Please send all comments/criticisms to: Lisette_1@lycos.com
Disclaimers: The characters within all belong to Naoko Takeuchi, DIC, Toei Animation and whoever else has rights to them. I own nothing but the story idea found within.
Author's Babble: This is my second fic for the SM universe and if interested, please feel free to check out my other fic at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Village/5977/index.html. Also, any comments/criticisms would be greatly appreciated at the e-mail address listed above.
Description: Some friends are better left as memories.
"Eternal Serenity: Forgotten Memories"
North Pole -- two months earlier
Muttering softly to himself, the man slowly pulled his coat tighter against the fierce arctic wind as his crew stood impatiently behind him. "Come on Henry, you gotta decide now," a short woman, all but hidden under her massive coat, yelled in his ear, trying to be heard over the howling wind.
Growling softly to himself, Henry slowly looked away from the battered map that he held in his hands and surveyed the bleak land. Henry Parker had been given the opportunity of a lifetime--take a group of well known scientists and do an investigation in the barren wasteland that was known as North Pole to see how badly the polar ice caps really were melting--to see what kind of a danger the world really was in from its own stupidness. And so far, three weeks into the experimentation, things were going wonderfully! The data was just rolling in and now they had a week left.. which left him at an indecision. They had one week to pick one last location to run their tests at.. one last location that would hopefully further their results and now Henry was at an indecision. Should he pick the empty space to his right or the left? It was such a simple choice yet the consequences could be dramatic. If he chose the wrong place, that place could be the place that would bring up data that countered the end that they were working to.
"Henry, which way?" Dr. Stringer asked again as she tried to ignore the biting cold.
"We... we go to the right," Henry finally decided, indicating the place on the map as the group slowly moved forward, prepared to start setting up camp. If only Dr. Henry Parker has chosen to the left.. if so, such a tragedy could have been avoided. If only...
Sighing softly, Neo-Queen Serenity watched as her beautiful daughter skipped happily away, so full of her youthful energy and vigor that was so common for five year olds. As her long, pink hair bounced behind her, the young girl threw herself into the waiting arms of Sailor Pluto. Behind her, she knew that her friends and scouts stood tall in attention, there to see the young princess off. "Oh Reenie," Serenity murmured sadly as her husband drew her into his strong arms.
"What's wrong, Serena?" King Endymion asked as he unconsciously slipped back into the familiar names of their past. As his daughter waved good-bye and disappeared in a flash of light, the time key held firmly in her small hand, he sensed his wife's torment in blinding waves.
"Oh Darien, we shouldn't have let her go," Serenity whispered as she turned and slipped into his warm embrace, crystal tears sliding down her smooth cheek.
"But Sailor Pluto said that..."
"Reenie was needed in the past," Serenity finished as she turned and watched the place that her daughter once stood. Reenie had gone back to Tokyo of the past for her second time for a purpose that Sailor Pluto was keeping silent.. and Serenity didn't like it one bit. She found herself beginning to distrust the Guardian of Time. For some reason, she felt that Setsuna was not only withholding information from her and the others, but also downright lying to them. To make matters worse, while the others seemed perfectly content with ignoring the inconsistencies with the memories that they held of their past and of the stories that Reenie had told after her visit, Serenity found the differences too bizarre. To her knowledge, Reenie, her daughter from the future, had never paid Tokyo a visit. After the incident with the Doom Tree, she and Darien had never split up due to dreams, they had never faced Rubeus or healed the four sisters, or never did she join with her future self. While none doubted what Reenie told, the rest all brushed off the differences as a side effect of messing with time. Serenity didn't buy into that theory, especially when she merged with her past self to reclaim her daughter from Wicked Lady, that Sailor Moon had felt like.. well, like a familiar stranger if that was possible. It was her soul that she felt in the girl, the part that was really her, but little things were different at the same time, changed because of a visit from her future daughter that she didn't remember.
Shaking her head, Serenity forced back her tears and straightened her small shoulders. With her head held high, her twin plumes of sunshine swirling around her, and her large blue eyes twinkling with resolve, the young woman looked every bit the regal queen that she was. "Reenie, when you return I vow to learn the truth from Setsuna. Sailor Pluto shall not hide behind her vows of silence any longer," Neo-Queen Serenity murmured with an edge that was uncommon for her gentle heart as she allowed Endymion to begin leading her back to the palace. "This I promise."
Humming softly to herself, Serena absently ran the brush through one of her long tails of hair, a small smile on her face as she regarded her image through the clear mirror. Gone was the innocent, clumsy and whining girl of fourteen. In her place stood the young woman who had blossomed. While only three years had passed since the changes began, the difference was drastic. Her growth spurt had finally arrived and the inches were added on--true, she was still the shortest of the scouts, but with her trim and willowy figure, long legs, and lithe form, she looked more the young woman she now was than the young girl that she had been. Then again, the most obvious change in her could be seen in her eyes. The last three years of battle and heartache had added a wisdom that sparkled from amidst her large blue orbs--a deep wisdom that was easily hidden from the world beneath her exuberant nature. No, that hadn't changed. While she had finally grown accustomed to her long legs and arms, stopping the infamous klutz attacks, her bubbly and happy nature remained... and her hunger.
