Crystals of Love: Masks
Title: Crystals of Love: Masks
Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Series: Crystals of Love: Tales of the Heart from Crystal Tokyo
Couple(s): Serenity (Ailan)/Setsuna (Se)
Timeline: "A Child of Darkness and Light", "Crystals of Love: Masks", "The Last Sacrifice: The End of the Silver Millennium", "CAS 1: The Trouble with Love is the Lovers", "CAS 2: To Defy Destiny", "Every Cloud", "Crystal Shards", "CAS 3: Unwilling Accomplice", "Our Past 1: The Reason We Fight", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "Our Past 2: The Reason We Still Fight", "Our Past 3: The Reason We Fought", "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "In the Darkest Forest", "Destiny or Duty", "Desperately Searching", "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 1: The Gathering", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 2: Castle in the Sky", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 3: Queen of the Moon", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 4: Separation Anxiety", "Crystals of Love: Betrayal", "Crystals of Love: Forsaken", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 5: Black Moon Family", "Crystals of Love: Destined Couple", "Horoscope", "Crystals of Love: Haiku"
Time: from before "The Last Sacrifice" to Crystal Tokyo
Summary: Whatever happened to the King of the Silver Millennium?
Disclaimer: insert usual disclaimer
"I won't tell you."
"Please? You promised me a story!"
"Serenity, you're acting like a child! You're a princess and above such behaviors."
Queen Serenity sighed and pulled the squirming child into her arms, smoothing her daughter's golden hair and kissing the crescent moon on her forehead. "I met your father at a great ball on Jupiter and we thought very much of each other. Over the next few months, we visited rather frequently and he courted me in a fine princely manner. When your grandmother died and I was forced to assume the throne, I told him that I had no time for princes when I had a kingdom to rule, so he asked me to marry him. It was a very beautiful wedding, one that this kingdom will never forget, and he ruled by my side for a long time."
"I want a prince like that! I want a prince to come and sweep me off my feet and bring me pretty flowers . . . what kind of flowers, Mommy?"
"Your father always brought me roses. All sorts of colors. I often wondered where he found them all."
"Then I want roses, too! Red ones."
Serenity smiled at her daughter and the determination in her blue eyes. "Why red?"
"I don't know, but I think I like that color. It's stronger than pink, like a boy pink."
"Then I suppose I should only allow suitors who bring red roses."
"Ok! Mommy, if you and Daddy were so happy, why did he go away?"
The queen sighed and looked out her window to the twinkling stars and the steady shines of the many planets hanging in the night sky. "Sometimes no matter how much we love someone, they can't stay forever. There was a disturbance at the edge of the Solar System and your father went to check it out, to defend our kingdom. He won, but it cost him his life. He never lived to see you grow up into the little lady you have become."
Little Serenity hung her head and clenched her fists. "I won't let that happen to anyone ever again. I'll protect the people from such evil."
"You'll protect them," Serenity whispered. "You can when you grow up, but right now you have to go to bed."
"I don't want to! Mommy, I don't want to go to bed!"
"Serenity, what have we discussed? Proper princesses who grow into successful queens always go to bed when their mother tells them to. Go dream of your prince with the red roses and maybe he'll come to you someday."
"Yay! Goodnight Mommy!" Serenity scampered off with her ladies-in-waiting close behind as the queen rested her head on her hand and stared out across her kingdom, remembering what really happened the night of the masquerade ball on Jupiter.
"I still don't think you should be here."
"Nonsense, Ariko! No one will recognize me!"
"Princess Serenity, the mark on your forehead gives you away!"
The princess snorted as she loosed her silver hair from its two buns and pulled a mask over her face. It was silver with streamers of gold that hung into her hair and managed to match her pale lavender dress. "No one can see it. The point of a masquerade is to not be recognized. Are you coming?"
