.moon by night

Silver and Steel by Nephthys Moon

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When Usagi awoke from Luna’s attempts at memory restoration, the other girls seemed to have come to a decision.

“We want you to try to do us, too,” Minako declared with a forced heartiness. Usagi shook her head. Within her was not only the memory of how to fight, but also the memories she hadn’t recovered from her time as the Princess in her past life. And the Princess knew how to wield the Ginzuishou.

“I’ll do it,” she said, surprised and yet not to hear the strength and confidence in her own voice. “Luna doesn’t have the energy – and I want you to remember it all.” They looked to Minako, as though instinctively recognizing that she was their leader. When Minako nodded, the other girls joined in.

“Moon Healing Escalation!” Usagi shouted, raising her brooch over her head. She could see their eyes filling with tears as their memories were restored, a deep, dark knowledge filling up the light places on their faces and she cringed. She would never have wanted this for them. She would have fought, and died, alone if it meant sparing them this torture.

She watched as Minako’s face fell, horror crossing it before she burst into tears, and Usagi was afraid she knew what image was playing in the other girl’s mind; the knowledge that Kunzite had been the one to slaughter her past self as though he had relished the task. Rei’s eyes filled with a cold fire and Ami seemed to ice over. Surprisingly, Makoto seemed to take her memories the most calmly. Usagi supposed that it was the knowledge that her current lover had no part in her past life’s destruction that gave her the courage to face it.

She lowered her hands, affixing her brooch back to her bow and waited.

“Do we kill them now or later?” Rei broke the silence, flames flickering in her hands.

“We don’t kill them at all, Sailor Mars,” Usagi said decisively. “You cannot punish them for what they did in the past life.”

“What about what they did in this one?” Ami replied, and Usagi was surprised at the tone.

“They were corrupted by Beryl – they didn’t know what they were doing, Sailor Mercury,” Makoto argued. Usagi was relieved to see that at least one of her Senshi was on her side.

“That’s easy for you to say, Princess,” Sailor Venus spat angrily. “Endymion died protecting you! He never tried to kill you!” Usagi gulped, pushing the memories back down.

“Actually, yes he did,” she whispered. “When Kunzite took him to the Dark Kingdom, Beryl corrupted him as well,” she explained. “It was worse than when he was just evil Tuxedo Kamen. He was Endymion – in full armor. And while Tuxedo Kamen had tried to fight her influence, Endymion was completely her servant. He bound me in his black roses and electrocuted me. Then he kicked me, raised me off my feet by my throat – and raised his sword against me.”

The Senshi had fallen silent as she explained and she didn’t dare look up to see their reactions.

“Why didn’t you say anything, Usagi-chan?” Sailor Venus asked, and Usagi could hear the tears in the other girl’s voice.

“When? You – all of you – were dead then,” she whispered. “All I wanted was for it to be over, then. Endymion was dead – even after he tried to kill me, I was able to restore him and he died protecting me. Like before. Only this time I was strong enough to face Metalia without him.”

“What exactly happened, Sailor Moon?” Rei asked quietly.

“I became Serenity,” she explained. “And I suddenly knew how to beat her. I felt you all there, lending me your strength even though you were all dead. And when she was gone, I was so tired. I had nothing left – I had given it all to the Ginzuishou and there was nothing left for me. And I just wished – I wished that you would all come back and that we could sit at the arcade together and drink a milkshake. I wanted us all to be normal. I didn’t want to remember any of it – any of us. I even hoped that Mamoru wouldn’t remember, so that way if he fell in love with me, he would really be falling in love with Usagi and not Princess Serenity – and it worked.”

“We all woke up in the hospital after a two-week coma because you made that wish, Usagi-chan,” Ami said reprovingly. “Was it worth it?”

“We had four years of being completely normal, Ami-chan,” Makoto reminded her. “I think it was worth it. If I hadn’t, I would never have allowed myself to fall in love with Motoki-kun. I would have had all these memories of Nephrite clogging things up.”

“Usagi-chan,” another voice cut in, and Usagi spun. She had completely forgotten that Naru was in the room until she saw the tears pouring from the green eyes. “Do you mean that he is Nephrite?” And suddenly Usagi recalled why Naru would be crying over this. This was why she and Umino had never quite managed to work out: Nephrite. Nephrite who had lied to her, used her, and, ultimately, loved her.

“Yes, Naru-chan,” she whispered. “And I’ll find some way to make him remember you, too.”

