Bittersweet 
Part Four: You Know You Should Have Run When...

@}~~}~~~~

Sapphire slipped down the corridors of his brother's stronghold, intent 
upon talking to Diamond again, intent upon making him seen that they had 
all been wrong, intent upon escaping from the trap of revenge.  He paused 
outside the throne room, gathering his nerve, and then entered the vast 
room. 

It was empty.  Diamond's throne stood vacant, and Wise Man had disappeared 
to whatever place it was in which he concealed himself while he wasn't 
conferring with the lord of the Dark Moon.  Sapphire sighed in 
disappointment, knowing that the only other place his brother might be was 
in his private chambers, the sanctum that neither Wise Man nor Sapphire 
dared invade.  He shook his head as he turned to go, trying to evade the 
feeling that events were somehow spinning out of control-that disaster was 
about to overtake his brother and that he would be swept along with the 
current.  Precognition wasn't his strong point, but there was just 
something so essentially wrong with these plans to destroy Crystal Tokyo 
that even Sapphire couldn't miss it.  

Pondering this sense of doom, Sapphire wandered vaguely through the halls 
of the citadel, forgetting for a moment that he had been confined to his 
quarters.  Unconsciously, his feet led him down the corridor of the Dark 
Crystal, and the buzzing aura of the Dark Moon's greatest asset pulled 
Sapphire from his reverie.  Something about it seemed-out of place, he 
noted.  He was never completely easy around the Dark Crystal, of course, 
but there was something more menacing about it than normal.  Sapphire 
stopped, trying to understand the malignancy that he felt.  

"Soon," a voice crooned, its echoing whisper vocalizing the very 
malevolence that thrummed through the air.  "Soon I shall be rid of that 
meddlesome young brat and his besotted brother, and nothing shall stand in 
my way..." Wise Man laughed and Sapphire shivered involuntarily.  "Yes, 
Diamond, brood over your brother's infidelity and lust over the pretty 
little queen... Soon it shall not matter, for I will return this universe 
to the quietude of the void from whence it came... You should listen to 
your idealistic little brother, silly little prince.  Revenge brings 
nothing but destruction for everyone who is involved..."

Sapphire clenched his teeth and backed away silently, swearing that he 
would stop Wise Man, no matter what--just as soon as he warned Diamond 
that his trusted advisor was the real traitor.

~*~

"What in the name of--Sapphire, how dare you?!" Diamond exploded as his 
younger brother transported himself directly into his private chambers.  
"What is the meaning of this?  You were confined to your quarters!"

"Diamond, you have to listen to me--I know that you think I'm the traitor, 
but it isn't true!  Wise Man is plotting against you--he's been using you, 
and he's almost finished," Sapphire gasped, his words tumbling over each 
other in his desperation to make Diamond see the truth.  

"You overstep your bounds, Sapphire," Diamond told him, his tone icy.  
"You were given a direct order to remain in your quarters--"

"Diamond, Wise Man is going to kill you!"

"I feel I have been more than lenient with you because of the fact that 
you are my brother, but I can not ignore your insubordination any longer.  
Either return to your quarters peacefully and await my judgment, or force 
me to call droids and have you dragged down to the dungeons, it no longer 
matters to me."

"Diamond!  Listen to what I'm trying to tell you!"

"I have no time for rebellion or slander among my servants," Diamond 
replied.  "I will hear none of it.  My time of indulgences has ended.  
Now, either go or be forced to leave."

"My apologies, Prince Diamond.  This will not happen again." Sapphire's 
chill tones matched his brother's.  He bowed sharply and stalked away.  

~*~

Wounded deeply by Diamond's apparent indifference to his concerns, 
Sapphire grimaced as he walked decisively in the direction of the Dark 
Crystal.  /Damn it, Diamond, you may never forgive me for this, but I 
swear it's for your own good.../

He thanked whatever powers there were that Wise Man was no longer in the 
area as he approached the console that monitored and controlled the energy 
flows of the monstrous crystalline structure.  "Diamond, I hope you'll 
never have to understand why I'm doing this," Sapphire said softly, his 
hands wavering over the console.  "I'm sorry." He plunged his hands down, 
fingers dancing over the buttons as he disabled the Dark Crystal and 
removed the central computer board.

