Mercury sighed, sitting down on the lake bank and immersing her feet within the cool water. The lake was calm- as always, being no more than just a pool of water that had been planted outside of her quarters at her request. She couldn't help but think of the waterfront that Zoicite had taken her to many times, just because she had loved it so.
The water had been at a constant motion, pulling in and out. She had been amazed at first, never having seen anything like it on her home planet or the Moon. Then she had spent all her time researching it and learning all she possibly could about all the different sources of water that Earth had. It had been the most satisfying knowledge she had ever learned; she had fallen in love with the planet.
And the man that had shown it all to her.
Now that man was her enemy, and that planet was bent on killing her.
Oh, how the times changed. If only her heart would change and allow her to keep going along with the time. Instead she felt a sense of uneasiness, terror, guilt and disgust.
She wasn't supposed to feel that many emotions- she was the calm one for Goddess' sake!
"Penny for your thoughts?"
Despite the danger of him being there, she couldn't help but smile.
"You know, back on Earth, we have a practice of The Wishing Well," he kicked off his shoes, "We wish upon a coin and then drop it into a well or a fountain," he laughed and settled down beside her, "We're a superstitious lot, I guess. But I sure would drop a lot of coins now and here."
She smiled, keeping her eyes off of him, not trusting herself to look at him, "Do they ever come true? The wishes, I mean."
She saw him shrug out of the corner of her eye, "I think it's a practice that's done to put the person to ease, to make them feel as if they did everything they could have- and that's worth more than the wish actually coming true."
"How does wishing upon something mean you did everything you could have?" She glanced at him, amused at the thought.
He was smiling at her, his dirty blonde hair floating around his face and his green eyes warm. The light from the oil lamp that flickered from above cast a large shadow around him and her breath was gone from her.
She shouldn't have looked.
"Because we trusted something above ourselves. It was a form of prayer, born from true desire- that is if it's a good wish," he didn't look away, "I guess that means we were praying to you"
"What did you wish for?"
He leaned closer, his hand cupping her face, "I already got my wish," he whispered.
Her face flushed. She would never get used to his flattery- nor would she ever tire of it. She smiled embarrassedly, "To become a General?"
He laughed, "Look at you, Sailor Mercury flirting back, who would have thought?" He pulled her closer and his lips met hers softly and all dreadful thoughts were banished, leaving only calmness and joy at being exactly where she was at this exact moment. Then his kiss turned frantic and she let herself feel the desperation he was feeling, and shared her own anxiousness. At least they were in it together.
When they finally parted, both were breathing quickly, and Mercury had tears streaming down her face. She went to wipe them, but his hand got there quicker and lightly brushed the tears away.
"What do we do, Merc?"
She closed her eyes; going through every plan she had come up within the last day, and came up with nothing, for the first time, completely flabbergasted over what she could do to change a situation. "I don't know, Zoi, I don't know..."
All chances of peace had been ruined by the death of one of the Lunarian royal families when they had been touring Earth. The Earthen people had developed a hate for the people of the Moon, who seemed to have everything they did not, and would rest at nothing till they were torn down from the pedestal that they sat on. It was as if jealousy had become the only driving force of the people of Earth.
How did one defeat jealousy?
"I talked to the King," Zoicite said quietly, looking away from her, "He says either we fight against you, or the Earth royal family is torn down and the war goes out of control"
She sighed, "I understand. It is the only choice your King has, lest he lose all power, or worse, his life"
She doubted that was the whole story, the last she had heard, even the King of Earth had been corrupted by jealousy. It was as if it were a disease infecting each and every one of the Earth people.
She wondered if Zoicite would be lost from her this way.
She looked up, pulling herself back from the edge of despair at the sound of pure vulnerability in the one syllable Zoicite had just uttered. He wasn't looking at her; his eyes were staring at some distant point in the darkness that had been cast over the Moon ever since night had fallen, "Yeah, Zoi? What's wrong?"
"I'm defecting. Tonight."
She felt her heart stop. Everything within her mind stopped working for a split second, complete quiet descending over everything.
A sob burst from her and he whipped to her side, holding her as she shook uncontrollably and babbled incoherently about how he couldn't defect from his people, from his family and friends, and especially not when his one dream had been to be a General of Earth. He had spent the last 20 years aspiring to reach the exact level he had, one of the Prince's Generals, captain of one of the four main armies. He was one of the most important men in the entirety of the Earth world- and now he was saying he would give it up? She couldn't have it!
"Oh, Merc," he whispered in her ear as he held her, "It may have been my one dream, but that was before I met you," he was shaking beneath her, "Now all I wish for is you. For us. That's all I'll ever need"
Calm settled over her, the same calm she had felt when she had stood in the ocean waters with Zoicite for the first time. She listened to his heartbeat, and she remembered the ebb and flow of the water.
