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Blood Moon- Part 1
by becca-oneechan

This is part 1 of an undetermined number of parts. I'm hoping to keep it under 6 or 7, but the way things always seem to get away from me.... Well, I'll make no promises.

This is completely self-serving, and I make no apologies. It features my two favorite characters, and they're probably out of character, but I'm doing what I want with them! Mwahahaha! Okay, sorry!

If you hate it, tough. If you like it, let me know!

And guess what; I'm not going to apologise for any spelling or grammatical errors (in the English words), because I'm fairly certain there aren't any. Or if there are, there can't be many. I've proofed this thing so many times....

I'm trying to use the names and references from the Japanese version, but I've only seen the NA translation (horribly warped!), and read Hitoshi Doi's wonderful, wonderful transcripts. So if anyone out there who knows better actually reads this, and sees any awful mistakes, let me know. I did my best with my limited knowledge.

Of course, "Sailor Moon" is the property of Takeuchi Naoko. My deep and eternal gratitude to anyone legally involved in creating the show, getting it over here (even hacked and chopped), and please, no one sue me! I've got no money.

--Blood Moon--
"Pt1-Fractious Friends Revisited"

Sailor Moon could hear the other Senshi scream in shock and horror as she stepped through the dark warp hole. No one had thought she'd do it. No one would have thought she'd have the guts, or that she might have a second plan that differed from the crazy one they had all fallen for and been following. The fact was, no one would have thought she would be this stupid, not even Kunzite or that youma, but she was desperate. She spared a brief moment to hope that her friends would forgive her, but this was the only way she could save Mamoru, and she'd give up her life for that goal. Though she sincerely hoped she wouldn't have to.

Just in case, however, she'd done her best to ascertain that no one from the Dark Kingdom would get their hands on any of her powers. She had entrusted the moon stick to Rei-chan, and left the other gadgets Luna had given her on her bed. She'd had little choice but to keep her brooch. Without it she couldn't be Sailor Moon, and Kunzite would never have had any dealings with plain little Tsukino Usagi. Not to mention there wouldn't be a whole lot she could do in her human form. If it came right down to the choice between death and defeat, she would make certain there was nothing left of the brooch for the Dark Kingdom to get a hold of.

As Sailor Moon disappeared through the rift into the Dark Kingdom, the other senshi broke from the bushes. But they were too late. With a low chuckle, Kunzite moved after their leader. The youma shed herself of her human host, leaving the camera woman collapsed on the pavement, and leapt through the rift as the clock struck the hour of midnight.The Sailor Senshi could do nothing.

Sailor Moon landed heavily on her knees, feeling the rift snap closed behind her. She could sense Kunzite nearby, and knew she ought to stand and protect herself. If there was to be any double-cross, it would be now, while she was weakened and disoriented from passing through the warp hole and coming into a place filled with such evil.

But she couldn't stand, and instead fell forward, resting on her hands and knees, her head hanging. She decided she was probably doomed now. She hadn't known she would be affected so strongly. There was no way Kunzite was going to pass over this golden opportunity.

"Shall I take care of her, Master Kunzite?" the youma asked, her gravely voice gleeful. Sailor Moon whimpered, but still couldn't rise, still couldn't raise her head.

"That won't be necessary," the Dark Kingdom ruler replied. Sailor Moon heard a startled gasp from the youma, and a rather meaty thud, then a louder thud on the ground, but she couldn't figure out just what was going on until a thick pool of blood streamed over the floor before her, flowing smooth and swift toward her hands and sprawled ponytails.

She let out a loud, undignified screech and leapt up, finally able to move, and probably breaking a few records while she was at it. She kept moving, slamming her back against the wall and gazing in horror at the youma's body. The ninja warrior lay, eyes wide and blank above her mask, long brown hair trailing through the large puddle of dark red blood that surrounded her. Sailor Moon bit back on the urge to start screaming and never stop, and then on the urge to start throwing up her guts and....

"Now, with that unpleasantness out of the way, shall we talk?" Kunzite asked, sounding rather pleased with himself.

