"Symmetry of Fire"
by Danny Lilithborne
"Sailor Moon" (c) 1992-present Naoko Takeuchi
"Sailor Stars" (c) 1996-1997 Toei Animation
Original characters and storyline (c) 2000-present Danny Lilithborne
Music (c) 1992 Columbia, (c) 1997 Warner Bros.
Reproduction not on the websites Fanfiction, Dotmoon or Janime prohibited by int'l law.
"For now we stand alone, the world is lost and blown
And we are flesh and blood disintegrate
With no more to hate..."
— The Smashing Pumpkins, "The Beginning is The End is The Beginning"
"Please, God, grant us a happy end..."
— Moon Lips, "Moonlight Densetsu"
Eternal Sailor Moon faced her foe, Prometheus. I was kneeling on the ground; I'd fought him to the best of my ability, but I was completely out of energy.
"I know he'll understand, Galaxia," Usagi had said. "He's a soldier that fights to protect something, like you were."
"Don't think you can defeat him the same way you defeated Chaos," I shouted with what little energy I could muster. "He's an unfeeling soul; he lives only for combat!"
"Didn't the Starlights say the same about you?" Usagi replied, and winked at me, an action causing me to blush.
When she looks at me like that... I believe her, I thought to myself. I guess I'll have to see if the power of love is truly able to heal the damage he's done to himself. Once a soul succumbs to its human side, it's all over. Eternal Sailor Moon... can you do it?
"What's your next move, you pitiful excuse for a warrior?" her opponent challenged.
Eternal Sailor Moon raised her Moon Power Tiare. "This is my response. Watch carefully!"
I gazed at the Tiare, recalling when she'd attempted to use it on me. Her intent was, of course, pure then, as it was now. That was a requirement for its use.
"Silver Moon Crystal Power!"
The light shone brightly, a purifying light that filled all the space within the seal. I gazed upon it, a love and affection filling my soul that I hadn't felt in a long time.
But Prometheus didn't care, as expected.
"All I see in that light are the rays of the sun," he scoffed. "Don't you know? Humans become blinded if they stare directly into the sun. Well, I'm looking at that light right now, and it doesn't do a thing to me."
Usagi gasped. "Why..." she started to quake in her boots. "Why doesn't it work?"
"Do you remember what my name is?"
Usagi blinked. "Your name?"
"My ancestor... the gods guarded the secret of fire from humanity. Kept it to themselves. But he knew... this Titan, this creature of the past, and he wanted to share it with man. And for his trouble, he was punished. Bound to a rock for all eternity with his liver being torn out day after day."
"What are you... talking about?" Usagi lowered her Tiare, since it wasn't working.
"Imagine if this Titan knew the secret... the secret that would destroy the immortal gods forever? Would he submit to this torture... out of pride? Perhaps his hatred against both the gods and humanity were that strong. What do you think, Tsukino Usagi?"
Eternal Sailor Moon gasped at her civilian name being used. Hearing it aloud, she fully grasped its meaning. Tsuki no usagi... the rabbit on the moon. Was Sailor Moon always her destiny?
The man in front of her chuckled. "My name, the name my parents gave to me... their legacy. I am Prometheus! And I vow on my parents' memories to destroy anyone who fights, including myself, when I am the last one left! That includes you and that wench Galaxia! Once I kill you, I can destroy her easily!"
I almost want him to win... so I can finally die, I thought, and then bit my lip hard, tasting my own blood. No! I can't be as selfish as I was before! I... I need to fight...
"I know what you're thinking," Usagi said. "You can't push yourself, Orikaza-sensei. This is my fight."
She is using the pseudonym I used while on Earth!
"You haven't recovered all of your memories yet, Princess Serenity!" I shouted. "He'll destroy you!"
But Prometheus was already on the move, rushing Sailor Moon with a punch, which she only narrowly managed to avoid.
"How dare you evade my move," Prometheus said bitterly. "Don't you know what my victory means?"
"I know exactly what it means," Sailor Moon replied. "You'll kill Galaxia, and the Animamates along with her. And then you're going to go after my friends! Don't you think I'll sacrifice my own existence to protect them?"
"You're a fool," Prometheus spat. "A pitiful fool."
