Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Knives In The Dark ( Chapter 27 )

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


Chapter twenty-seven. Well, since everyone said Saturn could waste things with her silence glaive, I assumed she was proficient in wielding the blade in close combat. Besides, that's her only attack that wouldn't nuke the place. ^_^

Oh, and of course the enemies are smart. No pansy weak enemies allowed (much).

Another thing; I find it kind of amusing that only one person expressed sympathy for Yuuichirou. ^_^

And finally, am I ever going to cut the senshi slack? No. They can rest when they're all dead. *laughs evilly*


- Kirika


Chapter 27 - Knives In The Dark

Setsuna kicked one of her crossed legs idly as she sat on the couch, waiting for 'them' to arrive. That was the problem with being able to see into the future; there were rarely any surprises. Plus, Setsuna could hardly ever use her privileged information to aid any of her friends. Except this time she could bend the rules. After all, the coming events would involve her, so the green-haired woman had deemed it was within reason to use her foresight for personal purposes.

Setsuna looked down to the floor where Hotaru and Chibi-Usa were watching TV, dressed in their pyjamas. Chibi-Usa had come to the Outer Senshi residence to have a sleepover with Hotaru, which was becoming a near nightly occurrence. Setsuna allowed herself a small smile as she watched the two girls lounge about on the carpet, chatting about this and that with their eyes glued to the television screen. The Senshi of Time knew they were still merely best friends, but that would change eventually. Even Chibi-Usa and Hotaru themselves didn't know their own developing feelings for one another, but Setsuna knew what would eventually happen. She always knew everything, did she not?

Setsuna let out a melancholy sigh. No, she didn't know everything. The future streams of Time were always partially clouded, all of the possible paths not completely revealed to even her, the Guardian of Time. You would think that after a millennium of loneliness you would get used to being alone, used to having no one to share your life with. But Setsuna still wasn't used to that fact. No matter how diligently she had searched through the future timelines, the woman had found no indication that she would ever find her special someone, her true love, her soul mate. It seemed Setsuna was destined for an immortal existence filled with loneliness. She envied Rei; the girl had spat in destiny's face and had the courage to forge her own fate, no matter how futile it was. Setsuna wished she could tell Rei how the whole situation would play out, but that would definitely be breaking the rules. In truth, the Guardian of Time didn't know *exactly* how things would end, but she knew the crux of it all was the 'moment', the part of the timeline she couldn't see past. But what Setsuna had saw so far did not bode well for the miko; the Senshi of Time was beginning to regret retrieving Rei from Yokohama.

Setsuna snapped out of her thoughts as Hotaru and Chibi-Usa shared a cheerful giggle. Not all of the Sailor Senshi's fates were so grim, thankfully. At least, the futures of the two young girls in front of her could be steered away from danger by the Guardian of Time's own hand. The pair had conned Setsuna into letting them stay up late, even though it was a school night, with a variety of pouts and puppy dog expressions. It was safer if Chibi-Usa and Hotaru remained awake anyway; Setsuna had seen grisly possibilities if the girls were to be asleep in the Senshi of Rebirth's room when the enemy came. She had also seen her own death occurring tonight, but that was nothing new in itself. Setsuna was a Sailor Senshi, and any fight she took part in could end up with her being dead; it was always a possible future. She had even seen herself at one point tripping while crossing a road, then subsequently being hit by a car and killed. Having witnessed your own demise countless of times did tend to dull the experience, but it was still somewhat disturbing. Unfortunately, the coming battle would spell certain death for Setsuna, unless another Sailor Senshi came to her aid. And Setsuna couldn't afford to die; she had a duty to guard the Gates of Time.

The green-haired woman uncrossed her legs and sat up straighter. The enemy would be approaching the house very soon. "Firefly, why don't you take Small Lady up to your room?" Setsuna suggested to Hotaru.

Hotaru rolled over off her stomach and sat up, looking at the Outer Senshi. "But Setsuna-mama, you said we could stay up," she argued softly.

"I know I did, but I'm expecting some… guests, to arrive soon," Setsuna explained to the pale girl.

"'Guests', Puu?" Chibi-Usa repeated. "What kinda guests? A Sailor Senshi?"

"No. Uninvited guests. Now be good girls and stay upstairs, no matter what you hear from down here. Do you understand?" Setsuna instructed calmly, yet firmly.

Hotaru blinked a few times at the Guardian of Time, before looking at Chibi-Usa at the same moment her friend looked at her. Both girls then turned their gazes back to the eldest Sailor Senshi.

"Alright, Setsuna-mama," Hotaru agreed obediently.

The young girl took Chibi-Usa's hand gently in her own and got to her feet, bringing her pink-haired companion up with her. Hotaru led her best friend to the stairs leading up to the second storey of the house, giving a last backwards glance to Setsuna, her eyes laced with worry. Chibi-Usa looked back and forth between the other two Sailor Senshi, obviously confused, but to her credit, she didn't ask any questions.

"Come on, Chibi-Usa," Hotaru said, "I can show you the new lamps I got."

