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Blood Moon- Part 3
by becca-oneechan
1/10/97

Part 3 of my continuing saga. This is still not too exciting, but the next part should have some action -- honest.

"Sailor Moon" is the property of Takeuchi Naoko.

I suppose this 'episode' could be rated PG-13, but if so, then so must the previous two, i.m.o. And it's going to get even worse. Oh well, whatever.

--Blood Moon--
*becca-oneechan*
"Part Three- Dark Dreams"


Dreams of soft, smooth, warm flesh.
Dreams of cool, silver-crystal eyes.
Dreams of rushing heat and rising passions.

Usagi awoke slowly. This time she knew immediately where she was and why, but she accepted it. There was no fear in her, only a warm, drowsy contentment. Strange. But definitely an improvement.

Still more than half asleep, she snuggled closer to the warm, breathing body beside her. She felt no embarrassment and certainly no distaste, but rather a powerful sense of comfort and well-being, as though she was where she belonged.

Her eyes were closed, but she could tell from the darkness pressed against them that it would do her no good to open them anyway. It was better without light, easier to give in to what her body said felt right. She lay, quietly cataloging what her other senses were telling her.

First was the scent of her companion. She wouldn't have thought a denizen of the Dark Kingdom would smell so good. A slight fragrance of flowers, though not the same as that which had permeated her pillow earlier. A richer scent than that had been, almost like the scent of cherries to the scent of cherry blossoms. But it was overlaid and almost overwhelmed by a stronger scent, a powerful, musky, somewhat salty odor that momentarily grasped all of Usagi's thoughts. Her stomach began to ache again, and she wondered why. It didn't exactly... hurt, but it was an uncomfortable feeling, deep down inside her.

Then her bed partner shifted and everything else flew out of her mind as the entire surface of her body screamed for attention. She had known perfectly well she was still curled against his side, her cheek resting on his broad chest. But what she hadn't noticed until he moved was the large, warm hand clasping one of her small, round, very scantily-clad buttocks. Her cheeks burned, and she felt as though her entire skin was jumping with flames. But she didn't move, or try to get free of this rather intimate embrace. It sent tingles through her that weren't at all unpleasant. She hadn't ever experienced anything like this, and she felt almost as though her skin was alive, its own separate entity. She was certain she could feel every inch of it. She could feel the muscles of his firm stomach beneath one hand, the way her small breasts were pressed up against the side of his chest, her bare legs pressed against his hard thigh, one actually thrown partway over it. She could feel his heart thudding, strong and steady beneath her flushed cheek, could feel his chest falling and rising with his breath.

She felt strange, itchy in some way she couldn't name, and a part of her wished this new experience would never end, while another part of her wanted nothing more than to escape, now.

The second part of her got its wish, as red light flickered in the main part of the room. She could see it even through her closed lids, and it awakened her companion, as it was meant to. Deciding there was nothing cowardly in the move, she feigned sleep.

"Nan--?" Kunzite started up onto his elbows. "Oh, HELL!"

Usagi decided no one -- not even she -- would be able to sleep through a curse expelled that loudly, so she blinked groggily up at him, not having to fake the heaviness of her lids. At least his hand was no longer on that part of her personage, though her own hand and her leg were still resting on more of his body than she would have liked. She removed them, scooting back a little and flushing.

"What is it?"

Kunzite seemed almost to be blushing too. Impossible. It was surely just the red light filtering through the crimson curtain.

"Unexpected visitor," he muttered, running a hand over his face.

"Who?" she asked, sitting up and yawning.

Kunzite looked at her carefully before answering. "Prince Endymion."

That got her full attention. "Oh! He's--?"

"He's waiting, rather impatiently, outside the entrance to my quarters. He is not pleased at finding the Gate 'locked'."

Kunzite slung himself over Usagi, momentarily far too close, then sat on the edge of the bed, struggling to tame his long, tousled hair. "I better go out and--"

"No, wait!"

Kunzite turned. Usagi licked her lips anxiously and curled her knees up to her chest. "Can't you let him in here?" she asked. She rushed on as Kunzite opened his mouth to answer. "I'll stay behind the curtain, I swear it! Just-- please? Please, I need to at least hear his voice.... Please?"

