Marley is Dead

Chapter 1: The First of the Three Spirits

© 1998 by Sardonyx


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He heard the last stroke of the clock fading away. Someone was shaking him. Drowsily, Kunzite tried to shove the disturbance away, but it persisted, keeping up a string of idiotic chatter.

He opened his eyes. "What the hell --"

"Good morning!" chirped the blonde figure perched on a rock formation nearby, "Time to go!"

"You --" Kunzite did not allow his jaw to drop. Jadeite giggled, and hopped down onto the floor, tugging at Kunzite's sleeve.

"Hurry hurry now, it's time!" he piped cheerfully, dragging the older king from his seat.

"You're supposed to be in Eternal Sleep!"

"Details, details!" Jadeite kicked the window open and hopped up onto the sill, "Come on, come on, we don't want to be late, do we?" he giggled uncontrollably.

Kunzite backed away. "You're mad."

"Oh, quite probably." Jadeite dissolved into helpless laughter, and extended a hand to the silver-haired king. "Come on!" as the other still held back, the blonde man grew impatient, and, seizing an end of Kunzite's cape, leapt out of the window.

Inexplicably, Kunzite was pulled after him, and felt himself falling, falling, falling; then it was if he was being pushed through something unknown; and finally he found himself standing on a white-marble balcony, the grinning Jadeite seated on a railing.

"Where in the Dark Kingdom are we?" he asked, incredulous.

"Why, nowhere, baka!" Jadeite replied cheerfully, "Think back a little further, dear Kunzite, and isn't it all so familiar?" he laughed, and pointed through the nearby door that led into a large ballroom. "Shall we?"

"No, thanks, you're not quite my idea of the ideal dance partner." Kunzite replied sourly. Laughing, the blonde king seized him by the cape again and dragged him into the room.

"Look!" he exclaimed, ecstatically, "There I am. There, see!" nearly hopping with excitement, Jadeite gestured wildly at a young -- Jadeite?! -- dancing with a pretty, blue-haired woman.

Kunzite blinked, confused; and then he out of the corner of his eye he saw Nephrite, standing by a punch bowl talking to a group of young women. "Oh, Nephrite..." the silver-haired man snorted and smiled slightly. "Always the lady's man." He promptly did a double-take and stared at his giggling companion. "This -- this?! -- was centuries ago!"

Jadeite nodded and smiled reminiscently. "Ahhh, the good old days..."

"What the hell have you done?!" Kunzite nearly screamed, before realizing they were surrounded by a crowd of nobles. Surprisingly, none of them took any notice.

The younger man chuckled. "Just giving you a little tour, you see. Allow me to introduce myself." he bowed, "I am the Ghost of Christmas Past."

"The -- what? Ghost? You're dead?"

Jadeite shrugged. "Death is relative."

"Do psychiatrists work with spirits? Because I think you need one. So do I, for that matter. I'm just imagining this."

"Of course you are." the Spirit looked genuinely amused, then something caught his eye. "Say, who's that?"

The individual who had captured his attention was standing not far from them; delicately built, androgynously beautiful, wearing white pants and a soft blue jacket, his copper hair pulled back into a long ponytail.

"Zoisite!" the older shitennou cried, taking a step forward, only to be restrained by his companion.

"Steady on, he can't see you, you know." Jadeite caught sight of something else, and laughed. "Look who's here, oh, how I wish I had some popcorn..." perching himself on the arm of a chair, he settled back to watch.

The approaching figure was tall, majestic, clad in white, with a long cape, lined in dark blue. Kunzite's jaw did drop as he recognized himself. This other Kunzite looked -- somehow different... younger? Ridiculous, he was immortal. But still... the word seemed to fit. Younger.

The so-called Ice King watched, spellbound, as this... younger... version of himself approached Zoisite. Through the noise and chatter he could not hear their conversation, nor did he need to, as it was permanently impressed upon his mind. As the two leaned closer for a kiss, Kunzite was so engrossed in watching that he was surprised -- again -- when the alarm was given. A siren blared. He saw the enraged figure of Endymion storming up the steps, Queen Serenity at his heels....

"Oh, how sad." Jadeite sounded just as cheerful as before. "You know what happens now, don't you? Well, my attention span needs work; we'll cut to the chase, shall we?"

"We'll what?" the Spirit was already pulling him away, down the swirling staircase and out into the gardens. Once there, the green foliage began to swirl around them, reforming into a picture of charred destruction.

"What --" Kunzite's breath caught in his throat, "Jadeite -- Spirit -- not this!"

"All a part of the history, dear Lord Kunzite." Jadeite was still smiling his idiot smile, and the other king had the intense desire to stamp it into the ground.

He forgot all about Jadeite, though, when he heard that dreaded phrase again.

"MOON... HEALING... ESCALATION!"

Kunzite felt an irrational terror and shrunk back, not wanting, but being forced to watch as the burning energy swept over the decimated battlefield. It touched him; he felt nothing. But across the way he could see his younger self, shaking, pained, somehow managing to pull the trembling figure of Zoisite close and wrap the cape about them both, as they were slowly torn to shreds by the ginzuishou's energy.

I died. A shudder ran through him, he remembered the betrayals, the evils of Serenity, of Metallia, of all of them, and he vividly remembered dying. Closing his eyes he could almost feel the intense, searing pain, and Zoisite's slender body pressed close to his own.

"Bravo, bravo, what fireworks!" Kunzite was jolted out of his reminiscencing by Jadeite's applause. He glared down at the blonde spirit, who didn't seem to have been affected at all by witnessing his own demise.

"You're very nonchalant about all this."

Jadeite grinned and shrugged. "Comes with being dead, dear Lord Kunzite. But then, you wouldn't understand, would you? Still kissing up to great and mighty Queen Beryl, aren't you Lord Kunzite? Aren't you?" he threw back his head and laughed maniacally.

"Shut up!" Kunzite shouted angrily, as across the field his corpse sank to the ground, still clutching Zoisite's to its chest, "I don't want to be reminded of this, any of this --! Just wake me up, for God's sakes!"

"Wake you up?!" Jadeite was near hysterical, "My dear, good, foolish Lord Kunzite -- you're living a nightmare! You've created it yourself! You fool, fool, fool to still live and --! You can't wake up! You can't! Can't! Can't!"

Furious, Kunzite drew back his fist intending knock the crazed Spirit to hell and back.

He struck cold stone.

The End of Chapter 1 - Goto Chapter 2


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