"What?" Usagi's thoughts resounded within my mind. Does he truly not understand friendship at all?
"You'll fight for others' sake, but not your own?" he went on. "If you can't defend yourself, you can't defend anyone. All this time, you've let your friends do your fighting for you!"
Usagi gasped once more. He's right... all this time... Ami-chan, Rei-chan, Mako-chan and Minako-chan... even Haruka-san and Michiru-san... I... I've never...
I'd had enough of his lies and mind games. "You're wrong, Prometheus!" I shouted.
Usagi and Prometheus turned to look at me.
"Struggling to find the light in the face of darkness... to not battle against evil until you are certain there is not a trace of light in it," I went on. "Tsukino-kun has tried to do that from the moment I met her. She's the one who saved me... no, this galaxy from Chaos."
Prometheus smirked. "And those bracelets on your arms?"
I looked at my Golden Bracelets, the ones that maintained my current form, giving it a cohesive structure in this world.
"Without those bracelets, you'd cease to exist, isn't that right?" Prometheus said, and then grinned widely. "Why don't you take them off?"
I started to pull one off and felt an incredible shock. Apparently, I couldn't remove one while the other was still on. My only recourse was to take them both off at the same time. I started to shake my arms, causing the Bracelets to come loose. Perhaps this way...
Usagi saw what I was trying to do. "Don't, Galaxia! Don't take them off! You'll disappear."
"If I do, it's because there was nothing left of me but Chaos," I said. "Remember when you saved me for the first time... I didn't have the bracelets then."
"Mind your superior, Tsukino-kun," I said, and threw the bracelets off finally. I then removed my Empyrean Helmet from my head and threw it off, revealing my hair.
Nothing happened. I remained.
Prometheus just chuckled. "Such a showoff, as if playing the self-sacrificing heroine makes a difference."
I sighed softly. I was hoping that my body would disappear, and my soul's energy would empower Sailor Moon to fight her foe, as my Star Seed did before. But now...
I gasped suddenly, as I remembered the actions my Chaos-possessed self took before. My Star Seed!
"Tsukino-kun!" I shouted, and then was startled as Prometheus rushed to attack Usagi again. "Dodge!"
Usagi did so, and took frantic evasive action as Prometheus came at her with blow after blow. Each one of them would have certainly killed her if they connected. As things stood, Sailor Moon wasn't good for much longer. She'd exerted a lot of effort before her final battle, and Prometheus and I could both see she was reaching her limit.
Prometheus, on the other hand, had had his minions fight his battles. It would take a long time for his energy reserves to run out. At least, I'd gotten him to the halfway point.
"Tsukino-kun, you're running out of energy," I said. "Your only recourse is to use the energy from my Star Seed."
"Your... Star Seed?" Usagi had apparently not figured it out.
"Remember when I stole your Star Seed, the Silver Crystal," I went on, shuddering as the emotions of those painful actions I took resounded in my heart. "The energy that restored you?"
"I thought that was Chibi Chibi," Usagi replied.
"In your emotional state, it's not a surprise that you didn't understand," I said. "I was trying to get you to kill me with that sword, but you refused. You reached out for me instead. You never failed to strive for a true peace until the end, and beyond. That's how you saved me. But..."
I closed my eyes, and then reopened them.
"The Silver Crystal you have now is an imitation!"
"Wh-what?" Usagi gasped.
Prometheus had paused his relentless attacks. My words made him curious, too.
"Chaos destroyed the Silver Crystal, as it planned to do," I sighed. "But my Star Seed was able to give you the strength to continue the fight. Out of the purity of your heart, you created a new Silver Crystal for yourself. You poured your memories and your soul into it, so you could fight Chaos. But the original Silver Crystal is gone."
"N-no, that's not possible... That can't be true!" Usagi gasped, tears flowing from her eyes. "Without the real Silver Crystal, I'll never regain all of my memories!"
"Forget about your memories for the moment!" I shouted. "We can deal with that later. Right now, your opponent is Prometheus. And if he kills you, he will kill this world's hope!"
"That's right, Tsukino Usagi," Prometheus sneered. "But then again, your whole life past your fight with Galaxia is a lie. Hell... even your fight with Queen Beryl was a lie."
"Queen Beryl...?" Usagi gasped, and I saw the wings of her Eternal form quiver. "How do you know about that?"