Finally, after years of amazement, the inner scouts had banned together and launched a scientific study, led by Amy, to discover why Serena had such a voracious appetite yet never seemed to gain any weight. In the end, the group was shocked to learn that the silver crystal and her actions as Sailor Moon drained off of her more than any of the others to the point that the large quantities of food that Serena consumed was essential for her body--she would weaken and eventually die without it. Even better for Serena, they also discovered that the sweets and fatty foods that she craved were the very items that gave her the most energy. Needless to say, after that the wisecracks and teasing about her appetite had quickly died away.
Things were indeed looking better for her. She was in control of herself and only had a year of school left before she was done for good... or until Darien followed through with his threat to make her go to college. But of course, that just brought her thoughts to bear on Darien. They had been together now for around two years (excluding their time on the moon) and they were closer than ever. Darien was now twenty-two years old and about to start his last year in college. To make it even better, she wouldn't be surprised if she finally received the ring she had been waiting for at Christmas. Even the thought of finally being engaged to Darien, her soul mate and eternal love, made her head swim and her eyes...
"Serena! Would you please stop drooling and get moving?!" a voice suddenly barked from behind her.
Startled, Serena focused once more on her image in her mirror as she gently placed her hairbrush back on the vanity table in her bedroom. "What are you talking about, Luna?" Serena asked as she blushed fiercely and began adjusting her short pair of shorts and her white tee-shirt, ignoring the stuffy summer heat.
"I can always tell when you're daydreaming about Darien because your eyes get all soft and dreamy," Luna muttered in disgusted annoyance from her position on Serena's bed as she slowly stood and stretched lazily.
"I... uh, wasn't thinking of just Darien," Serena admitted as she turned and scooped her guardian into her arms before plopping onto her bed.
"Agh, never mind," the black cat growled as she glanced at her ward's battered alarm clock. "You're going to be late again..."
"For what? School's out for the summer..."
"For the scout meeting that Raye called that starts in ten minutes..." Luna trailed off as Serena bolted to her feet, dropping her in a heap on the floor.
"Oh my God, I'm going to be so late!!" Serena screeched as she ran to the door. "Why didn't you remind me Luna?!" she wailed as she disappeared down the hall, running at full tilt.
"I reminded you repeatedly this morning," Luna sighed as she jumped to the open window, completely unimpressed with Serena's antics. "Some things never change," she muttered as she hopped lightly to the tree and then the ground below. Looking up, she saw the sun burning down from above in the cloudless sky and knew the temperature had to be in the 90's, making a mad dash to the temple the last thing she wanted to do. "Change, in Serena's case, can only be a positive thing," she muttered as Serena tore out of the house and down the street.
"Raye... is... going to kill me!" Serena gasped through clenched teeth, dodging the various pedestrians on the sidewalk as Luna raced alongside of her.
"If you would.. start listening to me.." Luna huffed as she snaked around a slow moving stroller, "then you wouldn't always be late!"
Before Serena could think of a suitable reply in her defense, she was rounding the familiar corner with her usual speed and lack of caution, never having learned the valuable lesson of patience that generally came with time. And, like every day for the last three years, her foolishness bought her a trip to the ground--only this time, the object of her downfall came from above.
"Oh, that hurt," Serena groaned as she slowly began massaging her pounding head. Sighing, she slowly sat up and began searching for the potted plant or whatever had dropped on her, waiting for Luna's scolding tirade to begin.
Instead, a small girl with long pink hair threw herself into Serena's arms, sending the blond back to the pavement once again. "Serena!!" the girl screeched as she crushed her in a bear-tight hug.
"Oof!" Serena cried out again as she fought for breath. Wincing, she slowly sat back up and pried the younger girl's arms from around her neck. Coughing at the rush of fresh oxygen, Serena slowly struggled to her feet before turning to finally regard her accoster. When she did, she felt her jaw drop in amazement. "Reenie?!" she cried as she took in the girl before her.
Her future daughter looked to be no more than five years old, just around the same age that she had been all those years ago when she had been on a mission from the future to save her mother... a full 4-5 years younger than when she visited last. "But, that's impossible!" Serena gasped, voicing her thoughts as she hugged the girl tightly to her. For the last two years Reenie had been stopping in from the future, each time getting progressively older--how could she be younger now?
Smiling happily, Reenie quickly pulled away and inspected the girl she had grown to love so much. "You're older!" she gasped as she took in Serena's taller and leaner form. "You really look like my mommy now," she murmured thoughtfully, wondering for the thousandth time why she didn't see the obvious resemblance before. "How long has it been since I left?" she asked curiously as she slipped her hand easily in Serena's, her eyes locked on the older girl.
"Which time?" Serena muttered as she began walking at a much more subdued pace, headed for the temple once again.
