Great Expectations

Author's Notes: I will play it safe and say that none of this is mine. All praise to Naoko Takeuchi etc. This story is my first Sailor Moon fic and I hope you like it. Please review and be constructive. Any flames will be attacked with a water gun - ha ha! The title is also not mine but belongs to Charles Dickens (it is a great book - I highly recommend it!)

Great Expectations - The Nightmares

She found herself in the familiar yet frightening surroundings of her recurring nightmare and immediately panicked. Something was chasing her, something so evil that she felt her very existence threatened by its mere presence. She had to escape but she could not move! She cried out for help but was met only by the fast-approaching sounds of danger. There was no one around that she could turn to for help. Sensing a sudden evil presence nearby, she turned around and saw two burning eyes glaring at her from beneath a dark shroud. It got closer and closer and, although she struggled desperately, she could not get away!

"I will have you, Moon Child!" it growled with an evil voice, "The future will belong to me!"

That awful voice filled her mind with dread and she again tried to get away. Its very touch seemed laden with death.

"Who are you!" she screamed, bringing her arms up over her face in a desperate effort to shield herself from the malevolent being. "Leave me alone!"

And as she felt the weblike shroud graze her arm, she suddenly woke up in a cold sweat and found herself in her own bed. A wave of nausea rushed through her and she ran to the ensuite, making it just in time. She cried in frustration. "Damn these dreams," she thought angrily, "They are starting to make me ill physically as well as mentally."

As she knelt there sobbing brokenly, she felt a warm hand on her shoulder and looked up to find her husband next to her.

"Serenity, are you all right?"

Endymion was very concerned. The nightmares had begun a few weeks ago and, at first, she had shrugged them off as the effects of something she ate not agreeing with her. Then, they started coming to her every night and, try as she might, she could not get over the feeling that they were trying to tell her something - something awful. That was when Endymion noticed that she was becoming fearful and timid, which was not like her at all and she was not sleeping well. First, she would toss violently in her sleep, then cry out for help (which always woke him up) and she would shortly wake up in a cold sweat. Recently, she was getting sick to top it all off. He caressed her shoulders lovingly, trying to ease the tension he felt in her.

"Oh, Endymion," she sighed and the tears started again. She buried herself in his strong arms and wished she could always stay like that - it was the only place she felt safe these days.

He knelt down and cradled her protectively. Even though Serenity was the all-powerful Queen of Crystal Tokyo who wielded the awesome power of the Imperium Silver Crystal, right now she was his fragile wife and she needed the support that only he could give her.

Endymion picked her up and brought her back to bed. He held her close and waited for her sobbing to stop. Caressing her long blonde hair and kissing her temple, he cursed whatever it was that was causing these nightmares. Something had to be behind it.

"Do you want to talk about this Serenity?" he asked gently as he felt her relax slightly.

Serenity looked up at him wearily but with so much love in her eyes that it made Endymion catch his breath. It was a glance that warmed him to the core.

"It was the same nightmare, Endymion. I am having this same nightmare every night," she sighed, her voice almost a whisper.

"Tell me again what happens, my love." Even though she had told him before, Endymion felt that if he heard it just one more time, maybe some light could be shed on the matter. Maybe he could figure it out and spare her another restless night. She already looked so tired. He gave his wife a small smile and he hoped that his eyes radiated the same warm feeling of love that hers did because it was, after all, what he felt for the woman in his arms.

Serenity ran a hand through her hair and took a deep breath before she began.

"I am in our bedroom and I wake up because I hear a voice calling my name. I turn to you but you are fast asleep. I get up and go into the hallway, following the voice that calls me. The voice is happy, joyful. It tells me it is very near and that I must hurry. Suddenly I hear the voice scream in pain. Then there is another voice, an evil voice and it tells me that the Moon Child will be his. It doesn't tell me when or why this will be but I start running, trying to get back to you where I know I will be safe. But my feet feel like they are stuck and I can't get away, no matter how hard I try. For some reason, I know that I cannot use the Imperium Silver Crystal. I finally turn around to face my tormentor and all I see are eyes that glow from beneath a dark shroud. It tells me that it will have me and that the future will be his. It reaches out to touch me and then…well, then I wake up and you know the rest."

Endymion knew first-hand what it was like to be plagued by recurring nightmares. A similar episode had kept the two of them apart many years before. What he could not understand was what these nightmares meant. They had to mean something, just as his (and Serenity's he was later to learn) had been meant to prove their love for each could withstand any danger and any threat. Endymion looked again at Serenity's face and his heart spasmed when he noticed how tired she was. Serenity would never slacken in her duties as supreme monarch but he could see that the sleepless nights were taking their toll on her. They had to get to the bottom of this but they could not do this on their own. They needed help and he knew just the person.

"Serenity, I think it is time we talked to Raye about this," he suggested.

Serenity looked up at him and smiled. She knew she could always count on Endymion's advice when she was uncertain as to what path to take. This was part of the reason she loved him so much. She nodded and nestled her head into his shoulder. Raye, now a priestess, could do a fire reading and maybe she could determine what this was all about.

"I'm scared, Endymion," she whispered.

Endymion felt her start to tremble.

"Serenity, nothing will happen to you while I am here. You have to believe that. This may be nothing more than an image from your past resurfacing."

"I don't think so. I really don't. I feel that it is something from the future, something that is threatening our very existence. But, I don't understand why it calls me the Moon Child - I am hardly a child! And who is that other voice that calls me? Why does it want me to find it? Why…oh, there are too many questions, Endymion, and I cannot answer a single one."

Endymion got up on one arm and touched her face gently.

"I love you, Serenity, for now and for eternity. I won't let anything or anyone hurt you," he promised, kissing her hand, the hand on which glinted her wedding band.

"I know," she smiled, "Let's have breakfast and then we will go see Raye together."

Great Expectations - A Fire Reading

Endymion ate a hearty breakfast while Serenity only touched some toast and had a sip of orange juice.

"This is not like her," Endymion thought to himself as he watched Serenity poke half-heartedly at some scrambled eggs, "This nightmare is really getting to her and she looks so tired all the time." He suddenly was anxious to go to the temple and discuss the matter with Raye.

"Are you finished, Serenity?" he asked while placing his hand over hers.

She looked up at him and nodded. She too, it seemed, was anxious to find out what was plaguing her.

The walk to the temple was short and the couple walked hand-in-hand. Normally they would have marvelled at the view of the gardens, the beauty of the Crystal Palace or simply talked about matters of state or matters of the heart. This time, however, they walked in silence. Each was pondering what meaning there could possibly be behind dreams of such danger.

They walked through the entrance to the temple and pulled the bellrope to announce their presence.

They did not have to wait long. Raye came out in a moment, dressed as she usually was, in her priestess robes. She smiled when she saw her dearest friends and rushed up to hug them but stopped short when she saw their worried faces.

"Serenity. Endymion. What's wrong. You look terribly worried," she said.

"Can we come inside the temple to talk?" Endymion asked.

Raye nodded and they followed her into the Shrine of Eternal Flame where the holy fire was kept burning by Raye and her fellow priests and priestesses. They sat on some mats around the fire. Raye waited for them to speak first.

Serenity was silent. She was embarrassed and thought that maybe this wasn't a good idea. Maybe Raye would think that she was over-reacting or paranoid. But the nightmares were getting so real and she was genuinely scared and felt that no one could protect her from what was to come. She started to tremble again.

Endymion broke the silence.

"Raye, Serenity has been suffering from a recurring nightmare the past couple of weeks. Up until recently, she would wake up in a cold sweat and be able to shake it off. But now, she is so unnerved that she is literally sick to her stomach and can't eat. She is scared and I am too because I can see what this is doing to her. It's wearing her out and I feel powerless."

Raye looked at Serenity with surprise. Yes, she had noticed that Serenity was a little tired lately but she thought that it had to do with the long hours she had been putting in lately with regards to matters of state. And this additional thing about her not eating worried Raye a little.

