The Heir of Siol

Part 8 - Getting along is hard

© 2000 by Luna, Phoebe and Selene

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"You're mad. Completely. You really expect me to walk into the lion's mouth?!"

Rynnhoran wasn't screaming or anything. He just stared at Kunzite and muttered those words. Some of his hair hung into his face, covering the sides of his eyes so that only tiny spots of grim violet glimmered through the dark strands. Kunzite couldn't decide whether it was real fear Rynnhoran was putting to show or simply the urge to say something that could maybe lift the uneasy feeling off his heart.

"If your slime works you have nothing to worry about," Kunzite said with a nod of his head, indicating to the room upstairs where Rukh was. "Stop complaining. It's the best chance you can get."

Rynnhoran looked desperately from one king to another in search for help and maybe to escape Kunzite's piercing silver, cold eyes. Those eyes would be his death one day. Everytime he looked into them he felt his heart freeze, like a cold hand that spreads its fingers around it and slowly squeezes it into the size of a cherry. But although he WAS afraid, it was that feeling, his mind's voice whispered to him to trust him as much as he did trust the other three kings. Zoisite would tell him if something was wrong, he would, certainly, yes. He put all his faith in his old friend, who had always been the closest to Rynnhoran. He knew Kunzite best. And so his eyes finally fixed on Zoisite, asking mutely for an appraisal of the situation.

"I don't like the idea either, but this is the possibly best choice, Rynn," he said.

Rynnhoran harumphed and continued to look like a picture of misery. He didn't like the idea at all, though he had to admit that he would have gone into the Dark Kingdom anyway, he had to if he wanted to fight Metallia. The demon would never crawl out of its hiding place. It was just the thought spoken out in words, which connected it to the plan and which gave it a touch of reality that was definitely too real for his taste.

"I feel sick," Rynn complained and sagged into the armchair.

"Don't behave like a cowardish child! You are the one who wants to rescue the queen and Endymion," Kunzite spoke up again, severe like a teacher who tries to drum another lesson into his student's head. "The Dark Kingdom is no playground, that's right. It's dangerous. But what's it? If you want to reach something you have to get a bit more riskier, Rynnhoran Dhomhaill, Prince of Siol."

"That's not risky, that's suicidal. For me." His voice had never been so meek before, Rynnhoran found when he heard his own words. Not even when Cadhal had scolded him for the one or another stupidity he had done.

Kunzite's patience came seemingly to an end. "I have enough of this!" he hissed and grabbed Rynnhoran's shirt, drawing him closer. "Do you trust me or not? Do you want to rescue your friend? Then stop making such a fuss!"

Zoisite leant forward and extended a hand but then stopped himself. "Kunzite, please calm down," he tried to placate him softly.

The king kept piercing Rynn's eyes with his stern gaze and then from one moment to the other flung the menace to the ground. "With that attitude I can't help you, Rynnhoran."

"I'm just afraid, nothing else. That's it." Rynn declared and rubbed his elbow that had hit the hard side of the armchair during the fall.

Kunzite gazed down at him, softening a bit. "And you are well-adviced with it. It's your choice still." With that he stepped towards Rynnhoran and extended a helping hand who took it with a desperate glance.

"Rynn," Jadeite began to speak. Until now he had watched Nephrite throwing suspicious glances at Kunzite. Obviously Kunzite's mind was for him of greater interest than the plan. Jadeite knew the look in Nephrite's eyes. He always looked that way when something felt wrong to him. As if the sun denies to shine and no-one notices it. But he didn't say a thing, he just kept watching for anything that could tell him what was not right. Jadeite took his eyes away from Nephrite and turned towards Rynnhoran to tell him his opinion.

"I find the plan isn't that bad. If you leave Lord Kunzite enough time so that this slime works its power you can go to Beryl without great worries. And as long as Kunzite takes you as a prisoner into the Kingdom you don't even have to face any youma. They are for the most part totally obedient to his word. They wouldn't dare to cause you any harm. So what are you afraid of? Beryl is powerless and Endymion is no equal to Lord Kunzite. If necessary we could agree on a point of time where the rest of us enters the scene to help both of you."