Setsuna was frankly bored. As old as she was, petty functions like the masquerade never attracted her attention, but for some reason she had been compelled to attend. She wore the requisite mask, a long black dress hugging her slim figure, green hair intricately braided and piled on top of her head. She watched the party with bored red eyes, thinking about the demigod she currently called "mother". She pretended to have mortal parents and pretended to die sometimes so that she could keep up the appearance that the Pluto Royal Line was normal, even though she was the only person capable of being Sailor Pluto. As a new song began, Setsuna brought her focus back to the dance floor.
She froze as an ephemeral beauty floated onto the marble, her silver hair and lavender dress making her stand out in the hundreds of more elegantly-dressed nobles. Her purple eyes landed on Setsuna and she smiled, a small, seductive twitch of the lips that sent shivers of heat and lust through the godling. Hades's daughter leaned forward, knowing without a doubt that the girl was Queen Serenity's teenage daughter of the same name, but unable to stop her feelings and wanting. Setsuna stepped forward and glided onto the dance floor as only a godling could, reaching out to take Serenity's hand as she bowed slightly. "Allow me to have this dance, lady," she whispered, smiling as the princess blushed. Setsuna was sure that the pampered and sheltered princess had never considered dancing with a woman.
As the night wore on, the pair never changed partners. They stayed together the entire evening, Setsuna assured of her partner's identity and Serenity wondering who such a dark and mysterious beauty could possibly be. As the last dance spun them across the floor, Setsuna stopped beside one of the huge balconies and sighed, kissing Serenity's delicate hand.
"Too bad this evening had to be so short, my dear. You are a wonderful partner and it is a shame that our interaction will never extend past tonight."
Serenity tilted her head and let go of Setsuna's hand, stepping back until she was through the curtains of the balcony, beckoning gently. "Come with me, dark princess of the skies, and perhaps this night might last a little longer."
Setsuna stared at the princess's white hand, knowing deep inside that she should just turn and go, that following the princess was the absolute wrong thing to do, but the part of her that believed in fate even after guarding the Time Gate for so long led her forward, made her take the princess's fingers in her own. "I will follow you," she whispered.
Setsuna removed her mask and placed it on the table in the guest room, staring at the princess as she placed her simple mask down, too. Serenity stared at her dance partner, watching as the light from the spinning planet outside the window shone in the woman's red eyes. "I have never met anyone as beautiful as you before," Serenity whispered, blushing slightly. "You don't seem quite mortal, really."
"I'm not really all that mortal, princess, but neither are you. The carriers of the ginzuishou never are, but you strike me as more god-like than your mother."
"You know who I am? I thought I could hide here on Jupiter for a while."
Setsuna shrugged and sat on the silk-covered bed. "I know all of you princesses. I was there when you were born, I was there when your mothers were born, and I was there to birth the women who began your lines. I know you, young Serenity."
Serenity gasped, falling against the window as realization dawned in her young purple eyes. "You . . . Pluto! There are rumors in the Court that you aren't mortal at all, that you're a goddess who has lived since the dawning of the Great Alliance of Kingdoms of the Planets of Sol, but I never believed that it might be true. Why would you tell me this? Why me and no one else?"
Setsuna reached out and pulled the younger woman into her arms, running her hands along Serenity's arm to calm the girl. "I see something in you I never saw in the Line of Serenity before. There is something of the Goddess in you, princess, and I know that you will be the greatest Queen of the Silver Millennium. Your legacy will extend far into the future and your purity will gain you great rewards. Something about you attracts me and I do not know why."
"Who . . . if you're a god, who are your parents?"
Setsuna smiled and ran a finger down Serenity's cheek. "Who else but Hades, king of the darkness and his wife Persephone?"
"You? Child of Hades? What is your name, Sailor Pluto?"
"As a mortal, I am called Setsuna. As a god I am Se."
"Se . . . such a simple, powerful name. I can't imagine that I caught your attention as young and inexperienced as I am."
Setsuna purred as she ran her fingers down Serenity's white arm, watching the princess shiver. "Maybe it's your youth, purity, and beauty that attracted me in the first place. You are a very beautiful woman, Serenity."
"I don't really know what to do," Serenity whispered, warmth spreading through her body. "I'm really very naïve for being a princess."
