A/N: This is almost the same as the first time I posted this, but I fixed some spelling errors and adjusted some things that I felt were awkward. I also combined Part One chapters 1 and 2 in this to make it flow better.

Edited: January 9, 2016

Defying Gravity

Part I Chapter 1

I stared blankly out into the darkness, folded securely into the corner of my window seat. My body shifted slightly and I winced as I felt the bruises forming. My shirt stuck to the raw welts on my back, a gift from my father for bringing home another failed test. As my eyes stared, unfocused, into the darkness, my mind wandered, my thoughts churning, twisting, the same words over and over again: I don't know how much more I can take.

The words seem to mock me as I went to school and struggled to learn, being judged as an idiot for not comprehending like everyone else; as I hung out with my 'friends' and they called me lazy, stupid, pig, as my boyfriend listened to a toddler, our supposed 'daughter' and referred to me as useless, telling me to grow up; as I fought monsters and defended the city, placing myself in more dangerous situations and expending more energy to protect my 'friends' and defeated the beast, having my injuries go unnoticed as I was called a coward and an unfit leader; and as my parents verbally, emotionally and physically abused me day in and day out for not being perfect, for being a waste of space, for existing. It took everything in me to get up every day, to act fine, to be normal, and to not curl up in a ball wanting to disappear into the fabric of my blankets.

It all seemed to be more than I could take at times: the insults, false pity, insincere smiles, abuse, inflated expectations; it was all too much. My 'friends,' the scouts, they expect me to be someone great over night, to suddenly wake up one day and know everything that I need to know in order to be queen. How can I learn these things on my own, without someone to help me, to show me? They don't understand. They don't have the weight of the supposed future on their shoulders. Instead of helping to share the burden, they shovel more weight, crushing me with their lofty ideals and expectations.

And that's not even taking into account the abuse I suffer on a daily basis from my parents, for not being good enough, for not doing better in school, for not being able to get up early in the morning, for having dramatic emotional shifts from exuberance to depression. My parents fawn over Shingo and Chibi-Usa while I receive the brunt of their ire and hatred, with neither of them being any wiser.

I don't know how much more I can take. The phrase continued to run through my head. I contemplated ending it all, having stolen an engraved letter opener that was gifted to my father by one of his clients. Originally I took it just to irritate him, but also in case I ever worked up the nerve to defend myself against my father and mother. Now, I realized what great irony it would be to end it with a knife engraved with his name.

So truthfully, I thought about it, but I wouldn't let my parents, Mamoru, Chibi-Usa, the scouts, I wouldn't let any of them know that they broke me. If there's one thing I can still refuse to do, it's break.

"Don't do it Usagi," I heard my guardian's soft voice speak up. I glanced over at her in confusion before looking down at my hand. Unknowingly, I had picked up the letter opener, and I was clutching it in my hand, feeling it cut slightly into my palm. I let out a hiss at the stinging sensation, and released the knife.

"I'm not going to Luna, don't worry, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing," I replied as I pulled out some of the bandages I had stashed around the room for when my parents got out of hand.

The black cat jumped onto the window seat with me and nuzzled her head into my arm. "I'm so sorry this happens to you Usagi, if I had known more earlier…"

"What could you have done Luna?" I asked quietly.

She was silent for a moment before replying, "At least I wouldn't have been as hard on you. The things you endure from those who are supposed to care for you."

I snorted and was about to reply when I heard my mother's voice shrieking from the hallway outside my room. "Usagi!"

Rolling my eyes, I plastered on an innocent face, ditching the letter opener and hiding the new bandages as my mother burst through my door.

"What is it mom?" I asked, seeing the angry look on her face.

My mother, or better, Ikuto, just shook her head, "I thought you would change as you got older, but it seems as if I was wrong."

I did not like where this was going. "What do you mean?"

"Your school called, they, you, ugh, I can't believe you disgraced us like this," Ikuto yelled, walking back out into the hall.

"What are you talking about?" I asked, following her into the hall. I really did not like the sound of this.

"She's talking about you getting kicked out of school," Chibi-Usa sneered. "Only a couple months into school and you get kicked out, what a joke Usagi-baka."

My father- nope that's giving him too much credit- Kenji- that's better- walked up, his face was hideously angry, "You have disgraced us young lady. Why couldn't you be more like Chibi-Usa or Shingo? They are perfect and work hard, while you…" He stopped and his hand flew up and backhanded me across the face.

"You are to stay in your room until you are able to come out and bring prestige to this family instead of your usual shit," Ikuto started, sneering at me. "We will talk to your school to take you back, or find one that will take you and your pathetic grades. You will come right back from school and study, no video games, no friends, no milkshakes, and no dinner!"

