"Mirror, Mirror on the wall"

By Sailor Miaka

A/N: So this is the third part of my Sailor Moon Saga. Sorry for the long space in-between...busy life etc. not to mention writers block but her it is. It's a bit long, I'll admit but I like it. This story covers a lot of ground so it does move kind of fast. Oh well Happy readings and don't forget to review! I love all of those you have reviewed my other stories!

Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon & Co. Naoko does.

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall."

"Like HELL I will Serenity!"

King Triton of Neptune flung the missive to the fireplace before him. As he watched it burn, its message burned into his mind.

"Triton,

It is time that Michiru was sent to the moon for training. She is well past her 8th birthday and we have yet to even see her. I know this is hard for you, but it was what Amphitrite would have wanted. You are expected to follow tradition and send your daughter to be trained so that she can carry on the name of Sailor Neptune as did her mother and countless women before her. Amphitrite was a wonderful woman, a doting mother and a fantastic soldier. I want her daughter to experience and honor that. She pledged at Serena's Christening. Triton, she will feel the pull sooner or later. Please, I am asking you not only as the ruler of the Moon but as your friend and Amphitrite's, please send Michiru for training. I await your reply.

Serenity"

He growled more before retreating into the darkness of his mind. That bloody woman and her planet have already claimed the life of my wife, there is no way I will let her claim my daughter! As every night before, Triton would relive the scene in his head. Amphitrite and Amoura, sneaking up on Nehelenia as she attacked the Queen. Nehelenia killing Uranus, Neptune seeking revenge, Amphitrite dying in his arms while his daughter was grabbed by the dark Queen, only to be saved by one of the Uranian Twins, he never could tell which was which. After all of it, the battle, the funeral and the subsequent questions from Michiru about "Where was Mommy?" Triton had found a way to survive without his beloved. He had iron-clad rule on his mourning planet. No one questioned his revert back to the traditional Neptunian ways. No one had questioned him in anything. Until one night nearly a week ago when Michiru had sat in her bedroom window, gazing at the moon and the other planets and had asked innocently

"Daddy? What else is out there? I remember a White palace where Mommy took me before she left us. Where was that? I think I should be there."

He had flown into a blind rage, nearly striking his daughter, but had held himself back enough to retreat to his room where he broke several vases and decorative items until his rage subsided. Michiru was already feeling the pull to the moon. He didn't know what to do.

"Amphitrite? What do I do?" He asked to the fireplace.

"You tell her about Us and then send her to the moon for training." said a soft feminine voice that was rarely if ever heard.

Triton turned to see Thetys, once head lady-in-waiting to the Queen. She had been a shoulder for Triton to cry on numerous times in the last four years. Triton had proposed to her after deliberating on the issue for months. He was alone and unlike Oranus of Uranus, he wasn't strong enough to go alone for the rest of his life. Especially not when his daughter looked exactly like her mother. Except for her eyes. Those were Tritons lineage in her. Thetys embraced him softly

"Alright, it's time," He said slowly, "I hope she takes it well."

The sounds of the violin echoed off of Marina Castle's coral walls. Each one was in perfect tune and beautiful pitch. But Neptune's King noticed neither the beautiful music nor the little eight year old playing them. He couldn't bear to look at her. She slowly ended the piece and replaced her precious violin in its case in the Music room.

"Papa?" Michiru walked closer to her father as she spoke. He had been moody of late, his temper coming out more and more often. She tried so hard to please him. She dressed in traditional Neptunian garments, wore her hair tied back and up in thousands of tiny braids and was in short the perfect little princess. Yet her father still found fault with her.

"Michiru." He replied at last "There will be some changes to our family soon."

Triton looked down, not able to meet the small girls questioning eyes. Amphitrite, help me, he thought, and was immediately filled with guilt and remorse for the gruff way he was treating his only daughter.

"Michiru, I have decided to re-marry. You are only eight and as such too young to understand fully why I am doing this but It is imperative that I do so. Besides you need a mother to look after you. You are a big girl now and can't come running to me with all your problems."

Michiru was dumbfounded. She stared in shock first at her father, then at Thetys who had followed Triton into the music room. She wasn't a genius, but she could certainly put two and two together. Rage filled her heart and her lower lip trembled. She bowed her head and nodded slowly, without making a sound. Befitting to a princess' behavior, she extended her hand to Thetys, who took it, but could not squeeze as was required. Thetys raised her eyes to meet the young princess' and was met with a look that could not be described as mere anger, or even hatred. Thetys stepped back quickly.

