Part One: The Trouble with Spontaneity


The setting of our tale is, of course, Tokyo, shortly past the Alan and 
Ann drama.  For the moment, all is tranquil for the Sailor Scouts.  Usagi 
and Mamoru have each other at long last and are deliriously happy about 
it.  The Scouts are happy that their leaders are happy.  Everything seems 
to be going just great, right?

Wrong, naturally.  The weird things that had occurred not too many months 
ago in the Arctic Circle (when Usagi and the Scouts had meatloafed Queen 
Beryl) had drawn attention of all sorts from all over the world.  
Unfortunately, most of the attention was less scientific and more 
mercenary than the astute Sailor Scout would have liked.  In fact, the 
first team of explorers to assemble itself to explore a certain large hole 
in the ice was an international group of mercenaries and scientists bent 
on loot and plunder, with very little thought of what evils and harm they 
might bring about through this expedition.  The Scouts might have borne 
this stoically, save for the punch line of a great cosmic joke: the team 
of acquisitive international roughnecks managed to not only discover the 
gaping hole left behind by Beryl, they managed to allow themselves to be 
transported to Beryl's Negaverse.  At this point, the Scouts were forced 
to take action.  Since Luna and Artemis were both out of commission, due 
to a severe overindulgence in celebratory catnip, and Mamoru was busy with 
school, the five girls set out alone...

"I can't believe anyone would be stupid enough to try and plunder the 
Negaverse," Mars grumbled, dragging an unconscious mercenary across the 
snow to the pile of moondusted would-be looters.

"I can't believe we were stupid enough to leave the entrance to the 
Negaverse open," Mercury said ruefully, helping Venus heft another 
scientist.  "We should have known someone would try to enter it.  We 
should have made a plan-"

"Don't you ever do anything spontaneously, Mercury?" Sailor Moon       
complained, shivering in the icy wind.

"Not if I can help it," Mercury said primly.

"You need to lighten up some, Mercury," Jupiter suggested.  "Live in the       
moment for once--It really isn't that bad, y'know."

Mercury just shook her head doubtfully, while Venus looked at the pile of       
booty-seeking idiots.  "Maybe we should make sure this doesn't happen       
again," she commented.  "You know, like go through Beryl's palace and seal       
it up..."

"That's a good idea," Mercury nodded.  "We should take care of that, just 
as soon as we get this lot back to where it's warmer."

Her lips slightly blue from the wind chill, Sailor Moon grimaced.  "Why 
should we have to come back to this icebox?" she asked plaintively.  
"Couldn't we just post a sign or something?  I wanna go home where it's 

"Sailor Moon, don't you dare start whining," Mars growled.  "I'm just not 
in the mood for it!"


Dark, bleak, superbly gloomy, and lit only by the scabrous phosphorescence 
of a foul, unnamed lichen that covered every damp, slimy surface, the       
palace of the late Queen Beryl was every bit as unpleasant as its former       
occupants.  It was also grandiose in size; the Scouts had reluctantly 
decided to split up to explore the many rooms of the monstrous monument to 

Exploring was made no less difficult by the destruction Beryl's final       
battle had wrought.  Misshapen iron doors hung awry along the dank, dead       
corridors; the musty, fetid air was thick and hard to breathe.  Even at a       
slow, cautious pace, Mercury gasped slightly for breath as she stalked a      
strange energy reading.

/It makes no sense,/ Mercury mused, studying her computer.  /This entire       
corridor has been empty-it looks even more deserted than the rest of this       
tomb.../ Absently, she stepped over a fallen beam, deftly avoiding a pool       
of scummy water.

As she drew nearer to the end of the corridor, where a giant pair of doors       
hung miraculously straight on their hinges, her hand-held computer began       
to beep insistently.  Halting before the doors, Mercury stared at them       
thoughtfully.  "I ought to call the other Scouts," she thought aloud.        
"But... it's probably nothing..."

Saying this, she placed a reluctant hand on the pitted iron.  To her vast       
surprise, the heavy doors swung open easily. 

Mercury started into the room, but stopped short, staring at the far wall. 
She didn't need her computer to identify the energy that pulsed from the 
immense, man-sized crystal mounted so unfeasibly in the grim stone walls.  
It shone with a faintly blue-red light that was bright enough to make 
impossible the discernment of any details of its construction or purpose.

The Scout forced herself closer, despite the aversion this spawn of the       
Negaverse engendered in her. Finally, no more than a foot from the       
crystal, a shadowy form in the violet depths became visible to her.        
Peering closer, she saw--a man, trapped inside the crystal, a rictus grin       
of agony on his tortured features.

"How can this be?" Mercury gasped, discomfort all but forgotten in her       
profound curiosity.  Her nose mere inches from the surface of the crystal,      
she gazed into the depths even more closely.  "Is it-Jadeite?"

Staring at the entrapped servant of Beryl in horror, the reason for       
Jadeite's disappearance from the lives of the Sailor Scouts became       
painfully apparent.  Remembered fear and hatred caused Mercury to step       
back from the crystal, her heart filled with loathing.

