As always please note that I don't own any of these characters; they are only being used for the enjoyment of fans. Now that that is settled... on with the story.
I had never before felt so helpless. Standing with my friends and hearing words between brothers left me wondering about the future. I remember that day for many reasons, but the biggest one was simple; I remember it happening in two different ways...
It all happened so fast like a thunder strike in the dead of night. The others were crouched behind me still holding their newly formed bruises from the attack that had come only seconds before. Wiseman was next to Diamond up in the sky. Sapphire stood his ground with his wounds causing him more pain than anyone could see. That is when I saw it, a glimpse of movement, my instincts took over and I soon found myself pressing off my heels to intercept. Sapphire didn't move as the large blast of energy headed towards him.
I screamed as the attack hit me square on. My legs buckled and I soon found myself dropping to my knees. Still I knew that Sapphire was shielded safely behind me. Diamond shouted at Wiseman to stop, but the attack still came. My skin felt as if it were burning off my flesh. It wasn't until the Prince pulled Wiseman away that I felt the cool air hit me again. Cuts appeared all over my body. They were small but deep. My friends were calling my name as the blood began dripping to the ground.
Sapphire was still on his knees behind me in disbelief. Mars pulled him out of the way as Wiseman hit me again. This time I went flying back into a street lamp. My head was throbbing at this point. Mercury and Venus were dealing with Wicked Lady while Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon struggled to get Diamond's attention. I sat up slowly and realized that my temper was flaring. My weight was braced against the wall as I brought myself to stand.
A herd of footsteps echoed behind me. Venus was hit to the ground while protecting Mercury. I chose now to act. I kicked off and ran towards them. Wicked Lady was readying an attack on Mercury when I jumped up and tackled her out of the sky. Sailor Moon's voice screamed after me.
"No! Jupiter don't hurt her!" My fist was already raised mid strike when I hesitated. Wicked Lady smiled and hit me back through a boutique window.
I stayed down for a long time. The moment I moved, a sharp pain appeared in my left side. I looked down to see a large shard of glass sticking out from my ribcage. With every breath I took, blood spilled from the wound. My body shouted that I was done from the fight, but my mind refused to comply. Regardless I grasped the end of the glass and screamed as I pulled. It hurt more than I imagined. As a result I didn't move. My eyes were getting heavy as I just lay there. The shard of glass was now the brightest red. A silhouette appeared at the window that I had just crashed through. I saw the hairstyle and thought instantly that it was Sailor Moon, but the pink told me it was Wicked Lady. Her presence was far from comforting.
"Oh how the mighty Jupiter falls."
I smiled weakly. "You don't want to do this Rini. You're too young to have blood on your hands. Everyone out there loves you."
She shook her head as she stepped inside. "Wiseman has shown me the truth. You may have stopped him from killing Sapphire, but no one will be here to save you. You don't care about me anyway. None of you ever did." My fist clenched the lightning that I threw towards her. Sailor Moon's plea still echoed in my mind. An enemy is still an enemy. Her eyes told me that she had no intention of showing any mercy.
The force of the attack hit her hard in the chest causing her to fall back out into the street. I hesitated to move. The echoes of the battle still raged on outside until Wiseman shouted something. Then silence ensued. The crashing and screams stopped and I was suddenly quite content with listening to my raging hearbeat.
I forced myself to stand. Every inch of me was protesting my movements. Glass crumpled beneath my feet as I looked out at the torn up street. Wiseman and Diamond both disappeared while Venus and Mercury ran to Sapphire who was leaning against an alley with Mars supporting most of his weight. Sailor Moon stood beside them and was the first to notice my trouble standing. She shouted at Venus and both began to sprint towards me.
I took one step onto the street before I felt completely drained. The blood was still seeping through my wounds. My body had hit the ground hard, but I never felt anymore pain. I was so light. Sailor Moon was crying next to me as Venus struggled to support my weight, that was when I looked down and saw that I was fading like a ghost. "Lita!" They were calling my name, but I didn't have the strength to answer.
