She checked her watch again, growing more impatient with every passing second. In truth, she wanted to step in now in order to avoid what she knew was coming, but she couldn't. It was as if some unseen force were holding her back until the exact moment.
As the light of fire illuminated the area around her and painted her red, she thought back four years to her first mission like this.
The blonde android rolled her eyes. "I know, I know. Keep those two alive at all costs. I'm not Gokou, you know; you don't have to repeat it a thousand times. I'll do my job and keep the kid alive. Okay?"
The other woman nodded furiously then frowned. "Juu?"
"What?" she all but snarled.
"Good luck, Juu-chan."
Juuhachigou rolled her eyes again, this time with a smile. The woman never failed to surprise her, but they made a good team, maybe because of that fact. She focused her mind on the task at hand.
The information was flawless, right down to the kid's eye color and what his mother was wearing.
Without warning, gunfire erupted. "Kuso!" the woman beside her swore. "They're early!" She flitted out of sight, moving almost too fast for Juuhachigou's synthetic eyes to follow. Almost.
She saw the broken guns lying on the other side of the large room not a second later. She also saw another soldier taking aim at the pair they were there to protect. Without a second thought, she placed herself between them and the bullets, catching each one of them in her hand and casually flicking them back into the soldier who'd fired them.
"That voice, it sounded so familiar, but it couldn't be. . . Masaka. . . Her partner would have mentioned it if this was. . .
"Pan-chan?" she whispered in shock, turning slowly to face the young woman. The boy was no longer with her.
"It is you, Juuhachi-basan! Then that must be. . ."
The white shape came to a stop directly before them. "Ohayoo, Pan-chan."
"Kaasan!" The dark-haired woman threw her arms around her mother's neck, hugging her tightly. "If only you'd been a few minutes earlier, Kaasan! Then my husband--"
"Pan." Serenity's voice was soft but firm. "Even I can't completely change the future. Some events have to be left intact because they cannot be changed."
Serenity stepped away from her daughter. "They didn't have back-up, but all the same, we need to get out of here." She glanced around. "Where's Heero?"
"How did you know--"
"Because some parts of the future don't change."
Pan nodded and moved over to the nearby corner and reached into a hole she'd punched into it. Juuhachi smiled. These Saiyajin really were amazing when it came to protecting the ones they cared about.
A small boy, no more than three, the boy they'd been protecting, stepped out and into his mother's arms. Prussian blue eyes, just a few shades darker than his mother's and grandmother's, stared at her and Serenity suspiciously.
Serenity smiled more fully than Juuhachi had seen her do since Gohan died as she looked at the boy, meeting those dangerous eyes easily. "Ohayoo, Heero-kun."
Bullets rang out all around her. She growled in irritation, trying not to watch the bloodshed. "Is nothing sacred?" she muttered.
She attempted to step forward to help, but it was as if her feet were stuck to the ground. Instead, she clasped her hands before her heart and whispered fervently, "Megami-sama, onegai, guide these souls to their next lives." She opened her eyes, and they were hard. "And deliver unto me my enemies."
With such suddenness that it almost felt like she was being shot, something inside Serenity snapped. She knew the future that was approaching; she'd lived it; and she knew she had to change it.
She heard the fainter than faint whistle of an approaching missile and tackled the blonde android out of its way. The ground next to where they'd been standing exploded.
"Nande kuso?" she faintly heard Vegita demand over the ringing in her ears.
"It's the Alliance!" she answered quickly, getting to her feet. "They're here to destroy us all!"
Everyone was staring at her incredulously, except Gohan. The way he looked at her, the expression in his eyes and on his face; he knew what she'd seen, lived through, somehow. "We can't beat them?" he asked softly.
She shook her head. "Not here, not now. They've already destroyed Crystal Tokyo! If we fight them now, you'll - you'll all die!"
"Demo," Bulma began to say, before Serenity suddenly was swallowed in light. "Serenity!"
"I'm all right, Bulma-san," Serenity's voice answered. She sounded much calmer, much cooler. The light faded, and Sailor Cosmos stood before them. She bowed her head. "There's no more time, minna. Gomen nasai." She lifted her staff above her head and called out, "Cosmos Teleport!"
The landscape that appeared when the light faded was bleak. A castle stood in stark contrast to its surroundings, however. "The Moon?" Juunana stated quietly.
She nodded once. "I have to go back for the kids. I'll be back as quickly as possible!" And in a blinding flash of light, the senshi of the stars vanished.
She clenched her fists as she thought back. As she had told Pan four years ago, some events just could not be changed. Trunks-chan and Goten-kun still died protecting the girls. Goten-kun managed to hang on long enough to make sure she was there to pick up where they left off. Even now, after so very long, it hurt to think back to those times.
The soldiers were starting to thin out now. The whole fiasco was almost over. The building before her was in ruins. And she wasn't sure how much more time she could remain safely hidden here.