Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Fallout ( Chapter 34 )

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


Chapter thirty-four. I watched anime at home for just about all day yesterday, and was too lazy to write this chapter until now. So much for increased chapter output in the holidays. -_-


- Kirika


Chapter 34 - Fallout

Sailor Mars felt something shaking her body lightly, disturbing her peaceful slumber. She was so very tired. More than just tired, bone weary was more like it. She opened her mouth to voice her protest at the treatment, but all that came out from her parched lips was an almost silent croak. It wasn't enough to stop the shaking of the Fire Senshi's body; in fact, the shaking became rougher. Mars could hear a muted voice calling her name, her real name. It was like she had cotton stuffed in her ears. The voice continued calling her name, getting louder every second as the cotton barrier gradually deteriorated. There was a hint of panic and desperation in the voice, and Sailor Mars' body was shaken even more forcefully with each calling of her name. Sailor Mars cracked open her eyes, the action taking enormous effort. She was greeted by a blinding brightness, causing her entire field of vision to be washed out in pure white. The Fire Senshi continually blinked slowly, the only action she had the strength for, attempting to clear away the brightness. A stray thought ran around in her mind saying that she was blind, but Mars took no notice of it. Her head was groggy, and thoughts were slow and hard to come by, but she knew that if she were indeed blind, her sight would be filled with black, not white. At least, she hoped that reasoning was correct.

Something warm and soft touched the sides of her face, and then angled her head carefully to the right. Sailor Mars kept opening and closing her eyelids lethargically, still trying to clear the white light from her vision. The brightness was slowing fading, much to her relief. She could almost make out shapes in her field of view. Her hearing was improving also, the sounds around her becoming more distinct. Mars was aware of other sensations now; wind disturbing her hair; more noise from behind her and in the distance; a firm, yet supple, mass squirming beneath her.

"Rei, Rei! Can you hear me?" the voice was crying out. Sailor Mars realised it was coming from the mass underneath her. And also that she knew whom it belonged to.

"Yeah…" Mars wheezed out, the sound barely registering in her ears.

Sailor Moon let out a relieved wail and the miko felt what must have been the blonde's hands leave her face, and then Sailor Moon's arms wrap around her, crushing her body tightly to her princess's. Sailor Mars opened her mouth slightly in a silent whimper, her wounds being disturbed. But she was too exhausted to do anything about it. Besides, the raven-haired girl wasn't so badly hurt that she would tell her true love to stop hugging her.

"I'm so glad you're okay!" Sailor Moon blubbered. Sailor Mars could tell her princess was crying. "I thought that maybe…" the blonde's words trailed off and she squeezed her bodyguard even more tightly to her slim body.

"Takes more than a… than a…" Sailor Mars started, her voice below a murmur, before realising she didn't know exactly what had happened. Her mind was scrambling for the memories of recent events, but it was a slow process. "…Than a, whatever it was, to take me down…"

Sailor Moon said nothing but Sailor Mars could hear the girl sobbing near her head, and felt wetness on her right cheek. Mars just lay limply on top of her princess as the girl wept in relief, holding onto her best friend as if she wanted to never let go. The miko wouldn't mind if she never did. Sailor Mars' body felt completely drained of energy, like she had been running a marathon all over Tokyo. Twice. There wasn't any mind-numbing pain however, apart from the small twinges of discomfort due to Sailor Moon's overly enthusiastic embrace. She didn't think she was going to die; the Fire Senshi was sure she would know if Death was coming to claim her. But even if she was dying, what better place to than in her true love's arms?

"Are you alright?" Sailor Mars whispered out as she still tried to fix her vision. It was getting clearer; she thought she could make out green grass on the ground.

"I'm fine," Sailor Moon sniffed as she unwrapped her arms from her bodyguard to place two hands on the girl's cheeks again. Mars felt her head being manually turned in a delicate grip. "I just have some cuts and things from the fight," the blonde continued. "I… Rei, what's wrong with your eyes? Can't you see me?" she said, the last few words laced with barely controlled panic.

"I… just need a few minutes," Sailor Mars replied, putting more effort into blinking rapidly, hoping to cure the blindness before her princess got too worried.

"Oh no," Sailor Moon whispered, and then in much louder voice, "you're blind!"

"No, no, I'm fine," Mars quickly assured the nearly hysterical blonde, "it's only temporary, I can see some things." She weakly raised one hand and manoeuvred it to where she thought Sailor Moon's head would be, judging by the vague shapes she could make out. The Fire Senshi touched something cold and wet, yet smooth and soft. She stroked her hand down what she imagined was Sailor Moon's cheek. "See? I'll be fine," she reassured.