Kunzite shook his head at her. "You won't like what you hear."

"I don't care!" Usagi bit her lip. Her stomach was in knots, but she had to do this. "Please...."

Kunzite blinked at her, his dark face expressionless, his silver eyes flat. "Very well. But you must stay behind the curtain."

"I will!" Usagi nodded her head fervently.

Kunzite gave her a long, measuring look. "Give me your hand."

"Nan--?"

Usagi tentatively stretched out one of her hands, and Kunzite grasped her wrist quickly, before she could change her mind, forcing it back against the headboard behind her.

"Hey!" Usagi squealed, as a manacle formed out of the material of the board and wrapped tightly about her wrist.

"Gomen," Kunzite said, rising. He didn't sound very sorry though. "But I can't take any chances." He pulled the crimson curtains to behind him, so that not even a slim strip of light got through. "Now, keep silent, or I'll be forced to gag you as well. I won't have my designs ruined by your impulsive, love-sick behavior!"

Usagi gritted her teeth over the good chewing-out she so desperately wanted to give him. She jerked at her bond, but it was firm. She could hear Kunzite moving about, then there was a rippling feeling through her, and suddenly she knew there was a third person in the room.

"Prince Endymion. To what do I owe this... pleasure?" Kunzite didn't sound too enthusiastic.

Usagi shivered as she heard a laugh that was at once achingly familiar and horribly alien. Mamoru had laughed at her many times in mocking, but never with the same note of derision that she heard now. She bit her lip, choking back a sob.

"Oh, did I wake you, Kunzite?" His voice was smooth as velvet sheathing a shiv blade.

"I'd have thought that much was obvious. What do you want?"

Endymion didn't answer, but instead Usagi could hear his boots thumping heavily on the floor as he crossed the room. Closing her eyes, she felt she could almost see what he was doing. She was certain, absolutely certain, that at the moment her Mamo-chan -- no, he was Prince Endymion of the Dark Kingdom now -- was standing near the table, noting the two goblets and the nearly empty pitcher on its surface. She wasn't sure if it was because, brainwashed as he was, he was still her prince and one true love, or if it was through her bond with Kunzite. Perhaps a bit of both.

"Mooning over your lost love, I see." A soft 'clack' as Prince Endymion picked up the framed image of Kunzite and Zoisite, which had still been on the table.

"Give me that," Kunzite snarled, snatching it away. Usagi could feel the tension in the room rising and she shivered. But Prince Endymion just laughed again. It was not nice laughter.

"Not too true to his memory, are you? Didn't do your reminiscing alone." Usagi could almost feel him cocking a brow toward the bed, and she shrank back against the cold headboard. The crimson curtain suddenly seemed to be the flimsiest of barriers, and she really didn't wish to face Endymion as he was now. She gripped a pillow and pressed it against her chest with her free arm, burying her face in its soft surface. She could smell Kunzite still on it, and a sudden surge of warmth and well-being washed through her. The curtain wasn't the only thing protecting her from the evil being her beloved had become. Kunzite wouldn't let Endymion see her, wouldn't let him hurt her.

It did not escape her notice that the tables had indeed turned, more than she had thought, and her world was really stood upon its head if she was relying on her former enemy to protect her from her former ally. But she wasn't exactly in the mood to appreciate the irony.

"You have a problem with that?"

Usagi 'felt' Endymion shrug. "Just thinking it's a little fast, is all. That is, if you were really as in love as gossip claims."

Usagi winced, feeling a strong stab of pain pierce her heart, through her bond with Kunzite. Hot tears pricked her eyes, tears Kunzite wouldn't shed, couldn't shed, didn't dare to reveal to Endymion.

"What I do in my private time is none of your business."

"No, I suppose not." Usagi could almost see against her closed lids the way Endymion now threw himself carelessly down in the chair not holding her discarded uniform and knife, his lanky legs stretched before him, his shock of black hair falling in his face. And she knew Kunzite was not unaware of the impression this made as Endymion tossed his bangs from his dark eyes and grinned wickedly.

