Continuing Tales

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 8 of 14

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Full Circle

Usagi held the mug of French vanilla coffee tightly, enjoying the warmth of the stoneware against hands that shook slightly. It was just the way she liked it - lots of cream and four generous spoonfuls of sugar. The sweet brew felt so good as it slid down her throat to warm her deep inside.

Usagi had never been what could be called a "morning person", but these days she felt utterly exhausted every morning. It seemed to be getting so much harder to just get going each day. Her body screamed at her to climb back into her nice, warm bed and sleep the day away. Vague recollections of disturbing dreams danced at the edge of her memory. Usagi pushed the fragmented memories away, not liking the feelings they evoked in her and concentrated on something positive.

Today, finally, was Rei's wedding day. The ritual bridal bath would begin the festivities in less than an hour, so she needed to finish waking up. Usagi poured herself one more mug of coffee and went to look for Mamoru before she left for Rei's. The movement seemed to be helping to force her body somewhat awake.

She found Mamoru in the garden. He was kneeling on the ground with his hands cupped around a chrysanthemum bush and it took a long moment for that fact to sink into her still fuzzy brain.

"Mamo-chan" she asked, "What are you doing?"

He looked at her over his shoulder, invitation in his midnight blue eyes. "You're just in time. I was going to show you later, but since you're here – watch."

She moved to stand beside him. Mamoru closed his eyes in concentration. A burst of golden light erupted from him, then rushed into his hands. Before Usagi's widening eyes three small buds on the plant danced and swayed to life. They opened into fully mature blossoms of golden red, the color of a perfect sunset, within seconds. The golden light faded and he opened eyes shining with pride.

"Mamo-chan," Usagi gasped, "Did you…how did you do that?"

He got to his feet, a huge smile on the handsome face. "I used the Golden Crystal."

Usagi was still staring first at him then back at the flowers. "I didn't know you could do that!"

"Neither did I until a little while ago. Since I've started using the power of the Golden Crystal to call you back from the Balance, it's been getting stronger inside me. This isn't the only change either."

Mamoru made a short, sharp gesture with his hand and one of his enchanted roses, white this time, came to it. In an instant he transformed into Tuxedo Kamen. He gave the rose to Usagi with a courtly bow, "For you, my princess."

"A white rose?" She asked, looking at it.

He motioned again, and two more roses came to his calling – both white as snow. They were added to Usagi's growing bouquet. His index finger moved to the bow tie around his neck. It tapped a small, ornate decoration that bobbed from the center of the white silk tie. More than anything else it seemed to resemble a small crown with a star hanging below it.

"This is new, too," he said.

Usagi leaned over to get a closer look. "I like it, though - very dignified. Do you know what it's supposed to be?"

"I have no clue," he replied, tucking his chin almost into his chest trying to get a better look at it. "An enchanted tie-tack maybe?" He let his transformation go and the tuxedo faded away. Reaching over Mamoru plucked the chrysanthemum blossoms and handed them to Usagi. "These are for Rei. I read in one of the books in the library that these plants were originally from a hot house on Mars, so it seemed appropriate for her to have some for her wedding day."

"Shall I tell her just how you got them?" she teased gently.

"Let's leave that for later, ne?" he replied with a laugh. "This is Rei and Yuuichirou's day."

Usagi stood on tiptoes and gave Mamoru a tender kiss on the cheek. "Speaking of which, I'd better get going. If I'm late for the bridal bath ceremony Rei will roast me alive – in more ways than one!"

"The U.N. – are you sure, Kobushi-kun?" Kunshin asked breathlessly.

"Very sure," the voice on the other end of the telephone said. "It'll hit the papers tomorrow morning. The Witch Queen of the Moon Kingdom and our Prince have been invited to come to the United Nations headquarters in new York City. I'm on my way to announce this news to the council. This is the opportunity we've been waiting for!"

"I can't thank you enough for letting me about this Kobushi-kun." An evil smile lit Kunshin Tetsu's face. His much hated rival had just signed his own death warrant with this phone call. Once Kunshin had Chiba Mamoru in his possession, he no longer had any use for Goruden Kobushi.