Once the two girls footsteps faded up the stairs, Setsuna took out her communicator. She prayed Rei had listened to her advice to keep her own communicator close by, or at least told another senshi to do so. Setsuna's life depended on it. She swiftly tapped a few buttons to activate the device, opening a channel to all the Sailor Senshi bar two. Time was running short.

"This is Sailor Pluto to all active Sailor Senshi, requesting immediate assistance. Multiple youma are approaching the Outer Senshi house and Minato General Hospital. I repeat, I require immediate assistance at the Outer Senshi residence," Setsuna announced quickly, then deactivated her communicator and put it away, not waiting for any response. There would be no time.


Sailor Pluto completed her transformation and whirled her Time Staff around in the air, before bringing it down with a bang on the floor in an upright position. The youma would be coming any second now. Pluto prayed Hotaru and Chibi-Usa remained upstairs; in nearly every future she had witnessed, if the girls came down to help her one or both would meet their end. While staying upstairs didn't absolve them from danger altogether, it did give them better chances of survival. Sailor Pluto had considered running away with the children, but she had known that would have been a disastrous path to take, most likely causing the deaths of all three of them. No, it was better to make a stand here and now.

Sailor Pluto exhaled slowly as the enemy cut the electricity to the house, making the shadows grow darker, the only light now from the streetlamps outside shining through the living room window. Two of the most powerful Sailor Senshi were residing in this house, and the Guardian of Time knew that neither would give in easily. But Pluto hoped that no less than one Sailor Senshi would come to help her, or her death was assured.

As a deep black mist began to form in one of the dark shadows of the room, Sailor Pluto once again wished she had a special someone to fight by her side. She didn't want to die alone, not knowing love.


Rei awoke all of a sudden, flicking her eyes about the dark hospital room. It was as if something had disturbed her slumber. She was surprised to feel a weight on her chest and legs, but smiled when she saw that it was Usagi, curled up in her lap. The two of them must have fallen asleep. Rei glanced at the clock on the wall. It was certainly late; Usagi's parents must be worried. But let them wait, the Fire Senshi decided as she held her only love a little closer to her with one arm.

Rei tenderly stroked her fingers down her princess's satin smooth cheek with her free hand, watching the relaxed rise and fall of the blonde's chest. It seemed that Usagi's nightmares had finally abated. The girl had told Rei days before that she still sometimes had disturbing dreams about her, or another senshi, being killed or mortally injured in a fight. Rei had been afraid that with what happened to Makoto, her princess's nightmares would come more frequently, but it appeared that Usagi was sleeping peacefully.

Rei bent down and lightly kissed the top of her true love's head, being careful not to wake her. The raven-haired girl breathed in the scent of Usagi's blonde hair, detecting the aroma of vanilla, the shampoo she no doubt used. For the first time in a long while, Rei was happy with her lot in life. Her friend Makoto was still in a critical condition and the miko prayed for her recovery, but the Fire Senshi was still extremely happy. Rei did feel slightly guilty that she could be so overjoyed while Ami was totally miserable and distraught with concern for Makoto, however. Rei had told Ami that the youma responsible for her girlfriend's condition had been killed, but the knowledge seemed to have given little comfort to the blue-haired genius. Rei suspected that her friend was still watching over Makoto even at this very moment. She wondered if Ami would skip school again. Rei deduced that Ami's mother must know about her daughter and Makoto's relationship by now from the Senshi of Water's recent actions, if the woman hadn't already beforehand. The miko wondered how she had taken the news.

Usagi had left to visit Mamoru earlier, but to Rei's delight, her princess had returned after an hour or so. And with a present for her. The blonde had brought Rei chocolates instead of the traditional gift of grapes. Usagi must have made some effort not to eat any before her bodyguard had received them; none of the chocolaty treats had been missing from their tray. Of course, that didn't stop Rei from teasing her love about her eating habits.

Usagi yawned and snuggled into Rei while the raven-haired girl held her, remaining asleep. While the Fire Senshi was debating whether to go back to sleep or stay awake and enjoy the feeling of her only love so close to her, her communicator sparked to life. Rei had taken Setsuna's advice to heart and had kept her communicator strapped to her wrist.

"This is Pluto to all active Sailor Senshi, requesting immediate assistance. Multiple youma are approaching the Outer Senshi house and Minato General Hospital. I repeat, I require immediate assistance at the Outer Senshi residence," the voice from the device said.

Minato General Hospital? That was here! Rei's body tensed, the miko's heart rate abruptly increasing.

Another voice crackled over the communicator. "This is Sailor Venus, I'm on my way, Pluto. Pluto? Do you hear me?" Minako's voice said.

"This is Mercury," piped up Ami's voice, rather groggily. "I'm already at the hospital. The youma must be coming for the injured Sailor Senshi! I'm going to stay in Jupiter's room."

"I read you, Mercury," Rei replied into her communicator. "Sailor Moon is with me. We'll go and help Neptune and Uranus."

There was silence on the communication device for an instant. "Sailor Moon is still with you?" Ami's voice then said with mild surprise. "Alright, Mars, but be careful. I know you aren't at one hundred percent. I don't know how the- " The senshi's image on the communicator's small screen as well as her voice suddenly cut off with a squeal of static.