Plus, Raye had been having nightmares of her own. Nightmares that made her wake up in a cold sweat. Nightmares she had been reluctant to share with her own husband, Chad, thinking that she should be able to handle it herself.

Raye tossing and turning in her sleep, her face slick with cold sweat. Chad awakens and watches her for a moment before shaking her gently to wake her. She does not respond. He shakes her more forcefully, slightly alarmed that she is not waking up. She still does not respond. He lifts her forcefully to a sitting position and holds her tightly, whispering loving words into her ear in an effort to calm her. Her struggles become less violent and she is calm. Her eyes flutter open.

"I think it's time you tell me what is going on" he says seriously, "We've been married long enough for you to know that you don't have to fight every battle on your own. I am here and I'll listen. I may not be as proficient at fire-readings as you, my sweet, but I can help in some small way."

Raye smiles at the genuine concern in his voice. Since the passing of her grandfather many years ago, Raye had grown closer to the lank-haired young man who attended at the Shinto temple. It was a shock when she discovered that she loved him (although Serenity had hinted at it time and again). They married just a couple of years after Endymion and Serenity and now lived in a suite of apartments in the Royal Palace.

"You're right, Chad," Raye whispers, "But don't say I didn't warn you…"

"Tell me about your nightmares, Serenity. Put in every detail you can think of," she held her friend's hand in an encouraging gesture and smiled. Serenity smiled back and told her everything.

When Serenity finished, Raye felt a cold shiver run down her back. There was a link between her nightmares and those of her dearest friend and she had to tell them before she could do a fire reading.

"Serenity. Endymion. I too have been having nightmares. I am in the temple and I am alone. I am sitting in front of the sacred fire meditating when this cold wind blows in. It is very strong and I feel ice pellets pelting my body. I try to get away but I can't move. Then the sacred fire is extinguished by the sheer force of the wind. Then I hear an evil voice, which tells me that the Moon Child will soon be his, and the world will end. When I turn to see who is talking, all I see are two burning eyes and a shroud reaching out to me. That's when I wake up, usually in a cold sweat."

Serenity started trembling even harder. Endymion put his arms around her in an effort to calm her but he himself was shaken. Was something really threatening his beloved wife?

"Can we do a fire reading, Raye?" he asked.

"We have to," she answered simply.

Endymion and Serenity watched as Raye threw some incense into the fire, which sparked beautifully. Then Raye assumed the pose of meditation and purged her mind of distractions, calling upon the spirits to show her the path to truth. She concentrated her powers and centred herself.

Raye felt herself become part of the flame, an embodiment of its pure spirit. She asked the question that needed to be answered and waited for the images to show themselves. She saw Crystal Tokyo under attack. The sky was dark but Raye could not make out where the enemy was. People were screaming and running in a panic and yet she could not make out what was causing this. Suddenly, the scene shifted and she was in the Crystal Palace, at least it seemed like the Crystal Palace and heard screams from the two people she loved best in the world - Serenity and Endymion. Serenity was in their bedroom. Raye could not make out where Endymion was but she heard him shouting frantically. Serenity was tied to the bed and was surrounded by shrouded figures. She was crying and screaming in pain and calling out to Endymion in utter anguish. What was happening? The shrouded figures chanted that the Moon Child would soon be theirs and the Earth was finished. Suddenly, the scene shifted and Raye found herself surrounded by a gentle white light. She heard a voice saying that the Moon Child must be protected at all costs, that she is the only one who can save Earth in the future and that she is coming very soon. Then she saw…she couldn't believe who she saw!

Serenity and Endymion both noticed the expression of fear on Raye's face and held hands tightly. They were surprised by the sudden appearance of a smile and looked at each other in confusion.

Raye opened her eyes, and there were tears in them. Tears of joy.

"What did you see, Raye?" Endymion asked nervously.

"I saw a possible future. Crystal Tokyo attacked by the Shadow Forces and endangering both of your lives. They are after someone. Someone we must protect with our lives if Earth is to survive."

Serenity blanched, "In my dream, it spoke of the Moon Child. They are after me, aren't they?" Endymion's grasp of her hand became like that of a vice.

Raye smiled again.

"They are not after you, Serenity," she said.

Endymion looked puzzled and annoyed.

"If they are not after Serenity, then who are they after?" he asked angrily.

"The child that Serenity is carrying."

Great Expectations - The News Hits Home

There was silence in the temple for several minutes before anyone spoke.

Serenity suddenly shook herself from the trance she had fallen into and glanced down at her stomach. Was it possible?

"Raye, are you telling me that I am pregnant?" she asked, a little incredulously.

Raye smiled at her friend. Trust Serenity not to notice the signs of morning sickness.

"Serenity, you are most assuredly pregnant. I'm surprised that you didn't notice yourself. You are sick in the morning. You are tired all the time. I realize that you attributed this to your nightmares but didn't you think, even for a second, that you might be pregnant?"

The blank look on Serenity's face said it all.

Raye looked at Endymion and almost laughed. He looked almost as stunned as Serenity because he didn't know what to think.

Raye patted him on the shoulder.

"Congratulations, Endymion. You are going to be a Daddy!"

A dull thud made Raye look back to Serenity who had suddenly fainted to the ground. Endymion snapped out of his daze and brought his wife to a sitting position while he fanned her with his free hand. She came out of her faint quickly and smiled.

"Daddy. That word will look good on you, Endymion," she said playfully.

Endymion smiled back. Although this was a shock to both of them, they had always dreamed of starting a family someday and, despite the initial jolt, he really was pleased.

"And you are going to be the best Mommy in the world, my love!" he kissed her forehead.

Serenity smiled happily and placed her hands gently on her abdomen, wondering if her baby could feel her touch. Then her face clouded over and her arms tightened over her unborn child in an instinctive protective embrace.

"Raye, you said that this child might be in danger. Can you tell me more about that and how we can prevent anything from happening to…" Serenity didn't know how to finish her question.

Raye knew what she was asking.

"She is safe for now. The Shadow Forces have no use for an unborn child. However, when the time comes for her to be born, we have to be very careful and use all our powers to protect her. Her powers will be like yours, she will be a Sailor Scout and will wield the power of the Imperium Silver Crystal and she will be Queen after you. She is your daughter, Reenie."

Endymion placed his hand on his wife's abdomen, imagining it already slightly swollen. They had waited a long time for this and he was ecstatic. He loved Reenie from their time together long ago and he swore that nothing would ever hurt the two women he loved most in the world. He would die first before he would allow that to happen. No matter what, Serenity and Reenie would be protected.

Raye smiled at Endymion's protective gesture.

"Endymion, you must be strong for Serenity. Pregnancy is not an easy thing to go through, especially when the mother must carry out so many royal duties. Take good care of her and make sure she rests. I can give you something that will help the two of you sleep. Now that we know what the nightmares mean, we can take precautions and devise a plan of action but you both need rest. I also think it would be a good idea to tell Amy as she is the royal physician. Don't tell anyone else just yet until you have reached the three month stage. Call me superstitious but in this case, I can afford to be."

Endymion and Serenity stood up and hugged Raye. They then left the temple to head over to the offices of the royal physician. Boy, was Amy going to be surprised.

Great Expectations - A Visit with Doctor Amy

Endymion waited nervously in the private waiting room reserved for the royal family and the Sailor Scouts. What was taking so long in there? What did Amy have to check, anyway?

The door opened and Amy smiled at Endymion.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting, Endymion. Come on in," he followed her into the examination room. Serenity was sitting on the examination table with a glowing face. He suddenly remembered an old expression about how women glowed when they were expecting. Maybe it wasn't just an old wives tale after all. He sat down on the examining table next to his wife and gave her a quick hug. She smiled and put her hand on his thigh.

"Well, let me be the first to congratulate you both. In 6 ½ months, you will have a beautiful baby," Amy beamed. This was a part of her job that she loved and, although she and Greg did not yet have children of their own yet, it was something in their not so distant future as well, she hoped. Greg was crazy about kids but Amy wanted to wait until the time was right.

"Now, Serenity and Endymion. This is pregnancy. It is not an illness. You can do almost everything you did before including what got you here in the first place."