With the oh-so precious "true prince" in his possession, it was only a matter of time before he would have Usagi. Wiseman was right about that. Gaining control of Chiba would force Usagi to come to him. t would be all too easy.

"This is the best news I could ever receive," Kunshin said, "Everything is finally falling into place. The great future I dream of is almost at hand."

Yuuichirou wracked his mind for the right word to describe the emotions he was feeling now. It took him a moment, but the word came to him. Panic - stark, total and complete panic. His hands were colder than a brass doorknob in January. His heart was thumping around in his chest like a frightened rabbit. There was a thin sheen of perspiration on his brow and he licked his dry lips. Was it his imagination, or were the walls closing in?

Dressed in his traditional black silk kimono, he stood very quietly and looked at the back of the room. A million and one thoughts all vied for room in his increasingly crowded head. If it weren't for Mamoru standing behind him, very inconveniently between Yuuichirou and the door, he'd have bolted from the room.

He had no business thinking he could marry someone like Rei. She was a Senshi, the Soldier of Fire, a Princess of Mars for Kami's sake and he was… Well, he was just Kumada Yuuichirou, priest at a small Shinto Shrine (and it didn't help that Rei's Grandfather ran the place).

Those frantic worries came to a screeching halt as Rei appeared, surrounded by her friends. She was dressed in a gold silk kimono embroidered with a firebird in flight. The vivid plumage of the mystic bird ran down the sleeves, helping it to appear to take flight as she glided towards him. Her midnight hair was done in the traditional style and accented by jeweled pins that caught the light. Rei was so beautiful, so graceful and full of confidence that only one thought filled his mind as he saw her.

He loved her.

Yuuichirou loved her so much that it hurt. He loved so much that he just knew he'd die without her. He knew, in that moment, that without his "Firebird", he didn't have a life worth living.

Mamoru stood just behind the groom and couldn't miss the stunned look on the man's face. Rei's grandfather hadn't missed it either and gave an amused, but very soft, chuckle. He recognized the expression. It was the same one he'd had on his face the day he'd married Rei's grandmother.

Rei was in the center of a circle, her closest friends dressed in red kimonos escorting her to the groom. Her gaze was lowered as tradition dictated, making Rei appear shy and modest. As they got closer, she raised her violet eyes and gave him a small smile. Yuuichirou bowed deeply to her and she returned the gesture. Usagi went to stand on Rei's right as the young couple turned to face the altar and the priest.

Rei's Grandfather raised his hands above their heads and began to chant the prayers that would beg for the blessing of the Divine on them. His voice was clear and strong, but his eyes were bright with unshed tears of joy as he married his only grandchild.

On cue, Usagi stepped forward to take up the small tray on the altar. Taking small, precise steps she went to Rei and Yuuichirou and offered the small cups of wine it to them. They each took one and turned to face each other. With a steady hand Rei, then Yuuichirou helped the other each take a small sip. Usagi bowed to them both then moved away with the tray.

"I know that it's unusual for the priest to speak like this during the wedding ceremony," Rei's grandfather began, "But I'm an old man and old men are allowed to do unusual things." He gave a huge smile to the two young people present. "There are a lot of things I don't like about Western culture. CD players, X-rated movies, and rock and roll are right at the top of my list. So is the very strange notion of wearing the color of mourning, white, at a wedding. But," he said with a flourish of his hand, "the one thing they do get right about weddings is an exchange of vows."

He motioned for Rei and Yuuichirou to take each others hand. "Do you, Yuuichirou, take this woman to be your wife?" he began

Mamoru caught Usagi's eye and knew that they both remembered the day they had exchanged the vows being spoken. She was his past, his present and his future all wrapped up in one exquisite package. How was it possible, Mamoru thought, for him to love her more each day?

"Do you promise to love her? Honor and cherish her?"

In the small room Haruka felt Michiru gently take her hand. They had spoken these words to each, but still the longing to be able to do it publicly hurt sometimes.

"Forsaking all others, will you keep yourself only for her until death parts you?"

The vision of Kobushi's golden eyes filled Mina's mind for a moment. Why should she be thinking of him now?

"I do," Yuuichirou replied in a strong voice.

"My dearest Rei," the old man began, "Do you take this man to be your husband?"

