Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha Comics, and Toei Animation.
The Price To Pay
Part I: Decision
By Gita Lee
"You did WHAT?!?" rang out two voices in unison.
Usagi sighed and explained to Luna and Artemis again.
"Oh, Usagi, it sounds exactly like a trap…"
"But Luna, he was crying! I think he really, really loved Zoisite, and he really, really meant his words!"
"Hmph. How could anyone love Zoisite? What an evil creature that… that thing was!" The black cat held a particular grudge against the late green-eyed man because of his cruelties toward her in his getting both the yellow and the rose nijizuishou.
"Well, Kunzite is evil, too, but he’s really powerful, and if we help him and he backs out like he promised…"
"If he can be trusted, which I doubt," commented Artemis.
Luna sighed in her little cat way. "I guess we’ll see -- I hope you’re right, Usagi-chan," she said, then commented under her breath, "I suppose there’s a first time for everything."
Kunzite tenderly placed his picture back on the table next to his bed. He would have to remember to take it with him…
"So now that I got your job, you think you can go screw around all you want?" The maliciously irritating voice came from the shadows. Kunzite whirled around, knocking the picture frame over with his cape. He cursed and picked it up before he turned to confront his unwanted visitor.
"What the hell do you think you’re doing in my personal chambers, Endymion? I’ve expressly told you many times, that I don’t even want you near my castle, let alone in my bedroom." He was understandably and extremely cross at this intrusion.
"Aww, Kunzite, I’m just dropping in on my co-worker… I was just wondering where you’ve been…"
"Get out of here," he said flatly.
"…or, actually, the queen was wondering where you’ve been."
He suddenly felt an inkling of pity for Nephrite; he knew Zoisite had done much the same to the second king (back, of course, when both were alive) as Endymion was doing to him now. But Zoisite had had a reason to be spiteful, what with Nephrite trying to take over his job and obtain the ginzuishou. Endymion had already practically taken over Kunzite’s job, therefore, to Kunzite’s way of thinking, he had no excuses and was purely being a nuisance – and a nuisance that he could not eliminate. Perhaps the only untouchable one in the Kingdom – save the queen herself, of course.
Once Kunzite had thought that he himself was like that, invulnerable to any sort of attack or hurt. He didn’t believe this now. Sometimes the worst wounds are not to one’s own flesh. He had found this out the hard way.
"Tell Beryl," Kunzite began, "that…"
"Tell her yourself. She wants to see you."
"Kunzite," Beryl crooned upon his arrival into the throne room. He saluted out of sheer habit, but in his deepest, most tightly shielded thoughts cursed her ugly face and wished himself out of this hell.
"My queen, you summoned me?" he asked with a superficial respectfulness.
"Where were you?" she demanded angrily, her soft voice lost and replaced with her normal screeching. "You closed yourself off from my calls. I couldn’t find you. Do you realize that is a direct mutiny to my wishes?"
He looked at the ground. "Forgive me, Queen Beryl-sama, but I needed some time alone… I’ve been under a lot of … pressure… lately."
"Pressure? With Endymion doing the majority of the work?"
Kunzite kept his mouth closed and refused to contradict her with the truth. He would never have a chance – even a chance – at reviving his Zoisite if he himself was dead by the same woman’s hand.
Beryl looked at her subordinate. "You had better not disappoint me too often, Kunzite. You know what happened to Jadeite and Zoisite." She knew how her words stung him, even if he didn’t show anything on the outside. Her hideous face softened itself into a gruesome parody of compassion, completely false and malicious.
"Oh, I had forgotten. Zoisite was your student… I hope you don’t miss him too much, Kunzite, because you know…"
"Of course not, majesty. A Dark Kingdom warrior has no emotions nor feelings for anyone, including himself, save loyalty toward you and Empress Metallia-sama."
He knew she was lying, and she knew he was lying, and both knew that the other knew.
"Well, that’s good. A sensei should not become too attached to his… pupil."
Oh, you knew, you bitch. You knew what he was to me. As much as we tried to hide our relationship, our… love… you knew. And you think it’s funny to torment me with it.
"Queen Beryl-sama, what do you want?" he asked aloud.
"Oh, just to warn you, Kunzite… you may have been first of the kings once, and I’ll admit, are still not exactly expendable, but remember that I do not like being displeased."
"Of course not." And you think I like being heartbroken? I think that’s a hell of a lot worse than being displeased.
"Good." Her voice went back to crooning. "Then as long as we’ve got that clear, you are dismissed."
