Continuing Tales

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 11 of 14

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Full Circle

All in all, Mamoru mused as he put the finishing touches on his gift, Usagi was taking the news better than he thought she would.

"This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard!" Usagi shouted. "How can you even consider going along with it?"

The work Mamoru was doing was harder than he'd anticipated. It required an attention to detail that consumed most of his concentration. He watched, slightly detached, as his tiny wife marched about the courtyard, her silver hair flowing behind her as she went.

"It's utterly, totally completely insane!" She stopped in front of Mamoru and threw up her arms in utter frustration. "And nothing you can say will make me change my mind!"

That was his cue. With a flourish worthy of an actor and a twinkle in his eye, Mamoru pulled his hand out from behind his back. "For you, my princess."

It was a rose; so much like the ones he'd produced as Tuxedo Kamen for years. But this flower was crafted of pink quartz. When he'd found the vein of it a few days ago, something inside Mamoru had prompted him to attempt this feat. Using the Golden Crystal, he'd slowly and with great care re-shaped the quartz by his will alone.

The sight of it made Usagi gasp and almost forget her anger. "Oh Mamo-chan, it's so beautiful." She quickly recovered though, "This is a bribe isn't it? You think I'm going to accept the rose, coo at you with big puppy eyes and forget all about my objections, don't you? "

There was sly amusement in the eyes of her Prince. He silently proffered the crystal rose once more.

She took the flower gingerly, trying not to melt inside at the look on his face. A tingle ran through Usagi as she touched it, a trace of energy making the cold stone warm in her hand. "Did you…" she paused, suddenly knowing what he'd done. "You…you shaped this!"

There was pride in his soft smile. "Yes I did. I wondered for so long what power the Golden Crystal might have and now I'm beginning to understand." He took one of her hands in his, child like delight in his voice and on his face. "There's an energy in everything; the flowers, the tress, even the rocks if you look deeply enough for it. With the Golden Crystal I can access that energy, mold it and shape it."

"You need to take it slowly Mamo-chan," Usagi said, worry for him returning. "Power to create like that comes at a price. It uses you as much as you use it. If you're not careful it can consume you before you know it."

"I don't create, not like you do with the Ginzuishou. It's more a matter of," he paused searching for the right word. "…of rearranging the patterns of energy." He stopped at the puzzled look on her face. "And no, I'm not sure I really understand how it all works either."

Gently putting the flower down beside her, Usagi leaned into Mamoru, warm and inviting. The scent of her perfume, damask rose, was light, subtle and intoxicating. "Then why go to Earth when there are so many mysteries here? We could explore them together, ne?" Her lips begged for a kiss.

Never one to deny his beloved just about anything, Mamoru let his arms slip around her and pulled her closer. His head dipped to meet her lips, "That sounds delightful."

The way Usagi ran her hands over him, her body molding itself into his while she stroked every sensitive spot he had, made the blood rush to places other than Mamoru's head. She was trying to seduce him away from his intention of going to earth, Mamoru suspected (and it was working, too!). He had a hard time thinking straight when she did this, and it was with effort that he broke away from her. "And as soon as I get back from meeting Chiba Megumi we can delve into them."

The sweet invitation abruptly ended. Usagi planted her hands on his chest and pushed away from him. "This whole idea…"

"I know," Mamoru finished for her, "you think it's insane."

"Don't you laugh me, Chiba Mamoru!" she shouted, truly angry now. "This whole meeting tomorrow is more than likely a set up and you know it. You could get hurt!" Tears sprang to her eyes, "You could get killed and that scares me, all right?"

Any trace of amusement left Mamoru's face and he put his arms around Usagi. "You know I have to do this," he said softly.

"Why, Mamo-chan?" she all but moaned, trying to find a way to soften the words she had to say to him. "You don't really believe…" Usagi stumbled, unable in the end, to say it.

"No, I don't really believe that she's my mother." Mamoru wouldn't allow himself to seriously consider that Chiba Megumi could be his mother. He'd spent too many years as a child looking into the face of every woman of the right age who crossed his path, always hoping to see someone who would spark a memory in him. Always hoping against all reason to find his mother in the face of a stranger. Once he'd accepted that it was never going to happen, at around age twelve, that loss of hope had been almost as shattering an experience as the accident. "I know that my mother is dead."

Calling on every resource they had, Chiba Megumi and her life had been examined minutely. She was just what she appeared to be, a music teacher in Tokyo with no known connection to any of the many groups that wanted the King and Queen of the Moon Kingdom out of the way. Then there were the DNA tests and the tantalizingly vague results. An attempt to do a more specific DNA analysis had only shown that Chiba Mamoru was changing. Whether it was his exposure to the power of Ginzuishou, his own growing link with the Golden Crystal or a hundred other possibilities, he was not the man he used to be – literally. There was simply no way for science to give the clean, simple answer so desperately needed.