Makoto felt tears in her eyes. All her life, her fondest dream had been to find that one special person she would spend the rest of her life with. She was happy for Rei, but wondered if her own wedding day would ever come.

"Do you promise to love him? Honor and cherish him?"

Ami knew with quiet confidence that someday she'd find her love. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next month - but she would find him. Ami hoped that all her friends would be there to celebrate with her when that day came. Life could be very fragile, she mused glancing at Usagi, and that's why it was so precious.

"Forsaking all others will you keep yourself only for him until death parts you?"

Setsuna felt Lorilei murmur their shared soulname across the twin bond. After a thousand years they had found each other again. With Lorilei, Setsuna was whole once more. As she saw the joy in the eyes of the young couple, Setsuna wondered if she'd ever be able to open her own heart to that kind of love again.

"I do," Rei whispered.

Hotaru's dreams of young love were still bright in her heart, but the part of her that was the Soldier of Destruction suspected that she'd never live long enough to be married. Since the day her father's laboratory had exploded so many years ago, Hotaru had always felt as if she was living on borrowed time. She hoped she was wrong.

"By the power vested in me by the King and Queen here," Rei's grandfather waved a hand at them, "I pronounce you man and wife. Yuuichirou, you may kiss your bride."

The story was leaked to the cable networks before the U.N. had a chance to officially make the announcement. The latest political scandal was quickly knocked from the top spot by this bit of news. The frenzied desire to be first with the information overcame what was left of the traditional caution of news editors to run with a story before checking out all the facts. So, at three twenty-seven, Eastern Standard Time, they cut into regular programming.

The veteran news anchor looked directly into the camera and gave his "I'm-so-intense-I-give–myself-a-migraine" expression to the viewers as he began to speak.

"This just in from our breaking news desk. We have learned that the Monarchs of the Moon Kingdom, also known to some as the Silver Millennium, will be making an official state visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The proposed date of this visit is still in flux, but is expected to take place this month. While the U.N. had yet to officially confirm this, a highly placed source in the Secretary General's Office says that the announcement could come by this evening. When that happens we'll bring it to you live."

"A vision about Usagi?" Mamoru asked. He sat around a small table in the now empty room that had been used for the wedding dinner talking to Yuuichirou and Rei's Grandfather. The bride had gone off, friends in tow, to change out of her formal marital kimono.

"Bits and pieces of one, anyway," Yuuichirou put in. "It's been slowly coming to Rei over the past few weeks – and driving her nuts I might add."

"Why hasn't anyone mentioned this before?" Mamoru had an uneasy feeling about this.

Rei's grandfather was sipping a glass of wine. "Because she's pregnant and it's well known that being pregnant messes up women with the Sight. I wouldn't worry about it, Mamoru. When Rei's grandmother was pregnant she kept having visions about the stars falling from the sky and destroying the Earth. She made me crazy for nine months waking me out of a sound sleep every night to listen to her go on about it in vivid detail. Trust me, Rei's vision is just like that one, but this time," he gave a sly look at his new Grandson-in-law, "Yuuichirou here gets to be the one awakened in the middle of the night to hear all about it. Get used to no sleep, Yuri."

The groom could see that Mamoru wasn't totally reassured by the elderly priest's explanation. "I know both Michiru and Setsuna have worked with Rei to try and understand what she can remember of the vision. I'm sure one of them could fill you in."

Rei's grandfather looked at his watch as he finished the last of the wine. "Well, let's go find the ladies, eh boys? They should be done by now. How long can it take to change clothes anyway?"

Rei carefully folded the gold silk kimono and placed it in the box. She put the lid on it with a sigh. So many months of preparation had gone into embroidering it, and now it was all over. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror of the small room and stopped. Her hand went to the smooth surface and Rei let her fingertips rest on it for a moment.

"Rei-chan? Usagi asked. "Are you all right?"

"I thought I'd feel…different somehow. But I don't," she said almost to herself. "So many changes and I still feel the same."

Usagi went to stand beside her friend and looked at reflection in the mirror. "I know what you mean. Right after Mamo-chan and I got married I felt like there should be neon sign over my head that read, Chiba Usagi – Official Married Woman!"

"It's not the just the being married part," Rei's hand slipped to her still flat stomach.