Sailor Mars felt Sailor Moon's hand cover her own on the blonde girl's cheek. "Okay…" Mars' princess said in a small voice.

The Fire Senshi felt Sailor Moon's free hand touch her forehead. Sailor Moon then trailed her fingertips lightly down the miko's face, closing the girl's eyelids gently as she did so. Mars felt her princess's head move upwards, followed by a tender kiss on one of her eyelids, and then a second kiss just as tender as the first on the other one. The raven-haired girl thought that surely her true love's kisses would aid in healing her eyes.

"You shouldn't have done what you did," Sailor Moon said quietly, running her hand through her bodyguard's raven locks. "I don't know what really happened, but I can take a good guess. You're always throwing yourself into danger."

Sailor Mars gave a faint shrug, her body aching in protest. "I thought we were all going to die. Better that you survive in my place; it's my duty to protect the princess… and the one I love most," she murmured with her eyes still closed, the texture of the blonde's lips still being felt on each eyelid. Sailor Moon's cheek abruptly became somewhat warmer under the Fire Senshi's hand. "Besides, someone would have had to tell Ami and the others what happened," she added with a small smirk.

"Hey! Are you two alright?!" Sailor Mars heard Tuxedo Kamen call from a short distance away.

The Senshi of Fire sighed when Sailor Moon's hands left her own hand and her hair. "W-We're okay!" the blonde called back, stammering somewhat.

Sailor Moon carefully rolled over onto her side, gently depositing Sailor Mars on the ground, flat on her back. The miko lay there, staring up at what vaguely looked like the night sky, with a large glowing circle in one corner of her vision. She could almost make out the stars; her eyesight was improving faster, albeit still at a relatively slow pace. Perhaps her princess's kisses did actually have healing powers.

"Will you be okay here?" Sailor Moon asked her bodyguard.

"Sure…" Mars said, and then gave a half-smile up at the sky. "Being nearly killed is a walk in the park for me. Just another normal day in the life of a Sailor Senshi," she sighed out, the smile still gracing her dry lips.

Sailor Moon was silent for a moment, and then spoke once more. "Okay then. Just don't, ah, go anywhere," she said, stuttering a little. Mars heard the girl stand up, followed by her footsteps, as she no doubt ran to Tuxedo Kamen.

"That shouldn't be a problem," Sailor Mars murmured in response as Sailor Moon left her side.

The Senshi of Fire continued to stare up at the sky, waiting for her eyesight to return to normal. While she waited, she tried to piece together the tattered memories of what had happened back in the hall. Sailor Mars recalled that Sailor Saturn had been about to unleash one of her most destructive attacks, which would have killed everyone in the room, if not everyone in the entire mansion. The miko remembered running towards Sailor Moon and diving at her, hoping that the momentum would push her princess into one of the dark holes in the walls and back out to the estate's garden. Or push the blonde anywhere for that matter, as long as it was away from the silent explosion. Even if Mars failed to push Sailor Moon out of the blast radius, then at the very least her manoeuvre would have shielded the girl's form somewhat, though it was probably more likely that both their bodies would have been incinerated in a split second, one after the other. The Senshi of Fire must have been successful in her plan since she and her princess were alive, and that she was outside now. But Tuxedo Kamen was apparently all right as well. How could that be? By all rights, everyone should be dead.

Sailor Mars rubbed her eyes with one limp hand. Her sight was still partially washed-out, but she could at least see things sort of clearly. With a great strength of will, Mars sat up, her muscles trembling with the amount of effort it took. She blinked a few more times, and then surveyed her surroundings. She was sitting on a patch of grass in what used to be the estate's garden. The whole area looked like a bomb had been dropped in the centre of it, turning the place into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Most of the garden had been scorched black, the plants and trees all charred and lifeless. The mansion simply wasn't there anymore. Instead there was a small crater, exposing dirt and burnt tree roots. There wasn't even any rubble or foundations remaining, which Mars found odd; after an explosion like that, you would expect some debris to be left behind. Maybe everything had been completely obliterated. There was no trace of the giant demon or any youma.

Sailor Mars noticed that at the centre of the small crater were two figures. Sailor Saturn was standing upright with one arm tightly around a young pink-haired girl while her free hand held her Silence Glaive, its blade directed downwards to the ground. Chibi-Usa also had an arm wrapped around her friend, but had one hand gripped lightly around the shaft of the Senshi of Death and Rebirth's weapon, somehow halting its descent a couple of inches from the ground. Sailor Saturn had never finished her attack. Sailor Mars didn't know how Chibi-Usa's weak hold on the Silence Glaive could have stopped it plunging into the ground, creating an even more destructive explosion that would have definitely killed them all, but by some miracle, the girl's grip had done so.

