Bittersweet 05


Wanting to watch Usagi as Sailor Moon, and hoping perhaps to 
steal the Silver Imperium Crystal from her so that she could go home, 
Chibi Usa followed Yuichirou to the courtyard at the rear of the temple.  
At first all had seemed fine, as Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mars (Makoto 
and Rei, Chibi Usa now realized) destroyed Avery's droid.  However, when 
Prizma and her droids showed up, and then Rubeus arrived to gloat, Chibi 
Usa felt her heart sinking... Usagi could never, ever manage to defeat all 
those monsters... She was doomed... She'd failed her mommy...

On her forehead, a golden crescent began to glow as Chibi Usa began to cry 
in her distress.  A beacon of pure energy shot into the sky.  "Small 
Lady!" Prizma shouted, even as Yuichirou charged her gaunt droid.  She 
pulled out her dark whip, laying about the Sailor Scouts, fully intent on 
reaching the pink-haired child.  

Strong arms caught Chibi Usa, wrapping her in a safe warmth.  "Don't 
worry, Chibi Usa, we won't let them harm you," Tuxedo Mask promised her.

"That's right, Chibi Usa, we're gonna moondust them!" Sailor Moon added, 
sounding more certain of herself than she really felt.  

"You're just a meatball-head, Usagi," Chibi Usa accused her.  "And you 
don't really care about me, either!"

Usagi gasped, horrified that Chibi Usa knew her secret, but pushed that 
aside as Sailor Mars destroyed Prizma.  "That's not true, Chibi Usa, I 
*do* care about you!" she protested. 

"And the Scouts care about you, too," Tuxedo Mask added. 

"They're just Usagi's friends, and they think I'm a pest," Chibi Usa 

"I care about you, Chibi Usa--You do trust me, don't you?" Tuxedo Mask 
asked.  He smiled at her.

"We-ell, yes," she admitted.
"Then believe me when I tell you that Sailor Moon means what she says!" he 
told her, as Jadeite hid the ground with a thud.  

Chibi Usa looked from Tuxedo Mask--whom she trusted as she trusted 
Mamoru--to Sailor Moon.  Sailor Moon looked at her with sincere eyes.  
"Please, Chibi Usa, believe me-Meatball-head or not, I won't let them hurt 

"What on earth is going on here?" Greg asked, before Chibi Usa could 
reply.  He stared at the battlefield with the shock that a picnicking 
family stumbling upon Armageddon might feel.  

Sailor Venus whirled around.  "Greg, get out of here!" she shouted, her 
face sick with fright.  Almost absently, she dodged a blow from the 
quicksilver droid. 

He stared at her with wide, frightened eyes, too stunned to act or think.  
Then his eyes caught Sailor Mercury.  She knelt by a crumpled figure on 
the ground, completely unaware that the cobra droid had targeted her as 
its victim.  "Ami, look out!" he shouted.  


As Jadeite had fallen to the ground, Sailor Mercury found herself 
screaming in denial.  She wasn't sure exactly how she reached his side.  
Blood covered his face and spread in a pool on the paving stones, and he 
lay still--too still.  Half sobbing, Sailor Mercury gently touched his 
face, willing him not to be dead.  "Please, Jadeite, stay with me," she 
begged, knowing only that it would break her heart if he left her life as 
suddenly as he had reentered it.  Someone shouted her name; Sailor Mercury 
ignored it, caught only in the moment with Jadeite.  

Unbelievably, his eyes fluttered open and fixed on something behind her.  
The fear on his face stunned Sailor Mercury, and she turned her head, only 
to see that the cobra droid was bearing down on her.  She scrambled to her 
feet as Kunzite eased himself to the ground on the other side of Jadeite.


Assured that Yuichirou wouldn't be suffering any lasting ill effects, 
Sailor Mars left his side to see to her grandfather.  "Grandpa?" she 
whispered, touching his shoulder.  "Grandpa?"

The old man's eyes were open; they slowly fixed on her face.  "Rei?" he 

"Yeah, Grandpa, it's me," she told him.

"My little Rei... a Sailor Scout..." he breathed.  "I'm so proud of you, 
Rei... Now I can die in peace, knowing that you can protect yourself 

"Grandpa, don't talk like that," Sailor Mars begged him.  "You'll be fine, 
you'll see--all you'll need is some rest and that's all."

He simply smiled at her as his eyes drifted shut again.  


Sailor Jupiter, deep in battle with the bear droid, had to really 
concentrate on what she was doing.  Despite her claims to the contrary, 
she wasn't entirely over the last battle she'd had, and her old injuries 
were beginning to take a toll. Dimly Sailor Jupiter heard Sailor Venus 
shout a warning at someone as she kicked at the bear.  More annoyed than 
impeded by her attack, the droid backhanded the Scout.  

