Chapter 1

© 1998 by Mary

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Minako fidgeted at her desk.

"They're out there, Artemis, fighting the Dark Kingdom. I can feel it. And I don't know where they are!" She threw her chemistry textbook at the wall in frustration and flopped onto the bed.

"Hush, Venus. We'll find them soon. For now, just concentrate on ionic charges and let them fight. There's nothing else you can do."

"I want to fight! Oh, this is so ridiculous! I'm going to sleep. Chem can wait." She pulled the cover up to her chin.

* * *

"Queen Beryl, I can explain..." Jadeite pleaded, knowing it was useless. He shot a glance at the others by the wall. Nephrite looked satisfied, knowing in a few moments he would be King. Kunzite was nonchalant, not caring either way what happened. Only Zoisite showed any compassion at his fate. Jadeite looked away, his friend's expression of distress making his heart sink.

Then a chill knifing through him, deadening every nerve in his body as the crystal held him captive.

* * *

Minako looked around. It was cold here, and very dark. She didn't know where 'here' was. She wasn't Minako, either, she was Sailor Venus. God, she hated this stupid uniform. Artemis had never quite gotten around to explaining why it was necessary. In her personal opinion it was the dumbest, and possibly the shortest, thing she'd ever seen.

*Better than Superman's tights*, she thought, stifling a giggle. Okay, time for business. What was going on?

There was something in the distance. Minako stepped towards it. Was this a dream? It didn't feel like one. It felt real.

A huge crystal, with a man inside it.

*Mmm, what a babe!* Pity he was dead. Or was he? She reached out and touched the side of the gem. It was icy, but insubstantial, like mist. Her gloved hand went through it.

She grabbed the hand of the figure and pulled him out. He doubled over, whimpering in pain. Minako tried to help but he brushed her off, choking on tears. She held him close, murmuring comfortingly and rocking him. After a few minutes, he calmed down and looked at her.

"You're... you're a *Senshi*," he rasped, incredulous.

"Yeah. Sailor Venus, champion of justice and bad dress sense," she said wryly. "Are you alright? What's going on?"

"I'll be okay in a minute. We're in the Dark Kingdom, how did you get here?"

"I don't know. I think I'm asleep. What happened to you? Who are you?"

"Well, I *was* Jadeite, King in Queen Beryl's army. But I failed and was imprisoned in... that." he gestured to the now-empty crystal.

"You're the bad guy? I'm supposed to fight you?" In that case I quit, I never liked the uniform anyway, Minako added mentally. This guy was waaaaay too cute to fight.

"Pretty much. I've had enough for today, though, thanks. Your three friends gave me quite a beating."

"You've seen the other Senshi?!"

"Yes. I know their human identities, too. Lot of good it did me."

A chill wind whispered past. Minako shivered.

"This outfit's not built for climate control. Can we go?"

"Yes. I think I've got enough power left to teleport. Only one way to find out." Jadeite locked his eyes shut, holding out a hand. Minako grabbed it and the whole world spun.

* * *

She woke up on her bedroom floor, back in her sensible flannel pyjamas. Jadeite was unconscious next to her. She lifted his thin frame onto the bed and covered him with her blanket. He was cold, frozen almost.

Artemis stirred in his basket.

"Minako? What happened?"

"Nothing. Go back to sleep." He did with a purr, he hadn't woken up properly anyway.

*Well this is just perfect.* Minako was exasperated. *I haven't even found the Senshi and already I'm a traitor with an ex-King in my bed. Good one, Venus. But damn, he's a looker.*

She grabbed her school uniform, with a much longer skirt than her other one, and stumbled into the bathroom to dress.

* * *

Over the next few weeks, Minako learned all she could from Jadeite about the Dark Kingdom, and about Jadeite. She was getting a terminal crush on him, but she didn't want him to know. And he still had his powers, which meant he was still, technically at least, evil. But Minako still didn't know the other Sailor Senshi, and didn't have any particular loyalty to the moon kingdom. Jadeite, on the other hand, was well worth switching sides for.

About a month after the night she found him, Minako's class went on a trip to the art gallery.

"That's pretty," her friend Juliana said, gazing at one picture titled 'self-portrait of the moon-princess'. Minako rolled her eyes. This sort of painting wasn't her thing. Then she noticed a red-haired girl, about her own age, crying in front of one of the prints. It was of a man in a uniform like Jadeite's, holding his hand out to a girl who looked uncannily like the one sobbing now.

"Are you alright?" Minako asked, touching her shoulder. The girl looked up, her eyes red and puffy.

"What? Oh, I'm fine." she stood, pausing in front of the picture. "Nephrite," she whispered, touching the figure in the frame. Then she ran from the room. Minako sat back, shocked.

Nephrite. The King who usurped Jadeite. How did this girl know him?

* * *

"I'll see you tomorrow. Bye." Minako hung up the phone. Jadeite called her every night. Could he possibly like her? It seemed so childish to think like that, when they were pretty much opposite sides of the whole 'good/evil' thing. But he was so nice, and funny, and goddamn gorgeous...

