Title: Bonded By Love
Author: Lisa
Chapter: Epilogue
Rating: G
Author's Notes:
Hi! The LAST chapter (with plenty of mushy stuff..*coughs* ^^) is FINALLY here! Enjoy, and be prepared for *long* author's notes at the end! ^_~
Story Dedications: This story is dedicated to my pet hamsters, Luna, Artemis, and Anakin, and my friends on the Internet (you know who you are!!).Thank you guys so much for keeping me going; this story is for you!!
Disclaimers: Sailor Moon and the others don't belong to me, but this story does.
*****************
Serenity stayed frozen, holding her breath and all at the same time, eyes staring straight at the shimmering engagement ring that now rested on her ring finger. More tears ran down her cheeks. 'Is this really happening? Am I dreaming?' "Endymion..." The name came out a whisper. She took one look into his ocean-blue eyes, which were filled with so much sincerity as they gazed into hers, and the answer came naturally. Oh, how all these past few nights, the Moon Princess stayed awake in bed dreaming that one day Endymion would indeed propose to her, and take all the pain away to only replace with love and happiness. And now, here he was, still on one knee, asking to marry her! Somehow, all of Serenity's dreams and hopes seemed to come true at that moment. She pushed back any doubts and let her heart take over before answering.

"Y--yes...of course! Oh Endymion, of course I will!" She embraced him tightly and he returned with equal force. The prince breathed a sigh of relief and rested his chin atop her head, breathing in the light scent of her hair.
"My angel...my Sere," he breathed to her, brushing a few stray strands of golden-blonde hair from her face and gently tucking them behind her ear, "you have just made me the happiest man alive!"
"Have I?" the princess asked teasingly, her eyes sparkling excitedly.
"What do you think?"

Without waiting for an answer, Endymion pulled Serenity down for a passionate kiss. Serenity blushed prettily. The moment was perfect, but something was not right. A small nagging voice in her head reminded her of the betrothal and she sighed, pulling out of Endymion's arms. Her once sparkling eyes were now replaced with uncertainty, with many doubts swarming in their blue depths.
"Endymion...I love you...you know that."
"Yes," he smiled, "and I am so lucky to have your love."
"I want nothing more but to be with you, to spend the rest of my life with you. Though--what will our parents think? They would never agree! As the only heir to the Moon Kingdom, I have to--" The dark-haired young man put a finger upon her lips, silencing her.
"I did not tell you of the new arrangement, did I?"

Serenity not dared to get her hopes up. "New...arrangement?" Her question was barely audible. Seeing the wide smile playing on Endymion's lips, she came to a startling conclusion. Could it be possible...that perhaps she would not have to marry Tranquility after all?
***
Myla lay in bed that night, having trouble falling asleep. With a sigh, she turned on the small lamp that sat next to her bed and glanced at the small wristwatch, which was a present given to her a few years back by her father. It read ten o'clock. Another loud sigh escaped her lips.
Trying desperately to become absorbed into her book but with no avail, the young princess found that she could not concentrate. It was not that the book's topic did not interest her, for it was one of her favorite books. She just could not get the picture of Tranquility's deep blue eyes gazing straight into her green ones out of her mind. 'I am attracted to him,' she admitted silently, 'though it will never work. And he probably does not feel the same way...'

A quiet knock at her door broke her thoughts and Myla quickly put the book back to its place on the table beside her bed. "Who is it?" She called out.
"It is I, Tranquility," came the muffled answer from the other side of the door. Her heart skipped a beat. 'What could he possibly have to say to me at this late of an hour?' Not that the princess minded his company.
"Please wait a moment, Prince," she replied back politely and threw on the first dress she could get her hands on. After checking her appearance in the mirror, Myla opened the door to reveal a very happy prince on the opposite side.
"Yes, what is it, my prince?"
"Can I...?"
Myla covered her mouth with a hand, slightly embarrassed at forgetting her proper manners. "I am sorry, yes, do come in." She stepped aside and offered him a chair beside the bed while she sat down on her bed.
"Princess, I bring some gr-" Tranquility stopped in mid-sentence while Myla waited with bated breath for him to continue. He hesitated. It was great news to him, but what would her reaction be? 'Does she even feel attracted to me?' The prince wondered if she regarded him any more than just a friend as he did.
Seeing the pause on Tranquility's part, the young princess urged a quiet, "Go on."
The prince decided to change the words around a bit. "There has been a change...in the engagement arrangements."