Setsuna slipped Serenity's sleeves off her shoulders, smiling as the princess's purple dress pooled in her lap. "You don't have to do anything, princess. Let me help you learn and grow." Carefully lifting Serenity, Setsuna freed her of her dress and laid her gently on the bed. Reaching up, Setsuna unfastened her own dress and placed it carefully in the chair, proudly revealing her naked body to the princess.
Somewhat ashamed of her own nudity, Serenity was speechless at Setsuna's perfection. She had known that the woman would have no flaws, but she had never expected such pert round breasts, strong, muscular arms, ample hips that fit her body perfectly, thin waist, long legs, and smooth skin. Setsuna's lips curled into a smile at the blatant scrutiny. "Do you like what you see?" The princess could only nod as she stared.
For her part, Setsuna was also rather impressed. The princess had not an ounce of fat on her, though the upper class of the Moon was known to indulge rather too much in their fortunes. Her muscles, though smaller than Setsuna's, were nonetheless strong and well-formed, and her small breasts and hips fit her fine frame perfectly. Her smooth skin was white, unblemished and glowing from within, and her purple eyes were innocent and daring at the same time. Some spark of adventure had led her to Jupiter, and Pluto was determined to find it.
Setsuna smiled as she leaned over the young princess and pushed her onto the bed, running a gentle finger down her cheek. "Let's dance, little princess."
Serenity bowed her head, tears streaking her cheeks behind the black veil as the guards marched past, her mother's coffin held between them. The silvery white box was the focus of the entire crowd, mourners from all nine planets including Earth filling the moon. How could her mother have died so suddenly and left her all alone? The ginzuishou had rebelled against her mother as it always did eventually to the queen, leaving the young princess in charge of the Silver Millennium. She could feel her lover Setsuna's thoughts whispering in the back of her mind, but she could not focus on the other woman that day. She was alone in her world and nothing the goddess could do would help.
Silently, Serenity followed her mother's casket to the graveyard behind the palace where all of the previous queens rested, their souls protected and loved by Hades. She knew that her mother was with the gods, but it did not mean that she was ready to be queen.
"You will make a fine queen," Setsuna whispered in her mind. "I can see your legacy stretching far into the future."
"How can I go on without her?"
"You will find a way," Setsuna whispered, some dark shadow of her tumultuous past flooding her voice. "I lost someone I loved dearly a long time ago and I thought I would never get over her loss, but eventually I had to move on. You will heal."
"But will I ever be the same?"
"Now that you are Queen Serenity of the Silver Millennium, of course you are ready to do your duty to the throne."
The councilwoman smiled as she bowed to the young queen, glancing over her shoulder at the Councilors arrayed behind her. "You will take a husband, of course. There must be a princess to rule when the ginzuishou shatters you."
Serenity's hands clenched into fists as silver lightning sparked across her purple eyes, causing the Councilors to step back. "I will take a husband when it suits me. Leave me in peace to contemplate my mother's life." She waved her hand and watched as the mortals left her in peace, closing the silver doors of the throne room behind them. She sighed and rested her head in her hand, wondering what she was going to do. She had been trained from the day she was born to take over the Silver Millennium, but that did not mean that she was ready to rule. She could still hear her mother's scream as the ginzuishou shattered her, leaving a lifeless husk covered in silver striations where a vibrant queen had once been, and tears filled her eyes all over again. Silently, she began to cry, mourning the loss of her mother.
A quick knock on the doors caught her attention, and the young queen looked up through her tears. "I do not wish to be disturbed!"
"Majesty, she insists," the servant begged, her voice strained.
The doors opened wide enough to admit the dark Queen of Pluto, her garnet eyes noting every detail as the doors closed behind her. "You're thinking about her again."
"I can't help it. I miss her. And now they are telling me that I must get married and have a daughter to rule when the crystal shatters me."
"The crystal will not shatter you, my love. That is not your destiny."
"But I do not want to marry some nobleman's son! I only want you, Setsuna."