"Galaxia-sama," Prometheus chuckled, using an honorific just to mock me. "You didn't tell her?"
"That was the past," I grunted, but felt now that my judgment had been mistaken. "The Sailor Soldiers needed to focus on the battle in front of them."
"Tsukino Usagi, Queen Beryl was never corrupted by Chaos," Prometheus said, turning back to face Eternal Sailor Moon. "Beryl... Death Phantom... Pharaoh 90... Nehellenia... and even Galaxia herself. They willingly surrendered to Chaos, and caused you and your friends so much pain!"
"That's a lie and you know it," I said. "Death Phantom is Chaos, and those other people you spoke of had their own agendas."
"No, that's okay, Sailor Galaxia," Usagi told me. "You don't have to defend yourself. I know his goal. You won't distract my clarity of thought, Prometheus. Not with your words!"
"In that case, I'll use my fists to awaken you to the truth!" Prometheus shouted, and without warning he launched a fist to her face. It was a hard blow, but he didn't use all of his power. Usagi fell to the floor, crying out, half in pain and half in sadness. Blood dripped from her nose.
I couldn't stand by anymore and watch this innocent young woman suffer. But when I tried to get to my feet, I merely toppled back to the ground.
Prometheus laughed. "This is true suffering for you, isn't it, Galaxia-sama?" he said, and then kicked Usagi hard in the side. "Watching me attack the girl who saved you, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it... is it painful?"
Usagi reached for me. "Don't listen to h- AAAHH!!!" She was kicked again, and curled up into the fetal position, her wings wrapping themselves around her. The pain was getting to her.
"That does it," I said. I closed my eyes again, and got in touch with my physical form. My heart was beating at a decent pace. My blood flow was... I coughed as I tried to analyze my circulation. Was I still...?
I coughed. "No, I don't care," I said aloud as I got to my feet. The world swam in front of me, but I knew if I just focused on my surroundings, I could ignore the vertigo. "Prometheus! Don't attack that girl!"
"And if I ignore you?" he said. "Look at you... you can barely st..."
"Galactica Inflation!" I shouted, pouring all of my heart and soul into the attack. Prometheus screamed as the supernova of sensation exploded from within him, and he dropped to his knees, spitting up blood.
I, myself, sensed a little of the power of that technique. Without the Bracelets restraining me, my power was out of control. Chaos was not in my body anymore, and it had been millennia since I'd truly used my abilities. Still, it wasn't enough to kill him.
But would I have the energy to summon my Sword of Sealing? I was already out of breath. I'd bought some time for Usagi and I to reconvene and strategize. "Tsukino-kun!" I shouted.
Usagi struggled to her feet, holding her side, and hobbled towards me as Prometheus recovered from my blow.
"Tsukino-kun, we don't have much time," I told her. "I'm losing control of my power. Focusing on maintaining the Seal of Tiresias while fighting this battle will be too much for me. I have to summon my Sword of Sealing and end this now."
"But I thought you destroyed it," Usagi replied, and then shuddered as a surge of pain hit her nerves again.
"The Sword of Sealing is as much a part of me as my body is," I replied. "You restored me to my form before Chaos corrupted me, so I'm sure I can summon it again. But you have to understand that I am going to kill Prometheus, and not get in my way."
"Kill... Prometheus? Is that really the only way?"
I looked down, and the sorrow must have been evident in my eyes, because I felt Usagi's hand touch mine. "Orikaza-sensei," she said. "You're not the only one who's had to make hard sacrifices."
"...Tsukino-kun?" I said quietly. My emotions were overflowing, and we were out of time.
"I'm just saying, you're not alone," she went on. "You're never alone. So don't give up on him, just like I never gave up on you.
"You love him, right?"
I stiffened. I couldn't believe it. Love... Prometheus? No... Impossible. It was impossible! But then... why had I come this far? Why had I taken all these risks; not just my own life, but my comrades?
"Tsukino-kun, don't say foolish things because you don't understand my reasons," I said, trying not to sound like a stern headmistress. Judging from her expression, I failed, but I had to continue. "You can't live like a child anymore. You're a college student."
"Still... if you wanted to kill him, you could have killed him before," Usagi pressed on, and then tilted her head inquisitively. "Why didn't you?"
