Chapter Four

The Brilliance of a Fool

Saeko Mizuno slammed open the doors to the waiting room, jolting Usagi out of her gloomy reverie as she sat huddled up against Mamoru. The doctor had blood smears on her smock, but she was starting to smile slightly.

"She's okay?" Mayumi Osaka asked weakly.

A strange man who looked like he had contributed some of Naru's features put his hand on her shoulder.

Saeko nodded. "She's stabilized. The tourniquet that Sailor Moon put on her saved her life."

"The orange ribbon..." Usagi said. "You can't throw it out."

Saeko looked at her oddly.

"It's sentimental to her," Mamoru said softly. "If she looses it, it will impede her psychological recovery."

"What about..." Mayumi started, but Saeko vanished behind the door, hopefully to make sure that a certain piece of cloth wasn't lost after being used to bandage a third person.

"It doesn't matter," the man said softly. "Our little girl is going to be alright."

"But... her leg. I had to sell my store and work as a manager for the buyer in Chiba as a deal just to break even. My insurance won't pay for physical therapy."

"Miss Osaka," another voice called from the double doors Saeko had appeared from and disappeared back into. "Can we have a word?"

Mayumi and Naru's father, or Usagi assumed as much, followed, leaving her and Mamoru in a waiting room full of strangers. She pointed at her watch and Mamoru nodded. The two left the waiting room and walked towards the main entrance. A red headed Caucasian woman was arguing with a receptionist, trying to decipher her words with a frayed phrase book. Usagi continued toward the exit while Mamoru went towards the front desk.

*.*.*

"May I help you," Mamoru slowly asked her in English. The young woman arched an eyebrow at him.

"Can you tell this floozy that I am legally Sayako Nakama's next of kin?" She asked, trying to restrain herself.

"May I see the paperwork?"

"I can't make out anything other than my name on those squiggles. She's saying something about my ID card being expired and my passport is invalid as identification?"

He looked at the receptionist and pointed at the names, speaking in his native language. "Excuse me, but this is a legally binding document. If there is a Sayako Nakama at this hospital, you are obligated to treat her as next of kin."

"She's the third person claiming to be here for her," the mousy-faced receptionist replied stiffly. "Someone gets attacked by an alien and flown here and all of a sudden, every reporter is a close friend or relation to her. This crazy gaijin is the lamest..."

"She's legit," Mamoru interrupted. "My name is Mamoru Chiba. Naru Osaka is my fiance's childhood friend. If Sayako Nakama was attacked in Chiba by an alien, then that means that she was trying to help Naru out. If Miss..." he looked at the paperwork. "If Miss Murphy is listed as Sayako's next of kin, then I am making it my personal mission to see that Naru's would-be rescuer is given her due. Or are you challenging this?" He handed the paperwork back to the receptionist.

"Well, I guess..."

"And are you disavowing the legitimacy of a passport issued by a sovereign government?"

"We prefer a driver's license, and hers is expired."

"I don't give a damn about what you prefer!" Mamoru slammed the passport onto the counter in front of her. "This is a valid, legal document identifying her as who she claims to be, and the same person as on the paperwork designating her as Sayako's next of kin. Now tell me, so I can translate! Is Sayako Nakama at this hospital?"

The receptionist sighed and typed on her keyboard for a moment. She began to speak when a very audible argument from an elevator became much more audible as the doors opened. The woman Mamoru had been helping ran towards the elevator, leaving her paperwork at the desk. Mamoru inferred that Sayako Nakama was the young woman in the wheel chair swearing at the doctors in an Okinawan dialect, as she and Miss Murphy began rapidly conversing in English. He turned his attention back towards the doors and was on his way until being knocked off of his feet by a frantic Umino.

*.*.*

"Usagi-chan..." Minako's voice chirped from the watch, her expression hiding none of her anticipation.

"She's alive," Usagi said softly. "Please tell the others. How's our hero doing?"

"You hear that?" Minako asked, looking off to the side. "You're a hero." She looked back at the display with a slight smirk. "He's a little shaken by everything that's happened so far."