The King and Queen of Crystal Tokyo blushed a fierce red and Serenity had to smother a giggle behind her hand. Endymion tapped her playfully on the nose.

Amy noticed this with a grin. These two had been through so much together and they were so genuinely in love. What more loving family could a child be born into?

"There are a couple of things which you must avoid. First of all, no more caffeine and, Serenity, that includes chocolate."

Surprisingly, Serenity's face remained cheerful.

"I tried eating chocolate the last couple of days, to try to get my spirits up after those nightmares I just told you about. But I threw up each time I ate it. I guess it was another sign I missed."

Amy had to giggle at her friend's predicament.

"You also cannot drink any alcohol, which shouldn't be a problem as you never were one for wine or anything like that."

Endymion, with a sparkle in his eye, turned to Serenity,

"Actually, I kind of like it when you have something to drink. That was how we kissed for the first time at the party for Princess Diamond. Do you remember, Serenity?"

Serenity blushed again.

"Yes, I was tipsy from the champagne I had. I was trying so hard to act the part of the grown-up Princess. But, I wasn't so tipsy that I didn't know what I wanted…the same thing I've always wanted…you!" Serenity pouted, "But I still wish that Luna hadn't interrupted us."

Both Amy and Endymion laughed at the remembrance.

"Serenity, I don't know how that poor guardian cat put up with you," Amy smiled.

"Amy, do you think I should tell the other Sailor Scouts about this?" asked Serenity.

Amy thought for a moment.

"I think that it would be okay. In fact, given the potential danger, I would insist on it."

Endymion's face clouded over as he thought about the threat to their unborn daughter.

"You're right, Amy. The Scouts will have to be on constant alert to ensure Serenity's safety,' he tightened his grip on his wife's waist.

Serenity smiled in understanding of the pain he was feeling and patted his leg comfortingly. She turned to Amy in some confusion.

"Amy, why do the Scouts have to protect me? Can I not use the power of the Imperium Silver Crystal to protect myself?"

"Serenity, the power of Imperium Silver Crystal is awesome indeed and you would be able to protect yourself easily if you were not pregnant. Your body is going through many changes and I do not know how the magic of the crystal will affect Reenie. It may harm her and I would feel much better if you left the job of protecting to the scouts."

"And me, too!" Endymion added forcefully.

Serenity still looked pensive. This tied in directly with her dream, the fact that she could somehow not use the Crystal in her own defence. Not being able to use the Crystal worried her because it was almost a part of her very being.

"It's the beginning of our trouble with the Dark Moon family, isn't it?" she asked Endymion.

Endymion turned to her with sad eyes and nodded.

Serenity sighed, and in that sigh it seemed she carried the whole weight of the world on her shoulders. Seeing that, Endymion cursed the Dark Moon family in his mind.

"I tried to reason with them, explained to them why the purification was so important. All they kept talking about was their assertion that the throne of Crystal Tokyo rightfully belonged to them. I know that Diamond was my mother's favourite cousin, however distantly related, but that doesn't make him King. He would only cause strife. I was glad they left of their own accord to establish themselves elsewhere. I just thought that would be the end of it," Serenity spoke, almost to herself.

Endymion held her close.

"Do not feel sorry for that vindictive branch of your family. After we met, Diamond told me that you had been promised to him as a bride to keep the lineage of your family strong and he has always resented me for frustrating that dream of having you and the throne. He said it was meant to be."

Serenity kissed Endymion on the cheek,

"But it was not meant to be, dearest. You and I were meant to be and we have ruled Earth through the longest period of peace it has known. I could not have done that at the side of someone like Diamond, he is too power-hungry and vindictive," Serenity shivered at a remembrance that she had never mentioned to Endymion for fear that he would kill her distant relation - something that, despite everything, would have pained her greatly.

Serenity sitting alone on a bench in the gardens, watching the moonrise. Diamond comes along and sits down beside her.

"And so you have decided to leave, Diamond?" she asked quietly.

"Yes. My family will be departing tonight to seek our fortunes elsewhere. I came to say good-bye."

"Please believe me when I say I am sorry that you feel you have to go."

"Will you miss me, Serenity?"

Serenity thought she saw genuine sadness in his eyes.

"Of course I will, cousin."

He took her hand, "Will you kiss me goodbye?"

Serenity was taken aback by his humble manner.

"Maybe he is sorry for what he has caused and wants to leave on a good note," she thought to herself.

Serenity nodded and reached over to kiss him on the cheek. Diamond quickly snatched her hand away and, pinning both her arms behind her, crushed her mouth in a violent kiss.

For a moment Serenity was stunned but she quickly reacted. Calling on the Imperium Silver Crystal, which she always wore on a pendant around her neck, she unleashed enough power to force Diamond away from her. She quickly stood up and backed away from him.

"You should not have tried that, Diamond!" she said angrily.

Diamond did not look in the least repentant.

"You were destined to be my wife. I only took that which is rightfully mine."

Serenity looked at him, shocked.

"I never was yours and never will be. Leave now and I will not tell Endymion what you tried."

Diamond shrugged his shoulders unconcernedly.

"Goodbye dearest Serenity," he said and vanished, leaving Serenity hoping that he would forget this infatuation. Maybe that pretty girl Emerald…Serenity became lost in her own thoughts until interrupted by the sound of footsteps.

Turning around quickly, Serenity was relieved to see Endymion coming into the clearing. She rushed over to him and happily embraced him.

"Serenity, you look very happy to see me," he gave her a passionate kiss to which she responded wholeheartedly.

"Serenity," he lifted her chin so that she was looking at him, "We will get through this and we will be all right. You have to believe that. I will protect you with every ounce of strength I have."

Serenity felt tears pricking at the back of her eyes. She was surrounded by people who loved her and yet she felt so alone. The memory of the nightmares was still vivid enough for her to really wonder if they could, in fact, protect her when the time came. She was scared to think what the answer might be.

Great Expectations - Darkness Rising

The group of robed figures stood around a great black crystal and their chanting penetrated the very walls of the vast chamber they were in. There were 12 of them in all and they were priests of the Cult of the Dark Moon. They were also loyal and lethal agents of the Death Phantom but that was a secret shared only among the 12 priests. It would not do for their accomplices to know that.

A young man stood off to one side watching the priests in their daily ritual of worship at the Altar of the Dark Crystal and watched as it pulsed with a weak light. He was becoming impatient at how slowly things were progressing. The Crystal should be stronger by now, he thought to himself. He ran both hands through his white hair and cursed Earth under his breath. What had happened to his family was going to be avenged and the sooner the better!

The ritual of worship was now complete and the priests went off in different directions. One of them approached the young man.

"Ah, Prince Diamond. What brings you here to our Dark Altar?" he croaked in a singularly evil voice.

"I want to know what your plans are, Wiseman! I am getting impatient sitting around here doing nothing except waiting for the Dark Crystal to become stronger and that seems to be taking forever," Diamond snapped.

Under his cloak, Wiseman smiled. Prince Diamond was the perfect puppet prince. He was brash, impatient and egotistical. He nursed an imagined wrong done to his family by Earth and was therefore easily manipulated. Wiseman thought to himself that they had chosen the right person to bring their plans into fruition. He would never suspect what their real goal was until it was too late.

"Mighty Prince Diamond," Wiseman wheedled, "You are, as always, observant to the fact that our plan is not proceeding as quickly as we would have hoped. The Dark Crystal is not gaining the necessary strength to launch an attack on Earth and, at this rate, we will not be able to attack for quite some time."

Diamond balled his hand into a fist and hit the column beside him in anger and frustration. Wiseman smiled again.

"Damn these delays. Is there nothing else we can do?" he asked.

That was all the opening Wiseman needed.

"The spirits of the Dark Crystal have given us some information which may be very helpful in our goal of attacking Earth. It seems that Queen Serenity and King Endymion are expecting a child, a daughter to be exact!"

Diamond turned to Wiseman with an incredulous look on his face.