"I'm not as strong as you," I admitted, with my eyes drifting to Prometheus, who was starting to recover. "I could kill him, but then the guilt would prey on my soul forever. And here I am, lecturing you on being an adult. Forgive me..."
I dropped to my knees again. My consciousness was swimming around me. I knew I didn't have the power to summon my Sword.
"Damn it!" I cried out, from the depths of my soul. I was powerless. I could only watch, in the end.
"You..." Prometheus muttered, glaring at me, his face contorted in rage and pain. "You... that hurt me. You wench..." Usagi turned to face her foe, but he ignored her and kept talking to me. "You knew that move would destroy me from the inside out and impair my ability to fight. Now, this little girl and I are going to be on equal footing no matter what power I summon. I'll hate you from now until the end of time, Sailor Galaxia!"
"Your opponent is me!" Usagi shouted.
"What?" Prometheus said, and then laughed haughtily. "You're not a worthy opponent for me. I already made that judgment earlier. You didn't even try to dodge my attacks."
"Galaxia didn't hurt you," Usagi declared. "You hurt yourself."
"What?" Prometheus' frown deepened. If she kept going, he would become furious, and then...
Is this Tsukino-kun's strategy? It just might work...
"By relying on hatred and revenge as your power, you brought ruin to your own body," Usagi said. "Don't blame Galaxia for that! It's your own weakness..."
"...you think you're protecting something, but you're only afraid..."
"SHUT UP!" Prometheus screamed. Usagi's eyes widened as if startled, then narrowed, as a pause of uncomfortable silence halted the battle momentarily.
Prometheus then smirked after some time had passed. "Galaxia, you can't hold this seal for much longer, can you?" he said after he calmed down.
It was my turn for my eyes to involuntary widen. Oh no. The strategy backfired! He didn't forget that I was holding the Seal of Tiresias with my own will. This is the worst possible scenario!
"My physical body may be damaged, but I can still move faster than either of you in your present states," Prometheus said. "I know the true identities of all of your friends. I'll find them one by one..."
Usagi's eyes widened again, but this time they didn't narrow. "You wouldn't..."
"I won't kill them right away. I'll hurt them first, like you hurt me. Yes. Them, and their families and friends. I'll make you all suffer like I suffered!"
"Prometheus, even if you do this, nothing will—"
"I don't care about changing anything anymore!" Prometheus bellowed. And as he spoke, the Seal of Tiresias started to falter. "You're right! Nothing will change, no matter what I do! Soldiers will continue to be born, even if I were to end my own life after destroying you all. No matter what I do, the cycle of happiness and misery will continue. Misery's not worth the happiness. That's why I'll make all of you suffer."
"Galaxia, the Seal!" Usagi cried as she turned to face me, a look of sheer panic in her expression. I met her gaze, but then my consciousness finally gave out and I dropped to the floor face-first. I wasn't out of the fight yet, but I could no longer make any movements in the battle.
"If the Seal gives out..." Usagi murmured. "Then my friends... my family..."
Something was happening.
I felt her heart beating at a quickening pace; her metabolism speeded up exponentially. No! Was it 'soul necrosis'? No... something else. Something I'd never seen before... but perhaps felt...
The Seal gave out and we were suddenly back on the outskirts of Tokyo again, or so it seemed.
"Smell you later!" Prometheus spat, and then began to make his move.
But before he could...
Everything went white, and I shielded my eyes. When I was able to lower my arms, I couldn't believe what I was seeing...
The Seal had been replaced, stronger this time. I wasn't doing it. Instead of the rainbow-colored vortex that characterized the Seal of Tiresias, we were now in an area that looked like a Greek pantheon. And the voice that declared that attack... it sounded like Usagi's, but... impossible. It couldn't be.
Prometheus lay on the ground, his body smoking. He struggled to get himself back on his feet. "What the he—"
He was interrupted by a movement that my eyes couldn't quite follow as a powerful strike sent him crashing against the wall of this new Seal. Prometheus was in agony. He then fell to the ground in a heap. As expected, he struggled once more to his feet.
"Why, you..." he muttered. "How did you get this power, Sailor Moon?"
A pregnant silence.
