For such a hot place, 'Hell' was a very dark place...for some reason no light appeared to shine in this area. That made looking for her henshin wand all the more difficult then...she had pleaded for Hiei to wake up, knowing good and well that he could hear her mentally if he was even the tiniest bit conscience...she had feared making noise to attract Kizami or anything else that happened to be lurking around in this pit.
Then again, perhaps Kizami had purposefully dropped them in this place. There were no doors, no identifiable walls except for a few craggy, cliff-like structures off in the distance. If you didn't pay attention to where you were going then you would surely bump into one.
'Saturn...' she tried again, hoping for some kind of response. Even just a simple stirring of the warrior's powers would have filled her with some relief. Hotaru frowned, wanting to heave out a heavy sigh but thought better of it.
"Where are we?" She turned quickly at the sound of a voice, happy to see the fire demon awake and seemingly unharmed.
Forgetting herself, she lurched forward and hugged him, "I'm so glad you're okay!" she exclaimed, quickly remembering herself and pulling off of him, turning her head around with a blush. "I-...um, well, I'm not sure where we are. Saturn is still unconscious. I think I lost my henshin wand too." Curse it all...she was babbling in embarrassment. She didn't do this often, much rather the type to sit quietly when embarrassed but this was a little different...
"Feh, never mind, it doesn't matter right now." Hiei interjected, turning his head away from her in a similar fashion, "Without that stick, you're fairly weak in battle and we don't need to get caught off-guard." Hotaru frowned at his comment...she'd become a lot stronger from Saturn's training, or at least she thought she had. Maybe he was just...he interrupted her thoughts with a question of the wand's appearance, claiming that he could locate it quicker with his Jagan than the both of them fumbling around blind in the dark. She described it as best as she could, never realizing how much detail the stick actually had to it.
"It's in another space, most likely a room up ahead." He didn't motion for her to follow, leaving the girl to jump when she realized his intentions and aptly follow behind him. It was a quiet walk...what could be said in such a situation as this? Any two normal people would have been freaking out, panicking and losing their minds, but they were different. Still, Hotaru wished that...there was something to speak about. It was pointless trying remain silent down here, Kizami cast them down here so he obviously knew their every move, what they said, and anything they else they did. In fact, he was the one who more than likely had grabbed her henshin wand. For him to do so, they must have been out for a good bit...but why not kill them then? It would have made more sense. Maybe he planned for them to die down here, die at the hands of whatever befell them...maybe he even expected them to turn on each other...?
She felt herself suddenly being pushed and thrown, being cast out of harm's way most likely. Strange, she couldn't hear Hiei's voice. Hotaru quickly got to her feet and spun around...where was he? What had happened? The way she had come from...it was nothing but rock wall. Eyes widening, she ran over to it and pounded her fists against the craggy wall as hard as she could; tiny, sharp rocks embedding their tips into her hands as she do so, a small spurt of blood to accompany each one. She called for him, yelled his name...had they just been separated? Or...had this wall somehow fallen on him? Dammit, why had she been so lost in her thoughts? Hotaru sunk to her knees...she hated this...she truly hated this...she just wanted to go home. Finally feeling the pain in her hands, she winced and glanced down...they were covered in tiny trails of blood.
"Hiei..." she whispered, "I don't want to be alone here..."
Looking up, she pulled herself to her feet. There was only one way to go, the direction in which she had pointed them in. She swallowed...was it up to her to kill Kizami? Alone? It was a scary thought but...no, she couldn't stand by while everyone else fought, not anymore.
She walked a few timid steps into the endless darkness, hoping that maybe there would be some kind of doorway somewhere. It was more of a hopeless thought but it made her feel a tiny bit better.
Suddenly, there was a flash of white light, so bright that she brought up her arms to shield her eyes. Lowering them, she found herself in...what appeared to be a beautifully furnished throne room. A throne room...if it belonged to him then it was nothing but gaudy. It coated with deep reds, a warm atmosphere hovering in the air...almost as if for comedic effect, a small orange flame burned in what appeared to be an ordinary fireplace. If this was a throne room for the ruler of Hell, then there was no telling what real purpose that fire could held.