Still, there was something about Jadeite's utter helplessness that drew       
Mercury back to her minute examination.  Something about the horror of his       
situation struck a chord of pity in her heart--Enough pity that it       
banished the disgust she felt for a hated enemy.  "No one deserves this,"       
she whispered, carefully touching the crystal between herself and his       
cheek; it was icy cold to the touch.  "I wish there were some way to free       
you from this thing."

The impossible happened.  At the touch of Mercury's hand, and with the       
genuine warmth of her sincere (if not wise) wish, the grim, cold spell       

Only pure reflex action saved Jadeite from hitting the muck-encrusted       
floor face-first as the Scout caught him.  The tiny Sailor Scout staggered       
under the sudden twin burdens of guilty surprise and Jadeite's dead       
weight.  Gently she eased him to the floor, kneeling beside him and       
deciding to continue acting on instinct for the moment and give aid to the       
unfortunate Negageneral.  

With the destruction of Jadeite's prison, the room went very dark.  Only a       
few patches of the unnatural lichen had survived in this room, and Mercury       
could barely see the dim figure sprawled on its back next to her.  His       
raspy breathing filled the silence with its harsh susurrus, telling her       
that she had better figure out what to do--and fast.

Reaching for her communicator, and wishing she had possessed the sense to 
have used it before she had even entered the room, Mercury was going to 
call the rest of the Sailor Scouts when a hand snaked out to grasp her 
wrist with crushing force.  "Not so fast, Sailor Mercury," Jadeite warned 
her as he cried out in pain. 


Jupiter moved cautiously through rooms as barren as an Arctic plain, 
slowly becoming fed up with the entire process.  She had found nothing on 
her search of this floor, and she yearned with every fiber of her being 
for a little action.
Pushing open yet another door, Jupiter peeked in and saw that she had 
found a room with furnishings, at least.  Delighted by the change, she 
eagerly entered.  It was a bedroom, large and spacious.  A huge bed, 
looking somehow more comfortable than any piece of Negafurniture had a 
right, stood in one corner of the room.  Objects Jupiter was tempted to 
classify as dressers, wardrobes, tables, chairs, and the like were 
scattered throughout the room. Despite the prevailing grim motif of grey 
and slime, and the deep shadows, the room seemed almost pleasant.  

As she wandered through the apartment, feeling like an intruder, Jupiter's 
foot struck something small and light.  She yelped as it skittered across 
the floor into a patch of deeper gloom.  "What was that?" she demanded, 
mostly for the reassurance of hearing her own voice.  Carefully, and 
feeling slightly ridiculous for it, Jupiter stalked the cause of the 

It lay facedown the dust: a small picture frame, the bright gold of it       
conspicuously out of place in the gloomy surroundings.  Curious now,       
Jupiter picked it up; turning it over, she wiped off the layer of grime. 

Two happy faces smiled up at her, seemingly unaware that their little      
empire had long since crumbled to dust.  Zoisite held a pink rose,       
snuggling happily against Kunzite's shoulder.  Both seemed positively       
unlike the fierce opponents that Jupiter recalled battling. 

"Amazing," Jupiter breathed, staring at the portrait, utterly fascinated.        
"They both seem so--*happy*."

"Even creatures of the Negaverse have emotions, Sailor Jupiter."

This time Jupiter shrieked in earnest, dropping the portrait of Kunzite       
and Zoisite as she spun around to confront the unknown speaker.

A dry laugh greeted her outburst.  "You need not fear me now... I can do       
little enough harm to anyone these days."

Jupiter stared hard at the shadow-shrouded figure, able only to discern       
the occasional gleam of pale eyes.  "Who-Who are you?" she demanded,       
cursing herself for stammering.

"I should have thought you knew, having invaded my home so arrogantly."       
His voice had a dry, dead feeling to it, as though the speaker were a       
corpse that had not yet sought its grave.

Suddenly Jupiter knew with a dreadful certainty.  "You're dead," she said       
flatly.  "Sailor Moon killed you."

Again came the dry, mocking laughter, but Jupiter somehow received the       
impression that it was directed less at her and more at himself.  "Dead?       
No, I hardly think so, as much as I might wish it otherwise.  Sailor       
Moon's attempt was valiant, but surely you and she and the other Scouts       
are not so vain that you believe I would let myself be destroyed with my       
own weapon?"

Jupiter flushed angrily, stung by his words, which bore traces of his old       
hauteur.  "Well, what are you doing, skulking through these ruins?" she       
blustered.  "If you're so great, why haven't you been fighting us?  Where       
were you at the battle with Beryl?"

A sigh like the dry wind blowing across a desert greeted her bravado.  "I 
have told you already, Sailor Jupiter.  These days I can do little harm to 
anyone.  As for Beryl, it has been a very long time since I have concerned 
myself overmuch with her welfare." He sighed again.  "I did not care to 
help her fight with you Scouts, and she received no less than a just 
punishment at your hands."

"Why do you hate her so much?" Jupiter asked, before realizing the 
absolute impropriety of the question.

