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   VOLUME 10

Sailor Moon Cyber - Volume Ten - End Game

Nick walked through the door to his chemistry class, as the teacher was about to close it. His teacher scowled at him for being late, and Nick just scowled right back. The teacher sniffed indignantly and walked to his desk.

Nick looked around the room for a free seat, but the only 2 people left in the class without a lab partner were Ami, or Melvin. Either one was not a welcome choice. If he sat by Ami, he stood the chance of her finding out who he was, as well as asking him again about his time theories. Which she had been rather persistent about over the last couple of days.

On the other hand, if he chose to sit with Melvin, he ran the risk of either killing the annoying child or making him a permanent resident of this 'Internet' he raved so much about. Going for what would appear to be the lesser of the two evils, Nick pulled up a stool beside Ami and stared straight ahead at the blackboard.

The lesson began and Nick sat silently, listening to the teacher as he went on about the possible ways that man could clean up the environment and Chemisorption, neutralization techniques. Nick yawned and began adding small amounts of random chemicals to a beaker in front of him.

"Nick!" Ami whispered. "Be careful with those. Some of those compounds can be highly unstable when mixed together."

"Oh get off my case Mercury!" he snapped under his breath, then immediately realized his mistake. He was so worried she would figure out who he really was, he may have just doomed himself without her help.

"What did you say?" Ami's eyes widened in shock.

"I... uhm... nothing. I was saying, as is the case with Mercury. Good for some things, but very unstable outside of containment!" he bluffed, hoping he had whispered low enough the first time that she hadn't quite made out what he had said.

"Did you two have something you wished to share with the class?" Interrupted the teacher, staring over his glasses at Nick and Ami.

"No Sensei." replied Nick. "There is enough hot air in the room with you talking. Don't need to open my mouth and use up precious oxygen!"

"WHAT?" the teacher descended upon him like a wrathful demon and grabbed Nick by the arm, pulling him from his chair. "You insolent child! You just earned yourself a week's worth of detention. Maybe more!"

Nick looked down at the hand that clasped tightly around his arm, then slowly raised his eyes to stare into those of his teacher. He never spoke a word, but the teacher's eyes flinched and sweat beaded on his forehead. The hand loosened its grip, and the teacher took a step backwards, unsure as to what was happening.

"You look ill Sensei, perhaps you should go home and rest?" Nick said calmly, sliding back onto his stool, but never taking his eyes off of his teacher's.

"Yes... rest... rest is good." the teacher replied stumbling back another step and looking around the room wearily. Then he dropped to one knee and closed his eyes, falling the rest of the way to the floor.

"Someone do something!" one of the students yelled from the back of the room. "I think he's had a heart attack!"

Several students leapt from their seats and dashed into the hall to get help. Nick turned around on his stool and picked up his beaker in his hand. He studied it like it was the most interesting thing he had ever come across.

"This is so strange?" said Ami, looking past Nick to the fallen chemistry teacher. "He looked fine just a few minutes ago. Very odd indeed."

"Well you know how it is." said Nick nonchalantly. "When you get old you need to relax more. If you ask me, getting all stressed out and yelling at me is what caused it." Which is true, in a way, he thought to himself. If the old man hadn't grabbed him like that, none of this would have happened. And besides, it wasn't a heart attack, just a simple sleep spell. The teacher would get over it, and probably be glad for the rest.

"At least he is still breathing!" said Ami. "That means it wasn't as serious as it could have been."

Nick nodded and stood up. "Well, looks like a free period. I'm gonna go enjoy the fresh air. Cya!" He stepped over the teacher on the way out, not even looking twice.

Ami, and as well, most of the rest of the class, just watched him leave with their mouths open in shock and surprise.

Leti was nearly run over, as she walked around the corner, by two students racing down the hall shouting 'Sensei had a heart attack. Help.' at the top of their lungs. She pulled herself flat against a row of lockers and watched them tear off towards the headmaster's office. Leti looked in the direction they had come from and saw Nick exiting his classroom, hands in his pockets, and walking the other way down the hall. She had noticed that his normally dark mood had gotten worse over the last couple of days. Leti had asked Hotaru what was wrong with him but she didn't know. He had even turned down an invitation to go have ice cream yesterday.

Ami poked her head out of the classroom. She looked up and down the hall, and seeing Leti, motioned for her to come over.

"What happened?" asked Leti as she approached the door. "I heard something about a heart attack?"

"Yes." replied Ami. "Our teacher got upset at something Nick said, then suddenly fell to the floor."

"Is he..." Leti raised an eyebrow in wonder.

"No, he'll live thankfully, but here is the weird thing. I don't know why or how, but I think Nick had more to do with it than he is letting on."

"What? How is that?"

"I don't know." Ami shook her head. "But it's not unheard of. We know that Hotaru has the ability to heal people, even without her Senshi powers. What if Nick has a similar power, but can use it to harm people?"