"!!!"

She was shocked. She'd never have thought....

"However, I am here on business." A clink as Endymion poured himself some wine.

"And that would be?" Usagi could feel Kunzite's tension as he paced the floor. He wasn't about to sit. She knew he was wearing his uniform top now, but it wasn't fastened, and he didn't have his cape or his boots on. She had no idea how she could know all this, for she hadn't thought her bond with the Dark Kingdom ruler was that strong, but she could see everything that was going on on the other side of the curtain almost as though the thick material wasn't there. Or... no, that wasn't quite right. She was feeling things more than seeing them. She felt that Endymion was lounging, grinning at Kunzite as he sipped the wine, and her mind painted an image. She felt Kunzite as he placed the image of Zoisite and himself back on the dresser, then turned and began fastening his uniform top.

"How did the meeting with Sailor Moon go? The queen assumes it was a failure, but she is upset that you have not yet come to report to her."

"So, you've become her messenger boy then?" Kunzite asked sardonically.

Endymion snarled. "I wouldn't be so cocky if I were you," he retorted, his voice thick with venomous good humor. Usagi shuddered and fought tears. What had Queen Beryl done to her beloved Mamo-chan? The bitch must pay!

"Trust me, I know where I stand. Better than you think."

Endymion laughed wickedly again. "Do you really? Do you really have any idea how far you've fallen out of our dear queen's favor?"

"At least I don't have to 'work' my way into that favor."

"Jealous, Kunzite?"

"Hardly!"

Usagi's eyes widened over the muffling pillow. Endymion had struck a nerve there! But not jealous of the former Tuxedo Kamen... jealous of Beryl...! Oh god! Usagi hid her blushing face in the pillow's cool surface. That was more than she ever wanted to know!

"So, I take it you did fail."

Usagi felt Kunzite shrug. "Sailor Moon reneged at the last moment, her little friends came to the rescue, and she used the moon stick on my youma. Typical story. A moment more and I would have had her, but--"

"Almost doesn't cut it, my friend." Endymion stood.

"I am not now, nor ever will I be your 'friend'," Kunzite sneered, folding his arms defensively.

"Perhaps not. But I will still give you a piece of friendly advice." Prince Endymion moved to stand so close to Kunzite that their chests were nearly touching, his dark eyes burning with intensity. "Stay out of my way. I'm on the move up, while you're on the down-slide. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you found yourself joining your darling Zoisite sooner than you might have expected."

Kunzite was silent.

Endymion laughed. "You don't even know about our queen's latest venture, do you?" Kunzite looked blank and Endymion laughed more loudly, clapping his hand briefly to the other man's shoulder. "So sad, little king." He shook his dark head and strode toward the doorway. "We're on the eve of final victory, and you haven't got a clue. How the mighty have fallen. But our queen has no use in her realm for failures."

"Yes, and we all know you did such a grand job collecting the seven nijizuishou bearers," Kunzite snarled. Usagi could feel his fists clenched, and she exerted all the will she had, hoping that somehow she could affect him as he was affecting her, that somehow she could keep him from striking out at Endymion. It seemed to work, to a certain extent, and he restrained his attack to words. "Beaten by the weakest of the senshi. Defeated by a few bubbles and your own overconfidence."

Endymion took a step toward Kunzite, hatred flaring in his dark eyes. Kunzite laughed recklessly, tossing his long, silvery hair.

"I'll let you have that one," Endymion hissed. "But only because I know you're going down. And I shall ask my queen as a boon that it may be my hand that does the deed." He sneered. "Now, I shall go report to her your failure, and then take my place in the first wave. Fare badly, little king."

Usagi's whole body was quivering from the tension in the room, then Endymion was gone and the tension vanished. The manacle about her wrist loosened, then released her. She took a long moment to recover, drawing a shaky breath, then she clambered quickly from the bed, nearly becoming tangled in the curtains in her haste. Kunzite was slumped in his chair, staring blankly at the opposite wall.