"It's not my fault that I can't learn like everyone else," I shouted, my frustration reaching a boiling point. "I can't understand the way they explain the stuff to me."

"Then you will just have to learn to be like everyone else," Kenji replied harshly, ignoring my protests.

Tears of frustration filled my eyes and trickled down my face as I turned around and rushed back into my room, slamming the door along the way. I would have locked it if I could, but Kenji had taken the lock off of the door a while ago. I flung myself on my bed and screamed into my pillow to muffle the sound, the anger draining out of me, being replaced by sadness and despair. Luna, my loyal guardian and protector, jumped up on the bed next to me, and nuzzled my face.

"Usagi," Luna soothed, "I have watched you grow over the past couple years, but you are still growing. I have seen how much the resentment of your scouts has hurt you, and how much the neglect has left you broken. People need help in order to grow, and no one has provided you with that help. If I had known this would've happened once you found the others, I wouldn't have forced you to become Sailor Moon, or find the scouts. I understand now, how much pressure and pain we placed you under."

"It's okay Luna," I said, smiling weakly. "It's not like it was added pressure to be Sailor Moon, but being able to help people, and best up some baddies was a welcome stress relief. Now, if only you could've left the other scouts dormant, that would've been great, Mina and I are totally capable of handling ourselves."

"Mhm, well Artemis is a good advisor," Luna admitted reluctantly. "Just don't tell him I said that." I giggled in response and tickled the cat behind her ears. "Usagi, explain to me about your school work, why do you have such a hard time?"

I sighed and leaned back against my bed, looking up at the ceiling. "It's not all the school work, you know that. I'm pretty good with English and other foreign languages, not great, but okay. Literature's alright, and art is pretty cool, but the rest of it… Math, science, history, home economics, most of it really. My art teacher thought that I might be more of a visual learner, and would probably need extra help with those other subjects but…" I shrugged again, letting the statement trail off.

"I didn't know you were taking an art class."

"No one does Luna, the scouts wouldn't let it go about how art isn't a 'serious' enough subject for a future queen, and my parents, they hate every art form for some reason. Art, drawing, music, theater, they appreciate the high culture of these arts, but whenever I attempt to partake in any of them, all I receive is criticism, disdain and some bruised ribs," I sighed again, placing my hand over my face.

"Maybe if you tell the scouts about everything, they'll help you, they'll start treating you better…"

"I doubt it Luna, but I'll think about it. They called a meeting for tonight, so I'll have to sneak out. Hopefully, I'll get back without being caught."

Before leaving, I decided to take a shower, so it would seem that I was getting ready for bed. I washed the dried blood off my hand, wishing that it would wash my pain away so easily, or wash me away. After getting out, I dried and got dressed; pulling my hair up into the traditional buns I hated so much, I sighed as I looked at my reflection. Is this who I am? Or is this who they made me? I shook away the thoughts, and walked back into my room. Looking at my loyal guardian, I motioned my head towards the window, and climbed out silently, Luna fast behind me.

I made my way to Rei's temple, which had been the unofficial meeting place for all scout business for the past few years. I took off at a run, knowing that Rei would give me hell for being late. All of the years of running to school, to scout meetings and to battles have made me pretty fast, but I still trip every now and then. Kenji breaking my leg a couple years ago probably has something to do with that though.

When Luna and I reached the temple, I heard multiple voices inside, more than the usual voices I expected to hear. Mina was recovering from the flu at home so I only expected to hear Rei, Ami and Makoto, but instead I heard the muffled voices of the outer scouts Haruka and Setsuna, along with Mamoru and Chibi-Usa. I walked through the door, and the occupants of the room instantly quieted, almost to a deathly silence. Mina and Michiru were the only ones not in the room; Michiru was in Europe on a concert tour, so I didn't expect to see the outer scouts. Haruka and Setsuna only showed up when Michiru wanted to come see us, showing that while Haruka thought she was the leader of the outer scouts, Michiru held the sway. Artemis came bounding into the room after Luna and I, not noticing the tension in the room. "Usagi! Luna!" The white cat greeted cheerfully.

"Hi Artemis," I said weakly. "How is Minako-chan doing?"

"She's doing much better, and is almost back to herself," Artemis replied, looking at me worriedly.

Before I could respond to Artemis's words, Mamoru spoke, "We called this meeting for a reason Usako, not just for idle chit-chat that you're so inclined to." The resentment in his voice, which I had always ignored before, was like salt on a fresh wound now. Did he ever really care for me?

"Okay," I sighed. "What did you guys need to talk about?"