Zoisite considered Rynn with a thoughtful look. "Say, you fear Beryl but not Metallia? Shouldn't it be the other way around?"

Rynnhoran shook his head. "No. I hate Metallia enough to hurt her. I'm not quite sure about Ruinogh. And else, against Metallia I can fight with Rukh. If I fight Beryl with it, there won't be left enough energy for the demon."

"Then let's hope for the best that there is enough of it at the moment. So will you do it, Rynnhoran?" Kunzite asked.

Rynn cast his gaze down. "...Yes . . . I think I... will do it."

"NO!" Kunzite barked, his voice sharp again, giving the prince a start. "Not this way! Either you do it or you don't. No 'I think' or 'I guess'. Do it or leave it be!"

"Yees, yees, I'll do it!" Rynnhoran snarled back, caught by Kunzite's fiery mood and showed his fangs for a second.

"Much better," Kunzite smiled cruelly. "Then let's prepare everything."

* * *

The evening changed more and more into the morning while the kings explained their host special things he needed to know about the Dark Kingdom and Metallia's place. Only Nephrite kept silent, watching Kunzite still.

Around three o'clock in the morning Rynnhoran was too tired to listen to anyone anymore and the chat turned out to be more a discussion than a peaceful talk. Zoisite wisely suggested that everyone better would go to sleep and to continue the planning later. Rynnhoran nodded, having problems to keep his eyes open, and yawned soundly before he took his leave from the kings and retreated into his room upstairs. At the door he stopped and turned back to the kings. "Thanks for your help. Uhm ... and before I forget it, Jadeite, be prepared to experience some gaps in your memory in the near future. Don't worry, it will all come to you once your mind has found its way through all the new things that Rukh added to your present memory. What I want to tell you is that you shouldn't expect to have all lost memories complete to recall everything. It's all there, yes, but it will need time to say what is there. You understand me?"

Jadeite nodded, not saying a word.

"Well then, goodnight everybody." With that Rynnhoran walked out of the room and up the stairs.

The others broke up as well and Jadeite left the room too. Kunzite's eyes followed him until he was gone then they flashed to Nephrite who sat in the armchair not taking his blue eyes off him.

"Kun-kun?" Zoisite asked whereupon his lover paid him all the attention he wanted. It was a troubled face Zoisite saw and he wished nothing more than to kiss Kunzite's problems away, that is if Kunzite would tell him what his problems were. He had some that was a sure thing, but he never spoke to him about it. He had never spoken to him about the things that used to darken his eyes and that make him so damn cold.

Slowly Kunzite's eyes softened and a little smile crossed his face. His strong arms sought their way around his waist and drew him closer.

"Zoisite," he whispered. "Do me a favor and go ahead already. I have something to discuss with Nephrite."

Zoisite wanted to start a mild protest but the touch of Kunzite's finger on his mouth let him grow mute immediately again and he nodded, more unwillingly but obedient as always. Kunzite let go of him and waited until Zoisite was gone. Then he turned to Nephrite, the anger he felt carved into his face.

"What do you think are you doing, Nephrite? You watch me the whole time. Do you think I wouldn't notice?"

Nephrite got up from the armchair in a fluent movement and started to stride around the other one. Then he stopped, scowling at Kunzite. "You are up to something and I'm trying to find out what it is."

"Good luck," Kunzite retorted. At his side one gloved hand closed slowly to a fist and opened again.

"You are playing with him," Nephrite stated, jumping from suspicion to conclusion. "I don't trust your sudden change, Kunzite. What are you up t--"

A strong blue light that came from Kunzite's hand hit his chest and took suddenly all air out of his lungs. He stumbled clumsily back into a corner of the room supported by the push through the blast. Confused Nephrite shook his head to get a clear mind again when Kunzite's approach overshadowed the light in the room. A gloved hand closed around his throat and he was lifted up until he and Kunzite were on one eye-level again. He tried to pry the grip open and succeeded in gaining some space for his fingers to slip in but stopped his efforts when he felt Kunzite's other hand pressing against his abdomen, ready to send another blast through him. Nephrite pulled a grimace, angry about the treatment but didn't do anything to resist. He wasn't in the position to do anything.