He immediately caught the look of shock followed by...could it be...relief? Tranquility found himself gazing into her deep eyes. "Princess..."
"How--how so? What kind of change?" she finally managed to sputter out, one hand coming up to cover her mouth.
"We...we are now engaged, Myla," he whispered to the young princess.

Silence followed in the next few minutes which seemed like an eternity to Tranquility, who was eager to see her reaction. She had kept quiet, her eyes locked on his. Those mesmerizing green eyes did not reveal her feelings like they usually did, so he could not tell what she was thinking.
"That is perfectly alright with me," Myla finally whispered and gave a light smile. Her cheeks flushed to a somewhat pinkish color as the prince, surprised to say the least, was left to ponder the meaning of her words.
***
Her eyes fluttered open as bright sunlight streamed in from half-open curtains. A smile tugged at her lips. Had last night been a dream? 'If so, I hope never to awaken from it.' But one glance at the wedding ring sparkling on her slender finger proved last night to be real. 'It is real. I am...to marry Endymion!' Her smile grew wider as she hugged her snowy white sheets and turned to her side. 'At last, my dream is about to come true...' Serenity wondered how one man could have so much effect on her as Endymion did.
***
After breakfast, Serenity headed to her mother's quarters nervously. She silently hoped the Queen would not be angry.
"Mother?" Her small head poked in timidly into the room. Queen Serenity smiled warmly and quietly gestured her to sit down on the bed. She sat down beside the edgy Serenity, the same kind smile still lingering on her face.
"My daughter...I trust that Endymion has proposed?" Serenity looked up, surprised that she should ask that, and looked into her mother's soft eyes.
"Yes, he has..."
"And you accepted, I assume?"
"Of course Mother..." A light blush stained her pretty cheeks as she showed her the ring. Catching the light of the morning sunlight, it shimmered like never before.
Silence followed before the Queen softly murmured, more to herself than to Serenity, "Good...that is good."

Silence, that awful, awkward silence that the princess dreaded, followed. She fingered her ring and tried to grope for the right words. It was hard...Serenity did not remember a time she had not followed her mother's decisions before. But was it really hard to understand? She was in love! Could her mother really be that angry? However, she did break the alliance...

During this time, the Queen took a good look at her daughter. She was soon to be sixteen, and oh, how she had blossomed into such a beautiful and remarkable young woman! It almost brought tears to her eyes to see how grown up her daughter was now. She was not a child anymore, someone who would always do as she said. Queen Serenity felt how uncomfortable Serenity was while with her, as if she had to be ashamed of something. She mentally cringed. 'Serenity should never have to go through what she is going through now,' the Queen thought sadly. 'She is so happy to be with the man she loves, yet afraid that I disapprove of all this.'

Before the princess could speak, Queen Serenity spoke up what was on her mind. "You do not need to feel guilty around me, Serenity," she said gently. "You have done nothing wrong."
As Serenity looked up, she could see tears forming in her crystal blue eyes. "Oh Serenity..." The Queen embraced her daughter tightly as she sobbed quietly in her arms.
"Mother..I am afraid that...what I did was wrong. I love Endymion..with all my heart. Yet, I know I am the future queen of our kingdom...I cannot just abandon that. And I am afraid...that you are disappointed in me, Mother. I never intended to disobey you."

By now, Queen Serenity had tears in her eyes. "My daughter...have I ever told you how much you mean to me? You are everything to me, Serenity. When I arranged this marriage, I was only thinking of how it would benefit our kingdom. I never gave a thought of how much this would affect you. And see you so sad, so miserable with Tranquility...it broke my heart. Then Endymion came into your life, and I saw how happy you were every time he walked into the room, or spoke with you. You deserve to be with him, Daughter. Now I realize that your happiness is all that matters to me."
No more words were needed to be spoken as Serenity stayed in her mother's embrace, at peace with herself at last.

