Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Black Heaven, Act I ( Chapter 44 )

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


Chapter forty-four. Actually, I've known exactly how this fic is going to end right from the start. The main plot hasn't deviated in the slightest from its original conception at the very beginning; with the exceptions of the yuri scene, and Sanjuro and Tsubasa coming back.

As for the next fight scenes being beautiful and melodic… hmm, I don't think so. It just wouldn't be right for my purposes. They need to be brutal and bloody to stay in the correct vein of this story. Besides, artistic fight scenes are best kept for battles with bladed close combat weapons and pistols in my opinion. There's nothing really artistic or beautiful about torching someone to a blackened lump with a fireball. ^_^

And as for everyone's thoughts and opinions about Rei and her love for Usagi, and also the ending, at this point in time I think I'm just going to leave you all to argue amongst yourselves and draw your own conclusions. ^_~

Sorry for the lateness of this chapter; I've been really tired lately with all the work I've been doing, and I didn't want this part to suffer because of it. And the title to this chapter should not be confused with the anime by the same name. ^_^


- Kirika


Chapter 44 - Black Heaven, Act I

Rei walked leisurely down the halls of Minato General Hospital dressed in her school uniform, swinging her book bag as she went, seeming entirely at ease to the casual observer. However, if one looked closely enough, you could make out a minute tightening around the girl's eyes, and a slightly grim and uncertain expression threatening to pull her mouth down into a grimace. Usagi had opted to spend yesterday entirely by Rei's side out on the town, for one reason to make up for letting the raven-haired girl down the previous day, and the other to get away from her father's knowing and somewhat disapproving glances-- the blonde and her lover hadn't been successful in keeping their most recent intimate engagement very quiet, and it had been obvious Kenji, and not to mention everyone else, had heard the heated sounds of passion. Both Rei and Usagi had been eager to escape the embarrassing looks from the Tsukino family as soon as possible, and had stayed out all day until late evening. While Sunday had been an absolutely marvellous and blissful time for Rei, occupied with loving gestures and pleasurable moments, it had been partially spoiled by a nagging voice in the back of the miko's mind; a voice that bore more than a passing resemblance to a certain former neighbour of hers.

Rei frowned in irritation and redoubled her efforts to shut out the voice echoing in her thoughts. Today was going to be good day, and she shouldn't let one annoying man's sanctimonious observations bring down her mood. Usagi had promised Rei that after school she was definitely going to inform Mamoru about their relationship. And the miko trusted her true love implicitly. Rei nodded confidently to herself; it was all working out superbly. The prince was the final hurdle for her and her princess to cross; once Mamoru was dealt with, the future was their own to create in whatever heavenly image they chose. The Fire Senshi smiled at the thought; her dream was so close to her now, touching her fingertips, so near she could almost grasp it.

But, a little extra insurance wouldn't be amiss. Which was why Rei was at Minato Hospital to begin with, other than to guard the defenceless Sailor Senshi. She wished to see if she could squeeze any more information related to the upcoming masked enemy out of Setsuna. Rei wanted the youma's mask for her own purposes, and without a doubt the Senshi of Fire would pry it off the creature's cold dead face and claim the artefact as her own. The raven-haired girl pursed her lips as she realised a hiccup in her plan. She wondered if the Guardian of Time would let Rei use the mask to view the future timeline, or if that was something the oldest senshi had to guard against. It wasn't like the miko could hide the fact that she possessed the mask from Setsuna; the Senshi of Time didn't always know everything that went on in the world, but she knew enough. Rei dismissed the problem from her mind; it was simply another obstacle to be conquered when the time came.

Rei found herself in front of Setsuna's hospital room door-- the fake name borrowed from the miko's own surname and from her stint in Yokohama still tacked on to it. She shook her head slightly; how the youma hadn't seen through the lame alias by now was beyond her. The enemy certainly weren't very smart at all. That they hadn't attacked the bed-ridden Makoto or Haruka was credit to their lack of intelligence. Although, perhaps the youma were scared to after their last assassination attempt had been so easily repelled… with a little prophetic help.