"Uh-- uh-- uh--" Sailor Moon was having trouble forming words.

"But perhaps you would prefer less disturbing surroundings?"

She nodded speechlessly.

"Very well. Follow me."

She peeled herself off the wall and moved unsteadily after Kunzite as he strode down the dark hall they had emerged into. In her experience, youma only screamed and dissolved when ousted. They never streamed thick, red blood, never lay looking like a limp, broken doll with sightlessly staring eyes. That was more blood than Sailor Moon had ever seen in her life, more than she had known a body could hold. She glanced over her shoulder, filled with a strange morbid fascination. There was something about this form of death, something graphic and exciting. There was some strange exultation in seeing your enemy's life splattered all over the floor in dark pools, far more vital than pastel bubbles could ever be.

She forgot to be wary, looking about in interest as Kunzite led her down the stony hall. Its walls looked organic and disturbing, seeming almost alive. She wasn't sure she quite liked it. The only light source was a doorway up ahead, from which a dim red glow poured. It was through this opening that Kunzite led her.

There was a jolt, as though she had stepped through a second rift, this one smaller and less disrupting to her senses, and she found herself in a small room. It would appear they stood in Kunzite's private living quarters. There was a table with two chairs, some shelves, a dresser, and in a dark corner, curtained by thick crimson velvet, a large, elaborate bed. Her brows rose, and for the first time she began wondering just what was going on. For some strange reason, she didn't feel anxious or afraid, but this was not what she had expected, at all. First Kunzite had killed his youma, and had had no other guards waiting to seize her. And he had brought her here, instead of taking her straight to Queen Beryl, or at least to a dungeon or something. Not that the whole of this place didn't resemble a dungeon. But still....

"What's going on?" she wondered aloud.

"First sit," Kunzite said, waving a hand at the table, which was set against the wall. In fact, it seemed more as though it was an outgrowth of the wall, the same as the shelves, and the dresser. At the least, it was made of the same material.

Sailor Moon didn't really want to, and she was about to demand to be taken to Tuxedo Kamen, but then she caught the gleam in Kunzite's silver eyes, and, recalling the mess he had left in the hall, quietly seated herself. The chair was the same stuff as the table, the shelves, the dresser, the walls, and the floor. It seemed to grow upward from the floor, like some strangely shaped mushroom. Its surface was cold beneath her bare thighs, and even though it was completely dry, it felt somehow clammy, as though it might wrap itself about her at any second and do unspeakable things to her captive body. She squirmed and made a face, but didn't dare to complain.

Kunzite stripped off his cape, tossing it over the back of the other chair, then crossed to one of the shelves. He took down a pair of black goblets and a tall red pitcher and returned to the table, sitting and placing them before him. Sailor Moon watched silently as he poured a thin streamer of crimson liquid into each goblet, then pushed one toward her.

"You needn't drink if you don't wish to," he said, sitting back and sipping from his own goblet. "But I assure you, it's perfectly safe, though mildly intoxicating. It's only wine."

Sailor Moon, for something to do, grasped the goblet, but she only held it in her hands, not drinking. She noticed that the doorway through which they had entered had disappeared, a full-length mirror in a heavy, ornate frame hanging in its place, but she didn't feel trapped. Instead, she felt strangely safe, as though instead of herself being locked in, all the madness of her war against the Dark Kingdom was locked out.

She blinked at Kunzite, her wide blue eyes confused. "What is all this about?" she asked.

Kunzite cocked her a crooked grin. "I find your lack of belligerence somewhat disturbing," he said, slightly mockingly.

Sailor Moon flushed. "Well, it's obvious something strange is going down. This isn't what I thought would happen. I need to know exactly what you're planning so I know how to change my own plans."

Kunzite nodded, not seeming too surprised at this sudden burst of logic, though Sailor Moon herself was momentarily floored.

"Tell me something," he said, pouring himself more wine.

