Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ The Longest Night, Act I ( Chapter 12 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Absence - By Kirika


Twelfth chapter. Couldn't update yesterday; had things to do, people to see.



- Kirika


Chapter 12 - The Longest Night, Act I

Khairephon threw the youma messenger hard against a stone wall and heard the snap of bones breaking. The muffled beat-beat-beat of dance music pounded above him, in sync to the throbbing vein at the side of his head. Khairephon was royally pissed off. Because of Rodoth's gross incompetence the second gate, and an entire company of youma, had been lost. The human authorities had completely locked down the gate location, making it impossible to use, for who knew how long. Khairephon was reduced to using the small original gate that only let a trickle of youma through when opened. If Rodoth hadn't been killed, Khairephon would have gutted the fool himself. All of his 'infiltration this' and 'infiltration that', the bloody moron. Rodoth had thought of himself as so smart, so cunning. Pah!

Khairephon had his own spy's amongst Rodoth's youma agents, however. While he had to admit they weren't as good at information gathering as Makareus' youma, they did the job. He had learned that one of Rodoth's youma infiltrators had found a font of information about the human female with fiery powers. It had been easy to apply pressure to the weak-willed Santhesis at the Yokohama Daily and force him to swear allegiance to him. Khairephon's first orders for his new recruit had been to find out all the information it could about the human rebel from its source.

Khairephon had also discovered what Rodoth was up to just before the youma departed for his personal vendetta, but the mighty warrior was, unfortunately, too late to stop him. He had been stupid to put the matter in Rodoth's hands; he should have handled it himself from the very beginning. Makareus' youma followers were constantly backstabbing each other; Rodoth's treachery should have been anticipated. But now things had been rectified. Soon Santhesis should report back. The night was young... it would soon be time for Khairephon to meet with the female who was causing so much trouble.

The stars were still in alignment to open the original interdimensional gateway. Khairephon had decided to take no chances and would accompany the three youma who were heading to the gate in the industrial district. After he had overseen the safe arrival of more youma, Khairephon was certain that Santhesis would be back at the Ragnarok nightclub waiting to tell him of his findings. He hoped to be given a location for the female's whereabouts. He wanted to end this farce now; it had dragged on long enough. The female had killed far too many youma, including some of his best warriors; warriors who had been with him on many other planet assaults. It was ludicrous; how could a single human slay so many? What had happened earlier tonight would have caused Khairephon to laugh hysterically if he weren't so damned angry.

Tales had even been spreading throughout his dwindling ranks about the human. Whispers of how fire would come to her aid to incinerate youma. Hushed murmurs of divine favour that gave her strength and luck in battle. Khairephon had heard them all. After what had happened at the second gate site, his remaining troops would likely run for the hills thinking that the female was some vengeful god's avatar or some insanity like that. But Khairephon would show them all that she was still just a human. A special human, he had to admit, but still simply a human being. And humans bled just like everyone else.…


Rei sat in her underwear on Sanjuro's couch with her head tilted back and stared at the dingy ceiling. Her breathing was slow and even as Tsubasa sat beside her, rubbing soothing ointment on her numerous burns. Rei was aware of the pain, but it was like it was happening to someone else far away. All Rei had wanted to do was stop the wounds from bleeding, then go back out again to try to find another lead to the youma headquarters... and to Khairephon. Instead, Tsubasa had insisted, no, *demanded* that she sit down and get treatment. Rei didn't really know why she had agreed. Maybe she had just been tired and needed to rest for a while, although she hadn't wanted to admit that fact to herself. All she knew was that most of her body was now wrapped in slightly red-stained white bandages, and more of it would soon be covered once Tsubasa finished his 'mothering'.

It had been a close call at the fireworks shop; she had almost been blown apart with all the of less fortunate youma. Rei had hesitated for a split second after she had shot off her fireball. Many thoughts had raced through her mind in that moment, all of them along the same vein. Was it really worth the bother to go on, was it really worth hanging on to this life? It would have been so much easier to stand there in the store as it exploded, and just give in to death. After all, the Fire Senshi had done her job and destroyed the gate, hadn't she? But, a vague notion had held Rei back from going through with her thoughts. Rei wasn't sure what it was exactly, but something inside had told her that she wasn't ready to die; not yet. Perhaps it was because the youma leader, Khairephon, was still alive. There might be more gates through which his forces could travel, too. Maybe her job hadn't actually been totally completed yet. Whatever the reason, Rei had run to the nearest window and had thrown herself through it while all of the distracted youma were staring open-mouthed at her fireball. Had she waited even a fraction of a second longer, she would have certainly been history with them.