"Don't you think you might be thinking too much about this? I mean, things like this do happen."

"Something tells me there is more too it than a normal medical problem. You didn't see the look on Nick's face, or see how little he cared. Then he just waltzed out the door like nothing had happened. No, Leti, I think he knows more than he is letting on."

"But, I mean... this is Nick we are talking about! He always acts like he doesn't care. And, well, he saved me from that explosion the other day. He must care about something right?"

"There's more though. Just before all this happened, I swear he called me Mercury."

Leti's eyes widened in surprise. "Well, this is a chemistry class isn't it? Couldn't he have just meant the liquid?"

"That's what he says he said, but I heard him say 'Get off my case Mercury.'"

"But, how would he know? And if he did know, why wouldn't he have said anything."

"I don't know, but I think we should definitely look into the possibility that he might be under the influence of something or somebody. Perhaps CyberWarlock is using him the way he tried to use Hotaru?"

"Perhaps." said Leti, her eyes wandering down the hall. "Or perhaps..."

"What?" Ami asked.

"Hmm? Oh, nothing. Just thinking. I'm gonna go see if I can find Nick, maybe get an idea of what's going on."

"All right." Ami nodded. "I will stay here an wait for help to arrive for the Sensei."

Leti walked off down the hall at a steady pace. Ami had made her start to think, and when she had started thinking, too many things seemed out of place. When she put those things into their proper place, she didn't think she liked the answer it provided. She didn't want to say anything to Ami, in case she over reacted or in case she was wrong. But Leti did not think she was wrong. Turning down an empty hallway, she pulled her amulet from her pocket.

"SunFire Cosmic Power, Make Up!"

Nick walked out the front door of the school and stopped. Sailor SunFire stood in the empty schoolyard, her Ankh Staff pointed towards him. He hoped this didn't mean what he thought it meant.

"Tell me something?" inquired SunFire. "Is your name really Nick, or is it short for something?"

"Uhm, you mean like Nicholas?" replied Nick, acting as innocent as he could. "Who are you? What do you want?"

"I think you know who I am. What I want to know is who you are. Who are you really?"

"Well, since you are standing here making accusations, I will assume you already know who I am Sailor SunFire." Nick sighed. He was tired of pretending. He was tired of hiding. He was just tired. He sat down on the steps and placed his head in his hand. "Go call your other Sailor friends to help. I'm not going anywhere."

"No, not quite yet." replied SunFire as she lowered her staff and walked over to him. "After everything you have done for me; saving me, giving me the chance to go home. I think I owe you a chance to at least explain yourself."

"What would you like me to explain? Why I am here? Why I am disguised as a human? I think that is fairly obvious. I do it for the same reasons you do Leti. So that I can have some semblance of a normal life." he sighed again and looked up at her. "But I guess that is over now huh?"

"Not necessarily. You haven't done anything lately that would force us to give up your secret. And you have obviously known ours for awhile, and you haven't said anything. No, I think that we can see our way clear into letting you be. But that depends on you Nick."

"On me?" asked Nick. "How?"

"Do you want to continue causing destruction? Look around you. Are these the same people that hurt you? No! Those people have been dead for centuries. This is a new life, a new chance, if you can keep your ego from spoiling it."

"But, you are going to tell the others aren't you? Hotaru is going to find out. I doubt she will be as forgiving as you and Usagi seem to be." Nick lowered his eyes again. It was true. All he had ever wanted was to fit in. Maybe he could do that here.

"The others will have to know of course. It's only right for them to. After all, you know who they are don't you?"

Nick nodded.

"And as for Hotaru. What happened before was before. She has gotten to know you since then, and I think you will find her still willing to be your friend." SunFire took a step closer and placed her hand on Nick's shoulder. "As will I!"

Suddenly SunFire fell backward, as a clawed, black hand grabbed her and tossed her to the ground.

"Sailorsss." Darkstalker growled and loomed over her, teeth bared, claws reaching for SunFire's throat. "Hrrrrt... Nhico...."

It all happened too fast. Nick didn't have time to say anything but scream "NO" as SunFire's staff raised up and the blinding light knocked Darkstalker against the wall. He ran to the demon's fallen form.

"She wasn't hurting me my friend." tears welled up in Nick's eyes. He had been on the receiving end of SunFire's attack before, and knew that the demon wasn't strong enough to survive it. "Why? Since when do you do things without asking? I... I don't have the power to heal you. There is... too much..."

Nick held Darkstalker in his arms and wept.

"Nick? I'm sorry. It was instinct... I..." SunFire stood behind him, feeling helpless.

"It's not your fault." Nick said softly. "I taught it to hate. I should have taught it to care."

