Well, this is…unexpected. It's been forever and then some since I've written any fic, much less Sailor Moon. But I recently watched the live-action, and…this spawned in my brain, rather randomly and insistently.
This will be a story in three parts. It can be interpreted as slightly AU towards the end of the second part, depending on how nitpicky you are with how I've cut up and messed with the scenes in the canon. I've tried to keep things within the context and pace of the live-action show, as much as possible.
Of course, I do not own Sailor Moon, in any of its incarnations.
Definition: "..the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration."
Part 1. Dark
Failure. Failure. Failure. It was disgusting.
"All alone. Somehow, I don't like it."
A red cloak landed on his shoulder, repaired, untorn. He was too startled by the oddness of the gesture to react.
Her face impassive, it didn't seem to quite match her words or her gift. He could only come to the conclusion she was mocking him further. His face twisted into a scowl as the sound of her boots tapping against the floor faded into the shadows.
Kunzite's little toy senshi. How dare she pity him?
He'd kill her. It'd piss off Kunzite, at least.
The first time he followed Mercury to the edge of the abyss, he had only a vague plan of finding out where she disappeared to. Once he saw where it was, he thought perhaps he'd shove her over the edge, into the black that lay beyond the Dark Kingdom.
"If you're going to follow me all the way out here, you might as well stop hovering in the shadows. Or are you too timid?" She turned halfway, haughty, sounding a bit put-upon.
He was definitely going to kill her. It would be very satisfying. Over the edge was too easy. There must be blood.
She sat down, leaning against the rock face of the cliff to the side of the outcropping they stood on.
Too casual. Much too casual. As though he were no threat at all. He would not tolerate such disrespect.
She sighed and waved a hand. "Well?"
"You're just Kunzite's pet." He hoped it would inflict some damage. She rolled her eyes.
"Is that what you came out here for? Or is this visit some pathetic attempt to kill me again?" When his glare increased in intensity and his posture tensed, she laughed. "You're too simple-minded."
She laughed again. "What a scary face." She then proceeded to ignore him.
He turned and went back to the castle.
The second time he followed Mercury to the edge of the abyss, he was quieter, and did not follow her footsteps. He'd surprise her, blast her, leave only a scorch mark on the rock where she stood.
Of course, she knew he was there before he could fire.
She sounded weary this time, and did not look at him. "Again?"
He glowered. "Why do you come all the way out here?" There were places inside Beryl's castle that were easier to reach, and easier to spring traps from. It was hard to prepare anything lethal out here.
"Because Kunzite is a bossy bastard."
He blinked, then arched an eyebrow. He almost smiled. Almost. He could understand her annoyance with Kunzite, at least.
"Nobody comes out here?" he asked.
"I do. And apparently you when you feel like being a stalker."
He ignored the jab and stepped closer, so that he was parallel with her, able to see the outline of her face. "I could kill you and nobody would care."
"I could kill you and everyone would think you ran off as a coward."
He hated how she always seemed to win. He was about to say something sarcastic back, but she turned to face him, an amused smile playing on her face. There was challenge glinting in her eyes, but little malice. She was teasing him. Teasing meanly, but teasing. He paused. Instead of a rude retort, he scoffed and sat down. Her brows lifted, but she said nothing.
They watched the darkness swallow the lavender light flowing from the castle behind them.
After several minutes of silence, he realized the quiet was almost companionable.
The third time he followed Mercury to the edge of the abyss, she looked at him, amused, and returned her gaze to the murk beyond the rim of the castle.
He had nowhere else to go.
He sat down.
He was starting to understand the appeal of the location. It was peaceful, if bleak.
The fourth time he followed Mercury to the edge of the abyss, he could hear the sound of violence in action.
Approaching the platform, he kept to the shadows. It was never wise to stumble into a fight in the Dark Kingdom without a certain level of caution.
But there was no fight. Only Mercury, attacking furiously the obsidian wall of stone that ringed their vantage point. Her ice blade danced, paused, flickered, slashed. A chunk of protruding stone cracked, tumbled to the ground, crumbled. For a moment, he thought she was simply training, practicing. Somewhere amid the fury of blows, he caught a profile of her face. She was livid. This he also understood. Taking out rage where she could, when she could. Whatever angered her was apparently out of reach.
The ferocity of her attack ended abruptly with a frustrated snarl. She gripped her sword, dagger-like, and rammed it several inches deep into the rock. It stuck. She breathed deeply.
It was gratifying to see he could startle her when she was upset. She was taken aback when he spoke, but recovered quickly, tensing for a fight. "Congratulations on slaughtering the wall."
"Shut up, Nephrite."
He tried to recollect if that was the first time she said his name. It probably was. It pleased him. She wasn't dismissing him or mocking him for a change. He realized she had stepped away from him, slumping down into her usual seat, a ledge of rock that protruded up from the ground, chair-like.
She seemed haggard.
He sat in his usual spot, several feet away. Far enough to give him time to raise a defense if something changed and they fought.
"I don't belong here, do I?"
That he did not expect. She was trying to sit upright, regal, to keep the coldness that always accompanied her, but was not quite succeeding today. She wasn't just haggard, she was worried.
She couldn't possibly be remembering who she was. That was supposed to be impossible. But what else could cause such a question?
It would certainly piss off Kunzite if she broke his hold on her. Probably even more than if she died suddenly, which did not seem as appealing a course as it did a few days ago, for some reason. It would also show that Kunzite was not as infallible as he made himself out to be. "No, you don't belong here," he told her.
Her face grew pensive. The sword of ice, sheathed in the stone, evaporated.
It made him too uncomfortable. He did not stay much longer that day.
The last time he followed Mercury to the edge of the abyss, she did not respond to his approach. She did not look up when he sat down. She sat, leaning forward, her hands hanging off the edges of her knees. They twitched in a rhythm, all tiny loops and twists, as though moving something between her fingers, which were empty. Her face shifted now and again. Sometimes sad. Sometimes angry. Sometimes frustrated. Sometimes straining, her eyes peering out into the black as though there was an answer waiting if she could just look hard enough.
When she held that look too long, he felt oddly worried. "Mercury?"
She grimaced, the spell broken. She snapped at him. "Why do you keep coming out here and bothering me?"
It took him a moment to find the answer. He said, "You're alone. Somehow, I don't like it."
Her mouth opened as though to make a nasty response, but she stopped before any sound emerged. She nodded once, and looked back into the dark, her gaze following the castle's radiating amethyst light.
Her fingers eventually began to weave again.
He'd watch Mercury. And if he got the chance, he'd get some payback from Kunzite.
Maybe not all of it would be for himself.