"I thought, perhaps, you might have some good news for me. What do I care that the White Moon family will soon have an heir to the throne of Earth? That is the worst news you can give me," Diamond practically growled.

"My Prince, you do not see how this can benefit us. This girl child will embody both the cosmic power of the Moon and the cosmic power of Earth. She will possess awesome powers which, if we can manage it, can be used to our purposes."

Diamond looked interested.

"Tell me more," he whispered greedily.

"We know that Queen Serenity will give birth several months from now. We also know that she cannot use the Imperium Silver Crystal for fear of harming her child and this makes her vulnerable. We bide our time until shortly before her expected date of deliverance. Then, we can kidnap her and hold her in our dimension until she delivers the child…right into our waiting hands. Since we have no further use for the Queen, we would kill her. This would also prevent any future offspring from threatening our plan." Wiseman chortled silently at the look on Diamond's face.

"So," Diamond said, "We kidnap the mother, wait for her to give birth and take the child to raise as a member of our family to use as a weapon against Earth because of her immense power."

"Yes," Wiseman completed his thought, "And then we kill the mother as a precaution. That would leave Earth without its main protector and, with the power of the child, it would be ripe for the picking."

Diamond frequently asked the Dark Crystal to project Serenity's image and his dreams almost always involved her. She was beautiful…his mind wandered…so beautiful and she should have been his…

"No," Diamond managed to utter in a husky voice, "Leave the Queen to me!" He then turned to leave the chamber

In the darkness of the chamber, Wiseman watched his puppet prince depart and then the walls echoed with the cackling sounds of evil laughter.

Great Expectations - The Wait

Endymion and Serenity waited a couple of days before telling the Sailor Scouts their big news. They wanted a few days to dream about their little one before facing the reality of the dangerous situation ahead.

Thanks to Raye's special teas, Serenity was getting some sleep at night. Endymion would sit with her and listen as she rambled dreamily about all the things that they would do as a family. He smiled. In so many ways, she was always an innocent. She could tune out the bad in a situation and focus on the good and this, in his opinion, was one of her greatest strengths and one of the main reasons why her people loved her so much.

Going to bed, he would watch her sleep, her hands placed protectively over her abdomen as if trying to ward off demons even in her sleep. Endymion nestled her into his arms and she sighed happily as she felt his warmth envelope her like a security blanket. Sleep well, my love, he thought, nothing will harm you as long as I am here.

Endymion thought about his future daughter who looked so much like Serenity. That first meeting so long ago had been a bit of a shock. But, then again, how could anyone expect one's future offspring to fall down from the sky? He laughed quietly at the memory. Yes, that was memorable. And yet, even when he first met her, he sensed a connection between them that had confused him until the discovery that she was their future daughter.

So many memories came to the surface. The time she tried making curry (poor thing tried hard enough but her hands were too little!). The time when she tried her hand at making love bracelets. He frowned at the time she had transformed into Wicked Lady. If only they had been able to prevent that. She must have felt so alone and scared to be manipulated like that. Then there was the time when she was almost lost to them when her pure crystal heart was stolen…Endymion shook his head to clear it of that particular memory, it was too painful. Poor child would have more than enough obstacles to face in the future, he didn't think that he would have to worry so much over her birth as well.

However, despite that bit of sadness, he was thrilled to become a father. Having been an orphan and never knowing who his parents were made the idea of a close-knit family very important to him. He would not be an absent father. Serenity and Reenie (and any others which may come along later) would always be his first priority. He suddenly couldn't wait for the big day. Changing diapers, baths, all the little firsts that herald a baby's growth would be memories forever etched into his mind. Endymion just hoped that the birth would be as happy a memory.

Serenity did not have anymore nightmares, thanks to Raye, but she did dream about her daughter every night and they were pleasant dreams. Sometimes they seemed so real that she had to go to the room where they planned to put the nursery and check to see if she hadn't already arrived.

Serenity also had memories of Reenie. They hadn't started off as the best of friends and she had been suspicious of the hold the child had over her-then boyfriend. However, over time, they did forge a deep bond and had become soulmates. When she discovered that "the spore" was her future daughter, she was shocked to say the least but it did answer questions about Endymion's feelings about the child and her own.

Motherhood frightened Serenity somewhat and, although thrilled that she was going to have the child of her dreams, she was still concerned over how she was going to balance ruling over Crystal Tokyo and spending quality time with her family. Then again, she thought sleepily, I do have Endymion and he will be the perfect father, always supportive and ready to give a hand. However, the thought of her husband changing a dirty diaper made Serenity laugh.

Endymion and Serenity told all the Sailor Scouts at a special meeting that they set up. They thought it would be easier to tell them en masse rather than having to repeat the story over and over.

To say that they were ecstatic is an understatement. Mena was upset that Amy and Raye got the scoop before she was told. Lita thought it was fantastic and smothered Serenity in the biggest bearhug possible and then proceeded to slap Endymion on the shoulder so hard, he winced. Michiru and Haruka looked at one another and smiled, remembering the time they looked after their "child" Hotaru. Setsuna seemed pensive but offered her sincere congratulations while Hotaru herself was ecstatic and offered to be a baby-sitter.

The Scouts decided that they would keep a constant watch on Serenity. The outer Scouts would secure the palace. The inner Scouts would guard Serenity. Wherever Serenity went, a Scout would surely shadow her. Mena, Lita, Amy and Raye took turns guarding Serenity and they never wavered in their duty to their Queen and their future Princess.

When Serenity reached three months, the palace made the official announcement to the world that the Queen was pregnant. There was great rejoicing and many glasses were raised to the health of the future family. The world was enjoying a time of unrivalled peace and they had their Queen to thank for that. A new addition to the family was an occasion to celebrate - and that is exactly what they did!

The next few months went by quickly. Serenity started looking pregnant as her abdomen got bigger and bigger. Endymion talked to his daughter at night, telling her to always be a good girl like her Mommy and that they both loved her very much. As Serenity went further along, she realized that she could feel the baby kick and would sometimes lie awake at night, simply concentrating on those little movements. She felt so much at peace.

The kicks became so pronounced that even Endymion could feel them and this fascinated him to no small degree.

"She is going to be good at soccer if she keeps this up," he joked.

The Sailor Scouts watched with interest (and some trepidation) as Serenity's pregnancy advanced. They each felt Reenie kick and squealed with delight. They insisted that they be called Auntie and Serenity smiled at that. They were really becoming attached to the little one.

Serenity's waistline disappeared and, she wondered secretly if Endymion thought she was unattractive. She needn't have worried as Endymion was never far from her side, always encouraging her to eat "just one more bite for the baby" and always holding her near, making her feel like the most beloved woman in the world. What she did not know was that Endymion found her new shape to be most attractive and he always smiled when she stepped carefully out of the shower. The glow was getting stronger and, if possible, she was becoming more beautiful. He wished, as he had countless times before and would do so again, that nothing could mar that look of contentment on her face.

Great Expectations - Surprise

"Of course we have to have a baby shower for Serenity, but it has to be a surprise. You know the way she is about that kind of thing."

Mena was having a discussion with Lita, Amy and Raye about the surprise baby shower they were planning for the now 8 ½ months pregnant Serenity. Amy was worried that the shock of a baby shower might cause her to go into labour but Mena dismissed the worry saying that even if Serenity went into labour, the baby would be just fine. Amy had to agree.

They recruited Endymion as their partner in crime. He would bring her over to Lita's apartments in the Crystal Palace on the pretext of talking about the security of the Crystal Palace. Ordinarily, they would never have gotten away with it but, because Serenity was not supposed to use the Imperium Silver Crystal, a surprise baby shower could be pulled off without a problem.

And so they planned…

Endymion had been locking himself in the nursery for several days. He had told Serenity that there was a lot of work to do and he wanted to make sure everything was ready for the big day. Serenity reminded him that the baby would not go into the nursery right away, but would sleep in a cradle by her side of their bed. Endymion smiled and reminded her that he would be too wrapped up in his new family to work on the nursery at that time. Serenity giggled and let him work his magic.

