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A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Ebiris

Disclaimer: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.

Feedback is always appreciated. Email me at danielmcdonagh@hotmail.com

Chapter 10: Don't Die Usagi! Dark Serenity Lives!

Luna cracked an eye open to be greeted by the morning sunshine streaming through the window onto Usagi's bed. She stretched herself out languorously before padding up to the head of the bed where Usagi slept.

"Usagi-chan! Wake up!" Luna attempted to rouse her young princess from her slumber.

"What the hell is it, Luna?! I've only just gotten to sleep!" Usagi spoke with uncharacteristic harshness as she got up.

Luna was stunned speechless at Usagi's tone, and it took her a moment to recover "You've been asleep for over eight hours, Usagi-chan. It's time for school." She spoke gently, unused to such a display of temper, since normally Usagi would just roll over and give false assurances that she would be up in five minutes.

"What are you talking about? My head's barely touched the…" She noticed the sun shining brightly in through her window "…pillow…" she finished lamely. "What's going on? It was night a minute ago…" Usagi was now speaking in a more normal tone of voice, albeit a bit confused.

"You slept like a log after we finished talking last night," Luna supplied, still a little wary. 'I can't believe Usagi said 'hell'!' she thought.

"Well, I don't feel rested…" Usagi complained as she stretched and yawned. Then sudden realisation hit her. "Oh! Luna, I'm sorry for snapping at you like that!" She nervously scratched the back of her head. "I guess I'm just feeling a little cranky today…"

"Uh… Think nothing of it, Usagi-chan. After what you've been through, a little testiness would be perfectly understandable," Luna said, trying to rationalise Usagi's behaviour to herself as well.

"No, I shouldn't talk to you or anyone else like that. I'm sorry," Usagi said sincerely. "There's no excuse."

"No, really, I understand and it's okay," Luna protested, not wanting Usagi to get too hung up over simple morning crankiness.

"Well… if you're sure…" Usagi said uncertainly before changing the topic. "I may as well get ready to face the day."

And with that she got up and prepared for school. Amazingly, she had actually gotten up in time to enjoy breakfast with the rest of her family, and it was a good thing, too, since she really needed energy from food since sleep had proven less than restful.

"We're off!" Usagi and Chibi-Usa both called out as they left the house.

The pair walked along the same route to their respective schools, Chibi-Usa taking the opportunity to fill Usagi in on what had happened over the past week with the new enemy that had appeared. Usagi, for her part, was glad that her friends had been able to handle things without her.

They reached a junction and Usagi began to go around the corner while Chibi-Usa was walking straight on. "What are you doing, Usagi? Your school is in this direction as well, isn't it?" the child questioned.

"Ah… I think this way might be quicker! And you know how I'm always late, so…" Usagi trailed off, shrugging her shoulders. "You just carry on. I'll pick you up after school, okay?" And with that, she was off down a street which most certainly was not a faster route to Juuban Junior High.

Chibi-Usa shrugged her shoulders at Usagi's weirdness and carried on walking. After a few minutes she bumped — although not literally — into Mamoru. "Mamo-chan!" she cried out happily, latching onto the hapless college student.

"Ohayo, Chibi-Usa-chan," Mamoru greeted her while looking around the street in a distracted fashion. "Is Usagi not up yet?" he asked her.

"Yes, she is. She was walking me to school, but went a different way 'cause she said it was a quicker way to her school," Chibi-Usa said, rather confused at Usagi's behaviour herself.

Mamoru frowned at this. Usagi's normal route was most definitely the fastest way from her house to her school.

Chibi-Usa looked up at him and remembered her aborted conversation with Usagi about Mamo-chan from the previous night. "Mamo-chan… Is there something wrong between you and Usagi?" she asked, hoping he would prove less evasive.

"Uh…" Mamoru was unsure how to answer her. He didn't even bother toying with the idea of telling the truth; it was out of the question in Chibi-Usa's case. "Nothing's wrong…" he said less than convincingly. "I have to go." He swiftly departed down the way Chibi-Usa had come.

Chibi-Usa watched him go with a frown. Something was most definitely up between her future parents.

Usagi arrived a little bit early for her classes, and took her usual seat. The class was already nearly full, but Usagi just tuned out all the conversations she could hear. Most people were complaining about the lack of television reception due to some 'unscheduled maintenance' on Tokyo Tower. It took her a moment to realise when someone was talking to her.

"Usagi-chan!" Naru waved her hand in front of Usagi's glazed expression.

"Huh?" Usagi started and looked up to see who was talking to her. "Naru-chan!" She smiled at her friend. "Ohayo gozaimas."

"Good morning to you, too, Usagi-chan. Did you enjoy your week staying with 'relatives in Nerima'?" Naru asked, knowing full well that Usagi had no relatives outside of her parents and brother.

"It was okay…" Usagi said noncommittally, not wanting to be drawn out on the subject.

Naru noticed Usagi's recalcitrance and decided not to probe further. She had a pretty good idea of what had kept Usagi from school lately. 'Though it is odd that Sailor Moon hasn't been mentioned in any of the news stories about the Sailor Senshi…' she thought.