"Because she destroyed the only thing of any value to me," said the dead       
voice, a flicker of something that might have been pain lending it a       
momentary semblance of life.  "I grow weary of this, Sailor Jupiter.        
Please remove yourself from this place.  When you and your little friends       
have finished your explorations, kindly do not return to disturb my       

Jupiter could not decide if this was a plea or a command, but she feared       
the menace in that desiccated voice.  Backing up, the heel of her boot       
touched the portrait.  Impulse made her stoop and pick it up.  Advancing       
upon the shadowy figure, she held it out like an offering.  "I believe       
this is yours," she said quietly.  

He hesitated for a moment before taking it gently from her hands.  "Yes.       
Yes, it is.  Please go now."

Jupiter nodded her head once and hurried for the door, catching one last       
whispered word as she shut it behind her.



Still holding Mercury's wrist in a tight grip, Jadeite struggled into a       
sitting position.  Terrified, she stared at the face that had so recently       
touched her heart in its prison.  /I'm a fool,/ she told herself bitterly,       
/and I've endangered the Scouts--the world.../

Jadeite glanced around the decaying room quickly, used to the dim light       
and therefore able to see the rot and the rust.  He looked back at Sailor       
Mercury, seeing the pure fear--and the self-recrimination--in her wide       
eyes.  "You?" he said in disbelief.  "*You* freed me?"

Her eyes watering with the pain in her wrist, she nodded.  "Yes, I did."       
Her deep regret filled her voice.

Jadeite suddenly realized that he was still clutching his savior's wrist.        
He released it immediately, apologizing.  "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to       
hurt you," he said contritely.  "I didn't injure you, did I?" Without       
waiting for an answer, he put his hands on her wrist again, this time to       
probe gently for broken bones.  "Flex the joint," he commanded.  

Bemused, Mercury did as ordered, until Jadeite sighed in apparent relief.       
"I don't think there's any lasting harm," he pronounced.  "My apologies,       
Sailor Mercury, that was a fine way to treat my rescuer, wasn't it?" He       
smiled at her charmingly.  "I'm afraid that being locked in that thing       
simply ruined my manners." 

Mercury had no idea what to make of Jadeite's oddities, and it showed       
plainly on her face.  He laughed gently at her confusion and attempted to       
explain.  "My dear Sailor Mercury, you have my undying devotion for having 
released my from my prison inside that crystal." Nothing but absolute 
sincerity colored his tone.  "I owe you a debt that can never be 
repaid--My life is yours to command."

She blinked at him, deciding that the day couldn't possibly become more 
surreal.  Having a former enemy swear fealty to her disconcerted the 
Sailor Scout more than she could describe.  "How long have you been in 
that crystal?" she dared ask cautiously.

Jadeite winced.  "I cannot tell you the absolute time, my lady, but it was 
shortly after the romantic cruise fiasco--Beryl's displeasure with me 
drove her to seal me inside the crystal." He shuddered.  "I can tell you 
that it seemed to be an eternity, a struggle that pitted my entire essence 
against an infinite void." His voice dropped.  "I would have preferred 
death for my transgressions."

"How awful!" Mercury exclaimed, grasping the abhorrence of Beryl's method 
of punishment.

"May I ask a question, my lady?" Jadeite said cautiously.  Mercury nodded, 
embarrassed by his respectful attitude.  "How long has it been?"

"Several months." As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, Mercury caught the 
look of dismay that crossed his face.

"So much wasted time," he muttered angrily.  He looked at Mercury with 
flinty eyes.  "And what has become of Beryl, my lady?" he asked from 
between clenched teeth.  "I am sure that Sailor Scouts would not walk 
through the Negaverse with such impunity if Beryl were fully in command of 
her faculties."

She recoiled slightly from the venom in his velvet voice.  "Beryl is 
dead," she told him quietly.  "Princess Serenity destroyed her with the 
Imperium Silver Crystal a few months ago."

Jadeite smiled, savoring the thought.  "I would have loved to have helped 
her destroy Beryl," he almost purred, "but I am content that she has been 
punished." Another thought occurred to him.  "My lady, what of Beryl's 
other servants--Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite?"

"Nephrite and Kunzite are both dead, and Zoisite has not been seen in 
months," Sailor Mercury told him.  "We believe that Beryl killed him for 
attempting to kill Prince Endymion."

Jadeite looked stricken.  "Nephrite's dead?" he asked mournfully.  Mercury       
nodded.  "How, my lady?"

"He fell in love with a girl named Naru, and died protecting her from       
Zoisite's monsters," Mercury explained gently, feeling bad for having       
broken the news to him so harshly.  "I'm sorry."

Jadeite nodded briefly.  "He was a good friend," he said briefly.  "I will 
miss him."

Mercury shook her head slightly, not used to the thought of seeing 
Jadeite, this oldest of enemies, as a.... being...with emotions.  It was       
almost as hard as trying to think of him as, if not a friend or ally, an       

"Is something wrong, my lady?" Jadeite asked, concerned.  

"No, nothing's wrong... Please, don't call me 'lady'," Mercury told him.        
"It doesn't suit me very well."

Jadeite smiled at her roguishly.  "I think it does suit you, Sailor 
Mercury, quite a bit.  Now, may I ask another question?" At her assent, he 
continued, "How is it that the Sailor Scouts are even in the Negaverse?"

"We're exploring it, looking for potential threats," Mercury confided.  
"When we're through, we plan to seal it off so that no one else can 
stumble across it."