"First wave?" Usagi blurted, dashing to Kunzite's side and gripping his sleeve. "Kunzite!" she shook his arm when she got no response. "Kunzite! What did he mean, 'final victory'? First wave of what?"

"Uh?" Kunzite blinked at her, slowly seeming to see her. "Oh, that. We're screwed."

"What?!"

Kunzite sighed and slumped forward, burying his head in his hands. "Darkness! I had no idea how bad things were. We are totally and utterly screwed. We've lost before we start. We're--"

"Knock it off!"

Kunzite raised his head and blinked at her. Usagi's little heart-shaped face was pink with anger and indignation, her fists planted on her slim hips. "Am I going to have to be constantly whipping you into shape? You're giving up before we even try? Kunzite no baka!"

He sat back and grinned crookedly as she glared at him. "So, you still want your prince back?"

Usagi blushed and bit her lip. "He's not really like that, you know...."

"I know," he answered, almost gently. He was gazing into space again. "That is the bitch Beryl's doing. I think I almost prefer the goody-two-shoes, Tuxedo Kamen. At least he's not so insufferably conceited."

Usagi shifted uncomfortably, tugging at the hem of her shirt. She was still wearing nothing but the tight black undershirt and a pair of white panties, but she didn't feel overly exposed. At least, not from this outside source. Inside herself was a different matter. She knew things about Kunzite she wished she didn't, and she dreaded to think what he might be picking up from her private mind. She hadn't stopped to consider this side of things when she had agreed to undertake their bonding, and somehow she thought he hadn't either. She didn't want to, but maybe it was time for them to talk.

"Kunzite...."

"No." He knew what she was going to say, of course, and he raised a hand, turning his face away. "Don't."

Usagi bit her lip. "But--"

"Please." His voice was soft.

She blinked. "All right." Shaking off her dark mood, she crossed to the other chair and picked up the uniform pants. "But you're not going to give up on me?"

Kunzite's lips quirked and he shook his head, meeting her eyes once more. "No."

"Good." Usagi wriggled her hips as she tugged the pants up. Her hair had escaped its ribbon some time the night before, and fell about her in a tattered golden curtain. "Um... do you have a hairbrush I can use?"

"In the top drawer." Kunzite gestured with a thumb, looking at her with a strange, bemused expression. Usagi flushed, for no reason she could tell, and moved to the dresser.

"Are you still set on taking down the whole Dark Kingdom?" Kunzite asked her as she leaned back against the dresser and ran the brush swiftly through her long hair.

Usagi nodded, her face grim, a strange expression for her sweet features to hold. "Hai. Especially if what Endymion said was true."

Kunzite grimaced. "He was right. I must have moved further down the pyramid of power than I thought if I haven't even heard about this."

"Are you feeling sorry for yourself again?" Usagi eyed him.

Kunzite grinned at her in a sudden burst of good humor. "I wouldn't dare, little senshi."

"Keep that in mind!" Usagi grinned back. The two of them were up against odds that boggled the mind, the fate of the entire Earth in their hands, and until recently they had been the bitterest of enemies, but at this moment Usagi was filled with a feeling of affection for her Dark Kingdom ally, and comforting companionship. For now at least, nothing seemed impossible.


Such camaraderie couldn't last, of course, and they were soon embroiled in yet another sharp argument.

"A full frontal assault? Are you crazy?! You're the one who told me we're both supposed to live through this! You launch a full frontal assault with just the two of us, and Beryl will put all the youma between her and us, and let them finish us off! We won't even get close enough to see her!"

Usagi pouted.

"Look," Kunzite tried reasoning with her. "It's much easier, not to mention much more intelligent, to catch her off guard, and stick her with the knife. In fact, it's probably the only thing that can get through her defenses. She's guarded against magical attacks, so I can do nothing, and she has Endymion to protect her from an outright physical strike. But that knife has just the right combination of neutral magic and a razor-sharp edge. She won't sense it before its in her, and it'll do the optimum amount of damage. A quiet assassination with your knife will work where nothing else would."

Usagi slammed her fist down on the table top. "That's easy for you to say! It's not your knife! I'm not going to use it unless I absolutely have to!"