The senshi came just before lunch to congratulate their princess, only a minute after Queen Serenity left. Rei seemed the happiest of all as she hugged her friend tightly. After everyone had their share of hugging Serenity, due to Minako's persisting, they sat down on the floor so Serenity could give them the details on how Endymion had proposed.
"So...was he sweet about it?" Minako asked eagerly while the princess blushed crimson.
"Yes, he was. Oh, it was just so romantic...more like a dream, really. His eyes were so sincere and so filled with love..." As Serenity trailed off with a dreamy look in her eyes, the other girls sighed, envying her. The young princess then showed her ring to everyone, and the chatter went on until lunchtime.
***
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath of the fresh spring air as she walked through the royal gardens, enjoying the feeling of the sun's golden rays upon her face. It was such a beautiful day..or maybe it was because the princess was in such a cheerful mood. Still, the cloudless sky was a lovely shade of light blue, and pretty birds of all colors chirped happily. Serenity sighed contentedly. She remembered at lunch, when Tranquility came with Myla, and how happy they looked together. Serenity was glad it all worked out in the end.

Just then, a warm pair of strong arms encircled her small waist, pulling her close. The girl did not need to ask who it was, for her heart immediately began thumping, and her breathing became rapid. She felt one of her hands being enclosed in his larger one before he lifted it up to his lips and planted a small kiss there.
"So, you have come to join me, Endymion," she said playfully as she turned around to face the grinning prince.
"Yes, my princess," he answered, "I trust you do not mind?"
Serenity giggled and gave him a small shove. "You know I love to be with you, my prince." A sudden thought entered her mind, causing the small smile on her face to grow larger. Endymion lifted an eyebrow.
"And what may you be thinking about?"
"Endymion...I cannot believe it," she breathed out, reaching out to embrace him, which he accepted gladly. "We are going to get married!" Serenity's eyes sparkled, all of her wonderful plans for their future evident in them. "Then we could...have a family of our own," she added shyly, as if not sure if that was what Endymion wanted.
"I want nothing more, Sere, my fiancee," he replied with all sincerity, to assure her that their shining dreams of the future were the same. "I am so glad to see you like this, so free and...happy."
"So am I."
She closed her eyes then, and Endymion bent down slightly, capturing her lips with his own in a deep kiss. When they parted, the couple continued their walk through amongst the blooming flowers, Serenity busily making wedding arrangements.
***
After two weeks of a rather long and stressful preparation for the wedding, it was finally to take place the next day. Following the wedding was going to be a grand ball, in which everyone was welcome to come and celebrate the joining of the new couple.

Once again, Serenity found herself gazing at her own reflection in the mirror. Only this time, she saw a happy girl anxiously awaiting the day when she would be married rather than dreading it. For the past fourteen days she could think about nothing besides the wedding; that she would soon become Endymion's wife. 'His wife...' The thought made the princess blush, and she tried to hide it by lowering her head as if trying to spot any flaws with her dress, which, of course, there were none. The wedding gown was, like the first one, snowy white in color, with beautiful pearls sewn into its delicate fabric. Intricate flower embroidery ran along the edges as a finishing touch. The maid who was attending to Serenity smiled, seeing her future queen in such a good mood. "No running away this time, Princess?" the aged woman asked kindly. Serenity was not the least bit offended.
"No running away," she answered firmly. "I love Endymion, and he loves me. This is all I ever dreamed of when I was a little girl."

That was exactly what she was thinking as she slowly made her way down the crimson carpet again. It was a perfect day. Sunlight poured in from the huge glass windows, illuminating the room with its golden glow. Serenity clutched onto her mother's arm tighter as she began to grow nervous. It was not that she did not want to marry Endymion; she did, except what would happen? Could they really live happily ever after like she wanted? The future was so unpredictable. The princess sighed quietly, trying to reassure herself that whatever should happen, that she could get through it with her prince by her side. A smile tugged at her lips at that thought. With her confidence restored, she lifted her head up high. Serenity could not see Endymion, yet she knew he was there at the end of the aisle, waiting for her.

