Sailormoon was dead.
The Ginzuishou had exploded, all its energy used up as she directed the asteroid away from Earth, Princess Serenity's had turned dark, and she'd collapsed into Endymion's arms, detransforming back into Sailormoon.
In that split second, everyone's heart stopped. "Usako!" Tuxedo Kamen called, not even noticing as he too changed back, shaking her body in a vain attempt to awaken her.
"Usagi!" the Senshi called as one, but Tuxedo Kamen barely heard them. He could feel everything going dark around him. She couldn't be dead. She couldn't be... Not when he hadn't told her he... And what about ChibiUsa, waiting for them back on earth? What would happen to her if Usagi died?
"Usako..." slipped from his lips again.
"Mamoru-kun...," a voice in the blackness whispered.
He opened eyes he didn't remember wincing shut to see Fiore kneeling before him. Despite being controlled by the Kinsenian flower, in a way her death was on his hands... And Tuxedo Kamen couldn't find it in himself to blame the other man. The anger just wasn't there, wouldn't come. "Fiore..."
The blue-haired man bowed his head. "Thank you. You and Sailormoon have saved me again." Fiore looked down at the woman in his arms, and he could see the guilt plaguing the alien's eyes. "Mamoru-kun, now I will fulfill that promise." He held a white shimmering flower out to the tuxedo-clad man. "This is a flower of life. It contains the sum of all my energy. Give the nectar to Sailormoon."
Reverently, he took the blossom in one hand, glancing at it then back at his friend. Even before his eyes, Fiore began to vanish, dissolving into familiar sparkles of light. No thought crossed his mind; he just reached out and grabbed his friend's hand, feeling it solidify to his touch. "Don't go again," he whispered, the words breaking as they left his lips. "Don't leave me again, Fiore."
The blue-haired man blinked, shock freezing him over. Never in a thousand years would he have expected so much kindness as he had been shown, especially considering everything he'd done to these people. "I - You want me to stay, Mamoru-kun?"
He nodded once. "I do." Both their eyes turned down to the drained young woman. "We can both give her the energy she needs."
Fiore inched closer on his knees. "You're sure? I tried to-"
Mamoru's blue eyes turned to the flower he still held. For a split second, his hand glowed around it, and Fiore felt some of his own energy returning. Finally, he tipped the white blossom up to Usagi's lips, letting some of its precious nectar fall into her mouth.
A moment passed, and nothing happened. Behind him, reality began to intrude as he heard Venus begin quietly sobbing. Mars moved to comfort her while the other two Senshi looked away in disappointment.
A shimmer of light caught his eyes, and he looked down in time to see the Ginzuishou repair itself and Sailormoon's sapphire eyes open. She smiled, exhaustion clearly slowing, up at him and Fiore. "You see?" she whispered. "I said I would protect everyone." Her eyes locked on Fiore. "And you wouldn't be alone."
"Sailormoon," Fiore barely got out barely got out. "You... forgive me?"
She shook her head slightly, and the faint hope that had been building in his chest abruptly fell, at least until she gathered the strength to speak again. "Nothing... to forgive."
"Usagi!" Rei yelled, wrapping her arms around the blonde's waist and burying her face in her hair. For once, she seemed capable of no more words.
"Usagi-chan," finished Minako, leaning over Mars to first touch Usagi then the Ginzuishou to make sure both were real and then to stroke Rei's hair.
"You scared us, Usagi-chan," Ami whispered, sliding into the tight group.
"Yeah, please don't do anything like that again, Usagi-chan," completed Jupiter, moving to drop her head in Usagi's lap. "I think you took ten years off my life."
"I'm sorry, everyone," Sailormoon whispered. Her eyes drifted away to the planet below them. "We... need to get home."
Mercury shook her head. "We can't do a Sailor Teleport till you're up to full strength."
Next to him, Tuxedo Kamen could see Fiore fidget slightly. He sent the other man a questioning glance. Fiore mumbled under his breath, "I still have enough power to take us all back to Japan. If you want, I could..." He trailed off.
A tired smile touched Usagi's lips. "Thank you, Fiore-kun."
Mere words were not enough to describe her kindness, he decided as he gathered his energy and began to teleport the seven of them back to Tokyo. Definitely a far cry from the ditz she'd seemed when they first met. How could two versions of the same girl be so vastly different? The darkness of space shimmered out from around them, and Tokyo formed around them.
"Sailormoon!" a new pair of voices chorused. Just a step or two away from them sat Luna and Artemis. Mamoru glanced around, taking a moment to place himself. Why had they come here, to the rooftop of Usagi's home? Looking to his side, Fiore seemed just as confused at their location, if not more so.
Sailormoon slowly sat up, balancing herself with one hand against the roof before her. "Luna, Artemis," she greeted, smiling gently.