The dark queen sighed and joined Serenity on her dais, kissing the younger woman's forehead. "I knew that it could never last, Serenity. I'm sure I can find you a suitable husband to help you rule."
"I'm not ready to rule yet, Setsuna. Can't you stay with me until we can find me a husband? I don't want to be alone."
"I know you don't. I can't stay with you as Setsuna, because the court will not accept a woman with their queen." Serenity's face fell, and the goddess smiled. "But I can create a disguise and stay with you as your husband until we find a suitable replacement. Then I can conveniently die and return to Pluto."
"And you would stay with me?"
"I'll stay with you."
Setsuna kissed Serenity, her lover's passion filling her like no mortal's ever had. She could feel her walls slamming into place like they had every time before, but for the first time, she broke them down. She wanted Serenity to feel every second of her pleasure and she didn't want to be denied her lover's ecstasy. As her walls suddenly vanished, Serenity screamed with the feelings coursing through her, and it was suddenly too much. Silver light exploded from the queen and enveloped her "husband", Setsuna's burgundy power fighting back, merging with the silver in an explosion so bright and powerful that it filled the entire palace and glowed through the Solar System for just a moment.
As Serenity's orgasm faded, the panting queen sat up and touched Setsuna's shoulder. "Se? Are you okay?" She heard servants running toward her room, and both women looked up sharply, Setsuna closing her eyes and pulling her disguise back into place with no small amount of effort. When Serenity's servant poked her head into the door, the king stood up and glared at her, blanket wrapped around his waist. The servant stuttered her apology as she backed out, leaving two very confused women behind.
"What was that, Se?"
"I don't know. I've never seen anything like that before. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I felt you drop your shields, Se, and it was a little overpowering. I don't think we should ever do that again."
"No, probably not."
"Setsuna, I went to the doctor today to see why I've been so sick recently."
Setsuna raised one eyebrow at the tremor in Serenity's voice. "What's wrong, Serenity? And why did you decide to speak in our room instead of the throne room?"
"I was afraid someone might be listening. Se, I'm pregnant."
For the first time in her life, the goddess was speechless, trying desperately to grasp her wife's words, trying to determine when it could have possibly happened. "When? How? I've been alive for thousands of years and I have never heard of two women being able to conceive a child. The crystals of the planets are not that powerful."
"I don't know what happened, but it had to be that night. The power explosion. Our crystals have the power to do this sort of thing, but it takes true love to unlock that power. I think I know that much."
"And no matter how much we love each other, I have to go. I've stayed to long."
"Wait until she's born, Se. Please. Stay to see your daughter."
Setsuna smiled and placed a hand on Serenity's belly, able to sense the child inside. "She will be the first of my children I truly love and the first I cannot stay to raise no matter how much I want to. I hope she looks like you."
"I hope she has your spirit, Se. I hope she has your power."
"There has to be another way," Serenity whispered, tears streaking her face as she held her daughter close. The newborn was very quiet, sensing that something very bad was happening. "Why can't you keep up this masquerade forever?"
"Serenity, I love you more than I ever thought I could love someone, daughter of Hades that I am, but I cannot stay any longer. I should have been gone long ago, and Serenity will ever be in danger because I loitered too long and she has a Senshi godling as her father, especially the daughter of Hades. You have to protect her, to raise her like a proper princess, to keep her happy and free of corruption and darkness. You have to give her what I cannot and kiss her for me when I am so very far away."
Serenity shook her head, the queen unable to stop her silent sobs, careful to keep the moisture off her daughter. "I know that we agreed to this, Se, but we were young and foolish. I want to be with you."
Setsuna pulled Serenity into her arms and sighed, resting her head on the silver hair she knew so well. "I know, my love, I really do, but you are the Queen of the Silver Millennium and you have a duty to your people. What's more, you have a duty to our daughter to leave her a throne to rule from when she grows up, whether I'm here or not. If anyone found out that she was the daughter of two Senshi, Balance would target her and kill her while she is still young and powerless. She is the Child of Darkness and Light I never thought I'd see, and I won't let her life be ruined because I didn't leave soon enough."
