Continuing Tales

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 24 of 30

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The Ties that Bind

Sailor Jupiter fell heavily to one knee. Her surroundings blurred for a moment and she wiped her blood spattered glove across her brow, trying to make her eyes work again. Beside her, Mercury let out a sharp cry of pain. Her leg was painfully twisted under her - the result of landing awkwardly from one of the Phantom Queen's crushing energy blows. Wincing, with one eye shut, blood dripping down that side of her face, Mars attempted to pull herself up using a half broken lamp post, only to stagger to the ground again under a blasting hot wind, courtesy of the dark queen. When her eyes cleared, Jupiter saw the dust and ashes of her last attack swirling in the wind around the Phantom Queen's figure - and in front of her, Venus was kneeling.

"Venus!" Jupiter heard her own voice croak.

The golden hair was dusty and dark with sweat as Venus bowed her head in front of the tall, ice-and-fire complexioned goddess.

"Do you yield?" The Queen's voice was as airy as if she were asking Venus to a tea party.

"Venus -"

"Pluto, do NOT attack!" Venus commanded.

Clutching her hands into fists to keep herself from falling over, Venus tried to steady her vision. Her strength was almost completely gone. They'd been battling the Queen for hours now, and the sun still hadn't risen. She wondered if it ever would again.

They had started out well. But there was no life in them now - and cold fury could only get them so far.

Everything they had thrown at her, combined with the full force of despair and desperation and hate, she had absorbed. She had grown even stronger off of their despair. It was as if every dark emotion she had created in them by sending the Shitennou back was a sweet balm to her. Venus was broken-hearted, but there was no Usagi to make her fight on. Only the knowledge that she had to stay alive for her princess. But that was their mistake, she realized now...they had to protect Usagi, but they couldn't fight without her. The Queen had played her game very well. It was almost as if she had spent millennia studying their weaknesses - their methods of fighting - and she knew how to take advantage of everyone of those vulnerabilities.

Venus felt a cold, smooth finger tilt her chin upward. Grimacing, Venus stared up into the Queen's power-hungry eyes.

"So beautiful," the goddess spoke, "At least, I've always thought so."

Without warning she raked her finger nails across Venus' cheek. The senshi gasped in pain and involuntarily fell flat on the ground as the Queen removed her hand.

"I can't stand something so beautiful," she commented, "Like fine china, it makes me want to break every bone in your bodies."

Her gaze settled on Mercury as she extended a claw-like hand towards her.

Suddenly, Mercury screamed as her twisted leg bent at painful angle and then her face went white. She nearly passed out from the pain but managed to retain that still, clear place in her mind. Broken, she thought to herself, taking care to breath slowly, feels like a clean break at least.

If only Mamoru...She broke off the thought, as if afraid the Queen might divine it.

"Or perhaps," the goddess continued, "I could think of something more permanent?"

Whipping the winds around her, the Queen drew Jupiter forward, even as the senshi resisted with all her considerable might, digging her boots into the ground, leaving a trench of turned up dirt.

"Let's see if you can heal a broken heart," the Queen chuckled, "Literally."

She brought her hand up to Jupiter's chest, and for once in her life, Jupiter was so terrified she started to shake. She felt a searing pain in her breast-bone - it felt as if her lungs were being ripped apart from each other.


As the Queen lowered her hand, Jupiter slumped to the ground in a dead faint; a little blood dribbled from her lips.

Pluto's dark face was pale beneath her tan. She could not stand waiting any longer, no matter what Venus commanded.

Venus held up a hand and Pluto halted.

"You have to let me help now," Pluto snarled, "You are going to die if you don't -"

"You promised," Venus reminded her in a hoarse whisper, "It doesn't matter what happens to us."

"It does matter."

"No, you have to protect them."

Mars pushed herself into a sitting position and calmly stared at the time guardian.

"There is a reason we asked you to leave her to us," she said, "You are the only one powerful enough to kill her if the worst comes to worst, but it won't do any good if you sacrifice yourself now. You can't break the laws."

"If my death can save you -" Pluto began.

"It can't," the Queen interrupted.

"I will kill them," she continued, "and there is nothing you can do to prevent that. Even if you stop time, it must start again, and you will have prevented nothing. Your powers, though formidable, are ultimately useless to save your friends."

Pluto stared at the Queen, almost unable to breath. The Queen slowly smiled.


Startled, the Queen jerked her arms over her head, her long sleeves protecting her face from Pluto's attack.

Pluto had never lost her temper like she had at this moment. Her throat hurt from the force her screamed attack - but the powerful globe of energy was merely absorbed by the Queen and reflected back at her.

"Garnet Ball!" Pluto muttered, reflexively extending her shield. The recycled and perverted energy bounced off, harmlessly.

"We'll be at this til Dooms Day, you know," the queen reflected.

"So be it, I have all the time in the universe."

The Queen laughed.