The humming crystal went still as all the energy being fed into it 
disappeared.  Not daring to linger, Sapphire transported himself as far 
away from the dark moon's citadel as he could go.

~*~

Standing on a balcony overlooking Crystal Tokyo, Kunzite studied the city 
absently.  What he saw, however, were scenes from the distant past... 
memories from the Silver Millennium...

~*~

//...Four young men, trained as warriors since their boyhoods, knelt to 
pledge their undying loyalty to fifth, their prince... and friend...

...Five friends escaped a tedious afternoon of mostly meaningless 
formalities and unrepentantly threw their duties to the wind in order to 
spend a few hours behaving like little boys again...

...The honor guard stood at attention behind their prince as he stood to 
greet the ambassador from the Moon and her four escorts...

...'I think I lover her, Kunzite,' Endymion confessed, staring up at the 
gleaming full Moon.  'And there is nothing that I can do about it...'

'Your father will not permit the marriage?'

'He refuses to even consider it,' the prince sighed bitterly.  'Instead, 
he prefers that I court a suitable woman from Earth.'

'Like the lady Beryl?' Kunzite suggested dryly, referring to one of his 
prince's often rebuffed (yet persistent) would-be lovers. 

Endymion grimaced.  'Even he agrees that Beryl isn't suitable... What am I 
going to do?'

Kunzite hesitated for a moment, struggling to decide which was 
stronger--his duty to the throne or his loyalty to his friend.  Pondering 
Endymion's suffering face, he chose.  'We'll help you find a way.' There 
was no need to define the we of that statement...

...'I can't believe we're actually doing this,' Sailor Mars grumbled, 
glaring slightly at the four men from Earth.  'Do you *realize* how much 
trouble this is going to cause later?'

'Relax, Mars,' Sailor Jupiter chided her, all the while eyeing the four 
generals coyly.  'It'll be okay.'

'Besides, if your Princess Serenity has it anywhere near as bad as 
Endymion does, you have no choice,' Nephrite offered quietly.

Jupiter's eyes widened slightly.  'If she has it as bad as Prince 
Endymion?  Try this--if your prince has it as bad as our princess.'

Kunzite sighed slightly as his friends and the Sailor Scouts began arguing 
over which royal scion was more deeply in love.

'Just like children, aren't they?' Sailor Venus asked him, with a 
long-suffering look on her pretty face.

Kunzite smiled faintly.  'You should see Nephrite and Zoisite get into it 
sometimes.'

'Yeah.  Mars and the princess...' Venus shook her head.  'The perils of 
leadership, eh?'

Kunzite smiled more warmly at this, but quickly turned serious.  'Do you 
think this is at all a good idea?' he asked, indicating the couple 
standing several feet away and engaged fully in talking to each other 
earnestly.

Venus looked sad.  'Probably not,' she replied.  'I had Mars read the 
fires...'

'And?' Kunzite prompted, when she seemed hesitant to continue.

She shook her head.  'Nothing specific really.  Just... a bad feeling.'

'I had Nephrite ask the stars.  They told him nothing except that what was 
to be could not be avoided.' Kunzite's tone conveyed more clearly than 
words ever could how unhappy he was with that answer.

Venus gazed at Endymion and Serenity, who were now embracing.  'And yet, 
how can we refuse them?' she asked softly, smiling wistfully at the 
couple.  'It was destroying me to see the princess so unhappy.'

To Kunzite's right, just beyond Nephrite, Jadeite sighed dramatically.  
'Aren't they adorable?' he asked, clasping his hands with all the 
melodrama he could muster and nodding at the (now kissing) prince and 
princess.

'How embarrassing to have an audience for your first kiss,' Zoisite 
murmured, grinning slightly.