"Shaken?"

"He reacted the same way Mako-chan did. It just shows how much he cares."

Usagi thought of Tetsuya in three particular ways at that moment. First, he was the short, scrawny, friendly young man who had shown up with Ami at Subway one Sunday afternoon and since worked his way into the Senshi's inner circle as Umino 2.0, or Slouch as Minako called him when he wasn't around. The second was the heroic stranger known as The Journeyman who had helped stop Vendeusi's rampage, assisted in stopping Jorvist at Tokyo tower and finished him off in Chiba, saving Naru and all of the Senshi, despite suffering a terrible injury.

She shuddered when she remembered seeing Jorvist's body, a wound in his chest. It would have rendered him dying and unable to fight. Why his head was missing and many feet away made her realize that Tetsuya had executed a helpless foe and kicked the head away. Ami had even theorized from the blood pattern on the chest that the wound had come from the back. If Jorvist had still been temporarily deafened, it would have been easy to sneak up behind him and deliver a killing blow. Given the circumstances of forced melee with no preset rules of engagement, that was acceptable. Mutilating the body though...

And the third view of Tetsuya emerged. A maniacal, unbalanced berserker who had barely regained enough of himself to stop from killing Naru. But the pain he had inflicted upon himself was only enough to temporarily offset the madness. He knew he was about to lose control again. Yet despite his faults and merciless brutality, he had been willing to kill himself to save the others... from himself.

"What's up," Minako asked, breaking Usagi's reverie. "C'mon, something's up."

"We don't know how Naru-chan's recovery is going to go." Although it wasn't a lie, it wasn't what was on her mind. Tetsuya had charged ahead of them when Naru screamed. It didn't fit the vision of the young man who had fainted after the rail attack or who had become visibly disturbed and incoherent after seeing the woman killed by Vendeusi on the TV at Rei's. The Journeyman angle challenged everything she knew or thought she knew about the man who had suddenly become a tangible part of her life.

He reacted the same way Mako-chan did. It just shows how much he cares. Usagi replayed Minako's words and remembered Makoto's tearful reaction knowing the young man she had fallen in love with was in harm's way. She knew that Makoto would probably need until the next day to cool off and sort things out. Hopefully she wouldn't begrudge Tetsuya for being The Journeyman, but love made people do really stupid things. And unfortunately, the more in love someone was, the stupider they could become.

"It's a lot," Minako said in a reassuring tone. "Usagi-chan, if there's nothing else productive you can do, go home and get some sleep. You'll need to be strong for Naru-chan when she wakes up."

"Hai." Usagi clicked the watch off before Minako could say anything else. She took a few more steps towards the door before a clean cut man in his early thirties stepped in her path.

"Tsukino, Usagi?" he asked. He was tall, naturally. His brown hair was short and combed back. He seemed like a clean cut, uncool version of Motoki, and the lines on his brow indicated that he was more accustomed to frowning and scowling than smiling. He was probably a police officer undercover.

"Eh." She nodded her reply.

"I'm Detective Wakagi of the Toyko Metropolitan Police, Special Investigations Unit."

"Oh." She straightened up and bowed to him. "How may I help you, Detective?"

He returned the bow. "The press is being held off by our officers for now, but they'll mob you if you go out that way."

"Oh." Usagi looked back and noticed the occasional flicker of light, probably the reflection from a camera flash.

"There's an exit on the side normally used by staff. Officer Kamon will show you the way." He pointed towards a younger man in blue hospital scrubs who nodded in return.

Usagi bowed again. "My fiancé..."

"Mr. Chiba will also be redirected."

"You... know who I'm engaged to?"

"My department is the unofficial liaison in case the Senshi ever request support from the police, and we make it our business to know about those who are often caught up in unexplained events. Of course," he smiled at her, "anything and everything we learn is of the strictest confidentiality and for security purposes only. There is some nasty litigation involved if anyone betrays that trust."

Usagi knew this was a threat to their identities. "How nasty?"