As she walked by, the lords and ladies all looked upon the amazing young woman, happy for her. The senshi all had huge smiles on their faces, especially Minako, who gave Serenity a quick wink as she passed by. She could see him clearly now; that loving look saved only for her since the moment they first met shining in his eyes. Queen Serenity took her place beside the King and Queen. That was the last thing Serenity saw before she lost herself under Endymion's intense gaze.

The exchanging of vows and rings seemed like a blur to the princess. She vaguely heard her prince mutter a soft "I do," yet with so much emotion and honesty, before carefully slipping the ring on her finger. It was that moment when Serenity realized this was it; here her life would change for the better. The priest asked if she would take Endymion as her husband, and without a second's pause, she replied with a sincere "I do." She smiled shyly as her new husband leaned down, and their lips met in a tender kiss for the first time as a married couple. Cheers broke out throughout the room, echoing through the entire kingdom, and Serenity was snapped out of her tranced state. A light blush stained her cheeks; she had never kissed Endymion before so many people before. He offered her his hand, and together they made their way down the carpet together, hand-in-hand, laughing together.

Immediately after, as the newlyweds preceded to greet and thank their guests for coming, the servants quickly cleared the ballroom of the numerous chairs in preparation of the gala to take place later on in the evening. Just as the sun was setting, all the soft-cushioned seats were taken away, and colorful decorations were added.

Serenity gave a big smile as one of the guests bowed, placing a small kiss on her hand.
"I am honored that you could come," she stated.
Endymion wrapped his arm loosely around her waist, pulling her away from the crowd and into somewhat empty hallway. "Finally," he breathed out, "I thought we would never have some quiet time to ourselves!" Endymion rolled his eyes in an improper manner.
"But our guests–" She was silenced by a finger against her lips.
"Today is our day," he whispered into her ear, sending small tingling sensations through her entire body. Serenity looked into his eyes for the thousandth time that day.
"Yes it is," she answered, her reply barely audible. He kissed her gently then, his arms wrapped around her tightly. The prince tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear and gave one of his smiles that were especially reserved for his beloved.
"You look so amazingly beautiful," he said, then with a pause, added, "my wife."
Just hearing those words made Serenity's heart go aflutter. 'I am his wife now,' she contemplated happily, 'could there be anything more that I want besides this?'

"Serenity, Endymion?"
A voice caused the two to groan in annoyance as they turned to see Rei standing before them wearing a splendid red evening gown, a weird look on her face. "Princess, I know that–" The senshi coughed, knowing that her friend understood what she meant. "Your presences are requested in the ballroom," she informed the couple formally. "After all, that is what the ball is for." But before she left, Serenity caught that huge grin on her dear protector's face. Serenity groaned again before she took Endymion's extended arm and left the dark hallway.

Inside the room, lively music played while the nobility amused themselves in dancing and conversation. At their entrance, everyone stopped what they were doing and suddenly all eyes were upon Serenity and Endymion. Queen Gaia came over and embraced her new daughter, beaming. After placing a kiss on her cheek, she whispered, "Congratulations Serenity, I wish you much happiness with my son."
The princess, stunned by how kindly the Queen had treated her, could only mutter a polite thank you. Tears, happy tears, slowly began to form in her eyes.
"Are you alright, Sere?" Endymion asked, concerned.
"Yes." She quickly blinked them away, and offered her hand to the prince. "Care to dance?"
"Of course, Princess," he accepted with a small chuckle, and twirled her out onto the dance floor.

Serenity rested her head against his chest, listening to the smooth rhythm of his heart beating through the stiff fabric of his clothing, and sighed softly. She unconsciously clutched onto her husband tighter, never wanting to let go. After the dance ended, she took her place beside Endymion next to Serenity's mother and the King and Queen. As a new song started, Serenity saw Tranquility dancing with Myla. The young princess seemed a bit uncomfortable when he held her closer to him. Serenity smiled, remembering how she was with Endymion during the first days since they met. She had been very shy, and only greeted him with a formal title. 'Myla is probably the same way with Tranquility,' she thought to herself.