Rei cursed and guessed that the signal had somehow been jammed, and then proceeded to bang her communicator a couple of times on the bed, as if the violent shock to the device would make it work.

"Gah?! Whaa?" Usagi groaned as her eyes fluttered open, the conversation between the Sailor Senshi, the squealing noise, and not to mention Rei's rough treatment of her watch communicator waking her up.

Usagi sat up in Rei's lap and appeared somewhat disorientated for a second. A small blush graced her cheeks as she looked down at her bodyguard's chest, where she had drooled in her sleep.

"Oh… I, uh… I guess I fell asleep," Usagi said, then reddened more when she realised she had slept in Rei's arms.

"We both did, odango atama," Rei replied easily. She rearranged her arms casually around her true love, one around the blonde's slender waist and the other over her bare legs, causing Usagi to tense slightly. Rei didn't notice. "But we have company," the Fire Senshi continued, her voice turning grave, "youma are coming here, to the hospital. They may even already be here. I'd like to hope that the youma are coming to this place for some other reason, but I think they must have found out that wounded Sailor Senshi are here."

"Oh no…" Usagi whispered in horror, "how could they find out? We have to guard Makoto; she's defenceless! And Michiru, and what about Haruka?!" She broke her bodyguard's hold and slid off her lap, onto the floor, before whirling around to face Rei.

"Where are Ami and Minako? Are they on their way here?" Usagi inquired, all business, moving into her role as leader of the Sailor Senshi.

Rei blinked for a second at her true love's sudden change. She could never get used to Usagi changing from ditzy to serious so fast. "Uh, Ami is already in Makoto's room; she's been there all day I think. Minako is going to help Setsuna at her house; more youma are attacking there too," she reported to her princess.

Usagi nodded, digesting the information. "Okay. Since Ami has Makoto covered, we should go help Michiru and Haruka." She paused abruptly in her orders and looked at Rei with worry. "Are you up for this? I can handle it alone…" she said, in a much softer tone.

Rei pulled off the bed covers and swivelled her body around to face Usagi. She gingerly put her feet on the floor and stood up, swallowing a wince as her ankle ached uncomfortably. The Fire Senshi schooled her face to remain blank, aware that her princess was watching her carefully for any signs of discomfort. Rei straightened her posture and grinned confidently at Usagi.

"I think I can take it," she said, flexing her arms experimentally and pretending the pain belonged to someone else.

Usagi watched Rei unsurely for a moment but then nodded her head in acceptance. "Okay then. Let's transform," she commanded. "MOON COSMIC POWER, MAKE UP!"


Once the transformations were complete, Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon stealthily opened the hospital room door, and stepped out into the quiet hall.


"Dead Scream," Sailor Pluto whispered, aiming her Time Staff at the forming mist assassin.

A huge pink energy ball was launched at the pitch-black figure, forcing the creature to dissipate into vapours once more. There was an enormous explosion as the energy ball blasted a gigantic hole in the wall, sending plaster and ornaments flying everywhere and allowing the night air to enter the now rather significantly damaged house. Michiru was not going to be pleased.

The Guardian of Time spun around to face a second assassin appearing out of another shadow. The youma's build resembled a humanoid male's while the creature itself was completely swathed in a mixture of loose black clothing: bandages, scarfs, sashes, a hooded cloak and simple plain strips of black material. The only skin Pluto could see on the assassin was a narrow slit between the dark fabrics covering its head for the thing's eyes. It had a sickly white complexion.

The youma moved like quicksilver, one of its black-bandaged hands flashing inside a sash and whipping out a throwing knife. Its arm moved in a blur as it threw the slender, aerodynamic weapon at Sailor Pluto. The Outer Senshi deftly manoeuvred her staff in an intercept course and deflected the blade out of the air with a metal 'ping' sound. Just as Pluto was about to fire another Dead Scream attack at the knife- throwing assassin, the youma turned into its ethereal form, fading away into the shadows as if it had never even been there in the first place.

Sailor Pluto darted to her right as a small crossbow bolt whizzed by her side, imbedding itself in the kitchen counter behind her. She saw a third assassin, dressed similarly to the knife-throwing one, level its second small single-handed crossbow at her chest. Pluto moved on instinct as a serrated dagger suddenly hacked at her face from the left, the first youma assassin having teleported to the shadows behind her. At that moment the crossbow assassin fired its second bolt straight at Sailor Pluto. The Senshi of Time quickly smashed the butt of her staff into the stomach of the dagger youma, and then swung the weapon fluidly around to bat the bolt away from her. The sharp, barbed, projectile was knocked off its deadly course and ended up ripping into the fabric of the couch, lodging deeply its cushions. Sailor Pluto gripped her Time Staff horizontally with both hands, before bringing it directly upwards to forcefully ram under the dagger youma's chin, snapping its head back. She twirled her staff in her hands and then swiped at the assassin's legs, dropping the creature to the floor.

Sailor Pluto swivelled around to fend off another throwing knife away from her body, followed by another and another, her Time Staff moving rapidly and adeptly through the air to meet each blade.

