24 Hours to Life
by Moon Momma

1:00 pm, Tokyo
Jadeite, Kunzite, Zoisite, the Senshi

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No sooner had Jadeite, Kunzite, and Zoisite returned to the Chibas' apartment after quickly recording their radio announcement, a loud electronic alarm sounded in the Chibas' living room. "Monsters two blocks over," Sailor Mercury said from behind her computer visor. "Not far from Saionji-san's apartment."

The Senshi and Tuxedo Mask led the teleport, with Jadeite, Kunzite, and Zoisite following, to where the trouble was. On the street outside a row of modest but neat apartment buildings, half a dozen tall, spiky, shadowy creatures were overturning cars and breaking windows. The bystanders had fled, screaming, but a few brave people were still hovering around the edges of the action, watching in a mixture of horror and fascination. Jadeite watched, likewise fascinated and horrified, as all the Senshi except for Sailor Moon fired up their attacks. He hadn't dreamed that those young girls he had taken on three and a half years ago would ever be capable of such power, even after they had beaten him back then. He found himself glad he had been taken out of the game before they got any stronger.

The Senshis' combined attacks disoriented three of the monsters, but they soon recovered. Zoisite, true to his word, called a long, deadly-sharp ice crystal spear into his hand and threw it at one of the monsters. It pierced the monster's chest, weakening it enough that Tuxedo Mask could impale it with one of his roses. The monster collapsed, then disappeared in a whiff of shadow.

Kunzite threw some of his silvery energy blades at another monster, allowing Tuxedo Mask to take out that one, too. For some reason, the monsters didn't seem as vulnerable to the former Generals' attacks as they were to Tuxedo Mask's roses. Jadeite looked at Sailor Moon to see what she was doing. She was holding a large, jeweled scepter and seemed to be gathering her energy and concentration for some large attack. Two monsters shot black lighting bolts at her; Sailor Venus deflected the bolts with a shining golden chain of heart-shaped links.

Not to be outdone, Jadeite summoned his own power. He took control of a crushed, burning car and flung it at one of the monsters that had attacked Sailor Moon. The monster toppled into the street, and Tuxedo Mask killed it with another rose.

With help from Sailor Mars and Kunzite, Tuxedo Mask destroyed another monster, then Sailor Moon cried out, "Silver Moon Crystal Power Kiss!" Waves of bright-colored energy flowed out from her scepter and surrounded two of the remaining monsters. With an unearthly screech, they dissolved into shreds of shadow and were gone. But one monster had evaded Sailor Moon's ultimate attack; it caught Sailor Moon vulnerable and everyone else unaware as it shot another bolt of black lightning at her.

Zoisite dove towards the attack, throwing another one of his ice spears at the monster. He screamed as the lighting bolt tore through his shoulder, but it gave Sailor Moon time to evade the attack.

Zoisite collapsed to the ground, bleeding heavily from his shoulder. "Zoisite!" Kunzite roared, running towards his lover. He fell to his knees beside Zoisite and cradled him in his arms. "Don't die, Zoisite! I couldn't bear to lose you again!"

Sailor Mercury also hurried over to the fallen shitennou. He was pale and shaking with something beyond normal shock. She examined his bleeding shoulder, touched his forehead, and felt his pulse, then called out, "Tuxedo Mask! Can you help him?"

Tuxedo Mask knelt beside Zoisite. Jadeite came closer to watch. How strange it was that the Senshi and Tuxedo Mask were willing to help them, and how strange it was that Zoisite had risked his life to protect Sailor Moon.

This was how it had been many centuries ago, when the four of them had been sworn to protect the Prince and those who were close to him. We really have changed, Jadeite thought. He hoped the powers that had given the four of them this chance to earn a new life would see that.

Tuxedo Mask laid his hand on Zoisite's shoulder. His face grew tense and pale as he focused his concentration, expending what must have been a great amount of energy. A moment later, Zoisite's bleeding stopped, the wound in his shoulder closed up, and the color started to return to his face.

Tuxedo Mask sat back, shaking, sweat on his face. "He should be fine," he said. "That's the biggest injury I've ever healed. And the power from that energy bolt was killing him as much as the injury was."

"Thank you, my Prince," Kunzite said, his voice breaking. Jadeite couldn't remember ever hearing him sound so humble and grateful.

They all rested for a few moments. Curious onlookers watched them, but no one dared approach them. Too soon, Sailor Mercury said from behind her visor, "There's another one, near the Galleria."

"Where Kijin-san's studio is, I think," Sailor Moon said.

"What Nephrite is doing seems to be working, at least," Jadeite said.

The new attack wasn't far off, so they walked and ran to it rather than expending energy on teleporting. So far, the monsters hadn't seemed interested in hurting anyone other than the Senshi; they were only destroying property. But sooner or later, innocent bystanders were going to get hurt. Jadeite hoped Nephrite would be able to strike the right balance between the two realities, so people would get their memories back - and Nephrite could retrieve his money - but not too many of the monsters would be released.

Eight monsters were wreaking havoc in the street in front of the Galleria. By now, Jadeite and the others knew how to fight them. Jadeite, the other Generals, and the four planet Senshi kept the monsters distracted and off-balance with a variety of attacks, giving Tuxedo Mask time start eliminating them with his roses while Sailor Moon gathered her power for her ultimate attack. This time, they tried to herd the monsters together so that Sailor Moon's final attack would destroy the rest of them all at once and Tuxedo Mask wouldn't have to clean up any survivors. The fight went quickly, and Jadeite was amazed to see how well the Generals - no, the Guardians and the Senshi worked together. As though they had been meant to function as a single unit from the beginning.

When the fight was over, Sailor Moon ducked into a concealed doorway to de-transform, and looked at her watch. "It's almost two o'clock; I'd better go meet Nephrite at Mika's house!"

She was about to start running when a sleek red sportscar pulled up next to her. "Hop in," Nephrite called to her.

"Wow! Okay!" Usagi got into the car, and it pulled away with a squeal of tires. Jadeite watched the car drive away, filled with admiration and envy. If they got their lives back, he would get a car like that. He wondered briefly if Thetis would be impressed, then turned his attention to Tuxedo Mask, who was going over their strategy in case there were any monster attacks while Sailor Moon was meeting with the dollmakers.

"Hey," a man in the crowd shouted. "I think I know him! He was the captain on that rip-off so-called Love Cruise! He's got different hair and he's paler, but I'd know that smug pretty-boy face anywhere!"

Jadeite saw the man pointing at him and grinned in spite of the insults. The plan was working. He walked over to the man. "Yes, that was me. I'm ashamed to say that I was participating in an unethical organization at the time, but I've seen the error of my ways and I'm sincerely sorry for the trouble and inconvenience I put you and your companion through that evening. Please accept my sincere apologies and this money as a down payment on the refund I owe you." He pulled a handful of bills out of the pocket of his rented tuxedo - the Generals hadn't even had time to find other clothes, he realized. Oh well, at least they matched Tuxedo Mask. He handed the money to the man and said, "The rest will be available once additional funds have been freed up. Come to the harbor walk starting at three o'clock for more information."

The man stared at the money, then smiled and bowed his head. "Thank you very much, captain. I wasn't expecting such a kind apology or any money back. I'll tell my friends who also went on the cruise to go to the harbor walk at three."

"Another attack, five blocks south!" Sailor Mercury shouted.

Feeling more hopeful now, Jadeite turned and ran with the rest of the Guardians and the Senshi to face the next group of monsters.

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The Nephrite and Naru Treasury