The Senshi of Fire knocked softly on the door and then listened for Setsuna's expected call to enter. However, after a short period of time, the woman still hadn't acknowledged Rei's knock. Curious, and mildly concerned, the miko opened the door a little and peered around it, into the room. She saw that the hospital bed was empty, but with the sheets all ruffled, obviously having been used. Now worried that Setsuna could have been possibly kidnapped by a group of wised-up youma or something equally distressing, Rei cautiously entered the room, quickly scanning the area for any signs of trouble. The combat-ready girl then heard a flush from the bathroom followed by running water, and several seconds later the missing Outer Senshi staggered out of the bathroom, pausing in the doorway to hold on to the frame for support, the effort it took to walk apparently severely taxing the wounded green-haired woman.

Rei just stood there in the middle of the room, her posture still locked in an alert stance, while she blinked at Setsuna. Suddenly feeling a bit foolish for expecting the place to be trashed and youma to be leaping out of the walls from merely Setsuna's silence, the miko hastily moved to the Guardian of Time's side and slipped one arm around the injured woman's waist, allowing the oldest senshi to rest her weight on her.

"Thank you," Setsuna said softly, giving a small smile in gratitude while she draped one arm over Rei's shoulders.

Rei smiled back, and started to walk with the Guardian of Time back to the bed, supporting the woman. "I guess you knew I'd arrive to help you," Rei said wryly, glancing at Setsuna. For a spilt second, the miko thought she saw the Senshi of Time's complexion contain a hint of red, but it was gone so quickly the raven-haired girl decided she must have imagined it. This was Setsuna after all. Rei tightened her grip around the woman's waist marginally as she felt her hand slipping, being extremely careful not to disturb the Outer Senshi's multitude of injuries.

Setsuna exhaled deeply as Rei deposited her on the bed, tenderly easing her tired form down on top of the covers. The Guardian of Time repositioned her legs until they were underneath the bed sheets, and then Rei rearranged the blankets around the woman. Setsuna bowed her head briefly and appeared pained; Rei hoped that she hadn't aggravated any of her wounds.

"There, all better," the miko said in satisfaction, patting Setsuna's lap with her hand while she moved to sit in the chair by the bed. To Rei's surprise, the green-haired woman placed one hand gently but insistently over the Senshi of Fire's own on her thighs, before the girl could withdraw it. Setsuna seemed surprised too, but shocked was probably a more accurate description.

The Senshi of Time blinked down at her hand on the miko's for several moments with minutely widened crimson eyes. She swallowed somewhat anxiously and then looked hastily at Rei. "I…" Setsuna began in a tremulous croak, but tapered off and blushed, the woman's cheeks turning a light pinkish hue, causing Rei's eyebrows to nearly crawl off her forehead.

"It's alright," Rei blurted out quickly, wishing to quell the Guardian of Time's rather disturbing embarrassment. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen Setsuna blush, if ever. Perhaps she hadn't imagined the earlier signs of one either. The Fire Senshi smirked inwardly though, it *was* kind of cute. "Everyone needs some comfort now and then, especially after being hurt as badly as you have," she said. Rei then smiled ruefully and lowered her gaze. "I certainly know the feeling."

Rei felt her hand being squeezed tenderly, making the girl more keenly aware of the older woman's warm one covering it. She raised her head and met Setsuna's sympathetic look. "You certainly do," the Senshi of Time whispered sadly.

Rei was quiet as she stared into Setsuna's knowledgeable eyes, eyes that knew the possible future. There was something uncomfortable in the Guardian of Time's look, and the Fire Senshi felt a chill run down her spine. She abruptly broke their gaze, turning away from Setsuna and shaking her head, attempting to forestall the bleak and paranoid thoughts that threatened to creep into her mind.

"Rei…" Setsuna said quietly, stroking the raven-haired girl's hand beneath her own with her thumb, "I have--"

"Setsuna-mama?" said an inquisitive voice from the hospital room doorway.