Suddenly, it dawned on Pluto with horrifying clarity that there were only three… only three youma! The woman knew for a fact that the other two were upstairs, searching for Hotaru and Chibi-Usa. But they were beyond her help now.

The Guardian of Time screamed as a crossbow bolt thudded into her left thigh, causing her to stumble. She gritted her teeth and regained her footing to block a youma assassin's dagger thrust, and then lashed straight out with the shaft of her Time Staff in retaliation, crushing the dark figure's nose. The assassin reeled backwards holding its broken nose, black blood dripping down to the carpet.

Sailor Pluto heard a whistling sound behind her and felt a throwing knife lodge into her upper left shoulder blade. She collapsed to one knee, leaning heavily on her Time Staff, the long pole weapon the only thing holding her up. Pluto growled low in her throat and hastily got to her feet, willing new strength to her muscles, whirling around to face the two assassins armed with projectile weapons.

"Dead Scream," she whispered, not caring that the close range between her and youma would cause her to be caught in the energy blast of her devastating attack.

A pink globe of light streaked towards the two youma, making the pair dive into the darkest shadows and turn into black vapours. The energy ball passed through the mists and blew the front door of the house apart far behind them, causing wooden splinters to fall like rain from above.

Sailor Pluto heard shouts from upstairs, and knew that Hotaru and Chibi-Usa had attacked the other assassins. She prayed for the two young girls' safety since that was all she could do for them. At least they had stayed upstairs like she had asked them to. They were both such good girls. Pluto grunted as a crossbow bolt sliced open the right side of her Sailor fuku, her red blood dotting the floor. It appeared that her long existence was to cease. But she had to try and kill as many youma as she could before she fell, or there was a high likelihood that at least one, if not both of the young Sailor Senshi upstairs would not survive.

Sailor Pluto twirled her staff around and levelled it at the reforming youma assassins. The end was here.


"I think I heard Puu transform," Chibi-Usa murmured, as she and Hotaru sat on the dark-haired girl's bed.

Hotaru looked at her friend and merely nodded. She knew something was going on, and it wasn't good. The Senshi of Rebirth really wanted to go and help her Setsuna-mama, but the woman had said to stay upstairs, in her room. Besides, Hotaru didn't want to leave Chibi-Usa alone.

Chibi-Usa suddenly screamed and hugged Hotaru when a huge boom shook the house, causing dust from the ceiling to fall in puffs to the floor. Hotaru looked up at the trembling ceiling apprehensively as she realised what the loud detonation meant. Setsuna-mama was in trouble.

"What should we do, Hotaru?" Chibi-Usa asked her best friend, looking to the pale girl for guidance.

Hotaru swallowed nervously and hugged Chibi-Usa back. "We… we should do as Setsuna-mama says," she replied, trying to sound unafraid. Hotaru wasn't sure if she was convincing.

The two girls sat in the dark listening to the sounds of a struggle downstairs. The lights had gone out a few minutes ago and were not working for some reason. Chibi-Usa had said something about the power being out. Despite her resolve to be brave for her friend's sake, Hotaru was getting scared. She squeezed the pink-haired girl a little tighter in her arms.

"Maybe we should transform," Chibi-Usa suggested.

When the Senshi of Rebirth heard her Setsuna-mama howl in agony from downstairs, she decided to accept her friend's suggestion. She couldn't sit idly by while someone she cared about was getting hurt.

"Okay," Hotaru said softly, "let's do it."

Chibi-Usa nodded and let go of her best friend, hopping off the bed. Hotaru found herself strangely missing the girl's comforting touch.


Hotaru stood up. "SATURN PLANET POWER, MAKE UP!"

Just when the pair of girls completed their transformations into Sailor Senshi, there was another earthshaking explosion from below, causing the windows in the room to shudder.

"We should go and help Pluto," Sailor Saturn said, beginning to walk towards her bedroom door. She hated to disobey Setsuna-mama, but it was obvious that she needed her aid.

"Look out!" Sailor Chibi Moon suddenly cried, pushing Saturn to the floor as a shiny metallic object whistled over their heads and stuck, wobbling, in the wall. "Ahhh! Youma!" Chibi Moon yelled as she dragged her friend to her feet with one hand, the other pointing at a figure with lots of black strips of cloth dangling off its body that had appeared in the room all of a sudden.

Sailor Saturn watched with a peculiar fascination as a dark mist began to appear in the corner of her room, right next to her lamp collection on her desk. The mist became thicker and shaped itself into a creature with a feminine form, dressed like the other figure. Saturn knew they had to be part of the group who were hurting Sailor Pluto on the ground floor. She levelled her Silence Glaive at the duo of youma.

"I am the Senshi of Death and Rebirth, Sailor Saturn!" she declared, her voice taking on a chill.

Sailor Chibi Moon glanced uncertainly at Saturn, and then decided to take her lead. "And I am the Sailor of love and justice in training, Sailor Chibi Moon! In the name of the future moon, I will punish you!" she shouted, glaring threateningly at the two youma. Saturn however just thought that the pink-haired senshi looked kind of cute.