"Unfortunately, I am not that patient."

The Queen sent a blast of twisting, dark energy at Venus - catapulting her backward toward a dangerously sharp piece of damaged fence. Pluto leaped to catch her, but as she landed with the injured girl, she was nearly caught in another blast and only got her shield up just in time.

"I wonder if you can save them all?" The Queen began to laugh. She formed two balls of black energy and sent them hurtling toward the prone Jupiter and Mercury.

Pluto realized she couldn't possibly save both girls, and with the state either of them was in (Mercury's fuku flickering back and forth as she began to lose consciousness and Jupiter already returned to civilian clothing) the energy would likely kill them both. Of course she had done it on purpose - there was only one choice.

Pluto closed her eyes tight.

"Time -"

"Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss!"

"That has to be the stupidest -" the Queen began when she was engulfed in rosy light. To Pluto's complete surprise, instead of absorbing the attack, the queen actually seemed, for the first time, to be in some mild discomfort.

"You little brat!" she screeched, ripping a smoking sleeve off of her arm. The fabric of the scorched gown crumbled into dust the moment it touched the ground.

A clear voice rang out: "What have you done to my friends!"

Pluto turned astounded eyes to see Sailor Moon standing with scepter in hand, the tears pouring down her face at odds with her furious expression.

"What are you doing here!" Pluto demanded, rushing to stand in front of her:

"Don't you realize what will happen if she -"

They were both cut off by a vicious, snarling scream of laughter. A giant, snake-like hand shot past Pluto, burning her where-ever it touched her skin. It closed around Sailor Moon and dragged her away from Pluto.


"Did you think," said the swollen, swirling blob of blackness that had once been the Phantom Queen, "Did you think I would be defeated so easily this time?"

This time? Pluto wondered.

Sailor Moon squirmed in agony, but she bit down hard on her lip and slammed her scepter against the thumb of the Monster Queen's hand.

The Queen screamed in pain and the hand dropped Moon - she tumbled and landed heavily on the ground, loosing her breath.

She pushed herself up, never-the-less, and took a firmer grip on her scepter as Pluto rushed to defend her.

Before the Queen could attack Pluto thrust herself in front of Sailor Moon and formed the garnet dome around them, clutching the other girl tightly to her in order to fit both of them behind the protective barrier.

"What are you thinking, Usagi!" Pluto hissed, "You shouldn't be -"

"This is exactly where I should be!" Sailor Moon angrily cut her off.

"Your usual thoughtlessness, while admirable in terms of loyalty, is putting us all in danger -"

"If I hadn't arrived when I had, you would all be dead."

Pluto felt, for the first time, the immense power contained within the small body huddled close to her. Blue eyes flashed up at her, fearless and commanding.

"You always try to protect me, Pluto - all of you do - and look where it's brought us. The senshi need to be healed, and poor Shai is in her clutches. I don't even know where the Shitennou -"

"I..." Pluto swallowed, "I...sent them back."

She couldn't look Usagi in the eyes. She felt a touch on her shoulder, a gentle hand forcing her to look up.

"It's alright," Sailor Moon said, softly, "You did what you had to do."

"But you don't know," Pluto broke in, "If you had seen them saying goodbye to each other - and I -"

"It's not your fault."

Pluto held herself very still.

"I've always...held myself back from all of you," she murmured, "I never knew, until I met you, what it was like -"

"You may be a goddess," Moon gently joked, "But you don't know much about human beings. This is called 'friendship'."

Pluto felt herself smile for the first time that week. Maybe even that century.

"We'll find a way to bring them back," Moon said, "But goddess of time or no, you can't fight this alone. You never could. You've got to let me fight her."

"But if something happens to you -"

Sailor Moon's eyes softened.

"Even if I die, if the world goes on, it will be worth it."

"The world can't go on without you."

"But I can't go on without all of you," Moon answered.

Pluto shook her head in wonder and sighed.

"I'll fight with you," she said.

Sailor Moon smiled.

"We'll fight together, to protect them. All of them."

Pluto released the dome as she released Sailor Moon from her grasp.

Sailor Moon powered up and the black shadow swirled forward to meet her.

Hotaru, trying to sleep in the grasps of her relieved and exhausted parents, felt Sailor Moon's power calling to her. She carefully eased herself out of Haruka and Michiru's embraces and slipped off the bed.

Outside the dawn hadn't come yet, but there was a hint of it on the horizon - Hotaru's young eyes could just pick it out.

Taking a deep breath, she thrust her henshin wand into the pocket of her pajamas, pulled on one of Zoe's over-sized sweaters (they were still staying in Ami's private dorm room) and slipped out the door.

It was time to be brave. She could feel it.

Mamoru woke groggily - unusually so - from a troubled sleep.

"Usagi?" He asked in the darkness.

The Ties that Bind

A Sailor Moon Story
by Firefly-shy

Part 24 of 30

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