Groaning, Luna instantly swatted Serena with her tail before jumping lightly onto the older girl's shoulder. "Reenie, do you remember what we did the last time that you were here?" Luna asked, hoping that Serena would catch on and keep her mouth shut.
But at Luna's question, Reenie turned her puzzled red eyes back and forth from Serena to the familiar black cat. "Luna, did Serena leave you out in this hot sun for too long?" the small girl finally asked seriously before a small giggle escaped her lips.
As Luna rolled her eyes, Serena couldn't help the giggles that escaped her lips as well. "Something like that," Serena said before laughing fully at her guardian's expense.
Shaking her head, Reenie realized that no matter how old Serena got, her happy nature would never change--just like it never changed with her mommy. "When we saved my mommy," Reenie answered slowly before turning her intelligent eyes on her younger mommy. "What other times are there?" she asked pointedly, showing just how much of her daddy's smarts she had inherited. While her mommy ruled over Crystal Tokyo with her heart, her daddy ruled with his head, making them the perfect team. Perhaps in time she could learn to rule while using both.
"Um..." Serena began weakly, catching Luna's hint to keep quiet and understanding the need to avoid creating a paradox by telling Reenie of something that the little girl would be doing in her future... although she was still confused as to how a paradox hadn't already been created when they visited the future and saw so much of what would become of them.
"Reenie, what brings you to Tokyo?" Luna asked as nonchalantly as possible, desperate to change the subject before too much was revealed. While Serena had grown in the last few years and matured with her responsibilities, that didn't leave her immune to slip-ups.
"Um... I missed you all?" Reenie asked weakly as she quickly swung her eyes to the pavement.
Smiling slightly, Luna snuggled down onto Serena's shoulder. While she didn't doubt that the little girl had missed everyone, she knew that wasn't the reason for her return. It was obvious that very little time had passed for the girl since she had last visited, meaning that even though Crystal Tokyo was probably still returning to normal and being restored, she was here again, and at a time where a person would think she'd be desperate to be beside the mother and father that she had missed so desperately. Then again, she also knew that Sailor Pluto had most likely sworn the small girl to secrecy. Even though that most likely meant trouble for them, Luna wasn't about to press her for details for fear that Reenie would do the same. They all knew that they had their secrets and that was fine for now.
"Is everything okay in the future? Has the people from Nemesis made a reappearance?" Serena finally asked, wary of the tension and eager to change the subject once again.
"Oh, everything's great!" Reenie cried out happily as she began swinging her and Serena's hands, skipping happily beside the older girl. "How about Sammy and Aunt Ilene and Uncle Ken?" she asked quickly, her eyes shining.
Laughing, Serena couldn't help the large smile that was plastered across her face--she felt it rise up again every time she realized that this adorable little girl would someday be her and Darien's daughter. "They're all doing good.. and would you believe that Mika is Sammy's girlfriend now?"
"WHAT?!?" Reenie screeched as she stopped and stared at Serena in amazement. "Oh gross! Sammy's actually got a girlfriend?!"
Laughing, Serena quickly nodded her head, her blond tails bouncing behind her. "Yep!" Serena cried proudly, "Sammy finally came to his sense!"
"And how about Darien, Amy, Mina, Lita, and Raye?"
"Raye," Serena murmured weakly as she remembered what she had just forgotten again.
"Uh oh," Reenie mumbled, recognizing Serena's look of panic instantly. "Raye called a scout meeting?" she guessed.
"WE'RE LATE!!!!" Serena wailed in response as Luna instinctively dug her nails into Serena's tee-shirt, the teenager breaking into a dead run. "Raye's going to kill me!" she wailed as she drug the small girl behind her.
"I'm going to kill her," Raye muttered darkly as she paced back and forth in her small bedroom, her eyes snapping to the clock mounted on her wall.
Sighing, Amy tore her eyes away from her advanced trigonometry book and met Mina and Lita'a eyes over their beauty magazines. "Raye, she is only ten minutes late," Amy responded calmly.
"Eleven!" Raye called out harshly as she pulled to a sudden stop, her hands on her hips as she glared at her friends. "Would it kill her to be on time for once in her life? She'd probably be late to her own funeral!!"
Hiding her smirk, Lita quickly averted her eyes back to the article about how to get a boyfriend that she had been reading. "I'm sure that she has a good reason for being late..."
"I do!" Serena huffed as she burst into the room, holding a wall for support.
"You're LATE!" Raye cried out as she stalked angrily forward, her eyes blazing. "What's your excuse this time, Meatball Head?!"
"Reenie decided to drop in for a visit," Serena explained, gently rubbing her sore head as she moved to the side and revealed the little girl.
"Hi everyone!" Reenie called out happily as she bounced into the room, missing her friends' looks of surprise.
"Reenie?!?" they all cried out in amazement as they darted forward to wrap the small girl in a smothering embrace. "But, how is this..." Mina began to ask before Artemis sunk his claws into her leg.