"The why take the risk to see her?" Usagi asked gently.

It was a question that he had grappled with for days after Motoki's visit. "Because I can't allow someone else to suffer that kind of mental torture when I can end it – when I can give this woman the chance to make peace with her past and go on with her life."

"Bring Megumi here, then," Usagi countered.

"And what if you're right and this is a trap, a set up by someone who has a grudge against the Silver Millennium? How can I possibly justify bringing danger right into the Kingdom?" Putting his chin on top of her head, Mamoru glanced down at her. "No, this is the only way."

"I'm going with you," Usagi said in a tone that brooked no argument. "Minako can stay here and I'll go with you."

"No," he said in a voice that also brooked no argument. "We've been over this at least a dozen times…"

Usagi buried her face in Mamoru's chest and he felt his own heart give a twist at the anguish she was feeling. "You promised that we'd face everything together, Mamo-chan, you promised."

This was what was really troubling her, Mamoru knew. "We've been over this before, Usako. The Gate can only transport one or two of us a time – three if we take a risk. If worse comes to worse, we'll need to be able to get out of there fast. If there is going to be trouble, in Tokyo it'll probably come from the Sons and Minako would be the most likely person to recognize one of their operatives. Minako and I make two. If this Megumi is being used against her will by someone like the Sons, we can't leave her there to face them. She makes three and …"

I don't care about all that," Usagi shot back before he could finish. "I don't care about all the good and sound reasons why I shouldn't go with you. All I know is that we're stronger when we're together."

What Mamoru didn't say was that also he didn't want Usagi with him for another reason, one name Kunshin Tetsu. It was true that she'd managed to push the evil man away, but the effort had cost Usagi a great deal physically. Her face was still drawn, almost gaunt when she got tired, which was far too easily for Mamoru's comfort. In the relatively short amount of time since the resurrection of the Moon Kingdom, Usagi had been using the Ginzuishou repeatedly. She was dangerously drained both physically and emotionally. If this was an ambush of some sort set up by the Sons of the Golden Kingdom, then he couldn't risk an encounter between Usagi and Kunshin Tetsu. The kind of power the Dark Man had displayed from a distance was formidable enough to have almost overwhelmed Usagi the other day. Mamoru knew that in her current physical state Usagi would never survive a direct confrontation. Chiba Mamoru may have made some peace with the losses of his past, but the scars in his soul ran deep and haunted him still.

"I'm sorry, Usako," he said, determined to keep his beloved safe. "But you're not going."

The sigh that came from her made Mamoru think she was about to acquiesce. He was wrong. Pulling away from her husband, Usagi looked up into his midnight blue eyes.

"Yes I am, Mamo-chan, and you can't make me change my mind on this."

The resolve on her face, the unyielding determination made Mamoru's decision that much easier. "I know I can't," he replied, pulling her back into his arms. Which, Mamoru thought to himself, is why I can't tell you that the meeting has been changed to today.

Pacing back and forth, Goruden Kobushi was a picture of barely suppressed anxiety - a state few had seen the self-assured and charming man in. The last few days had been hell for him. Mina was missing. Less than a day after he'd asked her to stay with him, she had left the offices of the Sons and disappeared into thin air. Her clothes were still in her hotel room, as were all her personal belongings, but she'd never been seen again.

"I don't care how much it costs," he snarled into the cell phone pressed against his head. "Hire as many people as you have to but find her! Until you hear from me, this is the most important thing in your life, do you understand? For the kind of money I'm paying you, you will not do anything else, go anywhere else or even think of anything else but finding Mina Charles!" He snapped the small device shut with a growl.

"No luck then, Kobushi-kun?" Kunshin Tetsu had been enjoying the show immensely. Seeing the Golden Boy half insane with worry was more entertaining than he could have imagined.

"None," replied Goruden in a tight voice. "How can one person just disappear like that? It's not natural. She has to be somewhere and I'm going to find her."

Unable to resist Kunshin placed a "consoling" hand on the younger man's shoulder. "I hate to suggest it…" he started.

"Suggest what?"

This was such fun Kunshin thought while carefully choosing the words that he knew would cause the most anguish. "Do you think that, perhaps, she may have fallen victim to those of the Moon Kingdom? I mean, you are the public face of the Sons after all. And your growing attachment to Ms. Charles was hardly a secret. What better way to get at you than through her?"

The devastation in Goruden's eyes as he turned away told Kunshin that Kobushi had considered this line of reasoning before. He gave a sympathetic cluck of the tongue. "I'm sorry, Kobushi-kun, but you need to accept that your Mina is gone, a causality of the war between us and them. The best you can do now is avenge her."

