Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha Comics, and Toei Animation.
The Price To Pay
Part I: Decision
By Gita Toronjil-Lee
"Oh, Kunzite-sama," said Zoisite when he could speak, "where are we?"
Kunzite just stared at him. "Does it matter, love? You're with me, back with me."
Zoisite's heart skipped a beat. He'd never heard Kunzite say anything quite like that before - in fact, he'd never heard the l-word fall from Kunzite's lips before. He reached up and stroked a wondering finger down the tearstreaks staining his lover's face. He'd never seen him cry before, either. He hadn't thought he could. He smiled softly.
"I - I really thought Beryl was going to kill me," he said in a wavery voice, "when that blast came, and I hurt so badly, and you looked so sad, and everything was so pretty, and then I lost consciousness…" Zoisite realized that he was rambling and chuckled slightly. "Best scare tactic I've ever seen her use, ha ha… looks like she even scared you." He traced the tears again. "You're so sweet, and it's so nice to know you care."
Kunzite caught the one hand that explored his face in both of his own, looking his lover squarely in the eye. Zoisite realized with a start just how tired and haggard Kunzite's usually impassively handsome face was. "Kunzite-sama?"
He took a deep breath. "Zoisite, beloved, Beryl wasn’t trying to scare you into submission. You've been dead for over two months."
Zoisite blinked, taken aback. Kunzite gently led him into the dilapidated building, closing the door behind him. He made a face, finding it completely bare, save an old-looking sofa. He seated Zoisite on it, who muttered, "This was where I woke up, but I thought…"
"Shhh." He laid a finger on his lover's lips and sat down beside him, wrapping an arm about his shoulders and taking one of his hands. He noted absently that Zoisite was dressed in not just his uniform but the very uniform he had worn on that last day, the one he had died in.
"Zoisite," he murmured, still in wonder at this apparent miracle. Zoisite turned to look at him, eyes wide and reflecting fear. Kunzite let go of Zoisite and brushed a gentle hand over the face of the recently revived young man, then clasped his hand again. At this, Zoisite's lips quivered slightly, and he whispered in an almost inaudible voice:
"Yes, Zoisite, you did. But I…" Kunzite's voice was remorseful, trying unsuccessfully to maintain a steady tone, " your death really opened my eyes, and I knew I needed to tell you… I need you, I love you, and I'm so, so sorry I never told you before." He blinked hard, his battle to keep his composure going about as well as his fight to keep his voice even. "All these years, these centuries, I've continuously failed you. I never let you know…never let you see…never let you hear…all the things I should have, and then I didn’t even have the strength to save you."
"Kunzite-sama, I knew. Why do you think I never left you, and why do you think I bothered loving you so if I never thought I received it in return?"
The simple, unexpected truth took him aback.
"And even if you didn't… save me… I… oh, I don't know. But if I…" he was choking, a little, on his words, "if I died, how the hell am I here now?"
There came a tentative knock at the door, and Sailormars poked her head in.
Zoisite leaped to his feet in a swift, practiced motion caused by too many years of living in an uncertain, dangerous world, cursing in a language he'd thought he'd forgotten.
"Even here! Goddamned senshi, it's not fair! Kunzite-sama!"
Kunzite stood up.
"Listen, Zoisite, it was the queen who killed you and abused us all, not the senshi." His voice was a soft, soothing monotone. Zoisite's hand clutched at the empty air, angry at the fact that in his weakened state he lacked the ability to conjure even a single shard of ice.
"Well, how do you like that?" asked the black-haired girl indignantly. "Here I was trying -- trying -- to be hospitable and go along with the stupid plan, and here -" she flung the door open to reveal all of the senshi standing behind her, peering over her shoulder. "I practically get attacked by the guy who we were trying to save!"
Zoisite turned to Kunzite, open-mouthed. "You worked with the senshi?"
"How - why - did you do it?"
"I needed the ginzuishou. It did it - I'm not quite sure how, but it used my power and… here you were."
"And you couldn't have just taken it from them?"
Kunzite put his arms around his fuming lover.
"Zoisite, love, I had a choice to make. I left the kingdom, deserted my standing - not that it meant much anymore, what with just me and Endymion -er, Tuxedo Kamen, and it was hell working with even the brainwashed version of him -- but I gave it all up for you. And me. For us. Please."
Zoisite looked up and squirmed out of the embrace. He shot the senshi an evil glare, but his lips were trembling. Suddenly, he lost it and exploded.
