"Kibou no hoshi," Chaos whispered, all its attention focused on the woman all in white that stood before it, a brilliant white sword leveled at its throat. "The Star of Hope."
The new person's ki was so strange, it took Trunks a moment to recognize her. That, and the fact she looked so different. "Usagi?"
The blue eyes were the same, only sadder than before, as she looked over at him quickly. "This is the person who murdered my entire planet, Trunks-kun. She killed my friends, my family, everything I've ever held dear."
Sailor Star Fighter slowly climbed to her feet, her eyes locked on the woman. "Sailor Moon," she began. Usagi started and turned her full attention back before her.
"That isn't Sailor Moon," Chaos answered. "That is too powerful, it has too bright a shine, to be Sailor Moon." It sneered at the woman with the sword. "It has the Star Seeds of many stars and planets within it. It has stolen the Star Seeds of even Coronis, Mermaid, and Mau ."
"Watashi wa Sailor Cosmos," Usagi finally cut in.
Chaos's red eyes blazed. Yellow electricity shot out of her hands and into Sailor Cosmos. The sheer force and suddeness of it threw her back into the air, her mouth open in a silent scream, though no sound ever emerged. A warm, firm body caught her before she flew too far. "Daijoubu ka?" a familiar voice asked close to her ear.
"I'm fine, Trunks-kun," she answered. "She just caught me off-guard; it won't happen again." She seemed to be more determined now than ever.
"Can you handle her?"
She glanced over her shoulder at him, a faint smile on her face. "I can handle Chaos if you can keep the Animates out of the way." She raised the sword she still held slightly. "This is the only thing that can stop her."
"The Animates won't be a problem. Count on it."
The smile grew, and she gently brushed his hand; there wasn't time for anything else. "Arigatoo, Trunks-kun." She flew straight up to meet Chaos in the air high above the ground.
She spared a second for a brief glance at the handsome man below her. A golden light exploded around him. His hair turned golden and stiffened, so that it stood up part of the way. Even to her newly heightened senses, his power and strength had increased dramatically. But she couldn't really afford to play too much attention to events unfolding beneath her; Chaos had to be her only concern.
Chaos raised one hand into the air, and the same yellow lightning flew down into her. It crackled then bent and straightened, until it did something that should have been impossible but Usagi had seen it do that once before. A sword, a dark match for her own, took shape.
The former Sailor Senshi wasted no time in attacking, and Sailor Cosmos had to quickly react, moving the sword before her, to avoid being stabbed.
* * *
Sailor Star Healer had been thinking earlier how glad she had been not to be on the receiving end of Trunks's anger. At this moment, she wished she hadn't jinxed herself.
Even completely controlled by Chaos, Galaxia still could call them - and she was, as if she were afraid she couldn't beat Sailor Cosmos in a fair fight. However, not one of them could get past Trunks; he was just too fast and too strong for them.
Maker and Fighter exchanged a curious look, and both produced a star-shaped compact. This couldn't be good.
* * *
"Star Serious Laser!"
"Star Gentle Uterus!"
Sailor Cosmos started at the sound of the two attacks - then she winced as she felt the dark sword cut across the tender flesh of her forearm. Trunks could handle himself; she knew it in her bones. But she just couldn't help it; she hazarded a glance down.
The attacks bounced off that golden aura of his.
She breathed a sigh of relief before attacking Chaos herself, returning the cut on her arm with one on Chaos's.
* * *
A quick glance up confirmed Usagi was still holding her own against that creature. Where did it get a sword so quickly? he thought quickly.
"Star. . ." He quickly drew his attention back down to the three Animates. The one with black hair, Fighter, was apparently preparing for another attack. Except her aim seemed to be quite a bit off; it seemed to be too. . . high. Usagi. . . "Serious. . ."
Quicker than the human eye could follow, he moved between the attack and the woman above him. "Big Bang Attack!"
The two attacks collided midway and seemed to push back and forth at each other. Then without warning, Fighter's attack gave way and the huge blast overtook the entire area she stood in. When the light died away, there was no sign left at all of Star Fighter.
If the other two Animates were so easily defeated, this might just be more simple than he'd been anticipating.