Hanging his head, Goruden Kobushi balled his hands into fists. He fought control the emotions that swelled inside his heart. A hand reached out to touch the wall he faced for support.

"We will free the Prince," Goruden said softly, "And when we do we will extinguish the evil of the Moon Kingdom once and for all time. I will see the Witch Queen and all who serve her dead with my own eyes before this is over."

Squaring his shoulders, Goruden walked away and towards the room that held the rest of the Council. Kunshin watched him go without a word. Goruden was, he admitted grudgingly, a very persuasive man under normal circumstances. In his current emotional state, he'd deliver a speech that would have those listening ready to follow him into hell itself to "free" their precious True Prince this day. Chiba Mamoru was as good as his, thanks to the Golden Boy and Kunshin knew just how he'd repay the favor. When his destiny arrived, Goruden Kobushi would be the first to die.

The first, Kunshin mused with grim delight, but most assuredly not the last.

Some things never changed, Megumi realized yet again, no matter how many years went by. Certain dynamics seemed eternally set in stone, unaltered by time and life experience. Mother/daughter relationships were one of those things. No matter how old they were, or what they accomplished in their lives, a woman would always be her mother's baby. Mothers, for their part, found that their daughters seemed to love to argue for the sheer joy of seeing the woman who gave them life turn first red, then purple in the face as her blood pressure skyrocketed.

"For God's sake, Tenshi, just do as I ask," Megumi controlled the volume of her voice, slowly counting to ten before speaking again. "It's not like I'm asking you to saw off two of your toes – just ask Sakura to come and stay with you for a few days."

Just short of her thirtieth birthday, seven months pregnant and an accomplished detective with the Tokyo Police Department, Tenshi felt like a fourteen year old again. "But why do you want Sakura to stay with me?" er mother could be so obstinate at times. All she wanted was a simple explanation. "You're acting very weird today, Mom, even for you. What's got you so upset?"

"Menopause," Megumi replied succinctly, arching an eyebrow. "It's like puberty in reverse, only with hot flashes." She couldn't tell her eldest daughter about the man who was threatening her. Why couldn't Tenshi just do what she asked to for once? "Please, Tenshi, just ask Sakura to come and stay with you for a days, ne? Kazu is away on business and I don't want you alone."

With A glance at her watch, the gravid young woman rose. "Look, I've got to get back to work. If you it makes you happy, I'll ask Sakura to spend the weekend," she said with a sigh. "But," a single finger rose in the air, "You have to tell me what's really going on when I bring her home on Sunday night."

Since Dr. Furuhata was going to meet with her this afternoon, this should all be over by Sunday, Megumi hoped. "Fine, fine, I'll tell you everything then." Walking her daughter to the door, she leaned over and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you sweet-pea, I really do appreciate this."

The door to the apartment had no sooner closed, than the temperature in the room seemed to drop precipitously. Whirling, Megumi knew with dread what she'd see. Walking out the black rift in the fabric of reality was a man she considered to be the devil himself.

"You're going to have a visitor today," Kunshin said. He liked to give the impression that he was in total control of any given situation.

Megumi smoothed back a lock of raven hair that had come loose and tickled her cheek. "Yes - Furuhata-san. He asked to meet with me at four." She walked towards the kitchen, trying not to let the Dark Man see how intimidated she was.

The smile that came to Kunshin's face made her blood run cold. "Very good. I'm quite sure that the good doctor set up this meeting for Chiba Mamoru. Very good, indeed. We'll be waiting for him when he arrives. This will be over soon, Megumi. And your cooperation will ensure that your daughters continue to live."

Before Megumi could ask just who or what "we" encompassed, her face fell. There was the distinct sound of the safety clicking off on a gun. Tenshi had gotten halfway down the hall when she realized she'd forgotten her car keys. She came into the apartment to see her mother talking with a strange, shadowy man. Her instincts as a policewoman took over and she drew her service revolver.

"Threats like that are against the law, mister," Tenshi's hands were steady as she pointed the .38 caliber pistol at Kunshin's head. "Keep your hands where I can see them and assume the position." She put the muzzle of the gun against the back of Kunshin's head when he laughed.

"Keep my hands where you can see them?" Kunshin gave a malicious chuckle. "Of course…"

Faster than the eye could follow his hands snaked out, twisting behind his body. One of them knocked the gun from Tenshi's hands, the other grabbed the pregnant woman by the throat and yanked her toward him. "Sleep," he hissed at her. The detective's eyes grew glassy at his voice. "Sleep…"

"Tenshi!" Megumi screamed her daughter's name. "Let her go!"

Kunshin just laughed at Megumi's order. His free hand slithered to Tenshi's rounded belly. "Two for the price of one," he said in a voice filled with dark amusement.