"We know you got kicked out of school Usagi-chan," Ami stated, no sympathy in her voice.

"How do you know that?" I asked in confusion. "I only just found out today."

"I overheard some of the teachers talking about it in the teacher's lounge," the blunette spoke again. "And we've decided to help you."

I stared at them skeptically, "Really?"

"Yes," Rei spoke instead, "and the best way to do that is to remove you from the scouts."

"What?!" Luna and Artemis cried out, I just looked at them in shock.

"We agreed that it was best for Usagi and the scouts that she take a step back and step down," Setsuna replied, looking down at the two cats.

Haruka nodded her head in agreement, "That's right, and Usagi needs to grow up and start acting more mature. With scout business, she can't focus on learning how to become a great queen."

"We agreed," Makoto added, "that you should halt all scout activity, and relinquish your right as leader to…"

"Me," Rei interrupted.

"We didn't really agree on that point," Ami corrected.

"But I'm the best candidate," Rei shot back.

"Shut-up," Hotaru hissed, before turning back to look at me, "we have reached this decision unanimously. Minako's and Michiru's votes were not counted since they weren't here, but it doesn't matter anyway."

"And I've decided that we are off until you begin to act more mature, and more motherly towards Chibi-Usa," Mamoru added. The little pink haired nightmare stuck her tongue out at me, before cuddling herself back to Mamoru's arm.

The fact that my friends, my boyfriend, and my supposed future child didn't want me, they wanted someone else, someone different, came crashing down upon me. It was the same thing that my parents put me through, wanting something different, for me to be someone different. That I was hearing it from my supposed friends, boyfriend and future child made my heart break. I felt tears make their way down my face. Each one soon joined by another. I heard the scouts mutter disapproval at my display.

"Oh stop crying Usagi-baka and just hand over the crystal," Rei snapped.

My tears subsided, my eyes puffy and my face still streaked with salty remnants. I raised my head and look into each one of their eyes. These people who supposedly loved me, and cared about me, bah, I didn't see a shred of compassion in their eyes, only malice. I straightened my back and hardened my gaze. After giving Luna the disguise pen back, I threw my communicator at the scouts. "You want the silver crystal," I said, staring defiantly into Rei's eyes. "Come and get it." I opened my locket, and the crystal rose out of its container. Rei made a grab at it, but the silver crystal flashed, flinging her backwards, before retreating into my body.

"What the hell Usagi-baka?!" Rei yelled, steadying herself, before reaching forward as if to strike me. However, the silver crystal flashed once more, but with enough intensity to fling the fire priestess into the wall.

"Silly scouts," my voice was low, and cold, "You can't control the crystal unless you are a moon born royal free of greed and hatred. Not even Chibi-Usa can use it."

"You all have shown you're true colors, and have disgraced your planets," Luna chided, disappointing coating her voice.

Artemis glared at all of them, Mamoru most of all. "She gave up so much for you, all of you, who aren't even worth her love and friendship."

"Oh sure," Haruka sneered,."You're acting all tough, well guess what, we don't need you!"

I let out a laugh, a small laugh. It was thick with tears and sadness, but I didn't let them know that. "Well, if that is the case," I began, "good luck on your own."

With that, I walked off with my two loyal guardians into the cold, moonless night.

My feet pounded on the concrete sidewalk as I fled the temple. I didn't know where I was going or how far I was going to run, I just knew that I had to get away. I angled myself towards the park and collapsed in one of the benches, sobs wracking my body. I could barely breath through the sobs and the gasps for air as I tried to recover from my sprint away from the scouts. Luna and Artemis sat on the ground at my feet, simply watching me. They offered no words of comfort, no sympathy, no judgment and it meant the world to me. I didn't want words, I didn't want comfort, I just wanted a chance to cry and mourn in peace.

"Serenity," I heard someone calling me. Oh how I despised that name. It represented everything I was forced to be, the end of choosing how I wanted to be. I looked up and my eyes locked onto the figure of the former moon queen, my deceased mother.

"Mother," I wheezed out, dried tears still caked on my face. I hoped she appeared to offer support or comfort, things that only a mother could give, feelings that I had never been graced with knowing.

"Darling," the queen said, sitting down next to me on the bench.

"Queen Serenity," I greeted, wiping at the dried tracks of tears on my face. I didn't feel comfortable calling her mother. Princess Serenity was her daughter, and I wasn't her, I never felt like her. Even still, I hoped that she was coming to comfort me, or offer words of wisdom on how to deal with the scouts.