He bowed again and left as quickly as possible. He smiled a little as he realized that she was so upset over him cutting himself off for a few hours – how furious she would be if he did so forever!
I’m going to leave this place. No matter what. If I get Zoisite back or… or not. I’ve got to get out of here. I can’t live like this.
You’re going to make yourself a wanted man, Kunzite.
I don’t care.
His eyes, for the first time in his long life that he could remember, had opened fully – and he didn’t like what he saw around him.
He didn’t sleep at all that night. This was not unusual. However, it did differ in the fact that he didn’t even try. He spent the night poring over his various research materials, searching desperately for some clue as to how to call a person back from the realm of the dead.
When that search proved fruitless, he spent the remainder of the night pacing the eerie, dark, desolate, and utterly lifeless halls of his home.
Mercifully, Kunzite received no visitors the next day. When three o’clock rolled around in Tokyo, he teleported away without saying a word to anyone. Even if it had been possible, he wouldn’t have given the only home that he could remember a backward glance.
Five teenaged girls, whose facial expressions ranged from scowling to apprehensive, greeted him upon his arrival to the Hikawa shrine. They were already clad in their senshi fuku and had obviously been deep in discussion before his arrival. Mercury was using her visor, not even making an effort to hide the fact that she was attempting to seek out any traps.
"I think he’s alone," she said. All were still silent. Finally, the former eldest and most powerful of the now-defunct Dark Kingdom Shitennou spoke up.
"So?" he asked.
The girls looked at each other, their leader twisting her moon wand in her hands.
"Okay, Kunzite," she said, "where do you want to go?"
He looked around. The abandoned shack Sailormars had mentioned was nearby, standing alone looking miserable. No. The empty green grass hill he was standing on? No. The… oh, yes.
"Do you see that sakura tree standing over there?" He pointed.
"That’s a sakura tree?" asked Sailorjupiter dubiously.
The tree was tall, but still as bare as if it was winter, oblivious to the fact that that all other trees of like kind were full and pink. Only a few measly blossoms clung to the tips of not more than five skinny branches. Nevertheless, it was right.
"Under that tree," he said, walking briskly over to it. The senshi followed.
"I’m ready for the ginzuishou, Sailormoon," Kunzite extended his hand. The blonde girl nodded slowly and started to hand him the moon wand.
"No. Not that."
"That… that stick. I don’t need it – plus, it would probably react negatively to the darkness within me. Just the crystal."
Shrugging, she pried the gem out of its setting.
"I hope I’m doing the right thing," she said.
With the other senshi watching nervously, Sailormoon willingly placed their most powerful weapon into the upturned palm of their enemy, then took a couple of skipping steps back.
Kunzite stared at the tiny shimmering object in his right hand. At last – he held something that could bring his love back to him. There was only one problem.
He hadn’t the slightest idea how to use it.
/Okay, I’ve got the ginzuishou. Now what?/
*I know you.*
He jumped and almost dropped the jewel. That mental voice was most definitely not his. It didn’t feel like any telepathic voice he’d ever felt before. He sensed the lines it was communicating on and sent his own telepathic query.
~ Who are you? ~
*You’re holding me in your palm.*
~ Ginzuishou? ~
~ You can talk? ~
*If your Metallia, a being of pure evil, can talk, why do you doubt that I can?*
~ Not my Metallia. Not anymore. ~
*So you say. But I can still sense its evil in you, and I remember you – from one thousand years ago on the moon.*
~ Yes, I was there. You killed me. ~
*It was necessary. Though, had I truly destroyed you, you would not be here now.*
It had a point. ~ Well, then, thank you for that. ~
*You are trying to change. I can sense that.* The inhumanly serene voice of the crystal sounded for a moment both surprised and pleased. *And I know what you want from me.*
~ You do? Can you? ~
~ Will you? ~
Why indeed? ~ I will not fight against Sailormoon when she goes up against... against the Kingdom.~
*You would have left her anyway. Don’t think I could not sense this.*
He sighed externally as the senshi watched, confused and unaware of the silent conversation that was taking place.