Rei idly wondered where Sanjuro was. He had been gone for a while now. Maybe he had headed back to Chinatown once his business at the Yokohama Daily had been seen to. Sanjuro would, no doubt, be extremely disappointed that he had missed out on what had happened once he saw the devastation Rei had left behind.

"There," Tsubasa's voice interrupted the silence as he tied off the last bandage, "all done. Don't you feel better?" He gave the Fire Senshi a slight, somewhat tentative, smile.

Rei shifted her dull eyes to meet his, as if to silently let him know how stupid the question was. She didn't *feel* anything. It was like she was viewing the world through a veil of apathy, not truly caring what happened in it. But then, Rei supposed that was not entirely true. She was trying to stop the youma; that was a sign she cared about something, right? No, that was wrong; she really didn't care. Rei wanted to stop the youma because... it was the only remnant of her former life that she had left to do. In fact, it almost seemed that she desperately clutched at it... like a lifeline, unwilling to let go. She wondered why. Was it out of duty? Maybe that was it. But Rei had never realised that her sense of duty was so strong.

Rei returned her eyes to the stained ceiling of the ratty apartment. She wished it would all just end... everything. She didn't have much fight left in her.


Tsubasa had never felt a greater sense of relief than when he realised Megumi had escaped the destruction of Wong Fei's shop. The two of them had returned to Sanjuro's apartment post haste... it had been strange; one minute a girl all decked in black had run alongside him, and in the next, it was Megumi running in normal everyday clothes. Tsubasa surmised that the darkly garbed girl was Megumi's alter ego.

When they had reached Sanjuro's apartment, Tsubasa had insisted that Megumi take a seat and have her injuries seen to. She had sustained some rather nasty burns on parts of her body. Mercifully, her coat seemed to have provided some limited protection from the fire. But now.…

Tsubasa looked at Megumi with worry in his brown eyes as he put away the medical supplies. Now, he was concerned about Megumi's mental state. For the short time he had known her, Megumi had always been sharp tongued and easily angered; but she had still been capable of letting her hair down, so to speak, and act like a normal, typical girl. Now she didn't talk much at all... and what she did say, was right to the point. Megumi just seemed... dark; and disturbed. And her eyes... Tsubasa got slight shivers when she looked at him with her cold lavender eyes. Eyes he had once thought pretty.

Tsubasa stood up and walked into the bathroom to wash his hands. In disgust, he picked up a semi-wet towel off of Sanjuro's bathroom floor and attempted to dry his hands. He wondered where the heartless slob was. Tsubasa hoped Sanjuro was waiting in Chinatown; he hoped the reporter ended up waiting there all night. Tsubasa didn't usually think about people in that way, but Sanjuro just got under his skin. He was so selfish; it seemed he never thought beyond his own needs. He shook his head and left the bathroom.


Megumi was still sitting in the same spot on the couch when Tsubasa came out, still staring blankly up at the ceiling. He sighed and looked over at the empty picture frame lying on the bed. Tsubasa supposed Megumi had taken the photo out and kept it on her person now. At least it was a sign she still cared about something.

The ex-assistant cook was jolted from his train of thought when the phone rang suddenly. He glanced over to it, wondering if he should answer it. After a moment, Tsubasa decided that he should just let the answering machine get it; it was probably only some friend of Sanjuro's anyway, or maybe the man himself calling to see if Megumi were in his apartment. All the more reason not to pick it up.

The answering machine kicked in and Tsubasa tried to ignore Sanjuro's inane novelty phone message. A beep sounded, and then there was something that sounded like deep breathing on the other end. Great; a prank caller. But as Tsubasa listened his ears picked up something else. It was as if someone was trying to say something but couldn't quite get the words out. As if someone had gone to the dentist's and gotten their mouth numbed.

"Gelf?" Tsubasa parroted to himself as he tried to decipher what the speaker on the phone was attempting to say. Just what the hell was a 'gelf'?

Tsubasa's puzzlement was disturbed when he was knocked aside by Megumi as she brushed past him to pick up the phone.

"It's me, I'm here. Where are you? Can you understand what I'm saying? Sanjuro? I understand... hold on." Megumi slammed down the phone's receiver and started to pull on her clothes.

"What's going on?" Tsubasa asked, even more confused by Megumi's exchange over the telephone. "Was that Sanjuro? Is he in trouble or something?"

