Jackal's Heart

This is another part of the Crystal Kingdom Archives. It helps if you've read Demon Hunter's Journal first, but (hopefully) it's not necessary. It takes place about 2 years after Dear Ami.


Have you ever noticed how beautiful Crystal Tokyo is? There's still a few areas where the people haven't taken advantage of our help in improving the buildings, but they're growing smaller every day. Bill and I had worked out a way to share time without causing trouble for either of us, and it was my turn to be in charge. I was out giving my Javelin a test drive when I noticed a group of people in one of the older parts of the city, gathered around something I couldn't see. Whatever it was, they sounded angry.

I stopped and worked my way through the crowd to see what they were angry about. This was one of those times I wished I was as tall as Bill - in my own body, I'm only as tall as most everyone else in Tokyo. It wasn't until I was right up front that I saw what was going on. A gaijin was backed up against the side of a building, with a girl - probably about 13 or 14 - held by the hair in front of him, with a knife at her throat.

I'll admit, I have a bit of a temper. Compared to me, Rei is practically a monk. By the time I realized I was reacting, the gaijin was choking on a faceful of ground white pepper and iron filings. As soon as the knife fell away from the girl's throat, I was in the air. My foot crushed his arm - the one holding her hair. As I'd expected, the shock was great enough to make him drop the knife.

Someone from the crowd snatched the girl away, leaving me free to take care of the gaijin. I grabbed him by the throat and slammed him back against the wall. He may have been nearly a foot taller than me, but he was terrified. Good. That meant he would be easier to control.

**The police are on the way.**

**Thanks, Edgar.**

"All right, asshole. Talk fast, and I might let you live long enough for the police to have." I think he was surprised I could speak English. "NOBODY fucks with kids in MY town."

"What the hell are you talking about? The Nips do it all the time! Come on, why are you taking THEIR side? You're not one of them. They don't like you any more than they like me!"

Great. He was babbling. I guessed it was time to focus his attention a bit. I took a firm grip on his broken arm and gave it a tug. That got his attention - but the scream was annoying. Luckily, with a hand on his throat, I was able to shut it off at the source.

"Now. Let's try it again, shall we? I'm not in a good mood, and you're working real hard on making it worse. What were you doing to that girl?"

"Hey, I was just getting me a little poontang. Everyone knows them Nip girls get into that shit. Why the hell are you-AAAAAH!" Great. A wannabe child rapist. At least twisting his arm shut him up.

**I'm not so sure he's a wannabe.**

**What do you mean? Have there been other attacks?**

**Three girls have been raped and murdered within the last week. All of them under fifteen.**

I'd thought I was pissed before. I was wrong. When Edgar told me that, my vision went red and I found myself standing over the shredded remains of the gaijin's body with blood and flesh dripping from my claws. Uh...hold that thought. Claws? That's when I realized I was suddenly tall enough to bang my head against the fire escape, and my ears were twitching like mosquitoes were biting them. When my vision cleared from the rap on my head, I realized I was covered with fur the color of my hair, from where I could see along the top of my muzzle all the way down to the tip of my tail.

Those of the crowd who hadn't fled were babbling fearfully and snapping pictures. Between the flashes, the noise, and the stench of human fear, it was definitely becoming an unpleasant place to stay. I grabbed the fire escape and pulled myself up, then climbed to the roof as quickly as I could move. Right then, I was very glad for cultural inertia: even nearly 20 years after Serenity had legalized self-defense, the average citizen of Japan still expected the police to take care of their every need. The incidence of gun ownership wasn't nearly high enough for a civilized society yet, but right then that was a good thing; I made it to the roof without acquiring any unwanted holes.

As soon as I reached the roof, I ran. With at least a dozen people able to point to where I'd gone, I wanted to put myself in another neighborhood as fast as I could. I didn't stop until I was in Chinatown. I found a rooftop shrine to hide in while I figured out what to do. I mean, when you're nine feet tall and covered in fur, you tend to be noticeable. That was the first thing I had to take care of.

**Edgar, get me one of the cats. I don't care which one.**

**Take a deep breath and relax, Alex. All three are in the Palace. Which one would you prefer to talk with?**

**Relax, he says. I lost my temper and killed someone who MIGHT have been a child rapist, I've got who knows how many photos of me that are bound to be passed around to all the police in Japan, and I don't know how to turn back into a human again! And I'm supposed to relax?**

**Yes. Ami is bringing Luna here. YOU are going to sit here and meditate until they get here.**

**Meditate? You know me better than that.**

**So write a song. I know you can do that.**

I suppose he was right; I couldn't do anything else, not stuck in fur like that. I gave up and crouched between the Buddha and the door, where I could keep watch outside. I thought about what had happened earlier and growled softly; if I'd killed the bastard right away, I wouldn't have learned I could change like this. So I suppose I should be grateful for losing my temper....