"And what were you planning on using against those youma we'd meet in a frontal assault?" Kunzite asked scathingly. "Your charming disposition?"

Usagi glared, and stuck out her tongue. Then she sat back and sighed unhappily. "I don't know. It's just that a sneak attack doesn't seem very... nice."

"Queen Beryl is not a nice person."

"I know. But I like to think I am. Oh, I just don't know! I can't think on an empty stomach."

Kunzite winced at the barely repressed whine in her voice, and restrained himself from making any nasty comments over her ability to think at the best of times. Fortunately for his sanity, he had seen fit to provide for this contingency. As much as he hated Earth, he'd descended a time ago, when he'd first conceived this plan, to pick up some of the raw mass that passed for food down there.

Usagi wrinkled her nose at the quality of the food Kunzite presented her, but, as he said, he'd had no idea when he would be able to implement his plan, so he'd had to choose nonperishables. And, as unappetizing as the food was, at least it was sustenance, and she had more important things on her mind.

Kunzite moved to excuse himself from the room while she ate, but she protested, suddenly fearing to be alone in the Dark Kingdom.

"Don't worry about it," he assured her. "No one can get into my private chambers unwished, not even Beryl. And I've keyed it against the few youma Zoisite and I had working for us, not to mention anything spying for Beryl, Endymion, or anyone else. You'll be safer in here than you would be anywhere, even back at home, protected by your Earth identity."

"But... but...."

"Remember what Prince Endymion said? I have to go investigate, and see what he was really talking about, beyond hints. It could seriously affect our own efforts, and I want to know whether it's something we can use, or if it's something we'll have to work around."

"But what if you get caught?" Usagi asked anxiously.

Kunzite made a face. "I find your faith in my abilities touching," he said dryly. "Don't worry about it. I won't get caught. But even if I am, they wouldn't execute me or anything. I may be lower than Endymion now, but I'm still high enough that I can defend myself. Just because I wasn't told about this doesn't mean they'll kill me for visiting. Especially with Endymion's broad hints. If I were to get caught, which I again tell you I won't, the most I might get would be a bitching-out session from our beloved Queen. And I'm well used to those."

Usagi frowned, her food momentarily forgotten. "Is she really so hard on you?"

Kunzite leaned against the wall next to the mirror and folded his arms. "What do you think? Every time you senshi thwarted one of us you'd think we'd thrown the job over on purpose! We almost envied the youma you ousted. At least they didn't have to attend one of Beryl's lectures."

"But... it wasn't your fault we beat you!"

"Not to hear Beryl tell it."

"What about.... What about when Mam-- uh, Prince Endymion fails?"

Kunzite snorted. "Don't worry your kawaii little head about him. He continually fails worse than any of we kings ever did, and even goes so far as to help you ruin my every plan, and all she does is encourage him to try harder next time. She is truly besotted."

Usagi looked disturbed, and faintly disgusted. "She's always wanted him, hasn't she?"

Kunzite nodded. "How much do you remember from before?" he asked curiously.

"I-- Uh, not much. Wait! What do you mean, 'before'? What do you know about that?"

Kunzite grinned. "I was there. We all were. Beryl nearly defeated the Moon Kingdom and your mother. And she killed both you and Endymion."

"What?"

"You don't remember?"

Usagi shook her head silently, her eyes huge.

"I won't go into details. Just know that she killed you out of jealousy, and then, when he tried to get between you and her, she killed Endymion out of thwarted lust."

Usagi winced at that last word. "But... we're going to kill her, right?" she asked, almost timidly. For the first time, she could use the word kill, and it felt right on her tongue. She wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Kunzite gave her a measuring look, then nodded. "Hai."

Usagi thought briefly. "Uh...."

"What?"

She flushed. "Well, you said how Endymion keeps ruining your plans and stuff...."

"Yes?"

"Well, after it's all over, and we destroy Beryl and the Dark Kingdom -- don't laugh! We are going to!"

"All right, all right."

"Right! So... once all that's out of the way... are you going to want to get revenge on him?"