Minako drifted off with a smile on her face.

The darkness again, and the cold. And the bloody uniform. Minako groaned, then noticed Jadeite next to her.

"Why're we here?" he asked her, as puzzled as she was. Then it dawned on her.

"Nephrite," she said.


"I'll explain later. Hey, what's that?" A glowing light, like a far off star. Then another and another, the stars and planets taking shape into the form of a man. Minako knelt to catch him. His tunic was stained, a huge tear in the shoulder. His eyes fluttered open.

"Nephrite?" Jadeite asked, incredulous.

"Unh..... Jadeite? What.." he passed out again. Minako held out her hand.

"Can you teleport us back?"Jadeite nodded, taking her hand and Nephrite's unresponsive one.

* * *

Naru sat, staring down at her salad. She was miserable, as usual. The cafe was almost empty, it was the middle of the morning. She should've been at school, but she couldn't deal with Usagi anymore. Couldn't deal with anything anymore, not without him. She was about to break into tears again, for the millionth time, when something was slid under her nose. A chocolate parfait.

Naru's head flicked up and she gasped, her eyes widening with joy and disbelief.

* * *

"So how does it work? Why you?" Naru asked Minako as the four of them sat in the park on a picnic blanket.

"I wish I knew. To tell the truth I have no idea in hell. I wish I knew who the other Senshi were!"

"Oh, I know who they are." Naru shrugged. "What were the names again, Jadeite? Usagi, Ami, Rei and Makoto? Three of them go to my school. Sailor Moon's my best friend."

"Well, I'm not sure I'm ready yet. I want to know a bit more about how this works first. Is it some sorta link to the land of the dead, or what? Only Kings? I want to know more."

"No way to find out more until the next King dies." Naru scowled. "That bastard Zoisite. Wouldn't mind leaving that creep dead."

"We can't do that, Naru." Nephrite said. "He's no more evil then Jadeite or I. Beryl is the one we need to get rid of."

"He didn't have to laugh when he killed you," Naru whispered, leaning against him under the tree.

"Anyway, we don't know how long it might be until he dies." Jadeite cut in. "Or even if it'll work for a third time. Until then, we could try to find out how much of our powers Nephrite and I have retained."

"How do you do that?" Naru asked jokingly. "Glare at trees and see if they burst into flames or something?" she mimed a death-stare at a bush across the path, then screamed when it ignited.

"How did I do that?"

"You have powers too. They must have lain dormant until Minako activated them all somehow."

"Maybe mine were activated then too, Jadeite. Like being able to bring people back. That might be my power." she paused. "Whoa. A Sailor and a Dark-whatever. Lucky me."

"Um... that shrub's still on fire..." Naru pointed out. Jadeite pulled the blanket out from under them and smothered the flames.

"That was Mom's!" Minako chuckled. "She'll murder me when I bring it back singed."

"Do we get to choose our uniforms, do you think?" Jadeite teased. "I think something.... short... is in order for you and Naru."

Minako swatted him with her hand.

"I'll only wear it if you wear it too. And I think we all agree that is a sight that will remain unseen."

"How do we know this is anything to do with the Dark Kingdom?" Nephrite asked. "If a Sailor and two Kings can possess the same sort of powers, maybe it's something else."

"That's be a nice change," Minako mused. "Having just powers instead of champion-of-itsy-bitsy-uniforms or now-I-have-to-destroy-the-world powers. Not good *or* evil. I like that."

"Hmmmm... We'll have to choose for ourselves what side we fight on then."

"Why? The world isn't right or fair or good all the time, why should we be? And it isn't dark and mean and nasty either."

"You really have an answer for everything, don't you?" Jadeite grinned.

"Yep. Including the fact that that's my principal coming over here and I should be at school! Hide me!"

"He should be at school too. Calm down. Let's see if we have shielding powers. Everyone concentrate on him not noticing us."

They linked hands in a circle. The middle-aged teacher wandered right past them.

"Wow! Cool!" Naru stared down at her hands. "That's amazing!"

"So what're we going to call ourselves?"

"Lytotes." Minako thought out loud.


"It's from one of those Greek or Roman or Latin or something words. Lytote or Litote. It means if you're not one you're the other. Like saying 'not bad' to mean good. And it can work both ways with us, 'not bad' and 'not good', cos we're sorta both and neither."

"I like that."

"Me too."


"Alright, Lytotes it is then. I didn't even know I knew that word until it popped into my head a minute ago. Maybe it's destiny that we're called that. I don't want to see what destiny has in store for our uniforms." Naru laughed.

"You really hate your Sailor one, don't you?"

"Have you *seen* it?!"

"I've seen the other's. They're not so bad."

"Yeah, I like it." Jadeite grinned wolfishly. "It suits you."