Grunting, she cushioned her fall as best as she could, earning scraped 
palms in the process.  She scrambled to her feet, gamely ready for another 
round with the ursine droid.  A shout from Greg distracted her 
momentarily--he was shouting at Ami to be careful... /He's the one who 
needs to be careful,/ Jupiter decided, even as she turned to look at 
Sailor Mercury.

In that moment, the Negaverse could have swallowed the Universe whole, and 
she wouldn't have cared.  She barely registered that the reptilian droid 
was stalking Sailor Mercury.  Her heart constricting, Sailor Jupiter took 
half a step forward unconsciously, staring helplessly at the crumpled form 
of Kunzite.  "No," she whispered.  "Oh, no, no, no, NO!"


Sailor Venus ducked the swinging arm of the metallic droid, catching sight 
of a figure standing just beyond Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon.  "Greg, get 
out of here!" she shouted, hoping to warn at least one of the potential 
victims before anything worse happened.

Greg ignored her, shouting his own warning to Mercury.  Venus looked to 
the side, only to see Mercury frantic over Jadeite's body as Kunzite fell 
beside him.  As Sailor Jupiter began to scream hysterically on her left, 
Sailor Mars began to wail on the right, sobbing over Grandpa Hino.  Just 
beyond the droids, Rubeus staggered to his feet.

These were her friends--her friends who had already sacrificed too much to 
the Negaverse.  How dare these people from the dark moon try to steal what 
was most precious to them?  How dare they ruin the fragile peace they had 
been working so hard to build and maintain?  How dare they terrorize the 
innocent, frightened child cowering in Tuxedo Mask's arms?  *How dare 


Chibi Usa shrieked, seeing Rubeus standing behind the droids, knowing that 
his sole mission was to capture her.  "Help me, Sailor Moon!" she begged, 
her eyes filling with tears.  "Don't let him hurt me!"

Looking down into Chibi Usa's large, terror-filled eyes, Sailor Moon felt 
rage ignite in her heart--righteous anger on the behalf on a child she 
knew next to nothing about, yet cared for more than she had ever thought 
possible.  "Don't worry, Chibi Usa," she stated with a chilly, outward 
calm.  "They will never hurt you again.  I swear it." She stood, her face 


Sailor Mercury scrambled to her feet, shaky with fright and with her 
despair over Jadeite's condition.  She was no great fighter--alone, she 
was no match at all for this gigantic snake.  She was going to die soon, 
just as Jadeite was dying--

Mercury's eyes filled with a rare fury.  It wasn't fair!  He had only just 
begun to experience the wonder of living--There were so many things that 
she still wanted to show him, if only for the opportunity to see his 
pleased, grateful smile.  The smile that warmed her heart every time he 
turned it on her.  The smile that she would never see again, thanks to 
these foul creatures from the Negaverse.  They were going to pay for 
stealing her dream like this--a dream that died even before she fully 
realized that it existed in her heart of hearts.


Sailor Mars wailed in despair over her grandfather--the only parent she 
had ever really known, the man who had raised her and taught her the ways 
of the supernatural.  He had always been there for her, the strong 
foundation of the temple of her life.  He had given himself to protect the 
temple that he loved, and had taught her to love as well...

The tears in her eyes evaporated in the inferno that blazed within.  She 
leaned over and kissed the old man's forehead gently.  "Don't worry, 
Grandpa," she promised.  "I'll get rid of the evil for good, this time..." 
She stood, and Yuichirou, able to see her face, shrank back.


Sailor Jupiter shook her head numbly, denying that she was seeing 
Kunzite's still form sprawled across the paving stones, covered in 
blood... This was Kunzite she was thinking about, the man who had resisted 
Sailor Moon's crescent wand, a feat that even Queen Beryl had not 
accomplished.  This was Kunzite, who'd routed the Scouts on any number of 
occasions, and then had turned around and helped rout Catzi and Bertie...  
He couldn't be--She still had his cape, she had to give it back to him--He 
wasn't allowed to leave her, not yet, damn him!  

Sailor Jupiter's attention flicked to Rubeus; unaware of it, she growled 
angrily.  This was the creature responsible for taking Kunzite from 
her--*He* was to blame for the misery she felt.  The mere sight of him 
infuriated the tall Scout... He had to be punished for the pain he had 
inflicted on her--on Sailor Mercury--on Sailor Mars. She could feel their 
pain as acutely as she felt her own--As deeply as she could feel Sailor 
Venus's indignation on their behalf--As passionately as she could feel 
Sailor Moon's determination to protect Chibi Usa at all costs.  


They were connected now, in a web of mutual pain and grief and anger so 
powerful that it shimmered around the five like the sun on pavement.  The 
fury extended beyond their own personal losses to include the violation of 
their beloved planet--the interference of the Negamoon in the lives of 
innocent humans...