As Mina cried out in pain and began to chase the white feline around the room, Luna quickly turned to the small girl. "Reenie, how would you like Artemis to take you for a tour of the temple and show you all that has changed while you've been away?"
"But I just got here," Reenie began doubtfully as she looked around at the friends that she had missed so much in Crystal Tokyo. While Sailor Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus were still Raye, Lita, Amy, and Mina in the future, it wasn't the same.
Shaking her head, Luna quickly snagged Artemis and drug her before the small girl. "Don't you want to see Grandpa and Chad?" Luna persisted as she nudged Artemis.
"Yeah, the girls aren't going anywhere--they're just going to be talking about the lack of scout activity in the last few months," Artemis added as he hopped into Reenie's arms and winked at her.
Rolling her eyes, Luna added the final bait. "Besides, while it's only been a little while for you, two years have passed for us."
At this, Reenie couldn't help but smile as she squeezed the white cat tighter in her arms. "Okay, let's go!" she cried out eagerly as she ran for the door. "See ya later!" she cried out to the girls before disappearing from sight.
As soon as she was gone, Luna quickly sighed in relief and indicated for the girls to come closer.
"How can she be younger?" Lita asked quickly as the girls settled around the black feline.
Shaking her head, Amy quickly began typing on her mini-computer. Sighing, she quickly brushed a strand of blue hair away as she met her friends' eyes. "The only thing that makes sense is that the older Reenie that we know for some reason decided to start visiting us earlier as she got older."
"So Reenie knew all during the incident with Mistress 9 and everything what would be happening to us at this point?" Raye asked slowly, her earlier anger forgotten.
"And she didn't tell us?!" Mina cried out in amazement.
"She couldn't," Amy quickly said in the little girl's defense. "That would be telling us too much of our own future and would create a paradox."
Troubled, Serena slowly chewed on her lip as her mind whirled. She decided not to point out the fact that they already knew too much of their own future and instead focused on something else. "Did... did you guys notice how many years have passed for Reenie in between this visit and her second for us?" she asked hesitantly. At the sudden quiet and her friends' blank looks, Serena nervously continued. "I mean.. I just wonder what happened now, in this trip, to make her want to wait almost two years of her time before coming back to visit..." she trailed off as her frown deepened. She had never told the others what Reenie had said to her the last time that she had returned to Crystal Tokyo. All of the good-bye that they shared were emotional and heartfelt, yet this last one was the worst. Reenie had been inconsolable and sobbing in a way that broke Serena's heart--she acted as though she would never see them again and that this good-bye was forever. To make matters worse, like always Serena and Reenie shared the last huge as the circle of friends surrounded them. As the tears had streaked down her face and Reenie sobbed in her arms she felt the younger girl lean forward till her lips brushed Serena's ear. And then she whispered the words that caused a sob to escape Serena's lips--the words that she'd remember till her dying day: "I love you so much Serena... just like my mother. I have always wished that things could have been different and that you could have been her..." What had Reenie meant? She wished that Serena could have been who?
"Serena, just because she was seven during her second visit for us and five now doesn't mean that she stopped visiting at all for those two years of her life," Amy replied sensibly as the girls collectively rolled their eyes.
"For all we know, Meatball Head, Reenie keeps visiting us as she ages from five to seven within the next couple of years," Rae cut in as she lightly smacked Serena in the head with Lita'a rolled up magazine, instantly starting a tongue war as Lita jumped for magazine.
Rolling her eyes at the girls' antics, Luna waited patiently for the three to settle down so that the meeting could continue. "Now," she started, regaining control once again, "I agree with Amy and Raye that while we should all be alert, Reenie's visit shouldn't be cause for alarm. But.." she trailed off as her eyes narrowed on Serena, "we all need to be especially careful not to say a word of Reenie's previous visits to her--she can't even know that she visited us beside her first..."
Sighing, Mina rolled her eyes as she slowly stood up and stretched, feeling lazier than ever. "Yeah, yeah.. we get the picture," she interrupted quickly as she scooped up her purse and smiled her most charming smile. "Now I vote that this meeting be adjourned!"
"But we haven't even discussed..." Luna started.
"There's nothing to discuss! There hasn't been any trouble in months!" Mina interrupted brightly.
"Which makes me nervous..." Raye began as she slowly brushed her long raven locks from her sweaty face.
Sighing, Lita slowly stood beside her blond friend. "I hate to say it, but Mina's got a point. Why sit here and sweat and discuss the lack of activity when we could be doing other stuff..."
"Like shopping in an air-conditioned mall!" Mina interrupted impatiently as she tugged on Lita'a hand. "Do any of you want to go shopping with Lita and I?"
"I want to do a fire reading about the lack of activity," Raye quickly responded, glaring at anyone who dared to even snicker at her excuse.
"And I have to begin studying for next year's courses," Amy replied as she slowly began gathering the large pile of textbooks that she had brought.
Smiling at Amy, Lita quickly turned to their unnaturally quiet friend who was absently getting to her feet. "How about it, Serena? Do you and Reenie want to go shopping?" she asked as the shorter girl shook her head and focused on the question.
