The day was misty. Late afternoon in Tokyo was welcomed by torrents of
endless rain. Michiru sat in her bedroom, staring out the window as the rain ran
down the glass.
She had been there all day. She had originally stayed in her room to finish her painting, but instead she simply sat in front of the canvas, holding her paintbrush and staring at the rain and clouds.
Usagi peered in through the door. "Are you sure it's okay for me to go in there, Hotaru-chan?" she asked. "She seems like she wants to be alone."
"It's fine, Usagi-san," Hotaru replied. "I think she'd like to see you. Setsuna-mama and I haven't disturbed her, but she always enjoys your company. Go on in."
"Michiru-san? How are you?" Usagi asked gently, walking slowly up to her.
After a long pause, she said, "Usagi...what should I do?"
"Don't go!" Usagi cried. "We'll protect you from that Misuto creep!"
"Usagi-chan..." Michiru said, "I meant, what should I do about this painting? With Haruka gone, I can't finish it. Now it's not even art, without her here to help me finish it. It's just markings on a canvas."
"Michiru-mama, you can finish it."
Hotaru smiled as she walked into the room. "You know how Haruka-papa is. You know her feelings. Use that memory of her to help you finish. Besides," she said, "I'm still here. Am I not warm enough to make a painting good?"
"Thank you, Hotaru. You're right. But it will have to wait." She stood up and walked to the door. She turned around and smiled at Usagi. "Usagi, about what you said a minute ago, I've already made up my mind. Whatever I do, and whatever happens to me, don't involve yourself or the other girls. I have to protect you, and that means keeping you out of my fights."
"But, Michiru-san...I don't need..."
"Usagi, please don't argue. I would be letting down Haruka if I let you get hurt," Michiru said. She took out her transformation wand. "Time to face him. Wish me luck."
"You're right, Michiru-mama," Hotaru said, taking out her wand. "Let's go."
"No, Hotaru. I have to do this alone. You understand, right?"
Her shoulders dropped. "...Yes. Pluto and I will watch over her if you...don't come back. Don't worry."
"Thank you, Hotaru. I'm leaving her in your care." Michiru turned to Usagi. "I know you feel like you don't need protection, but I have my mission, like all of us. And I have things that I must do. Goodbye, Usagi--Princess. I hope I'll see you again."
"Michiru-san! Please let me come with you!" She ran for the door, but Hotaru grabbed her hand. "No, Usagi-san. I can't let you interfere."
After taking one last look at Hotaru and Usagi, Michiru held up her wand. "Neptune Crystal Power Make UP!"
"She just left?" Rei cried. "Is she crazy?"
Usagi looked at the floor. "I couldn't stop her. And she told me that none of us should get involved. Not even Pluto and Saturn."
Ami stood up. "We can't let her face that monster herself! We have to get involved!"
"Ami-chan?" Minako said. "You're usually not so forward."
She sighed. "Haruka-san and Michiru-san may be different from us, but we're all Sailor Soldiers. When Haruka-san died, we couldn't do anything! We were helpless to stop it!"
She fell to her knees as tears dripped down her cheeks. "You guys, Michiru-san is like the older sister I never had. I WON'T let her die!"
"Ami-chan is right!" Makoto said, pounding her fist into her palm. "This guy must be tough to beat Haruka-san. We have to help Michiru-san defeat him!"
"She's always helped us, even when we weren't allies. We have to help her now," Minako said. "We'll protect her just as they've always protected us."
"Let's go, Usagi," Rei said. "We're all agreed. Let's do what we've gotta do."
"Rei-chan..." Usagi said, then nodded. "All right, everyone, let's do it!"
"Venus Crystal Power..."
"Mercury Crystal Power..."
"Jupiter Crystal Power..."
"Mars Crystal Power..."
The five Inner Soldiers ran out of the Hikawa Shrine toward the steps. Before they got there, a staff and a glaive formed a cross in their path.
"Sailor Moon, we won't let you go," Saturn said.
"Neptune is right. You shouldn't get involved," Pluto said.
Jupiter stepped closer to them. "Are you two really going to stand by and watch Michiru-san die?"
"That was what she wanted. She has to do this," Pluto said sternly.
A voice from above said, "You know she needs our help, Pluto."
The seven soldiers looked up to see Tuxedo Kamen sitting on top of the arch over the entrance, his cape flowing beneath him.
"Tuxedo Kamen-sama!" Sailor Moon yelled. Are you going to help us, too?"
"Of course, Sailor Moon," he replied. "Neptune is my friend as much as she is yours."
"Sailor Pluto, Sailor Saturn," Mars said, "do you really think this Misuto will just leave once he has Sailor Neptune? He's evil! He'll probably try to harm this world as well! Shouldn't we stop him for that reason, if anything?"
Pluto paused and looked to the sky. The mist and rain still hung heavy in the air.
Mercury noticed what she was looking at. "That's right, Pluto. Misuto caused this weather. He's already killed people just to make Neptune appear at Tokyo Tower. He could wreak havoc on this city. Should we really let that happen?"
Saturn sighed and looked at Pluto. "They're right. We should help Neptune stop him."
Pluto looked down and nodded. "Yes, let's go."
The seven soldiers and Tuxedo Kamen ran down the steps.
~***~Sailor Neptune scowled. "This mist is really screwing with my mirror. He's hidden himself well."
"Well, torturing you has proved even more amusing than I had hoped, Sailor Uranus,"
Misuto said with a haughty laugh. "It's a very nice time killer, you know."
