Though fallen thyself, never to rise again, live and take comfort
The night was beautiful, and the moon shone through the crystal palace to light the walls with a heavenly glow. King Endymion looked at the sky and marveled at how bright and large the moon looked that night. Simply beautiful… He couldn't help thinking that this was a perfect night for a walk under the starlit sky with his wife. His lips curved with memories of the last time they had been alone in the gardens together, but then he frowned and realized that it had been long time.
And when he remembered why, his chest numbed and he felt such a panic that every occupant in the grand hall paled and gasped at his expression.
"Oh God, oh no…" he gasped and swayed from side to side. A blond woman who he couldn't remember in his hysterical state wrapped an arm around his waist and helped him to a soft chair.
"There now," she said, smiling warmly when he was seated. "You don't need to worry: everything is going well. Besides, Majesty, the Queen isn't the first woman ever to give birth, and Lady Mizuno is the best doctor anyone could wish for."
"Of course," her husband agreed and placed an arm around her shoulders. "Nobody dies in birth anymore, Mam my man."
At that, King Endymion grimaced and the blond woman elbowed her husband roughly. "You know I hate when you call me that," he growled and was rewarded with a toothy grin.
"That's why I do it."
Right then, the door burst open and a blue-haired woman came out. King Endymion felt faint.
"How… how is she?"
Lady Mizuno turned to him and beamed. "She's fine. Everything went perfectly well, and she's tired but happy."
He swallowed. "And the… the…"
She smiled and walked to him, catching his meaning. "You have a beautiful son."
"Can I… may I…?"
"Of course. She's dying to see you," Lady Mizuno told him brightly and when he paled, hastily added, "I didn't mean literally. Please come with me." She offered him a friendly hand and he took it a bit dazedly and followed her to the palace infirmary. The room was rarely used for anything besides births and broken bones since technology had progressed so much that the people of Crystal Tokyo and the rest of the world were rarely sick.
"I'll leave you alone," Lady Mizuno told him with a knowing smile and shut the door behind her. King Endymion took a deep breath and faced the pink and gold canopy bed with resting mother and child. Neo-Queen Serenity's face was pale and her eyes were shut, but she looked peaceful, and the corners of her lips were curved in a soft smile. She appeared to be sleeping.
King Endymion stepped closer and fixed his gaze on his son. The infant opened his little mouth in a tiny yawn and nestled himself more closely against his mother. His father swallowed to rid himself of the sudden lump in his throat. He'd always thought that Chibiusa would be his one and only, but now he also had a beautiful boy to love.
At that moment, Neo-Queen Serenity's long eyelashes fluttered and two sapphire eyes appeared. He thought she looked more beautiful than ever, but for some crazy reason found himself choking on the words to tell her.
"You look pale," he whispered with trembling lips and she smiled.
"So do you, darling," she said with a little laugh and reached out a hand. He moved closer to take it and pressed it against his cheek.
"You're cold and trembling," she observed in an amused voice. "I thought that was my job. I'm the one who's just given birth."
With that, King Endymion smiled, kissed her palm and turned to look at his son. "May I see him?"
Neo-Queen Serenity's smile drooped a bit and her eyes grew troubled, but her voice was steady when she answered.
"I don't want to hurt him."
"Darling, you could never. You've held infants before, especially our own. Go on, say hello to your son." There was an undertone in his wife's voice that he didn't understand, and he reached down a bit uncertainly to take the newborn from her arms.
"So, who does he look like? You or me? Or Nick?" King Endymion joked, but she didn't smile back.
"Take a look and tell me," she replied, all of her relaxed happiness gone. King Endymion eyed her for another moment before glancing at the baby in his arms.
And when he did, his blood ran cold, for it was painfully obvious that the boy didn't look like either of them. Instead, on that tiny figure, he recognized the face of someone from long ago whom he had loved and lost, and never thought he'd see again.
How could the face of his long-dead brother be reprinted so clearly on this infant? A coincidence, he thought. After all, Prince Kenrick's genes were his genes. But then the baby stirred and opened his eyes, and all King Endymion saw was green, a deep and brilliant color that he'd only seen on one other person.