Sailor Mercury lifted her hands.  She was no fighter, but Sailor Jupiter 
and Sailor Mars were, and they guided her.  "MERCURY ICE BUBBLES FREEZE!"

The cobra-droid faltered in its advance, its sluggish reptilian blood 
deterred by the sudden cold.  With one final hiss, it crumpled into dust 
only a few feet from Sailor Mercury.

The combined Scouts turned their attention to the quicksilver droid, which 
refused to succumb to any direct strikes.  Sailor Mercury conveyed the 
impression that the element of quicksilver would evaporate under high 
heat, if sufficient heat were used.  

"MARS FIREBIRD STRIKE!" Sailor Mars shouted, striking the droid with an 
ofuda.  It sizzled into nothingness, withering into a satisfying 

This left the bear-like droid.  "VENUS LOVE CHAIN ENCIRCLE!" It struggled 
against the bonds that held it firmly.

"JUPITER THUNDER DRAGON!" Sailor Jupiter shouted, taking deep satisfaction 
as the last droid roared in pain and dissolved into ashes.

"Very impressive, Sailor Scouts, very impressive," Rubeus drawled, 
clapping.  "I hope you don't think that I'll be so easy to defeat.  Your 
little friends over there certainly found that out fairly quickly."

His appearance belied his boastful words, for his stylish clothes were 
torn and bloody, and his angular face was smudged and bruised.  Despite 
all this, he smirked at the Sailor Scouts.  "Thanks for the entertainment, 
though--I really had expected that capturing Small Lady was going to be a 
boring assignment.  I'm so glad that you put on this little show for me."

"I'm Sailor Moon!"

"I'm Sailor Mercury!"

"I'm Sailor Mars!"

"I'm Sailor Jupiter!"

"I'm Sailor Venus!"

"We fight for love and justice, to right wrongs and triumph over the evil 
that would destroy the light!" they declaimed as a group.  "In the name of 
the Sailor Scouts, we will punish you!"

Rubeus tried to make a snide comment, but the words stuck in his throat as 
he stared into five pairs of merciless eyes.  He could see himself 
reflected in them, a pitiful figure who had pushed his luck much too far.  
Mesmerized as a mouse is mesmerized by the serpent, he watched helplessly 
as Sailor Moon lifted her sceptre...

"MOON SCEPTRE ELIMINATION!!!!" Sailor Moon threw everything she had into 
destroying Rubeus, and she was not alone.  Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and 
Venus added their own strengths to the attack.

Light washed over the courtyard, white and blue and red and green and 
gold.  A dim figure lost in the swirling coruscation screamed and 
disintegrated.  Tuxedo Mask wrapped his arms more tightly around Chibi Usa 
as he watched in awe as the Scouts did something he never would have 
believed possible.  Terrified by the maelstrom, Greg flattened himself 
against the temple wall, scarcely able to believe that Ami had taken part 
in creating such a wondrous, deadly thing.  Yuichirou, dazed still, could 
only sit and watch it with confused eyes.
Rubeus was dead; of this the Scouts were certain.  Sailor Moon wearily 
lowered her sceptre, and the Scouts withdrew their support and retreated 
into the confines and safety of their own selves.  Some of the energies 
still filling the air of the courtyard subsided with the Scouts, but some 
remained, overlaying everything with a sense of suppressed tension.  
Slowly it dispersed as the five girls sagged in weariness from their 

Sailor Moon allowed herself to morph back into Usagi; she leaned heavily 
against Tuxedo Mask.  "You see, Chibi Usa?  I promised you that I wouldn't 
let them hurt you," she smiled gently, "even if I am a meatball-head.  We 
do care about you, Chibi Usa..."

"Thank you, Usagi," the girl told her, feeling guilty for not having 
trusted her in the first place.


Ami, too tired to keep on being Sailor Mercury, sank down next to Jadeite 
and took his hand.  Feeling numb inside, she could only stare at his face, 
still handsome under the blood.  "There were so many things I was going to 
show you," she whispered, her voice husky with tears that she couldn't 
shed-not yet.  It was too soon.  Much too soon.
Jadeite's eyes flicked open and he smiled at her.  "Promise?" he rasped.


Rei walked slowly over to where Yuichirou was reclining against a tree.  
She sat next to him, feeling empty inside.  He touched her hand gently; 
wordlessly, she buried her face in his shoulder and began to sob.  "There, 
there, Rei, it'll be all right, I promise," he told her, even though he 
knew it wasn't.  Awkwardly, he put his arm around her in a cautious hug.  

"Rei, I told you that you aren't allowed to date until you turn sixteen!" 
scolded a very familiar voice.  

