If anyone had been able to see past the lights shining out from Tokyo Tower, they probably would still not have been able to see the figure who now stood upon it, her long hair blowing free in the wind that buffeted the tall structure. She leaned heavily upon an ornate staff, her face outwards, feeling the night air on her face, listening to the sounds of the city; sounds so familiar and yet made foreign by time.
She thought of the sad face with soft brown hair, the voice that had whispered in her ear and she shivered, but not from the wind. Her eyes closed as she remembered his hands on her body, his lips on her neck, mouth, breasts. A small whimper forced its way past her lips and she clamped them shut against the emotion that threatened to choke her. The wind grew fiercer, echoing her mood. The Tower began to sway and moan in the wind, keening as she could not, mourning for a love so old, so powerful and, once, so bitter.
Sailor Pluto thought of the rest of their conversation, aborted as it had been. Marcas had admitted to hitting her over the head and bringing her physically back to this time to deceive Queen Opal. Twice a traitor, she had screamed at him as she threw her wine in his face, running out of the restaurant, running away from him, running anywhere but near where he was. Sailor Pluto threw her arms wide and head back as the wind took on a shriller note, filling her ears with its banshee wail.
She knew what she had had to do. He had brought her here for a purpose and, until that was completed, she could not leave. Her powers appeared to be intact, but she could not leave the 20th century. She had tried, more than once, the last time just a few minutes ago. She had tried to contact Charon, her Queen, any of the Senshi, but she was blocked, once again leaving a coded message if only it could be seen. Marcas had brought her here to fight him? He’d get the fight he wanted. She grinned ferally, lips pulling back from her teeth and she leered into the city.
“Marcas.” she spoke without rancor. “I’ll do what you want me to do.”
She put both hands on her Staff and slowly, still unseen by any lifeform or surveillance device, she faded from the top of Tokyo Tower.
A young couple sat at dinner. They looked impossibly happy. The woman was clearly several months pregnant, the bulge of her belly very visible on her slight frame. The man’s eyes shone as they sat and talked and laughed. They each had a book in their hands, and they clearly were trying to pick a name for the child.
Setsuna watched them from a distance. She sat alone at a table, hidden from the couple’s sight by a pillar, but a mirror on the opposite wall gave her a clear view of them. It was a prudent idea to be aware of the location of Tsukino Kenji and Ikuko at this point in Time.
Setsuna took another bite of her meal, chewing and swallowing automatically, trying not to taste the food. Once again she thought of the idiotic paradox into which Margarite had propelled her . To fool Opal into believing she was fighting his shadow paradox, Margarite had actually knocked her unconscious and brought her back, so Opal would not be able to trace her energy signature. Her records all pointed to the shadow paradox, so cleverly set up as a blind. In the meantime she was stuck here, in her least favorite decade of all Time, eating mediocre food in a not very posh restaurant. She smiled inwardly at her own petulance.
And now her lover, her ex-lover, a man she still missed every day of her long life, wanted her to kill him…again. Her thoughts wandered to their final confrontation during the original Queen Serenity’s reign…during the last days of the Silver Millenium.
Pluto was standing before the Gates of Time, her Staff held ready, fighting off an advance attack of Beryl’s forces. She knew the Dark Queen had not yet attacked the Moon Kingdom – if only she could beat off this attack, she could get there, assist the other Senshi…another wave of Dark Kingdom warriors threw themselves at her and were forced back by the power of her Dead Scream. The attacks were fewer now, and she thought she might be able to get back to the Queen’s side, if they would only retreat.
The smoke and mist seemed to close in for a moment, blinding Pluto. She saw a figure approach and her heart froze in her chest. She knew that figure too well. Pluto could feel bile in her throat as she beheld Margarite, clad in the livery of the Dark Kingdom, approaching her openly. The gray cloak billowed out behind him, the neat, gray uniform trimmed with dark green, his hair bound as always. Pluto gripped her Staff until her knuckles whitened, but stood firm. He faced her and bowed formally. She did not return the courtesy.
“Why?” was all she said, hissing through a clenched jaw.
“Because I believe that this is for the best.” He didn’t believe it, she could see that, at least not any more. Maybe he had, before Beryl had given herself to Metallia and called the Darkness down onto them, but now, she could see that he hated what he had become. She remembered the two of them, walking through the gardens, hand in hand, speaking of the future they would share…
“Coward!” she cried and lifted her Staff. He sidestepped and threw an attack at her, which she parried neatly, deflecting it into his own troops, who scattered. They circled for a few long moments, each trying not to look at their opponent, or admit who it was that they now attempted to defeat, trying not to remember the feel of each other in passion, the sight of other in repose and peace.
Margarite lifted a hand and Pluto swung her weapon once again. As he reeled from the blow, Pluto let go of her Staff, commanded it to come to attack position and in a cold, unemotional voice, declared her attack….