"And so she finally arrives! You know, I was getting rather tired of waiting for you to get here!" Hotaru turned her head in anger, her short hair swishing as she did so. It was Kizami, unmistakeably. He had abruptly appeared seated in the throne that marked the centerpiece of the room. It was dark, candles flickering on the wall the only light granted to them.
"Give me back my henshin wand." she stated simply, bravely as she glared at him, "And tell me what you did to Hiei!"
"You know, it would have all been so easy. Steal the wand...extract the soul...put it in another body...but of course, that had to be complicated too. You see, human bitch, my lady Saturn's soul is VERY complex. Her soul is only compatible with certain bodies or maybe I should say 'body'. Every body I seemed to put her soul in...completely rejected it, some of them even clawed their eyeballs out. At first I thought it was the lady Saturn doing it, but then I realized that the body simply couldn't withstand the horrors of that kind of power nor the memories of what she's come to witness. It's simply too much for a regular human or even an artificial body to handle."
"You didn't answer my question! And you overstep your boundaries in this world...you can't...you can't make an artificial person!"
"And so I figured that the key must be with your body...what's so special about it, I wondered." Hotaru growled to herself, balling her fists in anger as he seemed to continuingly ignore her. He was going to pay for this dearly... "Then, it became simple. It's just your body. Actually, it's her body. You are, in fact, the unwelcome soul. When the lady Saturn's soul was sent to Earth to be reborn with the rest of the court, she wasn't sent by Serenity, oh no, Saturn was sent by someone else. And I wonder, can you guess who that person was?"
What...what on Earth was he saying? True, Saturn wasn't sent to Earth to be reborn originally as she stayed behind to destroy the remnants of the Silver Millennium but...
"I'll tell you who, it's that Time Guardian you happen to favor so much. It was she who pleaded for Saturn to be reborn at the Galaxy Cauldron, BUT due to the Time Guardian not having enough power to offer, a new body was not created for Saturn so instead she was forced to share a body...with you. When she was sent to Earth, she was supposed to take over the soul of an unborn child to become that child, but something went wrong and the two of you didn't combine, you remained as two separate entities! Unlike all the other senshi, Saturn was forced to become another person, Hotaru Tomoe, a weak, scared, little human bitch who refuses to fight back!"
She was charging at him, she didn't how it happened or what she even planned to do but her feet had just begun to move on their own. Of course, he teleported out of the way before any harm could come to him but he re-appeared just as quickly behind her, and grabbed a hold of her; one arm wrapped around her neck while another held her waist in a tight grip, both of her own arms trapped under his.
"And so, I need your soul to disappear. That way, I could put the lady Saturn's soul right back into it's rightful body, and then you'll disappear from all planes of existence because your shattered soul won't have a body to come back too!"
Hotaru tried to elbow him in the gut, but it barely phased him. "Wait!" she cried out, still trying to wriggle out of his grasp, "Just answer me one question...if you must do this, then answer me this...why? What's your reason in all of this?"
"Hmm...is that a last request? I suppose I can grant you that much, I believe it is a human custom after all." Kizami smirked then chuckled darkly, "Very well...look." He brought a hand up under her chin and harshly turned her head in the direction he sought. "Do you see that painting? That...is my greatest wish. Please tell me that you aren't so dense as to not know who they are..." he paused, almost as if he were waiting for a response but she found it hard to speak at the angle at which he held her. He sighed and continued, "That is a depiction of my most favorite story, The Rape of Persephone, as I believe you humans have come to call it."
"That's all it is, a story!" she responded, voice strained, "They weren't real people, Kizami, they were just made-up characters in a story that the elders told to scare children into behaving! That story was told to teach children not to speak with strangers, especially those from the kingdom of Earth. Think about it, Hades rose up from the earth...it was just a story to keep celestial children away from Earthlings. After awhile, even the Earthlings adopted the stories as myths! " She could hear him growl, the next thing she knew she was on the floor.