 

"Alex? What are you doing up here?" My ears swiveled automatically toward the sound of Luna's voice and I raised my head for a good sniff. Definitely feline - and Ami was with her. "I don't like this, Ami. Something smells strange."

**That's me. I'm in the shrine.**

"In the shrine? What's wrong? Talk to us, Alex." Ami sounded worried. I suppose I would have, too, in her shoes. They were close enough I could have said something, if it weren't for my voice.

**I'm having a little trouble with my voice right now. All I can do is growl. Like this.**

I let loose a soft growl; Luna yowled in surprise, and Ami transformed. I noticed that when she transformed, there was a strange smell mixed with the smell of water. That was not good. At least I couldn't smell anyone else in the area.

**I'm coming out to meet you. Would you please use your visor?**

**All right. What's wrong, Alex? Why the growl?**

**I've changed. And I won't fight you. Or Luna.**

**Why would we fight you?**

**You'll see. I'm coming into the light right now.**

Have you ever seen a cat levitate? I have. I did then. Luna went from the roof to the top of Sailor Mercury's head without touching down anywhere in between. Mercury had her visor in position, thank goodness. She gasped and pulled out her computer. There was a spike of fear in her scent that quickly blew away as she studied me. I did everything I could to not provoke any more fear: I crouched so I wasn't any taller than she was, and kept my hands on the roof where she could see them easily.

"Is that really you? I didn't know you were able to change." Her voice was surprisingly gentle. She approached me as she spoke, reaching out with a hand to gently stroke my fur. Her touch was strangely soothing - I suddenly understood why dogs and cats like being stroked so much.

**It's really me. I didn't know I could change, either. That's why I need one of the cats: to tell me how to change back.**

She smiled and nodded, then stopped petting me long enough to reach up and peel Luna off her head. I winced, watching that. Luna wasn't having anything to do with getting any closer to me, and she was trying her best to keep a grip on her perch. By the time Sailor Mercury got her off, Luna had managed to give her several nasty scratches.

**Ami, I'm going to back off until you get Luna down, ok? She's not going to be any help until she calms down.**

"I know, Alex. Thank you." Sailor Mercury crouched, holding Luna in both hands and looking into her eyes. "Luna, that's Alex. OUR Alex. She needs your help. Come on, Luna. She's your friend. Help her. Please?"

Luna wasn't having any of that. She was so frantic with panic that it was all Sailor Mercury could do to keep her from either jumping me or fleeing right off the side of the roof. Seeing her like that hurt - so much that I found myself whining worriedly.

"...won't hurt you, Luna. I just need your help." Wait a minute. I was talking again! I looked down at myself and saw furless hands and my green racing suit. "What happened? I changed back. But I don't know how."

"Hold on a minute, Alex. Luna, if you don't stop that I'm going to dump you into that tub of water over there." It was amazing how quickly Luna froze at that threat. Almost as quickly as she freaked when she saw me. Ami took advantage of her response to transform back to herself.

"Luna, it's me. You KNOW I'm not going to hurt you. You're my friend, remember?" I pleaded with her, while staying right where I was. There was no way I was going to risk triggering another fit by approaching her now. "I need your help. I need to understand what's happening to me. I need to know if the man I killed really was the child rapist, or if-"

"The man you killed?" Luna exclaimed, while Ami stared at me in silent surprise.

**I've sent her the record of what happened.**

**Thanks, Edgar.**

"Oh dear...I didn't think there were any of those left. And there've been three in the last week? I'll have to talk with the police. Hermes, ask them to compare tissue samples from the body with any evidence they have from the rapes."

**We've already put that request at the top of the list.**

Ami and I looked at each other and emitted a stereo sigh of relief. If he was the rapist, it would help. A lot. If not...I was in trouble.

"Would you be so kind as to explain just what you meant, Alex? What do you mean, the man you killed?" Sometimes I forget that none of the cats have MacManuses. Bill and David have both offered, but the only way they could wear one is as a collar, and that's just something cats don't like. Especially Moon Cats.

"It all ties together, Luna." I found a convenient ledge to sit on and began to explain. "It all started when I saw a group of angry people in an older neighborhood, about a kilometer from here...."

 

"Whether he was the rapist or not, he obviously intended to rape that girl, so you were more than justified in killing him." Luna's opinion was as firm and unshakable as a rock. Feline logic, I guess. Well, I agreed with her, but I'm not a cop - or a judge or lawyer. I was definitely going to have to talk with Serenity and Endymion about this. "I'm not sure about how you changed, though. Either way. I didn't even know you could change."

"Neither did I. When Serenity gave me my own body, I thought that was it. And it's been almost four years for me - nearly a thousand for the rest of you - without this happening. Why now?"

"I think I have an idea," Ami said, studying her computer's screen intently. "Did you TRY to change?"

"Yeah. As soon as I got here, I tried. And failed - no matter how hard I tried. It wasn't until I saw how panicked Luna was that it worked."