"Stay back, Saturn," Sailor Chibi Moon said seriously, "leave this to me!"

Chibi Moon flicked her wrist and a heart shaped rod appeared in her hands. The two youma flinched as they saw the 'weapon', and glanced uneasily at each other.


A line of hearts bashed into the male youma's chest, causing him to take a step back and look down at the pink barrage with mild concern. The heart stream ended after a few seconds, with the assassin remaining unharmed. Sailor Chibi Moon looked crest-fallen. Saturn decided that her friend really needed some new attacks.

Sailor Saturn could just imagine the smirks under the two youma's ebony scarves. The female assassin drew a long, wicked curved knife, the edge of the blade dripping with a clear fluid. Saturn hoped it wasn't poison or something. The other youma assassin drew three short and thin knives, each blade held between the fingers on one black-clad hand.

"Get behind me, Chibi Moon," Saturn commanded, her voice stern and frosty as she glowered at the enemy warily.

"No, it's too dan- ahh!" Sailor Chibi Moon's stubborn refusal was cut off as Sailor Saturn roughly pulled the girl behind her with one hand, at the same second three throwing knives were hurled through the air at the pair.

Saturn struck out with her Glaive three times, being careful not to clip Chibi-Moon behind her with the long weapon. The two assassin's eyes widened as the three knives all landed on the floor, a couple of feet in front of their intended targets. The youma looked at each other once again, and then in silent agreement, began to spread out to either side of Saturn cautiously.

The Senshi of Death spun her Silence Glaive around her head and prepared to defend against another attack.


"Why is it so dark in here?" Sailor Moon whined as she and Sailor Mars made their way down the hall.

"The power must be cut," Mars whispered back. "The back up generator only takes care of critical areas like operating theatres and such. Hallway lights must be low priority."

There were still nurses on night shift duty, which Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon had to avoid. It wouldn't do to let the hospital staff destroy the element of surprise they had on the approaching youma.

"You're not afraid of the dark are you, odango atama?" the Fire Senshi teased her princess.

"Of course not," Sailor Moon denied, "it's just that you never know what can jump out of the darkness."

"Don't worry," Mars cooed soothingly, "I'll protect you from the boogie monster."

Sailor Moon merely muttered something about annoying girls in response.

The two Sailors eventually made it to the hallway's intersection, both stopping at the junction as realisation hit them. One way led to Michiru's room, and the other to Haruka's room. Sailor Mars really didn't want to leave her princess. Sailor Moon also hesitated for a moment, not looking entirely sure what to do. The blonde then shook her head slightly, her long tresses swinging.

"I'll go to Haruka," she said, "you can go to Michiru."

Sailor Mars simply stood there, putting the majority of her weight on her good foot as she mulled over the situation. Setsuna had said the 'moment' when Sailor Moon's life would be in certain danger would most likely occur at night. Mars couldn't afford to abandon her love's side. The Fire Senshi looked at Sailor Moon anxiously, her mouth halfway open as the tried to think of an excuse to stay near the blonde.

"Rei…" Sailor Moon sighed, "I'll be fine."

Sailor Mars continued to stare at her true love, looking not one bit convinced.

"Come on, Rei. Michiru might need your help. You can't let her down," Sailor Moon argued.

Mars cursed under her breath. She knew her princess was right. But damn it, she didn't have to like it. "Alright," the Senshi of Fire reluctantly conceded.

Sailor Moon nodded and then gave her bodyguard a bright, reassuring smile. Before Mars' true love turned to go down the other hallway, the miko wrapped her arms around the girl's waist and pulled her close, causing her to let out faint squeak of protest.

"Rei, we shouldn't-" Sailor Moon started.

Sailor Mars silenced her with a passionate kiss, making the blonde girl's cheeks turn pink. Sailor Moon struggled weakly in her bodyguard's embrace, but it was a token effort and she quickly gave in to the kiss, returning it with equal vigour and folding her arms around Mars' neck.

After several long, pleasure-filled seconds, Sailor Mars ended the kiss. She looked deeply into Sailor Moon's eyes, as if willing her to remain safe. "Be careful… my princess," she whispered softly.

Sailor Moon stared back and stopped breathing, merely nodding her head slowly in response. After a second, the blonde came to her senses and left Mars' embrace. She stepped backwards, giving her bodyguard one last look, then turned around and jogged as quietly as she could in the direction of Haruka's hospital room. Sailor Mars watched her go for a moment, before turning to head towards Michiru's room.


The closer Sailor Mars got to Michiru's room, the more her instincts flared up, causing adrenaline to pump through her veins faster and faster. The only thing Mars could hear was her own slow, controlled breathing. She couldn't shake the nagging feeling that Sailor Moon would somehow be horrifically injured, all because Sailor Mars wasn't there to protect her. She shook her head and mentally chastised herself. It wasn't like Sailor Moon was some helpless damsel in distress.

Sailor Mars' gaze snapped to a closed door on the far right side of the hallway as she heard a weak cry come from within. There was a loud splashing sound and Mars noticed water leaking out into the hall from under the door. Michiru needed her help.