Jadeite grinned.  "I suppose that I fit into the potential threat 

His slightly flippant comment had the effect of a splash of cold water on 
Mercury.  With a jolt, she realized that she was beginning to *trust* 
Jadeite.  "Yes, you do," she said coolly.

Jadeite winced, but honesty forced him to understand her point of view.        
"Sailor Mercury," he said seriously, "you may or may not believe me, but,       
as far as I'm concerned, the Negaverse lost all of my regard and loyalty       
for it When Beryl imprisoned me.  I've had a lot of time to think about       
it, and I decided that any cause which treats its loyal servants so badly       
isn't worth my time or attention.  It even occurred to me that maybe I had       
been fighting on the wrong side all along--I had strange dreams of a time       
when Beryl would have been my enemy.  Whether you choose to trust me or       
not is irrelevant.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm on your side now."  

Mercury raised her eyebrows at this, unsure of whether to credit the       
earnestness of Jadeite's speech or to hold his past crimes and misdeeds       
against him still.  His engaging, candid expression was dangerously       
persuasive, or so her more sensible self told her easily impressionable      
heart.  She trusted the man she had rescued; what was more important, she       
*wanted* to trust him.  "What am I going to do with you?" she sighed       

"Can I be of any use to you as you explore for other potential threats?"       
Jadeite asked, a certain eagerness to please evident in his manner.  "This       
poor excuse for fine architecture may be falling down around our ears, but       
what could be more useful than a native guide?"

"I ought to check in with the other Scouts," Mercury murmured, reaching       
for her communicator.  Jadeite waved her on, smiling politely.  

Just as she was going to contact Sailor Moon, the communicator beeped.        
Jupiter's face appeared in the view screen, slightly strained and tense.        
"What's wrong, Sailor Jupiter?" Mercury asked immediately, suddenly       
painfully conscious of Jadeite sitting next to her.

"I found something," Jupiter announced, looking grim.

"Well?" Mercury prompted, as Jadeite politely pretended not to be       
listening.  "What did you find?"

Jupiter glanced away from the view screen at something over her shoulder,       
and lowered her voice as she looked back.  "Not a what, Mercury, a who."       
She paused dramatically.  "I found Kunzite."

Mercury gasped, perhaps more willing to believe what Jupiter said than she       
might have been prior to stumbling across Jadeite.  "He's alive?" she       
asked, stomach knotting with dread as she recalled the worst of Beryl's       

"In a manner of speaking, yes," Jupiter explained.  "He's alive--He didn't       
die when we thought he did, but I think he's given up on living.  He       
didn't care that I had just wandered into his bedroom and poked around,       
and he doesn't care that we're here.  He says he can't hurt anyone now,       
and just wants us to leave him alone."

Jadeite snickered quietly, amused about something that Mercury couldn't       
fathom.  Ignoring him, the Scout looked guiltily at Jupiter.  "Um, Sailor       
Jupiter, I found something, too," she confessed.

Jupiter looked at her curiously.  "What?"

"Well, you remember that you all were urging me to be more spontaneous, 
right?" Mercury coughed, embarrassed.  "Well, I was tracking a weird 
energy source, and I found a crystal that had Jadeite locked inside it, 
and, well, I kind of... set him free."

Shocked by this unbelievable act of Mercury's--unbelievable because of the 
sheer lack of planning and caution that it showed--Jupiter could only 
stare at Mercury for a minute.  Finally, she managed to choke out a 
strangled question.  "You did what?!"

Mercury turned scarlet.  "He says he's on our side now," she said quickly. 
"I think I believe him--I was just going to contact Sailor Moon and 
suggest that we all meet up--"

"That might be a good idea," the scandalized Sailor Jupiter agreed, dazed. 
"Maybe they'll find Zoisite and Nephrite, too, and we'll have a matched 

Jadeite snickered again, louder.  Mercury shushed him.  "I'll contact 
Sailor Moon and Mars--let's meet in the main foyer as soon as possible."

"Right... I'll just contact Venus..." With that, the screen went blank.

"What's wrong with you?" Mercury snapped at Jadeite, who finally felt it 
safe to laugh freely.

"She just traipsed into Kunzite and Zoisite's room without so much as       
asking permission--Kunzite must have been livid!" Jadeite nearly howled       
with laughter at the thought.  "He's always been such a stickler about       
propriety--To have a Sailor Scout just *wander* into his room..." He       
laughed until tears formed at the corners of his eyes.  He sobered       
suddenly.  "I thought that you said he was dead."

Mercury shrugged helplessly.  "We thought he was.  Of course, we thought       
you were dead, too."

"Did you say that Beryl killed Zoisite?" Jadeite inquired, brow wrinkling       
in thought.

Mercury nodded.  "That's what we believe.  A reliable source told us that       
Beryl killed Zoisite for attempting to murder Prince Endymion...       
Apparently, she wasn't very pleased with him anyway, and that was the       
final straw."

Jadeite shook his head.  "Kunzite wouldn't have liked that," he murmured.        
"He wouldn't have liked that at all..."