Both Rei and Setsuna's heads snapped to the young girl standing by the open door, the pair obviously taken unawares. The Fire Senshi cursed herself for being so unobservant when she had sworn just two days ago to stay constantly alert. She was mildly surprised that the Guardian of Time had not expected Hotaru to show up; the woman's information on the future apparently wasn't always correct, but right now she appeared like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Perhaps Setsuna had simply forgotten the encounter was to occur. It had to be hard knowing almost everything in the past, present, and future timelines without letting something slip your mind.

"Hi, Hotaru," Rei said in a somewhat unsteady voice, recalling the lie she had told the Outer Senshi.

The Senshi of Rebirth looked at the miko for a second, and then glanced at Setsuna, and then once again looked at Rei. The pale girl then smiled, seeming very pleased about something. Setsuna hastily let go of Rei's hand and turned her head sharply to look out the window, her long green locks fluttering with the fast motion. Hotaru's smile grew and the young girl practically skipped into the room, before plopping herself down on the edge of the Senshi of Time's bed, next to Rei's still outstretched arm resting on the woman's lap.

"Umm…" Rei murmured uneasily while she retracted her hand, Hotaru continuing to smile somewhat disturbingly down at her. Sometimes Hotaru was just plain weird. Did the girl know the miko had lied to her, perhaps? All of a sudden Rei couldn't meet the Senshi of Rebirth's eyes anymore.

However, before Rei could ask about the pale girl's behaviour, Setsuna released a small gasp from her throat and quickly twisted her head around to face the Fire Senshi. Rei's brow creased in confusion as she gave the Guardian of Time a puzzled look, wondering just what was wrong with the two Outer Sailor Senshi she had met today. However, the miko's confusion soon turned to worry as the green-haired woman's crimson eyes appeared to cry out to the girl, imploring her, but for what reason Rei did not know. Setsuna slowly moved her gaze away from Rei and looked past Hotaru's small form, boring her eyes into the wall directly in front of the hospital bed. The Senshi of Fire glanced over her shoulder to see what the woman was finding so troubling, but failed to notice anything out of the ordinary. Setsuna continued her intense stare into the white washed wall however, occasionally flicking her crimson eyes between it and Rei.

"Huh…?" Rei said in total bafflement.

"Setsuna-mama… are you okay?" Hotaru asked with concern laced in the tone of her voice, the smile now gone and her features their usual sombre appearance.

Rei's frown deepened when Setsuna did not respond, instead merely keeping up her strange staring contest with the wall, only broken by bouts of shooting earnest looks at the Fire Senshi. Without warning, the miko suddenly felt a tickling in the back of her mind, a fleeting touch on her senses, senses tuned to the unnatural. To the abominable. It was just a flicker she felt, barely any vibe at all, but it was enough. Rei stood up with immediacy, causing the chair she had been sitting on to tumble over backwards onto the floor. Horrible comprehension finally dawned on the Inner Senshi as to what Setsuna was trying to tell her through pleading looks, the woman no doubt limited by the rules to not divulge any knowledge about the future to outsiders, but bending them nevertheless. The Guardian of Time was staring in the direction of Makoto's room. Makoto. Youma. Rei's eyes widened in alarm and her heart rate accelerated as Setsuna nodded briefly in confirmation of the girl's conclusions, the woman breathing a small sigh of relief.

The Senshi of Fire cursed loudly and bolted out of the room and into the hallway, sending a nurse sprawling in the process, causing the uniformed woman to cry out an indignant squawk. Hotaru jumped off the hospital bed and prepared to run after the spooked Inner Senshi, but found herself held back by a hand on one of her thin arms.

"No. You must stay here with me," Setsuna said to the dark-haired girl firmly.

The Senshi of Rebirth looked to where Rei had run off to, appearing as if she didn't like the idea one bit. "What's going on? Should I get Mamoru? He's with Haruka-papa," Hotaru said, continuing to stare out the doorway, watching the knocked over nurse clamber to her feet with the help of a doctor.

"No, do *not* get him. And you've done enough, Firefly; you did as I said, did you not? You used your talent like I suggested. Now you *must* remain here with me," the Guardian of Time went on insistently. "…For as long as I can hold you…" she added under her breath, joining Hotaru in looking through the doorway where Rei had swiftly departed, her expression grave.