Ami spoke up from where she quietly sat. "Rei-chan are you okay about having this baby? If you're not…"

"You know, I wasn't sure how I felt at first. This is not the best time to start a family." Rei looked down at the place where her child grew inside her. "But this little one must be pretty special to be coming now."

"Of course the baby is special, Rei-chan. She has you for a mother." There were tears in Usagi's eyes.

Makoto came to stand on the other side of Rei, putting an arm around her friend. "And we'll be here to help you any way we can if you need us."

The concern in Mako's voice was too much for Rei. The emotional day finally caught up with her and she burst into loud tears and that brought Ami and Minako to their feet to join Usagi and Ami in an attempt to console her. Rei shook her head and waved her hands.

"No, no it's okay," she sobbed, her eyes bright and a silly smile on her face. "I'm going to have a baby!"

While this wasn't exactly news to the others, it was enough to get them all crying with the joy of the moment too. The four threw their arms around Rei and everyone started to wail at once. The noise brought both Mamoru and Yuuichirou running. They looked at the sobbing mass of female bodies with confusion.

"Rei, sweetheart," Yuuichirou called out, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong!" Rei choked out through her tears.

Usagi sniffled as she sobbed beside Rei, "She's going to have a baby, Mamo-chan."

"We're going to be Aunts," Makoto said in a voice gone squeaky with emotion.

Ami's eyes were all ready red and she hiccupped as she spoke. "It's so beautiful."

"And we're all so happy!" Minako wept loudly.

Yuuichirou and Mamoru just stood there, dumbfounded. Rei's grandfather had found another glass of wine and was taking a drink from it as he went by the two men. A hand reached out to pat Yuuichirou on the back as he went by.

"Good luck, boy," he laughed softly. It's going to be a long nine months."

Kunshin Tetsu ached with a need that ate at him incessantly. For the past week he'd been relegated to quietly lurking in Usagi's dreams, stealing what energy he could without risking detection. That subtle, safe method wasn't enough for Kunshin anymore.

The euphoric effects of channeling Usagi's power into his body were wearing off faster and faster. It left him with a constant, burning hunger that was eroding his natural caution. When Wiseman evoked the nightmare in Usagi, Kunshin waited only until the now familiar images started to play out above the glowing sphere that was suspended between the hands of his silent benefactor.

Calling on the dark power that was now such a vital part of him, Kunshin closed his eyes and reached into Usagi's dream. The astral body he used in her dream world quickly became solid and he grabbed her. Kunshin barely heard Usagi's protests, turning and subduing her sleeping mind quickly. Even before he finished cradling her unresisting form in his arms Kunshin was all ready channeling her life energy into himself. Usagi gave a low moan of pain and shivered in his cold embrace.

"You will give me all that I need," his voice was little more than an enraptured whisper as he finally got what he craved so intensely, "You will give me all that I need, forever."

With one more bout of tears Rei and Yuuichirou had been sent off on their three-day honeymoon. A cozy cottage in a secluded corner of the palace grounds would give the new husband and wife some much needed time alone. The last round of weeping farewells seemed to have exhausted Usagi's small store of energy and she started to visibly wilt even before Rei and Yuuichirou got out of sight.

By the time they got back to their private apartments, she was shaking with fatigue. Mamoru had to help her to undress and she collapsed into the bed, immediately falling into a deep sleep. Tucking the covers up around Usagi's shoulders, he noticed with deep concern just how frail and worn she looked. Mamoru gently stroked her cheek and whispered her name. Usagi, who had always reacted to the sound of his voice even in the deepest dream, didn't so much as sigh. That lack of response disturbed Mamoru more than he liked to admit.

Shucking the black coat that went with the formal tuxedo he'd donned for the wedding reception (and wondering absently why the one he wore as Tuxedo Kamen was never this uncomfortable), Mamoru tossed it carelessly onto a chair as he moved out of the bedroom and into the small, private courtyard that adjoined it.

The afternoon light cast long shadows across the green and verdant courtyard. Those shadows were slowly deepening with the approaching dusk. Chiba Mamoru sat on a low stonewall and felt the late day sun on his back. That gentle warmth couldn't seem to reach the cold fear that filled the Prince of Earth as he finally acknowledge a truth he'd been trying so hard to deny for weeks - Usagi wasn't getting better.