"I know," Serenity whispered. "I know that you have to do this, but I wish there was another way."
"If we ever meet when we have no secrets left, when we have no daughter to protect, when there are no more restrictions of the Silver Millennium, then I will hold you close as Setsuna in public and show you how much I love you, but for now this is all that we get. I love you and I always will, but I have to go. Goodbye, my one and only love."
"Goodbye, my princess of darkness," Serenity whispered. "Goodbye."
From her balcony overlooking the dance floor, Serenity could hardly miss Setsuna's entrance as the Senshi princesses brought her up-to-date on recent events. At the sight of Setsuna, elegant in black and smiling at her, Serenity lost the ability to speak. Memories of her time with the Queen of Meiousei filled her thoughts, and she could only watch helplessly as the beauty came closer. She sensed the Senshi leave, knowing that they were unimportant when compared to the woman she had been married to for so long, the woman who had stolen her heart and never given it back. Setsuna climbed the stairs very slowly and deliberately, knowing that every second made the queen's heart pound louder until she couldn't even hear her own thoughts.
For a moment, neither woman said a thing as they stood and stared at each other, both trying to bridge the gap that had existed between them for so long. Setsuna shattered the silence and the distance as she let her fingers touch Serenity's cheek, watching as the silver-haired woman smiled. "It's good to see you again, Setsu-chan."
"And you, my queen."
Serenity took Setsuna's hand and kissed her palm. "I told you not to call me that. Here I am not your queen. We're much more than that."
"We haven't been for a very long time," Setsuna whispered, letting her hand come to rest on the queen's white cheek. "You have a kingdom to run and I have an apocalypse to prevent."
"I think it's too late, Setsu-chan. I think that my beautiful kingdom is doomed." Setsuna wiped the tears off Serenity's cheek and kissed that same cheek gently.
"Do not be afraid," Setsuna whispered, wrapping one arm around Serenity's waist and pulling her just a little bit closer. "There is no end that does not bring a new beginning. Do not be afraid and never lose hope."
"When did you become such an optimist?"
"I met a very interesting person on Earth. He hasn't been born yet, but he sure seems to know a lot about fate and the future."
"Earth? That place has been the center of so much recently. I fear that it will be the end of us all." Serenity looked up at Setsuna, smiling. "But, for right now, let's ignore all of our problems. Meiou Setsuna, will you dance with me?"
Setsuna smiled as she took Serenity's arm. "I thought you'd never ask." Together, the queens descended the staircase, walking slowly, eyes locked on each other.
Queen Serenity dashed down the hall, silver hair streaming out behind her as she searched desperately for her daughter. "Setsu-chan, I can't find her!"
"There's no use," Setsuna whispered as the pair paused. "She's outside, facing the brunt of the attack with her prince."
Serenity's eyes widened, fists clenched. "I will not let her die," the queen whispered. "I must save her, Setsu-chan."
"Then I will fight and die with my queen."
"No, you won't."
Pluto stared at her queen. "I have to fight."
Serenity laid a hand on Pluto's arm, pain in her deep eyes. "You have to live, Setsu-chan. I need you to go back to the Gate of Time. If this day goes as I fear it will, I need you there. You have to make it."
"Sailor Pluto," Serenity countered. "Please, do this for me. For the sake of the Sailor Senshi, go back to the Gate of Time."
"If you love me," Serenity whispered, reluctantly adding the last of her pleas, "please."
Setsuna, knowing that she would regret it, nodded, leaning over to kiss Serenity one last time. "This is my sacrifice. I love you." She vanished.
Serenity choked back a sob as she swallowed her tears. Calling for her two cat advisors, the queen headed for the front of her palace.
Serenity dashed outside, Moon Stick in her hand, two cats at her heels, stopping dead still at the sight that met her eyes. Young Serenity screamed as Queen Beryl's sword pierced Endymion, and the young prince fell at her feet. Tears streaming down her cheeks, young Serenity picked up her lover's sword and fell on it. "No!" the queen screamed. "Serenity!" But her daughter was dead, and with it all her hopes and dreams.
