Lunar Andromeda
Fandom: Andromeda/Sailor Moon
Disclaimer: All Andromeda characters are copyrighted to Tribune Entertainment. The Sailor Moon concept belongs to Naoko Takeuchi.
Rating: NC-17
Archive: Anywhere, just give credit where credit is due
Feedback: Yes, please! Send all comments to purenightshade@gmail.com
Author's Notes: There are some severe spoilers for the entire series, especially concerning the character of Trance Gemini. You've been warned. Also, I don't plan on using Doyle, as she's a character I know nothing about. I'm pretending she doesn't exist.
Summary: After a brutal attack by the Magog on a planet belonging to the restored Commonwealth, Dylan Hunt decides to get rid of the Magog threat once and for all. Trance has a plan.

Episode 26: Distress

Rhade woke the next morning to see Kasei asleep on her back. The blanket was half on her and half off so that patches of skin showed tantalizingly. Her long black hair was spread out around her. He lay there and watched her, reaching out to take a section of her hair in his hand, toying with the tip of it. She stirred and rolled onto her side, facing him, her eyes opening a little. Seeing him, they opened the rest of the way. She stretched and yawned.

"Good morning," he said pleasantly. "Sleep well?"

"I think so. Better than I did the other night, that's for sure."

"Good to hear."

"It's odd, though. This is the first time I've ever slept in this bed."

"Somehow, that doesn't surprise me. So are we going to get up and eat something before we head off or are we just going to go?"

"You shouldn't even need to be asking that question."

Rhade laughed. "Breakfast it is, then. That is, if you want to get up now."

"Not particularly. If I get up, I have to deal with the outside world. If I stay here, I only need to deal with you. That's much preferable if you ask me."

"Once again, I'm the lesser of two evils," he gripped.

"No, actually, you're the greater of two evils, considering how I react to you."

"You have a point there." He grinned, reaching out to brush her cheek.

"Not before breakfast," she warned him. "I don't do anything well on an empty stomach except finding food."

"Don't worry about it. I don't think I have the energy. Maybe later."

"If you're lucky." Kasei sighed. "Great. Now all I can think about is getting breakfast. Don't you even think about bringing that finger in closer, Rhade, or I'll break it."

He laughed again and pulled his finger back. "Perhaps we should get dressed then and go find you some food before you start contemplating me as a meal substitute."

"Frankly, Rhade, I can think of better things to do with you than eat you."

"Such as?" he asked, sitting up.

Kasei sat up and leaned towards him. "If you're good, I'll spell it out for you later," she said before getting out of bed to find something to wear.

Rhade watched her rummage through her closet. "Are you sure you're ok with giving up your position of Heir?" "I'm quite sure. It's bad enough that I was called to be Sailor Nomaie and worse still that I was later called to be the Fire Guardian, but to be Heir on top of all of that?" Kasei shook her head. "Believe me, I can live without that kind of pressure. Not that you would understand about that."

"I don't know what it's like to be a Princess or Heir to a throne, but I know about pressure. Before I joined Dylan's crew, I was an admiral on Terazed and in charge of the Home Guard. When the Systems Commonwealth was restored, I was lowered in rank to Lieutenant Commander. Not that my rank means all that much right now, but it does mean that I have certain obligations and responsibilities. I know more about that then I do about being a senshi." "There's not really all that much to it," Kasei said, pawing through her clothes, tossing a dark red shirt on the bed, and going back in search of more. "Sure, there's a lot of lore associated with it, but that's to be expected. The senshi have been around since the creation of the galaxy."

"How is that possible?"

"All life comes from something we know as the Galaxy Cauldron. The starseeds, the things that give us our power and, in your case, connects you to Terazed so that you can draw power from its core starseed, also come from the Cauldron. When we die, that's where our starseeds go to await rebirth. That's how I was able to be reborn as Valkyrie and countless other people whose names I don't know or remember. The Cauldron is always spitting out new starseeds as the galaxy expands."

"That goes completely contrary to all scientific knowledge." "So do your powers," she pointed out, selecting a pair of tan pants and putting them on. She walked over and grabbed the shirt, tugging it over her head. "Science can't explain everything."