"Welcome, Lady Thetys." Michiru replied softly.

Triton smiled, some of his burden lifting.

"We will be happy together." he said smiling down at his daughter.

Michiru smiled coldly at the two and promised them anything but.

"Any word, Luna?"

"No, my Queen. Uranus and Neptune have not arrived nor has there been any communication from them."

"Keep checking Luna. Neptune will come. Uranus will follow, but Neptune will lead."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

Wedding preparations were made quickly and before the Kingdom of Neptune knew it, it was the day of their King's nuptials. Triton awoke early and sat contemplating his decisions. Politically, emotionally, physically and socially, Thetys was a good match. No one could ever replace Amphitrite in his heart, and Triton regretted not showing more affection to his departed wife to the bottom of his soul, but Thetys filled a void within him that Amphitrite had left. And besides, he knew nothing of raising a child, lest of all a girl-child. Michiru needed a mother, someone to take care of her. Triton raised his eyes to the painting of Amphitrite that hung above his mantle. Behind it a magical safe held two precious items. One a strange shaped stick, the other a Teal enamel silver mirror with elegant trimming. He lifted the Mirror out of the safe and placed it on his desk. Michiru would need encouragement today. He would give her her mother's magic Mirror.

Michiru flung herself on her bed, sobs tearing through the quiet air. Her father was married. He had replaced her mother. He had replaced her. He had no need for her now. She couldn't help but feel hatred toward Thetys. The woman had changed everything in Michiru's life and the poor girl had no way of understanding what was happening. She dried her eyes and stared out at the stars, counting the planets and remembering bits and pieces. Unbidden a new memory rose to her eyes. She was very little, maybe three or four and she and her mother where traveling somewhere, to a place Michiru had never been.

"What's that, Mommy?" Four-year-old Michiru asked pointing at the white orb that hung in the sky.

"That's the Moon, Ru-ru. Your Aunt Rena lives there. Today we are going to see her and you will meet a new friend."

"Will 'Ruka be there?"

"Yes, Haruka will be there and so will Mina, Rei, Lita and Amy. There is also a new baby for you to play with."

"Aunt 'Rena's baby?"

"Yes."

"Do I have to play with her? Babies are so small. 'Ruka says they smell and get you dirty. I don't like getting dirty."

"Michiru, look at me."

Amphitrite raised her daughters face to meet eye to eye with her.

"This baby will be very important to you. It is your job to protect her."

"Like you 'tect Aunt Rena?"

"Yes, just like I protect Aunt Rena."

Michiru sat up startled as the memory faded. Protect a baby? Was she supposed to be somewhere? Was there something she was supposed to do? The click of her door shook her from her thoughts. She turned and saw her father enter. She turned back towards her open windows. He sat down on her bed.

"Michiru?"

No answer.

"Michiru please. I know you are upset, and you have every right to be, but you must understand Michiru."

"Understand what? That you have replaced my mother with a new woman? That soon you will replace me with your new children? Did my mother mean so little to you? Do I mean nothing to you?"

Triton was aghast. Surely this was not his eight year old daughter talking to him. She always had been mature but this was astounding. He grasped the mirror and pulled it out of his pocket.

"I think you should have this now. Your mother wanted it to be a present on your tenth birthday but I think you need it now."

She turned and accepted the mirror from him. It felt familiar in her hand, giving her comfort.

"It was your mother's Talisman, now it is yours. The Aqua Mirror. It is part of a set of three given to the outer planets of Neptune, Uranus and Pluto in order to insure the royalty on the moon. The mirror is, according to legend, meant to shine the true light through any doubts that may arise, to show true purity and love. To be an advance warning if an evil is approaching. Your mother used it well and so will you."

"Daddy, is there something I am supposed to do? Someplace I am supposed to be?"

Triton sighed. He knew he needed to tell her.

"Yes my little Umi-chan. You are supposed to be on the moon. In training to protect the Moon Princess and the Silver Millennium Galaxy from all threats. You are supposed to be carrying the title of Sailor Neptune, as did your mother and countless women before her. You are part of a tradition that has been an honor and grief to this planet for millennia. This is your heritage and tradition."