Iason strolled along the halls of the human medical facility with his black-gloved hands in his dark blue suit pockets. This mission was all too easy, but the youma was enjoying it nonetheless; it had been quite a while since he had performed an assassination by his own hands, and he planned to savour the experience. While being Lord Makareus' second in command was a distinguished position, it was mostly administrative work, tactical analyses, and operation coordination. A creature of Iason's calibre had to leave the drudgery behind now and then and get back to basics. He couldn't afford to let his skills in the art of murder to wane, especially in a position such as his. Other youma under Lord Makareus' command were always backstabbing one another to further their own status in the demon's eyes, and Iason was more often than not a primary target. It was for this very reason that he had decided to undertake the task of executing Makoto Kino alone, in fear that his 'backup' would end up viewing the mission as an opportunity to dispose of him. Of course, considering that Iason was still second in command, it would have to be a masterful plot to slay him or it would certainly fail utterly.

Iason stopped at a T intersection and discreetly tilted his head around the corner, surveying the entrance to the Sailor Senshi's room down the other hallway as nonchalant as possible. He saw another suspected Sailor Senshi talking to a human male who looked to serve as a guard for this facility. The youma recognised the female: Ami Mizuno, a suspected Sailor Senshi. It was believed she was harbouring other Sailor Senshi at her residence also, and an assault team was being formed at this very moment because of this. After the day's missions were complete, Lord Makareus wanted the homes of the possible Sailor Senshi and their friends cleaned out. But, if Mizuno was here at Minato General Hospital, it was a possibility that more Sailor Senshi were around as well. Iason already knew Haruka Ten'ou was in the intensive care ward one floor up, and had planned to take the initiative and finish her off too, but if he had an opportunity to kill Mizuno also then he would gladly take it. In fact, it wasn't all that surprising that the girl would be near Kino. Iason knew of their 'affection' for one another; the cunning youma had memorised all the available intelligence on the Sailor Senshi. Love… such a weakness. Maybe he would bury them together. If there was anything left to bury.

The creature smirked coldly as the blue-haired girl walked away with the guard in tow, making the youma's job even simpler. Pathetic. How the Sailor Senshi had lasted this long without being totally annihilated bewildered him. It was most likely due to the incompetence of his Lord's siblings. Once Mizuno and the hospital guard were out of sight, Iason walked casually down the hall towards Kino's door, and then silently opened it a crack. One purplish eye looked through the thin opening, and noted that the suspected senshi was lying in bed, breathing shallow and apparently asleep. Iason slipped inside the room and shut the door behind him quietly.

The youma sauntered over to Kino's bedside without so much as a whisper of noise and looked down at the unconscious girl. All too easy. Iason raised one arm and pointed his hand at the suspected Sailor Senshi, his fingertips stabbing directly out at the female's chest. It was a shame it had to be like this; the blue suited creature usually preferred to make his victims suffer before they died. Perhaps he could take his time with Mizuno or Ten'ou.

Suddenly there was a flurry of motion under the bed covers, and something hard smashed into Iason's face. The youma cried out in more surprise than pain, staggering backwards away from the bed. He raised one black eyebrow as Sailor Jupiter pulled off the bed sheets from her uniformed body and hopped off the bed, onto the floor. There was a creak from a door to the right and another senshi Iason didn't recognise walked out of what appeared to be a lavatory. The dark-haired female grinned smugly at him and folded her arms. Yet another Sailor Senshi then arrived through the hospital room door, and the youma recognised her as Sailor Mercury. Mercury shut the door closed, leaving Iason surrounded in the small room by three Sailor Senshi.

So. It was a trap, was it? Iason glanced between the triumvirate of Sailor Senshi impassively. He had enough knowledge on the enemy to know that Makoto Kino was Sailor Jupiter, and Ami Mizuno was Sailor Mercury, but even with that understanding he found it hard to find any similarities between the two females and their normal alter egos. It was like his mind was being clouded when he tried to compare the physical attributes of Kino with Jupiter, and Mizuno with Mercury. It was difficult to keep focused and believe each were one in the same, despite how blatantly obvious it was. It must have been some innate defence to keep the Sailors' true identities secret from the human populace.