Then a voice. "Sailor Moon?"
Again, it sounded like Usagi's, but it was far too mature to be her.
And then suddenly, I saw her.
At an equilateral distance between me and Prometheus, she stood. She looked like Usagi, but her hair was the color of Queen Serenity's. Her eyes were stern, and her uniform had changed as well; the moon insignias were gone, replaced by shimmering folds of satin. She had a cape flowing behind her back. An invisible aura of power was palpable around her, changing the appearance of the environment in which she stood without emitting any visible radiation.
"Tsukino-kun!" I shouted.
"Sailor Moon... Princess Serenity... Tsukino Usagi," the figure said. "Those names do not mean anything to me anymore. They were weak illusions of a humanity I hung onto, a desperate attempt to be like everyone else. To be on the same level as those who served me. That illusion has disappeared."
"Who... who are you?" Prometheus asked. He obviously could feel what I felt, because for the first time ever in the time I'd spent with him, I could hear fear in his voice.
"I am the guardian spirit of all the planets in the galaxy and beyond," the powerful figure standing before him said. "I am the envoy of vengeance for the innocent. I am the very truth of this world. For love and justice, the angel of hell will appear to right wrongs and triumph over evil."
She then narrowed her eyes to a near slit.
"Prometheus... that means you."
Prometheus backed away, frightened out of his mind.
"My name," she continued on. "Is Sailor Cosmos."
Another deep, dark silence that hid a blinding light within it. I realized that Usagi had done more than unlock the power of my Star Seed. I was standing before none other than my old self.
"In the name of the gods of old... Prometheus, I will kill you."
Prometheus started to laugh, although I could tell it was a bluff to hide his fear. "Such big words," he scoffed. "Sailor Cosmos, or whatever, don't think y—"
He was cut off by a blow to the face. Sailor Cosmos had suddenly appeared in front of Prometheus, and had slapped him across the face. Just like that; so simply. Prometheus was knocked to the floor. The pain was palpable, but more psychological than physical — to be humiliated by such a simple move.
"The strong talk," Sailor Cosmos scoffed in kind. "The weak listen."
I gasped in shock again. Those words... they awoke a memory in me. Yes... I had used that line during the Sailor Wars too. Against... my head started to hurt when I tried to recall anymore. For now, I had to listen to those words. I was weak right now, so I would listen.
"You think you are strong, but your weakness is almost physical," Cosmos went on. "I can feel it in the air. It stinks of cowardice. Prometheus, you sent your underlings as pawns after me and my friends, and they were destroyed by their own fear. All the while, you thought you were gathering power. But you are a mere speck of dirt before me."
Prometheus got to his feet and grit his teeth, trying hard to maintain an illusion before what he saw as a monster of power.
"There is still time for you yet, though," Cosmos said. "If you turn back from your path, I may forgive you and spare your life."
"You've got to be joking," Prometheus spat. "Turn back now, after all I've done? Maybe I have no chance in a battle against you, but don't think I'm not going to try my best."
Sailor Cosmos flashed a deadly smile. "I know you will."
She then appeared in front of him again. A knee to the gut disabled him for the moment, followed by an uppercut which launched him into the air. This was a combo I recognized. It was a setup for the Galactica Super String.
Cosmos raised her clenched fist and then opened it. "Cosmic Tachyon!" she shouted.
The attack... I couldn't follow it. It happened in an instant, and Prometheus was howling in pain as his physical body seemed to be shattered by light. I could tell the only thing holding him together was that mysterious immortality trait. He would gladly surrender his life if he could at that moment.
Of course, the illusion of a fighter returned to him as soon as he hit the ground, and he was once again struggling to his feet. "You won't defeat me," he muttered. "I'll just hate you, like I hate Galaxia..."
"Sailor Galaxia?" Cosmos asked. "Have you ever defeated her?"
"Shut up!" Prometheus shouted in response. "I managed to hit her once! She's not invincible!"
Sailor Cosmos turned to look at me. Her expression was severe, but it hid a... playfulness. A knowingness. She turned back to her opponent.
"Shall we see who luck favors now, then?" she said. "Come on... Prometheus."
Prometheus hissed. I knew he was deep in thought of what was the best approach to this unknown battle. Cosmos was just looking at him, regarding him.