The Fire Senshi ran as best she could with her aching ankle towards Michiru's door, and then barged it open with her shoulder, flinging the door back to bang against the wall. She quickly took stock of the situation. There were two black-clad figures inside, both humanoid, but Sailor Mars noted that one had a long thin tail erupting through its ebony wrappings from its behind. At first glance, the miko thought they were ninjas or something, but the vibes she was getting off the pair told her they were not human. Sailor Neptune was in one corner of the room, leaning heavily against the wall and taking laboured breaths while clutching at her stomach with one arm. She clearly still hadn't recovered from her previous wounds and would no doubt be of little assistance. It was all up to Sailor Mars.

"Hey, you two!" she called out as she appeared in the doorway, causing all heads in the room to turn to her. "FIRE SOUL!"

A fireball launched from Sailor Mars' fingertips, detonating on the back of one of the youma, causing its clothes to burst into flames. The assassin staggered about the room, waving its arms wildly in some sort of attempt to dispel the flames. The remaining assassin with the tail spun around and slashed low at Mars with a dagger. The Inner Senshi sucked in her stomach and angled her body away from the blow, letting the attack harmlessly pass her by. Mars delivered a counterattack, ramming her palm directly into the assassin's face. She followed smoothly with a punch to its stomach, doubling the youma over, and then chopped at the back of its neck. The assassin keeled over, falling flat on its face on the floor. Sailor Mars shook her still-injured hands painfully, her knuckles throbbing.

Mars glanced at Neptune and saw her look back in gratitude, offering her saviour a shaky smile. The miko turned her attention to the burning youma, only to see it partially disappear in a cloud of black mist. However, the creature swiftly reformed, its flaming clothes somehow detrimentally affecting its metamorphosis.

The blazing assassin collapsed to the floor, burnt alive, the youma having been unable to quell the inferno eating away at its body.

"Behind you!" Sailor Neptune suddenly warned.

Sailor Mars moved on reflex, diving forward over Neptune's hospital bed and rolling on the other side just as several throwing knives embedded themselves in the wall in front of her.


Sailor Mars stood up from behind the bed, her burning bow drawn and ready to let loose hot, fiery death at the assassin. But instead, all she saw was a slight trace of black vapours.

"Damn it," Mars cursed, letting her bow fade away.

Sailor Mars heard a gasp from Sailor Neptune and hurriedly turned to the Outer Senshi. Mars eyes widened as the youma materialised behind Neptune, where the woman was leaning in a dark corner of the room. The assassin put a jagged blade to the senshi's exposed throat.


Mars' eyes flicked to the doorway for a second and saw that Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon were standing there, the blonde Outer Senshi looking on in sheer horror at the events unfolding. Sailor Mars had to do something; she was closest and had the only chance to save Sailor Neptune's life.

The youma assassin's eyes narrowed and its hand holding the blade tensed, causing both Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon to cry out. Mars had to act now. She gave a quick prayer to any god who was listening to guide her hand, and then reached behind her while keeping her eyes on the enemy, moving like lightening and plucking one of the throwing knives out of the wall. In one fluid motion, Sailor Mars hurled the sharp weapon at the youma, the blade stabbing the creature through its left eyeball and piercing its brain in a heartbeat. Sailor Neptune eased the assassin's knife away from her throat and let the creature's body slide down the wall. She then let out the breath she had been holding.

"Oh, thank god, Michiru!" Uranus cried, stumbling over to the aquamarine-haired woman and pulling her into a close but gentle embrace, being careful not to aggravate her lover's injuries.

Sailor Mars limped away from the couple towards the door, letting them have their private moment. Sailor Moon caught her still wounded bodyguard by the upper arms, supporting her. Mars smirked rakishly at her princess.

"I take it all is well at your side of things?" she inquired.

Sailor Moon nodded, glancing at Uranus and Neptune then back at Mars. "There were two youma near Uranus' room, just like those two," she said gesturing with her head at the remains of the torched assassin. "Both moon dusted."

Sailor Mars lowered her head, relieved that Sailor Moon appeared to be unharmed. The Fire Senshi's head then abruptly shot up and her eyes widened. "What about Mercury and Makoto?" she asked anxiously.

Sailor Moon met her concerned gaze with one of her own, obviously having forgotten about the other two senshi. As if on cue, both Sailor Moon's and Sailor Mars' communicators crackled to life.

"This is Sailor Mercury; is anybody listening?" came Mercury's voice over the devices.

"We read you loud and clear, Sailor Mercury," Uranus said behind Mars, speaking into her own watch communicator, the relief obvious in her voice. "All four of us are perfectly fine." Sailor Uranus gazed deeply into Sailor Neptune's eyes as she spoke, holding the woman around the waist delicately.

"Good…" Mercury said over the communicators, her image looking glad. "Jupiter and I are alright. There was only one youma and it was taken care of. The communicator jamming has seemed to have stopped also, however I can't get in contact with Venus or Pluto."

"Oh no… maybe I should go and help," Sailor Moon suggested. "They could be in big trouble!"

"Maybe…" said Sailor Mars, "but by the time you make it to Haruka and Michiru's house it'll probably be too late to do anything to help."