"I don't understand!" he screamed. He kicked the decrepit sofa with more strength than he'd thought he'd had, giving it a boot-shaped hole and causing a spring to pop out with a cloud of dust.
"What don’t you understand?" asked Sailormoon foolishly, but luckily for her, Zoisite did not decide to vent his rage on her. Instead, he sobbed hysterically.
"I lost consciousness for just a second and then when I wake up I was dead and it's two months later and I'm in a strange place and the one man in the world I thought I could trust is working with my enemies and I don't understand!"
He stopped and slunk into the corner, holding his knees, shaking.
Kunzite shut his eyes. "Sailorsenshi, I thank you, but please leave. Let me deal with this." When he restored his vision and looked around, the senshi had left, and Zoisite still quaked in the corner. He walked over to kneel beside him. Reaching out again, he gently stroked Zoisite's hair, then pulled his hand back, removed his white glove, and repeated the motion.
"Don't do this, Zoisite," he implored, "please. I miss -- missed -- you so badly, and you told me how many times how you hated the queen and the Kingdom…"
The young man still stared straight ahead, but he lowered his knees.
"It's not that, Kunzite-sama."
"I understand you're shocked and disoriented."
"No, you don't. You can't understand. You didn't… you're not…"
"Maybe I don't," sighed the taller, sadly, "but I can be here for you."
Zoisite turned and stood up slowly, Kunzite coming with him and pulling him near. They both closed their eyes. As messed-up as he had felt, Zoisite couldn't help but relax into the same sense of security with his lover that had kept him alive and hanging onto his sanity for all those years.
"I love you, Kunzite-sama." He reached his face upwards and received a soft kiss. He laughed. "I feel like I just told you that. You know, when…"
"I know," his lover interrupted, forestalling any further mental anguish. "And for me it's been far too long. Far too long."
"What a mush-fest," giggled Sailormoon.
"Bet you'd do the same if you got Endymion turned back to our side," teased Sailorjupiter, who sobered, and said, "I know I would."
"Don't tell me you want him, too," the lunar warrior complained.
"What happened?" asked a tiny, familiar voice near their feet. Luna and Artemis had decided to make an appearance.
"I don't know what he did," said Sailormercury, "but somehow Kunzite used the ginzuishou and revived Zoisite. They're in there."
"And you're spying on them?" queried Artemis, though he meant it as more of a statement.
"Well, not exactly spying," said his owner, Sailorvenus, "more like listening, 'cause we can't hear anything."
"See, Luna," crowed Sailormoon, showing the returned ginzuishou, "I think I was right. I was right!"
Unfortunately, her crowing was a bit too loud. The door of the building swung open to reveal an irritated Kunzite.
"Eavesdropping, girls?" he queried. They blushed, sheepish. Zoisite walked up from behind, ducked under the taller man's arm, and leaned against him, obviously placated from his earlier agitation, though the look he gave the senshi and their guardians/pets was not exactly amiable.
"Well, this is my property," stated Sailormars, somewhat angrily, who stood straight, arms akimbo. Then she blushed and lowered her eyes. "Er… my friend's property… um… I mean…"
Kunzite raised an eyebrow. "Personally, I don't care if you give away your identities or not. We’re not going to fight you anymore." He gave Zoisite, who still leaned against him, a slight squeeze. "But did I not request a moment of privacy?"
"He's back to being all high-and-mighty," whispered Sailorjupiter to Sailormercury, who nodded, then shook her head.
"Actually," she said, "he's different. Don't you see it? In his face?"
The chestnut-haired senshi frowned as she surreptitiously inspected the handsome features of the powerful king.
"I think," she decided a moment later, speaking quietly, slowly, and thoughtfully, "that he looks happy."
"You know what -- I know what he reminds me of…" the intelligent blue-haired girl mused, "oh, I guess you wouldn't know -- you weren't there -- but he looks sort of like Nephrite looked like with Naru-chan just before he died. I can't quite figure out why, but he does."
Kunzite was still talking.
"And, Sailormars, I suppose we'll get off your property soon enough. Oh, I mean your 'friend's' property, of course."
The ponytailed king's pretty face turned pensive.
"Where are we going to go?" he asked. "Certainly not back to the Kingdom…"
"The earth realm is a big place, Zoisite. Surely big enough for a pair of Dark Kingdom renegades to find a place somewhere," his lover responded gently.