"Now listen, Nephrite," Kunzite said, loosening his grip a bit to give the other one a chance to breathe. "I know that it is difficult to hide anything from you, and your stars would tell you anyway if you asked them. So I will put an end to your quest about the truth. Yes, I'm playing with him. And he is naive enough not to notice. And you ..." he paused, watching Nephrite. "Now that you know, you will certainly try to warn him. But I advise you not to dare such a thing, Nephrite, or you won't see that girl of yours again." Kunzite knew that Nephrite would believe that he would really harm that girl. Maybe he would, he had no feelings for her, she was just a simple human. But if it worked he wouldn't have to do anything like this.

At this Nephrite started to struggle as hard as he could. The fear for Naru's life made him strong enough to break out of Kunzite's grip. Kunzite also noticed that he couldn't hold him any longer and let Nephrite go.

"I usually don't refer to such strategies, Nephrite, but right now it's my life that is at stake. And believe me, I have no problems to drain that girl of all her live-energy if you start to cross my plans."

Nephrite stared at him. He suddenly had a good impression of Kunzite's real plan. "Oh ... my ... You are delivering him to Beryl. You really are taking him as a prisoner into the Dark Kingdom, is that it?"

Kunzite's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Keep your mouth shut and everything is fine."

Slowly Nephrite sagged into the armchair again. "How ... how can you do this to him? Why can't you try to believe that he really can help us? This Rukh-power is strong, you have felt it yourself. In case he defeats Metallia, and with good preparations he can truely succeed ... in case he defeats her, we would be all free. Kunzite, can't you see?"

Kunzite shook his head fiercely and an almost insane gaze hit Nephrite. "I don't want to hear anything of this. One word to the others and she is dead, this is my last word." With that Kunzite went out of the room and left a disconcerted Nephrite in the armchair where he was.

* * *

The moon. How beautiful it was to see that white-blue glowing in the nightsky. Winter was the best time to watch it in its whole round beauty. Jadeite was sitting outside the house and leaned his exhausted body on a crippled tree. Why he felt that exhausted he could only guess. Maybe it was his mind that was shocked to have so many fragments and memories back that it couldn't keep up with everything and made his whole self feel so powerless.

Clouds started veiling the moon's big round form and without the light the moon reflected it got dark again. He took a deep breath and sighed mutely. Why was he watching the moon? He had learned to hate it. Whenever there was a Lunathian he would kill this person instantly. Without mercy and remorse. And he would never spend a thought on this person again. Never. Ne...ver. His head hurt and he shook it. This was madness. Of course he would remember, remember it all. All the terror they had caused, the cruelty they had fought with, the ruins they had left behind, the senshi that had defied them with all their power and yet ... since today he knew that his memory wasn't complete. He had been a guardian of the Earth prince?That was the hardest thing to believe. Jadeite thought back on the day Endymion died. He had watched it. Endymion and his beloved Princess Serenity had been standing on the balcony - their favorite place - outside the dancing hall. He could clearly see behind his eyes how Beryl appeared, attacking the princess. How Endymion protected her. How his Queen and Endymion talked. Metallia, showing her power, Endymion, who drifted away, the foolish Princess that followed him, their death, everything.

In that madness of wild flying scenes, voices and screams suddenly a picture of a smiling woman crossed his mind. She waved her hands excitedly at him from somewhere between the pillars of the half destroyed palace. He stared at her, trying to catch more details of her appearance. She had waist-long blond hair that waved from a breeze behind her back and the skillful decorated gown she was wearing. It was a perfect picture of a beautiful lady he saw, only that she had no face. At least he couldn't see it. A shadow from the palace swallowed every shape her face might have had.

The waving of her delicate hands stopped and they were clutched together as if praying. "Salix?" her voice was as beautiful to him as were the rest of her, beautiful and horribly familiar. But he neither knew such a person, nor saw her before. And the word, what did it mean? He stepped closer, one step after another he took, his feet not making the slightest sound. And then he stood before her, so close that no millimeter of her would escape his eyes. The face, blue eyes looked at him. They were soft, so soft and warm and knowing. Someone shook him then, hard. A voice touched his ears, fighting its way into his consciousness, and the moment it succeeded the vision of the woman vanished.

