Molly’s shaken and her father’s a vampire out to get her! I am so horrid to this poor girl! Now I’ll tell ya why she’s so weak. Oh and don’t worry, Jedite will be back soon enough!
Sailor Moon is copyright (c) 1992 Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha, TOEI Animation. English Language Adaptation (c) 1995 DiC Entertainment
Sailor Moon is copyright (c) 1992 Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha, TOEI Animation. English Language Adaptation (c) 1995 DiC Entertainment
Chapter Seventeen - With Friends Like These
* * * * * * * *
Once in the safety of their room in the mansion, Molly shuddered a second before breaking down into wracking sobs. “Neflyte? He touched me! He said that he’d be back! That tramp called me her stepdaughter! I feel so filthy!”
Neflyte pulled her tight into his arms, wondering how he could have been such a fool as to think he could ever walk away from her. “Molly. He won’t be back. And forget about Jet …”
“She’s right! I’m the wimp Scout!”
Neflyte pulled her into his arms, until she was completely in his embrace.
‘Neflyte? What’s happening? Why is Molly upset?’ Malachite called out from his and Zoicite’s room.
Neflyte pulled his lover close as she wept. ‘Tuxedo Mask has been turned against us, but our Princess is determined to restore him. Molly was forced to encounter her bastard of a father. He grabbed her, and Jet claims to be her stepmother. They claim that they’ll be back. Malachite … I’m at a loss of how to help her.’
‘Molly needs to have him pushed out of her mind. She needs to know that you are with her throughout anything. Take it step by step, and let her set your pace. We are here, and we will help you without fail.’
Neflyte snuggled his lover close. Two of his friends were back with him, and he was holding his love. No one was going to ruin it now. ‘Thank you old friend; for the vow and the advice.’
Focusing all of his attentions on his love, Neflyte sat on the bed and gently rocked her. Every tear was tearing his heart.
“I feel so dirty, Neflyte! I’m weak and he touched me. It was my fault.” Molly shuddered as she remembered the smell and feelings.
Neflyte gently forced her to look him in the eyes. “You are not at fault here. And you are not weak. Amy has found that there is something that is weakening you. We will face it together, just as we will face all of our enemies. I am proud of you, my love. You stood up in your third battle and put the Princess above yourself.”
“But, that is my job.” Molly tried to shrug off his words.
“No. You did it because she is our friend. You are willing to do anything for those you love, and that, my dearest, is what first drew me to you. You are so strong for those around you. Now you must be strong for yourself - leaning on me as much as you need.”
Molly took his words wrong. “You want to leave me?”
Neflyte hated the fear in her eyes. “Earlier … I was thinking, after learning what is being said about you, that it would be better for you. I talked to mom …”
“… the business you had?” Molly asked in a whimper. He could see that her fear had only grown.
“Yes. She reminded me that you chose to be with me. I am so afraid of what I will be if you ever left me. My worst nightmare is losing you. I couldn’t handle it if you were to regret being my wife.” Neflyte held her closer as tears fell from his eyes.
“I thought that his touch would make you want to leave me. I’m dirty now. I can’t forget his touch. Neflyte, please rub his touch from me. Show me that I am still your wife in your heart.” Molly kissed his lips with a desperate need.
Unlike most times in the past, Neflyte took his time with Molly. He carefully watched her face for any sign that she no longer wanted him within her.
After just over an hour of love making, Molly snuggled on Neflyte’s chest to get some sleep before dinner - but she was too afraid to sleep. She remembered all too well that awful day when she was three, and the nightmares that haunted her for years afterward.
Neflyte, on the other hand, was looking out of their skylight. The sun was just starting to set, but he had the ability to communicate with the stars at any time of day or night. ‘I call upon the power of the stars … tell me how I can help my Molly. Why is she so weak since becoming Sailor Solaris?’
‘Our dear child, she is being fed from by Jet … who successfully killed her in their first encounter. That is what has weakened her … not from becoming what she has always been.’ came the stars’ reply.