"The Earthen people are being infected, Merc. I don't believe in what they stand for anymore, I can't fight for that," he shook his head, "I can't fight you and the Lunarian people for that, everything you all have done is to help Earth"
"You might be a little biased," she whispered.
He laughed, "Just a bit maybe"
"Whatever you do, Zoi," she said, pulling away from him and looking in his eyes, the soft green that always calmed her, "I don't care, I love you regardless"
He kissed her goodbye, promising that he would be back at sunrise, that he had to go tell the others that he had made his decision. She bet they wouldn't be happy, but they'd let him go, they all loved each other too much to do anything. She told him she'd be waiting.
Minutes turned to hours as she caressed the water by her feet. The sunrise, which she had always loved, came too soon, and there was no Zoicite beside her to kiss the fears away this time.
She slammed her hand against the transport machine, trying to get it to stop malfunctioning. She had to shut the transport down, had to stop the Earth soldiers from getting onto the Moon. But there was something stopping her overrides and no matter how much she edited the program, it kept ignoring her commands. She sent a message to Venus, letting her know that she was failing and that they had to figure out some other way to save everything.
Suddenly her eye caught something on the screen, it was a bogey that was emitting less power within the masses of figures of the Earth soldiers and citizens. As if it were trying too hard to hide something of more power.
Something that was keeping the transport open!
She closed her eyes and willed her powers to take her to that exact spot and found herself transported to a spaceship. It was of dark powers, which she felt hit her the second she landed on the floor. It attacked her from all corners and she had a hard time standing straight.
She pushed it away and looked around, intent on shutting down the transport, even if she had to send the spaceship to its grave.
She had landed in a sort of control room, but the seats were all empty and the screens dark so she continued walking along the rows, towards the light that was growing at the end of the room.
There was a man standing in front of the main screen, bright light emitting as he typed furiously.
She gasped, her heart constricting as everything fell in place.
There was only one person who was par with the system she had designed, the one person who she had shown it to and had actually understood it.
The man whipped around, dirty blonde hair flying limply around. He looked at her, depravedly, looking as if he had not slept in years and had not showered in longer.
The green that usually was filled with love and adoration and security was now blanker than glass.
There was a flicker and she knew he was somewhere inside, screaming to be let out. Her worst nightmare had come true- he had been infected.
"Come back, Zoi," she said as she stepped closer slowly, "Remember me, Sailor Mercury? You called me Merc"
There was a tint of him in the word, but there was more confusion in it.
He shook his head wildly, as if trying to remember something, "I need to get back to work! The soldiers! The Moon needs to go down!"
She stared as he hurried back to the system and continued to type, keeping her automatic blocks from shutting down the transport. She pulled out her Mercury goggles, setting it to shut down the system and kick out Zoicite permanently. Now that she knew it was him, she worked around him instead of at him.
The screen went haywire and Zoicite screamed in worry, hurrying back and forth. She watched him, feeling herself weaken at the dark power that continued to radiate from the ship. She knew she had to destroy the ship; it was what was feeding the soldiers the jealousy and hate. The only way the other Senshi, the Princess and the Queen had a chance was if this ship was no longer a threat.
But first she had to get Zoicite away from the main system.
She walked up to him quickly and quietly, and when within a few inches of him, he finally stopped to stare at her.
Millions of things flickered in his distraught eyes. They had usually been so worriless, so calm.
He didn't move.
"Zoicite?" She said quietly, "It's me, Mercury. Come back to me"
She cupped his face and closed her eyes, sending all thoughts of their times together.
"Remember the time you first showed me the ocean?" She whispered, "It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen," she opened her eyes and stared within the eyes that meant the world to her, "That's where I want our house to be. A cabin by the water's edge. Doesn't that sound perfect?"
He was calm and quiet, staring at her wordlessly.
She slipped the wire into one of the open ports in the computer.
"It won't…work," he said difficultly, sounding strained as if he was struggling to say every word, "Not human"
She smiled at him, she loved this man, he was her one true love. He would always fight to be with her, and she was glad that her last moments would be with him.
His warning was for naught, she had known of infection of the spaceship by the one called Metallia the second she had landed on the ship. Her goggles had already found the weakness in the system and had created a kill for it. The spaceship would no longer be a threat.
"I know, Zoi"
He struggled to smile; still fighting whatever was inside of him. He shook in exertion. "You're the smartest, most beautiful-"
She shushed him with a kiss. Tears fell from her eyes and she felt happiness and sadness all at the same time, but it would be okay.
"By the water's edge? That does sound perfect," he breathed quietly as he held her tightly, keeping her strong. He was her calm. He was her strength. Here, in the darkest hour, right before death, he was her sun. She forgot everything else, focusing only on him and her.
She pressed the button that would start the instantaneous reaction within the spaceship. "You did it, Merc," he sighed quietly.
She was with him.
"I love you, always-"
They were the last words she heard or said- she didn't know which, she felt the worlds all around her, before the entire ship exploded around them.