Rei looked up, her face tear-streaked.  "Grandpa?" she asked 
incredulously, staring at the figure that, even though they were sitting 
and he was standing, stood eye-to-eye with them.  "But--you're--"

He shrugged.  "Every old man thinks he's dying when something happens to 
him, but it's never true, especially in my case." He folded his arms 
imperiously.  "Now, about this dating thing..." He never got a chance to 
finish his thought, because Rei threw her arms around him, hugging him 


Ami gaped at Jadeite, unable to understand how anyone as gravely injured 
as he was still managing to cling to life at all, much less grin at her 
with such life.  Her fingers tightened around his without her even 
realizing it.  "How?" she whispered.

"Well, I was going towards the light, but then I saw Zoisite was already 
there, so I turned around and came back here.  There's only so much of 
Zoisite that I can stand... Ow.  That hurt." Jadeite turned his head to 
glance accusingly at Kunzite, who had just poked him rather viciously.  
"And, as I was saying, I just wasn't quite prepared to spend eternity with 


Ami reached over and slapped Kunzite's hand as he sat up groggily.  "Leave 
Jadeite alone," she snapped.

"No more cracks about Zoisite and I will," Kunzite muttered.  He looked 
around.  "Did we win?" Wincing, he rubbed his forehead.

"Do you happen to see anybody from the Negaverse hanging around here?" 
Jadeite inquired.  "Besides us, I mean?" Kunzite carefully shook his head 
no.  "There you go.  We won."


Minako sighed tiredly and turned her attention to Greg, beginning to 
wonder why he was even there.  "The next time we tell you to get away from 
here," she said severely, "you had better listen to us!  You could have 
been killed!"

Greg stared at her with wide, amazed eyes that had seen too much.  
"Sorry," he muttered, looking past her shoulder to find Ami, in the exact 
attitude she had been in before that gigantic attack.  Puzzled, wondering 
who she could be so worried about, he looked around, counting heads.  
There was Rei over there, with Grandpa Hino and Yuichirou... Usagi and 
Mamoru were fussing over a small, pink-haired girl who must be Chibi Usa.  
Makoto was standing off to the side, looking exhausted and torn between 
two deep desires... Minako had just yelled at him, and Ami was kneeling 
next to one of two strangers.  Whom the hell was she so worried about?

He carefully sidestepped Mamoru and Usagi and Chibu Usa, who were in their 
own little world anyway, and walked past Makoto.  As he walked towards 
Ami, one of the two people on the ground sat up slowly after poking the 
other.  Greg's nose wrinkled; both seemed to be covered in blood, and 
neither felt quite normal... He shuddered.  The man who was sitting reeked 
of the power of the Negaverse.  The one who engrossed Ami had the same 
aura, only fainter.  Both of them set off warning bells in Greg's head, 
the same warning bells he had felt when he had first met Ami's "friend" 


Makoto felt like crawling into a hole and dying from the utter exhaustion 
and pain (both spiritual and physical) that virtually immobilized her.  
She should have stayed at home, in bed, and allowed herself to recuperate 
fully from the battle with Bertie, and spared herself the sight of--

Rubeus was dead, along with Prizma and Avery and their monsters.  That was 
small consolation, but it would have to be enough for now.  She idly 
watched Ami go to Jadeite's side, wishing she had the energy to do the 
same for Kunzite.  She sighed, wondering at herself for having developed a 
crush on a man who didn't even care for women and had been thoroughly 
attached to someone else anyway.  /I have rotten luck when it comes to 
men,/ she mused bitterly.  /It never would have worked out anyway, so at 
least I can spare myself that humiliation./

And then Kunzite sat up woozily.  

/Or maybe not... You never know, people can change./  Makoto began to 
grin.  She wanted very much to rush to his side, but the small voice of 
reason in the back of her mind held her in place, reminding her that one 
single kiss didn't a proposal make.  Besides, she was really too tired to 
move.  She contented herself with simply gazing at him with adoring eyes.


/Ami is a very caring, compassionate individual who someday wants to be a 
doctor,/ Greg rationalized carefully.  /As such, she'd never stand idly by 
while there were injured/--He couldn't bring himself to label creatures of 
the Negaverse as "people"--/while there were injured beings to be tended.  
That's the only reason why she's helping this Jadeite fellow.  She's 
probably still at least a little bit under his control, too, and has no 
choice in helping him.../ Still, it had to be obvious to her that Jadeite 
was not human as he had pretended to be.  Quelling the outrage he felt as 
best he could, he came to stand just behind Ami.  "That was some show, 
Ami," he remarked casually.


Listening to Kunzite and Jadeite bicker, Ami never realized that anyone 
else was nearby until Greg spoke.  Startled, she dropped Jadeite's hand 
and stood hastily.  "Oh, Greg, what are you doing here?" she gasped.