‘How can I help Molly defeat Jet? That vampire is one thing, but combined with Molly’s father returning as Jet’s new mate … it makes it all worse. She could barely function by the time I got her home, and was blaming herself for the battle and being touched by that monster.’ Neflyte was full of frustration. His wife needed him more than ever, and he didn’t know how to help her.
The stars were still for a moment. ‘Jet is using Molly’s fears to link them so that she may steal Molly’s energy. That is Jet’s most powerful attack - fear. Think of how Molly acted before and after losing the Prince.’
Neflyte thought about it. Yes, there was a difference. Her laugh had faded to where he rarely heard it. He would find her crying and she wouldn’t be able to explain why. She was having more and more nightmares at night. Even her schoolwork was suffering from it.
‘Child, you have done what she needed you to do. She was feeling so dirty from the touch and innuendos from her father that she feared you would never touch her again … or worse would rush through it as if you no longer desired her. You took your time, and gave her back that sense of your deep love for her. It broke one of Jet’s fear holds on Molly. Break Molly’s fears and you break the holds Jet has over her.’
For the first time in days Neflyte was calmer. Finally, he had a working plan. It had been some time, but he had to say those words. ‘Thank you, stars.’
‘Your attention and respect are all we have ever asked of you, our child. Take care of your bride, for she makes you better than what you have ever been alone.’ And with that, the stars grew quiet.
Neflyte didn’t want to wait to act on this. “Are you asleep, Molly?”
“No. I’m too afraid to,” Molly whimpered. Her voice was heavy with tears and ached his already tender heart.
“We need to talk about today, love. I know why you’ve been too weak for your attacks to be effective in battle.”
Molly bolted upright. “What is it?”
Neflyte was enjoying the view, but he had to remain focused on healing Molly right then. “Tell me what has you afraid since I nearly lost you that second time.”
Molly rattled off a list of everything from losing him in some form or fashion to being kicked out of the Scouts. Her fears of her father reoccurred often as she spoke. She feared waking up to find out that Neflyte had actually died in her arms rather than her saving him. Molly was terrified of never getting to hold their baby daughter. Or that their daughter would never love her because of that fatal mistake she made before the Moon Kingdom fell.
Neflyte knew that none of her fears were justified, but they were all real in her eyes. He decided to call the gang to the mansion rather than go to his mother-in-law’s for dinner. After all, Jessica was probably on her way to them.
As if on cue, they both heard Jessica’s voice at the bottom of the stairs. “The Scouts are on their way, and dinner will be done in about twenty minutes. You two had better get a shower fast.”
Neflyte felt a crack split in the energy that was draining his beloved. “Momma still loves me.”
“Not as much as I do.”
* * * * * * * *
An hour later, the group was fed and sitting in the living room.
At first, Molly seemed happy for all of the company. Then, bit-by-bit, she retreated into herself again. Neflyte wanted the dark energy gone. The crystal could conceivably rid Molly of its effects, but Jet would find a way back in. No, they had to help Molly dispel the fears herself.
“Everyone, we have a severe problem. Jet has Molly under a spell,” Neflyte announced without any notice.
Molly shrunk back as the others focused on her with worried looks in their eyes. Only then could they really detect it in their friend - a darkness that seemed to drain all of her personality away.
"What about using the Silver Crystal?” Luna suggested.
“That would work at first, but eventually Jet would find a way to get back into Molly’s heart and taint it as she has now,” Jessica said sadly.
Neflyte stood before everyone. “I’ve gotten rid of her fear of my leaving her. But there are other concerns. Because of her energy being drained away and her attacks not being effective in battle, she’s afraid of being kicked out of the Sailor Scouts.”
“What?” Raye snapped.
Amy wrapped an arm around Molly’s shoulders. “We’d never kick you out of the group, Molly.”
“Yeah. You’ll see. We’ll beat whatever hold Jet has on ya, and then you’ll knock her lights out!” Lita shouted with enthusiasm.
All the talk did was shake Molly further into herself. Neflyte was at his wits end by this time. What could they do to prove the truth to his love?
Serena silently walked over and sat on the coffee table in front of Molly. Taking both of the shaking girl’s hands into her own, the true Princess they all remembered came shinning through. “Molly, listen to me. Everyone gets afraid sometimes. That’s a normal reaction to everything you have faced down in the past three months.