King Endymion blinked in surprise as those green eyes met his with a strange intelligence uncharacteristic of a newborn. He couldn't get over the green: babies were born with blue eyes… how could this one be an exception?
And then as he stared at the baby's face, he knew. He just knew. He lifted his gaze to meet Neo-Queen Serenity's wide ones. She was clearly worried about his reaction.
King Endymion swallowed as he looked at his wife. Those wide sapphires hadn't relaxed. "What shall we call him?" he asked steadily, and handed the baby back to his mother. She cradled her son protectively, as if she never wanted anyone to touch him again.
"I think we should call him Averill," she said in a small voice, keeping her gaze fixed on the bedspread before her. King Endymion didn't mind, for this gave him a chance to stare at her and try to understand why she'd done what she had so long ago. From the way she held the child, he knew she didn't regret her decision and never would.
She had decided to give one lonely boy another chance at life, and now feared that her husband would hate her forever for it.
King Endymion wasn't sure to think. Sure, she had carried the baby for nine months and led him to believe he was going to have a second child, but in truth, the baby Averill was no more hers than his. And yet…
He moved to sit next to her and she inched away, worrying about his intentions.
"Look at me," he said softly, and when she refused, added in a more commanding tone, "Honey, please look at me." She looked up in mild surprise, not expecting an endearment when he was supposed to despise her. For a good ten seconds their eyes met, until, coming as an ever greater shock, King Endymion smiled.
"I think Averill suits him just fine."
"Y… You're not upset?"
"I wish you'd warned me, but no, I'm not upset," he said, and when she still looked bewildered, added, "I love you. Don't you know that? Nothing could ever change that."
"Sorry to interrupt," a voice called out as the door burst open, "…but this little monster couldn't wait another minute to meet her baby brother." Both King and Queen looked up at a flustered Lady Aino who ushered a small five year old with cotton candy hair into the room.
"Sorry," she apologized again and beamed at Neo-Queen Serenity before shutting the door.
"Is that her?" Chibiusa asked loudly, her red little cheeks aglow. King Endymion shot an amused look at his wife before opening his arms to his daughter.
"Him, dear. He's a boy."
"I want to hold her," she informed them after she was safe in Daddy's arms. She clumsily stuck her thumb in her mouth and looked at her mother wistfully.
The Queen smiled. "Okay, but be careful. He's only a baby, honey."
"I know how to hold babies," Chibiusa exclaimed stubbornly and hopped off King Endymion's lap to hold out her arms for her brother. Neo-Queen Serenity handed him over reluctantly and Chibiusa took him with more gentleness than they thought she possessed.
King Endymion bent over and kissed his wife's cheek and was about to pull away when she grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
"Did you mean that? You don't mind?" she asked softly and glanced at Chibiusa, who was so fascinated with the tiny baby that she wasn't listening.
"How could I? I know you did what you thought was best, and perhaps it was. This was his only way out, and I'm sure he'd thank you if he knew what you've done for him."
Neo-Queen Serenity's face grew serious. "But we must never let him know."
"No. I say we swear right now to keep this a secret and let him grow up to be a normal boy." They locked hands solemnly and gazed at each other.
"I love you, Usako."
She smiled. "I know."
A squeal from Chibiusa halted their kiss and husband and wife broke apart. They laughed as they looked at their children. Baby Averill had just shown his big sister how much he loved her by spitting up all over the front of her dress. After shooting an amused glance at his wife, King Endymion stood to take the infant away and calm his sobbing daughter.
Neo-Queen Serenity leaned back into the soft pillows and watched her family, a smile on her lips. Again, everything had turned out right and her loved ones were safe and happy. In the end, that was all that mattered to her.
Well, that's it for Secret Destiny. I had almost as fun editing it as I did writing in the first place. Let me know what you think, and look for the sequel, Silver Twilight, which I'll hopefully get around to putting up soon. Thanks for reading. :)