Megumi ignored his questions and, after she had finished dressing herself, ran out of the apartment.

Tsubasa cursed and ran after her.


Sanjuro lay on his side under his desk at the Yokohama Daily, still clutching the phone. His head felt full, as though he had a bad sinus infection, and something cold, slimy and unpleasant feeling, was leaking out of his nose and ears. It was hard to think, too... he could barely even remember his own name. Sanjuro had lain there a long time just trying to remember the telephone number of his own apartment. After he had remembered it, he then found it difficult to form the words... it was as though the language he tried to speak was foreign. Only one thought had remained strong in his mind: Sanjuro had to get Megumi here.

Sanjuro blinked his eyes languidly. His eyelids were sticky... the slimy stuff was coming out of the corners of his eyes, too. The reporter could hear muted, panicked cries far away. Then it sounded like two men screaming, followed by the quick footsteps of someone who was running. He also perceived something not quite right... the sounds from something... not human. Sanjuro knew what that 'something' looked like, but his mind seemed to rebel against calling the image up. His mind was so sluggish... and his body... it was hard to even move. To breath. Everything was just so lethargic….


The taxicab pulled up to the Yokohama Daily skyscraper, and Tsubasa threw a handful of yen at the driver before quickly chasing after the raven-haired girl already sprinting for the building. Tsubasa stopped to catch his breath as Megumi scanned the information board in the lobby for something specific. Most likely the location of Sanjuro's office. He heard a sound to his right and turned to see a security guard jogging over to them.

"Hey, you two, this building is closed to the public now. Employees only," the guard informed the pair.

"We're just visiting a friend," Tsubasa said quickly, hoping that the reason would be enough for the guard yet knowing that it wouldn't be.

"Don't care, the building is closed. You have to leave *now*," the guard ordered with some menace.

Megumi paid no attention to the conversation between Tsubasa and the security guard and sped towards the elevators, evidently having found what she had been looking for.

Tsubasa ran too, the yelling security guard in hot pursuit. He lunged into the same elevator Megumi occupied just in time for the doors to close behind him... and just barely eluding the security guard trying desperately to stop the two.

"Phew... I thought he'd get us for sure," Tsubasa panted with the relief clear in his voice.

Megumi ignored him, as per usual, and merely looked silently at the floor numbers as they ticked upwards on the indicator.

Tsubasa was going to ask her what was going on but decided to save his breath instead; Megumi didn't appear very talkative.

"Nearly there…." Megumi whispered to herself, then abruptly shouted, "MARS CRYSTAL POWER, MAKE UP!"

A startled Tsubasa covered his eyes protectively with a hand as a bright red light enveloped Megumi for a fraction of a second. He then lowered his hand and blinked in amazement at the sight before him. A girl who resembled the one who had emerged out of the ruins of Wong Fei's earlier, now replaced Megumi. She was dressed in a black duster-style coat over a similarly coloured bodysuit with a red veil over her lower face.

"Megumi...?" Tsubasa questioned softly.

Megumi's cold amethyst eyes moved to survey him as if she were looking at a bug that had no right to live. Tsubasa stepped back nervously, pressing himself against a wall of the elevator. Maybe it would be better if he just stood there and shut up.


Sailor Mars moved cautiously out of the elevator when it arrived at the newsroom of the Yokohama Daily on the fourteenth floor. Sanjuro was in trouble and it had to do with a youma. His speech had been badly slurred and mangled over the phone, but Mars had learned that much. However, he should make no mistake; she had not come to his rescue. Sailor Mars had come because a youma was here who could tell her where Khairephon and his headquarters were. And before it died by her hand, it *would* talk.

Sailor Mars stepped as carefully, and quietly, as possible down the hallway while following the helpful signs posted on the walls to the main office. She was aware of Tsubasa following her and moving at, what he must have thought of as, a low noise level. But his heavy breathing was a dead give away and would probably alert any vigilant enemies nearby. Mars should have left the man back at the apartment.

As if to make her point, the brown-haired neophyte gasped in horror as they rounded a corner and saw a rotund, balding man lying face down in the next hallway.

Sailor Mars halted and looked around warily to make sure there were no youma lying in wait for an ambush. Satisfied, she then approached the still man, then crouched down to examine the, now evidently, quite dead body. Mars heard Tsubasa heave as he looked upon the corpse. It was as if the fallen man's head was partially melted into the floor; the flesh and bone of his face had been dissolved totally by something. Most likely by some sort of highly acidic substance, leaving behind a putrid mess.