"Yes?" Sailor Moon asked warily. Before she realized what she was doing, she took a sip from her own goblet. Her eyes widened, and her smooth cheeks flushed slightly. It was great! It tasted like flowers and fruit, and was rich and cool at the same time as it slid over and around her tongue like warm beams of sunlight. But she vowed to herself not to drink anymore. She didn't even come close to trusting Kunzite or his beverages.

"You don't have the ginzuishou, do you?"

She shook her head, glad to disappoint, and feeling no qualms about telling him the truth. "No. I left it with the Senshi."


She stared at Kunzite in startlement as she finished off her wine. Without speaking, he refilled her goblet.

"Why good?"

"Because Beryl would be able to sense that if it were in her realm. And that doesn't figure into my plans."

The wine was making Sailor Moon's head swim a little, but it didn't seem to impair her thoughts. She frowned. "And I fit into these plans where?"

Kunzite reached a long arm over to the dresser. He grasped the framed image that was the only thing atop it and handed it to Sailor Moon. She looked at it. It was of Kunzite and Zoisite.

"Are you going to kill me for causing his death?" she asked diffidently, placing the image gently on the table. Perhaps it was the wine, but she didn't feel afraid, even though Kunzite could indeed kill her if he wished. Especially as she was without her moon stick or any of her other gadgets and was trapped in his very own rooms. But somehow she didn't think that was a part of the plan he had mentioned.

"No. There is only one person responsible for Zoisite's death, and you're not it."

Sailor Moon leaned her elbow on the table and placed her chin on her hand. "Tuxedo Kamen-sama?"

Kunzite shook his head. "Queen Beryl."

Sailor Moon's elbow slipped and her face slammed into the hard table top. "Ouch!" She rubbed her nose. "What?! Queen Beryl?!"

Kunzite nodded, his pale silver eyes narrowing. "And that is why I will kill her."

"Kill her?" Sailor Moon squawked, disbelieving. "Kill Queen Beryl? You can't kill Queen Beryl! How can you kill Queen Beryl?"

Kunzite grinned at her. "I was hoping I could get you to help me with that."

"Are you kidding? Without the moon stick I'm not even a match for *you*!"

"Even with the stick and the ginzuishou you're not a match for me."

Sailor Moon scowled, but she couldn't argue. She could still vividly recall the time Kunzite had held four of the Sailor Senshi trapped and helpless. If it hadn't been for Sailor Venus's lucky shot they'd have fallen to him. And even then, Venus had only freed them because she'd had the element of surprise. But, still, the queen?!

"Then what did you bring me here for?"

"Alone you can certainly do nothing against the bitch-queen. Alone, I am not enough to defeat her either. But together, we can be a power greater than she, and we can win through."

"There's no way! There's just no way! Baka! You're crazy! Even if I thought we stood a chance, even if I trusted you, there's no way I'd be able to work with you! Your power is evil and mine is good!"

"Don't be too sure of that," Kunzite said darkly. "Sometimes good is just another form of evil. Sometimes the most wicked deed can yield beneficial results."

A blank glaze came over Sailor Moon's eyes. "Huh?"

Kunzite sighed. "I thought you were willing to risk anything to save your beloved Tuxedo Kamen-sama," he said. Sailor Moon bridled at the scornful, mocking tone of his voice, but he wasn't done. "You do realize that he's become the horny bitch-queen's newest bed toy, don't you? Are you really resigned to taking her leavings? If there's anything left to take, which doesn't seem to me to be too likely."

Sailor Moon gasped, her cheeks paling. She looked as though she might pass out, or burst into tears. But a fire suddenly flamed in her chest. Maybe it was only the wine, but it gave her heart, and she firmed her chin.

"All right, I'm in."

"Very good."

"But, wait! If you want to kill Queen Beryl in revenge for Zoesite's death, then how come you've been working for her all this time?" Sailor Moon was as much confused as she was suspicious.

Kunzite shrugged. "How could I not? The slightest sign of resentment and she'd have killed me too. I had to bide my time. Then you and your little plan -- which, by the way, I saw through the entire time -- fell into my hands."