Kunzite brushed pale bangs from his eyes and sighed wearily. "Usagi- chan, if I don't want revenge on him for Zoisite's sake, why would I--"

"What did you call me?" Usagi burst out, her eyes wide with alarm.

"Nanii?" Kunzite blinked. "I don't.... What was it?"

"Usagi." She looked at him warily. "You called me by my Earth name."

"I did?" He seemed as surprised as her.

"How did you know it?" she asked fearfully.

"Well, you certainly don't think I already knew it, do you? I mean, if I had known your Earth identity before, then I'd have come down, caught you off guard, and finished you off long ago!"

Usagi shuddered at the matter-of-fact way he made this declaration. "But then why'd you call me by it?" she persisted.

He shrugged. "Must be the bonding."

She gave him a hard look. "There's more to that than you led me to believe at the first, isn't there!" she accused.

He looked uncomfortable. "Well...."

"Tell me! You must admit I have a right to know, since it'll affect the rest of my life! This may just be a wild guess, but I don't think there's many knives like that just lying around the Dark Kingdom! How did you get it? And why was it in that fancy stone box?"

Kunzite sighed and crossed back to the table, seemingly forgetting his mission. He sat and opened a bag of chips he'd gotten for Usagi, removing his gloves before reaching in, so that they wouldn't get greasy. "You're showing more perception than I'd hoped, but it's a little late."

Usagi bit her lip and grabbed a packet of rice crackers. If he was going to snack while they talked, she might as well take the edge off her own hunger. "I... I guess it really is, isn't it? There's no taking it back, no matter what. But you should've told me what was going on from the first."

Kunzite's mouth twisted. "If I'd told you what was really going on, not only would you never have agreed to do it, but I probably would have lost my own nerve."

Usagi crumbled a cracker in anxious fingers, forgetting her stomach. "That doesn't sound too good." She frowned. "So, what was the knife?"

He shrugged, then set the chips aside with a grimace of disgust. "It would take too long to go into its history." He rose and crossed the room to take a dusty bottle of wine down off a high shelf, then returned to the table. He sat, filling his goblet and sipping at it to kill the taste of the chips. "Take it that its a relic from the Silver Millennium, which had been gathering dust in Nephrite's trophy collection. I was... 'borrowing' it, when he died--"

"Was killed."

"Whatever. Anyway, I was studying it, and trying to determine what was fact and what was legend about its properties. Apparently I underestimated it."

"So it would seem." Usagi scowled. "You realize of course, that this is not good."

"I know, I know. But, as you said, there's no going back. We'll just have to make it work for us the best we can right now, and try to fix things afterward."

She nodded solemnly.

"Just out of curiosity," he said after a moment of silence, as he poured himself more wine, "How did you and your prince meet again in your new life? You would appear to me to be far too young to be romantically involved with him. Doesn't that cause problems with your Earth family?"

Usagi blushed. "Well.... We aren't exactly involved yet. Actually, all we ever did was fight, because neither of us knew who the other was. And he was dating R-- uh, Sailor Mars, in her Earth identity. But things'll be okay now that we know we're meant for each other, right?"

He gave her a penetrating look, then an expression came over his face that was almost pitying. "I'm afraid I can't concur. You're taking a simplistic view of this, and love is never a simple thing."

"It's not?"

"Have you ever been in love?" He raised a hand when she would have answered in an angry affirmative. "I don't mean a silly crush, or a former love that you can barely remember. I mean the deep, burning love that consumes your heart and would leave you with nothing if it weren't for the presence of other half of yourself."

Usagi's brows contracting as she felt the intense pain he was feeling, unwillingly communicated through their bond. He had lost his other half, and she could feel that, and the agony it caused. "No... I guess I never have...." she said softly, gazing at him with compassionate eyes.

Kunzite was slumped back in his chair, staring sightlessly at the opposite wall, his goblet forgotten in his hand. His dark face was blank of expression, but his cheeks were damp.

Usagi rose and cautiously, tentatively, placed a hand on his shoulder, afraid of his anger, but unable to help herself. "But I think I have an idea now," she whispered past the lump in her throat.