"Youma…." Mars whispered. No being on Earth possessed the ability to do something like this.

Sailor Mars turned her head back to Tsubasa. He looked quite pale and ready to throw up. The Fire Senshi's eyes narrowed slightly. Tsubasa was going to get in the way. "Maybe you should stay here," Mars suggested quietly.

Tsubasa shook his head, his eyes wide with fright. "W-With that?" he squeaked, pointing to the partially melted carcass with a shaky finger. "I don't think so!"

"Then go wait in the elevator or something," the miko said impatiently.

Sailor Mars resumed moving towards the main office, leaving Tsubasa behind. As she crept down the hall, she heard someone whimpering behind a door labelled as a supply closet to her right. Mars walked up to the door silently and violently kicked it open without warning, nearly tearing it clean off its hinges. The Fire Senshi was ready to torch anything not human that dwelt inside. She was greeted by a loud, terrified scream. A man with shoulder length, dark brown hair was cowering in a ball, his hands shielding his head while he trembled in fear.

"You. Talk. How many people are on this floor?" Mars demanded coldly, glaring down at the quivering man rather distastefully.

The longhaired man peered up at the miko through his fingers. His one, wide, visible eye blinked in recognition as he took in Sailor Mars' appearance.

"Y-Y-You're her, th-the masked hero!" he stuttered breathlessly. "Y-You came... Sanjuro--"

"How many?" Mars demanded again, her tone becoming harder.

"Four!" the petrified man blurted, terror once again showing in the only eye Mars could see. "No, w-wait... three... me, Sanjuro and Mr. Takahashi, the editor. Tetsuya... T-Tetsuya c-c-changed…."

Sailor Mars closed the battered door shut before the man could finish his speech. So. One youma and Sanjuro were left running around here somewhere. Mars hoped that the youma hadn't already departed the floor... but most likely it would want all witnesses to its activities dead before it did. If Sanjuro were already dead, she reasoned, then her best bet was to stay near the man in the closet and use him as bait. Yes, that was the better plan. Searching for Sanjuro while not knowing whether the youma had already killed him or not, would be a waste of time. It was more efficient for Mars to assume that the reporter was already dead.

Sailor Mars ducked on instinct as, out of the blue, a green mass flew at her, and then sailed over her head to splatter on the supply closet door. There was a sizzling sound as a hole was burnt through it, and the man hiding inside the closet started screaming again.

Mars turned in the direction of the attack, giving her undivided attention to the youma who had just foolishly--or bravely--revealed itself to her. The creature appeared humanoid, but it was as if its head had been replaced by a squid. Dark purple tentacles dangled over its circular, sucking mouth, which matched its blotchy skin colour. A few of the tentacles were graced with suction cups at the ends.

"Here you are," the youma rasped, the tentacles over its mouth wobbling with its speech. "It seems I have wasted my time feeding on that other human's brain."

Sailor Mars tilted her head slightly to the side at the disgusting creature, her amethyst eyes boring into the monster's own black beady ones stuck to its swollen, balloon head. The youma shifted its feet a little, no doubt at her obvious lack of fear in its presence and thinking about how many of its kind Mars had already butchered. It was going to run. Coward.

"Hey, what's going on?!" shouted the security guard Sailor Mars remembered from the lobby as he appeared at the end of the hallway with a frantic Tsubasa latched onto his arm, trying unsuccessfully to pull him back.

The youma turned in a flash of motion and spat a vile olive-coloured substance at the guard which struck him in the chest with a vile, slimy, *splat*. The guard howled in agony as first his uniform, then his flesh, and finally his ribcage, bubbled and liquefied while greenish vapours streamed off of the horrible wound. The doomed man fell gurgling to the floor, dragging a shocked Tsubasa down with him.


Sailor Mars let loose a fireball at the youma as it hurdled over the two fallen men in an attempt to flee from the raven-haired girl. But her attack was too slow and the hot sphere scorched the hallway walls instead, causing the numerous automatic ceiling sprinklers to activate. Mars hurriedly took off after the spineless youma as the shower of water quickly drenched her. She turned a corner fast, then promptly ducked and rolled to her right to evade the acid ball projected her way.

The youma, who had lied in wait for Sailor Mars to come around the corner, cursed in an unknown tongue when its effort to surprise her failed. It began tearing off down the hall again, but Mars was tired of the creature's game and refused to chase it all over the place. It was time to bring this short pursuit to its inevitable conclusion.


