Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z. If I did... Serenity and Trunks would be chained to my bed for my amusement. :P
So that you're not confused... this story is a bit AU. It runs along the lines of the DBZ timeline, but while the Buu saga did come to pass, Broly is not involved. None of the Z-warriors can (As of yet in my story) transform to SS3. However they can still fuse. This story starts after two years of peace in the DBZ dimension, and Mirai Trunks has abandoned the barren Earth of his timeline for the alternate timeline he helped to create, after the natural death of Mirai Bulma. Serenity will be about four millenia old, and after spending three millenia as Cosmos, is thrown back into hard battle when Chaos escapes the cauldron. She is outmatched, and nearly dispatched of, when the fates intervene, sending her to the DBZ dimension in a bid to save every dimension after. I hope there's no confusion, but if you have questions, feel free to ask. Oh, and enjoy. :)
: The Only Way Out :
: Chapter One : Nothing to Fear :
She wasn't scared. Fear was something that had escaped her grasp a long time ago. There was nothing left to lose, and therefore, nothing left to be afraid of. The wind was harsh. It whipped her hair in a halo around her face before settling it down her back, only to pick it up again. The smell of pine and river water was sharp in her nose, and though she wished fervently that it didn't, it reminded her of Haruka. Even after all this time, they still came to mind. She was numb to the pain. These days, it was just an ache, distant and cold. A buzz in the back of her brain. There was very little that made her feel alive. Which was why she currently stood on the rail of the tallest bridge she could find, her arm wrapped around one of the tall beams it was made up of. The metal was cool against her pale skin.
This world's inhabitants was so unlike her own. Here, animals spoke. Cars flew. It had been hard to find a bridge, mostly because they weren't needed. As Cosmos, she could not remember ever needing to visit this planet. There was a vague memory, of golden warriors that watched over this dimension. And did quite a good job of it. It was a mixed mass of primitive living and technology that Ami would have killed for. She breathed out slowly. There it was again. The buzzing. Sometimes she could almost hear their voices. She'd known she was far gone when she'd started talking back. But it wasn't like it mattered. 'Koneko?' Her lips curved into a cynical smile.
"You're dead Haruka." She said into the wind, and the voice answered back, so insistent she almost believed it was real.
'Don't do this Koneko... Onegai.' She closed her eyes. For a moment she could almost see her. Her toughest scout. The devilishly beautiful blonde, her ocean blue eyes soft with worry. She breathed out again, and opened her eyes, looking down at the ravenous rapids far below. The River of Sighs, they called it. There was a little sign at the edge of the bridge. She'd wondered why until she stood above it. The sound of the water against the rocks made it seem like the river was alive with hushed breath. How... appropriate. The wind cut through her, and goosebumps raised on her skin without bidding.
"I have to Haruka." She whispered into the empty air. "I have to do this to feel alive." Slowly, she unwrapped her arm from the beam beside her, and raised both hands to the air. "I just want to feel alive. Just for a moment." Feeling burst into her chest, a myriad of colors and shapes that brought warmth to her limbs and made her heart beat like it used to, so long ago. With a smile on her lips that could outshine the sun, she leaned forward, and began to free-fall towards the watery canyon below.
He'd flown from the confines of his adopted home mostly because he just needed the time to think. The time to be alone. Capsule Corp was always noisy on the weekend, with Chibi home from school and Goten over to play. It was particularly noisy this weekend, since Krillen and Eighteen had decided to visit with Marron, and she and Bra had just learned how to babble. Goku and Vegeta squabbled every fifteen minutes or so, and Bulma and Chi-Chi mouthed off in the background when they felt like getting involved. It might have been bearable if Gohan was there, but Videl was nearing the end of a tough pregnancy, and they traveled little these days. So he had snuck out while the chatter was at it's peak, and flown off to find some peace and quiet. There was also the issue of his beast. Something only a Saiyan carried. There was little that could calm the rage inside him these days. So when he was feeling particularly restless, the need to run free always won out.
After the death of his mother, there hadn't been much left for him on the barren Earth that could have been. Human life had died out. He figured, the animals could fend for themselves, as they always had. So he'd charged up the time machine one last time, and after burying his mother deep in the blackened Earth, taken a one-way trip back to the past. He'd been welcomed with open arms of course, but it was strange still. To suddenly be a part of the world you'd failed to save. To integrate into something you'd only dreamed of. Surreal and disturbing as much as it was joyous.