Steel clashed against steel particularly loudly above his head, followed closely by an almost silent gasp of pain. He twisted quickly. The creature seemed to be much better at sword fighting than Usagi; there was a cut along Usagi's forearm that he'd noticed before and now also a slice along her side. "Usagi?"
"Daijoubu," she called back.
* * *
"Daijoubu," she repeated under her breath, hoping she wasn't lying. Her hands and arms felt numb from the force with which the two swords had collided earlier, and she could barely hold up her weapon. That was what had allowed Galaxia to get in another good blow. Too good, from what she could tell; she seemed to be losing blood and she didn't have time to allow her Senshi powers to heal the wound. She'd have to end this quickly while she still had the strength to keep fighting and to stay in the air.
In a moment of sheer desperation, she called up a memory that was less than a few hours old: sparring with Trunks at the temple and a few of the fighting moves he'd shown her. As quickly as she could, she charged Chaos, feinting with the sword and kicking toward the woman's unprotected abdomen. The taller woman let out an undignified grunt as all the air left her lungs, and Usagi turned and swung the sword toward her exposed neck.
At the last second, Galaxia pulled back; however, she did lose her headpiece in the process. Golden hair that turned red halfway through its length fell down, longer than its owner was tall. Amazingly, icy red eyes seemed to melt just a bit.
"Sailor Cosmos," she stated. Her voice was so much softer and gentler than it had been only moments before.
* * *
The only problem with defeating the Animates lay in getting close enough to them. Healer seemed to be content to simply stay out of his way; however, the one with the brown ponytail and prominent forehead, Maker by process of elimination, wasn't quite so ready to lay down and die.
Usagi had said that their most vulnerable area were those bracelets which were keeping them alive without their Star Seeds. So simply put, all he really had to do was destroy the bracelets.
* * *
Maker was up to something; Healer could tell it just by the way she moved. The other remaining Starlight was planning something, something that simply couldn't be allowed. She wasn't using her normal attacks or speed. That could mean only one thing. She was manouvering into position for the killing shot.
Sailor Star Maker raised both her arms, and the bracelets on her wrists began to glow. From experience, Healer knew the discs that cut the Star Seed from a person's body were about to come out. Then suddenly, Trunks simply wasn't there.
Faintly, from somewhere behind her, she could hear what sounded like rapid movements. It had to be Trunks, but how could he be behind them? No one could be that fast; it wasn't humanly possible. Was it?
She whirled to face where the noise was coming from, in time to see him stop a series of rather complex-looking arm movements with the forefingers and thumbs of each hand touching. "Burning Attack!" he called out. A single ball of blue light exploded from his hands, heading straight towards Maker. And as ready as she was to end this, she knew Maker wasn't.
She didn't even stop to think, knowing if she did, she'd change her mind. In a split second, she'd shoved Maker out of the way and raised her own wrists.
Those damned bracelets breaking within that light was the last thing she saw.
* * *
The red eyes that stared back at her were the same, but at the same time, they weren't. If she hadn't seen the change herself, she would never believe this was Galaxia.
"Sailor Cosmos," the woman began. The voice still surprised her; it was so soft and sad; though not as much as those eyes. They surprised her the most, almost enough to lower her guard. Almost. "Sailor Cosmos, I -"
"Why?" Usagi demanded, interrupting her.
The woman winced. "I don't know why, but what I've done is irreparable. You have to stop me, Sailor Cosmos. You have the power." Her gaze dropped to the weapon still in Usagi's hand. "And the Sword of Sealing."
"Are you the same person who killed everyone on my planet?"
She dropped her head. "In a way, hai. Please, Sailor Cosmos. Kill me now, while I can hold Chaos back."
Usagi didn't say a word, simply lifting the sword and bringing it down as hard as she could.
* * *
The light faded, and Maker was still there. Healer was gone.
The brown-haired Animate stared at where she had stood only a moment before with nothing less than abject shock. "Iie," she whispered. "Masaka." She shook her head violently, a scream slowly working its way out of her throat.
Then suddenly it seemed to be doubled in volume and coming from two directions. From Maker and from . . . behind him. "Usagi?" he called back to her again.