"I bet you didn't see that one coming," Sailor Jupiter said with a smirk, rubbing the knuckles of one clenched fist. She glanced at her blue-haired mate. "Did you send the security guard away?" Jupiter inquired.

Sailor Mercury nodded to the tall female. "Yes. He'll be safe for the time being." She returned her gaze to the 'trapped' creature. "Are you sure he is actually a youma?" Mercury then asked.

"Positive," replied the unknown senshi confidently, taking a few steps closer to Iason. "And he's the only one nearby."

The three girls were silent for a moment, merely looking at the youma masquerading as a human. Finally, Jupiter spoke. "So… what do we do with him?" she said.

"If he's susceptible to interrogation, then we can use him to lead us to the enemy's headquarters," suggested Sailor Mercury.

Iason smiled conceitedly and spread out his arms in a gesture of surrender. They thought they had him, did they? How arrogant. "I assure you, I will comply to all inquiries," he said patronisingly, inclining his head slightly in a brief nod of feigned submission.

"Yeah, sure you will," the unknown Sailor Senshi sneered sarcastically.

"Indeed I will," Iason answered in a condescending voice. "I will even grant you some information you will no doubt find… interesting, without being prompted to. As a gesture of good faith," he smiled smugly.

Once he was sure all three humans' full attention was on him, the youma continued. "By tonight, I do believe that Juuban High School will have to close… due to the lack of a sufficient number of students," he said in an off-handed tone.

"What the hell do you mean?" Sailor Jupiter growled threateningly.

"As we speak, your fellows are being butchered!" Iason snarled with macabre satisfaction, his expression suddenly changing into one of demonic glee. "And their weak classmates with them!" He looked up at the ceiling with rapture painted all over his face. "Such a massacre of the like your pitiful planet has never seen. It will be remembered as a glorious day once my kind rules this world! Enough blood will be spilt in that school to fill an ocean!!"

"You're lying!" the mystery Sailor Senshi shouted vehemently, her trembling fists balled tightly by her sides. "You'd say anything to save your skin! YOU'RE LYING!!"

Iason laughed maliciously at the girl's reaction, his chuckles echoing around the room. "It's already started. There are enough youma in Juuban High School to assemble an army!" he cried in triumph. "Teachers, students… no one will see it coming. The walls will run red with their blood, the halls will sing with their screams. Your friends are DEAD! DEAD!!"

The unknown Sailor Senshi gritted her teeth and then abruptly ran like the wind past Iason to the hospital room door, barging past Mercury. She threw open the door hard, the thing nearly coming off its hinges, and then raced down the hall, her furious shouts at people to get the hell out of the way trailing loudly behind her.

"Shit. You bastard," Sailor Jupiter cursed viciously at the sadistically ecstatic youma, the creature still sniggering maniacally.

Iason shook his head from side to side, amazed at how incredibly stupid the Sailor Senshi were. The other senshi's little outburst and subsequent flight had reduced his 'captors' numbers to two. Sure, he had revealed what was happening at Juuban High School, but there was nothing one Sailor Senshi could do to stop it. Her corpse would join the countless others in the slaughter. Now that Iason's presence was known, stealth was no longer an issue and could be ignored. The creature's laughter abruptly cut off and he smiled frostily, his dramatic performance for the enemy's benefit at its end. Juuban High wasn't the only building whose walls would be painted with blood.

"Your friends are dead…" Iason repeated softly, causing both Mercury and Jupiter to glower defiantly at him, but he could see the fear in their eyes. "Your friends are dead… AND SO ARE YOU!" The youma flicked his arms straight out to the sides, letting a long razor-sharp monofilament shoot out from each of his fingertips. He lashed the almost invisible wires like whips, ripping thin, perfect gashes in the floor as if it were butter, and then launched all ten instruments of death at the two stunned Sailor Senshi.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

Yes, I know I promised violence. Oh well, you have to wait until next chapter. And there will definitely be more violence than you can poke a stick at.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to update next; next week is going to be hectic for me. But I'll try my best. ^_^