"Hmm.. what? Um, no thanks," Serena quickly mumbled as she dusted off her white shorts. "I think that I'm going to take Reenie to the park.. Darien's supposed to meet me there in awhile," she murmured absently as she slipped past her friends and disappeared into the temple.
Shrugging her shoulders, Mina slowly watched her friend go. "What's wrong with Serena? It's not like her to pass up on shopping," she murmured as a puzzled frown tugged at her features.
"Especially when it's for some quality time with Reenie," Lita added as she turned back to her circle of friends.
Sighing, Luna slowly dropped her head as she stared down at her paws. "The last time that Reenie left really hit Serena hard... I think that because of that she finally has learned the importance of each moment with her..."
"It's not like she's not going to see her daughter every day in Crystal Tokyo," Raye broke in, an exasperated scowl on her face.
"Serena's finally growing up," Amy spoke up, a small smile on her face as she too left the room. "I will be at the library if anyone needs me!" she called over her shoulder as she disappeared around the corner.
Shrugging their shoulders, Mina and Lita quickly nodded at each other before turning back to the others. "We'll be at the mall!" they chorused before darting from the room.
Sighing, Raye and Luna quickly dropped their heads. "Idiots, all of them," Raye muttered as she scooped Luna into her arms.
"What else?" Raye muttered as they left her silent and empty room behind, a testament to yet another whirlwind Scout meeting.
Smiling softly, Serena watched in amusement as Reenie skipped along the sidewalk, singing softly to herself as the golden sunshine glinted off of her pink hair. She was such a happy and adorable child that it made her wonder how she had missed it before. "Reenie," she said softly as she finally made her presence known, stepping out from behind a large cherry tree and into the hot sunshine.
"Hi Serena!" Reenie called out brightly as she fixed the older girl with a bright smile. "Is the scout meeting finished already?"
"Yep! But where's Artemis?" Serena asked as she searched the path for the small white cat.
"He went looking for Luna... I think that he has a crush on her," Reenie whispered conspiratorially as she skipped closer, her large red eyes twinkling mischievously.
"I think that you might be right!" Serena whispered back as she took the little girl's hand into her own, ignoring Reenie's look of surprise. "But what do you think about spending the afternoon in the park?" she asked as they began down the long temple steps.
"Are you leaving me at the park so you can go shopping or something?" Reenie asked suspiciously as she stared up at the older girl.
Laughing, Serena quickly shook her head. "Nah, I told Lita and Mina to go on without me. It'll just be you and I... and Darien when he gets off of work," Serena amended with a small smile.
Shocked, Reenie quickly stared up into Serena's confused eyes, hurried pedestrians pushing rudely past. "You mean you actually WANT to spend the day with me? And are actually going to share Darien?!" she squeaked in disbelief.
Smiling, Serena merely began dragging the little girl, reveling in the sticky warmth of the sun. ~Was I really that bad to her that she would think that I'd do such a mean thing?~ she asked herself as people blurred by. Without even really having to think about it, Serena knew the answer to her question. Sighing, she bit her lip as she led the little girl into the shade that a large oak tree afforded, the park filled with small children. "I really did treat you horribly, didn't I?" she finally murmured, causing Reenie to glance up in surprise. This new Serena seemed to cause her to do that quite often lately.
Smiling at the opening that she had been given, Reenie was about to lay into the older girl when she noticed the genuine look of sadness that was evident. Surprised, she glanced up and saw that her large blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears, looking so much like her mommy. Gulping, Reenie's sharp retort was quickly forgotten as she snuggled into the familiar embrace. "I was pretty bad too and deserved it."
Sniffling, Serena quickly fought her tears as she pulled the small girl tight in a hug. "I'm so very lucky that I'm going to have you as a daughter," Serena murmured as a single crystalline tear fell onto the child's pink hair.
"I love you, Mommy."
"I love you too, Reenie," Serena whispered back even as she realized that the older Reenie never called her 'mommy' as the older girl's words whispered through her mind. I love you so much Serena... just like my mother... I have always wished that things could have been different and that you could have been her...>
Suddenly, all thoughts of the past and future were ripped away as screams tore through the peaceful park. Gasping, Serena quickly jumped to her feet even as she was scanning the sunny grounds.
"Serena, the playground!" Reenie quickly yelled as she tugged urgently on Serena's arm.
Turning quickly towards the sandy playground, Serena felt anger burn through her veins. Turning, she was about to tell Reenie to transform when she realized that at this point, the girl was still too young and didn't know that she could become Sailor Crescent Moon. "Call the others," she sighed as she passed her communicator to the little girl, knowing that it was the only thing to be done, even though she hated doing it.
"But I thought that Artemis said that you had defeated all of your enemies months ago!" Reenie squeaked as she hid behind the tree, amazed that Serena hadn't joined her in hiding yet. Serena was many things, but brave wasn't usually one of them.