"You lying bitch! No, it's not make-believe! It's real! Where do you think the senshi's powers come from?"
Hotaru got to her knees and turned back to look at him, "The Sailor Senshi receive their powers from the planets, not a magical deity that's never been seen." She paused to climb to her feet, "Obviously, you wouldn't know that. You still think like a child...you were executed before that knowledge ever properly reached you."
"Why you...the only reason I'm not tearing your throat out is because I need that body."
"This is my body! It's no one else's!" Hotaru screamed back...she honestly didn't think she could scream like this, she felt so powerful and strong... "A long time ago, my body was stolen from me by an invader from outside the Solar System. Her name was Mistress 9. Even though she tried to steal my body, she failed...just as you will. Saturn and I have an understanding...we are the same person, we are the same body. And that's why..." Hotaru looked down at her out-stretched palm, then clenched it into a fist, "And that's why we always fight together!"
She gasped as a purple light appeared to glow from her clenched hand...it was warm, familiar...it was her henshin wand. It was materializing in her hand, coming back from who knows where.
"No! How did you-...How dare you!" Kizami yelled, lunging with an outstretched hand.
Hotaru nodded, giving a quick twirl as she turned on the back of her heel, her outstretched hand now held the Silence Glaive which easily countered Kizami's attack and pushed him back. She was no longer Hotaru...Sailor Saturn now stood in her place.
"You are a sick, demented soul who will be put to rest." Saturn stated stoicly, her weapon stuck outright as more than just a warning. "But first, you will return the swordsman to us."
Kizami gritted his teeth but a smile still tried to break through at her appearance, "As you wish..." he grumbled out, unsure if his lady had even heard him. It happened quickly but the fire demon re-appeared at her side of his own free will, his paths no longer blocked by obstacles. The two were silent as they stared the false king down. Kizami's smile disappeared for good then, taking a step backward...would this turn out to be his undoing? No, no...he'd kill off the demon boy and the human girl, then he and the lady Saturn could be together...just like in the story, only, she would never leave his side.
"You give Hotaru far too little credit." Saturn murmured, "She is by no means weak." Hiei kept silent. True, he hadn't been here, but without much else to do, he decided to at least locate her and listen in. No...she wasn't so weak anymore.
They were fighting then, a dance of blades and shadows across the unlikely battlefield.
Kizami summoned forth his signature shadows to his side, one meant for attacking while the other took up the role of defending him like a shield. The two noted he was no longer attempting to use his imitation of Saturn's Silent Wall but they didn't question him...perhaps he feared using up all of his energy performing the task; after all, he'd only needed time to open the portal.
The battle continued to stretch across the room as tables and other fixtures were knocked over. The attacker shadow lurched out with its red mouth, teeth sharp and ready to bite. It slithered through the walls and the floors, making it almost impossible to hit despite the two warrior's speed and strength. It wasn't until Saturn threw her Glaive like a javelin, casting it out to hit a predicted spot on the ground, did the attacker shadow cease its movement and vanish, dead. Without the power of the Jagan, this wouldn't have been possible.
Kizami threatened then to unleashed the very demons of Hell itself, the unfortunate, fallen angels who had been cast into hell and become demons.
But it wasn't so...the defender shadow had been pierced by a green-ish glowing blade, surrounded by otherworldly flames. And the blade hadn't stopped there, no, it continued on to strike the coward who had hid behind it. A swift but sure impalement...it was over. It had to be over...surely even he couldn't recover from that?
The defender vanished in a wisp of black smoke, bellowing a low roar of death.
Kizami stumbled backwards, trickles of blood settling at the corners of his mouth. The sword had been removed, leaving a sizable hole that gushed blood down from the front of his black shirt. He hit the ground, too stunned to move.
"Both of you! Quickly!" It was the sound of Pluto's voice calling out to them from a nearby portal. Their only way out...Saturn, however, was too pre-occupied with her prey...this creature would pay for his crimes.