"Serenity darling, the scout just want what's best for you," the spectral queen began. "Maybe you should retire from the scouts so that you can mature a bit. You don't act like the princess or queen that you need to be, which is probably my fault, with the Sailor Moon business. Future queens shouldn't be fighting in such a way, so think of this as an opportunity to step back and work on more useful skills, such as being able to rule or taking care of your husband and child.

Cold dread settled into my heart at her words, and continued to fester as she kept talking. "So you agree with them?"

"Mostly yes. Your behavior is unacceptable, not to mention your grades. School with help you with being a proper queen, and it wouldn't hurt to try more in your home economics courses. And spend more time with Chibi-Usa, you hardly spend any time with her, my granddaughter craves more love and attention from her mother. Getting to know her now will help in the future when you have her."

"What if I don't want that mother?" I asked. I was tired of people telling me what I had to do, who I had to be. "What if I don't want to be queen or a mother? What if I just want to act like a teenager right now, why do I have to decide now who I'm going to be?"

The Queen's gaze hardened, "You need to stop being so selfish young lady and start doing what is expected of you. You are to usher in Crystal Tokyo, giving rise to a new Moon Kingdom on Earth, a true Utopia, peace for everyone. You will not disgrace me this way by continuing to act in the manner that you have."

"Well I'm sorry that I can't be perfect Mother," I hissed out, sneering. "I'm sorry I can't be perfect like you." I took off once more and ran in the direction of my house. I didn't want to go back there, but I was tired and wanted to go to bed. Artemis split from Luna and I a few blocks away from my house since he and Mina only lived a couple blocks away. Just as I managed to pull myself through my bedroom window, light flooded the room. I froze and turned slowly, seeing my parents standing just in the doorway with furious glares on their faces. "Where have you been?" Ikuto screeched. I couldn't move, couldn't speak.

"Don't even bother with an explanation," Kenji roared, "We know you were out with a boy! Chibi-Usa told us she saw you with that Mamoru person! And after we specifically told you to stay here. For disobeying us, you must be punished." I saw him wave the wooden paddle in his hand, my blood ran cold, my body frozen. The maniacal look in his eyes told me that I would be lucky if I lived to see the sunrise. He struck the side of my arm, the force strong enough to send me sideways. As Sailor Moon, I was strong enough to withstand similar blows, but as Usagi, I was just a weak little girl who was petrified of her abusive father. The paddle landed again, this time on my stomach, and then on my back. I fell on the floor as he continued to pummel my back and sides. I was in excruciating pain, and willed for him to stop. He finally did, but only after hearing a sickening crack coming from my ribcage.

I coughed, even though it hurt, and saw my blood stain my once white carpet. I never screamed out, I was too afraid. I simply laid there as my 'parents' stood above me.

"Let that be a lesson to you," the man that no one should ever have to call father spat as he turned and left the room. I turned my head to my mother who was still in the room, hoping that this would be the time that she would care, but her face was hard and cold.

"You'll know better the next time you disobey us," Ikuto hissed. I wondered if they even considered that this time there might not be a next time, that this time that he beat me would be the end of me. She turned and left, leaving me, her daughter, lying in my own blood on the floor.

Luna, who could only watch as he attacked, ran to me. "Usagi," she cried, worry evident on her face.

Determination flooded through my veins as I slowly turned and crawled to the window. Somehow I managed to get myself out onto the tree, only falling off the last branch, which was closer to the ground. As I hit the ground I gasped out in pain. Gritting my teeth, I pulled myself up and began to make my way to Minako's house. I had gone a little over a block, with Luna at my side before I fell again. This time, I knew I wouldn't be getting back up on my own. "Luna," I croaked, "go get help, go find help."

She nodded, and took off, continuing in the direction I was going. The last thing I saw before the darkness swept me away was her furry little body running all out down the road.

I head voices speaking, murmuring in the distance, sounding light years away. My mind felt so foggy, so clouded it was if I was trying to surface from a deep well. I tried to focus on the voices but it still felt as if I was wading through a giant bowl of jell-o. Suddenly, it felt like I was moving, rushing towards the voices, but before I got there, I burst through a wall of pain. I groaned as I slowly regained consciousness. I wiggled my toes and fingers slightly, finding relief that I could feel them move but also regret at my actions as another wave of pain coursed through me.

"Usagi," I heard what I thought was Minako's voice call out to me.

"I think she can hear you, keep calling to her," another voice said. I didn't recognize this one, but I could tell that it was an older woman.

I groaned again, but felt myself moving towards the voices once more. The darkness blurred out a little, giving way to a harsh light. It took me a couple seconds to realize that my eyes were opening and I was staring at the harsh fluorescent lighting of a hospital room.

"I think she's awake, Usagi," Minako called again. I slowly turned my head and my bleary eyes locked on to her face. Her eyes conveyed happiness, but also anger and sadness.