Michiru stared. She had heard stories of the mythic Sailor Senshi since she was old enough to remember. 10 women who guarded the galaxy from evil invasion. They were not only the galaxies finest soldiers, but the princess' of their respective planets. She looked into her father's eyes knowing what she must do and yet for the first time seeing his true feelings. He didn't want her to go; he didn't want to lose her. She began to cry anew burying her little head into his chest, hugging him fiercely. Triton felt tears running down his own cheeks as he embraced his daughter. He pulled her fully onto his lap and began to tell her stories that she had never heard before. Stories of the Sailor Senshi, and most of all Stories of Sailor Neptune.

Thetys crept down the hall toward Michiru's room. Triton had not yet returned to their room, and she was a little concerned as to his whereabouts. She opened the door and a soft smile broke onto her face. There, cuddled on the little bed, where Triton and Michiru. Thetys quietly walked in and spread a blanket over the two of them. She chuckled softly and returned to her room. There would be time for a wedding night later.

Two Weeks later

Michiru arrived on the moon unannounced. She realized that as soon as she walked into the great throne room in Crescent palace only to be stared at and rushed be several official looking advisors. "This is no place for children," "Be gone little one," and "Out!" were just few of the phrases yelled out in the commotion. Had Queen serenity not yelled out for them to quiet, it is likely Michiru would have never been seen at all. But Serenity did see her and her eyes widened at the sight of the girl.

"Michiru?" The moon Queen asked quietly.

"Princess Michiru Oceana Kaioh of Neptune at your service my lady." Michiru said formally in a quiet voice as she sank in a deep curtsy.

"He sent her, by the gods he sent her! Luna! She's here! Neptune is here!!" cried out the Queen.

Michiru was immediately embraced by the queen and by four tiny little girls of about 5 or 6 years of age. Not to mention one little 4 year old who tripped over her skirts and fell twice before making her way over. The queen tried not to chuckle as she lifted Serena into the little group.

"Darlings, this is Michiru. She is from Neptune. Michiru these are the Princesses of the inner planets. Lita from Jupiter,"

The little copper headed girl smiled and showed Michiru where she had just lost a tooth.

"Mina from Venus,"

Mina jumped up and down squealing about showing Michiru her dolls.

"Rei from Mars,"

Rei regarded Michiru with an aloof glance but shook her hand. Michiru felt a slight tingle as she realized this girl had some sort of psychic power.

"Amy from Mercury,"

Amy peeked out from behind Lita and waved.

"And last but not least this is Serena, princess of the moon."

Serena giggled as she waved from her mother's arms babbling incoherently.

Michiru stood and stared at these girls. Someone was missing. She couldn't put her finger on it but she knew someone was missing. She smiled as the other girls took her hand and showed her to her rooms.

Oranus gripped his hands around the shoulders of the twins in front of him. It was time to leave. He bent to one knee and hugged the two eight year-old fiercely.

"Do your best. I know you two will. I wish your mother could be here with us today. She'd be so proud of the both of you, just as proud as I am. You two are the heirs to Uranus. Let no one tell you otherwise. Protect Darien as you would each other." He said with a deeply emotional voice. "If you need anything at all, you know how to get in touch with me."

Haruka and Luke gripped onto their father with such intensity, King Onyx of Earth thought his arms would snap in half.

"Come this way children, Darien take them to their room." Onyx said.

AS they watched the three depart, the Kings clasped hands in an age old tradition of brotherhood.

"I'll protect them Oranus. I swear I will."

"Onyx, you know about Haruka. Watch her please. She doesn't know, I can't bear to tell her. I can't lose her to, to... Keeping up the boy illusion is the only way I know to keep her from..." Oranus began

"Haruka will never know about the..." Here Onyx muttered the word in disgust "senshi." Neither will Darien if I can help it. They won't even know she's a girl if I can help it."

"Thanks my friend."

The men embraced in a brotherly hug, interrupted by a tugging on Oranus' cloak. Haruka stood there solid and silent.

"Papa," she said with a slight tremble on her lips, fighting her emotion.

Oranus leaned down and swept up his daughter in one last hug, praying the day for her take the pen of Sailor Uranus would never come.