Something grabbed her arm though and began to pull her away. Damn, why wasn't she fighting this? It was then, she realized, that she was no longer in charge of the body but Hotaru...she was allowing them to be pulled by the swordsman into the portal, leaving Kizami to 'mercifully' bleed to death.
Some time later...
Hotaru awoke in her own bed, eyes slowly folding open to take in all of her surroundings. It was day time, sunlight streamed in through the windows, the tree were rustling just out of the window's reach...and it was quiet.
She didn't quite have the strength to sit up yet, still confined to bed as she lay on her back with her two pale arms draped down by her sides over the tops of the bed covers. There were no immediate injuries that caught her attention, no missing limbs or anything of the sort, still she could feel bandages throughout her body. Again, she tried to sit up, managing to wiggle her way up to some kind of sitting posture.
She only had a vague remembrance of what had transpired. During the final match of the Dark Tournament, a man named Kizami seemingly appeared from nowhere and proclaimed himself the new ruler of Hell and that he wanted Saturn, specifically Saturn and not herself, as his bride. He was planning to go to any lengths necessary to do so, even open a portal to Hell and merge it with that of the living realm. She and the guys had put up a good fight against him, and it seemed once the entire senshi team appeared, victory was assured. However, Kizami began to take personal offense at the sight of Saturn and Hiei interacting, and dropped them both down into a portal into Hell. It was here that she awoke as herself, not Saturn, and she and Hiei began to traverse the place to find away out. They became separated momentarily, with her having special permission to enter Kizami's chambers. It was here he revealed his plan to become like the Hades in Greek Mythos who kidnapped his would-be bride Persephone and forced her to live with him in the Underworld; it was a dream he had long had since the time of the Silver Millennium when Saturn had been sentenced to eternal sleep and when he was first punished for his crime: breaking into the resting chambers of Saturn.
...wait, had he said that? Or had she just imagined it? Hotaru reached a hand up to clutch at the flesh between her eyebrows...her head was pounding all of a sudden. Maybe it was a memory of Saturn's? Saturn mentioned he was punished and executed for a crime he had committed against the royal family but she couldn't place where he might have said that...
Still, after Kizami had told his story, she allowed Saturn to take full control and watched from within. Hiei eventually joined the battle and officially took down Kizami with some kind of sword technique. Saturn had planned to finish him off but...something had happened and she was back in control of the body; the transformation having immediately canceled out. After that, things got extremely vague. Someone had grabbed a hold of her wrist and was strongly pulling her towards a newly appeared portal, one that poured Setsuna's voice from within. Although she wanted to resist, she couldn't...it seemed almost everything went silent after that despite people fluttering and running about to make sure they were okay. She must have passed out then because no memories came back to her...
Strange, she found it strange that everything was so quiet. Normally, a big group would have gathered around her bed, a least a group of the senshi. Just how long had she been asleep? She slowly began to crawl out from beneath the covers, finding herself clothed in a pair of baggy yellow pajamas; they were old-styled pajamas but meant for a woman, in fact, these were originally supposed to be Haruka's but due to a sizing mishap, they went to the tinier Hotaru.
She found her first steps to be a little wobbly, not from inactiviity just physical fatigue, and she hobbled over to her wooden rocking chair. For awhile, she'd used this chair to sew and knit in; a hobby that may have seemed odd for someone of her physical age, especially considering she did it without the accompaniment of music or television. On the chair, she kept a small blanket, just large enough to drape over one's shoulders. This piece was more her 'palette' as it was a deep purple; true, it didn't match but she didn't think anyone would hound her about it...for now. If Minako was downstairs...
Hotaru practically tip-toed over to the door, making sure that her balance was steady before opening it. Interestingly enough, and perhaps awkwardly, her gaze met with that of Hiei's who stood across the narrow hallway, leaning against a door with his arms crossed. After a moment of staring, Hotaru realized herself and turned her head, half-way hiding her face behind the door frame as a hand knowingly clutched at it for support and out of embarrassment. Why was he here? It seemed so simple to ask in her head but when she tried to get the words out, they wouldn't come. Instead, she merely murmured his name in quiet, surprise.