Haruka, now too weak to maintain her powers, glowered at him. "You bastard. You won't get away with this. The others won't let you take Michiru away."
"The others? Are you serious? Didn't you see me dismantle your Sailor Soldier friends?" He laughed again. "They, and you, don't have a prayer."
"You're wrong..." Haruka said, coughing a little. "Just because you defeated them once, it doesn't mean you're better. They will always triumph, with or without me."
"Aww, that's cute," Misuto said. "You're SO selfless. Face it--you're screwed, and so are they if they come to fight me."
"Let her go now, Misuto!" a voice cried from the darkest corner of the warehouse.
"Ah! Princess!" Misuto said happily. "I see you're as eager to see me as I am to see you. Couldn't wait two days, could you?"
"You evil bastard, I'll kill you and I'll enjoy it. Set Haruka free now."
Misuto leaned his chin in his palm and smirked at her. "That's not a very ladylike tone, Princess. And I really don't want to hurt you. So you'd better just come quietly."
"Neptune!" Haruka shouted. "Get the hell out of here NOW! Let the others handle him!"
"I told them not to come. I'm going to kill Misuto, alone."
"Why did you do that?!" Haruka screamed. "Why are you being so foolish, Neptune?"
Misuto sat up and laughed again. "Oh, you leave me no choice, Princess. I guess I'll just have to drain that fighting spirit out of you before I take you away."
"Stop calling me Princess!" She crossed her arms. "I am Sailor Neptune, descendant of the sea! Remember that, because you're about to die at my hands!"
"Okay, fine." Misuto said. He dropped his right hand to his side, and the mist that had been choking the life out of Haruka disappeared and she dropped to the floor, gasping.
"I couldn't let Sailor Moon involve herself, Haruka," she said. "You know that."
Misuto, meanwhile, raised his palms in front of his body. "Attack!"
Neptune screamed as a wall of fog slammed her into a nearby stack of crates.
"Feeling a little less frisky now, Princess?" Misuto asked, smiling. "You know, I didn't want to do that."
"Do you think it will be that easy?" Neptune said, as she stood up on shaky knees, panting. She raised her arms high above her head and cupped her palms. Flowing ocean water streamed around her body and into her hands. "Deep SUBMERGE!"
Misuto reached out and grabbed the sphere of water before it hit him, and spun it around on his finger. "Nice try, Princess, but not quite," he said. "Don't you get it? None of you have the power to defeat me! So why don't you just give up?"
"Never...I'll never give up! I won't stop until you're dead for what you did to Haruka and me!" She looked down at her mirror, which had just materialized in her arms. "Please," she whispered, "don't let me down this time."
Holding the mirror close to her face, she looked into it as a light began to shine deep within its surface. Then she spun around to Misuto and showered him in the mirror's light. "Submarine REFLECTION!"
Misuto twirled his wrist, causing another wall of mist to appear, protecting him from the mirror's rays.
"Damn!" she shouted. "Why won't you die?"
"I told you that you can't win," he said. "That's what you get for not believing me."
"She'll win with our help!" a voice shouted from the entrance.
"Oh, what the hell is this? Why are you all lining up to die?"
"We'll do anything to help Neptune!" Sailor Moon said, walking forward with the other six soldiers.
"Saturn! Pluto! How could you let them come?" Neptune shouted, in tears. "If anything happens to them I'll never forgive you!"
Tuxedo Kamen stepped out of the darkness. "Sailor Neptune, please accept our help. You need it!"
"Back off, all of you! This is MY FIGHT!"
"Never, Michiru-san," Mercury said, running up next to her. "We'll never turn our backs on you, because you never did on us."
"Mercury..." she whispered.
The others caught up with them. "That's right, Michiru-san," Jupiter said. "We can never forgive him for what he did to Haru...oh my God! Haruka-san!"
Jupiter and the others gasped at the sight of Haruka writhing and coughing on the floor.
"She's alive! Thank God!" Sailor Moon cried, collapsing on the cement floor in relief.
"Michiru..." Haruka said, barely audibly. "Haven't you learned anything yet? We... can't fight our battles alone. They're always fighting...with us."
Sailor Moon stood up and put her hand on Neptune's shoulder. "Please, Michiru-san, let us fight, too."
Misuto brushed his deep turquoise hair to the side of his face and laughed. "Why are you all wasting your time? No matter how many of you there are, I'll win. This is futile."
"No!" Mercury yelled. "There is a point! We will beat you!"
"Mercury!" Her sign appeared in her palm, and water gushed out. The water formed a harp that shot ice-blue rushing water at Misuto as she ran her fingers over the strings. "...Aqua RHAPSODY!"
"We can win! I know it!" Venus cried out.
"Venus!" Venus' sign appeared in her palm. She brought it up, and with a wink, blew a deadly kiss into her hand. The power swirled around her body and flew at Misuto. "...Love and Beauty SHOCK!"
Misuto blocked attack after attack.
The eight soldiers and Tuxedo Kamen stood battered and breathing heavily, wondering what to do next.
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Fools! Now I guess I'll have to kill you all!"
"Bastard...I won't let you."
They all looked up, shocked.
Neptune whispered, "Haruka?"
~***~"What can you do, Sailor Uranus?" Misuto asked incredulously. "If I even breathed on you right now you'd fall over dead."
~***~Uranus held onto Neptune. "Me, too. I didn't much like the thought of dying for no reason. I'm too important, right?"
The End! Thanks for Reading! *^_^*