Attack of the Killer Cliches

Part Four: In Which Genders are Finally Sorted Out

© 1998 by Heather and Paula Fleming

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The doorbell rang.

"I'm gonna kill that kid," Kunzite said. "She said she'd never come here again."

Zoisite sneezed and said something inarticulate.

Kunzite got out of bed and went to the door, muttering to himself. "Mamoru," he said to the figure cleaning the floor, "I hereby expand your duties to include driving away annoying little girls selling chocolates."

Mamoru straightened up, still holding the remains of his jacket. "I swear I will not fail you," he said fervently.

"Yeah, whatever," said Kunzite, and opened the door. "I thought I told you to go away!"

"I beg your pardon," said the man on the step. "You said no such thing."

Kunzite sweat dropped. "Oh," he said. "I thought you were someone else."

The man shrugged. "Delivery for a..." He squinted to make out the writing on his form. "Chiba Mamo-something. Is he here?"

Kunzite almost choked. "Just a minute." He raised his voice. "Cape Boy!"

Mamoru was there instantly. "How can I serve you, my lord?" he said.

"Sign here, please," said the man at the door.

"Do it," said Kunzite.

Mamoru signed the form, and the man produced a huge bouquet of flowers. "Have a good day," he said, and shut the door.

"What's this?" Kunzite demanded.

Mamoru handed the card to him. 'I'm ba-aaack!' said the message. The bottom of the card said, 'Delivered with pride by Bob's Sub-Plots and Floral Arrangements, Ltd.'

* * *

Just then, five girls and two cats were standing at the edge of another crater, which had appeared during the (suitably dark and stormy) previous night.

"Maybe this time it's a real bad guy," said Rei.

"I don't think so," said Ami, having put on her oh-so-stylish visor. "The energy here doesn't seem any more evil than the energy from the first time."

Haruka and Rei both looked disappointed. "I was hoping on actually being able to dust some evil aliens for once," said Haruka. "Oh, well. Let's go hang out at the café again until the author figures out what do with us."

The girls and cats walked away, chatting happily, the thought of bad guys almost forgotten. When they were long gone, a figure crawled out from the wreckage, covered in mud but otherwise unharmed.

"The author has gotta figure out a better way for us to turn up," muttered Fiore as he tried to climb up the wall of the crater, lost his hold, and slid down to the bottom again. "Preferably a much drier, cleaner one."

"That's for sure," agreed Kunzite and Zoisite.

"Shut up," said the author. "You guys aren't even in this scene."

The couple ignored the author and fished Fiore out of the mud.

"What's with this?" the author demanded. "I can't just let my characters go renegade on me!"

"We're not your characters," retorted Kunzite. "We're owned by Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha, and Toei Animation."

"Oh, whatever," said the author, and ended the scene in disgust.

* * *

Haruka walked down the street, having grown tired of sitting in the café watching Usagi stuff her face. Just then she noticed a cute girl with coppery blond hair walking towards her. It was the same girl she had seen back in Part Two, she realized. A fateful meeting was about to occur, she also realized.

They approached each other and stopped walking when they were face to face. The cute girl smiled at Haruka and motioned that they go somewhere less public. Haruka returned the smile and led the girl to a quiet park that was conveniently located close by. Michiru would forgive her some harmless fun, she decided, if Michiru even turned up in this story.

For a few minutes they just sat on the generic park bench. Haruka pretended to read the graffiti, tracing 'Bob wuz heer' with her fingernail over and over. Finally the romantic tension grew too great (or maybe the scene was just getting boring; the author isn't going to say which), and they both spoke at the same moment.

"So what's your name?" said Haruka, just as the cute girl said, in a very un-girl-like voice, "So you want to go for coffee or something?"

They both jumped out of their seats. "You're a guy!" exclaimed Haruka.

"You're a girl!" exclaimed the blond.

Haruka had to laugh. "Right orientation, wrong gender, I guess," she said, and put out her hand. "Pleased to meet you. I'm Haruka."

"Zoisite," said the young man, shaking her hand. "I shouldn't have tried to pick you up anyway. I'm already very attached."

"As am I," said Haruka, "assuming she ever shows up. Anyway, I was just on my way home."

"Really?" said Zoisite. "Where do you live?"

Haruka told him the address of her place in town.

"Wow!" said Zoisite. "That's right next door to my house. How would you like to stop in for some coffee or something?"