It was all so surreal as I watched myself disappear into nothing. The echoing screams were empty as I fell into that deep sleep. I thought I had died. It sure as hell felt like it anyway. Still, despite it all the silence was comforting in more ways than one. At least my friends didn't have to see me in pain.
The ground was cold. It felt like stone… but that's impossible. If anything I should have been on concrete not stone. I lifted my head up slightly and saw nothing but darkness. As I closed my eyes torches lit themselves in front of me. It looked as if I was in a castle.
I struggled to stand. My body was ridden in pain from all that had transpired before. Soon I was falling again, but this time someone had caught me.
"Your highness, are you alright?" My vision blurred as a familiar face appeared to me. It couldn't be. It was like staring at a younger version of myself. The girl couldn't have been older than ten.
She set me down and placed a hand on each of my wounds. I screamed as an intense burning flooded into me. A green aura covered my body for a long moment. My mind was racing on its own. It was like every cut hurt ten times more. Then in an instant I watched as my injuries healed right before my eyes. I looked down at myself for the first time in a while. I hadn't even noticed that I had reverted back into my civilian clothes. The little girl stood in front of me with a look of concern on her face.
"I apologize for the discomfort."
My breathing slowed. "Who are you?"
She bowed. "I am Guardian Jupiter, protector of the ruler that hails from this castle."
I stood and looked at the area around me. "Where am I?"
She laughed. "My Queen, you do make me laugh. This is your castle on the moon of Io, given to you by Queen Serenity herself the day you were born." As she said this I noticed the symbols of Jupiter appearing on my wrists.
"What is this?"
She then placed her hands on mine. "The scars of Jove. Only members of the Jovian royal family have them. They were branded on your wrists the day you were born."
"What?" I went to move, but she pushed me back down.
"Your majesty, please don't move yet. I've awakened your dormant powers. Your body hasn't adjusted yet."
"Adjusted to what?"
She sighed. "You came here as a dying human, but you will leave as a Jovian."
I shot her a confused look. "I don't understand."
"I saved your life."
I could see the sincerity in her eyes. She looked both scared and satisfied. At this point I was still trying to wrap my head around everything that had happened. "Could you please explain everything to me because nothing is making a lot of sense right now."
She nodded and took my hand. "If you can stand then I'll show you."
I said nothing as the torches lit the path in front of us.
I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Portraits of royalty lined the walls of the sullen castle. Still the little girl guided me to a large room with a window that looked out to the stars.
"Is it coming back to you, my Queen? You haven't been here in a long time."
I sighed. "How long has it been exactly?"
She smiled. "Your nineteenth birthday was the last celebration within these halls."
My nineteenth? But I'm only... My eyes widened. "The Silver Millennium."
"That's enough." The voice seemed to shake the walls.
I turned in time to see a tall woman standing behind me. In her hand sat what looked to be a staff of some kind. "Who are you?" The moment she stepped forward, the little girl bowed. No words escaped her at that moment.
The presence of the woman was astounding. She looked as if I should have known who she was. "It's been a long time, Jupiter."
"Do I know you?"
Before I could say anything else, I was hit with an attack that I never saw. I don't know how I knew, but it had to come from her. Her next words were not directed at me. "This is not the time, nor the place for her to remember."
The little girl stepped forward. "She was dying. If this is not the time then-"
"If she is ever going to awaken, then it must be on her own terms."
"I acted in the way I saw fit. The Queen of Jupiter lives. She would have died otherwise."
Queen of Jupiter? That was a new one for me. I forced myself to stand. To my surprise, the cuts and bruises healed before my eyes. "What just happened?"
The woman stepped back and charged her energy. "Those powers are dangerous at this time. Listen to me closely, senshi of thunder. I am going to send you back to a fated point. Heed my warning, you must not save the man named Sapphire. His fate is already set in stone."
My eyes widened. "Sapphire? What does he have to do with this?"
She turned. "The timeline is fragile because too many people have been rewriting the past. His death will balance the past and the future."
"Who are you to tell me what to do?"
She stepped forward. "You and I knew each other quite well a thousand years ago. You trusted me then."
"I don't even know who you are."