"Let her go right now," Megumi's voice was soft and heavy with implied threat.

Kunshin turned to look at her and saw that the woman had retrieved the gun. Kunshin stroked the place where the child grew inside Tenshi. "Do you really think you can shoot me before I kill them both?"

"No, I don't," replied Megumi. She turned the gun and pointed it at her own head. "But I can use it on myself before you can stop me. Let her go, or as God is my witness, I'll blow my head off and deprive you of your bait."

"You over-estimate your worth, Madame. I can easily replace you."

Megumi's met Kunshin's gaze, never wavering. "In less than six hours? I think not. You strike me as a man who doesn't care to have his plans altered so suddenly." Her own mother's voice came back to her suddenly. Anjeru telling her that her temper and smart mouth was going to lead to her ruin was fresh in her mind, even after over twenty years. Who'd have thought that my mother would have the last word after all this time, Megumi mused grimly. She prepared to pull the trigger. "Let her go – now."

To her great surprise, Kunshin actually laughed. The sound held little true humor and was harsh on Megumi's ears, but the creature released Tenshi. She dropped to the floor still unaware of what was going on around her. Megumi longed to run to her daughter, but stayed very still, the pistol still against her temples.

"Well played, Madame," his hands returned to a normal length and he thrust them into the pockets of his pants. "Don't worry, she'll be fine. If I do decide to take her life, it will be over so quickly you won't even have time to call her name." Kunshin nudged the unmoving Tenshi with his foot. "'ll be back in a few minutes. Make sure you're alone this time."

Megumi waited only long enough for the man to disappear into one of those eerie portals he created before running to kneel beside her daughter. Tenshi was blinking in an owlish fashion and she slowly raised a hand to her head.

"Momma? What happened? Why am I on the floor?"

"You fainted," Megumi lied quickly. "See, this is why I want Sakura with you this weekend. Kazu will be gone until Monday and I don't want you all alone."

Happily, Tenshi seemed ready to believe her mother. "I had the weirdest dream. There was this man and his hands were about a mile long and so cold." She paled, a wave of nausea running through her. "Ohhh, I don't feel good…"

She'd lost too much in her life all ready. Megumi couldn't bear to see either of her two remaining children hurt.

"Shhh, it's all right, Sweet-pea. Momma's here." Gathering her firstborn in her arms, Megumi vowed to keep her safe no matter the cost. "Everything will be all right, I promise."

With a burst of rainbow light the Gate erupted to life. It took a few seconds for the pulsating energy to settle into the permanent portal. Mamoru grimaced while he set the automatic recall function. The level of noise and light the portal produced was considerable. Anyone within a quarter of a mile couldn't miss it. That was the one drawback to this piece of alien technology - the use of it was anything but subtle.

"Are we going somewhere?"

Mamoru's head snapped up. The noise of the Gate firing up had masked the approach of the woman who was silhouetted by the multihued radiance. His heart initially jumped, then settled quickly as he recognized the voice.


"I thought you said the meeting was set for tomorrow afternoon," Minako moved away from the forming portal and towards the dark haired prince.

Punching in the last of the required calculations, Mamoru focused his attention on the controls. "It was changed."

Folding her arms across her chest, Venus gave Mamoru a suspicious look. "Usagi doesn't know you're going today does she?"

"No," he replied in a no nonsense voice. "If everything goes the way I think it will, my meeting with Megumi will last no longer than a half an hour. With any luck, we'll be back before Usagi knows I'm gone and this will be over with."

"And if it doesn't go the way you think it will?"

"You've seen how fragile Usagi is right now. If things don't go as planned, then she is much better off out of it." Mamoru looked up from the control panel, finally done. "I did leave her a note," he amended.

"Usagi is going to be totally ticked off when she finds out," Venus warned. "I would not want to be you when that happens."

The portal settled into the glowing door and Mamoru motioned to Venus to follow him. "I'll take my chances."

Kunshin watched from a safe distance while Chiba Mamoru and his companion entered the apartment high-rise. Since the woman wasn't Usa, Kunshin paid little attention to her. Within minutes Chiba would be under the control of the Sons and although they didn't know it, that meant under his control. Usa was still on the Moon, no doubt. Wiseman had been quite correct in encouraging him to make a grab for her the other day when she used the Ginzuishou. That exercise had gained him a sweet dose of her power and made Chiba wary enough to ensure that she wouldn't be here today. Kunshin didn't trust some of the more emphatic members of the Sons not to try and kill the much-despised "Witch Queen". Nothing must happen to her, not until he was ready.

Half of the men went around to the back of the structure, the others charged right in the front door. Goruden was all ready on the roof, convinced that Chiba would try to flee to there. Never one to risk himself when he could get others to do his work, Kunshin merely observed the activity. he van assigned to help transport the oh-so-precious True Prince pulled up in front of the apartment building. Everything was working out precisely as he'd planned. There was just one more detail to attend to.