"Sure," said Haruka, and went with him. Glancing up, she saw a billboard that read: 'This scene delivered with pride by Bob's Sub-Plots, Floral Arrangements, and Extremely Contrived Coincidences, Ltd.'

* * *

"Hi honey, I'm home!" said Zoisite cheerfully as he opened the front door.

Kunzite came out of the kitchen and gave him a kiss, then stopped when he saw who was with him. "Since when do you drag home pretty young men who hang out with the sailor senshi?"

Zoisite lauged. "It isn't a young man, sweetie," he said, "she's female."

"Oh," said Kunzite. "Then I guess it's all right. Sorry," he told Haruka. "We've had our fill of young men who hang out with the girls you were hanging out with. Please, take off your coat and step in for a while."

Haruka took off her jacket. "Interesting coat tree," she said as Zoisite draped their jackets over Mamoru's head. "We were wondering where he'd gone."

"You won't tell them, will you?" said Kunzite as Mamoru put away the coats and resumed wiping the windows with his tux jacket.

Haruka snorted. "And have them crawling over here in a minute so they can rescue him so he can get killed or captured or brainwashed all over again? Do whatever you want with him; I never much liked the guy. He's a creep."

"Our sentiments exactly," said Kunzite.

Suddenly a huge and ugly monster leapt out of the local water supply and let out a hideous-

"Not yet, dammit."

Godzilla disappeared.

Haruka put away her transformation-thingy. "Is that a crossover from another dimension or something?" she asked. "You two don't seem too concerned about it."

"Oh, you mean the monster?" Kunzite said. "No, I think it's just a glitch in the plot."

"Ah," said Haruka. "Hmm... Since you've kidnapped Mamo-loser, I guess that technically makes you bad guys, doesn't it?"

Kunzite and Zoisite looked at each other. "Well, we were bad guys in the first season," Zoisite said. "Don't tell me you're another of those annoying senshi!"

"Afraid so," said Haruka. "Sorry, but if you're bad guys, it's my duty to destroy you." She once again pulled out her transformation-thingy. "I have to protect the solar system, after all."

"No, wait!" Kunzite said, and whipped out Antecedent Information, v. 1.0. "I'm sure there was something in here..."

Haruka peered at the book with interest. "What's that?" she asked.

"No, it was in here," said Zoisite, and pulled out another book. This one read Antecedent Information, v. 1.1 (delivered with pride by Bob's sub-plots, floral arrangements, and extremely contrived coincidences, ltd.). He flipped it open and pointed to the middle of a page. "Here it is," he said. "By decree of the author, Mamoru and all of his incarnations are evil and must therefore be eliminated. The author recognizes that by eliminating Mamoru, a time paradox will occur, and Chibi-usa will also vanish from existence. A very good thing, by the author's reckoning."

Haruka smiled. "And if he's evil, then..."

Zoisite kept reading. "Also by decree of the author, Kunzite and Zoisite are the heroes of this story and by that token good. Therefore, anyone who tries to get in the way of the heroes accomplishing their objectives is hereby declared evil by the mechanics of good-vs-evil plots." He closed the book. "So if you want to be on the side of good, I guess that means you join us."

"Sugoi," said Haruka. "I thought it would be more interesting to join the Inners, but it was even worse than being an Outer. All we did was sit around, discuss things, and watch Usagi stuff her face." She shook hands with our heroes. "You know, I bet I could get the other Outers on our side, too, if I could ever find them."

"Count me in too," said the young man who had appeared in the doorway in the meantime.

"Who are you?" Haruka asked.

"Fiore at your service," he said. "I told Mamo-slime I'd come back with pretty flowers for him. I spend years looking for the right flowers, and when I come back, he's going out with this odango-headed freak!"

"Oh, yeah?" said Zoisite. "I nearly killed him four or five times, and I even succeeded once and got killed for it, but the creep keeps coming back!"

They spent the rest of the day trading nasty stories about the Caped Menace. Haruka left determined to find her girlfriend and the other Outers. Fiore spent the evening out in the garden, planting some pretty flowers from the Alpha Centauri region. Zoisite and Kunzite spent the evening doing things best left to the reader's imagination. And Mamoru wore out his tux jacket and began cleaning the oven with his cummerbund.

All in all, it was a beautiful night.

The End of Part 4

Disclaimer: No characters in this story are mine except the author, Bob, and the annoying kid at the door. I've already said my thing about whose the rest are.

This story is property of Heather and Paula Fleming.

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