"Wha hapwened?" I slurred, my voice sounding like a drunkard who finally pickled his brains. I was a little startled to hear what I sounded like, but I suspected that the IV connected to my hand had something to do with it.

Minako glanced next to her to an older woman who looked to be in her 50's. The doctor? "It's just the medication, not to worry," the woman assured her before turning to look at me, "Usagi, your cousin here told me that you were mugged on your way to her house, do you remember?"

I sent Minako a silent thank you with my eyes. "Nawh, I down't wemembwer much," I said, crossing my eyes slightly at the sound of my own voice.

"Alright, do you want me to call the police?" I slowly shook my head no and she nodded in understanding. "You sustained substantial injuries. Two of your ribs were broken and another 2 were cracked. The broken ribs caused some internal bleeding, which we managed to stop. They take a while to heal. You're pretty bruised as well. The pain medication will help for now, that's why your voice is so slurred," the doctor told me in a soft voice as if trying to soothe my pain.

I choked back my tears at hearing what he had done to me. Minako's eyes filled with tears as well. The doctor excused herself for a minute to give us a moment. "Minako!" I cried.

"Usagi, I know, Luna told me what happened, what had been happening. Why didn't you tell us?" Minako asked.

I tried to shrug but it hurt too much, so I answered her vocally instead. "I didn't know what to do. I was too scared that if I told anyone, he would hurt me more. I'm not brave or strong, Sailor Moon is brave, but I'm not."

"Usagi you listen to me," Minako said, looking me dead in the eye, "You are brave and strong. You suffered through this and stayed strong. You never gave up." Tears were running down both our faces. We cried for a while until all we could do was sniffle.

The doctor came back in and started to ask me a few questions like 'Does it hurt here?' or 'Can you move this?' It hurt like hell to put it lightly but it was over quickly. "Now Usagi," she said as she was filling out her chart, "Usagi Aino." I nodded, having a vague idea of what Minako told the doctor about who I was. "Your cousin tells me your parents are no longer a part of the picture?" I nodded again. "Do you have some place to go? Older relatives to take care of you?"

I thought for a moment before nodded, "Yes, my sisters live in America. I was going to take a plane to join them in a few days but now…" I trailed off, not really knowing what to say. I saw Minako shoot me a quick questioning look when I mentioned sisters, but I ignored it for now.

"Ah, well," the doctor spoke. I turned my attention back to her. "It should be okay for you to travel in about a week. We will keep you for a few days more, but by next week this time, you should be well enough to travel. I can give you a medical pass for the airline if you wish."

I nodded, "Thank you doctor." She nodded at us and left. We were silent for a few moments before I spoke again, "How long was I out?"

Minako shrugged, "A couple hours, not too long. No body has come looking for you yet if that is what you mean."

"No but I'm sure they will," I murmured.

"I won't let anyone harm you Usagi," Minako said, determinedly. I nodded, not really believing what she was saying. How could she do anything? Minako looked at me, with a hesitant look in her eyes, "Usagi, you told the doctor that you were going to stay with your sisters…"

I heard the question in her voice, but I still could not control my own reaction. My eyes began to fill with tears that leaked trails of regret, sadness and longing down my cheeks. "I had forgotten them," my voice was just barely a whisper. I couldn't tell if Minako had heard me or not, but since she didn't ask for a repeat, I was confident she had. "It was a few night ago that I did remember," I continued, "my parents had sent me to bed without dinner because I was late coming home. It wasn't my fault that the scouts had wanted to meet to bitch about life. Anyways, I snuck downstairs later that night to find some food and I heard my parents talking in the living room." I closed my eyes, picturing the scene in my head. "Both of them were angry, and a little drunk…


"She's becoming more and more like them," Ikuto spat after taking a sip of the drink in her hand, "what are we going to do?"

"We'll just have to keep trying to beat those ridiculous ideas out of her, creativity, art, independence. Those two believed in those ideas and look what happened to them. They disgraced us by not following our wishes, seeking out to 'find themselves.' Well now they're dead, but it seems that they're clawing at Usagi from beyond the grave," Kenji spoke with venom in his voice.

"We can't let another disgrace to our family occur. We will have to break that willful spirit of hers, that cry for her own identity," Ikuto muttered, moving towards the window where her husband stood, his own drink long gone. "Why can't she be more like Chibi-Usa, or Shingo? They understand, and they strive to be perfect for us? Why did she have to be so free thinking, so much like them?"

"All that's important is that we have to fix her, before she disgraces us? We can't let Akari and Hikaru's memory and ideals influence Usagi. We must break her, any way we can…

End Flashback

"… I was hiding just outside the door to the living room. I had heard the whole thing, and I remembered."