Mercury only half-listened to him as she contacted Sailor Moon.  An       
unhappy Moon Princess looked up at her dolefully.  "Mercury, I don't like       
it here," she complained.  "It smells bad, and it's slimy, and there's       
nothing here..."

"There's more than you might think," Mercury said dryly.  "Sailor Jupiter       
and I have both made interesting finds... We want to meet in the main       
foyer as soon as we can."

"Will we get to go home after that?" Sailor Moon asked hopefully.  "I 
could really go for a hot fudge sundae right now."

"We'll see," Mercury promised cautiously.  She cut off the transmission 
and contacted Sailor Mars. 

"Mercury?" Mars asked curiously.  "What's going on?"

"Sailor Jupiter and I have both found something," Mercury told her.  "We       
all need to meet up in the main foyer immediately."

Alarms went off in Mars' head.  "What did you find?"

Mercury cleared her throat awkwardly.  "Um... we've found some old 
acquaintances, actually.  Just get to the main foyer, I'll explain it to 
you there." Before Mars could make any more demands, Mercury killed the 

"Sailor Moon certainly hasn't changed, has she?" Jadeite grinned.  "But, 
did my ears deceive me?  Are there five Sailor Scouts now?"

"Jupiter and Venus have joined us," Mercury shrugged.  "That was also 
after your time.  Tell me, what's the fastest way to the main foyer from 

"Let me show you." Jadeite smiled at her mysteriously as he climbed to his 
feet and helped her up.  Without asking for permission, he took her hand 
into his.

An instant of utter blackness enveloped Mercury, but passed quickly.  
Disoriented by the sudden darkness, she blinked her eyes and stared at her 
surroundings in confusion.  She and Jadeite (who grinned like a pleased 
little boy at her discombobulation) stood in the main foyer.  "What was 
that?" she demanded, finally regaining the ability to speak.

Jadeite shrugged modestly.  "It's just a little trick that we creatures of 
the Negaverse picked up along the way.  It makes navigating this disaster 
less of a chore." Glancing around and viewing the dimness of the hall with 
dissatisfaction, he made another observation.  "It's too dark in here.  I 
wonder if...?" His voice trailed off thoughtfully.  "If you'll pardon me, 
for a moment, Sailor Mercury, I'll be right back."

Before Mercury could protest, he had disappeared.  As she began to curse 
herself for ever thinking that such a creature could be trusted, Jadeite 
reappeared, smiling triumphantly.  In accompaniment to his return, small 
crystalline globes attached to the walls came to life, sparkling with a 
sullen violet glow and illuminating the foyer.  "Isn't that better?" he 
asked, grinning happily.

"You-you-you--" Words failed the outraged Scout as she stared at Jadeite.  
He smiled at her unrepentantly, too satisfied with surprising her to feel 
sorry.  Helpless before his charming grin, Mercury had to smile back, her 
anger fading.  "What have you done?"

"I reactivated the lights--This place is far too morbid for my taste," 
Jadeite explained.


Reposing in the silent shadows of his so recently violated sanctuary, 
Kunzite brooded.  The impertinent interruption and interrogation of Sailor 
Jupiter had unsettled him far more than he would have cared to admit to 
anyone.  He owed the Sailor Scouts a debt, he supposed, for having run off 
the group of mere humans who had dared invade his domain, but their 
decision to do their own investigation annoyed him faintly.  /Why should 
it be so difficult to allow the dead to rest?/ he wondered.

Kunzite considered himself among the dead.

Without warning, the lights flared on, flooding the room with unwanted 
light.  Kunzite flinched, dropping the portrait in his surprise.  "How in 
the name of--"he growled, beginning to swear by a power in which he no 
longer believed.  Kunzite no longer believed in anything.  "They couldn't 
have found the power center, could they?" he mused, a faint curiosity, 
mingled with irritation, stirring.  "Surely none of them would have been 
able to *activate* it..." Only a servant of the Negaverse could possess the 
knowledge of the intricacies of this bastion of Metallia.  

"Damnable meddlers," Kunzite sighed heavily as he rose from his chair, a 
decision made.  


Jupiter, already nervous because of the sudden light, screamed when 
Kunzite appeared at her side without any more warning than the lights.  He 
stared at her impassively as she recovered herself and shrank back 
slightly from his forbidding presence.  "Someone has reactivated the 
power," he commented in his indifferent way.  "I would know who among you 
did this."

Jupiter swallowed, hating herself for quailing beneath the cold glitter of 
his pale eyes.  "I don't know," she said with as much defiance as she 
could muster.  

"Then I will accompany you as you go to meet your fellow encroachers." The 
finality in his tone defeated any argument that Jupiter might have made.  

Jupiter forced the resentment down.  "As you wish." She set off again, 
wishing with all her heart that Kunzite had maintained the decency to have 
died when Sailor Moon had "killed" him.


Her nerves twisted to the breaking point, Mars edged forward through the 
newly illuminated hallways, ready to explode at the slightest provocation. 
Mercury's mysterious references to "old acquaintances" coupled with the 
sudden light had done nothing to relax her.  She'd rather die than admit 
it, but the aura of evil and gloom was getting to her... 
"*What* old acquaintances?" Mars muttered to herself.  "We don't have any old 
acquaintances, and even if we did, what would they be doing in the 
Negaverse?" Thoroughly unhappy with the entire mess--what had possessed 
them to even enter this place of evil?--Mars braced herself and peered 
into the main foyer, where she could hear Mercury laughing and talking 
with one of the other Scouts.