~ I… I don’t know what I could give you, ginzuishou. But… Zoisite… I never knew how I needed him, and I… I need him back. ~
~ I loved him, ginzuishou. Don’t you understand love? ~
*I do. And perhaps I misjudged you – I did not believe that persons of the Dark Kingdom could love.*
His eyes were closed and he outwardly appeared to be lost in thought. As the girls stared at him, tears began trickling down his face from beneath his eyelids. ~ I didn't think so either, for a very long time. I know differently now. ~
*Your power is great, Kunzite. I can use you, or, more correctly, your vast energy supply.*
~ Wha… ~
He screamed as he felt his magical essence leaving him, transferring into the glimmering tiny gem. It hurt. Down to the innermost fiber of his being and beyond, like it sought to tear the very core of his existence from his soul. This searing sensation lasted for what felt like eternity - less than a minute to everyone else. A flash of blinding light ripped through the clearing by the bare sakura tree, causing the senshi to shield their eyes from its intensity.
Suddenly, the terrible draining feeling ceased and the light faded. Kunzite hesitantly opened his eyes, feeling abysmally weak. He blinked a couple of times, absently noticing the sailor senshi a few meters away, still hiding their eyes.
~ Ginzuishou? ~ he asked the crystal in his hand, which hummed slightly, sending mild tingles up his arm.
It did not reply.
~ Ginzuishou? ~ he sent the thought as forcefully as he could, which was not very, given his depleted condition.
Something feathery fluttered down on his face. He sneezed, then looked at the irritating object.
A cherry blossom.
He made a surprised noise in the back of his throat as the one that had fallen on him became three. Then five, then perhaps a dozen. Kunzite looked up.
The sakura tree, once bare and desolate, was now in full bloom. From nowhere, spring leaves and buds had appeared, grown, and opened into the most beautifully breathtaking pink, white, and green spectacle imaginable. The flowers falling down on him were doing so because the tree was filled to more than capacity and they were the overflow. He stared up in wonder, still clutching the ginzuishou. The senshi stared up as well in awe, though they did not want to get any nearer to the tree or to the man standing beneath it.
"Zoisite?" he asked hoarsely.
Nothing. No reply save the rustling of the new leaves and flowers.
Kunzite looked down in his hand at the ginzuishou. The sunlight broke through the trees and glinted off the jewel, causing it to flash prismatically. He smiled at it as a tear dripped down his face.
"You're a little bastard," he told it almost reflectively. "You are so… oh, hell, I don’t know. I just…"
He stopped and went silent.
Nothing still. But hadn’t he thought he'd heard…
"No. I guess not," he breathed doubtfully.
*A treasure should be valued, Kunzite, especially when it is given it as a gift. Remember and honor this.*
~ I don't understand. What… ~
The voice was tentative and weak, but oh-so-familiar, oh-so-loved, oh-so-missed.
The ginzuishou dropped between Kunzite's fingers and fell to the ground silently. He froze, afraid to turn around toward the voice.
"Kunzite-sama?" A little louder. Now he did turn, slowly.
His lips moved, but no sound came out. They traced the shape of the name, then Kunzite took off running, forgetting the ginzuishou, forgetting the five girls who still stood unnaturally speechless at the scene unfolding around them. He raced through to the abandoned shack, cape and hair flying behind him. Perhaps he could have teleported to get there faster, but the thought didn't even cross his mind. The only thing he could do was sprint blindly, spurred by a relentless need.
He swept the slight figure off his feet from the doorway where he had been standing in the open doorway of the lonely building and into his arms. He crushed the small body close to him and held it there for a long time.
Sailormoon walked over to beneath the radiant sakura tree where Kunzite had been standing and ducked down to search through the grass. She stood up and waved at her teammates, showing off the small, shiny object she'd picked up. She reaffixed the ginzuishou back into its place on her wand and smirked, obviously pleased at being right about Kunzite's reaction.
Sailorjupiter looked at the newly reunited couple, who still embraced, oblivious to the world. She grinned. "I guess they were in love, huh."
Sailorvenus frowned. "Looks like it, doesn't it."
"They're really cute together - I never noticed that before," giggled Sailormercury.
"In a sick sort of way," snorted Sailormars, but she agreed.
"Do you honestly think they won't attack us?" asked Venus, looking worried for a moment. She stared at the two, then grinned. "Well, I guess they won't right now."
When Kunzite's heart slowed in its erratic beating just a bit and the tears stopped flowing down his face quite so freely, he released his grip just enough to look at the beautiful face of the man in his arms. He gazed into the deep green eyes he'd thought lost from him for all time and sighed a shuddery breath.
He spoke softly and simply, feeling like he was about to burst.
Before his lover could say a word, he bent down and kissed him, gently yet impossibly firmly, holding him tight. They stayed locked together, feeling and holding forever in a moment.
End chapter two
On to Chapter Three
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