"And the first time you changed, you were so blind with rage, you couldn't even think. Am I right?"

"Yeah. I didn't even realize I'd changed until I saw the bastard's blood dripping from my claws. I've never been that mad before. Ever."

"So...changing isn't something you can force, and it doesn't require conscious thought. Both times, you weren't thinking, you were feeling - and pretty strongly, too. That fits with the traditional image of shapeshifters. I think the only way to tell for sure will be to have Edgar save everything he picks up the next time you change. Tell me: did you feel anything from the man you killed, before you killed him?"

"Besides terror? He stunk. Like a demon. No, worse than a demon. He had the same stink of evil, but there wasn't anything supernatural about it. Wait a minute...I've never smelled anything like that before...and I don't remember Bill smelling - well, he doesn't exactly smell it, but you know what I mean - anything like it, either. Not since Fluorite." That was weird. I could smell evil? That made me curious about the scent I'd caught when Ami had transformed. "I smelled something else, too - something I can't explain. When you transformed, besides the water smell, I smelled something else. Something I can't describe."

"Really? When I transformed? Hmm...," Ami mused, standing and putting her computer away. "Tell me if you can smell it now."

She transformed to Sailor Mercury, and that smell was there again. Not as strong as before, but a human nose just isn't as sensitive as a jackal's, so that's not surprising. I nodded, and she transformed back.

"We're going to talk with Fluorite, but I have an idea of what it could be. I wonder if you're smelling the presence of active magic. If that's the case, Fluorite will be able to confirm it."

"Let's go pick up my Javelin, ok? I'm going to have to talk with the police, and I don't want to leave it there where it's likely to get impounded." I didn't like the idea, but we're supposed to be the leaders of this society - and that means being subject to the same laws everyone else is. I'd killed a man, and that meant I had to turn myself in, for the sake of the law.

"That's right...Bill finally got around to building you one, didn't he? So when were you and Haruka planning to race?" Ami wrapped her arms around me and gave me a kiss that made it clear how much she loves me. The wonderful thing is, she doesn't love me just for Bill's sake: she loves me for myself.

I felt infinitely better after her kiss; I knew that no matter what happened, she'd be there for me. Luna looked approvingly up at me, then jumped to my shoulder and settled in for the trip to the street.

"You're doing the right thing," Luna decreed. "We can talk to the King and Queen later, but going to the police right away will say a lot about how seriously we take the law. Thank you."

"It's what I have to do," I said. "If we in the Palace behave as if we're above the law, how can we expect anyone else to have any respect for it? Personally, I think there's too damned many laws, and most of them are just plain stupid, but laws against killing are not among them. I just hope that my instincts were right. At least then I'd have a justification for what I did."

Ami squeezed my hand and looked back at me with shining eyes, while Luna purred in my ear. It was obvious both of them were going to stick with me through whatever happened.

 

"You want to turn yourself in for killing him, huh? Let me see your claws." Detective Fuchida pretty obviously thought I was wasting his time. "No claws? Sorry. I don't have time for this. There's a wild animal out there somewhere, and I've got to find it before it kills again."

"Fuchida-san, the photos are back from the lab." A uniformed cop, who looked as young as Chibi-Usa - well, as young as she looked, anyway - handed the detective a plain brown envelope, about the size Bill used for mailing manuscripts. At the thought it might be pictures of me, I was caught between hope and fear. The idea of spending any time - even five minutes - in jail was scary, but I couldn't just leave it, either. I knew what I'd done, even if the detective didn't believe it.

Ami squeezed my hand and gave me a reassuring smile. Luna had gone home to tell Serenity and Endymion what had happened, so they'd be prepared when - or if - I landed in jail. I mouthed "I love you" at her and returned the squeeze while waiting for the detective to look at the photos.

"You've got to be kidding me!" Detective Fuchida threw the photos down on his desk and glared at the cop. "You mean to tell me THIS is what the lab sent up?"

"Y-yes, Fuchida-san. You can see the seal is still on the envelope." He pointed at the flap, where a plastic evidence seal held it closed. The detective had opened the envelope by cutting along one side with a pocketknife.

Detective Fuchida grumbled and picked up his phone. After dialing an extension and waiting a moment, he engaged in a rapid-fire exchange with someone - I'm not an expert in police jargon, so I can't be sure, but I think it was someone in the department laboratory. When he slammed the phone down, he was radiating anger and frustration, strongly enough I could smell it - even with a human nose.

"Dammit! Now I have to take this mess to HER." Fuchida looked up and noticed we were still sitting next to his desk. "What are you doing still here? Go on, get out of here, before I have you arrested for wasting my time."

"Come on, Alex," Ami said gently, rising to her feet. "He's not going to believe you unless you change right here in the police station. We'll just have to talk to Sailor Venus after he gives her the file."

"Yeah, you just do...wait a minute, how did you know that?" Fuchida's eyes narrowed suspiciously as he glared at us.