“I remember when Luna first spoke to me and told me about how I am Sailor Moon, I thought that I was having the strangest nightmare ever recorded. She gave me my brooch and told me what to say. When I transformed I freaked. I cried about how I didn’t want to become Sailor V, even thought I had said otherwise a few hours before.
“All of the sudden I heard a certain someone crying out for help. Do you remember who that was?”
Molly swallowed before pointing to herself. Serena nodded with a smile, she could see where her words were sinking into the crack Neflyte had provided and was freeing up Molly’s heart. “Yeah. I was terrified. Remember how I broke down into tears? I didn’t know how to fight, I didn’t know anything about being a warrior, and all I wanted to do was go home. But, I stayed because my friend was in danger.
“The first time I faced Jedite (be thankful you don’t have to fight him alone), he halted my tiara attack like it was nothing. I felt as if I should just pack it all in. But, I stuck with it because I knew that if he won my friends would get hurt.
“Each of us has things we’re really good at. Yours is that you stick in there when we need you most, and don’t let the bad guys hurt us without having to face you. And, when your powers come to full strength, Jet will wish she wasn’t so immortal. You are one of us, Molly, and none of us are ever going to turn away from you.”
Molly cracked a very slight smile when everyone agreed to that. Then Zoicite took the seat Serena vacated. “You could have let me die, but you didn’t. Molly, I can see why Neflyte chose to follow the oath that took him to you. In the Negaverse, all around us was backstabbing and lies. No one did any favors unless they were out for something. All you ask for is friendship and love in return for yours. All you want is trust. Molly, that is what I ask of you, to trust all of us.”
That brought a tear down Molly’s cheek that she had been trying to hold back. Before leaving the ‘podium’ (as it was later designated), Zoicite wiped it away with her thumb.
Malachite took his turn to sit in front of Molly. He wasn’t sure what to say, but a look into the eyes of his friend and he knew.
“Molly do you know why you got labeled out as the target for this?”
She shook her head. Neflyte looked agitated, and the others weren’t sure where he was going with this, but Malachite raised his hand to call for calm. “You have Beryl running scared. You were the reason Neflyte left, he chose you over the Negaverse without you even asking him. You taught him to love, when all he knew before was hate.
“You helped Zoicite and me get away from the witch Queen. Our world was one of watching our backs and fear of being killed or put in eternal sleep like Jedite. When Zoi was dying, I had to suck in my pride and come here to ask for help. I assumed that we would be turned away or imprisoned. You welcomed us in and help to fight for my Zoi’s life.
“Zoi learned that I’m not the only person she can trust. And that real friends are what we have always wanted and needed. Now we have just that.
“You’re the newest Scout, and the one she considers the weakest and most easily rid of - but you are also the one she fears. You have the uncanny ability to bring out all the best in people. You can see into a person’s heart to whatever is hidden within their core. You knew that the three of us were not truly evil - only hurting and in need. Molly, you saw in us what even we have never seen.
“I’m just grateful that you took Zoi and me in and turned us into friends.” Malachite gave Molly a soft kiss on her hand as he stood up. “Thank you from us both.”
Raye took her turn next. “Molly, I remember having a strange feeling about you the first time you came to the temple. I asked the fire why you were so different from the other girls who came to the temple every day. It answered that, like me, you have a special destiny to fulfill, and that we were going to become good friends.
“You are a one of a kind person, you have so much to give and still rarely take any credit or reward for that. I have never seen anyone stand up to Sailor Moon’s tiara attack, but you did. We tried everything we could to break you and Neflyte up, but you refused to see him as evil. It was that denying of what he proved to be right in his eyes that brought him back to our side.
“And when Zoicite and Malachite showed up needing our help, you were the one who had the youmas summon the rest of us. You gave them your trust, which brought them back to our side. Without you Molly, I doubt that the three Generals would be here with us now. You are not weak, and you are not a baby. I’m proud to call you my friend and teammate.”