Four years passed before Michiru knew it. Her parents had visited every so often, usually bringing Michiru's two new baby sisters and her stepmother pregnant with a third baby. The visits became less and less frequent. She felt sad, knowing that without meaning too her father was slowly replacing her with this new life. Queen Serenity said it was merely because her father still mourned for her dead mother. While Michiru did not dispute this, she still felt it unfair. She moved down the hallways in a trance like state, wondering what her new place in the scheme of Neptunian life would be. More than like she would be given to some prince or noble in order to create an alliance. Michiru did not care for that option one bit. She knew that someday she would have to have a daughter to carry on the powers of Sailor Neptune, but she would have it her own way, not an arrangement. Wondering down a different hallway than she usually took to her chambers, Michiru heard a peculiar sound. It sounded like tears. She peeked around the open door in front of her to see Queen Serenity with her head in her hands. The large viewing monitor going blank as she entered. Serenity's head snapped up.

"Your pardon, Serentiy-sama." Michiru said quietly curtsying. "I heard the crying..."

"Its no issue, darling. Come to me." The older woman acknowledged.

Michiru walked to the Queen's side. Serenity grasped her hand and looked at her eyes.

"No twelve year-old can fully understand this, my dear so I do not expect you too. The universe is in great turmoil right now and unbalanced. Times are vicious and people are beginning to get worse. I have tried to train you and your friends in love and honor, in hopes that you girls will lead the new generations into a better time than what we have. It was all so much simpler when I was your age. Rules could be broken with no consequence and the heart ruled everything. Its not that way anymore. You wonder why I am crying. Today was the birthday of a very dear friend of mine who was killed in battle protecting me. You know of her. Queen Gaia, the last Sailor Earth."

Michiru nodded, she knew her history, that same battle had claimed Queen Serenity's husband, Sailor Uranus and Michiru's own mother.

"She had a little boy, the first boy to born to a senshi in a millennia, born before Luke of Uranus, I was his godmother. I was supposed to protect him in case..." The Queen broke into tears again and could not finish for several minutes. Clearing her eyes she began again. "Every so often I will use the crystal viewer to check on him, to make sure he is in no danger; that he is loved and cared for. I watched him today, saw the young man he is becoming and I weep for the mother who will never see this and whom he will never know."

"I understand, Serenity-sama." Michiru said as tears fell to her own cheeks she embraced the Queen.

"I forget sometimes Michiru, that you are not your mother, but her daughter. You are very much alike to her."

Darien felt the prickles run down his neck. He shuddered slightly and looked around his room. He was getting the feeling that someone was watching him again. He shook his head. 'It must have been a dream' he thought as he lay down to sleep again.

"Darien?" a voice called through his room

"Haruka?" he called back "Come in"

Haruka bounded in, blond hair askew.

"I thought I heard something and I came to check on you." Haruka said

"No," Darien smiled. Haruka had been suffering from night terrors lately. The Uranian had probably sensed he was awake and came to talk to him. "Nothing's around as far as I know, but I'm awake for awhile."

Haruka climbed onto the bed to sit next to him.

"Do you ever think that there is somewhere you're supposed to be? Something you're supposed to do?"

"All the time, like when its time for lessons, or I have to sit in on some council"

"No. I mean, I just think that I'm forgetting something important."

"What was it tonight?" Darien asked, not giving Haruka time to pretend her night terrors did not exist.

"My mother dying."

"Oh." Darien could only remember bits and pieces of the night himself. The trauma had affected all the children there that night." Tell me, maybe it'll help."

Haruka hugged her knees to her chest. She trusted Darien more than the others, ever since the day about a year ago when he had accidentally walked in on her in the bathing chamber and found out that she wasn't like the rest of the boys. His father had sworn him to secrecy and he had never betrayed her. She just didn't like exposing herself.

"I remember a woman in a yellow dress and me being in a dress. My mother went after the woman and she slammed a dagger in her stomach. She fell." Haruka was choking back emotion.

"I remember my mother," Darien said softly." She stepped in front of the Dark Queen's dagger, protecting someone. There was a baby..."

"A Baby! That's it...that's what my mother was saying." Haruka cried

Unbidden her mother's last words floated to Haruka's mind.

"It's your job to protect them now Haruka. Your Queen. Your Princess. Your future heir. It's your destiny. Just like mineā€¦"

She buried her head into her knees. She liked it on Earth, she loved her friends. This baby would be okay without her, she decided, She wouldn't go. She wanted to stay

"That baby is eight years old" Darien said quietly looking at the moon. "I wonder what she's like."

"Happy Birthday Michiru!" cried five girls into the morning quiet that normally reigned in Michiru's bedchamber.