His cries were short, ending abruptly, as he faded from the field, dissipating like the mist that now closed in upon her. His troops ran, then, and in a moment, she was alone.
Setsuna shuddered with the memory and turned her attention back to the couple at the center table. They were getting ready to leave, so she signaled to her waitress. She paid her bill and almost invisibly, followed them out of the building. As she turned to look down the block, she could see a dark figure, cloaked and booted, turn the corner in the opposite direction. She had been right – he would make his attack tonight.
The Tsukinos were headed for the park and Setsuna could feel a slight headache beginning behind her left eye. Didn’t these people ever watch horror or monster movies? They were just *asking* to be attacked by a supernatural phenomenon! She sighed with exasperation and followed them at a distance.
Setsuna did not yet transform. It might be that Margarite was not going to attack if he knew she was here. Why press his luck? They both knew she was capable of defeating him….
Setsuna strolled through the park, as lost in her thoughts as the couple she shadowed were lost in each other. Their voices occasionally drifted back to her and she smiled to hear them talk of their “little bunny.”It is no wonder the Queen is so warm-hearted and loving, with parents like these, she thought.
Setsuna sat on a bench, while the couple fed crumbs to the carp in the pond. She thought of their conversation, when she had asked Marcas, just before she had run out on him. “Why don’t you just leave then – just tell Opal “no?” ” and he had answered “Because I am still a coward, Setsuna. Because I am afraid.”
They were walking again. She felt a chill run up her spine and stood behind a tree, waiting for a moment. A dark shadow passed her, booted feet making no sound on the ground, cloak drifting lazily behind him. She shook her head sadly and called her henshin wand to her hand. Once again she held her hand high as she called to her guardian planet.
“Pluto Planet Power make-up!”
Her Staff came to her hand as naturally as an instrument to a musician’s. She stepped out from the tree and called sharply.
“Margarite! I will not let you hurt them.”
The figure turned slowly. “I wasn’t sure you’d come.” he said. There was no sadness now in his voice, only harshness and purpose. “I’m sorry Pluto. I was wrong to have brought you here.”
“No.” she interrupted. “You were more right than you knew. What you are trying to do is so wrong, Hell alone is not good enough for you. I *will* stop you Margarite, and then I will stop your Queen.”
“No, you were right, Pluto. I am a coward and a traitor. I don’t deserve to live, but at least once in my life I will carry something through to the end before I die.” and he spun around to follow the couple who had now passed beyond hearing.
“Not this, you won’t.” Sailor Pluto said and leveled the Staff at Margarite. “Dead Scream.” Her voice echoed coldly in the night, the Staff moved into position and she whirled, launching the ringed, violet sphere at Margarite. He turned, waved a hand and the light simply…vanished.
He smiled at Sailor Pluto. “I’m sorry Pluto. You can’t stop me now.” and he turned away, leaving her, for a moment stunned into paralysis.
“My god, that attack never even reached him…” she hissed. It didn’t matter. If she died for it, she would stop him. Her face became resolute and she took off after him, her feet pounding along the turfed path.
Sailor Pluto accelerated, running to catch up to the couple, now far ahead and in grave danger. There was no help for it, they had to be warned. Just then she heard a scream.
“Dammit!” she cursed and picked up the pace. She came around a bend in the path and could see Margarite, his cloak thrown back, his hands held out towards the cowering couple before him. Sailor Pluto threw herself at him, turning and shouting to the man and woman as she dove, “Run! Don’t look back and don’t stop! Run!”
Apparently they *had* seen enough horror movies, because they took her advice and ran as fast as they could, while she rolled on the ground, trying not to let Margarite get a grip on her throat. She elbowed him in the ribs and struck at his face. A gash began to bleed on his cheek, where her nails raked him.
Sailor Pluto heard him curse and her head snapped back as he struck her in the jaw. She hit the ground hard with his weight upon her and he pulled back for another strike. A voice cried out “Over here!” and Sailor Pluto could hear footsteps on the pathway. Margarite stood up quickly and looked down at her, his face unreadable. He turned and walked into the darkness, silent and ghost-like, fading from sight.
Laying back in the grass, Sailor Pluto detransformed, allowing Meioh Setsuna to be found, dazed and breathless, helped to stand, and taken to a bench to rest. Her head still rung from the blow Margarite had given her, but aside from a few cuts and bruises, she was fine. She declined to be taken to the hospital or police station, insisting she could make her way back home. As soon as her rescuers left her, she transformed once again, the cuts and bruises disappearing immediately. Sailor Pluto called her Staff into her hand, and she disappeared from the park, praying fervently that the Tsukinos had made it home safely.
Setsuna stood naked in front of a mirror, regarding herself objectively. She was unscathed, all signs of the earlier battle gone with her transformation. Satisfied that she had no wounds that needed treatment, she stared openly into her own eyes, which regarded her seriously in return, but gave away no secrets.