"You will, very soon."
Light images rushed into my mind. They made no sense to me. It was as if someone was showing me only pieces of a picture. I cringed at the pain that pounded my skull. The woman just stood there and watched as I took my head in my hands. The little girl looked to me, before fading. That's when I realized it, the familiar light rushing towards me. I've felt this attack before, but I don't remember when. Before I know it a familiar image enters my mind. At that moment the pain went away. Her eyes told a story much older than I could have ever imagined. "Pluto?"
When I awoke, I was standing not unlike I was only a couple hours earlier. I was slow to recognize my surroundings. Questions rushed through my mind as I looked to the man kneeling only a few yards in front of me. Wiseman hit Sapphire square in the chest. I was too confused to move. Prince Diamond shouted for him to stop, but the damage was already done. What just happened?
Wiseman faded from the sky with Wicked Lady, leaving only Prince Diamond to make his way to his brother. Sailor Moon was already there holding his hand. I could see the look in Sapphire's eyes. He was long gone. The fighting stopped for this one moment.
Mars put her hand on my shoulder. "Lita, you alright?" I hadn't even noticed the bit of rubble that had flown back and hit my left thigh. The blood was light, but what intrigued me was that the scrape hadn't healed.
"I didn't even move." I looked down to my wrists and pulled the gloves from my hands, but there was nothing. No scars or symbols.
All I could hear was the light sounds of tears falling.
I distinctly remembered this playing out differently. Did I get distracted? It felt as if I had awoken from a dream. Everything felt so off. I had never doubted myself more than that moment. Someone died and I know I could have saved him.
I realize now that that was the day I first met the senshi of time. I went on for days believing that I had imagined that castle. Those events never stopped haunting me. Memories are the echoes of time; even though they can be rewritten, they are never truly forgotten. I was so angry for so long. She had sent me back and in my confusion, I did exactly what she wanted. I hate being manipulated. Pluto may be a senshi, but I will never trust her fully.
I never told the others. I doubt they would have understood. From that point on there was always tension between the two of us. I hated the way she looked at me, it's like she knew more about me than I did. We never spoke for the longest time. As the years went on I came to understand. There is a balance and an order to the world. It wasn't until I saw Crystal Tokyo's rise that I realized the meaning of sacrifice.
Her reasons made sense to me, but her methods are cruel. Back then, she made the choice to sacrifice one to save another. Her duty was to the timestream above everything else. Some things must happen for structure to be maintained; I understand that, but I still believe that Sapphire could have been saved.
It pains me to realize that I can't save everyone. No matter how hard I try it just isn't possible. What kind of senshi accepts this as a fact? When I asked Pluto she merely smiled. "I once knew a senshi who killed the man she loved because he threatened to destroy what she had sworn to protect."
"Then she didn't love him."
Pluto shook her head. "On the contrary, because she loved him, she had the strength to end his life."
"Why are you telling me this?"
For some reason her smile returned. "Because that is our nature. Duty before everything else. You're stronger than you think, Jupiter. I've seen it in the past, present and future."
I will never trust Pluto, but I feel that I can at least understand her better. There was sincerity in her words. It was almost as if she wanted to say more, but knew that she couldn't. I realize now that nothing is simply black and white. There is always an odd shade of grey that looms over both sides. It reminds me of a storm raging in the wind. It can be both beautiful and horrible at the same time.
Sapphire... I still think of him often. He is the man that died while I did nothing. Pluto and I have taken slightly different oaths and as such our responsibilities collided. That was the day everything changed, and I saw the future in new light. Pluto may be a fellow senshi, but if we cross each other like that ever again then I guarantee there will be hell to pay. This I promise on the name of Jove himself.
This was just a random idea that popped into my head while I was finishing up with a couple of ideas. For some reason, as much as I do love some deaths in the anime, Sapphire's was a little bit of a disappointment for me. I felt that someone could have at least moved to try and save him... Anyway, that is the motivation for creating this "what if" stand alone piece.
If you liked it let me know... or don't... it's up to you :)
Questions? Ask away.
À la prochaine :)