She opened her eyes to find Mina, Serena, Lita, Amy and Rei standing next to her bed with a large tray of yummy looking breakfast food.

"Breakfast in bed! How wonderful!" Michiru exclaimed. " Are you all joining me?"

A loud whoop of joy came as the five girls climbed into bed with Michiru and shared her birthday breakfast.

From the hallway Queen Serenity marveled in the change she saw in Michiru. On her sixteenth birthday, Michiru was completely different than the quiet eight year old that had arrived in her courts years ago. She was still quiet, but expressed herself in so many different ways. She was stubborn and passionate and those traits came to prominence more often than they had. Serenity was proud and knew that if Michiru's mother could have seen her, she would be also.

"Happy Birthday Michiru!" She said gaily as she swept into the room.

"Thank you Serenity-sama." Michiru returned with a smile.

"Alright darlings," Serenity said to the younger girls "Off you go...Michiru has a busy day ahead of her!"

Amid groans and whining the younger girls went about their normal day and left the two.

"Michiru, Your father will be joining us shortly, and he has a rather important thing to discuss with you."

Michiru's curiosity was piqued. "What is that, my queen?"

"I don't know, but he wants to discuss it with you before dinner tonight. I just wanted you to know."

Michiru silently nodded her understanding. The Queen returned her nod and went about her own business as Michiru readied herself in Traditional Neptunian garments. When she was ready she made her way to the small ante-chamber adjoing the Dining Room and entered rather hesitantly. Her father stood there standing next to the small fire place gazing at the portrait above it. It was of the Younger days of the Senshi, Michiru had often gazed at this picture believing she could talk to her mother.

"Papa?" Michiru said quietly, invoking her manners.

"Michiru? I hardly recognize you," he said visibly taken aback by his daughter's appearance. He sucked in a breath before continuing and Michiru instantly knew why, she was the spitting image of her mother. "You're beautiful." he finished.

"Its been two years since you last graced me with a visit Papa." she said slightly bitter.

Her jibe went unnoticed as he came up and embraced her. He once again regarded her with a seasoned eye. Tingles shot down Michiru's back and she began to feel odd.

"Papa? What was it you wished to speak to me about?" she asked to break the growing silence.

Triton faltered for merely a second at her straight forward manner.

"I have wonderful news my darling," he began. "You'll be leaving the moon with us on the morrow."

"What?!" Michiru gasped in disbelief.

"You'll be accompanying me, your stepmother and your sisters on our journey to Earth."

Triton regarded his daughter with a satisfied air, he judged the emotion sparkling in her eyes to be excitement. He smiled to her.

"No." Michiru said, cold calm and emotionless.

"Pardon me?" He said, temper rising.

"I am not leaving the moon. You all journey to Earth with my blessings, but without me. I'll not be joining you." she said.

"You. Ungrateful. Bitch." He breathed, his temper rising to greater hieghts. "I sent you to this place to follow in her footsteps and be a respected role model to Neptune. Not to defy your parents. Is this what you have been taught?"

"I have yet to graduate Papa." she said "I have much yet to learn."

"That is obvious my daughter. As to graduating as you call it, you will not. I forbid it. I knew I never should have allowed my emotion to govern my decisions. This was a mistake. You will not return to this place. After the tour of Earth you will be returning to Neptune." He decreed, he veins bulging and face reddening with his anger.

Michiru fought to keep her calm demeanor, but still her lips trembled and her eyes filled. Her voice did not waver.

"I will not! I will remain here!" she cried.

"No," her father said in a dangerous voice as he grabbed a hold of her wrist" You will journey with us."

Before she could react, Triton had slapped her face with such force that the resounding crack echoed within the room.

"Pack your things Michiru. Or I will do it for you," He said turning his back to her as he left the room.

Michiru's face burned in shame and anger, the salt of her tears staining them as she walked into the dining room, her head high and her pride intact. She may have been overruled but not for long. She would go to Earth, but she would not stay there.

Michiru embraced the Five younger girls as they sobbed.

"Don't worry, He can't keep me there forever, soon I'll be back to you all. I promise." she whispered to each.

With one last look to the moon palace, Michiru climbed on to the transport. Queen Serenity caught her eye and Michiru suddenly felt a calming sensation spread through her body. Serenity would fix this and make her father see reason. Everything was going to be ok. Until then, she would stick it out. She had too.