Her firebird beat its blazing wings rapidly and soared down the hallway after the youma, the wingtips scorching the walls and setting off more sprinklers in its wake. The phoenix found, and smashed into, the fleeing youma's back. The creature was thrown to the ground and sent sliding along the floor in an eruption of flames. The youma shrieked in panic as it flailed wildly about trying, with the help of the activated emergency sprinklers above, to extinguish the numerous fires surrounding its body.

Mars ignored the burning youma's plight, and marching right up to it, stood over the creature imperiously with hands upon her hips. "Tell me where Khairephon is and where your headquarters are," Sailor Mars ordered grimly.

The youma struggled onto its badly blistered back and strained to look up at Mars through its beady eyes, making a peculiar burbling noise as it so.

Sailor Mars supposed that it was some sort of response to fear. The sprinklers continued to rain water down on them from above, clapping the miko's long hair to her head, while the youma seemed to be measuring what its chances of survival would be if it refused to talk. It caved pretty quickly.

"Ragnarok..." it rasped in a tremulous voice. "Ragnarok nightclub.…"

Sailor Mars smiled thinly down at the youma. Now she could finish all of this tonight. Mars would bring a conflagration to the Ragnarok nightclub in the likes of which the youma that dwelled within had never seen before. The building would virtually become their funeral pyre. And Khairephon, too, would burn in that inferno.

The youma, seeing Sailor Mars lost in thoughts of flames and burning, jumped to its feet and barged past her, seeking its escape from the creepy raven-haired girl.

The Fire Senshi immediately turned with the monster's movement, and was about to fry it to a cinder once and for all, when there was a loud unpleasant squelching sound as the youma passed by a hallway intersection. It stood frozen for a second with its arms spread out slightly, then collapsed to the floor.

Mars looked down dispassionately at the slain youma, observing the paper guillotine blade wedged in its neck. Its cobalt coloured blood pumped out of the grievous injury and onto the floor, mixing with pools of water from the emergency sprinklers. She lifted her gaze as Sanjuro staggered rigidly from around the corner, his face covered in a yellowish, glutenous substance.

"Thaf'll... teesh 'im... to poke... tenticeels in me...." he choked out, a gout of slimy yellow fluid escaping from his mouth to trickle down his shirt.

Sanjuro fell backwards against a wall and slid slowly down it onto his backside, apparently unconscious.

Tsubasa was instantly by Sanjuro's side, having pushed the dead weight of the heavy security guard off from on top of him. He felt the reporter's neck for a pulse, doing his best to avoid the oily liquid covering most of the man's face. Tsubasa looked back at Sailor Mars through brown bangs hanging wetly down in his eyes.

"His pulse is really slow, I think he needs an ambulance... and those other two..." he glanced back down the hallway where the corpses of the Daily's editor and the security guard lay.

"Then call one," Mars replied in a monotone voice, "the night isn't over yet and I have other things to do."

Sailor Mars turned around and walked briskly towards the elevator, leaving Tsubasa to his own devices. After a few seconds, she heard a shrill ringing as the fire alarm went off. Then Mars saw Tsubasa's hand appear between the closing doors of the elevator she stood in, causing them to open and let him in.

"The alarm should bring help, and the sprinklers activated solely on this floor will lead them to Sanjuro," Tsubasa explained, as if he were trying to justify his decision to abandon the spiky-haired man.

Sailor Mars contemplated telling him about the other man in the office supply closet, but decided to remain quiet instead. The elevator arrived on the ground floor lobby and the two of them stepped out when the doors opened. The soaked pair left small puddles of water with each footfall.

"So where are we-- I mean, you, going?" asked Tsubasa cautiously, not wanting Sailor Mars to leave him behind.

"A nightclub called the Ragnarok. It's the youma's base," Mars informed him while she continued to stride towards the building's exit.

Tsubasa hurried to try and keep up with her. "A nightclub? Won't that mean people will be there, too? Just ordinary people, you know... human beings?" Tsubasa asked with worry.

"Probably…." Mars replied, clearly unconcerned as she absently squeezed water from her long raven locks.

Tsubasa stopped walking to stare at the Senshi of Fire. He swallowed nervously before jogging to catch up with the girl... again.


To be continued.…

Author's ramblings:

I could have made the fight between the youma and Mars drag on, but I felt that it was more likely it would try to run from her. She is a harbinger of death for youma now after all. ^_^