No, he amended in a moment of brutal honesty. It wasn't as simple as her not getting better. Whatever was happening to Usagi was slowly killing her.

She hadn't regained the weight she'd lost despite her ravenous appetite. Exhaustion shadowed Usagi relentlessly despite the amount of sleep she was getting. Their honeymoon in Maine had only managed to delay what seemed to be a steady downward slide. Dr. Mizuno was doing another series of tests, but Mamoru knew what they'd show. Usagi was fading away a little bit more every day and they couldn't seem to do anything to stop it.

Then there were the nightmares…

Those dreams were the one thing that seemed to connect all the different pieces of the puzzle together. The more he thought about it, the more Mamoru couldn't accept that it was a coincidence that Usagi's problems had really begun at the same as those dreams. Every time she woke from the nightmare, her body was cold to the touch and she was seemed worse to him. It was almost as if the dream itself was pulling Usagi's energy out of her.

Even before that thought finished forming, Mamoru's mind began to race. Disturbing ideas started click together in his psyche, forcing him to his feet to pace around the courtyard. His hands fumbled to undo the black silk bow tie around his neck in nervous agitation. Could the answer possibly be that simple?

What if instead of being a symptom of the problem, the nightmares were the cause of it all?

He had his own past experience with vivid, frightening dreams that just wouldn't go away. Those nightmares had been sent on purpose by his future self. Could someone be intentionally sending these dreams to Usagi? The vivid image of a strange, shadowy creature holding his beloved so tightly flashed through Mamoru's memory.

Or worse yet, he suddenly wondered, could someone or something be using these dreams to hurt her?

Another thought came to Mamoru causing him to stop his pacing and turn to look at the glass doors that led to their bedroom. Usagi had been deeply asleep when he'd left her. If someone was using her dreams to attack her…

Mamoru lunged for the doors and raced inside. Usagi was still in the large bed, curled up on her side. The only sound in the room was her uneven breathing and it heightened Mamoru's sense of dread.

Climbing onto the bed he took Usagi by the shoulders and gently rolled her towards him. What he saw made him gasp with shock. Usagi's eyes were partially open but glazed and vacant, without any spark of life. The mottled rash on her throat seemed to be moving, writhing with a sickly green-black glow.

"Usako?" Mamoru called her name but she still lay limp and unresponsive in his arms. He shook her slightly, desperation creeping into his voice, "Usako?"

Her eyes cleared for a brief moment and she saw him. "Mamo-chan…?" she struggled to whisper. The strange markings on her throat squirmed, pulsing more vividly. Usagi grimaced and twisted in Mamoru's arms as it did. She collapsed back into his embrace and the light in her eyes faded once more as the power that held her pulled her back down into dreams.

Mamoru closed his eyes and called on the Golden Crystal. The power erupted to life allowing him to slip free of his body and follow where Usagi had gone. The world around Mamoru fell away and he found himself standing in a murky place that seemed to go on forever. He moved towards the only bit of light in the vast darkness.

Two figures became visible. Mamoru saw Usagi in the arms of a dark and sinister man. She shone with a silver glow that flickered around her unmoving form. The dark man had a hand curled around Usagi's throat, intense pleasure written on his shadowy face. The radiance Usagi gave off ran up the man's arm, shifting from silver to gray then black as he absorbed it. All of Mamoru's questions were answered and his suspicions confirmed in a moment of revelation that made his blood run cold.

The thing that held Usagi was feeding from her.

"Let her go!" Mamoru shouted. He ran at the creature, "Let her go, damn you!" Tuxedo Kamen came to life between one step and the next. A rose formed in his hand he pulled the arm back, preparing to launch it at the monster.

Kunshin Tetsu had felt Usagi almost break free of his hold for a brief moment. The rebellion had faded quickly and he continued absorbing the bright power the cravings inside him demanded. That Usagi was able to fight back for that instant was not a concern for Kunshin. Wiseman had assured him that, by herself, Usa's sleeping mind was no match for the power he had been given. He simply tightened his hold on her "body" and pulled at the warm, sweet wine of her life force as hard and as fast as he could.