"It's common knowledge that the police turn anything supernatural over to the Guardians. Since Sailor Venus is the leader of the Guardians, it's most likely that you'll be giving that file to her." Ami smiled and shrugged as she finished; it was pathetically obvious when she put it that way, but she'd let me go through this charade without mentioning it. I shot her an annoyed look, bringing a blush from her that had me moving to embrace her without thinking about it.

"And what makes you think this is a supernatural incident?" Have I mentioned that I hate interrogations? Detective Fuchida was rapidly turning this into one.

"Your disbelief upon seeing the photographs, coupled with your frustration at having to turn the case over to "her". Photographs would not be enough to require you to transfer a case to another detective, unless they were of a crime already being investigated by another office. Therefore, you must be angry about having to turn the case over to someone outside the police department. That would only happen if you had to turn it over to the Guardians."

"Elementary, my dear Lestrade," I murmured - in English. The amusement Ami sent my way was worth the sour look from the detective.

**Bad girl! I refuse to learn to smoke a pipe.**

**Ick. Thank goodness! Bill used to smoke one. I can still remember the taste. I'd rather eat roadkill than taste tobacco smoke again.**

**Thank you very much for that image, love. I'm going to have to punish you when we get home, you realize.**

**Is that a promise?**

**Imp!**

"Well, Doctor, since you obviously know so much, perhaps you'd like to try your hand at explaining this." Detective Fuchida held up one of the photos so we could see it. When I caught my breath at the image, he laughed. "Not a pretty sight, is it?"

He was right. It wasn't a pretty sight. It was beautiful. I know how pretty I am normally - but in fur, I was so beautiful it hurt to look at the picture. I was so lost in contemplation of my image, I didn't hear Ami speaking at first.

"...lycaeon, like in the Christian legend of St. Christopher. I'd always thought they were legendary," Ami said. I knew she was telling the truth - as far as it went. "If you find it, you should try to recruit it. The stories say they're dedicated to defending humanity."

"That one sure had a funny way of showing it. The largest piece of the victim couldn't have been more than 20 pounds."

"What do you expect?" I know I shouldn't have exploded like that, but I couldn't help it. "The bastard TOLD me he was planning to rape the girl he was holding. Just like those other three girls that got raped and murdered last week. He had the gall to tell me Japanese girls LIKE to be raped."

"So you lost your temper, turned into THIS," Fuchida waved the photo in my face, "and ripped him into little pieces with your claws?"

"That's right! And I'd do it again, too! NOBODY gets away with fucking with children in MY city - not as long as I can track them down and make them pay."

Fuchida didn't seem to realize how close he was getting...how much my blood was boiling. Between remembering what that gaijin bastard had tried to do and Fuchida's prodding, I was shaking with anger. I knew if I didn't do something - get out of there, at the very least - I was going to lose it right there in the police station. I definitely did not want to do that. The police are - usually - the good guys. Too mundane, hog-tied by procedures, and far too willing to go with the obvious answer, no matter how wrong it is, but they're usually on the side of the angels.

Ami captured my arm and tugged me toward the door. I knew she was saying something, but the roaring in my ears was too loud for me to make it out. We'd barely reached the street when she stung me with a vicious slap. My anger vanished, like flame under water. I couldn't believe she'd slapped me. Had I really made her that angry? I stared at her in surprise, touching my cheek as the tears began to flow. How could I face her, when she was angry enough to slap me? I turned away and started toward my Javelin, when she took my arm and pulled me back to face her.

"Alex, don't do this. Please? I'm not mad. I love you. I don't want you to be sad. I just needed to wake you up. Can't you feel it? You were about to lose control. I couldn't let you do that...not here." She reached out and slid a hand around the back of my head, pulling me close to her. Before I could gather my wits enough to pull away, I felt her lips against mine and her arms around me.

**I love you, Alex. Can't you feel it? Can't you feel that I'm not mad, that I don't want you to hurt? I just want you to be safe. Trust me?**

**You're not mad? But...**

**Silly girl! If I hadn't slapped you, you'd have changed. I couldn't let that happen. Not now. Wait until we get home, ok?**

I blushed and returned Ami's embrace. It's impossible to resist her, especially when she's right. She led me to the Javelin and waited while I straddled it and linked Edgar into its systems. Once I saw everything in the green, I nodded to her and she climbed aboard behind me. I'd have to be careful on the way home, since she didn't have a helmet, but that was ok. I was always careful when she rode with me. Hell, I was careful when anyone rode with me. A bike's not like a car - you lose it on a bike and you don't have a steel cage around you to keep the road rash off.

 

"Tell us what happened, Alex," Usagi said gently. It was just her, Mamoru, Ami, and myself. Even Luna wasn't there, which surprised me. "Luna told us what you told her, but you know I need to hear it from you and Edgar."