Pulling out a high powered pager hooked to a satellite, Kunshin pressed to activation key. Within the seconds the message would be relayed to his agent within the Moon Kingdom. The man's orders were very specific – disable the Gate. Having Usa and about a half a dozen or so enraged Senshi would come thundering in for a last minute rescue of Chiba would cast a definite pall on his carefully laid out plans.

The day of ascension was almost here and Kunshin Tetsu could feel his destiny approaching, waiting for him to take it with both hands. Kunshin tugged self-consciously at the white gloves. Part of him wondered why he even bothered to try and conceal the changes taking place inside his body. Well, that would all be over soon enough. Waiting only long enough for the pager to display the notation, "message received", Kunshin shut it off and strolled towards the waiting van.

The location was perfect for Rei's needs. The early afternoon sunlight was behind her as she settled with a decadent sigh into the chair. After finding this remote corner of the grounds the temple used, nothing would do but for Rei to sew here. Yuuichirou had obligingly hauled a chair out here for her so she wouldn't have to sit on a log. Every day she carved a few minutes out of her schedule to come and sew and meditate. Rei allowed herself a moment of peace; just sitting and watching the world go by before picking up the fabric from the basket she'd brought with her. The needle in her hand moved with practiced skill in and out of the soft cloth. ei smiled as she felt the child move within her and stopped to run a hand over her softly rounded belly.

"Do you like it?" she asked. "It's for your crib. See, I'm putting your name on it, my little Miya."

Once Ami had told her that the baby was a girl, Rei knew that she wanted to name her daughter after the mother she barely remembered. Yuuichirou had happily gone along with the idea. Her grandfather almost cried when she told him. And although she had teased him about being a sentimental old man, Rei was happy that she had pleased him.

She paused to search in her sewing basket for a yellow thread when a movement caught the corner of her eye. Rei stopped, putting the fabric down and looked again. She'd seen Minako go by a few minutes after she'd gotten here and the lightshow that indicated that the Gate was being used. Since no one had come back this way, Minako must have been running an errand on Earth, Rei surmised. But the person moving near the edge of the woods wasn't anyone she recognized. Only four people knew how to operate the lesser Gate; Ami, Setsuna, Mamoru and a young woman named Megs who was studying physics at the graduate level.

The area was supposed to be off limits, but every now and then someone would try to sneak a closer look at the Gate. It was usually young boys doing it on a dare from their friends. Having to shoo away a small pack of nervous adolescents annoyed her, but didn't really present enough danger for Rei to henshin. This was the third time this week she'd done just this thing and was determined to let the boys have it with both barrels. With a sigh, Rei put the fabric down and carefully set the needle in it, not wanting to lose her place. Tugging the sash around her expanding waistline back into place, she set off to give the boys a dressing down.

Usagi found the note right where Mamoru had left it, on her pillow and under the crystal rose he'd shaped for her. A quick glance told her all she needed to know. An angry flush came to her cheeks and spread over her tiny body. Minako had been quite right in her assessment of how the Moon Queen would take the news. Usagi was livid at Mamoru's deception.

"I'm going to kill him," she hissed, madder than a wet cat.

Crumpling up the note into a tiny ball, she threw it at the wastebasket as she left the room. Mamoru's letter had said that he expected to back in about an hour. Slamming the door behind her, Usagi had every intention of being there to greet her husband when he returned.

Setsuna sensed the lesser Gate being open. Since it all happened smoothly and quickly, she didn't pay much attention to it, but went back to the task at hand. Michiru held her talisman, the Aqua Mirror in her hand, concentrating on the feelings of growing unease that plagued not only her, but also all of the Outer Senshi increasingly. Setsuna ordered her mind and touched Michiru on the shoulder, letting her own limited, telepathic gift open to help guide the Senshi of Neptune's quest for answers.

Shadows filled the Mirror. They seemed alive, writhing and twisting each time Michiru tried to see through them. There was a figure within the mass of tangled darkness, but the midnight veil obscured him, making it impossible for Michiru to see just who it was. For an instant, there was the eerie feeling that whatever controlled these shadows was using the power of the Mirror to look back at her. Two pinpoints of light, like eyes in the night, flashed and she gave a startled gasp. The intrusion had been noted – and the malevolent entity there was not pleased by it at all. The cold eyes looked past both Michiru and Setsuna, focusing on Hotaru who stood by Haruka.

Child of Chaos, Harbinger of Silence the voice vibrated through the minds of the four women present, come to me and I will show you the raptures of desolation

Hotaru took a single step forward, her henshin washing over as she did. Before anyone could stop her, she raised the silence glaive and bought it back to the floor. Power, still and deadly filled the room at her call. Saturn's exquisite violet eyes were cold and hard.