I recognized her stance...
"I don't care if you're Galaxia or sheep," Prometheus said. "Whoever you are, I'll defeat you. Besides, Galaxia would have never given me that chance you just gave me."
"Oh, really?" I laughed mockingly. "Or perhaps I am just so confident that there is nothing you can do to hurt me that I gave you a chance out of boredom. I am Sailor Galaxia, Prometheus! Until you accept that, our fight will be meaningless!"
"No, it won't be meaningless," Prometheus said. "I'm going to beat you until your mouth is no longer capable of telling any Goddamn lies!"
"God... so you still believe in that pitiful creature." I scoffed. "I used to be like that, too. Having faith in a benevolent Lord."
"Shut up! Just shut up!" Prometheus ran forward, not thinking, driven by his anger.
"Are you forgetting who your opponent is?"
I summoned my Sword of Sealing and slashed it threateningly, timing my blow so it would just narrowly miss being fatal. Seeing that, he halted his approach, his chest just missing the tip of the sword.
"A frontal assault is the last resort of the desperate," I said. "When you think you've run out of options and take the only one available, your opponent will see through that unless they are truly stupid! Didn't I tell you never to insult me like that again?"
How could she know about that? I thought to myself. My Star Seed wasn't with me when I did those things. But Tsukino-kun is acting the exact same way I did. How...?
"I'm waiting," Sailor Cosmos said.
"Me too," Prometheus said, body tensing.
"Tsukino-kun," I called. "You need to attack first. You can't wait here forever."
Cosmos then looked at me, and her gaze was absolute and deadly.
"Are you telling me what to do, Hawwa?"
She used my real name, and I suddenly remembered. I knew what she was going to say.
"I was your Star Seed once, Hawwa. I was the Light of Hope for this world. But you cast me aside in fear and doubt, thinking that Chaos would pollute me, consume me like it consumed you. Perhaps your existence was not as strong as Death's, but did you really think it would overcome me?"
I looked down, chagrined.
"I did as you bid me to do, Hawwa... no, Sailor Galaxia. I wandered the cosmos in search of someone who would embrace me warmly. But in the end, I had no choice but to return to where I came from, to this girl who did not wish to battle! And you destroyed me! Do not even think of blaming Death for that!"
"You're right," I whispered. "I'm sorry."
"No, it wasn't your fault!"
I heard Tsukino-kun's voice break through. No! Not now!
"Galaxia, I believe in you, I..." Cosmos grabbed her forehead, appearing to be in pain. Prometheus, as expected, grasped his opportunity, but even without her vision, Cosmos was stronger. She merely swatted him away like the pest he was.
"She's right... it wasn't your fault," Cosmos said, regaining her serious voice. "You were afraid of Eternal Sailor Moon getting close to you. It is ironic, is it not, Galaxia? In the end, you were afraid of what you wanted most."
I sighed, and slumped to my knees, powerless as I was. She knew me better than anyone. She should... she was my old self.
"Now..." Cosmos went on. "I will show you how to fight. Yes... I can wait here forever. I am not relying on my mortal body to power my magic. This Seal can last indefinitely... the Seal of the Nightmare, which my mother used on Nehellenia long ago."
So she still retained her memory of Princess Serenity, Galaxia thought to herself. This is a good sign...
"Have you regained your memories, then, Princess Serenity?" Prometheus said, rising to his feet. "If so, then you should also remember that you're no match for me. You may have Galaxia's Star Seed, but you don't have her body."
"You're a fool, Prometheus," Sailor Cosmos said. "You haven't changed at all. I have a consciousness beyond Galaxia's Star Seed. When you were blathering about power beyond humanity, I had already achieved it. Tsukino Usagi accepted me out of her own free will. She understands that you need to be stopped, even if it means she must kill you."
"You mean Princess Serenity? The girl who refused to kill me back then at all costs?" Prometheus laughed heartily. "She just broke through your consciousness, Sailor Cosmos! You think she won't stop you before you deliver the killing blow?"
Sailor Cosmos frowned and simply crossed her arms again. "Your first attack failed," she said. "Do you wish to try again?"
Prometheus grunted again.