Rhade got up and went for his bags. The palace servants had thoughtfully brought them from his old room while he was gone with Yuki and Kasei. "Not all people believe that."

"It doesn't matter to me what other people believe. I know what I know. I've seen things that defy logic. My brother and his thing for Beka, as a recent example."

Rhade pulled a uniform out of his bag. It wasn't one he ever wore as it was an older style uniform. He'd found it among Gaheris Rhade's personal effects a year ago when Gaheris's body had been returned to Terazed. It was similar to the uniform that Gaheris had worn the day Dylan had killed him: tan pants, dark blue turtle neck, red jacket and force lance holster. "I'm starting to get hungry myself," he said, deciding to avoid the subject of the relationship between Yuki and Beka.

Kasei eyed his choice of clothing with raised eyebrows, but made no comment. "I'm sure that everyone is already down there. It's pretty late in the morning."

They walked out of Kasei's room and headed down the stairs towards the dinning hall. Kasei was right. Everyone else was already there and they looked up as she entered with Rhade close behind her. Hihana was sitting where Kasei normally would, at her mother's right. Kasei took the seat beside her father, who sat at her mother's left, with Rhade beside her. Servants brought trays over to her to take food from. When she and Rhade had taken what they wanted, the servants set the platters down on the table and left the room.

"I was wondering when you two would join us," Hibashira scolded. "You certainly took your time. I thought we raised you better than that, Kasei. It's rude to keep people waiting, especially your Queen."

"My apologies, Revered Majesty, but you had very little to do with my raising," Kasei said calmly, nibbling on a slice of bread, ignoring her mother's outraged looks and her father's attempts to calm her down.

"Hibashira, she has a point. I did more of her raising than you and even then her tutors did more than that." Chuuseki turned to Kasei. "Kasei, I realize that you're in a hurry to be away from here again, but could you please keep it civil? This is hard enough for me as it is. I know you aren't going away forever, but it pains me that you feel that you have to leave."

"Anything is better than having to stay here, Honored Consort," she replied. "All my life, people have only cared that I'm my mother's daughter as well as her Heir and a senshi. Much as it still pains me, Rhade is one of the few people I've met in this life that cares for who I am rather than what I am or will become." She sighed. "Look, I'm still working all of this stuff out and I can't do that here. I need to do what I do best and with the two people who care the most for me."

"And those two would be?" Hihana asked.

"I should think that even you could figure that one out, sister," Yuki drawled.

"That would be Yuki and Rhade," Kasei said, filling in the blanks.

"Strange as it may seem to you, we all care, Kasei," Hibashira told her.

"You have a funny way of showing it."

"You're the one who insisted on defying me, choosing this admittedly attractive outsider over your sworn fiancée. Don't try and pin any of the consequences of your action on me," Hibashira warned.

"I had no intention to. I was referring to things of the past." She shook her head. "It doesn't matter anyways. I'm rid of the position of Heir and someone who wants it more has it. While the thought of my elder sister as Queen is distasteful, the thought of Tamashiiko as future Queen soothes me." She set her fork down beside her plate. "We will be leaving soon anyways."

"I hope that we'll be out of here soon after breakfast," Trance told her. "The Magog won't have slowed their advance while we've been here. The longer we wait, the further they get."

"We promised to help stop them and help we will," Tenshi said soothingly.

"Then let's get to it," Okami said, finishing her glass of water. "This place is a little too hot for my taste."

"It's not our fault that Ha'ven is all forest," Kasei said. "Well, I'm done here. If anyone needs me, I'll be taking my things out to the Maru"

Rhade watched her go. As soon as she was out of the room, Hihana got up out of her chair and sat down beside Rhade. She sidled up beside him. "You do realize that you're making a mistake, don't you? I'd be a much better choice. I have never hated you." She walked her fingers up his arm. "Why don't you come and be with someone who appreciates you?"

He brushed her off and stood up. "My apologies, Princess Hihana, but I was taught that anything worth having needs to be earned. I don't doubt that you would appreciate me if I was to transfer my affections, but I love your younger sister and I strive to earn her affections. Besides, she has publicly claimed me for her own. According to your own laws, that makes me hers. Beyond that, she is still under life debt to me." He bowed politely. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I should go help her."