Mars shook her head and uttered the words of doom:  'I have a bad feeling 
about this...'//

~*~

"You had no idea how right you were," Kunzite muttered sadly as he 
remembered that first clandestine meeting between prince, princess, and 
respective royal guards.

~*~

//...'Well, anything, Neph?' Kunzite asked as Nephrite's eyes lost their 
distance.

His second remained silent for a long moment.  'Something is coming,' he 
said slowly, 'and no matter what we do, it's going to blindside us like 
one of Zoisite's ice crystals.'

'That's not something I was hoping to hear.' Kunzite made a face.  'That's 
it?' When Nephrite didn't answer immediately, the white-haired man looked 
at him sharply.  'Neph, are you blushing?'

Nephrite seemed at a loss for words.  'I... erm... well...' Kunzite stared 
at him with his infamous "look of death" (TM Jadeite).  Nephrite crumbled. 
 'Okay, I got everything I could about what's going to happen with 
Endymion and his princess--and it's not good, believe me--and, as I was 
relaxing, I thought about Makoto-'

'Who's Makoto?' Kunzite interrupted, trying to attach a face to the name 
but failing.

'Sailor Jupiter,' Nephrite admitted, now a healthy shade of rose.

'You're that close?' /Now when did that happen?/

Nephrite nodded somewhat sheepishly.  'And... I saw...' He grinned 
exultantly.  'God, Kunzite, she's the most perfect woman alive!  I am so 
damned lucky!'

Kunzite had to smile.  'Congratulations are in order, I guess.  Just don't 
let her distract you.  You still have a duty to Endymion...'

...Zoisite looked worried.  'Does anyone actually believe we can keep this 
going for very much longer?' he asked, nodding at Serenity and Endymion.

'What do you mean?' Sailor Jupiter asked, standing prominently next to 
Nephrite and seeming not to care what the universe might have to say about 
it.

'What he means is that we all know that something is going to go wrong 
here,' Sailor Venus said quietly.  'Mars has seen it in the flames, and 
Nephrite has seen it in the stars...'

Jadeite snickered.  'When he wasn't busy looking into Sailor Jupiter's 
eyes...' Nephrite absent-mindedly elbowed him in the ribs.  'Sorry.'

'So the question is, what are we going to do about it?' Kunzite, ignoring 
the minor scuffle, finished.  'Certain members of King Endymion's court 
are becoming suspicious of the prince's sudden interest in long rides 
through isolated parts of the countryside.'

'It's becoming difficult to smuggle Serenity down here,' Mars sighed.  
'The Queen doesn't seem suspicious yet, but Luna and Artemis have been 
giving us funny looks lately.'

'This is going to be the scandal of the century,' Jadeite sighed 
mournfully...

...'Don't they know how much they're risking by this?!' Kunzite fretted, 
agitatedly running his hand through his hair as Endymion and Usagi cuddled 
on a bench in Earth's palace garden.

Sailor Venus sighed too.  'They insisted,' she said helplessly.  She was 
the only one of the Sailor Scouts to have been able to come with Serenity, 
and it bothered her, Kunzite saw.  If Princess Serenity and Prince 
Endymion were discovered in so compromising a position... Well.  Best not 
to dwell on such things.

Kunzite had deployed Nephrite, Jadeite, and Zoisite around the garden in 
order to protect the two lovers' privacy as best as possible.  Trying to 
relax Venus a little, he made a rueful face.  'I hate it when my boss 
starts thinking he's in charge.  Don't you?'

The Scout smiled.  'Yeah.  I hate it when the princess starts getting 
ideas.' They shared a quiet laugh.  'At least they're happy,' she 
observed, looking at the lovebirds. 

'It doesn't seem fair that they're kept apart just because Earth and Moon 
aren't supposed to mix, does it, Sailor Venus?' reflected Kunzite.

'Minako.' Bemused, Kunzite cast a puzzled eye in her direction.  'This 
isn't really a formal situation anymore, is it?  Call me Minako.'

He inclined his head, oddly pleased with the honor she had accorded him.  
'Thank you, Minako.'

She smiled.  'It's silly, isn't it--all the formalities that fill life 
among the members of the nobility?'