"Daijoubu," she answered just loudly enough to be heard over the double scream. "I'm okay, Trunks-kun." She sounded very tired; this battle must be taking a lot out of her. It was beginning to tire him out; he could suddenly feel every injury inflicted by Bojack and his gang, even though they had supposedly been healed sometime while he was here.
"We need to end this soon, Usagi," he stated plainly.
"I understand, Trunks-kun."
* * *
Yes, she did understand, but understanding and actually carrying that through were two totally things. The moment the sword entered the body of the woman before her, something snapped inside those red eyes which told Usagi that Chaos was back in control.
But at least she'd gotten in a wound before that happened. However, it was unlikely that she'd actually outlast Chaos.
Trunks was right; this needed to end soon.
As carefully as she could, she gathered up all her remaining strength and channeled it, preparing to use the sword to seal away Chaos forever this time or die trying. Either way, she didn't want to see her world fall into Chaos's control.
Chaos seemed content to let her gather her remaining strength, glaring at her but clutching a hand over the bloody hole in the blackened armor she wore.
Then the fight below her was over; Maker could never have lived through that final explosion of light. So now she just had to finish this and then. . . And then whatever happened would happen.
Without warning, Cosmos shot forward; Chaos moved to the side, and a black tendril of electricity hit Usagi's wings. This time it was her who screamed, even as she whirled on her opponent, shoving the sword through the red brooch on the front of her armor, pushing it in with all her remaining strength and the weight of her own body.
In her hands, the sword began to turn dark. In the same rush of dark energy that changed Sailor Galaxia into Chaos, the whole sword turned black and the woman before her disappeared. She could feel that dark energy tugging at her through her grip on the sword, and she let it go; it floated in place.
A warm, firm, and familiar arm wrapped around her waist. "It's over," she whispered, glancing over her shoulder at Trunks.
He opened his mouth to speak, but another voice answered, "That it is, Sailor Cosmos."
In an instant, she found herself behind Trunks and looking at a green man floating in front of them both near that sword. Trunks was staring at the new arrival in such a way she suspected he was trying to place him in his memory. "Dende?"
"It has been so long, Trunks-san. I'm pleased to meet you, Usagi-san."
"Trunks-kun?" she asked softly.
"He's Kami-sama, Usagi," he explained just as quietly. A bit louder, he continued, "Why did you let this happen here, Dende?"
"The same barrier that kept Usagi-san in also kept me out, but it's fading now."
Usagi glanced around and probably would have fallen from the sky if Trunks wasn't still holding her up. "It wasn't just Tokyo after all."
Dende sighed. "Hai. The three of us are the only living creatures on this planet."
"Artemis?" Usagi asked very quietly. If the world had not been as silent as death, she would never have been heard. Dende shook his head slightly. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly to avoid the tears from overflowing.
"Now," Dende started, "I'll heal both of you and send you back home. Back to your time, Trunks."
"My time isn't much better than this one, Dende."
"That's where Sailor Cosmos might come in handy. One of her powers will allow her to heal the entire planet in a way even I can't. Unfortunately, Usagi-san, your power doesn't include bringing anyone back from the dead."
"What about that?" Usagi asked, nodding at the sword. "If it falls into the wrong hands, this could all start over again."
"I'm taking it back with me, Usagi-san. It'll be safe in the Tengoku. If worse comes to worse, I'll send it to Enma Daiou for safekeeping. You needn't worry about it, Usagi-san."
"Can this future be avoided?" Trunks asked next.
"Just by Sailor Cosmos going back to your time with you, Trunks-san, this future is changing already. Let's get you two on your way then."
A few minutes later, two people vanished into a flash of light, bound for another time.
 Kibou no hoshi means "the star of hope." I kind of decided while I was writing Chapter Nine that Sailor Cosmos should have a slightly different title than ChibiChibi-chan. So instead being the "Light of Hope," she became the "Star of Hope."
 Coronis, Mermaid, and Mau. Sneaky manga reference. Sailor Coronis became Sailor Lead Crow, Sailor Mermaid became Sailor Aluminum Siren, and Sailor Mau became Sailor Tin Nyanko. I happen to have been very fond of Lead Crow and Aluminum Siren; had to mention them somewhere.
Dedicated to NoDoubtAQT, Chibi712, and everyone else who helped me write it. Only the epilogue is left.