"It started when I was testing my Javelin. You know Bill finally finished it yesterday, right?" They nodded; they'd been subjected to my impatience as he'd been called away for one project after another, leaving my Javelin in pieces in his lab. "Well, I was driving through that old neighborhood over by Chinatown when I saw an angry crowd...."

They didn't interrupt as I told what had happened from my point of view, then asked Edgar to transmit his data to Hecate and Prometheus. When Mamoru emitted an angry hiss, I cringed; I wasn't sure if he was mad at me, or at what the gaijin had done.

"Why didn't you kill him sooner?" he asked through clenched teeth. Usagi took his hand and looked up at him with shining eyes. The anger in his voice was something I'd never heard before, and I didn't remember Bill ever encountering it, either.

"I wish I had. If I'd killed him when I broke his arm, it'd be easier to justify. He was so evil, I wanted to...but it wasn't until Edgar mentioned the other three girls that I lost it. I don't even know if he's the one, but...."

**He is. The DNA tests are complete, and there's no question about it. He's the one who raped and killed those other girls.**

"Who's that?" Usagi asked, surprised. I couldn't blame her: I thought I knew all the MacManuses, but that voice was a new one.

"That's Quincy," David said. "Dad put him in the police crime lab about a month ago."

"Oh. Thank you, Quincy. You're absolutely certain?" Usagi asked, gracious even under these circumstances.

"Within the limits of our ability to test. If I knew any magical testing procedures, I could improve my certainty, but that would just take it from 98% to 99%." This was weird. Quincy sounded like Jack Klugman. He had to have chosen that voice just to mess with Bill's mind, since the odds of anyone else in Crystal Tokyo recognizing it were close to zero.

"That's certain enough for me," Usagi said. "Mamo-chan?"

"I don't know. On the one hand, I think he got off too easily. On the other hand, we have to uphold the law - even if I would have done the same thing." Mamoru was definitely not happy, but he was right.

"Well, the law had BETTER say that what she did was right. Protecting others is just as important as protecting yourself, and someone who's already raped and murdered three girls is exactly the kind of person I was thinking of when I made the Laputa Law." Usagi looked up toward the nearest intercom panel and added, "Make sure that's perfectly clear, David. I don't want some policeman or judge looking to make a name for himself from this to try using some law the Laputa Law replaced."

"The law isn't the problem," David said. "In this case, I don't think there will be a problem. If he hadn't killed the girls, there would have been. Not as much as there would have been if her attacker were native, but enough."

"I don't understand," Usagi said. She wasn't the only one who didn't understand. "What do you mean?"

"Have you ever noticed how the rape statistics make it seem as if there are very few, anywhere in Japan?" David asked, then continued without waiting for an answer. "And, how most of those rapes that DO make up the statistics are perpetrated by gaijin? That's because the police actually go out of their way to discourage women from reporting rapes. It's a problem that was noticed back in the 20th century, and it hasn't gotten any better. When women DO report it, despite police discouragement, their reports tend to get lost, misfiled, shuffled off to junior prosecutors, and otherwise undermined - unless the perpetrator is a gaijin or someone the police or prosecutors have been trying to nail for some other crime."

"Well...how big is the difference?" Usagi asked, her eyes wide. She looked as horrified as I felt. I've never particularly trusted the police, but what David was describing went beyond distrust.

"Extrapolating from the data I've gathered in the last month," Quincy said, "the actual incidence of rape is about one in 400 women, which is about the same as it is in every other industrialized nation. The official figures claim approximately one in 10,000. My data is based entirely on those women who either attempted to report their attacks to the police or who sought medical treatment afterwards."

"Why?" I couldn't blame her for asking. Even after all her years as Queen, Usagi was still basically pure-hearted. She persisted in believing there was good in everyone, if you could just find it. She'd probably have kept trying to find the good in that bastard I'd killed, right up until he forced her to transform to Sailor Moon and vaporize his sorry ass.

"Given the data I've accumulated, the reason is simple. Even after 20 years of your reign, women are still second-class citizens in Japan. Given the choice between enforcing the laws against rape and protecting a man's name and reputation, the police, the prosecutors, and the courts will protect the man, unless forced to do otherwise. It would take drastic, dramatic action to change that."

"I've got some dramatic action in mind," I growled. Ami's hand on my arm kept me from the brink, but I wanted to go there...oh yes, I definitely wanted to go there....

"Take it easy, Alex," Ami said, squeezing my arm gently. "I have an idea. Quincy, you have names, don't you? Proof of who is protecting them?"

"I have names, I have video and audio recordings, and I have copies of the reports - both the ones that they thought they'd deleted and the ones that they've undermined. What's your plan?"

"Well, aren't there conspiracy laws? Or laws that cover tampering with evidence? I'm sure you can come up with the correct codes to apply to each situation."

"Oh, definitely. But there isn't a court in the nation that would accept the charges."