The day of the baby shower came and Endymion escorted Serenity to Lita's apartments. At first, he said he would not be able to make it but, just as Serenity was leaving, he hurried out of the nursery and said it was best he come along, just in case she went into labour which made Serenity laugh.

They knocked at the door and Lita came out with a big grin.

"I have drawn up the security plans for the next few weeks and I think you will be pleased, Serenity," she smiled and let her friends enter.

Serenity wondered why her room was so dark and was starting to get nervous when…

"Surprise!!!" the lights went on and Serenity found herself surrounded by friends. All her Sailor Scouts were there and her most faithful palace attendants. Luna and Diana were standing close by (Artemis had declined the invitation saying that it was a party for women only, and besides he had a half-open can of sardines to attend to!) Serenity looked at her friends and started to cry. This was so nice of them!

Serenity and Endymion spent the rest of the day laughing and opening presents. There were lots of pretty clothes for the new Princess and books and toys and everything else that a baby could want. Luna and Diana presented a very solemn gift, a Transformation Pen for when Reenie was old enough to take on the role of Sailor Scout herself. Serenity received it with reverence. Being a Sailor Scout had been an important part of her life and had moulded her into the person she now was. She hoped that Reenie's experience would be just as precious.

The big surprise came from her closest friends, the Sailor Scouts and Endymion. They blindfolded Serenity and spun her around a few times and then led her out of the room. Serenity had no idea where they were taking her but she heard a door open and then she saw soft light through the blindfold. When the blindfold was gently removed, she blinked a couple of times to accustom herself to the light and, when she looked around, she really began to cry.

The Scouts and Endymion had worked day and night on the nursery and it was now complete. The walls were painted an iridescent pink and the large picture windows were covered with curtains of sheer white silk. The cradle and the change table were white and the linens had stars and moons and planets on them. The Scouts and Endymion had taken their hand at painting and there were many scenes on the walls. Serenity saw a group picture of all the Sailor Scouts and Tuxedo Mask ("He is so handsome, even in a painting, no wonder I fell in love at first sight", she sighed). There was a painting of the main palace of the Moon Kingdom. There were paintings of all the planets. Even the guardian cats were there. And, everywhere you looked, there were roses - pink and white roses in vases.

Serenity was speechless. The nursery was more beautiful then she could have imagined. She turned to her friends and simply held out her hands with tears shining in her eyes…

Suddenly, Raye sensed something evil approaching. Before she had time to react, a vortex of dark energy surrounded Serenity. Serenity screamed in sudden panic and Endymion tried to break through the barrier to reach her but it was to no avail. The Scouts transformed and tried their attacks but nothing broke through. Serenity fainted from the pain caused by the dark energy but she did not fall to the ground. Another figure appeared and caught her.

Diamond felt the keenings of lust course through his body as he pulled the limp body of the Queen closer to his own. He looked straight at Endymion and laughed at the rage in his face.

"She is mine now, King of Earth. I will erase all her memories of you and she will be my Queen. Without the power of the Silver Crystal, she is easy prey," Diamond leaned over and hungrily placed a kiss on Serenity's inert lips. Endymion grimaced in pain.

Laughing again at the pain he was causing, Diamond said,

"Oh, don't you worry, Endymion, I will take good care of your wife and your daughter. They will be powerful allies to the Dark Moon family!" he caressed Serenity's swollen abdomen and then they both disappeared.

"Nooooooooo!!!!!" Endymion's scream of anguish echoed throughout the palace.

Great Expectations - Agony

Endymion stood there looking at the empty space where his wife had been smiling. He felt like someone had just run a sword through his heart. He was supposed to protect her. He had promised that nothing would happen to her. He had assured her that everything would be all right. He had sworn that he would rather die himself then let anything happen to his wife or his daughter. Now, he felt like the world's greatest liar and, worse than that, he felt completely helpless.

The Scouts were screaming, trying to see if there was a way to trace Serenity's path to the Dark dimension but neither Amy's computer or Raye's psychic abilities turned up anything.

Michiru sobbed uncontrollably on Haruka's shoulder.

"We have failed in our duty to the Queen, Haruka. What are we going to do?" she cried brokenly.

Hotaru stood there stunned.

"She doesn't have the Silver Crystal," she whispered.

Everyone knew what that meant. It meant that she had no way of protecting herself against the Dark Crystal. It meant that she was vulnerable. It meant that she could be turned against them.

As if divining their thoughts, Endymion shouted angrily,

"It won't happen. Serenity is strong even without the Imperium Silver Crystal!" but, even as he said it, doubts surfaced in his mind. Serenity was in a weakened state. Could she resist the power of the Dark Crystal? Endymion shook his head. She had to. She just had to. The image of Serenity in Diamond's arms forced itself into his mind and he cringed with real pain.

Luna jumped up on the change table.

"All this standing around is not going to accomplish a thing. We have to figure out a way to determine Serenity's location and we need to do that fast. She is near her time of deliverance and, with this additional stress, she could give birth at any time."

Endymion's face fell at this further dark news. What were they going to do?

Great Expectations - Trapped

Serenity felt like she was floating on the waves of the ocean with the sun shining down on her. Then, the sun started to set and waves started to form on the ocean. Soon, she was engulfed in darkness and being tossed by the rough surf. She saw a huge tidal wave come towards her and she screamed in terror…and suddenly woke up…in her own bed?

For a split second, she thought that the whole episode had been a nightmare but, although back in her own room, something was not right. There were no windows and everything was dark. The linens on her bed were black and the furniture was ugly. And yet, Serenity felt that she was in her own bedroom and still in the palace but she wasn't sure how that could be possible.

Serenity got up off the bed and walked over to the door. It wouldn't open.

"I am a prisoner," she thought bleakly.

Then she felt a strong kick from her baby. She smiled grimly.

"Well, at least you made it through safely, Reenie," she caressed her abdomen, imagining that her baby could feel the comforting touch. Serenity looked around but there were no other avenues of escape. Suddenly, a thought came to her which made her blood run cold…She did not have the Silver Crystal…She was helpless and far away from anyone who could help her.

"Oh, Endymion," she cried bitterly. Even though they were far apart, she could sense his growing desperation and cursed herself for having let her guard down.

"Are you still whining for that pathetic husband of yours, Serenity? I can't imagine that you really love that posturing simp when you have a real man right here in front of you," a sarcastic voice made Serenity turn around quickly.

"Diamond," her voice was full of bitterness and a hatred she was not afraid to show.

"I love it when you call me by my name, my sweet," he lilted teasingly.

Serenity ground her teeth in fury. If she had her Crystal, he would be nothing but a pile of moondust, family or no family.

"Let me go, Diamond! You have no right to keep me here!"

Diamond smiled. Her defiant spirit made his blood boil.

"Oh, but I do, lovely Serenity. You see, your family is directly responsible for the misery that my people have to live in. And, being a good monarch, it is my duty to protect them - so that is what I intend to do, with the help of your daughter, of course. She will help me establish the Dark Moon family as the reigning family of Crystal Tokyo and the Earth and eliminate any memory of your presumptuous group of misfits."

Serenity blanched, "You want to use my daughter as a tool for wreaking misguided vengeance on Earth? You must be mad, Diamond! Your people refused to undergo purification and were a threat to lasting peace on Earth. You left to seek out a better life!"

Diamond stormed over to where she was standing. With anger, he stared at her blue eyes and blurted out,

"That is not true! You tried to wipe out my family! You tried to kill us all and hunted us down until we were forced to leave!"

Serenity was shocked. That was not what had happened at all. Where did these false memories come from?

Diamond ignored that look and, noticing how close she was, had other things on his mind. Grabbing her roughly behind her neck, he pulled her face to his and kissed her roughly. Ignoring her frantic struggles, he mindlessly ravished her mouth. She tasted so intoxicating. Diamond's mind provided images of what he could do to her if she were not in her present condition. Reluctantly, he pulled away and was met by a stinging pain in his cheek.

