Tear Drops

Part 3

© 1998 by ChibiChan


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Nephrite gazed down at Naru, his deep blue eyes filled with concern for the younger girl. He gently caressed her cheek lovingly.

Naru was huddled on the cold stone floor with her head and upper body resting on Nephrite, who was in a cross-legged position sitting behind her.

His sharp keen eyes noticed Naru's body shiver, and it came to him that although his body remained numb and cold, her's was alive and unlike his, could feel the bitter cold in the night's air. She was probably freezing!

Thinking fast, he reached up to the front of his uniform, and fumbling with the large red clasp at the front, Nephrite stripped off his old Dark Kingdom uniform jacket and lay it over Naru's shivering body, covering her top half, hoping that it might provide some warmth for the injured girl.

In the silence, he thought on what had happened.
Had he done the right thing by bringing her here? And what would her reaction be to seeing him again? - Especially in spirit form!
But then again, if he hadn't brought her back with him, who would have helped her? She was unconscious and surely would have died of hypothermia and bloodloss in only a matter of hours!
Well, it was too late to regret his actions now.

Nephrite lovingly stroked her hair back from her blood-stained face and turned his attention to her wound.

He turned to a small bowel sitting next to him. In it was a strip of material from one of the felt banners, soaking in water from one of the creeks in Nephrite's enclosed area. He slowly picked it up and wrung most of the water out of it. It was still damp enough, though.
He wiped Naru's face with it, cleaning all the dirt and dried blood off her beautiful and delicate features.
He placed the cloth back in its bowel of water.

Now to the wound.

The gash was quite deep, actually. Nephrite couldn't help but wonder how Naru had acquired such a wound. It was, indeed, fairly severe, but not entirely unhealable now that the bleeding had been stopped.

Slowly getting up, Nephrite rested Naru's head gently on the floor and walked over to the two large felt banners hanging on the wall behind the altar.
Taking the dark blue material in his own two hands, Nephrite tore off a large strip of felt and walked back over to Naru's unconscious body.
Carefully, he lifted her head and wrapped the material over the wound as a bandage. It fitted well, allowing him to wind it around Naru's head four or so times before it reached its end. He tucked the end of the material neatly into the folds of the bandage.

His mind drifted back to when he was still living, to just moments before his death, in fact. And to the time when Naru had carefully bound his wounded upper arm with a torn off strip of her pyjama shirt.
He had rescued her from the clutches of those three youma, that night. Poor unknowing Naru! She had been the innocent bait for Zoisite's unfortunately successful trap for him.
Zoisite. That scheming bastard! Nephrite wondered what Kunzite saw in the younger man. He certainly wasn't worth all the love and care Kunzite was giving him, that's for sure!

"Mmm... What happened?"

* * *

The darkness faded, and Naru felt herself half lying on a cold hard floor that seemed to be made of stone.
She moaned, "Mmm... What happened?" And looked around.
It had first occurred to her, how can you 'half lie' on the floor? But once she had looked around, the answer was clear. Naru's upper-body was resting on something. Something cold.
And where was she? It looked like a church! What on Earth was she doing lying in a church... with a bandage wrapped around her head?!

And then she remembered. Memories flooded back like water flowing in a river. The crow. It had swooped her, and knocked her unconscious... But that still didn't answer all of her questions. What was she doing in a church?

As if reading her mind, a terribly familiar voice answered her question. "You were knocked unconscious, Naru-chan. I found you and brought you here."

Naru gasped and screamed, her dark green eyes opened wide in pure terror. "No! What?! No! You're... You... You can't be! You're d-d-d-d... No! It's not possible! No!!!"

In a panic, she struggled to get free, but Nephrite held his finger to her lips and told her to be silent.
"Oh Naru, please forgive me, I'm so sorry to scare you." He said softly, using his free hand to stroke her hair. "Umm, I-I... I don't know what I'm doing here... I did die. But for some strange reason, I have been imprisoned in these woods, and am forced to remain here..."

He was interrupted by a small sniff from Naru. She was crying.