"Yes, there is. The one court from which there is no appeal." Ami looked at Usagi and Mamoru, and I started to get an inkling of what she had in mind. "I know you don't like taking a direct hand in things; I know you don't want to appear to be heavy-handed and dictatorial. However, in this situation, I believe your direct action is exactly what is needed. It would not only punish those Quincy gives us, it would also send a message to the entire nation that you will not tolerate the undermining of the law by those sworn to uphold it."

"You're right." Usagi nodded, her jaw set in determination. "Quincy, I want everything you have packaged for public presentation by morning. How many are we talking about?"

"I only have evidence against 250. I have suspicions about close to 300 more, but no evidence to confirm my suspicions."

"Just give us the ones you have evidence for. The others will take the hint, I'm sure." Usagi reached out to Mamoru and sighed softly when he squeezed her hand. "How are we going to arrest them?"

"They're cops, and cops' friends. We can't trust the police to do it," I growled. "Send us out to bring them in. We can have them before their buddies could warn them we're coming."

"I understand your feelings," Usagi said gently, "but that's the wrong way to do it. We have to trust the police, or we shouldn't have them. I know," she held up a hand when I opened my mouth to protest, "as far as you're concerned, we shouldn't have them anyway - people should rely on themselves to keep criminals in check - but not everyone is capable of doing that. We need the police to protect those who can't protect themselves."

"Why not invite them?" Mamoru asked. "If we send out invitations to everyone on the list, inviting them to a special court in honor of their efforts in the battle against crime, I'm certain most of them would be eager to come."

I had to admit, it was an elegant solution. Most of the ones we wanted would jump at the chance to be recognized by their Queen, and the ones who weren't so eager would show up anyway, either because they were afraid of missing out on something or because their associates would insist on it. It wasn't the way I'd do it, but I had to remember they were thinking as Queen and King.

"That sounds good," I said. "But we'll have to make the invitation as public as possible in order to get them to come. Even those who wouldn't come otherwise wouldn't be able to stay away if their friends, family, and associates pushed them."

"You'll have to give them proper trials," Ami said. "No matter how overwhelming the evidence against them, if you don't give them proper trials, it makes a mockery of the whole idea of law and justice. Summary punishments should only ever be given when you catch someone in the act, the way Alex did."

"Yes. That reminds me," Usagi said, turning to look at me, "you did the right thing. As I intended the law, you did exactly what you were supposed to do. I know you don't feel any guilt for killing that man, and you shouldn't. He deserved to die. Just...try to go on something more than your rage next time, ok?"

"I'll try. I wish I'd known it was going to happen, though."

"I think it's my fault," Usagi said with a grin. Guilt? From her? Not a chance. If anything, she looked pleased with herself. "If I remember right, I wished for you to have your own body, just like in Bill's stories."

"Just like in Bill's stories...you could have told me that," I complained with a grin. Usagi snickered and stuck her tongue out at me. "Is that an offer, your Majesty?"

Usagi turned a beautiful pink, squeaked, and buried her face in Mamoru's chest. He chuckled softly and held her close, stroking her hair.

"I think that means 'no'," he laughed. "After all, you're not Rei."

"Good thing, too!" I laughed. "After all, if I were Rei, I couldn't make love to her."

"Alex, you're shameless!" Ami exclaimed, right on cue, swatting at my arm as she blushed. I replied the way I usually do: I pulled her into my arms and kissed her thoroughly.

"You know, it's weird seeing the two of you together," Usagi commented when we came up for air. "Ami's the most reserved of us, and you're the most unrestrained, yet the two of you fit together like puzzle pieces. Even without Bill's influence."

Ami blushed some more and tried to hide her face in my breast, while I grinned at Usagi. She was right, you know. Even Minako has trouble keeping up with me sometimes, despite having been the most outgoing of them before I came along. I still wonder sometimes how Ami manages to cope with me - until I remember how much passion there is hidden behind that cool exterior.

 

It took nearly a week to arrange for the special court Mamoru had suggested. By then, I'd had to repeat my story of what had happened to every one of the others - except Setsuna, that is. It was kind of a relief to hear each of them express their approval of what I'd done; I'd been worried some of them might be upset I hadn't just disabled the bastard and held him for the police. Chibi-Usa's comment of "I hope he hurt" was the mildest opinion expressed.

Minako had arranged for the best of the Palace Guard to be in the throne room when the time came, and sent her most discreet Guards to arrest the three who didn't show. The throne room was a mob scene, between 247 representatives of the law enforcement community, reporters from every newspaper, TV, and radio station who could squeeze in, and all of us. The Senshi were all in uniform and stood around and behind Serenity and Endymion. Luna, Artemis, and Diana were siting between the thrones, and Luna was (as usual) giving Artemis an earful about something.

When Endymion stood, the babble that had filled the room died to a soft murmur. Some of the Guard had been passing through the crowd, distributing sealed envelopes to all of the 'guests'. When the last of them nodded to Endymion, he began to speak.