He smiled at her; the strain in his voice was barely noticeable.  "I was 
going to pick you up, remember?  It looks like you all got a little 

Ami blinked.  "You were going--Oh, dear, I'm sorry, Greg..." She glanced 
over her shoulder.  "I really can't go today, Greg."

His smile became more forced.  "Yeah, the Negaverse just keeps popping up, 
doesn't it," he commented.  "It looks like it's still giving you some 

Ami stared at him, puzzled at first by his meaning.


The pain was making it difficult to concentrate on his conversation with 
Kunzite, but Jadeite fought it grimly.  The feel of Ami's hand clutching 
his lent him more strength than the web of power created by the Scouts 
had... The knowledge that she hadn't wanted him to leave warmed Jadeite 
all over, and, despite the terrible pain, he'd do it all again, just for 
the sake of seeing the look of express joy on Ami's face when he had 
opened his eyes.

Ami dropped his hand; he turned his head to see why when she spoke.


A spasm of pain that had nothing to do with his injuries caused Jadeite to 
wince.  He had been going to pick Ami up?  /Maybe eternity with Zoisite 
won't be that bad, after all,/ he decided, listening to Greg mutter 
meaningfully about the trouble the Negaverse caused.  /How did he know I'm 
from the Negaverse, though?/ he wondered vaguely.  /No matter; I am from 
the damned place and he isn't.../


Ami looked at Greg strangely.  "Still giving me trouble?" she asked.  "No, 
it's not... Rubeus is gone, along with his monsters."

"Not all of them," Greg replied, gazing in a pointed manner at the huddled 
form of Jadeite.


/I should be going back to the Negaverse,/ Kunzite thought unsteadily 
after confirming that there was no more immediate danger.  The mere 
thought of trying to move his battered body very far gave him a headache.  

Snippets of a conversation being held not too far away caught his 
attention.  Sailor Mercury and a young man were talking.  Kunzite blinked. 
 It wasn't Sailor Mercury, as he had thought at first--she must have 
powered down.  /I'm doomed,/ he thought detachedly.  /The minute anyone 
from the Negaverse finds out who a Sailor Scout really is, he's... What 
does Sailor Moon call it? Meatloafed?/  The thought made him smile 


Ami glanced again at Jadeite and Kunzite.  "What are you talking about, 
Greg?" she asked.  "Those aren't monsters... They're friends of ours.  
Kunzite and Jadeite."


/It's a fate worse than meatloaf,/ Kunzite thought giddily.  /I've gone 
from being one of their worst nightmares to being a friend.  Oh, how the 
mighty have fallen.../ He laughed slightly.


Greg frowned.  "They're from the Negaverse, Ami, even I can tell that 
much!  How could they possibly be friends to the Sailor Scouts?"


/How indeed.../ Despite his deepest desires to the contrary, Jadeite 
couldn't help listening in on the conversation.  /We can never be fully 
trusted; there's always the chance that we're biding our time, waiting 
until we have the opportunity to strike and rid ourselves of the Sailor 
Scouts forever./


Greg's words hurt Ami; she drew back, defensive.  "They've both really 
helped us with the Dark Moon problem," she said heatedly.  "If they hadn't 
distracted Rubeus, that fight might not have gone so well for us."


/Distracted?  She calls getting ourselves beaten into a bloody pulp a mere 
distraction?  I feel unappreciated./  Kunzite shook his head in disbelief, 
turning to share his opinion with Jadeite. 

There was a look of abject pain on his companion's face, more pain than 
Kunzite could ascribe to mere physical injuries.  


"The Sailor Scouts don't need help like theirs," Greg said contemptuously.


Kunzite couldn't see Sailor Mercury's face, but he could see the look 
of--what, jealousy?  Anger?  Possessiveness?  Fear?--on the face of the 
young man.  It was a familiar face... Kunzite tried to gather his widely 
scattered wits.  

Greg.  His name was Greg, and he had been one of the Rainbow Crystal 
Carriers.  Now Kunzite remembered... Zoisite had mentioned that there was 
an attachment of some sort between Sailor Mercury and this Greg fellow.  
Kunzite glanced back down at Jadeite.  /Ouch,/ he thought in sympathy.  


Ami flushed angrily.  "I can't believe that you just said that, Greg," she 
flared.  "I thought that you were much nicer than that!  Jadeite and 
Kunzite are our friends, and you will kindly be civil when speaking about 
them, or you needn't worry about being civil to me any more."

Greg's lips compressed into a thin line, but he knew enough to recognize 
that Ami wasn't going to back down.  "Sorry, Ami, it's just that the 
Negaverse still unnerves me," he muttered.

She looked far from satisfied, but accepted his explanation with a curt 
nod of the head.