/Well, she wouldn't be laughing if anything were seriously wrong,/ Mars 
reasoned.  /I'm probably just too wound up for my own good.../ Allowing 
some of the tension to drain away, she entered the foyer.  "Mercury, 
what's this all about?" she demanded with characteristic impatience.  
"What was so--" She stopped short, the blood draining from her suddenly 
slack face as she realized that it was no Sailor Scout to whom Mercury had 
been speaking.

Jadeite turned and flashed a brilliant smile at Sailor Mars as if       
completely unconscious of her distress.  "Ah, Sailor Mars, so good to see       
you again," he observed in his silken voice. 

"Mars, don't!" Mercury yelled, seeing the promise of violence in her 
friend's eyes and understanding the mistake in not warning Mars earlier.  
As Sailor Mars' hands came up in preparation to wreaking considerable 
damage upon Jadeite, Mercury bolted forward.  While Jadeite prudently 
sought a place to retreat if necessary, she caught hold of Mars' 
shoulders.  "Listen to me, Mars," she pleaded.  "He's not an enemy!"

Mars stared at Mercury in disbelief.  "Have you lost your mind?" she 
hissed.  "Have you forgotten who Jadeite is?!" All the while, she kept a 
cautious eye on the tall, blond man, who observed with obvious interest.  

"I haven't forgotten," Mercury sighed.  "Mars, he's on our side now.  I 
set him free, and I didn't go to all that trouble just to have you roast 
him, you pyromaniac!" 

"You what?" Disbelief quelled the anger.  "You didn't--"

Mercury sighed, seeing that the moment of immediate danger was past.  "I 
hadn't meant to, but you guys kept telling me to live in the moment..."

"Sure.  Blame it on us." Mars laughed half-heartedly.
"Blame what on us?" Venus, standing just behind Mars and Mercury, had just 
arrived in time to hear Mars' last comment.  "Mercury, Jupiter swore to me 
that I'd have to see this to believe it, but she wouldn't tell me why she 
was demanding that we meet."

"Venus, you know how we all thought that Sailor Moon was the biggest 
meatball-head around, right?" Mars asked, half in jest and half serious.  
Venus shrugged and nodded.  "Mercury has outdone her.  She freed Jadeite." 

Venus seemed momentarily confused, having never met Jadeite, but then she 
placed the name.  "Jadeite?  As in--" 

"The evil, depraved monster who had the great misfortune to have never met       
you?" Jadeite supplied smoothly, smiling as he watched the festivities.        
Cautiously, Venus skirted Mars and Jupiter to get her first look at       
Jadeite.  "I'm afraid you have the advantage--Are you Sailor Jupiter or       
Sailor Venus?" 

"Venus," she said shortly, pondering the strangely twisting events and 
trying to recall everything she'd ever been told about Jadeite.

He bowed courteously.  "I am Jadeite, reformed bad guy, at your service.  
Please, do not be too harsh with Sailor Mercury.   I truly doubt that she 
ever meant to set me free, although I personally find the accident to be a 
happy one." 

Any reply that the three girls might have made was curtailed sharply by 
the arrival of Sailor Moon, or rather, the noise of her arrival.  "Are we 
ready to go home yet?  I wanna go home--It smells *horrible* in here, and 
there's slime on *everything*!  I'm hungry, and they don't even have a 
video arcade here!  What kind of place is this, anyway?  They definitely 
need to hire an interior decorator--Glowing lichen is so last season." The 
Moon Pincess, walking into the room, tripped over a slight irregularity in 
the floor and fell neatly on her face.  "Ooowww!" she whimpered, "that 
hurt!  And I landed in a puddle of--stuff!  Gross!" 

A pair of shining brown boots standing before her distracted the Moon 
Princess's attention.  "Perhaps I may be of assistance, Sailor Moon?"

"Oh, thank you--At least someone around here has good manners," Sailor       
Moon grumbled, accepting the gloved hand extended to her.  "I swear, for a       
Moon Princess, I don't get much respect--" She looked up at the amused       
face of Jadeite and shrieked.

He winced and released her hand.  "Some things truly never change," he 
lamented wryly.  In spite of her misgivings, Mars giggled at that.  
"Sailor Moon, allow me to take this opportunity to apologize for certain 
misguided actions in my past.  With the clarity afforded by hindsight, I 
realize that I have been in the wrong to serve Metallia.  If it's not too 
late, I should like to ally myself with the Sailor Scouts."

"Okay, that's it.  This is all just a nightmare, isn't it," Sailor Moon 
said flatly.  "I put up with the slime, and the smell, and being hungry 
and cold, but I'm putting my foot down at being made fun of by Jadeite.  
It's not enough that Mars treats me like this when I'm *awake*, but I 
refuse to take it in my dreams, too.  I *demand* to wake up, right now!" 
She crossed her arms angrily and stamped her foot for emphasis.