"Good morning, gentlemen. You should all have received a package; I'd like you to open those packages now. For the sake of our people who are unable to be here today, I will explain that what is in the packages is each individual's supporting evidence for the honor we are bestowing today.

"Gentlemen, you are all under arrest for subverting, and conspiring to subvert, the laws against rape and sexual assault. Your packages contain the evidence you will want to provide your attorneys. Your trial dates are also in those packages."

The crowd roared with outrage, loud enough to drown out Endymion's voice. He stood, with his arms crossed as he watched the crowd and let it go on for a few moments. We all heard him ask David for maximum amplification, so we were ready when his voice came out of all the speakers a moment later, loud enough to stun everyone else in the room.

"Silence." Endymion hadn't had to raise his voice; David did it for him. The impact of the sound stunned them into silence, and he continued at a normal volume. "You are all fired, and barred for the rest of your lives from employment by any division of our government."

He stopped suddenly and hurled one of his roses into the crowd. The detonation that followed gave me a point to focus on. The crowd was pushing away from two men: one who had fallen with several bleeding wounds in his scalp and left shoulder, and the other, whose right hand and forearm had seen better lifetimes. The Guardians and Sailor Chibi-Moon moved to surround Serenity and Endymion; Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto leapt to a position that allowed them to apply fire anywhere in the room, and Sailor Saturn and I moved toward the two bleeding men. I was half way through the crowd before I realized I'd changed. At least my larger form gave them inspiration to clear a path for the two of us.

Sailor Saturn applied her healing to the man who'd been caught by the fragments of the exploding gun. I grabbed the other man's arm and pinched off the blood flow so he wouldn't bleed to death through his shattered hand. All it took to stop any resistance was a simple snarl. Actually, he fainted when I snarled in his face. That made it a lot easier. Once Saturn had healed the innocent man, she took care of my prisoner.

By the time she'd healed both of them, two of the Guard had arrived to collect the assassin. I don't know if he'd planned it, or if his attempt on Endymion had been a spur of the moment reaction. Either way, the assassination attempt on top of everything else was not going to help his case. I'm sure he'll never realize how lucky he was that Endymion was the one to stop him. Once the Guard had control of him, Sailor Saturn and I returned to our places.

"Alex, would you mind changing back?" Endymion asked, smiling. "I think you're making people nervous."

I gave an amused yip at his request. He knew I still had trouble with the transition back to my human form, yet he was asking me to shift back as if I had full control over it. With that kind of trust, how could I not? The funny thing is, his trust somehow made it easy. When I was back in my human form, he nodded and turned his attention back to the crowd.

"Don't think that you're being targeted just because you're in Crystal Tokyo. We will be pursuing this throughout the kingdom. It is the wish of myself and Neo-Queen Serenity that any person who has been sexually assaulted, anywhere in the kingdom, call the Palace and speak with any of us. We will investigate, and if your complaint has been disposed of in any way other than in accordance with the law, we will take action. That includes anyone who is in prison for defending him or herself, or someone else, against an attacker. If our investigation supports your claim that you were imprisoned for defending yourself or someone else, we will take action.

"The Crystal Palace Network will be presenting full details of the charges against those here today, immediately following the conclusion of this court." Endymion looked around the room thoughtfully before continuing. "If you gentlemen will be so kind as to follow the directions of the Guard, you will be shown to your cells. That concludes this court."

 

It took the rest of the day to clear them all out. With only the Guard to do the work, while the rest of us watched in case anyone else tried anything stupid, it went a lot slower than it would have if we'd been able to use the police to do it. As it was, the piles of badges and guns covered two tables before the end. Most of the guns were issue, so they'd go back to the police department. The remainder, we'd hold until each one's owner had his trial, then use them as loaners in the firearms training classes Bill supervised. No, I didn't think any of them would be getting out of this.

"Good thing you're so curious, Alex!" Sailor Venus laughed, slapping my back. "So what's the next trick on your schedule?"

"Oh, I don't know...how does an orgy sound?" Hey, I've got a reputation to keep up. And my reputation says that I'm more shameless and uninhibited than Minako.

Sailor Venus grinned, accepting the unspoken challenge. Since Usagi gave me my own body, Mina-chan and I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to outdo each other. The only unshakable rule we both operate under is that nobody gets hurt. Otherwise...well, last month, she got her hands on some thousand-year-old brandy and threw a party that spilled over from the lounge at the top of the central tower to overrun most of the Palace. The month before that, I bought about a kilometer's worth of adjacent beachfront properties, turned the shore into a nude beach, and put on one of those late 50s/early 60s beach parties, just for us. OK, so after the beach party I dumped the property on an orphanage, but what was I supposed to do with it? Keep it just so we could have a party site? The point is, Mina-chan and I enjoy trying to outdo each other on the wild and crazy front.

"And what are you two up to?" Serenity asked from behind us. Sailor Venus and I exchanged a surprised glance, then turned to face her, doing our best to look innocent.