* * *

By the time Zoisite died, Minako was living a double life. She spent half her time as a Sailor Senshi, fighting evil and wishing for a bigger skirt. The other half was spent learning more about her non-Sailor powers. They'd decided not to tell the Senshi, they wouldn't understand, so Naru and Minako 'met' when Usagi introduced them, and became fairly good friends through the group. Outside, in Lytote time, they were like sisters.

Then one night Minako stumbled into bed, totally spent after a day of Sailor fighting.

"Shitshitshit. Can we puh-lease design a Lytote uniform so I don't keep turning up in this one?" she asked the other three. Naru smiled.

"At least you're not wearing pyjamas. I feel like an idiot, you three in your uniforms and me in flannel."

"Zoisite must be dead. That's why we're back."

"Can't we leave him here?"

"Naru, honestly, we can't. Forgive and forget."

"So you can tell me honestly, Minako, that you never resent the other Senshi for pretty much killing Jadeite?"



"Look, can we just find him and go?" Jadeite shivered. "I'm the only person here who's spent any amount of time in this place, and take it from me, you don't want to."

"Over there!" The four of them ran to catch the figure as he fell. Jadeite and Nephrite teleported them away before Naru could protest further.

* * *

"Uh... what's happening...." Zoisite groaned, sitting up and clutching his head. Then he noticed the other inhabitants of the room. "Jadeite, Nephrite?" his eyes fluttered shut again. Jadeite helped him stand and guided him to the bed. Zoisite curled up and fell asleep. Naru looked murderous. Minako grinned.

"This will be interesting."

* * *

The next morning Minako and Naru both stayed home from school to be there when Zoisite woke up again. He had during the night, Jadeite and Nephrite had explained everything. He'd listened silently and fallen asleep again when they had finished.

Minako wanted to make sure Naru and Zoisite didn't kill each other. The first thing the young man said when he regained conciousness was: "Does either of you have a hairbrush?" Minako grinned and handed him hers.

"You're so vain..." She crooned as Zoisite fussed at his reflection. He flicked his hair back into a ponytail and shot her a grin. Then he sighed.

"Is there any way to get back into the Dark Kingdom?" he asked.

"We've never tried... Why would you want to, anyway?" Minako said quizzically. Then realization dawned. "Oh... I don't know if it's possible. Can always try. But it's really risky. If queen Beryl caught you I'm not sure even my power could bring you back."

"I don't care. Could we try?" Zoisite sounded hopeful. Minako smiled. Naru continued to sulk in the corner.

"I guess. But not until you're stronger, okay? A few days."

Zoisite was about to protest, then sighed.

"Alright, a few days."

* * *

Kunzite sank into his chair, exhausted. Nothing mattered anymore. Whether the Dark Kingdom triumphed or not no longer made any difference. It was all futile without Zoisite. The universe could explode, Kunzite wouldn't care. He inhaled a ragged breath, trying not to give into grief.

Suddenly he became aware of someone else in the room. He charged a blast of energy in his hand and stood.

"Who's there? Show yourself!"

A slight figure stepped out of the shadows, dressed in jeans and a white shirt, untucked at his small waist. Beautiful, androgynous, with a mischevious sparkle in the wide green eyes. Kunzite's eyes widened in surprise.

"Is he real... or am I dreaming?" he whispered to himself.

Zoisite smiled shyly and stepped towards the older man.

"You really think a petty thing like *dying* would stop me?"

"How can it be real... you faded in my arms."

"And a better way to depart this world of shadows I cannot think of."

Kunzite reached out and stroked Zoisite's cheek.

"You're real... god, you're real!" He hugged the small figure to him tightly, burrowing his face in the caramel-coloured hair. Zoisite stood on tiptoes and threw his arms around Kunzite's neck.

* * *

"Okay Naru, give them some personal time!" Minako pulled on the girl's green hair ribbon, dragging her away from the viewing crystal.

"Awww, c'mon Minako, it's better then a movie!"

"I don't care! You're a pervert. Oh wow, look at that chest...." Minako bent over the crystal. Naru chuckled and wandered out of the room. Jadeite and Nephrite were discussing what to do when Zoisite returned.

"He can't risk going back to the Dark Kingdom again! I think we should forbid it!"

"Jadeite, you don't know what it's like to be separated from your love. It'll tear him apart. Don't." Naru smiled softly. She hoped Nephrite didn't mind the way she indulged Umino's crush on her with a walk in the park or a movie once in a while. Nephrite had to understand it was nothing compared to what she felt for him. Now *that* was true love.

"I know he wants to see Kunzite, but it's so dangerous. What if he was found out?"

"Can we cross that bridge when we come to it?" Minako asked, joining them. "For now, let them be together again, okay? C'mon Jadeite, for me?" she batted her eyelashes. Then blonde man smiled.

"You've spent too long around Zoisite already. Alright, alright, he can go back."

"Thank you!" she kissed him on the cheek. Jadeite blushed.

"I can see why you're Sailor *Venus*."

Naru and Nephrite decided to go see a movie.

The End of Chapter 1 - Goto Chapter 2

I'm only going to continue this if I get sufficient feedback, so mail me!

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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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