Serenity had somehow managed to free one of her arms and, with all the force she could muster, slapped Diamond across the face. Diamond smiled wickedly at her defiant eyes.

"You will never have me, Diamond. You are a pathetic wretch who has let hatred and the desire for vengeance take over your entire being. I belong to Endymion and he belongs to me. Nothing can ever change that!" Serenity shouted.

Diamond roughly grabbed her free hand and held both her arms down.

"You are wrong, my sweet. Love is not as powerful as you seem to think. Power is eternal and I will have power over you, Serenity. I will purge your mind of every memory you have of your husband. Then you will only crave my touch and serve my…needs" Diamond pulled her close and was going to kiss her again but Serenity was able to turn her head away in disgust. He satisfied himself with a wet kiss on the side of her throat which made her thrash with anger.

"Exquisite," he thought.

He stepped away from Serenity and released her from his grip.

Rubbing his cheek, he said,

"Ordinarily, I would enjoy a little roughness but this is not the time. However, I look forward to a lifetime with you to do my bidding. It shall be most enjoyable, Serenity, and well worth the wait."

With that, he walked towards the door, opened it and stepped out, locking it behind him.

Serenity fell to the ground crying. She felt horribly dirty and violated. The taste of his kiss was like the taste of death and she thought she was going to be sick. Was it true? Could she be brainwashed into forgetting Endymion? The thought horrified her. Endymion was her life, her love, her soulmate. Oh, if only she had her Silver Crystal.

A fierce pain shot through Serenity and, for a second, she was left breathless with the sheer intensity of it. Then she realized what it meant and she moaned in anguish.

The baby was coming.

Great Expectations – On The Other Side

Endymion was pacing frantically, imagining various ways he was going to kill Diamond. Lita and Mena were searching through old reference books for any indication as to how to enter the Dark Dimension. Raye was meditating and hoping for celestial guidance. Amy pounded frantically on her computer.

Raye suddenly broke from her trance.

"Luna, you said once that the Silver Crystal is, in a way, a part of Serenity. Is that true?"

The guardian cat looked a little surprised at the question.

"Well, Raye," she began, "It isn't so much that the Crystal is a part of Serenity as it is that there is a link between them. That is why Serenity can utilize the power of the Crystal to its fullest extent."

Raye began to brainstorm.

"All of us Sailor Scouts and Endymion have powers of our own which, on occasion, we have channelled into Serenity to defeat some of our most powerful enemies. In a sense we helped her realize the potential of the Silver Crystal, right Luna?"

The guardian cat nodded.

"What if we focused all of our power on the Silver Crystal. Would it not seek out the one who is entitled to use it. Would it not show us where Serenity can be found and how we can get there?"

Luna thought for a moment before answering.

"I don't know if it can show us how to get to her but we may be able to see where she is and determine how bad the situation is."

Endymion jumped up and ran out of the room. He returned a moment later with an ornate box. He opened it and revealed the eternal beauty of the Imperium Silver Crystal. The Sailor Scouts looked at it reverently as Endymion placed it on the crib he had made for his daughter.

"Okay, everyone," he instructed, "We may as well try this. Concentrate your power on the Silver Crystal and focus on finding Serenity."

The Sailor Scouts flinched at the raw pain in his voice. Then they purged their minds of all outside distractions and concentrated on the Silver Crystal, silently asking it to show them where their beloved friend had been taken.

Nothing happened.

"Try harder," Endymion shouted.

Still nothing.

"We have to save Serenity! Give the Crystal all your energy!" he shouted again.

After a few moments, the Crystal suddenly flared with brilliant light.

A beam of light appeared and shapes began dancing within the light. The images coalesced into the form of…Serenity. Endymion watched as Diamond threatened her and handled her roughly. What he would do to that wretch…Then he saw Diamond leave and watched helplessly as his wife collapsed to the floor. He could feel her despair and knew that she was worried.

Then he saw her clutch her abdomen in pain and heard her anguished thoughts. The vision disappeared.

"She's going into labour," Amy cried, "we have to do something or all is lost: Reenie, Serenity and the Earth."

Endymion said nothing. He had failed his wife in the worst possible way. He could do nothing to save her or their daughter. He watched dully as the Silver Crystal began to pulsate. All was lost, Amy said. She was right because he was lost without Serenity by his side.

Great Expectations – Labour

In the dark chamber where Serenity was trapped, it seemed that time stood still so she had no way of knowing how far apart her contractions were or how long she had been having them. It took all of her strength not to cry out in pain. She wanted to buy as much time as possible before letting Diamond in on the fact that she was in labour. Even though she realized that her efforts were probably futile and it was expending a great deal of her energy, it was the only option left to her.

The sound of the door opening caused her to look up and she saw Diamond come in with a tray of food.

"You have not eaten for some time, my sweet, and that is not good for the baby," he smirked.

"I am not hungry," Serenity said simply, bitterness ringing with every word.

Diamond looked unperturbed.

"Serenity, you care for this baby and I know that you will do the right thing and eat something. This may not be what you are accustomed to in your Crystal Palace but I can assure you that it is wholesome and will sustain you both."

Despite her anger, Serenity noted a tone of sincerity and caring in his voice which shocked her. She thought back to what he had said about his family. It didn't make sense. Was he being brainwashed by someone?

"Even so," she thought angrily, "He should not have touched me."

Diamond watched as she sat on the bed, unmoving.

"I wonder when the child will be born, Serenity. I know that it will probably be soon, most likely in the next couple of days. A girl child is an extraordinary gift for it is the woman who carries the cosmic power to its fullest extent."

Serenity was barely listening as she was concentrating all her strength on hiding the increasing pain she was feeling. If only he would leave…

"Then there is the question of what I should name the child. Even though I am not the father, I feel I should give her a name that runs in my family. Tell me, Serenity, what do you think of Amethyst. You can call her Amy for short. No, that wouldn't work because it might remind you of that brat, Sailor Mercury. What about Opal? Hmmm, I like that name a lot. Or we can name her Pearl."

Through her masked pain, Serenity's voice came loud and clear,

"She will carry my name."

Diamond smiled.

"No, only you can be Serenity. Well, eat up. I am going to think about this so that I am prepared when the time comes."

He got up to leave and Serenity felt relieved. Maybe…

Just as Diamond reached for the door, there was a rush of water. He turned around in surprise and saw Serenity standing in a large puddle of water.

"Well, I think the time is now. Your waters have broken, my sweet, and soon your child will be delivered into our waiting hands,"

He laughed and left the room.

Serenity began to cry again. She felt betrayed by her own body and began apologizing to her daughter. She wished she knew how to reach out to her husband. Her desperation reached its peak and she screamed…

"Endymion!! I need you now!! Come to me or I am lost forever!!"

Suddenly the crescent moon on her forehead began to pulsate. Serenity, in a panic, imagined a lifeline being sent to the Silver Crystal in her dimension. She saw it as a thin rope from the dimension she was trapped in to her home.

"Mommy!" a voice rang inside her mind. It was the same sweet voice from her nightmares!

"Mommy, I will help!"

The lifeline became stronger.

"Reenie. Show Daddy how to find us," she prayed silently.

"I will Mommy," the little voice replied.

As she awaited the return of her enemies, Serenity concentrated on the lifeline that was their only hope.

"Come to me, my love. We need you now more than ever!" she urged incessantly.

Great Expectations – To The Other Side

Endymion watched helplessly as the Silver Crystal flashed in synch with Serenity's contractions.

"They are getting closer together and are increasing in intensity," Amy noted, "The baby will be born very soon."

Every word Amy said cut Endymion to the core.

Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light which dazzled everyone. Endymion blinked and gasped when he saw a ray of light extending towards the Silver Crystal. When it touched the Crystal, the entire room was suffused in a gentle pink light. Within the pink light, an image of Serenity with a baby girl in her arms appeared. Endymion didn't know what this meant. Had Serenity delivered and was this image sent to haunt him further?

"Endymion," he heard a familiar voice.

"Daddy," that voice too was familiar.

"You must follow the light if you are to save us. Hurry, the link will not last long." Both voices said in unison.