Before either of them could come up with another subject to talk about, Haruna-sensei entered the classroom and promptly pretended to faint upon seeing Usagi was early. No one found it especially funny, but the whole class laughed since a happy Haruna-sensei was a far more lenient teacher than she would be otherwise.

As the day wore on, Usagi found it increasingly difficult to concentrate. Not only was she feeling unusually tired, but her head was throbbing painfully. She was all too relieved when lunch arrived and she left the classroom to eat outside with Ami and Makoto as she usually did.

As she exited the classroom, she saw her friends exiting their own and called out to them. They both eagerly returned her greeting and the trio went out to eat their lunch.

"How are you feeling, Usagi-chan?" Makoto asked as a neutral conversation starter, remembering how Usagi had been reluctant to discuss her ordeal with Rei.

"Hungry!" Usagi replied as she wolfed down her lunch as only she could. The others were barely half done when she was finished.

"Um… Okay…" Ami murmured as she watched Usagi's rapid eating with barely concealed amazement. That was fast even for Usagi. "How are you feeling now, Usagi-chan?"

"Still hungry." Usagi said, eyeing up her friends' lunches. "I didn't realise how hungry I was until I started eating…" She was starting to feel a lot better. Not only was she more energised, but the pain in her head was now barely noticeable.

"Er… You can have some of mine if you want…" Makoto offered some of her obento lunch to the bottomless pit that Usagi had become.

"Thank you!" Usagi said, practically inhaling the proffered food.

"So, how were things at home yesterday, Usagi?" Ami asked, hoping to get the subject off of food.

"Mama made her special lemon pie… I could really go for some of that right now, actually…" Usagi trailed off as she imagined tasting some of that delicious treat. "Mmmm…."

"How were things with your family?" Ami tried again valiantly.

Usagi at last seemed to calm down from her food mania. "It was good to see them… Even Shingo." She smiled slightly. "Luna was a little…" Usagi never finished the sentence as she started swaying dizzily. "What's happening?" She clutched a hand to her temple as the headache she had endured all morning came back with a vengeance. Letting out a pain-filled gasp, her eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted dead away.

"Usagi!!" Makoto was by her side in an instant. "What's wrong?!" She received no answer from the unconscious girl, so she turned to Ami. "Ami, what happened?"

Ami quickly went into analytical mode, even though she was petrified inside. "Her pulse is very high," she announced as she felt Usagi's wrist. Taking a quick look around to make sure no one was looking, she activated her computer visor and scanned Usagi.

"Well?" A panic-stricken Makoto demanded.

Ami gasped. "Her energy… It's like she's using the Ginzuishou… It's dropping so fast, but I can't detect the Silver Crystal's energy signature."

The colour drained from Makoto's features. "What does that mean?" she asked. Even though she suspected she knew, she was hoping Ami would have some brilliant solution.

"If this doesn't stop… She'll be dead before the day ends."

Makoto's jaw hung open for a moment in complete shock at having it summed up so succinctly. "What can we do?!" she demanded, cradling Usagi's unconscious form closer.

Ami was desperately running through possible solutions in her head. She could come up with none that she was certain would work, but one which might. "If all of the Senshi pool their energy into her, then it might stop it… or it might only slow it down."

"We have to try!" Makoto said firmly as she took out her communicator and contacted Rei and Minako.

"What is it?" Rei whispered. Her school had just finished lunch and she was in class.

"I'm here." Minako said at normal volume; her school was also on its lunch break.

"Something's happened to Usagi. Both of you get to my house right away! We all need to be there if we can save her," Makoto said urgently.

Both Rei and Minako nodded their assent, and Makoto was sure they would both be able to get out of school no matter what happened.

"Ami, I'm taking her to my house. You go get Chibi-Usa. She should be there as well," Makoto said.

Ami scrunched up her courage. Makoto and Rei were not going to like this, but she was sure it was the right thing to do. "I'll get Mamoru-san as well."

"What?!" Makoto hissed. She had already stood up, carrying Usagi in her arms.

"He has a right to be there. He will definitely be able to help," Ami argued.

"Mamoru," Makoto said the name like a curse, "lost any right to do anything for Usagi after having sex with that… that thing!"

"Please! He might make the difference between life and death," Ami pleaded.

Makoto swore under her breath. "Fine. Do what you want. But hurry!" And with that, she ran off to transform into Sailor Jupiter so she could reach her house faster.

Ami likewise found a secluded place to transform into Sailor Mercury, so she could find Chibi-Usa and Mamoru faster.

Makoto gently set Usagi down on her couch, and then proceeded to pace her apartment feeling completely impotent. "Hurry up, everyone…" she begged any gods that were listening for her friends to arrive before it was too late.

Her prayers were answered by a knock on the door. She quickly opened it to let a freshly-detransformed Rei in. "What's happened? Where is she?" Rei asked breathlessly.

"She's on the couch. We don't know what happened, but her energy is dropping fast. Ami says she'll be dead by the end of the day if we don't do something!"

Just as she finished her explanation, Sailor Venus leapt down from the rooftop and detransformed. "I heard what you said. What can we do?" Minako asked, worry evident in her features.