He didn't respond, just stood there, his body and gaze never moving.
She figured she may as well try talking again, it seemed like he waiting for her to say something more after all, "Umm...were you guarding the door?" It was the only thing she could think of to ask even though it sounded dumb...she had meant to ask why he was here not accuse him of something that might make him mad.
Hiei averted eyes and moved from his leaning position against the door, "Just thought you'd want some sleep." he said simply, tone still harsh despite the intended kindness of his action. Hotaru watched him leave, heading down the hall and back downstairs. So...he was "guarding" the door, making sure no one planned to come in and wake her up, and if she didn't know any better, to keep people from coming up to the 2nd floor period.
She smiled, turning her head even more towards the door frame, almost as if she was trying to hide her blush from invisible eyes...maybe she was.
"...I'm afraid the answer to that is 'no' considering that Kizami is still very much alive. I myself am actually quite surprised that Saturn didn't land a final blow."
It was Setsuna, she knew that voice anywhere. If she was explaining all that then that must mean the entire group of senshi as well as the boys were in their giant living room. It wouldn't be large enough to accommodate seating space for all of them so a few would be standing. As she neared the room, she began to slow her pace.
Why had Saturn paused? Did she not have a chance? Why...? They were definitely going to ask her and she just didn't have an answer.
'Saturn,' she called mentally, 'can we talk really quickly? I'll let you rest after that, I promise.' But there was no call...strange again, the warrior had good stamina and had barely used any of her power in either of the fights...perhaps something else had tired her out? She could hear Setsuna talking again.
"However, we must act quickly. No doubt he too will rest but only for a time. Once he has his energy back, we must be prepared for another portal to be opened somewhere. Most likely, he will do so within Hotaru's vicinity so...as much as I hate to say this, for her benefit," Setsuna tacked on, "we'll most definitely need to keep an eye on Hotaru. A constant watch won't be necessary as it will take time for a portal that large to be fully opened but we can never be too careful. I've enrolled as a substitute teacher in Hotaru's school, if and when she decides to go back if that is to be the case. Perhaps one of you could take care of walking Hotaru back home?"
There was a flurry of voices, some of them muffled from presumably being across the room. She heard a female voice offer to just let Hotaru stay with her, Usagi's loud and recognizable voice chorused that, saying that she and Mamoru had a spare bedroom in their apartment. A male's voice she took to be Yusuke mentioned something about Kayko being more than happy to walk home with her. After that it was nothing but a sea of indiscernible noise and so she backed away. Nothing awaited her in there but a headache. She don't think she could have made it even if Chibi-Usa had been right in there with her. What if Hiei was in there...? She found she couldn't really picture him being around so many people he didn't know.
"What are you doing? You're supposed to be in bed."
Hotaru whirled around, well, turned as fast as she possibly and safely could to find Hiei. He was pretty good at sneaking up on her, maybe in a way he liked doing that to her since she never bothered to try sensing energy all the time. She was almost tempted to answer his questiod with 'but I'm not sleepy', but thought better of her little joke between herself and Haruka.
"I'm fine..." It was really all she could manage, heat surging back up to her cheeks. He couldn't really be this concerned about her, he had to have overheard Setsuna's plan about someone keeping an eye on her at all times...right?
He grunted, "If you're fine then I'm leaving. I don't have time to babysit you."
She watched, not really taken aback by his nature any longer, it was just how he was. He was just a different type of loner...she quietly pushed people away, and he snapped at people to get away from him...more or less. Quickly her eyes shot open all the way,
"Wait, I want to come with you!" she called, hurriedly running behind him, still pajama-clad and bandage-covered.
Lame fight scene is lame but there is a method to my madness. I honestly wanted to write more to this chapter but couldn't really find a good bridging point without leaving off on a HUGE cliffhanger. Is Kizami out of the way for good? What's going on with Saturn? Next time, a certain someone's back story is finally revealed, but what will Hotaru do when she finds out? Just some things to look out for next chapter!