Title: A Study in Tragedy
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: not mine, cool? cool.

They say misery loves company, and how true that is. The damned Moon Princess should have left Endymion alone. If he had been mine from the start, none of this needed to happen. But they left me no choice.

It wasn't hard to convert Endymion's closest friends, the four princes of Earth, that the Moon Princess was seducing their high prince. After all, what with the way the prince was unable to do anything but think of her after their first meeting, they were already starting to form their own suspicions. Planting a fake disease in Endymion and blaming it on the Moon people was all it took for the shitennou to declare war on the Moon. I riled up the citizens of earth and watched from the back as the shitennou easily gained an audience with the Moon Court.

I didn't expect the shitennou to become smitten by the senshi though. If that hadn't happened, my takeover would have been so much easier. Instead, when the shitennou returned and said they didn't want a war after all, I was forced to resort to brainwashing. They brought it on themselves, really. Not to say the results weren't pleasing anyway.

The weak little Sailor Mercury was no match for Prince Zoisite of Europe. On their first visit to the Moon, I was enraged at watching Zoisite charm the Mercury princess like no man ever had before. He was intelligent, but he was also unafraid to warm her heart by showing his own. Though she never admitted her feelings to him, I could tell there was a blooming love there. This had the serendipitous effect of introducing confusion in her young heart and thereby muddling her otherwise impregnable strategist mind. She didn't even have time to call on her guardian planet before Zoisite's vermillion firebird slammed into her body and set it up in flames.

I enjoyed the death of Sailor Mars the most though, I must say. The look in the eyes of the Mars princess as she repeatedly rebuffed Prince Jadeite of the Far East with some naive vow of chastity to her princess was so cold, I nearly questioned her powers of fire. Though she never admitted it to him, the look on her face as the shitennou returned to Earth showed me that Jadeite had in fact won her heart. Unlike Mercury, Mars did not hesitate to aim her flame sniper at Jadeite, but it was no use. Her powers drew from the strength of her heart, which was broken into pieces before the battle even began. Her silly attempt at beating love only weakened her. Jadeite's azure water dragon easily doused what little flames she managed to call up before seeping into her body, painfully squeezing all the air from her body and replacing it with suffocating water.

Sailor Jupiter was the only one of the senshi who had been open to love and had been enthralled by the handsome Prince Nephrite of North America since she first laid eyes on him. She was the first of the senshi to fall in love, and the only one to admit it to her lover. Their candlelight dinners and moonlit walks through her gardens sickened me. Perhaps that anger seeped into me while I was brainwashing Nephrite and added power to his hatred, because he became vicious. When I first learned of the shitennou, I laughed at the concept of genbu. A tortoise and a snake was a god? What could it possibly do, strangle someone and bore him to death while they were at it? Nephrite proved me wrong with that though. His shadow held Sailor Jupiter in place he stabbed her again and again with the Northern Sword. The snake wrapped itself around Jupiter's neck, slowly squeezing the air out of her, and - this part is my favorite - the life-giving tortoise kept her alive so that even the darkness of death couldn't claim her until Jadeite and Zoisite called to Nephrite to hurry up. As soon as he called off genbu, Jupiter was stone cold dead.

The love between Sailor Venus and Prince Kunzite of the Middle East was unlike any other. I was aware they'd met before, when Venus had come to earth to retrieve Serenity, but I hadn't thought Kunzite would ever fall in love with her. He hated the Moon more than any of the other princes for what it did to Endymion, and should have looked down on Venus for being unable to control her princess. Venus, however, somehow managed to charm Kunzite with her goddess-like beauty and unparalleled devotion to Serenity. Neither of them agreed to the love between Endymion and Serenity - I considered recruiting Venus at one point before realizing it would invite hypocrisy into our cause. You can only imagine my anger at Kunzite's silence when the other princes told me they no longer wanted the war. I remember looking at him, seething with rage, and asking if this was their unanimous agreement. He nodded, unable to even look at me. How that witch stole a heart that didn't exist, I would never know, but that was the last straw. I cleansed the memory of the beautiful princess-warriors from their heads and started over. Kunzite fought hard though, and I was unable to erase Sailor Venus from his mind, so I took a chance and changed it to the Princess Serenity.

Imagine my joy when Kunzite didn't give Venus a second look as he sent his white tiger after Venus, shattering her wink sword with its more powerful metal armor before a powerful claw ripped her heart crystal from her body and smashed it against the floor. That joy was short- lived though, when Kunzite went to find Princess Serenity. She was with Endymion - they were always together. I was foolish in underestimating his love for Venus when I replaced Venus with Serenity in his mind - he was enraged at seeing "his love" with the high prince and drew on my dear Endymion. I tried calling him back as they fought. I hadn't meant for Endymion to be killed - just the denizens of the Moon. The betrayal and despair I saw on Endymion's face cut into me - he looked so utterly broken. I could tell he would lose when he faltered at drawing his sword on Kunzite. I felt that fatal blow to Endymion as though it had hit me instead - indeed, I wished I could've taken it myself, if only Endymion could have lived. Serenity's death, which should have been the most pleasurable for me, gave me no joy at all. I dully watched as she thrust Endymion's sword through her own chest and wished I could do the same.