Sailor Moon was not insulted, though she was a little disappointed. Well, at least she had done a good enough acting job to fool Luna and the other Senshi. "So, what are we going to do?" Now that she had decided to throw her lot in with the Dark Kingdom ruler, she was going to go all the way, and do whatever it took. She'd already done her best to sever all ties to her former life. If she died here, so be it. Although she highly doubted Kunzite considered failure an option.

"I thought you'd never ask."

The hardest part, Usagi decided in retrospect, had been slicing her own wrist. She was still surprised she had had the nerve to go through with that. She wondered what Rei would have thought. Kunzite had bound their wrists together with a scarlet cloth for a few minutes, long enough for their blood to mingle. They would need the bond for his plan to work, and Usagi already felt him as a dark presence in the back of her mind. She had balked initially, especially after he told her that she had to use the knife on herself, that he couldn't do it for her. But upon being told that the only other way was sex, she had glanced fearfully at the bed in the corner and decided upon the lesser of two evils. Kunzite had been quite amused.

The wound had healed before her eyes, frightening her a little, but he told her that was perfectly natural, because of the power of the knife they had used.

Next he gave her a uniform to wear.

"Eew!" She scowled, sticking her tongue out. "No way. You can't expect me to wear this?"

"What's wrong with it?" Kunzite folded his arms.

Sailor Moon looked at the uniform he was wearing, and bit her lip. "Hmph."

"The bathing area's through there," he said, waving a hand to a door next to the bed. Sailor Moon reluctantly shuffled across the room and quickly changed her clothes.

"Very good," Kunzite applauded as she emerged. She wriggled and frowned.

"It itches!"

He shrugged. "You'll get used to it."

"How come it fits me?" she asked curiously. She posed before the mirror, giving the uniform a good going-over. It wasn't cut in a very flattering style. The top just killed what little there was of her chest, although her legs did look long and slim beneath it. She'd even been given a pair of shiny black boots to complete the ensemble.

"Just be glad it does. Now, take your hair down."

"What? No way!"

"Everyone in the Dark Kingdom knows your hairstyle and would recognize it. If you don't let it down now, I will chop it all off."

He was serious, and she swiftly complied, though she frowned horribly and complained the whole time. Soon her golden hair tumbled loose over her shoulders and chest, falling down her back in silken waves almost to her ankles.

Kunzite rubbed his chin. "That won't do at all. Tie it back." He handed her a thick green ribbon.

Usagi got her back up at that. "Stop bossing me around!" she snapped, snatching the ribbon but not moving to obey. "I'm not your flunky! And you are not going to make me into your little Zoisite-clone!"

Kunzite snarled and lifted a hand as though he might strike her. She only raised her chin and glared at him defiantly. His hand did not fly. Instead he lowered it and turned away.

"You could never take Zoisite's place," he muttered bitterly. Then, after a moment, he added, a curious twist in his voice; "Your breasts are too small."

Usagi's mouth dropped open in outrage. She could hear him chuckling quietly to himself.

"You-- You--" she sputtered, then suddenly she burst into uproarious laughter.

She ignored Kunzite as he spun and stared at her in shock, turning back to the mirror and gathering her mass of golden hair into a fairly neat braid, tying it off with the ribbon, then flipping it over her shoulder. It now fell only a bit below her knees. It was thicker than both her wrists, and heavy, but it was the best she could manage.

"What about the tiara?" she asked anxiously, examining her reflection in the mirror. She was still Sailor Moon, not having transformed back to her normal self, although she had switched her fuku for this ugly uniform. Now that her hair was down, the tiara was the only thing of her alter-ego that remained to her. She certainly didn't feel like Sailor Moon. But then, she didn't really feel like plain Tsukino Usagi either. She wasn't sure who she was.

Kunzite shrugged. "It's the only weapon you brought with you, ne?" She nodded. "Then leave it. Enough Dark Kingdom denizens wear crazy styles. You've seen some of the youma!" She nodded again, this time biting back on a snicker. "As long as you're not wearing your trademark fuku and don't have your hair caught up in those ridiculous ponytails, no one should recognize you. It doesn't take much to fool a Dark Kingdom flunky. You'd be surprised how stupid most of them are." She shook her head. "All right, maybe you wouldn't." Kunzite chuckled, shaking his own silvery head. "I think Beryl breeds them brainless, so that they don't realize what a self-serving bitch she is. It's not much of a wonder that Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Endymion, and even I have failed so often. I mean, look at the pathetic back-up we have! As weak as most of you Senshi are, even a three year old child could take out most of the youma!"

