Darkness Returning

Chapter Two

© 1999 by Sarel

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Author's Notes:

In this parallel universe, there's no Chibi-Usa (Yes! I never could stand that pink-haired fuzzball!), and only the first five Senshi. Mamoru's still Tuxedo Kamen (since I don't know enough about the rest of his identities), and there have been no major enemies since Beryl's time. Since I don't think I've ever heard if Endymion had a last name (and frankly I don't care; if you don't like that, tough.), I gave him one of my own choosing. *Text in italic* is telepathic voice (for those who wouldn't realize it otherwise).

Disclaimer: That's it. I didn't forget it. =P (Nor did you, eh?)

Darkness Returning - Chapter Two

© 1999 by Sarel

Kaneda strolled through the streets. What was wrong? Zach had avoided him for almost a week now, hardly talking to him during school, staying at a respectful distance all the time. What had happened to him? Was he hurt that he spent half the time earlier dedicated to him with Hotaru? But why...

He stopped as he heard some commotion on the other side of an alley. Curiously he went closer. Then he stopped. With his back towards Kaneda stood a man dressed in a black cape and suit. Was he going to a party? But the thing that caught his attention was the creature further away. The closest he could come to describe it was a humanoid alligator. His staring was interrupted by the black-dressed, black-haired man, who stepped in the way.

Yeah. That must be that Tuxedo Kamen, the guy helping the Sailor Senshi, married to Sailor Moon.

Then Tuxedo Kamen turned slightly, so that Kaneda clearly saw his face, and the world stopped.

I know him! He's... He couldn't quite place the man. Then the barrier broke, and memories streamed into his mind. Endymion! My liege! He stood transfixed as his prince dispatched of the monster - youma, his memories told him - but as the man turned to leave, his inner voice shook him out of his stupor.

Running out into the street in front of Tuxedo Kamen - the man stopped and looked at him with a puzzled gaze - he fell to his knee in front of him. He looked up. He spoke the words his memories told him. "Kunzite..." What name is that? the part of his mind that was plain Kaneda said. "...reporting for duty, Prince Endymion-sama." He looked into Endymion's eyes. No recognition. Despair flooded the edges of his mind. Please! he pleaded. Please recognize me!

The prince's eyes narrowed then. "Who are you?" he asked sternly. "Kunzite..." he spat the name out "...is dead. We killed him."

Kaneda flinched. He did not remember that. The last thing he knew was the invasion of the palace. The last thing he remembered was sending his liege to the safety the Moon Kingdom provided. He had been ever loyal to the prince. Why was it that he spoke the name Kunzite with such venom? Desperate for recognition, terrified that the man would just walk away, he took hold of Tuxedo Kamen's right hand, where once the royal signet had been. Again, his memories told him the words to use.

"I, Hayashi Kaneda - son of Hayashi Takao - hereby pledge my undying loyalty to you, Chino Endymion - son of late Chino Endymion - ruler of the lost Earth Kingdom. I swear to protect you with my life, to never let anything stand in the way of my service to you. My sword is yours to command, my life is yours to take, should you wish." He leaned his head forward, touching the prince's hand with his brow, waiting for the proper response, fearing he would not hear it.

"Hayashi Kaneda, son of Hayashi Takao. With these words I, Chino Endymion, son of late Chino Endymion, accept your pledge. I accept your protection and dedication, and in return swear not to use your sword without need, nor direct it at an ally, and to only demand your life for the good of the Kingdom." A slight pause. "Rise, my Guardian. Rise, Kunzite."

Again his mind was flooded with overwhelming feelings, this time relief, when he felt the words settle in his heart and mind. It was done. The old magic still worked as it should. Now he belonged to Endymion, as it should be, as he had once. When he stood his knees trembled slightly as the tension left his body. "Thank you", he whispered.

Tuxedo Kamen looked down upon him gently. "Don't cry."

Kaneda blinked, and then quickly wiped away the tear that left his eye with that action.

"Come with me. We need to talk."

"Hai, Endymion-sama."

* * *

"Hey, Mamoru-san? What brings you here? And who's that boy?" a raven-haired girl said, perhaps twelve years of age. Judging by her clothes, she obviously worked at the shrine where they now were.

"I need to talk with your mother, Seiko-chan. And could you be so nice as to call the others as well?"


Soon they were all there. Seeing how the long-haired blonde greeted his prince, she had to be Sailor Moon.

"Usako, where's Ami?"

"Umm", Usako replied. "I think Ami had to finish some things at school before she could come." Then she noticed Kaneda. "Who's that?"

"That was what I was going to talk to you about. I guess we can start without Ami." He smiled wryly. "She's smart enough to catch up." The others smiled as well, sharing the internal joke.

Kaneda looked at the others. Seiko's mother, Rei, was there, dressed in the robes of a priestess. So was a tall, chest-nut-haired woman named Makoto, and the other blonde was Minako.

"What are we waiting for, then?" Rei said, somewhat impatiently. "Let's go inside!"