Kunzite chuckled dryly.  'Yes.  I think Jadeite is right when he says a 
five-year-old made up half the rules and the other half were created by 
someone with his head stuffed up his--um.  Created by a five-year-old, 
yes...' The warrior coughed slightly.

'Jadeite has a comment for every occasion, doesn't he?'

Kunzite shrugged.  'He maintains that the rest of us are far too serious 
and, thus, being the comedian is his God-given duty-and right.' He paused. 
 'I just think he's delusional.'

Minako giggled.  'You're supposed to be too serious?'

'According to him.'

'Yeah.  To hear Jupiter tell it, I'm an old stick-in-the-mud,' Minako 
sighed.  'Guess it goes with territory of being leader, huh?'

'Sometimes I think it'd be nice to be just an ordinary person.' Kunzite 
stared at Endymion and Serenity...

'Kunzite!' Zoisite skidded to a stop in front of the two leaders.  'Get 
the princess out of here--Beryl just saw the two of them!'

Kunzite, wanting desperately to curse, controlled himself as 
Minako--Sailor Venus--spun into actions, going to tear Serenity away from 
Endymion and take her back to the Moon.  'What did she do?'

'She looked shocked, heartbroken, then madder than hell, then she took 
off,' Zoisite reported.

'Did she say anything?' Kunzite pressed.

'Nothing--and she didn't seem to be going to the palace proper, either.  I 
sent Jadeite to go catch her and try some damage control.'

'Good.  If anyone can talk this situation out of being pure hell, it's 
him.' Venus and Serenity had gone and now Endymion approached.  'Your 
Highness, you've been discovered.'

'When can I see Serenity again?' Endymion asked.

Zoisite's jaw dropped.  'He doesn't get it, does he?'

'Endymion, right now you can't think of the princess,' Kunzite snapped.  
'Your concern is coming through this without tearing what diplomatic ties 
that exist between the Earth and the Moon to shreds.'

'God help me if this is what happens to a man when he falls in love,' 
Zoisite muttered, going to find Nephrite as Endymion began arguing with 
Kunzite...

...'She's not going to tell?' Zoisite said incredulously.  'Damn!  
Endymion is one lucky asshole!'

'He's an asshole, all right,' Kunzite muttered, thinking of Endymion's 
unyielding desire to see Serenity again.  'Neph?  What's your take on 
this?'

Nephrite, puzzled, frowned.  'She won't... tell,' he mumbled, 'but... she 
still desires Endymion, now more than ever...'

'I don't believe Beryl is a threat,' Jadeite commented smoothly.  'She 
loves Endymion too much to do anything to jeopardize his well-being.'

Zoisite nodded.  'There is that.  God forbid I ever fall in love.  It 
fucks you up big-time--Ow!' He glared at Nephrite, rubbing the shoulder 
that the stargazer had punched.

'Knock it off,' Kunzite sighed.  'Fine.  Let's give it a few days and then 
try this again...'

...Having only been to the Moon a few times, Kunzite was both fascinated 
and wary as he (this time the lone guardian) escorted Endymion to visit 
his lover.

'It's different from Earth, isn't it?' Minako asked him as they kept a 
discreet eye on Endymion and Usagi.

'Yes.  So much magic used to sustain life...' Kunzite frowned 
thoughtfully.  'It doesn't feel completely--right.'

'I like Earth better, too.  We don't have breezes here, or real sunshine,' 
Minako said sadly.  'The people of Earth have so many gifts to be thankful 
for.'

'And yet they somehow contrive to remain jealous of the Moon,' Kunzite 
sighed.  'As a group, human beings just aren't too bright, are they?'

Minako exhaled quietly.  'We're too fallible...' For some reason, Kunzite 
got the impression that she was blaming herself for something.

'What's on your mind?' he asked.

She smiled; Kunzite recognized it for the fašade it was.  'It's nothing.  
I was just thinking about how people have the dumbest tendencies to set 
their hearts on the things they can't ever have...'