"I am the Soldier of Destruction," her voice held an eerie, hollow quality to it. She swung the glaive, pointing it at the Mirror. "Call me not, lest I bring the great silence down upon you."

The shadows melted away from the sight of the Mirror as quickly as they had appeared. Sailor Saturn also faded away, the coldness in her eyes melting with her fuku and glaive. Hotaru looked disturbed and voiced the question that was on everyone's mind.

"Who the was that? And how did he know me?"

Before an answer could be voiced, Setsuna's snapped around, as if hearing a gunshot. "The Gate…" She paled as she sensed the wild, unbridled energies of a Gate on overload. Pluto ran for the door, the other three Outer Senshi fast on her heels, "Something's wrong with the lesser Gate!"

It wasn't teenage boys as Rei had thought it would be, but a single man who slowly walked around the framework of the Gate's portal. He saw her coming and gave a shy, almost apologetic smile.

"I know, I know," he said with embarrassed humor, "I shouldn't be here."

His manner took Rei off guard and she found herself smiling back. "The why are you here?"

"To be honest, I saw the lights and curiosity got the better of me." He moved back towards the control panel for the Gate, hands carefully clasped behind his back. "Do you know how to run this thing?"

"No, sorry. I'm not…" Rei shook her head and started to answer when it happened. Just as soon as she got close enough the man leapt, whirling in the air to lash out with fist and leg. The fist caught Rei on the side of the head, the leg rammed into her abdomen. She fell without a sound, unconscious before she hit the ground.

"Then I don't have any use for you." The trained assassin from the Sons of The Golden Kingdom looked down at Rei with contempt. A thin trickle of blood ran from her mouth and he prodded her once with his foot to make she was out cold. He'd been waiting quietly for this day for months. When an old girlfriend had turned out be one of the Moon's children reborn, he'd gone to great lengths to get the foolish woman to believe he loved her. She was his ticket to the Moon and fame within the Sons.

His instructions were simple and precise – take out the Gate. He'd hoped to find someone who knew how to operate the damnable piece of alien equipment, but since that wasn't happening, he went to plan "B". He started to arbitrarily push buttons on the panel, not truly knowing what he was doing.

The portal began to hum, a faint light building in the giant framework after a minute or two. Pleased, he pushed a few more buttons and the light and sound slowly increased. The radiant, silver glow started to change, sickly greens and yellows, muddy reds and charcoal black colors appearing at the edges. Tendrils of the power snaked out from the portal, dancing and arching in the air around the Gate. It was a mesmerizing sight, and the assassin was drawn to it, moving out from the meager shelter of the controls. The power in the air was almost palpable and he felt giddy with what he'd set in motion. For a moment the power overwhelmed his senses, time and reality receding into a dream like haze. He could hear the Gate calling to him like a lover.


The voice cut through the haze and he whirled. So lost in the wonders of the Gate was the assassin that he hadn't noticed the arrival of Usagi and the four Outer Senshi. A part of his mind knew he should be concerned, but the intoxicating effects of alien energies overrode those worries.

Usagi was on the ground beside the unmoving young woman. "Rei-chan?"

The priestess moaned softly, cracking open her eyes. "U…Usagi?"

"It's okay Rei-chan," she soothed, smoothing raven hair away from the bruised face. "We're here now, it's okay."

Still only half conscious, Rei shuddered, hands going to her abdomen. "Oh no…" she curled up, pain shooting through her body. The bottom of her temple robe grew dark, a wet stain spreading over it. "Oh no," she moaned, "Oh no, something's wrong!"

Setsuna tried to blot out the heartrending cries from Rei. She concentrated on working the control panel, hands in a flurry of motion in an attempt to stop what was happening. She could see by the look on his face that the man was experiencing a drunken bliss caused by the wild, unbridled forces of the lesser Gate. But Setsuna knew what he didn't – that the bliss was really pain. It was a state called "Gate Intoxication" by the S'Eyre. The pain was so total and intense that his body had tried to fight back by flooding his system with endorphins. In a matter of seconds those endorphins would wear off and his overloaded nerve-endings would start to burn.

"Get away from the portal," she called to him. "You fool, you don't know what you've done."

"And I don't care," he laughed back at her. The tendrils of energy from the writhing portal licked at his arms. The feeling was enthralling, electric and he absently wondered why these machines were considered so dangerous. "Whatever I did will keep you from using this infernal device for at least a while. If I had known you Senshi would show up, I'd have arranged to kill you all!"

He descended into insane laughter as the rainbow power wrapped around him. "Death to the Witch Queen of the Moon Kingdom," he drawled drunkenly. "I'll see you all dead."