Lita quickly took her turn. “I remember when I first started at Crossroads Jr. High that everyone avoided me because of my reputation until Serena accepted me without any fear. I know that everyone knows that, but what no one knows is that Serena tried to introduce me to some of her friends who aren’t Scouts and they made excuses to get away from us fast. I never felt so low, and nearly decided to transfer to a foreign school - despite Serena’s argument against it.
“That is until she saw you talking with Melvin. Maybe I should put it that he was bugging you really.”
That brought a barely noticeable giggle from Molly’s throat that made everyone smile.
Lita chuckled a moment before she went on. “Serena called out to you and the nerd, and then dragged me over to where you guys were standing. Might I add that I nearly suffered from a dislocated shoulder for it.”
Again, to Serena’s pout, Molly giggled. Their words seemed to be having some effect on the binds Jet held on their friend’s heart. Lita took Molly’s hands into her own.
“Remember how fast Melvin booked it out of there?”
Molly nodded. “He said that he wasn’t going to stick around when Serena was pulling the ‘karate maniac’ our way. I was glad to be rid of him, to be honest.”
Lita felt a tear fall down her cheek. “But you stayed and acted nice towards me. We’ve been friends ever since. Neflyte told me how you picked out the phrase on my pendant. I’ve never told anyone, but this necklace is what really made me feel like I belong in this group. And ever since, Molly, you’ve been there for me. I guess it’s about time we all thanked you for being with us.”
Lita hugged Molly as they both let silent tears fall.
Mina smiled as she sat at the podium. “I’ve been in the group the shortest amount of time, but you treat me like I’ve been with all of you from the start. See I’ve been Sailor V since I was ten.”
That surprised every one of the Senshi - that the Negaverse had been attacking for that long. The Generals nodded in agreement, as they had been advised of Sailor V yet didn’t worry about her since she was in Europe.
Mina went on. “I have been fighting on my own, with only Artemis to support me for a long time. Like Lita, this pendant told me that I am not alone anymore … and neither are you, Molly. You had them engrave ‘Binding Us All With Adoration’. Well, I think that you are the Scout who binds the rest of us together a lot of the time.
“You always call us to make sure we’re keeping up with our work, bring us surprises for no reason at all, and I saw the last of our last battle. Even when your attacks seemed useless, you kept on throwing it at that Nega-monster until you were knocked out. I’d bet anything that you wouldn’t have given up otherwise. You are just as much a part of this group as I am, and I for one am never letting you go without a fight.”
Mina held Molly tight for a moment before giving Amy her turn.
“I remember how excited I felt when we discovered that you were a Scout, Molly. You have always been such a good friend to us, and I have wanted to let you in the group for so long. You never give up on anyone or anything, and that makes you so special. I don’t want to imagine what this group would be like if we didn’t have you with us. And I’d never let you be thrown out without quitting myself first.”
Jessica smiled as she brushed a few of the tears from Molly’s face. “I have always been so proud of you, my baby. You are as strong and stubborn now as you were a thousand years ago.
“The day that you were born, I knew without any doubts that I had my beautiful baby girl back. And I have cherished and treasured every moment of this life we have had together. I never knew how horrid your father was going to be until that night, and I prayed hard that it was only one possibility … that somehow it would not happen. But, we both know that it was true.
“Rudolph is just as he was a thousand years ago - evil, controlling, and thinks that all should bow to his whim. I don’t want you to do that, my baby girl. I want you to have the happy life I always saw coming, the happy life I know you will have with Neflyte. That’s why I accepted your two’s relationship as it is from the start. I love you, baby girl, and I always will. Never doubt that for a moment.”
Artemis cleared his throat and sat on Molly’s lap. “I remember a time before you died back during the Moon Kingdom. I had been kicked literally out of the palace on Solaris by Rudolyn and rolled into a deep canyon. Now I wonder, who was it that risked her life to rescue me? Who was it that took care of me until Venus made it to take me home to the Moon?”
Molly blushed at the old memory. She had forgotten all about that day. Artemis had brought a challenge on Neflyte’s behalf from the King of Venus and his daughter Sailor Venus. But it was the poor cat that got the brunt of Rudolyn’s anger at the idea that anyone said he was wrong in refusing Neflyte’s claim to Molly’s hand in marriage.