Mars turned her gaze away from the two girls as they both sank slowly to their knees, still embracing. She looked around for her other friends. The miko spotted Tuxedo Kamen crouched over an unconscious Sailor Venus, attempting to awaken the Senshi of Love. The prince didn't look too badly beat up, which was surprising considering where Sailor Mars had last seen him in relation to Sailor Saturn. The man should have been like Venus or Mars, half-dead and barely able to move.

The Senshi of Fire continued her searching, looking away from Tuxedo Kamen as Venus' eyes opened minutely. She saw Sailor Moon kneeling down beside Sailor Uranus, holding one of the Outer Senshi's hands in her own. Uranus looked pale and lifeless, but Mars could see that her eyelids were open in narrow slits. Sailor Moon's earlier attempts to revive the fallen senshi had obviously paid off. However, Uranus didn't seem like she was going to last very long. The combination of the fight with the youma, the attack from the vulture demon, and finally a partial Silence Glaive Surprise had just about killed the woman. Sailor Moon turned her head away from Sailor Uranus, towards Sailor Saturn and Chibi-Usa.

"Hotaru!" Sailor Moon shouted desperately.

The Senshi of Rebirth perked up at Sailor Moon's call, and with obvious reluctance, stood up, letting go of her best friend. Sailor Saturn's lilac eyes then widened as she saw Sailor Uranus' state, and rushed to the woman's aid, dropping her Silence Glaive to the ground, forgotten. As Mars watched, the Senshi of Rebirth placed one hand over the near dead Outer Senshi's heart, and the other on her forehead. The dark-haired girl then invoked her healing ability, breathing new life into her guardian, replacing what was stolen by the demon's near fatal strike.

Sailor Mars dropped flat onto her back again, too physically drained to sit upright any longer. At least it looked like everyone was going to come out of the battle all right. Which was amazing, considering all that had happened. How they had escaped even a partial Silence Glaive Surprise explosion without being totally annihilated was beyond Mars. Maybe the demon had something to do with it. The bald demonic bird had been about to do *something*. Or maybe the gods had merely smiled on the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen, granting them divine favour. Or it could have been simply dumb luck. Mars guessed they would never know.

Whatever happened, Sailor Mars wasn't complaining. Her true love and all of her friends had survived against all the odds, the how and why of it didn't matter. Another demon and his youma dispatched. Three down, one to go. And still no life defining 'moment' that Setsuna had spoken of. It had to be getting close now. Mars breathed out a slow sigh. But whenever it occurred, the Fire Senshi would be ready.

Sailor Mars could hear sirens in the distance, coming closer and closer. The local authorities would be here soon. Not really a shock, since an entire estate in a rich district of Tokyo had just blew up. Mars and her fellow senshi should really high tail it out of there. If they ended up in hospital again, the remaining youma would definitely be able to find them, fake names or not. All they would have to do was see the casualty list for tonight and where each patient had come from. But the Senshi of Fire was so tired, her body, so weak. She couldn't run away even if her life depended on it. On the other hand, if her princess's life depended on it…

Sailor Mars detransformed as she lay on the patch of slightly scorched lawn, listening to the approaching sirens. Back to hospital again. But it was a small price to pay; Sailor Moon was alive and not too badly hurt, her friends were still living, and she had succeeded in getting Chibi-Usa back to her true love in one piece, alive and well. It had been worth all pain she had endured. The miko forgot about Sailor Moon's actions earlier this evening, running to her prince first instead of her bodyguard. She had reasoned out a good explanation, after all. Rei sighed again. The only trouble was, she couldn't quite swallow it.


"Oh man, look at this crowd! Does everyone have a police scanner these days?!" Sanjuro moaned as he turned the rented car down a side street and parked it near the curb, ignoring the signs indicating the contrary.

"The police reported an incredible explosion, so I think some of the neighbours might have had their sleep disturbed," Tsubasa replied in a withering tone.

Tsubasa's 'companion' was always complaining about something. Usually about how some 'god damn alien straight from a tentacle hentai movie' had 'molested' him, or that horrible creatures were chasing him, intent on eating his brain. Tsubasa was beginning to wonder if the youma attack back at the Yokohama Daily had given the man permanent brain damage. Not that anybody would notice, of course. He was starting to regret bringing along the 'top investigative reporter' with him. But Sanjuro had had a right to know about the search, Tsubasa supposed; the man had been just as involved in the events in Yokohama as he himself had. He just wished the reporter wasn't so annoying or self-centred.