Uranus, beside Pluto shifted her weight in preparation to move. Bringing an arm up, Setsuna stopped her. "It's too late for him."

The assassin continued laughing and began to speak again. "Death to the Witch Queen of the Moon Kingdom and to all who…" One of the tendrils of power did more than lap gently around him. It latched onto an arm like a living creature. "…who serve…" he looked down, incredulous, "…her…?"

"Saturn, use your silence wall, shield us now!" Pluto called out.

Even as Hotaru used her dreaded glaive, the energy from the portal increased. The assassin screamed in fear as he felt the tentacles of power grabbed at him in a dozen more spots. He was pulled against his will towards the pulsating Gate. The fear turned to agony in a heartbeat, the strange euphoria he felt ending the closer he got to the seething Gate. Indescribable pain exploded in him, every part of his body on fire.

"No, no no!" he shrieked. "Holy Elysion help me!"

Setsuna was aware of Michiru coming to stand on her right. "Setsuna, what's happening?"

"He opened four different portal destinations simultaneously," she glanced at Rei who moaned and cried in Usagi's arms, then back at the man who had done this to her friend. Her face held no sympathy. "The Gate will try to send him to all of them at the same time – or at least whatever part of him it can grab."

Time within the Gate seemed to change, moving at a sluggish pace as he was dragged across the threshold. Shaking his head, his screams sounded like a movie in slow motion. With a convulsive jerk, the portal matrix completely destabilized and the power folded back in on itself with a roar. The last glimpse of the assassin showed his face twisted into a death mask of agony.

"The temporal template has been damaged by what he did," Setsuna continued pitilessly. "His body will be pulled apart, millimeter by millimeter. But the flow of time has been corrupted inside the portal."

Hotaru dropped her silence wall and moved to Rei. She placed glowing hands on her, trying to heal whatever damage had been done. Violet eyes looked up at Haruka and Setsuna, the terrible truth plain to see within them.

"Noooo…" Rei moaned, clinging to Usagi, desperate. There was a small but growing pool of blood beneath her. "It's too soon, it's too soon for her to come!"

Setsuna continued. "Minutes become hours – hours become days. Death will take a very long time to occur."

There were tears on Haruka's face and they scalded the Senshi of Uranus like acid as they fell. "Not long enough."

Mamoru watched the woman who brought out the tray of tea with guarded eyes. She glanced at him, as if trying to assess the man in much the same manner as Mamoru was. Her hands shook slightly as she put the tray down.

"Dr. Furuhata never said anything about sending a 'colleague' to discuss the test results." Her voice was guarded, her suspicions very clear. "Are you also a doctor Mr. Shields?" She started to pour some of the steaming liquid into a delicate porcelain cup.

"We've worked together before," Mamoru temporized. As much as he disliked the name Darien Shields, he had it admit that having an alternate identity came in handy at times like this. Mamoru accepted the cup and put it on the table. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a small envelope. In it was the one thing he'd brought to the Moon with him when they'd been forced to flee almost a year ago. "If you take a look at this I think it'll save us both a great deal of time."

Megumi hesitantly took it from him and opened the envelope. "And this is…?" Her voice trailed off as she got a look at what was inside.

The photograph was old, slightly yellowed in at the edges despite the care it had received. It showed a man and woman, each having a hand on the shoulder of the shy boy who looked directly into the lens. There was a sudden roaring in Megumi's head as shock took her in its teeth and shook her. She barely heard Mamoru as he spoke.

"Do you know who the people in this picture are?"

Megumi knew the lie she had to tell to say to save her children, but the quite desperation on Mamoru's face broke her heart all the same. "That is my late husband and myself with our son. How did you get this?"

It took all of Mamoru's self discipline to keep his face neutral. "I was in an accident as a boy, a car wreck. This photograph was in my hands when they took me out of remains of the vehicle."

Megumi started to shake and sway in her seat. For a moment, Mamoru was afraid she'd faint. Megumi raised a shaking hand to her mouth, hating herself for what she was about to do

"Blue…blue eyes," she said softly. You have the same blue eyes as Hitori has. Who are you?"

"My name is Chiba Mamoru," for an instant he allowed himself to hope once more. "Please, are you Chiba Megumi? Are you my mother?" he asked breathlessly.

"What have I done?" Megumi staggered out her chair, trying to find a way to save the young man in front of her. She grabbing at a shocked Mamoru. "Oh God forgive me, I can't do this! You have to get out here, it's a trap!"

After checking the apartment out, Venus went out the front door and down to a corner of the hallway with a window and transformed as discretely as possible (or at least, as discretely as was possible when your body exploded with golden light). Not a suspicious person by nature, Venus had worked hard to acquire what tactical skills she now possessed. If there was going to trouble, then this was the best place to see it coming from.