"Hey!" Usagi wasn't sure she liked his tone of voice. "We're not that weak!"

"Oh, please! Your Sailor Mercury can't do much but blow bubbles -- how scary is that? -- and your Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter are so impulsive that even though they may have the strength, they'd be easy to defeat. The only Senshi that is even a slight challenge is Sailor Venus, and yet you don't use her to her full ability! And you -- why, without all your toys, you'd be no threat at all. You run, you fall down, you cry. If you didn't have your precious Tuxedo Kamen to spirit you away from danger, you'd have been dead dozens of times over. From what Jadeite said, you did a little better before you had the other Senshi to back you up, but you're damned near hopeless now."

"Hmph." Usagi folded her arms and pouted. Strangely, she didn't even feel like yelling at him, or bursting into tears, as seemed the two most likely reactions, and as he seemed to more than half expect. Perhaps it was because she couldn't really argue most of his points.

"Well, even if that's so, you dumb Dark Kingdom people haven't been doing such a great job yourselves," she retorted angrily. "I mean, why the heck do you only come at us one at a time? Why didn't all four of you kings come down and gather energy at once? Why don't you bring an army of youma and wipe us out? Or at least spread the energy-gathering ones so broadly that we can't possibly take all of them out? And why on all of Earth do you keep coming to Tokyo, when you must have figured out by now that that's where all we Senshi live?!"

Kunzite seemed startled by this display of logical thinking, and didn't answer for a moment. He crossed back to the table and poured another goblet of wine. "In answer to your first question, there are only a certain number of Dark Kingdom denizens that can exist on your world at any one given time without causing dangerous levels of negative energy which would be as harmful to us as to you. We've estimated that the maximum number is five, though that depends on how powerful or weak certain of the youma are. We could probably get by with eight or even nine relatively weak warriors. But we couldn't have had more than two kings on Earth at one time, and if there were two of us down there, there could only be one youma. Or, in the case of the Gemini, two that are one."

Usagi nodded and returned to her chair. She couldn't say it was more pleasant, but it was certainly much less unpleasant to sit on now that her legs were covered, even if the pant seams did itch. But Kunzite had been right. She was beginning to get used to them.

"That also covers your second and third questions," Kunzite continued, sitting as well. "As for why we keep coming to Tokyo..." He glared into his goblet, his expression deadly. Usagi cowered in her chair. She'd had that expression aimed at her once -- just after Zoisite's death, when Kunzite had come to kill her, and failed -- and she didn't ever want it applied to her again. Kunzite sneered. "That is by order of our beloved bitch-queen. I'm sure she has some devious, self-serving reason behind it, but I've yet to figure out what that is."

"Does the death of a Dark Kingdom king release a lot of energy?" Usagi asked absently, suddenly struck with an idea.

Kunzite looked up, startled. "Hai."

"And where did that energy go when Nephrite and Zoisite died?"

Kunzite didn't answer, but his silver eyes narrowed into sharp slits.

"And if Jadeite is trapped in eternal sleep, doesn't that give Queen Beryl unrestricted access to his energy?" Usagi persisted.

Kunzite growled deeply in his throat. "I see now what I must do," he said, his voice low and throbbing with intensity. He stared at Usagi, but seemed not to see her. "The bitch has been using us for her own ends. This is no longer a matter of vengeance. The Dark Kingdom must be released from her corrupt rule! I cannot allow this perversion to continue."

"I'm with you all the way," Usagi said firmly. "Jadeite tried to kill Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and me, but no one should be held in such torment as he is enduring. I didn't care much for Nephrite, and he was using Naru-chan up until nearly the last moment, but he died with love in his heart. I'm still peeved with Zoisite for trying so hard to kill my Tuxedo Kamen-sama, and I hold no great affection for you, but you two did care for each other. And it's just plain wrong for anyone to use anyone else so badly for their own profit, as Queen Beryl is doing. Besides, I still have to get Mamo-chan away from her!"

