Some Extra Fire Power Part 1

Serena stood, hesitating, outside the doors to the temple. She had finally given into Darien, Luna and Artemis' demands that she reawaken the scouts and had spent an entire week trying to decide whom to go to first. Finally she had just thrown four sheets of paper into a hat and had Darien draw one out. He had drawn Rei. She had almost considered asking him to redraw.

Rei. What was she like? Serena had lost track of the scouts over the past four years. She felt guilty now just walking back into their lives and asking for help but...she did miss them. Even Rei. Without them, she had been sadly lacking in friends. Oh, that wasn't entirely true. She had had friends from school, and later, from work but she had always had to hide parts of herself from them and the parts that she had hid had been some of the most important ones. The scouts though had been more than friends to her. They had been family. Without them her life had been colder, darker somehow. But the four years of a normal life that she had given them, that was worth any amount of coldness to her.

She suddenly shook herself. Well, she wasn't doing anything productive out here. Ignoring the slight shaking in the hand that was on the doorknob, she entered the temple.

It was just like it had been when she was a child. The smell of incense wafted through the air and large wood beams towered up above her head. Delicate paper walls divided the spaces but she could still hear the excited voices of young girls praying for love drifting through them.

Serena smiled as she remembered the scout meetings and slumber parties that had been held here. There had been the occasional study group. Not that Serena had studied much. She smiled fondly to herself as she remembered Rei's anger when she had caught Serena reading a comic book instead of studying. Of course what Rei had really been mad about was the fact that it was one or Rei's comic books and the priestess hadn't had a chance to read it herself yet. At least she was no longer in school and the scouts wouldn't be able to nag her about her grades anymore. Not that Rei wouldn't be able to find something else to get on Serena's case about. The girl couldn't have changed that much.

Then, in a small side room, she saw it. The sacred fire. The fire of Mars. Serena hadn't even realized that she had been searching for it until she saw it there. She walked towards it and felt it's welcoming warmth. For a few seconds she just stood in front of it, staring into the dancing flames.

"Ah, sacred fire." Serena sighed out, "I wonder if you can tell me if I am doing the right thing?"

She hadn't been expecting an answer. The fire of Mars had never before answered to the Moon so when a shower of sparks shot in all directions from the fire she was caught completely off guard. She stumbled forward, her hands outstretched to catch herself as she fell forward into the fire, unconsciously screwing her eyes shut against the pain to come.

There was no pain. That was her first thought before she forced her eyes open and stared down incredulously at her hands firmly embedded into the coals of the fire. She could feel pleasant warmth but no pain.

Why have you come?

She jerked at the sound of the voice, only to find that her hands were held firmly by the fire. With a visible effort will she closed her eyes and replied formally.

*Sacred Fire of Mars, I have need of your Priestess. *

Then seek the Priestess.

Serena blinked at the blunt statement. Tentatively she asked, *But can you tell me if I do the right thing?*

The voice of the fire changed at her question, losing some of its aloofness and sounding more like an irritated elder.

Of course it's the right thing. The only thing better would have been seeking earlier. Now go.

And with that she was pushed back away from the fire.

"Well, I think I've annoyed just about everything in the universe now." Serena said quietly, staring at the fire in awe.

"Some people are easier to annoy than others."

Serena whipped around and found herself face to face with Rei.

Rei had felt an odd presence enter the temple a few minutes ago. It hadn't been evil but something about it hadn't been quite right. She had begun searching for it, checking out the people that were visiting the temple.

Rei had been the sole caretaker of the temple since her grandfather had died a year ago and was still occasionally at a loss with what to do with herself. She just had this feeling that there was more out there for her but then again, she had heard that lots of people had that feeling. She was just bored mostly. Her life lately had been too quiet without her grandfather's presence and never-ending schemes for the temple. Even Chad had left.

She and Chad had dated for a while but never very seriously. Then he had been offered a regular contract with one of the music labels. She had made him take it. Both of them had known that this was his big break but he had been hesitating accepting it because of her. Well, a broom to the head had cured him of that lapse of judgment. Now, as his career took off she smiled fondly at all the little girls who talked about him with stars in their eyes while at the temple.

Dragging her wandering mind back to the present, she continued her search for that elusive energy. She almost missed the small young woman with blonde hair standing in front of the fire.

"Sacred Fire of Mars, I have need of your Priestess." She heard the girl say quietly. Suddenly the girl pitched forward as if pushed, arms outstretched to catch herself and eyes wide in sudden shock, she fell into the fire. Rei's own heart shot into her throat in terror at the sight of the girl wreathed in flames. But there were no screams and no smell of burning flesh. Instead Rei stood and watched as the blond stood, eyes closed, for one breathless second in the flame before, just as suddenly, the girl was flung back, unharmed.