"Remembered?" There was a question in Minako's voice. I could hear it clearly.

Tears continued to leak out of the sides of my eyes, "Akari and Hikaru, they were-are my older sisters. Akari was 16 the last time I saw her, Hikaru was 14 almost 15. I was 7 and just about to turn 8."

"What were they like?" Minako asked.

"Hikaru was really funny, and a gifted musician. She wasn't very good at school though, but got by and Akari…" my voice trailed off when I thought of my oldest sister. "She was my hero. She taught me so many things like how to read, write, ride a bike, climb a tree… I think my first word was her name. She was always there for me; she was my best friend," I let out a barking laugh, but winced a little at the effort. When I was in better control of my self, I gave a soft smile, "She even taught me to read, write and speak English. She was fluent in Japanese, English and French. She was so smart, and strong, not that mom or dad ever saw that."

"They sound wonderful," Minako murmured. "What happened the last time you saw them?"

"I…" this was hard, "I'm trying to remember. It was summer, about a week from my birthday, and I was sitting in my room reading. I heard shouting downstairs. Ikuto and Kenji were arguing with my sisters again; that had been occurring often. Pretty soon, the shouting stopped and Hikaru came upstairs. Akari came up a little later…"


"Hikaru!" I yelled, scampering over to the older girl. "What's going on? Where's Akari?"

A forced smile appeared on Hikaru's face, "She's downstairs. She and the parental units are having another disagreement that's all."

"Okay, well, it's almost my bedtime, do you think that they would hurry up so that she could tell me a story?" I asked, my child like mind flitting over the argument like it was nothing.

"I'm sure she'll tell you a story when she gets done, but until then, how about we read one of those English storybooks that she got you?" Hikaru asked.

I pulled out my storybook and turned to "Cinderella." It was my favorite movie at the time, and my favorite fairy tale. Close to the end of the story, we heard a loud crash from downstairs, followed quickly by a scream and a loud thump. We froze, neither of us saying a word. A few minutes later, Akari came in and we gasped at seeing her. She had a cut that started above her right eye and crossed down under it.

"Akari!" Hikaru rushed over to her. I crawled off my bed and ran over to her. By that time, I had noticed that she also had cut's along her right arm. "What happened?" Hikaru asked her.

Akari gave a weak smile, "Just had a little accident that's all."

Hikaru looked like she was going to say something, but didn't and left the room. I stared at Akari, fear obviously present in my eyes. I couldn't tell if Akari saw it or not, but she motioned my over to her and hugged me with her non-injured arm. "I'm fine Usagi," she told me, "just a little banged up that's all."

I nodded my head against her stomach, feeling tears run down my face. Hikaru came back in with some stuff to clean Akari up, and I moved away to give her more room. She poured this awful smelling liquid on a cotton ball. Akari hissed when she rubbed it on her cuts, but didn't say anything else. I looked on fearfully, waiting for them to get done. Once Hikaru was done cleaning Akari's cuts and wrapping her arm, Akari motioned me over with her good arm.

"I'm all right little one," she soothed, embracing me with again but with both arms. "I'm strong, I can take a little pain."

I snuggled into her, seeking comfort and the warmth of my oldest sister. "Akari," I hesitated. "Will you tell me a story?" I looked up at her when I heard her chuckling. I saw Akari share a look with Hikaru, before nodding down at me.

I smiled at her, and crawled back into bed. Akari kneeled on the right side of my bed and took my right hand; Hikaru did the same on the left.

"Once upon a time," Akari began, "there were three sisters. These sisters were very close, each one willing to do anything for the other. There love was like nothing anyone had ever seen!"

"What was it like?" I asked.

"It was like," Akari paused, thinking, "like being held in a bright warm light in the softest bed, never wanting to leave."

I smiled, "I like the sound of that."

"Mhm, I bet you would. Anyway, not everyone liked the bond that they shared. Some even tried to destroy it!"

"Why?!" I couldn't believe it, wouldn't such a bond make people feel happy inside?

"Well, I imagine some people were afraid of it, but I can only make guesses. So, many different people tried to destroy their bond, their connection, but it was someone close to them, that finally drove them apart. Breaking their bodies."


Akari nodded. I started to cry, this was terrible, but Akari just smiled at me. "But you know what?" I shook my head, "No matter how badly they were hurt, their connection, their bond stayed strong."

"Really! How?"

"Because, love is in the heart, and stretches outward to others. It could not be broken; no matter how far apart they were, it stayed strong. And so, eventually, it led them back together, safe and when they were together again, they were whole and complete. And they lived happily ever after…" Akari finished. I was getting sleepy.