Kunzite's head swam dizzily, and it was growing ever more difficult to 
think with any clarity at all.  In fact, even maintaining a sitting 
position required a major effort and an expenditure of energy reserves 
that were fast being depleted.  /I haven't felt this bad since... since 
that unfortunate episode with Sailor Moon.../ Still staring at Jadeite 
(the process of moving his head would have taken to much effort), Kunzite 
sighed mentally.  /It's a great big cosmic joke on the four of us... 
unlucky in love, that's what we are... It's a damned shame, too, he was 
doing so well.../


Keeping his eyes open was growing impossible, so Jadeite gave into the 
inevitable and let his heavy lids fall closed.  Everything hurt; it would 
be so easy to just let himself slip into the darkness again, that inviting 
darkness that promised an end to the pain...

He could still hear Ami's voice, though, like a sweet flute that cut 
through the shroud of anguish, and it beckoned to him.  As long as he was 
able to listen to that gentle voice, he couldn't leave... 


After reprimanding Greg for his lack of common sense, Minako sighed 
heavily and took stock of the situation.  Usagi and Mamoru seemed 
preoccupied with Chibi Usa, and everyone else looked utterly spent.  
Minako glanced to her right and blinked in astonishment.  Was that Grandpa 
Hino?  She thought he had died-or Rei had certainly thought so, anyway.  
However, there he was, standing over Rei and Yuichirou sternly.  Yuichirou 
appeared to be injured slightly, but then again, that could just be his 
normally dazed expression.  He'd probably be okay, she decided, turning 
her attention to Makoto.  

"Hey, girl, you'd better sit down," she said instantly, rushing to her 
tall friend's side.  Makoto, her face paler than normal, willingly leaned 
on Minako's arm.  "This can't have been good for you, Makoto."

She smiled.  "It's okay, I'll be fine... I'll just need to rest in bed for 
a few days, that's all.  I'll be good as new, don't you worry."

"We need to get you in bed, that's for sure," Minako agreed, leading 
Makoto to a bench in the shade.  "Why don't you rest here for a little 
bit, and I'll go see if I can persuade Rei to let you sleep over here for 
the night."

Makoto shook her head.  "I can make it home," she argued.  "I'll be fine, 
I promise.  Besides, the ones who really need to be fussed over are 
Jadeite and Kunzite." She pointed weakly in the direction of the argument 
between Ami and Greg.  "Go fuss over them, Minako."

"Jadeite and Kunzite?  They're hurt?" Minako repeated.

Makoto nodded.  "Kunzite looked like he'd be okay--he was sitting up, but 
I think Ami looked very upset over Jadeite." The two shared a 
conspiratorial smile.

Without another word, Minako darted off to check on the two warriors of 
the Negaverse.  Ignoring the conversation between Greg and Ami (and being 
duly ignored by them), the blonde girl studied Kunzite and Jadeite with 
undisguised horror, wondering how anyone at all could still be alive under 
all that blood.  "Oh, my holy God!" she muttered, whirling to go fetch the 
only one around who she knew to have any medical knowledge.


"MamoruMamoruMamoru!" A violent tugging on his arm accompanied the frantic 
summons as Minako yanked him away (almost bodily) from where he, Usagi, 
and Chibi Usa had been talking.  

"Ow--Let go-What is it?" he demanded, shaking his arm free from Minako's 
insistent grasp. 

"Jadeite and Kunzite are hurt-badly," she gasped.  "They need your help, 
Mamoru." She seized his arm again and pulled him over to Jadeite and 

Mamoru stopped short, staring at the bloody mess.  "Why hasn't anything 
been done for these people?" he demanded, dropping to his knees next to 
Jadeite and immediately taking a pulse.  /Oh my God,/ he thought, trying 
to think of where to begin.  /I'm just a first-year med student--I don't 
know enough to treat this kind of damage.../ "I'm not a real doctor yet," 
he muttered, desperately trying to locate the source of the blood and at 
least stem the flow.  

"My mom's a doctor," Ami volunteered, appearing at his side, calmly 
ripping the jacket she had been wearing into strips.  She handed a wad of 
cloth to Mamoru, who pressed it to shallow cut on Jadeite's shoulder.  

"Get her over here as fast as you can," Mamoru ordered brusquely.  "Tell 
her to bring any medical supplies she has--I don't care what you have to 
tell her, just get her over here!"

Ami dashed away, while Mamoru shook his head silently, at a loss for what 
to do next.  "Minako, go get some water," he said tersely, "and some 
towels." The other girl scampered away.  "I don't know how you've managed 
to last this long, Jadeite," he muttered, "but try and hold on a little 
bit longer."

"I suspect Ami could tell you why he's still with us," came a quiet, raspy 
comment.  Startled, Mamoru turned his head to meet the wry, if somewhat 
glazed, eyes of Kunzite.  "But then, don't take anything I say too 
seriously... I'm hardly myself at the moment..."