He'd been so lost in his thoughts he almost didn't see her. But the rays of the sun caught the silver of her hair, and sparkled in the corner of his vision. Strange, he thought idly. There was never anyone out here. It was why he flew over this specific piece of Earth so often. Once Bulma had distributed her hover cars, asphalt roads had become obsolete. This had been a highway, built over the largest river in this corner of the world. It was cracked and abandoned now, but beautiful to look at. He flew ever closer, with his eyes on the petite girl.
She stood upon the railing of the forgotten bridge, one arm wrapped around a metal beam. The whipping winds made it hard to hear, but he thought perhaps her voice drifted over, soft and sweet. Funny, because there was no one to talk to. Just her lone frame, perched above the canyon the river had carved. Her hair was long, tendrils of silver that flew about her like silk, so much of it that it obscured the clothing she wore. His heart began to beat faster in his chest as she moved her arm from the beam, and raised both hands to the sky. She wouldn't. Her body slowly tipped forward, and he put on speed as her feet left the bridge. She would.
By the time his arms wrapped around her waist and grasped firmly, she had fallen so low that the spray from the rapids licked his bare arms, and dusted across his gi, dampening them both. She was slack in his arms, and it seemed as if she'd lost consciousness on the way down. He hugged her to his chest, letting her feet dangle between his as he landed softly beside the river. She was shorter than him by half a foot, so even when his feet set down on the moist ground, her weight was still his to carry. He was mildly surprised when he looked down into startling eyes of grey. It was a shade he'd never seen, like the coming of a storm tinged with starlight. Then reality struck. This girl had just tried to kill herself. And he'd be damned if he wasn't going to find out why. There was an immediate response from the beast inside of him, a reaction he'd never had before.
"What were you thinking?" He felt his anger rise a notch when her full, pink lips curved into a smirk.
"Certainly not that I'd be saved by a flying man." He realized, suddenly, with her voice in his ear and her face so close her breath ghosted across his skin, that he was still hugging her to his chest, and let go, taking a step back. The beast inside him snorted, miffed at the separation, but he ignored it. She stumbled for a second, dropped abruptly to her feet, but steadied with cat-like grace. "Shot down again." It was a mumble, mostly to herself, but his ears were sharp. Being half-saiyan had it's perks.
"Shot down?" She looked shocked that he had heard, but not disturbed. She was quiet, complacent. "Listen, there's never any good reason to try to kill yourself..." She cut him off with a laugh, and he snapped without meaning to. "I'm serious. You would have died if you hit the water at that speed." She looked thoughtful for a moment, surveying him with soft eyes, and though the anger at her indifference still boiled in him, he couldn't help thinking how sad, and beautiful she looked. Her skin was pale like milk, and now that he stood before her he could see she wore tight, dark blue leggings under a long white tank-top. The straps dangled off each shoulder, showing the tone to her arms. She was certainly not as frail as she looked. She felt solid. His beast growled. Her voice snapped him from his inspection, and he found himself blushing as if he'd done something wrong.
"You're sweet." She said softly. He blushed harder, but she either didn't notice, or didn't care. "But you needn't worry about me." Then she did the last thing he expected. She simply disappeared. His eyes scanned the area, narrowed and wary. But there was no sign, no signature, no evidence at all but for the faint scent of cherry blossoms on his skin. He realized now, that he had never felt any energy from her. He stood there for a long moment, perplexed, and half-expecting an attack from behind, but it never came. The beast inside him snapped at his cage, but he ignored it. The anger would not help, right now.
With his bid for peace and quiet completely disrupted, he shot up from the damp river bank, and began his search for the mysterious girl, shaking his head. He might not be able to sense her, but she couldn't have gotten far. She was a questionable presence that could not be ignored.
She watched him from the cover of the trees. For a moment, he looked simply confused. When the confusion had left his eyes however, he looked angry and wary. She hadn't meant to do that. Anger him, put him on edge. She simply wanted to be left alone. She sighed, and the buzz in the back of her head took the form of Rei's voice. 'Good going Odango. He was just trying to save your life.'