"Come on, quit day dreaming," Sanjuro said as he got out of the car, "anything with buildings blowing up has to be her handy work."

Tsubasa nodded and got out of the car. That was the reason the ex-assistant sushi chef had come to Tokyo, wasn't it? To find *her*. After the adventure in Yokohama, it had been hard for Tsubasa to settle down back into his normal life again. Knowing that there were real monsters out in the world, and that there were heroes who fought them… who would be able to forget about something like that? Apart from the coward, Sanjuro, of course.

Tsubasa had tried to go about his ordinary life; going to work, watching TV in his refurbished apartment… but it was just that: ordinary. It had all been so mundane to him that he became bored out of his mind. Tsubasa had even walked along the streets at night, wishing to spot some dark creature from another dimension or something, just so that he could recapture those exciting, yet frightening, days. But, he had to admit, that wasn't the only reason he had came to Tokyo. Back when he was reminiscing in Megumi's tiny old apartment, he had come across a roll of film. Desperate for any reminder of the girl, he had had the exposed film developed, hoping that one picture would come out viewable. And one had. Most of the photo was ruined, but in one corner was her crimson veiled face, her long raven hair trailing behind her. Tsubasa had been overjoyed that he had a picture of Megumi, even if it was a bad one. But soon, after many staring sessions with the photo, he became even more restless. He needed to know whether she was all right. Megumi hadn't been the most stable of individuals when she had left Yokohama, and Tsubasa had been worried about her. And also, he grudgingly admitted, he still had some feelings for the girl. And so, Tsubasa had decided to find her, no matter how long it took.

Once the man had decided to find Megumi, it was like his listless life had new energy injected into it. Tsubasa had been eager to get up in the morning and plan how to find the raven-haired girl. He realised that he would need help in his search, and decided to seek out the only other person in Yokohama who had knowledge of Megumi: Sanjuro. The reporter had been recovering in hospital from being attacked by a youma, and Tsubasa had previously visited him once or twice to make sure that he was okay. In his next visit, Tsubasa had pitched forward his idea of finding the black-clad girl in Tokyo, expecting Sanjuro to jump at the chance. Instead, the idiot had spouted out, 'having oily tentacles shoved up his nose was where he drew the line,' and ignored anything else Tsubasa had to say. But Tsubasa hadn't given up. He had relentlessly pleaded with Sanjuro, then nagged, then threatened, and then pleaded once more, however nothing seemed to win the reporter over. Until Tsubasa remembered how Sanjuro used to go on and on about his 'award winning story'. To his knowledge, the reporter had never actually finished the story. Sure, it had been old news by then, but Tsubasa had decided to give it a shot anyway. And it was a good thing he had. After appealing to Sanjuro's greedy side, the man was incredibly excited to search for Megumi. The only stipulation was that all tentacle monsters encountered were to be handled by Tsubasa.

The pair had been in Tokyo for almost two weeks now, but the men were sure they were on Megumi's trail. After reading a report in an old newspaper about the mysterious disappearance and subsequent reappearance of a hotel's topmost floor in Minato-ku, Tsubasa and Sanjuro had investigated the incident, even though they were days late. It had been definitely weird; apparently the entire floor had been trashed and people were also found there partially encased in ice. Tsubasa instantly suspected youma activity, but he couldn't be sure Megumi was involved. Since then there had been other strange happenings in Tokyo, but nothing that ever panned out. This new lead was the best Tsubasa and Sanjuro had gained in ages.

Tsubasa hurried to catch up with Sanjuro as the reporter ploughed into the crowd of onlookers, waving his press pass around in people's faces.

"Outta my way, ace reporter coming through!" he shouted as he barged his way past the gawking bystanders, ignoring the dirty looks shot his way. "Hey, I'm with the press! Move it!"

Tsubasa slipped through the crowd in Sanjuro's wake, utilising the path the reporter made. Eventually, the two men reached the wooden police barricade. Tsubasa's jaw dropped as he witnessed the devastation of what once must have been an expensive estate. The words 'nuclear-holocaust' came to mind. There had to be some casualties in a disaster of this extent. Tsubasa prayed that the girl he cared for wasn't among them.