"Mhm, I'm glad," I yawned. Akari picked me up and tucked me in after assuring Hikaru that her arm was fine. Hikaru kissed my cheek goodnight and went downstairs to her's and Akari's room. Akari kissed my forehead and was getting ready to leave as well. "Akari," I whispered. She stopped and turned around to look at me. "Will I ever be as strong as you?"

She smiled at me, and ran her fingers through my hair. "I want you to remember something that I learned long ago, do you think you can, for me?" I nodded. "Strength is something that you choose little one; it also comes from the heart."

She kissed me again, and I drifted off to sleep…

End Flashback

"… The next day, I woke up and they were gone. Their room was a mess, with blood everywhere. I asked Ikuto and Kenji what happened, but they told me they didn't know. They later told me that Akari and Hikaru had died. I was so broken that I think I locked memories of them away," I looked up at the ceiling, studying the texture of it. "Slowly I forgot them, and all traces that they ever existed disappeared, like Mom and Dad were trying to deny their existence. I was moved into their room, and Shingo, when he was big enough was put in my room."

"Wow," Minako had tears in her eyes, "that's a heartbreaking story, and I'm so sorry. I never knew you had to go through something like that, but how do you know they are still alive and where they are?"

I smiled. Not a whole smile, just a half, but it was still a smile. "Our bond," I whispered, "it has always been there. The connection between us; it was just lost for a long time. Now, all I have to do is follow where it leads me."

Minako smiled, "I may not be there when you go, where ever you go, but I will always be around if you need me. I will always be there to support you."

"Thank you Minako," I croaked, tears in my eyes, "Thank you."

"Usagi!" Minako cried, walking into the room with a nurse, who was rolling in a wheel chair. "It's checkout day. I know a few felines who will be happy to see you when we get home!"

"Yay!" I yelled, trying not to move too much. I got a little too excited yesterday, playing cards with the Doc and Minako and accidentally strained my side. "I've been here for two whole days, and, as much as I love you people, I'm ready to go… And see Luna too of course. How has she been doing?"

"Mopey, you can tell that she misses you and knows that something is wrong," Mina replied, not letting too much slip with the nurse there. They set a wheelchair in front of me, and helped me down into it. "Alright, time to go, I got the car my parents gave me sitting outside and my international license so we're all set," Minako chirped, bouncing down the hall next to me.

"Uh, how long until those medications kick in?" I asked the nurse, fear of my blonde 'cousin's' driving skills evident in my voice.

She just smiled at me and patted my arm. The nurse helped me into Minako's bright orange VW bug, and I buckled my seat belt. Minako skipped over to the driver's side of the car "Now remember Usagi-san," the nurse said, in a stern motherly kind of voice, "take it easy for a few days, no unnecessary running around. Minako-san, make sure she's here for her check-up on Friday."

Minako nodded in a serious sort of way, "I shall return her in two days time, and watch her like a hawk until then."

I rolled my eyes at the both of them. "See you in a couple days," I told my nurse as the car started and Minako maneuvered it out onto the road.

"As much as I loved the time I spent with you, I really am excited about going home," Minako said to me, turning on the radio using the controls on the steering wheel. She had stayed with me the whole time I was in the hospital, only going home once to get some clothes, and to feed Luna and Artemis. My vision started to become cloudy as the medications began to take effect. I drifted in and out of sleep, not wanting to go completely out since Minako's house wasn't that far away. Feeling the car slow down, I opened my one eye and tried to focus my bleary eyesight. We were in front of Minako's house. It wasn't huge, but it was good size, two stories. Her parents had returned to England a few months ago, but Minako had stayed behind, alone in this house. I felt like I should cry but I didn't think I could; my mind couldn't process much because of the medications, let alone the cry reflex.

"Alright in we go," Minako helped me out of the car and through the door. She laid me down on the couch. I didn't realize I fell asleep until someone started calling my name.

"Usaaagggiiii." I groaned at the sound of my name and opened my eyes. Luna was staring straight into my face and I almost screamed but I knew it would hurt too much. "It's almost dinner time," she told me, "You slept through lunch."

"I did?" I was groggy but my head didn't feel as fuzzy; the meds must have worn off some.

The small black cat nodded. "How do you feel?" She asked.

I smiled and rubbed her head, "I still feel like I've been run over by a truck, but not bad."

Minako walked in with what looked like two boxes of Chinese food and chops sticks. I raised my eyebrow at the boxes and she just shrugged, "I can't cook very well so I order out if I have to feed more than Artemis and I. Plus, there isn't any food here. I haven't had the chance to go shopping for a while."