Kunzite nodded, but was clearly only half hearing her. He seemed lost in deep thought. "Yes, we should free Jadeite if we can, or at least see that he gets a clean death."

Usagi squawked. "Death? Why?"

Kunzite looked at her soberly. "After all he's been through, there might not be much left of him. It might turn out to be kinder to put him out of his misery."

"I could use my...." Usagi let that sentence trail away, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment. How could she use her 'Moon Healing Escalation' on Jadeite when Rei-chan had her moon stick? Besides the fact that as a denizen of the Dark Kingdom, it would probably do him more harm than good!

Mercifully, Kunzite ignored this slip, frowning and rising. "You need another weapon," he said, crossing to the dresser. "The tiara isn't very powerful, and if you use it it'll give you away as Sailor Moon."

He pulled open a drawer and lifted something out. Usagi's eyes grew huge as she saw what he held in his hands.

"A knife? But I can't--!"

"I know," he said, a corner of his mouth quirking up. "Don't worry about it. This knife will fight for itself. All you have to do is hold it."

Usagi reluctantly accepted it, holding it on both hands, extended a ways from her. Her face was twisted in a mix between distaste and horror. The thing seemed to be as long as a katana to her, and it was heavy. She felt a cold chill radiating from it, and unexpected tears pricked her eyes.

"I-- I can't--" she gasped, her hands shaking.

Kunzite sighed, exasperated, but not angry. He took it back and strapped it to her uniform belt himself. Usagi felt better once it was out of her hands, and drew in a quavering breath. Two tears rolled hot down her cheeks, but she gulped back the rest. Kunzite was close, she could feel his body heat, and his hands were strong and sure at her waist. She could smell a pleasant scent about his hair, at once fruity and musky. She'd never had a man this close to her before, except when Tuxedo Kamen regularly swept her away from danger, which moments went far too quickly. She felt strange and giddy, and was very relieved when he straightened and stood back, planting his hands on his hips and giving her a good going over.

"You look...." She gazed at him, expectantly, "Utterly ridiculous!"

She flushed angrily as he burst into laughter. "Hey! Be nice!"

Kunzite shook his head. "Gomen. Gomen nasai. But you look so utterly wrong in that get-up. There's the uniform and the knife, then there's your oh-so-kawaii face and that hair peering out, like some angel trapped in a hellish prison."

Usagi stopped scowling and rolled her eyes. "Well, you dressed me like this!"

"I know, I know. But there's no way you're going to pass for a creature of the Dark Kingdom."

"Then what's the good of it?" she cried.

"Hush. Hang on. Your nasty little crack a time ago gave me an idea. There's no way you could ever look like you belong here. Besides, no one but the kings are -- were -- allowed to wear uniforms like that. It was all I had at the moment, but it may have been the best choice. As long as my pride can stand it. But I guess I'm willing to pay any price, if it will bring about Beryl's downfall and destruction."

"What are you babbling about?" Usagi asked.

"When you accused me of trying to make you into a little Zoisite-clone. Well, I wasn't, obviously, but what if I did? That would explain the uniform, the hair, the kawaii face, and the fact that you would never fit in with the youma and other beings around here!"

"Hmm...." Usagi thought this over. She found her right hand was unconsciously stroking the handle of the knife, and she shuddered, forcing it away. She couldn't imagine ever using the blade, but it already felt too familiar, too right at her side. It was strapped tightly against her leg, nearly as long as her thigh, the pommel even with her hip. "I guess...." She dragged her thoughts back to the matter at hand. "I guess that's not a bad idea. If your pride can take it. But won't that mean that...."

"That you will have to act as though I had enthralled you to me? I'm afraid so."

Usagi made a bitter face. "Oh well. I guess if you can pretend you're so pathetic that you have to try to recreate your dead lover, then I can stand to play at worshipping you."