“Wait – Naru and Nephrite?” Makoto asked, her eyes wide. Usagi nodded. Makoto reached down and wrapped the shorter girl in her embrace, stroking the red hair. “If Usagi-chan can’t find a way to make him remember, I’ll kick him around until he remembers whatever it was he did to you. If he hurt you, he will pay!”

“He protected her, Mako-chan,” Usagi said, a smile crossing her features as she remembered that day. “He gave up his life to save hers.”

“Under Beryl’s control?” Minako cut in.

“Yes, Minako-chan. As a general of the Dark Kingdom, Nephrite sacrificed his life to one of Zoisite’s youma to protect Naru-chan,” Rei confirmed. The slight glitter of tears in her eyes told Usagi that she, too, finally understood fully how much he must have cared for Naru.

“So – what do you say we get out of these uniforms and veg in front of the TV?” Makoto suggested and the others nodded their assent.

“You guys go ahead,” Usagi said. “I need to check on Mamoru.”

She looked down, noticing for the first time that the cats had curled up in her favorite chair, sound asleep. She smiled fondly and reached down to stroke the ears of the black one. “I’ve missed you, Luna,” she mumbled to softly for the others to hear. “But I guess you’ve always been with me, haven’t you? You’re a lot harder to ignore when you’re inside my head, you know.”


“Why can’t I remember?” Mamoru growled for what Motoki was certain was the fiftieth time. “Usa is going to fight monsters and I can’t remember how to help her! I can’t even remember being in love with her – in two different lifetimes!”

“Well, I don’t know that you would want to remember what your relationship was like in this one,” Motoki mumbled. “Yeah, the rags always said that Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon had some kind of ‘thing’ going on, but you always denied it. You called her hot but said she was too flaky for your tastes – actually,” he said, memory washing over him. “HA! You said she reminded you too much of Usagi-chan!”

“Well, I guess that makes sense,” Mamoru muttered darkly, “Considering she was Usa the whole time. Was I really so dense?”

“You have to understand something, Mamoru-kun – you and Usagi-chan didn’t get along. Before the ‘accident’, there were times I really worried about you. It was like you became this completely different person around her. I could tell you were attracted to her, but even when she wasn’t around, you had nothing but negative things to say about her. You were almost cruel on several occasions.”

“But I thought that cat said that I was in love with her?” Mamoru asked, confused. Motoki shrugged.

“Actually, the cat said that your past self had been in love with her past self – I don’t know if you ever realized who that past self was. You disappeared for about three weeks – when you came back, well, I wasn’t entirely honest with the girls. You weren’t dressed as Tuxedo Kamen. You were wearing armor.” Motoki shook his head as something seemed to flash in Mamoru’s eyes.

“Black armor,” he muttered, almost to himself. “She said I was wearing black armor. I did try to kill her.”

“Wait – what are you talking about?” Motoki demanded.

“Usa had a dream a few days ago – I was wearing black armor and I tried to kill her,” Mamoru explained. “I saw the armor in my head as she described it – I knew what it looked like. She came in here last night, as Sailor Moon, because she realized that it hadn’t been a dream.”

Motoki took one look at the future med student and forced him down to his bed. He didn’t hear Usagi come into the room, but he heard her words clearly.

“You were brainwashed, Mamoru. You didn’t know what you were doing. And as soon as you realized it, you died to protect me from the one who brainwashed you.”

“That’s where he disappeared to?” Motoki demanded, looking at his ‘little sister’ with wide eyes. “He switched sides?”

“No – he was captured and tortured until there was nothing left but an empty shell of who he was. Beryl took advantage of that and filled him up with negative energy to turn him against me,” she explained softly. Mamoru was staring at her in shock. “Beryl was his betrothed in the past life. He was going to marry her to secure his father’s kingdom. And then he met me.”

“Love at first sight?” Mamoru asked shakily, and Motoki felt his own knees buckle. This was his Usagi-chan, but it wasn’t. This young woman was strong, powerful and confident and – regal.

“Not at all, actually,” Usagi said with a rueful smile. “As I recall, we got along about as well as the proverbial cat and dog. But in addition to marrying you off to Beryl, your father was trying to forge relations with the Moon, and he’d sent you as an ambassador. You were stuck on the Moon for quite a few months.”

“So what happened?” Motoki was surprised when he realized the question had come from him, but Mamoru just nodded. Usagi joined them on the bed, sitting at the foot of it like a storyteller – which he supposed she was.