"Or perhaps you wish to spread more lies, as you did before?" Cosmos said. "The lies that spurred the likes of Queen Beryl, Pharaoh 90, Nehellenia and Galaxia to attack me and my friends? You corrupted even the memory of my mother, to believe that Beryl was responsible for the destruction of the Silver Millennium. Prometheus... it was you all along."
"Beryl was a weak witch in love with Prince Endymion," Prometheus said with a roll of his eyes. "She was willing to play the villain in order to awaken Sailor Moon to fight Death Phantom. And you defeated him, didn't you?"
"The cost was far too high. The emotional suffering of my friends... of my daughter. Of the people of Nemesis. Of the Ayakashi clan... of the Generals of Earth. They were all pawns in the hands of Death Phantom. You could have stopped that at any time."
Cosmos then pointed to Prometheus.
"Prometheus, the suffering of this world is all on your shoulders! Are you ready to accept responsibility?"
"The suffering of this world is the fault of that Princess, who was unwilling to fight or endure! That is why the world must be ruled by men like me! Men willing to bear the agony! We know it is making us stronger! You women cannot handle pain at all!"
I winced at that last statement. He had... no idea. How dare he? But no... I was feeling that anger flare up inside me. The same power as him... I wouldn't surrender to it.
Sailor Cosmos frowned deeply. "You can tell that to your mother in hell," she spat. "Now attack, you coward!"
Prometheus' eye twitched. "My... what did you say?"
"Are you hard of hearing now, Prometheus? Attack me!"
Prometheus yelled and ran forward. "You will not insult my mother! I'll never forgive you! I..."
And just like that, before Prometheus' attack even began, it was stopped. He was thrown to the floor, and exhibited signs of reaching his limit. Sailor Cosmos, on the other hand, wasn't even breathing erratically.
"What do I care if you forgive me or not?" Cosmos said, and her scoff was on a level that I could never imagine Tsukino-kun to be capable of. "You are hardly in a position to hand out forgiveness. You, who led people to believe that they were your comrades, then watched them all perish!"
Those words stung me to the core as I remembered how the Animamates had fallen by my hands once.
Prometheus, however, showed quite clearly in his expression that he cared nothing for his comrades. "They perished because they failed in their mission," he said flatly. "They knew the price to pay for that."
"Then you know the price you must pay for opposing me," Sailor Cosmos said.
And I was shocked as a sudden flashback gripped me.
All three stars of creation, on me at once. I thought I could handle them all. I was wrong.
"Are they going to overpower me? The strongest in the galaxy... me...?
Why had I done it? Why had I obtained all this power, if I couldn't protect myself? No... I wasn't protecting myself. I was defending the Star Seeds! The...
Blood... My blood...
"I was just going to take your star seeds... but that ends now! I will not forgive you any longer! The punishment for hurting me is death!"
"Sailor Moon! Don't!" I shouted reflexively.
Tears were welling up in my eyes as Sailor Moon... no, Sailor Cosmos turned to me.
"I can't stand to see you lose to this!" I cried. "You're stronger than this, Sailor Moon! You told me that day, didn't you? That together we could find the way where no one could be sacrificed? And now you're going to make the same mistake I did, just like that?"
"Stay out of this, Galaxia," she warned me, not facing me.
"No!" I shouted. "I don't care what happens to me at this point. I'm going to hold you to those words, Tsukino Usagi! My heart may be able to bear the burden of guilt, but if you kill this man, you will die, too!"
"If that's what it takes..."
"If her life must be a sacrifice to save the world... do you believe she would think twice?"
"No!" I ran forward, but stumbled as the vertigo gripped me again.
Prometheus chuckled as he dropped to one knee. His energy had gone out too, but he didn't look worried. "Even if you kill me, I've won," he scoffed. "Will the Sailor Soldiers be able to bear the loss of their leader? I wonder..."
But Sailor Cosmos didn't think twice. Her will and Usagi's were in perfect synchronicity. They wanted Prometheus dead.
The one last ray of hope in my life had betrayed me.
"Cosmic Big Bang!"
Prometheus' life. Usagi's heart. My will.
All annihilated in a moment of pure creation.
No, you're wrong... you're not the one who wants that... I'll change you back...
I pounded my fist powerlessly to the floor in one final act of defiance.
Thanks to Loki for beta-reading and for giving the story its title.