"Listen," He soothed, "if I take my finger off your lips, will you promise not to scream? I don't like to see you so scared. Your heart's racing, it frightens me."

Naru trembled as she slowly nodded her head so Nephrite released her. She fearfully turned around to face him.
"I'm sorry I screamed." She whimpered, tears still falling freely from her eyes. She sniffed again.

Nephrite's blue eyes softened as he lifted up a hand to wipe Naru's tears away. She shivered at his touch.
"You're so cold." She admitted.

"I know... I don't know why, though. I wish I weren't. My body is so numb, and I can't feel anything."

Naru paused for a second before looking up and hesitantly saying softly, "Umm, not even this?" she reached up and gently pulled Nephrite down to her level and kissed him.

"Not even that," said Nephrite sadly, tenderly returning the kiss. He felt tears welling up in his eyes, but could not force them down. He had never wept in front of anyone else before and it was an odd feeling. In the Dark Kingdom, emotion had always been considered a weakness.

"It's okay, Nephrite," comforted Naru, sensing his distress. "Everybody cries. Even the strongest warrior, sometimes." She continued, already getting used to being around him again.

Naru slowly lifted up a pale thin hand and gently wiped away Nephrite's tears and smiled as he took her hand in his own and gently kissed it. She shivered at the ice-cold touch of his lips on her skin, but didn't pull her hand away.

"I... I understand now." Nephrite said at last, breaking the silence.

"Understand what, Nephrite?"

"The energy," he explained. "All the time I was around you I felt this strange force coming from you. I never would have guessed it had been love."

Naru listened, gazing into Nephrite's sapphire-blue eyes as he continued.
"I used that power. I took advantage of you and your love for me. I caused you great pain, and yet you still kept on loving me, even after Sailormoon told you what kind of a person I was, and even after you had seen me nearly defeat her in battle! Your love... it lasted throughout that entire episode, never wavered! You love me! - Why?"

Naru didn't exactly know what to say or how to answer that question. She cast her eyes away from his face and looked down at the stone floor when she said "I don't know."

Nephrite's eyes clouded with confusion. "How can you not know? I don't think I understand you there."

Naru looked up. "That's it. No one knows what love is. It is a mystery, but I know for sure I do love you. Believe that, because it is, always has been and always will be the truth, Nephrite..."

* * *

Osaka Himako looked anxiously towards the large clock on the kitchen wall. It was past 10pm, where on Earth was Naru?
She only hoped she was alright, and had not run off by herself.
Himako remembered the last time her daughter had done that. She had opened the safe and taken the expensive Silver Crystal Himako had just bought for the store.
Naru had run off with it into the night, only to return hours later, minus the crystal, dazed and confused and totally scared.
Himako hadn't been mad. It was obvious to her that something terrible had happened to Naru. Something to do with that suspicious man, Sanjouin Masato. A punishment would only have put more stress on Naru, which wasn't a good thing as she had those exams coming up.

And then the next night, she had disappeared again with out a trace. She returned hours later, past midnight accompanied by Sailormoon, herself!
After that, Naru had been so sad. And although she never told Himako what had really happened, her mother felt sure that man, Sanjouin-san was to blame.

She glanced towards the cordless telephone on the counter. Naru usually called if she would be late home.
Himako had a bad feeling about this.

She reached out and grabbed the phone, speedily dialling the numbers. She waited for someone to answer. The reply came soon.

"Urrgg... Moshi moshi..."

"Usagi, is that you?" Asked Osaka-san.

"Yeah, who is this? Who's calling me?"

* * *

Luna yawned. "Usagi, I hardly think 10 o'clock is the appropriate time to be up and about the house!"

Usagi rolled her eyes. Did this cat ever shut up?

"For starters," lectured Luna. "Your parents and brother are trying to sleep. And I stress the word 'trying'! And secondly, we should be alert and on our guard with the Dark Kingdom around! Who knows when Kunzite could strike next! And to be alert, you have to be rested! Get my drift!?"