"We did--looks like we have a new enemy," Serena sighed, hating those words as she saw her carefree summer disappear before her very eyes. "Call the others," she repeated as she took out her locket. "Moon cosmic power!" she shouted as she was bathed in light warmth and power. A moment later, Sailor Moon stood in Serena's place, her spiral heart moon wand in hand as she stepped from behind the safety of the tree and approached the chaotic scene.
A single man floated high above the playground, the gleaming jungle gym sitting beneath him and a grim smile on his face. He appeared to be in his thirties with a shock of starch white hair that was cut close in a soft spike with steel gray eyes sitting beneath. The strangest thing about him that struck her in place, though, besides the stiff white uniform that bore the crescent mark of the moon, was the strange sensation that Sailor Moon felt as though she should know this man--that his hard eyes should be twinkling with warmth.
Suddenly, the cry of another child broke her from her reverie. The stranger appeared to be drawing energy from the children and adults that littered across the equipment and soft sand much in the same way that Beryl and her minions had. All of this was taken in, in just a few seconds as she felt her righteous anger burn her fear away.
"Hey, you!" she called out, gaining the man's attention. "How dare you disrupt the joy and fun of these children!..."
"You bear the mark of the shattered moon," the man interrupted, throwing the young woman off. "Who are you?"
"Er..." Sailor Moon stuttered, never before having an enemy interrupt her well-used speech. "I.. I am Sailor Moon, the Champion of Justice, and on behalf of the Moon, I will right all wrongs and triumph over evil and that means you!" she cried out as she pointed her finger at the strange man.
Sighing, the man slowly shook his head, a scowl appearing on his face. "There is no moon and there has never been a sailor senshi of her beauty!" he growled quickly as some of the energy that he had gathered flew forth in a deadly wave of white energy.
Gasping, Sailor Moon quickly dove to the side, landing roughly in a pile of the sand that could no longer be described as soft. Groaning, she slowly picked herself off of the ground, spitting sand out of her mouth. "That speech was supposed to be intimidating!" she grumbled as she glared at the man. She knew that while standing alone, she would have no time to use her wand in order to vanquish the nega-creep, an act that required a distraction while she powered up, which left her with only one option: "Moon tiara magic!" she called out, using her weakest attack as she threw the golden weapon discus style.
Smiling wryly, the man slowly shook his head. "You expect to defeat me with such parlor tricks?" he asked as he knocked the tiara effortlessly away. "Even little Princess Serenity had more power in a single finger while untrained!" he laughed.
So surprised by his words, Sailor Moon didn't even see the next attack coming as strong arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her to safety. "Watch yourself, Sailor Moon," Tuxedo Mask warned as he gently placed the stunned scout on her feet.
Shrugging past his protective arms, Sailor Moon quickly strode forward and glared at the strange man. "What do you know of Princess Serenity and the moon?" she called out, surprising Tux with her words.
"That the Moon's glory shall rise again!" he bit back as he drew on the gathered energy again, releasing a massive bolt at the couple.
"Mars celestial fire surround!"
"Venus love chain encircle!"
Surprised, the man quickly watched as the two blasts caused his attack to disintegrate harmlessly before his enemies. "The Sailor Senshi... they live," the man whispered hoarsely as Sailor Mercury and Jupiter appeared beside Mars and Venus before his intended targets. Closing his eyes, the man quickly shook his head as he disappeared in a flash of light, his thoughts in a whirl around him.
As soon as the man was gone the scouts quickly whirled on the couple. "Are you guys okay?" they chorused as everyone detransformed and began heading away from the chaotic playground.
"We're fine, but are they okay?" Serena asked as she nodded at the unconscious children and adults that were strewn throughout the sandy area, a group of wary onlookers slowly drawing closer to the fallen victims.
Typing away at her mini-computer, Amy nodded curtly before glancing at the group. "They all experienced a massive energy drain but should be alright with some rest," she explained, her eyes suddenly scanning the group of friends. "Serena, where's Reenie?"
"Reenie?" Darien asked in surprise as Serena smiled brightly and squeezed his hand.
"Right here!" a small voice called out breathlessly as a small pink head appeared between Lita and Mina.
"Reenie?!" Darien cried out in surprise as he quickly dropped to one knee, enveloping the little girl in a big hug.
"Daddy!" Reenie cried out in delight, causing everyone to blink in surprise.
"Look who decided to drop in for her second visit to Tokyo?" Serena asked brightly, a nervous laugh escaping her lips.
Nodding in understanding, Darien quickly stood, lifting the small girl into his arms. "Well, it's good to have you back, Reenie," he nodded as she snuggled against him.
"Yes, we're all glad but we have a problem," Raye interrupted, a glower marring her beautiful features.
"What did we miss?!" two out of breath felines quickly added as they joined the fray.
Sighing, Mina slowly shook her head. "I spoke too soon today.. we have a new enemy."
"What did it look like?" Luna quickly snapped, all attention as Artemis sagged beside her, weary from their long run from the temple. The least the girls could have done was given them a lift.
