The light faded around them, and they glanced around hesitantly about them. Instead of being at Capsule Corp., now they stood in a vast field of glittering multi-colored crystal. "Where are we, obasan?" Trunks asked hesitantly.
"I-I don't know, aino-chan. This looks like Crystal Tokyo, but at the same time, it doesn't." Sailor Cosmos stared at the glittering surface. "These are my Senshi's colors. It doesn't make sense."
Trunks's head cocked a little to the side as though he were straining to listen to something. "Obasan, do you hear--"
She pushed him behind her and moved both hands in front of her. A barrier of white light formed only seconds before a firey arrow would have hit them. "Kuso!" they both heard a woman cry in indignation.
Cosmos's eyes widened, and she gasped in shock, dropping the shield. "Rei-chan?" she exclaimed, staring at the raven-haired woman before them.
Rei Hino, Sailor Mars, grinned evilly at her. "Did Vegita send you?"
"Tousan?" Trunks whispered.
Rei stared at both of them then pointed at Cosmos and stated, "You look a bit like Sailor Moon."
Trunks grabbed her arm. "Obasan, these aren't the same people."
Cosmos jolted slightly. "You're right. She's Rei's opposite."
"Let's get out of here." He started to rise up into the air.
"They can fly too!" a voice cried behind them.
"Minako-chan!" Cosmos cried, whirling to face the blonde woman.
The sweet face she remember the leader of the Inner Senshi having was twisted into a snarl. "Vegita must have sent them."
"Not his best pick, ne, Venus?" came another voice.
"I think she has power," Mars commented. "She blocked my attack fairly easily."
"Obasan!" Trunks called. Sailor Cosmos looked up at him; he'd never seen such a look of pain on her face before. He held out his hand, and she grabbed it, following him into the air.
"Iie!" Venus yelled. "You're not getting away that easily! Venus Love-Me Chain!"
Cosmos turned in midair and threw up the barrier again.
"Moon Tiara Action!"
"Kuso," Trunks whispered.
"Aino-chan?" Sailor Cosmos asked softly.
"Daijoubou, obasan," he assured her. "It's just a scratch."
"I used to use that tiara. I know the damage it can do," she argued. "I bet it's a lot worse than a scratch. Let's get out of here."
The pair shot into the air and flew until they saw landscape not covered by crystal. "I never thought mountains would ever look so beautiful," Cosmos commented quietly. Trunks nodded slightly, one hand clutching his side. "Let me see, aino-chan."
"It's just a scratch, really, obasan."
"You're bleeding," she pointed out.
He grinned faintly. "I'm tough; I can take it. I'm half Saiyajin."
She shrugged. "You have a point. I just can't help worrying about you, musuko-chan." She glanced around. "I'm going to scout about a bit. Try not to move too much, okay?"
"Okay. I'll be fine."
She nodded and flew off. Only once she was out of sight did he even let himself acknowledge just how badly he was hurt. With a hiss of pain, he released the wound; his entire hand was soaked with his own blood. Think of something else, he scolded himself. Obasan's never called me that before. It's always been "aino-chan."
Blackness pulled at him, but he resisted it and set himself to examining first his wound and then his immediate surroundings. Something dark floated past him. It looked a bit like a cat's head with an antenna sticking off the top of it and a black upside-down crescent moon on its forehead.
"You weren't dumb enough to fight Sailor Moon, were you?"
For just a second, he thought it was his aunt speaking. No, this woman's younger, his mind reasoned. "Who are you? Where are you?"
A woman dressed almost entirely in black clothes stepped into sight. Her eyes were red, and her hair was pink, done in odangos, similar to his aunt's. He guessed her to be about his age. She stated simply, as if it should explain everything, "I'm Black Lady."
"Who?" Trunks asked.
She glanced closer at his face, ignoring his question. "Kami, you look like Vegita! Who are you?"
"Trunks. I'm from a different timeline."
"I rather guessed so. Vegita doesn't have any children here." Her face hardened. "Why were you fighting the Sailor Senshi?"
"They attacked us."
"Us?" she asked. "Someone else came here?"
"Hai. My aunt."
"Was she hurt too?"
"Iie. Sailor Moon attacked us from behind while my aunt tried to fight off Venus."