"Well if you'd stopped nicking off at midnight to check up on Central Control... I'm perfectly fine, but you could use a catnap. And besides! I think this is really serious! Naru's way late getting home. Her mum called me. She was meant to be back almost four hours ago, and she hasn't come back yet!" Usagi looked really worried. Maybe she should have been more of a friend to Naru at these tough times. But she just hadn't known what to do!

Luna jumped up from her cushion. "Nanii?!" she shrieked. "Why didn't you say so? The Dark Kingdom has been up to no good lately, and you know how much she's been targeted by them! I think this could be Sailor business!"

* * *

Nephrite stroked Naru's hair. The young red-head was sleeping soundly in his arms. Poor girl. He thought. She had been through so much. From what she had told him, she had been targeted by the Dark Kingdom ever since his death.
She looked so peaceful in sleep. Nephrite had noticed a definite change in her. She seemed more quiet. In his observations of her, she was always so loud and happy. Nephrite guessed it was the emotional trauma. Such experiences unfortunately almost always leave their mark.

A contented smile graced her lips as she stirred a little in his arms. Nephrite smiled. He was sure she hadn't meant to doze off, one minute they had been talking, and the next, Nephrite had been interrupted by Naru's gentle snoring. And she had just looked so adorably kawaii when she was asleep, it would almost be a crime to wake her up...

Naru stirred again, and slowly opened her eyes. She felt warm and safe in Nephrite's arms. She felt secure, nothing could harm her. "Sorry. I dozed off. Forgive me..."

"It's okay." smiled Nephrite. "You looked so sweet, I couldn't bear to wake you."

Naru thought for a second. What was that thing he had asked her get all those months ago?... "Nephrite..."

"Hai, Naru?"

"That thing... the Ginzuisou... I'm just curious, what was it going to be for?"

Nephrite sighed. "Well my superior, Queen Beryl wanted the Ginzuisou because of it's strength. In her hands, it would make the Dark Kingdom invincible, and we'd finally be able to take over the Earth and destroy the Sailor Senshi. The Ginzuisou, in the hands of the Moon Princess however, would prove to be very bad for us, and give the Senshi the upper hand in out battles."

"Oh? Well if it's so powerful, why did it go missing? What happened?"

"Well," explained Nephrite "Thousands of years ago, all the planets lived in a time of peace and happiness. This time was called the Silver Millennium..."

In detail, Nephrite told the tale of the Moon Kingdom and the events that lead up to its destruction.

"...and seeing that she stood no chance in the battle, Queen Selenity sacrificed herself to use the Ginzuisou to bring the Senshi, Endymion and the Moon Princess back to life, and to imprison us, the warriors of the Dark Kingdom. We were all trapped inside the Ginzuisou and sent towards Earth."

Naru bolted up. "It brought the Senshi back to life?! Nephrite wa no baka!"

Nephrite blinked. "Nanii? Huh?"

"If the Ginzuisou could bring the Senshi to life, could it not do the same for you?" asked Naru quickly.

Nephrite gasped.

* * *

Rei passed around the warm mugs of coffee to each girl except for Minako who had insisted on bringing her own Jolt Cola.
The tired Senshi seemed more than slightly annoyed. The Dark Kingdom obviously had no respect for sleep.

"So what are we doing here?" Makoto asked bluntly, sculling her first mug of coffee and presenting Rei with the request for a top-up.

Luna jumped off of Usagi's shoulder and padded into the center of the circle. "Naru has gone missing, and we think the Dark Kingdom is most likely to blame!"

The girls frowned, nodding.

"Oh I just wish I could have been more of a friend to her!" whined Usagi pathetically. "I really should have been there for her."

Ami patted Usagi on the back. "You did what you thought best, Usagi. Sometimes you can't prevent these things." she comforted.

"Yeah," added Artemis. "It's not your fault! And anyway, what is in the past is in the past."

Usagi sniffed and nodded.

"Artemis is right!" chimed in Minako. "It's no use getting angry over coke that's gone flat."

Rei cut in. "I think she means, it's no use crying over spilt milk. But what can we do about Naru? We have to find her! It's our duty!"

Luna nodded. "Rei is right! Ami," she turned to the blue haired girl. "can you do a computer scan of the city, and see if you can pick up any negative activity, or odd energy radiations?"