'Sometimes things work out,' Kunzite consoled her.  'Like the prince and 
princess... I never would have imagined that they'd be able to continue 
the deceptions for this long... And there's Nephrite and Jupiter.  I doubt 
either of them were expecting to fall in love...' 

To his consternation, Minako seemed less-than-comforted by his examples.  
'Yes, they have been very lucky, haven't they?'

Staring at the young woman who seemed to hover on the edge of tears, 
Kunzite saw in her lovely blue eyes a hauntingly familiar emotion.  He 
glanced off into the distance and began to speak quietly.  'I've always 
wondered why some people crave the leadership position,' he commented.  
'It's generally thankless, difficult work... and no one who hasn't been 
the one in charge can ever really understand what it's like to be held 
responsible for all the successes and failures--'

'Especially the failures,' Minako said wryly.

Kunzite nodded.  'Especially the failures... The leader always has to be 
strong--'

'A good example to those she leads,' Minako murmured.  'She has to know 
when to give orders...'

'And when to give free rein... When to improvise...'

'When to follow the book... She can be friends with those she leads,' 
Minako added softly.

'But he has to remain at a distance, knowing that someday, somehow, 
success may depend on the sacrifice of the same friends,' Kunzite clenched 
his fists as he put into words his own personal concept of Hell.

'And because of this...' Minako swallowed, 'leadership is the loneliest 
position in the world...'

'Because anyone might someday be a liability.' Kunzite turned to look at 
Minako.  'It's easy to envy the happiness of others, ne?'

'No one who isn't a leader can understand how dangerous up to another 
person can be.' Minako looked up at him uncertainly.  'But... sometimes... 
maybe... it's worth the risk?'

Kunzite reached out and hesitantly touched her face.  'Sometimes it's 
worth the risk.'...

...'Kunzite?'

'Yeah, Neph, what is it?' Kunzite was nearly worn out from having had to 
guard Endymion on the Moon... and from that conversation with Minako...

'The lady Beryl would like to speak with you.' Perhaps, had he been a 
little less tired, he would have noticed that Nephrite didn't seem to be 
quite himself...

...'He is very strong,' the self-styled 'Queen' Beryl stated calmly as 
Metallia struggled to bend the will of the final member of Endymion's 
guard.  'Who is this Minako?'

Her three generals glanced at each other as Kunzite continued to resist 
the insidious Negaforce.  'We do not know, Your Majesty,' Jadeite, her 
first servant, finally volunteered.

'It is of no importance,' Beryl dismissed the matter.

Kunzite kept on screaming...

...The firestorm of hate that swept Earth surprised everyone.  In the 
course of mere days, 'Queen' Beryl rose, marshalling her armies and 
fanning the people of Earth into a fury against the Moon that destroyed 
all it touched.  Earth fell quickly to Beryl, the darkness she served... 
and the four generals who served them both...

...The four inner Scouts stood before the steps of the Moon's palace, 
knowing they were the last hope before the Moon Kingdom fell.  Laughing 
with malicious glee, Kunzite and his three subordinates moved forward to 
take care of the insolent Sailor brats...

...Venus fought with all the righteous fury that a loyal guard could 
muster, desperately attempting to save her puny little princess.  Kunzite 
took great pleasure in the look of horror that passed over her face when 
she realized the other Scouts were dead.  'How could you?' she spat 
angrily, dodging yet another from Kunzite's sword and launching her own 
attack.  'How could you betray your prince?!'

'I know no prince, little girl... I serve only the Negaverse and Queen 
Beryl!' Kunzite saw his opportunity, and, feigning a cut with his sword, 
buried an energy crescent in her chest.

Her large eyes went even larger with shock and a pain that transcended 
mere physical injuries.  'Kunzite!' she gasped, spraying a fine mist of 
blood from her lips as she spoke his name.  'I loved you, Kunzite...'