A door clicked open softly and Setsuna turned to glance over her shoulder, as Marcas came out the bathroom towards her. He shed a robe onto the floor as he walked, his body as naked as her own, his hair loose, wet from the shower. He stood behind her, wrapped his arms around her and pressed his face into her hair, breathing in her scent.
She could feel him, muscled and strong, press his body against hers and she sighed, leaning back into him. Marcas kissed her neck through her hair and rumbled his pleasure at the contact.. Setsuna closed her eyes, just feeling the warmth of him flow through her. At last, reluctantly, he broke their embrace and sat on the bed. She turned, running her fingers through his dampened hair.
“Do you think it worked?” she asked him quietly, as she kneeled before him. “Were you followed?”
Marcas took her face in his hands, kissed her gently and smiled softly at her. “I was being followed, yes. As for our idea working…I can’t say. Opal isn’t stupid, Setsuna, but some of her lieutenants are. I wasn’t followed here, if that’s what you mean. But then” he paused for a moment, “I didn’t think they’d figure out that I was the one who brought you back. Opal doesn’t trust me and she is going to trust me less, now.”
Setsuna said nothing, but pulled him to her, crushing their lips together.
When they pulled reluctantly away from each other, Setsuna laid his hand against her cheek. “I don’t want to lose you again, Marcas.”
Marcas said nothing, but leaned into her, kissing her firmly.
He let his hands drop to her shoulders and she returned his kisses, giving him her neck and moaning softly, as his lips brushed the soft skin of her throat. His hands slid down, and cupping her breasts, began to knead them gently. Setsuna held him to her, kissing him hard, opening her mouth to lick at him, draw his tongue into her. She grabbed onto his soft hair holding him firm, while one hand scratched softly at his chest, parting the brown curls on it.
Setsuna smiled as they kissed, and her body fell into old patterns, so long forgotten. She stroked his chest, feeling the muscles tense and relax. She laid one hand over his heart, and felt for the reassuring rhythm. Her eyes closed as Marcas moved his head lower, kissing her softly between her breasts.
“Marcas,” Setsuna whispered, as his tongue traveled in lazy circles around her nipples.
“Mmmm?” He did not break contact with her skin.
“Promise me one thing.”
“Mmmmm.” He closed his mouth on her nipple, drawing it in, sucking at it, flicking it with his tongue. Setsuna lost all power of speech for a few moments.
He pulled his mouth away and watched her, his eyes twinkling with humor. “You were asking me to promise you something?”
Setsuna opened her eyes and looked at him, his hair spilling softly around his shoulders, his mouth soft and inviting.
“Later.” she said firmly and drew him in for a long kiss.
When they broke apart she could see his excitement and she was overwhelmed with the need to feel it. Her hand slipped softly down his chest, running through the thinning fur of his stomach, and down further, until she could feel him, hard and warm in her hand. Now he drew close to her, nibbling on her earlobe and she laughed, his mustache tickling her.
Setsuna pushed him away, laughing, and kissed her way down his chest, pausing to lick his nipples, while he moaned almost piteously. Smiling, she continued her way down, kissing, licking, teasing, until her mouth joined her hand on his hardness. His moans became more urgent then, while her tongue made light of his need, licking him in slow, firm strokes that forced even more desperate moans from him.
She could feel him tensing and he pulled her away from him, stood, bringing her to her feet. Kissing her, he laid her back on the bed. Marcas could no longer hold himself back and she did not try to stop him. Her body ached for him to fill her and she told him so, which made him groan with desire. Her hands in his hair, she pulled him close and he entered her, his thighs pressed against her own, her moans joined to his, creating one rhythm, one purpose.
It had been too long since she had felt another’s touch, since she had been intimate with anyone and her body was all too ready. Setsuna arched her back as she came, holding him in her, wrapping her long legs around him. Marcas pressed his lips into her neck and joined her in climax. She did not feel him come, so lost was she in her own pleasure.
They lay there, still entwined, as their breathing steadied, as their eyes and ears returned to their normal functioning. She ran her hands though Marcas’s fine hair, spreading it over his shoulders, combing it. He lay with his head on her chest, eyes half-closed, a small smile on his lips.
She pushed at him and he rolled over reluctantly, groaning at the unfairness of her action. She covered him with a blanket, and then herself, laying her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
His arm crossed his chest and, meeting with her lips, was kissed quickly and quietly. The kiss captured, the hand rose to her nose, and with a small, playful gesture, he rubbed the tip lightly, as if to tell her how cute it was, then a quick “kiss” from the hand, and it dropped to his side. He fell asleep almost immediately, while Setsuna lay there, listening to him breathe.
Softly, so she would not wake him, she looked up at his face and spoke. “Promise me, that when we defeat Opal and free you, you’ll shave off that mustache.” And smiling to herself, she closed her eyes and slept.