"Your aunt is either very brave or very foolish," Black Lady commented. She stepped closer. "Let me see that wound, Trunks."
"You're just like Vegita!" she exploded. "Now just let me--"
"Black Lady," Sailor Cosmos hissed.
"Sailor Moon!" Black Lady gasped. She and Trunks both turned to see her standing just a few feet away from them.
"Iie," Trunks whispered to Black Lady. "That's not Sailor Moon."
His aunt's eyes narrowed. "I'm Sailor Cosmos, Black Lady."
"Masaka. The legendary, most powerful Sailor Senshi, here, now?"
He really didn't like that glint in his aunt's eyes. She was angry, furious in fact, and he couldn't understand why. Granted, there were a lot of things about her that he didn't know, like how she knew Black Lady. She must have fought her at one time or something; it was the only explanation that made sense. "Obasan, remember. Opposites," he reminded her softly.
Some of the wariness dropped off her face. "Then she'd better be a saint, aino-chan."
"She's your aunt?" Black Lady demanded, her
voice full of awe. Trunks nodded slightly. "Then we might
stand a chance after all. Come on. I should take you two to
He wasn't sure what he expected his father to be like. He certainly hadn't done a good job anticipating his mother. As Black Lady led them deeper into the mountain, Trunks's nervousness grew with every step he took.
The wound in his side was healing. It screamed in pain with every step, but it was healing, unusually quickly at that. It wasn't too hard to guess his aunt most likely had a hand in it.
"Vegita?" Black Lady called out in the utter darkness. "It's Black Lady!"
"What do you want?" a deep voice answered. The cavern was filled with light in an instant, and Trunks suddenly found himself face-to-face with his father. "And who have you brought with you?"
She rolled her eyes fondly at him. "Just a couple of time travelers, Ouji-sama, not much."
He scowled back at her. "Watch it, Oujo," he countered before returning his full attention to Trunks and the woman behind him. "Who are you people?"
"My name is Trunks," he answered briefly, suddenly unsure of what to say. When his aunt first mentioned other timelines so long ago, he'd come up with a thousand things to say to the man in front of him. Now he couldn't think of one of them.
Black Lady laughed. "In his timeline, he's your son," she giggled.
Vegita didn't even blink. "Then he'd better be a damn good fighter." He turned to face the woman in white. "And you are?"
She smiled slightly, somewhere between a grin and a smirk. "Sailor Cosmos," she answered shortly.
"It's about time you showed up. You kept us waiting long enough."
The smirk grew. "I didn't know we were on a deadline." Her face hardened. "Why do you want me here so badly?"
Black Lady took one step closer to her. She started to come
closer, but a severe look from Cosmos froze her in place.
"You're the only one who can defeat the Sailor Senshi,"
she answered simply.
"She's different from all the other Sailor Senshi, Vegita!" Black Lady argued.
"Yeah. She's quieter."
"Don't be a smart-ass, Ouji-sama," she retorted. The only other person in the room, a woman known only as Galaxia, laughed shortly. "She's more powerful than even Sailor Moon."
Galaxia sighed. "She's more powerful than even I am," she admitted. "I have the power of this one galaxy alone. She has the power of galaxies, universes. . ."
"The cosmos, in other words?" Vegita commented drily.
"Hai. The power of the cosmos."
"When I said she was different from the other Sailor Senshi," Black Lady interrupted, "I meant she has feelings, emotions." She trailed off.
"She's been sitting out there at the cave ledge," Galaxia stated, "for the past hour, ever since Black Lady got Trunks to go to the infirmary. She looks. . ."
"Tormented," Black Lady supplied. "She looks like we just asked her to kill her best friends."
"We don't know anything about her timeline," Vegita finally commented. "We might have. I'll talk to her. Black Lady, keep an eye on the boy."
"Of course, Vegita. Just watch what you say to her," advised Black Lady. "We don't want to lose her."
He nodded shortly and walked outside. The Senshi still sat at the cliff edge, her bare feet dangling over. She was staring at the setting sun, seemingly oblivious of the rest of the world. That is, until he was a few steps behind her, when she finally spoke, her voice choked. "Do you know what you have asked me to do?" she asked.
He sat down near her. "Tell me."