'Then you were more the fool for it,' he replied coldly, walking away as 
the life fled her body...//

~*~

Kunzite sighed.  It was funny how clear the memories were, even after all 
the time that had passed.  /Am I the only one who remembers?/ he wondered, 
rubbing his eyes.  With the memory of the wounds he had inflicted on 
Minako fresh, Kunzite shuddered and prayed that he was.  No one needed to 
remember what had happened at the fall of the Silver Millennium...

Before his musings could go any further, he felt a teleportation from the 
Negaverse directly to the crystal palace... in fact, to the very balcony 
on which he was perched, thinking.  

Kunzite had a glowing energy blade to the intruder's throat instantly.  
"Do you mind telling me what you're doing here?" he growled, not relaxing 
even when he recognized Sapphire.  

"Lord Kunzite," Sapphire sounded more relieved than a man with a blade to 
his throat had any right to be.  "I need to speak with King Endymion as 
quickly as possible."

"Why?" Kunzite examined Sapphire carefully, from the look of fierce 
determination combined with deep regret to the--component--that he 
clutched in his hands.

"The Universe is in more danger than any of us ever realized, and I, for 
one, want to save it." Sapphire was amazingly calm and collected.  "Lord 
Kunzite, I've just committed high treason against my brother.  This 
control panel comes from the Dark Crystal.  Without the Dark Crystal, 
Diamond's powers are greatly diminished.  I may be from the Dark Moon, 
but--"

"All right.  Come on." Kunzite lowered his weapon and motioned Sapphire to 
go first.  "Let's go talk to Endymion."

~*~

"Your Highness, Sapphire has betrayed us!" exclaimed Wise Man the moment 
Diamond strolled into the throne room.

Diamond chuckled sardonically.  "Why can't the two of you just get along?" 
he asked tiredly, casting himself down on his throne.  "I really don't 
want to hear it, Wise Man."

"Your Highness--Prince Diamond--" Wise Man sounded almost agitated.

"Shut up, Wise Man." Diamond leaned his head on his hand.

If Wise Man had possessed teeth, he would have been grinding them.  
"Prince Diamond, *please*--"

"I gave you a direct order, Wise Man," Diamond gritted.  He sighed.  
"Fine.  Enough of this.  I'm sick of this rivalry between the two of you.  
Fetch Sapphire and we will straighten this out for once and for all."

"Sapphire is no longer on Nemesis, Your Highness," Wise Man announced.  
/Finally!/

"What?" Diamond sat up.

"He is no longer on Nemesis," Wise Man repeated.  "He removed the control 
panel from the Dark Crystal and absconded with it to Crystal Tokyo, 
leaving us vastly disabled." He resisted adding, /I told you so./

"What the hell was he thinking?!" Diamond exploded, slamming a fist down 
on the arm of his throne.  "How *dare* he?!"

"Indeed, Your Highness, this is a very grave matter," Wise Man agreed, 
keeping his glee firmly in check.  "Your brother--"

"Don't dignify that traitor by insinuating that he shares a drop of my 
blood," Diamond interrupted harshly.

"Very well, Your Highness... The traitor has disabled us greatly.  We have 
no energy to draw from the Dark Crystal, and that will stall any attack we 
can make on Crystal Tokyo.  We are essentially helpless."

Diamond muttered a savage oath.  "I will see him punished!" he shouted at 
the universe.  "I will not be denied my revenge!"

"We must recover the component, Your Highness," Wise Man interjected in 
his most reasonable tones.

Diamond took a deep breath.  "Yes, of course, you are correct," he agreed, 
trying to calm himself somewhat.  He largely failed.  "How, pray, are we 
to accomplish that without the power to launch a full-scale assault on 
Crystal Tokyo, damn it?"

Wise Man chose his next words very carefully.  "There is, perhaps, a way," 
he said delicately.  "If I were to merge my essence with yours, it would 
place at your disposal all of my not inconsiderable resources, and you 
yourself could pursue the miscreant and bring him to justice--You would 
rely only on yourself, rather than incompetent henchmen, and you would 
have the opportunity to wreak you vengeance directly..."

"You would submerge yourself completely in order to aid me?" Diamond 
asked, intrigued.  "Wise Man, you are the one loyal servant that I 
have..."