"Well, if someone wanted to claim they knew the identity of a Senshi and sell it, the money would be seized and frozen for the lifetime of their grandchildren."

Usagi tilted her head to the side. "Is that even legal?"

Detective Wakagi laughed. "We deal in the supernatural. Laws are a bit more flexible when it comes to protecting the safety of our planet." He winked at her. "And the privacy of those we are ready to assist if need be. Don't worry about your friend. If the insurance falls through, we'll make sure she receives the best care possible. She'll be running and jumping in no time. You'll see." He looked at his watch. "You should get going. I'm about to the point where I'll have to say 'I can't say' in regards to your inquiries."

She smiled and bowed a final time, and he returned it. "As long as you're not trying to look in through the curtains of my bedroom."

The detective's jaw dropped as Usagi walked past him and she followed Officer Kamon to the side exit.

*.*.*

Tetsuya stuffed himself on dried squid and fish, chips, rice cakes and washed it all down with six ramunes. How someone so thin could eat so much... Oh, just like Usagi-chan. Minako decided that it would indeed be best to wait until they were all there before berating him with questions. He was their friend and their ally, and although the group's relationship with Tetsuya was built upon a foundation of lies, he had single handedly saved Ami, then Rei, then all of them during the fight in Chiba. While the time for explanation from both him and the Senshi would come, for now, they both needed some rest. Returning to her duty as nurse, Minako diligently watched over Tetsuya as he slept for about five minutes before nodding off herself. Even Senshi needed sleep to heal, after all.

*.*.*

"My Naru-chan!" Umino grabbed Mamoru by his collar and shook frantically. "Where is she?! I... I heard there was an attack?"

"She is well," Mamoru said, offering no resistance to the frantic assault of a young man very much in love. "She is a fighter and a survivor and this is nothing to her resolve. She rests and heals as we speak."

Slowly, Umino realized himself and his surroundings. "Oh..."

Mamoru gently pushed his hands away and stood up. "It's alright, Gurio-san. I understand. If something had... happened to my... Usako..." Even in theory, Mamoru shuddered at the mere thought of his beloved in Naru's place.

"I don't know what to do..."

Mamoru placed a hand on his shoulder and pointed with his free hand. "Both of her parents are in that waiting room. They will want to speak to their future son. Go to them."

Umino bowed and scurried off. Mamoru walked towards the front entrance before yet another stranger intercepted him...

*.*.*

"Curses..." Usagi hissed at herself. After several years with a Goddess of Thunder in her retinue, she no longer feared thunder. However, the sudden loud noises made her jump, and the knowledge that the entire Klijargan Empire wanted to spill her blood to consecrate Earth as their holy world made her even jumpier. And if she or Mamoru were killed, Chibi-Usa would never even be born.

"Omi-chan..." Usagi had become so accustomed to occasional visits from her future daughter that after the conclusion of the whole Galaxia mess, she found herself waiting every day at the pier where the little girl had first fallen out of the sky, landing on top of her and stealing away a precious kiss from her Mamo-chan. Each time Usagi went, and each time, her Chibi-Usa never came. The days turned into weeks, then months, and then over a year passed. With no sign of Setsuna, and no viable information from Hotaru, Haruka or Michiru, it seemed that she would have to just keep on waiting. "Poor Omi-chan..."

With pink pigtails and an obnoxious attitude that was oddly more endearing than infuriating, Omi Midori quickly pushed her way into the whole in Usagi's heart. After her murder, Usagi found herself not wanting to think of her daughter, because it meant having to remember Omi's death, still less than five days in the past. Life dragged on, regardless. You could either kick and scream and get road rash as it dragged you along, or you could weep while keeping in step. Usagi had cried several times during her study sessions with Ami, but she kept looking over notes or slugging away at equations as she wiped her tears of frustration away. How was the current situation any different?

"Goshdarnit all to heck. To the pits of heck and..." A loud crashing sound overhead cut off her ridiculously self-censored swearing rant. She looked up and saw a cascade of shimmering reflections of light heading towards her, shielding her face just in time as several shards of glass cut into her hands and arms. Before she could even notice that she didn't feel any pain due to the shock of the situation, she heard a loud THUMP right next to her. She opened her eyes and saw a long, black bag with a zipper.