“We were having another of our forced outings when I slipped – my shoes were always doing that. I wasn’t quite the klutz back then,” she said, shaking a finger at both of them. “You caught me, Mamoru.” Her face softened, and Motoki could tell that her memories of the event were fond.

“It was the first time we’d ever touched, and we both jumped back, surprised. And then we both reached our hands for the other, like this,” she said, reaching across towards Mamoru and holding her hands up, palms facing Mamoru. Motoki watched in fascination as Mamoru pressed his palms against the delicate hands of Usagi and their fingers locked around the other’s hand.

“What happened?” Mamoru asked.

“You leaned down and kissed me,” she admitted, a smile on her face. “Of course, Kunzite chose that moment to appear with Venus and they got us apart pretty quickly. We kept up the act for everyone else – the two spoiled royal brats who couldn’t stand to be in a room with one another, but we would sneak out at night and go for long walks together. The first time we made love, Venus later told me she was certain that she heard the Heavens themselves singing.”

“I was engaged to someone and we were carrying on a secret affair behind her back?” Mamoru asked indignantly, as though appalled that his former self had been so dishonorable.

“As was I,” Usagi admitted. “I was engaged to a young man from a different system. My mother was trying to unite the Sol system with the rest of the galaxy. He was the prince of a planet called Kinmoku. My Senshi were also engaged to different men of various systems.”

“So we had a fling?” Mamoru looked disgusted, and Motoki could understand why. It wasn’t in his friend’s nature to accept infidelity, especially from himself – he probably felt it cheapened his relationship with the former Princess that their love had begun in sin.

“No,” Usagi denied. “We fell in love. Rumors made their way back to the Earth, and reached Beryl’s ear. She convinced your father to send her to the Moon. When she arrived,” Usagi looked away as she spoke, “she was told that you were in the stables and walked in to discover us in a delicate situation.”

“I take it that didn’t go over so well,” Mamoru asked sarcastically.

“She returned home, unaware that her mother had been corrupted by the evil that had come from the sun. She allowed herself to be corrupted by the same evil, and used it to corrupt your guardians. They led her attack on the Moon. She tried to kill me. You stepped in front of her blade. I cried as I watched you bleed out your life on the steps of my palace.”

“Motoki, could you give us a few moments?” Mamoru said thickly, his arms reaching for the petite blonde at the foot of his bed. Motoki nodded gratefully and slipped from the room. As fascinating as the past love between Usagi and Mamoru was as a story, he didn’t want to witness it live.


“What happened then, Usa?” he asked softly, and she knew she couldn’t lie to him.

“I picked up your sword,” she whispered softly. “And I plunged it into my chest.” She watched tears fall from his eyes.

“Why?” he asked brokenly, clearly amazed at this newest revelation.

“Because you were my life, then.” She knew the words were too simple to fully explain so she tried again. “I was a Princess; pampered, worshipped. You never treated me that way. You made me believe that I was as strong as Jupiter and as powerful as Venus. That I could be as smart as Mercury and as wise as Mars. My entire existence had been an endless stream of duties and coddling and you took me out of that world. I was fifteen and I couldn’t imagine a life without you. Beryl was destroying my kingdom around me, and all I could see was you.”

“I just can’t imagine you doing that,” he whispered. She laughed.

“I didn’t – not this time. Princess Serenity might have been powerless, but I wasn’t,” she said proudly. “You died as I watched and I knew that this time, no matter what, I would destroy her. She had taken you from me twice, but I could not let her win. And I didn’t.”

“Why didn’t anyone remember?” he asked and she snuggled closer to his chest, allowing herself to bask in his presence.

“Because I didn’t want them to,” she replied, her voice stronger than it had been since Motoki left the room. “I wanted my friends to have normal lives – and you, too. I didn’t want you to love me because I was Serenity, or even because I was Sailor Moon and you were Tuxedo Kamen. I wanted to give you the choice to love me as Usagi. I wanted to let Mamoru make up his own mind, free of Endymion’s influence. And I didn’t want to live knowing who you were and knowing that as Mamoru there was very little chance of that happening. It was better that none of us remember.”

“I don’t know what I feel, Usa,” he said softly against her hair. “I know that you’re telling the truth – I can feel it. But I still don’t know what I feel for you. Even after last night.”

“I know,” she admitted, fighting back tears. This was the pain she had tried to spare herself when she made that wish; the pain of knowing that without Endymion’s influence she might never make Mamoru fall in love with her. “I want you to be free to make your own choices, Mamoru.”