After the first five minutes, Venus began to relax a little. Mamoru hadn't come bursting out the apartment and she could hear no sounds of shouting. So far, so good, Minako thought. With any luck Mamoru was correct. This should be over in time for dinner.

Then the small army of people ran for the apartment building.

From her vantage point on the fourth floor, Venus saw them coming from four different directions. Minako may not have been the Solider of War, but she wasn't the Soldier of Stupidity either. She knew trouble when she saw it and this was most definitely trouble! She caught a glimpse of a familiar face among the men leading the charge.

"Shimmata - the Sons," she cursed as she ran for the Megumi's door. Throwing it open, she saw the woman grabbing for Mamoru.

"You have to get out of here," Minako heard Megumi scream, "It's a trap!"

"We've got company coming!" Venus shouted.

"Go!" Megumi pushed at him.

"If they're forcing you to do this, I can't leave you…" Mamoru started.

"I'll be fine – go!" Megumi shrieked. "Please, please go!"

With Venus pulling at an arm and Megumi pushing the other, Mamoru gave in, abandoning the questions about this woman that ran circle in his brain. Magic burst around his body as he and Venus started at a dead run for the stairs at the end of the hallway. They had to get outside in order to open a portal.

Tuxedo Kamen appeared between one step and the next. Glancing at the elevator, he could see that someone was coming up. A white rose formed in his hand and he threw it at the call button as he went by. The flower imbedded itself in the panel and with a shower of sparks, the elevator stopped it's upward ascent. They hit the stairwell door and the sounds of voices reached them.

"Head for the roof," Mamoru called out to Minako as he turned to race up the stairs. If they could beat the men chasing them to roof and leap to another building they could lose them without anyone getting hurt.

"Who…who'd have thought I'd ever be the one running from men instead of at them," Venus puffed, frustrated as they dashed up the past the seventh floor. "Life sucks sometimes!"

"You think you have it bad?" Tuxedo Kamen kept going. They were almost there. "I'm going to have to tell Usako that she was right and I was wrong." He yanked on the door to the roof, pulling it open and almost off its hinges.

A figure was silhouetted against the sun, making it hard to see just who it was.

"Stop right there, Prince Endymion. We don't want to hurt you." There was grim respect in the lyrical male voice. "Even under an enchantment you try to take the way out that would be least likely to cause injury to a human – as I knew you would."

Minako's heart dropped through her stomach as she recognized the voice. Her hand went to Mamoru's arm to stop him as a rose formed. Tuxedo Kamen whirled, wondering what had gotten into her.

"Kobu-chan?" Venus said, hesitantly.

The sun moved behind clouds and she could finally see clearly. Goruden Kobushi stood, a small device (not a gun, Minako thankfully realized) in his hand. He looked suspiciously at Sailor Venus.

"Stand away from the Prince, you witch," he growled at her.

"Do you know him?" Tuxedo Kamen asked.

"Kobu-chan, it's me," she began taking a step towards him. He backed away from her. She let her transformation go. "It's me, Mina."

The fight drained out of Kobushi as he looked at her. "M…Mina?" A trembling hand reached to touch her face. "Oh God, it is you!"

The sound of voices was slowly getting closer.

She raised a hand to meet his, leaning into his touch. "Please, please listen to me. You're wrong about the Moon Kingdom, all wrong. Please come with us, let me show you how it really is there."

With a groan he slipped his arms around her. "I thought you were dead," he whispered.

"I'm so sorry, Kobu-chan. But we can make things right now." His arms felt so good to Minako. She pulled away and smiled at him.

A hand reached up to cup her face, to stroke it gently. There were tears in his golden eyes and he squeezed them shut. "I never understood how Endymion could have turned his back on his people for the love of a woman, but now I do. The magic is so strong, that at this moment I'd sell my own soul to be with you Mina."

He took her in his arms again and kissed her before pulling away unexpectedly. The device in his hand, a stun gun, was primed. Tears running down his face, Kobushi jammed it into Minako's midsection and pulled the trigger. She convulsed, screaming as the charge ran through her.

Tuxedo Kamen grabbed for her, "Minako!"

As Mamoru moved so did Kobushi. A second charge, almost as strong as the first and more than enough to stun, arced through Mamoru. His henshin broke, and he collapsed to the ground.

Mamoru was marginally aware of the door behind him bursting open. Hands held him down and a wet, cold cloth was put over his mouth and nose. He drifted towards unconsciousness as the chloroform took effect. The last thing he heard before the darkness claimed him was Goruden Kobushi.

"You're safe now, my Prince," Goruden said, grief and pain in his voice. "You're safe."

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 11 of 14

<< Previous     Home     Next >>