"I'm afraid she's right, Sailor Moon," Mercury's voice said over the communicator, "we'll just have to hope for the best. We really do owe our lives to Sailor Pluto, without her warning things may have turned out a lot worse." Sailor Mars saw Sailor Mercury's image on her watch communicator look over her shoulder to something in the background, no doubt the critically injured Makoto.

Sailor Mercury was right; things could have been a lot worse. Without Pluto's warning, it was highly likely all of the Sailor Senshi in Minato General Hospital would have been murdered in their sleep. Mars shivered at the thought, imagining her princess stabbed through the back or with her throat slit. On impulse, the Fire Senshi drew Sailor Moon into a hug. The blonde squirmed a little, probably scared that Uranus and Neptune would think the gesture was something more than just friendly. Sailor Mars didn't care though, she just had to hold the girl. She was in Sailor Pluto's debt for the woman's actions. Without the Senshi of Time, Sailor Mars' true love could have been hurt or even killed.

"Rei…" Sailor Moon sighed, giving in to her bodyguard's loving embrace and circling the raven-haired girl's waist lightly with her arms.

Sailor Mars rested her head on her princess's shoulder. She heard footsteps coming closer, probably the night-shift hospital staff. They would all have to detransform soon, but right now the miko just wanted to remain embracing Sailor Moon. The Fire Senshi hoped that Sailor Pluto was all right. She had a rather large 'thank you' to give the Guardian of Time.


Sailor Pluto desperately swung her staff at a crossbow bolt, the projectile ricocheting off the metal pole to fly across the room. Blood was seeping from Pluto's multiple stab wounds and lacerations, but she would still live. For now. However, the Senshi of Time knew that the mortal blow from one of her foes was coming soon and that she wouldn't be fast enough to prevent or evade it.

Sailor Pluto whirled around and dropped into a crouch, sweeping at the legs of an assassin armed with a dagger with her Time Staff. The youma nimbly leapt over the staff and brought its weapon downwards with both hands, attempting to impale the woman's head. Pluto swiftly thrust upwards with her staff, catching the assassin in the throat hard and crushing its windpipe. She then stood up and slammed the lower end of her weapon in the youma's side, hearing the crack of ribs breaking.

The Guardian of Time turned around as fast as she could, flicking a throwing knife out of its lethal flight path with her staff. She followed the move by jamming the butt of her pole weapon in the stomach of the youma behind her, causing the fatally wounded creature to collapse into a ball on the floor.

Sailor Pluto noticed that the assassin with the crossbows had abandoned its two weapons, apparently out of ammunition. The youma darted into a shadow and vanished in a cloud of black mist. The blow would be coming now.

Meanwhile the only other youma assassin still on its feet pulled out three throwing knives in each hand and threw all six blades at the doomed Outer Senshi, the yellow streetlight reflecting off the polished metal of the projectiles as they flew through the air. Sailor Pluto let out a defiant cry and moved as gracefully and quickly as she could in her wounded state, forcing all of the knives away from her in six perfect strokes of her Time Staff. She could sense the other assassin materialising behind her, its long notched dagger about to plunge into her back and scrape her heart, spelling death for the Guardian of Time. Pluto could almost feel the cold steel slip under her skin and sink deep into her flesh, her life spilling in red torrents to the floor. The eldest Sailor Senshi spun around to try and stop the finishing stab, nevertheless knowing that her efforts were useless. She wouldn't be fast enough. Sailor Pluto had already foreseen all of these events happening.


The youma assassin howled in torment as its hand was suddenly severed at the wrist, its fist rolling along the floor still holding on to its notched dagger. Sailor Pluto and the knife throwing youma's heads turned towards the Guardian of Time's saviour, the person who had dragged the woman away from the jaws of Death. Pluto blinked at Sailor Venus standing in the Dead Scream hole in the house's wall. So this was how things turned out. Sailor Pluto had begun to think that a senshi wouldn't ever come to her aid, but here one was, and it was Venus.

The Senshi of Love winked at Pluto, flashing a V symbol with the fingers of one hand. "Never fear, V-babe's here!" she cried out enthusiastically.

The one-handed youma continued to scream in excruciating pain, staring at the charred stump where its hand used to be in disbelief. Sailor Pluto used the last of her depleting strength to smash the stunned assassin in the side of the head with her Time Staff, abruptly cutting off its shrieks. The youma's skull caved in, drenching the Garnet Orb in bloody black gore and sending brain matter and bone shards into the air like confetti.

Sailor Pluto fell to her knees, her grip sliding down the blood-slick shaft of her Time Staff. Her eyes went to Sailor Venus. The remaining youma assassin hurled a knife at the blonde girl, causing the experienced senshi to agilely dodge to the side. Venus glanced at Pluto's heavily wounded form then back at the assassin, the look in her eyes showing that she was obviously ready to give it some payback on the woman's behalf.


The youma threw another spinning blade at Sailor Venus, but the Senshi of Love lashed out with an energy beam of hearts, snagging the blade out of its course and holding it on the end of the heart whip. Venus then brutally cracked her chain, letting the knife end rip into the youma and tear open its neck, severing the artery in an obscene display of showering black blood. The creature clutched at its neck and fell backwards to the floor, its life pumping out from between its fingers. It wouldn't get up again.