“What if I don’t choose you?” She stiffened in his arms, her blood running cold through her veins.

“Then you don’t,” she whispered. “I will not force this on you.”

“Did the cat restore their memories?” he asked and she shook her head.

“I did.” He kissed her head again and slowly detangled his arms from her body.

“I’m so proud of you, Usagi-chan,” he said, standing, leaving her sitting on the bed and wondering what happened to Usa-ko and Usa. “But I still need time to figure out what I think and feel about all of this.”

She climbed out of his bed, wondering if this would be the last time she would ever be allowed in it and stood next to him. “I understand, Mamoru. I told you, I’ve only ever wanted you to make up your own mind.” She was surprised when he wrapped his arms securely around her and drew her into his chest, his hands rubbing her back gently, his lips pressing themselves against the top of her head.

“I do care about you, Usa,” he whispered into her hair. “Never doubt that. But this story is a lot to take in.” She nodded, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill. No matter what he decided, she would not use that emotional blackmail on him. “I know it’s only Monday, but do you have plans on Friday night?” he asked, changing the subject.

“Not that I know of,” she murmured.

“See if you can get rid of your roommates and I’ll make dinner for you and we can curl up on the sofa together and watch a movie,” he said. She smiled.

“I think I can manage that,” she offered. “I’ll go now, Mamoru.” She pulled herself free, reveling in the feeling of his arms clinging to her for as long as possible, until she was no longer within reach, and then falling limply to his sides.

She turned, ready to leave the room, when one of his arms slid around her waist and pulled her back into his chest, bringing her in immediate contact with a surprisingly aroused Mamoru. “Don’t I get a good-bye kiss?” he whispered seductively in her ear and she smiled ruefully.

“I don’t know – do you really think you deserve one, Baka?” she teased. His hands moved from her waist to her breasts and she sucked in her breath quickly.

“I don’t know, Odango,” he said softly, his lips against her ear. “Do I?”

“If I say no, what will you do?” Usagi leaned back into his chest, arching her shoulders to let him trail a line of kisses down her neck, his hands seductively kneading her breasts.

He dropped his hands and removed his lips from her neck. “Nothing,” he said, and she could hear the smirk in his voice. She laughed, despite the frustration soaring through her body over his apparent desertion.

“Then, I guess you don’t get one,” she laughed, dashing from the room before he could do anything else to convince her stay. As tempting as the thought was, she preferred not to repeat the night before until he made up his mind – one way or another. She wasn’t stupid enough to think that even if he decided he didn’t love her that she’d be able to resist for long, but at least she could do her best to stay out of a bedroom that had him in it until Friday. She slipped into her apartment and locked the door securely behind her.

“I take it that didn’t go very well?” Makoto asked curiously from the living room.

“It went about like I expected it would, actually,” Usagi answered, looking around for the rest of her roommates. “Where is everyone?”

“Well, apparently, Nephrite and Naru-chan had plans to meet at the library and work on a class project together. Rei decided to get revenge on Jadeite for something he doesn’t remember doing to her on the Moon – something about whipped cream and rope. I didn’t ask for details. And Ami and Minako are hiding down in the coffee shop in the desperate hope that Zoisite and Kunzite won’t find them there because neither of them has any idea what to say to them now,” Makoto finished slyly.

“Let me guess – you told them exactly where to find them?” Usagi asked, laughing. Makoto nodded. “And Motoki is upstairs listening to Mamoru angst over not having his memories.” She sighed in conclusion.

“Yep, it’s just you and me tonight, babe,” Makoto teased, lifting a corner of the throw blanket in an invitation for Usagi to join her on the sofa.

“Sounds good to me,” Usagi said, sitting next to her friend and tucking the frayed end of the well-worn blanket around her legs. “He ‘cares’ about me,” she offered, knowing that Makoto wanted to know what had been said.

“It’s not what you wanted, I know, Usagi-chan, but it’s still better than nothing,” Makoto pointed out diplomatically. Usagi nodded.

“Yeah,” she agreed. “I’m supposed to kick you all out on Friday night so he can make me dinner and we can talk – he needs some time to figure things out, first.”

“I’ll take care of clearing the apartment,” Makoto volunteered. “I’ll have Motoki-kun have another party. And I’ll just stay over, so you guys can have some privacy.”