"Jadeite! Jadeite! Wake up! Jeddy-kun!"

The shaking only stopped when he opened his eyes. The moon had moved several degrees on the nightsky and shone through the branches of a tree now.

"Jeddy-kun?" Nephrite asked beside him, his hand was still resting on Jadeite's shoulder. Jadeite turned his head towards him, seeing much worry and grief on his friend's face.

"W-what ...?" His voice was trembling as was his body. The cold stung him and made him shake all over.

"You were sleeping," Nephrite explained. "That's dangerous in this time of the year. Or do you just miss the time being an iceblock?"

"Asleep? But I have never closed my eyes, at least I cannot remember. I was watching the moon and then I saw her and -"

"Her? Who? There wasn't anyone here."

"She had long blond hair, beautiful blue eyes and was waving from the pillars of --" Jadeite stopped, noting that it really had to be a dream. "She was waving at me from the Moon Palace, when it was still standing, before our attack, before we destroyed everything." And then another picture appeared inside his head. The same woman he had seen before in his dream was fighting with a sword against a bunch of youma that had surrounded her. He couldn't see much of her but he recognized the blond waving hair that reached down to her waist. One mighty stroke of her sword beheaded two of the youma in front of her and green blood sputtered out ot their throats. But instead of dropping dead the youma fought on with every arm, tentacle and magical attack they had. The woman jumped back, out of the reach of their weapons they used and raised one gloved hand into the air, screaming words he couldn't hear and then a glowing crescent moon appeared at her finger-tip. Screaming she aimed it at the youma-group and from one moment to the other it flashed away from her hand to the enemies, vaporizing them immediately. She was panting from exhaustion and some seconds later looked around, seeing fighting humans and monsters everywhere and then she saw him, as if he were standing there on the battlefield. Moments passed, she never looked away. "Salix?" she asked in the same ringing voice as before. And then she was gone, faded into reality's winternight.

"She had been there," Jadeite breathed, his eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the distance. "The day of the attack, I mean. She had been there too, fighting our army. I can remember her. She is using the techniques of a senshi, a glowing crescent moon is her weapon."

"A glowing crescent moon?" Nephrite asked, then shook his head. "Nice present from your memory. Being haunted by those senshi in your dreams, what more can you wish for? I myself don't know about a senshi who uses a crescent moon as weapon, but then, I haven't met any more senshi than you did. Maybe you should ask Kunzite, or better don't, ask Zoisite. Yes, that's a good idea. Ask Zoisite, if he has seen it all too as he claimed you should ask him."

Jadeite nodded and got up from the place at the tree where he had been sitting all the time and brushed down the snow off him. He was soaking wet at his bottom and legs, which made it the more uncomfortable to move. But he had to get inside if he didn't want to catch a cold. Nephrite seemed glad about his idea and nodded when Jadeite indicated him to return into the house again. They trudged through the snow to the concrete path that divided the garden into two big parts, each growing wild without anyone who took care of them.

"Nephrite, tell me, do you know the word 'Salix'?"

"Mmh." Nephrite opened the door with a blow of his hand against the stubborn lock. "It's a tree's name. Why do you ask?"

"A tree?"

Jadeite stopped, being halfway through the door.

"Yes, it means ... willow. Do you come in now?"

The wind blew a breeze of snow into Jadeite's unprotected neck. He turned around into the direction where the wind came from and rubbed his neck dry. His eyes fell on the round moon again.

"A plant-name like Endymion."

* * *

Silently Kunzite closed the door behind him, turning the key in the lock. "I'm back," he murmured and let himself slump down onto the bed in the mid of the room.

"You did a good job a short while ago," Zoisite said while taking off his shirt. "I think you really made him feel better about it a bit. Though he was complaining. After all, he trusts you."