"He looked human, in his thirties, short spiked white hair, white uniform..." Darien muttered as he counted off the man's features.
"What were his intentions?" Artemis asked, finally having caught his breath as a puzzled frown crossed Luna's furry features.
"He was after energy like Queen Beryl," Amy responded as she waved at the ambulances and police that were just arriving at the playground behind them.
"Darien... what color were his eyes?" Luna asked slowly as the group slowly inched away at what was quickly becoming a crime scene, settling behind the large oak that had been Reenie's hiding spot.
"They were gray," Serena answered quickly as Reenie crawled into her lap, Darien wrapping his arm tightly around her small waist. "But Luna..." she continued hesitantly, "I had the strangest feeling..."
"We don't have time for your feelings, Meatball Head," Raye quickly cut in, rolling her eyes dramatically as she brushed a wave of midnight black hair behind her.
"Quiet Raye," Luna cut in sharply, surprising them all. It wasn't often that anyone spoke up against the fiery scout of Mars, even when to defend Serena. "What do you mean, Serena? What feeling?"
"Well.. um... like... like I knew him," Serena explained as she thought back to his cold gray eyes. "He was so familiar," she murmured, "like I should be hugging him instead of fighting him..."
"Oh great, now she wants to HUG the enemy!" Raye groaned as Mina elbowed her sharply.
"Well... she does have a good point," Lita agree quietly. "Feelings like those can get a girl into trouble during a battle," she pointed out as she smiled apologetically at her blonde friend.
"I think he was wearing a uniform from the moon," Serena whispered quietly as a thick silence fell over the group. "He knew of Princess Serenity.. of me," she whispered in confusion as Darien pulled her closer. "Is it possible that I knew him back on the moon?"
"Lucent... Conrad..." Luna murmured, her eyes downcast, obviously lost in thought.
"Who?" Serena asked, turning her large blue eyes to her guardian.
"But he's dead," Artemis quickly protested as he rubbed his white flank against her black.
"Who's dead?" Mina asked in confusion as she slowly sat straighter, her eyes glimmering with curiosity.
"Impossible as it is, your description sounds remarkably like Lucent, one of Queen Serenity's advisor's from the moon," Luna explained as she slowly sat back on her haunches and tilted her head thoughtfully.
"Some called him Conrad, meaning 'bold counsel,' for his advice always consisted of taking the most direct and straight forward route to a solution," Artemis added.
"Overall, he was very loyal to the moon and close to the royal family," Luna finished as the girls struggled to remember the man.
Sighing, Serena slowly shook her head. Try as she may, her memories of the moon lay scattered and no image of the friend of the family came to mind. "I used my tiara to try and distract him until someone else got there," Serena explained softly as a small smile lifted her lips. "He said that even untrained Princess Serenity had more power in her little finger," she giggled as the other girls tried to remain serious.
Nodding her head, Luna turned to the blonde. "Lucent was always a strong supporter of the idea that you should be trained in your powers, but your mother was adamant that you should never have to fight--you were never supposed to become Sailor Moon or have access to the Imperium Silver Crystal," she explained.
"But maybe if I had then the moon wouldn't have been destroyed..." Serena murmured sadly as Darien tightened his grip on her.
"With the Queen and Princess of the moon combining their powers and fueling the crystal together, then yes, there would have been enough power and the moon would have been saved," Amy murmured as she began doing calculations on her mini-computer, "but you would have died," she finished with a sad smile as she turned to Serena. "The Queen and Princess giving everything to fuel the crystal would always result in the princess's death before that of the queen's."
"Oh.. never mind," Serena mumbled as her face tightened in confusion.
"But none of this matters," Artemis broke in impatiently as he stood up and began pacing back and forth inside the small circle. "That man couldn't have been Lucent because Lucent is dead!"
"But how do you know that, Artemis?" Mina asked as she reached forward and drew the white cat into her arms, petting his fur affectionately.
"We all died on the moon and were reborn... maybe Lucent was as well?" Lita added as she thoughtfully began chewing on a long blade of green grass.
"But Lucent died before the attack on the moon," Artemis purred as Mina started scratching him right behind his ears--one of the downfalls for having a cat as an advisor.
"What happened?" Raye asked softly, quiet up until this point. The moment that Serena had spoken her feelings aloud, the scout of Mars had been trying to sort through her own feelings, desperately trying to remember if she had sensed any evil from the man. If he was Lucent from the moon, then he was an ally... but why would an ally be draining energy from small children and their guardians?
Sighing, Luna slowly shook her head. "About a week before Beryl's attack on the moon, Lucent and a few others were sent to the Earth on a mission of peace... only one person returned saying that the rest had been destroyed by Queen Beryl--including Lucent."