"Oh... my..." It was a body bag, and it was joined by a second, also with a loud THUMP. Then, two strangers, a man and a woman, dressed in odd red uniforms landed next to the bags. They stared at Usagi, and she stared back for a moment. She looked up and saw that they had jumped from several stories up. She immediately backed away in a defensive stance. They've found me!

"Are you hurt?" The woman asked her with the same accent Jorvist had, although it sounded softer and less harsh, like a different dialect.

Usagi opened her mouth to speak, but saw that the woman was holding a third, smaller black bag. Usagi put things together in her head at record speed for her and realized that the woman was probably holding Jorvist's severed head. "You're two of them..." she whined, pretending not to know how precarious her situation truly was if they realized that she was Sailor Moon.

"Run along home," the man said with the same dialect accent as the woman. "This doesn't concern you."

"You're murderers!" Usagi abandoned her defensive stance in favor of a defiant one as the anger and frustration of the massacre at the hands of Vendeusi, the murder of Omi Midori and the maiming of Naru Osaka all came to a head. "Why don't you just murder me as well?" She spread her arms out, exposing herself to any cheap shots. "Go ahead! Add another one!"

"You arrogant little..." The man moved towards her when the woman moved in between them.

"Wait..." She looked at Usagi for a moment and dropped the bag. "Oh, no..." She lowered her head and avoided eye contact. "It's her."

Usagi, you idiot... She was going to die. She had been given a golden opportunity to flee and regroup. Instead, she had choked on her own pride and indignation, and in seconds, she would be choking on her own blood and bile, dooming Earth to the mercy of the Klijargan Empire and her own daughter to oblivion and non-existence!

"You're Usagi Tsukino."

"What of it?" Usagi hissed, waiting for a killing blow. She kept her arms out. She wouldn't have time to utter the words to transform in time, anyways. Might as well die in defiance.

The woman raised the bag in her hand. "I hold here the head of the monster who took away your friend."

Usagi lowered her arms. Did they not realize she was Sailor Moon? Did Jorvist not share that information? "What of it?" She asked again.

"Don't you care that..."

"Omi-chan is dead!" Usagi stalked up to the woman and stood face to face with her. "She and sixteen others were taken away by your people! Why not make me the eighteenth? Isn't that what you do? Butcher unarmed civilians?"

"I will not stand for..." the man started.

"Stop it, Heggith," the woman snapped. She looked Usagi in the eyes again. "We're not like these two. I cannot excuse their actions..."

Usagi slapped the woman and face the man, waiting for his counter attack. "You stood by and wathed and did nothing! You are all just as guilty as guilty as the desecrated corpses you are retrieving!"

"We don't have time for this," Heggith said as he grabbed both body bags and started walking away. "Pray to your gods that we are the ones to kill Sailor Moon and bring about a more merciful new order to this planet."

"Why? Why do you wish to kill her?"

"We don't," the woman said softly. "We have no choice. Her blood will consecrate this world as our promised land."

Usagi opened her mouth to speak, but the woman leapt towards Heggith and a white light enveloped them both. In an instant, they were gone, just like Jorvist when he had escaped at Tokyo Tower.

I'm going to die... It was hopeless! Usagi sank to her knees. The rain began to fall, and a warm liquid streamed down her face as a cold one from the heavens slammed into it, like tiny slaps to her face to let her know that her daughter would never even have a chance at life. "I'm going to die..." As she began to weep, he felt a familiar embrace from behind.

"Not as long as I draw breath," Mamoru whispered in her ear.

*.*.*

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Author's notes... !

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Some Sailor V Manga tie-ins. Expect more down the road. Sailor V is in English and both volumes are available for purchase at your local bookstore or online! Don't download it, though. CISPA will get you! Sailor Moon, Volume 10 comes out March 26th. A certain neglected character is on the cover. :)