Darien straightened his dress coat and ran a hand through his dark hair. He was not looking forward to this nights festivities. The Neptunian entourage would be arriving momentarily and Darien did not like it one bit. His instincts told him to be on his guard. Lately every time he had seen his father, Onyx had clapped him on the back and praised him for how grown up he'd become, what a great man he would be, what a prince and soon to be king he would be. Darien smelled a rat. His father, though loving and caring of his son, did not hand out praise like that without a reason. Something was about to happen, Darien was sure of it, and it definitely was not a good one.

"They're here!" Nephrite's call echoed down the hallway. "Neptune has arrived!"

Haruka pinched the top of her nose as she watched the hustle and bustle down below. Abruptly, she turned on her heel and walked briskly to her chambers, scattering the waiting servants on her way.

"Luke?" she said in her husky voice.

"Haruka?" he answered back

Identical teal eyes met, from a distance no one could tell the Uranian heirs apart. Luke, with his narrower face and scholarly manner watched his sister intently. Neptune must be here, he thought. That's why she's jumpy. It would be a true test to see if they could fool one of their mother's oldest friends into believing Haruka was a boy. Luke was protective of his sister as Darien was. It was her male disguise that had kept them together and Luke was not about to give her up. Haruka needed the disguise to rule absolutely on Uranus, being the older twin. Luke was more than happy to let his sister rule. All he wanted was to continue to read and research. It was all he asked for in life. Haruka lived for the excitement of a prince's life, the battles, the strategy, the policy. Luke could care less. After their mother's death it had been an act of Council that decreed no female could rule Uranus alone, she would have to marry. Haruka's male disguise would keep that act from every applying to her.

"Neptune is here," she said matter of factly.

"So I gathered," he replied. "Shall we go down?"

Haruka nodded and together the twins walked to the throne room to join their prince.

Michiru's fingers itched to paint the landscape before her. Colors she had never before seen blossomed in her mind. Earth was definitely the most beautiful of the planets. A strong hand on her shoulders brought her back from her daydreams.

"We are here. You will not embarrass me Michiru." her father said sternly.

"No Papa." Michiru said meekly.

"Behave and you will have free time later this eve or perhaps this next morn. I believe you would enjoy the sunrise here."

His voice had softened sounding much as it had in her younger years. Michiru's head lifted and her eyes met his.

"The colors are beautiful here Papa."

"You will have much opportunity with them Michiru." Her father said.

The odd tingles raced up Michiru's back again. She dismissed them but still in her head she thought of them. Again, she thought. This is not good.

The royal Neptunian family entered the throne room of Earth in royal procession. Thetys and her sisters entered first, noting their subservience to the King and the Crown Princess. Together Michiru and her father entered amongst fanfare and cheers. Michiru was determined to do her part and she played it well. As she approached the throne of Earth, she caught the eyes of the tall young man sitting next to the King. Surely this was Prince Darien, she thought, son of Sailor Earth. Visions assaulted her, of the night her mother died, of the night her princess had been born. She sucked in a claming breath.

"Welcome to Earth Princess Michiru." The purple eyed prince said.

"My thanks in your reception Prince Darien." she replied. She curtsied low to him. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement. She looked quickly and was caught in the teal gaze of a tall blonde soldier of the prince. His uniform was navy blue with gold trimmings and a large sword hung on his right side. Her breath caught in her throat, she'd seen those eyes before. She curtsied once again to this soldier and acknowledged his responding bow. Darien stood and extended his hand to her. With a brief look of confusion to her father, Michiru let Darien lead her to the dance floor. The music was beautiful and intoxicating, but Michiru was not falling prey to its spell. Her mind kept wondering back to those eyes.

"I don't suppose you have any idea about what's going on, do you?" Darien's voice broke her thoughts

"I'm afraid I am in the dark as much as you, Your Highness." Michiru replied.

"Darien, please. I'm not much for formality." He said with a light smile.

Michiru returned the smile with genuine emotion. He has a good soul, she thought, slowly her instincts allowed her to relax, and trust this Earth Prince.

"Then I am simply Michiru." she added softly.

"Now that that's out of the way, I have a question for you."

Michiru's eyes widened in surprise "Yes?" she responded.

"I know that this may be hard for you but I must ask. You were there the night...the night our mother's were killed. I don't remember much but I remember a few things. Like a baby. What is that Baby's name and is she alright? I worry for her all the time. I don't understand why I do but I do."