She didn't look at him as she stated, "You are asking me to kill the friends I watched being tortured and murdered before my very eyes. Those women died for me."
"These Sailor Senshi aren't the same ones you knew."
"I know. "Like everything else here, they're the opposite of what I know." She sighed and finally looked over at him. "I'll fight Sailor Moon for you, but no one else. Without her, the Senshi should fall."
He raised an eyebrow questioningly. "She didn't fight for you?"
"Iie. She is me."
"What?!?" he almost yelled.
"I am what she will become if the Sailor Senshi are killed, if she ever has to fight alone."
"What is your name?"
"Usagi Serenity Tsukino. The princess of the Moon and the queen of Crystal Tokyo."
"Nani mo. Probably won't happen here."
"How can you be Sailor Moon?"
She returned her gaze to the sun, but she didn't seem to be really looking at it. "An enemy named Chaos appeared. We fought it across the galaxies before we found out it was just toying with us. One by one, it murdered my Senshi, my husband, my daughter, until I was finally able to become Sailor Cosmos." She glanced back at him briefly. "That's how I once was Sailor Moon." She sighed. "Trunks-chan and I are the last survivors of our timeline."
"Then why'd you come here?"
"Chaos is trying to catch us. As strong as we are, Trunks-chan and I are no match for it yet. It will take everyone, every warrior, fighting together, to defeat it. That's the only way."
"It will come after you?"
She nodded. "It's only a matter of time."
"Why is it after you?"
"I have something it wants, I guess. When I became Sailor Cosmos, I gained the powers of all the Senshi who died for me. Then, somehow, the Silver Crystal and I merged into one being." She touched the star on her forehead briefly as she spoke.
"Chaos wants that power."
"Yes, I suppose, and it won't stop until it gets it. It will kill everyone and everything that gets in its way everyplace we go until either it gets the power or it dies."
He nodded briefly and then stood up. "I hope you find that time. You'd better come inside. The nights here are very cold."
She looked up at him with a sad smile. "I just wanted to see the moon."
"There isn't a moon anymore. The Senshi destroyed it."
She sighed, nodded, and stood, shoes in her hand. "Then that's an advantage I have over Sailor Moon. Her power comes from the moon."
"I wouldn't be too sure about that. She got more powerful after it was gone. It was like. . . she absorbed it."
"Kuso! She can do that here?" Cosmos exclaimed, stopping at the cave enterance. "Maybe I should go after her tonight then."
"I wouldn't advise it." He was silent for a moment. "Is he really my son?"
Her smile was even more more sadly this time. "Trunks-chan? Hai. He is."
"So I'm dead in your time."
"Everyone was dead by the time we left," she replied, starting to walk back inside. "There were a few other survivors, but they all died before we left."
"Well, there was this guy called Tapion. He's the one who gave Trunks the sword." She frowned. "He had part of a demon imprisoned within him. Once he'd trained Trunks-chan, he killed himself, so that the monster would die with him. It hit musuko-chan hard; he didn't eat for a week and it took him a month to start talking again."
"You called him your son. Is he?"
"Iie. Not by blood, anyway. I raised him since he was six. It's been over ten years now that we've been together." Now it was her turn for silence. "How is Black Lady alive here?"
"No one's really certain. She's part of Sailor Moon's daughter--"
"Yes, ChibiUsa. Apparently, she's her better half." With a start he realized, "That means she's your daughter too."
"That's true, only she doesn't know I was Sailor Moon once. I won't be here long enough for her to get to know me anyway, so I'd rather she didn't find out. Trunks-chan doesn't even know what she is to me."
"She seems to be very interested in Trunks," Vegita commented.
She frowned, stopping again. "Now that you mention it, I think Trunks-chan is interested in Black Lady." She glanced up, apparently trying to sense something. "Chaos is still very far away. If I don't use too much power, it'll stay that way. Is there anyplace around here where I can get some rest?"
"There are some empty bedrooms at the end of that
hall," he answered, gesturing briefly. "We'll see you
in the morning."
"Vegita!" Black Lady yelled, her voice echoing through the cavern. Trunks winced slightly at the loudness of her voice and wondered briefly if she'd meant to make him half-deaf.