"I'm surprised you're still here," Mamoru commented, if only to divert 
himself from the haunting belief that Jadeite was going to die, and there 
wasn't a damned thing he could do about it. 

"I can't move.  Thinking about moving hurts.  Thinking in general hurts.  
I'd say I'm dying, but I know what dying feels like, and it's not this 
bad," Kunzite commented.
"Can you tell me what happened to Jadeite?" Mamoru asked.

"He sustained a close-range attack of negative energy, and then he fell 
about twenty feet..." Kunzite blinked and yawned.  

"And what happened to you?"

"Caught a close-range attack of my own-not as bad as what Jadeite got, but 
bad enough, I guess... I think I hit my head, though."

"Really?  That must hurt," Mamoru commented, trying to keep the other man 

Kunzite stared at him.  "You think?" He grimaced.  "It's been very 
interesting, however... That young gentleman over there seems to think 
that an injured person loses his hearing along with his blood--If I were 
anywhere near healthy, I think I'd kick his ass for some of the rude 
things he's said."

Behind Mamoru, Greg took a step back, fear crossing his face.  Kunzite 
grinned faintly.  "Why would you want to do that?" Mamoru pressed.

"I'm most annoyed by his assumption that Jadeite and I are not to be 
trusted." Kunzite shrugged slightly.  "No one in his right mind would ever 
want to trust me, and, quite frankly, I don't care if they do or not, but 
Jadeite... Once he decides he's going to be loyal to something, it takes a 
very powerful persuasion to change his mind.  He owes a great deal to 
Sailor Mercury and I truly doubt he'd ever desert her--To leave would be 
unforgivable, and he knows it."

Mamoru wondered if Kunzite was talking to him or to Jadeite.  "If you're 
so untrustworthy, why have you been around so much lately?" he asked 

"Maybe I've been bored and wanted to try my hand at something new," came 
the answer.  "Not that it's brought me any luck--I'll count myself lucky 
if the worst thing that's happened to me today is a severe concussion.  I 
think I'll try building ships in a bottle for a new hobby... Can't be any 
more painful."

"You don't have enough hand-to-eye coordination," Jadeite gasped.  "You'd 
never be able to pull it off... Stick to what you're good at, Kunzite..." 
He coughed, spitting out a little bit of dark green blood.

Mamoru stared at Jadeite in shock, amazed that he had been able to speak 
at all--amazed that he was even still alive.  Apparently, Kunzite's speech 
about loyalty had had some effect.  

"Who're you to talk about hand-eye coordination?" Kunzite replied.  
"You're the one who couldn't hit Beryl's broad backside."

Jadeite half-coughed, half-chuckled.  "Now there's an interesting 
proposition--If the old bat were still around, I think I'd take you up on 

"Mom's going to be here in five minutes," Ami announced breathlessly.  
"She didn't ask any questions, but we won't be that lucky forever--"

"Your mother's okay--she'll adjust," Jadeite told her weakly. "We'll just 
tell her that Kunzite's from Estonia, and that we hurt each other because 
of an ancient feud between our two great, proud peoples." He grinned 
weakly at her from beneath half-closed eyes.
"Do you really think she'll believe that?" Kunzite asked as Ami settled 
herself next to Jadeite.

"Don't know... Has she worked any double shifts lately?" Jadeite asked.

"No, she's been on a mini vacation for the past three days," Ami said 

"We're doomed," Jadeite sighed.  "Oh, well, I suppose she had to learn the 
truth sometime... I'm not really from Latvia, after all... It wouldn't do 
to go on deluding Ami's mother forever."

"Besides, I doubt that I could fake an Estonian accent," Kunzite added.  
"She'd see through the ruse immediately..."

"I have the water and towels, Mamoru," Minako said breathlessly, trying 
hard not to spill water all over him or his two patients.

"Ami?  Ami, what's going on?" Dr. Mizuno burst into the courtyard, 
clutching a backpack full of medical supplies, her eyes wild with fear.  

"Over here, Mom," Ami called, waving her over.

"Oh my God, Ami, are you all right?  Are you injured?" her mother 
demanded, pulling her daughter up and examining her closely.

"I'm fine, Mom, really--Jadeite and Kunzite are the ones who really need 
your help," Ami said urgently.

Dr. Mizuno looked down.  "My dear, you are going to have a lot of 
explaining to do when this is over with," she remarked absently, opening 
her backpack and kneeling next to Mamoru.  "What happened here?"

Mamoru began spewing forth a long list of complicated medical jargon, all 
of which passed over the befuddled head of Minako and made only marginal 
sense to Ami and Greg.  The blood and assorted scorch marks didn't seem to 
bother the woman too much, and she briskly began doing her job...