Tranquility. Just thinking about him still made Serenity uneasy. She would always recall that rough kiss he gave her when they had their first encounter. How rough he was, how impolite. Part of her mind wondered how someone like innocent Myla could be attracted to him. 'Do not think that way,' she began to scold herself, 'he is probably nicer to others than he was with me.' Another dance ended, and Serenity stiffened when Tranquility walked over, holding Myla's hand. The princess's cheeks were flushed.
"Myla," Serenity greeted with a kind smile before hugging her future sister, who was only a few months younger than herself.
"Serenity," she returned the greeting with use of Serenity's first name, "I am very happy that everything worked out." A light smile played on her lips.
"Thank you."

Her eyes slowly traveled to the prince standing beside Myla. She met his eyes for the first time in a couple weeks. "Have–have you set a date for the wedding yet?" the princess asked quietly.
Tranquility quickly broke eye contact before answering a quiet, "No, we have not. Myla and I...are still getting to know one another."
"I have consented for them to take as long as they want," King Endymion chimed in. "I will not force them to marry."
"Yes...and if they wish to marry another, that choice is their's to make also," Gaia added.
There was a brief silence. Serenity glanced at Tranquility quickly. 'He is still holding a grudge against me,' she thought sadly. Even though it was really she who was supposed to be angry, Serenity wanted nothing more than to make amends with her former enemy. He was family now.

"Tranquility...may Endymion and I have a word with you...alone?" she asked quickly, then shot a look at Endymion to follow her lead. Both princes were shocked, to say the least, but complied.
The three of them walked over to the refreshment table, where a grand feast of various food had been set.
"Tranquility...I know that we have not...gotten along," she started slowly, "and for various reasons. But now, everything is different. You are no longer my betrothed, nor my enemy as you once were." Tranquility gave her a strange look.
"All those times we were together, we hated it," he said finally. "We hate each other, do we not?"
Serenity let out a deep breath of air, having difficulty saying the words she knew, in heart, was right. Endymion gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, and she kept on.
"I realize that. Though Tranquility...you are part of my family now. You are my brother. And I do not know if you can, but I cannot hate my own family. Let us put the past behind us. I am not asking for you to love me. I am asking for us to start over...to get to know each other all over again."

She heard him take in a breath of air, then released it slowly, as if in deep thought.
"Perhaps–perhaps I was too...harsh on you, Serenity. But you must know that I never wanted to marry you; I was forced to, just like you were. You took it better than I did. I often act on impulse, and when I am not happy with something, I clearly show that in my actions. I–I apologize for what I did earlier..." He paused. "To start over...I do not know if I can do that. But I promise to try to be kinder to you, and to be more respectful. Will that be good enough?"
Serenity smiled slightly; it was not what she was going for, though it was a start. After all, what could she expect? She would have her ways of getting Tranquility to open up to her; she had all the time she needed.
"Thank you." Taking his hand, she shook it formally before turning away. As she left, she saw that Endymion had stayed behind.

"You were actually somewhat nice to Serenity."
"She was kind to me, so I returned the favor," was his simple reply. Tranquility watched as his brother's eyes narrowed.
"Is that all?"
He sighed, picking up a drink from the table nearby. "No Endymion...I do consider being nicer to her from now on. After all, like she said, she is family now."
"And what about us?"
Tranquility stopped drinking from his cup. "Excuse me...us?"
"Are we to never get along again? Or at least try?"
For one brief second, Endymion saw his older brother's eyes soften. They turned hard and emotionless again before he could say anything.
"Only time will tell," he replied before leaving.
"I guess that means a yes," he said out loud, knowing that Tranquility would never admit things openly. Shaking his head, he too left the refreshment corner to find his bride, feeling a great weight being lifted off his shoulder.