Kunzite didn't respond, only sat, struggling within himself. Usagi sighed and moved back to her chair. There wasn't anything she could do.

Or... maybe there was. Minako had taught her an important lesson when Mamoru had first been taken by the Dark Kingdom, and that was not to wallow in her own grief.

"Kunzite, I'll help you get revenge on Beryl. It's not just about getting my man back, and having the chance to live a normal life anymore. But first we need to know what Prince Endymion was talking about when he was in here earlier."

"Right." He straightened, placed the goblet on the table, then stood. "You're absolutely right." He strode to the mirror, then turned. "I won't be gone long, unless something goes wrong. If it does--"

"Then I'll be able to feel it."

"Yes." He nodded briskly. "While I'm gone, eat your food, then get ready to go, knife and all. We'll probably have to move quickly once I return."

"Hai." She didn't mind accepting orders from Kunzite, at the moment. It was only common sense, and as he concentrated on planning, she felt the throbbing pain that belonged to him, which tore at her heart as well now, slowly easing.

"Kunzite?" she spoke up again, as he prepared to go. She put as much sincerity into her voice as she could, and she knew it radiated down the bond between them. "I mean it. This isn't about me anymore. This is about both of us."

She felt his surprise. Then, although his hard expression never eased, she felt a little of the cold anguish within him bleed away. She felt better too, for her own sake.

"Arigato," he replied softly, then he turned and left through a small warp hole, before things could get any more intimate or mushy. Usagi was just as relieved.

She thought as she ate, trying to figure out what was going on. Things were getting more and more confused in her life, and the knowledge that it was mostly her own fault didn't make her any happier. She really should have taken a moment to consider before she jumped through the warp hole. She really should have taken a moment to ask questions before she used the knife. Now she was set to take on Queen Beryl and the entire Dark Kingdom, just her and her one ally. Granted, he was probably the most powerful being in the evil kingdom, after Beryl and Endymion, but the odds were still frighteningly high against them. Assassination was beginning to look more and more like the only feasible option.

Not only that, but there was a bond between she and Kunzite that was stronger than either had expected, and probably stronger than either really knew. She suspected that if she stopped eating, closed her eyes, and concentrated, she'd be able to see whatever it was he was looking at now. But she wasn't about to try it. She didn't want to be caught prying around behind his eyes, and she didn't want to distract him while he was on a potentially dangerous mission. Besides, she'd picked up enough from him, and too much, when Prince Endymion had been in the room.

The food was gone before she finished thinking, so she continued to consider as she rose. She had to search through the bed covers for a full two minutes before she found the hair ribbon -- shouldn't have gone to sleep with it in -- and that took most of her attention. Then she quickly braided her hair again and tied it off.

She sat and pulled on her shiny black boots. Kunzite had raised some questions she wasn't sure she wanted to consider. What was love? Didn't love endure through all time, no matter what? Why shouldn't she still love her prince? She suddenly realized that she knew next to nothing about Mamoru, except for the little Rei-chan had dropped. And that was very little indeed. And what about Rei? She and Mamoru had been going out before the incident in the Starlight Tower. She'd said it was okay, but was it really right for Usagi to just come in and take all that away, just because of what had happened in the past? Usagi wanted nothing more than to be a normal girl, but if she was a normal girl, then there was no Sailor Moon, and thusly, no history of the Silver Millennium, and the Moon Kingdom. No history of her prince or their love.

She sighed and chewed her lower lip. She was going to fry her brain cells if she went 'round in circles any longer. Best to stop thinking about it entirely.

That proved not to be too difficult as she picked up the knife Kunzite had given her, and all thoughts flew out of her head. She choked, and struggled within herself, but got the thing strapped to her thigh once more. Her hands were shaking, and her heart was thundering in her chest. It wasn't something she could define, but there was something about the knife, repellent and attracting at once.

Sort of like Kunzite himself....

Just at that moment she felt the shiver in her soul, and he was back.

"Well?" she asked, forgetting the knife and her romantic problems at the grim look on his face. big trouble."

: : Part 4: Paths of Red : :


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