Feeling distinctly out of place, Greg edged away from the busy fuss over 
the two injured creatures of the Negaverse.  /I'll talk to Ami when she's 
in a more sensible mood,/ he told himself.  /She's not completely herself 
right now-She'll be better after she's had a good rest, and once she's 
away from them.../ He shuddered, remembering Kunzite's threat.  Why 
couldn't Ami see how dangerous the two of them were?  "I guess I'll see 
you later, Ami," he said, mostly to himself, before turning and walking 


/Note to self: When I'm well, I'm going to kick Kunzite really hard,/ 
Jadeite thought, /him and his speeches about loyalty and debts.../

"I've given him something to help him sleep," was the last thing he heard.


Kunzite placidly watched Mamoru and the woman he assumed must be Sailor 
Mercury's--Ami's--mother work over Jadeite.  He could have told them that 
Jadeite was going to make it, whether they left him alone or not.  He 
didn't mention it, though, because he'd have to explain how he knew it, 
and that would be a messy thing to do... Messy and sensitive, especially 
with both Ami and Greg present for the process... No, it was best to let 
them believe that their medical skill was what saved Jadeite, and not his 
own devotion to Sailor Mercury--Ami.  /I'm going to have the damnedest 
time with that,/ he thought wearily.  

"We can't take him to a hospital, I suppose?" Dr. Mizuno asked briefly, 
once Jadeite's condition had stabilized.

"Too many messy questions," Mamoru replied briefly.  

"Then I want him at home with me--I want to be able to oversee his 
condition until I'm certain that he'll be all right." Dr. Mizuno smiled 
tightly.  "However, it would appear that Latvians have exceptionally 
strong constitutions."

"Jadeite's a very exceptional sort of Latvian," Kunzite commented, lost in 
his own hazy dream world.  "You'll find out about that, though, as you get 
to know him."

Ami's mother turned her attention to him.  "Are you another Latvian?" she 
inquired lightly.

"Estonian, or so I've been told.  I believe the official cover story is 
that there is a feud between Estonians and Latvians; that would be why 
Jadeite and I had to try to kill each other," Kunzite told her casually.  

"He hit his head kind of hard," Mamoru confided in Dr. Mizuno.  "I think 
that's why he's acting like this--Trust me, this isn't normal for him."

"I'll punish you for that comment later," Kunzite told him, making a face 
at the med student.  "Right now I think I want to take a nap..." He 
slumped forward, true to his word and out cold.  

Checking Kunzite over, Dr. Mizuno shook her head.  "Well, it looks like 
our Estonian friend here came out of that feud a little better than 
Jadeite did... However, I can't keep him at our apartment.  There's no 
room for him."

Mamoru gritted his teeth.  "He can stay with me, I guess," he volunteered 
reluctantly.  "I've got the room to spare."

"Then let's get these gentlemen to a place where they can rest 
undisturbed," the doctor said briskly.  "After that, Ami, I believe you 
and I need to talk."

"There is a good explanation for all this, Mom, I promise," Ami said 
seriously, helping her lift Jadeite.

"Good, because I'm expecting one," Dr. Mizuno replied as they trundled 
Jadeite inside the temple. 

"I'll help with Kunzite," Minako offered as Mamoru stooped over his 
longtime foe.  "You aren't too excited about this, are you?"

"Hardly," Mamoru grunted, hefting Kunzite's dead weight without too much 
effort.  "By his own admission, a person is a fool who'd trust him, and 
I'm supposed to take him into my home?  No, that doesn't make me very 
happy--Kunzite's bad news, and always has been."

"That's true," Minako admitted.  "He's got Makoto wrapped around his 
little finger, and I don't think he even knows it." Mentioning Makoto 
reminded Minako of her friend's woeful condition.  "Mamoru, I don't 
suppose you'd mind dropping Makoto off at her apartment?  She's really 
worn out-Hasn't really recovered from that last fight, and I honestly 
don't believe she can make it home on her own."

Mamoru shrugged as best he could with Kunzite in his arms.  "Sure, that 
won't be a problem--You have to explain to Usagi and Chibi Usa why I can't 
take them home, though."

"They'll understand; it's for a good cause," Minako said brightly.

Mamoru smiled doubtfully and juggled Kunzite's limp weight in order to 
open a car door.  "I'll get him taken care of while you go get Makoto."


Mamoru fought the urge to swear as he shook Makoto's shoulder.  The girl 
refused to wake up, condescending only to mutter something in her sleep 
and then snuggle more deeply into the passenger seat of his car.  This 
wouldn't have presented such a problem if he had possessed any clue as to 
where she lived; however, Mamoru knew only that Makoto lived on her own.  
Since she would not wake up, he couldn't take her home.  At least, he 
couldn't take her to her home. 

/I'm a sucker for strays,/ he thought wearily, deciding to just take her 
back to his apartment.  Kunzite could have the couch, Makoto could have 
the bed, and he would take the sleeping bag on the floor.


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