A worse scowl than normal on his face, Vegita appeared. Trunks was willing to bet that yell had hurt Vegita more than it had him. "What the hell do you want, girl?" he growled.
"Where's Sailor Cosmos?"
"She's not in her room," she argued.
Trunks's eyes widened and his breath caught in his throat as he realized exactly where she'd be. That slight noise caught both Black Lady's and Vegita's attentions, but it was his father who spoke. "Do you know where she is?"
"She's gone after Sailor Moon alone."
"What?!?" exploded Vegita.
"She'll get herself killed!" continued Black Lady. "Is she suicidal?"
Trunks shook his head. "She's just making sure no one here gets killed. That's the way obasan is: she'd rather face everything alone than risk anyone else."
Black Lady nodded in comprehension. "That's right. According to the legend, the Sailor Senshi of the Cosmos is supposed to have the courage to accept everything and to stand alone."
"Then she'll have to accept some assistance," Vegita replied, powering up. Trunks followed suite, and they both shot out of the cave. With a grim smile, Black Lady teleported to the battle.
It seemed to be a deadlock. Cosmos was actually holding off Sailors Moon, Mars, and Venus alone. The effort seemed to be taking its toll, though. She was only actively fighting Moon and dodging or blocking Mars and Venus. Black Lady started to move into help, but Cosmos shouted, "Stay out of this!"
"Well," Sailor Moon taunted, "the prodigal daughter returns."
There was a brief vacuum of the air around them as Vegita and Trunks arrived. Mars grinned at Venus. "Vegita's back," she whispered.
Venus whistled, and one at the time, the other Sailor Senshi appeared, including Sailor ChibiMoon (who was the same age as Black Lady) and Tuxedo Kamen. As if it was planned, Vegita and Trunks powered up to Super Saiyajin and dropped into fighting stances. Trunks drew his sword and warily eyed Sailor Uranus and Sailor Saturn.
Sailor Cosmos shook her head, just slightly smiling, and rose into the air a few feet. Light expanded around her, and everyone there felt the magnificent increase in her power. She lowered herself until her feet touched the ground. "We'll finish this now, Sailor Moon." In a lower voice, she continued, "Yurusunai."
Uranus laughed shortly and tossed her sword to Sailor Moon with the order, "Fight her, Sailor Moon! Don't start doing speeches again! She's faster, and she can fly!"
"Obasan!" Trunks called out. She rose into the air and turned toward him. "Catch!" He tossed his own sword to her. She caught it easily and lowered to the ground. It could have been rehearsed, it was all so easily done.
There was the distinctive clash of metal against metal as the swords collided. The battle truly began. Black Lady was against both Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor ChibiMoon, while all the other Senshi were against two Super Saiyajins.
Blackness rolled before the rising sun. "Chaos," Sailor Cosmos whispered. "Trunks! Get ready!" She raised herself into the air and channeled her power into the sword until it fairly hummed with power, then she swung it down with all her might. Uranus's sword shattered, and Sailor Moon was nearly cut in half.
Sailor Cosmos doubled over in pain, falling to her knees and almost dropping the sword. "Obasan!" Trunks called.
She struggled to her feet, using the sword to stand, apparently ignoring the way the blade was slicing through the tender flesh of her hands. She gestured briefly,and the Sailor Senshi froze. "Haykuu, aino-chan. Say your good-byes. I can't hold them forever."
He glanced at the man who could have been his father, again at a loss for words. "Tousan. . . ano, Vegita-san. . ."
"Hurry up, boy. She can't hold it much longer," was the closest he got to a good-bye.
"Trunks-kun," Black Lady whispered, grabbing his hand.
"Black Lady," he returned. There was silence for a long time as they stared at each other. Finally he nodded, slowly released her hand, and stepped over to his aunt. "I'm ready.
She smiled weakly at him then looked just past him. "Sayonara, Black Lady."
"Sayonara, Sailor Cosmos."
"Sarabada, Ouji-sama," she continued.
As quickly as she could, she whispered the words that would send them to another timeline. For a brief moment, she stopped and stared at her daughter and his father, tears in her eyes. Then she yelled, "Cosmos Teleport!"
In a bright flash of light, they disappeared.
4 December 1999
Well, what did you think? Too strange? More to come soon!