Kunzite kept silent, staring out of the window into the darkness. He hoped for himself that Rynnhoran trusted him enough to go with him into the Dark Kingdom. Made him feel better? Well, if Zoisite said so.

"Is something troubling you, love?" Zoisite knelt down in front of him and folded his arms on Kunzite's knees. "Everytime you make exactly that face there's something up."

He shook his head slowly and forced a smile onto his face returning his attention to his koibito. "Nothing to worry about any longer," he assured Zoisite and played with the copper hair. "I still cannot believe that I have my beauty back."

Zoisite looked at him a little irritated but then shrugged and enjoyed the caress. The smile on Kunzite's face slowly faded away, giving his eyes the usual coldness back. "Zoisite," he asked. "Why haven't you told me about Rukh?"

Zoisite opened his eyes again and averted. "I didn't want to concern would have gotten suspicious only and closed up for every reason Rynnhoran might have given you."

"And what do you think is it now? How can I not be suspicious if I cannot trust you? What else are you hiding from me?" The fingers that were treating Zoisite so softly slipped under his chin turning Zoisite's head up until their eyes met. Kunzite's gaze was still icy, unreadable and unfamiliar.

"You're scaring me."

Silence. Without a further comment the hand was removed and the grey eyes closed. "Let's go to bed. You said you were tired."

Kunzite cupped his hands under Zoisite's elbows and lifted him up so far that he could stand up himself. Zoisite watched diffidently while Kunzite started to undress himself and finally laid down onto the big bed, switched the light off and closed his eyes. Several minutes of silence later he opened them again and turned to Zoisite. He watched him against the damp bluish light from outside. "Are you coming or not?"

A faint 'hai' was whispered into the darkness, then the covers were pushed away and the sheet rustled. The gentle scent of almond reduced the stress and tension that had built up in Kunzite since Rynnhoran presented them his famous ' plan'. He breathed in deeply and slung his arms in usual fashion around Zoisite, pulling him closer. "Good night, my dear," he mumbled before he shut his eyes again.

"I had a daughter," Zoisite explained into the dark after a while and a short deep breath. "Her name was Michiru. She was so cute." Kunzite could virtually hear him smile. "I can remember her baking with her mother...she called for me and laughed so loud when she jumped into my arms and dusted me with fluor. Four years she was..." His voice faded but not the smile.

Michiru. So Zoisite could remember her then. Kunzite's heart skipped for a second when together with that girl's face another memory crossed his mind. >>Blood. Everywhere. Darkness. Humans fighting against youmas. His hand holding the sword he was fighting the enemy with. The enemy. Senshi. No, HE wasn't fighting. He just stood there, watching Jadeite giving Sailor Neptune the final blow. He yelled a warning when out of a sudden Sailor Uranus leapt towards him, blazing star sword drawn and ready to strike anyone who would dare fighting her or hurting her friend. Zoisite blocked it with his own sword, grinning grimly.<<

Kunzite swallowed and forced the memory to end. This was long ago, all over, past. He drew Zoisite closer to him. "Don't trouble your mind with such things. We have more important problems right now. Relax and try to sleep."

"You give me a hard time trying, not to trouble my mind with it. There was a reason I didn't tell you. You always have to ask, to keep at it until you find a deeper core, maybe a betrayal against you or something, not trusting anyone, not even me. I was only trying to keep both of us from the pain you're always causing by that. ... I'll sleep now." And with that silence returned ... just to be broken up again.

"So much has changed. I have changed my point of view too. You can't imagine how trist and dull the Dark Kingdom has gotten. The day you died I ..." he breathed in and then turned a bit. "Doesn't matter. Good night."

"Look." Zoisite rolled over and lay down on his chest. "This all doesn't change my feelings. I love you nevertheless." He bent down, kissed him slowly and then rested his head aside Kunzite's neck. "Just call me a bit irritated."

"It's alright. I only have to get used to it. Give me some time." He laid his hand on the back of Zoisite's head, as he always did, and ran his fingers through the hair until Zoisite fell asleep. In his head he went through his plan again, starting to reconfigurate it for the senshi's encounter.

The End of Part 8 - Goto Part 9

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