Kunzite looked less than pleased by this statement. "Has anyone ever told you that you have a nasty little tongue in your mouth?" he asked, scowling.

She shook her head, grinning with a sudden restoration of good humor. "No. But it's nice to know."

Kunzite shook his head and sighed. "I give up."

"So what do we do now?" Usagi asked, yawning. It must surely be nearing dawn back on Earth, and it had been a long, traumatic night. Kunzite pondered this for a while. Usagi flopped down in the chair. She was suddenly very tired, and the wine she had consumed finally seemed to be getting to her. Her eyes felt heavy, and she yawned again.

"We both need some sleep, and a direct attack would be foolish, so I see no reason not to get some rest right now. We need time to work our way into a position where we can take her out."

"Mmm...." Usagi was nodding off where she sat. "Uh, hai!"

Kunzite eyed her. "There's only one bed."

That got her attention. "Nanii?" She straightened. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Absolutely nothing, except this," he replied, unfastening his uniform top and stripping it off. "There is one bed, and I have prior claim. I am sleeping in it. However, it's fairly large, and I am willing to share. If you don't agree, you can sleep on the floor, or in that chair."

Usagi watched silently as he crossed to the bed, pulling aside the curtain long enough to climb atop the rich black coverings. He was wearing his pants and a tight black undershirt with a low-cut collar, but had removed his boots. She gazed at the bed, then looked around the room. There wasn't anything remotely resembling a place to sleep, besides the bed.

"You won't ever tell anyone?" she asked anxiously.

"Trust me, I'd want the information to get out as little as you," he grunted from behind the curtain.

Usagi frowned, but began tugging off her borrowed boots. As unflattering as that statement was, it was reassuring. If Kunzite had no interest in her, it made her feel much safer sharing a bed with him. She had a shirt like Kunzite's under her jacket, and so she removed the top part of the uniform. After a moment's thought, she also squirmed her way out of the uniform pants. She had a pair of white panties on, nothing more substantial, but she felt she just couldn't bear to sleep with those itchy seams pressed against her legs. In this case, modesty was definitely of secondary consideration.

The floor was cold and almost sticky feeling beneath her bare feet as she padded across the room. "You really ought to consider putting carpeting down in here," she commented as she clambered onto the bed. It was a wide bed, larger than any she'd ever seen, and Kunzite lay over near the wall, quite a comfortable distance away. She felt almost safe as she slipped under the thick, warm coverlet. The mattress was soft and the pillow beneath her head was plump. She sighed and wriggled happily into place.

"I'll take that under advisement," Kunzite grunted, his back turned to her. "But as you won't be here too long, your opinion doesn't count for that much."

"Thpt." Usagi blew him a raspberry before pulling the covers up under her chin. She felt warm and comfortable, and had no qualms about giving herself over to sleep. But before it could enfold her in its dark-deep wings, she just had to give vent to a weary giggle.

"What?" Kunzite asked, sounding as tired as she felt.

"If someone had told me yesterday that I'd end up in the Dark Kingdom, sharing a bed with my second-greatest enemy, I'd have used my moon stick on them," she said, giggling again.

Kunzite chuckled. "Well, you took a chance, and you are going to reap rewards you couldn't ever have imagined. I swear to you now, we are going to vanquish Queen Beryl."

Usagi nodded. "I agree," she said sleepily. "She's toast."

"What did you do with the knife?" Kunzite asked suddenly, rolling over and rising up on his elbows. Usagi blinked at him over the coverlet.

"I left it on the chair with the uniform," she said. "Is that okay?"

"Hai." He sighed and sank back down. "I just wanted to be sure you weren't sleeping with it on. That wouldn't be advisable."

"Uh-huh." Usagi was more than half asleep by now. "Douse the light, wouldja?" she asked fuzzily.

"Done." The room was plunged into darkness. "Sleep well, Sailor Moon."

"You too."

After a moment, a low snoring sound filled the room.

"Oh, great," Kunzite sighed into the darkness.

: : Part 2: Patterns of Pain : :

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