"So... then it couldn't be him, right?" Serena asked hopefully, not wanting to have to fight against someone that should be a friend--not really wanting to fight at all. ~I wish that Mother's wish could have come true.. that I'd never have to fight.~ she thought to herself as she glanced down at the small angel that sat in her lap. ~But for you Reenie, I'd fight any monster.. or any friend.~
"I don't know Serena," Luna answered truthfully as she glanced back at the playground, watching as an ambulance slowly pulled away, its siren wailing. "But when he shows next, and I'm sure that this new person will, I want you all to just work on preventing him from harming anyone else while Artemis and I get a good look at him.. just to see," she murmured thoughtfully as another vacant look entered her eyes. "Raye, I want you to try and get a reading on him as well.. see if you can sense any negative vibes from him," she added as she turned to meet the eyes of all gathered. "But from now on, we must all be on our guard... we have a new enemy."
With a flash of light he appeared in his frozen wasteland, his home of sorts as he contemplated the new developments. While there had never been in the history of the moon a sailor senshi representing her, the other senshi he had instantly recognized. Somehow the princess's court and the guardians of the moon had survived Beryl's apocalypse. He would have help in his mission.. he was not alone.
Sighing, Serena watched as Reenie played happily in the abandoned playground, the sun setting before her and painting the sky with its glorious hues of red, oranges, and purples as a warm wind tousled her twin tails of gold. Suddenly, a pair of warm, strong hands wrapped tightly around her waist, pulling her back against a hard and familiar body. Smiling, Serena leaned back and relaxed against his hard planes as her expression turned dreamy. "I wish that I was a painter like Monet or Michelangelo," she whispered wistfully as she hugged his arms around her.
"Why do you wish this, Meatball Head?" Darien asked softly, his soft lips brushing against her ears as he bent down, pulling her back tighter against him as he used her nickname lovingly.
"So that I can capture sunsets as beautiful as these on paper so that I can look at them all day long," Serena whispered as she gently nestled her cheek against his, both staring out into the beautiful sunset. Things had come so far between them; all doubts had melted away, allowing their pure love to shine through... a love that would last an eternity.
"Ever thought of a polaroid?" Darien joked as Serena elbowed him sharply and turned in his arms until she was staring up into his loving steel-blue eyes.
"Very funny," Serena laughed as Darien quickly ducked lower and pressed his soft lips to hers, catching her by surprise.
Pulling back, Darien stared into her large blue eyes, feeling as though he were drowning in those endless pools of love... how he loved her.. all the way from her long legs, slim figure, kissable lips, impish nose, to her caring heart. "I love you, Serena Tsukino... my meatball head," he murmured, his eyes never leaving hers.
"And I you, Darien Chiba... my muffin," she responded as she lazily wrapped her slender arms around his neck.
"No matter what happens here our love will never change," Darien vowed as he watched Reenie playing behind his love. "And Reenie will be born from that love."
I love you so much Serena... just like my mother... I have always wished that things could have been different and that you could have been her... Blinking her eyes slowly, Serena slowly shook the words away. "Darien, promise me something?" she whispered, her eyes bright as she gently clasped his hands tightly in her own and brought them to her chest, close to her heart.
"Anything," Darien replied solemnly, the world forgotten as the sun began to make its final descent.
"Promise me that our love is eternal and that should we become separated that you'll find me again," Serena whispered urgently as she pleaded with him with her eyes.
Growing baffled at a seriousness that was so uncommon for his love, Darien slowly nodded his head. Serena had a heart and mind that he would never figure out. "Didn't I before?" he joked, smiling down into her serious face.
Shaking her head, Serena refused to be bought by his familiar charms. "Darien, promise me!" she pleaded, squeezing his hands earnestly.
"I promise that I'll never stop looking for you," Darien vowed, disconcerted by her seriousness.
"Thank you," she whispered as a wave of relief swept through her body. "Care to seal that solemn promise with a kiss?" she suddenly threw in, grinning impishly at him as her normal exuberance instantly returned.
"Always," Darien returned quickly as a grin lit up his handsome face.
Needing no further encouragement Serena quickly threw herself up on tiptoes and wrapped her arms tightly around Darien's neck, pressing her lips tightly against his as the fiery sun finally disappeared from sight, allowing the moon to shine brightly in all her glory.
"Hey, are you two going to kiss all night or are you going to come play with me?" a child's voice called out, causing the two to break apart as a warm blush stained their cheeks.
"Little spore," Serena grumbled good-naturedly as Darien took her small hand in his.
"Coming Reenie!" Darien called out as he began pulling his girlfriend behind him towards the playground.
"Ooh, swings!!" Serena suddenly squealed as her eyes caught a hold of the shiny metal. "Oh Darien, can you push me on the swings?!" she pleaded as she dragged him over to the set.
"First he's gotta push me!" Reenie protested as she plopped beside the older girl.
Groaning, Darien slapped his hand dramatically against his forehead as a full out yelling match erupted between the two. Sighing, he quickly shook his head as he settled on the now vacant swing. "Yep, Reenie's back!" he laughed as he began to pump his feet until he was soaring high above the playground, the two girls chasing each other in a mad circle around him as the moon shone gently down, caressing her children with her bright light.
THE END... for now
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