"What's left of it." She said solemnly, too put off to argue with her imagination. Sighing, she looked up into the dense foliage of the pines above her. Her crescent had dissipated. That, and the eight-pointed star she had worn as Cosmos. She barely knew who she was anymore. It had only been a few weeks since the fates had sent her here. Sent her here because she had failed, and her own world was nothing but dust. A memory of a memory. 'It's not your fault.' Mina's voice said, so soft it was half words and half soothing hum. "Yes." She whispered. "It is." And no imaginary voice, no one at all, could tell her it wasn't. She had failed to seal Chaos a second time, with all the power in her veins. Had failed to save the lives of millions, trillions maybe. By now, the dimension she had left behind was probably a memory too. Her memory alone. For the first day, that thought was what had kept her alive. But then the guilt set in. The numbing pain. "Why didn't they kill me?" She whispered. No one answered. But that was perhaps because she already knew the answer. She, Serenity, Cosmos, Usagi, whatever you wanted to call her, could not be killed. Not as long as Chaos lived too. Goddess, she'd tried.
In the past few weeks, she'd slit her wrists, broken most of her bones, and set herself aflame. The pain was real, intense, over bearing. But death never came. Her skin would stitch back together, her blood would stop it's flow, and she'd wake again, every time. The bridge had been a bid to see if drowning would work. But she'd been thwarted by the mysterious flying stranger. She debated trying again, and decided she'd drawn too much attention to herself as it was. She had decided, when the fates had shipped her to this dimension, that condemning herself to solitude was her best option. Because one day, when he found the means, Chaos would come for his other half, and she'd lose this world too. This, and every other after, until one finally killed the other. The yin and yang of the multi-verse, they were doomed to battle forever. Or die together. "What a crappy destiny." She said aloud sourly.
'You will prevail Usa-mama.' Hotaru's voice insisted. She sighed. "Shut up Hota, dear." She whispered, her heart tight in her chest and her brain so frazzled that her vision threatened to go black. "You're dead."
"Do you think we're being too cruel?" The woman beside her sighed, and brushed long tendrils of dark hair from her eyes.
"Does it matter? We have no choice." The woman on the other side of her chuckled humorlessly, pushing herself to her feet and turning away from the image of the petite silver-haired girl before them.
"That's a first, for sure."
"We never should have created them." The first woman said, sounding sad and somber.
"Again, we had no choice. The Multi-verse needed balance, and we all agreed what should be done. One soul made two. We've been no more cruel to her than we have to him."
The last woman's disdain was clear in the tone of her voice. "I tire of this game. Be rid of them both and create new ones."
"You know as well as we all do that's not possible. We cannot touch them. This, we agreed upon too. We can hope they will merge, and fix the mess we've made."
"And if they don't?" The sad voice asked, worry evident in her icy blue eyes.
"Then our dear sister will have the joy of helping us create a brand new game, with brand new players. Serenity has lost her will. She cannot kill him. But as long as Chaos is allowed to roam free, death will follow."
The first woman sighed again, and focused her eyes on the swirling image of Serenity before her. "So we just watch?" She asked, and the woman beside her nodded.
"Yes. We watch and pray we've not condemned her soul too."
"Pray to who?" The third sister asked snidely, from her position feet away.
"To whoever will listen."
Everything was barren, and he was bored. This dimension had proven too easy to destroy once Serenity had been whisked away. By the fate's hand no doubt. They and Serenity were the only beings who could cross dimensions indefinitely, and he knew the Queen of the Cosmos would not have left him to his devices had she the choice. He was still reveling in the look on her face when he'd obliterated Earth. But he wished he could have seen the sorrow in her eyes when she saw her entire dimension destroyed. It was a lot less fun when he didn't have her pain to soak in.
So what to do? "Hanna." The minion he called appeared before him in a flurry of red sparkles. He frowned in distaste, but didn't comment. He'd created her with a bit of free will because free-thinking had proved useful to him more than once. He was beginning to remember why he usually strayed from such acts. It mattered little. He was at least careful enough to make sure he could crush her if she ever displeased him.
"Yes Master?" Her voice at least, was pleasing, soft and sure. Like hers. He frowned without meaning to.
"There is only one way I can travel to find my dear Queen." He said slowly, and she followed his lips with her red eyes. Ever vigilant. Despite the red sparkles, he almost liked Hanna. She was one of his favorites. He hoped she survived his new task.