"Daaamn," Sanjuro drawled out, running his fingers through his short spiky black hair. "Always in Tokyo. I swear, more weird crap happens in this city than any other place in the world." He pointed with his thumb over to a group of high school aged girls, whom were all staring at the destroyed estate in awe. "I bet half of those innocent looking girls have magical powers or aren't even human," he said, shaking his head in bewilderment. "'Tokyo. Where the most dangerous individuals are schoolgirls.'"

Tsubasa ignored his companion's asinine comments like he usually did, and scanned his eyes over the mass of people behind the barricade. There were several police officers, fireman and paramedics moving around the area. Tsubasa's breath caught as he saw a young frail girl with shoulder length black hair, who couldn't have been more than twelve or thirteen, being loaded into the back of an ambulance on a stretcher. The poor girl looked completely out cold and her face was covered with strangely coloured dirt; she must have been caught in the estate's explosion. Tsubasa continued looking around the assembled group of ambulances and paramedics, standing on tiptoes, attempting to make out more casualties. He spotted a blonde woman who looked nearly dead being wheeled hastily towards another ambulance, the paramedics diligently treating her sickly form as she was moved.

"Guess we're not too late this time," Sanjuro said, also noticing the two victims.

Tsubasa's eyes widened as he recognised a face in the crowd. A man was walking rather unsteadily towards an ambulance with his arm around a blonde girl, who had her long hair done up in twin odangos. Both looked like they had been through the wars, but that wasn't the reason Tsubasa was staring at them. Or rather, *her*.

"I know that girl!" Tsubasa declared, barely holding in his excitement as he pointed at the blonde. "Usagi! Her name's Usagi!"

Sanjuro swivelled his head to where the man was pointing. "*That's* Usagi?" he said sceptically. "The way Megumi was talking about her, I thought she was a drop dead gorgeous super babe or something." Tsubasa remembered that Sanjuro had never seen the photo of Usagi.

Tsubasa shrugged his shoulders dismissively. "Yeah, well that is Usagi all right. But what's *she* doing here of all places?" he said thoughtfully. If Megumi's best friend was here, then there was a good chance the black-clad girl in question would be as well. At least, he hoped she would be.

"Who cares?" Sanjuro said, "Megumi just has to be here. Geez, I can *finally* finish my article!" The reporter quickly ducked under the police barricade… and was promptly confronted by a uniformed police officer.

"Alright, stay behind the fence," the policeman said, gesturing for Sanjuro to return behind the blue-painted wooden beams. "Civilians aren't allowed beyond this point. Go home and get some sleep."

"Hey, I'm no 'civilian'!" Sanjuro protested indignantly, poking the policeman in the chest with one finger. "Sanjuro Watanabe, ace reporter for the Yo-Tokyo Daily!" he lied, flashing his Yokohama press pass in a lightning quick manoeuvre before the police officer could see any contradicting details.

"I don't care who you are, get behind the barricade!" the cop demanded, raising his voice and causing Sanjuro to cower slightly.

"Yes, officer," the reporter said belligerently, but did as he was told.

Tsubasa did a double take as he glanced at one of the stretchers being lifted into an ambulance. He could of sworn he saw a long black length of material dangling off the side, like the ends of the black coat Megumi used to wear back in Yokohama.

"Officer, which hospital do those ambulances go to?" Tsubasa asked meekly.

The policeman glanced over his shoulder to the several white-painted vehicles and then returned his vision to the man. "Depends, really. Though the closest hospital is Minato General." The cop narrowed his eyes at Tsubasa suspiciously. "Why do you want to know that, anyway?" he questioned.

"Uh… I think I, uh…" Tsubasa floundered, trying to come up with an excuse.

"Why the hell do you think? We're reporters! We need the victims' statements!" Sanjuro intervened, saving his companion.

"Humph. Damn press," the policeman muttered, walking away from the pair, the excuse apparently good enough for him.

"Hey, the people have a right to know!" Sanjuro yelled after the officer, the line sounding well practiced. He then turned to face Tsubasa. "So, what's up? Are we gonna follow this 'Usagi' chick or what?"

Tsubasa nodded slowly, watching the ambulance as it drove away. "Yeah… we're following someone alright…" he murmured.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

That part with Chibi-Usa stopping Saturn's attack was a bit like that part in the anime. Oh well. There will be more of an explanation on what happened with the silence glaive surprise explosion next chapter.

I wasn't initially going to bring Sanjuro or Tsubasa back into the story, but one reviewer mentioned it a while back. The more I thought about it, the more appealing it was. Plus it's fun to write their lines. ^_^

Hope there aren't too many mistakes in this chapter. I'm getting somewhat lax in checking them.