When they had finished re-telling the Dark Kingdom-story, Kaneda nodded thoughtfully. His pale eyes burned with anger over what someone - either himself, brain-washed, or a copy - had done for so long time. And the others, whoever... With a shock he realized that he knew at least one of them. "Zach", he whispered.

"What?" Mamoru's wife, Usagi - Usako had only been her nickname - asked, somewhat bewildered.

"A friend of mine, Yokono Sakura. He has to be Zoisite!"

"Hi!" a voice was heard behind them. Kaneda spun around, wide-eyed, as he recognized that voice. "Did I miss... Hayashi Kaneda-kun!"

"Mizuno-sensei!" He got up to greet her.

"Oh, sit down, please", his prince said, and he dropped back to the floor, unable to disobey. "I see you two know each other?"

"Hai. She's my teacher, my Prince."

"My Prince?" Ami echoed. "What's this all about?"

Mamoru repeated what had happened earlier.

"And I think Zach's Zoisite. But I don't think he rememb..:" Kaneda trailed off as he realized that that could be the reason Zach had been avoiding him. Did he remember and think Kaneda didn't? Since they had been very good friends during the Silver Millennium, perhaps he was that distant because he could accidentally say something about it which could be misunderstood by a normal guy. He said as much.

"Yeah", Ami mused. "I've noticed he's not as much all over you as he used to be."

Kaneda nodded. He wouldn't have believed it before, had anyone told him, but he actually missed Zach's attention.

An hour later, Kaneda continued his interrupted journey homewards. They had agreed that since he needed training - since he didn't quite remember how to use the psychic powers he knew he at least had had, and since his new body was far inferior, physically, to the one he once possessed - he would come to the Hikawa shrine twice a week to train with Seiko, who was Rei's daughter, and Ryoko, Makoto's daughter.

* * *

With a scream, Hotaru bolted upright. As she noticed she was in her own bed, she relaxed. "That dream again..." she whispered. She got up and walked to the window. "Why is it that I always dream that same dream?"

She thought she heard a faint murmur, but shrugged it off.

"What do they mean?" she asked the night. "What curse is it that brings those night mares again and again?"

That same murmur again, slightly louder.

What? She looked around. What was that?

*Hota-chan...* the voice murmured, and somehow she knew it was only in her head.

What! Am I going mad?

*No, Hota-chan. Daughter. You're not going mad. You're just very special.*

*You lie!* she answered the voice. *My mother is dead! She died many years ago!*

*She was not your real mother. I have always been here. Don't you remember?*

She did remember. Every time when she had felt down, every time she had cried over the loss of her parents, there had been that same soft presence, comforting her.

*Ah. I see that you do indeed remember me.* There was a slight pause. *I need you, daughter. I need you with me. A great danger has arisen, threatening my kingdom. I can no longer handle it by myself.*

*But I don't know how to come to you!* she cried. In despair she closed her eyes and clenched her fists. *I don't know how...*

"But you are already here, my daughter."

She started, and looked up. She was no longer in her own room. Instead she was in some sort of cave. At the far end of the cave, she saw a faint image of a tall woman with dark red hair, kneeling on the floor.

"Mother?" she hesitantly said.

"Yes", the apparition said in a soft, melodious voice. She did not rise.

"What's the matter with you?"

"I am weak. I need power to sustain me."

She took one step forward. "If you can, use me and whatever power I have!"

The apparition shook her head. "I couldn't do that. I need you to help me. If I were to take your power, you wouldn't be able to help me, and I would be rendered helpless once again."

"Then what shall I do, Mother?"

"Come forward and let me embrace you. I have missed you."

Without hesitation, Hotaru walked up to her mother and knelt before her. The apparition put her insubstantial arms around her.

Hotaru stiffened as she felt aware of the surroundings in a new way. "Mother!" she whispered.

"It's all right. Now stand, Beryl, and help me."

The re-named Beryl rose. "Yes, Mother." She smiled grimly. "I will."

* * *

"I know!" Nedaru exclaimed. "Let's go to the Hikawa shrine! The priestess's a friend o' my mothers. I heard she's good at readin' the fire. She might b'able to tell us sumthin' 'bout these dreams, ne?"

Jed cheered up. "You might be right. Let's go!"

At the shrine, they met a young girl with almost waist-long, black hair.

"Good afternoon", she said, bowing slightly. "My name's Hino Seiko. Can I help you?"

"Yes, please", Jed said, looking at the girl with interest. She was rather cute. "I'm Minamita Jed. Me and my friend, Osaka Nedaru, have for some time been having dreams with some similar elements, and we wondered if the priestess could do a fire reading for us to find out why."

"My mother isn't in at the moment, but I am somewhat adequate at fire readings. Perhaps I could help you?"

Jed smiled. "That would be kind of you, Hino-san."

"If you would come with me, please", the girl said, and walked off into the shrine.

When the boys had told their dreams to Seiko, she sat still for a few moments. Then she rose. "I'm sorry. I do not think I can help you. I believe you need to speak to my mother." She rose. "If you wait here, I will contact her and ask her to return as soon as possible." After the boys had nodded their assent, she exited the room, only to re-enter a few minutes later.