"Well, I think I've annoyed just about everything in the universe now." the woman muttered darkly.

"Some people are easier to annoy than others." Rei replied, feeling her own anger rising at this woman's presence in her temple. Whatever was going on here, it was not something she felt prepared to deal with and that always irritated her. Rei hated admitting, even to herself, that something might be beyond her. The woman whirled around at the sound of Rei's voice, her blonde hair spinning out around her and almost hitting Rei in the face, and stared at her with wide blue eyes.

There was no doubt about it. Looking into the other woman's eyes, Rei knew that this was the odd power she had been searching for. While it didn't seem evil, she could also sense that it was not, quite, right either. There was s subtle otherness to it, as if the girl was not quite...human? But not a spirit. What?


Rei started. This strange woman knew her name? How? But even as the questions flashed through her mind, a part of her realized that there was something about the woman that seemed vaguely familiar.

"Do I know you?"

The woman smiled sheepishly at that, "Well, yes and no."

Suddenly Rei realized why the universe was irritated with this girl.

"Rei, a long time ago, you and I used to be friends but then something happened. Something bad. And we were separated only to meet again. Unfortunately, the same bad thing happened again and again we were separated. I was...well...I was wondering if you wanted to give it one more try? Third times a charm and all that." The woman said, the last part coming out so fast that Rei had to struggle to understand her.

"What are you talking about? What bad thing? When did we ever know each other?" Rei asked, feeling eyeing the girl warily, trying to make some sense of the other's words.

After a moments hesitation, the blonde waved her hands in front of her in obvious frustration, as if she could pull the words she needed from the air, "I sound like a crazy person, don't I?" then, from the pocket of her jeans the woman pulled out a beautiful red and gold pen.

"This pen holds all the memories of your past. If you want to remember, you simply have to open it. But," the woman added quickly as she handed Rei the pen, "Once you remember, I can't make you forget again and those memories contain as much pain as anything else. You have already died twice Pyro. This may be your only chance to live a normal life."

Rei looked down at the pen in her hand, bewildered. The woman turned to leave.

"Wait! What is your name?"

The girl glanced back and smiled sadly at her.

"Sailor Moon."

Serena emerged from the temple and Darien was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. Without a word he wrapped her in his arms and they walked away from the temple. He held onto her silently the entire way back to her apartment. At her apartment, he kissed her lightly on the lips and left her there with a promise to check in on her later.

Ten minutes later Serena was stretched out on her couch petting Luna and perversely wishing that it were another black head that she held in her arms. But school had restarted. Darien had transferred to a school in Tokyo to stay with her but school still took so much of his time that she felt like she never saw him. But she was too aware of how lucky she was that he was there at all to let herself complain about it. The summer had been like a dream come true, just the two of them with nothing to get in the way. She knew that whatever the future held, whatever pain and loss, she would always be able to remember that summer.

Luna, noticing that Serena's mind was wandering swiped a paw at her hand.

"What is it Luna?"

"Do you think she'll open the pen?"

"I don't know Luna. I don't want to hope. But I had to give her a choice of some kind. I mean, Darien got to see a little of what he was getting into before he got his memories back. Rei, and the other scouts, should get the same chance, shouldn't they?"

Luna sighed, "Serena, I know you want them to be safe but they were born to be the protectors of their worlds. Let them be what they were meant to be. They have never failed to answer the call to fight."

"I know, I know. But I still think that, as a retirement plan, we should get something better than death and then more fighting and then death again."

Luna flexed her claws slightly into Serena's leg, irritated by her flippant tone when referring to her own death, "Next thing you know, you'll be asking to be Queen of the universe."

"Well, technically I am Queen. Of the Moon at least. There's just been a small delay in the coronation ceremony. But I still have to do my own dishes."

"If I remember right, Darien is the one who did the dishes last time."

"Quiet you." Serena said, tickling the cat, "And don't you dare remind him if he offers to do them again."

In a dark room, three shrouded figures huddled together.

"Sailor Moon continues to grow in strength while we hide down here, cowering like rats! This can not be allowed to continue."

"Shhh, patience my friend. Patience." the second figure replied.

"Patience? What is there to be patient for?" Screamed the first in frustration.

"For the Dark Crystal." The third said quietly in a low, quiet voice.

"But...that's just a legend. Isn't it?" the first said, unsure.

"No, we have found a way to summon it from where it was once hidden. But we need more time and energy reserves than we have right now."

"The last fight with Sailor Moon hurt us too much to attack her directly again right now but I have a few of our people out looking to see if they can find out where she lives."

"We've tried to find out who she is before. Why do you think this time will be any different?"

"Because, I sense she us allowing some of her defenses down and more people to know her secret." the third said, vicious delight in it's voice, "And you know what they say about secrets shared..."