Endymion and the Scouts needed no further prompting. Unshielding his sword, Endymion grabbed the Crystal and rushed along the ray of light, shouting at the Scouts to follow him. In a flash, they were gone.

Great Expectations – Deliverance

Serenity sat concentrating and did not notice the entrance of the priests and of Diamond. She realized her situation at the last minute but her condition was weakened by the progression of her labour as well as the energy she had expended in order to conceal it. She struggled against them, but it was no use.

Two of the priests grabbed her arms and another two grabbed her legs. They carried her, struggling, to the bed and forced her to lie down. Other priests produced ropes and proceeded to tie her arms and legs to the four corners of the bed. Serenity strained against the ropes but she knew she could never break free without her Silver Crystal. She was trapped and her baby was doomed!

But, these thoughts did not last long as another contraction hit her with even greater intensity. She screamed as she felt her body was being split open from the inside. Images of Amy telling her to practice her breathing exercises came to mind but they were of no use. Serenity was not in the birthing chamber in the palace and did not have Endymion coaching her.

Wave after wave of pain shot through her body and she felt the baby move slowly towards the outside world. There was nothing she could do to stop it. Nature was simply running its course.

Diamond watched as Serenity's face, glistening with sweat, contorted in pain and her arms and legs strained against the ropes that bound her. He was greatly aroused by her captive state.

"I do not have to unbind her right after the child is born," he thought darkly as images passed through his mind of what he could do to her in her helpless position.

Wiseman was feeling the progress of the birth and led the other priests in chanting the praises of the Dark Crystal. He noticed the glassy expression on Diamond's face and smiled. Diamond could have his fun with the Queen once the child was delivered.

Serenity felt suddenly cold and her teeth began to chatter. What was happening to her?

The chanting continued and it droned inside her head.

Then, she got the feeling to push and, although she would have given anything not to, there was nothing she could do to prevent it.

She pushed and the priests chanted.

She pushed and the priests chanted.

This went on forever it seemed. Serenity felt that she was lost in the ancient rhythm of childbirth and only concentrated on the pain, trying to block out the incessant chanting.

Then, Serenity felt something stretching her wide apart .

"Behold, the head of the Chosen One!" Wiseman shouted in evil glee.

The priests chanted louder.

Another push and suddenly, Serenity felt strangely empty. Then, she heard a cry. She lifted her head as far as she could.

Wiseman delivered the baby himself and cut the cord. He then held the child up and the priests went wild, hitting their heads with their hands.

Serenity drowned this out and looked at her baby daughter. She was beautiful. She was crying and shivering and already had a lot of hair, pink hair. Serenity could not see her eyes because she had them tightly closed due to her wailing. Then, Wiseman wrapped her in a shroud and she could see Reenie no longer.

Completely spent and too exhausted to even cry. Serenity collapsed back on the bed, closed her eyes and wished she were dead. She wanted to hold her baby and her body ached with that thwarted maternal desire.

A noise made her open her eyes. Wearily, she saw Diamond looking at her with evil intent. He took off his jacket and started unbuttoning his shirt deliberately.

"Bring the child into the outer chamber and leave us alone. I wish to heal the Queen with the Dark Crystal and then, well let us say, that I wish to get better acquainted," he ordered in a dark voice.

Serenity closed her eyes in utter anguish and despair.

"Oh God," she thought in a panic, "Not that. Anything but that."

Great Expectations – Rescue

Endymion felt that he was being pulled by the force of the light beam. He looked back and was relieved to see the Scouts still following. At first, all they saw was darkness but gradually, they could make out the image of the palace. It looked like the Crystal Palace but was morbid and dark. These thoughts vanished as the light pulled them through hallways and chambers at breakneck speed.

Then, just as suddenly as the journey had begun, it ended. They were standing outside a door. They heard chanting inside and Endymion growled in anger when he heard Diamond threatening Serenity. He gave a look to the Scouts and then pounded down the door.

The sight he saw shocked him into a moment of inaction. He first saw Serenity, tied to a bed obviously in the aftermath of birth. She was crying weakly and her eyes were closed. He then saw Diamond, and the state of his undress spoke to what he intended to do to Serenity. Finally he saw that there were a number of robed figures in the room and one of them carried a small shrouded figure. A small shrouded figure that sounded like…

"Let my wife and daughter go, you denizens from hell!" Endymion screamed.

Serenity opened her eyes in astonishment and saw her husband and her Scouts standing at the entrance to the chamber. They had made it. Maybe there was a chance. But she was too weak to do anything.

The priests quickly surrounded Wiseman and the crying baby.

Diamond turned around in surprise and frowned in anger and frustration. He drew his sword and pointed it to Serenity's heart.

"I really don't think so, Endymion," he snarled like a wild animal, "If I cannot have Serenity, no one will."

Endymion stopped and held out his sword in a clear gesture of challenge.

"You are a pathetic wretch, Diamond. What you cannot have through love you try to take by force. Your power is hollow. She could never love you of her own free will. She despises you. I am not as charitable." He mocked.

Diamond paused and looked in Serenity's eyes. He plainly saw hatred and defiance staring back at him. She was weak, perhaps even dying, but she would never surrender to him willingly. His sword dropped a fraction of an inch as this reality dawned on him.

A moment's distraction was all that was needed.

"Venus Love Chain Encircle!" and with Venus' battle cry, Diamond's sword went flying and imbedded itself in one of the priests protecting Wiseman. He died screaming. Diamond backed away towards Wiseman.

"Mars Celestial Fire Surround!" Raye directed her energy at the ropes binding Serenity and they flared and disappeared. Serenity did not move, however, because she was so weak. Endymion and Amy quickly ran to her. Amy took one look at her and said,

"You have lost a great deal of blood, Serenity. I will do what I can to stop the bleeding but I need you to be calm."

Serenity nodded weakly. She could feel the hands of death pulling at her. It was not an unfamiliar sensation.

Endymion knew that look on Serenity's face all too well and cursed himself for not having gotten there sooner. He stroked his wife's pale cheek and bent down to kiss her. She returned the kiss weakly and gave him an uncertain smile. Amy would give her the medical attention she needed. Besides, he had other business to attend to at the moment. Endymion stood up and glared at Diamond who was inching his way toward the priest whose body held his sword.

"I am sending you back where you came from, Diamond! You have threatened my wife, my child and my home for the last time,"

Drawing his sword in haste from the body of the dead priest, Diamond shouted, "Destroy them!" Ten of the priests produced evil looking daggers and attacked. Diamond and Wiseman managed to escape the room with the baby in the midst of the confusion.

Serenity cried out to Endymion, "They are taking our baby, Endymion! Find them and bring the Crystal. It is of no use to me in my present state!"

Endymion nodded and dashed out the door, hoping that the Scouts could take care of the job but realizing that Serenity was right. Amy would look after her and the other Scouts would defend her. He was the only one who could save Reenie from being taken by the Dark Moon family and he swore that he would do that. No one threatened his family and got away with it unscathed.

Once out of the chamber, he found himself in a long hallway and suddenly realized that he had no way of finding his way around. Even though this looked like his palace, it wasn't. Besides, Diamond and Wiseman were nowhere to be seen.

"Daddy," in his mind, he heard a sweet voice that sounded very familiar.

"Reenie?" he looked around as if to see where she was hiding but then realized that the voice he heard was in his mind. She was talking to him telepathically!

"Daddy, hold up the Crystal, it will show you where I am. Hurry, Daddy," she instructed.

Baffled but willing to try anything that might give him some sort of advantage, Endymion held the Silver Crystal up. He saw a thin beam of light that suddenly turned a corner down another passage. Without a moment's hesitation, he followed it. Further and further, deeper and deeper into the palace he went, having no idea where he was or whether he was heading into a trap but somehow trusting he was going in the right direction.

Rounding a corner, he found himself face to face with Diamond.

"You cannot stop this, King of Earth!" he stated.

"I can and will!" Endymion ran at him with his sword. Diamond simply disappeared!