It was probably that moment of humanity that saved me. I can't think of any other reason why Queen Serenity would send me to be reborn along with her daughter and everyone else in that epic battle. That was a weakness that couldn't be tolerated though. I hardened my heart and searched tirelessly for the shitennou. By some stroke of luck, I reached them before the reborn senshi did, and this time I was prepared. I didn't give them a chance to doubt me or Queen Metallia before I brainwashed them and turned them once more to my side. They would help me get Endymion - I wouldn't make the same mistake twice. They were easy to brainwash this time, before their minds had been poisoned by the senshi. The one thing I couldn't erase was their loyalty to each other, though it turned out to work in my favor.

Perhaps my assumption that the brainwashing would be simple was my downfall in Jadeite. I thought I destroyed all the closed paths in his memory that lead to the Princess of Mars, but somehow, he still managed to realize something was not right. I could tell if he were left alive for much longer, he would start having doubts, and so was almost thankful when Sailor Mars burned him to a crisp. There was some amount of joy to be had in knowing that even if the fire senshi remained alive, she had destroyed her one shot at a real love, which would weaken her heart and prevent her from attaining her full powers.

Nephrite's anger was stoked by Jadeite's death. Though Zoisite and Kunzite didn't show it, they too were clearly riled up. See how their loyalty to each other worked out for me in the end? Even though I was losing my army one at a time, I also couldn't help but slightly enjoy Sailor Jupiter's annihilation of Nephrite. I only wished I had the power to restore to her her memories of the Silver Millennium. Once she knew she killed her true love, she would've crumpled and died on the spot, I knew it. However, I was left with only two princes while that new Sailor Moon now had four senshi. I was more careful with Zoisite and Kunzite - they needed to get the Silver Crystal first. Then perhaps I'd let Sailor Mercury and Venus kill them.

I hated the senshi more than ever when Venus killed Zoisite. If only I could've restored their memories at that moment - perhaps Mercury and Venus would've killed each other over that. That would have been amusing to watch. Or perhaps the cold and quiet Mercury would have just wasted away in private, leaving the other senshi to turn against Venus for having hurt their friend. I dreamt of many scenarios where Kunzite easily took care of the distraught and broken senshi, then brought Endymion to me. He could have Serenity or Venus if he really wanted, so long as Endymion was mine.

I hadn't imagined that the little Sailor Moon was actually Serenity, though, or that she had the Silver Crystal in her body. I saw Kunzite and the other princes reawake briefly, having reopened the gates to their memories and becoming their past selves. It brought me infinite satisfaction to watch their souls break as they remembered killing their loves. A broken soul cannot live in a mortal body, so their bodies degenerated to dust and their souls hid in their namesake stones. Only Kunzite managed to withstand it, he even managed to finally bring me Endymion, even if I needed to brainwash him to clean the memories of Serenity from his mind. I knew Kunzite had regained some of his memories. I knew his loyalty was wavering and that he was starting to see Endymion as his master, but it was too late for him anyway. I had Endymion, and the joy that filled me was tainted only by the strength with which Endymion was rejecting the brainwashing. I didn't even care when Kunzite was killed and Princess Serenity was awakened. Endymion's brainwashing was complete - he was finally mine.

I gave him the stones of his four guardians almost as a joke. Here, have your friends and guardians back; I have no use for them anymore. I thought everything was over, now that Endymion was mine. I didn't for a second imagine Venus having a sword and killing me with it. As I lay dying, I remembered the Silver Millennium again. I remembered my jealously at finding Endymion with another girl. That anger turned to hatred when I discovered she was the Princess of the Moon. Didn't she have enough? Why did she have to take the one love of my life away from me? He was supposed to be mine - that's all I ever wanted. I was fighting for love too, so why did my battle have to end in misery while she got everything she wanted? I wasn't the only one hurt, either. The senshi and shitennou would never be reunited again. Endymion's friends and companions were now mere stones; he would never see them in front of him as solid forms again. Only Serenity came out happy, with her friends and her love. It just simply wasn't fair.

The war, the end of the Silver Millennium - none of that had mattered to me. I just wanted Endymion. I watched Serenity kill Endymion as my soul slowly left earth, and thought of the completed cycle - how each of the princes once killed their princesses, and how the princesses would later kill the princes. So much tragedy had taken place. If only Serenity had left Endymion alone, if only Endymion had been mine, everyone else could have been happy. Why did we all have to sacrifice, just for her happiness?

I always thought Endymion/Serenity's story wasn't very tragic, since they get to meet again and whatever. Rather, the tragedy of the shitennou seemed to be the real tragedy, with Beryl following at a close second. I mean, knowing that you betrayed the people who loved you the most... I really don't think there's anything more painful than that.

And yes, I know this wasn't one of my best works, but I was rereading the classic season manga and just had to write it. Considering writing the same thing from Luna's perspective; shall see.