“You did, Molly. And I’ve seen that kind Princess I knew then do the exact same thing for others now. You are one of the strongest of us, and I know that you’re tired of Jet having a hold on you. You have to let go of the fears and trust us as well as yourself to be rid of her. It would be nice to see her gasp in shock when you blow her away next time.” When Artemis winked, Molly couldn’t help but chuckle a little louder than before.
Luna smiled and thought to herself, ‘My, how direct and to the point. Still he acted better than when we were discussing Serena’s problems with Darien. Maybe he isn’t as indifferent as I first thought. But do I … now’s not the time for that. I have to focus on Molly.’
“Molly, really Artemis is right this time. Only you can break Jet’s hold. We can try the Silver Crystal, but there’s no guarantee that it will work or be permanent. But, it’s up to you.” Luna saw that her words stunned Artemis, but that was all. No sign of how he felt towards her as he got off of Molly’s lap and settled in Mina’s. With a struggle, Luna hid her disappointment.
Neflyte smiled at her from the fireplace as he watched the battle within his wife’s soul finally go their way. Slowly he saw an awareness dawning within her eyes, along with the growing rebirth of that determination that had entranced him to her in two lifetimes and saved his life. Yes, his love was coming back to him. But, she still needed a slight push to finally accept the truth.
Neflyte sat before Molly next. “I want to make sure you know that my heart hasn’t changed, Molly. You remember everything I do, but I want the others to know certain aspects as well.
“I noticed you from the start, and tried my hardest to prove that you couldn’t be the Molly I lost so long ago. I wanted to believe that I was cursed to never find my beloved again because I felt I wasn’t good enough to regain your heart and hand. But every bit of fact I gathered said otherwise.
“Then you came to me when I was trying to pretend that I was Tuxedo Mask, I thought that maybe Sailor Moon had discovered that you were my only desire and was using that against me. I was so angry and hurt by that idea that I set out to teach ‘Moon’ to never trifle with my heart again. Shortly after I was shown that you weren’t Sailor Moon.” The group could see that being this open in front of them was hard on Neflyte’s pride, and so said nothing - nor would they ever.
“Still, I refused to believe that Queen Serenity would still bring us together after what I did. So, I tried to erase that attack from your mind. But, you refused to forget. My stubborn Molly … as always.
“Even though you saw what I believed of myself when I attacked the Scouts, you still guarded and believed in me … in what I could become once again. When I was dying, you ignored the danger rescuing me posed to yourself. You fought until the thorns came out and then fed me your own energy to help me heal.”
Taking a breath, Neflyte continued. “When Serenity’s spell made you see and feel everything I have done and felt since I lost you on, I was terrified that you’d never want to see me again. I was certain that you’d close your heart to me and I would have lost my wife forever. But, you accepted it all and still took me back. I was still your husband - not your friend, boyfriend, lover, or even fiancé.
“When Jet killed you, I could feel my heart shatter. I knew that if you were gone that I had no reason to keep living outside of my vows to Princess Serena. I knew that I was going to go back to being the cold and controlling General I was before Beryl showed up. But, I got you back, thanks to Serena. I’m not going to leave you, Molly. And I will never again second guess whether we are supposed to be together or not.”
Molly leapt into his arms and let the tears and sobs go. Slowly felt a cold shell she hadn’t noticed before break up and drift away from her heart.
These were her friends and family. She knew that they would never turn from her. She knew that she wasn’t a wimpy Scout in the past, and so determined not to be one in this new life.
Queen Serenity had promised Neflyte that he’d rejoin his wife and daughter. There was no doubt in her heart that the Queen they all missed would make good on her promise. And their daughter loved her parents without question.
Suddenly, Molly looked up at him with a look in her eyes that said the fight was over. “I don’t think we’ll need to use the crystal on me, Luna. And Jet, along with the rest of those Negacreeps, have some major payback coming for tearing our family apart - and the line forms behind me!”
“Right after I throw a few punches, you mean. Glad to have ya back!” Serena leapt up and bear hugged Molly.