"Let her go!" The unexpected voice broke into the all enveloping silence around Kunshin. "Let her go, damn you!"

Kunshin's eyes snapped open and he lifted his head to see someone running at him. The figure shifted into one he recognized – Tuxedo Kamen. The caped man ran at him, preparing to attack.

Kunshin clutched Usagi tighter, shouting in the direction of Tuxedo Kamen, "No! You can't have her back – not when I'm so close to my destiny!" Kunshin pressed his fingers deeper into Usagi's throat, desperate to continue what made him feel so good. She shuddered and gave a low moan.

With a growl of anger, Tuxedo Kamen let the rose fly straight at the thing that held Usagi. His aim, as always, was flawless and the rose made an unerring line for the heart of dark man. It struck – and went straight through never touching him.

Putting on a burst of speed, Tuxedo Kamen launched himself at the creature, hoping to grab Usagi from his arms. The results were the same. He passed right through both of them and hit the ground. Rolling to his feet, Mamoru saw the darkness around the creature come to life. It boiled up from the ground enshrouding his form. The eyes within the midnight cloak were reduced to pinpoints of light.

Those cold eyes taunted Tuxedo Kamen, confident that Mamoru couldn't stop him, but daring him to try. The creature never stopped his feeding, laughing as he continued to rip Usagi's life out of her.

"I've made this place mine to control. Just as her life is mine is to take. I am the master here," came the voice. "You can't touch me."

There was something about the creature's appearance that nagged at Mamoru's memory. He pushed the thought aside for now. The shadows were starting to creep up Usagi's trembling form, threatening to swallow her whole. A desperate idea came to his mind and Mamoru lunged for her.

"I may not be able to touch you, monster" he called out, "But I can always touch her!" Before the dark man could react Mamoru used every bit of his strength and willed the power of earth into his hands. They shone like the sun and he put both hands on Usagi's shoulders. He could feel her solidify for a moment at his touch. That brief moment was all Mamoru needed. He called with all the strength of his love for her.

"Wake up!" A bolt of black power hit Tuxedo Kamen in the chest, knocking him away. Mamoru ignored the pain that wrapped him in an ebony fire and continued to call with his soul, "You have to hear me!" The dark energy slowly pulled Tuxedo Kamen's body apart. "Usako, wake up!" he called as he faded like mist in the wind.

The force of the blast knocked Mamoru's real world body off the bed and he hit the floor, hard. Every nerve buzzed painfully as if he'd just touched a live wire. With effort, Mamoru crawled back up onto the bed. Usagi was still trapped in the dream-like state when he got to her and pulled her into his arms.

"Wake up," he called to her, holding her close. Usagi's body was like ice in his arms. "Fight him, Usako! You have to wake up and fight him."

Kunshin watched Tuxedo Kamen fade away, laughing at the futile efforts of the caped man, when he felt the impossible. Usagi stirred in his cold embrace. He looked down, shocked. This was not supposed to be able to happen. But, sure enough, the fog was clearing from her eyes. Kunshin's hand took Usagi by the chin, tipping her head up at him.

"Sleep, little Usa," he called in a mesmerizing voice, "I must have your sweet energy. You have to sleep so I can …"

Kunshin's voice trailed off when Usagi's eyes blinked once then opened fully, clear and bright. She had heard the one call she could never ignore. Panic stabbed at Kunshin when he realized she had seen him attack Tuxedo Kamen. Years of seducing as many women as possible had made him very familiar with the look that dawned in the crystal blue eyes.

"Little Usa" was not only awake – she was angry.

The crescent moon on her forehead began to glow. "You hurt Mamo-chan!" Usagi said in an enraged whisper.

A bright bolt of power exploded from her forehead and caught Kunshin, lifting him off her like a rocket. He sailed through the air in a short arc to land with a satisfying thud. Rising, the fuku of Eternal Sailor Moon shimmered to life on her body.

Kunshin was also back on his feet at once. He called on the power he controlled and his eyes glowed hypnotically. "You know you can't fight me Usa," he said, moving slowly but steadily towards her. "You're so tired now, aren't you? You want to sleep."

Waves of the dark power flowed over Usagi, wrapped around her like a pall that smothered her thoughts. She was tired, so very tired and the thought of going to sleep was so enticing. She swayed under the assault, going to her knees. The dark man loomed over her.

