The black mist entered her ears and thrashed through the recesses of her mind mentally raping her. She was on display for the mist to see. In a panic bubbles escaped from her mouth and she was now losing air.
The Senshi frantically looked for Sailor Mars when Venus spotted splotches of water on the dock by the sea, "Guys look! I think she fell in the water!"
Everyone ran over and looked in but couldn't see anything. Sailor Moon prepared to jump in after her, "She should have surfaced by now. I have to go after her!"
Tuxedo Kamen stopped her, "No wait! Let myself or one of the others go."
Reluctantly, Moon agreed as Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Jupiter dove in to save Mars.
Venus felt sick, "Oh God!"
Sailor Moon shot a frantic look at the goddess of love, "What?! What is it?"
"The water . . ." Venus pointed out, "it's completely black."
Jupiter and Kamen kicked . . . and kicked . . . and kicked. It was difficult to search for something when all was black. After what seemed to be an eternity he spotted a faint red and white object. He tapped Jupiter's arm and pointed as they raced down to her. Jupiter took Mars in her arms just as the blackness hastily retreated, the water fading to a dark blue. Jupiter almost gasped under water but concentrated on the task at hand. She raised Mars' head to see her face constricted in pain. Tuxedo Kamen saw this too and he took her other arm as they kicked upwards in a hurry. As soon as the trio broke the surface, six hands reached out to drag them up onto the dock.
Moon and Venus laid Mars down on the pier as she thrashed around violently, sucking in large amounts of air.
Venus tried to restrain her limbs, "What happened?!"
Tuxedo Kamen sat on the pier breathing heavily as well, "When we found her the blackness disappeared and she was in a lot of pain." He ran a damp gloved hand through his wet locks, "she thrashed around all the way up."
Mercury knelt down quickly, grasping her friend's head in her hands, "MARS! MARS SNAP OUT OF IT!" Mars continued to thrash, "MARS!"
Mars' eyes snapped open and she instantly stopped thrashing. She blinked several times while her lungs struggled for breath. Her eyes ran wildly until they focused on a familiar face. "M-Mercury?"
Mercury nodded, relief clearly washing over all their faces. Sailor Moon was near tears as she leapt at her best friend, crushing her in a bear hug. "Oh my God! I thought we'd lost you!"
Sailor Mars gagged, "Do you want to kill me odango atama? Get a grip!"
Jupiter couldn't help but giggle at the pun. That died soon however when she placed a hand on her shoulder. "Mars?"
Sailor Mars looked at her over protective friend with dark eyes, expecting the next question.
"What the hell happened down there?"