“Thanks,” she whispered, allowing her head to rest on the much-taller girl’s shoulder. “You’re a good friend, Mako-chan.”

A scream pierced the night and they stared at one another in shock for a moment before jumping up and shouting.

“Moon Prism Power Make-Up!”

“Jupiter Power Make-Up!”


“Yes, Princess – go,” a sultry feminine voice murmured in the emptiness of the Senshi’s living room. “Go to meet your destiny. Soon I will be free and I will join you. There is no one to stop me this time.”

Luna woke up suddenly and her eyes darted uncomfortably around the room, but she didn’t see anything. She was certain that she hadn’t been alone in the room just a moment before. There was an unnatural chill in the air, and a lingering feeling of evil.

And where were the girls? She knew that at least Makoto had been in the room not too long before. As she jumped up, prepared to search out a human presence, she realized that Usagi and Makoto were fighting something out in the alley behind the building and she leapt towards the balcony in time to see the two girls reappear, blood-spattered uniforms torn and shredded, blowing in the breeze.

“Luna!” Sailor Moon shouted, leaning down to pick up the black cat and cuddle it in her arms. “We’re fine,” she hastily assured her guardian. Luna wasn’t sure she believed that.

“It’s true, Luna,” Sailor Jupiter confirmed. “We were too late. The monster was finished with the girl before we got there, and though we beat him, he was pretty strong.”

“Is that your blood?” Luna demanded and both girls shook their heads.

“No,” Sailor Moon whispered dejectedly. “It’s the victim’s.” Sailor Jupiter nodded sadly.

“Whoever this Dark Queen is, she’s much more vicious than Beryl ever was. Beryl just wanted to take over the world. Yeah, she drained people’s energy, but they never killed anyone besides us.” Jupiter looked disgusted at the new enemy’s tactics.

A loud banging on the door brought everyone’s attention back to the apartment and they returned to the living room. Luna watched as Usagi carefully walked, favoring her right leg, towards the door, peering through the peephole in her fuku.


Usagi sighed in relief as she saw familiar black hair and blue eyes on the other side of the door. She stepped back and opened it, allowing Mamoru to come inside.

“Usa!” he shouted, and Usagi looked down again, realizing how badly it must look.

“I’m fine,” she murmured soothingly. “It’s not my blood.” She opened the door wider to let him in and pushed it closed behind him, leaning on her left leg a little heavier than usual. She was a little worried about her right ankle. She’d twisted it pretty badly out there tonight and it still hadn’t stopped throbbing. She was afraid to see what it looked like under the red vinyl boot.

As she made her way back towards the living room, she could feel Mamoru’s eyes boring into her back, but she refused to look at him. Why had he shown up? She’d thought they were not going to see one another until Friday.

“Let me see that ankle, Usa,” he ordered, pushing her down into the chair and reaching down to tug her boot off. “You’ve got to be careful!” he chastised, his eyes going wide as he stared at the blue and purple mess in front of him. Usagi sighed. She was afraid of this – the ankle was most certainly sprained. Even with her natural healing abilities, it would be several days until she could walk comfortably.

“I’m fine,” she muttered between clenched teeth. “It’s just sprained.”

“Of course it is,” he growled, looking up at her and she was taken aback by the concern in his eyes. “I felt it happen, Usa,” he added softly, staring down at her ankle sadly. “I knew the second it happened that you were fighting and I had this sudden urge to help you and I don’t know how to. The only thing I could do was come up here as soon as I could and wait for you to come home so I could bandage you up.”

“Don’t,” she whispered around the lump in her throat. “I won’t do it – not today.”

“Why not?” he demanded harshly, glaring up at her.

“You’re not thinking clearly, Mamoru,” she explained, wincing as he began to wrap her ankle in a bandage he pulled from his pocket. “You wanted time to decide what you felt before you decided if you wanted this. Me being injured shouldn’t change that.”

“It does,” he admitted.

“Well, it shouldn’t,” she said, perhaps a trifle too harshly, for he looked at her and she could see that she’d hurt him. “I’m sorry, Mamoru,” she offered quietly, “But I’m not doing anything until Friday. I want you to really think about this.”

He finished wrapping her ankle in silence, and when he was finished, he stood and left the room without another word. The events of the day finally caught up with her, and it was Makoto’s arms that wrapped around her comfortingly as the tears poured down her cheeks while she silently acknowledged that it just wasn’t enough. Having her friends by her side helped, but what she really wanted, what she’d always wanted, was him.

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