I just nodded my head. It sounded like a good reason for take-out if I ever heard one. That and Chinese was my favorite. We curled up on the couch and watched a movie. Minako and I discovered long ago that we shared our most favorite movie, "Ever After" in common, so we would watch that any chance we got.

I looked at the clock once the movie was over; it was only about 8:30 but I was exhausted. "Has anyone called looking for me yet?" I asked. Minako, Artemis and Luna all looked at me.

"Now that I think of it no," Artemis replied, "Which is weird considering you have been "missing" for a few days now."

I was about to reply when the phone rang. Minako looked at the caller ID. "It's your house," she whispered before she answered, "Hello? Oh hi Mrs. Tsukino." I held my breath as I waited for what my "mother" wanted. "No I haven't see Usagi, why is something wrong?" She was looking right at me when she said that, "She ran away! Why?" Minako is a wonderful actor… "Well that doesn't seem like a very good reason to me, she's just being a baby." I really wanted to know what she had told her. "Don't worry, if I see her I'll call you. Alright, goodbye Mrs. Tsukino."

"What did she tell you?" I asked. I had to know.

Minako made a face, "She told me that you hadn't told them about getting kicked out of school, and when they found out, they grounded you for a few months and took your allowance away. That's why you ran-away. I don't think she's called anyone else though."

I shook my head, "I doubt she will. Well, not anyone that has known the family for long. She'll might call Mamoru or the other scouts; she would never call the police, too many questions would be asked."

"Understandable," Minako nodded. Kenji and Ikuto would hate to have anyone poking and finding something they would rather not have people knowing. Their image was very important to them.

I felt tears coming to my eyes again, and I tried to hold them in but they feel anyway. Minako grasped my hand and looked at my face, worry was evident on her face. "What' wrong?" she asked.

"I'm just scared," I gasped, "I don't want them to find me, any of them. I just want to be left alone."

"Don't worry Usagi, we'll figure something out," she assured me. Something in her voice moved me and I had no choice but to believe her.

One week later, I found myself at the airport saying goodbye to Minako and Artemis. Minako had a friend who got me a passport under another name, so that, in case my parents or the scouts did decide to look for me, they wouldn't be able to find me. I pulled away from hugging Minako, tears running down my face. Luna was in a cat carrier next to me. Because of my medical issues, the airline had given me a seat in first class free of charge and allowed Luna to stay with me, as long as she stayed in her carrier.

"I'm going to miss you so much Usagi," Minako cried, tears streaming down her face as well.

I sniffed, "Me too, but we can keep in touch through email. As soon as I find my sisters, I'll get a computer and get in touch with you."

"Are you going to tell me where you are?"

I thought for a moment, before shaking my head. "No, I need time to heal, and to find myself. I have a feeling that when the time comes, we'll meet again, and don't feel that you need to stay in Japan, you don't have to."

Minako nodded, "I know, I'm probably going to call my parents and move back to England, but what about them."

My breath caught in my throat and my eyes narrowed, "They can suck it for all I care. Their powers will start to fade because of their betrayal. I know enough about the silver crystal to know that it doesn't take things like this lightly. They won't disappear completely, but the silver crystal does enhance their powers, so they'll lose that extra boost."

Minako grinned, an evil sort of smirk at the prospect. "I wish I could see their faces when that happens," she sighed, smirk still in place.

I just laughed at her and she joined me soon enough. Our laughter faded when the boarding call for my flight was announced. "Well," I said, "this is it."

"Yeah," Minako nodded. She hugged me again, and pulled away after a moment. I could tell she was holding back tears when I motioned one of the flight attendants over to help me with Luna's carrier and my carry-on. "Have a good time Usagi! And don't forget to let me know when you get there."

I smiled at my best friend. "I will Minako, tell Artemis I said bye and that I'll see you again at some point," I called back to her as I followed the attendant onto the plane. She helped me into my seat in first class and placed Luna in the seat next to me. The airline was being extra nice.

As I waited for the plane to take off, I experienced several different emotions coursing through me. Nervousness, sadness, fear, happiness, excitement, I was covering the whole spectrum of emotions. While I was excited and happy to be able to see my sisters again, I was also nervous and afraid that they might have forgotten me or changed, that they wouldn't want me. I was also sad that I was leaving my friends and the only place that I had ever known, though it could no longer be called my home.

I buckled my seat belt as I felt the plane start to move, and as I looked out the window I saw the blur of the Japanese landscape grow smaller and smaller as the plane ascended into the clouds. "We're on our way Luna," I whispered to my dozing cat. The travel medications I gave her earlier knocked her out, "To our new life."