"Ami says if we all channel our power into her, then it might stop it." Makoto led the pair to the couch where Usagi lay, breathing shallowly and twitching slightly.

"Usagi!" Both Rei and Minako ran over to kneel by their princess.

"Hurry up, Ami… Please…" Makoto pleaded, at this point uncaring if her friend brought Mamoru with her.

After a few tension-filled minutes, the front door opened and three figures burst in.

"Mama!" Chibi-Usa cried out as she ran over to Usagi, looking to her as an actual mother-figure in a time of crisis.

"Usako!" Mamoru joined his future daughter with his love, praying he could make a difference.

"What is he doing here?" Rei didn't even bother addressing Mamoru, pointing the question at Ami.

"I thought he could help. Focus on the real problem, Rei," Ami said acidly. Worry over Usagi was making her in no mood to deal with anything else.

Mamoru, for his part, just ignored their bickering, instead focusing entirely on his Usako.

"What can we do?" Chibi-Usa looked pleadingly at the girls through tear-stained eyes.

Before Ami could outline her plan, Usagi's eyes fluttered open. "Minna…" she whispered, looking at her friends.

Ami stopped short. From what her computer said, Usagi should practically be in a coma at this point. Activating the visor again, she scanned Usagi and saw that her energy was rapidly climbing to normal, and her pulse was at the sedate pace of a person who was relaxing.

Usagi sat up and yawned. "What's going on?"

"You were dying!" Ami blurted out. "But now you're fine? I don't understand!"

"I was so scared!" Chibi-Usa sobbed into Usagi's school uniform.

"Hey, it's okay, Chibi-Usa-chan. I'm all right now…" Usagi cradled the child's head before she suddenly locked eyes with Mamoru's. "Mamo-chan…" she whispered, a turbulent mix of emotions bubbling to the surface.

"Usako… We need to talk," Mamoru said, silently begging her not to turn away from him.

Usagi sighed. "Yes, I suppose we do…"

Minako coughed delicately and began shepherding all the girls out of the apartment, to leave Usagi and Mamoru to discuss their feelings in private.

"I don't understand. How could she recover like that?" Ami wondered again as she stood outside with the other Senshi and Chibi-Usa.

"Something is going on between Usagi and Mamo-chan, isn't it?" Chibi-Usa demanded, recent events having proven that beyond a doubt to her.

"Yes, but it's none of our business," Minako said firmly, giving Rei and Makoto hard looks.

"Usako, I know I must have hurt you deeply by what I did, and there is no excuse to defend myself. But please believe I didn't mean to hurt you… You mean everything to me. I let my attraction to you get the better of me when you weren't yourself. I am sorry…" Mamoru spoke earnestly as he held Usagi's gaze.

Usagi let out a pain-wracked sigh. "I just don't understand how you could do it, Mamo-chan. Surely you knew she wasn't me…"

"I thought she was you. I thought you were confused…" Mamoru tried to explain his actions.

"You called her 'Serenity'." Usagi spoke with a hollow, dead voice. Her emotions were so raw she couldn't even properly express them.

Mamoru winced; she had him there. "You… she… was acting like Princess Serenity. I thought you were reliving memories of your previous life."

"I just don't understand why you did it, even if you thought… she… was me. I love you, Mamo-chan." She gave him a wan smile. "Even now I still love you… but I'm too young for us to do… stuff… like that yet." Usagi blushed slightly as she finished speaking.

Mamoru had to restrain from pointing out that she certainly hadn't seemed inexperienced that night. He also had to restrain himself from whooping with joy when she said she still loved him. "Usako, I love you more than anything… more than I ever thought I could love anything. And I know you're too young right now, but you are also very beautiful… when it looked like you wanted me… it was hard to say no."

Usagi felt a momentary flush of pride at his acknowledgment of her looks. But the pain she felt was still very fresh. "Mamo-chan… I could forgive you if you tried to kill me. But I don't feel ready for things to go back to normal right now. I just need some time." She looked at him with pleading eyes. "Can you understand that?"

"I understand. I'm just glad I still have hope." Mamoru smiled at her. He was amazed that she found it in her heart to forgive him, and once again marvelled at the angel the fates had bestowed on someone as unworthy as him. "I'll go now." He got up to leave.

"Goodbye, Mamo-chan…." Usagi watched him go, surprised that she was now feeling a whole lot better for getting things out into the open with him.

"So close!" Dark Serenity's voice was filled with frustration as it echoed round her little prison in the recesses of Usagi's mind.

She was not entirely disheartened; her efforts had severely weakened the barrier which had her sealed as a prisoner in Usagi's body. Her next attempt would likely succeed, and if it didn't, then there was always the next. She could afford to be patient.

"I just don't understand how that child is able to nullify me." She wondered, remembering how she had been unable to even touch the barrier when Chibi-Usa was around, and how she had been thrown back when Chibi-Usa arrived just as she was about to succeed. She surmised it was some sort of mother-daughter bond, though how that was possible when the daughter technically shouldn't exist yet was beyond her.

"Yes, there will be a next time."


To be continued.

Chapter 11
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