SunFire stood silently for several seconds, then her eyes opened quickly as she thought of something that just might be the answer they needed. She pulled the little communicator Ami had given her out of her pocket and typed in Usagi's code.

"What is it?" Usagi said quietly. "I'm in the middle of a history lesson here. Not that I like history mind you, but it's really hard for me to do this quietly."

"I need you. I need Sailor Moon, outside, Now!" SunFire whispered.

"Right!" nodded Usagi. "On my way!"

Less than a minute later, Sailor Moon ran around the corner.

"Ok, where's the fire? What is going..." She stopped short as she saw the scene. "Nick? What are you... no? Is he?"

"No time for that Sailor Moon!" snapped SunFire. "I will fill you in later. I need you to heal Darkstalker."

"What? Heal that creature? But it tried to kill me?" Sailor Moon looked confused.

"Please, just do it! For me!" SunFire begged.

"You had better have a good reason for this." replied Sailor Moon as she unfastened her locket from her fuku.

"I do. And I will tell you all about it in just a moment."

"Ok. Moon Crystal Healing!"

Silver light shone down around them, flowing through their bodies and heading towards the demon's body. In that one moment, Nhicodima could feel all the love and joy that was possible in the world. All the things that Sailor Moon stood to protect, and the things he had wanted so badly to possess, he had been willing to destroy.

Darkstalker's body slowly floated from the ground and the crystal light swirled around it. Nick and the Senshi watched in amazement as the crystal took effect, healing Darkstalker's wounds. But there was something else. Nick could already sense that the damage the Ankh Staff had inflicted upon it was healed; yet the crystal kept working. The demon's form began to shift. It's claws retracted to fingers, it's fangs to normal teeth and its body shrank several feet in size.

aw_pixie_sm.gif (16637 bytes)The light brightened to the point where they could no longer look directly at it, and Nick turned his head away. When he looked back, he gasped in shock, as did Sailor Moon and SunFire.

Standing before them, where Darkstalker had just been, was a small girl. She had long blond hair, large blue eyes and wings of pink. She looked down, smoothed her green dress with her hands, and looked upon Nick with happiness shining in her eyes. Then she suddenly jumped on him and threw her arms around his neck.

"Uh... Sailor Moon?" asked SunFire, as she tried to make some sense out of what had just happened. "Was your crystal supposed to do that?"

"I'm not sure." replied Sailor Moon. "But you must admit, she's a whole lot cuter!"

Nick fell backwards and stared up into the big blue eyes of the Faerie creature that sat on his chest. "Darkstalker?"

"No, Nhico-sama. I was that creature, but thanks to Sailor Moon, I have my true form back again. My name is Pixie!"

"Your true form?" Nick was confused.

"A long, long time ago I used to look like I do now. One day in the forest, I smelled something good cooking in a big house that was there. I snuck inside and couldn't resist eating some of the stew that was hanging over the fire. Well, that stew belonged to an evil witch. She caught me and was angry with me for eating her supper. As punishment, she changed me into that creature that you knew and left me in the forest."

Nick sat up and nodded, still unsure about the whole thing. Pixie continued.

"Some of the local villagers thought I was a monster and organized a hunting party. Since the witch had made sure I was unable to speak properly, I wasn't able to tell them who I was. They chased me through the forest for days, shooting arrows, magick and stones. I thought that all was lost finally and I was about to let them catch me when I saw you."

"Me? When was this?" Nick asked.

"Oh, I don't think you meant to come. You appeared suddenly in a small clearing, looked around and stepped back through a portal. But I saw my chance to escape and jumped into the portal after you. You found me several hours later."

"Oooh, that's such a nice story!" giggled Sailor Moon. "I just love happy endings. This, is going to be a happy ending right?"

Sailor Moon and Sailor SunFire stared expectantly at Nick. He stood up, holding Pixie in one arm, as she kept her arms draped around his neck.

"Yes my friends. It is going to be a happy ending. I finally know what love and friendship really are. If you can forgive me for what I have done, I would like to start over, as your friend."

"Works for me!" smiled SunFire as she walked over and put an arm around Nick's shoulder.

"And for me!" said Sailor Moon. "I mean, who else am I gonna get to help me pig out on ice cream if I don't have you around?"

Nick smiled and looked at the two Senshi, then back at Pixie. "Good! Now you guys should get back to class before you are missed."

"Speaking of which." said SunFire as she and Sailor Moon returned to their normal forms. "We have your word that our secret is safe?"

"You have my word, and plus you have my secret to keep." replied Nick.

"Great!" Leti smiled. "See you guys after school? We can get some ice cream?"

"Wouldn't miss it!" waved Nick as the two girls ran back into the school. He ran his hand through Pixie's hair. "What do you think little one?"

"I think it's been a good day. Don't you?" she replied and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"Yes. I do believe it has been."

The End of Part Ten - End of Series One