Ami nodded, and got to work, while Rei ran into the main room to consult the Great Fire.

"The computer can't see any dark-activity occurring in the vicinity of Tokyo."

"But the Great Fire tells me that something is happening in the woods near by." reported Ami and Rei. The others listened.

"We should check it out then." Minako stood up, henshin pen in hand.

"Venus Power Make-up!"

"Mercury Power Make-up!"

"Jupiter Power Make-up!"

"Mars Power Make-up!"

"Moon Prism Power Make-up!"

Swirls of colour and light surrounded the five girls as they transformed.

* * *

Beryl knelt in Metallia's chamber. "What is it you desire, my Empress?" She asked.

The energy that was Metallia glowed brighter and swirled, and said "Beryl, I feel that strange things are happening in the Earth Realm. Send one of your minions, Kunzite, to check it out."

Beryl nodded. "I hear and obey, my Empress." She teleported into the main hall.

* * *

Kunzite was in the training hall, aiming blasts of fire and electricity at targets strangely resembling five certain sailor-suited female warriors.

**!!CRASH!!**

One target was sent flying towards the wall. It shattered, into pieces that went flying out in every direction. One of the target's 'odangos' landed at his feet.

He frowned. It was all her fault he was gone! Miserable wretch!

"Temper temper." Came a voice from behind him. Endymion. "Stress gettin' to ya, Kunzy? You know what they say, it's pretty rough out here for those who can't cut it! - Mentally, I mean." He laughed, and gracefully jumped the energy bolt Kunzite had aimed at him.

"Don't call me Kunzy!" snarled Kunzite, summoning more energy to hurl at Endymion. "I only tolerate you because Beryl wishes it, so watch it! As soon as you fall out of her favour - and bed chamber - you're toast! Understand?" he continued, turning back to his practice, setting a target resembling Sailormercury on fire.

~*Kunzite! Report to me immeadialy!*~ Beryl telepathically summoned him.

He nodded and teleported into Beryl's throne room, leaving Endymion in the training hall.

* * *

The Senshi ran on, Jupiter and Venus in the lead, with Luna and Artemis clinging onto their shoulders. Mercury and Mars were next, running side by side, Rei trying to receive visions, but keep an eye on where she was going at the same time, and Ami typing information into her computer as she ran. As usual, Sailormoon struggled up at the back.

"Guys, please...(puff puff) ...wait for meeeeeee!" she whined miserably.

No one waited.

* * *

Kunzite materialized in the Throne Room. He was aware of the stares of the thousands of hideous youma that stood in their legions behind the throne. I'll never get used to that, he thought to himself.

He looked to the Queen and bowed gracefully. "You summoned, m'Queen?"

"That I did. I have sensed an energy disturbance in the Earth Realm, I wish you to check it out and report back to me immediately. Understand?" Queen Beryl waved her hands over her crystal ball in the usual fashion before dismissing Kunzite.

He disappeared in a flash of blue flame, and entered the Earth Realm.

* * *

"Naru, that's it!" shouted Nephrite, jumping up suddenly, his eyes filled with a light that had long since been gone. "The Ginzuisou has the power to return life!"

Naru grinned, proud of her amazing brainwave.

Nephrite sat down again and ran a hand through his hair, thinking out loud to himself. "Now... it was my job to find the Ginzuisou, so that means it was probably passed on to either Zoisite or Kunzite. And as Earth obviously hasn't been conquered by the Dark Forces yet," He snickered at this. "that must mean that either it hasn't been found yet, or Sailormoon has it..."

"I bet Sailormoon has it." said Naru.

Nephrite turned to her. "You're probably right." he said. "Now, can I trust you to get the Ginzuisou from her, and bring it back to me?"

She looked confused. "But I don't know who she is."

He broke into an evil grin. "But *I* do. She is your friend. You know... Blonde... Klutzy... Tsukino Usagi!"

Naru wasn't quite as shocked as Nephrite had expected. "Oh boy, now that would explain a lot." she said to herself.

Nephrite laughed.

- The End of Part 3 -


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Disclaimer: Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.


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