Had it been possible, Wise Man would have smirked.  "Should we hurry, Your 
Highness, lest those of Crystal Tokyo seek to advantage themselves in the 
midst of our weakness?"

Diamond nodded swiftly.  "Let us do it now."

~*~

"I know we aren't the most reliable sources," Jadeite commented, with his 
arm draped comfortably over Mercury's shoulders, "but I'm inclined to say 
he's telling the truth."

King Endymion turned to Kunzite.  "And you?" he asked gravely.

Still holding the energy blade, Kunzite paused a moment before answering.  
"I believe him also, Your Majesty, and I think we ought--"

What Kunzite thought he never got to voice, as he, Jadeite, and Sapphire 
all went rigid with shock as a massive surge of negative energy swept over 
their senses.  "What the hell was that?!" Jadeite demanded.

"Usagi!" Tuxedo Mask yelled, as Sailor Moon abruptly disappeared into thin 
air.  He rounded on Sapphire, going into his Prince Endymion persona.  
"You!  What have you done with her?" he shouted, drawing his sword and 
leveling it at Sapphire.

"Endymion!" Kunzite snapped.  "Calm down!  He didn't do it!"

 chuckled a whispering, echoing voice without a 
physical source.  

"Who are you?" barked King Endymion.



"You took my Princess?" demanded Prince Endymion.



"Then you shall die," the prince vowed, teeth clenched.

The disembodied voice laughed again, thinly.   Then there was silence.

"How did he do that?" Sapphire whispered in disbelief.  "Neither he nor 
Wise Man should have been able to pull that off--God, even I barely 
managed to penetrate the defenses... Without the power of the Dark 
Crystal..." Sapphire shook his head. 

"Was that supposed to be one entity?" Jadeite asked quizzically.  "Because 
I could have sworn-there were two signatures there..."

"My God... Diamond, you wouldn't," Sapphire choked out, sickened by the 
thought of what Jadeite was implying.

"Are we going to stand here or go rescue Serenity?" Prince Endymion 
demanded agitatedly, gesticulating with his sword for emphasis.

"Not without a plan we aren't," King Endymion's hologram said firmly.

"You'll have to give me to him," Sapphire said quietly, "And, as soon as 
you get Princess Serenity back, you'll have to save Diamond from himself."

"But what about you?" asked Sailor Jupiter.

"I'll probably be dead, Sailor Jupiter," he replied.  "The important thing 
is to get Princess Serenity away from whatever warped thing Wise Man has 
made my brother into, and then stopping Wise Man."

Prince Endymion took a deep breath.  "No, there's got to be a better way 
than that."

"Can you get us into this citadel, Sapphire?" Venus asked unexpectedly.

He thought about it for a while.  "It'll be tough, but... Yes.  I think I 
can do it."

Mars nodded.  "Good.  We can go after Sailor Moon and get her back before 
that creep knows what's hit him."

"I just want to know one thing," Mercury interjected.  "Why did he take 
Sailor Moon when he could have just as easily taken Sapphire?"

Sapphire looked uncomfortable; a blush stained his handsome cheeks.  
"Um... actually... I think I can explain that," he mumbled.

"Yes?" Jadeite asked.

Sapphire swallowed and tried to find the right words to say it.  "Well, 
it's like this... Diamond has always had something of an obsession for 
Neo-Queen Serenity, and... I guess this was just too perfect an 
opportunity for him to miss..."

"If he so much as lays a finger on her, I swear I'll kill him with my bare 
hands," Venus promised, voicing the sentiments of Prince Endymion, who was 
too enraged to speak.

"He's not completely evil," Sapphire protested, voice sad.  "There was a 
time when there was good in him... it just got lost, somehow... He just 
wanted revenge too badly.  He can still be saved, I know it."

Kunzite put his hand on Prince Endymion's shoulder.  "Don't worry, we will 
get her back," he promised his liege.  "I swear it on my life."

The prince looked at his guardians and nodded briefly.  "And we will make 
the kidnappers pay," he added.


@}~~}~~~~


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