Then he glanced down at his beloved for a few seconds, and the shorter man looked back up at him. "You're beautiful," Zoisite murmured, temporarily oblivious to the gaping teenagers.
"Are you ready to go?" was the only thing Kunzite could think of to respond.
"Yes." An inspired look brightened his features. "And I know where too, as well. I think I can teleport there -- can you follow me?"
"I can and will follow you anywhere."
Kunzite let go of Zoisite and saluted the Sailorsenshi in the manner that he had used to salute his queen. After a momentary hesitation, Zoisite did the same.
"Thank you," said the green-eyed young man, in a voice that surprisingly did not carry any overtones save purely honest and grateful. He looked up at Kunzite and took his hand. Kunzite narrowed his eyes as he sensed the location that Zoisite was showing him.
"That's a very lovely sakura," Zoisite commented.
The pair shimmered in their typical teleporting signatures.
Luna shook her head. "Either they are excellent actors -- and I wouldn't doubt that -- or you've done a very good thing, Sailormoon."
*Yes,* came a soft crystalline voice audible to all, *you've done well, and it's time for you to learn.*
A bright light suddenly surrounded the crowd of five girls and two cats. The next thing that they became aware of was scenery that none of them had ever seen before and so should have seemed entirely unfamiliar… but they all couldn't help a slight feeling of recognition.
*Welcome to the past… the ruins of the Moon Kingdom,* intoned the ginzuishou, *Your guide through this part of the journey will be arriving soon. She will tell you what you need to know. So long, children… you no longer need me to speak.*
And indeed, they never heard the voice of the ginzuishou after that, thought they still used it an infinite number of times in its many other capabilities.
Upon their return to earth, they had forgotten that the tiny yet impossibly powerful gem was at all sentient -- their heads were too filled with the knowledge imparted to them by the white angel that once ruled the Moon Kingdom during and up to the end of the Silver Millenium.
"What is this?" asked Kunzite.
"Nephrite's old hideout. Not even Beryl knew of its location, which is why she so often sent me as a messenger. Not that I didn't enjoy the opportunity to tease him, but… anyway, I was the only one who could find him. At least for a while we'll be safe here." Zoisite smiled at his lover, who smiled back, his grin holding a slight teasing angle to it.
"How long do you think? Like… tonight, for sure?"
"Longer." Now he frowned, and said in a reproachful tone, "Are these ulterior motives I'm picking up, Kunzite-sama?"
"My love," Kunzite said in an equal tone, "you can't believe that I gave up everything for you to simply return to my bed." He flashed a highly charming, maddening grin, one he did not offer to many. "Trust me, if that's all I wanted, I would have taken one of the many youma up on her -- or his, because even some of the rare males made passes at me -- offer."
Zoisite huffed a little, and said, "You wouldn't have taken them up on any, would you?"
A knowing chuckle came from the tall man. "Of course not; I wouldn’t betray you like that. I would have remained celibate in your memory for as long as I lived, you beautiful, jealous creature, you."
Zoisite reached up and laced his fingers around Kunzite's neck, who in turn wrapped his arms around his lover's slender waist.
"Or you'd take the easy way out and bring me back from the dead," the shorter man smirked, then pressed his lips to Kunzite's.
When they parted, they stared up at the huge, imposing dwelling looming before them, looking deserted, ominous, and evil -- in other words, not too different from the home left behind, a quasi-earthen mansion to replace a Dark Kingdom castle.
"In response to your original question," Zoisite said, breaking the silence, "I don't know how long we'll have here before they find us. Maybe a few days, maybe never, and they'll just give up on us. Or maybe," here he stopped and snickered, "maybe Sailormoon will actually defeat Beryl, and we'll never have to worry again."
He thought about that for a moment, and rested his head on Kunzite's chest as the other continued to clutch him as if he was afraid the slight figure would vanish.
In actuality, that was exactly what Kunzite was thinking.
"Do you want to go inside, Kunzite-sama?" Zoisite asked, his voice muffled by Kunzite's shoulder.
"That would probably be a good idea. At least for now."
"That's really all there is, right? Now."
He laughed. "How I love you, Zoisite."
"But I'm right…"
"Yes, you are. Oh so right. For once."
"I love you, too."
Hand in hand they walked through the ornate doorway together, closing out the human world and their own kingdom equally, retreating into what they knew they could depend on.
End chapter three.
End Part One: Decision
On to Interlude One
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