Michiru was silent for a time, contemplating her own memories. She looked up at him and saw no hidden purpose in his purple eyes. She looked around quickly.

"There is a balcony entrance to our immediate left. Out there." She gestured with her shoulder.

Darien nodded slightly and swung her around and out the door. Once outside he released his hold on her waist immediately. She silently willed the aqua mirror into her hand.

"That Baby's name is Crown Princess Serena Selene. She's twelve now." Michiru summoned an image of Serena to the mirror and turned it over so Darien could see.

"Then she is the little girl I vowed to protect that night." He said solemnly

"As did I." Michiru said.

Triton and Onyx smiled knowingly as Darien and Michiru left the floor.

"It was a good idea Triton to bring Michiru here. When she and Darien marry, Earth will have a beautiful Queen and Neptune will have a capable King."

Haruka's eyes bulged. Darien was to be married to the Neptunian princess? It couldn't be she thought, it's not possible. The blue eyes of Neptune's heir floated in her mind and she recalled seeing those eyes many times when she was a young child. Anger rose in her and she left her post and plunged into the dancers. She had to get to the Prince and his future betrothed. They needed to know their future, no one should be surprised like this, she thought. That's why she was doing this...she wasn't jealous, she was concerned. She snuck onto the balcony, careful not to be seen. She ducked behind a column and turned to face her Prince and the Neptunian Princess.

"Darien?" she said suddenly losing her nerve.

"Ah, Princess Michiru," Darien began, seeing the glint in Michiru's eyes "This is His Royal Highness, Prince Haruka of Uranus."

Haruka stared, drinking in the sight of Michiru. She completely lost her ability to speak, remembering bits and pieces of this girl who had been her first friend. Her own voice echoed in her head "I will marry Michiru." Haruka remembered saying that as a four year old right before her mother had died. Her cheeks turned a deep red as she finally gained control of her manners and bowed to the princess before her.

"A pleasure to meet you, Princess." she said, extending her hand to grasp Michiru's and pull it to her lips in a courtly kiss.

Michiru blushed and curtsied, There is something about him, and something more than meets the eye; she thought.

"My sentiments exactly, Prince Haruka." she replied.

Haruka looked at Darien as Michiru stressed the "Prince." Without warning a servant came up behind them.

"My Lord, your father is requesting your presence." the man said.

Darien heaved a sigh as the man left as quickly as he had come.

"I had better go and see what he needs. Please Excuse me, Michiru; Haruka."

Darien turned to leave and Haruka suddenly remembered her reason for searching for him in the first place. She grabbed his sleeve and hissed into his ear:

"He means to betroth you and Neptune. Be careful."

Darien turned to Haruka in surprise, speechless as he was led to his father's throne. Betrothed? he thought, my father has got to be kidding...

Haruka stared after them until a feminine giggle behind her grabbed her attention.

"Well your Highness, as I seem to be in your escort at the moment, Would you care to lead me onto the dance floor?"

Haruka stopped short. She seemed to forget how to breathe.

"Is that a yes?" Michiru teased.

Haruka nodded and extended her arm. Michiru slipped her arm through Haruka's and together they entered the ball room. As they danced, Michiru thought the world would not stop spinning. This...felt right. They chatted the appropriate small talk for a while but then as the dance drew to an end Michiru decided to solve the mystery of the Uranian heir as they curtsied and bowed.

"I know you may have them fooled, but not me. I know your secret."

Haruka's blood turned to ice. How, how could she know?

"Know what?" Haruka croaked out.

"I know you're a...," Michiru lowered her voice " girl."

Haruka stopped mid-bow.

"How?!" she demanded without bothering to deny it.

"I'm an artist...I know body figures," Michiru answered blushing slightly" and there where other signs" she said as she rose from her curtsy.

"Like what?"

"You looked in my eyes and spoke to me before you looked at my breasts."

Haruka blushed the deepest red known to man.

"It's alright...I...I..don't mind."

As she raised her eyes, she noticed Michiru didn't look in the least embarrassed or disgusted. The music started up again. Haruka bowed again and spoke clearly:

"Would you care to dance again, my lady?"

"It would be my pleasure, Your Highness." Michiru answered as she curtsied yet again.

They swung around the room again and again, laughing and enjoying themselves. As her approached his father, who was still busy with his royal advisors, Darien turned to watch.

This was the start of something beautiful, he thought.