While the General chuckled, the rest of the Scouts followed their leader’s example until the group was in a huge pile of bodies on the floor - all of them smiling and laughing. Even with all of the noise, one shimmering laugh stood out for Neflyte. Molly was whole again and laughing with the joy she had always shown when she was first enticing him to her side.
“Guess what I brought along for dessert?” Lita sighed as she let go of her laughter after what felt like years of it.
Serena went into flake mode at the mention of food. “Please say that it has chocolate in it!”
“Even better than that - white chocolate! As in six of my awesome white chocolate and almond cheesecakes. And I’ve even topped them with whole strawberries I dipped in marbled chocolate!” All of the Scouts cheered at Lita’s announcement. After all … girls would be girls, and even Scouts deserve a treat once in a while.
As the girls ran after Lita for the treat (a truly happy Molly included), Neflyte conferred with the other Generals - both of who wore apprehensive looks on their faces.
“Neflyte, what is chocolate?” Malachite warily asked.
The Lead General chuckled behind a smile. “Do you two still have a sweet tooth?”
Zoicite grinned up at her love as she answered her superior. “More so now than ever. A thousand years without sweets is one of the cruelest tortures ever known. Malachite found my favorite, now they’re called jellybeans. You wouldn’t believe all of the flavors there are in this life!”
“I would. Then trust me when I say that you are about to find a new addiction. Chocolate is good (which is a vast understatement). The first day after I almost died, I kept a promise I made Molly - we got a chocolate parfait. Now we have one every weekend at the same café, seated at the same table, and somehow each one gets better and better.”
Zoicite then raised an eyebrow as they began to follow the trail of Scout dust that the girls had left behind in their haste. “So, what’s cheesecake?”
Neflyte stopped for a moment. “That is the mystery before all three of us.”
Molly ran back into the main living room before they could start again and jumped into Neflyte’s arms. He loved her best like this - sweet, happy, and full of that glitter that improved the world. She had him in a passionate kiss for a few moments, and he didn’t care if everyone came in and watched. Molly was whole again, and Neflyte stopped fearing what being with him meant for her future.
While Zoicite chuckled, Malachite gave her a roguish look as he pulled her deeper into his embrace. “Seeing as he is our leader after Serena, and she’d probably be in here cheering him on … shall we follow his example, my dearest?”
With an impish wink she wrapped her arms around his neck, “I see no reason why we shouldn’t.”
After waiting a full five minutes, Mina and Serena ventured out to see what was going on. Both ran back and got the others to see.
“So, who’s gonna come up for air first you think?” Lita nudged Raye in the ribs gently.
She was biting her lip to keep from exploding with laughter at the scene. “My money goes on Malachite and Zoicite. I’ve timed Molly and Neflyte before - seven minutes.”
Amy was discreetly trying to get the others’ attentions off of the scene before them. “It's too bad we can’t have them stop so that we could time it, and the race would be fair.”
That sent both kissing couples into fits of chuckles, effectively granting Amy her wish. But the chuckles turned into tearful laughter as Serena put on her silliest royal pose and commanded the four, “You may continue now.”
“I say that were have cheesecake waiting, and it is rude to make something that good wait!” Molly managed out after gasping a few times to stop her laughing.
Zoicite sighed as she leaned on Malachite heavily. “What is cheesecake?”
“That absolute best dessert in the world! Especially when Lita’s the one who made it!” Mina proclaimed as she rushed back into the dinning room, with Serena on her heels.
Raye smiled. “I’ll warn you now. If we don’t get in there fast, there will be none left. I know how those two eat up Lita’s cheesecake!”
“And what do you do with it, Raye?” Artemis snickered.
“I nibble like a lady,” she said as she walked out of the room like some super model.
Luna sighed, “She eats just like the rest of them. And thankfully the four of you know what I mean.”
* * * * * * * *
Well, Molly’s back to full power obviously. Time to test it I think. I hope Countess Rose doesn’t mind that I picked her for the test.
* * * * * * * *
return to Index / go to Chapter 18
The Nephrite and Naru Treasury