He found her leaning against the balcony railing, staring at the countless stars that dotted the pitch-black sky. A breeze blew, and Endymion walked over, wrapping his arms around the small girl. He heard her sigh softly.
"From the moon," she said, "the Earth looks magical."
"And now that you are on the planet?"
"It is even more magical than I ever imagined it to be."
The prince kissed her forehead and cupped her face with both hands. "Oh Sere, I cannot believe that you just made amends with Tranquility."
"I know," she admitted, "it is hard to believe that I found the courage to do such a thing."
"Especially after all he did to hurt you...all those times he made you cry."
"Endymion...that is in the past now; I do not want to talk about it any more."
"Do you want to leave now?"
Serenity looked up. "Now? All the guests–"
"I do not care about all the guests. Remember Sere, today is our day."
She blushed. "Alright then...we can leave now." She leaned up and gave him a quick kiss.

As they turned to leave, a loud boom suddenly sounded from behind them. Acting instinctively, Endymion quickly pushed Serenity behind him, shielding the frightened princess with his own body. But as another boom was heard, and fireworks began decorating the heavens, only then did he let his guard down, and shared a small laugh with Serenity.
"Imagine that," he said, "I never thought fireworks would scare us like that." The couple greatly enjoyed the spectacle. Serenity's favorite was the one at the very end, where the sparks took the shape of a large red heart. She brushed her hair from her eyes and smiled sweetly.
"Ready to go?" Endymion grinned.
"Of course," was his reply, and he extended his arm out to her.

Down the long, winding, amazingly silent hallways, they came to their private chamber. Once inside the incredibly furnished and large room, Serenity hastened to get out of her cumbersome evening gown to change into something more...appropriate for the night. Endymion took the time to explore the room while waiting for his wife to finish changing.

"Endymion," the soft, ringing voice called out to him. He turned around to come face-to-face with Serenity. She was wearing a light silk nightgown, white in color, with a tint of pink in its fabric. The gown was so simple, yet fitted her perfectly. A few golden tresses of her hair flowed down to her shoulders, and her eyes were soft and warm. Just the sight of her took Endymion's breath away.
"Sere...you look..." He paused, as if trying to find a word to describe her beauty, but could not find any. Serenity laughed her silvery laugh.
"Why thank you for the compliment, my prince," she answered gracefully before stepping into his welcoming arms. He placed a tender kiss upon her flushed cheeks and led her to their bed.
(Lisa's Notes: Um...this next scene is pushing toward the "PG" range, just to give fair warning. ^^)

He laid her down upon the soft, silk sheets and kissed her eagerly, with so much passion. Serenity's eyes were closed and her lips slightly parted, both breathing hard when they broke the kiss. "My wife..." he murmured, and let loose the two buns atop her head. A mass of golden silk spilled over and covered the length of the bed, and Endymion stroked the strands gently while Serenity ran her hands through his short black hair. Their lips met again in another deep kiss. The princess laid her head against his chest, closing her eyes contentedly. Endymion placed a kiss on her head. "Oh Sere," he whispered into her hair, breathing in the fragrant scent of it, "this has been the end to a perfect day."
"Yes, it has," she breathed in return, "but Endy...this is only the beginning."

With that, she pulled him down for another kiss...
*******************
Oh my gosh!!!! Did I actually finish?? Wow...*grins widely* Did you think I would actually end this story without an epilogue? ^_~ Alright, now onto my *long* notes. First of all, I would like to thank *everyone* who has read/e-mailed me about this story! I never thought that this originally five-chaptered story would grow to be twelve chapters, and my longest fanfic yet! I am very happy about that...but if it wasn't for all of you guys, the readers, this story wouldn't be what it is today. Arigato minna! For those who stuck with me since I started in March 2001, I am truly grateful. The past years of working on this particular fic has been great! So, you're probably wondering what next, right? Well, I do have a dozen other fics to work on. I'll now be concentrating more on "Shipwrecked," and a few other short stories. Now that this story is done, this is your last chance to *e-mail,* so *please, please* do! I would love to hear how you thought about my story! ^_^ My e-mail addresses are LisaZUMstories@aol.com and Lisafics@sailormoon.com. Once again, thank you so much! *smile* Bye!
This story finished and posted April 2003.