"It's not a dream, Sailor Moon," Mercury said, releasing Mars' arms and 
walking over to the pouting princess.  "I sort of accidentally set Jadeite 
free-He's very much real, Sailor Moon.  You're not asleep." 

Sailor Moon blinked.  "So our oldest enemy wants to make peace with us 
because you made a mistake," she repeated.  Looking suspiciously at 
Mercury, she asked, "Are you *sure* I'm not dreaming?"

"This is really happening, Meatball-head," Mars confirmed.  She glared at 
Jadeite, silently promising him that she would cream him if he so much as 
blinked his eyes at the wrong time.  "This is one problem I thought we 
hadn't need to worry about any more."

Mercury moved to stand between the Scouts and Jadeite. "Look, I'm the one 
who's responsible for this happening," she said quietly.  "I'll take 
responsibility for what happens.  Whatever happens will be my fault, 

Venus, gazing at Jadeite critically, slowly nodded, willing to risk it.  
"I'll give him a chance," she agreed.

"That's real easy for you to do," Mars grumbled.  "You've never had to 
fight this guy." She scowled furiously.

"Oh, lighten up, Mars," Sailor Moon sniffed.  "He said he's sorry and 
wants to be on our side now."

"And you *believe* him?  Good grief, Sailor Moon, you do have noodles in 
your head to go with the meatballs on the outside."

"Hey!" Sailor Moon protested, miffed.  "I resent that."

 "You mean you *resemble* that."

"Do not!"

"Do to!"

Jadeite, embarrassed, witnessed two of the girls who had caused him so 
many headaches in the past sticking out their tongues at each other in a 
raspberry contest.  /How did they ever manage to beat any of us?/ he 
wondered silently, truly confused.  /If I didn't know better, I'd say that 
they'd never stop fighting with each other long enough to fight the 

Mars turned her back on Sailor Moon, nose held high in the air.  "Well, 
I'm sure Jupiter will agree with me that we don't need any Negatrash on 
our side," she declared.

Politely ignoring the insult, Jadeite chose to intervene.  "Speaking of 
Sailor Jupiter, shouldn't she have joined us by now?" he questioned 

"Hey, yeah... Where is Jupiter?" Sailor Moon asked.

Venus wondered silently why Mercury had a sudden coughing fit.


"Sailor Jupiter, I do not appreciate being led in circles," Kunzite said 
grimly.  "If you believe that this will keep you from having to lead me to 
your pathetic little friends, you are gravely mistaken."

Jupiter gritted her teeth.  "Nobody asked you to come along," she growled. 
"Why don't you go back to that mausoleum you call a bedroom if you don't 
appreciate being led in circles?"

"Curb your temper, Sailor Jupiter," Kunzite warned her.  "My patience with 
you is wearing thin."

"I'm so frightened," Jupiter said contemptuously.  "You've already told me      
that you can't do much harm any more, and frankly, my patience with you is       
wearing thin.  Go back to your solitude, Kunzite." Anger was getting the       
best of her, but Jupiter no longer cared.  "I don't even believe that it       
was an act at that last battle we had.  I think you were hurt, and badly,       
and had to go lick your wounds like an animal, and now you cower in your       
den like a dog whose master has abandoned him!"

"You go too far, Sailor Jupiter," Kunzite said, his apathetic voice 
gaining a tinge of warmth.  

Jupiter snorted.  "Do I?  I don't.  You never were anything but Beryl's 
dog, for all your fine-sounding words about your indifference to her fate. 
I know what Beryl took from you, and I refuse to believe that anyone with 
any spirit of his own would have accepted that as I know you did." 
Recklessly, she plunged on.  "You may despise us Sailor Scouts, but at 
least we stand for something-and what's more, at least we stick with what 
we stand for.  You don't stand for anything except your own self-pity.  
It's no wonder that the Sailor Scouts win."

Kunzite's eyes glittered with rage.  "You--You--" he choked, inarticulate 
with his anger.  He raised his hand as if to strike her.

Jupiter raised her chin proudly.  "Go ahead.  Hit me.  Kill me.  You know 
it's true," she declared.  "No matter what you do to me, you can't deny 
the truth.  Not forever."

Kunzite clenched his hands into fists and turned away abruptly.  "You do 
not know me, Sailor Jupiter," he hissed, "and until you do, I would 
suggest that you refrain from judging matters that you do not understand.  
Now, shall we proceed?"

With the taste of a victory that was no victory in her mouth, Jupiter 
shrugged her shoulders, even though he couldn't see her.  "I would if I 
could, but I'm lost."

There was a long moment in which Jupiter could see Kunzite struggling to 
regain his equilibrium.  When he finally turned around, there was 
something in his grey eyes that could have been anger, but could also have 
been amusement.  "Just how long, pray tell, has the mighty Sailor Scout 
been lost?" he asked.

Jupiter grinned.  "Well, I had been going in circles for five minutes when 
you joined me."

Kunzite's mouth twitched.  "You didn't feel it necessary to mention this?"

She shrugged again.  "You never bothered to ask where we were going, and 
that sort of thing gets on my nerves."

Kunzite closed his eyes and took a deep breath.  "Where did you intend to 
go, Sailor Jupiter?" he asked with exaggerated politeness.