Rhade paused outside of the dinning hall, taking a deep breath. He'd never admit it to Kasei, but her sister's offer was tempting. If the healing hadn't worked, it would have been even more so, but he was determined to win Kasei over completely in the end. Taking a deep breath, he went up to Kasei's room to help her move things.

Four hours later, they were on board the Andromeda and back in Commonwealth territory. For some reason that was beyond the rest of the crew, Trance had brought Aries along. Her presence made Rhade somewhat uncomfortable, as she continuously scrutinized him. She seemed to be expecting him to do something, but whatever that was only she knew. Perhaps Trance had some inkling, but if she knew she wasn't telling.

As soon as they got back, Dylan received a message from the Triumvirs that the Magog were approaching Terazed. The message was a couple days old, so they headed for Terazed as quickly as they could. All the way there, everyone kept giving Rhade strange looks as if they expected him to have a special reaction to this. The truth was that he was really only concerned for his family and his Pride, but as far as he was concerned the rest of Terazed could burn in hell for branding him as a criminal when he'd originally joined the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant.

The closer they got to Terazed the more edgy and nervous Kasei got. She still wasn't entirely sure what she was feeling for Rhade, but had no desire to meet his family before she'd made up her mind. She said nothing about any of it, preferring to concentrate on her training. Now that her mind and body had been healed, it was easier for her to train. For the first two days after leaving Nomaie, Tenshi supervised her sessions, but it became clearly obvious that it wasn't necessary. Yuki had taken over Rhade's training, teaching him things that none of the girls could about the nature and limitations of his powers.

Kasei spent most of her time alone, even avoiding her fellow Guardians. It was harder for her to avoid Rhade, but she managed to do it except for the odd time Rhade managed to coax her into his room and that didn't happen nearly as much as he'd like. More worrisome was the fact that she'd taken the double helix off her arm as soon as they got back into familiar space. He also learned that sparing with Yuki wasn't nearly as satisfying as sparing with his sister was.

With Terazed a little more than a day away from them, Rhade's patience ran out. Before he had a chance to confront Kasei, Aries cornered him in a hallway. As much as he tried to get around her, she kept backing him into a corner. Finally, he gave up.

"What do you want, Aries?" he growled.

"Don't go see Kasei today," she told him calmly.

"Why not?"

"It will only end badly. I know you're out of patience, but try and imagine how she feels. It only took four hours after leaving her home world to get a call to go to yours. Your parents and family are there as well as the memories of your dead wife and children. These aren't things that she's looking forward to dealing with and it's not helping her sort out everything that's happened to her since the last time she left Nomaie and especially everything that happened between you two out in the desert."

Rhade paused to think about that. "I've tried to be patient, but this is getting ridiculous."

Aries shook her head. "Not for a Nomaien woman. She needs to consider every factor. In your case, senshi powers and a past life where the two of you were together are major factors here. Her previous hatred of Nietzscheans and what happened on your trek to get her healed is another major one. I understand how you're feeling. All that pent up energy that needs an outlet."

Rhade gave her a sideways glance. "What are you suggesting?"

"Nothing like what you're thinking," she laughed. "It's been ages since I've had a good sparring match and you look like she could stand to burn the energy."

"Look, Aries, I really don't really feel up to sparring."

"Even though that's exactly what you'd wind up doing if you went into Kasei's room?" she challenged. "You don't want to take her on when she's angry. Trust me on this."

"One of these days I'm going to sit you down and make you explain all these things that you know."

Aries grabbed his hand and dragged him back the way he'd come, heading for the sparring area. "All will be made clear fairly soon, I think. Assuming that all goes well, of course."

Rhade followed her. Being much larger than Aries was, he could have resisted, but the last thing he wanted was to antagonize Kasei and risk loosing her despite the touch addiction and her budding feelings. Aries dragged him past a highly amused Harper, who was deep in conversation with Yumeko, who didn't even look up as they walked past.

They reached the sparring area and Aries got right to the point, dropping into a fighting stance.