"I won't let it end like this," Serenity vowed. She heard Luna and Artemis's objections, but no words could reach her now. Summoning the powerful ginzuishou to her hand, Serenity placed it on the Moon Stick and raised the weapon above her head. Eyes full of tears, the queen released the full power of the crystal, watching as the invaders from the Dark Kingdom vanished, feeling her life energy disappearing. The pink light from her crystal enveloped her daughter and the man who had given his life to protect that woman, and the light reached farther, absorbing the bodies of the dead Senshi.
Mars and Venus, hands reaching for each other but unable to touch, were absorbed by the pink light, each surrounded by her own personal bubble, as the princess and the Earth prince had been. Jupiter, one hand resting on Mercury's, vanished into a bubble, Mercury an instant behind her. Setsuna watched the light come, and she raised her staff, whispering an order to the Space Sword and the Aqua Mirror. Both glowed briefly to free themselves of the blood sullying their surfaces and vanished, entering their Senshi's Pure Heart Crystals, ready to remain dormant until they were needed again. The Garnet Orb glowed sadly at the loss of its partners. The pink light reached the lovers, hands linked, and reluctantly separated them into individual bubbles. One final bubble floated in from Dosei, containing the little girl who would have been Sailor Saturn.
The Senshi's bubbles floated over the Moon Palace, flying off to Earth and the future with the other children of the Silver Millennium as the Mystical Silver Crystal entered its princess to wait patiently for her rebirth. Inside their bubbles, the Senshi were healed, and their spirits were ready to be reborn on Earth in the future. The bubbles were followed by two capsules containing the two cat advisors, sending them forward, too, so that they could guide the princess and her Senshi in the future.
That left only two people on the Moon.
Pluto knelt by Serenity's side, tears streaming down her cheeks. "You used the full power of the crystal." In her mind, Serenity heard Setsuna's thoughts for the first time since their daughter was born. "I found you again only to lose you so senselessly. I could have taken you away, saved you. I saw your destiny so long ago, and now I see how your legacy will reach into the future. Our daughter will be reborn, but she has the crystal. You can't be reborn without it."
"At least it didn't shatter me," Serenity whispered. "You told me that I would never be shattered. I feel so empty . . . everything I had went into that crystal, and it never had a chance to kill me. I'm glad it gave me one last moment with you."
"And the ginzuishou is lost to us, fled into the future where it cannot protect Earth and the Moon from the coming darkness. You buried it in her soul, linked it to her in a bond more powerful than that shared by the previous queens, and she will probably die young, shattered by the vibrations of the ginzuishou before her time."
"I had to, Setsu-chan. I could not let my daughter die like that. And now they will be reborn on Earth, where Serenity and Endymion can be together, and even Haruka and Michiru will not be kept apart. Will you watch over her for me?"
Setsuna nodded as the queen, having spent all of her energy sealing the evil away and saving the Senshi, took a final shallow breath. "I love you, Setsuna," she breathed as the last of her life fled her body. She had never said the words before.
Setsuna let her tears fall as she leaned down and kissed Serenity's still lips. "I love you, too." Her farewells finished, Setsuna stood up and wrapped her hands around her staff. She was alone. Sighing, she returned to the Gate of Time, thinking about Michiru's child growing in her womb. Her last words echoed in the silence. "Every end brings a new beginning. I won't lose hope."
Serenity's eyes widened as Small Lady listened, entranced. "That's not how you told the story the first time, Mother."
"Is that really where Mommy came from?"
"Yes, it is, Small Lady. As it turns out, I was wrong. I thought the ginzuishou would shatter your mother, but it made her the strongest carrier I have ever seen. She is stronger than the ginzuishou and it cannot shatter her. Your recent fight, Small Lady, proves that you cannot be shattered, either. You will be strong like your mother."
"And my sister?"
Usagi placed a hand on her belly, growing larger every day, and smiled. "She will be strong, too."