Sailor Pluto lowered her head in relief, putting all of her weight on her staff as she knelt on the floor. Sailor Venus ran to the Guardian of Time's side, reaching out a hand but then pulling it back, afraid to touch the terribly hurt senshi, a myriad of bolts and knives lodged all over her body.

"Don't worry, Setsuna," Venus said with concern in her tone, "I'll call an ambulance. Maybe you can stay in the same hospital Michiru and Haruka are at," she finished with a slight grin.

"No… time," Pluto replied, smiling faintly at the reference, "for that right now. Hotaru and Chibi-Usa are upstairs… they need help…" She rested her forehead against her Time Staff and took deep, controlled breaths.

Sailor Venus hesitated for a second but then got to her feet. "Okay, but you better still be breathing when I come back," she ordered. "Don't make me have to punish you in the name of Venus!" The blonde gave a rather strained, playful smile down at the Guardian of Time.

"We can't have that…" murmured Sailor Pluto.

Venus nodded in satisfaction and then hurried up the stairs.



Sailor Saturn held her Glaive horizontally over her head with both hands, forming a force field around herself and Sailor Chibi Moon. The female youma assassin's poison dagger slash and the volley of throwing knives from her companion deflected off the invisible wall. Both the youma melted into the shadows once again and reformed in different spots around the room.

The fight had gone on for some time and Saturn was getting rather tired. She only had her Silence Glaive to fight with, since her other attacks would most likely kill her and Sailor Chibi Moon, and perhaps even Sailor Pluto downstairs. Having only a close combat weapon was a serious disadvantage. Sailor Saturn was sure she could maybe rush the knife throwing youma and cut him down before slaughtering his ally in the same breath, but that would leave Sailor Chibi Moon open for attack by the other youma, and the Senshi of Death and Rebirth couldn't let the pink-haired girl get hurt.

The Silence Wall dropped and another throwing knife flashed towards Saturn's head. The girl whipped around and knocked the flying blade away with her Glaive, stopping the projectile from harming her. But Sailor Saturn couldn't keep this up forever, and Sailor Chibi Moon had no useful powers to help in the fight.

Saturn twirled her deadly weapon in her grasp and blocked a wide swipe from the female assassin. One hit from the creature's knife and the pale girl would be history for sure.


Sailor Saturn glanced behind her and saw that Sailor Chibi Moon had fired a salvo of hearts into the knife throwing assassin's eyes, temporarily blinding him. Maybe Saturn's best friend did possess a useful power after all.

Saturn gasped in surprise as the female youma darted past her Glaive and stabbed at her neck with her knife. The Senshi of Death intentionally tripped and fell backwards onto the floor, trying to avoid the killing blow. But her opponent was too close and had already breached her defences. The assassin raised her knife and thrust downwards at the prone Sailor Saturn. The girl's eyes widened as she watched the poisoned blade's descent helplessly.

"Hotaru!" Sailor Chibi Moon cried, before diving into the youma assassin, pushing the creature away from her best friend.

The female assassin recovered swiftly and smashed the bottom of her dagger on the back of Chibi Moon's head, knocking the girl unconscious. She picked up her pink-haired prize and then proceeded to dash towards the window.

"Noooo!! Let her go!!" Sailor Saturn yelled, using her Silence Glaive to stand up.

The youma ignored the Senshi of Rebirth's heartfelt cry and leapt through the window, breaking through the glass and disappearing from sight.

"NO!" Saturn screamed again.

Sailor Saturn ran towards the window and watched in horror as the assassin darted nimbly across the street with the dark-haired girl's best friend in her grasp. This couldn't be happening. Tears began to form in the Senshi of Rebirth's lilac eyes.

Sailor Saturn heard a sound from the remaining youma behind her. Without thinking Saturn twisted around and cleaved upwards with her Silence Glaive, gutting the assassin from groin to throat, his insides dropping to the floor in a sickening display while black blood splattering high to hit the ceiling. Saturn spun completely around and chopped at the creature's throat, half severing his head. The youma's head hung backwards by a shred of flesh, black liquid spilling out from seemingly everywhere. Mercifully, the assassin's life was snuffed out quickly, and it fell to the floor in a quivering heap beside the pile of its own internal organs.

"Hotaru?" an uneasy voice said from the doorway to the Senshi of Death's bedroom.

Sailor Saturn looked up from the grisly corpse to see Sailor Venus standing at the entrance of her room. Saturn's bottom lip shook and she let her Silence Glaive drop to the floor with a heavy clatter. More tears poured down her pale, black blood covered cheeks, creating trails in the stains. The young girl simply stood there, her arms by her sides.

"Sh-She took h-her," Saturn sobbed, her chest heaving, "she took Chibi-Usa!!"


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

Holy crap that was a long chapter. The fight scenes just kept going on and on and on. But I just had to finish them all in this chapter. Hope there isn't too many mistakes; I was lazy to check it.