"My mother is on the way."

* * *

Sure enough, only half an hour later the priestess Rei entered the room where her daughter sat talking with the two boys. She bowed slightly in greeting. "I hope my daughter hasn't embarrassed you."

"Not at all, ma'am", Jed replied. "She has been the perfect hostess." He smiled at Seiko, who blushed slightly.

"That's good to hear." She turned to Seiko. "Now what was it that was so important?"

"I think we should wait for the others as well, mother."

Rei tilted her head slightly sideways and looked at her daughter quizzically, but said nothing. Instead she sat down as well to wait.

They didn't have to wait long before the others dropped in, being introduced one by one. Jed and Nedaru made big eyes when they saw Ami.

"Mizuno-sensei?" Jed asked dubiously. She nodded slightly.

As they noticed Kaneda following Mamoru, they made even bigger eyes.

"Kaneda?" Nedaru gasped. "What're ya doin' here?" Then he looked at Mamoru more closely. "'Zcuse me? Have we met before?"

Rei interrupted whatever answer Mamoru might have been on the way to give, by saying, "Well. Now we're here all of us. Can you tell us now what was so important that it couldn't wait?"

Seiko nodded towards Nedaru and Jed. "I think they should tell you themselves."

* * *

When the boys were finished, complete silence descended on the room. Then Kaneda broke the silence by laughing.

"I never imagined this! All four of us in the same class!"

"Hush", Mamoru said absently, still deeply engrossed in thoughts, and Kaneda ceased laughing abruptly.

"All four of us?" Jed repeated, puzzled.

"Whaddaya mean, Kaneda?"

Kaneda looked briefly at Mamoru, who shrugged. "The four of us - I, you two and Zach - have been together a long time. Your dreams are memories of the life you had before this." A life that I don't remember, he thought, slightly bitterly. Oh well. I guess I'm better of without those memories. "I was - am - Kunzite, you're Jadeite and Nephrite, and Zach's Zoisite."

"Zoisite!" Nedaru exclaimed. He jumped to his feet. "I'm gonna kill him", he growled. "That bastard doesn't deserve to live! I'm going to kill him slowly and painfully for what he did to me and Naru!" Then he blinked, and held his hand to his left cheek, where Rei's hand-print glowed red. "Nanii? Whaddidya do that for?"

"Well", Ami said calmly, "you were rather out of touch with reality. First of all, you can't just go about killing people. Second, Naru is your mother now."

He blinked again. "Wha'?"

Rei looked at him with a strange look in her eyes. "You don't remember." It wasn't a question.

He slowly shook his head. "Wha's the matter wi' me? Am I goin' crazy?"

"Not really, I think", Mamoru said.

Nedaru frowned at him. "An' why do I feel 's though I know you?"

Kaneda sat silent and watched as Nedaru thought hard, then gasped. "Endymion-sama!"

Mamoru nodded slowly. "That I was, that I am."

Nedaru fell to one knee in front of Mamoru. "I, Osaka Nedaru, son of Osaka Naru..." he began, and repeated the words Kaneda had spoken three days ago.

Mamoru replied in kind, not seemingly disturbed by the fact that Nedaru had given his mother's name as origin. "Rise, my Guardian. Rise, Nephrite", he concluded, and Nedaru rose, as moved by the words as Kaneda had been.

"Huh?" Jed said. "What was that all about?"

It was Kaneda that answered. "Over a thousand years ago, during the Silver Millennium, the four of us served under Prince Endymion. When the Earth was attacked by evil forces, we sent Endymion away to the safety of the Moon."

"Yeah, some safety", Minako muttered. "It was attacked right after Earth was conquered."

Kaneda looked at her for a moment. "Anyway. At the time we thought it safe. Then we were killed." He shrugged.

"No", Nedaru corrected. "Not killed. We were captured by the leader of those evil forces, Queen Beryl, and brain-washed, then trained to do her bidding. Then these", he gestured at the grown-ups, "killed us and destroyed the Dark Kingdom, and we were reborn." He smiled, somewhat cynically. "Irony that I be reborn as Naru's son."

Jed was confused. "So... Why don't I remember any of it?"

"I don't know", Mamoru said.

"Well", Makoto said. "Since Kaneda's memories were triggered by the sight of Mamoru, and Nedaru's as well..."

"Apart from the dreams, that is", Nedaru muttered.

Makoto didn't hear, or if she did, didn't care. "...though not so easily, I think, it might be that if you were to swear your loyalty, your memories might return."

Jed thought about it. "But what if my memories do return, and I find out I don't want to serve him?"

Mamoru shrugged. "If that's what you think, you're free to go back to your life and your night mares, provided you never talk about this meeting, and pretend you don't know us." He moved aside from the door and gestured towards it. "Feel free to leave."

Jed froze. He didn't want to leave, but was he ready to take the huge step that it was to swear his life into Mamoru's hands? No, he decided. He wasn't. He didn't want the responsibility that the memories would give him. He nodded towards Mamoru, then passed him and exited the room.

Goto Chapter 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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© by Sarel - Email: sarel@hotmail.com

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