He was awake. Suddenly and inexplicably wide awake, without confusion or disorientation… just an overwhelming sensation of dread. The room was deathly silent but for Usako's deep breathing. They lay curled up together on the bed; his left arm beneath her neck, his bicep a pillow, the other draped over her waist comfortably, one of her hands holding his forearm contentedly. All he saw was a mess of golden hair, but as he raised his head up marginally, trying not to wake her, he clearly saw the luminous red alarm clock on the night stand – 3:00 A.M. – and waited for the feeling of anxious alarm to dissipate… but it only grew.
Something was wrong.
As he looked away from the clock, his eyes were immediately drawn to the dark corner beside the tall windows of the balcony. He could see nothing there, but the shadows were so complete and the contrast between the faint moonlight streaming through the blinds so remarkable, he could not be sure whether he saw the tall silhouette of a person or not.
But there was no mistaking the crushing feel of is presence.
He wondered if he were imagining things, yet he kept his eyes trained on that singular spot, waiting to see what would happen. It had been a long tour, one that might not end for months to come, and there was no denying his exhaustion; surely this was just an extension of the tension he felt or the strain they were under with so many public appearances and purifications – it was an effect of travelling so far in such a short amount of time, a call from his mind that they needed a break. He glanced away, giving the rationalization time to work its way through to his imagination… but the feeling of dread only increased, the presence of whatever it was growing stronger and more potent.
He looked at it again, glaring at the empty space as though his glare alone could keep it at bay. He curled his left arm to hug her even closer to him, farther from the edge of the bed, and gently freed his right arm. He could use other aspects of his psychometry outside of transformation; could he use his energy attack, as well? He raised his arm up, parallel to the surface of the bed, palm facing the corner of the room. It could have been many things – a sign to 'stop', for instance, or a warning to stay away – but as a feeling of inexplicable panic washed over him, goosebumps erupting along the length of his body, he knew that the force read it as it was: a threat.
"USAGI!" footsteps thundered down the hallway as someone screamed in warning. A loud thump sounded at their door, as though someone had crashed into it. "USAGI! MAMORU!" the voice screamed as echoing blows struck the surface of the access.
He remained motionless, drawing strength from within as he stared down whatever sinister terror had found its way into their hotel room. Usagi continued to sleep soundly, and he wondered fleetingly if Helios were guarding her dreams closely.
"Rei-chan?" Ami's voice called questioningly in alarm, their voices so loud they were only marginally muffled by the thick door. "Rei-chan, what's –"
"USAGI! MAMORU!" Rei screamed again, the pounding stopping momentarily.
His arm began to tremble of its own accord. It was moving closer.
There was suddenly a great thud, as if someone was trying to break the door down. "USAGI! MAMORU—" Her calling of his name was interrupted at the very end, as if she had been forcibly removed.
"Makoto! Haruka!" Minako's voice called out in an unmistakable command and a great force collided with the door.
Light spilled into their room from the small hallway, but only momentarily; yet that momentary illumination was enough to outline the torso of threat in their room: it was tall and thin, with long arms and hooked, spiny fingers, and, even with the brief splash of yellow light from the hall, it retained a misty, shadowy form that his eyes could not fully penetrate. But he did not need to see it fully to aim. It had crossed the space and stood now somewhere near the corner of their bed, and that was close enough for him. He focused his energy into the palm of his hand, pulling more and more from himself until he felt his skin grow hot. When he felt he had gathered enough, he threw it forward.
A burst of golden light erupted from him and careened towards the mass of shadows not four feet from them and exploded violently, throwing the presence away from them just as it blew his hair back and away. The explosion was magnified by another striking force at the door, and this time the access flew open and down, masses striking the floor as a woman flew into the room.
Rei dashed forward, stopping just before the dark corner and to brandish a talisman and throw it in a slicing motion into the darkness. "AKURYO TAISEN!" she cried defiantly as the slip of paper seemed to stick to a point away from the wall, and both immediately disappeared in a fiery light. He lowered his arm, forcing himself to breath evenly. Whatever it was, it was gone. Minako, entering on Rei's heels, positioned herself in the faint moonlight streaming through the blinds, exactly between the corner and Usako. Makoto and Haruka entered the main room, each holding their shoulder and casting about suspiciously.
Even untransformed, wearing nothing but their pajamas, they were ready and willing to fight.
Usako stirred, but only to mumble something and reach for his arm again. He gave it to her, looking at Minako to see what she intended, but the blonde only smiled fondly at their sleeping Queen and motioned for the girls to leave. Rei made no move, and as Minako passed they shared a quick, quiet word with each other, and the raven-haired girl left. "We'll talk about this in the morning," the blonde whispered quietly to him, standing just inside the main room. Craning his neck he could see the shadow of the door being put back on its hinges, or close to it, and in moments Rei had returned with a pillow and blanket from her own room. These she deposited on the small couch, settling herself in for what he knew would be a sleepless night for both of them. Minako nodded at them, whispered "Good night," and left.