"I'm supposed to meet the rest of the Scouts in the main foyer so that we 
can discuss our discoveries." Jupiter couldn't resist adding, "Do you want 
to come along as Exhibit A?"

Shaking with the exertion of controlling himself, Kunzite nodded tersely.  
"Yes.  I will take us there now."

Jupiter, expecting him to point out the direction in which they should 
begin walking, gasped as blackness enveloped her.  As quickly as it came 
it departed, leaving her to discover that she and Kunzite were standing in 
the foyer, amid the Sailor Scouts and Jadeite.  After a moment of shock on 
the parts of all parties, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Sailor Moon began 
shrieking.  Mercury, who had made a similar journey, contented herself 
with a merely surprised look.  

Jadeite grinned broadly at Kunzite.  "Congratulations, old boy--You've 
scared the living daylights out of them," he said.  The tone of the 
screeching changed as Venus, Mars, and Sailor Moon realized that Kunzite 
was standing among them.  Jadeite looked faintly offended.  "They seem to 
be much more frightened of you than they were of me," he suggested.  "Of 
course, you have the advantage of being presumed dead."

Kunzite, shocked in his own way to see Jadeite, had had enough of the 
shrill voices.  "Be silent!" he bellowed.

Startled, Venus, Mars, and Sailor Moon shut up.

Kunzite looked at Jadeite.  "How--the crystal--you were *trapped*--" 
Befuddled for all to see, he appealed to Jadeite for an explanation.

"I have the lovely Sailor Mercury to thank for my rescue." Jadeite smiled 
warmly at Mercury.  "She, although inadvertently, set me free."

"The result being that you've thrown in your lot with the Sailor Scouts." 
Kunzite didn't need to be told; he could see it in the way Jadeite had 
been cozily conversing with the girls.  

Jadeite lost a little of his easy good humor.  "There has been a 
pronounced lack of good treatment for the employees of our former mutual 
employer," he said coolly.  "I've joined a group that promises to be much 
better.... Besides, Beryl's dead.  There's no one for me to work for.  
Furthermore, it wasn't the Negaverse that freed me.  The only person to 
offer me any good will at all seems to be a member of the opposition--an 
opposition that I'm no longer opposed to." He paused.  "You always were 
the strongest of us, Kunzite, and you can try to compel me to join you in 
whatever schemes you have for the future, but I promise you this--I'd 
rather die than serve Metallia again." Despite the lightness of his tone, 
his determination was plainly seen.  

Kunzite held up a placating hand while the Scouts watched the 
confrontation, fascinated.  "You have no need to fear that I would force 
you back into bondage, Jadeite--I have no interest in anything but my own 
solitude.  I merely wished to see who had managed to turn the lights on."

"Well, you see me, old boy." Jadeite smiled politely.  "It was a bit dark 
in here."

Kunzite shrugged slightly.  "I like the dark." He glanced briefly at the 
badly frightened Scouts.  "You will be going with them, I assume?"

"Perhaps, if they'll let me." Jadeite smiled ruefully.  "If I can persuade 
them that my change of sentiments is genuine."

Kunzite nodded gravely.  "Luck to you, Jadeite--May this prove more 
fruitful than your last venture." With that, he disappeared.

Mars rounded on Mercury, releasing the pent-up adrenaline in a torrent of 
volatile words.  "Was that one of your 'old acquaintances'?!" she demanded 

"Calm down, Mars," Jupiter said mildly.  "I found him."

"I thought we had killed him," Sailor Moon moaned in despair.  "It's just 
not fair--Why couldn't he have just stayed dead?"

"Kunzite's always been the contrary sort," Jadeite supplied.  He chuckled. 
"Even if he seems to have lost most of his will to live."

"You noticed that, too, huh?" Venus asked.

Jadeite nodded.  "Oh, yes...Perhaps, if Zoisite hadn't died, he'd have 
grand plans to take over where Beryl left off..." He shrugged 
philosophically.  "But, he doesn't, which is good for the rest of us."

Mars didn't like the way he was insinuating himself into the group, but 
considered that having Jadeite on their side while Kunzite was running 
around might not be such a bad thing after all.  

"Can we go home now?" Sailor Moon asked plaintively.  "This place is 
getting on my nerves!"

"I agree with Sailor Moon," Venus added.  "Let's book it out of here." The 
other three Scouts--and Jadeite, to Mars' annoyance--chorused their own 
assent to the proposal.  Venus looked quizzically at the newly proclaimed 
ally of good.  "Were you planning on leaving, too?"

"Of course--I never really liked this place anyway, and it's hardly 
appropriate for me to stay." Jadeite looked at the five Scouts hopefully. 
"You *will* let me come with you, won't you?"

The five girls looked at each other doubtfully.  "Um, well..." Jupiter 
began carefully, "I don't think we had really *thought* about it..."

"Of course you can come with us," Mercury said firmly.  She stared her 
friends down defiantly.  "He can stay with me."

"But--" Venus started to protest.

"No buts." Mercury folded her arms across her chest.  "If he's my 
responsibility, he'll stay at my house."  She nodded as if the matter were 
settled.  "Now, let's go home."

Unaccustomed to this aspect of Mercury as they were, the four admitted 



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