"Up to? Why...nothing," Venus said. "What could we possibly be up to?"

"Knowing the two of you, something outrageous. So what is it?"

"Just an orgy," I said, as casually as I could. I love it when I can get the Queen to blush. She makes her hair so pale when she takes on her royal appearance that her face looks like a beacon when it reddens. "What do you think? Should we use the throne room for it?"

Poor Serenity. That definitely blew her boggle circuits. She squeaked. Sailor Venus and I looked at each other and laughed, then moved to embrace our poor overwhelmed Queen. She was too overwhelmed to find her voice, but Hecate had no trouble transmitting what she was thinking....

**You two are BAD! What am I supposed to do with you?**

"Mmm...did you hear what I heard, Mina-chan?"

"Only if you heard an invitation to ravage our beloved Queen, Alex-chan."

"It certainly sounded like it to me. Should we take her up on it, do you think?"

"Mmm...it's tempting...but I think we should ask Rei's permission first, don't you?"

"Hmm...you have a point there."

Serenity squeaked again, blushing all the way down to her dress (one of those strapless creations she looks so good in). The wide-eyed look she gave us was priceless; especially with the mixture of utter embarrassment and curious desire that went with it.

"Hmm...what are the two of you up to now?" Endymion asked as he moved behind Serenity and placed his hands on her shoulders. "Could it be your plans for this month's insanity?"

"Could be," I purred, watching Serenity and licking my lips. She squeaked again and buried her face in Endymion's chest. "I was just asking our Queen if she thought we should use the throne room for the orgy I intend to throw."

Endymion has much better self-control than Serenity. He simply looked around the room thoughtfully for a moment, then back at me.

"I don't think so. It's too big, too insecure, and totally lacking in any comfortable places. If you don't want to use the room Minako started last month's party in, the best I can suggest is one of your apartments."

Serenity squeaked again and looked up at him with an expression of shock on her face. She obviously hadn't been expecting him to react so helpfully. Venus and I had to laugh and throw our arms around both of them.

"I believe, your Majesty, that our Queen is in need of some help in regaining her composure. We'll just go plot while you take care of that, ok?" I grinned and nipped Serenity's ear before stepping back; she rewarded me with a squeak and a shiver.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're shameless?" Endymion asked with a smile as Serenity pressed herself against him.

"Not in the last...five minutes," I shot back with a grin. "Come on, Mina-chan! Let's go get this party together!"

Sailor Venus laughed and joined me; we bounded off toward her apartment to plan the orgy.

 

The orgy hadn't been nearly as wild as I'd expected. I suppose that's because Minako and I are the only ones who don't care if we have spectators when we make love - at least, we don't care as long as the spectators are within the family. Usagi and Mamoru, Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, Michiru and Haruka, Setsuna and Sarah, Naru and Umino, Fluorite and Rusty, even Rei and Yuuichiro, had all wandered off as it got late, until all that was left were Ami, Makoto, Minako, and me. Ami and Makoto were trying very hard to not die of embarrassment as Minako and I enjoyed each other.

You know, under Ami's cool exterior is more passion than anyone else would believe. Right now, for instance, I could feel what was going through her...she was torn between terminal embarrassment, a strong hunger for me - for all three of us, and a wish she were brave enough to join us. Bill never takes nearly as much advantage as he should of the gift Serenity and Endymion gave at the wedding. If he did, Ami wouldn't have to be torn right now.

**Mina-chan...on three, we pounce Ami-chan.**

**Sounds like fun. What do we do about Mako-chan?**

**Ganymede? What's Mako-chan thinking?**

**She's wishing Rei were here...or that she were brave enough to either join you two or pounce Ami.**

**Thanks. Sounds like we pounce both of them, eh?**

**I like this plan. I'm proud to be a part of this plan. Three!**

So much for counting to three. I should have known Minako couldn't wait. Not that I'm going to complain. She'd only done what I was planning to do. We rolled, separated, and had the two of them in our arms before they could draw a breath.

**You...you...you...** Ami's thoughts were surprised, but happily so. She swatted at me, the way she always did when I did something she was too embarrassed to admit she enjoyed.

**Me...me...me...Are we having fun yet? Or should Mina-chan and I change places?**

"You!" Ami shrieked, laughing.

I pulled her into a long kiss before she could continue. She responded immediately, and I quickly found myself concentrating totally on loving her. The last thing I thought of before contentedly drifting off to sleep with Ami in my arms was how embarrassed Bill would be when he woke up in the morning with Minako and Makoto cuddled next to him and Ami.


Disclaimer: Sailor Moon, Sailor Senshi, and all terms, names, etc. associated with the series are copyrighted by Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha. I make no claim to them and this work of fanfiction should not be seen as making a claim.

Those characters and concepts that are original, the Crystal Kingdom Archives, and the story "Jackal's Heart", are copyrighted 2000 by Bill Hartwell.

Rated: PG-13


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