"I must have your energy," he called softly, reaching for her with open arms "Don't struggle, Usa. Just let it all go and sleep."

Fight him, Usako! Mamoru's voice rang in her mind.

If she concentrated, Usagi could almost feel Mamoru's arms around her. The strength of his love for her flowed into Usagi. Her body began to glow, the silver energy quickly becoming too bright for Kunshin to look at. He cursed, stumbling back and away from her when she rose to her feet once more.

The power rushed into the hands Usagi raised over her head. "You want my energy?" she hissed at him, "Eat this!"

Even though Kunshin's face was obscured by shadows, the panic was very easy to see. He knew with certain dread that he'd never be able to channel as massive a burst of power as he could feel her building. He turned, trying to escape from her dream-world before that could happen.

The light discharged from Usagi's hands and raced after the departing figure. Usagi heard the dark man shriek with pain when the luminescence encompassed him. She opened her arms wide and let the light flow into the dreamscape around her. Golden light came to join with the silver and together it moved like a wave, dispelling the darkness. The power purified her and she let herself be taken into the warm, safe embrace of the light.

The sound of Mamoru's voice calling her name filled Usagi's ears and she cracked open her eyes to find herself in the arms of her beloved. "You saved me," she said in a voice heavy with fatigue. "I heard you calling me and then you gave me your power."

"You saved yourself. I just showed you the way." Mamoru pulled Usagi close, savoring the feel of her arms as they wrapped around him. "But I felt it too. The power of two as one."

"Mamo-chan," she whispered when Mamoru lowered her back onto the bed. Her words were slurred and it was an effort to get them out. "I can't stay awake much longer. You don't think that thing is still there do you? He's gone isn't he?"

He gently turned her head, noticing with no surprise, that the rash that had glowed so brightly was now faded and still. "Yes, I think so." He tucked the blankets around her trembling form. "It's okay, now, go to sleep." He gave her a tender kiss on the lips, which she returned. "Sweet dreams, Usako."

He watched Usagi snuggle into the bed and drift away. She fell almost at once in a deep, restorative sleep, the blankets moving gently up and down with the rhythm of her even breathing. Leaning over, Mamoru whispered Usagi's name in her ear. She sighed at the sound of his voice calling her, a dreamy smile tugging her lips. Reassured by her response to his voice, Mamoru got up and went to summon help.

The light, the terrible searing light followed Kunshin Tetsu as he raced for his real world body. It overtook him and he screamed as its unremitting purity entered him. He could feel it deep inside, attempting to cleanse him of the dark power he had worked so hard to attain.

"Make it stop!" he shrieked at Wiseman. He fell to his hands and knees, screaming in agony. "It burns!"

For the first time in centuries Wiseman felt a stirring of panic in his soul. He thought himself long dead to that particular emotion and it came as quite a shock to him. The panic faded before the hatred that rose to take control of him. Once again Usagi was trying to rob him of his ultimate victory. He would not allow it.

With a push of his emaciated hands he sent his crystal ball and the shard of the black poison crystal it contained towards Kunshin Tetsu.

"Take the ball," he instructed Kunshin, snapping when the man didn't move fast enough. "Now!"

A single hand clawed for the glowing ball, pulling it down to where he crouched on hands and knees. He brought to his chest, cradling it against his heart. From deep inside the sphere, a pulse of murky energy flowed into him. It pushed the silver light from Kunshin Tetsu.

Still on his hands and knees, Kunshin was suddenly overwhelmed by a new sensation. Places, names, faces all entered his mind at once. He saw a dark planet writhing with incredible power.

He saw the crystalline spires of a palace that shuddered, but held, under the force of the energy from that planet. And he saw the woman he called Little Usa. Dressed in a flowing white gown, she held a glowing crystal between her raised hands.

In a shattering moment Kunshin Tetsu knew. He raised his head to look at the demonic man floating in the pool of shadows.

"Oh gods. You, you're…" Kunshin whispered in horror as the knowledge hit him. He didn't want to believe it, but somehow he knew it to be the truth.

"…You're me!"

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 8 of 14

<< Previous     Home     Next >>