Reappearing suddenly behind him, Diamond gloated, "You have no power, King of Earth. It's a wonder Serenity thinks she loves you so much. But I intend to have her, as it was meant to be, and raise your pretty daughter who looks so much like her!"

Wiseman suddenly materialized with Reenie in his arms. For a moment, Endymion stared at the miniature version of his wife with complete love. She was still sobbing but her eyes were wide open and they were a beautiful shade of red. Her damp pink hair clung to her head in dark ringlets. She was simply adorable.

"You are outnumbered, Endymion. You have the Silver Crystal and yet you cannot use its power. We have the power of the Dark Crystal and we will destroy you," Wiseman shouted.

"And then Serenity and the child will be mine!" Diamond added loudly.

Endymion realized the precarious nature of his situation and prayed for strength.

"If I cannot protect them, let me die with some dignity," he thought.

"I don't want you to die, Daddy!" that happy voice came to him again.

"Reenie?" he asked again in his mind.

"Daddy, hold up the Silver Crystal and I will take care of the rest," she said.

Fearing a trap but having no other choice, Endymion held up the Silver Crystal.

Diamond, seeing the Crystal, backed off for a second, but, realizing that it was useless in Endymion's hand, moved closer and smirked,

"Are you offering me this as a ransom for your miserable life, King of Earth? Well, I just might take it and let you live. It would be perfect, after what you tried to do to my family, to watch as I make love night after night to your willing wife!"

His brow furled in anger, Endymion prayed "Reenie, I hope you know what you're doing."

"Trust me, Daddy," she answered.

Then, just as Diamond was about to grab the Crystal, it levitated away from Endymion's hand and floated, as if weightless in the air.

"What is this?" Diamond asked angrily and, as he tried to grab the Crystal, it jumped away from his reach.

Wiseman looked down at Reenie and saw that she controlled the Crystal. Wiseman knew what that meant. She had even greater power than they had suspected and would not hesitate to use it against her enemies - and she perceived them to be her enemies.

"Damn," he thought angrily, "and I have to save this worthless wretch of a prince if I am ever to accomplish my mission. My priests are doomed, but the Doom Phantom will live!"

"Diamond, we must get out of here!" Wiseman shouted.

"What do you mean? I have Endymion right where I want him!"

"Forget Endymion. The child is controlling the Crystal and will release its enormous power on us as she feels we have caused her and her family pain. We must get out of here now or all is lost!" with that, Wiseman tossed Reenie towards Endymion. Endymion dropped his sword to catch the precious bundle and was relieved when all she did was giggle.

Diamond clenched his jaw angrily and stared at Endymion.

"This is not over, King of Earth. I will make you pay. I will conquer your hateful planet and Serenity will be mine!" Diamond took Wiseman's hand and both disappeared, leaving Endymion holding Reenie. He hugged his little daughter gently and, discarding the shroud she was bundled in, he wrapped her in the folds of his cloak and watched as the Crystal went into her chubby little hands. That was when he noticed the crescent moon glowing on her forehead.

"Just like Serenity," he marvelled at the legacy this child would inherit and with the that infallible premonition that sometimes comes with parenthood, Endymion knew that Reenie would be all the monarch Serenity was.

Then his thoughts were interrupted by a sudden brilliance. The Silver Crystal exploded into light that blasted through the palace and the entire dark dimension. Endymion had to close his eyes against the brilliance and held Reenie closer. He heard screams but couldn't tell where they were coming from. Then, there was nothingness…

Endymion felt himself floating weightless. He wondered if he was dead. Everywhere there was a gentle pink light. Feeling a slight movement in his arms, he looked down and was startled to find Reenie sleeping peacefully there.

"Where am I?" he asked the vacuum that seemed to be everywhere. He wasn't even sure if he had said that or simply thought it.

"You are safe, your Majesty," a familiar voice came from behind him. Turning around quickly, he smiled when he saw the Sailor Scout of Time, Sailor Pluto.

"Setsuna, why am I here? Why is Reenie here?" he asked.

Setsuna smiled warmly.

"You and the Small Lady are both safe now and I will return you shortly to your own time and to your own place. You have done well and have worked together to avoid a terrible catastrophe when Queen Serenity was not able to use the Imperium Silver Crystal. However, it is clear that your fore-knowledge of the future is a dangerous hindrance and so I will give you, Serenity and all the Scouts the bliss of ignorance so that you may begin your life as a family with no more than the usual worries."

Endymion looked at Reenie and smiled.

"Will I forget everything that happened?"

"Yes."

"Perhaps it is for the best."

Setsuna smiled again.

"Close your eyes, your Majesty and I will send you home where Queen Serenity is waiting for you."

Endymion smiled at the thought of seeing his beloved wife again and closed his eyes, still holding Reenie close.

Setsuna held the Garnet Orb over his head and whispered the words of forgetfulness. Endymion and Reenie were motionless. It was now time to send them home to their destinies. She leaned over and kissed Reenie lightly on the forehead. Looking at Endymion, a man she loved deeply, her heart ached to kiss him too. However, it was an indulgence she would never allow herself as it would destroy everything. With a look of sorrow on her face, she stepped backwards and waved her orb three times. She was now alone and a tear began its lazy trek down her cheek. Sometimes doing the right thing was painful, she thought, but he will always be happiest with her and that was all that mattered…

Endymion heard crying and opened his eyes slowly. Serenity, however, was faster than him and picked Reenie out of the crib and brought her to their bed. She then proceeded to breastfeed the hungry infant. Endymion watched them happily.

"I love watching the two of you together," he said quietly so as not to disturb his little girl.

Serenity looked at him and smiled.

"And I enjoy watching the two of you play together."

Endymion rose up on one arm and kissed Serenity on the cheek and then proceeded to kiss Reenie on the forehead. She did not yet have the crescent moon there but Luna said it would probably appear sometime before her first birthday.

"She is such a beautiful child, Serenity. We certainly gave her the right name because she looks so much like you," he sighed to his wife.

Serenity's eyes widened slightly at the compliment,

"I can't take all the credit for what she is, Endymion. As I recall, you had some small say in the matter as well," she giggled.

Endymion gave her a look of mock horror that almost sent her into peals of laughter.

"A small say indeed. What a charitable thing to say to your husband, Serenity!" he said petulantly, but with a sparkle in his eye.

Serenity giggled quietly.

Endymion ran his fingers through his hair. He could not recall feeling this content in ages. Watching Serenity and Reenie together made all the day-to-day pressures seemingly disappear. He felt confident in what the future held in store for them. And yet, some sixth sense told him to keep a close eye on the two of them although, for the life of him, he could not give a reason why.

"Well, I think she is done for now," Serenity cuddled the now-sleeping Reenie and handed her to Endymion who got up and returned her to her crib. When he got back to his own bed, Serenity was looking at him with a look he had not seen during her pregnancy.

"And what is going through your mind, my darling wife?" he asked darkly.

"Oh," she started innocently, "I was just thinking that maybe we could start thinking about having another child."

Endymion took her into his arms.

"Really?"

Serenity kissed him deeply.

"Well, maybe we could do more than think about it…"

Endymion cut off her thoughts as his mouth descended on hers. Serenity surrendered to the passion that united them. Her last conscious thought before all thought was blotted out…

"Don't wake Reenie…"

……………

Diamond stood before the Dark Crystal. He had asked it to show Serenity and had discovered her to be making love to Endymion. He bit his lip in rage and turned his back on the hateful image.

"You will be mine, Serenity. You will give yourself to me one day with all the passion with which you give yourself to that impudent rat."

He turned back to the Crystal and, drawing on a line of power, super-imposed his own image on that of Endymion. He watched his fantasy come to life and a glassy expression came over his eyes. He sat down on a nearby chaise and lay back.

"Yes," he thought thickly, "One day, I will have you, Serenity."

Hiding behind a column, Wiseman watched Diamond succumb to his passions once again and laughed quietly at how easily he was controlled. His lust for Serenity would be his downfall and Wiseman's triumph.

"Yes," he thought, "One day, I will have you, Moon Child!"