"And that is, my Lord?" He beckoned her closer, and she immediately obeyed, stepping up to the throne he had created for himself. It was wrought of twisted metal and hard obsidian, the remains of worlds he'd blown to bits. All that was left was this lonely black star they inhabited. All that survived was he, and the beings he had created with bits of himself. When she was close enough, he grabbed her arms hard, and pulled her to his lap, wrapping his legs around her waist as he forced her to kneel between them. Her long, jet black hair pooled over his lap in soft waves, and he looked down at her full red lips. She trembled, but whether it was fear or anticipation he could not be sure, Nor did he truly care.
Hanna was special. She always had been. Only she and one other minion had the power she had. The power, with his donation, to create. Without Serenity's aid, or that of the fates, he only had enough power to open a portal to the next dimension. After it was open, he'd have no energy to throw himself through and be prepared for battle on the other side. Being away from her made him weak, as much as he hated to admit it. He saw that now. But perhaps Hanna was made tough enough to make the journey for him. Once a piece of him was close enough to his other half, his power would grow.
"You will carry a piece of me there." He growled, and crushed his lips to hers. He decided, when she responded with fervor, that her trembling had been in anticipation. Even with her bit of free will, Hanna lived to serve. He'd ground that much into her, and he would grind more, as he infused the bit of his soul he would send on this journey. He might even like it. Hell, he was bored enough that she might like it too.
She shivered. The nights were chilly here, but the cold would not kill her. Nothing could, it seemed. Nothing but him. There were moments when she pined for him, in a morbid way. But she knew too, that her death would never come by his hand. He'd said it himself, face pressed closed to hers after he'd destoyed her home. Not until he'd obliterated every last life, Just to see the pain in her eyes, would he end it. It was why the fates had whisked her away.
Something had died inside her as she watched the pieces of her world float away into space. She'd lost her fight. And he would have won, had they not intervened. But she saw little reason for doing so. That piece that had died with Earth was gone. Her will was broken. The fates had only delayed the inevitable. Foolish women. Why they'd created her in the first place she'd never know. Why they created him... a bigger mystery. They'd caused nothing but strife, started a war to be fought across worlds that were innocent and clueless. An endless battle across time. 'You are strong enough.' Makoto's voice said in her ear. She turned, but there was nothing there.
"I am talking to souls who've been dead for three millenia because my mind has come unglued." She said aloud. "And they expect me to win. I'm crazier than Chaos is."
'You're not like him. We always believed in you. We still do.' Chibi's voice said at her right. She hugged her knees to her chest and laid her head atop them, staring into the darkness of the forest she'd wandered into for the night. The trees were so dense she could not see the sky. "I don't see why." She whispered.
'You will Mama.' Chibi's voice said. 'You will.'
He'd searched for hours. But the girl was nowhere to be found. It had taken him longer to get back to Capsule Corp than he'd anticipated, and the light was draining from the sky. He supposed it had been a long time since he'd flown in that direction, and it was farther from home than he remembered. Or maybe it was all the thoughts swimming in his head that had slowed him down. Could the petite girl that he'd saved from death really be a threat? Besides to herself? Or had she merely been a mirage? It's not as if he didn't come unglued from time to time. Things like that happened when your whole world was destroyed. When you were forced to watch your loved ones die in front of your eyes. But she had felt real. Smelled real. Her scent still lingered on his clothing. At the very least, once he had put some distance between them, his beast had calmed. He could see the outlines of the huge compound Bulma had built in the distance, lit by perimeter lights. He slowed in his indecision.
Should he put his new family on alert, worry them in such a happy time, over a girl he knew nothing about? A girl who had only been trying to end it all? Bigger problems had come from smaller decisions. But she didn't seem threatening. Mysterious, yes. But there was no fight in her eyes. She just looked... lost. There was no reason to worry his friends just yet. But tomorrow, he planned to go looking again for the silver-haired masochist. Because he had to know what she was all about. Whether for the safety or his world, or the affirmation of his sanity. With resolve in his decision, he sped up, and flew home.
So ends the first chapter of The Only Way Out. Will Trunks find the mysterious Serenity before she succeeds in her bid for death? Can she even die at all? How long until Chaos finds his way to the world of the golden warriors and his ultimate prize... Serenity's entrapment? To find out you'll have to read on... And please don't forget to review!