"She guided us," he heard Fiore breathe. So that was it: Sailormoon had directed where they would go? She was this strong? Or was this still Princess Serenity's power?
"Thank goodness you're all right," Luna was saying. "When ChibiUsa started vanishing, we feared the worst."
The gasps of shock he heard from the Sailor Senshi seemed incredibly loud to his hears. "Is she all right now?" Tuxedo Kamen had to ask.
"Well...," Luna hedged, exchanging a worried look with the white cat beside her. "You see..."
In a dim flash of light, Sailormoon detransformed into Usagi. Moving cautiously but with obvious haste, she slid down the roof to her window and slipped inside. In her own way, she was so dedicated to the little girl that would one day be her daughter, Mamoru thought to himself.
"The truth is," Artemis answered, "ChibiUsa has changed."
"Changed?" Makoto echoed, she and other Senshi powering down as well. He followed suit, and Fiore switched his appearance to his human guise. "How has she changed?"
"I think you need to see this for yourself" was all the male cat said. He and Luna padded down the roof and led them through the window and into Usagi's room.
The blonde sat at her dressing table. Otherwise, the room was empty. Mamoru glanced down to the cats at his feet. "Where is she?"
"We left her asleep in bed," Luna replied. She sounded nervous.
As if on cue, the door opened, and a child's silhouette appeared. There was no mistaking the coned odangos; it was ChibiUsa. Her arms were loaded down with junk foods, including a tub of ice cream with a spoon sticking out, all of which dropped to the floor when she saw them. "Usagi!" she cried, leaping into the blonde's lap and throwing her arms around her in an affectionate hug that would have been unimaginable before now. It was only now that she had abandoned the darkness of the hallway that the changes became evident.
Her hair and eyes had changed colors. Gone were the pink locks and red eyes. Instead her hair was a light shade of purple and her eyes were a brilliant shade of bright blue. Mamoru searched the little girl's face and saw no trace of himself anymore, not that there had been much of one before. The girl was even more a miniature version of Usagi than she'd been before.
ChibiUsa-chan," Ami questioned, kneeling before her and Usagi, "what's happened?"
The girl looked confused. "What do you mean? Nothing's happened."
"But your hair... your eyes," Makoto faltered.
ChibiUsa grinned. "Isn't my hair pretty? I tried to do it like Mama's."
Ami shook her head slightly and turned to regard the others. "Do you think something could have happened to Neo Queen Serenity or King Endymion?"
"'King Endymion'?" the now purple-haired girl repeated, tilting her head to the side in confusion. "But Endymion-jichan isn't king. Papa is."
"ChibiUsa-chan," Minako voice was wheedling, "who's your Papa?"
"What's your Papa's name?"
Rei rolled her eyes before trying her luck. "What does your Mama call your Papa?"
The girl paused, looking as though she was having to think about, massaging her forehead. Suddenly she snapped her fingers. "Anata*."
There was a collective disgusted sigh, and Rei turned a glare on Usagi. The blonde glared back. "It's not my fault," she replied to the accusation. She yawned broadly. "How is it my fault Neo Queen Serenity isn't more creative?"
No one dignified that with a response. "So," Ami began, "I guess we can safely say that the timeline has changed, and you and Mamoru-san won't be getting married or having ChibiUsa, Usagi-chan."
~ * ~ * ~
Neo Queen Serenity looked down to the Senshi kneeling before her. "Yes, Pluto?"
"It's the past time," the green-haired Senshi explained. "It's beginning to right itself."
The blonde queen stood, stretching. Only a few short days after being released from her crystal prison, she was stiill working all the kinks from her body. "So they are seeing Small Lady correctly now?" she asked, walking down to stand near Pluto.
"That is correct, Your Majesty."
Serenity nodded thoughtfully before stepping past Pluto to regard the two figures in the back of the throne room. "Thank you for your help while they were here, Endymion-kun."
The tall black-haired man shrugged it off. "It was nothing, Sere." He glanced at his companion. "It's just one of many favors I have to pay you back for."
She smiled, turning her attention to the man next to Endymion. "Thank you for diguising Small Lady, Fiore-kun."
"I still don't see why we had to do all this," the alien replied.
Pluto moved elegantly to her feet. "That part of the past is very delicate. If it didn't proceed in a certain manner, this time would be irrevocably altered."
Serenity grinned. "And I don't think any of us want that, do we?"
Everyone except Pluto returned the smile. "The past time is still delicate, Your Majesty. It's still over a year till Sailormoon - you - will meet His Majesty."
"That I am not worried about," she looked past Pluto to the man on the throne next to her own, "ne, anata?"
13 April 2004
Wow, it's finally finished. It's sort of nice to have this new project going, but be aware till I can get a new copy of Sailormoon R and SuperS, I can't update very quickly.
The last section (in Crystal Tokyo) was written with the Cover Girls song "Wishing on a Star" playing on repeat.
Thanks for reading.